03-14-2005, 03:40 AM
Jon Ronson, a quality investigative Journalist, who has investigated Bohemian Grove, The Crazy Rulers of the World, The Men Who Stare at Goats, The Secret Rulers of the World and Produced Adventures With Extremists, has intervied Davd Icke. He does not give an opinion of the man, moreover, he just sits back and watches the fireworks.
Beset by lizards
David Icke, one-time goalkeeper, TV presenter and self-proclaimed Son of God, has re-invented himself as a travelling guru. Would Canada take seriously his warnings of power-hungry extraterrestrial reptiles or would he be dismissed as an anti-Semitic bigot?
Saturday March 17, 2001
In a meeting room in a community centre in Vancouver, the blackboard said "Strategy" and the leaflets said "Bigot Alert". A coalition of prominent anti-racist organisations shook hands and took their seats, notepads at the ready. A "leading racist" was about to land in Canada on a speaking tour. TV and radio stations were vying to secure chatshow bookings. There would be celebrity appearances, meet-and-greet-the-fans sessions and high-profile book signings. This was, the coalition felt, an unusual and disquieting turn of events. The media do not, as a rule, scramble to book racists for celebrity appearances. But this was an unusual racist, they said.
"Above all," began the chair of the meeting, "David Icke represents a political threat. His writings are anti-Semitic. David Icke states that the global elite, the Illuminati who dominate every aspect of our lives, are genetically descended from an extraterrestrial race of reptiles who came to earth some time ago in the form of humans, who are capable of changing their shape, who engage in ritual child sacrifice, who drink blood . . ."
The coalition shook their heads wearily. In terms of code words, they had now heard it all.
"What is this crap, this metaphorically hidden language?" asked a member of Anti-Racist Action, a visiting scientist from Somalia. "Who is a lizard? It's bullshit. Bullshit! As a human being, you have to use proper language."
"What do these words imply?" I asked him.
"What do you think they imply?" he replied. "Lizards? Reptiles? Cockroaches? Amphibians? They imply hatred. Racist hatred."
"Do you think that, when David Icke says lizards, he means Jews?" I asked.
"Of course!" he said. "What is lizard? What is amphibian? It is a pile of rubbish. Why he's using those terminologies such as lizards? This vile language. Vile bullshit. I'm totally, culturally shocked."
"So," continued the chair, "what are we going to do about this?"
Wheels had already been set in motion. The Canadian hate crimes unit had been alerted. So had the media. The coalition had also written to the former Canadian prime minister, Brian Mulroney, to inform him that David Icke was accusing him of being a reptilian, child-sacrificing paedophile. But so far, to the coalition's bafflement, Mulroney had declined to initiate legal action. Indeed, every individual accused of reptilian paedophilia by David Icke had so far failed to sue, including Bob Hope, George Bush, George Bush Jr, Ted Heath, the Rothschild family, Boxcar Willie, the Queen of England, the Queen Mother, Prince Philip, Kris Kristofferson, Al Gore and the steering committee of the Bilderberg Group.
"Why do you think that is?" David Icke had asked me when I interviewed him about this matter in London. Then he turned to my notepad and thundered, "Come on, Ted Heath! Sue me if you've got nothing to hide! Come on, George Bush! I'm ready! Sue me! I'm naming names! Come on, Jon? Why are they refusing to sue me?"
There was a silence. "Because they are twelve-foot lizards?" I suggested, smally.
"Yes!" said David. "Exactly!"
"Keep in mind that this is not a meeting to debate what David Icke stands for," announced the chair back in Vancouver. "This is a meeting for people who are opposed to David Icke's presence in the community. I would like to know if any people here consider themselves supporters of David Icke?"
There was a silence. "I . . . uh . . . haven't made up my mind yet," said a man in a beige jacket whom nobody recognised. "I don't know what David Icke stands for. I have been fighting Nazis for 20 years, but sometimes it is difficult to tell who the Nazis are."
This man was unshaven. His blond hair was long and lank. Anti-racists shared quiet glances. Strictly speaking, this man had - by failing to have made up his mind - contravened the stated rule. This meeting was for people who had made up their minds. But the tacit consensus was not, at this stage, to demand his removal from the room.
"David Icke is opposed to community values," explained the chair patiently. "The purpose of this meeting is to organise against David Icke. If that is not your purpose, you might want to reconsider whether this is a meeting you want to be at."
A beat allowed this thought to linger, and then the subject was changed. "He's clearly out to act as a conduit to the patriot movement," said Tony from the British Columbia Socialist Caucus, "the far-right anti-Semitic racist militia movement."
It was at this moment that the stranger in the beige jacket made a startling announcement. "I have been in the militia movement of the United States for four years," he said, "and I only ever met one racist there."
The action that followed this declaration was swift. "I think at this point it may be unproductive if you continue to remain in the room," said the chair.
The militiaman looked shaken by this rapid response. "If you . . . uh . . . want to rule me out, fine," he stammered, "but I just wanted to see if I could do anything to help."
"I think that people are uncomfortable with you sitting at the meeting."
"I came to hear what David Icke was about and whether I could help," he said. "Could I just ask two questions?"
"But this isn't a debate," smiled the chair.
"Okay. Okay. I'll go. But could I just ask . . ."
"I'm gone," he said. "I'm gone." Then he left.
A break was called. In the car park, informal suggestions were thrown around over cigarettes by the younger and more rebellious activists. Someone offered to launch a physical attack on David Icke at his hotel. I suspected a giant misunderstanding was in danger of spiralling out of control. Knowing what I did about David Icke's past - specifically, his startling announcement on the Terry Wogan chatshow on BBC1 in 1991 that he was the Son of God - I guessed that when he said that 12ft lizards secretly ruled the world, he really was referring to lizards. But what did I know? The code words did seem to be increasingly abstruse. I elected to remain an impartial observer to the unfolding events in Vancouver in the hope that some clarity might develop in the days ahead.
Wogan. The blue comedian Jim Davidson was top of the bill that night (this was primetime BBC1, in the autumn of 1991), but most of the viewers had tuned in to see Terry Wogan's first guest. There had been rumours in the tabloids all week that something unexpected had happened to David Icke, the popular BBC sports personality, once a professional football player, now the host of Grandstand and a household name. The tabloids said that David Icke had started wearing only turquoise, that he was predicting cataclysmic flooding and earthquakes - and that he was claiming to be the Son of God.
I had watched a videotape of this broadcast before leaving London for Vancouver. It was startling to see how David Icke looked, how haggard and exhausted and terribly nervous - so unlike the genial BBC soccer and snooker correspondent whom the British public had come to feel so comfortable with - and dressed from head to toe in a turquoise shellsuit (turquoise being a conduit of positive energy) as he stepped out on to the stage.
"Why you?" asked Wogan with an incredulity that reflected the mood of the land. "Why have you been chosen?"
"People would have said the same thing to Jesus," David Icke replied. "Who the heck are you? You're a carpenter's son."
"When might we expect tidal waves, eruptions and earthquakes?" asked Wogan.
"They will certainly happen this year," said David.
This conversation took place amid howls of laughter from the studio audience.
"Why should we believe you?" said Wogan.
"I'm saying that these things are going to happen this year," said David, "so we'll see, won't we?"
"And what will happen to you if they don't happen?" asked Wogan.
"They will happen," said David.
He said this with such ferocity, such conviction, that the audience stopped laughing for a moment. However wise and modern we are, this kind of thing can still shake us up. You could feel it sweep across the television studio, sweep across the land, a stirring of some primordial paranoia. Could David Icke actually be a soothsayer? At that moment, I think the nation looked to Terry Wogan for guidance. How would he respond? Which way would this go?
"The best way of removing negativity is to laugh and be joyous, Terry," said David. "So I'm glad that there's been so much laughter in the audience tonight." There was a small silence.
"But they're laughing at you," said Wogan. "They're not laughing with you."
There was a gasp, followed by rapturous applause. So the Canadian coalition was unaware of the moment that David Icke's career had crashed so dramatically in Britain. Had they known, would they have felt differently about the reasons why he said that giant lizards secretly ruled the world? Furthermore, the coalition seemed to have disregarded the fact that many of the lizard-people Icke had publicly named and shamed were not Jewish. There was a piece of compelling evidence that David Icke did mean Jews when he said lizards. Buried somewhere in the middle of his hundreds of thousands of published words is a short paean to the Protocols of Zion - the absurd 19th-century Tsarist forgery proclaiming to be the minutes of a meeting of the Jewish secret rulers of the world: "Protocol 9: The weapons in our hands are limitless ambition, burning greediness, merciless vengeance, hatred and malice. It is from us that all-engulfing terror proceeds . . . We will not give [the people of the world] peace until they openly acknowledge our international Super-Government."
It is incredible that this document, which portrays my people as cackling villains from a Saturday matinee, formed the template for contemporary anti-Semitism. It is so obviously a fake. Even if some of us do possess "limitless ambition, burning greediness, merciless vengeance, hatred and malice" (and I know I do), we'd never come right out and admit it to our peer group. There are appearances to uphold.
But then, David Icke has declared that the Protocols of Zion is evidence not of a Jewish plot, but of a reptilian plot of Illuminati lizards. And nobody would be concerned about David Icke if it wasn't for the fact that his career is now a global sensation; that he lectures to packed houses all over the world, riveting his audiences for six hours at a time with extraordinary revelations; and that pop stars and movie stars request private audiences, with both PW Botha and Winnie Mandela happy to associate themselves with him. Indeed, in terms of the size of his following, he is the most influential racist on the lecture circuit - if, that is, he is a racist.
The airport. Two Canadian immigration officers discreetly scanned the queue at passport control. They were holding clipboards. One turned to the other and murmured, "That's him."
Although David Icke had overheard this exchange, and was preparing himself for the worst, he feigned breezy innocence by humming Que Sera Sera. He looked different now. The turquoise was long gone. He wore a comfortable sweater. His eyes were messianic-blue, and his grey hair was guru-long. There was little ridicule in his life now. "Good evening!" he sang, handing over his passport. It was swiped through the scanner, and two words immediately appeared on the screen: "Watch for." At this, David Icke's composure was shattered. "So this is life in the free world?" he boomed. "It's pathetic! Simply pathetic!"
He was quickly bustled towards a holding room, protesting his innocence along the way. "I am not an anti-Semite! I have a great respect for the Jewish people. Is this a Jewish plot? No, no, no!"
The authorities eyed him with some distrust. When David Icke said he didn't believe it to be a Jewish plot, was this code? Did he really mean that he did believe it to be a Jewish plot? What, exactly, was he thinking?
I was, of course, not there to witness what happened to David Icke inside the holding room. But from his own description of the events relayed to me later, I have attempted to piece the scene together. A man in rubber gloves scattered the contents of his baggage across a table - his clothes and toiletries and reading matter - and began to scrutinise them for some tangible evidence of anti-Semitism.
"Yes." clarified David Icke, "the families in positions of great financial power obsessively interbreed with each other. But I'm not talking about one earth race, Jewish or non-Jewish. I'm talking about a genetic network that operates through all races, this bloodline being a fusion of human and reptilian genes." He threw up his hands. "And now, suddenly, the idea is that I'm saying it is a gigantic Jewish plot. But let me make myself clear - this does not in any way relate to an earth race."
David Icke's line of defence was clear. When he said lizards, he really was referring to lizards. He was not talking about cockroaches, or amphibians in general, contrary to the suggestions mooted at the meeting in Vancouver, but Annunaki lizards, specifically, from the lower fourth dimension.
The immigration officers glanced at each other, attempting to square this denial with the memo they had received from a coalition of respectable and trustworthy anti-racist groups, accusing David Icke of anti-Semitism. Finally, after four hours of questioning, they concluded that when David Icke said lizards, lizards was what he meant. He was free to enter the country. There was no law against this. How could the lawmakers anticipate that sort of thing?
David Icke shook hands with the immigration officers, collected his things and wandered outside to the concourse, where his entourage was waiting in a car to pick him up. It was 2am.
"It is certainly not a misunderstanding," said David, as we were chauffeured from the airport to the hotel. "They are assassinating my character."
"But why would they want to do that?" I asked.
"Because I am getting too close to the truth." He looked out of the window. "I miss my little boy," he said. "I cannot tell you the agony of being away from my little boy. But you've got to keep walking and talking."
We reached the hotel, checked in, retired to our rooms for showers, and met again in the foyer. David was jetlagged and downcast. "Would I want to do other things with my life, something other than all this frigging travelling? God, yes."
"What would you be doing if you weren't doing this?" I asked him.
"Something related to sport," he said. "I still love sport."
"I guess you've burnt your bridges with the BBC," I said.
"Oh, I'd never go back to that." he said. "The thought of presenting the same programme day after day, year after year. I think I'd have taken the pill by now. But do I want to go around radio station after radio station, book signing after book signing, interview after interview? No."
We had breakfast and then we walked the three blocks to the studio of AM 1040 Radio One, where David was booked for a celebrity appearance on the morning show. David was now more alert and cheerful. Smiling, he entered reception. We were greeted by the station manager, a small man wearing glasses and a friendly striped jumper.
"Hi!" David smiled, extending his hand. "David Icke. I'm due to be on a programme at 10.15."
"Okay," said the station manager. He coughed. "I've reviewed the material that was submitted to us, and I've also reviewed the radio regulations of 1986 . . ."
"I don't believe this," murmured David.
"And I don't feel comfortable having you on."
"I just don't feel comfortable. That's it. Thanks for coming in." The station manager clapped his hands together. "Thanks very much."
"You invited me to your radio station," said David patiently. "I turned up on time, and now you stand here and say without any substance or explanation that you're not having me on?"
"Thanks for coming in," said the station manager.
"You know what?" said David, leaning across the reception desk. Their faces were now inches apart. "It's pathetic. You say you believe in freedom? You couldn't spell it."
He turned to me. "This," he said, pointing at the station manager, "is one of the architects, unknowingly, of the destruction of our freedom."
"You did say you were sick of doing radio interviews," I offered.
"That's not the point," said David. "The information is being suppressed by unknowing, frightened little men like him."
"Oh, thanks," said the station manager.
"This is unbelievable," said David. He was now addressing my notepad. "Oh no, there's no conspiracy, no cover-up, no suppression, ladies and gentlemen of the world."
"Please leave," said the station manager.
That night, at Rosie's Bar in downtown Vancouver, David and some of his entourage drank mournfully until closing time. Word had just reached them that another media interview and a personal appearance in a bookshop had been successfully prevented by the coalition. There was only so much to be gained from being the maligned victim, the speaker of truth in a venal world. This was now becoming a serious problem. Book sales were at risk.
David's entourage attempted to buoy him up. "At least this blows the myth of a free media in Vancouver," said a quiet, bearded Austrian called Henrick. "Clarity is good, right? At least this clarifies things."
"Yeah," said David, wearily.
I could not determine how Henrick fitted into the Icke camp. He just seemed to be there all the time, one of perhaps a dozen men and women in Vancouver who drove for David, picked up the hotel and restaurant bills, took him aside to whisper things that I couldn't hear, transported the books and the videos, organised the media engagements, kept the cottage industry rolling.
But the most surprising presence within David's entourage was that of Brian Selby, a veteran local journalist from the left and a one-time prominent Greenpeace activist. (The coalition was mystified by Brian's apparent defection to the far right. It had been the subject of much debate during their anti-Icke meeting.)
"I've been in this town 15 years," said Brian, "and I've gotta say that this is the most twisted political cluster-fuck I've ever seen. You've got the weirdest coalition. You've got the draconian powers of the Canadian Jewish congress. Then you've got people with a history of being progressive. The Seattle protesters . . ."
"Nobody does all this against one person unless there's something much bigger going on behind the scenes," added David.
"You've got to have a lot of power to call up a radio station and get the plug pulled on a show," agreed Brian.
"They're sending us a message. They're saying, 'Don't fuck with us now or forever more.'"
There was a silence. "Who is pulling the strings?" said David.
After David went to bed, Brian and Henrick elected to take matters into their own hands. "We need to defuse this whole concept that David Icke is an anti-Semite," said Brian.
"But how?" I asked.
Brian said he still had some friends inside the anti-Icke camp from his days as a leftist activist. He would use his contacts to initiate a meeting. But how to convince them of David's innocence?
Here, Brian and Henrick fundamentally disagreed. Henrick argued that the coalition needed to understand that David Icke's lizard claims were "politically relevant" (the lizards being the hidden hand behind corporate globalisation) and that they had a "factual core" (there was much talk here of archaeological evidence linking ancient cultures with reptilian invaders).
Brian, however, wanted to keep the lizards out of it all together. "I mean it," he said, severely. "Don't mention the lizards. The lizards just confuse things. Jon?"
"The lizards muddy the waters," I agreed.
"Okay," murmured Henrick, sullenly.
"So what's your argument?" I asked Brian.
"Two words," he said. "Noam Chomsky."
"The Jewish intellectual?" I asked.
"David, at his most controversial," explained Brian, "is saying nothing that Noam Chomsky hasn't himself written regarding, for example, powerful Zionists." He paused. "What do you think?"
"It isn't unconvincing," I said.
"This is open and shut," said Brian. "Chomsky is the darling of the left. There's no way they can argue with that. Do you reckon?"
I shrugged. "It will be interesting to see how they might argue with that," I said.
The next evening, Brian and Henrick and I met Sam, the coalition's unofficial organiser, on neutral ground at a downtown bar. The stakes were high. More media interviews had been prevented by the coalition. Furthermore, the anti-racists seemed to be on the verge of convincing the Canadian hate crimes unit that Icke's books should be seized and literally incinerated, and Icke himself deported.
"Hello, Brian,"nodded Sam, formally.
"Sam," nodded Brian. "This is Henrick."
Henrick nodded formally.
"Jon," nodded Sam.
"I'm just here as an impartial observer," I said. "I'm just going to sit here."
"Okay," agreed the two camps.
The formalities were over and the discussion began.
"So," said Sam, "you say that Icke is not an anti-Semite." Brian held up his finger to say "wait a minute" and he rifled through his briefcase. He retrieved a sheaf of photocopies, which contained the writings of Noam Chomsky. Brian had marked passages that convincingly reflected his thesis - that David Icke was no more anti-Semitic than this respected Jewish scholar.
Sam studied the photocopies. He nodded thoughtfully. "This might be true to an extent," he finally agreed. "But there is a very big difference between Noam Chomsky saying it and David Icke saying it."
"Which is?" asked Brian, his eyes narrowing.
"Well, firstly," said Sam, "Noam Chomsky is Jewish. Secondly, Noam Chomsky is not mad. Thirdly, Noam Chomsky is, in fact, an intellectual. And, finally, Noam Chomsky is not an anti-Semite."
Henrick shuffled uneasily in his chair. He clearly felt that Brian's modus operandi was falling apart before their eyes. Yes, Henrick had promised to leave the lizards out of the discussion, but these were desperate times, and they called for desperate measures.
Henrick shot me a glance. "Go for it," I mouthed.
"There is full documentation," announced Henrick, which proves that 20 reptilian races have interfaced, intermingled and interbred with the human race, and are now controlling society from above."
Brian stared daggers at Henrick.
"Twenty?" said Sam, leaning forward.
"Approximately 20," said Henrick. "Certainly it is somewhere between 15 and 25."
"Have you got the names of these reptilian races?" asked Sam, producing a notepad from his bag.
"Yes, I have," said Henrick, obviously pleased that Sam was showing an interest. "Okay. Firstly: Grays."
Sam wrote down Grays.
"Next there are the Adopted Grays."
Sam wrote it down.
"Then there are the Troglodytes."
"They're the ones who live in caves, right?" said Sam.
"In caves," confirmed Henrick. "Then there are the Crinklies."
"What do the Crinklies look like?" asked Sam.
"They are cuddly, pink, with old-looking faces," said Henrick.
"Can I just point out," interrupted Brian, sharply, "this Chomsky passage regarding the oppressive subtext of the Talmud . . ."
"Then there are the Tall Blondes," said Henrick.
"What do they look like?" asked Sam.
"Kind of like Swedes," said Henrick. "Next come the Tall Robots."
"They're the ones covered in aluminium foil, right?"
"Right," said Henrick. "Then there are the Annunaki."
"The Annunaki," said Sam. "They're the ones David Icke goes on about the most."
"Exactly," said Henrick. "George Bush is Annunaki."
Sam excused himself so he could step outside for a cigarette. He returned to discover that Henrick had taken the opportunity to grab his notepad and add further names of reptilian races to the list.
"The Elderbarians," he had written. "These are the crop-circle makers. The Zebra Repticular. The Albarians. The Interdimensional Sasquatch. The Goat Sucker or Goat Eater often found in Mexico."
"Is there friction between these alien races?" asked Sam.
"Yes," said Henrick. "Constant friction."
"Do they actually fight each other?" asked Sam.
"Yes," said Henrick. "They are constantly battling for control of the 15 dimensional portals. One is in Jerusalem. One is in Tibet. Nobody knows where the other 13 are."
"This," said Sam. "is a very interesting conversation."
"That was very weird," said Sam to me after Brian and Henrick had gone home.
"It was weird," I agreed. "You know, I've been trying to keep an open mind, but now I'm pretty certain that David Icke really does mean lizards when he says lizards."
But the anti-racists were still not convinced. "It's the hidden reptilian hand of Judaism coming to take over the world," said a coalition member called Richard Warman. "It's all about dehumanising your enemies. How do we make Jews despicable, sub-human, and worthy of our condemnation? So, yes, I still believe that when David Icke says lizards he means Jews."
It looked as if things could get no worse for David Icke. His supporters had pulled out all the stops to dampen hostility towards him, but even Henrick's intricate lizard dissertation had failed to convince Sam that David was not an anti-Semite. Now he was a martyr. His fans started approaching him on the street, shaking his hand, sometimes even breaking into spontaneous rounds of applause, offering words of support.
"It's so terrible what those awful Jewish people are doing to you," said one old lady.
"Little me!" David put his hand on his heart. "This 'nutter', as they call me. If I'm mad like they say I am, why don't they leave me alone? But ever since I started exposing the reptilian elite, the opposite has happened. Why is that?"
"The Jews are drawing their own parallels," suggested one fan. "Nothing that you have ever said could in any way be construed as anti-Semitism. They're just paranoid. It's not true. You are not an anti-Semite."
"Jewish people have suffered as much if not more from this global manipulation as anyone else," agreed David. "Far from being the perpetuators of it, they are massive victims of it. And, in terms of racism, my own daughter's boyfriend is himself black."
"You've changed my life," said another fan. "I used to be a sheep, I used to be like them, but you've changed my life."
On Thursday, the anti-Icke camp suffered a public humiliation. VTV, Vancouver's popular local television station, decided to ignore the coalition's request to cancel David's scheduled TV appearance. Instead, it put him on live - head to head with an eminent local psychology professor called Bill Bierstein:
Host: "Professor, why do you think Mr Icke has such a following when a lot of people would think his ideas are out of this world?"
David (turning furiously to host): "What research have you done on that? Nothing! Nothing! Nonsense!"
Professor: "People like to enchant themselves. They want there to be grand conspiracies by superpowerful beings, rather than just a bunch of mistakes made by decent people . . ."
David: "Professor!(To host) Is he going to go on forever?"
Host: "Let's get Mr Icke to respond to that."
David: "Professor, did you major in patronising the people of British Columbia?"
Professor: "Well, there's no need for insulting comments."
David: "Okay, tell me about the Bilderberg Group."
Host (interrupting): "Let's talk about why . . ."
David (thunderously): "Don't tell me what I'm going to say. Tell me about the Bilderberg Group!"
Host (listening anxiously into her earpiece): "Mr Icke, we don't want to talk about that right now. Let's talk about . . ."
David (a knowing smile): "I'm sure you don't!"
Host: "Why are Jewish groups calling you anti-Semitic?"
David: "Because I'm getting too close to the truth."
Professor (laughing): "Don't get into these convoluted paranoid fantasies that people are trying to shut you up . . ."
This was, under the circumstances, the wrong thing to say. David could be accused of many things, but fantasising that he was being censored was not one of them. David smiled a little, and then he went in for the kill.
David: "I have had three major interviews pulled this week. I've had book signings cancelled. You wanna read the papers a bit more, mate! There Are Lizards And There Are Lizards."
The Professor faltered. Professor: "Well, uh, if you have nothing better to do than to insult me, then I'm sorry for your process of thought . . ."
But it was over. The professor had blown it. In the days that followed this TV debate, some of the coalition began privately admitting to me that the whole thing was beginning to backfire. David Icke's fans were not, by and large, anti-Semites. It was more alarming than that. They were, in fact, the coalition's core constituents - liberals and anti-racists and left-wingers concerned with the perils of global capitalism. These people were beginning to look upon the coalition as the villains, as the hidden hand, as "them".
© Jon Ronson, 2001. This is an edited extract from Them: Adventures With Extremists, by Jon Ronson, to be published on April 6 by Picador, at £16
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