A conspiracy theory alleges a coordinated group is, or was, secretly working to commit illegal or wrongful actions, including attempting to hide the existence of the group and its activities. In notable cases these theories contrast what is represented by the mainstream explanation for historical or current events.
Diversity in conspiracy theory
The term "conspiracy theory" may be a neutral descriptor for any conspiracy claim. To conspire means "to join in a secret agreement to do an unlawful or wrongful act or to use such means to accomplish a lawful end." On the other hand, because of its strong negative connotations, the term conspiracy theorist can also be used to attack individuals or groups who support the idea that certain facts are being covered up, usually in the political arena.
The vast majority of conspiracy theories that are in existence today are related to the following topics:
- Media censorship.
- Corporate influence in politics and war profiteering.
- Undermining of the democratic process by mainstream political figures.
- The existence of an Anglophile Eastern Establishment in the United States.
- The existence of a conspiratorial hard-right anti-communist and anti-labor establishment in the West.
- The existence of an Illuminati and the influence of Freemasonry.
- The covert influence of the Vatican.
- Political assassinations, most notably President John F. Kennedy.
- Government-sponsored terrorism, most notably Gladio operations in Europe and 9/11.
- Government-sponsored drug trafficking operations to finance black operations.
- The existence of (past) mind control experiments.
- Cover-ups of high officials involved in child abuse networks.
- A cover-up about the existence of UFOs.
It is important to note that not everyone who has been labeled a "conspiracy theorist" believes in every topic mentioned here. Many "conspiracy theorists" only attack what they perceive as a disproportionate amount of influence of corporations in politics and the media. Other "conspiracy theorists" have only written about the Gladio networks, the Israel lobby, or the UFO phenomenon.
An almost universal complaint from supporters of a conspiracy theory is that the media is not listening to their arguments and instead promotes the idea that these theories have just been made up out of thin air. Over the decades this has led to a general aversion of the word "conspiracy theory" in the general population which automatically associates the term with anything ranging from "eccentric" to "mental illnes". Most conspiracy theorists would see the following approach by the BBC to conspiracy theory as very typical.
"There is plenty of evidence that the human condition is such that we have a need to believe there is something more than the here-and-now. With the decline in organised religions in the West, there has been something of a shortage in this respect and nature, abhorring as she does a vacuum, has conveniently plugged the gap with the conspiracy theory. ... One key reason that conspiracy theories survive is that they are nurtured. These days the Internet is such that even the most bizarre opinion is likely to find a following somewhere (if you don't believe this, read up on Mike Corley)." http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/brunel/A476741
Resources and articles
Related Sourcewatch articles
- Nexus (magazine)
- New Dawn (magazine)
- Emanuel Josephson - Author of Rockefeller, 'Internationalist': The Man Who Misrules the World.
- Carl Oglesby- Former president of the Students for a Democratic Society
- Gary Allen - Author of None Dare Call It Conspiracy.
- Constance Cumbey - Author of The Hidden Dangers of The Rainbow: The New Age Movement and our Coming Age of Barbarism.
- Jordan Maxwell - Author on secret societies, occult philosophies, and ufology since 1959.
- Peter Dale Scott - Professor at the University of California and founder of the deep politics concept.
- John DeCamp - Author of the The Franklin Cover-Up, a book about elitist child abuse. Long-time senator and friend of CIA director William Colby.
- Lee Penn - Author of False Dawn: The United Religions Initiative, Globalism, and the Quest for a One-World Religion.
- Daniel Sheehan - Harvard-educated lawyer who became the US representative of the Jesuits. Wrote extensively on conspiracy affairs.
- Daniel Hopsicker - Investigated the story of the 9/11 hijackers in Florida and CIA drug trafficking.
- Lyndon LaRouche - Controversial political candidate whose organization writes extensively on conspiracy affairs.
- Michael C. Ruppert - Investigative author on CIA drug trafficking and 9/11.
- Bo Gritz - Delta Force commander who exposed CIA/government involvement in the smuggling of Golden Triangle opium.
- Jonathan Kwitney - Award-winning journalist who wrote the book The Crimes of Patriots: A True Story of Dope, Dirty Money, and the C.I.A.
- Alfred McCoy - Yale-educated Professor of History and author of The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia. CIA complicity in the global drug trade
- Anthony C. Sutton
- Gary Webb - Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who exposed the CIA-link to the crack-cocaine epidemic in California.
- Zahir Ebrahim - Prisoner of the Cave
- Carroll Quigely - Book review
- Foster Gamble, Director of Thrive, the Movie
- Ian Crane - UK
- Mike Adams (conspiracy) - editor of Natural News
- G. Edward Griffin
- Leonard G. Horowitz
- Alex Jones (InfoWars)
- Meria Heller - radio host
- Wikipedia article
- Daily Conspiracy Theories
- Conspiracy Forums
- The Disclosure Project
- Jan van Helsing, "Secret Societies and their Power in the 20th Century", Ewertverlag S.L., 1994.
- Chip Berlet, "Right Woos Left", Political Research Associates, Revised Draft: February 22, 1994.
- Jon Phalen, "Let's Step Out Of The Box For A Moment, Shall We? A reply To The Anticonspiratorialists", Swans, June 3, 2002.
- Phillip Adams, "A Culture of Conspiracy: Interview with Michael Barkun ", February 18, 2004. (Sound file). (Barkun is Professor of Political Science at the Maxwell School, Syracuse University
- Michael Barkun, "A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America", University of California Press, November 2003.(This is a link to details of Barkun's book).
- Political Research Associates, “Conspiracism, undated. (This site has a large collection or articles on right-wing conspiracisim in the U.S.).
- Mike Ward, "Top 10 Conspiracy Theories of 2003-2004," AlterNet, May 18, 2004.
- Michael Albert, "Conspiracy Theory", Z Magazine
- Anna Hipsley, "Conspiracy Theories", Background Briefing, ABC Radio National, May 1, 2005.
- James H. Fetzer, Ph.D., "Thinking about "Conspiracy Theories": 9/11 and JFK", Chapter in THE 9/11 CONSPIRACY (Chicago, IL: Catfeet Press/Open Court, forthcoming).
- Morgan Reynolds, "Conspiracy and Closed Minds on 9/11", March, 2006.
- Stephen Philion, "Conspiracy Theory, Fears of Betrayal and Today's Anti-War Movement: An Interview with Jerry Lembcke", Counterpunch, February 27, 2008.
- Anthony DiMaggio , "Conspiracy Inc.: The Reactionary Right and the Threat to American Democracy", Znet, October 30, 2009.
- David Aaronovitch, Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History (Riverhead Hardcover, 2010).
- Farooq Sulehria, "Conspiracy theories or resistance", Znet, January 03, 2010.
- Richard Landes and Steven Katz, eds., The Paranoid Apocalypse: A Hundred-Year Retrospective on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (New York: New York University Press, 2012).
- Maggie Koerth-Baker, "Why Rational People Buy Into Conspiracy Theories," New York Times magazine, May 21, 2013.