Credit Suisse Research Institute “Global Wealth Report” (2018)

Social disparity has reached an extreme level and current statistics indicate that an ultra-rich segment (>1% of the total population) owns ≈50% of the worlds entire wealth, i.e., ≈$140 trillion are owned by a infinitesimal small minority of humanity; but see the Credit Suisse Research Institute “Global Wealth Report” from 2018.

Credit Suisse. (2018). Global Wealth Databook 2018. Credit Suisse

Google’s Whitepaper on the “fight” of disinformation

George Lakoff could write a book on the “conceptual metaphor” employed in the title of the whitepaper. George Orwell is turning in his grave (the “digital algorithmic ministry of truth”).

Here are the “three foundational pillars” of the whitepaper (expressis verbis):

  • Improve our products so they continue to make quality count;
  • Counteract malicious actors seeking to spread disinformation;
  • Give people context about the information they see.


Further References

Lakoff, G.. (2014). Metaphor and War: The Metaphor System Used to Justify War in the Gulf. Cognitive Semiotics

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1515/cogsem.2009.4.2.5
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Steuter, E., & Wills, D.. (2008). At war with metaphor. Nueva York: Rowman and …

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-10-4
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Thibodeau, P. H., Hendricks, R. K., & Boroditsky, L.. (2017). How Linguistic Metaphor Scaffolds Reasoning. Trends in Cognitive Sciences

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2017.07.001
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Hülsse, R., & Spencer, A.. (2008). The metaphor of terror: Terrorism studies and the constructivist turn. Security Dialogue

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1177/0967010608098210
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Ferrari, F.. (2007). Metaphor at work in the analysis of political discourse: Investigating a “preventive war” persuasion strategy. Discourse and Society

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1177/0957926507079737
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Thibodeau, P., Mcclelland, J. L., & Boroditsky, L.. (2009). When a bad metaphor may not be a victimless crime : The role of metaphor in social policy. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.1070.0713
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Spencer, A.. (2012). The social construction of terrorism: Media, metaphors and policy implications. Journal of International Relations and Development

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1057/jird.2012.4
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At war with metaphor: media, propaganda, and racism in the war on terror. (2013). Choice Reviews Online

Plain numerical DOI: 10.5860/choice.46-3669
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Kövecses, Z.. (2016). Conceptual metaphor theory. In The Routledge Handbook of Metaphor and Language

Plain numerical DOI: 10.4324/9781315672953
directSciHub download

Navaro-Yashin, Y.. (2009). Affective spaces, melancholic objects: Ruination and the production of anthropological knowledge. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9655.2008.01527.x
directSciHub download

Koller, V., Hardie, A., Rayson, P., & Semino, E.. (2008). Using a semantic annotation tool for the analysis of metaphor in discourse. Metaphorik.De
Yanık, L. K.. (2009). The Metamorphosis of Metaphors of Vision: “Bridging” Turkey’s Location, Role and Identity After the End of the Cold War. Geopolitics

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1080/14650040802693515
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Studies on the financial power élite: Behind the façade of democracy

Davies, W.. (2017). Elite Power under Advanced Neoliberalism. Theory, Culture and Society

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1177/0263276417715072
directSciHub download

Foster, J. B., & Holleman, H.. (2014). The Financial Power Elite. Monthly Review

Plain numerical DOI: 10.14452/mr-062-01-2010-05_1
directSciHub download

Hoskin, K. W., & Macve, R. H.. (1986). Accounting and the examination: A genealogy of disciplinary power. Accounting, Organizations and Society

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/0361-3682(86)90027-9
directSciHub download

Froud, J., Johal, S., Moran, M., & Williams, K.. (2017). Outsourcing the State: New Sources of Elite Power. Theory, Culture and Society

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1177/0263276417717791
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Seabrooke, L.. (2009). The Social Sources of Financial Power: Domestic Legitimacy and International Financial Orders. Economic Geography

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1111/j.1944-8287.2008.tb00397.x
directSciHub download

Davis, A.. (2000). Public relations, business news and the reproduction of corporate elite power. Journalism

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1177/146488490000100301
directSciHub download

Boswell, R.. (2005). Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power. Global Studies in Culture and Power

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1080/1070289X.1994.9962492
directSciHub download

Abbink, J., & Salverda, T.. (2012). The anthropology of elites: Power, culture, and the complexities of distinction. The Anthropology of Elites: Power, Culture, and the Complexities of Distinction

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1057/9781137290557
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J. Edgar Hoover on “monstrous conspiracy and morality”

The individual comes face-to-face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists. The American mind has not come to a realisation of the evil which has been introduced into our midst. It rejects even the assumption that human creatures could espouse a philosophy which must ultimately destroy all that is good and decent.


When morals decline and good men do nothing, evil flourishes. A society unwilling to learn from past is doomed. We must never forget our history.

John Edgar Hoover was an American law enforcement administrator and the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States. He was appointed as the director of the Bureau of Investigation – the FBI’s predecessor – in 1924 and was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, where he remained director until his death in 1972 at the age of 77

The Impact of Science on Society – Bertrand Russell

Take first the question of food and population. At present 
the population of the globe is increasing at the rate of about 
20 millions a year. Most of this increase is in Russia and 
Southeast Asia. The population of Western Europe and 
the United States is nearly stationary. Meanwhile, the food 
supply of the world as a whole threatens to diminish, as a 
result of unwise methods of cultivation and destruction of 
forests. This is an explosive situation. Left to itself, it must 
lead to a food shortage and thence to a world war. Technique, 
however, makes other issues possible. 

Vital statistics in the West are dominated by medicine 
and birth control: the one diminishes the deaths, the other 
the births. The result is that the average age in the West 
increases: there is a smaller percentage of young people and 
a larger percentage of old people. Some people consider that 
this must have unfortunate results, but speaking as an old 
person, I am not sure. 

The danger of a world shortage of food may be averted 
for a time by improvements in the technique of agriculture. 
But, if population continues to increase at the present rate, 
such improvements cannot long suffice. There will then be 
two groups, one poor with an increasing population, the 
other rich with a stationary population. Such a situation can 
hardly fail to lead to world war. If there is not to be an 
endless succession of wars, population will have to become 
stationary throughout the world, and this will probably have 
to be done, in many countries, as a result of governmental 
measures. This will require an extension of scientific tech- 
nique into very intimate matters. There are, however, two 
other possibilities. War may become so destructive that, at 
any rate for a time, there is no danger of overpopulation; or 
the scientific nations may be defeated and anarchy may de- 
stroy scientific technique. 

Biology is likely to affect human life through the study of 
heredity. Without science, men have changed domestic 
animals and food plants enormously in advantageous ways. 
It may be assumed that they will change them much more, 
and much more quickly, by bringing the science of genetics 
to bear. Perhaps, even, it may become possible artificially to 
induce desirable mutations in genes. (Hitherto the only muta- 
tions that can be artificially caused are neutral or harmful.) 
In any case, it is pretty certain that scientific technique will 
very soon effect great improvements in the animals and 
plants that are useful to man. 

When such methods of modifying the congenital character 
of animals and plants have been pursued long enough to make 
their success obvious, it is probable that there will be a 
powerful movement for applying scientific methods to human 
propagation. There would at first be strong religious and 
emotional obstacles to the adoption of such a policy. But sup- 
pose (say) Russia were able to overcome these obstacles 
and to breed a race stronger, more intelligent, and more 
resistant to disease than any race of men that has hitherto 
existed, and suppose the other nations perceived that unless 
they followed suit they would be defeated in war, then either 
the other nations would voluntarily forgo their prejudices, or, 
after defeat, they would be compelled to forgo them. Any 
scientific technique, however beastly, is bound to spread if 
it is useful in war— until such time as men decide that they have 
had enough of war and will henceforth live in peace. As 
that day does not seem to be at hand, scientific breeding of 
human beings must be expected to come about. I shall return 
to this subject in a later chapter. 

Physiology and psychology afford fields for scientific tech- 
nique which still await development. Two great men, Pavlov 
and Freud, have laid the foundation. I do not accept the view 
that they are in any essential conflict, but what structure 
will be built on their foundations is still in doubt. 

I think the subject which will be of most importance polit- 
ically is mass psychology. Mass psychology is, scientifically 
speaking, not a very advanced study, and so far its professors 
have not been in universities: they have been advertisers, 
politicians, and, above all, dictators. This study is immensely 
useful to practical men, whether they wish to become rich 
or to acquire the government. It is, of course, as a science, 
founded upon individual psychology, but hitherto it has 
employed rule-of-thumb methods which were based upon a 
kind of intuitive common sense. Its importance has been 
enormously increased by the growth of modern methods of 
propaganda. Of these the most influential is what is called 
"education." Religion plays a part, though a diminishing one; 
the press, the cinema, and the radio play an increasing part. 

What is essential in mass psychology is the art of per- 
suasion. If you compare a speech of Hitler's with a speech of 
(say) Edmund Burke, you will see what strides have been 
made in the art since the eighteenth century. What went 
wrong formerly was that people had read in books that man 
is a rational animal, and framed their arguments on this 
hypothesis. We now know that limelight and a brass band 
do more to persuade than can be done by the most elegant 
train of syllogisms. It may be hoped that in time anybody will 
be able to persuade anybody of anything if he can catch 
the patient young and is provided by the State with money 
and equipment. 

Prof. Rainer Mausfeld – Neoliberal indoctrination: Why do the lambs remain silent?
Mausfeld_Why do the lambs remain silent_2015
Mausfeld focuses on perceptual psychology and also works on the theoretical foundations of experimental psychology and the psychology of understanding. He also deals with the rivalry of cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience in cognitive science. Another area of interest is the history of ideas in the natural sciences. He sees a major problem of the relationship between psychology and biology in neurological neo-reductionism. In contrast to biologistic approaches, he sees the peculiarity of the spiritual, inter alia, in the intrinsic multiperspectivity of the mind.
Mausfeld points out that knowledge of neural circuitry and activity is not enough to explain consciousness and thought processes. Not even the behavior of nematodes can be deduced from the activity of their 302 neurons. According to Mausfeld’s view, the relationship between nature and mind must be below the neural level in the sphere of physics. Evidence is given by the fact that nature is actually more enigmatic to us than our consciousness in itself. In modern physics it has become clear that the physical does not have the properties of matter ascribed to it. Mausfeld sees the special aspect of consciousness in the simplicity and wholeness of the subjective experience, which, however, reveals itself to the psychologist as a complex interaction of unconscious factors. The intrinsic multiperspectivity of thinking, which first opens up the possibilities for thought and action alternatives to humans after mouse field, results from the complex interplay of the most varied of factors.
White torture and responsibility of science
In his work, Mausfeld illustrates the role of psychologists in the development, application and justification of modern white torture methods. These goals are not, as claimed, the extraction of information, but rather breaking the will, disciplining, humiliating and shaming the victims. In his account, an American Psychological Association (APA) working group to investigate the involvement of psychologists acting on behalf of the Defense Secretary. Mausfeld uses the example of torture research to define ethical and legal principles and limits of scientific work. He regards the observance of human rights as fully binding.

Mausfeld, R.. (2009). Psychology , ’ white torture ’ and the responsibility of scientists. Psychologische Rundschau

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1186/s12882-018-0886-5
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Mausfeld, R.. (2009). Psychologie, weiße folter’ und die verantwortlichkeit von wissenschaftlern. Psychologische Rundschau

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1026/0033-3042.60.4.229
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Cognitive techniques

According to Mausfeld, the cognitive ones are more important than the affective techniques, since opinions are more stable than emotions. Here Mausfeld examines the following methods:

  • Representation of facts as opinion
  • Fragmenting coherent facts so that the context, such as the historical context, is lost
  • Decontextualization of facts: The context of the facts is removed, so that the facts become incomprehensible isolated individual cases, which have no general relevance
  • Misleading recontextualization: Information is embedded in a foreign context, so that they take on a different character and, for example, no longer lead to outrage in human rights violations.
  • Repetition supports the “perceived truth”
  • Designing the range of opinions so that the desired seems to be in the middle, which most people strive for, if they are unfamiliar, because they then keep to the middle seein it as “neutral and balanced”
  • Making facts invisible through media selection, distraction and attention control
  • “Meta-propaganda”: It is part of every propaganda to claim that the news of the enemy is wrong because it is propaganda

The development of more efficient manipulation techniques rests on identifying psychological “weak spots” – those intrinsic design aspects of our mind and principles of human information processing that can be exploited for manipulation purposes. Most importantly, such principles are, by the very nature of our cognitive architecture, beyond conscious control. (…) Our mind has many hard-wired weaknesses that can be exploited for manipulative purposes, that facilitate our utilitarian abuse by the political and economic elites for maintaining and expanding their power. However, we also innately dispose of a rich repertoire of ways to use our reasoning capabilities to recognize manipulative contexts and to actively avoid them. This repertoire is akin to a natural cognitive immune system against being manipulated, but we have to take the deliberate decision to actually use it.

neoliberal indoctrination - Copy

Further References

Mausfeld, R.. (2012). On some unwarranted tacit assumptions in cognitive neuroscience. Frontiers in Psychology

Plain numerical DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00067
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Mausfeld, R., & Heyer, D.. (2012). Colour Perception: Mind and the physical world. Colour Perception: Mind and the Physical World

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198505006.001.0001
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Mausfeld, R.. (2005). The Physicalistic Trap in Perception Theory. In Perception and the Physical World

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1002/0470013427.ch4
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Mausfeld, R.. (2012). Der Schein des Realen.. Näher Dran? Zur Phänomenologie Des Wahrnehmens
Mausfeld, R.. (2009). Psychologie, weiße folter’ und die verantwortlichkeit von wissenschaftlern. Psychologische Rundschau

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1026/0033-3042.60.4.229
directSciHub download

Wendt, G., Faul, F., & Mausfeld, R.. (2008). Highlight disparity contributes to the authenticity and strength of perceived glossiness. Journal of Vision

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1167/8.1.14
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Mausfeld, R.. (2010). Psychologie, biologie, kognitive neurowissenschaften zur gegenwärtigen dominanz neuroreduktionistischer positionen zu ihren stillschweigenden grundannahmen. Psychologische Rundschau

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1026/0033-3042/a000045
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Heyer, D., & Mausfeld, R.. (2002). Perception and the physical world: psychological and philosophical issues in perception. Perception
Narens, L., & Mausfeld, R.. (1992). On the Relationship of the Psychological and the Physical in Psychophysics. Psychological Review

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1037/0033-295X.99.3.467
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Mausfeld, R.. (2012). “Colour” As Part of the Format of Different Perceptual Primitives: The Dual Coding of Colour. In Colour Perception: Mind and the Physical World

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198505006.003.0013
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Mausfeld, R.. (2013). The Attribute of Realness and the Internal Organization of Perceptual Reality. In Handbook of Experimental Phenomenology: Visual Perception of Shape, Space and Appearance

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1002/9781118329016.ch3
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Mausfeld, R.. (2001). What’s within? Can the internal structure of perception be derived from regularities of the external world?. Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X01530083
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Mausfeld, R., & Andres, J.. (2002). Second-order statistics of colour codes modulate transformations that effectuate varying degrees of scene invariance and illumination invariance. Perception

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1068/p07sp
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Mausfeld, R.. (2006). Wahrnehmung: Geschichte und Ansätze. In Handbuch der Allgemeinen Psychologie – Kognition

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2141.2008.07177.x
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Mausfeld, R.. (2010). Intrinsic multiperspectivity: On the architectural foundations of a distinctive mental capacity. In Cognition and Neuropsychology: International Perspectives on Psychological Science

Plain numerical DOI: 10.4324/9780203845820
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Mausfeld, R.. (2013). The Biological Function of Sensory Systems. In Neurosciences – From Molecule to Behavior: a university textbook

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-10769-6_12
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Andres, J., & Mausfeld, R.. (2008). Structural description and qualitative content in perception theory. Consciousness and Cognition

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/j.concog.2006.11.005
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Mausfeld, R., Wendt, G., & Golz, J.. (2014). Lustrous material Appearances: Internal and external constraints on triggering conditions for binocular lustre. I-Perception

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1068/i0603
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Killing babies in incubators – The fake Nayirah testimony (PR PsyOp)

The Nayirah testimony (aka the incubator lie) is a paradigmatic case as it demonstrates how the psychology of emotions is abused in the mass-media. Psychology in action!

The whole things was a staged PsyOp by the PR firm “Hill and Knowlton”.

Darda, J.. (2017). Kicking the Vietnam Syndrome Narrative: Human Rights, the Nayirah Testimony, and the Gulf War. American Quarterly, 69(1), 71–92.

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1353/aq.2017.0004
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Marlin, R.. (1993). Public Relations Ethics: Ivy Lee, Hill and Knowlton, and the Gulf War. International Journal of Moral and Social Studies
Fowler, G., & Fedler, F.. (1994). A Farewell to Truth: Lies, Rumors and Propaganda as the Press Goes to War.. Florida Communication Journal

The British Raj in India

Dr. Tharoor delivers a lecture, entitled ‘Looking Back at the British Raj in India’, and discuses how the British empire ruthlessly has exploited and devastated India. He cogently argues that the British have to pay reparations to India.

Further References

Cohn, B. S.. (1996). Colonialism and its forms of knowledge : the British in India. Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1525/ae.1998.
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Smith, D. L.. (1999). English and the Discourses of Colonialism. Asian Englishes

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1080/13488678.1999.10801024
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Bernhard, M., Reenock, C., & Nordstrom, T.. (2004). The legacy of western overseas colonialism on democratic survival. International Studies Quarterly

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1111/j.0020-8833.2004.00298.x
directSciHub download

Author, B., & Gilmartin, D.. (1994). Scientific Empire and Imperial Science: Colonialism and Irrigation Technology in the Indus. Source: The Journal of Asian Studies

Plain numerical DOI: 10.2307/2059236
directSciHub download

Arnold, D.. (1986). Cholera and colonialism in British India. Past and Present

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1093/past/113.1.118
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Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time

Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time is a work of history written by Carroll Quigley. The book covers the period of roughly 1880 to 1963 and is multidisciplinary in nature though perhaps focusing on the economic problems brought about by the First World War and the impact these had on subsequent events. While global in scope, the book focusses on Western civilization, because Quigley has more familiarity with the West.

The book has attracted the attention of those interested in geopolitics due to Quigley’s assertion that a secret society initially led by Cecil Rhodes, Alfred Milner and others had considerable influence over British and American foreign policy in the first half of the twentieth century. From 1909 to 1913, Milner organized the outer ring of this society as the semi-secret Round Table groups.

Origins of the “conspiracy meme”

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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.”

This writes political science professor Lance deHaven-Smith, in his peer-reviewed book which was published by the University of Texas Press. He reports the story of how the CIA succeeded in creating in the public mind uncritical, reflexive, automatic, (System 1) stigmatization of those who challenge official government explanations (cf. ostracism).

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CIA Document #1035-960

RE: Concerning Criticism of the Warren Report

Note: Released in response to a 1976 FOIA request by the New York Times. The document shows how the term “conspiracy” is being utilised to prevent critical rational analysis and “dissenting” perspectives.

1. Our Concern. From the day of President Kennedy’s assassination on, there has been speculation about the responsibility for his murder. Although this was stemmed for a time by the Warren Commission report, (which appeared at the end of September 1964), various writers have now had time to scan the Commission’s published report and documents for new pretexts for questioning, and there has been a new wave of books and articles criticizing the Commission’s findings. In most cases the critics have speculated as to the existence of some kind of conspiracy, and often they have implied that the Commission itself was involved. Presumably as a result of the increasing challenge to the Warren Commission‘s report, a public opinion poll recently indicated that 46% of the American public did not think that Oswald acted alone, while more than half of those polled thought that the Commission had left some questions unresolved. Doubtless polls abroad would show similar, or possibly more adverse results.

2. This trend of opinion is a matter of concern to the U.S. government, including our organization. The members of the Warren Commission were naturally chosen for their integrity, experience and prominence. They represented both major parties, and they and their staff were deliberately drawn from all sections of the country. Just because of the standing of the Commissioners, efforts to impugn their rectitude and wisdom tend to cast doubt on the whole leadership of American society. Moreover, there seems to be an increasing tendency to hint that President Johnson himself, as the one person who might be said to have benefited, was in some way responsible for the assassination.

Innuendo of such seriousness affects not only the individual concerned, but also the whole reputation of the American government. Our organization itself is directly involved: among other facts, we contributed information to the investigation. Conspiracy theories have frequently thrown suspicion on our organization, for example by falsely alleging that Lee Harvey Oswald worked for us. The aim of this dispatch is to provide material countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists, so as to inhibit the circulation of such claims in other countries. Background information is supplied in a classified section and in a number of unclassified attachments.

3. Action. We do not recommend that discussion of the assassination question be initiated where it is not already taking place. Where discussion is active [business] addresses are requested:

a. To discuss the publicity problem with [?] and friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors), pointing out that the Warren Commission made as thorough an investigation as humanly possible, that the charges of the critics are without serious foundation, and that further speculative discussion only plays into the hands of the opposition. Point out also that parts of the conspiracy talk appear to be deliberately generated by Communist propagandists. Urge them to use their influence to discourage unfounded and irresponsible speculation.

b. To employ propaganda assets to [negate] and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose. The unclassified attachments to this guidance should provide useful background material for passing to assets. Our ploy should point out, as applicable, that the critics are (I) wedded to theories adopted before the evidence was in, (I) politically interested, (III) financially interested, (IV) hasty and inaccurate in their research, or (V) infatuated with their own theories. In the course of discussions of the whole phenomenon of criticism, a useful strategy may be to single out Epstein‘s theory for attack, using the attached Fletcher [?] article and Spectator piece for background. (Although Mark Lane’s book is much less convincing that Epstein‘s and comes off badly where confronted by knowledgeable critics, it is also much more difficult to answer as a whole, as one becomes lost in a morass of unrelated details.)

4. In private to media discussions not directed at any particular writer, or in attacking publications which may be yet forthcoming, the following arguments should be useful:

a. No significant new evidence has emerged which the Commission did not consider. The assassination is sometimes compared (e.g., by Joachim Joesten and Bertrand Russell) with the Dreyfus case; however, unlike that case, the attack on the Warren Commission have produced no new evidence, no new culprits have been convincingly identified, and there is no agreement among the critics. (A better parallel, though an imperfect one, might be with the Reichstag fire of 1933, which some competent historians (Fritz Tobias, AJ.P. Taylor, D.C. Watt) now believe was set by Vander Lubbe on his own initiative, without acting for either Nazis or Communists; the Nazis tried to pin the blame on the Communists, but the latter have been more successful in convincing the world that the Nazis were to blame.)

b. Critics usually overvalue particular items and ignore others. They tend to place more emphasis on the recollections of individual witnesses (which are less reliable and more divergent–and hence offer more hand-holds for criticism) and less on ballistics, autopsy, and photographic evidence. A close examination of the Commission’s records will usually show that the conflicting eyewitness accounts are quoted out of context, or were discarded by the Commission for good and sufficient reason.

c. Conspiracy on the large scale often suggested would be impossible to conceal in the United States, esp. since informants could expect to receive large royalties, etc. Note that Robert Kennedy, Attorney General at the time and John F. Kennedy’s brother, would be the last man to overlook or conceal any conspiracy. And as one reviewer pointed out, Congressman Gerald R. Ford would hardly have held his tongue for the sake of the Democratic administration, and Senator Russell would have had every political interest in exposing any misdeeds on the part of Chief Justice Warren. A conspirator moreover would hardly choose a location for a shooting where so much depended on conditions beyond his control: the route, the speed of the cars, the moving target, the risk that the assassin would be discovered. A group of wealthy conspirators could have arranged much more secure conditions.

d. Critics have often been enticed by a form of intellectual pride: they light on some theory and fall in love with it; they also scoff at the Commission because it did not always answer every question with a flat decision one way or the other. Actually, the make-up of the Commission and its staff was an excellent safeguard against over-commitment to any one theory, or against the illicit transformation of probabilities into certainties.

e. Oswald would not have been any sensible person’s choice for a co-conspirator. He was a “loner,” mixed up, of questionable reliability and an unknown quantity to any professional intelligence service.

f. As to charges that the Commission’s report was a rush job, it emerged three months after the deadline originally set. But to the degree that the Commission tried to speed up its reporting, this was largely due to the pressure of irresponsible speculation already appearing, in some cases coming from the same critics who, refusing to admit their errors, are now putting out new criticisms.

g. Such vague accusations as that “more than ten people have died mysteriously” can always be explained in some natural way e.g.: the individuals concerned have for the most part died of natural causes; the Commission staff questioned 418 witnesses (the FBI interviewed far more people, conduction 25,000 interviews and re interviews), and in such a large group, a certain number of deaths are to be expected. (When Penn Jones, one of the originators of the “ten mysterious deaths” line, appeared on television, it emerged that two of the deaths on his list were from heart attacks, one from cancer, one was from a head-on collision on a bridge, and one occurred when a driver drifted into a bridge abutment.)

5. Where possible, counter speculation by encouraging reference to the Commission’s Report itself. Open-minded foreign readers should still be impressed by the care, thoroughness, objectivity and speed with which the Commission worked. Reviewers of other books might be encouraged to add to their account the idea that, checking back with the report itself, they found it far superior to the work of its critics.

List of studies on conspiracy theories

92Wilson, Warner, Larry Dennis, and Allen P. Wadsworth Jr. “‘Authoritarianism’ of the Left and the Right.” Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, vol. 7, no. 3, 1976, pp. 271-74. SpringerLink,, Mikolaj, Soral Viktor, and Michał Bilewicz. “Conspiracy Theories on the Map of Stereotype Content: Survey and Historical Evidence.” The Psychology of Conspiracy: A Festschrift for Miroslaw Kofta, edited by Michał Bilewicz, Aleksandra Cichocka, and Wiktor Soral, Routledge, 2015, pp. 23-42.Winston, Andrew S. “The ‘Hidden Hand’”: Notes on the Perpetuation of Jewish Conspiracy Theories.” Clio’s Psyche, vol. 7, no. 3, 2000, pp. 136-38.Winter, Aaron. “My Enemies Must Be Friends: The American Extreme Right, Conspiracy Theory, Islam, and the Middle East.” Conspiracy Theories in the United States and the Middle East: A Comparative Approach, edited by Michael Butter and Maurus Reinkowski, De Gruyter, 2014, pp. 35-58. Linguae & Litterae 29.Wippermann, Wolfgang. Agenten des Bösen: Verschwörungstheorien von Luther bis heute[Agents of Evil: Conspiracy Theories from Luther until Today]. be.bra-Verlag, 2007.Wisnicki, Adrian S. Conspiracy, Revolution, and Terrorism from Victorian Fiction to the Modern Novel. Routledge, 2008. Literary Criticism and Cultural Theory. Wood, C., and W. M. L. Finlay. “British National Party Representations of Muslims in the Month after the London Bombins: Homogeneity, Threat, and the Conspiracy Tradition.” The British Journal of Social Psychology, vol.47, no. 4, 2008, pp. 707-26. Wiley Online Library,, Gordon S. “Conspiracy and the Paranoid Style: Causality and Deceit in the Eighteenth Century.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol.39, no. 3, 1982, pp. 402-41. JSTOR,—. The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787. U of North Carolina P, 1998.Wood, Michael J. “Conspiracy Suspicions as a Proxy for Beliefs in Conspiracy Theories: Implications for Theory and Measurement.” British Journal of Psycholgy, vol.108, no. 3, 2017, pp. 507-27.Wiley Online Library,—. “Some Dare Call It Conspiracy: Labeling Something a Conspiracy Theory Does Not Reduce Belief in It.” Political Psychologyvol. 37, no. 5, 2016, pp. 695-705. Wiley Online Library,, Michael J., and Karen M. Douglas. “Online Communication as a Window to Conspiracist Worldviews.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol.6, art. 836, 2015, pp. 1-8. Frontiers in Psychology,—. “‘What about Building 7?’ A Social Psychological Study of Online Discussion of 9/11 Conspiracy Theories.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol.4, art. 409, 2013, pp. 1-9. Frontiers in Psychology,, Michael. J., Karen M. Douglas, and Robbie. M. Sutton. “Dead and Alive: Beliefs in Contradictory Conspiracy Theories.” Social Psychological and Personality Science, vol.3, no. 6, 2012, pp. 767-73. SAGE Journals,, Jeff R. Black Struggle, Red Scare: Segregation and Anti-Communism in the South, 1948-1968. Louisiana State UP, 2003. American History.Woodward, Mark. “Rumors, Religion, and Political Mobilization: Indonesian Cases, 1965-1998.” Rumor and Communication in Asia in the Internet Age, edited by Greg Dalziel, Routledge, 2013, pp. 94-106. Media, Culture and Social Change in Asia 32
93Wulff, Erich. “Paranoic Conspiratory Delusion.” Changing Conceptions of Conspiracy, edited by Carl F. Graumann and Serge Moscovici, Springer, 1987, pp. 171-89.Würgler, Andreas. “Conspiracy and Denunciation: A Local Affair and Its European Public (Bern, 1749).” Cultures of Communication from Reformation to Enlightenment: Constructing Publics in the Early Modern German Lands, edited by James van Horn Melton, Ashgate, 2002, pp. 119-31.Wyler, Helen, and Margit E. Oswald. “Why Misinformation Is Reported: Evidence from a Warning and a Source-Monitoring Task.” Memory, vol. 24, no. 10, 2016, pp. 1419-34. Taylor & Francis Online,, Ilya. “Conspiracy Theories as a Russian Public Diplomacy Tool: The Case of Russia Today(RT).” Politics, vol. 35, no. 3-4, 2015, pp. 301-15.SAGE Journals,—. “Feinde, Verräter, fünfte Kolonnen: Verschwörungstheorien in Russland” [“Enemies, Traitors, Fifth Columns: Conspiracy Theories in Russia”]. Osteuropa, vol. 65, no. 4, 2015, pp. 99-114.—. Fortress Russia: Conspirac Theories in the Post-Soviet World. Polity, 2018.—. “Pussy Riot as Agent Provocateur: Conspiracy Theories and the Media Construction of Nation in Putin’s Russia.” Nationalities Papers, vol. 42, no. 4, 2015, pp. 622-36.Taylor & Francis Online, —. “Social Networks of Death: Conspiracy Panics and Professional Journalistic Ethics in the Post-Soviet Russia.” Les theories du complot à l’heure du numérique[Theories of Conspiracy in the Digital Age], special issue of Quaderni, vol. 94, pp. 53-62. OpenEdition,—. “Why Are Russia’s Journalists So Prone to Conspiracy Theory?”, 9 May 2016, Yusuf, Huma. “Conspiracy Fever: The US, Pakistan and its Media.” Survival, vol.53, no. 4, 2011, pp. 95-118. Taylor & Francis Online,, John R. The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion. Cambridge UP, 1992. Cambridge Studies in Public Opinion and Psychology.Zaller, John R., and Stanley Feldman. “A Simple Theory of the Survey Response: Answering Questions versus Revealing Preferences.” American Journal of Political Science, vol. 36, no. 3, 1992, pp. 579-616. JSTOR,, Evripides. “Cyprus and Conspiracy Theories after the Troika Levy in 2013.” Complotto [Conspiracy], edited by Massimo Leone, special issue of Lexia: Revisita di Semiotica [Journal of Semiotics], vol. 23-24, 2016, pp. 245-56.Zdybel, Lech. Idea Spisku i Teorie Spiskowe w Świetle Analiz krytycznych i Badań Historycznych[Conspiracy and Conspiracy Theories in the Light of Critical Analyses and Historical Research]. UMCS, 2002.—. “Теорія Змови у Політичній Міфології Сучасності” [“The Conspiracy Theory in Political Mythological Modernity”]. Громадянське Суспільство як Здійснення Свободи, vol.3, 2006, pp. 169-83.Zeineddine, Fouad Bou, and Felicia Pratto. “Political Distrust: The Seed and Fruit of Popular Empowerment.” Power, Politics, and Paranoia: Why People Are Suspicious of Their Leaders, edited by Jan-Willem van Prooijen and Paul A. M. van Lange, Cambridge UP, 2014, pp. 106-29.Cambridge Core,, Barbie. Covering the Body: The Kennedy Assassination, the Media, and the Shaping of Collective Memory. U of Chicago P, 1992.
94Zernike, Kate. “The Persistence of Conspiracy Theories.” The New York Times, 30 April 2011,, Theodore. Lure of the Arcane: The Literature of Cult and Conspiracy. Johns Hopkins UP, 2013.Zollo, Fabiana, et al. “Debunking in a World of Tribes.” PLOS ONE, vol. 12, no. 7, 2017, pp. 1-27. PLOS ONE, —. “Emotional Dynamics in the Age of Misinformation.” PLOS ONE, vol. 10, no. 9, 2015, pp. 1-22. PLOS ONE, Zonis, Marvin, and Craig M. Joseph. “Conspiracy Thinking in the Middle East.” Political Psychology, vol.15, no. 3, 1994, pp. 443-59. JSTOR,, Henri. “The Conspiratorial Imperative: Medieval Jewry in Western Europe.” Changing Conceptions of Conspiracy, edited by Carl F. Graumann and Serge Moscovici, Springer, 1987, pp. 87-103.Zwierlein, Cornel. “Security Politics and Conspiracy Theories in the Emerging European State System (15th/16th c.).” Security and Conspiracy in History, 16th to 21st Century, special issue of Historical Social Research/Historische Sozialforschung, vol. 38, no. 1 (143), 2013, pp. 69-95. JSTOR,, Cornel, and Beatrice de Graaf. “Security and Conspiracy in Modern History.” Security and Conspiracy in History, 16th to 21st Century, special issue of Historical Social Research/Historische Sozialforschung, vol. 38, no. 1 (143), 2013, pp. 7-45.JSTOR,