Fake world

The superpowers created it and now are trying to make us believe in it

Photo: Picture: Ivailo Tsvetkov

After the controversial US presidential elections held on 8 November 2016, the topic of fake news quickly became a favourite of everyone, from politicians to analysts, journalists, sociologists, taxi drivers and hairdressers. Of course, I have nothing against all of these professions, and I even have great respect for them. Fake news is fundamentally dangerous because it creates a fake world.

After the controversial US presidential elections held on 8 November 2016, the topic of fake news quickly became a favourite of everyone, from politicians to analysts, journalists, sociologists, taxi drivers and hairdressers. Of course, I have nothing against all of these professions, and I even have great respect for them.

Fake news is fundamentally dangerous because it creates a fake world. In fact, our own world is what we perceive reality to be. In our mind, only things that we have heard or read about exist. How can something be if we have no information about it? Such a thing cannot be described. There is even this extravagant theory, shared by many contemporary scientists, that the meaning of the human race is to think the world into existence. So that the world can happen. The logical consequence is that if we destroy ourselves, we destroy something much greater. After all, how can a world be real if no one is there to think about it?

Fake news created a fake world, or two fake worlds, to be precise. Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron (let us throw him in there too), Angela Merkel, the Skripal case, the airstrikes on Syria. What is the common thread between these seven factors, including five people and two events? The common thread is that, in the consensus opinion of all involved, they exist in the world, as constructed by our perception. Beyond that, there is little in common. In the two worlds of NATO and Russia, the events related to Skripal and Syria are seen vastly different. Both worlds are making a concerted effort to impose their version of events, but they are not all that convincing.

Let us start with the over-analysed Skripal case. The versions offered by the West and Russia have become so many that it is pointless and frankly boring to enumerate them. The poison itself went through three physical conditions - solid, liquid and gas. For now, plasma is not under suspicion, even though it would be a plausible candidate - all one needs is a magnetic bottle for its transportation, as it can reach millions of degrees in temperature and therefore would present a challenge even for James Bond to handle. So, we are going to leave the poison, for which about a dozen theories have been floated too, aside. To me, as a dilettante in the realm of conspiracies, there is only one question to be answered - why are they not showing the Skripals, father and daughter, or at least one of them? A phone conversation with some relative does not count. Nowadays, any first-year student can digitally generate a somewhat sensible conversation with a voice and accent of their choosing. The more advanced computer programmes can “talk” for days without giving out if there is a person or a machine on their side of the conversation. This is the famous test for computer intelligence (“Can a machine think?”) developed by the great mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954), who virtually won WWII for his native England, and it repaid him by killing him for being a homosexual.

Not showing either of the two Skripals is leading to the generation and dissemination of deep conspiracy theories - from the one that the Skripal family suffered the fate of their hamsters and one of the cats in their home (the other one, fortunately, escaped) to the suggestion that the case was completely fabricated. Former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko (1962-2006) who was killed with polonium-210, a rare radioactive isotope, was shown alive and also dying from radiation disease.

Fortunately for some, the Skripal scandal was quickly replaced as top news by the Eastern Ghouta scandal in Syria. Things were botched there. A bit prematurely, the Western world was informed of 500 injured and 50 killed during a chemical attack with chlorine and sarin gas in the rebel-held suburb of Douma on 7 April. We are talking about a great number of victims that cannot just all disappear without a trace. The problem now is that not a single person affected by the attack can be found in Douma. US journalists failed to do so and now experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons are on the ground there. Hopefully, they can have better luck, but it is not likely. The story with the Douma hospital video also turned out to be fake after participants in the event, including children, spoke about what happened there, or to be more accurate, what did not happen. Actors, ladies and gentlemen, and poor ones at that.

The most entertaining farce, by far, were the airstrikes launched by the US, England and France on targets in the Syrian cities of Damascus and Homs on 14 April. Once again, there was data that both sides (the trio of allies and Russia) recognised as approximately correct - the total number of missiles launched, estimated at a little over 100. According to Russia and Syria, the downed missiles are 70, while President Trump says there are none. The two claims are mutually exclusive, but why do both seem highly suspicious?

The version offered by Russia and Syria, about 70 downed missiles, requires some sort of physical confirmation, like pieces of the downed missiles. Let us note that in such instances the missile normally does not explode but disintegrates, and debris litter the ground. From what I know, such evidence of only three missiles has been shown. Where the rest are, remains a question with a high degree of difficulty. It is possible that part of the missiles were misled by electronic warfare, which means they could be anywhere, from bodies of water to mountains. In any case, the absence of more debris is very suspicious.

Now, for the US president's claim that all the missiles hit their targets. The over 100 missiles in question would carry a total of 50 tonnes in highly-effective warheads, so the damages should be immense. However, what satellite images show are damages to only a few buildings, which would indicate three or four missiles at the most. Where are the remaining 100 then? Well, there is no sign of them, which is complete absurdity.

And while we are on the subject of electronics, which is not only everywhere around us but inside us as well, here is a simple scenario. It is about the hot phase of war - without nuclear blasts, a giant tsunami or any tinkering with the global death locked inside the super volcano that sleeps under the Yellowstone National Park in the US. Any self-respecting military force has developed powerful “silencers” to counteract electronic warfare that are capable of leaving huge regions without electronic communications for an extended period of time, like 24 hours. And I am not talking about destroying bank computers and those controlling nuclear reactors or transport. Let those remain intact, even though they mean little without communications. Not only young people, but many of the older generation will go completely mad if all of a sudden their mobile devices go down, and all computers are denied internet access. And when I say go completely mad, I mean it literally. The level of chaos in the big cities will be unprecedented. I wonder how come Hollywood has not made a thriller with such an apocalyptic story yet and is instead busy making fourth and fifth instalments of bland and hackneyed plots? Here, I will gift them with a project title: When the Network Dies.

But I digress, we were talking about the fake worlds that the superpowers have created and are, themselves, increasingly starting to believe in. The ancient Greeks said that when the gods wanted to destroy someone, they took away their sanity. Today, we know that it is enough to create a fake world, and make that someone believe in it.

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