2006.09.22 Transparency Theory
This was published at 911blogger.com on Sept. 22, 2006.
In "Stupidity Theory" I discussed two theories of the way things are in world no. 2--the Stupidity theory and the Mysterious Evil Forces theory. That brings me to a third view, which is the diametrical opposite of Stupidity theory: they want us to know.
When I was researching the JFK assassination in the late 80s and early 90s, I ran across this idea for the first time in my own head, in a letter to Harold Weisberg (Oct. 29, 1990):
In fact, in retrospect, the entire assassination and cover-up seem so crudely done that I wonder if the crudeness wasn't intentional. What better way to let us know, without admitting it outright, that they had (and have) us by the balls? Maybe they were saying: "Look what we can do. We blew his brains out in broad daylight, created a fairy tale, and got away with it. You can be as suspicious as you like, but we're in total control, and there's nothing you can do about it."
After all, they could have just dropped a pill in his coffee. CIA and their friends certainly had the techniques for causing "natural" deaths in 1963 just as they do now. Why go to the trouble of a public ambush and massive cover-up when it could have been done without anyone even suspecting foul play?
I subsequently called this the "let's let 'em know we've got 'em by the balls" theory, but three years later, after I started corresponding with Vincent Salandria, I discovered that he had had the same thought many years before, in 1977, and published it in a brilliant essay called "The Design of the Warren Report, to Fall to Pieces," not failing, with his typical honesty, to attribute the origin of the idea to his friend Thomas Katen:
To my friend, Professor Thomas Katen, I owe the brilliant insight which he has characterized as the "transparent conspiracy." Tom propounded the view that the Warren Report was not a cover-up, but rather was a transparent conspiracy, the purpose of which was to reveal the assassination to be a conspiracy although the Report seemed to have been endeavoring to prove a single assassin killing.
Tom's concept was that the Warren Commission covered up the conspiracy in such a gross and clumsy way so as to reveal intentionally the existence of conspiracy. Make no mistake about it, the Warren Commission and its staff were made up of very able men. If these men had wanted to cover up the conspiracy more effectively they could have done so. As we shall see, the cover-up was accomplished in such a self-defeating fashion that one would have to suspend common sense and respect for evidence in order to accept the Report's conclusions.
Thus I defer to my good friend Vincent's (and Katen's) formulation of "transparency" to describe this idea, and to Vincent's essay for a thorough and eloquent exposition of it. Reading it, you can substitute "9/11 Commission Report" for "Warren Report" and "the events of 9/11" for "assassination," and the analysis will be as trenchant and relevant today as it was in 1977.
I will excerpt only a couple of passages:
So the transparent nature of the assassination in a very real sense framed us all; made us feel guilty, and served to paralyze us in a grippng sense of inadequacy. The transparent conspiracy paved the way for our despair and demoralization of the people. It eroded our trust in the nation states. But the alienation was deeper and more personal than the separation of people from confidence in their governments. The transparency of the assassination effectively destroyed politics. A counterculture was cultivated by the media and supported by the establishment which was to substitute for constitutional democracy and serve as an outlet for dissident energies.…
Either Aldous Huxley anticipated all of this or the killers of Kennedy, having read Huxley well, employed his work as a model for our society…In Brave New World Revisited Huxley said:
...The older dictators failed because they could never supply their subjects with enough bread, enough circuses, enough miracles and mysteries. Nor did they possess a really effective system of mind-manipulation. Under a scientific dictator education will really work--with the result that most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution. There seems to be no good reason why a thoroughly scientific dictatorship should ever be overthrown.
Salandria's analysis is more sophisticated than mine, but omits the most obvious idea implied by my "let's show 'em" formulation, which is intimidation: those who get it, who understand the transparent message, will be scared and shocked into resignation. "All efforts to resist are futile" is the message. In Gulf War II we learned another term for this strategy: "Shock and Awe."
I think it was Carroll Quigley who created the metaphor of the onion as a propaganda model, which fits here. Given Salandria's (and Huxley's) analysis, the transparency will not be obvious to everyone, and not at the same time. One can think of this in terms of a four-skin onion:
1. Those who believe what they are told by the authorities will be happy with the onion as it is.
2. Those who see through the first layer ("received truth") will be sufficiently confused to carry on researching the infinite mysteries of the issue (including those supplied as false leads by the perpetrators) forever, or at least until it doesn't matter anymore (which is not as long as one might think).
3. Those who see through to the third layer and recognize their own government as "complicit" will have to deal with the considerable psychological barriers of fear and denial, in addition to the wall of the mass media, and thus only a few will carry on to level 4.
4. Those who see through the first three layers to the heart of the onion ("we got'cha") will lose heart, recognizing not only the power they are up against but also the incapacity and/or unwillingness of their compatriots to share their insight.
In Time's analysis, world no. 1 comprises level 1, and to some extent level 2. (Even the 9/11 commissioners admit that there are unanswered questions.) World no. 2 comprises level 3, and to a much smaller extent, level 4.
As I implied in Part 1, however, Big Brother, via Time, may well be trying to simplify things. Judging by the quality of the cover-up, one has to think this is the case. If the Warren Report, with its 26 volumes and one million words, was a pack of lies, the 9/11 Commission Report can only be described as a travesty of a pack of lies (in David Ray Griffin's words, a "571-page lie"). Perhaps Big Brother feels a two-skin onion will be easier to handle than a 4-skin one, hence the simpler choice (sidestepping the myriad more complex variations within the 9/11 "truth movement" itself) between world no. 1 and world no. 2, echoing George Bush's warning on Nov. 6, 2001 that "You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror."
Salandria concluded his article in 1977:
Each of us must draw strength from the present. From the present we must seek to understand power and the tools of mind control. We must presently accept that tyranny has gained new and effective technology in its age-old war against man's liberty. In studying the present we must raise our threshold of fear so that we can face hard truth. Hard truth will tell us that everywhere power seeks to defeat man's individuality, to program man to be alienated from all other men; to manipulate man to seek pleasure and not responsibility. The present task of those who love humanity is to get men and women to move, work, and join together in common love of human freedom, knowledge and justice….
As a first small effort toward these ends, let us engage now in a discussion wherein we will use the Kennedy assassination not as a mechanism for practicing a debilitating exercise in double-think, but rather let us use the assassination as a means of expanding our understanding of our times.
This obviously did not happen. Although the majority of Americans, according to the polls, have believed the assassination was an inside job virtually from the day it happened, we did not heed the warning and face "hard truth" but instead allowed ourselves to be bamboozled into a ten-year war in Vietnam. Now, in 2006, we have had 9/11, two wars and a third one looming, and again a population slowly but surely seeing through the warmongers' ruse (36% and growing).
David Griffin appeals to the churches and the New York Times. Others are calling for a Generals' Coup (as recently in Thailand), indictments, or at the very least, impeachment. The onion seems to be splitting right down the middle. Another 9/11 will galvanize only half the country, if that. The other half may well be galvanized into revolt, and there will be civil war: world no. 1 against world no. 2--not to forget that the rest of the planet will be on the side of world no. 2.
Is that what Big Brother wants? Martial law and half the population dead or in prison? That seems to be the case, and if it is, I hope that cooler heads prevail--that somewhere, at Langley or the DOD, or in the White House, somebody is telling our bullet-headed would-be World Controllers, "Look, it didn't work. Let's give 'em back the Democrats." That wouldn't be much, but it would buy us some time, which I'm afraid is the most we can hope for at the moment.