Bill Keller’s Theory of Conspiracy Theories

ManWearingTinFoilHatPerhaps still smarting from being deposed as Executive Editor of the Gray Lady, Bill Keller takes on conspiracy theorists in the New York Times Magazine:

Dear Mr. Keller: Last night on the “PBS NewsHour,” they had a story about some Los Angeles Times reporters who uncovered corruption in a nearby, small city in California. The newspaper eventually received a Pulitzer Prize. That is what you can have if you will talk with me. Within one hour, I will convince you and your staff that Lee Oswald did not assassinate President Kennedy. Then, I will give you the evidence for the real killers, and how the cover up could be perpetrated. It is a great story, fully documented and supported with facts, many from the Warren Commission itself!!

That e-mail landed a few weeks ago. Even if you are a card-carrying member of the reality-based community, even if you regard the liberal use of exclamation points as a symptom of emotional instability, there is a little voice, a very, very little voice, that whispers, in the few seconds before you push “delete”: “What if he’s right? There’s always been something fishy about that assassination. What if the e-mail I am reflexively sending to the trash file is the story of a lifetime?”

Humans live along a continuum from doubt to faith. Wander far enough in the direction of faith and you reach the land of Nostradamus and of the Rapture (recently postponed). Wander too far in the other direction, past cynicism, through misanthropy, and you get to more or less the same zone of credulity: Osama bin Laden isn’t dead, President Obama isn’t American, global warming is a hoax.

Recently we have pivoted from one conspiracy theory (the plot to hide our president’s foreign birth) to another (the plot to frame Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the French banker and Socialist candidate-in-waiting known by his monogram and for his predatory eye for women)…

[continues in the New York Times Magazine]

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  • Anonymous

    If the phrase “conspiracy theory” didn’t exist, how would you express the concept? “Ideas I don’t agree with but don’t want to research”? “Things I dismiss out of hand”? “Stories that aren’t endorsed by federal agencies”? What   else could possibly connect people who reject the HIV hypothesis and those who disagree with the warren commission’s report on kennedy? Or those who believe DKS was set up and those who claim that Louis Pasteur was a plagarist? These have all been called conspiracy theories, yet nothing unites them except for the fact that anyone who uses that phrase demonstrates unwillingness or inability to seriously consider the possibility that their worldview was in some way flawed or incomplete. 

  • JoiquimCouteau

    If the phrase “conspiracy theory” didn’t exist, how would you express the concept? “Ideas I don’t agree with but don’t want to research”? “Things I dismiss out of hand”? “Stories that aren’t endorsed by federal agencies”? What   else could possibly connect people who reject the HIV hypothesis and those who disagree with the warren commission’s report on kennedy? Or those who believe DKS was set up and those who claim that Louis Pasteur was a plagarist? These have all been called conspiracy theories, yet nothing unites them except for the fact that anyone who uses that phrase demonstrates unwillingness or inability to seriously consider the possibility that their worldview was in some way flawed or incomplete. 

    • pavlovbot

      i’ll take the bait. conspiracy theorist as expressed in popular vernacular: one who prescribes to an outlying worldview that often finds it permeated with malignancy and danger, usually in the form of a powerful and secret cabal that controls the world and is the source of all real and perceived miseries. through confirmation bias, the conspiracy theorist gathers “evidence” for this worldview – a miasma of discredited science, out-of-context quotes, circular reasoning, esoteric interpretation of religious texts, etc. they are fanatically devoted to their beliefs and often use their notable intelligence to circumvent any meaningful challenge to them that might be presented. this results in convoluted and sometimes directionless narratives that lack the substance to truly capture the popular imagination. the conspiracy theorist himself is often a self-serious individual prone to paranoia and emotional outbursts related to their beliefs. their singular focus can lead to rambling, defensive conversation on why they are correct. they are not easily swayed from their beliefs.

      • JoiquimCouteau

        Your definition does not cover the vast majority of uses of that phrase, which have nothing to do with believing in a ‘powerful and secret cabal that controls the world. Everything you posted applies just as strongly to the ‘quackbusters’ or ‘skeptics’ or ‘debunkers’ or any other self-righteous group which validates its beliefs by using character assasination and by convincing people to avoid becoming informed for themselves. 
        ‘ they are fanatically devoted to their beliefs and often use their notable intelligence to circumvent any meaningful challenge to them that might be presented. this results in convoluted and sometimes directionless narratives that lack the substance to truly capture the popular imagination. ‘
        This is EXACTLY the strategy almost invariably taken by the ‘skeptics’. Your definition lacks a way to distinguish ‘conspiracy theories’ from ‘respectable beliefs’ or whatever you want the antithesis to be.

        • pavlovbot

          i would say that “respectable beliefs”, in the true sense, have solid, valid evidence to back them up, and are open to discrediting if proven otherwise. what are termed “conspiracy theories” do not and are not. being someone who, at one point or another, has indulged with interest and an open mind in variety of conspiracy theories, i find them lacking. if definitive evidence is ever discovered that jfk was not assassinated by a lone gunman or that 9/11 was not perpetrated by muslim extremists, i’ll believe it. but at this point, there is no evidence that proves either of these. and don’t take this as an invitation to debate the minutiae of your so-called proof. unless you have an earth-shattering revelation that isn’t plastered all over the internet, i’ve probably already heard it.

          • JoiquimCouteau

            What is ‘solid valid evidence’?

          • pavlovbot

            what do you think it is? simply because something seems to prove previously held beliefs, or helps to validate “bad feelings” you have about something does not make it substantial. good evidence doesn’t require extrapolation. i’m sure you’ll try to turn this around on me, but understand i have no more passion to disprove these notions as i do to believe them. things are what they are. i love to learn new things about the world around me and i try to foster a greater understanding of it. but the evidence i have seen to “prove” various conspiracies falls short.

          • Padraig

            thats my boy/girl just stick to the official line and mummy and daddy will be proud of you

          • pavlovbot

            is this all you got? it’s funny, for someone who obviously thinks they are superior to me, the fact that the only responses you can come up with are schoolyard taunts severely undermines any faith one might have in your intellectual discernment. ironic too, is the fact that you use self-righteousness and character assassination to cow me, being that these are both examples cited by jc above to describe the tactics of skeptics.

          • JoiquimCouteau

            I wouldn’t call that ‘character assassination’; I think the point he was making is that no one will give you a hard time for believing in, say, the conclusions of the 9/11 commission, while the voicing the alternative will get you no end of shit. 

          • pavlovbot

            your sympathies to him color your opinion of his juvenile remarks. there is absolutely nothing in what he said that would indicate he was doing anything other than making a weak attempt to insult me. and are you really so surprised that your conspiracy mongering about, say, 9/11, isn’t well received? you can’t see why people would be sensitive about such a subject? whether you are right or wrong, you hold an unpopular, controversial belief. the only thing that’s going to change that is if you have definitive evidence that your belief is true. unfortunately for you, that evidence has yet to surface.

          • JoiquimCouteau

            I do have definitive evidence, the thing is it’s loosely distributed throughout books and the internet, and you would not read it even if it was presented to you. By referring to it as ‘conspiracy mongering’ or ‘unpopular, controversial belief’ you continue to assure yourself that you are on the side of right, and that everyone who disagrees must do so because they know less than you.

          • pavlovbot

            9/11 conspiracies are not a popularly held belief, and they are controversial, as our discussion attests. and since you try to sell people on the ideas of conspiracies it fair to say you are a monger of them. it doesn’t necessarily have negative connotations, and it’s certainly less insulting than you calling me self-righteous. i’ve read/seen the work of alex jones and infowars, architects and engineers for 9/11 truth, scholars for 9/11 truth, loose change, jesse ventura, david icke, david ray griffin etc.so i’m probably familiar with whatever evidence you would want to show me. my disagreement with your beliefs has nothing to do with ignorance or insecurity. it is the weight of the evidence, which, i say again, is weak. this is not to say though that i believe those who disagree with me know less than i do. you may, perhaps be right. at this point though nothing has come forth to convince me of this.

          • JoiquimCouteau

            So what happened on 9/11?

          • pavlovbot

            dh lawrence was born.

          • JoiquimCouteau

            Everyone knows that’s just a conspiracy theory

          • pavlovbot

            who’s REALLY behind lady chatterly’s lover???

          • Tuna Ghost

            You don’t have definitive evidence.  No one has definitive evidence.  There’s a lot of sloppy science going around and people making bold claims and a lot of misrepresentation of both sides’ “evidence”, but there is absolutely no definitive evidence.  The belief that 9/11 was an inside job, or that explosives were used to bring down the towers, is not the popular opinion of the United States.  That is a minority opinion, and it is (obviously) very controversial.  I’m not sure why you’re pretending its not.

          • JoiquimCouteau

            The alternative, a conspiracy theory involving arab ‘terrorists’, is popular because it fits with the narrative of US foreign policy, and to question it is to cross a ‘point of no return’ which most people are unwilling to do. That you claim it is ‘controversial’ or a ‘minority opinion’ is irrelevant to its validity; doing so merely serves to assure yourself that you are on the side of ‘right’. How do YOU explain the buildings falling? 

            Here’s some evidence of thermite, let me know what you think.
            http://www.benthamscience.com/open/tocpj/articles/V002/7TOCPJ.htm?TOCPJ/2009/00000002/00000001/7TOCPJ.SGM

          • Tuna Ghost

            That’s not evidence.  Not even the paper claims it is evidence.  It claims that they have samples of materials (rust and itty bitty iron particles) collected from the site and people’s homes, where it was kept in shoeboxes, six years after the fact, that reminds them of some thermitic reactions.

            Not that it matters.  The nano-chemistry journal it was printed in immediately discredited the article.  The editor in chief did not know the article was being published and has stated, on record, that had she known the article would never have been published as it has no business being in a scientific journal, and that it had obvious political motivations.  She resigned expressly because this article was published under her watch (of course, she’s probably just part of the conspiracy, eh?).  

            This is what I mean when I say there is a lot of misinformation that people are calling evidence.  The paper, by its own admission, does not have anything resembling conclusive evidence.  Shit, even Harrit himself has claimed that he believes tons and tons of conventional explosives were also used.

            At any rate,  there is absolutely no recording anywhere of an explosion powerful enough to bring down a building (much less two explosions, or three, or however many people claim) despite there being several recording devices in operation at the time and despite explosions that powerful can be heard over a mile away.  No 9/11 truther has tackled this very, very important question.  Care to take a stab at it?  Or you can hop over to the most recent 9/11 discussion on disinfo, where this question has been asked and ignored dozens of times.  

            If you’d like links to any of the claims I’ve made, I’d be happy to provide them.  

            How do I explain the buildings falling?  I go by what the vast majority of actual engineers and architects and physicists believe.  Regarding WTC, I find this structure magazine article quite lucid and easy-to-understand:  http://www.structuremag.org/article.aspx?articleID=284

            Let me know if you find any flaws in that article.  

          • JoiquimCouteau

            That the editor of the journal thought the paper was ‘politically motivated’ says nothing about its content. All centrally funded science is politically motivated to some extent, that is no grounds for immediately dismissing all of data that suggests nano-thermite. You way ‘the paper does not have anything resembling conclusive evidence’; maybe not if you skim through it looking for a reason to dismiss it, I actually read the paper (although it was a while ago), and I have not seen anyone attempt to explain its revelations in any other way. Please, enlighten me. Also, explain this. http://www.rense.com/general75/thrm.htm

            People who were in the basement at the time reported loud explosions that knocked them back. What you have to keep in mind is that if it was orchestrated by Cheney and Perle and other well connected individuals,  it would be in there interest to leave as little evidence as possible (of which they were, obviously, unsuccessful). They could have staggered the explosions slightly, and they would have used very small amounts of nano-thermite to begin with. 
             
            That article you posted is painfully apologetic. It is also completely irrelevant, and completely false:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2q2mD2HaKA

            Now, in light of this, the article you posted is a demonstration of how far people will go to justify the story they want to believe. Yes, this goes both ways, but you who believe in the ‘arab conspiracy theory’ are no less guilty than the ‘dick cheney conspiracy theory’ folk, no matter how much you may think you have the moral high ground. 

          • Tuna Ghost

            All centrally funded science is politically motivated to some extent,…
            “To some extent” is pretty vague, guy.  Ask yourself why aren’t other editors resigning from their posts in disgust at all the “politically motivated” papers submitted and published.   

            ‘the paper does not have anything resembling conclusive evidence’; maybe not if you skim through it looking for a reason to dismiss it,…

            It’s own conclusions state quite clearly that there isn’t conclusive evidence, only that the materials collected and handled six years after the fact by nobody connected to the scientific community “reminded” the writers of some thermitic reactions.  No one attempts to explain the article because no one except Truthers take it seriously.  The rest of the scientific community paid it no attention, as it was poorly researched (where exactly did they list their margin of error again?) and came to no solid conclusions.  Unless, of course, the rest of the scientific community is in on the conspiracy, or frightened into silence by the gov’t.  And if you believe that, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.

            The article you linked to must be old, the questions it raises have all been answered.  Even if we ignore the fact that we’re discussing Dr. Steven Jones, who also claims to have “physical proof” that the events depicted in the Book of Mormon are historical fact (I’m totally not making this up.  I can provide his articles where he makes these claims, if you want) and that Jesus Christ preached to the Natives of this land, the “molten steel” pouring from the building has already been explained.  It is not steel or iron, it is most likely aluminum mixed with debris inside the office.  When it claims that “molten metal from the WTC was studied”, who exactly studied it?  Where was the molten material examined?  Where was it found?  Where has this study been published?  Who can verify it?  Where is this molten material now?  Who else claims to have found molten steel or iron lying around?  Anyone?  There are no names, no institutions, no specifics at all mentioned.  The smoke has also been explained; there was a great deal of different material burning in the WTC besides fuel and aluminum from the jets.  

            People who were in the basement at the time reported loud explosions that knocked them back.

            Ignoring the fact that the people simply reported noises that sounded like explosions, and ignoring the fact that those noises have already been explained, anyone in a basement that had explosives powerful enough to topple a building would not be talking about it later.  They would be mist and bits of charred meat.  

            What you have to keep in mind is that if it was orchestrated by Cheney and Perle and other well connected individuals,  it would be in there interest to leave as little evidence as possible (of which they were, obviously, unsuccessful).  

            This is a pretty handy and convenient way to ignore any and all lack of evidence.  Well done.  

            Simply put, there is no way to muffle an explosion powerful to knock a building down.  The percussive force would have been recorded.  Your mention of nano-thermite here makes me wonder if you’re aware of how thermite is used, what it actually does, and what role it would have played had an experimental form of it been used.  

            That article you posted is painfully apologetic… 

            Apologetic how?  I don’t think you’re using this word correctly.  Please elaborate.

            It is also completely irrelevant,

            Irrelevant how?  It explains quite clearly how a single point of failure could have easily toppled the building.  

            …and completely false.

            Your justification for this is obstensibly the Larry Silverstein video in which he describes his decision to pull the building.  “Pull” here means attach cables and pull down a building, which is what they did with WTC 6.  They did make the decision to pull down WTC 7, but it collapsed shortly after the decision was made.  If you like, I can provide several quotes from firefighters and rescue personnel at the scene who described the enormous gaping hole in the building and the severe, unfought fires rampaging throughout the building, and the eventual collapse (this testimony, by the way, completely lines up with the point-by-point explanation for the collapse I provided for you).  Would you like to see them? Just ask.  They quotes are all accredited, you can see quite clearly their names, ranks, and what unit they are in.  

            I have no idea where you’re going with all this “guilt” and “moral high ground” business.  I don’t think 9/11 Truthers are “immoral” or “guilty”, just ignorant, which is an affliction we all suffer from at one time or another.  I have questions of my own about 9/11.  I believe it is very possible that people knew about the attacks before they were performed, and that tehy did nothing to stop them.  Considering that the CIA had issued reports that Al Queda was planning something involving jets a month earlier, it seems pretty likely to me.  You must realize that instead of pulling off a massive operation that would take many, many people that would all have to keep their mouths shut, that would involve huge amounts of physical evidence that would have to be disappeared, that would need a great deal of money to accomplish, one could simply allow one of the thousands of nutjobs who want to fly planes into buildings to succeed.  It would be much, much easier, cheaper, and less dangerous to those involved.  Given that these nutjobs are certainly not in short supply, why would anyone even consider demolishing the buildings themselves?

          • Tuna Ghost

            P.S.  I can appreciate you asking not to be written off as a rube or an idiot right off the bat simply for not believing the US gov’t.  I can agree with the notion that when the US gov’t does or says anything it is almost entirely for its own benefit.  Frankly the people who think the gov’t wouldn’t deceive them if it were easier and less incriminating than telling the whole truth are very much out of touch with the way things are done in our world.  But in this case, the gov’t happens to be telling the truth in regard to how the buildings collapsed.  The attacks were used to as justification for all kinds of nasty shit that profited Cheney et all, but they didn’t demolish the buildings.  They didn’t need to; as I mentioned below there are plenty of crazy bastards that are ready and willing to do it for them.  

          • Tuna Ghost

            You don’t have definitive evidence.  No one has definitive evidence.  There’s a lot of sloppy science going around and people making bold claims and a lot of misrepresentation of both sides’ “evidence”, but there is absolutely no definitive evidence.  The belief that 9/11 was an inside job, or that explosives were used to bring down the towers, is not the popular opinion of the United States.  That is a minority opinion, and it is (obviously) very controversial.  I’m not sure why you’re pretending its not.

          • Tuna Ghost

            I notice you don’t actually tackle any of the claims he made.  Where have I seen that before…oh right in about every thread on 9/11 in recent history on Disinfo.  

        • Tuna Ghost

          His (or her) definition accurately describes the conspiracy theorists that popped up in the most recent thread on 9/11.  Almost perfectly.  Look for yourself and see if I’m wrong.

      • Padraig

        no argument atall…just describe a “conspiacy theorist..job done, i have a theory about people like you….sucker

    • lj

      i like the phrase “political probability theory”

    • lj

      i like the phrase “political probability theory”

    • Godozo

      1: The truth is out there. And it’s being hidden from us.
      Example: Pearl Harbor was allowed to happen.

      2: There is a reason (usually nefarious, and the word “usually” is being kind) the truth is hidden from us.
      Example: Roosevelt (as part of the secret society running the world) wanted to get the then-isolationist USA into WWII, specifically against the Germans; although Japan would do the trick if it got the Germans in as well.

      3: If you’re willing to look for the hidden clues, you’ll find it.
      Example: Where were the aircraft carriers, and why were they the only ones out of the harbor?

      4: The result is usually the masses being guided in the way the “conspirators” want them to go.
      Example: US enters WWII, US/Britain/Russia wins the war (France was invaded, doesn’t count).

      Now it’s a bit simplified, but that’s the basics on conspiracy theories.

  • Dogpeople

    Well said JC.

    While there are many ideas out there that really are over the edge, that doesn’t and shouldn’t condemn all
    ideas that aren’t officially condoned. The moon landing never happened? Okay, based on the evidence I still
    feel that people landed on the moon. But if I’m supposed to accept that JFK, RFK and MLK were shot by lone nuts, then no thank you. That goes beyond the bounds of credibilty.

    Someone needs to tell Bill Keller that tin foil is also used to keep new ideas out. 

  • Dogpeople

    Well said JC.

    While there are many ideas out there that really are over the edge, that doesn’t and shouldn’t condemn all
    ideas that aren’t officially condoned. The moon landing never happened? Okay, based on the evidence I still
    feel that people landed on the moon. But if I’m supposed to accept that JFK, RFK and MLK were shot by lone nuts, then no thank you. That goes beyond the bounds of credibilty.

    Someone needs to tell Bill Keller that tin foil is also used to keep new ideas out. 

  • Dogpeople

    Forgot to ask -

    Why is Disinfo even posting this? This Keller fellow doesn’t need the help,
    he has a mainstream outlet already. His ideas, and where they are getting exposure
    seem to run contrary to what Disnfo generally is about.

  • Dogpeople

    Forgot to ask -

    Why is Disinfo even posting this? This Keller fellow doesn’t need the help,
    he has a mainstream outlet already. His ideas, and where they are getting exposure
    seem to run contrary to what Disnfo generally is about.

    • Godozo

      So we know what the mainstream’s saying about us.

      Doesn’t hurt to hear it every so often. Forces us to defend our doubts of mainstream reality (or our defense of it, depending on where you’re at).

      Fact is, most of the people reading that are reading him, shaking their heads in agreement and leaving things at that. Only in places like this do such ideas get a critical eye.

  • Anonymous

    i’ll take the bait. conspiracy theorist as expressed in popular vernacular: one who prescribes to an outlying worldview that often finds it permeated with malignancy and danger, usually in the form of a powerful and secret cabal that controls the world and is the source of all real and perceived miseries. through confirmation bias, the conspiracy theorist gathers “evidence” for this worldview – a miasma of discredited science, out-of-context quotes, circular reasoning, esoteric interpretation of religious texts, etc. they are fanatically devoted to their beliefs and often use their notable intelligence to circumvent any meaningful challenge to them that might be presented. this results in convoluted and sometimes directionless narratives that lack the substance to truly capture the popular imagination. the conspiracy theorist himself is often a self-serious individual prone to paranoia and emotional outbursts related to their beliefs. their singular focus can lead to rambling, defensive conversation on why they are correct. they are not easily swayed from their beliefs.

  • Anonymous

    Been saying it for years. Take any reasonable person, throw a bunch of ideas and facts at him till he’s confused and he’ll believe anything, no matter how much of a stretch it takes (aka proof by assertion aka “A lie told often enough becomes the truth”). It’s the same principles religions have used for millenia, and a few geniuses decided to apply the same to political or historical concepts.

  • Anonymous

    Been saying it for years. Take any reasonable person, throw a bunch of ideas and facts at him till he’s confused and he’ll believe anything, no matter how much of a stretch it takes (aka proof by assertion aka “A lie told often enough becomes the truth”). It’s the same principles religions have used for millenia, and a few geniuses decided to apply the same to political or historical concepts.

  • SF2K01

    Been saying it for years. Take any reasonable person, throw a bunch of ideas and facts at him till he’s confused and he’ll believe anything, no matter how much of a stretch it takes (aka proof by assertion aka “A lie told often enough becomes the truth”). It’s the same principles religions have used for millenia, and a few geniuses decided to apply the same to political or historical concepts.

  • Simmerslodraw

    ‘Knight added, “As soon as you lose faith that the mainstream media are telling the truth, anything is believable.” ‘

    TRUST YOUR MECHANIC TO REPAIR YOUR CAR

  • Simmerslodraw

    ‘Knight added, “As soon as you lose faith that the mainstream media are telling the truth, anything is believable.” ‘

    TRUST YOUR MECHANIC TO REPAIR YOUR CAR

  • Anonymous

    Bill Keller is a petty egomaniac, who is so full of himself he fights with random people on twitter who dare question the continued relevance of his once great newspaper (I know this from experience). He was a complete failure as an editor, and this just another example of a long list of cheap insults disguised as an “oped”. He was never cut out to be editor and is just taking out his failures on easy targets.

  • jonathanscott444

    Bill Keller is a petty egomaniac, who is so full of himself he fights with random people on twitter who dare question the continued relevance of his once great newspaper (I know this from experience). He was a complete failure as an editor, and this just another example of a long list of cheap insults disguised as an “oped”. He was never cut out to be editor and is just taking out his failures on easy targets.

  • Anonymous

    Bill Keller admitted a few months ago on BBC that he consults with the Obama administration (in reference to the Wikileaks cables), to make sure the NYT publishes cable that are okay with the oval office. I think that is essentially all you need to know about the state of the NYT in 2011. Why anyone continues to read that rag is beyond me?

  • jonathanscott444

    Bill Keller admitted a few months ago on BBC that he consults with the Obama administration (in reference to the Wikileaks cables), to make sure the NYT publishes cable that are okay with the oval office. I think that is essentially all you need to know about the state of the NYT in 2011. Why anyone continues to read that rag is beyond me?

  • Dogpeople

    Okay, so if conspiracy theory now means wacky illogical, paranoid ideation
    then how do we express when an actual conspiracy occurs?

    Some conspiracies are real and do in fact occur.

    Anyone recall the judgement of the court in favor of Coretta Scott King 
    in the 1990′s? Look it up. A conspiracy was acknowledged. What about the wording
    of the HSCA regarding JFK’s murder?

    Et Tu Brute?

  • Dogpeople

    Okay, so if conspiracy theory now means wacky illogical, paranoid ideation
    then how do we express when an actual conspiracy occurs?

    Some conspiracies are real and do in fact occur.

    Anyone recall the judgement of the court in favor of Coretta Scott King 
    in the 1990′s? Look it up. A conspiracy was acknowledged. What about the wording
    of the HSCA regarding JFK’s murder?

    Et Tu Brute?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1048179327 James Laframboise

    Insanity. Once again, the term conspiracy is used to discount all discourse except that which is printed in the New York Times: “There is, of course, a hard core for whom the very fact that The New York Times (or the 9/11 Commission…) is challenging their version of reality just confirms it.”

    But what about when the 9/11 Commissioners THEMSELVES claim conspiracy to hide the truth of 9/11? So before you start calling people idiots or crackpots, maybe do a bit of research:Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the 9/11 Commission both state that the commission was “set up to fail” (they wrote a book about it: “Without Precedent”) Here they talk about being stonewalled by the CIA in the NYT. Apparently even if the principle investigators claim, in the NYT, they weren’t told the truth…it’s still baseless conspiracy!
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/02/opinion/02kean.html?_r=1

    John Farmer, Dean of Rutger Universities’ School of Law and former Attorney General of New Jersey, was the legal council for the 9/11 Commission and drafted the 9/11 Report. He’s said about his own report that it is “almost entirely untrue”. He also wrote a book about it. 
    http://www.salem-news.com/articles/september112009/911_truth_9-11-09.php

    More general info, and Daniel Elsberg and Mike Gavel calling for a new investigation, saying this is FAR more important than the pentagon papers.
    http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2011/03/pentagon-papers-whistleblowers.html

    Turns out, twice the money was spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky scandal then was allowed for the 9/11 Commission.Losers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1048179327 James Laframboise

    Insanity. Once again, the term conspiracy is used to discount all discourse except that which is printed in the New York Times: “There is, of course, a hard core for whom the very fact that The New York Times (or the 9/11 Commission…) is challenging their version of reality just confirms it.”

    But what about when the 9/11 Commissioners THEMSELVES claim conspiracy to hide the truth of 9/11? 

    So before you start calling people idiots or crackpots, maybe do a bit of research:

    Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the 9/11 Commission both state that the commission was “set up to fail” (they wrote a book about it: “Without Precedent”) Here they talk about being stonewalled by the CIA in the NYT. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/02/opinion/02kean.html?_r=1 Apparently even if the principle investigators claim, in the NYT, they weren’t told the truth…it’s still baseless conspiracy!

    John Farmer, Dean of Rutger Universities’ School of Law and former Attorney General of New Jersey, was the legal council for the 9/11 Commission and drafted the 9/11 Report. He’s said about his own report that it is “almost entirely untrue”. He also wrote a book about it. 
    http://www.salem-news.com/articles/september112009/911_truth_9-11-09.php

    More general info, and Daniel Elsberg and Mike Gavel calling for a new investigation, saying this is FAR more important than the pentagon papers.
    http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2011/03/pentagon-papers-whistleblowers.html

    Turns out, twice the money was spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky scandal then was allowed for the 9/11 Commission.Losers.

  • lj

    i like the phrase “political probability theory”

  • Anonymous

    Your definition does not cover the vast majority of uses of that phrase, which have nothing to do with believing in a ‘powerful and secret cabal that controls the world. Everything you posted applies just as strongly to the ‘quackbusters’ or ‘skeptics’ or ‘debunkers’ or any other self-righteous group which validates its beliefs by using character assasination and by convincing people to avoid becoming informed for themselves. 
    ‘ they are fanatically devoted to their beliefs and often use their notable intelligence to circumvent any meaningful challenge to them that might be presented. this results in convoluted and sometimes directionless narratives that lack the substance to truly capture the popular imagination. ‘
    This is EXACTLY the strategy almost invariably taken by the ‘skeptics’. Your definition lacks a way to distinguish ‘conspiracy theories’ from ‘respectable beliefs’ or whatever you want the antithesis to be.

  • Anonymous

    i would say that “respectable beliefs”, in the true sense, have solid, valid evidence to back them up, and are open to discrediting if proven otherwise. what are termed “conspiracy theories” do not and are not. being someone who, at one point or another, has indulged with interest and an open mind in variety of conspiracy theories, i find them lacking. if definitive evidence is ever discovered that jfk was not assassinated by a lone gunman or that 9/11 was not perpetrated by muslim extremists, i’ll believe it. but at this point, there is no evidence that proves either of these. and don’t take this as an invitation to debate the minutiae of your so-called proof. unless you have an earth-shattering revelation that isn’t plastered all over the internet, i’ve probably already heard it.

  • Anonymous

    What is ‘solid valid evidence’?

  • Anonymous

    what do you think it is? simply because something seems to prove previously held beliefs, or helps to validate “bad feelings” you have about something does not make it substantial. good evidence doesn’t require extrapolation. i’m sure you’ll try to turn this around on me, but understand i have no more passion to disprove these notions as i do to believe them. things are what they are. i love to learn new things about the world around me and i try to foster a greater understanding of it. but the evidence i have seen to “prove” various conspiracies falls short.

  • Godozo

    1: The truth is out there. And it’s being hidden from us.
    Example: Pearl Harbor was allowed to happen.

    2: There is a reason (usually nefarious, and the word “usually” is being kind) the truth is hidden from us.
    Example: Roosevelt (as part of the secret society running the world) wanted to get the then-isolationist USA into WWII, specifically against the Germans; although Japan would do the trick if it got the Germans in as well.

    3: If you’re willing to look for the hidden clues, you’ll find it.
    Example: Where were the aircraft carriers, and why were they the only ones out of the harbor?

    4: The result is usually the masses being guided in the way the “conspirators” want them to go.
    Example: US enters WWII, US/Britain/Russia wins the war (France was invaded, doesn’t count).

    Now it’s a bit simplified, but that’s the basics on conspiracy theories.

  • Godozo

    1: The truth is out there. And it’s being hidden from us.
    Example: Pearl Harbor was allowed to happen.

    2: There is a reason (usually nefarious, and the word “usually” is being kind) the truth is hidden from us.
    Example: Roosevelt (as part of the secret society running the world) wanted to get the then-isolationist USA into WWII, specifically against the Germans; although Japan would do the trick if it got the Germans in as well.

    3: If you’re willing to look for the hidden clues, you’ll find it.
    Example: Where were the aircraft carriers, and why were they the only ones out of the harbor?

    4: The result is usually the masses being guided in the way the “conspirators” want them to go.
    Example: US enters WWII, US/Britain/Russia wins the war (France was invaded, doesn’t count).

    Now it’s a bit simplified, but that’s the basics on conspiracy theories.

  • Godozo

    So we know what the mainstream’s saying about us.

    Doesn’t hurt to hear it every so often. Forces us to defend our doubts of mainstream reality (or our defense of it, depending on where you’re at).

    Fact is, most of the people reading that are reading him, shaking their heads in agreement and leaving things at that. Only in places like this do such ideas get a critical eye.

  • Wadester10

    Building 7 anyone?

  • Wadester10

    Building 7 anyone?

  • http://fruitbattv.com/ Solar Samba

    The idea that there maybe no truth in conspiracy theories, is to completely discount history, which is basically filled with one conspiracy after another.  So to learn from history, there maybe a lot more to a conspiracy theory than the average system loving zealots (which most of us are), would dare believe! 

  • http://fruitbattv.com/ Solar Samba

    The idea that there maybe no truth in conspiracy theories, is to completely discount history, which is basically filled with one conspiracy after another.  So to learn from history, there maybe a lot more to a conspiracy theory than the average system loving zealots (which most of us are), would dare believe! 

  • http://fruitbattv.com/ Solar Samba

    The idea that there maybe no truth in conspiracy theories, is to completely discount history, which is basically filled with one conspiracy after another.  So to learn from history, there maybe a lot more to a conspiracy theory than the average system loving zealots (which most of us are), would dare believe! 

  • Padraig

    no argument atall…just describe a “conspiacy theorist..job done, i have a theory about people like you….sucker

  • Padraig

    thats my boy/girl just stick to the official line and mummy and daddy will be proud of you

  • Anonymous

    is this all you got? it’s funny, for someone who obviously thinks they are superior to me, the fact that the only responses you can come up with are schoolyard taunts severely undermines any faith one might have in your intellectual discernment. ironic too, is the fact that you use self-righteousness and character assassination to cow me, being that these are both examples cited by jc above to describe the tactics of skeptics.

  • Anonymous

    is this all you got? it’s funny, for someone who obviously thinks they are superior to me, the fact that the only responses you can come up with are schoolyard taunts severely undermines any faith one might have in your intellectual discernment. ironic too, is the fact that you use self-righteousness and character assassination to cow me, being that these are both examples cited by jc above to describe the tactics of skeptics.

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn’t call that ‘character assassination’; I think the point he was making is that no one will give you a hard time for believing in, say, the conclusions of the 9/11 commission, while the voicing the alternative will get you no end of shit. 

  • Anonymous

    your sympathies to him color your opinion of his juvenile remarks. there is absolutely nothing in what he said that would indicate he was doing anything other than making a weak attempt to insult me. and are you really so surprised that your conspiracy mongering about, say, 9/11, isn’t well received? you can’t see why people would be sensitive about such a subject? whether you are right or wrong, you hold an unpopular, controversial belief. the only thing that’s going to change that is if you have definitive evidence that your belief is true. unfortunately for you, that evidence has yet to surface.

  • Anonymous

    I do have definitive evidence, the thing is it’s loosely distributed throughout books and the internet, and you would not read it even if it was presented to you. By referring to it as ‘conspiracy mongering’ or ‘unpopular, controversial belief’ you continue to assure yourself that you are on the side of right, and that everyone who disagrees must do so because they know less than you.

  • Anonymous

    9/11 conspiracies are not a popularly held belief, and they are controversial, as our discussion attests. and since you try to sell people on the ideas of conspiracies it fair to say you are a monger of them. it doesn’t necessarily have negative connotations, and it’s certainly less insulting than you calling me self-righteous. i’ve read/seen the work of alex jones and infowars, architects and engineers for 9/11 truth, scholars for 9/11 truth, loose change, jesse ventura, david icke, david ray griffin etc.so i’m probably familiar with whatever evidence you would want to show me. my disagreement with your beliefs has nothing to do with ignorance or insecurity. it is the weight of the evidence, which, i say again, is weak. this is not to say though that i believe those who disagree with me know less than i do. you may, perhaps be right. at this point though nothing has come forth to convince me of this.

  • Anonymous

    So what happened on 9/11?

  • Anonymous

    So what happened on 9/11?

  • Anonymous

    dh lawrence was born.

  • Anonymous

    Everyone knows that’s just a conspiracy theory

  • JohnnyTruth67

    pavlovbot …you are the exact kind of person that government loves! You refuse to look at any “evidence” other than what the government offers you and when that doesn’t make sense, (it rarely does), you keep your head in the sand and continue to back up whatever story the government came up with to make yourself feel intelligent. I would like your opinion on the “Gulf of Tonkin” incident and explain Operation: Northwoods and what the odds are of an Operation: Northwoods like operation actually happening 40 years later. If you are going to speak, then make sense!

  • JohnnyTruth67

    pavlovbot …you are the exact kind of person that government loves! You refuse to look at any “evidence” other than what the government offers you and when that doesn’t make sense, (it rarely does), you keep your head in the sand and continue to back up whatever story the government came up with to make yourself feel intelligent. I would like your opinion on the “Gulf of Tonkin” incident and explain Operation: Northwoods and what the odds are of an Operation: Northwoods like operation actually happening 40 years later. If you are going to speak, then make sense!

  • Anonymous

    who’s REALLY behind lady chatterly’s lover???

  • chubby

    “The flyers’ mind has not left you,” don Juan said. “It has been
    seriously injured. It’s trying its best to rearrange its relationship
    with you. But something in you is severed forever. The flyer knows that.
    The real danger is that the flyers’ mind may win by getting you tired
    and forcing you to quit by playing the contradiction between what it
    says and what I say.

    “You see, the flyers’ mind has no
    competitors,” don Juan continued. “When it proposes something, it agrees
    with its own proposition, and it makes you believe that you’ve done
    something of worth.

    “The flyers’ mind will say to you that
    whatever Juan Matus is telling you is pure nonsense, and then the same
    mind will agree with its own proposition, ‘Yes, of course, it is
    nonsense,’ you will say. That’s the way they overcome us.

    “The
    flyers are an essential part of the universe,” he went on, “and they
    must be taken as what they really are- awesome, monstrous. They are the
    means by which the universe tests us.

    “We are energetic probes
    created by the universe,” he continued as if he were oblivious to my
    presence, “and it’s because we are possessors of energy that has
    awareness that we are the means by which the universe becomes aware of
    itself.

    “The flyers are the implacable [* implacable- incapable
    of being more favourably inclined, or gaining the good will of]
    challengers. They cannot be taken as anything else. If we succeed in
    doing that, the universe allows us to continue.”

  • chubby

    “The flyers’ mind has not left you,” don Juan said. “It has been
    seriously injured. It’s trying its best to rearrange its relationship
    with you. But something in you is severed forever. The flyer knows that.
    The real danger is that the flyers’ mind may win by getting you tired
    and forcing you to quit by playing the contradiction between what it
    says and what I say.

    “You see, the flyers’ mind has no
    competitors,” don Juan continued. “When it proposes something, it agrees
    with its own proposition, and it makes you believe that you’ve done
    something of worth.

    “The flyers’ mind will say to you that
    whatever Juan Matus is telling you is pure nonsense, and then the same
    mind will agree with its own proposition, ‘Yes, of course, it is
    nonsense,’ you will say. That’s the way they overcome us.

    “The
    flyers are an essential part of the universe,” he went on, “and they
    must be taken as what they really are- awesome, monstrous. They are the
    means by which the universe tests us.

    “We are energetic probes
    created by the universe,” he continued as if he were oblivious to my
    presence, “and it’s because we are possessors of energy that has
    awareness that we are the means by which the universe becomes aware of
    itself.

    “The flyers are the implacable [* implacable- incapable
    of being more favourably inclined, or gaining the good will of]
    challengers. They cannot be taken as anything else. If we succeed in
    doing that, the universe allows us to continue.”

  • Tuna Ghost

    You don’t have definitive evidence.  No one has definitive evidence.  There’s a lot of sloppy science going around and people making bold claims and a lot of misrepresentation of both sides’ “evidence”, but there is absolutely no definitive evidence.  The belief that 9/11 was an inside job, or that explosives were used to bring down the towers, is not the popular opinion of the United States.  That is a minority opinion, and it is (obviously) very controversial.  I’m not sure why you’re pretending its not.

  • Tuna Ghost

    His (or her) definition accurately describes the conspiracy theorists that popped up in the most recent thread on 9/11.  Almost perfectly.  Look for yourself and see if I’m wrong.

  • Tuna Ghost

    I notice you don’t actually tackle any of the claims he made.  Where have I seen that before…oh right in about every thread on 9/11 in recent history on Disinfo.  

  • Anonymous

    The alternative, a conspiracy theory involving arab ‘terrorists’, is popular because it fits with the narrative of US foreign policy, and to question it is to cross a ‘point of no return’ which most people are unwilling to do. That you claim it is ‘controversial’ or a ‘minority opinion’ is irrelevant to its validity; doing so merely serves to assure yourself that you are on the side of ‘right’. How do YOU explain the buildings falling? 

    Here’s some evidence of thermite, let me know what you think.
    http://www.benthamscience.com/open/tocpj/articles/V002/7TOCPJ.htm?TOCPJ/2009/00000002/00000001/7TOCPJ.SGM

  • Tuna Ghost

    That’s not evidence.  Not even the paper claims it is evidence.  It claims that they have samples of materials (rust and itty bitty iron particles) collected from the site and people’s homes, where it was kept in shoeboxes, six years after the fact, that reminds them of some thermitic reactions.

    Not that it matters.  The nano-chemistry journal it was printed in immediately discredited the article.  The editor in chief did not know the article was being published and has stated, on record, that had she known the article would never have been published as it has no business being in a scientific journal, and that it had obvious political motivations.  She resigned expressly because this article was published under her watch (of course, she’s probably just part of the conspiracy, eh?).  

    This is what I mean when I say there is a lot of misinformation that people are calling evidence.  The paper, by its own admission, does not have anything resembling conclusive evidence.  Shit, even Harrit himself has claimed that he believes tons and tons of conventional explosives were also used.

    At any rate,  there is absolutely no recording anywhere of an explosion powerful enough to bring down a building (much less two explosions, or three, or however many people claim) despite there being several recording devices in operation at the time and despite explosions that powerful can be heard over a mile away.  No 9/11 truther has tackled this very, very important question.  Care to take a stab at it?  Or you can hop over to the most recent 9/11 discussion on disinfo, where this question has been asked and ignored dozens of times.  

    If you’d like links to any of the claims I’ve made, I’d be happy to provide them.  

    How do I explain the buildings falling?  I go by what the vast majority of actual engineers and architects and physicists believe.  Regarding WTC, I find this structure magazine article quite lucid and easy-to-understand:  http://www.structuremag.org/article.aspx?articleID=284

    Let me know if you find any flaws in that article.  

  • Anonymous

    That the editor of the journal thought the paper was ‘politically motivated’ says nothing about its content. All centrally funded science is politically motivated to some extent, that is no grounds for immediately dismissing all of data that suggests nano-thermite. You way ‘the paper does not have anything resembling conclusive evidence’; maybe not if you skim through it looking for a reason to dismiss it, I actually read the paper (although it was a while ago), and I have not seen anyone attempt to explain its revelations in any other way. Please, enlighten me. Also, explain this. http://www.rense.com/general75/thrm.htm

    People who were in the basement at the time reported loud explosions that knocked them back. What you have to keep in mind is that if it was orchestrated by Cheney and Perle and other well connected individuals,  it would be in there interest to leave as little evidence as possible (of which they were, obviously, unsuccessful). They could have staggered the explosions slightly, and they would have used very small amounts of nano-thermite to begin with. 
     
    That article you posted is painfully apologetic. It is also completely irrelevant, and completely false:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2q2mD2HaKA

    Now, in light of this, the article you posted is a demonstration of how far people will go to justify the story they want to believe. Yes, this goes both ways, but you who believe in the ‘arab conspiracy theory’ are no less guilty than the ‘dick cheney conspiracy theory’ folk, no matter how much you may think you have the moral high ground. 

  • Tuna Ghost

    All centrally funded science is politically motivated to some extent,…
    “To some extent” is pretty vague, guy.  Ask yourself why aren’t other editors resigning from their posts in disgust at all the “politically motivated” papers submitted and published.   

    ‘the paper does not have anything resembling conclusive evidence’; maybe not if you skim through it looking for a reason to dismiss it,…

    It’s own conclusions state quite clearly that there isn’t conclusive evidence, only that the materials collected and handled six years after the fact by nobody connected to the scientific community “reminded” the writers of some thermitic reactions.  No one attempts to explain the article because no one except Truthers take it seriously.  The rest of the scientific community paid it no attention, as it was poorly researched (where exactly did they list their margin of error again?) and came to no solid conclusions.  Unless, of course, the rest of the scientific community is in on the conspiracy, or frightened into silence by the gov’t.  And if you believe that, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.

    The article you linked to must be old, the questions it raises have all been answered.  Even if we ignore the fact that we’re discussing Dr. Steven Jones, who also claims to have “physical proof” that the events depicted in the Book of Mormon are historical fact (I’m totally not making this up.  I can provide his articles where he makes these claims, if you want) and that Jesus Christ preached to the Natives of this land, the “molten steel” pouring from the building has already been explained.  It is not steel or iron, it is most likely aluminum mixed with debris inside the office.  When it claims that “molten metal from the WTC was studied”, who exactly studied it?  Where was the molten material examined?  Where was it found?  Where has this study been published?  Who can verify it?  Where is this molten material now?  Who else claims to have found molten steel or iron lying around?  Anyone?  There are no names, no institutions, no specifics at all mentioned.  The smoke has also been explained; there was a great deal of different material burning in the WTC besides fuel and aluminum from the jets.  

    People who were in the basement at the time reported loud explosions that knocked them back.

    Ignoring the fact that the people simply reported noises that sounded like explosions, and ignoring the fact that those noises have already been explained, anyone in a basement that had explosives powerful enough to topple a building would not be talking about it later.  They would be mist and bits of charred meat.  

    What you have to keep in mind is that if it was orchestrated by Cheney and Perle and other well connected individuals,  it would be in there interest to leave as little evidence as possible (of which they were, obviously, unsuccessful).  

    This is a pretty handy and convenient way to ignore any and all lack of evidence.  Well done.  

    Simply put, there is no way to muffle an explosion powerful to knock a building down.  The percussive force would have been recorded.  Your mention of nano-thermite here makes me wonder if you’re aware of how thermite is used, what it actually does, and what role it would have played had an experimental form of it been used.  

    That article you posted is painfully apologetic… 

    Apologetic how?  I don’t think you’re using this word correctly.  Please elaborate.

    It is also completely irrelevant,

    Irrelevant how?  It explains quite clearly how a single point of failure could have easily toppled the building.  

    …and completely false.

    Your justification for this is obstensibly the Larry Silverstein video in which he describes his decision to pull the building.  “Pull” here means attach cables and pull down a building, which is what they did with WTC 6.  They did make the decision to pull down WTC 7, but it collapsed shortly after the decision was made.  If you like, I can provide several quotes from firefighters and rescue personnel at the scene who described the enormous gaping hole in the building and the severe, unfought fires rampaging throughout the building, and the eventual collapse (this testimony, by the way, completely lines up with the point-by-point explanation for the collapse I provided for you).  Would you like to see them? Just ask.  They quotes are all accredited, you can see quite clearly their names, ranks, and what unit they are in.  

    I have no idea where you’re going with all this “guilt” and “moral high ground” business.  I don’t think 9/11 Truthers are “immoral” or “guilty”, just ignorant, which is an affliction we all suffer from at one time or another.  I have questions of my own about 9/11.  I believe it is very possible that people knew about the attacks before they were performed, and that tehy did nothing to stop them.  Considering that the CIA had issued reports that Al Queda was planning something involving jets a month earlier, it seems pretty likely to me.  You must realize that instead of pulling off a massive operation that would take many, many people that would all have to keep their mouths shut, that would involve huge amounts of physical evidence that would have to be disappeared, that would need a great deal of money to accomplish, one could simply allow one of the thousands of nutjobs who want to fly planes into buildings to succeed.  It would be much, much easier, cheaper, and less dangerous to those involved.  Given that these nutjobs are certainly not in short supply, why would anyone even consider demolishing the buildings themselves?

  • Tuna Ghost

    P.S.  I can appreciate you asking not to be written off as a rube or an idiot right off the bat simply for not believing the US gov’t.  I can agree with the notion that when the US gov’t does or says anything it is almost entirely for its own benefit.  Frankly the people who think the gov’t wouldn’t deceive them if it were easier and less incriminating than telling the whole truth are very much out of touch with the way things are done in our world.  But in this case, the gov’t happens to be telling the truth in regard to how the buildings collapsed.  The attacks were used to as justification for all kinds of nasty shit that profited Cheney et all, but they didn’t demolish the buildings.  They didn’t need to; as I mentioned below there are plenty of crazy bastards that are ready and willing to do it for them.  

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