Sunday 15 March 2015

The Great UFO Conspiracy

Turns out you and I are wasting our time pratting about with politics. The struggles of us mortals do not matter because our actions are manipulated by shadowy elites and alien forces. Even this blog post is an instant in this conspiracy. I might think this is being written from words chained together in my brain according to arguments and points arrived at through the process of independent thought, but aha! No. I am programmed, under a spell, having the messages fed to me. What I think is my interior consciousness is a sham.

At least that is apparently the case according to some of the outlandish claims made on this evening's The Great UFO Conspiracy. Part of an aliens night on More4, comedian Dan Schreiber takes us on a potted tour of Britain's UFO conspiracy culture to get the low down on the latest conspiracies out there.

His first victim guest is Tony Topping. Something of a star of the UFO scene, Tony's made a name for himself as a speaker on the conference/convention circuit. When we turn up at his house in Selby, Tony tells us that UFOs nearly ruined his life. What started as a simple sighting above his house in 1999 turned into an obsession. Subsequently, he went out determined to film evidence which led to an extraordinary encounter. He was standing in a nearby field watching UFOs, bent down to replenish his camera batteries, and then one descended a few hundred feet away. There was a stand off, as if some intelligence was beholding him before it flew off. Since then he has been harassed over the phone and followed by persons unknown. There was even one occasion where an unmarked green helicopter appeared to be filming him as it hovered above a local intersection.

We then meet with Timothy Good, the Godfather of contemporary UFO conspiracy theories thanks to his 1987 book, Above Top Secret. Based around a "leak" of documents purporting to be sourced from the US military, these 'Majestic 12' files "prove" the existence of a secret military cabal determined to cover up all things alien. For instance, did you know Armstrong and Aldrin saw alien craft on the Moon? No, nor did I. Apparently these aliens have access to world leaders and, most shocking of all, the Catholic Church are in on the act. The virgin birth, the fantastic powers ... proof positive that Jesus was an alien, a secret the church is determined to protect. Also, our Timothy claims to have met one of "them". In an Arizona diner in 1963, he spotted a young girl in the queue. There was something about her that struck him, and he began wondering where she could be from. Shortly afterwards, she walked by his table, did a bow, and wandered off. Obviously evidence of a telepathic extra terrestrial, I'm sure you would agree.

The next "expert" was Miles Johnston, who Dan notes has probably been to more alien/UFO conventions than anyone else. Tony and Timothy were, if we put it charitably, pretty much out there, then Miles is totally off the page. His contention is that a conspiracy exists (between evil aliens called the Nephilim, and the military of perfidious Albion) and their joint aim is a cyborg humanity that will see us enslaved. Yet such is their confidence that they act in plain sight. The stuff about aliens is a false flag operation - instead of scouring the skies they're here and acting right in front of us.

This story found corroboration (of sorts) in the tale of Max Spears. His interests include the use of genetically engineered, part-human super soldiers (just like The X-Files), and scrutinising the minds of our hidden rulers. His is a variant of the David Icke conspiracy, that the world is run by dynasties of shape-shifting reptilians from 13 bloodlines. However, they don't particularly care about keeping themselves secret because they know how absurd their existence sounds. Instead, they like to toy with the humans they rule by liberally sprinkling culture with evidence of them. This evidence includes Superman's 'S' symbol, because that is obviously a serpent. Ditto for McDonald's fame golden arches, and the fact the company became what it is under Ray Kroc. The motif of torches, which figure prominently in Western culture (that held by the Statue of Liberty, the Olympic flame, the torches lit at JFK's and Diana's funerals, etc.) denote the lizards' belief in the eternity of their rule, and so on. Well, that's enough to convince me.

We meet with Miles one last time after he learned Dan had met with Mark Pilkington, the screenwriter for the Mirage Men film, a work that cogently and convincingly argues that the conspiracy - if it can be called that - was to sow disinformation about top secret American military projects. It's not that the government are covering up ETs, it's that, effectively, aliens are keeping black operations and top secret technologies from public view. There were even some suggestive files from GCHQ on this matter dumped by Edward Snowden onto the web. It's by no means a new theory. Fox Mulder was suggesting it twenty years ago. Nevertheless, it's heresy as far as Miles goes. Pilkington is "in on the conspiracy" and we will "try and programme you". Reasoned argument based on evidence is dangerous, it seems.

The truth, as Miles understands it is this. During the Falklands War, the British found a black goo that responded to electricity, and shipped it back to Blighty for weaponisation. Further experimentation revealed it to be sentient and, for whatever reason, they ended up dumping the stuff in the sewers. Since then it has penetrated every living thing, and if we don't sort ourselves and the planet out, it will delete us. Yikes.

We've been here before. As Dan observes, conspiracy theories anchor the world in a particular way. Uncertainty and chance is crowded out by a conscious, hidden totalitarianism. The world therefore is rendered terrifying yet knowable and predictable all at once. The centrepiece is an insight or idea that is worked backwards, in which "facts" are disembedded from the rules of evidence and reinserted in a new discourse that proves the theory. This, of course, isn't a property exclusive to conspiracy theory, but is the most extreme manifestation of mistaking the frameworks with which we understand the social world as the world itself. The possibility of rational argument is forever foreclosed because anyone critical has to be in on the conspiracy too.

Ultimately, for all their outlandishness conspiracy theories, be it about aliens, fake Moon landings, September 11th - take your pick - are profoundly conservative. Only hidden elites and other worldly powers have agency. The rest of us are mere sheeple too thick or too complicit to ever change. We're passive and powerless, doomed to be eternally duped. Thankfully the world is not like that and we have the potential to forge it anew, if the great mass of people will it.


Boffy said...


I was expecting this to be a discussion about the waste of space the Weekly Worker has provided in recent weeks to the same claims from Tony Clarke, and which echo the kind of nonsense previously put forward by Posadas.

Tony Clarke also previously claimed that the world was about to grind to a halt because of its dependence on oil, and the fact that "Peak Oil" was going to push energy prices to unsustainable levels. On cue, oil prices crashed!

Unfortunately, the left rather like religion attracts its fair share of people who seem incapable of reconciling themselves with the fact that Socialism is only possible if the vast majority of workers are convinced that its a good idea, and that will require a long period of demonstrating that worker owned enterprises are more efficient, more able to meet workers needs and so on.

It may be a long and tedious task for socialists, particularly those who come from an intellectual rather than worker background, to take on, compared to the romantic exciting ideas presented by big events, and political revolutions, but its the only way. Those who wait for the next October to turn up will wait a very long time. That perspective is also what leads the impatient to express their frustration by hitching their wagon to whoever is the next left demagogue to come along, only then to be disappointed when their true nature is exposed.

BCFG said...

I think I once remember Boffy saying that if we didn't get socialism we were heading for destruction. He now appears to have come to the conclusion that capitalism can go on indefinitely.

I think the reason that conspiracy theorists are potentially conservative is that they claim we are being turned into “a cyborg humanity that will see us enslaved” by aliens, but the truth of the matter is that we are turned into cyborgs , however not by aliens but rather by other humans!

But at least their message appears to be that we must defeat the aliens.

The conservative message isn’t we should defeat the aliens but rather we should submit to their will because they know better than we do and leaving them in charge will result in better outcomes.

So we can call conspiracy theorists nut jobs but I wouldn't necessarily call them conservative. We should remember the classicish 80’s film that Zizek examines, “They live”. The intention of this story wasn't to say that aliens ruled over us but that an ideology did. So sometimes it is simply a useful metaphor (or should that be analogy?).

We should also bear in mind the philosophical aspect here, how can we be sure that our universe isn't a simulated one? There is a scientific theory (around the multiverse idea) that says in the endless infinity there may be some universes that are ‘natural’ and some that are artificially created. Neither you nor anyone can say for certainty that we don’t live in such a universe.

Phil said...

I'm not in the habit of drawing on Lenin as an authority these days, but I recall him (or was it Trotsky?) arguing something like nationalism being the outer shell of an immature Bolshevism. You could easily say something similar about conspiracy theory. The problem why I think it is fundamentally conservative is because there is no role for agency in changing the world. The elites are forever all-powerful and co-opt anything and everything remotely threatening.

The possibiloty of "resistance" isn't alien to conservative thought either, particularly in its American variants.

BCFG said...

If you are calling for the overthrow of the existing ruling class then it would be conservative if you wanted to replace that ruling class with an older historic form. E.g. replace president with king.

However, when I watch these conspiracy theorists they usually:

A) Just want to get rid of the aliens without specifying exactly what replaces them.

B) See the agency as like minded people

So in this respect I don't see where they are accepting this alien race, they actively want to defeat it, which is why they are raising the conspiracy in the first place.

The people who don't see an agency to overthrow the rulers are the people who don't see the alienation. Whatever you say about the conspiracy nut jobs you can't label that at them.

But you can label that at just about everyone else except them!

Harry S. Tottle said...

"I think I once remember Boffy saying that if we didn't get socialism we were heading for destruction. He now appears to have come to the conclusion that capitalism can go on indefinitely."

This seems to be a non sequitur. It is possible to believe that "if we don't get socialism" there will be barbarism, and simultaneously to believe that capitalism could end without the result being socialism.

The result could equally be something other than Socialism, i.e. a return to some form of barbarism. Your contributor BCFG has assumed the conclusion they want to arrive at, as the premise of their argument, i.e. that capitalism must collapse, and that the only consequence of that collapse is Socialism.

This seems to confirm the basis of the argument that you were presenting that there are many people who call themselves socialists, who believe that Socialism is somehow inevitable, without them having to actually do anything to convince the majority of workers of its superiority, but that they can simply rely on Capitalism collapsing of its own accord.

It seems to be a similar mentality to those who prefer to believe in some form of external form of saviour for their cause be it alien demigods, or human demagogues, or simply history doing the work for them, rather than recognising history as only the conscious actions of human beings themselves.

As Marx put it himself in the Communist Manifesto, you do not have to believe that a particular system will go on forever, to believe that some alternative system is automatically guaranteed to replace it, let alone is imminently going to do so.

As he wrote about the collapse of slave society it resulted not in some higher form of society, but in the ruination of the contending classes.