Tag Archives | Conspiracy Theories

U.S. Army’s JADE HELM 15 Exercises Ignite Conspiracy Theories

The Army’s plans to conduct military exercises outside the confines of military bases in Texas has the usual suspects (um, Alex Jones and his InfoWarriors) decrying a military coup, or something like that.

jade helm

The Houston Chronicle reports, somewhat more calmly:

Plans for a 17-city Army Special Operations exercise in Texas stirred some ultra-right-wing fears of a government takeover in the Lone Star State, but local law enforcement say they’ve long been aware of the drill.

Operation Jade Helm will bring a coalition of forces, including the Green Berets, SEALS, and special operations commands from the Air Force and Marines to Texas for two months of “realistic military training” in a simulated “hostile” territory between July and September this summer.

Army Special Operation Command spokesman Mark Lastoria said soldiers would practice “emerging concepts in special operations warfare” in Texas.

“Training exercise Jade Helm is going to assist our Special Operations Soldiers in refining the skills needed against an ever changing foreign threat,” he said.

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What I Saw At the Conspiracy Theory Conference

Hey how come we weren’t invited to the Conspiracy Theory Conference? Luckily Jesse Walker went and filed this report for Reason:

“I get the feeling that a lot of philosophers can poke a hole in anything,” Ted Goertzel complained, his voice radiating prickly impatience. The site was the University of Miami, where nearly 50 scholars from institutions across Europe and America had gathered to discuss conspiracy theories in a room named for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Goertzel, a retired Rutgers sociologist, was addressing a panel of philosophers who had indeed just spent an hour poking holes in popular notions about conspiratorial beliefs. One had presented a paper with the cheeky title “Why Do We Believe Conspiracy Theories Exist?”

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Goertzel wasn’t buying it. “I think the reason we think conspiracy theories exist is because they exist,” he declared.

It was neither the first nor the last contentious moment of the conference, which took place on the university’s Coral Gables campus from March 12 to 14.

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The Intellectual Character Of Conspiracy Theorists

9-11 Truth 3

Photo: Damon D’Amato (CC)

Are dogmatic conspiracy theorists simply “bad thinkers”? Quassim Cassam questions their intellectual character at Aeon:

Meet Oliver. Like many of his friends, Oliver thinks he is an expert on 9/11. He spends much of his spare time looking at conspiracist websites and his research has convinced him that the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC, of 11 September 2001 were an inside job. The aircraft impacts and resulting fires couldn’t have caused the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to collapse. The only viable explanation, he maintains, is that government agents planted explosives in advance. He realises, of course, that the government blames Al-Qaeda for 9/11 but his predictable response is pure Mandy Rice-Davies: they would say that, wouldn’t they?

Polling evidence suggests that Oliver’s views about 9/11 are by no means unusual. Indeed, peculiar theories about all manner of things are now widespread.

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Obama’s 9/11 Conspiracy Theory

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N G Chernyshevsky

So this is a weird twist on 9/11: Jeff Lipkes claims that for President Obama “it’s the Russians who are to blame — specifically, Nicolai Chernyshevsky,” who he (not entirely accurately) credits as the founder of nihilism. From American Thinker:

Conspiracy theories about 9/11 still flit across the blogosphere like fruit bats after dusk.  For the truthers, it was an inside job.  The CIA detonated explosives planted in the buildings earlier in the year, with a little help from Dick Cheney and Louis Freeh.  Many in the Arab world, along with American neo-Nazis, are convinced the Israelis were responsible.  Several hundred Jews didn’t show up for work that morning, doncha know, because they’d been warned by Mossad.

For Barack Obama, it’s the Russians who are to blame — specifically, Nicolai Chernyshevsky.  He was the founder of Nihilism, and the nineteen terrorists were all nihilists, according to the President in his 2004 introduction to Dreams From My Father, written years before he was considered a presidential contender.

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Louis Farrakhan: ‘Israelis and Zionist Jews’ played key roles in 9/11 attacks

Is he serious? The Washington Times reports that Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has gone off the deep end with his 9/11 conspiracy theory:

The Rev. Louis Farrakhan told churchgoers on Sunday that Israelis and “Zionist Jews” played key roles in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that left nearly 3,000 people dead.

“We now know that the crime they say is at the root of terrorism was not committed by Arabs or Muslims at all,” the Nation of Islam leader said in Chicago Sunday at Saviours’ Day 2015 Part 2, a local CBS affiliate reported.

“It is now becoming apparent that there were many Israelis and Zionist Jews in key roles in the 9/11 attacks,” Mr. Farrakhan said. “Now look, if they can prove me wrong, like I said, I’ll pay with my life. Since they want to kill me anyway. Prove me wrong. We’re dealing with thieves and liars and murderers.

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Bill Gates Sets New World Order Conspiracy Theories On Fire With Global Government Quote

Head and shoulders photo of Bill Gates

Bill Gates, July 201″ by DFID (CC)

Bill Gates is a usual suspect when it comes to fear mongering amongst New World Order conspiracists. He appears to have enhanced that reputation with his latest pronouncements, according to Inquisitr:

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates may be the the richest man in the world, but he apparently envisions a global government as a goal for the future. This prospect has New World Order conspiracy theorists buzzing about the potential for the one world government being pushed by the Gates Foundation.

In a related report by the InquisitrBrazil’s Eike Batista managed to go from one of the world’s richest men to the very first negative billionaire within a period of only several years. Some New World Order conspiracy theories claim the Illuminati devil horns were spotted at the 2015 Grammy Awards.

There are many Bill Gates conspiracy theories. One of the oldest was the claim about a hidden code in Microsoft Windows that secretly proclaimed Gates’ identity as the bible’s anti-Christ.

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Reptilians: A Breakdown of the Political Conspiracy

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Alex Abad-Santos at Vox explores one of the more interesting conspiracy theories: reptilians. “The idea of shape-shifting lizards taking human forms in a plot to rule America and the world has become one of the most majestic and marvelous conspiracy theories created by mankind (or lizardkind, if you will).”

Alex Abad-Santos via Vox:

Last November, the political fate of America was once again put to a vote. But for the millions of Americans who believe in lizard people, this vote had bigger implications — like thwarting an ongoing plot of world domination.

The idea of shape-shifting lizards taking human forms in a plot to rule America and the world has become one of the most majestic and marvelous conspiracy theories created by mankind (or lizardkind, if you will). In 2008, “lizard people” found its way onto the Minnesota’s midterm ballot with some controversy.

As pundits continue to extrapolate on what the Republican win in the midterms means for the country, there are people around this country who hope their votes did something crucial — kept the country safe from lizard people for the next few years.

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The Latest Economic Conspiracy Theory

USCurrency Federal Reserve.jpgConspiracy theories and money go together like … [fill in the simile]. From Bloomberg View:

Friday’s jobs numbers were big, and the revisions below the surface were huge. Yet even before the release, the birther/vaxxer/flat-earther crowd had warned us about phony numbers. As public policy, this kind of conspiracy thinking can cause the deaths of infants and the elderly. At least in markets, it merely loses you money.

In December, I wrote:

Today’s column is about stupidity. Perhaps that’s overstating it; to be more precise, it is about the conspiracy-theorist combination of bias, innumeracy and laziness, with a pinch of arrogance thrown in for good measure.

I am talking about the manifold ways various economic reports get misinterpreted, sometimes in a willful and ignorant manner.

That column discussed some of the sillier theories from within the darker corners of the Internet. Admittedly, these weren’t from influential people or important media outlets; it was the usual collection of oddballs in tinfoil hats.

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Rand Paul Has A New Conspiracy Theory About The Fed

The Paul family has a special relationship with the Federal Reserve “Bank” and it continues with Rand Paul’s Audit the Fed rhetoric. From Wonkblog:

Rand Paul has either uncovered one of the biggest scandals in the history of this country, or just invented a new conspiracy theory.

Rand Paul by Gage Skidmore 8

Rand Paul by Gage Skidmore (CC)

I’ll give you one guess which it is.

The backdrop is Paul’s “Audit the Fed” bill, which is really an intimidate the Fed bill. The fact is, the Dodd-Frank financial reform already audited the Fed’s past emergency lending, and requires it to disclose any such future lending, too. Not only that, but the rest of the Fed’s balance sheet is already audited by the Government Accountability Office, the Office of the Inspector General, and independent private auditors. That’s not good enough for Paul, though, who also wants to “audit” the Fed’s monetary policy decisions. Basically, he wants Congress to look over the Fed’s shoulder and second-guess whether it should have raised rates or bought bonds.

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Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science?

Joel Achenbach is frustrated that you don’t believe everything that scientists tell you. He’s going to call you irrational if you don’t buy in. Or a conspiracy theorist. Or derogatory term du jour, an anti-vaxxer. He vents at National Geographic:

There’s a scene in Stanley Kubrick’s comic masterpiece Dr. Strangelove in which Jack D. Ripper, an American general who’s gone rogue and ordered a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, unspools his paranoid worldview—and the explanation for why he drinks “only distilled water, or rainwater, and only pure grain alcohol”—to Lionel Mandrake, a dizzy-with-anxiety group captain in the Royal Air Force.

Dr. Strangelove - Ripper and Mandrake

General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) shares an intimate moment with Group Captain Lionel Mandrake (Peter Sellers)

 

Ripper: Have you ever heard of a thing called fluoridation? Fluoridation of water?

Mandrake: Ah, yes, I have heard of that, Jack. Yes, yes.

Ripper: Well, do you know what it is?

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