It’s been burbling up from the conservative media for nearly six months, starting with Fox News. Last year, the network’s reporter Catherine Herridge reported on a ship that had arrived to Turkey from Libya laden with weapons. Ordnance left unsecured after the fall of Gaddafi was being taken to Syria to overthrow another dictator.
This isn’t in much dispute. The dispute, and the theory, is that the weapons used to kill Americans in Benghazi were made available by bungling American gun-runners. That’s the theory floated by Roger Simon, who talks to two “Benghazi whistleblowers” (multiplying like rabbits now).
[Chris] Stevens’ mission in Benghazi, they will say, was to buy back Stinger missiles from al-Qaeda groups issued to them by the State Department, not by the CIA. Such a mission would usually be a CIA effort, but the intelligence agency had opposed the idea because of the high risk involved in arming “insurgents” with powerful weapons that endanger civilian aircraft.
It’s a nearly perfect scandal—Fast and Furious plus Benghazi, a sort of Neapolitan sundae of outrage and disgrace. If the anonymous accusers are wrong, we have plenty of other ways to explain the loose weapons in Benghazi and the transfer to Syria. And making it possible for the stray weapons to get to Syria is the sort of thing both parties in Congress largely favor. But the darkest version of the theory is gaining ground on the right.
A look back at an author/speaker active in the 50s and 60s whose whose anti-Communist, pro-Racist agenda would now be considered part of mainstream conservatism in America. ‘Reds Promote Racial War’ (1958) could have been written by Joseph Farah.
Kudos to the Cold War historians at CONELRAD for their research. The article is a blog post from September, 2010.
For example, while it has been known for some time that people who believe in one conspiracy theory are also likely to believe in other conspiracy theories, we would expect contradictory conspiracy theories to be negatively correlated. Yet, this is not what psychologists Micheal Wood, Karen Douglas and Robbie Suton found in a recent study. Instead, the research team, based at the University of Kent in England, found that many participants believed in contradictory conspiracy theories. For example, the conspiracy-belief that Osama Bin Laden is still alive was positively correlated with the conspiracy-belief that he was already dead before the military raid took place. This makes little sense, logically: Bin Laden cannot be both dead and alive at the same time. An important conclusion that the authors draw from their analysis is that people don’t tend to believe in a conspiracy theory because of the specifics, but rather because of higher-order beliefs that support conspiracy-like thinking more generally. A popular example of such higher-order beliefs is a severe “distrust of authority.” The authors go on to suggest that conspiracism is therefore not just about belief in an individual theory, but rather an ideological lens through which we view the world.
Edited to add (emphasis below mine):
Interestingly, belief in conspiracy theories has recently been linked to the rejection of science. In a paper published in Psychological Science, Stephen Lewandowsky and colleagues investigated the relation between acceptance of science and conspiricist thinking patterns. While the authors’ survey was not representative of the general population, results suggest that (controlling for other important factors) belief in multiple conspiracy theories significantly predicted the rejection of important scientific conclusions, such as climate science or the fact that smoking causes lung cancer. Yet, rejection of scientific principles is not the only possible consequence of widespread belief in conspiracy theories. Another recent study indicates that receiving positive information about or even being merely exposed to conspiracy theories can lead people to become disengaged from important political and societal topics. For example, in their study, Daniel Jolley and Karen Douglas clearly show that participants who received information that supported the idea that global warming is a hoax were less willing to engage politically and also less willing to implement individual behavioral changes such as reducing their carbon footprint.
I’m thinking this latter bit explains how the TPGOP is starting to implode.
If it wasn’t for gerrymandering, I suspect 2014 would be the first nail in its coffin.
Radicalizing like Yahweh Ben Yahweh did in the 1980s.
Arming yourself, doomsday prepping, and detachment from society, especially all those stupid sheeple (it’s amazing how often Jones calls his audience stupid!), is the solution. Civil society, voting, community, charity, and collective action aren’t the solution. It’s guns, and isolation.
Should we then be surprised when individuals influenced by these conspiracy theories resort to violence? Should we be surprised that people that are told the political process is a sham, the government is killing us at will, and everyone else who doesn’t believe this is stupid, go out and target government, and other citizens, and cops, indiscriminately? Isn’t this just conspiracy theorists, like Jones, and Al Qaeda for that matter, just reaping what they sow?
Read the article at ScienceBlogs.
This article didn’t surprise me much, but it’s good to know that scientists are looking at the problem carefully.
Forget everything you thought you knew about the Boston bombings. The real story behind the attack involves not a pair of radicalized brothers, but a world-spanning conspiracy of Michelle Obama, a network of Russian oligarchs, and an army of stagehands armed with fake blood. Oh, and deceased suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev? He was taken alive. Naked.
Of course all this is true, it’s on the internet. And the internet’s conspiracy theorists have been hard at work the past week revealing the hidden secrets behind the Boston Marathon bombings. The reason for all the complexity and machinations between the rich and powerful: it’s a necessary measure before imposing martial law in the United States. Boston was merely the catalyst.
Before you dismiss all this, ask yourself: can you prove the Boston bombings aren’t part of a plan to impose martial law? Didn’t think so. Asking our audience to disprove non-falsifiable claims is also an essential part of Tinfoil Tuesday, Danger Room’s sporadic venture into the delectable lunacy of online conspiracy theories. That sleight of hand involving the burden of proof are central to the conspiracy theories about Boston.
The Boston Marathon bombings have become a conspiratorial cornucopia. One video circulating the web purports to show a stripped Tamerlan being taken into custody, after he died. Other theories focused on Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi, a student and Saudi national who was injured in the bombing — and incorrectly reported by the New York Post to be a “potential” suspect. “Why was the investigation of a mysterious Saudi national with familial links to al-Qaeda suddenly dropped shortly after the Saudi ambassador held an unscheduled meeting with Barack Obama?” blogger Michael Snyder asked yesterday. “Why did Michelle Obama subsequently visit that mysterious Saudi national in the hospital?”
Right Wing Watch details the lineup at The Awakening 2013: Fighting For the Soul of America, and it is essentially All Star Wingnuts.
The host of the Awakening conference, Staver has a long anti-gay record. He blamed the 2008 financial crisis on banks that “actively promoted the homosexual agenda” and said lawmakers who support marriage equality “are not competent for public office.” Staver has repeatedly called for a “revolution” to protest gay equality and warned that gay rights laws will increase violent crime, kill people and eventually destroy America and western civilization. He defended a Malawi law criminalizing homosexuality and argued that Obama supports “forced homosexuality.”
Dean, a Minnesota-based Religious Right activist and close Bachmann ally, extolled Muslims who are “calling for the executions of homosexuals in America” as “more moral” than American Christians and applauded African nations that imprison homosexuals. He has called homosexuality “a mental illness” and blamed gays for the Holocaust. Dean also believes that the government staged the Sandy Hook and Aurora mass murders to push gun control policies and that it was also behind the 9/11 attacks and the Oklahoma City bombing.
Porter is the architect behind anti-choice “heartbeat laws,” which effectively criminalize abortion. Such laws recently passed in North Dakota and Arkansas and have been considered in numerous other states. She has called on conservative Christians to gain control of government and the media, warning that under President Obama, conservatives and Christians may be put in concentration camps or starved to death. Porter prayed after the 2008 election that God would prevent Obama, whom she thinks might be a Communist spy from Russia, from taking office, and insisted that God will send Obama supporters to Hell.
A conspiracy theorist blogger, Geller has repeatedly suggested that President Obama is a Muslim — describing him as a “muhammadan” who “wants jihad to win” and supports a genocide against Jews — and the “love child” of Malcolm X, “a bastard, literally and figuratively.” She even attempted to justify far-right Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik’s attack on a left-wing youth camp, going so far as to blame the victims. Geller has also called for the destruction of the Dome of the Rock and likened an Islamic community center to a Ku Klux Klan “shrine.”
Gaffney is a birther who believes that President Obama is a “secret Muslim” and accuses the president of supporting Sharia law and pushing “efforts to promote Islamism.” He has even said that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel behaves like “an Iranian agent” and urged senators to oppose the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA because Brennan knows how to speak Arabic. Gaffney also helped engineer Bachmann’s witch hunt targeting Muslim officials in government. His views are so extreme that he has been banned from two leading conservative gatherings.
There’s a bevy of links detailing how nutso these people are within the RWW article linked above.