The establishment has long used the term “conspiracy theory” to discredit any idea in the public sphere that has anti-establishment leanings or runs counter to the government’s narrative regarding an event or situation. In 1967, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) wrote a dispatch which coined the term to discredit those Americans who were not content with the findings of the Warren Commission following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The dispatch, which was obtained by the New York Times in 1976, was part of the CIA’s Clandestine Services (CS) unit and was classified as “psychological operations.” The document also lays out the exact arguments used by the establishment for years to discredit certain theories such as: claiming that eyewitness testimony is unreliable, claiming that it’s irresponsible to speculate, claiming its impossible for so many people to keep quiet about large conspiracies, claiming conspiracy theorists are politically or financially motivated in the promotion of these theories and refocusing attention on “official” reports.
Despite the CIA’s best efforts, the belief in conspiracy theories remains alive and well in the United States and many once-ridiculed conspiracies have been proven to be fact as information became declassified and publicly available. In fact, the assassination of President Kennedy has long been the most widely believed “conspiracy theory” among the US populace, with over 60% of Americans believing that Kennedy’s death was part of a larger conspiracy and not the work of a lone gunman. Now, another “conspiracy theory” is approaching that same level of acceptance as over half of Americans do not believe that government’s official narrative regarding the September 11th attacks.
According to a survey conducted by Chapman University, 54.3% of Americans now believe that the government is covering up information related to the 9/11 attacks. Indeed, the 9/11 commission is widely believed to have been “set up to fail,” not unlike the Warren commission, and then-President Bush even tried to appoint war criminal Henry Kissinger as its overseer. This increase is possibly do the significant evidence compiled by groups of professionals such as Architects and Engineers for 9/11 truth and Pilots for 9/11 truth. It is also possible that increasing distrust of the government could also be to blame. The Chapman survey also found that the “top fear” of 2016 among Americans was the corruption of government officials.
In addition, it is also possible that recent developments this year have resulted in a majority of Americans questioning what really happened on September 11th. This year, previously withheld documents were released, implicating Saudi Arabia in the attacks. Congress even passed a bill allowing 9/11 victims and their family’s to sue the Middle Eastern monarchy. The move actually caused several prominent Saudis to say that the Saudi’s were only involved as part of the US’ plan to carry out the attacks in order to justify a global, never-ending “War on Terror.”
In addition, during the Presidential Election campaign, Donald Trump promised to re-open the 9/11 investigation on more than one occasion, drawing attention to the speculation surrounding the true nature of the attacks. Interestingly, Trump himself was one of the first people to suggest that bombs had been used to bring down the Twin Towers, which scientific studies have now confirmed as fact. Trump, in an interview that took place the same day as the attack, said “I happen to think that they had not only a plane but they had bombs that exploded almost simultaneously, because I just can’t imagine anything being able to go through that wall.”
With half of Americans as well as the President-Elect questioning the official 9/11 narrative, it appears that the “conspiracy theorist” pejorative has run out of steam. Perhaps that’s why the media and the political establishment are now all abuzz over “fake news,” opting for direct censorship over ridicule.
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