Monday, September 26, 2005

Conspiracies pt2


I mentioned the Apollo Moon Landing hoax theory in that last post not because I think it is one of the most important issues facing people today, far from it. I mentioned it because it has become a bit of a classic of the conspiracy theory genre.

My initial scepticism of that theory was tempered as much by the ‘official’ reaction to the story as to its intrinsic merits. NASA’s response has, at times, been frankly dodgy. And, being a Fortean, at heart I am acutely aware of the pros and cons of both sides of the debate. Most people do not work like that. They side with one side of a story or another and resolutely refuse to budge, whatever new evidence comes to light

And most people instinctively react against any form of conspiracy theory. In fact, our government and the media have capitalised on this by using the term ‘conspiracy theory’ to tarnish any alternate explanations for current events… ‘Blah blah Well that’s just a conspiracy theory’. Of course, simply labelling something as a ‘conspiracy theory’ is not actually an argument but what the fuck.

The US State Department has even gone out of its way to explain how members of the public can safely identify what is or isn’t a conspiracy theory here. It is worth reading through to its conclusion i.e. a conspiracy theory is anything the US State Department says is.

It’s then also worth reading through a second time with Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda in mind

‘Does the story claim that vast, powerful, evil forces are secretly manipulating events? If so, this fits the profile of a conspiracy theory. Conspiracy theories are rarely true, even though they have great appeal and are often widely believed. In reality, events usually have much less exciting explanations.’

Tick…

A characteristic trait of conspiracy debunkers is to pick the most ludicrous examples of conspiracy theories they can find and debunk them. From that same US State Department Source…

‘For example, after the September 11 attacks, a story arose that someone had survived the World Trade Center collapse by "surfing" a piece of building debris from the 82nd floor to the ground. Of course, no one could survive such a fall, but many initially believed this story, out of desperate hope that some people trapped in the towers miraculously survived their collapse.’

Hmmmmm, I’ve followed 911 conspiracy theories pretty much since Day One and I can’t even remember reading that story before. I do, however, remember reading that cell phones don’t work in airliners, that the Twin Towers appeared to collapse in a controlled demolition, that the third building to collapse, WTC7, had suffered only superficial damage, that the anthrax sent to people in the weeks after 911 came from a US government lab and so on.

But, hey, if you disprove one conspiracy theory you disprove them all. Don’t you? Well, except for the one about the all-powerful nutter in a cave able to exercise command and control over a shadowy globalized terror network in a way that is immune from detection.

That’s not a conspiracy theory. That’s the truth. Our governments tell us so.

Hmmm, if our governments and media behaved in an honest way I would be a lot more inclined to believe what they say, but they don’t.

Take the story of the two British soldiers captured in Basra last week. There has been absolutely no honest coverage as to why the locals are as pissed about the whole thing as they are.

That’s not strictly fair. The day after the soldiers were captured, one Channel 4 reporter blurted out

‘Local officials have reported that a quantity of explosives was hidden in the soldiers' medical pack’

Followed up straight away by

‘Of course, that was subsequently proven to be untrue’

Of course? … Says who? As far as I know, Iraqi officials are still claiming that the soldiers’ car contained explosives. The soldiers certainly were dressed as arabs, opened fire on policemen and were packing an absurd amount of firepower for a reconnaissance team. The demented nature of the subsequent rescue mission certainly suggests that the British Army wanted those guys back pronto before they could say anything.

An awful lot of Iraqis seem to think that ‘our’ guys were up to no good and possibly even planning to stage a bombing incident somewhere in Basra. And that’s why they were rioting and chucking petrol bombs at our soldiers.

And that suggestion is just not reported. Full stop. Even if what many Iraqis believe is untrue the fact that they do believe it is significant and tells us a lot about the situation in Iraq. It is a valid story and it is not being told. Why?

Closer to home, a clutch of new material came out last week relating to the bombings in London on 7/7. We were told that the bombers had undertaken a dry run. The wife of one of the bombers seemed to suggest that she believed her husband was knowingly culpable. At least that’s what the edited chunks of an interview she gave seemed to suggest.

But, as with the Basra story, the new information appears to follow a pattern of misdirection and examples of what hardened conspiracy fans like to call the ‘elephant in the living room’. Very often in stories with a conspiratorial dimension, it is not the evidence that we are presented with that is flaky it is the absence of evidence that is the strongest indication that someone is up to no good. I’m not going to repeat the work of others, here’s a link to a site that lists a couple of dozen 7/7 elephants and all the circumstantial stories in the world ain’t going to make them go away. By its nature this is a dense and well-researched list containing many old favourite discrepancies in the official account of 7/7. Lurking in there at round about No.17 is a relatively new one to me – the news that the train the police say the 7/7 bombers took into London was cancelled. The 7.40 to Luton from London didn't run.

Oh...

Has the mainstream media picked up on this little nugget and reported it?

Of fucking course not.

One last thought on Elephants in Living Rooms. Ever since I was a schoolboy I was fascinated by military history, particularly the Second World War. I read everything. Even though my reading tastes have changed, my bookshelves at home are still stacked with literally hundreds of books on WW2.

And almost all of them contain whopping, officially-sourced lies.

There’s no doubt of that. There’s no doubt of that because we now know that the British and their allies were reading coded German messages throughout the war. The role of the Ultra codebreakers only became widely known in the 1990s. This news totally transformed the accounts of almost every Allied action throughout the war. Many of our most brilliant successes were not due to the genius of our leaders and, more significantly, some of our worst fuck-ups were due to incompetence or the calculated sacrifice of lives rather than being caught by surprise. History was very different to the way it was written.

So, can our governments keep major secrets, nasty or nice, from us for decades, possibly for ever?

Too fucking right they can.


2 comments:

David said...

Actually you made me think 'how many government secrets had got out I can remember?', and all I can think of is the fact most stomach ulcers are caused by helicobacter and not an unknown source, and can therefore be cured cheaply rather than sustain drug companies by lifetime symptom relief. That implies cancer and many more have cures lined up, and one radio presenter let slip once his friend said his company found a cure for viruses years ago they had to sit on to protect their profits. Needless to say he wouldn't divulge the name. The sanctions governments can apply with no consequences (including sudden death) put off all but the toughest whistle blowers, and I even struggle to think of any of them who have released free energy or miracle cures that I fully believe exist.

de said...

If you haven't read it, you'd like Neal Stephensons Cryptonomicon