An online PDF version of "Conspiracy Theories" by Sunstein and Vermeule, is a warning to the academic world of the threat of "Conspiracy Theories". Amazingly, this was apparently published as peer reviewed academic research in a genuine research journal., "Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures". Marc Estrin of Rag Blog gets credit for showcasing this "research".
As an academic publication, this rubbish is as bad as it gets. The reason it was published is obvious. Sunstein is the newest model of a neo-conservative in a position of power, and his attacks on the US Constitution are classic neo-con. Does everyone at the University of Chicago believe this nonsense because there seems to be no published rebuttal.
But Sunstein is not only a fascist, his research gets a grade of "F". I do not know if any colleagues of Sunstein have the courage to say what a poor piece of research this is. So I will deconstruct Sunstein’s "Conspiracy Theories", CT’s. Almost every sentence is a lie, is deceptive or is neo-con "analytical philosophy and crippled epistemology". It is a painful task to plow through 29 pages of crippled epistemology. About 15 of those pages are drivel and Orwellian Double-speak. Sunstein is a perfect "Big Brother" with his kinder and gentler fascism.
Our principal claim here involves the potential value of cognitive infiltration of extremist groups, designed to introduce informational diversity into such groups and to expose indefensible conspiracy theories as such…Our focus throughout is on false conspiracy theories, not true ones. Our ultimate goal is to explore how public officials might undermine such theories, and as a general rule, true accounts should not be undermined…On our account, a defining feature of conspiracy theories is that they are extremely resistant to correction, certainly through direct denials or counterspeech by government officials…Accordingly, we will focus on indirect means of undermining such theories, principally by breaking up the closed informational networks that produce such theories..vIn some domains, people suffer from a “crippled epistemology,” in the sense that they know very few things, and what they know is wrong. Many extremists fall in this category; their extremism stems not from irrationality, but from the fact that they have little (relevant) information, and their extremist views are supported by what little they know.
Sunstein only needs to look in a mirror to see a crippled extremist who knows very little. Very simply, there are the True and False and Harmful and Harmless and Justified CT’s and Sunstein will decide which is which. Perhaps, someone might ask: Should we not consider each issue on the basis of facts and documentation and investigation. Ha Ha Ha. That is so old school. We have a third rate puke who wants us to believe Freedom is Slavery and the United States Government does not routinely lie to its people.
As for as dangerous cults, goes, what CT is more dangerous than the Neo-con goals to eliminate Government protections and replace the government with corporate fascism and fight perpetual "long" wars. Those traitors such as Richard Haas keep repeating their necessity for Corporate World Domination. Sunstein ignores the Conspiracy outlined in the PNAC Manifesto for a "catastrophic Pearl Harbor type event" that would CHANGE EVERYTHING!
Sunstein quotes Philip Zelikow about the topic of CT’s. Zelikow is similar to Sunstein and although Zelikow is likely eligible for a War Crimes Trial at the Hague. Zelikow compares political dissent to a harmful biological infection.
Philip Zelikow, the executive director of the 9/11 commission, says that “[t]he hardcore conspiracy theorists are totally committed. They’d have to repudiate much of their life identity in order not to accept some of that stuff. That’s not our worry. Our worry is when things become infectious . . . . [t]hen this stuff can be deeply corrosive to public understanding. You can get where the bacteria can sicken the larger body.”
Zelikow is a committed neo-con who led the 9-11, Comimission coverup. But Zelikow was part of the secret planning for the Irak War and part of the attempt to create a Civil War in Irak using Death Squads and and other terrorist violence. Zelikow braggs how successful he was.
Therefore, amid all the attention to the “surge”, Americans and Iraqis have adopted a more effective strategy. While it systematically applies best practices across the country, and does so with more resources, including more troops, it is also more diversified and decentralized in the way it adapts to local politics. The Iraq war is not one conflict. It is a number of different wars, at least five or six.
Zelikow considers himself an"expert" on government propaganda. Zelikow also wrote about the joyful consequences of "catastrophic terrorism" that would change everything and permit Corporate Wars, Torture and US Government making war against its own citizens.
The United States might respond with draconian measures, scaling back civil liberties, allowing wider surveillance of citizens, detention of suspects, and use of deadly force.
No one has been more committed to Coverups and secret neo-con control than Zelikow. It is fascinating how the Bushie Crime Family focused so intently on control of mass communications, through government, NSA, TIA or through private corporations such as Blackwater, SAIC and all the corporate lobbyists of Dee Cee.
Obama is continuing those policies. Or is Obama even a President, because National Security is still controlled by Bushies and the Bilderbergers and the CFR. Domestic Policy is controlled by Goldman Sachs and the unaccountable Federal Reserve, a private bank with secret depositers. Wait! That is a Conspiracy Theory (CT). That Obama is just another Puppet whose strings are pulled by our corporate overlords. I expect I will be getting COGNITIVE INTERVENTION from Sunstein’s Thought Police for my false and harmful CT.
There has been much discussion of what, exactly, counts as a conspiracy theory, and about what, if anything, is wrong with those who hold one.
By much, Sunstein cites two books in 22 years.
a conspiracy theory can generally be counted as such if it is an effort to explain some event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role. This account seems to capture the essence of the most prominent and influential conspiracy theories.
Most people have another name for the explanations of events secretly controlled by the wealthy and powerful. It is called HISTORY.
Of course some conspiracy theories, under our definition, have turned out to be true. The Watergate hotel room used by Democratic National Committee was, in fact, bugged by Republican officials, operating at the behest of the White House. In the 1950s, the Central Intelligence Agency did, in fact, administer LSD and related drugs under Project MKULTRA, in an effort to investigate the possibility of “mind control.”
Neither Watergate nor MKULTRA could be considered CT’s. It was known by June 17, 1972, the day after Nixon’s agents were arrested, that they worked for Nixon. There was no conspiratorial speculation about MKULTRA, CIA mind control programs, because no one would even believe the USA Government would secretly give LSD and other drugs to people. Sunstein ignores the most obvious CT’s that were widely discussed during those wonderful 60’s and 70’s. Was the "Gulf of Tonkin Incident" a government conspiracy to justify the Vietnam War. The answer is YES. Another important CT of that time was government spying and covert activities against anti-war protestors. Again, yes, the US government through the COINTELPRO program was spying on and waging secret war against American Citizens.
And indeed, there can be no doubt that some people who accept conspiracy theories are mentally ill and subject to delusions.
The worst mental illness, is to start a war for rich people to get richer and that was Vietnam. It was also a mental illness to start the Irak War for more war profiteering by and for high net worth individuals. But if we are talking insanity, Neo-cons are insane. They forged the Niger Documents and created a False Conspiracy Theory that Irak was going to use weapons of mass destruction. And neo-cons are quite delusional, that no one would notice their war crimes. Sunstein ignores the Niger Forgery Conspiracy, and the Conspiracy to convince the world, Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons..
It is not easy going through twenty-nine pages of Dreck but it does seem that Sunstein is very ignorant of facts, believes only what he chooses and is basically sloppy at best. But Sunstein actually says one truthful statement.
individuals in societies with systematically malfunctioning or skewed institutions of knowledge – say, individuals who live in an authoritarian regime lacking a free press-may have good reason to distrust all or most of the official denials they hear.
That is the U S of A for the last nine years, and why we distrust such fascists as Sunstein. We have no free press and we have a malfunctioning government. Corrupt Corporations only need to bribe a handful of politicians to give us an authoritarian regime that only helps the rich, and makes it a crime to be poor. That is what we got, and Sunstein wants to give us more of the same government approved skewed knowledge. How can the Government help skew knowledge you ask?
What can government do about conspiracy theories? Among the things it can do, what should it do? We can readily imagine a series of possible responses. (1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories. (3) Government might itself engage in counterspeech, marshaling arguments to discredit conspiracy theories. (4) Government might formally hire credible private parties to engage in counterspeech. (5) Government might engage in informal communication with such parties, encouraging them to help.
Neo-cons favor (1) and (2). For at least eight years we have had (3) and (4), especially government war propaganda paid for by taxpayers. I do not expect our Billionaire Puppetmasters would ever approve (5) because the dueling narratives of Neo-con versus Reality based, are mutually inconsistent. Either the Niger Documents are forgeries, or Michael Ledeen is not an agent of Iran.
Either Al Qaeda wants nuclear weapons, or Marc Grossman was trying to sell them nuclear weapons. Either Bin Laden and Al Qaeda were financed by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, or they were not. Either the destruction of the World Trade I and II were explosions, and WTC was a controlled demolition, or they were "pancake" collapses. Either Prince Bandar was following the 15 Saudi Arabian Hijackers with great precision or he was not. Either the Taliban is funded by Saudi Arabia and US Taxpayers, or it is not. Either there are thousands of pictures of a Flight 77 hitting the Pentagon or it was a UAV Drone. Either Chimpie George Bush saw the first attack against the North WTC Tower using extra sensory perception, or he saw it on special cable TV before anyone else saw it. Either the Government should not control and manipulate and falsify information or the Constitution is a Goddam piece of paper.
Some believe that the Bush administration deliberately spread a kind of false and unwarranted conspiracy theory – that Saddam Hussein conspired with Al Qaeda to support the 9/11 attacks. Suppose for discussion’s sake that this is so...
Some believe that! Perhaps because the Bushies conspired and lied for a war to profit the Rich, and Sunstein does not know if this is true. How stupid are you Cass? Suppose for discussion sake that you NOT a neo-con. Then you must be the STUPIDEST corporate shill at the University of Chicago. So is Sunstein Stupid, or is he a Liar? I vote that Sunstein is just a lying sack of crap.
One promising tactic is cognitive infiltration of extremist groups. By this we do not mean 1960s-style infiltration with a view to surveillance and collecting information, possibly for use in future prosecutions….Government agents (and their allies) might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action….In another variant, government officials would participate anonymously or even with false identities…There is a similar tradeoff along another dimension: whether the infiltration should occur in the real world, through physical penetration of conspiracist groups by undercover agents, or instead should occur strictly in cyberspace. The latter is safer, but potentially less productive. The former will sometimes be indispensable, where the groups that purvey conspiracy theories (and perhaps themselves formulate conspiracies) formulate their views through real-space informational networks rather than virtual networks.whatever the tactical details, there would seem to be ample reason for government efforts to introduce some cognitive diversity into the groups that generate conspiracy theories.
But the real attack here is against critics of the 9-11 Commission. Any critic is a "Truther" and extremist and therefore NSA or Black/Zee can attack them with Cognitive Inflitration. Fewer and fewer people believe the lies of Philip Zelikow, Dietrich Snell, Jamie Gorelick or the other shills on the 9-11 Commission. The 9-11 Commission protected those officials whose incompetence allowed 9-11 to happen, which includes Gorelick and Snell. Or perhaps they wanted the 9-11 attacks to be successful. They secretly protected Al Qaeda, covered up the real story, and have been promoted. Snell actually wrote the false narrative of the 9-11 Report, without mentioning how
Snell himself protected the notorious terrorist "KSM". Gorelick suppressed evidence of the 9-11 attack months before it happened. Gorelick was promoted to the Fannie Mae, FNMA Corporation, where she did more lying and coverups, as she she helped to destroy the company.
Coleen Rowley is only one of many FBI agents who discovered Al Qaeda activities. Rowley’s supervisor David Frasca stopped her investigation, just as other FBI supervisors stopped other investigations, and these same supervisors continue to control the Al Qaeda coverups.
Public evidence suggests that Al Qaeda and Bin Laden were used for "covert" activities in the Chechnya and Bosnian wars, and of course Afghanistan. If this was true, that would be embarassing. But the secrets of Al Qaeda need to be concealed to protect the war profiteers and their Oil Wars. There is NO evidence of who actually made the decisions about Al Qaeda or the Irak War. We can assume based on circumstantial evidence that these are the same neo-cons who planned the Irak War and were controlled by the Cheney’s during the Bushie years. The WMD propaganda and Niger Forgeries were also controlled by this
same group of "Vulcans". These people have all been rewarded for their 9-11 failures and the failed wars in Irak and Afghanistan. Paul Wolfowitz got the Presidency of the World Bank and a $200,000 mistress (without paying income taxes). Gorelick, Snell, Zelikow, all promoted, and incompetent FBI supervisors such as Frasca, promoted. Of course Ali Mohamed, was promoted to the comfortable California suburbs by Patrick Fitzgerald.
I am guessing that taxpayers are already paying to cognitively infiltrate themselves. It is well known that all, ALL, including the tubes of the internet, electronic communication is monitored and recorded. Wayne Madsen reported that the NSA spies on journalists and government employees who question the official 9-11 narrative. If NSA is not spying on any ordinary citizens who are critics of the 9-11 Commission, then Sunstein will make sure that they do start spying.
During the 60’s COINTELPRO would inform employers about anti-war protestors to get them fired from jobs, and use other tools of espionage against American citizens. Sunstein did not discuss that conspiracy, but maybe he would like to try those tactics again.
Sunstein was appointed to be the director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. He now has the power to suppress 9-11 harmful conspirator theorists. Cass also now has the power to prevent any regulation of Corporations. He will be well rewarded by his Corporate patrons from the American Enterprise Institute. There is lots of hope and change at AEI.
The firing of Van Jones was due to the President giving right wingers what they want. This Administration does not even listen to its previously strongest supporters. I say previous because we were promised Hope and Change and Jobs and Health Care and Peace. We got nothing.
Sunstein reflects very badly on the Obama Administration, and the rot from Sunstein’s continued presence will stink more and more.