Note: This is Part Two of a 5-part commentary that will run each morning this week. Begin reading the series with Part One HERE.
US Conspiracies: We Can Do That
Conspiracists are aided by the fact that in the US, and at the highest levels, we engage in a wide variety of conspiracies to shape events. Our contemporary history is a litany of high level government officials engaging in unscrupulous actions to influence world events.
- John Kennedy successfully conspired to overthrow South Vietnamese leader Ngo Ding Diem, resulting in Diem’s murder.
- Kennedy also sanctioned a number of CIA plots to kill Fidel Castro ranging from the comic to the absurd.
- Richard Nixon successfully conspired to overthrow Chile’s democratically elected president Salvador Allende who was subsequently killed.
- Nixon also conspired to cover-up his role in the botched break-in at Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate Complex in Washington, DC. He resigned because of it.
-Ronald Reagan’s closest advisers approved financing Central American insurgents in a complicated, illegal and ultimately unsuccessful “money for missiles conspiracy” with Iran.
What these events and others have in common is:
-they involve generally small groups of very smart people who have the discipline, training and resources to keep a secret.
-they are a highly selective group chosen for their intellect, experience and for understanding the importance of information security.
-they are vetted exhaustively during the recruitment process to ensure that their personal and professional backgrounds lend support to their ability to engage in confidential work.
You might have noticed that these US conspiracies are widely known and documented in media and academia with scores of citations and ever expanding converging sources of information and affirmation. They are undisputed in the main because information about them, including participants, means and methods trickled out and then became a torrent of reliably vetted facts because of our congenital inability to hide the interesting or infamous. In our country, you just can’t keep a secret, especially a really good (or heinous) one.
In each case, and in dozens of other lesser ones, either a direct participant or a supporting person “spilled the beans” or evidence of the activities was available to reporters or researchers merely by looking, asking or filing a FOIA. And, conspiracists often choose to explain or interpret their actions in light of national security or patriotism. (The renowned Dr. Johnson famously said, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” Always beware when folks, even firefighters, wrap themselves in Old Glory.)
Scoundrels we may be, but secret keepers we are most assuredly not.
The conclusion can only be that America is not conspiracy free but rather that we are historically incapable of keeping them quiet. Perhaps it is the combination of a (mostly free) press and the fact that no matter how secret the secret, everybody tells somebody.
Whatever the reason, the notion that Americans can perpetrate large (or even small) scale conspiracies and successfully maintain their secrecy is absurd, inane and ridiculous. Even the “single cell” conspiracies enumerated above fell apart quickly and completely under the scrutiny of the press and the public. The larger the alleged conspiracy, including ones involving the destruction of huge buildings and the deaths of thousands of people, the less likely that there is any truth in it or that it could be kept secret for ten seconds, much less ten years.
Part Three: Anatomy of a Conspiracist: Smarter Than the Average Bear? is HERE.
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