Apocalypse Of Coercion:
Why We Listen to What "They" Say About 9/11
By Kevin Barrett, mujca.com
"That’s just like hypnotizing chickens." --Iggy Pop, "Lust for Life"
"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...uh...(long pause)...we won’t get fooled again." George W. Bush
They say suicidal Muslim fanatics did it. They say those radical Muslims hate our freedoms. They say the country is full of sleeper agents who could wake up and kill us at any moment, as soon as their little red-white-and-blue "I hate the USA" wristwatch alarms go off.
They say that Saddam Hussein had something to do with it--he’s Muslim, isn’t he? They say invading Afghanistan and Iraq was the appropriate response; we had to do something, right? They say if you’re not with us, you’re against us--and if you’re against us, you’re on the side of the evildoers.
They say those cunning, devious suicide hijackers defeated America’s defenses using flying lessons and box cutters. They say it was ordered by a tall, dark, handsome, sinister, hooknosed kidney patient in a cave in Afghanistan--a ringer for the evil vizier Jaffar in the Disney film Aladdin, but with a thicker beard to signify "Islamist." They say it was masterminded by a real bad dude named KSM. They say they finally caught KSM, and that the whole story, enshrined in the official 9/11 Commission Report, is based on what KSM said under interrogation--so it’s all right from the horse’s mouth.
They say it happened because our defense and intelligence systems didn’t see it coming, despite all those urgent warnings from dozens of countries as well as whistleblowers from our own agencies. They say that nobody was really to blame, so nobody had to be prosecuted or fired or even reprimanded. They say that by promoting the very people who made the most outrageously improbable blunders, and giving the screw-up agencies a whole lot more money, we’ve ensured that they’ll do better next time.
They say that anybody who questions what they say is a conspiracy theorist.
"Who, exactly, are ‘they,’ and why do they say so much? More amazing, why do we listen to them?" —Douglas Rushkoff, Coercion: Why We Listen to What "They" Say (NY: Penguin, 1999).
Rushkoff’s Coercion is a sizzling exposé of mind control, American style. Unlike Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent, Rushkoff’s book provides a detailed guide to the nuts-and-bolts techniques employed against us every day by advertisers, marketers, public relations specialists, Hollywood filmmakers, salespeople, pyramid-scam artists, and cult leaders--the very same techniques applied for decades, and gradually perfected, by CIA interrogators and psychological warfare experts. These techniques are designed to disable rational thought and manipulate behavior at the unconscious and emotional levels. Anyone curious about why so many otherwise rational people have believed the official story of 9/11 for so long, in the teeth of the overwhelming evidence against it, should start by reading Coercion.
The secret of mind-control is simple--so simple that Rushkoff can sum it up in one sentence: "In whatever milieu coercion is practiced, the routine follows the same basic steps: Generate disorientation, induce regression, and then become the target’s transferred parent figure" (64). Hard-sell car salesmen, CIA interrogators and psychwar ops, and cult leaders have long used this technique. Under coercion, millions of otherwise rational people can be persuaded to act against their own interests--whether by shelling out big bucks for an overpriced lemon, betraying a comrade and a cause, or allowing a gang of criminals to destroy their nation’s Constitution and launch criminal wars of aggression.
How do they do it? Let’s start by zooming in on your local automobile dealership. The car salesman carefully leads the mark to be dissatisfied with his current car, and by extension his current life--and as the mark sees his current life through newly dissatisfied eyes, he begins to experience disorientation. The salesman then takes the mark on a test drive and, at the right moment, asks "Is this the type of vehicle you would like to own?" Rushoff quotes a car-salesman-turned-whistleblower:
And anyone will tell you this, the vacuum cleaner salesman, the car salesman--the customer has a split-second of insanity. The mind goes blank, the body paralyzes, the eyes get glassy, dilated. And you’d be surprised how many people have an accident at just that moment! Ask any car dealer. We always joke about it. (43) The car salesman’s question, like the well-timed words of a good hypnotist, triggers a sudden intensification of the customer’s dissociated, suggestible state. Rushkoff explains: "The customer is already in a vehicle, being asked to imagine himself owning the same type of vehicle. It’s the same as if I asked you if this is the kind of book you can imagine yourself reading. Your current situation is reframed in fantasy. It creates a momentary confusion, or dissociation, from the activity you’re involved in. That’s why so many drivers crash" (43). If the customer answers no, he gets the same treatment in other cars until he answers yes. Then he is brought back to the dealership and infantilized, as the salesman becomes his transferred parent figure:
He is told where to go, how to walk, where to sit. One training manual instructs the salesman to give the customer coffee whether he wants it or not: "Don’t ask him if he wants a cup of coffee--just ask him how he takes it." In this way, the customer is trained to obey, and given his fear and disorientation in the sales environment, he welcomes the commands and their implied invitation for him to regress into the safety of childhood. (43)
Once the customer has been infantilized, he is controlled by various tricks. One of the best-known is the “common enemy” technique. The salesman pretends to be conspiring with the customer against the nasty head of the dealership, or against another salesman who is greedy and dishonest. The "common enemy" technique is also used by the CIA--one interrogator, the "good cop," teams up with the subject against the other interrogator, the "bad cop." Governments, of course, use the same technique: The illegitimate son-of-a-Bush of August, 2001 doubled his approval ratings by infantilizing the American public on 9/11 and rallying them against the "common enemy" of evildoing Muslim extremists.
The CIA, like the automobile industry, has long been refining coercive techniques aimed at eliciting compliance. Whether the Company wants to coerce an interrogation subject into spilling the beans, or a whole nation into supporting a war, the techniques are basically the same as those used by hard-sell car salesmen: Generate dissociation through disorientation, induce regression, and become the target’s transferred parent figure. In an interrogation, the CIA begins by disorienting the subject:
As the minutes, hours, or days go by, the "sights and sounds of an outside world fade away, [and] its significance is replaced by the interrogation room, its two occupants, and the dynamic relationship between them" (CIA Interrogation Manual) which is why interrogation rooms are generally devoid of windows and free of all references to the outside world, including time of day and day of the week. The subject becomes completely dependent on the interrogator for all external stimuli and, accordingly, his sense of self (35).
After the subject’s sense of self has been broken down, the CIA interrogator chooses from a grab bag of techniques that accomplish the same thing as the car salesman’s line "Is this the type of vehicle you would like to own?" These techniques induce a sudden state of radical confusion by disrupting the target’s familiar emotional associations. The CIA manual explains: "When this aim is achieved, resistance is seriously impaired. There is an interval--which may be extremely brief--of suspended animation, a kind of psychological shock or paralysis...that explodes the world that is familiar to the subject as well as his image of himself within that world. Experienced interrogators recognize this effect when it appears and know that at this moment the source is far more open to suggestion" (qtd. In Rushkoff, 36). At this moment, the interrogator encourages the subject to regress to a childlike state of mind, and becomes the subject’s transferred parent figure.
This is a very good description of what was done to the American people on and after September 11th, 2001. The images of the planes crashing into landmark buildings, and those buildings exploding into powder and shards, created a state of extreme confusion, "a kind of psychological shock or paralysis." The bombs that brought down the Twin Towers and WTC-7 literally exploded the world that was familiar to us, and our images of ourselves in that world. We experienced a moment of dissociation, which is why we can still recall where we were and what we were doing when we learned of the attack. As the psychological warfare experts who designed the operation knew very well, this left us radically open to suggestion--to mass hypnosis. Our old world had been annihilated, and we were ready to be hypnotized, and to have a new world created for us. We desperately needed a parent figure to tell us how to make sense of the madness.
The government, of course, became that transferred parent figure. The presidency, instituted by George "father of his country" Washington, is a paternal institution. Even an illegitimate son-of-a-Bush could briefly become our idealized national daddy. We believed what "they" told us about 9/11, with little or no effort to discern the actual facts, because we had been coerced and infantilized. When Susan Sontag spoke out against the absurd infantilization of the American people post-9/11, she was subjected to vicious attacks by intelligence-asset pseudo-journalists. Why? Not because what she said wasn’t true--it obviously was. The reason Sontag had to be ripped to shreds by the CIA rag National Review and its epigones was that she was getting too close to understanding that 9/11 was a psychological warfare operation by US and allied intelligence agencies, not a "terrorist attack" by anti-American foreigners. Sontag understood that the American public had been subjected to induced regression. By calling attention to this fact, she was indirectly calling attention to the psy-op man behind the curtain.
The choice of September 11th as the date of the attacks was obviously made by a psychological warfare expert who wanted to make the American people suffer induced regression and put childlike faith in their government. The number 911 has overwhelming emotional associations in the mind of every American. From early childhood, we are taught that this is the magic number we can call in the event of an emergency. If anything terrible or deeply threatening happens to us, all we have to do is push those three buttons on the nearest telephone, and a benevolent parent figure--the government--will come rushing to help us. With the ongoing breakdown of the family and its authority, and the widespread consciousness of abuse between family members, the number 911 represents the government that has become our real daddy. The planners of 9/11 took advantage of this fact, enshrining their false-flag attack with a number that evokes our desperate, childlike need for the government to be the daddy who comes racing to help us in an emergency. Every time we hear "9/11" we are enveloped in subconscious emotional associations of a benevolent, fatherly government that can be counted on to save us from catastrophe. Unless we have learned how to defend ourselves against coercion, it is these emotional associations, not facts, that condition how we think.
Once our old world had been exploded, our minds regressed to a childlike emotional level, and our faith placed in the transferred parent figure of our government and its paternal figurehead, we were ready to be bombarded by hypnotic words and images. The hypnotic inculcation of thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes is a simple matter. The key is repetition: Repetition, repetition, repetition. In the Alice-in-Wonderland world of the so-called war on terror, "what I tell you three times is true." They tell us over and over that 9/11 was like Pearl Harbor; we accept the paradigm and prepare for a righteous world war. They tell us over and over that Bin Laden did it, and we internalize that belief, without reference to evidence. They tell us over and over that Bin Laden is America’s enemy, and we accept the story, even though many of the world’s most prestigious journalistic outlets have told us that Bin Laden spent the first two weeks of July, 2001 getting treated at the American Hospital in Dubai and meeting with CIA Station Chief Larry Mitchell. They tell us over and over that the guy in the grainy video confessing to 9/11 is Bin Laden, even though there is very little resemblance between this overweight impostor and the Osama Bin Laden of other photos and videos. They tell us over and over about the 19 suicide hijackers, and we believe them, even when we find out that many of these alleged hijackers are still alive, that these individuals were/are not Muslims at all but intelligence agents, and that the "flight schools" they trained at were actually CIA drug import airstrips. They tell us over and over that (whore-chasing, boozing cokehead) Mohammad Atta put a bizarre parody of an "Islamic terrorist’s last will and testament" into a suitcase and checked that suitcase on board his suicide flight--say what?!--and that the suitcase was mistakenly put onboard a different flight so it could be quickly discovered and offered as "evidence." They tell us that other "suicide hijackers" conveniently left a car full of evidence at the airport. They tell us that a hijacker’s passport miraculously floated down from the inferno in the Towers to be discovered as more "evidence." They tell us that the fact that the “hijackers” spent the night of 9/10/2001 in a motel right across the street from the gates of the National Security Agency headquarters is just a weird coincidence. They tell us that a good Samaritan burglar happened to "steal" the briefcase containing the "evidence" of the "hijackers" concocting their plot in Hamburg, Germany, and felt compelled to deliver the briefcase to the German police. (What they don’t tell us is that the German police are rolling on the ground laughing at the absurd pretext, and have publicly stated that the "burglar" was an intelligence agent.) They tell us over and over that the World Trade Center collapsed from diesel-fuel-induced fires, despite the fact that no high rise steel frame skyscraper has ever collapsed due to fire, including much worse ones than those on 9/11. They tell us over and over that Hani Hanjour, who could not fly a Cessna training aircraft, somehow executed an amazing stunt maneuver in a hijacked 757 in order to hit the empty, newly-reinforced wing of the Pentagon and cause minimal damage--instead of just diving into the roof and killing thousands.
Even more important than the repetition of such ludicrous propositions, has been the bombardment of the public with words and phrases designed to disable rational thought: terror, terrorism, the war on terror, hate our freedoms, hate our values, patriot, patriotic, Patriot Act, evildoers, extremists, security, anthrax, homeland, biological weapons, Islamo-fascist, dirty bombs, weapons of mass destruction. These emotionally-charged terms, drummed incessantly into our brains, reinforce the unconscious emotional predispositions that govern our thoughts. They literally force us to think certain thoughts, and render us literally incapable of even entertaining others. Just as the car salesman’s coercive question "How do you take your coffee" literally forces 90% of non-coffee-drinkers to obediently accept a cup of coffee, the psych-war experts’ attack of disorientation, regression, and parental transference literally forces 90% of the American public to think patently ludicrous thoughts, adopt those thoughts as a model of reality, and cling to those self-evidently absurd thoughts in the teeth of overwhelming factual evidence.
The question remains, who are "they"? The answer is obvious—just read the Project for a New American Century’s manifesto Rebuilding America’s Defenses, published in September, 2000, which openly calls for a "New Pearl Harbor." The 9/11 "New Pearl Harbor" was brought to us by the neoconservatives, who believe that all human beings except themselves are governed by irrational emotions and incapable of evidence-based reasoning. The neoconservatives are Zionist extremists and cult followers of the demented philosopher-guru Leo Strauss, whose worldview can be summed up in the adage "if you can’t beat Hitler, join him." They apparently believed that a massive dose of coercion, in the form of 9/11, could motivate Americans to preserve and expand their imperial domination of the planet in general, and their commitment to a belligerent, expansionist Israel in particular.
Oddly enough, 9/11 was apparently designed with the help of focus groups:
...The trick only needs to work long enough to win (or avoid) a war. Even if "the truth" emerges sometime later, at least the primary objective has already been achieved...when American corporate and governmental interests adopted these techniques for use against the American people, they needed to cloak their assault in a seemingly benign manifestation: the focus group. About ten "average" members of a target population are brought into a room and asked to discuss an issue while a team of researchers, clients, and a camera record their responses from behind a one-way mirror. A researcher stays in the room with the subjects, asking them questions and pushing them in new directions...
Bob Deutsch, an anthropologist [and legendary psy-op focus group guru] who worked for the Department of Defense...led focus groups revealing Americans’ irrational beliefs about Japan. "You want to uncover in your audience what I call a 'spasm of sentiment'," he explained. "It’s their illogic--their emotional logic." He told us how in focus groups with average American citizens, he learned that most people still associate the Japanese with Pearl Harbor: "People say, for example, 'Japan took our lives in 1941, and they took our livelihoods in 1991.' Because Japan disrupted America’s self-mythology of being invincible, the nation would never be forgiven in the irrational American sentiment." (140)
The authors of 9/11 needed a horrifyingly spectacular, murderous attack on the American "homeland" in order to elicit this "Pearl Harbor effect." They needed to "disrupt America’s self-mythology of being invincible" so that Arabs and Muslims "would never be forgiven in the irrational American sentiment." They were not interested in triggering just one quick war in Afghanistan, or a second one in Iraq. They were after "the war that will not end in our lifetimes"--an ongoing war that would remove Americans’ Constitutional liberties, massively increase military expenditures, and legitimize attacks against Middle Eastern nations for decades into the future, on behalf of Israeli expansionism and the petrodollar hegemony on which it depends.
9/11, in short, was an apocalypse of coercion. It was a psy-op on a scale of murderousness and mendacity to make the Reichstag Fire look like a kid playing with matches.
Play with fire, however, and you just might get burned. This "apocalypse of coercion" could end up being an apocalypse for its authors, and for coercion itself. The neocons have been revealed and reviled as pathological liars, and only the flimsiest film of reticence is preventing the major media from exposing the 9/11 psy-op and triggering the greatest scandal in world history, and a Constitutional crisis light-years beyond anything in the American experience. As people awaken to 9/11 truth, they grow psychic armor that renders them invincible to coercion in any form. Recoiling from the sheer horror of such murderous coercion, their psychic immune system is strengthened. It is a safe bet that no 9/11 skeptic will ever buy a lemon from a car salesman--or even accept an unwanted cup of coffee. The 9/11 truth-awakened individual will not succumb to the blandishments of advertisers, political pundits, cult leaders, politicians, or Fox News commentators. He or she will smell coercion coming from a mile away, and tell the prospective coercer into which orifice their coercion may be inserted. The simple truth is, coercion doesn’t work any more, and future historians will view 9/11 as its final implosion. In the mid-1990s PR guru Howard Rubenstein saw that the internet had made damage-control coercion obsolete, and began advising clients that they had no choice but to let the ugly truth hang out. Need a coverup? "The lesson is not to do it. Sure, people will come to you and say, ‘Let’s set up a committee and we’ll call it so-and-so, and we’ll hire someone to run it,’ and my attitude is: What’s known is known. Simple. What is known gets published. So it’s foolhardy to set up a fig-leaf committee and hope nobody will look under the fig leaf and see what’s there" (160). Unfortunately, the Bush Administration didn’t take Rubenstein’s advice when it set up the 9/11 Commission.
The word "apocalypse" denotes the cataclysmic end of the world, but its original Greek meaning is "unveiling." By unveiling the truth of 9/11, and the mechanisms of coercion it employed, we can avoid the apocalyptic future of endless war that the New Pearl Harbor was designed to trigger. Less obviously, we can expose and discredit the mechanisms of coercion that governments and corporations use to dehumanize us. It is time for coercion-savvy media specialists like Rushkoff and Rubenstein to join the 9/11 truth movement and help us figure out how to communicate 9/11 truth, turn the 9/11 apocalypse of coercion against its perpetrators, and ensure that in our shared human future, communications technologies will be used to empower people, not enslave them.
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