We members of the press love to nag you members of the public about why you rush out to see these conspiracy movies. After all, conspiracies don't really exist. If they did, we reporters would know about them! Right?
Not necessarily. One reason people are interested in conspiracy theories is that at least some important secret operations really do exist. As Henry Kissinger liked to say, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean you don't have enemies."
For example, for a quarter of a century after World War II, the victors kept hidden from the public the very existence of what was possibly the most important factor in the Allied defeat of Nazi Germany: "Ultra." To break the German Enigma codes, the British built a top-secret deciphering complex on the grounds of Bletchley Park in central England. This gigantic project, which lead to the invention of the electronic computer, employed as many as 10,000 workers.
The German military, it turned out, wasn't paranoid enough. They refused to change their codes because they didn't believe anyone could mount an operation capable of cracking them.
Omnipresent surveillance is a staple of conspiracy movies, so it can't be true.
Or can it? For years, it was easy to assume that unhinged-sounding Frenchmen ranting about how the "Anglo-Saxons" were eavesdropping on their telephone calls had just spent too much time at the cinema.
Did I ever crack-up in the 1990s when the president of France would complain that "the Anglo-Saxon powers" were listening in on his phone calls. "Ha-ha," I laughed, "Zee French are so fun-nee! Pe-Pe LePew!"
This Gallic paranoia turned out to be largely accurate, however. The U.S., U.K, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, who have been working together to intercept communications since "Ultra," do indeed team up to run a vast global wiretapping network called "Echelon"
Awhile ago, I wrote about the Utah Data Center now under construction, but can't seem to find any trace of that posting.