The Week in Conspiracy Theories

The revived X-Files TV show features a character based on Alex Jones and Glenn Beck (the irony there being that Glenn Beck seems to be a character based on Alex Jones also). Looks like this is going to be essential viewing for me:

O’Malley eventually sways Mulder and Scully to adopt a new conspiracy that lays a framework for the six-episode revival. The theory involves global warming, war in the Middle East, NSA spying, chem-trails (here called “aerial contaminants”), police militarization, supposed FEMA prison camps, and the eventual military “takeover of America” by a UN-like group of “multinational elites.” The conspiracy theory plays a bit like Oliver Stone during his JFK fever pitch — only if his source material was Infowars instead of UFO lore.

Is Myra Hindley really dead? Coleman thinks not. What strikes me most is his ability to link everything by insinuation to child abuse. Thatcher met Savile, Savile knew the Royals, thatcher didn’t investigate Hindley, therefore Hindley and Savile procured children for the elite. And, these speculations are built upon other unproven allegations, treating collusion between the royals and Savile as fact, for example. On the other hand, I do like all the newspaper images he uses, showing how involved the popular right tabloids are in this kind of fear porn.

Only five years ago, Sweden’s Red Ice Radio was focused on a mix of new age, UFOs and conspiracy theories, what I would call millennial conspiracism. Today, their content is right wing, apocalyptic and openly anti-Semitic. Sadly, I feel this is typical of the milieu as a whole.

There’s a good article by Rob Brotherton over at the Daily Beast about the Illuminati conspiracy theories circling around the hip-hop world since the mid-1990s:

Have you noticed how a lot of musicians have been covering one eye when posing for photos? Or making some kind of triangle with their hands? Or both? And what’s up with all the occult imagery in videos for Jay Z’s “On to the Next One” and Kanye’s “Power”? Is it just because it looks cool and mysterious? The conspiracy-minded say there’s something more sinister to it. This is evidence, they say, of a vast, nefarious secret society—the Illuminati—and its plan to institute a New World Order.

But Will.I.Am calls bullshit on that:

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Sometimes a triangle is just a triangle, guys.

Annunaki Plan / Human Plan?

Displaying photo.JPGI discovered this little gem at the central library in Edinburgh. “The Annunaki Plan? or The Human Plan?” was self-published by Chris Thomas in 2010, who appears to be based in Wales. He has produced a number of other books, before and afterwards, on alternative histories, “earth mysteries” and healing, and most interestingly for me, books which link ancient alien narratives and millennialism. As much of my work demonstrates, this synchretism (or I prefer discursive transfer) frequently involves the mobilisation of conspiracy narratives, and so I want to present this little volume as an example of the field of millennial conspiracism, showing that it encapsulates many of the features of this field.

It begins “most people are aware that something is changing, this change occurring on every possible level of our existence” (6). But we are extolled that we must choose what the outcome of this change is to be – for good or for ill. This exemplifies a millennial-apocalyptic tension which is typical of the field. David Icke and Alex Jones also frequently demonstrate this kind of tension, where the global awakening is seemingly caused by the consspirators’ plan reaching its ”endgame’. Typically, we are being deliberately misled by at-this-point-unspecified conspirators into making a choice leading to destruction. In fact, the author alleges they have made attempts against his life (7). Perhaps unsurprisingly, the terminal point for this decision to be made is (was) the 21st of December, 2012.

The book then goes on to recount an account of human history, “as recorded in the Akashic” records (9), which Thomas claims debunks the Annunaki narrative of Zecharia Sitchin et al. In Sitchin’s account, aliens from Niburu – a hitherto unknown planet orbiting our sun on a 10,000 year elliptical orbit – descended to Earth in prehistory to mine gold, subjugating humanity in the process. The Annunaki became revered as gods, becoming present-day elites as they hid their bloodlines in royal dynasties and secret societies. Thomas calls this account a “fantasy” (17), and describes a more neoplatonic, Theosophical account of the creation of the cosmos, Atlantis, the Pyramids, etc, and a Velikovsy-inspired account of a prehistoric catastrophe in the solar system (31-50).

Instead, the Akashic tells him that the Annunaki originate on a planet “23 galaxies away from ours” (24). The Annunaki, along with the Hathor, are groups within a race of energetic beings called the Velon, who headed for Earth only 300 years ago – because it is “God’s chosen planet” (26). The Hathor began to contact humans through channelling, whereas the Annunaki began monitoring us through implants, and to create bodies with a human appearance. From this data, they began to promote the story a la Sitchin, designed to appeal to human religious impulses. Sitchin was innocent of the deception, Thomas notes, as the Annunaki had travelled back in time to plant fabricated cuneiform tablets (27-8). They established the Illuminati, the Freemasons and the reformed Knights Templar, all of whom worked covertly together to establish the socialist New World Order (30). The EU, the Bilderberg Group, all scientists and academics (especially those supporting climate change), Al Qaeda, HAARP, the Theosophical Society and practically every element of the conspiracy theory milieu are in the pay of the Annunaki (54-66).

However, Thomas claims a second plan was put into place by the enlightened humans of 7000 years ago, in which it was agreed that our souls would be repeatedly reincarnated until we learned to live properly, at which point our souls and physical bodies will reintegrate, we would be free of disease and enlightened. However, a time limit was set… 2012 (52). He claims that some 4.5 million humans in isolated communities have already achieved this aim since 2003, but that time is running out for the rest of us, and the Annunaki plan is there to distract us from the urgency. Thomas sets out his advice to achieve soul reintegration: working through our emotional blockages to clear our chakras.

So, in 90-odd pages we have a sweeping history of the cosmos, and human life, at odds with both scientific and religious consensus; ancient aliens, linking this alternative archaeological narrative to UFOs; an Annunaki Plan which links these further to the New World Order and Illuminati; a date-specific teleological narrative, combining millennial and apocalyptic components; and a dualistic Gnostic narrative of salvation through special knowledge. Quite an inventive and unique bricolage. His most unique contribution is to make the Annunaki Plan a la Sitchin a part of the deception. Yet in another way, quite typical, inasmuch as these various structural elements seem always to appear in some form or another. For every David Icke or Jim Marrs, there will be scores of small-press or internet entrepreneurs like Thomas, not to mention their hundreds of thousands of subscribers, each with a slightly different take on the material, and their own favoured theory. It is sometimes said of loosely-structured milieux such as millennial conspiracism or New Age that, as they lack a central organisation and a formal creedo, they become an “anything goes” smorgasbord – or perhaps more accurately, given the frequent disparaging comments about their economies, a supermarket deli counter. Yet it isn’t the case, as Thomas’ book shows. We might not know how everything goes together exactly, but we can be reasonably sure what elements to expect, and which would never make an appearance, so there is a commonality there. Thomas is like a jazz musician who is improvising a familiar tune but trying to twist the melody into a unique shape. It’s just that he never made it out of the club circuit.

Illuminating the Illuminati

I’ve been thinking a bit about the history of the idea of the Illuminati. I often get asked about the Illuminati when people find out what my area of specialisation is, but unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a self-contained and rigorous history of the evolution of concept I can point them to. Perhaps I should remedy that. But in looking for something, I came across this nice piece by Walter C. Utt, which appeared in the US journal Liberty 14:3 in 1974. it has a very US and 1970s perspective, but as a potted history, it’s rather good. The fun starts on page 17.

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David Wilcock interviewed by Project Camelot

I’m developing a bit a fascination with David Wilcock. He first came to the attention of the public after claiming (though he says, reluctantly) that he was the reincarnation of American “sleeping prophet”, Edgar Cayce. Since then, he has gone on to stage many speaking events (called “convergences”), and to publish a book, The Source Field Investigations. He has toned down the channelling aspect to emphasise a conspiracist narrative about a battle raging between the financial Illuminati and benevolent extraterrestrials. His website, divinecosmos.com, has become one of the largest sites to merge conspiracy theories with spiritual ideas. Of particular interest is the way in which UFOs once again act as a bridge between New Age and Conspiracist milieux.

Here’s an interview recorded in 2007, by Kerry Cassidy of Project Camelot. The moment where he describes being taken into a back room at a UFO convention and told the whole truth is at the beginning of the second hour: