An update on North Head

From time to time people come to this site to learn more about the North Head Tunnels Conspiracy Theory. So, here’s an update from Martin Butler, whose book “Tunnel Vision” I partially reviewed last year:

I understood that the highly controversial content of ‘Tunnel Vision’ would solicit a negative reaction in some quarters. In fact I openly provided the book for review and comment in the hope that it might also draw out people who had something more to share. After 14 months since the book launch, much to my surprise, there were only three negative results. Quite amazing really.

The first was a Herald Newspaper book review that said that ‘Tunnel Vision’ provided no new information apart from the potential Chemical Weapons aspect. Of course the nameless (but very knowledgeable) reviewer was mistaken. The story of North Head’s history pertaining to the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the first Boeing aircraft has never been published before. As such it is all new information. In toto the nameless critic was so scathing about my poorly written and amateurishly produced book as to ensure nobody would pick it off the rack for an interesting read. The message was clear, I had pushed someones button and the writing of books should be left to professionals, – historians and archeologists perhaps?

The next was an online review, and once again it was an anonymous reviewer – GL.

http://www.archaeopedia.com/wiki/index.php?title=Tunnel_Vision_-_Unearthing_the_Secrets_of_North_Head

He stated: ‘What is lacking here is a credible discussion of WW2 munitions storage in Auckland or the relationship between naval and army use of the North Head site. Some of the recollections of a tunnel large enough to drive into could well be confusing the later tunnels at the Devonport Naval Base, but these are not discussed either.,’

Excellent! I found this article to be rather positive overall, however, I was investigating North Head and did not really want to go down the ‘Tricks of memory’ path again (with the Devonport Naval Tunnel angle). However, I fully admit that perhaps there was a ‘historical hole’ that the original ‘Tunnel Vision’ did not address – that of North Head’s role during World War Two. I have since undertaken some further ‘research’ on this topic and the results are quite astounding, but more on that at a later date.

The third review was from Matthew Dentith, a ‘professional’ friend of David Veart (DOCs 1992-94 Chief Investigator). Mathew lectures on conspiracy theories at the University of Auckland and according to a conversation with him, he would regularly take his students to North Head to meet with David Veart. A tour of the known tunnels would validate his lectures and explain how all those eyewitnesses (the same 200-300 people who came forward around the time of the Earnshaw Court Case and specifically the 60 eye-witness affidavits) were mistaken. No doubt under more intellectual terms than ‘tricks of memory, lapses of memory or contamination of memory’.

It is quite interesting to note that Matthew admitted to me that ‘Tunnel Vision’ was the first time he had seen many of the eyewitness accounts – amazing. Yet in his article I am academically slain on the basis that I am neither an archaeologist, historian, a lecturer on conspiracy theory or a member of the judiciary.

Overall my assessment of Matthews article is that it qualifies as an unsubstantiated academic rant, possibly written after a few drinks when he was a little episto. I am sure you will enjoy reading it.

http://all-embracing.episto.org/2012/08/08/a-tale-of-two-conspiracies/

All in all, Matthew’s overall involvement and stinging attack on my ‘vanity-pressed historical account’ make his ‘professional’ opinion abundantly clear – unlike his motive for writing the comment in the first place. Which I suggest is more to do with the defence of his North Head lecturing over a number of years and his friendship with David Veart. Certainly there is nothing of value I could take from his article other than a lesson on intellectual arrogance. Whilst my ‘research’ techniques clearly do not conform to the accepted practices of Matthew Dentith (University of Auckland) or presumably David Veart (DOC) as neither of these gentlemen have managed to find a single tunnel at North Head, I am quite content to rely on the cognitive skills learnt in my own profession – related to critical thinking, judgment and decision making.

However, Matthew Dentith is correct when he begrudgingly states ‘Butler’s claims are, at the very least, theoretically testable. If certain new evidence came to light it could confirm or refute his view.’

Indeed! Certain new evidence would validate my view particularly in regard to the conduct of previous investigations. If just one tunnel were to be found, it would also call into question the credibility of Dentith’s (University of Auckland) conspiracy lecture course and its critical thinking model. However, unlike David Veart and possibly Matthew Dentith’s lecturing, I have never made any ‘claims’. On the contrary, I have assessed all the evidence available from what I dare to call ‘research’ and derived some logical possibilities. Those possibilities have then been applied to the Ockham’s razor principle (to quote David Veart). This principle endorses the analogy that if it ‘looks like a duck, walks like a duck and squawks like a duck’ then it is probably – a duck!

Based on that ‘duck’, I have invested my time and money with the intention of properly concluding the investigation of North Head. This involves keeping an open mind and using technology such as ground radar, photographic evidence and further ‘research’ to validate or reject various possibilities. My non-academic sanctioned technique, has never (in my opinion) been objectively used in any of the previous investigations of North Head. As a result of this technique, I have now reached the final test phase of my ‘research’ and wish to prove or disprove whether ‘forgotten’ tunnels exist at North Head.

However, given that I am an amateur, perhaps I am fortunate that this was the sum total of the individual criticism I have received. The next area is the level of ‘Official’ resistance. It came as no surprise that because ‘Tunnel Vision’ was attacking the ‘Official’ version of events surrounding the history of North Head from 1875 up until the present day, there would be ‘official’ resistance. Indeed the sustained, negative and unhelpful reaction from the Military, DOC, Government Ministers and the Historic Places Trust has been exactly as anticipated. All of these Government organisations continue to hide behind the ‘Official’ version of events as found by Judge Elias as a result of the Earnshaw Court-case. They have no wish to review the new information contained in Tunnel Vision, despite the possibility that the ‘Official’ version of events may be fundamentally flawed by undue reliance placed upon DOC’s 1992-94 investigation – that did not find any ‘forgotten’ tunnels.

The question that remains in respect to the level of ‘Official’ resistance encountered is – why? Surely – if there is nothing to hide – there is nothing to fear? This quote has been used extensively of late in regard to the GCSB Bill. Yet, the Government Departments mentioned earlier have all acted as though they have something to fear by not helping my investigation. Therefore, one must ask, – what are they hiding? Why not simply allow me to prove there are no ‘forgotten’ tunnels at North Head.

That said, after the trail of wreckage from previous attempts to gain DOC’s support (see earlier posts), my latest agreement with DOC now clearly defines a way forward albeit with a number of provisos. This includes an application document to the Historic Places Trust with substantive justification for my independent ‘archaeological’ investigation of North Head. Another essential component of my application is to gain the support of the local Iwi.

Also, if any new archaeological investigation of North Head is to succeed it will need to be based on compelling information that ‘forgotten’ tunnels may exist. Effectively I need to provide quantifiable data that will satisfy all the parties involved that a new investigation is warranted.

Clearly the first edition of ‘Tunnel Vision’ was not powerful enough in this regard, either that or DOC and Historic Places Trust professionals were unable or unwilling to apply their critical thinking skills to assess the new ‘balance of probability’ for themselves. Therefore my next attempt at obtaining Historic Places Trust (HPT) approval for an archaeological investigation of North Head will be multi-pronged.

In the next month or two a second edition of ‘Tunnel Vision’ will be released detailing the results of my further ‘investigation’, and showing even more compelling ‘anomalies’ at North Head as will be reflected in the final HPT application document. It will also address the role of North Head during World War Two and look at how that information interrelates with eyewitness accounts.

DOC’s support is required for my application with the Historic Places Trust as they are the caretakers of North Head. Indeed, DOC is in a difficult position. After the previous categorical statements by DOC to the public, if I can now prove just one ‘forgotten’ tunnel exists at North Head – this will be enough to destroy the testimony of all the (Earnshaw Court case) ‘expert’ DOC witnesses. It may also open up another new improved version of Pandora’s box.

As previously described my relationship with DOC to date has been ‘difficult’. This may be because they are defensive of their previous 1992-94 investigation of North Head and the status of current employees. However, their Chief Investigator during that investigation, David Veart, retired from DOC in February this year. As an organisation one can only hope that they will now seize the opportunity to review their management of my ‘Tunnel Vision’ application. They now have a fresh opportunity to put the past behind them and to prove that they can be impartial and objective. Clearly, they need to provide another archaeologist to review my application, a situation and process that was previously agreed – but then reneged upon. Either way, with my new DOC agreement in place one must assume that they will now act in good faith. Lets hope that is the case.

Clearly, because of the level of ‘Official’ resistance to date, it has taken an inordinate amount of time to line up a number of other backup ‘ducks’ as well. I had hoped I would be ready to proceed by now. However, whilst circumstance has meant some delay, I am now confident that the new evidence amassed since the first edition of ‘Tunnel Vision’ will ensure the success of my next HPT application. Indeed, the new evidence I have gathered is quite convincing, so much so that perhaps I will call the next edition of ‘Tunnel Vision’ – ‘I know you know I know’ (Kim DotCom)

Thank you for visiting this site and your continuing support. The great response I continue to receive on an almost daily basis and the comments by such people as Sir Richard Bolt, far outweigh the self serving attitudes of those hiding behind the facade of academia and ‘officialdum’.

Martin

This update has reminded me that I need to finish that review and post it ASAP.


About Matthew Dentith

Author of "The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories" (Palgrave Macmillan), Matthew Dentith wrote his PhD on epistemic issues surrounding belief in conspiracy theories. He is a frequent media commentator on the weird and the wonderful, both locally and internationally. On occasion he can be caught dreaming about wax lions but, mostly, it is rumoured he works for elements of the New World Order.

7 comments:

  1. My comment was related to this quote from Butler:
    “If just one tunnel were to be found, it would also call into question the credibility of Dentith’s (University of Auckland) conspiracy lecture course and its critical thinking model.”

    1. Well, Martin does have a rather binary view on this: either his common sense critical thinking model is right or my sophist mode of questioning his common sense model of critical thinking is right.

      Unfortunately, even if a tunnel was found, it wouldn’t invalidate the course, since not only is the North Head example is purely illustrative (and we’ve never said outright “There are no additional tunnels” just “The burden of proof is on those who allege there are additional tunnels”) but it’s also only one lecture in twenty-four.

  2. I like his use of scare quotes. ‘Research’ ‘archaeology’. What does he hope gpr will achieve? Iwi are highly unlikely to support him, which I guess means, like the government, they’re hiding something/part of a conspiracy of which they wouldn’t give a toss.

    1. Actually, I’ve been told local iwi would be happy to investigate the tunnel issue (I think, in part, because they think it’s a bit of a laugh and also because it’s well recognised that the changes to the summit of North Head have pretty much destroyed any evidence of Māori occupation, so why not let someone else do a little more destructive digging).

  3. Good point Matthew. Would at least be a change insofar as Maori archaeology and wahi tapu are what is normally decimated. It’s interesting he’s going for an authority without being a section 17 archaeologist. Don’t know how that can work unless his method is pure remote sensing.

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