Archive for the ‘Conspiracy Theories’ Category

Radiation Claims by US Sailors

Friday, January 24th, 2014

A story has been making the rounds recently about a number of sailors on the USS Ronald Reagan who are suing the US Navy and TEPCO for symptoms they claim are related to exposure to nuclear radiation on board the ship.   The Reagan did not land in Japan at the time of the tsunami or the ensuing problems at the  Fukushima nuclear power plant.  However, it did participate in the transfer of relief supplies, a mission which resulted in the Reagan spending several weeks in an area about one hundred miles away from the crippled reactors.

The lawsuit has been dismissed, but those who brought it are vowing to continue their fight, attempting to appeal or refile their claims.
WUSA has heart-wrenching the story of one of the sailors:

Maryland sailor blames Fukushima for radiation poisoning

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) — He served his country, but has his country turned its back on him? A Maryland sailor says he’s now wheelchair-bound, and he blames it on radiation he was exposed to while representing his country at what’s been called the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

Steve Simmons spoke to WUSA9′s Debra Alfarone exclusively.

Simmons never needed any help getting out on the golf course, “Even if it is a bad shot, I’m still happy.”

Golf, hiking, he’s always been the guy that never stops, “I love P90X, in fact after I did P90X, I also ordered the insanity workout.”

Until November 2011.

Steve was 33. That’s when life started changing for this U.S. Naval Administrative Officer. It was eight months after Simmons served on the USS Ronald Reagan when it was the first ship to respond to what’s been called the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl – the March 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. It was the result of being slammed by a powerful tsunami, triggered by the most violent earthquake Japan had ever seen. Steve started feeling tired, not himself. Then, he blacked out while driving to work, and drove his truck up on a curb. Steve said his list of ailments was puzzling,

“You’re starting to run fevers, your lymph nodes start swelling, you’re having night sweats, you’re getting spastic and you’re losing sensation in your legs, and you can’t feel your legs when you’re getting 2nd degree burns on them, and how do you explain those things?”

Doctors could not. Steve’s leg muscles eventually just gave up, and he’s now confined to a wheelchair to get around.

Steve’s then-fiance, now-wife, Summer, had just moved cross-country to Maryland with her three children to start their lives together. She says she was shocked, but quickly made a plan, “Things change, I started calling around, borrowed a wedding dress, we started looking for a chaplain and we were married the day before Easter in 2012 in a borrowed wedding gown and his dress whites. It was the last time Steve was really able to spend the day on his feet.”

It’s hard not to feel sympathy for Simmons. People do occasionally unexpected medical conditions, some of which are difficult to diagnose. However, there’s simply no reason to think this is radiation-related.

But this is my favorite part:

Steve explains, “As far as the big picture we still don’t have a diagnosis of what this is, still struggling to even get a doctor to acknowledge that radiation had anything to do with it.”

That diagnosis is critical. Without the Navy acknowledging that Steve wouldn’t be in this situation if it wasn’t for his time in Operation Tomodachi, his retirement and pension are at stake. Plus, he doesn’t qualify for aid in the same the way he would if he lost his legs in an IED explosion.

No doctor will say it is radiation related? Probably because they have medical training and understand what radiation does and does not do to the body. It’s just not consitstant with that. Granted, the man may be convinced that something as demonic as radiation must be the casue, that’s not going to hold up in court.

The Department of Defense says radiation levels were safe, and were the equivalent to less than a month’s exposure to the same natural radiation you pick up from being near rocks, soil and the sun.

Steve doesn’t buy that, “How do you take a ship and place it into a nuclear plume for five plus hours, how do you suck up nuclear contaminated waste into the water filtration system and think for one minute that there’s no health risk to anybody on board.”

Again, we have an emotional response. Whether an area is dangerous depends on a number of factors, like there intensity of the radiation and whether there are particles that can be inhaled or ingested. Other important considerations include the time spent in the area and whether it was indoors or outdoors. It’s not a binary safe-unsafe kind of question.


Former Canadian Defense Minister on UFO’s

Friday, June 28th, 2013

When it comes to militarily important nations of the world, Canada ranks pretty highly. For one thing, it’s one of the closest (if not THE closest) allies of the US, frequently conducting joint training and exercises with the US military and given privileged access to US military data.  Canada is also a core member of NATO and to a tripartied mutual defense pact with the US and the UK.

Canada and the US both operate the North American Aerospace Defense Command, one of the largest air and space monitoring systems on earth. Canada hosts many of the advanced radar systems used by NORAD. These systems are integrated into a global air and space monitoring system which is responsible for other purposes, including being called upon to track civilian aircraft that go off course and tracking and cataloging orbital debris.

During the Cold War (and to some extent after) it was presumed that any air strike by the Soviet Union or Russia would include attacks on North America, flying over Canada’s airspace. As the second largest nation by area, Canada has enormous airspace and controls a very large portion of the North Atlantic and Pacific as territorial waters.

Although not as large as that of the US, Russia or China, the military of Canada is a very formidable fighting force and has been called upon for combat operations Afghanistan and in support of numerous relief operations and disaster responses around the world.

As a result, the Minister of National Defense of Canada is a pretty damn important job.

Paul Hellyer served briefly in that position.  He was a Canadian Member of Parliament from 1949 to 1974, making him one of the longest serving members of Parliament.  After leaving Parliament, Hellyer served in a number of advisory rolls on affairs related to the Canadian military.  After becoming less active in politics, Hellyer attempted to return to elected office through the formation of the Canadian Action Party in 1997. However, he was defeated in the election.

All things considered, Hellyer has served in some very important positions in a very important country. It might seem odd that he would be intrusted with such posts given that he has had a very strong interest in UFO’s and aliens since at least the late 1960′s. He began making extremely strong statements in the early 2000′s and became a fixture at North American UFO conferences.

Apparently the revival of his interest in UFO’s was the result of reading some conspiracy theorist books on UFO’s. Prior to this, it seems that Hellyer had only a passing interest in the topic and never took a strong stand on the issue. Hellyer has since gone on to claim to claim that UFO’s are absolutely real and demanded that the government’s of the world disclose what they know about alien technology.

In 2005, he stated:

Hellyer warned, “The United States military are preparing weapons which could be used against the aliens, and they could get us into an intergalactic war without us ever having any warning. He stated, “The Bush administration has finally agreed to let the military build a forward base on the moon, which will put them in a better position to keep track of the goings and comings of the visitors from space, and to shoot at them, if they so decide.”

And here is a video of what he had to say about UFO’s more recently:

Just another reminder: This may was once the highest ranking minister overseeing a military force that was equipped with nuclear weapons, loaned from the United States, was responsible for some of the most important radar installations in the world and was a core founding member of NATO.


Feds Say They Cracked “X-Ray Weapon” Plot

Friday, June 21st, 2013

One thing I am always especially bothered by is when a big deal is made out of a trumped-up claim that the government has thwarted a major terror plot, that is, in fact, either nothing of the sort, or not a real danger.  These news stories come up constantly and seem to reenforce the idea that we need to give more power and money to the various agencies involved.   They tell us both that we need to fear the danger of evil plots and credit the authorities for their diligent work in keeping us safe.

A recent example is the supposed “X-Ray Weapon” that has supposedly been stopped.   While the individuals involved may well have been attempting to build a deadly device, their hair-brained scheme was not likely to be an acute danger to anyone.

Via the New York Times:

2 Men Charged in Bid to Make Deadly X-Ray Weapon
In April 2012, the authorities said, an industrial mechanic walked into a synagogue in Albany and announced his intention to build a weapon that could help Israel kill its enemies while they slept. He wanted to know if anybody would provide financial backing. Turned away, prosecutors said, he sought money from another source: a leader in the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina.

Both the synagogue and the white supremacist group told the authorities about the man, Glendon Scott Crawford, who, until his arrest this week, devoted himself to building a weapon of the sort he had promised, the authorities said. The weapon was an X-ray-emitting device that could be activated by remote control, which he intended to use to kill Muslims, according to a criminal complaint unsealed in Federal District Court in Albany.

Mr. Crawford, who the authorities say works for General Electric in Schenectady and lives in Galway, N.Y., believed the device would enable him to secretly poison people with lethal doses of radiation from a safe distance, the authorities said. On Wednesday, federal prosecutors charged Mr. Crawford, 49, and an engineer, Eric J. Feight, 54, of Hudson, N.Y., whom the authorities described as a co-conspirator who works in industrial automation, with conspiring to provide support for the building of a weapon of mass destruction. The authorities say Mr. Crawford relied on Mr. Feight to design the weapon.

Mr. Crawford, the authorities said, conceived of a powerful X-ray device that could be placed in a truck and driven near a target. The driver would park, leave the area and activate the device, “killing human targets silently and from a distance with lethal doses of radiation,” the complaint against the men stated.

To add to the hysteria, other news stories have said the men planned to use the device to target President Barack Obama or that they were members of the Tea Party (a political movement which has been labeled as everything from racist to terrorist.)

There is a lot of questionable information in the reports.  For one thing, if they were actual KKK members, one wonders why they would be seeking support from Jews or looking to target the “Enemies of Israel,” since the Ku Klux Klan hates Jews.   They also reportedly lived in upstate New York, an area which does not have any active chapters of the Klan.   They may just have been garden variety racists who sympathized with hate groups.


Poll Shows Widespread Conspiracy Theory Belief By Americans

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

This may be old news (about a month) but it is still worth posting.   A poll was recently conducted by Public Policy Polling of Americans on the topic of conspiracy theories.   The number really do not surprise me very much.  If anything, it shows a few conspiracy theories are LESS popular than I might have expected.   Then again, the numbers are still soberingly high.

Via the Atlantic Wire:

Conspiracy Percent believing Number of Americans believing
JFK was killed by conspiracy 51 percent 160,096,160
Bush intentionally misled on Iraq WMDs 44 percent 138,122,178
Global warming is a hoax 37 percent 116,148,195
Aliens exist 29 percent 91,035,072
New World Order 28 percent 87,895,931
Hussein was involved in 9/11 28 percent 87,895,931
A UFO crashed at Roswell 21 percent 65,921,948
Vaccines are linked to autism 20 percent 62,782,808
The government controls minds with TV 15 percent 47,087,106
Medical industry invents diseases 15 percent 47,087,106
CIA developed crack 14 percent 43,947,966
Bigfoot exists 14 percent 43,947,966
Obama is the Antichrist 13 percent 40,808,825
The government allowed 9/11 11 percent 34,530,544
Fluoride is dangerous 9 percent 28,252,264
The moon landing was faked 7 percent 21,973,983
Bin Laden is alive 6 percent 18,834,842
Airplane contrails are sinister chemicals 5 percent 15,695,702
McCartney died in 1966 5 percent 15,695,702
Lizard people control politics 4 percent 12,556,562

The margin of error of the poll is 2.8 percent. As with any poll, it’s important to remember that the margin of error may not reflect the true accuracy of the poll, as it can depend on factors like how careful the pollsters were in selecting an appropriate demographic cross-section of the US.  It’s very easy to get skewed results with polling, because telephone surveys tend to get more responses from certain demographics, such as retirees, the unemployed and others who are more likely to be home and willing to answer questions.   Still, the numbers certainly seem plausible and are in line with other polls that have been conducted.

Of course, one also wonders how many people might say yes to certain conspiracy theories while only harboring a slightly sarcastic belief in them.   As with any such numbers, it’s hard to be sure who is a hard-core believer and who has only a passing belief.   One can certainly hope that they might be lower.

You can read more about the poll here. According to Public Policy Polling, the total respondents were 1,247 all of whom were registered voters.   That’s a reasonably good size sample.  The questions were also direct and avoided bias.   The figures also show the breakdown between Republican and Democratic-registered voters.  As one might expect, Republicans tend to be more prone to believing things like Bin Laden is alive, while Democrats are far more likely to think Bush lied about WMD’s.

It’s not surprising that the Kennedy Assassination ranks at the top of the poll.  If anything, it’s surprising it is not higher.   The Kennedy Assassination has always fascinated me, because, despite being a relatively straight-forward shooting, it spawned the single most widespread and enduring conspiracy theory in the US.   There are many reasons for this, including the efforts of those like Oliver Stone and the fact that the events were shocking and the guilt of Lee Harvey Oswald seemed so anti-climactic for such an event.

The Kennedy Assassination is unique in that the conspiracy theories have transcended the normal conspiracy theory subculture and become entirely mainstream.  A large number of Americans did not accept the Warren Commission report as soon as it was published in 1964.  That number continued to climb after a second investigation by the House Select Committee on Assassinations and with the production of numerous books and documentaries supporting conspiracy theories.

The most dangerous of all these conspiracy theories, however, is likely to be the 20% number for autism being connected to vaccines.   This is directly responsible for a number of outbreaks in the US.  Indeed, this belief is hardly just American.  Fear of vaccines has become a major problem across the industrial world.   It goes to show that more effort still needs to be mounted against these harmful myths.


With the Dust Barely Settled, Conspiracy Theories Abound

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

I am sure that I do not have to tell readers that there was a bombing, which occurred near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.   Two explosions occurred, in relatively rapid succession, resulting in three deaths and more than one hundred injuries.   At the time of writing, there are several people in critical condition and it is possible more will die.  Some of the injuries confirmed include spectators who lost one or more limbs.

Of course, despite the death toll being relatively light, the event was shocking, due to the bombing happening at a public event that is high profile and because the attack seems to have come out of the blue, at a time and place that had not been suspected to be at risk.

It is important to note that at the time of this writing, the person or persons who perpetrated this.

While there is no solid information on who was behind it, what is currently known seems to indicate that this was an attack of relatively low sophistication which would not have required a large group or resources to carry out.  The explosives were low velocity and not especially difficult to obtain.  The bombs were likely contained within pressure cookers and surrounded by shrapnel made from commonly available items, such as ball bearings and nails.

The image to the left shows a portion of the bomb’s casing, which was recovered shortly after the blast.  It has been identified as the lid to a pressure cooker.  The results of analysis of bomb residue has not yet been made public, but it is known that the explosive was of the low velocity type, which is more easily obtained than more powerful explosives like TNT.

At this point it could be anyone.   Islamic terrorism is one possibility, although no group has claimed responsibility.  Political terrorism or domestic groups is another, although there were no claims of responsibility or political messages included.   It could certainly have been a “lone nut.”  It could have been a doomsday cult.  It could have been a right wing group or a left wing group.  It could have been related to tax day, but it might not have been.

There is, however, no reason to believe that this attack would have required anything like the resources of the Federal government.  Nor is there any evidence to indicate that it was part of a massive conspiracy.  If nothing else, there is no obvious gain to any grand conspiracy by committing an act of this type.

That has still not stopped conspiracy theorists from coming out of the woodwork, literally within hours.

Here’s what pathological nutball Alex Jones had to say, within just hours of the bombings:

Our hearts go out to those that are hurt or killed, But this thing stinks to high heaven #falseflag.

Wow.  Really?    It takes the government now to stuff gunpowder into a cooking pot.

Jones went on to post a video, which you can see here.   His rambling claims include stating that he had predicted that the government was preparing to attack Americans before the explosion even happened.  That might seem amazing, except he says that every day.

Even more ridiculous are claims that the show Family Guy contained references to the planned attack.   This is based on two clips from the show, edited together.  In one episode, the main character wins the Boston Marathon by using his car to plow through runners.   In another unrelated clip, from the same episode, the character starts hanging out with a Muslim man, only to discover he was a terrorist. Conspiracy theorists claim this is foreshadowing of the planned attack and go on to point out that the World Trade Center was also featured in a number of television shows and movies.   Well, yes, that is true, it was a prominent place.  But how that relates to anything, they do not explain.

Others have said that the bombing was a complete hoax, perhaps with nobody killed or injured.   At least one has claimed that a video shows that the blood seen after the bombing is fake.   In one video, it is claimed that the blood disappears when a man walks by in the video.   It’s hard to say what is happening, however, as the video is extremely low quality and the station’s logo obscures much of the area in interest. Another video (WARNING GRAPHIC) shows an image of a victim who had literally had most of their leg blown off, with bone sticking out from the gaping wound. It claims that the proof of the hoax is that there is no blood seen. Of course, the victim was not at the location where the injury occurred and had a tourniquet applied to stop the bleeding.

A large number of conspiracy theorists have latched onto the presence of bomb-sniffing dogs as evidence of a government conspiracy.   Their observations, however, seem to indicate a lack of understanding of how bomb sniffing dogs are used.   For example, it is not surprising that the dogs would not have found the bomb, since, given their small number, they cannot inspect every single area of an event, and because the best current evidence is that the devices were planted shortly before detonation, making it less likely that the area in question would have been inspected in time.  In crowded events, dogs trained to sniff explosives are a valuable, but far from foolproof tool. It is also not unusual that the dogs were training at the event, as large events are often used to train bomb dogs, something which was announced before the bombings.   In order for bomb dogs to be effective, they need near constant training and practice.

This site helps explain the facts about the bomb dogs seen at the event.


Study on Effects of Geneticly Engineered Food Turns out to be Fradulant

Friday, March 29th, 2013

There have been many claims made about the potential health dangers of genetically modified crops by a number of groups.  Of course, most of these claims lack even the slightest evidence and seem to be based on the fallacy that anything artificial is dangerous.   While a few genetically engineered crops under development did show potential to cause allergies, these were quickly pulled from consideration for use in actual products.

Still, opponents continue to grasp for straws to prove that modifying DNA intentionally (as opposed as to by accident, which happens all the time) is somehow a danger to health.  A recent study claimed to have found strong evidence of harm, yet critical evaluation has found it not only to be flawed, but actually fraudulent.

Via Forbes:

Scientists Smell A Rat In Fraudulent Genetic Engineering Study
Last week French microbiologist Gilles-Eric Séralini and several colleagues released the results of a long-term study in which rats were fed genetically engineered (AKA genetically modified, or “GM”) corn that contains enhanced resistance to insects and/or the herbicide glyphosate. They took the unprecedented step of pre-releasing the paper to selected media outlets under an embargo on the condition that they sign a non-disclosure agreement. (That prevented the journalists from seeking scientific experts’ opinions on the article.) At a carefully orchestrated media event they then announced that their long-term studies found that the rats in experimental groups developed tumors at an alarming rate. Within hours news of their “discovery” echoed around the world. As we say today, the story “went viral.”

This really should have raised a red flag from the beginning. Typically, scientists will publish their work in a journal for review by other scientists before going to the media. If there are leaks about an especially large or important discovery, they may need to engage the media sooner, but this is usually done in a guarded manner. Otherwise, it’s normally improper to talk with the media about scientific data before it has been released in full, and doing so with a non-disclosure agreement is not normal.

Based on this atypical behavior and apparent desire for early media attention, the scent of a rat should have been strong even before the paper was released.  They also preempted publication of their study with the release of these extremely disturbing photos of the rats used in the experiment.


A reptilian in the secret service?

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

It never ceases to amaze me what otherwise functional adults can believe.   Mind you, this video was produced by someone with enough of a grasp on reality to understand how to operate video editing software.  In fact, it probably involved more than one person.   These are the people who live along side each of us in society.

Okay, so now the reptilians are not simply the leaders but also their body guards?   That’s a new one.  I was under the impression that the evil alien overlords ruled but that their slave minions were humans.   One would think, in any case, they could keep the true shape-shifters hidden away from public events and use one of their human shills instead.   But then again, this does not need to make sense.

A few observations:

  1. The Secret Service acts as the presidents body guards and are basically paid to be paranoid and constantly on edge that he will be attacked.  Some hide it better than others, but if an agent is standing in a crowd looking around a lot, that’s because he’s doing his job.  crowds are dangerous because anyone could easily pull a gun, and although there are usually metal detectors, they are not foolproof.
  2. That looks to me like a tall, slender guy with a bald/shaved head.   Am I alone in this?
  3. Video cameras and compression are designed such that small details, normally not important to the picture, are lost in order to increase efficiency.  One of the things that many video systems have is a smoothing filter, which removes random noise from the image to improve compression.   It can make faint background details appear smooth.   This can happen a lot in areas that are darker than most of the image or where contrast is high.  The effect is increased by zooming. Of course, you can’t just crop and zoom and get an accurate picture.  The image has a finite resolution.  Any zooming beyond that is just pixel scaling.
  4. Do I seriously need to even

It Had to Happen: CT’ers Go After Iodized Salt

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

Note:  it can be spelled iodized or iodised

I suppose it was only a matter of time before it started to happen.   Conspiracy theorists and various “natural healing” groups are now moving from fluoridated water to iodized salt.   The claims are pretty similar:  That it is forced medication that takes away choice from the individual, that it is dangerous and toxic and that the goals of adding iodine have nothing to do with improving human health and everything to do with causing disease/controlling the population/reducing fertility etc etc.

Historic Background:


Conspiracy Theorist Defaces Priceless Painting

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

Never underestimate the lengths some conspiracy theorists will go to in order to fulfill their deluded desire to become some kind of warrior against the evils they imagine.   Of course, violence against their critics is always a danger, since these people generally believe their detractors are part of the evil conspiracy.   Now, in a new twist, a 9/11 conspiracy-obsessed woman in France has defaced a priceless and iconic painting shortly after it went on display at the Louvre-Lens museum in Lens France.

The painting, Liberty Leading the People is shown here:

Via the Guardian:

Delacroix painting at Lens Louvre gallery defaced with permanent marker

A woman has been arrested after defacing a painting by Eugène Delacroix at the Louvre satellite museum in Lens. The 28-year-old told police she had scrawled “AE911” with an indelible marker on the painting, Liberty Leading the People, to draw attention to an organisation that appears to believe the 9/11 attacks were a conspiracy.

On Friday, after an art expert was dispatched from Paris to examine the painting, completed in 1830 to celebrate the July 1830 revolution, a museum official said the work had been cleaned and had suffered no lasting damage.

The 30cm graffiti tag had been removed from the lower right of the canvas without damaging the work, the official said. “The painting remains intact. The inscription was superficial; it was on the surface of the varnish and hadn’t reached the paint layer.” The cleaning operation had lasted two hours and had been done with the painting still on the wall. The wing of the gallery, closed for the emergency restoration, was expected to reopen on Saturday .

Delacroix’s work shows a bare-breasted woman personifying Liberty brandishing a French tricolour in one hand and a bayonetted musket in the other, leading the people forward over the bodies of the fallen.

Philippe Peyroux, the local prosecutor, told AFP that the woman held by police appeared to be “unstable”. He said he had requested that she be examined by a psychiatrist. He added that she had a “French-sounding name”, but her reasons for vandalising the painting were not clear.

The woman’s identity has not been released. The fact that she has a “French sounding name” is the only information. It would imply that she is probably a French National and not someone from elsewhere. This would make sense given that the city of Lens is a relatively small city and not prone to drawing the kind of international visitors that Paris might. However, no other details of her background are known.

In this case the art world is lucky to have avoided a catastrophe. Painting restoration experts have developed a wide array of special cleaners and solvents that are capable of removing surface contamination without harming the original paint. The painting is composed of oil-based paint on canvas, with a top coat of varnish. Art restoration experts were able to clean off the superficial ink from the surface without causing damage to the painting.   The use of a permanent marker would appear to indicate that the woman intended to irreversibly deface the painting, though she failed.

Had the woman used another method of defacing the painting, for example, if she had attempted to scratch the message into the canvas with a nail, cut it into the painting with a knife or burn it in with a lighter, it would not have been so easily remedied and would have left the painting forever damaged.

The Saddest Protest I Have Ever Seen

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

This is not really a story of any significance, although that is what makes it so sad.   A woman in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania decided she was going to hold a protest against “chemtrails.”   I’m not sure what she hoped to acomplish.  Perhaps she just wanted to show the powers that be that the people were aware of their evil plans and didn’t like them.   Maybe she wanted to inspire others to join the movement.

Whatever the case, nobody else showed up for the protest, so it was just her in a gas mask, holding a sign.  The only other person there was the guy filming, who seems to be her significant other, based on the way she addresses him at the end.   Remarkably, she also decided it was a good idea to post it on Youtube and that doing so would look like something other than a pitiful display of isolation.

(click here if your browser does not support embedded video)

It’s not that I want to just laugh at people, but sometimes it’s hard to avoid it.