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Reply with quote  #1 
Cracking conspiracy theory's psycho-linguistic code:
The witch hunt against independent research and analysis

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 Centre (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 CIA 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. [...]  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, [Obama Adminstration's] Cass Sunstein [husband of UN Ambassador Samantha Power], 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.” [1]

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.

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. [..]

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. [2]

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. [3]

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Added notes, referencing related articles:

[1] University of Kent debate:

[2] Recent study published in Frontiers of Psychology

The article's title "Thirty shades of truth: conspiracy theories as stories of individuation, not of pathological delusion" summarizes its key finding: People who doubt the mainstream media's version of 9/11 are not deluded. Quite the opposite: They are notable for "individuation," a term coined by Carl Jung which he defined as: "The better and more complete fulfillment of the collective qualities of the human being."

[3] Study tests "inoculations" for "conspiracy theories" and laments the failure to "eradicate" the truth movement."

Testing Inoculation and Metainoculation Strategies /
Journal - Human Communication Research. Volume 39, April 2013



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Reply with quote  #2 
"Plots to Destroy America" - Newsweek /
The article speaks to the anxiety of those who feel they're losing control of the message. Contrived strawman arguments include "Obama's a Muslim" and "George Bush did 911". The premise of the article seems to be that conspiracies don't exist. This is invalid. To take just one example, groups of people in the NSA quietly colluded/conspired to spy on millions of locals and foreigners for years. Now that Snowden has confimed this, that conspiracy is fact and not theory.

Lance deHaven Smith of Florida University recently published a book "Conspiracy Theory in America" (University of Texas Press 2013) which analyses official use of the 'conspiracy theory' debate-stopper.

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Another article which unpacks the Newsweek piece:

Don't Be Fooled by Conspiracy Smears" - Andrew Kreig at Washington's Blog

{extract} 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.

Samantha Power and Cass Sunstein White House Photo

US Ambassador to UN Samantha Power-Sunstein sworn in by Joe Biden
in company of her husband Cass Sunstein
, Obama's information chief

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.

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.

------ - - - -  - - -
"Critical Thinking on 'War of Terror' " - Prof Michael Keefer at University of Waterloo



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Reply with quote  #3 
Newly-published book:

The Case for a Domestic Conspiracy

Graeme MacQueen

ISBN: 978-0-9860731-2-0

This deeply troubling book should be read by all thinking Americans.”
                   Denis J. Halliday, UN Assistant Secretary-General 1994-98


"Professor MacQueen provides yet another piece of the puzzle connecting the
terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 to the immediately following anthrax
attacks of October 2001 that were indisputably conducted by agents of the
United States government."

Francis A. Boyle, author of the U.S.domestic implementing legislation for the
1972 Biological Weapons Convention.

"... bites through the “conspiracy theory" taboo to demonstrate in fine detail the
key administration and media accusations following one propaganda scenario
after another to deceive the public into panic and war fever to frame al-Qaeda ...

John McMurtry, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and University Professor (Emeritus)
The Cancer Stage of Capitalism / from Crisis to Cure (2013).

"MacQueen's book is a combination of hard reporting and exploring implications
of the reporting.  It is not a theory.  It advances our factual knowledge.  It provides
more erosion of the official story."
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, Former Asst. Sect, US Treasury

Interesting read:  "Anthrax, Cipro and other anomalies"


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Reply with quote  #4 
"Terror and the Patriot Act of 2001 implemented in the immediate wake of 911" - G. MacQueen

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Reply with quote  #5 
"Re-Thinking Conspiracy" - S. Hamilton

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Reply with quote  #6 
"The 2001 Anthrax Deception: the case for domestic conspiracy"

Q & A interview with author Graeme MacQueen / Global Research

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Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #7 
War-Lies for Chumps: Like starting a camp fire; once burning, fact you cheated and used accelerant is IRRELEVANT because:

a) it's old hat: all focus is now on good scout Jonny frying sausages sizzling in the pan ('our heroes' fighting uber-evil 'bad guys' amid aerial shots and generals on 'War Now' show).

b) it's deemed 100% ungrateful and unfairly critical of Jonny cooking YOUR food for YOU to raise any doubts at all; so any questions are acceptably ignored and drowned out by frenetic woggle-grasping kumbayah singers around campfire. (voices unpatriotic and disrespectful of 'heroes' saving YOUR children are unprintable; even when undeniable Qs are raised, they're not focussed on a) )

c) nay-sayers are embarrassingly aligned with bark-munching 'special' Billy, and campfire chorus pick up rhythm; logical questioners, who don't want sausages and can't stand Kumbayah, are shunned and ignored by the main throng (peaceniks along with truthers are tarred as cloud-cuckoo-land fantasists; their arguments are barely heard and never ever at any cost shown in full on mxm)

d) the chemical infused kindling has been collected and disposed of - applies to both!

e) the wide range of evidence, which include straight physical laws - one match and whumpf!? ; unspoken of 3rd campfire roaring from a spark!? - is shrivelled by a), b), c) and d). (steel structure puf?! in building 7, let alone N and S)

f) as time goes by the questioning table itself is increasingly filled by those who sideline doubters of official story with 'special' Billy, without listening to evidence. Their argument 'what matters is now' conveniently ignores the continuing power and momentum of the original lie, and enables the same trick to be repeated.

Remember grasshopper - use the public's own energy against itself (Karate Kid? [wink] ) and keep the ball moving (Trev Manager).

Besides lies-for-war, same points apply to NHS privatisation as part of Private Profit Public Cost (aka 'austerity'), fracking and all elite-benefitting scams.

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Reply with quote  #8 
Motivations can be analysed - but not without involving the bias of one's own. The polarisation of perceptions operates war, as the breakdown of communication to the operation of defence as each facet of any struggle in terms of its perceived identification.

For beneath any such intention and act is the self-definition operating.
Everyone always acts in any situation toward that which they define and believe is closer to their pleasure and away from what they define and believe in that situation to bring pain. The key phrase in the sentence is define and believe.

True freedom operates at the creative level of awareness. Whatever we accept as self definition and choose to believe by reacting from such definition, automatically generates perceptions and interpretations and behaviours in accord with such premises.

Anything believed and accepted 'self' will be protected with all the facility of will and strategy against what is perceived and interpreted 'threat'.

Divide and rule is associated with a tyrannous or coercive intent, but it begins firstly within our own consciousness. A split mind is a fearfully defined sense of self conceived as defence within an intolerable pain of self-contradiction. It renders the core issue unconscious by the coercive and active assertion of psychological defences.

This picture of human consciousness as generally accepted, traded and operating as currency, is an overlay or mask that could be called a tacit and pervasive conspiracy to deny and suppress the exposure of one's own loveless or hollow mask by maintaining a busyness of focus away from Consciousness as Presence and upon the world of projected fears and even constructed enemies. For the fearfully identified mask is effectively running away from itself by using its own consciousness and the world-perception of a distorted consciousness, as a screen on which to escape a pervasive pain and validate a personal agenda.

Insofar as psychological discovery can be weaponized, it will be embraced by a fearful identity to generate subtler and more insidious forms of disguise and persuasion for prevailing or at least persisting in power struggle. For its primary identity dictates fearful struggle to prevail and survive against a 'hostile world'.
War demands the active denial of truth excepting in tokenism of exceptions of strategic advantage. War justifies any means to gain the ends that fear justifies.

A pervasive fearfully defined and joyless society automatically operates a conspiracy against exposure - excepting in subverting such exposures to generate its own agenda of power, of market and mind share, of self-reinforcement. The split operates in innumerable forms but is essentially that of sacrificing, giving up or depreciating one's true power as Consciousness to externally defined 'solutions' that tend never to resolve the issue, but disguise it in more complex forms of dependence upon external 'authority', in which illusion of self-specialness or illusion of freedom may be promised but cannot deliver, because one's true presence Is freedom - BUT for the accepting and engaging in self-definitions that are out of true and which generate fear, and split the mind to operate a masked existence, blind to the heart's knowing.

Fear would always frame our choices in such a way as to deny our true freedom. The very tricks and devices that a fearfully manipulative agenda are so audaciously employing to its conditioned 'mind-share' illuminate the pervasive split-minded consciousness that runs like a botnet of fear-feeding consciousness that has in a sense been hacked through lack of true worth and vigilance.

What we accept into our mind is given our power. To accept beliefs that are NOT true of us, dis-integrates or splits off a segregated and segregative consciousness that does works as tares among the harvest. The personalizing of conflicts is the masking into terms that ensure the issue itself will not be exposed or addressed. Any 'personae' will be willingly sacrificed for the sake of the core agenda, and the charge neutralized so that it can not only reassert itself without challenge, but absorb and grow in its multi threaded subversion of all forms of challenge and resistance so as to maintain an appearance or mask of 'acceptability', where such a mask is still strategically deemed necessary.

I wrote this to remind and reflect that we not only have choice but are always operating as choice, whether as an integrative consciousness in freedom to be truly ourselves, or in terms dictated and defined by fears we may not even realize are operating our mind - in our name.

Although there may well be innumerable struggles of an external nature through which consciousness wakes up to Its true nature, I simply offer the reflection that the shift from fear to a true freedom of creative endeavour, must rise from a willingness to recognize and own our fears truly - no matter how much our fear of fear seeks to turn our eyes away.

No one can change that which they have not first owned - even momentarily - for the recognition of holding pain in our heart does not naturally keep holding it another moment! How much less can we change in others what we insist on denying in our self?

If you have a 99% case and bring in 1% of a coercive agenda, the other will detect it immediately and focus upon it to invalidate all else you offer.
Desiring to communicate without hidden appeals of self-specialness or self righteousness, that usually derive from hating or denigrating another, unsubscribes from the manipulative parlance of fear's botnet, extending a light of true witness.

The use of fear for coercive identity operates in darkness. It may attempt to bring illusions of light into itself to feed upon, and to subvert communication, but it cannot abide in light.

The opening of fear to the light of a true awareness is the yielding of a false and life-denying sense of personal power for a true foundation.

Everything expresses its foundation. Using fear as a foundation does not bring forth love or joy in harmony of purpose. It brings forth substitutes for these things to mask what lies beneath.

True foundation restores true perspective and therefore choices and opportunities that are truly integrative and which can see deceits without being baited by them and see past them to the fear in others that operates blindly without knowing what safety is - because they do not know who they are or they would fear not!

Whether anyone receives your communication or not, your giving is what absolutely determines your receiving - that is your awareness of the nature and quality of your true existence. Withholding our presence has been to worship judgement and become addicted or enslaved to the world it brings forth. The mind of divide and rule has no true foundation. The choice for self-power in darkness is on the table for a new era. I believe we all are making a conscious choice and am wholly desiring that this be so - and so I witness to that it is a choice that does not have to be chosen.
The willingness - even momentary - for refusing the 'gift of fear' is what invites and allows a reintegrating perspective. One step at a time, as an unfoldment of truly embracing Life.

Joining in hate is no intimacy whatsoever. Being truly touched by your own recognition IS.
When I typed 'desiring to communicate' I first chose the word learning but typed 'leaning'.
Leaning actively and consistently as an expression of true desire is transformational.
But reactively conforming and aligning with fear agenda is simply more of the same - albeit with a makeover.

I write this in one form or another over and over - but always new. The Consciousness beneath the issue is the door we do or do not choose to walk through.

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Reply with quote  #9 
Canadian psychology professor (Floyd Rudmin, based at University of Tromso, Norway) on orthodox vs citizen journalism:

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Reply with quote  #10 
Conspiracy Theory: Unpacking The Term

A good breakdown (with many links) from Washington's Blog:

Famed whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg explains:

It is a commonplace that “you can’t keep secrets in Washington” or “in a democracy, no matter how sensitive the secret, you’re likely to read it the next day in the New York Times.” These truisms are flatly false. They are in fact cover stories, ways of flattering and misleading journalists and their readers, part of the process of keeping secrets well. Of course eventually many secrets do get out that wouldn’t in a fully totalitarian society. But the fact is that the overwhelming majority of secrets do not leak to the American public. This is true even when the information withheld is well known to an enemy and when it is clearly essential to the functioning of the congressional war power and to any democratic control of foreign policy. The reality unknown to the public and to most members of Congress and the press is that secrets that would be of the greatest import to many of them can be kept from them reliably for decades by the executive branch, even though they are known to thousands of insiders.


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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote: "We don't get into conspiracy theories"

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Reply with quote  #12 
That is the first time I recall the Guardian giving anything approaching a fair representation of 911 issues. Is it just my imagination, or is there a slight change of atmosphere emerging around the issue recently? 28pages.....the FBI investigator in the anthrax case completely jumping ship.......the Saudi trials......the general spread of information....

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Reply with quote  #13 
Myers, I was also struck by this. But consider The Guardian's silence on the recent Niels Harrit 'freedom of speech' court case.  Scientist Prof Harrit has an unblemished  30+ year university tenure, yet his Newtonian physics-based critique of the 911 narrative (NIST vs Newton) is treated as toxic. I suppose the question is this: If (hypothetically) three steel high-rises rapidly plunged without deceleration in Tehran, Moscow or Pyongyang, would The Guardian make space for the voices of scientists, in that case?

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Reply with quote  #14 
Scribd -- 'Evolution of the 911 Controversy: From Conspiracy Theories to Conspiracy Photographs'

A version of this paper was read to the 2015 Annual Gathering of American MENSA.

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Reply with quote  #15 
'Why people believe in conspiracy theories" / The National

Every year, in the lead up to the anniversary of 11-09-2001, various media run articles about 'conspiracies'. Such articles bundle subjects together, the better to smear them all with the same brush. These subjects range from the nonsensical to the rational, from X-Files to 911. Notably, these articles never touch on criminal collusion conspiracies like Libor,  sexed-up documents about non-existent WMD, phone hacking, illegal surveillance, etc.

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