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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Why the towers fell: Two theories

Why the towers fell: Two theories

By William Rice --Posted March 1, 2007

Having worked on structural steel buildings as a civil engineer in the era when the Twin Towers were designed and constructed, I found some disturbing discrepancies and omissions concerning their collapse on 9/11.

I was particularly interested in the two PBS documentaries that explained the prevailing theories as determined by two government agencies, FEMA and NIST (National Institute of Science and Technology). The first (2002) PBS documentary, Why the Towers Fell, discussed how the floor truss connectors failed and caused a “progressive pancake collapse.”

The subsequent 2006 repackaged documentary Building on Ground Zero explained that the connectors held, but that the columns failed, which is also unlikely. Without mentioning the word “concrete,” the latter documentary compared the three-second collapse of the concrete Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building with that of the Twin Towers that were of structural steel. The collapse of a concrete-framed building cannot be compared with that of a structural steel-framed building.
Since neither documentary addressed many of the pertinent facts, I took the time to review available material, combine it with scientific and historic facts, and submit the following two theories for consideration.

The prevailing theory

The prevailing theory for the collapse of the 110-story, award-winning Twin Towers is that when jetliners flew into the 95th and 80th floors of the North and South Towers respectively, they severed several of each building’s columns and weakened other columns with the burning of jet fuel/kerosene (and office combustibles).

However, unlike concrete buildings, structural steel buildings redistribute the stress when several columns are removed and the undamaged structural framework acts as a truss network to bridge over the missing columns.

After the 1993 car bomb explosion destroyed columns in the North Tower, John Skilling, the head structural engineer for the Twin Towers, was asked about an airplane strike. He explained that the Twin Towers were originally designed to withstand the impact of a Boeing 707 (similar in size to the Boeing 767). He went on to say that there would be a horrendous fire from the jet fuel, but “the building structure would still be there.”

The 10,000 gallons of jet fuel (half capacity) in each jetliner did cause horrendous fires over several floors, but it would not cause the steel members to melt or even lose sufficient strength to cause a collapse. This is because the short-duration jet fuel fires and office combustible fires cannot create (or transmit to the steel) temperatures hot enough. If a structural steel building could collapse because of fire, it would do so slowly as the various steel members gradually relinquished their structural strength. However, in the 100-year history of structural-steel framed buildings, there is no evidence of any structural steel framed building having collapsed because of fire.

Let’s assume the unlikelihood that these fires could weaken all of the columns to the same degree of heat intensity and thus remove their structural strength equally over the entire floor, or floors, in order to cause the top 30-floor building segment (South Tower WTC #2) to drop vertically and evenly onto the supporting 79th floor. The 30 floors from above would then combine with the 79th floor and fall onto the next level down (78th floor) crushing its columns evenly and so on down into the seven levels below the street level.

The interesting fact is that each of these 110-story Twin Towers fell upon itself in about ten seconds at nearly free-fall speed. This violates Newton’s Law of Conservation of Momentum that would require that as the stationary inertia of each floor is overcome by being hit, the mass (weight) increases and the free-fall speed decreases.

Even if Newton’s Law is ignored, the prevailing theory would have us believe that each of the Twin Towers inexplicably collapsed upon itself crushing all 287 massive columns on each floor while maintaining a free-fall speed as if the 100,000, or more, tons of supporting structural-steel framework underneath didn’t exist.
The politically unthinkable theory

Controlled demolition is so politically unthinkable that the media not only demeans the messenger but also ridicules and “debunks” the message rather than provide investigative reporting. Curiously, it took 441 days for the president’s 9/11 Commission to start an “investigation” into a tragedy where more than 2,500 WTC lives were taken. The Commission’s investigation also didn’t include the possibility of controlled-demolition, nor did it include an investigation into the “unusual and unprecedented” manner in which WTC Building #7 collapsed.

The media has basically kept the collapse of WTC Building #7 hidden from public view. However, instead of the Twin Towers, let’s consider this building now. Building #7 was a 47-story structural steel World Trade Center Building that also collapsed onto itself at free-fall speed on 9/11. This structural steel building was not hit by a jetliner, and collapsed seven hours after the Twin Towers collapsed and five hours after the firemen had been ordered to vacate the building and a collapse safety zone had been cordoned off. Both of the landmark buildings on either side received relatively little structural damage and both continue in use today.

Contrary to the sudden collapse of the World Trade Centre Towers and Building #7, the four other smaller World Trade Center buildings #3, #4, #5, and #6, which were severely damaged and engulfed in flames on 9/11, still remained standing. There were no reports of multiple explosions. The buildings had no pools of molten metal (a byproduct of explosives) at the base of their elevator shafts. They created no huge caustic concrete/cement and asbestos dust clouds (only explosives will pulverize concrete into a fine dust cloud), and they propelled no heavy steel beams horizontally for three hundred feet or more.

The collapse of WTC building #7, which housed the offices of the CIA, the Secret Service, and the Department of Defense, among others, was omitted from the government’s 9/11 Commission Report, and its collapse has yet to be investigated.

Perhaps it is time for these and other unanswered questions surrounding 9/11 to be thoroughly investigated. Let’s start by contacting our congressional delegation.

William Rice, P.E., is a registered professional civil engineer who worked on structural steel (and concrete) buildings in
Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. He was also a professor at Vermont Technical College where he taught engineering materials, structures lab, and other building related courses.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

DO NOT READ THIS (Mass murder manifesto)

You have been warned.

This is the sick and horrible MANIFESTO of a mass murderer.



The United States Constitution » second amendment

A well regulated (arms are locked away in peace-time) militia, being necessary to the security of a free state (not neccessary today, security is not under threat), the
right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

In other words:

The right to bear arms is infringed (i.e. possessing arms is FORBIDDEN), because of the following requirements are not met (unless you want to be a rabulist).
  • well regulated militia (i.e. not single persons)
  • necessary for security of a free state (i.e. state, not neighborhood defense)

Intentional creation of a hostile society

In his very watchable film, The Trap, Adam Curtis rams our noses in the pathological plan that the corporations have enacted on our societies. In a nutshell, the Cold-War game theory was applied to keep us in negative freedom.

I have a dream: Imagine what a wonderful world of fun we would inhabit if the organising principle was Free Money instead of capitalist usury and debt slavery. Just imagine the explosion of the arts, the durable, beautiful architecture, the communal turkish bath houses and youth centers on every street corner, free public transport, electric cars and so on.

Back to reality:


"War is so reputable still, because of Hollywood that George Bush can say ‘I am a war president’. That’s like saying ‘I am a syphilis president’. Kurt Vonnegut

Oh the happiness I could have had mingling among you hedonists, being counted as one of you, only you didn't f*ck the living sh*t out of me.



You could have been great. I could have been great. Ask yourself what you did to me to have me clean the slate.


All the sh*t you have given me, right back at you with hollow points (open kogels)



Don't you wish you finished me off when you had the chance? Dont you just wish you killed me?


Number of the Anti-Terrorist

You wanna rape us John Mark Karrs? You wanna rape us Debra LaFaves? F*ck you.

Are you happy now that you have destroyed my life? Now that you have stolen everything you could from me? Now that you have gone a 9/11 like f*cking Osama. Now that you have f*cked your own life, lick fucking Kim Jong- II.

Now that you have gone on a human safari like f*cking Bush? Are you happy now?


Let the revolution begin.


You have vandalized my heart, raped my soul and torched my conscience.

You thought it was one pathetic boy’s life you were extinguishing. Thanks to you, I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people.

"Like Moses, I split the sea and freed my people, the weak, the defenseless, the innocent children of all ages."

Do you know what it feels to be spit on your face and to have trash shoved down your throat? Do you know what it feels like to dig your own grave?

Do you know what it feels like to have throat slashed from ear to ear? Do you know what it feels like to be torched alive?

Do you know what it feels like to be humiliated and be impaled upon on a cross? And left to bleed to death for your amusement? You have never felt a single ounce of pain your whole life.

Did you want to inject as much misery in our lives as you can just because you can?

You had everything you wanted. Your Mercedes wasn’t enough, you brats. Your golden necklaces weren’t enough, you snobs. Your trust fund wasn’t enough. Your vodka and Cognac weren’t enough. All your debaucheries weren’t enough. Those weren’t enough to fulfill your hedonistic needs.

You had everything.


Here are some more quotes from him.

"Like Moses, I split the sea and freed my people. The weak, the defenseless, the innocent children of all ages."- Cho Seung Hui

"You just loved crucifying me."- Cho Seung-Hui

"Do you know what it feels like to be humiliated and be impaled upon on a cross and left to bleed to death for your amusement?"- Cho Seung-Hui

"Thanks to you, I died, like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people."- Cho Seung-Hui

(except that Jesus died not die. They did not break his legs! He survived the crucifiction and this was the cause celebre to found a religion on.)

Because his parents are members of the Christian Church and because of his references to Jesus and how they are crucifying him(Cho), his beliefs were most likely of Christianity and the words "Ismail Ax" were probably taken from the Old Testament.

You have vandalized my heart, raped my soul and torched my conscience. You thought it was one pathetic boy’s life you were extinguishing. Thanks to you, I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people.

Do you know what it feels like to be humiliated and be impaled upon on a cross? And left to bleed to death for your amusement? You have never felt a single ounce of pain your whole life. Did you want to inject as much misery in our lives as you can just because you can?

Ismail Ax and the North Korean President


I.Campus Shooting at Virginia Tech
II.Massacre at Virginia Tech: The Victims.
III. (related) “Making sense of losses: Guest blog by Kathryn Casey.”

To be fair, blogger Pamela Geller Oshrey of Atlas Shrugs may have noticed the following strangeness first. She has yet to explore it further. I guess that’s up to obsessive insomniacs like me.

Virginia Tech spree killer Seung Hui Cho, age 23, was found with a peculiar name written on his arm: Ismail Ax.

As Cho may have worked very hard to erase a good deal of his identity, the web-searching frenzy sparked by that mysterious name and Cho’s other known writings has so far been fruitless.

Still, if you slog through all the hits from Google’s Blog Search on “Ismail Ax,” you eventually reach this result:

Americans Kidnap South Korean Boy 1971 12 Apr 2007 by war

young boy went missing in 1971, the people searched for the boy by word of mouth; the Asian Intelligence Agency (AIA) put a stop on all media and threatened to kill anyone who continued to pursue the issue of the missing boy. ismail Ax.

The North Korean President -

The blog,, is no longer online, is not in the Wayback Machine, and I could find no hits in Google’s cache…

I decided to take my search to Technorati:

The North Korean President.

nkpresident.JPGOn the off-chance the information is one day deleted from Technorati, I also made a screen cap of the results. You can click on the thumbnail on the left to see the image.

Google’s blog search and Technorati captured results from this blog at different times. Here is the Technorati snippet from the entry first found in Google Blogsearch hits:

Americans Kidnap South Korean Boy 1982
The North Korean President · 5 days ago · No blogs link here yet

The Americans controlled everything in South Korea, and when a young boy went missing in 1982, the people searched for the boy by word of mouth; the Asian Intelligence Agency (AIA) put a stop on all media and threatened to kill anyone who continued to pursue the issue of the missing boy…

It appears that on April 12, “war” posted that Americans had kidnapped a South Korean boy in ‘71. War apparently ended the entry with the tantalizing non-sequitur of a name, Ismail Ax — a name that would not be known to the public until April 17, after it was connected to the worst shooting spree in American history. Then 5 days ago, according to Technorati (that would have been April 13), the entry was edited, 1971 changed to 1982, and the name “Ismail Ax” deleted.

The same day, “war” apparently posted a new entry, titled “The American Connection.” Here is the portion of that entry captured by Technorati:

It was generally assumed that Kim Il-Sung would die and Kim John-Il would succeed the President, and when the time came in 1994, the Americans had another plan to dispose of the Kim family and put a South Korean trained agent as the next North Korean President…

Seung Cho bought his first handgun on March 13. According to this ABC News online article, Cho bought his second weapon on or around April 13 — about 5 days ago.

So far, this is intriguing and a little chilling, but there are flies in the ointment. For one, Technorati indicated that the weblog was last updated 16 hours ago — a full day after Seung Cho died at the end of his rampage across the Virginia Tech campus. Around 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 17th would have been the time the blog was updated. Was that when it was deleted? If so, who deleted it?

Any doubt that the owner might have wanted to associate the weblog with Seung Cho was erased by this Technorati result:

Cho Seung Hui AIA Agent
The North Korean President 16 hours ago

But there is again that pesky timing element, and the question of how search engines determine the time stamps of results. Do some search algorithms rely on the stamp on the blog entry, which can be manipulated by the user? It appears that Google’s Web search does not, but it’s harder to tell with the blog search.

I did another search using, this time of the URL for the blogspot blog.presidentryan.JPG

Again the results were chilling, and slightly different from Technorati (click the thumbnail if you are reading this after the search results have either changed or vanished). The entry titled “Cho Seung Hui AIA Agent” contained text in Google’s result. A single sentence:

Cho Seung Hui AIA Agent
It’s election time.
The North Korean President

I guess at this point I am left with a couple of questions.

The “1971″ version of the “Americans Kidnap South Korean Boy” entry was stamped April 12. The spooky “AIA Agent” entry above appeared to have been made or at least altered somehow yesterday. So: did Seung Cho have a blog, and rig it to self-destruct or have an accomplice alter it for him? Or did another hoaxster decided to play around with an attempt at Internet Infamy, a la WaniusMaximus? Could a family member, appalled and ashamed of what transpired at Virginia Tech, have gotten into Cho’s accounts and deleted anything incriminating, or simply insane?

I wouldn’t have spent as much time as I have on this if it were not for the open question of how long this blog has existed, and whether or not it was edited prior to Seung Cho’s killing spree. The presence of the name Ismail Ax, the strong anti-American paranoia expressed, the delusion inherent in calling himself an AIA Agent — all might fit the emerging portrait of the man. But hoaxsters aren’t always idiots, either. Some of them are subtle enough strike the right notes in an effort to fool their intended audience.

Yet if this blog was created in the last two days as a hoax, why was it then deleted? What would be the point?

I don’t know. If the search engines essentially agreeing on the age of the 5 to 6 day old entries are not the result of a blogger trying to game results with a timestamp, then I’m very inclined to believe that was Seung-Hui Cho’s weblog, and that he attempted to get rid of it, just as he did many other aspects of is identity.

Do your own poking around. What do you think?

Updates will be posted below.

UPDATE 1, 4:29 a.m. ET

A Technorati result that steers me further towards thinking this is a hoax:

Technorati Search: Americans Kidnap South Korean Boy.

The “Ismail Ax” result is time-stamped 12 hours ago.

UPDATE 2, 2:05 p.m. ET

Mike Clyne, writing in Bangkokker, has the best, most logical explanation yet for the origin of the name “Ismail Ax” that I’ve seen. Rather than quote, I’ll let the reader check out Mike’s entry in its entirety and judge for themselves. I still wonder if Cho just thought “Ismail (or Ismale, or Ismael) Ax” sounded cool. He was a writer, after all, and many writer’s minds, be they sane or insane, tend to work that way — they just like the sounds of words, especially if they are able to find some resonance in the words later.

I do not think Seung Cho’s crime was remotely related to organized terrorism. In his mind, perhaps Cho was an agent of similar chaos, but the personality being revealed through numerous accounts in the media is not that of a man who would have joined any kind of group for long, much less a terrorist cell. Taking any muslim references from Cho too seriously is just part of an attempt to manipulate this hideous crime for political gain. I’m with the Governor of Virginia on that score — to somehow use the VA Tech massacre for political purposes is loathsome.

UPDATE 3, 3:51 p.m. ET

bathtwsp.JPGI am a bad crime historian. Damn. MSNBC has been mentioning on-air the Bath School disaster. I had read at length about this tragedy in the past, but it didn’t occur to me to write about it in the wake of the VT massacre.

The Bath School event was actually the worst mass murder on a campus in American history, and it happened on May 18, 1927. It wasn’t a shooting, though — a school board member named Andrew Kehoe dynamited the building. His grievance? A property tax levied by Bath Township (MI) drained Kehoe’s funds and was forcing his farm into foreclosure.

The bombing killed 45 and injured 58, according to Wikipedia. As it was a bombing, it might first seem more akin to an act of domestic terrorism similar to the bombing of the Murrah building by Tim McVeigh and others, but it seems to me that other than using explosives, Kehoe was similar in outlook to shooters. His grievance was personal, and based in anger, hatred, and perhaps paranoia.

The majority of victims killed in Bath Township that day in May were elementary school-aged children.

UPDATE 4, 4:27 p.m. ET

choseungmsnbc.JPGKeep an eye on any NBC news outlet. The network has become a part of the investigation, thanks to Seung Cho. Apparently NBC received a packet of images and rambling notes from the killer, which they turned over to the investigators. This from an announcement made on MSNBC at 4:25 p.m. ET.

UPDATE 5, 7:20 p.m. ET

One thing is becoming clear — the first victims of the massacre apparently didn’t know Cho. Early reports from the University filtered through the mainstream media made it appear as though Ryan Clark and Emily Hilscher may have known their attacker, and then a number of bloggers followed suit, even adding in finer details.

The following is from, an article published on April 17, 2007:

Hilscher, a Woodville resident, was apparently the first victim of the shooting as the gunman opened fire in a dorm before continuing his rampage at an engineering classroom located on the Virginia Tech campus.

Rappahannock County Administrator John McCarthy said it appears that Hilscher was an innocent bystander. “From what I understand, she was standing in the hall when the shooter approached,” he said.


Currently there is no information that indicates Hilscher had a relationship with the shooter. One student from Rappahannock County High School stated that her current boyfriend was Karl Thornhill, also a graduate of RCHS and her prom date last year.

Although Thornhill reportedly was under investigation by law enforcement officials, the Virginia State Police has released a statement clearing any suggestion that Thornhill had any involvement in the shooting.

Why Cho chose to do any of what he did is beyond the grasp of rational people. What is clear now is that from the very beginning, the massacre was the ultimate “random act of violence.”

Committed by a completely delusional, narcissistic, insane young man. NBC Nightly News’s Brian Williams said it best when he termed Cho a “uniquely sick” person.

UPDATE 6, 4/19/07, 12:39 a.m. ET

Viewing MSNBC’s slideshow of pages 1, 2, 5, and 11 from the “Manifesto” NBC received from Seung Cho on Wednesday, April 19, I was particularly struck by page 2. Here is part of the text Cho wrote:

Are you happy now that you have destroyed my life? Now that you have stolen everything you could from me? Now that you have gone on a 9/11 on my life like [redacted] Osama. Now that you have [redacted] your own people like Kim Jong-Il…

In the original blog entry above I quoted text found on the blog that once existed at The blogger, whose screen name was apparently “war,” had posted the following in an entry titled “The American Connection”:

It was generally assumed that Kim Il-Sung would die and Kim John-Il would succeed the President, and when the time came in 1994, the Americans had another plan to dispose of the Kim family and put a South Korean trained agent as the next North Korean President…

Coincidences in instances like this are certainly possible. I remain much more skeptical of the deleted “North Korean President” weblog than not (see the note in bold below), but the portions of the manifesto NBC has made available already have me wondering.

NOTE: For the moment, I am of the opinion that is a hoax. (see comments on this entry) is most assuredly a hoax — it says so on the blog. I also strongly object to criticism for making note of The North Korean President (”president ryan”). Anyone who thinks I’ve focused unduly on the killer’s mind has not read the first two entries on this weblog about this atrocity. Additionally, while it was worth some exploration, the entry above was anything but uncritical or lacking in skepticism.


  1. Stefanie Apr 18 2007 / 4am

    I found this site….
    very confusing. contradicts itself…

  2. monz Apr 18 2007 / 5am

    interesting. if he used presidentryan for his blogspo.. then have u tried searching the username of “presidentryan” ? I did, and found a Youtuber with the username of presidentryan..

  3. monz Apr 18 2007 / 5am

    Stefanie: wow.. it’s really creepy……………

  4. charles Apr 18 2007 / 6am

    can you say manchurian candidate.

  5. Kevin Apr 18 2007 / 7am

    Well, this certainly sheds some light potentially as to how one individual managed to kill 33 people with a pair of pistols. I heard the initial counts and then spent the next six hours boggling. I’m glad I’ve found this link before the masses of cyber-denizens got to it. This will need some further substantiation… but it looks like something.

    Realistically, the numbers just didn’t match up. I theorized in my own blog that the shooter must have had some sort of training. Granted, his is the opinion of a young humanities and philosophy buff, but knowing a bit about weapons and firearms myself… it seemed fishy to start.

  6. Matt Apr 18 2007 / 7am

    Life will go on. Don’t grant an insane man the attention when there are more pertinent issues than the meaning o a madman’s message.

  7. Harry Apr 18 2007 / 7am
  8. Sara Apr 18 2007 / 7am

    This is worth some research I think. Something else of note: Today’s paper for my little hometown has an article about him. The article interviews his roommate who mentions that he was awakened by Seung-Hui before 5am as he got on his computer. Perhaps he was deleting or post-dating…. I don’t know how to do any of that but I know there are ways to have such things destruct at specified times.

  9. Manue Apr 18 2007 / 8am

    I know that some publishing tools allows you to program future release of content. So, the same way someone could put a letter in the mail, then commit a crime, and the letter would be delivered and read only after the fact, it is possible to delay the publication of digital content. But I’m sure you knew that already!

    You could be interested by content from Wired - Threat Level blog too:

  10. ronni Apr 18 2007 / 8am

    Tuesday, April 17, 2007
    Message: Fictious Storyline
    This blog is a marketing tool to develop stories and contains fictition content.
    No discussion will be held by the author about any documentary proof or relationship with current or historical events.

    Posted by war at 1:45 PM

    ~~from the blog linked above

  11. Virginian Apr 18 2007 / 8am

    the guy has been updating his blog since your post here, he says it’s all fiction and that he added the ismail ax after monday’s tragedy. he’s probably some 14 yr old kid who thinks this horror is all a very stimulating creative writing prompt. or a very sick immature grown adult who thinks that. or maybe there is some connection here to international espionage. guess i wouldn’t rule that out.

  12. Maggie Apr 18 2007 / 8am

    This does seem fishy, but let’s please remember that Seung Cho was obviously pretty insane. I know we all want to extrapolate a meaning out of his words and make sense of this tragedy, but please, don’t take this farther than it deserves to be taken. If you keep focusing on this insane, evil person, than he has won, because I believe he wanted to create controversy and befuddle the public.
    In response to “Kevin”, it doesn’t really take any militairy training to unload a 9 mm on a crowd of defenseless civilians. It may take a heartless person, but no training. A 9 mm fires as rapidly as you can pull the trigger, with deadly accuracy. This makes me think that he was just a regular lunatic, not an AIA agent, although the idea is tantalizing.

  13. Maggie Apr 18 2007 / 8am

    Also, I thought I would add this interesting note… This is the SECOND worst school massacre ever. To hear about the first, follow this link-

  14. Liz Apr 18 2007 / 8am

    Matt You should not over look that this entire thing could have a seriously deeper issue. Who’s to say there isn’t some Gov involvement or SOMETHING? If we don’t spend the time to figure all these fact and theories out we ARE doomed to the same fate!! this is not a hoax we should be afraid

  15. Watching police presser this morning. Many questions: 1) Cho to Access for pysch evaluation?? 2) VaTech contact with Cho in 2005.

    What is going on. Who are these officials? Sorry but weirder and weirder

  16. Luke Apr 18 2007 / 9am

    It’s interesting to note that in Korean culture, only the dead have their names written in red. Cho supposedly also signed his 8 page typed letter in red, with “Ismail Ax.” This kind of tells you that either he felt dead inside or he wasn’t intending on living much longer.

    It was also reported that Cho had an obsession with the song “Shine,” by Collective Soul. While the song is far from ominous, one can only wonder how Cho may have interpreted it.

    In addition, Cho was a fan of the PC shooter game “Counter-strike,” which some may remember was also a favorite of the 18 year-old gunman in the 2006 German high school shooting.

  17. Luke Apr 18 2007 / 9am

    Let me add that while I’m not solely blaming music or video games for this or any other tragedy of this nature, one would have to be a fool to not acknowledge that they do seem to be a component in the “perfect storm” that time and time again has culminated in events of this magnitude.

  18. Virginian Apr 18 2007 / 10am

    i’d bet $5 ismail ax is an online gaming alias, likely chosen by free association and because it sounded cool.

  19. Ismail Ax Apr 18 2007 / 10am

    What some neocon bloggers are saying regarding Muslim belief: “rather they believe he was supposed to kill Ishmael (Ismail) with an Ax” is completely untrue, they’re making it up. He was supposed to be killed in the manner of slaughtering a lamb, Slaughtering a lamb by chopping its head off is not proper dhabihah (not properly kosher)

    Ismail Ax “is a NOT well known phrase in the Muslim world. It does not make sense at all.

  20. [Sandra] Apr 18 2007 / 10am

    Very strange, Angie. It smells like another hoaxster to me. It’s beyond me why some people are loony enough to inject themselves into this kind of incomprehensible tragedy. I hope the cops nab him for interefering with an ongoing investigation. Here’s a technocrati search result for this guy’s blog.

  21. kindralore Apr 18 2007 / 12pm

    Well I am not sure if this is him or not, but this is some sort of blog. One of the captions of a pic says: (translated by Google from French) mé cops with me,
    mohcine alias “the man with the smoke” on the left & ismail ax in the medium.

    The could or could not be him in the pic (in the medium is in the middle I am assuming). Interesting to read the comments for the pic too.

  22. By The Associated Press

    (AP) - School shootings from around the world since 1996:

    _ Nov. 21, 2006: Sebastian Bosse, 18, opens fire at his former school in Emsdetten, Germany, before killing himself. Five people are wounded and scores hospitalized for smoke inhalation after he sets off smoke bombs.

    _ Sept. 13, 2006: Kimveer Gill, 25, opens fire in a cafeteria at a Montreal college, killing one student and wounding 19 before shooting himself.

    _ Sept. 28, 2004: Three teenagers are shot and killed by their 15-year-old classmate at a high school in Carmen de Patagones, Argentina. The suspect is detained.

    _ Sept. 3, 2004: Chechen rebels take hundreds of students and teachers hostage in a school in Beslan, Russia, for two days. The siege ends when explosions tear through the school and security forces storm the building, leaving 334 dead _ more than half of them children _ as well as 31 suspected militants and 11 special forces soldiers.

    _ April 29, 2002: Dragoslav Petkovic, 17, shoots his teacher, then himself at a school in Vlansenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    _ April 26, 2002: Robert Steinhaeuser, 19, who had been expelled from a school in Erfurt, Germany, kills 13 teachers, two former classmates and a policeman, before shooting himself.

    _ Feb. 19, 2002: A man in his 20s fatally shoots the principal of his former high school in Freising, Germany, after killing two people at a company where he was fired. The man then kills himself.

    _ Jan. 18, 2001: Two teenagers fatally shoot a 16-year-old student in a bathroom at a school in a suburb of Stockholm, Sweden.

    _ March 30, 1997: A father in Sana'a, Yemen, kills four students and two adults, including the headmistress, at the school his daughters attend. He then walks to another school and kills a teacher there.

    _ March 13, 1996: Thomas Hamilton, 43, kills 16 kindergarten children and their teacher in Dunblane, Scotland, before turning the gun on himself.
    Sources: International Action Network on Small Arms and The Associated Press.

Dr. ISMAIL AK is a Professor of Psychiatry at a university in Turkey. His research interests include the following:

Personal Disorders, Agresivve behavior and self-mutilation, ECT, Substance-related disorders, Sexual Disorders, Forensic Psychiatry, Sleep Disorders

From the Turkish Association of Psychopharmacology website:

Professor Ismail AK, M.D. Head, Department of Psychiatry, KTU School of Medicine, Trabzon, Turkey
Ismail AK is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Head, Department of Psychiatry, KTU School of Medicine, Trabzon, Turkey
He is an experienced on clinical psychopharmacology of schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.

Dr. Ismail Ak is one of the authors of an article about patients with mental disorders, psychotic features, etc.:

As regards pharmacotherapies, 354 (50.2%) were given antidepressants. . . . Among antidepressants, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were 72.8%. . . .

This is an abstract of an article co-written by Dr. ISMAIL AK:

Even though all psychiatric disorders do not have the same potential with regard to committing a crime, the number of individuals having psychiatric disorders is gradually going up depending on the increase of crimes and violent behaviors committed in a society. . . . The relation between existence of psychiatric disorder and crime behavior has been significantly emphasized in several earlier studies. In conclusion, it is notable that the rates of committing crime for the individuals with psychiatric disorders are on the rise.

Dr. Ismail Ak is apparently one of the world's leading experts on the psychiatry of antisocial and suicidal behavior, psychotic and bipolar disorders, psychopharmacological therapy, etc.

The young man had been noticed to be disturbed and had been referred to counseling. Dr. Ismail Ak is an expert and author in the particular field most directly related to the guy's disorder.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Software Gitmo by Microsoft

Land of the free, home of the War on Terrorism

"They told us this was one of the world's worst terrorists, and he got the sentence of a drunken driver," said Ben Wizner, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, referring to David Hicks, a 31-year-old Australian who in a plea bargain with a US military court will serve nine months in prison, largely in Australia. That's after five years at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba without being charged with a crime, without a trial, without a conviction. Under the deal, Hicks agreed not to talk to reporters for one year (a slap in the face of free speech), to forever waive any profit from telling his story (a slap -- mon Dieu! -- in the face of free enterprise), to submit to US interrogation and testify at future US trials or international tribunals (an open invitation to the US government to hound the young man for the rest of his life), to renounce any claims of mistreatment or unlawful detention (a requirement which would be unconstitutional in a civilian US court). "If the United States were not ashamed of its conduct, it wouldn't hide behind a gag order," said Wizner.)[1]

Like so many other "terrorists" held by the United States in recent years, Hicks had been "sold" to the American military for a bounty offered by the US, a phenomenon repeated frequently in Afghanistan and Pakistan. US officials had to know that once they offered payments to a very poor area to turn in bodies that almost anyone was fair game.

Other "terrorists" have been turned in as reprisals for all sorts of personal hatreds and feuds.

Many others -- abroad and in the United States -- have been incarcerated by the United States simply for working for, or merely contributing money to, charitable organizations with alleged or real ties to a "terrorist organization", as determined by a list kept by the State Department, a list conspicuously political.

It was recently disclosed that an Iraqi resident of Britain is being released from Guantánamo after four years. His crime? He refused to work as an informer for the CIA and MI5, the British security service. His business partner is still being held in Guantánamo, for the same crime.[2]

Finally, there are those many other poor souls who have been picked up simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. "Most of these guys weren't fighting. They were running," General Martin Lucenti, former deputy commander of Guantánamo, has pointed out.[3]

Thousands of people thrown into hell on earth for no earthly good reason. The world media has been overflowing with their individual tales of horror and sadness for five very long years. Said Guantánamo's former commander, General Jay Hood: "Sometimes we just didn't get the right folks."[4] Not that the torture they were put through would be justified if they were in fact "the right folks".

Hicks was taken into custody in Afghanistan in 2001. He was a convert to Islam and like many others from many countries had gone to Afghanistan for religious reasons, had wound up on the side of the Taliban in the civil war that had been going on since the early 1990s, and had received military training at a Taliban camp. The United States has insisted on calling such camps "terrorist training camps", or "anti-American terrorist training camps", or "al-Qaeda terrorist training camps". Almost every individual or group not in love with US foreign policy, which Washington wants to stigmatize, is charged with being associated with, or being a member of, al Qaeda, as if there's a precise and meaningful distinction between people retaliating against American imperialism while being a member of al Qaeda and retaliating against American imperialism while NOT being a member of al Qaeda; as if al Qaeda gives out membership cards to fit into your wallet, as if there are chapters of al Qaeda that put out a weekly newsletter and hold a potluck on the first Monday of each month.

It should be noted that for nearly half a century much of southern Florida has been one big training camp for anti-Castro terrorists. None of their groups -- which have carried out many hundreds of serious terrorist acts in the US as well as abroad, including bombing a passenger airplane in flight -- are on the State Department list. Nor were the Contras of Nicaragua in the 1980s, heavily supported by the United States, about whom former CIA Director Stansfield Turner testified: "I believe it is irrefutable that a number of the Contras' actions have to be characterized as terrorism, as State-supported terrorism."[5] The same applies to groups in Kosovo and Bosnia, with close ties to al Qaeda, including Osama bin Laden, in the recent past, but which have allied themselves with Washington's agenda in the former Yugoslavia since the 1990s. Now we learn of US support for a Pakistani group, called Jundullah and led by a Taliban, which has taken responsibility for the recent kidnapings and deaths and of more than a dozen Iranian soldiers and officials in cross-border attacks.[6] Do not hold your breath waiting for the name Jundallah to appear on the State Department list of terrorist organizations; nor any of the several other ethnic militias being supported by the CIA to carry out terrorist bombing and assassination attacks in Iran.[7]

The same political selectivity applies to many of the groups which are on the list, particularly those opposed to American or Israeli policies.

Amid growing pressure from their home countries and international human rights advocates, scores of Guantánamo detainees have been quietly repatriated in the past three years. Now, a new analysis by lawyers who have represented detainees at this 21st century Devil's Island says this policy undermines Washington's own claims about the threat posed by many of the prison camp's residents. The report, based on US government case files for Saudi detainees sent home over the past three years, shows inmates being systematically freed from custody within weeks of their return. In half the cases studied, the detainees had been turned over to US forces by Pakistani police or troops in return for financial rewards. Many others were accused of terrorism connections in part because their Arab nicknames matched those found in a computer database of al-Qaeda members, documents show. In December, a survey by the Associated Press found that 84 percent of released detainees -- 205 out of 245 individuals whose cases could be tracked -- were set free after being released to the custody of their native countries.

"There are certainly bad people in Guantánamo Bay, but there are also other cases where it's hard to understand why the people are still there," said Anant Raut, co-author of the report, who has visited the detention camp three times. "We were struggling to find some rationality, something to comfort us that it wasn't just random. But we didn't find it."

The report states that many of the US attempts to link the detainees to terrorism groups were based on evidence the authors describe as circumstantial and "highly questionable", such as the travel routes the detainees had followed in flying commercially from one Middle East country to another. American officials have associated certain travel routes with al Qaeda, when in fact, says the report, the routes "involve ordinary connecting flights in major international airports." With regard to accusations based on similar names, the report states: "This accusation appears to be based upon little more than similarities in the transliterations of a detainee's name and a name found on one of the hard drives."

Raut said he was most struck by the high percentage of Saudi detainees who had been captured and turned over by Pakistani forces. In effect, he said, for at least half of the group in the study, the United States "had no first-hand knowledge of their activities" in Afghanistan before their capture and imprisonment.[8]

When Michael Scheuer, former CIA officer who headed the Agency's Osama bin Laden unit, was told that the largest group in Guantánamo came from custody in Pakistan, he said: "We absolutely got the wrong people."[9]

Never mind. They were all treated equally. All thrown into solitary confinement. Shackled, blindfolded, excruciating physical contortions for long periods, denied medicine. Sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation. And two dozen other methods of torture which American officials do not call torture. (If you torture these officials, they might admit that it "torture lite".)

"The idea is to build an antiterrorist global environment," a senior American defense official said in 2003, "so that in 20 to 30 years, terrorism will be like slave-trading, completely discredited."[10]

When will the dropping of bombs on innocent civilians by the United States, and invading and occupying their country, without their country attacking or threatening the US, become completely discredited? When will the use of depleted uranium and cluster bombs and CIA torture renditions become things that even men like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld will be too embarrassed to defend?

Australian/British journalist John Pilger has noted that in George Orwell's 1984 "three slogans dominate society: war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength. Today's slogan, war on terrorism, also reverses meaning. The war is terrorism."

Throwing the earth on the mercy of the market Al Gore appeared before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on global warming on March 21. The star of "An Inconvenient Truth" was told by Cong. Joe Barton of Texas: "You're not just off a little -- you're totally wrong." In the afternoon Gore testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, during which the former vice president was told by Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma: "You've been so extreme in some of your expressions that you're losing some of your own people."[11]

These members of Congress know the facts of economic life in the United States. Fighting global warming is a threat to the principal human generator of it -- corporations -- who avail themselves of the best congress members money can buy to keep government regulations as weak as can be.

Does Al Gore know the same facts of American economic life? Of course, but you would have a hard time discerning that from his film. It's as cowardly in dealing with the corporations as Gore was in fighting the theft of the 2000 election. In the film's hour and a half, the words "corporations" or "profit" are not heard. The closest he comes to ascribing a link between the rape of the environment and the incessant corporate drive to optimize profits is a single passing mention of American automakers' reluctance to increase car gas mileage. He discusses the link between tobacco and lung cancer, as an example of how we have to "connect the dots" on environmental issues, with no mention of the tobacco corporations or their gross and deliberate deception of the American people. He states at another point that we must choose the environment over the economy, without any elucidation at all. Otherwise, the film's message is that it's up to the individual to change his habits, to campaign for renewable energy, and to write his congress member about this or that. In summary, the basic problem, he tells us, is that we're lacking "political will".

It would be most interesting if Al Gore were the president to see how tough he'd get with the corporations, which every day, around the clock, are faced with choices: one method of operation available being the least harmful to the environment, another method being the least harmful to the bottom line. Of course, Gore was vice-president for eight years and was in a fantastic and enviable position to pressure the corporations to mend their ways and Congress to enact tougher regulations; as well as to educate the public on more than their own bad habits. But what exactly did he do? Can any readers enlighten me as to what extent the man used his position and his power then in a manner consistent with the image and the word of his new film?

But could Gore be elected without corporate money? And how much of that money would reach his pocket if he advocated (choke, gasp!) free government-paid public transportation -- rail, bus, ferry, etc.? That would give birth to a breathtaking -- or rather, breath enhancing -- reduction in automobile pollution; easily paid for by ceasing America's imperialist wars.

Microsoft and the National Security Agency I have long felt that the American media's gravest shortcoming is its errors of omission, rather than its errors of commission. It's what they leave out that distorts the news more than any factual errors or out-and-out lies. In January the Washington Post reported that Microsoft had announced that its new operating system, Vista, was being brought to us with the assistance of the National Security Agency. The NSA said it helped to protect the operating system from worms, Trojan horses and other insidious computer attackers. "Our intention is to help everyone with security," said the NSA's chief of vulnerability analysis and operations group. The spy agency, which provided its service free, said it was Microsoft's idea to acknowledge NSA's role, although the software giant declined to be specific about NSA's contributions to Vista.[12]

What the Post -- and most likely the entirety of mainstream American media -- do not remind us of is what came out in 1999 and 2000, although it's all over the Internet.

In September 1999, leading European investigative reporter Duncan Campbell revealed that NSA had arranged with Microsoft to insert special "keys" into Windows operating systems, beginning with Windows 95. An American computer scientist, Andrew Fernandez of Cryptonym in North Carolina, had disassembled parts of the Windows instruction code and found the smoking gun -- Microsoft's developers had failed to remove the debugging symbols used to test this software before they released it. Inside the code were the labels for two keys. One was called "KEY". The other was called "NSAKEY". Fernandez presented his finding at a conference at which some Windows developers were also in attendance. The developers did not deny that the NSA key was built into their software, but they refused to talk about what the key did, or why it had been put there without users' knowledge. Fernandez says that NSA's "back door" in the world's most commonly used operating system makes it "orders of magnitude easier for the US government to access your computer."[13]

In February 2000, it was disclosed that the Strategic Affairs Delegation (DAS), the intelligence arm of the French Defense Ministry, had prepared a report in 1999 which also asserted that NSA had helped to install secret programs in Microsoft software. According to the DAS report, "it would seem that the creation of Microsoft was largely supported, not least financially, by the NSA, and that IBM was made to accept the [Microsoft] MS-DOS operating system by the same administration." The report stated that there had been a "strong suspicion of a lack of security fed by insistent rumours about the existence of spy programmes on Microsoft, and by the presence of NSA personnel in Bill Gates' development teams." Microsoft categorically denied all the charges and the French Defense Ministry said that it did not necessarily stand by the report, which was written by "outside experts".[14]

In case the above disturbs your image of Bill Gates and his buddies as a bunch of long-haired, liberal, peacenik computer geeks, and the company as one of the non-military-oriented halfway decent corporations, the DAS report states that the Pentagon at the time was Microsoft's biggest client in the world. The Israeli military has also been an important client. In 2002, the company erected enormous billboards in Israel which bore the Microsoft logo under the text "From the depth of our heart -- thanks to The Israeli Defense Forces", with the Israeli national flag in the background.[15]

The Myth of the Good War Readers of this report will be aware that one of the points I try very hard to convey is that the reason so many Americans support US atrocities abroad is that they're convinced that no matter how bad things may look, the government means well. American leaders may make mistakes, they may blunder, they may lie, they may even on the odd occasion cause more harm than good, but they do mean well. Their intentions are honorable. Of that most Americans are certain. And one of the foundation stones for this edifice of patriotic faith is the Second World War, an historical saga that all Americans are taught about from childhood on. We all know what its real name is: "The Good War".

Which leads me to recommend a book, "The Myth of the Good War", by Jacques Pauwels, published in 2002. It's very well done, well argued and documented, an easy read. I particularly like the sections dealing with the closing months of the European campaign, during which the United States and Great Britain contemplated stabbing their Soviet ally in the back with maneuvers like a separate peace with Germany, using German troops to fight the Russians, and sabotaging legal attempts by various Communist Parties and other elements of the European left to share in (highly earned) political power after the war. This last piece of sabotage was of course very effectively realized. Stalin learned enough about these schemes to at least partially explain his post-war suspicious manner toward his "allies". In the West we called it "paranoia".[16]


[1] Seattle Times, March 31, 2007

[2] Washington Post, March 30, 2007, p.11

[3] Financial Times (London), Oct 4, 2004

[4] Wall Street Journal, January 26, 2005

[5] Testimony before the House Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs, April 16, 1985

[6] ABC News, April 3, 2007

[7] Sunday Telegraph (London), February 25, 2007

[8] Washington Post, March 18, 2007

[9] Richard Ackland, "Innocence ignored at Guantanamo", Sydney Morning Herald, February 24, 2006.

[10] New York Times, January 17, 2003, p.10

[11] Washington Post, March 22, 2007, p.2

[12] Washington Post, January 9, 2007. p.D1

[13] Duncan Campbell's article of September 3, 1999 can be found on the website of TechWeb:

[14] Agence France Presse, February 18 and 21, 2000

[15] To see one of the billboards:

[16] Available in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Dutch editions

William Blum is the author of: Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2 Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire

Global Research Articles by William Blum

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Right Wing Hate PR against Chomsky

The USA has a free press, free to publish slanted smears.

Corporate mind f*ck, just like the 911 inside job ... read FURTHER BELOW

Writer Viewed As Holocaust Denial Sympathizer Visits School

Noam Chomsky Speaks At Newton School

POSTED: 12:17 pm EDT April 11, 2007
UPDATED: 5:34 pm EDT April 11, 2007

Parents and students at a local high school said they are outraged that an author who is viewed as sympathizing with people who deny that the Holocaust took place was invited to speak at the school. NewsCenter 5's Amalia Barreda reported that Noam Chomsky spoke at Newton South High School on Wednesday. Stephan Ross, a survivor of 10 Nazi concentration camps, approached Newton South High School to demand an apology from the controversial writer and philosopher, but police officers kept him from entering.
"It is very painful when you know that a Jewish man would go and, maybe he doesn't say much about the Holocaust, but he does protect deniers," Ross said. "Hitler had his favorite Jew. And I think the tyrants of the world have their favorite Jew and it happens to be Chomsky," said parent Richard Salter. Chomsky's appearance at Newton South attracted a small group of protesters that were all kept across the street from the school by police. Members of the school's Social Awareness Club who invited the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor said it was their intent to have a respectful discussion with him about U.S. policy in Iraq. "We didn't invite him here because he had ideas we agreed with or didn't agree with.
We invited him here because we wanted to hear what an expert on the war had to say," said David Fisher of the Social Awareness Club. "We didn't want it to become an arena event and to become a big circus and have people yelling things or being disrespectful. We really wanted it to be an intimate discussion," said Ashley Norman of the Social Awareness Club.
"I think it is horrible that Mr. Chomsky would be invited to speak unopposed. And I find it also horrible that he is a huge proponent of the freedom of the press and speech and his speech is taking place behind closed doors. This is horrible. This is hypocritical," said Student Senate President Dan Groob. In a telephone interview with Barreda, Chomsky shrugged off the criticism."Most everything I said was in accord with the overwhelming majority of what Americans think. It people are upset about it, that's their problem," he said. About 150 students and parents were allowed to enter the lecture hall where Chomsky spoke. "We need to trust that the children can take in information, process it and form their own opinions, like they do every day in every classroom," Principal Brian Salzer said. In response to charges that he sympathizes with Holocaust deniers, Chomsky said he has taken one of the strongest positions in condemning those who deny the Holocaust happened. He said people who believe the opposite have probably never seen a word he has written, but have been exposed to mass propaganda about him.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hegel today

What Can Hegel Tell Us About Terror After 9/11?

by David MacGregor
King’s University College, University of Western Ontario
Paper delivered March 31, 2007

2007 Ontario Hegel Organization Annual Meeting
“Hegel on Conflict, Terror and War”
March 30-April 1, 2007, York University
Harry Crowe Room, 109 Atkinson

I suggest that Hegel’s political philosophy offers a unique standpoint for an examination of modern terror. His contribution revolves around the notion of a dual state – a growing, democratic social state emerging from the external state that characterizes civil society. In times of national peril the social state may face dissolution. At such periods, powerful interests from within the external state may establish a “state of exception,” an authority capable of dissolving the social state, and imposing its own mode of terror. As Schmitt said, “sovereign is he who decides on the exception.”

1. French Terror and The State of Exception

Hegel’s analysis of terror in the Phenomenology of Spirit may have a singular, though perhaps unnoticed, relevance for the terrorist strikes on New York and Washington. Hegel was looking at the horrific series of arrests and massacres initiated by Robespierre during the French Revolution. In the turmoil of destruction, intermediary bodies, such as the guilds, were abolished. The national emergency posed by the prospect of invading foreign armies, and national uprisings against the Revolution, sparked fear of internal subversion. The original democratic arrangement ensuring liberty with a weak executive power evaporated. “In this crisis, no basis for a real ‘separation of powers’ existed.” (Harris, Hegel’s Ladder, v 2, p. 393). The National Convention, elected by the people, assumed absolute power. The line between individual will and the universal will of the state had disappeared. Absolute Freedom and the Nation became identical, “an undivided substance”. As noted in John Russon’s talk last night, with nothing to connect the extreme of individual will and the will of the Nation, there could be only one result of universal freedom represented by government: death.

The sole work and deed of universal freedom is . . . death, death too which has no inner significance or filling, for what is negated is the empty point of the absolutely free self. It is thus the coldest and meanest of deaths, with no more significance than cutting off the head of a cabbage or swallowing a mouthful of water (Phenomenology, p. 360).

The state of emergency trumped individual rights, “security against arbitrary arrest, and presumption of innocence until found guilty by due process of law.” (Harris, p. 390). Robespierre, as head of the Committee of Public Safety, had abrogated public authority to himself. To borrow from Schmitt, he became sovereign through a state of exception. The sovereign, says Schmitt, is the individual who

Decides in a situation of conflict what constitutes the public interest, or interest of the state, public safety and order . . . The exception, which is not codified in the existing legal order, can at best be characterized as a case of extreme peril, a danger to the existence of the state, and the like (Political Theology, 2005, p. 6).

We find a similar statement in the Philosophy of Right (I owe this observation to H.S. Harris and also to Renato Cristi’s excellent, though wrong, Hegel on Freedom and Authority, p. 192).

In a case of exigency, however, whether at home or foreign affairs, the organism of these particular spheres of which these particular spheres are members fuses into the single concept of sovereignty. The sovereign is entrusted with the salvation of the state at the sacrifice of these particular authorities whose powers are valid at other times, and it is then that ideality comes into proper actuality. (para 278, p. 181)

The state was identical with Robespierre’s unrestrained self-will, and as Hegel observes elsewhere a key characteristic of evil is unimpeded self-will. When Sophie Scholl of the White Rose anti-violent movement, and Mildred Harnack of the Red Orchestra resistance, among others, vainly opposed the self-will of Adolf Hitler during the Nazi terror they were condemned in 1943, after trials that made a mockery of justice, to have their heads cut off with the same terrible instrument employed by Robespierre in the Terror (See, for example, Shareen Blair Brysac, Resisting Hitler: Mildred Harnack and the Red Orchestra , Oxford University Press, 2000).

But what is the relevance of Hegel’s analysis of the Terror to September 11? I am not going to discuss the use by so-called “Islamic militants” of videotaped beheadings as a means to pursue absolute freedom, nor will I discuss mass arrests and “extraordinary rendition” employed by U.S. authorities against suspected terrorists. One commentator has already labeled these U.S. practices, instances of a state of exception (Agamben, State of Exception, 2005)

Indeed, as I have written elsewhere, government is history’s most frequent source of terror (“September 11 as Machiavellian State Terror,” The Hidden History of 9-11, 2001, Research in Political Economy, 2006.) Accordingly, Hegel’s analysis of the Terror is relevant in a way not often considered. Hegel surveyed terror committed by a state perverted into an instrument of evil, of unmitigated self-will.

In other papers, I have suggested, following Machiavelli (one of Hegel’s favourite philosophers), that the state frequently conceals its own malevolent role in acts of terror (e.g. The Deep Politics of September 11: Political Economy of Concrete Evil, in Confronting 9-11, Ideologies of Race, and Eminent Economists, Research in Political Economy, Vol 20, 2002.) Hegel himself was personally familiar with state terror, or what I would like to call, Machiavellian State Terror. His close friends, the poet Holderlin and political writer Isaak von Sinclair, were framed in a supposed attempt to assassinate the rector of Wurttemberg. To escape a trumped-up trial for treason and certain death, some say Holderlin feigned madness, spending the remainder of his life in a wooden tower (See my discussion in Hegel and Marx After the Fall of Communism, University of Wales Press, 1998, pp. 95-98 and passim)

Holderlin’s experience with government informers that led to his arrest may lie behind Hegel’s sardonic remarks (in the 1818/19 Heidelburg lectures on Natural Right and Political Science) about the practice of using underworld spies to pursue state objectives. “These people, or police spies, hunt around, without being officials, or out of subjective interest, and they seek themselves to make criminals or to impute crimes falsely.” Hegel describes a case where innocent Irishmen were deceived into a phony counterfeiting operation in London by government spies, and then arrested as counterfeiters—one of the most serious crimes of the period. Such operations, where underworld figures or police spies covertly carry out the business of the state, can lead, says Hegel, “to the abyss of depravity.” Lectures on Natural Right and Political Science: The First Philosophy of Spirit, p. 212 quoted in Hegel & Marx After the Fall of Communism, p. 194).

Examples of Hegel’s “abyss of depravity” are not hard to find in our own period. Thus, European commentators on peace and security have recently pointed to activities of state agents in fomenting terror disguised as actions by extreme left or right groups. In the early 1990s, Italian investigators uncovered a network of “Stay Behinds,”called Operation Gladio—secret intelligence operatives linked with NATO who bombed railway stations—killing hundreds of Italian civilians—and assassinated high-level politicians while posing as rightwing or leftwing extremists. The terrorist attacks under the rubric of “a strategy of tension” deliberately created—through largely US direction—a “state of exception” in Italy. Accordingly, Prime Minister Aldo Moro was kidnapped (and later murdered) March 16, 1978, on the very day that he was to announce a “historic compromise” with the Italian Communist Party. (See, e.g. Daniel Genser, Nato’s Secret Armies, 2006).

In the next section I connect the “state of exception” to Hegel’s notion of the dual state—the state external and the social state.

2. Terror and the Dual State: A Wrong Turn on Civil Society

The dual concept of the state in Hegel may be the most seriously neglected aspect of his political philosophy. On one side is the universal state, public authority connected by complex arrangements of representation to the will of a diversity of individuals in civil society, and devoted to concrete actualization of individual freedom. This state, though still only nascent, already exists, and is embodied in the growing democratic arrangements of modern government.

But there is a more sinister aspect to the state in Hegel, one underwritten by what Hegel called, the Understanding consciousness: the notion that the state is merely an instrument of civil society. From the Understanding’s perspective, the state may be either a tool of dominant groups (Marxist and elite theory) or a democratic reflection of organic diversity in civil society (pluralist and liberal theory). From a Hegelian point of view, it is both. Thus, Hegel’s article on the English Reform Bill reflected on the unrepresentative character of the British state, which for the most part blatantly served the interests of a corrupt aristocracy (see Chapter 2 Hegel Marx and the English State; the article on which this chapter is based is anthologized in David Lamb, Hegel, volume 1). This surely was, to quote Hegel, “the state external, the state based on need, the state as the Understanding perceives it.” Yet Hegel also saw glimmerings of rationality in the debate on the Reform Bill, elements that could strengthen a democratic community.

The turn to “civil society” as a benevolent counter to the state that has entranced so many commentators (and lives on in the misplaced notion of “non-governmental organizations”) was a dreadful mistake. Indeed, I was surprised by the new version of “civil society” that was partly inspired by the exciting events in Poland during the 1980s. My own analysis of Hegel’s concept of civil society in The Communist Ideal in Hegel and Marx , University of Toronto Press, 1984) made me much less optimistic about the fate of civil society. Civil society, as Hegel said, is a jungle, attuned to the most voracious and powerful actors. Certainly, there are progressive social forces that must be fostered, but these are always and everywhere linked to government, or direct their legitimate appeals to the state. Indeed, effectiveness of non-governmental organizations concerns precisely their impact on the state system, their ability to make a difference outside the predatory realm of civil society.

Ruling powers within the external state can at times totally overcome those of a fledgling universal or social state. Returning to Hegel’s analysis of the sovereign, and viewing it from the point of view of the negative, a state of exigency could exterminate the social state, replacing it with a security apparatus representing the interests of the powerful. Accordingly, Hegel warned against a “strong state”—one that relies on security operations, shutdown of constitutional rights, etc., to safeguard so-called national interests.

To take the merely negative as a starting point and to exalt to the first place the volition of evil and the mistrust of this volition, and then on the basis of this presupposition, slyly to construct dikes whose efficiency simply necessitates corresponding dikes over against them, is characteristic of the negative Understanding and in sentiment of the outlook of the rabble.

Ola Tunander, Senior Research Fellow at the International Peace Research Centre in Oslo, has opened up a new dialogue on the nature of the dual state (see for example. “Geopolitical Traditions: Swedish Geopolitics: From Rudolf Kjellen to a Swedish Dual State,” Geopolitics, 10: 546-566, 2005.) He notes how political theorist Carl Schmitt in face of growing democratic forces in the Weimar Republic considered ways in which this development might affect the sovereignty of government. Schmitt urged the existence of two forms of the state, a public state and—as we have seen— a “state of exception.”

US political scientist Hans Morgenthau, who was influenced by Carl Schmitt, studied the American political administration and proposed in the late 1950s the existence of a dual state, a regular state hierarchy that acts according to the rule of law, and a more or less hidden security hierarchy that not only acts in parallel to the former but also monitors and exerts control over it. The Nazis employed a dual state but this doubleness was overt: an autocratic emergency state operated above and outside the German legal system. Similarly, Chile under Pinochet made little effort to conceal the existence of a dual state. Says Tulander, “Morgenthau draws a parallel between Nazi Germany and the U.S. Dual State. Indeed, in his view, the autocratic ‘security state’ may be less visible and less arbitrary in democratic societies such as the USA, but it is no less important.”

It is interesting that in Professor Adelman’s paper (coming up next!) he speaks of the terror of the Algerian insurgency. He reveals that the terror of the Algerian liberation, where bombs were planted among innocent civilians, was difficult for him to forgive. But it is known that the Secret French Army (OAS) opposing the Algerian liberation forces frequently bombed French citizens in order to lay blame on the Arab insurgency. Of course, the OAS also attempted to assassinate President Charles de Gaulle

Tunander has studied how the U.S. government disguised its submarines as Russian nuclear subs, sending them to the coast of Sweden in order to panic the neutral Swedes into support for America’s belligerent nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union in the 1980s (The Secret War Against Sweden: US and British Submarine Deception in the 1980s, London: Frank Cass, 2005). Swedish popular support for anti-nuclear politics fell steeply amidst worries about aggression from the USSR. The assassination of Olaf Palme, Tunander suggests, likely resulted from the Swedish leader’s opposition to U.S. military installations in Sweden. Tunander suggests there are two Swedish governments, the public democratic state (the “political Sweden”), and a secret, deep state (the “military Sweden”) reflecting the union between the military and the rich.

Liberal theory, notes Tunander, denies the existence of a dual state. Law defines the democratic polity, and applies to all within it. But this is an illusion. In western democracies there is a covert security state parallel to the democratic state. To use Hegel’s language, the rational state glimmers behind the external state of civil society, but it is always in danger of being manipulated or dissolved.

Copyright David MacGregor, 2007

(contact MacGregor for re-publishing permission)


Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (IPA: [ˈgeɔʁk ˈvɪlhɛlm ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈheːgəl]) (August 27, 1770November 14, 1831) was a German idealist philosopher born in Stuttgart, Württemberg, in present-day southwest Germany. His influence has been widespread on writers of widely varying positions, including both his admirers (F. H. Bradley, Sartre, Hans Küng, Bruno Bauer, Max Stirner, Karl Marx), and his detractors (Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Schelling). He introduced, arguably for the first time in philosophy, the idea that History and the concrete are important in getting out of the circle of philosophia perennis, i.e., the perennial problems of philosophy. He also stressed the importance of the Other in the coming to be of self-awareness (see master-slave dialectic).

Hegel was born in Stuttgart on August 27, 1770. As a child he was a voracious reader of literature, newspapers, philosophical essays, and writings on various other topics. In part, Hegel's literary childhood can be attributed to his uncharacteristically progressive mother who actively nurtured her children's intellectual development. The Hegels were a well-established middle class family in Stuttgart. His father was a civil servant in the administrative government of Württemberg. Hegel was a sickly child and almost died of smallpox before he was six. He had a close relationship with his sister, Christiane, which would remain a strong bond throughout his life.

He received his education at the Tübinger Stift (seminary of the Protestant Church in Württemberg), where he met the future philosopher Friedrich Schelling and the poet Friedrich Hölderlin. Sharing a dislike for what was regarded as the restrictive environment of the Tübingen seminary, the three became close friends and mutually influenced each other's ideas. The three watched the unfolding of the French Revolution and immersed themselves in the emerging criticism of the idealist philosophy of Immanuel Kant. To be more precise, Hölderlin and Schelling immersed themselves in theoretical debates on Kantian philosophy; Hegel's interest in theory came later, after his own abortive attempts to work out a Kant-inspired popular philosophy — which was his original ambition. The Popularphilosophen were writers who introduced and debated issues of the day, as a way of promoting the values of the Enlightenment. Most of them were influenced by English or Scottish thinkers such as Locke or Reid; Hegel wanted to "complete" the critical philosophy of Kant in the mode of a Popularphilosoph. At Tübingen he was skeptical of the highly theoretical (and technical) discussions that Hölderlin and Schelling engaged in. It was only in 1800 that Hegel admitted the need to resolve the difficulties of the Kantian system before it could hope to be put into practice.

In 1801 Hegel secured a place at the University of Jena as a privatdozent. He gave a course of lectures which became immensely popular. The university promoted Hegel to the position of Extraordinary Professor, perhaps due to the influence of Goethe on the authorities. However, with the conquest of Prussia by Napoleon in 1806, the University had to close. Hegel worked as a journalist for a few years, marrying Marie von Tucher in 1811. After publishing The Science of Logic, Hegel attained a post at the University of Heidelberg in 1816. He published The Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sentences in Outline, a summary of his philosophy for students attending his lectures. In 1818 he accepted a job at the University of Berlin as a full professor of philosophy. Frederick William III decorated Hegel for his service to the Prussian regime and appointed him rector of the university in 1830. He was deeply disturbed by the riots for reform in Berlin. In 1831 a cholera epidemic broke out in Berlin and Hegel fled; but he returned prematurely, caught the infection, and a few days later died in his sleep at the age of 61.

Hegel published only four books during his life: the Phenomenology of Spirit (or Phenomenology of Mind), his account of the evolution of consciousness from sense-perception to absolute knowledge, published in 1807; the Science of Logic, the logical and metaphysical core of his philosophy, in three volumes, published in 1811, 1812, and 1816 (revised 1831); Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences, a summary of his entire philosophical system, which was originally published in 1816 and revised in 1827 and 1830; and the Elements of the Philosophy of Right, his political philosophy, published in 1822. He also published some articles early in his career and during his Berlin period. A number of other works on the philosophy of history, religion, aesthetics, and the history of philosophy were compiled from the lecture notes of his students and published posthumously.

Hegel's Grave in Berlin
Hegel's Grave in Berlin

Hegel's works have a reputation for their difficulty and for the breadth of the topics they attempt to cover. Hegel introduced a system for understanding the history of philosophy and the world itself, often described as a progression in which each successive movement emerges as a solution to the contradictions inherent in the preceding movement. For example, the French Revolution for Hegel constitutes the introduction of real freedom into European societies for the first time in recorded history. But precisely because of its absolute novelty, it is also absolutely radical: on the one hand the upsurge of violence required to carry out the revolution cannot cease to be itself, while on the other, it has already consumed its opponent. The revolution therefore has nowhere to turn but onto its own result: the hard-won freedom is consumed by a brutal Reign of Terror. History, however, progresses by learning from its mistakes: only after and precisely because of this experience can one posit the existence of a constitutional state of free citizens, embodying both the benevolent organizing power of rational government and the revolutionary ideals of freedom and equality. Hegel's remarks on the French revolution led German poet Heinrich Heine to label him "The Orléans of German Philosophy".

Hegel's writing style is difficult to read; he is described by Bertrand Russell in the History of Western Philosophy as the single most difficult philosopher to understand. This is partly because Hegel tried to develop a new form of thinking and logic, which he called "speculative reason" and which includes the more famous concept of "dialectic," to try to overcome what he saw as the limitations of both common sense and of traditional philosophy at grasping philosophical problems and the relation between thought and reality.


The obscure writings of Jakob Böhme had a strong effect on Hegel. Böhme had written that the Fall of Man was a necessary stage in the evolution of the universe. This evolution was, itself, the result of God's desire for complete self-awareness. Hegel was fascinated by the works of Spinoza, Kant, Rousseau, and Goethe, and by the French Revolution. Modern philosophy, culture, and society seemed to Hegel fraught with contradictions and tensions, such as those between the subject and object of knowledge, mind and nature, self and Other, freedom and authority, knowledge and faith, the Enlightenment and Romanticism. Hegel's main philosophical project was to take these contradictions and tensions and interpret them as part of a comprehensive, evolving, rational unity that, in different contexts, he called "the absolute idea" or "absolute knowledge".

According to Hegel, the main characteristic of this unity was that it evolved through and manifested itself in contradiction and negation. Contradiction and negation have a dynamic quality that at every point in each domain of realityconsciousness, history, philosophy, art, nature, society—leads to further development until a rational unity is reached that preserves the contradictions as phases and sub-parts by lifting them up (Aufhebung) to a higher unity. This whole is mental because it is mind that can comprehend all of these phases and sub-parts as steps in its own process of comprehension. It is rational because the same, underlying, logical, developmental order underlies every domain of reality and is ultimately the order of self-conscious rational thought, although only in the later stages of development does it come to full self-consciousness. The rational, self-conscious whole is not a thing or being that lies outside of other existing things or minds. Rather, it comes to completion only in the philosophical comprehension of individual existing human minds who, through their own understanding, bring this developmental process to an understanding of itself.

(Note: “Mind” and “Spirit” are the common English translations of Hegel’s use of the German “Geist”. Some Hegelian scholars have argued that either of these terms overly “psychologize” Hegel,[citation needed] implying a kind of disembodied, solipsistic consciousness like "ghost" or "soul,". Geist combines the meaning of spirit, as in god, ghost or mind, with an intentional force.[citation needed])

Central to Hegel's conception of knowledge and mind (and therefore also of reality) was the notion of identity in difference, that is that mind externalizes itself in various forms and objects that stand outside of it or opposed to it, and that, through recognizing itself in them, is "with itself" in these external manifestations, so that they are at one and the same time mind and other-than-mind. This notion of identity in difference, which is intimately bound up with his conception of contradiction and negativity, is a principal feature differentiating Hegel's thought from that of other philosophers.

There are views of Hegel's thought as a representation of the summit of early 19th century Germany's movement of philosophical idealism. It would come to have a profound impact on many future philosophical schools, including schools that opposed Hegel's specific dialectical idealism, such as Existentialism, the historical materialism of Karl Marx, historicism, and British Idealism. At the same time, modern analytic and positivistic philosophers have considered Hegel a principal target because of what they consider the obscurantism of his philosophy (though some Germans, notably Schopenhauer, shared that criticism of his thought).[citation needed] Hegel was aware of his 'obscurantism' and saw it as part of philosophical thinking that grasps the limitations of everyday thought and concepts and tries to go beyond them. Hegel wrote in his essay "Who Thinks Abstractly?" that it is not the philosopher who thinks abstractly but the person on the street, who uses concepts as fixed, unchangeable givens, without any context. It is the philosopher who thinks concretely, because they go beyond the limits of everyday concepts to understand their broader context. This can make philosophical thought and language seem mysterious or obscure to the person on the street.

Hegel's influence was immense both within philosophy and in the sciences. Throughout the 19th century many chairs of philosophy around Europe were held by Hegelians, although Kierkegaard, Feuerbach, Marx, and Engels were all opposed to the most central themes of Hegel's philosophy. After less than a generation, Hegel's philosophy was suppressed and even banned by the Prussian right-wing, and was firmly rejected by the left-wing in multiple official writings.

After the period of Bruno Bauer, Hegel's influence did not make itself felt again until the philosophy of British Idealism and the 20th century Hegelian Neo-Marxism that began with Georg Lukács. The more recent movement of communitarianism has a strong Hegelian influence, although a Hegel specialist would argue that that influence is not strong enough, since communitarianism suffers from relativism, which Hegel's philosophy does not.

Hegel's legacy

Some of Hegel's writing was intended for those with advanced knowledge of philosophy, although his "Encyclopedia" was intended as a textbook in a university course. Nevertheless, like many philosophers, Hegel assumed that his readers would be well-versed in Western philosophy, up to and including Descartes, Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Fichte, and Schelling. For those wishing to read his work without this background, introductions to Hegel and commentaries about Hegel may suffice. However, even this is hotly debated since the reader must choose from multiple interpretations of Hegel's writings from incompatible schools of philosophy. Presumably, reading Hegel directly would be the best method of understanding him, but this task has historically proved to be beyond the average reader of philosophy. This difficulty may be the most urgent problem with respect to the legacy of Hegel.

One especially difficult aspect of Hegel's work is his innovation in logic. In response to Immanuel Kant's challenge to the limits of Pure Reason, Hegel developed a radically new form of logic, which he called speculation, and which is today popularly called dialectics. The difficulty in reading Hegel was perceived in Hegel's own day, and persists into the 21st century. To understand Hegel fully requires paying attention to his critique of standard logic, such as the law of contradiction and the law of the excluded middle, and, whether one accepts or rejects it, at least taking it seriously. Many philosophers who came after Hegel and were influenced by him, whether adopting or rejecting his ideas, did so without fully absorbing his new speculative or dialectical logic.

Left and Right Hegelianism

Another confusing aspect about the interpretation of Hegel's work is the fact that past historians have spoken of Hegel's influence as represented by two opposing camps. The Right Hegelians, the allegedly direct disciples of Hegel at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität (now known as the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), advocated a Protestant orthodoxy and the political conservatism of the post-Napoleon Restoration period. The Left Hegelians, also known as the Young Hegelians, interpreted Hegel in a revolutionary sense, leading to an advocation of atheism in religion and liberal democracy in politics.

In more recent studies, however, this old paradigm has been questioned. For one thing, no Hegelians of the period ever referred to themselves as Right Hegelians. That was a term of insult that David Strauss (a self-styled Left Hegelian) hurled at Bruno Bauer (who has most often been classified by historians as a Left Hegelian, but who rejected both titles for himself). For another thing, no so-called "Left Hegelian" described himself as a follower of Hegel. This includes Moses Hess as well as Karl Marx. Several "Left Hegelians" openly repudiated or insulted the legacy of Hegel's philosophy. The critiques of Hegel offered from the "Left Hegelians" radically diverted Hegel's thinking into new directions—and form a disproportionately large part of the literature on and about Hegel.

Perhaps the main reason that so much writing about Hegel emerges from the so-called Left-Hegelians is that the Left-Hegelians spawned Marxism, which inspired a global movement lasting more than 150 years, encompassing the Russian Revolution, the Chinese Revolution and even more national-liberation movements of the 20th century. Yet that isn't, to be precise, any direct result of Hegel's philosophy.

20th century interpretations of Hegel were mostly shaped by one-sided schools of thought: British Idealism, logical positivism, Marxism, Fascism and postmodernism. However, since the fall of the USSR, a new wave of Hegel scholarship arose in the West, without the preconceptions of the prior schools of thought.

Walter Jaeschke and Otto Pöggeler in Germany, as well as Peter Hodgson and Howard Kainz in America, are notable for their many contributions to post-USSR thinking about Hegel as published by the Hegel Society of America. Perhaps the most challenging publication from that source has been the new English edition of Hegel's Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion (1818-1831) which has challenged most 20th century views about Hegel.


In previous modern accounts of Hegelianism (to undergraduate classes, for example), Hegel's dialectic was most often characterized as a three-step process of "Thesis, antithesis, synthesis", namely, that a "thesis" (e.g. the French Revolution) would cause the creation of its "antithesis" (e.g. the Reign of Terror that followed), and would eventually result in a "synthesis" (e.g. the Constitutional state of free citizens). However, Hegel used this classification only once, and he attributed the terminology to Immanuel Kant. The terminology was largely developed earlier by Johann Fichte the neo-Kantian. It was spread by Heinrich Moritz Chalybäus in a popular account of Hegelian philosophy, and since then the misfit terms have stuck.

Believing that the traditional description of Hegel's philosophy in terms of thesis-antithesis-synthesis was mistaken, a few scholars, like Raya Dunayevskaya have attempted to discard the triadic approach altogether. According to their argument, although Hegel refers to "the two elemental considerations: first, the idea of freedom as the absolute and final aim; secondly, the means for realising it, i.e. the subjective side of knowledge and will, with its life, movement, and activity" (thesis and antithesis) he doesn't use "synthesis" but instead speaks of the "Whole": "We then recognised the State as the moral Whole and the Reality of Freedom, and consequently as the objective unity of these two elements." Furthermore, in Hegel's language, the "dialectical" aspect or "moment" of thought and reality, by which things or thoughts turn into their opposites or have their inner contradictions brought to the surface, is only preliminary to the "speculative" (and not "synthesizing") aspect or "moment", which grasps the unity of these opposites or contradiction. Thus for Hegel, reason is ultimately "speculative", not "dialectical".

To the contrary, scholars like Howard Kainz explain that Hegel's philosophy contains thousands of triads. However, instead of "thesis-antithesis-synthesis," Hegel used different terms to speak about triads, for example, "immediate-mediate-concrete," as well as, "abstract-negative-concrete." Hegel's works speak of synthetic logic. Nevertheless, it is widely admitted today that the old-fashioned description of Hegel's philosophy in terms of "thesis-antithesis-synthesis" was always inaccurate. At the same time, however, those same terms survive in scholarly works, such is the persistence of this misnomer.