Conspiracy theories – why don’t we believe the official story?

A discussion of the upcoming anniversary of 9/11 and its concomitant conspiracy theories reminded me of a show I watched a few years back on the Discovery Channel. It was about UFO sightings, and it provided what became, for me, a key anecdote for thinking about government conspiracies and cover-ups.

Phoenix Lights
One night, several people in Phoenix noticed strange bright lights hanging in the sky. These lights appeared over an area used by nearby Luke Air Force Base for training missions. After seeming to hover for several minutes, they disappeared one by one.

People called the police. At least one man called the nearby Air Force base several times. Several people took videos, showing the lights hovering in the sky and winking out.

The most likely explanation seemed to be that one or more aircraft from Luke AFB had dropped flares. At the risk of ruining the mystery for you, I’ll let you know that this turns out to be just what happened: the lights were parachute flares dropped over the training area by a flight of Air Force planes.

But … here’s where the story gets interesting to me.

The police, when contacted later, denied that they had received any phone calls about the lights even though several people interviewed for the documentary insisted they had called. It certainly seems more than likely that someone would have.

The Air Force base, when contacted, denied that they ever spoke to anyone about the lights, or even received any incoming outside calls. However, one man interviewed for the show produces a phone bill which clearly documents a series of calls he made to the base.

The Air Force base denied that they had any flights in that area at that time, or that they dropped any flares on that night.

As I said, it turns out that a group of aircraft on a routine training exercise out of Luke AFB indeed dropped flares on that night, which hung in the sky until the dropped out of sight behind mountains. There was nothing sinister going on. Nothing mysterious, or secret or illegal.

  • But the Air Force at first denied it. Why?
  • They also denied that anyone had contacted them about the lights. Why?
  • The police also denied that anyone had contacted them about the lights. Why?

One can see how easily a mythos of cover-up would arise.

This is anecdotal, granted. But it seems to imply that routine denial of everything, no matter how true, innocent or mundane, is the norm at all levels of government. Is it any wonder people are skeptical of official sources and official stories?

If ‘they’ lie about simple phone calls and scheduled flights, then what – if anything –  don’t they lie about?

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