Zero Dark DIRTY ;)

First of all, can I take credit for this trend of provocative (read: swear words) blog post titles?  🙂

Now, onto my CONSPIRACY THEORY.   I, like several others of you have stated, don’t believe in too many conspiracy theories.  I watched a documentary about how 9/11 was a hoax back in high school and I thought that was pretty well done and believable, but I feel like most of the theories out there (Sandy Hook, Illuminati, Moon landing) are such a ‘stretch’!  So, I’m not going to argue that Osama bin Laden wasn’t killed by the U.S. Military in May of 2011 in this post.  Instead, I will just explain what the theories are – and let y’all decide if they’re legit or not.

If you didn’t understand my blog post title, it is a play on the movie Zero Dark THIRTY.  If you haven’t seen it, you should.  It was directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the same woman who directed The Hurt Locker.  It was also nominated for an Oscar!  Anyway, the movie details the *supposed* takedown of the infamous Osama bin Laden by a dedicated woman in the CIA and a top secret, extra tactical US Navy Seal team.  Throughout the movie, you see the difficulty of locating bin Laden because of his limited and secretive communication with others in al Qaeda and within his family.  The actual raid of his compound only makes up about a half-hour of the movie, but there is definitely a scene of the Seals shooting bin Laden multiple times.  What the movie DOESN’T show, however, is the controversial burial and lack of evidence surrounding bin Laden’s death…

Conspiracy theorists have two main reasons why bin Laden wasn’t killed by the US Navy Seal team in May of 2011.

1.  Lack of physical evidence.  Basically, there ain’t none.  No pictures, videos, DNA tests, etc.  Why wouldn’t the Seal team take a picture of bin Laden’s death for proof?  And if they did take one, why wouldn’t they be allowed to release it?  I remember watching the video of Saddam Hussein’s execution…I don’t know why I watched it (dark time of my life), but I did.  So why not show us something???

2.  Sketchy burial.  bin Laden was buried at sea because U.S. officials stated that there wasn’t any proper form of burial available within 24 hours of his death, as dictated by Muslim practice.  However, the U.S. hadn’t always followed this practice.  The sons of Saddam Hussein, for example, were held for several days before being buried.  (The Devil’s Double is a GREAT movie about Uday Hussein, one of Saddam’s sons.)  Some argue that the burial at sea was meant to rid bin Laden’s death of any form of enshrinement or focus of attention since it wouldn’t be easily accessible.  Either way, the burying him at sea does seem a little…fishy.

So, why would the US fake Osama bin Laden’s death?  

The answer is pretty simple.  At the time of bin Laden’s “death”, Obama was getting ready to run for another term of presidency.  Bringing the nation together by killing the man who was behind the worst terrorist attack in US history would be a great way to start out your campaign.  What do you guys think?  Is this a hoax?  Is bin Laden still alive?  Or did he die long ago?    

The Beneficiaries of 9/11

To this day I still remember exactly what I was doing when I heard that the World Trade Centers had been attacked.  I was at lunch with my friends when some boys came up to us shouting that terrorists had just blown up New York City.  I didn’t initially believe them.  I mean, nothing even remotely similar to this had ever happened before in my lifetime, and seeing that I was the ripe old age of eleven, I thought they must be lying.  It all sunk in though when we were called into an emergency assembly.  I remember being in shock, not being able to wrap my mind around the reality of the situation, and I know I was not alone.  The events that transpired on September 11, 2001 left many people scared and confused.  They didn’t know what to think or believe, the world as we knew it was unraveling before our eyes.  What would happen next?

Unfortunately, times like these tend to attract individuals that exploit people’s fears to gain traction for their own interests.  For example there have been a few claims that the U.S. government was behind the attacks all along and that they were instrumental in orchestrating them.  But what is interesting is that most of the conspirators that claim this also have deep-seated hatred toward the U.S. government.  Does it not seem suspicious to anyone else that these people have a vested interest in turning the public against the government?

Overall, I think it is pretty obvious to the public at large that most of these conspiracies theories regarding 9/11 are works of fiction.  So you can imagined how surprised I was when I came across a conspiracy theory that I thought could actually have some truth to it.  This conspiracy focuses on some very sketchy financial transaction transactions that were made on Wall Street in the week leading up to the attack .  The premise of this theory is that there were individuals (most likely the terrorists themselves) that purchased large put options for major companies that ended up being affected financially by the attack.  Basically what this means is that in the week leading up to 9/11 a group of individuals purchased options, known as puts, that bet against the stock prices of some of the major firms affected by the attacks. These kinds of investments are usually very risky unless you have insider information indicating that something is going to happen to cause the stock price to plummet.  So is it just a coincidence that there was a huge spike in put options  for the four most negatively impacted corporations of the attacks just a week prior? Take a look at this 2-minute clip I found of an ABC new segment on this controversy.

So first of all I just want to note that this information was reported on the ABC evening news.  This was the initial fact that made me think, “Okay well if a respected news channel is reporting on this then maybe it does have some truth to it…”. As we learned earlier in the semester with the Mike Daisy case, journalists, at least in our country, value the facts.  Therefore it is unlikely that one of the country’s most respected new channels would put their reputation on the line to report false report facts, which makes me trust, to a certain extent, what they are saying.  While the Peter Jennings seems hopeful that some justice would come out of the SEC investigation launched after these allegations were made, I could not find any information showing that any real progress in bringing the individuals involved to justice.   So let me ask you this, do you think its fair that these people were able to get away with profiting from the worst terrorist attack to take place on American soil?  Personally, I think this proves as another example of the greed and unethical behavior to take place on Wall Street in the early 2000s, but I am interested to hear what you all think?



Jay-Z and Beyonce Work for the Devil!


              One of the oldest conspiracy theories around is the Illuminati Conspiracy theory. This conspiracy consists of an international elitist group of influential political and financial leaders who worship Satan. They are the pulling the string every behind major world event and are planning to establish one world order. Under this world order, the anti-Christ will trick everyone into believing he is the Messiah and will take people to heaven, but really takes them to hell. Members of this secret organization are super powerful people in our society that sold their souls to become famous and powerful in return to help set up the world for the anti-Christ. These people make up the rules and regulations that presidents and world leaders follow. The Illuminati controls the media, government, armies, banks, financial system and essentially, the world. Overall, the Illuminati is behind everything

According to Illuminati theorists, the Illuminati’s control of the West is apparent every day. For example, illuminati symbols are apparent on American money. The main symbol, a triangle with an eye, is apparent one every 1$ dollar bill. In addition, you can fold a 20$ bill in a certain way you can see both the pentagon and the world trade center’s burning. Not only that, but the numerical data of 9/11 is 20 like the dollar bill that the forecast the event (9+11= 20). This shows the illuminati power because they control the financial system and created the money knowing this would happen. Not just politics and terror, the illuminati are also apparent in our media through celebrities like Jay-Z, Beyonce, Modanna, Lady Gaga, Rhianna, Justin Bieber, the beetles and many more. Although never coming out and stating it, they reveal their membership through different symbols on clothes, covering one eye or by making a triangle with both hands or a “6” with a single hand by connecting their thumb and index finger.

Lady Gaga on seperate occasions                   

Do I believe that a secret membership of elitists control everything in our society? The answer is no. I do not think it is possible for one organization to have that much power to rule the world. Just because some celebrities flashed a symbol does not mean that the illuminati exists. Hell, it is the celebrities’ job to attract attention to themselves. Celebrities do it just because they want to raise the question to people that they might be in the illuminati to attract more attention onto them.

Once a theory like this makes some correlation with a random fact people all of the sudden believe it. For example, just because the dollar bill can be folded into a specific orientation that the world trade centers on fire doesn’t mean the illuminati exists. You can fold a dollar bill a million different ways, it is not that surprising you could find one that somehow correlates to the Illuminati. In addition, these conspiracy theories present the information with dramatic music and effects that highly dramatize the evidence. Look at the video I provided, it has dramatic music and pictures that can seem very convincing. However, the only pictures provided were celebrities. There were no politicians, presidents, generals, CEO’s… merely, celebrities that’s job is to entertain. Overall, we need to critically analyze conspiracies and not just believe them because they make some correlation between random facts.

Conspiracies in the Courtroom

I won’t ever forget September 11th, 2001, nor will I ever forget the day I sat in my basement and watched hours of YouTube conspiracy theories blaming the US government for the attacks.  I will start by saying that I do not believe the government was behind the 9/11 attacks. and I am deeply sympathetic for everyone who lost someone that day, but the magnitude of the implications if the theories were true made for a wildly entertaining and thought-provoking experience.  Later that same day, sitting in my rolling computer chair in front of an old desktop from the prehistoric ages, my new love for conspiracy theories illuminated my future career plans—I was going to be a lawyer.

While anybody with some interesting camera footage or a couple crazy ideas can come up with a “conspiracy theory” and lawyers require years of schooling, testing, and experience before presenting their first opening argument in the courtroom, I would argue that both conspiracy theorists and lawyers sometimes do a very similar task.  Imagine a court case where the prosecution firmly believes and presents one explanation for what happened, while the defense provides another credible, yet completely different set of facts and reasoning to explain the event.  Of course nobody would say that either side has presented a conspiracy theory, but with a ruling at the end of the trial, somebody’s evidence will prevail.  It is likely that the winner in the courtroom would be whoever does the best at providing the most facts which call the opponent into question, while also defending against claims made by the opposition.  This is pretty much the process by which conspiracy theories work, as well.

Following this comparison, the best conspiracy theories, then, are also the ones who don’t just present an explanation on an interesting topic, but also one that has a solid army of facts and evidence to back it up.  The problem, however, is in who gets to determine the validity of facts and evidence.  Just like we saw earlier in the semester with the Mike Daisey and Apple stories, as well as a number of other cases we have studied, sorting through truth and lies is quite the task.  In the case with the 9/11 conspiracies, the implications of taking the theories for truths would be so significant that we, as a society, are extremely hesitant and cautious in what we believe.  Therefore, while conspiracy theories are a great form of entertainment much like exploring puzzles or mystery, they rarely ever lead to any calls for action.  Unlike the courtroom, there is no jury deciding on the validity of opposing claims made by two sides.  But while there is no jury deciding who wins in the case of conspiracy theories, sparking controversy and discussion among the millions of people who hear these theories is enough to keep the conspiracies coming.

Room 237

I usually don’t think much of conspiracy theories or theorists. Conspiracy theories are attractive but like most things that are attractive, they are often dangerous. The internet has provided conspiracy theorists with multiple platforms for which they can shout their ideas at those who choose to believe whatever they’re saying. Just search on YouTube: “Conspiracy”, you’ll come up with thousands of hour long videos in which the truth is twisted, if not dismissed entirely. Even scarier are the comments sections of these videos. It’s these same people who think the X Files is a reality show. As The X Files says: “The Truth Is Out There”, “I Want To Believe”; it’s incredible how easily persuaded we are when our personal opinions or biases are somehow “proved”. A main point of conspiracy theories is instilling paranoia; there is someone, or something, out there that is not like you and I, which is threatening our very existence. Some conspiracy theories are cute and for the most part harmless like the 1969 Moon Landing conspiracy theory or Tupac still being alive and speaking through his posthumous albums, while some conspiracy theories are detrimental to society. Think back to Tarantino’s Django, the scene where Calvin Candy saws open a skull to reveal “scientific proof” that slaves should be slaves, or Germany in the 1930s, where the Nazi Party drew on Medieval “scientific proof” as justification at attempts to exterminate ethnic groups. Conspiracy theorists often point their finger at others who benefit from the conspiracy at hand, but it’s important to think about what the conspiracy theorist, his or herself, has to gain from their claims.

End rant. Sorry.

While interning at a talent management/film finance firm last summer, I stumbled across this documentary. In terms of conspiracies, this piece (which I unfortunately have yet to see) is fascinating. The Shining is one of my favorite movies and Kubrick is one of my favorite directors, so I got very excited when I saw there was a documentary being made about his classic horror piece. Only the poster was available initially, so it was difficult to know what the doc would examine exactly. Then, the reviews, pre and post Sundance Film Festival, revealed how the documentary would follow the many conspiracy theories and theorists that the original film created. Theories range from the film being a symbol of Native American genocide to being Kubrick’s confession of involvement in staging the moon landing. Many of these theories were spurred by Kubrick’s denial to ever comment on the film’s underlying meaning.