CIA Dispatch #1035-960: The Origin of the Term “Conspiracy Theorist”

CIA: "We cheat, we lie, we steal!"

By ImpiousDigest - 02.October 2015

"Our ploy should point out, as applicable, that the critics are...

(I) wedded to theories adopted before the evidence was in 

(II) politically interested,

(III) financially interested,

(IV) hasty and inaccurate in their research, or

(V) infatuated with their own theories."

In this CIA dispatch to network news assets and the print media, the plan to discredit anyone looking for justice in JFK assassination is laid out. The dispatch describes their "ploy" to mislead Americans on the facts surrounding the Kennedy assassination.

 

CIA DOCUMENT #1035-960 RE: DOWNLOAD in pdf 

Countering Criticism of the Warren Report

"Moreover, there seems to be an increasing tendency to hint that President Johnson himself, as the one person who might be said to have benefited, was in some way responsible for the assassination."

CIA Memo to Media assets at CBS, ABC, NBC, New York Times, Item 2 CIA Document #1035-960 4 January 1967

Attachment 1 (below)

Attachment 2 (below)

Dispatch: Comments on RFK Assassination, Garrison Case; 19 July 1968

1. Our Concern. From the day of President Kennedy's assassination on, there has been speculation about the responsibility for his murder. Although this was stemmed for a time by the Warren Commission report, (which appeared at the end of September 1964), various writers have now had time to scan the Commission's published report and documents for new pretexts for questioning, and there has been a new wave of books and articles criticizing the Commission's findings. In most cases the critics have speculated as to the existence of some kind of conspiracy, and often they have implied that the Commission itself was involved. Presumably as a result of the increasing challenge to the Warren Commission's report, a public opinion poll recently indicated that 46% of the American public did not think that Oswald acted alone, while more than half of those polled thought that the Commission had left some questions unresolved. Doubtless polls abroad would show similar, or possibly more adverse results.

CIA memo to press assets on how to undermine critics of the Warren Commission, attack Jim Garrison.

A Wink and a Smile Moments after Witnessing a Brutal Murder Have a good look at everyone in this picture, particularly those smiling. Contrast the glee on Ladybird Johnson's face with the shock and grief on Mrs. Kennedy's. Both she and Jackie witnessed the same brutal assassination, yet her amusement is quite ill-concealed.
A Wink and a Smile Moments after Witnessing a Brutal Murder

Have a good look at everyone in this picture, particularly those smiling. Contrast the glee on Ladybird Johnson's face with the shock and grief on Mrs. Kennedy's. Both she and Jackie witnessed the same brutal assassination.

outofshadows.org The Out Of The Shadows documentary lifts the mask on how the mainstream media & Hollywood manipulate & control the masses by spreading propaganda throughout their content. Our goal is to wake up the general public by shedding light on how we all have been lied to & brainwashed by a hidden enemy with a sinister agenda.


"Western European critics" see Kennedy's assassination as part of a subtle conspiracy attributable to "perhaps even (in rumors I have heard) Kennedy's successor [Johnson]." One Barbara Garson has made the same point in another way by her parody of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" entitled "MacBird," with what was obviously President Kennedy (Ken O Dune) in the role of Duncan, and President Johnson (MacBird) in the role of Macbeth.

2. This trend of opinion is a matter of concern to the U.S. government, including our organization. The members of the Warren Commission were naturally chosen for their integrity, experience and prominence. They represented both major parties, and they and their staff were deliberately drawn from all sections of the country. Just because of the standing of the Commissioners, efforts to impugn their rectitude and wisdom tend to cast doubt on the whole leader- ship of American society. Moreover, there seems to be an increasing tendency to hint that President Johnson himself, as the one person who might be said to have benefited, was in some way responsible for the assassination. Innuendo of such seriousness affects not only the individual concerned, but also the whole reputation of the American government. Our organization itself is directly involved: among other facts, we contributed information to the investigation. Conspiracy theories have frequently thrown suspicion on our organization, for example by falsely alleging that Lee Harvey Oswald worked for us. The aim of this dispatch is to provide material countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists, so as to inhibit the circulation of such claims in other countries. Background information is supplied in a classified section and in a number of unclassified attachments.

 

 

Comparing the 1967 CIA Disinformation Guideline to the Present ABC News Release

See for yourself how ABC News is simply using a page from a 1967 CIA disinformation guideline to counter critics of the Warren Commission. Compare the ABC News excerpt below and the CIA memo to media assets (NBC, CBS, ABC, etc) on how to handle "conspiracy theorists," a derogatory term most often applied to those who simply believe Johnson was ultimately responsible. (click image to enlarge).Nov. 20, 2003: Official ABC News-Time Warner (AOL news) assertion from "Beyond Conspiracy"..."Forty years later, there has not been a single piece of credible evidence to prove a conspiracy."

1967 CIA DISINFORMATION GUIDELINE DOCUMENT #1035-960 RE: Countering Criticism of the Warren Report...

"In private to media discussions not directed at any particular writer, or in attacking publications which may be yet forthcoming, the following arguments should be useful: a. No significant new evidence has emerged which the Commission did not consider..."

Still peddling the same bullshit they peddled since 1963, this is pretty glaring proof ABC News and Time-Warner/AOL have nothing but contempt for the American people. After all, since Johnson is dead, what's the worst that can happen? the chance that a slain war hero and president might find a justice which most of us take for granted? or is the possible exposure of senators, judges, legislators still in office as a result of Nov. 22, 1963 still too unsettling to the status quo?

3. Action. We do not recommend that discussion of the assassination question be initiated where it is not already taking place. Where discussion is active [business] addresses are requested:

a. To discuss the publicity problem with [?] and friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors), pointing out that the Warren Commission made as thorough an investigation as humanly possible, that the charges of the critics are without serious foundation, and that further speculative discussion only plays into the hands of the opposition. Point out also that parts of the conspiracy talk appear to be deliberately generated by Communist propagandists. Urge them to use their influence to discourage unfounded and irresponsible speculation.

b. To employ propaganda assets to [negate] and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose. The unclassified attachments to this guidance should provide useful background material for passing to assets.

Our ploy should point out, as applicable, that the critics are

(I) wedded to theories adopted before the evidence was in,

(II) politically interested,

(III) financially interested,

(IV) hasty and inaccurate in their research, or

(V) infatuated with their own theories.

In the course of discussions of the whole phenomenon of criticism, a useful strategy may be to single out Epstein's theory for attack, using the attached Fletcher [?] article and Spectator piece for background. (Although Mark Lane's book is much less convincing that Epstein's and comes off badly where confronted by knowledgeable critics, it is also much more difficult to answer as a whole, as one becomes lost in a morass of unrelated details.

4. In private to media discussions not directed at any particular writer, or in attacking publications which may be yet forthcoming, the following arguments should be useful:

a. No significant new evidence has emerged which the Commission did not consider. The assassination is sometimes compared (e.g., by Joachim Joesten and Bertrand Russell) with the Dreyfus case; however, unlike that case, the attacks on the Warren Commission have produced no new evidence, no new culprits have been convincingly identified, and there is no agreement among the critics. (A better parallel, though an imperfect one, might be with the Reichstag fire of 1933, which some competent historians (Fritz Tobias, A.J.P. Taylor, D.C. Watt) now believe was set by Van der Lubbe on his own initiative, without acting for either Nazis or Communists; the Nazis tried to pin the blame on the Communists, but the latter have been more successful in convincing the world that the Nazis were to blame.)

b. Critics usually overvalue particular items and ignore others. They tend to place more emphasis on the recollections of individual witnesses (which are less reliable and more divergent Q and hence offer more hand-holds for criticism) and less on ballistics, autopsy, and photographic evidence. A close examination of the Commission's records will usually show that the conflicting eyewitness accounts are quoted out of context, or were discarded by the Commission for good and sufficient reason.

c. Conspiracy on the large scale often suggested would be impossible to conceal in the United States, esp. since informants could expect to receive large royalties, etc. Note that Robert Kennedy, Attorney General at the time and John F. Kennedy's brother, would be the last man to overlook or conceal any conspiracy. And as one reviewer pointed out, Congressman Gerald R. Ford would hardly have held his tongue for the sake of the Democratic administration, and Senator Russell would have had every political interest in exposing any misdeeds on the part of Chief Justice Warren. A conspirator moreover would hardly choose a location for a shooting where so much depended on conditions beyond his control: the route, the speed of the cars, the moving target, the risk that the assassin would be discovered. A group of wealthy conspirators could have arranged much more secure conditions.

d. Critics have often been enticed by a form of intellectual pride: they light on some theory and fall in love with it; they also scoff at the Commission because it did not always answer every question with a flat decision one way or the other. Actually, the make-up of the Commission and its staff was an excellent safeguard against over-commitment to any one theory, or against the illicit transformation of probabilities into certainties.

e. Oswald would not have been any sensible person's choice for a co-conspirator. He was a "loner," mixed up, of questionable reliability and an unknown quantity to any professional intelligence service.

f. As to charges that the Commission's report was a rush job, it emerged three months after the deadline originally set. But to the degree that the Commission tried to speed up its reporting, this was largely due to the pres- sure of irresponsible speculation already appearing, in some cases coming from the same critics who, refusing to admit their errors, are now putting out new criticism.

g. Such vague accusations as that "more than ten people have died mysteriously" can always be explained in some natural way e.g.: the individuals concerned have for the most part died of natural causes; the Commission staff questioned 418 witnesses (the FBI interviewed far more people, conduction 25,000 interviews and reinterviews), and in such a large group, a certain number of deaths are to be expected. (When Penn Jones, one of the originators of the "ten mysterious deaths" line, appeared on television, it emerged that two of the deaths on his list were from heart attacks, one from cancer, one was from a head- on collision on a bridge, and one occurred when a driver drifted into a bridge abutment.)

5. Where possible, counter speculation by encouraging reference to the Commission's Report itself. Open-minded foreign readers should still be impressed by the care, thoroughness, objectivity and speed with which the Commission worked. Reviewers of other books might be encouraged to add to their account the idea that, checking back with the report itself, they found it far superior to the work of its critics.

---

CIA Admits Using News to Manipulate Americans

Attachment 1

4 January 1967

Background Survey of Books Concerning the Assassination of President Kennedy

1. (Except where otherwise indicated, the factual data given in paragraphs 1-9 is unclassified.) Some of the authors of recent books on the assassination of President Kennedy (e.g., Joachim Joesten, Oswald: Assassin or Fall Guy; Mark Lane, Rush to Judgment [sic]; Leo Sauvage, The Oswald Affair: An Examination of the Contradictions and Omissions of the Warren Report) had publicly asserted that a conspiracy existed before the Warren Commission finished its investigation. Not surprisingly, they immediately bestirred themselves to show that they were right and that the Commission was wrong. Thanks to the mountain of material published by the Commission, some of it conflicting or misleading when read out of context, they have had little difficulty in uncovering items to substantiate their own theories. They have also in some cases obtained new and divergent testimony from witnesses. And they have usually failed to discuss the refutations of their early claims in the Commission's Report, Appendix XII ("Speculations and Rumors"). This Appendix is still a good place to look for material countering the theorists.

2. Some writers appear to have been predisposed to criticism by anti-American, far-left, or Communist sympathies. The British "Who Killed Kennedy Commit- tee" includes some of the most persistent and vocal English critics of the United States, e.g., Michael Foot, Kingsley Martin, Kenneth Tynan, and Bertrand Russell. Joachim Joesten has been publicly revealed as a onetime member of the German Communist Party (KDP); a Gestapo document of 8 November 1937 among the German Foreign Ministry files microfilmed in England and now returned to West German custody shows that his party book was numbered 532315 and dated 12 May 1932. (The originals of these files are now available at the West German Foreign Ministry in Bonn; the copy in the U.S. National Archives may be found under the reference T-120, Serial 4918, frames E256482- 4. The British Public Records Office should also have a copy.) Joesten's American publisher, Carl Marzani, was once sentence to jail by a federal jury for concealing his Communist Party (CPUSA) membership in order to hold a government job. Available information indicates that Mark Lane was elected Vice Chairman of the New York Council to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee on 28 May 1963; he also attended the 8th Congress of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (an international Communist front organization) in Budapest from 31 March to 5 April 1964, where he expounded his (pre-Report) views on the Kennedy assassination. In his acknowledgments in his book, Lane expresses special thanks to Ralph Schoenman of London "who participated in and supported the work"; Schoenman is of course the expatriate American who has been influencing the aged Bertrand Russell in recent years. (See also para. 10 below on Communist efforts to replay speculation on the assassination.)

3. Another factor has been the financial reward obtainable for sensational books. Mark Lane's Rush to Judgment, published on 13 August 1966, had sold 85,000 copies by early November and the publishers had printed 140,000 copies by that date, in anticipation of sales to come. The 1 January 1967 New York Times Book Review reported the book as at the top of the General category of the best seller list, having been in top position for seven weeks and on the list for 17 weeks. Lane has reportedly appeared on about 175 television and radio programs, and has also given numerous public lectures, all of which serves for advertisement. He has also put together a TV film, and is peddling it to European telecasters; the BBC has purchased rights for a record $45,000. While neither Abraham Zapruder nor William Manchester should be classed with the critics of the Commission we are discussing here, sums paid for the Zapruder film of the assassination ($25,000) and for magazine rights to Manchester's Death of a President ($665,000) indicate the money available for material related to the assassination. Some newspapermen (e.g., Sylvan Fox, The Unanswered Questions About President Kennedy's Assassination; Leo Sauvage, The Oswald Affair) have published accounts cashing in on their journalistic expertise.

4. Aside from political and financial motives, some people have apparently published accounts simply because they were burning to give the world their theory, e.g., Harold Weisberg, in his Whitewash II, Penn Jones, Jr., in Forgive My Grief, and George C. Thomson in The Quest for Truth. Weisberg's book was first published privately, though it is now finally attaining the dignity of commercial publication. Jones' volume was published by the small-town Texas newspaper of which he is the editor, and Thomson's booklet by his own engineering firm. The impact of these books will probably be relatively slight, since their writers will appear to readers to be hysterical or paranoid.

5. A common technique among many of the writers is to raise as many questions as possible, while not bothering to work out all the consequences. Herbert Mitgang has written a parody of this approach (his questions actually refer to Lincoln's assassination) in "A New Inquiry is Needed," New York Times Magazine, 25 December 1966. Mark Lane in particular (who represents himself as Oswald's lawyer) adopts the classic defense attorney's approach of throwing in unrelated details so as to create in the jury's mind a sum of "reasonable doubt." His tendency to wander off into minor details led one observer to comment that whereas a good trial lawyer should have a sure instinct for the jugular vein, Lane's instinct was for the capillaries. His tactics and also his nerve were typified on the occasion when, after getting the Commission to pay his travel expenses back from England, he recounted to that body a sensational (and incredible) story of a Ruby plot, while refusing to name his source. Chief Justice Warren told Lane, "We have every reason to doubt the truthfulness of what you have heretofore told us" Q by the standards of legal etiquette, a very stiff rebuke for an attorney.

6. It should be recognized, however, that another kind of criticism has recently emerged, represented by Edward Jay Epstein's Inquest. Epstein adopts a scholarly tone, and to the casual reader, he presents what appears to be a more coherent, reasoned case than the writers described above. Epstein has caused people like Richard Rovere and Lord Devlin, previously backers of the Commission's Report, to change their minds. The New York Times' daily book reviewer has said that Epstein's work is a "watershed book" which has made it respectable to doubt the Commission's findings. This respectability effect has been enhanced by Life magazine's 25 November 1966 issue, which contains an assertion that there is a "reasonable doubt," as well as a republication of frames from the Zapruder film (owned by Life), and an interview with Governor Connally, who repeats his belief that he was not struck by the same bullet that struck President Kennedy. (Connally does not, however, agree that there should be another investigation.) Epstein himself has published a new article in the December 1966 issue of Esquire, in which he explains away objections to his book. A copy of an early critique of Epstein's views by Fletcher Knebel, published in Look, 12 July 1966, and an unclassified, unofficial analysis (by "Spectator") are attached to this dispatch, dealing with specific questions raised by Epstein.

7. Here it should be pointed out that Epstein's competence in research has been greatly exaggerated. Some illustrations are given in the Fletcher Knebel article. As a further specimen, Epstein's book refers (pp. 93-5) to a cropped-down picture of a heavy-set man taken in Mexico City, saying that the Central Intelligence Agency gave it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on 18 November 1963, and that the Bureau in turn forwarded it to its Dallas office. Actually, affidavits in the published Warren material (vol. XI, pp. 468-70) show that CIA turned the picture over to the FBI on 22 November 1963. (As a matter of interest, Mark Lane's Rush to Judgment claims that the photo was furnished by CIA on the morning of 22 November; the fact is that the FBI flew the photo directly from Mexico City to Dallas immediately after Oswald's arrest, before Oswald's picture had been published, on the chance it might be Oswald. The reason the photo was cropped was that the background revealed the place where it was taken.) Another example: where Epstein reports (p. 41) that a Secret Service interview report was even withheld from the National Archives, this is untrue: an Archives staff member told one of our officers that Epstein came there and asked for the memorandum. He was told that it was there, but was classified. Indeed, the Archives then notified the Secret Service that there had been a request for the document, and the Secret Service declassified it. But by that time, Epstein (whose preface gives the impression of prolonged archival research) had chosen to finish his searches in the Archives, which had only lasted two days, and had left town. Yet Epstein charges that the Commission was over-hasty in its work.

cnn-psyops

The New York Times' daily book reviewer has said that Epstein's work is a "watershed book" which has made it respectable to doubt the Commission's findings. This respectability effect has been enhanced by Life magazine's 25 November 1966 issue, which contains an assertion that there is a "reasonable doubt," as well as a republication of frames from the Zapruder film (owned by Life), and an interview with Governor Connally, who repeats his belief that he was not struck by the same bullet that struck President Kennedy.

8. Aside from such failures in research, Epstein and other intellectual critics show symptoms of some of the love of theorizing and lack of common sense and experience displayed by Richard H. Popkin, the author of The Second Oswald. Because Oswald was reported to have been seen in different places at the same time, a phenomenon not surprising in a sensational case where thousands of real or alleged witnesses were interviewed, Popkin, a professor of philosophy, theorizes that there actually were two Oswalds. At this point, theorizing becomes sort of logico-mathematical game; an exercise in permutations and combinations; as Commission attorney Arlen Specter remarked, "Why not make it three Oswalds? Why stop at two?" Nevertheless, aside from his book, Popkin has been able to publish a summary of his views in The New York Review of Books, and there has been replay in the French Nouvel Observateur, in Moscow's New Times, and in Baku's Vyshka. Popkin makes a sensational accusation indirectly, saying that "Western European critics" see Kennedy's assassination as part of a subtle conspiracy attributable to "perhaps even (in rumors I have heard) Kennedy's successor." One Barbara Garson has made the same point in another way by her parody of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" entitled "MacBird," with what was obviously President Kennedy (Ken O Dune) in the role of Duncan, and President Johnson (MacBird) in the role of Macbeth. Miss Garson makes no effort to prove her point; she merely insinuates it. Probably the indirect form of accusation is due to fear of a libel suit.

CNN-Psyops119. Other books are yet to appear. William Manchester's not-yet-published The Death of a President is at this writing being purged of material personally objectionable to Mrs. Kennedy. There are hopeful signs: Jacob Cohen is writing a book which will appear in 1967 under the title Honest Verdict, defending the Commission report, and one of the Commission attorneys, Wesley J. Liebeler, is also reportedly writing a book, setting forth both sides. But further criticism will no doubt appear; as the Washington Post has pointed out editorially, the recent death of Jack Ruby will probably lead to speculation that he was "silenced" by a conspiracy.

10. The likelihood of further criticism is enhanced by the circumstance that Communist propagandists seem recently to have stepped up their own campaign to discredit the Warren Commission. As already noted, Moscow's New Times reprinted parts of an article by Richard Popkin (21 and 28 September 1966 issues), and it also gave the Swiss edition of Joesten's latest work an extended, laudatory review in its number for 26 October. Izvestiya has also publicized Joesten's book in articles of 18 and 21 October. (In view of this publicity and the Communist background of Joesten and his American publisher, together with Joesten's insistence on pinning the blame on such favorite Communist targets as H.L. Hunt, the FBI and CIA, there seems reason to suspect that Joesten's book and its exploitation are part of a planned Soviet propaganda operation.) Tass, reporting on 5 November on the deposit of autopsy photographs in the National Archives, said that the refusal to give wide public access to them, the disappearance of a number of documents, and the mysterious death of more than 10 people, all make many Americans believe Kennedy was killed as the result of a conspiracy. The radio transmitters of Prague and Warsaw used the anniversary of the assassination to attack the Warren report. The Bulgarian press conducted a campaign on the subject in the second half of October; a Greek Communist newspaper, Avgi, placed the blame on CIA on 20 November. Significantly, the start of this stepped-up campaign coincided with a Soviet demand that the U.S. Embassy in Moscow stop distributing the Russian-language edition of the Warren report; Newsweek commented (12 September) that the Soviets apparently "did not want mere facts to get in their way."

Attachment 2

The Theories of Mr. Epstein by Spectator

A recent critic of the Warren Commission Report, Edward Jay Epstein, has attracted widespread attention by contesting the Report's conclusion that, "although it is not necessary to any essential findings of the Commission," President Kennedy and Governor Connally were probably hit successively by the same bullet, the second of three shots fired. In his book, Inquest, Epstein maintains (1) that if the two men were not hit by the same bullet, there must have been two assassins, and (2) that there is evidence which strongly suggests that the two men were not hit by the same bullet. He suggests that the Commission's conclusions must be viewed as "expressions of political truth," implying that they are not in fact true, but are only a sort of Pablum for the public, Epstein's argument that the two men must either have been shot by one bullet or by two assassins rests on a comparison of the minimum time required to operate the bolt on Lee Harvey Oswald's rifle Q 2.3 seconds Q with the timing of the shots as deduced from a movie of the shooting taken by an amateur photographer, Abraham Zapruder. The frames of the movie serve to time the events in the shooting. The film (along with a slow-motion re-enactment of the shooting made on 24 May 1964 on the basis of the film and other pictures and evidence) tends to show that the President was probably not shot before frame 207, when he came out from beneath the cover of an oak tree, and that the Governor was hit not later than frame 240. If this is correct, then the two men would not have been hit longer than 1.8 seconds apart, since Zapruder's film was taken at a speed of 18.3 frames per second. Since Oswald's rifle could not have fired a second shot within 1.8 seconds, Epstein concludes that the victims must have been shot by separate weapons Q and hence presumably by separate assassins Q unless they were hit by the same bullet.

Epstein then argues that there is evidence which contradicts the possibility of a shooting by a single bullet. In his book he refers to Federal Bureau of Investigation reports stemming from FBI men present at the Bethesda autopsy on President Kennedy, according to which there was a wound in the back with no point of exit; this means that the bullet which entered Kennedy's back could not later have hit Connally. This information, Epstein notes, flatly contradicts the official autopsy report accepted by the Commission, according to which the bullet presumably entered Kennedy's body just below the neck and exited through the throat. Epstein also publishes photographs of the backs of Kennedy's shirt and coat, showing bullet holes about six inches below the top of the collar, as well as a rough sketch made at the time of the autopsy; these pictures suggest that the entrance wound in the back was too low to be linked to an exit wound in the throat. In his book, Epstein says that if the FBI statements are correct Q and he indicates his belief that they are Q then the "autopsy findings must have been changed after January 13 [January 13, 1964: the date of the last FBI report stating that the bullet penetrated Kennedy's back for less than a finger-length .] ." In short, he implies that the Commission warped and even forged evidence so as to conceal the fact of a conspiracy. Following the appearance of Epstein's Inquest, it was pointed out that on the morning (November 23rd) after the Bethesda autopsy attended by FBI and Secret Service men, the autopsy doctors learned that a neck wound, obliterated by an emergency tracheostomy performed in Dallas, had been seen by the Dallas doctors. (The tracheostomy had been part of the effort to save Kennedy's life.) The FBI men who had only attended the autopsy on the evening of November 22 naturally did not know about this information from Dallas, which led the autopsy doctors to change their conclusions, finally signed by them on November 24. Also, the Treasury Department (which runs the Secret Service) reported that the autopsy report was only forwarded by the Secret Service to the FBI on December 23, 1963. But in a recent article in Esquire, Epstein notes that the final FBI report was still issued after the Secret Service had sent the FBI the official autopsy, and he claims that the explanation that the FBI was uninformed "begs the question of how a wound below the shoulder became a wound in the back of the neck." He presses for making the autopsy pictures available, a step which the late President's brother has so far steadfastly resisted on the grounds of taste, though they have been made available to qualified official investigators. Let us consider Epstein's arguments in the light of information now available:

1. Epstein's thesis that if the President and the Governor were not hit by the same bullet, there must have been two assassins:

a. Feeling in the Commission was that the two men were probably hit by the same bullet; however, some members evidently felt that the evidence was not conclusive enough to exclude completely the Governor's belief that he and the President were hit separately. After all, Connally was one of the most important living witnesses. While not likely, it was possible that President Kennedy could have been hit more than 2.3 seconds before Connally. As Arlen Specter, a Commission attorney and a principal adherent of the "one-bullet theory," says, the Zapruder film is two-dimensional and one cannot say exactly when Connally, let alone the President, was hit. The film does not show the President during a crucial period (from about frames 204 to 225) when a sign blocked the view from Zapruder's camera, and before that the figures are distant and rather indistinct. (When Life magazine first published frames from the Zapruder film in its special 1963 Assassination Issue, it believed that the pictures showed Kennedy first hit 74 frames before Governor Connally was struck.) The "earliest possible time" used by Epstein is based on the belief that, for an interval before that time, the view of the car from the Book Depository window was probably blocked by the foliage of an oak tree (from frame 166 to frame 207, with a brief glimpse through the leaves at frame 186). In the words of the Commission's Report, "it is unlikely that the assassin would deliberately have shot [at President Kennedy] with a view obstructed by the oak tree when he was about to have a clear opportunity"; unlikely, but not impossible. Since Epstein is fond of logical terminology, it might be pointed out that he made an illicit transition from probability to certainty in at least one of his premises.

b. Although Governor Connally believed that he and the President were hit separately, he did not testify that he saw the President hit before he was hit himself; he testified that he heard a first shot and started to turn to see what had happened. His testimony (as the Commission's report says) can therefore be reconciled with the supposition that the first shot missed and the second shot hit both men. However, the Commission did not pretend that the two men could not possibly have been hit separately.

c. The Commission also concluded that all the shots were fired from the sixth floor window of the Depository. The location of the wounds is one major basis for this conclusion. In the room behind the Depository window, Oswald's rifle and three cartridge cases were found, and all of the cartridge cases were identified by experts as having been fired by that rifle; no other weapon or cartridge cases were found, and the consensus of the witnesses from the plaza was that there were three shots. If there were other assassins, what happened to their weapons and cartridge cases? How did they escape? Epstein points out that one woman, a Mrs. Walther, not an expert on weapons, thought she saw two men, one with a machine gun, in the window, and that one other witness thought he saw someone else on the sixth floor; this does not sound very convincing, especially when compared with photographs and other witnesses who saw nothing of the kind.

d. The very fact that the Commission did not absolutely rule out the possibility that the victims were shot separately shows that its conclusions were not deter- mined by a preconceived theory. Now, Epstein's thesis is not just his own discovery; he relates that one of the Commission lawyers volunteered to him: "To say that they were hit by separate bullets is synonymous with saying that there were two assassins." This thesis was evidently considered by the Commission. If the thesis were completely valid, and if the Commissioners Q as Epstein charges Q had only been interested in finding "political truth," then the Commission should have flatly adopted the "one-bullet theory," completely rejecting any possibility that the men were hit separately. But while Epstein and the others have a weakness for theorizing, the seven experienced lawyers on the Commission were not committed beforehand to finding either a conspiracy or the absence of one, and they wisely refused to erect a whole logical structure on the slender foundation of a few debatable pieces of evidence.

2. Epstein's thesis that either the FBI's reports (that the bullet entering the President's back did not exit) were wrong, or the official autopsy report was falsified. a. Epstein prefers to believe that the FBI reports are accurate (otherwise, he says, "doubt is cast on the accuracy of the FBI's entire investigation") and that the official autopsy report was falsified. Now, as noted above, it has emerged since Inquest was written that the FBI witnesses to the autopsy did not know about the information of a throat wound, obtained from Dallas, and that the doctors' autopsy report was not forwarded to the FBI until December 23, 1963. True, this date preceded the date of the FBI's Supplemental Report, January 13, 1964, and that Supplemental Report did not refer to the doctors' report, following instead the version of the earlier FBI reports. But on November 25, 1966, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover explained that when the FBI submitted its January 13 report, it knew that the Commission would weigh its evidence together with that of other agencies, and it was not incumbent on the FBI to argue the merits of its own version as opposed to that of the doctors. When writing reports for outside use, experienced officials are always cautious about criticizing or even discussing the products of other agencies. (If one is skeptical about this explanation, it would still be much easier to believe that the author(s) of the Supplemental Report had somehow overlooked or not received the autopsy report than to suppose that that report was falsified months after the event. Epstein thinks the Commission staff overlooked Mrs. Walther's report mentioned above, yet he does not consider the possibility that the doctors' autopsy report did not actually reach the desk of the individuals who prepared the Supplemental Report until after they had written Q perhaps well before January 13 Q the draft of page 2 of that report. Such an occurrence would by no means justify a general distrust of the FBI's "entire investigation.") b. With regard to the holes in the shirt and coat, their location can be readily explained by supposing that the President was waving to the crowd, an act which would automatically raise the back of his clothing. And in fact, photographs show the President was waving just before he was shot. c. As to the location of the hole in the President's back or shoulder, the autopsy films have recently been placed in the National Archives, and were viewed in November 1966 by two of the autopsy directors, who... [The last page released ends here.]

Dispatch To: Chiefs, Certain Stations and Bases From: Chief, Subject:

Warren Commission Report: Article on the Investigation Conducted by District Attorney Garrison

Date: 19 July 1968

1. We are forwarding herewith a reprint of the article "A Reporter At Large: Garrison", published in THE NEW YORKER, 13 July, 1968. It was written by Edward Jay Epstein, himself author of a book ("Inquest"), critical of the Warren Commission Report.

2. The wide-spread campaign of adverse criticism of the U.S., most recently again provoked by the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy, appears to have revived foreign interest in the assassination of his brother, the late President Kennedy, too. The forthcoming trial of Sirhan, accused of the murder of Senator Kennedy, can be expected to cause a new wave of criticism and suspicion against the United States, claiming once more the existence of a sinister "political murder conspiracy". We are sending you the attached article Q based either on first-hand observation by the author or on other, identified sources Q since it deals with the continuing investigation, conducted by District Attorney Garrison of New Orleans, La. That investigation tends to keep alive speculations about the death of President Kennedy, an alleged "conspiracy", and about the possible involvement of Federal agencies, notably the FBI and CIA.

3. The article is not meant for reprinting in any media. It is forwarded primarily for your information and for the information of all Station personnel concerned. If the Garrison investigation should be cited in your area in the context of renewed anti-U.S. attacks, you may use the article to brief interested contacts, especially government and other political leaders, and to demonstrate to assets (which you may assign to counter such attacks) that there is no hard evidence of any such conspiracy. In this context, assets may have to explain to their audiences certain basic facts about the U.S. judicial system, its separation of state and federal courts and the fact that judges and district attorneys in the states are usually elected, not appointed: consequently, D.A. Garrison can continue in office as long as his constituents re-elect him. Even if your assets have to discuss this in order to refute Q or at least weaken Q anti-U.S. propaganda of sufficiently serious impact, any personal attacks upon Garrison (or any other public personality in the U.S.) must be strictly avoided.

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BITCHUTE BACKUP

CIA and Critics of the Warren Report The CIA's Attitude to Critics. The CIA did not approve of those who questioned the official verdict on President Kennedy's assassination.The publication of the first wave of critical books, such as Sylvia Meagher's Accessories After the Fact and Harold Weisberg's Whitewash, led the CIA in 1967 to produce an internal document which stated its 
CIA Document 1035-960: Foundation of a Weaponized Term (CIA promotion of the phrase "Conspiracy Theory" considered "One of the Most Successful Propaganda Initiatives of All Time")
CIA's Document 1035-960 is where they come up with the idea of "conspiracy" theory to counter the truth, as a way of addressing their polling that half of America didn't believe the Warren Commission's report on the assassination of JFK.The point of this internal memo was to explain how to use "
The term "Conspiracy Theory" from CIA Document 1035-960 was created to undermine and ridicule critical thinkers. Conspiracy Theory(ist) was a term brought mainstream by the CIA to discredit/ridicule/undermine critical thinkers. The CIA issued document 1035-960 to Operation Mockingbird controlled journalists as instructions for how to handle 
CIA-Dispatch 1035-960 (CIA, 1967) was a psychological operations program with the clear intent of discrediting those questioning the Warren Commission's (1964) findings about the JFK assassination.
CIA Document 1035-960: Foundation of a Weaponized Term "CIA Document 1035-960 was released in response to a 1976 FOIA request by the New York Times. delineates specific techniques for countering "conspiratorial" arguments centering on the Warren Commission's findings"
CIA Document #1035-960: Using politicians and the media to counter criticism of the Warren Report This document, dated Jan. 4, 1967, and marked PSYCH for Psychological Warfare, directs agents of 
A clear explanation of how the phrase "conspiracy theory" its modern meanings, when used by commercially-controlled media - instructions on undercutting criticism of the JFK assassination official narrative by smearing anyone who suggests that Oswald may not have been a "lone nut" as the report claimed. memo by CIA dated 19 July 1968
Every document and resource page of this website is open to everyone, but your membership confers added benefits: Supporting Member ($34.95/yr) Unlimited searches. Pro Member ($79.95/yr) Unlimited searches and unlimited free PDF downloads. See our Membership page for full details »
The pejorative dimensions of the term "conspiracy theory" were introduced into the Western lexicon by CIA "media assets," as evidenced in the design laid out by Document 1035-960 Concerning Criticism of the Warren Report, an Agency communique issued in early 1967 to Agency bureaus throughout the world at a time when attorney Mark Lane CIA Document 1035-960: Foundation of a Weaponized Term . A very interesting blog post. It explains why the CIA came up with the term 'conspiracy theory' and how the words are used as a weapon against the critical thinkers in America.
"CIA Document 1035-960" was released in response to a 1976 FOIA request by the New York Times.The directive is especially significant because it outlines the CIA's concern regarding "the whole reputation of the American government" vis-a-vis the Warren Commission Report.
"CIA Document 1035-960" was released in response to a 1976 FOIA request by the New York Times.The directive is especially significant because it outlines the CIA's concern regarding "the whole reputation of the American government" vis-a-vis the Warren Commission Report.
CIA Document #1035-960, marked "PSYCH" for presumably Psychological Warfare Operations, in the division "CS", the Clandestine Services, sometimes known as the "dirty tricks" department. RE: Concerning Criticism of the Warren Report 1.Our Concern. From the day of President Kennedy's assassination on, there has been
A General Description of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Selected Documents, 1941-1948 (Entry ZZ-20) This artificial series of "withdrawn-withdrawn" material was created by the CIA in partial response to the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act.
 

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The Term “Conspiracy Theory” — an Invention of the CIA

from the Rev. Douglas Wilson, member of the Core Group of Project Unspeakable

Having read JFK and the Unspeakable several years ago, I’ve been thinking about assassinations for quite a while and I’ve seen how “conspiracy theory” is used to shut off debate, to signal that we’re entering “the unspeakable” zone. So I began to wonder if the use of the term Conspiracy Theory might be a conspiracy itself.

So I went exploring, and surprise surprise, there is a 1967 CIA memo that puts forward a great many of the commonly heard rebuttals to the Warren Commission Report. The CIA owned over 250 media outlets in the 1960s, spent close to a billion dollars (in today’s dollars) spreading information, and had people doing its bidding in every major city in the world, so it is not surprising that they were able to disseminate this idea.

And the issue is contemporary, too, not just historical. Cass Sunstein is a powerful Obama Administration insider whose new book, Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas, is a sophisticated apology for the established order.

The last of this series of articles is the CIA 1967 memo itself.

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CIA Document 1035-960: Foundation of a Weaponized Term

By James F. Tracy - 20. January 2013

“Conspiracy theory” is a term that at once strikes fear and anxiety in the hearts of most every public figure, particularly journalists and academics. Since the 1960s the label has become a disciplinary device that has been overwhelmingly effective in defining certain events off limits to inquiry or debate. Especially in the United States raising legitimate questions about dubious official narratives destined to inform public opinion (and thereby public policy) is a major thought crime that must be cauterized from the public psyche at all costs.

CIAConspiracy theory’s acutely negative connotations may be traced to liberal historian Richard Hofstadter’s well-known fusillades against the “New Right.” Yet it was the Central Intelligence Agency that likely played the greatest role in effectively “weaponizing” the term. In the groundswell of public skepticism toward the Warren Commission’s findings on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the CIA sent a detailed directive to all of its bureaus. Titled “Countering Criticism of the Warren Commission Report,” the dispatch played a definitive role in making the “conspiracy theory” term a weapon to be wielded against almost any individual or group calling the government’s increasingly clandestine programs and activities into question.

This important memorandum and its broad implications for American politics and public discourse are detailed in a book by Florida State University political scientist Lance deHaven-Smith, Conspiracy Theory in America. Dr. deHaven-Smith devised the state crimes against democracy concept to interpret and explain potential government complicity in events such as the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the major political assassinations of the 1960s, and 9/11.

CIA Document 1035-960 was released in response to a 1976 FOIA request by the New York Times. The directive is especially significant because it outlines the CIA’s concern regarding “the whole reputation of the American government” vis-à-vis the Warren Commission Report. The agency was especially interested in maintaining its own image and role as it “contributed information to the [Warren] investigation.”

The memorandum lays out a detailed series of actions and techniques for “countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists, so as to inhibit the circulation of such claims in other countries.” For example, approaching “friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors)” to remind them of the Warren Commission’s integrity and soundness should be prioritized. “[T]he charges of the critics are without serious foundation,” the document reads, and “further speculative discussion only plays in to the hands of the [Communist] opposition.”

The agency also directed its members “[t]o employ propaganda assets to [negate] and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose.”

1035-960 further delineates specific techniques for countering “conspiratorial” arguments centering on the Warren Commission’s findings. Such responses and their coupling with the pejorative label have been routinely wheeled out in various guises by corporate media outlets, commentators and political leaders to this day against those demanding truth and accountability about momentous public events.

  • No significant new evidence has emerged which the [Warren] Commission did not consider.
  • Critics usually overvalue particular items and ignore others.
  • Conspiracy on the large scale often suggested would be impossible to conceal in the United States.
  • Critics have often been enticed by a form of intellectual pride: they light on some theory and fall in love with it.
  • Oswald would not have been any sensible person’s choice for a co-conspirator.
  • Such vague accusations as that “more than ten people have died mysteriously” [during the Warren Commission’s inquiry] can always be explained in some natural way e.g.: the individuals concerned have for the most part died of natural causes.

Today more so than ever news media personalities and commentators occupy powerful positions for initiating propaganda activities closely resembling those set out in 1035-960 against anyone who might question state-sanctioned narratives of controversial and poorly understood occurrences. Indeed, as the motives and methods encompassed in the document have become fully internalized by intellectual workers and operationalized through such media, the almost uniform public acceptance of official accounts concerning unresolved events such as the Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building bombing, 9/11, and most recently the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, is largely guaranteed.

The effect on academic and journalistic inquiry into ambiguous and unexplained events that may in turn mobilize public inquiry, debate and action has been dramatic and far-reaching. One need only look to the rising police state and evisceration of civil liberties and constitutional protections as evidence of how this set of subtle and deceptive intimidation tactics has profoundly encumbered the potential for future independent self-determination and civic empowerment.

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Don’t Be Fooled By ‘Conspiracy Theory’ Smears

from Washington's Blog

By Andrew Kreig - 28. May 2020

CNN and Newsweek recently launched dubious tirades against what they called “conspiracy theories.”

Dag Hammarskjöld

Dag Hammarskjöld

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal published U.N. Considers Reopening Probe into 1961 Crash that Killed Dag Hammarskjöld, a report that broached the possibility that the United States may have been involved in the death of the secretary-general, who is shown in a file photo.

As a way to understand such varied messages, I urge readers to evaluate evidence with an open mind — and regard with special suspicion those commentators who slant their coverage with the loaded smear words “conspiracy theory” without citing specific evidence.

No one has time to investigate everything without preconceptions. For efficiency, we rely in part on slanted commentary by our favorite sources. But if the stakes are high and we want to be honest we should admit (at least to ourselves) that our preliminary conclusions should be subject to change based on new data.

My suggestions follow the spirit of the Justice Integrity Project’s JFK Assassination “Readers Guide” last fall. That 11-part series began with a catalog of books, archives, reports and videos. Then it proceeded to assess various theories of President Kennedy’s 1963 murder.

By now, we know from declassified documents that the CIA undertook a massive secret campaign to smear critics of the Warren Commission with the label “conspiracy theorist.”

The campaign used members of mainstream media friendly to the CIA, for example, to discredit New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, shown below. Garrison was prosecuting New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw in what Garrison alleged was a conspiracy to murder Kennedy. Shaw, an OSS liaison to high-ranking British officials during World War II, founded a major regional trade mart in New Orleans shortly after the war. Garrison alleged that Shaw met with rightist opponents of JFK to plan the death.

Jim Garrison

Jim Garrison

A 50-page CIA memo, known as “CIA Dispatch 1035-960,” instructed agents to contact their media contacts and disparage those, like Garrison, criticizing the Warren Commission findings that Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK and acted alone. The 1967 document is here in the original, and here in reformatted text of its summary.

Minutes of CIA meeting that same year indicated fear that Garrison would win a conviction.

But a jury promptly acquitted Shaw following more than a dozen deaths (including suicide) of potential witnesses and an intense smear campaign against Garrison by the national media. NBC News hired former high-ranking Justice Department official Walter Sheridan, who had been an early recruit to the super-secret NSA in the 1950s. Publicly an investigative reporter, Sheridan was involved also in operational efforts to undermine Garrison.

More generally, Operation Mockingbird was the CIA’s secret program to plant stories in the nation’s most prestigious news outlets.

“With this [CIA] memo and the CIA’s influence in the media,” author Peter Janney wrote in a guest column on our site last fall, “the concept of ‘conspiracy theorist’ was engendered and infused into our political lexicon and became what it is today: a term to smear, denounce, ridicule, and defame anyone who dares to speak about any crime committed by the state, military or intelligence services.”

Janney, whose late father Wistar Janney had been a high-ranking CIA executive, continued: “People who want to pretend that conspiracies don’t exist — when in fact they are among the most common modus operandi of significant historical change throughout the world and in our country — become furious when their naive illusion is challenged.”

After that background, let’s look at more recent uses of the term by the mainstream media to discredit those who suggest government complicity in notorious events.

CNN, Newsweek Lash Out Against Government Critics

Last week, CNN’s Jake Tapper engaged in little more than name-calling in his segment ‘Truthers’ to protest 9/11 Museum. Tapper brought in a like-minded guest, Salon columnist Emily Bazelon, who relied on the same kind of seat-of-the-pants speculation to denounce protesters.

Another example of selective analysis was a Newsweek cover story May 15, The Plots to Destroy America, written by Kurt Eichenwald. Oddly, Newsweek’s sensationalistic title itself implied a conspiracy — that the diverse government critics on the right and left whom the magazine attacked intended to “destroy” the nation with their “plots.”

I recognized the pattern. Three years ago, I hosted author Jonathan Kay on my weekly public affair radio show, Washington Update. Kay, a Canadian newspaper editor and law school graduate, had authored Among the Truthers, a 340-page book. Upon reading it, however, I saw that it raised alarm and mocked critics of 9/11 official accounts but did not analyze their arguments.

Similarly, Eichenwald cited as authority a handful of establishment “experts” who mocked those who criticize government or other establishment institutions.

Among the experts the Newsweek author repeatedly quoted was Cass Sunstein, a Harvard Law professor, author of the recent book Conspiracy Theories, and a former high-ranking Obama administration official. During the Obama first term, Sunstein in effect oversaw all federal regulation at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.

Biden, Sunstein and Power

Samantha Power being sworn in by Joe Biden, with Cass Sunstein (center)

A White House photo shows Sunstein with his wife, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, when Vice President Joe Biden swore her into office last summer. Her appointment followed her high-level work in national security at the White House and State Department during Obama’s first term. As noted in my book, Presidential Puppetry, she is a leading proponent for regime change and military intervention globally on the grounds of humanitarian principles.

Also last summer, Obama appointed Sunstein along with four others to the president’s review commission for a response to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations of massive illegal spying on the American public.

Eichenwald glosses over this heavy national security background and the rhetoric needed to foster public support for global interventions.

Even more relevant is that Eichenwald failed to note that Sunstein co-authored in 2008 what has become a notorious paper advocating propaganda techniques.

In the paper “Conspiracy Theories,” Sunstein advocated that the government secretly hire academics and journalists to thwart the dissemination of what federal authorities might regard as dangerous beliefs held by millions of voters, such as suggestion that officials were complicit in 9/11 or a cover-up.

Sunstein’s own proposal sounds, in other words, like the kind of plot government critics most fear as a violation of constitutional rights by an Orwellian, Big Brother state.

Yet Eichenwald argued that “not a scintilla of evidence” exists for the theories he disparaged. He called them “unsubstantiated nonsense.” But he failed, like most with his mind-set, to refute the best arguments of his targets.

Instead, he repeatedly cited well-credential experts, who applauded government officials for the most part and trivialized the concerns of complainers.

Such elitist, slanted reporting by Newsweek and CNN suggests why their audiences are plunging and the outlets find themselves focused on half-truths important to someone, but not audiences. The Internet provides alternative news sources.

In 2010, the Washington Post sold Newsweek for just $1 and assumption of debts. The Post announced that it wanted to place the publication into the hands of a like-minded publisher. This was Sidney Harman, the husband of Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA), a Harvard Law grad and prominent advocate of the intelligence-military complex. Newsweek, much like CNN, retains only a shell of its former clout and has twice been sold since Sidney Harman died.

That said, most of us still rely heavily on the mainstream media to complement our information from other sources.

A striking example last week was a bold, exclusive report by Joe Lauria, the Wall Street Journal’s United Nations correspondent.

Lauria drew on his years on the beat to report for the Journal that the United Nations may reactivate on the basis of new evidence its dormant inquiry on whether its late leader, Hammarskjöld, was intentionally killed during his 1961 peace-keeping mission.

As a former stringer for the Journal for two years earlier in my career, I can imagine how much research the reporter must have produced before such a story would make it into print. His achievement is especially striking at a Murdoch-owned paper, whose owner is better known for benefiting from high-level intrigues than exposing them.

And what if the United Nations proceeds — and finds that the secretary-general died from foul play?

For one thing, that would not be good news for those who deny conspiracies. But they would surely find a way to avoid in-depth reporting.

Cross-posted with additional reference materials at Justice Integrity Project (www.justice-integrity.org)

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Cracking The “Conspiracy Theories’” Psycholinguistic Code: The Witch Hunt against Independent Research and Analysis

By Prof. James F. Tracy - 21. May 2014

A new crusade appears to be underway to target independent research and analysis available via alternative news media. This March saw the release of “cognitive infiltration” advocate Cass Sunstein’s new book, Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas. In April, the confirmed federal intelligence-gathering arm, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), released a new report, “Agenda 21: The UN, Sustainability, and Right Wing Conspiracy Theory.” Most recently, Newsweek magazine carried a cover story, titled, “The Plots to Destroy America: Conspiracy Theories Are a Clear and Present Danger.”

As its discourse suggests, this propaganda campaign is using the now familiar “conspiracy theory” label, as outlined in Central Intelligence Agency Document 1035-960, the 1967 memo laying out a strategy for CIA “media assets” to counter criticism of the Warren Commission and attack independent investigators of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. At that time the targets included attorney Mark Lane and New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, who were routinely defamed and lampooned in major US news outlets.

Declassified government documents have proven Lane and Garrison’s allegations of CIA-involvement in the assassination largely accurate. Nevertheless, the prospect of being subject to the conspiracy theorist smear remains a potent weapon for intimidating authors, journalists, and scholars from interrogating complex events, policies, and other potentially controversial subject matter.

As the title of Newsweek’s feature story indicates, a primary element of contemporary propaganda campaigns using the conspiracy theory/ist label is to suggest that citizens’ distrust of government imperatives and activities tends toward violent action. The “conspiracy theorist” term is intentionally conflated with “conspiracist,” thus linking the two in the mass mind. Images of Lee Harvey Oswald, Timothy McVeigh, and Osama bin Laden are subtly invoked when the magic terms are referenced. In reality, it is typically Western governments using their police or military who prove the foremost purveyors of violence and the threat of violence—both domestically and abroad.

In his Newsweek article, author and journalist Kurt Eichenwald selectively employs the assertions of the SPLC, Sunstein, and a handful of social scientists to postulate in Orwellian fashion that independent research and analysis of the United Nations’ Agenda 21, the anti-educational thrust of “Common Core,” the dangers of vaccine injury and water fluoridation, and September 11—all important policies and issues worthy of serious study and concern—are a “contagion” to the body politic.

In a functioning public, honest academics and journalists would uninhibitedly delve into these and similar problems–GMOs, state-sponsored terrorism, the dangers of non-ionizing radiation– particularly since such phenomena pose grave threats to both popular sovereignty and self determination. Such intellectuals would then provide important findings to foster vigorous public debate.

Absent this, segments of the populace still capable of critical thought are inclined to access and probe information that leads them to question bureaucratic edicts and, in some cases, suggest a potentially broader political agenda. In today’s world, however, such research projects carried out by the hoi polloi that are expressly reserved for government or foundation-funded technocrats “’distort the debate that is crucial to democracy,’” says Dartmouth political scientist Brendan Nyhan.

With the above in mind, a simple yet instructive exercise in illustrating the psycholinguistic feature of the conspiracy theory propaganda technique is to replace “conspiracy theories/ists” with the phrase, “independent research and analysis,” or “independent researchers.” Let us apply this to some passages from Eichenwald’s recent Newsweek piece.

For example, “Psychological research has shown that the only trait that consistently indicates the probability someone will believe in conspiracy theories independent research and analysis is if that person believes in other conspiracy theories independent research and analysis,” Eichenwald sagely concludes.

“One of the most common ways of introducing conspiracy theories independent research and analysis is to ‘just ask questions’ about an official account,’’’ says Karen Douglas, co-editor of the British Journal of Social Psychology and a senior academic … at Britain’s University of Kent.”

In fact, substituting the phrases accordingly throughout the article significantly neutralizes its overall propagandistic effect.

Researchers agree; independent research and analysis are espoused by people at every level of society seeking ways of calming the chaos of life, sometimes by simply reinforcing convictions.

9/11 conspiracy theorists independent researchers protest outside the World Trade Center in 2011

9/11 conspiracy theorists independent researchers protest outside the World Trade Center in 2011

While the growth in the number of news outlets has helped spread independent research and analysis, it doesn’t compare to the impact of social media and the Internet, experts say.

“If you have social networks of people who are talking with one another, you can have independent research and analysis spread in a hurry,’’ says Cass Sunstein, a professor at Harvard Law School … “It literally is as if it was contagious.”

While some may dismiss independent researchers as ignorant or unstable, research has shown that to be false. “The idea that only dumb people believe this stuff is wrong,’’ says Dartmouth’s Nyhan.

People who more strongly believed in independent research and analysis were significantly less likely to use sunscreen or have an annual medical checkup.

According to a just-released report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the independent research and analysis flowed in April at a hearing before Alabama’s Senate Education Committee about legislation to allow school districts to reject Common Core.

It’s true. Since September 11, 2001 the internet has increasingly allowed for everyday people to retrieve, study, and share information on important events and phenomena as never before. And as a recent study published in the prominent journal Frontiers of Psychology suggests, tendering “alternative conspiracy theories” to the government-endorsed explanations of September 11, 2001 is a sign of “individuation,” or psychological well being and contentment.

Such a condition is a clear danger to those who wish to wield uncontested political authority. Indeed, the capacity to freely disseminate and discuss knowledge of government malfeasance is the foremost counterbalance to tyranny. Since this ability cannot be readily confiscated or suppressed, it must be ridiculed, marginalized, even diagnosed as a psychiatric condition.

The recent abandonment of network neutrality may eventually further subdue the nuisance of independent research, thought, and analysis. Until then, the corporate media’s attempts to bamboozle and terrify the American public with the well-worn conspiracy theory meme will be a prevalent feature of what passes for news and commentary today.

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CIA DOCUMENT 1035-960

 

200px-CIA.svg

1967

CIA Document 1035-960

Concerning Criticism of the Warren Report

1. Our Concern. From the day of President Kennedy's assassination on, there has been speculation about the responsibility for his murder. Although this was stemmed for a time by the Warren Commission report, (which appeared at the end of September 1964), various writers have now had time to scan the Commission's published report and documents for new pretexts for questioning, and there has been a new wave of books and articles criticizing the Commission's findings. In most cases the critics have speculated as to the existence of some kind of conspiracy, and often they have implied that the Commission itself was involved. Presumably as a result of the increasing challenge to the Warren Commission's report, a public opinion poll recently indicated that 46% of the American public did not think that Oswald acted alone, while more than half of those polled thought that the Commission had left some questions unresolved. Doubtless polls abroad would show similar, or possibly more adverse results.

2. This trend of opinion is a matter of concern to the U.S. government, including our organization. The members of the Warren Commission were naturally chosen for their integrity, experience and prominence. They represented both major parties, and they and their staff were deliberately drawn from all sections of the country. Just because of the standing of the Commissioners, efforts to impugn their rectitude and wisdom tend to cast doubt on the whole leadership of American society. Moreover, there seems to be an increasing tendency to hint that President Johnson himself, as the one person who might be said to have benefited, was in some way responsible for the assassination.

Innuendo of such seriousness affects not only the individual concerned, but also the whole reputation of the American government. Our organization itself is directly involved: among other facts, we contributed information to the investigation. Conspiracy theories have frequently thrown suspicion on our organization, for example by falsely alleging that Lee Harvey Oswald worked for us. The aim of this dispatch is to provide material countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists, so as to inhibit the circulation of such claims in other countries. Background information is supplied in a classified section and in a number of unclassified attachments.

3. Action. We do not recommend that discussion of the assassination question be initiated where it is not already taking place. Where discussion is active [business] addresses are requested:

a. To discuss the publicity problem with [?] and friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors), pointing out that the Warren Commission made as thorough an investigation as humanly possible, that the charges of the critics are without serious foundation, and that further speculative discussion only plays into the hands of the opposition. Point out also that parts of the conspiracy talk appear to be deliberately generated by Communist propagandists. Urge them to use their influence to discourage unfounded and irresponsible speculation.

b. To employ propaganda assets to [negate] and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose. The unclassified attachments to this guidance should provide useful background material for passing to assets. Our ploy should point out, as applicable, that the critics are (I) wedded to theories adopted before the evidence was in, (I) politically interested, (III) financially interested, (IV) hasty and inaccurate in their research, or (V) infatuated with their own theories. In the course of discussions of the whole phenomenon of criticism, a useful strategy may be to single out Epstein's theory for attack, using the attached Fletcher [?] article and Spectator piece for background. (Although Mark Lane's book is much less convincing that Epstein's and comes off badly where confronted by knowledgeable critics, it is also much more difficult to answer as a whole, as one becomes lost in a morass of unrelated details.)

4. In private to media discussions not directed at any particular writer, or in attacking publications which may be yet forthcoming, the following arguments should be useful:

a. No significant new evidence has emerged which the Commission did not consider. The assassination is sometimes compared (e.g., by Joachim Joesten and Bertrand Russell) with the Dreyfus case; however, unlike that case, the attack on the Warren Commission have produced no new evidence, no new culprits have been convincingly identified, and there is no agreement among the critics. (A better parallel, though an imperfect one, might be with the Reichstag fire of 1933, which some competent historians (Fritz Tobias, AJ.P. Taylor, D.C. Watt) now believe was set by Vander Lubbe on his own initiative, without acting for either Nazis or Communists; the Nazis tried to pin the blame on the Communists, but the latter have been more successful in convincing the world that the Nazis were to blame.)

b. Critics usually overvalue particular items and ignore others. They tend to place more emphasis on the recollections of individual witnesses (which are less reliable and more divergent--and hence offer more hand-holds for criticism) and less on ballistics, autopsy, and photographic evidence. A close examination of the Commission's records will usually show that the conflicting eyewitness accounts are quoted out of context, or were discarded by the Commission for good and sufficient reason.

c. Conspiracy on the large scale often suggested would be impossible to conceal in the United States, esp. since informants could expect to receive large royalties, etc. Note that Robert Kennedy, Attorney General at the time and John F. Kennedy's brother, would be the last man to overlook or conceal any conspiracy. And as one reviewer pointed out, Congressman Gerald R. Ford would hardly have held his tongue for the sake of the Democratic administration, and Senator Russell would have had every political interest in exposing any misdeeds on the part of Chief Justice Warren. A conspirator moreover would hardly choose a location for a shooting where so much depended on conditions beyond his control: the route, the speed of the cars, the moving target, the risk that the assassin would be discovered. A group of wealthy conspirators could have arranged much more secure conditions.

d. Critics have often been enticed by a form of intellectual pride: they light on some theory and fall in love with it; they also scoff at the Commission because it did not always answer every question with a flat decision one way or the other. Actually, the make-up of the Commission and its staff was an excellent safeguard against over-commitment to any one theory, or against the illicit transformation of probabilities into certainties.

e. Oswald would not have been any sensible person's choice for a co-conspirator. He was a "loner," mixed up, of questionable reliability and an unknown quantity to any professional intelligence service.

f. As to charges that the Commission's report was a rush job, it emerged three months after the deadline originally set. But to the degree that the Commission tried to speed up its reporting, this was largely due to the pressure of irresponsible speculation already appearing, in some cases coming from the same critics who, refusing to admit their errors, are now putting out new criticisms.

g. Such vague accusations as that "more than ten people have died mysteriously" can always be explained in some natural way e.g.: the individuals concerned have for the most part died of natural causes; the Commission staff questioned 418 witnesses (the FBI interviewed far more people, conduction 25,000 interviews and re interviews), and in such a large group, a certain number of deaths are to be expected. (When Penn Jones, one of the originators of the "ten mysterious deaths" line, appeared on television, it emerged that two of the deaths on his list were from heart attacks, one from cancer, one was from a head-on collision on a bridge, and one occurred when a driver drifted into a bridge abutment.)

5. Where possible, counter speculation by encouraging reference to the Commission's Report itself. Open-minded foreign readers should still be impressed by the care, thoroughness, objectivity and speed with which the Commission worked. Reviewers of other books might be encouraged to add to their account the idea that, checking back with the report itself, they found it far superior to the work of its critics.

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CIA 1035-960: "Countering Criticism of the Warren Report"

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U.S. National Archives and Records Administration: CIA 1035-960 - "Countering Criticism of the Warren Report", NARA Record Number: 104-10404-10376

 

Although the use of the term "conspiracy theory" (in the pejorative sense) may be traced back to the US historian Richard Hofstadter (so suggests James F. Tracy*), its ubiquitous presence in the media and upon the lips of those who uncritically internalise its propaganda, may be credited to the CIA of the late 1960s. Concerned to quell the growing public (and international) scepticism towards the Warren Commission's findings on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the CIA issued a directive to its assets in the media entitled "Countering Criticism of the Warren Report", in which guidance was given on how best to discredit and undermine the arguments of "conspiracy theorists"  who presumed to question the findings. Ever since, the term has served as a psychological weapon to be wielded against anyone who suspects government of secret wrongdoing, and continues to function as a powerful thought-stopper in the collective consciousness an instance of Orwellian "crimestop".

Excerpt from interview with Barrie Zwicker

 

Released in response to a 1976 FOIA request by the New York Times, CIA Document 1035-960 offers advice to its assets in the media on “countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists", and suggests that they " employ propaganda assets to answer and refute the attacks of the critics [through b]ook reviews and feature articles...” The list of techniques suggested in the memorandum, which together provide a catalogue of fallacies for convenient use, includes:

a) To "point out, as applicable, that the critics are":

b) To argue that...

c) And advised...

 

info32Page 2 bears the famous number 1035-960.

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These digital images were made available by the Mary Ferrell Foundation (https://maryferrell.org) and are used here with kind permission.

* James F. Tracy, "CIA Document 1035-960: Foundation of a Weaponized Term", Memory Hole Blog (20 January 2013)

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How the “Conspiracy Theory” label was conceived to derail the Truth Movement

By State of the Nation - 10. May 2015

The C.I.A. created the ‘Conspiracy Theory’
meme to shut down the Truth Movement

 

KEY POINT: Many ‘Conspiracy Theorists’ are actually Conspiracy Realists.
The very best among them are deeply experienced Investigative Journalists
and highly skilled Professional Researchers.  Others are greatly respected
Historical Revisionists and University Professors.  Then there are those who
are lifelong Truth Seekers, Armchair Detectives and Citizen Reporters.  In
the aggregate they represent the Fifth Estate, many of whom contribute
prolifically to the Alt Media.  See: The Fifth Estate Casts Its Shadow Like a
Massive Mothership

SOTN Editor’s Note:
The following essay on the “Conspiracy Theory” is perhaps the best ever to appear on the Internet. It clearly delineates the many subtleties and nuances by which the label “Conspiracy Theory” has been used to shut down honest public debate. It also shows how critical thinking on the part of the individual has been discouraged and mocked.

https://stateofthenation2012.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/conspiracy-theory.jpg

The various entities which colluded to conceive the label — “Conspiracy Theorist” — knew exactly what they were doing alright. They have been successful in effectively terminating the traversing trajectories of truth-seekers everywhere … over many decades. However, every actual conspiracy designed to deprive the people of the truth is always exposed sooner or later. That time is now!

With the pervasiveness of the Internet throughout societies everywhere, the many once isolated ‘conspiracy theorists’ are now able to collaborate with others of like mind as conspiracy realists.  In this way they are able to share their theses and theories about everything.  Given this refreshing environment and new climate, the official 9/11 Commission Report has been proven to be a complete fabrication foisted by U.S. Federal Government on the American people.  So, too, has the JFK assassination been proven to be a classic CIA Execution Plan.

By inference, the research paper below lays bare a simple fact of life: that the Mainstream Media (MSM) is the single biggest disseminator of the many falsehoods regarding the “Conspiracy Theory” As a matter of historical fact, the MSM has published countless false conspiracy theories with the explicit purpose of misleading the American people.  The utterly ridiculous 9/11 narrative fabricated by the US government as well as the absurd official explanation of President Kennedy’s murder are only two of numerous deliberate deceits.  In the interest of protecting the system at all costs, anything that departs from the party line is now labeled a ‘conspiracy theory’ by the MSM.

At the end of the day, the MSM will be regarded as the most prolific purveyor of false conspiracy theories of all time (their utterly implausible 9/11 conspiracy theory really takes the cake).  Yes, that time is surely upon us as many signs and events point directly to a fast-approaching day of reckoning.

State of the Nation
May 15, 2015

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

conspiracytheorist-660x413

Conspiracy Theories: The Public Trust Skepticism Factor

By Katherine Smith, Ph.D.

“Conspiracy” is a real word for a real event that has existed in human societies in all cultures throughout human history. [Appendix A]

The assassination of the President of the United States on national television by a “lone” assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, who himself is assassinated the next day by another “lone” assassin—would cause even the most rational skeptic, or critical thinker, to question the institutional narrative of the events.[1]

In other words, the institutional narrative, or official explanation, of a lone assassin, who was in turn assassinated the very next day by another lone assassin, is as epistemically dubious, and as equally “silly and without merit,” as any of the conspiracy theories surrounding the JFK assassination.

The human species has evolved as pattern-seeking, cause-inferring animals. As such, our nature drives us to find meaningful relationships to understand the world. Conspiracy theories are offered as alternate explanation to an important social, political or economic event (henceforward, “The Event”) when the institutional narrative is confusing or unsatisfactory.  Conspiracy, originally a neutral term, has acquired a somewhat derogatory meaning since the mid sixties, for it implies a paranoid tendency to see the influence of some malign covert agency in certain events. Conspiracy theorizing has become commonplace in the mass media and emerged as a cultural phenomenon in the United States following the public assassination of JFK.

Noam Chomsky, linguist and scholar, contrasts conspiracy theory as, more or less, the opposite of institutional analysis. The latter focuses mostly on explanations based on the information found in official records of publicly known institutions, whereas the former offers explanations based on information derived from coalitions of individuals.

Most academics, or the rational community, find the conspiracy theories of popular culture to be silly and without merit, and automatically dismiss such alternative explanations as ridiculous, misconceived, unfounded, outlandish and the result of irrational thinking by paranoid schizophrenics. Some academics even contend that conspiracy theories “undermine human social and civic decency in society.”[2]

However, on closer examination, academics can see, and are forced to admit, that there is no systemic flaw to the concept of the conspiracy theory per se, because 1) there have been at least  33 Conspiracy Theories That Turned Out To Be True and 2) it is in the nature of many conspiracy theories that they cannot be falsified; that is, proven to be false.

In Of Conspiracy Theories, Brian Keeley acknowledges this important point but then argues that it’s not the theory that is the problem, but rather the theorist. The theorists, we are told, display a “particular absence or deformities of critical thinking skills when they refuse to accept the institutional explanation of The Event.” He further wonders whether the problem lies in our teaching methods.[3]

Keeley refers to the numerous historically verified conspiracy theories as Warranted Conspiracy Theories (WCTs), as opposed to theories that have not, or cannot, be verified and are thus, according to Keeley, Unwarranted Conspiracy Theories, (UCTs). When all the academic terminology, doublespeak and jargon are stripped away, a UCT is simply an alternative explanation of The Event that hasn’t been verified by independent sources.[4]

Keeley admits that he and the academic community have no justification to systematically and unilaterally dismiss conspiracy theories as silly and without merit when he writes:

“There is no criterion or set of criteria that provide a priori grounds for distinguishing WCTs from UCTs. One might perhaps like to insist here that UCTs ought to be false, and this is why we are not warranted in believing them, but it is in the nature of many conspiracy theories that they cannot be falsified. The best we may do is show why the warrant for believing them is so poor.”

And the best he can show as to “why the warrant for believing them is so poor” is public trust skepticism.

“It is this pervasive skepticism of people and public institutions entailed by some mature conspiracy theories which ultimately provides us with the grounds with which to identify them as unwarranted.

It is not their lack of falsifiability per se, but a belief in an increasingly massive conspiracy theory that undermines the grounds for believing in anything. Accepting the UCT explanation requires one to question too many of the various institutions that have been set up to generate reliable data and evidence in our world.”

At some point, according to Keeley, we shall be forced to recognize the unwarranted nature of the conspiracy if we are to be left with any warranted explanations and beliefs at all.

And finally, as the theory grows to include more and more people and institutions and yet remains unverified, the less plausible the conspiracy becomes; because, it stands to reason that, at some point, someone would have come forward with the missing and necessary data.

Notice the words, “we shall be forced to recognize;” rather than, “we have proof” that the theory is false. Keeley admits that academics are entitled to dismiss a conspiracy theory if a belief in that alternative explanation undermines the grounds for believing in anything. Furthermore, we are entitled to dismiss a mature conspiracy if it involves too many people. Keeley’s take on the JFK assassination mature conspiracy might read as follows:

Even if the CIA, FBI, Secret Service, Police Departments and Coroners offices in two cities, were part of a large conspiracy to cover up their incompetence in the public assassination of JFK, “it is impossible to believe that not a single member of the any of the agencies involved would be moved by guilt, self-interest, or some other motivation to reveal the agency’s role in the tragedy, if not to the press, then to a lover or family member. Governmental agencies, even those as regulated and controlled as the military and intelligence agencies, are plagued with leaks and rumors. To propose that an explosive secret could be closeted for any length of time simply reveals a lack of understanding of the nature of modern bureaucracies. Like the world itself, they are made up of too many people with too many different agendas to be easily controlled.”

Keeley asserts that, “we do live in an open world, but only because to think otherwise would lead to disastrous skepticism.” For Keeley, the theorists lack critical thinking skills because they don’t recognize that a belief in a UCT invalidates every other social belief they need to function in society.

In his attempt to prove the theorists are guilty of too much skepticism, Keeley overlooks the implications of the nature, logistics and institutional narrative of The Event. Everything that can be shown to be true about the mature conspiracy theory—unfalsiabiality, skepticism, epistemically dubious—applies to the narrative of The Event.

A close look at the JFK assassination mature conspiracy will illustrate my point.

The JFK Assassination: A mature conspiracy theory case study

Is the institutional narrative of the Oswald lone assassin theory, any more epistemically dubious, or any less “silly and without merit,” as the JFK tin-foil hat conspiracies?

The CIA killed JFK; the Mob killed JFK; the CIA and the Mob working together killed JFK; last but not least, Fidel Castro contracted with the KGB to have JFK killed.

Neither the institutional nor the conspiratorial explanation of the event is a warranted belief and should be dismissed on epistemic grounds. That is, there is sufficient reason to believe that the institutional view, just like the conspiratorial view, of the JFK assassination is false, yet neither view can be falsified.

A conspiratorial explanation of the nature and logistics of The Event is really no more or less rational and logical as the institutional narrative. Thus, Keeley should have written:

“There is no criterion or set of criteria that provide a priori grounds for distinguishing warranted conspiracy theories (WCTs) from UCTs or the Institutional View.’ One might perhaps like to insist here that warranted conspiracy theories, UCTs and the Institutional View ought to be false, and this is why we are not warranted in believing in any of them, but it is in the nature of many historical events that they cannot be falsified. The best we may do is show why the warrant for believing in either the conspiracy or the institutional explanation is so poor.”

Errant Data and The Conspiracy Theory Paradox

No discussion of conspiracy theories would be complete without a discussion of errant data. Anomalies and discrepancies surface immediately upon the announcement of The Event and increase as the conspiracy matures. Errant data, or data that cannot be reconciled with the official explanation of the event, is the chief tool of the conspiracy theorist.

Again, the JFK Assassination illustrates my point. The rational community ignores the details of the rifle, the bullet and the witnesses who heard other shots from other directions (errant data) on the grounds that there is no reliable way to gather social data, as opposed to scientific, data about the human world.[5]

Furthermore, when pressed, people will be ready to admit that the anomalies and inconsistencies (errant data) in the institutional view could never be chance occurrences. They escape the obvious improbability question by correctly pointing out that the errant data, even if true, does not constitute proof of anything, especially that the event was a conspiracy.

Related to errant data is what we shall refer to as the Conspiracy Theory Paradox.

Why would the conspirators, with the ability to plan and manage a conspiracy involving the CIA, FBI, Secret Service, Police Departments and Coroners offices in two cities (e.g., the JFK assassination), come up with such a convoluted senseless plan riddled with so many mistakes, anomalies and discrepancies (errant data)?  And then, inexplicably, that same errant data is ubiquitously exposed in the media for everyone to question.[6]

  • Neither the rational nor the conspiracy community have an explanation for why the conspirators would come up with such a convoluted senseless plan when a much simpler plan would accomplish the same goal. Why not have a rogue agent, in the CIA, FBI or Secret Service shoot the president in the middle of the night?
  • Neither the rational nor the conspiracy community have an explanation for why the conspirators would allow the mistakes, anomalies, discrepancies and the holes in the “official story” (errant data) to find it’s way into the official institutional record and then allow that same data to be aired on national television for all to question.[7]
  • Neither the rational nor the conspiracy community have an explanation for how trivial it would have been for the conspirators to change or falsify the alleged discrepancy or anomaly and avoid the stupid “mistakes.”  Consider how easy it would for the master criminals to just keep the Errant Data from being aired on national television compared to the magnitude of the criminal acts they are alleged to have committed.

Although the existence of a Paradox or Errant Data could never be offered as proof that the Event was a conspiracy, they are none the less consistent, though not proof, with a conspiracy to make you believe the event was a conspiracy.[8]

The Critical Thinking Trap

The Theorists, believing themselves to be truth seekers in assessing the nature, logistics and the institutional explanation of The Event classified as a UCT, are forced into a contradictory belief, or “critical thinking trap.”

Unwilling to abandon what they know to be the truth; that is, that the institutional view is false,[9] theorists are forced into a degenerative research program. A degenerative research program is one where the auxiliary hypotheses and initial conditions are continually modified in light of new evidence in order to protect the original theory from apparent disconfirmation.[10]

Why doesn’t everyone fall into the “critical thinking trap?”

The majority of people exposed to “The Event classified as a UCT,” are apathetic, indifferent and feel powerless because of a belief that the power elite control the world.[11]

The rational community, or anyone who is not a theorists or indifferent, consciously or unconsciously realizes the institutional view cannot be true; but at the same time, again consciously or unconsciously, realize that any alternate explanation or theory would require they question the very foundations of their beliefs about the society they live in.[12]

In “Of Conspiracy Theories” Keeley begins with the premise that the theorists are the problem but ends with the admission that until a third option is presented, the theorists are really only guilty of hyper-skepticism (inherent in supposing dissimulation on a truly massive scale) because the theorists are unable to see that distrusting the claims of our institutions leads to “the absurdism of an irrational and essentially meaningless world.”[13]

When the rational community resort to ad hominem attacks, i.e., conspiracy theories are “silly, without merit” or the result of irrational thinking by paranoid schizophrenics, they reveal how large a role trust—in both institutions and individuals, mechanisms and people —plays in their thinking and beliefs about UCTs.

What can we say about the institutional narrative, the Conspiracy Theory Paradox and the Errant Data? The Theorists are really only guilty of not recognizing the institutional narrative, the Conspiracy Theory Paradox and the Errant Data are consistent with, but not necessarily proof, of a Conspiracy to make you believe the event was a Conspiracy.[14]

Footnotes

[1] Is there any justification for a belief that the Warren Commission properly investigated the assassination of JFK when they concluded Oswald acted alone when he used a heavily oiled cheap rifle with a distorted sight, hidden in a paper sack later discovered on the sixth floor without a trace of oil, for his miraculous feat of marksmanship with extraordinary accuracy at a moving target in minimal time?

The Warren Commission when faced with the impossibility of the shooting came up with the single bullet theory:

The Warren Commission reported that a single bullet hit Kennedy in the back of the neck and exited from the throat just below the Adam’s apple, and that same bullet entered Gov John B. Connally’s back, exited from his chest, went completely through his right wrist, and lodged in his left thigh.

Or is there any justification for a belief the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) properly investigated the assassination of JFK when they concluded in 1978 that “the original FBI investigation and the Warren Commission Report to be seriously flawed and that there were at least four shots fired and only three of which could be linked to Oswald. The report concluded that the “CIA, the Soviet Union, organized crime, and several other groups were not involved,” but “they could not rule out the involvement of individual members of those groups.”

[2] Stephen Jay Gould, the Evolutionary Theorist at Harvard University considers conspiracy theorizing “garbage” and believes they must be “discredited [/debunked] in order for society to lead “a safe and sane life.” Gould believes we are vulnerable “thinking reeds,” as opposed to rational creatures, and that unless “we rigorously use human reason, we will lose out to frightening forces of irrationality, romanticism, uncompromising “true” belief which will result in the inevitability of mob action.

[3] An article, “Of Conspiracy Theories,” written by Brian Keeley and published in the Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 96, No. 3. (Mar., 1999) attempts to explain why so many people refuse to accept the institutional view he wonders if “our approach to teaching thinking/reason skills” is the problem that cause so many members of society (The Irrational Thinkers) to believe in them.”

Keeley writes:

“It is incumbent upon philosophers to provide analysis of the errors involved with common delusions, if that is indeed what they are. If a kind of academic snobbishness underlies our previous refusal to get involved here, there may be another reason. Conspiracy theorizing, in political philosophy at least, has been identified with irrationality of the worst sort—here the locus classicus may be some dismissive remarks made by Karl Popper in The Open Society and its Enemies (Popper 1996, Vol.2: 94-9). Pigden (1993) shows convincingly that Popper’s remarks cannot be taken to support a rational presumption against conspiracy theories in history and politics. (summary: Keeley rejects Popper, and this causes a change.)

[4] Unwarranted Conspiracy Theories  (UCTs) and Warranted Conspiracy Theories (WCTs)

Characteristics of Unwarranted Conspiracy Theories (UCTs)

  1. A UCT is an explanation that runs counter to some received, official, or “obvious” account’ (116-7). In many instances there exists the presence of a “cover story” that is perceived as the most damning piece of evidence for the given historical event under consideration.
  1. UCTs typically seek to tie together seemingly unrelated events and because Conspiracy Theorists rarely if ever have a coherent beginning-to-end narrative of what they think happened, many of their theories wind up laying the blame on some other force; e.g., the Illuminati.
  1. ‘The chief tool of the Conspiracy Theorist is errant data, or anomalies and discrepancies in information. Keeley defines errant data as data that cannot be reconciled with the official explanation of the event; or data, which true, would tend to contradict official explanations and support the cover story.

Characteristics of Unwarranted Conspiracy Theorists

  1. The Fundamental Attribution Error. Conspiracy Theorists have a tendency to focus on errant data and are prone to making what Keeley refers to as the  “fundamental attribution error.” The “fundamental attribution error” is the idea that all UCTs can be reduced to a supposed discrepancy or anomaly in one official record or another.
  1. The Degenerative Research Program. Conspiracy Theorists exhibit irrational behavior when their theories take on the appearance of forming the core of a degenerative research program.
  1. Dispositional versus Situational. Conspiracy Theorists severely overestimate the importance of dispositional factors while underestimating the importance of situational factors when attempting to explain the Conspiracy event.

[5] Errant Data, [anomalies and inconsistencies] which are unaccounted for by official [Institutional] explanations, which if true, would tend to contradict official explanations,  cannot be relied upon, because while it is appropriate to place great stress on explaining errant data in the natural sciences, it is inappropriate in the social sciences. [citation]

Errant data is only errant in relation to an accepted theory, and to discount errant data on grounds that apply to both errant and non-errant data would be to prejudice oneself in favor of data simply because it happens to be explained by the received theory.

[6] At bottom what we face here is what we might term Goodenough’s Paradox of Conspiracies: the larger or more powerful an alleged conspiracy, the less need they have for conspiring. A sufficiently large collection of members of the American political, intelligence and military establishment—the kind of conspiracy being alleged by Oliver Stone et al.—wouldn’t need to engage in such nefarious activity since they would have the kind of organisation, influence, access to information, etc. that could enable them to achieve their goal efficiently and legally.

Note the existence of the paradox while it favors the Rational community is not proof the institutional view is correct.  The fact that Theorists have no rational explanation of why the conspirators would make so many stupid mistakes reminds me of one of the central arguments of why nature does not imply design. Evolutionists dismiss the design (Intelligent Design) argument for nature because they question the design of the human eye.

[7] ‘The chief tool of the Conspiracy Theorist is errant data, or anomalies and discrepancies in information. Keeley defines errant data as data that cannot be reconciled with the official explanation of the event; or data, which true, would tend to contradict official explanations and support the cover story.

For example the JFK Assassination.

The rational community will knowingly ignore the details of the rifle, the bullet and the witnesses who heard other shots from other directions [errant data] and point out that while a Conspiracy Theory has epistemic value and does provide a unifying explanation of the event and the errant data, there is no reliable way to gather social data, as opposed to scientific, data about the human world.

  • Errant Data, [anomalies and inconsistencies] which are unaccounted for by official [Institutional] explanations, which if true, would tend to contradict official explanations,  cannot be relied upon, because while it is appropriate to place great stress on explaining errant data in the natural sciences, it is inappropriate in the social sciences. [citation]

Errant data is only errant in relation to an accepted theory, and to discount errant data on grounds that apply to both errant and non-errant data would be to prejudice oneself in favor of data simply because it happens to be explained by the received theory.

Furthermore, they will admit that the anomalies and inconsistencies [errant data] in the Institutional view could never be chance occurrences but at the same time they correctly point out the errant data does not constitute proof of anything, especially that the event was a conspiracy.

[8] Is there any doubt that “there is a conspiracy to make you believe in a conspiracy”?

The JFK Conspiracy Theory Paradox

[9] In 1978 the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in a preliminary report that Kennedy was “probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy” that may have involved multiple shooters and organized crime.

[10] A progressive research program is where “novel predictions and retrodictions are verified.

What I have demonstrated is that there is no justification for a belief in either the Institutional view or the Conspiratorial View of a UCT. Critical thinking skills on the part of the Theorists force them into a degenerative research program. Critical thinking skills on the part of the Rational Community are used to avoid a degenerative research program.

[11] Conspiracy and the Social Sciences

“There Are No Conspiracies” by G. William Domhoff in 2005 looks at Conspiracy Theories and the Power Elite from a social science perspective. [as opposed to the philosophical] G. William Domhoff, a Research Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz first coined the non-conspiracy acronym TPTB. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Miami and has been teaching at the University of California, Santa Cruz, since 1965. Four of his books are among the top 50 best sellers in sociology on the Power Elite Theory for the years 1950 to 1995: Who Rules America? (1967); The Higher Circles (1970); Who Rules America Now? (1983); and the non-“conspiracy” critique and theory of the U.S. power structure, The Powers That Be (TPTB) in 1979.

The Power Elite theory, despite a superficial resemblance to some right-wing conspiracy theories, has key differences from them. The latter take, as the primary motive force of history, that “America is ruled from behind the scenes by a select conspiratorial group with secret desires united around some esoteric or gratuitously evil ideology.

And while the concentration of political and economic power [in the control of small, interlocking elites], is indeed likely to result in sporadic conspiracies; such a conspiracy is not necessary to the working of the system–it 1) simply occurs as a secondary phenomenon, and 2) occasionally speeds up or intensifies processes that happen for the most part automatically.

[12] The confidence in authorities would be so eroded that they are no longer warranted in holding any beliefs that are socially produced and puts one in the position of no longer being able to trust any of the institutions that we rely on in to function in the world. (Keeley 1999, 121). Such epistemic endpoints appear to embody a degree of skepticism that is too high to be acceptable by anyone.” Brian Keeley

[13] The rejection of conspiracy thinking is not simply based on the belief that conspiracy theories are false as a matter of fact. The source of the problem goes much deeper. The world as we understand it today is made up of an extremely large number of interacting agents, each with it’s own imperfect view of the world and it’s own set of goals. Such a system cannot be controlled because there are simply too many agents to be handled by any small controlling group. There are too many independent degrees of freedom.  This is true of the economy, of the political electorate, and of the social, fact-gathering institutions upon which conspiracy theorists cast doubt.”

[14] The Transparent Conspiracy is a collection of essays by Michael Morrisey. Morrisey, who holds a Ph.D. in linguistics from Cornell University, expands on the idea that the leaders (conspirators) “failed on purpose” and coined the phrase the “Mass Psychology of Partial Disclosure.” Morrisey makes a compelling argument that there exists a conspiracy that involves the controlled media disclosing a limited amount of information concerning the government’s culpability in atrocities such as the JFK, MLK and RFK assassinations.  Morrisey believes a shadow government orchestrates a well-managed conspiracy/cover-up in order to intimidate, demoralize and alienate the tuned-in segment of the population that fully comprehends the corrupt nature of our government institutions.

The government’s purpose, according to Morrisey, is to keep the masses in a state of helplessness so they will be unable to upset the not-so-secret plans for what is referred to as for a New World Order. While his arguments are persuasive revisionist History contradicts any justification that the masses need to be kept in a state of helplessness. All of the Revolutions have shown to be the product of the elite and not the popular uprisings we were let to believe in our filtered history books.

Appendix A

A Short Course in “Conspiracy Science.”

“Conspiracy” is a REAL word for a REAL act that has existed in human societies in all cultures throughout human history. If conspiracies did not exist, we would not have a word for it. The problem that we face today is that the US Government has arrogated to itself a singular role as a political pontificate that believes that it and its agents in the Justice Department, alone, constitute the only “person” (corporate person) on this Earth who is allowed to use the word “conspiracy” as it employs the charge of “conspiracy” every week in trials to put both guilty and innocent people in jail while deriding and discrediting all others who employ the word as “conspiracy theorists.”

World-renowned author, investigator and philosopher, Paris Flammonde, has also completed a major work, “The Assassination of America,” a rebuttal to the lies and disinformation of the Warren Commission Report and the House Select Committee Investigation on Political Assassinations conducted during the Carter Administration.

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Newly released JFK documents raise questions about medical evidence

  By DEB RIECHMANN Associated Press Writer    WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest batch of John F. Kennedy assassination documents raises new questions about an examination of the president’s brain and lays out unresolved discrepancies in other medical evidence.  The more than 400,000 pages of records being made public at the National Archives today were … Continue reading →

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LBJ Reloaded

Every element of this game is based on actual events and political realities as they existed between 1963-1973. In painstaking detail, this game teaches players how Lyndon Baines Johnson assumed power by coup and in doing so, examines the national consequences of JFK’s assassination 40 plus years later. …Continue reading →

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President Kennedy Warns of “monolithic and ruthless conspiracy”, Cabal Press Infiltration

“The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to … Continue reading →

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NBC vs. America

The Garrison Rebuttal to NBC For those of you unfamiliar with the man, Jim Garrison was the only prosecutor to most successfully challenge the Warren Commission, and as facts suggest, he was responsible for Lyndon Johnson refusing to run again in 1968 after Garrison exposed a link between the CIA and the JFK assassination, before …Continue reading →

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CIA Memo to Press Assets

Excerpt: The Jim Garrison Files. To see Jim Garrison’s full rebuttal video and transcript, see NBC vs. America. “Our ploy should point out, as applicable, that the critics are…” In this CIA dispatch to network news assets and the print media, the plan to discredit anyone looking for justice in JFK assassination is laid out. … Continue reading →

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How the Washington Post Censors the News

“The Warren Commission inquiry into the Kennedy Assassination was for the most part conducted in secret. This fact is buried in the Post (*75). Nor do current readers of this newspaper find meaningful discussion of the Warren Commission’s secret doubts about both the FBI and the CIA (*76). “Or of a dispatch from CIA headquarters instructing co-conspirators at field … Continue reading →

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25 Media Disinformation Tactics

How creative editing made victims of police brutality look like aggressors. War Protest in Seattle After decades of waging a full scale war on your intelligence, fooling us into acting against our best interests, and piss yellow journalism is it any wonder why Americans hate the press? “Fuck the corporate media!”  Social Lepers in Denial …Continue reading →

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Players in the RFK Killing

The fatal shot was fired inches from Robert Kennedy’s right ear. Sirhan shot from the front, several feet away. Thane Eugene Caesar stood behind RFK, with the same model gun. Caesar was a staunch segregationist who was hired at the last minute to protect a man he hated, a Kennedy. (In 1968, presidential candidates had … Continue reading →

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William Pepper- An Act of State The Execution of MLK

Dr. William F. Pepper  details the actual events surrounding the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr.   Pepper practices international human rights law from London, convenes a seminar on international human rights at Oxford University, has represented governments and heads of state, and appeared as an expert on international law issues. 1-29-03   More… … Continue reading →

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RFK’s Statement on the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

by Robert F. Kennedy Indianapolis, Indiana April 4, 1968 “I have some very sad news for all of you, and I think… for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight. Martin Luther King dedicated his life … Continue reading →

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Jury Finds Conspiracy in MLK Assassination

James Earl Ray- Clinton’s Gitmo Detainee. Even though the slug that killed King was broken into three pieces, there were enough marks on it to allow a comparison, and that comparison showed the 12 of 18 bullets did not match. Even after a Tennessee jury found the King assassination was the result of a conspiracy … Continue reading →

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CIA-NAZIS: TERROR & MURDER INCORPORATED

 Throughout the 1930′s and early 1940s, Prescott Bush, the Harrimans, Rockefellers, and their associates, had been in business with Nazis and the terrorist brotherhood, the SS. With the assistance of the Dulles brothers, who were playing pivotal roles in and out of the White House, the Brotherhood of Death began expanding its cancerous tentacles into the heart of the United States government. With the help of friends in high places, including Dulles and hundreds of Nazis in the new CIA, Bush and friends were not only able to completely cover up their treacherous crimes, but would use the government of the United States as a tool for committing new ones. Continue reading →

Chairman Frank Church, D- Idaho., the Senate Intelligence Committee, holds up a poison daft gun as co-chairman John G. Tower, R-Texas looks at the weapon during a session the panel's probe of the Central Intelligence Agency Tuesday, Sept. 17, 1975 in Washington. (AP Photo/Henry Griffin)

THE TERRORIST ASSASSINS

“Carl Bernstein, writing in the October 1977 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, reported that more than 400 American journalists worked for the CIA, and that the New York Times was one of the CIA’s closest media collaborators. Yet other CIA assets included Philip Graham, publisher of the Washington Post, as well as Newsweek and Time magazine and CBS news. In December of 1977, the New York Times reported that “more than eight hundred news and public information organizations and individuals,” had been on the CIA’s payroll.” Continue reading →

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Why the Klan is Protected by Democrats and Republicans

“[Allen] Dulles was not acting out of kindness. He wanted to put these men to work as spies who would murder and kill in the name of the good ‘ol USA. Even before the war ended, Dulles had begun recruiting Gestapo agents, that is, members of the German Order of Skull and Bones, the Brotherhood of Death, into what would become the American version of the Gestapo, the CIA. As recently revealed by the CIA (5) and as documented by Christopher Simpson, in his extensively researched book, Blowback, “hundreds of convicted Nazi war criminals” were “smuggled out of Germany to avoid prosecution at the war crimes trials at Nuremberg.” They were “recruited by, and were put on the payroll of several U.S. government agencies, including the Army CIC, the OSS, and the Office of Policy Coordination within the State Department.” Continue reading →

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