Science has been misused for political purposes many times in history. However, the most glaring example of politically motivated pseudoscience—that employed by U.S. government scientists to explain the destruction of the World Trade Center (WTC)—continues to be ignored by many scientists. As we pass the 10th anniversary of the introduction of that account, it is useful to review historic examples of fake science used for political purposes and the pattern that defines that abuse.
An early example of pseudoscience used to promote a political agenda was the concerted Soviet effort to contradict evolutionary theory and Mendelian inheritance. For nearly 45 years, the Soviet government used propaganda to foster unproven theories of agriculture promoted by its minister of agriculture, Trofim Lysenko. Scientists seeking favor with the Soviet hierarchy produced fake experimental data in support of Lysenko’s false claims. Scientific evidence from the fields of biology and genetics was banned in favor of educational programs that taught only Lysenkoism and many biologists and geneticists were executed or sent to labor camps. This propaganda-fueled program of anti-science continued for over forty years, until 1964, and spread to other countries including China.
In the 2010 book Merchants of Doubt, authors Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway describe several other examples of the misuse of science, spanning from the 1950s to the present. They show how widely respected scientists participated in clearly non-scientific efforts to promote the agendas of big business and big government. Examples include the tobacco industry’s misuse of science to obfuscate the links between smoking and cancer, the military industrial complex’s use of scientists to support the scientifically indefensible Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), and several abuses of environmental science.
NBC News anchorman Brian Williams is taking heat for having repeatedly lied to the public about an Iraq War experience that he never had. Williams has decided to take a few days off to see if the whole affair will blow over but that strategy is not likely to work given the legs that the story has grown. There is a way for Williams to turn it all around, although it would be tougher than anything he has done in the past. He could save face by coming clean on something important that he once reported and never mentioned again.
On September 11, 2001, Williams was covering the terrorist attacks of the day. Late that afternoon a third skyscraper collapsed at the World Trade Center (WTC) and Williams interviewed a New York City fireman named David Restuccio about it. Just after the building collapsed, NBC broadcast the live scene as Williams remarked, “This is like watching the collapse of an active volcano. And the dust from it is not unlike that from a volcano.” He brought Restuccio on and continued, “You guys knew this was coming all day.” Restuccio replied, “We had heard reports that the building [WTC 7] was unstable and that it would be best if it would either come down on its own or it would be taken down.”
Graeme MacQueen’s new book, The 2001 Anthrax Deception, reveals stunning links between the 9/11 attacks and the anthrax attacks that immediately followed. The book also reviews some of the interesting actions taken by alleged hijacker leader, Mohamed Atta, in the years preceding 9/11. These actions suggest that Atta was trying to leave the people he encountered with memories that would support the official myth. In the few years before JFK’s assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald engaged in similar attention-seeking actions. Considering this leads to the discovery that Oswald and Atta had a lot in common.
The legend of Mohamed Atta describes a man who seemed to be everywhere at once. In just the two years before 9/11, Atta reportedly lived and/or plotted in Germany, The Netherlands, The Philippines, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan (via Turkey and Pakistan), Oklahoma, Las Vegas, Spain, and numerous locations in Florida. Oswald also traveled extensively in the years before the JFK assassination—back and forth from California to Japan, to New Orleans, Dallas, and Fort Worth, to Mexico City, and to Minsk and Moscow.
Atta was involved in many notable events in a short period before 9/11. Among other things, he annoyed airport employees, was bitten by a dog, consumed alcohol and cocaine, lived with an exotic dancer, and killed a cat and her litter of kittens. He got pulled over for driving without a license, got drunk and swore at a waiter, and abandoned a plane on the runway. In some of these cases Atta interacted with police and the risk for police interactions was there in almost every case.
After becoming Director of the CIA (DCI) in 1997, George Tenet did what Louis Freeh had done after his appointment as FBI Director. He began to cultivate close personal relationships with the rulers of Saudi Arabia. Like Freeh, Tenet grew especially close to Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Bandar and Tenet often met at Bandar’s home near Washington yet Tenet did not share information from those meetings with his own officers who were handling Saudi issues at the Agency. The CIA’s Saudi specialists only learned about Tenet’s dealings with the Saudi authorities inadvertently, through their Saudi contacts. It seems that Tenet was operating within a network that surpassed the interests of the American public. Therefore the unsolved crimes of 9/11, attributed largely to young men from Saudi Arabia, should be considered in light of Tenet’s actions.
As Deputy Director for the CIA, in 1996, Tenet had worked to install one of his closest friends and confidants, John Brennan, as CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia. Brennan is now the DCI but, in his previous role, Brennan often communicated directly with Tenet, avoiding the usual chain of command. At the time, as an apparent favor to the Saudis, CIA analysts were discouraged from questioning Saudi relationship to Arab extremists.
The unusual relationship that both George Tenet and Louis Freeh had with Saudi intelligence (and George H.W. Bush) recalls the private network that was created in the mid-1970s to accomplish covert actions though means of proxies. This private network included disgruntled CIA officers who had been fired by President Carter, as well as the group known as The Safari Club, and the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).
Douglas Valentine’sThe Phoenix Program is vital for understanding the history of terrorism and its role in political warfare. Few other historical accounts provide as much detail on how the U.S. government and the CIA began to use programs for counterterrorism to implement political policy through secretive, coldblooded actions. Understanding such history is critical to making sense of what is happening in our world today.
Both before and after 9/11, one private company had a greater impact on counterterrorism programs in the Unites States than any other. That company, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), also profited more from the events of 9/11 than any other. Its chief operating officer (COO), Duane Andrews, was a man who had expertise-level knowledge of the vulnerabilities that were exploited on 9/11. He also just happened to be a long-time, close colleague of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.
SAIC feeds on terrorism, having won many of its record number of government contracts through the national security state that has arisen via the War on Terror. Through its numerous contracts and employee security clearances, it has become a private business that cannot be distinguished from a permanent form of government. In short, SAIC is “the fraternal twin of the intelligence establishment.”
With regard to 9/11, SAIC’s impact cannot be overstated as the company:
- Created the national databases that tracked and identified terrorists
- Supplied U.S. airports with terrorism screening equipment
- Predicted and investigated terrorist attacks against U.S. infrastructure including national defense networks and the World Trade Center (WTC)
- Helped create the official account for what happened at the WTC both in 1993 and after 9/11
- Was a leader in research on thermitic materials like those found in the WTC dust
- Employed the leader of the robotics team that scoured the pile at Ground Zero, using equipment capable of eliminating explosives
- Provided the information to capture the alleged mastermind of the attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM)
Furthermore, Dick Cheney’s long-time protégé, Duane P. Andrews, ran SAIC’s government business for thirteen years, from 1993 to 2006, and was therefore a principal character in these activities. During this time, Andrews was also a leading corporate representative on government commissions and taskforces that evaluated threats to U.S. defense and information systems.
When former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was asked about World Trade Center Building 7 (WTC 7), he claimed that he had never heard of it. This was despite the unprecedented destruction of that 47-story building and its relationship to the events of 9/11 that shaped Rumsfeld’s career. Although not hit by a plane, WTC 7 experienced free fall into its own footprint on the afternoon of 9/11—through the path of what should have been the most resistance. The government agency charged with investigating the building’s destruction ultimately admitted that it had been in free fall during a portion of its descent. That fact makes explosive demolition the only logical explanation. Considering how WTC 7 might have been demolished leads to some interesting facts about Rumsfeld and his associates.
The one major tenant of WTC 7 was Salomon Smith Barney (SSB), the company that occupied 37 of the 47 floors in WTC 7. A little discussed fact is that Rumsfeld was the chairman of the SSB advisory board and Dick Cheney was a board member as well. Rumsfeld had served as chairman of the SSB advisory board since its inception in 1999. According to the financial disclosures he made in his nomination process, during the same period Rumsfeld had also been a paid consultant to the Director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet. Rumsfeld and Cheney had to resign from their CIA and SSB positions in 2001 when they were confirmed as members of George W. Bush’s cabinet.
Several of Rumsfeld and Cheney’s colleagues had access to, or personal knowledge of, WTC 7. Secret Service agent Carl Truscott, who was in charge of the Presidential Protection Division on 9/11, knew the building well because he had worked at the Secret Service’s New York field office located there. Furthermore, Tenet’s CIA secretly operated a “false front of another federal organization” from within WTC 7. That false front might have been related to the Secret Service, the Internal Revenue Service, Rumsfeld’s Department of Defense, or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), all of which were listed as tenants of WTC 7. The SEC lost many important documents when the building was destroyed, including much of what was needed to effectively prosecute Enron and WorldCom.
Kevin Ryan is the co-editor of The Journal of 9/11 Studies. He blogs at DigWithin.
As discussed in my book, Another Nineteen, there are good reasons to believe that some 9/11 suspects were involved in previous deep state operations. For example, evidence suggests that Stratesec manager Barry McDaniel and Carlyle Group director Frank Carlucci might have participated in the Iran-Contra crimes. There are also interesting links between several 9/11 suspects and Ted Shackley, a leader of the “CIA within the CIA.” Shackley was close friends with Frank Carlucci and had a long, close relationship with Richard Armitage, whose State department provided express visas to the alleged hijackers. Additionally, Porter Goss, who led the initial cover-up of the 9/11 crimes, had worked with Shackley in several CIA operations.
Perhaps the most interesting link between Shackley and 9/11 is that Shackley’s activities in Kuwait paralleled those of Wirt Walker, the KuwAm Corporation director. KuwAm was the parent company of Stratesec, the security company for several 9/11 facilities. As I’ve written before, these companies appeared to be part of a private intelligence network.
Shackley had a long career in covert CIA operations and was the agency’s Associate Deputy Director of Operations from 1976 to 1977. Described by former CIA Director Richard Helms as “a quadruple threat – Drugs, Arms, Money and Murder,” Shackley was a central character in many off-the-books operations. He was a leader of the CIA’s anti-Castro plan Operation Mongoose, its secret U.S. war in Laos, and the overthrow of Salvadore Allende in Chile.
Although Walker is officially only the son of a CIA man, his past has much in common with that of Shackley. In the 1980s, both men were strongly linked to the Bush family network, to Kuwait, and to aviation. They both ran security companies as well. Walker became close to the Kuwaitis at the same time as its government was working closely with Shackley and another CIA operative. Moreover, the people pulling the strings from the Kuwaiti side in those relationships were close relatives of KuwAm chairman Mish’al Al-Sabah.
Over the years, one of the most mindless techniques used to suppress questioning of 9/11 has been to equate such questions with Holocaust denial. This smear tactic has been used by propagandists like Glenn Beck, Michael Shermer, and Rachel Maddow, as well as by government representatives like Michael Chertoff. Recently I’ve thought about how absurd such diversionary claims are while at the same time recognizing that I have met some incredible people over the past decade. Two of those people led lives that were Holocaust-related and, for different reasons, their story should be better known.
During the time that I worked for Underwriters Laboratories (UL), I lived next door to an extraordinary woman. Sherry Moses was a widow who lived alone except for occasional visits from her children. She was unafraid, despite having suffered more than anyone I had ever met. I knew of her past suffering because she showed me her tattoo and told me how all of her family was killed at Auschwitz. Sherry was only a child when she was sent there.
In one of the interviews she had with the local newspaper, Sherry told her story of being shipped to Auschwitz on a cattle train, being hungry all the time, and watching others die. She was actually walking in line behind her parents, grandparents, brothers, and sisters, as they were led to the crematorium. Because of the specific number tattooed on her arm, she was spared along with a few, younger girls. She never really knew why.
When we were next-door neighbors, my wife and I found Sherry to be a charming and principled woman with a great sense of humor. When I raked her lawn or shoveled her sidewalk, she insisted on paying me something for the job. When she locked herself out of the house, I told her to ask the butler to open the door. Without missing a beat, she said that she had given him the day off. Sherry told my wife that she thought I would do something great some day.
When the report of Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 was released in December 2002, it was met with considerable skepticism. That skepticism grew for a period of time but then was reduced to speculation about what was contained in the 28 pages that had been redacted by the Bush White House. Various U.S. government leaders have since suggested that the missing 28 pages point to Saudi Arabia’s complicity in the 9/11 crimes. However such musings fail to discuss other important issues, like the links between the Saudi regime and the Western deep state, or the fact that, from the start, even the Saudis were calling for the 28 pages to be released. Discussion of the missing 28 pages also omits mention of the highly suspicious nature of the Inquiry’s investigation and its leaders.
The leaders of the 9/11 Joint Congressional Inquiry were Congressman Porter Goss and Senator Bob Graham, who headed-up the House and Senate intelligence committees at the time. Due to Goss and Graham’s activities before 9/11 and on that day, as well as their representation of the state of Florida, their leadership of the Inquiry presented a remarkable number of questions.
For example, Goss and Graham were meeting with Pakistani ISI General Mahmud Ahmed just as the first plane struck the World Trade Center. The Ahmed meeting is interesting due to the Pakistani ISI’s history with the CIA in arming the “Afghan Arabs” from which al Qaeda evolved. The ISI had also been intimately linked with the terrorist network previously run by the CIA’s partner—the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). Added to these coincidences was the fact that Goss and Graham had just returned from a trip to Pakistan in which they had specifically discussed Osama bin Laden, who was a topic of discussion at their 9/11 breakfast meeting as well.
By recognizing what is happening we can understand how to eliminate war. The first and most important step is the same as for solving any other challenge. It is to realize the problem. As Sun Tzu said in The Art of War, “All warfare is based on deception.” Therefore war can only be ended by realizing and managing the mechanisms by which we are deceived. How do we realize when mass-deception has occurred? We can understand it academically or by rationalizing but it is only a gut-wrenching here-and-now realization that can move us to do anything about it. Emotions are what drive people to do something.
Everyone says that they hate war, and most people really do, yet war has always been a part of human life. Nearly all societies throughout history have engaged in some form of warfare. And for as long as there has been war there have been good people trying to end it. Unfortunately, despite minor successes lasting peace has been a dream that has been impossible to realize. That dream has not died, however, and people continue the fight to end all war. A recent example is the new campaign called World Beyond War (WBW).
At the WBW website, the organizers call for new ideas and ask for feedback on the strategies outlined there. The group’s approach to ending war calls for “defeating the propaganda of war promoters and countering the economic interests of war promoters with alternative economic possibilities.” Furthermore, WBW stresses the need for “a combination of disarmament and investment alternatives.” This means that nations must disarm, stop selling arms, and negotiate disarmament agreements.
How to accomplish such things is the problem. The disarmament ideas would require governments to dramatically change course but the governments are often led by the war promoters. Changing the governments in any substantial way would necessitate a dramatic change in the mindset of most citizens. Similarly, although there are theoretical ways to counter the economic interests of war promoters, such as coordinating the purchasing and tax-paying decisions of citizens en masse, organizing for it would require unprecedented changes in public opinion. The arguments of the past won’t make that happen.
This is one in a series of safety-related public service announcements.
Millions of people work in or visit high-rise buildings … assuming the buildings were more or less safe.
But it turns out that there is a severe, lethal risk of sudden collapse in even the best-made skyscrapers in America, Britain, Germany, Japan and other nations worldwide.
A New Understanding
Before 9/11, no modern steel-frame high-rise building had ever collapsed due to fire.
9/11 radically changed our understanding of architecture and engineering …
This was unexpected, as much hotter, longer-lasting fires have never before brought down a modern steel-frame office building. For example, the 2005 Madrid skyscraper fire “reached 800 degrees Celsius (1,472 F), said Javier Sanz, head of Madrid firefighter” and lasted some 20 hours without collapsing.
In other words, officials who write building codes, architects and structural engineers had never before worried about small office fires causing office buildings from collapsing.
President Obama’s 2013 advisory panel on NSA spying included some interesting people considering that the justification for such crimes against democracy always go back to 9/11. One member was Cass Sunstein, who had previously advised the president to “cognitively infiltrate” citizen groups that sought the truth about 9/11. Another panel member was Richard Clarke, the former “counterterrorism czar,” whose opinions on the subject continue to be widely publicized despite suspicions that Clarke might have been in league with the 9/11 terrorists.
In one of several interviews with TV host Bill Maher, a supporter of NSA spying, Clarke suggested that Osama bin Laden was never worried about being caught before he was killed because he “thought he’d get tipped.” Clarke meant that Bin Laden was helped by retired intelligence officials and would be tipped off to any operation. In the same interview, Clarke told Maher that Afghanis were pathetic and that Pakistanis were “pathological liars.”
However, there are good reasons to believe that it is Clarke who is a pathological liar. Those reasons include that it was Clarke who tipped off Bin Laden’s friends in the years before 911, effectively preventing the capture or killing of that alleged terrorist mastermind. Clarke later promoted lies about a man called Abu Zubaydah, whose torture testimony is behind much of the 9/11 Commission Report.
Last June, Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian revealed that Edward Snowden was the NSA insider behind “one of the most significant leaks in US political history.” Snowden explained his motivations through Greenwald by saying, “There are more important things than money…. harming people isn’t my goal. Transparency is.” Such altruistic motivations were welcome news at the time but have come into question recently given that only a tiny fraction of the documents have been released nearly a year after Snowden started working with Greenwald. Perhaps more importantly, billionaire Pierre Omidyar is funding Greenwald’s slow release of those documents and Omidyar’s Paypal colleagues have highly suspicious links to NSA spying and other dangers to civil rights.
It was originally reported that the number of documents Snowden had stolen was in the thousands. Today, however, that number is said to be nearly two million. This calls into question Snowden’s early statement, as reported by Greenwald, that he “carefully evaluated every single document to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest.” The huge, new number also reveals that less than one tenth of one percent of the documents (only about 900) have actually been released to the public.
How could Snowden have “carefully evaluated every single” one of what is now being said to be nearly two million documents? He only worked for Booz Allen Hamilton for a few months. According to NSA Director Keith Alexander, Snowden also worked directly for NSA for twelve months prior to that, which is interesting. But still, that would require carefully evaluating thousands of documents a day during that entire time. Didn’t he have a job apart from that?