Parapolitics: Conspiracy in Contemporary America
In Parapolitics, Kenn Thomas takes modern-day conspiracy theories and presents recurring topics through lectures, articles, interviews and letters. What emerges is a vast mural of ideas, somewhat blurred, but encompassing much.
Thomas offers an account of arguably the first contemporary UFO sighting, which occurred at Maury Island, Washington in 1947. He ties individuals in the Maury Island case to a global intelligence cabal dubbed Octopus by Parapolitical researcher Danny Casolaro, who died under mysterious circumstances. Fred Crisman lurks in the shadows of several major political events that have parapolitical undertones, from the Maury Island sightings, to the Kennedy assassination, and later to the notorious Octopus. Crisman’s ubiquitous presence in these and other events remains a major puzzle. Thomas also discusses Michael Riconosciuto, who modified a surveillance software called PROMIS that allegedly allows prominent terrorists to evade capture.
Wilhelm Reich, who Thomas views as a man “suicided” by his government, gets several pages. Conspiracy in comic books, meditations on musician Warren Zevon, a description of Kenn’s cluttered office, lectures on conspiracy in the media, and a previously unpublished interview with Danny Casolaro’s girlfriend are many of the intriguing subjects. Several standout features include Wilhelm Reich’s UFO experiences, an interview with 9/11 researcher John Judge, and a guide to utilizing the Freedom of Information Act.
Unfortunately, the clout of Parapolitics is greatly diminished by numerous spelling, grammatical and formatting errors. It’s as if the book wasn’t proofread at all. There are some errors in the continuity of Thomas’s research as well. For instance one article presents a picture of Michael Riconosciuto at age twelve; pages later we see the same photograph, this time claming it shows Riconosciuto at age fourteen. Albeit a small error, this and numerous proofreading mistakes give plenty of ammo to the parapolitical naysayers Thomas seeks to engage in intelligent debate.
So, is Parapolitcs the professional wrestling of contemporary journalism or dead-on revelation? The answer probably lies somewhere in between. Thomas imparts so much information in this work that a cloud of possible explanations surrounds the reality of his topics. As Wilhelm Reich put best, “everyone has part of the truth.”