What is the Best Way to Deal With "Cognitive Infiltration"?

gretavo's picture

It seems to me that while the amount of bickering in the 9/11 truth movement has not necessarily increased in recent weeks, the recent publicizing of Cass Sunstein's otherwise obscure paper advocating cognitive infiltration of dissident groups has brought into more clear focus the need to address the kind of infiltration he advocates.

Whether it's the ongoing saga of CIT vs. the "Tattoo Theorists" or Willyloman's lonely crusade (not to say it is necessarily wrong or even misguided--I really don't know) to draw attention to the possible use of PETN (det cord) in the WTC demolitions, there sure seems to be a lot of energy being devoted to fruitless argument. By this I don't mean to suggest that these questions are not worth discussing--they certainly don't rise (or sink) to the level of hologram planes, that's for sure. In fact, in moderate doses I think the debates that occur on these and similar topics are fascinating and good exercises.

The problem, and the reason I term them "fruitless" is that they really do tend to go round and round in circles long after it's clear that nothing new has been added to tip the scales one way or another. At this point the reasonable thing would seem to me to be to classify these as static arguments and move on to other issues that have been suffering from neglect. As a truth movement we have many possible roles to play that aren't being played by those who should. We are in theory a large team of investigators, archivists, historians, marketers, etc. The purpose of a program of cognitive infiltration is not the overt one of correcting a bunch of loons' "crippled epistemologies", it is instead to keep us too busy fighting ourselves to effectively fight the real adversary, which in our case is the entire body of lies surrounding the events of 9/11.

Let me make very clear at this point that I am not accusing anyone in particular of being involved in cognitive infiltration--not CIT, not willyloman, or even Frank Ho. :)

I include myself in the observation that, as our friend Frank has tried to make clear (I think), one aspect of cognitive infiltration is that it has the effect of seeding a mostly honest group discourse with a kind of self-sustaining acrimony, where the mere suspicion of the existence of infiltration provokes behavior indistinguishable from deliberate disruption. One of these behaviors is, of course, the tendency to turn on each other with more than just constructive criticism. At first glance it certainly seems an intractable situation. But must it be so?

I would say, emphatically that NO it need not be this way. We can and should adopt a certain set of protocols (if you will) that will minimize the effects of "cognitive infiltration" (I should say at this point that we can just as well use the term COINTELPRO, but for the purpose of situating the term in our context I think the newer term is probably more useful, since COINTELPRO is so widely associated with the specific program in the 70s that we've all read so much about by now.) The purpose of these protocols would not be explicitly to identify, or "out" disinformation or its agents, but to counteract its effects. For example, if its effects are to make us unproductive, our protocols should succeed in keeping us productive.

In the spirit of brainstorming, here are some thoughts off the top of my head, which I hope might encourage discussion and creative thinking on the problem.

1) accept that infiltration is a reality and that we will not eliminate all traces of it, ever.

2) strive to provide to the interested researcher as complete an account as possible of the various positions on each subject. We need not hide the fact that some people claim to believe that no planes hit the twin towers. It is a fact that some people do. We need not hide the fact that there are people who act like genuine bigots and advocate certain positions like ZIHOP. It is a fact. Instead of pretending these things don't exist, or misrepresenting them, we should welcome and encourage interested parties to consider the arguments and decide for themselves what to think. For example, I will gladly provide links to anyone who wonders why we don't welcome "no planes at the WTC" advocates on WTCD. I will direct them to Killtown, Nico Haupt, whomever. Let their arguments convince or fail to convince on their genuine merits (if any.) As a counterpoint, consider how truthaction and 911blogger (one and the same controllers) treat WTCD. If its existence is even acknowledged, our positions are distorted, our characters assassinated, and our quotes carefully cherry picked to bias people against us right off the bat. Why wouldn't they just say that "we strongly disagree with these people and their approach to 9/11 truth. Here is a link to their site--judge for yourself."

OK, that's just for starters--can anyone think other ways that we can minimize the ill effects that cognitive infiltration is designed to elicit?