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“The Rosicrucians were everywhere, aided by the fact that they didn’t exist.”


Like a dog returning to its own vomit, I can’t keep myself away from conspiracist thinking.

A short while after EuroMaidan and the fleeing of the Ukrainian President, a recording surfaced allegedly of Baroness Ashton of the EU and Urmas Paet, the Estonian Foreign Minister. In it, Paet outlined a theory – that he said had been voiced to him by a doctor named “Olga” (presumably Dr Olga Bogomolets, the leader of the doctors who tended the protestors) – that both government soldiers and protestors had been shot by the same people, and that those same people were hired by the leaders of the Ukrainian opposition. This conversation was taken, on the talk boards of Comment is Free (and has recently surfaced again, leading to several long and wearying arguments), to imply or suggest some sort of complicity of the EU in the deaths.

Now, looking at the above, it isn’t particularly hard to unpick this one, but let’s do it anyway. Shooting fish in a barrel is one of my favourite occupations.

Person A reports an alleged opinion of Person B (Person B, by the way, has denied she ever stated this opinion as she had, at that point, not examined the bodies of soldiers and, furthermore, didn’t believe the protestors to be behind both sets of deaths) to Person C.

We’ve already got one hole in the argument – the hearsay nature of the evidence (which is denied by Person B). Person A’s interpretation of Person B’s opinion is as fallible as anyone else’s. This is an alleged opinion, presented via Chinese whispers.

The second hole in it is the idea that even should Person A be truthfully/accurately reporting Person B’s opinion (We don’t know whether he is), Person B’s opinion is as fallible as anyone else’s.

Hole three – even should that opinion on “they were all killed by the same forces” hold true, there’s no evidence presented here at all that “the same forces” = “The Euromaidan protestors” – they could just as easily have been forces of the previous Ukrainian regime. Or, indeed, Russian Special Forces. CIA. The Rosicrucians. Lizards. Fat Larry’s Band, who had a major hit in the 70s with “Zoom”. Take your pick.

The big whopping hole number 4 in the theory is the “complicity” hole. Why, precisely, does someone advancing a theory to you make you…responsible for the thing in the first place? How precisely does this lead to suggestions of Person C being “complicit” again?

It doesn’t, of course, is the answer. The only thing that actually gives this any legs as a conspiracy theory is that is allegedly a conversation (Baroness Ashton has declined to comment on it) between two high-powered (well, one high-powered and the Estonian Foreign Minister) diplomatic types. Baroness Ashton, a supremely tedious failed politician, is somehow transformed into Jason Bourne’s boss because she listened to the unverified and unverifiable opinions of – let’s not beat around the bush – a minor European minister.

That, of course, doesn’t matter in the conspiracy theory view of how the world works. Because people are talking about something, they must be involved in it. Because people have some element of power, of connection, they must be plugged in. Everything is connected. It must be.

The cock-up theory of history holds something different, which is “Bloke thinks he hears some juicy rumour (but is probably wrong), phones somebody to tell her about it. She’s baffled. The end”.

I dunno, I’m veering towards the latter, aren’t you?

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