Conspiracy theories for sceptics?
According to parts of the climate sceptic movement, the world is not as it seems.
The CSIRO is a tool of international bankers, who over the past century have also orchestrated every major financial boom and bust since 1913. The United Nations was created at the urging of international bankers, who are using it as a vehicle to usher in a New World Order.
The Rockefeller and Rothschild families have been working behind the scenes for centuries manipulating events. These same banking families instigated both the First and Second World War in order to profit from the chaos. Every Australian Prime Minister of the post-War period – except John Howard – was a Fabian-socialist-Manchurian candidate.
Or so claims Malcolm Roberts, project manager for the Alan Jones sponsored Galileo Movement .
In early February Roberts published a report titled CSIROh! Climate of deception? Or first step to freedom? (CSIROh!). I would point readers to Graham Readfearn’s brilliant post detailing Robert’s activities and his strange exchange with Sydney Morning Herald journalist Ben Cubby.
CSIROh! is only 25 pages in length, however it is accompanied by 30 frenzied, barely comprehensible and obsessively detailed appendices.
Roberts has distributed electronic and hard copies of his report to politicians, journalists and scientists across Australia. Those lucky enough to receive the fruits of Robert’s research include David Karoly, Tim Flannery and Ross Garnaut. Many prominent members of the media have also received his report: Andrew Bolt was on the distribution list, as well as many ABC and Fairfax journalists.
The patron of the Galileo Movement Alan Jones also received CSIROh! Indeed, in an email dated 8 February 2013 Jones thanked Roberts for his report, calling him a “magnificent” worker. We know this because Roberts published the email from Jones on his website.
What is going on here?
Background: the perceived antisemitism of Roberts conspiracy theories
For those readers not familiar with Roberts, he is the project manager for the climate sceptic group the Galileo Movement. The mission of the Galileo Movement is to see the “carbon tax” repealed and to cast doubt on the science of climate change.
Last year in an interview with Sydney Morning Journalist Ben Cubby Roberts claimed a cabal of international bankers were behind the climate change “scam”. This revelation ultimately lead to conservative columnist Andrew Bolt repudiating both Roberts and the Galileo Movement due to the implied whiff of antisemitism of his claims.
Since then Roberts has clearly been smarting, and in CSIROh! he attempts to set the record straight and vindicate his claims.
However, CSIROh! is not an ordinary report. In it Roberts creates an alternative history of the world, in which the Rockefeller’s and Rothschild’s have been working behind the scenes to wreck and profit from financial chaos, incite major wars and build the foundations of a tyrannical world government.
The international bankers conspiracy to control the world
Most of CSIROh! and its supporting documents contain the usual dross generated by the climate sceptic movement: CO2 is not a pollutant, the globe stopped warming etc. There is little need to review these claims as they are easily debunked.
But it is not his attacks on the science we should be concerned about: it is the motivations he ascribes to the dark satanic forces allegedly behind the entire “scam”.
The most telling document is Appendix No. 14 titled Why? Motives driving the climatefraud (Why?). In it Roberts makes the following claim:
“The UN’s forty-year campaign fabricating climate fraud used strategies and tactics proven 100 years ago. They’re similar to those used by international bankers in their thirty-year campaign from the 1880’s to gain control of the USA’s money supply, finances and economy. Their campaign succeeded in forming the USA’s Federal Reserve Bank in 1913.”
In this document Robert sketches out the links between the CSIRO, international bankers, the IPCC and every government, financial and non-government organisation (NGO) in existence today:
Such power is extended through the bankers’ global creations including the Bank for International Settlements, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Through these the European-American banking alliance controls global finances. The alliance’s global organisations dictate to other nations outside America and Europe, including Australia. (Why? pg.13)
This is conspiracy theorizing on an epic scale. Indeed, Roberts rewrites the entire history of the world since the late 19th century. Presidents and Prime Ministers have either colluded or been manipulated by the international bankers:
“Both Woodrow Wilson and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt benefitted from support from this cabal of narrow financial and political interests. Woodrow Wilson later regretted his reliance on their favours and entrapment into doing their bidding under their control.” (Why? pg.14)
According to Roberts the international bankers have manipulated every financial boom and bust since 1913:
“With this tight and complete control over national economies the international bankers have used their power to create every boom and every bust since 1913. They have wreaked havoc and misery on millions and now billions of people. In every boom and every bust they have profited enormously. They do so at the expense of the people.” (Why? pg.15)
Roberts also taps into problematic tropes about Jewish banking families:
“…as a result of deceit over many years involving secret meetings led by prominent German bankers colluding with the influential Texan Colonel Edward Mandel House, congress delegated it to a group who they did not fully understand: a group of European and American bankers. The alliance featured Germany’s Warburgs and London’s Rothschild’s. Passage through congress of The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 was achieved when many congressmen were absent prior to their Christmas break. The President at the time was Woodrow Wilson who owed bankers a favour for funding his 1912 electioncampaign.” (Why? pg.16)
Ah yes, the Rothschild’s.
Not content with taking over the globe via financial means, Roberts claims the Rothschild family and other international banking families have corrupted the American education system in order to create a subservient class of serfs – or sheeple in conspiracy language:
“In The Underground History of American Education (2000), educator John Taylor Gatto traces how Rockefeller, Morgan and other members of the financial elite influenced, guided, funded, and at times forced compulsory schooling into mainstream America. They needed three things for their corporate interests to thrive: (1) compliant employees, (2) a guaranteed and dependent population, and (3) a predictable business environment. It was largely to promote these ends, says Gatto, that modern compulsory schooling was established.” (Why? pg.17)
Roberts also recycles some of the most shameful myths of the last century, that international bankers were behind the world wars and profited from them:
“Increasingly investigators and historians are discovering that international bankers played a major and highly destructive role in initiating and benefitting from wars, genocide and devastation in the twentieth century. The century was mankind’s bloodiest with more deaths than in all preceding centuries.International bankers own major armament manufacturers and made fat profits financing both sides in World War 1 and again in World War 2.” (Why? pg.54)
The same bankers are also behind communism:
“As Anthony Sutton, Gary Allen, Ellen Brown and others have revealed, international bankers funded, enabled and drove communism.” (Why? pg.58)
Putting aside the absurdity of his claims, Roberts has done us all an enormous favour by citing his references. At the very least it gives us the opportunity to evaluate his claims based upon the evidence he presents.
Indeed, reading through Roberts turgid conspiracy theory is beneficial as he cites the texts, articles and YouTube videos that inform his world view.
And what a read it is. Roberts synthesizes nearly every conspiracy theory and canonical text of conspiracy culture from the last 100 years. No conspiracy stone is left unturned by Roberts in his monomaniacal pursuit of “the truth” – or at least, his version of it.
Most disturbingly he uses one most notorious antisemitic texts of the 20th century to buttress his arguments.
Roberts and The Secrets of the Federal Reserve by Eustace Mullins
Roberts has repeatedly claimed he is not antisemitic – we should accept his claim on face value. Thus I do not claim Roberts is anti-Semitic.
However, throughout Why? Motives driving the climate fraud Roberts quotes The Secrets of the Federal Reserve by Eustace Mullins as an important source that underpins his arguments:
“The cabal of international bankers wield massive financial power across industries internationally. They control all three American TV networks through direct ownership and/or through cross-directorships. They own the major and most influential American newspapers. They own many of America’s major corporations and control others through cross-directorships. Please refer to references by Gary Allen and Eustace Mullins above and to the book entitled The True Story of the Bilderberg Group by Canadian investigative reporter Daniel Estulin.” (Why? pg.16)
Next to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Secrets of the Federal Reserve is one of the most notorious antisemitic texts of the twentieth century.
More than likely Roberts has weaved together a vast array of conspiracy literature, real world facts and the hackneyed plots of B-grade thrillers and fused them into CSIROh! and its 30 appendices.
This is how conspiracy theorists work – they are completely indiscriminate in their use of materials, often ignorant of their historical context of sources.
Roberts may not be a bigot, but he is clearly a fool when it comes to basic historical research and evaluating source materials. It is why he is unable to correctly read the intent of tone of works such as The Secrets of the Federal Reserve. Indeed, Roberts appears completely tone-deaf to the blatant antisemitism of Mullins work – who by the way was completely open about his prejudices.
This explains why Andrew Bolt ran a mile from the likes of Roberts and the Galileo Movement: Bolt may be a dunce on the science, but he is not an idiot.
However, as stated context is important. Thus, what follows is an examination of the historical context of the claims of Roberts and the sources he draws upon.
Toxic legacy: international bankers and antisemitic roots of the Federal Reserve conspiracy theory
As I noted last year, the Federal Reserve conspiracy theory originated in the early to mid-twentieth century. Indeed, I speculated that the likes of Roberts were drawing upon texts such as Secrets of the Federal Reserve. Roberts confirms my initial hypothesis.
Until 1945 such claims were the staple of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. After the Second World War and the Holocaust such overt antisemitism was impossible due to its association with the barbaric crimes of the Third Reich. Later incarnations of the Federal Reserve conspiracy theory have shed their overtly antisemitic overtones, however to this day it remains popular among the extreme right and conspiracy crowd.
The earliest manifestations of this claim first surfaced in early 1920′s in the writings of Henry Ford. Ford – yes the Ford of Model T fame – was notorious for his antisemitism, publishing his rants and material from Protocols of the Elders of Zion in the weekly newspaper he owned, The Dearborn Independent.
In 1921 Ford published an article titled Jewish Idea Molded Federal Reserve System in which he claimed:
“The Federal Reserve System is a system of private banks, the creation of a banking aristocracy within an already existing autocracy, whereby a great proportion of banking independence was lost, and whereby it was made possible for speculative financiers to centralize great sums of money for their own purposes, beneficial or not.” (Henry Ford, The International Jew, pg. 361)
“Certainly enough has transpired to render it desirable that the American people look again into the purposes of those Jews who were instrumental in reorganizing our financial system at a most critical time in the world’s history.” (Henry Ford, The International Jew, pg. 371)
As prominent conspiracy scholars Chip Berlet and Mathew Lyons note in their work Right-wing populism in America: too close for comfort, this theory was prevalent in the 1930s:
“The overt British-Jewish conspiracy theory continues to be pursued in many publications, based primarily on tracts “written by British fascists in the 1930s, according to Denis King… The most energetic purveyor of this theme is Eustace Mullins, the antisemitic author of the 1952 book Mullins on the Federal Reserve and the 1954 book The Federal Reserve conspiracy. Mullins writes in two styles, one ostensibly focusing on banking practices, the other expressing open and vicious antisemitism.” (Berlet & Lyons, Right-wing populism in America pg. 195)
Mullins took the conspiracy ball and ran with it: to this day his work remains influential.
Old wine in a new bottle: repackaging old conspiracy theories
Move forward to the early 1950s, and the immediate post-War period.
The Cold War is heating up, while McCarthyism and “Reds-under-the-bed” paranoia is gripping large sections of the American public and political elite.
The genesis of contemporary conspiracy culture took place in the period between 1950-1960. Conspiracy theorists not only feared communists, but the United Nations as a precursor of a coming one world government. Many of the motifs used in conspiracy culture today were germinated in this intense period of Cold-War conflict and paranoia, including ideas about the New World Order, banking conspiracies, secretive Communist plots and that the US Government itself had been infiltrated and held captive by demonic forces.
During this period conspiracy theorists started to examine the works of Ford and other conspiracy theorists of the pre-War period and re-purpose their theories. In order to make them more palatable to a post-War audience they shed the overt references to Jews and replaced them with references to international bankers.
Into this intense political environment comes Library of Congress researcher, one time helper of Senator Joseph McCarthy and anti-Semite Eustace Mullins.
[Note: For further background see this 2012 WtD post on some of the materials being created in the 1950s and 1960s by conspiracy theorists.]
Mullins and the Federal Reserve
Mullins, born in Virginia in 1899, served in the armed forces during the Second World War and obtained a number of college degrees. In 1950 he became a researcher at the Library of Congress and worked with Senator Joseph McCarthy in investigating the sources of funding for the Communist Party.
Prior to this Mullins became intrigued with and befriended the poet Ezra Pound. Pound is one of the great poets of the twentieth century, but he was also an anti-Semite and turned to fascism during the 1920s.
In 1924 Pound decamped to Italy and became infatuated with fascism and Mussolini’s regime. During the war Pound broadcast on Rome Radio in support of the Axis war effort. Unsurprisingly, at the end of the war in 1945 Pound was arrested for treason by the US government.
In 1949 (seriously, are you following this?) Mullins decides to visit Pound in an insane asylum where the latter is being incarcerated and they strike up a friendship. Pound then sets Mullins off to research the Federal Reserve. Mullins details the event himself;
“In 1949, while I was visiting Ezra Pound who was a political prisoner at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Washington, D.C. (a Federal institution for the insane), Dr. Pound asked me if I had ever heard of the Federal Reserve System. I replied that I had not, as of the age of 25. He then showed me a ten-dollar bill marked “Federal Reserve Note” and asked me if I would do some research at the Library of Congress on the Federal Reserve System which had issued this bill. Pound was unable to go to the Library himself, as he was being held without trial as a political prisoner by the United States government. After he was denied broadcasting time in the U.S., Dr. Pound broadcast from Italy in an effort to persuade people of the United States not to enter World War II. Franklin D. Roosevelt had personally ordered Pound’s indictment.” (Mullins, Secrets of the Federal Reserve)
Mullins tootles off to research the Fed and Pound’s claims, and voila, in 1952 produces the book that becomes Secrets of the Federal Reserve. As Wikipedia explains:
“Like Pound, he had sympathy for Fascism, because of its apparent anti-Usury and anti-Communist measures, though he later withdrew that sympathy, as he came to believe that without the Nazis, Zionism would never have been a powerful force, and that the Nazis were puppets of Jewish bankers, specifically Max Warburg, who he claimed financed them to build up the Nazi war machine, as well as the leaders of the J. Henry Schroeder Bank, who were facilitated by the Dulles brothers, and that Nazi opposition to these bankers, insofar as it went beyond rhetoric, occurred only well after they had ascended to power. In his book Secrets of the Federal Reserve, he also claimed that World War One was contrived and managed by a triumvirate consisting of Paul Warburg, Bernard Baruch, Eugene Meyer, and to a lesser extent, the leaders of Morgan banks, in the United States, and men like Max Warburg in Germany, so that they might increase their profit and power.” (Wikipedia)
Secrets of the Federal Reserve is riddled with anti-Semitic claims and freely borrows from the work of Henry Ford (the full text of it can be seen here) and other pre-War anti-Semitic literature.
Mullins text is freely floating around the internet, a favorite of conspiracy theorists, anti-Semites, neo-Fascists and the like. It is worth noting that Mullins also denied the Holocaust, and stated America owed Hitler a favor for instigating the Nazi “war” on Jews:
“America will never forget that the Jewish International bankers, together with Franklin D.Roosevelt, their tool, led us into World War II. Why? Because Hitler drove the economic leeches of the Rothschild and Warburg families out of Germany. The Jewish “refugees”poured into America and enlisted us as cannon fodder and errand boys in Europe. Hitler warned America in 1945, that we would have to face the ultimate battle against the Jewish Frankenstein Monster of Communism alone. America had helped created the monster, now it would destroy her…” (Mullins, Hitler an appreciation)
This brings us back to today – and the conspiracy theories of Roberts in CSIROh! His work is peppered with the same claims about the Warburg and Rothschild families working behind the scenes:
“Yet as a result of deceit over many years involving secret meetings led by prominent German bankers colluding with the influential Texan Colonel Edward Mandel House, congress delegated it to a group who they did not fully understand: a group of European and American bankers. The alliance featured Germany’s Warburgs and London’s Rothschilds. Passage through congress of The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 was achieved when many congressmen were absent prior to their Christmas break. The President at the time was Woodrow Wilson who owed bankers a favour for funding his 1912 election campaign. (Why? pg.16)”
Roberts absorbs and retells the conspiracy narrative of Mullins.
Roberts other influences: Gary Allen and the New World Order
Simular claims can also be found in the work of conspiracy theorist Gary Allen (None dare call it conspiracy, 1971), another author Roberts approvingly cites.
Allen, an American conspiracy theorist, was a prolific writer producing many books and articles between the late 1960s and 1980s. Allen specialised on writing about the plans of the “global elite” and that hoary old favorite of contemporary conspiracy theorists, the Bilderberg Group.
Unlike Mullins, the writing of Allen is not normally classified as anti-Semitic. J. Byford and Michael Billig in 2001 paper titled The emergence of antisemitic conspiracy theories in Yugoslavia during the war with NATO(Patterns of prejudice, 2006) note:
A distinction can be made between the conspiracy theories of Gary Allen or Avramov, that concentrate on organizations such as the Bilderberg Group, and more mystical, quasi-religious theories, such as those being propounded in Yugoslavia by Đurđević. The former have a more ‘reasonable’ appearance: they cite existing organizations as the hub of the world conspiracy. They do not necessarily see these organizations as ciphers for the hidden esoteric workings of Jews, Freemasons or the Illuminati. Most crucially, Gary Allen and others have not identified an ethnic group as being in control of organizations like the Bilderberg Group. (Byford & Billig pg. 312)
However they do note troubling and problematical nature of Allen’s writings:
“However, on closer examination, the differentiation between nonantisemitic,‘reasonable’ conspiracy theories and antisemitic theories is not hard and fast, especially as the ‘reasonable’ writer attempts to understand the present political situation in terms of a longer history of conspiracies. To do this, that writer often draws on earlier theories, including those belonging to the antisemitic tradition….” (Byford & Billig pg. 312-313)
Byford & Billig are writing about the emergence of anti-Semitic theories during the NATO conflict with Serbia, when extreme Serbian nationalists drew upon older conspiracy narratives in their attempts to make sense of the conflict. Some did so unwittingly, while others were more explicit in their anti-Semitism.
This point is worth emphasising: in times of crisis, conspiracy theories flourish. Again and again, we see the same pattern.
Roberts has committed the former sin: driven by a conspiracy world view and ignorant of historical methodologies when it comes to using sources, Roberts unwittingly draws upon the most toxic legacies of conspiracy culture.
This is par for the course for all conspiracy theorists: no matter how toxic or stigmatized their original sources are, they will find a way to weave them into the alternative reality they create.
Fusion paranoia: pseudo-history, climate scepticism and the failure to evaluate sources
Roberts has stepped outside climate scepticism and into the realm of pseudo-history in constructing an alternative narrative of world events since the late 1800s. He unwittingly draws upon narratives and materials associated with the world view found within anti-Semitic literature.
In the world constructed by Roberts, historical events are tied together to prove the carbon tax is not a tool designed to reduce the amount of heat trapping gases in the atmosphere, but one of the cudgels wielded by a global cabal wishing to usher in a world government.
Roberts failure is common to all pseudo-historians and conspiracy theorists: he fails to understand source materials and their context. Even to the most casual reader, the Mullins text is a deeply paranoid piece of crack-pottery.
Like its source materials, CSIROh! is a muddled and paranoid re-imagining of world history. However Roberts takes old myths and filters them through climate scepticism.
Today’s conspiracy theorists fuse contemporary paranoia with myths and older conspiracy theories in an attempt to explain the world. Sometimes they know what they are doing, dropping in coded references to “international bankers” as dog-whistle racism for the knowing.
More often than not, conspiracy theorists look back to the previous ideas within conspiracy culture and fuse them with their own interpretation of world events.
Roberts takes preexisting conspiracies and weaves them together with climate scepticism. It is a textbook example of what scholars of conspiracy culture call fusion paranoia.
Times of crisis, toxic legacies and pathways to hate: why I’m not laughing
Sceptics will see this as merely another attempt to besmirch their good name. Thus I stress I do not equate climate scepticism with antisemitism or holocaust denial. However, I would argue that much of the climate sceptic narrative is framed in terms of conspiracy.
Many will see this as an opportunity to laugh at Roberts expense. But honestly, I’m not laughing.
What terrifies me is the new life given to some of the worst ideological excesses of the last century. Roberts and his patron Alan Jones are helping – inadvertently or not – to inject the ugly intellectual baggage of the twentieth century into contemporary politics.
Conspiracy theories are toxic to democracy: they are not merely the product of the fringe. They distort public debate, and even worse lead to the scapegoating of individuals and groups.
They can also act as pathways to hate: by demonizing one group within society (scientists, environmentalists and international bankers) it makes it permissible and acceptable to hate others.
In times of crisis – war, economic downturns and massive societal changes – conspiracy theories flourish. That we are seeing an upsurge in conspiracy theories in relation to climate change and mitigation policies is to be expected: climate change is a time of crisis.
Hence, we should expect the flourishing of conspiracy theories as equal, if not more, lurid as those propagated by Roberts.
What I fear in coming years is the rise of a vicious form of right-wing populism, with demagogues riding a tide of conspiracies and hatred to positions of power. Our public debates are toxic enough when it comes to refugees and marriage equality. The climate debate is equally toxic, if not more so.
The work of Roberts falls squarely in the tradition of both conspiracy culture and right-wing populism: for this reason I’m neither laughing nor dismissive.
CSIROh! is gaining an audience and is bound to become the accepted truth by numerous individuals. It will be picked up and promoted in areas of our culture most politicians, journalists and academics never see. The criticism Roberts receives will only drive him to greater efforts to promote his theory and reinforce his belief about a grand conspiracy: this is the pattern of all conspiracy theorists.
Without doubt, his words will flourish in the dark corners of the internet. Don’t believe me? Then look at how CSIROh! is already being embraced by the conspiracy community of Australia here, here and here. Or perhaps this glowing review of CSIROh! by the Climate Sceptics Party?
How did the climate debate come to this?
We like to imagine that our society is the product of the Enlightenment. Because our society is so dependent upon science, we hold fast to a naive faith that reason will prevail over ignorance and the old primitive hatreds.
And yet we stare in transfixed horror and disbelief at the coming storm. We watch aghast, or avert our eyes, in a state of disbelief as this familiar beast, its hour come again, slouches once more towards Bethlehem.
The sleep of reason produces monsters; it opens the gates for old hatreds.
Here – here is the genesis of future monsters.