…from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger
From time to time, everybody should relax and enjoy a really good conspiracy theory just as Americans do. In all the mindless entertainment, United States of America, for better or worse, leads the herd. Perhaps it has got something to do with the Protestant work ethic being slowly displaced by the trade unions’ apres deluge approach to that disagreeable time waster formerly called work.
It pains me that at this stage I have emphasise that ‘conspiracy’ and ‘conspiracy theory’ are not the same. Many otherwise educated people, including prosecutors, fiscals and US State attorneys do not know the difference.
A conspiracy to commit a crime is usually defined as follows (Queensland Criminal Code version):- Any person who conspires with another to commit any crime, or to do any act in any part of the world which if done in Queensland would be a crime, and which is an offence under the laws in force in the place where it is proposed to be done, is guilty of a crime, and is liable, if no other punishment is provided, to imprisonment with hard labour for seven years…
The New York State Penal Code, naturally, complicates the matters (after all, they have more lawyers to feed) this way:-
105.15 Conspiracy in the second degree. A person is guilty of conspiracy in the second degree when, with intend that conduct constituting a class A felony be performed, he agrees with one or more persons to engage in or cause the performance of such conduct.
In New York you have a choice of conspiracies from the first degree up to the sixth, on the last reading, though in practical terms the difference is only in the severity of the slap on the wrist.
But those real life things are not funny, or at least not as amusing as honest to goodness conspiracy theories, where anything goes and no logic, not to mention evidence, is needed. Sometimes, however, some intrepid follower of no or twisted logic finds the evidence and a conspiracy theory morphs into a conspiracy. By that time of course the culprits are safely dead anyway and all that remains is for a few books to be written and a few hands to be wrung. But most of the time no evidence is found and, if it is, it is buried in the morass of other, conflicting conspiracy theories; some of which are put forward by the genuine conspirators.
As you may or may not know Marcus Brutus was nowhere near Julius Caesar when the latter committed suicide on the Ides of March. History ignored Brutus’ rotunda-stone-clad alibi. Suetonius, Plutarch and Shakespeare were all on the conspiracy. “Et tu, Brutus?” is a fabrication equal to anything Bob Brown never said.
In 1981 the Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett conclusively proved that the Soviet Union’s murderous purges were the consequence of the deep and devious deception by CIA. Naive Joseph Stalin was duped by unscrupulous Allen Dulles. (W. Burchett, At the Barricades; Macmillan, Australia)
The J.F.Kennedy assassination is another fruitful area for cover-up. The famous Abraham Zapruder‘s 8 mm film was scripted by KGB and made in a few versions to be used according to the location and weather. Apparently when one checks it, one would find that the sun could not have been at that position at that time. One theory is that the gulag astronomers, working under and resenting the direction of KGB, wished to give us a hint. The original idea was that the film, the only film, would be shown so often that the witnesses would believe the flickering screen images and not their own eyes. Allegedly it did work and today some less than ethical legal firms use carefully scripted video reconstructions or computer simulations of accidents to ‘refresh’ witnesses’ memory.
Back home. Here is an example of how low opinion citizens have of their betters; and furthermore, how desperate some of them can be to devise a conspiracy theory to suit their anti-Labor prejudices. I simplify and restate it for those overseas and for those who only watch ALP television channels. If I heard it, a half of Brisbane must have. It goes something like this -
1. A government party (X), certain to lose the office, and looking to the future financing of its re-election campaign, commissions a report with clear specification, to wit one which, while exonerating individuals in the Government, throws ajar the door to litigation for damages suffered by numerous individuals because of the Government’s or Government’s authorities’ misfeasance, malfeasance or worse.
2. A legal firm in cohort with a champerty* litigation financier solicits potential clients among the public at large well beforehand; and engages in an unprecedented media blitz to establish its credentials as a “victims” firm and thus discourages any other legal firm without matching financial support.
3. The party X looses the elections as expected and the new government is faced with a large bill. The option is either to defend the class action and look mean vis a vis victims, or give in, pay up and face the wrath of the citizens who have to contribute to pay those citizens who elected not to insure. It is sure Loose/ Loose situation for the government and Win/Win for the lawyers, who collect 1/3 of the damages plus legal expenses, and do not go to jail in for this this taxpayers’ funded Monopoly.
5. Grateful lawyers freely donate 1/3 of their loot to the party X’s electoral fund.
6. The party X gets re-elected and following the electoral cycle based on voters’ amnesia, we get to the point 1. above. It is a Win for party X.
How could anybody in his right mind believe such a nonsense? But some will, and some might even try to find evidence for it.
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*/ champerty “ a form of maintenance in which a person maintaining takes as his reward a portion of anything which may be gained as a result of the proceedings. It is not champerty if the parties have a common interest, but a solicitor acting under such an agreement with his client may be guilty of champerty” used to be illegal, but for all I know it may be compulsory now. After all there is a common interest – to fleece the citizens.