During the cold war when Washington was confronted with a charge of covert American misbehavior abroad, it was common to imply that the Russkis or some other nefarious commies were behind the spread of such tales; this was usually enough to discredit the story in the mind of any right-thinking American. Since that period, the standard defense against uncomfortable accusations and questions has been a variation of: “Oh, that sounds like a conspiracy theory.” (Chuckle, chuckle) Every White House press secretary learns that before his first day on the job.
I’m reminded of this because of the latest development in the long-running case of the bombing of PanAm 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, which took the lives of 270 people...
The key piece of evidence linking Libya to the crime was a tiny fragment of circuit board, allegedly from a timing device or detonator, which investigators just happened to find in a wooded area many miles from Lockerbie some time after the atrocity. Now, a former Scottish police chief has come forth and admitted that this evidence was fabricated. The CIA planted it, he said. Morever, a key prosecution expert witness has been called into question after it was reported that three other cases had been quashed because his evidence had been discredited. But anyone who’s been following the Lockerbie case closely for years doesn’t need these new revelations to make him seriously doubt the official version.
So the next time you hear an administration spokesperson chuckling over someone questioning the government’s explanation for some complex happening, keep in mind that the trivialization of conspiracy theories may itself be a conspiracy.
Based on a careful search of the Lexis-Nexis database, it appears that not one word of these new revelations has appeared in any American newspaper."
- September 2005