Conspiracies, Conspiracy Theories, Conspiracy Theorists
jcraven at clark.edu
Tue Mar 25 14:37:34 MST 2003
When the Pentagon Papers came out I devoured them eventually reading all 44
volumes. What they revealed, which is why Elsberg was so vicious hunted for
releasing them, was that all of the arguments about the real history,
intentions, interests and machinations of U.S. involvement in Vietnam and
other areas of Southeast Asia made by opponents of U.S. involvement in
Vietnam, arguments that had been summarily dismissed as "Conspiracy
Theories" by mentally unstable "Conspiracy theorists" were not only exactly
correct, but were the real views and prognoses of those who had had the
Pentagon Papers written--at the highest and most classified levels of the
U.S. government. While the critics of involvement in Vietnam were being
summarily and publicly dismissed as "conspiracy theorists", those so
summarily dismissing them were articulating those very views and conclusions
My mother used to say to someone who would summarily wave an arugment off
with the cliché "Oh that's just another conspiracy theory" was to answer
back: "Oh I guess that takes care of the argument; no need for counter
argument or counter evidence eh?" Then she would say: "If there are no
conspiracies in the real world, why are there laws against them?"
A conspiracy involves two or more persons, forming a common plan and
coordinating their activities in furtherance of that common plan, to conduct
activities and pursue objectives they know to be illegal and/or should know
to be illegal as any reasonable prudent person should know. Specific
objectives of the common plan need not be completed and even specific acts
need not be completed; only a first overt act to commit a crime (itself a
crime) in furtherance of illegal objectives and activities need be taken.
Further, in conspiracy law, each person part of the overall conspiracy is
assumed to be acting in furtherance of the overall objectives of the plan
and therefore is assumed to be acting as an agent of the others; this means
that each member of a conspiracy can be charged as individually culpable for
the acts of the others even if not explicitly advised of what the others
intend to do and/or are doing. Further, evidence of cover-up may be used not
only as evidence of a conspiracy (no need to cover-up what is clean only
what is dirty) but may also be used to prove "consciousness of guilt"
(knowledge that one knew that what he or she was doing was illegal) and
overall "mens rea" (evil mind or clear intent to commit an illegal act).
Further, aiding and abetting the commission of a crime is itself a crime
which includes aiding and abetting cover-up of a conspiracy or illegal acts
even if one was not directly part of the conspiracy or cover-up.
Interestingly, conspiracy to commit given illegal acts in furtherance of
given illegal objectives can bring sentences harsher than those for the
actual acts themselves. An example is restraint of trade. Only two or three
cases of restraint of trade have resulted in any executives going to jail;
but conspiracy to restrain trade carries up to 15 years in jail because of
the levels of premeditation, duplicity, cover-up etc involved.
Breaking conspiracies is not easy but can be--and is often--done. There are
five major and interrelated approaches:
C) Calculated pressures from the outside to force revealing mistakes on the
D) Rolling over and leveraging insiders and weak-links;
E) Connecting the dots to show revealing patterns, coordinated activities, a
There are real conspiracies in the real world; that is why there are laws
agains them although often the biggest conspirators are those very ones
writing and/or administering the laws on conspiracy.
James M. Craven
Blackfoot Name: Omahkohkiaayo-i'poyii
Professor/Consultant,Economics;Business Division Chair
Clark College, 1800 E. McLoughlin Blvd.
Vancouver, WA. USA 98663
Tel: (360) 992-2283; Fax: (360) 992-2863
Employer has no association with private/protected opinion
"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present
controls the past." (George Orwell)
"...every anticipation of results which are first to be proved seems
disturbing to me...(Karl Marx, "Grundrisse")
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