BBC News, "David Cameron's speech on extremism", BBC News Youtube channel (20 July 2015)


OK, I'm not shocked, but I am appalled, again. Back in September 2014 UK Prime Minister David Cameron heavily implied that people who question events like 9/11 and 7/7 should be classified as "non-violent extremists." Today, during his speech in Birmingham (UK) on the government's five-year plan for tackling extremism, he includes a section on "conspiracy theories." This time he is less specific (according this video), but his speech does include these phrases: "the world is not conspiring against Islam" and "the security services aren't behind terrorist attacks", phrases that he offers as negations of the assertions of so-called "conspiracy theorists."

Well now, taking into account his previous comments at the UN (since I'm not aware that he's retracted any of his previous remarks), I think it's reasonable to conclude that he still has in mind people who - no doubt among others - question things like 9/11 and 7/7. Perhaps he might include those who question the official stories about the deaths of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, or (here at home) Dr. David Kelly, etc.; we don't know, because he doesn't say.

But then, of course, the term "conspiracy theorist" - as we've repeatedly discussed on the TMR podcast - is deliberately vague; that way it can be used to refer to anyone who suspects government, or its agencies, of involvement in secret wrongdoing. That, of course, never happens; to think otherwise proves you to be a "conspiracy theorist"!

And what of the other phrase? Taken literally, of course, it is trivially true: the world is not conspiring against Islam. Neither could it be; Islam is part of the world. What he means, I don't doubt, is the so-called "international community", which as Noam Chomsky likes to point out means the "United States [Washington] joined by some allies and clients". Are they conspiring against Islam? Again, no. So what is he getting at here? What does this semantic cat-chasing-its-own-tail boil down to in practice, I wonder? Well, here's a suggestion. I can't prove it, because the weasel words, carefully crafted for him to deliver, are designed to evade analysis I'm sure. But perhaps it means that anyone who criticises UK (or US) foreign policy with respect to the Greater Middle East (to use a neocon expression), is also to be considered a "conspiracy theorist" (?) We shall see.

But perhaps we shouldn't worry about any of this, because apparently he believes in "freedom of speech". Presumably he also believes in freedom of thought (?) That's strange to my mind, because his comments are very likely to result in self-censorship, both in print and in thought. After all, who wants to be thought of as mad and bad? To be called a tin-foil-hat-wearing nut job is one thing; to be unjustly associated with terrorism is another.

 David Cameron's speech on extremism

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