Monday, January 1, 2007


Former post pulled 3/19/09

This was a badly flawed piece, mostly from relying too heavily on Stinnett (whose book is largely bunk) and from general ignorance. The McCollum memo is still a vital piece of evidence, however, and now has a much better analysis that can be seen here. Please check it out.


Adam Larson
Caustic Logic/The 12/7-9/11 Treadmill
December 26 2006

Day of Deceit author Robert Stinnett is a research fellow at the Independent Institute, an Oakland, CA-based conservative libertarian, anti-big government think tank. In addition to hosting Stinnett and his Pearl Harbor case and publishing books like “Against Leviathan,” they also feature as a fellow 9/11 skeptic and former Reagan economist Paul Craig Roberts. Via the Institute, Stinnett started to repeatedly explain and promote his arguments from Day of Deceit, starting with an event in May 2000 called “Pearl Harbor: Official Lies in an American War Tragedy?” [1] Later that year he wrote a commentary published to mark the 59th anniversary of “December 7, 1941: A Setup from the Beginning.” This piece explicitly mentioned “McCollum’s secret memo dated October 7, 1940, and recently obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.” He cited its eight points, the “centerpiece” of which was “keeping the might of the U.S. Fleet based in the Territory of Hawaii as a lure for a Japanese attack.” In this original piece, he listed two specific questions “at the top of the foreknowledge list: (1) whether President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his top military chieftains provoked Japan into an “overt act of war” directed at Hawaii, and (2) whether Japan’s military plans were obtained in advance by the United States but concealed from the Hawaiian military commanders, Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and Lieutenant General Walter Short so they would not interfere with the overt act.” [2] That is, the failure to intercept warnings was intentional and secondary to the provocation.

Robert Stinnett, if I'm not mistaken, at the White House in 1990
This December 2000 piece set a trend for anniversary commemorative articles. On the 60th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and just three months after 9/11, he published “Pentagon Still Scapegoats Pearl Harbor Fall Guys.” Again he posed the same two questions – was it provoked, and did they intercept messages. Again he made largely the same arguments as the previous year, prominently mentioning and explaining his exclusive evidence, the McCollum memo. [3]

But then something changed in 2002, curiously at just the same time the post-9/11 world and its questions of what Bush knew began to sink in. We can see a shift in direction in that his speech that year was five days early, on December 2. Still boldly titled “The Pearl Harbor Deception,” it was different in two ways than his presentations before 9/11 – First, his two questions had changed, now omitting provocation. “Two questions about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor have ignited a controversy that has burned for 60 years: Did U.S. naval cryptographers crack the Japanese naval codes before the attack? Did Japanese warships and their commanding admirals break radio silence at sea before the attack?” the second change I noticed is the lack of any reference to McCollum’s memo; he was leaving out what was the core of his argument, the primary thing that made it HIS argument. He was surrendering his edge. [4]

This was followed quickly by “The Truth about Pearl Harbor,” a January 30 2003 debate held at the Institute between Stinnett and foreknowledge denier Stephen Budiansky. It should be easy enough for Stinnett to win, since Budiansky argued the government line by citing only the old evidence, almost strictly code breaking (which he wrote the “complete” book on, as well as a book called “Closing the Door on Pearl Harbor”). Stinnett could have sunk Budiansky’s argument by illustrating the secondary nature of foresight when one is actively provoking something. Yet he did not, and played Budiansky’s game, keeping the very boring and tedious debate at the level of codes and of personal attacks over credibility. His presentation seems to consist of his December article, a word search of which shows that the name McCollum pops up, but only as a “James A. McCollum” cited as a source in the debate on code-breaking. The date of the memo, its author, its eight points, are totally absent. The words “provoke,” “provocation,” and various synonyms reveal nothing but the admission in the opening remarks by David Theroux that Stinnett had previously argued that “U.S. government leaders at the highest level not only knew that a Japanese attack was imminent, but that they had deliberately engaged in policies intended to provoke the attack.” In his “presentation” that day, Stinnett made no such argument. [5]

I'm sure he had very good reasons for the shift in course, but I can't say for sure what these are. It could be a case of someone finding out that the McCollum memo was maybe a forgery, forcing Stinnett to back off from it pending an investigation. I haven't heard of anyone from the swollen ranks of the 12/7 coverup apologists pointing this out, however, and to the best of my knowledge, the memo remains solid. The reason for dropping the issue could also be someone suffering "degrees of separation anxiety" and urging Stinnett to back off the hard case and leave Pearl Harbor intact.

He did, however, intriguingly point out in this twice-presented piece that “immediately after Day of Deceit appeared in bookstores in 1999, NSA began withdrawing pre-Pearl Harbor documents from the Crane Files housed in Archives II. This means the government decided to continue 60 years of Pearl Harbor censorship. As of January 2002, over two dozen NSA withdrawal notices have triggered the removal of Pearl Harbor documents from public inspection.” How ironic then that at about this same time Stinnett also started to censor himself. Though his book is still available and not removed from view at all, it’s as if Stinnett is trying to forget his core argument, or at least to stop reminding anyone of it. According to the Independent Institute’s website, Stinnett has written no more commentaries and given no more presentations in the four years since his forfeited debate with Budiansky. He seems to have retired from his pre-9/11 mission, and as far as I can tell he’s not spoken or typed the name Arthur McCollum since December 2001.

[1] independent Institute. Research Fellow: Robert B. Stinnett.
[2] "December 7, 1941: A Setup from the Beginning." December 7, 2000. Robert B. Stinnett. Honolulu Advertiser.
[4] "Pentagon Still Scapegoats Pearl Harbor Fall Guys." December 7, 2001. Robert B. Stinnett. Providence Journal.
See [1].
[5] "The Truth About Pearl Harbor: A Debate." January 30, 2003 Robert B. Stinnett, Stephen Budiansky.