Meet Alex Jones, the Talk Radio Host Behind Charlie Sheen’s Crazy Rants

Illustration by Matt Mahurin

The most paranoid man in America is trying to overthrow the ‘global Stasi Borg state,’ one conspiracy theory at a time

By Alexander Zaitchik
Rolling Stone

It’s just past 9 a.m. when Alex Jones pulls his Dodge Charger into a desolate parking lot in Austin. From the outside, the squat, single-story office complex that Jones calls his “command center” resembles a moon base surrounded by fields of dying grass. But inside, blinking banks of high-tech recording gear fill the studio where he broadcasts The Alex Jones Show, a daily talk show that airs on 63 stations nationwide. Jones draws a bigger audience online than Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck combined — and his conspiracy-laced rants make the two hosts sound like tea-sipping NPR hosts on Zoloft.

A stocky 37-year-old with a flop of brown hair and a beer gut, Jones usually bounds into the studio, eager to launch into one of his trademark tirades against the “global Stasi Borg state” — the corporate-surveillance prison planet that he believes is being secretly forged by an evil cabal of bankers, industrialists, politicians and generals. This morning, though, Jones looks deflated. Five days ago, a mentally disturbed 22-year-old named Jared Loughner opened fire on a crowd in Tucson, Arizona, killing six and seriously wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Loughner was reported to be a fan of Loose Change, a film Jones produced that has become the bible for those who believe 9/11 was an inside job.

This article appears in the March 17, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone. The issue is available now on newsstands and will appear in the online archive March 4.

All week, Jones has been twisting in the media crossfire. Now, his staff plays him a clip of a new attack by Limbaugh. In it, the conservative icon bemoans the social rot caused by three films that prominently feature Jones, including Loose Change.

“So a conspiracy movie,” Limbaugh bellows, “appears to be the most influential media of this young man’s life.”

Jones begins to fume. “What a whore Limbaugh is,” he mutters. “All of them. Just a bunch of whores for the Borg state. Get the clip ready. I wanna talk about this.” Limbaugh’s comments, Jones declares, are nothing but a “transpartisan McCarthyite attack on everything not 100 percent inside their little thought bubble.” He points out that Loose Change has been viewed by at least 50 million people. “During these societal upheavals, it’s messy,” he says. “A lot of bad things happen. And yeah, you’re gonna have paranoid schizophrenics that get set off by the crazy things corporations and governments are doing, and by those who are exposing it to them. But we can’t allow ourselves to become paralyzed. If a schizophrenic takes three hits of acid in the forest and sees demons in the trees, and snaps, do you cut down the trees?”

Jones being Jones, he’s not sure the Tucson rampage is as simple as a psychotic snap. Turning over the possibilities sends the tendrils of his anti-government imagination into wild motion. “The whole thing stinks to high heaven,” he says. “This kid Loughner disappeared for days at a time before the shooting? My gut tells me this was a staged mind-control operation. The government employs geometric psychological-warfare experts that know exactly how to indirectly manipulate unstable people through the media. They implanted the idea in his head by repeatedly asking, ‘Is Giffords in danger?'”

Jones doesn’t stop there. The Gates Foundation? “Obviously a eugenics operation.” The latest WikiLeaks dump? “All the hallmarks of an intelligence disinfo campaign.” While urging his audience to wake up and smell the police state, Jones can sound thoughtful and intellectual, quick to quote Nietzsche, Plato, de Tocqueville, Gibbon and Huxley. Mostly, though, he defaults into machine-gun bursts of rage that crescendo with an adolescent snarl — Holden Caulfield playing Paul Revere.

“Government-lab-produced airborne Ebola?” Jones thunders. “It’s comin’ your way! Enjoy it, yuppies!

It’s just after 11 a.m., and Alex Jones is just getting started.

Jones has been yelling into microphones and bullhorns more or less continuously, and often at violent volumes, for the past 16 years. Since launching his broadcast career, he has become a multiplatform prophet of paranoia who sees diabolical plots in every turn of the news cycle. In his Manichaean melodrama, nodes of private and state power share an ugly face and a demonic brain intent on a single, shared goal: creating the New World Order. To Jones, the New World Order is a blanketing presence, a wicked beast for which he has endless pet names: the “demonic high-tech tyranny” or the “absurdist 1984 regime of control-freak sadists.” Jones, who loves to draw analogies to sci-fi classics like Dune and Star Wars, sees the 21st century as a kind of fanboy-fantasy landscape populated by three groups: a rebel alliance of liberty-loving patriots (his fans); masses of consumerist sheep (those who ignore him); and a sadistic elite (global bankers and their agents), forever tightening the screws on the imperiled remnants of human freedom.

The New World Order’s methods are many: manufactured economic crises, sophisticated surveillance tech and — above all — inside-job terror attacks that fuel exploitable hysteria. The endgame, Jones believes, is a mass eugenics operation that will depopulate the planet by poisoning our food and water with fluoride, radioactive isotopes and various futuristic toxic soups being engineered in New World Order laboratories. Those who resist are being tracked by secret, federalized police bunkers known as “fusion centers” that will eventually round up every dissenter and throw them into camps run by the Federal Emergency Management Authority.

By disseminating such theories over the airwaves and online, where followers can get the word out faster than any film distributor, Jones can draw a million viewers within days for a documentary like his The Obama Deception. “In the past, such theories were circulated in booklets, books, public speeches and sermons,” says Chip Berlet, who studies conspiracy culture for Political Research Associates, a Boston-based think tank. “Jones reaches more people over the Internet than any conspiracy crank in U.S. history.”

Jones has 80 million hits on his YouTube channel, and his fringe views have slowly begun to infiltrate more mainstream outlets. Many of his fans, in fact, believe that Glenn Beck routinely rips off Jones, stealing his ideas and then watering them down for broader consumption. “People inside his company tell me Beck follows what we do closely,” says Jones. “It’s frustrating that I’ve never sold out, yet I’m being gobbled up by this giant Pac-Man who puts my work through his corporate-media assembly line. He takes information from me about secret combines and elites and then spins it against big government, but he ignores big business. He says George Soros is at the top of the New World Order power pyramid? Give me a break. I have no love for Soros. But I don’t trust Beck. Ninety-eight percent of my audience hates him. New listeners tell me I’m a Beck wanna-be. I’m like, ‘No, it’s the other way around.'”

In November, Jones put on a demonstration of his power by employing his latest guerrilla technique. Asking his audience to stage a mass online search of the phrase “Revolt Against TSA” — a tactic known as Google Bombing — Jones instantly manipulated the term to the top of Google’s search index. As intended, the maneuver caught the sensitive traffic antennae of Matt Drudge, who put the TSA story on the national news agenda. “Our show was the detonator on the cap of the TSA story, and Drudge was the barrel of the gun,” says Jones. “The result was a direct head shot on the New World Order.”

Such attacks get Jones lumped in with the far right, for good reason. It was Jones, a longtime supporter of presidential candidate Ron Paul, who spread the Obama “Joker” poster that defined the early Tea Party protests in 2009, and he employs the movement’s rhetoric of “patriots” and “government tyranny.” But on closer inspection, his mishmash, anti-establishment politics are too bad-trip weird to fit neatly into any political category. “Ignore the left and right wings,” Jones likes to say. “Study the brain of the bird.”

To Jones, what matters most is the “continuity of agenda at the top. When I called Clinton a Wall Street puppet, they called me a right-wing extremist. When I said the same about George W. Bush, they called me an anti-war communist. Now that I’m against Obama for the same reasons, mainline conservatives embrace me. When I attack the next right-wing ‘savior,’ they’re gonna call me a communist again.”

On the spiritual cancer of modern capitalism, Jones sounds more like Ralph Nader than a Fox Business channel libertarian. “Madison Avenue makes us addicts of consumerism, using glass wampum to steal our capacity to direct our own lives,” Jones says. “The globalists are smart and tell us sin is fun, sin is a red-­devil cheerleader. No — sin is cheating other people, it’s sending troops to die in illegal wars, it’s keeping people dumb so you can control, exploit and kill them.”

Jones and his staff are currently scripting his 19th film, which will examine the New World Order strings attached to Rick Perry, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck — a sort of Tea Party Deception. Among the targets, Glenn Beck looms large. “Beck, and more lately Limbaugh, sees our success and knows he has to talk about the New World Order to stay relevant,” says Jones. “But he spins it in a neoconish way that reinforces the controlled, left-right paradigm that divides people instead of bringing them together.”

For such an angry guy, the barrel-chested Jones is a surprisingly jolly presence. Off-air, his gravel-pit voice softens to crack jokes with his young staff, dote on his wife and three kids, and take chatty calls from his 86-year-old grandmother. Jones is always talking about how boring and conventional his life is. He attends a Methodist church on Sunday, blushes at profanity and likes to take his family hiking on the 193 miles of trails that crisscross Austin. Any rage left over from his show appears reserved for the black Dodge Charger he guns down Austin’s highways, 450-horsepower engine roaring, speakers pumping old-school rap, heavy metal and classic country.

“People think I’m depressive and angry, but it’s the opposite,” Jones tells me over margaritas at his favorite Mexican joint. “My life is a love letter to humanity. What the globalists do is a hate letter, a curse.”

The restaurant, like many of Jones’ favorite spots, is located in South Congress, an artsy neighborhood featured prominently in Slacker, director Richard Linklater’s 1991 ode to Austin’s eccentrics. Here, in the self-proclaimed world capital of live music and conspiracy culture, Jones is part celebrity, part mascot. During lunch, a stream of teenage and twentysomething fans approach Jones to shake his hand and thank him. “Aw, you’re sweet,” he tells the girls; “Thanks, buddy — what’s your name?” he asks the guys.

“My one weakness is enjoying my long enemies list,” he says, after posing for a picture with a young fan who looks like she just stepped out of a Suicide Girls pinup calendar. “I don’t get off on being famous.”

Critics of Jones often focus on the question of whether his narrative of evil is responsible for inciting violence. Last July, an ex-convict named Byron Williams was arrested following a gun battle with California police. Williams, an Alex Jones fan, was allegedly on his way to shoot up the Tides Foundation, a liberal nonprofit that had been targeted by Glenn Beck in repeated rants. To hear Jones tell it, such vio­lence is really the fault of the New World Order — and victims like Gabri­elle Giffords are essentially collateral damage.

“Some unstable people are drawn to the bright flame of enlightenment that is so-called ‘conspiracy culture,'” Jones says. “Some trees are going to become uprooted in a storm like this. But we can’t stop telling the truth for fear of what telling the truth is going to do. If we do, then human life as we know it is over and we’re just Prozac-head automatons.”

When I press Jones on how he would respond to a violent attack on one of his boogeymen, the Council on Foreign Relations, he once again implies they would have it coming. “I strongly believe in nonviolence and have protested the Council on Foreign Relations with a bullhorn because it’s the most effective thing to do,” he says. “But if someone attacks the globalists at the CFR, it will be a manifestation of all the evil they’ve been part of — the corporate neocolonialism, the bombings of villages.” Evil, as he sees it, begets evil. “I don’t want anybody to attack the CFR,” he insists. “But it’s up there in the hierarchy. We’ll all be judged.”

Jones was born in Dallas in 1974, the descendant of two lines of Texas frontiersmen. He describes a childhood that will disappoint those searching for the Freudian roots of his crusade. His parents, a dentist and a homemaker, raised him with love in the manicured suburb of Rockwall. “I was the all-American kid with a great family,” he says. “I read Time-Life books, played football, was friends with everybody.”

Home life was intellectual, but not overtly political. “My parents were careful not to give me political views almost as an experiment to see what I’d turn into,” he says. “The closest thing to a childhood political training was some neighbors who were members of the John Birch Society. They’d come over for dinner and I’d be exposed to those ideas, starting at around age two.”

It was in high school that Jones discovered a corrupt, Blue Velvet underbelly to his town. At weekend parties, he watched as off-duty cops dealt pot, Ecstasy and cocaine to his friends. “A truck would appear, sometimes with a guy still in uniform inside,” Jones recalls. “Then, on Monday, they’d have D.A.R.E. and drug-test us for football.” Jones, a young var­sity lineman, did not appreciate the irony. “I was like, ‘You want to drug-test me, when I know you’re selling the stuff?’ I called them the mafia to their face. At the time, I didn’t know anything about CIA drug-dealing.”

Things came to a head during Jones’ sophomore year, when he was pulled over while driving without a license, a six-pack of beer under the passenger seat. Jones told the cop he was corrupt and had no right to enforce laws. “They brought me to jail,” Jones says. “Afterward, one of the cops told me to wise up, or they’d frame me and send me away.” The following week, his father was so spooked that he sold his dental practice and moved the family to Austin. A few months later, Rockwall County’s sheriff was indicted on organized-crime charges.

For Jones, the encounter with state hypocrisy was transformative. “The Rockwall cops were lowbrow thugs, and Alex was a hell-raiser,” says Buckley Hamman, a cousin who grew up with Jones. “The conflict with the cops started Alex down the road of his current pursuit.”

In Austin, Jones quit football and smoking pot (“It made me paranoid”), and began consuming history: Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. “I started understanding that governments have been staging terror and dealing drugs throughout history,” he says. “The whole program was there.”

The most enduring influence, though, was a 1971 bestseller he found on his father’s bookshelf: None Dare Call It Conspiracy. Authored by Gary Allen, a spokesman for the John Birch Society, the book provided the cornerstone for New World Order conspiracies. According to None Dare, the federal income tax is nothing but a plot by a cabal of megarich “insiders” who work to suck the middle class dry and transfer its wealth to the Ford and Rockefeller foundations. As a teenager, Jones read the book twice. “It’s still the easiest-to-read primer to the New World Order,” he says.

After graduating high school in 1993, Jones took classes part-time at Austin Community College, and he found himself drawn to the studios of Austin’s community-access cable station. Soon he was subbing for sick hosts, mixing conspiracy theorizing with muckraking reporting. When the federal building in Oklahoma City was bombed in 1995, Jones began accusing the government of being involved in the attack. “I understood there’s a kleptocracy working with psychopathic governments — clutches of evil that know the tricks of control,” he says. His mailbox began to overflow with manila envelopes from fans who offered up more pieces of the New World Order puzzle: RAND reports, declassified intelligence, yellowed press clippings. Within months, Jones landed his own show on KJFK, a local station, and became a folk hero in Austin, a town that prides itself on its characters.

By 1999, when new owners of the station fired Jones for what they called his “inside-terror-job stuff,” he had already outgrown the limitations of old-fashioned broadcasting. His website,, gave him a platform that no one could censor, and an ISDN line he installed at home enabled him to beam his broadcasts to 10 stations across the country. “My KJFK colleagues made jokes about it,” he says, “but I was reaching more people at home than the terrestrial station.”

A new age of media was dawning, and Jones was one of its earliest pioneers. “Alex Jones is a model for people to create their own media,” says Michael Harrison, editor of the industry trade magazine Talkers. “When the history is written of talk broadcasting’s transition from the corporate model of the 20th century to the digital, independent model of the 21st century, he will be considered an early trailblazer.”

Jones also moved into filmmaking with America: Destroyed by Design, which posits a “World Bank takeover” of public lands. The film caught the attention of Richard Link­later, an Austin director who would go on to cast Jones as a crazed street prophet in his animated cult hits Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly. Jones won a spot as a host for a libertarian-minded syndication outfit, which was set up to steer business to a gold company called Midas Resources. Jones quickly began racking up affiliates. He was nearing 100 stations on July 25th, 2001, when he looked into the camera and issued a warning that has since become legendary among 9/11 Truthers. “Please!” he implored. “Call Congress. Tell ’em we know the government is planning terrorism.” Jones mentioned the World Trade Center by name and warned against the propaganda he expected to accompany the attacks. “Bin Laden is the boogeyman they need in this Orwellian, phony system,” he said.

Seven weeks later, Jones became the only radio host in America to begin his September 11th broadcast with a tirade against the U.S. government. “I went on the air and said, ‘Those were controlled demolitions. You just watched the government blow up the World Trade Center.’ I lost 70 percent of my affiliates that day. Station managers asked me, ‘Do you want to be on this crusade going nowhere, or do you want to be a star?’ I’m proud I never compromised.”

After 9/11, his mainstream commercial appeal plunged to zero, but his cult profile continued to rise. A month after the attacks, Linklater’s dreamy and innovative film Waking Life featured an animated version of Jones driving through downtown Austin and proselytizing through a rooftop megaphone. “We are being conditioned on a mass scale!” Jones yells to empty streets. “Start challenging this corporate slave-state … and stand up for the human spirit!” As the rant builds, Jones’ face progresses from pale, to violet, to blue, and finally to crimson-red, the color of spilled blood, a picture of madness.

The Bush years were a ripe time for Jones and his message of government deceit. The lies leading to the invasion of Iraq and the complicity of the media were plain for all to see. By the time Jones produced his 9/11 film Loose Change, he was no longer a lonely voice in the media wilderness, but the founding father of a growing national movement. Charlie Sheen suggested he organize a 9/11 Truth conference in Los Angeles, and Jones appeared in Link­later’s adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s dystopian novel A Scanner Darkly. “Alex’s mind is a turbocharged research and information processor,” Link­later has said. Sharing the credits with Woody Harrelson and Robert Downey Jr., Jones once again played himself as a street prophet. His scene ends when plainclothes agents haul him into an unmarked police van for ranting publicly about government drug dealing.

His future arrest, or worse, is not a scenario Jones finds fictional. “I know I’m risking my life, but if they kill me, it’ll confirm everything,” says Jones, who has been arrested four times and suffered a torn rotator cuff for his activism. “This information that I’ve helped reverse-engineer is here to stay. I enjoy life. But I’d rather they blow my head off at a rally when I’m 40 than die during surgery at 85. There’s freedom and power in total commitment.”

Unlike many of his conspiracy-minded predecessors — Henry Ford, the Ku Klux Klan, the militia movement — Jones has no tolerance for racism or anti-Semitism. “There is no globalist command center, and I never make it about certain groups,” says Jones, whose wife is of Jewish descent and whose adopted sister Marley is Asian-American. “All humans do the same stuff. Class solidarity should transcend race and religion in the fight against the globalists. Everything they touch turns to mutated death.”

Jones claims he can document every aspect of the New World Order — the eugenics master plan, the inside-job terror, the FEMA camps. “It’s basic criminal psychol­ogy to brag,” he says. “Because the globalists talk about it, 95 percent of what I say is based on official documents and the mainstream press. I don’t speculate.”

But those documents and press clippings don’t always say what Jones claims they say. Jones points to an old Henry Kissinger memo as proof of a New World Order plan to forcibly depopulate the Third World, but a close reading of the document reveals little more than government officials beginning to grapple with the strategic implications of runaway population growth. Nor does Operation Northwoods, a declassified 1962 government proposal for staging terror in the United States and blaming agents of Fidel Castro, serve as proof, as Jones frequently implies, that every act of terror originates with the U.S. government. The fact that Wall Street and big business exert an alarming control over the political system does not mean that every financial crash is part of a long-term scheme to bankrupt the world and leave everyone prostrate before the planned release of a cancer-causing monkey virus.

This is not to say that Jones is a conscious fabulist. By all impressions, he is shockingly sincere in everything he says. But for a man of otherwise high analytical ability, his logic and reading-comprehension skills are often victims of his Ahab-like obsession with the New World Order. Extreme extrapolation and prosecution by circumstantial evidence can be useful intellectual exercises. Almost never are they reliable guides to a complex world.

“I have deep context for every claim I make,” Jones insists. “I know some people say I exaggerate, but I believe everything I say. It’s just that the denial is so strong, the apathy so deep, that people need something to shake them out of their morass. We’re like flowers who naturally turn toward the sun, and the globalists want us turned toward Hollywood and the TV so they can poison us. It’s like one of those drawings with a hidden pattern. Once you stare long enough, it appears. Then you wonder: How did I ever not see it?”

9 responses to “Meet Alex Jones, the Talk Radio Host Behind Charlie Sheen’s Crazy Rants

  1. G. Edward Griffiths (What in the World are they Spraying) is also a John Birch-er.

    A reply by G. Edward Griffin, updated 2007 October 28

    I can understand how mention of my association with The John Birch Society may cause some people to raise an eyebrow. The general impression among many is that the Society is an extremist organization made up of kooks, McCarthyites, and racists. So let me jump to the bottom line.

    I am a life member of The John Birch Society and, for several years in the 1960s, served on the Society’s staff as a Major Coordinator and official spokesman. From over forty years of personal contact with its members and leadership, I can say with authority that the Society is an excellent educational organization promoting limited government and opposing collectivism in all of its forms. There is nothing about it that is contrary to the highest standards of morality and ethical conduct.

    When its rapid growth in the 1960s caught the attention of the collectivists who dominate our nation’s power centers, the press launched a massive attack against it and successfully demonized it in the minds of most Americans. The attack centered around a statement made by the Society’s founder, Robert Welch. He had written a book, called The Politician, which was a critical view of President Dwight Eisenhower’s career. The purpose of the book was to show that, although Eisenhower was widely regarded as a conservative due to his affiliation with the Republican Party and also because of the excellence of his speechwriters, his actual deeds demonstrated that he was a collectivist. He went further by stating that Eisenhower’s actions were largely supportive of the goals of communism. There was not much controversy over that, because Welch included an abundance of examples to prove his point. But then, in choosing a word to politically describe him, Welch chose the wrong word. He said that Eisenhower was a Communist.

    As everyone in Freedom Force knows, Communism is merely a variant of collectivism. Had Welch used the more generic word, had he called Eisenhower a collectivist, there would be very little in his book that anyone could fault. But he did not. He used the wrong word, and this was the handle the press was looking for. Welch was demonized and made to look foolish, which was all that was necessary to turn the public against him and the organization he founded.

    I knew Robert Welch well. In preparation for writing his biography, The Life and Words of Robert Welch, (published in 1975) I had the privilege of examining his private papers and personal letters dating back to boyhood. I interviewed members of his immediate family, including his amazing mother who, as a former schoolteacher, was instrumental in sparking and nourishing his powerful intellect at a very early age. I spent many hours in conversation with him on a wide variety of topics: everything from religion to economics; from mathematics to philosophy. I did not agree with him on everything. For example, he believed that the Darwinian concept of evolution has been scientifically verified, whereas I think it is a theory that is no more scientifically verified than the theory of special creation, and that both theories are based on belief systems. But these disagreements were minor compared to the major issues involving personal freedom and the proper role of government, issues on which we were in harmony.

    In 1963, a document was published entitled The Belmont Brotherhood, written by A.J. MacDonald. It claimed that the John Birch Society is a false-leadership organization pretending to be pro-freedom while actually being a front for the Freemasons. This document now is available on the Internet and, judging by the number of times it is referenced in search engines, it has received wide circulation.

    I cannot agree with the thesis of this document for reasons that will be explained, but the issues it raises deserve to be addressed. Although MacDonald made numerous unsupportable claims and, in my opinion, reached too far into secondary relationships to fortify other claims, he nevertheless brings to light certain connections that are direct and primary.

    Let’s start with the unsupportable claims. The Belmont Brotherhood says that J. Bracken Lee, is listed as a Mason in Who’s Who in America and was an early member of the John Birch Society Council. This may be true, but I can find no verification of Lee ever having been on the Council. However, in the book, The Mountain States of America: People, Politics, and the Power, p. 205, Lee is quoted as saying: “I liked Welch and what he was trying to do, but … I never did join up with him.” (Google Book Search) If anyone can provide documentation that Lee was a member of the Council, I will, of course, retract this objection.

    MacDonald claims that the following members of the JBS Council were Masons: Robert Love, Ralph E. Davis, Frank E. Masland, III, and Cola Godden Parker. As his reference, he cites Who’s Who in America and tells us that copies of the pertinent pages from that book are attached to the end of his report. Unfortunately, the Internet version of that report does not contain those attachments. Since I like to check things out for myself, I requested Who’s Who to send me copies of the biographies of these men. The copies they sent contained no mention of Masonic membership for any of them. I have not been able to locate an original copy of MacDonald’s report, so I have no idea what his attachments were, but it appears they were not from Who’s Who.

    It may be claimed that their membership has been confirmed by the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon. The lodge maintains a web site called “Anti-masonry Frequently Asked Questions” and on page 17 it says: “A number of John Birch Society leaders have been freemasons” and then lists the same names given by MacDonald. Coming from a Masonic source such as this would seem to be reliable information. However, following each name is a reference to Who’s Who, exactly the same as provided by MacDonald. Furthermore, this paragraph is within a discussion of The Belmont Brotherhood, so it is obvious that the lodge simply is quoting MacDonald rather than drawing on its own resources. Unless someone can provide reliable confirmation that these men actually were Masons, I must assume they were not. If I come into possession of any such documents, I will publish them in a future update of this analysis.

    Elsewhere, MacDonald turns his attention to Harold Lord Varney, who was an occasional contributing writer for the JBS magazine, American Opinion. Varney began his political career as a radical Leftist and activist for the Wobblies, which was the nickname for members of the Industrial Workers of the World. However, on February 8, 1920, he made a complete break with the Wobblies in an article published in the New York Sunday World and the St. Louis Dispatch. From that point forward, he was an outspoken critic of Leftist programs, and it was because of his first-hand knowledge of these things that he was invited to contribute articles to American Opinion. MacDonald apparently was not aware of this history and he quoted Varney’s early writings when he was still a Leftist as proof that the JBS has a hidden affinity to the Left and pretends to be something it is not.

    This is not the place to dissect The Belmont Brotherhood. There are other bones to pick; but, in the interest of brevity, let’s turn to the more important issue of what I consider to be the legitimate questions that this publication has raised.

    The early JBS Council and staff did have a few Masons who apparently had achieved the rank of 33rd degree or higher. These included T. Coleman Andrews (Council Member) and Robert Bartlett Dresser (Editorial Advisory Committee). This is an insignificant percentage of those holding positions of importance in the first ten years of the Society’s operations, but the presence of any high-level Masons has been a point of concern to those who believe that the higher levels of the Order are incompatible with the goals of the Society. They are equally concerned that Welch did not share that view. In the October, 1973 John Birch Society Bulletin, he discussed the fact that some of the Society’s members are Masons and then said, “So What?” He added: “At least ninety-five percent of the four million ordinary American Masons are just as patriotic as you or I.” MacDonald was outraged by that statement because he felt it obscured the fact that no one was worried about the ninety-five percent of “ordinary” American Masons but only those in the 33rd degree and higher, perhaps the other five percent who may not be as patriotic as you or I.

    Even though I worked closely with Robert Welch, I was not at that time interested in the Masonic connection because, with my limited understanding in those days, I would have tended to agree with the response, “So what?” I was not yet aware of the differences between the common and higher degrees nor was I aware of the role Masons have played in the revolutions of so many countries. I now am of the opinion that those in the higher degrees may have agendas that are different from those revealed to the lower degrees, agendas that would not necessarily be endorsed by the common man. Otherwise, there would be no need for secrecy. In retrospect, I think that MacDonald raised an important issue that should have been addressed in greater depth.

    Another issue that only recently has come to my attention – and not mentioned at all in The Belmont Brotherhood – is the ideological orientation of the National Association of Manufacturers, the powerful trade organization to which many of the original Council members belonged. No one seems to have focused on that, including me, because it was not in the public consciousness in those days that corporate America was rapidly becoming collectivist. Without realizing it, we all got caught up in a battle between right-wing collectivism (the Nazi/Fascist model) vs. left-wing collectivism (the Soviet/Leninist model). We were expected to choose one or the other, not realizing that they were merely two wings of the same ugly bird. We were so concerned over the rise of global Communism (and rightly so) that we didn’t look very carefully at the ideology of those who opposed it.

    The ideology of the NAM was not – and is not – much different than what we now call Neo-Conservatism, which is just another name for right-wing collectivism. Although it opposes Leninism for global dominance, it is amazingly similar to it. This was the beginning of what I call the Ollie North Syndrome: It’s OK to violate the Constitution, lie to Congress, topple governments, smuggle drugs, restrict personal freedom, and kill anyone who gets in the way provided it can be done under the banner of defending America from her enemies. On such a path, eventually we become what we oppose.

    In the 1960s, the John Birch Society found itself in the middle of this one-sided, no-real-choice crusade. Tens of thousands of us joined its ranks to oppose Communism, and we hardly noticed the thing called fascism that was silently growing within our own government.

    The significance of this fact is that early members of the Society’s Council included a few regional directors of the Federal Reserve System, members of the Council on Foreign Relations, and some of them worked closely with operatives of secret government agencies. For example, William J. Grede, an industrialist on the Executive Committee of the JBS Council, was a director of the Federal Reserve Seventh District. Coleman T. Andrews was a member of the Bohemian Club. Spruille Braden, an ambassador to numerous countries who helped to topple their regimes, was an agent of The United Fruit Company, Director of the W. Averell Harriman Securities Corporation, an agent of Standard Oil, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Ralph E. Davis was a director of the Wackenhut Corporation, a private security firm that has contracts for security and paramilitary services of various government agencies including black-box operations. Other Wackenhut board members included former FBI Director Clarence Kelly, former Defense Secretary and CIA deputy director Frank Carlucci (later known for his leadership role in the Carlyle Group), former Secret Service director James J. Rowley, and many others from the military and CIA. George Wackenhut boasted that his company maintained files on 2.5 million Americans who were suspected dissidents.

    Although Robert Welch was never a top dignitary in the NAM power palace, he highly respected it, sought personal relationships with its leaders, and even emulated some of its features when he founded the JBS, notably the black-tie events called Council Dinners (ladies excluded from the head table). In private conversations, he tried to convince me that fractional-reserve banking was healthy for the economy, and he was extremely upset when I produced The Capitalist Conspiracy, a documentary that shows the similarity between the Illuminati and the Masonic Order. He never explained what errors had been made in the film. His only comment to me was that I was dealing with something I didn’t understand. All of this now makes sense. The mystery is solved. Some of his strongest supporters and financial donors were bankers and Masons, and he didn’t want to offend them. At the time, however, I had no awareness of that, and these encounters were a source of bewilderment for many years.

    The question about Welch’s possible Masonic membership probably will never be answered. My personal opinion is that he was not a member but was close to many who were and saw nothing dangerous in that. Based on my personal involvement with him under varied circumstances, social as well as business, I do not believe that he was a mole serving a hidden agenda. His early political career and especially his outpouring of political writing (most of which never found its way into The Life and Words of Robert Welch) were so genuine and passionate that it defies a sinister interpretation. It is still possible, however, that his crusade against Communism may have blinded him, or at least dulled his vision, when it came to recognizing a parallel ideology growing within the United States under a different name and under the leadership of some of the very captains of industry and banking with whom he associated.

    Even though Welch was friendly with corporate leaders who may have been right-wing collectivists, we must not conclude that he endorsed their ideology. From the very first of his writings on such issues, he spoke eloquently about the dangers of big government. This was far more than tokenism. It was a major and recurring theme in all of his work. We must not assume that he was a closet collectivist just because he came from the corporate world. There are many in the freedom movement today who have traveled the same path but are totally sincere in their resolve to defeat collectivism. His defense of individualism was passionate and genuine.

    After Mr. Welch’s passing, after the passing of the original Council members, and especially after the so-called demise of Communism, the John Birch Society altered its crusade to focus more intensly on opposition to collectivism within our own government. It has become an outspoken critic of the Council on Foreign Relations and its globalist agenda. In 1994, it co-published several printings of my book, The Creature from Jekyll Island; A Second Look at the Federal Reserve and continues to sell it through its wholesale book division. Several years ago, the Society sent author, Ralph Epperson, on a speaking tour addressing the topic of Freemasonry, making a careful distinction between the agenda of the highest orders and those of the good-old boys that populate the common lodges. So, any suspicions one may have about some of the Society’s early members must be tempered by an objective appraisal of the organization’s activities today. “That was then. This is now.”

    I learned a great deal from Robert Welch, and much of what I have attempted to encode into Freedom Force can be traced to his influence. Today, The John Birch Society is composed of some of the finest men and women you will ever hope to meet. The charges of extremism, racism, anti-Semitism, and all the rest are pure hogwash. But there is an important lesson in this story. The treatment given to the Birch Society is exactly the kind of treatment we can expect for ourselves when we become strong enough to challenge the collectivist stranglehold over the power centers of society. Once we come onto their radar, there is little doubt that they will attempt to demonize Freedom Force and, most likely, me in particular. So hang on to your hats. The ride is going to be rough. As the saying goes: There’s white water ahead!

    G. Edward Griffin

    Shortly after this was posted to our web site, I received the following email from a member in the state of Washington:

    Hi Ed, Well, once again you succeed in “pushing back the frontiers of ignorance” (Walter E Williams). From out of my liberal, hippie past I was still carrying the implanted idea that the John Birch Society was a bunch of nuts. I have been on their website for the past hour getting re-educated. So, thank you once again for setting the record straight. I am left however, with a question. If the JBS seems to be doing such similar work to Freedom Force, why have you created a separate organization? What are the differences in goals and/or tactics that set you apart?
    Yours truly, Kevin Fisher

    The answer to that question is contained in a chart that shows a side-by-side comparison of key features of the two organizations. The following link will take you to that document: Click here.

  3. yes, that whole argument about this being a republic and not a democracy has always struck me as doublespeak. “Republic” by its definition implies representative democracy, which is supposedly what we have (if one believes elections are valid when votes are cast on machines that can be hacked without detection and which perform secret vote counting, which is anathema to honest elections).

    I’m not so sure that “mob rule” and “democracy are all that different, tho, John. I see “mob rule” as a derisive characterization of ‘one adult; one vote.’

  4. Alex Jones is bumptious and emotional. His exuberant, hyper energetic style is a turn off to some who prefer a different tone to their dialogue. That being said however, he has done more than any one individual I can name, to expose the foul, secret machinations of our rulers to the public view and deserves our respect, not the nasty piece of insinuation that the introduction to the Rolling Stone article is. The article itself does not imply that Alex has or has had, any association with the John Birch Society. He read a book by the Birch Society’s founder and was stimulated by it’s perspective on income tax and class exploitation, big deal. If you think Nabokov is a great writer, does that mean you have a thing for underage girls? Alex has the public’s ear and that generates resentment, and jealousy among activists who may feel that they are his intellectual superiors, yet have not received even a small fraction of the recognition he has. Give the man his due, if and when he cashes in and proves himself to be a tool of the elite or a simple scoundrel he will deserve scorn, until then he at least deserves our respect.

  5. Alex has a big mouth and alot of energy. He is a force of nature that, at times, would benefit from some guidance. At other times, he needs to be left to do what he does best: rock your apathy.

    While I appreciate Greek logic and its propensity for providing some consistency in its results, Greek logic (a = a, b = b, a b), it does not always describe human “reality” nor is its utilization a guaranteed lifeboat against the muddy waters of madness.

    We need to build on Greek logic to incorporate classifications of the more subtle realities that belie enlightenment, but may also serve as harbingers of madness. A does not always equal A when the precision of A cannot be guaranteed to be reproducible. And that crucial fact means that, sometimes, A does equal B. Greek logic does not always represent clear thinking. It would be foolish to argue that it is not a good start, however.

    But rather than allowing the advent of the “holy trinity” to overtake our intellect completely as Jones clearly does to his chagrin, let’s instead look at the Observer, the Observed and the Process of Observation that underlies the phenomenology of being. Not one of these three critical elements of human ontology can be made absolute, all are subject to requirements of precision and all are subject to a need for a precise context in which all three can be understood, plainly and clearly.

    Alex Jones is perceiving something dangerous about human society and human leadership. But the process whereby he comes to his conclusions is flawed and, therefore, he cannot be trusted a sole source of information about the observable world. In fact, he might be making himself a bit paranoid with all of his ranting and need for commercial ballyhoo.

    I trusted a vendor who advertised with Jones’ radio program once and I will never trust that vendor again, nor will I trust Jones’ radio program. It could very well be a part of the same “psyops” metaplex that Jones wrails against in his diatribes. If Jones was concerned about precision, which is clearly the key to enhancing the benefits of Greek logic when dealing with an expansive human reality, he would have been more careful about the vendors he accepts money from, and he would realize that person to person trust is critical in keeping the social fabric strong, flexible and of use to the greater good of society’s individuals.

    Libertarians throw everything collectivist in the trash heap, but I just can’t do that at this time. I believe we can make society work for everyone’s benefit, but we do have some issues that require more remediation. An every person for themselves existence only promotes social chaos and feudalism.

  6. I love him for that. But I’ve seen him operate in person and his behavior is a bit sub-optimal.

    He doesn’t know when to shut up, pick up a mop and start cleaning up the mess.

    That’s more of the same crap we have now. Even a broken watch is right twice a day.

  7. On an email list I belong to, Ed had this to say:

    As far “out there” that Alex Jones could be thought of as being, I credit him with opening my eyes to the truth of 9/11, when he brought visual evidence to my attention and made a fantastic case for controlled demolitions as the cause of the WTC buildings’ collapse.

    This forced me to confront my own cognitive dissonance and begin a re-evaluation of ALL political views. The result was that I returned to my liberal roots that I originally had. I had been wondering about things during the Bush Admin and thought some things strange, and many conservative beliefs had some strangeness to them via their actions.

    Alex Jones merely brought contradictions to my attention and I then had to deliberate what and how my own cognitive dissonance caused me to go so far astray. The good news is that many others are also awakening.

    Now, the events of 9/11 certainly are a “can’t miss” opportunity to ride an agenda upon.

    However, this doesn’t disqualify anything else that Alex Jones has to say. To the contrary, we now MUST take seriously the theories that the “coincidence nuts” deride as mere conspiracies. It doesn’t mean that they are true, but the government in hiding facts and/or glossing over them in a stubborn insistence upon maintaining that those huge 110-story buildings came down by fire, only fuels and accelerates the conspiracies and gives them ALL credibility.

    The implication that the WTC buildings didn’t fall because of fire means that by default, it had to be a deliberate sabotage instigated by the only party that had the means, motive and opportunity to cause a controlled demolition: government.

    Ah, but this a difficult pill to swallow for most people: that their own government would kill its own citizens in an effort to start a war. I know; because I was on that side of the fence.

    Yet the accusation of government-sponsored murder of its citizens is serious enough that one really has no choice but to investigate, if ONLY to unconditionally disprove it. This the various government agencies charged with the 9/11 investigation have NOT satisfactorily done. In reality, they have only strengthened the hand of the conspiracists.

    It is in the government’s hands to disprove, once and for all, that the case made by the thousands of architects, structural & civil engineers and physicists that it is controlled demolition, is wrong. Ten years after the event, they have failed to do so. Instead, NIST and related agencies have chosen to change their stories repeatedly – just as a criminal suspect who is guilty, does.

  8. you know, I looked for his rants and couldn’t find them… I found his apology saying he’s Jewish, so I assume he made some anti Semitic remark

    so I missed the whole sheen hullaballoo

    i heard he signed a contract wtih facebook and twitter to promote products for which he can earn up to a million dollars a year, so this stunt, while it may have cost him his TV job, landed him another lucrative one.

    I remember his being shocked at how MSM attacked him for believing 911 was an inside job…

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