Chaos theories: Why the truth really isn’t stranger than fiction when it comes to conspiracies

WITH every new scientific breakthrough or everyday catastrophe comes a new conspiracy theory. If is isn’t Bill Gates slipping microchips into the Covid vaccine, aliens building Stonehenge or crashing at Area 51, the Large Hadron Collider (Cern) opening the gateway to hell – after all, Cern is the first four letters of Cernunnos, the Celtic horned god of the underworld – then it’s shape-shifting lizards in Buckingham Palace.

It’s difficult to keep up. Here are a half dozen of the more topical or lasting ones. Do not adjust your tinfoil hat.

Assassins and the CIA

On the first anniversary of the Six-Day War, which Israel launched against an Arab coalition, Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan shot Robert F Kennedy in the bowels of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles and changed history.

Sirhan had written in his diary about doing it, because Bobby had promised Israel 50 advanced fighters if he won the presidency. He was caught in the act, overpowered and disarmed, which might indicate guilt, but it is all just manna to the dedicated conspiracy theorist.

It was June 5, 1968. Kennedy – RFK – had just won the California Democrat primary. Lyndon Johnson had resigned the presidency over the Vietnam War and Kennedy looked a sure bet to win the party’s nomination for the forthcoming election.

If he had then he would almost certainly have defeated Richard Nixon, there would have been no Watergate, and the Vietnam conflict would not have dragged on to its grisly conclusion.

Sirhan fired eight shots with a .22 pistol, three of which hit Kennedy – one was fired from an inch range behind his right ear. He died next day of his injuries.

Last week, 53 years on and on his 16th attempt, Sirhan’s request for parole was granted for the first time without opposition from prosecution authorities. It has to be approved by the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, a Democrat who is fighting his own election campaign so it by no means a given that he will approve it.

Several of the Kennedy clan wrote opposing parole – Robert Kennedy Jnr both visited Sirhan in prison and supported his appeal – and joined in the conspiracy which is a many-tentacled one but at its centre is that Sirhan was set up (choose your own suspects, from the Mafia to the CIA) and while he fired those shots they were just a distraction to mask the real assassin.

Marilyn and the Kennedy brothers

RFK is also involved in another equally outlandish conspiracy, one which has spun a recent book from a retired LAPD detective who claims that Bobby killed Marilyn Monroe, dosing her with poison in her Brentwood home.

Central to this is the actor Peter Lawford, who was married to the Kennedys’ sister Pat. It was Lawford, who lived next door to Monroe, to whom she shivered out of the ermine wrap and gave it to him in May 1962 at a televised birthday celebration for JFK, revealing a skintight sequinned costume. She then sang Happy Birthday Mr President, or making love to him in front of 40 million Americans, as someone put it.

According to the ex-cop Mike Rothmiller, he found secret documents in the LA police files showing that Monroe had been assassinated to protect the Kennedys. Because now, after JFK had frozen her out, RFK was having an affair with her and she was threatening to reveal the sexual alphabet soup of it all.

Rothmiller claims that Lawford also confessed the truth to him, saying that he was there on the night when Bobby gave her a pink-coloured drink which knocked her out and led to her death, while LA cops in the know turned up to make it look like suicide. He says the fatal drink was a military-grade lethal poison, probably supplied to Bobby by the CIA — a substance the toxicology available at the time was too primitive to trace.

It took Rothmiller half a century to come out with his “evidence” because, he claims, he was scared he, too, would be bumped off. He was shot in a drive-by but as no-one was charged who can say? The conspiracy has the crucial benefit that all of those alleged to be involved in it are dead and the incriminating LAPD files can’t be found.

Not-so-secret rulers

SOME 28 per cent of Americans believe that a secret elite power – the Illuminati, international bankers, Rosicrucians, aliens? – rules the world. That’s more than 80 million Yanks and who knows how many miles of tinfoil to make their hats?

One of the enduring conspiracies is that the moon landings were faked, to boost funding for Nasa. It was filmed on a Hollywood backlot and most likely directed by Stanley Kubrick, they say. JFK had promised the US would beat the Russians to landing a man on the moon and if they couldn’t actually do it they could darn well mock it up. And without the benefit of modern-day CGI.

The conspiracy endures despite the fact there have been innumerable

high-res images, other visits, parliamentary and congressional hearings, and declassified Soviet archives confirming the US got there first.

A physicist, using a mathematical model, calculated that it would require 411,000 people to keep their lips buttoned about the set-up which has “fooled” billions and that, even at best, someone would break the silence within four years.

Number’s up on 9/11

I HAVE neither the model, the requisite numbers of fingers, nor the wit to calculate how many people would have to remain silent, and for how long, to hush up the destruction of Tower 7, the one which collapsed, allegedly brought down by controlled explosives, next to the Twin Towers on 9/11.

The 45-storey tower came down seven hours after the planes hit – or, if you prefer, didn’t hit? – the Twin Towers. And it did collapse on itself in a concertina fashion. Impossible without detonating the base of it, say the 9/11 Truthers.

The conspiracy is helped by the fact that the building had been occupied by the Secret Service, the CIA and various other anti-terrorist arms of government. Amazingly, it was never mentioned in the official 9/11 inquiry report.

All of the thousands of tons of steel from the skyscraper were melted down and never forensically analysed, which might have quashed the theory, but again probably not.

Rapper rises again

FORGET the man down the chip shop claiming to be Elvis – what about the rapper Tupac being alive and well and likely living in Cuba, as one bodyguard said, or perhaps New Mexico protected by a Navajo tribe?

There’s low-budget film called 2Pac: The Great Escape From UMC [University Medical Center] which maintains that on the night that Tupac was fatally shot four times in Las Vegas, 25 years ago this coming Tuesday, he actually knew of the forthcoming attempt and put a body-double sucker in the car, and then escaped in a helicopter to the tribal lands where the Feds couldn’t touch him. Apparently they didn’t want him starting a black revolution.

Or as the comedian Chris Rock put it: “Tupac was gunned down on the Las Vegas Strip after a Mike Tyson fight. Now, how many witnesses do you need to see some shit before you arrest somebody? More people saw Tupac

get shot than the last episode of Seinfeld.”

Gunning for Kurt

THEN there’s the one about how Courtney Love murdered her husband, Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain (putting aside the one about her offing daughter Frances Bean’s pets). There’s a documentary, or mockumentary?, about it called Soaked In Bleach.

This suggests that Love faked the suicide note, that Kurt had taken way too much heroin to be able to blow his head off with a shotgun and that she did it because the marriage was over and he was going to cut her out of his will. The title for the documentary comes from a line in the Nirvana song, Come As You Are, which ends with, “And I swear that I don’t have a gun/No I don’t have a gun.” That was another myth.

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992