“Konspirationer” is a Swedish book by Gunnar Wall, a left-wing radical writer who could be seen as a “moderate” conspiracy theorist. I´ve previously reviewed his book “Konspiration Olof Palme” on the 1986 assassination of controversial Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. He reaches the conclusion that Palme might have been killed by elements from the Stay Behind organization, rogue or otherwise. The Swedish government, police and secret service covered up the whole thing since too many awkward questions about “neutral” Sweden´s role in NATO operations and Palme´s opposition to the same would have been aired had the investigation been conducted on proper lines. I believe Wall might very well be on to something, maybe even the truth. In this case, it´s obvious that *somebody* was conspiring somewhere, since people connected with the government secretly continued to harass the militant Kurdish group PKK (the supposed assassins) even after the prosecutors called off that particular angle of the investigation. (Nobody today believes the PKK did it.)
One of the chapters of “Konspirationer” also deals with the Palme case – I admit I didn´t read it. Instead, I concentrated on some of the other sections, all of which deal with US conspiracies: the JFK assassination, Watergate, and government foreknowledge of 9/11. The two latter are well-argued, while the JFK chapter could perhaps have needed a better editor, with too many facts or factoids presented in random fashion. Also, Wall is unsure whether Lee Harvey Oswald was a genuine leftist critic of the establishment or just an agent provocateur. That being said, few people outside the mandarin conspiracies-never-happen intellectual “elite” would question that of course Oswald didn´t act alone (or at all), JFK probably being killed by Cuban exiles and the mafia. Wall believes the rabbit hole goes deeper: it wasn´t simply revenge for screwing up the Bay of Pigs invasion. Rather, the JFK assassination was part of a broader agenda from the side of the military-industrial complex to get rid of a powerful politician deemed “too soft on Communism”, most notably in Vietnam. (Wall believes that Kennedy wanted to leave Vietnam.) Wall believes Palme and Dag Hammarskjöld were murdered for the same general reasons.
The most shocking chapter in the book deals with 9/11. It seems al-Qaeda´s “unexpected” and “unprecedented” attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 wasn´t so unexpected and unprecedented after all. Quite the contrary: the US administration had received multiple warnings of various kinds shortly before the event from foreign intelligence services, “war games” featuring hijacked planes and attacks on landmark monuments had been conducted for years by various agencies, and al-Qaeda was publicly acknowledged as one of America´s top enemies. Yet, it´s as if the entire US administration simply looked the other way when the warnings of an impending major attack grew louder and louder. This is in stark contrast to the actions of the Bush-Cheney administration *after* the attack, when they suddenly showed firm resolve to go after al-Qaeda and “the axis of evil”. And even then, the resolve was selective: Afghanistan was attacked, while Saudi Arabia and Pakistan (two major al-Qaeda sponsors) continued being treated with kid gloves as valuable US allies. Iraq was attacked, too, despite having nothing to do with al-Qaeda (nor WMD´s). But they sure as hell had oil…
Wall doesn´t believe that the 9/11 attacks were “planned” by the US government itself, nor that they had direct foreknowledge of the terrorist plans. Rather, by deliberately lowering America´s guard, the administration made it easier for al-Qaeda to strike, an event which could then be used as an excuse to attack Afghanistan and Iraq, get the “Patriot” Act adopted, strengthen the military-industrial complex and perhaps line the pockets of senior officials with shares in oil companies. It was a kind of false flag operation by default. One reason why al-Qaeda could be used in this manner were the cozy relationships between the United States (including the Bush family) and various Saudi oil interests (including bin-Ladin´s family). Also, the Islamist militants themselves were “assets” of the Agency since at least the 1980´s war against the Soviets in Afghanistan.
While Wall´s scenario may seem outlandish to some – he implies, after all, that Bush-Cheney didn´t give a damn about 3,000 dead on Manhattan – later events in the Middle East (not mentioned in the book) certainly point in the same direction. In Syria, al-Nusra (really al-Qaeda) controls a buffer zone around the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights. Even establishment media admits that Israel is really collaborating with al-Nusra, and it´s difficult to believe that the United States aren´t aware of the situation. Note also how US ally Saudi Arabia brokered the rise of ISIS and how NATO member Turkey bought oil from their faux caliphate in northern Syria. Some American foreign policy experts have proposed *not* to destroy ISIS, rather using the terror cult as a geopolitical counterweight to Iran. Somehow, all this sounds vaguely familiar… In the murky underworld of the secret services, with all their provocations and counter-provocations, the Islamists (perhaps a bit like Oswald) are both assets and potential patsies at the same time, while the Straussian Princes of Darkness spin their geopolitical (and lucrative) cobwebs. It´s not a pretty picture of the United States of America that emerges out of these pages…
In the case of Watergate, we know pretty much what happened, so here the conspiracy-deniers are on very thin ice. Wall points out that the pundits use a different strategy to minimize the conspiracist impact in this case, essentially trying to portray Watergate as a quixotic burglary attempt somehow connected to Richard Nixon´s election campaign. To Wall, Watergate in this strict sense was simply a smaller part of a paranoid presidency gone completely out of control in a situation in which political and social tensions in the United States had reached a boiling point due to the Vietnam War. Part of that war was in itself a “conspiracy” of sorts, since the bombings of Cambodia and Laos were initially secret!
In an introductory chapter, Wall discusses the notion of conspiracies in general, including a few others which have been revealed and well-documented, such as MK-ULTRA. I use to be a de facto conspiracy denier myself, but I now think it´s obvious how extremely weak this position is (except on the highest level of history – I don´t believe in the Babylonian Brotherhood or David Icke´s reptoids from the 666th dimension). Wall points out the paradox that conspiracy-deniers use “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” as an example that conspiracy theory is fake. Yes, the Protocols were a forgery by the Czarist Russian secret police, the Okhrana. But the success of the Protocols, and the fact that millions around the world believe it to be authentic, is *in itself* a successful conspiracy, precisely the thing deemed impossible by the literati. It struck me when reading the book that another argument often used by conspiracy-deniers is equally paradoxical: the claim that conspiracies, if they do happen, are always exposed in Western liberal democracies. Watergate would be an example of this. But isn´t it strange that the *exposure of actual conspiracies* is used to deny conspiracy theory…?
As a radical leftist, Wall believes that even Western democracies have powerful elites, often with hidden agendas. These clash with the stated liberal goals of Western political systems, especially when the secret services and various vested economic interests are involved. Indeed, Wall frequently just appeals to our common sense: do we *really* believe that the people in charge have nothing to hide? How naïve and trusting are we, in the god-forsaken year of 2019? (Or 2014, when the book was published.) A funny thing about “Konspirationer” are all the proven conspiracies it doesn´t even mention. Thus, during the 1980´s, people in the Swedish arms industry really did smuggle weapons to nations deemed beyond the pale by the proper authorities (Kuwait and East Germany if memory serves me right). Meanwhile in the US, Oliver North and other elements in the Reagan administration were busy carrying out their end of the Iran-Contragate conspiracy. Perhaps the chapter on Palme mentions all the revelations surrounding Stay Behind?
To crack a joke: Where are all these non-existent conspiracies, anyway?
A sequel to “Konspirationer” would be interesting. Today, even mandarin liberals believe in (or at least pretend to believe in) at least one conspiracy theory. Yes, that would be the Russian collusion narrative according to which Trump stole the presidency with the aid of Vladimir Putin, Julian Assange and a Twitter troll named Natasha Trolska Twitterskaya. And no, this one I don´t believe, but it sure is interesting how *fast* it infected all the conspiracy-denying liberal and Neo-Con circles. It´s almost as if some kind of conspiracy is being hatched here, although not the one we´ve been led to believe…
It will be interesting to see if a leftist such as Gunnar Wall will tackle this problematique.