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Agonies of a 'conspiracy theorist'

Richard Tonkin often contributes to Webdiary, as well as Your Democracy. Here's one for the books. Richard's last piece on Webdiary was, Under oath Prime Minister.

by Richard Tonkin

I'm having an ethical crisis. Over the last couple of years I've been looking in shadows for details, and now I'm wondering if it's a current-affairs equivalent of a meerschacht test.. you know, when a pychologist shows a patient ink-blobs and analyses their interpretation.

I'd read, seen and heard things and added them to pieces of information I knew, and become convinced that the answer I came up with was correct. In blind faith I've looked for proof of my "deductions" and broadcast my fears to the best of my abilities.

When I started looking at Halliburton I became pretty lonely. I'd been shocked to learn, at the time of the Adelaide-Darwin railway that the same company doing so much work in Australia was also involved in such a global levels of U.S. military support, from troop support in Iraq to global provision of support and provision for American bases. I couldn't understand why I felt like the only person in the world to be worried. I concluded that Australia had undergone it's own invasion and regime change by corporate means in order to propagate U.S. necessities.

I started to collect an overview to prove that I was right. That was a year ago. I invite you to skim the glossary I've gathered under the heading of "Halliburton Down Under, Above And Beyond."

When the U.S. gave as one of its prime motives for invading Iraq the fact that Saddam was creating Weapons Of Mass Destruction to use against the West, I assumed that this was propaganda to support the philosophies of the neocon think-tank Project For A New American Century.

When the London transport bombings violated a city population's sense of safety, the combination of UK Foregn Secretary Jack Straw repeating the phrase that the attack bore "all the hallmarks of Al Qaeda" first used by Tony Blair in the wake the Twin Towers Attack I assumed it was a hoax, along the lines of Operation Northwood (the US military's plan to entice American support of an invasion of Cuba by using American snipers to kill Cuban nationals in Florida and blame Castro) that had been instigated by the "West" to fuel a war with the military objective of creating profit for US corporations.

Then President Bush, in response to a question on whether the rise in terrorism and the war in Iraq where signs of the oncoming of the Apocalypes, launched into a speech on how he would "use military might to protect our ally, Israel" from Iran. I automatically assumed that Bush, on behalf of Western society, was planning to "damage control" Armageddon by precipitating a controlled version of the prophecies.

More recently, after an Australian-resident University Of Baghdad Professor Of Agriculture was gunned down while attempting to re-enter the Green Zone, I suggested that his death might be the silencing of someone with the potential capacity to considerably damage the Australian Government. I had as my "precedent" the death of Adelaide-based journalist/operative Paul Moran.

Yesterday an explosion ripped apart a building in Adelaide, and I naturally assumed that being so close to the Mark Of The Beast date of 6/6/06 (which FOX is using to launch a remake of "The Omen") it was the bomb that heralded Adelaide's engagement in the Apocalypse. As the day wore on and the truth of the matter evolved, I realised I was totally and utterly wrong.

I'm sitting here today wondering if I've spent the last three years in a state of paranoid delusion. Is everything I've believed and "deduced" based on self-fabricated trains of thoughts? Am I the "conspiracy theorist" that oh-so-many people believe me to be?

What if something I've written spurs someone else to find the evidence that I can't? That has always been my hope, and it now seems a wild one, yet it's been a major source of self-vindication while I've justified a gathering sense of foreboding about the situation the world finds itself in. This cornerstone of self-belief is also far from as strong as it once was.

I'd like to believe that I've been right, and seem to keep on encountering situations that "feel wrong". I know that there have been details of evidence that support my hypotheses, but these are far from any chain of proof. Does that mean that I should wait for a supportive "defence case" before I spout my beliefs and convictions?

I couldn't win a high school debate with the number of proven "givens" that I've gathered, so what right do I have to attempt to convince "society-at-large" to believe me?

Would anybody care to be my "Agony Aunt"?

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'scuse, pliz - but what 'genuine' conspiracy?

G'day Michael de Angelos, and may I respectfully inquire: just what is "the genuine" conspiracy?

The mind boggles.

Let me see:

1) JFK? Nope. Too old.

2) 9/11? Nah. WD verboten.

3) Elvis? Area 51? Nope. Just too silly.

4) The Illuminati &/ banksters? Nah. Too incredible.

5) Any others? Actually, I don't normally 'do' conspiracies.

But whadda 'bout a few supposed 'statesmen' colluding on a war without any justification (excepting possibly revenge & stealing control of oil for their SUVs and to prop up a worthless US$, etc), no valid justification 'specially no legal one? And, having made the decision, committing their respective countries & armed forces to an invasive, illegal & brutally murderous 'cake-walk'? Then denying that such a decision had been taken, so long before? Or that if 'regime change' were the reason, that it wouldn't be valid?

Or, or, or, say, that there were NO WMDs? - Eff'n liars! Wilkie knew what was going on and resigned because of it, remember? Then their murderous 'cake-walk' which, at only 25mio pop (vs. 300mio), and after 10yrs of equally brutal sanctions the Iraqi army was toadally rat-shit (vs. the US 'defense' [sic - very sick!] budget exceeding the whole rest of the world's), the illegal invasion which was always gunna be an ultra-cowardly 'turkey-shoot' turned into a bloody massacre then quagmire (all of which many of us, we the anti-wars predicted)? And partly as a result of this horrendous mass-murder, oil prices have been largely speculated through the roof?

Would that be a 'genuine' conspiracy? THE 'genuine' conspiracy? Hmmm?

PS to Malcolm B Duncan

2Ys4me - and flippantly and/or uselessly irrelevant? - Attention à la merde!

Only serendipity

Glad you got something out of it, Richard, but I can't claim credit for a clever allusion. I'd never heard of Tom Sharpe (but have now looked him up). Just another phrase I dragged out from the cobwebs when desperate for a title. As has already been shown, I've no idea where some of that dusty old stuff came from. I could probably use a bit of light and air in there myself.

Times past...

Robyn, I commend Tom Sharpe's opera to your attention. My particular favourites are Wilt and Blott on the Landscape. Both books make me laugh until I cry. Do not, however, attempt the film version of Wilt - it is a mere travesty. The BBC series (1985) based on Blott, however, is magnificent.

Richard, I salute another aficionado.

the accursed Ameri-speak

G'day Robyn.

The most (in!)famous dot-connector (or not perhaps, as in the case of 9/11, or so she says) has also been called a bald-faced and obvious liar, with poor lying ability being considered a major failing for a 'diplomat'.

If anyone wishes to remind us all of that certain 'lady', then it's "Hi, guys, go right ahead and connect the dots" - in Iran, say with nukes.

But: if one isn't careful in one's choice of words, how can one expect to be taken seriously?

"Oil prices jumped 2.5 per cent to near $US74 a barrel on concerns that supplies could take a hit from Iran's defiant pursuit of its nuclear program and violence in Nigeria." [AusBC]

What sort'a lingo is "take a hit"? - And if Iran is actually over-compliant with its NPT obligations as some people say (yet the US is 'keeping all options on the table' i.e. threats of using 'bunker-busting' nukes), but in any case, how can the AusBC justify opining "defiant pursuit" in a news report?

No offence meant, but when 'even' the AusBC uses Ameri-speak (spit, spit) what chances have we got? Aus is already passing the US in the 'Obesity Stakes', do we really wish to sound/look/be like Yanks?

Just in case you think I'm being just a bit too parochial, consider this: in Switzerland, use of dialect is considered a national sport, down to the level of attempting to relate a person to Canton or even village by dialect.

To Roger, a salutary reminder of just what, please? That democracy may deliver what you might consider a somehow 'crooked' result (like Hamas/Palestine, say), or that cynical manipulation of the sheople's opinions including MSM transmitted (and MSM actively augmented!) lies is democratically and/or morally OK?

Some people may consider the use of public services including the armed forces for political purposes as also somehow OK (when not outrageously clever), but when it goes from kiddies (not!) in the wardah, via SIEV-X (353 dead in the night) to a brutal illegal invasion, resulting in the mass-murdering of 10s if not 100s of 1000s of innocent Iraqis, destruction of an entire country's infrastructure, all (among a squillion of other equally inadequate and invalid 'excuses') to wrest control over oil to prop up a worthless, debased US dollar whilst fuelling gas-guzzling SUVs (Ameri-speak - spit, spit - here behemoth 4WDs) and not so incidentally revving-up if not actually causing a greenhouse climate catastrophe, the lies have gone a bit more than a bridge too far, wouldn't you say?

Finally: "The sheople can't help themselves and the elite know it." - Sooo, that explains why 'the elite' can and does rip us off? What happened to noblesse oblige - or is it simply no honour amongst (murderous!) thieves - and/or politicians?

Uf Widerlüge!

A Salutary Something

Phil, nope, a salutary reminder that expecting the best from people, appealing to better natures, a hope that the sheople might band together to actually achieve a better result for themselves such as an equitable slice of life's pie and so on will never happen.

"Noblesse oblige" is what your call it when you ain't in on it. The history of the robber barons is peppered more with heads on pikes than throwing coins out the carriage window.

Lived in Schweiss for a while. It is a great past time. We lived in the Berne Oberland and looked down on, metaphorically, the other German speaking cantoners such as those from Argau or Zurich. However, there are significant differences in the dialects. Just a small example, the formal Low German greeting "Gruss Gott" is rendered as "Gruetzi" if you are from Zurich and "Gruesse" if you are from Berne. They are 100 km apart! Before the railways, they may as well have been a million miles apart.

I think I understand Phil.

I consider that your use of the word parochial is inappropriate - it should be patriotic. You know, that once Australian word which the Yanks now use to excuse their crimes against all humanity? Sure Howard wants us to be totally American - that is why he bows to Bush whenever that moron demands.

I believe that the military/corporate economy of the U.S. is already in Australia under Howard. There are some 35 establishments in Australia which are controlled by the U.S. or, where they have equal rights to our armed forces bases and spying facilities - Just so that we can't have an opinion of our own? Sure we are virtually occupied by a foreign nation which has meddled or moulded our federal politics since the "Falcon and the Snowman". We can only keep trying, Phil - and hope that one of the media barons stops unproductively beating the hell out of anyone who challenges their "boys". Democracy is indeed a marketing word without any relationship to justice.


Blots On The Landscape II

Robyn Clothier, I'd almost forgotten about the Tom Sharpe books till you mentioned, so I've just registered the metaphor. Ta!

they're everywhere !

Government itself is a type of conspiracy, so of course we are surrounded by them. The real problem is connecting those dots and working out where the real conspiracy begins and ends. And what better way to divert from the genuine one than to create a web of fake conspiracies?

Speaking of Hitler and Napoleon together - the Secret Hitler Book -  the Stalin dossier compiled from interviews with his captured aides and which gives a fascinating insight into the Nazi clique, Hitler fairly bristles with embarrassing pride whenever compared to Napoleon. No room would have been big enough for the two egos to be together.

G'day Phil

Phil, mate, does "connecting the dots" really belong to the Yanks? I thought it had something to do with those pictures we filled in when we were kids. Is there a better Aussie equivalent?

Party lines

Connecting the dots was something which was done by every telephone exchange in the country when it still was a country, not a disembowelled privatised mish-mash.   Your Aunty Dot would ring (I still delight in the fact that my Grandparents'  number had a prefix FU) the exchange and ask to be connected to someone else's Aunty Dot and the exchange would connect them (while the postmistress listened in on the call).  Ah, for the good old days: a la recherche du temps perdu.

countervailing power

In the very phirst instance, we will talk in terms of E-volution[1], as opposed to RE-volution[2].

Principal aim: a "Fair go, mate!"


Richard Tonkin is wondering if as a 'conspiracy theorist', he's "spent the last three years in a state of paranoid delusion. Is everything [he's] believed and 'deduced' based on self-fabricated trains of thoughts?"

I have written that true paranoids just know, that not only are 'they coming to get you', but they're vacuuming up your breadcrumb trail on the way.

Robyn Clothier comes along and says: "Please keep researching and connecting dots/blots for us. No-one ever has the whole story, and there will always be the possibility of alternative explanations for the things you uncover. However, so far your 'instincts' seem pretty good on the whole."

I'm OK with most of that, but I strenuously object to using despised Americanisms: in this case "connecting dots". We ort'a use our own lingo; we are being over-run by the US as it is, daaarlings; we shouldn't actively help. Sooo, we really shouldn't ever say Hi(spit, spit), we ort'a only say G'day - an' how ya goin'?

Then Roger Fedyk: "Most people are followers, a few are leaders ... Those who have climbed to the top ... are unstoppable because the sheep have neither the intelligence, bastardy or heart to confront them ... The crazy thing is that we actually admire the robber barons ..."

To the last I say: "Speak for yourself!" - ie kindly leave off the "we". And as for any "sheep hav[ing] neither the intelligence, bastardy or heart", I think it's fair to say that we didn't evolve to fit in modern society; that is to say most of our mores are learnt, and the source of most 'learning' these days is TV. Simply put, people emulate what they see (WYSIWYG); in this case much that's bad comes from Hollywood, the purveyors of all possible perversions (among some occasional good - or at least harmless - other stuff). Then there's the MSM, ever more raucous advertising & lying (now even murdering!) politicians.

Long story short: it's the comfort of the living-room, and the sloppiness of sloth, married to the evils of TV that warps otherwise decent people into sheople. Phew!


Let's look at conspiracy[3]. Roger also says: "Not a single fortune has been made without some form of criminality or at least anti-social behaviour being involved. The fortune that you make has to be wrenched from someone else." That no robber baron will (freely) admit to planning rip-offs would satisfy the 'secret' aspect. Q: what about 'criminal'? A: Lots; try John Perkins, "Hit man". (Cue Costello: "Haw, haw, haw! - Let us prey.")

It would come as no surprise, to find Halliburton 'in the thick of (conspiracy) things'. And so also for 'big oil', mining in general; all manner of corporations, mainly US but emulators from almost everywhere. (Monkey see, monkey do - gotta be in it to win it!) But not 'just' multinationals etc; it might come as a surprise to find governments getting in on the act - like the current ones in Aus & US, for example. If a government takes our taxes on the one hand and reduces services on the other (ie by dismantling Medicare say, or flogging off Medibank - or the Snowy, Boo! Hiss!), then they (govts) might be considered conspiratorial as well.

General discussion: the "Rich get richer, etc" has always been with us, and that's OK (incentives, etc) - but OK only up to a certain point. One point where we may cry "Stop!" could be reached, say, when 5% of the world's population consumes 25% of the world's resources, especially when the procuring of that super-extra 'share' is done unfairly, immorally - or at the point of a gun. (But not 'just'. They (B, B & H) really have ordered people killed; further, not 'just' a few.)

Add in the greenhouse, and I say "No more of the same!"


We, the people, have got to get active. What countervailing power do we have? Remember, we are many, they are few.

So, what'a we got?

People power.

Purchasing power.

Retail therapy, as if - hmmm...

Shop till you drop - or perhaps better not!

TV tends to turn people fat, stupid and generally dysfunctional - and unhappy with it; it's a wicked waste'a life.


8 hrs to work, 8 hrs to play; 8 hrs to sleep: 8 bob a day!

It worked back then, it'll work again - bet'cha!

The sheople united will never be defeated!

No war (you bastards) - or no shopping!

We can stop US threats against Iran.


Think again, about this piece of monumental arrogance:

"You are inadequate: Go out & buy something!"

We can kick the warmongers right in the cods - by simply stopping shopping.

Any shopping ban has gotta be total - against all producers, so that non-US countries will blame and therefore put extra pressure on the US for the lost sales.

(Oh, yeah: an' help ourselves at the same time by turning off our TVs.)

Let's stop all discretionary shopping till the US puts its guns away.


Oh, well, perhaps not. BUT: we gotta do something. Over to you.



[1] evolution noun [mass noun] 1 the process by which different kinds of living organism are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the earth.

The idea of organic evolution was proposed by some ancient Greek thinkers but was long rejected in Europe as contrary to the literal interpretation of the Bible. Lamarck proposed a theory that organisms became transformed by their efforts to respond to the demands of their environment, but he was unable to explain a mechanism for this. Lyell demonstrated that geological deposits were the cumulative product of slow processes over vast ages. This helped Darwin towards a theory of gradual evolution over a long period by the natural selection of those varieties of an organism slightly better adapted to the environment and hence more likely to produce descendants. Combined with the later discoveries of the cellular and molecular basis of genetics, Darwin's theory of evolution has, with some modification, become the dominant unifying concept of modern biology.

2 the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form: the forms of written languages undergo constant evolution. [Oxford Pop-up]

[2] revolution noun 1 a forcible overthrow of a government or social order, in favour of a new system.n (often the Revolution) (in Marxism) the class struggle which is expected to lead to political change and the triumph of communism. n a dramatic and wide-reaching change in the way something works or is organized or in people's ideas about it: marketing underwent a revolution. [ibid.]

[3] conspiracy noun (pl. -ies) a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful: a conspiracy to destroy the government. [ibid.]

The Sheople Have Spoken

Phil, many thanks; I now have a new word.

Just in case we get too far ahead of ourselves, today's news has a salutary reminder. In the UK, the biggest winners in the local elections appear to be the ultra-national loonies. It worked here of course with Howard ripping off Hanson.

The sheople can't help themselves and the elite know it.

keep sticking your neck out

Richard, I always devour your stuff. The main thing is to keep putting the dots up. We might each give those dots a different weighting and join them a little differently according to our personal revelations.

...but hey, this is neural networking is it not?

It's too easy to be wise after the event, to be a pundit and a historian. Told you so! That's fine for some, but it doesn't satisfy me any longer.

It's much more risky to second guess these bastards. They have hit the ground running and one gets the occasional stitch in the effort to keep up. Occasionally you fall over a nuggett and skin your knee.

We would be so much poorer without our man in McYellowcake Land, where the Hallibuton Choo-Choo is comin' to carry us home.

Blots on the landscape

BOSS: "Do you know what they call people who think that everybody's out to get them?"

ALLEN: "Yeah, perceptive."

Woody Allen from The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.

The first time I read your work, Richard, I did think you were slightly paranoid, but I have since realised it is my ignorance that is more of a problem. Fiona’s reference to meerkats is quite apt. They are very alert little animals, and they always have a scout posted on a high point, while the others are busy, to sound the alarm should danger present.

Please keep researching and connecting dots/blots for us. No-one ever has the whole story, and there will always be the possibility of alternative explanations for the things you uncover. However, so far your "instincts" seem pretty good on the whole. You have as much right as anybody else "to attempt to convince "society-at-large" to believe [you]" and, as we are poorly served by the investigative efforts of the mainstream media, I appreciate yours. I think a preference for the truth over any particular agenda should serve you well but, like everyone else, when you take risks you will make some mistakes. If you present your theories as theories and what is known to be fact as fact, there shouldn't be any problems with undue influence.

On the personal front, it is good to remember that there is still light as well as shadows in life. We get pale and weak if we spend too much time in the shade and our eyes, being constantly adjusted to low light levels, don't see well at first when we do enter the brightness. So make sure you keep experiencing at least brief periods of light to keep your eyes (and your heart) well-tuned.

And always take a clean handkerchief!

Aunt Aggie

Agony aunt

There there Richard, it's alright mate.

Given the above (or below in this case), what you feel is shared by many others. There is more than sufficient sinister nutrient to feed our suspicions but that's all they are. Some of your stuff has lifted my eyebrow.

Would I have rounded so viciously on Jay White had I not come fresh from "A fascist Australia?". I think not not; my rhetorical prose would have been far more measured. (I confess to being startled and dismayed at the result but might also argue he/she/they was/were richly deserving.)

On the subject of that post, it is worth revisiting. In particular Denise's reference's to Alan Ramsey and John Ralston Saul. Better tutored intellects than mine harbour the same thoughts; Norman Mailer considers fascism to be the natural order of the human condition. With regard to the Pte Kovco's remains scenario, read Mike Carlton's take in Saturday's SMH, also pertinent.

What you feel has been in my mind for more than twenty years although I dispensed with conspiracy very early on. It is not neccessary if one accepts an even further away with the Pixies theory, (that's all it is,) of mine; that of a collective consciouness. The evidence of such is hard to refute; anyone who has observed flocks of birds or shoals of fish in motion cannot help but come to the conclusion that there is a "master mind" in control. This was explored in some depth back in the seventies in a book entitled "Supernature". Are humans any different?

We have no way of knowing with total certainty but that so many refined and superb intellects have come to the same conclusion must accept that there is substance to back our suspicions.

Damned either way today

Some days, however, you have no chance... just came home and heard this on the radio

[extract from SMH version]

Spy chief Paul O'Sullivan has warned of the risk of Bali-style terrorist attacks against hotels and restaurants within Australia.

The director-general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), addressing the National Food Chain Safety and Security Strategy Conference, said Australian interests were "potential primary targets".

"Explosives-based attacks against crowded venues have been conducted overseas, including against food service venues such as restaurants and hotels," Mr O'Sullivan said.

Great.  My family' s pub has fourteen hundred people watching The Whitlams over the next two nights. My sisters think I'm mad for having attempted to make contingency plans for this particular kind of worst-case scenario.

Damned if you don't and damned if you do, some days.

Not going to comment on the footballer's foot... sounds like a rorshach of a meerkat.

Geoff, ooh and they were all my Your Democracy blogs... it must've been a targeted virus!  Hardy-har-har!  I had a transfer problem which Hamish has fixed.  I may be occassionally naive but hopefully not as bound to prima  face empiricism as you believe.

Beware The Missing Link

Richard, I noticed quite a few of your links didn't work. Why is that do you suppose? Listen, I don't want to alarm you but have you considered the probabilities of this? One malfunctioning link – sure, probably an accident. Two? OK, suspicious but nothing to panic about.

But several? Right, I don't know about you, but I'm out of here for the rest of the day at least. Someone give me a call when the coast is clear. 


G'day Richard Tonkin (a meerschacht test.. Ah! You mean Rorschach[2].)

One of my guiding principles is well summed up by a despised Americanism (spit, spit): WYSIWYG.

As I said over at WD/Kovco/1438/lies today, the internet provides us with a 'window of opportunity' (reached via a ladder of same?) which allows us to 'fisk' the MSM, politicians and any other lying, even murderous bastards; in contrast to the corruptly cynical 'history written by the victors' approach, we may now engage in searching for and exposing the truth the whole truth, etc.

This gives us a new & supremely important tool to cut through the bullshit handed out to us by crooked politicians, corrupt MSM & more generally, anyone trying to sell us something we usually wouldn't buy in a fit, even if it independently occurred to us to actually want such a thing.

It's a difficult & continuous job to identify the above referred-to bullshit, made all the harder if one seriously cripples one's intellect by slumping for any extended period(s) in front of a DVD-driven 5.1 surround-sound home-stereo equipped wide-screen flat-panel TV.

In this respect, I do not think it's a good idea for any part of the electorate to remain in a state of ignorant bliss, as Fiona Reynolds (G'day!) might be suggesting in her 'Meerkat or Rorschach?'

Consider the terms 'retail therapy' and 'consumer confidence' which are part of the 'pushed paradigm' that we get from the MSM (a majority of which (whom?) are thought corrupt, incl. big bits of the AusBC - Boo! Hiss!)

'Consumer confidence' is always pushed as being on the rise if not at record levels, and 'retail therapy' is always pushed as being somehow good for you. Sometimes they let the consumer confidence cat out of the bag, like yesterday: "The consumer spending was a little bit more fragile than the Reserve Bank had had assumed." [AusBC/7.30] (Note: I think that there are big bits missing from last night's transcript; let's see if they fix it.)

Getting back to retail therapy, one only needs therapy if there's something wrong, right? But they never put it like that, they only ever suggest that retail therapy is one of the true paths to Nirvana. Oh, yeah: the 'rest' of the retail therapy message that they imply but never, never say is: "You are inadequate. Go out and buy something!"

Then, back on the 'conspiracy theorist' track, the more people beavering away at exposing dodgy criminal deeds the better. Constructive WD dialogue can help enormously especially when 'trolls' are recognised, or at least their ideologically-driven drivel is debunked. The caution has to be remarked: read widely, think hard, investigate alternatives & slash with Occam's Razor. More power to your arm!


[1] conspiracy noun (pl. -ies) a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful: a conspiracy to destroy the government. n [mass noun] the action of plotting or conspiring: they were cleared of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
PHRASES a conspiracy of silence an agreement to say nothing about an issue that should be generally known.
ORIGIN late Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French conspiracie, alteration of Old French conspiration, based on Latin conspirare ‘agree, plot’ (see conspire). [Oxford Pop-up]

[2] Rorschach ink blot test
24 Nov 2003
It is always interesting to hear/read 'experts' explain the unexplainable, or defend the indefensible. The Rorschach ink blot test is a fine example of the true ignorance of persons who are supposedly experts in their fields. Years ago, when I was a patient in a Naval hospital, I was given the test. I identified each ink blot as "ink blot." The person administering the test left abruptly, returned a few minutes later and informed me that the doctor in charge (a psychiatrist) wanted to see me. There was quite a spirited exchange of words which ended when I said, "I don't understand why you find it unusual that I say I see ink blots when I am shown ink blots. Doctor, you are the one who just yesterday diagnosed me as having 'compulsive reaction, manifested by meticulous attention to detail'." [skepdic/John B. Oubre]
wikipedia Inkblot

Born in a Barn?

Clean up that blood stain on the carpet! What do you think this is? The CIA?

Rorschach tests

A young man was sent for psychiatric assessment. (This is a sixties joke folks when psychobabble was all the go.)

He is presented with a series of inkblots. His response to the first was that it suggested a vagina to him and it got more lurid as it went on. The psychiatrist wound up declaring him as being sexually obsessed. "I'm sexually obsessed?" the young man exploded. "Who's been showing me all those dirty pictures?" Enough said.

A Head On A Plate

Richard, while I am generally sympathetic to conspiracy theorists I think that the reasons why certain things happen, why other things make no sense and why corruption is endemic can be gleaned from the basest part of human nature and the nature of all living things.

Most people are followers, a few are leaders and a very small few are endowed with the capacity to lord it over all. It is so throughout the whole animal kingdom. Empathy, sympathy, a reliance on rules and good social order, the yearning for a peaceful life and most important of all, the ameliorating influence on behaviour of raising children makes most of us, if not cowards then reluctant risk-takers.

If you are not so contrained, your world view is so different as to be totally alien to most on this planet. Endowed with the ability, and a small dose of sociopathic tendencies, there are those who climb to a world of unimaginable wealth and power over the carcases of those who shrink from the raw spectre of being able to exercise the power of life and death. If you have no scruples or at least have the ability to rationalise any outcome then you are uniquely placed to be in control of the lives of many people.

Most people have little idea of what it takes to build a fortune. Not a single fortune has been made without some form of criminality or at least anti-social behaviour being involved. The fortune that you make has to be wrenched from someone else.

Those who have climbed to the top are a small but actually not very exclusive club. Membership is always open to newcomers because you cannot risk a bigger bastard than you coming along and ripping your fortune from you. They recognise their own and act in concert because only they have true appreciation what it takes to get where they are. I doubt that there are active conspiracies in the sense of secret societies and regular meetings. They are predators of the highest order and as such they react quickly to opportunity.

They are unstoppable because the sheep have neither the intelligence, bastardy or heart to confront them. In general that would appear to be a wise course of (in)action because apart from anything else the powerful few own everything that is worth owning leaving us to be perpetual debtors from one generation to the next.

The crazy thing is that we actually admire the robber barons and happily invest them with magical titles, "Your Majesty, Highness, Grace, Sir, Lord, Mr President, Prime Minister" and enjoy their fairytale life vicariously. When the highest aspiration of those under thirty is to be a contestant on Big Brother or to read Cosmo, Dolly, Women's Weekly or People magazine, or to be thin, we can see why the conspiracists rule. And of course, the older generation is little better with their monarchist leanings and lives of quiet desperation.

To finish with a reference to your favourite hobby horse, Halliburton, everyone knows that they are acting brazenly and corruptly but they will not be stopped because who is going to stop them. We know that John Howard lies about many things but the majority think that his lying is the equivalent to showing strength. In our own way, we are corrupt as well. If our children lie, we admonish them and try to correct the behaviour. When our Prime Mister lies we just turn away and take comfort in our life of relative ease.

Not testing reality

My old favourite involves another of my old favourites - schizes. I've told this to Dr Reynolds. You put two Napoleons in a room and watch. Witty as ever, she came back with what if you put a Napoleon in with a Hitler? I replied they argue a lot about who is the greatest but after a while they both realise they hate the Russians and they can't stand winter - eventually they get on like a house on fire. The final element, which I didn't mention to her is they both decide they hate the French as well and that the English aren't too bad after all - at least you can get to the shops.

you're not alone

What you express so eloquently, Richard, describes my own position almost exactly. I have been 'connecting the dots' for years and see plenty of evidence that those who jerk our strings are part of a loose conspiracy, the aim of which is to control the world for the benefit of a small number of rich capitalists, Christian/Judeo fundamentalists, and right-wing governments.

It is frustrating to find that most people think you're nuts or, worse, that they're indifferent. It does cause self-doubt. Be assured that you're not  wrong and you're not alone (check out http://lifes-hell.blogspot.com).

Many people are struggling to sound the alarm, to wake up those who are dining on bread and circuses as the world heads towards a cross between '1984' and 'The Handmaiden' Tale' (assuming that the Christian/Muslim conflict doesn't destroy us first).

Don't let the bastards get you down!

More conspiracy theories

Fans of sophisticated conspiracy theories should appreciate this from today's Guardian, which explains in detail how the injury to England's star striker's foot can be blamed on 1) the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, 2) Tsar Nicholas II and the Bloody Sunday massacre of 1905, or 3) the German invasion of Poland.

Meerkat or Rorschach?

Richard, I must agree with S Marker's suggestion that it is important to maintain a sense of perspective. Yet I also think that there are times when there may be a whole array of warning signals that, on their own, mean very little, but when looked at together provide converging evidence of a less than desirable state of affairs.

However, it’s also important to remember that in general people are busy with their own lives and happy enough with the status quo – or at least sufficiently imperceptive to realise the impact that the new (or impending) status quo may have on them. It is characteristic of many people to ignore “unpleasantness” in the hope that if they don’t think about it, it will vanish.

In short, many, if not most, of us are insensitive to amber lights, and when the (inevitable) crash comes we ask in bewilderment how and why it happened.

The path of the whistleblower – or the voice crying in the wilderness – has never been easy. Some have even lost their heads. I hope that this doesn’t happen to you.

By the way, did you mean Rorschach? Although I rather fancy the idea of meerkats…

Not a PhD for nothing

Beat me to it smartarse.

Serial boxtops

You are, as usual, correct, Malcolm – so far as your comment “not … for nothing” is concerned. I had to send away not one, not two, but three lids from the cornflakes packets.

Smartness (like goodness), however, has nothing to do with it. It is, rather, a matter of the quickness of the draw...

On a slightly more frivolous note, one of my favourite stories about such (to my mind, at least) dubious projective personality tests comes – if my memory serves me correctly – from Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff. Doubtless some other ‘Diarist will be able to amend my account, but it goes something like this:

A whole gaggle of eager young males was seeking selection to the US space team. One test these callow youths had to complete was to recount the feelings inspired by a sheet of perfectly blank white paper. Much rodomontade was generated, including such things as one youngster’s sentiments on being caught in a blizzard.

One far more intelligent young man took the piece of paper from the interviewers, studied it closely, then handed it back with the comment, “It’s upside down.”


OK both you smarty pants. Just because the rest of us trip on the odd malaprop doesn't make us a bunch of Palestines.

Elegance of language

The rhetorical device to which you refer is surely Iran.

Chin up

As with all things in life, sometimes we can't see the woods for the trees. I'm sure many of your instincts are spot on but perhaps you need to step back  from time to time to be able to look at your own reaction to what is happening around you.

It is easy to view everything around us in such a way that justifies our particular point of view and it's always healthy to be able to step away from ourselves and look back with a bit of detachment to get some perspective, if you know what I mean. Having a vested interest in a particular outcome can cloud  judgement.

Having said that though, keep following your gut feelings with honesty, keep questioning what you see around you and keep doing what you feel is the right thing to do, even if others might not agree.

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