Subject: Conspiracy 101 (long)

From: (Rev. Crawford)
Newsgroups: alt.slack
Date: Thu, Nov 15, 2001 11:21 AM

From, the following is an excellent
analysis of the conspiracy microcosm of the Conspiracy macrocosm, as
it relates to terrorism, GW Bush, and other things of a shitty and
slack-sapping nature:

A primer on understanding conspiracies
By James Higdon

November 14, 2001—Those of us who spend any amount of time
searching for information on the Internet have noticed that the number
of conspiracy theories involving US government actions, in a wide
variety of areas, have exploded off the charts. This is particularly
true in matters evolving from September 11, 2001.

While conspiracy theories surrounding watershed events are not
unusual, I believe that the extreme number of theories that we are
currently experiencing derive from the fact that we are being provided
with so little information from within our national boarders that we
have a need to answer our own questions. The mainstream press, trying
to imbue a frat boy Napoleon with God-like virtue by selling all the
stories that Karl Rove wants sold, and giving the press' civic
responsibility as government watchdogs a pass, are failing to provide
even enough lies to sustain us against the few facts that are able to
leak out.. The "Fourth Estate," still apparently hampered by a few
remaining ethics, has failed to become the efficient propaganda
machine necessary to provide the bastard child with royal legitimacy.

I think that these conspiracy theories are a good thing, whether or
not they are true. One or two of them may make so much sense, in the
face of available information, that they may take hold of popular
thought and require the government to disprove them. As such, they
become the questions the press refuses to ask. I've tried to answer a
few of my own questions, and what I've come up with by searching the
Internet and foreign news services isn't pretty. But I have to make
sense out of the lack of sense that our government is displaying for
all the world. Either we are witnessing the most incompetent
administration of all time (a strong possibility), or there is some
design to this madness.

The specious sound-bite, always provided by the mainstream press to
dispel conspiracy theories, is that the conspiracy would have to be so
vast that it couldn't possibly remain a secret in the Beltway sieve of
leaked information. Join me in upending the misinformation that a
conspiracy need be "vast" (at least in regard to specific knowledge of
the overall plan) in order to have a major impact on national or world
events. Let's start by examining what a conspiracy actually is.

Just a Little Agreement Between Friends

The common law definition of conspiracy is quite simple. An agreement
between two or more persons to do either an unlawful act, or a lawful
act by unlawful means. And frankly, early in common law, neither the
act nor the means needed to be unlawful, but merely wrongful. But for
the sake of simplicity in our examination, the crime has developed
over the years to where a minimum of two people must reach agreement
to either seek a lawful purpose by unlawful means, or an unlawful
purpose by any means. The conspirators need not carry out their goal
through any spoken or written contract, but actions alone can imply
the agreement between them if their actions suggest that such acts
would not have been carried out absent an agreement.

This touches, somewhat, on the reason that we recognize such a crime
to begin with. For surely we could simply convict anyone who commits a
crime, agreed on with someone else or not, of the crime he actually
committed. The problem arises where some of the members of the
conspiracy carry out no illegal act whatever, and achieve no benefit
from the target crime. They conduct purely legal activity and achieve
their benefits from those lawful acts, so that others may benefit from
the unlawful result. The law provides that participation in the
conspiracy itself is a crime so that the lawful actor, knowingly
seeking the occurrence of an unlawful event, will not escape

But if that lawful actor has knowledge that the target result will, or
may foreseeably, result in an event that costs lives, shouldn't that
person suffer more liability than a simple conviction for conspiracy?
The solution is in what is called vicarious criminal liability. If a
prosecutor can prove that one who acted under the law, but whose
actions furthered the unlawful result, that such individual(s) had
knowledge of the intended result, and conducted activity accordingly,
that person, or persons are vicariously criminally liable for all
criminal acts committed in the due course of the conspiracy, and can
be punished as though they committed the target crimes, or even the
reasonably foreseeable crimes, themselves.

Over time, the law has recognized three types of conspiracies. First
is the simple conspiracy that we commonly think of where, for
instance, two or more get together with the intention of robbing a
bank. The second is most often referred to as a "chain link"
conspiracy, the best example of which is a series of drug deals, from
manufacturer to the street dealer. Each group of individuals go about
their function, committing illegal transaction after illegal
transaction. Each link is only vicariously criminally liable for the
crimes of the other links if they have known of the specific role of
each link, as each link carries out its unlawful activity.

When Hillary Clinton talks of a "vast right wing conspiracy" to bring
down her husband, the mainstream media calls to mind the first type;
discrediting the notion that large numbers of individuals in the
courts, in the press, in business, and in politics must have sat in
some convention hall somewhere to devise a common plan to attack her
husband, and then to have maintained the secret. But, in fact, what
the former First Lady was referring to was a third type of conspiracy.
Commonly called a "hub and wheel," or a "spoke and wheel" conspiracy.
It is the most intricate, and the most difficult for a prosecutor to
prove. It requires a minimum of people in the hub with actual
knowledge of the overall plan, as long as the hub has diverse
influence over the various spokes. This is the type of conspiracy that
is most common in corporate crimes, such as anti-trust, free trade
infringements, and SEC violations.

For a clear picture of this, imagine a wagon wheel. The hub, the
portion attached to the axle, is an individual or group who devises
the overall plan, represented by the rim of the wheel, the portion
that meets the ground. In between, and reaching out in all directions,
are the spokes. The spokes are essentially the tools, used by the hub,
to transport the hub's intentions to the business end, the rim. The
hub and wheel conspiracy can be as simple as a wagon wheel, or it can
be as complex as the wire mesh of spokes on a Jaguar XKE where,
sometimes, even the spokes seem to have spokes. But the principle is
the same. Few, if any, of the spokes need act in an unlawful manner,
and few, if any, need to have any knowledge of the intentions of the
hub. Similar to the chain and link conspiracy, the spokes are only
vicariously criminally liable for the actions of the other spokes or
the hub, if they have knowledge of the criminal activity of those
entities, and the final business of the rim.

For a simple example, let's play out Clinton's "vast right wing
conspiracy" to discredit Bill Clinton's presidency (the rim), from a
suggested hub and a few of the spokes. For the purposes of discussion,
let's call Richard Mellon Scaife the hub. He is a man with a great
deal of control over the press (at least the press he owns), and he
has a great deal of political influence (controlling a number of
foundations, funding several PACs and many political candidates). He
has also been known to own a judge or two in his time, giving him
influence over at least a portion of the judiciary.

Carrying this through with some known facts, Scaife (the hub) hires
some private detectives (spokes) to dig up as much dirt on Bill
Clinton as possible. It doesn't matter if it's stuff that is provable
or even true, just so long as it's difficult to disprove. (It should
be noted here that it is always intensely more difficult to prove that
something never occurred than to prove something did occur, and this
is why our system of justice demands of the prosecution or the
plaintiff to prove that the defendant committed an act rather than
demanding that the defendant prove that he didn't.) The hub hires
"journalists" to write stories for his publications that carry this
material, that is not easily disproved, to extremes. Editors are
instructed to spend little time cross checking facts in the articles
written by the journalists. The hub uses his political influence to
bring about congressional hearings, even giving publicized support by
having Scaife's media editorials demand investigations as well as the
appointment of an independent counsel. That influence, both political
and judicial, gets carried over to get Scaife's bought and paid for
lawyer, Kenneth Starr, named to head the investigation. It certainly
helps that Starr has his own political bone to pick with Bill Clinton.
The private investigators continue to feed the "journalists," who feed
Scaife's political lackeys and the Grand Inquisitor with endless
material to investigate and, subsequently, to feed to grand juries. In
the mean time, the political action committees are set into the field,
filing lawsuit after lawsuit against the president and his associates.
It is all designed to put Clinton, and every person he has shaken
hands with, under oath, for the purpose of snaring any or all in a
perjury trap, which will ultimately be used as sufficient grounds for

This, of course, is somewhat simplistic, but it serves our purpose. We
see here a hub (Scaife), and spokes (private investigators, PACs,
political lackeys, Ken Starr, journalists and editors, and the
judiciary), all working toward the rim (the unlawful purpose of
undermining the authority of the President of the United States by the
use of defamation). We see, also, that all (except for Scaife and his
immediate circle) are conducting lawful activity and benefiting
accordingly, that few need even know of the underlying intentions of
the others, and that there is only one person, or at least a very few,
who understand the workings of the entire wheel. But it is a
conspiracy nonetheless. Even though it only has the outward appearance
of a "loose cabal," as described by Joe Conason and Gene Lyons in
their excellent work, The Hunting of the President. Sadly, I believe
that this is something more than an analogy, and that the book by
Conason and Lyons is the most accurate historical record of the events
of the late 1990s.

Allow me to say here that I believe that the phrase "history is
written by the winners" is too general a statement. Recent history is
written by the winners. As for the rest, I agree with Lincoln that we
cannot escape history. I believe that each and every one of us will be
ultimately remembered "in honor, or dishonor, to the latest
generation." Ken Starr, for example, will be known by our children, or
our children's children, as a petty and vile man—a man out of
time, a fifteenth century man wheeling corrupting influence into the
late twentieth century. If there is any doubt, just read his recent
comments in the Washington Post, arguing that torture, disappearances,
and threats against family are viable, present day police powers, and
that we should return to them.

At any rate, the key for any effective hub is to recognize the
self-interest of his spokes, to manipulate them accordingly, and to
allow each spoke only the knowledge that it needs to further those
interests. Returning to our analogy for a moment, those working
directly for Scaife, and for him by extension (the private
investigators, and the journalists/editors) must please their employer
to advance their careers and/or their fame. The PACs and political
lackeys must find means to continue Scaife foundation contributions to
their campaigns and political agendas. The ambitious Mr. Starr, in
addition to being only one of two prosecutors to bring about the
impeachment of an American president, a president whose politics Starr
finds repugnant, must remove the Democrat if his dream of becoming a
Supreme Court Justice is to be fulfilled.

Following this reasoning, entire corporate conglomerates can be set in
motion as spokes if they can be convinced that their corporate
interests are best served by giving support to the hub, whether or not
they fully appreciate precisely what they are ultimately supporting.
In this manner a "Fourth Estate," that is primarily owned by a few
megacorporations, can relatively quickly be transformed into the
officially sanctioned propaganda engine of one who wishes to become a
dictator. If you doubt this, I suggest that you examine the history of
Adolph Hitler's relationship with the German press as that country was
transformed from a republic, that aspired to democratically achieve
justice for all of its citizens to the most oppressive dictatorship
the world has ever known, ultimately murdering millions of Europeans.

In a well written series of articles by David Podvin and Carolyn Kay,
at, Podvin and Kay analyze Jack Welch's
transformation of NBC News into the pursuer of GE corporate interests,
completely abandoning public trust as mandated by the Fairness
Doctrine, and skewing the 2000 presidential election coverage in order
to push the nation toward electing an apparent incompetent illiterate.
Further, Podvin and Kay follow the extenuation of the Welch philosophy
to the rest of the corporately owned broadcast and print news media.

After outlining the self-interest involved in the mainstream press'
getting Bush elected, Podvin and Kay discount the notion that there is
any conspiracy here, but rather a simple matter of corporations
seeking dramatic financial gain on their own behalf. But the flaw in
the reasoning of Podvin and Kay is that they merely examine spokes and
go no further. Part of the Watergate lexicon tells us to "follow the
money." But for an effective hub and wheel conspiracy, much more is
required. Often by merely following the money, only the spokes are
examined, which never leads the investigators to either the rim or the
hub. An investigator must also ask, "What larger environmental change
has the profit of the spoke led to?" and "Who has the proper
connections to manipulate all of the spokes, and which of those people
have greatly profited by the larger change in the environment?"

Convert This Wagon to an XKE

Every week the little emperor, and the Anti-justice Department issue a
fresh warning that more Americans are about to be murdered in massive
numbers. In answer to this, we are force fed the USA Patriot Act. This
piece of constitutional sedition, passed by all Republicans and almost
all Democrats (that many now admit they never read in full) pretends
to attack foreigners who come to this country with terrorism on their
minds. Make no mistake, this act is so loosely worded that, as I write
this, Ashcroft could decide, in a heartbeat, that this writing
supports a terrorist cause. He could then have me arrested without a
warrant, hold me incommunicado, confiscate my property, search all of
my personal effects and, now that he has decided that this
unconstitutional act gives him the right to monitor conversations
between client and legal counsel, deny my Sixth Amendment right to an
attorney. All of this can be done—right now—without the
slightest measure of judicial oversight. Understand this—he has
the power to drop me behind bars for life without legal
representation, and thereby the benefit of a fair trial, based on
nothing more than my dissent and his response to it.

If you have openly dissented against this illegal administration,
you—yes, you—are also in danger. George W. Bush and John
Ashcroft, while issuing bogus terror warning after bogus warning,
claiming that another massive attack (even involving nuclear weaponry)
is just around the corner unless we give them the vast tools to fight
terrorism, are putting a loaded gun to the head of every American
citizen and brazenly asking, "What would you rather have—your
life or your rights?" It is now unpatriotic to demand the rights we
have fought for and protected for more than 200 years. With this in
view, students of history should not fail to apply a comparison to
what happened on September 11 with the Reichstag and Nazi Germany.

In this country—in America—people are disappearing from
their homes, being held incommunicado without specified duration,
without charge, without judicial oversight, and without benefit of
counsel. In this country—in America—political opponents of
the officially sanctioned parties in Washington are being denied their
right to travel, and are being put on "watch" lists. In this
country—in America—the doors and windows of the Executive
branch have been officially closed and silenced to the scrutiny of the
people, the courts, and Congress. In this country—in
America—the taxes paid by the majority of American citizens are
being doled out to a small elite class of Americans. In this
country—in America—there is an officially sanctioned news
service that openly warns its employees to broadcast no news unless it
is accompanied by sanctioned government propaganda.

For those of you, like me, who have been looking forward to the
presidential election in 2004 to cure the ills of November and
December, 2000, are you quite certain that in this country—in
America—we will have an election as designed by a democratic
society, or will we have only one, officially sanctioned, candidate?
In this country—in America—we can no longer presume that
"it couldn't happen here."

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