“Look, they faked that girl being trapped in the rubble of that school, so it doesn’t seem beyond reason that they might have faked the entire earthquake,” says top conservative commentator and so called ‘shock jock’ Joseph ‘Big Joe’ Smollek, casting doubt upon the authenticity of the recent Mexican earthquake. “I mean, did anyone from a non Spanish speaking country actually experience this supposed earthquake? Sure we all saw the aftermath on the TV, but they could easily have demolished those buildings themselves, to provide ‘evidence’ of the quake for the benefit of the world’s media. Yes sir, I can guarantee that nobody but Mexicans actually ‘saw’ those buildings collapse in a quake!” Smollek’s remarks – made originally on his Tulsa talk radio show – have been met with incredulity, with news organisations and aid agencies condemning his ignorance and lack of sympathy for the victims of a natural disaster. “It beggars belief that anyone could believe that the Mexican people would conspire to destroy their own homes and facilities – what could they possibly gain from doing such a thing?” demands journalist Zeke Pontoon, who covered the Mexican earthquake for the Kansas Consolidated Cattle Farmers’ Gazette. “I’ve been down there myself and, believe me, there’s no way that they could have destroyed and damaged all those buildings overnight themselves!”

But Smollek is clear on what he believes is the motivation of the Mexicans for faking an earthquake. “God damn, isn’t it obvious? With all that aid money they’ll be getting from those bleeding heart liberal relief organisations, they’ll be able to rebuild their country, more luxurious than before,” he says. “Look, before this so called ‘quake’, they were all living in shitty shacks with no indoor plumbing, but by bulldozing them and saying they were flattened by an earthquake, they’ll soon be living in palaces with all mod cons! Believe me, the thought of being able to use an indoor flushing toilet instead of crapping in a bucket is a powerful motivation to trash your own home!” Smollek has extended his suspicions beyond Mexico, noting that major earthquakes only ever seem to occur in the poorest of countries. “When was the last time we had a major quake in, say, San Francisco? Or Paris? Or London? Yet it seems to be happening every other week in places like Mexico, Bangladesh or Greece. If you ask me, the natural disaster business is some kind of racket,” he opines. “A racket designed to defraud the world’s wealthiest nations of billions of dollars in the form of so called ‘aid’. Someone has to call these countries out over this scam.”

Smollek is undeterred in pursuit of his theory, even when it is pointed out to him that both Italy and Japan, both members of the G8, have suffered major earthquakes and other natural disasters in recent years. “Oh Hell, everyone knows the whole damn Italian economy is on the rocks – they’re always on the make,” he snorts, derisively. “As for those Japs – every time their economy slows they pull some kind of stunt. In ‘41 it was attacking Pearl Harbor to trigger a war they knew they’d lose, then rebuild their country at the US’ expense.” Pontoon remains exasperated by the broadcaster’s allegations. “For God’s sake, people died in that earthquake, is he asking us to believe that they’d kill their own people, just to try and secure international aid?” he asks. “I mean, really? Does he really have such a negative perception of human nature?” Smollek has been quick to dismiss such arguments. “Who says anyone died?” he demands. “Like I said – the Mexican emergency services and media got caught out stringing people along with that ‘rescue’ of the non-existent schoolgirl from that wrecked school – who is to say that the other supposed victims of the ‘quake’ aren’t just as fake?”

Smollek is also highly suspicious of the timing of the latest Mexican earthquakes, claiming it was no coincidence that they occurred just as the US was facing an onslaught by multiple hurricanes. “Once they realised those hurricanes weren’t headed for them, they started getting worried that the good ol’ USA would be getting all the sympathy and aid,” he contends. “Not that needed have worried: nobody ever gives us anything. Not that that stops all those international aid parasites expecting hand outs from us all the time.” Although Smollek’s comments have been widely condemned, he has gained some support, notably from British conspiracy theorist Adam Gluckstone, who claims that there is a precedent for communities faking earthquakes. “Back in the eighties, the UK town of Crapchester infamously faked its own earthquake by demolishing several buildings and residential streets in the hope of attracting government aid,” he explains. “To be fair, the whole enterprise actually started with the best of intentions, but quickly went awry.”

Indeed, former Crapchester mayor Ron Whittler – who served four years for fraud as a result of the incident – has explained to The Sleaze how the now notorious ‘Crapchester Earthquake’ occurred. “It had its origins in an attempt to raise funds for the victims of an earthquake in Chile,” the seventy three year old told us. “After seeing the pictures of destroyed buildings in Chile, someone on the council had the idea of wrecking some buildings here in sympathy. It started with a couple of condemned office blocks, but it still didn’t seem to make local people sympathetic enough to make contributions to our earthquake relief fund for Chile. So we decided that we should bring home to people the sort of deprivations they were suffering in Chile by pulling down a residential street without warning.” The response was immediate and spectacular, with money flowing into the council’s earthquake fund. “People were worried that they might have their homes destroyed if they didn’t contribute,” explains Whittler. “But then we realised that we were going to have to face the cost of rehousing the people whose homes we’d destroyed, not to mention the cost of rebuilding that street.” The answer seemed obvious: demolish even more of Crapchester, blame it on an earthquake and watch the relief funding roll in. “It seemed foolproof and, for the first couple of days, it worked,” he says. “But then outsiders started questioning as to why the quake had been so localised and why no tremors were felt in nearby towns. Finally, those bloody government scientists announced that no earth tremors had been registered in the area for over a hundred years. Bloody bastard geologists!” Although Whittler and several councillors and officials were arrested and served jail time, he feels that the scheme was, in the long run, a success. “There might not have been an earthquake, but the government still had to pony up the funds to rebuild the town and rehouse thousands of residents,” he says. “So I think I’m justified in feeling that we had the last laugh.”