Cass Sunstein Threatens Freedom of Speech & Calls for 'Cognitive Infiltration' of 9/11 Conspiracy Groups

    As much as I disagree with the 9/11 conspiracy theories, I do think that the people who support these types of theories have a right to free speech which is guaranteed in our consitution. Cass Sunstein wants a 'cognitive infiltration' of 9/11 conspiracy groups.  This seems to me that our government is crossing a line here and trying to quash free speech in this case.  I have no problem with Obama or his administration speaking out against these kinda loony theories but to have an all out campaign against these citizens freedom of speech is ludicrous and kinda fascist.  What does this adninistration consider to be "extremist theories"?  It seems like this could lead to the Obama administration targeting anyone who disagrees with their political positions.  We must save all freedom of speech and stand up for our rights which are outlined in our constitution.

    From The Raw Story, Sunstein's article, published in the Journal of Political Philosphy in 2008 and recently uncovered by blogger Marc Estrin, states that "our primary claim is that conspiracy theories typically stem not from irrationality or mental illness of any kind but from a 'crippled epistemology,' in the form of a sharply limited number of (relevant) informational sources."

    By "crippled epistemology" Sunstein means that people who believe in conspiracy theories have a limited number of sources of information that they trust. Therefore, Sunstein argued in the article, it would not work to simply refute the conspiracy theories in public -- the very sources that conspiracy theorists believe would have to be infiltrated.
     Sunstein, whose article focuses largely on the 9/11 conspiracy theories, suggests that the government "enlist nongovernmental officials in the effort to rebut the theories. It might ensure that credible independent experts offer the rebuttal, rather than government officials themselves. There is a tradeoff between credibility and control, however. The price of credibility is that government cannot be seen to control the independent experts."

    Sunstein argued that "government might undertake (legal) tactics for breaking up the tight cognitive clusters of extremist theories." He suggested that "government agents (and their allies) might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action."
    "We expect such tactics from undercover cops, or FBI," Estrin writes at the Rag Blog, expressing surprise that "a high-level presidential advisor" would support such a strategy.

    Estrin notes that Sunstein advocates in his article for the infiltration of "extremist" groups so that it undermines the groups' confidence to the extent that "new recruits will be suspect and participants in the group’s virtual networks will doubt each other’s bona fides."


    H/T Raw StorySource URL:
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