Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Schmonspiracy Theory

"Newsnight" just ran a story on internet "conspiracy theories" about Diego Garcia, the US military base from which we were kind enough to kick out the natives to make room for bombers in the early 70s. Diego Garcia suffered hardly any damage and the base received a warning from the frequently mentioned Pacific base about the earthquake that it did not pass to other countries. The US Navy has issued a press release explaining that favourable topography saved the base. No explanation has been offered for why no one else was notified, but I'd imagine that the absence of procedures for notifying other countries of information received by military facilities would cover that one. Fair enough. The piece was of course larded with sneering comments about the excitable cranks to be found lurking on the internet and topped off by a blurred montage of their fevered outpourings--which, we might like to imagine, would threaten to infect the nation's sanity were it not for the unswerving good sense of proper journalists.

So far so good. But what are these "conspiracy theories"? Well, having suffered a few seconds of William "Conrad Black has been a superb proprietor" Shawcross on the screen--filmed gamely finding at least some amusement in such thoroughly wicked speculation, in front of bookshelves bursting with leather-bound volumes of presumably stern and rigourosly argued texts--and a wholly contrived discussion about nothing in particular with "Britain's most vocal idiot" David Aaronovitch and George Monbiot--whose charming incomprehension at why Governments spend more on the military than on disaster relief drew loud sniggers from Paxman--I really couldn't tell you. So perhaps you'd like to tell me.


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