Conspiracy Theories & Democracy

ramonmercado

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637 comments already at link.

Are conspiracy theories destroying democracy?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24650841
By Brian Wheeler
Politics reporter, BBC News

The more information we have about what governments and corporations are up to the less we seem to trust them. Will conspiracy theories eventually destroy democracy?

What if I told you I had conclusive proof that the moon landings were faked, but I had been told to keep it under wraps by my BBC bosses acting under orders from the CIA, NSA and MI6. Most of you would think I had finally lost my mind.

But, for some, that scenario - a journalist working for a mainstream media organisation being manipulated by shadowy forces to keep vital information from the public - would seem entirely plausible, or even likely.

We live in a golden age for conspiracy theories. There is a growing assumption that everything we are told by the authorities is wrong, or not quite as it seems. That the truth is being manipulated or obscured by powerful vested interests.

And, in some cases, it is.

'Inside job'
"The reason we have conspiracy theories is that sometimes governments and organisations do conspire," says Observer columnist and academic John Naughton.

It would be wrong to write off all conspiracy theorists as "swivel-eyed loons," with "poor personal hygiene and halitosis," he told a Cambridge University Festival of Ideas debate.

They are not all "crazy". The difficult part, for those of us trying to make sense of a complex world, is working out which parts of the conspiracy theory to keep and which to throw away.

Continue reading the main story
Conspiracy theories through the ages

Benjamin Disraeli
'Secret societies': Paranoia was rife in the 19th Century in the wake of the French revolution. British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (pictured) warned of "secret societies which have everywhere their unscrupulous agents, and can at the last moment upset all the governments' plans"
Freemasons: A secret society tracing its roots back to the 14th century, freemasonry has been accused of everything from controlling the judiciary to faking the moon landings
Illuminati: Initially referred to the Bavarian Illumaniti, a secret society founded in 1776 to oppose religious influence over public life. Outlawed in 1785 but name now linked to alleged conspiracies to create New World Order
Dreyfus affair: A young artillery officer of Jewish extraction, Alfred Dreyfus, was wrongly convicted in 1894 of treason and sent to Devil's Island in a case that divided France. Nationalists believed there was a Jewish conspiracy against Catholicism
Protocols of the elders of Zion: An anti-semitic hoax supposedly describing Jewish plans for world domination. Publicised by the Nazis despite already being exposed as fraudulent
McCarthyism: Named after Senator Joseph McCarthy who led a witch-hunt against suspected communists in American public life in the first half of the 1950s
Mr Naughton is one of three lead investigators in a major new Cambridge University project to investigate the impact of conspiracy theories on democracy.

The internet is generally assumed to be the main driving force behind the growth in conspiracy theories but, says Mr Naughton, there has been little research into whether that is really the case.

He plans to compare internet theories on 9/11 with pre-internet theories about John F Kennedy's assassination.

Like the other researchers, he is wary, or perhaps that should be weary, of delving into the darker recesses of the conspiracy world.

"The minute you get into the JFK stuff, and the minute you sniff at the 9/11 stuff, you begin to lose the will to live," he told the audience in Cambridge.

Like Sir Richard Evans, who heads the five-year Conspiracy and Democracy project, he is at pains to stress that the aim is not to prove or disprove particular theories, simply to study their impact on culture and society.

Why are we so fascinated by them? Are they undermining trust in democratic institutions?

David Runciman, professor of politics at Cambridge University, the third principal investigator, is keen to explode the idea that most conspiracies are actually "cock-ups".

"The line between cock-up, conspiracy and conspiracy theory are much more blurred than the conventional view that you have got to choose between them," he told the Festival of Ideas.

"There's a conventional view that you get these conspirators, who are these kind of sinister, malign people who know what they are doing, and the conspiracy theorists, who occasionally stumble upon the truth but who are on the whole paranoid and crazy.


What constitutes a conspiracy theory?
"Actually the conspirators are often the paranoid and crazy conspiracy theorists, because in their attempt to cover up the cock-up they get drawn into a web in which their self-justification posits some giant conspiracy trying to expose their conspiracy.

"And I think that's consistently true through a lot of political scandals, Watergate included."

'Curry house plot'
It may also be true, he argues, of the "vicious" in-fighting and plotting that characterised New Labour's years in power, as recently exposed in the memoirs of Gordon Brown's former spin doctor Damian McBride.

The Brownite conspiracies to remove Tony Blair were "pathetically ineffectual" - with the exception of the 2006 "curry house" plot that forced Blair to name a departure date - but the picture painted by Mr McBride of a "paranoid" and "chaotic" inner circle has the ring of truth about it, he claims.

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown was a keen student of conspiracy theories
And Mr Brown - said to be a keen student of the JFK assassination - knew a conspiracy when he saw one.

"You feel he sees conspiracies out there because he has a mindset that is not dissimilar to the conspiracy theorists," said Prof Runciman.

He is also examining whether the push for greater openness and transparency in public life will fuel, rather than kill off, conspiracy theories.

"It may be that one of the things conspiracy theories feed on as well as silence, is a surfeit of information. And when there is a mass of information out there, it becomes easier for people to find their way through to come to the conclusion they want to come to.

"Plus, you don't have to be an especial cynic to believe that, in the age of open government, governments will be even more careful to keep secret the things they want to keep secret.

"The demand for openness always produces, as well as more openness, more secrecy."

Which brings us back to the moon landings. I should state, for the avoidance of any doubt, and to kill off any internet speculation, that I am not in possession of any classified information about whether they were faked or not. My contacts at Nasa are not that good.

But then I would say that wouldn't I?
 

Cochise

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Surely the popularity of conspiracy theories is precisely because some of them Wartergate, Hillsborough, Brown vs Blair - have turned out to be true. And since the same people and groups are involved in other controversies, naturally the assumption is that they are up to the same tricks again.

The difference with historical conspiracies is that the perpetrators of old either got completely away with it or were in fear of their lives - now when found out people hardly ever get punished or even apologise properly, and organisations never get reformed.

While some conspiracy theories are way beyond the pale, I'm not in the least surprised that people believe in conspiracies far more than they used to - I do myself. For which the PTB's have nothing else but their recent track record to blame.
 

Jonfairway

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yeah

THEY are better at getting rid of EVIDENCE and WITNESSES than before
 

Yithian

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An ironic little circle: a trend toward more (but not total) devolution and openess has meant that more people than ever before have more information than ever before about the minutiae and technicalities of governance and the workings of public bodies; the machinery has been exposed to the public. This proliferation of information coupled with a need to withold key facts on privacy and security grounds means that loose-ends abound and any sufficiently compex event pullulates with nefarious interpretations.

The Internet acts as a catlyst in allowing raw information to be shared and debated and the resulting theories to be diseminated faster and farther.

These theories then undermine the democratic trend that spawned it.
 

Analis

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Wheeler's article is the usual 'anti-conspiracy' drivel. The kind of verbiage whose every piece could as well apply to their authors, we've been already trough that, and I won't come back there. But for one brief note : Wheeler has ironically brandished the case of the wrong conviction of Alfred Dreyfus as an example of an historical conspiracy belief, but from the wrong side. There was indeed a wide state conspiracy in this instance, but in fact it was a plot by the military to incriminate Dreyfus.

A good illustration of the state of mind at work behind the purpose of the article. I suppose that had the Dreyfus scandal happened now, Wheeler would probably say that the accusations against the military are just a conspiracy theory.
 

Cochise

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theyithian said:
An ironic little circle: a trend toward more (but not total) devolution and openess has meant that more people than ever before have more information than ever before about the minutiae and technicalities of governance and the workings of public bodies; the machinery has been exposed to the public. This proliferation of information coupled with a need to withold key facts on privacy and security grounds means that loose-ends abound and any sufficiently compex event pullulates with nefarious interpretations.

The Internet acts as a catlyst in allowing raw information to be shared and debated and the resulting theories to be diseminated faster and farther.

These theories then undermine the democratic trend that spawned it.
But the theories would gain little traction if there weren't repeated examples of genuine conspiracies by government and public bodies. Not to mention illegal but unpursued monopolies and cartels in the private sector. Hillsborough, Watergate, even Dreyfus, all pre-date the Internet.

Seems very much a case of 'Physician, heal thyself'.
 

rynner2

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A dilemma for Guardianistas - who to trust, the Daily Telegraph, or a Tory MP? ;)

MP Mark Pritchard denies Albania business claims

Tory MP Mark Pritchard says claims he offered to set up business deals with foreign officials and ministers in return for hundreds of thousands of pounds are "false and malicious".
The Daily Telegraph said he asked to be paid £3,000 a month for consultancy services advising on business deals in Albania, as well as 3% of the deal.
There is no suggestion he offered to ask questions in Parliament or lobby British politicians.
The MP has denied the allegations.

BBC political correspondent Ross Hawkins said the article quoted the MP for Wrekin saying he did not lobby.
Mr Pritchard is a member of the all party parliamentary group for Albania, which exists to "help bilateral relations and improve parliamentary relations" between the UK and Albania.

He is quoted by the newspaper telling an undercover report about his political links in the country: "To be completely brutal, I know the mayor, I know the prime minister, I know the speaker. I don't lobby. I don't whatever. But my network I will use."

In a statement, Mr Pritchard said: "The allegations made by the Telegraph are false - I deny their claims. They have selected quotes out of context to fit their desired story, which is both hurtful and malicious.
"This is not the first time the Telegraph have made false claims about me for which I have subsequently and successfully sued them for libel.
"I have asked the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to investigate the matter so I can clear my name."

The MP is understood to be consulting his lawyers.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24827405
 

ramonmercado

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I presume the Telegraph have some tapes etc. What he "offered" to do seems to be unethical rather than illegal. But it may be in breach of Parliamentary Regulations.

If the Telegraph made it up then hes in the money.
 

lkb3rd

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I think we need to start calling "conspiracy theories" something like "discussion of government crimes". It is a more accurate way to describe it, though I am sure they will be pushing more articles like this about how we should avoid these discussions. They have already made the term "conspiracy theorist" into a Pavlovian conditioning tool to shut down discussions.
 

Pietro_Mercurios

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rynner2 said:
A dilemma for Guardianistas - who to trust, the Daily Telegraph, or a Tory MP? ;)

MP Mark Pritchard denies Albania business claims

...

The MP is understood to be consulting his lawyers.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24827405
Why is this here and not on either the, Should we trust the Government thread or the MPs' expenses thread?

It's hardly a conspiracy. Tory MPs and baksheesh? It's just what they do.
 

Cochise

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Surely not limited the Tories. The expenses scandal certainly wasn't. But yes, doesn't seem like a conspiracy, just what has become normal behaviour for the majority of our 'elected representatives'. Perhaps they are just reflecting how they think the world works.
 

Analis

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lkb3rd said:
I think we need to start calling "conspiracy theories" something like "discussion of government crimes". It is a more accurate way to describe it, though I am sure they will be pushing more articles like this about how we should avoid these discussions. They have already made the term "conspiracy theorist" into a Pavlovian conditioning tool to shut down discussions.
We may call that the new Godwin law : each time we discuss the possibility of a government crime, the probability is high that the words 'conspiracy theory' or 'conspiracist' will be used, effectively ending the discussion.
 

Cochise

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I think it is already one of the identified 'laws' of political debating tactics - when in danger of an accusation, accuse the accuser of exactly what you were doing yourself. I seem to recall reading it somewhere along with other gems such as always make points in threes.
 

Yithian

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Conspiracy theories seem to be everywhere nowadays, encouraged by the internet, and perhaps also by postmodern scepticism. But are they really more common than they used to be, and if so, do they constitute a threat to democracy, as a number of commentators have argued? Are they indeed more prevalent in democracies than in dictatorships?

 

PeteByrdie

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There are at least two reasons conspiracy theories are so prevalent.

1. Conspiracies happen, and we usually don't find out about them for some time after they've happened. Nuff said about that.

2. They provide positive emotional feedback to people in confusing times when it can be difficult to make satisfactory sense of the world.

Accusations of conspiracy bridge the gap between what those who clearly know most about a subject are saying, and what seems most attractive to the conspiracy theorist. It essentially serves as a ad hominem attack, when simply arguing against the data provided by those most qualified can't work. We see this human tendency not merely at the level of extensive networks of pro-conspiracy data, but often in ourselves or friends and family when they're told something they don't want to hear, and they'd rather accuse those saying it of some emotionally driven or self-serving ulterior motive rather than deal rationally with a situation.

Conspiracy theories are facilitated by cognitive bias, and so are infinitely adaptable. The data given by those best informed, whether or not it's the whole truth, is less flexible, and can't satisfy emotional imperatives as readily.

The reasons people feel attracted to conspiracies to the extent that their reasoning is so overwhelmed probably vary. I can understand why people might not want anthropogenic climate change to be true, and I can understand that many past overblown health scares (often filtered through tabloid sensationalism) have made people suspect first that things aren't as bad as we're being told. It's a small enough step from that to believing in a conspiracy. But what emotional payoff one gets from believing the moon landings were hoaxes, or the CIA caused 911, is beyond me, unless it's simply the drive to devalue authority, perhaps in order to attenuate our feelings of unworthiness when others have so much power. What I'm sure of is those who are inclined towards conspiracy theories don't know themselves why they're 'reasoning' the way they are. They know the truth, and they have the cognitive bias to prove it to themselves. When I was younger I was quite inclined towards believing these theories, and while I can tell you I got a buzz from each corroborating piece of data I fitted in to my beliefs, I couldn't tell you now, nor could I have done so then, from where within me that buzz came. It felt like an epiphany each time. I've since learned to be very wary of that feeling.

Whether conspiracy theorising is growing or just more visible since widespread internet access I don't know, but I suspect both are true. It does weaken democracy. Partisanism already inclines us to fill that gap between what we're told and what we want to believe with accusations of ulterior motives or incompetence, and a comfort with the idea of wide reaching conspiracies only increases our scope for that.
 

Analis

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Conspiracies endanger what the authors of this self-satisfied drivel, the kind of which has a worrying tendency to multiply, call democracy, not conspiracy theories.

« Democracy » is here clearly intended a a synonyme for « western regime ». Which is indeed a misnomer, as almost no western regime is a democracy. In fact, a true democracy would require constant mistrust of rulers. A similar remark could be done relating to a liberal elected regime based on the rule of law, a notion often equated with democracy but which is a better way to call a number of western regimes ; but the only thing that is endangered there by the spreading of « conspiracy theories » are western oligarchical regimes. Dictatorship means here a government that is non-western, and more crucially non-aligned with the West. In these countries, conspiracy theories are usually more prevalent than in western countries, it's just that they are not called like that. Their citizens see no need for such a bizarre concept, as conspiracy is just considered as the normal way governments operate. They're just more lucid and less pompous than western people, who believe they are more advanced and more clever than erverybody else, to the point that it makes them more credulous of the claims of their governments.

This study provides a good summary of the various mechanisms of cognitive dissonance used by western people to wash away their perception of conspiracies, including the most obvious ones, in order to protect their deeply ingrained belief in the inherent goodness of their governments :

http://www1.ae911truth.org/en/news-...d-people-become-silentor-worseabout-911-.html

http://www1.ae911truth.org/news-sec...od-people-become-silentor-worseabout-911.html

http://www1.ae911truth.org/en/news-...od-people-become-silentor-worseabout-911.html

http://www1.ae911truth.org/en/news-...od-people-become-silentor-worseabout-911.html

http://www1.ae911truth.org/en/news-...1-part-5-denial-and-cognitive-dissonance.html

http://www1.ae911truth.org/en/news-...ilentor-worseabout-911-part-6-conformity.html

http://www1.ae911truth.org/en/news-...ilentor-worseabout-911-part-7-groupthink.html

http://www1.ae911truth.org/en/news-...become-silentor-worseabout-911-part10-11.html

http://www1.ae911truth.org/en/news-...-become-silent-or-worse-about-911-part12.html

http://www.ae911truth.org/news/189-news-media-events-shure-13-deep-state-scads.html

http://www.ae911truth.org/news/196-news-media-events-fran-shure-part-14.html

http://www.ae911truth.org/news/211-news-media-events-fran-shure-part-15.html

http://www.ae911truth.org/news/214-news-media-events-fran-shure-part-16.html

http://www.ae911truth.org/news/216-news-media-events-fran-shure-part-17.html

http://www.ae911truth.org/news/220-news-media-events-fran-shure-part-18.html

http://www.ae911truth.org/news/238-...-government-manipulation-and-the-big-lie.html
 

Analis

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Could fit here, as it reminds us that conspiracy theory is only a common practive among journalists and politicians, and that the use of the expression is usually done with a biased intent :
http://sputniknews.com/radio_connec.../conspiracy-theories-become-conspirafact.html
Have Conspiracy Theories Become Conspirafact?

15:43 12.08.2016(updated 16:21 12.08.2016)
Jay Johnson

Three people connected to DNC party found dead since leaked email scandal. Hillary’s health is questioned. Trump seemingly suggests armed revolt. All this and more coming up on the Jerry Springer show! Oops… the American Presidential elections.

http://sputniknews.com/popup/radio/?audio_id=59372424
The man, a small time con artist, was walking down the street with his eyes on the mark, a rather slow fellow who just happened to be carrying a large sum of money. Unbeknownst to the con man, though, was that this courier was working for a big time crime boss. Which pretty much meant that after he stole the mentally challenged man’s money, the con man found himself in a world of trouble. Upon learning that his money had been stolen, the crime boss set out to catch and kill the con man, and did so. And this is where our story begins. The con man’s partner meets up with another guy, and together, they come up with a complicated plan to steal all of the gangster’s money, to teach him a lesson. Slowly word gets out, and more and more people decide to become involved in the scheme, and it ends up taking on a life of its own, coming to an interesting conclusion. Now, if you are wondering if you remember this story, you do, because this is the plot of the 1971 movie, “The Sting”, starring Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Robert Shaw. In that movie, a number of different people conspire together to have specific outcome, although on the surface, things seem totally different.

This news week was a wild one, awash with conspiracy theories, wild accusations and more. Kicking it off was speech that Hillary Clinton gave, in which she said — “I believe President Obama does not get the credit that he deserves for leading us out of the Great Recession". That’s right. According to Hillary, the US is doing better than ever. Of course, it also helped that, as CNN reported — “Clinton's comments came hours after the U.S. government announced that the economy added 255,000 jobs in July — surpassing economists' expectations — while the unemployment rate stayed at 4.9%.” So, see? The government says everything is ok. So, it is! But, this is an old story. One in which there is some kind of real disconnect between official government stats, and that which the common man is feeling. The real story here was when she, again as CNN reported — “attempted to clarify recent misleading statements about her use of a private email server at the State Department, saying she "may have short-circuited" her answers about it. Short circuit? What does that even mean?

And this leads us to the next set of stories, as Drudge first reported various pictures showing Hillary Clinton literally being held up by several men in a speech she gave. Then there was the series showing her unable to walk-up stairs, needing the help of several men around her. But who were these men?

At first glance, they appeared to be secret service, and yet, one of them was not. Upon further review, the large black man helping HRC up the stairs seems to be an insider of some type. He makes an appearance later in the week, when Hillary, giving a speech, is heckled by a crowd of people shouting “Killary! Killary!” Clinton appears shocked, looks lost, and the same mysterious African American man rushes to her, saying “Keep talking” and then orders the other secret service men off the stage. In fact, in retrospect, the same man appears in numerous photos and videos, as posted by Reuters. And here is where it gets even more interesting.

In numerous videos, the man be seen holding something in one hand that appears to be a pen. In fact, as gateway pundit reported, “Hillary’s handler was definitely carrying an auto-syringe at the DNC Convention on Hillary’s big night.” Another photo posted on Twitter was captioned with — “Secret Service agent was carrying an auto-injector with Diazepam”. And what is Diazepam?

Wiki notes that — “Diazepam is a medication that typically produces a calming effect. It is commonly used to treat a range of conditions including anxiety, alcohol withdrawal syndrome, muscle spasms, seizures, and a few other things.” Furthermore, Wiki notes that taken orally, “it takes up to 40 minutes to take effect”, however, if it injected — “it takes up to 1-5 minutes to take effect”. Which leads us to another question, such as has she healed from her fall, leading to a blood clot back in 2012? Or her other subsequent falls? Why hasn’t Hillary released her medical records?

Of course, health issues aside, Hillary found herself embroiled in other questionable news as the Wiki-leaks editor gave an interview in which, as the NY Post reported — “Julian Assange suggests DNC staffer was shot dead for being a ‘source’.” That’s right. A conspiracy, within a conspiracy, within a conspiracy. This one, if we recall, involved the Democratic National Party, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and stealing the votes from Bernie supporters. In fact, the DNC party chair, Debbie Wasserman Shultz, was immediately fired for this scandal, in addition to other top level Democratic insiders. However, the second conspiracy starts here when DNC staffers suggested it was Russia that was behind the hack and the subsequent release of insider DNC emails. Of course, Russia denied it, but the media ran with it anyway, under the banner of “national security”, but when did private organizations all of a sudden have “national security status”? So, as it stands now, according to Assange, it was DNC insider that leaked the materials, in retribution for Bernie Sanders being cheated.

In fact, as Townhall reported — “Since the Democratic National Committee emails were leaked a few weeks ago, three people associated with the DNC have all been found dead under what could be questionable circumstances.” One guy was shot in the back of the head as he was walking home. Nothing was stolen, as he had his wallet and watch and phone, but he was the possible email leaker. One guy was set to testify against the Clintons, and “Local police officers said he died from dropping a barbell on his throat while working out.” And another guy, who — “served the DNC on July 3 with a complaint and summons in a fraud action on behalf of Sanders supporters”, was found dead in his bathroom by his girlfriend.

While we could spend hours yakking on about the Clintons, it should also be noted that Trump had a few moments this week as well. As according to VOX –“(he) appeared to joke that gun owners could use their weaponry to prevent the government from rolling back their gun rights.” Media pundits jumped on Trump for seemingly endorsing violence, and possibly even a revolt. To top that, CNN reported that — “Donald Trump said that he meant exactly what he said when he called President Barack Obama the "founder of ISIS"[Daesh].

As the United States Presidential elections progress, more and more interesting backroom deals are coming out into the light. While spies are described as working in “smoke and mirrors”, it is unusual for politicians to be described as “conspiracy theorists”, although maybe that is what they should be called, considering that the very definition of the word is — “the action of plotting or conspiring”, and that describes what people inside the political parties do in order to get their candidate elected.

So, what do you think, dear listeners — “Have conspiracy theories become conspirafact?”
 

Analis

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More demontration that 'conspiracy theory' is just a label with a distinctly ethnocentric and classist meaning, and that 'authorized' people, the same prim and proper people who propagate its use to deter any opponent to their power, have no trouble with resorting to the purest concpiracist way of thinking when it suits them :

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/355889-top-10-western-conspiracy-theories/

Top 10 'acceptable' Western Establishment conspiracy theories

Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger.
Published time: 14 Aug, 2016 12:00Edited time: 14 Aug, 2016 22:44

The label ‘conspiracy theorist’ is used by Western Establishment gatekeepers as a means of shutting down debate and smearing those who have the temerity to challenge elite-friendly narratives.
As I argued in an Op-Edge last year, there's a great irony here. Over the last twenty years or so, the biggest pushers of conspiracy theories (CTs) have been Western Establishment gatekeepers themselves.
In fact, the most outlandish, fact-free and downright dangerous ‘CTs’ have been promoted by those who are the quickest to yell "conspiracy theorist!" at others.
So here are the top ten ‘acceptable’ Western establishment conspiracy theories. If you peddle them you won’t be labelled a ‘crank’ or nut-job’, but be hailed as an ‘expert’ who may even be deserving of a column in a ‘serious newspaper’ like the Washington Post, or the London Times. And who knows, you might even get a lucrative offer from a top publishing house to write a book about conspiracy theories.

1. Iraq has WMDs which threaten the world!
The most deadly conspiracy theory of them all - one which led to an illegal invasion and the destruction of a sovereign state and the deaths of up to 1m people. But the people who promoted it paid no professional penalty. Thirteen years on, the ‘punditocracy’ in the US and UK is still dominated by those who assured us Saddam had WMDs (and also that the secular, cigar-smoking Sound of Music lover had links to al-Qaeda).

2. Iran’s developing nukes!
Since the early 90s we’ve been told the Islamic Republic is on the verge of developing nuclear weapons, or has already got them. The claims made repeatedly over the past 25 years by Israeli PM Netanyahu have been echoed by the same bunch of uber-hawks who pushed conspiracy theory 1. If you assert, without any evidence that say, Zambia is on the brink of developing nukes, you’ll be called a nutcase. But if you assert, without any evidence, that Iran is doing the same, then you’ll greatly increase your chances of being invited as an ‘expert’ into the studios of Fox News or Newsnight.

3. Jeremy Corbyn deliberately sabotaged the ‘Remain campaign’ in Britain’s EU referendum.
This has been a popular conspiracy theory peddled in elite Blairite circles in the UK this summer. The same anti-Corbyn crowd who tell us that the left-wing Labour Party leader is a massive turn-off with voters, blame said Labour Party leader for not doing more to persuade Britons to vote to stay in the EU!
In fact, Corbyn’s qualified support for the EU was much more in tune with public opinion than the Blairites' EU fanaticism. Labour under Corbyn did deliver a majority vote for Remain among its supporters.

4. Assad is helping/working with ISIS and wants them to expand.
This one has been pushed by and large by the same people who pushed CTs 1 and 2 above. The theory says that the wicked Syrian tyrant wanted ISIS to gain territory in order for him to present himself as the ‘good guy’ in the conflict.
However, we’ve learned from declassified secret US intelligence documents from 2012 that the prospect of a ‘Salafist principality’ being established in eastern Syria was "exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want" as it would "isolate the Syrian regime". But let’s not mention evidence that it was Assad’s opponents – and not Assad - who welcomed the rise and expansion of ISIS.
That will only be dismissed as a conspiracy theory’!


5. Russia is providing ISIS with an air force
In October 2015, after Russia had started air strikes on terrorist targets in Syria, a new variation of Conspiracy Theory 4 started to circulate. Russia, we were told, was also helping ISIS and giving the Islamic State an air force!
Yet when a Russian passenger airliner was taken down by an ISIS/ISIL bomb later that month, we were told that it was a ‘warning shot’ for Moscow. If Russia was helping Islamic State/Daesh and providing it with an air force in Syria, why on earth would the group target a Russian plane?
As I wrote at the time: "You can’t say on one day that Russia is helping ISIS and that ISIS is gaining ground because of Russian actions and the next day claim that ISIS is bombing a Russian airline because they are, er.. angry with Russia".
Or rather you can, if you’re a neocon who peddles outlandish anti-Russian conspiracy theories.

6. Trotskyists are taking over the Labour Party!
Record numbers of people are joining the Labour party to support leader Jeremy Corbyn, an anti-war democratic socialist whose policies represent a clean break with Blairism. And guess what?- these new members are disciples of a Russian revolutionary who died over 75 years ago!
Labour’s membership surged by 100,000 this summer - whoever would have thought there were so many Trotskyists in Britain! It’s all the more surprising given that the main Trotskyist party, the SWP, only has around 6,000 members.
According to Labour’s Deputy Leader Tom Watson, who opposes Corbyn, Trotskyist entrists’ are "twisting the arms" of young members. Perhaps they’re also threatening these young members with a spell in the Red Army…?

7. Russia was behind the DNC email leak
No evidence has yet been produced that the Kremlin was responsible for the leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee, so let’s just push this conspiracy theory 24-7 shall we? It concerns Russia, an ‘official enemy’, so no need to wait for little things like facts, right? As Glenn Greenwald noted: "Democrats not only treated this evidence free conspiracy theory as Truth, but following the Clinton campaign, proceeded to smear Wikileaks as a Kremlin operation".

8. Putin orchestrated football hooliganism in the European Football Championships to get Britain out of the EU
This has to be a strong contender for the nuttiest CT of 2016. Russia is very keen for Western sanctions to be lifted. So what does the Russian Prez do? He gets Russian football hooligans to attack England supporters in Marseille. And this apparently will make it more likely that Britain will vote to leave the EU.
I’m sure there were millions of people in the UK who read about English and Russian fans fighting each other in France, who turned to their partners and said ‘That does it. I’m voting for Brexit on Thursday’!
What a load of (foot)balls.

9. Donald Trump is a Russian agent
The argument in the West against Donald Trump goes: Since the Republican presidential contender does not seem keen on starting WW3 with Russia over Ukraine or Syria, he must therefore be a Russian agent! Either a ‘witting’ one or an ‘unwitting' one!
We’ve even had claims that The Donald is a ‘Manchurian Candidate’ who is secretly working either for Russia, or for Hillary Clinton.
Again, peddle these evidence-free CTs in the US or UK and you won’t lose your credibility as a ‘respected commentator’. Far from it.

10. Dr Jill Stein is a Kremlin shill!
The Green Party candidate in the US Presidential Election is attracting plenty of support from progressives who can’t see what’s progressive about Wall Street-funded and neocon supported Hillary Rodham Clinton. So guess what? As her popularity rises, Dr Stein’s been smeared as a Kremin shill and is accused having ties to Vladimir Putin.
The ‘evidence’? Well, like Trump (see CT No 9), she doesn’t seem keen to start WW3, and wait for it, she attended, along with a lot of other public figures, the RT 15th Anniversary conference in 2015.
 

ramonmercado

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Another interesting report. Or is it just made up?

Study: People who think ‘real America’ is decaying from within are more likely to believe conspiracy theories

New research has found evidence that conspiracy theories are associated with the belief that core American values are under siege.

The study examined the role of system identity threat, meaning the perception that society’s fundamental values are fading away because of social change. The new findings appear in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

“Conspiracy theories about government actors and institutions are widespread across the political ideological spectrum. These beliefs attribute outsized influence to hidden actors or clandestine groups who are perceived as the root cause of an important world event, action, or outcome,” said study author Joseph A. Vitriol, a postdoctoral research associate at Lehigh University. ...

http://www.psypost.org/2018/04/stud...tack-likely-believe-conspiracy-theories-51115
 

Analogue Boy

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What about my theory?
While others believe there is some overarching worldwide conspiracy where some secret cabal pulls the strings and efficiently manipulates a new world order, I’m of the opinion that we’re all being governed by a bunch of mediocre figures who couldn’t retain a position at middle management level of a medium sized hotel chain.
Promoted way above their experience and emotional intelligence level, they’re just fucking about for a few years until the next dick gets voted in.

I think, sadly, that’s the reality and explains everything.
 
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Mythopoeika

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Another interesting report. Or is it just made up?

Study: People who think ‘real America’ is decaying from within are more likely to believe conspiracy theories

New research has found evidence that conspiracy theories are associated with the belief that core American values are under siege.

The study examined the role of system identity threat, meaning the perception that society’s fundamental values are fading away because of social change. The new findings appear in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

“Conspiracy theories about government actors and institutions are widespread across the political ideological spectrum. These beliefs attribute outsized influence to hidden actors or clandestine groups who are perceived as the root cause of an important world event, action, or outcome,” said study author Joseph A. Vitriol, a postdoctoral research associate at Lehigh University. ...

http://www.psypost.org/2018/04/stud...tack-likely-believe-conspiracy-theories-51115
Joseph A. Vitriol?
 

Mythopoeika

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What about my theory?
While others believe there is some overarching worldwide conspiracy where some secret cabal pulls the strings and efficiently manipulates a new world order, I’m of the opinion that we’re all being governed by a bunch of mediocre figures who couldn’t retain a position at middle management level of a medium sized hotel chain.
Promoted way above their experience and emotional intelligence level, they’re just fucking about for a few years until the next dick gets voted in.

I think, sadly, that’s the reality and explains everything.
That's a good summary of the reality, yes.
 

AlchoPwn

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9. Donald Trump is a Russian agent
The argument in the West against Donald Trump goes: Since the Republican presidential contender does not seem keen on starting WW3 with Russia over Ukraine or Syria, he must therefore be a Russian agent! Either a ‘witting’ one or an ‘unwitting' one! We’ve even had claims that The Donald is a ‘Manchurian Candidate’ who is secretly working either for Russia, or for Hillary Clinton.Again, peddle these evidence-free CTs in the US or UK and you won’t lose your credibility as a ‘respected commentator’. Far from it.
Perhaps we should wait until the Mueller investigation is over before we throw this one out.
We still haven't had Pee-pee-gate:


Which of course means that Putin might well have the evidence:
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/201...ssian-dossier-was-compiled-christopher-steele
 

dr wu

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https://hermetic.com/bey/conspire

"Is conspiracy theory a delusion of the Right which has infected the Left as well? Leftist Conspiracy Theorists sometimes make uncritical use of the texts of Rightest Conspiracy Theorists-delving into the work of the Liberty Lobby for JFK Assassination tidbits, picking up Birchist notions about the CFR/Bilderberg/Rockefeller “liberal” internationalists, etc., etc. Since anti-semitism can be found on the Left as well as the Right, echoes of the Protocols may be heard from both directions. Even some anarchists are attracted to “Historical Revisionism”. Anticapitalism or economic populism on the Right has its counterpoint on the Left in “Red Fascism”, which broke the surface of History in the Hitler/Stalin Pact, and has come back to haunt us in the bizarre European “Third Wave” amalgamation of Right and Left extremism, a phenomenon which emerges in the USA in the libertine nihilism and “satanism” of anarcho-fascist groups like Amok Press and Radio Werewolf – and conspiracy theory plays a big role in all these ideologies."

;)
 
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