Conspiracy Corner

Warning: gentle readers, irony & sarcasm can be hazardous in inexperienced (or American) hands. This piece was written by a trained professional. [Yeah, right…]

‘Satan’s Angels Exposed’ by Salem Kirban,
AMG Publishing, pp.292, £4.90

This issue’s helping of loonie fundamentalist Xtian nonsense, comes to us courtesy of Salem Kirban. With that name, he clearly is not going to be a rock musician – the title ‘Witchfinder General’ must surely also be his. However, wild speculation and religious fundamentalism is not the only string to his bow. As well as ‘How to Be Sure Of Crowns In Heaven’ and ‘Questions Frequently Asked Me On Prophecy’ (I imagine number one is “shouldn’t that be about prophecy?”), Mr.K is the author of a wide range of books. These include two novels, ‘666’ and the sequel, ‘1000’ — worthy of an entire article in themselves for their straight-line, literal interpretation of rapture, Armageddon and the rest of Revelations – and, oddly, a series of health-care volumes including ‘How To Keep Healthy and Happy By Fasting’, and the delightfully titled ‘Unlocking Your Bowels’.

‘Satan’s Angels Exposed’ was written in 1980 as part of a trilogy, together with ‘Satan’s Mark Exposed’ and ‘Satan’s Music Exposed’. The style of the pages is interesting; the right-hand side is full text, the left dedicated to cryptic paragraph headings, like “The Sinister Seduction of Gradualism”, “Towards A New World Order” and “Originated With John Ruskin”, to take two  pages at random. BLOCK CAPITALS, bold print, and underlining are the order of the day, and Kirban also tends to use imaginative line-breaks to convert quotes from other sources into something resembling blank verse, i.e.

“In the realm of banking
the name of Rothschild
is still one to conjure with.
One of the great ceremonies
of the financial world
occurs on each trading day in London
when five men gather in the same room
to set the opening price of gold
on the world market.
Of these five expert money managers,
one is representative of the
house of Rothschild
and the room where they meet
is in the Rothschild bank”

Got a kinda nice rhythm to it, hasn’t it?

The best conspiracies force together wildly disparate elements into a global paranoia where everything can be explained with a wave of dogma. In Salem’s world all of them are true. Masons, Rosicrucians, Illuminati, the Fabian Society, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderbergers, the Trilateral Commission and the Common Market(!) are given equal weight in Kirban’s world-view. They’re all plotting America’s — and hence  freedom’s and Christianity’s — downfall. And who’s behind it all, the conspirator behind the conspiracies? Satan! Who else? Hence a cover blurb which states (in yellow) “That popular religious telecast you are watching may be subtly manipulated by the Illuminati!” and (in pink) “Those contemporary ‘Christian’ records you listen to may be produced by non-believers who are controlled by Satan’s angels!“. Phew. Lucky I only watch trash and listen to industrial technogoth.

Each page has a heading such as “Sinister Plans for Future Control”, designed like a tabloid paragraph header to suck you in. Then he hits you with a blast of rhetorical questions: “Is there a conspiracy? Are the Bilderbergers part of it? Or are they merely another group of would-be do-gooders used and manipulated by other unseen forces?” (that’s a sample from a run of seven consecutive sentences which end in question marks).

Salem starts by giving us some tips on how to spot a Satanic influenced organization. Number one is “Do they have a love for money?”. Well, I guess that’s it – every company in the FTSE 100 is a front for Satan. He then goes on a quick tour through the major religions of the world, pointing out how they stray from God’s word (er, that’s the Bible) though the greatest vitriol is reserved for Humanism which is even (gasp!) compared to Communism.

I am very sceptical about his criticisms. For example, when discussing the Druids, he says they “….celebrated a number of feast days. At dawn on the 25th of December, the birth of the Sun God was celebrated, The Druids had a Madonna, or Virgin Mother, with a child in her arms; and their Sun God was resurrected at the time of year at which we celebrate Easter. It is amazing how Satan becomes the great imitator.” Damn clever of those pagans to work out Jesus’s birthday and sneak in there several hundred years beforehand – December 25th wasn’t fixed as Christmas Day until a papal decree in the 4th century AD, and even Kirban admits the Druids date back to the second century BC. Sorry, who was the great imitator?

After this bigot’s guide to the world religion, ol’ Salem gets down to the core of his conspiracy. Though ‘core’ is more solid than it ever gets, a rambling concotion of innuendo, rumour and downright paranoia. I’d have said that there was more hard evidence for aliens controlling the US government (TC12) than there is for Satan doing so. The basic theory is, “If you’re not for us, you’re against us” and since there have been any number of groups which couldn’t quite see the relevance of Christianity to hard economics, Kirban assumes they’re satanic.

More dodgy history follows: “At that time, they [the Russians] drew their own satellites together into a Warsaw Treaty Organization in 1955, emulating the European economic community“…which was actually founded two years later! This sums up the book – basically, it’s a load of rubbish, but at least it is wonderfully large-scale, ultra-paranoid rubbish which proves if you’re going to see conspiracies, it helps to have all facts surgically removed first.

Since the book appeared, events have overtaken Kirban. Take this passage about the EEC: “The Bible tells us that in the last days, an alliance of ten nations, from out of what was once the Roman Empire, will control the economic and political life of the world…It is possible that one of these ten nations may drop out of the Common Market, thus making it possible for the United States to become eventually the final 10th nation!

The marginal plausibility of this, to put it mildly, must have been badly shaken when Spain and Portugal became the eleventh and twelfth members, and has surely evaporated as EC numbers head towards twenty. However, maybe it just proves that we’re not yet in the last days, which is itself somewhat comforting. Guess we’ve just about got time for another pint, then…

Waco: The Big Lie 1+2 (Linda Thompson)
– £15, 2 hrs, Nexus Magazine, 01342 322854

On this tape are two documentaries which detail the alleged cover-up over the incidents surrounding the deaths of David Koresh and his followers at their ranch in Texas last year. According to attorney Linda Thompson, what happened was highly illegal, and totally disregarded the human rights of the victims. No-one has ever been brought to justice for the events, the official investigation clearing all those responsible.

The thrust of the accusations is two-fold: firstly, the initial charges levelled against the cult were unfounded, and secondly, that the deaths of the Branch Davidians were not accidents, but murder. The first of these would seem to have some bearing in fact: the allegations came from the infamous Cult Awareness Network, who habitually level the same charges of child abuse, sexual promiscuity and brainwashing, at any group who come into their sights. The purpose of the original raid was to search for an alleged machine-gun, but the evidence for this also seems to be weak and tenuous at best. On the other hand, it was staggering to discover that the cult had purchased over 200 guns from a single shop. Under these circumstances, it is easy to see why the BATF went in, if not with guns blazing, then with guns certainly ready to blaze.

The second phase is even less fuzzier. It relies heavily on video evidence of non-pristine quality, and as this tape is a couple of generations down, you’ll need a good TV and eagle-eyes to make out some of the supposed points. The most startling piece of evidence is footage of what looks like a tank with a flame-thrower at the front, seen operating shortly before the fire started which razed the compound. However, even this is inconclusive, there have been suggestions it is just sunlight flaring off metal. Possibly more convincing is gunshot analysis which strongly suggests the BATF agents killed through “friendly fire” rather than Davidian action. Again, it isn’t surprising they were just a bit twitchy — and once nerves set in, loosing off rounds at anything that moves is easy to do, as anyone who’s played ‘Doom’ will agree.

The general impression it made on me was that, yes, there may be a cover-up, but I remain unconvinced it is anything more than an understandable desire, to avoid being blamed for what looks suspiciously like another government cock-up. While it is startling that the BATF agents killed had all been bodyguards to Bill Clinton, this does not yet a conspiracy make, though I’ll be watching for developments. Let’s face it, if the intention was really to deliver Koresh’s Armageddon all along, the Pentagon could have done it from a long way off, and in spades.

‘Behold a Pale Horse’ by Milton William Cooper,
Light Technology Publishing, pp 500, £16.99

Never judge a book by its cover, so the saying goes, but in this case the psychedelic awfulness of the William Blake-like artwork on the front is a fairly good indicator of the state of mind to be found inside. This isn’t to say that it’s dull — the book is a grandiose piece of entertainment — just that if you want anything remotely connected with reality, try Enid Blyton. Or, jeez, try a cornflake packet, you’ll learn more about what’s going on in the world.

In small doses, this book almost clings onto the far edge of sanity. It is just plausible that aliens operate in collusion with the American government. It’s conceivable that the UN are plotting to set up a single world government. It could be that JFK was shot by his driver, because he demanded that the CIA stop its drug-running operations. But when you take these conspiracies, and many more, and claim that they’re all true, it’s stretching credulity just a teeny bit. In many ways, this is worse than Kirban’s book — at least he had an over-riding force, even if it was Lucifer. Here, Cooper’s theories simply end up contradicting each other: in one the UN is limited to being a patsy of the Trilateral Commission (or is it the Bilderberg Group? Or the Council on Foreign Relations? I forget…), in the next, they themselves are the cabal out to overthrow the Constitution of the United States (starting with the right to bear assault weaponry, apparently).

There are a host of factual errors ranging from the trivial (The Hague in Switzerland?) to the monumental: it’s hard to credit anyone accepts The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, even as neo-fact. On the (marginal) plus side he reprints the document, which I’d never seen in its entirety before. Replacing “Jews” with “Illuminati”, as Cooper recommends, doesn’t help much.

This book was read over a week’s holiday in Greece, and that just about sums it up. File with Jeffrey Archer and all the other purveyors of paperback nonsense, fit only for beach browsing.