Friday, April 30, 2010

You Bet There Was No Insider Trading Plot...

Nearly nine years, two recessions and thousands of conspiracy theories later, the U.S. government has made it official: Initial speculation after the 9/11 terrorist attacks that plotters made financial bets against airlines or other companies hurt by the events was unfounded.

AOL News

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How To Piss Off Everyone...

Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League is very worked up about this joke by Obama's National Security Adviser, James Jones. This seems to bear out Jon Ronson's characterization of the ADL as being overly-sensitive on some things (such as when they suggested that David Icke's saying that lizards ruled the world was code for saying Jews ruled the world when, in fact, he meant lizards!)

James Jones has apparently now apologized for the joke, which didn't seem to be offensive at all and was just a whipped-up and over-hyped moral outrage!

But Abe Foxman's not the only one incapable of taking a joke, as South Park discovered to their peril. Apparently an episode of South Park portraying Mohammed was censored by Comedy Central because they received what they perceived as a death threat from a website called Revolution Muslim.

Now, if I remember rightly, South Park is an irreverent animated comedy show which takes the piss out of just about anything and everything that anyone has ever held sacred. And that's pretty much the sole purpose of the show. This is what made it so hilariously hypocritical for Isaac Hayes, who played the character Chef, to walk out on the show due to its portrayal of Scientology in the episode, "Trapped in the Closet" (Although that story is disputed).

South Park decided to get their own back on Isaac Hayes with a character-assassination of his character - they portrayed him as a paedophile - before literally assassinating his character in the episode The Return of Chef but not before Comedy Central actually pulled a repeat of the first episode with some, such as the writer of this LA Times article, speculating it was because Tom Cruise had strong-armed Comedy Central's parent company, Viacom, into it as he was upset about being portrayed as literally refusing to come out of the closet and its mocking of his "religion", Scientology.

So, it might not be the first time that uber-edgy-cool-don't-give-a-fuck-stick-it-to-the-man Comedy Central has capitulated to intimidation of one sort or another, but it might be the first time they've done so through being threatened with physical violence for the outrage of portraying a historical figure.

Strangely the custodians of the Imam Zahdah Chah Zaid Mosque in Isfahan, Iran don't feel intimidated enough to take down their mural of Mohammed cradling the fourth caliph, Ali.

Maybe this is because Comedy Central has done what Kenan Malik describes in his book, From Fatwa to Jihad as "internalized the fatwa" that Ayatollah Khomeini put upon Salman Rushdie. In the book he talks about the way that those who had stood for free speech had won the battle by not suppressing The Satanic Verses but had effectively lost the war by being more reticent about giving offence in the future. An example of that was the decision by Random House of not publishing The Jewel of Medina on the grounds that it might cause offence and that that offence may lead to violence. A fear which did in fact come true to the owner of Gibson Square, a company that decided to publish the book.

Malik says this:

There will always be extremists who respond as the Gibson Square firebombers did. There is little that we can do about them. What we can do something about is the broader culture within which some people operate. A culture that robustly defends freedom of expression would provide few resources upon which such extremists could draw. A culture that proclaims it unacceptable to give offence, and in which politicians and intellectuals are terrified at the thought of doing so, provides the firebombers with a spurious moral legitimacy for their actions. Internalizing the fatwa has not just created a new culture of self-censorship, it has also helped generate the very problems to which self-censorship was supposedly a response. The fear of giving offence has simply made it easier to take offence.

I think this is true and, just for comparison, South Park have to work much harder to offend Catholics these days. Should any observant Catholic have made a point of watching South Park, they probably would have been offended by its portrayal of the Pope being splattered with a Statue of the Virgin Mary's menstrual blood but that's only likely to have happened if they had sat down with the perverse purpose of being offended.

Well, I think that Abe Foxman, Revolution Muslim and the Church of Scientology could do with lightening up and not getting bent out of shape over having their feelings hurt. But James Jones, Comedy Central and Viacom could do with not allowing themselves to be intimidated.

But, perhaps if there is something that we can take pleasure in it is that Comedy Central did manage to finally offend a group that believed themselves to be completely immune from taking offence: South Park viewers!

ETA: The theme tune to Team America, made by the same people as South Park

And also, Chef's finest moment:

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Another Truther Goes Nuts...

..and murders his wife, attempts to kill his step-daughter and then shoots himself.

One Truther site, "What Really Happened [sic].com" has already gone into self-pity mode:

Wait ’till CNN gets ahold of this story, the spectre of the “White Supremacist” will be trotted out again… it will be mentioned that Maynard was a conspiracy theorist who railed against Blacks, Hispanics and J-ws [sic]

they grizzle.

Well,  he was a racist conspiracy theorizing nut and it appears his insane and bigotted beliefs were one factor that led to the murder of his wife and attempted murder of his daughter.

Truthers can whinge all they like about their portrayal as paranoid, Holocaust denying, anti-semitic, white supremacist loons (and they will), but it is those very paranoid, Holocaust denying, anti-semitic, white supremacist loons that give them a bad name.

It's too bad for them if the "mainstream media" end up reporting this simple truth.
From Screw Loose Change

Update: Someone in the comments box on the Screw Loose Change blog has pointed to a forum where Curt Maynard appears to have had something of a fanbase. It's a pretty sick bunch that liked his blog.

According to one "Mel Gibstein":

If I was going to take myself out Id take a boatload of Jews with me.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bless You Father, For You Have Sinned!

At least, that is the gospel according to Christopher Hitchens.

The same author is flaunting his fallout with Gore Vidal on the back of his book, Hitch 22. His endorsement as Vidal's "dauphin" is displayed on this pre-publication copy but crossed out. Here's a previous post on the Hitchens-Vidal spat.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What is a Conspiracy Theory?

Stephen Walt has an article about conspiracy theories in which he gives the most succinct description of the aims and methods of conspiracy theorizing that I've seen.

Conspiracy theories take many forms, but they generally have several common features. First, they often claim to expose the secret machinations of a small group of individuals, acting to accomplish some nefarious but largely-hidden purpose. Second, they attribute to the designated group vast and far-reaching powers, including a mysterious ability to control (rather than simply influence) a wide array of institutions. Yet a conspiracy theory (as opposed to a careful institutional analysis) never identifies the precise mechanisms by which this alleged control is achieved and normally fails to provide concrete evidence to justify its far-reaching claims. Alternatively, conspiracy theorists sometimes suggest that "the government" is engaged in some enormously-important but covert activity, like hiding captured alien spacecraft at "Area 51" or arranging to bring down the World Trade Center while getting it blamed on al Qaeda. In virtually all cases, a good conspiracy theory implies that what you think you know about the world is dead wrong, usually because the people responsible for the conspiracy have managed to convince you that up is down and black is white.

Please read the whole thing.

Monday, April 12, 2010


A bit of an unusual story, according to AFP via France 24:

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has written to UN chief Ban Ki-moon, asking him to launch an investigation into the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, news reports said on Monday.

"The minimum expectation from your excellency is to set up an independent and trusted fact-finding group to comprehensively investigate the real factors behind September 11," Ahmadinejad said in the text of the letter carried by official news agencies.

But I've not been able to find it on Iranian news agencies IRNA and Press TV.

Update: Aha! The Iranian Students News Agency, ISNA has the story:

TEHRAN (ISNA)-Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for the UN Chief Ban Ki-moon to appoint a fact-finding committee on major elements behind September 11 attack.

“At least, you are expected to form an independent fact-finding committee trusted by regional countries on major elements behind September 11 attack which was carried out as the main pretext to attack the Middle East,” Ahmadinejad said in his letter to Ban Ki-moon.

He also called for probe into NATO intention for presence in Afghanistan and Iraq and results of nine-year presence and conflic.

Ahmadinejad then urged Ban ki-moon to declare the investigation results to the UN General Assembly.

He also referred to measures of some NATO intelligence and security forces based in Afghanistan and approach of some US and European media to support leader of Jundallah terrorist cell Abdolmalek Rigi and called for condemning his crimes and defending rights of Iranian nation as the major victim of terrorism.

Ahmadinejad sent a video footage of some of Rigi’s crimes, media support for him and his confessions of winning support from NATO members.

Ahmadinejad stressed millions of people have been killed, injured or displaced and drugs cultivation has been grown since presence of NATO and the US forces in the region.

To say that the 9/11 attacks were carried out as a pretext to invade the Middle East clearly suggests that Mr. Ahmadinejad has made up his mind that the perpetrators are one and the same as those who invaded the Middle East.

I hope Mr Ahmadinejad is successful in his attempts and I am sure that his government will provide a hefty amount of financial assistance for the investigation.

BBC mentions the letter to the UN but only says that Ahmadinejad is asking for the causes of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars to be looked into. Not that Iran's charismatic Prez is flirting with Troof again.

Reuters has the story here, concentrating on Ahmadinejad's anger that NATO may have been helping Judallah's Rigi.

Update 2: Some very astute commentary going on at Infowars!

Monkey_Magic says: This is freaking fantastic !!! Expose those Zionist Banking Mafia henchmen !!!

I think I'll give M_M the benefit of the doubt and assume s/he's being ironic. But look!

Keith4130 opines: With the collapse of maggot mainstream media, his voice now cannot be silenced. FU CFR and Bilderberg traitor scum lurkers.

And Sir Baby De Porky helpfully explains: In the word Nazi , ” Na ” stood for ” national socialism ” , and ” zi ” stood for ” zionism ” !!!

How does he know this?

It’s from a Eustace Mullins speech in Canada which you can see on the
” Wide eye cinema ” site !!!

Eustace Mullins, who's he?

"Eustace Mullins was a member of the Southeast Bureau editorial staff of Willis Carto's American Free Press and a contributing editor to the Barnes Review."

Oh dear, I think those names sound familiar. Maybe he didn't realize the reputation of his cohorts...or maybe not.

Aptly named "broken joe" wisely observes, Unfortunately, the U.N. will make no REAL investigation into 9/11. The U.N. is just a tool for the same bankers that conducted the attack in the first place. If the U.N. does investigate 9/11, the conclusion will be,”Iran did it,” and all the truth deniers will just say,”See I knew it was them Iranians.

S T O P T H E P R E S S! ! !

Looks like there's been a reporting error here!!!!!!!!!

The full text of Ahmadinejad's letter has been released and can be read at ISNA, which is the same place that seemed to report Ahmadinejad's call for a UN investigation into 9/11.

But, it seems two paragraphs have been compressed by ISNA's original report.

Here they are:

Following September 11 attacks, and on the pretext of fighting against a number of terrorist operatives, more than a million people in our region have been victimized and a few more millions been displaced, two members of the United Nations have been occupied by NATO and U.S. military forces, and a third country is susceptible to military aggressions. The current method of combating terrorism, even if the claims of its proponents are accepted as true, has obviously failed.

If terrorism nearly exists, isn't it possible to apply a rational method that has been efficiently used by the Iranian intelligence and security apparatus in dealing with Abdulmalik Riggi. We have emphasized time and again that settlement of problems in our region does not need wide-scale military expeditions or actions.

Excellency, you are at least expected to appoint an independent fact-finding team which is trusted by the countries of the region, to launch a comprehensive investigation into the main intentions of NATO military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, the methods used, and the outcome of their presence and engagement, with results to be presented to the General Assembly.

Ahmadinejad is asking for an investigation into the intentions of the NATO missions in Afghanistan (and Iraq) which began after the September 11th attacks and is questioning whether the wars are as advertised rather than whether the attacks happened as the US said.

Sorry Ahmadinejad (and all my readers).

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tragic Flights

Two opinions inevitably expressed following Saturday's tragic aircrash in Russia which killed the Polish president and many of his top military staff are:

a) There may have been a Russian conspiracy behind it. Or a NATO one.


b) This isn't surprising given that Poland's version of Air Force One happened to use the Soviet relic, Tupolev Tu-154.

Actually the first opinion is inevitable because of the spookily grim coincidence that the Polish president, Lech Kaczynski, was flying to Russia to commemorate the Katyn Massacre, in which the Soviet secret police killed 22,000 Polish officers. Many of the victims on board the Soviet-era plane were themselves senior officers in the Polish military. And because of its parallels with a previous aircrash of Wladyslaw Sikorski, itself the subject of a conspiracy theory.

Well, grim coincidences do happen and Russia has been more in the business of forgetting rather than highlighting such atrocities as the Katyn Massacre so I don't see any "cui bono" motive.

The second point also seems to be a bit wide of the mark as the accident currently looks to be due to a combination of bad weather and pilot error. Nevertheless most news reports seem keen to point out the safety record of the Tu-154 such as here in the Telegraph.

The Tu-154 has a fatal accident every 431,200 flights, according to London-based aviation consultant Ascend. The Boeing 737, the world’s best-selling passenger plane, crashes every 2.68 million flights.

After doing some quick mental calculations I found the Tu-154 has a fatal accident rate of 2.31910946196 per million flights while the 737 has a fatal accident rate of 0.37313432835 per million flights. Here are some statistics of other airliners to give a comparison.

The comparisons show that although the fatality rate is higher than most commercial airliners it isn't extraordinarily high and the figures may well be skewed by the fact that these aircraft are usually operated in ex-Soviet countries with lower airport safety standards and designed to fly in the worst conditions. Just as an example, I flew to Pyongyang on a Tu-154 operated by Air Koryo - the DPRK's national carrier.

Perhaps in order to conserve on fuel when we boarded the plane the engines weren't running and so there was no air conditioner. All the passengers were given these hand-held fans to cool themselves down manually:

The plane was pretty cramped and wouldn't be my choice of chief executive jet but the in-flight meal of a half-danish and half-hamsandwich hybrid washed down with a bottle of dark homebrew-like beer wasn't (as) bad (as it sounds).

And, as a final tangent, while looking through this list of previous fatal air accidents, I happened to notice one that was caused by a murder-suicide in 1987.

Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771 crashed after a former employee, David Burke, first shot his superviser, Raymond Thomson, then the pilots and finally himself. The plane descended almost completely vertically at over 700 miles per hour - breaking the sound barrier - before crashing into a field in California. Because of the force of the impact investigators arriving on the scene found it hard to believe that a plane as large as a BAe 146 could possibly have crashed there. Although all 44 passengers and crew were presumed dead (it not being possible to survive such a crash), 27 bodies could never be identified. But the crash also shows that some unlikely objects do survive crashes. A flight sickness bag was discovered bearing a message, apparently written by Burke to his superviser:

Hi Ray. I think it's sort of ironical that we ended up like this. I asked for some leniency for my family. Remember? Well, I got none and you'll get none.

Another grisly find was a revolver used to kill Thomson and the pilots which was discovered with Burke's thumb jammed in the trigger guard.

The crash was the subject of this episode of "Blackbox". Please listen to the detective who first arrives at the scene explain that nothing identifiable as part of a plane could be found, that pieces of paper seemed to be blowing gently in the wind, stuck in trees, etc...

This should put to rest arguments that on September 11th 2001, the crash site of United 93 in Shanksville was inconsistent with a plane crash meaning it was either shot down by a missile or never existed. The crash site of Flight 1771 was remarkably similar to that of United 93 and furthermore demonstrates that documents such as passports or driving licenses may very well survive such crashes while other things simply don't.

Oh My Lord...!

RICHARD DAWKINS, the atheist campaigner, is planning a legal ambush to have the Pope arrested during his state visit to Britain “for crimes against humanity”.

Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author, have asked human rights lawyers to produce a case for charging Pope Benedict XVI over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church.

The pair believe they can exploit the same legal principle used to arrest Augusto Pinochet, the late Chilean dictator, when he visited Britain in 1998.

The rest is in the Times here.

It's interesting for me that Richard Dawkins is now referred to as "the atheist" campaigner, rather than "the evolutionary biologist" (or even "the biologist" as adding the word "evolutionary" to any respectable biologist is surely redundant).

Friday, April 09, 2010

Hanami Season

Hanami literally means "flower viewing" but specifically means cherry-blossom viewing. I'm no expert with a mobile phone camera but I thought this picture wasn't bad.

Blind Willie McTell and Charley Patton

Here's the Band's version of one of Dylan's lost classics, Blind Willie McTell:

And here's a song by Charley Patton, who Dylan dedicated a song to on the Love and Theft album:

If you liked that song, then here's an extra one you might also like.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

THEM: Adventures With Extremists

I’ve just finished reading Jon Ronson’s THEM: Adventures with Extremists which provides an interesting and often humourous survey of how the New World Order looked to conspiracy theorists pre-9/11 - the book was published in October 2001 but was the culmination of five years of research which sometimes included living with those he terms extremists. For Ronson, extremists are merely those who have been called extremists by others. It’s a vague definition of the term and it applies to disparite groups from Islamic fundamentalists to Ku Klux Klan members to ex-sports commentators, but the one thing that they have in common is that they believe a shadowy, secret elite group rule the world. Ronson’s book is his journey to find out the nature of that group and, if possible the secret room they rule from.

Some conspiracy theorists may be a bit skeptical and wonder if he really is doing that or if he isn’t actually trying to convince himself and his readers that no such elite group and no such room exists, but if that is his aim he certainly appears to have a few doubts a long the way.

In a very similar fashion to Louis Theroux he seems to get on well with his subjects and usually portrays them sympathetically even if they portray themselves as parodies of nutters. In the first chapter he meets the Islamic fundamentalist Omar Bakri Mohammed, who cheerfully tells Ronson that he’ll burn in Hell and keeps threatening him with sixty lashes only to burst out laughing and say that it’s just a joke. When Ronson manages to arrange a visit to Omar Bakri’s secret Jihadi training camp (in Crawley!) Omar suddenly announces to those present, “Here I am with an infidel. Jon is a Jew!” This is met with an audible gasp. Ronson attempts to break the resulting stunned silence with a plea, “Surely it is better to be a Jew than an atheist?” – “No, it isn’t.” is the reply.

Omar Bakri’s organization, Al Muhajiroun, was a breakaway group from Hizb-ut-Tahrir and is portrayed mostly as inept and clownish. They attempt to release a thousand black balloons in Trafalgar Square with postcards urging Jihad but the messages are too heavy for the balloons, anchoring them to the ground. Interestingly there is a cameo appearance by a young disciple of Omar going only by the name of Anjem. This, of course, is Anjem Choudary, who was one of the founders of Al Muhajiroun and later the very vocal spokesman of Islam4UK.

Omar Bakri on the mic with the ever-photogenic Abu Hamza on the right

Another before-they-were-famous appearance is by larger-than-life Texan conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, whose radio show InfoWars was already being listened to by millions of people in the States but who hadn’t made it big internationally...

Ronson is visiting a family called the Weavers who had been the victims of a massive Federal police operation at their remote cabin in a place called Ruby Ridge in Idaho in which two members of the family (14 year old Sammy and his mother Vicki) as well as the pet dog were shot dead in a military-style assault involving hundreds of officers. The incident was so shocking in its brutality and size, especially when a similar siege followed at Waco, Texas that the Weavers’ home became something of a shrine to anti-government groups of various stripes. The Weavers themselves had been tarred as white supremacists as Randy Weaver had been friends with a member of a group called Aryan Nations and had been the victim of a police sting (or entrapment) which precipitated the siege. The Weavers had always denied they were white supremacists but they had believed in the New World Order and lived in isolation to escape their totalitarian clutches. The raid on their cabin convinced them and many others that the New World Order had come after them (one of those people who later visited was Timothy McVeigh who went on to destroy the bomb the Murrah Building in Oklahoma killing 168 people).

Alex Jones agrees with the Weaver family that the New World Order is conducting events such as these but says that they’re not only responsible for attacks targeting isolationists and religious cults such as at Ruby Ridge and at Waco but also the Oklahoma bombing itself and Ramzi Yusef’s bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. Ronson queries Jones on this who then shows his formula for just about any event was employed back then too:

“That’s not even debatable!” He roared, “Well, I guess you could debate Oklahoma City. But the World Trade Center is not even debatable. Clinton’s Reichstag. Horror!”

So the first World Trade Center bombing was “Clinton’s Reichstag”, 9/11 was “Bush’s Reichstag” and Joe Stack flying his plane into an IRS building in Texas may have been “Obama’s Reichstag”. It’s not even clear that the Reichstag fire was “Hitler’s Reichstag” but never mind that.

Jones sketches out for Ronson some of the structure of the New World Order which often seems like a very nebulous term if not a pat political slogan used by politicians to simply mean a vision for a better tomorrow!

“The Bilderbergers,” said Alex, “Are the Roman Senate. It’s a pyramid. They’re way up there. Below them you’ve got the IMF, the World Bank, the United Nations, then you’ve got us down here, the cattle, the human resources.”

“The Bilderbergers”, refers to the Bilderberg Group, which is a real group of politicians and business people who meet periodically in a five-star hotel somewhere in secret. This looks like a promising lead for Ronson who ends up in Portugal assisting a journalist called Jim Tucker infiltrate the latest Bilderberg meeting. While reading Ronson’s description of Tucker I was reminded of a set of articles written in a tongue-in-cheek style by Charlie Skelton about Bilderberg. Tucker is a big man who suffers from emphysema from having smoked too many cigarettes. Bilderberg is an obsession for Tucker who is so worried that he’s messing with the wrong people that he phones in a coded message every morning to a friend of his to let them know he’s still alive. Ronson seems to enjoy his company and some of the interesting stories he has to tell. As they watch some of the famous names pulling up to the Caesar Park Hotel, Tucker confides that Henry Kissinger – a perennial guest of Bilderberg, naturally – actually speaks with an American accent but puts on his European accent for show. He also points out that Margaret Thatcher is in fact one of the good guys that Bilderberg contrived to have removed because of her opposition to the European Union. Bilderberg are rampant globalists, you see, and they are steering the world toward a one-world government New World Order.

Jim Tucker

There are a few things, however, which somewhat perturb Ronson about Tucker and that is his penchant for off-colour jokes: “The amount of pills they make me take for my plumbing, anyone would think I was F.A.G Positive.” And lets on that the only problem he had with Abraham Lincoln was that he was an abolitionist!

Well, it soon turns out that the newspaper Jim Tucker writes for, the Spotlight, is a famously anti-semitic publication and indeed, it was published by the Liberty Lobby, a political body founded by a rabid anti-semite Willis Carto. The Spotlight was one of the most successful media for conspiracy theories, especially in the pre-Internet era and was once sued by E. Howard Hunt from the CIA for an article that accused him of being involved in the JFK assassination. Lawyer and JFK conspiracy theorist Mark Lane successfully defended the Spotlight however. Ronson is at first skeptical of the claims that Tucker is an anti-semite but in a visit to the offices of the Anti-Defamation League he is given a file on the Spotlight containing numerous Holocaust denial articles, tributes to neo-Nazi organizations and lists of books written in praise of Adolf Hitler by Spotlight editors. The Spotlight had toned itself down somewhat since its early days but really all it had done was to adopt code words such as “international bankers” and “international financiers” (in Michael Shermer’s book on Holocaust denial, Denying History, Holocaust deniers tend to use the term “traditional enemy” these days rather than saying Jews). The Spotlight has since folded and now given rise to a new “news” source called the American Free Press, which is as anti-semitic as its forerunner, and also features Jim Tucker’s writings as well as those of James Edwards, a broadcaster for the appropriately titled Political Cesspool, and Christopher Bollyn, a 9/11 Truther who believes that Israel was behind the attacks.

As many of these conspiracy theorists adopt code words for their anti-semitism the ADL has been very keen to search out even the most obscurely coded language. Ronson finds himself wondering if the ADL don’t end up going too far and becoming extremists themselves in their characterizations of some people. This really comes to a head when ex-goalkeeper, ex-sports commentator and ex-son-of-God, David Icke flies into Canada on a book tour to explain that the New World Order is in fact made up of 12-foot shape-shifting lizards. The ADL aren’t fooled and are sure that when David Icke says “shape-shifting lizards” he really means “Jews”.

Ronson follows David Icke on his travails around Vancouver in which radio station after radio station cancel his interviews at the last moment and book stores that had arranged for him to be there to sign his books suddenly retract the invitation. Icke comes across as the most sympathetic person in the whole saga as everyone else overreacts to his very presence and, no doubt, only confirm for him that the New World Order are thwarting him. It reaches its peak with a lemon meringue pie assault which backfires on the assailants.

Ronson's research also formed the basis for a TV series. This is the episode in which David Icke appears. Notice also that a car sticker outside of Alex Jones radio station reads: "It's time for another Tea Party"

But the ADL aren’t the only people who have a problem with David Icke. “DAVID ICKE IS A TURD IN A PUNCHBOWL!” According to Alex Jones. What does he mean by this?

“He talks about the global elite, the Bilderberg Group, these power structures which are all real, all true. Meat and potatoes! Something you can bite into! And then at the end of this he says, “By the way, they’re all blood-drinking lizards… Al Gore needs blood to drink. So does Prince Philip." He’s discrediting the whole thing. You’ve got a nice fruit punch. Icke takes a great big dump right in the middle of it, and now nobody’s going to drink out of that punchbowl. That’s his job, and he’s doing his job well.”

Towards the end of the book, Ronson finally manages to speak to a member of Bilderberg’s steering committee and founder member, Dennis Healey (an unlikely candidate for ruler of the world in my humble opinion, but who am I to say). Healey explains that really there isn’t that much to tell about the Bilderberg Group. But that it’s a club for influential people to meet other influential people. Well, of course he would say that and it doesn’t mean that important things aren’t being discussed away from prying eyes and ears. It certainly could be argued that a lot more transparency would be nice. But maybe the lack of secrecy would reveal the affairs of the Bilderberg Group to be terminally boring. But you can make up your own mind by reading Ronson's Guardian article about it here.

But while Ronson certainly makes some of the conspiracy theorists entertaining, he is keen to point out that there are dark sides to these ideas too. Some people such as the neo-Nazi nail-bomber David Copeland who set off a series of bombs in London targeting ethnic minorities and gay people and believe the world is in thrall to the Bilderberg Group and ZOG (Zionist Occupied Government). Since then there have been other attacks such as the deadly shooting of a guard at the Holocaust museum in Washington DC and at the Pentagon by similarly inclined conspiracy theorists.

The book concludes with a fantastic chapter on one of the most mysterious conspiracy theories at another of the suspected loci of the New World Order: Bohemian Grove in a redwood forest clearing in California. All kinds of occult rituals are supposed to occur there in a place where plans for world domination are hatched. David Icke warns Ronson that Bohemian Grove is a place where the reptilian bloodlines transform themselves back into giant lizards and that such people as Henry Kissinger, Jimmy Carter, Walter Cronkite and male members of the British Royal family abuse sex slaves who have been brainwashed through the CIA's MK-ULTRA programme. One of these victims who escaped - Cathy O'Brien - wrote a book called Trance Formation of America about her experiences. In order to infiltrate the Bohemian Grove, Ronson teams up again with Alex Jones and Jones’ producer Mike, because of Jones' apparent fearlessness. So, I was expecting some kind of death-defying adventure through the woods in which they would be flitting from redwood to redwood, avoiding bear traps and scaling electric fences. Instead, they get in by simply walking up the drive dressed in preppy khaki pants and sweaters draped across their shoulders. Apparently the key is to look Republican. But this is only after Alex Jones refuses to go in with Ronson, as he's unable to trust him.

Ronson discovers that instead of the rumoured Satanic rituals and plots to maintain world dominance there isn’t much more to the affair than a bunch of geriatric men guzzling champagne and watching a bizarre pyrotechnic display around a large stone owl shrine and then peeing against the trees. But that is not what Jones saw!

“These people point their fingers everyday. If you’re against the government you’re an extremist. You’re crazy. But this was a pagan ceremony worshipping the earth and engaging in human sacrifice.”

But another conclusion comes from one of Ronson’s sources within Bilderberg who says that neither Bilderberg nor Bohemian Grove attract the calibre that they used to with the older members simply getting older and the prospective newcomers uninterested:

“Let’s face it. Nobody rules the world any more. The markets rule the world. Maybe that’s why your conspiracy theorists make up all those crazy things. Because the truth is so much more frightening. Nobody rules the world.”