The term “conspiracy theory” was invented and put into public discourse by the CIA in 1964 in order to discredit the many skeptics who challenged the Warren Commission’s conclusion that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by a lone gunman named Lee Harvey Oswald, who himself was assassinated while in police custody before he could be questioned. The CIA used its friends in the media to launch a campaign to make suspicion of the Warren Commission report a target of ridicule and hostility. This campaign was “one of the most successful propaganda initiatives of all time.”
So writes political science professor Lance deHaven-Smith, who in his peer-reviewed book, Conspiracy Theory in America, published by the University of Texas Press, tells the story of how the CIA succeeded in creating in the public mind reflexive, automatic, stigmatization of those who challenge government explanations. This is an extremely important and readable book, one of those rare books with the power to break you out of The Matrix.
Professor deHaven-Smith is able to write this book because the original CIA Dispatch #1035-960, which sets out the CIA plot, was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Apparently, the bureaucracy did not regard a document this old as being of any importance. The document is marked “Destroy when no longer needed,” but somehow wasn’t. CIA Dispatch #1035-960 is reproduced in the book.
The success that the CIA has had in stigmatizing skepticism of government explanations has made it difficult to investigate State Crimes Against Democracy (SCAD) such as 9/11. With the public mind programmed to ridicule “conspiracy kooks,” even in the case of suspicious events such as 9/11 the government can destroy evidence, ignore prescribed procedures, delay an investigation, and then form a political committee to put its imprimatur on the official story. Professor deHaven-Smith notes that in such events as Kennedy’s assassination and 9/11 official police and prosecutorial investigations are never employed. The event is handed off to a political commission.