A few days ago, a Nigerian man attempted to blow up a Northwest flight from London to Detroit, a la Richard Reid.
He appeared at the check-in counter with no passport, no luggage,and an expired visa for the United States.He paid for his ticket in cash.His father -- a prominent Nigerian banker (a real one, not the one who sends you those scam emails) -- warned the United States that his son was a potential terrorist.His son's name was placed in a database of possible suspects, a database containing more than 500,000 names.According to eye-witnesses at the scene of the check-in, the man was accompanied by another individual -- a "sharp-dressed man" to plagiarize ZZ Top -- who virtually escorted the seemingly impoverished young Nigerian through the red tape at the airport, claiming that the Nigerian was actually a Sudanese refugee.
With all of these warning signs, with all of this impossible lack of documentation, the young Nigerian man with a crotch full of high explosive boarded the flight and as the Northwest airliner made its approach into Detroit attempted to detonate the bomb.
Why do we believe in conspiracy theories?
Yours truly, the author of this post, has himself been on the watch list.I myself have had the boarding passes with the dreaded "SSSS" designation, requiring security officials to haul me off the line and put me and my carry-on in a special area to be thoroughly searched for explosives.And that was for domestic flights to New York,Boston, and Washington DC.That list contains about 20,000 names.An elite group, to be sure.It's not the "no fly" list, which is somewhat more rigorous and more dreaded, but it's still a much smaller list than the 500,000 name database in which our terrorist appeared.
How is it possible that I appear on this list, and a man who had all the warning signs did not?We can say this was simply a snafu, but what snafu puts me on the list and not him?How did the system go out of its way to ensure that this undocumented guy boarded the flight, replete with explosives?
How did the system go out of its way to ensure that I -- a writer, a businessman, a thoroughly non-violent person with no criminal record -- is flagged as a potential bomber?
This is why we believe in conspiracy theories.Not all of the theories.Not even most of them.
But some of them, because some of them make sense in light of the available evidence.To paraphrase, "if you don't believe in conspiracies, then you don't have all the facts."
There could, of course, have been another -- somewhat less palatable -- explanation.
On Christmas Eve, I emailed some friends of mine predicting that there would be a terrorist incident involving an airplane.Now, if you were a suspicious person (and who, reading this blog, is not?) you would suspect that I had some kind of advanced and guilty knowledge of the event.But that was not the case.
I would wake up every morning for the past week with a melody running through my head.I tried to take no notice of it, but it would come back to haunt me during the day, just below conscious awareness.Finally, I sat down and "listened" to it, realizing that it was Franz Schubert's Piano Sonata in A, one of the last he ever wrote.
Many readers are probably familiar with this piece, without knowing it.It was the theme song for the television sit-com Wings.
Wings was produced by David Angell, who is perhaps more famous as writer and producer for Cheers and Frasier.
David Angell died on 9/11, as his flight slammed into the North Tower.
With these and other bits of connective tissue, I came to the conclusion that there was another terrorist incident involving an aircraft and that it was imminent.I was not one hundred percent convinced of this, but I thought it merited at least a quiet mention to someone, so I chose friends of mine who specialize in studying synchronicity and who have a website devoted to it.I asked them not to publish it, but to keep their eyes open for a possible incident even as I hoped I was wrong and just being fanciful.
(You can see the Synchronicity post here:http://ofscarabs.blogspot.com/)
And then, a few days later, it happened. A terrorist incident involving an aircraft.
As I write in Sinister Forces, sometimes what we think is a conspiracy in the literal sense may be the result of dark actions taking place on another level of experience altogether.When we live in an era in which religion and religious conflicts have taken on this intensity, and when spiritual ideologies threaten the survival of tribes, races, and nations, it is possible that this level of social focus and concentration enables or facilitates the flow of these "sinister forces", clouding individual judgment and arranging circumstantial events in such a way as to create the perfect "space" for these phenomena to take place.
Either that ... or there really is a conspiracy on a very high level of participation.You pick the scenario that makes you the most comfortable.
Interesting post. Also interesting to note (from a synchromystic standpoint) that the opening credits to "Wings" shows a rising sun and winged disc. The show takes place on Nantucket Island, which is where Egypt Air Flight 990 crashed (just off the coast).