Conspiracy Nation -- Vol. 9 Num. 62

("Quid coniuratio est?")


Sherman Skolnick tells me that he demonstrated quite an aptitude for mathematics in his younger days. But, since he attended school in a time when sensitivity to challenges (e.g. opening doors, climbing stairs, etc.) faced by the "differently abled" (Skolnick contracted polio at the age of 6) was low, his gift was not nurtured as it should have been. He was eventually forced to discontinue his formal schooling.

I suspect that many so-called "conspiracy theorists" have some facility for, or derive some pleasure from, solving puzzles. If there is such a thing as mathematical aptitude, I'd bet conspiratologists would show statistically significant numbers in that category. That is what most or all areas of conspiracy research have in common: an unsolved puzzle. For example, the facts show that Lee Harvey Oswald did not shoot President Kennedy. Yet the FBI and other alleged experts have continued to sit on their hands, refusing to "solve the puzzle" and insisting that Oswald was the culprit and there was no conspiracy. So, to those of mathematical and/or puzzle solving inclinations, the natural thing is to begin turning the thing over in your mind.

That may be why some don't quite understand conspiracy theorists: people have different aptitudes: some are more language oriented, others show talent in the mathematical realm. Those skilled in language perhaps cannot fathom what fun there could be in solving a puzzle.

The latest puzzle begins with Pierre Salinger claiming that TWA Flight 800 was brought down by a U.S. Navy missile. Then, of course, the FBI and other officials deny it happened. One would naturally expect that next, Pierre Salinger would be interviewed on, say, CNN's Larry King show. Instead, the guest is, of all people, basketball player Magic Johnson. (Huh?)

So the puzzle is left hanging there, unsolved. The unreconciled dispute has disappeared into Limbo, displaced now by the convenient eruption of an Army sex scandal. And so, the conspiratologists begin sifting through the evidence, even while FBI's Kallstrom pounds on the lectern in a temper fit deleted from later broadcasts.

My thanks to a CN reader for putting me in touch with reports from Paris Match magazine and for assisting me with the following translation of their reportage. The following translation is admittedly awkward. I will forward the original articles, in French, to those who request it.

"You are invited to attend a function on Long Island," read the invitation. The function was to be held at Docker's restaurant. It was that evening that Linda Kabot began taking the photos. And she was taking photos minutes later when an explosion occurred over the ocean. It was soon learned that TWA 800 had exploded in flight.

Linda Kabot has just brought back from the developer the pictures she took in the evening of July 17. She is about to put them aside but her husband, who watches over her shoulder, intrigued by a detail, wants to study the picture. He notices a long, unusual object that crosses the sky. Immediately making the connection with the Boeing catastrophe, the couple calls the FBI. An hour later, police arrive and show great interest in the photo. They leave with the first positive and the negative. Sometime later, helicopters will hover over the restaurant, probably to obtain ballistics data. Anxious to learn the experts' findings, the Kabots are told, "No conclusion can be obtained from this photo." As they insist on knowing the reason for the intriguing detail, one expert tells them, "It could be a cigar thrown by a guest." They are not convinced.

The cylinder that crosses the sky appears, in its extremity, incandescent, which may indicate the combustion from the propulsion system of a rocket.

The hypothesis of a missile having destroyed TWA Flight 800 was transmitted to Paris Match magazine by e-mail about a month ago. With great support from technical demonstrations, our mysterious correspondent, supposedly a captain of a Boeing 747, explained the tragedy to us with an astonishing verisimilitude. We did not immediately go with the story, because a journalist's role requires that we verify the sources. The transmission of an e-mail, as it was in this case, gave us no guaranty of reliability.

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Aperi os tuum muto, et causis omnium filiorum qui pertranseunt. Aperi os tuum, decerne quod justum est, et judica inopem et pauperem. -- Liber Proverbiorum XXXI: 8-9