Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Conspiracy Theories.

      Although ten years have elapsed since 19 people from Saudi Arabia, at the bidding of Osama bin Laden, murdered 3,000 Americans in an attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, conspiracy theories about the event still persist. Today I want to examine not only those theories pertaining to the 9/11 attack, but a couple of others which have been around for some time.
     The World Trade Center Attack: The “9/11 truthers,” as they call themselves, claim that the U.S. Government either knew of the attack in advance and did nothing, or else actively orchestrated the attack in order to justify launching wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, curtail civil liberties, and consolidate and extend the powers of the Bush Administration.
      One of the more vocal organizations has been the group Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth. To support its claims, the group points to the "free fall" pace of the collapse of the buildings, the "lateral ejection of steel," and to the "mid-air pulverization of concrete," as indications that the towers fell because high explosives were placed at various spots within them. Investigations by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) have concluded that the buildings collapsed as a result of the impacts of the planes and of the fires that resulted from them.
     Several other organizations have disagreed with the official findings for various reasons, but as Bill Moyers stated, they all "...threw out all the evidence of al-Qaeda's involvement, from contemporaneous calls from hijack victims on the planes to confessions from al-Qaeda leaders both in and out of captivity that they had indeed done it. Then, recycling some of the right's sophistry techniques, such as using long lists of supposed evidence to overcome the lack of any real evidence, the "truthers" cherry-picked a few supposed "anomalies" to build an "inside-job" story line."
     In addition, any government coverup would involve a vast number of people and records. The “truthers” would have us believe that after ten years, not one person who knew about the conspiracy would have become a whistle-blower. But regardless of the facts, 9/11 conspiracy theories will be around for a long time.
     The Roswell Incident: On July 7, 1947, a rancher 75 miles northwest of Roswell, New Mexico, told the local sheriff that he had found a part of a “flying disc.” The next day the Public Information Office of the Air Force issued a press release stating that a flying disc had been recovered. A few days later the Air Force identified the object as a weather balloon with its attached radar target. The fact that the balloon was really part of a top secret US Air Force project code named MOGUL was not released at the time. MOGUL was an attempt to pick up the sounds of Russian nuclear explosions from thousands of miles away.
     In 1984 the Majestic-12 (MJ-12) papers supposedly “leaked” top secret documents indicating that a UFO crash happened near Roswell, and the the government was involved in a conspiracy to hide the saucer and alien bodies from the public.
     The term Majestic-12 had first appeared in a one-page “Secret” teletype message dated November 17, 1980, which came into the hands of author and UFO researcher William Moore. (In 1983, Robert Todd, a competent UFO researcher showed that the teletype message was a hoax.)
     Then in 1983 Moore sought UFO researcher, Brad Sparks', reaction to a plan of his to create counterfeit government reports. Moore told Sparks he believed that counterfeit documents could be used to induce military officers to speak out about what the government really knew about UFOs and the coverup. In 1984 a film cassette with photographs of MJ-12 was mailed to Jaime Shandera, a maker of documentaries. The conspiracy was under way.
     Occam's Razor is a principle that generally recommends that when faced with competing hypotheses that are equal in other respects, accept the one that makes the fewest new assumptions. For conspiracy buffs I am proposing a new principle that I call Macco's Razor, which states that for any event, one should take the simplest explanation and reduce it to its most complex form.
      Marilyn Monroe's “Suicide”: Marilyn Monroe's association with John and Bobby Kennedy is central to conspiracy theories surrounding her death. One scenario claims that the relationship had got too personal, and was jeopardizing the future of the boys, so Joseph Kennedy, or maybe it was Bobby Kennedy, or it could have been J. Edgar Hoover, ordered a “hit” and the ensuing coverup on the blond bombshell.
     Another believes that Bobby went to Marilyn's bungalow for some R and R, only to find her in the throes of a drug overdose. He called an ambulance, but on the way to the hospital, she died. Realizing that his presence would not look good on his and John's resume, he had the ambulance return to the bungalow. The body was laid out on the bed and the room was straightened up, then a call was placed to her psychiatrist, Dr. Robert Greenson, who got official credit for discovering the body. Bobby was long gone by that time.
     There is no doubt that the Kennedys treated Marilyn as a plaything, and there are some unanswered anomalies in the autopsy report that lend some credence to the idea of foul play. But because all the main characters are long dead, we may as well accept the official cause of death: probable suicide. 
     I could discuss conspiracy theories for many more pages, e.g., high-level government authorities were involved in the deaths of Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy, the New World Order or Illuminati controls all major world events, Lady Diana was a sacrificial Satanic princess, etc., etc., ad nauseum. But you get the idea.
     According to Wikipedia, conspiracy theories generally have several common threads:
  1. They claim to explain what institutional analysis cannot. They appear to make sense out of a world that is otherwise confusing. 
  2. They do so in an appealingly simple way, by dividing the world sharply between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. They trace all evil back to a single source, the conspirators and their agents.
  3. They are often presented as special, secret knowledge unknown or unappreciated by others. For conspiracy theorists, the masses are a brainwashed herd, while the conspiracy theorists in the know can congratulate themselves on penetrating the plotters' deceptions.
     I might add that the truth has as much effect upon the conspiracy believer as a mosquito has against a window pane. As someone said, “Belief is the death of intelligence.”
 ******
     My books, “There Are Only Seven Jokes” and “The Spirit Runs Through It” are available in paperback, or at the Kindle Store.

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