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The Psychological Assault

The September 11, 2001 attack has all of the hallmarks of a psychological operation (psy-op). It appears to have been engineered to produce shock and fear in the populace while limiting the number of immediate casualties to several thousand people. The perpetrators counted on psychological numbing to insert the Osama bin Laden attack legend. The attack itself is so unbelievable that it induces a suspension of disbelief, which causes the victim (of the psy-op) to overlook huge gaps in the official story.

Suspension of disbelief is accomplished by several means.

  • The scale of the attack, combined with its shocking targeting of the country's capital and largest city, demanded a suspension of disbelief just to grasp the basic facts.
  • The resemblance of the attack to a movie triggered the conditioned suspension of disbelief people have developed for watching horror and science fiction movies.
    • The attack unfolded over a period of about two hours, the length of a feature-length movie.
    • The attack consisted of a series of assaults, evenly distributed over the two-hour period, where the shockingness of each assault increased up to the climax of the tower explosions. Media reports filled out the plot-line with ongoing developments in the story of the hijackers and the repetition of imagery of the assaults.
    • The attack targeted Manhattan and the Pentagon, two of the most popular targets for invaders in science fiction movies.
  • The repetition of themes (memes) by trusted news sources made them believable despite their occurrence being completely unprecedented.
    • Buildings hit by planes underwent total or partial collapses (three times).
    • Hijackers took over jetliners with primitive weapons (four times).
    • Top officials were clueless or couldn't decide what to do in all cases.


page last modified: 2010-12-18
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The explosion of the towers into dust was a complete non-sequitur, but people accepted the explanation they had "collapsed".
People flee the advancing wall of dust from the exploding South Tower.
The North Tower's dust cloud dwarfed Lower Manhattan.