This week I read David Aaronovitch's Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in shaping our modern world. The first question that comes to mind is why anyone would write such a book, as it does not, as the subtitle asserts, show how these theories have shaped the world; rather, it shows how the author does not like these theories. He points out in the very first pages that they offend his sense of plausibility, and then proceeds to offend all and sundry with his dismissive work.
However, there are large portions of it that are both well written and well researched. As many conspiracy theories are complete and utter rubbish, it does not take a genius to see through them. And even in genuine cases of an existing conspiracy, it is to be expected that investigators will make their share of mistakes. Aaronovitch points these out gleefully, but fails to point out many solid pieces of evidence that make up the corpus delecti. Indeed, he is shadowboxing with one hand and patting his own back with the other.
One trick he employs is to point out absurd theories put forward by the likes of former MI5 agent David Shayler, which he quickly demolishes, but completely ignores the likes of William Rodriguez when discussing 9/11.
And how can he make such an omission? Did he, like so many other journalists, boycott Rodriguez's dozen or more public appearances in England? Certainly not, as Aaronovich and I had a lengthy discussion about his presence at the first 9/11 panel discussion at Friends House, in which Rodriguez held forth. But in the book, there is no mention of this meeting, which took place in Spring of 2004, but rather lengthy mention of one that transpired in the summer of 2005, at which, at least according to Aaronovitch's book, Rodriguez did not take the stage.
To give some context, William Rodriguez was the last man out alive from the North Tower, after voluntarily spending the morning saving hundreds of lives by unlocking the stairwells with his master key. Rodriguez was able to reveal that there was an explosion before the first plane ever hit, that there was mysterious machinery being moved on the vacant 33rd floor, and many other anamolies. Given his 19-years' good service and overall credibility, why does Aaronovitch ignore him? Is it to tackle a fringe goup of former MI5 agents, Beano the Fruito Man, and the odd anti-Semite? The latter are not, and never were, of any real consequence to the movement, in fact, a well researched book on the subject would note that the first 9/11 sceptics were Jews; we hear no mention of Aaronowitz, Shamir, Chamish, Israel or Goldman in his book.
Aaronovitch goes so far in his polemic as to actually side with the Nazis, who, according to the Nuremberg trial transcripts and other evidence, were the ones who set the Reichstag Fire. I told him once to go do this research before he made a fool of himself, but he was only arrogant and would not take advice on this sensitive issue. One might find this ironic, given his Jewish name, but, as he once told me, he is not really Jewish. This revelation came about when I rebuked him for his attitude backstage at Press TV with Yvonne Ridley, and his excuse was his lack of real Hallachic credentials. Friends of mine, whose relatives suffered at the hands of the Third Reich, may find some consolation in the author's limited claim on their culture.
But what consolation exists to relatives of those killed in the 9/11 attacks, or the hordes of people maimed, burned, wounded or killed in Iraq and Afghsanistan? Relatives of the victims of the attacks have refused million dollar compensation awards as they press for the truth, but these may only be collateral damage to Aaronvitch, as he exonerates all governments from false flag terror attacks on their citizens. Oh how Hitler would have loved his work, but I do not, it is sloppy and crude. However, when asked if I think he is an agent of some shadowy cabal that perpetrated these attacks, I answer no. Sheer arrogance is enough to make people stupid and dangerous, but, sadly, there is a market for this sort of rubbish.
Voodoo Histories is published in London in the spring of 2009 by Jonathan Cape.