Ex-conspiracy theorist admits he was a fool.

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MelO
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Ex-conspiracy theorist admits he was a fool.

Post by MelO » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:28 pm

I was a fool to believe the mafia killed JFK

Daniel FinkelsteinOctober 31 2017, 5:00pm,
new
Conspiracy theories are seductive but they pollute politics by dressing up attacks on fact as striving for the truth


Allison: “Then everybody’s in on the conspiracy? The FBI and the CIA and J. Edgar Hoover and oil companies and the Pentagon and the men’s room attendant at the White House?”

Alvy: “I would leave out the men’s room attendant.”

Woody Allen’s Annie Hall

Last week I received an excited text from a friend. “At last you will get to find out if your theory is correct,” it read. I knew what he meant and I went slightly pink. He meant that papers on John F Kennedy’s assassination were about to be released. And I could see if my conspiracy theory was right.

He may have been teasing me, but I don’t think so. He remembers my earnest lectures about the mafia and Jack Ruby and the grassy knoll. He was pleased that I might get some closure.

Here’s why I went pink. I already had closure. I just hadn’t told him. It had been about ten years since I’d begun to realise the conspiracy theories were probably wrong, and about five or six since, with an acute sense of embarrassment, I began to conclude that no intelligent person should have ever believed them.

So why did I believe such nonsense? Let me confess — and this is the worst bit of the whole thing — that I believed it because I wanted to. It was fun. All those books with their secrets and hints were fantastic. It was much better than crime fiction because it was real. And, like all the other conspiracy theorists, I was the detective. If I worked hard enough I might crack this amazing case wide open. Me! How hard could it be?

Of course I knew that this was a bit ridiculous but I was enjoying it too much to care. I shopped around before picking but in the end here’s what I bought: the organised crime theory.

The mafia, and in particular the Chicago mobster Sam Giancana, hated the Kennedys (fact). Giancana had shared a girlfriend with JFK (fact) and had used her to pass money between them (contested but probably true) that Frank Sinatra helped distribute to the Kennedys (ditto).

Giancana therefore anticipated that the Kennedys would be friendly to him (fact) but instead Robert Kennedy, when he became attorney general, went after Giancana and the mob (fact) and as a result they hated Bobby and talked frequently among themselves about how nice it would be if someone did away with him (fact).

And then Bobby left office because his brother was killed (a little while later, but fact) and the man accused of killing him was conveniently shot by Jack Ruby, someone who, blow me down, had mafia, and Giancana, connections (slightly hazy fact which I needed to do a bit of reading to pin down but “fact” certainly).

So there you go, that’s a lot of facts and not too many loose ends. You’re not seriously trying to tell me that’s all a coincidence, are you?

My theory didn’t require the involvement of the CIA or the people conducting the autopsy or Lyndon Johnson to be in on it. Or the men’s room attendant at the White House. I wasn’t that far gone. And simple conspiracies didn’t seem to me that far fetched. Mine was simpler than Watergate, simpler than the charge made against Jeremy Thorpe and his mates for the thing involving Norman Scott’s dog. So it could be true.

Except that it wasn’t. I’d become a little shaky on it already just because of the company I was keeping, but then I read Gerald Posner’s Case Closed and discovered that during the entire period, in fact since 1959, the FBI had been bugging Giancana and the Chicago mafia. In thousands of hours of tapes, including hours of them talking after JFK’s assassination, there wasn’t the smallest hint of them being involved or knowing who was.

And the thing about Ruby’s mob connections turned out to be rubbish too. There was no link; it was people adding two and two together and making five. I have also been around politics too long to believe any of the more complex theories. Involve more than four people in a discussion about the shadow cabinet’s policy on whether chess is a sport and it will leak. It’s impossible to believe that dozens of people knew who killed JFK and no one has said a word.

Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. And so did Jack Ruby.

So why bother bringing this all up now, just to tell you I used to believe something and now I don’t? Well, obviously it matters a bit in and of itself. If the JFK theories — my old one or any of the wilder ones — are right they would change the way we understand history and power in America. And if the CIA or the FBI or Lyndon Johnson did away with the president (which they didn’t) it would suggest that America’s claim during the Cold War to be the democratic alternative was a bit of a fraud.

But the real reason for raising it is that conspiracy theories are now so widespread and so dangerous.

I feel dreadful for thinking it was fun. It’s just naive not to appreciate that conspiracy thinking involves accusing real people of covering up crimes or even murder.

Just listen to the Apollo astronauts as they grapple with the accusation that they faked the moon landing. And read this week about how conspiracists hound the widow of former government scientist David Kelly. Even when she felt driven to exhume his body they claimed it was proof of a dark plot involving his role in the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction controversy.

Conspiracy thinking involves a concerted attack on the truth dressed up as concern for the truth. And it hacks at the roots of political democracy, arguing that everything we think we know, we don’t. And that every institution we invest with authority is in fact organised to subvert our interests. The goodies are really the baddies.

Every terrorist crime, for instance, is a false flag operation. The Holocaust was a hoax. The real criminals aren’t the perpetrators, who are merely stooges. The CIA did it, or the Blairites, or Mossad. Yes, from the dawn of time, it hasn’t been a real conspiracy unless the Jews come into it somehow.

It’s incredibly hard to fight this corrosive way of thinking. Those who subscribe to it tenaciously resist any challenge, having a ready answer to even the most compelling contradictory evidence. So I suppose the best I can do, my little bit as it were, is admit I was a fool. Maybe I can encourage some others.

daniel.finkelstein@thetimes.co.uk

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catkins
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Re: Ex-conspiracy theorist admits he was a fool.

Post by catkins » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:00 pm

At least he admits he was wrong.........now other conspiracy peeps will be convinced that he has been 'got at'..... :s_crazy
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Carana
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Re: Ex-conspiracy theorist admits he was a fool.

Post by Carana » Wed Nov 01, 2017 4:28 pm

Some of the weirdest bits that seem to be actually true are the "hair-brained" schemes to bump off Castro.... including exploding seashells.

http://news.sky.com/story/jfk-files-10- ... l-11100364
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Hael
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Re: Ex-conspiracy theorist admits he was a fool.

Post by Hael » Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:58 pm

catkins wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:00 pm
At least he admits he was wrong.........now other conspiracy peeps will be convinced that he has been 'got at'..... :s_crazy
Unfortunately, yes.
The trolls funding a shamed coppers right to lie about Kate and Gerry McCann are a new level of weirdo.[omitted] they may have destroyed all hope for good.Talking up conspiracy theories is one thing.Wrecking the search for an abducted child is another.-The Sun

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