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CCP: Edward L. Winston

Author: Clock
Date: Sep 03, 2013 at 16:08

By Clock (with contributions by member The Burger King)


Edward L. Winston
also known as President Camacho and Special Ed.

Current Status: semi-Retired

Basic Info He's the creator of the website. After being constantly pestered and pestered from members of the Conspiracy Science Facebook, he finally opened the website, known as When it was first opened, it was entirely dedicated to the debunking of the first Zeitgeist movie. After many, many changes, he made Skeptic Project into a full blown community, by adding a forum, Facebook and other social media pages. He isn't around much anymore sadly, but you can catch him around once in awhile if you're lucky.


The Alex Jones Movies
S.773 - Cybersecurity Act of 2009
Charles Darwin Myths
Herpes / Fever Blisters / Cold Sores myths
HIV/AIDS myths
HPV myths
Jeff Rense
Language Misonceptions
Military Myths
Denver International Airport-Debunked!
A look at Microchipping
Obama conspiracies debunked!
People Debunked
9/11 debunked
Technology myths
Zeitgeist 1
Zeitgeist: Addendum

Blog posts

American Currency!? You must have gone to community college.
An Interesting Video on 9/11
Well, where's the conspiracy?
Waste more time, help less people
Alex Jones rushes to cover his ass
Swine Flu is a secret plot to kill you
Europeans are not immune from spin
Zeitgeist page error fixed, shut up already
Jones' big announcement: a fake interview with the president.
Pat from Screw Loose Change challenges Charlie Sheen
What I've learned from conspiracy theorists
Economic collapse is coming really soon
Post-industrialism? More like anarcho-primitivism!
Military arrest at G20 protest not hoax and not military
Anti-Semite comedy goldmine
Prediction updates for October
Anti-vaccination hysteria and the danger to others
Canadian truther fundamentalist or genius troll?
How Alex Jones sees public policy
Ten new crazy predictions
Infowars experts try to figure out plane crash into IRS building

Debunking Style:
Generally includes having a variety of sources at hand in order to prove that the conspiracy believer or theorist is wrong. He will be nice if you are nice to him. Usually, conspiracy theorists tend to insult him which leads to an insult by Edwart to the CT. Lax rules in terms of socializing, and has high standards in order to prove his claims.

Site Admin
Most Articles on website
Most responses to Hate Mail on website

Hence, why he has 150 points.

More Content

Famous Last Words

It's been approximately a little over a year since I hung up my debunking hat and put on my full-time dad hat, so it seems a little overdue to post on my Facebook that I'm done. I did manage to meet some really cool people, hopefully taught a few people a few things, and most importantly learned a few things myself, but being active in the skeptic community just isn't for me. Though I obviously am still an atheist, still a skeptic, and still a freethinker.

Even after I went inactive on Conspiracy Science (now called Skeptic Project) I received many emails and Facebook messages -- that is up until about 6 months ago, and I've rarely received anything since. Furthermore I've noticed a general drop in so many jumping on the conspiracy bandwagon as they did with Zeitgeist. Films like Thrive have come out, but it all seems like the bubble has burst and it's all crowd preaching now.

I do want everyone to know that while I have absolutely no use for Facebook -- perhaps I'm too old or too boring -- I am still available at my email: and am willing to discuss any topic at hand or answer any questions you may have, whether or not it's related to skeptical inquiry.

I don't plan on writing any more articles in the near future, but if I do, they will be for Skeptic Project, on my own terms, and on my own free time. I see absolutely no circumstance where I can be involved in the skeptic community full time as some of my more famous peers have been. I don't really feel like anything that's a hobby should make one feel obligated, and that's all the skeptic community really has ever made me feel -- there's a general atmosphere that once one has debunked one thing, one must keep the ball rolling indefinitely and debunk the world.

As I stated before, this is way overdue so I imagine this is a surprise to no one, but I felt like I should at least officially say something because I still sporadically get emails about when my next article will be released.

I realize this looks like a suicide note, but rest assured, you can email me any time and I'll respond as soon as I get a chance.

It's been great guys.

-Edward L. Winston

21 Goals of the Illuminati and The Committee of 300-debunked! INCOMPLETE

Author: Clock
Date: Aug 18, 2013 at 13:17

Alright, let's look at some of the things John Coleman has to say. Is any of this right? I had originally found this link here, so let's get this show on the road!

1. To establish a One World Government/New World Order with a unified church and monetary system under their direction. The One World Government began to set up its church in the 1920's and 30's, for they realized the need for a religious belief inherent in mankind must have an outlet and, therefore, set up a "church" body to channel that belief in the direction they desired.

-It has already been established many times that One World Governments do not work. Many conspiracy believers like using the European Union as the perfect example of 'the beginning of the evil NWO's plans to setup a world government', and that soon, an American and other country unions are in the works. An African Union does exist, but so far, it seems to only be an idea that works on paper, but not in real everyday life. This is mainly because there have been many events of corruption, internal conflicts, constant changes in lineup of membership, loads of issues that they have yet to take control of, and there have been a never ending stream of regional, social and political issues that require constant military intervention (the current protests in egypt are a great example of this) This is another example of how this so called "NWO" is extremely incompetent. Not only have their FEMA camps plans have been going on for over 40+ years and are still putting the plan in motion? That seems a bit odd, but back to topic.

The North American Union theories has been in talk for a very long time now, and have been debunked many, many times. I suggest that you refer to this article, and this post.

2. To bring about the utter destruction of all national identity and national pride, which was a primary consideration if the concept of a One World Government was to work.

-When John Coleman is referring to national identity and national pride, he is of course referencing to 'murica. One common theme with conspiracy theorists who push the NWO theory is that America seems to be the only place on earth where conspiracies occur. This reminds me a lot of Alex Jones and his patriotism. The idea of pursuing a World Government is pretty much as far as conspiracy theorists go concerning the rest of the world. And only 'if' the World Government plans work? More NWO incompetence! First of all, where does he get this information? Oh yeah, his head. He provides no evidence to prove his claims. And why does this New World Order need a world government in order to destory the "national identity and pride" of America? I mean don't they already control or influence (seems to change depending on which conspiracy theorist you are talking about) all of the governments in the first place? This really isn't clear.

3. To engineer and bring about the destruction of religion, and more especially, the Christian Religion, with the one exception, their own creation, as mentioned above.

If I remember correctly, John Coleman stated in his book 'The Commitee of 300' that the Vatican was in on it as well. So why the hell, would they be pushing this agenda? Christianity is the only reason to explain the existence of the Vatican. Without it , it has no reason for being there, so why would it support this ludicrous agenda? And why does the NWO have to make people stop believing in God in order to take over? What about other religions? What if you are an atheist? There are many, many questions.


This hate mail : should be helpful in debunking that Global 2000 report.

The Desteni I Process: Amway for Conspiracy Theorists.

Author: Clock
Date: Aug 16, 2013 at 15:26

By Muertos

This blog is a continuation of my investigation into the South Africa-based cult known as Desteni. This organization, which uses conspiracy theories like "reptilians" and the "New World Order" as one of their marketing tools, is somewhat unusual among conspiracy cults. While many cults are devised as money-making opportunities and even structured as business enterprises--Scientology, for example--Desteni is somewhat unique in that it advances itself and its ideology with a "multi-level-marketing" scheme. It is this specific aspect of the cult, which is called the "Desteni I Process," that is the subject of this article.

What is Multi-Level-Marketing?

Before we begin, it's important to understand what multi-level-marketing ("MLM") is. It's a somewhat questionable business model where a product or service is sold via a network of salespeople, often called distributors, who supposedly make money by selling the product or service and then collecting a cut of everything sold by the distributors they recruited. Does this sound to you like the definition of a pyramid scheme? It is.

Here's an example to demonstrate how it works. Let's say I run into you at a coffee shop and tell you about this great new soap I found. Acme SuperSoap®™ cleans everything. I can't stop raving about it. I tell you I have a couple of bars in my car and I'm willing to sell them to you. You buy some for $1 apiece. The next day I call you up and tell you that in addition to the great product itself, I'm getting rich by recruiting others to sell Acme SuperSoap. You eagerly sign up, and you start selling Acme SuperSoap yourself. But you have to buy all the soap that you sell from me. I pocket 20 cents on every bar you buy from me. But I also collect a commission on bars you sell to your friends, which you have to buy from me first, and the bars that they sell to their friends, which they have to buy from you. Theoretically we both get rich as Acme SuperSoap takes the world by storm. If one of your friends who you recruited opens an Acme SuperSoap franchise in Beijing and manages to sell a single bar to every man, woman and child in China, we're instant billionaires, and we live happily ever after.

The biggest MLM business in the world is Amway, which most people have heard of. They began in the 1950s selling--guess what?--soap. There are now thousands of MLM schemes out there. Some are legal, and some aren't. But they all function pretty much the same. (Note: Desteni is not affiliated with Amway).

Why doesn't MLM work?

The above example should illustrate to you why MLM doesn't work in the real world: the model functions on the basis of infinite expansion, and there just aren't enough potential recruits out there to result in big money for more than a very few--and very lucky--distributors. How many people do you personally know who would really be that interested in becoming a soap distributor? Even if the product you're selling is reputable and a good product, because the MLM model emphasizes recruitment of distributors more than the selling of products, what money there is to be made doesn't come from sales--unless of course you're Amway or Acme, the ultimate source of all the products these eager distributors are trying to recruit each other to sell. Keep this point in mind because it's crucial to understand the Desteni I Process.

These days MLM is everywhere. I will bet that virtually everybody who's reading this blog right now has been hustled by a friend, acquaintance or total stranger trying to rope them into an MLM scheme. You might think that the ubiquity of these schemes means people are making big money at them. You'd be wrong. The vast majority of MLM participants, even in Amway, lose money on the scheme because they end up buying more of whatever products are being sold than they sell, and because they don't end up recruiting many distributors. My dad has been in Amway for years, and he's never made a dime. The main thing that keeps MLM schemes going is hope: hope of making money, of retiring with some big bank, and hope that is kept alive by motivational tapes, books and videos that themselves form the basis of a separate for-profit industry that clings to MLM schemes like pilotfish on a whale. This is certainly the case with Amway, where most of the money that's being made comes from the sale of motivational materials by Amway distributors to other Amway distributors, trying to bolster their spirits and keep them participating in the scheme.

I have described MLM as a pyramid scheme, and it is. However, I'm not using the term "pyramid scheme" as being synonymous with "illegal pyramid scheme." Whenever they are criticized for their MLM business model, for instance, devotees of Amway--who often behave eerily like Desteni or Zeitgeist members insofar as devotion to their faith is concerned--will proudly state, "We're not a pyramid scheme. That's been tested in court!" Well, actually what's been tested is whether Amway is an illegal pyramid scheme. I think Amway is very spurious, but it is legal, as are other MLM schemes you may have heard of, such as Mary Kay, Prepaid Legal and others. They may be legal, but it doesn't mean they're not pyramid schemes, nor does it mean that they're entirely on the up-and-up, as I will demonstrate here. (Not knowing the laws of South Africa, where I assume the Desteni I Process business is based, for purposes of this blog I assume that it is not technically illegal).

What Does Desteni Have To Do With This?

Desteni's take on MLM is unusual. The MLM components themselves are extremely unsophisticated; it's a very classic bare-bones verison of an MLM scheme. However, Desteni combines their MLM scheme with some of the more esoteric aspects of their cult, thus playing on a curious mixture of their followers' spiritual, personal and financial motivations.

Here's how it works. Step one is, you sign up for the "Desteni Self-Development and Leadership Course." Supposedly this course takes you through Desteni's indoctrination material on YouTube and Facebook and will show you how to "understand your inner world" and "peel[] off the layers of self-deception." You'll learn how to talk, think and act like a Destonian, and presumably at some point you'll be asked to shave your head and you'll be exposed to Desteni cult leader Bernard Poolman's bizarre rants about reptilian conspiracies. Oh, did I mention this course will take you four years to get throughand will cost you €200 a month, in addition to your initial €100 registration fee? (Oh, I should say, right now Bernard's running a special--if you sign up during July you can get a break and pay only €100 a month for the first twelve months. This is all on Desteni's website. Yes, you read that right: the entire Desteni Self-Development and Leadership Course will cost you a total of €9700 over four years (€8500 at the sale price). At today's exchange rate that's a whopping $13,826 ($12,115 at the sale price). These calculations are from prices freely available on Desteni's website. (

Oh, one other thing: you can't get a refund. The Desteni site is very clear that once you pay your money, it's theirs. Refunds will not be granted for any purpose whatsoever. So if the Self-Development and Leadership Course isn't working for you, you can quit, but you don't get any portion of your money back.

So, once you're on board to cough up nearly $14,000 to watch YouTube videos about Hitler and learn to masturbate without looking at porn, step two is, you begin recruiting others to get into the cult. According to Desteni's website, you get paid €40 per bald head, per month, to whom you manage to sell the Desteni Self-Development and Leadership Course. Assuming your recruits are as eager to spread the word of Desteni as you are, they get their own €40 per head per month, and you get an additional kickback of €50 on the recruits-of-your-recruits. There are bonus rounds after that too. Indeed the Desteni website proudly trumpets that, if you recruit ten new Destenians, they in turn each recruit ten, and each of those ten themselves recruit ten more, you can supposedly earn €125,400 per month from Desteni. That's the equivalent of making about $2.1 million a year. This idea--recruiting ten people who recruit ten more, who themselves recruit ten more after that--is the "mathematical equation" and the "mathematical certainty" of success that you will hear Destenians, and especially Bernard Poolman, refer to when they talk about the Desteni I Process.

But how realistic is this? Do you know ten people who believe in reptilian conspiracy theories, are interested in channeling Hitler and L. Ron Hubbard through an interdimensional portal and who aspire to drop Esctasy on a farm in South Africa? Even if you are (un)lucky enough to know one person who might fall for Desteni's shtick, are they willing to be locked in to spending $14,000 over the next four years to join Poolman on his bizarre reptilian odyssey? As you can see from this, the chances of making even one successful sale are extremely remote. In order to even break even on what you'll be spending on the Desteni self-improvement course you'll need to have recruited at least five people who will go in it with you. The vast majority of Amway distributors aren't even that successful, and Amway is selling soap, paper towels and things that people actually use in the real world, not reptilian conspiracy theories and strange masturbation techniques. I would hazard a guess that your chances of making a single cent of profit from the Desteni I Process are virtually nonexistent--unless your name happens to be Bernard Poolman.

Yeah, what about Poolman, anyway? Where is he in all of this? Every pyramid has an apex, and in Desteni, Poolman is clearly sitting right on top of it. He is not only the unquestioned leader of the Desteni cult, whose followers literally believe he can do no wrong, but he's the one making the ultimate profit from every Desteni self-help course that gets sold. While we can't know the inner financial workings of the Desteni business, it's safe to surmise that it has very little overhead; the Destenians themselves do all the work by spreading the cult's message through YouTube videos, Facebook and their ubiquitous blogs. At $14,000 for each course, with very little overhead and very few distributors with whom to share the percentage, my guess is that Poolman earns the lion's share of every Euro, dollar and rand that goes to purchase anything Desteni-related, and the best part is that he doesn't need a large base of followers to keep this income stream going. From his perspective--and his alone--Desteni would seem to be a very stable and profitable investment.

But Muertos, Isn't This Just Your Opinion?

I can hear the recriminations of the Destenians right now: "This is just your opinion--you haven't offered any proof that the Desteni I Process doesn't work!" You need not take my word for it. My conclusions are based on a simple but reliable formula for evaluating MLM schemes developed by Dr. Jon M. Taylor of the Consumer Awareness Institute, who has conducted the most exhaustive examination to date of the economic structure of MLM schemes. Dr. Taylor's website ( is a one-stop shop if you have any questions about MLM schemes. Based on his research, here are a few highlights from Dr. Taylor's conclusions about the MLM structure in general:

"MLM programs (MLMs) typically sell "pills, potions, or lotions" or other products that have unique appeal and promise to deliver benefits not available elsewhere....One sees a strong sense of belonging, or an "us versus them" cultish mentality.

MLMs depend on unlimited recruitment of a network of endless chains of participants, and advancement up the levels in the program is only possible through recruitment of a pyramidal organization of participants, or "downline."

As endless chains, MLMs assume infinite markets and virgin markets, neither of which exists in the real world. MLMs are therefore inherently flawed, unfair, deceptive, and profitable only for those at or near the top (top-level "upline", or "TOPPs", for top-of-the-pyramid promoters) - who are often the first ones to join.

Worldwide feedback suggests that MLMs are also extremely viral and predatory. MLMs quickly spread from state to state and often to vulnerable foreign markets.

MLMs typically finance their operations from purchases by participants who are incentivized to buy products to qualify for commissions and to advance to higher levels in the pyramid of participants. With the possible exception of some party plans, the majority of sales are typically to participants."

Got all that? Cultish mentality. Those are Dr. Taylor's words, not mine. Downline is a term you will find on the Desteni I Process website. The "TOPP" term used here perfectly describes Bernard Poolman. Vulnerable foreign markets--like South Africa. The majority of sales are typically to participants. We could have predicted that just by looking at the structure of Desteni.

Just to be sure I can back up my assumptions, I put the Desteni I Process to the test via the very handy 5-step evaluation of MLM schemes on Dr. Taylor's website. This simple evaluation is designed as a tool for people who have been approached by MLM promoters to determine if they're likely to make any money. Let's go through the steps one by one:

[Red Flag # 1] "To build your business, are you required to recruit people into any kind of downline? Would you as a new recruit, by permitted and even encouraged to recruit other participants, who would in turn be encouraged to recruit still others, and they still more, etc. - from whom you could collect commissions and /or bonuses on what they buy or sell?"

In the case of the Desteni I Process, the answer is, absolutely yes. This is very explicit on the website.

[Red Flag # 2] "Advancement in the hierarchy of participants is not achieved by appointment, but by recruiting more and more participants into a downline, or pyramid of participants."

Again, this describes Desteni exactly. The hierarchy is based totally on who recruits who. Desteni uses the term "downline" which is an MLM buzzword, and I have demonstrated here how Desteni is clearly a pyramid scheme.

[Red Flag # 3] "In order to "play the game," or qualify for commissions and advancement, do participants have to buy a minimum amount of products or services, either at the outset or in ongoing purchases or monthly subscriptions?"

Clearly, yes. On the page that describes the Desteni I Process pricing, it makes clear that you can only get paid for your "downline" if you yourself have paid the fee for that month's installment of the course (the €200 monthly fee). Again, no question that this describes Desteni.

[Red Flag # 4] "Does the company pay more in commissions and bonuses to upline participants than to the person making the sale?"

Yes. This is also made clear on Desteni's website. Supposedly you get a €50 fee for each recruit that your recruits get into the cult--but your own recruits only get €40. That means there's a €10 premium for recruiting new members who themselves will recruit others.

[Red Flag # 5] "Does the company pay overrides (commissions and bonuses) to distributors in a hierarchy of more than four levels?"

Examining Desteni's website, it appears the answer to this is no. I counted four levels of distribution, not five. According to Dr. Taylor, five levels of distribution is a classic hallmark of an abusive MLM scheme. Desteni seems to have scraped by this one under the wire, so we'll give them this.

Clicking "yes" on the first four red flags but not the fifth, here's the result I received. After a huge red box that says "WARNING!", there is this text:

"The compensation plan for this MLM company triggered 4 out of 5 red flags!

Extensive research reveals that with at least the first 4 of these five red flags in an MLM compensation plan, approximately 99% lose money....If you find all five (or even just the first four) of these red flags in a compensation plan, then the MLM program could be considered a recruiting MLM, or exploitive chain selling program (translation in many jurisdictions - "pyramid scheme") in concept, structure, and effects. This would be true regardless of quality of products offered, type of compensation plan, company policy regarding recruiting, or any other efforts of company officials to make its program appear to be legitimate. The primary emphasis is on deriving income from recruitment, with insufficient incentives to sell products or services to the general public."

Wait a minute...why is Desteni pushing a MLM scheme anyway? I thought they were working toward a future of economic equality with their "Equal Money System"!

Yes, it's true--the very existence of Desteni's MLM scheme is a contradiction. One of the marketing hooks of this cult is that they claim to be advocating for something called the "Equal Money System," which is a basic guaranteed standard of living for all people on Earth. Naturally, everyone on Earth, once the Equal Money System, comes into being will be able to live the way millionaries do now. This is sort of a half-assed version of the already severely half-assed "resource based economy" that is pushed by another cult in the conspiracy theory business, the Zeitgeist Movement.

So what gives? Why, if Desteni wants to equalize the Earth economically, are they pushing a get-rich-quick scheme? Well, in classic cult doublespeak, Desteni leader Bernard Poolman claims that by making everyone rich through the Desteni I Process, Destenians will eventually use their money to buy political clout to change "the system" over to the Equal Money System. Curiously, there's nothing about this on the Desteni I Process webpages; you have to drill into Poolman's endless series of YouTube sermons in order to appreciate this point.

Astoundingly, I found one video by Poolman where he makes a claim that I guarantee you won't hear from any other huckster of an MLM scheme. He says that the Desteni I Process will make you rich--but you'll eventually have to give up your riches once Desteni's Equal Money System is instituted. Yes, you heard that right. This MLM scheme will make you rich, but then you have to give it back.

It's right here in this video. Poolman says:

"[If] you stick to the mathematical equation which you will be explained in detail you will become quite wealthy in the next ten years. That is quite a journey to walk. But remember by the time the Equal Money System is coming in to place, you will be required to give up your wealth. But be not afraid, because in the Equal Money System there will be wealth for everyone. There will not be a poor being on Earth, and the wealth that was was never wealth in fact, it was only used to manipulate systems, and we will use it to manipulate the system into equality."

Astonishing. An MLM scheme that promises you will have to give up all the money it's going to make for you. Somehow I doubt that Amway or Mary Kay will be adopting this approach any time soon. Then again, Amway and Mary Kay aren't weird belief systems based on conspiracy theories and New Age concepts, either.

Putting this piece into the broader picture that is Desteni, what emerges very clearly is a larger pattern of misleading statements, psychological coercion and outright deception by a group that seems to have few scruples about the techniques it uses to attract new members. A cult that exerts such tight control over its followers, and bases its ideology on concepts as fringe as reptilian conspiracy theories and interdimensional portals, would be suspect by itself. But add to this a very misleading multi-level-marketing scheme which is virtually guaranteed not to make its participants money, and you have yet another reason to treat this organization with the skepticism and distrust that it so richly deserves.

Thanks for reading.

JFK: 100 Days of Debunking on Twitter (an Analysis of JFK Conspiracies)

Author: Clock
Date: Aug 15, 2013 at 21:27


By Muertos

Today is the 48th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. I was not alive to remember the horror that occurred on November 22, 1963, but I've certainly read a lot about it, and I didn't think the day should pass without some acknowledgement. As the JFK assassination is the "grandfather" of modern conspiracy theories, and I've done relatively little (publicly) with that theory, beginning today I'm rolling out a new feature on my Twitter feed: for the next 100 days I will be doing one tweet a day presenting a link debunking one or another aspect of the Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories.

More on that later, but first, background. On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy, riding in an open-top limousine in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, was struck by shots fired by Lee Harvey Oswald, a ne'er-do-well Communist sympathizer perched with a high powered rifle on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. Oswald acted alone, but many people assumed that he was working with others, or even that he was just a "patsy" who had nothing to do with the assassination but was set up by others who did. The major event that got people thinking about conspiracy was when Oswald was himself assassinated by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner, two days later in the basement of the Dallas police department. Ruby eventually died of cancer, in prison, in 1967.

You Mean You Don't Believe in a JFK Conspiracy Either??!?!?

I do not. There is no credible evidence that there was a conspiracy in the killing of JFK. Indeed, contrary to what most people think, the evidence that Oswald did it-and that he acted alone-is overwhelming. For instance, ballistics tests proved scientifically that the bullets that struck Kennedy were fired from Oswald's rifle, to the exclusion of all other weapons in the world. All physical evidence-autopsy, etc.-indicates that three shots were fired, that they came from the rear, and they all came from Oswald's gun. No evidence has ever been found that Oswald was acting in collusion with anyone. That Oswald did it, alone, has been proven beyond all doubt many times, although most people refuse to believe it. A poll taken within the last few years shows that 75% of Americans believe JFK was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.

Oliver Stone's Movie

One of the major reasons why people believe there was a conspiracy was as a result of a movie made by Oliver Stone in 1991, called JFK. This was a very popular movie in its day, and as Vincent Bugliosi, author of the wonderful book Reclaiming History, put it, Stone's movie probably had more to do with fostering the idea of conspiracy in the JFK case than any other single factor. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the movie's release.

The problem with JFK (the movie) is that it isn't very accurate. Bugliosi's book runs 1700 pages and devotes one lengthy chapter to debunking the film. Stone based the movie on the memoirs of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, who brought the only prosecution ever in the assassination of JFK-against an innocent man called Clay Shaw (played by Tommy Lee Jones in the movie) who had nothing to do with the killing. Garrison was the definition of a delusional conspiracy theorist. His "star witness," Perry Russo, had to be drugged in order to tell the story Garrison wanted him to tell at the trial; Russo later recanted. Shaw was acquitted in 1969 and later sued Garrison for malicious prosecution. Almost everyone connected with the case was astonished at the miscarriage of justice that Garrison created. Indeed, even most JFK conspiracy theorists disavowed Garrison and his faulty investigation, at least until 1991.

Yet, given artistic license, Oliver Stone turns Garrison (played by Kevin Costner) into a hero. The movie makes so many wild and bizarre claims, most of them self-contradictory, that the film is a mismash of faulty logic and half-baked conspiracy theories. Even people who believe in a JFK conspiracy find the plot impossible to figure out because Stone crammed so much crap into it.

Ten years ago a man named David Reitzes created a website of JFK assassination resources, and which contains a lengthy section debunking the film. This is the best information you can find on the web about JFK. When people ask me where they can get good, factual information on the assassination, I direct them to Bugliosi's book-which few want to read at 1700 pages-or Reitzes's website. It is this website that's the source of the links that I'll be posting on Twitter in the next 100 days.

My History With the JFK Movie And JFK Conspiracies In General

I used to be a conspiracy theorist. I can't say unequivocally that it was JFK that made me into one, but it certainly helped. I saw the film when it first came out. I was 19 years old, impressionable, and angry at the government-especially George H.W. Bush, who seemed to me like the absolute worst president of all time. (I had no idea how much worse it could get until his son got into office). When I came out of that theater in December 1991, I was convinced that Stone had presented a very compelling case for conspiracy. What I didn't know was how inaccurate, misleading, and flat-out false the information fed to me by the movie really was. That took ten more years to sink in.

During the 1990s you could say I was a conspiracy theorist. I certainly believed that there was a conspiracy to kill JFK. I also believed the government was covering up evidence of UFOs. I thought the stories of Roswell were quite credible. When TWA Flight 800 blew up over Long Island Sound in July 1996, I was convinced that the U.S. Navy had shot it down accidentally during an exercise and then covered it up. This was before 9/11, so that conspiracy theory hadn't been minted yet. I was never an "activist"-I did not subscribe to conspiracy newsletters or go to conspiracy websites, but these were opinions that I had.

Years later, not long before 9/11, I was watching (on video) Nigel Turner's film The Men Who Killed Kennedy, which first aired in 1988. When one of the pathologists who claimed there was a conspiracy was interviewed I noticed a curious thing. The doctor-I don't recall his name-was holding up a diagram of Kennedy's head, and he said something to the effect of, "The lower back quarter of the president's head was blasted away."

There was just one problem: the diagram he was holding up-on camera-did not show that the lower back quarter of JFK's head was gone. In fact, it showed the top right section of the head gone-completely consistent with a shot from the rear, the School Book Depository.

This was one small clip in this multi-hour movie that went by very quickly, but it stuck in my mind. I started to think, "Hmm. That guy's words didn't match the evidence he was presenting. Are there other errors in this movie?"

I started "doing research," which is what conspiracy theorists urge me to do about every week. (To a conspiracy theorist, "do your research" means "look at conspiracy websites and YouTube videos." That is not research to me. My job involves research-with real books, in a real library-and research has been a crucial part of my day-to-day work for the last 13 years). When I "did my research" I found that Nigel Turner's The Men Who Killed Kennedy was so riddled with errors and inaccuracies that it couldn't even be broadcast legally in England, where it was made, without a disclaimer. Even some of the people interviewed in the film disavowed it. That got me thinking, if that movie was so inaccurate, what about Stone's JFK?

In around 2000-2001, my thinking on conspiracy theories changed dramatically. Every time I subjected a claim to logical scrutiny, it fell apart. I read the entire Warren Commission report. Contrary to what conspiracy theorists claim, it was not shoddy, incomplete or full of holes. It was very exhaustively researched and left very little out. I started looking at the other conspiracy theories I believed in. After reading a lot of scientific material, I concluded that TWA 800 crashed because its fuel tank blew up-an accident, not a Navy missile. I found out that the documents that I thought "proved" the government knew about aliens were total forgeries. The "alien autopsy" film, broadcast on TV in 1995, turned out to be a fake. Conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory simply crumbled when I touched it.

Nevertheless, I was a holdout on JFK. As late as 2003 or 2004-even as I had begun to push back against 9/11 "Truthers," whom I regard as believers in a particularly fulsome and offensive conspiracy theory-I still thought it likely that Oswald had help. Then I began to think maybe it was possible he did it alone. I read some more. I did some thinking. A lot of parts of the conspiracy theory simply didn't add up.

What Surprised Me About JFK Conspiracy Theories

During my period of research on JFK conspiracy theories I learned some things that surprised me-things I accepted as axioms, when I believed in conspiracy, that simply didn't hold up under scrutiny. For example:

"The magic bullet had to do an S-turn in midair."

-No, it didn't. If you actually see the way the limousine was laid out and where people were sitting, there's no S-turn needed at all; conspiracy theorists misrepresent where Kennedy and Connally were in relation to each other.

"The bullet was pristine when it was recovered."

-No, it wasn't. Actually it was quite mangled, but conspiracy theorists only show a picture of one side of it in their books and websites.

"Oswald was a poor shot."

-No, he wasn't. His records from the Marine Corps indicate he was actually a pretty good shot.

"FBI sharpshooters couldn't replicate what Oswald did."

-Yes, they could. Not only could they aim and fire as quickly as Oswald did, but in fact they improved significantly on his time and accuracy.

"Oswald couldn't have fired three shots in 5.6 seconds."

-Yes, he could. In fact, Kevin Costner does it on-screen in the movie JFK. If you watch the scene with a stopwatch you can see it for yourself.

"The autopsy was botched."

-No, it wasn't. It was actually done pretty well, given the extreme pressures everybody was under.

"Many witnesses saw/heard shots coming from the grassy knoll."

-Not really; most of the witnesses who claim this first made their claims more than 15 years after the assassination.

The list goes on and on. This is not the place to list everything. If you want a comprehensive rundown, see Bugliosi's book.

So What Happened?
Finally I realized the conclusion was staring me in the face. The evidence was conclusive. Ballistics, witnesses, physics, science, everything. Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

This was not a conclusion I came to because "the government said so." Very little of the evidence I looked at was government-created. I came to this conclusion because the evidence in the case pointed unmistakably to it.

There was no conspiracy in the assassination of JFK.

What's Happening on my Twitter

So here's what will be happening on Twitter. Beginning today at 12:30 PM-that's the time of day Kennedy was shot-and continuing on, every day at that time for the next 100 days, I'll be posting a link to one of the "100 Errors of Fact and Judgement in Oliver Stone's JFK." Each tweet will have the hashtag #JFK in it somewhere, and a brief statement of what the link contains. It's not a comprehensive debunking of all aspects of the JFK assassination, or even of the movie, but it's a start.

It might surprise you to know that, despite my opposition to conspiracy theories, I actually still enjoy JFK as a movie. I find it immensely entertaining, absorbing, and well-made-and those feelings have not changed since 1991. I own JFK on DVD, in a special collector's edition, and I'd say I watch it at least three or four times a year. That doesn't mean I believe the factual accuracy of what it claims. I don't. But, it's at least a very good piece of filmmaking.

My purpose in doing the "100 Days of JFK" on Twitter is to put some information out there that contradicts the conspiracy theories and serves up a little fact and critical thinking for a change. I also hope to increase the visibility of David Reitzes's website, which is really a very impressive piece of work. I think Reitzes is to JFK what Mark Roberts is to 9/11-the "Obi Wan Kenobi" of debunkers.

On November 22, 1963, America suffered a terrible tragedy. Let's put that tragedy in perspective and keep hold of the facts surrounding it. I hope only to present the facts. There's enough misinformation in the world as it is without taking Hollywood movies as historical truth.

Desteni Has Had a Bad Month. (UPDATED!)

Author: Clock
Date: Aug 13, 2013 at 11:35

This blog, originally published August 20, 2011, was updated on September 19, 2011. Scroll to the end for the update.
By Muertos

Reposted By Clock for the Muertos Blog on Skeptic Project

The month of August has not been kind to the conspiracy theorist cult known as Desteni. Indeed, while it's probably too early to declare the impending extinction of this bizarre group, they are undoubtedly reeling from a series of recent disasters, one of which may well strike at the cult's ability to reach new members.

On August 9, YouTube shut down several of Desteni's main channels, including "DesteniProductions," "BernardPoolman," "DesteniMoney" and "DesteniProdDemons." If you click these accounts (you'll see that the stated reason for the closure of these accounts is repeated violations of community guidelines and/or copyright infringement. In other words, somebody at YouTube officially got wise to the cult's spurious tactics. While we can't know for sure, my surmise is that it was the promotion of the fraudulent multi-level marketing scheme known as the "Desteni I Process" which probably pushed them over the edge.

This move by YouTube is very possibly a stake in the heart for the cult, as YouTube is their main recruiting portal. While Desteni uses Facebook to a lesser extent to spread its message, its main strategy has always been to reel in the gullible via YouTube videos spouting their bizarre philosophy and promoting conspiracy theories. Indeed the use of YouTube to appeal to a conspiracy theorist demographic is no accident. Conspiracy theorists are uniquely attracted to YouTube, for reasons I explained in another blog on the SkepticProject site. [The link to that blog is temporarily down as the SkepticProject site upgrades--I will add it when it's again available]. Furthermore, Desteni has always marketed itself using a uniquely visual interface. Blogs and even Facebook posts just don't have the same visceral appeal.

The cult's indignation at this move was palpable. In an "official statement," the Desteni cult, mere hours after the channel closures, was already crafting its take on this event: it is (naturally) claiming this is censorship and an attempt to prevent Desteni's pure message of equality from getting out. The statement read in part: {clock comment: Article was retrieved here:}

"We can only assume the real reason for this. One thing is certain - Desteni is hitting the nerve of some people and it's hitting hard. It also shows the nature of the system we live in. I mean what we deal with in our material - self-forgiveness, self-perfection, establishing and Equal Money System for all. Points that everyone can benefit from, points that are best for all. Many people have been supported by this material and shared their results publicly. Yet, this is not recognized and even fought against. Shame."

Desteni immediately launched a counter-strike, commanding its members to spam YouTube with a form email protesting the closure. Not surprisingly, the form email blames the whole thing on Desteni's external enemies-the "haters" with whom the higher-ups in the cult seem bizarrely obsessed:

"Hereby we declare, as the individuals that have received the support and assistance from the material provided by these channels, our discontent and discomformity with the decision that youtube has taken based on the false-flagging done by people that have been opposing our stance in relation to world equality."

Although there is some precedent for reversing YouTube channel closure decisions, it has now been 11 days since the closure and the hundreds of emails sent by dutiful Destonians seem to have come to nothing. None of the channels have been reinstated.

Desteni spokesperson Darryl Thomas, who I suspect (but do not know for sure) is #3 in the cult hierarchy after leader Bernard Poolman and New Age whack job Sunette Spies, took to his blog with an even more defiant statement denouncing the closure, as well as reinforcing the cult's narrative that it's all the fault of "haters." For the record, Darryl once told me he "enjoys being in [my] head." I wonder if I and other Desteni critics were not in his head as he fired off this seething invective:

"It is so unfortunate that these misled fools will one day realize after it is too late, that they stood on the wrong side of history. They have unwittingly - in their misguided zeal to stand against equality for all - unleashed demons that will return to devour them in madness and direct them to a fitting end. And the beautiful thing is they brought it on themselves. How fitting.

And to all the Haters, do not gloat so loudly. DesteniProductions is not dependent on YouTube for our continuance - Desteni has its own websites and forums, and so, still lives. And even though equality-speech is apparently strictly verboten on YouTube, Desteni finds this entire affair little more than a nuisance. The Desteni Material will soon be released as book and DVDs and the thousands of texts and videos will still be available on the Desteni website for anyone who wants to watch them.

I know it will sound strange to some people who believe that Desteni is defeated by this treacherous activity by YouTube, but we haven't gone anywhere and in time, this alleged "setback" will turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to the Desteni Group."

The closure of the cult's YouTube channels was evidently enough to bring cult leader Bernard Poolman out of hiding on his South Africa ranch. Two days ago Poolman uploaded a video that is remarkably shrill even for him, urging followers to flag as inappropriate any video on YouTube that they don't like for any reason-regardless of copyright or privacy status. The video is here, but as the video itself violates YouTube's terms of service I doubt it will be up for very long; I'll therefore link you to another blog that ran a story on the video. Essentially, Poolman is, in evident desperation, commanding his followers to create such havoc on YouTube through the flagging process that the video website giant will be brought to its knees. Somehow I don't think this is likely.

The second blow to the cult fell just this morning. As you can see from Darryl's defiant statement, the cult clearly did have plans to relocate to another web video service, though of course being denied access to the vast numbers of YouTube users must be galling. Desteni attempted to move over to Vimeo. Today, however, suspended Desteni Productions's account. Why? Because promotion of multi-level marketing schemes is not permitted on Vimeo.

In short, it seems that efforts to promote awareness of the fraudulent and destructive nature of the Desteni cult are finally bearing fruit. While we have no idea what's next, I wonder if Facebook may be the next social network outfit to ban them. Facebook's terms of service, like Vimeo's, expressly forbid the promotion of MLM schemes, and Desteni watchdog bloggers are already spreading the word that Desteni violates Facebook's guidelines.

It's not inconceivable that in the near future Desteni may be reduced down to its own website and a much less-centralized structure of communication. Individual Desteni users are still as thick as fleas on YouTube, but the authoritarian coordination of their message seems to have already suffered a serious disruption. Their bizarre "Anti-Hate Response" ritual, for instance, has ground to a halt. Without central coordination from YouTube, marshaling the Destonians in the future is going to be a much tougher slog than before.

It almost goes without saying that this has nothing to do with Desteni's message of "equality," as much as Destonians would like to make it about that. Instead, it's about the fact that Desteni is a fraud and has been using social networking tools to make money, possibly illegally but certainly spuriously, through a remarkably transparent pyramid scheme. It is certainly not against YouTube or Facebook's terms of service to use their services to promote belief in conspiracy theories. And it's ludicrous to believe that the owners of these services give a whit about messages of "equality." They just don't want to get tagged with advancing fraud and illegal activities, and rightly so.

I'll continue to update the future developments regarding the Desteni cult on this blog. Thanks for reading.

Update 19 September 2011

Desteni spokesman Darryl Thomas really, really, really doesn't like me. Largely in response to this article, he posted an entry on his blog that ranks as probably the single most vitriolic rebuttal ever directed at me.

For paragraph after paragraph Darryl screeched, raged, fumed, foamed, and made veiled threats about how sorry I will be someday that I ever chose to oppose Desteni. As to the recent actions by YouTube and Vimeo, he shouted "F*ck YouTube! F*ck Vimeo!" and insisted that their closure of Desteni's accounts was the best thing that ever happened to the cult. And, as I pointed out in my second-to-last paragraph of the original blog, he tried to assert that the issue really is about YouTube, Vimeo and "Desteni haters" supposedly opposing Desteni's message of "equality." In short, his reaction was entirely consistent with how Desteni has chosen to deal with the August setbacks.

Darryl also asserted that I'm a white supremacist, a charge he made completely without evidence, which is not surprising since I am very obviously not a racist. In fact one of the reasons I oppose Desteni is because of its disturbing patina of racism, evident in their various pro-Hitler material and its association with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories such as "reptilians," which are sci-fi stand-ins for Jews. The irony of a cult that looks up to Hitler charging its critics with racism is quite rich. (Ironically, there are some indications that Desteni is trying to cleanse the web of its pro-Hitler material. I guess Darryl didn't get that memo).

Darryl is in quite an angry mood these days. I'm not the only person to face the wrath of his blistering invective; in addition to trashing me, he's also tried to paint cult expert Rick Ross as a "cult leader" himself, and called another anti-Desteni blogger a "psychopath." Indeed he seems to be on the verge of launching a comprehensive campaign against anyone that criticizes the group. Judging from the number of "likes" you see on his blog from folks with bald-shaved heads, the obedient Desteni cult members are lapping it up. I believe it's safe to say that, despite Darryl's defiant bluster, Destonians are deeply anxious about the recent setbacks and more afraid than ever that the growing wave of negative press about the group is having an effect.

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