Conspiracy Theories

The Paranoid Center: International Edition


The establishment is prone to political paranoia, just like the fringe—it's just that the establishment doesn't define its conspiracy theories as "conspiracy theories." I usually make that argument in the context of domestic politics, but as Glenn Greenwald reminds us, the same lesson applies globally.

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  1. where are all the scary terror attacks resulting from “draw a picture of mohammed day”?

    It seems the panty wetters believers in the war on muslims are completely delusional in their worries about “the MOOSLIMS taking over the world and making our girlfriends wear burkas OMG!!!”

    the official US governments conspiracy theory about the 19 muslim hijackers is such a lie…the longer you believe it the lower your IQ.

    1. That is right. Everyone knows that steel can’t ever melt or lose its temper in heat. And besides, it is not like the trialateral commission hasn’t since taken responsibility.

      1. Huh. I thought it was the Bilderberg Group.

        1. Bildberg are a pimps. They could have never outfought Sonney. But what I didn’t know until I talked to Gabe, is that it was the Trialaterals all along.

          1. It’s so ridiculous to talk about all of these other groups when the Masons have been running everything for centuries.

            1. It’s so ridiculous to talk about all of these other groups when the Masons have been running everything for centuries.

              Ever since Robin Hood’s father worked with his mason guild to write the Magna Carta, the masons have been pulling the strings behind global politics.

              1. I like the idea of the Masons running everything and that the seeming folly and evil of the world actually is part of a benevolent master plan. Especially since my grandfather was a Mason and I recently found his Masonic power ring.

                1. Do you turn invisible when you wear it?

                  1. No. I turn extra-visible.

                    1. Must not be one of the rings of power.

                    2. The curse that you must bear as the wearer of the ring, is that while it extends to you powers to slip by you enemies unnoticed, it steals your mojo.

                    3. It also increases the skepticism of those with whom I interact.

            2. That’s what they _want_ you to think, you fool. It’s Knights Templar all the way down. That, and their MJ12 minions.

          2. Ironic that John of all people suddenly has complete and unwavering trust in a conspiracy theory that is propagated by the US Government.

            1. +1 the government loves and protects john from scary muslims

              1. The trolls are talking to each other. They have become sentient. The anonymity bots can’t be far behind.

                1. Is this like the trick with the Furbies talking to one another?

                  1. Except the Furbies make sense.

    1. Good article. The comments are a scream. They are post after post saying “but a small cabal of evil people really do run the world!!”

      1. A small cabal of evil people REALLY DO run the world…but their called politicians…and we elect them to fuck us.

  2. It seems the panty wetters believers in the war on muslims are completely delusional in their worries about “the MOOSLIMS taking over the world and making our girlfriends wear burkas OMG!!!”

    It’s the people who think the typical Muslim is actually offended by non-Muslims’ pictures of Mohammed who’ve been shown to be wrong. Only the take-over-the-world type (and those, Muslim and otherwise, who think they can put that type’s threats to use?and now we know exactly who they are) give a shit about it, or think non-Muslims are subject to some sects’ blasphemy strictures.

    There was a little “Draw” Day legal ruckus in Europe, because the take-over-the-world type understands that it’s freer to ruckus it up over there.

    Nothing surprising happened?or didn’t.

  3. Speaking of paranoia, I watched Moon last night. Nice flick, if a somewhat improbable premise. Naturally, there’s an evil corporation rather than an evil government exploiting the worker.

    1. I saw that a couple weeks ago. Pretty well done, although I agree having an Evil Corporation as the default bad guy was a little tedious.

      1. The evil was too convoluted and ridiculously expensive to have been a purely private endeavor. Corporate evil is usually less byzantine.

      2. But art reflects life, and while it has become a bit of cliche to have an evil corporation as the villian it does reflect the reality that evil corporations are a bigger threat to liberty and security than the government.

        Just ask the poor folks on the Gulf Coast…

        1. That is right Dan. They are going to oppress us by selling us all of these great things that we want and need.

          Yeah, lets ask those people on the gulf coast as the EPA and federal bureaucrats run around and do everything they can to hinder the cleanup.

          1. You’re right, as long as BP is selling us stuff, who cares if their product destroys the environment, especially when it’s because they were too cheap to install the correct safety devices.

            Also, I like your conspiracy theory about the EPA and Feds intentionally trying to hinder the cleanup. I’m sure BP was going to get on it right away…

            1. It doesn’t matter if it is intentional or not. They are still slowing things down. Not that BP deserves any awards.

        2. Please explain to me why in Lenin’s Name does the ACOE need an environmental impact study to produce sand berms to protect…that’s right,t he environment? It would be funny to watch the bohemoth federal government collapse under it’s own lethargy, you know if not for the whole putting fishermen out of work, ruining wetlands, tourism, and beaches.

          Try this feds: exercise your legitimate powers, granted by the constitution and we’ll talk about adding stuff.

        3. I’m sorry, who is it that we elect and pay to provide us with protections against things such as the gulf spill? When I buy gas at the pump, am I paying for anything other than gas? How is the company that provides what I need at a price I’m willing to pay evil? I guarantee that they didn’t want this spill to happen. However, crazy, regulation, licenses, inspections, fees and fines, failed to prevent exactly what they were meant to prevent. But yeah, it’s all the evil corporations fault.

          (I’m not saying that no one did anything wrong on the corporate side)

    2. I saw it a couple of weeks ago, too. I wasn’t aware of it until I saw people (favorably) commenting on it here.

      I love movies that aren’t retarded.

      1. I did guess the secret a little before I was supposed to, but it still worked. Very nice film. Wish there were more like it.

        1. I also, incidentally, watched a DVD this week of the original The Lathe of Heaven TV movie that PBS ran way back. Not bad, especially for a tough book to render on film.

        2. Me, too, Pro L.

          [Spoiler Alert]

          When he woke up back at the base after the accident, I figured he had to be a clone, because there wasn’t anybody/thing at the base that could have fished him out of the wreck.

          1. That’s it for me, too. In retrospect, they should’ve given the robot more mobility to blind us a little longer. On the other hand, maybe they wanted us to guess that.

            1. I dunno, I’m not really sure that it was supposed to be a huge reveal plot twist OMG type thing, since even if you figure it out early, it’s still an enjoyable movie. The whole thing doesn’t hinge on being surprised.

          2. Honesytly, I thought they were going for nutso-crazo angle, since there was a larger message they had to sell us about raping the resources of the natural world. (Right? RIGHT?) Needless to say, I was somewhat pleseantly surprised by the twist, but yeah, EVUL CORPRASHUNS is beyond tedious.

            1. It wasn’t emphasized or even explained that much, so it didn’t bother me. Besides, it’s not like companies (or any other human organization) can’t be evil. It’s just that they are the scapegoat a little too often in films.

              1. The abuses of government is something that’s been well understood by enlightened people since at least the Magna Carta.

                Corporate tyranny is a relatively new form of tyranny, and in my opinion hasn’t been explored nearly enough in literature and film.

                1. I’m curious about how much anti-corporate bias in film has influenced popular leftwing biases against businesses. Particularly in the sense of envisioning this evil, all-powerful corporate monolith.v That, of course, doesn’t exist.

  4. Of course there is nothing paranoid at all about seeing in everything a metaphor to the US’s involvement in the Iraq war. Greenwald is to the Iraq war what Andrew Sullivan is to Sarah Palin. If the Iraq war had a vagina, it would be the only vagina Greenwald ever found interesting.

  5. No need for the scary terror attacks. We already live in a secular Muslim world.

    The cartoon ? Mohammed on a couch, complaining that “OTHER prophets have followers with a sense of humour!” (apparently referring to the controversy over Everybody Draw Muhammad Day ? is here; it was published in the Mail & Guardian last Friday. The South African Council of Muslim Theologians tried to enjoin the publication of the cartoon, but the court didn’t grant an injunction. For more on the story, see this column by the Mail & Guardian’s editor; the cartoonist is promising a follow-up cartoon tomorrow.

    UPDATE: I’m sorry to say that the Mail & Guardian has apologized, and basically promised not to do it again, certainly during “the review period” but I suspect afterwards as well:

    The M&G communicated to the meeting its regret for the harm caused by the publication of the cartoon, and apologises for the effects thereof. The newspaper in no way intended to cause injury, or to associate itself with Islamophobia, which it repudiates in the strongest possible terms.

  6. Whatever you do..DON”T CLICK ON THE LINKS.

  7. It must have been some site seeing Bush and Cheney rappelling down those elevator shafts with all of those exposives strapped to their backs. I bet they had the theme from Mission Impossible playing on their ipods.

    1. More likely that Bush kept humming the theme song, and Cheney kept asking him to stop.

      1. That’s funny

  8. The point that Greenwald misses is Zionism – conspiracy theorizing in the Muslim world consists primarily of laying every conceivable ill that has ever befallen the Muslim world, real or imaginary, at the feet of a sinister Zionist cabal. I don’t believe there is any widely-accepted conspiracy theory in America or any other Western country that matches the Muslim world’s obsession with Zionism.

    1. Possibly. Good thing we’re doing all we can to disabuse the Muslim world of their delusions by openly supporting a Jewish apartheid regime and giving them a bunch of nukes.

      1. We didn’t give them nukes–they built them on their own, a long time ago. Nice conspiracy theory though.

        1. He thinks Jews are too stupid to build nuclear weapons.

  9. There is no reason for the Pakistanis to think we are meddling in their affairs.

    None whatsoever.

    1. This is Karzai’s brother. I have never made money in the drug trade and the CIA has nothing to do with my drug trafficking business. These conspiracy theorist need to be eliminated.

      1. If only we were smart enough to embrace drug trafficking as a way to buy off the Afghans. I so wish we actually had the CIA people like Gabe and Greenwald think we do.

        1. We wouldn’t even have to embrace recreational drug use.

          Just lift the restrictions on opiate pain-killers (frequently better than artificial alternatives anyway), and the medical market could probably soak up most of what Afghanistan produces.

  10. Grenwald obviously doesn’t know what a conspiracy theory is. From Merriam-Websters: “a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators.” His examples of western “conspiracy theories” are nothing but sloppy reporting or faulty intelligence.

  11. But John, only you have the answers to every problem.

    1. I have an answer for you. Starvation.

  12. Remember when Fox news alleged to Ahmadinejad that bin Laden was hiding in his country, with almost no evidence whatsoever?

    A Wahabbi terrorist seeking refuge in a Shiite country? If anyone hates bin Laden more than America, it’s the Iranian and Iraqi Shiites.

    Or the “evidence” that Shahzad (times square bomber) was trained in Pakistan and was a Taliban operative? Still waiting on that….

    Talk about conspiracy theories

    1. “A Wahabbi terrorist seeking refuge in a Shiite country?”

      It is crazy. Insane. Next thing they will tell you that a Shitte country will be supporting a Suni political group.…..l-1.253714

      1. Hamas doesn’t spend time condemning/killing Shiites.

        Al Qaeda does.

        1. And why does Al Quada kill shiites? Mostly to try to start a civil war in Iraq. And gee I wonder who would ever want that?

          1. Not Iran, if that’s your implication. A stable, Shiite-dominated Iraq benefits them more than us. Bloodshed and chaos could spill over easily

  13. I think Greenwald is really reaching to criticize this article.

    First, reporting that Pakistani distrust of America is fueled by rampant conspiracy theories doesn’t in any way imply that other countries in the world, including our own, don’t also have such theories. I don’t see the tone of this article as mocking them, it’s just reporting that these theories really are widely believed there.

    Second, his long list of American conspiracy theories doesn’t include many things that are really conspiracy theories. For starters, part of the definition of a “conspiracy theory” is that it can’t be disproven, and a lot of the examples of misreporting he gives have been disproven.

    Third, the article goes out of its way, I think, to point out that we (the U.S.) are only encouraging these conspiracy theories by conducting drone warfare in Pakistan under a veil of total denial, and conducting much of our diplomacy there in secret. Greenwald makes the same exact point as though he didn’t just read it in the article.

  14. 05/27/10 Paris, France ? Oil is still spilling into the Gulf of Mexico at an unknown rate.

    “Plug the damn hole,” says the nation’s chief executive to his aides. Why does he bother? His aides don’t know anything about plugging oil leaks under the ocean. And those people who do know something about it have been unable to fix the leak.

    Mr. Obama is not only America’s president. He also presides over the biggest single user of oil in the world ? the US military. The pentagon uses twice as much oil as the entire nation of Ireland. It sends soldiers in oil-burning airplanes to places of no apparent importance where they drive around in oil-burning machines for no apparent reason.

    Naturally, oil becomes not just another commodity, but a strategic commodity?worth fighting for. Then, foreign wars use up the oil they were expected to protect.

    But geopolitics is far beyond our understanding?and even farther out of our range of interest. We will just observe that the law of diminishing returns applies to just about everything. The farther offshore the roughnecks go?the deeper the sea and the higher the waves?the more the costs, the greater the risks and the lower the marginal returns. The return from Deepwater Horizon must be starkly negative?

    The farther afield US armies go, too, the greater the costs, the higher the risks, and the lower the marginal returns.

    “Why not just buy oil on the open market?”

    Well, it’s clear you don’t know anything about geopolitics either, dear reader?don’t you know that our enemies might try to cut us off from vital oil supplies? That’s why Germany and Japan lost WWII! We were able to cut of their fuel?

    “But weren’t Germany and Japan fighting for access to oil? Didn’t their politicians say they had to invade Poland?and the Philippines?to protect their vital supplies?”

    No?they were aggressors. They were bad people?

    “But if they hadn’t been the aggressors they wouldn’t have been bad people, right?”

    That’s right?

    “Then, we wouldn’t have cut off their access to oil!”

    Oh, never mind. You’ll never understand geopolitics, will you?

    Bill Bonner

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