Dogma Alert

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Conspiracy!; Conspiracy - Tales From at Home and Abroad

Press, The; Christchurch, New Zealand
By PHILP, Matt

In the internet age, conspiracy theories seem to be an accelerating phenomenon. MATT PHILP looks at the best-known, both at home and abroad.

On the afternoon of Saturday, November 23, 1963, United States Air Force Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty was passing through Christchurch on his way home from assignment in Antarctica when he picked up the Christchurch Star's "extra" edition devoted to the breaking story of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

The coverage was electric, comprehensive -- way too comprehensive, in Prouty's mind, to be anything other than a CIA put- up job.

How, he asked, could a newspaper that hit the streets even before the alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was arraigned carry so much background about the gunman unless the bio was written up in readiness before the shooting?

Prouty kept asking, even after his "impossible" timeline was explained away. That's Prouty you see immortalised as the twitchy military deepthroat "Mr X" in Oliver Stone's film, JFK, picking up his Star at Christchurch airport, and later exhaling frosty riddles on a park bench in Washington. And thus, this good city was assured of a place for ever in a dark corner of America's murkiest conspiracy theory.

Good for Prouty. As the authors of the newly published Rough Guide to Conspiracy Theories observe: "Entering the world of conspiracy theories can be as disorienting as underwater diving. But this is not the only danger: it's just as easy to be lured by their seductive intricacy."

The Rough Guide is a recitation of some of the most seductive intrigues of the past 3000 years, from the tomb of Tutankhamun to the alleged Roswell UFO crash and film footage to the idea that the Apollo Moon landing was faked.

The authors posit that in the internet age, conspiracy theories have become an accelerating global phenomenon. [...]

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