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Conspiracy hidden in a plot inside a machination

13 January 2011 No Comment

BACK in the 1960s and 1970s, before the internet, before WikiLeaks, there was something called the alternative press. Sometimes it was called the underground press, with echoes of armed partisans resisting an occupying army.

It claimed to offer the real information, all the news the media refused to print and that governments tried to suppress.

But what if it was all a fraud? Sydney-based Michael Wilding’s new novel ‘The Prisoner Of Mount Warning’ explores this hypothesis.

What if the alternative, or some of it, was not alternative at all but run by an arm of the state? What if the subversion and resistance, the leaks and revelations, were all sponsored by government agencies?

Why would governments do that? Wilding’s conspiracy theorist explains: “Make the suckers think they’re getting something different. Another point of view. There isn’t another point of view. Not that gets into print.” The so-called alternative press, he elaborates, “ran a mile from anything really oppositional. It was all cosmetic. These things always are.”

In the context of WikiLeaks, it is a timely warning. What alternative view do the WikiLeaks disclosures present? Whose interests do they serve, or harm?

The news that many Arab states were worried about Iran’s nuclear program and were keen for the Unites States to take action hardly harms American interests. Indeed it provoked the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedjinejad to suggest that the cables were leaked by intelligence agencies as part of a psychological warfare campaign against Iran.

Could that be true? Governments and agencies have used leaks to further policy objectives for centuries. Secret revelations, true or false, have always been a part of international games playing.

The first batch of leaks detailing atrocities and errors in the US’s conduct of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars received widespread attention. They helped further undermine the diminishing support for military engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan. But are those leaks damaging to the policies of the US and its allies? US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have made their determination to quit Iraq and Afghanistan quite clear. Clear to everyone, perhaps, except Prime Minister Julia Gillard!

Julian Assange’s supporters claim the Swedish rape charges are a political conspiracy to silence him. They should certainly arouse our suspicion. But it is only a small step to consider that the charges could be part of a conspiracy to authenticate him.

The operations of the secret state are a wilderness of mirrors. From The Man Who Never Was, when British intelligence foisted a corpse with misleading invasion plans on to the Germans, to the Watergate scandal, when Deep Throat, who leaked the dirt on Richard Nixon turned out to be an FBI deputy director, nothing has ever been quite as it seemed.

Meanwhile, the disaffected, dissident and the dangerously curious, all those who suspect that their governments are up to no good and are keeping secrets from them, will log on to Wikileaks in search of evidence of misdoing. And security agencies will monitor the log ons and record the email addresses and contact details and have the dissidents on file. Or does that only happen in fiction?

The Daily Telegraph January 12, 2011

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