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Scratching My Head at Conspiracy Theories

— Filed under: Politics & Government, People & Culture, Opinion
Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria

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From the news of Bin Laden's death and subsequent burial at sea I was keenly aware that this would give huge rise to yet another conspiracy theory. These types of theories have been bandied about the Web and written up against all major events that have happened for the past 100 years plus, from the moon landing to Hitler setting the Reichstag fire, the deaths of Diana, JFK, Abraham Lincoln, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the motivations behind various wars, aliens, the using of different chemicals on the populace and of course 9/11.

I have read some of these theories and the "Collapse of Building 7" included as one of the main factors to the 911 theory did sound very plausible. I still wonder as to how it collapsed but I just have never been able to whip my head around the "whole" idea of mass government conspiracies.  I cannot see, personally, that governments would go to such lengths for certain alleged gains which rarely are achieved.

And then today I read about a book called Voodoo Histories which a research journalist has written to debunk and show up certain main conspiracy theorists' theories, expert witnesses and their allegations.

The author, David Aaronovitch, says that the main convincing force of present day theorists is due to the "experts" they have supporting and promoting their theories, when upon closer inspection these "experts'" credibility and expertise is basically either doctored or totally fabricated, and these so-called experts all support one another's theories, creating the illusions of intelligent and relevant support for their propaganda.

There is also the technique whereby they take information from the mainstream media out of context and apply in a wholly new way to 'fit' or 'support' the very ideal which they are trying to promote. This approach is not research by most people reading this information that is being churned out. In fact the producer of the 9/11 documentary Loose Change, Korey Rowe, when challenged about some glaring factual mistakes in his film, replied, "We know there are errors in the documentary, and we've actually left them in there so that people discredit us and do the research for themselves." The film has since been re-released 5 times due to various edits.

Aaronovitch insists that these theories are fashionable across the globe, and have become more so due to the fact that those people who believe this speculation are credited with being perceptive enough to see through the mainstream media story to the conspiracy, and have to have a special quality that all of the other "sheeple" do not. The conspiracists have cracked the code and are more than the ordinary citizens who do not question what they are being told by the media/government every day.

I personally think the above is just flattery and being cajoodled into being part of a seemingly more knowledgeable group of society than the other poor chumps who are not clever enough or suspicious enough to see past the facade. However, I think that people who whole-heartedly believe these conspiracy theories should do the same amount of research on the theory as should people who believe whole-heartedly what they are being fed through the media. Otherwise one is just as guilty as the other for the same exact thing.

I myself have always thought that the truth lay somewhere in the middle. I do not believe that all of these "theories" are true. Otherwise they would be called facts, in my view. And I do actually believe that the public are misled and are not given the whole story or truth all the time, but I do also think that sometimes there are elements that are not for public consumption for various reasons, and due to this and the information then leaking out later it helps stoke the flames of conspiracy even more.

But why are we all so enthralled by conspiracies? Is it due to an in-built skepticism that all humans have about one issue or another? Or has it come about by the nurture of the governments of the world, being so underhanded that now we are so cynical that we don't believe a word they say? Whatever the reason, I truly think that nothing, not even a conspiracy theory, (theory being the operative word) is as black and white as what you are meant to believe. Research for one’s own self I think may be the key to making our own informed choices about what is fact and what is fiction.

AtomicFreak's picture

It is a bit sketchy, but I

It is a bit sketchy, but I believe the governments standpoint was something along the lines of 'Better to deal with crackpot theories than to deal with the backlash of posting graphic and morbid photos of a corpse.'

That said, I also think the conspiracy theories would happen even with photographic evidence.

Winston Smith's picture

Interesting.  I was under the

Interesting.  I was under the impression that all of the conspiracy theorists actually believed their own theories, but this would seem to suggest that some of them are purposefully lying - but to what end?

lloydyspeaks's picture

Money and Power..Isn't it always.//

It's probably due to a couple of reasons, one primarily is money, from the sales of books, DVD's', lectures etc and the second i would imagine a certain type of self importance is being created by allocating yourself as the one to "Crack the Code of Conspiracy". I can imagine for the people whose word  is taken as gold and the total unequivocal truth, that would give them a hugely inflated ego and bank balance...and there are those out there who believe all that is written and said by the so called experts.  

Obama bin lying's picture

id say that most "conspiracy

id say that most "conspiracy theories" are just dis-info deliberately feed to the public to discredit any genuine conspiracy facts out there but you'd probably say that in itself is a conspiracy theory... Suppose it boils down to how you have been programmed/brought up and what your vested interests are as to what you choose to believe about anything. Me, i find it hard to believe any government that puts the interests of multinational company's and banks ahead of you, me and the planet, now you can call me paranoid but i would suggest that you can never be too paranoid when dealing with these people.

lloydyspeaks's picture

possibly..

I agree with you that there are genuine facts and information about governments back-handing and dodgy dealings. This is probably what make's it all the more plausible and easy to believe some of these other theories. 

What i do think however is that these conspiracy theories can be quite dangerous for people who are actually looking for information to reinforce their views on certain issues. For example, "If you are to travel in Pakistan, for instance, you will find that a significant proportion of the educated Pakistanis believe that George Bush brought down the twin towers," says Aaronovitch. "And that makes dealing with the [Pakistani] Taliban difficult because they actually don't believe the fundamental premise on which the war against terror was waged."  - (Pakistan the very same country where the US Seals snook in to kill Osama - allegedly) 

And as you say though it's peoples own nature/nurture journey what brings about their ability to believe wholly whatever they choose. I understand that governments bring about this by their conduct but does that really qualify to staging the moon landing, killing Princess Diana or taking Osama Bin Laden out of the deep freeze? I just can't swallow this either.

Saying that i am in two minds myself about global warming being a world wide governmental scam but with this issue i try to read/watch information from both sides of the scale and the scientific in between. This subject is not as black and white with the truth as some others are yet some people still choose to believe it fully..i guess it's kinda like some form of select society in itself..??? 

Anonymous's picture

i understand that its nice to

i understand that its nice to believe that the guys we think we ve chosen to represent us are the good guys and the guys they tell us are terrorising us are the bad guys, it makes you feel safe and warm at night but im afraid the reality is that the guys we think we ve chosen to represent us are actually chosen by big money to protect the interests of big money.
It is fairly easy for the educated man to make this realisation but unfortunatly most are so scared of the truth they would rather live inside the fake reality they weave for us as its got eastenders in it and beer and lots of fancy drugs for us to take when real reality shows his face...
decieding which conspiracys you like the sound of or you think are crazy means nothing when your living inside the fake reality.

lloydyspeaks's picture

I don't think the whole world

I don't think the whole world is a fluffy place with marsh mellow clouds and streets that are paved with gold or eastenders either (which i do not watch fyi), and i find it slightly patronizing that anyone who does not believe conspiracy theories or who believe what the governments say to be uneducated. 

What i am saying is that the cynicism that is used to believe and read every cock and bull conspiracy theory should be best applied in all directions. I am not saying that all the stories are untrue, in actual fact Wikileaks is a great portal for seeing the truth behind the curtain. But some of these "experts" which are spinning stories and covering holes with more manufactured truths are just as guilty as the spin doctors for the Governments. 

I like to choose what i believe by gut instinct, research, and also I personally think is a useful tool is psychology, (in the crudest sense may i add). What i understand to be the psychology of the person and their view point on writing whatever it is that i am reading and also the people who this is about. I do not believe for one moment that terrorist networks are the good guys and the others are the bad, however i do not also believe that those who are "meant" to be the good guys are either totally good and those who are meant to be bad are the same. it is all subjective to which ever angle you are coming from and that distance is what is needed when choosing what to believe and what not to. People should be making informed decisions not believing unverified people with unverified stories and theories.

I understand peoples disillusionment with the governments, fat cats and politicians, however that does not make every story about corruption, government plots and plans the truth...  "Real knowledge is to know the extent of ones ignorance"  -  Confucious  

Anonymous's picture

i

I never once said you believe the whole world is a fluffy place with marsh mellow clouds and streets that are paved with gold, the fake reality really aint that nice. I also never said that anyone who does not believe conspiracy theories or who believe what the governments say to be uneducated, i did not mean to be patronizing i know your educated, it works best on the educated because they ve got alot invested in the fake reality and the real reality is tooo scary. Fear keeps us all, including me, wired to the fake reality. The experts you talk of who are spinning stories and covering holes with more manufactured truths are more than likely just more spin doctors working for the government.

lloydyspeaks's picture

To what ends?

To what ends would governments go to accomplish this whole reality cover up? I didn't mean to be so techie as to assume what you had assumed. I think there are flaws with that theory in itself as to how far would "The New World Order"??, I can't think of no other government/faction which could come together to create such a duplicitous sub-reality, as to turn the worlds focus away from more sinister truth??  I think the world is a pretty scary place as it is, I'm worried about huge things that are happening across the globe currently i.e. Frequent natural disasters, poverty, an increase in nationalism, the US going bankrupt and last but by no means least another world worry is the Huge increase in civil uprisings, wars and violence that is starting to sweep through continents. 

I therefore go back to my first question, why, with all of these "situations" for each government singularly and together with other global governments/institutions have to work to create this plausible reality and deal with the current issues also? Would people not see behind it and report it?? And if even 20% of any populace who was to see behind this "curtain of illusion" they would rise up against, it i would imagine. Therefore creating a knock on effect and "waking up" the rest of the citizens...?? And what are these elite who are keeping up this act of reality doing that must be rewarding enough for them to create such a pretense?

I just do not see to what ends these people must go to to create such elaborate plots in contrast to not amount of benefits. I think that there are far too many media portals and transparency now that for most of the more 'out-there' theories they do not have much substance at all. I do however believe that there is huge amounts of corruption, Machiavellianism, and corporate influence on governments which are meant to manage for the people. However i do not think that even those at the top, who are well versed in the ways of trickery and persuasion could keep up such for for a substantial period of time.  

You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time"  - Abraham Lincoln 

Anonymous's picture

they

they will go to any ends needed to maintain the fake reality. The mainstream media is also in the control of these people and helps to create the fake reality. It takes alot for someone to revolt especially if you ve got kids and a nice home/job, people dont want any trouble and will put up with alot to avert it but if you take a look at Africa and the middle east where our governments have been murdering and raping their lands for generations so as to maintain the fake reality we live in, you will see that they ve just about had enough...
The information is out there, Noam Chomky will tell you exactly how its done as will others but it boils down to weather or not you want to wake up. You only have to fool some of the people some of the time because we ll fool ourselves willingly if it means an easy life.

lloydyspeaks's picture

hummm..i don't reall know..

I think that there is a difference between what Chomsky says and the fact that a sub-reality is being manufactured by the governments. I understand the point that the “civilized world” has been a party to lots of atrocities in other un-democratic or un-humanitarian countries and that this does amount to terrorism by default. I also understand that governments are run by large corporations and those are the ones who get their “sponsored” person into government so that they can push through the laws which they require. This is not for the people..however people still do have the right to vote and the freedom of speech which in itself cannot be manufactured, it can be influenced and manipulated but “they” cannot close off every voice who speaks out against them.

The media is of course pre-programmed to be bring the news which normally breaking news or by popular demand. Again people vote by viewing figures and by purchasing the publications. The stories may be feed to them by the governments (in the same way as celebrities tip-off) but I think that there are facts that are reported which are true, the emphasis and bias nature of the story may not be so but that could be said for anything that is written as it all come a certain view point.

I do feel however that there is a difference to what you are says and what Noam is saying. I know that these governments do not like the uprisings in the Arab states due to oil and the holding power of the west in these countries would not be able to survive if the populace got their way and a people’s democracy was formed, therefore they are not pro-democracy as stated. Most the inhabitants of these nations view the West as the Threat. However this is not done out of peoples view, people choose what they wish to take an interest in. Schools may not teach certain subject due to the government’s request, like Nazi Germany, however the information is there is you want it. There is not another sub-reality that is being secretly protect, the information is there, it is just public consumption which is stunted and therefore not popular enough to warrant rating figures, therefore not of interest. I also understand that they will try to protect information getting leaked but this information is never as defamatory as what the conspiracy theories try to make us think is going on.

But however I may just be uneducated in relation to these things or too pre-programmed where I am just not aware of things. I would like it to be explained as to what is really going on behind the facade. (The above is not sarcastic, it’s genuine, I would like to understand all views)

Anonymous's picture

the

the information is out there but you have to make the realisation for yourself. It does not matter which conspiracy theories are true or not, most are made up by the government spin doctors to discredit any facts that do come out and to keep the sheeple talking about no-thing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FKdU_xL4O8&feature=related

da's picture

responding

I was just wondering what you opinions are on the civil uprisings across the middle east? doesn't it seems that there's some underlying problem that is somehow eluding us here in the west. It's interesting to note that the US France and Britain supported the overthrow of Gadaffi at the precise moment Saudi stepped in in Bahrain and the other governments stepped up the violence against the protesters. Now if it seems far fetched to consider any connection there, and the fact that the Libya story was the Big News, relegating all secondary stories (ie. the ones that we had no vested national intrest in) more minor articles. Didn't Chomsky do a lot of work comparing the media coverage of the genocide in Cambodia and the Indonesian genocide in Timor? He drew some interesting conclusions there, which could easily have been dismissed as conspiracy, and in popular circles probably were. I think the problem with conspiracy theories is that there's no black and white answer to a lot of it. You have to be discerning and if you see motives, you see vested interests and oil deals and arms deals and questions of political alliances and consequences, you can pull out certain events that seems more likely than others, but at the end of the day the fact that so much is obscured and screened, the fact that even regarding the biggest catastrophes the governments refuse to even dignify the questions with answers or remotely adequate evidence, basically every non-major network news story or interpretation is relegated to the category of perpetual conjecture and conspiracy. Theres a conspiracy for you, if you'll take it.

Anonymous's picture

agree

i totally agree with you sir, no story has any legitamicy unless its reported on the main media outlets who are owned by the same group of people who own the governments. Its easy to understand yet hard to swallow. So instead we keep debating about this conspiracy and that conspiracy and get ourselves lost in the toxic word soup they make for us while they continue to murder in our name.

lloydyspeaks's picture

Sorry it's taken so long to

Sorry it's taken so long to respond, I've been mulling this over but not had the time to respond. I agree that the Libyan uprising and subsequent Nato involvement has totally over-shadowed the rest of the atrocities, that have been plaguing the middle east of late, have not had even half of the coverage that Libya has had, which in my opinion has gone far too far, and in Syria nothing has or is being done at all, whilst the same thing is happening, civilians being fired upon by the governments. But yet no action by the "civilized world" is being taken. This is Hypocrisy in my view.

I may have been getting a little "up my own arse" (suitable terms of phrase i feel) in previous comments . I find it difficult to accept this huge (i my eyes) fad, that takes every event in the world today and from the past and turns them into a conspiracy. I think that there are events/deals that have been done/manufactured that do, of course, fit within the realms of conspiracy. I just think that now there are that many of them that i can take none of them seriously. The waters are soo muddy that it's hard to see the shit from the gold.) I think that what the governments are doing in our name is outrageous sometimes and find it difficult to watch the double standards in which they treat countries which have assets which they wish to exploit and leave the more un-beneficial countries to behave how they like to the population.

I have some friends who truly believe in ALL of the conspiracy theories which are out there, from the media pre-programming the populace, to crop spraying, UFO's being held by the governments etc and what i find scary is the very same thing which you are mentioning about the "sheeple" which believe what the media are saying without question, these people are doing the same with any conspiracy theory which they find on the net. This is the reason why i wrote the article in the first place. I wasn't questioning the Machiavellian ways the governments conduct their business, i was trying to point out that the people who swallow what these "theories" are saying without question are being just as naive as those who are unquestioningly believing all that is fed to them through the media, but yet they see themselves as higher in intellect and knowledge than others because they can see the "Real Truth", which they have read of a web-site, not research and believe without any doubt or analytical thought process.

This is why i get slightly ruffled about all of the whole sub-reality thing etc. I know the governments /conglomerates /religions even have huge amount of deals that are done out of the view of the public. I was never questioning that, i know this for myself, many a time I've shouted at the news myself and shaken my head at stories that i have read and tried to find out other relevant information to build up my own picture about a situation, but it doesn't matter how many of the theories I or we believe anyway, the government will still have it's stand where these are the least of their worries and I kind of agree.. conspiracy theories don't do it for me, fear about global events unfolding before my eyes really holds the most sway..and one the thing that's even scarier..i have no faith in any of the leaders to be able to make any of it any better..only worse!

Anonymous's picture

so

so you know the governments are corrupt and serve the intrests of money yet your pissed at your friends for believing the conspiracy theories that the governments are more than likely responsable for creating. The words Conspiracy theory are designed to make you feel like you do, to make you doubt whatever it is that is labeled it, its just another tool they use. Dont be pissed at your friends, if they really are your friends challenge them and debate but know this, the government is not your friend and never will be.

lloydyspeaks's picture

The British Government, which

The British Government, which has been around since the 1600's and the British Civil War, when Parliament wanted to defend the rights of the Englishman and not have One Head of State ruling all and then subsequently produced the Westminster System, which is a Democratic parliamentary system. Obviously the cabinet have the executive authority, however there are the House of Commons, the House of Lords and of course the Head of State to answer to, and then not forgetting the select committees who oversea all areas of British government on behalf of the UK citizens.

This does not mean that i think that all of those who are overseeing the major issues that our country has to deal with are all for the people and can get away with nothing. Of course i know that that happens, it is splashed all over those newspapers that do not print any truths. Wherever there is anything to exploit for personal game i am positive that someone will have tried or are trying to do so.

AIDS - a man-made disease created by the CIA to wipe out the black race in the 70's or for the uses of genocide and population control? 

DTV Transition - Miniature microphones and cameras are now in our front rooms thereby enforcing the Big Brother State. (Incidentally the link to this was found on a site called Canabis.com.

JFK, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X - All conspiracy theories surrounding these and more assassinations of historical figures. 

Chemtrails - Chemical and biological agents are introduced to the population by governments etc.  

The list goes on and on and more recently, Obama's birth conspiracy and Osama's death too and then you have those that merge the two together..i mean where does it stop??? 

If you decide that the term "conspiracy theory" is used to describe any claim of civil, criminal or political conspiracy i would agree yes there have been and will be occasions of this happening, where two or more people agree to break the law at some point in the future. This is a conspiracy

If however you decide that the term means that a secret coalition of people conspire with superhuman power, strength and cunning to obtain insurmountable riches, Big Brother control over the nations, power and greed, then i would invite you to read the Study of Conspiracy here

I am not pissed at my friends, i would just like those to look at thing the way that the conspiracy lovers ask people to look at the world and governments around them and see if the facts really mount up, (they possibly may do, I'm not here to say what is true and what is not, I'm not really that bothered if Aliens are in Area 51 or the New World Order, I'm more bothered with cuts that are being made to my local council or the reform of the NHS.)  If the governments are infallible then why are these who suggests these things so right? Where is the hard proof and if there is it then why are people not bringing it to the fore and out into the open..oh yes i forgot the the papers are all government run. That must be why.

Anonymous's picture

i think we re going round in

i think we re going round in circles here. I would not believe a conspiracy theory anymore than i would believe a government or media outlet owned by big money. We will never know the real truth about anything unless we re directly involved in it but even then we re relying on our brain and nervous system which can only interpret reality based on how they have been programmed011010001.
I was programmed mainly by my mother who had a severe distrust of government organisations because of the way her father was treated after the war. I also had a hard time with authority at school where i was bullied by a teacher for no good reason which again programmed me with a hatred towards authority. It could well be that my brain and nervous system have created a reality to fit with my programmed distrust of authority. I hope this is the case and that deep down the governments really are for the people but just make a few mistakes here and there, this is infact how i continue to live in this reality without going crazy, by praying that what i believe to be true is just a lie im creating.

Hewy's picture

Ladies please!

Everything that we see is what we percieve it to be. That doesn't really mean it's true. We're going round in circles in an uncontrolled spiral believing it's the best that we can do. We have to relax, step back, take a deep breath and start seeing things in a different light. We have to seek a way to re-evaluate evolution and start thinking about making things right for the species. We can't change the planet. We can adapt to it's changes and learn from current mistakes so as to not find ourselves in a position where we fight over anything, let alone energy resources.

All theories are merely that. And considering there really is no such thing as fact, only our individual perception of what may or may not be reality it's not important and is distracting us from our true nature. That nature is to evolve spiritually, mentally and physically and this can only begin once we begin to love one another. This will not happen unless we cast aside unimportant distractions which serve only to stifle our spiritual quest and turn us on one another. Namely money, possessions, territorialism, religion and conformity.

Some may say I'm a dreamer.....?

mercedesbenz's picture

Interesting information,

Interesting information, thanks that you wrote – I look forward to more.