If hundreds of antigovernment conspiracy buffs gathered under one roof, would that be a conspiracy?
And even if it weren’t, wouldn’t having them all together make them easy targets for everything they fear, loathe and hate — the mind-control operatives, spying government agents, the Illuminati, man-made earthquakes, maybe a big chemtrail pattern overhead or even UFOs landing in the parking lot?
Well, several hundred conspiracy junkies did get together, then went their separate ways, apparently unharmed after a two-day conspiracy conference — “ConspiracyCon 2011” — this past weekend in Santa Clara, Calif.
It was a weekend of worrying and finger pointing. Many used the conference to reinforce their belief that either the government, corporations, Jews, Communists, secret societies, shadow governments or aliens are doing something very bad to the rest of us, and most the world unfortunately just doesn’t know about it. While many of those who attended seemed harmless, if overly given to theories with little observable basis in reality, the event was thick with the kind of conspiracy theories that animate the antigovernment “Patriot” movement.
It wasn’t all conspiranoia, however. At least one smile was readily apparent — the one on the face of Brian William Hall, the Bay Area promoter, conference organizer and “truth movement” guru who sold tickets for $99 a day or $219 for his special “conspiracy weekend package.” (T-shirts, extra.) Hall also sold table space to a large room full of vendors peddling everything from “ear coning” and palm reading to assorted books on how to fight the IRS, detect covert government spies, survive a nuclear war, fight the “New World Order” and discover “the truth” about the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Hall said his 11th annual conspiracy convention, in addition to helping his bank account, was an opportunity “for those of us in the truth movement to assess ourselves.” “I believe we are indeed a legitimate movement of concerned citizens,” he said. Those in attendance represented a “wide spectrum politically and spiritually.” For example, he said, fundamentalist Christians and agnostics can come together to jointly fight the New World Order.
“Most of us are not ‘buffs,’” Hall bristled. “This is not cute. It’s not fun. This country, this planet [are] in serious doo-doo, deep doo-doo.”
Behind the evils that confront us, Hall explained, are shadow governments, secret societies — “the very powers we try to expose when we pierce that veil at this conference to determine who is running this planet.” “This group of connected people — some call them the Illuminati, the powers that be, the global elite — are working together in concert through their own institutions and their own secret societies, whose decisions affect all of us but they answer to none of us,” Hall said. Their decisions “make us toxic and make us slaves, and that is the matrix in which we live,” he said.
Then he ducked away into the Conspiracy-Con exhibit hall, where vendor H. Michael Sweeney, who calls his website “pro-paranoid,” was reluctant to assign names to the mind-control agents and foreign powers he claims are out there. (He did mention two tried-and-true Patriot enemies, the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg group, which are said to be working for global elites at the cost of enslaving the rest of us). “It’s kind of difficult to give a 1, 2, 3 answer, but you can see them at work every day,” said Sweeney, who was wearing the same “Armageddon Machine” T-shirts he sells. Its supposedly simple message (depicted on the T-shirt in a far-from-simple flow chart): Terrorism generates nationalism; nationalism drives capitalism; capitalism seeks globalism, and globalism therefore needs terrorism. “It’s a vicious circle,” said Sweeney, with the “end game” of various powerful agents being to “seat the anti-Christ.”
“The most direct route would be to have more serious terrorist attacks, so the government can declare martial law, suspend the constitution and have the military shoot citizens who don’t surrender their firearms,” he explained. (Such theories are widely touted by members of militias and other Patriots, most of whom believe the government has set up secret concentration camps, as well, to help impose on Americans the New World Order, a kind of one-world socialist government.)
Nearby, other vendors hawked everything from palmistry (“We’ll read a left palm for $9, a right for $9 and both for $15”) to a wall full of UFO videos (“You know the government is hiding the truth”). For $35, attendees could lie down under an asbestos blanket (with a fire extinguisher nearby) and have a burning candle placed in their ears for an “ear coning” to remove parasites and — you guessed it — government-made toxins.
One exhibitor sold purely natural skin treatments and another sold bottles of "magnascent" iodine to those who worry about mental retardation or other ills. Still another exhibitor handed out leaflets encouraging homeowners to oppose “smart meters” — those nefarious devices being increasingly used by utilities to remotely read natural gas and electric usage at residences. The meters, naturally, are seen as yet another government invasion of privacy, certain to cause radiation health effects and very likely to be used to involuntarily cut your power.
Then there was the handout from Kewaunee Lapseritis of Duvall, Wash., who sells books about the elusive Sasquatch — claiming “these gentle creatures” can’t be found because of their connection with extraterrestrials and UFOs.
For those interested in more about UFOs, there was speaker Jose Escamilla. Escamilla told the crowd that his “vector symbology” studies, along with color photographs, suggest there are giant structures made of gold on the moon – one of many secrets being kept by the U.S. government and now of interest to Third World countries planning their own moon visits. “There’s something on the moon that we brought back and kept secret that they want a piece of now,” he explained.
Another speaker, Douglas Duane Dietrich, talked about the batch of “Satan’s crusaders” that he says he encountered in the 1980s while in the U.S. Army, stationed at the Presidio near San Francisco. Not only did Satan’s men, who had blood-inscribed pentagrams on their rifles, conduct secret occult experiments on humans and dogs and then make him destroy the evidence, Dietrich told the crowd — they also engaged in sexual abuse of children at Army day care facilities.
Two other speakers attempted to debunk the “official versions” of what happened on 9/11, claiming events of that historic date, too, have been covered up by a government conspiracy that misleads the public.
Steven E. Jones, a former physics professor at Brigham Young University who likens himself to Galileo, said his scientific studies have convinced him that planted explosives, not jetliners, brought down the Twin Towers and a third building – still another government conspiracy and secret cover-up.
If that wasn’t enough red meat for the 9/11 “truthers,” former White House aide Barbara Honegger took to the podium to say that she’s uncovered proof that it was nano-thermite explosives, not a jetliner, that damaged the Pentagon. She knew that, she said, in part “because no Arab DNA” was found in the ruins. “It was a highly secret, highly specialized, covert Joint Special Operations Team undertaking, a red, white and blue smoke-and-mirrors pre-emptive self-attack planned and executed under the cover of hijack scenario emergency response exercises.”
Honegger said she believes the Pentagon bombing could have been carried out by the same Navy Seal team that recently killed bin Laden. And behind it all, Honegger suggested, are those forces she didn’t further identify who want to push their “Global Domination Agenda.” After her talk, Honegger was mobbed by enthusiastic autograph-seekers.
Outside the large banquet hall where Honegger, was a sign the hotel staff had put up for the weekend that seemed to say it all: “Con-Con.”