Edited by Steve Erdmann
From the unbelievable to the undeniable: Epistemological pluralism, or how conspiracy theorists legitimate their extraordinary truth claims
Despite their stigma, conspiracy theories are hugely popular today and have pervaded mainstream culture. Increasingly, such theories expanded into large master schemes of deceit where ‘everything is connected’. Moving beyond discussions of their truthfulness, we study in this article how such ‘super conspiracy theories’ are made plausible. We strategically selected the case study of David Icke – a true celebrity in conspiracy circles and main proponent of such all-encompassing narratives – to analyze his discursive strategies of legitimation: How does he support and validate his extraordinary claims? It is our argument that Icke succeeds by exploiting multiple sources of epistemic authority; he draws eclectically on ‘experience’, ‘tradition’, ‘futuristic imageries’, ‘science’ and ‘social theory’ to convince his audience. In a Western culture without any full monopoly on truth, and for a people wary of mainstream authorities, it proves opportune to draw on a wide variety of epistemic sources when claiming knowledge.Keywords Conspiracy theories, David Icke, epistemic authority, epistemological pluralism, New Age, postmodernism
Conspiracy theories about the ‘real truth’ behind the attacks of 9/11, the deaths of JFK or Bin Laden, or those about the ‘true reasons’ behind vaccination campaigns, are widespread in contemporary Western culture and feature in films like The Matrix, bestsellers like The Da Vinci Code or TV series like The X-Files, 24 or Homeland. While assessments of their current popularity are hard to substantiate, especially from a historical perspective, it is clear that conspiracy theories do not operate at the margins of society; they are a mainstream and hugely popular cultural phenomenon and receive much public attention today (Knight, 2000; Melley, 2000).
In academia, however, conspiracy theories are often refuted as ungrounded and irrational speculation (Aupers, 2012; Harambam, 2017). According to critical scholars, conspiracy theorists make ‘the characteristic paranoid leap into fantasy’ – particularly because they connect many unrelated facts and events (Hofstadter, 1996 : 11). They may base their theories on (some) factual claims but go ‘wrong by locating causal relationships where none exist’ (Pipes, 1997: 31) and hence ‘inhabit a different epistemic universe, where the usual rules for determining truth and falsity do not apply’ (Barkun, 2006: 187). Conspiracy theorists, then, construct explanatory narratives that our mainstream epistemic institutions and advocates (most notably science and scientists) regard as unwarranted (Byford, 2011; Harambam and Aupers, 2015; Keeley, 1999). Today, this ‘unlawful’ connecting of seemingly unrelated dots in a meta-narrative is a phenomenon writ large. Barkun (2006) speaks in this respect of the increasing popularity of ‘super conspiracies’ or ‘conspiratorial constructs in which multiple conspiracies are believed to be linked together hierarchically’ (p. 6). Knight (2000) identifies a similar development: ‘over the last decades conspiracy theories have shown signs of increasing complexity and inclusiveness, as once separate suspicions are welded into Grand Unified Theories of Everything’ (p. 204).
Moving beyond discussions of their truthfulness, we study from a cultural sociological perspective how these all-encompassing super conspiracy theories are made plausible. Drawing everything together is easy, making people believe what you say is more difficult. And yet millions of people around the world – and many in the Dutch conspiracy milieu – are attracted by them. One of the main and most popular propagators of such all-encompassing narratives of deceit is David Icke (Barkun, 2006: 103). He is most famous – or notorious – for his ‘reptilian thesis’: the idea that ‘reptilian human-alien hybrids are in covert control of the planet’ (Robertson, 2013: 28). But he is also known for his ‘synthesis’ of seemingly different or ‘antithetical’ thought: he brings together New Age teachings with apocalyptic conspiracy theories about a coming totalitarian New World Order (cf. Barkun, 2006; Ward and Voas, 2011). As Lewis and Kahn (2005) rightfully note, ‘Icke’s greatest strength is his totalizing ambition to weave numerous sub-theories into an extraordinary narrative that is both all-inclusive and all-accounting’ (p. 8). More specifically, Robertson (2016) argues that this is the result of ‘an epistemology that acknowledges [different] sources of access to knowledge’ (p. 9). Alongside the common appeals to ‘science’ and ‘tradition’, Robertson (2016) argues, conspiracy theorists like David Icke draw on other less acknowledged ‘epistemic strategies’ as well: ‘appeals to experiential, channeled and synthetic knowledge’ (p. 10).
Robertson (2016) points here to an important aspect of the epistemic authority of conspiracy theorists: they can draw on ‘the full range of epistemic strategies’ (p. 25), while today’s dominant epistemic institutions only allow appeals to ‘science’ (Gieryn, 1999). Robertson (2016) provides a sophisticated and thorough analysis of the lives and works of several ‘millennial conspiracists’ (such as David Icke) and shows that they (strategically) draw on various epistemic strategies in order to gain authority in this cultural milieu. Basing ourselves on Icke’s 2011 ‘performance’ in Amsterdam, we take this lead further and systematically analyze in full empirical detail how David Icke actually draws on such a multitude of epistemic sources. We focus on his discursive strategies of legitimation and pose open research questions: How does he support and validate his extraordinary claims in order to achieve epistemic authority in the conspiracy milieu? What are the main epistemic strategies he deploys? And what proofs, tropes and metaphors underpin each of these analytically distinct epistemic strategies?
Claiming epistemic authority
Many different scholars – from Hofstadter (1996 : 29) to Knight (2000: 204) and Barkun (2006: 3) – claim that the adage ‘everything is connected’ is ‘one of the guiding principles in virtually every conspiracy theory’. While Knight (2000) makes a plea for the rationality of this adage in a world of global relations (pp. 204–241), the majority of scholars hold this ‘unifying quality’ of contemporary conspiracy theories to be their major epistemological flaw (e.g. Barkun, 2006; Byford, 2011; Hofstadter, 1996 ; Keeley, 1999; Popper, 2013 ). They argue that conspiracies may be ‘typical social phenomena’ (Popper, 2013 ) 307), but ‘these need to be recognized as multiple, and in most instances unrelated events which cannot be reduced to a single, common denominator’ (Byford, 2011: 33, original emphasis). To ‘regard a “vast” or “gigantic” conspiracy as the motive force in historical events’ (Hofstadter, 1996 : 29) is therefore simply ludicrous: social life is inextricably more complex (Barkun, 2006: 7).
Yet such ‘grand unified theories of everything’ are immensely popular today. They are present in the ideas of people consuming conspiracy theories, they are visualized in colorful diagrams that are circulated on conspiracy websites and they form the thought of major conspiracy theorists, like David Icke. Connecting the dots between loose ends may, for such scholars, involve the notorious ‘big leap from the undeniable to the unbelievable’ (Hofstadter, 1996 : 38), but for many people in the conspiracy milieu, these connections are very plausible and real. What critical scholars of conspiracy theories seem to gloss over in their dedication to debunk conspiracy theories, then is the fact that these overarching theories need to be made plausible if such conspiracy theorists are to have any serious attention. People are not passive or gullible believers; they need to be actively convinced. Underlying conspiracy theorists’ efforts to connect the seemingly unrelated is a need for epistemic validation: they want their claims on truth to be believed, after all. But such ‘grand unified theories of everything’ are not your everyday news: the world as we know it is often turned upside down and inside out, connecting the most outlandish ideas to the very ordinary experiences of people. Indeed, it often is the ‘unbelievable’ that is sold here. The question is therefore how do conspiracy theorists convincingly do so?
To approach this issue, we need to move beyond the positivistic reflex to debunk conspiracy theories as unfounded and irrational (Barkun, 2006; Byford, 2011; Hofstadter, 1996 ; Keeley, 1999; Popper, 2013 ) and adopt a cultural sociological approach. From this perspective, there are multiple ways to support truth claims. Max Weber (2013 ) already pointed out that one can claim authority through charisma, tradition or, in modern societies, particularly through rationalized procedures like science or law. In our Western world, referencing to ‘science’ – its institutions, experts, epistemologies and methods – is perhaps the most prevalent and powerful way to lend credibility to the claims one is making (Brown, 2009). ‘If “science” says so, we are more often than not inclined to believe it or act on it – and prefer it over claims lacking this epistemic seal of approval’ (Gieryn, 1999: 1). The tremendous epistemic authority ‘science’ enjoys today is, however, not uncontested: trust in ‘science’, particularly its institutions and experts, gradually declined over the last decades in most Western countries (cf. Beck, 1992; Inglehart, 1997) and other forms of knowledge are on the rise. Examples are alternative and complementary medicine, all kinds of non-science-based nutritional regimes and New Age philosophies of life (cf. Campbell, 2007; Hammer, 2004; Heelas, 1996). Conspiracy culture is part of this cultural trend turning away from mainstream epistemic authorities. Not only do conspiracy theorists openly challenge the epistemic authority of science (Harambam and Aupers, 2015), but like David Icke himself, they often advance other ways of knowing as more authentic and authoritative (e.g. Robertson, 2016). Icke is therefore not just the archetype of the contemporary ‘super conspiracy theorist’ (cf. Barkun, 2006: 8; Knight, 2000: 204), but a typical exponent of the broader cultural movement discontented with mainstream epistemic institutions and their scientific-materialist worldview (e.g. Campbell, 2007; Heelas, 1996; Roszak, 1995). Now, how does Icke draw on multiple epistemic strategies to make his rather extravagant ideas seem plausible?
Method, data and analysis
The empirical material used for this analysis was collected on the day Icke held his show – ‘Human Race, Get Off Your Knees. The Lion Sleeps No More’ – in Amsterdam on 10 December 2011. This event was one of the many places the first author included in his ‘multi-sited ethnography’ (Falzon, 2009) of the Dutch ‘conspiracy milieu’ (Harambam, 2017). For a period of 20 months, between October 2011 and June 2013, extensive visits were made to their social gatherings – shows, political manifestations, conferences and movie screenings – and to their private homes. Besides the traditional ethnographic methods of participant observation and interviewing, the first author undertook content analyses of the media (videos, texts, cartoons, etc.) circulated at these places and on the Internet (their own websites, blogs, Facebook pages, etc.).
In this article, however, we will mostly draw on that particular performance of David Icke. Given the fact that Icke is exemplary of this new stream of conspiracy culture (Barkun, 2006; Knight, 2000; Robertson, 2013), the analysis of his performance is a strategic case study (cf. Flyvbjerg, 2006) to research in empirical detail how the extraordinary claims of super conspiracy theories are made plausible. The first author participated as one of the many attendees of Icke’s show and observed not only his performance but also his audience with whom he spoke during that day and invited for further conversation elsewhere. He made field notes of Icke’s performance – its textual contents and his manifestations as an artist – and of the (reactions of the) public. Although these field notes were – as ‘thick descriptions’ (Geertz, 1973) – valuable for the research at large, they lacked the precision needed to adequately substantiate our claims in this article. We hence complemented the field notes with an analysis of professional video recordings of the same show at two different places, respectively, in London’s Wembley Arena show on 27 October 2012 and London’s Brixton Academy in May 2010. The videos are for sale on his website, but also feature on YouTube for free. We have therefore chosen to use these video recordings as the source for the precise quotations used in this article. The first author has re-examined this show a few times with a theoretical focus on the rhetorical and epistemological strategies used by Icke to legitimate his truth claims. The analysis is therefore more textual than ethnographic. Each successive time different themes were fine-tuned to inductively arrive at a typology (cf. Glaser and Strauss, 1967). All excerpts are from the YouTube film1 and are easily accessed. We have consistently marked each quote by its time location on the video.
‘The Day That Will Change Your Life’: David Icke in Amsterdam
David Icke is a true conspiracy celebrity; he holds performances in large venues all over the world, attracting crowds of thousands.2 He is also a writer of more than 20 books, which are read in 12 different languages, and he owns a popular website with many videos and interviews, and a rather active discussion platform (more than 100,000 registered users).3 David Icke manages to bring together a diverse range of people (Barkun, 2006; Ward and Voas, 2011). As Lewis and Kahn (2005) argue, ‘Icke appeals equally to bohemian hipsters and right-wing reactionary fanatics [who] are just as likely to be sitting next to a 60-something UFO buff, a Nuwaubian, a Posadist, a Raëlian, or New Age earth goddess’ (p. 3). His fan base is quite diverse: from new religious movements to political anarchists and from alternative healers to anti-government militants on the extreme right. All of them, however, share a discontent with our current societal order, and more precisely with the way our epistemic institutions (i.e. science, politics, religion, media, etc.) work.
This counts for his 2011 Amsterdam performance in the auditorium of the RAI convention center as well. David Icke has attracted a 1500 plus crowd who have paid for a €69 ticket to see him speak today. It is a full day’s program: from 10:00 in the morning until 7:00 in the evening, David Icke will ‘put all the puzzles pieces together’ (13.30). The show opens when we see on the huge video screen on stage a chain of connected iron links passing while we hear a gloomy and grim music increasing in intensity. The links are chained around the earth and have texts on them: ‘New World Order’, ‘Rothschild Zionism’, ‘Child Abuse’, ‘Babylonian Brotherhood’, ‘Bilderbergers’, ‘Aspartame’, ‘Religion’, ‘Club of Rome’, ‘Chemtrails’, ‘Fluoride’, ‘HAARP’, ‘Satanism’, ‘Trilateral Commission’, ‘Mainstream Media’, ‘Fabian Society’, ‘Intelligence agencies’, ‘IMF’, ‘World Army’, ‘Police State’, ‘Global Politics’, ‘Big Pharma’, ‘War on Terror’, ‘Vaccines’, ‘Tavistock’, ‘Military/Industrial Complex’, ‘War on Drugs’, ‘Mind Control’. They make up one large interconnecting chain. And as the music turns more and more ominous, we see a lion – with the image of the earth projected on its skin – bound in chains. The music reaches its dramatic climax as the lion breaks out of his bondage and while he growls loudly, we see the links flying over the screen. The message is clear: the lion sleeps no more, the world liberates itself. And the audience is ready to receive David Icke with an overwhelming applause: the conspiracy rock star is finally here.
In the next 9 hours, David Icke elaborates passionately about ‘the multi-levelled conspiracy to enslave humanity in a global concentration camp’ (15:30). In general, Icke distinguishes between ‘the five-sense level of this conspiracy’ and those levels that transcend the here and now. The former is mostly about the corruption and dogmatism of our modern institutions – media, science, politics, religion and so on – and how they manipulate us and ‘program our minds’ into acquiescence (19:00–25:00). Icke integrates all these institutions in one pyramid. At the top of this pyramid, we find a network of secret societies and powerful families, sometimes captured under the header of the ‘Illuminati bloodlines’ and at other times called ‘Rothschild Zionists’. But, as Icke explains, ‘there is this other-dimensional, non-human, level to look at’ (1:41:00). We now get to the ‘reptilian thesis’ through which Icke gained his fame and notoriety (Barkun, 2006: 105). Icke explains that his super conspiracy theory ‘involves non-human entities that take a reptilian form [which] manipulate this reality through interbreeding bloodlines’ (1:44:00). These are the Illuminati-hybrid family networks that rule the world. However normal they may look to us – Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Queen Elizabeth – they are in fact ‘shapeshifting’ reptilians ‘hiding behind human form’ (2:07:00). Icke sketches a pristine image of a forgotten past when people still lived in harmony with the natural world and were connected to higher levels of consciousness, but argues that ‘the road to tyranny began when these reptilians arrived here’ (2:23:00). Part of ‘this reptilian intervention’ was to change our DNA so that we can no longer access the world beyond our five senses: ‘they want to lock humanity in that prison’ (3:27:30).
And that, Icke concludes, is ‘the bottom line of this conspiracy: controlling our perception of what is real’ (3:18:00). Our institutions – media, science, politics, religion – play an important part in making these ‘prisons for our minds’ (19:00–25:00), but Icke points to another method of mind control: ‘the moon-matrix’. He argues that the moon is actually a hollowed-out planetoid brought here by these reptilian entities that emits a frequency that distorts our interpretation of reality (2:30:00–3:08:00). However, change is coming, Icke ends optimistically: ‘a new epoch of enlightenment and expansion, of love, harmony and respect is moving into human experience’ (5:12:00). But ‘to go down this road of freedom, we first need to free our minds from the programming of a lifetime’ (22:00); we need ‘to remove the barriers of belief and perception that keep us from enlightenment’ (5:27:00). ‘Enough!’, Icke shouts loudly while he ends the show, ‘it is time to fly! It is time to fly . . .’ (6:42:00). And given the massive applause Icke receives, his audience seems ready for it.
David Icke brings together different conspiracy theories into one dazzling, yet cohesive narrative which captures his audience for hours. In the following section, we will show on which sources of epistemic authority he draws to make his conspiracy theory of everything plausible.
‘Just Following the Clues’: appealing to experience
One of the ways Icke lends legitimacy to his super conspiracy is by reference to his own personal experience, or life course. Virtually, the first thing he does when opening his show is giving a snapshot of ‘the chain of events that had led to now’ (6:30). He explains,
when I look back, I can see very clearly in my life, what happens to all of us, you go through a series of experiences and they seem to be random, they don’t seem to be connected. But when you look back, you see it’s a journey of connected synchronistic experiences that are leading us in a certain direction. (06:00)
Like the opening scene of the chained lion, David Icke makes it clear that ‘everything is connected’ on a personal level as well. He tells us how he was a professional soccer player having to deal with rheumatoid arthritis, how he went into television: ‘what that did was show me the inside of media: shite’, and that he got into (green party) politics: ‘and I saw politics from the inside: how it’s just a game’ (08:00). When he claims that the global elites are actually shapeshifting reptilians, he supports that with his own experience of meeting former UK Prime Minister Ted Heath in television studio years ago. And ‘as I looked into his eyes it was like looking into two black holes, it was like looking through him into this other dimension where he is really controlled from’ (2:06:30). Icke supports his personal experiences with those of others, friends, family or just people he has met: ‘so I met this lady in Canada some years ago, a very power-dressing business women, [who] had this experience and she was shaking when she told me the story’ (3:05:00). Basically, she told Icke how she had a boyfriend who one night while having sex turned ‘totally reptilian and then morphed back to human. And these bizarre stories, have been told by people from all over the world, people from all walks of life’ (3:07:00).
But there is another, more supernatural, type of experience on which Icke draws. He explains how his life changed dramatically after seeing a psychic to have hands on healing for his arthritis. She channels him visions of how he ‘was going out on a world stage to reveal great secrets, that there was a shadow over the world to be lifted, there was a story that had to be told’ (09:30). And although ‘this sounded like complete bloody craziness’ to Icke, his ‘life started to change’ after going to a mountain in Peru where he had ‘extraordinary experiences’ (10:00). This changed everything:
suddenly concepts, information, perceptions, were pouring into my mind. I was seeing the world in a different way, and I was asking the big questions: who are we? where are we? and why is the world as it is? And from that time the puzzle pieces started to be handed to me in amazingly synchronistic ways. (12.00)
Like a true prophet, Icke receives the wisdom he wrote down in his books from the gods above or from a metaphysical master plan: ‘the path is already mapped out, you only have to follow the clues’ (12:30). And that is what Icke has done: ‘all the information was coming to me in incredible synchronicity, of meeting people, seeing documents, coming across information, having experiences. [. . .] just following the clues, I came across this reptilian connection to the families that are running our reality’ (17:00). This Jungian concept of synchronicity or ‘meaningful coincidences’ is prevalent in Icke’s explanations of how he has gained his spiritual wisdom during his life course. By actively ‘putting the puzzle pieces together’ (13.30) or ‘connecting the dots’ (15:00) between seemingly unrelated experiences, he accumulated knowledge about the real reality underneath the surface of everyday life.
Such ‘revelatory experiences in which spokespersons claim to have gained privileged insight into those spiritual truths they present in their texts’ (Hammer, 2004: 369) have been an important source of epistemic authority in various historical religious traditions, but are also used by contemporary ‘prophets’ in today’s market of New Age spiritualities (Heelas, 1996). Icke blends mundane and supernatural experiences together and actively synthesizes that into a larger narrative which obtains a deeper meaning. Whereas Robertson (2016) differentiates ‘channeling’ from the epistemic strategy of ‘experience’, we argue, as we have shown here, that they are intimately connected (pp. 49–53). Icke’s appeal to the epistemic authority of ‘experience’, then, resonates with a broader cultural trend in which the ‘inner’ self and personal experience is the most trustworthy source of knowledge (e.g. Aupers and Houtman, 2006; Heelas, 1996; Van Zoonen, 2012).
‘All Across the Ancient World’: appealing to tradition
Another important part of David Icke’s argumentation is based on the (allegedly) perennial wisdom of ancient cultures. Icke supports his claims throughout his show by referring to the myths of African tribes, the sagas of Asian emperors, the dreams of Native-American shamans and the more familiar Abrahamic narratives. The best example is Icke’s reptilian thesis. He starts by showing an excerpt from the Old Testament (Genesis, 6:4) but argues that ‘that’s just the biblical version, all across the ancient world you see similar stories and accounts of this interbreeding’ (1:48:30). The most prominent symbolization of this reptilian interbreeding is visible, Icke argues, in the worship of ‘the serpent gods’ which happens all across the world, in all cultures, and in all religions. He starts off by saying that ‘the oldest form of religious worship in the world has been taken back 70.000 years, to an area of the Kalahari desert in South Africa and it is the worship of the serpent or worship of the snake’ (2:07:30). He gives many more examples: ‘Chinese emperors used to claim the right to be emperor because of their genetic connection to the serpent gods. And this is a theme all across the world between the serpent gods and royalty’ (1:58:00). He continues with myths of the old Mesopotamia, the Egyptians (‘who have their pharaohs represented as an cobra’), in Japan and Asia (‘the dragon is the most dominant symbol of that world’), in central and south America (‘the Mayan “Kukulkan” and “Quetzalcoatl” of the Aztecs’), the old druids, ‘folklore is full of serpents, and the Zulu Chitauri’ – their mythical ‘children of the serpent’ (2:07:00–2:10:00). But symbols of the serpent gods are also prominent in contemporary life, Icke tells us: in our myths, fairytales, the emblems of the aristocracy, the logos of car companies: ‘it’s amazing how many times you see the symbols of reptiles and humans, or part human, part reptile, overseeing the palaces, castles and churches of this elite’ (2:17:00). His conclusion is clear: ‘all worship the serpent gods’ (2:10:00).
However, ‘something else goes parallel with the reptilian story’, Icke tells us:
Again not just in the bible with the Garden of Eden, but all across the ancient accounts is the reptilian connection and the Fall of Men. And this is universal. The ancient accounts all talk about a time when humans were so unbelievably different to how we are today. (1:48:30)
He starts off by saying that ‘the energetic schism’ was
of course symbolized by Noah and the great flood. And Noah is simply a biblical version of much older stories that tell exactly the same story of how the earth turned over, how there were great geological catastrophes and how humans lost their power of the connection they had to higher levels of consciousness. (2:24:30)
In his legitimation of the Fall of Men through reptilians, Icke jumps from religious books, to popular myth, to fiction. As to the latter, he quotes large pieces of the book of Carlos Castaneda – a famous, but fictitious anthropological study – which supports virtually his whole thesis of how ‘predators from the depths of the cosmos took over the rule of our lives’ (3:10:00).
Throughout his show, then, Icke appeals to the knowledge and wisdom of the ‘ancient world’ to support and validate his own theories: if ‘they’ have been saying it for thousands of years, it must be true. In a (counter)culture wary of modern institutions and the knowledge they produce, this makes good sense: these old traditions represent after all a more authentic and pure base of wisdom than the cold rationality of modern science (Heelas, 1996; Roszak, 1995). Icke’s appeal to the ancient cultures is what Hammer (2004) identifies as the epistemological strategy of ‘tradition’: basing one’s truth claims in the source of non-European (spiritual) lore. Such appeals are by no means references to ‘actual’ practices, customs and beliefs of ‘ancient cultures’, but construct a radically ‘modern’ reinterpretation of non-European tales and traditions (Hammer, 2004: 23). Icke similarly takes such (fictional) legends then as (containing) factual truths. Whether these are ‘really’ true or not may be less relevant for him and his audience: such ancient cultures simply ‘possessed a vast wisdom, a spirituality lost to us’ (Hammer, 2004: 136). David Icke conveniently draws on this more widely felt sentiment of modern cultural discontent and his appeal to ‘tradition’ falls on fertile ground in the conspiracy milieu.
‘Living in the Cosmic Internet’: appealing to futuristic imageries
In contrast to supporting one’s claims by appealing the wisdom of our ‘ancient cultures’, Icke also looks to the ‘future’ as a source of authority when he invokes the imageries brought to life by science fiction and digital technologies. To begin with the latter, Icke speaks, for example, about our bodies as computers: ‘our DNA is like a universal software code’, ‘just like computers, we have a phenomenal anti-virus system we call the human immune system’, and ‘what we call cultures are different sub-softwares of the human software’ (1:10:00–1:12:30). These analogies should all add plausibility to Icke’s argument that our bodies decode a universal energy field (the metaphysical universe) and herewith bring the reality we experience every day into being. Icke: ‘it is just like the wireless internet, where you get a computer and pull the whole world wide web, a whole collection of reality, out of the unseen, to appear on a screen, anywhere in the world’ (36:30). And there are more of such references to digital technologies that should support his ideas. For example, when Icke explains why our reality feels and appears ‘real’, it is ‘because we are living in a virtual reality universe. A fantastically advanced version of a gigantic computer game’ (32:30). Or he points to the new digital technologies that have made moving three-dimensional (3D) holographs possible, like news readers in a television show or Michael Jackson appearing on stage long after his death: ‘some of these digital holograms look so solid’, Icke explains, that ‘people are afraid to walk through them. And that’s what this is, digital holograms is the reality we’re experiencing’ (1:24:30). These examples of the ‘realness’ of virtual realities are deployed by Icke to convince us of his understanding that ‘we live in a very advanced equivalent of the holographic internet, we live in the cosmic internet’ (40:30).
The futuristic imageries developed in science fiction provide another source for Icke to tap into when supporting his super conspiracy theory. He particularly refers to The Matrix throughout his show (e.g. 42:00/47:00/2:59:00). The main idea put forward in that movie – that we all live, without really knowing it, in an artificial non-existent simulated world – resonates quite well with Icke’s worldview. It is a powerful metaphor to convince his audience. When he speaks about how reality is an illusion created inside our heads, he brings us to ‘this scene from The Matrix – which is absolutely right – where the Neo character says, “but this isn’t real!” And Morpheus says ‘well, what is real? How do you define real? If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, taste and see, then “real” is simply electronic signals interpreted by your brain’. That’s all it is’, Icke affirms. But the appeal to science fiction goes further than The Matrix. Icke supports, for example, his claim that the moon is an alien instrument of mind control by referencing to Star Wars – ‘in a galaxy far far away. . . I don’t think so. This is much closer at home’ (2:48:00) – and John Carpenter’s They Live – ‘I thought it was symbolically accurate when I first saw it, but now I know it’s unbelievably accurate’ (3:02:00). Whereas the former movie features the Death Star ‘in the same bloody way as I am talking about the moon’ (2:49:00), the latter boasts a TV tower transmitting a frequency – like the moon-matrix – ‘which is preventing the population from seeing what they would normally see [the truth]’ (3:05:00). Both movies confirm what Icke is saying all along.
What was science fiction yesterday is often science faction today. And vice versa, newly introduced technologies feed the social imagination about its ‘magical possibilities’. The introduction of the telegraph in the 19th century, for instance, motivated the public discourse on ‘spirit communication’ and supported the plausibility and popularity of Spiritism (Stolov, 2008). In his performance, Icke plays with this social imagination about digital technologies to convince the audience. He argues, ‘so much of science fiction ain’t fiction at all, they’re getting it from facts’ (2:51:00) and, consequentially, that much more ‘unbelievable’ stuff has potential reality. Barkun (2006) states that this ‘fact-fiction reversal’ is common: ‘conspiracy literature is replete with instances in which fictional products are asserted to be accurate factual representations of reality’ (p. 29). In a society where people are exposed to technologically real, yet virtual ‘miracles’ on a daily basis – from games to virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) – Icke’s outlandish notion of the cosmic Internet gains in plausibility.
‘What Scientists Are Saying’: appealing to science
In a time and place dominated by the scientific worldview like ours, anyone trying to legitimize their claims on reality would do well to base it in ‘science’ (cf. Gieryn, 1999). It is therefore no surprise that David Icke does abundantly so. The first time Icke alludes to ‘science’ is by using it as ‘building blocks’ of his own theories. When he is arguing, for example, that the moon is actually a hollowed-out planetoid from outer space, he quotes many different scientists to support his claim. He begins with scientists who question the common understandings of the moon as our earth’s satellite: ‘Isaac Asimov, a Russian professor of Biochemistry’ and ‘Irwin Shapiro from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics’ both argue that given its size and position, the moon cannot be there (2:36:00). He continues with scientists from NASA who concluded after seismic experiments that ‘the moon is more like a hollow than a homogenous sphere’ (2:36:30) – findings that were supported by ‘Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Sean Solomon from MIT’ (2:37:00). To argue that the moon is a construct from outer space, Icke extensively quotes ‘two scientists from the Russian Academy of Science’ – Michael Vahsin and Alexander Shcherbakov – who ‘wrote an article in Sputnik Magazine titled: “Is the moon the creation of alien intelligence?”’ (2:38:00). After presenting their findings, Icke advances their marvelous conclusion:
they say it’s a hollowed out planetoid! ‘What we have here is a very ancient spaceship, the interior of which was filled with [. . .] everything necessary to enable this caravel of the universe to serve as Noah’s ark of intelligence’. (2:40:00)
Icke’s efforts here should give his audience the impression that his theory of the moon as a hollowed-out planetoid is not just something he is imagining, it is actually supported by real scientists.
But David Icke also alludes to ‘science’ as ‘stepping stones’ to reach his own more extravagant ideas. He starts in such cases from a position of scientific quandary and then advances his own rather extraordinary thoughts where science leaves matters unexplained. For example, when Icke explains that our ‘body-computer’ can no longer reach higher levels of consciousness, he turns to unresolved matters in astronomy and goes from there:
the range of frequencies our body-computer can decode is extraordinarily tiny. We are virtually blind, in terms of [seeing] what exist. The vast majority of this universe is what scientists call dark energy or dark matter and they call it dark not because it’s pitch black, but because we cannot decode it. Therefore it’s not within our realm of experience. We have to work it out by its impact on things we can see. (59:00)
In such cases, ‘science’ is the base camp from which Icke ventures into the unexplored territories ‘science’ dares not to enter. They may point in the right direction, Icke says, but because ‘they’re focusing on their own discipline, their own individual dots, and they don’t connect the dots, they can’t see the picture!’ (1:26:00).
Icke finally draws on ‘science’ for its rich repertoire of cultural imageries to make his thoughts clear and intelligible. So when he is talking about how ‘ethereal reptilian entities’ are actually controlling people like Obama and Queen Elisabeth, Icke turns to the image of the sterile laboratory:
and this is a good analogy, you know, when these scientists in a laboratory are working with something they can’t touch because it’s too dangerous. What they are working with will be in a tank, and they’ll put gloves on, which allows them to be outside the tank, but to manipulate inside the tank. Well, that is a very good symbol of what I am talking about, these illuminati bloodlines, these hybrid bloodlines operate like with those gloves, operating inside this reality. (1:56:00)
Or somewhat later in his show when Icke is talking about how the ‘control system’ has trained us into acquiescence and obedience, he puts forward the image of a classical conditioning experiment:
it is a mind game. More and more fine details of our life are being dictated. It is to turn us into a version of this [we see picture of a mouse in the middle of a maze]. When you put shock equipment down different channels [the mouse learns where not to go]. And what they are doing is [the same]: giving us punishments for doing this, punishments for doing that, so we become subservient to the system, never challenge it. (5:00:00)
‘Science’, to conclude, is an important part of our cultural imaginary, and Icke draws effortlessly from it to make his ideas intelligible.
Despite the critique on the institution of science, appeals to its epistemic authority remain highly effective to lend credibility to knowledge (e.g. Gieryn, 1999). Even ‘spokespersons for religious outlooks’ need to position themselves in one way or another to the dominant scientific worldview (Hammer, 2004: 202). Icke taps extensively on ‘science’ to legitimize his claims. On one hand, it functions as his positive Other when he argues that ‘scientists are saying the same’. But ‘science’ also functions in Icke’s thought as its negative Other – when it is the signpost of limitation (as in its inability to provide answers to the mysteries of black holes, dark matter and junk DNA), ‘look, I dare to go further’. Just like religious spokespersons in the esoteric tradition (Hammer, 2004: 201–206; Robertson, 2016: 48–49), Icke uses the authority of ‘science’ pragmatically in the legitimization of his ideas.
‘The Incessant Centralization of Power’: appealing to (critical) social theory
When Icke comes back from exploring the multidimensional level of his super conspiracy to explain ‘how it all plays out in this five sense reality’ (3:27:00); he mostly draws on notions developed in the social sciences. His main question ‘how do a few control the many?’ is unequivocally answered in sociological terms: by ‘the way they have structured society’ (3:27:30).
This allusion to social theory is particularly clear when Icke explains that ‘when you are the few and you have to control the many, you have to centralize decision-making’ (3:36:00). He sketches a pyramidal view of society with the centralization of power/knowledge as its organizing principle:
the idea is to hold advanced knowledge in the upper levels of this structure, where a few at the top are the only ones who know how it all fits together, and they keep the general population in ignorance of what they know, therefore they have the power to manipulate the masses. (3:28:00)
Knowledge is power, Icke explains after Foucault. Very much akin to sociological understandings of modern societies, Icke’s ‘pyramid of manipulation’ is also hierarchically structured along ‘the major institutions that affect our daily life’: religion, finance, military, education, politics and so on (see Figure 1). Through this pyramidal view of society, he underscores the rationality of functionally differentiating society in order to most efficiently control it – thoughts reminiscent of Weber’s (2013 ) bureaucratization theories. Especially, by emphasizing how such systems operate through hierarchical structures, where lower level ‘officials’ just ‘do their job’ and ‘follow the rules’ (cf. Arendt, 2006 ), Icke argues how society can be manipulated with the cooperation of those being manipulated:
they [just] go to work, earn money, go on holiday, they don’t try to manipulate anybody, they don’t try to create a Fascist Orwellian totalitarian. But they don’t know how their apparently innocent contribution individually connects with other apparently innocent contributions around the system. And that’s how they keep what’s going on in the hands of the few. (3:30:00)
Figure 1. David Icke’s pyramid of manipulation.
There is a clear legacy of Marxian thought here that is apparent when compared to ‘The Pyramid of the Capitalist System’ (Figure 2) – a satiric cartoon image published in a 1911 edition of Industrial Worker. Although the dominant institutions may have somewhat changed, the message is similar:
humans have been put in this circular lifestyle, just a repeating cycle of work, eat, sleep and work, eat, sleep . . . so that we spend so much time surviving and not lift our head up to see what’s going on. (3:35:30)
Figure 2. Pyramid of capitalist system.
Meanwhile, the ruling classes enjoy their privileges, while the major institutions guarantee order and stability. Even the operating logic is similar: just ‘follow the money’ and you will get to the cabal. The affinity with Marxian thought, however, goes further. Icke speaks about how these institutions ‘program us with a certain perception of reality which we carry through our lives so we will be good little slaves’ (22:30). Not a far cry from how the ‘superstructure of society’ maintains and legitimizes the dominant ‘relations of production’ by advancing them as normal, just and legitimate (Marx and Engels, 1965 ). Ultimately, Icke reiterates Gramscian notions of how these institutions – and especially the education system – socialize people to obediently serve in their designated (labor)roles in society: ‘which is why the education system is not about educating, it’s about programming’ (3:28:00). These acquired ‘hegemonic beliefs’, Gramsci argues, thwart critical thought and ultimately obstruct ‘revolution’ (e.g. 2011). For the same reasons, Icke urges us to ‘free our minds’ because the ‘control system has been set up in endless ways to divert us, to confuse us and to keep us from the understanding that would set us free’ (14:00). But there is a way out, Icke tells us in rather Marxist terms, ‘the choice is to become conscious!’ (25:00). Class conscious?
When Icke speaks about the centralization of power, he also provides a form of historical sociology. He explains how we
started with tribal situations as part of this centralization process. The tribes came together in what we call nations, nations under unions, like the European Union. And the next stage of that, which they are already preparing for, is to take us into a world government. (3:37:00)
This notion of a coming totalitarian world government, or New World Order, is central to many conspiracy theories (e.g. Barkun, 2006; Byford, 2011). What is crucial here, however, is that Icke gives a socio-historical explanation of how we got into the ‘centralized dictatorship the EU is now’ (3:43:00). So when Icke refers to ‘globalization’ as part of the strategy of the cabal, his explanation mimics those sociological theories standing in the tradition of Wallerstein’s ‘World-Systems Analysis’:
globalization is the constant centralization of power, more and more power in the hands of a few, more and more, the globalized economy is making every country dependent on every other country, therefore has no power of individual action and decision making [. . .] and the reason they want to do this is because dependency equals control. (3:45:30)
In contrast to the appeals to ‘science’ where Icke literally quotes natural scientists, the reference to social scientific knowledge is less explicit. But the way Icke explains our current situation and how we got there shows an elective affinity with sociological analysis, especially of the critical or (neo)Marxist signature. In doing so, Icke unmistakably draws authority from explanations that originate in the social sciences, but are now widespread. His talk testifies to the trickling down of (social) scientific notions in wider society (Giddens, 1984). Critical social theory has become a popular idiom for conspiracy theorists to express their discontent with our current societal order.
David Icke brings the heavens and the earths together in one master narrative of institutional mind control, multidimensional universes and shapeshifting reptilian races. This is his objective because ‘when you connect the dots, suddenly the light goes on and the picture forms’ (15:00). We have shown in this article how Icke draws on a multitude of sources of epistemic authority to convince his audience that the ‘unbelievable’ is indeed ‘undeniable’. His claims to truth are a hodgepodge of epistemological strategies: he draws on personal experience, perennial narratives in ancient cultures, technological imageries, science and critical social theory to support his super conspiracy theory. (Academic) criticasters of conspiracy theorists may find this eclecticism problematic: they deplore how such ‘charlatans’ unsettle the boundaries between fact and fiction and warn for the societal ramifications of such relativism (e.g. Barkun, 2006; Pipes, 1997; Sunstein and Vermeule, 2009). But debunking these conspiracy theories as irrational and problematic does not help us in understanding its massive appeal and plausibility from a cultural perspective. Based on our analysis, we argue in line with Robertson (2016) that Icke’s epistemological pluralism adds plausibility to his super conspiracy theory. Moving beyond a strict religious studies perspective, however, our analysis identified two more distinct epistemic strategies: ‘futuristic imageries’ and ‘(critical) social theory’. Alluding to technological advances and science fiction helps people imagine the ‘unbelievable’, while referring to the societal critiques of academics gives credence to their societal discontents. These are important contemporary additions to Hammer’s (2004) tri-partite schema of drawing on ‘tradition’, ‘science’ and ‘experience’ when claiming knowledge outside the orthodox mainstream. In short, Icke is able to convince his audience of his super conspiracy theory and acquire epistemic authority in the conspiracy milieu precisely because he is able to deploy a very diverse range of epistemic strategies, from the spiritual to the (social) scientific and from the visceral to the cerebral. We will develop two sociological explanations as to why this is the case – hypotheses about the cultural reception of super conspiracy theories that suggest new routes for further research. First of all, in contemporary Western culture, no belief system has a full monopoly on truth – particularly since the erosion of Christian tradition, doctrine and beliefs are not necessarily and fully replaced by the epistemic authority of modern science (Beck, 1992; Brown, 2009; Inglehart, 1997). For people wary of mainstream institutions and their truth claims, it proves opportune to draw on a wide variety of epistemic sources when claiming knowledge. Motivated by a generalized distrust, they assemble different perspectives on truth and ‘pick-and-mix’ from both established and ‘stigmatized knowledge’ (cf. Barkun, 2006: 26; Campbell, 2007; Lyon, 2000; Possamai, 2005). However, Icke’s eclecticism may not only serve the epistemological omnivores, his super conspiracy theory may also appeal to distinctly different social groups, coming from different subcultures and lifestyles. Scholars have pointed to the fact that he manages to bring together a diverse range of people, from leftist spiritual seekers to right-wing reactionaries (Barkun, 2006; Lewis and Kahn, 2005; Ward and Voas, 2011), and our own observations and interviews in the field corroborate that (Harambam and Aupers, 2017). Our second suggestion, then, is that Icke’s reliance on multiple epistemic sources of authority attracts distinctly different audiences: both those attracted to New Age spiritualities, and amateur-scientists, social activists, hackers and fans of the science fiction genre. His text is highly ‘polysemic’: each follower can ‘decode’ Icke’s super conspiracy theory differently and in conformity with one’s own social identity and political interests.
Whether Icke’s theories address the epistemological omnivores – individuals combining experience, (social)science and ancient myth to ‘find the truth’ – or different social groups with distinct epistemological preferences (or both) need to be further researched. In addition, a venue for further research is the communal dimension of conspiracy culture (Ibid.). Icke’s show, after all, is a form of counter-cultural entertainment, and there are many facets of collective effervescence at work during his performances (Durkheim, 1965 ). For now we conclude that Icke’s fusion of science and religion, fact and value, folklore and futurism is reminiscent of what many scholars identify as postmodern culture (cf. Best and Kellner, 1997; Jameson, 1991). The dissolution of stable categories of knowledge, the ‘bricolage’ and ‘pastiche’ of many different cultural forms and the individualistic possibilities for interpretation are features that have found their way from the arts and intelligentsia to everyday life of ordinary citizens, like those attending Icke’s show. Postmodernism may be dead in academia; it is alive and kicking in the outside world.
Jaron Harambam is now affiliated with KU Leuven, Belgium.
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article: This article is based on research funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and is part of the project ‘Conspiracy Culture in the Netherlands: Modernity and Its discontents’, file number 404-10-438.
Stef Aupers https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8286-7147
1.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2vlegEBuO0, last retrieved on 27 February 2015.
2.This was one of the slogans David Icke promoted his show with, for example, http://www.purityevents.nl/david-icke-the-lion-sleeps-no-more, last retrieved on 15 February 2016.
3.http://www.davidicke.com, last retrieved on 7 May 2015.
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Jaron Harambam is an interdisciplinary trained sociologist working on news, disinformation and conspiracy theories in today’s agorithmically structured media ecosystem. He received his PhD in Sociology (highest distinction) from Erasmus University Rotterdam, held postdoctoral research positions at the Institute for Information Law (IViR) at the University of Amsterdam, and is now a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship holder at the Institute for media Studies at Leuven University.
Stef Aupers is cultural sociologist and works as a professor media culture at the Institute for Media Studies at Leuven University. He published widely on the mediatization of religion, spirituality and conspiracy theories and, particularly, computer game culture.
|Icke in 2013|
|Born||David Vaughan Icke|
29 April 1952 (age 69)
|Occupation||Conspiracy theorist, former sports broadcaster and football player|
|Movement||New Age conspiracism|
|Association football careerPosition(s)GoalkeeperYouth career1967–1971Coventry CitySenior career*YearsTeamApps(Gls)1971–1973Hereford United37(0)* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
David Vaughan Icke (/ˈdeɪvɪd vɔːn aɪk/; born 29 April 1952) is an English conspiracy theorist and a former footballer and sports broadcaster. He has written over 20 books, self-published since the mid-1990s, and spoken in more than 25 countries.
In 1990, he visited a psychic who told him he was on Earth for a purpose and would receive messages from the spirit world. This led him to state in 1991 he was a “Son of the Godhead” and that the world would soon be devastated by tidal waves and earthquakes, predictions he repeated on the BBC show Wogan. His appearance led to public ridicule. Books Icke wrote over the next 11 years developed his world view of New Age conspiracism. His endorsement of an antisemitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, in The Robots’ Rebellion (1994) and And the Truth Shall Set You Free (1995) led his publisher to stop handling his books, which were then self-published.
Icke believes the universe to consist of “vibrational” energy and infinite dimensions sharing the same space. He claims an inter-dimensional race of reptilian beings, the Archons or Anunnaki, have hijacked the Earth and a genetically modified human–Archon hybrid race of shape-shifting reptilians – the Babylonian Brotherhood, Illuminati or “elite” – manipulate events to keep humans in fear, so that the Archons can feed off the resulting “negative energy”. He claims many public figures belong to the Babylonian Brotherhood and propel humanity towards a global fascist state or New World Order, a post-truth era ending freedom of speech. He sees the only way to defeat such “Archontic” influence is for people to wake up to the truth and fill their hearts with love. Critics have accused Icke of being antisemitic and a Holocaust denier with his theories of reptilians serving as a deliberate “code”. Icke denies these claims.
- 1Early life, family and education
- 2First marriage
- 3Journalism, sports broadcasting
- 4Green Party, Betty Shine
- 5Turquoise period
- 6Writing and lecturing
- 7Conspiracy theories
- 9Selected works
- 10See also
- 12External links
Early life, family and education
The middle son of three boys born seven years apart, Icke was born in Leicester General Hospital to Beric Vaughan Icke and Barbara J. Icke, née Cooke, who were married in Leicester in 1951. Beric Icke served in the Royal Air Force as a medical orderly during World War II, and after the war became a clerk in the Gents clock factory. The family lived in a terraced house on Lead Street in the centre of Leicester, an area that was demolished in the mid-1950s as part of the city’s slum clearance. When David Icke was three, around 1955, they moved to the Goodwood estate, one of the council estates the post-war Labour government built. “To say we were skint,” he wrote in 1993, “is like saying it is a little chilly at the North Pole.” He recalls having to hide under a window or chair when the councilman came for the rent; after knocking, the rent man would walk around the house peering through windows. His mother never explained that it was about the rent; she just told Icke to hide. He wrote in 2003 that he still gets a fright when someone knocks on the door.
Icke has said he made no effort at school, but when he was nine he was chosen for the junior school’s third-year football team. He writes that this was the first time he had succeeded at anything, and he came to see football as his way out of poverty. He played in goal, which he wrote suited the loner in him and gave him a sense of living on the edge between hero and villain.
After failing his 11-plus exam in 1963, he was sent to the city’s Crown Hills Secondary Modern (rather than the local grammar school), where he was given a trial for the Leicester Boys Under-14 team. He left school at 15 after being talent-spotted by Coventry City, who signed him up in 1967 as their youth team’s goalkeeper. In 1968 he played in the Coventry City youth team that were runners up to Burnley in the F.A. Youth Cup. He also played for Oxford United‘s reserve team and Northampton Town, on loan from Coventry.
Rheumatoid arthritis in his left knee, which spread to the right knee, ankles, elbows, wrists and hands, stopped him from making a career out of football. Despite stating that he was often in agony during training, Icke managed to play part-time for Hereford United, including in the first team when they were in the fourth, and later in the third, division of the English Football League. But in 1973, at the age of 21, the pain in his joints became so severe that he was forced to retire.
Icke met his first wife, Linda Atherton, in May 1971 at a dance at the Chesford Grange Hotel near Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. Shortly after they met, Icke left home following one of a number of frequent arguments he had started having with his father. His father was upset that Icke’s arthritis was interfering with his football career. Icke moved into a bedsit and worked in a travel agency, travelling to Hereford twice a week in the evenings to play football.
Icke and Atherton married on 30 September 1971, four months after they met. Their daughter was born in March 1975, followed by one son in December 1981, and another in November 1992. The couple divorced in 2001 but remained friends, and Atherton continued to work as Icke’s business manager.
Journalism, sports broadcasting
The loss of Icke’s position with Hereford meant that he and his wife had to sell their home, and for several weeks they lived apart, each moving in with their parents. In 1973 Icke found a job as a reporter with the weekly Leicester Advertiser, through a contact who was a sports editor at the Daily Mail. He moved on to the Leicester News Agency, did some work for BBC Radio Leicester as its football reporter, then worked his way up through the Loughborough Monitor, the Leicester Mercury and BRMB Radio in Birmingham.
In 1976, Icke worked for two months in Saudi Arabia, helping with the national football team. His position at the team was planned to be a longer term position, but Icke decided to stay in the UK after his first holiday back. After his return to the UK, BRMB decided to give him his job back, after which he successfully applied to Midlands Today at the BBC’s Pebble Mill Studios in Birmingham, a job that included on-air appearances. One of the earliest stories he covered there was the murder of Carl Bridgewater, the paperboy shot during a robbery in 1978.
In 1981, Icke became a sports presenter for the BBC’s national programme Newsnight, which had begun the previous year. Two years later, on 17 January 1983, he appeared on the first edition of the BBC’s Breakfast Time, British television’s first national breakfast show, and presented the sports news there until 1985. In 1983 he co-hosted Grandstand, at the time the BBC’s flagship national sports programme. He also published his first book that year, It’s a Tough Game, Son!, about how to break into football.
Icke and his family moved in 1982 to Ryde on the Isle of Wight. His relationship with Grandstand was short-lived. He wrote that a new editor arrived in 1983 who appeared not to like him, but he continued working for BBC Sport until 1990, often on bowls and snooker programmes, and at the 1988 Summer Olympics. Icke was by then a household name, but has said that a career in television began to lose its appeal to him; he found television workers insecure, shallow and sometimes vicious.
In August 1990, his contract with the BBC was terminated when he initially refused to pay the Community Charge (also known as the “poll tax”), a local tax Margaret Thatcher‘s government introduced that year. He ultimately paid it, but his announcement that he was willing to go to prison rather than pay prompted the BBC, by charter an impartial public-service broadcaster, to distance itself from him.
Green Party, Betty Shine
Icke began to flirt with alternative medicine and New Age philosophies in the 1980s in an effort to relieve his arthritis, and this encouraged his interest in Green politics. He joined the Green Party and became a national spokesperson within six months. His second book, It Doesn’t Have To Be Like This, an outline of his views on the environment, was published in 1989.
Icke wrote that 1989 was a time of considerable personal despair, and it was during this period that he said he began to feel a presence around him. He often describes how he felt it while alone in a hotel room in March 1990, and finally asked, “If there is anybody here, will you please contact me because you are driving me up the wall!” Days later, in a newsagent’s shop in Ryde, he felt a force pull his feet to the ground and heard a voice guide him toward some books. One of them was Mind to Mind (1989) by Betty Shine, a psychic healer in Brighton. He read the book, then wrote to her requesting a consultation about his arthritis.
Icke visited Shine four times. During the third meeting, on 29 March 1990, Icke claims to have felt something like a spider’s web on his face, and Shine told him she had a message from Wang Ye Lee of the spirit world. Icke had been sent to heal the earth, she said, and would become famous but would face opposition. The spirit world was going to pass ideas to him, which he would speak about to others. He would write five books in three years; in 20 years a new flying machine would allow us to go wherever we wanted and time would have no meaning; and there would be earthquakes in unusual places, because the inner earth was being destabilised by having oil taken from under the seabed.
In February 1991, Icke visited a pre-Inca Sillustani burial ground near Puno, Peru, where he felt drawn to a particular circle of waist-high stones. As he stood in the circle he had two thoughts: that people would be talking about this in 100 years, and that it would be over when it rained. His body shook as though plugged into an electrical socket, he wrote, and new ideas poured into him. Then it started raining and the experience ended. He described it as the kundalini (a term from Hindu yoga) activating his chakras, or energy centres, triggering a higher level of consciousness.
Icke’s turquoise period followed an experience by a burial site in Sillustani, Peru, in 1991.
There followed what Icke called his “turquoise period”. He had been channelling for some time, he wrote, and had received a message through automatic writing that he was a “Son of the Godhead”, interpreting “Godhead” as the “Infinite Mind”. He began to wear only turquoise, often a turquoise shell suit, a colour he saw as a conduit for positive energy. He also started working on his third book, and the first of his New-Age period, The Truth Vibrations.
In August 1990, before his visit to Peru, Icke met Deborah Shaw, an English psychic based in Calgary in Alberta, Canada. When he returned from Peru they began a relationship, with the apparent blessing of Icke’s wife. In March 1991 Shaw began living with the couple, a short-lived arrangement that the press called the “turquoise triangle”. Shaw changed her name to Mari Shawsun, while Icke’s wife became Michaela, which she said was an aspect of the Archangel Michael.
The relationship with Shaw led to the birth of a daughter in December 1991, although she and Icke had stopped seeing each other by then. Icke wrote in 1993 that he decided not to visit his daughter and had seen her only once, at Shaw’s request. Icke’s wife gave birth to the couple’s second son in November 1992.
Green Party resignation and press conference
In March 1991, Icke resigned from the Green Party during a party conference, telling them he was about to be at the centre of “tremendous and increasing controversy”, and winning a standing ovation from delegates after the announcement. A week later, shortly after his father died, Icke and his wife, Linda Atherton, along with their daughter and Deborah Shaw, held a press conference to announce that Icke was a son of the Godhead. He told reporters the world was going to end in 1997. It would be preceded by a hurricane around the Gulf of Mexico and New Orleans, eruptions in Cuba, disruption in China, a hurricane in Derry, and an earthquake on the Isle of Arran. The information was being given to them by voices and automatic writing, he said. Los Angeles would become an island, New Zealand would disappear, and the cliffs of Kent would be underwater by Christmas.
The headlines following Icke’s press conference attracted requests for interviews from Nicky Campbell‘s BBC Radio One programme, for Terry Wogan‘s prime-time Wogan show, and Fern Britton‘s ITV chat show.
Wogan introduced the 1991 segment with “The world as we know it is about to end”. Amid laughter from the audience, Icke demurred when asked if he was the son of God, replying that Jesus would have been laughed at too, and repeated that Britain would soon be devastated by tidal waves and earthquakes. Without these, “the Earth will cease to exist”. When Icke said laughter was the best way to remove negativity, Wogan replied of the audience: “But they’re laughing at you. They’re not laughing with you.” The BBC was criticised for allowing it to go ahead; Des Christy of The Guardian called it a “media crucifixion”.
The interview led to a difficult period for Icke. In May 1991, police were called to the couple’s home after a crowd of over 100 youths gathered outside, chanting “We want the Messiah” and “Give us a sign, David”. Icke told Jon Ronson in 2001:
One of my very greatest fears as a child was being ridiculed in public. And there it was coming true. As a television presenter, I’d been respected. People come up to you in the street and shake your hand and talk to you in a respectful way. And suddenly, overnight, this was transformed into “Icke’s a nutter.” I couldn’t walk down any street in Britain without being laughed at. It was a nightmare. My children were devastated because their dad was a figure of ridicule.
In 2006, Wogan interviewed Icke again for a special Wogan Now & Then series. Wogan was apologetic for his conduct in the 1991 interview. However, in his autobiography, Mustn’t Grumble, Wogan described Icke as being a “ranting demagogue convinced we were all manipulated sheep”.
Writing and lecturing
The Wogan interview separated Icke from his previous life, he wrote in 2003, although he considered it the making of him in the end, giving him the courage to develop his ideas without caring what anyone thought. His book The Truth Vibrations, inspired by his experience in Peru, was published in 1991.
Between 1992 and 1994, he wrote five books, all published by mainstream publishers, four in 1993. Love Changes Everything (1992), influenced by the “channelling” work of Deborah Shaw, is a theosophical work about the origin of the planet, in which Icke writes with admiration about Jesus. Days of Decision (1993) is an 86-page summary of his interviews after the 1991 press conference; it questions the historicity of Jesus but accepts the existence of the Christ spirit. Icke’s autobiography, In the Light of Experience, was published the same year, followed by Heal the World: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Personal and Planetary Transformation (1993).
The Robots’ Rebellion
In his 2001 documentary about Icke, Jon Ronson cited this cartoon, “Rothschild” (1898), by Charles Léandre, arguing that Jews have long been depicted as lizard-like creatures who are out to control the world.
Icke’s The Robots’ Rebellion (1994), a book published by Gateway, attracted allegations that his work was antisemitic. According to historian Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, the book contains “all the familiar beliefs and paranoid clichés” of the US conspiracists and militia. It claims that a plan for world domination by a shadowy cabal, perhaps extraterrestrial, was laid out in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (c. 1897).
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is an anti-Semitic literary forgery, probably written under the direction of the Russian secret police in Paris, purporting to reveal a conspiracy by the Jewish people to achieve global domination. It was exposed as a forgery in 1920 by Lucien Wolf and the following year by Philip Graves in The Times. Once exposed, it disappeared from mainstream discourse until interest in it was renewed by the American far right in the 1950s. Interest in it was further spread by conspiracy groups on the Internet. According to Michael Barkun, Icke’s reliance on the Protocols in The Robots’ Rebellion is “the first of a number of instances in which Icke moves into the dangerous terrain of antisemitism”.
Icke took both the extraterrestrial angle and the focus on the Protocols from Behold a Pale Horse (1991) by Milton William Cooper, who was associated with the American militia movement; chapter 15 of Cooper’s book reproduces the Protocols in full. The Robots’ Rebellion refers repeatedly to the Protocols, calling them the Illuminati protocols, and defining Illuminati as the “Brotherhood elite at the top of the pyramid of secret societies world-wide”. Icke adds that the Protocols were not the work of the Jewish people, but of Zionists.
The Robots’ Rebellion was greeted with dismay by the Green Party’s executive. Despite the controversy over the press conference and the Wogan interview, they had allowed Icke to address the party’s annual conference in 1992 – a decision that led one of its principal speakers, Sara Parkin, to resign – but after the publication of The Robot’s Rebellion they moved to ban him. Icke wrote to The Guardian in September 1994 denying that The Robots’ Rebellion was anti-Semitic, and rejecting racism, sexism and prejudice of any kind, while insisting that whoever had written the Protocols “knew the game plan” for the twentieth century.
Why do we play a part in suppressing alternative information to the official line of the Second World War? How is it right that while this fierce suppression goes on, free copies of the Spielberg film, Schindler’s List, are given to schools to indoctrinate children with the unchallenged version of events. And why do we, who say we oppose tyranny and demand freedom of speech, allow people to go to prison and be vilified, and magazines to be closed down on the spot, for suggesting another version of history.— And the Truth Shall Set You Free (1995)
Icke’s next manuscript, And the Truth Shall Set You Free (1995), contained a chapter questioning aspects of the Holocaust, which caused a rift with his publisher, Gateway. In the book Icke suggested that Jews funded the Holocaust by quoting and seconding Gary Allen‘s claim that “The Warburgs, part of the Rothschild empire, helped finance Adolf Hitler”. In his view, schools “indoctrinate children with the unchallenged version of events” with the mainstream account of the Holocaust thanks to their use of free copies of the film Schindler’s List (1993). After borrowing £15,000 from a friend, Icke established Bridge of Love Publications, later called David Icke Books. He self-published And the Truth Shall Set You Free and all his subsequent books.
According to Lewis and Kahn, Icke aimed to consolidate all conspiracy theories into one project with unlimited explanatory power. His books sold 140,000 copies between 1998 and 2011, at a value of over £2 million. Thirty thousand copies of The Biggest Secret (1999) were in print months after publication, according to Icke, and it was reprinted six times between 1999 and 2006. His 2002 book Alice in Wonderland and the World Trade Center Disaster became a long-standing top-five bestseller in South Africa. By 2006, his website was gaining 600,000 hits a week, and by 2011 his books had been translated into 11 languages.
Icke has held public lectures around the world, and by 2006 had spoken in at least 25 countries. He spoke for seven hours to 2,500 people at the Brixton Academy, London, in 2008, and the same year addressed the University of Oxford‘s debating society, the Oxford Union. His book tour for Human Race Get Off Your Knees: The Lion Sleeps No More (2010) included a sold-out talk to 2,100 in New York City and £83,000 worth of ticket sales in Melbourne. In October 2012, he spoke for 11-hours to 6,000 people at London’s Wembley Arena.
Second marriage, politics, television
In 1997 Icke met his second wife, Pamela Leigh Richards, in Jamaica. He and Linda Atherton divorced in 2001, and he and Richards were married the same year. They separated in 2008 and divorced in 2011.
Icke stood for parliament in the 2008 by-election for Haltemprice and Howden (a constituency in the East Riding of Yorkshire), on the issue of “Big Brother – The Big Picture”. He came 12th out of 26 candidates, with 110 votes (0.46%), resulting in a lost deposit. He explained that he was standing because “if we don’t face this now we are going to have some serious explaining to do when we are asked by our children and grandchildren what we were doing when the global fascist state was installed. ‘I was watching EastEnders, dear’ will not be good enough.”
In November 2013, Icke launched an Internet television station, The People’s Voice, broadcast from London. He founded the station after crowdsourcing over £300,000 and worked for it as a volunteer until March 2014. Later that year the station stopped broadcasting.
Icke combines New Age philosophical discussion about the universe and consciousness with conspiracy theories about public figures being reptilian humanoids and paedophiles. He argues in favour of reincarnation; a collective consciousness that has intentionality; modal realism (that other possible worlds exist alongside ours); and the law of attraction (that good and bad thoughts can attract experiences).
In The Biggest Secret (1999), he introduced the idea that many prominent figures derive from the Anunnaki, a reptilian race from the Draco constellation. In Human Race Get Off Your Knees: The Lion Sleeps No More (2012), he identified the Moon (and later Saturn) as the source of holographic experiences, broadcast by the reptiles, that humanity interprets as reality.
Icke is a critic of the scientific method, describing it as “bollocks” in 2013. When asked by The Sunday Times to explain the existence of television, he said “It’s not that all science is bollocks,” but rather “[t]he basis of the way science judges reality is bollocks.” He also thinks climate change is a hoax.
Icke believes that the universe is made up of “vibrational” energy, and consists of an infinite number of dimensions that share the same space, just like television and radio frequencies, and that some people can tune their consciousness to other wavelengths. He stated in an interview with The Guardian that:
Our five senses can access only a tiny frequency range, like a radio tuned to one station. In the space you are occupying now are all the radio and television stations broadcasting to your area. You can’t see them and they can’t see each other because they are on different wavelengths. But move your radio dial and suddenly there they are, one after the other. It is the same with the reality we experience here as “life”. What we call the “world” and the “universe” is only one frequency range in an infinite number sharing the same space.
Icke believes that time is an illusion; there is no past, or future, and only the “infinite now” is real, and that humans are an aspect of consciousness, or infinite awareness, which he describes as “all that there is, has been, and ever can be”.
Further information: New World Order (conspiracy theory)The Draco constellation from Firmamentum Sobiescianum sive Uranographia (1690) by Johannes Hevelius. Icke’s “reptoid hypothesis” posits that humanity is ruled by descendants of reptilians from Draco.
Icke believes that an inter-dimensional race of reptilian beings called the Archons have hijacked the earth and are stopping humanity from realising its true potential. He claims they are the same beings as the Anunnaki, deities from the Babylonian creation myth the Enûma Eliš, and the fallen angels, or Watchers, who mated with human women in the Biblical apocrypha.
He believes that a genetically modified human/Archon hybrid race of shape-shifting reptilians, known as the “Babylonian Brotherhood” or the Illuminati, manipulate global events to keep humans in constant fear, so the Archons can feed off the “negative energy” this creates. In The Biggest Secret, Icke identified the Brotherhood as descendants of reptilians from the constellation Draco, and said they live in caverns inside the earth.
Icke said in an interview:
When you get back into the ancient world, you find this recurring theme of a union between a non-human race and humans – creating a hybrid race. From 1998, I started coming across people who told me they had seen people change into a non-human form. It’s an age-old phenomenon known as shape-shifting. The basic form is like a scaly humanoid, with reptilian rather than humanoid eyes.
Icke claims the first reptilian-human breeding programmes took place 200,000–300,000 years ago (perhaps creating Adam), and the third (and latest) 7,000 years ago. He claims the hybrids of the third programme, which are more Anunnaki than human, currently control the world. He writes in The Biggest Secret, “The Brotherhood which controls the world today is the modern expression of the Babylonian Brotherhood of reptile-Aryan priests and ‘royalty'”. Icke states that they came together in Sumer after “the flood“, but originated in the Caucasus. He explains that when he uses the term “Aryan” he means “the white race.”
Icke has stated that the reptilians come from not only another planet but another dimension, the lower level of the fourth dimension (the “lower astral dimension“), the one nearest the physical world. From this dimension they control the planet, although just as fourth-dimensional reptilians control us, they in turn are controlled by a fifth dimension. Michael Barkun argues that Icke’s introduction of different dimensions allowed him to skip awkward questions about how the reptilians got here.
Icke believes that the only way this “Archontic” influence can be defeated is if people wake up to “the truth” and fill their hearts with love.
Icke briefly introduced his ideas about ancient astronauts in The Robot’s Rebellion (1994), citing Milton William Cooper‘s Behold a Pale Horse (1991), and expanded it in And the Truth Shall Set You Free (1995), citing Barbara Marciniak’s Bringers of the Dawn (1992).
Religious studies lecturer David G. Robertson writes that Icke’s reptilian idea is adapted from Zecharia Sitchin‘s The 12th Planet (1976), combined with material from Credo Mutwa, a Zulu healer. Sitchin suggested that the Anunnaki came to Earth for its precious metals. Icke has said that they came for what he refers to as “mono-atomic gold”, which he claims can increase the capacity of the nervous system ten-thousandfold, and that after ingesting it the Anunnaki can process vast amounts of information, speed up trans-dimensional travel, and shapeshift from reptilian to human. Lewis and Kahn argue that Icke is using allegory to depict the alien, and alienating, nature of global capitalism. Icke has said he is not using allegory.
As of 2003, Icke claims the reptilian bloodline includes all (then 43) American presidents, three British and two Canadian prime ministers, several Sumerian kings and Egyptian pharaohs, and a smattering of celebrities. Key bloodlines are said to include the Rockefellers, Rothschilds, various European aristocratic families, the establishment families of the Eastern United States, and the British House of Windsor. Icke has claimed that he saw former British Prime Minister Ted Heath‘s eyes turn entirely “jet black” while the two men waited for a Sky News interview in 1989. He confirmed to Andrew Neil in May 2016 that he believes the British royal family are shape-shifting lizards. In 2001, Icke said the Queen Mother was “seriously reptilian”. The Rothschilds, in Icke’s opinion, are also blood-drinking Satan-worshipers, which Daniel Allington and David Toube argued in 2018 was part of a revival of medieval anti-Semitic attitudes towards Jews.
Icke sometimes calls the reptilian plot the “unseen”. After a 2018 talk by Icke in Southport, UK, Michael Marshall reported:
The appearance of the ‘unseen’ in the Middle East 6,000 years ago seems to be no coincidence, and it’s little wonder that Icke’s work is so often accused of anti-Semitism. However, if we were to accept that Icke himself does not hold such views, and that his work is merely co-opted by groups who undeniably are anti-Semitic, we also have to acknowledge that Icke often does his case no favours.
Critics view Icke’s “reptilians” and other theories as anti-Semitic, and accuse him of Holocaust denial. Critics have claimed that Icke’s reptilians are symbolic representations of Jews, which Icke called “total friggin’ nonsense”, adding, “this is not a plot on the world by Jewish people”. Icke has rejected the assertion he is a Holocaust denier.
Brotherhood aims and institutions
Icke states that at the apex of the Babylonian Brotherhood stand the Global Elite, and at the top of the Global Elite are what Icke has referred to as the “Prison Wardens”. Icke claims the brotherhood’s goal, or their “Great Work of Ages”, is a microchipped population, a world government, and a global Orwellian fascist state or New World Order, which he claims will be a post-truth era where freedom of speech is ended.
Icke believes that the brotherhood uses human anxiety as energy and that the Archons keep humanity trapped in a “five sense reality” so they can feed off the negative energy created by fear and hate. In 1999 he wrote, “Thus we have the encouragement of wars, human genocide, the mass slaughter of animals, sexual perversions which create highly charged negative energy, and black magic ritual and sacrifice which takes place on a scale that will stagger those who have not studied the subject.” Icke proposes that human sacrifice “to the gods” in the ancient world was for the reptilians’ benefit, especially sacrifice of children, because “at the moment of death by sacrifice a form of adrenaline surges through the body, accumulating at the base of the brain, and is apparently more potent in children”, claiming “this is what the reptilians and their crossbreeds want”. He suggests that these sacrifices continue to this day. He also claims the reptilians and their hybrid bloodlines engage in paedophilia and cannibalism.
It is claimed that the brotherhood either created or controls the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, Round Table, Council on Foreign Relations, Chatham House, Club of Rome, Royal Institute of International Affairs, Trilateral Commission and Bilderberg Group, as well as the media, military, CIA, MI6, Mossad, science, religion, and the Internet, with witting or unwitting support from the London School of Economics. In an interview in February 2019, Icke was asked about his beliefs and replied, “They’re very clever in their systems of manipulation, which is overwhelmingly psychological manipulation, because if you can manipulate perceptions to believe that Osama bin Laden was behind 9/11, then you’ll get support to invade Afghanistan”.
Icke uses the phrase “problem–reaction–solution” to explain how he believes the Illuminati agenda advances. According to Icke, the Illuminati guide us in the direction they desire by creating false problems, which allows them to give their desired solution to the problem they created. He also refers to this process as “order out of chaos”. In 2018 researchers looking at the psychological effects of Icke’s belief system argued that “problem–reaction–solution” resembles the misinterpretation of the Hegelian thesis, antithesis, synthesis triad popularized by Chalybäus.
Incidents and issues Icke attributes to the Illuminati, or “Global Elite”, include the Oklahoma City bombing, Dunblane, Columbine, 9/11 (which Icke believes was an “inside job” to provide an excuse to advance an agenda of regime change across the world), 7/7, global warming, chemtrails, water fluoridation, the death of Princess Diana, the assassination of John F. Kennedy and Agenda 21. These incidents allow them to respond in whatever way they intended to act in the first place.
One of the methods Icke claims they use is creating fake opposites, or what he calls “opposames”, such as the Axis and Allied powers of World War II, which he believes were used to provoke the creation of the European Union and the state of Israel. Icke argues that to ensure the outcome they want they have to control both sides. He believes that US presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump are part of a false political divide. Despite the presidency belonging to the Republican Party then the Democratic Party, then going back to the Republicans, Icke claims they are all pushing the same agenda of regime change in the Middle East, a goal set out in the early 2000s in a document called The Project for the New American Century. Icke claims that this dialectic allows the Illuminati to gradually move societies toward totalitarianism without challenge, a process he calls the “totalitarian tiptoe”.
In Tales From The Time Loop (2003), Icke argues that the Illuminati create religious, racial, ethnic and sexual division to divide and rule humanity but believes that the many can only be controlled by the few if they allow themselves to be and that the power the Illuminati have is the power the people give them. “Divide and rule is the bottom line of all dictatorships… Arab is turned against Jew, black against white, Right against Left. Unplugging from the Matrix means refusing to recognise these illusory fault lines. We are all One. I refuse to see a Jew as different from an Arab and vice versa. They are both expressions of the One and need to be observed and treated the same, none more or less important than the other. I refuse to see black people in terms that I would not see white, nor to see the ‘Left’ as I would not see the ‘Right’. How could it be any different, except when we believe the illusion of division is real? If we do that, the Matrix has us.”
Icke’s solution is peaceful non-compliance, which he believes will disempower “the elite”.
The Moon Matrix is introduced in Human Race Get Off Your Knees: The Lion Sleeps No More (2010), in which Icke suggests that the Earth and the collective human mind are manipulated from the Moon, a spacecraft and inter-dimensional portal the reptilians control. The Moon Matrix is a broadcast from that spacecraft to the human body–computer, specifically to the left hemisphere of the brain, which gives us our sense of reality: “We are living in a dreamworld within a dreamworld – a Matrix within the virtual-reality universe – and it is being broadcast from the Moon. Unless people force themselves to become fully conscious, their minds are the Moon’s mind.” Will Storr, writing for The Sunday Times in 2013, ponders if Icke’s ideas suddenly “pop” into his head. On page 299 of Human Race Get Off Your Knees, Icke writes about working at his computer on the book and having “the overwhelming feeling out of ‘nowhere’ that the moon was not ‘real’. By ‘real’ I mean not a ‘heavenly body’, but an artificial construct (or hollowed-out planetoid) that has been put there to control life on Earth — which it does. I have pondered this possibility a few times over the years, but this time I just ‘knew’. It was like an enormous penny had suddenly dropped”.
This idea is further explored in Icke’s Remember Who You Are: Remember ‘Where’ You Are and Where You ‘Come’ From (2012), where he introduces the concept of the “Saturn–Moon Matrix”. In this more recent conceptualization, the rings of Saturn (which Icke believes were artificially created by reptilian spacecraft) are the ultimate source of the signal, while the Moon functions as an amplifier.[page needed] He claims that frequencies broadcast from the hexagonal storm on Saturn are amplified through the hollow structure of our artificial moon keeping humanity trapped in a holographic projection.
5G and COVID-19
David Icke has been identified by the Center for Countering Digital Hate as a leading producer of misinformation about COVID-19 as well as anti-Semitic content. In April 2020, Icke claimed in a YouTube video on Brian Rose‘s London Real channel that there was a link between the COVID-19 pandemic and 5G mobile phone networks. The video was removed from the platform, and YouTube tightened its rules to prevent its website being used to spread conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic. It was later also deleted from Facebook. Multiple mobile phone masts were subject to arson attacks at this time, as well as telecom engineers being abused. Nick Cohen in The Observer thought Icke was ambiguous as to whether the phone masts should be left alone. Icke said in the London Real interview: “If 5G continues and reaches where they want to take it, human life as we know it is over… so people have to make a decision.”
London Live screened a similar interview with Icke about coronavirus on 8 April 2020. He made an unsupported claim that Israel was using the crisis “to test its technology” and suggested any attempt to require people to be vaccinated against COVID-19 amounted to “fascism”.
After Ofcom‘s formal investigation, the UK media regulator decided the 80-minute interview broke the terms of the broadcasting code as it “expressed views which had the potential to cause significant harm to viewers in London during the pandemic” which “were made without the support of any scientific or other evidence.”
Icke’s main page on Facebook was deleted on 1 May 2020, while other pages on the site promoting Icke with a smaller readership remained on the platform. Facebook said it had removed Icke’s page for its “health misinformation that could cause physical harm”. His YouTube channel was deleted a day later. A spokeswoman for YouTube told BBC News: “YouTube has clear policies prohibiting any content that disputes the existence and transmission of COVID-19 as described by the WHO and the NHS. Due to continued violation of these policies, we have terminated David Icke’s YouTube channel.” Icke’s appearances in videos uploaded by other users were only to be removed if their content breached the same rules.
On 29 August 2020, Icke was a speaker at an anti-lockdown protest in Trafalgar Square, London, organised under the Unite for Freedom banner. During his speech he stated, “Anyone with a half a brain cell on active duty can see coronavirus is nonsense” and, “We have a virus so intelligent that it only infects those taking part in protests the government wants to stop”. He also stated, “This world is controlled by a tiny few people” who “impose their agenda on billions of people”. He told the police who were present at the rally that they were “enforcing fascism that your own children will have to live with” and urged them to “join us and stop serving the psychopaths”.
Interest in Icke’s conspiracy theories is widespread and has cut across political, economic, and religious divides. His audiences hold a wide range of beliefs, uniting individuals, and left and right wing groups; from New Agers, and Ufologists, as well as far-right Christian Patriots, and the UK neo-Nazi group Combat 18, which supports his writings. Icke’s work is representative of a major global countercultural trend. American novelist Alice Walker is an admirer of Icke’s writings, along with comedian Russell Brand, and musician Mick Fleetwood. Icke has emerged as a professional conspiracy theorist within a global counter-cultural movement that combines New World Order conspiracism, the truther movement and anti-globalisation, with an extraterrestrial conspiracist subculture.
Accusations of antisemitism
There is a strong strain of anti-Semitic conspiracy theorizing that makes ufological connections, including especially the work of Milton William Cooper (1991) and David Icke (e.g., 1997). Both are controversial but still well known in both right-wing conspiracist and ufological subcultures.— Christopher F. Roth, Ufology as Anthropology: Race, Extraterrestrials, and the Occult
Jonathan A. Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League told The New York Times in December 2018: “There is no fair reading of Icke’s work that could be seen as not anti-Semitic”. However, Icke has repeatedly denied the accusation that he is an antisemite. In 2001, when he was questioned by Jon Ronson, Icke declared that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is evidence not of a Jewish plot but of a reptilian plot. He also said, “the families in positions of great financial power obsessively interbreed with each other. But I’m not talking about one earth race, Jewish or non-Jewish. I’m talking about a genetic network that operates through all races, this bloodline being a fusion of human and reptilian genes… let me make myself clear: this does not in any way relate to an earth race.” In an article in The Algemeiner, the writer commented: “Yet when he goes through a list of people in power who he considers to be ‘Rothschild Zionists,’ they all happen to be Jews (with many of them never claiming to be Zionists at all.)” According to Mark Gardner of the Community Security Trust, Icke believes a “‘Rothschild Zionist’ conspiracy controls the world, driving global conflict through NATO and seeking World War Three, which will begin between Zionists and Muslims.” Such claims about the Rothschilds have a long history as an antisemitic theme.
Icke states in And the Truth Shall Set you Free (1996):
Why do we play a part in suppressing alternative information to the official line of the Second World War? How is it right that while this fierce suppression goes on, free copies of the Spielberg film, Schindler’s List, are given to schools to indoctrinate children with the unchallenged version of events. And why do we, who say we oppose tyranny and demand freedom of speech, allow people to go to prison and be vilified, and magazines to be closed down on the spot, for suggesting another version of history.
Icke claims that the antisemitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is genuine, explaining in And the Truth Shall Set you Free:
I strongly believe that a small Jewish clique which has contempt for the mass of Jewish people worked with non-Jews to create the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the Second World War… They then dominated the Versailles Peace Conference and created the circumstances which made the Second World War inevitable. They financed Hitler to power in 1933 and made the funds available for his rearmament.
In the book, Yair Rosenberg reports, Icke uses the words “Jewish” on 241 occasions, and “Rothschild” on 374 occasions. Icke claims that Jews themselves are to blame for antisemitism (a classic Nazi claim that can be traced to Adolf Hitler):
Thought patterns in the collective Jewish mind have repeatedly created that physical reality of oppression, prejudice and racism which matches the pattern – the expectation – programmed into their collective psyche. They expect it; they create it.
In The Trigger: The Lie That Changed the World – Who Really Did It and Why (2019), Icke writes that the official explanation for the September 11 attacks is false and is intended to cover up the “massive and central involvement in 9/11 by the Israeli government, [Israeli] military and [Israeli] intelligence operatives.”
In his book UFOs, Conspiracy Theories and the New Age, David G. Robertson disputes that Icke is antisemitic, saying that it is just easier for some people to accept that when Icke says reptilians he really means Jews than that he literally means extraterrestrial reptilians control world politics. Robertson also says that to believe the accusations of antisemitism you must ignore numerous things, such as the many high-profile people Icke names as reptilian who are not Jewish (a point also made by Jon Ronson in his 2001 documentary The Secret Rulers of the World, Part 2: “David Icke, The Lizards and The Jews”), Icke’s frequent statements that he is speaking literally and not metaphorically, and that Icke identifies the supposedly reptilian ruling elite as “Aryan” in several places. Robertson also writes that Icke denounces racism, having called it “the ultimate idiocy”. In 2018, in response to allegations of antisemitism, Icke stated to Vox that: “My philosophy and view of life is that we are all points of attention within the same state of Infinite Awareness and the labels we are given and give ourselves are merely temporary experiences and not who we are… Thus to me all racism is ridiculous and completely missing the point of who we are and where we are.”
Following complaints from the Canadian Jewish Congress in 2000, Icke was briefly detained by immigration officials in Canada, where he was booked for a speaking tour, and his books were removed from Indigo Books, a Canadian chain. Several stops on the tour were cancelled by their venues, as was a lecture in London. Two venues in Berlin cancelled live events scheduled to be hosted by Icke in 2017 following accusations of antisemitism. The Maritim hotel did not give a reason for the cancellation, but the Carl Benz Arena wrote on its Facebook page that it was due to the “contentious nature and the contradictory statements, which for us as a politically neutral event venue do not give a clear picture.” An event to be held at Manchester United‘s Old Trafford was also cancelled in 2017, with the venue saying it was due to Icke’s “objectionable views.” After Icke’s talk in Vancouver on 2 September 2017, the Canadian Jewish News called him “a controversial conspiracy theorist, antisemite and Holocaust denier”. Micheal Vonn, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association’s policy director, told the newspaper: “You are free to be a racist in Canada, you are free to say so and tell others that they should be, too.”
In February 2019, the Australian Government cancelled Icke’s visa ahead of a planned speaking tour on the grounds of his character. Immigration Minister David Coleman upheld the complaint made by Dvir Abramovich, the chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission. This decision was applauded by both major political parties. Labor’s immigration spokesman, Shayne Neumann, said, “Labor welcomes the fact that the Government did what we called on them to do and refused David Icke’s visa application.” Icke issued a statement in which he described himself as “the victim of a smear campaign from politicians who have been listening to special interest groups”.
Political Research Associates has described Icke’s politics as “a mishmash of most of the dominant themes of contemporary neofascism, mixed in with a smattering of topics culled from the U.S. militia movement.” He opposes gun control, and claims that many mass shootings were orchestrated to increase public opposition to guns. He believes the U.S. government carried out the Oklahoma City bombing. He endorses or recommends antisemitic and far-right publications such as Spotlight and On Target, the magazine of the white supremacist group the “British League of Rights“, and has been closely associated with antisemitic “New Age” periodicals such as Nexus and Rainbow Ark, a “New Age” magazine which is financed by far-right activists and affiliated with the neo-Nazi National Front. The neo-Nazi terrorist group Combat 18 promoted Icke’s public speaking events in its internal journal Putsch; of one such event, the journal wrote approvingly:
[Icke] spoke of “the sheep” and how the Zionist-operated government, sorry, “Illuminati“, uses them for its own ends. He began to talk about the big conspiracy by a group of bankers, media moguls, etc. – always being clever enough not to mention what all these had in common.
Michael Barkun has described Icke’s position as New Age conspiracism, writing that Icke is the most fluent of the genre, describing his work as “improvisational millennialism“, with an end-of-history scenario involving a final battle between good and evil. Barkun defines improvisational millennialism as an “act of bricolage“: because everything is connected in the conspiracist world view, every source can be mined for links. Barkun argues that Icke has actively tried to cultivate the radical right: “There is no fuller explication of [their] beliefs about ruling elites than Icke’s.” He also notes that Icke regards Christian patriots as the only Americans who understand the “New World Order“. In 1996 Icke spoke to a conference in Reno, Nevada, alongside opponents of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, including Kirk Lyons, a lawyer who has represented the Ku Klux Klan. Icke has never been a member of any right-wing group, and he has criticised them.
Relying on Douglas Kellner‘s distinction between clinical paranoia and a “critical paranoia” that confronts power, Richard Kahn and Tyson Lewis argue that Icke displays elements of both and that his reptilian hypothesis and his “postmodern metanarrative” may be allegorical, a Swiftian satire which is used to give ordinary people a narrative with which to question what they see around them and alert them to the alleged emergence of a global fascist state.
People influenced by Icke have asked public figures if they are lizards. An Official Information Act request was filed in New Zealand in 2008 to ask John Key, then prime minister, whether he was a lizard. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked the same during a Q&A in 2016. Both men said they were not lizards. In a 2013 survey in the United States by Public Policy Polling, 4% believed that “‘lizard people’ control our societies”.
- (1983) It’s a Tough Game, Son!, London: Piccolo Books. ISBN 0-330-28047-3
- (1989) It Doesn’t Have To Be Like This: Green Politics Explained, London: Green Print. ISBN 1-85425-033-7
- (1991) The Truth Vibrations, London: Gateway. ISBN 1-85860-006-5
- (1992) Love Changes Everything, London: Harper Collins Publishers. ISBN 1-85538-247-4
- (1993) In the Light of Experience: The Autobiography of David Icke, London: Warner Books. ISBN 0-7515-0603-6
- (1993) Days of Decision, London: Jon Carpenter Publishing. ISBN 1-897766-01-7
- (1993) Heal the World: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Personal and Planetary Transformation, London: Gateway. ISBN 1-85860-005-7
- (1994) The Robot’s Rebellion, London: Gateway. ISBN 1-85860-022-7
- (1995) … And the Truth Shall Set You Free, Ryde: Bridge of Love Publications. ISBN 0-9538810-5-9
- (1996) I Am Me, I Am Free: The Robot’s Guide to Freedom, New York: Truth Seeker. ISBN 0-9526147-5-8
- (1998) Lifting the Veil: David Icke interviewed by Jon Rappoport. New York: Truth Seeker. ISBN 0-939040-05-0
- (1999) The Biggest Secret: The Book That Will Change the World, Ryde: Bridge of Love Publications. ISBN 0-9526147-6-6
- (2001) Children of the Matrix, Ryde: Bridge of Love Publications. ISBN 0-9538810-1-6
- (2002) Alice in Wonderland and the World Trade Center Disaster, Ryde: Bridge of Love Publications. ISBN 0-9538810-2-4
- (2003) Tales from the Time Loop, Ryde: Bridge of Love Publications. ISBN 0-9538810-4-0
- (2005) Infinite Love Is the Only Truth: Everything Else Is Illusion, Ryde: Bridge of Love Publications. ISBN 0-9538810-6-7
- (2007) The David Icke Guide to the Global Conspiracy (and how to end it), Ryde: David Icke Books Ltd. ISBN 978-0-9538810-8-6
- (2010) Human Race Get Off Your Knees: The Lion Sleeps No More, Ryde: David Icke Books Ltd. ISBN 978-0-9559973-1-0
- (2012) Remember Who You Are: Remember ‘Where’ You Are and Where You ‘Come’ From, Ryde: David Icke Books Ltd. ISBN 0-9559973-3-X
- (2013) The Perception Deception: Or … It’s All Bollocks — Yes, All of It, Ryde: David Icke Books Ltd. ISBN 978-0-955997389
- (2016) Phantom Self (And how to find the real one), Ryde: David Icke Books Ltd. ISBN 978-0-9576308-8-8
- (2017) Everything You Need To Know But Have Never Been Told, Ryde: David Icke Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1527207264
- (2019) The Trigger: The Lie That Changed The World, Ryde: David Icke Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-916025806
- (1994) The Robots’ Rebellion
- (1996) Turning of the Tide
- (1998) The Freedom Road
- (1999) David Icke: The Reptilian Agenda, with Zulu Sanusi (Shaman) Credo Mutwa
- (1999) David Icke: Revelations of a Mother Goddess, with Arizona Wilder
- (2000) David Icke Live in Vancouver: From Prison to Paradise
- (2003) Secrets of the Matrix
- (2006) Freedom or Fascism: The Time to Choose
- (2008) David Icke Live at the Oxford Union Debating Society on YouTube
- (2008) Beyond the Cutting Edge: Live from Brixton Academy
- (2008) David Icke: Big Brother, the BIG Picture
- (2010) The Lion Sleeps No More
- (2012) Return to Peru
- (2012) Remember Who You Are: Live at Wembley Arena
- (2014) Awaken: Live from Wembley Arena
- (2017) Worldwide Wakeup Tour Live
- (2019) Renegade
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Barkun, Michael (2011). Chasing Phantoms: Reality, Imagination, and Homeland Security Since 9/11. University of North Carolina Press. p. 72. ISBN 978-0807877692.
- ^ Dunning, Bob (30 November 2002). “David Icke Coventry City”. Archived from the original on 3 January 2003.
- ^ “Conspiracy Theories — The Reptilian Elite”. Time. 20 November 2008. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
- ^ Doherty, Rosa (17 December 2018). “Acclaimed author Alice Walker recommends book by notorious conspiracy theorist David Icke”. The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 17 December 2018 – via thejc.com.
- ^ Shabi, Rachel (27 November 2018). “How David Icke helped unite Labour’s factions against antisemitism”. The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Bowlin, Ben; Fredrick, Matt; Brown, Noel (10 February 2017). “David Icke and the Rise of the Lizard People”. stufftheydontwantyoutoknow.com (Podcast). Retrieved 3 March 2017.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g Lewis & Kahn 2010, p. 75.
- ^ Robertson 2016, p. 121.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g Offley, Will (29 February 2000). “David Icke And The Politics Of Madness Where The New Age Meets The Third Reich”. Political Research Associates. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
- ^ Icke, David (1991). The Truth Vibrations. pp. 15–18.
- ^ Icke 1993, pp. 192–194.
- ^ Ronson, Jon (2001). Them: Adventures with Extremists. London: Picador. pp. 152–154.
- ^ Evans, Paul (3 March 2008). “Interview: David Icke”. New Statesman. NS Media Group. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Barkun 2003, p. 103.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Ward, James (10 December 2014). “Mocked prophet: what is David Icke’s appeal?”. New Humanist. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d Doyle, Paul (17 February 2006). “David Icke”. The Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Icke 1999, pp. 26–27.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Lewis & Kahn 2010, p. 82.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Icke 1999, pp. 19–25, 40.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Lynskey, Dorian (6 November 2014). “Psycho lizards from Saturn: The godlike genius of David Icke!”. New Statesman. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Andrew Neil, “David Icke on 9/11 and lizards in Buckingham Palace theories”, This Week, BBC (video), 20 May 2016, 00:04:02.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d Widdas, Henry (17 April 2018). “Being ‘red-pilled’ by David Icke has never been so entertaining… and terrifying”. Lancashire Evening Post. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Offley, Will (23 February 2000). “Selected Quotes Of David Icke”. Political Research Associates. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d Rosenberg, Yair (17 December 2018). “The New York Times Just Published an Unqualified Recommendation for an Insanely Anti-Semitic Book”. Tablet. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d “Lizard conspiracist David Icke not wanted in Berlin”. Deutsche Welle. 23 February 2017. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Widdas, Henry (16 July 2018). “Icke: Reports of my madness have been greatly exaggerated”. Lancashire Post. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
- ^ Icke 1993, pp. 28–30.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Icke 1993, pp. 29, 33.
- ^ Newitt, Ned (21 March 2013). The Slums of Leicester. JMD Media Ltd. pp. 153, 159–160.
- ^ Jump up to:a b David Icke, Tales from the Time Loop, Ryde: Bridge of Love Publications, 2003, pp. 2–3.
- ^ Icke 1993, pp. 36, 38.
- ^ Icke 1993, pp. 39–40.
- ^ Icke 1993, pp. 44, 46.
- ^ Icke 1993, pp. 54, 58.
- ^ Icke 1993, pp. 66–69.
- ^ Icke 1993, pp. 69–73.
- ^ Icke 1993, pp. 61–63.
- ^ Icke 1993, p. 61.
- ^ Icke 1993, pp. 82, 96, 253–254.
- ^ Robertson 2016, pp. 139–140, 147.
- ^ Icke 1993, pp. 72, 75.
- ^ Icke 1993, p. 78.
- ^ Icke 1993, pp. 79, 81, 83.
- ^ Icke 1993, pp. 85–86.
- ^ Icke 1993, pp. 88–91.
- ^ Icke 1993, pp. 91–92.
- ^ Icke 1993, pp. 93–95, 99–100.
- ^ Icke 1993, p. 98.
- ^ Icke 1993, p. 109.
- ^ Icke 1993, p. 104.
- ^ Icke, Tales from the Time Loop, p. 7.
- ^ Anonymous (14 November 1990). “Protester David Icke finally pays community charge”. The Guardian.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Kennedy, Maev (20 March 1991). “Icke resigns Green Speaker and parliamentary roles”. The Guardian.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Icke, David (1991). The Truth Vibrations. London: Aquarian Press. p. 13.
- ^ Icke, David. Days of Decision. p. 19.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Icke, David (2016). Phantom Self. Ryde: David Icke Books. pp. 1–3.
- ^ Jump up to:a b “Biography 1”. davidickebooks.co.uk. David Icke. Archived from the original on 19 June 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
- ^ “The 10 worst decisions in the history of sport”. The Observer. Guardian News & Media. 12 January 2003.
- ^ Kay 2011, p. 179.
- ^ Robertson, David G. (7 September 2013). “David Icke’s Reptilian Thesis and the Development of New Age Theodicy”. International Journal for the Study of New Religions. 4 (1): 27–47. doi:10.1558/ijsnr.v4i1.27.
- ^ “Biography 2”. davidickebooks.co.uk. David Icke. Archived from the original on 14 July 201. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
- ^ Icke, David. Tales from the Time Loop. pp. 12–13, 16.
- ^ Icke 1993, pp. 190, 208.
- ^ Icke 1993, p. 192.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d Extracts from Ronson, Jon. Them: Adventures with Extremists.. Ronson, Jon. “Beset by lizards (part one)”. The Guardian. Ronson, Jon (17 March 2001). “Beset by lizards (part two)”. The Guardian.
- ^ Taylor, Sam (20 April 1997). “So I was in this bar with the son of God…”. The Observer.
- ^ Robertson 2016, p. 130.
- ^ Icke 1993, pp. 223, 254.
- ^ Robertson 2016, pp. 134–135.
- ^ Icke 1993, pp. 188, 192–193.
- ^ Robertson 2016, pp. 130–131.
- ^ Ezard, John (28 March 1991). “‘Son and daughter of God’ predict apocalypse is nigh”. The Guardian.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Robertson 2016, p. 131.
- ^ Ronson 2001, p. 154.
- ^ “The day David Icke told Terry Wogan “I’m the son of God””. The Daily Telegraph. 29 April 2016.
- ^ Des Christy, “Crucifixion, courtesy of the BBC,” The Guardian, 6 May 1991.
- ^ Oppenheim, Maya (31 January 2016). “The most controversial moments from Sir Terry Wogan’s chat show”. The Independent. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
- ^ “Icke taunted,” The Times, 27 May 1991.
- ^ Ronson 2001, p. 173.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Robertson 2016, p. 147.
- ^ Wogan, Terry (2007) . Mustn’t Grumble. London: Orion. p. 158. ISBN 978-1409105893.
- ^ Icke, Tales from the Time Loop, 14, 17, 26.
- ^ Robertson 2016, pp. 133–135.
- ^ Ronson (Channel 4) 2001, 06:12 mins.
- ^ Goodrick-Clarke 2003, p. 291.
- ^ “Protocols of the Elders of Zion | The Holocaust Encyclopedia”. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Barkun 2003, pp. 50, 145–146.
- ^ Juliane Wetzel, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion on the internet: How radical political groups are networked via anti-Semitic conspiracy theories,” in Esther Webman (ed.), The Global Impact of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion: A Century-Old Myth, New York: Routledge, 2012 (147–160), p. 148.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Barkun 2003, p. 104.
- ^ Also see Norman Simms, “Anti-Semitism: A Psychopathological Disease,” in Jerry S. Piven, Chris Boyd, Henry W. Lawton (eds.), Judaism and Genocide: Psychological Undercurrents of History, Volume IV, Lincoln, NE: Writers Club Press, 2002, 30ff.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Robertson 2016, p. 138.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d Goodrick-Clarke 2003.
- ^ For Cooper: Ed Vulliamy, Bruce Dirks, “New trial may solve riddle of Oklahoma bombing”, The Guardian, 3 November 1997.
- ^ Icke, The Robots’ Rebellion, London: Gateway, 1992, p. 114.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Honigsbaum, Mark (26 May 1995). “The Dark Side of David Icke”. Evening Standard. London. Archived from the original on 28 April 1999.
- ^ “Greens bar Icke”, The Independent, 12 September 1994.
- ^ Vivek Chaudhary, “Greens see red at ‘Son of God’s anti-Semitism’,” The Guardian, 12 September 1994.
- ^ Goodwin, Stephen (29 September 1994). “Icke factor could thwart Greens’ serious message”. The Independent. Archived from the original on 2 June 2013.
- ^ Faucher-King, Florence (11 October 2005). Changing Parties: An Anthropology of British Political Conferences. Palgrave Macmillan UK. p. 264, note 10. ISBN 978-0-230-50988-7.
- ^ David Icke, “Down but speaking out among the Greens,” letters to the editor, The Guardian, 14 September 1994.
- ^ Barkun 2003, p. 144.
- ^ David Icke, “Chapter Seven: Master races”, And the Truth Shall Set You Free, Ryde: Bridge of Love Publications, 1995, pp. 127–146.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Grady, Constance (20 December 2018). “The Alice Walker anti-Semitism controversy, explained”. Vox. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Alexander, Harriet (4 December 2011). “David Icke – would you believe it?”. The Sunday Telegraph. London. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d Barkun 2003, p. 106.
- ^ Paul Evans, “Interview: David Icke”, New Statesman, 3 March 2008.
- ^ Marre, Oliver (20 January 2008). “Pendennis”. The Observer.
- ^ David Icke, “David Icke Live at the Oxford Union Debating Society”, produced by Linda Atherton, Commonage, February 2008.
- ^ Mesure, Susie (27 October 2012). “David Icke is not the Messiah. Or even that naughty. But boy, can he drone on”. The Independent on Sunday. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
- ^ Robertson 2016, pp. 139–140.
- ^ “Haltemprice and Howden: Result in full”. BBC News. 11 July 2008.
- ^ Wainwright, Martin; Stratton, Allegra (11 July 2008). “Haltemprice and Howden byelection: Davis sees off Loonies and claims victory in 42-day detention battle”. The Guardian.
- ^ “David ICKE stood for the None (No Party)”. VoteWise. Archived from the original on 13 February 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2010.
- ^ Naughton, Philippe (27 June 2008). “Reptilians beware – David Icke is back!”. The Times. (subscription required)
- ^ Jivanda, Tomas (25 November 2013). “David Icke launches internet TV station The People’s Voice”. The Independent.
- ^ “The People’s Voice 2.0”. thepeoplesvoice.tv/. Archived from the original on 18 May 2016.
- ^ Icke 1999, pp. 30–40.
- ^ For law of attraction, Icke, Children of the Matrix, 291 ff.
- ^ Icke 1999, pp. 5–9.
- ^ Jump up to:a b David Icke, Remember Who You Are: Remember ‘Where’ You Are and Where You ‘Come’ From, Ryde: David Icke Books, 2012.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Storr, Will (16 June 2013). “It’s a jungle out there”. The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 21 April 2020. (subscription required)
- ^ Readfearn, Graham (6 December 2016). “More terrifying than Trump? The booming conspiracy culture of climate science denial”. The Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
- ^ Barkun 2003, p. 105.
- ^ Icke 1999, p. 52.
- ^ Robertson 2016, p. 140.
- ^ Jump up to:a b “The Royal Family are bloodsucking alien lizards – David Icke”, The Scotsman, 30 January 2006.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Icke 1999, p. 40.
- ^ Icke 1999, pp. 61, 52, 43.
- ^ Icke 1999, p. 61.
- ^ Robertson 2013, p. 35.
- ^ Icke 1999, p. 30.
- ^ Lewis & Kahn 2010, p. 81.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Robertson 2016, pp. 150–151.
- ^ Icke, David; Mitchell, Ben (22 January 2006). “This much I know”. The Observer. Guardian News & Media. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
- ^ Allington, Daniel; Toube, David (14 November 2018). “Why conspiracy theories are not just a harmless joke”. New Statesman. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
- ^ Marshall, Michael. “David Icke Live: What I Learned From Spending Four Hours With The World’s Most Famous Conspiracy Theorist”. Gizmodo – UK. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
- ^ Stephen Roth Institute (2002). Antisemitism Worldwide, 2000/1. U of Nebraska Press. pp. 146–. ISBN 978-0-8032-5945-4.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Gardner, Mark (5 January 2017). “David Icke’s ages old New Age antisemitism”. Community Security Trust. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
- ^ Ronson, Jon (6 May 2001). “David Icke, the Lizards, and the Jews”. Channel 4. Event occurs at 00:16:30. Archived from the original on 14 December 2021 – via YouTube.
- ^ Barkun 2003, pp. 103–104.
- ^ Robertson 2016, p. 152.
- ^ Icke, David. Children of the Matrix. p. 339.
- ^ Icke, David. Human Race Get off Your Knees. pp. 134, 646.
- ^ Kay, Jonathan (2011). Among the Truthers: A Journey Through America’s Growing Conspiracist Underground. HarperCollins. p. 180.
- ^ Lewis & Kahn 2010, p. 83.
- ^ Seidel, Jamie (18 February 2019). “David Icke: How the world’s greatest conspiracy theorist discovered his personal truth”. News.com.au — Australia’s Leading News Site. News Corp. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Robertson 2016, p. 139.
- ^ Jump up to:a b David Icke, “Problem-reaction-solution”, News for the Soul, accessed 12 December 2010.
- ^ Quote on page two from Drinkwater, Kenneth; Dagnall, Neil; Denovan, Andrew; Parker, Andrew; Clough, Peter (January–March 2018). “Predictors and Associates of Problem-Reaction-Solution: Statistical Bias, Emotion-Based Reasoning, and Belief in the Paranormal”. SAGE Open. 8 (1): 11. doi:10.1177/2158244018762999.: “Although, the precise lineage of PRS [problem–reaction–solution] is unknown, researchers often ascribe the origin of PRS to various ancient figures or events (i.e., Roman Emperor Diocletian) and philosophical doctrines (Hegel, 1812; see Fichte, 1794, in Neuhouser, 1990). In this historical context, PRS comprises three stages equivalent to those subsumed within PRS: thesis (intellectual proposition, problem), antithesis (negation of the proposition, response to thesis), and synthesis (resolution of tension between proposition and reaction, resolution). These steps derive from Heinrich Moritz Chalybäus misinterpretation (Carlson, 2007) of Hegel’s dialectic (Mills, 2005; Stewart, 1996). The exact source and academic status of PRS is unclear and beyond the remit of this article, which generally views PRS as a form of faulty inferential thinking. More precisely, as the tendency to validate proffered suboptimal solutions based on limited evaluation of objective evidence.”
- ^ Icke, Human Race Get Off Your Knees: The Lion Sleeps No More.
- ^ For 9/11, Icke, Alice in Wonderland and the World Trade Center Disaster.
- ^ For global warming and Agenda 21, Icke, Phantom Self, 303.
- ^ Widdas, Henry (7 June 2018). “David Icke: My unanswered 9/11 questions”. Lancashire Evening Post. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Robertson 2016, p. 157.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Icke, David (2003). Tales from the Time Loop: The Most Comprehensive Expose of the Global Conspiracy Ever Written and All You Need to Know to be Truly Free (First ed.). Bridge of Love. p. 447. ISBN 978-0953881048.
- ^ David Icke, Human Race Get Off Your Knees: The Lion Sleeps No More, Ryde: David Icke Books, 2010, pp. 618, 627, 632.
- ^ O’Brien, Liam (19 May 2013). “Prize-winning author Alice Walker gives support to David Icke on Desert Island Discs”. The Independent. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
- ^ The Anti-Vaxx Industry, Center for Countering Digital Hate, 2020
- ^ Jump up to:a b Kelion, Leo (7 April 2020). “Coronavirus: YouTube tightens rules after David Icke 5G interview”. BBC News. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
- ^ “Facebook removes David Icke coronavirus-5G conspiracy video”. ITV News. 9 April 2020. Retrieved 4 May 2020.
- ^ Field, Mark (13 April 2020). “How Britain’s telecoms firms are reacting to the surge in coronavirus conspiracies”. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
- ^ Cohen, Nick (25 April 2020). “Social media no longer tolerates toxic lies? Don’t believe a word of it”. The Observer. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
- ^ “The Coronavirus Conspiracy: How COVID-19 Will Seize Your Rights & Destroy Our Economy”. London Real. 6 April 2020. Event occurs at 1:18:05. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
- ^ “Ofcom ‘urgently’ probes Icke TV interview on virus”. BBC News. 9 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- ^ Harpin, Lee (12 April 2020). “London Live condemned for allowing David Icke to air ‘lunatic conspiracy theories'”. The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
- ^ Harpin, Lee (20 April 2020). “Ofcom sanctions London Live for broadcasting David Icke interview about coronavirus”. The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
- ^ Dearden, Lizzie (1 May 2020). “Coronavirus: Conspiracy theorist David Icke’s Facebook page deleted as pressure mounts on social media companies”. The Independent. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- ^ “Coronavirus: David Icke kicked off Facebook”. BBC News. 1 May 2020. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
- ^ “Coronavirus: David Icke’s channel deleted by YouTube”. BBC News. 2 May 2020. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
- ^ Drury, Colin (30 August 2020). “Anti-lockdown, anti-vaccine and anti-mask protesters crowd London’s Trafalgar Square”. The Independent. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
- ^ Jump up to:a b “Conspiracy theorist David Icke cheered by thousands at anti-lockdown demo”. The Jewish Chronicle. 30 August 2020.
- ^ “Twitter bans David Icke over Covid misinformation”. BBC News. 4 November 2020. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
- ^ “Twitter permanently suspends conspiracy theorist David Icke’s account”. The Guardian. PA Media. 4 November 2020. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
- ^ “Desert Island Discs: Alice Walker”. BBC Radio 4. 19 May 2013.
- ^ Hoyles, Ben; Moore, Matthew (22 December 2018). “Yikes! David Icke on march again after Pulitzer writer Alice Walker’s praise”. The Times. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
- ^ Lynskey, Dorian. “Psycho lizards from Saturn: The godlike genius of David Icke!”. New Statesman. NS Media Group. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
- ^ Sawyer, Miranda. “Brand on the run”. The Observer. Guardian News & Media. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
- ^ “7 musicians who are fascinated by conspiracy theories”. BBC. BBC. 16 April 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
- ^ Battaglia, Debbora (2005). E.T. culture: anthropology in outerspaces. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-3632-7.
- ^ Alter, Alexandra (21 December 2018). “Alice Walker, Answering Backlash, Praises Anti-Semitic Author as ‘Brave'”. The New York Times. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
- ^ Ronson, Jon (17 March 2001). “Beset by Lizards”. The Guardian. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
- ^ “Antisemite David Icke Being Allowed to Speak at City-Owned Theater in Vancouver for Ten Hours”. The Algemeiner. 5 September 2017. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
- ^ Golan, Ori (13 July 2016). “Don’t waste your money to see conspiracy theorist David Icke”. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 May 2020.
- ^ Jump up to:a b “From Green Messiah to New Age Nazi”. Institute for Social Ecology. January 1996. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
- ^ Charles, Ron (24 September 2019). “A hateful, conspiracy-filled book just got harder to buy. That’s no cause for celebration”. The Washington Post. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
- ^ Kraft, Frances (7 October 1999). “New Age speaker set to talk in Toronto”. The Canadian Jewish News. Archived from the original on 1 March 2007.
- ^ Cowley, Jason (1 October 2000). “The Icke Files”. The Independent on Sunday. Archived from the original on 6 November 2012.
- ^ Jackson, Jamie (17 November 2017). “Manchester United cancel David Icke show at Old Trafford after backlash”. The Guardian. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
- ^ Gindin, Matthew (8 September 2017). “Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theorist David Icke Gives Talk in Vancouver”. The Canadian Jewish News. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
- ^ Jaffe-Hoffman, Maayan (21 February 2019). “Aussi Government Bans Man Who Said Jews ‘Bankrolled’ Hitler”. The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Doran, Matthew (20 February 2019). “Holocaust denier who believes alien lizards rule the world banned from entering Australia”. ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
- ^ Koziol, Michael (20 February 2019). “Government bans conspiracy theorist David Icke ahead of planned Australian tour”. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
- ^ Karp, Paul (20 February 2019). “Conspiracy theorist David Icke hits back after Australia revokes visa”. The Guardian. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
- ^ “Rainbow Ark magazine”. Center for Media and Democracy. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
- ^ Barkun 2003, pp. 98, 103ff, 163.
- ^ Barkun 2003, pp. 10–11, 107–108, 184.
- ^ Barkun 2003, pp. 106–108.
- ^ Lewis & Kahn 2010, pp. 73, 75, 83.
- ^ Tyson Lewis, Richard Kahn, “The Reptoid Hypothesis: Utopian and Dystopian Representational Motifs in David Icke’s Alien Conspiracy Theory,” Utopian Studies, 16(1), Spring 2005 (45–74), 52, 55–56. JSTOR 20718709
- ^ Lewis & Kahn 2010, p. 88.
- ^ Guarino, Ben “‘I am not a lizard’: Mark Zuckerberg is latest celebrity asked about reptilian conspiracy”, The Washington Post, 15 June 2016.
- ^ “Conspiracy Theory Poll Results”, Public Policy Polling, 2 April 2013.
- ^ Harris, Paul (2 April 2013). “One in four Americans think Obama may be the antichrist, survey says”. The Guardian.
- ^ Oksman, Olga (7 April 2016). “Conspiracy craze: why 12 million Americans believe alien lizards rule us”. The Guardian.
- ^ Alex Godfrey, “Kick-Ass 2: Mark Millar’s superhero powers”, The Guardian, 8 August 2013.