Thursday, September 11, 2014

It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Acting)

You lose yourself, you reappear
You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
Alone you stand with nobody near
When a trembling distant voice, unclear
Startles your sleeping ears to hear
That somebody thinks they really found you

A question in your nerves is lit
Yet you know there is no answer fit
To satisfy, insure you not to quit
To keep it in your mind and not forget
That it is not he or she or them or it
That you belong to

Although the masters make the rules
For the wise men and the fools
I got nothing, Ma, to live up to

-Bob Dylan, It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)

Among conspiracy theorists real and phony (you know who you are), one of the most contentious subjects in recent years goes by the label "crisis actors."  The concept behind this hypothesis is that certain conspiracies utilize people engaging in phony activities, acting out a role to one degree or another, in order for the conspirators to achieve their objective.  This claim has been attached to several high profile incidents in the last few years - the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado in July 2012, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012 and the Boston Marathon Bombing in April 2013.  Could this be plausible?

First, I want to address the plausibility of the concept before exploring how it relates to the tragedies listed above.  The plausibility factor must be predicated within the framework of how conspiracies work based on historical precedent.  To do that, I'm turning to a quote I've used before to illustrate the point from the late, great Michael Ruppert's Crossing the Rubicon:

From the Manhattan Project to the Stealth fighter, the US government has successfully kept secrets involving thousands of people. Secondly, in order to execute a conspiracy of the size and type I am suggesting, it is not necessary that thousands of people see the whole picture. The success of the US in maintaining the secrecy around the atom bomb and the Stealth fighter, or in any classified operation, lies in compartmentalization. A technician         in Tennessee  refining uranium ore in 1943 would have had no knowledge of its intended use, or any moral culpability in any deaths that occurred as a result of it. Another technician in Ohio, mixing a polymer resin in 1985, would have had no knowledge of what an F117A looked like or what it was intended to do.

Understanding that the secret to shielding a conspiracy lies in compartmentalization, is it plausible that conspirators would utilize "crisis actors" to engage in phony activity that helps the conspirators achieve their objective?  I believe the answer is a qualified yes.  That qualification, as it relates to compartmentalization, means any crisis actor activity would have to be a sideshow as opposed to the main event.  A good way to explain this is to say it occurs at a "low level", as the Jim Garrison character played by Kevin Costner in the movie JFK described the level the Mafia operated at in the conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy:

Jim Garrison: I don't doubt their involvement, Bill, but at a low level. Could the mob change the parade route? Or eliminate the protection for the President? Could the mob send Oswald to Russia and get him back? Could the mob get the FBI, the CIA, and the Dallas Police to make a mess of the investigation? I mean, could the mob get the Warren Commission appointed to cover it up? Could the mob wreck the autopsy? Could the mob influence the national media to go to sleep? And since when has the mob used anything but .38s for hits up close? The mob wouldn't have the guts or the power for something of this magnitude. Assassins need payrolls, schedules, times, orders. This was a military style ambush from star to finish. A coup d'etat with Lyndon Johnson waiting in the wings.

Interestingly enough, it is within the labyrinthian maze of the JFK assassination conspiracy that we can observe the possible activity of a "crisis actor" at work.  Sure, it happened several decades before that term became popular within conspiracy culture, but the incident reeks of phony acting.  On November 22, 1963, at about 12:10 or 12:15pm, a young man fell to the ground near the Texas School Book Depository in Dealey Plaza and was taken away in an ambulance, believed to be the victim of an epileptic seizure.  Yet he never received treatment, leaving Parkland Hospital right as President Kennedy was arriving, somehow managing to walk away before the area was sealed.

Naturally, the Warren Commission defenders like David von Pein and David Reitzes have plastered the media with points to "debunk" anything suspicious about the incident.  The young man did not walk away unidentified, he was Jerry Belknap, a part time mailroom worker for the Dallas Morning News who was interviewed by the FBI about the incident in 1964.  It turns out he did not have epilepsy, but had been in a car accident and suffered a head injury which caused him to have fainting spells if he didn't take his medication, which is what happened on the day JFK came to town.  So it would seem as if this case were closed, all suspicions addressed.  Except for the fact that in the months prior to November 22, 1963, there had been a number of phony emergency calls placed for an ambulance from the corner of Elm and Houston, which implies a scheme to time how long an ambulance would take to respond.  Author Larry Hancock included this research in his book Someone Would Have Talked and the subject is discussed at length in this thread.

To these strands of strange coincidences, we must apply the important question cui bono - who benefits?  How could the conspirators who profited from the assassination of JFK possibly have benefited from having a man faint near the scene of the upcoming crime?  The fainting episode created a delay in the forward progression of the motorcade as the ambulance blockage of the Elm and Houston intersection would have been radioed back to the lead vehicle in the parade.  The possible reasons for needing a delay?  One would have been to get the shooter into position on the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository.  Bonnie Ray Williams testified to the Warren Commission he was eating his lunch there from noon until about 10 or 12 minutes later.  They may also have needed more time for other shooters, spotters and law enforcement officials, phony and legitimate, to get into position.  The fainting episode, along with a stalled pick-up truck beyond the triple overpass which diverted police before the motorcade arrived, would have served that purpose.

While I freely admit that the anecdote above does not constitute proof, it does contain enough evidence to showcase the plausibility of how a "crisis actor" could be employed to create a phony scene to help a conspiracy unfold in a manner beneficial to the conspirators.  I can't prove whether Jerry Belknap was hired to fake his fainting, whether he was paid to deliberately not take his medication and wait at the appropriate moment at the Houston/Elm intersection, or whether it really was just one of those "coincidences" that he just happened to really need an ambulance at the same place fake calls had previously been placed, but at a time in which a real President was about to be executed.  My primary point in highlighting this incident is for the purposes of illustrating the level at which a crisis actor could be employed to facilitate the unfolding of a conspiracy to the satisfaction of the conspirators.


Having illustrated how this could happen, I want to be crystal clear about how this could not happen: it is completely implausible that a crisis actor or especially a team of crisis actors could be employed to completely fake a conspiracy event to help the conspirators to achieve their objective.  As this hypothesis has been proposed to the events I mentioned at the beginning of this post - Aurora, Sandy Hook, Boston - claiming that actors were hired to fake their injuries (and presumably deaths where fatalities were reported) so that the event itself was a hoax, this scenario is preposterous because it obliterates the capability to compartmentalize for the purposes of maintaining secrecy!  It's one thing when, in the case of the fictional satire Wag the Dog, an actress (Kirsten Dunst) is hired to play a phony war victim running from bombs carrying a bag of Doritos that will be digitally replaced with a cat.  Even in this fictional case, when she asks if she can put this on her resume, she is told someone could come to her house and kill her if she did that.  What's absurd to me in that scenario is that the conspirators (Dustin Hoffman and Robert DeNiro) would hire someone that they didn't trust enough in the first place to keep their mouth shut that they would have to tell them directly without some level of buffer.

In the case of real life events where this sort of hoax is claimed, compound that absurdity by dozens to hundreds of times.  Implicit in this claim is that dozens to hundreds of actors were hired (I've seen some claims there is an agency through which this is done) to engage in phony activity simulating injuries.  There's a reason Larry Hancock's book is titled Someone Would Have Talked - because someone always does!  They come forth on all ranges of the credibility spectrum - for every Julia Ann Mercer, there is a Charles Spiesel.  Witnesses to a conspiracy come forth, are typically belittled by debunkers, and either get discredited as attention seekers or are able to withstand scrutiny so that the credibility of their story stands in inconvenient contrast to the conventional narrative.  That has not been the case with crisis actor-driven hoax conspiracy hypotheses!  There have been numerous videos that I refuse to link to, cleverly edited and constructed to make a real life event look as if actors were hired to sell the story - but not one actor to date has come forward to have their story of either willingly or unwillingly engaging in a hoax withstand the scrutiny of rigorous analysis.

There's another issue that doesn't seem to withstand the weight of scrutiny where crisis actor conspiracy hoaxes are concerned: motive.  Why would the conspirators go to the trouble to hire paid actors who could potentially spill the beans after seeing their fakery online rather than hire paid assassins to do a real job?!  This discrepancy doesn't seem to concern the proponents of such hypothetical hyperbole.  Instead the plausibility for the method to achieve the conspiracy is bypassed to directly address the perceived objective: President Obama wants your guns!  At this point, I have to groan and roll my eyes.  I've seen this movie before and I know how it fucking ends.  I fucking lived through it in the 90's - President Clinton expended a lot of energy during his first term trying to pass gun control legislation.  Right-wing Americans, goaded on with extensive financing by the National Rifle Association and other vested interests, went into hysterics proclaiming 'President Clinton wants your guns!'  The hysteria reached a fever pitch during his second term as we approached the dreaded Y2K apocalypse with the supposition that President Clinton would react to this crisis by suspending the Constitution, declaring himself Emperor and - youbetcha - taking away your guns.  Already I'm seeing videos on youtube basically making the same predictions about President Obama in 2016.  While I've failed miserably at trying to play Nostradamus in the past, I feel pretty safe in predicting that the end of Obama's second term in 2016 will go down the same way Clinton's second term went down in 2000: a Republican will either be elected or selected and will be sworn in some day in January with the lame duck president observing insouciantly.

But here's a measure of inconsistency that rubs me the wrong way: why wasn't Columbine declared a hoax?  I'm not talking about now, there's plenty of bullshitters posting pictures of "crisis actors" in retrospect, I'm talking about then, in 1999.  It was the year before Y2K was supposed to make civilization collapse, not to mention the internet, but I can't find one website from that time pimping a Columbine hoax.  I believe the reason for this oversight is that the genesis for the whole crisis actor conspiracy hoax cottage industry occurred after Columbine.  It happened after 9/11, or to be more precise, it happened in response to genuine probing inquiries into what really happened on 9/11.  By 2004, the movement questioning the Official Story about what happened on 9/11 was reaching critical mass.  Inspired by the tough tactics of the Jersey Girls who were able to prevent George W. Bush's choice Henry Kissinger from chairing the "independent" 9/11 commission (but not able to prevent Philip Zelikow from steering it), numerous activists such as Paul Thompson, Michael Ruppert, Daniel Hopsicker and others did extensive research on various websites refuting significant portions of what we were being told was the truth.  There were some differences among these activists as to what actually happened, yet for the most part they were united in exposing the Big Lie under the banner of "9/11 Truth."  But there was a strange anomaly to this in the person of Morgan Reynolds.  Here was someone saying the Official Story wasn't true, but with a strange twist: there were no hijacked planes.  The really strange anomaly?  This "activist" was previously chief economist for the US Department of Labor in the Bush administration.  Reynolds's hypothesis has a creepy similarity to the conspiracy hoax claims that have cropped up in the years since - the crashing of planes into the twin towers was fake and the cell phone calls from the victims on those flights were done by "actors."

Reynolds was joined in his hypothetical reverie by David Shayler, who believed the planes crashing into the World Trade Center were "missiles wrapped in holograms."  Something else Shayler has in common with Reynolds?  Both worked for their respective governments prior to becoming 9/11 Truth activists.  Shayler's prior employer is even more ominous: British intelligence agency MI-5.  This reeks of a classic disinformation intelligence campaign.  The results of this campaign is that the 9/11 Truth movement lost direction and momentum.  For the next several years, many websites investigating 9/11 were plagued with members propagating this fallacious material.  Now as we reach the 13th anniversary of this horrific atrocity, the movement is essentially dead.  The research continues, but at this point the best case scenario the 9/11 Truth movement can hope for is another investigation like the House Select Committee on Assassinations that concluded there was a conspiracy to assassinate JFK.  That's not likely to happen, but even if it did, it brings nobody to justice who should be prosecuted.

So if this hoax cottage industry really is a disinformation campaign, what is the motive?  Quite simply, it is to discredit any legitimate conspiracy inquiry by equating it with silliness and lunacy.  Wall Street financial institutions with CIA connections making put option profits off 9/11 may as well be actors just playing make believe.  Tamerlan Tsarnaev turns from being a possible intelligence asset to a complete phony swimming in fake blood.  Worst of all, it turns honest victims into lying perpetrators.  This cottage industry is really the Westboro Baptist Church of conspiracy hypotheses.  Proceed with extreme caution whenever you encounter them.

An’ though the rules of the road have been lodged
It’s only people’s games that you got to dodge
And it’s alright, Ma, I can make it


troubadour said...

It's hard to compose my thoughts with Dylan's song still ringing in my head, but bravo for this much needed slap down of the crazy "crisis actors" idea. I was down at the 9/11 anniversary circus in lower Manhattan today, and though Richard Gage & his A&E Truth brethren were doing admirable testifying, only 1 in 200 passersby lingered to hear the testimony. A little later, I watched at Zuccotti Park while a macho fireman and gang of construction workers, and then a whole crowd of 50 or 60 people, shout down a very loud but very focused and eloquent soapbox ranter named Joe. God bless & help you, Joe, Richard and all those seeking to wake up our zombified citizenry. Peace, Kevin Dann, Brooklyn

Robert Paulsen said...

Thanks troubadour, I appreciate the compliment. Great to hear about what was going down yesterday in lower Manhattan and Zuccotti. It may take time, but the people eventually wake up. The truth is too powerful to suppress forever.