False Flag Forecasts

As admitted by the U.S. government, recently declassified documents show that in the 1960′s, the American Joint Chiefs of Staff signed off on a plan to blow up American airplanes (using an elaborate plan involving the switching of airplanes), and also to commit terrorist acts on American soil, and then to blame it on the Cubans in order to justify an invasion of Cuba. (more; see also)

One in seven people are convinced that the U.S. government was involved in a conspiracy to stage the September 11 attacks which killed nearly 3,000 people. A survey, which interviewed 1,000 people in the UK and the same number in the U.S., found that 14 per cent of Britons 15 per cent of Americans think the past administration was involved in the tragedy. (more from ’11)

More from ’08:


Such conspiracies aren’t always, or even usually, uncovered eventually, but such uncovering does happen often enough to make it seem socially useful to have betting markets on such questions.

Yes, such markets would have to be long term, and might need to be subsidized. And they might need to be housed in a reasonable distant and independent nation, like New Zealand.

But such market odds might offer an independent and reasonably reliable source to which doubters could turn when they weren’t sure how much weight to put on conspiracy theories vs. their skeptics. If you doubted who was behind the 9-11 attacks, wouldn’t it be great if you could turn to a betting market to better calibrate your doubts?

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  • John_Maxwell_IV

    Such a betting market would give P(conspiracy is discovered, conspiracy exists), which equals P(conspiracy is discovered|conspiracy exists) * P(conspiracy exists). In other words, if many people think there exists a conspiracy but that it would never be discovered, this would be indistinguishable from the case where people don’t think there is a conspiracy at all.

  • adrianratnapala

    New Zealand has form for helping the US shut down businesses without proper due legal process. http://arstechnica.com/search/?query=megaupload+new+zealand

  • Mitchell Porter

    How would a betting market for conspiracy theories work? I mean, how often are conspiracist beliefs like this actually *resolved*, one way or another?

  • http://twitter.com/JasonKuznicki Jason Kuznicki

    “Such conspiracies aren’t always, or even usually, uncovered eventually…”

    How would you know this, without knowing the number of conspiracies, known and unknown, to use as the denominator? My hunch is that most conspiracies that accomplish historically significant aims are usually uncovered. But again, I admit it’s only a hunch.

  • zzk

    The poll question seems ambiguous, since it doesn’t distinguish blowback from active conspiracy.

  • Stephen Diamond

    Prediction markets aside, the revelation about the joints chiefs unanimously recommending terror against U.S. citizens is hugely significant in its implications. Added, that Kennedy was apparently content to allow these generals to remain in such positions of power despite their rejection of elementary civilized morality.

    It forces an “update” on one’s “priors” on trutherism. But more than that, it refutes a traditional view of the U.S. military as committed to basic democratic values, such that it would not usurp power–say, when the regime is faced by a popular socialist movement. If the top levels of the military are willing to kill U.S. civilians as a pretext to invade a country, it cannot be reasonably said that they are incapable of any violation of “democratic values.”

    • Realist Writer

      Thing is, the US joint chiefs wasn’t willing to kill US civilians. The plan itself involved switching an aircraft with American civilians on board with an aircraft with no civilians on board. Blow up the aircraft with no civilians on board, and blame it on the Cuban government. These civilians would already be given a cover story beforehand, so nobody would ever wonder why those civilians suddenly reappear in American society after being supposedly blown up.

      Even when plotting a false flag operation to justify a US intervention, the US joint chief of staff had drawn a line at killing US citizens. And no point did the US joint chief of staff wanted to kill US civilians. It forces an “update” on one’s “priors” on trutherism…in the sense that the US military does not support killing Americans. That doesn’t mean that 9/11 wouldn’t happen…it just means that the US military wouldn’t want any civilians to die in the process, and would have to “switch” the planes as well as everyone in those two towers. [Or, you know, you could assume that there’s turnover in the US chief of staff, and that the preferences of Kennedy’s chief of staff may differ from Bush’s chief of staff.]

      As a side note: The US joint chiefs of staff was willing to blow up Cuban refugees though (“real or simulated”). Take that what you will.

  • hanmeng

    A lot of people seem to suspect the “DK”. It’s clearly a threat to consider.

    • Martin355

      It’s the country code for Denmark. Unless the letter combination means something else in this case. Don’t know what that would be.

      • hanmeng

        Good one.

    • Old OddJobs

      Diddy or Donkey?


    What would be the point of having a conspiracy betting market? Conspiracy theories aren’t rational/scientific to begin with, they are a form of religion. Besides most people do not have the expertise to judge conspiracy theories accurately and the people that have that expertise may still be wrong because real conspiracies are often very “original”. Finally, what’s the point of having such a long term betting market, the update cycles take so long that the amount of active conspiracy theories could fluctuate wildly in the meantime and one conspiracy theory turning out to be (not) true doesn’t say much about the next theory when it’s decades later and the world and the world’s leading people have changed a lot?

  • Brian Holtz

    I’m thinking of auctioning a 9/11 conspiracy confirmation futures contract on eBay: http://blog.knowinghumans.net/2013/05/911-conspiracy-confirmation-futures.html

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