You will notice below that I am not much of a conspiracy theorist. But no reasonable person should overlook cover-ups in criminal investigations that affect millions of people.
The lead up to 9-11, when two and a half thousand lives went dramatically up in flames in D.C. and NYC, still requires continuing investigation before the book is closed. -- It looks very, very bad to see the White House recommend that Henry Kissinger be the one in charge. That is like putting Dean Acheson in charge of investigating the JFK assassination. (The sort of thing you expected. JFK's assassination is still not a closed book--largely because of a botched investigation.)
Another investigation that may have involved some cover-up was examination of Dr. David Kelley, the British scientist-arms-investigator who 'was suicided' after someone leaked info (to BBC) on how Downing Street tried to "sex up" the dossier on why Iraq presented a clear danger to civilization. (WMDs, enriched uranium from Niger, 15-minute launch capacity against Western targets from Iraq -- all of these were sexed up.) Kelley died while he was under investigation, but the hearings on his suicide have been, to date, merely perfunctory.
The number of incomplete investigations that are legitimate and that are still on ice just keeps growing -- we need light to be shed on how so many facts were ignored and so much influence was peddled globally while the Yankee-Brits marched down the road to Baghdad over the last 13 years. (But let us never forget: hearings and reports will never bring dead people back to life!)
The latest I saw was the case of a British whistle-blower working at the UN who detailed how several UN delegations were spied upon and how all their communications were bugged by the Yankee-Brits during the campaign of influence peddling aimed at getting Security Council backing for the latest attack on Iraq.
The wiretaps remind me of an article in the latest issue of NLR (New Left Review), especially the history essay by Peter Gowan on how the UN was molded at the historic founding conference in San Francisco. The delegations there were bugged by the FBI. Rockefeller, who was not even an official delegate to the conclave, ordered that the transcripts of the spying and eavesdropping be delivered to his desk every morning.
The dirt on the past decade's planning for the destruction of Iraq and the take-over of her resources needs to be dug up and digging should go deeper. No doubt about it. But where a citizen stands vis a vis his or her government and the wars citizens support is all based on gut issues (like fear) and the the person's politics. That is, the dirt you dig up and shove in the faces of voters to prove that their government is run by corrupt liars and underhanded thieves does not go far enough to turn the average voter's head -- i.e., without consciousness raising or appeal to some fundamental class and social interests that lead voters (or protesters generally) to throw the bums out of office.
We must balance the weight given to scandal against efforts toward exposing how the political and economic system links the interests of the elite holding power with their misdeeds when they hold high government office.
Unlike many folks, I do not see much distinction between the masses and the intellectuals regarding how either group views conspiracies and conspiracy theories. After all, some of the best investigative reporters are not politically that progressive but the people who read their reports are often outraged.
On the indymedia newswire once, I compared Dr. David Kelley's suicide to a plot from a Graham Greene novel. It fits like a glove. That does not make GG a radical or socialist. The novelist could be a monarchist or a cynical capitalist, politically speaking. Does it make a difference? But Greene had x-ray vision in his ability to see through the shroud of the English colonialist power elite. (Being a part of the machine helps.)
At this level, a sort of aporia or apolitical stance functions, but the writer still deserves praise. While most of the media and political class are condemned for their apologia for the status quo, I see it as a system. We should pillory the individuals for simply being chickenshit and blind regarding the facts staring everybody in the face. They could keep their shallow politics and still do a better job of informing the public.
The writers who struggle to lift the veil are to be admired, whether or not you agree with their politics. Norman Mailer is an example. Bernstein at the W. Post. Scads others as well.
At the end of the day, many of the successful investigative revelations about stuff like the fake Niger uranium were fed by one faction of the power holders to the media scribes in order to use the media to discredit a rival ruling class faction. I suppose it makes sense to play on these divisions if you want to motivate whistle blowers to come forward and give media workers a kick in the pants to do their job.