ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Conspiracy Theorists

The Respect Chair, Carole Swords And Racism.

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The CST takes the Respect Chair, Carole Swords to task for her racist “slip”.

Seismic Shock reminded us that she previously promoted a pro-Crusader article from Stuart Littlewood.

Why she would have wanted to associate with an obsessive racist like Littlewood I can’t say, but she could have at least looked him up on Google and taken the hint.

Littlewood writes for Veterans Today, a nasty conspiratorial and antisemitic on-line rag run by the crank and friend of the Far Right, Gordon Duff.

Who can forget Duff’s kind words about Ernst Zundel:

“The best known scholoar of holocaust theories is Dr. Thomas Dalton, author of
Debating the Holocaust; A New Look at Both Sides. Dalton discusses the history of
the “denialist” movement and efforts made to criminalize, not only politically
motivated efforts to change majority perceptions of the holocaust but also stifle
legitimate research into, not only the holocaust but a more accurate history of Europe
in the mid 20th Century. Most recently, Ernst Zundel, a German born researcher
who has questioned issues related to the holocaust was extradited from Canada and
imprisoned for years in Germany for “crimes” that, in America would be considered
not just “freedom of speech” but relatively modest historical enquiry. Zundel
questioned the number “six million” and, in doing so, was arrested and convicted of
an obscure law that creates a special class of truth when Jewish perception is
involved.

Zundel, and significant numbers of historians of varying credibility believe the
number of Jewish dead is being vastly over stated along with the methods of killing.
It is their contention that since there is no scientific evidence that gassing or
cremation facilities existed designed for masskilling, a major area of their research,
that numbers of dead should be reassessed. They insist that since camps such as
Auschwitz and Dachau are no longer considered “death camps” and that many other
camps listed disappeared “without any trace” according to their research, that the
number dead should be lowered by up to 80%. “

Is it merely coincidental that “anti-Zionists”, like Carole Swords, end up espousing racist ideas?

I suspect it is more a case of lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas!

Assange And Žižek, A Kind Request.

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Slavoj Žižek and Julian Assange recently conducted a session for the Frontline club and it is on YouTube, below.

Astute readers may have noticed that I am not blogging much at the moment, life’s a bit complicated and particularly like today, I don’t have much brain.

So I have a kind request to make of my readers. Could they, if they have the stamina, view the video and provide me with a summary (I’m happy to get several from different readers)? Ta very much.

The Political Benefits Of Conspiracy Theories.

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There is a good article in Budapest Times by Péter Krekó, Jobbik needs Jews to run the world.

Krekó draws out themes which are not just confined to the Far Right in Hungary, but find resonance in Britain and elsewhere across the political spectrum:

Psychological & political ‘benefit’ of conspiracy theories

Conspiracy theories enjoy immense popularity. Virtually all communities (in Western and Eastern societies alike) have their own well-established ones. In the United States, for example, 75-80 per cent of the population believes that the official version of the Kennedy murder, the “lone killer” theory, does not fit the truth. Sixty-two per cent of Americans believe that the Bush government had prior knowledge of the September 11 terrorist attacks but deliberately kept quiet about it. A third of Brits are convinced the accident that killed Princess Diana was in fact an assassination. Almost 80 per cent of the populations of certain Muslim countries think that the governments of Israel and the United States carried out the September 11 attacks rather than a group of Arabs.

Research here in Hungary also indicates the widespread popularity of conspiracy theories. According to a representative survey carried out together with Medián at the end of 2009 based on our questions, more than two-thirds of those canvassed agreed with the statement that “we never find out the truth from the media and the news, and everything important happens behind the scenes”, and half agreed that “during the crisis powerful financial circles joined forces to destroy Hungary’s economy in an effort to colonise the country”. Eighty-eight per cent of the respondents agreed with at least one of five conspiracy theories, while 23 per cent agreed with all. Some research suggests that conspiracy theories have a strong subconscious effect on our way of thinking: although they exert a powerful influence on us, we delude ourselves that we ourselves are immune.

Conspiracy theories comfort

What explains the extraordinary appeal of conspiracy theories? Their chief psychological benefit is that they provide psychologically comforting explanations for unexpected and shocking events that are otherwise difficult to explain. It is not coincidental that such theories thrive following crises, natural disasters and assassinations. Conspiracy theories are capable of explaining an incredibly broad sphere of phenomena based on very little and can be applied to many new events. Psychologically they are comforting because they help to distinguish between good and evil and project responsibility onto a named enemy, as well as providing an outlet for hostile feelings.

Conspiracy theories allow us to continue to believe that the world is essentially just. If people living in Arab countries take the view that the governments of Israel and the United States carried out the September 11 attacks, then they can avoid facing up to the problem of Islamic fundamentalism burdening their own communities. If a group of conspirators (MI6, Mosad etc.) was behind Diana’s death, then we can escape the upsetting thought that the death of a wonderful person can be caused by something as banal as a drunk driver.
The social psychological benefit of conspiracy theories extends even beyond that: they help to explain adverse social events, reconstruct the past and predict future events, call attention to threats to our own group, spur the members of our own group to collective defence, and provide ostensible moral justification for cruelty and violence towards external groups.

The Jews, of course!

The villains in modern world conspiracy theories typically realise their plots with the cool rationality of “homo economicus”, taking advantage of modern institutions and the latest technology. However, conspiracy stereotypes connected to Jews can be regarded partly as an archaic, collective legacy of the historic past. Conspiracy theories about Jews sprang up in the Middle Ages, in a different form to those of today and embedded in a different, magical-transcendent world view.

They were blamed, for example, for the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in 1009 and the Rome earthquake of 1020. Jews were also held responsible for the famine that struck Europe in the 14th century, leading to repeated pogroms on French soil. Some people even ascribed the plague that claimed the lives of almost a third of the population of Europe to a Jewish conspiracy designed to wipe out Christian communities despite the fact that the Jews were also among its victims.

Social fears and emotional unrest are fertile ground for the manufacturing of conspiracy theories, with Jews frequently becoming the targets of collective scapegoating.

I think that, in the 21st century, we tend to underestimate the extent and nature of scapegoating. How it has mutated and evolved, taken on new plots (for example, the supposed five dancing Israelis or the organ libel), yet the primary target for that scapegoating hasn’t changed much, it is Jews, and that is where Péter Krekó came in.

10% And Birthers.

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Mother Jones suggests that:

“According to a recent Washington Post poll, just 10 percent of Americans now strongly suspect that the President was not born in the United States; the number of true believers is even smaller.”

Glenn Beck’s Nonsense.

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Someone took the time and trouble to look through all of the nonsense that Glenn Beck spouted, ex of Fox News, read more at Media Matters:

Beck: George Soros “Is The Head Of The Snake.” From the October 15, 2010, edition of Glenn Beck:

BECK: And that’s what they found out in the first progressive movement. If we
don’t have God, if we don’t have him, if we don’t — if we can’t control these churches. Wilson, his father was a preacher. Most everybody in the early progressive movement, their father or somebody involved was a preacher. And they hated it. Right? It was a twisted version. And they hated it.

DAVID BARTON : I mean, the ACLU was headed by a preacher in the progressive movement. Americans for Democratic Action, headed by a preacher in the progressive movement. It is amazing how many of those progressive organizations were headed by preachers.

BECK: Well, Jim Wallis. And Jim Wallis today. He’s an amazing individual.

CALVIN BEISNER: Who also takes money from George Soros.

BECK: No! It’s almost like George Soros is the head of the snake. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 10/15/10]

Readers will remember Glenn Beck, His Racism And Fox’s Reply.

Press TV Digging Deeper.

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I have covered Press TV before, but a new blog Jhate does a much better job than me.

An extract from the Press TV uses US anti-Semites as commentators post:

“After noticing that the Iran’s English-language news agency Press TV has been promulgating a modern version of the blood libel by alleging that Jews kill children to harvest their organs, I started digging a bit deeper into Press TV’s articles and broadcasts. I have found some more very disturbing things. This will be the first in a series of posts describing Press TV’s practice of using American anti-Semitic ideologues as expert commentators. Today let’s focus on Mark Dankof, a Texas-based anti-Semitic podcaster and Lutheran pastor, who was interviewed by Press TV’s Waqar Rizvi on September 11, 2010.

The interview is about the 9/11 Truth Movement and why so many people believe the “official” version of the events when, at least in the eyes of the interviewer, the truthers seem to have a good case. Press TV posted a transcript, but the video is also available online. (In the video version of the interview you get to watch clips of the September 11 WTC attacks — including plane strikes, fleeing people, and the collapses — in a continual loop throughout the interview. That’s not anti-Semitism or anti-Zionism; that’s just nauseating.) The interview is about 8.5 minutes long. ”

Written by modernityblog

05/10/2010 at 14:41

Veterans Today Update.

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In a previous post I had highlighted racism and conspiracy theories found that Veterans Today.

Mistakenly, I had assumed that it was a legitimate organisation populated by sincere, if slightly misguided, individuals, but now I find out that it is a one-man band, run by Gordon Duff.

Duff is apparently a conspiracy crank and holds some very weird views on 9/11.

I apologise to readers for giving the impression that Veterans Today might have been a legitimate organisation concerned with the welfare of veterans. In reality, the web site is just the product of a fevered mind with a chip on its shoulder against Israelis, best ignored.

Arnaud de Borchgrave’s piece explains it all:

“WASHINGTON, July 26 (UPI) — The “Veterans Today” Network, a one-man show on the Internet created and run by Gordon Duff, a 100 percent disabled Marine Vietnam veteran, states flatly that 9/11 was a CIA/Mossad conspiracy and that Osama bin Laden wasn’t involved and died in 2001.

Duff does commentary on his conspiracy theories for radio and TV news programs; his provocative articles are carried the world over and his Web site gets 22 million page hits a month. Some of his recent “Top 10 Stories of the Week”: “The CIA: Beyond Redemption and Should Be Terminated”; “Does Event Honoring Israeli Spy Suggest Another Israeli Operation?”; “Wikipedia Revisionism to Israeli Pressure Groups.” “

PS: Any supporters of Veterans Today should read my comments policy.

Written by modernityblog

15/09/2010 at 02:16