Zahir’s response to Stephen Lendman’s ‘David Ray Griffin v. Cass Sunstein’

Zahir’s response to Stephen Lendman’s ‘David Ray Griffin v. Cass Sunstein’

Did David Ray Griffin and Steve Lendman miss the real purpose of Cass Sunstein’s “Conspiracy Theories”?

Zahir Ebrahim | Project

October 02, 2010 | Revised Monday, October 04, 2010

Thanks to Stephen Lendman for reviewing David Ray Griffin’s new book on Cass Sunstein’s craftsmanship. I haven’t read the book but I have studied the Sunstein paper very carefully. The most significant thing about Sunstein’s “cognitive infiltration” for “beneficial cognitive diversity” is that like Brzezinski’s “hegemony”, it is “as old as mankind”. There is absolutely nothing new in Sunstein’s advocacy that hasn’t been ongoing covertly, continuously, since time immemorial, for as long as state-power has ruled over plebes. [1] To wit:

‘First, responding to more rather than fewer conspiracy theories has a kind of synergy benefit: it reduces the legitimating effect of responding to any one of them, because it dilutes the contrast with unrebutted theories. Second, we suggest a distinctive tactic for breaking up the hard core of extremists who supply conspiracy theories: cognitive infiltration of extremist groups, whereby government agents or their allies (acting either virtually or in real space, and either openly or anonymously) will undermine the crippled epistemology of those who subscribe to such theories. They do so by planting doubts about the theories and stylized facts that circulate within such groups, thereby introducing beneficial cognitive diversity.’

Apart from fancy pedantic jargon, what’s new in it? For instance, the following is a very clear, and far finer exposition of the topic than either Sunstein’s academic gibberish, or others’ erudite prose on Sunstein critiquing the scholar’s pedantry. This is from a 007 vintage movie clip ‘License to Kill‘, where James Bond exactly implements Sunstein’s proposal of gaining trust through “cognitive infiltration” and to muddy up the waters with “cognitive diversity”, and then it goes a lot further by having the antagonists turn on each other directly as a result of planting doubt. So that, ultimately, the target of James Bond’s clever deception remains none the wiser of what really happened. Please fast-forward to time 8:50 in the clip to witness the craftsmanship attributed to Sunstein being superbly implemented by Hollywood a decade earlier – and which has remained the staple of B-grade gangster/FBI movies ever since Hollywood came into being: [2]

Video James Bond 007 demonstrates 'Cognitive Infiltration' in License to Kill

So, if I may tepidly ask, what is all this supercilious excitement among lauded dissent-chiefs for some disinfo article written by an establishment insider as a “Limited Hangout” for age-old techniques of subversion already in practice – whether the good guys apply them or the bad guys apply them the techniques of deception are still the same – and which have been standard operating practice of Machiavellian statecraft forever?

Lendman mentions something about “legality”! This valued opinion, and of those who are quoted, is directly undermined by both a US Supreme Court Justice, and also by empiricism du jour:

‘Nothing is more certain in modern society than the principle that there are no absolutes, that a name, a phrases, a standard has meaning only when associated with the considerations which give birth to nomenclature. To those who would paralyze our Government in the face of impending threat by encasing it in a semantic strait-jacket, we must reply that all concepts are relative.’ — Justice Vinson, U.S. Supreme Court, 1951 AD

All the tactics that the learned law professor from Harvard/Chicago – President Obama’s key pointman on wielding information as the modern weapon for instrumenting hegemony when “democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization” – has advocated are already in play, have been in play, and were even formally recognized as being in play during cointelpro. Lendman too rightly noted its former prevalence in the review. But I believe both he and David Griffin missed on its political science significance, parroting the chapter and verse and not its underlying reality which determines it entirely. “Legality”, in practice, and as is self-evident, only means until one is not caught in “victor’s justice” as was amply demonstrated at Nuremberg.

There is no Nuremberg today, when, as Zbigniew Brzezinski gleefully noted in the grotesque pages of The Grand Chessboard: “The collapse of its rival left the United States in a unique position. It became simultaneously the first and the only truly global power.” So, the super king decides what is legal and illegal, as has always been the case, and regardless of what’s on the king’s own dusty old law books which is largely for applying to others. Evidently, as quoted above, the kingdom’s own Supreme Court Justice concurs. And unremarkably, so do the ‘untermensch’ worldwide who also acknowledge by way of direct experience, as opposed to the theoreticians of dissent who have never felt a napalm fall on their home as they spew theories and platitudes, that “America decide what is right what is wrong”: [2a]

Video America decide what is right what is wrong

The roots of domestic subversion as a formal tool for exuding hegemony internationally by the Government of the United States (i.e., with a presidential signature on it) are traced directly to NSC 10/2 which President Truman signed in 1948 to give cover to the newly formed CIA’s covert-ops and the requirement for creating “plausible deniability” for the President if the public gets wind of it prematurely. And, as a key part of preparing the multiple lies and deception, euphemistically called “cover stories”, ahead of time, the capability to deny the public any cohesive way to get wind of it in the first place, is an obvious part of it. Ergo, “cognitive infiltration”, “beneficial cognitive diversity”, and ultimately, assassinations to boot, all for the purpose of derailing any effective dissent with the ruling agenda. That is sum total of Sunstein’s academic pedantry in a nutshell. The fact remains that this indispensable function of modern statecraft, of nullifying constitutionally protected dissent in a Republic by covert means, is what had formally led to cointelpro, which, becoming too unpopular when exposed and having its mandate revoked on public pressure, just went fully covert as it had always been.

This is typical empire-building scholarship of Harvard/Chicago, and if I might say so, of most if not all of America’s top imperial schools. In fact, of all previous empire’s schools as well. The British always have been, and still are, the masters of it. Academe has always been in the service of empire – one way or another, ever since Francis Bacon defined Western academe’s funding practices at the dawn of the industrial age, directly putting Science in the Service of Empire. I can speak of this personally too, having attended MIT – almost its entire budget is from the military-industrial complex of America. Harvard’s and Chicago’s also comes from globalists like Rockefellers et. al. The plebes know that the learned also know which side their bread is buttered in scholarship. I just wish all scholars of empire would drop their pretenses at piety. This is why Sunstein to me is still refreshing. He is un-apologetic, like Zbigniew Brzezinski – just like Hitler and his craftsman were at the peak of their own hubris. I know where they stand.

Deception, of which deniability and domestic subversion are merely components, is an inherent tool of all modern statecraft. As James Jesus Angleton, the former director for CIA’s counter-intelligence ops in the United States during the 1960s, and under whose watch all the major assassination of United States leaders transpired, had noted: “Deception is a state of mind, and the mind of State”. But it is also an art as old as Machiavelli. A science as old as governing the plebes by an oligarchy in ancient Greek’s democracy. And certainly a craft as old as the controllers in Plato’s “myth of the cave” – 2500 years old – and for which, mechanisms as old as Machiavelli, including those re-hashed by Sunstein, have forever been in foreplay.

Just thought I’d add a dose of reality-check to when pundits “come running into town with their news after all the barbers in town already know it.” (That’s an Eastern saying).

But I will acquire David Griffin’s book, not because it contains anything new (since Sunstein reveals nothing new), but because it appears that it might make a good resource to cite for convincing others who are just waking up and trying to escape the ‘matrix’. In fact, Sunstein’s only real virtue, in my opinion, is that he has given me a good citation source to lend credibility to my own analyses. Witness it for instance in my little deconstruction of the very concept of conspiracy theory and its utility to statecraft. [3]

If only Mr. Sunstein would bother reading it and show me how crippled is my “crippled epistemology”! But it would be far far easier to apply DSM-IV revision to “delusional” people like us, as suffering from “emotional or mental illness”, an “oppositional defiant disorder” exhibiting a pattern of “negativistic, defiant, disobedient and hostile behavior toward authority figures” and therefore a threat to society. I.e., a terrorist. I had sent Sunstein my paper on one of his publicly available email addresses – haven’t had any knock on my door yet. But that’s what all genuine “conspiracy theorists” who are on the forensic path to accurately unraveling deception, and genuinely resisting the onslaught du jour of full spectrum enslavement both as a matter of conscience and as an existential imperative, should be looking forward to.

And that very real threat of the looney-bin to passive activists – those who don’t madly riot in the streets but shrewdly wield the weapon of their own intellect, the third type of people in Hitler’s profound classification of a national population who can think for themselves – I suspect, is the key motivation for Sunstein’s paper. It is to lay the groundwork for extending state-hospitality to the “defiant, disobedient and [those showing] hostile behavior toward authority figures”. Something David Ray Griffin evidently missed, or the excellent reviews of his book would have mentioned it.

It is useful to remember that brilliant hectoring hegemons are not being stupid when they apparently do idiotic things – for, if this was really an endeavor that Sunstein was advocating as something new to the government on how to screw its own public, and that was its core purpose, why would he let the public know about it by publishing it in a journal to spawn the predictable public debate on it? Often times, like in a magician’s act, the attention of the public in statecraft is drawn to the left field, while the real game is played in the right field.

No, the real game in town is the construction of the label of “denier” as a mental illness which is vicariously being prepared, as was recently applied to the President of Iran for his UN speech: “So you can now say President Ahmadinejad is both a 9/11 denier and a Holocaust denier”. [4]

That same label, “denier” – with all its emotional and legal baggage of “Holocaust denial” as the backdrop for public’s imagination which I accurately unraveled [5] – was applied to me and some others by none other than dissent-chief extraordinaire, Israel Shamir, a whole month before Iran’s President Dr. Ahmadinejad was honored with it, for our independently arrived at suspicions of Wikileaks’ ‘Afghanistan Papers’: [6]

‘What a pity that some of our friends in the blogosphere joined in the chorus of detractors. Theirs are familiar and respected names of the free web: F. William Engdahl, Gordon Duff, Zahir Ebrahim. They are not to be accused of collaboration with Pentagon and the CIA.’

Specifically, I had it pegged as nothing but a “Limited Hangout” to re-justify the core-axioms of “imperial mobilization” of empire [7]:

‘The core-lies retained in the Wikileaks’ disclosure – which I call ‘the Afghanistan Papers’ – is to once again reaffirm that there is a real nemesis called “Osama Bin Laden”, that the “war on terror” is real, that it is being inflicted upon the West from Pakistan-Iran nexus, and to re-substantiate the handoff of former President George W. Bush’s clairvoyance to the Obama Administration that “If another September 11 style attack is being planned, it probably is being plotted in Pakistan, and not Afghanistan”! That, when such a “planned” attack transpires, it “will make Sept. 11 pale by comparison”.’

For stating those rather obvious statements of unarguable fact visible to anyone but ignored by most everyone, Israel Shamir observed: [op. cit.]

‘A second denier, young Pakistani intellectual cum American Ivy League graduate Zahir Ebrahim, writes: [quoting the above passage] Zahir makes the same mistake. The files are the reports of what US officials believe or claim to believe. I’d ask Zahir: if you were to get hold of all reports sent from and to Afghanistan, would you censor them to remove ideas and names that are not to your liking? Remember, these are not files from God Almighty, this is the kind of stuff that spooks and soldiers write, and it naturally reflects their view of the world. So it is not “core-lies”, but “core-truth”: US officials express under the stamp of “top secret” the very same views they openly espouse.’

I believe that statement has self-identified a new spokesperson for the US officials from among the dissent-chiefs who asserts in full consonance with them, that the core-axioms of empire are its “core-truths”: ‘These crafty dissent-chiefs, fortunately enough, are also rather trivial to identify. Their main modus operandi appears to be to oppose power while still echoing its core message!’ Thus, it is hardly surprising that Israel Shamir suddenly came up with the emotionally charged word “denier” in full consonance with the US officials applying it to Ahmadinejad on exactly the same topic!

Looks pretty bad don’t it – to share the same honorific of “denier” with the most “totally outrageous” of all enemies of mankind for whom, no less than 800 people were gathered outside the UN to chant: “Ahmadinejad is a terrorist”! While they won’t put President Ahmadinejad in the looney bin for he is admirably serving their purpose of providing a real enemy to fight the lifetime of World IV against, they will be coming for the “deniers” already being cast as “domestic terrorists!”

This Newspeak designation applies to anyone effectively resisting the myriad government led mantras being forcibly inflicted upon society. Whether you are a ‘global warming denier’, ‘Swineflu denier’, ‘war on terror denier’, ‘9/11 denier’, ‘financial collapse is just market-economics denier’, or even simply a ‘Constitution upholder’, you are “delusional”, “crazy”, interfering in the uptake of public acceptance of Government sponsored solutions to protect its citizens with kookish conspiracy theories. And therefore, you need to be put away. The impetus for demonizing any resistance to Big-brother Government is so wide-spread that a Council on Foreign Relations Pandemic Conference participant during the peak of the failed 2009 swine-flu vaccination drive, calculatingly stated that the handful of ‘vaccination deniers’ appeared to be in a perverse Hitler-Stalin Pact”.[8]

Now who can be more insanely criminal than the fascists of World War II? Only the deniers!

That, in my view, is the real gift of Cass Sunstein’s “conspiracy theories”, and it cannot be gleaned in the isolated context of the jargon-rich paper where it actually reveals nothing. But coupled with the revised handbook of Psychiatry, and as a component of engineering consent for creating the equivalent taboo of “holocaust denial” for any real dissent with the Big-brother Government, it becomes an imposing legal proposition to consign incorrigible dissidents to mental institutions – like Ezra Pound was. The United States Government has an official dot gov website devoted to this matter where it is coldly stated in unsurpassed Newspeak: [9]

American Government Response to Conspiracy Theories

‘Conspiracy theories exist in the realm of myth, where imaginations run wild, fears trump facts, and evidence is ignored. As a superpower, the United States is often cast as a villain in these dramas.’

The Sunstein project is evidently part of a much bigger agenda of the United States Government which spans the gamut of social engineering. Of which, not only political theory and psychiatry are very visible constructs, but also the newly prepared concentration camps. And this aspect is missing in Steve Lendman’s review who presents its political psychopathy rather narrowly as a Sunstein specific character flaw driven by his personal ambitions: “I think (he’s) an extremely ambitious man (who’d) run over his grandmother for a seat on the Supreme Court.” Apparently over the country as well, trashing it and the public interest for power, clearly the aim of his “Cognitive Infiltration” proposal.’ I hope it was not missed by David Ray Griffin in his book – for, when viewed forensically, this is rather obvious stuff. Ahem, conspiracy theory!

In conclusion, I am willing to wager, extending Stephen Lendman’s own fearful conclusion wherein he notes: “Perhaps the next “9/11” will be a mushroom-shaped cloud or other comparable state-sponsored “disaster,” again blamed on foreign adversaries as a pretext for more war.”, that on the DAY AFTER, among the first things that will transpire domestically is the number of dissidents – the passive activists – in psychiatric wards throughout the Western hemisphere will rise exponentially. It is my hope that in writing exposes like these and by exactly anticipating the future acts of the hectoring hegemons, courageous people like David Ray Griffin and Stephen Lendman might actually help in preempting that fate.

Thank you.

Zahir Ebrahim


October 02, 2010

Comment submitted for: David Ray Griffin v. Cass Sunstein By Stephen Lendman


[1] Cass Sunstein, Conspiracy Theories,

[2] James Bond: Licence to Kill 9/13,

[2a] American War Paar Da

[3] Zahir Ebrahim, Anatomy of Conspiracy Theory,

[4] Al Jazeera: UN walkout over Ahmadinejad speech, 24 Sep 2010

[5] Zahir Ebrahim,

[6] Israel Shamir, Wikileaks: The Real Stuff, Sat Aug 21, 2010 4:29 am

[7] Zahir Ebrahim, Wikileaks and the Mighty Wurlitzer,

[8] Zahir Ebrahim, Swine Flu: That Great Debate of 2009,


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The author, an ordinary researcher and writer on contemporary geopolitics, a minor justice activist, grew up in Pakistan, studied EECS at MIT, engineered for a while in high-tech Silicon Valley (patents here), and retired early to pursue other responsible interests. His maiden 2003 book was rejected by six publishers and can be read on the web at He may be reached at Verbatim reproduction license at

Last updated 10/04/2010 21:41:07 3245

Zahir’s response to Stephen Lendman’s ‘David Ray Griffin v. Cass Sunstein’ October 02, 2010