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Chip Berlet

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Currency Conspiracism


This page is adapted from research originally done for::

Chip Berlet. 2011. “Protocols to the Left, Protocols to the Right: Conspiracism in American Political Discourse at the Turn of the Second Millennium,” in Richard Landes and Steven Katz, The Paranoid Apocalypse: A Hundred-year Retrospective on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. New York: New York University Press.

_____. 2009. Toxic to Democracy: Conspiracy Theories, Demonization, & Scapegoating, Somerville, MA: Political Research Associates.

_____. 2009. «Fears of Fédéralisme in the United States: The Case of the ‘North American Union’ Conspiracy Theory», Fédéralisme Régionalisme, Volume 9, Numéro 1 - Le fédéralisme américain http://popups.ulg.ac.be/federalisme/document.php?id=786.

 

Where do Money Conspiracy Theories Circulate?


Conspiracy claims about currency manipulation are a topic regularly covered in the publications of the John Birch Society.

The material appears in their glossy magazine The New American, and in handouts such as "Creating 'Wealth' "

Most of the publications in this blog entry were picked up in early December 2010 by the author at the JBS headquarters in Appleton, Wisconsin.

The JBS is the quintessential right-wing "Patriot" group

Groups such as the aremd militia movement of the 1980s and the “Posse Comitatus” of the 1980s have one leg in the “Patriot Movement” and the other in the White Supermacist, Antisemitic, and neonazi sectors of the Political Right.

The John Birch Society is slightly more "mainstream" than these groups and publicly repudiates overt antisemitism.

Here is a video by JBS leader Arthur Thompson commenting on "Another Shooting Prompts Liberal Response."

 

 
jbs

jbs

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While a considerable portion of the Zeitgeist "documentary" is devoted to 9/11 conspiracy theories that are embraced by a subculture of activists on the Political Left and Political Right, the underlying claim is of a conspiracy run by seccret financial elites who created the Federal Reserve System.

The movie recapitulates the claim of a banker conspiracy forged on Jekyll Island off the coast of Florida. Most of the claims are lifted without credit from the book The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin and Secrets of the Federal Reserve by Eustace Mullins.

While Griffin avoids overt antisemitism, Mullins was a notorious antisemite who used Federal Reserve conspiracy theories as a way to introduce people to his other body of work which was noxious antisemitism.

Zeitigeist – the Movie refers to the International Bankers-long a code word for Jewish Bankers.

 

 

 

Zeitgeist -The Movie - Federal Reserve Section Part 1

Zeitgeist -The Movie - Federal Reserve Section Part 2

Zeitgeist -The Movie - Federal Reserve Section Part 3

Zeitgeist -The Movie - Federal Reserve Section Part 4

Zeitgeist -The Movie - Federal Reserve Section Part 5

From the person who posted the five part YouTube version of the Federal Reserve section:

" 'Zeitgeist - The Movie' is a three part film. The film, unedited, is two hours long. The video you are currently watching is part three of three of the film; 'The Federal Reserve'. If you'd like, you can [also] view parts one (Religion) and two (World Trade Center).

The currency conspiracy segment in Zeitgeist starts on one YouTube version at one hour and 14 minutes into the documentary by playing an audio of fascist-sympathizer Charles Lindberg charging on September 11, 1941 at a rally of the America First Committee that the U.S. was being enticed into entering WWII by a conspiracy of elites using fear propaganda. This allegedly allowed the assumption of dictatorial powers on the part of President Roosevelt.

Lindberg blamed three powerful groups behind the conspiracy:
"The British, the Jewish, [and] the Administration."

YouTube Video: Complete Original '07 Zeitgeist With 2010 Updates by: Peter Joseph

Transcript of Lindberg Speech at PBS

YouTube Audio of Lindberg Speech

Note the first comments on YouTube:
We the People have psy-op'd for our perceptions for many years. People say the words, "...and to the Republic.." for all those yrs, and are never taught what a Republic is.

911 WAS A COUP, and that coup has been going on for more years than any American today has been alive

 

[Image in this righthand column is from a study guide on Charles Lindberg by a group of legitimate aviation historians who play no role in this dispute.]

The article Headline

The Emerging Global Fed

The article Subhead:

Many of the world's financial elits are excitedly pushing for a world fiat currency, but such a system woule create problems that would make our present ones seem tame"

Cite: Alex Newman, "The Emerging Global Fed," The New American (John Birch Society), Global Economy Cover Story, September 27, 1010, p. 17-20, image from p. 20

 

 

jbs 

The cutline reads:

"Gold and silver coins have traditionally been considered a sort of global currency because they have inherent value that cannot be secretly confiscated by authorities.”

   

Headline:

"Fed Manipulations in the Crosshairs"

Subheading:

"Evidence is overwhelming that the Federal Reserve is manipulating stock, bond, and gold prices to the benefit og big banks and the detriment of average Americans."

Cutline:

The Federal Reserve's unprecendented bank bailouts resulted in wild stock market distortions, transferring trillions of dollars to favored institutions while decimating investment portfolios of regular Americans who coreeectly read the market.

Cite: Alex Newman, ""Fed Manipulations in the Crosshairs," The New American (John Birch Society), Economy section, June 21, 1010, p. 21.

 

Article on "Fed Manipulations in the Crosshairs"

Cutline:

The Fed’s disregard: Though it has become public knowledge that the Fed uses U.S. gold to manipulate the value of the U.S. dollar, the Fed will not answer Freedom of Information Act requests about their specific actions, or how much gold they have leased or sold.”

Subhead:

"Manipulation of Gold and Other Precious Metals"

Cite: Alex Newman, ""Fed Manipulations in the Crosshairs," The New American (John Birch Society), Economy section, June 21, 1010, p. 24.

 

Full-Page color ads from Visa fabrics provide substantial support for the pubication of the JBS magazine The New American. Visa fabrics is a subsidiary of Milliken & Company.

The New American (John Birch Society), full page advertisement, June 21, 1010, p. 3.

The Milliken empire is based in the South and has earned a reputation for union-busting. Family members have a long history of supporting and funding right-wing causes.

Republican powerhouse Roger Milliken, who recently died, and others associated with the Milliken empire, helped fund the Western Goals Foundation, established by Rep. Larry McDonald, who briefly led the John Birch Society in 1983 afters years of membership. Western Goals cooperated with the JBS in spying on leftists perceived to be "agents of Influence" of the Soviet Union.

 

Handout: Reprinted from The New American:

"Creating 'Wealth' "

Cutline:

"The Federal Reserve’s ability to create money out of thin air and to manipulate the value of the dollar gives it ultimate control over the purse strings of every American household."

Charles Scaliger, "Creating 'Wealth,'" handout, John Birch Society, p. 1, reprinted fromThe New American (John Birch Society), April 13, 2009.

 

Ron Paul, the Republican Congressman from Texas, is a hero in the Patriot Movement; and frequently praised by the John Birch Society.

Charles Scaliger, "Creating 'Wealth,'" handout, John Birch Society, p. 5, reprinted fromThe New American (John Birch Society), April 13, 2009.

In Janaury 2010, Glenn Beck interviewed Ron Paul, saying:

"GLENN: Now, we always have Ron Paul on when we talk about the economy because Ron and I are well, he’d probably disagree with this, but and so would many of his supporters, but I think we’re pretty close to lockstep on many of the things that he believes in the economy."

 

 

Former presidential candidate Ron Paul addressed the sold-out crowd as a ketnote speaker at the celebration of the John Birch Society's 50th Anniversary.
Video at this link

Charles Scaliger "Creating 'Wealth,'" handout, John Birch Society, p. 5, reprinted fromThe New American (John Birch Society), April 13, 2009.

Note: Rep. Paul raises legitimate concerns over the policies of the Federal Reserve, (which that primarily benefit a wealthy elite); but Paul wraps his concerns in right-wing conspiracy theories about money manipulation.

Glenn Beck interviewed JBS spokesperson Sam Antonio in July 2007. ThinkProgress described the exchange as covering:

"various 'conspiracy theories' about immigration and border security, including the idea that 'the Mexican government' has 'a hold on our enforcement of laws here in America.' Beck told Antonio that he used to think the Society members were 'a bunch of nuts,' but that they are now 'starting to make more and more sense' ” Watch the video.

JBS member Larry Greenley argues that in many ways "Glenn Beck Recapitulates The John Birch Society" arguments.

I agree.

 

 

"Mr. Sam Antonio currently serves as Coordinator for The John Birch Society for Southern California and Southern Nevada. In addition, he serves as The John Birch Society National Spokesman on Immigration. He is also a contributor to the JBS Bulletin and to New American Magazine...."

 

Source: the John Birch Society website.

 

 

 

Subhead:

"Time to End the Fed"

Text fom page 7:

"Until the Federal Reserve is abolished and replaced with a free specie-based banking system, Americans will not enjoy the economic and financial freedom por ancestors enjoyed. We will continue to be at the mercy of booms and busts unleased by the mandarins of high finance to serve their own political ends."

Charles Scaliger, "Creating 'Wealth,'" handout, John Birch Society, p. 7, reprinted from The New American (John Birch Society), April 13, 2009.

 
 

Charles Scaliger, "Creating 'Wealth,'" handout, John Birch Society, p. 7, reprinted fromThe New American (John Birch Society), April 13, 2009.

John F. McManus, "Comic Books form the Federal Reserve," The Last Word column, The New American (John Birch Society), Septmember 27, 2010, p. 44.
 

Text from the column:

"But the kind of power held by the Fed enables it to create national booms and busts"

 

John F. McManus, "Comic Books form the Federal Reserve," The Last Word column, The New American (John Birch Society), Septmember 27, 2010, p. 44.

 

 

 

 

Cutline:

“Money: The dollar is technically not money but a currency unit, originally only a convenient reckoning of an amount of gold (or silver). Today’s fiat (paper) currencies are an affront to thousands of years of experience that established gold, because of its scarcity, durability, divisibility, and desirability, as the ideal money.”

Charles Scaliger, "Creating 'Wealth,'" handout, John Birch Society, p. 4, reprinted from The New American (John Birch Society), April 13, 2009.

 

Cutline:

“The Fed’s disregard: Though it has become public knowledge that the Fed uses U.S. gold to manipulate the value of the U.S. dollar, the Fed will not answer Freedom of Information Act requests about their specific actions, or how much gold they have leased or sold.”

Charles Scaliger, "Creating 'Wealth,'" handout, John Birch Society, p. 1, reprinted from The New American (John Birch Society), April 13, 2009.

 

More examples of publications from the conspiracist John Birch Society

   

 

The back page of the "Creating 'Wealth' " handout includes an order form for a variety of books, pamplets, handouts, and a DVD that you can order from the John Birch Society. Featured is the book The Creature from Jekyll Island:

Griffin, G. Edward (1995), The Creature from Jekyll Island, Appleton: American Opinion Publishing, Inc.

 

Charles Scaliger, "Creating 'Wealth,'" handout, John Birch Society, p. 8, reprinted from The New American (John Birch Society), April 13, 2009.

 
 

Myth #1: The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 was crafted by Wall Street bankers and a few senators in a secret meeting.

by Edward Flaherty

G. Edward Griffin lays out this conspiratorial version of history in his book The Creature from Jekyll Island. His amateurish take on history is highly suspect, however.  Gerry Rough, in a series of well- researched essays on U.S. banking history, reveals many historical inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and even contradictions in Griffin's book and others of its genre.  Instead of reproducing Rough's work here, I offer the reader a substantially more accurate view of the events leading up to the creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913....

Conspiracy theorists have long viewed the Federal Reserve Act as a means of giving control of the banking system to the money trusts, when in reality the intent and effect was to wrestle control away from them.  History clearly demonstrates that in the decades prior to the Federal Reserve Act the decisions of a few large New York banks had, at times, enormous repercussions for banks throughout the country and the economy in general.  Following the return to central banking, at least some measure of control was removed from them and placed with the Federal Reserve.

 

 

 

Griffin, in an interview returned the discussion of a conspiracy,
but in this case stressed the role of Jewish bankers in a questionable manner which raises the issue of antisemitic stereotyping..

G. Edward Griffin

Videos of Griffin talking about the Federal Reserve conspiracy:

5 minutes

42 minutes


An Interview with G. Edward Griffin,
Author of 'The Creature from Jekyll Island'

(Secretive Creation of the Federal Reserve System)
Interview by Victor Thorn & Lisa Guliani

Victor Thorn: Let me ask you this. You mentioned that the five primary forces at that time were the Morgans, Rockefellers, Rothschilds, Warburgs and Kuhn-Loeb. Today, if we had to name the dominant forces in the banking industry, or those people who are really pulling the strings of the rest of the world, how much different would it look today - or would there be any difference - than it looked in 1913?

Griffin's response is in the righthand columm-->

 

G. Edward Griffin: Well, it's really hard to quantify that. I believe it would look pretty much the same except for one shift. In 1913, the Morgans were the dominant American banking influence. Before I say anything more, you should know that J. P. Morgan was really - most biographers say and have said of him - that he was probably an agent of the Rothschilds.

The Rothschilds had a very strong, very effective tactic of doing business through other organizations that were thought to be independent. They developed this tactic over the decades in Europe when there was a lot of anti-Semitism, and so the Rothschilds, of course, being Jewish, found that if they wanted to gain dominance in a market that was anti-Semitic, they certainly couldn't do it directly themselves.

So they worked through agents who were thought to be independent, and in some cases, agents who were thought to be anti-Semitic - which was kind of clever. J. P. Morgan was often thought of as being anti-Semitic, but the record is now clear that he was an agent of the Rothschilds himself. So, in any event, in 1913, it was pretty clear that J. P. Morgan - The House of Morgan - was the dominant banking influence.

But today, that seems to have shifted to the Rockefellers. There's no doubt in my mind today that the Rockefellers are the dominant banking force in the United States.

The Rothschilds, I believe, are still very powerful - although they continue to operate behind the scenes so that nobody really focuses on them. They like the public to think that they're just a bunch of playboys and they dabble in the markets. But in reality, I think from what I can see, the Rothschilds are still very, very powerful in all of this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Griffin ties his theories of a Federal Reserve conspiracy to the concept of "collectivism." This charge of collectivism was the underlying theme of the Town Hall and Tea Party movement fears of Obama planning to use Big Government as a first step to impose tyranny and collectivist rule.

It explains the origin of the claim that Obama is both Hitler and Stain since both are "collectivist" forms of "totalitarianism" which leads to tyranny and slavery.

Interview with G. Edward Griffin, Author of 'The Creature from Jekyll Island'

(Secretive Creation of the Federal Reserve System)
Interview by Victor Thorn & Lisa Guliani

 

G. Edward Griffin: I think when you cut through all of that verbiage and all of the emotional attachments we have to those words, you wind up with just two ideologies in the western world today. And that is, individualism vs. collectivism. And the western world today is in the grips of collectivism.

Collectivism can take many forms. Socialism is a form of collectivism. Nazism is a form of collectivism. Communism is a form of collectivism. They're all variations of collectivism, and if you know what collectivism is, you can spot them.

The idea that Hitlerism and Stalinism are both forms of "big government" collectivism tracks back to this book:

Friedrich A. Hayek, (1960 [1944]), The Road to Serfdom: The dangers to freedom inherent in social planning, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

 

 

These theories were written into a more formal “scholarship” by the so-called Austrian School of Economics with Frederich Hayek as the major intellectual.

After World War II, the invisible hands of free market forces were spread by a right-wing economist named Ludwig von Mises, who was a mentor to Hayek.

Von Mises then joined the editorial board of the John Birch Society's major publication of that period.

Along with the theories of von Mises, the John Birch Society (JBS) published copious amounts of conspiracist material, including books, magazines, films, and filmstrips.

 

American Opinion was the JBS magazine in the 1960s and its 1964 masthead reads like a Who's Who of ultra-conservatism, with Associate Editors Revilo P. Oliver and E. Merrill Root and Contributing Editors Medford Evans and Hans Sennholz. Von Mises was on the Editorial Advisory Committee with Clarence Manion, J. Howard Pew, and Robert W. Stoddard.

Oliver went on to a frenetic career as a conspiracy theorist blaming Jewish bankers for the nation's economic woes.

The JBS finally purged Oliver.

The John Birch Society takes the thesis of Hayek and like von Mises wraps it in a conspiracy theory that claims the secret wealthy elite plot to manipulate the currency and gold prices in the United States tracks back to the machinations of the Illuminati infiltration of the Freemasons in the 1700s.

According to the John Birch Society the same secret nest of "Insiders" still control the economy and political life of the United States.

When I visited the JBS headquarters last month I bought a reprint copy of Robison's Proofs of a Conspiracy, published originally in 1798.

 



 

In the White Supremacist and Neonazi sector of the U.S. Political Right, the idea of a vast global conspiracy is tied to antisemitic conspiracy theories based on the infamous hoax forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. These then blur into the anti-illuminati conspiracy theories in public discussions on on websites.

Some on the Political Left have picked up on these theories, especially in the 9/11 Truth movement, although several leaders of that movement have denounced antisemitism, especially by Webster Tarpley, a former accolyte of the Lyndon LaRouche network. The blend of left and right ideas also happens on the Alex Jones Prison Planet website and his related Infowars website. Some hosts on the progressive Pacifica Radio stations, especially WBAI-FM in New York, also feature the conspiracy theories abotu money manipulation and secret elites.

 

According to the John Birch Society, the money manipulation conspiracy is part of a plan to create a collectivist New World Order and impose tyranny.

 

Cite: Alex Newman, "Waking Up to a World Currency," The New American (John Birch Society), Global Economy Cover Story, September 27, 1010, cover..

 

The mainstream media are part of the conspiracy, according to the John Birch Society.

 

Cite: Alex Newman, "Waking Up to a World Currency," The New American (John Birch Society), Global Economy Cover Story, September 27, 1010, p. 15

 

“The drive of the Rockefellers and their allies is to create a one-world government combining super capitalism and Communism under the same tent, all under their control….Do I mean conspiracy? Yes I do. I am convinced there is such a plot, international in scope, generations old in planning, and incredibly evil in intent.”

McDonald briefly led the John Birch Society and was a longstanding membe

 

Attributed to "Congressman Larry [Lawrence] P. McDonald, foreword to The Rockefeller File, 1976, killed in the Korean Airlines 747 that was shot down by Soviets."

Note: Some conspiracists continue to claim that the plane was targeted to assasinate McDonald and others on the flight. There is little credible evidence that a commercial 747 passenger jet was intentionally shot down by the Soviets, who in fact thought it was a military aircraft.

President Obama is also part of the plot.

 

Conspiracy theory critiques of Obama as part of a socialist/collectivist conspiracy are widely popular on the Political Right.

 

  

  


 

Please note that I am a critic of the Federal Reserve System policies and felt the bank bailouts unfairly rewarded banking and financial services organizations who were not only greedy but engaged in illegal activities. I dispute the conspiracy theory interpretation of these actions.

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Democracy is a process,
not a specific set of institutions

Democracy is a process that assumes
the majority of people, over time,
given enough accurate information,
the ability to participate
in a free and open public debate,
and can vote without intimidation,
reach constructive decisions
that benefit the whole of society, and
preserve liberty,
protect our freedoms,
extend equality, and
defend democracy.


-Chip Berlet

_________________________

 

 

 

 

Democracy is a process,
not a specific set of institutions

Democracy is a process that assumes
the majority of people, over time,
given enough accurate information,
and the ability to participate
in a free and open public debate,
reach constructive decisions
that benefit the whole of society, and
preserve liberty,
protect our freedoms,
extend equality, and
defend democracy.

This site is curated by Chip Berlet