Black helicopters heading for UK?

Today’s Observer publishes (but not online) a nationwide ICM poll, that reveals most Britons agree that there is “much or some truth” in the claim that the Bush administration knew in advance about the 11 September attacks, but decided to let it go ahead so as to provide a justification for invading Afghanistan and Iraq.

Food for thought for those who complain that criticism of such nonsense is a distraction from ‘the real issues’ or that the conspiracy theorists are a tiny minority who merit no real attention. The fruitcakes have gone mainstream.

David Aaronovitch looks at the growing popularity of conspiracies in his Observer column today and highlights the contributions of blogosphere favourites John Pilger, Robert ‘Neutral’ Fisk and Naomi Klein. Poor old Michael Meacher doesn’t get a mention though.

Those of us on the hawkish side of things since September 11 have often suggested some of our opponents are in a state of denial about the threat from Islamist terrorism. It strikes me that inventing an alternative account of what happened on that day in New York and Washington would help in convincing yourself that there is no real threat.

I’m not at home in the field of psychology so maybe those of you who are could help me understand if there is a link between denial and the construction of fantasies (comments welcome). It just strikes this amateur that there must be a link.

One observation on this remarkable data: Regardless of your view on the necessity of liberating Iraq, I would have thought the past two years would have shattered the widespread belief in both pro and anti-war camps that the US is a hyperpower capable of always getting what it wants whether through persuasion, threats or the use of force.

A conspiracy theory for 9-11 rests on the notion that the US elite not only would want to hoodwink its own media and population (and believe that it could do so) but also requires us to believe that it really has been capable of doing just that.

This is the same US military and political elite that has made such an appalling mess of post-war Iraq, who are so efficient that they can’t find enemy leaders or sort out basic public services? Who not only turned a blind eye to torture in Abu Ghraib but also failed to notice their own people were taking photos of thier crimes? The same US military-industrial complex who are so adept at secrecy that they let journalists film the execution of wounded enemy soilders?

They’d hate to be told it but it is the conspiracy theorists who really are the gullible ones when it comes to believing the myths about the USA.