Thursday, April 18, 2024

SATURDAY’S CHILD: Among the believers


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I don’t believe in all these internet conspiracy theories. I think they were put there by aliens to confuse us. Let’s face it, since the dawn of time we humans have demonstrated the ability to conspire and speculate simultaneously. There are no secrets in the Caribbean. We know things before they happen and we have theories to fit any event, regardless of how bizarre it is. In our culture, revelation comes before genesis, rumour before and after gossip, and the answers invariably before the questions. In fact, I started a conspiracy theory about missing flight MH370. It didn’t really take off.

Wikipedia says that there are many unproven conspiracy theories of varying degrees of popularity, frequently related but not limited to clandestine government plans, elaborate murder plots, suppression of secret technology and knowledge, and other supposed schemes behind certain political, cultural, and historical events. Jews have been an early target. In medieval Europe it was widely believed that Jews poisoned wells, had murdered Jesus Christ and consumed the blood of Christians in their rituals. They and the Freemasons have got together to take over the world.

Now they own Wall Street, the Federal Reserve Bank, Hollywood and the news media. Worse yet, the Holocaust under Hitler never happened. Like the moon landing, it was a hoax arising out of a conspiracy to advance the interests of Jews at the expense of other people and to justify the creation of the state of Israel. One sceptical comedian quipped, “I just met a pop music conspiracy theorist. Apparently the moonwalk was faked.”

On July 20, 2009, Time Magazine had a special article which was introduced with the words, “On the 40th anniversary of the moon landing – or was it just a sinister hoax? – Time looks at ten of the world’s most enduring conspiracy theories.” In the article Time described the top ten conspiracy theories, including the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the 9/11 cover up, Area 51 and the aliens, secret societies controlling the world, the moon landings being faked as was the whole hullaballoo about Jesus and Mary Magdalene, the Holocaust as a myth, the CIA developing AIDS as a weapon to use against Africa, and the conviction that the world is ruled by a reptilian elite which included comedian Bob Hope and other powerful people.

When it comes to conspiracy theories, there are some people who follow a dose of realism with cold water or sparkling wit. Sir Oswald Mosley, a British politician and the founder of the British Union of Fascists, declared, “Anyone who knows how difficult it is to keep a secret among three men – particularly if they are married – knows how absurd is the idea of a worldwide secret conspiracy consciously controlling all mankind by its financial power.” I like the comedian who said, “The anniversary of 9/11 approaches and I don’t usually buy into conspiracy theories, but did you spot that if you add nine and 11 you get 20. And that is curiously the average IQ of an American.” 

Some people will say that even if you’re paranoid it does not mean that “they” are not out to get you. The Independent newspaper identified seven conspiracy theories that turned out to be true, including the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (giving 400 black men syphilis); Project MK-ULTA (giving unwitting human subjects drugs as a form of mind control and subjecting them to electroshock therapy, hypnosis, subliminal persuasion and isolation techniques); Operation Paperclip (Nazi scientists brought to America to develop chemical weapons including LSD); the “Nayirah” Conspiracy (false claim by the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador that helped to start the first Gulf War about Iraqi soldiers removing babies from incubators and leaving them to die); Hillsborough (police cover-up of the death of 96 Liverpool football fans); prohibition (US government deliberately poisoning alcohol) and a combination of several dealing with Castro including attacking Caribbean countries and blaming Cuba.

A few days ago, I heard that when Sunil Narine, the cricketer, was banned for “chucking”, the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) big-shots were elated because it meant he had to come to them, cap in hand, for help and they were going to spite him by changing the regulations which allowed him to continue playing league cricket in Trinidad. It was supposedly part of a bigger conspiracy started by the Chennai Club in India and supported by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to help settle the $49 million claim made by the Indians against the WICB and to keep Clive Lloyd from having to explain how a Barbados team with nine Test players could be so soundly defeated by a second-string Trinidad team that had only two. My only reaction was to remember what John Ridley, the American screenwriter (12 Years A Slave) said, “I try not to belittle the thought process of the conspiracy theorists. As a cocktail waitress in Vegas once schooled me: never get down on anybody else’s hustle.”

• Tony Deyal was last seen saying that several of his friends believe that his obsession with conspiracy theories is getting out of control. He wonders how much money the WICB and TTCB are paying them.

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