Conspiracies #

To define conspiracy depends of which side you are on, however most would agree it is a secret (clandstine) plan (plot) by a group (cabal) to do something unlawful or harmful aganist another person or group.

The rise of the internet has given rise to many wacky conspircacy theories,especially those involving celebrities. The death of Diana, the sagas of Harry and Megan, the faked photoes of the moon landing and many other off-piste ventures.

“God wants spiritual fruits, not religious nuts”Rev. Sparks

“The human appetite for alternative, and usually harebrained, explanations for why events blossomed the way they did can never be sated,” Shafer wrote, adding that while “you can battle a poison fruitcake ideology like QAnon to the point that it can be contained in a 55-gallon drum and sealed,” there’s another poison fruitcake ideology coming up right behind it. Frank Bruni 2021

Conspiracies foment because authorities lie to us. The C.I.A. came up with a slogan “plausible deniability”

Many reputable credentialed scholars claim that Christianity lost its bearings by the fourth century. The apostasy was radical. Through systematic Machiavellian machinations, distortions, dishonesty, lies and suppression, Christianity denied its pagan antecedents.

There are many things that are true which it is not useful for the vulgar crowd to know; and certain things which though they are false, it is expedient for the people to believe otherwise. St Augustine, City of God

This sums up the ruses used to con the masses into accepting Christianity as a distinct and self-perpetuated belief system. Rather than esoteric knowledge, officials relied on exoteric stunts.

Gregory of Nazianzen (329 – 389) writing to Jerome:

“Nothing can impose better on people than verbiage; the less they understand, the more they admire…we don’t say what we think, but what circumstances and necessity forces us to”.

Priests attribute to their opponents absurd opinions they never held – simply to disgrace them”. Higgins

Treating the laity with utter disdain, they dumbed down the message to appeal to the lowest common denominator. It is of little wonder that the Churches have lost members in the enlightened countries, while growing strongly in lowly educated ones.

The German scholar, John Laurence von Mosheim, writing about the Gospel of Hermas, (140 – 155 BCE)

“It was an established maxim it was pardonable in an advocate for religion to avail himself of fraud and deception if it might attain considerable good”.

Who needs Machiavelli?

The oldest recorded conspiracy according to Bernard Keane, comes from the “blood libel” directed at Jews, alleged to conspire to kidnap and murder Christian children for the purposes of ritual murder. This first emerged in the twelfth century, and for the following seven centuries it saw thousands of Jews murdered either by mobs or after “trials” for killing Christian children or, more accurately, for being Jews.

Professor Matthew Hornsey, and Professor Jetten attempt to better understand conspiracy theories and how people become involved.

Beyond achieving that sense of belonging, they believe was also about the opportunity to build self-esteem.

“Conspiracy theories offer a sense of specialness: they provide the idea that the whole world is asleep and the universe is whispering secret knowledge in your ear,”

“They make you feel smart and different – they makes you feel superior – and this happens among groups of people who traditionally haven’t been made to feel like that within society.

In the mid-1990s, the American sociologist Ted Goertzel surveyed thousands of residents across the United States to appraise their acceptance or rejection of popular conspiracy theories. Goertzel identified three traits that correlated with such beliefs.

They were the experience of anomia - the respondent stated that he or she felt alienated or disaffected by “the system”, a tendency to distrust others and a feeling of insecurity regarding continued employment.

Goertzel concluded that conspiracy theories served to provide an enemy to blame for problems that otherwise appeared too abstract and impersonal. They also provided ready answers for the believer’s unanswered questions and helped to resolve contradictions between known “facts” and an individual’s belief system.

Ian Fitzgerald’s, The Deep State, examines what a deep state really is and how they have emerged in various places across the world and throughout history. Ranging from the police state of East Germany in the 1950s to the narco states of Latin America in the 1970s to the institutional corruption of 21st century Nigeria, he explores the many ways people have sought to seize the apparatus of power for themselves while remaining out of sight.

Beneath the outward appearance of legitimate government and accountable officials there often lurk hidden agendas, shadowy personalities and special interest groups seeking to seize control of the nation for their own ends. These ‘states within a state’, unfettered by legal norms and unworried by public opinion, are known as ‘deep states’.

In Australia, The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) purports to be an independent, non-profit organisation providing a loud voice for freedom in Australia. In reality it represents the real hard invisible political power in Australia. Funded by the Mineral Council including Gina Rhinehart, Media moguls, Kerri Stokes and Rupert Murdoch, like the Rum Corp, the Old and New Guard or other “born to rule” privileged Private Boys School educated leaders, AKA, the Big Swinging Dicks Club.

Rupert Murdoch’s declaration to Kerry Stokes at an IPA meeting, in mid-2018, never denied, that “Malcolm’s got to go” reveals who signed the death warrant of an Australian prime minister actually doing something about climate change. In a democracy, that’s for voters to decide.

Government Agencies #

Without rigorous regulatory oversight, most government instrumentalities gravitate toward dystropy; become moribund due to calcification or entrenchment. A self - serving careerist mind set develops that institutions exist for its members rather than for the greater good of the public. Some believe that their institution exists simply to provide them with a job; not the other way around. Subject to groupthink, they become reluctant to hear opposing views or to work with anyone perceived to be on the outside. Some live high up in an ivory tower; in a bubble world doubling as an echo chamber. Only a seismic paradigm shift can change deep seated, cultured mind sets. What we need is not just better individuals; also better systems to make up for individual flaws.

The FBI #

Since President Theodore Roosevelt established it in 1908, it rectified many problems of corruption, especially orgamised crime. . Howver it became a secretive, nosy national police force in a country that originally made law enforcement the responsibility of the states. Under the ugly and aggressive leadership of J. Edgar Hoover from 1924 to 1972, it kept showing up on the edges of our politics, or right in the middle of them, from the Palmer Raids in search of radicals and anarchists after World War I to the harassment of anti–Vietnam War protesters and civil rights activists. Only death could remove Hoover from office, and his departure eventually did lead to significant reforms, but the notoriety of the FBI has endured—thanks often to fiascos of its own making—as has contentious disputation about it. Hoover kept a dirt file on all politicians so he could stonewall any attempt of curbing his unchecked power. When LBJ was asked why he didn’t restrain him, his reply was:

“I’d rather have him inside my tent pissing out, than outside. pissing in.”

Charlie Chaplin was Hollywood’s first superstar. At the height of his career, the FBI considered Charlie Chaplin and other figures from the film industry something else: a threat to the United States. Hollywood became a battleground for the soul of America.

Even Trump observed a fundamental premise:

“The truth is that we have a nation that is disgusted with the FBI. We have a crisis of confidence in the number one law enforcement agency in this country.”

Unfortunately Trump had no idea how to fix the problems. Attacking FBI executives and agents by name further undermines its authority.

The C.I.A #

When established in 1947, its two key goals were: thwarting Soviet expansionism, and preventing another surprise attack like that carried out by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor during the second world war.

Amy Davidson Sorkin questions whether the C.I.A. has Done More Harm Than Good?

The paramilitary pursuits of the C.I.A.—including assassination attempts, coup plots, and drone strikes—seldom end well.

In the agency’s seventy-five years of existence, a lack of accountability has sustained dysfunction, ineptitude, and lawlessness.

There was no mention of covert action in the law that chartered the C.I.A., but Presidents—starting with Truman—began using it that way. One of the agency’s first operations involved meddling in the 1948 Italian election, to insure the victory of the Christian Democrats. The subsidies and outright bribery of Italian politicians, some of them on the far, far right, continued into the nineteen-seventies.

Presidents of both parties regularly turn to the C.I.A. for paramilitary and other covert tasks constitutes proof that doing so is part of the order of things.

On January 4, 1995, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, of New York, introduced a bill called the Abolition of the Central Intelligence Agency Act.

He gave a diagnosis for what had gone wrong.

“Secrecy keeps mistakes secret; secrecy is a disease. It causes a hardening of the arteries of the mind.” He quoted John le Carré on that point,

For 30 years the intelligence community systematically misinformed successive presidents as to the size and growth of the Soviet economy … Somehow our analysts had internalised a Soviet view of the world.

Among its decennial “defining failures”—had both missed the fact that the Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse and done little to hasten its end.

A list of scandals involving spying within the U.S. by various intelligence agencies—notably the N.S.A., the F.B.I., and the C.I.A. “All of these activities violated American law,” Evidence of moles in its ranks, flamboyant display of incompetence, fundamental defects of processes, Of the hundred and thirty-seven officers, forty-five died accidentally, the majority in plane crashes.

As US president from 1981 to 1989, the neoconservative Reagan unleashed the CIA from restrictions that had been imposed on it during the reforming post-Vietnam 1970s. Like other anti-communists, Reagan saw the agency as a prime weapon in weakening the Soviet Union, which he famously denounced as the “evil empire”, and preventing the worldwide spread of communism. The new US president was convinced that in opposing an unethical foe, one could not afford to be too scrupulous. He chose as his CIA director Bill Casey, a veteran of intelligence in the second world war – a time when it had been “gloves off” for dirty tricksters.

An outright cold warrior, Casey resuscitated old CIA habits, running covert operations against the left-leaning – but democratically elected – Sandinista government in Nicaragua from December 1998.

Even the veteran conservative senator Barry Goldwater admitted he was “pissed off” when, in 1984, the CIA mined Nicaragua’s harbours without informing Congress. Accosted with this oversight, the uncompromising Casey replied:

“The business of Congress is to stay the fuck out of my business.”

Eisenhower’s lament that he’d be leaving his successors the “faulty” structure of an unaccountable American intelligence system and an untrammelled military industrial complex.

A disapproving US Congress banned these weapons drops and cut off the necessary funds. To get around this, arms were illegally supplied to Iran (then at war with Iraq) via Israel – paid for by covert Iranian financial assistance to the Contras. However, fearing the wrath of Congress should this ruse be discovered (as it later was), the Reagan administration bypassed the CIA in administering the Iran-Contra scam.

A decade later, the US’s confident post-cold war demeanour changed at a stroke when two hijacked planes flew into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. And the CIA would be the fall guy.

The attack masterminded by Osama bin Laden glaringly exposed the CIA’s inability to uphold its founding mission of preventing another Pearl Harbour-style attack on the US. Under renewed pressure to justify its existence, the agency succumbed to the demands of the George W Bush administration in the “war on terror” that arose from the ashes of 9/11.

As the US government desperately sought a rationale for invading Iraq, a deal was struck. Senior leaders of the agency may squirm at the charge, but the CIA supplied intelligence to please in exchange for the right to survive. Its leadership endorsed the mythical charge that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction (WMD). And when the ensuing war was a disaster, the CIA took the hit for having delivered that faulty intelligence.

In 2013, Edward Snowden leaked numerous files to the Guardian and Washington Post before fleeing to Russia in order to evade rendition by the CIA. His revelations about US internal surveillance practices infuriated the guardians of America’s secrets, and fed the fears of those who deplored the use of dirty tricks abroad – and the development of a “secret state” at home. Snowden was accused of having revealed the identities of CIA personnel on active duty to the possible detriment of their safety – a form of treason (should it be proved) that was a deeply sensitive matter within CIA headquarters.

Nonetheless, the standing of the agency’s Kremlinologists received a boost under Obama – and have again under Biden. Meanwhile the “distractions” of recent decades such as the debate over torture are receding. We still get periodic reminders of CIA ruthlessness, such as the recent assassination without trial of al-Qaeda’s al-Zawahri.

A History of the CIA” (Oxford), by Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, a professor emeritus of history at the University of Edinburgh, offers the insights of a more distant observer. He can be astute about how “false memories” of the O.S.S.’s accomplishments have led the C.I.A. astray. Part of his argument is that the agency has acted as if its influence depended on its standing with whoever is in the White House, thus motivating it to offer Presidents quick fixes that fix nothing. The net effect is to reduce its standing, and that of the U.S., with the public at home and abroad.

During the Vietnam War, the C.I.A. had discouraging intelligence to offer, and, when successive Administrations didn’t want to hear it, focussed on being helpful by providing those supposedly quick fixes. That meant abetting a coup in 1963, spying on antiwar protesters, and launching the Phoenix Program, an anti-Vietcong campaign marked by torture and by arbitrary executions; in total, more than twenty thousand people were killed under Phoenix’s auspices.

The C.I.A. had more success with back-to-back operations in Iran and Guatemala, where covert action was able to deftly oust leaders considered undesirable.” It’s odd to describe these coups as deft. One of Zegart’s handy lists is of the “unintended consequences” in Iran: “religious extremism, a revolutionary overthrow, the American hostage crisis, severed ties, regional instability, and today’s rising nuclear dangers.” Guatemala is still dealing with the violent legacy of the coup that the C.I.A. visited upon it. Then there’s the question of the intended consequences, which were, respectively, to elevate a shah and a military regime. Secret wars tend not to be so secret in the country where they take place.

The aura of secrecy, by contrast, probably does distort the judgment of its chroniclers. And the scope of the agency’s work is a challenge: it’s hard to write expertly on places as far-ranging as the Democratic Republic of Congo (where the agency initially planned to poison President Patrice Lumumba’s toothpaste, and instead ended up handing a quarter of a million dollars to Joseph Mobutu, the country’s future dictator, who facilitated the assassination) and Afghanistan (where the C.I.A. has had forty years of illusory gains and worse losses). But the biggest problem may be the agency’s own pattern of self-deception. Holt, for example, sometimes seems to go wrong when, rummaging through the archives, she gives too much credit to contemporaneous internal assessments of an agent’s or an operation’s worth.

In truth, the C.I.A. has had a “defining failure” for every decade of its existence—sometimes more than one. For Moynihan, in the nineteen-nineties, it was the lack of foresight about the Soviet Union; in the two-thousands, it was the phantom weapons of mass destruction, followed by torture and, in still evolving ways, by the drone-based program of targeted killings, with its high toll of civilian deaths. Barack Obama’s rapport with John Brennan, the C.I.A.’s director from 2013 to 2017, seems to have brought him to accept the view that the killing of American citizens abroad was acceptable, if managed prudently. The overuse of the agency on the battlefield is due not to a military-manpower shortage but to wishful thinking about the benefits of secrecy and of a lack of accountability. The Conversation

Some conspiratorial situations that do need to be taken seriously. The Kennedy Assassination in 1963 is particularly troubling. Australia’s Dismissal of 1975 also deserves further probing.

The Kennedy assassination #

Kennedy accrued many enemies for being a transformative and reformative leader. His brother, Bobby was threatening the power of the mob, the Teamster Union and the head of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover. Kennedy had succeeded in negotiating respectfully and peacefully, a nuclear arms containment, with Nikita Khrushchev that irritated the military industrial complex and most of all Kennedy sending Robert McNamara to Vietnam to gather intelligence recommending a withdrawal from the Vietnamese War which also alarmed the CIA. Plans for de-escalation were well in place by November 22, but on Saturday, November 23, 1963, at 8:30 am, the limousine carrying CIA director John McCone pulled into the White House grounds to sign a National Security Memorandum (#278) reversing Kennedy’s decision to de-esculate the war in Vietnam and giving the CIA carte blanche to proceed with full scale war in the Far East. A clear sign that the assassination of Kennedy had been planned and executed by those to benefit the most; LBJ and the CIA.

Trust in officialdom began its slow decline. The three major events that undermined confidence were the Warren Commission’s implausible findings, the shambolic extension of the Vietnan quagmire, and the crimes of Watergate in the early 1970’s.

Government’s constantly lie to their citizens. In 1948, shortly after it was founded as a totally secret and unaccountability agency, the CIA came up with a major tenet - plausible deniability.

The Dismissal #

Jenny Hocking’s dogged research uncovered the long-hidden secrets of the 1975 Whitlam Dismissal and the cadre of conspirators protected by the letters’ continued concealment.

An elite boys’ club conspired unconstitutionally to sack an Australian prime minister in ways that secretly involved the Crown — and were it not for the tenacity of one woman decades later, the public would never learn the true story.

Is this what happened in 1975? Given the extraordinary steps taken to suppress letters between the governor-general and the then queen and future king, it’s difficult to draw other conclusions. These documents would come to be known as the Palace Letters, and the quest for their release has meant difficult and expensive work across many years by an Australian historian, Emeritus Professor Jenny Hocking. ESTHER ANATOLITIS* JAN 11, 2024

The ten top conspiracy theories: