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Debunking ‘The fall of the cabal’

That bloody Cabal nonsense!

I’ve watched all 10 parts of ‘The fall of the cabal’. That’s a few hours I won’t get back. It’s fascinating to me how many people chose to ignore the presenter, Janet Ossebaard’s very own instruction to research everything she says. If people did, or even if they used their common sense they wouldn’t buy into it very much.

It seems very clear to me that it is intended to appeal to the American alt-right and the bible belt’s Christian right. It contains clear dog whistles to the American far right racist community too and I can elaborate further on why I think that if this little account isn’t sufficient for people to get my point.

I have a life and so I’m only commenting on the claims made in the first part of the ‘shockumentary’ for now. I’ll be happy to do more for those who need it but only if they’re prepared to engage honestly with me on the content herein. Otherwise I’ll just move on and save myself the time.

It may help to watch the first part as you read this so you’ll understand what I’m referring to and just how easy it is to debunk the claims made. First though I want to say a little about my methods and the processes of epistemology involved in genuinely skeptical critical thinking. I’ll just bullet point what I can although some of it will also require further explanation.

·        Epistemology – the science of how we know what we know – your ‘toolbox’ of understanding – the strategies you use to differentiate between science, psuedoscience and nonsense (what Karl Popper described as ‘the demarcation problem’).

·        Claims require evidence.

·        Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

·        That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

·        The multiple of anecdote is not ‘data’

·        You cannot usually prove a negative… Bertram Russell famously postulated that there is a silver teapot orbiting the sun somewhere between the earth and mars. He invited us to prove it’s not there. He then explained that just because we can’t disprove a claim doesn’t mean it’s there. This is why the ‘burden of proof’ is on the person making the claim. It’s not up to others to disprove your claim – it’s up to you to provide evidence for it.

·        Shifting the burden – many of the assertions in this documentary rely purely upon shifting the burden of proof. There is absolutely no evidence for so many of the extraordinary claims made – viewers are simply invited to believe them if they can’t prove them wrong. This, coupled with the high number of outright lies included throughout leaves me no room to doubt that the creator is deliberately peddling falsehoods, presumably for money as the target groups are very well known for throwing money at projects that have some political traction. I note that despite her initial prediction that Donald Trump would be the last president of the United States coming crashing down with Joe Biden’s election, she’s already working on a sequel. I wonder who’s funding that.

Many prophets whose words are demonstrably false have lost credibility. Perhaps it’s time the same thing happened here.

What is a logical fallacy?

Propositional logic relies upon the ‘syllogism’. This is a set of two or more premises leading to a conclusion. If the form of the syllogism is valid then the premises lead inescapably to the conclusion.

If the premises are sound then they are true.

An effective syllogism must be both sound and valid.

Logical fallacies arise when there are problems either with the soundness of the premises or the validity of the structure.

For example, a sound and valid syllogism might be…

All men are mortal.

Socrates is a man.

Therefore Socrates is a mortal.

An unsound Syllogism might be

All swans are white

Swanny is a swan

Therefore Swanny is white.

For obvious reasons this is known as the ‘Black swan fallacy’ because the premises do not take into account the existence of black swans. The shockumentary contains several examples of the black swan fallacy as well as many others.

Scientific method is by far the most reliable way we have to understand the world around us. In order to use it we begin with an observation, then we come up with candidate explanations (hypotheses) for the phenomena observed, then we test the hypotheses by making predictions (If this is true then this will also be true) and see if those predictions were correct. For example, when faced with an orchid in S. America with a particularly deep flower Darwin hypothesised that there must exist a moth with a particularly long proboscis to reach the nectar therein. It took decades but Darwin’s hawk moth does exist and was discovered long after the naturalist’s death.

Additionally – the hypothesis must be falsifiable. That means that there must be criteria by which the hypothesis can be proven wrong. For example, if I hypothesise that stones are heavier than water and then throw a stone into a pond it will sink and my prediction will be proven correct. But there were falsifiability criteria – had the stone floated my hypothesis would have been proven incorrect. If you have no falsifiability criteria you have no way to test if you’re right or not. It’s like the creationist who answers every question with God did it. There’s no way to falsify that claim, even if it’s wrong. Explanations without the possibility of falsifiability explain nothing – they merely acknowledge a phenomenon. The shockumentary does that a lot.

Occam’s razor – William of Occam was a medieval monk. He came up with the notion that we should not multiply contingencies unnecessarily. In other words – don’t make things more complicated than they need to be.

One example I use in training is to ask students to imagine a water wheel. That’s the phenomenon. A wheel turning whilst half submerged in flowing water. The candidate explanations are that the water is pushing the water wheel or that unseen, disembodied, ghostly hands are moving it instead. If we go for the hands we need to explain why they’re there (what their presence is contingent upon), how they can exist (what their existence is contingent upon) and how immaterial things can possibly impact the natural world (what their impact is contingent upon). Occam would clearly say the water did it and so avoid multiplying contingencies which themselves ask more questions than they answer. The shockumentary multiplies contingencies seemingly endlessly.

As well as multiplying increasingly outlandish contingencies the film also ignores many perfectly reasonable candidate hypotheses without explanation or even mention. For example – why doesn’t the possibility of the Biblical serpent in genesis and elsewhere in both testaments get a mention in the bit about the Vatican. Why doesn’t the British sign language and American sign language hand shape for I love you (little finger, middle finger and thumb outstretched) get any consideration when she accuses the Pope of making the sign of the Devil? Why does she jump straight to hyperbole about drinking baby blood without acknowledging that the alternative medicine she seems to support later (if only in passing) is very well into harvesting hormones from all sorts of body parts such as placentas and ovaries too?

I found myself repeatedly asking “How did you rule out all the other candidate explanations?” and I suggest that you do the same.

Anyway – to the claims made and my rebuttals.

Forest fires – unless I missed something somewhere I’m not really sure why the thing opened with forest fires. It didn’t seem to go anywhere except ‘look at this – how unusual’. Maybe it was just a dramatic opener to hang an empty promise on. Anyway…

Forest fires generate wind which is why it’s not unusual to get natural fire breaks and even corridors of fire with surrounding flora untouched.

Wind pushes embers along and they can land on houses or even inside houses through doors, windows etc. The houses tend to be dry and full of flammable stuff which is why they burn.

Embers sometimes land in strange crevices in trees or hollowed out parts where birds have nested etc. When they begin to burn inside they sometimes make chimneys of the tree trunk and the draw of air directs the flame up through the middle of the tree without burning the exterior.

The strength of wind generated by a really big fire could easily lift a small car – as could the impact of the fire cycle (heat, fuel and oxygen) on the contents of a petrol tank. It only has to get hot – the flame doesn’t need to make it inside to cause an explosion.

None of this is at all remarkable.

Chem trails from airplanes are not the things you think they are. The vapour trails you see out of almost every plane you see overhead are water vapour. They condense in the atmosphere to form elongated clouds. That’s what you can see. Clouds.

There are other chemicals deliberately deposited to combat the effects of greenhouse gases. They’re largely sulphates. They slow down the greenhouse effect but won’t actually stop it. The greenhouse effect is caused by greenhouse gases emitted by industry on the earth’s surface incorporating aluminium, barium, cadmium and titanium. Janet has got it exactly backwards. Look it up – it’s not hard to find all this information.

The bit about organ donation had me chuckling to myself. First of all, unless you’re a religious nut (target audience) there’s no reason to be concerned about what happens to your organs after you’re gone. But then to liken the process to the Nazis is just too much.

Corpses are the property of the state for several reasons, regardless of organ donation. In the nineteenth century grave-robbers used to take care to leave the coffin, shroud and any grave goods alone. They didn’t want to be accused of theft for which the penalty was higher than mere desecration. And since the body belonged to nobody there was no theft if they left the shroud behind.

So the body became the property of the state until it was handed over to the relative (when it became their property) to combat grave robbers.

These days the state hangs on to the body so that it can perform autopsies to acertain cause of death and potentially catch a killer. This is how rogue GP, Harold Shipman was caught – by post mortem examination on fresh and exhumed corpses. There are lots of reasons why the state takes ownership of the body from criminal justice to public health. Ask yourself. If you will…

Given the thousands of hours of research supposedly involved in making this shockumentary…

1.       Why only mention the organ donation thing (a red line for various US bible belt fanatics)?

2.       Why go straight to Nazism and miss out all the other reasons?

This wasn’t the last time I found myself asking “How did you rule out everything else?”

The stuff about the Vatican was lovely. I’m no fan of Roman Catholicism, by the way. I think the Roman Catholic church is responsible for untold harm in the world but there’s plenty of real stuff to criticise the RC’s for without making shit up.

The Vatican is the world centre of a religion that is based for its transmission upon iconography more than any other medium. More then the Bible itself. It has statues, murals, stained glass windows, pendants, lockets, shrines, Friezes and so much more depicting important bible stories for the edification of the faithful. And what bible stories are more important to Christians than the fall of man (involving a serpent) and the temptation of Christ (involving a serpent)? Of course there are depictions of serpents in the Vatican. I’d have thought that after all those thousands of hours of research, the delightful Janet might have understood that.

And what about that ‘sign of the Devil’. Did you know that was the sign of the Devil? Well, did you? I didn’t. I did however know that it is the hand signal used in American and British sign language for the phrase “I love you”. What on earth was Janet doing during those thousands of hours of research?

I’ve been in a cessna. When I was a boy I joined the air cadets. We had a day trip to the RAF base at Catterick in N. Yorkshire, England. Iwas a passenger in a cessna and actually got to take the controls briefly of a 2 seater chipmunk as well. The pilot took off and landed, of course but for a minute or two I got to fly us around once we were airborne. It was my one and only attempt at flying a plane. I was 13 years old.

Take off and landing are hard but don’t try to pretend that it’s hard to steer an airplane that’s already in stable flight. If you can steer a small plane you can steer a large one well enough to crash it. I steered one around on my first attempt at the age of 13! I got to fire a Lee Enfield 303 rifle as well. That was much harder than the Chipmunk.

Some people are unlucky. Some p[eople get struck by lightning more than once. Look it up – it happens. Some people are unlucky enough to be at several terrorist attack sites. That’s unfortunate for them but hardly a miracle or evidence of conspiracy. I mean – let’s put that into a logical syllogism, shall we.

Premise 1… Johnny was at the site of terrorist attack 1

Premise 2… Johnny was at the site of terrorist attack 2

Conclusion… Well, what’s the conclusion? It seems pretty meaningless to me unless you want to concede that Johnny is unlucky.

When I was a young man I saw a young woman jump from a multi-storey car park on St. Rumbold St. In Lincoln, England. I’ll never forget the sound she made as she hit the concrete – like the dull thud you hear when you drop a rolled up carpet. I was the first one to her. She was a bit mangled – not unlike the woman in the photograph that Janet so compassionately pretends is a cloth doll. That’s no doll, Janet – that’s a body that’s been broken by force.

The Disney images are interesting. Yes, you can sexualise them if you want to but you don’t need to. There is one interesting thing I’m aware of and have been amused by for years. In UK many childrens’ programmes have for years been filled with double-entendres as a way of keeping parents interested too while the kids watch. The bluest I know of was a little remembered one starring Tony Robinson called ‘Fat Tulip’s garden’. It was a sort of Jackanory that definitely could be enjoyed on different levels. From my own childhood we had the magic roundabout – all about drugs and sex and, of course, Captain Pugwash with more sexual references than you can shake a stick at. As kids we were oblivious to all that but I suspect many parents loved it. Remember Occam’s razor – don’t multiply contingencies unnecessarily. Maybe it’s just a way for programmes to appeal to the parents who will decide whether or not to accompany the kids to the cinema. How else will Disney boost its box office?

Now here’s something more serious. The foetus abortion claim – guaranteed to appeal to American Republicans, the Religious right and a plethora of pro-lifers across the spectrum. “Did you know fully developed foetuses can be aborted in America?”

Actually, No – I didn’t know that. Because it’s not true. Google it and see for yourself. Try to find a state in America where abortion of a full-term viable foetus is legal. Go on. I dare you. This is just a dog-whistle to the right wing.

So is the migrant caravan. But OK – let’s take this one at face value. We’ll apply Occam’s razor again, shall we.

Observation – people appear ill-equipped to be walking 45 miles a day.

Candidate explanation 1 – it’s a politically motivated, staged and manipulated ‘march’ just like Mussolini’s ‘March on Rome’ or Trump’s shuffle across the road to pray outside a church with an upside-down bible.

Candidate explanation 2 – It’s something to do with a conspiracy cabal that’s never actually explained but that you’re supposed to imagine is really, really sinister.

I know which explanation I’m going for and it’s not ‘2’.

Facial creams from foreskins made me laugh. The things the scientifically illiterate will get up to. The skin is a semi-permeable membrane that is evolved to repel fluids – that’s why we don’t get completely waterlogged when it rains. Our fingers and toes wrinkle but that’s about all. We don’t have a mechanism for making good use of hormones through the dermis. This is really no more than sympathetic magic. It’s no different from the other pointless beauty products derived from body parts from umbilical cords to ovaries, from bovine vulvas to human placentas. It’s all faddy nonsense designed to con the unsuspecting through  process akin to sympathetic magic. It’s the same thinking that brought us many of the ‘alternative medicines’ that Janet seems to want to defend, if only in passing in a later episode. It’s just commerce preying upon the gullible – nothing more. Yes, it’s distasteful but it’s not as though the circumcised little boys have any use for their recently detached foreskin, is it? Hospitals sell afterbirths to cosmetics manufacturers for the same, unscientific but profitable reasons.

This has been going on for decades without anyone feeling the need to ask…

“What’s next? Drinking baby blood?”

That’s not journalism. That’s not research – that’s just hyperbole. It’s rabble-rousing dog-whistling. Don’t fall for this incredibly dishonest nonsense. It’s not even put together all that well. I’ve made better videos than this and I’m about as amateur as you can get.

Now then – the idea of patented diseases. Let’s see. Where to begin?

I’ll keep it easy. First – many things that are clearly not man made have patents attached to them. The human genome is patented for pete’s sake but nobody is pretending it was man made. The patent is for the genetic sequence and reflects the work undertaken in discovering it. The results of sequencing are then made available to others but the patent means that the original identifier who did the work is paid for their work. That’s true of genomes for species like humans and also for disease bacteria and viruses. Industry pundits argue that the system provides a motivation for scientists to do the enormaous amount of work required to sequence a genome and begin to identify potential cures.

There are ethical considerations here and we can all have our own opinions about it but one thing is very clear – the patent is not for man made diseases – it’s for the work of understanding naturally occuring ones. So much for all those hours of research eh, Janet? That took me about 60 seconds to discover on google!

By now I feel absolutely confident in calling Janet Ossebaard a blatant liar. But if you’re not yet convinced read on. There’s more. And we’re not even out of part 1 yet.

Spyware in our devices. Yep. I agree. This is hardly surprising. Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that this is almost certainly the case. Information is money in this data-driven economy and if you have a way to harvest information you can make a fortune selling it to organisations like cambridge Analytica or even governments around the world. We know this to be true. It doesn’t mean there’s an illuminati though – just that data is the new big commodity in world commerce. Remember Occam’s razor – don’t multiply contingencies unnecessarily.

Let’s look at another syllogism, shall we.

Proposition 1 – Monsanto is a chemical company that has made pesticides

Proposition 2 – Bayer is a chemicals company that has bought Monsanto

Conclusion – Our food supply is controlled by a poison company

Would you say that the premises are sound? I would. Both these things are true.

Would you say the structure is valid? No, of course not. Bayer doesn’t control our food. It simply manufactures some pesticides through Monsanto that food growers may or may not choose to use.

This sort of logical fallacy – when the premises don’t lead to the conclusion in any way is called a ‘non-sequeter’. There’s no sequence to it. The conclusion doesn’t follow the premise. It’s fallacious!

When you say it quickly as Janet does it sounds scary but let’s put it another way. A large chemical company has bought a smaller chemical company.

What’s the big deal?

Remember that Janet can say all she likes but the burden of proof rests with her and so far all she’s done with any of this has either told blatant lies or made tenuous links with no evidence of wrongdoing. The burden of proof lies with her and claims require evidence, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and that which can be asserted with out evidence (most of this so far) can be dismissed without evidence – just like Bertram Russell’s silver teapot orbiting the sun. I can’t prove it’s not there but that really doesn’t mean that it is.

According to Janet, experts described the Bayer/Monsanto takeover as a “…perfect match made in Hell”

Oh yeah?

Which experts? When? Citation needed!

Now we get to Hilary Clinton. Listen carefully to what is said here.

Hilary destroyed Emails from her private… PRIVATE… Email account. Every American citizen has a right to privacy so long as it’s not related to official life. There’s no evidence that this was anything but private so far as I can tell. If there was anything incriminating I’ve no doubt Janet would have included it. Sometimes you learn as much from what isn’t said as from what is.

So yes – she got away with destroying private correspondence to maintain her privacy. She got away with having committed no crime. In America, as in UK you cannot be prosecuted for the terrible crime of not breaking the law. Janet can speculate all she likes about the nature of those Emails but the truth is she has no idea what they were about.

The time to believe something is when there’s evidence to support it. Destroying your own private correspondence is not evidence of wrongdoing.

Obama’s peace prize. Yeah, OK – that was rash. Mind you, there is an argument that the reason Trump was able to pull out of war zones is because of the good management by Obama of the war zones that he inherited when he took office. Personally I have no dog in this fight. I have always seen America as a warmongering state regardless of who’s in power. It’s economy is based upon funding the military which then does huge amounts of tax-payer funded research and development and then makes the technological advances it develops available to American industry. It’s a well known strategy of the American economy that has gone on since Vietnam and the space race.

So Bill Clinton is a lech. So what? That’s evidence of human failings – not of global conspiracy.

Incidentally it’s interesting just how much moralising Janet does behind the scenes. There’s the Christian iconography, the veiled metaphor with rapture theology, the distaste for sex-workers and the womens’ right to choose. For someone who isn’t into controlling people she certainly knows how to appeal to the religious right wing.

Then there’s wikileaks. OK – So Assange published some stuff about Hilary which was apparently incriminating. Let’s see it then. The burden of proof is on you, Janet. Otherwise all we have is you regurgitating the smears of Trump and the alt-right.

As to the Seth Rich angle – he was apparently killed in a robbery. What’s interesting is that the people who made up the wikileaks connection retracted their stories and wiki leaks was already speaking to Russian agents about the Clinton connection both before and after the shooting of Seth Rich. This seems to be bollocks too – and yet Janet’s thousands of hours of research didn’t manage to come up with what i found after only a minute or two on line.

And then Trump was elected and the following year Q started posting cryptic puzzles.

Ask yourself this too…

Why would anyone believe in the cryptic ‘crumbs’ dropped by an anonymous interlocuter who they know nothing at all about?

End of part 1.

Is that enough? This represents several hours of my life that I’m not getting back.

Really? Is that enough or do you want me to discredit more of this deceitful claptrap?