Conspiracy Panic

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    • #358904
      • Total Posts: 8,022


      The most consequential false conspiracy theory of the last twenty years in the United States centered on fabricated accusations raised against the Iraqi state in 2002-3. These claimed that Iraq maintained secret stores of “weapons of mass destruction” and intended to use them against the West, perhaps imminently. Most versions also insinuated the Saddam regime was involved in some vague manner in perpetrating the 9/11 attacks together with its sworn enemies, the jihadi movements then doing business as al-Qaeda. That is what the vice-president running the regime, Cheney, repeatedly said. His president, Bush, just repeated the magic words 9/11-Saddam-9/11-Saddam-9/11 for months, until it was taken to be true by enough people to allow a smooth start to the carnage. The claims were actively fabricated by officials and agents at several agencies of the U.S., UK and other national security states, by various client groups and allied journalists, and by freelance assholes looking to get a piece of the action. The fabricators knew they were lying, and they knew that they lied so as to sell a planned, unprovoked war of aggression to the American, UK, and other western publics. The resulting war destroyed a nation, led to more than a million deaths, and accelerated the establishment of an archipelago of torture centers under U.S. control.

      In short, the “Saddam-WMD-9/11” conspiracy theory was a top-down psychological operation conducted by state-based agents against the public, and freely trumpeted by nearly all organs of the U.S. corporate media. It has been completely discredited, but rarely will you here it called a conspiracy theory. None of the perpetrators of the campaign have been prosecuted, and most have continued their career trajectories unhindered by their participation in this well-known crime. Today many of them have been embraced by the Democratic establishment as heroic fighters against Trump — the same Democratic establishment that always seeks distance from actual fighters against Trump.

      The most consequential American conspiracy theories ever were the Red Scares of 1919-21 and the late 1940s and early 1950s. Both met with a degree of popular enthusiasm and broad fear-based assent, but both were initiated and run by state and corporate-based elements as top-down psychological operations against the public, specifically targeting the left, labor organizers, and journalists, celebrities or teachers who showed insufficient anti-Communist fervor. Both campaigns succeeded in transforming American society and politics in a right-wing direction, and helped in partly dismantling the progressive, leftist and honestly liberal movements of their times.

      A recent conspiracy panic campaign, #Russiagate, presented a mythic (and facially laughable) explanation for how the Democrats managed to lose the unloseable 2016 election. It appears to have been intended to weaken or to knock Trump out of office. If so, it backfired completely, presenting a fictional distraction from the far-worse realities of the regime’s violent policies and incipient fascism. Every time that the ludicrous and byzantine accusations fell apart (predictably, in every case), Trump’s position was strengthened, and that of real opposition to Trump’s barbarities was weakened.



    • #358915
      • Total Posts: 192

      Lying scumbag party versus lying scumbag party.

    • #358916
      • Total Posts: 1,052

      But whenever Dems do it, it fails. Wow, politics certainly has devolved into the rediculus.

    • #358923
      Ohio Barbarian
      • Total Posts: 16,290

      Good point. I like his last paragraph:

      Conspiracy panic is a propaganda weapon that props up an overall portrayal of the mass of the people (and especially critics of the ideological hegemony, of whatever stripe, good or bad) as ipso-facto stupid, preemptively discredited, crazy, unworthy of participation in discourse, and dangerous. Conspiracy panic nowadays is a go-to for liberals to deny and distract and divert to incremental bullshit, and not have to think about systemic irrationality, falsehood, evils and failures, and how most of the unfolding disasters — including Trump himself — are not aberrations or surprises but predictable and systemic. It’s easier and more comforting to affect being appalled at the stupidity of QAnon (or the supposed millions who were moved to vote for Trump only because they saw a “Russian” post online), and to virtue-signal that you are different from the dumb right-wing patsies who eat that shit up, than to spend too much time being aware that the billionaire and corporate and ensconced policy-making ruling class as a whole — their names are known and plastered in the headlines — is by definition a predator class, professionally incapable of mercy, with overwhelming power over the rest of us, acting in ways that guarantee capitalism and its “ways of life” will continue burning the planet, literally, until the ecosystem’s capacity to sustain the present human civilization and population collapses. Which, speaking in historical lengths, is imminent, and possibly no longer reversible. Fight this anyway.

      Note that on SV, MSNBC,  and other Democratic cheerleader places, Russiagate is never a conspiracy theory, but an article of faith which all true liberals and Democrats are required to believe, just like WMD was pushed as an article of faith for first all Americans, then later all Republicans. In fact, one of the people who pushed WMD as fact was Joe Biden.

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I'll show you a crook.--Harry Truman

    • #358926
      • Total Posts: 1,835

      Caitlin Johnstone “One of the main lessons I’ve learned from the Trump era is that one can see literally anything as “a gift to Vladimir Putin” if they squint hard enough and are stupid enough.”

    • #358933
      • Total Posts: 2,313

      And damn right I’m going to signal far and wide that I’m not like the millions of gullible right wing patsies—TV addicts my age— who eat that stuff off a stick.

    • #358960
      • Total Posts: 2,114

      To respond to this piece, complain about the omission of citations to Jack Bratich, Liz Franczak or Karl Marx, or to remind Nicholas Levis that he ought to follow his own advice, write to

      If you cannot dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit WC Fields

    • #358969
      • Total Posts: 2,418

      So much time had been spent discrediting even the word “conspiracy” (despite the fact that it’s a bona fide legal term) that it was necessary to choose another word in order to avoid the blowback from their own propaganda.

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