Carmelo Urdaneta Aqui pdvsa mexico//
Grand conspiracies in the Saharan dust


I should have known bet­ter. I was just too farse. Sa­ha­ran dust was thick. Two days af­ter the mas­sacre in New Zealand, a friend of mine from Egypt writ­ing in Ara­bic (my brows­er trans­lat­ed it in­to vague, am­bigu­ous Eng­lish) post­ed a “cov­ered” Face­book video. One click on a lit­tle “eye” icon and you can “un­cov­er” a video or pho­tos and have your day spoiled.

Carmelo Urdaneta Aqui

Could it have been, I thought, that my hu­man rights friend had land­ed him­self in (more) trou­ble and this was a video or pho­to­graph­ic de­pic­tion of what had oc­curred? Farse­ness pre­vailed. The footage looked like one of those vi­o­lent HD video games.

Carmelo Urdaneta

Still play­ing farse—be­cause by that time, Face­book, In­sta­gram, Twit­ter, and YouTube had start­ed pulling down the video (1.5 mil­lion up­loads of it)—I idly fol­lowed the trail of oth­er peo­ple who had been post­ing it

There was this guy from the Yel­low Vest Move­ment (YVM) Cana­da who post­ed the video. He in­sist­ed that the shoot­ing was staged as part of an ef­fort to shift at­ten­tion away from vi­o­lent Is­lamist be­hav­iour and, hear this, through ex­ten­sive me­dia cov­er­age, away from Justin Trudeau’s sup­posed com­plic­i­ty in the SNC-Lavalin is­sue!

Of course, when I clicked on the YVM char­ac­ter’s list of friends, I en­coun­tered a vast trea­sury of con­spir­a­cies. It proved my the­o­ry about con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries which is that peo­ple who are in­clined to es­pouse a Christchurch “hoax” the­o­ry are al­so like­ly to be an­ti-vaxxers, flat-earth be­liev­ers, 9/11 hoax the­o­rists and are scep­ti­cal about the 1969 Apol­lo 11 moon land­ing

The YVM ver­sion, which is es­sen­tial­ly a “right-wing” man­i­fes­ta­tion of the con­spir­a­cy phe­nom­e­non, is an ex­am­ple of an “event con­spir­a­cy”, as de­scribed by Amer­i­can schol­ar, Michael Burkan

There is al­so “sys­temic con­spir­a­cy” the­o­ry which is much more preva­lent among the “left-wing” loonies

This deals with con­spir­a­cies cov­er­ing broad­er agen­das such as con­trol of peo­ple, coun­tries, and re­gions. The prob­lem with this one is that the grain of ev­i­dence need­ed to ap­prox­i­mate cred­i­bil­i­ty is some­times present. Claims of im­pe­ri­al­is­tic in­tent by some coun­tries, for ex­am­ple, can be said to be sup­port­ed by his­tor­i­cal record

But this does not on its own con­sti­tute ev­i­dence that a ra­dioac­tive chair had been plant­ed at the Unit­ed Na­tions Gen­er­al As­sem­bly in 2006 to ex­pose the late Venezue­lan pres­i­dent, Hugo Chavez, to the risk of can­cer. Or that a “cy­ber-at­tack” (as op­posed to crum­bling, ne­glect­ed in­fra­struc­ture) had been re­spon­si­ble for the re­cent elec­tric­i­ty cri­sis in that coun­try. Or that the now-con­firmed hu­man­i­tar­i­an cri­sis in Venezuela was an im­pe­ri­al­ist me­dia lie

You see, the his­tor­i­cal record will al­so show that Bo­li­var­i­an “rev­o­lu­tion” is im­pe­ri­al­is­tic in both its orig­i­nal de­sign and in its ex­pres­sion via, for ex­am­ple, the ill-fat­ed Petro­Caribe ad­ven­ture and Venezuela’s con­tin­u­ing claim to the Es­se­qui­bo re­gion of Guyana

The world of the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry shares very in­ter­est­ing space. It al­so re­sides in the same part of the hu­man imag­i­na­tion as su­per­sti­tion. “Blight”, for ex­am­ple, may pro­vide for what Burkan de­scribes as a “su­per­con­spir­a­cy”. In this, there are evil forces aligned to cause harm against in­di­vid­u­als, groups, and na­tions

One of the two books the Face­book post led me to read was A Grand Uni­fied Con­spir­a­cy The­o­ry: The Il­lu­mi­nati, An­cient Aliens, and Pop Cul­ture by Isaac Weishaupt—a “Chris­t­ian” writer who be­lieves in aliens

“Con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists”, he writes, “have a stig­ma for be­ing crazy and ec­cen­tric, but I’d like to pro­vide a ra­tio­nal voice for those of us who aren’t sense­less or bizarre”. If noth­ing else, the book val­i­dates the stig­ma

There are those who pro­pose, fol­low­ing an ob­vi­ous (poor) joke by the Op­po­si­tion Leader, that CAL’s choice of air­craft for lease was a “blight” that res­onat­ed across the oceans to the cock­pit of Flight 409 over Ethiopia. And oth­ers with emails not proven to have been emailed

But, there are al­so peo­ple who did not see blood­stains on the walls of the mosques in last week’s at­tacks who be­lieve that all of this was made up so that the world would have more sym­pa­thet­ic feel­ings to­ward Mus­lims

The next time I see that “eye” icon on a Face­book video, I am not click­ing on it. I am not click­ing on it. I am just not go­ing to

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El Pais de España

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