...they're increasingly often right...
Russian anti-Kremlin journalist Arkady Babchenko was announced to have been murdered in Ukraine. Some days ago, he appeared resuscitated at a press conference. We quickly learned that the death was staged by the Ukrainian authorities. Babchenko has been decorated by pig blood, spent some time in the morgue where he watched the news about his death, and so on.
The victim was fake, the murderer was fake, the middle-man was fake, everything was fake.
Caitlin Johnstone has described the situation and its implications well. Everyone was certain that the Kremlin had murdered another journalist. Not only Boris Johnson, Garry Kasparov etc. tweeted about the "murder". Some people even preemptively mocked those who might want to see the full evidence that Babchenko was murdered.
Even though no one really had enough time or courage to ventilate his doubts, all these potential doubters were already treated as unhinged conspiracy theorists.
But the staged death of Arkady Babchenko isn't just a conspiracy theory. It's a conspiracy fact. The Ukrainian authorities plus a couple of extra people have demonstrably conspired to stage this murder. Their excuse is that they wanted to save Babchenko against an actual murder. After you erred once in believing the Ukrainian news about the murder, will you err again and believe their story about the motivation?
The actual motivation is completely clear. Ukraine thinks that it's in some state of war against Russia. And the fanatical Ukrainian fascists – like their Banderist counterparts during the Second World War – are willing to do basically anything. Certainly anything that is designed to harm Russia's image in the world. Faking murders is no problem for them at all.
You know, all sensible people – and especially politicians and journalists – should know about this fact. They should know that the Ukrainian authorities have a motivation to lie and they have lied many times in the past. Ukraine is basically a failed state that is full of warmongers. But for some reason, everyone seems to pretend that they don't know. No one has even had the idea to question the Ukrainian claims. I immediately did question them but I didn't have enough time to post my doubts.
It's rather similar with the White Helmets. They're clearly a P.R. wing of a terrorist organization and almost everything they produce is lies and distortions. But for some reasons, their press releases and videos are treated as the holy word by the "mainstream" journalists. It's plain insane.
Why do we often identify the phrase "conspiracy theorist" with a "nutcase"? Well, check what a conspiracy means. A conspiracy is a secret agreement of several people to do something wrong. A conspiracy theorist is someone who claims that some events should be properly explained by a conspiracy. And conspiracy theorists are considered nutcases because conspiracies are generally considered unlikely.
But are they?
It's often the case that "what we see is what we get". The most straightforward interpretation of the events – one that we're apparently seeing or we are told about – is the correct one. And it's ultimately a waste of time to look for catches and secret loopholes. However, we live in a post-truth epoch.
I would like to claim that it's become much easier to stage a murder of an inconvenient Russian and make the world believe in these claims about the murder – than it is for some powerful Russian people to actually murder. If you believe that my assumption is right, and the complete absence of any doubts about the Babchenko claims is strong evidence that my assumption is right, than the conspiracy should be considered as a default explanation.
It's the actual assassination that is the extraordinary claim that should require extraordinary evidence.
The world is complicated. And I have various degrees of belief or disbelief in the official story concerning Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, Iraqi links to 9/11, MH17 flight, Litvinenko, Skripals, chemical attack in Douma, and many other events. In most cases, the probability that the "official Western mainstream media's take" is the correct one was decreasing with time.
You know, when most of the media live in a giant group think, and the strength of such group think is in the interest of some powerful parties, any opposition and all doubters are being mocked, fired, and sometimes even punished if not arrested, it becomes much easier to agree on conspiracies. After all, the group think itself could be perhaps considered a special case of a conspiracy. That's also why the conspiracy theories are much more likely to be true.
Half a century ago, it could have been hard to produce a conspiracy that would lead to the assassination of JFK through some secretive events – or a conspiracy needed to stage the moonlanding. Today, there are so many people who – sometimes happily, sometimes because of their amazing stupidity, and sometimes because they're blackmailed or they're opportunists – cooperate in the propagation of the seriously questionable if not downright fraudulent narratives – such as the general Russophobia saying that the Russians are responsible for every unwelcome event in the world (just like the Jews were in the Third Reich – and sadly enough, the difference between the postmodern Russophobia and the Nazis' anti-Semitism is shrinking every day).
On the other hand, it was relatively easy to simply accumulate some 5% of the U.S. GDP, pile up some computers (that were as large as a building), and send those damn men to the Moon. And yes, it was relatively easy for some irrelevant man to shoot JFK.
These days, it's arguably the other way around. We're nominally much richer but it seems rather hard for our civilization to send the men to the celestial bodies. Perhaps we just don't have the motivation to do so, we often hear. But are we sure it's the right explanation? On the other hand, there are hundreds of thousands of people whose main qualification seems to be the promotion of lies. Whole pseudo-scholarly departments at universities are producing kilotons of these pathetic would-be "experts". They're employed in George Soros' organizations, other NGOs, but also in the "regular" media. On top of that, at least one-half of the public in the Western countries – hundreds of millions of people – are brain-dead enough to mindlessly devour what they're being fed by the "mainstream" media.
Almost none of these people know how to land the men on the Moon but they know how to spread narratives – they know how to spread lies. Or at least they know how to be obedient citizens and buy all the garbage that is being fed to them. Well, these changing abilities of the people have implications for the probability that conspiracy theories are the correct theories of the events in the real world. Conspiracy theories end up being much more likely than they used to be in the past when the industry and technology of "propagation of narratives" was almost non-existent or much less "advanced" than it is today.
100 years ago, on May 31st, the Pittsburgh Agreement was signed in Pennsylvania between Thomas Garrigue Masaryk and representatives of Czech and Slovak emigrants in the U.S. They decided that they would work on the creation of Czechoslovakia – which indeed did take place later in the year, on October 28th. According to the agreement, Slovaks were promised a federal state of a sort. That didn't materialize. Well, Czechs couldn't really afford it because the ethnic Germans would probably want a similar autonomy. Also, Slovaks are more numerous among expats in the U.S. relatively to Czechs – but it's the other way around in our actual motherland. So the U.S. perspective made the Slovaks look stronger than they were on the ground.
65 years ago, the 1953 monetary reform took place in Czechoslovakia. It was a few months after Stalin's death, Stalin's funeral, and Gottwald's death soon after he returned from that funeral. The commies were promising that no monetary reform would take place – and only evil reactionary imperialists were spreading those fake news.
Suddenly, the second Czechoslovak president Antonín Zápotocký announced the monetary reform on Saturday (May 30th) noon. The "fake news" were right, after all. From Monday June 1st, five old crowns were to be replaced by 1 new crown – the currency was going to strengthen – and the prices were roughly divided by five, just like the salaries etc. There was a catch, however: you could only get the new crowns at the 5-to-1 rate for up to CZK 300. Above that, you only got 50-to-1.
So we found a booklet proving the deposits that my maternal grandfather made for his son, my uncle. The balance had some CZK 80,000 – and it was suddenly reduced to something like CZK 1,600. A de facto millionaire, using the modern language, was transformed to "not a millionaire at all". The rich people were de facto eradicated – a true communist egalitarian "paradise" was created overnight. Also, all bonds were made invalid for private holders – an easy way for the government to get rid of the debt. (The bonds were still valid for the institutional holders.) The demand dropped, shortages sort of ended, and food prices dropped by a factor of 5-10 as a result.
My uncle JK – who was robbed of his "millions" (if translated) by the left-wing government – emigrated to Australia after the 1968 occupation (my grandfather, who stayed, was intensely encouraging him to do so) and has been a mathematics professor in Melbourne up to his recent retirement.
In Prague, only a confectionary was accepting the old money after Zápotocký's Saturday announcement, ex-president Klaus remembers (he was 12 at that time). People were sometimes buying 100 ice lollies per person – and handing them out in the streets, just for fun.
In Pilsen, the workers of Škoda Works – the huge plant that was renamed to the Vladimir Ilyich Lenin Factory in the same year of 1953 – turned out to be not so proletarian. They realized that relatively to others, they were de facto proxy capitalists and they tried to kickstart an anti-communist revolution of a sort. It was suppressed by some 2,000 law enforcement comrades. This Pilsner uprising was the most important workers' uprising in the history of the Czechoslovak communism. I am talking about it with some pride – and to compensate the picture of opportunists that emerged from my story about the happy Pilsen and Škoda during Nazism.