Coincidence or Conspiracy: What Are the Odds?


by Kevin Barrett, The Unz Review:

A man takes out a lavish, grossly excessive insurance policy on his wife. The next day she keels over dead. Which hypothesis should guide the detective assigned to the case? (A) It’s probably just a coincidence, no need to investigate. (B) There’s a significant probability of foul play, so the husband should be considered a suspect, at least until a thorough investigation definitively clears him.

Intuitively, most of us k now that the correct answer is “B.” We don’t need probability theory to tell us that, any more than we need Einstein to tell us that Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself.


But wait! Here comes a mathematically-inclined professional debunker, who explains: “Actually, more than ten million life insurance policies are taken out every year, with the insured person averaging 19.2 years of life expectancy after the initial policy purchase, so 500,000 annually-insured people die each year which means more than 1300 annually-insured people die each day. The insured wife in your example could easily have been one of those 1300 people who just happened to die on that particular day, which just happened to be the day after the husband bought the policy. So it must have been a coincidence. No need to investigate.”

Wikipedia, The New York Times, Snopes, DHS’s Disinformation Governance Board, and assorted fact-checkers all agree. Social media labels people who suspect the husband of murder and insurance fraud “conspiracy theorists” and disables the accounts of those who voice their suspicions.

And then it gets worse. The husband uses part of his gargantuan insurance settlement (with additional help from unknown but very wealthy parties) to sue selected alternative media outlets for libel. He says the alternative media has tormented him by reporting on the people who want him investigated for murder and insurance fraud. He says his feelings have been hurt and he has had to move and change his phone number and seek psychological counseling. He says the “conspiracy theorists” are tormenting him by being so disrespectful of the dead (his wife) and the grieving survivor (himself).

A reasonable judge and/or jury might rule:

“We’re terribly sorry, Mr. Innocent Widower, but even assuming that you really are innocent, it was and remains entirely reasonable for alternative media outlets to voice their suspicions based on the undeniable fact that you bought a grossly excessive insurance policy on your wife the day before she keeled over dead.”

But what if Mr. Innocent Widower could produce an expert witness: a mathematician who swears on a stack of Principia Mathematicas that probability theory proves the odds are over 95% that Mr. Widower is innocent, and the timing of the insurance purchase was just a coincidence? In the absence of expert testimony to the contrary, and with the entire mainstream media supporting poor bullied Mr. Widower, the judge and jury might jettison common sense and say: “Jeepers, that pretty much proves the guy’s innocent! Those conspiracy theorists sure are a stupid, nasty bunch of reality deniers! Why won’t they just ‘trust the science’?”

The above example is, of course, fictitious and hypothetical. But its resemblance to actual events is more than coincidental.

Take Richard Gutjahr—please! Gutjahr has a way of popping up in the strangest places. As I wrote in 2018:

Remember the amazing “terror journalist” Richard Gutjahr? The man with the uncanny ability to show up, pre-positioned, to take iconic footage of “Islamic terror” attacks?

Gutjahr, married to Israeli black ops specialist Einat Wilf, just happened to be on a balcony in Nice, France to film the beginning of the “truck attack.” His footage was essentially the ONLY footage of the event ever seen by the world.

Then one week later, Gutjahr and his daughter both just happened to be at the shopping mall in Munich where the next big “Islamic terror” event burst into the headlines. Once again, the MSM led with Gutjahr’s (and his daughter’s) footage.

It takes chutzpah to pre-position yourself to get the lead footage of two “terror attacks” one week, and 800 km, apart. But it takes even more chutzpah to sue journalists who report your apparent foreknowledge.

Gutjahr, apparently not lacking in chutzpah, sued German journalist Gerhard Wisnewski for reporting the highly suspicious facts. But even in Zionist-owned-and-operated Germany, such chutzpah was too much for the courts to stomach. Below is Wisnewski’s report on his legal victory over the hapless Gutjahr, a more obvious terror suspect than Bin Laden ever was, who obviously needs to be arrested and interrogated. Anybody out there who can rendition him?

I stand by my 2018 statement that Gutjahr is an obvious terror suspect. But he’s just a suspect. He could be innocent. It could be just a coincidence that he happened to be perfectly positioned to film the most-used media footage of two spectacular, ultra-media-hyped “Islamist terror attacks,” in two different nations, in the same week…and that he also just happens to be married to an Israeli intelligence officer. But…what are the odds?!

Now here is where it really gets weird. Gutjahr has just “shown up” at another “suspicious location”: A seemingly well-financed website called Rootclaim that pretends to have developed an app for determining the odds that any given “conspiracy theory” is true:

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