Wake Up And Smell The Thermite



There’s been a lot of talk of patriotism lately, so much so that I’ve begun to wonder to myself, what exactly is patriotism? I think all patriotism really is, is a love of one’s own country that is great enough to prompt a willingness to defend its edicts. But it becomes a challenging concept for those whose goodwill inadvertently creates a nation that no longer resembles the original object of their admiration.

Do you remember America the way she was prior to 9/11? If you’re younger than 25 you might not. The way the country was before Bush stole the election might come as a surprise to you; before protesters threw eggs at the presidential limousine on the day of his inauguration; before the creation of the TSA and Homeland Security; before Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib became household names; before the war on whistleblowers and the war on terror; before killer drones; before the illegal occupation of Iraq; before, before, before. To say that the last 14 years have transformed America into something quite unrecognizable from her previous shape, is an understatement tantamount to declaring that Hiroshima experienced slight “urban renewal” in 1945.

Ever since this War on Terror began, a divide has emerged within the country, especially within the veteran population. On one side are those who miss the country the way she used to be, and have grown disgusted with our abuse of military power for resource exploitation, the murder and subsequent radicalization of civilian populations for sport, and the evisceration of civil liberties here at home. But on the other hand are numerous true believers who remain absolutely convinced that our purpose in Iraq was and continues to be aimed toward liberation and democracy, that Muslims are unequivocally evil, and that George W had our best interests in mind.

Despite all of our “Support the Troops,” red-white-and-blue, patriotic posturing, there are 60 thousand homeless veterans in the United States. I ask you, what kind of country that claims to support the troops would allow so many veterans to wind up homeless? What kind of system stands idly by while 23 of these veterans commit suicide every single day? What kind of country would continue down this road when the recurrent results are so painfully obvious?

All of this was running through my mind last Saturday, when, at the Farmer’s Market, a procession of veterans, ROTC cadets, and active duty soldiers made their way down Higgins Avenue in a march dubbed the “Patriot Parade.” I initially determined to endorse the parade. It did, after all, coincide with Patriot Day – the 14th anniversary of 9/11, and I saw it as an opportunity to honor the fallen, including my uncle Dane whose life was claimed by 9/11. But I was a little surprised when several armored Humvees were wheeled onto the street alongside soldiers brandishing an “Army Strong” recruitment banner. Was this a patriot parade or a celebration of war?

I was even more surprised when an organizer of the event proclaimed that Missoula hated the military. But nothing astonished me more than his proclamation that if it wasn’t for “us” [veterans] “these people” would all be speaking German or Arabic (I presume what he meant by “these people” was the civilian population, many of whom are composed of veterans). While many of the assumptions behind this comment are unfounded for a wide variety of reasons, I couldn’t help but focus in on the most obvious inconsistency, and vocalize my most sincere doubts that “Missoula hates the military.” He insisted this accusation had to be true because he’d lived most of his life here. I told him I was born in Missoula, know the people here, and assured him that the world is not that black and white. Missoulians don’t hate the military in principal, just our illegal wars, which is not unique to Missoula or to civilians. But this anecdote is illustrative of something I like to remind myself of as often as possible – I used to see the world exactly as he does.

And while it may be true that we certainly aren’t speaking German, our country seems to strongly resemble many aspects of Nazi Germany. The NSA spies on our every word, and while they’re tell us they’re doing this to keep us safe, the threat of an unknown terrorist threat seems more imminent than ever if you watch television. Many states are criminalizing homelessness and we imprison more people than any country on the Planet. America has the biggest military budget in recorded human history but simultaneously ignore 60 thousand homeless veterans. We say we’re doing it all so our children can know peace, while simultaneously our military sends recruiters into educational institutions to swindle young generations into the fold of unending war. The CIA have institutionalized torture while police tanks rumble through the streets of our cities.

Worst of all, many Americans cannot or will not read the writing on the wall, however obvious it may seem to those whose eyes are open. Wishful thinking is confused in this country for positivity while uneasy truths are denounced as negativity or cynicism. As Dresden James prophetically announced, “When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and it’s speaker a raving lunatic.”

The arrogance of “American Exceptionalism” has a tendency to remain even when our preconceived notions are proven wrong. Our country rarely acts surprised to learn of yesteryear’s corruption even if we all denied it while it was happening. Yet no matter how many times the establishment and ownership class betray our trust, we keep putting our faith in them. Even after Watergate, Enron, Chinagate, Iran Contra, Fast and Furious and hundreds of other scandals rock the headlines, many remain convinced that these instances were isolated, and that the corruption was confined to individual personalities. And the establishment will tell us whatever they think we’ll believe to play damage control after the fact.

Their lies aren’t surprising, but our willingness to believe them is.

Today it’s common knowledge that there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. Colin Powell admitted that his  February 5th 2003 presentation to the United Nations on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction was “the lowest point” in his life; that the so-called “intelligence” he presented that purported to prove that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction was “dead wrong.” Former NSA Chief William Binney as well as National Security Council counter-terrorism coordinator Richard Clarke have admitted that the Bush Administration, “trotted out to Congress, the American people and the United Nations a series of fabricated intelligence reports.” But even without the testimonies of such reputable individuals, it seems perfectly obvious that the purported weapons were never there from a vantage of common sense logic; if Saddam had indeed possessed say, a nuclear weapon, would the US have done something as reckless as a full-scale military ground assault? Nuclear weapons are coveted by regimes explicitly for their deterrence. If Iraq had possessed weapons of mass destruction, the United States would never have invaded for fear of the consequences and the casualties.

America acknowledges the reason for the Iraq invasion as an obvious fallacy. We all know it was a lie. So how then does anyone believe that the same administration – the Bush Administration – told us the truth about 9/11? Why is it easier to fool the people than it is to convince them that they’ve been fooled?

I didn’t myself question 9/11 until I took a course here at our very own University of Montana that recommended we read the 9/11 Commission Report. I, like most people in this country, arrogantly assumed that I knew everything there was to know about 9/11, but wanting to do well on the test acknowledged that there were probably specific numbers, statistics, names and dates that I was not aware of, and knew that I’d better at least skim the report over. So after class I walked to the Mansfield Library, logged onto a computer, downloaded a PDF of the 9/11 Commission Report and immediately began devouring page after page of its contents. By the time I was three-quarters of the way through, something didn’t feel right. I knew from my military service that this wasn’t how a government report is supposed to read. The writing seemed so phony, and the disingenuous tone seemed the result of something worse than incompetence. The dialogue read like cellphone talk between people who have never met. It felt like I was reading a Dean Koontz novel, but I’m confident that Koontz could draft a more convincing report than Philip Zelikow’s 9/11 Commission did.

Shortly after this literary encounter, an acquaintance gave me a copy of Peter Joseph’s Zeitgeist. After watching the 9/11 segment of that documentary I turned it off and became so outraged by Joseph’s conclusions that I set out to disprove every assertion made in the film. Having stood up to defend my country and losing friends in the process, I interpreted the information presented by these so-called truthers as an attack on what I held to be sacred and, in-turn, a personal attack on me directly. I loathed Peter Joseph and couldn’t tolerate the heresy of anyone who could even suggest that our government was complicit.

So I launched my own investigation, seeking to assemble the most comprehensive caché of evidence to debunk these blasphemous claims once and for all. But the more I looked for information to debunk the truth movement, the less certain I became about my convictions to do so. Eventually, as is inevitable with any honest investigation into this subject, I stepped into the first stage of grief – I fell into denial. And like a warm blanket, Popular Mechanics and metabunk were there to catch me, providing a false comfort, at least for a while. But I could not un-see the evidence, I could not un-hear the testimonies, and in turn the flaw of the so-called debunkers became immediately obvious to me.

All debunkers make one or more of three fundamental mistakes:  They do not know the evidence, they ignore the evidence, or they distort the evidence.

Truth is the first casualty of war, but if I can wake up anybody can, because nobody bought the lies more deeply than I. My conviction to speak about this stems not from the presumption that I’m superior to anyone else, as my willingness to sign up for the infantry should more than aptly illustrate. I was an ROTC cadet in 2001 and on the morning of 9/11 I was reporting in to my battalion. As the cadets and soldiers gathered around the television we watched as the news replayed the collapse of the towers again and again and again and again. When one cadet surmised that this was a bad time to join the army, I demanded that this was a great time to join because “we’d get our chance to kill terrorists.” For the rest of the school year my locker was covered in American flags that were, from time to time, vandalized by other students who I dismissed as unpatriotic buffoons. American flags and military posters papered my walls. If I wasn’t doing something with the ROTC battalion I was hanging out with the recruiters. I was the ultimate true believer. I bought every single one of their lies hook, line and sinker.

So believe me when I tell you that if I can wake up, anybody can. But even more importantly, my history should more than aptly demonstrate that my own resistance to the truth, however fierce, did not prevent me from eventually recognizing it.

I don’t blame anyone who chooses to resist or avoid this information. It’s not easy. The truth can often be annoying. But none of us know everything, and learning is not about agreement. Denial is the first stage of grief and it is an absolutely necessary phase, through it isn’t healthy to remain there forever. I’m living proof that the more one studies September 11th, the more obvious it becomes that the official story cannot be true. Anyone who says otherwise is either unaware of the evidence, has ignored the evidence, or is distorting the evidence.

Once my mind evolved beyond the programmed indoctrination of the state, it was not difficult to begin spotting inconsistencies everywhere. Leaning on what I knew from my own military service, I began to wonder why no F-16’s were scrambled on the morning of 9/11 until it was far too late to matter? Why was a Boeing E-4B – the infamous “Doomsday Plane” – spotted above Washington D.C. that morning with no fighter escorts? Why were crime scenes not preserved.


Historically speaking, studying 9/11 is important for it can serve as a Rosetta Stone for understanding how false flags events are used to shape foreign and domestic policy; it provides insight into how this classic technique of social manipulation is enacted; it illustrates how the business of war is prioritized over public health; and it exemplifies how we can always be manipulated when we’re scared and insecure.

And however disingenuous the slogan “Never Forget,” seems to be, we have more incentives than ever before to forever remember. 9/11 is the singular justification for NSA spying, CIA torture, endless wars, the end of habeas corpus, the end of posse comitatus, the murder of unarmed civilians in the streets of our cities, the creation of euphemistic dystopian legislation such as the Patriot act, Freedom act and NDAA, the illegal occupation of foreign countries and endless wars.

Despite these rationales, there are many who ask why we continue to talk about this. Why pour salt on old wounds? Why bring this up every September? Can’t we just forget about it? Can’t we just accept the official story and shut up? At a bare minimum we cannot let this go until someone is at least charged or indicted for the most violent crime ever committed on American soil because no one ever was. The American Justice Department has never charged anyone for 9/11 – not even the alleged 19 hijackers or anyone connected to or associated with them. Instead, government officials did the opposite.

In the days following 9/11, when American airports were shut down coast to coast and all flights grounded, the state department shuttled 142 Saudis – including two dozen members of the binLaden family –out of the country via private jets. You’d think authorities would question the suspects’ family members, but in a miraculous disregard for standard procedure, no such questioning was ever permitted to take place. This was especially suspicious since 15 of the alleged 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. This sudden evacuation of Saudis and binLadens has been confirmed by Richard Clark, who was serving as chief of the Counterterrorism Security Group for the National Security Council when it took place. The private flights didn’t happen in spite of the Bush Administration, but because of it.

Craig Unger at the time wrote:

“How was it possible that, just as President Bush declared a no-holds-barred global war on terrorism that would send hundreds of thousands of US troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, and just as Osama binladen became Public Enemy No. 1 and the target of a worldwide manhunt, the White House would expedite the departure of so many potential witnesses, including two dozen relatives of the man behind the attack itself?”

This might also be why the FBI’s “wanted” poster for Osama didn’t even list 9/11 as one of his crimes.

When the impossible has been eliminated, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. So let us eliminate the impossible. We know that it is impossible for a steel-framed building to fall into the path of greatest resistance, disintegrating into its own footprint at freefall speed without explosives being involved. We know it is impossible for office fires to create pools of molten metal that were discovered beneath the rubble of ground zero. We know that it was impossible to make cell phone calls from 32,000 feet until 2004. It is impossible for several of the alleged hijackers to still be alive if they were part of a kamikaze mission. It is impossible for a Boeing 767 to go anywhere near 500 miles per hour at sea level. And regarding American 77, we know it is impossible for a Boeing 757 to execute a 270-degree downward spiral without stalling, and we know that it is impossible for 100 tons of tempered steel, titanium and aluminum to vaporize due to jet fuel yet leave human bodies and paper identification cards intact.

In this way “We Will Never Forget” is a double-edged sword that doth cut both ways. We will never forget that a third tower fell on 9/11 and it wasn’t hit by a jet. We will never forget that at least 7 of the alleged 19 hijackers are still alive, and some have even filed suit against our government for character defamation. We will never forget that sophisticated military-grade nanothermite was discovered in all of the dust that covered New York City. We will never forget that not one steel-framed building in history has collapsed solely due to fire, and 9/11 is not an exception. And we will never forget that before 9/11, the term “global collapse” did not exist, as buildings routinely survived fires, plane crashes, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, botched demolitions, and even nuclear explosions.Several of the buildings in Hiroshima remain standing to this day despite the H-bomb.

We don’t know the whole story, but we know for a fact that the official story cannot be true.

001-0910142323-911-HolesWe need but to observe the discernible reality of the situation and then ask the basic and obvious questions that such an examination arouses. And it’s important to remember who exactly were the first to raise these questions, because it certainly wasn’t anyone within the Bush Administration. The first truthers were the 9/11 victims’ families, the first responders of the New York City Fire Department and NYPD, the architects and engineers who constructed the towers – these are the people who were first labeled as liars by the Bush administration, labeled charlatans by the corporate media and in turn labeled conspiracy kooks by the unconscious masses.


More than 600 families filed law suits against either senior members of the Bush Administration or Saudi Arabia because the death of their loved ones left them with questions that our government failed to adequately answer. The 9/11 victims’ families were the ones who spearheaded the demand for and eventually forced the creation of an investigatory commission. There would have never been a 9/11 Commission Report if the victims’ families had not insisted on it, though sadly that commission’s final report left most of their questions unanswered.

Nevertheless, talking heads like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity who pigeon-hole such voices with the derogatory label “conspiracy theorist” are responsible for perpetuating something that is genuinely insane – Coincidence Theory. Coincidence theory supposes that every single smoking gun and discernible inconsistency with the official story is nothing but a coincidence that we should ignore. This would be reasonable perhaps if there were only one or two anomalies, but this kind of thinking is dangerous when there are noted to be hundreds if not thousands of such coincidences. Correlation may not be causation, but a refusal to acknowledge an abundance of evidence is a mark of pathological denial.

Beyond coincidence theory is something even more insulting to our intelligence; the incompetence theory. The incompetence theory would have us believe that the heads of our government simply fell asleep at the wheel and did nothing on the morning of 9/11. But as USAF General Robert Bowman pointed out, “If they had done nothing and just let normal procedures take their course, those twin towers would still be standing and thousands of dead Americans would still be alive.”

If it really was a matter of incompetence, then why has no government official ever been so much as reprimanded, demoted, dismissed or even publicly scolded for what we are told was the greatest intelligence failure in US history? Why were they all instead promoted? Why has no person in our government (with the exception of Richard Clark) felt the need to apologize to the American people for this catastrophic security failure? And why were the agencies which failed the nation so drastically, rewarded with unprecedented budgetary increases?

Yet another obstacle that prevents many from acknowledging the obviousness of the truth stems from the belief that if government officials were complicit in such a large-scale operation, “someone would have talked.” More importantly, this perspective assumes that if whistleblowers do step forward, our media will make sure we hear from them. Despite the fact that numerous whistleblowers have gone public, this sort of delusion assumes that we have a media that is in any way dedicated to journalism.

But the initial suspicion that “someone would talk” is actually quite apt, for there are countless examples of whistleblowers stepping forward in sincere attempts to vent unpopular truths that stand in stark contrast to the government-approved narrative.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer of the US Army’s Able Danger, PFC Nelson of Fort Meade’s NSA Headquarters, Sibel Edmonds of FBI, Suzan Lindauer of CIA, retired Army Colonel Donn de Grand Pre, World Trade Center employee William Rodriguez, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, and countless others have stepped forward. Let us not confuse their courageous words with the mainstream media’s willingness to listen to them, or even provide air time.


And many whistleblowers have been brutally murdered for making their information public. Barry Jennings, for example, former NY housing authority emergency coordinator, worked in and escaped from World Trade Center Building 7 – that third tower that fell that no one seems to know about. On 9/11 Barry reported that he and Michael Hess had been blown back by a big explosion inside building 7. He later said in an interview that he had heard explosions in Building 7 before either tower collapsed. He also reported that he was stepping over bodies, contradicting the official government claim that no one died in Building 7 and that there were no explosions. Barry died of mysterious circumstances on 19 August, 2008, just two days prior to the publication of the NIST report’s first draft.

Beverly Eckert who lost her husband on 9/11 did not believe the official story and was among the families organizing for disclosure and contributing to a law suit against the governments of the United States and Saudi Arabia. After turning down a bribe by the US government to keep quiet, she met with President Barack Obama as an advocate for those affected by 9/11. A week after this meeting she died in a mysterious commuter airplane crash on 12 February 2009.

Kenneth Johannemann was a janitor at the WTC who reported seeing explosions inside the towers and rescued someone covered in burns from an explosion that occurred in the basement. But in September 2008 Kenneth died from a gunshot to the head in an apparent suicide that family members insist was a murder.

Michael H. Doran was a lawyer who volunteered his services to help the 9/11 victims’ families receive compensation. He died on 28 April 2009 when his single engine airplane crashed in Ohio.

Christopher Landis was the former Operations Manager for Safety Service Patrol for the Virginia Department of Transportation who had an unobstructed view of the Pentagon crash site and amazing unseen pictures. A week after submitting this collection of photographs and a brief interview to filmmakers compiling a documentary called the “Pentacon,” he died in what officials declared a suicide.

Bertha Champagne was the babysitter for Marvin Bush’s family prior to, during and after 9/11. On 10 October 2003, Bertha Champagne was found crushed to death by her own vehicle in Marvin Bush’s driveway. Marvin is the lesser-known younger brother of George W. Bush and until June of 2000 was the director of Securacom/Stratesec, a Kuwaiti/Saudi-backed company. This company is particularly interesting because it’s the same agency that provided electronic security systems for the World Trade Center in the days before the event, and also just happened to be the agency providing security for the Dulles International Airport (where American 77 took off from), the agency providing security for United Airlines, and the agency providing security for Los Alamos Laboratories who invented the sophisticated, weapons-grade nanothermite discovered in the dust at ground zero. Marvin Bush was also on the board of HCC Insurance Holdings Incorporated, responsible for insuring the World Trade Center complex.

Then there’s Paul Smith who was the pilot of ABC’s “International Shot” helicopter that recorded the second plane flying into the South Tower. On 7 October 2007, Paul Smith was killed when he was run over by a cab driver who, according to authorities, was cut off by an unidentified black car.

Deborah Palfrey was the leader of a prostitution ring whose clients included many of the scapegoat perpetrators of 9/11. A former NSA official noted that some of Palfrey’s call girls were being chauffeured by Sherlington Limousines to poker parties attended by former CIA director and co-chair of the Joint 9/11 Intelligence Inquiry, Porter Goss. On the morning of 9/11, Goss was having breakfast with the head of Pakistan’s Inter Service Intelligence General Mahmud Ahmed, the man ordered a wire transfer of $100,000 to alleged lead hijacker Mohammed Atta. In May of 2006 Goss abruptly resigned amid the fallout associated with this prostitution scandal. According to former NSA official Wayne Madsen, Palfrey may have also known that Jack Abramoff who was connected to the DC Madam scandal, allowed at least two of the 9/11 hijackers to use one of his casino boats. In the days leading up to 9/11 Deborah Palfrey said, “I have information that would have been of great interest to the 9/11 Commission. There’s information that they have that would have been very important for the 9/11 Commission to know having to do with the intelligence they picked up about 9/11 before it happened.” Despite appearances on the Larry King show and other prominent broadcasts, she didn’t disclose her information publicly due to a desire to present it before a judge in a court of law. But then on 15 April 2008 Deborah’s body was found by her daughter hung from a metal beam in their shed – this despite her own repeated public announcements that she had no plans of committing suicide because of the suspicion that her information was important enough to kill for.

Then there’s Major General David Wherley who was the Air Force officer who scrambled fighter jets into Washington airspace on the day of 9/11. On 22 June 2009 General Wherley was killed when two commuter trains crashed into each other. Both trains were torn open in the worst Metrorail accident in the system’s 33 year history. Investigators determined that the striking train was under automatic, rather than manual control at the time of the collision.

Then we have Salvatore Princiotta who was a first responder firefighter for Ladder 9 in New York – a fire truck so close to ground zero when the explosions began to occur that all of its windows were blown out. On 23 May 2007 Salvatore was found murdered.

David Graham saw three of the alleged hijackers in Shreveport with a Pakistani businessman prior to 9/11. He approached the FBI with his information and promptly began receiving threats from federal agents. Then on 17 September 2006, David Graham was found poisoned to death – a murder that was never investigated.

There are still whistleblowers who are still alive, but it’s unlikely that you’ve heard of them. Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer of Able Danger – the program that identified Mohammed Atta and other scapegoat hijackers two years prior to 9/11 – was ordered by federal authorities to keep quiet. After publishing his Able Danger memoirs in the book Operation Dark Hart, The defense department actually bought up and destroyed all 10,000 copies of the book’s first uncensored publication.

Likewise there’s Kurt Sonnenfeld who was a videographer for the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on 9/11 and was one of four FEMA photographers who were given exclusive access to ground zero. In addition to the photographs and video he took on behalf of FEMA, he reports to have taken additional video footage as well as numerous photographs, some of them since published, providing evidence that the U.S. government had prior knowledge of 9/11. Sonnenfeld was the only photographer with total access to Ground Zero who held onto his footage. The US government has spent the last 13 years attempting to frame him on groundless charges, forcing him to seek asylum in Argentina. He lived in Buenos Aires until January of 2015, when Argentina authorities finally gave in to pressure by the US government to extradite Sonnenfeld.

The list just goes on and on.


So who benefits from all of this? What’s the motive? Apart from war being the most profitable industry on Earth, the event heralded a level of imperial mobilization inconceivable in the pre-9/11 era. The US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were the culmination of longstanding plans, which only awaited a provocation such as 9/11 to enact. And Iraq and Afghanistan were just the beginning. Since the War on Terror began special operations forces have operated illegally in more than 135 countries.

America’s doctrine of invading other countries and placing permanent military bases on their soil is nothing new, but today’s absurd level of imperialism constitutes an unquenchable addiction to power. Even though the American Empire has military bases in 130 foreign countries, 9/11 has provided the Carte Blanch to dramatically accelerate our military presence in the world ever since.

We’re meant to think that the deployment of murder drones to kill innocent Pakistani children is necessary, “because 9/11.” We have to invade and re-invade Iraq, “because 9/11.” We need to spy on all American communications, normalize torture, and militarize our police forces, “because 9/11.”

So if the official story of 9/11 is proven to be a lie, then the authenticity of every aspect of the American Empire should be in question. And those in the military who believe, as I did, that our illegal wars are necessary in order to prevent further terror attacks, are in the most urgent need of this information.

As more Americans than ever before begin accepting the truth, we’re rapidly approaching a tipping point in this country. A majority of the American population has grown to accept 9/11 truth, which has in turn inspired more than 2,300 highly credentialed architects and engineers to sign a petition demanding an authentic reinvestigation. And the architects and engineers aren’t the only organization out there demanding reinvestigation; Pilots, Firefighters, Military Officers, Lawyers, Scholars, Religious Leaders, Medical Professionals, and Veterans have formed numerous and distinct organizations advocating for 9/11 Truth.

If justice is ever to be realized, more awakening within the public sphere is necessary. We’re still sending more of our sons and daughters off to fight illegal wars, and if they’re not returning in body bags or missing limbs, their minds are never quite the same. What remains of our civil liberties are continuously under attack by the corrupt overreach of the intelligence apparatus. We’re drilling for more fossil fuels than ever before to fuel a military that’s larger than ever before to perpetuate an Empire more domineering than ever before. And until we acknowledge that everything America is currently engaged in is built upon the precarious foundation of lies and deceit, we’re never going stop the harm we’re doing to the world and to ourselves.

As Colonel George Nelson of Military Officers for 9/11 Truth put it:

“In my first position paper, titled The Precautionary Principle, written shortly after the attacks on NYC and the Pentagon, I cautioned readers against a rush to judgment, although the immediate evidence suggested the crime had been an inside job. As the years went by, a virtual mountain of physical evidence was collected by hundreds of highly qualified investigators — evidence sufficient to convince any dedicated Grand Jury that the horrendous events of 9/11 were clearly an inside job. The Precautionary Principle no longer applies. It is time to positively conclude that a well-orchestrated and obviously pre-planned cover-up of the worst mass murder in our country’s history began immediately following the deaths of 3,000 innocent people on September 11, 2001 [and] the criminal cover-up continues. Fortunately for our country, our judicial system provides no statute of limitations for treason, first degree murder, and terrorism.”

The official story begins to break down by the very act of examining its claims, but don’t take what we present as gospel – do your own research. In the words of William Cooper, “Read everything, listen to everybody, [but] believe nothing, unless you can prove it with your own research.” Because while every fact, number, statistic, and name here has been independently verified multiple times by numerous investigators and academics including our very own Missoula-based research team, we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of the total evidence that is available, and ultimately it is up to the individual to understand this event for themselves.

For those of us who were seduced into war on the coattails of so-called “patriotism,” let us reclaim the the true meaning of the word to signify a love one’s country, instead of the blood lust it has commonly become associated with since September 11th. As Senator Russ Feingold said in his opposition to the Patriot Act, “Preserving our freedom is one of the main reasons that we are now engaged in this new war on terrorism. We will lose that war without firing a shot if we sacrifice the liberties of the American people.” If our goal in responding to 9/11 was to preserve our beloved America, we have failed.  We’ve watched American civil liberties become so restrained that the very nature of the society we stood up to defend has changed as a result. Terrorism has successfully vanquished the American dream.

So now we find ourselves in grief, and quite predictably, denial has overwhelmed the fragile emotional composition of many Americans. Denial is, after all, the first stage in the grieving process. Now our goal as a nation should be to overcome our trauma, and whether it pleases us or not, we need the truth in order to heal.

The difficulty and controversy of this topic emphasize its importance. Questioning our default world view is often painful. Deleting programs installed into our minds by this society is seldom easy. And taking action can be the hardest thing of all.

Most of us fear ridicule. Most of us avoid controversy. But we all deserve the truth.

And no one deserves the truth more than those who have been demanding it the longest. So let these thoughts be observed as a memorial for those lost and a service on behalf of the families directly affected. The above paragraphs are dedicated to my Uncle Dane, and all of the others who are still dying from mesothelioma as a result of inhaling pulverized concrete and asbestos in New York City in September of 2001.

We need the truth in order to heal.  So ask questions and demand answers.

a571This post was composed by Outer Limits producer and Army veteran Brandt Miller.
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Veterans Against War Porn



Apart from analyzing the tendency of the war-film genre to glorify violence, justify racism, and fetishize murder, there are a number of factual errors and historical inconsistencies with Clint Eastwood’s newest film American Sniper, as well as the book it’s based upon. The film’s portrayal of Christian dominionism confuses the otherwise peaceful messages of Jesus. The juxtaposition of 9/11 with Iraq invites viewers to make foreign policy connections that do not exist. Implicit jingoism encourages movie-goers to express xenophobic hatred vicariously through the film’s barbaric protagonist.

And the book that Eastwood’s film was based on seems even worse, weaving a web of lies, from making claims about “punching-out” former Navy SEAL Jesse Ventura, to accounts of murdering looters in New Orleans during hurricane Katrina, all the while referring to the people in his cross-hairs as “savages” and “animals”.

As a veteran myself, I have several grievances with the national debate currently underway regarding this piece of “art”. On one side it is hailed by “red blooded American patriots” as the incredible story of the deadliest sniper the American military ever produced, condemned by anti-war activists as offensive propaganda on the other. The tweet storms seem to indicate that spectators were coming away from American Sniper with a yearning for killing. Clint Eastwood denies this, ironically proclaiming the film as a champion of anti-war ideals. Just as the official narrative of the Iraq war involved “fighting for Iraqi liberation,” propagandists spin a facade of moral high ground language as a smoke screen for obvious misbehavior.

Case in point: if we’re there to liberate them, why revel in their indiscriminate murder?

Despite the predictable “patriots vs. hippies” narrative characterizing this debate, I would like to offer a third point of view, somewhere in the middle of the two extreme polarities. Such a national argument could serve as an opportunity to overcome personal biases, regardless of what side we believe is right, and acknowledge that life is complicated. This is our chance to understand that as long as we’re arguing with each other, we’ll never be able to tackle the root of problems concerning us all. And learning the truth is not about agreement. War is about profit and power for those who wage it. The trick is convincing people to fight and die in their wars. And that’s why propagandists pull in the big bucks.

In 2017, a Freedom of Information Act request by Tom Secker and Matthew Alford revealed the extent to which the Hollywood promotes war explicitly on behalf of the Pentagon, CIA and NSA. Documents obtained by Secker and Alford detailed the military’s control of and influence over more than 1,800 movies and television shows, “including the ability to manipulate scripts or even prevent films too critical of the Pentagon from being made. … If there are characters, action or dialogue that the DOD don’t approve of then the film-maker has to make changes to accommodate the military’s demands. If they refuse then the Pentagon packs up its toys and goes home. To obtain full cooperation the producers have to sign contracts–Production Assistance Agreements–which lock them into using a military-approved version of the script.”

essence_of_propaganda MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO…

Even before I joined the military, I was intuitively skeptical of the impact that war films can have on our individual psyches, and thus the influence they have on the collective overmind if watched enough times. Many of my friends growing up were seduced by the violence of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now despite the fact that the film’s intention seemed to be the illustration of war’s many unspeakable horrors (as well as a timely adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s classic Heart of Darkness). But even if a war film attempts to convey the message of “look how horrible wars can be,” immature viewers tend to get seduced by the adrenaline-inducing weapon systems of the 21st century. Phrases like, “happiness is a belt-fed weapon” further play into this culture of carnage; a phrase that I heard repeated many times in my career, and repeated myself after becoming a SAW gunner.

The only films I ever saw that made me think twice about joining up were The Deer Hunter starring Robert DeNero, and Born On The Forth Of July starring Tom Cruise. These two films depicted the true cost of sending our best and brightest into the hungry jaws of faraway battles. Before seeing these films, the possibility of losing a leg or permanent paralysis had never occurred to me. Because from John Wayne’s The Longest Day to Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down, America’s motion pictures had sold me on the world view that the battlefield yields glory, validated either in a “hero’s death” or award ceremonies and ticker tape parades that are always more fulfilling in your head than in real life.

Having said that, I’m always hesitant to lend my eyes to films depicting physical violence and bloodshed because of the messages they can send, whether they intend to or not. As with most forms of screen entertainment, many Hollywood films are meant to shape perception within the public to garner support for geopolitical decisions made on our behalf, which is why movie theaters are federally subsidized. For the same reason that recruiters are positioned in high schools to grab up our best and brightest before they’ve reached the age of reason, war films play as instrumental a role in military recruitment as first-person-shooter video games do. These forms of screen media masquerade as nothing more than entertainment, all the while subtly programming a state-sponsored narrative of justified imperialism into the malleable minds of those subject to the electronic hallucinations of the glowing rectangle. 

Seth Rogen took a lot of flack recently for drawing an apt comparison between Eastwood’s new film to the film-within-a-film, Nation’s Pride – the Nazi propaganda movie that appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds. The purpose of effective propaganda is to numb the mind away from reasonable thinking, and anesthetize the emotions away from empathy. As Chris Hedges recently pointed out in TruthDig, “American Sniper caters to a deep sickness rippling through our society. It holds up the dangerous belief that we can recover our equilibrium and our lost glory by embracing an American fascism.” He goes on to say:

“The culture of war banishes the capacity for pity. It glorifies self-sacrifice and death. It sees pain, ritual humiliation and violence as part of an initiation into manhood… The culture of war idealizes only the warrior. It belittles those who do not exhibit the warrior’s “manly” virtues. It places a premium on obedience and loyalty. It punishes those who engage in independent thought and demands total conformity. It elevates cruelty and killing to a virtue. This culture, once it infects wider society, destroys all that makes the heights of human civilization and democracy possible. The capacity for empathy, the cultivation of wisdom and understanding, the tolerance and respect for difference and even love are ruthlessly crushed. The innate barbarity that war and violence breed is justified by a saccharine sentimentality about the nation, the flag and a perverted Christianity that blesses its armed crusaders… It fosters an unchecked narcissism. Facts and historical truths, when they do not fit into the mythic vision of the nation and the tribe, are discarded. Dissent becomes treason. All opponents are godless and subhuman.”


Veterans For Peace recently responded to the film in a similar way, contending:

“Following spaghetti western acclaim, Clint Eastwood, now 84, moved on to Dirty Harry movies… Over the years, he has honed this very masculine style and become a popular film director exploring the American psyche mostly from the reactionary right — though his films are always a dialogue with issues on the left. American Sniper is no different with its limited contrapuntal theme of PTSD and homefront family adjustment.

“Harry Callahan was famous for whacking creeps who deserved to die with his long, phallic .44 magnum. It was great cinema. The formula was simple: Feature a good guy who hates bureaucrats, loves to cut corners and is a man comfortable with violence and put him at odds with bad guys who are absolute perverted creeps whose death at the hands of the good guy would be cheered by an audience shoving popcorn down its gullet. The films were realistic in the sense of being harsh, brutal and loud. But they were far from realistic in the sense of being complex, morally gray, contradictory and confusing — like life itself.”

So when it comes to Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, I’m first and foremost appalled by the message we get early on that the message of Christ has anything to do with racist bigotry or a fixation of murder. How can any true Christian bemoan the crucifixion of Christ and then revel in the slaughter of other human beings?

Beyond achieving the feigned moral high ground of killing for Jesus, the film presupposes that sniper Chris Kyle was sent to Iraq because of what happened on 9/11. You don’t have to be that well informed to understand that the only connection that exists between 9/11 and Iraq is the Bush administration’s lie about Weapons of Mass Destruction which were never found in the deserts of Iraq. A deluge of patriotism that flooded our soldiers into Afghanistan created a tidal wave of militarism, the momentum of which has since bled over into operations conducted in over 75 countries. This fact remained hidden from the American people until Jeremy Scahill finally spilled the beans on JSOC with the book/documentary Dirty Wars.

When the twin towers fell, I was an ROTC cadet reporting in to my commanding officer for my morning duties. It wasn’t long after that I joined the US Army’s ranks in the 11B combat specialty despite having the ASVAB scores to go anywhere else. None of the other jobs had what I was looking for. In the summer of 2005 I graduated infantry OSUT and airborne school, both at Fort Benning, Georgia.

For people like me, it didn’t matter where the military sent us. We were absolutely convinced that our help was necessary to protect the nation, and that the military was working on behalf of the nation’s best interests. But no matter how enthusiastic I may have been at the beginning (and there was no solider more gung-ho for HOOAH than me), it slowly but inevitably became impossible to ignore the power grabs and profiteering happening above my pay grade. Once I finally became witness to the crimes of our government, that the media insisted were not happening, I couldn’t deny the truth any longer. Looking back I wonder how I was ever able made to believe any of the mainstream lies. Then again, common sense is only sense made common, and hindsight is always 20/20.


I don’t enjoy talking about my service, and no fellow veteran I know who has taken lives was ever proud of it. Which brings me to my next point about the book of the same name upon which the movie American Sniper is based. Chris Kyle, who is credited with 160 confirmed kills (God knows how many more unconfirmed) reads like a demented serial killer, reveling in the destruction and death that transpired at his fingertips during four tours of duty. This initially led me to question what role the book and subsequent film were meant to play in the society to shape public perception, and how much of it was altered to appeal to the pro-war narrative. Because no veteran I know personally has ever talked the way Kyle does about murder in his memoirs. The only people I’ve ever met who revel in the death and suffering of other humans in combat situations are people who have either never been in combat, or sadistic psychopaths.

As far as the first group are concerned you’ve probably bumped into one of these clowns at the bar, telling fantastic stories of the wars he so bravely fought in. Mine were usually socially inept boys with poor posture who liked to brag about how they were “a sniper in Iraq” or worked with the “special forces in Afghanistan” in between swigs of cheap beer. For whatever reason, stolen valor seems to have become quite popular in the age of Homeland Security.

The first prerequisite in determining the legitimacy of  an individual’s service in the military is his unwillingness to talk about combat. Nobody I know who saw ‘trigger time’ overseas enjoys talking about combat, and most will flatly refuse your requests to reminisce by changing the subject, or leaving the conversation altogether. Posers, on the other hand, who have been programmed by video games and war films to glorify human slaughter, will tell war stories that usually feel like borrowed composites from pop culture. They do this because the greater culture has brainwashed them into thinking that they can obtain respect, sex, and notoriety if they can convince people they too are an American war hero. The reality experienced by our authentic heroes, however, seldom includes any semblance of fame or fortune, but a whole lot of guilt and flashbacks.

If you bump into armchair commandos claiming military service, and you want to skillfully suggest polite skepticism of their yarns, a great test of character is to ask them what their MOS was during their military career. That’s Military Occupational Specialty, and if they weren’t in the military they usually won’t be able to answer this question. Sometimes the smart fakers have memorized some figures, but this question weeds them out nine times out of ten.

Please understand that I’m not accusing Chris Kyle of being a poser, per se. Though this book exhibits demonstrable lies, we can say based on evidence that he was indeed a veteran and served out his military contract honorably. But if he actually reveled in the act of killing during his service as the pages and scenes of American Sniper allege, and if he actually felt the way those hateful sentences convey, then I’m led to believe that he’s either a psychopath, or that the narrative of his life has been altered to boost sales and/or garner patriotic support for continued global imperialism.

Praising the act of killing into fetish territory is not the behavior of any genuine veteran I know, which leads me to believe that Chris Kyle is either not responsible for the death-glorification that appears in the book (which, by the way, is conspicuously absent from the film), or he was a psychopath. Neither case leaves me either admiring Kyle, or feeling the need to honor his memory.

I’ve also considered the possibility that many of the stories were fabrications, either ghost-written by other writers or embellished by the editor to push sales, because there are many claims throughout the text that are blatant lies: in the book we’re meant to believe that Chris Kyle punched former Navy Seal Jesse Ventura; that Kyle sniped thirty people in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina; that he murdered two men attempting to car-jack him. There is no evidence to support any of these claims, and Jesse Ventura even filed a law suit for defamation of character when Chris Kyle was still alive.


The media really twisted up Ventura’s defamation lawsuit, vilifying the former Minnesota Governor for victimizing the “poor widow” of Chris Kyle “for greedy monetary gain”. Ventura has since set the record straight about the chapter of American Sniper entitled, “Punching Out Jesse,” that the publication company was forced to change. Despite the fact that a jury came to the conclusion that overwhelming evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the incident in question never happened, instead of amending or omitting the entire chapter, HarperCollins offered money as payment to Ventura for damages. Ventura objected to the money, demanding they remove the blatant lies from the pages of the book. Though they’ve changed the name of that chapter in subsequent publications, they stonewalled Ventura on altering the content, instead writing him a check for $1.8 million, and now the media are free to berate him for taking money away from Kyle’s widow. Money that the Kyle Estate claimed was going entirely towards charity in the name of veterans organizations, which turned out to be another lie, as only about 2% of the proceeds were ever donated to said charities, according to the National Review.

This brings me to the strange circumstances surrounding Chris Kyle’s death; shot by a former Marine on a shooting range shortly after Ventura’s lawsuit began. Some analysts are drawing parallels between the Chris Kyle narrative and the Pat Tillman story. Men who’s image was worth billions in recruitment advertising to the military-industrial-complex.

A common misconception infecting the discourse of our society is that if you’re going to question the war you need to be prepared to respond to accusations of being anti-American or anti-military. As an ROTC cadet and a person who sacrificed his early life to join the military, is anyone prepared to call me anti-American? Since I was honorably discharged from my military service, is anyone prepared to call me anti-military?

22 veterans kill themselves every day. You think it’s because they’re proud of what they did? You think it’s because they’re happy with what their actions helped accomplish? You think its because they believed that their battles resulted in freedom for Americans?

And how does patriotic support of our troops equate to the anti-human stance we take on the scores of homeless veterans walking our streets every day, who we demonize for being poor? If anyone is qualified to say this, I as a veteran am: you cannot support our troops and be simultaneously against the war. That’s oxymoronic because if our troops are committing crimes against humanity, we are no different than any other totalitarian regime in history. If I’m involved in something shitty, you shouldn’t pledge my support, any more than I should be required to follow shitty orders if I think they’re unlawful. Just following orders is a coward’s excuse, and hiding behind a rifle requires far less courage than standing up to a corrupt government that continues to commit crimes in the name of freedom, God and country.

I’m not the only veteran taking a stance to set the record straight here. Former Marines Adam Kokesh and Ross Caputi who both served in Fallujah, call the Iraq war an imperialistic resource theft that exploits American soldiers who think they’re fighting for freedom.

Perhaps no one has ever said it better than two-time Medal of Honor recipient Major General Smedley D. Butler:

BUtLER“I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. “I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

“I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

“During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

For this reason, I can’t help but cringe when people reflexively respond to the news of my military service by pumping my hand and thanking me for my service, which is part of the reason I rarely bring it up. Since we’re on the subject, I must ask you all to please refrain from thanking me for my service as a matter of reflex. Because I didn’t fight for anybody’s freedom. I fought to help guarantee the profits of assholes, just as General Butler articulated all those years before me.


Image source: Allriot t-shirts

This post was originally composed by journalist and Army veteran Brandt Miller.
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