Conspiracy Theorists

Posted: April 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

Wake up, America! Our government and our military are plotting against us. At best, they’re withholding important information (aliens from UFOs walk among us.); at worst, a shadowy cabal working at the highest levels makes every vital decision that affects our lives. At least, that’s what the world’s conspiracy theorists would have us believe. To a rational thinker, the majority of conspiracy theories are ludicrous on their face, with few real facts to back them up. Unfortunately, rational thinking and common sense hold little sway in the hearts and minds of those who fervently believe secretive forces within our armed forces and the government they are sworn to protect are capable of nefarious deeds. Conspiracy theories are not a new phenomenon; many commonly held conspiracies actually date back centuries. But the Internet, which allows a thought to reach millions with a single keystroke, has made it much easier for conspiracy theories to develop and flourish. The following is a selection of conspiracy theories that touch in some way on the U.S. military. Are they true? We’ll let the facts speak for themselves.
CONSPIRACY: Osama bin Laden was not killed by Navy SEALs at his compound in Pakistan. The whole thing is a government lie.
THEORY: Within hours of the announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan by members of the elite SEAL Team Six, conspiracy theorists were hard at work debunking the story. This conspiracy theory arose when the White House and DoD decided not to release photographs of bin Laden’s body out of fear such images would trigger retaliation against American forces in the Middle East and elsewhere. In the eyes of diehard conspiracy theorists, a lack of photos must mean something never happened. Adding fuel to the fire was bin Laden’s burial at sea after his identity was confirmed using DNA from a relative. Some conspiracy theorists believe bin Laden has been dead for years and is frozen at some secret government installation, while others insist he’s still out there, waiting for the right time to reveal himself. The truth? Osama bin Laden is dead. To lie about something like this would be incredibly dangerous for the White House, as well as for the U.S. military. In addition, al-Qaida officially confirmed bin Laden’s death in a statement to the world.
CONSPIRACY: The Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the Pentagon was an inside job. It was a missile — not a hijacked airplane — that crashed into the building.
THEORY: As repugnant as it might be to think the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack was conceived within our own government, many Americans believe this to be true. One popular conspiracy theory suggests the Pentagon was struck by a satellite-guided missile or by a plane much different from the one reported — a Boeing 757 that was witnessed by scores of people. Nonetheless, deniers state the resulting hole was too small to be made by such a large plane and that there was no plane wreckage at the crash site. Blast expert Allyn Kilsheimer of KCE Structural Engineers in Washington, D.C., one of the first structural engineers at the Pentagon following the crash, vehemently denies such outlandish theories. “I picked up parts of the plane with the airline markings on them,” he said in an interview with Popular Mechanics. “I held in my hand the tail section of the plane, and I found the black box.” Photographs taken at the crash site confirm Kilsheimer’s statements.
CONSPIRACY: The Apollo 11 moon landing was a hoax. The entire mission was conducted on a NASA sound stage.
THEORY: On July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the surface of the moon. Or did they? According to a surprisingly large number of Americans, irrefutable proof shows the moon landing never occurred. Despite overwhelming evidence the moon landing did occur, NASA officials felt obliged to place a page on the NASA website explaining why skeptics are wrong.
The arguments of moon deniers cover a broad range of issues, from photographs that supposedly don’t make sense (Where are the stars in the sky?) to a “mysteriously” waving flag (How can a flag wave in a vacuum?) to the lack of a large blast crater beneath the lunar lander. It would take a lot of words to answer these questions, but the simplest explanation, according to NASA scientists, is the moon is not the Earth — things behave differently there. In addition, common sense suggests it would be almost impossible to keep a government hoax of this magnitude a secret. Thousands worked on the Apollo project, and a great many of them would know — and no doubt say something — if it had been faked.
CONSPIRACY: In June or July 1947, a UFO crashed on a ranch outside Roswell, N.M. The Army immediately collected the debris, as well as the bodies of dead aliens, at the crash site and ordered all personnel involved to remain silent.
THEORY: Over the years, Roswell has become the epicenter of American ufology — all because an eager public information officer at then-Roswell Army Air Field jumped the gun and sent out a press release announcing the recovery of a “flying disk.” Army brass quickly retracted the report, but the genie was out of the bottle. Several newspapers published the story, giving birth to one of the most popular conspiracy theories in history. Something did crash on that ranch in 1947, but it wasn’t a UFO. Army officials originally claimed the debris came from a downed radar tracking balloon, but that was only partially true. According to a 1995 Air Force report, the debris was actually a high-altitude balloon from a secret spy program called Project Mogul, which used the balloons to detect Soviet atomic bomb tests and ballistic missiles — hence the intense secrecy. Over the years, the Roswell myth has grown to extraordinary proportions. Thousands of ET-loving tourists flock to the town each year, and despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, many UFO buffs continue to believe a flying saucer really did crash there.
CONSPIRACY: In the fall of 1943, military scientists, working with technology developed by Nikola Tesla, turned the Navy destroyer USS Eldridge invisible and teleported it from Philadelphia to Norfolk, Va. Unfortunately, the seamen aboard the ship either were killed or went insane.
THEORY: This goofy conspiracy theory, advanced by books and interviews from supposed participants, has been so persistent the Navy was forced to issue a response: “Records in the Operational Archives Branch of the Naval Historical Center have been repeatedly searched, but no documents have been located which confirm the event, or any interest by the Navy in attempting such an achievement.” It also should be noted an Operational Archives Branch review of the deck log and war diary from the USS Eldridge’s commissioning Aug. 27, 1943, through December 1943 found no unusual activities. Most importantly, the review revealed the USS Eldridge was never in Philadelphia.
CONSPIRACY: President Franklin D. Roosevelt was aware the Japanese planned to attack Pearl Harbor, but he did nothing to prevent it because he needed an excuse for America to enter the war.
THEORY: This conspiracy theory started almost as soon as the Japanese attack ended and still is held widely by many conspiracy buffs today. But despite numerous books and documentaries on the subject, there is no “smoking gun” that proves without doubt the president was aware of what was about to transpire. Conspiracy theorists often point to the U.S. successfully cracking certain Japanese radio codes as proof Roosevelt knew an attack on Pearl Harbor was imminent. However, those were diplomatic — not military — codes, and the Japanese military rarely shared its plans with diplomats overseas. American military officials did know Japanese diplomats had been instructed to deliver a message to the U.S. government at 1 p.m. Dec. 7, 1941, then destroy their cipher machine, but U.S. officials had no idea what or where. Roosevelt’s decision to move the Pacific Fleet to Pearl Harbor against the advice of Navy Adm. James Richardson, then-commander in chief of the U.S. Fleet, also has fueled this conspiracy. However, Richardson’s objections had more to do with what he saw as substandard facilities at Pearl Harbor and less to do with placing the fleet at risk. Eight major investigations were conducted in the years following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and none found compelling evidence the president had advance knowledge beyond rumors.
Note – Disclaimer: The contents of this article are the opinions solely of the author and do not necessarily express the policy or opinions of the MOAA. [Source: Freelance writer Don Vaughan article in MOAA News Exchange 21 Mar 2012 ++]

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