Why Do Good People Become Silent—or Worse—About 9/11? Part 17: The False Self and Excessive Identification with the U.S.A.

“If a person’s false self includes identification with America as a country of unequivocal goodness, then to be exposed to information suggesting that America is in fact an imperialistic aggressor . . . is to have one’s self-image seriously challenged.”

In addressing the question in the title of this essay, the April 2015 segment, Dissociation, explained that some individuals suffered severe developmental trauma in childhood that caused them to reflexively shut down their awareness of these traumatic events. This biological process is known as dissociation. Such repressed traumas can be activated by information conveyed by 9/11 skeptics — information that implies that forces within our government may have been involved in mass murder of its own citizens — causing these individuals to dissociate once again.

Here, in the May 2015 installment, we continue Ms. Shure’s analysis with Part 17: The False Self and Excessive Identification with the U.S.A.

Read more >> http://bit.ly/Shure17


Why Do Good People Become Silent—or Worse—About 9/11? Part 16: Dissociation

By Frances T. Shure


Why Do Good People Become Silent—or Worse—About 9/11?

When such a vulnerable person hears the evidence that 9/11 skeptics present, he . . . may become silent and unresponsive as though disoriented, so that he appears “spacey.”

Part 16: Dissociation

By Frances T. Shure

Editor’s Note: Frances Shure, M.A., L.P.C., has performed an in-depth analysis addressing a key issue of our time: “Why Do Good People Become Silent — or Worse — About 9/11?” The resulting essay, being presented here as a series, is a synthesis of both academic research and clinical observations.
© by Frances T. Shure, 2015

Fran Shure
In answering the question in the title of this essay, the March 2015 segment — Part 15: The Abuse Syndrome — explored how the “nothing we can do about it” reaction to hearing the evidence that refutes the official account of 9/11 may be a result of toxic early relationships — often characterized by trauma bonding — which bring about feelings of powerlessness, shame, or apathy in adulthood.

Here, in the April 2015 installment, we continue Ms. Shure’s analysis with Part 16: Dissociation.

Dissociation is a psychological defense mechanism that occurs on a continuum, ranging from mild detachment, which we all experience from time to time, to the most extreme form, known as Dissociative Identity Disorder. The latter, DID for short, was formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder. DID is a coping mechanism for the victim of torturous, repetitive abuse — usually endured at a very young age. To protect himself from the unbearable pain of such torture, the victim may fragment into two or more distinct identities, with each identity, or personality, taking control over the individual at various times.1

Dissociation painting
In the middle of this wide continuum is a severe and, unfortunately, all too common level of dissociation that, in common with DID, also originates in trauma that is usually incurred at an early age. What differentiates the mid-range level of dissociation from learned helplessness and from the abuse syndrome, which are related in that they are also trauma-initiated, is that the adult victims of this form of early trauma do not react to abuse or to challenging information — such as the evidence presented by 9/11 skeptics — with powerlessness, shame, or apathy. Instead, they automatically defend themselves by biologically shutting down their awareness to the point of becoming emotionally detached at the very time when expressing emotion would be considered a more normal response to the situation.

Clearly, dissociation psychologically protects a person who has been traumatized by abuse incurred in infancy or childhood from the full brunt of the shock. Equally clearly, the victim of abuse at such an early age is especially vulnerable and helpless. Unable either to fight back or flee, he defends himself by emotionally freezing and dissociating himself from the abuse. In these severely traumatic situations, which are at the very least profound betrayals, if not actual torture, the young victim reflexively shifts awareness away from the dangerous situation — sexual or physical abuse by a parent, for example — as well as away from his emotional reaction to this danger. Therefore, the event and the person’s reaction to the shocking situation become repressed, a part of the individual’s unconscious mind.2

If someone who was subjected to such childhood abuse hears evidence that suggests that the “parental figures” in the government may have committed — or at least wittingly permitted — the mass murder of fellow countrymen, such shocking news can easily activate that person’s memory of an early shock or trauma, when his parents or other adult authority figures endangered his safety or survival.

When such a vulnerable person hears the evidence that 9/11 skeptics present, he may react with a sudden bulging or glazing of his eyes, or the blood may drain from his face, or he may become silent and unresponsive as though disoriented, so that he appears “spacey.”3 These physiological signs are indications that the memory of an early, shocking, repressed event has been activated, and the person is again dissociating. Understandably, most victims with this condition assiduously avoid 9/11 truth-tellers and their fact-based and forensic information.

In next month’s essay, we shall look at a group of people who have a very different psychodynamic: Instead of avoiding 9/11 Truth, they may become enraged by the mere mention of it, due to their excessive identification with the United States of America.

Editor’s note: To be continued in the next issue with Part 17: The False Self and Excessive Identification with the U.S.A. Electronic sources in the footnotes have been archived. If they can no longer be found by a search on the Internet, readers desiring a copy may contact Frances Shure for a copy here.

Continued with Part 17: The False Self and Excessive Identification with the U.S.A.

: The Abuse Syndrome By Frances T. Shure Why Do Good People Become Silent—or Worse—About 9/11?


Why Do Good People Become Silent—or Worse—About 9/11?

Part 15: The Abuse Syndrome

By Frances T. Shure

Editor’s Note: Frances Shure, M.A., L.P.C., has performed an in-depth analysis addressing a key issue of our time: “Why Do Good People Become Silent — or Worse — About 9/11?” The resulting essay, being presented here as a series, is a synthesis of both academic research and clinical observations.
© by Frances T. Shure, 2015

Fran ShureIn answering the question in the title of this essay, the January 2015 segment — Learned Helplessness — reported on the conditioned responses of utter helplessness and hopelessness resulting from ongoing painful trauma or adversity that involves actual or perceived lack of control.

Here, in the March 2015 installment [there was no February installment, because the January piece appeared in the February newsletter], we continue Ms. Shure’s analysis with Part 15: The Abuse Syndrome.

Bruce Levine: The abuse syndrome

A dynamic that may help explain the “nothing we can do about it” reaction to the evidence that refutes the official 9/11 account is the “abuse syndrome,” as described by clinical psychologist Bruce E. Levine. To maintain control, abusive spouses, bosses, and governments shove lies, physical and emotional abuse, and injustice in their victims’ faces. When the victims continue to be afraid to exit from these relationships or fail to fight back, they get weaker, they feel humiliated by their passivity, they feel broken, and they feel shame.1

Our true nature does not harbor feelings of shame. Originating from trauma, shame is characterized by self-hatred and a fundamental sense that we are unworthy and unlovable.

Eventually, victims in a relationship marked by trauma can develop a deep-seated fear that they cannot survive without the abuser in their lives. This belief increases their feelings of helplessness.

An even more extreme form of this dynamic involves victims of captivity, who may become attached to their captors, and may even defend them. Known as the “Stockholm syndrome,” this relationship can also apply to children who are, psychologically and physically, de facto captives to abusive parents.2

Patrick Carnes: Betrayal bonding

Psychologist and sexual-addictions counselor Patrick J. Carnes gives us a further understanding of the abuse syndrome by introducing the concept of “betrayal bonding” or, alternately, “trauma bonding.” He has found that these dysfunctional bonds originate when those who are betrayed (usually children) bond with someone who is destructive to their well-being, resulting in a template for future “insane loyalties.”3

Normally, we think of abusive relationships as applying to individuals — typically children abused by their parents or wives battered by their violent husbands — but other authors, including Levine, recognize that the abuse syndrome can also apply to groups or to entire societies.

James Tracy: Battered citizen syndrome

For example, James F. Tracy, associate professor of media studies at Florida Atlantic University, has applied the four stages that domestic abuse victims traverse to collective abuse, and he has coined the phrase “battered citizen syndrome” to define this new, broader category. Tracy emphasizes that abuse of citizens by governments has reached the point of a “grave societal malady.” Battered citizens, Tracy says, traverse these same four stages (if they in fact manage to free themselves from their government’s abusive actions). Specifically, battered citizens will:

deny that there is political violence toward citizens by their governments, when such violence obviously exists;
experience guilt and low self-esteem from believing that somehow they are to blame for the political violence; or experience fear for having been fingered as potential terrorists by the government, which induces them to rationalize or tolerate officials’ destruction of civil liberties;
reach eventual “enlightenment,” realizing that they are not to blame for the ill-treatment, yet they may still try to work with the abusive government; and finally
show responsibility for leaving the abusive relationship by working to establish new modes of governance.4

In other words, whether we are children, spouses, or citizens, we have a deep need to trust our parents, spouses, and our government. When we are abused physically or emotionally in these relationships, we try to keep that trust intact by rationalizing the abuser’s actions and blaming ourselves. When we acquiesce in this way, however, we feel disempowered, which in turn causes our anger and frustration to build. If we have the courage to think for ourselves, we realize that we do not deserve this abuse — even though we still may try to work with the abusers. As we gain further courage, we fight back, if we are physically able, or we leave the abusive relationship. Through this process, we regain our integrity, self-respect, and sense of empowerment.

Edward Bernays: The engineering of consent

Another example of citizen-battering — through the calculated manipulation of public opinion by governments, as well as by corporations — was instigated by Sigmund Freud’s Austrian-born American nephew, Edward L. Bernays.

Propaganda Bernays LibraryStrongly influenced by Freud, Bernays was convinced that human beings are innately driven by monstrous, irrational, inner desires and fears, which civilization is meant to restrain.

As is true for many of us, Bernays was a complicated fellow who, while sincerely wanting democracy to flourish, also believed that the common citizen was, frankly, too stupid to be trusted with democracy.

His utopian vision was a democratic society in which the dangerous libidinal energies lurking just below the surface of every human could be harnessed and channeled by the corporate elite for economic benefit. The mass production of goods would fulfill the constant craving of the inherently irrational drives of the masses. This cultural dynamic would ensure ongoing mass production as well as sating the dangerous animal instincts that threatened to tear society apart.

In other words, Bernays believed that to form an orderly and prosperous society — the “American way of life” that he so valued — the masses would need to be scientifically manipulated by an elite class of citizens — by an “invisible government” who understood these dangerous forces.

According to Bernays, this manipulation would be based upon findings made in such fields as sociology, social psychology, and anthropology, and would be accomplished through covert techniques of opinion-molding, which he called the “engineering of consent.” In this strategy, advertising is employed to show the masses the self-images to which they should aspire and the products they would need to purchase in order to satisfy these self-images. Thus the science of public relations, more properly known as “propaganda,” was born, birthed in large part by Bernays and nourished and developed by corporations to sell their products, and by public relations companies to sell presidential candidates and foreign policy.5

As Bernays wrote,

[Researchers of mass psychology] established that the group has mental characteristics distinct from those of the individual, and is motivated by impulses and emotions which cannot be explained on the basis of what we know of individual psychology. So the question naturally arose: If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it? . . . . If you can influence the leaders, either with or without their conscious cooperation, you automatically influence the group which they sway.6

This strategy of first influencing the opinion leaders of a society was also discovered by anthropologists as a way to introduce and establish new ideas into a society (see Part 2: Diffusion of Innovations). Bernays made liberal use of these “third party authorities” to sell his clients’ cases. Among his successful propaganda campaigns: Trusted physicians pronounced bacon and eggs the best breakfast, dentists promoted fluoridation of water as safe and beneficial, and fetching young models lighting up “torches of freedom” broke the taboo against women smoking.7

Americans, who at one time saw themselves as citizens with civic duties, were manipulated by Bernays’ propaganda techniques into thinking of themselves as consumers whose self-esteem was validated by the products they bought. Politicians who employed public relations experts skilled at “spin” found that, as candidates in an election, they merely had to make whatever promises would appeal to their constituency — whether they intended to follow through with those promises or not. This is obviously the culture we inherit today.

In addition to working with corporations and high-profile individuals, Bernays worked with the U.S. government and the CIA to implement foreign policy decisions. For example, he joined with other social scientists to influence public opinion toward supporting American participation in World War I. He also worked in concert with the U.S. government and the United Fruit Company to facilitate the overthrow of the democratically elected president of Guatemala, Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán, by branding him a communist — a claim that was dutifully published without critique by major U.S. media.8

In the 1960s, protestors throughout the U.S. launched a backlash against this manipulation of the public, which they viewed as a way to keep the public sated by purchasing products, while the government did what it wanted — which, at the time, included implementing the destructive foreign policy in Vietnam.9

Many citizens now understand that the strategy of unlimited growth of mass-produced goods is not sustainable for our planet. They also realize that a so-called democracy run by an elite whose members successfully manipulate the public is no longer a democracy — a fact that did not seem to dawn on the brilliant Edward Bernays.

His business as a public relations counselor in New York City thrived from 1919 until 1963, and he was even named as one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century by Life magazine. During his highly successful career, the horrors of World War II, including the concentration camps, strengthened his belief in the innate, monstrous drives just under the surface of the human façade, as well as his belief in the necessity of having an elite class that would control the urges of the masses. Nevertheless, in a classic case of bitter irony — and what should have been a wake-up call to rethink his arrogant certainty about manipulating others — his brilliant insights on engineering public opinion were turned against his Jewish brethren in Nazi Germany. Bernays recounted in his autobiography, Biography of an Idea, a dinner conversation at his home in 1933:

Karl von Weigand, foreign correspondent of the Hearst newspapers, an old hand at interpreting Europe and just returned from Germany, was telling us about Goebbels and his propaganda plans to consolidate Nazi power. Goebbels had shown Weigand his propaganda library, the best Weigand had ever seen. Goebbels, said Weigand, was using my [Bernay’s] book Crystallizing Public Opinion as a basis for his destructive campaign against the Jews of Germany. This shocked me. . . . Obviously the attack on the Jews of Germany was no emotional outburst of the Nazis, but a deliberate, planned campaign.10

How far will today’s spinmeisters take us into Bernays’ “engineering of consent” — into a matrix of lies — as they prey on our natural human fears? If the false-flag event of September 11, 2001, is any indication, and if the official propaganda about what happened on that fateful day is any indication, the official propagandists will take us as far as we let them. According to whistleblower Barbara Honegger, former CIA Director William Casey candidly remarked in early February 1981: “We’ll know our disinformation program is a success when everything the American public believes is false.”11

Ultimately, spin, lies, and abuse lead us down a road toward mutual destruction, not to the prosperity and freedom that Edward Bernays envisioned. Ethical psychology professionals, including this writer, strongly believe that our profession should not be used to control, manipulate, exploit, abuse, or torture human beings. Unfortunately, others in my profession disagree, as is evidenced by certain members of the American Psychological Association who aided and abetted torture of detainees after 9/11.12

Psychologists with scruples maintain that the ultimate goals of our profession are to help people understand themselves, to heal and reclaim the natural goodness with which we were born, and to become free, compassionate, and wise individuals.

Douglas Rushkoff: Why we listen to what “they” say

Douglas Rushkoff, professor of virtual culture at New York University, gives us another example of societal abuse in the marketplace. Rushkoff reveals that influence techniques promoted by Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People) and refined by the CIA for its noncoercive interrogations, were adapted and upgraded by a variety of industries for their marketing and sales practices. In his detailed and fascinating exposé, Coercion: Why We Listen to What “They” Say, Rushkoff demonstrates that whether through interrogation in a windowless room by a CIA agent or through seemingly benign manipulations by a bed salesman, the process is essentially the same.

First, establish good rapport and trust (for example, employ the “good cop vs. bad cop” strategy). Then, using the tricks of the trade, disorient the subject by disrupting his familiar emotional associations. Confusion naturally follows. 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.13

At this moment of disorientation, Rushkoff notes, the subject is ripe for manipulation. He enters a regressed state, which immediately leads to transferring authority to the interrogator or to the sales person, who the subject now regards as a parental figure. Compliance with that “parental” authority naturally follows, whether this involves divulging information or buying an unneeded $3,000 bed.

Kevin Barrett: A moment of dissociation

Dr. Kevin Barrett, a scholar of Islam and literature, and co-founder of the Muslim-Christian-Jewish Alliance for 9/11 Truth, postulates that this process applies directly to the attacks of September 11, 2001 — an event he believes was designed to infantilize the public through psychological shock or paralysis. “We experienced a moment of dissociation,” he says, “which is why we can still recall where we were and what we were doing when we learned of the attack . . . . We desperately needed a parent figure to tell us how to make sense of the madness.”14

The cycle of violence

When we fail to confront oppression and abuse, whether individual or societal, whether overt or subtle, we suppress the unwelcome fact that our trust has been abused and betrayed. We feel miserable because, in essence, we are compromising our true self by denying what we know to be true and what we know to be right. When we do not reclaim our inherent power to stand up to oppression and abuse, we become depressed and ashamed, emotions we seek to escape by watching too much mind-numbing TV, overeating, or misusing substances — these excesses sending us into deeper depression and shame.

cycle of violence shureAfter he had studied the evidence that refutes the official account of 9/11, a friend of mine declared, “My solution to this 9/11 issue is to do more drugs.” Sadly, he was not joking.

Those who are inclined to abuse others usually pick on people who appear weak. As the victim succumbs to the abuse, the dynamic escalates, with more abuse hurled at the victim, who then sinks deeper into passivity and shame. Violent abuse normally happens at this point.

After this explosion of violence, the repentant abuser may, in what is termed the “honeymoon phase,” offer apologies and gifts to the victim. The victim then feels hope, erroneously believing that the abuser is actually amending his ways. But tension once again builds, leading to another round of abuse.

Early childhood trauma at root of reactions

Why do some people fall victim to this vicious cycle of violence, while others, at the mere suggestion or faintest whiff of abuse, decisively stand up for themselves and challenge the would-be abuser?

The pattern of reacting to abuse with passivity and shame most likely began with the early treatment we received from our parents or other authority figures — or this pattern may even have begun from conception through our birth experience. For example, beginning with conception, did our parents want us?15 Was our birth violent or non-violent?16 As infants and young children, did our parents look at us with disgust or with adoration? Or were they so distracted that they hardly looked at us at all? Did they hold and touch us consistently with love? Was their touch invasive or punishing?17 Or did they hardly touch us except when necessary? Did they respond to our natural needs in a timely way? Were our expressions of emotion received with anger, with controlling and shaming messages, or with loving recognition, acceptance, and support, along with appropriate structure? Were we lovingly and securely attached to our parents?18 Did teachers, priests, ministers, uncles, aunts, older siblings and cousins, or other authority figures abuse us emotionally or physically?

The answers to these questions usually determine our level of self-esteem and self-confidence as well as how inner-directed or outer-directed we become as adults. The answers can also strongly indicate whether we become violent or peaceful as adults, and on a collective level, whether we live in — and contribute to — a violent or a peaceful society.19

Both passiveness in the face of abuse (as experienced by the victim) and violence in the face of passiveness (as committed by the abuser — and this includes the perpetrators of 9/11) are behaviors that stem from abuse received in infancy and childhood. If we truly want a nonviolent society, therefore, a prerequisite will be a vast improvement in how we treat our children, from conception through birth, and from natural childrearing through compassionate and enlightened education.20

Liberation psychology

According to Bruce Levine, the psychology profession, rather than acknowledging the abuse syndrome and helping clients heal and exit toxic relationships, has moved increasingly in the direction of pathologizing and medicating those who question authorities as well as those who feel oppressed and thus become depressed. In other words, some practitioners of this profession add insult to injury.

Today, increasing numbers of people in the U.S. who do not comply with authority are being diagnosed with mental illnesses and medicated with psychiatric drugs that make them less pained about their boredom, resentments, and other negative emotions, thus rendering them more compliant and manageable.21

In addition, writes Levine:

By the mid-1980s, psychiatry was beginning to become annexed by pharmaceutical companies and forming what we now have—a “psychiatric-pharmaceutical industrial complex.” Increasingly marginalized was the idea that treatment that consisted of manipulating and medicating alienated people to adjust to this crazy rat race and thus maintain the status quo was a political act — a problematic one for people who cared about democracy.22 (Emphasis added)

Bruce Levine 2For example, in my own experience, a young psychology student called me from Denmark just to “talk.” His university’s psychologist had decided he was paranoid since, after much research, he had decided that 9/11 was a false-flag operation. He had found my name through the film 9/11: Explosive Evidence — Experts Speak Out, and was so heartened and relieved by the “Seeking Understanding” segment that he decided to take this DVD to his psychologist to demonstrate to her that he was not mentally unstable. What a challenge for this young man that this psychologist was so quick to label him with a diagnosis, rather than open-mindedly researching the issue herself!

Levine suggests that the psychology profession needs to move in the direction of “liberation psychology,” a concept popularized by Ignacio Martin-Baró, a social psychologist and priest in El Salvador who recognized a “psychology of oppression” in which the downtrodden of a society fatalistically believe they are powerless to alter their circumstances. Consequently, they become resigned and apathetic to their situation. Sadly, Martin-Baró was assassinated in 1989 — by a U.S.-trained Salvadoran death squad — for speaking out on behalf of the oppressed.23

Rather than pathologize and medicate “anti-authoritarians [who] question the legitimacy of an authority before taking it seriously,” psychology professionals should support clients with a “shot of morale” that encourages them to do their own critical thinking and to become active and creative in their own unique ways.24 Psychotherapists also need to be capable of providing opportunities for healing earlier traumas of omission and commission in order to interrupt old behavioral patterns.25

The 9/11 elephant in our living room

As activists, or simply as concerned citizens, we must not succumb to the pessimistic belief that “we’ll never know the truth of 9/11, so let’s just move forward as best we can and forget about this terrible subject.” With an issue as taboo and disturbing as 9/11, it is tempting to want to avoid the whole matter — to avoid acknowledging the 9/11 elephant in our national living room — and to work on other concerns for which we think there is a better chance of success.

Even though one could argue that a full, fair, and objective investigation with subpoena power in the U.S. is unlikely to occur in the near future, I propose that we take a longer view of this challenging issue with which we 9/11 activists have become entangled.

First, a little history is in order, so we can understand where our movement stands. To date, the corporate-owned media have conspicuously ignored the evidence that refutes the official storyline of 9/11. There are, however, a few notable exceptions: David Ray Griffin, a political writer and professor emeritus of philosophy of religion and theology, appeared on C-SPAN in 2005 and 2006.26 And on August 1, 2014, C-SPAN finally interviewed Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth’s Richard Gage, AIA, on Washington Journal.27 For the most part, though, the glances that the compromised mainstream media have given 9/11 skeptics are contemptuous and slanderous [see here, here, and here28].

Likewise, to date, with rare exception, members of Congress treat the 9/11 controversy like a hot potato, apparently more fearful of losing their jobs than interested in the integrity of our country. The aforementioned Washington Journal program is filled with federal legislators [here, here, and here] who dodge citizens’ queries about Building 7 as if the questioners were carriers of a dangerous infectious disease.29

Yet despite these serious handicaps, the 9/11 Truth Movement has been stunningly successful in (1) documenting mountains of evidence that could inform a possible future national or international investigation and (2) raising awareness around the world regarding the realities of 9/11 as well as of other false-flag operations and deceptions by governments.30

Even if there is not a real investigation anytime soon, why is it still important that as many people as possible know the truth of 9/11?

Well, for one thing, how in the world can we make sound, rational decisions when we don’t have accurate information upon which to base these decisions? When we grasp the reality of the attacks of 9/11, as well as the reality of other State Crimes Against Democracy (see Part 13), it’s highly unlikely that, for example, we will be as easily manipulated to support unnecessary wars — or to encourage our sons and daughters to fight in them. Having access to accurate information in such cases can be a life-or-death concern.

Additionally, becoming more aware of such hidden realities can be empowering individually and collectively, as it helps to shift the balance of power from deceitful authorities to wiser citizens who are capable of seeing through the machinations of the deep state.

Author and political activist Arundhati Roy has eloquently expressed that empowerment: “The trouble is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There’s no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.”31

Accordingly, once we see 9/11 as a false-flag operation, understand the existence of the deep state, and learn of other State Crimes Against Democracy, our vision shifts. We can’t unsee it. It is as though blinders have been removed, giving us a much, much wider perspective on political realities.

This eye-opening process is frightening at first to many of us. As one friend said, “I’m afraid I won’t be able to trust anyone anymore!” This fear is not easily overcome by those who have been sheltered from world events, blinded by false propaganda, or so abused that they can’t handle one more betrayal. But at some point, many of us do get beyond our fear, and we discover that we are actually empowered. We are then led to others who are equally awake.

As we gradually become more aware of accurate information about many different areas of concern — such as the need for real financial reform — and learn how to use rational discernment in each of these areas, we become able to make more conscious decisions, and to live more consciously. We increasingly find that we can trust ourselves, we feel freer, and we lose our fear “of not being able to trust anyone anymore.”

elephant board room 400If, on the other hand, we continue “looking forward”32 while remaining silent about the 9/11 elephant in our American living room, we will take her with us into our future, inviting future false-flag operations and other forms of abuse inflicted by government authorities and the powerful, behind-the-scenes deep state. It would appear that many of these figures are likely true sociopaths, lacking a conscience or any sense of connection to the rest of life — a topic we will discuss in Part 20: Those Who Lack Conscience and Empathy.

So, even though the “looking forward” slogan prevented prosecution of state crimes, we must move forward in uncovering the truth about the 9/11 issue, no matter what others may say. If we can persevere confidently and compassionately, for the most part, rather than with fear and excessive urgency, we may inspire others to follow suit. Indeed, when we heed our intuition — what might be variously called our “our deep, inner sense of rightness,” “our inner truth” or “the still, small voice within” — the resulting peace we feel and intelligent actions we take could motivate others to free themselves from the abuse syndrome and the resulting passivity and shame.


debbie downer 250 Some might say I am over-analyzing. After all, when we know the power of the corporate and elite forces we face, isn’t it normal to feel helpless and apathetic? Isn’t it being realistic not to do anything to expose these forces, not to try to take them to justice? Wouldn’t such actions be, at the very least, a waste of time, causing us to neglect those “real” issues so in need of attention? And, besides, aren’t people who focus on ferreting out the truth about 9/11 really just “Debbie Downers?”33 Aren’t they simply cynical and obsessed with negative information, and unable to see the good in our world?

I have heard all of these defensive and pathologizing remarks from those who do not want to acknowledge and deal with this elephant; and even if they have seen the elephant, they neglect to acknowledge the activists whose courageous and tireless work makes the unspeakable speakable. But that is the nature of this difficult activist path, the nature of a path that requires breaking through both the internal and external taboo barriers surrounding 9/11 — or any paradigm-changing issue.

I propose that we look at these defensive rationalizations from another angle: If 9/11 is a false-flag operation, as proposed by skeptics of the official account — that is, if certain persons in powerful positions conspired to orchestrate the 9/11 attacks, as evidence strongly indicates — would it be rational not to do anything? Do we think that the perpetrators would altruistically reform themselves if all of us kept silent? Wouldn’t we be hoping against hope that similar treacheries would never occur again — or, if they did, that our family and close friends would somehow be spared?

We each must decide for ourselves.

From my standpoint, living my life based on such rationalization and false hope would be living from fear and resignation, and deep within, I would carry the anxiety and self-disrespect of knowing that I was living a lie.

In this segment, we have explored the abuse syndrome, which may cause its victims to react to challenging situations — such as hearing the evidence that refutes the official account of 9/11 — with powerlessness, shame, or apathy. There is another kind of response to such information that can lead to the victims biologically shutting down their awareness. This automatic process is known as dissociation, which we will explore in the next segment in this series.

Editor’s note: To be continued in the next issue with Part 16: Dissociation. Electronic sources in the footnotes have been archived. If they can no longer be found by a search on the Internet, readers desiring a copy may contact Frances Shure for a copy here.

Continued with Part 16: Dissasociation

1 Bruce E. Levine, Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite (Chelsea Green Publishing Company, White River Junction, VT, 2011).

2 Ibid.

The term “Stockholm syndrome” derives from a 1973 Swedish bank robbery in which hostages became emotionally attached to their bank-robber captors. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome.

Bruce E. Levine “Are Americans a Broken People? Why We’ve Stopped Fighting Back Against the Forces of Oppression,” AlterNet, December 11, 2009. See http://www.alternet.org/story/144529/are_americans_a_broken_people_why_we%27ve_stopped_fighting_back_against_the_forces_of….

3 Patrick J. Carnes, The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 1997).

4 James F. Tracy, “Human Consciousness and the “Battered Citizen Syndrome”: The Psychological Impacts of War Propaganda and State-sponsored Terrorism.” See http://www.globalresearch.ca/human-consciousness-and-the-battered-citizen-syndrome-the-psychological-impacts-of-war-propag….

For the four psychological stages of the battered woman syndrome, see http://www.domesticviolenceinfo.ca/article/psychology-of-the-battered-woman-syndrome—264.asp.

5 See http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Edward_Bernays.

Joe McGinniss, The Selling of the President: The Classical Account of the Packaging of the President (Penguin Books, 1969).

6 Edward Bernays, Propaganda (Ig Publishing, 1928) 71 – 73.

7 See http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Edward_Bernays.

8 Ibid.

9 For more of this fascinating history, see the four-part DVD The Century of the Self by filmmaker Adam Curtis, first broadcast on BBC TV in 2002.

10 Quote found at http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Edward_Bernays.

11 In a personal e-mail communication to me, Barbara Honegger confirmed that she was the source of this quote, having been in attendance as the then-White House Policy Analyst at the February 1981 meeting in the White House Roosevelt Room with President Reagan and his new cabinet secretaries and agency heads. New CIA Director William Casey spoke these words in response to a question the President put to all of the cabinet secretaries and agency heads: “What are your main goals for your department or agency?” Having worked with radio show host Mae Brussell upon returning to California from the White House, Honegger was also the source for Brussell’s second-hand report about Casey’s words. Honegger also said she recalls Casey saying “. . . program is a success . . .,” rather than “. . . program is complete.” For further detail on Honegger’s account of this quote, see http://www.infiniteunknown.net/2015/01/15/did-cia-director-william-casey-really-say-well-know-our-disinformation-program-i….

12 Roy Eidelson, “Cast Into the Depths: Perilous Waters for the American Psychological Association” (Truthout, January 12, 2015). See http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/28497-cast-into-the-depths-perilous-waters-for-the-apa.

13 Douglas Rushkoff, Coercion: Why We Listen to What “They” Say (Riverhead Books, New York, NY 1999) p. 41.

Original source cited in footnote of Rushkoff, Coercion: Central Intelligence Agency, “Kubark Counterintelligence Interrogation” manual, CIA classified publication, July 1963, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act in 1997, and distributed on the Internet. See http://www.uscrow.org/downloads/Survival%20Public%20Domain/Kubark_Counterintelligence_Interrogation_torture_manual1963.pdf.

14 Kevin Barrett, “Apocalypse of Coercion: Why We Listen to What ‘They’ Say About 9/11.” See http://mujca.com/apocalypse.htm.

15 Henry David Philip (Contributor), Born Unwanted: Developmental Effects of Denied Abortion (Avicenum: Prague, 1988; later published by Springer: New York and EDAMEX in Mexico City). See a review at https://birthpsychology.com/content/born-unwanted-developmental-effects-denied-abortion#.VLMXGyc3PEM.

Thomas R. Verny, M.D., with John Kelly, The Secret Life of the Unborn Child (Dell Publishing, 1981). This remarkable classic reports on research showing that what happens to us from conception through birth shapes our personalities, ambitions, and our emotional and physical health.

Thomas R. Verny, M.D. with Pamela Weinraub, Pre-Parenting: Nurturing Your Child from Conception (New York: Simon & Schuster).

16 Thomas R. Verny, M.D., “Birth and Violence.” See https://birthpsychology.com/free-article/birth-and-violence#.VLMhzCc3NXA.

Verny, Pre-parenting, chapter 5. Especially note the much greater risk for committing violent crime by 18 years of age when there is a combination of birth complication with maternal rejection, pp. 81 – 82.

17 Ashley Montagu, Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin (New York: Harper and Row, Third ed., 1986). This is the classic for understanding the importance of loving touch to mental and physical health.

18 Marshall H. Klaus, M.D., John H. Kennell, M.D., and Phyllis H. Klaus, C.S.W., M.F.C.C., Bonding: Building the Foundations of Secure Attachment and Independence (Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc., 1995).

19 James W. Prescott, Ph.D., “Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November 1975, 10–20. See http://www.violence.de/prescott/bulletin/article.html.

James W. Prescott, “Prevention or Therapy and the Politics of Trust: Inspiring a New Human Agenda,” Psychotherapy and Politics International 3, no. 3 (2005) 194–211. See http://violence.de/prescott/politics-trust.pdf

See further research of James W. Prescott, at http://violence.de, and purchase the DVD Rock-A-Bye Baby (a Time Life Video production), which documents the research of Prescott and others, at https://ttfuture.org/academy/james-w-prescott/overview. There is also a three-part YouTube series:
Part 1 of 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRI8VKApgsU
Part 2 or 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6sKo-OKAuE
Part 3 of 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jurRryx2a8I

Note from this writer: Watching these brain-damaged baby monkeys is difficult for anyone with a modicum of sensitivity toward the suffering of other beings. It is lamentable that our culture believes sacrificing the well-being of non-human innocents is necessary for scientific progress. I hope and believe that when we find the will to discover truths without such sacrifice, we will do so.

I also know James Prescott personally, and am aware that he passionately wants to stop human suffering at its origins. His groundbreaking research demonstrates that the deprivation of infant and adolescent needs results in violent societies, whereas the satisfaction of these needs results in nonviolent societies — an astounding discovery that should be made public.

Robin Grille, Parenting for a Peaceful World (Longueville Media, New South Wales, Australia, 2015) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..”>info@longuevillemedia.com.au. North American distributor: The Natural Child project, www.naturalchild.org or 877-593-1547. This important work documents the history of how child-rearing practices have forged the destiny of nations and cultures.

Marcy Axness, Parenting for Peace: Raising the Next Generation of Peacemakers (First Sentient Publications ed. 2012).

20 Grille, Parenting for a Peaceful World.

21 Levine, “Are Americans a Broken People?”

22 Bruce E. Levine, “How Psychologists Subvert Democratic Movements,” Z Magazine, October 2012. See

23 Levine, Get Up, Stand Up, 146.

24 Ibid.

25 Traumas of omission come from our unmet anaclitic needs, such as loving touch and unconditional love — needs that necessarily must be met from another person outside of ourselves. Traumas of commission are events that were done to us that were harmful, such as birth trauma, sexual abuse, or corporal punishment.

26 “Book Discussion on 9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out” (2005) and “Book Discussion on The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions” (2006). See http://www.c-span.org/search/?searchtype=Videos&sort=Newest&personid%5B%5D=1014188.

27 “C-SPAN Interviews Determined AE911Truth Founder: Richard Gage, AIA, Drives Home Explosive Evidence.” See http://www1.ae911truth.org/en/news-section/41-articles/907-c-span-interviews-determined-ae911truth-founder.html.

28 Craig McKee, “CNN’s ‘Yellow Journalism’ Rating Hits All-Time High: As Jake Tapper’s ‘The Lead’ Dips to a New Low with ‘Coverage’ of AE911Truth’s 9/11 Museum Brochure.” See http://www1.ae911truth.org/en/news-section/41-articles/884-cnns-yellow-journalism-rating-hits-all-time-high-.html.

“3 Towers, 2 Brochures, 1 Truth: Controversy Brims at Grand Opening of 9/11 Museum — AE911Truth On-Site to Set the Record Straight.” See http://www1.ae911truth.org/en/news-section/41-articles/893-3-towers-2-brochures-1-truth.html.

Craig McKee, “Draw Your Line in the Sand with a Letter to CNN: AE911Truth Slandered over 9/11 Museum Outreach — Legal Action Considered.” See www1.ae911truth.org/en/news-section/41-articles/894-draw-your-line-in-the-sand-with-a-letter-to-cnn.htm.

29 See the three most recent “Legislators” videos by Andy Steele of www.9/11FreeFall.com:
Part 5: Legislators, Pundits & 9/11 Controlled Demolition Questions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCLpELlZr9g.
Part 6: Legislators, Pundits & 9/11 Controlled Demolition Questions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43ELbMo4D1o.
Part 7: Legislators, Pundits & 9/11 Controlled Demolition Questions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJ6P6IcNKds.

30 International Poll: No Consensus on Who Was Behind 9/11. See http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/international_security_bt/535.php?nid=&id=&pnt=535.

31 Arundhati Roy, Power Politics (South End Press, 2001). See http://fleurmach.com/2014/11/03/arundhati-roy-on-accountability.

32 This excerpt from President Obama’s first prime-time news conference refers to his refusal to prosecute the Bush Administration for the crimes of torture. The full quote by Obama reads: “My view is also that nobody is above the law, and if there are clear instances of wrongdoing, that people should be prosecuted just like any ordinary citizen, but that, generally speaking, I’m more interested in looking forward than I am in looking backwards.”

To understand why “looking forward” without prosecution leads to more of the same kind of crime:
— See this interview with Professor of History Alfred McCoy of the University of Wisconsin-Madison: www.democracynow.org/2012/9/21/as_italy_sentences_23_cia_agents.
— Read this article by Roy Eidelson, “Rejecting the Obama-Cheney Alliance Against Torture Prosecutions”: http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/01/26/rejecting-obama-cheney-alliance-against-torture-prosecutions.

33 See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debbie_Downer.

Why Do Good People Become Silent—or Worse—About 9/11? Part 14: Learned Helplessness

By Frances T. Shure

Editor’s Note: Frances Shure, M.A., L.P.C., has performed an in-depth analysis addressing a key issue of our time: “Why Do Good People Become Silent — or Worse — About 9/11?” The resulting essay, being presented here as a series, is a synthesis of both academic research and clinical observations.


Fran ShureIn answering the question in the title of this essay, the December 2014 segment — Prior Knowledge of State Crimes Against Democracy and Deep Politics — explored how our prior knowledge of high crimes by governments, as well as our knowledge of the deep state — as opposed to the visible public state in which we participate as citizens — influences our level of receptivity to the evidence that contradicts the official 9/11 storyline.

Here, in the January 2015 installment, we continue Ms. Shure’s analysis with Part 14: Learned Helplessness, a conditioned response to trauma or adversity that involves ongoing pain as well as actual or perceived lack of control.

“I can see that 9/11 was a false flag operation, but there is nothing I can do to make a difference,” a male friend quietly admitted to me.

He is one of several friends who, in the years since September 11, 2001, have made similar remarks when I have asked them to tell me their thoughts about the evidence that refutes the official account of 9/11.
A female friend made another such statement, forcefully declaring, “If this is true about 9/11, then we’re in much worse shape than any of us have thought. This is way, way bigger than I am. In this case, perhaps evil will just need to run its course. There is nothing I can do.”
Then there was the man I met at the Denver People’s Fair, who hurried away from me to avoid any further conversation, simultaneously explaining, to my astonishment: “I agree with you that 9/11 was a false-flag operation. But this is what those in power have done to the rest of us for centuries. It will continue into the future, and there is nothing we can ever do to stop it.”
Still another acquaintance, upon hearing for the first time some of the unanswered questions surrounding 9/11, blurted out one of my favorite retorts: “What! I’ve never heard of this! Listen! If you are going to go after Sauron, you’d better be sure you have the ring!”His colorful declaration meant that without supernatural power, such an ambitious undertaking would be hopeless.1
I have long wondered if people with responses like these could be victims of “learned helplessness,” a psychological condition that was discovered by Martin E. P. Seligman and colleagues when they performed a series of brutal experiments that began with dogs as the subjects.
learned helplessness graph cpIn the 1960s, Seligman et al subjected approximately 150 harnessed and restrained dogs to a series of 64 moderately painful and inescapable electric shocks on the first day of each trial. It didn’t take the dogs long during that first phase to “learn” that they could not escape the torture. Soon they gave up trying and passively submitted to the pain, whining and sometimes rolling over in a submissive posture.
The second phase of the trial began 24 hours later. In it, the canine subjects were each put in a shuttle box, a two-sided chamber with a barrier in the middle that the dog could jump over — an action that would automatically turn off the shocks, allowing the dog to stop the pain. Additionally, a dimming light was used to signal that the next shock would come in 10 seconds, so that the dog could not only learn to escape the shocks, but could also eventually learn to avoid the shocks altogether by jumping the barrier as soon as he saw the light dim.
“Naïve” dogs, whohad not undergone the first phase of the trial with the inescapable shocks, quickly learned to escape the shocks in the shuttle box by jumping the barrier. They also eventually learned to avoid the shocks altogether by jumping when they saw the light begin to dim.
The very first time they were shocked in the shuttle box, the dogs in both groups ran around frantically for about thirty seconds. But after that, two-thirds of the first group of canines — those who had been given the first inescapable trial — showed a strikingly different pattern from the naïve dogs. Instead of discovering they could jump to safety, these dogs gave up, lying down and quietly whining while the shocks continued for 60 more seconds, at which time the trial ended.
To the surprise of the researchers, the same two-thirds of these traumatized dogs failed to escape in all of the succeeding trials. They had “learned” to feel helpless and hopeless. In other words, they had generalized their initial inescapable trauma, feeling trapped in all future escapabletraumatic situations.
Interestingly, the other one-third of the traumatized dogs did learn to escape the shocks in the shuttle box as effectively as the naïve dogs.
Of the approximately 100 dogs that had been conditioned to learned helplessness, Seligman summarizes:
Laboratory evidence shows that when an organism has experienced trauma it cannot control, its motivation to respond in the face of later trauma wanes. Moreover, even if it does respond, and the response succeeds in producing relief, it has trouble learning, perceiving, and believing that the response worked. Finally, its emotional balance is disturbed: depression and anxiety, measured in various ways, predominate.3
The key to learned helplessness, then, is actual or perceived lack of control.4
Variations of this study, conducted by Seligman and by other researchers, have demonstrated that whether the subjects are dogs, cats, rats, fish, monkeys, or humans, being subjected to uncontrollable trauma produces a marked decrease in one’s ability to respond adaptively to future controllable trauma.
Moreover, researchers have found that learned helplessness does not have to be the result of trauma. All that is needed to affect future behavior is an inescapable adverse event, such as an uncontrollable loud noise. Uncontrollable adverse events, they have discovered, tend to decrease the subject’s motivation to escape from frustration, retard his ability to solve problems or to learn in general, and chill his normal aggressive or defensive responses to future adverse events.
Seligman and his colleagues determined that people with the learned-helplessness condition express themselves with pessimism when they explain challenging situations. Expressions such as “It will never change” . . . “It’s my fault” . . . “I’m stupid” . . . “It’s going to last forever” . . . “All teachers are unfair” . . . “Diets never work” are clues that the speaker likely suffers from learned helplessness. These words convey the learned beliefs of: 1) permanence – the bad events or circumstances he faces are permanent, not temporary; 2) pervasiveness – a failure in one area of his life will automatically pervade all aspects of his life; and 3) low self-esteem – a sense of being inherently worthless, unlovable, and talentless.5
Learned helplessness, the researchers also discovered, is associated with subsequent depression, anxiety, phobias, shyness, and/or loneliness.6
The good news, however, is that learned helplessness is reversible. Seligman et al determined, after much trial and error, that the dogs who were conditioned to feel helpless could in fact be rehabilitated through “directive therapy.” The researchers removed the barrier in the shuttle box and, after the shocks began, used a leash to drag the dogs to the other side of the box, thus forcibly removing them from the electricity. After being pulled anywhere between 25 and 200 times, all the dogs finally responded on their own. Then, when the researchers replaced the barrier and gradually built it higher, these formerly helpless dogs continued to escape the electric shocks by jumping the barrier. Their recovery from helplessness proved to be complete and lasting.
Let’s now recall that one-third of the dogs who were subjected to the inescapable shocks acted just like the naïve dogs in the shuttle box. Why were these dogs apparently immune to being conditioned to learned helplessness? The answer most likely lies in subsequent studies, which have demonstrated that animals and people who have a history of experiences with controllabletrauma — in other words, trauma that they managed to master with their own efforts (and this criterion is key) — became immune to learned helplessness. Therefore, even when these beings are subjected to a traumatic situation later on, in which the outcome is actually uncontrollable, they remain unconvinced that they are now powerless. “This,” says Seligman, “is the heart of the concept of immunization.”7
Of course, the opposite is also true: A past history of experiences in which there was no escape will make it difficult for the human or animal to believe that an outcome is controllable, even when it actually is.
learned helplessness flow chartThese discoveries have profound implications for child rearing. Infants, children, and adolescents who are subjected to uncontrollable trauma or adverse events have a poor self-image. They become hopeless, unmotivated, depressed or anxious, and they fail to learn. These children become the very adults who, when subjected to the evidence that refutes the official 9/11 storyline, might run in the other direction to avoid the messenger — or, if cornered or pressed, quietly admit, “There is nothing I can do to make a difference” (or a variation thereof).
In my psychotherapeutic work, I discovered that some of my clients had experienced severe traumas during their birth process, their preverbal years, or their childhoods. These early, overwhelming traumas caused these individuals to automatically respond with a feeling of powerlessness whenever they were faced with a challenging situation. One example that comes to mind is the person who, as an infant, was reared in dire poverty. Her overworked, exhausted mother was largely unavailable, both physically and emotionally during her infancy and childhood. None of her attempts to get her mother to care for her succeeded, making this an uncontrollable situation. Another example I recall is the toddler who was left alone in a hospital for weeks on end without his mother or father present to comfort him. Both individuals, not surprisingly, suffered from subsequent depression and low self-esteem.
Another illustration of learned helplessness comes from the work of psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, who has documented many examples of birth trauma. If, for example, the second stage of birth is prolonged, with intense uterine contractions and a cervix not fully opened, the child is subjected to an uncontrollable, inescapable, and seemingly interminable battering from the contractions. No effort on her part can change this “no exit” situation. Babies who have undergone this birth trauma, Grof discovered, can develop “inhibited depression” later in life, even if other events in their subsequent development were benign. Inhibited depression is characterized by feelings of inferiority, inadequacy, helplessness, hopelessness, and existential despair. In other words, the uncontrollable aspect of trauma at this stage of birth can result in learned helplessness.8
Learned-helplessness conditioning can be established in adulthood as well. Victims of torture and troops who served in a war are liable to suffer from a condition that has been labeled Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As with the childhood and animal-research cases, if these adults exhibit signs of learned helplessness, it is an indication that they were probably subjected to a prolonged traumatic event that was uncontrollable.
If those who unconsciously harbor uncontrollable traumatic histories hear that they have been brutally lied to and that their fellow Americans have been mass murdered by their own government, the old, unconscious emotional reactions of being overwhelmed and helpless in infancy and childhood are likely reactivated, causing great distress and fear. These emotions are immediately followed by defensive responses such as avoidance, resignation, and/or apathy. Though the source of learned helplessness in humans often lies deep within the unconscious psyche, the condition can be healed through extensive psychotherapeutic work. Before healing is accomplished, however, any attempt to logically explain the 9/11 Truth evidence to such a traumatized person will probably fall on infertile ground.
Clearly, 9/11 is not the only tragic event in recent history that elicits a reaction of learned helplessness. The toxic cocktail of corruption, violence, and dysfunction so prevalent in today’s world can easily activate old traumas, reigniting feelings of being overwhelmed and hopeless. But then again, anyone with a modicum of awareness and sensitivity to the plight of other beings and the earth itself is rightly disturbed by the realities of today’s world.9
As activists, we need to heal our own anxiety and overarching sense of urgency to help us cultivate the understanding and compassion that allows us to empathize with people burdened by such internal handicaps as learned helplessness. These individuals are probably coping as best they can. Unless their wounds are healed, all the mountains of evidence we share with them about 9/11 Truth will likely make them feel disempowered and will thus be summarily rejected.
While the phenomenon of learned helplessness is backed by copious research, a concept called “the abuse syndrome” has not yet received this backing. Nonetheless, the abuse syndrome deserves to be considered as a possible explanation for reactions of helplessness, hopelessness, and apathy. We will explore it in the next segment of this series.

Editor’s note: To be continued in the next issue with Part 15: The Abuse Syndrome. Electronic sources in the footnotes have been archived. If they can no longer be found by a search on the Internet, readers desiring a copy may contact Frances Shure for a copy [ here ].

Continued with Part 15: The Abuse Syndrome

1 Sauron is the main antagonist in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. The cursed ring, which was to be destroyed by the relatively pure hero Frodo Baggins, seduced even the most pure of beings who possessed it into an insatiable lust for power. My acquaintance was implicating that if we were going to challenge such evil as was perpetrated on 9/11, then we had better have a ring of evil power in our possession.

2 After a conversation with one of my editors, I agreed with her that we should help raise consciousness about the plight of animals in our world. We have been trained in our culture to think of non-human beings as objects, even commodities — and as much less important than humans. The everyday language we use is one way to increase our awareness that animals feel, both physically and emotionally. They respond to pain, imprisonment, or betrayal with fear and anguish and confusion. They also respond to being treated with compassion, respect, and love. Thus, in this essay, I will use the pronoun “who” rather than “that” in referring to these innocents. To those who want to witness the profound sensitivity and intelligence of animals, I highly recommend one of the most beautiful films I have seen: The Animal Communicator, which may be watched or purchased online.

3 Martin E. P. Seligman, Helplessness: On Depression, Development, and Death (W.H. Freeman & Co., May 1992), 22 – 23.

Seligman, Helplessness.

5 Ibid. xx – xxiv.

6 Seligman, Helplessness

7 Ibid.60.

8 Stanislav Grof, Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death and Transcendence in Psychotherapy (State University of New York, 1985).

Stanislav Grof, The Adventure of Self-Discovery: Dimensions of Consciousness and New Perspectives in Psychotherapy and Inner Exploration (State University of New York Press, 1988).

Stanislav Grof is a world-renowned pioneer of psychodynamic and transpersonal psychology.

9 Dennis, Sheila, and Mathew Linn, Healing the Future. The Linns tell their personal stories of healing from societal trauma, activated by earlier developmental trauma, offering examples of simple healing exercises.

A Spiritual Issue Not To Be Silent About 9/11


Fran Shure: A Spiritual Issue Not To Be Silent About 9/11

by Susan Dugan

Right after 9/11, I remember talking to my women’s group and saying I just don’t think this could have happened without someone knowing about it and allowing it to,” says Fran Shure. “It was totally intuitive, because I knew nothing. And that was received with a lot of censoring remarks. I just looked at them and said, you know, I have the right to think the unthinkable and I’m going to look into this. And lo and behold, a video came my way and then a book and I was in shock, like most people would be, reading about evidence that showed we were not told the truth about what happened on 9/11.”

FRAN SHURE WAS IMMEDIATELY SKEPTICAL THE ATTACKS OF SEPT. 11, 2001 could have taken place without some sort of advance knowledge. After studying extensive written and video evidence, she is convinced that an objective scientific investigation was never initiated.

A retired psychotherapist and landscape designer who successfully juggled both professions for 30 years, Shure grew up in Texas and has spent most of her life in Colorado. The many causes she has championed include working for a freeze on nuclear weapons, the anti-globalization movement, and recently, the Colorado Community Rights Amendment allowing communities to exclude heavy industry (such as fracking) from their communities, due to deep concerns about fracking’s largely untested consequences for the environment. Initial doubts about what really happened on 9/11 and her subsequent inquiry ultimately spurred a kind of spiritual metamorphosis that continues to this day.

The book she refers to was The War on Freedom by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed. After reading it several times, she sent a summary to her Representative Diana DeGette and met with the congresswoman’s executive director. “He took me very seriously, and that got me on a roll,” Shure says. She eventually co-founded a local group, Colorado 9/11 Truth, dedicated to educating the public about evidence indicating the official story is not the whole truth, or perhaps even close to it. Colorado 9/11 Truth members have worked to bring this evidence to the public through documentary premieres, monthly meetings in Denver and Boulder, and persuading local media to broadcast and stream important content, among many other efforts.

“Looking at it, we have two theories,” Shure says. “The term ‘conspiracy’ is defined as a secret plan by two or more people to do something that’s illegal or harmful. So for 9/11, we have basically two conspiracy theories about what happened on that day: the official conspiracy theory, that 19 Muslims (members of Al Qaeda and directed by Osama bin Laden) caught our military off guard and attacked us. We were told they did this because they ‘hate our freedoms.’ The second conspiracy theory has two branches of thought. The first branch believes elements within our government knew the attacks were going to happen and allowed them. The second believes the 19 Muslims may have indeed planned the attacks but were ‘patsies,’ and that elements within our government actually orchestrated the attacks. Both branches believe the motivation by these forces within our government was to provide a pretext for going to war in the Middle East for oil and other resources. You have to look in a scientific way at these theories and ask: which one does the evidence support?”

Evidence that convinced Shure and others begins with an air defense failure. “According to Air Force manuals, any time an airplane goes off course or communication is lost the FAA automatically informs NORAD; within 10 minutes a plane has left and is usually on the tail of such a plane to see what’s wrong. It also takes only a couple of seconds to press a hijack code; none of the pilots of the four planes did. Those were the first things that caught my attention.”

She also found evidence of an “intelligence failure.” “For example, there were some FBI agents doing their best to get to Attorney General John Ashcroft to tell him they knew an attack was going to happen, the date, and almost the precise time, but he would not answer their telephone calls. So they went to David Shippers (chief counsel during the congressional probe of Bill Clinton; he was also working with and had many contacts within the FBI). Shippers also tried his best to reach Ashcroft, but Ashcroft would not return his phone calls. So these are all big red flags.”

In 2004 Shure learned of evidence that the Twin Towers came down at near “free fall” acceleration. “And then there was Building 7 that came down exactly at free fall and common sense physics tells you no object can drop at free fall without the material holding it up having been removed prior to the falling,” she says. “For me, that was the big shock. I thought – oh, now I see it wasn’t just someone allowing this to happen, there was orchestration. And further research validated that for me.” Much of this further research is presented in the documentary 9/11: Explosive Evidence, Experts Speak Out, which interviews prominent architects and engineers as well as Shure and other psychology professionals. The film is particularly focused on discrepancies between the official story and footage/eyewitness evidence of the collapse of the Twin Towers and Building 7.

Prompted by her initial doubts, Shure listened carefully to people’s first reactions upon hearing the evidence she presented that contradicts the official version of what happened that day. These spontaneous responses, along with her deep psychological grounding, form the backbone of her extensive article, Why Do Good People Become Silent—or Worse—About 9/11?, which she has been urged to publish as a book. “There’s a kind of energy and extreme honesty in those immediate responses,” says Shure.

Common theme? “Fear,” Shure says. “Fear that I better not go there – because if I believed that, I would be ostracized by my family and friends. A lot of it is really fear of having one’s world turned upside down. As Americans we believe we are from an essentially good nation and our government would never do things governments in lesser countries would. And so to challenge that belief is to challenge our identity. We have what’s called a ‘sacred mythology’ that explains who we are and why we’re doing what we’re doing. Our sacred myth concerning 9/11 is that we were caught off guard by 19 Muslims who attacked us, but we rose to the challenge to rid the world of terrorists, and this is why we now have an unending global ‘War on Terror.’ It is up to each of us to study the evidence on both sides of this issue to see if we believe this sacred myth, or not.

“As a result of 9/11,” Shure says, “we have a war on terror that will not end in our lifetime … over a million people killed in Iraq, millions maimed, and all these refugees. For me it is a spiritual issue not to be silent. I’ve learned that human fear is something one has to face until we’re enlightened. One of the ways for me to grow spiritually is to not let fear run my life. That made it relatively easy to face the fear, the darkness, and proceed.”

So what really happened and what was the government trying to accomplish? “We’re not claiming to know,” Shure says. “We’re saying, look, we need to get to the truth because we’re wreaking havoc on the whole world. Any investigation needs to look at who’s benefiting, but we haven’t had a real investigation. Even the chairs of the 9/11 Commission said they were set up to fail. They could not get people like Bush and Cheney to talk under oath, NORAD would not give them the truth about the air defense failures, and a full quarter of the footnotes in the 9/11 Report was information that came from people who were severely tortured. The 9/11 commissioners could not interview the detainees nor could they interview the interviewers of the detainees.”

In response to a prevailing perception that those questioning the government’s story on 9/11 are lunatic-fringe “conspiracy theorists,” Shure cites a recently published book by Florida State University Professor Lance deHaven Smith, Conspiracy Theory in America, which contends that the very term ‘conspiracy theory’ was introduced by the CIA into the media worldwide around 1967 as a derogatory term to discredit anyone not believing the Warren Commission Report on the assassination of JFK.

“At that time there were a lot of prominent people saying, this does not make sense,” says Shure. “The CIA conducted a psychological operation and took talking points such as, ‘how could they believe such a silly thing,’ ‘someone would have talked,’ and ‘the government is much too incompetent to pull something like this off.’ This wound up being a highly successful campaign to discredit anyone, any time, who questions what the government tells us. Now we’re immediately labeled ‘conspiracy theorists’ to stop all conversation.”

Shure admits that she, too, was affected by this attitude earlier in her life, and she remains empathetic with the difficulty people have considering the evidence about 9/11 for themselves. “I truly believe those of us who are in the 9/11 Truth movement have had our own moments of denial in order to avoid the anger, fear, grief, and sleepless nights. What I’m writing about are very human responses and we need to have compassion for ourselves and others. Sometimes people just carry too much inside to be able to listen. We need to proceed along and find people who have the fortitude to receive this information and go through their own transformation.”

Finding such people could be a very slow process, but this may actually be important to its success. “It’s natural and probably good the information slowly finds its way into the public eye. Because I think it’s such a shock to receive this. To be shown that the evidence tends to point to people who are supposed to be our protectors. From psychology we know that is very damaging to one’s whole belief about how the world is supposed to work.”

In the end, Shure believes looking at the evidence, and facing the fear that what we believe happened on 9/11 might be wrong, offers enormous potential for personal and collective healing. “As a psychotherapist I know you don’t heal old traumas until you can face and feel the truth. I cannot see how it would be any different on the collective level. By letting ourselves open up to a challenging experience and go through the process that takes us to the other side of the darkness and the fear, we become much more mature human beings and a much more mature country.”

(Editor’s note: read Why Do Good People Become Silent—or Worse—About 9/11? and watch 9/11: Explosive Evidence, Experts Speak Out at www.AE911Truth.org.)

Why Do Good People Become Silent—or Worse—About 9/11? Part 13: Prior Knowledge of State Crimes Against Democracy and Deep Politics


Editor’s Note: Frances Shure, M.A., L.P.C., has performed an in-depth analysis addressing a key issue of our time: “Why Do Good People Become Silent — or Worse — About 9/11?” The resulting essay, being presented here as a series, is a synthesis of both academic research and clinical observations.

In answering the question in the title of this essay, the November segment — Signal Detection Theory — examined how the “signal” of 9/11 Truth can be drowned out by excessive “noise” that comes from our information-overloaded world, our prior beliefs, and our psychological state of being.

Here, in the December installment, we continue Ms. Shure’s analysis with Part 13: Prior Knowledge of State Crimes Against Democracy and Deep Politics, which explores how our prior knowledge of state crimes by governments, as well as our knowledge of the deep state — as opposed to the visible public state in which we participate as citizens — affects our reception of evidence that indicates we have been lied to about 9/11.

People with prior knowledge of corporate and governmental malfeasance, but especially of State Crimes Against Democracy (SCADs), have an increased capacity to accept evidence that contradicts the official 9/11 conspiracy theory.

Lance deHaven-Smith Lance deHaven-Smith What are SCADs, and how do they differ from other political crimes? Lance deHaven-Smith, a professor of Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University, coined the term “state crimes against democracy” to distinguish them as the illegal or extralegal actions of public officials or elites who manipulate or subvert democratic processes and undermine popular sovereignty. In other words, State Crimes Against Democracy are high crimes that attack not only people, but democracy itself.1

Therefore, according to deHaven-Smith, “election tampering, political assassinations, voter fraud, government graft, non-governmental rogue operations, state counter-democratic actions, and corporate collusion with extralegal initiatives can be classified as SCADs.”2

Before September 11, 2001, each of us had varying degrees of knowledge about political intrigue. If, for example, we had already read professor Peter Dale Scott’s Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, or if we already had a solid understanding of known SCADs, such as Iran-Contra,3 the Gulf of Tonkin,4 and especially Operation Northwoods,5 then we likely had minimal resistance to the evidence pointing to 9/11 as a false-flag operation. On the other hand, those of us who possessed none of this knowledge before 9/11 would have been challenged by a huge paradigm shift when we awoke to the facts that contradicted the official storyline regarding that terrible day.

Peter Dale Scott Peter Dale Scott Like State Crimes Against Democracy, the term “deep politics” is invaluable in that it helps us wrap our minds around the concept that there is a “public state” and a “deep state.” The public state consists of the democratic republic that we are taught is our system of government and in which we dutifully participate as citizens. The deep state, on the other hand, is composed of the realpolitik powers and behind-the-scenes decisions about which ordinary citizens are unaware.6

Scott defines “deep state” more specifically:

Those parts of the government responding to . . . [the top 1% of wealth holders] influence I call the “deep state” (if covert) or “security state” (if military). Both represent top-down or closed power, as opposed to the open power of the public state . . . that represents the people as a whole. . . . The deep state’s secret top-down powers have become a major threat to democracy.7

Unless we have had a prior understanding of the deep state, we will likely dismiss the evidence presented by 9/11 skeptics. Peter Dale Scott’s invaluable book, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America, offers us this sorely needed historical context. In it, he writes:

In one sense, 9/11 is an event without precedent, and one that threatens to move America beyond the age of public politics to a new era in which power, more than ever before, is administered downward from above. But at the same time, 9/11 must be seen as a culmination of trends developing through a half century: toward secret top-down decision making by small cabals, toward the militarization of law enforcement, toward plans for the sequestering of those who dissent, toward government off-the-books operations, transactions, and assets, and toward governance by those [the 1%] who pay for political parties rather than those who participate in them.8 [Emphasis added]

Without some knowledge of this historical context, our deepest beliefs about our government and our democratic republic will be profoundly challenged when we first encounter evidence that refutes the official account of 9/11. The same is true when we encounter reports of past governmental treacheries, such as the deception that led to the Pearl Harbor attacks;9 Operation Northwoods — the 1962 false-flag plot designed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to commit acts of terrorism in American cities and elsewhere to justify an invasion of Cuba, which was rejected by President Kennedy;10 Operation Mockingbird, a CIA plot to control the media, instigated after World War II;11 the atrocities of Project MK-ULTRA experiments on unaware citizens;12 and the 1933 plot by wealthy businessmen to overthrow the U.S. government and create a fascist state, as Major General Smedley Butler testified to in a 1934 congressional hearing.13

“The deep state’s secret top-down powers have become a major threat to democracy.

~ Peter Dale Scott

With rare exception, our educational system avoids the history of these and other betrayals by our government and/or elite interests, thus creating a naïve and credulous population, willing to accept passively the “reality” portrayed by the CIA-and-corporate-controlled media.

In fact, as Florida professor Lance deHaven-Smith informs us in his groundbreaking book, Conspiracy Theory in America, we have been conditioned to recoil psychologically from such “conspiracy theories,” even when these theories are documented and credible.

Our current inability to look unselfconsciously at the evidence pointing to an official conspiracy behind 9/11 can be traced to a highly successful CIA operation. In 1967, four years after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, the CIA became concerned with the growing number of newspaper articles and books reporting on evidence in the Warren Commission report itself that contradicted the lone-gunman and single-bullet theories. Public opinion polls were beginning to indicate that a plurality of Americans did not fully accept the Commission’s report, and the integrity of democracy in the U.S. was coming into question.14

The CIA responded to this growing crisis by sending a secret dispatch — memo 1035-960 — to CIA agents worldwide. This directive instructed these agents to contact journalists and opinion leaders in their locales and ask for their assistance in countering the influence of “conspiracy theorists” who were publishing “conspiracy theories” that blamed top leaders in the U.S. for Kennedy’s death.15

Skeptics of the official 9/11 account have heard ad nauseam the retort, “I cannot believe that a conspiracy of this magnitude could be true because people can’t keep secrets — someone would have talked!”

This belief comes directly from one of the talking points of the memo: “Conspiracy on the large scale often suggested [by “conspiracy theorists”] would be impossible to conceal in the United States. . . .”

This now-ingrained belief in our society has successfully deterred many people from seriously considering the 9/11 evidence that contradicts the official story.16 As explained in Part 8 on brain research, it is these strong beliefs that may keep us from even considering the compelling evidence that 9/11 skeptics present.

Fortunately, memo 1035-960 was declassified through a Freedom of Information Act in 1976 and was released in full in 1998.17 Since 1967, the derogatory nature of the conspiracy meme skyrocketed in the press, so that anyone who had the audacity to question the official story-line of a significant event was viewed by most Americans as deranged or unstable. These CIA talking points are used to this day by ill-informed journalists and citizens to avoid seriously looking at facts and evidence that contradict any official story, including the story we were told about 9/11.18

I was one who was thoroughly conditioned. A few years before 9/11, I responded, as if on cue, to a friend who was suspicious of the government’s unlikely account of an event (it may have been the Oklahoma City bombing) with a glib “Oh! I don’t believe in conspiracy theories!” But just weeks after 9/11, I began to open my eyes to the crystal-clear evidence of a conspiracy, which was presented to me by the then-nascent 9/11 Truth Movement. After reading a book on the subject in the summer of 2002, I was completely cured of my old conditioning!19

One would ideally expect academics to do research and think critically — and to encourage students to do the same — in order to determine whether the government’s theory or an alternative theory is the more substantiated and correct one. Sadly, most professors disdain and even censor information that points to as-yet-unproven conspiracies.20

Fortunately, though, social psychologists have taken the lead in reversing this censoring trend. They recognize that the term “state crimes against democracy” encourages inquiry, unlike the meme “conspiracy theory,” which, because of our knee-jerk conditioning, encourages censorship.

Once social psychologists begin inquiring into suspected SCADs, they then will be able to identify “patterns in SCAD victims, tactics, timing, those who benefit, and other SCAD characteristics,”21 writes deHaven-Smith. The social psychologists who systematically examine suspected SCADs — as they would examine any other social phenomena — will better understand deep politics. This scholarly examination will then lead them to identify our system’s institutional vulnerabilities. Armed with such studies, they will be able to recommend that protections be established or strengthened.22

Without scientific inquiry by scholars and other concerned citizens into State Crimes Against Democracy, we are left floundering in a sea of competing theories, believing that we will never know the truth, so why even try. As deHaven-Smith observes:

When suspicious incidents occur that alter the nation’s objectives, disrupt presidential elections, provoke military action, or otherwise affect the national agenda, Americans tend to accept the self-serving accounts of public officials, seldom considering the possibility that such incidents might have been initiated or facilitated by the officials themselves. The role and function of the universally understood concept of “agent provocateur” is grossly neglected in the idiom of American political discourse. This mass gullibility, which itself invites SCADs, is unlikely to change until SCAD detection and prosecution are improved.23 [Emphasis added]

The word “corruption” is far too weak to describe the condition in which we find ourselves in the U.S. today. For example, there has been a merger of corporate interests within segments of our government—such as the revolving door of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other federal agencies designed to protect citizens. As a result, officials no longer even bother to adhere to the ethical standard of recusing themselves from a position of power or influence when faced with a conflict of interest.

Moreover, our government representatives have accepted a system of legalized bribery in the form of massive corporate campaign contributions. Thus we have, as investigative journalist Greg Palast satirically puts it, “the best democracy money can buy.”24

Add this to the stunning fact that, to date, we have yet to witness a real criminal investigation into the attacks of 9/11, and we clearly see that the United States of America has become a culture of unaccountability. More precisely, there is wholesale impunity for the elite operatives of the deep state, but not for the rest of us.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind’s report of a conversation with a former George W. Bush senior advisor gives us an idea of the relative invulnerability of these deep-state operatives. In his New York Times article, “Faith, Certainty, and the Presidency of George W. Bush,” Suskind wrote:

In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn’t like about Bush’s former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House’s displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn’t fully comprehend — but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”25 [Emphasis added]

With blatant arrogance and remarkable clarity, this senior advisor was outlining his participation in the deep state. In fact, the operatives of the deep state, whether they are government officials or the business and banking elite of our country or their proxies, are the ones who would necessarily be the perpetrators of State Crimes Against Democracy — the aforementioned historical SCADs as well as 9/11 and the accompanying anthrax attacks in 2001.26 Hand in hand, piece by piece, they destroy the representative democracy that we inherited from our forefathers, who, by the way, predicted and adamantly warned us against such treachery.27

“This mass gullibility, which itself invites SCADs, is unlikely to change until SCAD detection and prosecution are improved.”

~ Lance DeHaven-Smith

Another aspect contributing to the destruction of our republic is the common citizen’s ignorance (willful or not) and/or acquiescence (witting or not). This is where the importance of the 9/11 Truth Movement and other movements working toward transparency and democracy can make a significant impact. There are numerous active groups around the world whose members have become informed on various issues. They work diligently to educate and transform societies so that all peoples may have health, prosperity, sovereignty, a sustainable environment, and accurate information for making informed decisions.

How does our knowledge of SCADs and of deep politics influence how we approach individuals with the evidence that indicates our government is lying to us about 9/11?

Well, this essay has established that a person’s prior knowledge of high political crimes is key to whether or not they remain silent — or worse — about 9/11. Thus, we 9/11 Truth activists will be more successful in convincing people to accept our information if we first ascertain what our listeners already know. Then we can start a dialogue with them, based on how much knowledge they currently possess, rather than where we want their level of knowledge to be.

Clearly, prior knowledge of State Crimes Against Democracy and an understanding of deep politics are empowering assets that help us detect signals warning us that we are, once again, being deceived. However, as we shall see in the following section, detecting such signals may weaken some people, not empower them. This may be because they are the victims of “learned helplessness.”

Editor’s note: To be continued in the next issue with Part 14: Learned Helplessness. Electronic sources in the footnotes have all been archived. If they can no longer be found by a search on the Internet, readers desiring a copy may contact Frances Shure for a copy [ here ].

[1] Lance deHaven-Smith, “Beyond Conspiracy Theory: Patterns of High Crime in American Government,” American Behavioral Scientist 53, no. 6 (February 2010): 795–825; this entire issue is devoted to research on State Crimes Against Democracy.

Lance deHaven-Smith, “When Political Crimes Are Inside Jobs: Detecting State Crimes Against Democracy,” Administrative Theory & Praxis, 28, no. 3 (2006): 330–355.

Lance deHaven-Smith, Conspiracy Theory in America (University of Texas Press, 2013).

[2] Daniel K. Sage, “An Overview of State Crimes Against Democracy,” 2013. See this article for other SCAD-like operations not mentioned by deHaven-Smith.

[3] http://globalresearch.ca/…/LOB308A.html.

[4] http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-tonkin-gulf-war-pretext…/5341718.

[5] http://whatreallyhappened.com/…/northwoods.html.

[6] Mike Lofgren, “Anatomy of the Deep State.”

[7] Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (University of California Press, 2007), 4.

[8] Ibid. 2.

[9] Robert B. Stinnett, Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor (Free Press; Touchstone edition, 2001).

[10] http://whatreallyhappened.com/…/northwoods.html.

[11] Alex Constantine, Virtual Government: CIA Mind Control Operations in America (Feral House, 1997), 35–66.

Carl Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media: How America’s Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up.”

William Casey, CIA Director, 1981–1987, candidly said, “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

[12] Constantine, Virtual Government.

[13] http://en.wikipedia.org/…/Business_Plot

An excellent article on proven conspiracies: http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/…/rethinking-conspiracy.

[14] deHaven-Smith, Conspiracy Theory in America, 108.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid. 200.

[17] Ibid. 107.

See full dispatch here.

[18] An article depicting the continued use of several of these talking points here.

[19] Michael Ruppert’s talk on VHS, Truth and Lies About 9/11 became available as early as the fall of 2001, and Nafeez Mosaddeq Amhed’s book, The War on Freedom, was published in July 2002.

[20] Adnan Zuberi, 9/11 in the Academic Community. This excellent film details the taboo nature of 9/11 in institutions of higher learning.

[21] deHaven-Smith, Beyond Conspiracy Theory, 799.

[22] Ibid. 796.

[23] Ibid. 811.

[24] Greg Palast, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, (First Plume Printing, 2003), 25.

[25] Ron Suskind, “Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush,” New York Times Magazine, October 17, 2004.

[26] Graeme MacQueen, The 2001 Anthrax Deception: The Case for a Domestic Conspiracy (Clarity Press, 2014).

[27] deHaven-Smith, Conspiracy Theory in America.

Continued with Part 14: Learned Helplessness

Why Do Good People Become Silent—or Worse—About 9/11? Part 10 and 11

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Written by Frances T. Shure

Part 10: Terror Management Theory


Part 11: Systems Justification Theory

© by Frances T. Shure, 2014

911-experts-shureFrances T. Shure, M.A., L.P.C. Editor’s Note: Frances Shure, M.A., L.P.C., has performed an in-depth analysis addressing a key issue of our time: “Why Do Good People Become Silent—or Worse—About 9/11?” The resulting essay, being presented here as a series, is a synthesis of both academic research and clinical observations.

In answering the question in the title of this essay, the August segment, Part 9, reported on the interface between brain research and the study of moral psychology, and how this research demonstrates that some moral convictions are innate and thus hardwired in the human nervous system. Additionally, we learned that some of these innate brain structures make it difficult for 9/11 Truth activists to present their evidence, as well as for listeners to receive this evidence openly.

We continue Ms. Shure’s analysis in October with a dual offering — Part 10: Terror Management Theory, and Part 11: Systems Justification Theory. They examine, respectively, how the fear of our own death and the need to feel good about the cultural system in which we live create resistance to the evidence presented by 9/11 skeptics.

Part 10: Terror Management Theory

terror-mngt-theory-articleTerror Management Theory postulates that whenever we are introduced to information that reminds us of death — such as simply the mention of 9/11 — our anxiety increases, since we are reminded of our own inevitable death. This anxiety is called “mortality salience.” Studies show that our behavior immediately becomes more defensive when we are reminded of death. In turn, we become increasingly insecure. This normally causes us to show increased preference for members of our own group (the “in group”) over out-group members; to show more “consensus bias,” or favoritism toward those who hold beliefs similar to our own; and to develop “compensatory conviction,” an inflated faith in our personal worldview, such as a bias toward our own country and religion.

Therefore, when we skeptics try to educate people about 9/11, we provoke anxiety in our listeners since, unconsciously, we are reminding them of their own death. More defensive behaviors then ensue.

In addition, if our listeners view us as members of a minority group, they usually resist what we are saying — at least initially. If, on the other hand, they view us as members of the majority group, they are more likely to accept our information. In other words, people like to be on the winning side, or in the middle of the bell curve, as we saw in Part 6: Conformity.

As of this writing, skeptics of the official account of 9/11 are generally viewed as holding a minority opinion, but this need not remain the case. The good news is that research shows that information coming from a perceived minority group, although initially resisted, often exerts a hidden or delayed impact. When listeners hear dissenting views repeated, those views become more familiar. Thus, resistant individuals, when interviewed later, often show shifts in favor of the new information.1

German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer intuitively understood this delayed impact when he wrote,

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Those of us who are doing the difficult work of advancing 9/11 Truth should keep this delayed impact in mind. If we continue to sow the seeds of the idea that we have been lied to about 9/11, they will germinate and grow in time. But let us do our sowing with documented facts, calmness, and compassion. This is the approach most likely to nourish the growth of 9/11 Truth.

Now, we look at Systems Justification Theory, which overlaps Terror Management Theory.

Part 11: Systems Justification Theory

Social psychologists have recognized for some time that, owing to a need for stability and order, people engage in behaviors that reinforce their self-esteem (ego-justification) and that promote a positive image of the group with which they identify (group-justification).

Systems Justification Theory goes a step further, postulating that people have an additional motive for maintaining stability and order: They feel the need to defend the status quo of the larger social systems with which they identify (systems-justification). In some cases, this need to justify a social system can trump one’s own self-interest and group interest. For example, women who receive less pay for work that is equal to the work of men may justify this inequality by declaring — and believing — that they do not deserve equal pay.

In other words, people want to feel good about the cultural systems in which they live. This applies not only to advantaged groups, but also to disadvantaged groups — even when the prevailing cultural system directly opposes the interests of these disadvantaged groups.

When it comes to the challenge of receiving evidence indicating that our government lied to us about 9/11 — and indeed, when this information points toward the culpability of elements within our own government — a person’s strong need for normalcy, stability, and order may be triggered. This need can overpower his or her need to know the truth.

As behavioral neuroscientist Laurie Manwell states:

It is not surprising, therefore, that when confronted with the inconsistencies of the events of September 11, 2001 — for example, conflicts between information widely reported by the mainstream media, government, and 9/11 Commission and dissimilar information presented by less-well-known alternative media, dissenting experts, scholars, and whistleblowers — many people initially react by aggressively defending the official story, even to the point of fabricating arguments to support their beliefs.2

We all recall the flag waving that began immediately after 9/11. We may also recall Dan Rather’s statement to the BBC about journalists’ fear of being “necklaced” if they asked hard questions about why the U.S. government was militarily invading Iraq. His statements are an especially clear insight into systems justification to maintain the status quo:

And in some ways the fear is that you will be necklaced here, you will have a flaming tyre [British for “tire”] of lack of patriotism put around your neck. Now it is that fear that keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions, and to continue to bore in on the tough questions so often. And again, I am humbled to say, I do not except myself from this criticism…. What we are talking about here — whether one wants to recognize it or not, or call it by its proper name or not — is a form of self-censorship. It starts with a feeling of patriotism within oneself. It carries through with a certain knowledge that the country as a whole — and for all the right reasons — felt and continues to feel this surge of patriotism within themselves. And one finds oneself saying: “I know the right question, but you know what? This is not exactly the right time to ask it”….I worry that patriotism run amok will trample the very values that the country seeks to defend….3

Many skeptics of the official 9/11 account can remember being reviled and chastised as “un-American” for questioning the official story of 9/11 in the first few years after those devastating attacks. Such epithets as “blasphemous!” “nut case!” “unethical!” and “insulting to the families!” were often hurled in anger and ridicule at 9/11 Truth activists, especially in the earlier days of our movement. The most predominant term used to shame and censure the messenger was — and remains — “conspiracy theorist!”4

According to Systems Justification Theory, the fear and emotional disequilibrium resulting from the 9/11 and anthrax incidents5 stimulated the human need to defend the status-quo worldview of our democratic republic, and to reject — or vehemently attempt to censor — information that conflicted with the official story. It was a fear-filled time for our country. Many citizens, instead of questioning either the official accounts of 9/11 or the ensuing wars, became fervently “patriotic.” They supported the Bush administration’s official account about 9/11 and aligned themselves with the beat of that administration’s war drums.

A curious and disturbing twist to the impulse to “justify” our system was demonstrated by an acquaintance of mine who had finally decided that 9/11 was indeed an “inside job.” He confided to me, “I can see that 9/11 was an inside job, was done by our government. After you look at 20 hours of videos and read a book or two, this becomes obvious. But I think our government had to do it. It’s like Pearl Harbor. We had to get into World War II because of the Nazis, so the deception [by the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration] that caused Pearl Harbor was necessary. With 9/11, the Saudis were getting out of line, and since we need them [for their oil], we had to show them what we could do if they got out of line. So by attacking Afghanistan and Iraq, we showed them — and everyone — what could happen to them if they got out of line.”

Equally surprisingly, another male acquaintance told me quite frankly, “I think we have a great country. As long as my family is fine and we can live the lifestyle we have, the truth is, I don’t really care what happened on 9/11 — even if parts of our government did it.”

The same attitude, although about a different issue, was displayed by a physician acquaintance who supports neoliberal economic policies, including “structural adjustments” — the sale or removal of public assets and resources such as tax-funded health care and education — in order to pay down debts owed to the World Bank or International Monetary Fund. Since the draconian debts incurred by the governmental leaders and owed to these lenders are paid from a combination of workers’ taxes, cuts in social spending, and the sale of national industries and natural resources for pennies on the dollar, such neoliberal policies further impoverish the already economically disadvantaged working classes, resulting in the further enrichment of the few foreign investors in the country.6

In other words, these policies further widen the gap between the rich and the poor. I asked this physician, “Don’t you think we can prosper and live well without our prosperity being won upon the backs of others?” Without a moment’s hesitation, without even an apology, he answered, “No, absolutely not.”

Although this frank acknowledgment and support of the brutality of “Empire” can be shocking, surely the same attitude was held by many Roman, British, Dutch, and Spanish citizens who gained, often royally, from their respective country’s imperial exploits in different eras.7 Why would Americans of today be any less willfully myopic? Why would we have any less of a sense of entitlement or, for whatever unanalyzed reason, feel any less strongly that we deserve the prosperity brought to us by the weapons of our “Empire”?

Justification of our imperial system may reside, consciously or unconsciously, within the psyches of more Americans than we would like to believe. I suspect that many United States citizens, whether they have clearly thought about it or not, have the underlying attitude, “Let the boys in the back room do our dirty work for us, but, please, spare me the details — especially of the suffering that the dirty work brings to others. I just want to be able to enjoy my American way of life.”

We are addressing U.S. citizens here, but the attitude of superiority and entitlement can be found in all countries (and individuals) that act imperially. This attitude could well be another source of the “I don’t want to know” syndrome being analyzed in this essay.

We gain some understanding of how dangerous this all-too-human tendency to justify our social system can be when we consider the silence in the 1930s of the “good Germans” who saw their neighbors being forcibly taken away. They had heard about the concentration camps, but would not speak up — justifying to themselves, perhaps, that “our system is essentially good and therefore could not be that evil.” This justification, in turn, caused them to rationalize that their governmental leaders must know more than they themselves did, and that their government therefore must be doing what was best for them and the country. In other words, they were justifying their social system and, as a result, trusting the boys in the backroom.8

It is this very same tendency to become silent — or worse — that we are attempting to understand here, independently of the historical context.

Looking back on Americans’ negative reactions toward 9/11 skeptics, and considering as well how people justify imperial violence to preserve their affluent lifestyle, we may wonder if there is any hope for humanity. Fortunately, though, during certain points in history, such as the women’s suffrage and civil rights movements, consciousness has been observed to rise — perhaps expanding under a society’s radar for quite some time, until it finally breaks through an invisible psychological barrier. Then change occurs, often in spite of apparently overwhelming odds.

Even with the corporate-owned media abdicating its responsibility to ask the tough questions about 9/11 and about the ensuing wars, grassroots activists have nevertheless spread knowledge of the evidence that points to a very different accounting of 9/11. The word gets out through books, online articles, DVDs, radio interviews, podcasts, websites, blogs, conferences, academic research papers, and peer-reviewed journals. This 9/11 activism and other events, such as the 2005 leak and publication of the Downing Street memo, have revealed the lies told by the Bush administration. The result has been an erosion of the airtight official story of 9/11 and the executive branch’s other pretexts for war.

According to Systems Justification Theory, when the collective worldview erodes enough, people’s defense of the status quo weakens in response, and there is increasing support for an emerging worldview.9

This is borne out by a Scripps Howard poll in 2006, which found that 36% of Americans consider it “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that government officials either allowed the 9/11 attacks to be carried out or carried out the attacks themselves.10 As Lev Grossman reports in Time magazine, “Thirty-six percent adds up to a lot of people. This is not a fringe phenomenon. It is a mainstream political reality.”11

We again see the eroding of the official 9/11 account in an Angus-Reid poll that compared responses in 2002 and 2006: The poll found that in 2002, 21% of Americans believed the government was telling the truth about prior knowledge of the events of 9/11, but in 2006 only 16% believed this.12 In recalling the Diffusion of Innovations studies in Part 2, this 16% brings to mind the “Laggards,” the folks who will never change their attitudes.

Finally, from observation in the field, 9/11 Truth activists report that, while there are still many Americans who know very little about the evidence that we present, there is currently much less hostility toward our attempts to educate the public. In fact, for the last few years at the People’s Fair in Denver, we have noted much curiosity about this issue, as well as profuse gratitude for our persistent educational efforts.

According to Laurie Manwell’s analysis,

…citizen trust in the current political system is moving toward a tipping-point phenomenon that threatens to change the status quo: Questions about the motives of the Bush administration post-9/11 are translating into questions about the complicity of U.S. officials in the events of 9/11, which could have future repercussions on democracy in America.13

Let’s hope, for the sake of our nation and the world, that this scholar’s analysis is accurate.

In our next installment, we will shift to another theory about why good people become silent about 9/11. The question in Part 12, Signal Detection Theory, will be: “Are they receiving our message, or is there too much noise for them to hear it?”

Editor’s note: Electronic sources in the footnotes have been archived. If they can no longer be found by a search on the Internet, readers desiring a copy may contact Frances Shure [ Here ].

Continued with Part 12: Signal Detection Theory.

[1] Zakary L. Tormala, Victoria L. DeSensi, and Richard E. Petty, “Resisting Persuasion by Illegitimate Means: A Metacognitive Perspective on Minority Influence,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 33 (2007): 354–367; this research was found in:

Laurie Manwell, Ph.D. Candidate, Behavioural Neuroscience and Toxicology, University of Guelph, “Faulty Towers of Belief: Part I, Demolishing the Iconic Psychological Barriers to 9/11 Truth,” Journal of 9/11 Studies, article here.

Also relevant is Laurie Manwell’s presentation at the 2011 Toronto Hearings, where she addressed Terror Management Theory in the Q&A session here.

[2] Laurie Manwell, “In Denial of Democracy: Social Psychological Implications for Public Discourse on State Crimes Against Democracy Post-9/11,” American Behavioral Scientist 53, no. 6 (February 2010).

[3] Dan Rather’s statement here.

[4] Lance deHaven-Smith, Conspiracy Theory in America (University of Texas Press, 2013). DeHaven-Smith analyzes the history of the development of the derogatory nature of the term “conspiracy theory,” tracing it to a CIA propaganda campaign to discredit doubters of the Warren Commission’s report.

[5] Graeme MacQueen, The 2001 Antrax Deception: The Case for a Domestic Conspiracy (Clarity Press, September 1, 2014). See interview with Dr. Graeme MacQueen on the anthrax attacks here.

Also, Lance deHaven-Smith records how false flag operations often occur in clusters in his ground-breaking book, Conspiracy Theory in America (University of Texas Press, 2013).

[6] John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (Plume, 2005). Perkins’s groundbreaking book exposes the realpolitik behind the debt incurred by third-world countries.

[7] For a list of the world’s largest empires and their territorial and economic gains, see here.

[8] This discussion brings to mind David Ray Griffin’s excellent lecture, “9/11 and Nationalist Faith“; see transcript here.

[9] J. T. Jost, J Pietrzak, I. Liviatan, A. N. Mandisodza, and J. L. Napier, “System Justification as Conscious and Nonconscious Goal Pursuit,” in Handbook of Motivation Science, eds. J. Y. Shah and W. L. Gardner (New York: Guilford, 2008), 591–605; this material can be found in Manwell, “In Denial of Democracy.”

[10] http://www.911truth.org/articleforprinting.php?story=20060802215417462

[11] Lev Grossman, “Why the 9/11 Conspiracies Won’t Go Away,” Time, September 3, 2006; see site here. For a critique of Grossman’s article, see http://911review.com/reviews/time/markup/conspiracytheories.html.

[12] Americans Question Bush; for more polls, see here.

[13] Manwell, “In Denial of Democracy.”