A couple of us here at 538 Refugees share a fascination for political conspiracy theories. This particular form of political currency has been around as long as politics. There were all kinds of conspiracy theories about the deaths of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra that have endured to this day. In later centuries, rumors abounded about the fate of the two little Yorkist child princes imprisoned in the Tower by the Duke of Gloucester, and frequent suggestions that William Shakespeare was the illegitimate son of Elizabeth I. Many people still believe that 17-year-old Anastasia, youngest daughter of Nicholas, the last Russian Czar, survived the slaughter of her family by Bolsheviks in 1918, somehow escaped to Europe and eventually lived to old age as an obscure seamstress in rural England.
My friend DC Petterson suggests, quite reasonably, that the very term is a misnomer because to label something a “conspiracy theory” is to consign it to the realm of the outlandish or ridiculous, when in fact many of these theories have a solid basis in fact. After all, there really was a Watergate, a Deep Throat and a Gulf of Tonkin deception.
I’m posting this to see if any of you also have a sneaking fascination with these theories. I’ll list about a dozen that come instantly to mind, and you let us know in the comments if you would be interested in having our crack research staff look into them and report the findings on an occasional basis. Tell us if any or all of these interest you, or if you can think of others you would like to see investigated by us…and discussed by our brilliant and diverse group of readers.
Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t act alone.
Princess Diana was killed by the British Royals because she was pregnant with Dodi Fayed’s child and Prince Philip couldn’t stomach having a Muslim in the family.
Barack Obama is not an American citizen, and his lack of qualifications to be President are being hidden from the American people (“birtherism”).
The Bush administration was complicit in the 9/11 attacks (“trutherism”).
Bush and Cheney deliberately started the Iraq war under false pretenses so they could indulge in personal war profiteering.
Contrary to Truman’s express orders, German Nazis were smuggled into the US under falsified and expunged records after WWII to help with the new nuclear program (“Operation Paperclip”).
- Flight 103 (“Lockerbie”) was bombed by the CIA/DEA to dispose of a couple of whistleblowers on the plane who were going to tell US officials about a mid-east drug dealing operation being run by the US Govt. (I think that’s the theory… this one is really complicated…)
- The American military is still concealing evidence of an alien craft that fell to the earth at Roswell, New Mexico. The remains of the spaceship have been used to reverse-engineer stealth aircraft.
- Reagan made a deal with Iran not to announce release of the Iranian hostages until after he was elected, thus preventing an “October Surprise” that would have benefited Jimmy Carter.
- The Clintons were personally responsible for the deaths of a numerous political enemies, including the brutal murder of their one-time friend Vince Foster.
- Albert de Salvo was not the Boston Strangler and the Boston Attorney General knew the truth but let him be convicted anyway.
- There really were WMD in Iraq, but they were trucked to Syria just before the war began and are waiting there to be used in a strike against the US.
- Sarah Palin has been recruited, groomed and funded by William Kristol and other shadowy but influential neo-cons so they can shoe-horn her into the presidency and then use her power and ignorance to launch wars around the globe.
- Dennis Kucinich really is an alien, and the whole “seeing-a-UFO” story is merely protective cover in case the truth begins to come out.
- Clint Black is actually the biological child of Roy Rogers.
Okay, I made up the last two, but hey… just look at those guys. It makes you wonder….
- Truthers, birthers, and cowards: The week at Fox News…This weekly wrap-up was compiled by Ben Dimiero, a research fellow at Media Matters for America. (ynative77.wordpress.com)
- How Lee Harvey Oswald’s coffin ended up in Brentwood (latimesblogs.latimes.com)
- Yvette Carnell: In Defense of the Conspiracy Theory (huffingtonpost.com)
C’mon, shiloh, help me out here. This one is right up your alley… 🙂
Numbers One, Two, Three, Eight, Ten, Twelve and Fourteen are pure nonsense until extraordinary proof is found.
Number Four is a bit touchy. I don’t think 9/11 was planned but I do think it was allowed to happen.
Number Five is all but proven but since Pelosi and Obama took Bush/Cheney off the hook, we will never know.
Number Six I always thought was about bringing in guys for the missle, jet and eventual space program like Werner Von Brown.
Never heard of Number Seven. Oh wait….
I believe Number Nine is one theory based in actual facts, but I think the LaRouchees go too far with this. The reason this one is more believable is it would not have required hundreds of people to pull off. A few phone calls, a few meetings, one ship and bingo, job done.
Never heard of Number Eleven.
Number Twelve seems too convoluted but it would not surpise me. I think she was McCains fantasy candidate. I’ll always remember the creepy way he would scope her out when they were together. She would not win but with the recent cave ins from President Obama, she may be the only one he could win against.
Number Fifteen I totally believe in 😉
@#7… Numbers One, Two, Three, Eight, Ten, Twelve and Fourteen are pure nonsense
As soon as he has time, DC is going to write and post a detailed article on Number 1 that just may change your mind… )
Any others you, personally, would like to see examined in detail? (We’re probably going to do it anyhow, just because we WANT TO, so we might as well be exploring the ones that are of most interest to you all.. 😉
I don’t mind discussing conspiracy theories and other what-ifs, as I find several of them to be quite fascinating. The problem usually arises when people cannot discuss these things in a rational manner. (Although, this being a blog, irrationality does tend to spur heated debate, so bring it on!)
I will admit that I tend to get a little bent out of shape if someone persists in an illogical theory despite a preponderance of verifiable evidence to the contrary. The willful disregard for facts always gets my dander up…
That said, there are only five theories on your list that I find remotely plausible, and Dennis Kucinich as an alien is one of them! 😉
Conspiracies, even kooky ones, help people grapple with a confusing world. They seem to put all the puzzle pieces together and provide a certain comfort to those who embrace them. With that said they provide us with a glimpse into the fears and concerns of people so studying them is not without merit. By the way, planning for the most sinister events that have occurred is far more banal then the splashy melodrama that often seizes people’s imaginations.
Have you ever heard of fluoridation?
mclever: That said, there are only five theories on your list that I find remotely plausible, and Dennis Kucinich as an alien is one of them! 😉
What are the other four? After reading your post I did my own rapid assessment and if the key word is remotely possible, then I would select five… apart from Dennis Kucinch, of course (just LOOK at those Vulcan ears!).
Mine would be 1, 5, 9, 11 and 13. Do we have some overlap?
A couple of us here at 538 Refugees share a fascination for political conspiracy theories.
Well then, talk amongst yourselves!
hmm, right up my alley, eh. Sadly 😉 Kucinich and Roy Rogers share something in common ~ they are/were both from Ohio and happy trails to mama grizzly! Also sadly, (((Reagan didn’t have a clue))) what was going on in his administration, so we can’t blame him for anything except shit rolling downhill lol.
er trickle down …
Was in the 4th grade when JFK was assassinated and like everyone else, was glued to the tv that weekend and saw Jack Ruby kill Oswald live on tv. Hey, breaking news! 😀 as some fools are still searching for the bushy haired man behind the grassy knoll.
Coincidentally, people have been dying on tv, both literally and figuratively ever since.
Klaatu barada nikto
Beam me up Scotty, there’s no intelligent life on this planet …
There is nothing wrong w/your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to … The Outer Limits.
Never missed an Outer Limits episode ~ carry on
@Robert… Conspiracies, even kooky ones, help people grapple with a confusing world. They seem to put all the puzzle pieces together and provide a certain comfort to those who embrace them. With that said they provide us with a glimpse into the fears and concerns of people so studying them is not without merit.
That’s a profound statement, Robert. I absolutely agree.
However, your final statement… Have you ever heard of fluoridation?… is quite cryptic. Do you think fluoridation is a conspiracy? (I understand that is actually a policy position for many in the Tea Party, most notably Sharron Angle. )
Maybe our super research team should also be looking into the issues surrounding fluoridation?
What’s so fascinating about conspiracy theories is that they aren’t all false. Just enough of them are later proven true to keep many of the others on this side of the credibility margin.
It’s like I’ve heard many people say: “Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me!”
@ Robert: I agree as well. Human brains have a great ability to assign patterns and relationships even when none exist.
This is just a ruse. You’re all in on it.
@WA7th… This is just a ruse. You’re all in on it.
Damn! Now WA7th is going to tell Wikileaks where we hid the haggis and the ceramic owl… and we were so close to getting away with it!
6. Contrary to Truman’s express orders, German Nazis were smuggled into the US under falsified and expunged records after WWII to help with the new nuclear program (“Operation Paperclip”).
He didn’t have anything to do with nukes, but Wernher von Braun probably should have been tried as a war criminal.
Bartbuster… this one probably shouldn’t even have been included as a conspiracy since evidence is overwhelming that it really happened. The details are kind of murky but as I understand it, people in government approached Truman after the war and suggested recruiting a bunch of German scientists to help with various American programs. Truman said fine but under no circumstances would any former Nazis be allowed into the country. So they “cleansed the files” on hundreds of these guys, changing “Nazi party member” to “interested in local politics”, etc.
The whole operation actually makes Truman look kind of dim…. if he really didn’t know what was going on, he certainly should have.
probably should have been tried as a war criminal.
Whereas bush/cheney should already be serving life sentences in prison!
Wa7th maybe be onto some thing. No conspiracy theory ever got any where with out enough people pushing it. But for you list fili:
1, I still have a hard time thinking Lee Harvy pulled that off alone. I know all sorts of post mortem shoot tests were done but I have yet to see any one be able to duplicate the shots so who knows maybe on that day Lee Harvey was one lucky SOB.
2, Nah a reach and who really cares?
3, The puce bullshit flag on this one.
4, Being asleep at the wheel is not evdence of conspiracy. Another bullshit flag.
5, Probably but for reasons that still escape me. Cheney and money I can buy, Bush and his dad maybe, the neocons were all over this but why?
6, Most certainly. Nuke program probably not. Jets, tanks, armor piercing tech, guided weapons yeah. Had an uncle that actually helped round some of them up. A friend of the family that worked with some of them at Aberdeen. Not much of a conspiracy. Now the Gestapo creeps we helped get out with the help of the church now there is some stuff.
7, Highly unlikely
8, Roswell?????? Is it after 12PM and I am listening to coast to coast?
9, Who in hell thinks that is plausible?
10, Wow, Clinton death squads. Who Knew?
11, I know cops that to this day aren’t convinced.
12, WMD to Syria doubtful, truckloads of money probably.
13, If this is true then Kristol needs to hire a new make up artist because to me it still looks like lipstick on a pig.
14, The real story here is that it is probably his wife that is the alien……and apparently aliens have really really poor eye sight.
15, Hmmmmmm now if we could just get him to sing happy trails.
16, Fluridation? Other than having made about a gazillion dollars for dentists who knows?
I like the one where it looks like this past election was a play by industry through the Chamber of Comerace to turn the US into a dictatorship………SCOTUS any one?
Mine would be 1, 5, 9, 11 and 13. Do we have some overlap?
Yes, my four are a perfect subset of your five. 🙂
Mainer!… you don’t think Reagan’s campaign worked with the Iranians to block an October Surprise for Carter? The hostages were released TWENTY MINUTES after Reagan’s inaugural address.
Twenty minutes, Mainer!
You don’t even need to be a conspiracy theorist to smell a rat in that one…
Conspiracies, even kooky ones, help people grapple with a confusing world. They seem to put all the puzzle pieces together and provide a certain comfort to those who embrace them. With that said they provide us with a glimpse into the fears and concerns of people so studying them is not without merit.
Very insightful, Robert. Studying conspiracy theories from an anthropological perspective… 🙂
@mclever… Yes, my four are a perfect subset of your five.
LOL… what a relief. Whenever you and I are not in accord, I begin to worry about my facts 😉
So.. don’t you think at least a few of these warrant further examination? (Please say yes. I can really use the backup in my delicate negotiations with my fellow blogging team, who are not always completely amenable to my “out there” ideas….)
I think that presenting some of these conspiracy ideas, their main proponents, their main detractors, the evidence (if any) in favor, the contraindicative evidence, and the contra scenarios could provide interesting fodder for discussion during the slow political season…
Is there a slow political season?
Nope fili I don’t. I do see it as another whicked good example of Iranian diplomatic smooths. You know lets screw over the guy we could work with and reward an a’hole we have no chance to do any thing other than sell arms to. Not buying it.
@mclever… Is there a slow political season?
LOL… you’re a wily diplomat! 🙂
My fave current CT: The global economic meltdown has actually been engineered to facilitate a unified global currency (by the illuminati).
I was joking, there was a brief moment in the 50’s and 60’s when extreme right wing groups believed adding fluoride to water was part of a communist conspiracy.
@robert… I was joking
Whew… THAT’S a relief. 😉
So… are there any of these you think might be worth a closer look, robert? Or any others, for that matter? It occurs to me that I compiled the list from a lefty mindset… there could be some theories favored by right-of-center folks that didn’t even occur to me.
For instance I know the Freepers believe all kinds of weird conspiracy theories… but then, they’re crazy… and you’re not.
The first thing that came to my mind when I met Clint Black in 1991 was that he had to have been the son of Roy Rogers. At the time I wasn’t in a position to ask but I bet he gets that a lot. The resemblance and demeanor is striking.
Mr U… why has nobody ever thought of making a movie about Roy Roger’s life and putting Clint Black in the leading role? Seems like a no-brainer to me.
You’ve actually MET Clint Black? Is he really as nice as he seems?
Roy’s real name is Leonard Franklin Slye
hmm, Leonard Slye and golden palomino Trigger …
You might want to check on the expiration date for that fluoridation conspiracy.
One of the key characteristics of the true conspiracy theorist is an inability to absorb new material. Learning is beyond them.
I see a big one missing, We Faked the Moon Landing!!!!!!!!
The Mythbusters did a fantastic job covering that very topic. It’s by far the most thorough analysis I’ve seen on that conspiracy theory.
@robert… I see a big one missing,
Ooooh… you’re right! How could I possibly miss that one?
I’m so embarrassed… 😦
Fluoridation conspiracy theories are still alive and well here in Utah.
I would add another to the list: FDR knew about the Pearl Harbor bombing in advance, but let it happen so that the US could enter the war.
Number 15 is just plain dumb. But it gave me a good laugh! Lol