A Happy New Year to all visitors, contributors and supporters of the 9/11 Cultwatch blog.
Here is to a busy 2014...........
Yesterday's Guardian magazine had a two page history of Abraham Zapruder, whose famous film of the Kennedy assassination remains one of the most important pieces of evidence in the case.
Entitled "The Man Who Shot JFK" in the hard copy, for some reason the online version has a different title "Abraham Zapruder the man behind history's most infamous home movie". Journalist Steve Rose gives a good history of the film, what happened to it, and how it has been used and abused over the years. Amongst those quoted are academic Dr Clare Birchall, Alex Cox and Peter Landesman. He is behind a new JFK movie, Parkland, with a particular focus on events in the Dallas Parkland hospital after the shooting. .
Rose's article makes one slight stumble when discussing perhaps the best known Kennedy movie - Oliver Stone's JFK. He states the film "pieces together a vast conspiracy involving Lyndon Johnson, the CIA, the military-industrial complex, the gay community, possibly the Dallas Cowboys - it gets confusing". There is plenty of critical points that could be made of a film based on the work of Jim Marrs, a long time US conspiracist who has waxed lyrical on everything from UFOs to 9/11.
But only The Guardian though could make the mocking accusation that the 'gay community' is seen as part of the conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy. Firstly because it is hard to imagine too many people in Texas in the late 1950s and early 1960s talked about, or saw themselves as part of, a distinct gay community. Secondly that is not what Stone was actually focusing on at all - his concern (rightly or wrongly) was about a group of right wing Texans who were obsessed with Cuba. Several of whom, such as David Ferrie were gay.
Am I reading too much into Rose's slip, or is he critiquing Oliver Stone's film through Guardian tinted spectacles?
A small mention for the British Humanist Association, who on Saturday 30 November are holding an event examining Science and Pseudo-Science, at Conway Hall in London.
There are many arguments for free schools, but part of the collateral damage may be the rise of pseudo-science in our education system - that, and other subjects, is to be debated. For the agenda, and online registration, go here.
Whilst research into what is dubbed 'conspiracy theory' is now developing, I am not aware of any comparative studies comparing, for example, conspiracy theorists in the West and those in Muslim majority countries, or those in say Russia and the United States.
From my own reading Western conspiracy theories appear far more eclectic. In the US or UK you can wade through everything from shape shifting aliens to men in black. In the Muslim world, and amongst elements in Muslim communities in the West, conspiracy theories (for want of a better term) appear to centre on Israel, the Jews, the USA and bizarrely, freemasonry.
The December 2013 Fortean Times (the somewhat disappointing fourtieth anniversary issue) has two whole pages on one manifestation of this - the series of 'arrests' of birds in Egypt, Sudan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon on suspicion of spying for Israel. In each instance the birds appear to have been fitted with some form of tag or monitoring equipment as part of scientific surveys. These tags usually contain the details of the Israeli universities involved in these projects.
The widespread nature of these concerns - Fortean Times lists incidents in five different countries since 2010, is surely indicative. If such panics have occurred elsewhere, 9/11 Cultwatch is unaware of them. Or did the USA regularly arrest migrating geese in the Cold War, for fear they had been holidaying in the Soviet Union?
As ever, 9/11 Cultwatch is happy to be corrected by its readers.............
The November issue of Fortean Times is a special issue on Conspiracy theory, timed no doubt to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy on 22 November 1963.
This begins with Robin Ramsay on what he sees as the 'Ghettoisation of JFK Studies'. Ramsay has always been a Lyndon Johnson man when it comes to the Kennedy killing, although he qualifies this by stating that the shooting was carried out in aid of LBJ's careeer, by the big Texan money that stood behind Johnson. Ramsay is broadly correct when he states that three elements in what he calls the 'knowledge industry' are disinterested in the case - the major media, the political system and academia. He is however over generous in stating that "Something very similar is happening to the 9/11 research effort, and for similar reasons" - the quality of most 9/11 'research' falls well short of that produced by assassination researchers in the 1970s and 1980s.
One backward step for Fortean Times is an 'Advertorial' on 28-29, "The Conspiracy to Create a New World Order" is designed to look like part of the magazine, and apparently advertising a forthcoming DVD called The Conspiracy. I am sure they took a lot of the money for the advert, but at the price of confusing readers? Tom Heywood is on much safer ground examining five decades of literature on JFK's assassination, and its evolution through distinct phases. Richard Leon's "The Tin Foil Hat Machine" struggles to stay on the correct side of flippant, but is at its best when considering some of the long forgotten theorists who were arguably conspiracy theorists before the term was widely used - Peter Beter to take one example.
Perhaps the strongest article is David Ray Carter on 'Conspiracy Cinema'. It would be comparatively easier to have written a piece on the all the 'truth' movies knocked out in the post 9/11 era, but Carter correctly locates such film in its correct historical context, beginning with the 1937 (yes 1937) "The Man in the Barn" which considers the fate of John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln. "The Man in the Barn" even implies that the Lincoln assassination was an inside job and that Booth was recieving hush money from his co-conspirators in the US government!
Browsing through the magazines in my local Tesco today, I came across a publication that was new to me, but is apparently on its fifth issue - All About History. Its front cover, naturally - JFK 50 Years On. Getting ready for plenty more over the next month.
Just a quick note to readers that the 9/11 Cultwatch blog is still very much alive, and to thank those who have been sending in little snippets of information and news over the past few weeks.
Some of it will appear on the blog in the coming weeks and months, and there will also be a new issue of Notes From the Borderland in 2014. On a personal level, part of my PhD covered the persistence of conspiracy theories in British Muslim communities. I am keen to build on that work, most probably for an academic journal article, again in 2014. Any information, suggestions or comments on this theme is of course welcome.
The June Fortean Times (issue 302) has a very strong piece of de-bunking about animal mutilations in the United States.
This phenomena appears to have begun in 1967 and to have petered out by 1980, with some 'researchers' blaming UFOs and extra terrestrials for perceived attacks on cattle and horses on the American prairies. The whole issue appears to have been put to bed by an investigation by Kevin Rommel for the State of New Mexico, but here at 9/11 Cultwatch we noted with interest the references to 'mutologists' - those who believed in an alien explanation for cattle mutilations.
The mutologists eventually earned their own study, a book called Mute Evidence by Daniel Kagan and Ian Summers (Bantam, 1984). Fortean Times reproduce this description of mutologists from p.175 of that book:
"The whole thing was ......a closed system, self-referential, solipsistic, which allowed no fresh information to enter unless it was properly polarized to support the prevailing attitude of mystery, conspiracy, weirdness and/or UFOs and space aliens".
And that, to a tee, could be used to describe 9/11 truthers a generation later.
but they do re-brand themselves.
Looking at the website of Annie Machon, former Secretary of the UK and Ireland 9/11 Truth Movement, it has a total of 83 catergories listed in a column on the right hand side of its front page. These range from Afghanistan to Northern Ireland, from Drones to Subversion.
But not, oddly enough, 9/11 truth.
Anyone would think she was embarrased by that episode in her post-MI5 life.
All at 9/11 Cultwatch were delighted to see that fearless investigator Alex Jones has used some of his time in England in the past week productively, seeing some of our green and pleasant land.
Captions please for this picture of the man himself at Stonehenge:
The winning entry will be selected by Lord Rothschild, with the lucky person guaranteed free admission to the Bilderberg conference in 2014. Or something else.
Well, thank you Bilderbergs.
Not only have you managed to put Watford on the map (something last achieved when the great British sit-com Terry and June was set there) but you have even provided the comedy gold of bringing Alex Jones to the country.
Here at 9/11 Cultwatch we can't get too excited by the Bilderberg Group - as we have said on many occasions when asked to comment 'members of the ruling class meet together and talk politics shock'. That some in the media - from both left and right - seem to have got a little giddy about the conference surprised us. However when we see the often sensible Spinwatch tweeting comments 9/11 truther Michael Meacher MP has made about Bilderberg, we are reminded how much websites like this still have to do:
Having said that, Tom Griffin's Spinwatch article on Bilderberg is eminently sensible, and his reference to the federalist nature of Bilderberg perhaps explains why some in UKIP have got more excited about the event than they really should.
Now, how do we make Alex Jones go away again?
Welcome to the first of what will hopefully become a regular series, where each Monday I, or Heidi Svenson, will give readers a round up of issues surrounding 9/11 and 7/7 conspiracy theories, plus of course any related issues that tickle the fancy of those of us running this blog.
Charlie Veitch (Again)
On 26 May, the Daily Telegraph's cultural magazine, Seven, had a two page feature on Charlie Veitch, a former pin-up of the 9/11 truth movement, who changed his mind about 'truth' theories and very publicly rejected them. Given the rather silly title 'The Conspiracy Against Charlie Veitch' the article sketches a man in a state of flux, although someone who clearly regrets the time he lost to the truth movement. Some other issues emerge - the movement's anti-Semitism, the nastiness and personal attacks towards Veitch when he 'came out' and finally Veitch's own honesty. When asked if there were psychological explanation for conspiracy theorists, Veitch puts forward the novel idea that they have an obsession with victimhood - a hatred of high achievers. This (interesting) suggestion is not one that is developed in any detail, although the interview ends starkly. When asked why such theories appealed to him, Veitch replies - 'ego'.
If you want to read a more detailed breakdown of the politics, and experiences of two former 9/11 truthers from Lancashire, I recommend the interview with Louise Evans and Mick Meaney in issue 9 of Notes From the Borderland. Some of their experiences are similar to that of Veitch, others very different.
The New Age Dissected
Although it is not without its flaws, each month Fortean Times always has something that interests. Earlier this year it published a special issue, number 300, with the front cover Apocalypse Not, following the various predictions that the world would end on 21 December 2012. The best of the article therein is Peter Brookesmith's 'Don't Get Fooled Again' which takes a hefty sword to the new age movement, who by any definition were central to all the Mayan guff.
One thing Brookesmith does very well is devise a typology of the New age milieu. Consider these quotes:
"..the New Age embraces a pick'n'mix 'spirituality' looted from various religious traditions, the more obscure ethnically and the more readily romanticised the better".
"They also tend loudly to champion environmentalism, organic food, alternative medicine, 'lost ancient wisdom', a vague pacifism and take seriously a profusion of pseudoscientific fields"
"It is however, against almost everything that constiututes and underpins contemporary life in the post-Renaissance West"
and perhaps best of all "Far from being liberating, the outlook begets a deadly, humourless conformity of its own, one that's inevitably steeped in disapproval. It is a kind of New Puritanism" .
Go go to your local New Age shop, spend thirty minutes there, and you will see just how accurate Brookesmith is.
The First Woolwich Truth Tweet?
The ideals of the 9/11 and 7/7 truth movements are now so widely dispersed, that as new terrorist attacks occur, they can be readily fitted into existing frameworks. There will be more to say on the responses to the Woolwich attack in due course, but I was taken by this great example of a Londoner hedging his bets:
#IAmAMuslim and I don't condone the woolwich attacks...— wahid (@WahidAtTalib) May 22, 2013
Tbh I think its a set up. But still don't condone the attack #previoustweet— wahid (@WahidAtTalib) May 22, 2013
It seems Webster Griffin Tarporley really has outgrown Lyndon LaRouche, as this tweet on the alleged perpetrators of the Boston bombings illustrates:
The Boston terrorist attacks and their dramatic aftermath has demonstrated that truth activists, when in situ, are still capable of taking the ball and running with it. In this case, in ever decreasing circles.
This brief article will focus on one example of this - the linking of private security company Craft International to the attacks, most prominently on the Info Wars website run by arch American conspiracist Alex Jones. This appears to be conducted solely on one tenuous strand - that two men were seen in the crowd at the Boston Marathon carrying rucksacks and one is wearing a logo on his clothing of Craft International.
Alex Gucciardi, who wrote the 18 April 2013 Infowars piece, produces within it pictures of two men carrying rucksacks in this notorious article. A plain white skull on a black background is apparently seen on one of the men's caps:
The first problem with this approach is that it is not exactly the same logo as that of Craft International. Here is their logo:
Perhaps anticipating this, Gucciardi also informs us that Craft International's Chris Kyle sports the exact same logo in this picture from the Craft International website:
It is not exactly the same, but even if he does. So what?
Just to show that Twitter can be used for countering, as well as spreading nonsense, I am grateful to @tanith for informing me that the logo on the man's cap is that of The Punisher comic book hero. Here is The Punisher logo:
Something very similar is also used by several figures in the music business. Consider Underground Resistance or Metalheadz:
We might even add video game Resistance 3:
Of course Infowars does not state that Craft International carried out the Boston bombings. They do not need to - the inference is enough, in conspiracist circles, to set that particular hare running. And all the evidence needed to do this?
One man, carrying a large backpack, wearing a logo that is similar to Craft International's. And Resistance 3. And Metalheadz. And Underground Resistance. But that is actually the logo of The Punisher.
The Times today ran a front page, editorial and page 4 article on Labour peer Baron Ahmed of Rotherham.
In an interview with a Pakistani TV station, Lord Ahmed has allegedly blamed his prison sentence for dangerous driving in 2009 on a Jewish conspiracy, brought about because of his work in support of the Palestinians. He appears to have believed a Judge was sent from London to sentence him as a result of pressure from Jews.
As so often with such arguments, the facts are somewhat different. The judge who sentenced Ahmed, Mr Justice Wilkie, was the Presiding Judge of the North East Circuit. Encouragingly, in its editorial The Times demonstrates that it actually grasps that what often appears to be merely conspiracist nonsense actually has a political impact :
"There will not be lasting peace in the Middle East with a just settlement between a sovereign Palestine and a secure Israel while conspiracy theories about the Jews are disseminated. Inoculating young and impressionable British Muslims from the theocratic hatreds of al-Qaeda requires the confronting of hoary anti-semitic myths. How shameful, how scandalous that a British parliamentarian should be promoting them."
There are lots of sound arguments for boycotting the BBC's licence fee.
Perhaps the easiest to make is that it is a regressive tax - everyone pays the same, regardless of their income or ability to pay. As the licence is compulsory for all households watching television or TV programmes via a computer, we all pay the same whether we want to watch the BBC or not. Thirdly the BBC as an institution represents a rather narrow cultural elite - overwhelmingly middle class and London based, it grows fat on money taken from working class licence payers across the whole of the United Kingdom.
Perfectly sensible alternatives, such as the abolition of the licence fee and the BBC becoming a subscription service, exist. There is also an e-petition against the licence fee.
For the 9/11 Truth movement, such sensible arguments are of course irrelevant. The text below comes from the latest kick-start to Ian Henshall's Reinvestigate 9/11 campaign:
Congratulations to Anthony Rooke of Christians for 9/11 Truth. Anthony is refusing to pay his TV license on the grounds that, by suppressing the truth about 9/11, the BBC is aiding and abetting terrorism. Under Section 15 Article 3 of the draconian Terrorism Act 2000, if there is any possibility that you might be aiding terrorism you are obliged to refuse.
The outline of Tony's case has been accepted as arguable, and a full hearing is scheduled for the morning of Monday 25 February at Magistrates' Court, Horsham, West Sussex in front of a judge.
Sadly we are not told who has 'accepted the outline of Tony's case is arguable' - presumeably someone who takes the view the taxpayers has limitless funds to entertain conspiracy theorists. It seems 25th February will bring some of the truth movements 'stars' to Horsham - Niells Harrit and Ian Henshall are both poised to give 'evidence'. Sadly, as with any truth movement intervention, the biggest fear for activists is not the state but the potential problems posed by other activists. Reinvestigate 9/11's email warns:
"You are invited to attend and respectfully show support for Tony. Please do not assume the judge is biased against us. Even if he finds against Tony he may make comments which could be very useful in confronting the BBC Trust."
There are plenty of things the BBC Trust should be worrying about. The BBC's coverage of 9/11 is not one of them.
Good morning to Simon Lane, who wakes up this morning £500 worse off, after losing his deposit in yesterday's Croydon North by-election.
Standing as Simon Lane: 9/11 Was An Inside Job, Mr Lane came 11th out of 12 candidates, and scored a massive 66 votes - or 0.27%. He was saved from the embarrasment of coming bottom by beating the Young People's Party by three votes.
Full marks though to Croydon Today, who interviewed Mr Lane and manged not to ask him a single question on 9/11, but instead to focus on his views on an incinerator on the Croydon/Sutton border and youth unemployment in the constituency!
If it were just people talking about UFO's, it would not really matter. But conspiracy theories can be a serious business, especially when they effect the take up of immunisation programmes, or medical treatment.
On Tuesday 13 November the London School of Economics hosts a discussion "Conspiracies, Distrust and Suspicions of Health Programmes in Africa". The event is free, and is scheduled from 6.30 - 8pm in the Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House. The suggested twitter hashtag for the evening is #LSEAfrica.
Can anyone spot what is wrong in the following sentence, from the Sunday Times Culture magazine?
In a preview of Monday evening's Conspiracy Road Trip: UFO's on BBC3 at 9pm, we are told about a Swindon man storing food in case of alien invasion:
"He is one of five Brits here who believe in extra-terrestorial encounters, conspiracy theories or official cover-ups about monsters. Will a journey to America and reasoned argument change their minds?"
With the probable exception of Pakistan, no country in the world is as receptive to conspiracy theories as the United States. What I don't get about conspiracy road trip is that in this series they look to challenge and/or debate the beliefs of those who accept creationism, 9/11 conspiracy theories or UFO's. And they do that by taking adherents to ................ the home of those belief systems, where they are more likely to be reinforced than critically discussed.
Still, it's a nice trip for the BBC staff involved.
The email below was posted to my University of East Anglia account on the 31 July 2012, from the email address email@example.com
You can find out more about the ostensibly useful work of the Freeanons website here.
Needless to say, the predicted false flag attack during the Olympics did not happen, although the amount of times the word 'may' appears at key stages below indicates this individual was rather hedging their bets. Some may be relieved that the alleged G4S plans to evacuate London did not need to be enacted!
Hopefully, 9/11 Cultwatch's publication of this email will give 'anonymous' the posterity their work deserves:
Multiple indicators suggest
that the 2012 London Olympics may be used as a stage for false flag
operations: the environment is primed for insider attacks, the security
plans are flawed, and the threat indicators match other false flag
Large amounts of troops, contractors, and weapons may provide cover for insider agents to carry out attacks at the 2012 London Olympics. Excessive amounts of force and materiel combined with the last minute changes provide a chaotic environment in which equipment may be staged to carry out terrorist attacks. Such a chaotic environment is also ideal for subversive agents that have security credentials to operate in, because it provides them with cover stories for their activities and possible inconsistencies in their behavior.
Security plans for the 2012 London Olympics are flawed. An independent investigation of the G4S security contractor by Ben Fellows has revealed that the company is implementing measures that are inconsistent with their stated security objectives. G4S is reported to have 200000 casket linings on standby - a measure that indicates a plan to fail at security. G4S is reported to have plans for evacuating London - another indicator of planned failure. G4S is well documented as failing to provide adequate security staff. The combination of these factors suggests that instead of providing qualified security staff to prevent attacks, G4S has been focusing on controlling the effects of an attack. Mitigating large scale disasters is usually handled by the government. It is suspicious that a company that fails at its direct responsibilities expends its limited resources on measures that are outside of its competence and stated objectives. These indicators are especially alarming, since!
security contractors have privileged access and are therefore well placed to carry out large scale terrorist operations, to plant false evidence, and to destroy real evidence.
The threat indicators present at the 2012 London Olympics are consistent with the false flag terrorism operations carried out in the past. The film "7/7 Ripple Effect 2" provides a thorough analysis of a recent false flag operation in London and provides a publically available primer of some of the tradecraft that may be used for other false flag operations. Some examples of documented tradecraft include using security credentials to manage subversive agents, using security operations to stage equipment for attacks, using security credentials to place false evidence, using security credentials to destroy real evidence, and fabricating public reports. These examples of tradecraft match the threat indicators present at the 2012 London Olympics and support the concerns for the safety of the public.
False flag operations are typically conducted to manipulate public opinion. False flag operations are frequently used as pretext for war. It might be too late to provide an effective deterrent for the possible attacks at the London Olympics at this point. Even if it is too late to prevent such attacks, vigilance is needed to mitigate the risk of false flag operations being used as pretext for even greater bloodshed and to bring the responsible parties to justice if such attacks take place.
After some speculation, the BBC's programme on 7/7 conspiracists airs on Monday 1 October on BBC3 at 9pm.
More details on '7/7 Bombings: Conspiracy Road Trip' from the BBC website here.
Writing about 9/11 truth, and its offshoots, has always produced a consistent response from 'truth' activists.
Larry O'Hara, Heidi Svenson and myself have all at some stage encountered 'truthers' who have drawn a whole series of conclusions about our politics from the fact we disagree with their interpretation of 9/11. The most common of these is to assume that we are pro-war - my email exchange with David Rose of Goldsmiths University, reproduced in the current Notes From the Borderland, is a recent example of this phenomenon. To hold the position that attacking Iraq and Afganistan was a poor idea, but that Al Qaeda carried out 9/11, appears to be inconceivable.
There are some signs that a similar absolutism has begun to infect some of those who support Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Owen Jones' article in The Independent that Assange should go back to Sweden and face the music produced a whole series of over the top responses from the Australian's supporters, including accusations Jones might be working for the security services. Is it not possible for Jones to innocently dissent from their position? The Blog That Peter Wrote has travelled similar ground to Jones, where comment on Wikileaks has been followed by an avalanche of bizarre claims and unfounded assertions. The term 'Assange Cultism' is used to describe the response.
These are worrying developments, and a sign of the 'truth' approach to politics beginning to infect not just issues around terrorism and counter-terrorism, but questions such as extradition law and the prosecution of sexual offences. This blog has always taken a consistent approach to the dangers posed by the truth movement - if unchallenged, its method and its ideas will spread. Don't say you were not warned...........
Firstly - an apology. I have been laughing so hard I neglected to post a link to the superb research of US Tea Party activist Jerome Corsi, who revealed to the world a few days ago that Barack Obama was secretly married to a gay Pakistani man. I guess that makes Michelle Obama not so much the First Lady as the first beard!
I have never taken the view that the Tea Party is an entirely rotten egg - some of the principles its disparate followers have articulated are healthy - small government and self reliance are invariably better than the alternatives. But the type of nonsense put forward by Mr Corsi is hardly unique - as anyone signed up to any US libertarian email lists will be aware.
It is refreshing therefore to see Mike Riggs on Reason taking a switchblade to some of this nonsense, and in particular the ramblings of former Libertarian Party Vice Presidential candidate Wayne Allyn Root. Riggs not only has no truck with this type of 'thinking' - if we can call it that - but writes:
"This awful, weird, conspiratorial column, just linked by Matt Drudge, will probably be the most widely read thing Root has ever written. Its existence is a tragedy for Libertarians and libertarians."
Tragedy is too strong a word. In exposing it, Riggs begins the fightback. There are other voices, and to defeat conspiracists it is neccesary to make them heard. Often.
Gary Johnson is the Libertarian Party's candidate for President. Perhaps he can build on the work of Mike Riggs, and put Wayne Allyn Root - and like minded individuals - back in their box?
Like all good conspiracy theorists, Max is an all-rounder. Whilst mostly concerned with trashing the western financial system (whilst saying nothing too critical about Russian gangster-capitalism, he who pays this piper buys his tune) Max does like to swerve into other areas, especially when he is on Twitter. This week this has included being possibly the first person to describe the Burgas attack on Israeli tourists as a false flag attack, plus suggesting HSBC 'funded' the 9/11 attacks. Sometimes Keiser appears to try to disguise his points as humour, although as we all know, many a true word is said in jest. How many in his audience think he is joking?
Discussing the cinema shooting in Colorado, Max today posted this gem:
"American libertarian race-based crypto-fascism encourages mass shootings at movie theaters if it helps media conglomerates make money"
I have read it. I have re-read it. I have carried on re-reading it. The meaning still escapes me. Is there anyone out there who speaks Keiser? If so - help!
David Icke seems to have taken to Twitter like a duck to water - his lucky followers can expect regular updates throughout the day on the great man's thinking.
One tweet yesterday caught the eye of us at 9/11 Cultwatch. Icke is looking for a sponsor for his highly succesful website DavidIcke.com. Who better to sponsor Icke than.......... - 9/11 Cultwatch? Icke surely appreciates debate, and it would raise our own profile in the 'truth' community - a win-win for both sides. At the moment our Financial Development Officer, Heidi Svenson, is working on making Mr Icke an offer he cannot refuse - 50p, a pile of old Coventry City programmes, and all the turquoise material from Ridley Road market than he can handle.
If you feel you can better our offer, do contact David directly at firstname.lastname@example.org Please note that sponsorship applications will not be accepted from:
2. Anyone whose surname ends in Rothschild
3. Terry Wogan
Issue 10 of the UK's leading parapolitical magazine, Notes From the Borderland, is out now.
For those interested in the machinations of the 9/11 and 7/7 'truth' movements, plus related conspiracists, this issue has yours truly giving an update on where some of the leaders of the 'truth' movement have gone, and also looking at some new players. Summaries of Ian Henshall's Reinvestigate 9/11, plus newer 'stars' in the shape of the Freeman on the Land concept and truther academic David Rose will hopefully wet people's appetite for more.
More generally, the two main articles in NFB 10 centre around major investigations. The first is into the death of GCHQ employee Gareth Williams, the second into the split between anti-fascist magazine Searchlight and its former front group, Hope Not Hate. The evidence based approach in these two articles is a world away from the video clip and web forum based approach of so much of what passes for research in the world of 9/11 'truth'.
Don't just take my word for it though. Buy yourself a copy of Notes From the Borderland, and find out for yourself.
"A man walked into a public library and circumspectly approached the desk. He lowered his voice. 'Have you any books on Conspiracy Theories?' The librarian leaned forward and murmured into his ear: 'They're behind you'.
I have no idea who came up with this originally, but it is certainly used by David Challice in the May 2012 issue of Independence, magazine of the UK Independence Party.
I am not aware of a conspiracist forum as popular as that of David Icke. With approaching 70,000 members, it is home to the weird and not so wonderful, as well as a few lurking critics like myself.
All it seems is not well in this forum for discussing everything from 9/11 truth through to Cryptozoology, with the focus, naturally, being on Icke's own work. The trouble at t'mill seems to centre on website users trying to recruit members for rival forums. The following personal message has been sent to all forum members:
Have you been sent a PM inviting you to join another forum or website?
If so please be aware that a small handful of other forums/websites out there have been set-up by individuals with a personal axe to grind, who are out to harm and disrupt this forum by recruiting members on here in order to promote an anti David Icke Forum/David Icke agenda.
If you receive any correspondence from another member inviting you to a place you feel is at odds with this forum please feel free to report it to one of the moderators or admin team on this forum. You can do so by clicking on the red triangle with exclamation mark in the middle (located at the bottom left of the PM) or by simply forwarding the PM to one of the team.
Over the years we've had numerous anti David Icke Forum/David Icke websites spring up and unfortunately a tiny minority of our members get fooled into joining them. Many lies are usually spread about this place and about David in order for the recruitment drive to be successful and as a consequence people get banned in the process.
The reason people were/are banned here is for linking to sites that are predominantly set up to promote an anti David Icke Forum/David Icke agenda and bad mouth site staff or David; And [arrogantly] using this sites resources to promote it!
This is something we simply do not tolerate. Any owners or members of other forums/websites caught doing so will find their accounts banned without warning.
If you would like to discuss this off the forum via email feel free to email me at email@example.com (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org).
*Please note: This PM has been sent to all members. *
Certainly the tone of Icke's message is that of the concerned businessman. How dare someone use his shopfloor to advertise a rival trader? So much for the free flow of thought and ideas. Secondly it would be nice to think that Icke's greed, anti-Semitism and irrational view of the world has prompted these small acts of rebellion. Has it?
CALL FOR PAPERS: Conspiracy theories in international politics Panels for the ISA's annual convention, San Fransisco 2013 Theme: The Politics of International Diffusion: Regional and Global Dimensions Co-convenors: Stefanie Ortmann (University of Sussex) and John Heathershaw (University of Exeter) Conspiracy theories have been identified as an increasingly prevalent mode of social and political discourse which seem to have important transnational and international dimensions. Research has shown that they have proliferated in American society and politics through the twentieth century, and can be found in all regions of world politics, perhaps especially in the Middle East and the former Soviet Union. Early analyses suggested that conspiracy theories were pathologies, evidence of a 'paranoid style' of politics or dysfunctions of pubic discourse found particularly in totaliterian societies, subject to social psychological explanations. However, the emergence of Conspiracy Theory Studies since about 2000 has been dominated from scholars in History, Humanities and Cultural Studies. This research embarks from the premise that CTs can be understood in sociological terms as the expression of an increasing lack of autonomy in the face of uncontrollable forces, such as globalization, narratives of terrorist threats etc. In spite of this obvious link to themes of international politics, conspiracy theories have recevied little or no attention from scholars in Political Science and International Relations. We intend to submit up to two panels on conspiracy theories to address the conference theme of international diffusion, focusing particularly on a comparative study of conspiracy theories in different regions of world politics and considering their transational forms and international diffusions. On the other hand we are interested in the workings of conspiracy theories in Europe and the US, relating to globalization, terrorism, the fall-out from the global economic crisis and similar themes. These are preliminary suggestions: We would like to here from potential presenters interested in submitting a paper on any aspect of conspiracy theories in international politics. Please contact: John Heathershaw (email@example.com) Stefanie Ortmann (firstname.lastname@example.org) Deadline for expressions of interest: Friday 25 May, 2012 Deadline for full abstracts: Tuesday 29 May, 2012
April 3-6, 2013, at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square; San Francisco, California, USA
CALL FOR PAPERS: Conspiracy theories in international politics
Panels for the ISA's annual convention, San Fransisco 2013
Theme: The Politics of International Diffusion: Regional and Global Dimensions
Co-convenors: Stefanie Ortmann (University of Sussex) and John Heathershaw (University of Exeter)
Conspiracy theories have been identified as an increasingly prevalent mode of social and political discourse which seem to have important transnational and international dimensions. Research has shown that they have proliferated in American society and politics through the twentieth century, and can be found in all regions of world politics, perhaps especially in the Middle East and the former Soviet Union. Early analyses suggested that conspiracy theories were pathologies, evidence of a 'paranoid style' of politics or dysfunctions of pubic discourse found particularly in totaliterian societies, subject to social psychological explanations. However, the emergence of Conspiracy Theory Studies since about 2000 has been dominated from scholars in History, Humanities and Cultural Studies. This research embarks from the premise that CTs can be understood in sociological terms as the expression of an increasing lack of autonomy in the face of uncontrollable forces, such as globalization, narratives of terrorist threats etc. In spite of this obvious link to themes of international politics, conspiracy theories have recevied little or no attention from scholars in Political Science and International Relations.
We intend to submit up to two panels on conspiracy theories to address the conference theme of international diffusion, focusing particularly on a comparative study of conspiracy theories in different regions of world politics and considering their transational forms and international diffusions. On the other hand we are interested in the workings of conspiracy theories in Europe and the US, relating to globalization, terrorism, the fall-out from the global economic crisis and similar themes. These are preliminary suggestions: We would like to here from potential presenters interested in submitting a paper on any aspect of conspiracy theories in international politics.
John Heathershaw (email@example.com)
Stefanie Ortmann (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Deadline for expressions of interest: Friday 25 May, 2012
Deadline for full abstracts: Tuesday 29 May, 2012
Who said 'truthers' were useless?
One conspiracy site, Living With The Conspiracy 24-7, has been good enough to type up a transcript of my interview on George Galloway's Talk Sport programme on 9 September 2011. There is the odd typo in there, and the transcript slightly mangles my explanation of why we consider 'truth' activists to be a cult, but all in all its probably more accurate than any other 'truth' material to come out this year!
You can read the transcript, and play the interview again, here.
Finally I was greatly impressed by the titles added to the article at the end, as subject headings:
I am not sure what 'Zionist fetish' is, but if my wife finds out I have been engaging in it I may be in some trouble..........
A couple of different sources have been in touch with 9/11 Cultwatch to tell us about Renegade Pictures, who are working on a programme for the BBC.
The intention of this programme seems to be, at least in part, to give a platform to those who dispute the 'official' story of the 7/7 attacks. The eventual product will be screened on BBC3. Given the somewhat 'mature' nature of many high profile 7/7 conspiracists - Dr Mohammed Naseem, Nick Kollerstrom and Muad’Dib (alias Anthony John Hill) to name but three - Renegade Pictures may struggle to find the 5 activists aged between 18-35 they are apparently looking for.
Anyway - we await any such programme with interest.
Yesterday's Sun newspaper had a different variation on the Mayan 2012 end of the world claims.
Two whole pages were devoted to Michael Carroll's feature on Cornish computer repair man Larry Peters, who is stockpiling food and attempting to live self-sufficiently in readiness for a giant solar flare striking the earth. The term sometimes used for survivalists like Mr Peters is preppers. Here is an insight into his thinking:
"By the end of 2012 a huge flare is predicted that will wipe all this out. It will be a total breakdown of society, complete anarchy. Lots of people are going to die. The government and the super-rich know this is going to happen and they are prepared. That leaves the rest of us to fend for ourselves".
Several problems emerge. Firstly no evidence is offered that the British government and the rich actually do know that the world is going to end this year, and no insights into changes in their behaviour or practices are offered. No scientific evidence is presented as to the likelihood of such a strike on earth. Rather like many 9/11 'truthers' it does emerge where Peters is getting his information from:
"Once he opens his computer repair shop, Larry spends three hours checking for solar flare updates, looks on You Tube for new conspiracy theory videos and catches up with preppers from across the world"
Clearly business is far from booming in the computer repairs world! Interestingly we also gain an insight into how Larry Peters reached the views he has - from reading a web posting on solar flares by US conspiracist Jessie Ventura. Then
"I watched his documentary and conducted my own research online"
And that sums up so much. No need to read a book, journal or speak to an expert in the field of solar flares, we can all do it ourselves on line. We are all experts. They only problem is, a lot of people aren't.
Having childcare responsibilities this afternoon, I decided to watch a bit of TV in the hope the boys would fall asleep.
They did not, but I still managed to watch the whole of Anthony J Hilder's film 9/11 The Greatest Lie Ever Sold. Those of you with satellite packages can go to Channel 200 and watch Controversial TV, where hours of this type of pap is available. I tweeted some comments as I watched it, but all the usual 'truth' standbys were here. Take casual racism - we were informed the 19 hijackers could barely speak English and were more used to riding camels than driving a car. Yet 15 of these men were from Saudi Arabia, the wealthiest and most developed of the Arab nations. Leader Mohammad Atta was far from being a rural hick but an Architecture student who spoke Arabic, English and German. I doubt we can say the same for Mr Hilder.
Hilder pushed repeatedly the need for the left and right to come together (and he calls others fascist!) in this instance ideological unity is required, not against the Bolshevik menace but the New World Order. Indeed so curious was Hilder's world view that he thinks that China is still a Communist country - in case he has not noticed, China's capitalist economy is outstripping even that of the United States.
Some big names from the world of conspiracy turn up - Jim Marrs, with Lydon Larouche probably deserving the long service award in this field - but I was particularly impressed by a new name to me - Will Thomas. He states that no fewer than seven of the 19 9/11 hijackers are still alive.
I offer a simple challenge to 9/11 'truthers' - both in the West and the Arab world. I will close this blog if you can achieve an interview with any living 9/11 hijacker. Surely one of the seven is willing to make his fortune by coming out to the world's press?
As lovers of all things conspiratorial and apocalyptic should be aware, 2012 may be the biggie.
Certain interpretations of the Mayan calendar appear to suggest there is no ‘time’ after 21 December 2012. Good news if you have a bank loan you don’t want to pay back, or you want to wriggle out of buying lots of Christmas presents, bad news if you rather like life and want to make the most of it in 2013. So, in excitement not known since the millennium bug failed to interfere with the working of one single computer, this is the year the Mayan calendar allegedly predicts will be our last. For those looking to battle through the various conspiracy theories, scam artists and genuine believers of this, I recommend the March 2012 issue of Fortean Times, which devotes its front cover and no less than 14 pages to doomsday 2012.
Former BBC Religious Affairs correspondent Ted Harrison gives us a good summary of how the Maya calculation was apparently reached, whilst also looking at some of the other attempts made to predict the end of the world. Special mention here must go to US evangelist Harold Camping who made a fool of himself not once but twice in 2011 by predicting the end of the world. Rather unsatisfactorily Harrison tells us Camping’s supporters have made a further prediction for 2012, but then ruins things by not telling us the date they have suggested. What a tease! For the record, it seems on-line sources are placing this third date as 21 October 2012. Perhaps Camping and his supporters are work on the old 'bullseye' approach - throw enough darts, and you will hit the bullseye eventually!
Joseph Gelfer takes a more political stance by considering the manner in which 2012 prophecies may hijack elements from indigenous cultures in a way new age activists have been doing for some time (often at considerable financial benefit to themselves) Jose Arguelles and his ‘Dreamspell Calendar' and Drunvalo Melchizedek’s use of Maori culture are both critiqued. Much to my delight John W Hoopes “The Hidden History of 2012” suggests that the big day may not be 21 December at all but the 23rd, before he takes us through some of the variations 2012 theorists have adopted. It is worth quoting one sentence from his article in full:
“2012 has become a vehicle for new mythologies, from the liberation of information to the Occupy movement. There are serious problems in the world, from global warming to revolution, but the idea that the ancient Maya prophesised change in our time is ludicrous.”
Kevin Whitesides is possibly being a tad wordy when he takes on Terence McKenna’s concept of a “balkanisation of epistemology” taking place, but he is probably on the right lines. We increasingly have a world where ‘experts’ attempt to use their theories to prove virtually anything – and in the process prove nothing. This tactic can even be adapted to suggest the exact opposite of a particular discourse – Whiteside’s article is illustrated by an apocalyptic drawing marked “The Beginning Is Near”. Ever the salesman David Icke has talked of 2012 as not the end of the world, but the beginning…… (provided of course you adopt his approach to life!
For some reason placed many pages back in the magazine, Richard Stanley relates how the small French village of Bugarach, lying below Mount Bugarach, is the reluctant home to scores of new age visitors who believe the mountain is a UFO base. Fortean Times illustrates this article with a picture of a new age group meeting in the shadow of the mountain, with most the delegates dressed in white – how long until our very own David Shayler pops up in south west France?
Jokers like Shayler aside, there can be a serious angle to such developments. As the end of 1999 approached, Israeli police in particular were on edge concerning US Christians entering the holy land who it was feared may be involved in either mass suicides or acts of terrorism. A French civil servant from its anti-cult body, one Georges Fenech, is reportedly prepared to take preventative measures should similar issues arise in Bugarach in the run up to 21 December 2012.
The Winter Solstice has rarely been as exciting – or as profitable. Whether it is actually dangerous or not is another matter entirely.
When I had responsibility for answering mail to the Class War Federation, I would estimate 2-3% of the letters we received were from people with mental health problems.
I have no idea if this is common to all political organisations, or if CW was any more or less prone to such correspondence. Sometimes it was very entertaining. One man in Blackpool was convinced he was being spied upon by the town's CCTV (you may be right I told him, that's what it's for) but he was probably incorrect when he claimed secret messages were being passed to him via advertisements on Blackpool bus shelters (Why they were using the buses, and not the trams for this intimidation was unexplained).
As always in Class War, we encouraged those under attack by the state to fightback. This approach was not without its consequent victories. Our Blackpool correspondent was insistent that the reason David Blunkett resigned as Home Secretary in 2004 was nothing to do with 'nannygate', but his own work exposing the harrassment Blunkett had conducted of him via the Blackpool district bus system. A second correspondent, Gaz Derbyshire, wrote such long letters I am not sure a team of secretaries could have covered every point raised. In 2006 Gaz, probably wisely, instead put his thoughts into book form, the catchily titled "Book 1, Part A, First Contact? Do, Re, Me, In God I Trust" with the subheading Complete Re-Writes.For some reason the authors were listed as Gaz Derbyshire, Gary Martyn and Arch Principle, even though I am sure this was Gaz's work alone.
Showing he was no fan of political correctness, Gaz had illustrated the front cover with a confederate flag, and a further ten books were promised in a series of eleven. Where the other ten books are I know not, but Gaz Derbyshire needs to be added to the list of those with alleged foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. As he states in his book:
"In addition in Book IV, which was in March 2001, I was given informal information as to the amount of actual plane hijackers for the 11th of September 2001 terrorist attacks, namely that of 'nineteen'. This above information was received from a woman called "Julie Madison" who had worked at one time for a solicitors firm in London that represented the company providing engineering skills for the Iraqi Big Gun" (p.xciii)
There are several things I particularly like about this quote. The Iraqi connection is entertaining and so general it is a wonder it did not end up in the case for invading Iraq Alastair Campbell and Tony Blair were pushing in 2002-2003. Also we have the figure of 19 hijackers known, to a London Solicitor, as early as March 2001.
This means the various press articles naming Zacarias Moussaoui as the intended twentieth hijacker (and indeed parts of his trial) are rather superflous. We also have the figure of Ramzi Binalshibh, a Guantanamo Bay resident widely seen as one of the planners of 9/11. According to Yosri Fouda and Nick Fielding's book on 9/11, Binalshibh made strenous efforts to get himself into the US so he could take part in the 9/11 attacks. He was unsuccesful, which handily ensured the numbers being discussed in London remained accurate.
Then again, it could be that the claim Julie Madison (who she?) knew the number of 9/11 attackers eight months beforehand is bollocks. I will allow the reader to decide!
I have only just been alerted to the Daily Mail of 7 January which contained a piece on Pamela Leigh Richards and her divorce from David Icke.
The web version of this, updated on 9 January, can be viewed here. Researchers have long wondered just how much Icke makes from his incessant touring, conferences, book and DVD sales and subscription website, and more pertintently where that money is then invested. Whilst much of the article is the type of frippery you may expect - Icke allegedly began to suspect Pamela was a shape-shifter when their relationship began to deteriorate - the news that she has been holding out for large settlement, and even demanding 'immense' sums does of course reiterate what a cottage industry Icke has built over the past two decades.
So, will the settlement buy her silence, or will we get an insight into just how much money there is in conspiracy theory?
Or alternatively 'I used to be a 9/11 Truth Activist, But I'm Alright Now'.
You have to hand it to Annie Machon. She gets the Vancouver branch of the 9/11 Truth movement to promote her speaking tour in Canada in May, but manages to have a CV that has now been stripped of any involvement in 'truth' activism.
Way to go Annie. I think the word I am looking for is chutzpah.
There has been a quiet period on this blog, but that will soon change.
We will soon start again the series of conspiracist quotes, as allowing truthers to express themselves in their own words is one of the best mechanisms against them we have. Over in the United States the issue has emerged of the extent Republican Presidential hopeful Ron Paul is a support of the truth movement. Certainly here in the UK truth activists regarded him as their man, hence the regular presence of 'truth' activists bearing the words 'Google Ron Paul' on major demonstrations in the capital. If Paul's candidacy is to continue, he will have to decide which side of the fence he stands.
I am currently working on an article for the next issue of Notes From the Borderland magazine on a decade of 9/11 truth, which should appear in the next month or so. In the meantime, 9/11 Cultwatch relies so heavily on those who send us information. Keep it coming!
I have just completed a one hour lecture on Terrorism and Conspiracy Theory, and followed it up with three seminars to undergraduates on the same subject.
The main things I wanted to get across to students were the historical scale of conspiracy theories, that they can be accelerated by secrecy, government dishonesty and incompetence and that the Internet has allowed them to go in a thousand and one different directions. I then focused on the 9/11 Truth Movement, looking at some of its core beliefs, MIHOP (that the US government made the attacks happen on purpose) and LIHOP (let it happen on purpose) and the uses that are made of the following quote from the neo-Cons Project For A New American Century:
"Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbour" (2000, 51).
This of course 'proves' that the Bush administration either allowed 9/11 to happen or arranged it! I also covered some issues around race, religion and conspiracy theory, and that whilst black American groups such as the Nation of Islam may be paranoid, that has not always meant that in the past that no one was out to 'get' black Americans!
In the closing part of the lecture I covered some of the responses to 'truth' activism - the papers of groups such as Demos, writers like Jon Ronson, David Aaronovitch and Damian Thompson, and the belated responses by the US government. Concluding comments centred on whether there is a 'template' of conspiracist ideals - core elements that can be found in all arguments, and whether we can see in this, glimpses of future conspiracy theories. Most of all I hope students took away the impression that the Internet, as well as being a tool for good, can also retard debate. Look around some workplaces at lunch or break times, and instead of talking to workmates, many people are sat there playing with their I-Phones and Blackberrys. What happens when most people, get most of their news, most of time, from the Internet?
In the seminars, I asked students to consider two things. What questions did they have outstanding with regards to 9/11, and to what extent should opinion formers, polticians and government seek to respond to 'truth' theories. To stimulate some debate I distributed photocopies of an A5 'truth' leaflet from 2006 "It's 5 Years Since the Attacks on 9/11" - this largely focused on the argument controlled demolition brought down WTC 1, 2 and 7, plus provided suggestions witnesses heard explosions before the towers came down.
Some of the 'celebrity' supporters of 9/11 truth that were listed - Charlie Sheen and David Shayler - had not stood the test of time very well, all three groups roared with laughter at the mention of Mr Sheen. Answers on the first question were few and far between (most student's were clearly sheeple, as they seemed to broadly agree Bin Laden did it) whilst the second brought more mixed answers.
The difficulty of 'responding' to truth arguments was stressed, as was the lack of any named sources for the 'scientific' evidence presented. On one level I was left feeling slightly more optimistic than I had expected to be - students appear to want to discuss evidence and to see named sources for claims that are made - freeze framed pictures of 'premature' explosions did not seem to impress them.
This may be a protest generation. But on this evidence at least, it is unlikely to go up the blind alley of 'truth' activism.
"In his previous work, The Secret Society of Freemasons Revealed, Almighty God Dawud Allah explains that nine out of every ten Caucasian babies are born with tails. While this secret has been hidden by Doctors (who are all Masons) Dawud names it as the reason for a preponderance of the word "tail" in white speech ("heads or tails," "boy I will beat your tail," "tailgate party"). It would be a mistake to consider Almighty God Dawud Allah's work as representing the Five Percenters' intellectual highpoint."
From Michael Muhammad Knight, The Five Percenters: Islam, Hip Hop and the Gods of New York (Oxford: One World, 2009) p.196.
Headline news in the UK yesterday was the Leveson Inquiry into the conduct of the media.
All a waste of time if they had consulted David Icke, who in this mailing of 30 December 2010, reminds us that the media (and just about everything else) is controlled by the Rothschild-Zionists:
"that the Rothschild Zionists control the mainstream media; Hollywood and the movie industry; governments, not least in the United States; and crucially in the light of current events, they control global finance and commerce."
Welcome to a new series on 9/11 Cultwatch where each morning (if I get round to it) I will bring you a classic quote from the weird and wonderful worlds of 9/11 truth and related conspiracy thinking.
To start the ball rolling, lets look back to 2006, when David Shayler and Annie Machon expressed the view that no planes hit the twin towers on 9/11. Annie likes to style herself as a serious columnist in The Guardian these days, commenting on the security services, policing and civil liberties. Those considering her views really should take her long term double act with David into account, in the years before the big man turned all David Icke on us.
"We know for certain that the official story of 9/11 isn't true," says Shayler. "The twin towers did not collapse because of planes and fire; they were brought down in a controlled demolition. The Pentagon was most likely hit by an American missile, not an aeroplane." Machon nods. In black trousers and black top, this sophisticated blonde in her late thirties comes across more like a schoolmarm than a 9/11 anorak. "The Pentagon's anti-missile defence system would definitely have picked up and dealt with a commercial airliner. We can only assume that whatever hit the Pentagon was sending a friendly signal. A missile fired by a US military plane would have sent a friendly signal." She says this in a kind of Anna Ford-style newsreader's voice, as if she were speaking the truth and nothing but the truth. She takes another sip of tea.
Check back later for more of the same - there is plenty more where that came from!
It seems Fortean Times are emailing those who bought tickets online for Uncon 2011, asking for their views.
I am never sure how much surveys are listened to, but I completed it, urging Fortean Times to reduce or hold the prices next year, to vastly increase the number of stalls, and to seek to involve the magazines readership far more in the event. A series of small talks or discussions is more people centred and progressive than being lectured at on six seperate occasions from a big stage.
Lets see what happens in 2012..............
I spent this morning at the annual Fortean Times covention - Uncon 2011, held at the Camden Centre in London.
The last time I was at the Camden Centre was in the days the London Anarchist Bookfair was held there. I have to say that event probably rather spoiled me - Uncon has considerably less going on, and at £32.35 including booking fee for a one day ticket, the pricing structure is also somewhat different. Todays session had a room with a coffee bar and six stalls, and then in the main arena six one hour talks on the big stage. Of these the only one that really floated my boat was Jon Ronson, discussing his book The Psychopath Test.
I have apparently met Ronson before (he wrote a sarcastic report for Time Out on a Class War public meeting in Brixton in 1993) but was pleasantly surprised by just how funny he was and how capably he dealt with a thirty minute Q&A session. Ronson's talk took in the Scientologists, a Broadmoor inmate who says he faked mental illness to avoid a long prison sentence, and his experience meeting some of the leading figures in mental health such as Robert Hare. Ronson attended Hare's classes so as to be able to use his psychopath checklist. From Hare, Ronson took the idea that many corporate CEO's display psychopathic tendencies, and indeed that these ideals are actually a boon for business careers. A lack of empathy, remorselessness and a superficial charm are benefits in corporate life. Hare estimates that whilst only 1 person in 100 is a psychopath, 4 in 100 CEOs are. More recently both George Monbiot and Horizon have adapted these arguments.
Before we all rush to work and ask our boss if he minds sitting through the PCL-R test before his first meeting of the morning, Ronson did offer a clear warning of the dangers of untrained amateurs rushing about in the this field, plus secondly the obvious problems with labelling people. Throwing the floor open for questions, this point was again re-emphasised, with Ronson arguing he hopes the first half of the book may allow the reader to become power crazed, the second half to realise the error of their ways.
Ronson expressed relief that his work on conspiracy theorists was conducted before 9/11. He takes the view that he was the first person outside of the 'conspiratorial left or right' to look at the Bilderberg meetings, and that these events now get serious press coverage. Ronson was scathing about the 9/11 'truth' movement, arguing its humourless nature meant it was impossible to empathise with them (and presumeably to make good television out of them!)
Those expecting Jon Ronson to use his platform to criticise the pharmaceutical industry, or the health industry may have been disappointed. His position here is, he insists, evidence based. The only trend he is aware of that lacks any evidence for it is childhood bi-polar disorder. Here children 2-3 years old are being labelled as bi-polar because of what are in effect temper tantrums - with the pharmaceutical lobby and pushy parents happy to revel in 'treatments' for this condition.
More generally in the questions Ronson praised The Guardian for its high moral stance, something that suggests he is unaware of the more critical literature about The Guardian/Observer to emerge in recent years, or the treatment of certain Guardian journalists such as Michael Gillard and Laurie Flynn. He ended by pointing out pyschopathic tendencies are ideal for some of the business practices that have proved so damaging to the economy in recent years - the sub-prime market and asset stripping need a short term, get rich quick and never mind the consequences mentality. The long term businessman behaves in exactly the opposite way.
Uncon 2011 continues today and tomorrow. If the prices are held, or come down, I may well attend next year, but the organisers should throw the event open to Fortean Times subscribers a lot more. Until they do, Uncon won't achieve what it could.
This weekend, I will be one of many punters attending the 2011 Fortean Times gathering in central London.
Held on Saturday and Sunday, with tickets at £30 a pop (plus booking fee) I can only afford to go to Uncon 2011 on the Saturday, which does have Jon Ronson speaking at 1000 on the Psycopath Test. No I have not tried it yet.
If you are a reader of 9/11 Cultwatch or Notes From the Borderland and you see me wondering about - do stop me and say hello.
Spencer Sunshine has written an interesting summary of the occupy movement and some of the less savoury characters which have appeared in its slipstream.
Focusing on events in the United States, and placing them in an historical context, occupied with conspiracy theories appears courtesy of the ever informative Shift magazine.
Emel is a Muslim lifestyle magazine, distributed nationally. I get mine, every two or three issues or so, from Sainsbury's in Dalston.
Each issue contains a two page feature, Migrant Memories, where a senior Muslim reflects on their life here in Britain. November's, headed 'Serving the Society' features Dr Mohammad Naseem, Chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque, former (?) financier of the Respect Party and owner of one of the best syrup and figs in the West Midlands.
Dr Naseem is of course well known to visitors to this blog for his prominent role as a 7/7 conspiracy theorist, indeed shortly after the London Bombings he was using public platforms in the West Midlands to insist it was impossible any Muslims could be involved in the attacks. This bizarre position continued even after the first suicide video - that of ringleader Mohammad Sidique Khan - surfaced. Since then he has popped up in the BBC's Conspiracy Files programme working with leading 9/11 'truther' Tony Gosling, and distributing a DVD around his mosque which argues Israel was responsible for the 7/7 attacks.
More recently Birmingham Central Mosque has threatened to sue Prime Minister David Cameron, after he mentioned it in connection to conspiracy theories about terrorist attacks. Oddly eight months on there is no news of a writ landing on the doormat at number ten, and Dr Naseem does not take the opportunity to update Emel's readership on this important case. So what do we get from the great man?
Well in terms of controversy, very little. He tells us about his belief in inter-faith dialogue and the Rabbi he worked with after 9/11 - sadly we are not told if the mosques 'Jewish Comrades' have received one of their copies of 7/7 Ripple Effect. Things look as if they might get interesting when Dr Naseem tells us that some of his 'decisions in the public arena have sparked controversy' but there follows merely an unremarkable passage about appointing women to public posts. How the good Doctor views himself is interesting, saying he is a "strong critic of the political establishment when it enfringes on our rights as citizens of a democratic country" - it is hard to place 7/7 or 9/11 'truth' activism in this context.
So - no mention of Respect, nothing about suing the Prime Minister, and of course nothing about 7/7 suicide videos being created by the security services to frame Muslims. On balance, we are left with the conclusion that Emel - rather like secular lifestyle magazines - prefers the anodoyne and the uncontroversial, to the dramatic and downright odd. Still, they have achieved the near impossible - they have provided a platform where Mohammad Naseem comes across as rational.
It is fantastic to see the type of ideals 9/11 cultwatch holds, being picked up and adopted elsewhere.
For years we have warned of the dangers of activists being lead up the garden path with fantastical stories, and/or missing the fact that if we are to develop influence, we have to criticise our rulers for things they have done, not things they have not.
Libcom.org features the text of an excellent talk made at an Occupy meeting in Wellington, New Zealand on 27 October. Against Conspiracy Theories!
The conviction today of Vincent Tabak for the murder of his neighbour, Joanna Yeates, brings to some closure a very sorry affair.
Back at Christmas 2010, when Ms Yeates went missing, one of the leading 9/11 truth activists, Tony Gosling, found he had the UK's biggest news story on his doorstep. He reacted by posting on the Internet a series of ever more lurid explanations for her murder. These included speculations about black magic, the involvement of freemasons, the full moon, corrupt police officers, and links to unsolved killings in the area.
Whilst Gosling and his associates were ensuring the Internet was full of mindless rubbish, the tabloids took on a similar role with regards to the newspaper industry. Here speculation was almost as wild, but considerably more cruel, focusing on Ms Yeates entirely innocent landlord, Chris Jeffries. He has since received substantial compensation for his treatment at the hands of the press.
Tony Gosling, for all his radical pretensions, is no better than The Sun, Daily Express or The Scotsman, waffling idly about matters he knows nothing about, for his own titillation, profit and influence. Instead of selling newspapers and impressing advertisers, Gosling hoped to find evidence for his own curious theories, and improve his standing in the 'alternative' media. It is to be hoped that his corner of the Internet is so obscure, that those who held Joanna Yeates dear did not come across any of this nonsense.
One final point to close on: If Mr Gosling is so wrong on this case, why should anyone listen to him when he is pontificating about 9/11, 7/7 or the Bilderberg's?