Kindle Surprise: The Demon-Haunted World, by Carl Sagan

“The question, as always, is how good is the evidence? The burden of proof surely rests on the shoulders of those who advance such claims. Revealingly, some proponents hold that scepticism is a liability, that true science is inquiry without scepticism. They are perhaps halfway there. But halfway doesn’t do it. “

"Carl Sagan Planetary Society" by NASA/JPLIt’s no secret I enjoy conspiracies, and conspiracy theories. This is mostly for the entertainment value: the world would be a much more interesting place if those in power were, as David Icke has suggested, actually shape-shifting lizards. But a good general rule is, the bigger a conspiracy has to be, the less likely it is to be true. Another useful one is Hanlon’s razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. So was the government behind 9/11? I doubt it. Should the government have known about it? Quite probably: the dots were there, they just weren’t connected by anyone in possession of all the data. Did America shamelessly exploit it afterward for an entirely unconnected foreign policy agenda, specifically, the invasion of Iraq? Oh, hell, yes. This doesn’t require a conspiracy, just standard political opportunism.

On Reddit, I’ve been amused and irritated in about equal amounts by the /r/conspiracy forum there, whose contents run the gamut from entirely reasonable speculation through to batshit crazy, with a copious helping of anti-Semitism (thinly disguised as anti-“Zionism”) and a relentless belief that every thing is a “false flag” – including, in an Inception-style piece of circular thinking, some who believe the anti-Semitic posts are false flags, designed to discredit /r/conspiracy. My particular bete noire are those who believe the Sandy Hook massacre was not just a false flag, but never happened at all. Literally, nobody died: it was a grand piece of theater designed to… Well, no-one has come up with an adequate motive: the most commonly mentioned one, to promote gun-control, conveniently forget that not one piece of federal legislation subsequently became law.

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Unlawful Killing – the Princess Diana conspiracy film

unlawfulDir: Keith Allen

The phrase “banned in the UK” still has a curious lure to me, even though I haven’t lived there now for over 13 years. So, hearing about this documentary immediately piqued my interest, since it was more or less damned as far as any UK release was concerned – lawyers apparently advised the lawyers that 87 different cuts would need to be made, mostly for reasons of libel. Any US release was similarly shelved after it was was deemed impossible to secure insurance against the possibility of legal repercussions. There are reasons to be skeptical of the film, not least that it’s entire budget of $2.5 million was apparently provided by Mohammed Al Fayed, the father of Dodi, and someone who, it’s safe to say, has something of a prejudiced agenda in the case. Virtually since Day One, he has been banging the drum that the British establishment murdered his son and Diana, because they couldn’t stand the prospect of a Muslim being a step-father to the future King – and, hey, what are the odds, the film comes to exactly the same conclusions, both general and specific.

It’s hugely variable stuff. Some of the claims made in the film are basically ludicrous: such as the one that the entire legal system is “corrupt,” because they all swear allegiance to the Crown. Presumably, that would therefore include the likes of Michael Mansfield, QC to Al Fayed. There’s also no mention of Diana’s previous relationship with Hasnat Khan, another Muslim, which lasted two years and apparently met with little or no opposition from the palace. In contrast, Diana had first met Dodi less than seven weeks before her death, and had probably spent little more than three weeks together, so the claim they were intending to get married seems difficult to sustain. The same goes for the allegation she was pregnant: while the swift embalming of her body would indeed have made it harder to tell if that was the case, all the circumstantial evidence seems to suggest otherwise.

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Incredibly Bad TV Show: Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura

Regular readers will know that we’re big fans of conspiracy theories here at TC. While not necessarily believing them all – especially the all-encompassing, shape-shifting lizards from another dimension type ones – they’re like intellectual table-salt. They enhance the flavor of life, and help foster a sense of cynicism about the motives and actions of government and those in power, which is certainly extremely sensible. However, just as conspiracy theories cover the gamut from plausible to completely-loopy [though remarkably entertaining], so does coverage of them in the mainstream media range from sober, serious consideration of the possibilities to… Well, to Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura.

We should probably have got some kind of inkling from its location on Tru TV. The channel used to be known as Court TV, but changed its brand in 2008, now operating under the slogan, “Not reality. Actuality.” Going by shows such as Operation Repo, “actuality” appears to mean making stuff up and trying to give the impression it’s real.  Saying Tru TV does not have a good record for serious investigative journalism is like saying Michael Jackson had some deficiencies as a child-care provider.  But, hey, we’ll cut it some slack: after all, host Jesse Ventura remains one of the few people to crack the two-party system, during his spell as Governor of Minnesota. If there’s anyone capable of cutting through the BS, it’d be him.

Unfortunately,  any hope of a balanced look at the topics under investigation evaporates in the fiery heat of the near-hysterical approach to the subject matter. After the jump, we’ll bravely go through the entire series, episode by episode, and expose the deadly truth about Conspiracy Theory!!!! Ok, perhaps not, but after you’ve watched a few of these shows, the style does tend to rub off…

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HAARP-ing On

Up until the 1980’s, Sedona was just another northern Arizona town, set in a picturesque location among impressive formations of red rocks. Passing tourists and the odd film shoot (The Angel and the Badman) provided minor sources of income, while agriculture remained the main pursuit. However, in the 1980’s, a whole new group of visitors arrived, enticed by Sedona’s vortices. Or vortexes – like most things related to them, there’s no real agreement on the matter.

Indeed, you’d be hard-pushed to find two people who agree what these vortices are. Generally, they seem to be areas of increased energy, which can be felt by the especially sensitive – cynics may suggest this is just a nice get-out clause, allowing any failures to be blamed on the participant. From this humble beginning has spun off an entire industry of tours, seminars and New Age activities, which has turned Sedona into a Mecca for the spiritually-minded. Now, anywhere between 2 and 4 million tourists visit a year, swamping the year-round population of barely 10,000.

We are not equipped to comment on the vortices, since we’ve never bothered to hike our way to their supposed locations – with an appalling lack of consideration for tourists, there are no vortices located on Main Street, or near to Starbuck’s. Sedona does, however, remain a cutesy little destination that’s an inevitable stop on the itinerary of visiting guest, as well as the occasional weekend getaway for Chris and myself. It seems like every second shop is an art gallery – with the ones in between occupied by gift shops or new age stores, selling crystals, psychic readings, aura cleansings and the like.

Coming out of one such, we were grabbed by a guru who demanded, “What’s the connection?”. Connection? Ah, spiritual. Now, Chris is from New York, and I spent a decade in London, where strangers only talk to you if they want cash. This guy seemed more benign, though he may have been angling for business. He said we both need exercise – hardly a stretch, and true for 90% of Americans. I need to watch the water I drink, Chris should get her acupuncture points adjusted. Maybe she can do it at the garage, when she takes the car in for a service.

It wasn’t all holistic fun and games, however – the main purpose of the Sedona trip was to hear a talk by Dr. Nick Begich. We first encountered Begich at the 2002 Conspiracy Con, and he remains one of the best speakers we’ve heard in our three years attending that event. It says something that a ninety-minute drive to hear him once more, was absolutely no discouragement at all.

Dr. Begich differs from many conspiratorial researchers in a couple of ways. Firstly, he cites sources with a zeal that borders on the obsessive, yet is refreshing – compare and contrast Arizona Wilder, whose claimed experiences are her only evidence. Secondly, too many conspiratologists take a fact and run amok with it, ending up in wild speculation. Begich is happy to admit the limits of his knowledge, and differentiates between knowledge, inference and extrapolation.

His family background is interesting: his brother is the mayor of Anchorage, Alaska and he’s the son of an Alaskan Congressman who disappeared, along with his plane, in mysterious circumstances – also on the vanished aircraft was House Majority Leader Hale Boggs, a member of the Warren Commission which investigated the assassination of Kennedy, and announced that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Begich entered the fray with a 1994 article about the hi-tech HAARP project located in a remote area of Alaska, a topic later explored more fully in his book, Angels Don’t Play This HAARP.

The HAARP array in Alaska [click picture to enlarge]

HAARP stands for ‘High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program’, and was originally developed as a way to use some of the Alaskan gas there, rather than needing to transport it elsewhere. It consists of an array of radio antennas, pumping large amounts of energy into the upper atmosphere, in what is officially “a scientific endeavor aimed at studying the properties and behavior of the ionosphere.” The fact that it’s run by the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Office of Naval Research tells you this is no theoretical research project, though the only practical applications officially admitted are in communication and navigation systems. Progressing roughly from the mundane on out:

  • Communications. When energy is pulsed into the ionosphere, it resonates like an aerial, emitting ELF (Extra Low Frequency) radio waves. These can be used to communicate with submarines, removing the need for the enormous underground systems otherwise needed to generate the ultra-long wavelengths required.
  • Earth-penetrating tomography. These ELF transmissions are good for submarines, since they go through just about anything. This also allows them to be used in the same way as radar, except detecting underground facilities such as missile silos or bunkers. In the civilian sector, they may also assist in locating buried deposits of minerals, oil or gas.
  • Anti-satellite weaponry. When the ionosphere is heated, it expands, pushing out into space beyond the normal limits of the atmosphere. Encountering particles where there is normally only vacuum would be a nasty shock to low-orbiting satellites, possibly causing them to malfunction or even burn up.
  • Changing the weather. Altering the ionosphere may affect the jet-stream, the high-speed winds which are part of the Earth’s weather systems. Though officially denied, it’s clear from the inaccuracy of forecasts that our knowledge in this area is rather less than perfect. Prodding a chaotic system such as the ionosphere might lead to problems that would make the ozone hole look like a cake-walk.
  • Causing earthquakes. ELF frequencies have also been associated with earth tremors; researcher Dr. Elizabeth Rauscher-Bise has suggested they might be an indicator of imminent seismic activity. It’s really pure speculation, but perhaps pumping ELF into a fault line could trigger a quake. It might be informative to try and correlate HAARP activity – it is officially only “on” a few times per year – with geological records.
  • Behaviour modification. The politically-correct term for “mind control”…

The last-named deserves – and requires – a longer explanation, and a diversion into the realm of electromagnetic weaponry, which may be as much a revolution in armaments as the invention of gunpowder. An earlier pioneer was Nikola Tesla (left), who worked on various devices in this field as well as particle-beam weapons; some suggest one experiment caused the still-mysterious Tunguska Event of 1908 which levelled half a million acres in Siberia, but didn’t leave the crater typical of a meteor impact. After his death in 1943, all Tesla’s papers were seized by the U.S. government.

The human body is susceptible, in one way or another, to a wide range of radiation: ultraviolet rays lead to sunburn, gamma rays cause cancer, and so on. More subtle is the potential impact on the brain: in December 1997, a sequence of flashing lights in a Pokemon episode landed 600+ Japanese viewers in hospital with an epilepsy-like syndrome [thousands more claimed some effects, but mass hysteria is likely responsible for most of these]. This shows that the right frequency of stimulation is more important than the power.

Another example is cellphone radiation. The jury is out on whether the energy levels there pose a threat to users’ health but, either way, information on the topic is hard to find. Emission figures for each model tend to be locked deep within the instruction manuals, sealed in the box, rather than anywhere that’d let consumers make an informed decision. After the lecture, Chris enquired at four local stores on the topic – three were unwilling to help at all (T-Mobile were particularly hostile), with only Digitell providing assistance. Hardly the behaviour of an industry with nothing to hide.

In a showy but undeniably impressive 1964 experiment (right), Dr. Jose Delgado stopped a charging bull using a transmitter connected to a receiver surgically implanted in the beast. This was reported in his book, Physical Control of the Mind, where he also called ethical objections to physical mind-control, “debatable” [p.214]. Without such moral qualms as a hindrance, one can only guess what progress has been made in classified research during the forty years since this open demonstration.

Admittedly, there could be benefits to come out of this area as well. A better understanding of how the mind works, and ways of changing it, could lead to improved methods of alleviating mental illness. Or perhaps we could treat ADD-affected children by methods other than pouring a cocktail of pharmaceuticals down their throat. But the possibilities for abuse need hardly be spelled out, beginning with trivial examples such as a vending machine which could ‘beam’ an advertisement into the heads of passers-by – again, we can speculate what the military have done with this technology.

HAARP fits into this, because the ELF frequencies which it generates in the ionosphere are around the same ones found in the human body, and can impact it. Dr. Rauscher found that a certain frequency could generate nausea, while another triggered laughter. She once reportedly said, “Give me the money and three months, and I’ll be able to affect the behavior of eighty percent of the people in this town without their knowing it.” Imagine the impact of this on an opponent – it certainly might explain why the Iraqi army caved so easily during the two Gulf Wars.

You might question whether some obscure scientific endeavour in the middle of nowhere is really of significance. But as Dr. Begich pointed out, technology is largely what distinguishes the “have” nations from the “have nots”, and it is our responsibility to ensure that our governments are not using it in an irresponsible manner. I feel somewhat less than comfortable that this is taking place, especially while projects like HAARP continue under the financial control of the military, and with imperfect disclosure.

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Raising Arizona Wilder

Born Jennifer Ann Greene, Arizona Wilder first came to prominence with the release of David Icke’s The Biggest Secret, as rare “evidence” (quotes used advisedly) for his theory that the world is dominated by shape-shifting reptilians from other dimensions. The book’s index has the entry, “Wilder, Arizona – see Mother Goddess”, and she describes human sacrifice rituals involving the Pope, the Clintons, the Reagans, both George Bushes, various members of the Royal Family, and, er, Bob Hope. These summoned “snarling, hideous creatures” – how they distinguished them from participating politicians is unclear.

Here’s her description of the Queen: “I have seen her sacrifice people and eat their flesh and drink their blood. One time she got so excited with blood lust that she didn’t cut the victim’s throat from left to right in the normal ritual, she just went crazy, stabbing and ripping at the flesh after she’d shape shifted into a reptilian. When she shape-shifts, she has a long reptile face, almost like a beak, and she’s an off-white colour.” [David Icke, The Biggest Secret, p.455]

You can get a videotape of an interview with her, but for those not willing to contribute directly to her finances, an opportunity to see Wilder speak occurred at the 2003 Conspiracy Con in Santa Clara. I went in sceptical, but with an open mind – despite a desire to give her the benefit of the doubt, unfortunately, I came out convinced that her claims have no basis in objective fact. Though if any of it is true, her life has been a harrowing one. She was born with her destiny as a cult figurehead already predetermined, and was ritually abused as part of her indoctrination. This included trips to Moscow as a young child, where she was immersed in cold water to bring on near-death experiences which would awaken her latent psychic abilities, and her chief handler was Nazi scientist Joseph Mengele.

A lizard, preparing to add
garnish to a light snack

These creatures who rule our planet can’t enter our dimension on their own; they need to be anchored here with a sacrifice, and need adrenalchrome to keep them in human form. This chemical only comes into the blood when the victim has been tortured and traumatised – Arizona’s job was to preside over the ceremonies and act as a conduit for the reptilians.

In her role as a “mother goddess”, she was scheduled to be killed at the age of 52, by her daughter, who would then take over the role. [Does this mean Arizona killed her mother? I suspect not – must be some kind of reptilian loophole there. Handwave, handwave…] But after Mengele’s death in the 1980’s, the psychological noose around her neck loosened, and she escaped the cult’s clutches, going into therapy. [Another warning sign, given the ability of therapists to make anyone believe anything] Subsequently, she’s been harassed, beat up, and even drugged – a test showed positive for cocaine even though she claims never to have taken it.

Well, where to start? The complete lack of corroborating evidence she provided, to begin with – for example, the alleged beatings become less significant given her admission that she has engaged in self-mutilation. You might think that with so many years operating at the highest levels of the global conspiracy, she would have some proof: photos, documents, anything. No. Not even a shape-shifting paperclip. We have only her testimony to go on. My rule of thumb is that the more outrageous your claims, the more I require to back them up. Wilder rates a 10 for outrageousness, but there’s more convincing support for pixies and unicorns than for her view of the world.

Is this the man who abused Wilder?
No, it’s Gregory Peck playing Mengele in The Boys From Brazil. But Peck was probably involved too…

She claims to have been one of only three mother goddesses in the world. This, and how she was trained by Joseph Mengele himself (though could she tell us with any degree of authority what he looked like?), reminds me of the way that mentally ill people always believe themselves to be Napoleon, never Napoleon’s boot-boy. Given Wilder herself puts the number of ‘programmed’ individuals in the United States alone at ten million, the odds of her being such a high-ranking figure are ludicrously high.

Of course, the programmed include her parents and sisters – presumably a defence against anyone tracking them down and hearing their denials. Tied in with her supposed high-level role, her family are no commoners either, but “bloodline” – related (illegitimately, naturally – any ‘proper’ connection could be easily investigated) to the Rothschilds, and originating from the South of France. Yes, throw some Holy Blood and the Holy Grail into the mix, though you may be forgiven for feeling Wilder’s universe is closer to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

I’m far from the only doubter: former Icke associate Ivan Fraser wrote in an article that, “her facts were either regularly wrong, or so full of spin that she was hardly credible.” He also mentions Wilder’s claim that the royal lizards change back when they sleep, which must have made Prince Charles’ time at Gordonstoun public school and in the armed forces very entertaining for those sharing his sleeping quarters…

‘Control freak’ Cathy O’Brien, with her minder, Mark Phillips

The most charitable explanation is that she was indeed abused horribly as a child, and her psyche has latched on to Icke’s reptilians as a way to rationalise her suffering. Under this hypothesis, she truly believes what she says. Slightly less kind, she could merely be an attention seeker who loves the sympathy of an attentive audience, and finds making outrageous claims a good means to that end. Worst of all…well, if someone out there actually is engaged in mind-control work (and that is not as far-fetched as you’d like to think), what better way to cover it up? Make wild, ludicrous claims, linking the topic to trans-dimensional aliens, Nazis and Satanists, and the general population will eventually believe it to be the domain of cranks and kooks.

In this light, I am particularly curious about Wilder’s minder, the unseen “Miss Pinky”. What is her precise role? Wilder isn’t the only one to have such an associate lurking nearby – Cathy O’Brien, another alleged mind control victim, is rarely seen outside the company of ex-intelligence agent Mark Philips. Another figure of interest is Brian Desborough, who may have directed David Icke towards the reptilian theory, and subsequently introduced Wilder to him, a convenient “witness” to back up the facts. Perhaps significantly, Desborough has written articles on mind control.

By writing this piece, I probably become part of the conspiracy against her, and my claim to be merely a sarcastic, sceptical Scotsman should be viewed with scepticism. However, she claims to be serving her purpose and destiny, and so I guess I’m just doing the same thing by treating her story with the suspicion it deserves. Her presentation at Conspiracy Con was entitled Deceived No More – but does that more accurately apply to the speaker or the audience?

A reader writes:

“I ran into your page about Arizona Wilder – I recently had the ‘extinct’ honor or working with this mentally ill person, she was my Charge Nurse on a psychiatric unit. [I call it extinct because I no longer work there – I’m a nurse as well.] The second day I knew her, she was telling me and other co-workers her history with the so-called Illuminati… She turned out to be one of the most annoying people I have spent 8 hours a day with. I am now free of Arizona’s interactions and that snake pit. I am thankful every day I didn’t end up an appetizer for the queen of England!”