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I'm not a conspiracy theorist –
I'm a conspiracy analyst.

Gore Vidal

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first use of the phrase "conspiracy theory" occurred in a 1909 article in The American Historical Review.[16]. Initially  the term  meant "questionable hypothesis" or "rumor" and  implied that the proposed explanation of events doe not have any facts behind it and is perceived as violating Occam's razor or, later, the principle of falsifiability.

CIA reintroduced this phase in English language in 1997 with the specific goal to block questions on JFK’s Assassination. Some call this corruption of English language to be  “One of the Most Successful Propaganda Initiatives of All Time.” Specifically, in April 1967, the CIA wrote a dispatch which coined the term “conspiracy theories” … and recommended methods for discrediting such theories.  The dispatch was marked “psych” –  short for “psychological operations” or disinformation –  and “CS” for the CIA’s “Clandestine Services” unit.

Assessing the prevalent use of the term to ridicule or dismiss, Professor Rebecca Moore observes,

"The word 'conspiracy' works much the same way the word 'cult' does to discredit advocates of a certain view or persuasion. Historians do not use the word 'conspiracy' to describe accurate historical reports. On the contrary, they use it to indicate a lack of veracity and objectivity."[21]

In the aftermath of the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy, the term has acquired a derogatory meaning, implying a paranoid tendency to see the influence of some malign covert agency in events.[17] The term is often used to dismiss claims that the critic deems ridiculous, misconceived, paranoid, unfounded, outlandish, or irrational.[18]

Despite conspiracy theorists often being dismissed as a "fringe group," evidence suggests that people from "a broad cross-section of Americans today — traversing ethnic, gender, education, occupation, and other divides" believe in a wide variety of conspiracy theories.

The ridicule of all conspiracy theories is really just an attempt to diffuse criticism of the powerful.

Rothbard: shallow vs. deep[edit]

From Wikipedia

Characterized by Robert W. Welch, Jr. as "one of the few major scholars who openly endorses conspiracy theory", the economist Murray Rothbard has argued in favor of "deep" conspiracy theories versus "shallow" ones. According to Rothbard, a "shallow" theorist observes a questionable or potentially shady event and asks Cui bono? ("who benefits?"), jumping to the conclusion that a posited beneficiary is in fact responsible for covertly influencing events. In contrast, the "deep" conspiracy theorist begins with a suspicious hunch, but goes further by seeking out reputable and verifiable evidence. Rothbard described the scholarship of a deep conspiracy theorist as "essentially confirming your early paranoia through a deeper factual analysis".[36]

Lack of control

Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, a cognitive scientist at the University of Western Australia, asserts that strong supporters of conspiracy theories usually experience a feeling of lack of control. Which means 99% of population of advanced countries.  This explanation makes a strong link between conspiracy theories and rumors.

 A theory can help a believer regain a sense of order explaining some extraordinary events. Knowing some facts can even bring the feeling of power. Lewandowsky states that belief in conspiracies can be a protective mechanism.

Another explanation is that people are inclined to believe in ideas that they initially supported. This is called "motivated skepticism" or a "self-sealing nature of reasoning".[33]

Examples of hypothesis what were previous labeled as "conspiracy theory" but later proven correct

Several hypotheses that previously were labeled as "conspiracy theories" were later proven correct.

Examples include the theory that United States President Richard Nixon and his aides conspired to cover up [19] the theory that aides of President Ronald Reagan's conspired to cover up the [27] and the theory that government mass surveillance was tracking a large percentage of the world's telephone and Internet traffic.

Katherine K. Young writes that "every real conspiracy has had at least four characteristic features: groups, not isolated individuals; illegal or sinister aims, not ones that would benefit society as a whole; orchestrated acts, not a series of spontaneous and haphazard ones; and secret planning, not public discussion" [28]

"Some historians have put forward the idea that more recently the United States has become the home of conspiracy theories because so many high-level prominent conspiracies have been undertaken and uncovered since the 1960s".[29] The existence of such real conspiracies helps feed the belief in conspiracy theories.[32]


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[Jul 05, 2020] Some Conspiracy Theories Are for Real by Philip Giraldi

Jul 05, 2020 | www.unz.com

What is the best way to debunk a conspiracy theory? Call it a conspiracy theory, a label which in and of itself implies disbelief. The only problem with that is there have been many actual conspiracies both historically and currently and many of them are not in the least theoretical in nature. Conspiracies of several kinds brought about American participation in both world wars. And however one feels about President Donald Trump, it must be conceded that he has been the victim of a number of conspiracies, first to deny him the GOP nomination, then to insure that he be defeated in the presidential election, and subsequently to completely delegitimize his presidency.

Prior to Trump there have been numerous conspiracy "theories," many of which have been quite plausible. The "suicide" of Defense Secretary James Forrestal comes to mind, followed by the assassination of John F. Kennedy, which has been credibly credited to both Cuba and Israel. And then there is 9/11, perhaps the greatest conspiracy theory of all. Israel clearly knew it was coming, witness the Five Dancing Shlomos cavorting and filming themselves in New Jersey as the twin towers went down. Also the Saudis might have played a role in funding and even directing the alleged hijackers. And we have also had the conspiracy by the neocons to fabricate information about Iraq's WMDs and the ongoing conspiracy by the same players to depict Iran as a threat to the United States.

Given the multiple crises currently being experienced in the United States it is perhaps inevitable that speculation about conspiracies is at its highest level ever. To the average American it is incomprehensible how the country has become so screwed up because the political and economic elite is fundamentally incompetent, so the search for a scapegoat must go on.

There are a number of conspiracy theories about the coronavirus currently making the rounds. Those libertarians and contrarians who choose to believe that the virus is actually a flu being exploited to strip them of their liberties are convinced that many in the government and media have conspired to sell what is essentially a fraud. One such snake oil salesman persists in using an analogy, that since more Americans are killed in automobile accidents than by the coronavirus it would be more appropriate to ban cars than to require the wearing of face masks.

Another theory making the rounds accuses Microsoft multi-billionaire Bill Gates of trying to take over the world's healthcare system through the introduction of a vaccine to control the coronavirus, which he presumably created in the first place. The fallacy in many of the virus "conspiracies" that relate to a totalitarian regime or a crazy billionaire using a faux disease to generate fear so as to gain control of the citizenry is that it gives far too much credit to any government's or individual's ability to pull off a fraud of that magnitude. It would require people a whole lot smarter than the tag team of Trump-Pompeo or even Gates to convince the world and thousands of doctors and scientists that they should lock down entire countries over something completely phony.

Other coronavirus theories include that the virus was developed in the U.S., was exported to China by a traitorous American scientist, weaponized in Wuhan and then unleashed on the West as part of a communist plot to destroy capitalism and democracy. That would mean that we are already at war with China, or at least we should be. Then there is the largely accepted theory that the virus was created in Wuhan and escaped from the lab. Since that time Beijing has been engaging in a cover-up, which is the conspiracy. It is a theme favored by the White House, which has not yet decided what to do about it beyond assigning funny "Yellow Peril" names to the disease so everyone in MAGA hats will have something to chuckle about leading up to the November election.

But all kidding aside, there are some conspiracy theories that are more worth considering than others. One would be the role of George Soros and the so-called Open Society Foundations that he controls and funds in the unrest that is sweeping across the United States. The allegations against Soros are admittedly thin on evidence, but conspiracy mongers would point out that that is the mark of a really well-planned conspiracy, similar to what the 89 year-old Hungarian Jewish billionaire has been engaging in for a long time. The current round of claims about Open Society and Soros have generated as many as 500,000 tweets a day as well as nearly 70,000 Facebook posts per month, mostly from political conservatives.

The allegations tend to fall into two broad categories . First, that Soros hires protester/thugs and transports them to demonstrations where they are supplied with bricks and incendiaries to turn the gatherings into riots. Second, that Open Society is funding and otherwise enabling the destabilizing flow of illegal immigrants into the United States.

Soros and his supporters, many of whom are Jewish because they think they see anti-Semitism in the attacks on the Hungarian, claim to support democratization and free trade worldwide. He is, in effect, one of the world's leading globalists. Soros claims to be a "force for good" as the cliché goes, but is it completely credible that his $32 billion foundation does not operate behind the scenes to influence developments in ways that are certainly not democratic?

Indeed, Soros accumulated his vast fortune through vulture capitalism. He made over $1 billion in 1992 by selling short $10 billion in British pounds sterling, leading to the media dubbing him "the man who broke the bank of England." He has been accused of similar currency manipulation in both Europe and Asia. In 1999, New York Times economist Paul Krugman wrote of him that "Nobody who has read a business magazine in the last few years can be unaware that these days there really are investors who not only move money in anticipation of a currency crisis, but actually do their best to trigger that crisis for fun and profit."

Far from a passive bystander giving helpful advice to democracy groups, Soros was heavily involved with the restructuring of former communist regimes in eastern Europe and had a hand in the so-called Rose Revolution in Georgia in 2003 and the Maidan Revolution in Ukraine in 2014, both of which were supported by the U.S. government and were intended to threaten Russia's regional security.

Soros particularly hates President Vladimir Putin and Russia. He revealed that he is far from a benevolent figure fighting for justice in his March Financial Times op-ed (behind a pay wall) entitled "Europe Must Stand With Turkey Over Putin's War Crimes in Syria."

The op-ed is full of errors of fact and is basically a call for aggression against a Russia that he describes as engaged in bombing schools and hospitals. It starts with, "Since the beginning of its intervention in Syria in September 2015, Russia has not only sought to keep in place its most faithful Arab ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It has also wanted to regain the regional and global influence that it lost since the fall of the Soviet Union." First of all, Russia did not "intervene" in Syria. It was invited there by the country's legitimate government to provide assistance against various groups, some of which were linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State, that were seeking to overthrow President al-Assad.

And apart from Soros, few actual experts on Russia would claim that it is seeking to recreate the "influence" of the Soviet Union. Moscow does not have the resources to do so and has evinced no desire to pursue the sort of global agenda that was characteristic of the Soviet state.

There then follows a complete flight into hyperbole with: "Vladimir Putin has sought to use the turmoil in the Middle East to erase international norms and advances in international humanitarian law made since the second world war. In fact, creating the humanitarian disaster that has turned almost 6 million Syrians into refugees has not been a byproduct of the Russian president's strategy in Syria. It has been one of his central goals." Note that none of Soros's assertions are supported by fact.

The Soros op-ed also included a bit of reminiscence, describing how, "In 2014, I urged Europe to wake up to the threat that Russia was posing to its strategic interests." The op-ed reveals Soros as neither conciliatory nor "diplomatic," a clear sign that he picks his enemies based on ideological considerations that also drive his choices on how to frame his ventures. Given all of that, why is it unimaginable that George Soros is engaged in a conspiracy, that he is clandestinely behind at least some of the mayhem of Antifa and Black Lives Matter as well as the flood of illegal immigration that have together perhaps fatally destabilized the United States?

Philip Giraldi, Ph.D. is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.


Carlton Meyer , says: Website July 2, 2020 at 1:37 pm GMT

For those unfamiliar with the Soros/Israeli/CIA coup in the Republic of Georgia, here is a short video:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/qC-xLCgbThM?feature=oembed

JasonT , says: July 2, 2020 at 1:42 pm GMT

...These, and Soros, are the front men. The real brains are hidden from sight.

A123 , says: July 2, 2020 at 2:50 pm GMT

One would be the role of George Soros and the so-called Open Society Foundations that he controls and funds in the unrest that is sweeping across the United States.

Reg Cæsar , says: July 2, 2020 at 3:22 pm GMT

Instead of fairly distributing the wealth created by globalisation, Soros argued, capitalism's "winners" failed to "compensate the losers", which led to a drastic increase in domestic inequality – and anger.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jul/06/the-george-soros-philosophy-and-its-fatal-flaw

Sounds like many of the "populists" here.

Trinity , says: July 2, 2020 at 5:09 pm GMT

I know it is just a "conspiracy theory" that people like George Schwartz aka George (((Soros))) are funding these riots, but if this "conspiracy theory" were indeed true, why aren't Soros and his (((cohorts))) at least under investigation for treason and murder charges.

EliteCommInc. , says: July 2, 2020 at 6:35 pm GMT

"Sounds like many of the "populists" here."

I am not a populist. But the contention (s) you are referring to are no really the argument -- not by content.

The argument is that the suppose winners were and continue unfairly leverage the economic system with the help f government to avoid the consequences of their miscalculations, sometimes innocent, often careless and sometimes deliberate machinations.

That is quite a different argument than the winners should share more --

And as much as a capitalist as I am am -- I admit that there are goings on which violate the rules of capitalism as well as common decency.

UncommonGround , says: July 2, 2020 at 8:07 pm GMT

I didn't know that Soros could be so explicit about what he thinks about Putin and Syria and involve himself so concretely with such questions, about which he probably doesn't know very much (in the last times there have been very interesting articles about Syria, for instance, see links below).

Even though, I don't think that he has anything to do with BLM and the protests. Riots and revolts have happened other times without the coordination of people from outside. It happened in 1381 in England. A few years ago it happened in the UK and earlier it happened in the US, (I think when there was a blackout). Now it happened spontaneously in Stuttgart in Germany (apparently).

Why shouldn't people complain about the militarisation of the police which uses brutal methods to arrest people, a police which acts as if they had occupaied a country and had to contain a population of enemies?

The most recent conspiracy was the one to oust Corbyn (the text is relatively short):

The killing of Jeremy Corbyn
Peter Oborne and David Hearst

https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/killing-jeremy-corbyn

The former Labour leader was the victim of a carefully planned and brutally executed political assassination

About Syria, an important text by an expert, long:

The Salafist Roots of the Syrian Uprising
by William Van Wagenen

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/the-salafist-roots-of-the-syrian-uprising/

Syria: Old Pretexts, New Sanctions, Still Counterproductive
by Bas Spliet

https://original.antiwar.com/Bas_Spliet/2020/06/18/syria-old-pretexts-new-sanctions-still-counterproductive/

Meena , says: July 3, 2020 at 11:25 pm GMT

" Wall Street Journal reported Friday that following the drone strike on Soleimani last week, Trump told unspecified associates "he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate."
http://www.commindreams.org

From any angle ,this will look like a conspiracy . But talking about it to portray the existential crisis of USA politics ,a science of checks and balances, media responsibility and the mechanism in place to make this sort of events to happen will be labeled as conspiracy theory .

What is this.?
1 Impeachable offense
2 who will raise the issue? Media, Congress, Government agencies and activist judges .
They don't why ?
3 Who will investigate ? Dept of Justice.
Why they don't ?

4 would it be a conspiracy theory had Trump not shared the quid pro quo? Absolutely .

5 who is keeping quiet on the initiation of war illegal war to gain personal favor by Trump and who is asking war on Iran ? Same gaggle of smiley faces – Bolton to Kristol to Cotton to Lindsey to Pelosi to Biden to Sherman Engle , Schumer , Cheney( the cow ) , sage Bush jr, Hillary and same gallery of rogues like NYT BBC CNN FOX MSNBC .

6 is there a possibility of a war initiated by Trump to make last ditch effort to win election? Yes.

Bolton recently and , Deniis Ross have suggested to Obama to get out of bad poll number before ,
Economist Rubiono has suggested before as was shared by zerohedge sometimes back.

7 Why does conspiracy theory keep on returning ? Because the first appearance is never pushed back exposed and vilified by any body .
8 How do one evaluate and understand the fate accompli ? They don't . They shrug and move on as they did after Suleimnai killing and wait for next disavowal of any "conspiracy theory before confidently shrugging off the fait accompli.

9 What do you call them? Zombie human slaving away their lives
to harakiri.

Geowhizz , says: July 4, 2020 at 4:12 am GMT

So Soros broke the pound back in the day. Why did MI6 not kill him?

Thomasina , says: July 4, 2020 at 9:33 am GMT

I've often wondered about Soros. Was he a wealthy man before he "broke the Bank of England"?

I've also wondered how it is possible that someone like Soros would have been allowed to break the Bank of England. Was it just a set-up to provide him with plausible funds in order to make him look legit?

He gets written up as some ideological billionaire who acts in accordance with his conscience, but to me he looks like he's working for the ruling elites and the CIA.

Truly benevolent people (which I'm sure Soros is not) don't go around causing the chaos he does.

Anon [413] Disclaimer , says: July 4, 2020 at 9:48 am GMT

There are many videos about Soros' purported influence on world events but very few books. An interesting one is "Soros rompiendo España" by an internationalist and academic of the Universidad Complutense of Madrid.

It badly needs an editor to make it less boring, but it traces and documents Soros financing and tactics in the case of Cataluña. Basically creating NGOs to mobilize civil society to a pitch, while providing content and tactics. Creating grass roots pressure to change policy and break up one of Europes oldest nation-states. Such a network has the advantage of flexibility, it can ebb and flow as required.

What is different from Europe's 19th Century instability? Well, that one's to ponder. But it seems to me it is:
1) independent of Perfidious Albion or any central government. Unless it's Bilderberg, of course.
2) requires no high level assassinations (king and prime minister of Italy, King and Queen of Serbia, multiple Habsburgs, etc). Orban and Salvini are alive and well. Trump will lose, but continue playing golf.
3) not about the self-determination of oppressed peoples, that is, not about nationhood.

There seem to be non-stop programming exercises to achieve and direct mass activism across the West: immigration into Europe and US, Cataluña protests, green St Greta protest, feminist protests, Covid confinement, BLM. These last four, in the past TWO years. The generational divide cemented during Covid is something to watch, I've seen videos in French and Spanish about the "life lessons" of the pandemic that seed this idea.

The next step in this Ordo ab Chaos stumps me.

UncommonGround , says: July 4, 2020 at 10:19 am GMT
@Wizard of Oz n't Stop Until They Get Their War With Iran

– Op-Ed: The neocons: They're back, and on Iran, they're uncompromising as ever

– The Neoconservative Obsession with Iran

– Is Tehran Back in the Crosshairs of the Neocon Crusade?

– Next Stop, Tehran: The Neoconservative Campaign for War in Iran

About the other theme you ask about, I don't believe that it's possible to investigate it properly, but anyway:

– 5 Israelis Detained for Puzzling Behavior' After WTC Tragedy (Yossi Melman, Haaretz)

– Five Israelis were seen filming as jet liners ploughed into the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 .. (the Herald)

Really No Shit , says: July 4, 2020 at 11:08 am GMT

Some say that Soros is a Rothschild agent, just as Wilbur Ross is claimed to be by others, and the Bank of England is most likely the Nathan Rothschild agent, therefore, a question arises: how can an operative of an outfit be the buster of that very outfit? It's like saying a pizza parlor owned by the mafia was cleaned out of pies by one of its very own goons.

[Jun 26, 2020] What Americans Fear Most In The JFK Assassination, Part 1

Notable quotes:
"... I concluded that the circumstantial evidence pointing toward a regime-change operation has reached critical mass. Based on that evidence, for me the Kennedy assassination is not a conspiracy theory but rather the fact of a national-security state regime-change operation, no different in principle than other regime-change operations, including through assassination, carried out by the U.S. national-security establishment, especially through the CIA. ..."
"... I start out with a basic thesis: Lee Harvey Oswald was an intelligence agent for the U.S. deep state. Now, that thesis undoubtedly shocks people who have always believed in the lone-nut theory of the assassination. They just cannot imagine that Oswald could have really been working for the U.S. government at the time of the assassination. ..."
"... Indeed, if you want a modern-day version of how the U.S. national-security state treats suspected traitors and betrayers of its secrets, reflect on Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and Chelsea Manning. That's how we expect national-security state officials to behave toward those they consider traitors and betrayers of U.S. secrets. ..."
"... Not so with Oswald. With him, we have what amounts to two separate parallel universes. One universe involves all the Cold War hoopla against communists. Another one is the one in which Oswald is sauntering across the world stage as one of America's biggest self-proclaimed communists -- a U.S. Marine communist -- who isn't touched by some congressional investigative committee, some federal grand jury, or some FBI agent. How is that possible? ..."
"... Later, when Oswald ended up in Dallas, his friends were right-wingers, not left-wingers. He even got job at a photographic facility that developed top-secret photographs for the U.S. government. How is that possible? Later, when he ended up in New Orleans, he got hired by a private company that was owned by a fierce anti-communist right-winger. Why would he hire a supposed communist who supposedly had betrayed America by supposedly joining up with America's avowed communist enemy, the Soviet Union, and to whom he had supposedly given U.S. national-security state secrets, just like Julian and Ethel Rosenberg had? ..."
Jun 24, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Jacob Hornberger via The Future of Freedom Foundation,

One of the fascinating phenomena in the JFK assassination is the fear of some Americans to consider the possibility that the assassination was actually a regime-change operation carried out by the U.S. national-security establishment rather than simply a murder carried out by a supposed lone-nut assassin.

The mountain of evidence that has surfaced, especially since the 1990s, when the JFK Records Act mandated the release of top-secret assassination-related records within the national-security establishment, has been in the nature of circumstantial evidence, as compared to direct evidence. Thus, I can understand that someone who places little faith in the power of circumstantial evidence might study and review that evidence and decide to embrace the "lone-nut theory" of the case.

But many of the people who have embraced the lone-nut theory have never spent any time studying the evidence in the case and yet have embraced the lone-nut theory. Why? My hunch is that the reason is that they have a deep fear of being labeled a "conspiracy theorist," which is the term the CIA many years ago advised its assets in the mainstream press to employ to discredit those who were questioning the official narrative in the case.

Like many others, I have studied the evidence in the case. After doing that, I concluded that the circumstantial evidence pointing toward a regime-change operation has reached critical mass. Based on that evidence, for me the Kennedy assassination is not a conspiracy theory but rather the fact of a national-security state regime-change operation, no different in principle than other regime-change operations, including through assassination, carried out by the U.S. national-security establishment, especially through the CIA.

Interestingly, there are those who have shown no reluctance to study the facts and circumstances surrounding foreign regime-change operations carried out by the CIA and the Pentagon. But when it comes to the Kennedy assassination, they run for the hills, exclaiming that they don't want to be pulled down the "rabbit hole," meaning that they don't want to take any chances of being labeled a "conspiracy theorist."

For those who have never delved into the Kennedy assassination but have interest in the matter, let me set forth just a few of the reasons that the circumstantial evidence points to a U.S. national-security state regime-change operation. Then, at the end of this article, I'll point out some books and videos for those who wish to explore the matter more deeply.

I start out with a basic thesis: Lee Harvey Oswald was an intelligence agent for the U.S. deep state. Now, that thesis undoubtedly shocks people who have always believed in the lone-nut theory of the assassination. They just cannot imagine that Oswald could have really been working for the U.S. government at the time of the assassination.

Yet, when one examines the evidence in the case objectively, the lone-theory doesn't make any sense. The only thesis that is consistent with the evidence and, well, common sense, is that Oswald was an intelligence agent.

Ask yourself: How many communist Marines have you ever encountered or even heard of? My hunch is none. Not one single communist Marine. Why would a communist join the Marines? Communists hate the U.S. Marine Corps. In fact, the U.S. Marine Corps hates communists. It kills communists. It tortures them. It invades communist countries. It bombs them. It destroys them.

What are the chances that the Marine Corps would permit an openly avowed communist to serve in its ranks? None! There is no such chance. And yet, here was Oswald, whose Marine friends were calling "Oswaldovitch," being assigned to the Atsugi naval base in Japan, where the U.S. Air Force was basing its top-secret U-2 spy plane, one that it was using to secretly fly over the Soviet Union. Why would the Navy and the Air Force permit a self-avowed communist even near the U-2? Does that make any sense?

While Oswald was serving in the Marine Corps, he became fluent in the Russian language. How is that possible? How many people have you known who have become fluent in a foreign langue all on their own, especially when they have a full-time job? Even if they are able to study a foreign language from books, they have to practice conversing with people in that language to become proficient in speaking it. How did Oswald do that? There is but one reasonable possibility: Language lessons provided by U.S. military-suppled tutors.

After leaving the Marine Corps, Oswald traveled to the Soviet Union, walked into the U.S. embassy, renounced his citizenship, and stated that he intended to give any secrets he learned while serving in the military to the Soviet Union. Later, when he stated his desire to return to the United States, with a wife with family connections to Soviet intelligence, Oswald was given the red-carpet treatment on his return. No grand jury summons. No grand-jury indictment. No FBI interrogation. No congressional summons to testify.

Remember: This was at the height of the Cold War, when the U.S. national-security establishment was telling Americans that there was a worldwide communist conspiracy based in Moscow that was hell-bent on taking over the United States and the rest of the world. The U.S. had gone to war in Korea because of the supposed communist threat. They would do the same in Vietnam. They would target Cuba and Fidel Castro with invasion and assassination. They would pull off regime-change operations on both sides of the Kennedy assassination: Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Cuba (1960s), Congo (1963), and Chile (1973).

During the 1950s, they were targeting any American who had had any connections to communism. They were subpoenaing people to testify before Congress as to whether they had ever been members of the Communist Party. They were destroying people's reputations and costing them their jobs. Remember the case of Dalton Trumbo and other Hollywood writers who were criminally prosecuted and incarcerated. Recall the Hollywood blacklist. Recall the Rosenbergs, who they executed for giving national-security state secrets to the Soviets. Think about Jane Fonda.

Indeed, if you want a modern-day version of how the U.S. national-security state treats suspected traitors and betrayers of its secrets, reflect on Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and Chelsea Manning. That's how we expect national-security state officials to behave toward those they consider traitors and betrayers of U.S. secrets.

Not so with Oswald. With him, we have what amounts to two separate parallel universes. One universe involves all the Cold War hoopla against communists. Another one is the one in which Oswald is sauntering across the world stage as one of America's biggest self-proclaimed communists -- a U.S. Marine communist -- who isn't touched by some congressional investigative committee, some federal grand jury, or some FBI agent. How is that possible?

Later, when Oswald ended up in Dallas, his friends were right-wingers, not left-wingers. He even got job at a photographic facility that developed top-secret photographs for the U.S. government. How is that possible? Later, when he ended up in New Orleans, he got hired by a private company that was owned by a fierce anti-communist right-winger. Why would he hire a supposed communist who supposedly had betrayed America by supposedly joining up with America's avowed communist enemy, the Soviet Union, and to whom he had supposedly given U.S. national-security state secrets, just like Julian and Ethel Rosenberg had?

[Jun 06, 2020] A Conspiracy Theorist Confesses

Jun 06, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

WHAT IS A CONSPIRACY THEORY?

Some definitions are required here. From the Cambridge online English dictionary we have:

Misinformation: [noun] wrong information, or the fact that people are misinformed.

Disinformation: [noun] false information spread in order to deceive people.

Fake News: [noun] false stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other media, usually created to influence political views or as a joke.

Conspiracy: [noun'] the activity of secretly planning with other people to do something bad or illegal.

Theory: [noun] a formal statement of the rules on which a subject of study is based or of ideas that are suggested to explain a fact or event.

Conspiracy Theory: [noun] a belief that an event or situation is the result of a secret plan made by powerful people

It is notable that Cambridge University Press have introduced the concept of "secret" into their definition. By describing something as secret you are suggesting that it is impossible to know what it is. This added notion of secrecy is not commonly found in other dictionaries.

Nor is it present in the legal definition of conspiracy. Blacks Law Dictionary defines conspiracy as:

Conspiracy: In criminal law. A combination or confederacy between two or more persons formed for the purpose of committing, by their joint efforts, some unlawful or criminal act.

Obviously conspirators would like to keep their plans hidden. But that doesn't mean they always remain so. If all conspiracies were "secrets" nobody would ever discover any of them.

Known conspiracies, such as Operation Gladio , Iran Contra, the Lavon Affair, the 2001 anthrax letter hoax and so on, would not have been exposed had people not highlighted the evidence which proved their existence.

The notion of the "secret conspiracy" is not one most people called conspiracy theorist s would recognise. Often the whole point of our argument is that the conspiracies can be quite plainly evidenced. Most of that evidence is in the public domain and freely available.

More often conspiracy theorists are concerned with the denial or obfuscation of the evidence. It is not that the evidence doesn't exist, rather that it either isn't reported at all or is hidden by labelling those who do report it conspiracy theorists .

We can define "conspiracy theory" simply to mean: the reporting of evidence indicating a plan between two or more people to commit an illegal or nefarious act.

We can add that a conspiracy theory is an opinion or an argument. The merit of which is solely defined by the strength or weakness of the evidence.

However, if you read Wikipedia a v ery different definition is suggested. Suddenly conspiracy theory means an attempt to ignore other more plausible explanations. It is a theory based upon prejudice or insufficient evidence, it resists falsification and suffers from circular reasoning. It has left the realms of logical deduction and become a matter of faith.

This rationale is some distance away from the dictionary and legal definitions. It relies heavily upon opinion and is highly subjective. It is a pejorative definition which claims to be based in science, though the scientific evidence is feeble to non existent .

This depiction of the delusional conspiracy theorist, as described by Wikipedia, is the popularly accepted meaning. Perhaps we can agree, the narrative we are given about alleged conspiracy theorists broadly runs like this:

Conspiracy theorists forward arguments that are unfounded. These are based upon limited knowledge and lack substantiating evidence. Most conspiracy theorists are simply wrong and unwittingly spread misinformation. However, prominent conspiracy theorists spread disinformation and have used their large followings on the Internet to create a dangerous phenomenon called 'fake news.'

Many of those with the largest followings are agents for foreign powers. They use a global network of trolls and bots to advance their dangerous political agenda. This is designed to undermine our democratic way of life and valued political institutions. Therefore all conspiracy theory is anti-democratic and must be stopped.

It is difficult to understand how democracies, which supposedly value freedom of thought, speech and expression, can be threatened by diversity of opinion. Yet it appears many people are willing to ignore this contradiction and support government attempts to censor information and silence the voices of those it labels conspiracy theorist . Which is genuinely anti-democratic.

Consequently it has become relatively straightforward for politicians and the media to refute evidence and undermine arguments. As long as they can get the label of conspiracy theory or theorist to stick, most people will discount their arguments without ever looking at the evidence.

The label of conspiracy theorist is an umbrella term for a huge array of ideas and beliefs. Some are more plausible than others. However, by calling everyone who challenges accepted norms a "conspiracy theorist" it is possible to avoid addressing the evidence some offer by exploiting guilt by association.

For example, many people labelled as conspiracy theorists, myself included, believe even the most senior elected politicians are relatively low down the pecking order when it comes to decision making. We suggest powerful global corporations, globalist think tanks and international financial institutions often have far more control over policy development than politicians. We can cite academic research to back up this identification of "Biased Pluralism."

We do not believe the Earth is flat or the Queen is a lizard. However, because we believe the former, politicians, mainstream academia and the media insist that we must also believe the latter.

Psychology is often cited as evidence to prove conspiracy theorists are deranged, or at least emotionally disturbed in some way. Having looked at some of this claimed science I found it to be rather silly and anti-scientific . But that is just my opinion.

However, unlike many of the psychologists who earn a living by writing junk science, I do not think they should be censored nor stopped from expressing their unscientific opinions. However, governments across the world are seemingly desperate to exploit the psychologist's 'work' to justify the silencing of the conspiracy theorists.

This desire to silence people who ask the wrong questions, by labelling all as conspiracy theorists, has been a common theme from our elected political leaders during the first two decades of the 21st century. But where did this idea come from?

https://www.bitchute.com/embed/8xGbF3AoZbM/

THE HISTORY OF THE CONSPIRACY THEORIST LABEL

Conspiracy theory is nothing new. Nearly every single significant world event had at least one contemporary conspiracy theory attached to it. These alternative interpretations of events, which lie outside the accepted or official narratives, are found throughout history.

In 117 CE, the Roman Emperor Trajan died only two days after adopting his successor Hadrian. All his symptoms indicated a stroke brought on by cardio vascular disease.

Yet by the 4th century, in the questionable historical text Historia Augusta , a number of conspiracy theories surrounding Trajan's death had emerged. These included claims that Trajan had been poisoned by Hadrian, the praetorian prefect Attianus and Trajan's wife, Plotina.

While we would call this a conspiracy theory today, the term was not commonly used until the late 1960's. The earliest written reference to something approaching the modern concept of conspiracy theory appeared in the 1870's in the Journal of Mental Science vol 16 .

"The theory of Dr Sankey as to the manner in which these injuries to the chest occurred in asylums deserved our careful attention. It was at least more plausible that the conspiracy theory of Mr Charles Beade"

This is the first time we see an association made between "conspiracy theory" and implausibility. Throughout most of the 19th and 20th century, if used at all, it usually denoted little more than a rationale to expose a criminal plot or malevolent act by a group.

After the Second World War colloquial use of "conspiracy theory" was rare. However, academics were beginning to lay the foundations for the interpretation which has produced the label we are familiar with today.

The burgeoning idea was that the large numbers of people who questioned official accounts of events, or orthodox historical interpretations, were all delusional to some degree. Questioning authority, and certainly alleging that authority was responsible for criminal acts, was deemed to be an aberration of the mind.

Karl Popper

In 1945 The philosopher Karl Popper alluded to this in his political work The Open Society and Its Enemies . Popper was essentially criticising historicism . He stated that historical events were vulnerable to misinterpretation by those who were predisposed to see a conspiracy behind them.

He argued this was because historians suffered from cognitive dissonance (the uncomfortable psychological sensation of holding two opposing views simultaneously.) They could not accept that tumultuous events could just happen through the combination of error and unrelated circumstances.

In Popper's view, these historians were too quick to reject the possibility of random, chaotic events influencing history, preferring unsubstantiated conspiratorial explanations. Usually because they made better stories, thereby garnering more attention for their work.

Popper identified what he called the conspiracy theory of society . This reflected Popper's belief that social sciences should concern themselves with the study of the unintended consequences of intentional human behaviour. Speaking of the conspiracy theory perspective, he wrote:

It is the view that an explanation of a social phenomenon consists in the discovery of the men or groups who are interested in the occurrence of this phenomenon (sometimes it is a hidden interest which has first to be revealed), and who have planned and conspired to bring it about."

Popper also believed that increasing secularism had led people to ascribe power to secretive groups rather than the gods:

The gods are abandoned. But their place is filled by powerful men or groups – sinister pressure groups whose wickedness is responsible for all the evils we suffer from – such as the Learned Elders of Zion, or the monopolists, or the capitalists, or the imperialists."

Popper's theory illustrates the fundamental difference between those labelled conspiracy theorists and those who, on the whole, defend the official narrative and the establishment. For conspiracy theorists the evidence shows that powerful forces have frequently conspired to shape events, control the flow of information and manipulate society. The deliberate engineering of society, suggested by the conspiracy theorists, is rejected by their opponents and critics.

For them the conspiratorial view has some minor, limited merit, but the suggested scale and prevalence of these plots is grossly exaggerated. They see nearly all world events as the result of the unintentional collision between disparate forces and the random influence of fate.

In general, they consider the powerful incapable of malice. Where disastrous national and global events have clearly been caused by the decisions of governments, influential groups and immensely wealthy individuals, these are invariably seen as mistakes.

Any suggestion that the power hierarchy's destructive decisions may have achieved their intended objectives receives blanket rejection. Even asking the question is considered "unthinkable."

For many people called conspiracy theorists this is a hopelessly naive world view. History is full of examples of the powerful using their influence to further their own interests at others expense. Often costing people their lives.

For their opponents, like Popper, to reject this possibility outright, demonstrates their cognitive dissonance. They seem unable even to contemplate the possibility that the political and economic power structures they believe in could ever deliberately harm anyone. They have faith in authority and it is not shared by people they label conspiracy theorists.

Following the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963 alternative explanations proliferated, not least of all due to the apparent implausibility of the official account. Many U.S. citizens were concerned that elements within their own government had effectively staged a coup. Others, such as the prominent American historian Richard Hoftsadter, were more concerned that people doubted their government.

Richard Hofstadter

Building on the work of Popper, partly as a critique of McCarthyism but also in response to the Republican nomination loss of Nelson A. Rockefeller, American historian Richard Hofstadter suggested that people's inability to believe what they are told by government was not based upon their grasp of the evidence. Rather it was rooted in psychological need.

He claimed much of this stemmed from their lack of education (knowledge), political disenfranchisement and an unjustified sense of self importance. He also suggested these dangerous opinions threatened to pollute the body politic.

Like Popper, Hofstadter did not identify conspiracy theorists directly. But he did formulate the narrative underpinning the modern, widely accepted, definition. He wrote:

I call it the paranoid style simply because no other word adequately evokes the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind It is the use of paranoid modes of expression by more or less normal people that makes the phenomenon significant

[ ]

Of course, there are highbrow, lowbrow, and middlebrow paranoids, as there are likely to be in any political tendency. But respectable paranoid literature not only starts from certain moral commitments that can indeed be justified but also carefully and all but obsessively accumulates "evidence." .he can accumulate evidence in order to protect his cherished convictions.

Going to great lengths to focus on the "paranoid's" tendency to highlight the evidence, as if that were a failing, like most critics of so-called conspiracy theorists, Hofstadter chose neither to address nor even mention what that evidence was. He merely asserted that it was unbelievable. The reader just had to take his word for it.

The Warren Commission Report into the JFK assassination drew considerable criticism. The finding that Oswald acted alone contradicted numerous eye witness accounts, film, autopsy and ballistic evidence.

Four of the seven commissioners harshly criticised the report issued in their name. Widely seen as quite ridiculous, in the absence of any sensible official account of the assassination, numerous explanatory theories inevitably sprang up.

In response to the mounting criticism, in 1967 the CIA sent an internal dispatch to all field offices called Document 1035-960: Concerning Criticism of the Warren Report .

Revealed by a New York Times Freedom of Information Request in 1976, the dispatch is the first written record we have of the combination of Popper's "conspiracy theory of society" with Hofstadter's "paranoid style" militant. It defined the modern concept of the conspiracy theorist.

The document states:

Conspiracy theories have frequently thrown suspicion on our organization, for example by falsely alleging that Lee Harvey Oswald worked for us. The aim of this dispatch is to provide material countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists."

It can be considered as the origin of the weaponised term "conspiracy theory." It recommends a set of techniques to be used to discredit all critics of the Warren Commission Report. Once you are familiar with them, it is obvious that these strategies are commonly deployed today to dismiss all who question official statements as "conspiracy theorists." We can paraphrase these as follows:

  1. Deny any new evidence offered and cite only official reports stating 'no new evidence has emerged.'
  2. Dismiss contradictory eyewitness statements and focus upon the existing, primary, official evidence such as ballistics, autopsy, and photographic evidence.
  3. Do not initiate any discussion of the evidence and suggest that large scale conspiracies are impossible to cover up in an open and free democracy.
  4. Accuse the conspiracy theorists of having an intellectual superiority complex.
  5. Suggest that theorists refuse to acknowledge their own errors.
  6. Refute any suggestion of witness assassinations by pointing out they were all deaths by natural causes.
  7. Question the quality of conspiracy research and point out that official sources are better.

The report recommended making good use of "friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors)" and to "employ propaganda assets to [negate] and refute the attacks of the critics."

The CIA advocated using mainstream media feature articles to discredit people labelled conspiracy theorists.

While the use of these methods has been refined over the years, the essential process of labelling someone a conspiracy theorist, while studiously avoiding any discussion of the evidence they highlight, is extremely common in the mainstream media today. We only need look at the reports about academics who questioned the government's narrative about COVID19 to see the techniques in operation.

The drive to convince the public to use only "official sources" for information has seen the rise of the fact checker .

These organisations, invariably with the support of government and corporate funding, are offered as the reliable sources which provide real facts. The facts they provide are frequently wrong and the fact checking industry has settled legal claims from those who challenged their disinformation.

People have been directed by the mainstream media to abandon all critical thinking. They just need to go to their government-approved fact-checker in order be told the truth.

Providing the public believe the people labelled conspiracy theorists are crazy, ill informed or agents for a foreign powers, the mainstream media, politicians and other commentators can undermine any and all evidence they present. In keeping with the CIA's initial recommendations, it is extremely unlikely that the evidence will ever be openly discussed but, if it is, it can be written off as "conspiracy theory."

However, it isn't just the mainstream media who use the conspiracy theorist label to avoid discussing evidence. Politicians, speaking on the worlds biggest political stage, have seized the opportunity to deploy the CIA's strategy.

THREE SPEECHES ONE AGENDA

Even for Prime Ministers and Presidents, addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations is a big deal. These tend to be big thematic speeches as the leader impresses their vision upon the gathered dignitaries and global media.

Yet, despite the fact that conspiracy theorists are supposed to be idiots who don't know the time of day, global "leaders" have repeatedly used this auspicious occasion to single them out as one of the greatest threats to global security.

In November 2001 George W. Bush addressed the United Nations General Assembly with the following words:

We must speak the truth about terror. Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th; malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists, themselves, away from the guilty. To inflame ethnic hatred is to advance the cause of terror."

Even if you accept the official account of 9/11, and there are numerous reasons why you wouldn't, how does questioning it suggest that you support terrorism or mark you out as a racist?

The suggestion appears absurd but it does illustrate that the U.S. president wanted both to silence all criticism of the government account and link those questioning it to extremism and even terrorism.

This theme was reiterated by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron in his 2014 address. He said:

To defeat ISIL – and organisations like it we must defeat this ideology in all its forms ..it is clear that many of them were initially influenced by preachers who claim not to encourage violence, but whose world view can be used as a justification for it. We know this world view. The peddling of lies: that 9/11 was a Jewish plot or that the 7/7 London attacks were staged [ ] We must be clear: to defeat the ideology of extremism we need to deal with all forms of extremism – not just violent extremism. We must work together to take down illegal online material [ ] we must stop the so called non-violent extremists from inciting hatred and intolerance.

This season we will mostly be wearing anti-fear glasses

Like Bush before him, Cameron was at pains to identify what he called non violent extremists (commonly called conspiracy theorists). According to him, all who question government accounts of major geopolitical events are, once again, tantamount to terrorists .

Calling for online censorship to stop any questions ever being asked, it is this authoritarian need to avoid addressing evidence that led his successor, Prime Minister Theresa May, to propose wide-sweeping censorship of the Internet .

At the time of writing, the UK is among the many nations still in so called "lockdown" following the outbreak of COVID19 . When UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the U.N General Assembly in September 2019 he delivered a speech which seemed weirdly out of context . With Brexit and possible conflict with Iran high on the agenda his address, which barely touched on those issues, was received with considerable bewilderment.

Six months later his predictive powers appear to be remarkable. It transpires that Johnson's comments were extremely relevant . Just six months too early.

There are today people today who are actually still anti-science [ ] A whole movement called the anti-Vaxxers, who refuse to acknowledge the evidence that vaccinations have eradicated smallpox [ ] And who by their prejudices are actually endangering the very children they want to protect [ ] I am profoundly optimistic about the ability of new technology to serve as a liberator and remake the world wondrously and benignly [ ] Together, we can vanquish killer diseases."

Despite the wealth of scientific evidence which justifies scepticism about some vaccines , anti-vaxxer (a variant of conspiracy theorist ), is another label used to convince people not to consider evidence. The assertion is that those who question vaccines all fundamentally reject the concept of artificially inducing an immune response against a disease.

This isn't true but how would you know? The anti-vaxxer label alone is sufficient to convince most to turn away.

Johnson's speech rambled across so many seemingly irrelevant subjects there is little reason to suspect any COVID 19 foreknowledge. But given the global pandemic that would occur just a few months later, it was certainly prescient. Johnson was sufficiently concerned about the supposedly baseless questions of so called conspiracy theorists (or anti-vaxxers) to allege they killed children. A ludicrous suggestion the mainstream media strongly promoted .

It doesn't matter that academic research has proven that the official account of 9/11 cannot possibly be true; it makes no difference that Mossad agents admitted that they had gone to New York on the morning of 9/11 to "document the event;" studies showing that approximately 90% of the total 20th Century disease reduction in the U.S. occurred prior to the widespread use of vaccines are irrelevant.

None of these facts need to be known by anyone and governments are going to censor all who try to tell others about them. All questions that reference them are crazy conspiracy theories. They are both stupid questions and a huge threat to both national security and the safety of the little children.

One of the recurring themes the people labelled conspiracy theorists discuss is that policy is made behind the closed doors of corporate boardrooms and policy think tanks. It doesn't matter who you elect or what party you choose to rule over you, they are only capable of tinkering at the edges of the policy platform.

The policy agenda is set at a globalist level. So the fact that, over two decades, one U.S president and two British Prime Minsters were delivering essentially the same message doesn't surprise the conspiracy theorists.

As we move toward a world where certain ideas are forbidden and only officially approved questions can be asked, where governments and corporations have a monopoly on the truth and everything else is a conspiracy theory, only one thing really matters. The evidence.

Hofstadter's believed that his paranoid style militants constant citation of evidence was merely an attempt to "protect his cherished convictions." This could be true, but the only way to find out is to look at that evidence. The label of the conspiracy theorist has been deliberately created in order to convince you not to look at it.

Regardless of whether or not you think someone's opinion is a conspiracy theory, you owe it to yourself and your children to consider the evidence they cite. Perhaps you will reject it. There's nothing wrong with that.

But to reject it, without knowing what it is, really is crazy. Your only other option is to unquestioningly accept whatever you are told by the government, globalist think tanks, multinational corporations and their mainstream media partners.

If you choose to believe that everyone who claims to have identified the malfeasance of officials, the crimes of government or the corruption of powerful global institutions, are all conspiracy theorists, then you have accepted that the establishment is beyond reproach.

If you also agree the same established hierarchy can not only determine what you can or cannot know, but can also set all the policies and legislation which dictates your behaviour and defines the limits of your freedom, you have elected to be a slave and don't value democracy in the slightest.

[May 28, 2020] Conspiracy Theories How to Pick Out the Plausible Ones

May 28, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

likbez, May 28, 2020 5:30 pm

There is a strong tendency of neoliberal MSM to call questioning any false flag operation conducted by intelligence agencies "a conspiracy theory."

This is in its essence an attempt to call a plausible hypothesis, supported by some facts to a be a wild rumor -- an improvised news.

The originator of the term is CIA, which invented it to discredit those who questioned Warren commission report. This group of people were the original "conspiracy theorists".

In highly polarized society the events that one group of people calls a false flag operation (for example, Guccifer 2.0) the other calls "conspiracy theory", no matter what facts are preserved.

<blockquote>
the kind of plot laid out in David Talbot's The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government is at least plausible. It's reasonable to think a secret team of intelligence officials might have carried it out
</blockquote>

Again, JFK assassination is an original and classic example of use of the term of "conspiracy theory" to discredit opponents of the "deep state" and whitewash CIA activities.

This was by design the main use of the term -- the discreditation of those who holds a particular point of view harmful for the "deep state" interests.

Noni Mausa , May 28, 2020 4:44 pm

We can see another level of "conspiracy," also.

There's true conspiracy. So, Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder plot.

There's Coordination, where agents work towards a shared goal without necessarily communicating.

And then I would include a third category- a Happy Accident Not Impeded (HANI)

How much property shifted to buyers flush with offshore cash, when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans? When climate researchers had been voicing warnings for years, even decades?

The feds and the state (probably) didn't calculate that if they took no action in seagrass, mangroves, and strategic barriers, a hurricane would shake loose many property owners and leave them desperate to sell, or even unable to afford their property taxes and thus forfeiting ownership. But gee, how convenient when a hurricane just happened to sweep in and do just what had been predicted.

Each choice at local, state, and federal levels could be quite innocently justified. And yet strangely they all leant toward one outcome.

Noni

Kwark , May 28, 2020 5:30 pm

Noni, seems like that's a feature of capitalism these days – disaster capitalism. There's no shortage of idle rich with extra capital sitting in their hands waiting for this sort of "opportunity".

[May 14, 2020] It's interesting that people need conspiracies in order to feel that *someone* is in control, rather than everything just being chaos.

May 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Richard Steven Hack , May 12 2020 23:19 utc | 190

Posted by: Duncan Idaho | May 12 2020 21:51 utc | 179 People feel safer if they believe Covid was made in a lab--
That it is a natural occurring virus is a bit unsettling, and underscores the futility of living in an emergent and evolving world.

Good point. It's interesting that people need conspiracies in order to feel that *someone* is in control, rather than everything just being chaos.

On the other hand, people rarely believe that the people above them in the social hierarchy engage in conspiracies. I read something years ago. Some author attended a conference of business leaders in some industry. He asked them if they thought the executives in their industry engaged in collusion or conspiracy. They all said, "sure". He then asked them if they thought the senior people in politics in the country engaged in conspiracy. None of them believed that. He speculated that it would be unsettling to people to believe that the people who *rule them* are corrupt and conspiratorial even though they know that *they* are corrupt and conspiratorial.

For the people who view themselves as "rabble rousers", however, it suits them to believe that they can *influence* history, so having everything being a conspiracy just means that they might somehow become such a "conspiracy" and defeat the conspiracy they don't like.

However, as I commented above, unless you're willing (and able, meaning you have the skills and resources) to *kill* the conspirators, one is unlikely to be able to "change history." How likely is it that any of these people will ever have the influence of a Martin Luther, or a Ghandi - or Hitler? They're not likely to be that lucky.

It's like what a pick-up artist I watched on Youtube pointed out about hot women who have a choice between working for a living at a normal job or trying to be a model or actress. Given the actual - few - numbers of available "success slots" in either profession, the odds of being successful are pretty low. One has millions of competitors in those fields trying to be on the top.

The same limitation applies to "influencers". This is why we see everyone flocking to Youtube to flog whatever they're interested in. And the ones who manage to get a couple million "followers" end up being feted as if they were "genuine" successes. Some of those people, of course, do put out useful information. A lot of them, however, are on par with a character like Paris Hilton - superficial, irrelevant. It's like celebrity worship and the worship of the British Royal family in general.

And that's all based on the subconscious notion that the more you're "visible" to the rest of the world, somehow the more "life" you get awarded from "the gods." Or at least the more you can get in terms of finances and survival chances. Everything boils down to the fear of death - and lack of social influence threatens ostracism, which in ancient times was the equivalent of death, being cast out of the tribe.

That's probably even why most of us post on blogs. LOL It's certainly why the trolls post here.

It's better to focus on one's individual survival options in a rational way, rather than trying to "roll the dice" and hope to somehow get ahead of the rest of the pack. It's better to be Harry Harrison's "Stainless Steel Rat" (a well-known series of sci-fi novels about a criminal who manages to get along in a future "crime-proof" society.) Who knows? Enough "rats in the wainscotting" might cause the system to fall.

There are times when the whole history of the world seems to me just one long shipwreck; all that matters is to save oneself. - Henrik Ibsen

[May 01, 2020] The word conspiracy was invented to label anyone who questions or challenges falsehood based on facts

May 01, 2020 | www.unz.com

Judgement Day Warning , says: Show Comment April 30, 2020 at 10:42 am GMT

The word conspiracy was invented to label anyone who questions or challenges falsehood based on facts. These people operate by way of deception. We are all born with inner concious but some of us end up selling our souls to gain worldly benefits. The Creator of Heavens and Earth warns us not to sell our souls at the expense of hereafter. Unfortunately, many do not believe in the Creator of heavens and Earth, Judgement day or Hell and Heaven so they continue living their lives of deceit and lies despite the facts all around them.

[Apr 26, 2020] The CIA invented term "conspiracy theory" had been absorbed into the hearts and minds of everybody in the US and beyond, so that most people felt -- and feel -- that they must distrust their own quite rational suspicions of elite attempts to rob them of their rights and freedoms, as if the very notion of such covert class warfare

Apr 26, 2020 | off-guardian.org

"The mainstream media was falling into a pattern of groupthink on issue after issue, often ignoring important factual information because it didn't fit with what all the Important People knew to be true," wrote Parry in 2015 .

"Looking back over the past two decades," he continued, "I wish I could say that the media trend that we detected in the mid-1990s had been reversed. But, if anything, it's grown worse. The major Western news outlets now conflate the discrete difficulties from made-up 'fake news' and baseless 'conspiracy theories' with responsible dissenting analyses. All get thrown into the same pot and
subjected to disdain and ridicule."

Such was the tactic used to make Parry himself look like a kook, when he shed light on Iran/contra and the "October surprise," just as it was used in the mid-Nineties to demolish Gary Webb, the investigative journalist who broke the story of the CIA's drug smuggling out of Nicaragua.

By then the tactic had been used successfully for roughly thirty years, after the CIA, in its Memo #1035-960, first weaponized the phrase "conspiracy theory" to discredit critics of the Warren Report.

By the time Parry founded Consortium News -- as George Seldes (in 1940) and I.F. Stone (in 1953) had founded their respective antidotes to the propaganda gushing from the US press -- "conspiracy theory" had been absorbed into the hearts and minds of everybody in the US and beyond, so that most people felt -- and feel -- that they must distrust their own quite rational suspicions of elite attempts to rob them of their rights and freedoms, as if the very notion of such covert class warfare, waged by Them against the rest of us, is absolutely crazy on its face.

That is a very dangerous idea, as it has largely incapacitated We the People, by giving them a sentimental misimpression of executive authority, so that they often can't believe our government would do the things it's actually, demonstrably, been doing to the rest of us, and peoples all over the world, for decades.

From the assassinations of our most beloved leaders, to the initiation, and protraction, of gratuitous wars and rightist coups abroad, to the orchestration of horrific terrorist attacks on our own soil, to the stealing of elections everywhere (including here), to the harassment and imprisonment of whistle-blowers and other activists, to the shattering experiments in mind control inflicted on prisoners, mental patients, students and other helpless people, to the routine approval of drugs and vaccines that do lasting harm, and even kill; and so on.

Those independent outlets bold enough to tell the awful truths that all the other media ridicule as lunacy are few and far between; and Robert Parry's was among the best of them.

[Apr 26, 2020] The way I see it, conspiracy theory is "anything that contradicts the MSM propaganda - unless that conspiracy theory has been propagated by the MSM itself"

Apr 26, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

moe , Apr 24 2020 18:48 utc | 26

Posted by: Skeletor | Apr 24 2020 17:53 utc | 9

The way I see it, conspiracy theory is "anything that contradicts the MSM propaganda - unless that conspiracy theory has been propagated by the MSM itself". Moon of Alabama, and by implication it's posters, have been cynically smeared by bought-and-paid-for shills like propornot.com. Ironic you talk about qAnon, which is just another MSM conspiracy theory, false flag or unicorn - take your pick.

[Aug 20, 2019] The Pseudo Debate Over Jeffrey Epstein's Suicide Consortiumnews

Notable quotes:
"... However, while throughout Webb's articles she draws linkages that lead to the Mossad, she only suggests CIA connections. This is similar to but milder than a point made in an article written by Philip Giraldi, a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist, " Did Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein Work for Mossad? " Giraldi writes that the CIA "would have no particular motive to acquire an agent like Epstein." This makes no sense. Of course, it would. The CIA and the FBI have a long record of such activities, and to hold such a club over the heads of presidents, senators, et al to make sure they do their bidding is obviously a strong motivation. ..."
"... The CIA is organized crime, and if Epstein is Mossad connected, he is CIA also, which is most likely. Epstein could not have operated as he did for decades without being sustained and protected. ..."
"... no prosecution of the central operational cog in the gang, Ghislaine Maxwell, or her cohorts named in the fantastic settlement agreement ..."
"... “It is a mind game of extraordinary proportions, orchestrated by the perverted power elites who run the show and are abetted by their partners in the corporate mass media, even some in the alternative press who mean well but are confused, or are disinformation agents in the business of sowing confusion together with their mainstream Operation Mockingbird partners.” ..."
Aug 20, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Death, sex, power, intrigue, murder, suicide -- these are the staples of the 19 th century penny press, mass media and the CIA, writes Edward Curtin .

By Edward Curtin
edwardcurtin.com

W hen phrases such as "the deep state" and "conspiracy theory" become staples of both the corporate mainstream media and the alternative press, we know the realities behind these phrases have outlasted their usefulness for the ruling elites who control the United States and for their critics, each of whom uses them refutably or corroboratively. These phrases are bandied about so often that they have become hackneyed and inane.

Everything is shallow now, in our faces, and by being in our faces the truth is taking place behind our backs. The obvious can't be true since it's so obvious, so let us search for other explanations, and when the searchers search, let us call them "conspiracy nuts." It is a mind game of extraordinary proportions, orchestrated by the perverted power elites who run the show and are abetted by their partners in the corporate mass media, even some in the alternative press who mean well but are confused, or are disinformation agents in the business of sowing confusion together with their mainstream Operation Mockingbird partners.

It is a spectacle of open secrecy, in which the CIA, which created the "conspiracy theory" meme to ridicule critics of the Warren Commission's absurd explanation of the Kennedy assassination, has effectively sucked everyone into a game of to and fro in which only they win.

"When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Outside the Narrative Frame

Only by stepping outside this narrative frame with its vocabulary can we begin to grasp the truth here in our Wonderland of endless illusions.

Death, sex, power, intrigue, murder, suicide – these are the staples of the penny press of the 19 th century, Joseph Pulitzer's New York World , Hearst's New York Journal , the tabloids, today's mass media, and the CIA. People hunger for these stories, not for the real truth that impacts their lives, but for the titillation that gives a frisson to their humdrum lives. It is why post-modern detective stories are so popular, as if never solving the crime is the point.

Robert Pfaller in 2016. (Suzie1212, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

To say "we will never know" is the mantra of a postmodern culture created to keep people running in circles. (Note the commentaries about the Jeffrey Epstein case.) Elusive and allusive indeterminacy characterizes everything in the culture of postmodernity. Robert Pfaller, a professor at the University of Art and Industrial Design in Linz, Austria, and a founding member of the Viennese psychoanalytic research group "stuzzicandenti," put it clearly in a recent interview :

"The ruling ideology since the fall of the Berlin Wall, or even earlier, is postmodernism. This is the ideological embellishment that the brutal neoliberal attack on Western societies' welfare (that was launched in the late 1970s) required in order to attain a "human", "liberal" and "progressive" face. This coalition between an economic policy that serves the interest of a tiny minority, and an ideology that appears to "include" everybody is what Nancy Fraser has aptly called "progressive neoliberalism". It consists of neoliberalism, plus postmodernism as its ideological superstructure."

The propagandists know this; they created it. They are psychologically astute, having hijacked many intelligent but soul-less people of the right and left to do their handiwork.

Money Buys Souls

Money buys souls, and the number of those who have sold theirs is numerous, including those leftists who have been bought by the CIA, as Cord Meyer, the CIA official phrased it so sexually in the 1950s: we need to "court the compatible left." He knew that drawing leftists into the CIA's orbit was the key to efficient propaganda. For so many of the compatible left, those making a lot of money posing as opponents of the ruling elites but taking the money of the super-rich, events like the JFK assassination are inconsequential, never to be broached, as if they never happened, except as the authorities say they did.

By ignoring these most in-your-face events with their eyes wide shut, a coterie of influential leftists has done the work of Orwell's crime-stop and has effectively succeeded in situating current events in an ahistorical and therefore misleading context that abets U.S. propaganda.

The debate over whether Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide or not is a pseudo-debate meant to keep people spinning their wheels over nothing. It attracts attention and will do so for many days to come. There are even some usually astute people suggesting that he may not be dead but might have been secretly whisked off somewhere and replaced with a dead look-alike. Now who would profit from suggesting something as insane as this? The speculation runs rampant and feeds the spectacle. Whether he was allowed to kill himself or was killed makes little difference.

(Christopher Dombres, CC0, Wikimedia Commons)

Debates to Nowhere

It's akin to asking who pulled the trigger that killed President John Kennedy. That's a debate that was intended to go nowhere, as it has, after it became apparent that Lee Harvey Oswald surely did not kill JFK. Kennedy's murder in broad daylight in public view is the paradigmatic event of modern times. It is obvious to anyone who gives minimal study to the issue that it was organized and carried out by elements within the national security state, notably the CIA. Their message was meant to be unequivocal and clear: We can kill him and we can kill you; we are in full control; beware. Then they went on to kill others, including RFK and MLK. It takes little intelligence to see this obvious fact, unless you wish not to or are totally lost in the neighborhood of make-believe.

As it was with Jack Ruby killing Lee Harvey Oswald, so it is with Epstein. There will be no trial. Nothing is really hidden except the essential truth. Guess, debate, wonder, watch, read to your sad heart's content. You will have gotten nowhere unless you step outside the frame of the reigning narrative.

New York Post: Reigniting the narrative.

A corollary example of another recent national headline grabber, the Mueller investigation, is apropos here. Douglas Valentine, expert on the CIA and author of "The CIA as Organized Crime," said in a recent interview that in all the endless mass media discussions of the Mueller investigation, one obvious question was never asked: What is the CIA's role in it all? It was never asked because the job of the corporate mass media is to work for the CIA, not to expose it as a nest of organized criminals and murderers that it is.

What is important in the Epstein case is the deep back story, a tale that goes back decades and is explored by Whitney Webb in a series of fine articles for the Mint Press. Read her articles and you will see how Epstein is just the current manifestation of the sordid history of the American marriage between various factions of the American ruling elites, whose business is sexual exploitation as a fringe benefit of being willing members of the economic and military exploitation of the world. A marriage of spies, mafia, intelligence agencies, sexual perverts, foreign governments and American traitors who will stop at nothing to advance their interests.

Destroys the Fairy Tale of Democracy

It is a hard story to swallow because it destroys the fairy tale that has been constructed about American "democracy" and the decency of our leaders. Webb's articles are not based on secret documents but on readily available information open to a diligent researcher. It's known history that has been buried, as is most history in a country of amnesiacs and educational illiterates. The average person doesn't have Webb's skill or time to pull it all together, but they can read her illuminating work. Often, however, it is the will to truth that is lacking.

While Webb places the Epstein matter in an historical context, she does not "solve" the case, since there is nothing to solve. It is another story from a long litany of sex/espionage stories openly available to anyone willing to look. They tell the same story. Like many commentators, she draws many linkages to the Israeli Mossad's long-standing connections to this criminal under and over world in the United States and throughout the world. She writes:

"Ultimately, the picture painted by the evidence is not a direct tie to a single intelligence agency but a web linking key members of the Mega Group [a secretive group of Jewish billionaires, including Epstein's patron Leslie Wexner], politicians, and officials in both the U.S. and Israel, and an organized-crime network with deep business and intelligence ties in both nations."

If anything is obvious about the Epstein case, it is that he was part of a sexual blackmail operation tied to intelligence agencies. Such blackmail has long been central to the methods of intelligence agencies worldwide and many arrows rightfully point to the Mossad.

However, while throughout Webb's articles she draws linkages that lead to the Mossad, she only suggests CIA connections. This is similar to but milder than a point made in an article written by Philip Giraldi, a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist, " Did Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein Work for Mossad? " Giraldi writes that the CIA "would have no particular motive to acquire an agent like Epstein." This makes no sense. Of course, it would. The CIA and the FBI have a long record of such activities, and to hold such a club over the heads of presidents, senators, et al to make sure they do their bidding is obviously a strong motivation.

Valentine's point about not asking the question about the CIA's involvement in the Mueller investigation pertains. Does Giraldi believe that the Mossad operates independently of the CIA? Or that they don't work in tandem? His statement is very strange.

The CIA is organized crime, and if Epstein is Mossad connected, he is CIA also, which is most likely. Epstein could not have operated as he did for decades without being sustained and protected. Now that he is dead there will be no trial, just as there will be no mainstream media or justice department revelations about the CIA or Mossad. There will be a lot of gibberish about conspiracy theories and the open secret that is the spectacle of secrecy will roll on. There will, of course, be much sex talk and outrage. We will anxiously await the movie and the TV "exposés." Most people will know, and pretend they don't, that the country is ruled by gangsters who would pimp their mothers if it served their interests.

Those of us who oppose these criminals – and there are growing numbers all over the world – must avoid being sucked into the Establishment narratives and the counter-narratives they spawn or create. We must refuse to get involved in pseudo-debates that are meant to lead nowhere. We must reject the language created to confuse.

If revolutionary change is to come, we must learn to tell a new story in language so beautiful, illuminating, and heart-rending that no one will listen to the lying words of child molesters, mass murderers, and those who hate and persecute truth tellers.

As John Berger said, "In storytelling everything depends on what follows what. And the truest order is seldom obvious."

Educated in the classics, philosophy, literature, theology, and sociology, Ed Curtin is a former professor of sociology. His writing on varied topics has appeared widely over many years. He sees all his work as an effort to enhance human freedom.

This article is from the author's website edwardcurtin.com .

Brent Anderson August 20, 2019 at 12:09

Prince Andrew hung out with Epstein because he made a good tuna on rye. We are all conditioned to accept that powerful people do not have to go to jail. Its just the way it is and will always remain so. There is not an honest person anywhere on planet earth who believes that Bill Clinton and the others did not have sex with “those girls”. America and the west are morally corrupt piles of garbage. No wonder the African Americans and others rage against an unbalanced system of justice. Actually it is just poor people of any color who get the book thrown at them.

I saw the pictures yesterday on the telegraph of the young blond girl leaving Epsteins Manhattan home with Prince Andrew poking his head out the door. The girl looked like she was no older than 14. The dear old Queen doesn’t represent justice either.

Vera Gottlieb, August 20, 2019 at 11:29

Just curious…will the Epstein saga be as prolonged and boring as the Russiagate saga???

Litchfield, August 20, 2019 at 14:00

I don’t think so.

It is in the interest of the puppetmeister to let thing die out ASAP. Not so the Russiagate hoax: the idea was to prolong it in the hopes of finally finding a smoking gun of some kind. With the Epstein story we are awash in smoking guns, but they are being ignored.

Dan D. August 20, 2019 at 09:34

If there is no trial and further revelations about the nature of this operation, which should be expected, it won’t simply be because Epstein is dead, but because there will be no prosecution of the central operational cog in the gang, Ghislaine Maxwell, or her cohorts named in the fantastic settlement agreement. There are more than sufficient facts in the public sphere to proceed.

Bob Van Noy, August 20, 2019 at 09:07

“It is a mind game of extraordinary proportions, orchestrated by the perverted power elites who run the show and are abetted by their partners in the corporate mass media, even some in the alternative press who mean well but are confused, or are disinformation agents in the business of sowing confusion together with their mainstream Operation Mockingbird partners.”

“The CIA is organized crime,…”

Edward Curtin has summarized our contemporary hell as few others can. In the above comments he fully describes our dilemma and underscores the necessity for sites like Consortiumnews to present the truth for citizens to be able to sort truth from lies. Still we cannot forget that our democracy is “a criminal conspiracy”…

https://spartacus-educational.com/JFKmockingbird.htm

Jill, August 20, 2019 at 08:47

I actually believe knowing what happened to Epstein is knowable. It is also important because it will reveal who/what has the power to make such a thing happen. However, while this information will take a long time to come out it is our job to push on behalf of his victims right now.

There is information showing that Maxwell and several other people committed multiple rapes of children. We do not see her, Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, just to name a few, hauled in for questioning. That really needs to happen. We have built up the powerful into untouchable icons. This needs to full stop now. These are not icons, they are potential and likely guilty child rapists of children. Our power system is held up by unspeakable cruelty to children and to others who simply don’t have the power to fight back unless we offer our support and services to them. There is enough testimony and other evidence to bring them in for questioning.

The conspiracy to commit rape should be ready to go. Investigators have had that information for a long time. I’m not buying that they are too incompetent to move that case forward. We are going to need to push for this. Deliberate infliction of human misery is evil and it is not acceptable to create one’s society on such a thing.

There is ground penetrating radar which can see under Jeff’s concrete pour. It can also show the tunnels on the islands. “Lost” evidence can be relocated from it’s undisclosed location. The ranch in NM can be sealed off and also scanned by this radar. No one should believe agencies with the resources of this government behind them are incapable of doing such things.

In the meantime, there is a tape of Jeff’s wing from that night. There’s one from the hospital and the investigators can offer immunity to anyone guard or hospital/ambulance employee in exchange for their truthful explanation of what they were doing and what they saw. This was not a series of incompetent actions which all went one way and one way only. It took a lot of planning and a lot of resources. That means there are a lot of witnesses.

We do need to uncover and dismantle this chain of human misery. No More.

ML, August 20, 2019 at 11:27

Excellent comment, Jill. As a family medicine nurse practitioner for many years, I have witnessed and helped many teen victims of adults who thought it somehow A-ok to sexually take advantage of them. I understand teen psychology. They are wholly unprepared to deal with the often underhanded tactics of pedophiles who use charm, deceit, threats, flattery, physical violence, tangible needed goods like money, clothing, or even a place to sleep, to get what they want— sex with a young person.

It is truly evil and that is not too strong a word for it. Epstein apparently used all of these tactics on his victims. How I wish there were a hell for the likes of him.

Litchfield, August 20, 2019 at 12:14

I agree with all you say, and thanks for putting it so clearly. There is NO EXCUSE for this case NOT to go forward and for all the parties of interest to be interrogated, and not with velvet gloves on. Clinton, Andrew, Dersh, Wexner, Maxwell, just for starters. Possibly Barr should recuse himself, as he seems to be too intertwined with the Epstein background story.

Brian Murphy, August 20, 2019 at 12:42

Is it really such a mystery what organizations acting together have the capability to have done this? They are identified in the article. The western coalition of intelligence agencies, which includes the Mossad along with NATO powers. In the USA, that includes the entire intelligence apparatus — CIA, NSA, MIA, FBI, Secret Service, as supported and defended by the DOJ.

Which of those entities placed someone in the jail cell to crack his neck is somewhat immaterial. The current President and at least one former President were implicated, which justifies the use of the full arsenal in the minds of those involved, as a “threat to national security,” which of course means strictly “threat to the profits of certain entities.”

Walter, August 20, 2019 at 06:56

There is sparse evidence and zero proof that the charming fellow committed suicide, and only claims (somebody said stuff) that he’s actually dead. (Same for his girlfriend’s dad, same for Skirpal :–)

Whitney Webb at Mintpressnews is doing good job on Mr E.

... ... ...

[Aug 20, 2019] American Pravda How the CIA Invented Conspiracy Theories by Ron Unz

Notable quotes:
"... Obviously, a large fraction of everything described by our government leaders or presented in the pages of our most respectable newspapers -- from the 9/11 attacks to the most insignificant local case of petty urban corruption -- could objectively be categorized as a "conspiracy theory" but such words are never applied. ..."
"... Put another way, there are good "conspiracy theories" and bad "conspiracy theories," with the former being the ones promoted by pundits on mainstream television shows and hence never described as such ..."
"... by the time we attacked Iraq in 2003, polls revealed that some 70% of the American public believed that Saddam was personally involved in the destruction of our World Trade Center. By that date I don't doubt that many millions of patriotic but low-information Americans would have angrily denounced and vilified as a "crazy conspiracy theorist" anyone with the temerity to suggest that Saddam had not been behind 9/11, despite almost no one in authority having ever explicitly made such a fallacious claim. ..."
"... Based on an important FOIA disclosure, the book's headline revelation was that the CIA was very likely responsible for the widespread introduction of "conspiracy theory" as a term of political abuse, having orchestrated that development as a deliberate means of influencing public opinion. ..."
"... So as a means of damage control, the CIA distributed a secret memo to all its field offices requesting that they enlist their media assets in efforts to ridicule and attack such critics as irrational supporters of "conspiracy theories." Soon afterward, there suddenly appeared statements in the media making those exact points, with some of the wording, arguments, and patterns of usage closely matching those CIA guidelines. The result was a huge spike in the pejorative use of the phrase, which spread throughout the American media, with the residual impact continueing right down to the present day. Thus, there is considerable evidence in support of this particular "conspiracy theory" explaining the widespread appearance of attacks on "conspiracy theories" in the public media. ..."
"... But although the CIA appears to have effectively manipulated public opinion in order to transform the phrase "conspiracy theory" into a powerful weapon of ideological combat, the author also describes how the necessary philosophical ground had actually been prepared a couple of decades earlier. Around the time of the Second World War, an important shift in political theory caused a huge decline in the respectability of any "conspiratorial" explanation of historical events. ..."
"... Meanwhile, Strauss, a founding figure in modern neo-conservative thought, was equally harsh in his attacks upon conspiracy analysis, but for polar-opposite reasons. In his mind, elite conspiracies were absolutely necessary and beneficial, a crucial social defense against anarchy or totalitarianism, but their effectiveness obviously depended upon keeping them hidden from the prying eyes of the ignorant masses. His main problem with "conspiracy theories" was not that they were always false, but they might often be true, and therefore their spread was potentially disruptive to the smooth functioning of society. So as a matter of self-defense, elites needed to actively suppress or otherwise undercut the unauthorized investigation of suspected conspiracies. ..."
"... This argument may be more than purely hypothetical. A crucial turning point in America's renewed Cold War against Russia was the passage of the 2012 Magnitsky Act by Congress, punitively targeting various supposedly corrupt Russian officials for their alleged involvement in the illegal persecution and death of an employee of Bill Browder, an American hedge-fund manager with large Russian holdings. However, there's actually quite a bit of evidence that it was Browder himself who was actually the mastermind and beneficiary of the gigantic corruption scheme, while his employee was planning to testify against him and was therefore fearful of his life for that reason. Naturally, the American media has provided scarcely a single mention of these remarkable revelations regarding what might amount to a gigantic Magnitsky Hoax of geopolitical significance. ..."
"... To some extent the creation of the Internet and the vast proliferation of alternative media outlets, including my own small webzine , have somewhat altered this depressing picture. So it is hardly surprising that a very substantial fraction of the discussion dominating these Samizdat-like publications concerns exactly those subjects regularly condemned as "crazy conspiracy theories" by our mainstream media organs. ..."
"... Such unfiltered speculation must surely be a source of considerable irritation and worry to government officials who have long relied upon the complicity of their tame media organs to allow their serious misdeeds to pass unnoticed and unpunished. Indeed, several years ago a senior Obama Administration official argued that the free discussion of various "conspiracy theories" on the Internet was so potentially harmful that government agents should be recruited to "cognitively infiltrate" and disrupt them, essentially proposing a high-tech version of the highly controversial Cointelpro operations undertaken by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI. ..."
Sep 05, 2016 | www.unz.com

A year or two ago, I saw the much-touted science fiction film Interstellar , and although the plot wasn't any good, one early scene was quite amusing. For various reasons, the American government of the future claimed that our Moon Landings of the late 1960s had been faked, a trick aimed at winning the Cold War by bankrupting Russia into fruitless space efforts of its own. This inversion of historical reality was accepted as true by nearly everyone, and those few people who claimed that Neil Armstrong had indeed set foot on the Moon were universally ridiculed as "crazy conspiracy theorists." This seems a realistic portrayal of human nature to me.

Obviously, a large fraction of everything described by our government leaders or presented in the pages of our most respectable newspapers -- from the 9/11 attacks to the most insignificant local case of petty urban corruption -- could objectively be categorized as a "conspiracy theory" but such words are never applied. Instead, use of that highly loaded phrase is reserved for those theories, whether plausible or fanciful, that do not possess the endorsement stamp of establishmentarian approval.

Put another way, there are good "conspiracy theories" and bad "conspiracy theories," with the former being the ones promoted by pundits on mainstream television shows and hence never described as such. I've sometimes joked with people that if ownership and control of our television stations and other major media outlets suddenly changed, the new information regime would require only a few weeks of concerted effort to totally invert all of our most famous "conspiracy theories" in the minds of the gullible American public. The notion that nineteen Arabs armed with box-cutters hijacked several jetliners, easily evaded our NORAD air defenses, and reduced several landmark buildings to rubble would soon be universally ridiculed as the most preposterous "conspiracy theory" ever to have gone straight from the comic books into the minds of the mentally ill, easily surpassing the absurd "lone gunman" theory of the JFK assassination.

Even without such changes in media control, huge shifts in American public beliefs have frequently occurred in the recent past, merely on the basis of implied association. In the initial weeks and months following the 2001 attacks, every American media organ was enlisted to denounce and vilify Osama Bin Laden, the purported Islamicist master-mind, as our greatest national enemy, with his bearded visage endlessly appearing on television and in print, soon becoming one of the most recognizable faces in the world. But as the Bush Administration and its key media allies prepared a war against Iraq, the images of the Burning Towers were instead regularly juxtaposed with mustachioed photos of dictator Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden's arch-enemy. As a consequence, by the time we attacked Iraq in 2003, polls revealed that some 70% of the American public believed that Saddam was personally involved in the destruction of our World Trade Center. By that date I don't doubt that many millions of patriotic but low-information Americans would have angrily denounced and vilified as a "crazy conspiracy theorist" anyone with the temerity to suggest that Saddam had not been behind 9/11, despite almost no one in authority having ever explicitly made such a fallacious claim.

These factors of media manipulation were very much in my mind a couple of years ago when I stumbled across a short but fascinating book published by the University of Texas academic press. The author of Conspiracy Theory in America was Prof. Lance deHaven-Smith, a former president of the Florida Political Science Association.

Based on an important FOIA disclosure, the book's headline revelation was that the CIA was very likely responsible for the widespread introduction of "conspiracy theory" as a term of political abuse, having orchestrated that development as a deliberate means of influencing public opinion.

During the mid-1960s there had been increasing public skepticism about the Warren Commission findings that a lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, had been solely responsible for President Kennedy's assassination, and growing suspicions that top-ranking American leaders had also been involved. So as a means of damage control, the CIA distributed a secret memo to all its field offices requesting that they enlist their media assets in efforts to ridicule and attack such critics as irrational supporters of "conspiracy theories." Soon afterward, there suddenly appeared statements in the media making those exact points, with some of the wording, arguments, and patterns of usage closely matching those CIA guidelines. The result was a huge spike in the pejorative use of the phrase, which spread throughout the American media, with the residual impact continueing right down to the present day. Thus, there is considerable evidence in support of this particular "conspiracy theory" explaining the widespread appearance of attacks on "conspiracy theories" in the public media.

But although the CIA appears to have effectively manipulated public opinion in order to transform the phrase "conspiracy theory" into a powerful weapon of ideological combat, the author also describes how the necessary philosophical ground had actually been prepared a couple of decades earlier. Around the time of the Second World War, an important shift in political theory caused a huge decline in the respectability of any "conspiratorial" explanation of historical events.

For decades prior to that conflict, one of our most prominent scholars and public intellectuals had been historian Charles Beard , whose influential writings had heavily focused on the harmful role of various elite conspiracies in shaping American policy for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many, with his examples ranging from the earliest history of the United States down to the nation's entry into WWI. Obviously, researchers never claimed that all major historical events had hidden causes, but it was widely accepted that some of them did, and attempting to investigate those possibilities was deemed a perfectly acceptable academic enterprise.

However, Beard was a strong opponent of American entry into the Second World War, and he was marginalized in the years that followed, even prior to his death in 1948. Many younger public intellectuals of a similar bent also suffered the same fate, or were even purged from respectability and denied any access to the mainstream media. At the same time, the totally contrary perspectives of two European political philosophers, Karl Popper and Leo Strauss , gradually gained ascendancy in American intellectual circles, and their ideas became dominant in public life.

Popper, the more widely influential, presented broad, largely theoretical objections to the very possibility of important conspiracies ever existing, suggesting that these would be implausibly difficult to implement given the fallibility of human agents; what might appear a conspiracy actually amounted to individual actors pursuing their narrow aims. Even more importantly, he regarded "conspiratorial beliefs" as an extremely dangerous social malady, a major contributing factor to the rise of Nazism and other deadly totalitarian ideologies. His own background as an individual of Jewish ancestry who had fled Austria in 1937 surely contributed to the depth of his feelings on these philosophical matters.

Meanwhile, Strauss, a founding figure in modern neo-conservative thought, was equally harsh in his attacks upon conspiracy analysis, but for polar-opposite reasons. In his mind, elite conspiracies were absolutely necessary and beneficial, a crucial social defense against anarchy or totalitarianism, but their effectiveness obviously depended upon keeping them hidden from the prying eyes of the ignorant masses. His main problem with "conspiracy theories" was not that they were always false, but they might often be true, and therefore their spread was potentially disruptive to the smooth functioning of society. So as a matter of self-defense, elites needed to actively suppress or otherwise undercut the unauthorized investigation of suspected conspiracies.

Even for most educated Americans, theorists such as Beard, Popper, and Strauss are probably no more than vague names mentioned in textbooks, and that was certainly true in my own case. But while the influence of Beard seems to have largely disappeared in elite circles, the same is hardly true of his rivals. Popper probably ranks as one of the founders of modern liberal thought, with an individual as politically influential as left-liberal financier George Soros claiming to be his intellectual disciple . Meanwhile, the neo-conservative thinkers who have totally dominated the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement for the last couple of decades often proudly trace their ideas back to Strauss.

So, through a mixture of Popperian and Straussian thinking, the traditional American tendency to regard elite conspiracies as a real but harmful aspect of our society was gradually stigmatized as either paranoid or politically dangerous, laying the conditions for its exclusion from respectable discourse.

By 1964, this intellectual revolution had largely been completed, as indicated by the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the famous article by political scientist Richard Hofstadter critiquing the so-called "paranoid style" in American politics , which he denounced as the underlying cause of widespread popular belief in implausible conspiracy theories. To a considerable extent, he seemed to be attacking straw men, recounting and ridiculing the most outlandish conspiratorial beliefs, while seeming to ignore the ones that had been proven correct. For example, he described how some of the more hysterical anti-Communists claimed that tens of thousands of Red Chinese troops were hidden in Mexico, preparing an attack on San Diego, while he failed to even acknowledge that for years Communist spies had indeed served near the very top of the U.S. government. Not even the most conspiratorially minded individual suggests that all alleged conspiracies are true, merely that some of them might be.

Most of these shifts in public sentiment occurred before I was born or when I was a very young child, and my own views were shaped by the rather conventional media narratives that I absorbed. Hence, for nearly my entire life, I always automatically dismissed all of the so-called "conspiracy theories" as ridiculous, never once even considering that any of them might possibly be true.

To the extent that I ever thought about the matter, my reasoning was simple and based on what seemed like good, solid common sense. Any conspiracy responsible for some important public event must surely have many separate "moving parts" to it, whether actors or actions taken, let us say numbering at least 100 or more. Now given the imperfect nature of all attempts at concealment, it would surely be impossible for all of these to be kept entirely hidden. So even if a conspiracy were initially 95% successful in remaining undetected, five major clues would still be left in plain sight for investigators to find. And once the buzzing cloud of journalists noticed these, such blatant evidence of conspiracy would certainly attract an additional swarm of energetic investigators, tracing those items back to their origins, with more pieces gradually being uncovered until the entire cover-up likely collapsed. Even if not all the crucial facts were ever determined, at least the simple conclusion that there had indeed been some sort of conspiracy would quickly become established.

However, there was a tacit assumption in my reasoning, one that I have since decided was entirely false. Obviously, many potential conspiracies either involve powerful governmental officials or situations in which their disclosure would represent a source of considerable embarrassment to such individuals. But I had always assumed that even if government failed in its investigatory role, the dedicated bloodhounds of the Fourth Estate would invariably come through, tirelessly seeking truth, ratings, and Pulitzers. However, once I gradually began realizing that the media was merely "Our American Pravda" and perhaps had been so for decades, I suddenly recognized the flaw in my logic. If those five -- or ten or twenty or fifty -- initial clues were simply ignored by the media, whether through laziness, incompetence, or much less venial sins, then there would be absolutely nothing to prevent successful conspiracies from taking place and remaining undetected, perhaps even the most blatant and careless ones.

In fact, I would extend this notion to a general principle. Substantial control of the media is almost always an absolute prerequisite for any successful conspiracy, the greater the degree of control the better. So when weighing the plausibility of any conspiracy, the first matter to investigate is who controls the local media and to what extent.

Let us consider a simple thought-experiment. For various reasons these days, the entire American media is extraordinarily hostile to Russia, certainly much more so than it ever was toward the Communist Soviet Union during the 1970s and 1980s. Hence I would argue that the likelihood of any large-scale Russian conspiracy taking place within the operative zone of those media organs is virtually nil. Indeed, we are constantly bombarded with stories of alleged Russian conspiracies that appear to be "false positives," dire allegations seemingly having little factual basis or actually being totally ridiculous. Meanwhile, even the crudest sort of anti-Russian conspiracy might easily occur without receiving any serious mainstream media notice or investigation.

This argument may be more than purely hypothetical. A crucial turning point in America's renewed Cold War against Russia was the passage of the 2012 Magnitsky Act by Congress, punitively targeting various supposedly corrupt Russian officials for their alleged involvement in the illegal persecution and death of an employee of Bill Browder, an American hedge-fund manager with large Russian holdings. However, there's actually quite a bit of evidence that it was Browder himself who was actually the mastermind and beneficiary of the gigantic corruption scheme, while his employee was planning to testify against him and was therefore fearful of his life for that reason. Naturally, the American media has provided scarcely a single mention of these remarkable revelations regarding what might amount to a gigantic Magnitsky Hoax of geopolitical significance.

To some extent the creation of the Internet and the vast proliferation of alternative media outlets, including my own small webzine , have somewhat altered this depressing picture. So it is hardly surprising that a very substantial fraction of the discussion dominating these Samizdat-like publications concerns exactly those subjects regularly condemned as "crazy conspiracy theories" by our mainstream media organs.

Such unfiltered speculation must surely be a source of considerable irritation and worry to government officials who have long relied upon the complicity of their tame media organs to allow their serious misdeeds to pass unnoticed and unpunished. Indeed, several years ago a senior Obama Administration official argued that the free discussion of various "conspiracy theories" on the Internet was so potentially harmful that government agents should be recruited to "cognitively infiltrate" and disrupt them, essentially proposing a high-tech version of the highly controversial Cointelpro operations undertaken by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI.

Until just a few years ago I'd scarcely even heard of Charles Beard, once ranked among the towering figures of 20th century American intellectual life . But the more I've discovered the number of serious crimes and disasters that have completely escaped substantial media scrutiny, the more I wonder what other matters may still remain hidden. So perhaps Beard was correct all along in recognizing the respectability of "conspiracy theories," and we should return to his traditional American way of thinking, notwithstanding endless conspiratorial propaganda campaigns by the CIA and others to persuade us that we should dismiss such notions without any serious consideration.

[Aug 20, 2019] The Epstein Case Everyone s a Conspiracy Theorist by Caitlin Johnstone

Notable quotes:
"... "I am not into conspiracy theories. But Epstein had destructive information on an extraordinary number of extraordinarily powerful people. It is not easy to commit suicide in prison. ..."
"... The meaningless of the term has been clearly illustrated by Russiagate, whose adherents react with sputtering outrage whenever anyone points out that they're engaged in a conspiracy theory, despite the self-evident fact that that's exactly what it is: a theory about a band of powerful Russian conspirators conspiring with the highest levels of the U.S. government. Their objection is not due to a belief that they're not theorizing about a conspiracy, their objection is due to the fact that a highly stigmatized label that they're accustomed to applying to other people has been applied to them. The label is rejected because its actual definition is ignored to the point of meaninglessness. ..."
"... The term "conspiracy theory" should always serve as red flag to any astute reader concerning what follows. The term was reportedly coined by a CIA disinformation guy in the late 1960s to counter and discredit efforts to get at the truth of the Kennedy assassination. ..."
"... Individuals hanging themselves almost never possess information about how it is done. Typically they either hurl themselves off something like a staircase or kick away something they are standing on, as a chair or stool. Neither of those approaches has much probability of producing the classic executioner's result, although the first can certainly break neck bones or even behead someone. Epstein, we know, used neither of those methods. Indeed, he couldn't, given the small, deliberately-bare cell he was in. ..."
"... What is required to achieve the instantly-broken neck, and in just the right place for quick death, is a drop of a certain amount plus a certain positioning of the rope. Those conditions generally are not possible with efforts like hanging by bedsheets. ..."
"... Sheets, incidentally, as I've previously noted, not even available to inmates at this institution. They sleep on special paper sheets. ..."
"... The term 'conspiracy theory' appears to have first been used by the CIA in the 1960s about those who did not believe the findings of the Warren Commission report on the JFK assassination. ..."
"... The assertion that Epstein's death cannot be questioned without accusations of 'conspiracy theory' seems contradicted by the fact that many people, in and out of government, including AG Barr have found the circumstances in need of an investigation. Has anyone yet accused Barr of being a conspiracy theorist for finding the Epstein death questionable? ..."
"... When the "Conspiracy Theorist" sirens are blaring, you can be certain that an elite crime has just been openly committed and they are triggering the populace to suppress any questioning of the narrative; it is all very Pavoliavian. ..."
"... This will then be followed by an endless set of dead-end inquiries which trains are minds to focus on the trivial. Were sheets in Epstein's Prison? Why were the prison guards too exhausted to monitor the prisoner? Or, my favorite – Why were the cameras off, I think a 5-year-old child could answer that question. ..."
"... If you ever wonder how Intelligence Agencies spend their day, with their budget the size of Bulgaria's GNP, I say, look no further. ..."
"... Now we get to the big one, why did Epstein return to the US when he had to know an arrest warrant had been issued? This one bothers me the most. Epstein had the money and the means to live in many countries without extradition to the US. ..."
"... If someone in power wanted him dead, it would make more sense to do it before all of the attention, not after he's arrested. ..."
"... "That epithet has a sordid history in the annals of U.S. intelligence. Legendary CIA Director Allen Dulles used the "brand-them-conspiracy-theorists" ploy following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy when many objected -- understandably -- to letting him pretty much run the Warren Commission, even though the CIA was suspected of having played a role in the murder. The "conspiracy theorist" tactic worked like a charm then, and now. Well, up until just now." ..."
"... The question should be about evidence for or against any conspiracy theory. ..."
"... In the Epstein case there is a very strong motive, by very powerful interests, to have him gone. There was a very strange lapse in the watchfulness of the prison where Epstein was kept. There has to be an inquiry. ..."
"... Part of the use of this 'conspiracy theory' term is an effort by mass, established (corporate) media to discredit and dismiss alternate media. They are aiming to protect their market by intimating that they report the truth (TM) while over there, the internet is full of hyperventilated, wild and rediculous trash. ..."
"... The invariable responses from everyone ever associated with "high-society", sex-addicted, global criminal pimp for the wealthy-and-powerful Jeffrey Epstein, – on his scandalous and disgusting activities across many years, and finally Epstein's world-record-setting-mystery death: "No comment." ..."
"... there are names of actual people who signed off on taking him off suicide watch, removing his cell mate, and telling the guards to not worry about checking in on Epstein that night. Those are all strange things which should have an answer if a reporter with the resources of the powerful behind them cared to know ..."
"... Clearly, the message is, don't ask questions. That's exactly the opposite of what everyone should be doing who wants to understand what has happened. ..."
"... A Fitbit or equivalent on Epstein with preset alarms monitored at a guard station ( or , for that matter , by his family or lawyers over the web ) could have prevented Epstein's death , but in 2019 , that's a big ask , I suppose. Maybe in a few decades. ..."
"... Apparently "pending further investigation" is now code for "national security"/"classified." Come on. They've had the body since Saturday morning. What are the results of the medical examination? This question under FOIA auspices and principle. ..."
"... The entire Russia-gate hoax is a conspiracy theory. What we need then, in advance of the Gestapo on the Doorstep, is to define conspiracy theory properly as either a) founded in facts and logic or b) founded in spin and deceit. We could then apply for Conspiracy-A permits, and have them sitting in our wallets with the rest of our cards. Again, we should be reminded of 1918 and Eugene Debs. ..."
"... – Every organized crime operation is a conspiracy, and many are charged as such. – Watergate was a conspiracy–in fact, it was a collection of conspiracies. (Let me count the ways ) – Iran-Contra was quite an elaborate conspiracy that no one would have believed if the participants hadn't been busted. Tu parles! – The CIA's overthrow of Allende in Chile in 1973 was a conspiracy. – The CIA's overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran in 1953 was a conspiracy. – The CIA's many assassinations of foreign leaders around the world for decades are all conspiracies. – All of the CIA's operations in partnership with Mossad or MI6 are and have been conspiracies. – September 11 was a conspiracy. It's just a question of which version (or "conspiracy theory") you wish to believe–there are many. – The concoction of "evidence" to rush to war in Iraq was a conspiracy. – The concoction of "evidence" for the Gulf of Tonkin resolution was a conspiracy, – LBJ's coverup of Israel's deliberate attack on the USS Liberty was a conspiracy. ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Plutocratic propaganda outlet MSNBC has run a spin segment about the medical examiner's determination of the cause of Jeffrey Epstein's death "pending further information."

"Our sources are still saying that it looks like suicide, and this is going to set conspiracy theorists abuzz I fear," said NBC correspondent Ken Dilanian. "NBC News has been hearing all day long that there are no indications of foul play, and that this looks like a suicide and that he hung himself in his cell."

Dilanian, who stumbled over the phrase "conspiracy theorists" in his haste to get it in the first soundbite, is a known asset of the Central Intelligence Agency. This is not a conspiracy theory, this is a well-documented fact. A 2014 article in The Intercept titled "The CIA's Mop-Up Man" reveals email exchanges obtained via Freedom of Information Act request between Dilanian and CIA public affairs officers which "show that Dilanian enjoyed a closely collaborative relationship with the agency, explicitly promising positive news coverage and sometimes sending the press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication." There is no reason to give Dilanian the benefit of the doubt that this cozy relationship has ended, so anything he puts forward can safely be dismissed as CIA public relations.

When I mentioned Dilanian's CIA ties on MSNBC's Twitter video , MSNBC deleted its tweet and then re-shared it without mentioning Dilanian's name. Here is a screenshot of the first tweet followed by an embedded link to the current one (which I've archived , just in case):

Up until the news broke that Epstein's autopsy has been unable to readily confirm suicide, mass media headlines everywhere have been unquestioningly blaring that that was known to have been the cause of the accused sex trafficker's death. This despite the fact that the FBI's investigation has been explicitly labeling it an " apparent suicide," and despite the fact that Epstein is credibly believed to have been involved in an intelligence-tied sexual blackmail operation involving many powerful people , any number of whom stood to gain plenty from his death .

Berating by Mass Media Narrative Managers

So, things are moving in a very weird way, and people are understandably weirded out. The response to this from mass media narrative managers has, of course, been to berate everyone as "conspiracy theorists."

These outlets generally match Dilanian's tone in branding anyone who questions the official story about Epstein's death as a raving lunatic. Meanwhile, normal human beings all across the political spectrum are expressing skepticism on social media about the "suicide" narrative we're all being force-fed by the establishment narrative managers, many of them prefacing their skepticism with some variation on the phrase "I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but "

"I'm not a conspiracy theorist but there are an awful lot of very powerful people who would like to see this Epstein thing go away. Is anyone investigating the guard on duty?" tweeted actor Patricia Heaton.

"I am not into conspiracy theories. But Epstein had destructive information on an extraordinary number of extraordinarily powerful people. It is not easy to commit suicide in prison. Especially after being placed on suicide watch. Especially after already allegedly trying," tweeted public defender Scott Hechinger.

Journalist Abi Wilkinson summed up the silliness of this widespread preface very nicely, tweeting , " 'I'm not a conspiracy theorist' is such a weird assertion when you think about it, the idea there's a binary between believing all conspiracies and flat out rejecting the very concept of conspiracy in all circumstances."

Indeed, I think it's fair to say that we are all conspiracy theorists if we're really honest with ourselves. Not everyone believes that the official stories about 9/11 and the JFK assassination are riddled with plot holes or what have you, but I doubt that anyone who really sat down and sincerely grappled with the question "Do powerful people conspire?" would honestly deny it. Some are just more self-aware than others about the self-evident reality that powerful people conspire all the time, and it's only a question of how and with whom and to what extent.

Dictionary Definition

The word "conspire" is defined by Merriam-Webster as "to join in a secret agreement to do an unlawful or wrongful act or an act which becomes unlawful as a result of the secret agreement." No sane person would deny that this is a thing that happens, nor that this is likely a thing that happens to some extent among the powerful in their own nation. This by itself is a theory about conspiracy per definition, and it accurately applies to pretty much everyone. Since it applies to pretty much everyone, the label is essentially meaningless, either as a pejorative or as anything else.

The meaningless of the term has been clearly illustrated by Russiagate, whose adherents react with sputtering outrage whenever anyone points out that they're engaged in a conspiracy theory, despite the self-evident fact that that's exactly what it is: a theory about a band of powerful Russian conspirators conspiring with the highest levels of the U.S. government. Their objection is not due to a belief that they're not theorizing about a conspiracy, their objection is due to the fact that a highly stigmatized label that they're accustomed to applying to other people has been applied to them. The label is rejected because its actual definition is ignored to the point of meaninglessness.

The problem has never been with the actual term "conspiracy theory;" the problem has been with its deliberate and completely meaningless use as a pejorative. The best way to address this would be a populist move to de-stigmatize the label by taking ownership of it. Last month Cornell University professor Dave Callum tweeted , "I am a 'conspiracy theorist'. I believe men and women of wealth and power conspire. If you don't think so, then you are what is called 'an idiot'. If you believe stuff but fear the label, you are what is called 'a coward'."

This is what we all must do. The debate must be forcibly moved from the absurd question of whether or not conspiracies are a thing to the important question of which conspiracy theories are valid and to what degree.

And we should probably hurry. Yahoo News reported earlier this month that the FBI recently published an intelligence bulletin describing "conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists" as a growing threat, and this was before the recent spate of U.S. shootings got establishment narrative-makers pushing for new domestic terrorism laws . This combined with the fact that we can't even ask questions about extremely suspicious events like Jeffrey Epstein's death without being tarred with this meaningless pejorative by the mass media thought police means we're at extreme risk of being shoved into something far more Orwellian in the near future.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium . Follow her work on Facebook , Twitter , or her website . She has a podcast and a book " Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers ."


Holger , August 16, 2019 at 12:56

Well, let's call it assisted suicide then.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , August 15, 2019 at 10:10

The term "conspiracy theory" should always serve as red flag to any astute reader concerning what follows. The term was reportedly coined by a CIA disinformation guy in the late 1960s to counter and discredit efforts to get at the truth of the Kennedy assassination.

It's amazing the way it has hung around.

The mainline press loves the phrase, and you'll find it somewhere in their output weekly trying to discredit this or that matter.

The autopsy of Jeffrey Epstein is reported to have shown that his neck was broken, "in several places. "The coroner stated that she "is confident the cause of death is suicide by hanging."

I don't know. I 'm certainly not an expert. In traditional capital-punishment hanging, as in a prison by an executioner, the neck is indeed broken, but as I understand it, cleanly, not "in several places."

That is how a hanged person dies, not by strangulation, something that is the result only of botched hangings.

Virtually all self-hangings are botched hangings.

Individuals hanging themselves almost never possess information about how it is done. Typically they either hurl themselves off something like a staircase or kick away something they are standing on, as a chair or stool. Neither of those approaches has much probability of producing the classic executioner's result, although the first can certainly break neck bones or even behead someone. Epstein, we know, used neither of those methods. Indeed, he couldn't, given the small, deliberately-bare cell he was in.

What is required to achieve the instantly-broken neck, and in just the right place for quick death, is a drop of a certain amount plus a certain positioning of the rope. Those conditions generally are not possible with efforts like hanging by bedsheets.

Sheets, incidentally, as I've previously noted, not even available to inmates at this institution. They sleep on special paper sheets.

Newspaper reports of how Epstein killed himself say that the six-foot man tied a bedsheet to the top of the bunk bed in the small cell and then kneeled towards the floor, strangling himself. It is not easy to see how doing that could result in a neck broken "in several places."

I think the autopsy result, at least to a non-expert, only increases doubts.

Tony , August 15, 2019 at 08:53

The term 'conspiracy theory' appears to have first been used by the CIA in the 1960s about those who did not believe the findings of the Warren Commission report on the JFK assassination.

Some people, apparently, thought that LBJ might have had something to do with it.

Fancy thinking that the person who was facing being dumped as vice president and who had spent so much time trying to get JFK to visit his home state might have had something to do with it!

By any proper investigative standards, Johnson should have been seen as a suspect. And yet he was able to appoint his own panel of investigation and to determine its membership. Absolutely unbelievable!

Anonymous , August 14, 2019 at 23:23

People who run around slinging terms like "conspiracy theorist" are more than just empowered by psychiatry – it is literally what brought this plague of all the stigma against all dissent and doubt being more than just a mere slur. People come up with some flat out absurd nonsense all the time -- but so what.

If it's absurd, ignore it. Argue against it if you think they aren't trolling and weren't just conditioned to be a self unaware sockpuppet – but don't comdemn for it, or you destroy the one thing that stands in the way of this country becoming a tyranny on a level that will make "1984" sound like the Teletubbies.

nwwoods , August 14, 2019 at 21:04

See Whitney Webb's three part (and more to come) series on the Epstein saga at Mint Press News, but be sure do fasten your seatbelts.

Steve Parosns , August 14, 2019 at 16:11

The assertion that Epstein's death cannot be questioned without accusations of 'conspiracy theory' seems contradicted by the fact that many people, in and out of government, including AG Barr have found the circumstances in need of an investigation. Has anyone yet accused Barr of being a conspiracy theorist for finding the Epstein death questionable?

Deniz , August 14, 2019 at 18:04

I have no doubt that Barr is about to launch another investigation that will be long on theatrics, but short on convictions. I assume you have overlooked the uncanny coincidence of Donald Barr's appointment of an unlettered Epstein at Dalton.

Skip Scott , August 15, 2019 at 08:01

Given Barr's history, I have little faith in him. I think he may actually be in there to squelch any real investigation while pretending to support one. And yes, it is ALL theater.

Steve Parsons , August 14, 2019 at 16:09

A glaring non-sequitir should be corrected: "There is no reason to give Dilanian the benefit of the doubt that this cozy relationship has ended, so anything he puts forward can safely be dismissed as CIA public relations."

Because a journalist had a cozy relation with the CIA does NOT mean "everything" s/he writes IS dismissable as "CIA pulbic relatiions".

The article about the 'cozy relationship" did not prove "everything" he wrote was "CIA public relations" in the past, so there is no reason to believe "everything" he writes in the future is either!

This is one way conspiracy theories work – a part is taken for the whole, a suspicion becomes a proof.

Please edit your statement to something that does follow, like "Since there havbe been well-documented instances of this author writing distorted stories to serve the CIA's interests, anything he writes "could be" the same.

You have written that is should be dismissed without scrutiny. Never a good idea.

manorborn , August 14, 2019 at 14:07

It should be a civic duty to be a conspiracy theorist considering how our rogue government has never once told us the truth about anything and has consistently shown itself as the world's leading aggressor.

Deniz , August 14, 2019 at 12:53

When the "Conspiracy Theorist" sirens are blaring, you can be certain that an elite crime has just been openly committed and they are triggering the populace to suppress any questioning of the narrative; it is all very Pavoliavian.

This will then be followed by an endless set of dead-end inquiries which trains are minds to focus on the trivial. Were sheets in Epstein's Prison? Why were the prison guards too exhausted to monitor the prisoner? Or, my favorite – Why were the cameras off, I think a 5-year-old child could answer that question.

If you ever wonder how Intelligence Agencies spend their day, with their budget the size of Bulgaria's GNP, I say, look no further.

Brian , August 14, 2019 at 11:50

I have this gut feeling that no one is asking the right questions about this case, I respect Caitlin as a journalist, so I'm really surprised she didn't "go there". So let me tighten up my tin foil hat, and dive in.

The first thing I've noticed is everyone and every "news" organization has come to the conclusion that Epstein is dead, why? We have no proof of this, the one photo I've seen has discrepancies of this fact, right off the bat I noticed there was no backboard under the patient on the stretcher. No official EMT would perform CPR on a patient, on a padded stretcher without one. The EMT wasn't positioned to be performing chest compressions properly on the patient (fake?).

Next we are to believe the total breakdown in the prison surrounding this incident was a coincidence and/or failure of the staff. Now I believe in coincidences, but the more there are for a given incident, the less likely that was the cause. Given the high profile of this prisoner, it becomes even less likely. Epstein had the ability to take down many high profile people, why wasn't he under 24/7 surveillance?

No one is questioning the supposed visit to Epstein from AG Barr, why? How often does the AG of the US visit a prisoner, especially one with ties to the prisoner (Barr's father was OSS during WWII, and hired Epstein to teach without a college degree at a prestigious school in NY in the early 1970's)?

Now we get to the big one, why did Epstein return to the US when he had to know an arrest warrant had been issued? This one bothers me the most. Epstein had the money and the means to live in many countries without extradition to the US. Why come back if you didn't have a guarantee of basically getting "off the hook" with a "slap on the wrist", like in south Florida? It makes no sense.

If someone in power wanted him dead, it would make more sense to do it before all of the attention, not after he's arrested.

... ... ...

Guy , August 14, 2019 at 11:47

All options/opinions will be put forward in order to properly obfuscate the truth and the truth might never see the light of day. Much too much at stake for too many .It will probably go down as another event left for the conspiracy theorists .Move on folks, nothing to see here .

Jeff Harrison , August 14, 2019 at 11:45

Here's what Uncle Ray had to offer about "conspiracy theorists":

"That epithet has a sordid history in the annals of U.S. intelligence. Legendary CIA Director Allen Dulles used the "brand-them-conspiracy-theorists" ploy following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy when many objected -- understandably -- to letting him pretty much run the Warren Commission, even though the CIA was suspected of having played a role in the murder. The "conspiracy theorist" tactic worked like a charm then, and now. Well, up until just now."

Randal Marlin , August 14, 2019 at 11:36

Undoubtedly conspiracy theories can be correct or they can be false. An example is 9/11, where a conspiracy between the largely Saudi attackers certainly existed. Some have argued that further conspiracies must have taken place. To have made the accurate decision about exactly where the planes that flew into the twin towers should hit would have required highly sophisticated knowledge about the building's construction, about the amount of fuel the planes should carry, which floor to hit, etc. It is reasonable to suppose other knowledgeable people were in on the conspiracy. There are further more speculative theories, some that are worth pursuing, others not.

The question should be about evidence for or against any conspiracy theory. Which among various conspiracy theories are supported by the evidence?

In the Epstein case there is a very strong motive, by very powerful interests, to have him gone. There was a very strange lapse in the watchfulness of the prison where Epstein was kept. There has to be an inquiry.

Glennn , August 14, 2019 at 10:41

Great article. Here's a quote from Adam Smith about the elites – Smith calls them the masters – combining. "We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combination of masters; though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject.

Masters are always and every where in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labour above their actual rate. To violate this combination is every where a most unpopular action, and a sort of reproach to a master among his neighbours and equals. We seldom, indeed, hear of this combination, because it is the usual, and one may say, the natural state of things which nobody ever hears of. "

LH , August 14, 2019 at 10:12

Isn't it strange how all the corporate media are in lock step on 'conspiracy theories' and Epstein?

Part of the use of this 'conspiracy theory' term is an effort by mass, established (corporate) media to discredit and dismiss alternate media. They are aiming to protect their market by intimating that they report the truth (TM) while over there, the internet is full of hyperventilated, wild and rediculous trash.

They are choosing to report that these myriad of views exist, but mainly as a warning their readers/viewers not to bother going there because there is nothing but these 'conspiracy theories'.

Yet, the corporate media seem to echo the same shallow reporting on Epstein.

Susan J Leslie , August 14, 2019 at 08:09

If the narrative doesn't feel right in your gut then it probably isn't

Realist , August 14, 2019 at 05:23

The people running the system can never admit Epstein's death was due to anything other than suicide. If such evidence exists, it will be suppressed. If it were admitted that the guy was knocked off, those in control would be held to account. Nothing could be more un-American than that.

Outside hit men did not just fortuitously waltz in, enter his cell and off him under the noses of the American security state. They would need as much inside assistance as Mr. Phelps had to deviously arrange on a weekly basis in "Mission Impossible." Such sources of help would be limited to rather few suspects and their superiors in the chain of command. Heads would roll.

So I say, the guaranteed finding of any committee "investigating" this will be that the guards assigned to check on Epstein periodically were remiss (overworked, don't ya know?), offering him the small window of 0pportunity to strangle himself with the single-ply Charmin substitute he meticulously hoarded for weeks until it could support the weight of a 200-lb man 2-ft above the floor near his bunk.

It's either the above scenario, or an anorexic double-jointed ninja climbed the outside wall of the building, removed the glass from the 4-inch wide window overlooking the courtyard below, squeezed into Epstein's cell as he slept and strangled him in his bunk. Don't bother dusting for prints, he was wearing latex gloves. Even Mark Furman will never come up with a "plausible" alternative to Epstain's suiciding, no matter who killed him.

Zhu , August 14, 2019 at 05:14

It is legitimate to be suspicious about the circumstance of Epstein's death. But it is also true that most if the conspiracy stories people like to repeat are fantasy fiction. Lizard men from Zeta Reticuli do not rule the world.

Tiu , August 14, 2019 at 03:45

It's done it's job – now this event event is dominating all the headlines. Makes me wonder what it is that isn't supposed to be noticed?!

Vivek Jain , August 14, 2019 at 01:51

"[C]onspiracies do exist. If we define conspiracy as planning in secrecy for illicit purposes while misleading the public as to what is happening, then there have been conspiracies aplenty."
– Michael Parenti

"No social order of any complexity exists without the application of conscious human agency. Ruling elements must intentionally strive to maintain the conditions of their hegemonic rule. The social order of a society does not operate like a mystical abstracted entity. It is directed for the most part by people who deliberately pursue certain goals, using all kinds of power, including propaganda, persuasion, fraud, deceit, fear, secrecy, coercion, concessions, and sometimes even concerted violence and other criminal ploys . we might consider how conspiracy [by which most people seem to mean secret, consciously planned programs by persons in high places] is one of the instruments used by the dominant interests in political life. Some conspiracies are imagined; some are real."
– Parenti

Jerry Alatalo , August 13, 2019 at 23:37

The invariable responses from everyone ever associated with "high-society", sex-addicted, global criminal pimp for the wealthy-and-powerful Jeffrey Epstein, – on his scandalous and disgusting activities across many years, and finally Epstein's world-record-setting-mystery death: "No comment."

CitizenOne , August 13, 2019 at 22:33

Relax folks. There is nothing to get alarmed about. Trustworthy Attorney General William Barr has sleepily assured us in his quiet droll words that he will dig deep into the matter and investigate it with all the force he can muster which is not much. We can relax knowing that the investigation will be thorough like a fresh coat of whitewash on a rotting fence and completed in just a few days or weeks and it will be an open and shut case that some prison guard didn't do his or her job very good like he or she was supposed to. Then the case will be closed as an unfortunate event due to the poor performance of some bad prison guards. Somebody will be suspended for not doing their job real good but real bad and the matter will be officially closed leaving everyone else with questions that persist labeled as supporters of a conspiracy theory A.K.A. a lunatic.

Whew, that was a close one and we are all soon to be glad that the investigation resulted in fingering incompetent prison guards case closed. Move along folks, nothing to see here.

Roger Milbrandt , August 13, 2019 at 21:59

This is quite a good discussion of the irresponsible and tendentious use of the phrase "conspiracy theory." I think you should point out that in the case of 9/11 every explanation presupposes a conspiracy, at least by the Merriam-Webster definition of the term. The only exception would be the claim that the hijackers acted independently and that the fact that all of these events occurred on the same day is a coincidence. But who ever offers this non-conspiracy-theory explanation?

Vivek Jain , August 14, 2019 at 01:55

from Michael Parenti: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-ofKI8QFWY

excerpt from a transcript of Parenti's comments:

Whenever you ascribe conscious intent and pursuit of self interest at the top, you will hear someone say: 'What are you, a conspiracy theorist?' You can say farmers consciously organize to pursue their interests and everybody will say 'Uh huh, farmers are organized.' You can say machinists or auto workers are organizing and everybody will say 'Uh huh, they're consciously organizing and pursuing their own interests,' or school teachers, and other people. But if you say the people who own most of America and most of the world – if you say they consciously organize and pursue things to get what they want, then you hear people say 'Oh, you have a Conspiracy theory? You think they really do that?'

The alternative to a conspiracy theory is an Innocence theory. That is, they do all of this stuff but they're not pursuing self interest. They just do it, you know. The other alternative is a Somnambulist theory. Somnambulism is the tendency to walk in your sleep. David Rockefeller gets up in the morning and says, 'What am I going to do, to advance and protect my interests? No, no, that would be conspiratorial.' Another alternative would be Coincidence theory: it's just coincidence that this happened. A variation of coincidence theory is Uncanny theory. Then there's Stupidity theory and Incompetence theory. There's also Stochastic theory. It means everything happening by random there's really no causality, as such. Stuff just happens. History is just these eventualities that tumble down on top of each other.

Abby , August 13, 2019 at 21:05

That one of the biggest prisoners in history was being guarded by a person who wasn't a prison guard makes me think that he was either killed in his cell or removed from it to go into the never lands never to be seen again.

Why wouldn't they have taken every possible step to make sure he stayed alive? If they wanted him to testify they would have. I think that this is an in your face and blatant show that the PTB are running on us. "Sure we know that you don't believe the official story, but what can you do about it?"

Tom Kath , August 13, 2019 at 20:57

Caitlin, as you have often remarked, "who controls the narrative controls the world". I have already suggested to Ray that we should concentrate on discrediting and undermining the FAITH in the benevolence of these controlling agencies. We might then deal later with the "truth" (discrediting their narrative).

OlyaPola , August 14, 2019 at 08:08

"Everyone's a Conspiracy Theorist. The only problem with the term is the meaningless use of it as a pejorative " ... "who controls the narrative controls the world"

"Doubling down" in self-absorption obfuscates that who chooses the narratives frames perception, thereby obviating the "need to control" whilst encouraging extrapolations of resort to belief to bridge doubt, sometimes known as "conspiracy theories".

Welcome to the O.K. Corral.

Jill , August 13, 2019 at 20:53

There are so many unanswered questions and conflicting information regarding Epstein's ? that I thought it was very telling that the press of the powerful was worried about conspiracy theories. Why would that be where they put all their energy?

The press of the powerful would be much better engaged in trying to get as much actual information as possible out to the public. Instead it's all unnamed sources say this or that contradictory thing. The strange thing is, in this case there is documented information. The prison has cameras in the hallway which can be reviewed. This might answer the question as to whether there were screams coming from Epstein's cell, what time that occurred, who was around, etc.

Further, there are names of actual people who signed off on taking him off suicide watch, removing his cell mate, and telling the guards to not worry about checking in on Epstein that night. Those are all strange things which should have an answer if a reporter with the resources of the powerful behind them cared to know.

Clearly, the message is, don't ask questions. That's exactly the opposite of what everyone should be doing who wants to understand what has happened. Many of the questions have (or should have) answers. I believe the press of the powerful should attend to getting those answers and quit being concerned about what anyone believes. If the answers to knowable information show that a conspiracy took place, that is simply what happened. Berating people for wanting to know what actually happened, for demanding answers to questions that are knowable, is called propaganda. It most certainly is not journalism.

Marko , August 13, 2019 at 20:32

A Fitbit or equivalent on Epstein with preset alarms monitored at a guard station ( or , for that matter , by his family or lawyers over the web ) could have prevented Epstein's death , but in 2019 , that's a big ask , I suppose. Maybe in a few decades.

Not that it WOULD have prevented Epstein's death. There's always a workaround.

hetro , August 13, 2019 at 20:23

Apparently "pending further investigation" is now code for "national security"/"classified." Come on. They've had the body since Saturday morning. What are the results of the medical examination? This question under FOIA auspices and principle.

hetro , August 13, 2019 at 20:19

Good points, very good points. The fight is for clarity and precision. The brainwashing machinery is working very hard to demonize whatever opposes its will. So a legitimate phrase "conspiracy theory" is pejorated or demonized.

The entire Russia-gate hoax is a conspiracy theory. What we need then, in advance of the Gestapo on the Doorstep, is to define conspiracy theory properly as either a) founded in facts and logic or b) founded in spin and deceit. We could then apply for Conspiracy-A permits, and have them sitting in our wallets with the rest of our cards. Again, we should be reminded of 1918 and Eugene Debs.

Archie , August 15, 2019 at 03:37

The term "conspiracy theory" is used so often and so casually that it's worth exploring its history and meaning.

Right off the bat, when we hear that something is a "conspiracy theory," we're expected to understand that people are talking about a crackpot idea. That much is clear, as Spock says in Star Trek IV.

But if we analyze the term, we can see it's a bit strange. Are conspiracies so unusual?
– Every organized crime operation is a conspiracy, and many are charged as such.
– Watergate was a conspiracy–in fact, it was a collection of conspiracies. (Let me count the ways )
– Iran-Contra was quite an elaborate conspiracy that no one would have believed if the participants hadn't been busted. Tu parles!
– The CIA's overthrow of Allende in Chile in 1973 was a conspiracy.
– The CIA's overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran in 1953 was a conspiracy.
– The CIA's many assassinations of foreign leaders around the world for decades are all conspiracies.
– All of the CIA's operations in partnership with Mossad or MI6 are and have been conspiracies.
– September 11 was a conspiracy. It's just a question of which version (or "conspiracy theory") you wish to believe–there are many.
– The concoction of "evidence" to rush to war in Iraq was a conspiracy.
– The concoction of "evidence" for the Gulf of Tonkin resolution was a conspiracy,
– LBJ's coverup of Israel's deliberate attack on the USS Liberty was a conspiracy.

I'm tired of coming up with examples. You get the point.

Now, what's a "theory"?

A theory is an explanation for phenomena in the world for which there is actual evidence. A theory is well on the way to being considered fact, though it may not be established fact without further evidence. A theory is distinct from a hypothesis in that a hypothesis is an explanation that has not received evidence leading to its acceptance or confirmation as fact.

Here are some examples of theories:

1. The Theory of Evolution–Who doubts that apart from evangelical Protestants or people with little education? We aren't 100% sure of all the details, but we accept the overall theory as fact.
2. The Theory of Gravity–Does anyone doubt it? Of course, like evolution, gravity is a lot more complex than most of us know.
3. The Theory of Relativity–This one many people might doubt, but it's generally accepted as fact, and you probably don't doubt it yourself.
4. Newton's Theories (or Laws) of Motion–Most people don't even know them, but they're (all three of them) accepted as fact.
5. Genetic theory–This is vast and complex and certainly subject to modification upon the introduction of new evidence, but we all (mostly) accept that we have genes that determine our physical characteristics at the very least. Genetic determination of intelligence is much more subject to caution (nature vs. nurture).
6. Language Acquisition theory–This is much more subject to change and hard to accept as plain fact, given the very fluid nature of the evidence for and against the various ideas that theory involves.

What about borderline theories, or theories that might better be called "hypotheses"?

The main "theory" that comes to mind is String Theory in Physics. Since there's evidence neither for nor against it and physicists have stated that it is unfalsifiable (or impossible to prove or disprove by experimentation), it might be better to call it "the String Hypothesis."

Mathematical Theory:

There is so much mathematical theory, all of which has a solid underpinning of irrefutable proof. By the standards of modern physics, a major concept in mathematics, the Riemann Hypothesis, would be called "Riemann Theory," since all available evidence appears to confirm it. However, that's not good enough for mathematicians. No proof currently exists (or has yet been verified, but see Attiyah), so it's still considered a "hypothesis."

HISTORY OF THE TERM "Conspiracy Theory": The term was coined by Allen Dulles, the ex-head of the CIA, fired by John Kennedy for having lied to him about the Bay of Pigs. Dulles was the effective head of the Warren Commission, although the titular head was Earl Warren, who was actually a mere figurehead. (See Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable. )

LONG STORY SHORT: The term "conspiracy theory" is strange but typical shorthand for telling us which ideas are taboo to believe or even entertain, but an examination of the term shows just how ridiculous it is.

OlyaPola , August 16, 2019 at 04:08

"However, that's not good enough for mathematicians. No proof currently exists (or has yet been verified, but see Attiyah), so it's still considered a "hypothesis."

Many including Mr. Feynman were aware of many causal networks, developments and consequences in and of "Cargo cult science" and hence it's still considered a (indefinite article) "hypothesis" and illustration of resort to belief to bridge doubt to attain "comfort/confort/confront" by many practitioners not restricted to mathematicians.

Among the consequences of "Cargo cult science" are the "practices and other outcomes" of Boeing and Microsoft not restricted to patching as functions of many causal networks in illustration of decay as a process of fertilisation, akin to doubt as a catalyst in "Science".

[Aug 19, 2019] CIA ( Dulles in particular) "invented" the term ""conspiracy theory" to further muddy the waters in the wash up from the Kennedy assassination.

Aug 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

animalogic , says: August 18, 2019 at 8:32 am GMT

@Sean McBride Not sure if I'm correct here, but my understanding is that the CIA (& & Dulles in particular) "invented" the term ""conspiracy theory" to further muddy the waters in the wash up from the Kennedy assassination.

[Aug 19, 2019] Conspiracy theory label can generate propaganda sufficiently toxic to severely damage or even destroy political opponents. For instance, Russiagate.

Aug 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Sean McBride says: August 17, 2019 at 7:57 pm GMT 100 Words "dominate both polls" = "dominate both poles"?

A nice analysis of the rhetorical structure of conspiracy theories in general.

Another important aspect of this: the use of conspiracy theories to generate propaganda sufficiently toxic to severely damage or even destroy political opponents. For instance, Russiagate.

The mainstream media, since 2016, while railing against the conspiratorial mindset expressed in Internet alternative media channels, have been wallowing in it, promoting it with all the power at their disposal. Talk about twisty and sinister doublethink. One could almost describe it as diabolical.

They are often portraying false conspiracy theories as truth, and true conspiracy research as lies -- turning reality upside down and inside out.

[Aug 19, 2019] Conspiracy Theories From the Elders of Zion to Epstein's Youngsters by Gilad Atzmon

Aug 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

'Conspiracy theory' is how the mainstream media characterizes any narrative that differs from their reporting of the official line. What is a conspiracy theory? Can it be defined in categorical terms? Can a conspiracy theory be validated forensically or refuted by similar means? What criteria can be used to differentiate between a conspiracy theory and theoretical musings?

The labelling of a theory as 'conspiratorial' is an attempt to discredit its author/authors and deny its validity. A 'conspiracy theory' usually involves an explanatory thesis that points to a malevolent plot often involving a secretive interested party. The term 'conspiracy theory' has a pejorative connotation: its use suggests that the theory appeals to prejudice and/or involves a farfetched, unsubstantiated narrative built on insufficient evidence.

Those who oppose conspiracy theories argue that such theories resist falsification and are reinforced by circular reasoning, that such theories are primarily based on beliefs, as opposed to academic or scientific reasoning.

But this critique is also not exactly based on valid scholarly principles. It isn't just 'conspiracy theories' that resist falsification or are reinforced by circular reasoning. The philosopher Karl Popper, who defined the principle of falsifiability, would categorically maintain that Freudian psychoanalysis and Marxism fail for the same reasons. The Oedipal complex, for instance, has never been scientifically proven and can't be scientifically falsified or validated. Marxism also resists falsification. Despite Marx's 'scientific' predictions, the proletarian revolution never occurred. I have personally never come across anyone who refers to Marx or Freud as 'conspiracy theorists.' 'Resisting falsification' and "reinforced by circular reasoning," are traits of non-scientific theories and do not apply only to 'conspiracy theories.'

The Oxford English Dictionary defines conspiracy theory as "the theory that an event or phenomenon occurs as a result of a conspiracy between interested parties; spec. a belief that some covert but influential agency (typically political in motivation and oppressive in intent) is responsible for an unexplained event".

The Oxford dictionary does not set forth the criteria that define a conspiracy theory in categorical terms. The history of mankind is saturated with references to hidden plots led by influential parties.

The problem with refuting conspiracy theories is that they are often more elegant and explanatory than the official competing narratives. Such theories have a tendency to ascribe blame to hegemonic powers. In the past, conspiracy theories were popular mostly amongst fringe circles, they are now becoming commonplace in mass media. Alternative narratives are widely disseminated through social media. In some cases, they have been disseminated by official news outlets and even by the current American president. It is possible that the rapid rise in popularity of alternative explanatory theories is an indication of a growing mistrust of the current ruling class, its ideals, its interests and its demography.

The response to the story of Jeffrey Epstein's suicide is illustrative. The official narrative provoked a reaction that was a mixture of disbelief expressed in satire and inspired a plethora of theories that attempted to explain the saga that had escalated into the biggest sex scandal in the history of America and beyond.

The obvious question is what has led to the increase in popularity of so called 'conspiracy theories'? I would push it further and ask, why is a society that claims to be 'free' is threatened by the rise of alternative explanatory narratives?

In truth, the question is itself misleading. No one is really afraid of 'conspiracy theories' per se. You will not be arrested or lose your job for being a 'climate change denier.' You may speculate on and even deny the moon landing as much as you like. You are free to speculate about Kennedy's assassination as long as you don't mention the Mossad . You can even survive being a 911 truther and espouse as many alternative narratives as you like, however, the suggestion that ' Israel did 911' will get you into serious trouble. Examining 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion' as a fictional, however prophetic , piece of literature can lead to imprisonment in some countries. Digging into the true origin of Bolshevism and the demographics of the Soviet revolution is practically a suicidal act. Telling the truth about Hitler's agreement with the Zionist agency will definitely result in your expulsion from the British Labour party and you will be accused of being at the least, theoretically conspiratorial .

[Aug 19, 2019] The labelling of a hypothesis as "conspiracy theory" is an attempt to erase uncomfortable evidence by re-prioritising the relevance of certain facts

Aug 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Jewish economist Murray Rothbard contrasts "deep" conspiracy theories with "shallow" ones. According to Rothbard, a shallow theorist observes an event and asks, who benefits? He or she then jumps to the conclusion that the posited beneficiary is responsible for covertly influencing events. Under this theory, Israel benefiting from the events of 9/11 made it into a prime suspect. This is often a completely legitimate strategy and is exactly how detective and investigative researchers operate. In order to identify the culprit, they may well ask who would benefit from the crime. Of course this is only a first step towards substantiation.

According to Rothbard the "deep" conspiracy theorist begins with a hunch and then seeks out evidence. Rothbard describes deep conspiracy theory as the result of confirming whether certain facts actual fit one's initial 'paranoia.' This explanation pretty much describes a lot of how science works. Any given scientific theory defines the realm of facts that may support or refute its validity. Science is a deductive reasoning process, so that in science, it is the theory that defines the relevance of the evidence. Would Rothbard describe Newtonian physics as 'deeply conspiratorial'? I doubt it. My guess is that, bearing Rothbard in mind, attributing a 'conspiratorial nature' to a theory is an attempt the deny the relevance of the evidence it brings to light.

If for instance, the theory that Epstein was a Mossad agent is 'conspiratorial,' then the facts that he was a business partner of Ehud Barak and involved in a company that uses Israeli military intelligence tactics become irrelevant. The same applies to former Federal Prosecutor Alex Acosta's admission that Epstein belonged to intelligence and that was why he was the beneficiary of a laughable plea deal. If, for example, the theory that it was the Jews who led the 1917 Bolshevik revolution is 'conspiratorial,' then the facts regarding the demography that led the revolution and its criminal nature are of no consequence.

The labelling of a theory as conspiratorial is an attempt to erase uncomfortable evidence by reprioritising the relevance of certain facts.

[Aug 16, 2019] One of the ways the Deep State undermines conspiracy theories is to plant evidence purporting to support the theory, but easily disproved by easily available information

Notable quotes:
"... Even more importantly, we should all be troubled by efforts to shut down content and discussions labeled "false and misleading" on major social media platforms . ..."
"... Conspiracies can be found out by many different ways e.g. documents uncovered, discrepancies, evidence that contradicts what has been claimed etc. ..."
"... "A two decade old CT, like 9/11, or worse, one six decades old (the JFK assassination), are false because they would have involved too many people–someone would have blown the whistle, if only on their deathbed." ..."
"... "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. ..."
"... The old adage 'two men can keep a secret, if one of them is dead' applies here. ..."
"... This co-ordinated and global media attack on the 'Conspiracy Theorist' is co-ordinated and Global for good reason. ..."
"... The determination of international deepstate to make illegal any question or recognition of it under guise of 'Conspiracy theorist=domestic terrorist/anti-semite/anti-Zionist/BDS/trump supporting white supremacist(etc)'- conflating those ULTRA memes with growing awareness of the Anglo/Yankee/zionist PSYOPS underway globally, mean we are entering a choke point in progression of reason, truth and beauty. ..."
"... The danger of the conspiracy theorist to the present world order, is that most of the BIG ones, the nasty ones, are true. And CIA operation Mockingbirds' job (Quote) 'is to Guard against the illicit Transformation of Probability into Certainty," that they are . ..."
"... Ultimately, the average conspiracy theorist has a better grasp of how the world works than the average liberal. ..."
"... The reality is that the ruling class and its public servants really do have a parasitic and predatory relationship to the vast majority of humanity ..."
"... I like Michael Moore's response when asked if he believed the conspiracy theories which were floating about at the time: "Just the ones that are true" ..."
"... A conspiracy theory, like any theory is as strong as the evidence put forward to support it. ..."
"... One of the ways they will do this is to plant "evidence" purporting to support the theory, but easily disproved by easily available information. Unfortunately,it is a sad fact that far too many "conspiracy theorists" readily accept and share along with genuine evidence, this planted "evidence" to the wider internet, thereby undermining the solid evidence of a conspiracy, by associating it with the easily disprovable nonsense. ..."
"... For example, after the attack on the WTC Kissinger was appointed to the head the 9/11 commission (before stepping down). ..."
"... 'Conspiracy theorists' would have thought – why are neocons appointing a mass-murdering neocon to investigate an event that might have involved neocons (raising obvious credibility issues) – whereas those who regard conspiracy theorists as dribbling fruitcakes would have welcomed the appointment of the nobel peace prize winner. ..."
OffGuardian

Noam Chomsky has pointed out , the more educated we are, the more we are a target for state-corporate propaganda. Even journalists outside the mainstream may internalize establishment values and prejudices. Which brings us to Parramore's embrace of the term "conspiracy theory." Once a neutral and little-used phrase, "conspiracy theory" was infamously weaponized in 1967 by a memo from the CIA to its station chiefs worldwide.

Troubled by growing mass disbelief in the "lone nut" theory of President Kennedy's assassination, and concerned that "[c]onspiracy theories have frequently thrown suspicion on our organization," the agency directed its officers to "discuss the publicity problem with friendly and elite contacts (especially politicians and editors)" and to "employ propaganda assets to answer and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose."

As Kevin Ryan writes , and various analyses have shown :

In the 45 years before the CIA memo came out, the phrase 'conspiracy theory' appeared in the Washington Post and New York Times only 50 times, or about once per year. In the 45 years after the CIA memo, the phrase appeared 2,630 times, or about once per week."
While it turns out that Parramore knows something about this hugely successful propaganda drive, she chose in her NBC piece to deploy the phrase as the government has come to define it, i.e., as "something that requires no consideration because it is obviously not true." This embeds a fallacy in her argument which only spreads as she goes on. Likewise, the authors of the studies she cites, who attempt to connect belief in "conspiracy theories" to "narcissistic personality traits," are not immune to efforts to manipulate the wider culture. Studies are only as good as the assumptions from which they proceed; in this case, the assumption was provided by an interested Federal agency. And what of their suggested diagnosis?

The DSM-5's criteria for narcissism include "a pervasive pattern of grandiosity a need for admiration and lack of empathy." My experience in talking to writers and advocates who -- to mention a few of the subjects Parramore cites -- seek justice in the cases of the political murders of the Sixties , have profound concerns about vaccine safety , or reject the official conspiracy theory of 9/11 , does not align with that characterization.

On the contrary, most of the people I know who hold these varied (and not always shared) views are deeply empathic, courageously humble, and resigned to a life on the margins of official discourse, even as they doggedly seek to publicize what they have learned. A number of them have arrived at their views through painful, direct experience, like the loss of a friend or the illness of a child, but far from having a "negative view of humanity," as Parramore writes, most hold a deep and abiding faith in the power of regular people to see injustice and peacefully oppose it. In that regard, they share a great deal in common with writers like Parramore: ultimately, we all want what's best for our children, and none of us want a world ruled by unaccountable political-economic interests. If we want to achieve that world, then we should work together to promote speech that is free from personal attacks on all sides. Even more importantly, we should all be troubled by efforts to shut down content and discussions labeled "false and misleading" on major social media platforms.

Who will decide what is false and what is true? ... ... ...

President Kennedy said:

a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."
Perhaps we should take a closer look at ideas that so frighten the powers-that-be. Far from inviting our ridicule, the people who insist that we look in these forbidden places may one day deserve our thanks.
John Kirby is a documentary filmmaker. His latest project, Four Died Trying, examines what John Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were doing in the last years of their lives which may have led to their deaths.

George
I am responding to an earlier comment you made because, for some reason, I cannot reply to it in the proper place.

"The old adage 'two men can keep a secret, if one of them is dead' applies here."

Wrong: secrets can be uncovered even if both of them are dead.

"The conspiracies we know about are exposed because someone talks, or a computer gets hacked."

Conspiracies can be found out by many different ways e.g. documents uncovered, discrepancies, evidence that contradicts what has been claimed etc.

"A two decade old CT, like 9/11, or worse, one six decades old (the JFK assassination), are false because they would have involved too many people–someone would have blown the whistle, if only on their deathbed."

Always a bad sign when you start to repeat "would have". Lots of presumption here.

"No new facts have emerged because the only people who knew anything are long dead, taking the reasons to their graves .."

New facts can emerge all the time even regarding the most ancient of events.

" .or in the case of 9/11, because there was no great conspiracy, beyond the one reported."

So you now have godlike omniscience?

"A propensity for subscribing to conspiracy theories, is, sad to say, indicative of mental inadequacy "

There's no point in going much further here. You now devolve into psychobabble which, as always, is based on the dogmatic assertion that you are right. (cf. the formerly mentioned godlike omniscience)

Ragnar
"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.

It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State." These words are attributed to Joseph Goebbels.

-So, George, it would hardly make a difference whether the State is Marxist or Capitalist. It's either power or truth. They are inherently different and can not be reconciled. Ultimately, there is no bridge possible.

However, so-called "common" goals are of a lower order and cooperation here is possible, temporarily. These relationships are unstable and prone to breaking up precisely because they're ultimately not common at all. The principle are different and the personalities too. Ships Passing In The Night, like. -See?

George
We all have common goals. Basically the goals of life and health. And these are hardly goals "of a lower order". If that was true then we must be living in a state of "postmodernist relativity" where anyone can decide arbitrarily what matters. And that would certainly lead to your ships-passing-in-the-night scenario i.e. the ultimate divide-and-rule vision.

As for power, the late Marxist writer Ellen Meiksins Wood noted that, in modern times, we have an unprecedented degree of political freedom. But the reason for that is that power no longer lies in politics. It lies in economics. What is the point of having formal rights when your livelihood is gone?

William HBonney

The old adage 'two men can keep a secret, if one of them is dead' applies here.

The conspiracies we know about are exposed because someone talks, or a computer gets hacked. A two decade old CT, like 9/11, or worse, one six decades old (the JFK assassination), are false because they would have involved too many people – someone would have blown the whistle, if only on their deathbed. No new facts have emerged because the only people who knew anything are long dead, taking the reasons to their graves, or in the case of 9/11, because there was no great conspiracy, beyond the one reported.

A propensity for subscribing to conspiracy theories, is, sad to say, indicative of mental inadequacy. Such people are unable to deal with the complexities of the world as it is, and therefore seek to make it a world of black and white, good and evil, heroes and villains. The internet, with its blurring of fantasy and fact enables them. This is why discussions like this get so polarised.

TFS

1. 9/11 and JFK are false because WILLIAM HBonney has declared it so.

Boom, thanks for watching kids.

2. In other news, some Conspiracy Theorists Imagined 747-E4Bs above Washington at the time of 9/11 and 25+second delay introduced into the Air Traffic Control System but the Official Conspiracy Account of 9/11 didn't discuss it because there was nothing to see.

3. In related news, HWB wack jobs go on one

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/07/no_author/new-york-fire-commissioners-call-for-new-9-11-investigation-about-pre-planted-explosives/

4. Corbett, goes off on one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXYswf3lzU8

5. And again, Corbett goes even more mental. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWLis-TVB2w

6. But it's ok kidz, because HWB wack jobs, like first responders, police, fire personnel architects, physicists, former military personnel, pilots, Nobel Peace Prixe winners, medical experts, etc etc all collectively asertained that the Official Conspiracy Theory of 9/11 is about as usefull as the Warren Commission Report.

7. HOWEVER, HWB THINKS YOU'RE A WACK JOB.

r. rebar
unless & until someone goes to jail -- there are no conspiracies & as silence is -- like any commodity -- only as good as the price paid to maintain it -- those who know have a real vested interest in not talking (it's not a secret if you tell someone)
roger morris
Ms Parramore is doing nothing more than her profession and tenure demands. Witting or un-witting. This co-ordinated and global media attack on the 'Conspiracy Theorist' is co-ordinated and Global for good reason.

It is the 'Great Wurlitzer' at full throat coinciding with extraordinary reductions in internet freedoms of information flow. The determination of international deepstate to make illegal any question or recognition of it under guise of 'Conspiracy theorist=domestic terrorist/anti-semite/anti-Zionist/BDS/trump supporting white supremacist(etc)'- conflating those ULTRA memes with growing awareness of the Anglo/Yankee/zionist PSYOPS underway globally, mean we are entering a choke point in progression of reason, truth and beauty.

A read of the Cass Sunstein/Cornelius Adrian Comstock Vermeule Paper describing 'Conspiracy theory' as a 'crippled Epistemology' and determining 'COINTELPRO' type strategies to counter the danger of their truth becoming certainty, will enlighten those in the dark of IIO methodology and expose Ms Parramore as a true MOCKINGBIRD.

The danger of the conspiracy theorist to the present world order, is that most of the BIG ones, the nasty ones, are true. And CIA operation Mockingbirds' job (Quote) 'is to Guard against the illicit Transformation of Probability into Certainty," that they are .

mathias alexand
Try this for conspiracy thinking

https://lorenzoae.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/part-2/

George
Good link. I like this bit:

"Ultimately, the average conspiracy theorist has a better grasp of how the world works than the average liberal. Even the most outlandish "conspiracy theory" in existence -- that people like George W. Bush and Queen Elizabeth are shape-shifting, extra-dimensional reptilians -- is closer to the truth than what liberals believe.

The reality is that the ruling class and its public servants really do have a parasitic and predatory relationship to the vast majority of humanity "

I've often felt there is a lot of (metaphorical!) truth in David Icke's ravings, although the reptile image is unfortunate in that actual reptiles are amongst the most sedate and peaceful creatures.

Molloy
Eichmann and today's useful idiots; Hannah Arendt

(start Arendt quote)

Despite all the efforts of the prosecution, everybody could see that this man was not a "monster," but it was difficult indeed not to suspect that he was a clown. And since this suspicion would have been fatal to the whole enterprise, and was also rather hard to sustain, in view of the sufferings he and his like had caused so many millions of people, his worst clowneries were hardly noticed. What could you do with a man who first declared, with great emphasis, that the one thing he had learned in an ill-spent life was that one should never take an oath ("Today no man, no judge could ever persuade me to make a sworn statement. I refuse it; I refuse it for moral reasons. Since my experience tells me that if one is loyal to his oath, one day he has to take the consequences, I have made up my mind once and for all that no judge in the world or other authority will ever be capable of making me swear an oath, to give sworn testimony.

I won't do it voluntarily and no one will be able to force me"), and then, after being told explicitly that if he wished to testify in his own defense he might "do so under oath or without an oath," declared without further ado that he would prefer to testify under oath? Or who, repeatedly and with a great show of feeling, assured the court, as he had assured the police examiner, that the worst thing he could do would be to try to escape his true responsibilities, to fight for his neck, to plead for mercy -- and then, upon instruction of his counsel, submitted a handwritten document that contained a plea for mercy?

As far as Eichmann was concerned, these were questions of changing moods, not of inconsistencies, and as long as he was capable of finding, either in his memory or on the spur of the moment, an elating stock phrase to go with them, he was quite content.
(end quote)

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1963/02/16/eichmann-in-jerusalem-i

Molloy
Chomsky dealing with the indoctrinated. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLcpcytUnWU&app=desktop Why it is important to call out the so-called 'Global Elite' facilitators on here.

And why it is essential to understand what Eichmann was facilitating (and the madness that morphed into the same apartheid bigotry in the 21st century).

Better understand than be hanged.

Gary Weglarz

I appreciate the article, but the sentence below is offered with no logical or rational support – it is simply an evidence free assertion:

("But Parramore and many journalists like her are neither assets of an intelligence service nor unthinking tools of big media; ) – really?

It is quite clear that if someone "is" (an asset of an intelligence service) that they will certainly not be broadcasting this fact to the world or to friends and family. And for someone to assert that "conspiracies" don't exist in the real world requires a level of credulity that most intelligent and rational people the least bit familiar with the historical record would find rather difficult to muster up. I dare say it would be much easier in fact to prove the assertion that our Western history is simply the "history of conspiracies" given the oligarchic control of Western populations for millennia. This is hardly "rocket science" as they say. We do have a rather well documented historical record to fall back on to show the endless scheming of Western oligarchy behind the backs of Western populations.

wardropper
I like Michael Moore's response when asked if he believed the conspiracy theories which were floating about at the time: "Just the ones that are true"
John Thatcher
A conspiracy theory, like any theory is as strong as the evidence put forward to support it. Often people offer as fact conspiracies that only as yet exist as theories,with greater or lesser amounts of evidence to support.I have no doubt that interested parties who are the accused in these theories, will mount efforts to discredit any theory mounted against them or those they represent.

One of the ways they will do this is to plant "evidence" purporting to support the theory, but easily disproved by easily available information. Unfortunately,it is a sad fact that far too many "conspiracy theorists" readily accept and share along with genuine evidence, this planted "evidence" to the wider internet, thereby undermining the solid evidence of a conspiracy, by associating it with the easily disprovable nonsense.

Harry Stotle

Isn't it high time we had a term to describe those who always accept the official version of events after controversial political incidents no matter how implausible this account might be?

For example, after the attack on the WTC Kissinger was appointed to the head the 9/11 commission (before stepping down).

'Conspiracy theorists' would have thought – why are neocons appointing a mass-murdering neocon to investigate an event that might have involved neocons (raising obvious credibility issues) – whereas those who regard conspiracy theorists as dribbling fruitcakes would have welcomed the appointment of the nobel peace prize winner.

Anyway, here's a clip of Henry – the believers in everything the government say would never have considered the objections raised in the film – such questions are tantamount to mental illness according to these 'progressives'.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/YcxjJDlbnC4?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

[Dec 21, 2015] Journalists are really mouthpieces for political factions within their own government power structure but the best journalists choose faction that actually embraces reality

"... Regarding Patrick Lang, I noticed that he posted a quite vehement attack against conspiracy theorists postings on his blog who were – if I recall correctly – claiming that the military were involved in the subterfuge to arm extremists in Syria. (Probably cocked up the details but too tired to check.) It struck me as noteworthy as it suggested an internecine intra-Washington struggle between Military / CIA who was going to "own" the debacle in Syria at the very least. It is utterly reminiscent of the struggle between Dulles / CIA power structure (think: institutional group think) and the incoming JFK administration / New Frontiersman during and after the Cuban Missile Crisis. ..."
"... Of course it's worth noting that Hersh had to revert to publishing this "intimate" conversation between American power structures in a foreign publication. What does that tell you about the "freedom index"? Samizdat here we come! ..."
marknesop.wordpress.com

Tim Owen, December 20, 2015 at 1:53 pm

Sy Hersh's latest via M of A:

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n01/seymour-m-hersh/military-to-military

marknesop, December 20, 2015 at 7:58 pm
Washington does not care who assumes power in Syria – whether it be feuding warlords or an Islamic mullah or Assad's cat. Washington knows that Islamic State needs money to survive and keep power, as does any individual or group who will rule, and that to remain in power, it will sell oil. Good enough, as far as Washington is concerned. If the place remains a seething cauldron of destabilizing hatreds, so much the better.
Tim Owen, December 20, 2015 at 8:50 pm
I read this carefully earlier today and wish I had made some notes.

It's an interesting article just in what it says about the politics of American journalism at this point in time almost regardless of the subject matter in a kind of Kremlinology vein. It almost reads like a ransom note. My impression is that Hersh is pulling punches at some key points in order not to overplay his hand.

My suggestion: don't get bogged down in the details. From my recollection of the piece from earlier today Hersh is basically championing a few figures and – most importantly – their perspectives here:

It's worth remembering that Hersh's articles on the Ghoutta attack immediately predated the great stand-down by Obama from all out air-war to destroy Syria.

Given that it's axiomatic that journalists are really mouthpieces for political factions within their own government power structure and that the BEST journalists – like Hersh – actually embrace this reality, what does the appearance of this article augur?

I especially like the sign off:

"The Joint Chiefs and the DIA were constantly telling Washington's leadership of the jihadist threat in Syria, and of Turkey's support for it. The message was never listened to. Why not?"

That sounds kind of threatening. In a good way.

* Regarding Patrick Lang, I noticed that he posted a quite vehement attack against conspiracy theorists postings on his blog who were – if I recall correctly – claiming that the military were involved in the subterfuge to arm extremists in Syria. (Probably cocked up the details but too tired to check.) It struck me as noteworthy as it suggested an internecine intra-Washington struggle between Military / CIA who was going to "own" the debacle in Syria at the very least. It is utterly reminiscent of the struggle between Dulles / CIA power structure (think: institutional group think) and the incoming JFK administration / New Frontiersman during and after the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In other words: we, the west, have basically made no progress fighting for reform of our leadership and political structures. Meanwhile the Russians seem to have gone "right round the horn" – as the dinosaur in Toy Story might put it.

Tim Owen, December 20, 2015 at 9:08 pm
Of course it's worth noting that Hersh had to revert to publishing this "intimate" conversation between American power structures in a foreign publication. What does that tell you about the "freedom index"? Samizdat here we come!

[Apr 17, 2015] CIA Popularized Conspiracy Theory Term to Silence Dissent

https://youtu.be/bm3Z-cKRMN4

Abby Martin talks to Lance deHaven-Smith, Florida State University professor and author of 'Conspiracy Theory in America', about some of the US' most controversial events and how labeling truth-seekers as 'conspiracy theorists' damages democracy.

For further reading, here is an excerpt from Kevin R. Ryan's excellent article, Do we need another 9/11 conspiracy theory?

"The use of "conspiracy theory" to deter citizens from investigating historic events is paradoxical, to be sure. It suggests that those who commit criminal conspiracies can only be relatively powerless people who happen to live on the most strategically important lands, and conspiracies among rich, powerful people are impossible or absurd.

Basically, our entire legal system is based on the idea of conspiracy. Despite this fact we have been conditioned by the government and the media to blindly accept the official reports and to treat any questioning of those reports as "conspiracy theorizing." That is, you are a conspiracy theorist if you don't believe the government's conspiracy theory.

This cultural phenomenon goes back to 1967. At that time, in response to questions about the Warren Commission Report (which President Ford helped create), the CIA issued a memorandum calling for mainstream media sources to begin countering "conspiracy theorists."[13] In the 45 years before the CIA memo came out, the phrase "conspiracy theory" appeared in the Washington Post and New York Times only 50 times, or about once per year. In the 45 years after the CIA memo, the phrase appeared 2,630 times, or about once per week.

Before the CIA memo came out, the Washington Post and New York Times had never used the phrase "conspiracy theorist." After the CIA memo came out, these two newspapers have used that phrase 1,118 times. Of course, in these uses the phrase is always delivered in a context in which "conspiracy theorists" were made to seem less intelligent and less rationale than people who uncritically accept official explanations for major events.

President George W. Bush and his colleagues often used the phrase conspiracy theory in attempts to deter questioning about their activities. When questioned by reporters about an emerging scandal in September 2000, Bush said the idea that his presidential campaign was flashing subliminal messages in advertisements was absurd, and he added that "conspiracy theories abound in America's politics."[14] When in 1994, Bush's former company Harken Energy was linked to the fraudulent Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) through several investors, Bush's spokeswoman, Karen Hughes, shut down the inquiry by telling the Associated Press - "We have no response to silly conspiracy theories."

.... track record raised questions about Bush's statement after the 9/11 attacks, in which he said in a televised speech - "Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th."

There is no question that criminal government-sponsored conspiracies exist. History is replete with them and they usually involve the government claiming that the country was under attack from "terrorists." This was true of Hitler's Reichstag fire and it was true of the attacks that occurred in 20th century Western Europe under the guise of Operation Gladio. An example more relevant to 9/11 was the conspiracy behind Operation Northwoods, a plan drafted and approved in 1962 by the highest levels within the U.S. military.

Author James Bamford wrote of Operation Northwoods that it called "for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere. People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked. [This would provide] the public and international backing they needed to launch their war."[15] The signed documents are available to everyone today and because of this we know that high level U.S. government representatives do conspire, on occasion, to commit crimes against the American people for the purpose of starting wars.[16]


And see this: "Conspiracy Theory": Foundations of a Weaponized Term

In 1967, the CIA Created the Label Conspiracy Theorists ... to Attack Anyone Who Challenges the Official Narrative

The CIA Coined the Term Conspiracy Theorist In 1967

That all changed in the 1960s.

Specifically, in April 1967, the CIA 01 wrote a dispatch which coined the term "conspiracy theories" … and recommended methods for discrediting such theories. The dispatch was marked "psych" – short for "psychological operations" or disinformation – and "CS" for the CIA's "Clandestine Services" unit.

The dispatch was produced in responses to a Freedom of Information Act request by the New York Times in 1976.

The dispatch states:

2. This trend of opinion is a matter of concern to the U.S. government, including our organization.

***

The aim of this dispatch is to provide material countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists, so as to inhibit the circulation of such claims in other countries. Background information is supplied in a classified section and in a number of unclassified attachments.

3. Action. We do not recommend that discussion of the [conspiracy] question be initiated where it is not already taking place. Where discussion is active addresses are requested:

a. To discuss the publicity problem with and friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors) , pointing out that the [official investigation of the relevant event] made as thorough an investigation as humanly possible, that the charges of the critics are without serious foundation, and that further speculative discussion only plays into the hands of the opposition. Point out also that parts of the conspiracy talk appear to be deliberately generated by … propagandists. Urge them to use their influence to discourage unfounded and irresponsible speculation.

b. To employ propaganda assets to and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose. The unclassified attachments to this guidance should provide useful background material for passing to assets. Our ploy should point out, as applicable, that the critics are (I) wedded to theories adopted before the evidence was in, (II) politically interested, (III) financially interested, (IV) hasty and inaccurate in their research, or (V) infatuated with their own theories.

***

4. In private to media discussions not directed at any particular writer, or in attacking publications which may be yet forthcoming, the following arguments should be useful:

a. No significant new evidence has emerged which the Commission did not consider.

***

b. Critics usually overvalue particular items and ignore others. They tend to place more emphasis on the recollections of individual witnesses (which are less reliable and more divergent–and hence offer more hand-holds for criticism) …

***

c. Conspiracy on the large scale often suggested would be impossible to conceal in the United States, esp. since informants could expect to receive large royalties, etc.

**

d. Critics have often been enticed by a form of intellectual pride: they light on some theory and fall in love with it; they also scoff at the Commission because it did not always answer every question with a flat decision one way or the other.

***

f. As to charges that the Commission's report was a rush job, it emerged three months after the deadline originally set. But to the degree that the Commission tried to speed up its reporting, this was largely due to the pressure of irresponsible speculation already appearing, in some cases coming from the same critics who, refusing to admit their errors, are now putting out new criticisms.

g. Such vague accusations as that "more than ten people have died mysteriously" can always be explained in some natural way ….

5. Where possible, counter speculation by encouraging reference to the Commission's Report itself. Open-minded foreign readers should still be impressed by the care, thoroughness, objectivity and speed with which the Commission worked. Reviewers of other books might be encouraged to add to their account the idea that, checking back with the report itself, they found it far superior to the work of its critics.

Summarizing the tactics which the CIA dispatch recommended:

In other words, the CIA's clandestine services unit created the arguments for attacking conspiracy theories as unreliable in the 1960s as part of its psychological warfare operations.

But Aren't Conspiracy Theories – In Fact – Nuts?

Forget Western history and CIA dispatches … aren't conspiracy theorists nutty?

In fact, conspiracies are so common that judges are trained to look at conspiracy allegations as just another legal claim to be disproven or proven based on the specific evidence:

Federal and all 50 state's codes include specific statutes addressing conspiracy, and providing the punishment for people who commit conspiracies.

But let's examine what the people trained to weigh evidence and reach conclusions think about "conspiracies". Let's look at what American judges think.

Searching Westlaw, one of the 2 primary legal research networks which attorneys and judges use to research the law, I searched for court decisions including the word "Conspiracy". This is such a common term in lawsuits that it overwhelmed Westlaw.

Specifically, I got the following message:

"Your query has been intercepted because it may retrieve a large number of documents."

From experience, I know that this means that there were potentially millions or many hundreds of thousands of cases which use the term. There were so many cases, that Westlaw could not even start processing the request.

So I searched again, using the phrase "Guilty of Conspiracy". I hoped that this would not only narrow my search sufficiently that Westlaw could handle it, but would give me cases where the judge actually found the defendant guilty of a conspiracy. This pulled up exactly 10,000 cases - which is the maximum number of results which Westlaw can give at one time. In other words, there were more than 10,000 cases using the phrase "Guilty of Conspiracy" (maybe there's a way to change my settings to get more than 10,000 results, but I haven't found it yet).

Moreover, as any attorney can confirm, usually only appeal court decisions are published in the Westlaw database. In other words, trial court decisions are rarely published; the only decisions normally published are those of the courts which hear appeals of the trial. Because only a very small fraction of the cases which go to trial are appealed, this logically means that the number of guilty verdicts in conspiracy cases at trial must be much, much larger than 10,000.

Moreover, "Guilty of Conspiracy" is only one of many possible search phrases to use to find cases where the defendant was found guilty of a lawsuit for conspiracy. Searching on Google, I got 3,170,000 results (as of yesterday) under the term "Guilty of Conspiracy", 669,000 results for the search term "Convictions for Conspiracy", and 743,000 results for "Convicted for Conspiracy".

Of course, many types of conspiracies are called other things altogether. For example, a long-accepted legal doctrine makes it illegal for two or more companies to conspire to fix prices, which is called "Price Fixing" (1,180,000 results).

Given the above, I would extrapolate that there have been hundreds of thousands of convictions for criminal or civil conspiracy in the United States.

Finally, many crimes go unreported or unsolved, and the perpetrators are never caught. Therefore, the actual number of conspiracies committed in the U.S. must be even higher.

In other words, conspiracies are committed all the time in the U.S., and many of the conspirators are caught and found guilty by American courts. Remember, Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme was a conspiracy theory.

Indeed, conspiracy is a very well-recognized crime in American law, taught to every first-year law school student as part of their basic curriculum. Telling a judge that someone has a "conspiracy theory" would be like telling him that someone is claiming that he trespassed on their property, or committed assault, or stole his car. It is a fundamental legal concept.

Obviously, many conspiracy allegations are false (if you see a judge at a dinner party, ask him to tell you some of the crazy conspiracy allegations which were made in his court). Obviously, people will either win or lose in court depending on whether or not they can prove their claim with the available evidence. But not all allegations of trespass, assault, or theft are true, either.

Proving a claim of conspiracy is no different from proving any other legal claim, and the mere label "conspiracy" is taken no less seriously by judges.

It's not only Madoff. 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, this, this, this and 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.

And what about the NSA and the tech companies that have cooperated with them?

But Our Leaders Wouldn't Do That

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.

But powerful insiders have long admitted to conspiracies. For example, Obama's Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Cass Sunstein, wrote:

Of course some conspiracy theories, under our definition, have turned out to be true. The Watergate hotel room used by Democratic National Committee was, in fact, bugged by Republican officials, operating at the behest of the White House. In the 1950s, the Central Intelligence Agency did, in fact, administer LSD and related drugs under Project MKULTRA, in an effort to investigate the possibility of "mind control." Operation Northwoods, a rumored plan by the Department of Defense to simulate acts of terrorism and to blame them on Cuba, really was proposed by high-level officials ….

But Someone Would Have Spilled the Beans

A common defense to people trying sidetrack investigations into potential conspiracies is to say that "someone would have spilled the beans" if there were really a conspiracy.

But famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg explains:

It is a commonplace that "you can't keep secrets in Washington" or "in a democracy, no matter how sensitive the secret, you're likely to read it the next day in the New York Times." These truisms are flatly false. They are in fact cover stories, ways of flattering and misleading journalists and their readers, part of the process of keeping secrets well. Of course eventually many secrets do get out that wouldn't in a fully totalitarian society. But the fact is that the overwhelming majority of secrets do not leak to the American public. This is true even when the information withheld is well known to an enemy and when it is clearly essential to the functioning of the congressional war power and to any democratic control of foreign policy. The reality unknown to the public and to most members of Congress and the press is that secrets that would be of the greatest import to many of them can be kept from them reliably for decades by the executive branch, even though they are known to thousands of insiders.

History proves Ellsberg right. For example:

There was "a planned coup in the USA in 1933 by a group of right-wing American businessmen . . . . The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell Hse & George Bush's Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression"

Moreover, "the tycoons told General Butler the American people would accept the new government because they controlled all the newspapers." Have you ever heard of this conspiracy before? It was certainly a very large one. And if the conspirators controlled the newspapers then, how much worse is it today with media consolidation?

Moreover, high-level government officials and insiders have admitted to dramatic conspiracies after the fact, including:

The admissions did not occur until many decades after the events.

These examples show that it is possible to keep conspiracies secret for a long time, without anyone "spilling the beans".

In addition, to anyone who knows how covert military operations work, it is obvious that segmentation on a "need-to-know basis", along with deference to command hierarchy, means that a couple of top dogs can call the shots and most people helping won't even know the big picture at the time they are participating.

Moreover, those who think that co-conspirators will brag about their deeds forget that people in the military or intelligence or who have huge sums of money on the line can be very disciplined. They are not likely to go to the bar and spill the beans like a down-on-their-luck, second-rate alcoholic robber might do.

Finally, people who carry out covert operations may do so for ideological reasons - believing that the "ends justify the means". Never underestimate the conviction of an ideologue.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that some conspiracy claims are nutty and some are true. Each has to be judged on its own facts.

Humans have a tendency to try to explain random events through seeing patterns … that's how our brains our wired. Therefore, we have to test our theories of connection and causality against the cold, hard facts.

On the other hand, the old saying by Lord Acton is true:

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.

Those who operate without checks and balances – and without the disinfectant sunlight of public scrutiny and accountability – tend to act in their own best interests … and the little guy gets hurt.

The early Greeks knew it, as did those who forced the king to sign the Magna Carta, the Founding Fathers and the father of modern economics. We should remember this important tradition of Western civilization.

Postscript: The ridicule of all conspiracy theories is really just an attempt to diffuse criticism of the powerful.

The wealthy are not worse than other people … but they are not necessarily better either. Powerful leaders may not be bad people … or they could be sociopaths.

We must judge each by his or her actions, and not by preconceived stereotypes that they are all saints acting in our best interest or all scheming criminals.

And see ...

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