The Stuff of Conspiracies

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept 11th conspiracy theories have, on the whole, suffered a near free-fall drop in quality. Sometimes, however, coincidence will present the conpiracy theorist with the perfect opportunity.

Ask yourself what are the odds that two successive passenger airline disasters would happen to aircraft operated by the same company, involving supposedly two aircraft of the same make and model, one of which has never been found, the other of which crash lands into Obama’s political lap? A causus belli, as you requested your highness.

Back in March the conspiracy theory leadership – such that it is – were twittering that #MH370 had been taken by NATO to be used in a false flag attack in Ukraine that would be blamed on Russia. This was a fairly specific charge, and when somebody appears able to predict a future event with such a degree of specificity other people may be of a disposition to take note. Of course, to be respected one has to be able to consistently predict the future. Like a scientist.

A one-off “that’s what I said!” happenstance could occur to anybody by random chance, and given the kind of ludicrous claims that were being made in March, and vast multitudes venting forth on anti-social media, it was kind of certain that someone, somewhere would describe something that could be later pointed back to, with glee. The victims, we remember, are the first of the facts to be forgotten if not outright denied by 21st Century Conspiracism. Their very existance will be erased, their presence on Earth reduced to nothing more than imaginary names on a list, Operation Northwoods style.

A finger will be raised followed by an innocent-sounding voice redolent of curiosity asking, “Were there any Israelis on board?”, the only people ever to exhibit any sign of objective existance in modern conspiracism. That such talk is going to be fuelled in this instance by an apparant “we told you so” mentality does not bode well.

Three Day Rule

Applying the three-day rule to #MH17 one should not even try to consider today’s events until at least the day after tomorrow. Allowing some time for verifiable facts to manifest themselves and ignoring the initial speculative gibber. On the other hand the predicts, even at this early stage, that the alphanumerics MH370 and MH17 will come to rival WTC7 and JFK in conspiracy yore for many years to come.

While we may be simultaneously appalled and entertained by the inept and callous attempts at reason characteristic of classic conspiracy, we also comprehend that such calamitous coincidences have been known to ignite major wars in the past, escalating body counts into the stratosphere. Particularly when they happen to occur in the middle of conflicts or confrontations. Anybody remember van der Lubbe? Archduke Ferdinand?

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With the USA and Russia currently closer to a nuclear exchange than they have been since the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the media distracted by debate over whether this should be called WWIV or WWV, the last thing anybody needs is another Malaysian ‘plane to fall out of the sky over the combat zone. A riddle inside an orange peel wrapped up in a piece of brown paper and left in a telephone box. Certain only to ensure the shabbiest of outcomes.

Will, perhaps, such an evocative loss of life inspire the combatants to step back, ask themselves and their adverseries if this is really what we all want? Not a chance. Like the conspiracy theorists they will sieze upon the disaster as an opportunity to promote their own world view and point fingers at their enemy du jour. Unless they are SEO-aware googleized “webmasters”, when they will sieze the opportunity to cash-in on the pagerank by jumping aboard the inevitable adwords bandwagon.

#nuclearwardeclared is simply a means by which websites can sell you t-shirts, baseball caps, mugs, and biros with their URL on while doubling-up on the opportunity by selling everything they’ve learned about you during your visit to anybody willing to pay them for it.

Open Questions

There’s some questions we don’t expect to see being asked anytime soon, so we’ll ask ’em ourselves. As the Government of Ukraine – such that it is – was conducting well-publicized air combat operations in the region why didn’t they close the airspace to civilian traffic aforehand? If somebody, on the other hand, purposefully chose to shoot down a Malaysian aircraft for maximum publicity and emotional impact would not the formerly astonishing coincidence dissolve away?

Editor’s Update, July 17, 2014 at 20:48: We understand that the airspace has now been closed to civilian traffic and the currently over-loaded is showing aircraft flying routes that avoid the region. Which prompts a further question: A bit late now isn’t it?

Ukraine’s entire air-space is now effectively closed, a de facto no fly zone with major airlines cancelling flights to Ukraine until further notice. This pleases Russia as it further isolates Kiev from the international community, has their new EU overlords onto them demanding an explanation (but not a ceasefire, obviously), and opens the way for Russia to gain air superiority without having to give a warning should a military solution be required. Kiev is also pleased due to the aforementioned causus belli that has an inherent missile defence antidote.The combatants will likely agree to disagree, blame each other, and the argument from unintended consequence – that some of those amateurs, on whatever side, playing soldiers with heavy and sophisticated weapons in the South East have made a boo-boo, USS Vincennes-style – will be largely dismissed.

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