Time Magazine's Justin Fox: "Some Financial Market Conspiracies Are Real"

George Washington's picture

Washington’s Blog.


Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says
that Goldman Sachs may have engaged in frontrunning. Ask a Goldman
spokesman, and he or she will undoubtedly say that is a conspiracy

Indeed, when Matt Taibbi claimed that Goldman created every bubble since the Great Depression, a Goldman spokesman responded by calling Taibbi's essay "an hysterical compilation of conspiracy theories".

Durden at Zero Hedge blew the whistle on Goldman's high-frequency
trading and other frontrunning activities, and has also been called a
conspiracy theorist.

PhD economist, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, and former Wall Street Journal editor Paul Craig Roberts says that the government and mainstream media are lying to the American public about how bad the economic situation really is.

PhD economist Dean Baker said
in February that the true purpose of the bank rescues is "a massive
redistribution of wealth to the bank shareholders and their top

PhD economist Michael Hudson says
that the financial “parasites” have killed the American economy, and
they are "sucking as much money out" as they can before "jumping ship".

PhD economist Michel Chossudovsky says
that the giant banks which received the most bailout money also finance
a portion of the government's debt, and are exercising their power as
creditors to buy public assets for a song and to impose IMF-style
austerity measures on the U.S. government.

The response to Roberts, Baker, Hudson and Chossudovsky is, oftentimes, "conspiracy theory".

Indeed, it is common - when someone claims that anyone has rigged the game - for people to say "that's a conspiracy theory".

"Some Financial Market Conspiracies Are Real"

Time Magazine's Justin Fox writes today:

Some financial market conspiracies are real...

And Fox, a regular financial writer for one of America's most widely-read "mainstream" publications, adds:

Most good investigative reporters are conspiracy theorists, by the way.

How Judges Look at Conspiracy Theories

Let's be level-headed about this. How do we assess whether or not claims are crazy conspiracy theories?

We have to start by asking: what is a conspiracy theory?

Initially, federal and all 50 state's codes include specific statutes addressing conspiracy, and providing the punishment for people who commit conspiracies.

let's examine what the people trained to weigh evidence and reach
conclusions think about "conspiracies". Let's look at what American judges think.

Searching Westlaw,
one of the 2 primary legal research networks which attorneys and judges
use to research the law, I searched for court decisions including the
word "Conspiracy". This is such a common term in lawsuits that it
overwhelmed Westlaw. Specifically, I got the following message:

"Your query has been intercepted because it may retrieve a large number of documents."

experience, I know that this means that there were potentially millions
or many hundreds of thousands of cases which use the term. There were
so many cases, that Westlaw could not even start processing the request.

I searched again, using the phrase "Guilty of Conspiracy". I hoped that
this would not only narrow my search sufficiently that Westlaw could
handle it, but would give me cases where the judge actually found the
defendant guilty of a conspiracy. This pulled up exactly 10,000 cases
-- which is the maximum number of results which Westlaw can give at one
time. In other words, there were more than 10,000 cases using the
phrase "Guilty of Conspiracy" (maybe there's a way to change my
settings to get more than 10,000 results, but I haven't found it yet)


as any attorney can confirm, usually only appeal court decisions are
published in the Westlaw database. In other words, trial court
decisions are rarely published; the only decisions normally published
are those of the courts which hear appeals of the trial. Because only a very small fraction
of the cases which go to trial are appealed, this logically means that
the number of guilty verdicts in conspiracy cases at trial must be
much, much larger than 10,000.

Moreover, "Guilty of Conspiracy"
is only one of many possible search phrases to use to find cases where
the defendant was found guilty of a lawsuit for conspiracy. Searching
on Google, I got 3,170,000 results (as of yesterday) under the term "Guilty of Conspiracy", 669,000 results for the search term "Convictions for Conspiracy", and 743,000 results for "Convicted for Conspiracy".

course, many types of conspiracies are called other things altogether.
For example, a long-accepted legal doctrine makes it illegal for two or
more companies to conspire to fix prices, which is called "Price
Fixing" (1,180,000 results).

the above, I would extrapolate that there have been hundreds of
thousands of convictions for criminal or civil conspiracy in the United

Finally, many crimes go unreported or unsolved, and the
perpetrators are never caught. Therefore, the actual number of
conspiracies committed in the U.S. must be even higher.

In other
words, conspiracies are committed all the time in the U.S., and many of
the conspirators are caught and found guilty by American courts. Remember, Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme was a conspiracy theory.

conspiracy is a very well-recognized crime in American law, taught to
every first-year law school student as part of their basic curriculum.
Telling a judge that someone has a "conspiracy theory" would be like
telling him that someone is claiming that he trespassed on their
property, or committed assault, or stole his car. It is a fundamental
legal concept.

Obviously, many
conspiracy allegations are false (if you see a judge at a dinner party,
ask him to tell you some of the crazy conspiracy allegations which were
made in his court).
people will either win or lose in court depending on whether or not
they can prove their claim with the available evidence.
But not all allegations of trespass, assault, or theft are true, either.

a claim of conspiracy is no different from proving any other legal
claim, and the mere label "conspiracy" is taken no less seriously by

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Anonymous's picture

It's a rather silly knee-jerk to reason that because some account of what happened includes the line "...and, the people involved agreed to put their heads together and make it happen," the theory is false, but I have had otherwise capable adults argue against this point in an otherwise reasoned conversation.

What's a better question than, "is this theory a conspiracy theory?" is, "is this account false?". A theory is not guaranteed to be false if it includes a conspiracy.

mrhonkytonk1948's picture

Seems like the more brazen the RICO activity, the less likely the MSM is to pay attention to it. Massive unreversed FTDs? Can't be. A bailout that primarily benefits my avatar? Koff, koff, uh, that would implicate a major source of campaign contributions. Quick, kill the messenger. Loved that Dilbert today.

Anonymous's picture

What Lord Blankfein, Goldman Sucks and Jamie Dimon, JPM are engaged in with the complicity of Paulson, Bernanke, Geithner, Orszag, and other play-uhs, is right out in the open.

A conspiracy has as one its components, a mystery.

There's nothing mysterious about what these people have done, are right now doing and are going to do. The fraud, ripoffs, and outright lying, cheating and stealing are there for anyone who cares to see.

Ned Zeppelin's picture

I think Oliver Stone's movie "Kennedy" was not a movie intended to put forth and promote as true the various conspiracy theories about the assassination of JFK, but rather a movie about the phenomenon of conspiracy theories, on the one hand, and a warning that we should not assume they are automatically invalid because of the label, "Conspiracy Theory," which today connotes the need to don an accompanying hat of tin manufacture. Stone's movie was inspired by his reading of "JFK: the CIA, Vietnam and the plot to assassinate John F. Kennedy" By Leroy Fletcher Prouty, a former CIA black ops guy with an interesting background.  Prouty never says how Kennedy was killed- he simply spins a narrative towards the end of the book that has the decision being made and the deed carried out.  It is clearly fiction, but his warning is simple: do not for a moment believe that things like this cannot happen in this manner.  

I have read the various conspiracy books and decided Oswald acted alone, leaving two areas in which a far more subtle conspiracy could have operated: first, by encouraging Oswald's radical thoughts (Rule No. 1. grow many assassins, who will have motive), and second, by simply letting down the guard on the President as he toured the Deep South, a place that the CIA may have known was chock full of Catholic-Northern-Yankee hating malcontents who would, given the opportunity, take out the President on their behalf (Rule No. 2. Give your assassins opportunity).  In my mind, the authors debunking the conspiracy theories surrounding Kennedy's murder have not tackled the simple question, and a far easier thing to carry out which would have been very dangerous for the President: who allowed Oswald to be up in that building in the first place? Why was the building not searched and secured to begin with?

In the case of our financial predicament, I propose an equally subtle but no less powerful foundation:  what I call the "Conspiracy of Like Minds." No elaborate, Mission Impossible plots are required for what we see occurring, as the pre qualifications for being in the very positions with the power to control these events are such that the actions are natural and part of their background, education, training, family, and their very DNA. Completely organic - an invasion of weeds masked as plants where useful plants once prospered, because the useful plants had no defense and chose, quite naturally, to ignore the warnings.  All it takes is subtle signals from the higher ups to trigger action.  Al Qaeda-esque (from the Wahhabi madrassa to the Boardroom, so to speak), but in finance, politics and power.  Cells literally everywhere, absolutely none centrally controlled, cell occupants not even really aware of why they are the way they are, but all with the same mindset and intentions. I think that is closer to reality than we think. I would suggest that the higher you go up the food chain in terms of power, the more in thrall to this mindset you would find the occupants of those upper tier ranks. How many of us see on a daily basis that considerations of conventional morality, and simply doing the right thing, are routinely ignored in business dealings?

Kind of a red pill, blue pill situation: things are not as they seem.

brodix's picture

 A conspiracy is a network. The media is a network. One is submerged, the other is the surface. Like stomach cancer and skin.

 There is a basic Catch 22 to objectively understanding reality and being able to act on it. If you want some degree of authority, you have to climb the ladder, but that makes you dependent on the ladder. Consider Obama as an example.

 Process is bottom up, while order is top down. Our emotions are a bottom up process, while our intellect is a top down ordering of that process. We are like animals which can only detect motion, in that our thought process is a function of making distinctions. Which leaves the process of making connections intellectually submerged, as with insight. So it is natural not to see connections, even though they are fundamental.

Hephasteus's picture

You know it's kind of funny how things get reversed. I mean the people who really run the world are the sickest and craziest people on the planet. Maybe they feel it's necessary to put that out onto everybody else. A little pre-emptive reflective judging? Good clip on this topic. It's about holleywood but isn't it all part of the "machine".


Crab Cake's picture

History is a series of conspiratorial acts that are in retrospect legitamized.  It's really as simple as that. 

Here is how it is.  Conspiracy theorists, tinfoil, kook, or whatever are all just terms or labels perpetrated by the dogmatic entrenched powers that be to describe any free thinker who has the gall to question their insider actions. 

The people who own this country do not want people who are capable of critical thinking and asking questions. 

I offer in to evidence....

George Carlin - Conspiracy Theorists


George Carlin - The American Dream


Anonymous's picture

I don't get your point on the second half of this article.

Okay, first, Westlaw returning with a warning that your search has returned a lot of results is pretty common and doesn't say anything about the broader rates of conspiritorial crime nationwide (I want to say that you get that warning if there are more than 100 returns... Westlaw is a research tool that really is designed for attorneys who use really specific search opperators within very specific jurisdictional databases, and not usually set to process search returns from every jurisdiction in the country). And google returns... well... those don't really say much of anything substantive, do they? If you're trying to prove that conspiracy is a commonly prosecuted crime, you might want to look up conviction rates instead of search hits.

But even then, I'm not even really sure what this proves. I notice you don't bother explaining what a conspiracy is; Black's Law Dictionary defines it (in part... it's a long ass definition) as "an agreement by two or more persons to commit an unlawful act," a crime seperate and apart from the underlying offense committed. So, when criminals work in concert, they may very likely be prosecuted on conspiracy charges... and this of course extends far beyond the range of crimes that the folks here at Zero Hedge are concerned with. So, yeah... a lot of criminals work in concert.

I mean... look... I understand that dismissing accusations of securities fraud as conspiracy theory is bullshit. I just don't think that you're... ah... really making a very good argument whenever whenever you try and a phrase with such a negative connotation and try and examine it literally. I just don't see the point of picking apart a crass PR phrase like "conspiracy theory" I guess.

But otherwise, yeah, I think we're in total agreement.

Leo Kolivakis's picture

Conspiracy theory: when are they going to ban naked short selling once and for all?!?!

Anonymous's picture

Here are some more great columns by PhD economist, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, and former Wall Street Journal editor Paul Craig Roberts:


Anonymous's picture

There was (is?) a professor at University of Western Ontario who basically linked all the levers of power in Canada, regardless of teh party in power, to one single family in Quebec.

When asked whether or not this was just a 'conspiracy theory', he asked, what about all those 'coincidence theorists'?

and enough with these bloody '-' equations!

Miles Kendig's picture


Main Entry: conspiracy theory Function: noun Date: 1909

: a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators

The difference from my perspective is that here at ZH those writing site generated copy are quite careful to differentiate between what is fact (usually provided with clear links and whole documents), commentary running or stand alone, question and supposition.  I only wish the MSM would find it within itself to maintain such standards rather than basing their work on "professional standards" that many times cannot be independently verified by the reader/consumer of that information, (Trust but don't verrify). 

I can only conclude that this is a key point of decision.  The status quo desires to be the only permissible gate keeper of the flow of (trusted, but unverifiable) information and ZH (and the sties like it) desire to be a window upon their surroundings whose consumers of information are asked to trust and verify based upon their own decision making abilities.  Given this basis is it no wonder that the human desire to be considered worthwhile based upon their ability to assess independently is gaining traction in a world where the concept of professional standards of unverifiable reliability have broken down.

Conspiracy theory in the mind of the person assessing the situation ceases to be a theory when there is suitable fact upon which to make an informed decision independently.


bonddude's picture

Conspiracy has to be one of the most undiscovered types of crime committed.

A couple of my favorite theorists are Woodward and Bernstein.

Anonymous's picture

I think people often use the term "conspiracy theory" to signal "pananoia" or to equate the allegations to theories about aliens or the Illuminati. Of course, when there is ample evidence of the allegation, it's no longer a "conspiracy theory", just a plain old conspiracy.

phaesed's picture

The shame is that the current conspiracy theory goes back over 2000 years.

ghostfaceinvestah's picture

Is it a conspiracy theory that the Fed won't comply with a FOIA lawsuit?

Anonymous's picture

ron paul said a couple of weeks ago on the alex(bullhorn, zionist shill) jones show that the audit the fed legisltation will never go anywhere and it is a waste of time. he said they will drag their feet, obviscate. meanwhile back at the ranch, our friend, ron is saying he wrote another book called "end the fed" , which i am sure he did not write. and his son, oh his son is running for office in the state of tennessee. a man from ohio, named trafficant , got out of prison after being framed on some stupid charges. he is saying things that make the ears itch of those who do not want to hear. so i ask you. how long has ron paul been in prison? if you oppose the beast, then you will pay a price. if you do what the beast wants, then you will not be bothered. this is pure common sense. so one man goes to prison and another one says things that sound true, but is left alone. interesting dichotomy, would you not agree? so the beast is angered by the words and actions of one man, and is not by the words and actions of another. who is this beast, that is the enemy of mankind? someone said, the conspiracy started over 2000 years ago and to that, i say yes, that is correct. benjamin disraeli, the prime minister of great britain from 1874 to 1880 said in his political novel, "coningsby"

"So you see, my dear Coningsby, that the world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes."

so now we fast forward to 2009. what they used to do in secret, now they do right in front of your eyes because they have the power and the money to do it and there is only one thing you can do about it and that is to fight them in the street and take it away from them. no amount of talking will make it happen. the tree of liberty is due for a watering. of course we lazy fat americans have football to watch and beer to drink and harleys to ride because we are free men doncha know......yep, free men.....

Jendrzejczyk's picture

"a man from ohio, named trafficant , got out of prison after being framed on some stupid charges."


He wasn't framed, he was caught. He took J.J.'s money with a big smile on his face.

ZerOhead's picture

To most unfortunately... I fear YES.

Anonymous's picture

Time is ,"The most widely read magazine"....sorry. I've read Business Week, Maxim and Mens Health. The market is punishing these narrow minded journalist with job loss. It stands to reason that they lash out at the ZH model.

ZerOhead's picture

Important post guys...

For those new to ZH or those who believe that conspiracy nutjobs reside here...


Read the Roberts (Asst Treasury Sec. under Reagan) and Hudson click-throughs.

Now who's the Nutjob?... OK.. other than me...

DaddyWarbucks's picture

"Conspiracy theory" is a PR term. Notice that it is widely recognized by the general public. It was fabricted and exposed sufficiently to the public to establish and maintain this recognition. Along with the recognition the connotation of discredibility and even craziness has been attached to the term. Notice how the term is often used with the word nut. We as an audience have been preconditioned to doubt anyone to whom this term is applied. You may say "Not me!" and perhaps it doesn't work this way on you and I but it does work this way on much of the general public and that is the propagandist goal behind this term. It immediately and unconsciously lowers the credibility of the message. Why specifically is this valuable? Because the message itself contains truth which is difficult to attack directly and the propagandist does not want the audience even thinking about the message so the effort is to shift attention onto the messenger. This element has been discussed in the ZH defense of psuedonymity already. It comes down to the ZH thesis, if you can't attack the message attack the messenger.  

Anonymous's picture


Anonymous's picture

well i hope to all get out this wasn't a news flash.....if someone can't see that the federal government, cia, fed, and host of other satanic vampire squids aren't rigging the markets then there is no amount of ex-lax to clear out that system.....

the conspiracy has been arranged by the same rockefeller / rothschild cabal who ordered the murder of john kennedy and i am just warming up in calling out conspiracy plots....

there isn't enough tin foil in the world to make my hat so shove that psyops trick up your ass....there is no theory of random events, accidents, and bad luck to explain what happens in the world especially since 1913.....

Anonymous's picture

I read the Joe Hagan's article and all I have to say I love ZH for news or articles that are not "politically correct." Also I love Marla.