Conspiracy Buffs Run Reality Show

I’ve done a little bit of followup on this Starwalker astronaut reality show, which began accepting applications on Saturday. With the help of an alert reader (thanks, Peter Lambert!), I have discovered that this already interesting story has become ever more curiouser and curiouser.

After the break: Staff departures! 9-11 conspiracy theories! Mega-lawsuits! And lots and lots of !!!!!s!

The first bit of news: the show was described as the “brainchild” of three ISU 09 summer session alumni – Katherine Bennell, Campbell Pegg and Rogan Shimmin. However, they are no longer with the program – and they are not elaborating on why.

But, as they say in the Biz, the show must go on. And apparently it will, under the direction of show runner/executive producer Jonathan Nolan and his long-time business partner, Greg Smith, who is heading up Southern Hemisphere operations.

And that, my friends, is where things get really interesting….

Nolan is an Australian novelist and independent filmmaker who heads up a company called Pisces All Media. One of his films, “Fortunate Sons,” is an expose on the George W. Bush Administration and the War on Terror. Nolan directed it and co-produced it with fellow Aussie Smith. I found this synopsis online:

From JFK to Star Wars, from the birth of the modern USA to the CIA-dominated police state of today, FORTUNATE SONS show graphic evidence of the JFK and 9/11 conspiracy, tracing the assault on freedom by the elite.

Pisces All Media has a page dedicated to the film that raises questions about the U.S. government’s knowledge of or involvement in 9-11. The page doesn’t provide any answers; I’m guessing they’re in the film.

This is about all I could find “Fortunate Sons.” There had been a clip of it on YouTube. However, that has been removed. I can find no place to download the film – or buy it. So, it’s difficult to know what exactly is claimed in the doc, or to evaluate the evidence.

Pisces All Media also published a book, “The Third Truth,” by Dimitri Khalezov. This tome claims that the Twin Towers were destroyed by nuclear weapons installed by Israeli intelligence service Mossad.

Yes, you read that right. Nuclear weapons supplied by Israel. Nukes were used not only for 9-11, but for the Bali nightclub bombing. I also found reference to a Russian submarine missile being used.

Curiously, I’ve been looking for excerpts from this book, or even a place to buy it, and I’ve come up empty. It was being sold on a site called Lulu.com, but no longer.

Now, this book might have sunk quickly into the mucky depths of conspiracy literature if not for a discussion about it on the Australian website zGeek.com.According to a story in the Sydney Morning Herald (which Peter Lambert pointed me to), Smith went online to defend the book:

Smith wrote that “the arguments and evidence presented are very convincing”, but the forum community quickly turned on him, claiming he was connected with the publisher….

In a phone interview, Smith admitted that he used to be a senior partner with Pisces All Media, which published the 9/11 book, but claimed he stopped working there several years ago after he was diagnosed with cancer.

The online discussion became very heated. And it all eventually led to Smith and Nolan filing lawsuits against zGeek owner Tony Brisciani, owner of zGeek. Smith is seeking $42.5 million plus an amount for damage to his reputation.

Smith is separately suing the Filmnet message board over similar defamation claims, while Smith’s partner, Jonathan Nolan, is also separately suing both zGeek and Filmnet.

The damage to the reputation has nothing to do with supporting nutty 9-11 conspiracy theories. Instead, they say that the negative publicity on zGeek scuttled a movie they were going to make about alleged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

But the film deal was axed after the overseas party that contracted Smith to make the film allegedly stumbled across the comments on the zGeek forum and decided Smith’s reputation was too damaged to continue.

As near as I can tell, the lawsuits are still pending. However, there was some indication of settlement discussions between Smith and zGeek. The case is seen as a landmark for Australian law, which has fewer protections for online publishers than other nations such as the United States.

The obvious question for the space community is this: is it really good to have a reality show in the hands of conspiracy theorists?

I would think that few of the governments involved with ISS would want to be connected with this project’s leaders. The same would be true of most of the private companies planning orbital facilities and commercial transports.

We’ll see how much reality there is in this series…