ClandesTime 092 – Conspiracy Theories: The False Flag Exercise Hypothesis

Published November 20th 2016 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

9/11. The 7/7 London Bombings. The Boston Marathon. The Paris Massacre. This episode we take a look at the false flag exercise theory, which has become the default alternative media interpretation of these events. We examine the theory’s history in military deception techniques, its origins as a popular conspiracy theory and how it has been encouraged in state sponsored popular culture.

Transcript

Among the numerous conspiracy theories around terrorist acts this is perhaps the most popular and all-consuming in recent years. From 9/11 to the 7/7 bombings in London to the Boston bombing to the massacre in Paris last year, alternative conspiracy theories have been fuelled by the coinciding of these attacks with training exercises or drills. I am sure most of you if not all of you will be somewhat familiar with this theory so I thought it would be useful to reconstruct where this theory came from, how it has developed, and how true and false it is in relation to different events. Naturally, there is a state-sponsored pop cultural element to all of this too which people who are familiar with my 7/7 work will already know a bit about, but trust me when I say it’s a lot bigger than that.

But let’s start at the beginning – what is this theory and where did it come from? The theory is that most if not all of the major terror attacks perpetrated in the West are state-sponsored terrorism, in some way planned and carried out by the state, and that the coinciding of exercises with real attacks proves this. Exactly how this is supposed to work is rarely, if ever explicitly stated.

The False Flag Exercise Hypothesis: The Bay of Pigs and Northwoods

In fairness, this is based on a technique of military deception that has been used for decades. In the last episode we talked about the Bay of Pigs, the CIA operation to invade Cuba with an army of Cuban refugees they had trained and armed and prepared. The idea was to claim that this was an internal uprising and after the CIA’s covert army had established a beachhead they would call for support from the US military, which the Pentagon would then provide. As it turned out the covert army were defeated quite easily and Kennedy refused to send in the US military support, so the whole thing failed. Nonetheless, this is an example of state-sponsored false flag terrorism, an attempt to start a small civil war and overthrow a government, disguised as a genuine rebellion.

What is seldom mentioned is that the US Navy put several ships on manoeuvres in the Caribbean before the invasion of the covert army. These ships were floating around a few miles off the Cuban coast pretending to be on a training exercise so that when the order came to provide assistance to the covert army they could instantly swing into action. It’s curious that none of the proponents of the false flag exercise theory ever mention this. Almost like they don’t know what they’re talking about.

After the failed invasion at the Bay of Pigs the CIA and Pentagon developed follow-up operations to harass and disrupt Cuba, along with training a replacement covert army with the aim of having another go at toppling Castro. The umbrella name for this was Mongoose, Operation Mongoose. Among the secret plans developed for Mongoose was Operation Northwoods – a series of ideas that would provide an excuse for a full military invasion of Cuba. This involved such ideas as carrying out terrorist attacks within the US and blaming them on Castro, blowing up a plane over Cuba and saying it was shot down, stage attacks on the base at Guantanamo Bay using friendly Cubans and pretend they were Castro-assisted radicals, all sorts of false flag shenanigans. There were also a bunch of provocations designed to elicit a response from the Cuban government which in turn could be used a justification for the US to invade Cuba.

However, one element of Operation Northwoods that has been completely overlooked is that these documents also referring to the technique of using exercises as a means of deception. Before describing the provocations the document says, ‘Our military posture throughout execution of the plan will allow a rapid change from exercise to intervention if Cuban response justifies.’   Later on they discuss a specific operation to make it look like the Cuban Air Force had shot down a US Air Force plane. This would all be done under the guise of a training exercise – the planes sent South of Florida would play the enemy force while other planes would pretend to be defending Florida. One of the fake ‘enemy’ planes near to Cuba would send back messages saying it had been shot down by Cuban Migs. It would then fly below radar back to Eglin Air Force base. They even discussed dumping a parachute and plane parts into the sea to help corroborate the illusion.

The False Flag Exercise Hypothesis: Operation Gladio

So you see that this idea has its roots in real deception techniques. Another good example comes to use by way of Operation Gladio. Again, I’m guessing most of you will know some of this but I’ll recap anyway. Gladio is the name loosely attached to a series of covert armies in over a dozen NATO countries during the Cold War. The Italian one was called Gladio but they also existed in France, Germany, the UK, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Greece and so on. These secret armies were initially set up as a contingency against a Soviet invasion, so that if the Communists took control of Western Europe they would instantly come up against a WW2-style French Resistance. Secret armies were trained, special forces and intelligence officers were placed into deep cover to only become activated in the event of a Soviet invasion, weapons and money and equipment were placed in caches around these various countries.

Over time this secret network turned into something much larger. The Portuguese section of Gladio was, on the face of it, a radical press who published political leaflets. However, they became a recruitment and training arm for Operation Condor, a huge CIA operation to destabilise and attack Leftist governments in Central and South America. The most famous aspect of this was the coup against the socialist Salvador Allende in Chile and his replacement with General Pinochet. Pinochet then established a brutal military dictatorship and some of his death squads and torture teams and other fascist units came via the Portuguese branch of Gladio.

Other units turned inwards and started fighting the Communists within their own countries. This is most famous in Italy, who suffered a period from the late 60s into the 80s known as the years of lead where there was a lot of violence. In the 80s it began to emerge that much of this violence had been perpetrated by agents of the state, by Gladiators who were part of the secret army. By the time that the Communist radical group the Red Brigades kidnapped Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro their original leadership was in prison and they had been successfully infiltrated by ultra-right wing agents of the Gladio system. Moro realised this, his letters from his time in captivity before he was murdered make references to the idea that he was being attacked not by the radical left, but by the radical right. Likewise, most of the high profile bombings blamed on Communist radicals were actually carried out by Fascists. In Italy this got especially violent because they had the most democratically supported Communist party in Western Europe, so the strategy was taken to extreme levels.

However, the event I want to draw your attention to is known as the Vielsalm incident, which took place in Belgium in 1984. According to an investigation by the Belgian senate, a squad of US Marines took off from an airport near London and parachuted into Belgium where they were met by an agent of SDRA8, the Belgian Gladio secret army. Their mission was to attack a gendarmerie barracks in Vielsalm, under cover of the annual NATO Oesling exercise which was being run at the time. According to Daniele Ganser’s book on Gladio the Marines were running around the Belgian countryside for two weeks causing trouble, including throwing a grenade at the Attorney General’s office. The attack on the Vielsalm barracks was cancelled, but it went ahead anyway, killing one of the guards there. Weapons that were stolen from the barracks later turned up in the safe house for Belgian and French Communist gangs who were being framed for violent atrocities.

Just as with the Bay of Pigs and Northwoods, these real examples of exercises being used as a cover for false flag terrorism perpetrated by the state are essentially never mentioned by proponents of this theory.

False Flags and Exercises: The post-Cold War era

In the period since the Cold War ended we have seen a number of high profile terrorist attacks in the West – The World Trade Center in 1993, Oklahoma City in 1995, the Omagh bombing in 1998, the 9/11 attacks in 2001, Madrid in 2004, the London bombings in 2005, Breivik in 2011, Boston in 2013, Paris in 2015. There are plenty of others, but these are the ones that draw a lot of attention.

First, it should be said that there was no exercise at WTC93, or in Omagh or in Madrid. There appears to have been an exercise being run in a nearby building at the time of or shortly before the Oklahoma City bombing in ’95 though this isn’t usually the focus of alternative views on OKC. The event that really saw the False Flag Exercise hypothesis take off was 9/11. But it wasn’t immediate. In the early days of the 9/11 truth movement the exercises were initially a way of proving that this sort of attack – suicide hijackings of commercial airliners – was predictable. It was reported quite early on by the mainstream press that NORAD – the North American Air Defence Command – had carried out exercises based on this sort of scenario in the years and months before the real attacks.

Over time this morphed into a different theory, picking up on exercises on the day of 9/11 itself. Not only were NORAD engaged in some kind of military drills in the skies that morning, FEMA were working on a bio-terror exercise at the WTC or were due to start that on the morning of the attacks, and the National Reconnaissance Office were running some kind of training run-through for what they’d do if a plane accidentally crashed into their headquarters. These rather disparate drills in different places based on different scenarios were reduced to the simple claim that ‘they were running exercises in the exact same places at the exact same times as the real attacks – that cannot be a coincidence’. Now, I’m not saying it was a coincidence, but at the same time no one has come up with a plausible account of how these exercises could have been used to carry out the real attacks. The notion that you could piggyback a real event on the back of a training simulation isn’t ridiculous in itself, but in the absence of any evidence or even a plausible theory of how this works it remains nothing more than a suspicion.

However, when 7/7 happened we got this:

That was a clip of former Metropolitan Police Officer turned management consultant Peter Power from the day of the London bombings. While very few people picked up on this interview at the time, it soon became the staple for a lot of conspiracy theories that blamed the government for the attacks. People managed to take what Peter Power said – that he was running an exercise that morning for a corporate client based on a very similar scenario to what really happened – and morph it into that he was running an exercise actually at the locations that were bombed at the time they were being bombed. ‘It’s just like on 9/11’, the conspiracy theorists repeated ad nauseum.

The problem is that it isn’t like on 9/11. On 9/11, at least according to the official story, four planes were hijacked by suicidal terrorists and crashed into three buildings. By any timeline of events the American air force had time to at least scramble jets to intercept the planes, and possibly enough time to find the planes and shoot them down. But they didn’t. Why not? This is the basis for one of the few serious lines of inquiry in the whole 9/11 truth scene. Some have suggested that the exercises involved false radar inputs and thus helped to confuse those who were trying to track these planes and direct the fighters. But this isn’t part of any official excuse, whether from before the 9/11 Commission or during it.

In any case, 7/7 was a very different thing. There we had, officially, four suicide bombers who blew up three trains and a bus. There was no element of the police having half an hour’s advance warning and desperately scrambling to try to intercept the bombers before they blew themselves up. Likewise, Peter Power made clear even in his initial interviews on the day itself that he ran his own private company and the exercise was for a private company. Not a government security agency with the responsibility for stopping precisely this sort of attack.

As such, these two scenarios are not especially similar and hence the logic of ‘there was an exercise therefore it was a false flag’ is unsound. Of course, no one except myself, the July 7th Truth campaign and Keelan Balderson paid any fucking attention to logic and this Peter Power interview is the centrepiece of almost all alternative theories of the London bombings.

Then, a few years later we got the massacre apparently perpetrated by Anders Breivik in Oslo and on the island of Utoya on July 22nd 2011. Bear a couple of things in mind – this was only a few weeks after the announced death of Osama Bin Laden and the end of that phase of the War on Terror. It was also in the middle of the NATO war in Libya. So this is before the so called migrant crisis, before anyone was talking about ISIS, before this whole strategy of tension around the mass immigration of Muslims and other foreigners into Europe became the big political issue it is now.

In many ways Breivik’s attack was what sparked that off, made that political dialogue possible. Instead of ‘I’m not racist but…’ the outer limit of the politically correct discussion became ‘I’m not agreeing with what Breivik did but…’. By comparison being explicitly racist and bigoted seems reasonable. And don’t get me wrong, I do see problems resulting from mass immigration, I just struggle to take people seriously when they express their concerns in a hateful way.

Now, the question of exercises when it comes to the Breivik massacre is a little more complex. There was some kind of bomb squad drill in Oslo that week that finished a few hours before the truck bombing. However, stories of there being an exercise on the island, where the overwhelming majority of people were killed, are all based on one Aftenposten article quoting an anonymous police source. Despite this the same logic got repeated – there were exercises when Breivik did his massacre, so it was a false flag. Now, it may have been a Gladio-style act of state terror but rumours of exercises are not the way to make that case, and saying ‘there were drills on 9/11 and 7/7 as well, what are the odds of that being a coincidence?’ is not a good argument.

Then, a couple of years later we got this:

That was of course a clip of an interview with one runner in the 2013 Boston marathon talking about bomb sniffing dogs and an announcement that it was just a training drill. There are various problems with this – not least is that there is no corroboration. Just as with Peter Power and the story of there being an exercise on the island of Utoya, there is no confirmation of any kind of what this guy is saying. The other problem is that he’s talking about this happening at the athletes village at the start of the race. Funnily enough, this being a marathon, the finishing line is 26 miles away from the start of the race, so the bombs went off 26 miles away from whatever this guy saw and heard.

To my knowledge I am the only person to have pointed this out, and what happened is an object lesson in how the alternative media works. Because I was going against the grain I was largely ignored – I was invited on Guillermo’s radio show and a couple of other outlets but aside from that no one paid the slightest attention to basic facts like one guy saying there was an exercise 26 miles away from the bombs is not an argument that this was a false flag operation. This is also where my relationship with Global Research broke down – up until then they were happy to publish my articles but they refused this one and published no end of crap saying ‘it was a drill, there were drills on 9/11 and 7/7 too, therefore Boston was a false flag’. This, along with the equally misleading stuff about the ‘Craft Guys’ that weren’t Craft guys became the default truther response.

Boston was also when we saw the crisis actor theory emerge on a grand scale. It was still a bit fringe a few months earlier with the Sandy Hook school shootings but Boston saw it became mainstream within the alternative media. One name in particular stands out – Dave McGowan, who pushed this like there was no tomorrow. And for him there weren’t too many tomorrows, he died about 18 months later. While I get no end of shit for speaking ill of such a ‘hero’ of ‘truth’ I think McGowan was a total con artist who talked and published no end of profitable bullshit. I tried reading his Laurel Canyon book but I couldn’t get more than 25 pages into it because every time I wanted to know the source of information for a particular claim there was nothing to go on. No footnotes, no documents, no meaningful sources of any kind. People tell me he was a nice guy and that may be true, but hardly anything he said or wrote was motivated by truth, that’s for sure.

The relationship between these two theories – the exercise hypothesis and the crisis actor theory is too complex to get into in a lot of detail. But suffice to say, people said this about 9/11, that no one died, and then said the same about 7/7. All the alleged victims were part of Peter Power’s training exercise claimed Simon Shack and the rest of what was then a sad little clique on one discussion forum. Now that is the kneejerk truther response to mass terrorist attacks – to say there was an exercise and everything was faked, just theatre done as part of the drill. Even in the absence of anything suggesting a training simulation, a lot of truthers still pursue this interpretation of events, we saw it particularly with the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in early 2015. Then, this happened:

That was a clip from the BBC where they interviewed Patrick Pelloux, a doctor in Paris, talking about them running a mass casualty exercise on the morning of the Paris massacre. However, hardly anyone has heard that clip, the thing that made the truthers go apeshit was another interview Pelloux gave, in French. I have no doubt that virtually none of the truthers listening to that speak French well enough to understand him, but by that point it didn’t matter. You could have put up a clip from Jean de Florette and said it was an interview saying there was an exercise and people would have believed it. ‘Just like on 9/11’ they would say, sagely nodding their heads. ‘And on 7/7’ they would add, to emphasise their expert knowledge in such things.

However, there is a problem here too. An exercise that morning is an odd coincidence, but it doesn’t help explain what happened in the massacre. It’s not as though Patrick Pelloux was out there shooting people in cafes and theatres. So how does this help mask a false flag attack perpetrated by the government? The answer: it doesn’t. The theory makes no sense by this point, no sense at all. It no longer matters if it makes sense, it’s simply ‘here’s a coincidence, and here’s the truth!’.

The reality of false flags and exercises

The reality is that drills, simulations, training manoeuvres, exercises can be part of military deception, but the proven cases of this happening are ignored by the people claiming it is happening. Instead they take refuge in tiny snippets of media coverage that apparently prove their desired view of things as true. I would suggest that up until 9/11 and possibly on 9/11 itself the technique of drills as a cover for real events was still being used, but since then it has become a means not of shrouding or disguising the real events but a means of smudging and confusing media coverage.

Note that all of these clips are from the day of the attacks or a day or two later. That’s conspicuously and conveniently early. I theorised with 7/7 that the Peter Power thing was a setup designed to lead any potential alternative investigators down a dead end, away from what really mattered. I still think that is the most likely interpretation, particularly when you factor in how both the exercise theory and the ‘no one died’ theory were predicted via the TV series Spooks. Just as people were propagandised through entertainment to believe the suicide bomber story, they were equally propagandised to believe the exercise story. Despite my second documentary 7/7: Crime and Prejudice being watched by tens of thousands of people, very few of them abandoned the exercise theory. To be fair, a lot of the people who read my book have realised that it’s a much more complex question so there’s some light in this tunnel.

Another point I’d like to raise that I also haven’t seen become part of this discussion is the argument some have made for how this whole theory works. The Kevin Barrett-Jim Fetzer-Nick Kollerstrom axis of idiocy are particularly keen on pushing this idea, namely that the exercise provides cover for the people who are really carrying out the attacks. So if someone happens to get caught on their way to the train station to plant a bomb, or gets caught with a suspicious device in a backpack in Boston, they can just tell the police it is part of the exercise and they’ll let them go.

Yes, that is actually how these simpletons think the world works. In reality, the police would arrest you anyway. They love arresting people, it’s their whole macho control freak culture. They certainly wouldn’t go ‘oh, because you say you’re part of this exercise no one told me about that’s fine, carry on with whatever you were doing’. And to illustrate the folly of this argument I’m going to give you two examples of when this was actually tried, and it failed miserably.

The first is the somewhat notorious Ryazan incident. In September 1999 there were a string of bombings in Russia, mostly in apartment buildings including in Moscow. It has long been suggested that the bombings were perpetrated by the Russian secret police, probably the FSB, to help stabilise power around Putin and provide an excuse for going to war in Chechnya. This was the subject of two documentaries – Blowing up Russia and Disbelief, both of which are well worth your time. It was also the view of Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian spy who was murdered with polonium.

On September 22nd a resident in an apartment building in the Russian town of Ryazan noticed two suspicious people in the basement. They alerted the police but when the cops arrived the people were gone and they found sacks of white powder along with a timer and detonator set for 5:30 the following morning. Phone calls from an exchange serving the FSB offices were traced, leading to the arrest of two people. They produced FSB ID cards and were released. Two days later the FSB director announced that the whole thing was an exercise designed to test responses in the wake of the recent bombings. However, there is a dispute as to whether the sacks contained real explosives, with some official statements saying they did, which means it cannot have been an exercise.

This caused quite a storm in Russia, and most people did not believe the ‘just an exercise’ excuse. This led to rumours that all the bombings were the work of the FSB. The Russian parliament the Duma rejected calls for an investigation and sealed all records on the Ryazan incident for 75 years. So, that’s one example of how using the excuse that it was ‘just an exercise’ does not work.

The other is Operation Sledgehammer. This was, apparently, a coup plot in Turkey dating back to 2003. The Ergenekon organisation was an ultra-secularist covert organisation akin to the P2 masonic lodge in Italy that was involved in Gladio. In 2007 media coverage in Turkey began to allege that through their ties to the military and government Ergenekon were plotting a coup against the government. The Sledgehammer part of this would blow up two mosques in Istanbul and blow up a plane and blame that on Greece. This would whip up chaos and tensions, Gladio style, and help ease the coup process.

In 2010 the government began arresting officials over this alleged coup plot. Over 300 went on trial, most of them ending up with prison sentences. In 2014 they were released on appeal pending a retrial and it seems that due to some of the files used as evidence in the case turning out to have been forged that the whole thing has collapsed. However, at one point in all the back and forth some of the military officials claimed that the documents were authentic but were part of a military training seminar, rather than real plans to be carried out. This obviously failed to persuade the public, the media and the courts because most of them were convicted the first time round.

So that is two examples where senior government officials have tried to pass off events or plans as ‘just an exercise’ and it failed miserably. As such it makes little sense for people to be claiming that governments would still be trying to pull this crap in London in 2005 or in Boston in 2013. Whatever advantages there were to doing this in the 20th century, the 21st century is a different kettle of fish.

False Flags Exercises and State-sponsored entertainment

As I mentioned earlier, when it comes to the London bombings the whole false flag exercise hypothesis was predicted and encouraged through popular entertainment. However, the question of the extent to which this theory has been systematically encouraged and propagated by the entertainment industry is another element that has never been factored into the discussions about this. This is true far beyond the 7/7 bombings, so let me give you a run down of where and when this kind of idea has appeared in pop culture.

The earliest example I can find is in Seven Days in May, the 1964 film about an attempted military coup in America that takes place during a nuclear missile drill. While there may be other examples the next time I know of this meme turning up is in The Living Daylights – the 1987 James Bond movie I discussed in the cinema of the Soviet-Afghan war episode. At the beginning of the film there is a Ministry of Defence exercise taking place on Gibraltar which is infiltrated by assassins as a means of killing some of the OO agents.

In 1990 we got The Hunt for Red October which features Sean Connery as a Soviet submarine commander who defects, using a training manoeuvre to disguise what he’s doing. A few years later another Bond film, Goldeneye, features a little bit of dialogue where the Russians try to cover up what happened at their satellite base by saying it was ‘just an exercise’, which Bond responds to with scepticism:

Then, a couple of years later we got Enemy of the State where a megalomaniac NSA director runs a black operation under the guise of an exercise:

Then we got the quite notorious pilot episode of the X-Files spinoff show The Lone Gunmen. This features a plot by people inside the US government to remote control hijack a passenger plane and crash it into the WTC to start wars in the Middle East and give a boost to weapons companies. However, what a lot of people who talk about this episode have missed is that the scenario starts out as a training exercise:

The same idea then appears in an episode of The Agency titled Peacemakers, aired in April 2002. In the story there are tensions between India and Pakistan due to a rogue Pakistani general causing trouble. The CIA intervene, hosting a meeting between the intelligence chiefs of the two countries. Initially the Indian officer tries to claim that the troop build up on the border is just a training exercise:

Later in the episode the CIA try to trick the Pakistani intelligence chief into giving them permission to assassinate the rogue general and again we get the ‘it’s just an exercise’ excuse:

The following year the BBC series Spooks featured a storyline of a massive terrorist attack on London that takes place in the middle of an MI5 training exercise – though in the end it all turns out to be part of the exercise.

A few more years down the road we saw this meme again. In the first Iron Man film it appears twice, first when Iron Man gets into a fight with two Air Force jets, destroying one of them.

Then again near the end of the film:

It also turned up in the 2012 movie Battleship. In the story the ships are on manoeuvres as part of the annual RIMPAC exercise between the US and several East Asian fleets when alien robots invade earth.

So you get the idea, this meme turns up quite a bit in popular culture over the last 20 or 30 years. More often than it has turned up in reality, that’s for sure. So the question becomes whether this meme is something deliberately planted or encouraged by the state to help fuel this increasingly misleading conspiracy theory. I said that I thought that was the case with 7/7, in part due to Spooks being somewhat assisted by the British intelligence services both in the form of ex-spies advising the production and the numerous hints at official co-operation you find when you look into it. They also had ex-CIA people working on the series, providing another potential avenue for this sort of propaganda operation.

But what about the other films and TV programmes? Are they state sponsored, I hear you ask. But of course, who do you take me for? The sequence in The Living Daylights was filmed on British Ministry of Defence property in Gibraltar. The Hunt for Red October was assisted by the Pentagon, especially the Navy. Goldeneye was also provided help by the DOD, in exchange for rewriting character nationalities to not embarrass the US. Enemy of the State was assisted by the CIA, as was The Agency. Indeed, that episode of the Agency also features the CIA assassinating the rogue Pakistani general using a Hellfire missile fired from a drone. Only weeks after the episode aired this happened for the first time in real life, and according to the show’s producer it was Chase Brandon who encouraged him to include this in the storyline. Iron Man was also assisted by the US military, particularly the Air Force, leading to an argument on set between Jon Favreau and DOD Hollywood liaison Phil Strub. Likewise, Battleship was also sponsored by the US Navy, and quite a lot of it was shot during the real-life RIMPAC training exercise.

Indeed, the only one that wasn’t state sponsored, as far as I know, was The Lone Gunman. All the others, including some massive Hollywood blockbusters watched by millions of people, somehow involved the state. While there’s no direct evidence that any of these storylines or dialogues were inserted by government agents, we can be pretty sure that they had no problem with this content. This is especially true of the DOD-supported films because there they had script veto power and they did make changes to all of these films but they did not remove this meme.  That should tell you several things.

1) That this meme is not as subversive or dangerous to the establishment as any of its propagators like to think.

2) That mass awareness of this idea is probably more driven by popular culture than it is driven by news coverage, let alone facts.

3) That conspiracy theories often originate in and/or are encouraged by popular culture.

4) That truthers aren’t half as smart as they like to think they are, otherwise they’d have already noticed all this instead of trying to spot every triangle in every corporate logo and piece of architecture in the entire Western hemisphere.

5) That conspiracy culture, at least as it currently exists, is not a threat to the establishment in any way.

When the most popular ideas in the conspiracy culture are included in numerous government-assisted entertainment products then those ideas are not dangerous or subversive or radical. Now, I know that some would say that this is exactly why they put this idea into entertainment – to trivialise it. But there’s no evidence that the security state put this idea into any of these productions, let alone for that reason. At the other end if they have done it and for that purpose then it has been successful. In either case there isn’t much point in repeating this same meme like it’s some kind of religious incantation every time there’s a major terrorist attack.

Not that I expect many conspiracy media producers will be listening to this, after all they obviously don’t want to let facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory. But I’m hoping that all of you listening will think a bit more the next time there’s a terrorist attack and people start going on about exercises and crisis actors. I’m hoping you will have a more mature and considered reaction and might even engage some of these people in a dialogue about how this is a much more complex question than they are saying.

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