Red Herrings and Other Things That Smell Fishy


Picking the truth out of a sea of lies


by Michael Chester

The term “red herring” originated in training exercises for fox hounds.  They would set up a scent trail of a fox for the hounds to follow and then drag bags of red herring, a relatively strong smelling fish, across the trail to try to confuse the hounds.  A properly trained hound would follow the fox scent and not be distracted by the fish odor, but a lessor hound would get off the trail and follow the scent of the red herring. 

Eventually the term came to mean, something deliberately placed to confuse the issue or to throw someone off of the right trail.  This is very commonly done by governments and groups trying to keep people away from the truth.  A false flag mission is the ultimate expression of a red herring.  Less blatant, but still very effective is to get the people looking at celebrities or concentrating on relatively insignificant stories.  Remember the story of

Weiner’s wiener a couple of months ago.  This had no real significance to the functioning of the country, but it provided the perfect mix of politics and sex to keep the people occupied for a couple of weeks. The current “riots” in Great Britain have taken people’s minds off of the Murdoch scandal.



With more and more people now believing that there is something fishy about the official 9-11 story, it came time to throw out a new red herring. This week it was “leaked” that former White House security advisor, Richard Clarke is

going to appear in a documentary about 9-11 where he blames George Tennant and the CIA for failing to inform the Bush White House that there were alleged terrorists in the country.

According to his story, the CIA had tried to recruit them as informers and when they failed they were too embarrassed to tell the president that the terrorists were still in the country.

They then went on to carry out 9-11.  The problem with this “revelation” is that it does nothing to alter the official story of the “terrorist hijackers with box cutters.”  This is simply another red herring thrown out there to lead people off of the trail.  Looking back now, that may have been his purpose all along, to lead people away from the truth.  After 9-11, he gained a lot of credibility by being one of the first to criticize the Bush administration for its poor handling of the incident.  He was also very vocal in saying “Al Qaeda did it.” His

criticism of the Bush administration endeared him to the Left, and he became a sort of folk hero; the one willing to tell “THE TRUTH.” He even criticized attacking Iraq which made him even more credible.  All along the way, he put out little factoids with just enough truth in them to be believable, but nothing he said changed the course we were on.  This is classic use of the red herring or put more scientifically, it is a major tool in game theory.  As Vladimir Ilyich Lenin said, “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.”

Here is a video of Clarke successfully mixing criticism of Bush with the “Al Qaeda di it” message

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Michael Chester is retired from his career in industrial technology. After graduating from college, he taught this subject until deciding that he preferred doing the job himself more than teaching it. At various times during his career, he has designed, built, installed, and repaired industrial manufacturing machinery. His specialty was in electrical and electronics controls. After retiring, he concentrated more on his hobby of cooking and attended one of the top culinary schools in the US. Mike competed in bass fishing tournaments for several years, but had to leave the sport due to an injury. As a certified barbecue judge he gets to taste some of the best BBQ in the country and help select the winner. It is a tough job, but someone has to do it. He lives with his wife of over 30 years, has 3 adult children and 2 grandchildren.