Saturday, February 27, 2010

Japan: Tsunami Warnings

Following the devastating earthquake in Chile which has left 214 dead according to Reuters, Japan has issued tsunami warnings for the whole east coast.

Of course it didn't take long for the conspiraloons to cast their misanthropic perspective on this natural disaster.

A "news service" called Citizens for Legitimate Government, which describes itself as "A multi-partisan activist group established to expose and resist US imperialism, corpora-terrorism, and the New World Order" reported the story as follows:

Massive earthquake strikes Chile 27 Feb 2010 A massive earthquake with an initial magnitude of 8.8 has struck central Chile. The quake struck at 0634 GMT about 91km (56 miles) north-east of the city of Concepcion and 317km south-west of the capital, Santiago. Buildings in Santiago were reported to have shaken for between 10 and 30 seconds, with the loss of electricity and communications. The US issued an initial tsunami warning for Chile, Peru and Ecuador. That was later extended to Colombia, Antarctica, Panama and Costa Rica. [HAARP]

Later updates mixed legitimate news with its own bizarre editorial decisions.

Chile Quake Is One of the Biggest in a Century --Tsunami unleashed by quake is now speeding across the ocean at 550 miles per hour, or the speed of a jet plane 27 Feb 2010 The 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck off coastal Chile in the early hours of the morning is one of the biggest temblors anywhere in more than a century. Data from the U.S. Geological Survey suggests that this morning's Chile quake tied in fifth place with an 8.8 quake that hit Ecuador and Bolivia in 1906. Only four quakes have been bigger since 1900. Scores of countries around the Pacific Ocean are bracing for a tsunami unleashed by the latest quake, and which is now speeding across the ocean at 550 miles per hour, or the speed of a jet plane.

Which was immediately followed by a citation from Wikipedia...

High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program 27 Feb 2010 The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) is an ionospheric research program jointly funded by the US Air Force, the US Navy, the University of Alaska and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Its purpose is to analyze the ionosphere and investigate the potential for developing ionospheric enhancement technology for radio communications and surveillance purposes (such as missile detection). The HAARP program operates a major Arctic facility, known as the HAARP Research Station, on an Air Force owned site near Gakona, Alaska. The most outstanding instrument at the HAARP Station is the Ionospheric Research Instrument (IRI), a high power transmitter facility operating in the high frequency range. The IRI is used to temporarily excite a limited area of the ionosphere... As of 2008, HAARP had incurred around $250 million in tax-funded construction and operating costs.

The editor, Lori Price, likes to add her two cents to a number of news stories such as this one on the crisis in Haiti:

Yeah, letting the US in to 'help' is like letting loose forty child molesters on a playground. --LRP

Responsible journalism!

Update: Of course, the idiots who are calling this a manufactured earthquake probably have little to say about the fact that in 1960 the world's most powerful recorded quake struck almost the same area off Chile. The tsunami it spawned killed 140 people in Japan.

Richard Hofstadter: The Paranoid Style in American Politics

Content Not Yet Approved by New World Order Agents with Above Top Secret Clearance

Monday, February 22, 2010

Steven Jones Flirts With HAARP?

Hej til dig i Danmark!

At the slightly subdued looking jamboree that the Truth Movement are having for AE9/11 getting a thousand signatures for their petition to re-investigate 9/11, the three Most Scholarly Leaders: David Ray Griffin, Richard Gage and Steven Jones made a few closing remarks in which Griffin seems a bit upset with Cass Sunstein's paper on conspiracy theories and how to deal with their proponents, and Richard Gage gives an ever-so-slightly cult-esque sendoff, "unity...oneness...networks of love and connection". But Steven Jones has a giddy turn in between them when he reminds the audience that people from George Bush Senior to Henry Kissinger to Rahm Emmanuel have used the term "New World Order" and how it might relate to human-generated disasters. Jones' nervousness seems to come from fearing being thought of as the nuttiest man in a room full of nuts as he goes on to suggest that maybe, just maybe the Haiti earthquake was manufactured.

Surely this guy is an NWO shill infiltrating the 9/11 Truth Movement to make it look ridiculous. This is all too much for some Truthers.

Update: 28th February: Alien Entity has a good post at JREF putting Steven Jones' assertions that the oil reserves "around Port-au-Prince... are larger than the reserves of Venezuala" into perspective. The amounts of "proven reserves" of oil in the Greater Antilles area (which includes Haiti but isn't confined to Haiti) would be enough for seven days of the US's current consumption. Even unproven or "undiscovered" reserves are only estimated at 941 million barrels of oil whereas Venezualan oil reserves are estimated at 87 billion barrels.

So, once again, Steven Jones appears to be full of 9/11Troof.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Coincidence Theory?

Is this another incredible coincidence?

You'll just have to take my word for this but on Wednesday while drinking coffee with a friend at Mr Donut, we were discussing the supposed definition of insanity that it is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result".

I was surprised to see that this formed part of the closing remarks of Joseph Stack's rambling suicide note/manifesto before he flew a plane into an Austin, Texas office building that housed a branch of the IRS:

I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Given the superficial similarities to the 9/11 attacks which I talk about a lot (too much!) maybe it proves that these happenings aren't coincidences after all!

Or maybe not.

Almost any theory can be confirmed by looking for "evidence" that verifies it. Simply looking for instances that offer confirmation is a bad epistemological habit that is often used by conspiracy theorists. This is one of the lessons of The Black Swan, a book I'm reading by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who, taking his lead from Karl Popper argues that a more honest way of forming a theory (or making a conjecture) is to think up what could possibly refute it.

Well, I hope to get back to talking about that - what counts as a good, epistemologically-sound theory and a theory that is derived from bad principles. But in the meantime, here's Russia Today's coverage of the plane crash in Austin, Texas. Perhaps unsurprisingly they ask Alex Jones to comment on what's going on.

As he's being interviewed, Alex Jones first starts out saying that it is likely that Stack did this act on purpose and that it hasn't been designated a terrorist attack, but then goes on to say that the Federal government is dreaming up ways in which to demonize states' rights groups and people such as Jones by conducting "false flag" terror attacks.

Er...Mr Jones, but haven't you already said the big bad government has declined from describing it as a terrorist attack?

He then says the Undabomber has been confirmed as a bit false-flaggy and that the Oklahoma bombing was a government inside job. And, presumably to confirm this he cites Joe Biden who warned about "lone nut" attacks saying that he was telegraphing a Reichstagian event!

Er...on the other hand, couldn't Biden have been referring to just those kinds of attacks, which, unless you're a conspiracy theorist you'll probably believe are lone nut attacks - the Unabomber, the Undabomber, the Shoe bomber, the Oklahoma bomber (sort of), Lee Harvey Oswald and, indeed, the Reichstag fire! Why is Biden's mentioning of such things so obviously an example of "telegraphing" an incident such as Stack's attack on the office block in Texas which Jones is variously describing as a fightback against the oppressive tax laws and a "false flag" incident!

I think there is something suspicious here! After all, wasn't it Jones' media outlets, according to him, the first to break this story and didn't Jones predict a "staged attack" in Austin and has been doing so "for months", according to him? Could this be an example of the very telegraphing he accuses others of doing?

Where was Jones on the day this happened? From what I can see he was either at the very city in which this terrorist attack happened, Austin Texas, or judging by the graphics on the screen behind him he was aboard Dick Cheney's Death Star!

Update: Good piece in Slate by Dave Cullen about Joe Stack's parting missive.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Conspiraloon TV!

Conspiraloon extraordinaire, Michel Chossudovsky, who runs the site Global is featured on conspiracy-friendly TV station, Russia Today, to explain that rabbits are eating his face!*

Actually, I think he's saying that World War Three is just around the corner when the US finally attacks Iran with nuclear weapons as he and others have been predicting since 2004. Like the boy who cried wolf he is destined to not be believed if he carries on saying the same thing so I thought I'd repost it here so no one can complain about me ignoring his alarmism like the NWO-controlled mainstream media.

* I stole that expression from somewhere but can't find the origin. If someone knows the origin, or is the originator, please tell me and I'll credit them with it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What Is It?

As Marylander asked what conspiracies are popular in Japan in the comments box of an earlier post I decided to look into them. There does seem to be some interest in secret societies and a bit of cryptohistory and I will try to get round to a post on those things at a later date.

But just to start with I want to show the photograph above. It kicked off a controversy which, while not a conspiracy per se, still has a lot of the hallmarks of a conspiracy theory.

I don't want to give away any details as I don't want it to be easily Googlable.

What do you think it is?

Thanks to Nag P. for the tip.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Friends of Kim

Photo courtesy of "Waasa" via DPRK Studies

The Ricky Gervais look-alike is Alejandro Cao de Benos de Les y Pérez a self-styled "soldier of Kim Jong-il" who leads an "army of intellectuals" called the Korean Friendship Association - a group of people so blinkered and enamoured of Kim Jong-il's miserable imitation of Disneyland that they almost make Truthers look sane. Well, almost.

Here's another one of the dashing aristocrat wearing the Medal of Extraordinary Equality or something...

The KFA's role is to take Westerners, whether they be True Believers in the Cult of Kim or simply the curious to Pyongyang to engage in pro-DPRK propaganda. On one of those trips an excellent documentary was made by two film-makers a couple of years ago called Friends of Kim which is well worth watching, if you like that sort of thing.

The documentary is in eight parts and begins with a number of Useless Idiots waffling on excitedly about how they are going to discover the answer to their middle-class boredom and the horrid capitalist system that so many people are just asking questions about these days. Such questions meet radical answers here as the chubby Alejandro marches the simpering Europeans past slender if not emaciated "cheering crowds" on a "march" through Kaesong, on the Korean border.

Part 5 is especially worth watching for when "simple soldier" Alejandro starts blaring across the border, "Yankee Go Home!" and attempts to get a rousing chorus from his suitably embarrassed comrades.

There is some extremely unpleasant lies by one of the KFA's senior members who insists there is no food crisis in the DPRK. His claim is contradicted by a member of the World Food Programme who says that the DPRK have to come begging to them every year for food aid and still only get a fraction of what they need.

This seems to be somewhat confirmed by what I myself witnessed when I went to the DPRK two years ago with Koryo Tours.

Given that the DPRK is reputed to put its healthiest troops on the border, one would have thought they could find some slightly less hungry-looking soldiers as these.

But Alejandro's obnoxiousness doesn't end with his badgering tone, "We are fed up with the lies, huh? Huh?" He resorts to breaking in to the room of American journalist, Andrew Morse, stealing his videotapes and breaking his computer. Later he unabashedly explains that he did it for security reasons and plays the victim card by saying his relationship with the North Korean government was threatened by Morse's journalism.

Edit: One of the participants on the tour runs an excellent blog called nkeconwatch.

Edit: I'd forgotten about this classic music video.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Shadows Dispelled

Wow! Another amazing coincidence and conclusive proof that there is some kind of cosmic force guiding this blog's adventures.

Whilst browsing the international magazines (which I only read for the articles and the amusing letters) in my local Kinokuniya Bookshop today I noticed a copy of Truther-baiting publication, Popular Mechanics. I'd never looked inside an actual print edition of this magazine although I do own a copy of the Debunking 9/11 Myths book they published. Imagine, if you will, my surprise when while leafing through it I found a little article squashed into the corner of one page illustrated by the very Lee Harvey Oswald picture I wrote a post on, last week!

The article was about a study conducted by a professor of computer science, Hany Farid, who used a 3-D computer model of Oswald's head (created from his mugshots taken in custody in Dallas) to see if the shadows in the backyard photographs were inconsistent. His analysis showed them to be "perfectly consistent". His results were published in Perception Magazine. The latest edition of Popular Mechanics doesn't appear to have made it to the Web yet, but Huffington Post did a story on this back in November last year.

But wait! If the photographs appear to be genuine after all, then that means Oswald was lying! If he was lying he really had been in possession of the rifle seen as the murder weapon of President Kennedy and it may not have been planted by the FBI or the Dallas cops! It means Oswald really had been in possession of the pistol that killed Officer Tippit! And it means Kennedy conspiracy theorists may have to ruminate their brains out to come up with an explanation.

Update: Here is a video of Hany Farid explaining the methodology behind his analysis of the Oswald photograph.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Remember the Maine!

As they have done before, Russia Today are broadcasting more conspiracy silliness interviewing some kid from the organization, We Are Change, who are regular guests. In this case some new photographs taken in New York on 9/11 have been released presumably showing new evidence of explosions or a guy lighting a thermite charge with a match (or something like that).

Okay, so it's not that interesting, but I did notice when asked why the US government would want to stage the attacks themselves, the WAC guy says that false flags have been going on since the dawn of civilization and cites as one of his examples, the USS Maine! This one seems to be the precedent de jour right now so I just thought I'd mention to regular readers Mark and Peter, residents of New York, that if they head down (up?) to a place called Fort Totten they can see some 100 year-old grafitti commemorating the sinking of that ship.

I stole the following picture from this site.

Of course, as I mentioned before, there doesn't seem to be much evidence for saying the USS Maine was sunk in a false flag attack.

When did this conspiracy theory become Mainestream?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

JFK and Unreasonable Doubt

In the comments box to my post on Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed, Mark G makes an interesting observation, which I happen to disagree with:

On the JFK assassination, I think it ultimately comes down to gut instinct: is it more plausible to believe that Kennedy was killed by Oswald acting alone, or, do you think Kennedy was killed by some larger conspiracy, possibly involving the CIA and/or the Mafia? We all work backward from that gut feeling, in terms of citing evidence and argumentation. My gut tells me conspiracy, no doubt. Your gut, apparently, tells you Oswald acted alone. If this is the case, there's no way we can possibly persuade each other.

[I was writing a response to this in the comments box which became so large it was worth making another post]

I have to disagree with this. When I first started becoming interested in politics (US and UK politics) my "gut feeling" told me that JFK had been killed in a conspiracy. I believed it was common knowledge that JFK had been killed in a conspiracy. In fact, as you have pointed out, it can be regarded as the "official line" that JFK was killed in a conpiracy.

I remember watching JFK because I expected it would tell me more about it when, in reality, the film just confused me. What the Hell is he trying to say? I wondered. The more I looked at it the more confusing the picture seemed to be. I started to wonder if this was what Oliver Stone had intended. To make it less clear than it was.

So, at what you would call high school, I took an extra-curricular course that my history teacher ran called "Who Shot Kennedy?" He laid out a case which, if I remember correctly, implicated Lyndon Johnson. I can't remember if that is what he concluded but he definitely spent much of his time trying to rubbish the evidence that Oswald did it. He pointed to photographs he said were faked such as the famous one of Oswald holding his rifle in his backyard.

I also remember that whereas almost all of us were there to find out who killed Kennedy in a conspiracy only one kid entertained the idea that Oswald shot him alone. He kept talking about Gerald Posner's book, Case Closed. It made me wonder, at the time, why anyone would take such a contrarian view that Oswald acted alone. Surely the idea of a conspiracy is more exciting, I thought. Why's this kid being so boring and trying to defend an obviously culpable US government? Anyway, I continued to believe that Kennedy was killed in a conspiracy because, well... it was what everyone else believed. In other words, my "gut feeling" was born from pure laziness and unwillingness to examine any evidence myself or arguments from the other side. I had only listened to conspiracy arguments which I didn't understand.

I later came to realize that I never understood the conspiracy arguments because they weren't really coherent and because conspiracy theorists spend much of their time doing nothing more than undermining the "official line" or rather the generally accepted historical narrative.

While conspiracy theorists like to focus in on very minor technical details that they say renders the whole "official line" false they can often only do this by obscuring or failing to look at the big picture.

Alexander Cockburn probably says this better I can, so I'll excerpt a very large chunk of an article he wrote on conspiracies:

Anyone familiar with criminal, particularly death penalty defense – I had such an opportunity for a number of years – will know that there are always anomalies the prosecution cannot account for and that the defense teams can exploit, in hopes of swaying a jury either in the guilt or penalty phase of a trial. Time and again I would see the defense team spend days and weeks, even months, back-checking on a possibly vulnerable link in the evidentiary chain that could be attacked, at least to the all-important level of creating “reasonable doubt” in the mind of a juror. Expert witnesses would be imported at great expense –- unlike states such as Texas, the justice system of California is generous in the provision of money for death penalty defense -- to challenge the prosecution’s forensic evidence. Such challenges weren’t hard to mount. Contrary to prosecutorial claims, there is far less instrinsic certainty in forensic evaluation than is commonly supposed, as regards fingerprints, landing marks on bullets and so forth.

But minute focus of a death penalty defense team on one such weak link often leads to a distorted view of the whole case. I remember more than one case where, after weeks of interviewing witnesses at one particular crime scene, the defense’s investigator had collected enough witness reports to mount a decent attack on this aspect of the prosecution’s overall case. At least this is what I thought, hearing the daily bulletins of the investigator. But when, in such instances, the camera pulled back, so to speak, and I saw the prosecution’s whole case – chain of evidence, cumulative witness statements, accused’s own movements and subsequent statements – it became clear enough to me and, in that case to the juries , that the accused were incontestably guilty. But even then, such cases had a vigorous afterlife, with the defense trying to muster up grounds for an appeal, on the basis of testimony and evidence withheld by the prosecution, faulty rulings by the judge, a prejudiced jury member and so on. A seemingly “cut and dried case” is very rarely beyond challenge, even though in essence it actually may well be just that, “cut and dried”.

Anyone who ever looked at the JFK assassination will know that there are endless anomalies and loose ends. Eyewitness testimony – as so often – is conflicting, forensic evidence possibly misconstrued, mishandled or just missing. But in my view, the Warren Commission, as confirmed in almost all essentials by the House Committee on Assassinations in the late 1970s, had it right and Oswald fired the fatal shots from the Schoolbook Depository. The evidentiary chain for his guilt is persuasive, and the cumulative scenarios of the conspiracy nuts entirely unconvincing. But of course – as the years roll by, and even though no death bed confession has ever buttressed those vast, CIA-related scenarios -- the nuts keep on toiling away, their obsessions as unflagging as ever.

So, going back to that piece of evidence I mentioned earlier. The photograph of Oswald holding the same rifle which was found in the Book Depository with Oswald's prints on and with the same pistol that had been used to shoot officer Tippit (the crime he was arrested for) is highly damning. Oswald could only claim that it was a fake and since then conspiracy theorists have tried to analyse the shadows on it to argue that the head had been glued on (photoshop having not been invented). The problem for this scenario is that his wife Marina, had, tesitified to having taken the photographs and that she'd done so because Oswald had asked her to. According to Wikipedia:

However, Marina Oswald testified in 1964,[140] 1969,[141] 1977,[142] and 1978,[143] and reaffirmed in 2000[144] that she took the photographs at Oswald's request. These photos were labelled CE 133-A and CE 133-B. CE 133-A shows the rifle in Oswald's left hand and newsletters in front of his chest in the other, while the rifle is held with the right hand in CE 133-B. Oswald's mother testified that on the day after the assassination she and Marina destroyed another photograph with Oswald holding the rifle with both hands over his head, with "To my daughter June" written on it.[145]

It's unfortunate for conspiracy theorists that there is more than just one of these pictures and that those closest to Oswald deny they were fakes (a report on their authenticity is here). The conspiracy theorists then have to posit other reasons why Marina and Oswald's mother may not be telling the truth. Were they coerced? Okay, who by and under pain of what? Why was there more than one photograph taken in the backyard and why is the story so elaborate?

If the conspiracists wanted to frame Oswald, then why did they bother killing officer Tippit? And if that was part of the plan then what was the purpose of the assassination attempt on General Walker in which a bullet that matched Oswald's gun was found? Essentially, a lot of conspiracy theorists will say that, apart from the bullet matching the rifle, there was no evidence that it was Oswald, so the bullet could have been planted. But, again, what would have been the point?

Anyway, the point I am making is not just that the photographs prove Oswald did it (although the rifle may as well be smoking) but that in the bigger picture the evidence always ends up pointing the same way, towards Oswald, and only by employing ultra-skepticism towards each and every line of evidence, unreasonable doubt in most cases, can we really avoid concluding that the most likely explanation for Kennedy's death is, Oswald did it.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

New World Order Gossip!

This blog is not interested in gossip and private lives etc... etc... but as Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Niall Ferguson are clearly very prominent members of the New World Order shape-shifting lizard community this is clearly BIG NEWS!!!1!

Update: As ever the Daily Mail's readership doesn't disappoint with its comments on this most important story.

He sure knows how to conduct foreign affairs!
- Willie Eckerslyke, Morecambe

so much for Tory 'family values' Lets be honest about this. They are all at it. as i have said before there is Nobody to trust , nobody worth a vote.
- Paul Taylor, Shenzhen China

So what ?
- George, Overseas

Monday, February 08, 2010

Dr Ahmed's Diagnosis

When Christopher Hitchens called Gore Vidal out for being a 9/11 Truther in Vanity Fair, a number of people were quick to pick sides and defend whichever one of the two happens to be their literary hero. Those who like Hitchens tended to agree with him for calling Vidal a crackpot and those who like Vidal tended to see it as unsporting of Hitchens to lay into an old man who may have simply gone potty.

Then there are those who defend Vidal on the grounds that his Truther-esque statements may well In this case, no less a personage as Dr Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed MA DPhil (Sussex) has stepped in to defend Vidal on these very grounds in an article in the Independent. It's interesting, to me at least, that while Truthers so often refer to those without the Truth as sheeple it is they who do the most bleating. In particular they like to bleat about "appeals to authority" which they like to point out as a fallacy and complain about getting ad hominem attacks from the zombified sheeple. But if ad hominem attacks and appeals to authority are unfair then what is the purpose of organizations referring to themselves grandly as Scholars for Truth, or Architects and Engineers for Truth? Surely it is to promote themselves as some kind of authority. And what is with the long string of letters after Dr Ahmed's name? Is he thinking of founding the NoDumbSchmucks for Truth movement?

To be fair, Dr Ahmed does have a personal stake in this given that Hitchens was expressing astonishment that Gore Vidal could put his name to one of Dr Ahmed's books. Hitchens says:

Vidal relied heavily on the man he thought had produced “the best, most balanced report” on 9/11, a certain Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, of the Institute for Policy Research & Development, whose book The War on Freedom had been brought to us by what Vidal called “a small but reputable homeland publisher.” Mr. Ahmed on inspection proved to be a risible individual wedded to half-baked conspiracy-mongering, his “Institute” a one-room sideshow in the English seaside town of Brighton, and his publisher an outfit called “Media Monitors Network” in association with “Tree of Life,” whose now-deceased Web site used to offer advice on the ever awkward question of self-publishing.

If this type of ad hominem attack smarts a bit, it isn't surprising that Dr Ahmed feels self-conscious enough about his credentials to spend a good deal of his article pointing out where that boorish oaf, Hitchens, has gone wrong ("Hitchens conveniently overlooks the fact that I am at the Department of International Relations, University of Sussex...etc..."). And, just for good measure, what looks like Dr Ahmed's entire media CV is tacked on as a postscript.

But the problem with Dr Ahmed's article is that it tries to have things too many ways. First, by saying it was unfair of Hitchens to call the old guy a "crackpot" being of "crackpot" vintage and secondly to say that maybe Vidal's still got all his marbles after all, which undercuts his first plea for the defence. Dr Ahmed partly bases this claim on the discredited idea that the FBI don't want Osama bin Laden for the 9/11 attacks.

Gore describes bin Laden as ‘still not the proven mastermind.’ Hitchens thinks this is self-evidently absurd, but it would seem the FBI agree with Gore, not Hitchens: according to Sonoma State University’s Project Censored, one of the top 25 censored news stories of 2008 was that ‘He [bin Laden] has not been formally indicted and charged in connection with 9/11 because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11.’

This claim largely comes from the fact that Bin Laden's FBI Wanted poster doesn't mention the 9/11 attacks. And that one Rex Tomb, of the FBI, gave the following reason for the omission:

“The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Osama bin Laden’s Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11.” Tomb continued, “Bin Laden has not been formally charged in connection to 9/11.”

Wow! Looks like the New World Order made a major slip-up in not telling the FBI to put the 9/11 attacks on the FBI poster. Either that or they're surprisingly honest about the fact that there is no reason to suspect Bin Laden.

Or perhaps there is another explanation, as appeared in the Washington Post:

"There's no mystery here," said FBI spokesman Rex Tomb. "They could add 9/11 on there, but they have not because they don't need to at this point. . . . There is a logic to it."

The point is that the FBI were sent out to Kenya and Tanzania to investigate the embassy bombings in 1998 and made Bin Laden a suspect in what they considered to be a crime. The 9/11 attacks were treated more as an act of war and one in which evidence took the form of intelligence that those investigating the attacks wouldn't want to compromise by revealing it. Or else Rex Tomb has been leaned on after initially letting the cat out of the bag.

More of that is here. In fact, one of the problems identified in not catching those responsible for 9/11 before it happened came from different investigative bodies, the FBI and the CIA not communicating enough with each other and sharing information for the simple reason that the FBI would seek to use the evidence in court, and therefore make it public, while the CIA wanted such information to remain secret in order to further discover more about the Bin Laden network.

And just in case there is any doubt the US State Department has listed Bin Laden as wanted for the 9/11 attacks.

The claims of responsibility also probably weigh in on the side of Bin Laden's guilt.

Thirdly, Dr Ahmed makes a parallel between Hitchens' past indulgence of conspiracy theories such as the idea that USS Maine was deliberately sunk by the US in 1898 as a pretext for the Spanish-American War and the Lusitania was deliberately imperiled by Churchill to get the Americans into World War One and Gore Vidal's current conspiracy theorizing about Pearl Harbor and 9/11.

This suggests Dr Ahmed has been reading Hitchens Watch where it was also said that it was rich of Hitchens to call Vidal a conspiraloon given his own crown of baco-foil. (I looked at that here.)

If Gore’s scepticism about Pearl Harbour [sic] represents a ‘crackpot’ strain, then what do Hitchens’s writings about the sinking of the Lusitania in his Blood, Class and Empire (2004) say about him? Hitchens points to how the US sank its own ship, the USS Maine, in Havana as a pretext for the Spanish-American War. This was precedent for Winston Churchill’s ‘pivotal role’ in the Lusitania deception, a ‘psychological warfare’ operation that ‘prepared United States public opinion for a war on the terrain of old Europe’ by placing the ship in the line of German fire. He concludes ominously:

‘I am reluctantly driven to the conclusion that there was a conspiracy deliberately to put the Lusitania at risk in the hope that even an abortive attack on her would bring the United States into war. Such a conspiracy could not have been put into effect without Winston Churchill’s express permission and approval.’

Talk about pot calling the kettle black? Whether either of them is right or wrong, compared to Hitchens’s repeated, heated, solemn references to ‘conspiracy’, Gore is far more measured, albeit laden with a heavy-dose of the blackest irony.

Well, all Dr Ahmed can achieve from this tactic is to show that Hitchens is as nutty as himself and Gore Vidal. But this Phyrric victory doesn't make any of his own theories or Gore Vidal's theories on Pearl Harbor or pipelines look any less half-baked.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Nobody Knows...

Some blogger who goes by the appropriate handle of Nobody, has a post up attacking poor shills like me for trying to cover up the obvious inside job attacks on September 11th 2001. I haven't got round to reading the whole thing, short as it is, because it tries to make a case so laughable that I'd rather waste time writing this instead (and because Mossad pays me to write, not to read!)

Nobody first starts out with the hokey old conspiracy theorist tactic of establishing a precendent. In this case, pointing out the Franklin Delano Roosevelt must have, must have, known about Japan's impending surprise attack on Pearl Harbor (presumably meaning that FDR wasn't surprised one bit).

Nobody sketches his argument here:

It's a cold hard truth that Roosevelt wanted the US in the war and Pearl Harbour [sic] was the means he used to achieve this. And sure, he sacrificed a couple thousand of his own people. No big deal - I doubt anyone in Washington would have batted an eyelid. They wanted a war, and in a war sacrificing people - in large numbers - is just part of the game. It's done all the time. Mind you, what you don't do is sacrifice expensive hardware. That's why Pearl Harbour [sic] was full of WWI vintage ships and all the shiny new vessels were out to sea.

The hole in this theory is that the US had eight battleships docked at Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack. Some, but by no means all of them were of World War One-era but battleships were still seen as the key to naval wars at the time. The aircraft carriers were indeed out to sea, but with the Japanese still outnumbering them heavily in that department (six Japanese carriers were involved in the attack at Pearl Harbor alone!) it seems ludicrous to believe Roosevelt would allow such a crippling blow to the US navy in the hopes of fighting back with a much reduced force. Not only did they lose 2000 servicemen and women and nearly 200 aircraft, if Roosevelt were to have given the Japanese the first hit for free then he would have had no guarantee that the attack on Pearl Harbor wouldn't have been even more devestating than it was.

Besides, it neglects a very important consideration. The war that FDR wanted to be in was one against Hitler. Allowing the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor was no guarantee that FDR could get that war meaning that he could have ended up fighting the war he didn't want with a reduced military capability.

As I pointed out to Nobody, in his comments section:

How did FDR arrange for Hitler to declare war on the US?

But anyway, while I may get back to Pearl Harbor at a later date, the invoking of this - as David Ray Griffin does - is merely an attempt to set a precedent for the argument that the neo-cons/the New World Order/Deep State USA were behind the 9/11 attacks.

Nobody initially used the following photograph to illustrate one of the theories that the Twin Towers were brought down in controlled demolitions:

How this picture demonstrates that is not completely clear except that a doctored version of the photograph appeared on a paper by Dr. Steven Jones to prove that there was molten steel in the ruins of the towers which seem to prove that the towers were brought down by thermite (or thermate, or nanothermite, or superthermite or something).

Anyway, like the killjoy I am I pointed this out too:

Also, that photograph of workers at Ground Zero presumably shows glowing molten metal, right?

Wrong. It is the light of a torch and I think it might be one of the pictures that Steven Jones touched up.

So, since then I think Nobody has changed the photograph or left this one up instead.

Oh dear!

Thanks to RKOwens for putting up that and many other videos which debunk the 9/11 Truthers' silliness.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Cui Bono

"Cui Bono", often translated as "who benefits?", is a favourite investigative principal of conspiracy theorists. It allows them to spin all kinds of fanciful nonsense whereby any accidental or perceived benefit resulting from tragedy can be used to finger otherwise unlikely culprits. For example, 9/11 conspiracy theorists often point to the fact that there are large gas reserves in Central Asia, particularly in Turkmenistan to argue that ultimately 9/11 was staged by the US in order to invade Afghanistan and build a pipeline through that country and down to the Pakistani coast where it will no doubt be run off with by the Yankee Imperialist Aggressors.

The pipeline has been the central character of what Ronald Weick calls a shaggy-dog story with no punchline explaining every action of the US's involvement in Central Asia. Pointing to UNOCAL's attempts to build a trans-Afghan pipeline in the nineties, some conspiracy theorists believe that the Afghan war was purely an attempt to resurrect this project. That the ensuing chaos justified troop presence there or that the US was deliberately provoking conflict. It didn't seem to matter that conflict was almost certainly the last thing prospective investors wanted to see there. I have even seen arguments that the continued US presence is deliberately stirring up conflict in order to prevent pipelines being built from Central Asia to China. Of course the problem with that little theory is that one look at the map above shows there is no need to build a trans-Afghan pipeline to move gas from Turkmenistan (or any of the other Central Asian republics) to China.

Also, the real world of geo-politics seems to work a little differently to the rules of Risk. Just because the Yankees have their black(water) armies sitting on Afghanistan doesn't mean China can't have its red armies parked there too. Or if not its red armies, it doesn't mean that it can't operate its own copper mine in Afghanistan.

However, China does seem to know at least one thing about the strategy of Risk. Let your opponents squabble with each other and build up slowly and quietly.

From 30th January's Economist:

[F]or most of the 18 years since the Soviet Union’s break-up, China has taken a back seat in the fierce competition between Russia and America for influence in this resource-rich region. In 2009, with the energy needs of its burgeoning economy continually growing, it woke up to new opportunities in its western backyard...

...In June, for example, China agreed to lend Turkmenistan $4 billion to develop its largest gasfield, South Yolotan, close to the Afghan border. This was part of a 30-year deal that should eventually bring China 40 billion cubic metres of gas each year. The same month Hu Jintao, Jiang Zemin’s successor, announced a loan of $10 billion loan to the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO), a security forum grouping China, Russia and four Central Asian countries, to shore up members faltering in the global downturn. In November China’s largest oil-and-gas provider, jointly with Kazakhstan’s oil-and-gas firm, bought MangistauMunaiGas, a big oil producer in Kazakhstan. In exchange, China had lent the country $10 billion earlier last year.

China needs to be careful with its plans, however. If the Truthers get wind of who the true beneficiaries of the situation in Afghanistan are, China may have to face the inept wrath of the conspiraloons who may just ask the question... Hu benefits?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Ring Them Bells

Well, as Dylan's coming to Japan next month and I'm off to watch him I thought I'd put up a video of him playing live at Todaiji Temple in Nara. Todaiji temple is, in fact, the largest wooden building in the world (and its actually a smaller reconstruction of the original) housing a great big wooden seated Buddah statue. One of the pillars holding up the great structure has a hole at its base of about the same height and width of a miniature Dachshund which is supposedly the dimensions of the great Buddah's nostril. Legend has it that if you crawl through the hole you will achieve enlightenment. I've been through it twice which is, no doubt, how I came to be so wise.

The song, Ring Them Bells, is from the "Oh Mercy" album which some say signalled Dylan's return from the messy wilderness he was wandering for much of the Eighties. This is performed in the rock with orchestra genre that kids go wild for these days.

Thanks to MalibuColonyPlaza for putting up the video and more of the same concert.