“IS THIS WHERE YOU WANT TO BE WHEN JESUS COMES BACK? I DON’T THINK SO! AMERICA, GET IT RIGHT!!”
I still don’t know how people aren’t seeing that Operation Jade Helm is going down. This is a parking lot at Sam’s Club in San Angelo, Texas where there is obvious Jade Helm activity. There were containers, tarps on chain link fences, moving trucks with Knights Templar insignia on them, and all of this stuff was laid out in a triangle - obvious Illuminati involvement. This is big, people. Get right and get ready!
The only thing I’m going to say about this upfront is that a sizable percentage of the people reading this very sentence will hit play and not realize that this is satire.
And most of them will have something about the Confederate flag on their Facebook page. And bad hillbilly dental work. They will invariably be Republicans. I even bolded the part about it being satire. I’m mentioning it twice, aren’t I? Still some large number of people will not get the joke, or that the joke is, in fact, on them.
Well, that’s the proposition of William Kare’s documentary (mockumentary?) Dark Side of the Moon, which originally aired on French TV channel Arte in 2002 as Opération Lune.
According to Karel’s (fictional?) film, Kubrick was hired to fake the Apollo 11 mission by the U.S. government. The evidence? Well, secret documents alluding to Kubrick’s involvement in the “fraud” were discovered among the director’s papers after his death in March 1999.
Moreover, Kubrick apparently left clues to his involvement into the scam: firstly, his being loaned lenses by NASA to recreate the candle-lit scenes in his film Barry Lyndon—how else could have got hold of these unless NASA owed him a BIG favor?; secondly, Kubrick allegedly made a confession of his involvement in the conspiracy that is contained in his film version of Stephen King’s The Shining.
Adding substance to these alleged facts, Karel wheels out a highly convincing array of contributors: Henry Kissinger, Buzz Aldrin, Jan Harlan, Richard Helms, Vernon Walters (who is claimed to have mysteriously died after filming) and Christiane Kubrick.
It’s a great romp, and for those who are tempted to believe, watch the bloopers reel at the end.
Cervenka’s First Amendment right to make a complete and utter fucking laughingstock out of herself is indisputable—last time I checked, this was still America—but I can’t imagine that the other members of X think this is all that hilariously funny. (Consider what having to tour with this hillbilly nincompoop must be like, always wanting to listen to Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage on the radio).
Some of her fans seem unwilling to believe Cervenka could be this big of a fuckwit and are sticking up for her, saying this must be some kind of Andy Kaufman-esque “performance art.” Bullshit, she’s just an ugly human being. Fuck you, Exene. People died and you’re spreading batshit crazy conspiracy theories on the level of Alex Jones. You should be ashamed of yourself, lady, but these days, you don’t even seem acquainted enough with reality itself to fully comprehend why.
Hi. Let me introduce myself. My name is Christine Notmyrealname, and I am a completely unlicensed for-amusement-and-entertainment-purposes-only uncertified conspiracy therapist. My job in life—self-appointed—is to bring conspiracy theorists, and those who aren’t, together, so that we can all unite and fix what’s wrong with society, the world, et cetera.
With those words, we are ushered into the over-the-rainbow, everything-you-know-is-fucking-WRONG-maaaaan world of Christine Notmyrealname, whom you surely know better as Exene Cervenka, singer of the seminal L.A. punk/roots rock band X. When DM last checked in on her, she was holding the punkest garage sale ever, in preparation for a move from L.A. to Texas, which, it turns out, may be in preparation for SHTF. But don’t worry, ladies, you can survive the coming apocalyptic nastiness if you just land the right man! Forget about that metrosexual Beverly Hills pantywaiste in his BMW, you want a redneck with a front porch, a pickup truck with a gun rack and the manly ability to put food on the table that he has killed himself. Just make sure you have skills to offer, and try not to be a tarted up, fake-tits whore.
Exene, she calls it as she sees it…
WATCH OUT FOR ALLIGATOOOORRRRRS!
Cervenka has a kooky YouTube channel full-to-burstin’ with bonkers shit. Samples from her playlists called “Liked videos,” “Favorite videos,” and “random greatness” include “exposés” of Reptilian shape-shifters, “proof” that the tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary was fake, and the Internet paranoiac’s usual array of 9/11-OMG-the-currency-is-about-to-crash-wake-up-sheeple-everything’s-a-false-flag crap. It’s useful to have this background to her proclivities, because she steers clear of explicitly pushing those buttons in her own videos, which give them a kind of inchoate vagueness that actually augments their unhinged appeal.
Look, we can surely all agree that consensus reality absolutely does not always match up with what’s actually happening, and that information gleaned from corporate media invariably comes with a heapin’ helpin’ of veiled agenda. But there’s a whole lot of excluded middle between sensible advice to question the information that’s fed you and “The End-Time Adventures of Lucifer and His Illuminati Gang.”
Some of Exene’s favorite “informations,” after the jump…
Is it wrong to hold up someone who is so obviously mentally ill to mockery and then sell advertisements against it? Am I a bad person for lampooning someone clearly losing his shit for laughs and banner ads?
Nah. This kind of thing happens on Fox News all the live-long day, doesn’t it?
I think if you showed a younger Alex Jones what he would eventually come to represent, and how the general public would regard him, as they do today, “Winning” like his pal Charlie Sheen, just a sad, pathetic clown, he’d probably break down and start sobbing.
Imagine the sheer, unmitigated hell his wife must go through!
Crack is wack, but whatever Alex Jones is on should be avoided at all costs.
Maybe the Illuminati HAVE already gotten to him. I guess I wasn’t thinking, you know, enough steps ahead!
One of things that interests me about 9/11 is how it violently divides people, creating a kind of epistemological schism. For many, entertaining the conspiratorial view of the event (“inside job” and all that) is tantamount to believing in the tooth fairy. For others, entertaining the official version of the event is also tooth-fairy credulous. There is little middle ground, and the adherents could easily be said to occupy parallel universes.
Needless to say, for those tending to the former perspective, my tongue is firmly, deeply buried in my cheek here: of course I didn’t and don’t think that such a vast and mind-bending conspiracy is possible, let alone credible, or that the following are really anything other than meaningless slips of the tongue (rather than what Freud liked to call “psychic facts”). That is to say, I’m being ironic. Gawd.
(As for everyone else, wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more…I’m just trying to get this information out there!)
Number 1 “The TV was obviously on…” Dubya describes seeing the first plane hit.
Is this the greatest Freudian slip of all time? A predictable number one, certainly, but deservedly so. Where were you when you first saw the planes hit the towers? Remember? Well, apparently being POTUS during such an event plays havoc with your memory. “Kite… Plane…Must… Hit… Steel…”
Veteran BBC broadcaster Andrew Neil, who made the mistake of inviting conspiracy theorist Alex Jones onto his normally staid Sunday Politics program last night, has called Jones “the worst person I’ve ever interviewed” and an “idiot.”
I don’t think he meant that in a good way.
Neil’s other guest was journalist David Aaronovitch and the topic was the Bilderberg Conference, currently taking place at a luxury hotel in rural Hertfordshire.
After Jones asserts that the euro was a “Nazis Germany plan,” Aaronovitch mocks him with a wonderfully droll question (I won’t give it away) and Jones freaks out.
Beyond that, basically all Alex Jones did was shout things like he had Tourette’s syndrome, but the canny flim-flam man did make sure to get his URL on BBC television. Repeatedly:
“Hey listen, I’m here to warn people, you keep telling me to shut up. This isn’t a game. Our government, the US, is building FEMA camps. We have an NDAA where they disappear people now. You have this arrest for public safety, life in prison. It’s basically off with their heads, disappear them. Take them away. Infowars.com. Liberty is rising. Liberty is rising. Freedom will not stop. You will not stop freedom. You will not stop the republic. Humanity is awakening. Infowars.com. No, you guys are crazy, thinking that the public’s too stupid. You’re crazy, thinking the public doesn’t know. You’re crazy, thinking the public isn’t waking up.”
Before the show ended, an exasperated Andrew Neil made the familiar swirling finger near his ear/“this person is fucking bonkers” gesture before adding “We have an idiot on the program today” as Jones continued his spittle-flecked, bellicose ranting.
Mr. Neil later said of Jones’ conniption fit on Twitter: “The moment Alex Jones knew he was no longer on air he stopped.” (That’s passion, that’s… entertainment?)
Piers Morgan tweeted back: “Morning, @afneil - didn’t you get my memo on @RealAlexJones?”
Thank you Chris Campion of Los Angeles, California!
Papa’s got a brand new conspiracy theory: Glenn Beck, the teary-eyed, former alcoholic Mormon “patriot” and multi-millionaire conspiracy theory media mogul believes (or, rather, *ahem*, says he believes) himself to be the target of, what else, a conspiracy to call him a conspiracy theorist.
It sounds like I am making this up. I am not making this up. Via Raw Story:
Conspiracy talk radio host Glenn Beck [see what he did there?] said Tuesday that he isn’t sure why he’s been labeled a conspiracy theorist in the media, but he’s pretty sure it’s the result of a “concentrated effort” somehow coordinated by the White House.
Building on his theory that CNN secretly orchestrated an incredibly awkward moment between host Wolf Blitzer and an atheist survivor of the Oklahoma tornadoes, Beck told listeners on Tuesday that it’s just another example of the media’s conspiracy to push a hidden agenda, in this case atheism.
“The media has their own agenda,” he said of CNN. “And if the media has a storyline, it just writes it in. And currently the storyline is ‘conspiracy theorist.’” Then, without irony, he asked: “Why is it a concentrated effort now to label me a conspiracy theorist?”
Fantabulosa! The man surely knows how to enthrall his audience of cud-chewing cows, does he not? They subscribe to this shit, baby! Pay the man a monthly fee to put stupid ideas in their heads. It’s genius, the best gimmick for separating fools from their money since televangelism or Scientology!
Glenn Beck is so gangsta, motherfucker, countin’ those stacks o’ Benjamins!
There’s a fantastic new—at least I think it’s pretty new—sub-reddit section that’s a catchall for some of the more idiotic conspiracy theories out there. Titled ‘Conspiratards,’ for the most part, the forum consists of postings debunking the willy-nilly fever dream dot-connecting of Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, the 9-11 truthers, birthers, LaRouchites, Tea partiers, Ron Paul fanboys and David Icke. If you are so inclined, it’s a fucking laugh riot.
Special Note: Conspiratards hate free speech and religiously down-mod good submissions here, so be sure to check out the “controversial” submissions that they don’t want you to see!
When you talk about conspiracy theories, there are, of course, REAL conspiracies and crimes—things which can be proven in a court of law and that actually happened historically (Watergate and the Iran Contra scandal come immediately to mind) and then there’s the utter lunatic bullshit that Alex Jones propagates on his radio show, the Montauk Project book series and Brice Taylor, the self-proclaimed mind-controlled sex slave of Bob Hope, the CIA and Henry Kissinger). When you get down to the “lizard people” level, I’m not sure what value these empty mental calories provide as a part of one’s intellectual diet, but from a sociological viewpoint, it’s fascinating to gawk at the loopy things that some people are willing to believe, absent any proof other than a sweaty, obnoxious fat guy shouting that it’s all a big government cover-up (A pic of Alex Jones looking suitably barking mad is the Conspiratards’ mascot).
I’ve watched as the conspiracy theory subculture degenerated from serious, yet unorthodox, inquiry and investigative journalism (the high point was the late 80s, early 90s when zine culture still flourished) to the mentally unstable jabberwocky of Jones, the Fox News reichwing propaganda machine and the smirking, immature fratboy fascists at Breitbart we have today. It’s gone from fascinating to pathetic and there’s a world of distance between the likes of a great, non-conformist mind such as Mae Brussell or her disciple Dave Emory, and a bi-polar paranoid numbskull like Alex Jones.
Because of the popularity of Disinformation, which launched in 1996 when the Internet was still a new thing to most people, I was often asked to comment on conspiracy theories on television shows and newscasts from all over the world. Out of “nowhere” these “theories” appeared to be gaining a level of acceptability in the culture, and this seemed to alarm traditional journalists and so they would have someone like me—or Jonathan Vankin, author of Conspiracies, Cover-Ups and Crimes, still the definitive book on conspiracy theorists) explain it for their listeners, viewers or readers. Both Jonathan and myself were bemused onlookers, not true believers in any way, so we tended to be the “go to” guys for that stuff back then.
I was always asked these two questions, or some variation thereof: “Have you ever investigated a conspiracy theory that you were skeptical of, only to find that you ultimately came to believe it?” (“No,” is the very short answer) and they also always wanted to know how the general public would be able to tell shit from shinola in this brave new Internet era…
This was the trickier question to answer, but to a large extent, I’d give the same answer today as I did fifteen years ago: “If it sounds like something they already believe, and it’s presented with a certain level of slickness, be it a professional TV graphics package, or good web design, then a certain segment of the population probably will believe it—fervently—and there’s not a lot that can done about it.”
I’ve had TV hosts gasp when I said that, but I wasn’t trying to imply—certainly not—that Lyndon LaRouche’s website would be on equal footing with The New York Times, but I was on the record several times back then predicting that “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” as defined by Richard Hofstadter in his famous 1964 essay of the same title, would become very popular in the coming decade as a form of entertainment.
It’s not about the John Birch Society-type ideas, or those of Glenn Beck’s idol, W. Cleon Skousen, per se—they’ve been languishing in the background for 50-60 years—but the slicker presentation of these kinds of ideas in a wide-open, low barrier to entry mediaverse that is seeing them flourish and gain traction in a way that never could have been imagined when Hofstadter wrote his essay. Today what used to be the fringe is the mainstream.
Consider the right wing “bubble” that the Mitt Romney campaign and the GOP were accused of living in during the 2012 election. If Breitbart.com looked like Free Republic, it’s doubtful that it would carry the same weight in the minds of conservatives as the freaking New York Times, if you take the point, but to many on the right, it DOES have the same value, a fact that came out repeatedly in the election post-mortems. Breitbart? WTF?
Then there’s Fox News. Imagine how threadbare that network would appear without the slick motion graphics and the blonde newscasters? It would frankly look just like the Alex Jones podcast without the Fox-y ladies and professional art directors. Ever noticed how few live reports Fox does? Local newscasts get out of the studio more often than Fox does and many times, they’re using the same feeds as CNN, perhaps even licensing these feeds from their competitor. It looks like a news network and has all of the trappings and outer appearance of one, but is it really news that Fox offers its elderly viewers in between all of the Gold Bond powder and MedicAlert commercials?
In any case, my perception of the Conspiratards sub-reddit forum is that it represents (by its explicitly mocking name and irreverent attitude) a really, really interesting new development in conspiracy theory culture. Not merely a “get your head out of your ass, dude” place to vent, it’s actually a place where even the folks who troll it will inevitably get a dose of counter reality that will bounce off the back of their heads like a basketball of logic.
I can understand why people are Glenn Beck fans or Alex Jones diehards, but it doesn’t mean I have any respect for how their tiny minds process and evaluate information sources. Conspiratards on reddit looks to promote a modern—and necessary—form of media literacy, no more, no less. The educational system might be failing us, but take heart that we can still teach each other something.
About ten years ago, whoever was managing Alex Jones at the time would have DVDs of Jones’ shouty “documentaries” messengered over to me at the Disinformation office.
I was already well aware of Alex Jones and sight-unseen, I already knew that this was not going to be something that I was going to be interested in, and especially not interested in investing any money into (the idea was that we would have manufactured it and distributed it on DVD).
Aside from the fact that they were obviously the products of a ranting and raving unhinged paranoiac lunatic with access to someone who knew Final Cut Pro, Jones used footage that there was no way he could have gotten the rights to use.
They were these long, like, messy video collages of fact, conjecture, crappy pixelated news footage and the jumbled-up logic, red-faced, bulging vein exhortations Jones is famous for. I will admit to watching them on the treadmill but they were always binned immediately afterwards.
In the intervening years, Jones has become a household name in some of America’s more gullible households, mostly due to Glenn Beck disgracefully elevating his profile on Fox News. Beck ultimately decided to cut out the middleman and unashamedly ripped off Alex Jones’ shtick. Oh yeah, Beck stole his act lock, stock and fucking barrel, went to the bank with it and then kicked Jones to the curb to distance himself from his hot-headed, foaming at the mouth mentor (and lesser showman). Jones does have a legitimate gripe with Glenn Beck, if you ask me, but it is Beck who deserves the blame for mainstreaming a kook like Alex fucking Jones in the first place.
Of late, Mr. Jones has been his own worst enemy, making himself into a laughingstock, first with his infamously berserk Piers Morgan interview on CNN and then again with his “false flag” accusations about the Boston bombing.
Jones makes outrageous predictions constantly. Is he ever right?
Nathaniel Downes at Addicting Info thinks Alex Jones is a fraud. That might be more than a little unfair to Jones—I think he believes what he says, he’s just fucking nuts—but he’s amassed an impressive list of some of Alex Jones’ greatest misses from 2012:
Worldwide shortage of rare earth metals – Didn’t happen
Food supply disruptions hit western nations – Didn’t happen
Deadly superbug mutation goes wild – Didn’t happen
New evidence links vaccines and neurological disorders – The opposite happened
U.S. power grid suffers catastrophic failure – Didn’t happen
Satellite breakdown – Didn’t happen
GM crop contamination leads to crisis – Didn’t happen
Honeybee population collapse spreads to other species – Didn’t happen
Weather patterns become increasingly radicalized – Debatable
Nuclear power sees global resurgence – The Fukushima incident discredited this
Nuclear weapons unleashed in the Middle East – Didn’t happen
New exotic superfood from South America emerges in western markets – Didn’t happen
A high-tech, portable vitamin D sensor device is invented – Didn’t happen
U.S. debt gets downgraded while world investors slash purchases of U.S. debt instruments – The debt was downgraded, but investors still flock to it
U.S. nearly comes to military conflict with China over natural resources – Didn’t happen
Huge new scandal implicates major pharmaceutical company in scientific fraud – Nothing out of the ordinary here
China unleashes armies of corporate espionage hackers onto western nations – Some debate on this is ongoing
Medical imaging scandal unfolds as older patients begin to show serious health damage from radiation via mammograms, CT scans and more – Didn’t happen
Another 9/11 false flag incident – Didn’t happen
The world won’t end on December 21, 2012 – Hey, a stopped clock is right twice a day!
EPA pressured to regulate pharmaceuticals in the water supply – Can’t even contemplate this one without the brain hurting
Nursing home drugging scandal exposed – Didn’t happen
The psychiatric industry will declare more normal behaviors to be “disorders” – Didn’t happen
Vaccine industry goes crazy with new vaccines for all sorts of “diseases” – Didn’t happen
War on health freedom ramps up, targeting raw milk, homeopathy, herbs and supplements – Didn’t happen
The world becomes a far more dangerous place for honest citizens – So open-ended you cannot even evaluate
New attempts are made to destroy internet freedom – SOPA and PIPA have been discussed for awhile, so not a real argument
China’s boom will bust, sending ripples through global economy – Didn’t happen
Central and South America will drop the U.S. dollar as a currency – Didn’t happen
Local currencies emerge following the collapse of the dollar – As the dollar didn’t collapse, this didn’t happen
TSA suspends full body scanners after celeb photo scandal – No, was suspended due to dangerous exposure to radiation
Cell phone brain tumors start to appear in younger users – Didn’t happen
Medical industry claims to find cause of autism – Didn’t happen, although some hope has been raised
Terrorist strike on the U.S. water supply – Didn’t happen
Sperm count drops, infertility rates rise – Fertility is increasing, not decreasing, across the United States
“Stealth personal recorders” go mainstream – We call them Cell Phones, although Alex Jones is quick to claim that they cause cancer
Rachel Maddow’s epic Alex Jones takedown from last night is quite amusing. She starts off all serious, but wait until the clips of feverishly ranting Alex Jone start. After that she riffs on him like the fool he is and annihilates him, but with her typical good-natured wryness. Jones is perfect fodder for her wit. Good stuff.
In January of 1999, I started to put together the pilot episode of what would become a two series run of a show called Disinfo Nation if you lived in the UK, and Disinformation in the rest of the world. The very first day of shooting was so outrageous that it was really never topped during the subsequent two years of production, 24 zany months that saw me going to fetish clubs, listening to the sounds of plants communicating and “investigating” behind the scenes of various ludicrous conspiracy theories.
A film and video producer I knew by the name of Chica Bruce—known around New York for her work on Yo! MTV Raps—had become an aficionado of the “Montauk Project” conspiracy theory book series and when she heard about the TV pilot order I’d gotten from Britain’s Channel 4 network, she strongly encouraged me to do a segment on her new obsession. I thought this was a good idea, having read five of the Montauk Project volumes myself, books I considered to be mind rot at its absolute finest.
Chica had become acquainted with the key players in the conspiracy, as well as several “Montauk experiencers,” as she put it, young men who had “feelings” that they too were a part of the nefarious goings on at a disused Air Force base on Long Island. How this generally occurred, she explained to me, is that they would read the Montauk Project books and their own repressed memories of working on the project would resurface. There were more than ten “Montauk Boys” and fewer than twenty. Chica, a very attractive woman, was apparently the sole female traveling in such a circle, for reasons that would soon become pretty obvious. She scheduled interviews with two of the main Montauk players—and possibly a third—during a weekend shoot on Long Island. I also planned to interview Chica herself and have her show me around the site of the former Montauk Point Air Force base. I found her innocent willingness to buy into the obvious tall tales these clowns told added an entirely new layer to the story I wanted to tell. Chica could put herself through metaphysical logic loops that would have left someone with a less hardy appetite for weirdness feeling dizzy. Having a photogenic character like her to play off Jabba The Hutt-like Preston Nichols and Stewart Swerdlow—a campy goateed married man who told me on camera that he was sent back in time to assassinate Jesus Christ—was pretty perfect.
I always endeavored to present the conspiracy theory material with a completely straight face. I was heavily influenced by American Movie and the films of Christopher Guest. I wanted to make “real” mockumentaries. The goal was to produce something that lived up to a conceit of a title like Disinformation (meaning a mixture of truth and lies used as an information smokescreen) and the show’s cheerfully snarky tagline: “If you’re not wondering if we made this stuff up, we’re not doing our job right.”
The idea was to make the audience ask themselves if it was real or if it was scripted—several times—during the course of each show. For that to work, it had to seem like I believed it, too, no matter how preposterous or insane what the subjects were saying was. I also had to convince the interviewees that I bought into their reality, too.
I hit upon my interviewing style on the first day and it really worked for me: I’d ask extremely detailed questions, designed to elicit extremely detailed answers and then I’d have plenty to work with in the edit room. But there was an additional, less obvious psychological benefit to this approach. Here’s an example of what I mean by that: In the case of my interview with Preston B. Nichols, I went through every single page of his totally crazy books and instead of asking broad questions like “So tell me about your involvement with the Montauk Project...” I’d ask something more along the lines of “How were you recruited for your first job on the base or did you apply for the job? Was it a friend or a family member who told you about the job? I guess I’m a little unclear about how you found yourself there in the first place” and then he would be obliged to clarify it for me.
I’d follow that up with “Did you have to pass any sort of top secret security clearance before you started work there?”
You see what I was doing, demonstrating a better than usual familiarity with the backstory—I’d clearly done my research, which showed respect—but not getting it quite right so he’d be obliged to correct me on a small detail. I was a TV guy slickster in an expensive suit on his turf, so it was imperative that I disarm whatever nervousness my persona presented him with and get him on my side from the start or I wasn’t going to be able to get the sort of footage I needed. This little trick—and the fact that I can keep a straight face with the best of them—worked wonders for me.
Nichols’ home was a tiny old house that looked extremely incongruous among the million dollar McMansions that surrounded it. As we drove closer and saw the weed-covered yard and modified school bus in the driveway, it became obvious to us that we were indeed in the right place. Nichols lived there with his father, a morbidly obese old fellow who watched football perched on a La-Z-Boy® recliner. He reacted to the crew and myself like Gollum would after being exposed to light for the first time in years. He was so fat that it was hard for me to tell if he had any bones. He didn’t even bother moving as we tried to set up around him and he passed gas frequently, without any shame.
Their home was one of the filthiest places I’ve ever seen and a huge stack—and I do mean huge, there were at least 500 cans—of Spam (yes, the processed meat product) sat piled in one corner. Semi-eaten cans, with spoons dried and stuck to them, were seen all over the place, as if it was all the pair ate. There was junk everywhere. The bathroom was a rusty, pissed-covered scandal. The toilet seat had been cracked completely in half and then put back together with several rolls of tape. Preston wore a sweatshirt that had food spilled all over it. It was not pretty and it smelled real bad, too.
Although he was obviously quite suspicious of me—and not without good reason, of course—I got exactly what I needed from the interview (Except for one thing: Preston’s dead mother had constructed a memorial shrine to the actor Yul Brynner, an entire wall of framed photographs and magazine articles next to the massive pile of Spam. Afterwards, in the van, I asked the cameraman if he’d gotten some good shots of it, but alas he had not, thinking it had nothing to do with the story. No Spam pile, either).
Next up was Stewart Swerdlow, a curious fellow who told me in great detail, not only of his involvement with the project, but of his time spent in federal prison for a crime he told me that he’d been brainwashed to commit. I also met his new wife who explained that she’d been introduced to him while he was in prison by a psychic who told her that Stewart was her soul mate, so she divorced her husband for him. Stewart himself was uh, manually “deprogrammed” by Preston Nichols, as he quite self-consciously alludes to during the interview.
Lastly there was Chica Bruce herself, valiantly trying to convince me that I had not seen what I had just seen with my own two eyes—that Preston was a fat fibber/closet case using conspiracy theory for ulterior motives and Stewart being an extremely unconventional New Age con man (he was purveying “color therapy” at the time and offered to “do my colors” for a discount. I passed). I did an interview with her and then she took me on a tour of the decommissioned base (now a state park).
As we walked around the park—it was fucking freezing—she kept asking me things like “Don’t you feel that? C’mom man, you don’t feel ANY like inter-dimensional weirdness going on here? NOTHING?”
Chica was earnestly looking for the Montauk Project conspiracy. There was a conspiracy all right, just not the one that she was looking for…
With this background, have a look at “The Montauk Project”:
A couple of Mondays ago, on a cold, colorless morning at 9am sharp, I found myself in the singular predicament of joining the back of a queue of around fifteen 9/11 “Truthers” in a dismal magistrates’ court in Horsham, a small English town about an hour from London. These Truthers were mostly male, middle aged, and—I’m sorry to say—a little stinky.
Their conversation sounded something like this:
“… you believe that you’ll believe anything…”
“… Osama Bin Laden, don’t make me laugh…”
And the delightful…
“… other than the lizard thing—which I personally don’t have any great problem with—everything else that man has said has been spot-on…”
What was I doing there, dog tired and trying not to breathe through my nose? I was a tourist, waiting to attend what promised to be the weirdest TV license prosecution in history.
Last year, documentary filmmaker Tony Rooke decided he’d had enough of the mainstream media’s repression of what he considered the irrefutable case for the existence of a 9/11 conspiracy, and in an ingenious illustration of the old adage about using an enemy’s own weight and strength against them, had refused to pay his TV license on the grandiose grounds of Article 3, Section 15 of the UK 2000 Terrorism Act, which states that it is an offence to provide funds if there is a reasonable cause to suspect that those funds may be used for the purposes of terrorism (the TV License is a compulsory fee for all UK TV owners and pays for the BBC).
“Mr Rooke’s claim is that the BBC has withheld scientific evidence that demonstrates that the official version of 9/11 is not possible,” explained a press release circulated by the AE911Truth UK Action Group, “and that the BBC has actively attempted to discredit those people attempting to bring this evidence to the public.” As part of his defense, it added, Rooke had secured three hours to present his case, and had assembled a “formidable team” of defense witnesses, including Professor Niels Harrit (Professor of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen) and former intelligence analyst Tony Farrell. “Evidence such as this,” it concluded, “has rarely, if ever, been seen in any court of law…”
Yes, your correspondent was in Horsham not so much for a backdoor inquiry into the more controversial or contentious aspects of 9/11, as a cat-flap one. And he was very much looking forward to it!
While not exactly the toughest crowd through which to cut a dash, I am pleased to report that man-of-the-hour Tony Rooke did all the same. He was stood outside chain-smoking, with slightly floppy dark hair and a fleshy, dignified face that looked calm, thoughtful and somewhat oversensitive. As befits a defendant, he was dressed smartly, but had pulled this off rather well, something I feared would have been well beyond the reach of the other attendant Truthers, who were pointing him out to one another, murmuring in near awe that he looked “like a barrister.”
Arguably he was inspiring too much confidence. While it seemed pretty clear you would have to riffle through a fair few parallel universes before coming across a judge brazen or bananas enough to pitch the UK into an epistemological crisis over a TV license, some of the more optimistic Truthers were daring to dream, and by the time they opened the doors to Court 1 there were over a hundred cramming the narrow corridor.
This proved far too many for the tiny courtroom, which didn’t even seat thirty. Fortunately, I quickly found myself a cushy spot in the front row of folding orange leatherette chairs, but the vast majority of that large crowd was refused entry by a wiry usher with an ex-cop vibe—it was to be one in, one out at Loose Change Live.
The Truthers were in uproar: I was increasingly concerned about the possibility of the court being closed or cleared. Fortunately, the usher managed to eventually shut the door on them, and when Judge Stephen Nicholls entered those seated rose to their feet with something like reverence—due I supposed to the notion it was in this man’s power to turn the tide on their thus far rather one-sided battle with the Illuminati.
Nicholls was a man in his early-to-middle sixties, with glasses and bright white hair that had receded to a widow’s peak high on his brow. After scheduling later hearings for the day’s other defendants—a pair of understandably bewildered looking bruisers facing drink driving charges—Nicholls informed Rooke (who was representing himself), that although opening statements weren’t officially allowed, he would extend “a little leeway” in this instance
So, Rooke climbed into the witness box and launched into a decent speech. His tone was steady, reasonable, and wry as he addressed Nicholls. “I have incontrovertible—and I don’t use that word lightly—evidence against the BBC. The BBC had advance knowledge of twenty minutes of the events of 9/11 and did not do anything to clarify what the source of that information was. At the preliminary hearing I asked if you were aware of WTC7. You said you had ‘heard of it.’ Over ten years after 9/11 you should have more than heard of it. It’s the BBC’s job to inform the public—especially regarding miracles of science where the laws of physics become suspended. Instead, they have made documentaries making fools of and ridiculing those of us who believe in the laws of gravity.”
It crossed my mind that Judge Nicholls probably had since looked into WTC7 (a funny idea). Now, though, he interrupted (Rooke’s speech was getting increasingly polemical and wide-ranging). “This is not an inquiry into the events of 9/11,” Nicholls declared, collecting his No-Shit-Sherlock Award 2013 with the kind of silken irony you could only hope to spin from the soul of a judge. “This is an offence under Section 363 of the Communications Act.”
The prosecutor—a youngish guy called Garth Hanniford with a blandly handsome face and a horrible off-the-rack blue suit—was then invited to cross-examine the defendant. Good old Garth. He gave the impression of a man incapable of summoning much in the way of effort or enthusiasm for anything, and had been observing the extreme novelty of the day’s events—surely the most interesting afternoon of a working life spent prosecuting TV license avoidance?—with all the attentiveness of someone watching a friend play computer games.
He now stood up and launched into what one suspected was his habitual cross-examination.
“Do you possess a television Mr Rooke?”
“Yes I do.”
“And do you possess a television license?”
“No I do not.”
“And do you watch television?”
“So… you’re happy to make use of the service but not to pay for it?”
“Well, I’ll monitor it if I have to. Ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law. And it was only through watching the BBC that I could know that I would be committing a crime by paying for it.”
“No further questions,” mumbled Perry Mason, another day’s work already behind him.
On the wall behind the witness box, two decent sized television screens were on standby. There was something delectably Dadaist about the prospect that, any minute now, in a British court, we would presumably be watching the famous clip of the BBC newscaster informing viewers that the third building in the World Trade Center complex, WTC7, had just collapsed, while, in the background of the shot, it was still stood there—a stubborn facet of that surreal riddle (9/11) that had driven tens of thousands into the cold arms of paranoid schizophrenia. Now, as the witnesses for the defense filed in – the as-advertised all-star cast of maverick academics and former spooks—it was as if the national unconscious really was going to momentarily overwhelm the national superego.
Judge Nicholls, however, had other ideas. With an air of mild mischief, he started to tip his hand. As I understood it, his argument was that, even were he to sit through the show and at the end exclaim, “Jumping Jesus—9/11 was an inside job and the BBC are a pack of scoundrels!”—it would be beyond his jurisdiction to consequently exempt Mr Rooke from paying his license fee (let alone brand the Beeb “an organisation that supports terrorism,” or whatever). The day’s witnesses and exhibits, therefore, were superfluous.
In short, Loose Change Live was facing a major existential threat!
Judge and defendant went round in circles for a while…
“…I don’t want to incriminate myself by paying fees to an organisation complicit in terrorism. I will pay once the police establish that the BBC has nothing to do with terrorism…”
“… I do not believe that I have the power to rule under the Terrorism Act…”
“… I just want to present the evidence, that I am not allowed to do so leaves me slightly baffled…”
“…even if I accept the evidence, this court has no power to create a defense in the manner which you put forward…”
And so on. Meanwhile, the atmosphere was growing flat; the day building to a brutal anti-climax. Then, sensing the jig was up, Rooke suddenly lashed out.
“There is such a thing as morality, you know,” he declared (hell of a thing to chuck in the face of a judge). “You had me swear on a Bible, and now you’re asking me to commit a crime. If the BBC covers up a pedophile ring—keep paying. If they cover up 9/11—keep paying. Keep paying keep paying keep paying keep paying. When on earth does it stop? I’m sick of it.”
Judge Nicholls’ features darkened: there had been insolence (unanswerable insolence) in Rooke’s outburst, and the weight of the audience seemed suddenly and for the first time to press against him. He muttered he would retire to consider the evidence, stood up, and exited the court stage right with as near to a flounce as he had surely come in his entire career. Rooke had drawn a drop of blood!
When Nicholls returned to sentence him, the mood in the court received a further lift—he handed the defendant a conditional discharge of six months, ordering him to pay £200 legal fees, but not a fine, or even the outstanding license fee—it was a so-called “zero sentence.”
Rooke was passed a form to fill in.
“Can I just clarify,” he said, pausing with his pen in hand, “you’re ordering me to commit a crime?”
“I’ve given the judgement,” Nicholls responded, “I won’t be adding anything further to it now.” He raised his eyebrows. “Now do you want to fill in that form for me?”
It was hardly news to read that 64% of registered Republicans voters were “birthers” but so many of them still are? Nearly two-thirds of GOP voters—64% of ‘em—believe that it’s “probably true” that Barack Obama is lying about his birthplace. Remarkable! It’s like it hasn’t abated at all.
Belief in conspiracy theories is not unique to Republicans — 56 percent of Democrats believe in one of the four popular myths researchers asked about — but it is more common. Among registered GOPers, 75 percent said at least one of the four theories was likely true. Moreover, researchers noted: “Generally, the more people know about current events, the less likely they are to believe in conspiracy theories — but not among Republicans, where more knowledge leads to greater belief in political conspiracies.”
THAT’S pretty revealing, isn’t it? Read that last bit, in bold, a second time before continuing, won’t you?
“There are several possible explanations for this,” said Fairleigh Dickinson political scientist Dan Cassino, who helped conduct the poll. “It could be that more conspiracy-minded Republicans seek out more information, or that the information some Republicans seek out just tends to reinforce these myths.”
I can name a bunch of “possible explanations” off the top of my head: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, Fox and Friends, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Donald Trump and so forth. If you fill your head with shit all day, don’t be surprised when you turn into a complete shithead.
...Republicans are more likely to believe that Obama stole the 2012 election, while Democrats are more likely to think the same about 2004. Thirty-seven percent of Democrats think Bush or his supporters engaged in significant voter fraud to win that year, compared to just 9 percent of Republicans and 17 percent of independents.
9/11 conspiracy theories were also more popular among Democrats, with 36 percent believing that Bush knew the towers would be attacked, while young African-Americans are particularly likely to believe this myth — fully 59 percent believe it.
Dan Cassino from Fairleigh Dickinson has a plausible reason why “birtherism” is still so prevalent (aside, of course, from standard run-of-the-mill American idiocy):
“This conspiracy theory is much more widely believed mostly because it’s been discussed so often. People tend to believe that where there’s smoke, there’s fire – so the more smoke they see, the more likely they are to believe that something is going on.”
I think that’s being a little too kind, but he does have a point. As Robert Anton Wilson once told me “People just tend to believe the last darned thing they heard.”
Below, the “Conspiracy Theory Rock” animation by Robert Smigel that was “mysteriously” cut from SNL, obviously at the behest of Lorne Michaels’ puppet masters!
An extravagantly open-minded wuss, I’ll probably spend Friday’s long-awaited “Mayan Apocalypse” wearing one unbroken wince of apprehension. Thank Christ I don’t have a TV – a newsflash’d probably kill me! All the same, I can see that there’s little real reason to worry. For one, we constantly read that the Mayan calendar is apparently cyclical – even NASA has emphasized this (as if they’d be quietly fueling their shuttles otherwise). And, for two, since when did everyone start giving a toss what the Mayans thought about anything anyway?
Someone who will be leaving 2012 with a reputation for foreseeing carnage, however, is Loren Coleman. As I’ve already detailed, this morbidly sagacious fellow has a penchant for fingering the future through the present, and made use of his idiosyncratic cocktail of behavioral science, synchromysticism and intuition to predict the Aurora shootings back in July. Naturally, not everyone will agree with this statement, but his prediction – the context of which made it eerily precise – seemed to defy coincidence. As such I could think of no better person to quiz on the 2012 phenomenon. It transpired that Coleman’s thoughts on it were by no means independent of current events…
Thomas McGrath: Loren, first things first, have you stocked up on canned food for the 21st?
Loren Coleman: No. I do not fear the world is going to end on Friday. I don’t have extra food, batteries, or supplies in my home. I won’t take any unusual precautions for living my life on December 21st. Fear mongers, however, including certain sensationalistic elements of the media, are whipping this up.
TM: How would you explain the tenacity of this “2012” meme? Do you think there could be some preternatural source for its potency, or does it strike you as mere hysteria?
LC: Tucson, Aurora, Oak Creek, Sandy Hook: If it feels like the End is Near, in large part it has much to do with the fearful, the vulnerable, the suicidal-homicidal who are causing self-fulfilling End of the World prophecy events to come true. It must be awful times for those kinds of folks. Because of that, the red dawns, the bloody killing days, are all around us, and awareness is important. While we must be alert, we should not live in fear.
Psychologically, we all know we are going to die. Humans are not immortal. Sometimes an intriguing psychological process infrequently occurs around these “end of days” deadlines. People somewhat enjoy thinking they can know when they will die, when society will die, and that they will not be alone in the “final event,” because if it is global, everyone dies. It is massive parlor game gone mad.
That the latest event here in the States (on the night of Sunday, December 16th) involved a “Mayan” location, seemed beyond coincidental.
TM: It occurs to me that this 2012 phenomenon might betray the existence of an emergent religion, a sort of New Age syncretism with a number of specific traits (a mythology woven out of conspiracy theory, for example). Apocalyptic predictions and manias are a common feature of most jejune religions and religious movements. Of course they’ve all been wrong so far, though many survived the inaccuracy. Any thoughts on this?
LC: Some end of days (which even has a name, eschatology) movements have evolved into religions, mainstream today, and cults who self-destructed in the past. These include, for example, The Seventh-day Adventist Church and Jehovah’s Witnesses (who are still around); The Solar Temple and the Heaven’s Gate groups (who are less significant because their membership has been declined by mass suicides). Others like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are eschatological too, and these Mormons (remember Mitt Romney is an elder in the Church) believe earthquakes, hurricanes, and other disasters, including school shootings, are a sign of the Second Coming.
I do not see any eschatological movements coming out of this Mayan-blamed date. Yet.
TM: You’ve alluded to certain apocalyptic/catastrophic intimations of your own in Twilight Languageposts I’ve come upon. Do you suspect we are in fact living in “end times”?
LC: No. When humans are living they think everything happening now is super-significant. It is, for them. But humans tend to be shortsighted, and forget human history more than they wish to acknowledge. Several “end times” predictions have been visited upon humans. We just weren’t alive then, so they seem less important than this one.
TM: You’ve gone on record with predictions for an Israeli strike on Iran - do those stand for the present? Care to share them with our readers?
LC: My hope, always, is that men and women who talk peace will find a path to peace. However, sabre-rattling seems more in tune with what’s happening in Iran, Israel, Syria, Egypt, and the USA in the coming months in the Middle East. An attack seems in the making, for the fear of war with an attack or two seems the next step in these warrior states sitting down to talk peace, unfortunately. Look to the Spring.
TM: Any other predictions for 2013?
LC: If 2012’s earlier theater, church, workplace, mall and school shootings in America follow the patterns of the past and continue to be predictive of the future, I feel awareness for various kinds of dangerous incidents should dictate awareness to December 21-22, 2012, and during the “red danger” period of April 14-30, 2013. I hope not, but the Newtown violence was so horrific, the copycat effect may be a contributing factor to repeat incidents, in the short term and next spring.
No offense to any actors out there – as it happens, I’ve always found you to be a perfectly charmin’ bunch of narcissists – but I can’t imagine a more frightening conspiracy theory than one that posits that they secretly rule the world, which is exactly what Ed Chiarini, aka DallasGoldBug, suggests in his hilarious, bizarre and entirely entertaining “research.”
It can often seem as if conspiracy theory secretly aspires to transform everything into cinema. Apollo 11 – which many conspiracy theorists would like to see added to Stanley Kubrick’s Wikipedia filmography – is an obvious example, as are the array of special effects that populate 9/11 conspiracy theories, ranging from holograms to exploding buildings.
July’s Aurora shootings faced plenty of this sort of speculation. Here, after all, was a massacre that occurred in a cinema during a Batman screening, executed by a Joker copycat. A few days later, Batman himself (well, Christian Bale) would swing by the hospital. For the victims and perpetrator alike the line between cinema and reality was already smudged, and many conspiracy theorists have since asserted that the entire event was a kind of meta-hoax, with some even suggesting that the following impromptu press conference with an Aurora emergency doctor is a cameo by Tom Cruise!
Personally, I can’t see it (a pity – I love the idea), but whatever your reaction to the above – “fuck off!” or “fuck me!” – plenty apparently experience the opposite, while the idea that public life is riddled with doubles, doppelgangers, actors and clones currently finds itself in a kind of conspiratorial vogue.
Which brings us to Ed Chiarini. Many contemporary conspiratorial “researchers” have their own gimmick nowadays, and Chiarini’s is a selection of “biometric” techniques including voice recognition, handwriting analysis and ear comparison, that he uses to argue that numerous figures in the public eye, from politicians to famous felons, are actually played by actors who frequently reappear in other high profile roles.
We’ll get to some of these shortly. They’re pretty fucking out there. Chiarini’s three-hour, three-part magnum opus, The Truth EXPOSED , however, begins quite reasonably, gently taking the open-minded viewer by the hand, and leading them to the edge of the deep end before hurling itself in and attempting to pull them down with it.
After a cursory explanation of ear biometrics (the ears never lie, got it?) the documentary begins by arguing that various US “reality” television characters – none of whom I’d ever heard of – were played by actors who also appeared in other reality shows. It then moves on to the news, arguing that the actors from the “reality” shows also crop up as witnesses and protagonists in current affairs, alongside other recurrent performers. Chiarini supplements the amateur biometrics with other examples of apparent staging in the news, with particular events – like 9/11 and the Occupy protests – ostensibly swarming with plants and choreographed coverage.
At this point, my politely suspended doubt was meandering further and further afield, and I was quite comfortably ensconced in Chiarini’s world of luridly fraudulent news…
All of a sudden, though, it was back, and hammering madly on the window. Out of the blue, Chiarini seemed to be arguing that JonBenét Ramsey grew up to be Lady Gaga, and that Lady Gaga “was” (the supposition here is that they’re all played by an actor) none other than Amy Winehouse! As a Brit, this rather offended my pop music patriotism, but maybe, if he’d left it at that, Chiarini could have reeled me in a little further. As it was, the revelations were coming in so thick and fast you didn’t even have the chance to finish laughing at the last one.
Here, off the top of my head, are some of the best…
Matt Stone and Trey Parker “are” Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold
Barack Obama “is” Osama Bin Laden.
Karl Rove “is” Mark Chapman.
David Ike “is” Richard Branson.
And my own and any other reasonable person’s personal fave….
Henry Winkler – aka the Fonz – “is” Iran’s President Ahmadinejad…
Which prompts the perfectly reasonable supposition that Ed Chiarini “is” taking the piss.
For many fellow travelers in the conspiracy racket – at first extremely hospitable to Chiarini and his biometric party pack – the above claims and the many others like them stretched even their extremely flexible credulity to breaking point. Chiarini didn’t do himself any favors with this target audience by treating many of their heroes to a DallasGoldBug mash-up, suggesting that…
JFK “is” Jimmy Carter
Bill Hicks “is” Alex Jones
William Cooper “is” Jordon Maxwell (I can actually see where he’s coming from here).
The predictable result of these was that Chiarini was accused of being a shill sent by the secret government to make conspiracy theorists look like a pack of dickheads. In other words, they accused him of being an actor! Excluding a small hardcore of followers who’d probably believe him if he said Jon Bon Jovi was Albert Einstein, the sense was that Chiarini had gone rogue, madly folding his folded world while hollering “sue me” at anyone who objected to reading that they weren’t real.
Personally – and I’m quite possibly on my own here – regardless of whether he’s a nut-job, a spy, or a prophet in the wilderness, I find something oddly sublime in Chiarini’s claims, and the concept they throw up of an entirely artificial world in which the heroes and villains that constitute history, from Churchill (Lionel Barrymore) to Hitler (Kermit Roosevelt – who also played Walt Disney), are theatrical inventions seducing us from precipice to precipice in a daze of bogus love and loathing.
My imagination enjoys itself in Chiarini’s parallel universe, too. Take, for example, the aesthetic logic in Obama “being” Osama. What I love about this one is how experimental the latter’s assassination becomes – one character cannibalizing the other to enhance their essence, while their real consanguinity is hidden in plain sight by the near – and extraordinarily improbable – correspondence of their names. This showbiz Illuminati, it would appear, are not immune to a touch of l’art pour l’art.
There are, also, times when Chiarini’s parallel universe impinges upon this one. His commentary (see below) over that famous flick known as The Lonesome Death of Lee Harvey Oswald (starring Jim Reeves as Oswald and David Rockefeller as Jack Ruby) is a case in point, and leaves it looking – well, for a glorious moment or two – laughably, transcendentally phoney…