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RedSock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-03 06:41 PM
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Can A Conspiracy Really Be Kept Secret For Years?
I finished Daniel Ellsberg's memoir of the Pentagon Papers. It was a fascinating book, though it seemed to rush to its ending at Watergate.

One of the points Ellsberg writes about is the ability of Washington insiders to keep secrets for years and years. It is common when discussing a conspiracy (here at DU and elsewhere) that someone will say that there is no way so many people could keep quiet for so long.

On page 43 of the paperback, Ellsberg writes about "an apparatus of secrecy, built on effective procedures, practices, and career incentives, that permitted the president to arrive at and execute a secret foreign policy, to a degree that went far beyond what even relatively informed outsiders, including journalists and members of Congress, could imagine.

"It is a commonplace that "you can't keep secrets in Washington" or "in a democracy," that "no matter how sensitive the secret, you're likely to read it the next day in the New York Times." These truisms are flatly false. They are in fact cover stories, ways of flattering and misleading journalists and their readers, part of the process of keeping secrets well. Of course eventually many secrets do get out that wouldn't in a fully totalitarian society. Bureaucratic rivalries, especially over budget shares, lead to leaks. Moreover, to a certain extent the ability to keep a secret for a given amount of time diminishes with the number of people who know it. As secret keeprs like to say, "Three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead." But the fact is that the overwhelming majority of secrets do not leak to the American public. This is true even when the information withheld is well known to an enemy and when it is clearly essential to the functioning of the congressional war power and to any democratic control of foreign policy. The reality unknown to the public and to most members of Congress and the press is that secrets that would be of the greatest import to many of them can be kept from them reliably for decades by the executive branch, even though they are known to thousands of insiders."
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stickdog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-03 06:43 PM
Response to Original message
1. Ask the Mafia.
Enforced omertas are almost infallibly effective.
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Donating Member ( posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-03 06:46 PM
Response to Original message
2. Ellsberg probably knows what he's talking about
Edited on Fri Dec-12-03 06:48 PM by 56kid
given his credentials.

& he's probably got a couple of actual examples in mind at the time of the writing. Wonder what they were? (aside from the obvious one of the Pentagon Papers themselves)
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DFLforever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-03 06:49 PM
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3. Yes, like maybe forever
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RBHam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-03 06:53 PM
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4. Quite
Those conspiracies that are too incredible to be believed, are by the same right, those which most often succeed.

- Marshall McLuhan, philosopher

There are two views of history: (1) History happens by accident or (2) It is planned. The general public is taught that history happens by accident. However, the upper echelons... know that history is planned.

- R.E. McMaster, Jr. Educator

An identitfying characteristic of the super-state is its readiness to conceal from the people facts which might make them restless. In order to maintain power its officials must keep the populace believing that it is living in the best of all possible worlds.

-- Jim Garrison, lawyer

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities

- Voltaire

"We spread disproportionate terror and confusion in the public mind, arbitrarily linking the unrelated problems of terrorism and Iraq. The result, and perhaps the motive, is to justify a vast misallocation of shrinking public wealth to the military and to weaken the safeguards that protect American citizens from the heavy hand of government."

Quote from the resignation letter of U.S. Ambassador John Brady Keisling resignation letter Feb. 27, 2003.

"Our job is to give people not what they want, but what we decide they ought to have." - Richard Salent, former pres. CBS News

"The news and truth are not the same thing."

~~Walter Lippmann

"News is what someone wants to suppress. Everything else is advertising."

- Rubin Frank, former president NBC News

"We tell the people what they need to know, not what they want to know."

- Frank Sesno, CNN News

CNN erases the dots in the News. So you cannot see the patterns of importance. The best way to reveal the many conspiracies backstage is to reconnect the dots in current events. CNN is a part of the great Anglo-American brainwashing machine. - Lenny Bloom

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tom_paine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-03 06:55 PM
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5. Yes. just think of the 1934 Coup Against FDR
Think about it. Those papers were sealed by FDR until the Year 2000.

Had you ever heard of the 1934 coup where Major Geneal Smedley Butler (Two-time CMOH winner) turned in people to connections to Bund-type groups with connections to the wealthies men in the nation-Prescott Bush's name conspicuously absent, perhaps with laundering Hitler's money?

Well, it happened. It was a bona-fide conspiracy. Thand God Butler did what he did or who knows what darkness the Earth would be under today? But he did. FDR sealed the papers until the year 2000.

And the secret was successfully kept from probably 99.9999999% of the American People.

I would call that a very big success.
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bobbieinok Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-03 07:14 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. are these papers still sealed?????
part of the 'previous presidential papers' AWOL sealed right after he got into office???????
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Racenut20 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-03 07:09 PM
Response to Original message
6. How about Iran
The Shaw only bought American weapons except for a few French Mirage planes. After the overthrow, now munitions were to be sold to Iran. They fought an 8 year war with Iraq without buying bullets or spare parts for equipment???? Washington press never brought up the question? Except for Iran/quantra which was tow missles????
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liberalmuse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-03 07:12 PM
Response to Original message
7. I once listened to a presentation...
in a board meeting that outlined all the reasons it was impossible for people to harbor a conspiracy--someone would talk. It was a very interesting presentation, with visuals and all. Of course the guy was ex-CIA...
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DuctapeFatwa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-03 07:18 PM
Response to Original message
9. There is no need for secrecy.

Dismissing as a wild-eyed fool anyone who says the Emperor is nude is much more effective.
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RBHam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-03 07:26 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. yep
Small lies are jealously guarded, big lies are protected by public incredulity.

-Marshall McLuhan
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goodhue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-03 08:03 PM
Response to Original message
11. yes
A good conspiracy remains unknown.
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Minstrel Boy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-03 08:24 PM
Response to Original message
12. the truth is, they HAVE talked
Edited on Fri Dec-12-03 08:36 PM by Minstrel Boy
But it disappears into the official memory hole. And some people just don't want to know about it, whatever the evidence and how many the confessions. There's a book devoted to this very subject, with respect to the JFK assassination, titled Someone Would Have Talked, which records the words of those who knew, and who DID speak.

Some who spoke:

Jack Ruby (statement to reporters after his trial: "Everything pertaining to what's happening has never come to the surface. The world will never know the true facts, of what occurred, my motives. The people that had so much to gain and had such an ulterior motive for putting me in the position I'm in, will never let the true facts come above board to the world." Reporter: Are these people in very high positions Jack? Ruby: "Yes.")
Santos Trafficante (Told attorney Frank Ragano in 1987: "Carlos (Marcello) fucked up. We shouldn't have gotten rid of Giovanni. We should have killed Bobby.")
David Ferrie (overheard by Richard Giesbrecht in the Winnipeg airport on Feb 13, 1964, telling a companion he was concerned about how much Oswald had told his wife about the plot, wondering why they'd ever used him, and mentioning they had more money than ever. Giesbrecht said the man "had the oddest hair and eyebrows I'd ever seen" and immediately contacted the FBI. He positively identified Ferrie. After questioning Giesbrecht and telling him that his information was important and "the break we've been waiting for," the FBI contacted him several months later and told him to forget about the matter since it was too serious and since he was a Canadian, there would be nothing the FBI could do for him if he needed protection.)
Johnny Roselli
David Atlee Phillips (head of hemispheric operations for the CIA, stationed in Mexico City. Seen in Oswald's company the summer of 1963 by Alpha 66 leader Antonio Veciana. When dying of cancer, Phillips tearfully confessed his guilt to his brother)
Frank Sturgis (CIA operative. Told The San Francisco Chronicle of May 7, 1977 that "the reason we burglarized the Watergate was because Nixon was interested in stopping news leaking relating to the photos of our role in the assassination of President Kennedy.")

"Nobody talked" is a lie told by those who don't want to hear what they say.
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bpilgrim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-03 08:33 PM
Response to Original message
13. it doesn't matter
as long as it is NOT the official story

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