...being a rundown of recent news stories involving allegations of conspiratorial behaviour, and of 'conspiracy theorising'. Maybe not the best day to do it, since I haven't had a chance to check all the Sunday papers, but still. I'm thinking Faraday Sunday might become a regular feature.
I'm hoping commenters can point out any errors or omissions; if so, I'll update appropriately.
1. Kelly/Hutton, of course.
Most of the media professes absolute certainty of suicide, and of the propriety of allowing Hutton's verdict to stand, and on both counts, of the untruth of 'Conspiracy Theories' - i.e anything that disagrees with one or both of these stances. Mail headlines, by contrast, err on the side of sensationalism about the murder hypothesis.
[Aaronovitch: Reward for first person who spots the dead seconded MI6 man being linked, seriously, with David Kelly. Nice suggestion that this is likely to happen, and equally nice to get his 'followers' (and any bounty-hunters taking seriously the chequebook journalism suggestion) trawling the blogosphere for an example.]
2. The IRA priest conspiracy (DAaronovitch: Why wd Willie Whitelaw connive in the escape of a priest poss responsible for N Ireland Claudy bombing, 31/7/72? Dsn't make sense.)
3. Julian Assange, the Pentagon's current political enemy no 1, is accused of rape in dubious circumstances, the accusations being immediately withdrawn. I've provided a link to the Jack of Kent treatment of this question, which I think speaks for itself. One of the comments drawing attention to Assange having committed the deviant act of having sex with a woman after having had sex with a different woman two days earlier is a particularly nice touch.
Three conspiratorial accounts might be considered:
(1). A false accusation cooked up by one or both of the complainants, or (if we are to deny Assange the benefit of some hulking doubt) opportunistically-timed reporting of a preexisting complaint - perhaps (to speculate freely) hoping for money. (2) A false, exaggerated or deliberately sought accusation by some other actor hostile to Assange. (3) A false accusation engineered by Assange to discredit his own opponents. In all cases, the conspiracy need only involve one or two people, for example the accusers. In the 2nd scenario the conspiracy might be envisaged as having wider scope extending to the well-developed smear machines of a number of pro-pentagon groups and organisations.
4.Panorama (transcript) is granted 'exclusive access to Israeli commandos' giving their officially sanctioned accounts, and to a carefully controlled selection of film evidence from among that produced, and that confiscated, by the Israeli authorities.
I'm not aware of any acknowledgement that (as one supposes) the use of this material was conditional on Israeli approval of the final version of the programme, but it does appear to propound the conspiracy theory, based apparently on a certain degree of bravado shown by the protestors and on statments from the Israeli authorities, that the flotilla victims sought, rather than willingly risked, and - amazing, this - managed to manipulate Israeli forces into meting out, death. Of course this is not described as a CT nor as involving a conspiracy. Another conspiracy theory, that the Israeli attack was not in fact some cock-up resulting from incompetent decisions made on the spur of the moment, but in fact an organised execution, is not considered.
5. Bush and Blair plotted in secret to stop Brown.
6. Asil Nadir returns to the UK after avoiding extradition for twenty years. It is said that proving the prosecutors' conspiracy theory will be made much more difficult after such a long delay. In cases in which there has not been a thorough evidence-gathering operation close to the time, this kind of difficulty will of course be much greater. There is a kind of naturally-occurring analogue of limitation statutes which applies to attempts to investigate potential conspiracies from any substantial temporal distance.
I'm pretty sure I had a couple of other ideas, too, but can't remember what they were. I'll add them to the list if they make themselves known, and again, if anyone else has any suggestions, please do put them in a comment, and I'll consider adding them.
[edit 29/08/10 18:40: typos, punctuation]