Monday, 19 September 2011
Nick Pope- his Next Step
My review of Nick Pope’s speech at the Weird 11 Conference Lizards and Lies- the Truth about Conspiracy Theories; Saturday the 17th of September 2011. This is a follow-up article to one I wrote several months ago entitled What Next for Nick Pope?, see: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2011/06/what-next-for-nick-pope.html
See here for my HPANWO TV reportage of the Weird 11 Conference: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2011/09/weird-11-conference.html
Nick knows that I’m planning to review his conference address. He seems to trust me to do a fair job, although he'll have guessed that I’m going to disagree with his conclusions. I hope I’ve honoured his trust; I try to respect all people and don’t like being hurtful to others. At the same time I have to be honest in my opinions. This world is full of fence-sitters and opportunistic scientific prostitutes; who was it who said: “a friend to all is a friend to none.”? That’s very true. Nick has taken a lot of stick over the years from his fellow researchers and I’m afraid it’s my duty to give him a little bit more. However I bear him no personal ill-will and I’d even go as far as to say that I like the man! I appreciate that he has done much to bring the subject of UFO’s into the public arena and, although he has not addressed the full scale of the subject, he’s been sincere in his beliefs. As I’ll explain below, I’m sure he’s not a “shill”. He’s also recently been a tower-of-strength for several UFO abductees and has acted as a conduit between them and Budd Hopkins, who was a very sympathetic researcher who took UFO contact extremely seriously (Hopkins passed away a few weeks ago RIP, Budd), see my report on the latest Leeds Exopolitics Conference, see: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2011/08/exopolitics-leeds-2011.html
This was a brand new speech for Nick on a subject he’s not yet delivered in a conference address. The title immediately gives it away that this is a Skeptical speech about Conspiracy Theories (I shall use the term “Conspiracy Theory” throughout this report with the same definition and meaning that Nick does, purely for my own convenience. I know that there are many issues regarding the use of this expression that I can’t really go into in this report; in other articles I do.), although Nick opened with a statement that he didn’t intend for his speech to be another “hatchet-job” and wanted it to be even-handed. He first told us why he thought he was especially qualified to talk about Conspiracy Theories. It came from his career at the Ministry of Defence and it is there that he first came up with the idea, and therefore I wonder why it’s taken him so long to speak openly about the subject. When he was head of AS-2, the MoD’s UFO Desk, he came to realize that Conspiracy Theories are the staple diet of many UFO-believers. Those who regularly reported seeing unknown phenomena in the sky also made claims about Government complicity and deception in the same statements. Another reason, and I suspect that this is the main one, is that Nick himself has been on the receiving end of many Conspiracy Theories and has been the target of the very accusations his witnesses made. According to some UFO-researchers Nick is a “shill”, a Government agent who seeds the UFOlogical community with false information and downplays genuine mysteries. I wonder if he has a bit of an axe to grind here! Who wouldn’t in his place? He also believes that his own experience of working in the heart of Government for so long means that he has a lot of knowledge and insight into how governments work and how politicians think; the kinds of things they say and do. He warns us that whenever we come across a Conspiracy Theory we should ask ourselves three key questions: Could they? Would they? And, does the science support it? He then told us his psychological views on Conspiracy Theorists. We are apparently ridden with unreasonable mistrust of Government; all Conspiracy Theories, with the exception of the Paul-is-Dead Theory (see: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2008/11/is-paul-mccartney-dead.html) involve Government deceit and/or violence of some kind. Usually the media is complicit by covering up the truth in some way. Nick reckons that this is a false view of how media and the Government really work; he sites as his example the Claudy Bomb Conspiracy, a real conspiracy that took place in Northern Ireland in 1972. On the 31st of July an IRA bomb exploded and killed 9 people. A man named Father James Chesney was quickly arrested and charged with the murders, but curiously the case was closed before Chesney was prosecuted. What had happened? It later turned out that the police, the Home Secretary at the time, Willie Whitelaw, and the Church authorities secretly granted Chesney immunity in some shady deal. This was because having a Catholic priest being exposed as an IRA bomber was too embarrassing, politically and socially, to be allowed to pass. It was feared that this would deepen the Troubles and cause further warfare and bloodshed. Nick’s point was that the media fought tooth-and-nail to reveal the truth about the Claudy Conspiracy, at great embarrassment to the Government, so how can the media try to expose the truth against Government suppression one moment and the next be part of covering up the truth in collusion with the Government? Isn’t that a contradiction? I don’t think so. For one thing, the Claudy revelation might not be as earth-shattering as you might think when you consider that accusations of Government misdeeds during the Troubles in Northern Ireland have been flying around the place for the entire period and since, and have as a result become a bit passe. In fact it’s worth watching Peter Taylor’s TV series' Provoes, Loyalists and Brits for far more information about this kind of thing, see EG: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yDXbc9G1wk The British and Irish governments continuously carried out secret deals and negotiations with the paramilitary groups on both sides throughout the Troubles. Another problem with Nick’s assessment is that dallying around a few curves to quash a prosecution is hardly the crime of the century, although I’m sure it would seem that way for the loved-ones of the victims. It’s only the same sort of legal shut-down that was quite openly carried out more recently when IRA and Loyalist murderers were released early from prison as part of the Good Friday Agreement. For the media it’s not that much worse than Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky’s affair, surely! What if it was revealed, say, that the British Government was actually actively involved in the street-killings of the Troubles? What if they were actually running some of the IRA death-squads? Obviously the media would be onto that like a greyhound out of the trap... wouldn’t they? No. Why have they not followed up Paul Bruce’s accusations in his book The Nemesis File? In this book he accuses the Government of precisely that and what’s more confesses his own role therein, see: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nemesis-File-Story-Execution-Squad/dp/185782167X . Where are the roving mainstream journalists here? They’re ignoring it; why? Because it’s a step too far down the ladder of immorality, a place where they will not go. Government lying about weapons of mass destruction, tape recordings in the Oval Office, ministers sleeping with prostitutes, even covering up somebody else’s murder at Claudy. That’s bad, but not too bad, and the media will love it; but if it involves the Government actively committing murder, it crosses the line. Remind you of anything else? Read on!
Nick next talked a bit about what he calls Conspiracy Theory “Tropes”. This means terminology like “Sheeple”, “Shill” and “New World Order”. He finds the word “sheeple”, meaning a non-Conspiracy Theorist, extremely patronizing and I must say I agree with him; it’s insulting and using it is counter-productive. It’s a word you’ll never hear coming from my lips. Nick is not a “Shill”, as I’ve said before. I don't question that Nick is saying what he truly thinks is true. As I’ve said in my review of Andy Roberts’ book UFO Down, see: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2011/01/ufo-down-by-andy-roberts.html , shills who know they are shills are a liability. Managing people like Nick is far more effective than employing shills because Nick doesn’t have to be briefed in on the secret, so preventing the conspiracy from becoming top-heavy. The conspirators don't have to worry that he might develop a conscience and spill the beans. He can’t swap benches as Fife Symington did with the Phoenix lights; in fact he can promote complete falsehoods and be totally sincere about it. I suspect somebody may be using Nick without his knowledge. There are those I think are shills, and I’m willing to name them (like Anjem Choudary, see: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2010/01/muslim-clerics-are-they-shills.html ), but Nick is not among them. The “New World Order” is another of Nick’s tropes. This is a term I do use, but I only use it because I think it’s true. The New World Order is real and it’s happening! How do I know? Well, look at the rest of my articles and films. Nick then puts a situation to us: A person dies in a car crash because the driver is drunk and speeding; should we be suspicious? The instinctive answer is “No”. Such tragedies sadly happen virtually every day. So why then, asks Nick, do we think Princess Diana was assassinated? The answer is that what happened to Diana is totally different to any other car crash I’ve ever heard about, especially in terms of the shady background of the driver, the behaviour of the ambulance and hospital personnel who treated her, the way the scene was not preserved by accident investigators... the list goes on and on. Here’s a good website with all the details by a Probe Conference-regular Jon King: http://www.consciousape.com/discussion-topics/political-assassinations/ . There’s also the testimony of the former MI6 agent David Tomlinson, “The other David Shayler”. Tomlinson has spoken of a plan to assassinate the Serbian tyrant Slobodan Milosevic by staging a car crash. Just before the car drove into a tunnel the assassins would shine a special flash-gun into the face of the driver, one so powerful that it can blind a man for up to four minutes. After that special forces or secret service agents hiding nearby would run down into the tunnel, and if Milosevic had survived the crash they’d kill him by a poisoned injection. The only difference in Diana’s case was that the secret agents were probably one of the medical staff. I’m convinced Diana was assassinated and I think Nick is wrong to dismiss it as an accident. The same goes for Dr David Kelly. Nick sites confidently the Hutton Enquiry, one which even Tony Blair had to speak at, as proof that nobody in Government is hiding anything. “Why were there no fingerprints on the knife?” he asks. “Surely if Kelly were assassinated then his killers would have forced the knife into his dead grip and made sure his dabs were all over it”. This logic I find perplexing: The absence of evidence of a suicide is evidence supporting that it was a suicide? I must have seriously lost Nick’s drift at this point! I also direct readers to the testimony of Dave Bartlett, a man I’m personally acquainted with, who was the paramedic attending the scene. In his 30 years in the Ambulance Service Dave has had the unenviable duty of attending many suicides using the methods Kelly is supposed to have used, but Kelly’s is unique in that there was no blood. Kelly hardly bled at all so how could he have bled to death? His body might have bled slightly if his wrists had been cut by somebody after he was dead. The book The Strange Death of Dr David Kelly by the Rt. Hon. Norman Baker MP is worth reading: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Strange-Death-David-Kelly/dp/1842752170 (Don't let the unimaginitive title put you off!), the author was a speaker at the AV3 Conference, see: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2009/11/alternative-view-3-part-1.html .
Next Nick addresses some of the more “far out” Conspiracy Theories like Chemtrails. Nick remembers seeing high-flying aircraft leaving long, thick trails as a child and sees nothing different today. This is just water vapour, he says, and is completely harmless. I can’t say I share Nick’s memory of aircraft trails in my childhood that match today’s in any way. Modern trails can be hundreds of miles long and a dozen or more miles wide; just a handful of them can cover a completely blue and clear sky with an opaque, milky fog in just a few hours. They can last all day, whereas natural clouds and jet trails evaporate. And to crown it all, the normal jet condensation trails, exactly like the ones we used to see as kids, still exist today, sometimes being released from aircraft right next to Chemtrail planes. Another of Nick’s doubts about Chemtrails comes from the contradictory statements researchers make about them. Nobody seems to be sure what they are or why they’re being made and Nick sees this as a reason to dispute their existence. I don’t; I see them simply as Nick did in his initial point: We don’t know what they are. Maybe they’re some kind of climate modification technique, maybe they’re to fill the biosphere with some non-natural agent; I’ve not made up my mind yet. Another reason Nick is sceptical that Chemtrails are real is that the aircraft which leave them fly so much higher than crop-dusting aircraft. The latter usually skim very low over the fields, as opposed to Chemtrail planes which usually release their loads at altitudes of many thousands of feet. Again, this is not a valid point unless we already have an answer to the question of what Chemtrails are. There may be reason why they need to be deposited so high up. See here for more information: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2007/10/chemtrails-and-tomorrows-world.html
The authorities never used to bother answering Conspiracy Theorists like me and they’d just ignore us, with contemptuous giggles no doubt. However that’s changed and there are official government policies which denounce the fake Moon Landings, 9/11 Truth and Chemtrails. I take heart from this; it means our voices are now too loud to block out, however Nick just sees this as sociologically interesting, a response to the rise of the Internet and the proliferation of information from dubious, as Nick sees them, sources. There is even a webpage by mainstream astronomers addressing fears of 2012 and Comet Elenin, see: http://www.armaghplanet.com/blog/10-facts-you-need-to-know-about-comet-elenin.html .
Nick then goes on to the subject he's most renowned for after UFO’s: Debunking 9/11 Truth. “It’s a real no-planer!” he put on his display screen; I hear Civil Service-types enjoy puns like this. Unfortunately he didn’t give the conference many details of why he thinks 9/11 was not an inside job, but here he is in a debate with Annie Machon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jD-9cDigUN4 . I’ve also eavesdropped when he was in a pub once debating 9/11 with a well-known 9/11 Truth campaigner. As far as I can see Nick addresses the same cliche debunkers that these two appalling TV shows do: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2011/09/911-conspiracy-road-trip.html and: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2011/08/bbc-conspiracy-piles.html These theories have been addressed many times by 9/11 Truth researchers and activists over the last few years; the material in these programmes is just repeats of the old hat wheeled out by Popular Mechanics and other journals. As with the attempts to dismiss Roswell, they suspend disbelief way beyond the tensile strength of WTC steel!
Nick then leapt off a precipice and descended into the Dark Side of Conspiracy Theory, as he sees it, "The Jewish Question"! He voices his concern that “so many” 9/11 Truthers believe stories about how Mossad phoned up all the Jews working in the World Trade Centre and warned them to stay off work on 9/11. “So many”? I’ve never met a single serious 9/11 Truth activist who believes that. It’s sadly true that there are some proponents of the Far Right in the Conspiratorial Community who buy into the “It’s the Jews” line, but they are a small minority. Likewise, to respond to another of Nick’s worries, when I and most others talk about a cartel of international bankers we mean that literally: They are... well... bankers! And bankers come in all shapes, sizes and colours. They are as likely to be gentile as Jew and if they happen to be Jewish I don’t consider that relevant to why I oppose them. Nick mentions the delegate at Exopol who spoke out during Robbie Graham’s speech claiming that the BBC was all run by Jews and Nick claims that many of the delegates nodded in agreement. Well, not all of them, Nick! Some of us vehemently contradicted her, like me for instance, see Part 10 here: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2011/08/leeds-exopolitics-expo-2011.html . There was something that bothered me greatly about Nick bringing up this subject: Even though I agree with him that we should be wary about pointing fingers at races, creeds and colours, and challenge those who do, the accusation of AntiSemitism is constantly used by anti-Conspiracy Skeptics, especially among the radical Liberal press and Far Left activists, to smear the character of completely innocent people. A classic case is how David Icke was treated in Canada, see: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2912878405399014351# (Jon Ronson went on to make a rather good documentary and book: The Men who Stare at Goats, but this earlier film series is very poor). For every Conspiratorially-minded person justly accused of AntiSemitism there are 10 who are falsely accused of it. The problem is that this accusation is so emotive that once the AntiSemitism label is stuck on you it is very difficult to wash off, see: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2010/07/how-anti-semitic-are-you.html . The way we are accused of it when we mention Israel’s horrific acts of imperialism is another piece of hypersensitive hysteria that our critics have exploited. How many more times do we have to restate that opposition to Israel does not equal hatred of Jews!? Zionism is not Judaism! There are many very noble and intelligent Jews who are dedicated anti-Zionists like Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein; there are also plenty of fanatically Zionistic gentiles, like... many US Presidents and British Prime Ministers. Nick ridicules the idea that the word “ZION” is encoded into the London Olympic logo and thinks that this is pareidolia, the perception of organized shapes where none exists, like seeing faces in clouds. He quipped that, for people whose minds work in a certain way, it also resembles Lisa Simpson performing fellatio! However when you look into the background of the Illuminati, especially their obsession with ritual and black magic, that encoding the Olympic symbol in this way would be perfectly normal behaviour, in fact we should expect it. The head of the London Olympic committee is the former athlete and politician Lord Coe, who is an outspoken defender of Israel; indeed when Matthew Delooze wrote to him voicing his concerns Coe did not reply, see: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2008/10/breaking-serpents-spell-matthew-delooze.html . Nick also pours scorn on the idea that the Powers-that-Be might try to stage a fake alien invasion at the Olympics; and on somebody whom he doesn’t name, but calls: “one of the major proponents of the theory”. I assume he means Ian R Crane. “Why do it during the Closing Ceremony?” demanded Nick “Who watches that? Wouldn’t it be better to do it at the Opening Ceremony? If it were me behind it I’d wait for the Men’s 100 Metres Finals and then bring on the aliens!” This misses the point that if this Fake Alien Invasion Theory is true then it will most likely be done at the Closing Ceremony for occult ritual reasons; the date is significant. Nick is thinking in purely utilitarian terms; he’s obviously not as obsessed with the occult as the Illuminati are! The Illuminati don’t think like that. If Nick’s going to prove our Conspiracy Theories wrong then he’s going to have to understand the data that we apply to them. Anyway I’m sure if aliens land at the Closing Ceremony of the London Olympics, fake or real, then the viewers will soon switch over; it will become the most watched Olympic Closing Ceremony in history!
Nick thinks that the biggest danger with Conspiracy Theories comes from distrust of the medical establishment. He cites the same cases that Ben Goldacre and others (See: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2009/03/bad-science-by-ben-goldacre_25.html ) constantly does that follow the basic plot: Child ill; parents are both “evil Woo-Woo’s” and so didn’t get child vaccinated/refuse valid medical treatment; child dies. Nick said that the Internet is not the place for getting medical advice; where is then? I wish that Nick had been given another hour on stage! Maybe he could have come back and replaced Robert Bauval for the spare hour; because I’d love to have heard why he thinks it’s wrong to distrust the medical establishment, given its track record. Think of this plot: Child ill; both parents have faith in the medical establishment and so give child vaccines/conventional medical treatment; child dies. With such a heart-rending and crucial subject we need a proper debate, not rhetoric! I hope that when Nick brings up this subject again it is during a proper discussion with somebody supporting the other side of the story. From what I can see, I’d never take any conventional medical treatment at all unless it was absolutely necessary, like I was having a heart attack etc.
“Despite their faults, the US and UK governments are not dictatorships” said Nick. “I’ve never seen in all my years in the Government anybody ever planning an assassination.” In fact Nick told us of how he’d spoken to an American Army General about what the Iraqi invasion was really for and the General replied: “Food, water and electric lights for the Iraqi people.” Nick believes that it’s correct to think critically of the authorities so long as we also subject Conspiracy Theories to an equal amount of scrutiny. We should, Nick says, remember that Conspiracy Theories can be flawed and involve deceit and delusion too; we should ask ourselves some of the very obvious questions that so many Conspiracy Theorists so often fail to ponder. It amazes me that Nick doesn’t ask himself just one very key question: If somebody were planning an assassination, would he necessarily know about it? Nick describes how he met the Saudi Royal Family last year when he attended a conference in Riyadh: “They don’t want to depopulate the world!” Nick asserted. “They want more people to buy more products! There’s no dark smoke-filled room where the Elite are plotting to wipe out three-quarters of humanity!” Really? Surely Nick doesn’t think that if such a room existed that the door would open as he was walking past and somebody would invite him in! “Come in, Nick. Shut the door behind you. Have a cigar! This is what’s really going on, but just don’t tell anyone eh?” Why should that General he spoke to be told that his job was actually to slaughter people so that the oil companies could make a billion dollar profit? Do I really have to explain compartmentalization and “Need-to-Know” to a former Civil Servant?
I’m not sure exactly why Nick has decided to make this change in his career; he was doing well with the UFO subject, in fact he’s got a popular column in UFO Matrix magazine and it seems he’s still an essential ingredient at any UFO conference. I’m not going to play amateur psychologist; that would insult both Nick and you, the reader. However if he has some agenda in mind, a goal that he wants to achieve, I can’t see that he’ll get very far with it. For one reason, as a fellow Weird 11 delegate I met said: “He’s preaching to the unconvertible!” Also he doesn’t go into detail about why he thinks that Conspiracy Theories are such nonsense. At the start of his speech he asked us to pose his three key questions: Could they? Would they? And, does the science support it? What I’ve found in many Conspiracy Theories, including all the ones Nick mentioned is that the answer is an unequivocal and resounding: “Yes!” “Yes!” and “Yes!”
(Addendum: The sound quality in the auditorium, especially on Saturday morning, was very poor. I spoke to some of the crew and they told me that they suspected that one of the audience was using a radio-jammer to block Nick Pope's wireless microphone. I hope not. As much as a differ with Nick he has a right to speak and to be heard.)
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