The Week in Conspiracies, 18-4-2016

Selfish! If you believe conspiracy theories (of any kind, apparently) you are a narcissist. According to a conservative paper: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3482408/Believe-conspiracy-theories-probably-narcissist-People-doubt-moon-landings-likely-selfish-attention-seeking.html

Shocking! Mark Millar interviews David Icke for The Big Issue: http://www.bigissue.com/features/interviews/6473/mark-millar-interviews-david-icke-the-public-are-waking-up-and-fighting

As he drops me off at the boat and gives me a copy of his new book, I’m left with the impression of a nice guy with an adoring family who left a BBC he despised in the hope of giving people a different information flow. As I open the book on my way to the mainland, I wonder what else in here is going to be mainstream headlines 20 years down the line.

Interesting! Interview with Whitley re: Super Natural https://youtu.be/qAdlV8icOGc

Serious! If academics can’t criticise the state, what use are they? More on the restrictions to the freedom of expression of public scientists: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/17/britains-scientists-must-not-be-gagged

 

Out of the Cornea of my Eye

Press for UFOs, Conspiracy Theories and the New Age has begun!

Firstly, if you are in the US, you can catch me talking about UFO conspiracies and David Icke on Wisconsin’s Public Radio tonight. The show is To The Best of Our Knowledge and is syndicated on two hundred stations across the US – check local press for details. Alternatively, you can listen to it here.

I’m delighted that the first review of the book is from the excellent Magonia blog. Their focus is on UFOs, though they take an interest in Forteana and conspiracies too, and they have a skeptical but not dismissive approach. You can read it here – I’m pleased with it, and agree with Peter Rogerson’s criticisms. This book won’t be my last word on the subject, however.

If there is a notable omission in this book it is the lack of a detailed treatment of the likes of Budd Hopkins and David Jacobs. The latter in particular merges traditional American far right tropes of the alien-other seeking to infiltrate society and a bring about the downfall of rugged American individualism, and to pollute the pure white blood line. In Jacobs’ ideology the ‘others’ are designated as hybrids and could be anybody (your neighbour might be a witch/Satanist/communist etc.) The hybrids are envisaged as sexually voracious and the greys replace the ‘communist conspiracy’ or the United Nations as bringers of the monolithic New World Order.
This book is written by an academic for academics but the core chapters are easily accessible and should be of interest to a wider readership, although readers might want to skip the section on ‘the critical study of religion’ in chapter two.

The Week in Conspiracy, 28th March 2016

Red Ice Radio completes its journey from the left wing spirituality to right wing racial politics, via conspiracy theories, with an episode interviewing former BNP leader Nick Griffin and Jack Sen, who was thrown out of UKIP for antisemitism. http://rediceradio.net/radio/2016/RIR-160325-nickgriffin-jacksen-hr1.mp3

Richard D. Hall has released the third part of his series of documentaries on the disappearance of Madeline McCann – this one clocking in at four hours – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70oo2-Sj7to

Is Mark Millar working on a comic with David Icke? Probably not, but they’re up to something… http://www.bleedingcool.com/2016/03/30/could-david-icke-be-reborn-with-mark-millar-or-is-it-another-conspiracy-theory/

Just for fun: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Conspiracies (Web Exclusive) – https://youtu.be/fNS4lecOaAc

Meanwhile, a couple for the “Some truth to this stuff after all” File:

http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2016/02/22/the-government-has-announced-the-outlawing-of-intellectual-opposition/

LA Times – “In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA” – http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-cia-pentagon-isis-20160327-story.html

 

The Week in Conspiracy Theories

Lizzard Warning
Via DGM Live

A draft of Dame Janet Smith’s report from the inquiry into Jimmy Savile and the BBC is leaked by Exaro News. This is a particularly troubling situation, because while a great deal of the conspiracist material surrounding Savile and the broader “institutional paedophilia” scare is hysterically exaggerated and speculative, and at worst – such as the case of the supposed witness “Nick” – based on what is either mental illness or outright fraud, there is plenty that is true and highly disturbing in this case.

David Icke has a new book coming out and a “world tour” later this year, so we can expect a run of new interviews across the alternative media. Here he talks to Alex Jones about “how the Public Is Programmed To Become Slaves”. I find his Infowars appearances particularly interesting because we get to see clearly how he selectively chooses his topic to suit his audience, in this case, politically right, Christian and pro-gun, in stark contrast to Icke’s own position.

Tila Tequila joins the growing flat earth revival with a wonderful Twitter rant. She demands scientific evidence! She blames the resistance to Flat Earth Theory arguments on brain damage caused by vaccines. Take that, Haterz!

On a more serious note, over at Disinfo.com, there’s an interesting take on conspiracism’s relationship to partisan politics, reminding us that there is more than one “orthodoxy”:

How can you believe that the government would not conspire against the people, when you obviously believe to the point of constant accusation that the other party you are not in, is constantly conspiring against your party and it’s leader?

Meanwhile, Rob Brotherton contributes an excellent op-ed for the LA Times, outlining the psychological and cognitive systems and biases that mean that conspiracy theorising is perfectly normal. Still, I would have liked to have seen him twist the knife a little more by pointing out that these same systems also produce religion…

Dismissing all conspiracy theories (and theorists) as crazy is just as intellectually lazy as credulously accepting every wild allegation. The tricky part is figuring out what’s reasonable and what’s ridiculous, and we can do that only by honestly scrutinizing why we believe what we believe.

The Week in Conspiracy Theories – 3/8/2015

Quassim Cassam contributed a piece to the Independent, announcing a survey to find out why “some are more ‘receptive'” to conspiracy theories. Cassam hhas softened his position a good deal since his last piece; he here states clearly that “conspiracy theorists” aren’t mad or mentally ill, merely “more vulnerable to “intellectual vices” such as dogmatism, gullibility and close mindedness”, which therefore “makes them more likely to listen to extreme “alternative” sources of information”. Presumably, Cassam doesn’t count the Independent as “alternative” media.

Nevertheless, there is no definition of what a “conspiracy theory” might be – rather there is the implication that we all know already. Those who don’t think like “us” have something wrong with the way they think. It’s the only possibility, right? We couldn’t be wrong. They are “extreme”, “overly dismissive”, “gullible” and “irrational”, because they believe things that “go against common wisdom”. Whose common wisdom? Because Cassam’s knowledge, of which he is so certain, would be challenged in many places, perhaps most places in the world.

In my opinion, Cassam commits two intellectual sins. Firstly, like the scholars of the colonial period, he assumes that there is something wrong with those who think differently from him, and sees his task as a scholar to correct them. Secondly, at the same time, he fails to follow up the implications of his argument, and challenge powerful groups who use the same styles of thought as the marginal groups he studies: Christians, Muslims, Jews and any large religious group – not to mention Republicans and Democrats. Isn’t that Cassam being “overly dissmissive” of evidence that goes against his own beliefs?

Meanwhile, over at the right-wing, populist Telegraph, Alex Proud opines that “conspiracy theorists may have had it right all along”. Surprisingly, he only makes passing mention of the EU, and his conclusion is rather odd for the Telegraph: “we need more regulation”:

This nice, cozy state of affairs lasted until the early 2000s. But then something changed. These days conspiracy theories don’t look so crazy and conspiracy theorists don’t look like crackpots. In fact, today’s conspiracy theory is tomorrow’s news headlines… Of course, our real-life conspiracies aren’t much like The X-Files – they’re disappointingly short on aliens and the supernatural. Rather, they’re more like John Le Carre books. Shady dealings by powerful people who want nothing more than to line their profits at the expense of others. The abuse of power. Crazy ideologues who try and create their own facts for fun and profit. Corporations supplanting governments via regulatory capture.

One for the “David Icke: Was he Right?” file: The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) announce an investigation into claims that Wiltshire Police shelved a child abuse investigation to cover up links to Edward Heath. While Icke has often claimed to have named Jimmy Savile as a paedophile prior to his death, he did not do so publicly. Heath, on the other hand, he did, and Icke is not going to miss the opportunity to point  this out:

Untitled

Conservative Press uses David Icke to Discredit the Green Party

The Telegraph blog yesterday ran a piece which is clearly intended to tarnish the Green Party by association to David Icke. You can read the article here. If you are unaware, the Telegraph is perhaps the most overtly Conservative of the major UK newspapers.

Asa Bennett draws a comparison between Natalie Bennett’s recent interviews and David Icke’s infamous interview with Terry Wogan in 1991. As I have previously written about, Icke’s appearance on the early-evening Wogan programme on April 29, 1991, led to widespread ridicule in the media, which it appears a large number of people remember 24 years later. He had recently had a series of channelled communications with Theosophical Masters, and was announcing it together with his wife Linda and a second woman, Deborah Shaw, both of whom had changed their names and were all dressing in turquoise. In the interview, Icke makes several Edgar Cayce-derived predictions of ‘earth changes’, and when prompted, states he is a “son of God”. Wogan is rather mocking, and the video seems to be unavailable in its entirety as a result.

Prior to this, however, Icke was a rising star of the Green Party. In 1989, he was elected one of four “national speakers”, and by 1990 was described as “the Green’s Tony Blair” and was widely considered de facto co-leader with Sara Parkin. He was dismissed by the BBC in 1990 (either as a result of his prominence in the Green Party, refusal to pay the Poll Tax, or forthcoming announcement of his spiritual awakening), and resigned from the Green Party on March 20, 1991, prior to Wogan. Icke was involved with the Green Party for little more than three years.

Bennett writes:

The Green party swiftly descended into a spiral of insanity and infighting, with its vote in the 1992 election slipping to 171,000. At that year’s conference, members gave a rapturous reception to their ex-leader after he told them that the world was run by giant lizards (including the Queen) and that global warming was a scam.

The first sentence is clearly polemic: “insanity” is a highly loaded word, and there is no reason to assume that a party inn disarray means they are insane. Would the Telegraph use similar language to describe the chaotic state of the Conservative party in 1990 when Thatcher was unnsuccessfully challengened by Michael Hesteltine, ultimately leading to John Major’s leadership? But the latter sentence is either misinformed or deliberately misleading. Icke did not announce the reptilian thesis until 1995, nor was he ever “leader” (as the article actually acknowledges elsewhere). In fact, the other national speakers of the Green Party were extremely upset by Icke’s claims, describing them as “an embarrasement”, and Sara Parkin actually quit in protest to the decision to invite him to speak at a 1992 event (not conference) in Nottingham. The antagonism continued, and Icke was heckled at the 1995 Glastonbury Festival by then Green Party speaker, David Taylor. Clearly, the Green Party did not endorse Icke’s views.

The article’s point? “The Green Party is a Looney Tunes alliance of druids and trots,” it says, quoting another recent op ed by Tim Stanley. Not Christian; not capitalist (although they deny being socialist, let alone communist); therefore insane. It seems that the recent surge of support for the Green Party is upsetting the Conservative press. It also shows that Icke’s Wogan interview is still a subject of ridicule, a quarter of a century on.

The People’s Voice, Part 2

This is the second part of my history of the independent “alternative” internet channel, The People’s Voice. You can read part one here.

28/2/14 – Live broadcasting on TVP ceases.

A third Indigogo fundraiser was launched, running from 18/3 – 17/4/2014. Although the goal was initially £250,000, later dropped to a more modest £50,000, only £36,393 was raised. It was claimed that the funding was needed to facilitate a move to a new studio which would enable TPV to broadcast over satellite outside the UK. This would never happen.

9/7/14 – Icke leaves the People’s Voice

Continue reading