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Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.

Just a soul whose intentions are good


Winston Smith

What is the point of this blog?

Conspiracy is not my obsession, nor my guilty pleasure. My interest lies in the multifarious ways in which we are, as a society and as a culture, being manipulated from behind the curtain. I became aware of social conditioning/culture manipulation whilst quite young and yet I still somehow failed to see how it had affected my own thinking until well into middle age.

Conditioning is everywhere in our culture and those who practice it in order to advance certain agendas are past masters at its many forms. I therefore offer the information presented within this blog as an overview of the many methods that the manipulators of our society can and do use, to their advantage and our cost.

I’m aware that many who read these posts will be coming to much of what is covered here cold. And so, I have compiled this brief glossary of terms as an aid to understanding the concepts here covered.




Disinformation: The dissemination of false data or the deliberate omission of part or all of the facts pertaining to important information.

Straw man argument: Focusing debate or attention on selected – cherry picked – points of the opponent’s thesis to give a false interpretation of their meaning, or bring their motives into question.

Cognitive dissonance: Mental conflict occurring when assumptions or beliefs are contradicted by new information.

Group think: A lazy form of thinking where the individual prefers to adopt the opinions of their peers rather than make the effort to figure things out for themself. Once an individual has made a commitment to group think, it can be difficult and even dangerous to challenge their paradigm.

MKULTRA: Note; there is much that we will never know about this program and there’s no real evidence to say it isn’t still in operation today (though most certainly under a different name). Note also that there were many sub projects under MKULTRA, such as MONARCH to name but one.

Hegelian dialectic: The dialectic, put simply, involves taking two opposing ideas; Thesis and Antithesis (eg. Capitalism and Communism, Left wing and Right wing, Theism and atheism) and putting them into conflict. After a time the two arguments begin to take on aspects of their opposite, in effect creating a third way, known as Synthesis. The blending of Capitalism and Communism creates a kind of collectivist fascism. The blending of Theism and Atheism creates New Age type quasi religions.

Agenda 21: Not what it appears to be, but rather the very epitome of the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

New World Order: This is not, I believe, the name of an organisation as is commonly claimed, but rather, a scheme that has been running beneath the surface of our society for well over one hundred years. It is the planned take down of the Nation State by a cabal of elitist Oligarchs. They have been working tirelessly for a world (radically reduced in population) collectivised and controlled by a global police state apparatus.

Illuminati: This name, which you will rarely find used on this blog, should be considered a general term intended to describe the more occult (hidden) aspects of New World Order conspiracy. I feel that it is generally used inappropriately and most often (though not always) by COINTELPRO operatives trying to discredit those who question.

Operation Gladio: Though the code name is only really relevant in Italy, it has come to refer to the top secret ‘stay behind armies’ which NATO put in place, in almost every European country, to act as a sort of behind the lines guerrilla force should the West be overrun by Soviet conventional forces. These largely right wing or Fascist groups had members reaching right up into governments, Police, Military and other Establishment organizations. When WWIII failed to materialise, these CIA backed fanatics began to use their resources and networks against Leftist groups, even going so far as to commit terrorist atrocities and blaming them on the Red brigade. These atrocities are even said to have included the bombing of the Bologna railway station and the kidnapping and murder of Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro.

Tavistock: The Tavistock Institute pretends to be a benign charitable NGO, but is actually a key component in the creation of social manipulation and mind control techniques.

What they claim to be.

What they are accused of being.

I will add more to this section as time permits.


Bibliography of essential texts

I would further wish to direct the reader’s attention to the following essential readings. If you have not had access to any of these books then you have little chance of understanding the world you find yourself living in.

John A Stormer: None dare call it Treason

Gary Allen: None dare call it Conspiracy

Dr Anthony Sutton: Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution 

Wall Street & the Rise of Hitler

America’s Secret Establishment: An Introduction to the Order of Skull & Bones

The federal Reserve Conspiracy

Carroll Quigley: Tragedy & Hope: A History of the World in Our Time

The Anglo-American Establishment 

Holly Sklar: Trilateralism: The Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Management

Edward Bernays: Propaganda

Zbigniew Brzezinski: The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives

Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era

John Coleman: The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations

David Ray Griffin: The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé

Michael C Ruppert: Crossing the Rubicon

Webster Griffin Tarpley: 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in the USA

Eustace Mullins: The Secrets of the Federal Reserve

Niki Raapana, Nordica Friedrich: 2020: Our Common Destiny and The Anti Communitarian Manifesto

Cathy O’Brien, Mark Phillips: Trance: Formation of America

David McGowan: Weird scenes inside the canyon 

Programmed to kill: the politics of serial murder

Other books of note: Confessions of an economic hit man by John Perkins, The shock doctrine by Naomi Klein, Debunking 9/11 debunking by David Ray Griffin, Cognitive Infiltration: An Obama Appointee’s Plan to Undermine the 9/11 Conspiracy by David Ray Griffin.

Hey man, what’s with all the wiki quotes?

I have occasionally been criticised for relying too much on a certain online encyclopedia. I am only too aware that Wikipedia is, in general, an unreliable source. Many of the moderators on there are in the employ of the Intelligence community and it has long been a vehicle for the dissemination of disinformation. That said, I made an editorial decision at the very beginning that I would make it as easy as possible for people to check any facts I use to back up my ‘opinions’ (after all, I’m not writing academic papers here, I’m trying to help speed the day that ‘hundredth monkey’ makes the connection).

This should in no way be taken to mean that I use Wikipedia as my primary research tool. I quote it when I know it is correct on a particular point simply because I’m only too aware that many people do use it and, in many cases, simply won’t bother to read anything that isn’t easy to access online. I fact check everything I print, to the best of my ability. And I have a large personal collection of well-thumbed books on history, science and politics to hand. This may only be a blog, but I take what I do here very seriously.

I would also ask that if, whilst using this site, you come across a dead or broken link, please let me know so that I can fix it promptly.

The elephant that fell through a building



 – Winston Smith

Over the past few weeks, as I’ve travelled to and from my place of work, I’ve been observing an event which has indirectly confirmed in me my strong belief that we have been extensively lied to about the events of 9/11.

A building in the Melbourne CBD (ironically once known as the World Trade Centre) is currently under demolition. Huge machines with enormous jackhammer picks have been punching away at its steel reinforced concrete walls for days. To this observer’s eye, it appears to be a very slow process indeed.

And why would this not be the case? Concrete and steel buildings are designed to last. Multiple redundancies are included because, to pass code, they are required to stand against gale force winds, fire, explosion and even quakes. They build them tough to survive even the most unlikely of scenarios. No architect or engineer ever wants to be held responsible for the building that didn’t stand.

Seeing the effort required to take this building – a fraction of the size of the twin towers or building seven – apart, I was reminded that we have been asked to believe that on 9/11 – and on no other day in history – three buildings of immense size and strength simply disintegrated before our eyes due to fire and gravitational collapse.

This is the part where the official apologists usually jump in with ‘well they did have jets slamming into them’ which, in the case of two of those three buildings, is perfectly true. The fact that Frank A. DeMartini, Manager, WTC Construction and Project Management specifically said in an interview that the buildings had been built to withstand exactly such impacts makes little dent in the certainty of the hardened apologist, however. These same apologists usually then shift gears, claiming something to the effect that ‘jet fuel burns so hot that it weakens steel.’

Jet fuel is kerosene. Those weren’t fighter jets we saw slamming into those buildings they were flying buses and what made them fly was aviation grade kerosene.

In no earthly scenario is it possible for simple kerosene and office materials to burn at a temperature hot enough to weaken the entire steel structure of a one hundred and ten story building (even in a month with an ‘r ’ in it).

The South Tower collapsed just fifty three minutes after impact. I’m not sure what sort of mental gymnastics you would need to put your mind through to convince yourself that a building of such massive proportions could achieve total failure and collapse from ordinary fires in so short a time, but I am certainly not that nimble.

Again, you want to remind me about the plane impacts (I can almost feel you twitching), but instead let me remind you about building seven. Seven was small compared to the towers, but still a forty seven story steel framed skyscraper that would have been the tallest structure on the skyline in most US cities. No plane came close to hitting seven (which housed a good many government agencies – several, including the CIA, of the spook variety). There were some sporadic fires on several floors that should have been fairly easy to deal with, but at 5.20pm it mysteriously suffered a complete, symmetrical, near free-fall collapse through its own mass. If you have any training as an engineer (or even basic high school physics) that fact should have given you pause.

A favourite argument of those in denial at this point goes something like ‘well I don’t have the training to know if that’s true or not’.

And if you don’t do even a modicum of research, you never will.

Whatever you may believe, as I’ve watched the laborious process of this local demolition, carried out without the aid of explosives, I’ve become more and more confirmed in my own conviction that there is an elephant in the room, that – despite what the apologists say – only explosives, detonated in timed sequence down the buildings and ahead of the collapses, can possibly explain the rapid descent and total disintegration of such massive edifices in the way we all saw on that infamous day.

Cue the trolls.

On population reduction


Winston Smith


Famine seems to be the last, the most dreadful resource of nature. The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race. The vices of mankind are active and able ministers of depopulation. They are the precursors in the great army of destruction, and often finish the dreadful work themselves. But should they fail in this war of extermination, sickly seasons, epidemics, pestilence, and plague advance in terrific array, and sweep off their thousands and tens of thousands. Should success be still incomplete, gigantic inevitable famine stalks in the rear, and with one mighty blow levels the population with the food of the world. ~ Malthus T.R. An essay on the principle of population. Chapter VII, p61


I have friends that count themselves among the ‘awake’ who never the less subscribe to the notion that there are too many people.

I have actually seen one of my online friends post something to the effect that we need to reduce total world population by five billion for the sake of the planet. He didn’t venture to say whether or not he himself would volunteer to be amongst that number, but any way you dice it, that’s an awful lot of people that would have to die to prove one person’s compassion for mother Gaia.

What makes otherwise intelligent, caring individuals express such virulently anti-human views? It feels very much as though the consciousness of the intellectual middle has been hijacked by some outside group or agency.

And it feels that way because that is precisely what has occurred.

The New World Order is a scheme, devised by the power elite, to create a one world technocratic system administered by experts but ruled by oligarchs. It would, by necessity be totalitarian; a veritable panopticon of police state surveillance. Under this system there would be no countries. Instead the world would be divided into administrative regions. The current EU is the model for this coming global system.

If everything I’ve just written seems strange or unlikely to you, you simply haven’t been paying attention. They have been openly preparing since their false flag coup on 9/11/01.


The origin of this plan goes back centuries. The first modern* philosophical exploration of technocracy for instance, dates back to the time of the French revolution, with the thinkers Henri Saint-Simon and Auguste Comte.

The novelist and essayist H G Wells who, for a time at least, was a card carrying Fabian, wrote the book Shape of things to come, which imagined a world run by a scientific technocracy that comes to power after a disastrous world war. This apocalyptic war, which sends civilization back to barbarism, is brought about by incompetent politicians and, according to Wells, it is only the scientific elites who have the means or ability to bring mankind back from the brink. The book was clearly meant as a piece of political propaganda presenting the preferred system of the Fabian Society.

In the 1930’s technocracy as a political theory came to the United States. It received a great deal of interest, but ultimately failed to gain a foothold in that freedom loving country at that time. None the less, some thirty years later, Neo technocratic groups began to surface. These were the direct descendants of the Fabians and cultural Marxists who had, over many decades, infiltrated academia, the media, local and national government and especially, the bureaucracy of the state.

Men like Kissinger and Brzezinski achieved positions at the elbows of presidents. In the case of Brzezinski it would appear he actually groomed at least two presidents (Carter and Obama) for their roles and both presidents along with Clinton have been notable for steering the nation away from traditional democracy towards a more Marxist alignment.

Tax-Exempt Foundations

“So started this big operation whose results we still see every day,” the witness continued.”While reading reports of the Soviet Embassy in Washington, more than once I met the name of the Carnegie Endowment and of the Rockefeller Foundation . . . I read about these foundations mostly in the reports of the Soviet ambassador in Washington, when he said what kind of people he and his officials met from these foundations in this period of time, what kind of assignments they gave to these people, or through other people, to these foundations, or to these foundations through American universities or publishing houses . . . He gave the names of the people whom he met, and the people his agents met . . . I just registered in my memory the fact that with every year the number of mentions of these foundations became more and more numerous, and the people involved in this machination of the Soviet Embassy in this country became also greater and greater.” (Cox hearings, pp.677-78)

The other important institutions that have been heavily infiltrated by cultural Marxists are the big Tax-Exempt Foundations. Actually, it’s not quite correct to use the word infiltrated as most of these foundations were in fact created by those to whom dedicated cultural Marxists answer.

The Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Endowment and the Rockefeller Foundation to name but three have all historically been deeply involved in culture manipulation. All were to a greater or lesser extent involved with founding and furthering the eugenics movement, for example. In more recent times, another powerful actor has emerged; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

All of these Foundations present a caring, socially conscientious public face. And due to their manipulations of a largely compliant and toothless media, have been able to couch their frankly dubious activities in such terms for most of the past hundred years. It is said that John D Rockefeller created philanthropy as a public relations exercise to placate an angry America after the event known as the Ludlow massacre. In this cynical move lies the origin of the tax free foundations, duplicitously formed to present their founders in a far better light than their true natures deserved.

And all of these Foundations have, for decades, pushed the notion of overpopulation. Their money has been behind almost every organization that has been active in spreading the idea that there are just too many people for the earth to sustain.

They finance movies and back books on the subject. They fund studies and papers and, most effective of all, create and direct so called environmental activist groups which they then unleash at will on very specific targets.

An example of this technique in action (or inaction, depending upon your perspective) is easy to cite. All of the major environmental groups constantly push the idea of co2 as a driver for anthropogenic climate change. This is an ‘acceptable’ target to the Foundations because it nudges us towards the deindustrialization of the first world. However, none of the groups protest the very real danger of planet wide contamination due to the military’s constant use of depleted uranium on the battlefield. This is because the Foundations (or at least, those who sit on their boards) are both profiting from the weapons and ideologically in favour of the devastating effects they are having on the populations of the affected countries.

If this seems like a cynical statement to you, again, you obviously haven’t been paying attention.

All of the major environmental groups receive support from the foundations, often quite openly. And all of these groups have at their cores a fundamentalist zeal for population reduction. This is entirely by design.

Overpopulation and Eugenics

Thomas Malthus wrote his error ridden essay on the effects of overpopulation on the food supply in 1830. His theory that mankind would run out of food proved entirely spurious and yet as late as 1960 it was included in a collection of writings on overpopulation which also featured Julian Huxley pushing a very similar barrow (Huxley even quoted Malthus in his own essay, going so far as to imply that the math challenged vicar hadn’t gotten it entirely wrong).

The fact is Malthus and Huxley for that matter, were dead wrong. In Malthus’ case, the error was genuine – he was a bit of a twit, but Huxley, who was at the time head of UNESCO, was likely working an agenda.

The Huxleys had always been enamoured of the pseudo-science of eugenics Julian’s grandfather was Thomas Huxley known as Darwin’s Bulldog. The Huxleys, Darwins, Galtons and Wedgewoods famously devised a scheme to breed only amongst themselves. Their goal was a superior calibre of humans going forward. What they got were imbeciles and defectives. They clearly clung to their eugenic notions none the less. Author Aldous Huxley reputedly wrote Brave new world as a cautionary parable of the dangers of eugenics, but it is interesting to note that it is notionally very close to the philosophy his grandfather espoused.

This elitist perspective is what drives the New World Order. It is not aimed towards the good of all mankind, but rather to the benefit of a tiny section of humanity who see themselves as something more than human.

In the future they envision, we (the great unwashed) are tolerated only in so far as we are useful to them. And in an era of rapidly advancing technology, there is actually less and less need for most of us at all. That really does appear to be how they think and that’s all well and good, there have always been such attitudes among the ruling class, they are frankly entitled to believe whatever garbage they like. That said, what really disturbs this writer is most people’s complete willingness to go along with the opinions of obvious psychopaths.

Through decades of anti-human propaganda the people have been conditioned to the belief that the Earth is collapsing under the weight of all this humanity. Images of the most crowded places on the planet are constantly beamed into our living rooms along with equally graphic scenes of environmental degradation. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some very real environmental issues that need to be urgently addressed and not everyone who claims to care about the planet takes a pay check from the Rockefeller Foundation, but most of the problems we currently face have solutions and none of those involve culling the human race.

This planet can probably sustain eleven billion souls and all indications are that we will hit nine billion within twenty or thirty years and that at that point the population tide will begin to recede due to declining fertility.

That’s not something ‘they’ want you to know.

Social Conditioning

The easiest way to spot a foundation puppet is when they open their mouths on TV (usually with pictures of the overcrowding in Mexico City flashing behind them) and try to tell you that the Earth is already over carrying capacity. There are obviously places on this finite but enormous planet where too many are crammed into too small an area. This is usually due to extreme poverty forcing the desperate to seek work in urban centres. And the cause of that poverty is the same tiny minority who are telling us these lies whilst taking too much of the wealth for themselves. If you really want to ration our diminishing resources, the place to start, I would suggest, is with the one percent of one percent who have voraciously accrued more wealth than all the rest of us combined.

People (excluding the psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists who have lied, cheated and stolen their way to the top of the pyramid) are generally well meaning and responsible when left to their own devices. Only about five percent of any society would be classified as criminal, the vast majority are basically decent. You need only look around your own social circle to see evidence of this.

However, after centuries of conditioning by the church telling us what dreadful sinners we all are, a certain amount of cultural guilt has been instilled in the group psyche. This is the very guilt that the cultural Marxists have mined so effectively for their own ends.

Here’s the thing, though, we don’t have to play along. We don’t have to accept ‘their’ disparaging assessment of our worth. We are not chattel and we are not a cancer. We are humanity; imbued with infinite complexity and unceasing potential. They want us to forget that.

I, for one, refuse.

Finally, I’m including this Paper by Theresa Okafor, Director, Foundation for African Cultural Heritage, presented for the 10th Rhodes Forum. It represents a perspective from the black community who are one of the groups who have been hit hardest by the depopulation agenda.


* For an even earlier exploration of Technocracy, we need look no further than Plato’s ‘Republic’.


On incrementalism

Winston Smith

The wolf in sheep's clothing, an emblem of the Fabians.

The wolf in sheep’s clothing, an emblem of the Fabians.

The organisation known as the Fabian Society was first established in London in 1884 as a splinter group from Thomas Davidson’s utopian Fellowship of the New Life. Their stated aim was the promotion of a moral reconstruction of society along socialist lines. Philosophically, these mostly middle-class intellectuals eschewed Revolution in favour of an incremental shift towards international socialism.

One of the society’s most active members was George Bernard Shaw – famous for advocating the gassing of those members of the population not considered useful contributors to society.

Another member was H G Wells who wrote a book called Shape of things to come about a society run by a scientific elite (a very Fabian concept) and another entitled The New World Order. And a New World Order is precisely what the Fabians sought.

In its early stage, the Fabian Society adopted a policy of ‘permeation’, which involved infiltrating existing institutions, parties and Parliament by its members and supporters in order to carry out social and economic reforms. Fabians managed to permeate their ideology to many people who were not socialists but thought of reforms. Their principal objective was nationalisation of the industries. ~ Dr Andrzej Diniejko, The Fabian society in late Victorian England.

Dr Diniejko goes on to recount;

However, it was in 1900 that the Society finally published a tract drafted by George Bernard Shaw, Fabianism and the Empire, which became the most significant statement of the Society’s imperial policy. Shaw supported imperial expansion because, as he claimed, the world evolved toward big and powerful states. The Fabians criticised Liberals, but supported British imperial policy as a means of disseminating enlightened principles of governance throughout the world.

As we see, the group – which included in its number such notables as Sidney & Beatrice Webb, Hubert Bland, Annie Besant, Sydney Olivier, Graham Wallas and Eleanor Marx – believed in infiltration of the system in order to enact incremental change from within. Their acceptance of British imperialism meant that their influence could be spread around the world and indeed there is a Fabian branch in most of the major countries that were once part of the British Empire.

John Maynard Keynes, father of Keynesian economics, was not officially a member of the Fabian society, but he lectured there on many occasions and was closely connected to many of its members.

At this point, one might be forgiven for thinking that (with the possible exception of Shaw’s views on humane gas) the Fabians didn’t really seem too bad a bunch. However, as Diniejko points out;

Another serious flaw in the image of the Fabian Society was caused by its support of the pseudo-science of eugenics. In the early 1900s a few prominent members of the Society, including Sidney and Beatrice Webb, as well as Shaw and Wells, advocated the ideal of a scientifically planned socialist society and supported a eugenic approach to social policy.

This interest in Eugenics was a dark trait the Fabians shared in common with Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood in the United States. Sanger used Planned Parenthood to target black communities out of a racist desire to purge the nation of its ‘human weeds’, her phrase for blacks, whom she considered to be inferior. Her plan, like the Fabian’s was to enact this change incrementally, styling it as charitable health care for the underprivileged.

Under this guise, Sanger was able to win praise for her humane treatment of the black population even as she was attempting to ensure that they did not flourish. This is classic Fabianism, which is the basis of cultural Marxism. It is so much easier to change a society, if that society doesn’t recognise that you are changing it.

And this is precisely how cultures are shaped right up to the present day; in tiny increments. Occasionally a sweeping revolution appears to occur (for instance the so called Arab spring), but often that seemingly rapid, overnight event is in fact the culmination of years or even decades of incremental manipulation by outside actors.

This sort of thing has been going on in both Eastern and Western societies for so long now that people have stopped paying attention. Every so often, we may look up from the grindstone of our lives and note with sad, nostalgic resignation, how different the world now looks to the one we grew up in. Few, however, seriously consider the possibility that this change has been deliberately planned and instigated by a particular group. To most, such a notion seems outlandish, even paranoid, but the truth is that this is exactly what is occurring.

The genius of incrementalism is its near glacial pace. Every change is so tiny as to be beneath most people’s perception. It is only after the long march of many years that we begin to sense, too late, the accumulation of the many thousands of tiny shifts that together have changed society’s course. It is, quite literally the death by a thousand cuts.

For the observant, it appears as though such a shift is moving into view right now. Over the past ninety nine years – since the founding of Planned Parenthood – we have transitioned from a society that does not tolerate abortion; legally or ethically, to one where it has become both legal and commonplace.

Now, I’m not going to get into the politics of whether abortion is or isn’t ethical. Everybody has an opinion on this and all are entitled to hold them. The fact is that abortions are now, for better or worse, legal in most Western countries. And so I would argue that the point is largely moot.

However, a further development occurred in 2012 with truly disturbing implications for our society. This paper by two academics at Melbourne University posits a truly amoral question, After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?


Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus’ health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.

Take a moment to let that sink in.

If this was an isolated case one could dismiss it as the work of a pair of maladjusted ivory tower dwellers. However, there are some disturbing signs that such thinking may be more widespread than that.

This paper was published last year and, although it specifically deals with infants born with severe disabilities, some of the arguments it puts forward to justify its stance are, to my mind, a tad unsettling. I’m unpleasantly reminded of the writings of change agents such as Singer and Downie.

This article could be dismissed as right wing, pro-life propaganda. It does, however, make a few interesting points and, if it really does accurately portray the views of students on the average American college campus, paints a rather disturbing picture. It initially sparked some anger in Left wing circles, but not nearly as much as one might expect were it demonstrably fallacious. The source is certainly fringe enough to make official denial possible, but I suspect that’s not the point. The idea is now ‘out there’.

This is exactly how social incrementalism works. The boat is pushed out on a certain idea and the waters of public reaction tested. If there’s too much push-back in the form of media or public outrage, the idea is shelved, but not abandoned. After a suitable amount of time has passed, the boat is pushed out again and so on, until public response allows the idea to maintain its position in the ebb and flow of public discourse.

There’s a funny truism about unacceptable ideas, they become more acceptable the more familiar we grow with them. The very fact that we’ve heard them before makes them less threatening, less unthinkable. Some things, however, simply are, and should forever be, unacceptable. I dearly hope that this abhorrent notion remains in that category. If not, God help us all.

On consensus


Image: Craig Hilts

Image: Craig Hilts



  1. general or widespread agreement (esp. in the phrase consensus of opinion)


That word has a lot of currency with certain people these days, particularly in arguments over the validity of the theory of anthropogenic climate change. It seems that whenever this theory is questioned, or an alternative one proposed, it is always consensus that forms the basis of every rebuttal.

There’s something very odd about that.

In scientific debate, it has historically been held that a theory should stand or fall on its own scientific merits. If I claim that the activity of the sun is the main driver of weather on earth and can show this to be the case using scientific method, then no matter how many people believe in anthropogenic theory, if the evidence for that is less compelling, the ground must be ceded to the theory most supported by the evidence. In the last fifteen years, as far as I can see, this has demonstrably not been the case.

This is an unsettling, if not outright dangerous, development. Before his untimely death, Michael Crichton wrote a damning piece on consensus thinking and the politicisation of science. I feel he deftly nailed the issue.

Almost all science is theory; people too often forget that. The theory of evolution is a theory, the theory of relativity is a theory and Anthropogenic climate change too is nothing but a theory. Certain theories go in and out of fashion; some, very few really, endure.  How then do we have reputedly responsible scientists running around mouthing a phrase like ‘the science is settled’? Believe me, the science most definitely is not settled. So how was this much vaunted consensus achieved?

Once a new idea takes hold in the popular imagination, it is remarkably easy to create the illusion of scientific consensus. In a 2013 interview, with Julian Charles, Marc Morano of explained how this happens (Please make allowance for the fact that this transcript is taken from a verbal conversation and not a written dissertation);

‘If you’re a butterfly scientist at a small university in the United States and you’ve been doing studies on butterflies and your university’s not paying attention, the media’s not paying attention and you’re having trouble getting grants. Suddenly you get the idea, why not do a global warming study, a modelling study on what could, might and may happen to butterflies in the Western United States by the year 2075 if, a big if, temperatures were to rise by five degrees Celsius?

‘So you do a legitimate scientific study; speculative, model based and suddenly you come up with three scenarios; butterflies will be minimally impacted, butterflies will be moderately impacted and butterflies will be massively impacted. You’ve done a study, you’ve not lied, you’ve done all the scientific ethics, followed the scientific method. You publish your paper.

‘Suddenly the university’s interested. They pick the most extreme scenario for the media “butterflies are doomed by global warming says new study”. Suddenly the media’s all over it. Suddenly your university’s really happy with you. Suddenly you’re getting more funding. Suddenly the head of the UN is coming out saying “there’s a new study in the US saying that butterflies are doomed. This is another example of global warming, we must act now.” Then people are looking at it saying “we’ve done a survey of the peer reviewed literature, yet another scientist supports the consensus. We have a butterfly scientist who’s now part of the thousands – “. Meanwhile, this butterfly scientist hasn’t studied whether C02 impacts temperature, hasn’t looked at the geologic past to find out if temperatures would even go up because of C02 all he’s done is a speculative model study, but he’s now a new rock star of the movement.

‘He’s probably at local elementary schools talking about how butterflies might be doomed and even though he puts in all the scientific caveats, he’s not a liar, he didn’t do anything unethical, but he’s part of the climate con in a large sense because he took the funding and he went along with the narrative. And this is how it happens. It’s not that scientists are lying, it’s that they’re going along with the science of their day; the politicised science.’

It’s really not hard to see how such scenarios can develop. Science funding is highly competitive and scientists are often forced to be ‘creative’ when it comes to securing grants.

Climatologist Dr Tim Ball (author of ‘The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science‘) also believes that too much weight is given to the notion of consensus. In this interview (also in 2013) he broke down the flaws and the corruptibility of an argument that speaks from an assumed consensus. The interviewer, again, was Julian Charles.

TB: ‘Consensus is not scientific fact. And as soon as they started using that word, because I was aware of how the public relations of this whole thing was going down, I knew it was political. It was initially applied using, the then, six thousand members of the IPCC, the Intergovernmental panel on climate change. And of course (I) started pointing out that very few of the people on the IPCC were actually climate scientists. Most of them were bureaucrats, but to have a number and say “here’s these six thousand people, all being paid and all working on this thing and all agreeing”, became a powerful PR tool.

‘One of the classic studies that was done was by a Naomi Oreskes and she came out with an article saying that she had done research of peer reviewed articles, and there’s another term that they pushed, “oh, it’s got to be peer reviewed. If it’s not peer reviewed it’s nonsense.”

JC: ‘Catch twenty two.’

TB: ‘Well, yeah and of course, they controlled the peer review process, but that’s another story, but Naomi Oreskes came out with this article in which she said she’d looked at, I believe it was nine hundred and eighty five articles, something like that, and not one of them disagreed with the consensus. And of course, she knew nothing about climate science, she was a historian, social scientist and Gore picked up on that study and it became a central part of his documentary the inconvenient truth. And it was very quickly shown, though it didn’t get to the headlines because the newspapers were presenting very biased information, that the result that she got was determined by the use of keywords. Anybody that uses Google knows that keywords have become paramount to how effective your research is and it predetermines what results you get. And of course, she only googled in a couple of keywords and that’s the result she got. If you googled other keywords you found out that there were thousands of articles that were showing that there wasn’t a consensus.’

Time and again I’ve encountered this appeal to consensus when trying to argue the science of anthropogenic climate change. The argument put forward in favour of it too often comes down to ‘if so many experts believe in it, it must be true.’ On the face of it, that can seem like a strong argument, until one remembers that a fairly short time ago – historically speaking – you could have applied precisely the same logic to the widely held notion that the world was flat or that the Sun revolved around the Earth.

Science is a wonderful thing and has bestowed a great many gifts upon humanity, but scientists are only human and often get things wrong – sometimes spectacularly so. And they most often fail when they eschew scientific principles in favour of populist movements and lucrative political agendas.

– Winston Smith

There’s no app for that – part two

– Winston Smith


This is the sound of poisons

the sickness no one knows.

No one is crying for us this time.

Our shapes are blurring

under miracles of snow

~ Shriekback, ‘Faded flowers’.


Are mobile WiFi users the ‘smokers’ of the twenty first century?

In the fifties and sixties it seemed like everybody smoked. Train cars, movie houses, even hospitals were usually hazed with cigarette smoke; a result of all the puffing that simply everybody was doing pretty much every waking hour of the day. People were being warned that it was bad for their health, but they were generally hopelessly addicted and the activity was so deeply accepted socially, that most chose to ignore the warnings. This was a world where no one batted an eyelid at the sight of a pregnant woman with a cigarette in one hand and a martini in the other; different times.

And were they different people too? Can we pat ourselves on the back and dedicate a hearty LOL to their naive lack of self-awareness?

Or have we ourselves simply replaced one dangerous addiction with its technological doppelgänger?

The complete obsession with twenty four seven access to the Internet has grown with amazing rapidity out of the simple ease with which the latest smart phones are able to provide it (Create a supply and the demand will follow). The little device we carry in our pocket or handbag offers an almost limitless cornucopia of choices and opportunities. It has never been easier to be in constant contact with friends and business associates, find the quickest route to where we need to be, or order that pizza. It’s just so damned convenient. And we have embraced this convenience whole heartedly.

So what’s the catch?

C’mon, there’s always a downside. What are they not telling us?

Well, just as the dangers of smoking were known for decades before anyone decided to do anything about it, WiFi’s potential hazards too have been well documented.

And just like those naive smokers of yore, it’s not just ourselves we may be damaging when we choose to indulge our dirty little habit.

As I wrote in part one; ‘Ride public transport any day of the week and you’ll find the vast majority of people slaved to their tiny machine masters’.

And nearly all are using WiFi in one form or another.


I vividly recall sitting beside two pregnant women on a train. The two were talking about the TV show Mad men and chuckling about the pregnant woman on the previous night’s episode who had been eight months gone and still smoking and drinking. With an air of smugness, they both began recounting all the organic foods and supplements they were consuming for the health of their unborn infants; feeling confidently superior to their 1960’s counterpart. Both women were also sending and receiving emails on their phones – which they rested on their swollen bellies – as they patted each other on the back.

There have now been multiple studies attesting to the harm that long term exposure to WiFi seems to do to the DNA of living creatures, from plants right up to humans. For example, prolonged exposure appears to seriously increase the risk of cancers and other health problems in lab animals.

However, like those sixties smokers, the modern technophile is so completely addicted to his or her toys that a kind of fatalistic optimism has set in. Many people believe that the radiation from their devices may be doing them – and those around them – harm, but they also believe they cannot live without said devices. And since the technology is so spectacularly useful, they tend to play down the severity of the risk in their own minds. Remind you of anyone?

This kind of cognitive dissonance seems to be becoming very common in our society. Perhaps it has always been so. And that’s fine if your actions affect only you. The problem is that we tend to use our toys whilst surrounded by others. And these others are often pregnant women and small children.

If someone riding on the above mentioned public transport – say a crowded commuter train for arguments sake – were to take out a cigarette and light up, there would, I suspect, be cries of outrage from every corner of the car. And nearly all of those cries would be coming from people who had, just moments before, been happily surfing the net, watching a YouTube or sending an email. There’s a disconnect here.

Maybe the problem is that, unlike smoking, WiFi is silent and invisible? It doesn’t even have an odour for goodness sake. Perhaps that might be a partial solution; smelly WiFi. Give it an artificial, vaguely offensive gorgonzolaish stink that could emanate from your device whenever it went online. That certainly might give one pause.

How hard could it be?

Built in stigma.

Someone should come up with an app.



Sent from my Samsung Galaxy.

I know, it’s only rock n roll 2

Angie and David (Photo by Joseph Stevens)

Angie and David (Photo by Joseph Stevens)

‘That was a beautiful Art Deco house on six acres, an exquisite site property and a terrific value at just $300,000, but he took one look at a detail I hadn’t noticed, a hexagram painted on the floor of a circular room by the previous owner, Gypsy Rose Lee.

A great deal of codling and reassurance got us through that crisis, and I went and found the Doheny Drive house. Built in the late Fifties or early Sixties, it was a white cube surrounding an indoor swimming pool. David liked the place, but I thought it was too small to meet our needs for very long, and I wasn’t crazy about the pool. In my experience, indoor pools are always a problem.

This one was no exception, albeit not in any of the usual ways. Its drawback was one I hadn’t encountered before and haven’t seen or heard of since: Satan lived in it. With his own eyes, David said, he’d seen HIM rising up out of the water one night.

Back to Walli Elmlark I went, this time with a tall order. David wanted an exorcism.

A Greek Orthodox Church, in LA would have done it for us (there was a priest available for such a service, the people had told me) but David wouldn’t have it. No strangers allowed, he said. So there we stood, with just Walli’s instructions and a few hundred dollars’ worth of books, talismans, and assorted items from Hollywood’s comprehensive selection of fine occult emporia.

There he (David Bowie) was, then, primed and ready. The proper books and doodads were arranged on a big old-fashioned lectern. The incantation began, and although I had no idea what was being said or what language it was being said in, I couldn’t stop a weird cold feeling rising up in me as David droned on and on.

There’s no easy or elegant way to say this, so I’ll just say it straight. At a certain point in the ritual, the pool began to bubble. It bubbled vigorously (perhaps “thrashed” is a better term) in a manner inconsistent with any explanation involving air filters or the like.

As David watched this happening in absolute terror, I tried to be flippant – “Well, dear, aren’t you clever? It seems to be working. Something’s making a move, don’t you think?” – but I couldn’t keep it up. It was very, very strange; even after my recent experiences I was having trouble accepting what my eyes were seeing.

We both left the pool in a hurry and David told me to check up on the pool from time to time. I kept my eye on it for the next forty minutes of so, and nothing unusual happened, and so with my heart in my mouth, I slid one of the glass doors open and, ignoring David’s panicked screams, went to the edge (of the pool) and looked in.

I saw what I saw. Nothing can change that. On the bottom of the pool was a large shadow, or stain, which had not been there before the ritual began. It was in the shape of a beast of the underworld; it reminded me of those twisted, tormented gargoyles screaming silently from the spires of medieval cathedrals. It was ugly, shocking, malevolent; it frightened me.

I backed away from it feeling very strange, went through the doorway, and told David what I’d seen, trying to be nonchalant but not doing very well. He turned white but eventually became revived enough to spend the rest of the night doing coke. He wouldn’t go near the pool, though.

I still don’t know what to think about that night. It runs directly counter to my pragmatism and my everyday faith in the integrity of the “normal” world, and it confuses me greatly. What troubles me the most is that if you were to call that stain the mark of Satan, I don’t see how I could argue with you.

David, of course, insisted that we move from the house as quickly as possible, and we did that, but I’ve heard from reliable sources (Michael Lipman for one, the property’s real estate agent) that subsequent tenants haven’t been able to remove the shadow. Even though the pool has been painted over a number of times, the shadow has always come back!’

~ Angie Bowie, ‘Backstage Passes: Life on the Wild Side with David Bowie’.

I know, it’s only rock n roll

There’s no app for that – part one

 – Winston Smith


We had some good machines,

but they don’t work no more.

I loved you once.

Don’t love you anymore.

~ Shriekback, ‘Faded flowers’.

Smart phones for dumb people – it’s a glib phrase, to be sure, and yet, there’s a level of undeniable truth there.

With each new generation of technology, you can’t help but feel the unequal power relationship developing between most tech users and their plastic pals. To put it in BDSM terms (that’s right, I’m not above pandering to populist trends to make a point); people have become ‘subs’ and pocket technology their daddy.

Image WMagazine.

Image WMagazine.

Ride public transport any day of the week and you’ll find the vast majority of people slaved to their tiny machine masters. Some – and by some I mean way too many – spend the time between home and work chortling over Youtube videos of cats and dogs displaying the full range of human emotion. Others sit earnestly texting collaborative novellas (or at the very least, short essays) with friends whom they haven’t physically seen since the night before and are therefore desperate to reconnect with, so that they can share the events of the intervening hours.

Most annoying of all (IMHO) are the e-media addicts, fixedly scrolling through screes of ‘neatly packaged for easy consumption’ news-like product, oblivious to the unfolding real life dramas all around them. These avid imbibers of propaganda -sorry- information consume it all with a desperation reminiscent of an overweight legionnaire gulping handfuls of sand at a desert mirage (from Fifty Shades of Grey to Abbott and Costello in three paragraphs – brilliant).


This ‘product’ is carefully crafted to give the consumer the belief that they are informed; belief, not the actual reality.

In fact, the information is delivered mostly context free and opinion heavy – and when exactly did it become the job of zit faced staff reporters to tell us how we should feel about world events anyway? Nothing is delivered without a slant and nothing comes with any real citation to back up the claims being made. It’s all ‘sources at the White house say’ this and ‘experts claim’ that.

And all this handy dandy, take me everywhere technology just means we’re exposed to this nebulous, ultimately meaningless, cloud of third hand opinions and talking points pretty much every waking moment.

So, I have to tell you that, with the app bubble a bee’s penis away from going the way of the .com, there’s probably not much time left for some bearded or horn-rimmed hipster to come up with that new media discernment app we all so desperately need.

martin-starr-e1395704775512 copy

The clock is ticking.

Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist


Sent from my ipad.


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