College Course on Conspiracies

MikeG

Senior Member.
@MikeG Since other than "chemtrails" the topics you list for this course are incredibly dull. So i'm wondering what percentage of females signed up for the course.

Ouch. Incredibly dull?

Well, to be honest, I am moving toward a dispassionate approach, so you are probably right in a way. One of the main goals of the course is to attempt a methodology based upon the data. I really want the kids to stay on task with that and not let their passion for the topic get out of hand.

I enjoy pointing out the pitfalls of subjectivity. Spurious Correlations is a great, funny source for that.

Cheese Consumption.png

http://www.tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations

The Protocols, the "stab in the back" theory, and Communism are ancient history. Once we get into the JFK assassination and 9/11, I imagine that the class will get much more argumentative.
 

txt29

Senior Member.
Do you have any theories on why your students are more vested in these particular conspiracies?
Not sure if it is this case, but I remember when I was in this age and we participated in any similar surveys, most of the class filled in the most possible junk just for the fun. In your case, I would not rely on the results too much.

BTW, regarding the conspiracy "Saddam involved in 9/11" - wasn't this conspiracy promoted by the government at that time? Or am mistaken that the Gulf war was started because of it?
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Not sure if it is this case, but I remember when I was in this age and we participated in any similar surveys, most of the class filled in the most possible junk just for the fun. In your case, I would not rely on the results too much.

But then 0% said Obama was the antichrist, or that shape shifting reptiles control the world, which is evidence that they took is mostly seriously.
 

txt29

Senior Member.
Anyway, I was serious with the question whether "Saddam involved in 9/11" is supposed to be a conspiracy theory or not. Because, unless I lost my memory completely, it was the US official version. On the other hand, I do not remember any evidence of it, and here in Europe many governments did not agree with Bush on this topic, which was one of the reasons why they did not support the USA in attacking Iraq. So if it is now officially considered a CT in the USA too, then do not be surprised that a lot of people are confused, and still believe the original official version.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Anyway, I was serious with the question whether "Saddam involved in 9/11" is supposed to be a conspiracy theory or not. Because, unless I lost my memory completely, it was the US official version.

No. The official US version is that 9/11 was al-Qaeda. They wanted to link Iraq, but were unable to do so. There was only the most tenuous linking of Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda, and none at all linking him to 9/11. However it was a popular public misconception.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_Hussein_and_al-Qaeda_link_allegations
 

txt29

Senior Member.
Yes, that's what I remember too. In that case though, "Saddam involved in 9/11" is a CT, which I agree with it being one. You answered no, I assume mistakenly. Edit: I see now you answered no to the other part of the question, in fact. Sorry for the misinterpretation, I did not bother re-reading my own quotation :)

more edit:
I just wanted to assure me that "Saddam involved in 9/11" was not considered a fact by the testers, because me too I often meet people believing it firmly. I was little bit afraid that a negative answer would be taken as a CT, because the reality of Saddam involved in 9/11 is not the same kind of conspiracy like the others. Saddam involved in 9/11 would be a conspiracy of a foreign government with foreign terrorists, which is usually not what one considers a conspiracy when speaking about CT. Conspiracy in CT usually involves own government or agencies, eventually some global corporate or financial forces. So again this "Saddam involved in 9/11" does not fit at all the other CT categories included in the survey, and hence looks quite strange there.
 
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MikeG

Senior Member.
Not sure if it is this case, but I remember when I was in this age and we participated in any similar surveys, most of the class filled in the most possible junk just for the fun. In your case, I would not rely on the results too much.

BTW, regarding the conspiracy "Saddam involved in 9/11" - wasn't this conspiracy promoted by the government at that time? Or am mistaken that the Gulf war was started because of it?

One of the reasons that I am looking forward to 9/11 has to do with Kathryn Olmstead's treatment of the topic in our main text, Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11. She addresses official efforts to interpret intelligence on Iraq in concert with conspiracy theories about WTC and the Pentagon.
 

MikeG

Senior Member.
Do you have any theories on why your students are more vested in these particular conspiracies?

I think timing matters. The "old" conspiracies seem to matter a lot less to them. The cutoff seems to be the Kennedy assassination, but the more recent the better.

I am amazed at how vested the students are in theories. It might be that there are more in the class because the group is self-selecting, but I find that just bringing up the topic provokes conversation. Just about everybody has at least one favorite.
 

MikeG

Senior Member.
@MikeG Since other than "chemtrails" the topics you list for this course are incredibly dull. So i'm wondering what percentage of females signed up for the course.

To answer some of the earlier questions from Deidre and George B, my students are more liberal than the national group, although their party affiliations are about the same. My class has more men than women.

Q22 Would you describe yourself as very liberal, somewhat liberal, moderate, somewhat conservative, or very conservative?
Very liberal 26% (11%)
Somewhat liberal 22% (16%)
Moderate 30% (31%)
Somewhat conservative 13% (23%)
Very conservative 9% (19%)

Q23 What is your gender?
Woman 43% (50%)
Man 57% (50%)

Q24 What is your party affiliation?
Democrat 39% (38%)
Republican 30% (34%)
Independent/Other 26% (28%)
None 4%
 

txt29

Senior Member.
One of the reasons that I am looking forward to 9/11 has to do with Kathryn Olmstead's treatment of the topic in our main text, Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11. She addresses official efforts to interpret intelligence on Iraq in concert with conspiracy theories about WTC and the Pentagon.
Yes, that's indeed an interesting topic. But do you realize that your own Government and the mass media actually help confusing the people, and may be one of important factors why US Americans incline to CT's often? The previously mentioned case of "Saddam involved in 9/11" is the best example. Although Bush later denied such claims, it is clear the push by both the authorities and the mass media was such that it helped creating this hoax. One cannot be then surprised that common people do not understand where the truth is, and fall to some silly CT's because their authors easily debunk the hoaxes spread by the mass media and the authorities.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I am amazed at how vested the students are in theories. It might be that there are more in the class because the group is self-selecting

I don't suppose you could get a broader sample of the other students who did not take the class?
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
No. The official US version is that 9/11 was al-Qaeda. They wanted to link Iraq, but were unable to do so. There was only the most tenuous linking of Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda, and none at all linking him to 9/11. However it was a popular public misconception.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_Hussein_and_al-Qaeda_link_allegations
I read txt29's question (whether "it was the US official version") a bit differently, since it clearly was the conspiracy
theory that the administration was trying to sell for years. I'll never forget Bush (2002) saying ''you can't distinguish between Al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror'' and (2003) "the battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11th, 2001." Cheney made public comments tying Saddam to 9/11 that were as strong or stronger. Government endorsement drove belief in that CT to 70% in 2 years.
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-09-06-poll-iraq_x.htm

As recently as mid-2004 both men were still defending their participation in the "Saddam involvement" narrative... http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A50679-2004Jun17.html

Yes, by '06 Bush & Cheney could no longer maintain that claim with a straight face, but it still seems fair to say that it was the administration's position for many years, and many Americans still remember the government's assertions, and never bothered to follow up and see that--not only did Saddam have nothing to do with 9/11--any theory that he did was far-fetched, given the antagonistic relationship between secularists like Hussein, and religious zealots like al-Qaeda.
Anyone interested should google "Office of Special Plans" to see how actual U.S. intelligence was impeached (for ideological reasons) and replaced with sketchy "intel" the administration simply preferred...that pointed to needing to invade Iraq

So--at this, point--yes, with different U.S. leadership, "the US official version" is finally pretty clear...but since one of the two major parties still defends the invasion of Iraq as necessary, there is little motivation to bring the tens of millions (who believed the administration from 2001 to 2004)
up to speed.

p.s. Mike, they don't sound "incredibly dull" to me...
 

Engineer

Active Member
To answer both George B and Mick, the students are all in the youngest demographic. I definitely think that age and how they access information has an impact on their beliefs.

Thank you for providing this information Mike. It is fascinating and I will look forward to the follow up statistics after your class is complete. It definitely seems like there is a correlation between the belief in the various theories and the sheer amount of information available and disseminated on each theory, not entirely unexpected.
 

MikeG

Senior Member.
Yes, that's indeed an interesting topic. But do you realize that your own Government and the mass media actually help confusing the people, and may be one of important factors why US Americans incline to CT's often? The previously mentioned case of "Saddam involved in 9/11" is the best example. Although Bush later denied such claims, it is clear the push by both the authorities and the mass media was such that it helped creating this hoax. One cannot be then surprised that common people do not understand where the truth is, and fall to some silly CT's because their authors easily debunk the hoaxes spread by the mass media and the authorities.

It is a complicated topic.

One thing that I don't do is reduce "the Government" to a single entity. There are competing priorities, agendas, leaders, etc. I'd say the same about "the Media" or "the People."

Avoiding overgeneralization is important.

I have mentioned one example before in another thread. There were WMD's in Iraq. The New York Times published a story about them in 2014. However, they were old weapons, clearly stored for years in violation of UN sanctions. The administration ignored them because they didn't fit into the category of "ongoing" programs after 9/11.

https://www.metabunk.org/debunked-p...-photo-is-actually-in-utah.t7200/#post-174207

The antiwar movement rejected evidence of these weapons in 2006 when the story first came out because the Bush administration wasn't trustworthy in their eyes.

So, as I said, these stories are complicated. It is important to keep in mind the context, the actors, the evidence, and the audience.

One of the reasons that I like Metabunk.
 

MikeG

Senior Member.
I don't suppose you could get a broader sample of the other students who did not take the class?

It might be worth a try. My sample group is very small. We have about 8,000 students at school. It might be an interesting class project to expand the sample group.

Damn you and your good ideas Mick! ;)
 

txt29

Senior Member.
It is a complicated topic.
...
Avoiding overgeneralization is important.
...
So, as I said, these stories are complicated. It is important to keep in mind the context, the actors, the evidence, and the audience.
Yes, I completely agree, and that was the exact reason why I entered the discussion here. Overgeneralizing is rarely good, and I think it should be avoided at CT's too. That's also why I was surprised seeing conspiracy theories generalized as "prevalent paranoia" in your opening post, and even seeing a hoax started or initialized by the US administration listed in the survey. Certainly not all conspiracy theories are paranoia. Denying the existence of conspiracies in human history, and in high politics especially, would be silly, I believe. As long as CT's are based on valid arguments, and do not use invented, manipulated, or fake evidence, I find nothing wrong in considering them as a possibility, even if they lack hard evidence (for comprehensible reasons at true conspiracies, evidence may not be easily available).
 
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txt29

Senior Member.
If the intent was to allow separating legitimate and paranoid CT's, perhaps including around equal numbers of the legitimate and false CT's in the survey could help. Were some legitimate CT's included too?
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
If the intent was to allow separating legitimate and paranoid CT's, perhaps including around equal numbers of the legitimate and false CT's in the survey could help. Were some legitimate CT's included too?
my understanding is: the intent of THE COURSE he is teaching is to allow seperating legitimate conspiracy from theory and, in some cases, outright falsehood.

The poll was just a beginning of the course baseline survey, to see where his students were coming in from in regards to conspiracy theories and/or 'myths' and how they compare to the general public. For example BigFoot is not a conspiracy theory. Mike didnt write the survey, he used this one http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2011/PPP_Release_National_ConspiracyTheories_040213.pdf

and i dont want to reread the whole thread but i believe he said he will give it again at the end of the course to see if learning 'research methodology' changed results in regards to those particular topics. But i'm sure Mike can explain it to you better when he logs back on - so dont hold it against him if i explained poorly.
 

MikeG

Senior Member.
Overgeneralizing is rarely good, and I think it should be avoided at CT's too. That's also why I was surprised seeing conspiracy theories generalized as "prevalent paranoia" in your opening post, and even seeing a hoax started or initialized by the US administration listed in the survey. Certainly not all conspiracy theories are paranoia.

That is an interesting take. Here is the original post regarding the course.

"Part of it will address the role conspiracies have played in 20th/21st century American history. I have always been curious as to how prevalent paranoia has been in contemporary affairs. The course will include a number of specific case studies."

I am not sure that the intent was to automatically associate conspiracies with paranoia. I think that paranoia, regardless of its source, does establish a foundation for conspiracy belief, or better yet, create an atmosphere that renders a conspiracy more believable.

Paranoia is part of the human condition. It is part of the survival instinct, something Rob Brotherton describes in Suspicious Minds as "prudent paranoia." (pp. 112-114)

Sometimes events define paranoia as well. We are going to talk about the Cold War (ancient history for my students) and try to establish what made McCarthyism plausible.

Regarding 9/11, I will be talking about the WTC and Pentagon attacks within the larger context of the War on Terror. I tend to agree with Olmstead that the conduct of the latter definitely affected perceptions of the former. It is also is an excellent opportunity to debunk something that was real (Administration claims regarding Iraq) as well as something that was not (Administration responsibility for attacks on the WTC and Pentagon).
 

MikeG

Senior Member.
my understanding is: the intent of THE COURSE he is teaching is to allow seperating legitimate conspiracy from theory and, in some cases, outright falsehood.

The poll was just a beginning of the course baseline survey, to see where his students were coming in from in regards to conspiracy theories and/or 'myths' and how they compare to the general public. For example BigFoot is not a conspiracy theory. Mike didnt write the survey, he used this one http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2011/PPP_Release_National_ConspiracyTheories_040213.pdf

and i dont want to reread the whole thread but i believe he said he will give it again at the end of the course to see if learning 'research methodology' changed results in regards to those particular topics. But i'm sure Mike can explain it to you better when he logs back on - so dont hold it against him if i explained poorly.

I think you did a good job Deirdre.

I liked Mick's idea of a poll. The poll is a baseline. In part, I wanted to see how the kids compared to the national survey. I am also curious to see where they will stand when we are done.

The poll is also a useful teaching tool. Today, we were working our way through the first 30 minutes of Loose Change. It occurred to me that, based on the class poll, a fairly high number of students do believe in the film's basic premise.

I made that into a "teachable moment." I want these kids to understand that the purpose of the course is not to deprogram them. Instead, I would like them to test their beliefs against logic and evidence. It is more important for them to have that process then for men to win an argument. It will, hopefully, encourage a real discourse.

But we'll see.

Meantime, take a look at the original poll and message me some suggestions. There is no reason I can't use a modified poll for the next class.

Live and learn, right?
 

Galan

New Member
It would also be interesting to do a 2, 5, and 10 year follow up survey and compare the results to the norm. Not practical I suspect. It would be interesting to see how exposure to CT affects their world view.
 

skephu

Senior Member.
There is an interview with Rob Brotherton, author of the book "Suspicious minds: Why we believe conspiracy theories" in New Scientist (free registration required):
Why do people believe Earth is flat in the 21st century?
This in an interesting part from the interview:
 

Galan

New Member
There is an interview with Rob Brotherton, author of the book "Suspicious minds: Why we believe conspiracy theories" in New Scientist (free registration required):

Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the free subscription. I missed that the first time I had a look.

Thanks @skephu :)
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
There is an interview with Rob Brotherton, author of the book "Suspicious minds: Why we believe conspiracy theories" in New Scientist (free registration required):
Why do people believe Earth is flat in the 21st century?
This in an interesting part from the interview:
i dont want to go through a sign up process, so sorry if this was covered. Isnt the difference that scientists PROVED the 'received wisdom' was incorrect?
 

MikeG

Senior Member.
There is an interview with Rob Brotherton, author of the book "Suspicious minds: Why we believe conspiracy theories" in New Scientist (free registration required):
Why do people believe Earth is flat in the 21st century?
This in an interesting part from the interview:

You are pointing out one of the most interesting parts of the book (pages 127-128).

I have been mulling over Brotherton's comparison of Enlightenment thinkers with conspiracy theorists since I read that section.

Enlightenment skepticism was a good starting point as far as religion and received wisdom was concerned. Rationalists railed against the damage that religious dogma did to progress. Nineteenth century Spanish American intellectuals often referred to their colonial past as the "black winter."

So, by questioning the conventional wisdom, as defined by religion, Enlightenment rationalist were outliers. I suppose that is where you could make a comparison with conspiracy theorists. Seconding faith to reason was "weird" in the 18th century. We covered Hofstadter in class on Friday. He points out that many American religious leaders (and Federalists) denounced the Masons (and the Jeffersonians) for their apparent secular beliefs.

But if you move past Enlightenment skepticism about religion, the comparison with CT believers starts to break down. Enlightenment thinkers was not just interested in thinking for themselves. They wanted a whole new construct based upon logic and evidence. Their empiricism wasn't foolproof by any stretch. But it did follow a dynamic process of questioning assumptions and evidence for the sake of discovering the truth.

At that point, the Enlightenment seriously diverges from CT belief, which resembles dogma much more than a valid empirical process.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Enlightenment skepticism was a good starting point as far as religion and received wisdom was concerned. Rationalists railed against the damage that religious dogma did to progress.

A side point: one might argue that that enlightenment also led to the Reign of Terror in France, with tens of thousands of public beheadings for thought crimes, the kind of thing we now decry ISIS for.

But if you move past Enlightenment skepticism about religion, the comparison with CT believers starts to break down. Enlightenment thinkers was not just interested in thinking for themselves. They wanted a whole new construct based upon logic and evidence. Their empiricism wasn't foolproof by any stretch. But it did follow a dynamic process of questioning assumptions and evidence for the sake of discovering the truth.

At that point, the Enlightenment seriously diverges from CT belief, which resembles dogma much more than a valid empirical process.

Agreed. Brotherton's comparison is simplistic. The resemblance is superficial, and largely contained in the exhortations of the conspiracy theorists ("Don't be a sheeple") rather than in the rigor of their theories (their challenges to the establishment). As we have all noted, conspiracy theorists operate very much within walled gardens, rich with a many varieties of logical fallacies, but particularly confirmation bias. The fact that they have ideas that are contrary to the mainstream sounds superficially good, but it's generally more regressive than progressive.
 

MikeG

Senior Member.
A side point: one might argue that that enlightenment also led to the Reign of Terror in France, with tens of thousands of public beheadings for thought crimes, the kind of thing we now decry ISIS for.



Agreed. Brotherton's comparison is simplistic. The resemblance is superficial, and largely contained in the exhortations of the conspiracy theorists ("Don't be a sheeple") rather than in the rigor of their theories (their challenges to the establishment). As we have all noted, conspiracy theorists operate very much within walled gardens, rich with a many varieties of logical fallacies, but particularly confirmation bias. The fact that they have ideas that are contrary to the mainstream sounds superficially good, but it's generally more regressive than progressive.

I agree with your side point. The modern example I use regards Marxism, but any type of deterministic belief system applies.

I just finished Francis Wheen's Strange Days Indeed: The 1970s: The Golden Age of Paranoia (2009). There is a pretty chilling section on Soviet psychiatric treatment of dissidents for maladies such as "reformist delusions." (p.162)
 

MikeG

Senior Member.
We are winding down the course and I thought it would be good to offer a few updates.

I spent most of the first week walking the kids through terminology and some basic logic structure. We covered common terms found in the conspiracy universe like “gish gallop” or “shill.” I would say the group was about evenly split as to how many had heard of these.

I spent more time on making distinctions between causation and correlation, defining the concepts like arguments from authority, and illustrating the relationship between claims and proofs.


I tested these basics by working through the case studies mentioned in the OP. The most recent regards chemtrails. More specifically, one of the class exercises involved watching the first 30 minutes of What in the World are They Spraying. We focused in particular on Michael Murphy’s visit to Dane Wigington’s pond. I gave the class a copy of the lab report that Murphy mentions at about 30:00 in the film.


It took about a minute before my students found the terms “pond sediment” and “sludge” on the report and concluded (correctly) that this accounted for the high concentrations of aluminum, barium, and strontium.


Another student brought up the impact of runoff, which is actually illustrated by the terrain illustrated in one of the shots from WITWATS.

Overview of Pond.png
Another noticed the fish swimming past Dane Wigington just as he was talking about incredibly high levels of toxins.
Fish.png


One thing that struck me as interesting was the degree to which my young students understand manipulated images. They noted the constant use of quick cuts, especially in the early sequences featuring Frances Mangels and his soil “tests.”


I’ll have more on a few other examples from the class.


Overall, it was encouraging to see the kids apply critical thinking to the evidence at hand.
 

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Henk001

Senior Member.
One thing that struck me as interesting was the degree to which my young students understand manipulated images. They noted the constant use of quick cuts, especially in the early sequences featuring Frances Mangels and his soil “tests.”
There is an enlightening video of Potholer54 on the "TV tricks of the trade -- quotes and cutaways" about this. May be useful:
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member.
There is an enlightening video of Potholer54 on the "TV tricks of the trade -- quotes and cutaways" about this. May be useful:
:(

But it is important to remember the old film / TV mantra 'it's all in the edit'. This is a short vid that explains the basic techniques... the jump cut, the noddy, the cut away and the transition cut.
They are all pretty simple techniques and when employed can be used to not only 'smooth out' the over all production, but also, if the editor / producer is lacking scruples, to make the interviewee say what ever the interviewer wants them to. Especially if the interviewee has already been fed leading or loaded questions in the first place.

Here's a couple of extreme examples done for comic effect.

This is media studies 101 stuff, it's one of the first things you learn at school / college on a media course, and once your aware of the techniques you can spot them a mile off. However not everyone is that media savvy and the unaware can be easily fooled by them.
 

MikeG

Senior Member.
:(

But it is important to remember the old film / TV mantra 'it's all in the edit'. This is a short vid that explains the basic techniques... the jump cut, the noddy, the cut away and the transition cut.
They are all pretty simple techniques and when employed can be used to not only 'smooth out' the over all production, but also, if the editor / producer is lacking scruples, to make the interviewee say what ever the interviewer wants them to. Especially if the interviewee has already been fed leading or loaded questions in the first place.

Here's a couple of extreme examples done for comic effect.

This is media studies 101 stuff, it's one of the first things you learn at school / college on a media course, and once your aware of the techniques you can spot them a mile off. However not everyone is that media savvy and the unaware can be easily fooled by them.

Very true. And thank you.
 

MikeG

Senior Member.
For the sake of demonstrating different approaches to course topics, I included publications that both opposed and endorsed the idea of active geoengineering.

One of these was “A Brief History of Chemtrails,” Contrail Science (11 May 2007). http://contrailscience.com/a-brief-history-of-chemtrails/

Another was Elana Freeland, Chemtrails, HAARP, and the Full Spectrum Dominance of Planet Earth (Port Townsend: Feral House, 2014), specifically the chapter on contrails.

To be honest, this book sets my teeth on edge. I am professionally offended by both the sloppy reasoning and research evident throughout. Regardless, I wanted my students to apply the same critical thinking standards they used after watching part of WITWATS.

We looked at Freeland’s writing on Operation Cloverleaf and focused in particular on her sourcing. (attached)

The web address leads you to something called https://www.indymedia.org

The actual reference is a flyer. There is nothing inherently bad about the format, so we looked instead at the content.

Basically, the flyer (attached) arranges a series of new claims in chronological order. Some of them are simply statements with no corroboration such as:

Others, offer incomplete information:

We went through a number of these to make sure that students understood the value of scrutinizing references.

We also talked about the use of timelines in conspiracy theories. In Real Enemies, Kathryn Olmstead uses the example of the “Complete 9/11 Timeline” that first appeared in 2002 (page 223)

http://www.historycommons.org/project.jsp?project=911_project

Timelines are a fascinating device. They allow a conspiracy theorist to hunt for anomalies and compile them in a chronological list that lends a superficial structure to what essentially is a series of correlations of undermined value or relationship.

I’ll post one more case study regarding our examination of David M. Oshinsky’s A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy (New York: The Free Press, 1983).
 

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I just wanted to assure me that "Saddam involved in 9/11" was not considered a fact by the testers, because me too I often meet people believing it firmly. I was little bit afraid that a negative answer would be taken as a CT, because the reality of Saddam involved in 9/11 is not the same kind of conspiracy like the others. Saddam involved in 9/11 would be a conspiracy of a foreign government with foreign terrorists, which is usually not what one considers a conspiracy when speaking about CT. Conspiracy in CT usually involves own government or agencies, eventually some global corporate or financial forces. So again this "Saddam involved in 9/11" does not fit at all the other CT categories included in the survey, and hence looks quite strange there.


I have a very intelligent and careful friend who does believe some extreme things about history. His take on Saddam would be that he was a tool of the CIA generally as was Mullah Omar. This nicely links him to 911 without having to claim direct knowledge or involvement. This seems like a recurring/natural thread in CT that apparent enemies are rarely real enemies so the world stage is largely staged. when used it really helps makes CT explanations simpler and more flexible. To my mind neither the Iraqi not Taliban enemies were encouraged in a well planed way, however I think there might be a basis for suspecting that common Bogeyman Mossad of setting up Hamas to weaken the old PLO. I do not ever suspect that creating a group or political force guarantees controlling it later.

PS I saw a great movie last night called Regression. It's about Satanic panic in the eighties and nineties.
 

MikeG

Senior Member.
I have a very intelligent and careful friend who does believe some extreme things about history. His take on Saddam would be that he was a tool of the CIA generally as was Mullah Omar. This nicely links him to 911 without having to claim direct knowledge or involvement. This seems like a recurring/natural thread in CT that apparent enemies are rarely real enemies so the world stage is largely staged. when used it really helps makes CT explanations simpler and more flexible. To my mind neither the Iraqi not Taliban enemies were encouraged in a well planed way, however I think there might be a basis for suspecting that common Bogeyman Mossad of setting up Hamas to weaken the old PLO. I do not ever suspect that creating a group or political force guarantees controlling it later.

PS I saw a great movie last night called Regression. It's about Satanic panic in the eighties and nineties.

I remember reading Stanley Karnow's book Vietnam: A History. It was conventional wisdom years ago to say the same thing about South Vietnam that we later applied to Iraq.

I remember Karnow describing the relationship as being like "a puppet that pulled its own strings."

We tend to think of power in terms of "strong" versus "weak" or sovereign versus dependent, but reality is rarely that simple. Foreign relations is dotted with examples of smaller countries (or groups) very effectively manipulating larger countries. The world is a messy place. Conspiracy theory makes it much simpler.
 
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Mick West TFTRH #11: Jim Lee – Chemtrails, Geoengineering, Conspiracies, and Semantics Tales From the Rabbit Hole Podcast 1
Mick West 2018 Hurricane Season and Weather Control Conspiracies Current Events 16
Mick West Eruption of Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii – Conspiracies and Science Current Events 34
MikeG Claim: DC officials are "flocking" to "Doomsday Camps" Conspiracy Theories 4
MikeG Resilient Cities Contrails and Chemtrails 0
Mick West Cults, Conspiracies, and Addiction - Similarities and Differences in Interaction Approaches Practical Debunking 12
MikeG Everything wrong with Hillary Clinton/Medical Conspiracies Conspiracy Theories 8
MikeG Florida Zika Response a "Martial Law Exercise" Conspiracy Theories 0
MikeG VA Taking Veterans' Guns Conspiracy Theories 0
MikeG Explained: UN Vehicles Spotted (Again) in the US [Delivery from US Manufacturer to Overseas] Conspiracy Theories 13
MikeG Unreported Abuse of US Troops Conspiracy Theories 0
MikeG FBI Spying on School Children Conspiracy Theories 0
Mick West Explained: Why Clouds Appear Behind the Sun and Moon Flat Earth 58
CeruleanBlu Project scientist Eric Korpela talks about SETI, aliens, and government conspiracies. UFOs, Aliens, Monsters, and the Paranormal 0
derrick06 Debunked: HAARP ELF waves causing a earthquake Contrails and Chemtrails 12
vooke Need debunking:Ebola conspiracies video Conspiracy Theories 10
MikeC Lorde conspiracies General Discussion 21
BlueCollarCritic Debunked Conspiracies Update - The Government Is Not Confiscating Guns General Discussion 18
Cairenn Washington Post Blog on weather conspiracies Contrails and Chemtrails 11
AluminumTheory Zimmerman Trial Conspiracies..... Conspiracy Theories 12
jvnk08 Chomsky dispels 9/11 conspiracies with sheer logic [video] 9/11 385
Cairenn Pres Kennedy on conspiracies Conspiracy Theories 0
B Backpack conspiracies Boston Marathon Bombings 1
Cairenn Debunked: Gulf of Mexico oil spill conspiracies Conspiracy Theories 22
Dan Wilson Why do people believe conspiracies? General Discussion 86
Mick West Election Conspiracies Conspiracy Theories 52
Giuliano Taverna satanic cults/conspiracies Conspiracy Theories 7
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