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Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories

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Hon. Frank L. Polk
Counsellor of the State Dept.
Washington, D.C.


[Dated November 25, 1918]

*   *   *   *   *

(d) Translation:

The complete triumph of liberty and right furnishes me a new opportunity to repeat to you my profound admiration for the noble American nation. Hope to see now quick progress on the part of the Allies to help Russia in reestablishing order. Call your attention also to pressing necessity of replacing in Ukraine enemy troops at the very moment of their retirement in order to avoid Bolshevist devastation. Friendly intervention of Allies would be greeted everywhere with enthusiasm and looked upon as democratic action, because Bolshevist government does not represent Russian people. Wrote you September 19th. Cordial greetings.

[sgd.] Kamenka

Dr. Sutton's Comment:

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This is an important series because it refutes the story of a Jewish bank conspiracy behind the Bolshevik Revolution. Clearly Jacob Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb was not interested in supporting the Kerensky Liberty Loan and Schiff went to the trouble of drawing State Department attention to Kamenka's pleas for Allied intervention against the Bolsheviks. Obviously Schiff and fellow banker Kamenka, unlike J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller, were as unhappy about the Bolsheviks as they had been about the tsars.

(12) But whom was the original source for the accusation regarding Schiff's financial support of the Bolsheviks?

Apparently, it was first published in the U.S. circa November 1920 by Henry Ford's newspaper, The Dearborn Independent. It subsequently was spread by Father Charles E. Coughlin and William Dudley Pelley during the 1930's. Not surprisingly, Coughlin, Pelley, and Ford's newspaper endorsed as accurate and then circulated "The Protocols of Zion".

I've gone into this detail to illustrate how researchers and authors can utilize what they claim to be reliable sources of information but which turn out to be bigoted or very ill-informed.

I would like to suggest a few general principles for making informed judgments about whether or not conspiracy arguments have some merit. They are as follows:

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·         If a conspiracy author uses obscure sources (such as books published or sold by one-man bookselling businesses) those sources should invite extreme caution.

·         If a conspiracy author attributes highly defamatory observations to someone whom, it turns out, is quoting someone else --- that also invites extreme caution --because, one inevitably wonders why the author didn't just go to the original primary source instead of "quoting" what a secondary or third source claims was said.

·         If a conspiracy author cannot get basic factual material correct (simple stuff that doesn't even require much research) - that also invites extreme caution --- because it betokens sloppy or perhaps even dishonest research habits.

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I am retired and particularly interested in the intellectual origins and history of contemporary conspiracy-oriented organizations and their assertions. 25+ years ago I began requesting FBI (and other agency) files and documents pertaining to (more...)

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