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What we can learn from the Illuminati and other Conspiracy Theories

27 February 2013, 09:00

It is my contention that there is no such thing as a 'popular uprising', there always seems to be an organization or group fanning the flames of discontent and encouraging violence, mayhem and even murder.Before I discuss this phenomenon in the context of the tragic recent happenings in Marikana and the farm-workers' strikes in the Western Cape, I would like to go back in history to see where conspiracy theories started.

It all started with a book written by John Robison in 1797 entitled 'Proofs of a Conspiracy against all the Religions and Governments of Europe'. The book became a bestseller not only because of its controversial content but also because Robison was a highly respected scientist with many scientific articles (Over a 1000 pages of articles in the third edition of the Encyclopaedia Britanica, for instance). He was also a highly respected professor of Natural Philosophy at Edinburgh Univesity for over twenty years.

In the book, Robison propounded the theory that there was a vast conspiracy, masterminded by a covert Masonic cell known as the Illuminati, which was subverting all institutions of the civilised world and incorporating them into its secret plan: the tyranny of the masses under the control of an unknown group of superiors.

He maintained that the Illuminati was directly responsible for mobilising the ignorant peasants of France during the French Revolution. He named some of the early leaders of the revolution such as Robespierre, Marat and Voltaire as members of the Illuminati. These leaders may have been Freemasons, but the fact that they all suffered the same fate as the aristocrats and became guillotine fodder does put a damper on his theory.

To this day many people believe in the existence of the Illuminati and the secrecy maintained by the Masons is not conducive to dispelling the fears of the gullible.

Does this mean that all conspiracy theories are hogwash? I don't think so!

I believe that a few individuals or groups are always responsible for mob violence - during the French Revolution the deputies and leaders certainly were responsible for 'rousing the rabble'.

Now let us turn to one  of the events in 2011 that shook the world and changed the politics of the Middle East, possibly for ever. On February 11, 2011, the Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had resigned as president. This was a direct result of violent protests that caused the deaths of numerous protestors and police. Of course, the protestors had legitimate grievances. The Mubarak regime did not tolerate any kind of opposition and there is no doubt that the regime was more politically corrupt than most of the governments in Africa (and that says a lot, given the corruption prevalant on this continent).

For the first time in history, social media played a major role in organising this 'popular uprising'. The Egyptian protests were definitely organised via Facebook and Twitter. But was this initiative simply a spontaneous use of the internet by all the youths of Egypt?

Apparently not so: in the US a major Foundation called Freedom House provided technical training to bloggers from the Middle East. "From February 27 to March 13, Freedom House hosted 11 bloggers from the Middle East and North Africa for a two-week Advanced New Media Study Tour in Washington, D.C. The Study Tour provided the bloggers with training in digital security, digital video making, message development, and digital mapping.' (“Bloggers Learn New Media Tools” on the Freedom House website")

Even more obvious assistance to the revolution in Egypt is revealed in another article on the Freedom House website: “New Generation of Advocates: Empowering Civil Society in Egypt,” 'The article refers to young Egyptian activists as the “YouTube Generation” and states that they are “supported by Freedom House to enhance their outreach, advocacy and effectiveness” That support, says the article, “has yielded tangible results and the New Generation program in Egypt has gained prominence both locally and internationally” (ibid). The article then shares how Freedom House helped fellows visiting from Egypt acquire tools that could be used to facilitate revolution.

It states: "Egyptian visiting fellows from all civil society groups received unprecedented attention and recognition, including meetings in Washington with U.S. Secretary of State, the National Security Advisor and prominent members of Congress. In the words of Condoleezza Rice, the fellows represent the “hope for the future of Egypt.”

    "Freedom House fellows acquired skills in civic mobilization, leadership, and strategic planning, and benefited from networking opportunities through interaction with Washington-based donors, International organizations and the media. After returning to Egypt, the fellows received small grants to implement innovative initiatives such as advocating for political reform through Facebook and SMS messaging.('Destabilization: Directed Discontent in Egypt and Beyond - by Paul & Phillip D. Collins, March, 11, 2011)

It seems fairly clear then that Freedom House'provided activists with access to the resources necessary to carry out a revolution'.(Ibid)

Another US organisation, closely related to Freedom House, is the misnamed 'National Endowment for Democracy (NED).' It seems that this organisation is directly responsible for fomenting conflict in many different countries. For instance, in 1984, the NED provided funds to a presidential candidate in Panama who was supported by Manuel Noriega and the CIA. The NED, says William Blum, “successfully manipulated elections in Nicaragua in 1990 and Mongolia in 1996 and helped overthrow democratically elected governments in Bulgaria in 1990 and Albania in 1991 and 1992”
(Blum, William. “Trojan Horse: The National Endowment for Democracy.”)

Another manipulator of countries is George Soros and his "Open Society Institute". There are many instances of this group's manipulation of countries too numerous to mention here. For more information go to

This brings me to the Marikana tragedy: who was behind this 'popular uprising'? Was it the police trying to establish their superiority, or was it the two warring unions trying to show who had the most influence on the workers? We will probably never know, but I don't believe that the whole sorry debacle can be laid at the door of the mine-workers.

The farm-workers strike in the Western Cape with its attendant violence can definitely not be simply due to the discontent of the workers. Many of them would have preferred to go on working. Then who was behind it all? Was it perhaps that would-be Robespierre, Ehrenreich trying to promote himself by fomenting discontent? Or did the ANC see it as an opportunity to embarrass the hated DA? I'm inclined to favour the latter idea. If this was indeed the case, the subsequent increase of the hourly wages for farm workers, has boomeranged on both the ANC and the farm workers as many workers will lose their jobs because of unsustainable costs to farmers. Sadly the South African economy will suffer as a consequence, and that affects us all...

What conspirators do not realise is that fires can sometimes burn out of control. "A commonly employed technique in forest management is controlled burning, which involves the intentional setting of fires in consciously selected wooded areas. Fire can function in a regenerative capacity, stimulating the germination of desirable trees and foliage. Yet, in the context of politics, the same principle underpinning controlled burns seldom works. The fire in the minds of men is not so easily controlled. Those who set that fire and try to direct its spread invariably lose control. The flames of revolution typically consume the very rights of those it claims to liberate. In the charred remains of l'ancien régime, the ugly weed of totalitarianism germinates, choking out the tree of liberty and consuming the forest". Destabilization: Directed Discontent in Egypt and Beyond
- by Paul & Phillip D. Collins, March, 11, 2011

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