Sunday, 5 November 2017

Examples of Conspiracy Theories

Examples of Conspiracy Theories that have appeared on BFTF's socia media timelines.


The first claim from Buttar (who has been reprimanded repeatedly for unethical cancer treatment of patients, a fact the presenter does not mention) comes at 3m52sec "as I started looking at the information, as I started seeing that this was a chimeric [hybrid of two existing organisms] version, something that was developed here in the United States and in 2015 was published in Nature magazine, that it was developed in the University of North Carolina...and then inserted HIV and MERS orthologues on top". Buttar is likely referring to this.

But there is a very clever bait and switch going on here.

Fact one : A chimeric SARS-like virus (SL-SHC014-MA1) was created, for legitimate research reasons, at a university in 2015.

Fact two : The virus causing the current pandemic (SARS-CoV-2) may well be a chimeric virus (this happens often in the natural world)

Alleged Conclusion : SARS-CoV-2 is SL-SHC014-MA1

Aside from the huge failure in logic, the two virus's are different. Researchers published a paper stating that "Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus,". (see aslo here and here).

Buttar knows all of the above perfectly well. He is just ignoring it in favour of building up credibility with the alt-right / "alternative medicine" community. Oh and the bit where Buttar says "and then inserted HIV and MERS orthologues on top" is pure fantasy, but I guess he thought he might as well throw in those trigger words as well.


Manifestly fake and unsupported claims about the Turkish Government


This is wrong on multiple levels

BFTF has noticed that there is a flurry of conspiracy theories on social media 3-4 days after a terrorist attack. This meme about the same girl being at different terroist attacks is a common one and was circulating a few days after the Paris attacks in Nov 2015. It is debunked at

My most favourite conspiracy theory EVER.

Possibly BFTF's most favourite conspiracy type theory ever.

The Rothschild conspiracy explained in 4 minutes

A short video about the Rothschilds appeared on BFTF's Facebook timeline a while back...It did at least have the virture of being short..

The central bank in your country is owned
and controlled by the Rothschild family, apparently

Not true. The Bank of England is an independent public organisation, wholly owned by the Treasury Solicitor on behalf of the government, with independence in setting monetary policy.

The run the central bank of every country
 in the entire world (except three) apparently

...Except, according to the video, for North Korea, Iran and Cuba - presumably this means that, for example, the Central Bank of China is under Rothschild control - something that is difficult to imagine, given the one party state in place there. There isn't actually any evidence of Rothschilds controlling ANY central banks, much less virtually ALL of them. Unless, of course, a Facebook video with no references for its assertions is "evidence".

Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Libya

...The video alleges that there were four other countries who had independent central banks in 2000 (Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Libya) and that the Rothschild family the US to gain control of the Afghanistan and Iraqi central banks by invading, and used the UN to gain control of the Sudanese and Libyan central banks. It further alleges that the thaw in relations between the US and Cuba/Iran is to allow their central banks to be taken over too. Oh, and it'll be the war thing for North Korea soon....

BFTF notes that these kinds of conspiracies always refer to the Rothschilds family, never to any of the other major banking families around the world, such as Barenburgs, Coutts, Fuggers, Goldman-Sachs, Rockefellers, Morgans or Warburgs.

Sad that real issues of loss of sovereignty such as TTIP or groups combating global financial injustice such as the Jubilee Dept Campaign do not get this kind of airtime.

Related Content
Critical Thinking

Replace "Syrian Refugees" with minority group of your choice
 to see how evil this meme is

"If I had a bowl that was filled with 10,000 M&M's but I told you 10 of them were deadly poison would you eat a handful?"

How to treat people like peanuts and fixate on risk

John Oliver responded to a version of this (using peanuts instead of M&M's) from Mike Huckerbee by pointing out that:

"Peanuts themselves have killed far more people in the last decade than terrorist refugees. [In fact] , men named Mike have killed more people than terrorist refugees and I don't see us rounding all of them up...And that's kind of the point. Because, as reasonable adults, we accept tiny amounts of risk baked into our everyday lives. We drive cars despite knowing around 30,000 of die in them each year. We go swimming despite the fact that 10 people a day die from drowning...Any rational person know you cannot completely eliminate risk. You can only manage it. And we do it with peanuts and cars and swimming pools and hamburgers and men named Mike because we rightly think that they're worth the risk...and I would argue that, for the tremendous good that we could do and the low level of risk involved, refugees are worth it too"

John Oliver nails it

How mislead by ignoring the train of women and children that came later
Snopes points out that data on refugee numbers shows an almost exact 50:50 male to female ratio; that Syrian society has a much higher proportion of young people than countries in Northern Europe and that that image in the meme is of the passengers on a train for male refugees. The train with women and children arrived the next day.

Further information on why this meme is misleading can be found in a post on the GlobalCitizen site

How to imply that every civil war has a "good guy" group you
should join and that more violence is the answer. 

Emlyn Pearce provides a clear counter to this message in an article in the Independent.

"Have you ever been in a pub when a group of drunk guys starts going berserk, drinking everyone's drinks and punching people in the face?...

"...The rest of the patrons come together, over-power and restrain the troublemakers; the police are called and they are taken away to face the music. That's World War II: everyone in the pub is on the same side and there is a clear set of bad guys ruining the 1940s for everyone else..."

"...Now, consider Syria. You're sitting in the pub with your family having Sunday lunch when suddenly you hear someone at the bar say they've been short-changed. In response, the bar staff open fire with automatic weapons and kill 16 people...You manage to barricade yourself behind an upturned table in the corner..."

"..and just when you think things can't get any worse, a bunch of thugs from the rough pub next door hear there's some trouble and decide to use the opportunity to take over the pub and make it as lawless as the one they've come from (where people have been brawling non-stop for the best part of a decade). There are bullets flying past your little shelter and blood and bodies litter the floor..."

"Whose side do you join? The bar staff who started the whole thing by killing the people they were supposed to serve, or the thugs from next door who want to hold you all hostage and make you join a death cult?..."


The "Not Our Problem" Meme is looked at in some detail on a blogpost by Johnny Wishbone

The "We Can't Afford it" Meme is commented on (together with a lot of other information) in this Huffington Post article

May2013 : Lord Macaulay on India in 1835
BFTF received a post on Facebook recently that contained a newspaper clip claiming to be from 1835 and with the following quote from Lord Macaulay, which he alledgedly gave to the British Parliament on 2nd Feb 1835 :

"I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation!"

Scary stuff and if true BFTF would be keen to publicise this as much as possible.

But a picture on Facebook is hardly what one could call "robust evidence" so, with a critical thinking hat on, BFTF wondered how one could check that the quote was real.

As it was allegedly given to Parliament, a good first step would be to consult Hansard - which said that there was no sitting in 1835 until 19th Feb (link here)

Okay, so perhaps he gave it in some kind of meeting etc that is not in Hansard. So BFTF checked some other resources on Lord Macaulay and found that, according to Columbia University, he was in India at this time (link here)

The quote is now starting to look pretty dodgy - perhaps it has already been investigated as a fake. Time to put "Lord Macaulay myth" into Google, which throws up this link and this link both of which confirm that Macaualay did not make the comments stated.

Ironically, during this search, BFTF stumbled upon this article on a book called "Churchill's Secret War" which alleges that wartime policies caused large numbers of deaths in the famine of 1934 - a famine whose worst effects could have been avoided had the British Government sent food aid there (or even diverted some of the food laden vessels passing by from Australia to the UK.

And then, of course, there was the Great Famine of 1876-78 in which the British Administration in India behaved in a shameful manner

"In part, the Great Famine [of 1876-1878] may have been caused by an intense drought resulting in crop failure in the Deccan Plateau. However, the commodification of grain, and the cultivation of alternate cash crops also may have played a role, as could have the export of grain by the colonial government; during the famine the viceroy, Lord Lytton, oversaw the export to England of a record 6.4 million hundredweight of wheat.

The famine occurred at a time when the colonial government was attempting to reduce expenses on welfare. Earlier, in the Bihar famine of 1873–74, severe mortality had been avoided by importing rice from Burma. However, the Government of Bengal and its Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Richard Temple, were criticized for excessive expenditure on charitable relief. Sensitive to any renewed accusations of excess in 1876, Temple, who was now Famine Commissioner for the Government of India, insisted not only on a policy of laissez faire with respect to the trade in grain, but also on stricter standards of qualification for relief and on more meager relief rations. Two kinds of relief were offered: "relief works" for able-bodied men, women, and working children, and gratuitous (or charitable) relief for small children, the elderly, and the indigent."

Grain awaiting loading onto ships for export, Madras, 1877

Image Sources
Grain for Export