A very cautious note on London bombings and perpetual hunts for the Grassy Knoll

What a weird summer for news.

I would like to take a sec to note the various wingy conspiracy theories cropping up around the London bombing. Not because I find them readily credible, but because they are sort of an instant folk mythology that gets generated these days through the Internet. Also if any bits of it pan out, well you can say that you heard about them around here.

I'm just throwing these out there, to illustrate the kinds of counter-narratives that pop up around all sorts of major events. It's the X-Files mentality, the Grassy Knoll syndrome of American politics. The CIA killed JFK, some said even then. There are always people attracted to some weird explanation, (say the Flight 800 missile story) where the Council on Foreign Relations, the VFW post and the Taxpayers' League collude in some great scheme to take over the world and get free cable while fluoridating the water.

Anyway, the main nut of the conspiracy theory right now, "Blair Knew" in a nutshell, (via the very paranoid sites Propaganda Matrix and PrisonPlanet) is that some dude named Peter Power, (not to be confused with Austin) who used to be a key anti-terrorism law enforcement officer in London, and now runs some private security consulting agency, said on the BBC right after the bombing that there were anti-terror drills involving like 1000 people, practicing dealing with bombs on the London Underground at virtually the same locations that the bombs actually went off. (and perhaps stations were closed before the bombings) "How the Government staged the London bombings in Ten Easy Steps."

As this Webster Tarpley guy put it,

Last week's London explosions carry the characteristic features of a state-sponsored, false flag, synthetic terror provocation by networks within the British intelligence services MI-5, MI-6, the Home Office, and the Metropolitan Police Special Branch who are favorable to a wider Anglo-American aggressive war in the Middle East, featuring especially an early pre-emptive attack on Iran, with a separate option on North Korea also included.

Wheeee!!!! You have to admit, politics is more interesting when everything's frickin crazy!!!

Other people have similar theories. So the conspiracy goes that some covert ops group, with Powers as an auxiliary, triggered the bombings and set up some typical Pakistanis to take the fall for it. Also, they point out that the numerous cameras on the exploded bus just happened to be turned off on July 7, therefore conspiracy! (And of course they say that Madrid was a coverup too)

A top Iranian cleric alleges that the UK could have bombed itself. And there was some strange tie between Web claims of responsibility and a Saudi dissident.

Conspiracy theorists love to say that security drills are the best opportunity for Evil Illuminati to fake terrorist events because it circumvents the usual security measures and provides cover for incriminating activity, and some are saying that London reprises the alleged 9/11 drills. September 11 conspiracists / "investigators" such as Michael Ruppert argue that the military was doing some kind of operation called "Vigilant Warrior" and/or "Vigilant Guardian" on the morning of September 11, where agents posing as terrorists were performing airline hijackings. And also, there were supposedly fake "blips" put into air traffic control systems to simulate these planes, thusly permitting the real hijackings to go through and smash the WTC. Massive list of conspiracy stories. The National Reconnaisance Office had scheduled a plane crash drill on 9/11, the AP reported.

Of course, many conspiracy types complain that the flight that hit the Pentagon clearly isn't there, the wreckage just isn't there, it must have been a missile or something. A surprising number of people I've talked with find this plausible. Someone from 911citizenswatch talked about these drills. And so this is claimed to fit into why NORAD did such a bad job on September 11. (there's plenty of silly websites about 9/11 Mystery images, as well.

On a totally different (and much more well-documented) tack, the London bombing has been tied to a strange Bush Administration leak about a captured Al Qaeda agent last fall, which may have led in part to the London bombing. Lat year, people alleged that during the 2004 campaign, the Bush Administration blew the cover of Naeem Noor Khan, a recently turned Al Qaeda double agent that the British and Pakistanis were using to smoke out more militants. That is, the law caught this guy, he was sending out more emails to militants in England, someone in Washington dropped his name to some papers, and then the British authorities had to swoop prematurely, to prevent the militants from getting away. This compromised the operation, and perhaps let people get away to attack subways later, as plans on Khan's computer indicated.

So, the wilder theory suggests that "they" did it, while the more well-documented story indicates that they merely screwed up a British investigation last year that might have caught the bombers, in order to win the White House.

These days, at least the Rove/Plame story has finally stuck at the top level of the news, and perhaps that should be the basic yardstick for measuring deception nowadays. Like it or not, something nasty happened with forged documents about uranium. Cryptome.org has the actual Niger documents, for yr viewin' pleasure. The Bush Administration, and Karl personally, went through a lot of hoops to propagate disinformation about Iraq and crush anyone like Wilson that tarnished their fantasy.

As Frank Rich put it this morning in "Follow the Uranium":

[Attacks on Wilson], too, are red herrings. Let me reiterate: This case is not about Joseph Wilson. He is, in Alfred Hitchcock's parlance, a MacGuffin, which, to quote the Oxford English Dictionary, is "a particular event, object, factor, etc., initially presented as being of great significance to the story, but often having little actual importance for the plot as it develops." Mr. Wilson, his mission to Niger to check out Saddam's supposed attempts to secure uranium that might be used in nuclear weapons and even his wife's outing have as much to do with the real story here as Janet Leigh's theft of office cash has to do with the mayhem that ensues at the Bates Motel in "Psycho."

This case is about Iraq, not Niger. The real victims are the American people, not the Wilsons. The real culprit - the big enchilada, to borrow a 1973 John Ehrlichman phrase from the Nixon tapes - is not Mr. Rove but the gang that sent American sons and daughters to war on trumped-up grounds and in so doing diverted finite resources, human and otherwise, from fighting the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. That's why the stakes are so high: this scandal is about the unmasking of an ill-conceived war, not the unmasking of a C.I.A. operative who posed for Vanity Fair.

And let's not forget that this whole thing happened because of a damned New York Times editorial. Rich's "We're Not in Watergate Anymore" is also interesting.

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