Tag Archive for conspiracy theories

Want to be marginalized? Talk about your ‘conspiracy theory’

My approach to the JFK assassination is that it was “an operation”.   When I’m feeling down to earth, I refer to myself as an “operations researcher.” When I’m making progress, I might upgrade to “investigator.”If I was looking for employment, I would go with “analyst.”
 David Talbot refers to people like us as “people’s historians”.  That’s good too.
When discussing the events of November 22, 1963, I ted to use terms like “Joint action”, “concerted action”, or “acted in concert.”  Don’t forget the simple word “plan.”
I don’t often use the word “conspiracy.” I think that when talking about the JFK case or similar events, the c-word is counterproductive and marginalizing.  Why describe those of us that challenge the lone gunman story as “conspiracy theorists”?  Or, in reductive bumper sticker terms: CTs?

Those who study the case are “historians”, “researchers” or “students”.  All perfectly good words, unlike “CT,” “LN,” or  “theorist,”  Theory of what?

‘JFK buff’ is an insult

The term “buff” is — how do i say this politely? –repellent.  A buff is a hobbyist.   What we’re doing has great value, but it would be a pretty sick hobby.    Remember how John Kerry did some good work on the contra-cocaine story?  Newsweek labeled him a “randy conspiracy buff”, invoking the trifecta of nudity, sex, and high adventure.  No thanks.

I refer to myself as an “operations researcher.” When I’m making progress, I might upgrade to “investigator.”I

“Lone nut” is also in poor taste, often used in the context of the “LN crowd”.  The terms “Lone wolf” or “single gunman” are respectful ways to refer to one’s adversaries in a case like this.

The people fighting AIDS had to deal with “victim”, “sick”, and similar metaphors.  Those in danger of infection were not “shooters” or “junkies” but “injection drug users”, or IDUs.  The challengers of the anti-immigrant forces have spent many years using the phrase “undocumented worker” rather than “illegal alien”.  Words matter.
The romance of conspiracy

I believe that many of us use the phrase “conspiracy theorist” because it seems practical, romantic, or titillating.

The last two reasons are bad ones.   Real bad.  Two of the many reasons the word has been marginalized.

Those who study the case are “historians”, “researchers” or “students”.  All perfectly good words, unlike “theorist”.  Theory of what?

If we want to not be seen by anyone as “on the margins”, there is a simple fix.  Admit that the phrase has been abused by our adversaries and the mass media.  It is now used as a red flag.  The design is to put the target in a box.  It can no longer be used by us in a practical sense.

I think the romantic and titillating aspects of the word “conspiracy” are enticing.  “They killed the President!  We have to call it what it is – conspiracy!”  It’s fun to be wrapped up in a world of high adventure, fighting the forces of Mordor with the energies of truth and light.

I understand it — I like romantic stuff and have a rebel nature.  But, I have to admit, it makes me blue.  We’re in the midst of an important conflict about how history will be written.  We need to share good stories, not needless drama.  I’d rather win.

‘Suspicious Minds,’ (why we believe conspiracy theories)

David writes:

“I HIGHLY recommend this very accessible, insightful, and well researched book: Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories: Rob Brotherton.

Thomas Mallon asks, did ‘the climate of hate’ kill JFK?

‘Communism killed Kennedy’ remains one of the few defensible statements that the John Birch Society ever issued.

Source: The John Birch Society’s Lasting Influence – The New Yorker

The theory that one man alone killed President Kennedy has a tenacious hold on a respectable minority of JFK writers, including novelist Thomas Mallon, writing in the current New Yorker. Read more

JFK at the movies: ”Umbrella Man,’ a story of obsession

In “The Umbrella Man,” a film co-written by Rome (NY) natives Michael and Joe Grasso, Peter Brennan spirals into grief after the death of his young son while clinging to the conspiracy theories surrounding the mystery of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

Source: Local ties reign in ‘Umbrella Man,’ showing to be held at MWPAI – News – Uticaod – Utica, NY

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‘Concerning the Facts and Consequences of the Tragic Death of President John F. Kennedy’

What Fidel Castro said about JFK’s  assassination on November 23, 1963. He was judicious. Read more

Fidel Castro on JFK’s assassination

“First of all, nobody ever goes that way for a visa. Second, it costs money to go that distance. He (Oswald) stormed into the embassy, demanded the visa, and when it was refused to him, headed out saying ‘I’m going to kill Kennedy for this.’…..What is your government doing to catch the other assassins? It took about three people.”

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‘Concerning the Facts and Consequences of the Tragic Death of President John F. Kennedy’

What Fidel Castro said on November 23, 1963: Read more

Despite the dumb conspiracy theories, Jade Helm 15 deserves scrutiny

Jade Helm

The logo of the military training exercise that has some people exercised.

A U.S. Special Operation Command (SOCOM) military training exercise in seven southwestern states has triggered an outburst of right-wing conspiracy-mongering about “everything from a ploy to confiscate Americans’ guns to an excuse to abduct political dissidents.” 

While these fears may be unfounded, even laughable, more people paying close attention to the Jade Helm 15 exercise is a good thing.

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The problem with Politico’s JFK conspiracy theory

Phil Shenon

As the United States and Cuba seek to negotiate a new relationship, ancient history is intruding.

“What if the answers to the many, persistent questions surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy lie not in Dallas or Washington, D.C., but in the streets of a foreign capital that most Americans have never associated with the president’s murder? Mexico City.”

So begins Phil Shenon’s new piece in Politico, What Was Lee Harvey Oswald Doing in Mexico? Shenon is surely correct that the U.S. government’s response to Lee Oswald’s visit to  Mexico City in October 1963 is key to understanding the JFK assassination story.

And before Washington and Havana can reach any real rapprochement, renewed allegations that the Cuban government aided JFK’s accused assassin demand clarification.

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The Air Force comes clean: UFO’s weren’t extra-terrestial

There’s disappointing news for UFO conspiracy theorists. Read more

Dick Russell on Richard Case Nagell


This is a helluva story that always left me scratching my head. Russell, perhaps best known as Jesse Ventura’s wordsmith, can explain it better than anyone.

JFK postscript: CIA intrigue enveloped Bradlee and Angleton

British historian John Simkin adds important detail to the story of Ben Bradlee and CIA Counterintelligence Chief James Angleton after the assassination of President Kennedy.

I find Simkin to be a credible and knowledgeable writer. If he has made any mistakes, please let me know via email.

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What did French intelligence think of JFK’s assassination?

Former FBI agent William Turner says the conspiratorial analysis of France’s Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage, known as SDECE, is found in an unusual book called Farewell America.

Yuri Nosenko and the Warren Commission Report

John Simkin breaks down the mysteries of a key JFK story: Yuri Nosenko and the Warren Report.

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Why RFK refused to swear there was no JFK conspiracy

Politico addresses a question too long ignored by the Washington press corps: Did Robert Kennedy refuse to provide the Warren Commission with a sworn statement about the causes of his brother’s murder?

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