Category Archives: Assassination

Another Nail in the JFK Conspiracy

jfk
steven_novellaBy via NeuroLogica Blog

More than 50 years after JFK was shot and killed by Lee Harvey Oswald the majority of Americans believe that the assassination was part of a conspiracy. Recent Gallup polls show that 61% believe others were involved in the assassination, while 30% believe Oswald acted alone (in 2000 the numbers were 81% and 13% respectively).
JFK crosshairThis is despite the fact that the evidence overwhelmingly shows that Oswald acted alone, and there is no solid evidence of any conspiracy. What this reflects, in my opinion, is two things: the psychological allure of conspiracy theories, and the cottage industry of conspiracy theorists.
Whenever I discuss conspiracy theories I have to add this caveat about what I mean. Obviously there are real conspiracies in the world – whenever two or more people work together to commit a crime or do something nefarious, you have a conspiracy. “Conspiracy theories,” however, is short hand for a grand conspiracy, something that involves many people or powerful organizations working over long periods of time through vast networks of control.
Further, like many categories of proponents that skeptics tend to address (pseudoscientists, cranks, true-believers, deniers, etc.), conspiracy theorists are defined mainly by their behavior, the way that they construct their beliefs and arguments.
For example, the power of conspiracy thinking is that it is immune to refutation through evidence. Any lack of evidence was covered up. Any evidence against the conspiracy theory was planted. Anyone who mounts a convincing argument against the conspiracy is part of the conspiracy.
Oswald-Rifle-244x300But the cornerstone of conspiracy thinking is anomaly hunting – their “evidence” for a conspiracy is largely apparent anomalies, things that don’t quite make sense at first blush. It’s actually easy to trump up apparent anomalies, because the world is complex and it’s difficult to explain any complex event down to the tiniest detail.  Further, people are quirky individuals, and have their own complex motivations for doing things.
Why was there a man standing on the side of the road near where JFK was shot with an open umbrella, on a clear day? The behavior seems anomalous. Perhaps he was signalling the shooter. Unless you had some very specific historical information, you would never guess the real explanation.
One apparent anomaly that JFK conspiracy theorists have pointed to for years is the photo of Oswald prior to the shooting holding a Carcano rifle, the very one used in the assassination of JFK.

Continue Reading at NeuroLogica Blog – – –

Also See: Photo Forensics: Is The Lee Harvey Oswald Photo A Fake? (iLLuMiNuTTi.com)

10 Crazy Conspiracy Theories About Celebrity Deaths

By Estelle Thurtle via Listverse

Modern celebrities can’t go anywhere without the tabloid press publishing all sorts of crazy rumors. Should they be photographed with an unknown person, they must be having an affair. Should they look a little disheveled, they must be on something. And it seems that the rumors just get even crazier after their deaths.

10 • Brittany Murphy

In late 2009, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton predicted that Brittany Murphy would be the next shocking Hollywood death. Less than a month later, his prediction came true as the actress passed away after going into cardiac arrest. The official autopsy report ruled that the actress’s death was natural, resulting from a combination of pneumonia and anemia. Just three months later, Murphy’s husband, Simon Monjack, also passed away. The coroner found that he also died of a combination of pneumonia and anemia, although some believe that drug abuse or toxic mold were the real culprits.

In 2012, a much stranger conspiracy theory reared its head in the form of a controversial documentary featuring a friend of Murphy’s named Julia Davis. A former employee of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Davis alleges that DHS began trying to silence her after she became a whistleblower over immigration failings on the Mexican border. According to Davis, the government decided to target Murphy as well after she publicly defended her friend, even trying to have the British Monjack deported from America.

An American journalist, Alex Ben Block, also jumped on the conspiracy bandwagon, claiming that Simon Monjack relayed fears to him about being under constant surveillance. According to Block, Brittany Murphy died just a few days after her husband spoke to him. The craziness doesn’t stop there—Asif Akbar, the director of the documentary, claims that he and his family were also targeted by Homeland Security. Murphy’s estranged father is on the record as saying he believes his daughter was poisoned. Murphy’s mother, on the other hand, remains skeptical, calling the allegations an “inexcusable” attempt to cash in on her daughter’s death.

9 • Paul Walker

In 2013, the world was shocked to hear that Fast & Furious star Paul Walker had died in a tragic car crash. Walker and his friend Roger Rodas were driving through Santa Clarita in a Porsche GT when Rodas lost control of the vehicle and collided with a tree. Both men were killed after the car burst into flames.

But online conspiracy theorists quickly decided that there was more to the story than that. Walker had worked tirelessly to raise funds for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, and a series of online postings soon began alleging that he must have discovered some terrible secret about the relief effort. The slightly saner version involves “dirty money” being laundered through aid donations, while the original posters insisted that Walker had learned of a secret plan to slip permanent birth control drugs into shipments of food and medicine to the Philippines.

Either way, Walker naturally leaped into his friend’s Porsche and raced to warn the world of the dastardly conspiracy. But “they were betrayed and someone rigged their car’s brakes to malfunction after a certain speed.”

If only Walker had watched Family Guy the week before, he would surely have been warned. According to one conspiracy theorist, the show predicted Walker’s death by killing off Brian Griffin (the dog) just a few days before the accident. The name of Walker’s character in the Fast & Furious movies? Brian. Q.E.D.

8 • Robin Williams

The death of beloved star Robin Williams is one of the saddest Hollywood tragedies in recent memory. The man who made the world laugh in such classics as Mrs. Doubtfire and Aladdin took his own life on August 11, 2014.

It was heartbreaking news, but the Internet’s finest conspiracy theorists knew there was no time to mourn. Within hours of his death, claims had begun to emerge that Williams had been murdered by the Illuminati . . . for some reason. Probably as a “sacrifice” for some sort of “ritual to the devil.” Then, weirdly, Family Guy was brought into the mix again.

Shortly before the news of Williams’ death was announced, the BBC had rebroadcast an episode of the animated show in which main character Peter Griffin gains the power to turn everyone he touches into Robin Williams. Naturally, this couldn’t be a coincidence, with Twitter users insisting that the show was being used to “predict” the death. The only question remaining is just why the Illuminati love Family Guy so much.

Continue Reading – – –

Who Killed Robert Kennedy?

By Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know via YouTube

Who killed RFK? Originally found guilty for the murder of Robert Kennedy, Sirhan Sirhan has spent years in prison — but some people believe he was used as a scapegoat.

Anomaly Hunting and the Umbrella Man

steven_novellaby via NeuroLogica Blog

This is not a new story, but it is worth repeating. At the moment that bullets were being fired into JFK’s motorcade, a man can be seen standing on the side of the road near the car holding an open black umbrella. It was a sunny day (although it had rained the night before) and no one else in Dallas was holding an umbrella.

The "umbrella man" seems strangely out of place and uniquely positioned in Dealey Plaza when Kennedy was assassinated.

The “umbrella man” seems strangely out of place on a sunny day in Dealey Plaza on the day Kennedy was assassinated.*

This is exactly the kind of detail that sets a fire under conspiracy theorists. It is a genuine anomaly – something that sticks out like a sore thumb.

The event also defies our intuition about probability. Even if one could accept that somewhere on the streets of Dallas that morning one man decided to hold an open umbrella for some strange reason, what are the odds that this one man would be essentially standing right next to the president’s car when the bullets began to fly?

Our evolved tendency for pattern recognition and looking for significance in events screams that this anomaly must have a compelling explanation, and since it is associated with the assassination of a president, it must be a sinister one.

When you delve into the details of any complex historical event, however, anomalies such as this are certain to surface. People are quirky individual beings with rich and complex histories and motivations. People do strange things for strange reasons. There is no way to account for all possible thought processes firing around in the brains of every person involved in an event.

The umbrella man appears before the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1978.

In 1978 the umbrella man appeared before the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations.*

Often the actions of others seem unfathomable to us. Our instinct is to try to explain the behavior of others as resulting from mostly internal forces. We tend to underestimate the influence of external factors. This is called the fundamental attribution error.

We also tend to assume that the actions of others are deliberate and planned, rather than random or accidental.

The common assumption underlying all of these various instincts is that there is a specific purpose to events, and especially the actions of others. We further instinctively fear that this purpose is sinister, or may be working against our own interests in some way. In this way, we all have a little conspiracy theorist inside us.

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*Who Was the Umbrella Man?

By The New York Times via YouTube

Also See: Report of the Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives

Was RFK a JFK Conspiracy Theorist?

John, Robert and Ted Kennedy

John (Jack), Robert (Bobby) and Ted (Teddy) Kennedy

What did the attorney general know, and when did he know it?

By Philip Shenon via POLITICO Magazine

JFK crosshairWhat else did Bobby Kennedy know? Last year, the son and namesake of the late Attorney General Robert Kennedy revealed publicly that his father had considered the Warren Commission’s final report, which largely ruled out the possibility of a conspiracy in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, to be a “shoddy piece of craftsmanship.” Robert Jr. said his father suspected that the president had been killed in a conspiracy involving Cuba, the Mafia or even rogue agents of the CIA. Historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., a close friend of the Kennedy family, would disclose years later that he was told by Robert Kennedy in December 1963, a month after the president’s murder, that the former attorney general worried that the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was “part of a larger plot, whether organized by Castro or by gangsters.” Schlesinger said that in 1966, two years after the Warren Commission report, Kennedy was still so suspicious about a conspiracy that he wondered aloud “how long he could continue to avoid comment on the report—it is evident that he believes it is was poor job.”

CT  CT OswaldTombstoneFight4.jpgNewly disclosed documents from the commission, made public on the 50th anniversary of its final report, suggest that the panel missed a chance to get Robert Kennedy to acknowledge publicly what he would later confess to his closest family and friends: that he believed the commission had overlooked evidence that might have pointed to a conspiracy.

The documents show the commission was prepared to press Kennedy to offer his views, under oath, about the possibility that Oswald had not acted alone. An affidavit, in which Kennedy would have been required to raise his right hand and deny knowledge of a conspiracy under penalty of perjury, was prepared for his signature by the commission’s staff but was never used. Instead, the attorney general became the highest ranking government official, apart from President Lyndon Johnson, who was excused from giving sworn testimony or offering a sworn written statement to the commission.

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10 Best: Conspiracies and legends around the USA

FBI Alien Ufos
By Leif Pettersen via USA TODAY

The items on this varied list may not all warrant heightened vigilance and tin foil hats, but better safe than sorry. So we’re all better prepared for welcoming the Lizard People, when they finally choose to reveal themselves, and assimilating to the New World Order, here are some of the best conspiracy theories and urban legends in the U.S.

10 • Area 51, probably underground, Nev.

area_510_250pxArguably, the country’s most famous conspiracy theory is focused on this remote part of Edwards Air Force Base in Southern Nevada. Also known as Groom Lake, it’s assumed the base is used to test aircraft and weapons systems. The air space overhead is absolutely restricted. Even Air Force pilots aren’t allowed to breach the perimeter. The extraordinary secrecy surrounding the base has fueled several Area 51 conspiracy theories over the years ranging from a lab/prison for studying aliens (both living and dead), a meeting place for Earthlings and aliens working in tandem on various projects, reverse engineering and testing of captured/recovered alien technology, developing a weather control system, time travel and teleportation technology and much more. All that said, nothing can be certain as everything that occurs in Area 51 is classified as “Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information.” The CIA didn’t publicly acknowledge the existence of the base until July 2013.

9 • Denver Airport, Colo.

A detail of a mural in Denver International Airport, subject of much conspiracy theorist interest. A plea for peace, or a plan for future martial law?

A detail of a mural in Denver International Airport, subject of much conspiracy theorist interest. A plea for peace, or a plan for future martial law?

Another conspiracy theory layer cake spot is Denver International Airport. That it was built while Denver had a perfectly good airport much closer to the city is the jumping off point for these theories. (For the record, experts have pointed out that the runway layout at the old airport was no longer efficient enough for the increased traffic.) It’s believed that building the new airport allowed for the secret construction of an underground headquarters for the Illuminati, or the New World Order, or the Neo-Nazis, or the Lizard People and so on. The vaguely Swastika-shaped runways, the (admittedly) disturbing murals and sculptures, and odd words engraved in the floor also fuel the theories. Furthermore, there is the question of funding. A stone in the terminal says the airport was funded by “The New World Airport Commission,” a nebulous entity, sanely theorized to be a group of local businesses, though many claim it doesn’t exist.

8 • UFO cover-up, Roswell, N.M.

Seth Shostak: The UFO BestiaryThough it’s now mainly fueled by local businesses wanting to cash in on tourist interest, the (alleged!) Roswell UFO incident of 1947 is the most popular (alleged!) UFO cover-up of all time and still merits time and energy among conspiracy theorists and movie/TV writers. Various people claim that a spacecraft with alien occupants crashed on a ranch near Roswell in June or July 1947, which was quietly hauled away for study, possibly by our friends at Area 51. The Air Force reported at the time that the object was a surveillance balloon. The conspiracy chatter didn’t flare up until 1978 when Major Jesse Marcel, who was involved with the recovery of the debris, gave an interview describing a spacecraft crash cover-up by the military. Since then additional witnesses have emerged, describing the cover-up and alien autopsies. These days, even passionate pro-UFO advocates generally dismiss Roswell as a hoax.

7 • Grassy knoll in Dallas, Texas

The grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza, where the 1963 assasination of US President John F. Kennedy took place in Dallas.

The grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza, where the 1963 assasination of US President John F. Kennedy took place in Dallas.

The Warren Commission concluded that there was no conspiracy involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963. However, after Lee Harvey Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby, an event that also brims with conspiracy, the theories that Oswald didn’t act alone or maybe wasn’t involved at all started flying. The situation was exacerbated in 1979 when the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations announced “…a high probability that two gunmen fired at [the] President.” Furthermore, while he was living in Belarus, it’s said Oswald was such a terrible shot that friends were afraid to go hunting with him. The dazzling list of conspiracy theories put forward at one point or another involve the collusion of one or more parties including the CIA, the FBI and/or FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, the Mafia, anti-Castro Cuban exile groups, Castro himself, then Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, and the KGB.

6 • Kensington Runestone, Runestone Museum in Alexandria, Minn.

Kensington Runestone

Kensington Runestone

Evidence that Scandinavian explorers pushed as far as the Midwest of the future United States in the 14th century or a 19th-century hoax? The Kensington Runestone is a 200 lb slab of greywacke inscribed with runes on the face and side. The story goes the stone was found in 1898 in the rural township of Solem, Minnesota (it gets its name from Kensington, a nearby settlement) by Swedish immigrant Olof Olsson Ohman. The Stone appears to describe an expedition of Norwegians and Swedes who camped in the area, then retreated to their boat at “the inland sea” after 10 were slaughtered by unknown assailants. Runologists and linguistic experts overwhelming agree that the language used on the stone is too modern (circa the 19th century, coincidentally) and didn’t match other writing samples from the 1300s. However, the legend persists, being occasionally revived with new evidence and arguments, some as recently the 1990s.

5 • D.B. Cooper airplane hijack, ransom and parachute jump, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest

A 1972 F.B.I. composite drawing of D. B. Cooper (wikipedia)

A 1972 F.B.I. composite drawing of D. B. Cooper (wikipedia)

The only unsolved case of air piracy in U.S. history was perpetrated by an unidentified man who the media came to call “D. B. Cooper.” (The hijacker purchased his ticket using the alias “Dan Cooper.”) On November 24, 1971, Cooper hijacked a passenger plane (a Boeing 727) during a Portland-Seattle flight. Claiming he had a bomb, he made his ransom plans known to the crew. On the ground in Seattle, Cooper released the passengers after officials gave him the requested $200,000 (equivalent to $1,160,000 today) and two parachutes. With only Cooper and the crew aboard, the plane then took off heading for Mexico. When they stopped in Reno to refuel, Cooper was gone, having jumped from the rear stairs while the plane was likely still over Washington State. Cooper was never found and it’s widely believe he couldn’t have possibly survived the fall, over remote mountainous wilderness, at night, wearing a trench coat and loafers, no helmet, into an initial wind chill at the airplane’s altitude of “70∞ F. The FBI investigation into the case remains open to this day.

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Are intelligence agencies assassinating scientists?

By Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know via YouTube

It seems that being a scientist for the wrong countries has become an increasingly dangerous job. But why? Is there really a conspiracy afoot, or just a string of tragic coincidences?

The CIA vs. Castro

By Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know via YouTube

For decades Fidel Castro ruled Cuba — and the CIA continuously tried to assassinate him. Some of their plans seemed orthodox, but others were outrageous (and even involved organized crime).

Pope John Paul I

By Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know via YouTube

Pope John Paul I was one of the shortest-reigning popes in Church history, and his untimely death led to numerous conspiracy theories. But could any of them be true? Why do some people believe this pope was murdered?

Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy

quick note_150pxI was in a discussion forum and somebody asked me to explain The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy. I started typing when i remembered a video from several years ago that will explain it better than i can write it.

Enjoy, my friend🙂

MIB


Via You Are Not So Smart – YouTube

Also See:

10 Reasons JFK’s Death Might Have Been An Accident

jfk
By FlameHorse via Listverse

JFK crosshairThe assassination of John F. Kennedy remains one of the most controversial events of the 20th century. While the most widely accepted theory is that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing Kennedy, a huge number of conspiracy theories have arisen about that fateful day in Dealey Plaza. But what if the President’s death was actually a terrible accident? First popularized by the ballistics expert Howard Donahue, an intriguing theory holds that after Oswald opened fire on the motorcade, a panicking Secret Service agent accidentally discharged his rifle, firing the shot that killed Kennedy.

This list is not intended to accuse anyone other than Lee Harvey Oswald of having anything to do with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Donahue’s theory is just that—a theory. The following is merely an examination of the evidence for (and against) one of the most fascinating “What Ifs” in American history.

10 • Multiple Witnesses Described the Last Two Shots As Very Close Together

jfk 1003_300pxOswald used a bolt-action Carcano rifle, which requires the shooter to make four movements after each shot in order to cycle the spent case and chamber the next round. The Warren Commission found that the minimum time required to fire the rifle, cycle the bolt once, and fire a second shot was 2.3 seconds. The most commonly accepted theory is that Oswald fired three shots, one of which missed, requiring him to cycle the bolt twice. Based on footage from the Zapruder Film, the Commission concluded that the two shots that hit Kennedy were fired 4.8–5.6 seconds apart.

If the second shot missed, then all three bullets must have been fired in that time. If, however, the first or third shot missed, then the minimum timespan increases to 7.1–7.9 seconds for all three shots. Neither scenario is impossible, although 4.8–5.6 seconds would be a remarkably short time to fire accurately on a moving vehicle.

But the Warren Commission’s calculations are only important if the shots are assumed to have occurred at equal intervals. If, instead, the last two shots were to occur almost simultaneously, then a single bolt-action rifle could not fire them both. Interestingly, some witness testimony seems to support that scenario. Notable is the testimony of Secret Service agent Bill Greer, who drove the Presidential limousine, when asked: “How much time elapsed, to the best of your ability to estimate and recollect, between the time of the second noise and the time of the third noise?”

Greer answered: “The last two seemed to be just simultaneously, one behind the other, but I don’t recollect just how much, how many seconds were between the two. I couldn’t really say.”

District Clerk James Crawford, who was standing at the intersection of Elm and Houston streets during the shooting, stated: “As I observed the parade, I believe there was a car leading the President’s car, followed by the President’s car and followed, I suppose, by the Vice President’s car and, in turn, by the Secret Service in a yellow closed sedan. The doors of the sedan were open. It was after the Secret Service sedan had gone around the corner that I heard the first report and at that time I thought it was a backfire of a car but, in analyzing the situation, it could not have been a backfire of a car because it would have had to have been the President’s car or some car in the cavalcade there. The second shot followed some seconds, a little time elapsed after the first one, and followed very quickly by the third one. I could not see the President’s car.”

Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig was standing in front of the Sheriff’s Office on Houston Street, having watched the motorcade pass and turn onto Elm. Once it was out of sight, Craig heard three shots and started running toward the scene. Here is part of his testimony, as taken by Commission staffer David Belin:

BELIN: About how far were these noises apart?
CRAIG: The first one was—uh—about three seconds—two or three seconds.
BELIN: Two or three seconds between the first and the second?
CRAIG: It was quite a pause between there. It could have been a little longer.
BELIN: And what about between the second and third?
CRAIG: Not more than two seconds. It was—they were real rapid.

None of this conclusively disproves that Oswald was the sole shooter. But it does raise an interesting possibility—if the second and third shots were fired so close together, is it conceivable that one of them wasn’t fired by Oswald at all?

9 • George Hickey Was The Only Secret Service Agent Armed With A Rifle

487585263_250pxThere were 12 Secret Service agents assigned to guard Kennedy on the day of the assassination. Special Agent in Charge Roy Kellerman rode in the front passenger seat of the Presidential limousine, with Special Agent Bill Greer driving. Win Lawson and Verne Sorrels rode in the lead vehicle and Agent Sam Kinney drove the rear vehicle, with the President’s limousine in the middle. Also in the rear vehicle were Special Agent Emory Roberts in the front passenger seat, George Hickey in the left rear seat, and Glen Bennett in the right rear seat. Special Agents Clint Hill, Tim Mcintyre, Jack Ready, and Paul Landis stood on the rear car’s running boards.

The lead vehicle was a hardtop, the other two were convertibles with their tops down. All of the agents were armed with 4-inch-barreled revolvers. As per standard procedure, one agent, Hickey, was also armed with an AR-15 rifle. Thus, assuming Oswald did not fire the headshot, then Hickey’s rifle was the only other one available.

8 • Hickey Did Produce The Rifle During The Shooting

jfk-1_250pxHugh W. Betzner, Jr., an eyewitness who had been standing at the intersection of Elm and Houston when the motorcade turned left onto Elm, reported that: “I also saw a man in either the President’s car or the car behind his and someone down in one of those cars pull out what looked like a rifle.” Betzner also described seeing a “flash of pink” somewhere in the motorcade, which has occasionally been interpreted as a muzzle flash. This flash could have come from Hickey’s rifle, or any of the agents’ handguns, although an AR-15 creates a much more noticeable flash. However, it is much more likely that the “flash of pink” referred to Jackie Kennedy, who was dressed in pink, reaching out to Special Agent Clint Hill, who had jumped from the rear car onto the back of the Presidential limo. Betzner actually specifically describes the flash as resembling “someone standing up and then sitting back down,” so the muzzle flash theory seems relatively dubious.

However, Hickey himself confirmed Betzner’s report that he did “pull out” the rifle during the shooting, testifying: “At the end of the last report I reached to the bottom of the car and picked up the AR-15 rifle, cocked and loaded it, and turned to the rear. At this point the cars were passing under the overpass and as a result we had left the scene of the shooting. I kept the AR-15 rifle ready as we proceeded at a high rate of speed to the hospital.”

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Danny Casolaro and the Octopus

Via Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know – YouTube

Journalist Danny Casolaro swore to his friends that he’d stumbled upon something big — a massive conspiracy at the heart of the US government, spanning the globe. His life, he believed, was in danger. But what happened next — and what, exactly, is “The Octopus”

9 True Conspiracies That Aren’t Actually True or Conspiracies

Mike RothschildBy Mike Rothschild via Skeptoid

In Skeptoid Episode #364, Brian made a statement regarding conspiracy theories that I’ve since used many times in my continued battle against tinfoil-helmeted nonsense. It’s simple, direct, and 100% true:

No conspiracy theory has ever been proven true.

A less-elegant and wordier way to say this is that there has never been a popularly held conspiracy theory, ie, a non-evidenced belief that a group of powerful people secretly worked together to do something harmful, that later had compelling evidence to prove that said conspiracy was real.

Don’t think too hard about it, little guy.

Don’t think too hard about it, little guy.

Whenever I use this argument in social media, I’m invariably sent one of about half a dozen different internet listicles that attempt to prove me wrong by going through a number of conspiracies or conspiracy theories that were later proven to be real. One is a really long slog from Infowars. Another is from Cracked. There are still others from Listverse, Style Slides and True Activist.

What much of the content on these lists, as well as those who send them to me, get wrong on a pretty consistent basis is that there is a difference between a conspiracy and a conspiracy theory. Conspiracies are real, and many of them have been proven conclusively to have taken place at all times throughout history. Some of these include the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, the conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler (the so-called July 20th plot), the conspiracy to throw the 1919 World Series, American tobacco companies conspiring to suppress scientific research that painted their products as harmful, and so on. All of these are real and none of them are theories.

conspiracy box secret package_250pxLikewise, things like 9/11 being an inside job, JFK being shot by multiple gunmen, chemtrails, the existence of an all-powerful New World Order, FEMA camps and any number of banking and currency related plots are all conspiracy theories. That is to say, they are all theories that a conspiracy took place – and most have little to no evidence supporting those theories.

Not only is there a difference between a conspiracy and a conspiracy theory, there are all manner of reasons why people would “conspire” about something – and they’re not all bad or harmful. There are perfectly legitimate reasons why a government or corporation would want to keep something secret, whether it’s a patented technology, proprietary research or a sensitive national security matter. Like it or not, not everyone gets to know everything.

conspiracies05With all of this in mind, I want to take a look at one of the lists I’ve been sent a couple of times. It’s representative of the general tone and content of the other lists, and has the added advantage of being from a reputable source, Business Insider. This is a good example of a list of “conspiracies” that is not a list of conspiracy theories, and isn’t even all “conspiracies.”

That’s a lot of qualifiers. To be on this list, the plot has to be huge (whatever that means), driven by the government, and proven to be a conspiracy that with compelling evidence to support its existence.

1. The U.S. Department of the Treasury poisoned alcohol during Prohibition — and people died.

This is completely true. The Treasury, in its capacity to enforce the Volstead Act, added deadly chemicals to the industrial alcohol that was being used by bootleggers as a substitute for grain alcohol. While the poisoning became public knowledge very quickly, over 1,000 people still died in New York alone, thanks to this true conspiracy.

2. The U.S. Public Health Service lied about treating black men with syphilis for more than 40 years.

Another true conspiracy, and one that the CDC openly acknowledges – making up for decades of knowingly sickening hundreds of poor black men. But even during the heyday of the experiment, it was never a popularly discussed theory, and it’s been public knowledge for four decades.

3. More than 100 million Americans received a polio vaccine contaminated with a potentially cancer-causing virus.

Here’s a perfect example of something that’s not a conspiracy, certainly not a government conspiracy and not even true. The Business Insider piece relies on debunked testimony from anti-vaxxer Barbara Loe Fisher to back up the pseudoscience claim that millions of doses of Jonas Salk’s original formulation of the polio vaccine contained the “cancer causing virus” SV40. But no compelling evidence exists that SV40 actually causes any harm in humans (SV stands for simian virus), and virtually every source that makes this claim is strongly anti-vaccination.

The author of the BI piece is either anti-vaccine or fell for anti-vaccine propaganda.

4. Parts of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, which led to U.S. intervention in Vietnam, never happened.
USS Maddox in action against North Vietnamese torpedo boats (navy.mil)

USS Maddox in action against North Vietnamese torpedo boats (navy.mil)

This would indeed be a “huge government conspiracy” if it were true. As I wrote about in my piece on false flag attacks, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident was actually two separate attacks on a US destroyer by North Vietnamese torpedo boats in August 1964. The first was an actual attack, with bullet holes in both the destroyer Maddox and the North Vietnamese boats to prove it.

The second was theorized even at the time to be a phantom attack, featuring jittery US sailors shooting at shadows. While we now know that this “attack” didn’t happen, there was a tremendous amount of confusion in the White House shortly afterwards, and subsequent tapes show President Johnson openly wondering what happened. It could be argued that there was a conspiracy to make the Incident fit the Johnson administration’s desire to expand US involvement in Vietnam, that’s a conspiracy of a different color.

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The Conspiracy Theory Flowchart “THEY” Don’t Want You To See

By via The Reason Stick

Had enough government rhetoric? Tired of following the sheeple? Fed up with believing what THEY want you to believe? Maybe it’s time to branch out and discover THE TRUTH.

If you’re new to the exciting world of conspiracy theories and just can’t decide which paranoid delusion best suits you, then why not use this handy flowchart to find your ideal conspiracy theory. Then you too can go and stick it to THE MAN.

(Click image for larger view)
Crispian's Conspiracy Flowchart

Click image for larger view

“You know, this explains a lot. Because all my life, I’ve had this unaccountable feeling in my bones that something sinister was happening in the universe and that no one would tell me what it was.” Arthur Dent

NB This is not intended to be a complete list, but please don’t let that stop you commenting to let me know what I’ve missed off🙂


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Project ARTICHOKE: The Manchurian Candidate

By Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know via YouTube

Could drugs and psychological torture turn an average person into an unwilling assassin? It sounds like the stuff of sci-fi — so why do some people believe the CIA tried to do it in real life? Tune in to learn more about Project ARTICHOKE.

Government’s lies feed the persistence of conspiracy theories

By Damon Cline via The Augusta Chronicle

Get out your tinfoil hats. We’re going to talk conspiracy theories.

Xfiles_300pxIn general, the peculiarities of how we discern the theories we believe from those we don’t. And, specifically, what those beliefs or disbeliefs say about us as individuals.

First, I’ll make the assumption that if you are reading a newspaper column, or at least recognize the names “Mulder” and “Scully,” you are familiar with conspiracy theories. They range from mainstream speculations many people believe, such as John F. Kennedy assassination theories, to fringe concepts that many people dismiss, such as the “chemtrail” theory that posits the government is delivering biological agents through the white clouds trailing high-flying jets.

FOR THE PURPOSES of this column, I’ll focus on theories purported to involve the U.S. government because those have the most widespread social, political and economic impacts. Films such as Men in Black and Independence Day would have no pop-culture currency if not for the widely held suspicion the government has possessed alien life forms and technology since 1947.

Conspiracy theories persist because – in addition to a constant spate of broken promises (Yucca Mountain, “Read my lips – no new taxes,” “You can keep your health insurance”) – the government flat-out lies to us.

The Trinity (nuclear test) explosion, 16 ms after detonation. July 16, 1945, White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico. Image: Wikipedia

The Trinity (nuclear test) explosion, 16 ms after detonation on July 16, 1945 at the White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico.
Image: Wikipedia

The thunderous boom and sunlike glare that alarmed New Mexico residents in the early morning hours of July 16, 1945, was not the world’s first nuclear weapon. It was an explosion at a “remotely located ammunitions” depot. The second attack on the U.S.S. Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin on Aug. 4, 1964, the very attack that gave President Johnson the push to send troops to Vietnam? It never happened.

Yes, the truth is out there, but when it finally materializes (41 years, in the case of the Gulf of Tonkin incident) the public usually has forgotten, or no longer cares, about the lie.

Which leads us back to the whole point of this exercise: What makes us doubt the official party line in some instances and not others?

One might assume a person who believes in a JFK conspiracy theory should believe most, if not all, conspiracy theories. After all, couldn’t a government powerful enough to snuff out the leader of the free world in public view, and successfully cover it up for decades, be capable of doing anything?

But that’s not how we think. We base decisions on our overall level of trust in government – in a nameless, faceless bureaucratic sense – and our specific viewpoint on whoever happens to be in the Oval Office at the time. And I believe emotions shape those decisions as much as hard evidence.

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10 Mysterious Deaths Connected To The JFK Assassination

By FlameHorse via Listverse

Probably the best known mystery surrounding Kennedy’s death is his missing brain. Not as well known are the mysterious deaths of many people connected to the assassination, eventually prompting the House Select Committee on Assassinations to look into possible foul play. After a cursory investigation, it found none.

Of course, a mysterious death may or may not involve foul play. Here are accounts of 10 people who witnessed Kennedy’s actual assassination, or had pertinent knowledge of one or more people involved, and who died “untimely”—at least in some estimations.

10 • Jack Ruby

Jack_Ruby_mugshot_250pxWe begin with Ruby, the only very famous entry, who murdered Lee Harvey Oswald on live TV just two days after Oswald had been arrested for killing Kennedy. When Kennedy was shot, Ruby was five blocks away from the Texas School Book Depository, distributing ads. He originally claimed to have shot Oswald in order to “redeem” Dallas and spare Jackie Kennedy the agony of a trial. But these motives—and everything else in Ruby’s life—remain shrouded in contradictions.

Ruby himself later claimed that his first attorney had told him to testify to the above motives, while Vegas mobster Johnny Roselli claimed Ruby had been assigned to silence Oswald. In 1965, well after his conviction, Ruby had this to say about the murder: “Everything pertaining to what’s happening has never come to the surface. The world will never know the true facts of what occurred, my motives. The people who had so much to gain, and had such an ulterior motive for putting me in the position I’m in, will never let the true facts come above board to the world.”

On 3 January, 1967, Ruby died of a pulmonary embolism, a complication of lung cancer. Before his death, he had gone on record claiming that he had been visited by a man who injected him with what he was told were antibiotics for a chronic cold, but which he believed were really cancer cells. He had just been granted a new trial on the grounds that his first trial in Dallas could not have been fairly heard. Shortly before he passed away, Ruby told a psychiatrist that the assassination was a coup d’etat and that he knew who was responsible for Kennedy’s murder.

9 • James Richard Worrell Jr.

rsz_1600px-jfk_limousine_250pxWorrell was one of the very best eyewitnesses to Kennedy’s assassination, providing unusually detailed answers to the usual questions about that day (his entire testimony before Congress is available here). In 1963, Worrell was a 20-year-old high school student living in Dallas with his mother and sister. When Kennedy arrived, Worrell decided to skip school in order to see the President, leaving home early in the morning and hitchhiking to Love Field. Finding he was too late to get a good view there, he left for Dealey Plaza and waited four or five feet in front of the Book Depository, on the sidewalk at the corner of Elm and Houston.

He watched as the motorcade came down Houston Street, and turned past him onto Elm. Then Worrell testified that he heard “four shots.” He looked up after the first, which he realized was too loud to be a firecracker, and saw a rifle barrel protruding from the 5th or 6th-floor corner window of the building. He looked back to Kennedy’s vehicle, heard the second shot, and saw the President slump over. He looked back up and saw the third shot’s muzzle flash, then began running in a panic around the Depository and onto Houston Street, where he heard a fourth shot. Stopping to catch his breath, he turned in time to see a man run from the rear exit of the Depository and later gave a basic description of Oswald’s height, build, and dress.

Three years later, on 6 November, 1966, Worrell was riding his motorcycle along Gus Thomasson Street in Dallas, along with a passenger named Lee Hudgins, when he apparently lost control of the vehicle, jumped the median curb, and overturned in the opposite lane. Worrell’s head, without a helmet, struck the curb, and Hudgins was flung in front of a car. Both died at the hospital.

8 • Thomas Hale Boggs Sr.

640px-LBJ-Boggs_250pxBoggs was perhaps the most high profile person connected to the assassination to die under mysterious circumstances. A longtime Louisiana Congressman, he was House Majority Whip when Kennedy was killed and became House Majority Leader in 1971. In 1963, he was appointed to the President’s Commission on the Assassination, nicknamed the Warren Commission after its chairman, Chief Justice Earl Warren. The Commission ultimately concluded that Oswald acted alone, but three of its members disagreed—Boggs and Senators Richard Russell and Sherman Cooper. Russell, who died of natural causes in 1971, publicly stated his “lingering dissatisfaction” with the investigation, while Boggs accused FBI director J. Edgar Hoover of “lying his eyes out” during the hearings.

Boggs was a strong critic of the single bullet theory. According to this theory, Oswald fired three shots, the second of which struck Kennedy in the upper back, passed through his throat and continued into Texas Governor John Connally’s back. The bullet then exited Connally’s chest, smashed through his wrist, and stopped in his left thigh, creating a total of seven wounds in two people. Some critics have claimed this would have required the bullet to somehow rise in mid-flight between the two men, but Connally had actually been sitting in a specially added “jump seat” few inches lower than Kennedy, which would have made it possible for the bullet to cause the seven wounds.

The fact of Connally’s seat height was not known at the time, but Boggs also strongly opposed the theory that Oswald acted alone, and that Ruby acted alone in killing Oswald. As House Majority Whip, then Leader, his words carried great weight.

On 16 October, 1972, Boggs was flying from Anchorage to Juneau with Alaskan Congressman Nick Begich and two others. They never arrived. The cause of the crash has never been discovered, nor has the wreckage of the plane, nor the bodies of the dead. Many civil aircraft of the time did not have emergency transmitters that would broadcast their locations upon crashing (such transmitters were made mandatory as a direct result of the incident). The four men were declared dead early the next year.

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Conspiracy theories: the truth (or is it…?)

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By Emma Higginbotham Cambridge News

Everyone loves a juicy conspiracy theory. Were the moon landings faked? Was Di’s death really an accident? Was there a second gunman on the grassy knoll? Are the royal family actually lizards?

Oh come on, don’t pretend none of these have crossed your mind.

David Runciman

David Runciman

They’ve all crossed David Runciman’s mind. Yes, even that one. Why? Because the politics professor is deep into a five-year project to work out where, when, how and why conspiracy theories fester – and looking in particular at the link between conspiracy and democracy.

“These days when people have conspiracy theories, they tend to think their government is behind it,” explains David. “A classic modern example is 9/11. There are conspiracy theorists who believe that either the American government knew it was going to happen and didn’t tell anyone, or organised it as an excuse to have war in Iraq; they say it’s about oil – all this kind of stuff.” Yet 100 years ago, people were perhaps more likely to blame, say, secret organisations or the banks if anything went wrong, “so we’re interested in trying to understand why people now think that government is the villain.

“We think it’s got something to do with frustrations with democracy: people thinking ‘Why isn’t the world working out the way we want it to? Government must be to blame!’”

NWO02Some even go a step further, claiming that there’s a ‘New World Order’: an international government run by the mysterious Bilderberg Group. “People believe that about 100 financiers and government representatives meet in secret, and decide what’s going to happen in the future,” he explains. “There’s a guy in America – a wealthy guy, who’s funding political candidates – who believes that the financial crash of 2008 was engineered in order to get Obama into the White House. They think that they’re manipulating the whole world.”

But why would anyone believe that? “Some people would say ‘Because they’re crazy, they’re paranoid, deluded’. But it’s not just that; it’s partly because they want an explanation for why things keep going wrong.

“There’s this thing: ‘Is history a cock-up or is it a conspiracy?’ And the real explanation is probably it’s a cock-up. Why have we been living through a financial crisis? Probably because people messed up! But conspiracy theorists don’t think that’s a good enough explanation. They think somebody must be behind it.”

And, adds David, there may occasionally be method in their madness: “It’s easy to say conspiracy theorists are people who have lost out in some way, but it’s so widespread! We’re looking at it through history, and it’s not just the ‘losers’, there are lots of different kinds of people who believe in these conspiracies. We want to know why.”

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This is Not a Conspiracy Theory (Part 1) – YouTube

I’m curious to know what everybody thinks of this new series being released on the web. I’ve watched this first part and i’m not sure i’m clear on where it’s going.

If it looks worthwhile i will pay for future installments just to post them here on iLLumiNuTTi.com for all of us to watch.

Your thoughts? Leave a comment🙂

Mason (MIB)


This is Not a Conspiracy Theory (Part 1) – YouTube.

On The Web: This is Not a Conspiracy Theory

Delysid’s Guide to Thinking and Debating Like a (bad) Conspiracy Theorist

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by Delysid via dailypaul.com

conspiracist 1200Step 1: Start with the premise that any tragic incident is a massive, intricate government conspiracy.

Step 2: Denounce any information presented by a mainstream, non-conspiracy source that directly counters the predetermined conspiracy narrative as corrupt and part of the conspiracy.

Step 3: Monitor these same mainstream sources for information that supports the predetermined conspiracy narrative, even if only remotely. Mainstream media reporting mistakes that support your conspiracy (or any conspiracy really) must be treated as rare moments of truth, glimpses inside the Matrix. Any mainstream media reports in favor of the conspiracy should be treated like the word of God. Spam that information everywhere.

Step 4: Imagination is the same thing as undeniable fact. There is nothing wrong with manipulating Youtube videos and using Photoshop to edit information to make it more obvious for the stupid sheeple to understand.

Step 5: Reject the skeptics to the conspiracy theories aggressively. Call them out for being sheep, shills, Cointelpro, paid agents, et cetera. Do not ever doubt yourself, because if you think they are any of these nouns, then it is undeniably true. After all, the conspiracy theory you are trying to wake the world up to is a fact. Only a sheep would think otherwise.

conspiracist clicktivism_300pxStep 6: Bring up the founding of the Federal Reserve, the Bay of Pigs, The Gulf of Tonkin, and other well known deceptive schemes by the government often (every conversation if need be.) These actions were confessed by government, therefore every other conspiracy theory is true!

Step 7: Cite declassified documents often, as they are invaluable. If the government reports that a secret program was started and ended 60 years ago- DO NOT BELIEVE THEM. The secret programs for sure are still occurring and are now more massive, sinister, and successful than before.

Step 8: Remember that most of witnesses and victims involved in conspiracy event are actors. Medical examiners, emergency responders, the police, reporters, they are almost all in on it. The innocent people caught up in the conspiracy were either killed or have been threatened by the conspirators and are too afraid to come forward (or they possibly never existed to begin with.)

Step 9: Blitz the world with the truth until everyone deletes you on Facebook or you are banned from your favorite web sites. Lay low for a period, regroup at your favorite alternative web sites, get encouragement and reinforcement from the other awakened truth seekers, and start the process all over again with a new conspiracy.


[END]
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‘Fast and Furious’ star ‘killed by secret society’

Aaron-Klein_avatarBy Aaron Klein via ‘Fast and Furious’ star ‘killed by secret society’

As is the norm following the passing of any major celebrity nowadays, the Internet is rampant with conspiracy theories surrounding the death of movie star Paul Walker of “Fast and Furious” fame.

paulwalker-300x223Walker was killed with friend Roger Rodas on Nov. 30 when the car they were driving burst into flames. Investigators believe the car was speeding at least 90 mph in a 45 mph zone when it reportedly hit a light pole and tree.

Prominent among the imaginative schemes is that Walker was killed as a blood sacrifice by the so-called Illuminati, an alleged shadowy group described as an elitist cabal that yields enormous global influence.

Another claim, based on a difficult-to-see video showing the moment of crash impact, is that Walker was killed by a drone strike. That unsupported theory is contested by a second video.

Another wild conspiracy circulating on forums is that Walker’s death was “predicted” by the “Family Guy” television show.

Some theorists home in on aspects of Walker’s death that, they claim, have occult, ritualistic or symbolic significance.

Drone

One popular claim is the drone strike rumor. The allegation is based on a video released by TMZ.com showing the final moment of the crash.

The video seems to show some sort of reflection just before Walker’s car exploded into flames, prompting cyber claims that an object such as a missile struck the car.

Others have pointed to the lack of tire marks in photos of the crash site as evidence of a supposed missile strike.

Paul Joseph Watson at InfoWars.com, a site known for jumping on other assassination conspiracy theories, called the Walker drone theory a “baseless conspiracy” that “discredits real evidence of political assassinations.”

The site reports the object in the video is “almost certainly” the light pole Walker’s car struck just before the explosion.

Daniel Worku of the Las Vegas Guardian Express, meanwhile, focuses on the condition of a tree next to where Walker’s car finally stopped before exploding.

“What is not understandable is why the tree seems only to have sustained impact damage, and does not show significant fire damage,” writes Worku.

WalkerCrash1

However, CNN last week broadcast security footage it obtained appearing to show Walker’s vehicle knocking down a tree and pole before coming to its final rest at a second tree, perhaps indicating the car was slowed down before its final stop.

No mystery object can be seen in the CNN footage prior to the final impact.

CNN reports its footage shows the car emitted smoke for about 60 seconds before the final big explosion, apparently debunking the claims of an instant strike by a drone.

‘Death predicted’

Another debunked Internet claim is that Walker’s death was first reported by TMZ.com two days prior to the actual car crash. That claim was based on fabricated reports edited on Internet forums.

One far-fetched YouTube assertion suggests “Family Guy” actually foretold Walker’s death by car crash.

The claim stems from a death in an episode aired two weeks ago in which the dog character Brian was run over by a car.

YouTube user Paul Gardiner makes the correlation to Walker because, he asserts, “Brian was Paul Walker’s actor’s name in ‘The Fast & The Furious,’ and it was, I believe, like about a week and a half ago, right?”

Gardiner claims “these types of things always tend to be predicted by the media and the industry.”

One central factor glaringly missing from many of the conspiracies is an actual motive to murder Walker.

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The Conspiratorial Mind

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By Mason I. Bilderberg

If you have a hardcore interest in the conspiratorial mind like i do, i think you’ll enjoy what i have to offer today.

There is an internet radio broadcast called The Bob Charles Show that broadcasts 5 days a week at various times.

I mention this show because i’m having fun sifting through their audio archive listening to some of the craziest conspiratorial-woo crap you’ll find anywhere. This is pure entertainment. Where else can you find this kind of rambling nonsense?

To whet your appetite, below is an excerpt from the 11/10/13 The Bob Charles Show that i had transcribed.

Do note, i have highlighted every instance where these conspiracists use the catch-all, abstract phrase “they” to reference the faceless, nameless matrix masters.

Conspiracists are notorious for blaming “them” or “they” for every woe, unanswered question or mystery in the world.

  • Don’t feel well? “They” are spraying us with something.
  • Who did it? “They” did it.
  • Who controls the world? “They” do.
  • Corn Flakes soggy? Damn “them!”

You want to piss off a conspiracist? When they refer to “they,” ask them who “they” are. Two days ago a conspiracist told me “they” were the FBI, NSA, CIA, etc. I asked him to stop blaming buildings and get more specific (Who? What? When? Where?). He went nuts. To him i was suddenly one of “them.”

If you hear “they,” ask for specific names, dates and locations. Who (specifically) talked to who (specifically)? Who (specifically) is a member of the illuminati? Who (specifically) within the NSA? Who (specifically) within the government? Who (specifically) within the pharmaceutical industry? Who (specifically)?

No more blaming buildings and talking in abstract concepts about nameless, faceless people.

But i digress …

Here is the excerpt from the 11/10/13 The Bob Charles Show with the word “They” highlighted:

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In the one hour interview, the word “they” was used at least 146 times to reference the matrix masters.
As usual, who “they” are is never specified.

The entire interview is approximately 58 minutes long. Like i said, i have a hardcore interest in these loons, so this may not be for you if your interest is more casual.

But if you wish to go deep inside the inner sanctum, you can download the transcript here (PDF) and download the mp3 here or listen to the audio here:


Inside the minds of the JFK conspiracy theorists

by William Saletan via New Scientist

0305911-lead-md_250pxTo believe that the US government planned or deliberately allowed the 9/11 attacks, you’d have to posit that President Bush intentionally sacrificed 3,000 Americans. To believe that explosives, not planes, brought down the buildings, you’d have to imagine an operation large enough to plant the devices without anyone getting caught.

To insist that the truth remains hidden, you’d have to assume that everyone who has reviewed the attacks and the events leading up to them – the CIA, the Justice Department, the Federal Aviation Administration, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, scientific organisations, peer-reviewed journals, news organisations, the airlines, and local law enforcement agencies in three states – was incompetent, deceived or part of the cover-up.

And yet, as Slate’s Jeremy Stahl points out, millions of Americans hold these beliefs. In a Zogby poll taken six years ago, only 64 per cent of US adults agreed that the attacks “caught US intelligence and military forces off guard”. More than 30 per cent chose a different conclusion: that “certain elements in the US government knew the attacks were coming but consciously let them proceed for various political, military, and economic motives”, or that these government elements “actively planned or assisted some aspects of the attacks”.

How can this be? How can so many people, in the name of scepticism, promote so many absurdities?

CautionNewWorldOrderAhead_250pxThe answer is that people who suspect conspiracies aren’t really sceptics. Like the rest of us, they’re selective doubters. They favour a world view, which they uncritically defend. But their worldview isn’t about God, values, freedom, or equality. It’s about the omnipotence of elites.

Conspiracy chatter was once dismissed as mental illness. But the prevalence of such belief, documented in surveys, has forced scholars to take it more seriously. Conspiracy theory psychology is becoming an empirical field with a broader mission: to understand why so many people embrace this way of interpreting history. As you’d expect, distrust turns out to be an important factor. But it’s not the kind of distrust that cultivates critical thinking.

In 1999, a research team headed by Marina Abalakina-Paap, a psychologist at New Mexico State University, published a study of US college students. The students were asked . . .

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November 22, 1963

Via The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

Click image for larger, more legible view.

Click image for larger, more legible view.
Click here for a PDF copy.

Conspiracy theory psychology: People who claim to know the truth about JFK, UFOs, and 9/11.

The fascinating psychology of people who know the real truth about JFK, UFOs, and 9/11.

By via slate.com

conspiracys_300pxTo believe that the U.S. government planned or deliberately allowed the 9/11 attacks, you’d have to posit that President Bush intentionally sacrificed 3,000 Americans. To believe that explosives, not planes, brought down the buildings, you’d have to imagine an operation large enough to plant the devices without anyone getting caught. To insist that the truth remains hidden, you’d have to assume that everyone who has reviewed the attacks and the events leading up to them—the CIA, the Justice Department, the Federal Aviation Administration, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, scientific organizations, peer-reviewed journals, news organizations, the airlines, and local law enforcement agencies in three states—was incompetent, deceived, or part of the cover-up.

And yet, as Slate’s Jeremy Stahl points out, millions of Americans hold these beliefs. In a Zogby poll taken six years ago, only 64 percent of U.S. adults agreed that the attacks “caught US intelligence and military forces off guard.” More than 30 percent chose a different conclusion: that “certain elements in the US government knew the attacks were coming but consciously let them proceed for various political, military, and economic motives,” or that these government elements “actively planned or assisted some aspects of the attacks.”

NWO02How can this be? How can so many people, in the name of skepticism, promote so many absurdities?

The answer is that people who suspect conspiracies aren’t really skeptics. Like the rest of us, they’re selective doubters. They favor a worldview, which they uncritically defend. But their worldview isn’t about God, values, freedom, or equality. It’s about the omnipotence of elites.

Conspiracy chatter was once dismissed as mental illness. But the prevalence of such belief, documented in surveys, has forced scholars to take it more seriously. Conspiracy theory psychology is becoming an empirical field with a broader mission: to understand why so many people embrace this way of interpreting history. As you’d expect, distrust turns out to be an important factor. But it’s not the kind of distrust that cultivates critical thinking.

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Eleven Dumb Conspiracy Theories

Nikki McWattersBy via The Huffingtonpost

Whenever there is a disaster or notable tragedy in the world, the conspiracy theorists come crawling out of their darkened dens to offer up incredibly implausible explanations. The worst one, of late, was in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. False flag 1015_250pxThere was a theory going around, and widespread it was too, that the whole thing had been staged and all the folk who lost limbs were amputee actors. Really? Really? And the lone gunmen is almost always a CIA mind-controlled drone, activated by some remote control… and so on and so forth. We’ve all heard that it was George W. Bush who was behind the World Trade Centre holocaust.

I started snooping about the internet for others because although I’m often appalled at the incredulous nonsense, I am also fascinated by them. I’m fascinated to read fanatical rants that are so ‘out there’ that they become almost entertaining.

Here are a few doozies…

1. J Edgar Hoover organised a hit squad made up entirely of homosexuals to assassinate JFK. The rationale was that in the wake of the hit, police would disregard the flamboyantly dressed gay people because they would not be considered capable of committing such a violent act…I actually do think that the official story is a bit bogus but I’m not buying the Rainbow Army theory.

2. Red heads are direct descendants of aliens. Well, that one is probably true. Rebekah Brooks, Prince Harry and Ronald McDonald for starters!

3. Sony Bono was murdered on the ski slope because he was going to run for president. Unlikely. He was probably just not looking where he was going.

Moon-Landing-Hoax_200px4. Man did not walk on the moon. Man walked into a Hollywood studio for a photo shoot. I like to think we did walk on the moon. It looked like fun. I would like to move to Mars so walking on the moon seems like a good precursor for that. Also, if it was just a Hollywood stunt I would have thought they’d get ET in there. It was a bit too dull for a beat-up.

5. There is a New World Order running a global bank which aims to eliminate paper and coin currency in favour of digital banking and then one day in the not too distant future, they will shut down the system forcing citizens into slavery. It’s all about the Illuminati (isn’t it always?). This one is interesting. I like paper money. Particularly hundred dollar bills. I love the smell of money and I keep forgetting my online password. I will keep my money in shoe-boxes just in case. I have vivid nightmares about the Illuminati. They all have red hair!

6. According to Christine Fitzgerald, a former confidante of Princess Diana, the late Queen of Hearts told her quite seriously that the royal family are actually shape-shifting, reptilian aliens from a galaxy far, far away. Now that is gold.

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8 clues your friend is becoming a crazy conspiracy theorist

smallWorld_conspiracies_pyramid_600pxBy Robyn Pennacchia via Death and Taxes

It’s happened to all of us. Some friend we had in elementary school or from an old job is all of a sudden making super weird comments on Facebook, or you’re in a bar and some random is trying to talk to you about fluoride for some reason. It’s not always immediately clear. Like, I realized one day that people saying crazy things were always following it up with “Do your own research!” and then finally discovered that it was sort of a “buzzphrase” for conspiracy theorists.

So, I thought I’d compile a list of the ways to know that someone in your life is starting to head down to tin foil hat alley.

1 • Says insane thing (probably about chemtrails), and if you dispute, insists that you “Do your own research!”

chemtrail UFO culprit_250pxThis is one of the earliest signs of this type of crazy- and it’s also a major Glenn Beck-ism. I don’t know about you, but when I state a fact, I’m usually able to explain that fact. Especially if it’s something that may be controversial.

For instance, I do not so much believe that Joan Crawford beat her children. This is a thing that most people believe, because of the movie “Mommie Dearest”– however, when asked to explain, I don’t yell “Do your own research!” at people, I explain that all of the other children (save for Christopher) have refuted Christina’s book, as well as Crawford’s actual personal assistant, and Myrna Loy, and pretty much anyone else who was around during that time. I’m not saying I’m 100% definitely correct on this, but I err on the side of “probably not.”

Still, I don’t throw out something weird, get mad at people for not immediately taking me at my word, and then yell at them to do their own research. I mean, if they want to, that’s fine, but I’m usually quite able to support my arguments.

2 • Freaking Flouride

Fluoride_YourNotGoingToPoison_200pxUGH. These people and their fluoride. They love to make up crap about how the government puts fluoride in the water to keep us dumb and rebellion-resistant, like no one has ever seen “Dr. Strangelove” before or something. This is usually what they start with, probably because it sounds slightly more realistic than like, Lizard People.

It is not, however, true. At all. And yes, I’ve “done my research.” But don’t tell that to these people, especially if they are drunk at a bar, because they will, in fact, start screaming at you about it. Fluoride and the “vaccinations cause autism” thing are like the gateway drugs into tin-foil hat land.

3 • Rejecting the tyranny of paragraph breaks

I swear to god, this is a thing. Whenever I see a comment that’s just a giant block of text with no breaks in it, I immediately just go “Welp, this one’s gonna be crazy” and I am pretty much always right. I don’t know why this is a thing, it just is.

4 • When a person who you already kinda know isn’t too swift starts trying to pretend that they are some kind of intellectual who is totally going to school you on “how things are in the world.”

youtube graduate_250pxI hate to say this, but it’s true. It’s always the dumb ones. I feel bad, because like, they’re usually just coming across this stuff for the first time and it is totally blowing their minds. Like, I already know that some people think that the Rothschilds control the world and that there are Mason things on the dollar bill and also THE MOON LANDING WAS FAKED or whatever. I’ve known for years, and I’ve already figured out that it’s all bullshit.

The more you read about history, the more you realize that people are so not getting it together to form a whole “New World Order” anytime soon. While there have been “conspiracy” type things throughout history (MKUltra, Tuskeegee, Project Paperclip, the COINTELPRO that actually existed and not the one people pretend still exists), they have been discovered fairly quickly. Because someone always has a big mouth.

5 • They use the term term Big Pharma (or Big Anything) in all seriousness

There are about a 1000 problems with the pharmaceutical industry, for sure. However, when your friend is talking about “Big Pharma” they are not usually talking so much about overpriced cancer medication as they are like, vaccines causing autism and things like that. Also, sane people, when discussing the problems with the pharmaceutical industry just do not say things like “Big Pharma” because they like being taken seriously.

6 • “Wake up, Sheeple!”

SHEEPLE 04_200pxBeing awake or being asleep is like, tin-foil hat code for being hep to all kinds of nonsense. Which is why on those weird personal ads for Infowars everyone was like “I’ve been awake for 4 months” and things. Sheeple is what they call people who do not go along with them.

See, usually, these people are kind of “new.” Like, they think that the information they are about to rock you with is A) Nothing you have ever heard before or B) Something you are going to buy wholesale, immediately, because their “evidence” is so vastly compelling. If you do not believe them, you are obviously a sheep of a person.

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10 Crazy Literary Conspiracy Theories

By Nolan Moore via Listverse

If you read between the lines of your favorite novel, you might discover a crazy conspiracy theory. From Elizabethan England to the 21st century, people have made some pretty weird claims about books and the folks who wrote them, ranging from secret identities to dastardly deeds.

10 • Is J.K. Rowling Real?

rowling_200pxJ.K. Rowling was just an average working mom who became a world-renowned, uber-wealthy author. At least, that’s what the Bloomsbury publishing company wants you to believe. According to Norwegian filmmaker Nine Grunfeld, there is no J.K. Rowling. The author never existed.

Grunfeld believes the Harry Potter books are just too successful to be the work of one woman. She’s suspicious of how Rowling can churn out seven Potter novels in 10 years, and how those books, written by a nobody, can sell more than 250 million copies worldwide. Grunfeld claims this whole operation is too professional, too slick to be the result of a single author. Instead, Harry Potter is a corporate creation, written by a team of writers a la the Nancy Drew series. The woman we know and love as J.K. Rowling is actually an actress paid to fool readers. Anybody else think Grunfeld is just a tiny bit jealous?

9 • Did Charlotte Bronte Kill Her Sisters?

99705849_200pxThe Brontes were a pretty special family. Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane Eyre, Emily wrote Wuthering Heights, and Anne wrote the lesser-known The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Only Charlotte’s and Anne’s novels were successful in their day, but all three have since become classics of English literature. Sadly, none of the Brontes made it past their thirties, thanks to tuberculosis. But . . . was it really TB?

Criminologist James Tully, author of The Crimes of Charlotte Bronte, has a much more sinister theory. According to Tully, Charlotte was jealous of her sisters’ fame, so she teamed up with her father’s curate, Arthur Bell Nicholls, and poisoned Anne and Emily along with their brother Branwell. Thanks to their scheme, Emily and Branwell died in 1848, and Anne passed away in 1849, allowing the deadly duo to cash all their royalty checks. After the murders, Arthur and Charlotte were married, but Tully claims Nicholls double-crossed his wife. He poisoned Charlotte, thus eliminating all the Brontes, and kept all those fat checks for himself.

Tully tried to have his theories published as a nonfiction book, but couldn’t find a willing publisher. So he rewrote the whole thing as a novel, proving that sometimes truth isn’t necessarily stranger than fiction.

8 • Were J.R.R. Tolkien And C.S. Lewis Occultists?

NarniaMap_200pxJ.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis are two of the most influential fantasy authors of all time, and their novels are beloved across the world. However, several conspiracy theorists claim these two men were heavily involved in the occult and were priming their readers for a New World Order—the one conspiracy to rule them all.

For example, in The Lord of the Rings, the eye of Sauron supposedly represents the all-seeing eye of the Illuminati. Some theorists claim Gandalf symbolizes famous magician Aleister Crowley, and that Frodo is an “aspirant,” someone hoping to be initiated into Gandalf’s illuminated brotherhood of black magic. The infamous John Todd preached that Tolkien actually copied his novels from The Book of Shadows, a Wiccan text, and that his runes are really the witches’ alphabet.

To top it off, some claim the Illuminati uses rings to enslave people! In fact, the “One Ring” poem is allegedly an incantation used to control brainwashed servants. As proof, conspiracy theorists note that Tolkien taught at Oxford, a college obviously run by the Illuminati. They claim Tolkien was softening his readers’ resistance to the occult, preparing them for the coming Illuminati kingdom.

And what about Lewis? His novels are really Christian allegories, right? Well, conspiracy theorist Mary van Nattan says Aslan actually represents pagan solar deities. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe focuses on a land plunged into eternal winter. However, the wintry curse is broken by the return of Aslan, so he’s like the mid-winter solstice breaking through the winter nights. Van Hattan also points out that Aslan has golden fur, a golden face, and golden eyes. Guess what else is golden? The sun!

And going back to John Todd, he claims that Lewis is required reading if you ever want to join a coven of witches. So anyone wanting to practice witchcraft better head down to their local Christian bookstore.

7 • Was Edgar Allan Poe Murdered?

mason_200pxAs the father of the detective genre, it’s appropriate that Edgar Allan Poe’s death is a mystery. On October 3, 1849, Poe showed up in Baltimore, delirious and wearing someone else’s clothes. He died four days later, though no one is sure how. Some think he overdosed, some say he had diabetes, and some even blame rabies. It should come as no surprise that some say Poe was murdered.

One of the more prominent theories suggests that Poe was “cooped.” In the 1800s, when election season came around, gangs would round up men wandering the streets, beat them up, and get them drunk. The men would then be taken to polling booths and forced to vote for a particular candidate multiple times, rigging the election. To make sure their captives weren’t recognized, the kidnappers would force them to wear different clothes every time they cast a ballot. Some think this is why Poe showed up unhinged and wearing clothes that weren’t his.

Others suspect the murder was personal. As the story goes, Poe was involved with a woman who had some pretty possessive brothers. When they learned Poe was an alcoholic, they had a nice, long talk with the author and encouraged him to see other people. Evidently, they convinced him a little too thoroughly.

The most bizarre theory has Poe being murdered by the Masons. By exposing their evil deeds through short stories such as “The Cask of Amontillado” and “Never Bet the Devil Your Head,” Poe incurred their wrath and was murdered on his trip to Baltimore. However, most historians put little stock in this theory as it’s stark raven mad (sorry).

6 • Who Wrote Shakespeare’s Plays?

shakespeare-061708_200pxShakespeare’s authorship has been questioned by crazies and scholars alike. Those who believe the man from Stratford-Upon-Avon was the sole author of works like Hamlet are known as Stratfordians. All those opposed are anti-Stratfordians, and this camp has attracted a surprising number of notable figures, such as Charlie Chaplin, Vanessa Redgrave, Sigmund Freud, Charles Dickens, and Orson Welles.

Conspiracy theorists have a problem believing the Bard penned his own poetry because he was a commoner. The son of a glover and wool-smuggler, Shakespeare was just an actor who didn’t even go to college. How could this guy write some of the most beautiful prose in the English language? He didn’t hang out with royalty, and he’d never traveled outside of England, so how could he write about those topics with such depth and precision? Anti-Stratfordians think Shakespeare was just too ignorant to write a play like King Lear. Instead, the author had to be someone with education and class. So who was the man behind the man?

Anti-Stratfordians have several candidates, the most popular being Christopher Marlowe, Edward de Vere, and Sir Francis Bacon. Marlowe was a famous playwright who was murdered in a bar fight before many of Shakespeare’s plays were written, but according to conspiracy theorists, he actually survived. As he was a spy for the Crown, Marlowe was smuggled into France where he spent the rest of his life writing Shakespeare’s canon.

The second candidate, de Vere, was the 17th Earl of Oxford and has the support of the Roland Emmerich film Anonymous. However, de Vere also died before plays like Macbeth and The Tempest were even written.

The Francis Bacon theory is the most plausible, mostly because he wasn’t dead at the time. Some believe he was the sole author of Shakespeare’s plays while others think he was one member of a dramatist conspiracy. Mark Twain favored the Bacon hypothesis and believed you could find the words “Francisco Bacono” hidden in Shakespeare’s First Folio. But if you think these suspects are just a little too usual, then how about Queen Elizabeth I? Some actually believe the Virgin Queen penned Shakespeare’s words. It seems some will always wonder if Shakespeare achieved greatness or had it thrust upon him.

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10 things you might not know about conspiracy theories

By Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer via chicagotribune.com

The grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza, where the 1963 assasination of US President John F. Kennedy took place in Dallas.

The grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza, where the 1963 assasination of US President John F. Kennedy took place in Dallas.

We’re approaching the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, an event that wrenched this nation and spawned countless conspiracy theories. Was Kennedy killed by the Cubans? The CIA? The Mafia? The military-industrial complex? Time to spread your blanket on a grassy knoll and examine these 10 conspiracy theories:

1 • Some Pakistanis doubt the story of Malala Yousafzai, the teenager who received worldwide support after she was shot and wounded by the Taliban for promoting the education of girls. Suspicion that she is a CIA plant or a greedy hoaxer is so common in Pakistan that a journalist there ridiculed doubters with a satirical piece revealing that Malala’s “real name was Jane” and that the DNA in her earwax showed that she was “probably from Poland.” But other media outlets missed the joke, citing the report as yet more evidence of the Malala plot.

2 • Psychologists say the best predictor for someone believing a conspiracy theory is belief in other theories, even if they’re contradictory. Researchers at the University of Kent in England found that survey respondents who believed that Osama bin Laden died long before the U.S. Navy SEAL attack in May 2011 were actually more likely to also agree with the theory that he was still alive.

Illuminati_Not_250px3 • The Illuminati was a Bavarian secret society founded by Adam Weishaupt in the late 18th century that was extinguished within a few years. Or was it? Conspiracy theorists believe the Illuminati remains alive and is bent on world conquest. It’s certainly bent on domination of book lists, with Dan Brown’s novels as best-sellers, and other authors offering such titles as “Hip-Hop Illuminati: How and Why the Illuminati Took Over Hip-Hop” and “Mary Todd Lincoln and the Illuminati.” Then there’s the video “Die America Die!: The Illuminati Plan to Murder America, Confiscate Its Wealth, and Make Red China Leader of the New World Order.”

4 • The struggling New York Knicks desperately needed the NBA’s No. 1 draft pick in 1985, certain to be Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing. But seven teams were in the running, with the draft order determined by Commissioner David Stern picking envelopes out of a bowl. When the Knicks won the top pick, the “Frozen Envelope Theory” was born. Some suspect that the Knicks’ envelope was chilled so Stern could identify it by touch. Others think a corner of the envelope was bent for the same purpose. But no one has ever proved anything.

US radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones

US radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones

5 • Conspiracy theories are big business. Alex Jones is an Austin, Texas-based talk radio host with millions of listeners over the airwaves and on the Internet who peddles apocalyptic tales of doom. He believes the U.S. government was behind the Oklahoma City bombing, the 9/11 attacks and the Boston Marathon bombings. As Jones spouts his dire warnings, his main advertising sponsor is a gold company called Midas Resources, which benefits from such hysteria as people seek out the traditional financial safety of precious metals. Midas Resources is owned by Ted Anderson, who also owns Genesis Communications — the network that carries Jones.

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‘JFK, The Smoking Gun’ review: Conspiracy theory documentary feels recycled

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By VERNE GAY  verne.gay@newsday.com via Newsday (NY)

THE SHOW “JFK: The Smoking Gun”

WHEN | WHERE Sunday at 8 p.m. on Reelz

Photo credit: Muse Entertainment, 2013 | Howard Donahue (Michael Hearn) studies bullet trajectory model skull in Reelz' "JFK: The Smoking Gun."

Photo credit: Muse Entertainment, 2013 | Howard Donahue (Michael Hearn) studies bullet trajectory model skull in Reelz’ “JFK: The Smoking Gun.”

WHAT IT’S ABOUT The crush of JFK-related specials leading up to the 50th anniversary of his assassination begins with (what else?) this conspiracy theory documentary that postulates a Secret Service agent riding in the car behind Kennedy’s limousine accidentally discharged his weapon — the third shot that killed the president.

Veteran Australian detective Colin McLaren essentially says this theory, which was first postulated by a ballistics expert, Howard Donahue (who died in 1999), and later written up in the 1992 book by Bonar Menninger, “Mortal Error: The Shot that Killed JFK,” is in fact the correct one. Per McLaren, the agent unlatched the safety lock on his automatic rifle after hearing the first shots, then stood up in the car and fell backward when it lurched forward. The gun went off at that point.

MY SAY Any JFK assassination conspiracy theory can be like a long ride down dark alleys, past empty buildings, and scarred landscapes… The view is invariably depressing, but rarely dull and always compelling — to a point, anyway, and then it’s just plain blight.

That point arrives fairly early in “The Smoking Gun” when it becomes obvious that McLaren has nothing much more to add to what Donahue postulated many years ago: The clumsy Secret Service agent did it. Like all conspiracy theories, or at least the good ones, this one luxuriates in the amassed evidence that would seem to point to an inevitable conclusion, unless evidence to the contrary is presented, which never is here. But then that’s the strange Kafka-esque reality of the entire JFK conspiracy industry. For every bumbling Secret Service agent, there’s some guy over on Grassy Knoll. There are hundreds — maybe thousands — of competing theories, and maybe one of them is true. Is this finally that one? What do you think?

BOTTOM LINE Recycled theory with some fresh perspective — but it still smells recycled.

GRADE C


[END] via Newsday (NY)

Here come the conspiracy theorists about JFK

Michael SmerconishBy  Michael Smerconish via The Columbus Dispatch

Nov. 22 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. Get ready for more of this:

John F. Kennedy was murdered by a conspiracy involving disgruntled CIA agents, anti-Castro Cubans, and members of the Mafia, all of whom were extremely angry at what they viewed as Kennedy’s appeasement policies toward Communist Cuba and the Soviet Union.”

ventura bookThat’s according to Jesse Ventura in his new book, They Killed Our President: 63 Reasons to Believe There Was a Conspiracy to Assassinate JFK. Ventura’s “smoking gun” is a memo written three days after the assassination by Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach to Bill Moyers, an aide to newly sworn-in President Lyndon B. Johnson.

“The public must be satisfied that Oswald was the assassin; that he did not have confederates who are still at large; and that the evidence was such that he would have been convicted at trial,” Katzenbach wrote.

Alone, it sounds ominous. But not when viewed in the context of the sentence that precedes it: “ It is important that all the facts surrounding President Kennedy’s assassination be made public in a way that will satisfy people in the United States and abroad that all of the facts have been told and that a statement to this effect be made now.”

JFK crosshairMy hunch is that Katzenbach was already anticipating that, 50 years later, guys like Ventura would seek to prosper by spinning yarns. Katzenbach died in 2012. But Moyers is still with us, and I asked him what he thought of the current use of the memo he was sent 50 years ago. He told me he hasn’t kept up with any of this since leaving the White House.

“Some of my old colleagues and I collaborated a few years ago in a protest to the History Channel over a scurrilous documentary about LBJ and the assassination, but that’s been the extent of the attention I’ve given it,” he said over email. “The Warren Commission settled the matter for me, and conspiracy theories of any kind have always seemed a waste of time. I don’t even believe George W. Bush was behind the 9/11 attacks, and as a result am a constant target of those conspiracy theorists.”

When I recently asked Ventura, the former governor of Minnesota, who fired the shots that killed Kennedy, he could not answer. (“That’s impossible. How can you ask me to do that?”) How many people were in on it? (“It’s hard to say.”)

Typical was this exchange between us:

MS: You wrote the book They Killed Our President. Who are “they”?

JV: No one will ever know, no one will ever know. All I know is, Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t.

Part of Ventura’s explanation is that Oswald had a body double. I kid you not.

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Forty-Five Failed Alex Jones Predictions

By via disinformation (disinfo.com)

AlexJonesMoron_240pxBank runs in February 2009. 9/11-scale terror attacks in 2010. 50% of the U.S. population will be killed in a bio-weapons attack in 2009. 16 year-old soldiers will enforce nationwide martial law by 2012. A major terror attack will occur in the U.S. by the end of summer 2009 (oh, and it’s a false flag). The U.S. will go to war with Russia in 2009. Texas stores are being looted and National Guard troops are moving into Austin right this minute (December 31, 1999). The UN will announce the presence of ET intelligence during 2009 to stage a NWO takeover. The U.S. dollar will be devalued by 50% by 2012.

If you’re Alex Jones, you’re used to being wrong. But that doesn’t stop his wild-eyed fans from listening – there’s always another edge-of-your-seat, apocalyptic prediction coming down the pipeline, after all. In this highly entertaining mash-up, Alex Jones Clips runs down 45 of the most wild, failed Alex Jones predictions.


[END] via disinformation (disinfo.com)

JFK assassination conspiracy theory “blown out of the water” in new book, author says

jfkVia CBS News

(CBS News) It’s been nearly 50 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Questions still remain about whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone or was part of a larger conspiracy.

Now there’s new evidence about that fateful day. It comes from a book called “The Kennedy Half-Century,” written by professor Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

From the moment shots rang out in Dealey Plaza the search for definitive answers in the Kennedy assassination has proved elusive. Was Oswald acting alone, or was he a member of a conspiracy?

JFK crosshairThe 888-page Warren Report issued in 1964 found no evidence that anyone assisted Oswald in planning or carrying out the assassination. The report had many critics and conspiracy theories multiplied over the years. Hundreds of books have been published about the case and dozens of documentaries and films, most notably Oliver Stone’s 1991 Academy Award-winning film “JFK.” But the strongest official confirmation for conspiracy buffs came in 1979 when the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that President Kennedy was “probably assassinated as the result of a conspiracy.” A key piece of evidence was an audio recording that the committee believed captured the sound of four gunshots being fired. One of the gunshots apparently came from a second location, the so-called Grassy Knoll, a patch of land that was ahead of the president’s limousine.

This year, political scientist Larry Sabato had the tapes re-analyzed using state-of-the-art technology. He says they do not capture gunshots at all, but the sounds of an idling motorcycle and the rattling of a microphone.
Anomolie
Sabato also says analysis of the recordings showed the sounds — which were of police radio transmissions — were not from Dealey Plaza, but from a location more than two miles away.

A new poll conducted as part of the book found 75 percent of Americans still reject the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Oswald acted alone.

Sabato said on “CBS This Morning” his book has completely blown the 1979 House Select Committee on Assassinations report “out of the water.” He added, “Their evidence simply does not hold. And they concluded there was a conspiracy.

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Five Kennedy Conspiracy Theories Debunked by JFK: The Smoking Gun

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Via REELZ

From the complicated to the absurd, there is no shortage of hypotheses concocted by conspiracy theorists about what happened on that fateful day in Dallas nearly fifty years ago. While the upcoming REELZ documentary JFK: The Smoking Gun presents a straightforward, plausible and logical solution to this long unsolved mystery, many of the ideas that theorists come up with seem quite unlikely. Ballistics expert Howard Donahue and veteran police detective Colin McLaren came to conclusions which are simple and don’t rely on unsubstantiated claims, and audiences will get a glimpse of the processes they used when JFK: The Smoking Gun premieres Sunday, November 3rd. As for all those off-the-wall conspiracy theories, we took a moment to examine some of the claims, all of which look just a little more unlikely when compared with the evidence presented in the upcoming documentary.

Conspiracy Theory 1: The Mafia Killed JFK

godfather copy_150pxOne of the most popular theories about the JFK assassination is that it was a mafia hit. There are many variations on this theme, and mostly they differ in terms of why the mob decided to get involved. For example, some say the reason JFK was the victim of a mafia hit is because the mob rigged the Illinois election to ensure that Kennedy won the state. When JFK refused to play ball with them once he was in office, the mob felt a need to retaliate. Or maybe the reason that the mob was furious was because JFK continued the economic sanctions and travel embargoes to Cuba. Seeing as Cuba was something of a sanctuary for organized crime bosses, they felt they had to do something about it. Then there’s the simple idea that the mob was simply reacting to the fact that Attorney General Robert Kennedy was cracking down on organized crime. As sensational as these theories are, the fact is that the mob does not typically kill highly visible and powerful politicians or law enforcers, so the idea that they would call a hit on the POTUS seems unlikely. But even if the mafia did kill Kennedy and had a gunman on the grassy knoll, does the ballistics evidence substantiate that theory? Howard Donahue studied the bullet trajectories, and came to the conclusion that there’s no way any of the shots fired came from the grassy knoll. Though it’s had many proponents over the past fifty years, this theory doesn’t really hold up.

Conspiracy Theory 2: The CIA and/or the Illuminati Killed Kennedy

illuminati-1_150pxThe myriad of theories that suggest that the CIA was responsible for JFK’s death is decidedly one jumbled bunch of ideas. One theory claims that the CIA resented the way Kennedy was handling Cuba, and officials were particularly irked that he was undermining their attempts to kill Castro. As a result, the government agency decided to kill Kennedy. Others claim that a shadowy Illuminati-type member of the Federal Reserve Bank wanted Kennedy killed because of a law he passed which could have made the Treasury more powerful than the Federal Reserve. This powerful figure was able to make the CIA do his bidding, because obviously the shadowy, underworld types control everything. The CIA even has a very lengthy (and very dry) explanation of how the story got started and why it is false in their online library. Would sworn US government agents really kill the President of the United States due to political disagreements? It hardly seems likely.

Conspiracy Theory 3: JFK was killed due to his interest in aliens

aliens1_933_824_150pxOne of the more creative conspiracy theories is that JFK was killed because he was too interested in UFOs. They story is that he wanted to share the US government’s information about aliens and UFOs with the USSR in order to avoid a scenario in which a visitor from another planet was confused with an attack from the US. According to this premise, it was deemed that the President was sticking his nose where it didn’t belong so, of course, the only way to deal with the issue was for the CIA or some other government agency to assassinate him. Obviously this theory isn’t too difficult to disprove. Just a moment or two of critical thinking reveals the giant holes in the hypothesis, but really we have to love the intertwining of two major conspiracies.

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Conspiracy theories are the refuse bins for logical fallacies

Via Eastfield College Times

nasa-moon-hoaxEvery time I hear someone repeat a conspiracy theory, it makes me question my stance on torture. Be honest, whom would you rather waterboard, 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or billionaire birther Donald Trump?

Conspiracy theories allow many people to feel more in control. It’s simply more comforting to imagine some grand conspiracy was behind the assassination of President John F. Kennedy than to accept the fact that one lone man, Lee Harvey Oswald, was able to assassinate the leader of the free world.

A recent study at the University of Kent in England shed new light on the minds of conspiracy theorists. It found that factual details were far less important to conspiracy theorists than their belief that secret and powerful forces are controlling everything.

The study also found people who believed Osama Bin Laden is still alive were just as likely to sign on to the theory that he was already dead at the time of the raid, a sort of SchrÖdinger’s Cat approach.

I have seriously studied the Kennedy assassination since 2003 and have read a stack of books on the subject taller than I am. I’ve also made countless trips to Dealey Plaza and to the Sixth Floor Museum’s research room to educate myself further on the assassination.

During a recent trip, I overheard a gentleman saying there must have been a second shooter positioned on the grassy knoll because after the shot the president’s head snapped back and to the left. This is a common misconception.

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I explained to him that, according to Nobel prize-winning physicist Luis W. Alvarez, a bullet approaching the speed of sound transfers little resistance to the head as it enters the skull. However, upon exiting, the bullet pulls with it bits of brain matter and skull fragments creating a jet blast effect that sends the head in the direction of the shooter.

His response: “That actually makes a lot of sense, but I still think there must have been a second shooter.”

Christopher Hitchens called this the “exhaust fumes of democracy,” a result of a large population with unlimited access to large amounts of information that is often wrong or misleading.

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Who needs facts when you have conspiracy theorists?

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Conspiracists and the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy

By Dr. Cory Franklin via ChicagoTribune.com

Lee Harvey Oswald shot President John F. Kennedy. Anyone who disputes that must explain the incredible chain of evidence surrounding how he was enmeshed in the assassination case. (Chuck Berman, Chicago Tribune / March 18, 2012)

Lee Harvey Oswald shot President John F. Kennedy. Anyone who disputes that must explain the incredible chain of evidence surrounding how he was enmeshed in the assassination case. (Chuck Berman, Chicago Tribune / March 18, 2012)

The 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy approaches, and debate begins anew. The evidence is overwhelming that Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK, and nearly as overwhelming that Oswald acted alone. However, history is never completely settled, and the conspiracy theorists are out and about. Many, motivated by profit or fame, are more eager to engage in ad hominem tactics than discuss facts. But some are honest and intelligent, and they deserve a hearing. How to separate them? Ten rules to follow when engaging a conspiracy theorist. Avoid anyone who:

1. Cites Oliver Stone‘s “JFK” as a source

Oliver Stone is an accomplished film director, and his 1991 film “JFK” is powerful. However, it is far removed from historical accuracy. Whatever Stone’s motives, the movie is full of distortions and outright falsehoods. The result features real historical characters in a crime-fiction fantasy, essentially a propaganda piece meant to demonize a covert, evil, right-wing paramilitary group.

2. Cites Jim Garrison as a source

In 1967, Garrison, the New Orleans prosecutor, launched the only prosecution arising out of the assassination. He gained worldwide attention with his accusations. The courtroom is the actual crucible, and Garrison’s prosecution of the Louisiana businessman he suspected of involvement was quickly laughed out of court. Today, most conspiracy theorists have disowned Garrison.

3. Claims the Secret Service accidentally killed JFK

jfk 1003_300pxA documentary on cable television this fall, based on a 1992 book, revives the theory that a Secret Service agent in a trail car accidentally discharged his weapon and fired the fatal shot. Despite its implausibility — nine people, including agents and Kennedy aides, were present and no one testified that the agent’s weapon was fired — the theory has gained new currency. Supporters include popular New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell and baseball savant Bill James. Before he died, the agent vehemently denied the allegation and filed a libel suit against the book’s publishers. Rather than go to court, the publishers paid him a confidential monetary settlement.

4. Claims the limo driver killed JFK

There are actually people who believe the Secret Service agent driving the JFK limo turned around, pulled a gun and killed him. Such people should not be trusted with sharp objects. Watch the Zapruder film.

5. Ties the murders of JFK and RFK together

I once rented a copy of “JFK,” and the teenager at Blockbuster (in his mid-30s by now) assured me of the movie’s accuracy. I engaged him by referring to Robert Kennedy, the attorney general who also happened to be the president’s brother. I asked, “How could all these conspirators have escaped undetected when the top law enforcement officer in the country, with every investigative tool at his disposal, was the president’s brother? Wouldn’t he have wanted this uncovered?” Without a hint of irony, the teenager looked at me earnestly and said, “Don’t forget, they killed Robert Kennedy, too.”

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Essay: Conspiracy Theories

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Political Paranoia Is Everywhere, but Even False Notions Tell Us About the Anxieties of People Who Believe

By JESSE WALKER via The Wall Street Journal – WSJ.com

This November will mark the 50th anniversary of two events that are of special interest to conspiracy buffs. One is the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a killing that has spawned dozens of theories about the hidden forces that allegedly carried out the crime. The other is a lecture the historian Richard Hofstadter delivered at Oxford, which Harper’s later published under the title “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.” Half a century of scholarship has either built on or pushed back against Hofstadter’s conclusions, some of which don’t hold up very well. But it remains the most widely cited essay on American political paranoia.

Some conspiracies are real, of course, but even a conspiracy theory that is entirely false has truths to tell us about the anxieties and experiences of the people who believe it. More, it tells us something about the ways people perceive the world.

xxx

Some people saw the face of satan in the World Trade Center smoke.

On 9/11, a Brooklyn, N.Y., photographer named Mark Phillips climbed to his roof and snapped photos of the burning World Trade Center, which were then distributed by the Associated Press. Later he learned that people were seeing an unexpected image in one of the photographs. When he examined the picture he saw it, too. “The image I saw was distinct,” he later wrote. “Eyes, nose, mouth, horns.” There, in the contours of the smoke, he found the face of Satan.

Search online and you’ll see still more 9/11 pictures in which people have perceived the shapes of demons. There is no shortage of theories about what the faces mean, from the Christian conspiracist who said they were a glimpse of the devil boasting to the Muslim writer who declared they were a warning from God “that the use of terrorism is never permitted in Islam.”

Then there is the explanation I prefer. The faces are the result of apophenia, the process of projecting patterns onto data. More specifically, they are pareidolia, in which those patterns are perceived as meaningful shapes or sounds. It is pareidolia that allows us to . . .

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Michael Hastings: 5 Conspiracy Theories That Didn’t Pan Out

By Dennis Romero via LAWeekly Blogs

The June 18 crash of Michael Hastings took the life of a talented but troubled journalist. As Gene Maddaus’ excellent feature in the latest issue of LA Weekly demonstrates, people around the L.A.-based writer were truly concerned about his state of mind and reported drug use.

The coroner’s report released last week says blunt force trauma from the collision with a tree ultimately did Hastings in, but it notes that he had drugs in his system, which were listed as noncontributing factors. The conclusion that this wasn’t a homicide, however, hasn’t stopped conspiracy theorists.

Hastings’ supporters have pointed to his work covering the military, the NSA and other Big Government institutions as reasons to be skeptical. They’re wrong. Here are the five conspiracy theories or assumptions about the case that haven’t panned out:

5. The FBI did it. The FBI doesn’t normally kill civilians because it doesn’t like the journalism they’re working on. Nonetheless, the federal government has been suspect No. 1 in a case without a crime, mainly because the day before the crash Hastings told colleagues he believed he was being investigated by the bureau. The FBI says that’s not true. Hastings also said he had zeroed in on a big story and needed to go off the grid. So far, though, there’s no evidence of a murder here.


4. His last moments were being videotaped on purpose. A freelance news crew happened to be at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and Highland Avenue when its dash cam, which was rolling, captured what appears to be Hastings’ Mercedes-Benz C250 coupe blasting through a red light at high speed en route to his death a few blocks south.

Michael Hastings' Mercedes-Benz burning

Michael Hastings’ Mercedes-Benz burning (source)

Some folks couldn’t believe that a news crew just happened to have tape rolling at that moment. But it happens. Early morning hours are prime time for random news, and freelance crews are the bred-and-butter of local television’s overnight coverage.

3. He was being followed. In the days and even months before his death Hastings expressed increasing concern about government wiretapping. And, yes, he apparently thought he was being watched. Some conspiracy theorists have shared their belief that Hastings was being followed, or even chased, in the minutes before his crash, thus explaining the estimated speed of 75 miles per hour, perhaps more.

If you check out the dash-cam video above, however, you’ll see that nobody was following Hastings’ car as it sped through the red light. And no witnesses have come forward to report that the Mercedes was being tailed or that any other car might have been involved. Police have released no statements indicating this was anything other than a solo-vehicle crash into a tree.

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Another Princess Di theory we don’t need

If the police must take this seriously, why don’t they check without the fuss?

By Paul Thomas via NZ Herald News

Footage of the Princess and Dodi Fayed in a hotel lift immediately before their fatal drive was among the evidence presented to the inquest that determined their deaths to be an accident. Photo / AP

Footage of the Princess and Dodi Fayed in a hotel lift immediately before their fatal drive was among the evidence presented to the inquest that determined their deaths to be an accident. Photo / AP

Christmas has come early for conspiracy theorists, courtesy of an unlikely Santa Claus: Scotland Yard.

The Yard has announced it’s looking into an allegation that Princess Diana and her lover, Dodi Fayed, were assassinated by Britain’s SAS. It would seem to follow that people in high places ordered the hit and instigated the cover-up.

The couple died in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997. Each year around about this time, a new claim or theory finds its way into the public domain.

This is partly attributable to Dodi’s father, the Anglo-Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed who used to own Harrods. He has long claimed that the couple were killed by Britain’s foreign intelligence agency MI6, at the behest of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Fayed snr has reason to detest the British establishment, so it’s not altogether surprising that in his grief he convinced himself that the ruling class would go to any lengths to stop the people’s princess and mother of a future king marrying the playboy son of an Arab arriviste.

But this new “scope” – as the Yard calls it – was prompted by a two-year-old letter from the parents of a former SAS man’s ex-wife. Princess-Diana-e1357368509710It seems he made the claim as part of a campaign of intimidation against his estranged wife and in-laws, along the lines of “we knocked off Di and got away with it, so getting rid of you lot would be a doddle”.

The man, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was discharged from the army after being convicted of illegal possession of firearms. It seems clear that he has post-traumatic stress disorder, the symptoms of which include delusions and paranoia.

[ . . . ]

Diana and Dodi weren’t wearing seatbelts. Their chauffeur was three times over the drink-drive limit and taking anti-depressants. The inquest, which was preceded by a three-year Scotland Yard investigation and overseen by a jury, concluded their deaths were an accident, as did a separate French investigation.

It’s one thing to claim a British conspiracy, but to believe Britain and France could collude in such an exercise when they’ve hardly agreed on anything for 900 years suggests a perilous detachment from reality.

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What Our Conspiracy Theories Say About Us

Via ReasonTV – YouTube

Jessie Walker discusses his new book, The United States of Paranoia:

“Political paranoia, and conspiracy theories in particular, have been a part of the United States since before there was a United States,” explains Reason Magazine books editor Jesse Walker, author of the new book The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory. “Even when a conspiracy theory says absolutely nothing true about the object of the theory, if it catches on it says something true about the anxieties and the experiences about the people who believe it.”

Rejecting the assumption that these beliefs are the purview of outsiders on the fringes of society, Walker details how even those at the very heart of American power – from John Quincy Adams‘ fear of Freemasons to LBJ‘s insistence that communists were stoking race riots – have held these views.

The Secrets of MKULTRA

How true is it that the CIA conducted unethical mind control experiments on unwitting human subjects?

Brian DunningBy Brian Dunning via skeptoid

Read transcript below or listen here

It’s one of the most ominous terms in the history of modern governments and intelligence, nearly on a par with the names of Josef Mengele and Pol Pot. For 20 years from 1953 to 1973, the American Central Intelligence Agency funded and conducted tests on human subjects, both with and without their knowledge, in an effort to control minds and personalities for the purpose of espionage. CIA_gray_Logo_250pxMost notorious for administering the psychedelic drug LSD to people without their knowledge or consent, MKULTRA has since become a cornerstone of conspiracy theorists flaunting it almost gleefully as proof of the government’s misdeeds against its own private citizens. And the scary part is that it’s completely true.

The short version of the MKULTRA story is that the CIA spent a long time trying to control minds. After performing all kinds of dastardly and unethical testing, they found they couldn’t reliably achieve their goals, and terminated the program. That’s it. It’s important to keep it in context, both what it was and what it wasn’t. It’s evidence that the government tried something that didn’t work. It’s also evidence that the government has been proven willing to bend the rules; and by “bending the rules” I mean breaking laws and violating both civil rights and ethics at every level. But with this said, MKULTRA does not constitute evidence that similar projects continue today. Maybe they do, but logically, MKULTRA is not that proof.

So let’s look at how this all came about and what exactly happened. The cold war started basically as soon as the smoke cleared from World War II, and the Western bloc and the Communist bloc immediately became suspicious of one another. In 1949, the highest ranking Catholic archbishop in Communist Hungary, Cardinal József Mindszenty, was marched into court where he had been charged with treason for trying to undermine the Communist government. Mindszenty, who was innocent, mechanically confessed in court to a long list of crimes including stealing Hungary’s crown jewels, planning to depose the government, start World War III, and then seize power himself. The CIA watched this, noted his strange behavior while making the confessions, and concluded that he must have been brainwashed. They saw American prisoners of war in North Korea make anti-Amerian statements on camera. Clearly, some response was needed to this apparent Communist ability. They contrived to develop mind control techniques.

ElectroshockOne such project was called MKULTRA. MK meant the project was run by the CIA’s Technical Services Staff, and Ultra was a reference to the highest level of security. But although MKULTRA is the poster child, there were other similar projects. It had spawned from project ARTICHOKE, founded in 1951 to study hypnosis and morphine addiction. There was also MKSEARCH, MKOFTEN, project BLUEBIRD, a whole raft of related programs. The US military, separate from the CIA, also conducted its own research. Project CHATTER, part of the US Navy, ran from 1947 to 1953, when MKULTRA took over.

At the time, both psychology and psychopharmacology were in their infancies. We didn’t really know whether the CIA’s goals were achievable or not; whether it was or was not possible to exert a finely tuned influence on people’s minds. During the cold war’s golden era of espionage, this was a major national security question. The CIA had to know whether this was something they could do; because if it was, it was something the KGB could do right back at them. While nuclear physicists on both sides were building bigger and bigger hydrogen bombs, psychologists and chemists were working to fight the cold war on a much subtler front.

The CIA is not a scientific research organization, and so it needed to contract out the vast majority of this work. The CIA set up front groups, such as the Society for the Investigation for Human Ecology, to fund projects at universities and hospitals in such a way that nobody realized the CIA was involved. Some 86 such institutions are known to have received funding as part of MKULTRA. The vast majority of researchers were unaware that their programs were funded by the CIA, and accordingly, did their work as they normally would according to ethical standards of the day. Some researched forms of hypnosis, some did trials on a variety of drugs intended to work as truth serums, some did various psychiatric or psychological studies trying to learn what made people tick and how that tick might be manipulable. In fact, just about every bizarre experiment you might have read about probably was tried to some degree by some MKULTRA funded researcher. Granted the ethical standards of the 1950s and 1960s were not what they are today, but still there was very little intentional harm done by nearly all MKULTRA funded programs. Nevertheless, the exceptions were exceptional indeed.

HypnotizeAnimatedResearch done at McGill University by Dr. Donald Cameron took patients who came in with minor psychiatric complaints and subjected them to outrageous treatments. Some were given electroshock therapy at many times the normal voltage, some were given LSD, some were given other experimental or illegal drugs, all under the license granted by MKULTRA. Many reports state that some patients left with lifelong disabilities.

The Addiction Research Center at the Public Health Service Hospital in Lexington, KY was also secretly on the CIA’s payroll. Dr. Harris Isbell took patients who came in to seek treatment for drug addiction and gave them massive doses of LSD, heroin, methamphetamine, and psychedelic mushrooms. In one experiment he put seven patients on LSD for 77 days straight.

 I could fill a month of episodes giving such brief examples of the MKULTRA projects that are known. The main thing we know is that it didn’t work.

Nothing that came out of MKULTRA panned out as very useful from an espionage perspective; in short, the CIA was never able to achieve the type of mind control that it wanted, and so the program was eventually terminated (other related programs from other agencies continued for some time with similar results). Because of the secrecy and ethical violations, the CIA destroyed all the documents, with the exception of a few that have turned up here and there over the years from misplaced archives. What remains has all been declassified, and can now be freely downloaded.

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What happened to Michael Hastings?

via Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know – YouTube

Michael Hastings was a hard-hitting journalist at the dawn of what promised to be an amazing career when he died in a car accident. After his death, some of his supporters claim that his tragic end was no accident at all – instead, they argue, he was murdered. Tune in to learn more.

Mind Control – Brainwashing

via The Skeptic’s Dictionary

Mind control is the successful control of the thoughts and actions of another without his or her consent. Generally, the term implies that the victim has given up some basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes, and has been made to accept contrasting ideas. ‘Brainwashing’ is often used loosely to refer to being persuaded by propaganda.

conceptions & misconceptions of mind control

HypnotizeAnimatedThere are many misconceptions about mind control. Some people consider mind control to include the efforts of parents to raise their children according to social, cultural, moral and personal standards. Some think it is mind control to use behavior modification techniques to change one’s own behavior, whether by self-discipline and autosuggestion or through workshops and clinics. Others think that advertising and sexual seduction are examples of mind control. Still others consider it mind control to give debilitating drugs to a woman in order to take advantage of her while she is drugged. Some consider it mind control when the military or prison officers use techniques that belittle or dehumanize recruits or inmates in their attempt to break down individuals and make them more compliant. Some might consider it mind control for coaches or drill instructors to threaten, belittle, physically punish, or physically fatigue by excessive physical exercises their subjects in the effort to break down their egos and build team spirit or group identification.

mindcontrol 858_200pxSome of the tactics of some recruiters for religious, spiritual, or New Age human potential groups are called mind control tactics. Many believe that a terrorist kidnap victim who converts to or becomes sympathetic to her kidnapper’s ideology is a victim of mind control (the so-called Stockholm syndrome). Similarly, a woman who stays with an abusive man is often seen as a victim of mind control. Many consider subliminal messaging in Muzak, in advertising, or on self-help tapes to be a form of mind control. Many also believe that it is mind control to use laser weapons, isotropic radiators, infrasound, non-nuclear electromagnetic pulse generators, or high-power microwave emitters to confuse or debilitate people. Many consider the “brainwashing” tactics (torture, sensory deprivation, etc.) of the Chinese during the Korean War and the alleged creation of zombies in Voodoo as attempts at mind control.

Finally, no one would doubt that it would be a clear case of mind control to be able to hypnotize or electronically program a person so that he or she would carry out your commands without being aware that you are controlling his or her behavior.

[ . . . ]

the government and mind-control

mind control 857_200pxThere also seems to be a growing belief that the U.S. government, through its military branches or agencies such as the CIA, is using a number of horrible devices aimed at disrupting the brain. Laser weapons, isotropic radiators, infrasound, non-nuclear electromagnetic pulse generators, and high-power microwave emitters have been mentioned. It is known that government agencies have experimented on humans in mind control studies with and without the knowledge of their subjects (Scheflin 1978). The claims of those who believe they have been unwilling victims of “mind control” experiments should not be dismissed as impossible or even as improbable. Given past practice and the amoral nature of our military and intelligence agencies, such experiments are not implausible. However, these experimental weapons, which are aimed at disrupting brain processes, should not be considered mind control weapons. To confuse, disorient or otherwise debilitate a person through chemicals or electronically is not to control that person. To make a person lose control of himself is not the same as gaining control over him. It is a near certainty that our government is not capable of controlling anyone’s mind, though it is clear that many people in many governments lust after such power.

ElectroshockIn any case, some of the claims made by those who believe they are being controlled by these electronic weapons do not seem plausible. For example, the belief that radio waves or microwaves can be used to cause a person to hear voices transmitted to him seems unlikely. We know that radio waves and waves of all kinds of frequencies are constantly going through our bodies. The reason we have to turn on the radio or TV to hear the sounds or see the pictures being transmitted through the air is that those devices have receivers which “translate” the waves into forms we can hear and see. What we know about hearing and vision makes it very unlikely that simply sending a signal to the brain that can be “translated” into sounds or pictures would cause a person to hear or see anything. Someday it may be possible to stimulate electronically or chemically a specific network of neurons to cause specific sounds or sights of the experimenter’s choosing to emerge in a person’s consciousness. But this is not possible today. Even if it were possible, it would not necessarily follow that a person would obey a command to assassinate the president just because he heard a voice telling him to do so. Hearing voices is one thing. Feeling compelled to obey them is quite another. Not everyone has the faith of Abraham.

paranoid02There seem to be a number of parallels between those who think they have been abducted by aliens and those who believe their minds are being controlled by CIA implants. So far, however, the “mind-controlled group” has not been able to find their John Mack, the Harvard psychiatrist who claims that the best explanation for alien abduction claims is that they are based on alien abduction experiences, not fantasies or delusions. A common complaint from the mind-controlled is that they can’t get therapists to take them seriously. That is, they say they can only find therapists who want to treat them for their delusions, not help them prove they’re being controlled by their government. Thus, it is not likely that the “mind-controlled CIA zombies” will be accused of having delusions planted in them by therapists, as alien abductees have, since they claim they cannot get therapists to take their delusions seriously. In fact, many of them are convinced that their treatment as deluded persons is part of a conspiracy to cover up the mind control experiments done on them. Some even believe that False Memory Syndrome is part of the conspiracy. They claim that the idea of false memories is a plot to keep people from taking seriously the claims of those who are now remembering that they were victims of mind control experiments at some time in the past. It is hard to believe that they cannot find a wide array of incompetent New Age therapists willing to take their claims seriously, if not willing to claim they have been victims of such experiments themselves.

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Revenge of the Conspiracy Theorists

By via NeuroLogica Blog

matrix alternate reality_350pxSkeptics have their work cut out for them. We are up against irrational forces that are becoming very savvy at turning the language and superficial tactics of science and skepticism against science and reason. We are not just debating details of evidence and logic, but wrangling with fully-formed alternate views of reality.

An excellent example of this was recently brought to my attention – an article using published psychological studies to argue that conspiracy theorists represent the mainstream rational view while “anti-conspiracy people” are actually the “paranoid cranks.” The article, by Dr. Kevin Barrett (Ph.D. ArabistIslamologist) in my opinion nicely reflects how an ideological world-view can color every piece of information you see.

He starts out reviewing an article by Wood and Douglas which examined the comments to news articles about topics that are the subject of conspiracy theories. Barrett summarizes the study this way:

In short, the new study by Wood and Douglas suggests that the negative stereotype of the conspiracy theorist – a hostile fanatic wedded to the truth of his own fringe theory – accurately describes the people who defend the official account of 9/11, not those who dispute it.

The article actually suggests nothing of the sort. Barrett cherry picks what he wants to see from this article and draws conclusions that are not supported by the evidence. The authors of the study found that comments to conspiracy news items were approximately 2/3 pro-conspiracy and 1/3 anti-conspiracy. Barrett concludes from this:

That means it is the pro-conspiracy commenters who are expressing what is now the conventional wisdom, while the anti-conspiracy commenters are becoming a small, beleaguered minority.

conspiracy-theory-alert_200pxThis is simply not justified from this data. Barrett assumes that the number of comments reflects the relative percentage of believers in the population, but it is possible (and very likely) that pro-conspiracy people simply comment more, perhaps due to greater passion for their beliefs.

Barrett makes no mention of polls or surveys that more directly get at the question of what percentage of the population believe to some degree in a conspiracy. For 9/11 there have been a number of different surveys conducted in various ways with a range of outcomes, but in all of them, believers in a 9/11 conspiracy are in the minority.

Barrett also ignores the many other conclusions of the paper. They write:

In accordance with our hypotheses, we found that conspiracist commenters were more likely to argue against the opposing interpretation and less likely to argue in favor of their own interpretation, while the opposite was true of conventionalist commenters. However, conspiracist comments were more likely to explicitly put forward an account than conventionalist comments were. In addition, conspiracists were more likely to express mistrust and made more positive and fewer negative references to other conspiracy theories. The data also indicate that conspiracists were largely unwilling to apply the “conspiracy theory” label to their own beliefs and objected when others did so, lending support to the long-held suggestion that conspiracy belief carries a social stigma. Finally, conventionalist arguments tended to have a more hostile tone. These tendencies in persuasive communication can be understood as a reflection of an underlying conspiracist worldview in which the details of individual conspiracy theories are less important than a generalized rejection of official explanations.

The main findings of the study, therefore, are that conspiracy theorists base their opinions largely on an “underlying conspiracist worldview” rather than the specific details of any case. They are not able to put forward and defend a specific alternate theory, but rather are primarily interested in contradicting the official story, whatever that happens to be. This is in line with conventional criticism of conspiracy theorists.

[ . . . ]

In another bit of reality-bending, Barrett writes:

Additionally, the study found that so-called conspiracists discuss historical context (such as viewing the JFK assassination as a precedent for 9/11) more than anti-conspiracists.

jfk
I’m convinced that anything can be twisted in a positive or negative way (just read political news stories). Conspiracy theorists believe they are putting events into “historical context” while conspiracy critics might say they are making leaps of logic in order to create the illusion of connections where none exist. In fact, conspiracy thinking is largely about seeing patterns where they do not truly exist – patterns in events that may be unconnected or only loosely connected in a generic cultural/historical fashion.

Barrett goes on to cite 9/11 truthers as if they are objective scholars. For example . . .

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5 Things I’ve noticed about… False Flag Conspiracy Theorists

Via The Soap Box

False Flag Caveman_300pxFalse flag conspiracy theorists are conspiracy theorist who believe that almost anytime there is some type of large attack in this country then it is most likely done by the government.

While there are a lot of things that these types of conspiracy theorists tend to do, I narrowed it down to five things.

So here are five things I’ve noticed about false flag conspiracy theorists:

5. They have no idea what a false flag attack really is.

Most conspiracy theorists believe that false flag attack is when a government agent disguises themselves as an enemy, and commits an attack against the public. Technically speaking this is not a false flag attack.

A false flag attack is actually a navel term for when you put up your enemy’s flag on your ship in order to sneak behind them and attack them. That is what a false flag attack really is. You’re not posing as your enemy in order to attack your own people, but to attack your enemy.

4. They think everything is a false flag attack.

False flag 1015_300pxIt doesn’t matter how obvious it is that an attack was done by some whack job, it doesn’t matter how many people died in the attack, or even if it was someone whom killed their self and their self only, according to a conspiracy theorist, it was a false flag attack.

In fact it doesn’t even matter if it was a random act of nature, or an industrial accident, or a plane crash, as long as people got killed (or even if people didn’t die) according to many conspiracy theorists, they were most likely false flag attacks.

3. They think that other alleged false flag attacks prove their claims.

If you ever ask a conspiracy theorist what proof do they have that what they are claiming to be a false flag really is a false flag attack, they will usually give you a long list of other attacks that they believe to be false flag attacks.

There are two problems with this: the first one is that these other alleged false flag attacks have themselves almost always have never been proven to be false flag attack, and two, even if they could prove that any of those attacks really were false flag attacks, it’s still not evidence that what they are claiming to be a false flag attack is a false flag attack.

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5 Things I’ve noticed about… Conspiracy Theorists on the Internet

Via The Soap Box

conspiracies06Ever encounter a conspiracy theorist on the internet? Most of us have, especially if you’re a skeptic like myself who has their own blog about debunking. At that point they tend to come to you.

While there are a lot of things about conspiracy theorist on the internet that I’ve noticed they tend to do, I’ve narrowed it down to five main things.

So here are five things I’ve noticed about conspiracy theorist on the internet:

5. They love using quotes.

Be it in their signature line on an internet forum, or in their timeline on their Facebook page, conspiracy theorists love posting quotes on the internet. Usually these quotes are allegedly from some musician, or politician, or philosopher, or just some famous person whom they think would share their beliefs. Sometimes these quotes are accompanied with a picture of the person who allegedly said it.

The problem with this is that (and this is true anytime someone quotes someone) is that the quotes can be taken out of context, the quote can be mis-quoted, or it could be something that person never said at all.

There is of course one truth about these quotes: they do absolutely nothing to back up what ever conspiracy theory they are claiming to believe in.

collage

4. They love collages.

Go to any conspiracy theorist group on Facebook or conspiracy theorist forum and you’ll usually find some collages of photo-shopped pictures along with conspiracy theory claims within the collage.

These collages are often times confusing at the least, and more times than not, disturbing looking.

Many conspiracy theorists might think these collages helps get whatever point they have across, but the reality is that they are really a turn off for normal minded people and makes them all look like a bunch of wackos.

3. They don’t have a sense of humor.

AlexJonesLunaticConspiracy theorists (at least on the internet) take things way to seriously, and when someone makes a joke or a sarcastic remake, they tend to go ballistic, either because they don’t think you should be joking about the subject at hand, or they think you’re being serious.

They also can’t tell when someone (or some website) is being sarcastic either. An example of this would be Skeptic Project. On the front page of the website it says “Your #1 COINTELPRO cognitive infiltration source.” To most people they are clearly being sarcastic. But apparently some people in the Infowars forums thought they were actually admitting to being a COINTELPRO website.

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How to tell a Conspiracy Theorist from a Conspiracy Believer

Via The Soap Box

conspiracyfilesIn a previous post I discussed how some conspiracy theorists aren’t really conspiracy theorists, and that those people should instead be called “conspiracy believers”.

While I did point out some basic differences between the two, I didn’t really go into to much detail into what those differences really are.

Here I have put together a list of things that conspiracy theorists tend to do that sets them apart from conspiracy believers:

Terminology

Conspiracy theorists has certain words that they tend to use and is quite common for them to use in a conversation (or argument). Some of the more common words used are shill, sheeple, blue pill, red pill, and dis-info agent.

There are of course more then just that, but if you hang around enough conspiracy theorist websites (or get into an argument with a conspiracy theorist on Youtube) you’ll learn more of them.

Creating conspiracy theories

tin foil hat 1002 croppedOne of the primary things that set conspiracy theorists apart from conspiracy believers is that conspiracy theorists actually create conspiracy theories.

Many of these conspiracy theories tend to be either expanding on a already established conspiracy theory, or a conspiracy thats directed at them. Of course, sometimes conspiracy theorists create entirely new conspiracy theories as well.

Emotional Reactions

While conspiracy believers might not become to emotional when discussing a conspiracy theory that they believe in, many conspiracy theorists on the other hand tend to become emotional when they discuss a conspiracy theory they believe. The levels of emotional reactions varies depending on how important the conspiracy theory is to that person, how much they believe the alledged conspiracy affects them, and if the person they are discussing the conspiracy theory with believes them or not.

The use of logical fallacies

While conspiracy believers try to avoid using logical fallacies, conspiracy theorists on the other hand tend to use them all the time, and appear to not even know that they are doing so.

While logical fallacies of all types tend to be used, two of the most common types used are association fallacy and emotional appeal.

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Why people believe in conspiracy theories

By Alex Seitz-Wald via Salon.com

xfiles-620x412_300pxWe’ve written before about the historical and social aspects of conspiracy theories, but wanted to learn more about the psychology of people who believe, for instance, that the Boston Marathon bombing was a government “false flag” operation. Psychological forces like motivated reasoning have long been associated with conspiracy thinking, but scientists are learning more every year. For instance, a British study published last year found that people who believe one conspiracy theory are prone to believe many, even ones that are completely contradictory.

Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, a cognitive scientist at the University of Western Australia, published a paper late last month in the journal Psychological Science that has received widespread praise for looking at the thinking behind conspiracy theories about science and climate change. We asked him to explain the psychology of conspiracy theories. This conversation has been edited for brevity and clarity.

matrix-red-pill-or-blue-pill_600px

First of all, why do people believe conspiracy theories?

There are number of factors, but probably one of the most important ones in this instance is that, paradoxically, it gives people a sense of control. People hate randomness, they dread the sort of random occurrences that can destroy their lives, so as a mechanism against that dread, it turns out that it’s much easier to believe in a conspiracy. Then you have someone to blame, it’s not just randomness.

What are the psychological forces at play in conspiracy thinking?

Conspiracies 901_250pxBasically what’s happening in any conspiracy theory is that people have a need or a motivation to believe in this theory, and it’s psychologically different from evidence-based thinking. A conspiracy theory is immune to evidence, and that can pretty well serve as the definition of one. If you reject evidence, or reinterpret the evidence to be confirmation of your theory, or you ignore mountains of evidence to focus on just one thing, you’re probably a conspiracy theorist. We call that a self-sealing nature of reasoning.

Another common trait is the need to constantly expand the conspiracy as new evidence comes to light. For instance, with the so-called Climategate scandal, there were something like nine different investigations, all of which have exonerated the scientists involved. But the response from the people who held this notion was to say that all of those investigations were a whitewash. So it started with the scientists being corrupt and now not only is it them, but it’s also all the major scientific organizations of the world that investigated them and the governments of the U.S. and the U.K., etc., etc. And that’s typical — instead of accepting the evidence, you actually turn it around and say that it’s actually evidence to support the conspiracy because it just means it’s even broader than it was originally thought to be.

Are there certain types of people who are more prone to believing in conspiracy theories than others? Does it match any kind of political lines?

I don’t think there is a systematic association between political views and the propensity to believe in conspiracy theories. There are some studies that suggest people on the political left are inclined to it, and there are some that suggest people on the right are. But it’s always a weak association.

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5 Conspiracy Theories That Are Shockingly Easy to Debunk

By Douglas A. McDonnell, M. Asher Cantrell via Cracked.com

Just about every major event in history has a conspiracy theory attached to it, whether you’ve heard of it or not. It’s just that most of them remain known only to the hardcore “we’ll believe anything” true believers, where others, like the ones below, pick up real traction.

But even among theories like these (which count their believers in the millions), you find that the whole thing is usually based on some embarrassingly simple misunderstanding. For example …

#5. The JFK Assassination Is Explained by How the Targets Were Sitting

JFK01

The Theory:

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“I suspect warlocks are somehow involved.”

If you’ve seen Oliver Stone’s JFK, then you’ll remember the climactic scene in which Kevin Costner “proves” that the Kennedy assassination was a conspiracy by demonstrating the impossible path of Oswald’s shot, which he sarcastically dubs “the magic bullet.”

The problem, according to those who believe in the conspiracy theory, is that Kennedy and Governor John Connally (who was seated in front of him) both suffered a constellation of wounds on their bodies from what the official investigation claims was a single bullet fired by Oswald. For this to be possible, the bullet would have had to curve around in midair several times, in multiple directions.

Since this openly defies the laws of physics, there must have been another shooter on the grassy knoll, or maybe the limo driver did it, or perhaps it was space lasers from a Nazi base on the moon. In Stone’s film and elsewhere, you see it accompanied by a diagram like this:

Our guess? Connally had one of those shoulder magnets that were all the rage back then.

The Simple Misunderstanding:

JFK and Connally weren’t sitting like that.

The people who draw up these diagrams invariably put Connally at an equal height to and seated directly in front of Kennedy. That’s where they’d be sitting if they were two ordinary dudes riding in an ordinary sedan, but the problem is that this sedan happened to be carrying one ordinary dude and the president of the United States.

ccc

John McAdams
If only JFK had called shotgun.

The people who are paid to arrange this kind of thing knew who the people in the crowd were really there to see, and it wasn’t Governor Connally. So to prevent Connally from blocking the view of the president, he was put in a little jump seat, which was both set off from and lower than Kennedy’s position. So they were actually sitting like this:

If you think that’s a convenient story trumpeted out to explain away the mysterious curving bullet, don’t just take our word for it. That diagram was drawn from a photograph taken from behind Kennedy (the photographer was “Betzner”) in which you can clearly see that Connally is either a hunchbacked dwarf or in a very strange sitting position:

Or else you can just look at a photograph of the inside of the car:

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John McAdams
It’s like someone put a booster seat on the floor or something.

You’ll also notice that Kennedy and Connally weren’t sitting rigid and facing forward like robots, as the conspiracy theorists suggest, but were twisted in their seats and waving at the audience as though, like, they were at a parade of some kind. Rearrange their bodies that way, and the path of the bullet — Oswald’s bullet — goes straight through them. Just like it should.

#4. The Pearl Harbor Conspiracy Relies on a Terrible Understanding of Politics

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PhotoQuest / Getty

The Theory:

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All of those red coats are really George Washington.

Conspiracy theories didn’t begin with Kennedy. Look back through history and you’ll find that any time some disgruntled foreign agent ever committed an atrocity on American soil, there were people screaming “false flag!” — meaning the government intentionally staged the attack to drum up support for some kind of evil foreign policy, or, at the very least, intentionally let it happen for the same reason.

Take Pearl Harbor. After the Japanese air force launched a surprise attack on the American fleet in 1941, it became a widespread belief among conspiracy authors that President Roosevelt knew the attack was going to take place, but allowed it to go ahead. Why? Quite simply, he had a hard-on for war with Germany, but didn’t have the public support for it. Since Hitler had signed a pact with Japan, war with either of them meant war with both, and allowing everyone at Pearl Harbor to be murdered would give FDR all the public support he needed to enter the war. He could spank Hitler’s ass while still looking like the victim.

The Simple Misunderstanding:

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Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images
“C’mon, guys, seriously?”

The Tripartite Pact, the pact between Japan, Germany, and Italy, was a defensive alliance only. That means Hitler was under no obligation to attack the United States just because his idiot friends did.

Of course, Germany did declare war after Pearl Harbor, but it had nothing to do with the idea that Hitler’s hand was forced by some deal he had with Japan. Instead, he cited the Lend-Lease Act and American naval activity as his reasons. That’s because Roosevelt was already pissing Hitler off by ordering his destroyers to sink German submarines on sight while at the same time escorting boatloads of weapons and supplies to Hitler’s enemies.

It’s true that Roosevelt was pretty keen to enter the war against Germany … to the point where he actually didn’t want to go to war with Japan because a war in the Pacific would distract him from his German hate-boner.

And speaking of “false flag” attacks …

#3. The World Trade Center Did Not Collapse at “Free-Fall Speed”

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AFP / Getty

The Theory:

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Al Bello/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Because it occurred in the Internet era, the 9/11 World Trade Center attack is the one historical event that has generated more conspiracy theories than the Kennedy assassination. There are tons of equally crazy variations of the theory, but they all come down to the curious way the towers fell.

Conspiracy theorists say the buildings fell at “free-fall speed,” meaning that they didn’t just slowly crumble away or tip over like you might expect, but that the whole damn things just fell down at once, like a house of cards. That, they say, proves that the towers were wired with explosives by the U.S. government. Why else would sturdy skyscrapers just collapse in a puff of smoke like that?

The Simple Misunderstanding:

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Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images
Structural engineering is probably one of those “gut” things anyway.

When somebody tells you that the towers fell at “free-fall speed,” they’re more or less pulling that out of their ass. Or at least, they’re referencing some other conspiracy theorists who pulled it out of their ass. They’re not referencing any kind of scientific theory or measurement; they’re just timing the fall as they watch YouTube videos and declaring that it looks different from how it plays out in their imagination. In other words, they don’t actually know what they mean by “free fall” except that the buildings seem to be falling more quickly than they’d expect from the almost certainly zero controlled demolitions they’ve seen before.

Most of the video of the actual collapse is filmed in Cloverfield-style shaky-cam, but if you watch any of the still-camera footage, you can debunk the free-fall claim simply from the fact that there’s debris coming off the tower that’s falling faster than the tower is. We’ve known that objects free fall at the same speed ever since Galileo dropped some balls off the Leaning Tower of Pisa, so that more or less puts the kibosh on the whole free-fall business.

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Michael Loccisano / Getty
She is, however, considered a reputable expert on the Crimean War.

Part of the problem is that the Twin Towers were basically big, featureless rectangles that made it look like the whole thing was falling at once. Conspiracy theorists like Rosie O’Donnell like to rattle off statistics like how the towers fell in nine seconds, which just happens to be free-fall speed. But nine seconds is more likely the amount of time that Rosie put into researching the issue, because if she’d actually timed the collapse, she would have found that the towers took about 15 and 22 seconds to collapse, well short of free-fall speed. But then, that’s why very few engineering graduates cite Rosie O’Donnell as a source.

As for why the buildings collapsed at all, that has to do with the way they were designed and their resulting inability to stand up to the horrific fires caused by the crashes. As for why the buildings weren’t designed to withstand this kind of attack, it’s because the world can only do so much to protect you from unthinkable horrors, and nothing will change that.

MORE . . .

Listener Feedback: Conspiracies (Skeptoid)

Brian DunningBy Brian Dunning Skeptoid

Read transcript below or listen Here

It’s time again to open the mailbag and respond to some listener feedback, this time focusing on conspiracy theory episodes. But before addressing any specific emails today, I want to respond to the argument that’s far and away the most common regarding conspiracies. That argument is that real conspiracies do exist, therefore conspiracy theories are plausible. Julius Caesar was killed by a conspiracy. Conspiracies 901_300pxThe Watergate scandal was executed by a conspiracy. The Iran-Contra affair was a conspiracy. Since conspiracies do exist and have been confirmed, how can I say that no conspiracy theory has ever been proven true? And, just so there’s no ambiguity, I do say that: No conspiracy theory has ever been proven true. I stand by this statement as fact, given the distinction between a real conspiracy and a conspiracy theory. So let’s define that distinction clearly.

Conspiracies, as we refer to them, are crimes or schemes carried out in secret by a group of conspirators. Sometimes they are discovered, like the three I just mentioned; and others have undoubtedly successfully remained undetected. These clearly exist. But they are quite distinct from what we colloquially call a conspiracy theory, which is claimed knowledge of a conspiracy that has not yet been discovered by law enforcement or Congress or the newspapers or the general public. They are, in fact, future predictions. They are the beliefs or conclusions of the theorist that they predict will eventually come true or be discovered. Here are three examples. For decades, some conspiracy theorists have claimed prescient knowledge that the North American nations will merge into a single police state using a currency called the Amero; that has never come true. Many conspiracy theorists claim that 9/11 was conducted by the American government; that has never been discovered. They’ve claimed a huge number of alternate hypotheses of who killed John F. Kennedy, and none of those have ever been discovered. The list goes on, and on, and on. Unlike a Julius Caesar conspiracy discovered when or after it took place, a conspiracy theory is of a discovery that has yet to take place.

I maintain my claim that a real conspiracy is very distinct from a hypothesized conspiracy; and I maintain my claim that no hypothesized conspiracy, believed within the conspiracy theory community, has ever subsequently been discovered to be true.

So with that stated, in what I hope are no uncertain terms, let’s proceed to some feedback. Keith from Johannesburg commented on the episode about free energy machines, aka perpetual motion:

Nicola Tesla‘s Wardenclyffe Tower may just have been such an example, but we do not know thanks to J.P. Morgan’s greed.

Nikola Tesla, aged 37, 1893

Nikola Tesla, aged 37, 1893

Greedy companies suppressing miraculous technologies has long been a mainstay of the conspiracy theory community. The idea’s only problems are that it’s patently illogical and demonstrably untrue. There is not a single concept for any type of perpetual motion machine that you can’t freely purchase or even download from the Internet. YouTube is peppered with perpetual motion guys, which is hard to reconcile with the existence of a suppression conspiracy.

Similarly, you can’t find a single example of a theoretically plausible energy source not under development by some company somewhere. Naive investors even get snookered into funding implausible energy sources, such as perpetual motion, and it happens every day. Again, hardly indicative of suppression.

To address Keith’s specific example, Tesla’s tower at Wardenclyffe was not a free energy machine. It was a radio tower. Tesla described it himself in his own words:

As soon as it is completed, it will be possible for a business man in New York to dictate instructions, and have them instantly appear in type at his office in London or elsewhere. He will be able to call up, from his desk, and talk to any telephone subscriber on the globe, without any change whatever in the existing equipment. An inexpensive instrument, not bigger than a watch, will enable its bearer to hear anywhere, on sea or land, music or song, the speech of a political leader, the address of an eminent man of science, or the sermon of an eloquent clergyman, delivered in some other place, however distant.

J. P. Morgan had been one of the tower’s financiers, and had given Tesla $150,000, an incredible sum in 1902. Morgan and the other investors backed out not because they were trying to suppress it, but because Tesla’s system had already become obsolete before it was finished. Marconi had already beaten him to the market, selling successful radio equipment with no need for Tesla’s absurdly elaborate, and unproven, tower. As we’ve discussed before on Skeptoid, nothing about Tesla’s work was magical, miraculous, or remains unknown to today’s engineers.

Bob from Canada offered this in response to the episode about the conspiracy theories swarming around the Rothschild banking family:

That Mayer (Rothschild)’s original sentiment about control of money still thrives against the interests of the 99% is an important truth Brian Dunning would apparently prefer we didn’t think about. Take one sleeping pill a day is the message of Skeptoid. Till when?

This is really just a restatement of the old saying “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Thus Skeptoid is advising you to take a sleeping pill, do nothing, and allow the evil of the Rothschild banking family to have its way with you. Well, that’s a fine saying, and certainly it’s good advice when there is some evil on your horizon. But are the Rothschilds truly the evil you should be worrying about?

MORE . . .

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