A little later than I had hoped, some comments on last nights TV programme.
Firstly it was interesting that 7/7 Ripple Effect was chosen as the target, and described as being "at the extreme end of the spectrum". I am not sure how easily you can necessarily separate Ripple Effect from other 'truth' DVD's - activists don't tend to be very discerning in their approach, and the BBC could just as easily have chosen Mind the Gap or even Ludicrous Diversions to gut point by point had they been so inclined. Indeed Larry O'Hara and myself did just that in Issue 8 of Notes From the Borderland!
One staple point 9/11 Cultwatch has made concerning the dangers of 'truth' theories was sadly borne out by the Conspiracy Files. 'Truth' activists have long seen the British Muslim community as the natural constituency for their beliefs, and have targeted them accordingly. Whilst it is not difficult to portray many truth activists as rather isolated keyboard warriors, the show of hands in support of Ripple Effect at Birmingham Central mosque was one of the most depressing things I have seen for a long time. It is sadly, an image that may come to haunt representatives of the GB Muslim community for some time - what does it say for concepts of Muslim rationality, or the chances of turning future generations away from Jihadi violence? The words ostrich, head and sand need to be pinned onto Dr Mohammed Naseem's syrup and fig, very publicly.
Moving onto the Bristol 'truthers', lets use their logic to consider one issue. Tony Gosling, the BBC told us, has been "looking into the attacks for four years". Given the fourth anniversary of 7/7 is not until next week - how can this be so? Did you know something before everyone else Tony? Have the BBC let the big one slip out here?!!!!
More seriously, the ability to put forward straw men is clearly an art form in Bristol. To be told the 7/7 bombers have not been convicted in a court of law is a masterly statement of the bleeding obvious - suicide bombers never are, and never can be. Such points can be made until the end of time - and possibly will be.
One disappointment with the Conspiracy Files format is it does not allow for hard questioning. Gosling in particular was allowed to tell two very large porkies. Firstly his suggestion that "you have to go into these things with an open mind". Take a look at his Internet postings on any 'truth' forum - can you think of anyone less likely to approach an alleged terrorist attack with an open mind than TG?
Nor was Gosling being honest when he said it was 'entirely possible' the four named 7/7 suicide bombers were innocent. He believes they are innocent, and has campaigned on that basis continuously. And he said the same sort of things about the failed 21/7 bombings or the Glasgow Airport attack in 2007. Identical lines will be presented when future attacks occur.
That is the 'truth' template - criminal convictions following a jury trial, guilty pleas or suicide videos make no difference.
Insult To Injury
One of the most unpleasant aspects of the flakier fringe of 'truth' activism is a tendency to stalk or harass. In the case of 7/7 survivors such as Rachel North or Richard Jones, such behaviour, following what they have gone through, must be a truly hideous experience.
In the case of those with businesses that have been targeted by the rusty sword of 'truth', another issue looms on the horizon. Whilst part of the objective of this programme appeared to be to aid any legal case against alleged Ripple Effect producer John Hill, it surely cannot be too long before Britain's antiquated libel laws (regularly mis-used as they are) become the setting for a fight between 'truth' and authority. There has been at least one precedent.
Oh - and if Hill really did send copies of a DVD to a Judge and Jury during a criminal trial, he is so stupid he deserves to be in prison.
Speculation that the main focus of this conspiracy file would be Nick Kollerstrom proved unfounded. Whilst the old jew-baiter is usually happy to expand on his theories about how "those lads" have been set up for 7/7, he was reduced to gibbering incoherence when shown footage of the 7/7 attackers in London - on the day of the attacks. There's one theory demolished - NK has always stated they were never there. Whilst it would be nice to think that is the last we will hear of him that is sadly unlikely - the chance to earn big bucks expounding on his theories at holocaust denial events in the Nazi milieu or Arab world beckons.
Wherever he is, lets keep giving this bastard some stick.
Still, the programme did save the best until (nearly) last. An old style TV door-stepping of John Hill in Ireland looked imminent, until we spotted his beard fluttering in the breeze of Kells high street. I always think the best response to anyone doing a Roger Cook is to do what the best Roger Cook villains did - try to thump him one. Sadly Hill kept his mouth shut and his hands down - perhaps in keeping with his belief that he is ......the Messiah!
By any definition the truth movement is now overstaffed with messiahs - we have had David Icke, David Shayler and now John Hill. They can't all be right - can they? Tony Gosling, by now used to having to deal with the media fall out from discovering a comrade is the chosen one, played this all with a straight bat. It should not, we were told, distract us from some of the questions raised in the video. Of course not......
One good thing that may come out of this programme is a possible recognition that conspiracy theories can be dangerous. Whilst it is easy to laugh at stories that no one landed on the moon or that the Iranians had Michael Jackson murdered to distract attention from the uprising in Tehran, if a quarter of British Muslims really believe that no Jihadists were involved in 7/7, the joke is not funny anymore.