Friday, August 01, 2008

Coincidence Theorists

I'm just after watching a program on TVOntario hosted by Steve Paikin, Conspiracy Anyone? Below is an e-mail message I just sent to TVO regarding this program and my opinions about how it handled its subject:

The premise of the TV show Conspiracy Anyone?, about conspiracy theories, was flawed at its base. The host operated from the idea that the official stories of great historical happenings, such as the JFK assassination and the 9/11 attacks, are true, and who are these nuts who believe otherwise.

Why did George W. Bush need 9/11? The U.S. public would never have supported an unprovoked war with Afghanistan. Nor would it have supported the war against Iraq -- and Iraq was absolutely tied to 9/11 by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and the rest of that corrupt bunch. Also, look at Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine. In moments of great trauma like 9/11, legislation like the PATRIOT Act are rammed through with no opposition. That never would have succeeded without 9/11. Nor would the Total Information Awareness network or George W. Bush's warrantless wiretapping of Americans. 9/11 occurred to give America a supposed enemy, it occurred so that constitutional rights could be suppressed, so that Guantanamo Bay could be turned into a concentration camp. 9/11 did just what the attack on Pearl Harbor did -- it brought America's focus to a fine point, a concentrated point of accepting war. If you look at who has benefited more from 9/11 -- George W. Bush or Osama bin Laden -- I think it's very safe to say that George W. Bush benefited greatly. Multimillionaire Osama is living in a cave somewhere. Also, the failing presidency of George W. Bush was buoyed immensely by 9/11. Look how the Republican Party moved the date of its 2004 national convention to very nearly September 11th. The Republican Party took on 9/11 like a celebration, wrapping themselves in the flag, drowning out dissent with the singing of patriotic songs.

There are more people questioning official stories these days because mass media rams these events down our throats. Also, there are people who have the time to ask the tough questions (bloggers and independent journalists, like Barry Zwicker -- regarding 9/11, for instance, why were some of the supposed hijackers said to have been aboard the planes that perpetrated the attacks found alive and well abroad, horrified that their names and pictures were on the FBI's widely disseminated picture line-up; the numerous people (firemen inside the buildings) the head custodian of the Twin Towers, heard bombs exploding in the building; the stand-down of the military; the insane coincidence of five sets of war games occurring on that day. Why aren't reporters asking these tough questions? Access. Look what happened to Helen Thomas in the White House press pool when she asked tough questions of George W. Bush. She was frozen out -- no longer seated up front and granted the first question any longer, but seated in the back and completely shunned. Thomas is a veritable institution in the media, so she could weather such retribution. A lesser known reporter would have probably just lost his job. When Peter Jennings died, it was reported that he was worth $51 million. I posit that Peter Jennings had 51 million reasons not to ask the tough questions. He was extraordinarily successful taking the soft, scripted route, working for the Disney Corporation.

The Internet film Zeitgeist appeals to people because we have come to learn our institutions aren't trustworthy. The host of Conspiracy Anyone? operates from the premise that our institutions are beyond reproach and who are these crazy, marginalized people who'd question the honesty of corporate executives, clergy and greatest of all, politicians. Each institution has been proven time and again not only to be corrupt and self-interested, but often more so than anyone would have guessed or feared: the Gulf of Tonkin fantasy, the pedophile priest scandal, Enron, Worldcom, Tyco, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Was cover-up and collusion involved in these cases? Yes. It's all proven, painfully proven in the public domain.

The mindset that I feel is much more worthy of examination is that of "coincidence theorists;" those people, like this show's host, who believe that anomalies that prickle the curiosity of onlookers are all just a series of coincidences. Certainly, coincidences occur, but the number of anomalies surrounding the JFK murder, for instance, cannot be credibly chalked-up to coincidence: the speed with which Lee Harvey Oswald was identified and captured, the vast suppression of witnesses, the staggering number of material witnesses who died unnatural deaths (murdered); the disappearance of evidence, i.e. President Kennedy's brain, for god's sake, from the national archives! To believe all of these circumstances are just coincidental is not a credible view of the event.

Yeah, I guess people who ask tough questions are scary to people like this show's host, who earns his living towing the line, maintaining the status quo. The evidence is there. Look at Jim Garrison's book On the Trail of Assassins. Look at the questions Mark Lane raises in Rush to Judgment. Listen to the testimony of first-hand witnesses. . . One of the guests on Conspiracy Anyone just mentioned that the Warren Commission Report on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy was the same size as the Encyclopedia Britannica. Do you know what prodded Jim Garrison to investigate the assassination? He read the Warren Commission Report. He found so many inconsistencies and contradictions and gaping holes in the evidence that he had to look into it. And the more he looked into the matter -- because Lee Harvey Oswald lived in New Orleans mere months before the assassination -- the more strange characters, like David Ferrie, Guy Bannister and Clay Shaw, Garrison uncovered. Most interesting of all was that the deeper Garrison looked into the JFK killing, he soon found himself "dancing with the Central Intelligence Agency" (to quote Garrison), which blocked his way at every turn. Those are not the imaginings of a madman. Those are the experiences of a conservative, rational, sober officer of the court. Garrison was a former FBI agent; hardly given to the ludicrous thinking he's been accused of.

Unfortunately, Conspiracy Anyone? was very superficial, operating from a faulty premise offered up as legitimate. People have every reason in the world to want to believe in their institutions, but have every reason in the world not to. Enron, Watergate, the pedophile priest scandals are just three touchstones that takes the pins out of each. To pretend that these were anomalies is to present oneself as utterly uninformed, utterly blinded by an agenda, or simply seeking to keep one's job, like the host of this program or like Peter Jennings.

Ask Halliburton, Kellogg, Brown & Root, Dow Chemical, McDonnell Douglass, Boeing, Blackwater and the Carlyle Group how much 9/11 and the Vietnam war has hurt or helped them. And who are the major investors in these companies?


Anonymous said...

To our treasonous leaders currently running our country, our families, and our faith into the ground:

Lantern Bearer said...

I find you post here quite pointed and succinct. I do find that your towing imagery of dragging the accretions of orthodoxy and compliance to popular talking points around is a bit mystifying. I am going to attribute it to an error of reach at this time.

Lantern Bearer said...

I seem to have had a reach problem myself.

Whetam Gnauckweirst said...

I live for feedback and commentary such as you provide, Lantern Bearer. Are you a literary agent by any chance?