David Aaronovitch takes an axe to some of the loonier theories emanating from the anti-war/anti-Bush camps. Dishonorable mentions for R. Fisk, J. Pilger and N. Klein. A public opinion survey has alarming news too. (Apologies for the length of this post, but it's worth lingering over):

"Today's Observer reveals that, in a nationwide ICM poll, most Britons agree that there is much or some truth in the claim that the Bush administration knew in advance about the 11 September plot, but decided to let it go ahead so as to provide a justification for invading Afghanistan and Iraq.

"As it happens, I think this is what John Pilger was suggesting in his column in the New Statesman the week before last. Contemplating the recent 9/11 Commission report, Pilger discovered in it what many others thought that it had explicitly rejected - evidence that the US government had deliberately allowed the hijacked airliners to fly into important buildings, killing 3,000 and risking the deaths of tens of thousands more, including top Pentagon personnel and (had it come off) anyone in the White House that morning. 'Of course,' said Pilger, the failure to intercept and shoot down the aircraft 'could be due to the most extraordinary combination of coincidences. Or it could not.'

Robert Fisk's latest claim, as I mentioned recently, concerned the possible role of Prime Minister Ayad Allawi in the killing of Margaret Hassan. I wasn't aware, though, that Naomi Klein had also been weighing in on the subject of abductions.

Aaronovitch continues: "One of Fisk's bits of circumstantial evidence for his thesis was the difference between the way that Hassan was murdered and the release of two Italian aid workers freed 'when their captors recognised their innocence'....

"Six weeks earlier, however, after the two Italians were taken, the syndicated Naomi Klein wrote an article suggesting that they, too, had been kidnapped either by the Iraqi government or the CIA. The lack of respect accorded the two women was, she suggested, inconsistent with Islam. And again, cui bono? 'Who could have pulled off such a co-ordinated operation - and who stands to benefit from an attack on this anti-war NGO?'

"The problem for Klein came when the two women were eventually released (probably for a ransom) and then revealed that their kidnappers had been a group of religious Sunnis. I have yet to see Klein's follow-up to this rather embarrassing discovery, but others on the Kleinian left were far from speechless. What it showed, said one website, was just how cunning the authorities are. Worried by the proliferation of correct conspiracy theories, they were priming 'known dissidents' such as Klein with demonstrably false ones, to 'diminish their credibility'.

"Oh, the clever, clever, clever bastards. And how mad one has to be to understand just how clever they are."

|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2004/11/conspiracy-watching-david-aaronovitch.html|||11/22/2004 01:00:00 am|||||||||