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The Problem that is Australia

If I were a Conspiracy Theorist I’d be having a little trouble with the Australian Government’s handling of the Mohammed Haneef affair.

Mostly because it seems that a simple conspiracy is beyond John Howard and his cronies.

Let’s recap (crudely). The Australian authorities accuse Mohammed Haneef of aiding and abetting terrorists. How did he do this? He left a cellphone sim card with a cousin, and this cousin (with sim card), two years later, was involved with terrorist activities in the UK. This is, of course, a crime that Mohammed Haneef was unaware he was committing, which would be a dangerous precedent for all Australians (except that it really only affects non-caucasian Australians due to Australia still pretty much having a favoured White Nation Policy). It later transpires that the sim card isn’t an accessory to terrorist action and thus Mohammed Haneef’s real crime is to be related to a terror suspect; that really isn’t a crime. Even worse; it now turns out to be the case that, when Mohammed Haneef was arrested, he was accused of planning terrorist activities in Australia.

Which appears to be a fabrication (read: lie) organised by the Australian Police.

How does the Howard Government react to all of this? They, against the advice of the Courts, suspend Mohammed Haneef visa and plan to send him ‘home.’

Now, if I were a Conspiracy Theorist I’d want to know why the Australian Government aren’t being more successful in hiding their incompetence. What this looks like is a desperate attempt by the Howard Government to create a terror threat which they can then crush and win votes from. Obviously this hasn’t worked (note that I’ve just jumped from an assumption: ‘…looks like a desperate attempt…’ to acting as if my assumption is true ‘Obviously this hasn’t worked…’ – I’m not claiming my story is the most accurate depiction of events; I’m playing with an idea here); not just that but some commentators are claiming this is the final straw for Howard; people barely tolerated the kids being thrown off the Tampa but fabricating a terror threat to try and stay in Government and then trying to badly cover it up is a step too far.

Australia and the United States are known to be close, and most classical Conspiracy Theorists will tell you that the American Government is being run by a number of organsations, including the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg Group. If this is so, then why aren’t the Secret Masters of the World doing their bit to help out Australia? In fact, why can’t a fascistic government like Howard’s maintain a simple conspiratorial activity without it spiralling out of control?

As I say, if I thought Conspiracies were abounding I would find this incompetence on part of the Australian authorities infuriating.

Then again, after the PR fiasco that was Saddam and the WMDs perhaps out Secret Masters are still looking for their next Saatchi and Saatchi.

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The Worse of Both Worlds

Inbetween reading academic tomes and watching ‘Doctor Who’ I do, on occasion, read spurious Conspiracy Theory literature. As of today I have finished (read that either way) with the whole ‘Bloodline of Christ’ fandango that resulted famously in ‘The Da Vinci Code’ (and should have ended more famously with acres of media coverage of the Baigent and Leigh vs. Brown case[1]).Anyway, today I finished reading Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince’s ‘The Sion Revelation.’ I met both of them in London last year at UnCon06 (although I doubt they remember me) when they gave a precis of their then just-published book. It was a good talk, focussing on the verifiable history of the Priory of Sion (the cornerstone to most of the texts on the supposedly extant bloodline of the Christian messiah) and I only didn’t buy a copy of the book because it was big and bulky and was going to take up space in a suitcase.A year later (maybe to the day) I interloaned the book (which came from Dunedin, presumably the closest source of it in a library within New Zealand). The talk Prince and Picknett made focused heavily on a peculiarly French off-shoot of Freemasonry, Synarchsim (for those of you denying the Freemason conspiracy theories[2] let it be said that whilst Freemasonry might well be benign now that doesn’t mean that a) it has always been so and b) there is also more than one kind of Freemasonry). Synarchism was the polar opposite to anarchism; the rule of the land by those destined to lead, leading those destined to be. It was an ‘everything in its place’ political philosophy that, if you accept Picknett and Prince’s thesis, is arguably one of the factors in the formation of the European Economic Community and is the real explanation of the Priory of Sion. No Templars, no Merovingians and no descent from the messiah; just Freemasons, thugs and the infiltration and subversion of secret societies.Which is all fine and good, but its just another Conspiracy Theory, isn’t it? A more plausible thesis than that of ‘The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail’ but still a Conspiracy Theory, a tentative explanation of events.These ‘more plausible’ Conspiracy Theories seem very persuasive; they, after all, up against quite wacky contenders. Admittedly, ‘The Sion Revelation’ rests upon some fairly good sources and is up front when Picknett and Prince have to make unverifiable claims, so it certainly has a degree of plausibility approaching that of an historical text but it still rests upon certain huge assumptions. It would be a mistake to assume that a ‘more plausible’ Conspiracy Theory is correct in the face of a wacky one.Yet that is a mistake people make.Which is why Conspiracy Theorists find non-Conspiracy Theorists just a little whack.–1. In case you missed it, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh sued Dan Brown for plagiarism, arguing that he took, whole cloth, ‘The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail’ and made it into ‘The Da Vinci Code.’ Now this would have been interesting enough if they were both books intended to be fiction, but ‘The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail’ was intended to be a history book; it was meant to describe something that really happened. Just how a fiction writer can plagiarise history to write a sub-standard thriller I don’t know. Nothing about that claim makes sense. 2. Which, by and large, I do as well.      

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Historic Doubts Concerning HORansome

Bishop Whately’s ‘Historic Doubts Concerning Napoleon Bonaparte’ is a funny and fascinating book. Written whilst Napoleon was alive, Bishop Whately casts doubts as to the existence of the Corsican by running the scepitical line that a) Napoleon’s life seems extraordinary-qua-miracluous, b) there has been no historical figure like him in the past and c) the reports of his exploits are consistently inconsistent. The first point is a veiled attack at the accepted wisdom of Hume on miracles whilst the second point relates to the problem of induction and the German view of what qualifies as historical fact. The entire book is reductio ad absurdum which could all too easily be read as being serious in tone when it is, in fact, a (still) apt reminder that dogmatic scepticism is just as bad, if not worse, than credulism.