20 May 2006

Who are They?

A while ago, I plugged a book by Jon Ronson, The Men Who Stare At Goats, which is about some folks in US Army Intelligence believing and doing some very strange things.

He has another book, Them: Adventures with Extremists, even more fascinating. The title comes from his realization that most of the folks he spoke to, who ranged from Muslim Jihadists to Klansmen, believed in a Secret Room somewhere where a handful of powerful men—Them—decide how the world is going to be.

Who are They? This turns out to be a very strange and slippery question. ....

Ronson spends much of the first half of the book hanging around with Randy Weaver, Jack McLamb, and Bo Gritz, and presents the conversations he has with them his deadpan style. Compared to some of the obviously crazy people he talks to, they read as just eccentric folks with a hypertrophied but still classically American sense of independence and distrust of the federal government. They don't come off as really nuts.

Ronson also has an adventure with a guy named James P. Tucker who writes for The Spotlight, a conspiracy-theory newsletter obsessed with the Bilderberg Conference, which really is a group of extremely rich and powerful men who meet behind closed doors. Visiting the site of the Bilderberg Conference he and his extremist companions learn very little ... but they are pursued by a mysterious man in dark glasses for a while. Spooky.

One gets the sense that though Ronson is not turning into a paranoid extremist himself, he can see how one could get sucked into a little paranoia. Weaver in particular has a good reason for this: feds actually killed his wife, daughter, and dog in a bizarre armed standoff over ... well ... it's a little hard to tell what it was over. Especially if these are the guys trying to explain it to you.

And then he pays a visit to the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith.

When Gail Gans had given me fact sheets proclaiming Randy Weaver and Jack McLamb and Bo Gritz to be far-right extremists, I considered to to be an overstatement—particularly because I couldn't think of anything they had said to me that could have been interpreted as being anti-Semitic. I had raised this point with Gail, and she had explained to me about their use of code words.
I did, however, believe that the ADL might be guilty of utilizing a scattershot approach that seemed designed to label any antigovernment radical as an anti-Semite
Then Gail handed me her Spotlight file. With eyebrows dubiously raised, I picked it up and glanced through it, immediately to discover, with alarm and embarassment, articles denying the Holocaust, tributes to neo-Nazi skinheads, books written by Spotlight editors dedicated to Adolf Hitler, and on and on. These were articles from some years ago, before The Spotlight began to utilize code words (phrases such as “International Bankers” and “International Financiers”).

So it turns out that all of those guys were extremists, racists, anti-Semites, but were speaking carefully in Ronson's presence.

2017 Update

A new PBS documentary includes this astonishing photograph of the Weaver family in their cabin sometime shortly before the standoff, which I had never seen before. Randy is wearing a t-shirt which says ‘Just Say “No” to ZOG’!

“ZOG”, of course, stands for “Zionist Occupation Government”, the supposed Jewish totalitarians whom the racist far right believe covertly control the American government.

This business of code words turns out to be a big deal. Anyone familiar with anti-Semites and racists—or even the uglier parts of the Republican party's past or present political strategy—has seen this code word business, where they soften what they're saying for public consumption while winking toward their kin who know what they're really talking about.

But then Ronson starts to deal with an organization worried about David Icke.

“David Icke represents a political threat. His writings are anti-Semitic. David Icke states that the global elite, the Illuminati who dominate every aspect of our lives, are genetically descended from an extraterrestrial race of reptiles who came to earth some time ago in the form of humans, who are capable of changing their shape, who engage in ritual child sacrifice, who drink blood ...”


“Do you think that when David Icke says lizards he means Jews?” I asked.

“Of course!” he said.

Now Ronson is a Brit who already knows about Icke because Icke was a popular BBC host who went very publicly nuts. Given Ronson's interests, he had spoken with Icke before. For instance, Ronson knew that Icke had accused a number of specific individuals of being pedophile extraterrestrial reptiles ...

Bob Hope, George Bush, George Bush, Jr, Ted Heath, the Rosthschild family, Boxcar Willie, the Queen of England, the Queen Mother, Prince Philip, Kris Kristofferson, Al Gore, and the steering committee of the Bilderberg Group

... but none of these folks had sued Icke for defamation—which Icke had discussed with Ronson in an interview ...

“Come on, Ted Heath! Sue me if you've got nothing to hide! Come on, George Bush! I'm ready! Sue me! I'm naming names! Come on, Jon! Why are they refusing to sue me?”

There was a silence.

“Because they are twelve-foot lizards?” I suggested, meekly.

“Yes!” said David. “Exactly!”

Ronson also notes that Icke's behavior has been batty for a long time. For instance, Icke spent a long span insisting on only wearing turquoise clothes, and claiming to be the Son of God. And, well, he talks like this:

.... this planet is actually controlled not from the physical level, which is just one level of it, but actually from what people call the lower astral, or I call the lower fourth dimension. It is the lower cess-pit end of the dimension closest to this one. And, it seems that, talking to people who have worked on the inside with these people and taken part in their rituals—indeed, in one case, conducted them—these lower fourth-dimensional entities who, of course, the satanic rituals interact with—the legendary realm of the folklore demons and all this stuff—that somehow, these particular genetic lines, in their most pure form, have a much greater vibrational reasonance and vibrational sympathy with the lower fourth dimension ....

In light of all this, Ronson says:

I guessed that when he said that twelve-foot lizards secretly ruled the world, he really was referring to lizards. But what did I know? The code words did seem to be increasingly abstruse.

... and to that point ...

I had felt a similar sense of bafflement when Gail at the ADL had told me that “Bilderberg” was a code word for Jews. (Again, very few of the Bilderbergers who had whisked past me through the gates of the Caeser Park were Jewish.) One would presume that this would pretty much disqualify them from being, by anyone's reckoning, a Jewish consipracy.

And this takes us to the heart of his observation about Them.

Surprisingly, the only group I discovered that had addressed this complex issue head-on was Combat 18, Britain's fearsom neo-Nazi outfit. They recently published a fact file entitled “What is ZOG?” It reads:
ZOG is Zionist Occupied Government. Not all the controllers of ZOG are Jews. ZOG is “Zionist” because their agenda seeks to realize their conviction that they are the “Chosen People.” Their aim is to be the Masters of the World.

So there's the answer. In the absence of statistical substatiation, you need to put words in inverted commas. The Jews are metaphors now. You no longer need to be Jewish to be a Jew.

This is how things now stand: The Anti-Defamation League is searching for code words that have replaced the word “Jew” and for the anti-Semites the word “Jew” has become code for non-Jews who meet in secret rooms, just as the anti-Semitic tracts of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—the Protocols of Zion and Henry Ford's The International Jew, for instance—portrayed the Jews.

And so the code words have taken on a life of their own.


More on Icke. He explicitly describes both space lizards and endorses the anti-Semitic fabrication The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

When asked about the Protocols Icke retorted, “Just because Hitler used the knowledge for negative reasons doesn’t reflect on the knowledge itself.” Indeed when Hitler himself was told beyond all doubt the Protocols were fabricated he responded, ‘Well that proves the Jews wrote it.’

[Icke's book] The Robots Rebellion sold out and was reprinted twice. In his next books Icke began to flirt explicitly with Holocaust denial and lost his publishing deal as a result. In And The Truth Shall Set You Free Icke repeated his previous claims that the Protocols were true, and went on to state: “I strongly believe that a small Jewish clique which has contempt for the mass of Jewish people worked with non-Jews to create the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the Second World War…. They financed Hitler to power in 1933 and made the funds available for his rearmament.”

He described the Nuremberg Trials as a ‘farce’ and went on.. “why do we play a part in suppressing alternative information to the official line of the Second World War? How is it right that while this fierce suppression goes on, free copies of the Spielberg film, Schindler’s List, are given to schools to indoctrinate children with the unchallenged version of events….The “All-Seeing” Jews, however, and their non-Jewish conspirators, use the smokescreen of “anti-Semitism” and the genuine suffering of real Jews to prevent investigation of their sinister activities.”

Readers familiar with overt neo-Nazis will recognize these rhetorical moves.

1 comment:

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Thank you for writing this. I was so distracted by the weirdness and humor in Them that I didn't realize the book has a coherent theme. I obviously need to reread it.