Bertrand Russell once said…

The biggest cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid people are so sure about things and the intelligent folks are so full of doubts!

The source of conspiracy theories is the existence of real conspiracies that have taken place throughout time. For instance, it is widely known that the fire that destroyed the Reichstag in 1933 was masterminded by Hitler himself. In the same manner, both Iran’s Mosaddegh in 1953 and Chile’s Allende in 1973 were toppled by the CIA. Quite often those who narrate such stories they end their testimonies wondering rhetorically about all those conspiracies that failed to reach the wider public. Through such techniques quite a few, especially those who are not that familiar with History’s mechanisms, are ready to buy simplistic explanations for the things they find difficult to comprehend. A basic ingredient of these explanations is the bad guy; the usual suspect who was found guilty in previous occasions. Thus, by pointing the finger to CIA’s previous coups or to the ethnicity of some high ranking bankers, one can easily ascribe to the Americans or to the …Masons any of the world’s misfortunes. Finally, the more historical references a conspiracy theory possesses, the more credible will look especially among those whose awareness of history is limited.

A classic example of a quite popular conspiracy theory among Greeks is the notion that the regime of colonel Papadopoulos fell in November 1973 simply because the then Greek dictator had failed to cooperate successfully with the Americans during the Yom Kippur war. According to the theory’s followers, the US administration was as indignant at Papadopoulos as to stage an uprising* which would lead to Papadopoulos replacement by the loyal to them brigadier-general Ioannidis. Then, they would convince him to act in a way which would give half of Cyprus to the Turks. In other words, this theory claims, that the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of the northern part of Cyprus was US’s payback time for Greece’s misconduct during the Arab Israeli war of 1973. To be fair, the theory sounds logical and because it seems to be verified by the events I was not able to refute it successfully for years. However, not long ago while I was browsing through “The International Politics of the Middle East” I found in page 145 that another country refused US to use her soil in order to resupply Israel in October 1973. This country was Turkey.  

* In November 15, 1973 students occupied the central building of the Polytechnic School in Athens. The protest escalated to something that looked like a popular uprising against the military regime which ruled Greece since April 21, 1967 and which had recently issued a pack of reforms. After police’s failure to deal with the situation the army intervened and stormed the building with a tank in the early hours of November 17. No significant protests were recorded the following days but a group of officers who considered that Papadopoulos’s pack of reforms was heralding the wrong message intervened in order to save the 1967 “revolution”. The people who succeeded Papadopoulos’s government ruled in an extremely reckless way and went as far as to effectively “invite” the Turks in Cyprus in 1974 when they decided to organize a coup against the government of the orthodox archbishop Makarios

See you soon

Bertrand Russell

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