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Conspiracy Theory As Distraction From Reality

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It takes all kinds.

Did you know that Hurricane Sandy was really a false flag attack?

Did you know that The children in Sandy Hook were killed on behalf of Obama, because he and his evil conspirators are trying to use the disaster as an excuse to kill the second amendment and take guns away from people?

And really, there were aliens who caused tower number seven of the World Trade Center to collapse. 

There are actually people who get upset about these things. 

Now, there are some real legitimate questions about 911-- what happened who did what and who did not do what should have been done. There are legit questions about the JFK and RFK assassinations. There are genuine problems with electronic voting machines that some mainstream media cretins have dismissed. And then there are the right wing claims of voter fraud, used to push through voter ID legislation that disenfranchises hundreds of thousands. 

Then there are the vaccine deniers. A fraudster in England published a bogus study that indicted one vaccine. Rumsfeld used his power as Secretary of Defense to push through a sale of Tamiflu, and all of a sudden ALL vaccines are dangerous and nobody should take any vaccines. Sorry, but that's potentially deadly dangerous. There are certainly many vaccines that have saved the lives of millions and eradicated diseases like polio. 

There are some people who are just flat out full of sh*t and some who are batshit crazy and some who have more malevolent intentions. Some are gullible addicts for the craziest theories. Some are very aware of the reality that the government lies and does do evil things that we only find out about one or two generations later. The TV series HOMELAND, which just took home several Golden Globe awards, shows how the CIA lies, manipulates the truth, screws with people's lives and just plain screws up. It's purported to be Obama's favorite TV show and" it's very believable. So it's no wonder that people are willing to entertain theories that the government and other shadowy organizations are doing all kinds of nefarious things. 

Most recently, a handful of people are suggesting that Aaron Swartz did not kill himself. While there is zero evidence that there was any murderous foul play, some people and websites are suggesting that Swartz did not hang himself-- that he was murdered. Some simply say that it's possible, that this kind of thing has been done betore. Others go further.  The problem is, there is zero proof, zero evidence that this is the case. 

Why do people do this and what are the costs? I think there are several reasons people propose conspiracy theories.

1-Some of them are based on actual facts. 

2-There is so much real lying and bad behavior coming from the government, the collection of spy agencies and different police, paramilitary and military operations-- that actually happen that almost anything is possible and believable. So people look for foul play everywhere. 

3- Mis-information-- we know that there are operations set up to misinform and to attack people and websites who criticize one side or the other. There are paid bloggers and sock-puppets who are taught how to, then paid to go to websites and sow misinformation and distraction on article and blog threads. The goal is to confuse, misinform and propagandize. 

4-Distraction- Take the Aaron Swartz story. There is absolutely a real, emerging case that between the DOJ and MIT there was nasty abuse of prosecution. There's a long  history of the DOJ and its Federal attorneys using their power for political and corporate means-- I k now people personally who have been victims of horrible assaults on them by the DOJ. But now, we have a handful of people talking about a conspiracy theory that Aaron Swartz was killed, that he did not commit suicide. It gets dicier, because Swartz parents are now reported to have said that the DOJ murdered Aaron. They are talking metaphorically. It was the headline on the front page of the Huffingtonpost yesterday. But I assure you, the conspiracy junkies will run with this. And instead of the focus being on the outrageous prosecutorial abuse and abuse of power by the DOJ, we will have a zoo full of crazy talk that dilutes and weakens where the real focus should be. 

This is not a black and white, easy to address situation. As a publisher of a progressive site, my intention is to be as open as possible to exploring new ideas and possible threats to justice, democracy and freedom. But I must also balance that willingness to be open with the risk of entertaining too many crazy ideas which threaten the credibility of the site. I am blessed to have a collection of volunteer advisors. But they can only give their opinions and those opinions vary. 

When it came to the Hurricane Sandy conspiracy theory, that was a no-brainer. I personally witnessed the flooding, the downed trees, the loss of electricity. it was offensive to me to have someone suggest this was bogus. 

With the Newtown massacre of children, again, I found the conspiracy theory to be an offensive outrage. This one was clearly being put out by people who paranoidly oppose gun-laws-- NRA supporters on steroids. Anyone who gets on this conspiracy theory bandwagon is going to be opposing gun regulation or supporting those who do-- not exactly where a progressive site wants to be. This is a great example of how people's reasonable mistrust of government is being exploited. And the discussion of this conspiracy is not benign. Consider the report in this Huffingtonpost article:

"Anderson Cooper responded to claims made by a Florida professor who said the devastating shooting in Newtown, Conn., was part of a government and media conspiracy related to gun control.

Professor James Tracey questioned whether Sandy Hook even happened. Because of his conspiracy theory, families in Newtown who suffered losses have been inundated with hate mail and prank phone calls. One family even had to remove its online memorial page when it was attacked with hateful messages.

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Rob Kall is editor-in-chief, publisher and site architect of OpEdNews.com, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor. He hosts the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, aired in the Metro Philly area on AM 1360, WNJC. Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

Rob Kall Wikipedia Page

Rob is, with Opednews.com the first media winner of the Pillar Award for supporting Whistleblowers and the first amendment.

See more Rob Kall articles here and, older ones, here. To learn more about Rob and OpEdNews.com, check out A Voice For Truth - ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article. For Rob's work in non-political realms mostly before 2000, see his C.V..  and here's an article on the Storycon Summit Meeting he founded and organized for eight years. Press coverage in the Wall Street Journal: Party's Left Pushes for a Seat at the Table

Here is a one hour radio interview where Rob was a guest- on Envision This, and here is the transcript. 

To watch Rob having a lively conversation with John Conyers, then Chair of the House Judiciary committee, click hereWatch Rob speaking on Bottom up economics at the Occupy G8 Economic Summit, here.

Follow Rob on Twitter & Facebook. His quotes are here

My articles express my personal opinion, not the opinion of this website.


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Rob.... by Jon Gold on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 1:51:50 PM
I think you're both missing the point.It's not our... by Nick van Nes on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 7:52:12 PM
Rob, first I must say that your article is an exce... by Frank Legge on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 11:30:36 PM
That there are problems with the official account ... by Jon Gold on Friday, Jan 18, 2013 at 8:20:13 AM
Seems to me what goes on here with bottom up stuff... by Michael Dewey on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 2:39:10 PM
In sorts, the real doubters do not  doubt the... by Mark Sashine on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 2:40:33 PM
I couldn't ever see myself concocting setting up e... by J. Edward Tremlett on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 2:54:37 PM
the camps  were not  a goal but a tool i... by Mark Sashine on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 3:17:39 PM
Maybe we're just playing with different mental too... by J. Edward Tremlett on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 4:14:39 PM
The idea is though that if you  define a goal... by Mark Sashine on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 4:35:41 PM
... then it really just doesn't work as an explana... by J. Edward Tremlett on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 4:50:14 PM
but  nothing works for everyone.  I cann... by Mark Sashine on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 5:27:21 PM
Most of these are targets of opportunity to furthe... by Timothy O'Neil on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 7:00:09 PM
Things in 9/11 did go wrong like tower 7 falling f... by Adam Smith on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 11:37:05 PM
Plus, if you look really, really hard at some of t... by J. Edward Tremlett on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 11:26:02 AM
I offer up this tidbit:  the fact that you ne... by Alex Howard on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 10:48:33 AM
The greatest imperative for humanity seems to invo... by Paul Repstock on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 5:37:38 PM
 We need to understand that we are very much ... by Mark Sashine on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 6:07:43 PM
The great majority of people neither have nor seek... by Paul Repstock on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 7:15:52 PM
Most of us would not  mind  being powerf... by Mark Sashine on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 7:28:06 PM
First I need to make a comment on one thing you sa... by Kim Cassidy on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 8:39:59 PM
Violence is inherent in this culture because the n... by Ned Lud on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 9:13:34 PM
But, you are wrong! Humans are violent, not only a... by Paul Repstock on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 9:17:44 PM
I don't want you to think I was singling you out, ... by Kim Cassidy on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 10:07:14 PM
This is a valuable thread, I was happy to see it b... by Paul Repstock on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 10:18:11 PM
First, language. As one person above reframed the ... by Kim Cassidy on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 10:20:43 PM
I certainly hope so!And Karma evens everything out... by Alex Howard on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 10:53:23 AM
that violence is not the nature of human beings. O... by Meryl Ann Butler on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 2:14:41 AM
And a very small percentage (3% or 4%) of mammals ... by Paul Carline on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 6:38:29 AM
theory, and in general have been proven repeatedly... by Daniel Geery on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 1:40:03 PM
(not picking on you, Daniel) And Darwin knew bette... by Scott Baker on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 4:08:43 PM
What you're suggesting isn't a make or break crite... by Maxwell on Friday, Jan 18, 2013 at 7:48:44 AM
and good to hear your perspective!... by Meryl Ann Butler on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 2:51:32 PM
Thanks, Rob.  I know it would be so much easi... by Sheila Samples on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 3:44:06 PM
'The only means to strengthen one's intellect is t... by Ned Lud on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 3:54:14 PM
We have to be careful not to be so open minded tha... by Maxwell on Friday, Jan 18, 2013 at 7:54:26 AM
What's your full name? I want to list it as a quot... by Rob Kall on Friday, Jan 18, 2013 at 9:38:04 AM
suggested: Take them out and dance on them periodi... by Daniel Geery on Friday, Jan 18, 2013 at 10:55:53 AM
Unofficial motto of the CIA: "Remember, this has t... by Peter Duveen on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 4:06:55 PM
but rather a motto of an assassin.We should be car... by Mark Sashine on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 4:13:37 PM
... by Deborah Dills on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 5:57:48 PM
are the rich and their corporations including thei... by zon moy on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 6:11:50 PM
"The only easy day is yesterday!"... by Alex Howard on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 10:58:17 AM
Hi Rob....i read your piece with great interest...... by DAVID HOUSE on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 4:34:53 PM
The observations by Rob Kall and the subsequent co... by Joan Mootry on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 11:58:16 PM
Yes, I too have a real knack for spotting minute i... by Kim Cassidy on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 12:39:30 AM
There are some sttong dynamics at work at the core... by Ned Lud on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 7:40:52 AM
summarized. I think both approaches are valuable, ... by Daniel Geery on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 1:53:00 PM
Your military training - at least this aspect of i... by Paul Carline on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 7:54:53 AM
One thing you said: about judgements based on emot... by Kim Cassidy on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 7:47:21 PM
How do the Marines put it? Once is happenstance, ... by Derryl Hermanutz on Friday, Jan 18, 2013 at 7:08:06 PM
I also have been an analyst; you are spot on!The b... by Alex Howard on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 11:00:50 AM
For creating one of the best sites for discussion ... by Paul Repstock on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 5:03:02 PM
Easy there, Paul.   That newspaper the Mast... by Ned Lud on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 5:54:33 PM
have never been censored even if they oppose or cr... by Paul Repstock on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 7:03:03 PM
Paul:   I have the same problem with OEN th... by Ned Lud on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 7:16:07 PM
Did I see you on Star Trek?... by Ned Lud on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 5:57:04 PM
who said it on this site, but it has stuck with me... by intotheabyss on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 6:59:18 PM
I would rather be someone who questions all the ti... by Deborah Dills on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 10:05:51 PM
Important for people to know how difficult it is t... by Adam Smith on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 11:46:45 PM
I have utmost respect and trust in you, and am ent... by Kim Cassidy on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 12:17:07 AM
Mr. Kall, there is too much in the bundle. Not all... by Skyler Trombly on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 1:07:57 AM
Thanks Skyler, I was going to say something, but a... by Davey Jones on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 9:21:54 AM
I understand and agree with virtually all of what ... by Michael David Morrissey on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 3:22:56 AM
We have the impression that there are a lot of ran... by Josh Mitteldorf on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 4:29:59 AM
Man, if you are a senior editor here and can make ... by Ned Lud on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 7:15:57 AM
The story you link to is quite plausible. There is... by Michael David Morrissey on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 8:14:26 AM
Chomsky,Amy Goodman,Matt Taibbi,Greg Palast...Oh w... by Bill Mack on Friday, Jan 18, 2013 at 5:29:20 PM
Why does his ostrich-ism surprise you more than th... by Michael David Morrissey on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 6:16:05 AM
Good article, Rob.  Between the reflex doubts... by Ritt Goldstein on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 5:21:46 AM
As I have said, I considered the 9/11 as a hoax&nb... by Mark Sashine on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 7:10:51 AM
Good morning, Mark.   Parallel universes do... by Ned Lud on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 7:25:04 AM
Sadly, we don't even try to elevate genius and sai... by Paul Repstock on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 1:51:29 PM
What we're really seeing are the causes and effect... by Judy Palmer on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 11:42:50 AM
Where did the term spring from. and why does it ha... by Paul Repstock on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 1:36:57 PM
"(Fostering) Conspiracy Theory as a Distraction fr... by Paul Repstock on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 1:43:18 PM
Abraham Lincoln tells us:  "The money powe... by Don Caldarazzo on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 4:20:45 PM
There is absolutely no reason to disallow commente... by Ned Lud on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 6:54:43 PM
Who are you, and what have you done with Ned?That ... by J. Edward Tremlett on Friday, Jan 18, 2013 at 10:17:48 AM
Yep. Yep.... by Don Caldarazzo on Friday, Jan 18, 2013 at 3:00:01 PM
After spending a quarter-century of my working lif... by Stephen Pizzo on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 4:42:13 PM
"Conspiracy buffs give the government way too much... by Bill Mack on Friday, Jan 18, 2013 at 5:46:53 PM
Without OpEdNews, news media would be a black hole... by John Rachel on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 5:30:51 PM
With the Newtown massacre of children, again, I fo... by Paul Rye on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 6:28:26 PM
P.S. - Sorry that my previous comment was so narro... by Paul Rye on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 6:49:56 PM
you've never heard of the Church Committee.  ... by Joe Giambrone on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 6:53:18 PM
Would former Senator Graham not fit neatly enough ... by Joe Giambrone on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 6:54:19 PM
I'm glad you brought up the celebrating Mossad age... by Joe Giambrone on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 7:04:42 PM
There is sufficient doubt about the omissions an... by Lance Ciepiela on Friday, Jan 18, 2013 at 9:43:51 AM
I think since Aaron's death in Internet real time ... by Sheila Dean on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 7:08:47 PM
 "In Iraq, all the lies we were told that tur... by Deborah Dills on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 11:01:21 PM
When are the people going to take this government ... by Deborah Dills on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 11:17:48 PM
I would argue that there are more serious questio... by Ross Brummet on Friday, Jan 18, 2013 at 12:26:17 AM
Well put. What you say and how you say it increase... by S. Juniper on Friday, Jan 18, 2013 at 12:31:11 AM
Thanks Rob,I've been enjoying interacting with at ... by paulvcassidy on Friday, Jan 18, 2013 at 4:42:17 AM
For one thing, by uncritically using government an... by Ernie Messerschmidt on Friday, Jan 18, 2013 at 11:58:01 AM
I agree with you about letting thought blossoms bl... by Rob Kall on Friday, Jan 18, 2013 at 1:10:09 PM
I appreciate the intense thought and intention tha... by Tsara Shelton on Friday, Jan 18, 2013 at 9:26:11 PM
'The ingredients are all here!!' No, they're n... by Ned Lud on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 6:07:22 AM
I consider all the ingredients to be here because ... by Tsara Shelton on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 1:04:58 PM
click here... by Jon Gold on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 9:02:23 AM
This article is exactly what is needed lately.As y... by Alex Howard on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 10:16:00 AM
To my knowledge, Embassies, consulates, and diplom... by Matthew Peters on Sunday, Jan 27, 2013 at 6:26:33 AM