Since the 9/11, 2001 attacks in New York several memes about the true nature of anti-terrorism exercises and other drills have become prevalent in the alternative media and online conspiracy theory community. Broadly it is a generalized fear of mass casualty exercises and war games. When they appear to coincide with a real life attack the default position of many is that the drill is somehow dubiously connected to it. This either as a cover for the false flag perpetrators to carry out their crime by taking the drill live, or as a distraction that preoccupies security and emergency services while the attack goes down unimpeded.
Some of these fears are warranted. It is true that with 9/11 (as late as September 10th), 7/7 in London (as late as the day itself) and Boston (a bomb sniffing exercise at the start line in the morning) – private companies, government agencies and emergency services have carried out drills preparing for attacks. Some closer to the real thing than others. However not all these drills follow the same pattern or are necessarily linked to the attacks in terms of execution.
This doesn’t mean we disregard the coincidence of the authorities somehow managing to be so prepared beforehand, but so unprepared during attacks, it just means we might have to look at the phenomenon from a different angle.
So if the purpose of drills isn’t always to distract emergency response teams as false flags take place, or to directly carry them out under the guise of a drill, then what else could be going on?
I spoke with Tom Secker of InvestigatingTheTerror.com to try and get to explore this question.
There’s a long history of exercises being used as a means of disguise in a black op. It goes back at least as far as the CIA’s war with Castro – The Bay of Pigs, Mongoose, Northwoods. For example, when the CIA’s 1500-strong army of Cuban exiles tried to invade at the Bay of Pigs, the navy were put on maneuvers nearby so that they could be deployed if Kennedy gave the order. Similarly, the Northwoods memo states: ‘Since it would seem desirable to use legitimate provocation as the basis for US military intervention in Cuba a cover and deception plan. to include requisite preliminary actions such as has been developed in response to Task 33 c, could be executed as an initial effort to provoke Cuban reactions. Harassment plus deceptive actions to convince the Cubans of imminent invasion would be emphasized. Our military posture throughout execution of the plan will allow a rapid change from exercise to intervention if Cuban responses justifies.’
“The Vielsalm incident in Belgium in 1984 may well have been part of the NATO Oesling exercise and part of Belgium’s experience of Gladio,” Secker continues.
“There is also the OKC bombing, where there appears to have been some kind of bomb squad exercise going on nearby that morning, which may or may not help explain the obvious fact of there being explosives inside the building as well as in the truck bomb.”
Indeed many have questioned quite how one truck bomb in Oklahoma could have done so much damage to the entirety of the building, when it was parked some feet away.However these documented and plausible scenarios do not mean that each and every drill surrounding such events has the same purpose. Though 9/11 conspiracies popularized the meme of drills impeding the emergency response, the evidence for a live NORAD exercise on the day of 9/11 itself is not as straight forward as some might think.
“There does not appear to have been a suicide-hijacking exercise that morning,” something commonly suggested as a reason for NORAD failing to intercept the hijacked planes, because of confusion on the radar… “…though there were several in the days and months before 9/11. There were some NORAD exercises on the day of 9/11 that reduced the number of available fighter jets, as well as the NRO exercise and FEMA’s Tripod II exercise at the WTC,” but they were not literally mirroring the real life hijackings.
“I do think there’s an argument to be made about 9/11, though exactly what role the drills played is still not certain,” explains Secker, who is quite rightly a stickler for evidence and detail.
“It’s a complex question, too often reduced to a one-line argument which destroys its credibility.”
Indeed as Secker and myself have explored many times on the WideShut Webcast, the widely publicized “drill” on the morning of 7/7 in London, involving bombings at tube stations. Despite popular beleife, it was not a physical mass casualty drill with people running around London causing confusion, but a quiet office based lecture with a handful of designated staff from Reed Elsevier. There certainly isn’t any evidence linking the alleged bombers to a book publisher or Peter Power’s private crisis management firm. That doesn’t necessarily negate the accuracy of the exercise and the possibility of prior intelligence, but the popular conspiracy theories about 7/7 are simply not plausible and need to be greatly rethought.
In the grand scheme of things … “Most black ops don’t involve exercises. Most exercises do not take place at the same time as black ops. The connection is overused, to the point where in Boston and with the Breivik thing and with 7/7 we saw how one or two news reports were used as categorical proof and confirmation that a false flag attack had been perpetrated.”
Like with the 7/7 theories, those peddling that a possible bomb sniffing drill at the starting line before the marathon kicked off, had anything to do with what took place hours later and miles away at the finish line, clearly haven’t thought things through. Firstly bomb sniffer dogs present at a high profile public event is not odd in today’s climate of fear. Secondly you don’t cover-up a false flag bombing attack by wearing a police uniform and telling everyone you’re looking for bombs. And thirdly you don’t impede the police response by preoccupying them hours before the attack. You would preoccupy them during it.
When picking up from the mainstream media, a lot of the alternative media seem just as incapable of critical thinking.
“In the Breivik case there was an exercise in Oslo, but there wasn’t one on the island,” says Tom. “In Boston there was something going on, but it was miles away. With 7/7 it was likely part of a predicted and programmed diversion.”
Tom’s thesis on predictive programming is dealt with extensively in his new book Secrets, Spies and 7/7, and although out of hand it might seem more wild than the “drills gone live” or “drills to distract” memes, when one gets down to the detail it has far more weight than some of the more popular ideas.
“I wouldn’t rule out the drill meme, but in its proper context it appears to be something that was used in some black ops/false flags up until 9/11, probably did play some role on 9/11, but since that has largely been used as a distraction and diversion,” suggests Secker.
So could the drill meme be a form of propaganda left deliberately for conspiracy theorists to get sidetracked with? A dead end with plausible-deniability that has everyone chasing the wrong culprit? After all as far as the mainstream are concerned, training drills are just that, training drills. And are we really to believe that if for example 7/7 was a false flag, that Peter power would plaster himself all over TV if he was directly involved? Or that with Boston, sniffer dog teams would be involved in such a heinous act? Or that men clearly in National Guard uniform were “secretly” planting bombs, in front of everyone?
Black operations are black-ops because they’re hidden. It’s only logical to assume that as part of such an operation propaganda would be used as a tool to manage people’s responses.
“The idea [of drills gone live] began appearing in films/TV in the 1990s,” says Secker.
“I don’t recall any pre-90s culture that used the idea, though of course I’ve not seen every film and TV show. In particular the use of that idea in security service-assisted productions like BBC series Spooks or the movie Enemy of the State is worth drawing to people’s attention. Also, note that in that notorious Lone Gunmen [X Files spin-off] episode the whole ‘remote crash into the WTC’ idea starts out as a training exercise scenario. Indeed, the exercise-gone-live or exercise-as-coverup notion appears in quite a lot of films and TV shows. The first Iron Man film made some jokes about this, I think there’s a line in The Long Kiss Goodnight about it. And the Pentagon-assisted Battleship features an alien/robot invasion in the middle of a Navy exercise.”
Are these fictional versions of drills shaping the reactions of conspiracy theorists in real life terrorist attacks?
Secker also suggests that real life drills may be used as a way to prime the public and emergency agencies for when false flag attacks take place. Last week’s anti-terror chemical attack drill in Birmingham, England, may be an example of this.
“The Birmingham exercise appears to be virtually identical to one codenamed ‘horizon’ that took place in July 2004,” explains Tom.
“I mentioned the horizon exercise in my book and in Crime and Prejudice precisely because it was a follow-up drill to Osiris II at Bank Underground station in September 2003, and if you put the two together you get a suicide attack on a underground station, i.e. the plot of the 2004 Dirty War film/ and the official version of 7/7. I consider these exercises as much a form of programming as anything else. Even more than TV shows, the people running the exercises openly admit to seeking to prepare people for disasters and guide their responses when bad things happen.”
The Boston Bombing demonstrated that a lot of people are biased when major incidents take place. All it took was one eye witness using the word “exercise” and people were off screaming “false flag” as part of the ongoing drill meme, even though that meme began on shaky ground and continues without any logic or direct evidence.
When terrorist attacks take place it’s important to stay rational and leave assumptions and biases at the door. If there’s evidence for a false flag it should stand on its own, without the need to cloud it in conspiracy folklore. If you approach things in this manner at least you know you’re not being influenced by programming, if indeed there is programming going on.