Author Topic: None Dare Call It Conspiracy, intro  (Read 1817 times)

Cain

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None Dare Call It Conspiracy, intro
« on: April 18, 2012, 06:15:05 pm »
“Emperors soon found it convenient to use these frumentarii (military couriers) as an internal security service both within Rome and in their home provinces, and they became notorious as spies and even assassins.”
- The Oxford Encyclopaedia of Ancient Greece and Rome, Volume Six.

"History teaches us that many more princes have lost their lives and their states by conspiracies than by open war."
- Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy

"Good propaganda, to be effective, as Hitler and Goebbels had learned from experience, needs more than words.  It needs deeds, however much they may have to be fabricated. […] For six days Alfred Naujocks, the intellectual S.S. ruffian, had been waiting at Gleiwitz on the Polish border to carry out a simulated Polish attack on a German radio station there.  The plan had been revised.  S.S. men outfitted in Polish Army uniforms were to do the shooting, and drugged concentration camp inmates were to be left dying as “casualties”."
- The Rise and the Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer

“Conspiracy theory” is a term of near-universal insult.  Once someone is labelled a “conspiracy theorist” they are automatically beyond the pale, not worth taking seriously, not even to be listened to.  Their mere presence can be seen as a distraction, if not an insult, and their ideas may not be challenging, but are frequently dangerous and dangerously wrong in their insinuations.

This is not an entirely unfair reaction.  Listening to David Icke describe the giant lizards he claims rule the world, or some Stormfronter quote re-hashed versions of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion*, or Alex Jones go on yet another tirade can quickly make most of the above appear true.  After all, the accusations of conspiracy have been used in the past to promote anti-Semitism, sectarian violence and pit nations against each other.  It devalues the real work of political analysis, leading to a fundamentally flawed and warped understanding of history, society and the power brokers in society which can threaten the workings of representative and democratic government (consider the ease at which the acceptance of The Protocols in the Muslim world leads to anti-Semitism which then leads to support for Islamist parties opposed to the State of Israel).

However.

It is worth noting people who one should, on the balance, not be considered entirely trustworthy are very comfortable with using the insult of “conspiracy theorist”.  For instance, Tony Blair, whose many distortions and deceptions have been catalogued over the years, has said this of people who disagreed with the idea of invading Iraq as “reasonable”.  This was in 2010, long after the revelations of the Downing Street Memo, the “fixing of facts around policy”, the debunking of the 45 minute claim, the revelation of an MI6 disinformation campaign being run in the press and similar.  And that is just on this side of the Atlantic.

Another person comfortable with the “conspiracy theorist” smear is Margaret Chan, director of the World Health Organization, who denied her organization's close links to the pharmaceutical industry in any way influenced how they reacted to a recent influenza scare, despite an investigation by the British Medical Journal uncovering WHO experts which had “declarable financial ties and research ties with pharmaceutical companies producing antivirals and influenza vaccines.”

The New York Times runs semi-frequent pieces about Pakistan, asserting that belief in conspiracy theory is rife in the region and that people think America is secretly plotting ways to undermine the state which do not rely on open warfare.  But the truth is that the Obama administration did consider the full range of options when it came to Pakistan, including open warfare, but decided against them because of practicalities like the Pakistani nuclear arsenal and population concentration.  Instead they preferred to rely on drone strikes and assassinations, all while building strong strategic ties with India, suggesting the truth is more complex than the New York Times is willing to admit.

More controversially, there is the question of 9/11.  Truthers are fair game for everyone, even members of this site.  Everyone from FOX News to The Huffington Post automatically excludes Truthers from the discussion.  Yet, only recently, two former Senators have claimed that there was a cover-up of sorts concerning the role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who they believe played a direct role in the attacks.  The final 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission's Report, which dealt with the possibility of foreign support for the hijackers, was censored in its entirety, on the orders of one George W. Bush.

The question of conspiracies is clearly more complex than the simple case of “all conspiracies are spread by misguided or hate filled fools”.  But it is also more complex than “everyone is lying to you”, the world-embracing paranoia of an Icke or an Alex Jones.  This kind of conspiratorial view of all of history is what the philosopher Karl Popper referred to as the “conspiracy theory of society”, which he rightly condemned as complete nonsense.

What many of the so-called debunkers of conspiracy theory, such as the British journalist David Aaronovitch, overlook is that conspiracies have an objective and historically provable existence.  By selectively choosing straw-men arguments and only particular case studies, he wrote a perverse “study of conspiracy theory” which completely avoided even admitting the existence of hard questions that may challenge his own world view.  This is to be somewhat expected, given his role as a justifier of the politics of New Labour, whose political legitimacy involves distancing itself from “radical” elements and ideas of all kinds.

And on the other end of the spectrum, you have the likes of Vigilant Citizen, who would have you believe everything from the music you listen to, the games you play and the politicians you vote for are hand-picked by the mysterious powers that be, likely a short-lived and ultimately futile political conspiracy that existed in Germany during a turbulent period two centuries ago, but had an incredibly impressive name.

The tragedy, of course, is that the two are more similar than either would care to admit.  Their world-view is black and white, all or nothing, you accept their conclusions or you are disqualified from speaking with any kind of authority.

Yet there is still a middle ground, one that needs to be explored and fleshed out.  For this twilight zones, that lurks in the gap between conspiracy theory and respectable political discourse, I prefer the term “parapolitics”.  The name is suggestive of the political, which is to say the distribution and balance of power within society, but set aside from it, related to it but not quite the same.  In academic discourse, parapolitics has the specific meaning of relating to the clandestine, far-reaching and apparently structural relationships between state-security, terrorist groups, organized crime and “gaps” in the international state system, such as failed or unrecognised states.   This certainly relates closely enough to our interests, I feel, for the term to be appropriated.

The denial of this area as a conceptual field of inquiry allows that important ground to be ceded to the likes of debunkers named above, whether they be well intentioned idiots, or have a more pernicious agenda.  It also cedes the other side of the argument to the cranks and crackpots, who, along with the debunkers, create an informal and unintended system that nevertheless acts to police the acceptable bounds of debate.

With my next pieces, I will attempt to show why it is critical for this system to be broken, and the effects such clandestine networks can have on the political and social fabric of a nation.



















* As far as can be told, the actual origin of the Protocols is someone within the Okhrana, the Tsarist-era Russian Secret Police, and was released first of all to ultra-nationalist supporters of House Romanov, known as the Black Hundreds, who used it to associate all attempts at reform and republican rule as a Jewish plot.  In other words, the production of the Protocols was a conspiratorial act.

Doktor Howl

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Re: None Dare Call It Conspiracy, intro
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2012, 06:19:54 pm »
Oh, I'm all over this.  Eagerly waiting for the next piece.

I have a few CT friends...They're fun to rev up, but they're the people that make it impossible to point out an actual conspiracy.  Goldman Sachs is busy looting the world, and these guys are jabbering about chemtrails and vaccinations.

Fact is, most actual conspiracies these days are right out in the open.  Hell, PNAC had a website, and they're DEFINITELY a conspiracy.  Is it any secret that the guy most responsible for touting default credit swaps is now our secretary of the treasury?

But even with all those juicy, REAL conspiracies, people want to worry about jet exhaust.
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Cain

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Re: None Dare Call It Conspiracy, intro
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2012, 06:38:29 pm »
One particular part may have to be delayed, unfortunately.  I'm waiting for a book to come through which has a certain amount of information I need.  The first is up, though, and I'm at work on the second and third.

Doktor Howl

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Re: None Dare Call It Conspiracy, intro
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2012, 06:42:23 pm »
One particular part may have to be delayed, unfortunately.  I'm waiting for a book to come through which has a certain amount of information I need.  The first is up, though, and I'm at work on the second and third.

The latest one is amazing.  It's pretty dense info, and I'm about to re-read it.
"It's how we roll,
Dunning-Krueger out of control
(Girl, look at that gross margin)"
- TGRR

Evil doesn't work without good people. Good people will do the most repugnant, nasty shit for what they think are "the right reasons"

trippinprincezz13

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Re: None Dare Call It Conspiracy, intro
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2012, 06:12:20 pm »
Nice piece, I look forward to reading the others.

I admit, I'm not well-versed in politics or international relations, but I try to stay relatively informed, at least compared to the average person I may encounter on a daily basis, and I get a lot from this site.

With so much information, disinformation, conjecture, etc. it's hard to keep track (at least maybe, for the average person) of what's fact, what's conpiracy, what's deliberate misdirection and what's just whackjobbery, which seems to make it as easy to dismiss any questioning of what's presented as fact as nuttery as it is to see a conspiracy lurking around every corner, depending on one's outlook. For the most part, it seems beneficial to the powers-that-be to have people like Truthers and David Icke ranting and raving, because it makes it easy to then compare anyone else's "conspiracy" to be in the same vein as crazy. Maybe there is a conspiracy around 9/11, but people will just roll their eyes as they think of the Truthers, or maybe one day David Icke will get something right, but people will just think of him as "the boy who cried wolf". And maybe not conspiracy so much as racist ramblings, but allowing people to focus on things such as Obama's birth certificate, religion, communism, "disrespect for the flag", etc. keeps them distracted from whatever may actually be going on behind the scenes or right in front of their faces. How many "nutjob conspiracies" are actually started and/or perpetuated by the PTB?

I'm sure I just reiterated some of what you said about in a less eloquent way, but I am interested in reading this series and doing my best to grasp the nuances.
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Anna Mae Bollocks

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Re: None Dare Call It Conspiracy, intro
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2012, 07:09:38 pm »
Nice piece, I look forward to reading the others.

I admit, I'm not well-versed in politics or international relations, but I try to stay relatively informed, at least compared to the average person I may encounter on a daily basis, and I get a lot from this site.

With so much information, disinformation, conjecture, etc. it's hard to keep track (at least maybe, for the average person) of what's fact, what's conpiracy, what's deliberate misdirection and what's just whackjobbery, which seems to make it as easy to dismiss any questioning of what's presented as fact as nuttery as it is to see a conspiracy lurking around every corner, depending on one's outlook. For the most part, it seems beneficial to the powers-that-be to have people like Truthers and David Icke ranting and raving, because it makes it easy to then compare anyone else's "conspiracy" to be in the same vein as crazy. Maybe there is a conspiracy around 9/11, but people will just roll their eyes as they think of the Truthers, or maybe one day David Icke will get something right, but people will just think of him as "the boy who cried wolf". And maybe not conspiracy so much as racist ramblings, but allowing people to focus on things such as Obama's birth certificate, religion, communism, "disrespect for the flag", etc. keeps them distracted from whatever may actually be going on behind the scenes or right in front of their faces. How many "nutjob conspiracies" are actually started and/or perpetuated by the PTB?

I'm sure I just reiterated some of what you said about in a less eloquent way, but I am interested in reading this series and doing my best to grasp the nuances.

People conspire. The propaganda that every single conspiracy theory is delusional bullshit has got to be out there for a reason.

Does anybody know where this quote comes from? I've been seeing it around for years and can't find a source:

"It takes 20 years to create a market for a product. Early on,
consumers fight back if an enemy can be identified. In time, fight
gives way to resistance. After 20 years, fatigue sets in, memory
fades and the metamorphosis is complete. The rules for creating a bogus
market are the same as for waging war. Read Sun Tzu's The Art Of War:
"Outline an agenda, dissemble disinformation and misinformation,
create confusion and dissention. Quote statistics and finally create
fear. Fear leads to panic and panic leads to victory."
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Re: None Dare Call It Conspiracy, intro
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2012, 09:32:27 pm »
Very nice! I like this.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”