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[cccpaper.zip] = [cccpaper.asc] ===================================================================== From "Conspiracies, Cover-ups and Crimes." New York: Paragon House, 1991. By Jonathan Vankin. Pages 237 to 250. ===================================================================== Chapter 17 CONSPIRACY NATION Every thing secret degenerates ... nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity. Lord Acton Anyone who has seen Raiders of the Lost Ark has a notion of the ties between Nazis and the occult. That flick and its second sequel, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, in which Nazis scour Europe in search of the Holy Grail, have some relation to reality. The Nazis did perform strange excavations in France looking for mystical relics-presumably the Grail, or maybe Templar treasure. Even people who don't like cartoony adventure movies may be vaguely aware that the swastika was an ancient magic symbol signifying light, which the Nazis reversed to symbolize darkness. Nazi preoccupation with mythology is good Saturday matinee fare, but the origins of nazism in Germany's occult underworld are not usually looked upon as a legitimate topic for study by historians of the Second World War. On the one hand, we have the sweeping but wholly conventional poli-sci analysis a la William L. Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. On the other, there's the psycho- historical outlook typified by The Psychopathic God by Robert G. L. Waite, which attempted to explicate nazism with reference to Hitler's fifty percent deficit in the testicle department--a new twist on the lone nut theory. Academic minds tend to force the most irrational phenomena into the frame of reference found in a college bookstore: politics, economics, sociology, and, of course, abnormal psychology. All such approaches seem almost designed to isolate Nazi Germany from the continuum of history and confirm that it can't happen here. This is a comforting notion, conducive to detached, scholarly analysis of the role of secret societies peopled by true believers, whose motives were not only irrational but antirational, which falls outside the spectrum of temperate discourse on modern history's darkest period. I'm not arguing that Germany's rotting economy, its stratified class structure, the impotence of its Weimar government, or even the mental and genital abnormalities of the Nazi fhrer have no place in understanding the Nazis. They have a big place. But with- out the highly organized, perversely passionate, subterranean oc- cult movement that gestated in Germany around the turn of the century, all of those elements could not have congealed into nazism. More than a political party, the Nazi party was very much a cult. Like most demagogic religious sects, its rank and file was spell- bound with the courage of demented convictions, and its leadership was financed and supported by powerful people whose main inter- est was accumulating more power. The finely tuned machine of brainwashing, fanaticism, and secrecy is perfect for that purpose. Germanic occultists, like the Ku Klux Klan, were in love with religious warriors, holy knights. They were disgusted with even- keel, post-enlightenment rationalism, which cut man off from his spiritual nature and turned him into a timid species of accountants and clerks. The Middle-Ages were their romantic ideal. Squalor, plague, ignorance, and malnutrition--endemic to the Middle Ages--meant nothing to these incipient Nazis. All they cared was that spirituality in those days was transcendent. Templars and Teu- tonic Knights were their heroes. In this German version of medieval mythos, the Grail was the pure blood of prehistoric gods, and it was carried by only one race, the Aryan. Everyone else was subhuman, Jews and nonwhites especially. The holy knights, according to this lore, were guardians of the Aryan bloodline. Aryans, the occultists believed, were descended from a race of giants who ruled earth long before recorded time. The supercivilization had a Great Fall. Only Aryans perpetuate the holy heredity. Jorg Lanz von Liebenfelsand Guidovon List, two Austrian mystics, were the ideological grandfathers of nazism. Lanz formed, in 1900, a society called the Order of New Templars (ONT). The ONT, and the societies that evolved from it, ultimately the Nazi party, was a core for industrialists, lawyers, publishers, and other powerful individuals who needed a means to consolidate control of German society. Their security at the top of Germany's power structure was threatened by insurgent communists. The ONT published Ostara, a magazine chronicling the eternal war between godlike Aryans and the bestial subhumans. Comic book paintings of luscious blonde bombshells in the clutches of furry ape men adorned its pages. The psychosexual subtext of these quaint racial theories was difficult to miss. Among the readers of Ostara was a young Austrian painter and fan of the occult, Adolf Hitler. Eight years after Lanz founded his New Templars, List started a group he called Armanen. He took the swastika as the Armanen emblem. In 1912, the two societies merged to form the Germanen Orden, direct forerunner to the Nazi party. While Hitler was still watercoloring postcards in Vienna, this coven of wealthy occultists was incubating the racial, nationalist, quasi-pagan theory that would become law in the Third Reich. In 1918, members of the Orden started a new secret society, called Thulegesellschaft, the Thule Society. The legend of "Thule" was a variation on the Atlantis myth. Thule was supposed to be a nation of superbeings with a utopian civilization. It flourished until 850,000 years ago, when it was wiped away by a cataclysmic flood. The flood itself was symbolic of the "Fall," but the Thulians--or Atlantians--had brought it upon themselves by mating with crea- tures of a lower race. The Thulists appropriated this tale from the writings of Madame Blavatsky, "theosophist" housewife-turned-guru who created a cult in nineteenth-century New York City. Blavatsky's writings are gospel to more recent "New Age" groups. The Thule Society adapted Blavatsky to their own prejudices. The supermen, they believed, were forerunners of the Aryan race. The subhuman crea- tures became Jews. To overcome their own debased nature and become supermen once more, the Aryans must overcome the Jews. Like apocalyptic movements for millennia before them, the Thulists were fervently messianic. Unlike many of their precursors, they weren't happy waiting for the messiah to appear. They went out and found him. In 1913, Hitler moved out of Austria, settling in Munich for what he said in Mein Kampf were "political reasons." Actually, he was avoiding conscription--a draft dodger. Nonetheless, he ended up enlisting with enthusiasm in the German military. Though a com- moner and a private, Hitler received preferential treatment at every stage of his military service. Perhaps he was an intelligence officer. He may already have been an agent of the Thule Society. After a prolific stint as an anticommunist informer, in which he sent scores of his army pals to their executions, he was sent to university anticommunism seminars paid for by the Thulists. He joined and eventually took over the German Workers Party, which was founded, funded, and controlled by the Thule Society. In 1919, Hitler met Dietrich Eckart, a drunkard, drug addict, small-time playwright, and socialite. Despite his character flaws, Eckart had a powerful mind and a powerful personality to go along with lots of money. He published an anti-Semitic magazine and belonged to the Thule Society's "inner circle, " the members most involved in the Thule's political program. "Their meeting was probably more decisive than any other in Hitler's life," writes Wulf Schwarzwaller in his biography, The Unknown Hitler. "Eckart molded Hitler, completely changing his public persona." Under the occultist's tutelage, Hitler transformed from a temperamental painter, who spent more time pigging out on coffeehouse cake than at his easel, to a shrewd, forceful orator--a dangerously persuasive propagandist. From his deathbed in December, 1928, Dietrich Eckart issued a command to his fellow adepts of the Thule Society: "Follow Hitler!" he implored. "He will dance but it is I who have called the tune. Do not mourn for me. I shall have influenced history more than any other German." Hitler's 1941 pogrom against occult groups is often mistakenly taken as evidence than the occult was at best an incidental influence on nazism. The crackdown, in all likelihood, was damage control following the famous flight of Rudolph Hess, one of Hitler's closest confidants. Hess, for reasons still not entirely clear, stole a plane and made a solo flight without Hitler's knowledge to Britain, where he was captured. One story has Hess lured there by British intel- ligence in a plot masterminded by Ian Fleming, the spy who later turned writer and created James Bond. Hess belonged to the Thule Society. Reportedly, the British intelligence service was interested in what he knew about the oc- cult's hold on Hitler and the Nazis. Fleming allegedly wanted Aleister Crowley to act as the interrogator. Crowley is undoubt- edly the most notorious occultist of the twentieth century. His secret society, the Ordo Temple Orientis, attracted, as so many of these groups do, people from the top of society in any country where it set up shop. Crowley himself was terribly decadent. A happily heroin-addicted, bisexual Satan worshipper, he asked peo- ple to call him "The Beast 666." Crowley believed that he was literally the antimessiah of the apocalypse. Or at least he wanted people to believe that he believed he was. Crowley was also an intelligence agent. He claimed to have worked for the British Secret Service in the First World War. He may have been working for Germany as well. He renounced his British citizenship and took openly pro-German positions, even writing pro-German propaganda. Though British intelligence offi- cials denounced him, he was not prosecuted and developed (or continued) a relationship with the British government between wars, feeding information to M16 (one British spy outfit) about German occult activities. The Nazi government may have been based on occult principles, but it was not the only government with an interest in every secret thing. "We find it difficult to admit that Nazi Germany embodied the concepts of a civilization bearing no relationship at all to our own," note Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier. "And yet it was just that, and nothing else, that justified this war." Pauwels and Bergier wrote Morning of the Magicians, a book that aroused a fracas in the early 1960s by finding occultism seething beneath every layer of modern life, particularly in the Nazi era. While I'm not sure I endorse their view that "nothing else justified this war," their point is well taken: the war against the Nazis was not only a war for territory, money, or even power. It was a war to decide whether a "humanist" or a "magical" view of the universe would dominate planet earth. "This truth was hidden from us by German technology, German science and German organization, comparable if not superior to our own," says Morning of the Magicians. "The great innovation of Nazi Germany was to mix magic with science and technology." Both the American and Soviet governments wanted a taste of that toothsome mix. Once Hitler was safely beaten, they competed fiercely for the services of Nazi scientists. The U.S. seems to have been more successful, winning commitments from Nazis like Wehrner Von Braun, rocket scientist and SS major once described by Allied intelligence as a "potential security threat." The govern- ment cleansed Von Braun's wartime record, brought him into America, and put him to work on projects that culminated in the Saturn V rocket--the booster that lifted Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 crew to the moon. Von Braun was the most famous of the Nazi scientists imported after the war. Most were described by the government as "ardent Nazis," but those pejoratives were scratched from their files. Oper- ation Paperclip (so named because secret files on the scientists were denoted by a simple, everyday paperclip) employed seemingly supernatural German expertise to construct the American war ma- chine. The Paperclip Boys were the plasma of the military- industrial complex. Meanwhile, the newly formed CIA was busy recruiting SS spy- master Reinhard Gehlen and "Hitler's favorite commando" Otto "Scarface" Skorzeny. Under cover of U.S. intelligence, these two and their minions did more than anyone to keep the ideals of the Third Reich alive, and pave the way for a Fourth Reich. Gehlen manipulated intelligence information to portray the Soviets in the worst possible light. With his CIA collaborators, he started the Cold War and kept it going. While Gehlen played the U.S. government--and American pub- lic opinion--like a flute, Skorzeny globe-trotted. He established Nazi power bases in South America that nurtured the continent's many dictatorships. Skorzeny did a similar favor for the Middle East. Gamel Abdel Nasser came to power in Egypt with help from Skorzeny and an elite corps of former SS storm troopers. Always the good Nazi, Skorzeny never gave up on the twisted dream of wiping out Jews. He set up the earliest Palestinian terrorist groups, trained them, and sent them on commando raids into Israel. Without the American- backed entrepreneurship of this disfigured Nazi, the Middle East would probably be a much more stable place than it has been for the past four decades. From the Order of New Templars to the Thule Society to the SS, the CIA, and the PLO, the intersection between government and secret societies continues to make our world an uncertain, terrify- ing place. The Nazi conspiracy rolls on. Nazi Germany, impregnated with occultism, was a state founded in conspiracy, by conspiracy, for conspiracy. A relatively small group of people with hidden motives, using propaganda, mind control, and terror, carried out a plan to take over a country and the world. The German secret societies succeeded in conjuring up a massive social transformation, at a staggering cost in human lives. The ever-present, grim irony of secret society revolutions, nowhere more evident than with the Nazis, is that the great transformation, while it may overturn governments, makes conditions secure for the hidden powerful. Secret society revolutions happen when the secret oligarchy feels threatened. The Thule Society was a magnet for rich businessmen and aristo- crats, who provided it with considerable financial wherewithal to carry out its ambitious conspiratorial schemes. Without funding from big business, German and international, the Nazis never could have sprung from the Thulists' loins. "It is even partly true that Hitler was able to sell an evil idea like anti-Semitism simply because he had the support of wealthy contributors," say the authors of Who financed Hitler. Nazism was occultism, but it was also fascism; it carried out Mussolini's dictum "Fascism is corporatism." Craven Jew-hater Henry Ford, inventor of the automobile com- pany if not the automobile, was such a doting patron of Hitler's that the fhrer once offered to import some shock troops to the U.S. to help "Heinrich" run for president. Alfred Rosenberg, the Nazi party's sinister mystic laureate (his extreme racial theorizing was found by the Nuremburg tribunal to be so instrumental in nazism that he was hanged), was friends with petroleum magnate Henri Deterding--managing director of Royal Dutch Shell and one of the world's richest men. Almost every major industrial concern in Germany, oil companies, agricultural firms, banks, and shipping companies, made sizable donations to Heinrich Himmler's Schutz- staffel, the SS, the Nazis' elite corps, which itself was fashioned as a secret society. I. G. Farben, the gargantuan chemical cartel, was one of the new Reich's stolid financial supporters. There was plenary profit in nazism for Farben, and all of Hitler's corporate investors. The cartel's contributions were especially egregious. It manufactured Zyklon-B, a poison gas, for use in the gas chambers. Auschwitz was a slave-labor camp for an on-site Farben factory. I. G. Farben and its associated companies were among the passel of Nazi corpo- rations that did business with the most powerful Wall Street law firm of the 1930s and 1940s, Sullivan and Cromwell. Their chief contact at the firm was an attorney named John Foster Dulles, who became secretary of state in the Eisenhower administration. "Sullivan and Cromwell thrived on its cartels and collusion with the new Nazi regime," say the firm's chroniclers. In 1933 and 1934, when the Nazi's brutal course was obvious, Dulles led off cables to his German clients with the salutation "Heil Hitler." In 1935, he scribbled a screed for Atlantic Monthly dismissing Nazi state ter- rorism as "changes which we recognize to be inevitable." Dulles's brother, Allen Dulles, was also a partner in Sullivan and Cromwell. He later founded the ClA and recruited thousands of Nazi SS men into the new "department of conspiracy." Much to Foster's con- sternation, he never met Hitler, while little brother Allen was granted that thrill. Sosthenes Behn met Hitler, too. Behn was the founder of Inter- national Telephone and Telegraph (ITT) and virtual inventor of the multinational corporation. He met Hitler in 1933. the first Ameri- can businessman to receive an audience with der Fuhrer, while striking up deals with German companies. At the same time, he filed classified reports on their activities to the U.S. government. American spy or not, Behn allowed his company to cover for Nazi spies in South America, and one of ITT's subsidiaries bought a hefty swath of stock in the airplane company that built Nazi bombers. Behn recruited Nazis onto ITT's board. His closest Nazi friend, Gerhard Westrick, visited New York at Behn's expense in 1940-- when the Nazis were conquering Europe without much resistance. The agenda of Westrick's visit: to talk American corporate leaders into forging a German-American business alliance. These sorts of activities could easily be dubbed treason on Behn's part, but by 1944 and the Allied liberation of France, he was celebrated as an American hero. Allen Dulles--who supplemented his legal income as a U.S. intelligence agent--appears to have been the magician behind this miracle rehab, helping Behn set up his relationship with the U.S. military. Later, Dulles was an originator of the idea that multinational corporations are instruments of U. S. foreign policy and therefore exempt from domestic laws--a theory that has been a secret government policy since the mid-1950s. Behn also gave money to Himmler's SS. The Nazis were able to weld corporatism to occultism seam- lessly, which may say something about the similarity between the two. "The oligarchs of agricultural kingdoms wrapped themselves in witchcraft. . . . As industrial capitalism accumulated power and wealth the old mysteries were replaced and dwarfed by the new mysteries of high finance, market manipulations, convoluted and lucrative legalisms, pressure-group politics, and a labyrinth of new bureaucracies," writes Bertram Gross. But it also says that for the Nazis, the occult served both idealistic and pragmatic purposes. Himmler was immersed in occultism, but though he believed the stuff, he also used it as a method of mind control. When he began the corps, he needed a large membership to consolidate power. He recruited about sixty thousand. Member- ship was literally for sale to the wealthy, and "honorary" member- ship was available for as little as a mark per year. There was no way to unify such an unwieldy legion, so once the SS had established itself as the most powerful faction of the Nazi state, Himmler purged his rolls of anyone ideologically impure, or racially suspect (members had to draw up a family tree going back more than a century to prove their pure Aryan, non-Jewish, lineage). He also banished or killed all the SS homosexuals he could spot, and there were quite a few. The SS was still absent a coherent ideology to bind its remaining members in strict obedience. Himmler found one in his own neo- pagan beliefs. He renovated Wewelsburg Castle, a Westphalian fortress, and made it his own Camelot. He installed an oaken round table where the twelve "knights" of his inner circle would gather for initiations and rites. Like all cult leaders, Himmler was skilled using ritual and esoterica to strip away the individuality of his followers. Whatever humanity the SS soldiers possessed was sub- sumed by their mission to exterminate "lower races" and stand guard over the Reich. The storm troopers became robots pro- grammed to kill. Himmlerian mind control didn't die when Himmler bit his cya- nide capsule. While real live Nazis like Skorzeny and Gehlen frolicked about the world causing merry mischief, their younger admirers kept the occult spirit of nazism alive in right-wing hate groups and Satanic cults. The popular image of right-wing "neo-Nazi" groups as Nean- derthal thugs is somewhat misleading. The rank-and-file skinheads may be a little on the slow side, but the movement's leaders tend to be voracious readers, researchers, and theorists, after a fashion. Just as they are, perhaps correctly, the subject of conspiracy theories, they've developed anti-Jewish, anti-Masonic, Illuminati-style the- ories of their own that display an unsettling level of detail--all in the tradition of Thulian master-race paganism. White Aryan Resistance chieftain Tom Metzger--a regular on "Geraldo"-style daytime talk shows--is anti-Christian as well as predictably anti-Jewish. He and his skinhead disciples call them- selves pagans, and adhere to the ancient Germanic religion. They find affinity in the "Christian Identity" religion, which began in England in the nineteenth century and now flourishes in cornfield churches of the Midwest. The Identity churches are only "Chris- tian" in the sense that they count Jesus as an Aryan. White Euro- peans, they say, are therefore the true biblical "Jews," and the "race" that calls itself Jewish is really a conspiracy of subhuman imposters. Unlike the conspiracy theorists profiled in the first part of this book (with the possible exception of Lyndon LaRouche), Nazi and neo-Nazi groups use their conspiracy theories, like Himmler, as a technique of control, to mobilize a group to a common goal, to move people to actions they might not otherwise carry out. More brazenly occult variations on the same theory turn up in Satanic cults. The Manson family was portrayed in the mass media as a group of crazed hippies, of flower children gone mad. In the mass mind, Charles Manson is associated with the political left-ironic for a Hitler-worshipping racist. Like Hitler, who learned his oratorical skills at the knee of Dietrich Eckart, Manson picked up his powers of persuasion in the occult underground of San Francisco circa 1967. His "I am Christ, I am the devil, Christ is the devil" rants could have been lifted from sermons by Robert DeGrimston, British emigre and leader of the Process Church of the Final Judgement. The Process, which may have had Manson as member, was a Satanic cult that sprung up in the 1960s and sputtered out by the early 1970s. But does it still exist? Maury Terry's book The Ulti- mate Evil makes a case that the Process didn't die. Instead it faded away in a Satanic diaspora, forming offshoot cults that link into a loose nationwide conglomerate of dope dealing, S&M porn, and ritual murder. The Son of Sam killing spree that terrorized New York in the late 1970s was Terry's focus. He alleges that the mur- ders were carried out by a conspiracy of cultists based on Long Island with connections across the country. One of the Sam mur- ders, Terry contends, was committed by a character called "Man- son II," famous among Satanists as the occult underworld's top hit man, a friend of Charles Manson himself. The Tate-LaBianca murders, crimes that won the original Man- son his infamy, may not have been random "Helter Skelter" slay- ings, according to Terry and to Manson biographer Ed Sanders. They appear to have been murder for hire. But who would hire Manson and why? Could it have been the same people who hired Manson disciple Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme to shoot President Ford? Namely, someone in the U.S. government, according to Michael Milan, who says he was once a hit man for J. Edgar Hoover. Here we get into the grayest of conspiratorial speculations, foggy even by the standards of conspiracy theory. Contentions that the intelligence community is somehow aligned with Satanism, using cults as indoctrination for mind-controlled robot assassins, are backed up by only gossamer strips of information. Milan's claim that the Manson family "took the contract" on Ford; Maury Terry's implication that New York police may have been in on the Son of Sam murders (taken together with known facts about the CIA's infiltration of big-city police departments); and the name of the drug dealer who led the Matamoros death cult, the nasty devil worshippers who murdered a med-school student in a Mexican shack a few years ago, allegedly turning up in the address book of downed contra pilot, Eugene Hasenfus, a CIA contractor. The most curious case, to my mind, is that of Michael Aquino, another frequent talk-show guest who bears an uncanny resem- blance to Mark Lenard, Mr. Spock's father on "Star Trek. " Aguino founded and leads the Temple of Set, an offshoot of Anton LaVey's Church of Satan, which was the first Satanic church ever to receive tax exemption. The Temple of Set takes a dour turn on LaVey's dime-store pseudopagan buffoonery. Unlike LaVey, Aquino never sought publicity. He got it anyway, when he was accused of mo- lesting children at a military day care center on San Francisco's Presidio base. Aquino was never tried on any charge, and he vehemently denies any crimes. He sued the city of San Francisco for defamation of character after an investigation failed to turn up any evidence that he or his "Temple" was involved in child molestation. Aquino is nonetheless an odd bird with thought-provoking connections. Aquino is always careful to distance himself publicly from naz- ism, but he is so fascinated by Hitler and Himmler that he once made a pilgrimage to Wewelsburg Castle, the site Himmler planned as home to his mystical order. He carried out some form of black magic ceremony there, amidst the SS relics. When the Presidio scandal became news and Aquino's name surfaced, the Pentagon denied that he was in the Army. This was in 1981, at the same time that the Army was granting Aquino his Top Secret security clear- ance. In reality, Aquino is an Army specialist in psychological warfare. He wrote an article on "MindWar" and PSYOPS (psycho- logical operations) and their use in controlling mass populations. America's failure in Vietnam, he believes, was a failure to apply the effects of "MindWar." In the conspiracy theory, the epidemic of Satanism across Amer- ica stems from the U.S. government deploying MindWar against its own people. "Some things are secret because they are hard to know, and some because they are not fit to utter. We see all governments as obscure and invisible." So declared Francis Bacon, founder of his own school of Masonry, and of the inductive "scientific method." Ba- con didn't issue that utterance with any intention of condemning government secrecy. The governance of men, he believed, was necessarily a secret affair. People are incapable of understanding what government does. And some things that government does, it is best that the governed never know. When governments are involved in terror and murder, it is not hard to understand why they keep secrets from their people. Nor is it surprising that Francis Bacon, given his immersion in secret societies, would feel the way he did. If Bacon's reasoning holds true, it might be better to have no government at all. A government that is obscure and invisible will inevitably, like the Nazis, be a government based on conspiracy. The very act of keeping government secrets is a conspiracy. Secret government--and by Bacon's cold logic, all governments are secret--divorces everyone in society except the secret keepers from any genuine understanding of the circumstances that govern their own lives. Conspiracy theory is an attempt by a few minds to reclaim some understanding. In this part of the book, I've tried to piece together as many slabs and slices of information that I could find to support the kinds of conspiracy theories that got me interested in the subject. These are American conspiracy theories, many with long historical roots, but, nonetheless, distinctively contemporary conspiracy theories. These are theories born in a country too big and diverse to govern, but permeated totally by government. A country whose basic ideal is individual freedom, where daily life is dominated by authority. From the runaway power of the presidency to the tyranny of workplace management, liberty is strangely difficult to come by. We've substituted the multicolored spectacle of consumerism for control over our own lives, and we're supposed to think that be- cause we have so much stuff available for purchase we have the freedom to choose. But you can't fool everyone. Conspiracy theor- ists may not always be right, but they are not fooled. The information in this section is not supposed to be an argument for any particular conspiracy theory, although there seem to be plenty in here. I've been trying to present a way of thinking about a society where information is controlled, ergo, understanding is impossible. Conspiracy theories are a guide to life in a strange and threatening America: a conspiracy nation. =====================================================================


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