by Philip Greenspan
(Swans - April 23, 2007) Operation Ajax (1953 Iran -- overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh); Operation PBSUCCESS (1954 Guatemala -- overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán); Bay of Pigs (1961 Cuba -- failed attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro); Tonkin Gulf Resolution (1964 Vietnam -- US fraudulent justification for war); No cryptonym designations (1958 Indonesia -- failed attempt to overthrow Sukarno and 1965-1966 Indonesia -- overthrow of Sukarno); Project Cherry (1967 Cambodia -- failed attempt to overthrow and assassinate Prince Norodom Sihanouk); Operation Menu (1969-1970 Cambodia -- secret bombing); Watergate (1972-1974 USA -- illegal activities of Nixon administration); Project FUBELT (1973 Chile -- overthrow of Salvadore Allende); Iraqgate (1982-1988 USA -- illegally supplying weapons, intelligence, credit to Iran in Iran-Iraq War); Iran-Contra (1985 USA -- illegal sale of weapons to Iran to illegally fund the Contras). What do all these historical activities have in common? All are conspiracies that reach up to the highest levels of the US government!
Why do federal and state prosecutors rely so often on indictments based on a conspiracy to commit a crime rather than on the underlying crime itself? Because it is much easier to prove a conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt than prove the actual commission of the crime! Although prosecutors litigate conspiracies, they themselves engage in conspiracies. To climb the political ladder they try to build a high score of noteworthy convictions. So rather than searching for the truth and seeking justice they strive to win their legal battles at all costs. Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, a Reagan appointee and a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, stated in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, "It is an open secret long shared by prosecutors, defense lawyers, and judges that perjury is widespread among law enforcement officers." What does such an admission imply? That the judicial system itself conspires against juries and the public! It results in such obviously unjust death penalty convictions as those of Sacco and Vanzetti and of the current imprisonments of the Cuban Five.
Not to be outdone, the legislative branches of government are also involved in conspiracies. Those payoffs, referred to benignly as political contributions, are quids pro quo that provide ample funds to buy re-elections in exchange for some special interests -- interests that are the antithesis of the public interest. How can the new democratic majorities in both houses respond to the electorate's message and reverse the disastrous pro-war policies of the Bush administration when they are captives of the generous military-industrial-complex and Israeli lobby? They can't! They will continue funding the war and enthusiastically espouse the hawkish Israeli urge to expand the belligerency in the Middle East. Another obvious example involves the Congress's regularly enacted reforms of the health care industries -- medical, hospital, pharmaceutical, and insurance. Reforms that consistently fatten the industries and consistently cripple the public. All are well aware that a single payer plan for universal coverage -- overwhelmingly supported by the public -- is the answer!
And then there's the private sector conspiring, conspiring, and conspiring. The tobacco industry knew of the adverse health effects of cigarettes -- deaths, cancers, heart conditions, etc. -- for many years. Its executives consistently lied when confronted with evidence. But it was good for the bottom line! GM, DuPont, and Standard Oil profited enormously from a patented chemical compound, tetraethyl lead, an additive in automobile fuel to prevent engine knocking -- all the while knowing that freely available non-patentable ethyl alcohol would suffice. The lead compound was not only a health hazard but eroded the engines. But, again, it was good for the bottom line! The pharmaceutical industry is not averse to lying about the safety of its new products to gain FDA approval for its sale. But, yes, it's good for the bottom line!
Conspiracies are ubiquitous -- the listings above are just a tiny fraction of those that emanate from governments and big business. Fallout from them appears daily in every newspaper and news program. The current Iraq war and a possible Iranian war are justified by phony news items concocted by the administration's newly created Office of Special Plans that bypasses and overrides the more trustworthy intelligent services. The news media gobbles up all of those lies, embellishes them, and feeds them to the public. Do all of those journalists believe the trash they spew out? I doubt it. But they are well aware that their bosses -- as towering figures in the establishment that not only approves but guides the pro-war policies of the US government -- expect and approve such reporting; and they are convinced that their readers and viewers are gullible so they run no risk! And they are right!
Prior to exposure, government and business conspiracies are very effectively covered up. How? By the major media and prominent elite voices giving a positive spin to pertinent news items.
Never, never, never associate those actions with that horrid word conspiracy.
* Thwart investigations that would be warranted when suspicious evidence eventually leaks out by vindicating the prominent and reputable individuals who would be involved. Could anything so scandalous be attributed to such high minded persons? Nonsense!
* Ignore potential whistleblowers so their testimonies are never heard.
* Promptly disparage influential individuals whose voices cannot be silenced as "conspiracy theory nuts."
What is a conspiracy? A secret plan by two or more individuals to achieve an illegal outcome. Many more individuals not parties to the plan become aware of the illegal plot by being directly or tangentially involved in its execution. By their silence, acquiescence, or active support they, in reality, are culpable as well, to a lesser extent perhaps than the plotters themselves. Those who disparage conspiracy theories defuse the argument by asserting that major conspiracies would require loads of people for their execution and it is highly unlikely that all could be silenced. Eventual disclosure, often many long years later, proves that argument to be false.
Daniel Ellsberg was one of those who through his tangential employment learned of the criminal secrets of Johnson's war. Armed with the Pentagon Papers, 7,000 pages (47 volumes) -- an awful lot of people, scads of them, must have written and edited them and learned those secrets as well -- he alone was determined to reveal the truth. First he brought them to such antiwar legislators as Senators J. William Fulbright and George McGovern and Representative Pete McCloskey, among others, and found that they would not tackle this hot potato! He then permitted Neil Sheehan, a friend and respected Vietnam reporter for The New York Times, to see them. With a Times staff far different than today's yes-men; the country violently opposed to war; and a president, Nixon, extremely antagonistic to the press -- The Times in particular -- the paper published them. Before that fateful step many people, some with sterling reputations, learned of the perfidy yet kept silent for years.
The word conspiracy has recently developed vile connotations. It is unmentionable in respectable circles, especially when important state or business affairs are discussed. Irrational individuals hearing it uttered will often conjure up weird and menacing hypotheses. It wasn't that way before the Soviet Union expired. Back then, whenever the Un-American Activities Committee, McCarthy, or the FBI was hunting subversive fifth columnists, or the Defense Department or the CIA was responding to a foreign emergency, the International Communist Conspiracy was invariably blamed. That conspiracy was a legitimate conspiracy. It was not followed by the word "theory." It was a fact, plain and simple. So how come there are so many foreign emergencies and so much internal insecurity since it has been gone?
A massive super deluxe example of a conspiracy that was known by many, including some of our most upstanding names, ran for years and ripped off the public for trillions, was none other than -- fanfare please -- Enron. A company that grew to become the seventh largest in the U.S. It was extolled as a model for a new way of conducting business as its operations expanded throughout the world. When it imploded, conned investors were out six-trillion bucks -- you read it right, six followed by twelve zeros! Those implicated not only included the company's auditors, lawyers, and directors, but outside auditors, financial analysts, credit rating agencies, banks, regulators, the media, Congress, and the White House. Arthur Anderson, one of the top accounting firms, in a complete reversal of its duties condoned the firm's frauds and was destroyed by the scandal. Such reputable names as Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase were implicated and paid heavily in court. "Kenny Boy" Lay, who had contributed millions to the GOP candidates and the party and whose wise counsel allowed him to influence the energy policies of the administration and choose regulators, was suddenly dumped by the White House -- Bush insisting he was never close to Lay or Enron. Most impressive was the energy crisis con job that cost California an estimated forty-five billion dollars. Claims that the company was rigging the market were pooh-poohed by the responsible experts -- only conspiracy theory nuts would think of such outrageous nonsense. Evidence subsequently uncovered showed that Enron secretly shut down power plants and manipulated the market. The administration should be credited with an assist for rejecting price caps that could have halted the gouging.
As I ponder what I've written and think of all the past and ongoing conspiracies I come to the conclusion that all fit conveniently into one gigantic master conspiracy. In order to gain control of the entire world, the big business elite and the US government are quite willing to sacrifice the lives, the health, and the wealth of EVERYONE ELSE (and that includes future generations)! Yes, I know what you're thinking, and I plead guilty for being a Conspiracy Theory Nut!
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