Countering Authoritarian Followers’ castigation of ’conspiracy theories’: The scientific reality of State Crimes Against Democracy (SCADs)
New research in the journal American Behavioral Scientist (Sage publications, February 2010) addresses the concept of "State Crimes Against Democracy" (SCAD). Professor Lance deHaven-Smith from Florida State University writes that SCADs involve highlevel government officials, often in combination with private interests, that engage in covert activities for political advantages and power. Proven SCADs since World War II include McCarthyism (fabrication of evidence of a communist infiltration), Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (President Johnson and Robert McNamara falsely claimed North Vietnam attacked a US ship), burglary of the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist in effort to discredit Ellsberg, the Watergate break-in, Iran-Contra, Florida’s 2000 Election (felon disenfranchisement program), and fixed intelligence on WMDs to justify the Iraq War.1
Other suspected SCADs include the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald, the shooting of George Wallace, the October Surprise near the end of the Carter presidency, military grade anthrax mailed to Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, Martin Luther King’s assassination, and the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 on September 11, 2001. The proven SCADs have a long trail of congressional hearings, public records, and academic research establishing the truth of the activities. The suspected SCADs listed above have substantial evidence of covert actions with countervailing deniability that tend to leave the facts in dispute.2
The term "conspiracy theory" is often used to denigrate and discredit inquiry into the veracity of suspected SCADs. Labeling SCAD research as "conspiracy theory" is an effective method of preventing ongoing investigations from being reported in the corporate media and keep them outside of broader public scrutiny. Psychologist Laurie Manwell, University of Guelph, addresses the psychological advantage that SCAD actors hold in the public sphere. Manwell, writing in American Behavioral Scientist (Sage 2010) states, "research shows that people are far less willing to examine information that disputes, rather than confirms, their beliefs . . . pre-existing beliefs can interfere with SCADs inquiry, especially in regards to September 11, 2001."3
Professor Steven Hoffman, visiting scholar at the University of Buffalo, recently acknowledged this phenomenon in a study "There Must Be a Reason: Osama, Saddam and Inferred Justification." Hoffman concluded, "Our data shows substantial support for a cognitive theory known as ’motivated reasoning,’ which suggests that rather than search rationally for information that either confirms or disconfirms a particular belief, people actually seek out information that confirms what they already believe. In fact, for the most part people completely ignore contrary information."4
SOTT Comment: Dr. Lance deHaven-Smith, Professor, School of Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University, speaks below on elite political criminality. DeHaven-Smith coined a term in 2006 to delineate crimes of high office: State Crimes Against Democracy, such as Watergate, Iran-Contra, Plamegate, the assassinations of JFK, RFK, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the staged Gulf of Tonkin incident.
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