Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Conspiracies

Conspiracies make me chuckle.

 

Partly because SOME people think they exist under every rock and around every corner.  You know who they are…  after all, you’re helping to monitor them for the UN/EU/NSA/CSI/Illuminati/Masons, right?  In fact, I’m monitoring one of them right now.  Hehe…

 

But seriously, we hear of the big, grand government conspiracies like the moon landing “hoax”, the Roswell alien landing hoax, the Kennedy assassination, the military/industrial complex perpetual war conspiracy, the “conspiracy” to rig the 2000 election, and the big daddy of the all, the September 11 “truthers” conspiracy.  But in all fairness they all may be connected into one big giant conspiracy, right?

 

Puh-leeze!!

 

I’m an operations guy.  I do numbers.  I do processes.  I do systems.  In short, part of what I do involves running logical progressions of events from now to whenever in order to project what might happen and implement things today to prevent bad things from happening tomorrow.  For instance, if I have to decide whether or not we should include a specific data point in a database I have to consider what that data point is used for now, what it might be used for in the future, and how hard it would be to retrofit the database to include that data point if we change our mind at a later date and contrast that against the added cost of tracking that particular metric.  Sound fun?  It is.  Let me tell you.  I love what I do.

 

What does that have to do with conspiracies?  Well, someone can use that same logic to reverse-engineer a conspiracy theory.  Take the 2000 election for example.  SOME PEOPLE have contended (and you know who you are… well, I know who you are because I’m the one who sent the Flowers By Iris van to your neighbor) that the whole 2000 election was a conspiracy rigged up by the [insert organization] in order to further the goals of the [insert organization] by way of George W. Bush’s policy goals.

 

Uh huh.  I’m not making this up.  They also wear tin-foil hats.

 

Some of them see the events of 9/11 and subsequent wars as part and parcel of that whole conspiracy.

 

Uh huh.  I’m still not making it up.  And they still wear tin-foil hats.  At least the ones I can’t track anymore do.

 

Let’s examine the first part all by itself.  By reverse engineering the events, we can establish the scope of the conspiracy.  You need 5 Supreme Court Justices, which means you need Presidents AND Senates going all the way back to the late 70s.  That means you have to have Carter, Regan, Regan, Bush 1, Clinton, and Clinton again in on the whole deal in order to make sure that the “right” justices are placed in power.  We know that these guys all had issues with some of their first choice nominees—remember “bork”—so that means that the second (and sometimes third) choice for the position had to be in on it, too. 

 

Oh yea, and you have to make sure the justices don’t die along the way.

 

Plus you have to have people in power who are ambitious enough to pull off a nationwide conspiracy involving over 200 people—who don’t necessarily like each other and might be interested in screwing their adversaries’ careers, mind you—over the course of 2 or 3 decades AND humble enough to not tell anyone about it.  Plus you have to have their assistants, aids, staff, housekeepers, associated official buttwipers, international diplomats, and international leaders who are either too ignorant to catch on over the course of the plot or too humble to say anything and not at all ambitious enough to capitalize on being THE GUY who brought down the whatever conspiracy.  And we all know that people rise to prominence in their particular field of work because they’re either ignorant or humble and not at all ambitious.  That is, after all, how the President’s chef cook got the job—because he’s ignorant and/or humble and/or not the least bit ambitious.  And that’s not to mention the various bodyguards and official human shields who are ALWAYS within earshot of those in power and, again, don’t rise to that level of trust and responsibility by being ignorant or not the least bit ambitious.

 

Sure, sounds plausible, right?  That’s my point.  Grand conspiracies, if people really think about them, collapse under their own weight because it only takes 1 person to bring the whole damn thing down.  And usually that one person isn’t even someone from within.  Take Watergate as an example.

 

That whole operation was small to begin with, but it was brought down because someone found some tape on a door that was supposed to be locked shut.  Tape brought down the whole Watergate conspiracy.  Regular old masking tape.

 

But that’s usually what conspiracies look like—small operations in big venues, not big operations in big venues.  One person in a crowd of hundreds can “vanish” pretty easily.  Hundreds in a group of thousands will be noticed.  Did you ever wonder why spy operations were 1 guy with 1 handler?  Because if starting people then they talk, and when people talk other people hear stuff.  When people hear stuff… well, all hell breaks loose.

 

Consider the UNABomer, too.  He was 1 guy, slowly and methodically blowing shit up.  If he had JUST KEPT HIS STUPID EGOTISTICAL MOUTH SHUT he’d still be in his little shit hole cabin making bombs and blowing shit up.  Chances are that one would even blow him up by accident because that’s what bombs do—blow shit up.  But there you had 1 man operating in a big venue, slipping in and out without being noticed.  Those snipers near DC, are another example.  2 guys, slipping in and out of an area, nobody knowing who they are or what they look like, until they get busted for sleeping on the side of the road.  Stupid, dumb slip ups.

 

Another hallmark of a successful conspiracy is that it’s about something that doesn’t matter.  Fido went to a farm where he can run free forever?  Yes, honey, that’s what happened to your dog.  Parents get away with that because it’s between him and her, and the kid never needs to know because ultimately it doesn’t matter and eventually the kid will learn that Farmer Mack’s farm doesn’t exist and Fido is dead, dead, dead.  The original intent was to “conspire” together in a lie so that the kids feelings weren’t hurt—something that in the long run is no big deal.  It’s certainly not like killing a president or rigging an election or faking a moon landing or inventing a war.  Nobody is going to rat anybody out, and even if you did nobody would care.  Can you imagine the headline:  Parents lie to child!  Yea.  Like that’s never happened.  Who hasn’t lied to their child?

 

But what about terrorist cells you say?  They’re more than 1 person and it was just a few groups of 5 who brought down a few planes (unless you believe the 9/11 kooks).  Well, consider that the groups didn’t work together, per se.  They all knew the day and the plane, but didn’t know about each other.  Also consider the time frame was about a year, maybe less for some, maybe more for others.  But the time frame was relatively short.  We’re not talking decades here.  What we’re learning more and more as this “war on terror” continues is that while time is our enemy (we have to be perfect always, they have to be perfect once), time is the enemy of the combatants, as well.  They have to rush to get things put together and on the ground, otherwise we’ll eventually find a money trail, or communication trail, or someone will screw up and get a traffic ticket (leave tape on a door), or some other innocuous slip up.  Remember the guy who got busted trying to blow up the Space Needle and LAX?  He got busted at the border for something entirely different that blowing shit up.  And it’s getting harder and harder for the “bad guys” to slap things together and get them rolling quickly without us sniffing them out first.

 

That’s how it happens.  Conspiracies are EXTREMELY hard to pull off.  EXPECIALLY big conspiracies, and EXTRA EXPECIALLY big secret important conspiracies.  Someone talks.  Someone slips up.  Someone messes the whole thing up.  Or someone stumbles across the operation and brings it all down.

 

The trick is to be paying close enough attention to see when someone leaves tape on the door.  And before we knew “terror cells” existed, we didn’t even know to look for tape on the door.

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