Game Theory and the Mass Murder of 9/11
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Game Theory and the Mass Murder of 9/11
I want to tell you something very clear, don’t worry about American pressure on Israel, we, the Jewish people control America, and the Americans know it.
--Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, October 3, 2001
Unconventional warfare relies on game theory and the application of mathematical models to anticipate the response to staged provocations. Reactions become "perfectly predictable" in the sense that they are foreseeable within an acceptable range of probabilities. Israeli mathematician and game theory economist Robert J. Aumann received the 2005 Nobel Prize in economic science. Co-founder of the Center for Rationality at Hebrew University, this Jerusalem resident conceded that "the entire school of thought that we have developed here in Israel" has turned "Israel into the leading authority in this field."2
The target of a staged provocation can be a person, a company, an economy, a legislature, a nation or even an entire culture such as Islam or Christianity. With a well-executed provocation, the anticipated response of the "mark" can even become a weapon in the arsenal of the agent provocateur. Thus, for instance, America’s anticipated response to 9/11 would enable an agent provocateur to foresee that the mark (the U.S.) would deploy its military to avenge that attack. With fixed intelligence, that attack could be redirected to wage a long-planned war in Iraq -- not for U.S. interests but on behalf of Greater Israel.
Orchestrating a war with Iraq required the displacement of an inconvenient truth (that Iraq played no role in 9/11) with what people could be induced to believe. The emotionally wrenching nature of that event played a key fact-displacing role. With the nationally televised mass murder of nearly 3,000 people, a widely shared sense of grief, shock and outrage made it easier for the mark to believe that a known Evil Doer in Iraq was responsible, regardless of the facts.
That displacement of facts with beliefs also required a period of "preparing the minds" so that Americans would readily ignore the facts and put their faith in a pre-staged fiction. Those responsible for inducing the March 2003 invasion began "laying the mental threads" (mental associations) more than a decade earlier. Notable among those mental threads was the 1993 publication of an article in Foreign Affairs by Harvard professor Samuel Huntington. By the time his article appeared in book-length form in 1996 as The Clash of Civilisations, more than 100 academies and think tanks were prepared to promote it, pre-staging a "clash consensus" five years before 9/11.
Also published in 1996 under the guidance of Richard Perle was A Clean Break (subtitled A New Strategy for Securing the Realm). A member since 1987 of the U.S. Defense Policy Advisory Board, Perle became its chairman in 2001. As an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Perle’s Pentagon post helped lay more mental threads for removing Saddam Hussein, a key theme of A Clean Break -- published five years before 9/11.
Articles, books and even Pentagon insiders were not enough. People in policy circles were also required to lend the authority of their office to Israel’s cause. That role was ably filled by Senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman, a Jewish Zionist from Connecticut, and Jon Kyl, a Christian Zionist from Arizona, when they co-sponsored the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998. Echoing Perle’s neoconservative themes in A Clean Break, their bill laid another mental thread when it called for the removal of Saddam Hussein three years before 9/11 and appropriated $97 million for that purpose. Distracted by mid-term elections and an impeachment proceeding stemming from his liaisons with Monica Lewinsky, Bill Clinton signed the bill into law October 31, 1998.
After 9/11, McCain and Lieberman became inseparable travel companions and irrepressible advocates for the invasion of Iraq. Looking "presidential" aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in January 2002, McCain waved an admiral’s cap while proclaiming, alongside Lieberman, "On to Baghdad."
By Way of Deception
An understanding of applied game theory helps to grasp the sophistication with which pro-Israeli neoconservatives "prepared the minds" of the American public to invade Iraq in response to 9/11. The confidence with which that game theory strategy was advanced could be seen in the behavior of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. Four days after 9/11, in a principals’meeting with President Bush at Camp David, he proposed that the U.S. military invade Iraq. At that time, there was no intelligence suggesting Iraqi involvement and bin Laden was thought to be in Afghanistan.
Neocons were frustrated when, following the First Gulf War in 1991, President George H.W. Bush declined to remove Saddam Hussein. Wolfowitz then proposed a No-Fly Zone in northern Iraq. The Mossad already had agents working in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul for at least a decade prior to the March 2003 U.S. invasion.
Reports of Saddam’s connections to Al Qaeda also involved Mosul -- reports that proved to be false.
Mosul also emerged in November 2004 as a center of the post-invasion insurgency that destabilized Iraq.
The potential use of game theory to provoke the U.S. invasion of Iraq dates from an earlier staged incident when Tel Aviv displayed its expertise in deceiving the U.S. to deploy its military in the region. As with the war in Iraq, that incident involved a provocation that induced the U.S. to rely on intelligence fixed around a predetermined goal. The pre-staging: in February 1986, the Mossad launched Operation Trojan, a broadcasting operation in Tripoli meant to make it appear that the Libyan leadership was transmitting terrorist instructions to their embassies worldwide.
The orchestration: though the Israeli transmissions failed to deceive Spanish or French intelligence, U.S. intelligence was reassured when a trusted ally (Israel) confirmed the messages were legitimate. With Mossad operatives tied into terrorist cells throughout Europe, it was only a matter of time before an American would become a victim. The provocation: an April 5 terrorist attack on Berlin’s La Belle Discotheque killed an American serviceman.
The game theory deployment: on April 14, 160 American, British and German aircraft dropped sixty tons of bombs on Libya, killing 40 civilians, including the adopted two-year-old daughter of Libyan leader Moamer al Qadhafi.
In terms of game theory math, the "terrorist" attack at La Belle Discotheque was not just probable but "perfectly predictable" -- within an acceptable range of probabilities. With President Ronald Reagan on record promising to retaliate against any country found to support terrorism, the orchestration was complete, awaiting only the death of an American abroad as the provocation required to trigger Israel’s planned deployment of the U.S. military. The attack on Libya not only scuttled negotiations for the release of hostages in Lebanon, it also led to the retaliatory execution of American University of Beirut librarian Peter Kilburn who had been held hostage for 16 months. That deadly reaction to an Israeliorchestrated provocation also served Tel Aviv’s strategic goals as the Cold War drew to a close. Operation Trojan raised the global profile of "radical Islam" as a plausible new Evil Doer and the next threat to American security.
In combination, those events also laid the mental threads (and "prepared the minds") to enhance the plausibility of The Clash of Civilizations, the emergence of "Islamo-fascism" and, with 9/11, the reasonableness of a "global war on terrorism." With Israeli confidence boosted by its success in simultaneously deceiving, endangering and discrediting its ally, Iraq and Saddam Hussein became Tel Aviv’s next target. According to the assessment of a senior Mossad operative five years before the first Gulf War and 15 years before 9/11:
After the bombing of Libya, our friend Qadhafi is sure to stay out of the picture for some time. Iraq and Saddam Hussein are the next target. We’re starting now to build him up as the big villain. It will take some time, but in the end, there’s no doubt that it’ll work.
Laying the Mental Threads
Tel Aviv’s Iraqi campaign took longer than its Libyan campaign because Iraq was secular, modern and moderate (arguably because of its despotic leader). Its neighbors, on the other hand, were often nonsecular, anti-modern and growing steadily more radical -- often in response to serial Israeli provocations. Iraq also was allied with Jordan, a friend of Israel and an enemy of both Syria and Iran. As a follow-up to Operation Trojan, pro-Israeli networks began to saturate the political mind space with tales of evildoing by Saddam and the risks that his regime posed to the U.S. and others.
As an operation for "preparing the minds" to accept as plausible The Clash of Civilizations, Operation Trojan also confirmed again for the Arab world that America would favor Israel in any Arab-Israeli conflict no matter how outrageous Israel’s behavior -- including Tel Aviv routinely deceiving its key ally, advocate and arms supplier. That opinion has since been routinely reconfirmed. For instance, during Israel’s July 2006 invasion of Lebanon, the U.S. dispatched to Tel Aviv an emergency supply of laser-guided bombs. Israel Defense Forces departed Lebanon leaving more than 100,000 unexploded cluster bomblets, the bulk of them fired in the final hours of the invasion when Israel knew their withdrawal was imminent. That U.S.-discrediting strategy ensured that American-made munitions would continue to kill and maim Lebanese civilians, primarily children, long after Israel Defense Forces withdrew, leaving more than 1,000 Lebanese, mostly civilians, dead.
And ensuring the U.S. could be portrayed as guilty by association.
Rather than punish the Israelis for this war crime, however, the U.S. military replenished Tel Aviv’s diminished stock of munitions and the U.S. Congress enacted legislation in 2007 pledging Tel Aviv an additional $30 billion in arms over the next decade at a time when Israel was already the world’s fourth largest arms supplier. At every turn in this entangled alliance, Americans were made to appear guilty by association.
We became an accessory to war crimes and an accomplice in oppression as self-deceit once again led us to believe Israel is an ally. Jerome Corsi, co-author of the 2004 Swift Boat account Unfit for Command, again played a role in 2006 in advancing a prepare-the- minds agenda.
Two weeks after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, he and co-author Jim Gilchrist launched their new book Minutemen at Ground Zero, the Manhattan site of 9/11. The book’s message: due to the president’s failed immigration policies, Hezbollah terrorists were infiltrating the U.S. from Mexico. Had another terrorist attack occurred on U.S. soil, Minutemen would have added a thread of plausibility to the claim that the attack was traceable to Hezbollah-sponsor Iran.
In an earlier effort to prepare-the-minds to make such an attack on Iran appear reasonable, Corsi published Atomic Iran in March 2005. As with Minutemen, Corsi argued that Israel or the U.S. should preemptively bomb the "mad mullahs" of Iran. That too was a lay-the-mental-threads publication designed to help displace facts with what people could be induced to believe was true. Plausibility was enhanced when anti-immigrant newscaster Lou Dobbs featured Gilchrist and Corsi on Time Warner’s Cable News Network (CNN). Fast-forward to April 2007 when candidate McCain described how President Bush and he agreed that America has a responsibility to protect Israel from Iran and an obligation to ensure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons.
Consistent with the pro-Israeli position espoused throughout his political career, McCain continued to provide cover for Israeli game theorists even as more mental threads were being laid to make it appear rational for the U.S. to expand the war to Iran. Corsi again emerged in August 2008 with his release of The Obama Nation, a caustic attack on the Democratic candidate published in an attempt to help elect John McCain (though Corsi has said he will not vote for McCain). As before, CNNpromoted the author of Atomic Iran in a lengthy interview with talk-show host Larry King. With strong prerelease sales and a first edition print run of 475,000 copies, the book immediately topped The New York Times best-seller list in the lead-up to the presidential nominating conventions.
Entropy as a Game TheoryWeapon
The Second Intifada (Palestinian uprising or, literally, a "shaking off ") dates from September 2000 when Ariel Sharon led an armed march to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. When, after a year of calm, suicide bombings recommenced, Sharon and Netanyahu observed that only when Americans "feel our pain" would they understand the plight of Israelis. Both men mentioned a weighted body count of 4,500 to 5,000 Americans lost to terrorism -- the initial estimate of those who died a year later in the twin towers of New York City’s World Trade Center.
When successful, game theory warfare leaves the mark both discredited and depleted by its reaction to a well-timed provocation. Thus the strategic success of 9/11 as the U.S. was portrayed as irrational when its reaction -- the invasion of Iraq -- triggered a deadly insurgency. That insurgency, in turn, was a reaction to the U.S. invasion of a nation that played no role in the provocation. As the cost in blood and treasure expanded, the U.S. became overextended militarily, financially and diplomatically.
As the mark (in this case, the U.S.) emerged in the foreground, the agent provocateur faded into the background -- but only after leaving dynamics at work that steadily depleted the mark of its credibility, resources and resolve. The effect catalyzed entropy in the form of widespread cynicism, insecurity, distrust and disillusionment. Adapted from physics, entropy implies energy that is unavailable to do work. It also suggests disorder, deterioration, loss of information and systemic transformation. Throughout this account, entropy suggests the declining capacity of the U.S. to defend its interests due to the activities of an enemy within.
Those masterful at game theory can wage wars on multiple fronts with minimal resources. One proven strategy: Pose as an ally of a wellarmed nation likely to deploy its military in response to a mass murder. In this case, the result destabilized Iraq, creating crises that could subsequently be exploited to long-term strategic advantage. The resulting entropy undermined U.S. national security by weakening its military, discrediting its leadership, degrading its financial condition and disabling its political will. In game theory terms these results were perfectly predictable -- within an acceptable range of probabilities. In the asymmetry that typifies unconventional warfare, those who are few in numbers must devise means to leverage their impact.
The game theorists identified in this account lay mental threads and manipulate the mental environment by shaping perceptions that become consensus opinions. By steadily displacing facts with what people can be induced to believe, the people in between amplify the impact of deception, enabling the defeat of an opponent with vastly superior resources.
Intelligence wars can be waged in plain sight and under the cover of widely shared consensus beliefs. By manipulating beliefs, intelligence wars can be won from the inside out by inducing people to freely choose the very forces that imperil their freedom. Thus the role of self-deceit and, in the Information Age, the disproportionate power wielded by those with outsized influence in media, pop culture, politics, academia and think tanks.
Thus, for example, by putting our faith in the wisdom of financial markets, Americans freely chose a mindset certain to undermine democracies on a global scale. [See Chapter 6.] By branding America with the money-myopic "Washington" consensus, we simultaneously discredited ourselves and disavowed our espoused values while "our" economic model unleashed financial forces certain to create oligarchies worldwide. Those perfectly predictable results made America appear hypocritical, devious and even dangerous -- i.e., not credible.
Therein lies the force-multiplier of induced beliefs as a means to wage intelligence wars from the shadows. At the operational core of such unconventional, mental-environment warfare is found the people in between. Skilled at game theory and imbedded in the intelligentsia, they anticipate the mark’s response and incorporate that response in their arsenal. Pre-staging often spans generations as chronicled the chapters that follow.
In addition to Senators McCain, Lieberman and Kyl, others with authority also fueled the deceptions that led to war in Iraq. Former CIA Director James Woolsey focused on persuading the public that Mohammed Atta, a 9/11 hijacker, met with a senior Iraqi intelligence official in Prague. Woolsey had earlier joined other neoconservatives in signing a January 1998 letter to Bill Clinton from the Project for a New American Century urging the removal of Saddam Hussein.
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