Conspiracy Theories…

I had a neighbor once who was a member of an organization called the Upright Ostriches, which he explained to me was the non-violent wing of the Posse Comitatus. The Posse Comitatus is a survivalist, anti-Federal government group, anti-tax, anti-Federal Reserve group of “Christian Identity” survivalists. Every so often, enough of them are out jail at the same time to have a shootout with the FBI, at which point they get carted off to jail to begin the cycle again. Hence, the need for a non-violent wing.

From what I could tell, the two organizations believed (more or less) that the world is run by two Jews in a cave somewhere. I got the distinct impression that one of the Jews is Henry Kissinger – the other may or may not be George Soros. (Despite the fact that he knew full well I was Jewish, he liked to share their literature with me and felt it was important to bring me around to their cause… though presumably I’d have been hanged if I showed up a meeting.)

Now, its easy to dismiss this as just another group of crazy people running around believing silly things. Ditto UFOs, the Masons, and any number of other examples. I’m generally pretty skeptical about such talk but…

Say that in 1985, I told you that the President’s National Security Advisor, Robert McFarlane, had told one of his people (a dude by the name of Michael Ledeen – yes, Michael Ledeen) to ask the Israelis to sell American missiles to Iran. Yes, Iran.

Now say I told you the Israelis went along with it, but after they made a few shipments, an airplane carrying 248 American service personnel crashed, and somehow this convinced the administration that more missiles had to be sent to Iran, and faster. So Ollie North and McFarlane’s replacement, John Poindexter, decide to cut out the middle-man and start peddling missiles to Iran directly.

One last piece of the story, squaring the circle so to speak. The money from the sale of US property, namely missiles, was sent to help the Contras in Nicaragua. Thus, both sides of the transaction violated US law.

Obviously, if I described something like the Iran Contra Affair before the story broke in 1987, you’d call me a nutjob. Which raises the question… is there any way to tell when a conspiracy theory has any kernel of truth in it, or whether its a complete fabrication?