With the anniversary of 9/11 upon us . . .
Stephanie Wittschier believed in the Illuminati and chemtrails, and even tried to convert people online. But then she started to have doubts.
Stephanie Wittschier believed in a lot of different things throughout her life: that aliens were locked away in Area 51; that the Third Reich was alive and well, along with the Illuminati, and—last but not least—that ruling elites were using chemtrails to poison humanity.
The 35-year-old German was deep into the conspiracy theory scene for years before she dropped out, turning her attention to educating outsiders about the sinister truth behind Third Reich truthers and “chemmies” a.k.a people who believe the government is dumping toxic agents in plane vapor trails. Now she and her husband, Kai, run a Facebook page and Twitter account called Die lockere Schraube (“The Loose Screw”). And they’ve since incurred the wrath of their former conspiracy colleagues.
Wittschier’s journey into the world of conspiracy theories began when she watched a documentary about the alleged inconsistencies in the 9/11 attacks. “Immediately afterwards she went online and googled ‘conspiracy’ and ‘9/11,'” Kai told Broadly. Wittschier got hooked. “She started to talk about elites, the Illuminati… At a certain point it stopped being fun, as it became impossible to talk to her. She stopped listening and seemed closed off to any reasonable discussion.”
On the internet, Wittschier found people who shared her convictions. “That’s how it was,” she writes via email. “Back then, I had a friend who was into the same ideological conspiracy [stuff] and we got along pretty well. We believed in the same stuff, browsed the same forums, we used to talk about all sorts of things and most of the time we shared the same opinion.” Wittschier felt accepted among these like-minded people, who would ridicule outsiders’ attempts to re-educate them: “Those people [with different opinions] are representatives of the system or get paid; so-called sheep, people who don’t think.”
At the height of her obsession—especially when it came to chemtrails—Wittschier was part of various groups on Facebook, participated in a forum called Allmystery, and was active on YouTube. But in August 2012, her best friend in the conspiracy world started to question and oppose certain theories, and began the slow process of dissociating herself from the world she shared with Wittschier.
By Amy Sipovic via The Times (mywebtimes)
A recent University of Chicago study found approximately half of all Americans believe in one of six medical conspiracy theories.
Two examples include the idea a U.S. spy agency purposefully infected African-Americans with HIV, and the government has dumped large quantities of toxic chemicals into the water supply under the premise of fluoridation.
Another study found 19 percent of Americans believe the 9/11 terrorist attacks were concocted by the U.S. government, and another 11 percent think the switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs is an attempt to make people more obedient and easier to subject to mind control.
In some regards, these numbers do not surprise me. I am asked questions from time to time by students who have read something on the Internet that sounds like a conspiracy theory, and they ask if I have heard about it.
While I think there should be a healthy discussion about policy and current events, I worry the Internet and online public comments sections are making everything — including scientifically-proven ideas — up for debate.
Conspiracy theories are different from a critical analysis of information because conspiracy theorists continue to cling to their beliefs, despite facts that continually disprove them. Often, they then say the facts are all a part of the overall conspiracy, and the cycle of ridiculousness continues.
This is a seven (7) part series by Myles Power debunking the 9/11 conspiracy theory.
This is part 1 – Free fall and how the towers collapsed – in the YouTube playlist.
If you have the time, Myles is worth watching.
Myles Power confronts 9/11 truthers to see if their claims can stand up. In this video he discusses the World Trade Center’s Design to withstand airplane impacts, fuel or oxygen-starved fires, how the World Trade Center’s Collapse, the twin towers falling at free fall speed and the damage to the lobbies.
Basic maths fail
I said if you triple the speed, you get eight times the energy. That should be nine times!
Step 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.
Step 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.
During a lecture on “Policy and the Media Prism” at the University of Florida a few weeks ago, 9/11 truth activist Bob Tuskin said the mainstream media had covered up evidence that Building 7 imploded in a controlled demolition. Tuskin asked Chomsky if he was finally ready to “jump on board with” 9/11 conspiracy theories.
“You’re right that there’s a consensus among a miniscule number of architects and engineers,” Chomsky replied. “They are not doing what scientists and engineers do when they think they’ve discovered something.”
“There happen to be a lot of people around who spend an hour on the Internet and think they know a lot physics, but it doesn’t work like that. There’s a reason there are graduate schools in these departments,” he continued.
Chomsky dismissed the claim that scientists and engineers hadn’t followed typical procedures because they felt intimidated by the government. He said publishing an article in an academic journal was virtually risk-free compared to other forms of political activism.
“There is just overwhelming evidence that the Bush administration wasn’t involved,” Chomsky added. “Very elementary evidence. You don’t have to be a physicist to understand it. You just have to think for a minute.”
Chomsky is advocating obtaining expertise and considering that the consensus view is most likely the right one. This is a good lesson – consider authorities who have specialized knowledge and see that it makes the most sense. Don’t rely on unrefereed stuff on Google. Anyone can publish crap on the Internet. Have some sense of reliable sources.
Michael Shermer has a piece that fits in well with this today. He talks about how people will want to subscribe to conspiracies anyway.
Why do so many people refuse to accept this simple and obvious conclusion? The answer: psychology.
There are three psychological effects at work here, starting with “cognitive dissonance,” or the discomfort felt when holding two ideas that are not in harmony. We attempt to reduce the dissonance by altering one of the ideas to be in accord with the other. In this case, the two discordant ideas are 1) JFK as one of the most powerful people on Earth who was 2) killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, a lone loser, a nobody. Camelot brought down by a curmudgeon.
That doesn’t feel right. To balance the scale, conspiracy elements are stacked onto the Oswald side: the CIA, the FBI, the KGB, the Mafia, Fidel Castro, Lyndon Johnson and, in Oliver Stone’s telling in his film “JFK,” the military-industrial complex.
A second psychological effect is the “monological belief system,” or “a unitary, closed-off worldview in which beliefs come together in a mutually supportive network,” in the words of University of Kent researchers Michael J. Wood, Karen M. Douglas and Robbie M. Sutton in a 2012 paper titled “Dead and Alive: Beliefs in Contradictory Conspiracy Theories.” A conspiracy theory, they wrote, is “a proposed plot by powerful people or organizations working together in secret to accomplish some (usually sinister) goal.” Once you believe that “one massive, sinister conspiracy could be successfully executed in near-perfect secrecy [it] suggests that many such plots are possible.”
A third psychological effect is “confirmation bias,” or the tendency to look for and find confirming evidence for what you already believe and to ignore disconfirming evidence. Once you believe, say, that 9/11 was an inside job by the Bush administration, you focus on the handful of anomalies that fateful day and connect them into a seemingly meaningful pattern, while ignoring the massive evidence pointing to Al Qaeda. JFK conspiracy theorists ignore the massive evidence pointing to Oswald while seeking deep meaning in trivial matters, such as the man with the umbrella on the grassy knoll, or the puff of smoke behind the picket fence, or the odd noises echoing around Dealey Plaza. Each become pregnant with meaning when the mind goes in search of cabals.
We are never going to not have people who believe in conspiracies. But we can make it embarrassing. There is no shame in telling people that their ridiculous conspiracy theories are RIDICULOUS NONSENSE. Belief in conspiracies take us off track and we waste our time and efforts on useless dead ends.
- Conspiracy theories: Why we believe the unbelievable (illuminutti.com)
- Conspiracy theory psychology: People who claim to know the truth about JFK, UFOs, and 9/11. (illuminutti.com)
- “There happen to be a lot of people around who spent an hour on the Internet and think they know a lot of physics,” Chomsky added, “but it doesn’t work like that … There’s a reason there are graduate schools in these departments.” (normanfinkelstein.com)
- Here’s The Video To Share With Anybody Who Still Buys Into 9/11 Truther Stuff (huffingtonpost.com)
- Noam Chomsky slaps down 9/11 truther: People spend an hour on the Internet and think they know physics (rawstory.com)
- 9/11 Conspiracy Revealed As Conspiracy By Conspiracy Experts (variouspontifications.com)
There are a lot conspiracy theories out there, most of which have no evidence to support the claims made, either because whatever evidence that has been put forth has been debunked, or no evidence has ever been put forth in the first place.
In fact there are some conspiracy theories that have no reason to continue to exist, or have no reason to exist in the first place, such as:
Perhaps one of the older conspiracy theories out there, there are a lot of people who do not believe we went to the Moon, and that all of the videos (the hundreds of hours worth) and photos (the many thousands of them) taken from the Moon were all done on a sound stage.
The reasoning behind this is that it is believed by people who claim we did not go to the Moon that we did not have the technology to go to the Moon.
The problem with this argument is that we actually did have the technology to get to the Moon. Also, as surprising as this may sound, we actually didn’t have the technology to fake going to the Moon.
There is also a ton of other evidence that says we did in fact go to the Moon, such as several tons worth of rocks and dirt that were brought back, the fact that not one of the hundreds of thousands of people who worked on the Moon landing project has ever said we didn’t go to the Moon, or that the Soviets never said that we didn’t get there, or the fact that the landing sites have been photographed by satellites orbiting the Moon.
9/11 conspiracy theories
Ever since that tragic day over 12 years ago there have been multiple conspiracy theories put forth concerning what happened that day, and while all of them tend to be different (from both who did it to how it was done) they all have one thing in common: They have all been debunked.
I know, a lot of people in the 9/11 “Truth” movement will say otherwise, and will claim that they have “evidence” that backs up their claims, the facts are is that when this so called evidence has been examined it’s been shown to be either incorrect, or completely false, and it is now seriously considered by skeptics and debunkers that the only reason why anyone would continue to make these 9/11 conspiracy theory claims is that they are either self deluded, or mentally ill, or they are lying.
Autism – MMR vaccine connection
Ever since 1998 when Andrew Wakefield wrote and published a “research” paper in The Lancet that concluded that there was a “connection” between the MMR vaccine and autism (research of which has since proven to be both unethical and fraudulent and resulted in both the research paper being formerly retracted and Mr. Wakefield’s name being removed from the General Medical Council, which is the British equivalency of having one’s medical license revoked) there has been a conspiracy theory going around concerning the alleged connection and vaccine manufactures trying to suppress such information.
Besides the fact that none of this “information” has ever been suppressed, it has been proven by multiple scientific and medical research institutions that there is no connection what so ever between any vaccines and autism, and that all of the claims made by the anti-vaccination movement are wrong and false (and dangerous).
- 5 Things I’ve noticed about… 9/11 Conspiracy Theories (illuminutti.com)
- 5 Things I’ve noticed about… Bizarre Conspiracy Theories (illuminutti.com)
- Five Kennedy Conspiracy Theories Debunked by JFK: The Smoking Gun (illuminutti.com)
- 5 Conspiracy Theories that would be easy to prove (illuminutti.com)
- If the Government is shut down, then who is paying the shills? (illuminutti.com)
- 6 Conspiracy theories that make people paranoid (illuminutti.com)
- Pakistani satire of Malala conspiracy theories taken as real conspiracy theory (washingtonpost.com)
- If You Distrust Vaccines, You’re More Likely to Think NASA Faked the Moon Landings (motherjones.com)
A few months ago I did one of these “5 Things I’ve noticed about…” articles on the people in the 9/11 Truth Movement, and it had me thinking to myself “what about the conspiracy theories that the people in the 9/11 Truth Movements promote?”
So what about those conspiracy theories, and what are some of the biggest things about them that just stand out? Well, I’ve noticed a lot of things about them, and I’ve narrowed them down to five different things.
So here are five things I’ve noticed about 9/11 conspiracy theories:
5. There are a lot of them.
Probably one of the biggest problems with the 9/11 conspiracy theories is that there are more than one of them, instead of just one that the people who believe in and focus on.
For some people these can be confusing not only because they are all very different, but they are mostly not even connected to one another.
Not only can they be confusing, but they are also progressively more bizarre as well.
There is the let it happen theory, the controlled demolition theory, the drone plane theory, the nuke theory, and even the no plane/space lasers (which is so bizarre a person in the 9/11 Truth Movement debunked it).
I guess you say that the 9/11 conspiracy theories are a lot like the JFK assassination conspiracy theories in that not only are there more than one theory to what happened, but also because…
4. There is apparently more than one perpetrator.
Besides there just being more than one 9/11 conspiracy theory, according to these conspiracy theories, there is no solid conclusion on who the “real” perpetrator is.
Some people claim that it was Al-Qaida, it’s just that those in the government allowed them to attack. Some people say that it was a collaboration between the government and Al-Qaida. Some people believe it was just the government, or Israel, or the Illuminati, or someone else entirely.
It just seems like none of these conspiracy theorists who claim that 9/11 was an inside job can agree upon who did it, and how they did it. Of course that isn’t very surprising to me, because…
3. The biggest promoters of the 9/11 conspiracy theories are kooks.
Now I’m saying that all people who believe in the 9/11 conspiracy theories are kooks, but the biggest promoters of these theories are.
There’s Alex Jones, whom constantly promotes conspiracy theories on his radio program, thinks everything bad that happens is a false flag attack, and just starts yelling and making incoherent rants.
There’s Mike Adams, a promoter of pseudoscience and medical quackery (especially dangerous types of medical quackery), as well as other conspiracy theories.
They are of course not the only one’s who promote the 9/11 conspiracy theories, but they are some of the biggest ones, and many of the other promoters of the 9/11 conspiracy theories are just as nutty (or possibly fraudulent) as these guys.
- Charlie Veitch, the 9/11 Conspiracy Theorist Who Realized He Was Duped (illuminutti.com)
- Six really stupid 9/11 conspiracies debunked in about six seconds (theageofblasphemy.wordpress.com)
- Debunking 9/11 Conspiracy Theories (thelibertarianrepublic.com)
- 10 Disturbing 9/11 Conspiracy Theories (blippitt.net)
- Can You See the Humour in the 9/11 Conspiracy? You Can Now… (2012thebigpicture.wordpress.com)
- 9/11 Truthers are Dummies (DailyKos) (thepeoplesvoice.org)
Via The Soap Box
There are lots and lots of conspiracy theory videos on Youtube (and I mean a lot of them). These videos can range from being interesting to disturbing on multiple levels (being either because of the content in it, or the kind of conspiracy theory that is being talked about, or the fact that people can believe something so utterly ridiculous) and sometimes these videos end up getting deleted (and even whole pages).
Usually when a conspiracy theorist’s video or page gets deleted they’ll claim that (insert group here) are the ones whom either deleted the video or their page.
The reality is that this is never really the case, and that in fact there is usually some real, legitimate reasons why conspiracy theorists actually get their videos and pages removed from Youtube:
7. It contains copyrighted materials.
Probably one of the most common reasons why a video (or an entire page) gets removed from Youtube (and not just for conspiracy theorists, but anyone really, including skeptics) is because it contains a certain amount, or a certain type of copyrighted material that does not fall under the fair use laws, and thus is subjected to a DMCA complaint by either a single individual, or an entire group or business.
The recipient of the DMCA complaint does have a chance to get whatever material that was removed restored [example], but more often times then not they won’t do this, either because it makes them look like the victim of some dark forces trying to hide the “truth”, or out real of fear that if they do so then they might “disappear” after they give out the contact information that Youtube requires to begin the process of whether or not the video or page gets restored.
Of course there are those that say “screw these people, I’m putting that video back up.”
6. The video contains hate speech.
Because many conspiracy theories have antisemitic undertones to them (or are blatantly antisemitic) it should be no surprise that some conspiracy theorists are antisemitic themselves, and are bigoted towards other groups as well. It should also come as no surprise that sometimes conspiracy theorists post videos that are blatantly bigoted and targets specific groups of people as well (Jewish people mainly, but other groups such as African Americans and Homosexuals as well) and contains language that can be best described as hate speech.
While hate speech is not actually illegal in the United States (although some kinds is legally questionable) Youtube does have a anti-hate speech policy, and will remove a video if enough complaints are launched (although sometimes this doesn’t always happen).
5. The video encourages violence and/or other illegal activity.
Because certain conspiracy theorists believe that the government is preparing to throw certain citizens into concentration camps (or kill them) some conspiracy theorists may create videos encouraging their viewers to violently resist anyone who tries to arrest them. Other times these videos might even encourage the viewers to go out and commit acts of anti-government violence, or show you how to make something illegal, like a bomb.
Other videos might also encourage other types of destructive crimes as well, like vandalism. An example of this would be someone in the anti-GMO movement encouraging people to burn farm fields containing GMO crops.
- 8 clues your friend is becoming a crazy conspiracy theorist (illuminutti.com)
- The Anatomy of a Conspiracy Theorist (clonefive.wordpress.com)
- Five Stupid Things About Moon Landing Conspiracy Theories (illuminutti.com)
- Not all Conspiracy Theorists are Conspiracy Theorists (illuminutti.com)
- How to tell a Conspiracy Theorist from a Conspiracy Believer (illuminutti.com)
- 5 Things I’ve noticed about… Conspiracy Theorists on the Internet (illuminutti.com)
- 5 Things I’ve noticed about… False Flag Conspiracy Theorists (illuminutti.com)
- Conspiracy theorists’ sane: government dupes crazy, hostile. (illuminutti.com)
- Revenge of the Conspiracy Theorists (illuminutti.com)
Via The Soap Box
A few days ago I came across an article that had been published on PressTV (which is owned by the government of Iran) that was titled “New studies: ‘Conspiracy theorists’ sane; government dupes crazy, hostile“.
The title alone made it quite clear that the article was one sided, and that it is also quite clear what the writer of the article thinks about skeptics and debunkers… and anyone else who believes the reality that the U.S. government did not stage the worst terrorist attack in history.
Let me share with you the first couple of paragraphs of this article:
- The most recent study was published on July 8th by psychologists Michael J. Wood and Karen M. Douglas of the University of Kent (UK). Entitled “What about Building 7? A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories,” the study compared “conspiracist” (pro-conspiracy theory) and “conventionalist” (anti-conspiracy) comments at news websites.The authors were surprised to discover that it is now more conventional to leave so-called conspiracist comments than conventionalist ones: “Of the 2174 comments collected, 1459 were coded as conspiracist and 715 as conventionalist.” In other words, among people who comment on news articles, those who disbelieve government accounts of such events as 9/11 and the JFK assassination outnumber believers by more than two to one. 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.
I can tell just by reading this that what this article is claiming is very flawed.
For one thing it’s assuming that the majority of people making comments on an internet news article reflects the views of the majority of the people. Even on non-conspiracy theory subjects where the majority of people posting comments may seem like the overall majority, in reality they are just being the more vocal of the two groups.
The seconded problem is this “coded comments” thing. What exactly does this mean? Does it mean that the people who did this study read comments individually and were able to establish their content and context? Because of the way it was worded it doesn’t sound like it to me. It makes it sound like the people who did the study actually let a computer search for certain words and phrases that are commonly used among conspiracy theorists and skeptics, which is a highly flawed way to research something like this because computers can’t understand context like humans can.
This of course isn’t the only thing this article claims. It also claims . . .
• 7/21/13 UPDATE – Also see: Setting the record straight on Wood & Douglas, 2013 | The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories
- Not all Conspiracy Theorists are Conspiracy Theorists (illuminutti.com)
- New Studies: Conspiracy Theorists Sane; Government Dupes Crazy, Hostile (armageddononline.org)