Why government shills & intellectual cowards LOVE the term "conspiracy theory"http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2010/02/ridicule-of-conspiracy-theories-focuses.htmlRidicule of Conspiracy Theories Focuses On Diffusing Criticism of the Powerful
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The label "conspiracy theory" is commonly used to try to discredit criticism of the powerful in government or business.
For example, just this week - after Tony Blair was confronted by the Iraq Inquiry with evidence that he had used lies to sell the Iraq war - Blair dismissed the entire Iraq Inquiry as simply being part of Britain's "obsession with conspiracy theories
". (Not only did Blair know that Saddam possessed no WMDs, but the French this week accused Blair of using of ‘Soviet-style' propaganda in run-up to the Iraq war).
Of course, the American government has been busted in the last couple of years in numerous conspiracies. For example, William K. Black - professor of economics and law, and the senior regulator during the S & L crisis - says that that the government's entire strategy
now - as during the S&L crisis - is to cover up how bad things are ("the entire strategy is to keep people from getting the facts").Similarly , 7 out of the 8 giant, money center banks went bankrupt in the 1980's during the "Latin American Crisis", and the government's response was to cover up their insolvency.
And the government spied on American citizens (even before 9/11
... confirmed here
), while saying "we don't spy". The government tortured prisoners in Iraq, but said "we don't torture".
In other words, high-level government officials have conspired to cover up the truth.
And Tom Brokaw notes:
All wars are based on propaganda.
A concerted effort to produce propaganda is a conspiracy.Acceptable Versus Unacceptable Conspiracy Theories
Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme was a conspiracy. The heads of Enron were found guilty of conspiracy, as was the head of Adelphia. Numerous lower-level government officials have been found guilty of conspiracy. See this
Time Magazine's financial columnist Justin Fox writes:
Some financial market conspiracies are real ...
Most good investigative reporters are conspiracy theorists, by the way.
Indeed, conspiracies are so common that judges are trained to look at conspiracy allegations as just another legal claim to be disproven or proven by the evidence.
But - while people might admit that corporate executives and low-level government officials might have engaged in conspiracies - they may be strongly opposed to considering that the wealthiest or most powerful
might possibly have done so.
Indeed, those who most loudly attempt to ridicule and discredit conspiracy theories tend to focus on defending against criticism involving the powerful
This may be partly due to psychology: it is scary for people to admit that those who are supposed to be their "leaders" protecting them may in fact be human beings with complicated motives who may not always have their best interests in mind. And see this
]http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2010/02/there-are-no-conspiracies-because-daddy.htmlThere are No Conspiracies Because Daddy Will Always Protect Us
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Yesterday, I wrote:
It is scary for people to admit that those who are supposed to be their "leaders" protecting them may in fact be human beings with complicated motives who may not always have their best interests in mind.
Indeed, long-term psychological studies show that approximately one-quarter of the American population has an "authoritarian personality
", where they look for a "strong leader" to protect them (that's why even after his lies were exposed, Bush still stayed at approximately a 25% approval rating).
Authoritarians not only don't want to hear that the most powerful people might be acting against their interest, they will aggressively defend against any such information.
But it's not just the quarter of the population that can be said to clinically suffer from authoritarian personality disorder.All of us
- to one degree or another - have invested tremendous hope in the idea that our leaders and institutions will protect us.
As just one example, Americans have traditionally believed that the "invisible hand of the market" means that capitalism will benefit us all without requiring any oversight. However, as the New York Times notes
, the real
Adam Smith did not believe in a magically benevolent market which operates for the benefit of all without any checks and balances:
]http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_3001.shtmlSee no evil
By David Cogswell
Feb 27, 2008
I recently had a conversation with a person I'll just call "a successful writer," and when I mentioned an idea that he classified as "conspiracy theory" he said this: "The trouble with conspiracy theories is that they really take a toll on readership. Many people write you off as a conspiracy nut and the result is that you don't get to have your voice in the mainstream dialogue."
Now that gave me pause. It was a slap in the face that forced me to confront the question: Why write? I had to consider the question of whether I want to participate in a dialogue in which one must wear blinders and observe strict boundaries to the free flow of logical discourse or thought. Must I stymie the flow of rational thought whenever I reach a point deemed unacceptable by the establishment? Let's be clear with our terms. The term "conspiracy theory" is not a literal description, it's a label for ideas that cross certain borders, in particular, ideas that suggest abuses of power and illegal activity by people in high places. Conspiracy theory is the label for forbidden thought. The problem with "going there" is not just that one can be proven wrong. It is that it is forbidden to even think about it or discuss it. If one disobeys, one is exiled from the community.
The fact that the term "conspiracy theory" has no literal meaning is one of the many things that was firmly established by the events of 9/11. The official explanation
of events of that day is unequivocably a theory of conspiracy. It's the ultimate conspiracy theory for the world's most spectacular crime, but it's not called a conspiracy theory. That term is reserved for any ideas that contradict the official story. This is a very important point. Conspiracy theories are not about conspiracies, they are about forbidden thought. The label "conspiracy theory" is a stop sign on the avenues of rational thought and inquiry. It says, "Stop here. Entrance forbidden."
When one reaches the stop sign, one must turn around, one must find another way, must bend the very laws of physics
if that is what it takes, or throw them out altogether in order to avoid following a certain train of thought to its logical conclusion. In 2008 the abuses and outrages of the American political system have ballooned to such monstrous proportions, that there is very little room to think at all if one wishes to remain respectable. That's why the noise from the official media propaganda system is so overwhelmingly loud. The box that we are forced to contain our thoughts within is getting so small there is barely enough room within it to scratch one's nose.
]http://www.prisonplanet.com/george-carlin-%E2%80%93-conspiracy-theorists.htmlGeorge Carlin – Conspiracy Theorists
Wednesday, August 26, 2009 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bO0-u900OG4
The late George Carlin talks about how the term “conspiracy theorist” is a label used by the establishment to dismiss the idea that powerful people might get together and actually plan anything.
http://www.newdemocracyworld.org/conspiracy.htmConspiracy Theory as Naive Deconstructive History
by Floyd Rudmin
April, 2003Floyd Rudmin is a member of the Psychology Department, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway.
"Conspiracy theory" is usually used as a pejorative label, meaning paranoid, nutty, marginal, and certainly untrue. The power of this pejorative is that it discounts a theory by attacking the motivations and mental competence of those who advocate the theory. By labeling an explanation of events "conspiracy theory," evidence and argument are dismissed because they come from a mentally or morally deficient personality, not because they have been shown to be incorrect. Calling an explanation of events "conspiracy theory" means, in effect, "We don't like you, and no one should listen to your explanation."
In earlier eras other pejorative labels, such as "heresy," "witchery," and "communism" also worked like this. The charge of "conspiracy theory" is not so severe as these other labels, but in its way is many times worse. Heresy, witchcraft, and communism at least retain some sense of potency. They designate ideas to be feared. "Conspiracy theory" implies that the ideas and their advocates are simple-minded or insane.
All such labels implicitly define a community of orthodox believers and try to banish or shun people who challenge orthodox beliefs. Members of the community who are sympathetic to new thoughts might shy away from the new thoughts and join in the shunning due to fear of being tainted by the pejorative label.
There is currently a boom in books on conspiracy theory, most of them derogatory, as is evident in some recent titles: Architects of Fear: Conspiracy Theories and Paranoia in American Politics; Conspiracy Culture: From the Kennedy Assassination to the X-Files; Conspiracy: How the Paranoid Style Flourishes and Where It Comes From
Within popular US culture, there is also now a boom in movies, novels, and web sites that feature conspiracy theories. The apparent popularity of conspiracy theories is often cited as a cause of concern, that our society is breaking down. For example, Canadian journalist Robert Sibley has said that conspiracy theory is "a nihilistic vortex of delusion and superstition that negates reality itself."
I think that just the reverse is true. There is nothing insane or sinister about conspiracy theory research. It is rather matter of fact. A wide range of ordinary people from many walks of life take an interest in the political and economic events of our era. They think things through on their own, use the library, seek for evidence, articulate a theory, communicate with other people with similar interests. It is heartening that some citizens invest time and effort to unearth and expose some of the conspiracies that damage our society, our economy and our government.
But it certainly does seem that some historians and journalists are quite frightened of conspiracy theory and its wide popularity. Those are the two professions whose job it is to interpret our world for us. When ordinary people take on the task of doing this themselves, it must mean that they don't believe what the authorities say we should. Maybe the professionals feel threatened when amateurs think about political events for themselves.
Perhaps we are in the middle of a new Reformation. The high priests are again losing their monopoly, and they see us sliding into cults and chaos. Something similar happened in 1517, when Martin Luther challenged the Church and translated the Bible into German so that ordinary people could think about theology for themselves. When put on trial, Luther said, "I cannot submit my faith either to the Pope or to the Councils, because it is clear as day they have frequently erred and contradicted each other." That is exactly what a JFK conspiracy theorist would say about the Warren Commission.
People take on the task of explaining things for themselves when the orthodox experts insist on saying nonsense—for example, that Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone killed JFK. A Reformation is a rebellion against arrogance. If historians and journalists want to understand why they are being displaced by conspiracy theory, it would be most reasonable to examine their own failings first.
The correct big-word label for conspiracy theory would be "naive deconstructive history." It is "history" because it explains events, but only after they have happened. Past-tense. Conspiracy theory, as a political act, is an after-the-fact complaint. To see conspiracies while they are happening would require the resources and powers of police forces and espionage agencies.
Conspiracy theory is "deconstructive history" because it is in rebellion against official explanations and against orthodox journalism and orthodox history. Conspiracy theory is radically empirical: tangible facts are the focus, especially facts that the standard stories try to overlook. There is a ruthless reduction down to what is without doubt real, namely, persons. Conspiracy theory presumes that human events are caused by people acting as people do, including cooperating, planning, cheating, deceiving, and pursuing power. Thus, conspiracy theories do not focus on impersonal forces like geo-politics, market economics, globalization, social evolution and other such abstract explanations of human events.
To call conspiracy theory "naive" does not mean that it is uncritical or stupidly innocent. In fact, that is what conspiracy theorists might say about orthodox explanations of events promoted by government sources, by mainstream journalism, or by schoolbook history. For example, it is naive to believe that the September 11, 1973, coup d'etat against Allende
was not orchestrated by the United States. Rather, to here call deconstructive history "naive" means that conspiracy theorists are unaware that they are doing deconstructive history, and they are amateurs, untrained in deconstructive history.
Conspiracy theories arise when dramatic events happen, and the orthodox explanations try to diminish the events and gloss them over. In other words, conspiracy theories begin when someone notices that the explanations do not fit the facts.
Take the case of explaining the past two decades of US "free-trade" schemes among countries in the Americas: FTA, NAFTA, and soon FTAA. These schemes began with two nations, then three, and soon four and more. The first was the 1989 Canada-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which set the subservient conditions of member nations to US economic dominance. The essence of the FTA is that US corporations get unrestricted commercial rights and resource ownership in Canada, and in exchange, Canada gets to obey US trade laws.
Why would Canadians have agreed to this? Well, we didn't, but historians would explain it by saying something like, "Globalization made Canadians choose free-trade." Conspiracy theorists would say, "Don't be naive. Look at the facts." In a decade of political opinion polls, and in three consecutive national elections (1984, 1988, 1993), a majority of Canadians had consistently said that they do not want American "free-trade" schemes. How has it happened that such a clear, strong democratic decision by so many millions of Canadians could be overthrown?
In the 1984 and 1993 federal elections in Canada, the successful parties had explicitly campaigned against free-trade, but when elected they reversed themselves. The 1988 vote was also not straight: of the two anti-free-trade parties, the minor one in mid-campaign began to attack the leader of the major one. It is reasonable to see such facts and to surmise that orthodox explanations are not the real explanations.
Let's look in the library to see what can be found. From 1976 to 1979, more than a decade before the FTA, US Ambassador Thomas Enders was crisscrossing Canada promoting free-trade. Who was Thomas Enders? He was hired by the US government in 1958 as an "intelligence research specialist." In 1969 he was in Yugoslavia, in 1971 Cambodia. His jobs there were to rig Lon Nol's election and to use a local intelligence network to pick villages to be bombed by B52s in President Nixon's secret war. From 1976 to 1979, he was in Canada weaving a web of political and business connections to promote the American version of "free-trade." In 1981 Enders became President Reagan's Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, working on the invasion of Grenada and the illegal proxy wars against Nicaragua and El Salvador. One of his jobs was to coordinate operations with Oliver North and Duane Claridge, head of the CIA's covert operations in Latin America.
Considering these facts, which is more likely—that Enders was in Canada promoting free-trade as some kind of personal hobby, or that he was under orders, promoting free-trade as one more operation in a career of covert operations? At the time, Quebec's populist premier, Réne Lévesque, said of Enders, "He's the bum who launched the bombs in Vietnam. He's a damned spy. He must be working for the CIA" (quoted in Lisée, 1990, p. 207).
The idea of NAFTA first appeared in public in 1979, to everyone's surprise, as Ronald Reagan's core policy when he announced his candidacy for President. But, curiously, it was then never again mentioned in his campaign. In 1979, Reagan's campaign was run by Michael Deaver and Paul Hannaford, who reportedly also ran a public relations firm that represented the right-wing Guatemalan group Amigos del Pais and its leader Roberto Alejos, who had provided the ranch used for CIA training of Cuban Bay of Pigs invasion forces in 1961. In early 1980 William Casey became Reagan's campaign director. Casey began his career directing OSS espionage operations in Germany and China in the 1940s, and he ended his career as director of the CIA. It is not common for US presidential candidates to be so managed by those so linked to covert operations.
The information in the proceeding two paragraphs comes from library sources. "Free-trade" comes from the dark lower bowels of Washington sometime in the early 1970s. It seems to have been conceived and promoted, in part, by conspiracy rather than by forthright democratic processes.
This exemplifies how conspiracy theory arises: 1) significant political or economic events change power relationships in our society; 2) contradictions are noticed by ordinary citizens in the explanations of these events; 3) concern and curiosity are aroused; 4) further information is sought under the presumption that power is being abused and deception is being deployed. Most of the evidence discovered is circumstantial, as it must be when investigating conspiracies.
"Free-trade" was definitely not the democratic choice of Canadians, and maybe not of Americans or Mexicans either. There is a history waiting to be written about these "free-trade" schemes. Orthodox, school-book historians will probably not write that history, and mainstream journalists will not dig it out. Conspiracy theorists might. (Did anyone notice that the NAFTA treaty was not legally passed by Congress as a treaty?)
Conspiracy theory has a special focus on contradictions, discrepancies, and missing facts. The natural sciences similarly seek to find faulty explanations by focusing on facts that don't fit the orthodox explanations. If we want more truthful explanations of events, whether of scientific events or of political and historical events, then we must compare competing explanations.
One explanation usually fits the available observations better than the other. By the principle of fit, the explanation that encompasses more of the observations should be preferred. This principle can favor conspiracy theories. For example, one gunman cannot shoot a bolt-action rifle as fast as the shots were fired at JFK. The vast majority of eye-witnesses heard shots coming from different directions.
We can discover mis-explanations and find better ones by focusing on the facts that don't fit. For example, Galileo concluded that moons around Jupiter are discrepancies to the then-orthodox geocentric theory. Galileo was called a heretic for writing that. Mark Lane's book, Rush to Judgment
, includes hundreds of facts that did not fit the Warren Commission's conclusion that a lone gunman killed Kennedy. Lane was called a conspiracy theorist for writing that.
The pejorative force of the "conspiracy theory" label comes from its ad hominem attack on the author's personality. It is true that conspiracy theory authors doubt the orthodox explanations and suspect that there are other explanations for events. Such doubt and suspicion, which is the same kind of doubt and suspicion as motivates many scientific discoveries, gets labeled paranoia.
Think for a moment. Most of the US population believes that a conspiracy, not a lone gunman, killed JFK. A society could not function if that many people were "paranoid." That word is pure pejorative. Real paranoia includes: 1) fear, 2) of a prominent person, 3) whom you think threatens you personally, 4) using invisible means, like the evil-eye, x-rays, or laser beams. Conspiracy theory entails doubt and suspicion, but that is far from clinical paranoia. For example, I believe the Iran-Contra conspiracy theory, but I have no emotion of fear, certainly no fear that Oliver North is out to get me, using invisible rays of some kind.
However, we should remember that conspiracy theorists are ordinary people and will show ordinary failings of rationality, for example, what is referred to as "confirmation bias." This means that we are all biased to look for evidence that our ideas are right rather than for evidence that our ideas are wrong. This bias has been demonstrated and replicated in many different contexts and countries. Confirmation bias is a common mistake made by conspiracy theorists, as well as by historians, journalists, and everyone else. David Fischer has catalogued and exemplified over 100 different kinds of faulty reasoning in the research of competent, published historians. These would all apply to conspiracy theorists as well.
Conspiracy theory is more thoughtful than fearful. The motivations behind conspiracy theory research are cognitive and social. It is very much like doing family genealogy. You begin with a few facts. Then you puzzle out the story, make inferences and hypotheses, and seek further facts. With help from other people, with good luck, you discover information that is sometimes difficult to find. A story emerges, suggesting new facts that should be sought. The satisfaction comes from finding the facts, constructing the story, and sharing the process and discoveries with other people.
Conspiracy theorists think they are serving the public good. Often their motivations are patriotic, and with good reason. Democracy is built on distrust of the king and all the king's men. Democratic safeguards like habeas corpus, jury trial, independent courts, and secret ballots all presume that we should not trust people in positions of power. Because of distrust, opposition parties and an independent press are expected to question and criticize the government, and the government is expected to answer. The free press is called the Fourth Estate, in opposition to the First Estate (the Church), the Second Estate (the aristocracy), and the Third Estate (those who live off capital). Since orthodox journalism has become an instrument of power, investigative journalism is now sometimes called the Fifth Estate. Conspiracy theory is part of the Fifth Estate in this balance of powers. The independent, oppositional thinking that underlies conspiracy theory is not paranoia; it is the very foundation of freedom and democracy.
There probably appear to be more "conspiracy theories" about for three reasons: 1) More people have the skills and resources to look for conspiracies and to make their thinking public; 2) Probably there are more conspiracies to find as political and economic power become ever more concentrated and our democracy declines; 3) Mainstream journalism and schoolbook history now serve the state and corporate interests more than in the past, so now we hear more nonsense.
Conspiracy theory will certainly be a growth industry for the foreseeable future. Conspiracy theory will decrease when conspiracies decrease and when journalists and historians increase their efforts to explain events rather than explain them away.
http://www.gatecreepers.com/entries/exclusive-debunking-myths-on-conspiracy-theorie/Debunking Myths on Conspiracy TheoriesArticle written by Gatecreepers.
The purpose of this article is to redress a number of general myths concerning so-called 'conspiracy theories', repeated by media organisations and other self-proclaimed guardians of the orthodoxy, as well as people who have been erroneously convinced that conspiracy theories are intellectual aberrations rather than the acknowledgment of a common historical and social phenomenon.
This document does not claim that every event is the product of a conspiracy. It remains true, however, that conspiracies are far more common than admitted by the establishment. Whether conspiracy or coincidence was involved, we believe that the matter should be arbitrated by evidence rather than falsehoods on the alleged motives or state of minds of alternative researchers.
For the purposes of this guide, a conspiracy theory may be defined as:
A theory detailing the involvement of two or more people who have secretly or otherwise conspired to commit an act that is against the public interest, and furthermore who may have conspired to cover up these acts in concert with the media and other authorities.
Conspiracy theories should not be confused with other schools of alternate reality. Such claims may include:*
Supernatural claims. Elite groups may believe and act upon them, but those beliefs alone do not pertain to conspiracy as discussed in this document.*
Mythological or religious claims. A theory that an occult group engages in subversion according to its religious beliefs may be considered a conspiracy theory, but interpretations of religion and scriptures are not covered by this manual.*
Claims pertaining to alternative science. The act itself of covering up scientific discoveries is a conspiracy, but the legitimacy of the scientific claims are to be determined by researchers with the proper qualifications.*
Existential claims. Claims pertaining to the alleged existence of hidden or unobservable phenomena or beings (such as aliens) are not in and of themselves conspiracy theories. Inexperienced proponents of such claims however may attempt to justify their lack of evidence with a conspiracy theory, usually that the evidence is covered up by the government or the entity alleged to exist (in most cases, however, this is a straw man). This secondary claim must be addressed apart from the primary claim with at least evidence that the alleged conspirators believe in the existence of the alleged phenomena, and that they have made attempts to cover it up.
If the entity is alleged to be a participating actor in a conspiracy, then its existence must be proven and the entire claim must be treated as a conspiracy theory.
Conspiracy myths may be divided into the following categories:*
Claims that discredit proponents of conspiracy theories as legitimate researchers
Ad Hominem attacks are often leveled at conspiracy theorists to label them as paranoid, delusional, extremist, hyperbolic or mentally incompetent. In the case of academics, attempts will be made to undermine their credibility by labeling them as incompetent, unprofessional, or lacking objectivity, or by publicising issues of their lives or beliefs that are unrelated to the theories they propose.*
Claims that associate conspiracy theories with group behaviour or psychological pathology
This category is a subset of the first category, but it gets special mention because a large amount of anti-conspiracy propaganda aims at using scientific-sounding theories to equate it with paranoia, frivolous fantasies or security blankets.
Claims of this nature are usually made by purported experts from various academic fields. Like the specifically listed claims such as #1, #5, #9, #13, #20, #21 and #22, other claims trying to pin conspiracy theories on group behaviour and psychological disorders are groundless and pseudo-scientific.
In extreme cases of demonisation, there may be attempts to conflate belief in conspiracies with paranoid delusion. As pointed out in Myth #16, pathologising anti-establishment researchers has been done in many authoritarian regimes such as current Communist China and the historical Soviet Union, with various labels ranging respectively from 'political maniac' to 'sluggishly progressing schizophrenic'.
There may also be attempts to pin belief in conspiracies on sociological reasons, such as alleged needs to 'make sense of a traumatic event' and similarly formulated 'theories'. Those claims are usually found in articles which, despite being written by experts in their own field, rarely cite or point to academic research, are filled with political bias and aim at discrediting a specific conspiracy that started to gain prominence. Articles of this nature are formulaic and often start with statements alleging that conspiracy theories are popular amongst average people and have accompanied most major events (Claim #29).*
Claims made by academic scholars that delegitimise the role of conspiracies played in society and history
Many scholars reject conspiracy theories in favour of the so-called 'institutional' perspective, which ascribes events to the dynamics of institutions rather than organised groups. We do not believe that conspiracies and institutions are mutually exclusive; they often work together. Certain institutions that are taken for granted originated from conspiracies; likewise, institutional factors may explain what motivates people and groups to conspire.
We believe that the conspiratorial point of view has its merits because not all activities operate within recognised institutions. Hidden, extra-institutional groups can exert major influence in ways that are overlooked by institutionalists.
Possible reasons why conspiracy theories are frequent targets of ridicule may include:*
Institutionalised intellectual elitism. Mainstream media personalities and academics may feel that their authority and experience are challenged by what they perceive to be 'amateur' research, while seeing themselves in the role of gatekeepers who filter the information to protect the public from what they view as 'unsuitable' information.*
Deliberate propaganda campaigns aimed at protecting established truths. An example of such a practice has been documented by a declassified document admitting attempts by the CIA to use academics and the media to discredit alternative theories on the assassination of JFK. The document reveals that many of the myths still widespread today and debunked in this document originated from the CIA (see Countering Criticism of the Warren Report
). Other documents reveal CIA infiltration of American and foreign media as well as academia (see How to co-opt academia
and Operation Mockingbird
The presence of unfounded and over the top conspiracy theories which undermine the credibility of more rational theories. It is speculated that many of those theories were deliberately spread in order to divide or ridicule research communities as well as confuse or turn away people who come across the alternative versions of the official story.*
Perception of conspiracy theories as being part of a cultural phenomenon or fad rather than a serious investigation of the motives and actions of the ruling elite. Such perceptions are reinforced by stereotypical portrayals in movies and sitcoms, such as 1997 movie Conspiracy Theorist and Dale Gribble in King of the Hill. This stereotypical view of conspiracy theorists, however, appears to be limited to American culture; in fact the expression 'conspiracy theorist' itself appears to be an invention of the American media. Most equivalent terms in other languages are directly translated, sometimes awkwardly (such as in French "partisan de la théorie du complot"), and are not used to label other people to the extent that they in the United States. It is also mainly in American language that one finds expressions such as "tin-foil hat". It is thought that those cultural caricatures originate from the controversies around the JFK assassinations, possibly with initial or on-going prompting from the CIA (see point #2).
The following is a collection of general statements purporting to dismiss conspiracy theories heard in various places from mainstream media articles to discussion forums.
Here is an article written before 9/11 which exposes the same BS "theories" that continue to target conspiracy facts...
May 1, 2001
—There have been actual conspiracies in this country, as we all know. Watergate, Iran-contra, BCCI, the savings and loan scandal, Iraq-gate, Cointelpro, and the CIA’s drugs-for- weapons trade are all examples of actual conspiracies. They’re all a matter of public record, most of them investigated by congressional committees.
In “Goebbels and mind control, part three,” we talked about the fact that social problems, such as poverty, the lack of affordable health care, and an inequitable tax system, are not the result of just one aberrant conspiracy. Instead, they are natural outcomes of a system whose central goal is the accumulation of wealth and power for the few.
That central goal is the main impetus behind many of the genuine conspiracies. Politicians might talk about education, health care and social security. However, for many politicians, the top priority is seeing that the very few, who own vast amounts of wealth, get their interests served ahead of 99 percent of the rest of the population . . . far ahead.
In order for the few to keep expanding their wealth, they seek to control public dissent. Corporations try to undermine environmentalists, civil rights workers and labor in ways we examined in the series on Goebbels and mind control. “The people” and our discontent are often described by the ruling class and their think-tanks as threats to be “managed” rather than as fellow human beings with valid points to make. For example, in “The Crisis of Democracy,” (a report prepared by three social scientists on behalf of a right-wing think-tank) Samuel Huntington warned there was an “excess of democracy” in this country, which he described as a dangerous increase in egalitarianism and a “democratic distemper.” Huntington argued that inflation, unemployment and other problems could best be solved by less, not more, democracy. (Bertram Gross, “Friendly Fascism,” South End Press, 1980.)
Do the very wealthy ever seek to maintain their power through conspiracy? In “Land Of Idols,” (St. Martin’s Press, 1994) Michael Parenti offers “alternatives” to conspiracy theory:(1) Somnambulist Theory: The wealthiest 1 percent sleepwalk through life, never giving a thought to their vast wealth or how to keep it.
(2) Coincidence Theory: Things repeatedly happen by chance in ways that magically maintain the interests of the very wealthy, year after year.
(3) Stupidity Theory: The very rich are befuddled, incompetent and ineffectual. They just don’t know how they keep that power.
(4) Spontaneity or Idiosyncrasy Theory: Stuff happens (in a way that keeps the system in place.) Again and again. Over long periods of time.
(5) Aberration Theory: Dirty tricks of the CIA and so forth are “atypical departures” from the norm.
The above theories would have us believe our inequitable tax system, corporate-owned media, unjust social conditions and other wrongful policies are momentary aberrations, isolated from the central goal of our political system. Again, that goal is protecting the money and power of the wealthiest 1 percent.
Parenti points out that the wealthiest 1 percent naturally defend their interests, just as farmers or steelworkers defend theirs. He quotes a corporate executive voicing typical ruling class self- interest at a meeting of his colleagues, “The have-nots are gaining steadily more political power to distribute the wealth downward. The masses have turned to a larger government.” Another executive said, “If we don’t take action now, we will see our own demise. We will evolve into another social democracy.” (Leonard Silk and David Vogel, “Ethics and Profits: The Crisis of Confidence in American Business.”)
Conspiracy fact is harder to deal with than conspiracy theory, because it shows us that something is fundamentally wrong with a political system whose central goal is the accumulation of wealth and power for the very few. (I’m repeating that central goal deliberately, because it is vital to keep in mind as we look at every sub-topic.) As one example, it’s a matter of public record that a number of wars have been waged and insurrections suppressed with the help of the Central Intelligence Agency, (CIA) for the purpose of increasing profits or protecting markets for the wealthy. Most of the CIA’s covert actions have been conspiracies by definition. For example, a Contra-era CIA training manual, “Psychological Operations in Guerilla Warfare,” reads: “It is possible to neutralize carefully selected and planned targets, such as court judges, mesta judges, police and state security officials, CDS chiefs, etc. For psychological purposes it is necessary to take extreme precautions . . . The mission to replace the individual should be followed by: Extensive explanation within the population affected of the reason why it was necessary for the good of the people.” (David McGowan, “Derailing Democracy: The America The Media Don’t Want You To See,” Common Courage Press, 2000.)
An earlier CIA training manual, “A Study of Assassinations,” reads: “No assassination instruction should ever be written or recorded . . . The simplest local tools are often the most efficient means of assassination . . . anything hard, heavy and handy will suffice . . . The most efficient accident . . . is a fall of 75 feet or more onto a hard surface . . . Falls before trains and subway cars are usually effective, but require exact timing . . . assassinations can seldom be employed with a clear conscience. Persons who are morally squeamish should not attempt it.” (McGowan, “Derailing Democracy.”)
In his 1995 book, “The Twilight Of Democracy,” former CIA political analyst Patrick E. Kennon argues that democracy is a failure, and that only well-trained technocrats are qualified to run the country. He claims that voters and our elected officials are too ignorant to question bureaucratic experts or contribute to decision-making. The problem is, the technocrats often give us the kinds of anti-ethics “solutions” recommended in the above CIA training manual excerpts. Today we have a president who was appointed instead of democratically elected. His team of well-trained technocrats run the country on behalf of the wealthiest 1 percent, with little regard for the other 99 percent of us. This is not a result of any one aberrant conspiracy, but is the rational outcome of a political system that exists to protect the wealth and power of the few at the expense of the many.
What we are living with today is the result of money-and-power run amok. It’s a political system that has gradually inched away from its stated purpose of government instituted “of, by and for the people,” toward a system aimed at fleecing the people, with no annoying “moral squeamishness” to interfere. There have been many actual conspiracies along the road from the former system to the latter.
"[The G]rand imperative of imperial geostrategy [is] to keep the barbarians from coming together."
-Zbigniev Brzezinski 1997 "The Grand Chessboard"