In my previous looks at the work of David Icke, modern-day Gnostic heresiarch, I’ve covered his alarming transformation from a basically ordinary media figure into a New Age true believer in a melange of Theosophy and Gnosticism, his gear shift into conspiratorial thinking and flirtation with antisemitism, and his promulgation of his theory of Reptoid aliens secretly controlling the Earth, along with a deeper and more troubling embrace of antisemitism. (As well as promulgating conspiracy theories tending towards antisemitism, Icke also has total contempt for all sorts of traditional religious and cultural practices, and if you only tolerate Jewish people so long as they don’t actually practice any form of Judaism or Judaism-related cultural practices then that’s basically antisemitism.)
By 2005, Icke had come back to the mysticism he’d been espousing in 1990, with a more comprehensively Gnostic worldview. (I will refer to this as Ickean Gnosticism, to distinguish it from historical forms of Gnosticism.) He’d also had a nasty accident in the wallet region; Royal Adams, his agent in the USA, had scammed him out of a fat stack of royalties, and on top of that his marriage to his second wife, Pamela, was disintegrating on bad terms and a messy divorce battle was in the offing.
In February 2007, Icke set up the “Freedom Foundation” as a means for American supporters to channel money to him by making tax-deductible donations via the International Humanities Center. This raised eyebrows in some quarters, since such tax-deductible foundations had been fingered as being part of the New World Order conspiracy since the 1950s. Still, donations can only go so far: ultimately, Icke’s income comes from touring and books, and so new product was wanted. So began a new phase of Icke’s writing…
The David Icke Guide to the Global Conspiracy (and How To End It)
This came out in 2007 and, despite being Icke’s physically thickest book to date at comfortably over 600 pages, seems a bit lightweight if (like me) you’ve been fool enough to plough through Icke’s work to this point.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s lots of material here, including Icke commenting on a few new world developments. (There’s an entire appendix on the subject of “oooh, don’t trust that Barack Obama, he seems like a wroung’un”.) However, none of it adds up to anything really major; we don’t have any significant new developments of Icke’s cosmology here, and he doesn’t take any really deep dives into significant recent events as he’d done for the Diana assassination in The Biggest Secret, 9/11 on Alice In Wonderland and the World Trade Center Disaster, or the Iraq War from Tales From the Time Loop.
How does Icke take up all this space, then? Basically, he copy-pastes and rewrites. The title is aptly chosen, because the book is essentially an extended summary of the state of Icke’s theories (both cosmological and conspiratorial). This is the sort of book which is useful for Icke’s followers, useful for anyone following the development of Icke’s ideas, and useful for Icke himself. It’s useful for anyone reading Icke – critically or not – who wants to get a reasonably detailed explanation of his thoughts on a particular subject, with references back to his earlier books so you can go back and see when he originally discussed an idea in even greater depth.
It’s also useful for Icke because it allows him to restate what is and isn’t canon – pointing a spotlight on the bits of his previous books he either still believes in or considers to have been proven right, whilst glossing over those books he no longer stands behind. Indeed, checking the index it seems that aside from a passing reference to Icke’s Green Party-era policy book It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way, he doesn’t get into any of his books prior to …And the Truth Shall Set You Free, though Robots’ Rebellion is comparatively simplistic (it’s basically a mashup of Icke’s New Age material, The Gods of Eden, and Behold a Pale Horse) and having a handy reminder of what Icke addressed when is still useful for readers, even though you do have to bear in mind that he’s putting a new spin on a lot of his old claims.
That said, I think this book had a more important function for Icke at the time. It came out in mid-to-late 2007, when his legal struggles with Royal Adams were still ongoing, and I think that explains a lot about the book. For one thing, it was a big fat new book out there on the market earning money for Icke – nothing to be sniffed at. (Aside from the thickness of the thing they seem to have gone basic on the production values here, with no new Neil Hague art aside from the front cover and no full colour section of Hague art as provided in the previous book and as the other books I’ll cover in this article include.) For another, it was a product which Royal Adams had never touched and never had anything to do with, and restates all the major ideas from the books Adams had distributed with some rephrasing.
It’s the last factor which I believe to have been crucial. My theory is that The David Icke Guide was Icke’s insurance policy – a book on the market which recapitulated the state of the art of Icke’s “research” (such as it is), but which Royal Adams had never touched and so couldn’t possibly have any reasonable claim on. The upshot of this is that even if the verdicts on the relevant cases had gone against Icke, he’d still have a product to sell independent of anything Royal Adams was doing. As it stood, the courts ruled pretty comprehensively against Adams, making this fallback plan somewhat unnecessary – and the book itself largely unnecessary unless you are especially interested in the minutiae of what particular conspiracy theory was exciting Icke on a year by year basis, which isn’t as interesting to me as the “big picture” questions of what ideas he was pushing and how he was making major new additions to his cosmological-conspiratorial model of the universe over time.
Actually, there is one new hobbyhorse which Icke hops onto this time around, which whilst minor to his “big picture” is notable to his life story: it’s here that he addresses the subject of global warming and climate change, sides with the sceptics, and argues that the whole thing is a conspiracy to advance the ends of the New World Order by creating a fake crisis which, by dint of being a danger which doesn’t respect national borders, demands a globalised response.
Climate change denial is not new, and was not new when Icke wrote this book, but on checking the indexes of his previous conspiracy tomes I don’t find reference to it (or to “global warming”, as it used to be termed); here, though, he dedicates an entire chapter to running down the concept.
This is unusual given Icke’s expressed concerns. Sure, from a Gnostic point of view, the state of the planet is in some respects irrelevant – it’s an illusion anyway, as is temperature, and why should anyone get upset about the imaginary temperature of an imaginary world in the first place? On the other hand, Icke plays a lot on the idea that modern life is polluting our environment and poisoning us deliberately in order to keep us weak and under control. Surely, anthropogenic climate control, for which the same big industrial giants which Icke claims are controlled by the Illuminati, can be framed in an Ickean worldview as being part of this?
After all, Icke has expressed some sympathy for “free energy”-type conspiracy theories before, and what better reason to suppress free energy devices than to compel people to use hydrocarbon fuels which contribute to the pollution of the world? In addition, Icke has long claimed there to be an extraterrestrial dimension to the conspiracy – even though the Reptoids occupy the lower fourth dimension usually, Icke also claims in previous and future books that there’s other worlds in our universe which have fallen under their sway. Couldn’t climate change be a Reptoid attempt to make Earth’s environment more comfortable to them, whilst at the same time making it hostile to human life – a process not so much of terraforming as terror-forming? The effect of this could be to restrict humans to living in climate-controlled underground or domed complexes, kept under even tighter control. It’s as plausible an end game for Icke’s New World Order theory as any.
Perhaps there’s something of a “fuck you” to the Green Party going on here; Icke had, after all, been a prominent member of the Party before resigning from his role prior to the publication of The Truth Vibrations, and had remained in its vicinity until his endorsement of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion in The Robots’ Rebellion prompted the Party to formally distance itself from him.
I suspect, however, Icke’s motive here is more commercial. The fact is that climate change denial is common in conspiracy theory circles in general, especially in the American market which Icke was trying to rekindle his fortunes in after the Royal Adams incident. Pandering to this audience’s existing tendency to deny climate change would, therefore, aid Icke’s fortunes among this audience; pushing against climate change denial was not a risk Icke was willing to take, lest his audience disown him, because even if Icke claimed that climate change was a deliberate plot to render the world largely uninhabitable and impose tyranny on its survivors that would still require him to say that sometimes authority figures like Al Gore and Obama and the UN and scientific experts and whatnot are actually telling the truth about something. Icke is too invested in accusing them of lying constantly to ascribe any truth to anything they say.
This is hardly the last time when Icke would torture his worldview to accommodate conspiracy theories which seem to fly in the face of them. In more recent books, he’s been banging on about the evils of “transgenderism” (following the transphobic tendency to use that term, as though transgender status were an ideology rather than an identity issue). This seems to be intended to parallel the rising backlash against transgender folk, a transphobia which would be shared by much of Icke’s potential audience (crossing over as they do with Alex Jones’ reactionary Infowars crowd).
The thing about this is that it flies in the face of a lot of what he says in this period, and continues to say now, about the nature of humanity. If we are all sparks of divinity having a human experience, gender is meaningless. Icke in his books at this time would argue against homophobia by claiming that love between people is the important thing and their gender matters not at all, because love is an expression of the higher spirit whilst gender is a mere accident of the illusory material world.
Surely, if that is the case, one’s personal sense of identity has nothing to do with one’s biological body or your DNA chromosomes (especially since Icke regards DNA as part of the control structure of the world-illusion), and thus trans and nonbinary identities are entirely valid and, arguably, a sign of superior enlightenment?
Ah, but Icke’s readers would stop buying his books if he didn’t keep pandering to their prejudices…
Human Race Get Off Your Knees: the Lion Sleeps No More
The Lion Sleeps No More offers both new material and, perhaps even more interestingly, new spins on older material. Let’s address the big new idea first: Icke here borrows (with attribution, amazingly) the idea from Christopher Knight and Alan Butler’s delightfully absurd Who Built the Moon? that the Moon is an artificial spaceship, ascribes its construction to the Reptoids, and claims that it’s the super-secret Reptoid HQ from which the control signal is transmitted which creates the Matrix.
Initially, this seemed to me like a massive contradiction; in Icke’s Matrix-derived cosmology the celestial bodies would all be expected to be illusions of the Matrix anyway, along with the entire rest of physical reality, and the source of a virtual reality illusion shouldn’t need a physical representation within the illusion itself. Icke actually gets around this issue quite deftly by developing the Matrix theory further: now it’s a cordoned off virtual reality prison zone within a wider virtual reality, established by Infinite Consciousness so that it could have an experience of being isolated individuals and thereby learn from it. OK, fine – if the prison world was established from inside of virtual reality, it makes sense that its underlying infrastructure has physical representations within virtual reality.
This is a notion comparable to the Scientology doctrine that the universe of MEST – Mind-Energy-Space-Time – was concocted by Thetans as a game, and then the Thetans forgot that they were playing. The big difference between Ickean Gnosticism and Scientology is that Scientology claims to teach techniques which allow the Thetan to remember its true nature, whereas Ickean Gnosticism offers no practical route to Gnosis: it’s just Icke yelling at you to wake up to your true nature as a shard of Infinite Consciousness having an individual experience and then expecting that to be enough by itself.
(Of course, Icke isn’t the first modern-day Gnostic thinker to express that philosophy without offering any substantial advice beyond “Wake up and think for yourself”. Philip K. Dick didn’t arrive at any clear teaching of that type either, though from the Exegesis it’s apparent that Dick thought his enlightenment was largely accidental and he was humble enough to admit it might not even be real. Icke’s own life story suggests that his own attainment of communication with Infinite Consciousness prior to writing The Truth Vibrations equally happened without any special effort on his part, which might explain his attitude of “Well, it was easy for me, why can’t you just do the same?”)
What’s interesting about all this, aside from the sheer surreal absurdity of the concept, is that all this Moon stuff allows Icke to reintegrate into his cosmology a whole swathe of ideas which he’d first raised back in The Truth Vibrations, which had included a cosmic history in which the arrival of the Moon heralded the major schism between Earth life and the enlightened higher dimensions. The titular Truth Vibrations from that book make a major comeback here, in fact, and as in that book they are emitted by the Sun because Icke’s brought back the idea that each planetary system is benignly presided over (in the original design of the virtual reality cosmos) by its associated stellar spirit, and the guiding spirit of the Sun is a great wellspring of connection to Infinite Consciousness which the signals from the Moon are supposed to block. All of this is recognisably riffing on ideas that Icke was discussing in The Truth Vibrations and Love Changes Everything; Icke even makes reference to the channelled spirit Magnu again.
A more subtle but more significant shift in this book is how Icke refers to himself. Towards the start he devotes much of a chapter to explaining how we are not the people that we think we are, but Infinite Consciousness having an experience which was supposed to teach us but has ended up torturing us due to the nefarious Reptoids establishing the Matrix, and concludes the chapter by asserting that he personally is not David Icke but Infinite Consciousness having a David Icke experience. Fine enough by itself – he’s just applying to himself a principle he’s declared to be true for all humanity.
Ah, but then he ties this back into his Valentinian division of humanity into three classes of people – fake people who are entirely products of the Matrix and contain none of the spark of Infinite Consciousness, folk who are prisoners of the “mind” – the sense of the individual as an individual – and those who have abandoned the mind and embraced Consciousness. Icke makes it extremely clear that he thinks of himself as a member of the third category – and more than that, that he considers himself a mouthpiece of Infinite Consciousness who has overcome his “mind” and individuality.
For instance, when he’s introducing the whole Moon thing he claims that his exploration of the subject was kicked off by him just spontaneously getting the idea that the Moon was fake, and then stumbling across Knight and Butler’s book after that. He claims that this is consistent with how synchronicity generally works in his life – he’ll become interested in a subject and then information on it will fall into his lap – which rather overlooks the selection bias involved. (If you’ve become interested in an idea you’ll be much more receptive to anything which seems to back it up, and Icke – like anyone else – doubtless has various ideas percolating through his head at any particular time, and the ideas which seem to resonate with some external source are always going to stand out more than the ideas that don’t go anywhere.) This research-by-intuition is consistent with Icke’s contempt for evidence – in his cosmology, evidence is a product of the Matrix whereas intuition is a message from Infinite Consciousness, so the latter carries more weight than the former.
Perhaps the most significant example of Icke portraying himself as the voice of Infinite Consciousness, however, comes in his inevitable retelling of his experience in his Wogan interview as part of his inevitable rehashing of his biography, which he rolls out in his books whenever he has the chance to. Here, he talks once again of feeling as though there were two people in his head at the time – one high on all of this information and doing all the talking, one horrified at what was happening and what he was saying. In previous renditions of this experience Icke has tended to identify with the latter personality, but in a significant shift here he now identifies with the former, claiming it to be Infinite Consciousness, and the more cautious personality was merely the “mind” of the thing that thought it was David Icke rather than realising it was Infinite Consciousness having a David Icke experience.
This is a shift with profound implications. It outright states that when Icke was talking in the Wogan interview, it was Infinite Consciousness speaking – AKA God, or the closest thing Ickean Gnosticism has to a true God – just as he outright states that what he’s writing in this book (and presumably his others) is the work of Infinite Consciousness acting through him. This puts his interviews and books and, we may well infer, lectures on the level of holy writ.
In short, it’s an overt return to the Messianic claims of the Wogan interview, at least to the extent that such claims make sense in the framework of Ickean Gnosticism, in that Icke is claiming to be God speaking through a human proxy providing the wisdom necessary to see through the illusion of the world and attain union with Infinite Consciousness.
The difference between Ickean Gnosticism and mainline Christianity – which was understandably overlooked by the media and public at the time of the Wogan interview because Icke hadn’t really explained Ickean Gnosticism to the world at that point – is that in principle anyone (aside from the not-really-real puppet people that constitute the lowliest division of humanity in Icke’s cosmology) can attain the same status as Icke by gaining communication with Infinite Consciousness and acting on its behalf.
However, Icke never names any living people who have done this. As a result, he is the sole teacher and source of holy truth in Ickean Gnosticism, and will remain so for as long as he doesn’t acknowledge anyone else as being in as close contact with Infinite Consciousness as he is. (His assertion that most of the entities contacted by the sort of mediums and channelers he used to endorse in his earliest books are, in fact, occupants of other levels of the Matrix is helpful here – it allows him to disown anyone, or at the very least diminish their importance, by claiming that they were only in contact with lesser entities which are also fools of the Matrix.)
In short, behind the garish Moon-Matrix revelations and the depiction of the Truth Vibrations as a sort of humanoid lion fursona for Consciousness, The Lion Sleeps No More slips in a full-throated return of Icke’s Messianic posturing. Granted, a lot of it is making explicit the implications of what Icke has been saying for a while, but the act of making it explicit is notable in its own right.
What particularly alarms me is the way that, if he actually believes what he is saying, Icke’s doctrine rejects rigorous evidence and philosophical argumentation in favour of just trusting whatever ideas intuitively pop into Icke’s head. It means that Icke’s entire movement can become massively more dangerous at any time, more or less on a whim. If Icke gets out of bed on the wrong side one morning and gets an “intuitive” inspiration to, say, pivot to overtly blaming the Jewish people for everything, or to U-turn on his previous advocacy of non-violence in favour of preaching an armed crusade, in principle he’ll do it. I certainly hope that he won’t, but that’s based entirely on my assumption that Icke doesn’t drink his own Kool-Aid, and I have no real evidence to support that and at least some basis to think it’s correct.
It also opens the door to a sort of stochastic terrorism. After all, maybe Icke’s intuition is pointing him away from violence, but since he is encouraging his readers to follow their intuition as their personal link to Consciousness, and that intuition happens to include unhealthy fantasies of blowing up synagogues or gay clubs or mosques or whatever… Well. Maybe the lion should get another 40 winks. Particularly when in this book Icke weaves together his rants against banking and Israel into a general screed against “Rothschild Zionists”, which he uses to express a sort of expanded antisemitism – essentially, any Jewish person he disagrees with is tagged as a Rothschild Zionist, as is any non-Jewish individual with any connections to banking, Israel, or other people tagged as Rothschild Zionists. Icke may still claim to not be an antisemite, but anybody who gets this apocalyptically angry about the Rothschilds sooner or later turns out to be an antisemite in my experience.
Remember Who You Are
Despite having a really cumbersome full title – Remember Who You Are, Remember “Where” You Are and Where You “Come” From, Remember… – this is a shorter Icke books by his recent standards – it’s a bit more than 420 pages long. By and large, it doesn’t represent much of a development over Human Race Get Off Your Knees beyond introducing the idea that, rather than being the source of the Reptoid control signals, the Moon is a relay station for them and the actual source is Saturn. This seems to be Icke developing the idea that stars are the cosmos’ source of signals from the higher realities, with Icke classifying Saturn as a brown dwarf star and buying into the “electric universe” cosmology and the theory that Earth used to be a satellite of Saturn prior to a catastrophic rearrangement of the Solar System.
This seems to be Icke lifting ideas from another theorist wholesale, much as The Robots’ Rebellion was largely his riff on The Gods of Eden. Specifically, Icke seems to be drawing on (but not crediting) the ideas expressed by Troy D. McLachlan in The Saturn Death Cult – a book that had come out in 2011, a year prior to this book, and which is also largely available online via McLachlan’s website. This is an absolutely wild conspiracy theory, showing a level of imagination that Icke hadn’t since his Reptoid breakthrough, which takes the electric universe Saturn-as-original-Sun theory and makes it the underlying ideology behind the Illuminati’s worldwide network of secret societies.
As you might imagine, this sort of stuff slots into Icke’s worldview nicely. In his usual running-down of organised religion, Icke expresses the view held by Saturn Death Cult theorists that religion is disguised Saturn worship; the Star of David is a symbol of Saturn because there’s a hexagon in it and there’s a hexagon at Saturn’s pole, you can take a wireframe sketch of the edges of a cube and make it look like a hexagon from the right perspective so the Kaaba at Mecca, being a black cube, is a symbol of Saturn, most angels are agents of El (Micha-EL, Gabri-EL) and El is Saturn, and so on. (This last point allows Icke to dismiss representative democracy altogether because it’s based on EL-ections and is therefore under the sway of the Saturn cult.) Plus, of course, Saturn is Satan and so all the Satanism stuff from Icke’s earlier books is really a form of Saturn worship.
This is all entertainingly odd, but it doesn’t really change all that much about the fundamentals of Icke’s ideas. What’s perhaps more notable about the book is its stylistic elements. Perhaps practicing what he he preaches about intuition and allowing oneself to be guided by Infinite Consciousness, Icke’s writing style is unusually sloppy here, tending towards rambling, long paragraphs that risk slipping into full-on stream of consciousness.
In addition, he pads out the text a lot with an absurd number of figures – 359 figures in about 420 pages or so, plus the now-customary Neil Hague gallery section. An extensive use of pictures isn’t new to Icke, and the pictures consist of the customary copy-pasting of diagrams from his earliest conspiracy theory texts, Neil Hague art, and grotesquely photoshopped pictures providing crude political cartoons or horrible imagery which seems designed to disgust and horrify the reader, all the better to leave them open to Icke’s persuasion. Still, even by his usual standards this was excessive.
Given that the substantially thicker The Perception Deception came out in the next year, I have a hunch that Icke was bogged down in doing the preliminary research for that, realised he needed to put another book out quickly to pay the bills, and rattled off this one in a hurry as a stopgap measure; as well as continuing the Saturn strand, The Perception Deception would also include a very significant new development in Icke’s rhetoric.
The Perception Deception
The Perception Deception – subtitled Or… It’s ALL Bollocks – Yes, ALL of It and billed as The most comprehensive exposure of human life ever written – would be Icke’s thickest tome to date, with over 900 pages (including the index) and some 873 illustrations, plus the usual Neil Hague gallery section in the middle.
It finds Icke’s tone somehow becoming even more strident and self-righteous and I-told-you-so-ish than usual. There’s several reasons why this may be the case. For one thing, in 2012 – between finishing Remember Who You Are and commencing the process of writing this megatome – Icke led a group of his followers (who paid handsomely for the experience) on a tour of various sites in Peru and Bolivia that supposedly had some sort of sacred relevance – including the site where he had a powerful spiritual experience in 1991 which, he now claims, transformed him into a communication conduit for Infinite Consciousness.
During this, he had another intense spiritual experience. In the accounts of the trip he slips into the book here and there he gets into some of the psychic questing-type material that his earlier books focused on more, talking about how the group visited and felt out the spiritual auras of various sites and transformed the negative energy around some into positive energy, and claiming that a rainbow face appeared in the sky after the group had defeated the dark Reptoid energies in one locale. Icke even recounts an instance where an evil force took control of one of the group, but fortunately Icke was able to command the dark force to leave (in yet another episode of “Icke establishes messianic credentials“).
However, as it turned out the most significant experience of Icke’s journey – according to him, and by my own assessment – would come not out in the field, but in the comfort of Icke’s own hotel room:
I was walking out of the bathroom when suddenly I could not walk straight. I lurched to the left like a drunk and for three or four minutes this continued as I tried to walk in a straight line. I began to feel ill and about to faint and I remember thinking that I had to make it to the bed to lie down; but as I tried to move in that direction the truly weird experience ended as fast as it started and my ‘straightness’ returned. As I stood there, wondering what the heck just happened, a ‘voice’ in my head said: ‘We have just flipped your brain – you won’t be decoding reality in the same way from now on.’
Icke goes on to explain that he had a sense of being “not in this reality” but rather outside and looking in for an hour and a half after the incident, and that his sense of reality has never been the same since – “Life became easier, calmer and insight just poured into my conscious mind”. However, Icke’s tendency to have this sort of major moment of strangeness when visiting Peru may have another explanation. Dizziness, nausea, and lethargy are all symptoms of altitude sickness – Peru being high enough above sea level where this is a significant issue – as are auditory and visual hallucinations.
Moreover, high altitude can lead to a higher risk of stroke – as do various pre-existing factors which apply to Icke, including his arthritis (which is correlated with high blood pressure). An inability to walk straight and other neurological strangeness, with things not returning to normal for about an hour or two, are symptoms entirely consistent with a transient ischemic attack – or mini-stroke. It’s frankly alarming that Icke shows such distrust in conventional medicine, when in fact there’s cause to believe he needs checking out on a neurological level – not on an “Icke is crazy” basis, but on an “Icke is at high risk of stroke” basis. Either way, the experience seems to have left Icke even more convinced than he was previously that he has a hotline to the Truth, and that’s reflected in his tone here.
The other thing I attribute this heightened level of self-satisfaction here is that Icke’s tactic of throwing everything he can at the wall to see what sticks finally paid off in the intervening year between the release of this book and the previous one. Having worked in the BBC at one time, it’s easy to see how Icke could have overheard rumours about the sexually abusive habits of Jimmy Savile; with the Savile story finally coming to light in October 2012, Icke could legitimately say “I told you so”, though this is largely an example of stopped clocks being right twice a day.
(EDIT 17th January 2021: OK, maybe not. I had clearly misremembered here, because despite Icke crowing about how he’d blown the Savile thing wide open earlier in his career, this isn’t actually the case. It’s easy to imagine that he might have – he levels accusations at a ton of people in his books, Jimmy Savile’s cultivation of links with the Royal Family means that he’s a plausible person for Icke to have talked about, and Savile’s activities have an uncomfortable overlap with Icke’s claims about elite pedophile rings, as I discuss below. But the fact is, he doesn’t get to claim this as a win. At most, he gets to say he was broadly correct about the allegation that some wealthy and powerful people get away with literal child abuse who probably shouldn’t, but that’s a) kind of a no-brainer because, um, no shit powerful people get away with shit less powerful people couldn’t, that’s the nature of power, and b) not a specific allegation of child abuse against Savile.)
Pedophilia among wealthy and powerful individuals is doubtless a thing that happens. The Epstein case, as well as the historical child abuse cases that came to light in the wake of the Savile revelations, is evidence enough of that, and even in the absence of such cases it is to be expected that if a person happened to be a child abuser and happened to have sufficient wealth and power to convince themselves they could get away with it, they would attempt to use their wealth and power to enable their abusive activities. At the same time, Icke’s notion of a massive, monolithic conspiracy of ritual child abusers, rather than a fragmented world of small micro-networks here and there around figures like Savile and Epstein, is a bridge too far.
In the wake of the Savile scandal, such theories as Icke’s threatened to spill into the mainstream; there was no greater example of this than the badly botched Operation Midland, in which the Metropolitan Police, under the pressure of the mass outcry over Savile and other historical child abuse cases, ended up uncritically buying into the allegations made by Carl Beech of a grand conspiracy of child abusers including at least one Prime Minister, which had abused and tortured him and friends of his and arranged for murders to take place either because that was their fetish or to serve the cover-up. In fact, when corroborating evidence was sought, it ultimately turned out that Beech’s story wasn’t credible – with the most plausible-sounding parts of his story being based more or less entirely on Beech’s own research of publicly-documented cold cases.
At least one other witness who’d initially backed up Carl’s claims admitted that he’d falsely identified some of the alleged perpetrators, having been cajoled by certain prominent campaigners into doing so when in fact he couldn’t truthfully say he’d ever met the individuals concerned. This reminds me an awful lot of the story of Arizona Wilder, as I documented in my coverage of Icke’s The Biggest Secret, who was one of Icke’s major witnesses for his “Royal Reptoids” allegations, and how she eventually denounced the interview in question and there is strong reason to believe that she was primed to give a particular story to Icke, possibly by fellow conspiracy theorist Brian Desborough (who introduced Wilder to Icke in the first place).
Whilst “believe victims” is an important guideline, it is just that, a guideline, and sometimes there are situations where you need to take allegations with a pinch of salt. As I’ve said elsewhere in other articles, I’m entirely willing to believe that something happened in Carl Beech or Arizona Wilder’s respective pasts which was traumatic and abusive – but whether through mental health issues or through sheer deceitfulness, the stories they promoted simply aren’t believable and are backed up by no evidence.
Beyond this, much of the rest of the book consists of Icke rehashing his usual routine – running down each and every aspect of present-day society, its structures, its trends, and its counter-culture and counter-cultural trends, as part of the grand conspiracy. What’s especially exciting this time around is that Icke has finally stopped being coy about all the Gnosticism underpinning his worldview; he finally does a deep dive into the Gnostic Gospels, he finally uses the term “Archons” to refer to the Reptoids, he even goes so far as to claim that the entire conspiracy is lead by the Demiurge, who is the planetary spirit of Saturn (a return to the Theosophical notion of planetary spirits Icke has been espousing since his Truth Vibrations days). He even adds some Gnostic-flavoured antisemitism into his mix of regular antisemitism by repeating the claim made by certain Gnostic sects that the Demiurge is the God of the Old Testament. (Indeed, he argues that all religions serve the Demiurge in the end.)
Of course, it wouldn’t be Icke if he didn’t put some sort of misleading spin on this. Icke presents all this Gnostic material as though he discovered it after he arrived at his present cosmological worldview, which allows him to hold it up as an independent confirmation of what he was saying. It seems astonishingly unlikely that this was the order of events; given how widely Gnosticism is discussed in occult, esoteric, and New Age circles, it seems to me near-certain that Icke would have been exposed to Gnostic materials long before writing The Perception Deception – he does mention the Gnostics in passing without getting into the details of their beliefs in some previous books.
Why, then, does Icke shape his rhetoric to obscure the timeline in this way? Well, put it this way: if he found out about Gnosticism first, then made his intuitive discoveries about the nature of the universe afterwards, then there’d always be the question of whether he was simply projecting his studies of Gnosticism onto his perception of the world. On the other hand, if he can present himself as independently discovering everything the Gnostics were talking about, then it’s easier to present himself as a Gnostic prophet, a Messiah figure bringing the insights of Infinite Consciousness into the sleeping world.
The Perception Deception, then, marks the point where Icke stops pretending that Ickean Gnosticism is anything other than Ickean Gnosticism – his own personal pastiche of Gnostic thought, and a spiritual philosophy overtly at war with more or less everything other than other flavours Gnosticism. This has to be the case, because anything which does not on some level admit the truth of Gnostic teachings is inherently trying to reinforce the illusion created by the Demiurge, and is therefore part of the conspiracy.
This, then, explains the sheer broad reach of Icke’s wrath: more or less all aspects of society and culture and life in general are targeted by Icke in the book, because as far as he is concerned it is all an illusion, and most of it is a distorted illusion twisted out of shape by the Archons at the bidding of the Demiurge. This wide-band omnicondemnation of everything includes the alternative media – naturally with the exception of The People’s Voice, which I’ll get into later – and the New Age scene which gave him the crucial lifeline of a believing audience in the first years after his 1990 transformation, giving rise to this astonishing quote:
Much of the New Age is not about facing the world as it is and having the courage and will to make a change in immensely challenging circumstances. It is about escapism and finding excuses not to face the world as it is. Now what excuse can I give myself? Er, it’s not really like it really is – yes, that’s a good one.
This is frankly astonishing, given that following Icke’s own premises, facing “the world as it is” and trying to change it would be futile – for it would mean accepting the illusion at face value and trying to make a change to something which isn’t actually real. “Infinite love is the only truth”, remember? And that being the case, the only real change which is possible is to change infinite love into something which is not infinite love – which doesn’t seem like a positive step forwards.
Indeed, Icke’s entire thrust with this book, as with so many of his previous books, is to declare “The world isn’t the way you think it is!” and then failing to come up with a solid plan of action beyond “Oh, we all need to wake up to the truth and then something or other will happen”.
One last thought which occurs to me: as well as continuing to riff on The Matrix in his discussion of the illusory nature of reality and claiming that George Lucas incorporated aspects of the hidden truth into the Star Wars movies, Icke gets very overexcited here about The Hunger Games – the movie, of course, he didn’t read the book – and claims that it depicts the blueprint for what the Illuminati want to achieve.
Why the Illuminati should encode so many secret truths into movies watched by millions or widely broadcast musical performances (another theory Icke goes all in on here) or in the Olympic Games opening ceremonies and the like? It would seem, on the face of it, to be counter productive, or at least suggest a certain incompetence at the basic skills involved in keeping a secret. Icke’s go-to explanation is that it’s all part of some grand ritual to affect the spiritual wavelengths of the world, reinforce the illusion, and exert mass mind control.
I, however, have my own theory – not about why the Illuminati do this, but why lots of conspiracy theorists believe that the Illuminati do this and convince themselves that major conspiratorial secrets are encoded in mass media. It’s basically another “speak for yourself, buddy” theory: my hunch is that Icke and other such theorists have these occasional unexpectedly profound reactions to media like the Matrix movies or whatever and, rather than just rationalising it as them just happening to enjoy the piece of media in question a lot, become fixated on it – assuming that everyone else is as deeply affected by it as they were. It’s pretty evident that The Matrix did a major number on Icke, given that by this point he’d been relying on it as a major plank of his explanations of cosmology for about as long as the film had been in circulation.
If Icke believes that everyone else has a similarly major reaction to such media as him, then the idea that the Illuminati use such media as a form of mass mind control becomes much more plausible. Yes, the mass media is used as an opinion-forming platform by its owners, but the agendas at work are usually much more simple to discern than the conspiracy theorists would have it; you don’t need to go full Room 237 on, say, a copy of the Daily Mail to figure out what its bias is. (You do, however, need to be quite well-versed in Ickean Gnosticism to unravel Neil Hague’s bizarre illustrations this time around, which by this point have become so absurdly over-busy as to be almost entirely incoherent. Though at least they aren’t simplistic Internet-style image memes, complete with Impact font, which Icke takes to using partway through the book.)
Speaking of fake news, the very last page of the book carries an advertisement for The People’s Voice – Icke’s own major media project – and we won’t have a full overview of Icke’s activities at this time if we didn’t take a look at that…
The People’s Voice
This was Icke’s big dip into the world of crowdfunding; the intention was that The People’s Voice would be a globally-accessible Internet television station, headquartered out of Wembley in London – a sort of British answer to Infowars. Basing the channel out of Wembley strikes me as an astonishingly expensive way to do it, when surely one of the major advantages of an internet-based TV station is that you can make extensive use of Internet technology to patch guests into your shows as needed and you can set up your office space and main studio somewhere with more modest rents, but then again there were plenty of questions about money surrounding The People’s Voice – but we’ll get into that later. It launched in November 2013, alongside the release of The Perception Deception; it would shutter within the year.
By and large, the best source of the story is David G. Robinson’s account (part 1, part 2), pieced together from the notes he took during the endeavour’s short life, Robinson being an academic specialising in religious studies and the place of conspiracy theories within them. Further facts were collated by SilvaRizla, who seems to be a bit more of a true believer as far as the conspiracy scene goes, albeit one who doesn’t have much faith in David Icke; many of the links there are dead, unfortunately, but Silva’s timeline does at least illustrate how as 2014 ground on the People’s Voice became increasingly embroiled in claim and counter-claim between the various participants; more or less nobody involved in the entire story were friends with each other by the end of it, and everyone blamed everyone else for the thing’s collapse.
Those two sources tell a good chunk of the story between them, and if you want a really deep dive you could do a lot worse than going swimming there. Whilst I won’t go too deep into redundant detail here. I will, however, highlight where significant players in the saga have gone in the intervening years – both Robinson and Silva’s timelines were compiled in 2014 and neither of them have really commented much on the matter of The People’s Voice since then – and otherwise provide further details from other sources and a bit of commentary on my own.
First off, I want to analyse the name of the channel in the light of Icke’s beliefs. “The People” as a concept is rather nebulous, and anyone claiming to speak on behalf of “the People” is making a rather bold claim in any context. However, through the lens of Ickean Gnosticism, it is actually possible for one person to speak on behalf of the People – at least, the real ones, when you set aside the Matrix-esque “Red Dress” simulation-people who aren’t really real.
You see, all real people carry within them a spark of divinity – a fragment of Infinite Consciousness tricked into being trapped in the Matrix. As such, our individuality is an illusion, and anyone who is able to channel the words of Infinite Consciousness would be able to speak on behalf of all of us, because Infinite Consciousness is all that there is. Of course, the clearer and more complete a connection to Infinite Consciousness you have, the better able you are to take on the mantle of People’s Voice. How lucky that Gnostic prophet David Icke happened to be onhand to provide that authority to the channel!
It’s also not able that it’s The People’s Voice – for there’s evidence that it was originally intended to be a radio station, including this tweet from Sean Adl-Tabatabai, a crucial part of the People’s Voice inner circle, dated from around the time when the idea for the channel would have been first percolating. An Internet radio station would, of course, be a much more modest and achievable goal than a television station; a television station still requires people being physically present in a studio if it’s not going to look hopelessly amateurish, whereas audio recording and editing and streaming technology is at the level where you can have a bunch of people running a professional-sounding radio station online without ever putting on their pants and leaving their bedrooms.
Adl-Tabatabai is an interesting figure in himself. After early stints working with the BBC and MTV, he met Icke in the process of working on yet another media hit piece on Our Gnostic Saviour. Evidently the two were inspired to work together on The People’s Voice, and whilst Adl-Tabatabai and Icke are no longer on friendly terms, it’s actually Adl-Tabatabai who is carrying the project’s flame forwards, as we will see.
In fact, Companies House records indicate that, at least on paper, The People’s Voice was actually more Sean’s baby than Icke’s; when People’s Voice Broadcasting Ltd. was formed in mid-May 2013, both Sean and Icke were named as directors, but Icke resigned his position in October, before The People’s Voice had even begun broadcasting and leaving Sean in the powerful position of being the sole named director of the company.
Anyway, The People’s Voice was built on the back of an IndieGoGo campaign, which ended up raising a little bit over £300,000 – three times its target. On the one hand, that’s certainly not a small amount of money on the scale of, say, most people’s personal finances; however, it feels to me like an insufficient amount of operating capital for the purposes of running a 24/7 Internet television station over an extended period of time even if (as ended up happening) The People’s Voice drew extensively on the work of volunteers.
It gets wilder – the baseline target for the IndieGoGo campaign was a mere £100,000, which is just absurdly low for what they wanted to achieve. I can only conclude that the prime movers behind The People’s Voice either simply didn’t budget for it, had hidden funding from somewhere, or accidentally used their back-of-a-napkin calculations for a budget for the radio station version of the idea, or fell into the pitfall of setting their crowdfunding target at too low a level to get the job done to avoid funders being discouraged by the actual costs only to find they ended up earning too much money to justify not giving the job a go, but not enough to make it a success.
Advertising revenue wouldn’t be expected to come in for a while, and the channel made a virtue of being funded By The People and not, say, being underwritten by Russian or Iranian intelligence as a fake news platform, with a significant number of major People’s Voice names having Russia Today or Press TV show up before or after on their CV’s and with David Icke extensively quoting from Russia Today and Press TV on his website and generally spending all of his energy to this day running down Western governments without ever taking Russia/Iran or their allies to task for their Illuminati-inspired naughtiness. (Wouldn’t a theocracy like Iran be even more Archon-controlled than the West? Wouldn’t an authoritarian state like Putin’s Russia be more of an early model of the New World Order as opposed to a bulwark against it?)
No, no, none of that; the People’s Voice, as I said, was supposed to be funded by the People (plus advertisers). So the first broadcast they actually did happened on the 10th November 2013, ahead of their official 25th November launch, and was the first of several telethons they ran to try and persuade viewers to pledge money to keep the station going. (Arguably this makes Icke the first Gnostic televangelist.) A further telethon would follow on the 3rd January 2014 – just under two months before the channel would cease live broadcasting entirely, and on the same day that a second IndieGoGo campaign began (which would ultimately raise some £100,000 and change before ceasing in early February 2014).
The channel kicked off officially on the 25th November 2013. Robertson’s timeline identifies the two major tentpoles of the schedule as being the daily talk shows hosted by Richie Allen and Sonia Poulton, Allen taking the morning shift and Poulton handling the afternoon. Richie Allen’s show is arguably the big success story of The People’s Voice, at least in the sense that he’s still doing it; originally a talk radio host, Allen’s People’s Voice show was his first TV exposure, and after The People’s Voice folded he repackaged his show format as a podcast and has continued it to this day. Since then it has mostly become known as a platform for extreme views including Holocaust denial, and some Brexit Party figures have gotten in hot water for agreeing to appear on it.
Sonia Poulton, by comparison, has kept a much lower profile since exiting the channel. She doesn’t actually mention the People’s Voice on her personal website these days, and that may be in part due to how brief her tenure there was and the contentious circumstances around her departure. Problems began with a 29th November 2013 edition of her show, which focused on cannabis legalisation – a reasonable enough subject to cover, except that Ofcom regulations require that when politically or legally controversial positions are presented some form of balance is offered, and a complaint was raised that the show didn’t offer enough time to arguments against legalisation.
The People’s Voice had to get an Ofcom licence as a result of the nature of its work. This is one of the big downsides of trying to run an honest-to-goodness television station rather than just, say, a high-budget YouTube channel. Whilst there’s arguably not an enormous difference between an internet television station and an especially fancy continuous livestream, there’s also signs that The People’s Voice was hoping to get itself on a satellite or cable platform, which would have been impossible without getting everything in order with Ofcom.
(In addition, Icke’s justification for his resignation as director in October 2013 is that Ofcom regulations prevent company officers from appearing on their own show and promoting their own views via their television outlets, and of course the entire point of The People’s Voice was to promote Icke’s views so he couldn’t have that. Of course, this explains why Icke departed as a director – but not why Adl-Tabatabai was left as the sole director, with nobody else in place to counterbalance him.)
As such, with The People’s Voice regulated by Ofcom, Sonia Poulton’s show was responsible for not one but two findings that The People’s Voice, in its brief lifespan, had breached Ofcom’s broadcasting code. As reported in Ofcom’s regular bulletin, it was found that the episode had been in breach of the impartiality rules, and also The People’s Voice had only sent through incomplete copies of the program to Ofcom and used “Whoops, we got hacked” – the digital age’s equivalent of “the dog ate it” – as an excuse.
Long before the Ofcom complaint came to a head, however, Poulton would be out of the picture. Her departure came a mere three days after the second telethon and the start of the second IndieGoGo, with conflicting statements issued by her and by People’s Voice management on Facebook – the People’s Voice statement casting aspersions on Poulton’s professionalism. (In an amusing aside, Barrie Sharpe – another post at The People’s Voice – commented on the People’s Voice statement in a disparaging way, questioning the wisdom of impugning Poulton in that manner – only to then lose his spot, because apparently Icke had written that statement. Ooops.)
The next day, Poulton issued a fuller statement on the matter, claiming that she had been canned by The People’s Voice after she dared to raise questions about the station’s finances and alleged monetary improprieties with Icke, Adl-Tabatabai, and Liz Roberts (who had been hired as a manager). In the wake of this, Roberts would issue a rather patchy statement of expenses for the station; this revealed expenses of about £275,000, which would more or less cover the income from the original IndieGoGo campaign, but didn’t give any detail on income sources – so there was no transparency in terms of how much money was actually sloshing about the place between advertising, telethon donations, monthly pledges, and donations via Bitcoin. Poulton would continue to snipe from the sidelines for much of the remainder of 2014, and threatened to produce a documentary – Unmasking a Messiah – exposing various unsavoury deeds on the part of Icke. To date, the documentary has never emerged.
As controversy raged among the People’s Voice supporters over these events, things went from bad to worse. By the end of February 2014, live broadcasting stopped, with the channel switching over to a rolling schedule of repeats. A third IndieGoGo campaign in March to April of 2014 performed disappointingly – presumably because everyone who might have donated had already donated to previous crowdfunders for The People’s Voice and were now legitimately wondering why they were being asked to donate yet again.
The jig was up by early July 2014, when Icke would publicly announce his departure from the project. In this announcement, and in a post a few days letter on his website in response to an open letter from SilvaRizla, Icke blamed everyone except himself for the project’s failure. The sponsorships expected didn’t come through, the people hired to manage the station proved too greedy. Icke gave everything to the project, funding it via his publishing company and even paying Adl-Tabatabai’s wages from David Icke’s books so Adl-Tabatabai didn’t need to draw a wage from The People’s Voice.
In Icke’s statement he makes it clear that he believes there are heroes and villains in the story. Aside from himself, the heroes include Richie Allen, the sole participant that Icke singles out for praise in the whole affair. (In fact, he seems to be the only significant People’s Voice figure Icke remains on good terms with, with Richie Allen’s shows getting plugged on Icke’s website to this day.) The villains include Sarah Poulton – Icke bemoans the fact that she got a paycheque from the organisation – and Sean Adl-Tabatabai himself, who seems to have exerted his power as sole director to shunt Icke out of the organisation (based on Icke’s wording, at least), and who Icke blames for a lot of the issues – along with Adl-Tabatabai’s husband, Sinclair Treadway. (Icke does this weird thing where he doesn’t want to call Treadway Sean’s husband, referring to him instead as Sean’s “marriage partner”; it’s almost like his claims to be essentially tolerant of people’s sexual preferences are as hollow as his claims not to be an antisemite.)
And what of Adl-Tabatabai himself? In the summer of 2014, before the corpse of The People’s Voice was even cold in the ground, he’d relocated to the US and was talking about setting up “The People’s Voice 2.0” in conjunction with Treadway; indeed, his US outlet was already set up in June 2014 in California, as the couple emigrated over there. (Accompanying them to California, according to allegations in SilvaRizla’s timeline, would be the contents of The People’s Voice’s Bitcoin wallet, which apparently can be traced being transferred to a Bitcoin wallet in California – allegedly Adl-Tabatabai’s – before disappearing without trace.) “The People’s Voice 2.0” ended up being YourNewsWire – recently rebranded as NewsPunch – which has been identified as one of the most significant fake news websites currently active and a significant source of pro-Kremlin propaganda.
Again, any comparison with the way David Icke’s own website regurgitates Russia Today stories (and, to a lesser extent, consistently takes the side of Russia’s ally Iran) is surely speculation, as would be any theorising that perhaps Russian intelligence recruited Icke at some point to adopt a particular anti-Western slant to his theorising (as opposed to being the sort of equal opportunities omnidirectional paranoid his cosmology suggests he really should be) in return for, perhaps, financial help in the wake of the Royal Adams matter and Icke’s divorce from Pamela. Let’s not be paranoid here; you don’t need a conspiracy to accomplish what a single con artist can do by themselves…
(Follow-up: The next article in this series finds Icke grinding on in the same old style, with the antisemitism gradually ratcheting up…)