what to make of "conspiracy theories"?

Craven, Jim jcraven at clark.edu
Mon Feb 11 09:36:13 MST 2002

like Michael Ruppert, presents all kinds of documented evidence implying
that the U.S. government or some U.S. transnational corporations or other
powerful person(s) connected to the U.S. establishment were aware of, if not

involved in, the events of 9-11.  I was wondering what people on the list
make of this stuff.  He seems to present pretty sound documentation to back
up his claims, but still, I'm hesitant to buy into this whole big conspiracy

theory.  Any thoughts?

Response (Jim C): I have read extensively the stuff on Ruppert's site
(copvcia.com) and have heard Ruppert speak. First of all, on Ruppert's site,
and at his speeches, there were some obvious connections with the La
Roucheites (so-called Executive Intelligence Review quoted extensively and
LaRoucheite papers sold at his speeches). Other "Conspiracy" sites include:
Emperor's New Clothes, Rense.com, gregpalast.com, bushwash.com etc.

Most of these sites focus on conspiracies of individuals or networks of
individuals with little or no reference to an inherently/inexorably corrupt
SYSTEM that can only destroy far far more than it manages to create. They
often provide some facts that may be useful in political work, but there is
also the danger of a "poison pill" (in the intelligence world, a "poison
pill" is an allegation attached to an existing "conspiracy theory" that is
particularly salacious and "damaging" and serves to "confirm" the conspiracy
theory and draw people to it until it is carefully undermined with "new
facts" thus impeaching not only the particular allegation, but the whole
"conspiracy theory"--and those promoting it--to which it was attached as
well. An example of this was the initially inticing charges of Richard
Brenneke, a former CIA pilot to the "October Surprise" story in the 1980s
only to have Brenneke's allegations and "legend" disproven thus undermining
what, in my opinion, were essentially correct allegations about the October
Surprise of the Reaganites.

Secondly, those into conspiracy theories (and of course I do believe--and
know for a fact--that there are indeed very dangerous real-world
conspiracies by elements of the "ruling class" and their minions) are often
sloppy with basic facts or quick to dismiss any information, opinions or
facts not consistent with their pet theories thus undermining their own
credibility and their own pet theories. An example of this occurred on
Marxism when I got into it with Jared about the fact that someone trained in
single-engine aircraft, with a commercial and instrument rating and a little
simulator time, could easily have enough skill to fly a 767 or 757 or
737--or indeed 747--into a large tower; he summarily disputed this fact
arguing a-priori that it was not believable, despite the fact that he had no
flight training or experience and cared little that he was challenging some
who had considerable flight training and experience.

So for me the question is what do we do with all of these theories and
"facts", where do they take us in concrete political work to expose the
SYSTEM in which the worst crimes are quite "legal" and quite out in the

Jim Craven

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