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Conspiracy Theory Roundup (February 9, 2013)

This Week in Conspiracy

Robert Blaskiewicz

February 26, 2013

The Conspiracy Theory Roundup is an ongoing series of news items from around the web relevant to connoisseurs of conspiracism. I’ve been at it for over two years at www.skepticalhumanities.com, compiling an (almost) weekly running list of improbable stories and fantastic tales of intrigue. What I have found is that there is a parallel world to the one that most of us live in, an alternative timeline of human development, one dominated by shadowy elites and hidden technologies and gloriously exposed by alternative scholars. In one sense, the conspiracists’ history is a story that repeats itself over and over. In this world, every high profile mass shooting, for instance, is guaranteed to be a false flag event designed as a pretext to disarm the populace in preparation for a tyrannical takeover. Nonetheless, the inventiveness of conspiracy theorists (or perhaps the eclectic nature of what they take for evidence) makes each theory unpredictably unique in its details.

First, a few things that I will cover. A frequent feature of conspiracy theory is racism. This is, of course, horrid, and the stories are often disturbing, but they need to be covered and put in context. Stories about ultra-nationalism and hate crimes also often have a conspiracist bent, so they may appear to be disproportionately represented.

Second, a few things that I won’t be reporting on (if I can avoid it). The first is sports conspiracy theories. Sometimes the ball takes a bad bounce. Get over it. New posts on tired run-of-the-mill conspiracy theories are out too, because, really, does anyone need to see another YouTube video about how the international bankers are running the world? Now, if there is a new element, like, the banksters plan to smuggle chemical weapons into a populated area via kangaroo pouches, well, I’ll consider it. I may occasionally dip into the history behind these stories, but for the most part, we’ve been there, done that. I am genuinely interested in conspiracy theories that start outside of the United States, but I often lack the background to give the context of those conspiracy theories, so you may find my collection rather skewed towards the U.S. (Don’t hesitate to help me correct that, by the way!)

Lastly, if you have tips and links to new and interesting conspiracy theories, send them to me. I want to hear them.

Let’s do this.


A new conspiracy is floating around the theory-o-sphere, according to www.MotherJones.com. Apparently Obama is unleashing deadly irony against foes opposed to his stance on gun control. By having them shot.


A summary of the principal threads of the emerging Sandy Hook conspiracy theories, as by an apparent true believer at the Guardian Express. Especially whimsical is the following web of connections related to a scene in The Dark Knight Rises, which was playing during the Aurora shooting:

“The Dark Knight Rises” map of Sandy Hook is on “Hinckley Island.” John Hinckley, Jr. tried to assassinate Pres. Reagan in 1981. The Hinckley family is friends to the Bush family. Bush = New World Order. Also on the map, the school is located where the football stadium attack occurs.


A hip-hop marketing gimmick, making references to the Illuminati, has spawned its own mythology and pseudoscholarship. I expect copious analysis of Beyonce’s halftime show in the near future. The most prolific and obsessive decoder of all things Illuminati in hip hop that I know of writes at the Vigilant Citizen website. Amazingly, everything he has ever examined on that site has confirmed to him that the Illuminati is, for some reason, reminding everyone constantly that they are secretly in control. Here’s his take on the Super Bowl.


Amy Shira Teitel has the lowdown on a conspiracy about the Apollo 1 disaster, when three astronauts died on the launchpad.


Rachael Maddow’s composite image of the President if all of the Obama conspiracy theories were accurate is pretty amusing.


Shepard Ambellas, the head poohbah at www.theintelhub.com, accidently illustrates how bunk snowballs and how misinformation and fanciful reporting by alternative media creates bogus narratives. Under the headline, “Sandy Hook: Law Enforcement Officials Now Admit Possibility of Multiple Shooters,” he leads his article with:

In a shocking twist of events lending credence to theintelhub.com’s investigation, it has now been admitted by officials that there is a potential that multiple shooters carried out the bloody massacre that took place at the Sandy Hook Elementary School the morning of December 14, 2012.

That would be a shocking twist, especially people who follow the chain of reporting back to the source! Shep links to his source, Ralph Lopez’s “Sandy Hook DA cites 'potential suspects,' fears witness safety,” wherein we find:

Sedensky said that unsealing the warrants would also:

‘identify persons cooperating with the investigation, thus possibly jeopardizing their personal safety and well-being.’

The statement by the CT prosecutor's office is the first indication from state authorities that Adam Lanza may have not acted alone.

Well, not really. This is a highly emotionally charged issue, and I should point out that probably most people who have participated in the events at Sandy Hook have come under the scrutiny of conspiracy theorists. I think of poor Gene Rosen, who, because he helped six kids whose teacher had been shot, has been harassed by conspiracy nuts. Nothing in that statement suggests anything more, and while the statement in no way limits the scope of the investigation, it does not offer positive evidence for another shooter or suspect. And I would also like to point out that the headline is also grotesquely disingenuous. The State’s Attorney’s written statement actually says:

[D]isclosure and delivery of the affidavit would seriously jeopardize the outcome and success of the investigation by divulging sensitive and confidential information known only to investigators and any potential suspect(s) and also identify persons cooperating with the investigation thus possibly jeopardizing their personal safety and well-being.

It’s not saying that there are “potential suspects,” as suggested by the headline (Lopez actually changed the wording and put it in quotes!), it’s saying if there are—it’s conditional. Further, the word “witness” doesn’t appear in the affidavit or court order, which is important because a “witness” is not the same thing as “[person] cooperating with the investigation.” Most important, I think, is the State’s Attorney’s statement in the affidavit that, “No arrests have been made and none are currently anticipated, but have not been ruled out,” which is totally missing from Shep’s write-up. From there, Ambellas’ sloppy reporting leaped to Before It’s News, and the rest is pseudohistory.


Joel Dyer gives a quick but accurate sketch of how modern conspiracist thinking came to be and an overview of its violent potential.


Our final story this week comes from France, where the famous 1830 painting, “Liberty Leading the People,” by Romantic artist Eugene Delacroix was defaced by a 9/11 Truther. The painting, which was on the 100 franc note for decades, was tagged by a twenty-eight-year old woman who scrawled “AE911” on it while it was on loan to a branch of the Louvre. She is now in custody. AE911 is short for the truther activist group Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, which is headed by Richard Gage. www.AE911truth.org put up a notice on the 8th, the day after the incident, which made dubious statements like, “We do not know if this act of vandalism was done in reference to our organization.” What part of the graffiti naming their group don’t they understand? They sure do seem sure about what to conclude from a whole lot of less convincing evidence!

Richard Gage, the founder of the group, made a completely self-serving statement on the occasion of his group’s newfound “popularity” in France:

“I was shocked and horrified to learn of this senseless act of vandalism. I sincerely hope that this unbalanced person is not in any way associated with our numerous volunteers in France. Our organization prides itself on the integrity of its activists, who are seeking a real, unimpeachable investigation of the destruction of the three World Trade Center skyscrapers on 9/11.”

I would like to vouch for the integrity of the Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth’s activists. Unfortunately I can’t since I was once defamed by them in perhaps the most amusing way possible—with a chimeric LOLcat.


That’s what I have for now. A new edition will come out in a few weeks.

RJB

Robert Blaskiewicz

Bob Blaskiewicz is the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry’s “Conspiracy Guy” web columnist, a JREF Swift Blog contributor, a blogger at skepticalhumanities.com, and a regular panelist on the live weekly web show The Virtual Skeptics (Wed 8PM Eastern) and contributes a monthly essay to the Skepticality podcast. He is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he specializes in and teaches about World War II veterans’ writings, extraordinary/paranormal claims and conspiracy theory.