Deprogramming the Bush Cult: Understanding 9/11 Anxiety & Avoiding a National 'Jonestown'
In "Apocalypse of Coercion" (Global Outlook #11, June 2006), I used Douglas Rushkoff's landmark book Coercion as a touchstone for understanding 9/11 as a psychological warfare operation. Rushkoff's well-researched insights into the mind-control techniques of car salesmen, spin doctors, cult leaders, and CIA psych-war specialists explain how 9/11 was designed as a war-triggering "New Pearl Harbor." In the follow-up article "Deprogramming the Bush Cult" I use Marc Galanter's analysis of how cults control their followers to argue that the 9/11 psy-op created a "Bush Cult" of war fever, pseudo-patriotism, and unquestioning compliance with increasingly insane leadership.
My conclusion is that if we are to avoid a national Jonestown, we must understand and expose the way anxiety-induction followed by anxiety-reduction has been used to establish cult-like control of the American people during the 9/11-initiated "war on terror."
Deprogramming the 'Bush Cult': Understanding 9/11 Anxiety and Avoiding a National Jonestown
By Kevin Barrett, http://mujca.com
In "Apocalypse of Coercion" (Global Outlook #11, June 2006) I used Douglas Rushkoff's landmark book Coercion as a touchstone for understanding 9/11 as a psychological warfare operation. Rushkoff's well-researched insights into the
mind-control techniques of car salesmen, spin doctors, cult leaders, and CIA psych-war specialists explain how 9/11 was designed as a war-triggering "New Pearl Harbor." In the follow-up article "Deprogramming the Bush Cult" I use Marc
Galanter's analysis of how cults control their followers to argue that the 9/11 psy-op created a "Bush Cult" of war fever, pseudo-patriotism, and unquestioning compliance with increasingly insane leadership. My conclusion is that if we are to avoid a national Jonestown, we must understand and expose the way anxiety-induction followed by anxiety-reduction has been used to establish cult-like control of the American people during the 9/11-initiated "war on terror."
Public radio presents itself as a harbor of calm and pure sweet reason, a haven from the stormy, polluted seas of commercial radio. Its announcers speak in somnolently mellifluous brown-corduroy voices, and its music tends toward the alpha-brainwave easy-listening end of the classical repertoire.
Bringing up such a disreputable, anxiety-provoking topic as 9/11 truth on our mellowly respectable public airwaves may seem cruel and unusual. Indeed, I feel an odd mixture of pity and sadistic glee every time I do it. The announcer's voice usually speeds up and jumps an octave or two as it seeks a quick escape from the source of anxiety—me.
If calling in with 9/11 truth is like shaking the announcer's hand with a joy buzzer, getting them to do a whole show on the subject is more like subjecting the announcer to a full-scale CIA interrogation. I well remember the discomfiture in the voice of
Wisconsin Public Radio host Ben Merens as he responded to David Griffin, "You actually believe the Bush Administration carried out the attacks?" Another WPR host, Joy Cardin, suffered an hour-long constricted larynx during her May 1st, 2006 interview with hardcore 9/11 truth speaker Morgan Reynolds. The following week she sounded so relieved I was afraid she might have an on-air orgasm during her obligatory counter-interview with a "why 'conspiracy theorists' believe such crazy things" sound-bite spewer.
My own "Eureka moment" for understanding 9/11 anxiety came during a private telephone conversation with one of my favorite public radio personalities, Jean Feraca. After a brief discussion of my view of 9/11, Jean's lively, lovely, eternally-curious voice sounded increasingly strained, pained, almost depressed. Finally she blurted out: "If you really believe that, why don't you leave the country?"
The last person I would expect to hear utter a mindless "America—love it or leave it" primate grunt is Jean Feracca. Fox News, sure. But Jean? Doesn't she understand that we 9/11 truth activists love America too much to leave her? Walking out on America after 9/11 would be like leaving a family member who has been shot by a mugger to die slowly on the sidewalk.
Jean Feraca's "love it or leave it" blurt-out helped me understand what 9/11 anxiety can do to otherwise thoughtful, cultivated, cosmopolitan people. It underlined for me the key role of the cycle of anxiety-induction followed by anxiety-reduction in the 9/11 psy-op and the mind-control regime that followed.
Marc Galanter's book Cults (NY: Oxford UP, 1989) explains how it works. Galanter, an NYU professor of psychiatry, spent fifteen years researching cults, from Rev. Moon's Unification Church to Jim Jones' People's Temple. As a relatively sympathetic observer, he was allowed free access to Unification Church members and recruits, while also studying the Church's detractors and deprogrammers, as well as other cult-like groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
Galanter discovered that all such groups work on the same basic principle: anxiety. The target individual is drawn into the cult because it offers relief from anxiety. The mechanisms of anxiety-relief include absolute faith in the group's leadership and ideology; group cohesion and the feeling of love and fellowship that follows from sharing this faith with others; and altered-consciousness exercises that relieve the anxieties of ordinary consciousness.
This kind of group anxiety-relief, of course, is not inherently pathological. Healthy communities do it, the great religions do it,
everybody does it to some extent. Without groups to belong to, ideas and people to believe in, and altered states of consciousness to bring us peace and joy, we would be pathetic creatures indeed. The problem arises when power-hungry leaders manipulate these innate human characteristics for their own ends.
Galanter, better than anyone else I've read, shows how that happens. He explains that cults catch their members in a pincer-grip, by creating the very anxiety that they then relieve (Galanter, p. 85-87). The prototype for this "pincer effect" is the Stockholm syndrome, in which hostages come to love and identify with their captors. Being taken hostage, of course, is an extremely anxiety-provoking situation, and the hostage desperately craves relief. But the only people who can relieve the anxiety are the captors (p. 105). Hostages often repress their very rational dislike for their captors, in favor of an irrational but psychologically-compelling identification with their victimizers, which provides relief from unbearable anxiety. (Note to Faiz Khan: This insight explains why many American Muslims, horrifically victimized by the 9/11 psy-op, are such craven, pathetic
Uncle Toms—they are Bush-Cult captives suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.)
This "pincer effect" is what allows cults to get out of control. Cult leaders subtly or not-so-subtly abuse their members; the members repress the knowledge that they are being abused, and identify with their abusers. This abuse, along with the radical disjuncture between the cult and the outside world, provokes anxiety in the members; and the members respond by seeking relief in the only place it can be found—by ever-more-intense commitment to the cult's ideology, leadership, and actions.
The 9/11 psychological warfare operation, and the bogus "war on terror" it triggered, has turned the USA into an out-of-control cult. 9/11 was designed to wallop the American people with a massive anxiety attack. As former Bush official Morgan Reynolds puts it, the Towers were "blown to kingdom come" with explosives, creating a massive, people-eating pyroclastic mushroom cloud chasing crowds through the streets of New York—a cinematic extravaganza perfectly tailored to the two-hour attention span of the American people, a real-life horror movie created to induce national panic.
Once this spectacular "attack on the homeland" had been engineered, and the national anxiety level raised to unprecedented heights, the corporate government-media complex bombarded us with messages offering relief from anxiety through intense, unquestioning identification with the group (the nation), its symbol (the flag) and its leadership (Bush).
To reinforce the idea that all of us—not just New York high-rise office workers—were at risk, U.S. military anthrax from Ft. Detrick was sent through the mail. Few Americans noticed that it was sent to those Congressional reps who wanted to actually investigate 9/11. Instead, Americans were led to believe that their own mailboxes were now vulnerable to "terrorism." With cultish devotion, tens of millions of Americans were ready to swear undying allegiance to the very people who had murdered 2,500 of their fellow citizens in the Twin Towers. Like the followers of Jim Jones, they were ready to force-feed their children red-white-and-blue Kool Aid and send them off to the slaughter.
Such anxiety-induced cultishness can lead to collective insanity, as the Jonestown episode shows. People can be led to ignore clear, obvious facts—even the evidence of their own senses—and live out a mass delusion or hallucination that they accept as consensus reality, and cling to in the face of all evidence to the contrary. They can watch videos of the Twin Towers being blown to kingdom come, WTC-7 being demolished conventionally, Larry Silverstein confessing to its demolition, Bush reading to schoolchildren with a guilty smirk while the nation is supposedly under surprise attack...and still cling to their preconceived notion that any "attack on America" must have been the work of outsiders.
As Galanter puts it:
"Cognitive dissonance theory...has shown how individuals cannot easily dismiss a belief or attitude they hold, even when the attitude is directly contradicted by evidence or events. People will sooner adopt farfetched ideas to explain events than relinquish their preconceptions. In so doing, they avoid having to face the dissonance between what they see and what they have long believed. The dismissal of plain reality can happen when people are confronted by challenges to their ingrained patriotism, their prejudices, or their religious values. Under these circumstances, they may ignore cruelty, hypocrisy, or incompetence, or create elaborate rationalizations rather than challenge the principles espoused by their leaders." (Cults, p.152)
Clearly the designers of the 9/11 psy-op knew about cognitive dissonance theory. This theory would predict that government operatives could blow the World Trade Center to kingdom come, invent a patently ridiculous narrative about hijackers with
boxcutters, send a smaller plane and its missile into the Pentagon as a "hijacked 757," make no attempt to protect the alleged Commander-in-Chief, stand down the air defense system for 80 minutes during an "attack on America," persist in its "hijackers" myth after the alleged culprits had been shown to be still alive and the alleged cell phone calls to have been physically impossible, shut down calls for investigation by mailing anthrax to the two congressional leaders, Daschle and Leahy, who were blocking the Patriot Act, take out their biggest political enemy, Senator Wellstone, in a rigged plane crash, start a series of unnecessary wars based on ever-shifting false pretenses, steal an election they lost in a 53%-47% landslide through blatant, undisguised vote fraud, jettison the Constitution in favor of a cultish, dictatorial-presidency model of governance, explain everything with a constantly changing morass of ever-more-ridiculous lies...and not only avoid impeachment and prosecution, but remain in a position to launch more phony terrorist attacks and more wars.
Those who wonder why ordinary-looking people would let Rev. Moon marry them off to randomly-selected partners in a mass-marriage in Madison Square Garden, or why otherwise sane individuals would drink the Jonestown Kool-Aid, ought to ask why a whole nation has been taken over by the Bush cult...and then look in the mirror. It's your passivity that is responsible.
In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11-anthrax psy-op, polls showed that the Bush cultists—call them the Bushies—included almost 90% of the American people. Today, the cult has shrunk to around 30%. Normally a lame-duck president with a 30% popularity rating would be utterly helpless, paralyzed, in no position to even perform his own elementary toilet functions. But the leader of Bushcult Nation, a.k.a. "The Decider," just keeps blithely performing his toilet functions with the Constitution. Why?
He still has that hard core of glazed-eyed cultists goose-stepping behind him, ready to administer the red-white-and-blue Kool-Aid at a moment's notice. And much of the other 70% is more or less in denial. They may have a few doubts about The Decider, but they still think they're in pre-9/11 America; they haven't fully realized they're in Jonestown, Guyana, heading off a precipice behind a certifiably psychotic leadership.
The only antidote to the national Kool-Aid party they're preparing for us over in Iran is 9/11 truth. The recognition that a cult leader has done something that is utterly, inarguably morally unacceptable can awaken cult followers out of their trance. The remaining 30% of hardcore Kool-Aid enthusiasts can rationalize, ignore or deny Iraq war lies, torture, election fraud, Constitution-abuse, an impending bogus-terror-triggered war on Iran...everything but 9/11 truth. Sit those folks down in front of the TV, show them the people jumping to their deaths and the Twin Towers being blown to kingdom come, prove to them their own government was responsible, and they will kick over their Kool-Aid pitchers and take to the streets, pitchforks in hand, to storm the castle and rid the world of the monster.
You, not our unelected cult leader, are the Decider. We are at a historic turning point, with the pro- and anti-Bush-Cult forces balanced just about evenly. Your action for 9/11 truth—or your inaction—will determine whether or not we have that national, or even world-wide, Kool-Aid party.
If you don't want to die with the Bushies in a world-civilizational mass suicide, please participate in upcoming 9/11 truth events. You can find them listed at http://911blogger.com and http://911truth.org. A date to remember is the 5-year anniversary of 9/11, when 9/11 truth forces will take New York, surround Ground Zero, and bear witness to the truth. Be there...or enjoy your Kool-Aid.
# # #
Coping with 9/11 Anxiety
9/11 truth activists know something about anxiety. Like dissidents at Jonetown, we are living in the midst of a dangerous delusional cult. Our insane leadership is dishing out horrific abuse, and most of our fellow citizens are accepting it, whether willingly or through inaction. Even recognizing the reality of our situation is enough to provoke extreme dysphoria. Trying to do something about it, we imagine, might make us prospective targets, a thought which provokes even more anxiety.
Being subjected to so much distress, day in and day out, can be harmful to our physical and emotional health. Stressed-out 9/11 activists sometimes succumb to paranoia, while others suffer adrenal overload or plain old burnout. Some of the best members of the "first wave" of 9/11 truth activists have burned out, dropped out, or destroyed their own credibility with paranoid or racist outbursts.
We need strategies for coping with 9/11 anxiety, both in ourselves and in the fellow citizens we are attempting to deprogram. Here are some tried-and-true strategies for defusing anxiety; note that not all of them are equally appropriate for all people in all situations. They are presented in no particular order; feel free to pick and choose to suit your own needs.
*Humor. As the CIA psy-op magazine for the attention-span-challenged, the Readers Digest, puts it, laughter is "the best medicine." At least it beats red-white-and-blue Kool Aid. Yes, I know that mass murder, high treason and war crimes are not
particularly funny. But what has happened to the USA since 9/11/01 is nothing if not absurd. Those whose sense of humor is sufficiently broad and robust to handle dark comedy, and gain a pleasurable relief from anxiety through it, are invited to look here and here. Even those without a taste for dark humor should remember to laugh now and then, if only by forgetting about
9/11 for awhile and getting silly. In a pinch, Monty Python DVDs, or whatever you find funny, can have a salutary effect. And don't forget that certain kinds of humor can be powerful weapons against authoritarian cultishness and stupidity in general. In short, laughter can help keep you sane.
*Meditation/Relaxation. Everyone should learn how to self-induce deep relaxation—especially people in such stressful situations as 9/11 truth activism. Many time-tested deep-relaxation exercises come with a religious tradition: Buddhists teach sitting meditation, Muslims enact a deep surrender to the Real in the five-times-daily prayer, Hindus do yogic breathing exercises, and so on. But you don't necessarily have to belong to one of these traditions to relax. Meditation, biofeedback and breathing exercises are widely taught these days. Lord knows we need them.
*Nutrition. Many people feel that good nutrition—some argue for vegetarian or vegan diets, periodic fasting, and/or certain kinds of supplements—can be a powerful anxiety antidote. At a healer's suggestion, I have been taking coenzyme Q for energy and a special iodine formulation for 9/11-activism-stressed adrenals.
*Massage. Healing massage, especially deep tissue massage, can be a powerful stress-toxicity-reducer.
*Empathy. 9/11 activists are constantly feeling stressed by the burden of knowing critically important, dangerous information that many folks are simply not willing to hear about. Rather than scorning and writing off the "sheeple" we should to try to empathize with them. It isn't that hard. When you approach someone about 9/11 truth, you're probably feeling a certain amount of anxiety. So are they! Try to let go of yourself and feel what that person is feeling. Listen to them calmly with full attention. Interact in a way that moderates or defuses their anxiety. Try to avoid hostile, paranoid rants, which just intensify the audience's anxiety and harden their defenses.
*Community. There was a good feeling, almost a kind of ecstasy, in the air at the recent Chicago 9/11 truth conference. If I were paranoid, I would say that there WAS ecstasy in the air, pumped there by CIA agents who wanted us to forget about 9/11 and have a mass love-in.
The non-paranoid explanation of why the Chicago conference felt so good, however, is probably correct: In the face of so much evil, and so much public indifference, it feels good to be around good people who share our beliefs and values. In Chicago, the 9/11 truth community became a real community.
Everyone who was there, including a few folks who have been known to spend too much time and energy venting paranoia and hostility toward their fellow 9/11 activists, discovered that it feels good to be with a whole bunch of people who, despite differences in values, lifestyles, religions, worldviews, personalities, and even 9/11 analyses, agree on one crucial point: 9/11 truth is a supremely important issue. By uniting on that basis, we don't need to fall into lockstep behind one leader, one 9/11 analysis, or even one program for action. Our various approaches become mutually-supporting, synergistic, and more than the sum of their parts—rather than mutually-destructive—when we get together, as we did in Chicago, under the banner of the 9/11 truth community. (Another advantage of being a decentralized community, and avoiding the lockstep-behind-a-leader cult mentality, is that it deprives the bad guys of the chance to take out the leader and destroy the movement.)
*Religion/spirituality. This one is controversial, since many 9/11 activists are dyed-in-the-wool skeptics, gung-ho partisans of the hermeneutics of suspicion. Having seen so much sham religion, they wouldn't recognize the real thing if it ran up and bit them on their godless butts. But even the rabid atheists among us, when they look at the 9/11 truth work of such genuinely religious individuals as Steven Jones, David Griffin, Faiz Khan, and Michael Lerner, may recognize that actual religion, as opposed to the counterfeit variety that Faiz Khan identifies and flays, can inspire remarkable courage and clear-sightedness. Faith, piety, and
religious commitment and practice can be powerful antidotes to anxiety.
*Action. It is always less stressful to try to do something about your problems than to sit around worrying about them. It is less stressful to take to the streets in support of 9/11 truth, and risk anxiety-inducing encounters with the unenlightened, than to sit home thinking about how you should be taking to the streets but aren't. So for a relatively stress-free five year anniversary of 9/11, consider joining us in New York!
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