One of the many time sinks (so to speak) aboard ship is a series of lectures on a wide variety of topics, usually (but not invariably) having something to do with the places that we're visiting. Just got back from one of the most interesting I've ever seen, a fellow named Donald A. Gibbs, who spoke about Pearl Harbor. He made a very compelling case that not only did F.D.R. know about Pearl Harbor, but he actually engineered the attack in order to drum up support for entering WW2 among the American public, which before P.H. opposed getting involved in a foreign war by an overwhelming margin. Haven't been able to find any writeup about this on the web, and there's no way I could reproduce enough of the details to do it justice so I'm not even going to try. But he convinced me, and I like to think I have a pretty good bogometer.
Which, of course, opens up the disturbing question of whether 9/11 was engineered (or at least not allowed) by the Bush administration in order to drum up support for attacking Iraq. I had been of the opinion that there is no way that that a secret of such magnitude could be successfully kept, and so the 9/11 truthers are almost certainly wrong (actually, I would have phrased that in more categorical terms before today) but this lecture has be rethinking that position. During the Q&A I asked Gibbs if he thought it was possible that Bush had done with 9/11 the same thing that F.D.R. did with P.H. in order to drum up support for attacking Iraq, and he rather pointedly refused to answer on the grounds that it was his role only to present historical facts and not to draw interpretations from them. I pressed him on this, asking if there were any historical facts that he was aware of that would allow one to categorically rule out such a parallel and he again demurred.
Makes you wonder.
"I had been of the opinion that there is no way that that a secret of such magnitude could be successfully kept, and so the 9/11 truthers are almost certainly wrong (actually, I would have phrased that in more categorical terms before today) but this lecture has be rethinking that position."
I'm always curious what the secret is and why it's so hard to keep. Smart people say this frequently, yet there is no field of study of the sociology of secrets, just anecdotes of various press leaks throughout history. OTOH, the stealth fighter was kept secret for 10 years of its existence -- how many people were involved in that project?
Say the Bush administration 'knew' about the attacks but did nothing. What is the secret and how many people had to keep it? We already know that Bush was told in his PDB that "Bin Laden determined to strike in US", and that terrorists wanted to use planes as weapons.
I'm also curious -- the 9/11 truth movement germinated in suspicion that the towers and WTC7 fell by controlled demolition -- outside this speculation, there isn't much to the truth movement; NORAD "standdown" evidence is way more circumstantial than a lot of what has currency amongst 9/11 truthers.
So a deeper question -- now that you're suspicious of a Bush administration 'role' in 9/11, either passive or active, what do you think about controlled demolition? Any 'evidence' for conspiracy is pretty weak without controlled demolition.
First, a blanket disclaimer: this title of this post was intended to be slightly tongue-in-cheek since there is not (at least AFAIK) actually a Pearl Harbor Truthers movement.
With that in mind:
> I'm always curious what the secret is and why it's so hard to keep.
There are several secrets here:
1. The Japanese did not keep radio silence during their crossing of the Pacific.
2. Japanese radio broadcasts from the Pacific fleet were intercepted by the U.S. before the attack.
3. The McCollum plan
As to why it's hard to keep, well, isn't that obvious? A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. *All* of the people who are privy to the secret have to keep it, and all of the documents and physical evidence have to be kept secret as well.
> Say the Bush administration 'knew' about the attacks but did nothing. What is the secret and how many people had to keep it?
In this case we don't know. But the evidence that I have on hand doesn't rule out the possibility that Bush knew *specifically* about the 9/11 attack before it happened (how long before is unclear) and either failed to take steps that would have prevented it, or actively took steps to enable it, with the specific goal of having the attack succeed in order to galvanize U.S. public opinion in favor of attacking Iraq.
> what do you think about controlled demolition?
I'd still say it's 99% certain that there was no controlled demolition. I do think the 9/11 Truthers are mostly wack jobs. But even wack jobs can sometimes get it basically right by sheer dumb luck. In fact, if I were weaving a conspiracy theory of my own, I would say to myself: if there was a 9/11 conspiracy, what might the Bush administration do in order to cover their tracks? Well, one thing they might do is *encourage* wild speculation about their role in the attack based on spurious theories that would be easily discredited in order to take advantage of the common logical fallacy (whoops, was going to provide a reference link, but gotta run so I'll post this and look up the link later).
> A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. *All* of the people who are privy to the secret have to keep it,
This is clearly false in a hierarchical system. If Bob the radio operator said that he heard radio chatter, we would not believe him without evidence or the support of his supervising officer. There are many reasons that we might distrust Bob.
> and all of the documents and physical evidence have to be kept secret as well.
Well thats fairly easy when its all classified. You mention McCollum, which was kept secret for 54 years.
> I'd still say it's 99% certain that there was no controlled demolition. I do think the 9/11 Truthers are mostly wack jobs.
I must say that I've heard more convincing arguments. I suggest that there is little solid evidence for collapse due to planes. The top section of one building was falling sideways like a tree until it disintegrated in mid-air without explanation. The official story continues to be that "our computers say it could happen". Yet 9/11 was the only day in history that it ever did (and similar buildings have burned for much, much longer since).
The problem is that the discussion breaks down as soon as the official story falls apart. No one wants to admit what that would mean, and there is nothing left to discuss. It leaves fact behind and flies into wild speculation and absurdity.
So, how do you keep a secret like this? You make it seem like a crime against your country to utter it.
"As to why it's hard to keep, well, isn't that obvious? A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. *All* of the people who are privy to the secret have to keep it, and all of the documents and physical evidence have to be kept secret as well."
This is what I'm talking about when I say we don't really have an science about the sociology of secrecy, just old wives tales, anecdotes, and metaphors. "A witty saying proves nothing" -- Voltaire
We know for a fact that the stealth fighter was kept secret from the general public for at least 10 years, a project involving thousands of people, from government to military to managers, engineers and machinists. Say I had an uncle that worked on it and tipped me off. If I had come to you and told you about the project, would I have any credibility *at all* in your eyes? No way! Yet a link had been broken -- and probably not even the weakest one!
> the stealth fighter was kept secret from the general public for at least 10 years
There's a big difference between the Stealth and Pearl Harbor. In the case of the Stealth, it's a pretty good bet that everyone who worked on the project believed in the importance of the work and the importance of keeping the secret. In the case of Pearl Harbor, we're talking about possible treason, with thousands of Americans dead and the will of the people subverted. Also, ten years is a lot less than sixty.
> If I had come to you and told you about the project, would I have any credibility *at all* in your eyes?
I think that depends a lot on what I already knew. If I were a spy working for a foreign government, yes, I think your telling me about the Stealth could have been a substantial leak.
BTW, it's quite possible that the Stealth secret did leak and we don't know about it. That sort of secret is the kind that you don't want other people to know that you know (if you know what I mean).
Well, you're kind of arguing my points about secrecy. People often say, about a 9/11 false flag scenario, or Pearl Harbor pre-warnings, that "Nobody could keep secrets for that long, especially involving that many people." It's kind of a folk wisdom about how secrets work. It's never been critically examined.
But here were are, having an egg-head-arm-chair-common-sense discussion about secrecy. It's my thought experiment versus your anecdote.
So what I think we can say about the common wisdom of secrecy ( passage of time * number of insiders is inversely proportional to lifetime of the secret, or however you want to frame it ) is obviously false, because knowledge of a secret is not binary -- maybe different governments or organizations came into knowledge of the Stealth Fighter at different times, but these were all more or less independent of the general public's knowledge, or when the secret was no longer a secret.
Actually, now that I re-read your phrase that originally prompted me to comment, you have another factor in your sociology of secrecy: magnitude. If it's a big deal, people are more likely to blab about it. Well, what about the Holocaust in Nazi Germany? We have the documentation of it, the confessions, etc, and while it was going on, it was a big secret internally, and after it was exposed, people refused to believe it, and to this day, there are people who claim it never happened, or that what actually happened isn't what's purported to have happened. Isn't that an event of a rather large magnitude that didn't really make people prone to blabbing?
This is why I think we need a better historical analysis of secrecy. I think the record shows that some pretty big projects that involved lots of people were able to be kept hush-hush for a long time, and that when knowledge did 'leak', it generally takes a long time to saturate the public's consciousness.
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