03 Sep 97 15:26:26 +1100
And on the subject of Diana, the following arrived from TechWire Direct,
Tuesday September 2...
=== The Full Story =========================
--- Diana: Net Conspiracy Theories Begin ---
By Douglas Hayward, TechWire
LONDON -- The Internet's legion of conspiracy theorists are already
exploiting the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Within minutes of the official announcement of the death of the
troubled princess early Sunday morning, an Australian-based Web page
calling itself "The First Diana Conspiracy Site" was up and running.
The page contained the usual mixture of searching questions and swipes
at big business, government, and the secret services normally found in
Net-based conspiracy publications.
The death of Diana and her boyfriend, Dodi Al Fayed, will benefit the
British and American governments, the British Royal Family, and the
international weapons industry, according to the site.
Diana was causing embarrassment to the royal family by her romance with
Al Fayed, and was making enemies among the Western governments and the
arms manufacturers through her highly publicized campaign against land
mines, the site said.
Saying, "The whole thing [fatal crash] seems too pat and too
convenient," the Australian site asked whether the American tourists
who arrived on the scene shortly after the crash were connected with
the secret services.
It also questioned why Diana was not operated on in the tunnel "using
[an] especially designed portable operating theater." The decision not
to use a mobile operating theater was "a very unusual occurrence," the
The First Diana Conspiracy Site was put up by Chris Berkeley, a former
insurance underwriter who designs Websites for businesses and who
describes himself as a "card-carrying skeptic."
As the stories were made public, "certain things didn't add up, [which
was] partly to be expected, since the information coming through was so
confused," said Berkeley, who lives in New South Wales, Australia. "I
wanted to demonstrate how the Internet can operate as a news service,
and [as a medium] for commentaries that are a little off beat."
Asked if he believed what he wrote on his site, Berkeley said, "some of
The Australian site doesn't charge its viewers. But a commercial
conspiracy site, which opened a special section on Diana's death
shortly after the fatal crash, is cashing in on the accident.
The Conspiracy Theory Discussion Board site asked users to pay _9.95 to
send their "comments, insights, speculations, expressions of grief and
sympathy, tributes, condolences, and any evidence you might have that
the tragic deaths of Princess Diana and millionaire Dodi Fayed were not
what they are being made to appear to be."
The British royal family, meanwhile, cleared the front page of its
Website, creating a black-bordered page adorned with a picture of the
princess taken by Lord Snowdon, the former husband of the queen's
sister, Princess Margaret.
The site includes a biography of the princess, along with a book of
condolences in which mourners have been writing their farewell messages
Copyright 1997 CMP Media Inc.
Project Officer, On-line Services
Australian Broadcasting Authority
phone: +61 2 9334 7938 fax: +61 2 9334 7799
post: PO Box Q500, QVB Post Office, NSW 1230
address: level 15, 201 Sussex St, Sydney
DX: DX 13012 Market St Sydney
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