Why Society Needs Conspiracy Theories & Conspiracy Theorists

Op-Ed by Dan Fournier

“So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” – Matthew 10:26

As this will be a comprehensive article, I’ve decided to split it up into the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • How did the term come about & become a tool for defamation?
  • A German journalist spills the beans
  • Same Playbook, Different War
  • The Council on Foreign Relations conspiracy
  • Conspiracy Theories that turned out to be true
  • Notable Unresolved Conspiracies
  • Conspiracies to Watch
  • Mini-Guide to Investigating Conspiracies
  • Conclusion


It seems like you can’t catch a news headline or social media post these days without coming across the terms conspiracy theory and conspiracy theorist, or phrases like ‘spreading conspiracies’. One has to wonder: why are they so frequently employed?

In my most recent published work, I referenced an article from Canada’s National Post, which ran with the headline ‘CBSA says it’s investigating border officer spreading COVID conspiracies online.’

The problem with these kinds of articles is that they are too often merely used as hit pieces to ridicule, degrade, and discredit any individual or group that goes against a certain narrative or disagrees with an author’s (or their publication’s partisanship or funders’) views.

Moreover, their authors very seldom make specific references or claims as to why they label their targets when using such over-used and over-abused disparaging rhetoric. When this is the case, it leads me to believe that the overall purpose of their pieces is to disparage their targets more than anything else.

Another recent example of this involves that from the article entitled ‘Network of Syria conspiracy theorists identified – study’ written by Mark Townsend from The Guardian (UK). In the article, the author claimed “journalist Aaron Maté at the Grayzone is said by the report to have overtaken Beeley as the most prolific spreader of disinformation among the 28 conspiracy theorists identified.” Maté had to refute the claim made against him, which also involved contacting Townsend by phone. His counter article and the phone conversation appear on his Substack page (see ‘NATO-backed network of Syria dirty war propagandists identified)’ and is definitely an interesting case on how these ploys take place.

Countless other instances could be cited, but suffice it to say that there is no shortage of them.

But what is perhaps even more laughable with this phenomenon is the fact that these authors wantonly use these terms without even knowing their true meanings and where they actually originate from.

Before looking into these, though, we must first and foremost examine the meaning of the word ‘conspiracy’ itself. Oxford defines it as:

a secret plan by a group of people to do something harmful or illegal

Conspiracies have been an integral part of humanity ever since people have bonded together in groups for a better chance at survival.

Lord knows that history is riddled with an abundant supply of conspiracies and we will look at some notable examples later on.

How did the term come about & become a tool for defamation?

Though the term ‘conspiracy theorist’ itself dates as far back as the 19th century, it became much more prominent in the years following the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

Moreover, it’s really in the 1960s where it became more abundant and has taken on a negative connotation. This is in large part because of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States of America.

The usage of ‘conspiracy theorist’ was principally brought about to discredit any person or outfit that questioned the findings of the Warren Commission regarding the official narrative of the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

The assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Image source: https://allthatsinteresting.com/famous-assassinations

As to not be labelled a conspiracy theorist myself, here is some tangible evidence to support my claim that the CIA has been complicit with regards to the usage of the term as a means to disparage and discredit individuals with opposing views to an official narrative. An official DISPATCH (document number 1035-60) dated January 1, 1967, which was declassified and released following a FOIA request got published on the Mary Ferrell Foundation (MFF) website – one which contains nearly 2 million pages of documents, government reports, as well as other materials. The first page of the dispatch appears as follows:

COUNTERING CRITICISM OF THE WARREN REPORT, NARA Record Number: 104-10009-10022 from the Mary Ferrell Foundation, Dispatch 1035-960, Source: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=53510#relPageId=2

Firstly, we can notice the term ‘PSYCH’ in the upper-left hand corner of the document, which indicates that this relates to Psychological Operations. We can see from the first paragraph that their main concern is about speculation regarding the assassination of President Kennedy and how various writers are questioning the findings of the Warren Commission report. The end of section 2 on the first page states:

The aim of this dispatch is to provide material for countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists, …”

Scrolling down to the second page under section 3 a. appears the following [emphasis added]:

To discuss the publicity problem with liaison 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 hand 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.”

And shortly after under section 3 b., it continues:

“To employ propaganda assets to answer and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose.”

So, there you have it in black and white. The CIA specifically directs the use of their elite contacts, which include politicians and editors – presumably of major newspapers and most likely of major broadcasters. Tactics suggested include writing feature articles and book reviews to counter the critics, and further labelling dissenters as ‘Communist propagandists’ – a term that had much more of an accentuated defamatory effect back then than it does today.

This raises the obvious question of why the CIA was so seriously concerned about media coverage with regards to the assassination. What’s it to them? Did they have something hide? Were they pressed to do so by the Lyndon Johnson administration? If so, why?

To dig deeper about what they actually stated in their dispatch, we can ask: who are these “elite contacts” and “propaganda assets” they are referring to?

American investigative journalist and author Carl Bernstein – famous for his work with Bob Woodward on the Watergate scandal – wrote a rather extensive (25,000-word) exposé entitled ‘THE CIA AND THE MEDIA: How Americas Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up’ that was published in Rolling Stone magazine on October 20, 1977, just over a decade after the infamous CIA dispatch was issued. Early on in the mammoth article, Bernstein lists categories in which the Agency (the CIA) partnered with journalists and the press. Two such instances appear as follows:

“- Editors, publishers and broadcast network executives. The CIA’s relationship with most news executives differed fundamentally from those with working reporters and stringers, who were much more subject to direction from the Agency. A few executives—Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times among them—signed secrecy agreements.”

“- Columnists and commentators. There are perhaps a dozen well known columnists and broadcast commentators whose relationships with the CIA go far beyond those normally maintained between reporters and their sources. They are referred to at the Agency as ‘known assets’ and can be counted on to perform a variety of undercover tasks; they are considered receptive to the Agency’s point of view on various subjects. Three of the most widely read columnists who maintained such ties with the Agency are C.L. Sulzberger of the New York Times, Joseph Alsop, and the late Stewart Alsop, whose column appeared in the New York Herald‑Tribune, the Saturday Evening Post and Newsweek. CIA files contain reports of specific tasks all three undertook.”

The CIA specifically refers to these widely read columnists as “known assets” they can count upon to perform undercover tasks. They also maintain “signed secrecy agreements” with executives from the New York Times. Lovely!

Bernstein then lists many well-known newspapers, magazines, and broadcasters used by the CIA and notes their most cherished ones as follows [emphasis added]:

“By far the most valuable of these associations, according to CIA officials, have been with the New York Times, CBS and Time Inc.

Still today, these three media outlets are giants in the publishing, broadcasting, and entertainment industries. And who really knows the extent to which the CIA and other US government agencies still maintain relationships with their editorial and journalistic staff, and possibly many others in the United States and across the world. It would certainly come as no surprise if they did.

War – and how it is covered by media – is a major recurring theme in all of this and it is no secret that the CIA has left its dirty footprints over many of them since its inception in 1947. This has been highly documented and revealed by whistleblower Kevin Shipp, a former CIA officer, intelligence and counter terrorism expert who held several high-level positions in the organization.

Finally, the CIA’s reach beyond American borders goes without saying.

A German journalist spills the beans

“I was bribed by billionaires. I was bribed by the Americans not to report exactly the truth,” stated Udo Ulfkotte back in a 2014 interview with RT (original report); the late editor and journalist of Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung was quite outspoken in this particular interview.

Screenshot of the 2014 RT interview with German journalist Udo Ulfkotte

Ulfkotte explained how the CIA and other US agencies bought journalists across all major German newspapers. He starts the interview with the following revelation [emphasis added]:

“I’ve been a journalist for about 25 years. And I was educated to lie, to betray, and not to tell the truth to the public. But, seeing right now within the last months how the German and American media tries to bring war to the people in Europe, to bring war to Russia. This is a point of no return and I’m going to stand up and say it is not right what I have done in the past, to manipulate people, to make propaganda against Russia, and it is not right what my colleagues do and have done in the past because they are bribed to betray the people, not only in Germany, all over Europe.”

It’s funny how you could almost replace this assertion (from back in 2014) in the context of today’s 2022 Russia-Ukraine war, or as some would call it, a proxy war between NATO/Western Europe/United States and Russia.

He continued:

I was supported by the Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA. Why? Because I should be pro- American. I’m fed up with it. I don’t want to do it anymore.”

‘Non-official cover’ is a term the German journalist used to describe how he (and other journalists) were essentially working for or helping the intelligence agency, though not in an official capacity, conveniently leaving room for plausible deniability.

Ulfkotte goes on to explain how the journalists are rewarded by the CIA.

Statements like these really makes one wonder about the extent to which media outlets all around the world have been infiltrated not only by the CIA, but also by other powerful entities.

But wait, Ulfkotte dives deeper into other supranational influences that help shape media organizations and their prevailing narratives [emphasis added]:

“We are still kind of a colony of the Americans. And being a colony, it is very easy to approach young journalists through, what is very important here is, transatlantic organizations. All journalists from really respected and recommended big German newspapers, magazines, radio stations, TV stations, they are all members or guests of those big transatlantic organizations. And in these transatlantic organizations, you are approached to be pro-American.”

Ulfkotte then emphasizes that this phenomenon is even more the case with British journalists due to their special relationship with the US, and the French, to a lesser extent.

One need not look far to see what he is talking about with regards to these transatlantic organizations than observe the writings and actions of outfits such as the Council on Foreign Relations and the Atlantic Council think tank, both focused on American imperialism and interests. While the later is essentially a mouthpiece for NATO, the former holds an unfathomable grasp on Western media.

Examining the historical and current membership into the Council on Foreign Relations is quite revealing, to say the least. Or, perhaps more fittingly: the elephant in the room. Moreover, the think tank holds tremendous influence through its network of elites and media pundits who are central in shaping U.S. foreign policy and public discourse.

Back in 2017, an infographic emerged showing the extent of this network and how it possibly ties to the Bilderberger Group and the Trilateral Commission:

Infographic showing the network of members of the CFR, full-resolution image: https://swprs.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/cfr-media-network-hdv-spr.png

Comparing current members with past ones, we can easily validate the authenticity of this elitist ilk and deduce that it is highly organized, highly interconnected, and what amounts to a highly influential network of thought leaders & shapers.

Another infographic from Swiss Policy Research – an independent, nonpartisan and non-profit research group investigating geopolitical propaganda – shows the transatlantic network the German media is subject to:

Swiss Policy Research – Media in Germany: The transatlantic network, full-resolution image: https://i0.wp.com/swprs.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/netzwerk-medien-deutschland-spr-mt.png?ssl=1

The data contained in these infographics validates German journalist Udo Ulfkotte’s claims to this effect.

The infiltration of media, be it by the CIA, other intelligence agencies, or think-tanks such as the Council on Foreign Relations or the Atlantic Council, is unmistakably a conspiracy in that their stealthily coordinated efforts control narratives the masses, including government officials, are exposed to on a daily basis.

Same Playbook, Different War

With the current war in the Ukraine, we can easily notice how the stances held by these transatlantic institutions are mostly one-sided. Here’s a recent tweet from the Atlantic Council regarding the 2022 Russia-Ukraine war:

Tweet from the Atlantic Council, Sept. 15, 2022, Source:

The related article begins [emphasis added]:

“Ukraine’s stunning counteroffensive success in the Kharkiv region has provided conclusive proof that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are more than capable of defeating Russia on the battlefield. Now is the time to end the war by providing Ukraine with everything necessary to consolidate these gains and secure a decisive victory.

“Victory requires a coordinated, multifaceted, and long-term approach with economic, diplomatic, humanitarian, and logistical support all needed in order to bolster the Ukrainian transition to NATO-standard weaponry. Above all, this means a full commitment by Ukraine’s partners to increase arms supplies to the country.

As you can see, they don’t hide which side they are representing while blatantly calling for NATO and partners to increase arms supplies and weaponry. Accordingly, if this is not an advertisement to further bolster the Military/Security Complex’s coffers, then I don’t know what else to say. That would be for another article altogether that would require its own investigation.

Another recent tweet and article written by the CFR’s own President, Richard Haass, a Rhodes Scholar, from the Council on Foreign Relations rings the same bell:

Tweet from the Council on Foreign Relations, also from Sept. 15, 2022, Source:

In it, the CFR President states [emphasis added]:

“The West, for its part, should continue to provide Ukraine with the quality and quantity of military and economic support it requires. There are strong strategic reasons for doing so, including to deter future aggression by Russia, China, or anyone else.”

The only difference is that this one makes a specific reference to China – the current frontrunner to be the next boogeyman-du-jour in our Orwellian perpetual state of war, which assures gargantuan profits for the Military/Security Complex. But again, I digress, for this is yet for another behemoth of an article that would require an entire team of reporters.

The extent to which this war has also been propagated on social media is, in itself, a whole other can of worms. Armies of bots, pundits and propagandists (from both sides of the conflict) along with the divided masses all contribute to the digital fog of war in the halls, hyperbolic and echo chambers of platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

The Council on Foreign Relations conspiracy

In a book aptly titled ‘None Dare Call It Conspiracy’ by Gary Allen and Larry Abraham published in 1971, the first paragraph of the introduction – written by former U.S. congressman John G. Schmitz reads as follows:

“The story you are about to read is true. The names have not been changed to protect the guilty. This book may have the effect of changing your life. After reading this book you will never look at national and world events in the same way again.”

I feel the same way, though I would also highly recommend the book The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve by G. Edward Griffin, which focuses on the secretive events that lead to the formation of the private corporation knowns as the US Federal Reserve and which has also changed the way I personally view the word conspiracy.

Griffin holds the distinguished honorary title of conspiracy theorist by the editors of Wikipedia and others. So, he must be doing something right. His claims about how the North American medical establishment essentially got usurped by billionaire interests certainly added credence to this title.

Speaking of billionaires, a few passages from the book None Dare Call It Conspiracy really stand out:

“The American subsidiary of this conspiracy is called the Council on Foreign Relations and was started by and is still controlled by Leftist international bankers.”

“According to his grandson John, Jacob Schiff (above), long-time associate of the Rothschilds, financed the Communist Revolution in Russia to the tune of $20 million. According to a report on file with the State Department, his firm, Kuhn Loeb and Co. bankrolled the first five year plan for Stalin. Schiff’s partner and relative, Paul Warburg, engineered the establishment of the Federal Reserve System while on the Kuhn Loeb payroll. Schiff’s descendants are active in the Council on Foreign Relations today.”

And under an old photograph of a building in New York city appears [emphasis added]:

“Home of the Council on Foreign Relations on 68th St. in New York. The admitted goal of the CFR is to abolish the Constitution and replace our ones [sic] independent Republic with a World Government. CFR members have controlled the last six administrations. Richard Nixon has been a member and has appointed at least 100 CFR members to high positions in his administration.”

And later on in the book:

“The C.F.R. has come to be known as “The Establishment,” “the invisible government” and “the Rockefeller foreign office.” This semi-secret organization unquestionably has become the most influential group in America.”

It’s most interesting to see how these billionaire actors also coincidentally have had a hand in the formation of the U.S. Federal Reserve. Perhaps, G. Edward Griffin was onto something after all.

A more recent (1988) book provides similar allegations with regards to the CFR by providing a deep dive into the historical roots, connections, and linkages to the war machine of the notorious organization. Its title is The Shadows of Power: The Council on Foreign Relations And The American Decline by author James Perloff.

I will leave it up to the reader to investigate more into this alleged conspiracy, for such an endeavor demands significant time, scrutiny, and attention.

Conspiracy Theories that turned out to be true

Though many conspiracies have been proven true over the years, I will merely showcase a few which relate to two recurring themes of this article, namely that of war and media corruption.

Continue to read full article on Substack

As a proud Canadian, Dan is a freelance investigative journalist. The areas he is focusing on include: Financial Markets & Cryptos, Geopolitics, and Canadian affairs. He currently lives in the beautiful Eastern Townships in Quebec province.

Top image: Wernher von Braun walking along the lunar surface on an Apollo set replica during the Atlanta Southeastern Fair, September 5, 1969, credited to United Press International (UPI), image source

7 Real Conspiracies by Brandon Turbeville

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