Cognitively Infiltrate TWA Flight 800, Mr. Sunstein


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About Silenced: Flight 800
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© Jack Cashill
January 21, 2010 - WorldNetDaily

In 2008, then Chicago law professor and current Obama regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, co-authored with Harvard law professor Adrian Vermeule a paper simply titled Conspiracy Theories.

The good professors describe a conspiracy theory as “an effort to explain some event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role.”

As a response to such theories, the authors argue that "the best government response consists in cognitive infiltration of extremist groups."

This infiltration could include a range of actions from penetrating online discussion groups to paying influential commentators to pose as “independent experts.”

The goal of such infiltration, in all cases, would be to “break up the crippled epistemology of conspiracy- minded groups.”

These arguments caught my attention as I have been chronicling one of Sunstein’s cited conspiracy theories, namely “that the 1996 crash of TWA flight 800 was caused by a U.S. military missile.”

Along with my co-author/producer James Sanders, I have argued in the documentary Silenced and the book First Strike that missiles did indeed bring down TWA Flight 800, though I have shied from indicting the U.S. Navy.

For the record, “epistemology” is the study of how one comes to know something. What I would like to share with Mr. Sunstein is how I came to know what I know.

If he can show that “my evidence is weak or even nonexistent “ and that my epistemology is crippled, I will apologize and retract what I have written.

If, however, I can prove otherwise, I would invite Sunstein to use his new found regulatory power to stage an open and honest investigation of TWA Flight 800’s demise, the first.

  • My interest in the TWA 800 case was piqued when I met James and Elizabeth Sanders. Both had been convicted of conspiracy for James’ investigative reporting on the crash in 1996-1997.
  • In that criminal prosecution was a harsher government response than those that Sunstein saw as possible—a ban on theorizing being his worst case scenario—it caught my attention.
  • Before proceeding with “Silenced,” I read the two mainstream books on the crash, both pro-government, and spent three days with the Sanders.
  • In an airplane crash, all evidence inevitably points to the same cause. If I had found conflicting evidence, I would not have pursued the project.
  • What I found is that all relevant evidence—the break-up sequence, the satellite data, the radar data, the photographic evidence, the underwater imagery, the explosive residue, the flight data recorder, the cockpit voice recorder, the climb analysis data, and, most dramatically, the eyewitness reports and drawings—all pointed to the same conclusion.
  • That conclusion, according to the disinterested aerospace workers union, the IAMAW, was that “a high pressure event breached the fuselage and the fuselage unzipped due to the event. The explosion [of the tank] was a result of this event.”
  • What the IAMAW was saying is that the initiating explosion occurred outside the plane, penetrated the fuselage, vaporized the fuel, and caused the center wing tank to explode.
  • FBI witness #73 was more explicit. In the FBI’s artless words, she watched a “red streak” with a “light gray smoke trail” moved up towards the airline, and then go “past the right side and above the aircraft before arcking [sic] back down toward the aircrafts [sic] right wing.” She saw “the front of the aircraft separate from the back” and the burning pieces of the debris fell from the aircraft.
  • Witness #73 was one of some 270 who saw a missile strike. I have spoken to her and about twenty other witnesses. Her description of the break-up sequence matched that which the experts pieced together weeks later.

In his conspiracy brief, Sunstein makes the case that my epistemology is likely stunted because it was forged in an “informationally isolated social network.” Mr. Sunstein, you be the judge.

  • I previewed “Silenced” before an audience of about 80 pilots, perhaps half of them former TWA. I invited them to tell me where and if we had gone wrong. No one dissented.
  • I walked “First Strike” all around Washington and volunteered to share all the information we had. I talked to Bob Woodward on the phone more than once. I visited with the New York Times, the Washington Post, 60 Minutes, and FOX News in person.
  • My visit with Michael Isikoff of Newsweek was instructive. He asked me which three pages of the book he should read. “Given that this is the great untold story of our time,” I responded, “how about a chapter?” Repeated Isikoff, “Which three pages?”
  • My visit with Newsweek’s Mark Hosenball went even worse. It was Hosenball who oversaw Newsweek’s full- color, full-page dramatization of the infamous CIA-inspired TWA 800 zoom-climb. This animation was designed to discredit the eyewitnesses. The NTSB has since disowned the zoom-climb. Hosenball apparently had not gotten the memo.
  • I visited with the Curt Weldon, the intrepid Pennsylvania congressman investigating the intelligence apparatus. He took a serious interest in the case. Months later, just days before the election, the FBI publicly raided his offices. After ten terms, Weldon lost to Joe Sestak, whose campaigned was organized by none other than Sandy Berger.
What I learned on my DC visit is that if there is such a thing as an “informationally isolated social network,” it is the chattering classes of the major media. There is much that they do not want to know, and I doubt that Sunstein will choose to enlighten them.



Special Note:

Jack Cashill and James Sanders' First Strike: TWA Flight 800 and the Attack on America is now available. First Strike explains how a determined corps of ordinary citizens worked to reveal the compromise and corruption that tainted the federal investigation. With an impressive array of facts, Jack Cashill and James Sanders show the relationship between events in July 1996 and September 2001 and proclaim how and why the American government has attempted to cover up the truth.

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