Alice Walker’s Dangerous Liaisons With David Icke

The shocking revelation that Alice Walker has allied herself with Britain’s most famous conspiracy theorist/anti-Semite, David Icke, is important for many reasons. Not least because it is through examining their entanglement that we might understand how the type of feel-good spiritual beliefs that Walker popularises in her literary output can so easily cross pathways with the anti-establishment diatribes of Trumpian populists.

Walker’s troublesome liaison was brought to the public’s attention earlier this month when the Pulitzer prize-winning author of The Color Purple told the New York Times that one of the books on her nightstand was Icke’s And the Truth Shall Set You Free (1995) – a particularly noxious and paranoid compendium of far-right conspiracies. “In Icke’s books there is the whole of existence, on this planet and several others, to think about,” Walker told the Times, before dreamily describing his oeuvre as: “A curious person’s dream come true.” (New York Times, December 13)

The ensuing media spectacle took on a life of its own as social commentators berated the Times for uncritically running the interview, while also castigating Walker for the support she was lending (unwittingly or not) to Icke’s anti-Semitism. And in the wake of these attacks, Walker — perhaps feeling she had not adequately explicated her debt of gratitude to Icke — updated her personal blog, writing: “I find Icke’s work to be very important to humanity’s conversation, especially at this time. I do not believe he is anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish.” She then added: “I believe the attempt to smear David Icke, and by association, me, is really an effort to dampen the effect of our speaking out in support of the people of Palestine.” But the simple fact that Walker continued to ignore is that Icke is an anti-Semite, with her nightstand book representing a particularly virulent example of such hate-speech.

This amazing ignorance in the face of unquestionable evidence of anti-Semitism is worrying to say the least, and arguably owes much to the spiritual kinship that Walker feels towards Icke, who in addition to popularising far-right propaganda is a vocal proponent of the type of the New Age mumbo jumbo that Walker holds close to her heart. Indeed, although Walker considers herself a “spiritual progressive” and is well-respected by many people owing to her venerable commitment to opposing injustice, her mystical orientation has not come without problems. This is because her worldview closely shadows that of many of America’s most famous New Age gurus – many of whom have an unfortunate tendency to incorporate libertarian talking points (like opposition to vaccinations and conventional medicine) into their diverse attacks on the corruption of the modern world. An idiosyncrasy that owes much to the tendency of New Age gurus to situate themselves as existing in a world beyond politics. Nevertheless, it is within this otherworldly milieu that Walker has spent most of her life, which is why it is not too surprising that she has fallen for Icke’s anti-establishment populism.

But it gets worse, as Walker’s intellectual ode to Icke is actually quite longstanding, with the world first hearing about her dedication to his nonsense in 2013 when she told the BBC that if she could take just one book with her onto a desert island it would be Icke’s Human Race Get Off Your Knees: The Lion Sleeps No More (2010). And, in an unfortunate echo of the current controversy, Walker, who was quickly inundated with criticisms from her friends and enemies alike, chose to update her blog where she explained:

“Anyway, last night it occurred to me what it is I like and I wanted to put it in one sentence: David Icke’s work is a feast for the imagination. That’s it. Take it or leave it, he is offering something extremely timely and useful. A completely new and different way to understand the world.”

She continued:

“On the reptile issue, which seems to freak most people out, and while pondering the deep-rooted causes of the suffering of our people and our planet, I think: this paradise certainly didn’t get ruined by people who acted like the angels various religions have imposed on our thoughts: who else could those “angels” have been, but winged, highly technologically advanced, shape-shifting Reptilians from another galaxy? Ah, madness. Yes. Wonderful stuff.”

So, who exactly is this “timely and useful” writer with whom Alice Walker has become so enamoured?

From Mysticism to Militias

Let start at the beginning: born in 1952 on a working-class housing estate in Leicester, England, David Icke left school with no qualifications to follow his dream of becoming a professional football player. This budding career was however cut short by persistent injuries, and so in many ways Icke was fortunate be able to pursue his sporting interests as a journalist, eventually rising to national fame as a television presenter for Britain’s premier sports program (Grandstand). Then in 1988, at the peak of his televisual career, he became a national spokesperson for the Green Party whereupon he wrote a fairly useful book entitled It Doesn’t Have To Be Like This: Green Politics Explained (Green Print, 1990).

But Icke’s life was soon to change yet again in a fairly astounding way, and in his 1993 autobiography Icke dates his psychic turning point to March 1990, when he became the enlightened recipient of a series of otherworldly communications. “One of them,” Icke recalls, “said I would write five books in three years which would bring to people the truth about life and Creation.” Sounding very much like Alice Walker, Icke happily boils this eternal spiritual truth down to one statement: “everything in Creation is the same energy.” Apparently the only thing differentiating all matter is the speed at which their energy vibrates. As Icke puts it:

“This energy is also what we call consciousness. All thought and all energy is one mind, one consciousness in different states of being. It is consciousness constantly experiencing through all life forms in Creation that I call the Infinite Mind.” — In the Light of Experience: The Autobiography of David Icke (Warner Books, 1993)

Icke traces the inspiration for these spiritual truths to the Theosophical treatises presented in Ronald Pearson’s self-published pamphlet Origin of Mind (1992). These occult ideas being very similar to the message of spiritual unity that Walker presented in her 1989 novel The Temple of My Familiar, which, at the time, led one reviewer to describe her as “a theosophist par excellence… the latter-day Madame Blavatsky of American literature.”

Another occult text which Icke refers to in his early autobiography is David Ash and Peter Hewitt’s Science of the Gods: Reconciling Mystery and Matter (Gateway, 1990) — a book that Icke says helps explain the concept of vortices and their role in holding energy together, a phenomenon apparently consistent with the seven chakras of the human body. Here it is relevant to understand how Ash came to write Science of the Gods, because he, like so many other elitist spiritual gurus, was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Ash’s introduction to “science” coming at the tender age of six when he went dowsing for uranium on Bodmin Moor aboard his father’s Rolls Royce! Ash’s well-heeled connections had, by the 1980s, brought him into close association with the conservative New Age guru, Sir George Trevelyan, whose spiritual leadership also had a significant impact upon Icke who thanked him in the dedication of his book, The Robots’ Rebellion: The Story of the Spiritual Renaissance (Gateway Books, 1994).

With his mind racing to alternative dimensions in the search for the one eternal truth, Icke recalls how in early 1990 he paid his first of many visits to a medium and healer called Betty Shine, author of best-selling Mind to Mind: The Secrets of Your Mind Energy Revealed (Bantam Press, 1989). Icke then introduces another psychic whom he felt drawn to visit, Judy Hall, who he says specialised in examining past lives through reaching into the Akashic Record. Here it is intriguing to note that Hall’s primary metaphysical mentor was Christine Hartley, an occultist who had played a leading role in Dion Fortune’s (1890-1946) right-wing Society of the Inner Light.

Soon Icke was traversing the British countryside dowsing and talking with spiritual Devas with his growing band of mystic friends. No doubt inspired by the conservative politics of some of his new-found spiritual buddies — not least his conservative environmental friends (who at that stage still dominated the leadership of the British Green Party) — Icke explained that anti-capitalists are actually “supporters of the system in the same way as anyone else.” He says this because he was convinced that capitalism is not “the system.” Instead, within his autobiography Icke warns: “Take, make and throw away, growth and mind control — that’s the system. And in that respect socialism, communism, capitalism are the same.”

By June 1994, the born-again mystic was no longer just preaching the good word about how humanity might vibrate to a higher consciousness. Now, within the pages of Icke’s latest book, The Robots’ Rebellion — the former sports presenter was on a mission to reveal the full extent of the malevolent forces that have prevented humankind from reaching spiritual nirvana. Icke identifies these sinister all-seeing “manipulators” who are planning “to take over the planet and the human race” as the ones who secretly control our every thought. He also highlights his belief that humans did not come about as a result of evolution, but were in fact seeded by extra-terrestrials from distant cosmic civilizations!

After explaining the roots of alien colonization, Icke, following the incoherent ramblings of William Bramley, stated that a secret Brotherhood (also known as The New World World) has been working to fulfil their nefarious goal of “world control and domination” since the fateful day that humanity had been seeded. Then, in a fairly nonchalant manner, Icke revives the infamous hate-tract, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion: an anti-Semitic forgery, which Icke incorrectly says was first discovered in the late 1800s — a point he bolsters by citing the 1931 book of a well-known fascist. Icke believes that the Protocols actually codify not the hidden agenda of Jews, but instead detail the twisted game-plan of the eternal Brotherhood or Illuminati. In this manner Icke refers to this fictitious text as the Illuminati Protocols, asserting that it was only in later years that the wording of the Protocols had been doctored to smear Jewish people and conceal the Illuminati’s true omnipotence.

Stuck in the same far-right groove, when it comes to understanding the Russian Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 Icke cites the work of Professor Stuart Crane, a scholar who rose to some notoriety for being a darling of the John Birch Society — a loony, although disturbingly popular and populist, far right-wing political grouping. Moreover, while Icke says that the Brotherhood are most definitely not just Jews, he still thinks that Jews played a major role in the promoting the Illuminati’s devious agenda, writing:

“There was a considerable Jewish flavour to the [Russian] revolution, and the Brotherhood was now preparing the ground for a return of the Jews to Palestine. Some research I have seen claims that, of 388 members of the Russian Revolutionary Government in 1918, only sixteen were Russians by birth. All but two of the rest were Jews from elsewhere, mostly from New York.” — Icke, The Robots’ Rebellion

Such beliefs illustrate Icke’s ever quickening descent into the depths of conservative mysticism which was bringing him into the close literary company of all manner of extremists — from more visibly deluded members of the ruling-class to leading members of millenarian militia movements.

Other than through ruling-class spiritualists like Sir George Trevelyan, Icke’s extraterrestrial obsessions were provided further sustenance from the writings of the well-heeled UFOlogist Timothy Good. Good having acquired some fame for having previously worked (in 1979) alongside the 8th Lord Clancarty, Brinsley Le Poer Trench and fellow Christian fundamentalist Paul Inglesby to initiate a landmark discussion in the House of Lords on UFOs. Proof in such UFOs is further extrapolated into the nether world of right-wing nonsense by Icke’s reliance upon leading militia theorist Bill Cooper, who authored the cult classic Behold a Pale Horse (Light Technology Publishing, 1991). Leading occult historian Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke described Cooper’s book as a “compendium for the millenarian movement“; a “chaotic farrago of conspiracy myths interspersed with reprints of executive laws, official papers, reports and other extraneous materials designed to show the looming prospect of a world government imposed on the American people against their wishes and in flagrant contempt of the Constitution.” The threat being totalitarian socialism, no less.

Following in the footsteps of the best-selling authors of the John Birch Society, who had revived popular interest in the work of notorious far-right conspiracy theorist Nesta Webster (1876-1960), Icke is convinced, like Cooper, that the Council on Foreign Relations and the Bilderberg Group reside close to the centre of the Illuminati’s web of global control.

“The Brotherhood elite which includes the Rothschild and Rockefeller empires now have six main front organisations for their covert activities. They are the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the Club of Rome, the Bilderberg Group, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and the United Nations. All of these came directly, or indirectly, from the Round Table secret society set up by the freemason, Cecil Rhodes, and the Round Table still stands at the centre of this empire of control. … This empire is, in effect, the World Government in waiting, waiting that is, to become the official one.” –Icke, The Robots’ Rebellion

Despite his commitment to propagating the paranoid nonsense of the then growing militia movement (to which he was closely associated), Icke still presents green-tinged, and some socialist, answers to the impending crisis – also reiterating some of the spiritual ideas presented in his first book. As he puts it in The Robots’ Rebellion: “We not only have to think love, and think change, we have to live it, too.” Icke even highlights the successful mass movement embodied by the Poll Tax campaign as an excellent example of a “people power” movement working in opposition to the Illuminati’s hidden agenda. Perhaps if he had realised the central role that revolutionary socialists played in helping organise this monumental show of resistance, Icke might have had second thoughts of using it as his example.

More faithful to his developing magical beliefs, Icke raises the possibility of producing limitless free energy. Here he invokes the conspiratorial authority of Nikola Tesla, who at the turn of the twentieth century had apparently devised machines which were powered by etheric energy. Icke claims that one of Tesla’s students had even “claimed to have built flying saucers in the 1940s, and to have landed on the Moon in the early 1950s…” An idea that meshes well with Icke’s other far-out proposition that the Illuminati worked alongside the Nazis and had “developed anti-gravity technology by the end of the war which used the Earth’s natural energy field for its power.”

Taking his illogical tall tale forward, Icke became convinced that an area on the eastern end of Long Island, New York, known as Montauk was the former home of a “notorious centre of mind control and time travel research.” He gets this Nazi gem from Preston Nichols and Peter Moon’s book The Montauk Project: Experiments in Time (Sky Books, 1992), a work of mumbo jumbo that became hugely influential amongst far-right conspirators, especially after the rising star of German anti-Semitism, Jan van Helsing, acquired the German publication rights for the book. This was a dangerous friendship that paid literary dividends all round, and Peter Moon went on to extend the Montauk mythology with Nazi themes derived from Helsing’s own publications. With Helsing’s own work going on to prove immensely popular within Germany’s growing far-right movements – with sales reaching into the hundreds of thousands – a worrying trend which has now expressed itself via the rise of the dangerous right-wing popularist party, Alternative for Germany (AfD).

“And the Truth Shall Set You Free”

By 1995 Icke’s dark worldview saw conspiracies lurking everywhere. In fact, his extremism and anti-Semitism was so well-developed by this time that his former publisher refused to print And the Truth Shall Set You Free (1995), which Icke was forced to self-publish. This of course is the book which Pulitzer-prize winner Alice Walker believed was “very important to humanity’s conversation” and whose creator, Walker asserted, was most certainly not anti-Semitic. But Walker is wrong on all fronts. As by his 1995 book it is clear that Icke’s writing were, amongst many other reactionary works, hugely inspired by Jan Van Helsing’s vicious bestseller Secret Societies and their Part in the 20th Century (Ewertverlag, 1995): Helsing having done a great service to racism by tracing the modern roots of the Illuminati conspiracy to Mayer Amschel Rothschild and the Jewish Elders of Zion.

In Helsing’s, and now Icke’s minds, there is no doubt that it is the Jews who are at the forefront of the global conspiracy, exerting their global control through the banking system. With Icke spicing up his amalgamated super-conspiracy with all manner of reactionary texts — including those authored by Helsing’s close friends Bill Cooper and Peter Moon. Another key source of Icke’s racism was provided by Eustace Mullins’ The World Order, Our Secret Rulers (Ezra Pound Institute of Civilisation, 1992). Although not well-known today, Mullins’ (1923-2010) was an influential neo-fascist, and leading member of James Mapole’s theosophically-inspired National Renaissance Party. With Mullins’ gaining most infamy for writing The Secrets of The Federal Reserve (1952), a book which continues to fuel racial hatred to this day.

Icke and Truth

In the book that Walker waxes lyrical about, Icke contends that with so much of history having been manipulated by the Illuminati it is of the utmost importance to question the official Jewish holocaust line. “When, for instance,” Icke says, “a Jewish American like David Cole produces evidence and video documentaries demolishing the official claims about the events at Auschwitz, you cannot, if you are interested in the truth, just dismiss his findings and condemn him as a Nazi apologist.” But lest one think Icke an anti-Semite, he vehemently insists that this is not so, which farcically he attempts to do by pointing out that the majority of Jewish people are completely unaware of what is being done by an evil Jewish elite. Straight to the point, Icke writes: “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.”

In a continuation of this sorry and very racist state of affairs, Icke goes on to explain his indebtedness to Michael Collins Piper’s apparently “brilliant book” Final Judgement: The Missing Link in the JFK Assassination Conspiracy (Wolfe Press, 1995) — one of the few JFK conspiracy books that pins the assassination on Zionists. This Jewish obsession on Piper’s part explains why in later years he sought to publicize the suppressed origins of the New World Order, which Piper puts down to the “global engine of tyranny rooted in the financial empire of the Rothschild Dynasty.” With such unseemly interests, it is fitting that for the past thirty years Piper has been a regular contributor to the weekly anti-Semitic newspaper, American Free Press.

Founded by Holocaust denier Willis Carto, American Free Press replaced Carto’s earlier project, The Spotlight, when the latter ceased publication in 2001. Well aware of this history, Icke still cites Carto’s vile propaganda throughout his book, referring to the Spotlight as a newspaper “which seeks to publish material that the mainstream media will not report…” Although Icke, at one point, states that he doesn’t agree with Spotlight’s politics, he then proceeds to give the newspaper a solid uncritical boost, concluding that it “does some excellent research and has a long and proven record of accuracy.” Most probably the only reason he feels able to make these statements is because Icke prefers to describe himself in spiritual terms, not with regard to his politics, a subject upon which he thinks himself largely neutral. Icke is apparently beyond left and right as conventionally understood — much as anthroposophists viewed themselves during the Nazis’ reign of destruction.

Following from his undeserved faith in the accuracy of Spotlight’s reporting, Icke, taking their reactionary lead, states that it was the Illuminati that was responsible for committing the Oklahoma Bombing — a terrorist action which resulted in 168 people being murdered in 1995. Icke thus views this tragic bombing as a black op that was undertaken by the Illuminati to undermine the success that the US militia movement which he asserts was “having some considerable success in circulating information about the plans of the Global Elite.” That said, given that Icke views himself as a man of universal love, he highlights his disagreement with the militia movements advocacy of armed insurrection.

Of course, the dangerous consequences of his popularizing paranoid anti-government conspiracy theories are lost on Icke, who at this stage in his life was coming under the increasing thrall of all manner of fundamentalist Christians and ultra-right-wing patriots. Therefore, in Icke’s iteration of the so-called Illuminati Protocols he now references his debt of gratitude to Holy Blood, Holy Grail — which was one of the integral sources for Bill Cooper’s reinterpretation of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In his updated rehash of the Illuminati’s masterplan, Icke is now fixated upon Charles Darwin’s role as an Illuminati stooge; with Icke describing Darwin as the “frontman for a coup on the human mind” that was carefully coordinated over many years. Consequently Icke “cannot recommend too highly” Ian Taylor’s creationist creed In the Minds of Men: Darwin and the New World Order (TFE Publishing, 1984). This author being a long-time Christian activist, whose preferred replacement for Darwinism was “irreducible complexity,” a conservative theory popularized in Michael Behe’s ridiculous book Darwin’s Black Box (1996) – a religious text whose fallacious arguments have been well and truly debunked. Yet with Taylor’s penchant for deriding the scientific process as but a dastardly conspiracy hatched by a secretive cabal of freemasons, it is immanently obvious why his fundamentalist work so appealed to Icke’s Illuminati-obsessed mind.

Further escalating his commitment to incorporating as much racist nonsense as possible within And the Truth Shall Set You Free, Icke then latches on to another well-known guide to the secret Illuminati, John Coleman’s Conspirators Hierarchy: The Story of the Committee of 300 (American West Publishers, 1992). For those who don’t know, Coleman’s book outlines how the Illuminati have organized themselves through a group known as the Round Table, which, so we are led to believe, obtained most of its funding from the House of Rothschild. Supplementing such bewildering lies, Icke then refers his increasingly befuddled readers to Anthony Sutton’s Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution (Veritas Publishing, 1981). This enables Icke to clarify — for the not already confused — that although Rockefeller and Morgan wealth was said to have dominated the Round Table network both robber barons were “probably controlled by the Rothschilds.”

Heaping more and more right-wing references upon one another to bolster his subterranean ramblings, Icke also draws his readers attention to Gary Allen’s John Birch Society best-seller None Dare Call it Conspiracy (1972). A book which Icke uses to assert that Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto was simply a restatement of the revolutionary principles laid out by Adam Weishaupt, the founder of the Bavarian Order of the Illuminati. This evil conspiracy had apparently been supported in America by liberal foundations owned by the Rockefeller and Carnegie families, which Icke ‘proves’ by leaning upon another Bircher conspiracist named William McIlhany. Here another seminal text that fed Icke’s mega-conspiracies that is umbilically entwined with the Birchers own paranoia was Cleon Skousen’s self-published text The Naked Capitalist (1970). For those who don’t know (and to be honest, why would you?) Skousen’s book was a paranoid 144-page summary of Carroll Quigley’s critical insider history, Tragedy and Hope (Macmillan, 1966). “Skousen’s personal position,” Quigley explained shortly after the publication of The Naked Capitalist, “seems to me perilously close to the ‘exclusive uniformity’ which I see in Nazism and in the Radical Right in this country. In fact, his position has echoes of the original Nazi 25-point plan.” None of these facts concerned Icke, and goose-stepping in line with his many ultra-conservative predecessors, Icke was mightily impressed with Skousen’s Nazi-tinged misinterpretation of Quigley’s book. [1]

Although it has been clear for many years now that the John Birch Society’s outlandish tales have been heavily derivative of the famous all-encompassing conspiracy theorist, Nesta Webster, her anti-Semitic lies were always played down by the Society for obvious reasons. But now, with more time separating us from Hitler’s holocaust, Icke like many of his right-wing friends evidently feel they can revel in anti-Semitism. Thus, Icke introduces his readers to one of his new-found personal acquaintances, one Colonel Barry Turner, who Icke says “has provided some excellent background for me from time to time.” Icke continues: “I don’t share his views on some things, nor he mine, but we do share a passionate desire to expose the global tyranny.” What goes unmentioned by Icke is that Colonel Turner happens to be an ultra-right-wing activist who it seems enjoys reminiscing about the good-old days when Nesta Webster had industriously documented and publicized the full extent of the Illuminati’s Jewish pedigree.

 The Nazi Cry for Freedom

With conspiracies now layered so deep that one barely knows where one ends and the next begins Icke turns his otherworldly powers of explanation to prove that Hitler was actually a partner with the Allies in waging the Illuminati war upon the world. To make this point Icke refers to Rodney Atkinson and Norris McWhirter’s Treason at Maastrict: The Destruction of the Nation State (Compuprint Publishing, 1995). As one might guess, this book is the work of yet more right-wing nut-jobs. And while McWhirter’s days of anti-democratic activism may have been on the wane when he wrote this text, some twenty years earlier, in 1975, McWhirter had been a cofounder of the infamous ultra right-wing National Association for Freedom (now known as the Freedom Association). This Association had been formed with the aid of all manner of CIA hacks, a good example being Robert Moss, who subsequently gained employment at Sir James Goldsmith’s right-wing Now! magazine, and has now reinvented himself as a shamanic counsellor and dream teacher. During the 1990s, Rodney Atkinson on the other hand was a rising star in right-wing politics, and in 2000 he narrowly lost a bid to lead the UK Independence Party — a far-right political party which can trace it roots back to Sir James Goldsmith’s pet project, the Bruges Group (for more on Goldsmith’s melding of environmental and spiritual concerns with far-right politics see my earlier article “Gambling with our planet”).

As it turns out, Norris McWhirter’s activities as an influential right-wing activist in Britain, meant he spent his life working closely with all manner of white supremacist groups, like for instance the notorious British League of Rights, whose magazine Icke “thanks” within And the Truth Shall Set You Free for helping him understand the history of secret societies in Northern Ireland. This League had been formed in the early 1970s to oppose the entry of the UK into the European Economic Community, although it also worked to promote C.H. Douglas’ social credit movement — a movement whose economic theories were written partly in response to Douglas’s belief in the existence of the so-called Protocols of the Elders of Zion. During its early years the General Secretary of the British League of Rights was Conservative Monday Club member, Lady Jane Birdwood, while the League’s day to day operations were overseen by Don Martin. Martin being an important figure in ultra right-wing circles, who for the past several decades has been running a mail-order firm called Bloomfield Books which takes pride in being the republisher of Illuminati tirades like Anthony Sutton’s Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution. As it turns out, the Suffolk-based house from which Bloomfield Books operates is the contact address for The Quarterly Review, a journal which until recently was edited by British neo-Nazi, Derek Turner.

Both reactionary media projects — Bloomfield Books and The Quarterly Review — provide intriguing connections to David Icke’s special brand of New Age politics. This is because in recent years The Quarterly Review has included leading green (spiritually-minded) activists upon its advisory board, like John Papworth (the conservative founder of the eco-spiritualist journal Resurgence) and Teddy Goldsmith, who was the founder of The Ecologist magazine and is the brother of Sir James Goldsmith. Although Papworth and Teddy Goldsmith only served on the advisory board of the Review for a couple of years, both individuals should be credited for having strengthened the connections between more conservative elements of the environmental movement and European neo-fascists. In fact, Teddy, working alongside his brother, had become increasingly involved with the French New Right movement (led by Alain de Benoist) during the 1990s; while just prior to the 2007 relaunch of The Quarterly Review, Papworth had spoken alongside various Nazis at the 2005 Right Now! conference on the topic of “Preserving Western Values.” Bloomfield Books association with Icke then comes through their Nazi overseer, Don Martin, who formerly maintained close ties to the people running the now defunct New Age magazine known as Rainbow Ark — a magazine which in the early 1990s had acted to publicize Icke’s work and had helped organize and promote his public talks.

As befitting such an anti-modern publication, The Quarterly Review traces its original lineage to the nineteenth century, although it’s publication was only revived in 2007 with the help of former Conservative MP Sir Richard Body. Here it is critical to introduce the background of Sir Richard Body, a long-standing member of the Conservative Monday Club, and President of the Campaign for an Independent Britain (a sister organization to the Freedom Association). Body’s own eco-spiritual connections are important because he had also been a long-standing patron of the Fourth World Review — a magazine which is proud to have been the first journal to publish Sir James Goldsmith’s paranoid political ramblings.

Since its founding in the 1970s, the Fourth World Review has been steadfastly edited by John Papworth, who is perhaps better known for cofounding the eco-spiritualist Resurgence magazine — which has always maintained its own intriguing connections to Britain’s ruling-class. However, another long-running contributor to Fourth World Review is Peter Etherden, a man who in 1997 stood as a candidate for Sir James Goldsmith’s right-wing Referendum Party, and for many years worked as the Managing Director of Cliffs Edge Signalling Company. The latter company having been founded in the mid-1990s to promote the crankish monetary reform principles of Silvio Gesell — whose ill-founded theories have sown confusion amongst many leading green activists, especially those of an anthroposophical bent. Cliffs Edge Signalling Company has also republished the 1948 text of a Scottish homeopathic doctor named Thomas Robertson, who happily promoted the debunked theories of the social credit movement in his book Human Ecology: The Science of Social Adjustment (1948). And as it happens, this book is counted among the special texts that Don Martin likes to distribute via Bloomfield Books.

All this background is relevant in order to contextualise Icke’s continuing right-wing turn in the early 1990s, especially given his newfound fixation upon the bête noire of the libertarian right, the United Nations. To assert the fascist nature of the United Nations, Icke refers readers of And the Truth Shall Set You Free to William Jasper’s supposedly “excellent book” Global Tyranny-Step by Step: The United Nations and the Emerging New World Order (Western Islands, 1992). Jasper had, as you might expect by now, been a lead writer for the John Birch Society since the late 1970s, and so it is fitting that Icke follows his citation by  affirming his own support for the John Birch Society. Icke notes that the Society’s founder, Robert Welch, had as early as 1970 “predicted with remarkable accuracy what the United Nations would become…” In summary Icke concludes: “The UN is but a ‘Trojan Horse’ for the global fascist/communist tyranny known as the New World Order.”

As a very relevant aside, the publisher of William Jasper’s book, the Western Goals Foundation, had been set up by leading members of the John Birch Society, and like Don Martin’s British League of Rights, the Western Goals Foundation had similarly been an affiliate member of the elite hub of rabid far-right conspiracy-mongers that was known as the World Anti-Communist League. [2] Once again demonstrating the tight connections existing between ultra-right-wing propagandists and UFO converts like Icke, one could do no better than introduce Major Sir Patrick Wall (1916-1998), a former parliamentary advisor to the British branch of Western Goals, who in the last decade of his life served as the President of Brinsley Le Poer Trench’s British UFO Research Association.

Bearing all these elite connections in mind, it is perhaps fitting that one of Sir Patrick Wall’s patriotic allies at the helm of the UK-based Western Goals Institute was recent Conservative Monday Club chairman, Lord Sudeley, who is a former patron of Derek Turner’s Right Now! magazine and is now the President of the Traditional Britain Group. This latter, newly-established neo-fascist group was formed to help revitalise anti-modern discourses of Traditionalism as inspired by the likes of the Italian fascist esotericist Julius Evola. With speakers at a 2013 conference promoted by the Traditional Britain Group including far-right speakers like Alain de Benoist and Evola-disciple Alexander Dugin. Although unknown to most, intimately related to the fanning of these reactionary political currents is an esoteric outfit known as Arktos Media. In addition to translating and publicising the philosophical writings of Julius Evola, other related work published by Arktos includes that of green-tinged fascist-cum-Traditionalist Troy Southgate, and the traditionalist work of John Michell – a famed New Age author who popularised much of the conservative New Age material that Icke has cannily incorporated into his own repertoire of nonsense.

Finally, another of Icke’s informants who served alongside Lord Sudeley as a Vice President of the Western Goals Institute during the 1980s was the aforementioned Illuminati conspiracist Colonel Barry Turner. In 1992, Colonel Turner had utilized Don Martin’s Bloomfield Books to publish his own paranoid pamphlet “Control of the Communications Media and Conditioning of the Public Mind.” In relation to the importance this paper, Icke feels duty-bound to acknowledge that his own lengthy exposition on the Illuminati-controlled British media owes a debt of gratitude to Colonel Turner’s pioneering research.

The Confusion of Alice Walker

So, to return to Alice Walker latest revelations; you can see why it is problematic for a popular writer who is regularly identified with the left of politics – most famously through her opposition to the apartheid politics being implemented by the State of Israel – should remain so uncritical of Icke. For instance, consider what she wrote on her blog in September 2016 – in a year when she had been publicly supporting Bernie Sanders as the Democrat’s Presidential candidate:

I spent all day last Saturday from ten o’clock in the morning to after ten o’clock at night (with a break for lunch, stretches, walks and a nap in my car) listening to a presentation by David Icke who is traveling the planet with his Phantom Self, World Wake Up Tour. He was extraordinary, as usual, and held the packed audience’s attention as he carried us through teachings welcome to some and no doubt too frightening to be welcome to others…I find him refreshing, myself, especially during this period of election coverage that seems from another reality entirely than the one real people live in, and is.”

This certainly sounds like an obsession, as some three years previously she had blogged:

I have been dragging along David Icke’s monumental book: Human Race Get Off Your Knees for the last month. It has been on my lap as I sat; been propped against pillows as I laid down; followed me to bathroom and poolside; and been, in fact, a formidable companion over these past several weeks. It is a massive book, and requires complete attention. Even so, some of it is hard to grasp. I have felt sorely regretful that my science foundation is so…nil.”

The same might be said of Icke’s own soleful rejection of science in favour of New Age hocus pocus.

Not one to understate Icke’s inspiration on her life, in her 2013 blog post Walker referred to Human Race Get Off Your Knees as the “ultimate reading adventure,” explaining: “I felt it was the first time I was able to observe, and mostly imagine and comprehend, the root of the incredible evil that has engulfed our planet.” Walker went on to say that Icke reminded her of Malcolm X, “especially of Malcolm’s fearlessness” before going to on recall how during Malcolm’s more reactionary, less socialist days – when he was a member of the National of Islam — how Malcom had “called our oppressors ‘blue eyed devils.’” Evidently supportive of such divisive garbage, Walker then draws this devil link back to Icke and his reptilian Illuminati. Breathless with wonder, Walker, in the same 2013 blog post, adds that she was “on my knees here in gratitude” to the revelation from the South African Zulu shaman, Credo Mutwa, who it turns out is a true believer in Icke’s reptilian theories. She forgets to mention that Mutwa happens to also be a vocal advocate of non-scientific health treatments, and is adamant that AIDS can be treated with natural remedies — a popular right-wing conspiracy that was unfortunately adopted by the South African government in 2000.

In fact, it turns out that Icke holds similar beliefs to Mutwa regarding AIDS, and in his 2001 book Children of the Matrix, Icke asserts that the “Illuminati artificially introduced through vaccination.” He adds: “The biggest smokescreen to this is the claim that HIV causes AIDS.” He then takes up the anti-AZT cause – which had been popularised by Sir James Goldsmith in the 1980s — noting that it was merely a product of the Rockefeller cartel; before referring his readers to the “brilliant book” by Christine Maggiore, What if Everything You Thought You Knew About AIDS Was Wrong (Health Education AIDS Liason, Los Angeles Chapter, 1996). A book which was inspired by the ‘research’ of conservative author, Peter Duesberg, who was the most prominent AIDS denialist to sit on South Africa’s 44-member Presidential Advisory Panel on HIV and AIDS. This interest in AIDS brings us to another “amazing book” that Walker recommends to her readers in her 2013 blog post as “a remarkable companion to Icke’s book” — that text being Nancy Banks’ Aids, Opium, Diamonds and Empire; the International Virus of Greed. Banks’ work is, needless to say, not well known beyond conspiracy circles, but it should come as no surprise that Banks serves on the “support committee” of an AIDs conspiracy group called Rethinking AIDS whose crusade against science is led by Duesberg and his reactionary friends. Professor Seth Kalichman, author of the important book, Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy (Springer, 2009) actually has more than nil knowledge about science and observes that Banks’ bookdraws heavily on anti-Semitic conspiracy theoriesand, as Kalichmanputs ithas it all – conspiracy theories, AIDS denial, and Holocaust denial.”

The Capitalist Roots of Conspiracism 

But while we should always be critical of public intellectuals like Alice Walker especially when they serve to popularise the reactionary conspiracy theories of people like Icke and Banks, we must look deeper still to really deal with these problems. And here we should reserve our most scathing criticisms for the capitalist institutions that actively contribute towards creating a climate which enables such nonsense to flourish in the first place. Powerful agenda-setting institutions like the New York Times must therefore be held to account, as there can be no doubting that such media outlets continue to impose the ruling-classes own distorted and disempowering version of reality upon the world.

The New York Times’ anti-democratic ambition is achieved in a variety of ways: for a start, the newspaper is nothing but consistent (like the rest of the corporate media more generally) in its attacks upon popular movements and opposition to any trade unionists who attempt to unite the American working-class against their capitalist oppressors. The Times is also reliable in its complete distortion of international affairs, as illustrated by their reality-inverting reporting on the State of Israel’s ongoing human rights abuses, a systemic problem that is exhaustively documented in Howard Friel and Richard Falk’s useful book Israel-Palestine on Record: How the New York Times Misreports Conflict in the Middle East (Verso, 2007).

In this way, it is apparent that capitalist media outlets like the Times continue to conspire to delegitimize working-class voices at the same time that the gulf between the billionaire-class and the rest of us grows ever wider. So, is it is really any wonder that devoid of a mainstream media that reflects their reality, that millions of ordinary people have turned to conspiracy theories to help them understand their lives? And here, despite the arrogant and dismissive view that the New York Times holds with regards to the views of the working-class — especially towards those who buy into conspiracies — we can see that the Times maintains something of a soft-spot for popularising such paranoia.

To refer to a few recent examples from the Times, earlier this month saw the release of Megan Fox’s new Legends of the Lost series on the Travel Channel, a new program which promotes the same type of racist pseudo-science that Icke metastasizes into his own reactionary mega-conspiracies. Needless to say, the New York Times were quick to boost this show, and on the day of its premier (on December 4) described it in this way:

In her new TV show, the star of ‘Transformers’ and ‘Jennifer’s Body’ travels the world in what the network calls an attempt to ‘uncover answers about the age-old mysteries that still perplex scientists and archaeologists to this day.’ The four-part series, which seems to fall somewhere between ‘Tomb Raider’ and the History Channel’s ‘Ancient Aliens,’ follows Fox, a self-described ‘seeker,’ as she treks from Stonehenge to Scandinavia to Turkey.”

A few days later the Times (December 7) then ran another puff piece for the series, explaining how Fox had first had her consciousness expanded while watching “Ancient Aliens” on the History Channel. With not a word of criticism, the article reports how within Legends of the Lost…

“Fox unfurls some of her alternative historical theories while tapping into emerging research — for instance, the possibility of female Viking warriors, the sonic healing properties of Stonehenge, the existence of prehistoric giants in North America and the likelihood that the Trojan War actually occurred.”

Going back to the summer, the New York Times (August 3) also ran with their latest in a long, long, long line of articles giving credence to the existence of a cover-up with regard the government’s knowledge of UFOs or flying saucers. While a few weeks prior to this, the Times ran another related long-form article entitled “Suspicious Minds” (July 21) which provided a whitewash of the reactionary politics of those people involved with the production of Ancient Aliens television show. I say whitewash because a leading critical historian of the far-right conspiracies popularised by the likes of Icke, had, in the run-up to the publication of this article, been interviewed by the Times journalist whereupon he had outlined his profound concerns with the program. Thus, on the day that the Times article was published, Jason Colavito, the historian in question, wrote on his blog:

“While the article by Steven Kurutz pays lip service to the problems with the ancient astronaut theory, the overall thrust of the article is a celebration of the community that has formed around the Ancient Aliens television show. This was especially disappointing to me because Kurutz interviewed me at length several weeks ago for the piece, and he had told me that he planned to use my interview in the article to discuss the dark side of the ancient astronaut theory, including its ties to racist ideas and white nationalism, as well as the racist, anti-Semitic, and paranoid statements made by the show’s talking heads, including Erich von Däniken (who called Blacks a “failed” experiment), David Wilcock (who blamed the Jews for trying to kill him), and the late Jim Marrs (who alleged that the Jews and Obama were working together to destroy America).”

This led Colavito to argue that the New York Times article “continues a disturbing trend of normalizing extreme and damaging points of view by casting them as legitimate and justified, rather than merely understandable.” Peddlers of lucrative ancient alien nonsense, he concluded, were simply portrayed by the Times “as a bunch of loveable rogues.” This disturbing whitewash of those who popularise far-right talking points should of course be expected for a leading media outlet whose primary purpose revolves, not around public education, but with their miseducation to perpetuate an unjust status quo.

So, yes, Alice Walker is wrong to defend David Icke, and we should always call out those who promote anti-Semitism and far-right conspiracies, but we should understand that the deeper causes for the popularity of such reactionary nonsense ultimately derives from the class nature of society. This is why, for all those who are truly interested in promoting a democratic and socialist society for all, it is essential that such class issues are tackled head-on. It is the ruling class who profit from the continuing public confusion about the paranoid conspiracies of the far-right. And it is this billionaire-class and their allies in the corporate media who are quite happy to engage in lies and diversionary tactics to prevent the rest of us from focusing on the single most important issue that holds back all our lives… capitalism.

 

Notes

[1] Other examples of right-wingers that Icke draws into his orbit to fortify his case against the Illuminati in And the Truth Shall Set You Free include conservative Christian activist Phyllis Schafly and Chester Ward (authors of Kissinger on the Couch, Arlington House, 1975), libertarian scholar Jacqueline Kasun (author of The War Against Population, Ignatius Press, 1988), Lyndon LaRouche acolytes Webster Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin (authors of George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, Executive Intelligence Review, 1992), and former LaRouchite F. William Engdahl (author of A Century of Oil, Dr Bottiger Verlags-GmbH, 1993).

[2] Other books published by the ultra-right-wing Western Goals Foundation that are referenced by Icke in And the Truth Shall Set You Free include: James Drummey’s The Establishment’s Man (Western Islands, 1991) and James Perloff’s The Shadows of Power: The Council on Foreign Relations and the American Decline (Western Islands, 1988).

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