Web of Conspiracy Con 2003

Santa Clara, CA
24th-25th May, 2003

Every year, it seems, more and more conspiratorial cracks appear in the landscape. This year, the war against Iraq, looking for those pesky – and apparently, non-existent – weapons of mass destruction, showed once again that politicians have absolutely no problem deceiving the electorate when they feel the need. Bringing this to the attention of the public is where events like Conspiracy Con come in, though the topics covered were far broader – and, being honest, covered the entire range of plausibility too.

Despite the Gulf War, the most frequently-referenced topic was the events of 9/11. That our government should have known about it in advance seems certain, but the question now being probed is whether they did. There is certainly evidence, such as the remarkable delay in sending up interceptors, which suggests the possibility. And if you’ve seen photos of the moment when George Bush was supposedly told of the attacks, his reaction seems closer to “tell me something I don’t know already” than the shock and horror you might expect.

We preceded the event with a couple of days in San Francisco. If you go there, do yourselves a favour and leave your car at home. Driving is a nightmare, and parking is worse: our hotel charged us $25/day for the use of their garage. There is plenty of transport around the city, but they’re rather more vague about how you get into the centre. It was a relief to leave (albeit at a snail’s pace, onto the Bay Bridge) for the wide-open spaces of Santa Clara – even if we’d spend the majority of the next two days in the hotel, save the odd hunter/gatherer trip to the local curry house [And can I just say in passing that putting cloves into keema naans is an idea we hope does not catch on…]

Stan Monteith – There was something old-fashioned about the opening speaker, who traced the New World Order back to Cecil Rhodes, tying him to various occult-influenced secret societies. This kind of thing seems more than slightly antiquated these days, enhanced by Monteith’s fondness for quoting poetry (Tennyson’s Locksley Hall being a favourite). He did have some interesting points, in particular a plausible idea that Jewish involvement in the Bolshevik Revolution was a reaction to the Tsar’s anti-Semitism, as shown by his support for The Protocols of Zion. Monteith also suggested the recent extension of copyright law was partly an attempt to suppress information, but he was probably just worried about lawsuits, since his book seemed largely to be a collection of photocopies lifted from other publications. C-

Arizona Wilder – I took more notes during Arizona Wilder’s presentation than any other speaker. I was also less convinced of the veracity of what she said, than by any other speaker. This contradiction in terms really requires explanation at length, so here’s a separate article, all about Ms. Wilder. Here, we’ll just cut to the chase, and give the grade for a presentation whose only real value was as entertainment. D-

Jerry Smith – Smith replaced the hospitalised Vance Davis, and while a lack of preparation was obvious (Smith had only been called the day before), this was still a fascinating talk on HAARP, the High Altitude Active Auroral Project. Last year, Dr. Nick Begich covered the same topic to good effect, but Davis concentrated here on the potential uses, both benign and malign, of the technology, which include everything from mind control to deflecting ICBMs. He covered its origins in the work of Nicholas Tesla (and his obsession with pigeons!), and looked at whose agendas it might further. I’ve had his book, HAARP: Ultimate Weapon of the Conspiracy, sitting on the shelf since last year’s event: I think it’s now on the fast track to being read. Double plaudits for providing such an engrossing presentation at very short notice. B+

Jordan Maxwell – He spoke at 2001’s convention, and his theme this time was similar, probing into words to find their hidden meaning. Refreshingly, while many conspiracists see ominous iconography on a dollar bill, Maxwell finds it less disturbing, using historically sacred symbols worthy of respect. He looked into the origins of Christianity and its hijacking of earlier religions; for example, “Solomon” being a compound of Sol-Om-On, three words related to sun-worship. His weakness was a tendency to make a point, then pound it home by giving far too many examples; this got repetitive, but he also delivered the best quote of the convention. “Always trust the seeker of truth. Never trust the one who claims to have found it.” B-

There was another workshop, but you had to pay $40 to see Richard Hoagland, of “Face on Mars” fame – a feature now revealed (right) as no more than coincidental shadows. If I were in Hoagland’s shoes, I’d be more concerned about trying to regain some degree of credibility, and less about getting cash out of the public. We, needless to say, did not pony up to see him. Inevitably, this conference attracted some odd individuals, who had perhaps got out on day release. A couple of these showed up at the Q&A session, but others, unfortunately, chose to sit near us (attracted by Chris’s “psycho magnetism” – hey, she married me!). There was Ilsa, She-wolf of the Auditorium, to whom the slightest sound seemed to cause immeasurable pain. There was the Bag Lady, who demanded we clear off chair space…so she could put her possessions there. And there was the individual who, on hearing my British accent, demanded to know who’d killed Princess Diana. There was some disappointment at my response – know little, care less – and I wish I’d fabricated some (in)credible plot instead.

Jim Marrs – Is there anyone out there who really believes that Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone? If so, they should have been present for Jim Marrs’ informative and enjoyable ‘J.F.K. Assassination 1.0.1’ talk. Beginning with a slide showing a dubious character at Jack Ruby’s Carousel Club, a month before the shooting – who turned out to be the young Marrs! – he performed an efficient demolition job on the findings of the Warren Commission. This is, admittedly, like shooting fish in a barrel, but it’s always good to be reminded of the wild implausibilities in the “magic bullet theory”. Who arranged it, is harder to say. As Marrs pointed out, Kennedy had angered virtually every violent faction operating in America: Mafia, CIA, miltary-industrial complex. Perhaps, like Murder on the Orient Express, they all did it. Regardless, the effect was a coup d’etat that to this day remains unacknowledged. A

Carol Brouillet & Ken Jenkins – Although most speakers referred to the events of 9/11, this pair were the only ones to make it a focus. One can’t doubt their commitment as activists, but as speakers, Carol in particular seemed way out of her depth with lengthy moments of uncomfortable silence. The best part of the presentation was a lengthy chunk of video asking some pointed questions about the events of that day, which need answering, but beyond this, they seemed to have little to offer but shallow sloganeering and edited highlights from Oliver Stone’s JFK. In terms of raising awareness, tools such as their ‘deception dollar’ (below) are potentially excellent, but we attend the convention for more than sound-bites. Anthony Hilder’s demands for a standing ovation beforehand were wise, since they didn’t deserve one afterwards. D

Kenn Thomas – Thomas, as editor of Steamshovel Press has been one of the leading lights in conspiracy research for years. With his friend, the late Jim Keith, he has been investigating “The Octopus”, a cabal that supposedly killed journalist Danny Casolaro when he got too close to them. This was a little too self-publicising for our tastes, with a bunch of plugs for Steamshovel publications and footage of Thomas appearing on TV. He talked about mysterious clusters of deaths, such as the one that plagued Marconi scientists in Britain a year ago. But the truth is, if you’re a conspiracist, no matter how you died, it’s suspicious. Just put the cause of death in quotes – “cancer”, a “heart attack”, in a “car crash”, “suicide” – and there you are, instant conspiracy! C-

Michel Tsarion’s genitals…

Michael Tsarion – Freud said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”, and Tsarion would do well to listen. It’s conceivable the media uses sacred symbols, for example in advertising; I’ve always wondered about Bacardi’s bat. But Tsarion takes the concept to ludicrous extremes, interpreting everything this way. For example, Kraft, as in Foods, refers to Masonic craft – not James L. Kraft, who started a Chicago wholesale cheese business in 1903? Glad we sat at the back, as our sniggers (Volvo = Vulva!) would’ve disrupted proceedings. Factually wrong – Spica is not the brightest star in the sky – he also claimed the Arc de Triomphe was a phallic symbol. Now, I don’t know what his penis looks like, but there are better candidates in Paris, not least at the other end of the Champs Elysees. I think we finally lost it when he claimed “Sears” was an anagram of “Aries”. Guess he can’t spell either. However, it is an anagram of “ARSES”. Now that’s symbolism… E+

After the second part of Hoagland’s workshop (see above), it was time for the Q&A. This is always entertaining, for the wide range of topics covered and views aired, both by the panellists and the audience – at one point, I thought a fight was going to break out over whether it was the limo-driver who shot JFK. Perhaps the most interesting question asked for predictions of what to expect: Monteith reckoned a major biological attack was possible, but Hoaglund and Tsarion (who came over much better as a panellist than as an individual speaker) predicted the assassination of George W. Bush. Hoaglund pointed out that both The West Wing and 24 have had storylines depicting the vice-president taking over…

We remain amazed at the breadth and depth of the program Brian Hall and his team put on, and with commendable efficiency, everything running to schedule. While not every speaker was convincing (to say the least!), it was nice to learn our bullshit detectors are still fully functioning. We left, refreshed in our belief that whatever appears to be going on in society, is not necessarily what actually is happening. That alone makes our attendance at Conspiracy Con 2004, a foregone conclusion.

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The Truth About… Conspiracy Con 2002

Santa Clara, CA: 25th-26th May

The landscape of conspiracy research changed irrevocably on 9/11, and it was inevitable that the events thereof would dominate proceedings. All but absent were last year’s alien-angled themes, though the absence of David Icke perhaps had something to do with that, replaced a by more prosaic explanations. Against the backdrop of the FBI being called to account for the failure to stop Al-Qaeda, there was an almost grim determination to bring things out into the open.

The venue had also changed from last year, moving across Highway 101 to the Santa Clara Marriott. We didn’t have to share facilities with the Charismatic Catholics this time; however, Friday night in the hotel bar saw rather a lot of scary-looking female athletes (including a hockey team wearing shirts saying ‘Chicks With Sticks’), some of whom were engaging in what would be inappropriate touching in an Arizona bar, but I guess not down the road from San Francisco. The Marriott was also located just down the road from the Great America Theme Park; between lectures, you could step outside and hear, every 90 seconds or so, the screams of the terrified being dropped into oblivion. What more fitting setting for a convention about conspiracies in the post 9/11 world?

Eric Jon Phelps. Having missed the first lecture last year, we made a special effort to be on time, but really shouldn’t have bothered. Phelps’ lecture appeared to consist largely of overhead slides taken from his book, throwing the audience in at the deep end by assuming we all knew who the Knights of Malta were, and why belonging to them makes you a bad person. The topic – the Jesuits and their influence on world affairs – was potentially an interesting one, but all life was drained by the presentation. I can stand almost any level of ineptness (I’ve walked out of less than a handful of movies in my life), but thirty minutes was enough for both Chris and I. Rating: E

Dr. Nick Begich. Thank the lord for Dr. Nick, whose lecture was informative, entertaining and educational. He spoke a lot of common sense, not least his exhortation to the audience to trust no-one and check up on all alleged facts for themselves. In the conspiracy field, as elsewhere, independent thought and questioning is often discouraged in favour of acceptance of what “they” tell you, so Begich’s encouragement to look into things for yourself was a refreshing breath of fresh air.

Based out of Alaska, his main topic was HAARP, a technique of pumping energy into the upper atmosphere that can be used for long-range communication, but also potentially for weather control and possibly even behaviour modification. But despite the potential downside, his was an upbeat talk, which left us feeling empowered and hopeful for the future. It didn’t seem to be just us who appreciated him either, going by the rapid way in which his new book sold out at his table after the lecture. A

Anthony J. Hilder. If you could come up with a stereotype of a conspiracy researcher, Hilder would probably be it. Clad in a turtle-neck sweater and possessing what was either a bad toupee or a very bad hair-style, and doing a fair imitation of Morton Downey Jr., he stalked among the audience. Long on rhetoric, but short on actual facts, he harangued us with a seemingly endless array of buzzwords: Illuminazi, left-islation, New World Odour, evil-archy, bank-sters, cash-ist cartel, etc.

He came across as not much more than a talk radio host – and there’s a good reason for this, as that’s just what he used to be. He came across more as someone playing a character, and for all his shouting (not to mention his favourite phrase, “If you liked what Hitler did, you’re going to love what Bush is doing!”), it was the sort of thing that I found easy to ignore. Hilder got my vote as Speaker Most Likely to be a Government Agent Provocateur. D.

Ted Gunderson. Retired FBI agent Gunderson spoke about satanic child abuse cults, and how there is a cover-up among the police and judiciary to prevent their existence being revealed. He paid particular attention to the McMartin case, where a preschool was allegedly the center of such a group; the children reported tunnels underneath the school, but none were found until after the case has been dismissed. Gunderson’s investigations provided significant evidence that there had been such tunnels, and that they had been filled in at some point.

This, and evidence at another site he’d discovered, were fairly compelling, but he largely failed to prove much beyond the local level. If I were involved in abusing children, I’d certainly do everything I could to keep it quiet, and there’s no real need to invoke a global conspiracy to explain this. I still think that, when Satanism is involved, it’s largely as a convenient control mechanism for the young victims, rather than out of genuine religious motives. B-

This ended Saturday’s program for us – we didn’t bother with the banquet, having found it not worth the money last year, so we headed out to eat. The local curry house had been closed – mere coincidence, or something more sinister? – so we had dinner in a nearby Irish-themed restaurant, where we were sat next to a gay softball team. Are there no heterosexual athletes in northern California?

Sunday saw Chris and I, semi-independently, both deciding to wear our Funker Vogt shirts. Never have we been stopped so often and asked what our clothing meant, but then I tend not to wear clothes in a foreign language, where about the only intelligible word is “Terroristen”. Perfect attire for a conspiracy convention.

Norio Hayakawa. The day started with a presentation on Area 51, but even this disparaged the concept of alien activity there. Hayakawa reckoned that the UFOs, and related stories thereof, e.g. Bob Lazar’s testimony and the opinions of former CIA pilot John Lear, are merely a convenient smoke-screen for the government to hide more terrestrial, but perhaps no less bizarre, research and development. These include such exotica as laser-projected images in the sky, which may have been used as psychological weapons in the Gulf War.

Though his presentation wasn’t perhaps the most polished of the weekend, he showed a great deal of interesting information and photographs of the (non-existent, according to the goverment) bases around Groom Lake. The reports that activity at the base has ended are clearly incorrect, though it would make sense if the blackest of the black projects are now being tested somewhere else, away from prying eyes. But the mere fact that the government can claim and seal off such a huge area of land without having to give good reason to the public, is conspiracy enough for anyone. B

Eustace Mullins. I have serious qualms about this speaker, who is one of the most notorious alleged anti-semites and Holocaust deniers around, who has articles on ultra right-wing sites such as Stormfront. It is probably this, rather than any inherent truth in what he says, which has led to problems with him visiting Canada and Britain – the mention in Mullins’ lecture of his attending the funeral of American Nazi Party founder, George Rockwell, was illuminating in itself.

But Conspiracy Con is, as it should be, a forum for all views, and he largely stayed clear of contentious territory. The result was rather bland, consisting of the usual anti-federal government arguments, and fulmination against the new security measures at airports, which he seemed to think was personally directed at him. It was also hard to agree with his stoic defence of Senator McCarthy, who probably did more to set back the cause of liberty than any single person since World War II. Certainly not dull, but there was a lot here with which I simply couldn’t find common ground. C-

Walter Bowart…will outline the timeline of the current human condition. Strap yourself in for a cerebral journey into the most mind-blowing subjects of our time, including: schizophrenia as our next evolutionary stage; the end of civilization as we know it; telepathy and the end of all secrets; MK-Ultra and the GOD pill; the Roswell crash and JFK’s role in MJ-12. The unconscious societal behaviours of the last century, not declassified documents and eye-witness accounts, are proof of the “celestrial” influences on our world, as well as the terminal nature of our civilization. After the collapse, there will be two conspiracies – one against the future and the other towards the future, while the majority sleeps.

Okay, the above paragraph is taken verbatim from the convention program…because while it sounds vaguely familiar, neither I nor Chris can remember anything he said! This might be because our minds have been wiped of the dangerous information he provided, by “them”…or it might just be that his talk was dull and rambling – you decide. There must have been something of merit, as I was interested in a copy of his book, Operation Mind Control, but he never came back to his table in the dealer’s room. Nor does he respond to email, and having seen reports that Mr. Bowart has a nasty habit of taking money and not delivering the goods, I won’t be sending him a check. D

Col. Bo Gritz. The final speaker was certainly the most remarkable character of ConCon02: one of America’s most-decorated soldiers, a former CIA trainer who partly inspired the Rambo movies by his missions to recover missing POWs from Vietnam. Dressed in uniform with his medals almost covering his chest, this lecture was packed full of amazing anecdotes, delivered in a folksy but down-home manner. Particularly interesting was his information on the share dealings which preceded 9/11, with options in the airlines involved and companies located in the WTC being heavily traded. Someone clearly knew in advance, and wanted to profit…hearing that the now executive director of the CIA used to run one of the companies involved sent a shiver down my spine.

He also mentioned the likelihood of there being clandestine Soviet arms dumps left here from the Cold War (we have them in Russia, apparently, so it makes sense), including “suitcase nukes”, of reduced size (equivalent to around 10 kilotons of TNT), but if set off at ground level, would still be filthily radioactive. All Bin Laden would have to do is bribe the Soviets who know their locations, and he wouldn’t have to bother smuggling fissile material in. A worrying scenario, but Gritz reckons that the Koran forbids such an act, unless it was in retaliation for the West going back into Iraq or something of that magnitude. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen.

I could perhaps have done with less fundamentalist Christianity – I wanted to ask Gritz how he reconciled his career as a trainer of assassins with ‘Thou shalt not kill’ – but in between praising the lord, he came across as the sort of man you could completely trust. The kind we could use more of in government (a little like Jesse Ventura, perhaps), Gritz was an excellent and surprisingly optimistic note on which to end things. A-

Well, almost end things. The final event was a Q&A panel, but this was less interesting than last year’s, and was largely a rehash of the themes for the weekend, with not much new information coming out. We were happy though, having discovered – albeit almost too late – that the hotel bar was willing to let us bring our drinks through. The resulting anaesthesia probably helps explain why I didn’t feel in need of a lie-down in a darkened room, quite as much as the first time round, and finished the convention feeling mellowly content. Hey, the world might be going to hell in a hand-basket, but as long as there is Sam Adams Summer Ale to be had, who really cares?

As mentioned, found this convention less stressful than last year; having our rooms in the venue probably helped, though the seats in the lecture hall were notably less comfy – when you’re in them for eight hours a day, these things matter. Two words as a suggestion for next year: stadium seating. If they have cup-holders and somewhere for your popcorn too, so much the better.

It was also curious how many of the speakers seemed tightly linked to each other: Hilder, Gunderson and Hayakawa, for certain, perhaps others, all appearing in each other’s videos and writing forewords to each other’s books. It’s almost as if there is a conspiracy conspiracy, and if you’re not part of the “in crowd”, you don’t get to be heard. Now, there’s a topic for Conspiracy Con 2003! Where do I sign up?

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It’s the End of the World As We Know It…

“(CNN) A sizable asteroid zipped near our planet this month without anyone noticing because it traveled through an astronomical blind spot, scientists said. The space boulder passed Earth within 288,000 miles on March 8, but since it came from the direction of the sun, scientists did not observe it until four days later. The object, slightly larger than one that flattened a vast expanse of Siberia in 1908, was one of the 10 closest known asteroids to approach Earth, astronomers said.”

Bit of a close thing, then – not really the sort of rock you want coming at a populated area, given that the one in Siberia, known as the Tunguska event, knocked down trees over a couple of thousand square miles. Though there’s actually some doubt over what that was – biological mutations and the lack of fragments have led some to speculate it was a UFO whose power plant blew up. Between that and Roswell, it’s quite reassuring to discover that ET’s can’t drive either.

Whatever it was, it landed in about the best place possible, from our point of view. Had it come down in water, as the odds favour, a tidal wave would have been the likely result. Had it hit Western Europe, one estimate puts the death toll at half a million. Instead, the main impact was an entry in the Guinness Book of Records, under “World’s Largest All-you-can-eat Barbecued Reindeer Buffet”.

Back in the present day, I find it interesting that news of the near approach was relegated to a minor report (no mention at all on the BBC web site, for example), after the fact. For it strikes me that, if any extinction-level event were ever in the offing, the general public would be the last people to know. Even NASA admits this: “The most likely warning today would be zero,” says their FAQ on the topic.

The mathematics involved don’t help. If we don’t know precisely – and I mean, precisely – how much an object weighs, we can’t tell how its path will be affected by other bodies in the solar system. A tiny error of just one-hundredth of one degree, over thirty million miles (a relatively small distance in astronomical terms), ends up more than 5000 miles out. Quite enough to make the aforementioned “bit of a close thing” become “straight between the eyes”.

But even if an amateur astronomer was to discover something barreling in this general direction, the people with the knowledge and computing power to work out whether or not it would hit the Earth are few and far between – it’s not something your average citizen could work out on a beer-mat. Such academics are also likely to be heavily reliant on government funding, and so probably would be amenable to pressure. Would any of them be prepared to go public?

The past history of such things, and human nature in general, combine to make me pessimistic. The last thing governments want is widespread panic, so I suspect any warning would be self-generated, extremely brief, and go something along the lines of, “What’s tha…”. It is ‘comforting’ to discover that we now have the Torino scale, which reduces the complex nature of all such threats to a number from 0 to 10. I firmly expect the needle to remain rooted at zero, right up until the North American continent becomes a smoking crater. We’ll then hear the line familiar to all bikers: “Sorry, mate, I didn’t see you!”.

Though actually, I can see the point of keeping it quiet; telling the general population wouldn’t help much, and would probably just cause a lot of senseless milling-around. There’s no way to tell exactly where any impact would occur – the wildly inaccurate stabs made whenever satellites come down tell us that much – and the old Protect and Survive saw about no place being safer than any other actually rings partly true, especially given the possibility of tidal-waves if it lands in the water. Better for the powers that be to get on quietly with firing Bruce Willis into space – an idea so appealing it might be worth faking it, merely to prevent any possibility of Hudson Hawk 2.

A couple of final thoughts – as Jerry Springer might say, if he were to host a show entitled When Near-Earth Objects Attack. In the process of researching this piece, I found a link to a document called “The Probability of Collisions With Earth” at Los Alamos National Laboratory. I note, with some alarm, that the file in question now needs a username and password to access it. I’m sure this is just a coincidence – nothing to worry about. And astronomer Duncan Steel has estimated that a rock of about 50 metres in size – big enough to wipe out New Jersey (not necessarily a bad thing, I grant you) – can be expected to hit Earth about once every 100 years. It’s been 94 years since Tunguska. Pleasant dreams.

None Dare Call It… Conspiracy Con 2001

Santa Clara, CA – 26th-27th May, 2001

It is perhaps appropriate that at the same time as the Bilderberg Group, those notorious bastions of the New World Order, were holding their annual get-together in Sweden, on the other side of the planet Conspiracy Con took place in Santa Clara, California. Quite possibly, some of the same topics were covered – only, here, it was from the outside…

Equally auspiciously (or suspiciously, depending on your point of view) the event shared convention facilities with another group whose initials were CC – the Charismatic Catholics, to be precise. The layout, with our lecture theater at the opposite end of the building from registration and the dealers’ room, required a substantial trek through enemy territory, and I imagine much peering around doors went on by both groups. I know we certainly were tempted to engage in a spot of infiltration, but suspect that the standard issue Trash City “nekkid babe with weaponry” T-shirt might tip them off. We had visions of pointing and shrieking – see Donald Sutherland in Invasion of the Body Snatchers for the sort of thing we imagined. On our arrival, there seemed to be very few attendees, but it seems you’ve got to get up early to be a conspiracy theorist. We meandered in at about 10am, only to discover events had started at 8:30 am, and so most of our co-conspirators were already listening to the first talk.

We hurried back to the theater, just in time to catch professional victim Cathy O’Brien and her “mentor” Mark Phillips. They were practically begging the audience to buy their book, so I strongly suspect they trotted out their usual lurid (and utterly unproven) tales of her sexual exploitation by everyone up to and including Ronald Reagan. Having just eaten breakfast, I feel kinda grateful to have missed it. I’d already ordered the book from Borders – hell, I like pornolibel as much as the next man – but the Thursday after the con, got the following email from them: “After researching your special order, we have found that we will be unable to obtain the title you requested. As a result, we have canceled your order for this item.” Hmmm… Was this merely innocent out-of-printness – hard to believe, given the piles on sale in the dealers’ room – OR SOMETHING MORE MALEVOLENT???!!!

11 am – Willam Lyne. Lyne’s specialist field is supposed to be the inventions of Nicolas Tesla, a scientist of the early 20th century who showed the thin line between genius and madness. But this was mostly a rambling, if not uninteresting, biographical essay, in which Lyne saw flying saucers, discovered a Soviet spy cell, was harassed by intelligence sources before being recruited by them, and had prior knowledge of JFK’s assassination. I think it was about the last of these which convinced me to stop looking for any useful information, and just sit back and enjoy the entertainment. This approach proved far more satisfactory. Rating: D+

Each speaker was given two hours, which is actually a good bit of time – I personally would have preferred one-hour slots, and this might have helped some of the speakers who were inclined to drift, with iceberg-like relentlessness, off-topic, as well as allowing for more viewpoints (including perhaps some sceptical ones). But at least they had the good sense to break for half-an-hour between speakers, giving the audience a chance to browse in the dealers’ room, stretch their legs and acquire more food and drink to be smuggled, thanks to the “no refreshments” policy into the lecture hall.

2:30 – Jordan Maxwell. Government – Religion – Commerce. In Maxwell’s eyes, none of them much good. This was refreshing and thought-provoking, stoning every sacred cow within reach via a mix of lexicography and sarcastic cynicism. We learned about the pagan origins of Christianity, what “holocaust” actually means, and how America became a literal corporate state not long after the Civil War, as well as techniques for avoiding speeding tickets. Probably the most widely-ranging talk of the convention, the audience left more world-weary than before, having spent time with a very interesting man. A-

Most of the speakers had tables in the dealers’ room to sell their books, etc. and there were also a number of independent traders, magazine publishers, and so on. These covered virtually the entire spectrum of views, from hippy New Age (getting your aura read, and some holistic technique which seemed to involve having a candle stuck in your ear) to neo-fascist (I spotted copies of both The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Henry Ford’s The International Jew). A refreshing burst of humor was provided by Mr. Mystic and his Alien Abduction Survival Kit. We bought two.

5:00 – David Icke. As if two hours weren’t enough – keynote speaker Icke got 150 minutes each day to expound his philosophy, which gives some idea of how all-encompassing it is. Having ripped into him last TC, we opted to sit towards the back, just in case he recognised us. He’s certainly an entertaining speaker, and a lot of what he said here made sense, not least because in this part, he steered well clear of reptilian shape-shifting members of the Royal Family. Powerful bloodlines run through history, there seems little doubt – whether this proves anything beyond “if your Dad was powerful, you probably will be too”, I am less certain. The suggestion that Antz is a thinly-veiled New World Order tale was nice though. B+

The final event was an “all you can eat, meet your speaker” party, which really failed on both counts. Tickets were $30, which for two beers and a selection of hors d’oeuvres didn’t really cut it. And we never met any of the speakers, though we did chat to some other con-goers. Going by them, conspiracy seems to be largely a white, middle-class activity – presumably working-class people are too busy to worry about it, while the upper-class are in on the whole plan.

Separated at birth?
Roman Polanski – William Thomas

We quit early, but still missed the first speaker on Sunday, William Thomas – who bears a strong resemblance to Roman Polanski (as the photos show). His subject was chemtrails: how the government are using planes to dose the population with…well, we bought the book, but haven’t had time to read it yet, so we don’t really know yet. It’s unlikely to be good, whatever it is. My sleep had been disturbed by a dream which ended with me being shot in the back of the head – a swelling pressure, and a descending cloak of darkness, though this does at least disprove the theory that if you die in your dream, you die in real life.

11 am – Leonard Horowitz. This was particularly freaky, as Horowitz started off by asking for his prayers; he was flying off to Africa, and he’d had people telling him to watch out for his life. This developed into an excruciating 50-minute religious rant, which left us wondering if he was an agent for the Charismatic Catholics, and we almost bolted before half-way. When he finally got onto his subject – evolving viruses – he had some good material, albeit laced with kabbalistic numerology, and it was great to see the murals at Denver Airport. These are bizarre, surreal and nightmarish paintings of death symbolism, most unsuitable for an airport…except one run, according to a floor plaque, by the New World Airport Commission… C-

2:30 pm – “Victor”. Didn’t catch – or at least, can’t spell – his surname; he was a mate of Jordan Maxwell, largely promoting a scheme to convert your citizenship of the United States of America into a citizenship of America – which would free you from the need to pay taxes. This felt dubious at best – if it really worked, they’d be changing the law – and was also touted as a way to escape credit-card debt. Here’s an even better way: don’t use the damn things to start with. Had it’s moments, such as more nice anecdotes involving speeding tickets (a little legal knowledge goes a long way!), but was too much of a sales pitch to be interesting, especially to this British citizen! D-

Fashion item of the convention has to be a T-shirt, parodying the Sex Pistols LP: “Never mind the filthy lucre, here come the reptiles”, with the famous picture of the Queen, doctored so as to give her lizard eyes. Someone was giving these away in exchange for “donations” in the dealers’ room: would have asked questions as to their agenda, but was too concerned with acquiring the shirts. Essential wear should we ever get invited to a garden-party at Buckingham Palace.

5 pm – David Icke again. As expected, while still good fun, this was rather less convincing, even though he soft-pedalled the reptiloids more than in some of his books. I’ve met Edward Heath too, and he didn’t seem the baby-eating personification of evil he struck David Icke as, on first impression. At the end, he drifted well into metaphysical territory (reality is a hologram, etc.) and his final message appeared to be that we have to love the reptiles – okay, Mr. Icke is clearly a clever double-agent working for them. It seems to me that wiping out the entire Windsor bloodline would be just as effective, and a good deal more fun. B-

We had been hoping to go and get some food after this one, but a late start, Icke’s verbal diarrhoea (he spoke for nearer 3 hours) and a decision to bring the question and answer session forward put a damper on that. Defeated by the blanket ban on the movement of food, it was thus tortilla chips and salsa for dinner… to follow up on the tortilla chips we’d had for lunch. It will be some time before I can face them again, I think.

9 pm – Q&A panel. We’d seen only one speaker taking questions after their lecture; here was a chance to catch up with five of them. Overseen with no small degree of wit by con organiser Brian Hall, Icke was the main target, and came up with a fabulous story of a barrister whose little daughter had seen a senior judge shape-shift into a reptiloid, and whose career and life were being threatened as a result. Hollywood, hire this man! What I want to know is, why “they” leave all these signals and symbols about for us to find; it’s a bit like Blofeld telling 007 his plan for world domination in great detail. Despite the presence of a dickhead from Stuff magazine, asking a question about hair, perhaps most affecting was actually one questioner – a woman from Seattle – with a tale of harassment and intimidation which certainly convinced me. B

That was the end of the convention: a fabulous trip through the outer edges of knowledge, and plans are already afoot for ConCon II next year – if the powers that be don’t clamp down on such subversive events. Certainly, for both education and entertainment, it was a weekend that was hard to beat and we staggered out into the darkness, our minds reeling from the torrent of information poured into it over the previous 36 hours. Picking the bones out of it all, separating the wheat from the chaff, was going to take some time, and I resolved that the next book I read would be one about fluffy bunny-rabbits, purely for a change of scenery. “Let’s do this again,” said Chris, adding with some conviction, “next year.” I nodded. Right then, I just needed to lie down in a dark room for a bit, but maybe that was just the tortilla chips.