Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Trust The Government Or You're Officially Nuts

New York Times Warning: Trust Authorities on Boston Bombing, or You’re Nuts

CaptureA huge story can set off alarm bells everywhere, but somehow, with ever increasing frequency, we note the silence of the mainstream media. Having avoided doing its job, it then protects its flank by denigrating those who call for inquiries.
This Is Your Brain on CT
A recent example is this Times article : “Why Rational People Buy Into Conspiracy Theories.” It is illustrated with a Victorian diagram of the brain, updated to show the conspiracy theorist’s brain–with a flying saucer inside. The message is unmistakable: if you believe in any conspiracy (i.e., organized but deliberately hidden effort or operation) at all, you also believe in flying saucers carrying little green men.
The article reinforces this implication.
Here’s how it begins:
In the days following the bombings at the Boston Marathon, speculation online regarding the identity and motive of the unknown perpetrator or perpetrators was rampant. And once the Tsarnaev brothers were identified and the manhunt came to a close, the speculation didn’t cease. It took a new form. A sampling: Maybe the brothers Tsarnaev were just patsies, fall guys set up to take the heat for a mysterious Saudi with high-level connections; or maybe they were innocent, but instead of the Saudis, the actual bomber had acted on behalf of a rogue branch of our own government; or what if the Tsarnaevs were behind the attacks, but were secretly working for a larger organization?
Crazy as these theories are…..
The essay, by Times magazine columnist Maggie Koerth-Baker, implicitly suggests the public should immediately halt speculation once law enforcement officials “leak” information intended to shape our perceptions. No matter that these leaks are not the same thing as evidence presented at trial, that the leaks themselves serve an agenda, and that law enforcement has a long history of attempting to persuade the public of false narratives. No matter that the latter is a practice repeatedly, if often belatedly, chronicled by the Times itself.
Science Orders You: Stop Thinking Rationally
The author goes on to say that “recent scientific research” tells us that people who believe there’s more to a story may actually accept several competing theories as plausible. And because they are open to competing theories, they’re basically wacky. Such an ecumenical orientation to mysteries, akin to tolerating various conflicting religious faiths, is supposed to show that there’s something wrong with you.
However, another study might find that those who prefer pat explanations from the authorities are equally irrational.
For example, when the Tsarnaevs were first identified by the public from video footage released by the FBI, the Bureau told us the Tsarnaevs were previously unknown to it. Then the Bureau was forced by the Russians to admit it had known the brothers for quite some time. In fact, the Russians had briefed the Bureau on its concerns several years ago, and at that time, in response to the Russian information, the FBI had begun interacting with the Tsarnaev clan. This unexplained about-face was, according to establishmentarians, just fine. No questions, your honor.
Here’s another doozy. We were initially told that MIT police officer Sean Collier was killed in an altercation April 18 with the Tsarnaevs—perhaps at a convenience store. Later, the authorities said Collier was actually assassinated completely unaware—shot point blank in the head while sitting in his patrol car—at an odd spot in between buildings on the MIT campus—and by unknown assailants. This switcheroo was also A-OK with outfits like The Times. Nothing to investigate, no reason to be suspicious.
On April 19, the authorities told us that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev shot it out in a long gun battle with police before being apprehended. Later we learned, from the same authorities, that the young man, lying seriously wounded inside a boat parked in a suburban driveway, actually did not even have a gun with him. In fact, he was nearly executed in a totally one-sided gun battle. This fabulous flip-flop also raised no red flag with the establishment media.
On May 22 the authorities told us the FBI had to kill Tsarnaev’s acquaintance in Orlando, Florida, Ibragim Todashev, because he lunged with a knife and stabbed an agent several times. Later, it emerged that, well, maybe he didn’t have a knife at all, but maybe at some time he brandished a broomstick, or, at article press time, something else. And that was OK too, by gosh, for the journalistic glitterati.
Let’s face it: If a suspect in an interrogation room told this many contradictory stories, he or she would be locked up, and later probably prove eminently convictable by a jury. But a person who sees something sinister in such official confabulations gets lumped together with the people who see little green men from Mars floating in their soup.
Swami Says
Anyone who has ever written for outfits like the Times knows that sucking up to authority will always serve one well professionally. Consider the eagerly establishment-pleasing Koerth-Baker, a “science editor” who scrupulously follows the journalism-school rules of the road: She dredges up the perennial “academic” so that it appears that her reporting has no agenda—she’s just sharing what some “expert” thinks.
To prove what idiots her fellow Americans are, she turns to her expert, Dr. Viren Swami, a psychology researcher at a university which, we discovered, ranked 70th out of 106 UK universities on “research standards.”
Swami’s expertise to judge a large part of the population fantasists when it comes to security-state ops seems questionable. His doctorate is in “Body Size Ideals across Cultures”. His post-doctoral study was on “men and masculinities.” He has investigated such issues as “Why do hungry and stressed men idealize a heavier body size than do satiated and unstressed men?” and “the impact of body art (tattoos and piercings) on interpersonal perceptions.”
But more recently, he says, he’s been studying“why some people are more likely than others to accept and disseminate conspiracy theories.” Swami, in his picture, looks barely out of his twenties. Surely too young to remember all the security-service perfidy and cover-ups revealed by official investigations in both the United States and the UK. But Koerth-Baker assures us that Swami does include “conspiracy belief” in his many studies, and shares his wisdom with us:
“The best predictor of belief in a conspiracy theory is belief in other conspiracy theories,” says Viren Swami, a psychology professor who studies conspiracy belief at the University of Westminster in England. Psychologists say that’s because a conspiracy theory isn’t so much a response to a single event as it is an expression of an overarching worldview.
Turning the Eye Chart Upside Down
Koerth-Baker invokes a tired and overused Wikipedia-style meme from the late historian Richard Hofstadter on the “paranoid style” (also invoked by a rabid if purportedly liberal Los Angeles Times writer to dismiss a book by yours truly on connections between the Bush clan, their circle, and improperly understood American tragedies, while managing to ignore the book’s massive documentation—including more than a thousand footnotes). Koerth-Baker then says that:
Since Hofstadter’s book was published, our access to information has vastly improved, which you would think would have helped minimize such wild speculation. But according to recent scientific research on the matter, it most likely only serves to make theories more convincing to the public.
Perhaps that is because, of the many hundreds of books on the JFK assassination, about 95 percent of the best written and researched volumes, from credentialed academics, journalists and researchers, conclude that John F. Kennedy was not killed by a lone kook, but by real, powerful people who actively endorsed and sponsored overthrows and murders of elected leaders around the world, No matter. The author continues:
Perfectly sane minds possess an incredible capacity for developing narratives, and even some of the wildest conspiracy theories can be grounded in rational thinking, which makes them that much more pernicious. Consider this: 63 percent of registered American voters believe in at least one political conspiracy theory, according to a recent poll conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Her assumption is that, in a country perennially employing tens of thousands of top-secret covert operatives, homicide-trained assassins and “special forces” enthusiasts, no one has any reason to suspect that any event involving some kind of death or mayhem was ever engineered on an organized basis.

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