Conspiracies and the Mass Psychology of Partial Disclosure (Book Review)
The Mass Psychology of Partial Disclosure
The Transparent Conspiracy is a collection of essays written between 2006 and 2010, mainly about the 911 and JFK conspiracies and cover up, with a short collection of poems on the same topic. Morrisey’s latest book is a definite departure from other conspiracy literature. Morrissey has no interest in proving or disproving either the 911 or the JFK conspiracy – he feels this territory is well-covered by other authors. The topic of this book is mass psychology. Morrissey believes our government’s propaganda arm (whatever they call it now) is fully aware that a well-managed conspiracy cover-up can have a very intimidating effect, which can be very effective in keeping the public docile and obedient.
The Government Wants Us to Know
Specifically he argues there is major value (from the government point of view) in disclosing a limited amount of information concerning government culpability in atrocities such as the JFK assassination and 911. He bases his view on something he calls “Transparency Theory” – thus his title The Transparent Conspiracy. He says the CIA has long recognized that “telling part of the truth is the best way to lie.” They even have a term for it: “white propaganda.” Morrissey argues that for the government to brazenly commit criminal acts can be quite effective in demoralizing and alienating the tuned-in segment of the population that fully comprehends the corrupt nature of our government institutions.
He then lays out the hypothetical question: if the reality of the 911 conspiracy were widely accepted by the American public, would they be capable of doing anything about it? Morrissey believes that at this point in history they would be powerless (that they lack the power to bring the culprits to trial or even impeach them). Which he contends is a powerful basis for demoralization and alienation.
Contrasting 911 with the JFK Assassination
He then contrasts the 911 conspiracy cover-up with the cover-up of the JFK assassination, in which years of advanced planning went into creating a fictional identity (as an unstable Marxist) for a US intelligence agent named Lee Harvey Oswald – and in which scores of witnesses were murdered and evidence secretly destroyed and/or fabricated.
In the case of 911 there was very limited – a few fictitious cell phone calls from a high altitude that weren’t technologically feasible in 2001 and some clumsily forged bin Laden videotapes. The government made no attempt to conceal that they were destroying evidence at Ground Zero – they simply loaded all the twisted steel onto trucks and shipped it to Long Island to be melted down into something else. The 911 Commission was more of a whitewash than a true cover-up.
Noam Chomsky’s Puzzling Position on Conspiracies
Morrissey’s essays also cover, at length, his correspondence with American’s pre-eminent dissident Noam Chomsky, regarding the JFK assassination conspiracy and cover-up. Morrisey, who has always been one of Chomsky’s greatest admirers, describes his initial dismay at his hero’s categorical rejection of the mountains of irrefutable evidence that the JFK assassination conspiracy originated at the highest levels of government. He was even more troubled, after their lengthy correspondence (published as Looking for the Enemy in 2008), at Chomsky’s inability to rationally justify his position. He initially tended to side with media critics who believe Chomsky plays some deliberate “left gatekeeping” function (having to do with right wing foundation funding). He now believes Chomsky more likely has other reasons – relating more to what is increasingly self-evident in the 911 Truth movement – that the endless investigation of government conspiracies playing little pragmatic role in the massive institutional change (such as the end of capitalism) which is the only hope for real and permanent change in the US.
Morrissey also touches on his correspondence with Vincent Salandria (published in 2007 as Correspondence with Vincent Salandria). Salandria, a “left leaning” Philadelphia lawyer, was the first to publicly challenge the Warren Commission (in 1965). Morrissey is also careful to credit Salandria’s ideas about the propaganda uses of a well-managed cover-up for helping to develop his own thinking.
The poems make a moving addendum to the essays. They convey quite poignantly Morrissey’s personal struggle with the despair and heartache of learning a government you believed to be fair and democratic is actually deeply corrupt.