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The Trouble with Conspiracy Theories


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The CNN guy is Lou Dobbs.

Barry Goldwater said publicly on a few occasions he wants to know whats in Area 51 (though he didn’t call it that), Gary Hart made his doubts about the JFK assassination, the Church Committee which they and 3 other future/ex-presidential candidates were members of uncovered all sorts of skullduggery as did the Kerry Committee. All sorts of former high level pols and military/intelligence folks said they think Israel attacked the USS Liberty knowing it was American.

Pierre Salinger has gone public with his belief TWA 800 was shot down. The Washington Post and NY Times were responsible for uncovering Watergate and publishing the Pentagon Papers, more recently the Times uncovered domestic espionage by the NSA (though they sat on it) Seymour Hersh uncovered all sorts of secrets including the Mai Lai massacre and recently spoke publicly about assassinations squads run by Cheney. Not only did the Pittsburg Post-Gazette push the Clinton body count nonsense they published Tink’s scathing review of the Bug’s book. Across the state the Philadelphia Daily News raised questions about the crash of flight 93. The History Channel broadcast “The Men Who Killed Kennedy” as well as documentaries pushing USS Liberty and Apollo CT’s.

I’m not saying the situation is perfect but it’s hardly as dire and monolith as you make out.

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Ian,

I think your view of our fearless leaders is very naive. There are definitely not "widely divergent worldviews" found within any powerful institution, be it Congress, the Supreme Court or the board of any major corporation (including any mainstream media organization). If you believe these "diverse" views exist, please present some examples of members of Congress, members of the Supreme Court, present or ex-CEOs of any large corporation, present or ex-presidents of any large union, or any reporter, past or present, for a television network, major newspaper or magazine that has publicly expressed a beilef in any major conspiracy theory.

Also try to find a single example anywhere of a person in a similar position of power ever espousing the Huey Long view about "sharing the wealth." The recent example of the AIG banksters taking off with their millions of "bonuses" culled from their taxpayer "bailout" is a perfect illustration of this. The economic system is collapsing, millions are struggling financially, yet these clueless plutocrats grab more millions of taxpayer "bailout" funds for their own benefit. And then the unprincipled politicians strut and crow about how horrible this is, when they approved the whole sordid mess, without ever placing any restrictions upon these impoverished multi-millionaires. My point is, our financial problems revolve around the giant elephant in the room which is the tremendous disparity of wealth in our society.

Anyone who has had direct experience with Congress, the mainstream press, our court system, etc. will disagree with your rather rosy assessment of our society's leadership. They are not diverse in opinion, even when they are diverse in appearance. They are very good at keeping secrets and covering up for each other, as any would be whistleblower could tell you. This was exactly why Kennedy was so dangerous to so many powerful forces; he was "different" enough to frighten them into thinking that perhaps he could produce at least some change for the better.

There is the conventional view of history, which you share with the majority of people. Then there is the conspiracy view of history, which an increasing number of us subscribe to. I think that recent history alone should cause every thinking American to have a very dim view of our leaders, both in government and business. It's hard to escape the belief that there is corruption everywhere, and few if any truly principled and moral people in positions of authority. Conspiracy "theories" are born because of this well-founded suspicion, which grows daily thanks to the uncensored nature of the internet. However, hold on to your skepticism towards "conspiracies" and continue to remain unskeptical towards our leaders and institutions- you will make a great many friends in that "wildly divergent" crowd.

Don, hi, is this the part you were referring to?

I would make two points in response. First, consider some standard examples of such right-wing conspiracy theories, such as those involving Freemasons or Communists. These can be understood in two ways. On one interpretation, the idea would be that Freemasons, Communists, or whomever, given their ideological commitments, have actively sought to get themselves and their sympathizers into positions of power and influence so as to promote and implement their ideas, and that they have done so subtly and by using duplicity. But there is nothing in this idea that conflicts with anything I’ve been saying. In particular, there is nothing in it that entails that any single massively complex event was engineered in detail by a small elite manipulating, with precision, dozens or hundreds of actors across a bewildering variety of conflicting institutions and agencies in the context of a society that is to all appearances reasonably open, all the while skillfully covering their tracks to hide their actions to all but the most devoted conspiracy theory adepts. Rather, it just involves like-minded people working systematically and deviously to further their common interests in a general way over the course of a long period of time – a phenomenon that is well-known from everyday life, and does not require belief in any radical gap between appearance and reality in the social and political worlds. In short, it does not involve belief in any “conspiracy theory” of the specific sort I’ve been criticizing.

--Right Wing or Left Wing, This is mostly true.

Cause if so, that's an awful lot to infer from a two sentence section.

I am neither calling all conspiracy theorists paranoid delusionals nor all skeptics incredulous liars. I made this post to the topic titler, not to post my personal beliefs on the issues. As that's what I was told these forums are geared for. As to that equaling me somehow believing that we have a grand group of benevolent leaders, I just dunno what to say.

Edited by Ian Williams
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Troubles with 'conspiracy theories'??? (actually hypothesis' or ideas)

There are none.

Only solutions.

It's an imaginative positive feature of the human unit that dares to ask outside-the-square questions and to seek answers. This can be troublesome for the status quo. "you can fool all the people some of the time, some people all the time but not all the people all the time". (Though you could shoot them I suppose).

The training or vocabulary of anyone involved is essentially unimportant.

Stupid questions are asked and good comprehensible answers developed. (To the extent that the hypothesist is dishonest and/or manipulatist this positive force is discredited, these are the fruitcakes, assigned, or independent, agenda driven individuals - they are a difficulty to contend with).

Systemic conspiracies.

Take McCarthyism for example. That's a massive oldtime ongoing conspiracy to demonise any leftleanings filled with lies and inhuman behaviour by the conspirators, (including mickey mouse himself (RR) as an FBI SA snitch).

For raygonzo the terrorising ex-somoza national guard, (trained by the USofA military in the first place), butchers, are freedom fighters.

It's pollietalk.

The establishments media in the USofA, pre FSLN victory over the US sponsored drugdealing butcher Somozas reign, was conspicuously silent.

Come freedom, the CIA (there's a conspiratorial instrument if there ever was one) swung into action step in step with the media and suddenly the legitimate popular Sandinistas are forced into a debilitating war with the USofA's mainstream media in full flight right along with the status quo.

Years later the streets of the USofA are filled with drugs and the prison industrial complex is massive and filled with diesnfranchised persons whose essential crime is being poor.

Rich coke packing cowards become presidents.

Definitely a systemic conspiracy.

But consider the consequences of an honestly ethical response. Society woupld have to turn on its head, and we can't have that can we? That's just another reason for looking to make sure everyone checks there isn't a red under the bed.

(However, what goes around does tend to come around.)

_______________

(on a separate issue, here's an interesting site, for me, as I can't understand much of the lingo, it's the imagery that's interesting and seemingly in part previously (at least to me) unseen here. Particularly a rather comprehensive AP X ray copy with scaling info.

http://www.forum-zetetique.com/forum/forum...mp;printall=yes )

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Ian,

I apologize- it looks like I misinterpreted your post. And once I start ranting....

Sorry about that!

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Len,

Thanks- there are a few exceptions out there, as you noted. However, they are all hardly powerful voices. Rosie is a celebrity, and I never said there weren't celebrities that believe in conspiracies (Oliver Stone, Charlie Sheen and many others). Most people don't take them seriously. Seymour Hersh has done some good work, but seems to have a blind spot when it comes to the JFK assassination.

It's also notable to think about what happened to the few politicians who gingerly questioned the official version of the JFK assassination. Gary Hart was targeted for his womanizing (compared to Clinton and many others whose political careers were not ended by their own numerous flings), and his promising presidential aspirations were ended forever as a result. Frank Church was a high profile politician who mysteriously vanished from the national scene after a failed presidential run, and died not long afterwards. Hart's fellow Senator Richard Schweiker, who was even more vocal about doubting the Warren Commission's findings, is still alive but disappeared completely from the public eye about thirty years ago.

Your examples of Dobbs and Salinger are good ones, although I don't think that Dobbs really talks much about conspiracies per se. Salinger was widely ridiculed for his views about TWA 800, and I think it ended his longtime career as an ABC Paris correspondent. Glenn Beck is totally partisan, kind of like a more extreme version of O'Reilly. I'm sure he sees lots of shady doings where Democrats are concerned. I don't know who you're speaking of regarding the Liberty incident; it's been my impression that the mainstream press and politicians have been mostly silent about that, and that the exposure has come almost exclusively from right wing sources outside the mainstream. As for "The Men Who Killed Kennedy," it was the only pro-conspiracy program broadcast widely and often on any network. However, since the controversy over the LBJ segment, it has not been shown again (and that was several years ago.)

I stand (slightly) corrected.

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Ian,

I apologize- it looks like I misinterpreted your post. And once I start ranting....

Sorry about that!

That's alright, I figured you thought it was all my post and not the original post with small responses to each paragraph. I just didn't wanna bother quote/unquoting each section.

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That's alright, I figured you thought it was all my post and not the original post with small responses to each paragraph. I just didn't wanna bother quote/unquoting each section.

It might be a good idea to use coloured type to show the difference between quotations and your words. By the way, I thought it was a very good posting. Welcome to the forum.

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It's also notable to think about what happened to the few politicians who gingerly questioned the official version of the JFK assassination. Gary Hart was targeted for his womanizing (compared to Clinton and many others whose political careers were not ended by their own numerous flings), and his promising presidential aspirations were ended forever as a result. Frank Church was a high profile politician who mysteriously vanished from the national scene after a failed presidential run, and died not long afterwards.

I don’t think Church being defeated in the Republican landslide year 1980 is at all “mysterious”, the mystery is how such an ardent liberal got elected and re-elected in such a conservative state in the first place he was the only Democrat elected senator from there since 1950.

Hart's fellow Senator Richard Schweiker, who was even more vocal about doubting the Warren Commission's findings, is still alive but disappeared completely from the public eye about thirty years ago.

Your examples of Dobbs and Salinger are good ones, although I don't think that Dobbs really talks much about conspiracies per se. Salinger was widely ridiculed for his views about TWA 800, and I think it ended his longtime career as an ABC Paris correspondent.

No, he only started talking about that AFTER leaving ABC for a job at a PR firm.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/20...nger-obit_x.htm

http://edition.cnn.com/2006/US/07/12/twa.c...racy/index.html

Glenn Beck is totally partisan, kind of like a more extreme version of O'Reilly. I'm sure he sees lots of shady doings where Democrats are concerned.

Beck, as even some conservatives acknowledge, is a complete idiot. And yes his sudden adherence to FEMA camps nuttery is tied to his paranoid distrust of Obama:

"We are a country that is headed towards socialism, totalitarianism, beyond your wildest dreams. I have to tell you: I’m doing a story tonight that I wanted to debunk – these FEMA camps – I’m tired of hearing about them – you know about them? - I wanted to debunk them. We’ve now for several days done research on them. I can’t debunk them! If you trust our government, it’s fine. If you have any kind of fear that we might be heading towards a totalitarian state: look out. Buckle up. There’s something going on in our country … that ain’t good."

http://www.newmajority.com/ShowScroll.aspx...04-cb1442e2bcaf [Hat tip – Screw Loose Change blog]

Of course if he and his teem really had “done research on them” “for several days” he must have know that theory is that this was a Bush jr. program based on proposals by Oliver North not something dreamt up and put into place by Obama and his fellow “totalitarian” ‘socialists’ in the preceding 7 weeks. I assume he did but like many on this board chose to ignore the facts that didn’t fit his preconceived notions.

I don't know who you're speaking of regarding the Liberty incident; it's been my impression that the mainstream press and politicians have been mostly silent about that, and that the exposure has come almost exclusively from right wing sources outside the mainstream.

Dean Rusk and a few high level military/intelligence officials said publicly they think Israel knew and that there was a cover up, go to any Liberty site. The History Channel aired a pro-conspiracy documentary* as did the BBC, I think they are the same film.

* http://www.jewishpublicaffairs.org/communi...ty-8-13-01.html

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The CNN guy is Lou Dobbs.

Barry Goldwater said publicly on a few occasions he wants to know whats in Area 51 (though he didn’t call it that), Gary Hart made his doubts about the JFK assassination, the Church Committee which they and 3 other future/ex-presidential candidates were members of uncovered all sorts of skullduggery as did the Kerry Committee. All sorts of former high level pols and military/intelligence folks said they think Israel attacked the USS Liberty knowing it was American.

Pierre Salinger has gone public with his belief TWA 800 was shot down. The Washington Post and NY Times were responsible for uncovering Watergate and publishing the Pentagon Papers, more recently the Times uncovered domestic espionage by the NSA (though they sat on it) Seymour Hersh uncovered all sorts of secrets including the Mai Lai massacre and recently spoke publicly about assassinations squads run by Cheney. Not only did the Pittsburg Post-Gazette push the Clinton body count nonsense they published Tink’s scathing review of the Bug’s book. Across the state the Philadelphia Daily News raised questions about the crash of flight 93. The History Channel broadcast “The Men Who Killed Kennedy” as well as documentaries pushing USS Liberty and Apollo CT’s.

I’m not saying the situation is perfect but it’s hardly as dire and monolith as you make out.

You seem to always keep your posts on an even keel rather than ranting, that's pretty rare on any net forums these days.

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Guest Tom Scully
You seem to always keep your posts on an even keel rather than ranting, that's pretty rare on any net forums these days.

Maybe the "even keel" you perceive, is related to Len either claiming he does not understand obvious points illustrating the record of lack of credibility at the top of US political hierarchy supported by clear examples, along with his minimization of unusual (incredible) pronouncements made by the powerful ?

Edited by Tom Scully
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You seem to always keep your posts on an even keel rather than ranting, that's pretty rare on any net forums these days.

Maybe the "even keel" you perceive, is related to Len either claiming he does not understand obvious points illustrating the record of lack of credibility at the top of US political hierarchy supported by clear examples, along with his minimization of unusual (incredible) pronouncements made by the powerful ?

Hey, I was just commenting on general non-flaminess of posts, I don't claim to know much of anything yet about the veracity of his counterclaims, or whatever. It's fairly startling to me not to have someone jump down each person with an opinions throat yelling XXXX XXX!!! or XXXXX!!! after any view that disagrees with them. Of course, I extend that to the forum in general as well, it's just, well, it seems that any kind of good earnest debate always draws flamebaiters, and that hasn't seemed to be the case here....yet. I suppose it's a little easier since it's strictly against the rules and all, but still...

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You seem to always keep your posts on an even keel rather than ranting, that's pretty rare on any net forums these days.

Thanks for the kind words but I'm hardly the only member whose posts are rant free. Be carful about appearing too chummy with me though as a good chunk of the membership here think I'm the devil incarnate or a least a "disinfo" agent and you run the risk of guilt by association.

Maybe the "even keel" you perceive, is related to….

Maybe your sarcasm is related to having lost the debate; you were unable to demonstrate that the lack of an indictment against OBL proved anything. When you can rebut the points in my previous posts get back to me, let's try and avoid changing the subject.

..Len either claiming he does not understand obvious points illustrating the record of lack of credibility at the top of US political hierarchy supported by clear examples, along with his minimization of unusual (incredible) pronouncements made by the powerful ?

I never denied that Bush and his underlings repeatedly lied and distorted the truth about Iraq, I even made a few posts on the subject long before you showed up here, what I failed to see was the relevance of that to our debate over the non-indictment of OBL.

As for the chemist turned lawyer's complaints about the NIST 7 WTC Report if you are willing to highlight which of his points you found compelling I'm willing, time permitting, to go over them with you. This ideally would be in a separate thread in the other forum. And despite your mischaracterization the scientists at NIST are NOT especially "powerful".

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...... as a good chunk of the membership here think I'm the devil incarnate or a least a "disinfo" agent.......

Surely just one of those strange coincidences, like those you love to champion.

No it's not a coincidence people hate having their pet notions challenged and disproven. Many in frustration and/or a vain attempts to salvage their theorems resort to ad homs and character assassination. You know the type, the ones on several occasions have labeled those they disagree with Nazis etc.

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...... as a good chunk of the membership here think I'm the devil incarnate or a least a "disinfo" agent.......

Surely just one of those strange coincidences, like those you love to champion.

No it's not a coincidence people hate having their pet notions challenged and disproven. Many in frustration and/or a vain attempts to salvage their theorems resort to ad homs and character assassination. You know the type, the ones on several occasions have labeled those they disagree with Nazis etc.

You're very cleverly trained [professionally, I think....and it is free to believe what one believes], but you won't even discuss the family member close to you who was involved in the conspiracy of Big Tobacco [namely RJR Tobacco].....he worked hard [chief scientist to RJR, I believe] to conceal the truth of the deadly powers of tobacco to the user. You apparently follow in his wake, concealing the truth of other deadly conspiracies of today, IMO. You have [iMO] been highly trained at obfuscation, unconventional warfare,  disinformation/propaganda/diversion/etc. No one but YOU on this forum to my knowledge has caused a mass exodus nor interfered with other Forum members business off the forum - oh, yes there is one other I know of.....

...your 'calm', 'cool', 'collected' style the newbee noticed is just the essence or the tarpit to suck in new victims, IMO.

Peter,

Are you referring to Frank Colby?

QUOTE:

Frank Colby: Started with Reynolds in 1951 and eventually became the company's manager of scientific information and associate director of scientific issues, retiring in 1983. He was RJR's point man on many smoking-and-health issues and still acts as a company consultant

QUOTE:

In 1979 Colby proposed a more indirect method of recruitment. In trying to neutralize an anti-smoking trend in Brazil because of concern about health he suggested that:

RJR-Brazil personnel [should] try to find among their personal acquaintances, one or more Brazilian physicians who had an open mind on the smoking and health controversy. This (or these) physician (s) in turn would try to find one or more Brazilian medical University professors who had a similar attitude. Other things being equal, it would be desirable to select the most prominent of those professors.4

Colby would then speak to these professors and turn them to the industry position. In 1982, Colby urged the industry to make their own connections to the Brazilian medical establishment, and perhaps then fund some of the physicians to do research, “at least on a modest scale."5 In a follow up letter to Carlos Jardim of RJR Tabacos do Brasil, Ltd. Colby presented a list of twenty Brazilian authors and what they had been working on (using NIH databases), suggesting which ones might be suitable to approach. In one case, a Dr. A.P.M____ “seems to have a very strong anti-smoking position and should, in my judgment, not be approached unless there is a good ‘pipeline’ to him, so that one might try to convince him that his current stance is quite unreasonable."6

In 1988 Herman Gaisch of Philip Morris and David Remes of the law firm Covington Burling gave full details of how to recruit and turn scientists to industry use in a remarkable presentation to their colleagues from Rothmans, Imperial, Gallaher and British American Tobacco. Sharon Boyse of BAT authored the meeting memo:

Quote:

3. Corporate evasion

Brazil is contemplating a law suit against the industry. It has the benefit of seeing reams of industry documents, reported on in a brief like this one and elsewhere. In the early 1980s, however, the number of impending lawsuits against the tobacco industry in the U.S. 4 caused RJR to remove secret files from the company’s offices so as to evade discovery. Frank G. Colby, Director of Scientific Issues, had to send his working documents and memos on all scientific aspects of tobacco, from “why people smoke” to “passive smoking” and “lung cancer” (and everything in between) - including all his RJR-Brazil files - to New York City; most likely to the long-time tobacco industry counsel firm of Jacob, Medinger.5 In fact, Colby did so much of his work from these files, whether at RJR or at the literature retrieval division (LRD) of the industry’s Council for Tobacco Research (CTR), that their unavailability threatened his job: “Discussions were held in Washington with Mr. Jacob and Mr. Finnegan [an RJR lawyer] on FGC’s future career, and on the consequences of the cut-off from the LRD data base.6 Only a few non-descript items and the previous year’s work were left behind to be discovered: “Important note: None of the material left can be discarded at the present time because of the Dewey subpoena.”7 The tactic worked as lawyers for Claire Dewey, for example, were unable to gain access to the truth, and the president of RJR, Edward A. Horrigan, could blandly deny any knowledge of everything that is now well known, and get away with it.8 Horrigan was quite familiar, of course, with his company’s activities in Brazil.9

Edited by Terry Mauro
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...... as a good chunk of the membership here think I'm the devil incarnate or a least a "disinfo" agent.......

Surely just one of those strange coincidences, like those you love to champion.

No it's not a coincidence people hate having their pet notions challenged and disproven. Many in frustration and/or a vain attempts to salvage their theorems resort to ad homs and character assassination. You know the type, the ones on several occasions have labeled those they disagree with Nazis etc.

You're very cleverly trained [professionally, I think....and it is free to believe what one believes], but you won't even discuss the family member close to you who was involved in the conspiracy of Big Tobacco [namely RJR Tobacco].....he worked hard [chief scientist to RJR, I believe] to conceal the truth of the deadly powers of tobacco to the user. You apparently follow in his wake, concealing the truth of other deadly conspiracies of today, IMO. You have [iMO] been highly trained at obfuscation, unconventional warfare, disinformation/propaganda/diversion/etc. No one but YOU on this forum to my knowledge has caused a mass exodus nor interfered with other Forum members business off the forum - oh, yes there is one other I know of.....

...your 'calm', 'cool', 'collected' style the newbee noticed is just the essence or the tarpit to suck in new victims, IMO.

Interesting that you recently accused me of making an “ad hom” and now posted the string of ad homs above. Good tactic when you can’t beat with the facts or logic attack the messenger. I’m not going to get into a mud slinging match with you, that’s your game and you excel at it. If you actually want to discuss/debate any of the topics under discussion here I’ll reply to you.

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