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Ghost Skins - Conspiracy Theory can be fatal

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posted on Aug, 10 2012 @ 09:57 AM
The latest shootings have created excitement and fear-mongering in some parts of the internet; each contribution representing a real person’s expression of concern. Conspiracy theorists have panicked and had their worst fears usual.

Ironically and tragically, the blame for these deaths can, in part, be laid at the feet of the Conspiracy Theorist.

The Paranoid Style in American Politics

[…]whereas the spokesman of the paranoid style finds it directed against a nation, a culture, a way of life whose fate affects not himself alone: but millions of others.
Hofstadter 1965 - The Paranoid Style in American Politics

As far back as the 1960s, Richard Hofstadter was writing about the ‘Paranoid Style in American Politics.’ He pointed out how a simple cause and effect can be perceived in the ‘paranoid style’ as a part of a great and threatening scheme against the percipient’s fabric of life. As such, President Johnson’s reaction to the killings of the Kennedys and Luther-King involved the 'Dodd Bill' to make acquisition of guns more accountable. The Bill was passed after years of debate in Congress and the Senate as the Gun Control Act 1968. Hofstadter describes how three Arizonian men took the ‘paranoid’ view and saw it as:

"a further attempt by a subversive power to make us part of one world socialistic government" and that it threatened to "create chaos" that would help "our enemies" to seize power."

It isn’t for me to say one way or another about the merits of the GCA however it’s one thing to debate pros and cons and something else to come to the above conclusion. Still, it demonstrates a minority phenomenon that opts for extreme scenarios. Another example was Senator McCarthy who was as much a victim of the paranoid CT mind-set as he was one of its finest proponents. He was so enslaved by his beliefs that he felt justified in using smear tactics to disgrace those whom he *knew* to be Commies and pinkos.

The Communists were a threat, but his paranoia magnified it to the point that he believed they’d infiltrated all levels of US society. He overreacted in the same way the GCA guys did. The more public and Congressional opinion went against him, the more he knew he was right. It was the opposition that *proved* to him he was on the right track. It’s something Michael Barkun described as ‘The belief must be true because it is stigmatized.’

Hofstadter included an illuminating newspaper snippet from 1855:

Pope/Church/Catholic could be replaced by Illuminati, Socialists, Democrats, bankers, Zionists etc. That none of this ever materialises somehow reinforces amongst the strongest believers how real it is. Texas indeed!

Anyway, you probably understand my general point even if you don’t agree with it. That point is that conspiracists and the paranoid mind-set dramatically overreact to genuine events and problems and overlay them with a narrative that doesn’t actually exist. This fantastic fiction becomes reality in the way it defines and influences the believer’s behaviour and those around them. Bill Cooper was off the chart for paranoia and others have fallen too. Of course, some are far worse than others and it’s likely that the Wisconsin killer was high on the scale of extremist CT delusions and hung out with people who fed on these fantasies. Whatever the case, the history of conspiracy theories directly ‘conspired’ to cause the murders.

Suicide Terrorism and Conspiracy Ideas

A recent release of documents (26-28) has shown the FBI was concerned by the activities of white supremacists in 2004-07. They raised concerns about the terrorist capabilities of these people and groups and conclude they don’t have the organisational strength to be effective. They point out a lack of cohesion in politics, ideology, groups or organisations. Fortunately, hatred of others isn’t a unifying force without political will, leadership and direction. Another problem for the white supremacist is that even the ‘garden-variety’ racist sees them as being extremists and doesn’t want to be associated with them.

So the FBI assessment focused on the independent terrorist; society’s nightmare, the ‘lone gunman.’ These are the people nobody can protect us from although hindsight usually bears witness to the warnings. Psychologically, they might have different political views, but often fit certain templates in terms of being societal misfits and drifters. Whilst they go to their deaths believing they are ‘martyrs,’ the reality is quite different and everybody else is horrified.

As much as we know, Wade Michael Page appears to fit the profile of a lone offender following the white supremacist (WS) agenda. The difference between Sikhs and Moslems is splitting hairs when he was simply focused on colour and culture. As a white supremacist, he may well have been frustrated by the overwhelming forces of the ‘Zionist Occupied Government’ and lack of action by his peers. He may have wanted to be a catalyst to spark off an uprising…

According to the FBI assessment, the white supremacist ideology is certainly fractured yet, despite this, it holds a few tenets that have become shared orthodoxies. These include the celebration of martyrdom and its attendant promise that death in battle guarantees a place in Valhalla or Heaven. As such, Page died happily – a warrior-martyr in his own mind.

'Ghost Skins' and Back to Front

Another interesting aspect in the reports is that these groups are learning the tricks of the trade from politicians and Intelligence agencies. Namely, saying what people want to hear and being something you really are not. Hate groups are emulating our politicians and replacing facts with fiction. In opposition to this imaginary conspiracy, some are going *undercover* to thwart it! Tilting at windmills yet deadly serious...

An extension of this is an infiltration agenda the supremacists refer to as ‘ghost skins.’ It’s a scheme to look and act like Joe Average and gain positions in Law Enforcement and Intelligence. This way, like any good agent, they can protect their organisations by gaining access to information. Also, they can take advantage of the chance to provide misinformation to the agencies they work for. A larger incentive would be access to names and addresses of witnesses, politicians and field agents as targets for violence and blackmail.

posted on Aug, 10 2012 @ 09:58 AM
This raises the alarming prospect for a reversal of roles between an undercover field agent and a ‘ghost skin.’ Whilst one is behaving like a role model for society, the other is participating in racist extremism. What we begin to see is a blurring of the boundaries between self-identity, reality and moral values.

In the same sense, supremacists using ‘dog-whistle politics,’ as a working political strategy, shines a harsh light on the politicians who perpetuate it; they’re all selling fear cheaply. Our leaders become role-models and teachers as their tactics of deception are as useful to the terrorist as they are to the extremists. Once more, the boundaries between identities and moral-values are blurred. Is it all just role-play and make-believe? Where do fact and fiction swap places?

Returning to Mr Wade, the warrior-martyr /sick bastard, we find that conspiracy has wrapped its smoky tendrils around him. He wasn’t a killer, but a victim. Not a suicide terrorist, but a pawn of a wider conspiracy. He’s been characterised as a drugged, mind-control victim being used as part of a greater scheme to take guns away from US citizens; a martyr for someone else? Aren't we hearing zebras and overlooking all the horses? Mr Barkun warned of the same thing:

The common-sense distinction between fact and fiction melts away in the conspiracist world. More than that, the two exchange places, so that in striking ways conspiracists often claim first that what the world at large regards as fact is actually fiction, and second that what seems to be fiction is really fact. The first belief is a direct result of the commitment to stigmatized knowledge claims, for the acceptance of those claims rests on the belief that authoritative institutions, such as universities, cannot be trusted.
Michael Barkun; Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America, University of California Press, 2003. P42

As we’ve seen in the Press, Wade was a white supremacist and would hold at least some of the views in the FBI files. He was scared of being taken over by Zionists (the 'ZOG' Conspiracy) and the end of the supreme white race. His paranoia and conspiracy mind-set forced his delusional reality on the Sikh Temple. He was reacting to something that doesn’t exist – a fantasy. Other white supremacists share in this belief and the fiction they’ve imposed on their own reality makes them characters in a story they’re forcing on ours.

It’s a dangerous business because we have 1000s of supremacists responding to a conspiracy theory that doesn’t have an objective reality – Baudrillard and Borges would call this hyperreality. The FBI reacts to the threat because the threat is a reality built on a fantasy - it creates a situation whereby fictional make-believe becomes indistinguishable from reality. The people in the Temple were not Zionist plotters bent on world domination and yet they were forced to die. The Aurora victims similarly were forced to die when the killer imposed what he thought was reality onto theirs. Time will tell if he subscribed to a particular CT.

The white supremacists' Zionist conspiracy isn't a far cry from anyone else's Zionist conspiracy; it's history is long, dark and full of killings. Some on ATS hold to these views and probably feel they have nothing in common with Mr Wade or his friends. Nevertheless it should stand as a cautionary warning against carried away with elaborate schemes of Illuminati/NWO/Zionists and so forth.

Earlier on, I wrote that some of the blame for the murdered lies at the feet of the conspiracy-theorist. I believe it does. We need to be aware that paranoia and conspiracy, to a degree, are altering our view of reality and our quality of life. The Sikhs are no less dead as a result of the conspiracy being fiction and yet how many more will keep spreading it?

posted on Aug, 10 2012 @ 10:48 AM
An excellent thread as always, K. There's a lot I could say to this in both agreement, and disagreement with you. But Instead, I'm just going to preach what I've been trying to say to myself and others for a while now.

Whatever our slant in life, whether pro or anti conspiracy, if we place ourselves in a box that we find ourselves incapable of thinking outside of, it should be a warning to each of us individually, that it's time to honestly examine why we believe what we believe. The word Cartesian is next to my mood for a reason, it's there as a reminder.

If I'm going to lay any blame at the feet of conspiracy theorists, then I'm also going to lay equal blame at the feet of those who consider themselves "realists". On the extreme conspiracy theorist, because of their unwillingness to introduce pragmatism into their world view. And on the uber "realist" because they run around with blinders on taking great pride in their unwillingness to stretch their boundaries beyond their personal little paradigm.

It is the extreme minority at both ends of the spectrum that refuse to see any other view but their own, and those who agree with them, that have become the problem children.

And in my personal opinion, neither is any less dangerous to the rest of us than the other.

edit on 8/10/2012 by Klassified because: (no reason given)

edit on 8/10/2012 by Klassified because: correction

posted on Aug, 10 2012 @ 10:56 AM
reply to post by Klassified

It is the extreme minority at both ends of the spectrum that refuse to see any other view but their own, and those who agree with them, that have become the problem children.

And in my personal opinion, neither is any less dangerous to the rest of us than the other.

Well I can't argue with these points ^

Well said

I had a lot more to say in the OP but couldn't get it into two posts and posted the basics. If we're all looking for the imaginary bad guys, we're missing what's really happening.

posted on Aug, 10 2012 @ 03:34 PM
This is a very curious thought ... the infiltrators have been infiltrated?

Not surprising, but then how many other groups would be in a similar position? If the circumstances allow, then it would have to be more than only one group? The theory allows for black power, zionist lobbies, glbt activists, green peace types ... any one, if not all these groups have the ability to fit the profile above.

Which is quite frightening, but would explain a LOT.


posted on Aug, 10 2012 @ 04:26 PM
reply to post by harryhaller
Thanks for the reply...and dodging the tumble-weeds.

A lot of what I cut out looked at the same ideas you've had. Some people want to look past the real groups, and intentions, and place blame on a shadowy force or organisation that they only assume exists. Instead we have real groups and real agents doing things we actually have evidence for.

It's disappointing that killings based on a fictional world-view become something abstract when framed as just another episode in some world domination saga. Real people get killed and, for some, it's just a puzzle-piece or one more dot to join.

I've run out of words...

posted on Aug, 12 2012 @ 10:55 AM
Figures, another well researched, well thought out thread, consigned to oblivion. Thanks for doing this thread K, I learned a few things from it. And it will stay on my favorites list for future reference.

posted on Feb, 19 2013 @ 08:18 PM
Well...Hell...we're pretty much all paranoid whether it be our government, those of us that might be labeled "conspiracy theorists, and even, well, those who have a paranoid fear of the paranoid!

You have mentioned and otherwise alluded to some of the worst--and imo--tragic of all conspiranoia: Our own government's overreaction to the "Red Scare." The very thing that led to the U.S. alphabet agencies TOTALLY overstepping their constitutional boundaries and setting the stage for the Imperialism that both threatens and makes the States--most understandably--hated around the world.

So, yeah, your point is well-taken and uber-relevant to our fractured world/societal situation. But where is the line between healthy, observant fears, and flat-out discordant consipanoia?

For me, personally, I think of the conspiracy-minded the same way I think of my tendencies towards germaphobia: Some carry it too far, but, in all actuality, it's the "thinking man's phobia" because it's based on the scientific principals of how disease and viruses spread. Sure Howard Hughes, for example, went off the high-dive with it, then again "germs" are out there. We face, it seems, a lot of "viruses" these days.

I must note, however: Thanks for talking me down before, brother!!
Although, come to think about it...they were/are out there...just not everywhere. Balance would be the much-needed key, but it's sometimes both a tightrope and a fine line.

edit on 19-2-2013 by The GUT because: (no reason given)

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