by Gawain Rhys Aragon
In 2006, an obscure direct-to-video film was released that featured the English conspiracy writer and lecturer David Icke. So obscure was it that an IMDB listing does not even exist for the film. Promoted and sold solely through direct marketing with the close assistance of David Icke, a minor controversy arose among Icke’s audience and conspiracy enthusiasts due to the film, for all intents and purposes, originally being marketed as a factual documentary that was intended to be the first in a series of episodes for a conspiracy show entitled Truth Seeker TV. This view was further substantiated by the fact that one of the producers of the film (with Brian Kraft), Jimi Petulla, who also starred in the film as the character “Brandon Corey,” originally appeared on the same website several years earlier in 2003 as the host of Truth Seeker TV, when it was first announced.
Whatever the situation had been and whether or not deliberate deception had been involved in the production and marketing of the film has been discussed endlessly elsewhere. Suffice to say that this is ancient history as far as conspiracy culture goes and not our concern for the purpose of this review. In any event, as David Icke and the producers later admitted, the film was a mockumentary, albeit a novel and very well produced one, far more sophisticated than the likes of earlier efforts such as Ray Santilli and Rupert Murdoch’s blatant hoax, Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction, otherwise known as Amateur Hour. In fact, it was the first conspiracy mockumentary of its kind, mixing found footage with faux documentary interviews, produced years before more recent such films as the 2011 Australian indie production The Tunnel, and of course, 2012’s The Conspiracy.
It is not without irony that The Conspiracy comes to us from Canada, which has for the better part of the 2000s and 2010s found itself under the brutish iron rule of the corrupt and incompetent authoritarian regime of Stephen Harper, who has so far twisted Canadian conservativism that surely Sir John Alexander Macdonald and John Diefenbaker have been restlessly rolling in their graves these past few years, awaiting the moment when the cancerous tumour of Blue Toryism may once and forever be vanquished.
Thus it is perfectly understandable that under this intolerable atmosphere that Canadian filmmakers and showrunners will want to express their opposition in some artistic way, as has been done to some degree by the television show Continuum, for example, and with the 2006 founding in Toronto of Conspiracy Culture, an independent bookstore devoted to conspiracy topics and subcultures. It is most interesting that interest in alternative media is most prevalent outside the United States, as several similar ventures in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle have failed to find even the slightest bit of support from local citizens, while the opposite seems to be true in Toronto, Vancouver, London, Edinburgh, Berlin, and beyond.
Unfortunately, while The Conspiracy is, from the purely technical side of things, a very competent and finely crafted film, with an excellent original soundtrack—I would venture to suggest watching the film purely for the experience of its audio production and selections for those so inclined, as I certainly am—it suffers from myriad story and factual issues, including flagrant ahistoricism and lack of overall perspective given such historical revisionism.
That might sound a bit harsh to some, but I would strongly disagree. We live in times when history is routinely twisted and distorted in the most absurd manner to advance one political or cultural agenda or another. During the Cold War, Hollywood aggressively pushed a virulently Russophobic anti-Soviet propaganda campaign that among American film scholars today is rarely discussed due to the embarrassing facts that have long since come out since the fall of the Soviet Union that revealed how stupid and asinine such propaganda and distortions of reality really were. This was somewhat acknowledged in the 1990 film, The Russia House, right in the middle of the Soviet, Yugoslav, and Albanian collapses.
Such abuses of history for political purposes has continued unabated, with the latest target in Hollywood being Iran, the Iranian peoples, and Persian civilisation. Warner Brothers and the Time-Warner conglomerate have been at the forefront of the anti-Iranian, anti-Persian crusade, with such disgusting and repulsive films as Frank Miller’s viciously racist and revisionist 300 and equally racist and absurd Argo. At the bottom of this rotting pile of garbage happens to be Rupert Murdoch’s Israeli-sponsored comedy of errors, Homeland. It is thus quite safe to assume that Iran is once again being resurrected as the new boogeyman of the West, as it was in the few years following the November 1979 US Embassy Hostage Crisis. What is also safe to assume is that it’s fair game against anything Iranian or Persian, no matter how ancient or remote the connection might very well be.
The Conspiracy, for all its pretense and subterfuge, is in a sense, nothing more than thinly veiled hostility against Iranian and Persian civilisations. The ancient religion of Mithraism that originated in Persia and later spread to the furthest extents of the Roman Empire as a distinctly Roman Persianate phenomenon, to the degree that prior to the Constantinian rejection and persecution of paganism and official conversion to Christianity, it had been considered by the Early Church Fathers to have been a competitor and threat to their own newfound cult.
How can this be so, when Persia and Iran are barely mentioned in the film (which itself is a significantly obvious part of the problem)? Because the fictional “Tarsus Club” of The Conspiracy has not the slightest connection to the ancient Mithraic Mysteries and is simply an obvious and rather shoddy caricature of the real world Bohemian Grove, which likewise has not any connection, remote or otherwise, to any ancient Persian or Roman mystery religions, Mithraism, Persia, the Roman Empire or to any ancient group at all. In fact, the Bohemian Club, which is the gentlemen’s club in San Francisco that holds the annual Bohemian Grove event, only dates back to 1824 and its rituals and practices are entirely of modern origin. Regardless of what one wishes to think of such anachronistic and exclusionary clubs and absurdist events involving petty dilettantes and pathetic dandies, there is nothing that would suggest sinister origins, let alone anything diabolical such as human sacrifice, nor as earlier stated any connection to ancient Roman or Persian religious traditions. In point of fact, the Mithraic religion at no point ever practiced human sacrifice, ritual murder or anything remotely involving killing human beings. It has been argued by some that the Mithraic Mysteries did involve the infrequent ritual slaying of a bull—an actual bull, mind you, as in the animal variety, not a human being wearing a bull mask of some sort—but this is certainly not universally agreed upon, but even if true, did not have any Satanic or diabolical connotations whatsoever. Regardless, any competent historian and scholar will tell you that the ancient Mysteries, whether Persian, Greek, Roman, Mithraic, Gnostic, or otherwise, had no ties or connections to any kind of diabolism or other such absurdities concocted by the sick, perverted imaginations of Medieval and Modern Christian authors of the West. Needless to say, the Mithraic Mysteries, and indeed none of the Indo-European religious traditions, did not involve any kind of “hunting” at all, whether of animals, humans, or some other species. Not a single aspect of anything portrayed in The Conspiracy of what is supposed to be practices “based upon actual” Mithraic rituals has any similarity, not even vaguely, to any actual Mithraic practice.
So, where exactly did these allegations in The Conspiracy involving “hunting the bulls”—a lame analogue for the alleged “Molochian human sacrifices” practiced by the Bohemian Club—that the fictional Tarsus Club engages in stem from? That would be David Icke, who was likely the first prominent conspiracy writer to not only suggest in the 1990s (long before Alex Jones’ coverage of the topic in 2000) that the Bohemian Grove rituals involved human sacrifice, but likely also the first such writer to allege (primarily based upon the unverifiable claims of Cathy O’Brien, all of which would obviously be impossible to substantiate) that not only is Satanic Ritual Abuse a real and existing phenomenon, but that private groups and societies such as the Bilderberg conferences and the Bohemian Club allegedly indulge their bloodlust, rape and murderous pedophilia through such heinous activities. Insane? Ludicrous? Absurd? Quite, but certainly makes for the sort of lurid tabloid fantasies that many Western audiences seem to lust after like a toxic mental addiction, yes?
This is exactly what the producers of The Brandon Corey Story had in mind when they released their film in 2006, to much initial acclaim by respected figures of the conspiracy subculture, like Dean Haglund of X-Files fame. While visiting Hollywood a couple years ago, I once spotted Haglund hopping aboard a Metro Rapid bus with an associate in Studio City, which I also happened to be on, and while I attempted to broach this very topic, at the time he told me he could not recall having ever seen the film in question, despite his having been quoted on the Truth Seeker TV website stating, “It’s like a real life episode of the X-Files. And if it is real, then God help us all.” Of course, it is entirely possible that the quote was fabricated or taken out of context or what have you. Regardless, it is irrelevant to the subject at hand.
What is most relevant is that almost the entirety of the plot behind The Conspiracy is lifted wholesale, without the slightest bit of attribution nor credit, from The Brandon Corey Story. Even the character of “Terrance G” in The Conspiracy is nothing short of a rip-off of the Jude Kemper character from The Brandon Corey Story with a heavy dash of David Icke thrown in for good measure. Icke himself is neither acknowledged or even mentioned within the context of the film, despite the prominent placement and promotion of the Toronto-based Conspiracy Culture bookstore. Indeed, upon first viewing the Terrance G scenes, I was immediately struck by the notion that the character was based upon David Icke. But even more so, I was struck by some of the inescapable similarities between the scenes of Terrance G confronting his loud detractors in a public park to that of David Icke’s encounters with the Brandon Corey character and the police officer in a London park.
Several side-by-side comparative viewings with several friends and associates revealed that it wasn’t just me—the similarities between the two films are so close that it is impossible that The Conspiracy filmmakers hadn’t seen The Brandon Corey Story or deliberately based their film on that one. Totally impossible. There is simply no way.
In fact, the only observable difference of any major significance between the two films is the fact that The Conspiracy explicitly removes any supernatural or paranormal tendency that existed in The Brandon Corey Story. In the latter film, in line with David Icke’s actual views, it is alleged that world leaders such as Queen Elizabeth II, Tony Blair, George H. W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Dick Cheney are reptilian humanoids masquerading as human beings and that we exist in a holographic universe of insidious illusions. The Conspiracy dispenses with all of this, opting for a more mundane and stupid explanation. More stupid, you ask? Yes, well, when there is a consensus emerging among quantum physicists that we do indeed exist within some sort of hologram, it does tend to make the more “mundane” explanations appear rather lame, pathetically dull and I daresay even, how should I put it … asinine? Yes, quite.
At the heart of it all is the fact that what we have here is a modern Gentile version of the antisemitic blood libel of Medieval Christian origin. Just as the Early Church Fathers and Medieval Christian Inquisitors accused the Pagans, Gnostics, Cathars, Jews, and Muslims of all sorts of diabolism, debauchery, and devilry, conspiracists like David Icke and Cathy O’Brien have simply repackaged the blood libel, replacing Judaism with prominent and wealthy personages—irrespective of ethnic or racial background—involved in blood sacrifices of children and women of alleged Gentile European origin. Mere absurdity, but potentially insidious nonetheless.
But let’s put all of that aside and just assume that the film is a blatant rip-off. Because, well … that’s exactly what it is. But let’s forget about that. As far as I’ve been able to surmise, neither Icke, Kraft nor Petulla have complained, so if they don’t have a problem with this, why should anyone? It’s a non-issue then. So, let’s tackle this from our earlier perspective, that of historical revisionism, distortion, and unforgivable ignorance. Given the miserable and worsening state of education in Canada and the United States, can we really blame the filmmakers behind the rather turgid mess that is The Conspiracy? Absolutely. Given the massively unrestricted and free flow of information on the Internet in our era that not even the most powerful governments and entities are able to eradicate, let alone effective hinder, there is simply no excuse for this sort of flagrant ignorance and ahistoricism.
I shall end this review with a salute to my Lord and Saviour, Mithras, Guardian of the Righteous, Protector of the Valiant, Defender of the Light, and Lord of the World! Hail, Mithras!