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

The revived X-Files TV show features a character based on Alex Jones and Glenn Beck (the irony there being that Glenn Beck seems to be a character based on Alex Jones also). Looks like this is going to be essential viewing for me:

O’Malley eventually sways Mulder and Scully to adopt a new conspiracy that lays a framework for the six-episode revival. The theory involves global warming, war in the Middle East, NSA spying, chem-trails (here called “aerial contaminants”), police militarization, supposed FEMA prison camps, and the eventual military “takeover of America” by a UN-like group of “multinational elites.” The conspiracy theory plays a bit like Oliver Stone during his JFK fever pitch — only if his source material was Infowars instead of UFO lore.

Is Myra Hindley really dead? Coleman thinks not. What strikes me most is his ability to link everything by insinuation to child abuse. Thatcher met Savile, Savile knew the Royals, thatcher didn’t investigate Hindley, therefore Hindley and Savile procured children for the elite. And, these speculations are built upon other unproven allegations, treating collusion between the royals and Savile as fact, for example. On the other hand, I do like all the newspaper images he uses, showing how involved the popular right tabloids are in this kind of fear porn.

Only five years ago, Sweden’s Red Ice Radio was focused on a mix of new age, UFOs and conspiracy theories, what I would call millennial conspiracism. Today, their content is right wing, apocalyptic and openly anti-Semitic. Sadly, I feel this is typical of the milieu as a whole.

There’s a good article by Rob Brotherton over at the Daily Beast about the Illuminati conspiracy theories circling around the hip-hop world since the mid-1990s:

Have you noticed how a lot of musicians have been covering one eye when posing for photos? Or making some kind of triangle with their hands? Or both? And what’s up with all the occult imagery in videos for Jay Z’s “On to the Next One” and Kanye’s “Power”? Is it just because it looks cool and mysterious? The conspiracy-minded say there’s something more sinister to it. This is evidence, they say, of a vast, nefarious secret society—the Illuminati—and its plan to institute a New World Order.

But Will.I.Am calls bullshit on that:

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Sometimes a triangle is just a triangle, guys.