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Once Upon a Paranoid Time (In America) - Part Two: None Dare Call it Coincidence

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Encyclopaedia of Conspiracy Theories
(image by alvaro ibanez)

Dedicated to: John Judge, RIP 2014.


Dateline: September 11, 2001 - Place: An elementary-grade classroom in Sarasota, Fla., USA - Time: The first lesson of the day (before the rest of the day).

The president took control and asked the teacher to begin the demonstration. From the very beginning... [he] smiles briefly and nods and even laughs aloud a few times, but there are cycles of fleeting, nervous facial expressions with eyes that seem hollow and cold, before he returns to the forced smile and rigid posture. Understandable: he's just seen a terrifying scene of an airliner burning inside the World Trade Centre. That's one consideration. Another is that he's sweating out the riskiest political move in American history, and if his involvement is exposed by a failure to execute the plan, an entirely different 'execution' would take place. His [own]. Philip Marshall, The Big Bamboozle: 9/11 and the War on Terror

The masses have never thirsted for the truth. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master. Whoever attempts to destroy those illusions is always their victim. Gustave le Bon, The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind (1895)

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Humpty Dumpty Was Pushed. Popular conspiracy theory and bumper sticker. Anon

If You're not Outraged, You're not Paying Attention. According to some, another "conspiracy theory"; definitely a popular bumper sticker. Anon.


Conspiracy is as Conspiracy Does

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Who are the real conspiracy theorists then? Those that believe in them because of the overwhelming evidence, or those that deny them in spite of the overwhelming evidence? Whenever even the most considered of individuals ruminate on the possibility that official explanations for the seminal political events may not be quite what the power elites would have us believe, for more polite folks not similarly predisposed the first and last refuge is the Pavlovian response:

"Oh, you're just another one of those conspiracy theorists."

Yet recent studies suggest that contrary to mainstream-media stereotypes, those designated "conspiracy theorists" appear to be saner than those who blithely accept the official versions of events. One such study was published in 2013 by psychologists Michael Wood and Karen Douglas of the University of Kent in the UK. Enticingly titled "What about Building 7? A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories," the study compared "conspiracist" (pro-conspiracy) and "conventionalist" (anti-conspiracy) comments at various websites. Here is a brief summary:

"....among people who comment on news articles, those who disbelieve government accounts of such events as 9/11 and the JFK assassination outnumber believers by more than two to one. That means it is the pro-conspiracy commenters who are expressing what is now the conventional wisdom, while the anti-conspiracy commenters are becoming a small, beleaguered minority." [My emphasis].

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Greg Maybury is a Perth (Australia) based freelance writer. His main areas of interest are American history and politics in general, with a special focus on economic, national security, military and geopolitical affairs, and both US domestic and (more...)

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