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Cui Bono: Groupthink vs Thinking the Unthinkable? Reframing the suffocating consensus in response to 7/7


Cui Bono: Groupthink vs Thinking the Unthinkable?
#1. Learning from the 9/11 response: groupthink and failure of imagination
#2. Learning from different levels of response to "terrorist incidents"
#3. Learning from the past: here we go again?
#4. Learning from "al-Qaida" as a source of terrorism
#5. Learning from premature closure and proximate causes
#6. Learning from presumptions of "guilt by association"
#7. Learning from manipulative framing of "terrorism": definitional game-playing
#8. Learning from metaphors of "war" and "terrorism": semantic confusion
#9. Learning from alternative metaphors framing terrorism?
#10. Learning from ongoing misframed "wars"
#11. Learning from the unthinkable: movies and infotainment
#12. Learning from the unthinkable: historical evidence
#13. Learning from the unthinkable: current events
#14. Learning from denial and the reframing of reality in relation to "terrorism"
#15. Learning from the "faith-based" manipulation of evidence
#16. Learning from the unthinkable: lifestyle choices
#17. Learning from ideological intransigence
#18. Learning from avoidance of dialogue -- at any cost
Conditions for doing the unthinkable?
Who benefits? Making the menu of options transparent

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This is an effort to bear witness to the manner in which the response to the London Underground terrorist incident of 7 July 2005 ("7/7") is framed in the light of the lessons of 9/11 and thereafter. The concern is that lessons from previous incidents and subsequent investigations and revelations have been poorly learnt. The Latin term "Cui Bono?" (Who Benefits?) in the above title derives from the much-cited practice of a judge in Imperial Rome, cited by Cicero and by Thomas Hobbes (Leviathan, 1651):

Cicero maketh honourable mention of one of the Cassii, a severe judge amongst the Romans, for a custom he had in criminal causes, when the testimony of the witnesses was not sufficient, to ask the accusers, cui bono; that is to say, what profit, honour, or other contentment the accused obtained or expected by the fact. For amongst presumptions, there is none that so evidently declareth the author as doth the benefit of the action.

One application of this to 9/11 (Catherine Austin Fitts, 9/11: Cui Bono?) ranked this as the "most unasked question" in relation to the subsequent investigations by various authorities. Curiously, by 16 July 2005, the question did not figure in a checklist of six questions relating to the investigation of 7/7 (cf Speculations and hypotheses as investigators search for answers).

With unusual rapidity, subsequent to 7/7, articles bearing the title "Cui Bono?" were posted on the web on 7, 8 and 9 July. It is appropriate to note that the philosopher Thomas Hobbes, responsible for the above citation, through Leo Strauss, is one of the prime philosophical influences on the American neocons (Earl Shorris. Ignoble liars: Leo Strauss, George Bush, and the philosophy of mass deception Harper's Magazine, June 2004). Like Hobbes, Strauss believed that fundamental aggressiveness of human nature could be restrained only through a powerful state based on nationalism. "Because mankind is intrinsically wicked, he has to be governed... Such governance can only be established, however, when men are united -- and they can only be united against other people" (Jim Lobe. Strong Must Rule the Weak, said Neo-Cons' Muse).

The discussion that follows is based on the value premise that terrorism of all forms is reprehensible and incompatible with a civilization that claims to be advanced and enlightened. Sympathy and compassion for all that suffer thereby is essential. However this discussion is not limited to the "terror" caused by others on those of "my culture" and "my way of life". It extends to the terror caused by "my culture" on those of others (possibly with my inadvertent complicity). It includes the terror caused within my culture by those of my culture -- even when the perpetrators are not legally defined as "terrorists". It is to these forgotten victims of terror that this discussion is dedicated.

The concern here is with the actions of any people whose compassion does not extend beyond their own and who are cold-hearted in their total indifference to the suffering that they so inadvertently inflict on others.

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