Friday, March 07, 2008

And while we're on the subject ... The Cash of Civilizations Part 2

Damian Thompson's Counterknowledge makes a big fuss about the public's appetite for 9/11 conspiracy theories. A couple of weeks after his brave and impressive denunciation of such feeble-mindedness, the Saudis slightly spoilt things by apparently threatening "another 7/7" if the Serious Fraud Office didn't back off. This from the Guardian -

"Saudi Arabia's rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday.

Previously secret files describe how investigators were told they faced "another 7/7" and the loss of "British lives on British streets" if they pressed on with their inquiries and the Saudis carried out their threat to cut off intelligence.

Prince Bandar, the head of the Saudi national security council, and son of the crown prince, was alleged in court to be the man behind the threats to hold back information about suicide bombers and terrorists. He faces accusations that he himself took more than £1bn in secret payments from the arms company BAE."

Take one transnational arms company, one hereditary ruler, mix in some illegal payments, doubtless a spook or two, and then ... threats of another 7/7 ...

So how many spooks, arms companies and dollars would it take to have yourself an actual 7/7? And how many of the above would you need to have an actual 9/11?

I have been drinking coffee all day, and it's been a long week, but I don't think it constitutes a flight from the values of the Enlightenment to notice the fact of state-sponsored terrorism and to adopt an attitude of curious agnosticism on topics where we essentially know fuck all.

Compare and Contrast

.. the following.

1.) This from the publicity material for Damian Thompson's Counterknowledge -

"Conspiracy theories, alternative medicine, creationism and the like are all notions consigned largely to the outer reaches of societal thinking, right? Wrong, according to Damian Thompson. Having spread – largely care of the internet – in the 21st century, such wacky ideas as the US administration masterminding 9/11 and China discovering America in 1421 are penetrating dangerously far into public, and even government thinking. All that, despite being ‘counterknowledge’ – ie sexed-up theories based on not a shred of empirical truth."

2. This from the Guardian -

"Not only did Seroxat make some children feel like killing themselves, but it worked no better than a placebo, the document showed ... The [Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority] made clear yesterday it was convinced GSK was aware of the dangers of Seroxat to children some time before the company told the regulator. But not only was it unable to prosecute GSK under the existing laws, it was also prevented from revealing what it had discovered under secrecy rules related to the commercial confidentiality arrangements.
So at the end of an investigation in which the MHRA's investigators negotiated on 103occasions with GSK lawyers over obtaining documents and accumulated 1m pages of evidence, the situation remains as it was in 2003. Nobody outside GSK and the MHRA officially knows who knew what and when."

Now, tell me, just how much use is it to go on about the problems associated with alternative medicine while ignoring the very serious problems in conventional medicine?