In the first half, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Miami, Joe Uscinski, discussed why conspiracy theories are so popular among Americans and how some burn brightly and endure, while others flicker and fade. Conspiracy theories in the US are not confined to just the last 50 years, staring with the JFK assassination, but go back much further, he noted. For instance, in the original Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson had included a lot of conspiracy charges against the British (but it was decided to remove most of them), he detailed. One of the biggest American conspiracy theories took place at the end of the 1800s, and had to do with suspicions around the growing power of business, he continued. The "red scare" period of the 1950s was also rife with conspiracies, he added.
While conspiracy theories can sometimes lead to negative actions, they can also serve a useful purpose helping to keep the government in check, he pointed out. One of the most common tropes among current conspiracy theories is that the government is behind various actions, such as the idea that 9-11 was allowed to happen, so that the Bush administration could pursue its foreign policy. In an experiment Uscinski conducted in one of his classes, he had students each invent a conspiracy, and then other students debunk them. Intriguingly, the inventors became miffed when their conspiracies were criticized, even though they were fabricated, he recounted.
In the latter half, unorthodox ufologist Norio Hayakawa shared new information about secret programs at Area 51, and tunnels connecting secret bases in the Southwest, as well as reviewed various UFO cases that have taken place in New Mexico over the years. A massive hangar or some kind of enclosure is currently under construction at Area 51 (photos), and no one knows what its purpose is, though it's said to be four times larger than Hangar 18 at Wright Patterson AFB, which allegedly housed evidence from the Roswell Incident. Activity at Area 51 is on the rise, he reported, with the development of new technologies such as unmanned aerial vehicles, and there is no truth to the rumor that operations were moved to another location.
There are underground levels in many of New Mexico's complexes, such as Kirtland AFB which has had below ground facilities since 1947. "But the big question is, are these underground facilities in all these locations such as New Mexico, Nevada, California, and Utah, actually connected?" he asked, adding that if this speculation is true, it could indicate that something is being hidden from us. Hayakawa detailed several vintage New Mexico cases, including Lonnie Zamora's 1964 sighting in Socorro, and a 1950 incident in which an armada of silver discs were seen over the skies of Farmington (photo). As to what is behind the UFO phenomenon, he believes it may be part of a conditioning plan for an event yet to come. Norio will be speaking at the New Mexico UFO Conference in early October.