When a Conspiracy Theory is in the Eye of the Beholder
By Alex Constantine
Robert Kennedy was dying on a pantry floor with three billet wounds, one in the right posterior auricular region of his brain. There was telltale gun powder around the entry wound. He was shot from behind at close range, but Sirhan Sirhan was standing in front of Kennedy at a distance that ruled out the possibility of powder burns. Authorities concluded that Sirhan fired the shots, despite the fact that more bullets were retrieved from the pantry than his revolver held.
Ever since, people who consider themselves rational and of sound judgment have condescended to those who noted, relying on simple facts, that the accused could not possibly have fired the fatal shot. The impossible was true, and the only logical conclusion to draw was dismissed as the ravings of delusional creatures who haunt the margins of respectable society.
I have a personal bone to pick with this sort of reasoning. In the mid-'90s, I published a long essay based largely on academic studies, including the work of Robert O. Beccker, a Nobel Prize winning scientist, that documented the development and utilization of pulsed bio-electronic weapons. My report was solidly documented, I knew, but widely considered to be a "conspiracy theory,"
I was unable to publish the article in a "mainstream" magazine. No ostensibly rational editor would touch it. Why? I had spent long hours at the UCLA medical research library to piece together a product impossible to refute. I felt it to be critically important because there were victims, ordinary Americans who had been used as guinea pigs in the classified development of psychotronic weapons.
So I was discouraged by the cold reception given to the reporting.
I was forced to publish the article in a book issued by a small press operating on a shoestring. A hundred review copies were mailed out to the press. Not one newspaper or magazine would review the book. I bought my first Apple computer and published related information online.
A couple hundred desperate victims, targeted by the technology, wrote to me begging for help. Their lives had been shattered. They suffered acute symptoms of radiation. They were unable to think clearly. They suffered physical pain. So I doubled my efforts to help them, only to be marginalized as a "conspiracy theorist."
But in time the establishment press discovered a phenomenon mistakenly called "The Havana Syndrome." The CIA had developed the weapons, I knew, but now some Agency personnel had been targeted. The symptoms were acute: a ringing or pulsing cacophony in the ears, severe headaches, loss of vision. But journalists didn't investigate themselves. They waited for an official announcement from the CIA, took dictation, and confirmed the existence of obscure technology that I had been writing about for a couple of decades.
I was vindicated. The reports that appeared in the press were tainted by substantial errors of fact, but "respectable" journalism had come around. Sixty Minutes on CBS aired two segments that mangled the truth, but the essence of the reporting was sound.
"Havana Syndrome" is a convenient misnomer and CIA cover story. The auditory symptoms have been around since the late 1960s. Some have been deafened by them. Sixty Minutes, relying on the CIA for information, had it all wrong. But enough of it was factual that I could breathe a sigh of relief and exude, "at last we're getting somewhere."
But I had been a "conspiracy theorist" all those years. The damage to my reputation had been done. An untold number of human guinea pigs had been dismissed as mentally unstable by their families, had been left to deal with the misery alone. Many were drugged by psychiatrists they didn't need, couldn't hold jobs, were brutally ridiculed if they spoke about their suffering.
Some consensus beliefs are demonstrably false. Some conspiracy theories are true.
I've written about American fascism for over 30 years. Fascism is inherently conspiratorial. It has been with us sine the 1920s when western corporate Robber Barons, threatened by the rise of communism in Russia, promoted an autocratic counter-ideology to defend their wealth and privilege.
A hundred years later, fascists stormed the halls of Congress and attempted a coup, led by a worthless human being who lied his way into power, Finally, America is waking up the the fact that domestic fascism represents an existential threat.
It's regrettable that it took all this time to acknowledge simple facts. Fascists killed Robert Kennedy. A patsy took the fall. This is not a conspiracy theory. It takes a little courage to reject consensus pressures and face simple, provable facts. Powder burns speak for themselves.
If democracy, civilization and the planet we live on are to survive, we need to stop running with the herd, be objective and pay attention or we unintentionally invite tragedy into our lives.