The other day I posted a blog to The Baltimore Post-Examiner. One thing I found out immediately, before it was posted, was that I had been spelling David Petraeus’ last name wrong. Not even the last, weird spelling part of it either. Anyway, things were corrected and was posted and voila! Within minutes there was a comment.
Seeing comments is always gratifying, even if the comments are calling you a moron and worse. It’s good to know you’re getting read and people feel a need to react to your words.
The best part of it though was that the comments yielded two conspiracies I had not heard of before. It’s amazing what human minds can conjure with just a few simple facts and a lot of imagination.
Take for instance my fascination with sexy Playboy models. Well, I don’t imagine any vast conspiracies, but my fantasies can be pretty grandiose.
Conspiracy theories have been around for decades now, centuries even. Probably the most infamous is the Kennedy conspiracy, although it’s now a collaboration of several that have come together in one grand scheme to carry out a coup d’état. Back in the 1960’s and 70’s there were several theories floating around.
One included the Mafia getting back at Kennedy for the war on the mob, which was carried out by Robert Kennedy when he was the Attorney General. They conspired with the CIA, which was angry with Kennedy for not fully backing the Bay of Pigs invasion. And the military-industrial complex wanted to replace Kennedy with someone who would be more amenable to a wider war in Southeast Asia. And of course the Pentagon was fuming over the whole “13 Days of October” crisis, most often called the Cuban Missile Crisis.
I’ll spare all the details of the various conspiracies, other than to say that the only detail not shared by the various theories was the identification of who was behind it all. Each theory shared many of the details, like where the various alleged other shooters were located around Dealy Plaza that day, but who was behind it varied from one disgruntled group of Americans to another.
Then in 1991 filmmaker Oliver Stone brought them all together in his film, JFK. All the players from the various theories were thrust together in one big conspiracy, with each gaining something with the death of President John F. Kennedy. The generals got their war in Vietnam. The Justice Department slowed its prosecution of the Mafia and the CIA was free to conduct foreign policy as it saw fit. Oliver Stone brought it all together.
A more recent conspiracy theory is the one that claims the Bush 43 Administration engineered and carried out the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. With that one they actually have “scientists” who reconstructed the collapse of the three World Trade Center towers to prove it wasn’t two planes that took them down, but well-placed explosives set by government operatives to make it look like two planes destroyed WTC.
In the Washington, DC attack it wasn’t an airliner that blasted into the outer ring of the Pentagon, but a cruise missile. I’m not sure what the explanation is for the plane that went down in Pennsylvania, but it’s no doubt just as dramatic as the rest of the 9/11 conspiracy theory.
The main similarity with these and all other conspiracy theories is that they all involve known facts about an event, the assassination of a president and the collapse of the World Trade Center, Then unrelated events are somehow woven into a narrative that builds a story around the event, like the 9/11 attacks. We know the Bush Administration wanted to invade Iraq and were just waiting for an excuse to do so … and now we can start building the conspiracy theory.
Before getting too far afield, let’s get back to the latest. General Petraeus got caught up in an illicit affair and then was exposed to keep him from testifying before Congress about the Benghazi tragedy. As conspiracies go, it’s pretty elaborate and well executed. Jill Kelley gets some “threatening” e-mails from an anonymous source. She goes to a friend that is an FBI agent. He in turn sends it to his bosses who begin an investigation. They find out she got the e-mails, at least some of them, from Marine Corps General John Allen, the Supreme Commander in Afghanistan, who received them from the anonymous source. He was being warned to steer clear of Kelley.
As a bonus, we found out Kelley’s Feebie friend was sending sexy e-mails to Kelley as well.
Now wait, it isn’t done yet. They do a little more investigating and find out the source of the anonymous e-mails was Paula Broadwell, the CIA director’s biographer. Apparently, as Broadwell saw it, Kelley was getting too chummy with General Petraeus. But why would she even care? And why is she sharing a GMail e-mail account with the DCI? They look into the “Drafts” folder of that GMail account and find love letters between Petraeus and Broadwell. Whoa!
On top of that, the FBI finds “inappropriate” e-mails between General John Allen and Jill Kelley. Now, Allen, mindful of Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (which forbids adultery), claims he did nothing wrong and quite possibly, if he didn’t physically engage in any peccadilloes with Kelley, he didn’t. But what were their, or his, intentions? The exposition of these inappropriate e-mails could “… be determined to be conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline.”
What a quandary. Allen thought he was off to Europe for the much cushier and prestigious job of being the Supreme NATO Commander. That is probably not going to happen and Allen will most likely retire earlier than he had hoped. And if he’s lucky he keeps all four stars and his pension carries on unimpeded … unless of course his wife files for divorce. Then she gets half of his pension — for life. DAMMIT! Extremely poor judgment.
Anyway, back to the conspiracy, Allen is, at least, sending inappropriate e-mails to Jill Kelley, but no crimes have been committed nor has national security been compromised.
The FBI sees Petraeus and Broadwell have been carrying on a full-blown sexual affair. Even though Broadwell has some mildly secret files on her computer, the FBI determines she didn’t get them from the DCI. When she was in the military she had a security clearance so it’s possible she acquired the files through other means. So, they see no crimes were committed nor was national security compromised.
The president is informed, Petraeus makes his apologies to the Commander-in-Chief and then resigns. Then the right and their cabal of conspiracy theorists find the conspiracy: the White House has tried to silence the DCI. Except that Petraeus can and does testify before Congress anyway.
But wait! It’s even more sinister than that, according to Judge Andrew Napolitano. It was set up by the FBI at the behest of the president. According to the good judge, who is an analyst for FoxNews, the FBI must have known about the affair, because they did an investigation of Petraeus once he was nominated by the president to be the Director of the CIA, but they (according to Napolitano) kept it secret to use when the president needed something to pull out of the hat to discredit Petraeus and the military.
And why would the president want to discredit Petraeus and the military? The answer to that is rather murky, but it includes brewing trouble in the Middle East, according to right wing gadfly Glenn Beck.
“Wait! Glenn Beck is in on this too?”
Yes! He may be gone from FoxNews, but he’s still on TV and radio. And, according to Beck, this vast conspiracy was set up — including the Petraeus-Broadwell affair — to discredit Petraeus and the military so President Obama can arm the Muslim Brotherhood for a worldwide Muslim revolution.
Pretty dramatic stuff. Leaves you breathless.
But that isn’t the only conspiracy theory out there and I’m afraid there are too many surrounding David Petraeus and Benghazi to catalogue in one semi-short article.
There is one that’s pretty entertaining: various Flag Rank officers who have been relieved of command because they were allegedly planning a coup d’état. In the months leading up to the terrorist attack and the 2012 presidential election, these generals and admirals were planning to take over the U.S. government and remove Barack Obama from the Oval Office.
One of the responses to my article on the Baltimore Post-Examiner said this: “REAR ADMIRAL Gaouette, US ARMY GENERAL Carter HAM, Brigadier General Jeffery Sinclair, US NAVY COMMANDER Joseph Dielak, General John Allen, CIA DIRECTOR Patraeus. All busted and relived of duty. Its called squashing a coup, wake up sheep.” The caps were the writer’s.
According to the news, Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette was relieved of command of the U.S.S. Stennis Carrier Strike Group due to “leadership judgments.” Kind of a vague explanation. The really big deal though was the Stennis was on station in the Persian Gulf when it happened.
Then there’s Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair, accused of gross sexual misconduct. His case is in the hands of Major General Perry Wiggins who will decide if it will go to a court martial. General Carter Ham was relieved of command at roughly the same time as Admiral Gaouette, over “leadership judgments” as well. Not sure what Commander Joseph Dielek has done, but he is part of this failed coup d’état.
The plan, according to the conspiracy theorists was that if President Obama won a second term they would seize the U.S. military and then the country and then … what? Install one of them as Supreme Leader?
Actually, there’s really nothing on that alleged conspiracy, except my previous post about the Petraeus Affair and an anti-Israel website called Veterans Today. They call themselves the “True Voice of the World’s Clandestine Community.”
They are also a great source of conspiracy theories, including the “9/11 Truthers.” The theories — the truth (according to them) — about why Petraeus resigned are vast and complicated, but it involves the usual suspects: the one world government types who own both major political parties and are out to finally, after all these decades, rule the world.
The humor of it is, there isn’t a new conspiracy, just the same crap with different names. Thirty years ago there were people who printed out newsletters using mimeographs and ancient copiers, complete with dark and grainy photos of Bilderbergers and other figures of a “shadow government.” The Bilderberg Conference really exists and holds one meeting a year. About 150 leaders of business and government from around the world meet at various locations, so it’s easy to create a conspiracy around the idea that these are the leaders of a one-world government organization.
“Can’t you see it? It’s so obvious! You just don’t want to see it!”
What’s gotten better for the conspiracy theorists is the Internet. Now they can reach one another in a nanosecond and start these websites, like Veterans Today, to create a more connected community.
It’s disappointing though to find no conspiracy of generals and admirals who tried to over throw the government. Many officers have been relieved of command recently, but mainly for things like sneaking alcohol on to deployments and fraternizing with troops of the opposite gender, i.e., hooking up. Unlike General Allen who claims he only carried out his affair via e-mail, these other generals actually seduced and had sex with their subordinates.
We don’t even get the dirty details, just the dry legal renderings from a military justice system that gets high marks for expediency and precise adherence to the UCMJ, but low marks for drama and titillation. And maybe it isn’t appropriate to give sexual misconduct by military officers the TMZ treatment, but there really isn’t a conspiracy either.
Maybe this story of the rebelling generals hasn’t had time to develop, after all, there are a lot of pieces to the puzzle on this one so it may take some time to connect the dots and make the lines look straight. We can only hope.
Everybody loves a good story and who knows, it could develop into a great movie script. Generals get fed up with the new Kenyan-born, socialist Muslim president and plot an over throw. Question is, do you have the good guys win, with the most likable characters sacrificing their lives for the common good? Or do they lose, with the most likable characters sacrificing their lives in a failed attempt to right the sinking ship?
The latter scenario would certainly lend itself to a sequel … I’ll get right on it!
Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative college newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment issues, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the business of government and business was so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that reality.