Two American conspiracy theories have grabbed the recent media headlines.
On Thursday, the government released around 3,000 top-secret files that historians were hoping would unveil the truth about former U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. The 1963 killing, officially attributed to former Marine Lee Harvey Oswald, who too was gunned down before he could be brought to trial, is considered the greatest conspiracy in the history of the United States.
The resurrection of the American national tragedy comes as the country music concert massacre in Las Vegas on October 1 – the worst mass shooting in U.S. history – has been sparking conspiracy theories from coast to coast.
VEGAS SHOOTING: COVER-UP HYSTERIA
Fifty-four years after the Kennedy mystery, the same uncertainty over a “motive” has created confusion in the Nevada desert after professional gambler Stephen Paddock was officially confirmed as the man behind the Las Vegas massacre that left 59 dead, including the shooter himself, and more than 500 injured.
How and why did a 64-year-old with no record of violence smuggle 23 weapons past security cameras and onto the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel and shoot thousands of bullets at the unsuspecting concert crowd?
The day after, Alex Jones of Internet “news show” InfoWars posted a video on his Facebook page titled “Video Shows Second Shooter During Vegas Massacre,” which was viewed more than 1 million times in 48 hours.
“Could Stephen Paddock, the lone Vegas shooter, have been a patsy to kick off the left’s war with the right in the streets of America?” Jones blogged.
Another conspiracy theory went viral as a video was released showing bodies being removed from a Hooters restaurant near the shooting, with 17 ambulances arriving to take them.
“Bombshell Vegas Video Of Dead Bodies In Hooters Proves FBI Cover-up,” a YourNewsWire.com headline on Oct. 23 said. “(The) footage is absolute proof that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the FBI are lying to the general public and have not been forthcoming about all of the events that occurred that night.”
However, Dr. Stewart King, a U.S. State Department official, discounted the Vegas conspiracy theories as “media hype.”
“If there was any serious suggestion that there was another gunman or whatever the (InfoWars) post is trying to suggest, I’d assume somebody would be talking about it other than some trolls,” King said.
David Richardson, an attorney in Seattle, also dismissed the YourNewsWire.com report as not very credible. “They just toss it out there as a ‘bombshell’ with zero context,” he told Xinhua. “Bombshell, why?Because the Las Vegas authorities are not honest about where bodies (were)loaded out of the massacre site? Not getting the issue.”
A surfer, Norbert Biro, posted an explanation of the video that had received 8,000 views in three days.
“A lot of these videos posted now (are) trying to make some sort of conspiracy,” Biro wrote Tuesday. “The reason why videos show many ambulances outside is because so many injured ended up there. It’s not a secret or a cover-up … no conspiracy.”
King, who was an officer at the U.S. Embassy in Guinea, remembered inaccurate media reports during a hotel siege in the West African state of Burkina Faso by terrorists in
January 2016 that left at least 29 people dead.
“There was considerable discussion about attacks at other hotels and restaurants, but it turned out to be a combination of jitter-firing by security guards and cops and stray rounds from the main battle landing a kilometer away,” King recalled.
U.S. A “CONSPIRATOCRACY”
New York Daily News writer Annie Jacobsen said last year that “America is becoming a conspiratocracy … conspiracies have never spread this swiftly across the country.”
Jacobsen, the author of “Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base”, described America as “a hotbed” of conspiracies.
On Monday, Havasu News put the Las vegas speculations in the right perspective, saying: “It’s unlikely that police agencies investigating the Oct. 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas are part of a conspiracy, but the lack of new information is creating fertile ground for the growth of many other conspiracy theories.”
Now America’s “No. 1” conspiracy has been resurrected with 2,891 secret Kennedy assassination investigation documents from the CIA, FBI and other agencies posted on the National Archives and historians poring over the files, that include testimonies and letters from the heads of the CIA and FBI, Kennedy’s wife Jacqueline, and the attorney of a mafia boss.
U.S. President Donald Trump had initially announced all the secret JFK papers would be released. However, later he said that with several departments and agencies urging him that “certain information should continue to be redacted because of national security, law enforcement and foreign affairs concern,” he had no choice but to accept the redactions, media reports said.
Over the next 180 days, the redactions will be reviewed.
Historians are hoping the files will finally answer the persistent questions: Was there a second shooter alongside assassin Oswald? Did he act alone or was he part of a wider conspiracy with others? Or was he simply a “patsy” as he had claimed?
The files may also tell murky tales of U.S. espionage activities during the Cold War with the Soviet Union.