Tag Archive | September 11

One Year Later: Thriving No More.

By Muertos

Today, November 11, 2012, is the one-year anniversary of the initial release of the conspiracy theory movie Thrive. The film’s first birthday is, I think, an appropriate time to evaluate the film’s impact on the conspiracy underground and its continuing viability, as well as an assessment of our own efforts on this blog to correct and rebut the film. You might say that this article is a “postmortem” of Thrive, and that characterization wouldn’t be inaccurate. If the movie was intended to create a “new paradigm” or “wake people up,” it seems clear that Thrive has failed to do this on any significant scale. The main argument of this article is that, one year on, Thrive is “thriving” no more.

Thrive’s Declining Popularity: The Empirical Proof.

There is no doubt that Thrive is declining in popularity, and the numbers prove it. According to the website traffic analyzer Alexa.com (you can find stats here) the movie’s main website, thrivemovement.com, has been receiving markedly less traffic over the past several months than it did during either of the months it peaked—in November 2011, when Thrive was released, and April 2012, when Foster Gamble and Clear Compass Media made it available for free as opposed to a $5 fee. Alexa.com shows jagged spikes in the website’s popularity week by week (which is measured in terms of traffic ranking within the Internet as a whole), but each spike is successively smaller, the last one being barely a quarter of the website’s all-time interest spike.

On the day I checked, thrivemovement.com had gone down by 27.38% in “reach” over the past three months alone. That means that the site today is reaching 27.38% fewer people now than it was just three months ago. These stats change day by day, so if you check you will probably see a slightly different number.

The statistics on this blog match this trend almost exactly. Interest in Thrive Debunked has proven, over the past year, to be an extremely keen indicator of interest in the movie itself (I’ll explain why that is later in the article). The daily high for page views in the past year was April 13, 2012. Since then, this blog receives barely a quarter—on a good day—of the number of daily page views than it did on that day. The pattern of traffic on this blog mirrors almost exactly the ebb and flow of traffic for thrivemovement.com, with spikes of ever-decreasing intensity followed by prolonged valleys.

Furthermore, there has been much less comment traffic on this blog in the past few months than there was, say, before July 1. I used to receive as many as ten or more comments a day from various people either pro- or anti-Thrive (mostly pro). Now, days go by without any new comments being posted at all.

Speaking solely in terms of web traffic, Thrive Debunked is like a pilotfish on a whale. Wherever the whale goes, it goes along for the ride. The trajectory is down, down, down across the board. The numbers prove it beyond any doubt.

Why is Thrive Declining?

The answers as to why the movie is declining are less clear, but here I offer a few hypotheses.

1. The movie didn’t contribute anything substantially new—at least nothing that its fans could latch onto as new.

For all of its bluster and bravado about a “new paradigm,” Thrive contributed very little to the conspiracy theory underground that was fundamentally new. All that was new was the packaging, which is a shiny object that can only hope to distract the masses for a limited time. Ancient aliens? Been around since 1968. Crop circles? Old news. Money conspiracies? Lyndon LaRouche was doing that in the 80s. “Global Domination Agenda”? Every Alex Jones radio show since 1998 has been about that. Far right-wing Libertarian political propaganda? Ron Paul was peddling that folderol in 2007; now, after two spectacularly embarrassing failures at running for president, he has (mercifully) been put out to pasture, and his sycophantic fan base is finally fading away.

Substantively, the only truly novel idea contributed by Thrive was the obsession with the “torus” shape. (Of course the idea existed long before, but had never been injected into the conspiracy underground before). This proved to be a non-starter among conspiracy theorists, who revel in gloom, apocalypse and disaster. If it can’t oppress you, take away your freedoms, abduct you, give you an anal probe or blow up the World Trade Center, conspiracy theorists probably won’t be interested in it. So scratch the “torus” idea.

Conceptually and structurally, Thrive did make a significant contribution—that being the continued meld of conspiracy theory ideology and New Age sensibility, a toxic mixture that some academic researchers are beginning to term “conspirituality.” Essentially, Thrive is a document evincing the embryonic creation of a new quasi-religious belief system. But this alone won’t sustain its popularity among conspiracy theorists. If Thrive does go down in history it will be because of its contribution to conspirituality, but this is not an accomplishment that conspiracy theorists can sink their teeth into, because most of them vehemently deny that their belief system even is religious in nature. So, appealing though conspirituality is on a subconscious level, that alone is not going to sustain interest in Thrive.

2. The “Thrive Movement” is largely illusory and is not driving continued interest in the movie.

Another reason why the movie has failed to sustain and increase its reach is that there’s no real organization behind it that’s continuing to push it. We’ve blogged before about how ineffectual, illusory and ephemeral are the “solutions” proposed by the movie—they are mainly talking points aimed at ending the conspiracy theories that the movie insists are out there, but because of course these conspiracy theories do not really exist, the movie’s “solutions” are cures in desperate search of a disease. Beyond that, though, the “Thrive Movement” that you see touted (somewhat disingenuously) on the website does not exist in any real sense. Yes, there are small ad-hoc groups of the movie’s fans that have met on an informal basis in various parts of the country. But a mass movement to motivate action based on the movie’s principles? If such a thing exists, it’s keeping an awfully low profile–which can hardly be what fans of the movie want.

Here is one place where Thrive failed to live up to the predecessor it hoped to imitate, the Zeitgeist Movement, which was similarly a fan club of approbation for the infamous (and roundly debunked) 2007 conspiracy theory movie Zeitgeist: The Movie. As we all know, the Zeitgeist experience was the blueprint for Thrive. Although the Zeitgeist Movement imploded in 2011 and has now shriveled to a tiny burned-out nub of high-commitment supporters who have been largely forgotten by the outside world, between 2008 and 2011 at least there was an organization—centrally directed, and under the leadership of the film’s director and his close associates—out there pushing Zeitgeist: The Movie and its tiresome preachy sequels. Thrive has no such organization behind it. The effort that Foster Gamble has exerted to rally fans of the film around a set of action points has been minimal, and no one else has (so far as I know) stepped up to exert any sort of leadership role in this capacity. Without the benefit of a “street team” out there flogging it, Thrive must sink or swim on its own merit. You can see from the numbers that Thrive is not doing well in swimming against the current.

3. Some conspiracy theorists distrust Thrive, thus limiting its reach even within its own target demographic.

Debunkers and other followers of rational, reality-based belief systems aren’t the only detractors of Thrive. Many conspiracy theorists are deeply distrustful of it, for two main reasons: (1) Foster Gamble’s familial connection to the Proctor & Gamble company, and (2) the film’s promotional poster, depicting a woman taking off a blindfold, which especially paranoid conspiracy nutters think is “Illuminati propaganda.” Thrive has been pilloried in the conspiracy underground for these two characteristics. As a result, the many hard-core, incorrigible, detached-from-reality conspiracy nuts—whom you would expect to be Thrive’s core constituency—reject the film out of hand for these very reasons.

This is a battle that Foster Gamble and Thrive can’t possibly win. It does absolutely no good for Foster Gamble to protest that he has nothing to do with his Proctor & Gamble relatives, because no one will believe him anyway. Conspiracy theorists are notoriously intransigent and will accept anything on faith, however bizarre or improbable, so long as it feeds into their paranoid delusions. Even the suggestion that Foster Gamble is an “Illuminati stooge” is, in the conspiracy underground, tantamount to an immutable sentence of guilty.

The controversy over the poster is even more ludicrous. Any image, anywhere, in any context of a person showing one eye is automatically construed by hard-core conspiracy lunatics as “proof” of “Illuminati symbolism.” No amount of remonstration on the part of Foster Gamble or the Thrive crew could possibly alter this. Therefore, Thrive and its makers are—in the zero-evidence-needed universe of hard-core conspiracy lunatics—guilty right out of the starting gate, and Thrive is viewed as dangerous “disinformation.” This is doubly ironic because many people who accept Thrive as gospel truth accuse rationally-based critics—such as myself and fellow contributor SlayerX3—of being “paid disinformation agents” for even daring to criticize the movie.

Thus, Thrive has a self-limiting factor even within its own target audience. The most paranoid and delusional of conspiracy theorists preach against the film because they think it’s part of a conspiracy, whilst debunkers pile on because it promotes conspiracy theories. In this sense Thrive embodies the worst of both worlds. There is no escape from this vicious circle. If Thrive can’t even unite conspiracy theorists across the wide spectrum of their beliefs, it has absolutely no hope of doing so in the mainstream world where conspiracy thinking is generally not accepted.

4. Thrive cannot make any inroads among mainstream (non-conspiracy, non-New Age) audiences.

This is the most important reason Thrive is declining: it simply can’t attract any mainstream attention, which means its potential fan base is limited to its core constituencies of conspiracy theorists and New Age adherents—at least the ones who don’t distrust it because of Gamble’s familial connection or the image on the poster. The reasons for Thrive’s inability to break through to the mainstream is the subject of the next section.

Preventing Mainstream Acceptance: The Repudiators (and the Debunkers).

Without any doubt the single most important event in the history of Thrive was the signing of a letter, by ten of the people interviewed in the film, repudiating it and stating that they were misled as to the film’s contents. If you’ve read this blog, you know all about the “repudiators” (and if you don’t, start here). This event was “game over” for Thrive. Almost single-handedly, the repudiation—orchestrated most vocally by John Robbins—ended any chance the movie ever had of gaining credibility in mainstream circles.

Now, wherever Thrive is shown or even mentioned, the story of the repudiation follows it. Although the repudiation is not generally a deal-breaker for conspiracy theorists and New Agers who like the movie, it certainly is a deal-breaker for anyone else out there who might otherwise have been attracted to the movie’s message or themes but who wasn’t already a conspiracy theorist or New Age adherent. The explanation Thrive’s makers give for the repudiation—that Robbins and company were part of a “disinformation” campaign against the film—is totally incredible and unlikely to satisfy anyone. It’s tough to interest mainstream media in hard-core conspiracy material anyway, but the repudiation is the kiss of death for Thrive. It simply can’t be explained away, ignored or rationalized. Robbins and company acted out of principle. That’s extremely persuasive.

The Thrive Debunked blog has arguably played a role in preventing Thrive from expanding its fanbase into the mainstream, but probably only a small one. I’ve said many times before that the repudiation, and especially the beautiful essay by John Robbins on why he did it, were far more effective in preventing gullible people from falling for Thrive’s nonsense than anything I or my contributors have done. What I believe we and other debunkers who have spoken against the movie have done is to make it very easy for rational people seeking information on the film to see just how wrong the film and its assertions are. The target audience for this blog has always been people who are curious about the movie, who might have some interest in the subjects it covers, but who are cautious enough to investigate the film before believing what it says. Although that universe of people is quite small compared either to the conspiracy fans who love the film or the vast mainstream who realize from the get-go that it’s not worth their time, this blog has been extremely successful at reaching that target audience. On that front, this blog has been a huge success.

The Cycle of Thrive Discovery—And Rejection.

This blog has become an integral part of the public conversation about Thrive. I know because WordPress tracks the “incoming” traffic to this blog and logs the pages that link to it. The vast majority of “incoming” links follow exactly the same pattern. Here’s how it works:

1. A conspiracy theorist or New Ager discovers the film, watches it online, loves it, and makes a post about it on a web forum or in a chatroom. Almost always this initial post praises the film and recommends it to others, like, “There’s this great movie that shows us how our world really works! Everyone should see it!”

2. A few other conspiracy theorists reply, expressing agreement with the film and thanking the original poster who brought it to their attention. Often, some type of discussion about the film’s specific theories (usually “free energy” or the “Global Domination Agenda”) results.

3. Another poster makes a negative comment on Thrive and says something like, “That movie is crap” or “Don’t be fooled by this nonsense.” This is the poster who will almost always post a link to Thrive Debunked.

4. The original poster returns, defending the movie (usually in a shrill, angry and indignant tone), denouncing this blog and calling me a “paid disinformation agent.” Then the original poster will add a bunch of links to other conspiracy theorist material that supposedly “validates” Thrive.

5. The pro-Thrive and anti-Thrive forum posters argue amongst themselves for a few more posts.

6. The original topic goes fallow and is forgotten as the posters move on to something else.

This pattern repeats day after day, all over the Internet, in country after country. (If you want a recent example of this effect, go here). What is clear from this cycle of discovery and rejection is that Thrive has no staying power. It’s a shiny toy that attracts the temporary attention of conspiracy theorists, and then after it’s been debunked and the requisite “paid disinformation agent” accusations have been vomited up against the doubters of the film, the conspiracy nuts lose interest and move on to the next shiny toy. This demonstrates that, even among conspiracy theorists, Thrive operates at a highly superficial level. It generates very little sustained contemplation, thoughtful discussion or even self-reflection. It’s bubble-gum candy, intellectual junk food. To be sure this is as much the fault of the defective mentality of the conspiracy theorist underground—which vociferously discourages any attempt at intellectual analysis—as it is the failure of Thrive, but it’s telling that there’s so little “there” there behind most public discussions of the film.

But Isn’t The Film Valuable Because It Gets People Talking About Important Issues in Our World?

No.

This argument presupposes that Thrive is ethically neutral–that if it is not true, its untruth is harmless, but if (by wild coincidence) the filmmakers happen to aim a wayward arrow at some real-world issue that needs addressing, Thrive is a net positive because it’s directed at least some energy toward addressing that issue. That’s not the case, because the great deal of damage that its untrue and disingenuous depictions of societal issues cause far outweighs any marginal benefit the film might have by “accidentally” aiming at a valid target.

Let me give you an example. The dependence of industrialized societies on fossil fuels is a crucial issue in our world that must be solved, before anthropogenic climate change renders our environment uninhabitable or hostile. Thrive implicitly does accept the premise that dependence on fossil fuel is bad. However, Thrive’s proposed solution is to rely on “free energy” machines, built from plans given to us by aliens, which will miraculously liberate us from all our energy problems. This is a false solution. Even a fan of the film who is motivated to take action to advance a solution to fossil fuel dependence will have his or her energy diverted in a completely useless direction: advocacy for “free energy” machines that do not exist.

In order to turn this hypothetical Thrive fan into an activist working toward real solutions to energy problems–for example, political lobbying for greater public investment in R&D to develop solar, wind, or geothermal energy–will require reeducating the person to realize that “free energy” is a falsehood and that Thrive has misled them. If they’re already interested in working toward energy independence, it’s likely that whatever stimulus sets them on a more productive path could have interested them in the real solution at the get-go, which means the fact that Thrive turned them on to the issue of fossil fuel reliance is totally irrelevant. In fact, Thrive in this example has been counterproductive, because it wasted the would-be activist’s (and society’s) time by encouraging him to tilt uselessly at the windmills of imaginary “free energy” machines. This is not a net positive.

Even this hypothetical example is extremely speculative because it’s not likely that Thrive will interest people “by accident” in genuine issues and genuine solutions anyway. The issues Thrive cares most passionately about are the conspiracy theories. Consequently, what little “activism” it can hope to ignite will almost invariably be directed at ending these horrible conspiracies. That is not a net good for society. It’s a net negative, because conspiracy thinking is part of the problem and is not a solution to anything.

The Final Truth—The One Thrive Fans Will Never, Ever Admit.

There’s a line in Michael Jackson’s song “Beat It” that goes, “No one wants to be defeated.” Conspiracy theorists are more ferociously resistant to admitting failure and defeat than just about anyone else. In fact, they’re so resistant to the notion that their theories are failing to “wake people up” that they will engage in the most egregious contortions of reality to avoid accepting that the mainstream world either treats them as irrelevant wingnuts or incurable lunatics. Consequently, I predict that Thrive fans who choose to comment on this article will never, ever admit that Thrive is losing, rather than gaining, viewers, and that instead of “waking people up” it’s falling quite quickly into well-deserved obscurity.

Conspiracy theorists love to assert that more and more people are joining their side. They love to say things like, “The worm is turning!” or “We’re gaining critical mass!” Bizarrely, they persist in these delusions even long after the party is over, after it becomes painfully obvious that the mainstream world has passed them by.

Take, for instance, 9/11 Truthers. Right now, the conspiracy theory that maintains “9/11 was an inside job” is less popular now than it has been at any time since the attacks of September 11 happened. I proved this in this article, refuting the absolutely false assertion made by Foster Gamble in Thrive that “a growing number of people” believe in this delusion. In fact, based on poll data, the numbers of people who believe in “9/11 was an inside job” theories is shrinking, not growing. But Truthers will never admit this. To them, the conspiracy theory has to be gaining converts every day. The lack of evidence that Trutherism is becoming more popular is treated as irrelevant, or (more typically) that news of its supposedly growing popularity is suppressed. Truthers will never—never—admit that mainstream society rejected this conspiracy delusion long ago and moved on.

In fact, I’ve had 9/11 Truthers try to tell me that the reason nobody talks about 9/11 conspiracy theories much anymore is because they (the Truthers) have already won—they think the vast majority of the public considers 9/11 a closed issue, having concluded that it was a conspiracy, so there’s no need to debate it anymore! They’re right on one score—there is no need to debate it—but for precisely the opposite reason: mainstream public opinion long ago tossed 9/11 conspiracy theories on the dustbin of history, and trying to gain new adherents to the theory is like trying to sell tickets to the Titanic after the ship has already gone down.

There’s one more powerful piece of evidence indicating that the mainstream world has forgotten about Thrive, and that’s here: the very interesting discussion that took place behind the scenes at Wikipedia over whether Thrive was “notable” enough to warrant an entry in the database. Despite the frenzied efforts of Thrive partisans, the Wikipedia gatekeepers decided that Thrive wasn’t even worth their time. There is no Wikipedia page on Thrive. Nor will there be. It’s not suppression; it’s not propaganda; it’s not the “Global Domination Agenda” paying Wikipedia to snub them. It’s much simpler than that: no one cares.

One Wikipedia editor summed up the argument against Thrive with these very telling statements, which ultimately won the debate:

“This page [the one on Thrive that was eventually deleted] reeks of promotion and has the barest credentials. I must agree with nominator that page created by a known sock puppet of an indef-blocked socker [translation: a known conspiracy theorist troll] should be subject to close scrutiny. [An anti-Thrive Wikipedia user] makes the valid points above this film has no wide interest and zero sources other than blogs…”

This is the truth. No one cares anymore. No one should care. Thrive is dead. John Robbins and the other nine repudiators ended the Thrive phenomenon, if indeed there ever was one. Game over.

Conclusion

This is my final article for Thrive Debunked. After seven years in the arena, I have retired from actively debunking conspiracy theories, and Thrive marks the final chapter in that journey. My contributors and I have, in the past year, successfully refuted every major assertion made in the film. There’s nothing of substance left standing of Thrive. Our work is completed. Thrive has been completely debunked. Even if it wasn’t, John Robbins and the repudiators have rendered further effort in deconstructing the film largely pointless, because it’s clear that the film is not going to have any real resonance in the future beyond the realm of conspiracy theorists and New Agers who already know about it.

But, like a dead oil tanker that continues to leak toxins into the environment decades after the main oil spill has been contained, Thrive will continue to infect a small, steady trickle of viewers with its conspiracy poison, whether its new victims are young people who are just entering the dark and nihilistic world of paranoia, or other potential fans who simply haven’t heard about the movie before. For that reason, this blog will remain up for at least a while. It’s already helped a lot of people, and can continue to do some good, even if it is no longer actively updated.

The conspiracy theorists out there will invariably interpret this as some sort of victory, or perhaps further “proof” that I am a “paid disinformation agent”—maybe my CIA/Project Vigilance masters have stopped paying me, or transferred me to another assignment!—but there’s nothing I can do about that. Conspiracy nutters will make that accusation anyway, regardless of how stupid it is. I am not a “paid disinformation agent,” of course, but the fact that paranoiacs continue to believe that I am gives me no grief at all. I have nothing to prove to conspiracy theorists. This blog wasn’t meant for them anyway; it was meant to reach people who are still capable of rational thought.

What I feel most toward fans of Thrive is not anger or even pity, but sadness. What could have been great hope, promise and energy of a generation of young people who want to change the world has been squandered, bastardized and ultimately wasted by sad obsessions with bizarre conspiracy theories that can do nothing—absolutely nothing—to move our society forward or address the problems within it. This is the tragedy of conspiracy thinking. It is a tragedy upon which I can no longer dwell, and with Thrive now debunked, I no longer have to.

I want to thank the contributors to this blog (SlayerX3 chief among them, though he’s by no means the only one), as well as those behind the scenes who helped me research, fact-check, and keep ahead of developments I wouldn’t have heard about otherwise. I want to thank the readers (you know who you are) who respond tirelessly in the comments, slamming down the endless assaults of idiocy and irrationality spouted by Thrive’s more militant fans. If by some miracle of fate Thrive’s fortunes do turn around—or if Foster Gamble decides to make a Thrive 2, perish the thought—I will be looking to you to carry on my work, and to defend rationality, sanity and reason against the endless waves of woo, bullshit, paranoia and propaganda in which our world is sadly awash. Thanks for a job well done.

Foster Gamble or his fans may not think so, but I, for one, am thriving quite well.

Thanks for reading.

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Thrive, Zeitgeist and the Illusion of Conspiracy Activism.

Although the main objective of Thrive is informational—to disseminate conspiracy theories and promote right-wing libertarian political ideology—it cannot be ignored that Thrive’s makers and a lot of its supporters say they want to take action. On this very blog Foster Gamble, creator of Thrive, has dismissed the utility of discussing the factual errors and distortions in his film, in favor of “creating solutions.” Unfortunately, the “solutions” that Thrive fans say they want are aimed overwhelmingly at exposing and combating the various conspiracy theories that the film asserts exist. This is the central tragedy of conspiracy thinking—that it diverts people’s energies and attentions away from solving real problems in the real world, and instead motivates them to solve fake problems endemic to the fantasy world in which conspiracy theorists dwell.

This article will discuss the phenomena of what I call “conspiracy activism.” Thrive is not the first conspiracy movie to spark an activist response. Mr. Gamble’s film exists in the context of a conspiracist underground that has, in recent years, been rapidly transformed by the Internet, and is continuing to evolve quickly. I wrote about this in an article over at my other blog, which I also publicized on this one. You can consider this article to be sort of a companion piece to that one.

What Is The “Thrive Movement” And What Is It Actually Doing?

Before we get to the topic of conspiracy activism in general, let’s look at what “solutions” the Thrive people are promoting. There is no “Thrive Movement” to speak of in any real sense. Foster Gamble is not, so far as I can tell, attempting to exert any sort of real control over the activities or direction of the film’s fans, and I’ve seen no evidence that the fans of the movie are trying to organize themselves.

Clicking the “Solutions” tab on the Thrive website unleashes a dizzying avalanche of propaganda. The vast majority of it is right-wing libertarian propaganda, such as the “Liberty” page which assaults the reader with political diatribes studded with quotes from libertarian deities like Stefan Molyneux, Ron Paul and Ayn Rand. Although Thrive’s political agenda is a serious issue, we and others have dealt with it before. The key message is “vote for libertarians,” and thus we’ll leave the film’s political advocacy at that.

More interesting are the “Critical Mass Actions” tabs. Here the Thrive people have listed twelve specific campaigns they’re promoting, with icons where you (as an Internet user) can “sign up” or else embed the icon itself on another site. If you click the icons so sign up, it produces a box where you fill in your email info and hit submit. Almost all of the links included in the “Critical Mass Actions” sections are to websites or online petitions. Of these twelve campaigns, two are anti-Federal Reserve; three are related to protesting GMO food; two relate to “free energy” devices; two are protests of “chemtrails,” a conspiracy theory promoted by the film; one is anti-nuclear power; one is “protect Internet freedom”; and one protests resource extraction on Native American lands.

The Federal Reserve is what Thrive identifies as the linchpin of a worldwide conspiracy theory to enslave the globe through the use of deceptive currency practices. We debunked the film’s money conspiracy theories here. “Free energy” does not exist, as we have also demonstrated. “Chemtrails” have not been debunked on this site, but they’ve been amply debunked elsewhere; it’s abundantly clear that “chemtrails” are a total fantasy. You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to oppose GMO foods, but Thrive couches its criticism of such foods in expressly conspiratorial terms; they think it’s some weird kind of plot aimed at killing people with poisons in the food.

These issues account for nine of the twelve “Critical Mass Actions.” Of the twelve, only three—anti-nuclear power, protecting Internet freedom, and protesting resource extraction on Native American lands—are not somehow addressing the conspiracy theories the film promotes.

Ironically, it is one of these three non-conspiratorial solutions—the Internet freedom icon—that had the most people (5,547 on the day I checked) signed up.

When it comes to what these “Critical Mass Actions” actually are, the website is extremely vague. Here’s what it says when you click on a question about “how do you know when an action reaches critical mass?”

“As actions gain momentum and the most popular ones become apparent we will set a target number for “critical mass.” We will keep in touch via email to make sure you know when we’re approaching critical mass. What determines an effective “critical mass” will vary according to the nature of the action to be taken. The critical mass number will be announced as far in advance as possible and will be determined by what would create significant impact and assure optimal security for participants.”

That’s it. You’ll get an email once they decide how many people they need. In the meantime, it’s a lot of Internet petitions and “getting the word out.” That’s what the Thrive Movement is doing—that, and organizing local screenings of the film itself. The act of promoting Thrive is itself treated as a form of activism to which fans should aspire.

Is This Real Activism?

No. The “solutions” offered on Thrive’s website are ineffective in changing anything in the real world for two reasons: first, the vast majority of them are aimed at ameliorating conspiracy theories that don’t exist; and second, even for the non-conspiratorial goals, there is no actual real-world activity being proposed. Thrive’s brand of activism is a complete chimera.

Take chemtrails, for example. We know for a fact that chemtrails do not exist. The elaborate narrative that conspiracy theorists construct—that a “Global Domination Elite” is spraying chemicals into the sky to sicken and kill people deliberately—is simply fantasy. Yet, Mr. Gamble wants to “Expose Chemtrails With a Mass Protest at NOAA Offices.” Even assuming that legions of Thrive fans get organized and storm NOAA’s headquarters, what effect is this going to have? NOAA can’t do anything because there’s nothing to do anything about. Chemtrails do not exist. This is a “solution” that, even if it’s pulled off, will accomplish exactly zero, except wasting the time of the people involved.

As to the second criticism, it’s difficult to see how these “Critical Mass Actions” will have any effect regardless of the goals they’re aimed at. Take for example the critical mass action about stopping the environmental poisoning of Native American communities—which is a goal I think most people would agree with, and is one of the few that isn’t specifically directed at a conspiracy theory. Here’s what Foster Gamble wants you to click to sign up for:

“In the US, indigenous lands are being exploited and targeted by big business for resource extraction, nuclear dumping, and more. There are proposals for coal, oil, gold and copper mines, coal bed methane, natural gas “fracking,” and nuclear storage that threaten these communities and the environment.  This is a chance to stand up for Native American rights and show that we are committed not just to apologizing for past wrongs, but ending the violations that continue to this day.”

Okay…but how? What does this actually mean?

What are the Thrive fans going to do? There’s no protest march planned. There’s no letter-writing campaign. There’s no attempt to introduce legislation or lobby lawmakers. There’s no fundraiser. There’s no outreach to any of the Native American communities impacted by resource extraction. There’s not even a link to an online petition, as there is for the “End the Fed” suggestion. There is exactly…nothing.

You click on, sign up and get an email. That’s it.

In the meantime—or, should I say, in the real world—if you care about resource extraction harming Native American communities, there are real people doing real things to try to stop this. In less than five minutes of searching online I came across this site for the Wolf River Protection Fund which is seeking to buy key lands to protect the watersheds and wetlands related to Native American communities in Wisconsin. One of the tribes associated with this fund recently celebrated a huge victory by buying out—yes, actually buying out—a mining company that was planning to mine near their lands. That’s activism. Not just clicking on a website—but actually sending your dollars to an organization that is taking action to make a real-world impact. And yes, the Wolf River Protection Fund does take donations.

Thrive isn’t doing anything even close to this.

So If They’re Not Making a Difference In the Real World, What Are They Doing?

They’re promoting conspiracy theories and related ideology—in Thrive’s case, right-wing libertarian ideology. The promotion of the ideology is the ultimate point of the activism.

This is understandable, if you analyze the thought processes of Thrive’s makers and fans from the standpoint of their conspiracy beliefs. They believe that all or most of the world’s problems stem from actions taken in secret by groups of shadowy conspirators. How best to combat these actions? Expose the secrets and shine a light on the conspirators. Then, it is presumed, the nefarious activity will end, and things will get better.

Seen from this standpoint, the act of exposure is the most important action. Therefore, most of a conspiracy theorist’s preferred “solutions” for solving problems start and end from a “get the word out” type paradigm. Indeed, most of the nine conspiracy-oriented Critical Mass Action suggestions on the Thrive website are aimed at information exposure or gaining visibility for something. This is classic conspiracy activism.

Why Do Conspiracy Theorists Engage in Conspiracy Activism?

It used to be that conspiracy theorists weren’t activists. There were certainly groups of them, and there have been conspiracy-related newsletters—especially related to the JFK assassination—circulating for decades. But traditionally they didn’t try to reach out to the mainstream or get others to join them.

That changed with 9/11. The purveyors of conspiracy theories related to the 9/11 attacks—especially Richard Gage and David Ray Griffin—changed the stakes in the mid-2000s by waging concerted, energized campaigns to try to increase the exposure of their conspiracy theories and encourage people to believe in them. Ultimately their success was only temporary; as I pointed out in an earlier blog here, contrary to something Foster Gamble says in Thrive, fewer people believe that “9/11 was an inside job” today than have so believed at any time since 9/11 itself. However, the conspiracy activism of 9/11 Truthers upped the ante and set a new paradigm, vastly aided by the rise of the Internet: if you believe in conspiracy theories, now you’re expected to go out there in public and try to get others to believe in them as well.

As the conspiracy world has changed, and (as I argued in February) conspiracy theorists have gone from defining “victory” as increasing the numbers who believe their theories to selling prepackaged ideologies, the activism component remains. Now what conspiracy theorists are selling are the ideologies, not the theories, but they’re still self-motivated to try to proselytize in exactly the same was Richard Gage and David Ray Griffin did with their nonsense 9/11 theories. I argued in the February blog that it was Zeitgeist: The Movie and its conspiracy-activist offshoot, the Zeitgeist Movement, that cemented this development into the basic blueprint of future conspiracy endeavors.

As there are many instructive lessons for evaluating Thrive inherent in the Zeitgeist story, let’s turn to that next.

Why Conspiracy Activism is Pointless: The Example of the Zeitgeist Movement.

One of the first statements I ever made about Thrive was that it appeared to be “Zeitgeist 2.0.” Clearly the movie imitates a lot of features of Peter Joseph’s notoriously fact-free 2007 Internet conspiracy film Zeitgeist, and even the suggestion of a “Thrive Movement,” aping the Zeitgeist Movement, indicates a kindred spirit.

The Zeitgeist Movement, founded in 2008 by Peter Joseph, attempted to capitalize on the interest generated among conspiracy theorists from the first Zeitgeist film to sell a neo-Utopian ideology called the Venus Project, which resembles late-stage Marxism except with computers and technology in the role of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The problem with the Zeitgeist Movement and the Venus Project, however, was that support for the non-conspiratorial (but deeply flawed) “Resource Based Economy” paradigm was built entirely on the backs of conspiracist beliefs and the popularity of Zeitgeist: The Movie. Most fans joined the Zeitgeist Movement because they were attracted by the conspiracy explanations; to the extent the movement’s leaders could motivate them to care about the Venus Project and a Resource Based Economy for its own sake, it was mainly presented as a “cure” for all those horrible conspiracies. As a result, “get the word out” type activist projects meant to promote the Venus Project and Resource Based Economy became increasingly conflated with promoting the Zeitgeist movies and its conspiracy worldview.

The Zeitgeist Movement imploded in April 2011 when the Venus Project side of the organization divorced itself from the group as a result of a dispute over donations. Since then the Zeitgeist Movement has dwindled to an insignificant core of high-commitment fans who do little more than post occasional comments on blogs or YouTube videos. (Zeitgeist Movement supporters constantly show up on the Thrive website comments, still valiantly trying to sell their Resource Based Economy shtick. Few Thrive fans are buying). The Zeitgeist Movement’s attempts at conspiracy activism could never effectively outpace the reach of the films themselves. Unlike the Thrive Movement, the Zeitgeist Movement did have a central, engaged, hands-on leader who directed the group; in fact that was one of its downfalls, because Peter Joseph’s inept leadership of the group transformed it into something very much like a cult surrounding him personally and his films.

The failure of the Zeitgeist Movement can teach Thrive fans an important lesson: that conspiracy activism is inherently self-limiting. Five years after its release, Zeitgeist: The Movie is now old news. Most conspiracy theorists have seen it. The sequels which completed the Resource Based Economy narrative could barely achieve a tiny fraction of the impact that the first film had, because the second and third Zeitgeist films dealt much less with conspiracy theories. Essentially, when Zeitgeist stopped talking about conspiracy theories, the Internet stopped listening. With the market of potential converts already saturated, the Zeitgeist Movement sputtered into oblivion. Once you “get the word out” about your pet conspiracy theories or the ideology you’re promoting by using conspiracy theories, where do you go from there? Zeitgeist couldn’t answer this question. It’s unlikely Thrive will be able to either.

Does Clicking Links, Watching Videos and Signing Online Petitions Really Help?

There’s another more fundamental reason why Thrive’s conspiracy activism will have no real-world impact other than to “get the word out” about what they think the world is like. Most of the consumers of this material, especially those who are heavy Internet users, aren’t really willing to do more than click links, watch videos and sign online petitions. Very, very few of them will actually be motivated to go out of their homes and do something in the real (non-cyber) world. This is just a fact of life. If you put a website up about any cause, however well-intentioned, the more you actually have to do to take action on it, the fewer people you’ll have who will make the effort. People click “like” buttons and share links because it’s easy and they can do it in the flash of an eye. Only the truly devoted will be motivated to get in their cars and go to a preplanned event; fewer still will do that if it will cost them money. This is a self-limiting factor of Internet activism.

The problem is even worse when the main audience you’re preaching to consists of conspiracy theorists. Conspiracy theorists are notoriously lazy. Few of them, for example, can even be motivated enough by their beliefs even to pick up a book and read it. To them, videos on the Internet are just as good as books, and they require much less effort to comprehend. Most conspiracy theorists have virtually no awareness of the depth of knowledge the world contains beyond the Internet or how to access that knowledge. Many of them live their lives in an online bubble; if it’s not happening on the web, it’s not worth knowing about. If this is the crowd you’re trying to draw activists from, the chances of finding supporters who are high-commitment enough to meet in person, put together a viable plan of action on something and see it through to the end are much reduced.

That’s not to say that this doesn’t happen. In the heyday of 9/11 Truth theories, for example, hundreds of Truthers would gather at Ground Zero in New York City and harass people by shouting conspiracy garbage at them through bullhorns. But what did they do beyond that? Note that even this real-world activity is just another species of “getting the word out,” albeit in an extremely destructive, annoying and disagreeable way that turned off and angered far more people than it attracted. Even the 9/11 Truth organizations, like the ridiculous “Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth”—clearly an organization created by the most high-commitment supporters of the conspiracy theory—continue to focus their efforts on “getting the word out” as opposed to actually doing anything. In the very, very few instances where they do try something other than “getting the word out”—like filing a lawsuit, as one group of 9/11 Truthers attempted—they always meet with spectacular failure.

Activism in the real world is hard. It takes money, time, effort and competent people to guide the activity toward any real goal. Conspiracy theorists are mostly kids. They don’t have a lot of money. What time they have they usually spent on the Internet. Exerting real-world effort happens in a few rare cases, but not very often. Competent people who can actually think something through and put something together are about as rare in this subculture as blue diamonds.

As a result, conspiracy theorists rationalize. They lower the bar and define what they are willing to do as “activism.” Thus, the sort of low-intensity effort that they can get many people to do—clicking “like” buttons, sharing links, watching videos and signing online petitions—becomes, in their minds, a substitute for real-world activism. In an endeavor where “getting the word out” has already been defined as the major goal, getting 10,000 people to click a “like” button becomes the equivalent of a smashing victory for right and justice.

Conclusion: Do You Really Want to Help?

This article has demonstrated why conspiracy activism is pointless and counterproductive. I can hear the shouts from angry Thrive fans now: “Why don’t you stop blogging and do something that actually helps?” (This assumes that I do nothing but write blogs all day—obviously an incorrect assumption).

What can you do to make the world a better place instead of watching Internet conspiracy videos or wasting time on the Thrive website (or this one)?

Here’s something you can do: give blood. This is one of the easiest things you can do, and one which has a huge real-world impact—you can literally save someone’s life. Here’s a website where you can type in your zip code and find out where to go in your area to give blood.

http://www.redcrossblood.org/

Here’s something you can do: become a tutor for adult literacy. You can find organizations that do this all over the country. Here’s just one example, from Florida.

http://www.adultliteracyleague.org/volunteers/orientation.html

Here’s something you can do: get a group of people together and assemble care packages of medical supplies for AIDS sufferers in Africa. This has been a hugely successful program. It also has real-world impacts. Here’s how to get involved.

http://www.worldvision.org/content.nsf/getinvolved/caregiver-kits-church-volunteer-activity

Here’s something you can do: donate money to the American Indian College Fund. This fund helps people from America’s least-college-educated demographic get access to higher education. This helps real people in the real world. Here’s how to donate:

http://www.collegefund.org/content/donate

There you go. Stop watching Internet conspiracy movies and go do some good in the world. You have no excuse now.

Thrive Is Free: New Fans, New Approach, and a Fresh Welcome to This Blog.

The big news in Thrive-land this week is that the movie is now free. Originally released on the Internet on November 11 of last year—a date that supposedly has some kind of cosmological significance in New Age circles—the film was initially available only as a download for $5, although it was ripped to various torrent sites and even YouTube within hours after its release. Now it seems that Foster Gamble and Clear Compass Media don’t care if you pay for the movie anymore. You can now download the film from the Thrive website for free. We can speculate as to the motives for taking this new approach to the movie, but up until now there certainly have been those—even people highly complimentary of the film—who criticized the fact that you had to pay to see it. This move is likely to silence those critics.

Yesterday, coinciding with the release of Thrive free, I noted a sudden and dramatic upswell in page views here on the Thrive Debunked blog, which is now more popular than it ever was. Each of the last two days has been a record-breaker for page views. As people discover the film, in many cases they discover the debunking at the same time. One of the most common ways people come to this blog is by clicking from various forums, some conspiracy-related, others not, where a link has been posted. In almost all cases the paradigm is the same. A user on a forum will make a topic to the effect of, “Hey, have you seen this movie Thrive?” Usually the user posting the topic will be complimentary toward the film. Within a few replies someone will take a different view of the movie, and they’ll very often provide a link to this blog. I’ve seen forums from Germany, Romania, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Australia and Israel where this blog has been mentioned and discussed. This tells me that Thrive Debunked is doing exactly what I hoped it would do: it’s serving as a powerful counterpoint to make people think about the issues before blindly accepting the spurious claims in Thrive as gospel truth.

Because we now suddenly have many more readers thanks to the free release of the film, I thought I would provide a fresh welcome to those who are discovering Thrive Debunked for the first time. This blog has now been around for about five months. There’s a lot of material here and a lot of discussion especially in the comments. Here, therefore, is a quick guide to what parts of the film have been debunked, what remains to be done, and where you might be able to find answers to some of the most common questions about the movie and its claims.

Comprehensive Debunkings

Full Debunking of Thrive, Part I. This article, by our contributor SlayerX3, is the first of three to try to go through Thrive very quickly, tackling many of its claims in sequence. Not every claim in the first third of the film is dealt with here, but you’ll find comments on the film’s intro, the “torus” shape with which Foster Gamble is so entranced, the “Flower of Life” claims (which are dealt with in much greater detail in other articles), the supposed 64 energy units, Steven Greer and his UFO claims, more UFO material from Edgar Dean Mitchell, Clifford Stone, Harry Allen Jordan, Dwynne Anderson and John Callahan; and finishing up with crop circles. All of these subjects are roundly debunked.

Full Debunking of Thrive, Part II. SlayerX3’s second outing, this one at the middle section of the film. Here you’ll find debunkings of the UFO and energy claims of James Gilliland and Daniel Sheehan; the movie’s nonsensical distortions of the work of Nikola Tesla; free energy suppression; Adam Trombly (himself the subject of two additional articles), John Bedini and John Hutchinson, who all claim to have invented “free energy” machines; and Eugene Mallove, who was not killed (as the movie claims) because of his work on cold fusion.

Full Debunking of Thrive, Part III. The third in the full debunking series by SlayerX3 debunks the following: oil and energy empires; Foster Gamble’s misstatements about the Green Revolution; loss of biodiversity and environmental harm; Vandana Shiva; free trade agreements and globalism; a fake quote from Henry Kissinger; NEA and the Rockefellers; John Taylor Gatto; Deepak Chopra; alt-med quackery from R. Royal Raymond Fife, Rene Cassie, and Max Gerson; and the controversial Hoxsey Therapy.

Debunkings of Specific Topics and People

Crop Circles—Debunked! This article demonstrates how and why we can be sure that crop circles are not created by extraterrestrials, are not mysterious or unexplainable, and certainly are not messages from aliens telling us how to turn spinning electric donuts into “free energy” machines. In terms of page views, this is one of the most popular articles on the blog and seems especially offensive to fans of Thrive. It was the response to this article that began to convince me that the target audience of Thrive is the New Age religious crowd. For some reason I do not understand, the notion that crop circles are not extraterrestrial in origin is deeply offensive to many people in the New Age milieu. This article has surpassed the David Icke exposé as the single most controversial piece we’ve ever done on this blog.

Thrive Makers Back Down on “Flower of Life” Claim: This article details an extremely rare event—a factual correction by the Thrive makers. In this case they admitted that the claim, made in the movie by Nassim Haramein, that the “Flower of Life” design at the Osirian Temple in Abydos, Egypt is somehow “burned into the rock at the atomic level,” is in fact false. Nevertheless, despite this retraction, many Thrive fans continue to believe that the “Flower of Life” was put there by aliens and not by crafty Egyptian artisans.

Who Is Nassim Haramein? This article is a profile of Nassim Haramein, the person who makes the “Flower of Life” claim and most of the “ancient astronauts” claims in the film. As this article shows, Mr. Haramein has a history of making pseudoscientific and pseudohistorical claims that are met with extreme skepticism by members of the legitimate scientific community. An example of such a claim is his inventive “Schwarzschild Proton” theory, which postulates that every atom is a mini-black hole, despite the fact that this theory flies in the face of established physics. Yet, according to many Thrive fans in the comments, Mr. Haramein is a scientific visionary right up there with Galileo, Copernicus and Einstein. I’m not ready to book my plane tickets to Oslo for Mr. Haramein’s Nobel Prize acceptance ceremony quite yet.

Ancient Astronauts—Debunked! This article takes apart the ridiculous notion that Egyptians, Mayans and Incas were too stupid, backwards and ignorant to have created great works of ancient engineering, which Thrive claims must have been built by aliens instead. As you’ll see in the article, this idea rests awkwardly on a single untenable assumption that manages to offend historical fact, scientific reality and cultural sensitivity all at the same time. If there’s an old paperback copy of Erich von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods on your bookshelf, you need to read this article.

Who Is Adam Trombly? This article must be read in conjunction with Exclusive: Allegations About Adam Trombly Present Potential Credibility Crisis for Thrive. The first article, the earliest person profile on the blog, began our descent into the Adam Trombly saga. Adam Trombly claims to have invented a “free energy” machine that will solve all the world’s energy problems. As you’ll see in the second article, another inventor, David Farnsworth, came forward in March 2012 and claimed that the machine shown in the movie and identified as Trombly’s was actually invented by him (Farnsworth), and that it can’t do what Thrive claims it can do. I don’t know what the absolute truth is here. Despite a lengthy back-and-forth between Mr. Farnsworth and Mr. Trombly, as well as additional comments from Mr. Trombly’s daughter and Foster Gamble himself, the two questions I have about the machine—(1) did Adam Trombly really build it? and (2) can it do what Thrive says it can do?—remain unanswered.

Global Domination Agenda—Debunked! This is my personal favorite of all the articles on this blog. In it I debunk the idea that the Illuminati or New World Order, which Foster Gamble calls the “Global Domination Agenda,” actually exists and is trying to control the world. In fact it does not exist, but the article attempts to explain why believers in this bizarre conspiracy theory are not only utterly convinced that it does exist, but why everything they see and hear seems to confirm their belief. Hint: it’s a self-reinforcing delusion that is specifically designed to be impervious to anything in the way of reason or evidence. My one regret about this article is that its length probably scares away most casual readers, but you can’t really describe the issues involved in Illuminati/New World Order conspiracy theories without using a lot of words.

False Flag Attacks—Debunked! This article attacks a small section of the film where Foster Gamble is guilty of serious historical distortions, especially regarding the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident that was a prominent milestone on the U.S. road to involvement in the Vietnam War. In the article I explain why Gulf of Tonkin was not a “false flag” attack, how and why conspiracy theorists get the whole idea of “false flag” attacks totally wrong, and why, contrary to what the film asserts, belief in the bizarre and ridiculous “9/11 was an inside job” theory is in fact declining rather than increasing. Hint: it’s declining because the idea that “9/11 was an inside job” is a bunch of crap, and the vast majority of the American public knows it’s a bunch of crap. Nevertheless, the true believers have chosen to go down with the sinking ship on this one; devotees of conspiracy theories are ferociously resistant to the reality that fewer people believe 9/11 conspiracy theories now than at any time since the disaster itself.

Who Is David Icke? Formerly the most controversial piece on this site–until surpassed by the crop circles article–this article profiles British conspiracy theorist David Icke, who, if Thrive had a conventional cast list, would probably get top billing as the star of the film. Mr. Icke believes that the world is secretly run by an evil race of reptilian shape-shifting aliens. “But wait!” you protest, “he doesn’t say that in Thrive!” This article explains why, and it also explains why Mr. Icke’s reptilian shape-shifting alien theories are especially dangerous and offensive.

Thrive’s Philosophy, Purpose and Broader Context

Should We Give Thrive a Pass on its Facts, And Instead Praise its “Message?” This article answers many of the objections Thrive fans have to why I don’t just go quietly into the sunset. Although the point of the movie seems to be to establish conspiracy theories as a theodicy for New Age belief systems (see the article for an explanation of what that means), it does still purport to be a documentary, and as such it has a duty to present the facts responsibly.

Progressive Think Tank Slams Thrive’s Political Agenda. This article could also go into the feedback/response section, but I put it here because it’s a good exposure of the neo-libertarian, pro-Ron Paul political subtext of the film, which many viewers who don’t follow politics may miss entirely. Much of this article is my critique of a progressive reviewer’s take on the film, and my thoughts on how conspiracy theories, such as those advanced by Thrive, are increasingly becoming intertwined with libertarian political ideology. The progressive reviewer herself chimed in in the comments section, as well as an especially shrill Ron Paul supporter.

A Post at the Sister Blog: Thrive Demonstrates How the Conspiracy World is Changing. This is a portal to an article I posted on my other blog, which is not specifically limited to Thrive, dealing with how the world of conspiracy theories is changing in the wake of the ignominious death of the “9/11 Truth Movement.” The article mentions Thrive as an example of how conspiracy theories are increasingly being deployed either as recruiting tools for particular groups or as marketing angles for ideological, political and even religious belief systems.

Reception and Reaction to the Film

JREF Reviews Thrive! This article, fairly short, showcases a review the film received from a writer for the James Randi Educational Foundation, a group devoted to skepticism and busting woo beliefs. Needless to say, the Randi folks didn’t exactly have Thrive on their best-films-of-2011 list.

Another Negative Review of Thrive Hits the Nail on the Head. This article presents the thoughts of a noted UK environmentalist blogger and activist on Thrive. Predictably, he savaged it, and many of the arguments he made against the film echo criticisms that had already been made on this blog. Be sure to see the comments on this one, where the UK blogger himself chimes in, and gets some heavy flak from outraged Thrive fans.

Thrive—A Flop? This article is somewhat outdated. Thrive seems to have become much more popular recently, but in December there were some indications that it had peaked. Nevertheless, there is still some topical material here, such as the controversy among conspiracy theorists as to whether the film is “disinformation” and especially whether its promotional poster contains “Illuminati symbolism.” It astonishes me that anyone could be so loony as to think that, but conspiracy theorists never cease to amaze me with what they’ll be willing to swallow.

Just for Fun

Poll: Is the Creator of This Blog a “Paid Disinformation Agent?” This article is a specific response to those readers (you know who you are) who insist that no one in their right mind could ever criticize the shining truth of Thrive, and therefore anyone who does so must be an agent provocateur paid by _________ (fill in the blank—the government, the Rockefellers, the oil industry, or whoever you most love to hate). In the poll at the end of the article you get the chance to vote on whether I am really a “paid disinformation agent,” but be careful—I might be logging your IP and telling the Illuminati death squads exactly where to find you!

Debunkings We Have Not Done Yet

This site is not yet complete. There are several topics I’d still like to tackle at some point, but, as I do have a job, a life, loved ones etc., I can’t spend all my time working on this blog (contrary to what some people think). While I can’t guarantee I’ll get to all of these topics, here are some topics I’d like to cover in the future.

  • Claims regarding fractional banking and the Federal Reserve. There is a lot of demand for a debunking of Thrive’s views on this topic, but as anything to do with banking bores me silly, it’s not a topic I relish taking on. However, SlayerX3 is reportedly working on an article along these lines. I think it will be a crucial addition to the site.
  • UFOs. Thrive traffics in so much UFO folklore and apocrypha that it seems incomplete for a site devoted to debunking it to not have an article specifically devoted to UFO claims.
  • Global warming denial. Thrive doesn’t hit it that hard, but I observe from other sources (interviews, etc.) that there are some indications that Foster Gamble is a global warming denier. I don’t know that for sure, but I do know that many conspiracy theorists deny the proven scientific reality of anthropogenic climate change, so it’s relevant enough to be included here. This is a topic I know much about and have written about before on other blogs. As it’s not a huge part of Thrive, it’s a lower priority, but I do hope to get to it.
  • Other claims regarding free energy. This is a very rich topic and I’ve learned a great deal about it in the past five months. Lately with the Trombly-Farnsworth debate we’ve focused a lot on energy claims, so the time is not right to do another article on it quite yet. However, it may be coming in the future.

Conclusion

Contrary to what it may seem like at first glance, I don’t dislike Thrive fans. I want to reach them and get them to expand their thinking. My whole point here is to educate people and get them to ask for evidence before accepting someone’s word for anything. In that spirit, I welcome all the new Thrive viewers who will be attracted to the movie now that it’s free. Read the articles, join the discussion, and understand what this movie is about, why it exists and what it’s telling the world. I already feel that this blog has been phenomenally successful, and I look forward to the discussions to come.

Who Is David Icke?

Arguably the most famous—and certainly the most infamous—person who appears on-screen in Thrive is David Icke. As probably the most well-known conspiracy theorist in the world, Mr. Icke is quite naturally a lightning rod of controversy and a divisive figure who evokes strong emotions both pro and con. This article will attempt to answer the question, “Who is David Icke?”, and also make some attempt at evaluating why he appears in Thrive, what he says while on screen, and why his inclusion in the film is one of the key issues to understanding the message Thrive is trying to get across to its audience.

What Does David Icke Say in Thrive?

An extended interview with David Icke, intercut with various material, forms much of the middle section of Thrive. Although the interview with Mr. Icke proper begins at 53:48 of the film, his face first flashes on the screen at 6:55, in the credits sequence. I believe the appearance of Mr. Icke’s image early in the film is very important, as I’ll get to later.

Mr. Icke’s interview is used in Thrive mainly to explain Foster Gamble’s opinion of banking and also to bolster his claims that a “Global Domination Agenda” is trying to control the world. When Mr. Icke first appears (excluding the credits sequence), a title card identifies him as “David Icke—Researcher, Author, The Biggest Secret.” He asserts, beginning about 54:00, that people “ask few questions” about the inner workings of banking. He goes on to state that, when you take out a loan, you begin paying interest on money that (supposedly) does not exist. This is a lead-in to Mr. Gamble’s critique of fractional reserve lending.

At about 1:05:00 of the film, Mr. Icke appears again, explaining how he thinks bankers “rig” business cycles and deliberately cause depressions. At 1:18:03 he stops talking about banking and says something to the effect of, “The greatest prison people live in is the fear of what others will think. One result of the ridicule I went through is that I stepped out of the fear of what other people thought.”

Mr. Icke then talks about how social norms dictate thinking and how peer pressure stigmatizes those who don’t think “normally.” At 1:19:10 he explicitly mentions the “Illuminati,” which is his term for what Mr. Gamble calls the “Global Domination Elite.” For the next several minutes he talks about this GDE and their supposed agenda. He refers to a “problem-reaction-solution” paradigm, suggesting that the GDE causes problems in the world deliberately so they can solve them. At 1:28:30 Mr. Icke specifically mentions the September 11 attacks as an example of this, clearly indicating that he thinks 9/11 was rigged.

David Icke: A Biographical Profile

David Icke was born in Leicester, UK in 1952, the son of a British World War II hero. He did not do well in school, but was talent-scouted by a football (we call it soccer in the U.S.) team, Coventry City. He also played for Hereford United. Early onset of arthritis ruled out a football career, and Mr. Icke retired from the sport in 1973. During the 1970s and 1980s he was a print and television journalist. He also began to dabble in politics, and after 1988 became one of the spokesmen for the UK Green Party.

About 1990, Mr. Icke began to get heavily into New Age ideas, evidently while searching for alternative cures to the pain of his arthritis. In early 1991 he claims to have had a spiritual experience at a pre-Columbian burial site in Peru. Not long after he returned to the UK, he resigned from the Green Party. At this point in his life he began wearing only clothes that were turquoise colored, believing it channeled positive energy. He also began making bizarre doomsday predictions, such as a prognostication that Great Britain would crumble into the sea as a result of earthquakes. (There is no significant seismic activity in Britain). Mr. Icke later recanted these predictions, admitting they were “nonsense.”

What really projected Mr. Icke into the public eye was an April 1991 interview with BBC personality Terry Wogan. You can see a video of the interview here. In the interview, Mr. Icke continued to make strange apocalyptic predictions. He also claimed, or at least implied, that he was the Son of God—later Mr. Icke said this was misinterpreted. The studio audience present at the interview laughed. The BBC brass cringed; many thought the show went too far. Fifteen years later, Mr. Wogan admitted that he was too hard on Mr. Icke during this interview. Certainly the interview had a devastating effect—Mr. Icke said he was afraid to walk down the street for fear of public derision, and he dropped out of sight for several years.

In 1999, Mr. Icke came out with his most famous book, The Biggest Secret, the book with which he is identified on-screen in Thrive.  This book established the central tenet of Mr. Icke’s philosophy: that the world is run by a race of reptilian aliens that can change their shape and appear to be human, and that the world’s political, economic and social systems are a colossal conspiracy by these evil aliens to enslave mankind. These aliens are supposedly from the constellation Draco, but also from another dimension. Over his various series of books and lectures, Mr. Icke has expounded on this theory, weaving a complicated science-fiction history of the world wherein these aliens have been breeding humans since ancient times. People whom Mr. Icke thinks are secretly reptilian shape-shifting aliens from Draco include Bill Clinton, the late Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth II, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, President George W. Bush (of course), and, for whatever reason, Hollywood actor and former country star Kris Kristofferson.

Mr. Icke has not changed this basic narrative in 13 years. Indeed, he’s still out there today, giving lectures all over the world and getting paid handsomely for it. According to one estimate, he may make as much as £300,000 (about $475,000) for one appearance in the UK.

Is There Any Evidence to Support David Icke’s Theories?

No.

There is not a single shred of evidence anywhere in the world to suggest that (1) shape-shifting reptilian aliens from the constellation Draco actually exist; (2) various world leaders, celebrities and country-western stars are actually reptilian shape-shifting aliens from the constellation Draco; or (3) that there is a such thing as an “Illuminati,” a “New World Order” or a “Global Domination Agenda.” On this blog, I have already debunked the Global Domination Agenda and demonstrated why we can be certain that it does not exist. All of the so-called “evidence” produced by Mr. Icke and/or his supporters falls along exactly the same lines as the discussion in that article about why evidence proffered by Illuminati/NWO/GDA believers does not, in fact, prove the existence of this group or their supposed agenda. Mr. Icke’s theories are total fantasy.

A favorite activity of believers in Mr. Icke’s fantastic delusional scenarios is to scrutinize videos on YouTube of world leaders suspected of being reptilians for “evidence” of them changing from their human into their reptilian form. Sometimes believers will seize upon a glitch or anomaly in the video, often lasting only split seconds, and trumpet it as “proof” that the person is “changing into a reptile in front of our eyes!” Often the culprit will be a bulging vein in the person’s neck, a common retinal flash (red-eye), or a pixellation error in the streaming video which the believer insists makes the person look like they have “lizard eyes.” For some reason, former presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush are favorite targets for this ludicrous accusation. Here is an example of a video which reptilian believers cite as total vindication of Mr. Icke’s claims.

As you can see, it’s a pretty boring interview by the former presidents, and despite the frenzied claims of the subtitles, neither of them change into reptiles, nor anything even remotely close.

I challenge any believer of Mr. Icke’s theories to explain how and why this video proves (I) that reptilian shape-shifting aliens exist; (II) that these aliens come from Draco; (III) that these aliens rule the world, or (IV) that President Clinton and President Bush are said reptilian aliens.

To those supporters of Mr. Icke who will invariably say, “But you haven’t proved that what he says isn’t true,” I will reply, I don’t have to. It’s Mr. Icke’s burden to prove that what he says is true. The burden of proof never shifts to skeptics to disprove conspiracy theories. I am not suggesting that we reject David Icke’s theories about reptilian shape-shifting aliens because they sound crazy. I’m suggesting that we reject them because there is no evidence to support them, and because, as if this is not enough reason to reject them, they have another very serious and troubling problem.

What Do David Icke’s Theories Really Mean?

The problem with Mr. Icke’s false assertions is that they are essentially science-fiction redresses of the old “Jewish world conspiracy” theories from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with reptilian shape-shifting aliens from Draco standing in for Jews. Mr. Icke even believes in the authenticity of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious anti-Semitic forgery that was proven false almost a century ago. Of course, in Mr. Icke’s mythology, it was not the Jews who wrote about their plans of world domination in the Protocols, but aliens.

Michael Barkun, an academic researcher who studies comparative religion, wrote a book called A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003). Dr. Barkun is the leading scholarly expert on conspiracy theorists in the United States today. On page 104, in a chapter where Dr. Barkun describes the conspiracist ideology of Mr. Icke, he says:

“This set of nested conspiracies [described by David Icke] achieves its goals through control of the ‘world financial system’ and its mastery of ‘mind control’ techniques. Its goal is a ‘plan that, according to Icke, had been laid out in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Although Icke is careful to suggest…that the Illuminati rather than the Jews wrote The Protocols, this is the first of a number of instances in which Icke moves into the dangerous terrain of anti-Semitism.”

The reason that aliens became stand-ins for Jews has to do with the evolution of conspiracy theory during the 1980s and 1990s, when right-wing militia conspiracy milieu (think Timothy McVeigh) became intertwined with the UFO/alien subculture. Dr. Barkun states, on page 144:

“This type of speculation projects terrestrial racial categories onto creatures from outer space….Such racial classificatory schemata are common among those who argue for multiple types of alien visitors. Even among writers who most unambiguously reject anti-Semitism, the alien racial types disquietingly appear to reproduce old stereotypes. The evil Grays are dwarfish with grotesque features—not unlike stereotypes of the short, swarthy, hook-nosed Jew of European anti-Semitic folklore. They are contrasted to the tall, virtuous Nordics or Aryans. Although there is little to suggest that those who employ such terms do so to make direct parallels to earthbound categories, the images seem clearly to be refracted versions of older racial anti-Semitism.”

This is useful background, but it isn’t really about Mr. Icke per se. However, Dr. Barkun does get there, after discussing how conspiracists like David Icke are inconsistent about proclaiming to not be anti-Semitic while advancing clearly anti-Semitic theories:

“David Icke also seeks to have it both ways, simultaneously claiming to be offended at the thought that anyone might find him anti-Semitic and hinting at the dark activities of Jewish elites. He protests that the charge of anti-Semitism is merely a ruse to silence truth seekers, a tactic of the shadowy ‘Global Elite,’ who ‘denounce anyone who gets closer to the truth as an anti-Semite.’ According to Icke, the Anti-Defamation League is the conspiracy’s tool for silencing ‘researchers who are getting too close to the truth about the global conspiracy.’…

The more strongly Icke is condemned for anti-Semitism, the stranger are his protestations of innocence. He attacks alleged exploiters of the Jewish people, including B’nai B’rith, which he identifies as the Rothschilds’ ‘intelligence arm,’ used to ‘defame and destroy legitimate researchers with the label anti-Semitic.’ It was supposedly the Rothschilds who brought Hitler to power, created Zionism, and ‘control the State of Israel.’…Icke and other UFO anti-Semites obsess about ‘Jewish bankers.’ They are alleged to be the international wire-pullers behind countless episodes of national collapse and international turmoil. The old names, such as Rothschild and the firm of Kuhn, Loeb, continually recur. Given this penchant for recycling old themes, it is scarcely surprising that that hoary forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, exerts an abiding fascination.”

Wait, What Does This Have to Do With Thrive?

The anti-Semitic echoes of David Icke’s theories present a very difficult problem. Thrive‘s treatment of Mr. Icke illustrates the extremely delicate dance that one must do when confronted with this material. If you believe at least some of what David Icke is saying, how do you separate what you like and agree with from the ugly anti-Semitic stuff, and how do you prevent the negative press surrounding Mr. Icke from totally overshadowing everything else? Furthermore, how do you do this when Mr. Icke’s theories specifically posit that it’s a grand over-arching superconspiracy, meaning that he sees no separation or compartmentalization of one part of the superconspiracy from another? Thrive never solves this conundrum, which is why Mr. Icke’s appearance in the film seems so forced and awkward.

It is very evident, from the sections of Dr. Barkun’s book that I’ve excerpted above, that Thrive is at the very least sympathetic to key elements of the grand conspiracy views of Mr. Icke, even if it doesn’t come out and specifically endorse reptilian shape-shifting aliens from Draco, and even if the film denounces anti-Semitism (which it does). Indeed, aside from the aliens themselves, Thrive traffics in a lot of other things that feed into David Icke’s theory. Foster Gamble rages at the Rothschilds and Rockefellers several times in the movie. Immediately after addressing anti-Semitism, the film brushes the issue off with an accusation that the “central bankers funded both sides of World War II,” quite a transparent evasion. And, of course, much of the core ideology that Thrive wants its viewers to adopt relates to the notion of “evil bankers” supposedly in control of the world. And, of course, one of the major messages of the film is the idea of a “Global Domination Agenda.” All of these ideas lie at the very heart of Mr. Icke’s ideology. What David Icke adds, that Thrive isn’t willing to sign on to, is what he thinks stitches them all together: those pesky reptilian shape-shifting aliens from Draco.

Just to be absolutely clear: I am not suggesting that Foster Gamble is anti-Semitic. I don’t believe he is. He makes clear, at 1:13:56 of the film, that he’s not calling this a “Jewish Agenda,” and I don’t think he’s implying that it is. I think, in fact, that Mr. Gamble is probably genuinely ignorant of how closely Mr. Icke’s ideology mimics the toxic anti-Semitic conspiracy theories from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. But this point itself demonstrates how insidious David Icke’s theories really are. By candy-coating anti-Semitism in a science-fiction shell, most people who swallow it don’t realize they’ve just ingested a dose of bigotry. This deception is all the more tragic precisely because I think Mr. Gamble is a nice man who believes in equality, dislikes racial prejudice and who genuinely wants the world to be a better place. But, as I explained in a previous blog, his good intentions shouldn’t isolate him from criticism for advancing the negative effects that this sort of ideology has on public discourse and the world at large.

What Is David Icke Doing in Thrive, Anyway? Why Did the Filmmakers Choose Him?

Even some Thrive defenders who have commented on this blog have been brave enough to concede that, saddled as he is with baggage that is utterly poisonous, public relations-wise, inviting Mr. Icke to elucidate key messages of Thrive was probably not the smartest move. The mere appearance of David Icke in any public forum causes people to bolt for the lifeboats—such as a notorious speaking tour in Canada where various Jewish groups lobbied, successfully in some cases, to have his speeches canceled. Why, then, would the makers of Thrive choose to court controversy by inviting him into the movie? Couldn’t they have gotten someone less controversial to expound the opinions Mr. Icke talks about in his appearances in the film?

The answer, I believe, is that the makers of Thrive specifically wanted to market their movie to Mr. Icke’s fans. Let’s face it, in the conspiracy theorist underground, David Icke is a rock star. He’s known all over the world. In the United States, the only conspiracy theorist with more immediate name recognition is Alex Jones. If you get David Icke to channel your message for you, his followers will automatically accept it, because they think he’s an oracle and uniquely gifted to explain what’s going on in the world, and you also make $5 a pop from them for downloading the movie starring their hero. Furthermore, David Icke is well-known in New Age circles. If you’re making a movie about conspiracy theories which you want to sell to a New Age audience, you want access to David Icke’s fans, don’t you?

This argument is strengthened if you look at what Mr. Icke says—and doesn’t say—in Thrive. He talks about banking, about social controls, and about the “problem-reaction-solution” paradigm. Virtually any believer in the Global Domination Agenda, or anyone who shares Mr. Gamble’s views on banking, could have talked about these exact same ideas, in almost exactly the same words. If the three topics Mr. Icke talks about in the movie could have been easily covered with a less controversial and less polarizing figure, wouldn’t Foster Gamble and the makers of the film have chosen to go with someone else who didn’t have the millstone of reptilian shape-shifting aliens and accusations of anti-Semitism hanging around their necks? Wouldn’t that have been the rational choice, from a public relations standpoint?

The fact that they did not make that choice means that must be something particular to Mr. Icke that the filmmakers wanted to take advantage of. It’s probably his popularity and the audience he brings to the table, but we can’t be sure. Nevertheless, the makers of Thrive must have felt either that the controversy surrounding Mr. Icke could only help them publicize the movie, or else they felt (or perhaps felt in addition) that the baggage associated with David Icke would be outweighed in the long run by the advantages they thought they would gain by connecting with his audience of New Agers and conspiracy theorists.

I wrote in an article over at the sister blog that Thrive has three main sections which are closely intertwined with each other. The first seeks to “earn its chops” among the intended New Age audience by pushing as many traditional hot buttons for New Agers as possible: ancient astronauts, alt-med cures, zero-point energy, UFOs, crop circles, etc. The second part downloads the conspiracy theory narratives. The third part proposes a solution for these awful conspiracies, somewhat tautologically: New Age beliefs and libertarian political ideas.

David Icke’s appearance in the movie impacts both the first and second parts. He is unique as a figure who (I) has cachet in New Age circles, (II) has cachet among conspiracy theorists, and (III) commands the attention of a large-scale audience that Mr. Gamble probably couldn’t reach on his own. The appearance of David Icke’s head on the screen in the credit sequence is a key signal being telegraphed to the audience: “Hey, look, we’ve got one of your oracles, David Icke, in this movie. We know you’ll want to pay attention to what he says!” By putting David Icke in the film, the makers have bought an admission ticket to access the worldviews of two of their target audiences: New Agers and believers in conspiracy theories, two populations which, as I’ve argued before, are exhibiting increasing overlap and crossover.

From this standpoint, then, David Icke is not only a key participant in the film, but possibly the most important participant. Nassim Haramein has a fan base of his own, but the movie could get along fine without him, more or less; Adam Trombly, Stephen Greer and others interviewed are generally not well known outside of the specific niches that their issues occupy, and few people had heard of Foster Gamble before Thrive. It’s clear that David Icke is the key personality. Regardless of what he says on-screen, without him Thrive has a much more limited reach.

If Icke is So Key, Why Doesn’t He Talk About Reptilian Shape-Shifting Aliens? After All, Isn’t That What He’s Known For?

I think there are two possible answers to this question. The first is, perhaps Mr. Gamble didn’t feel comfortable going there because he doesn’t literally believe it. Even many conspiracy theorists have a hard time swallowing David Icke’s bizarre theories. Icke himself has said, quoted on page 106 of Dr. Bokun’s book: “Some of the most fierce abuse that I’ve had since [The Biggest Secret] came out has not been from the public, actually, it’s been from some other conspiracy researchers who can’t get their head around anything beyond the physical.” (A rather telling statement—is Mr. Icke admitting here that his reptilian shape-shifting aliens aren’t actually real?)

The second reason may be that the makers of Thrive wanted to try to preserve, as much as practical without diluting their message, the possibility that the movie might have some crossover appeal to non-New Age, non-conspiracy audiences. If Mr. Icke gets up there and starts blathering about lizard men from the constellation Draco, you’re going to turn off a lot of people pretty much instantly. Perhaps, in exercising some restraint on the views Mr. Icke presented on-screen, Thrive evinces some minimal standards on how far into the realm of conspiracy esoterica is too far to venture without totally losing the audience in the process.

Conclusion

David Icke is a person, popular in New Age and conspiracy theorist circles, who espouses an elaborate belief system so bizarre, so implausible, and so far-removed from reality that it is incapable of being accepted in any rational frame of mind. The fact that this worldview lacks a single shred of evidence to support it should underscore precisely how far-removed from reality it is. The fact that it so eerily resembles crude anti-Semitic conspiracy theories from yesteryear, with a modern sci-fi twist imported from UFO mythology, should make the theories of Mr. Icke even more radioactive. But, despite all these strikes against it, there are people out there who not only believe that reptilian shape-shifting aliens are trying to control the world simply because Mr. Icke has told them this is the case, but these people are willing to pay to see him espouse these theories in sufficient numbers to provide him with a comfortable living going around the world lecturing about how awful reptilian shape-shifting aliens are. It is these people to whom I believe the makers of Thrive were trying to sell their film, and Mr. Icke’s presence in the movie represents the opening of that commercial and ideological gate.

David Icke is not a credible source. His inclusion in Thrive is another of many reasons why this movie and its messages should be treated with extreme caution and subjected to the most rigorous factual scrutiny—a level of scrutiny which, as I think this blog has demonstrated on numerous occasions, it cannot hope to meet.

“False Flag” Attacks–Debunked!

This blog will deal with the claims made in a very small portion of the movie Thrive—small, but important. One of the key claims Foster Gamble makes in the film is the claim that there is a “Global Domination Agenda” where a small elite is plotting to take over the world. As I have already demonstrated, that claim is completely false. One of the pieces of “evidence” that Mr. Gamble employs to reach this finish line is the idea that this “Global Domination Elite” (“GDE” for short) uses what he calls “false flag attacks” as pretexts to start wars and/or institute policies that supposedly advance this imaginary conspiracy. In doing so, Mr. Gamble makes some pretty serious distortions of a few particular events in U.S. history. As American history is my professional field, I feel particularly obligated to set the record straight as to the misleading information and false conclusions invited by Mr. Gamble in Thrive.

What Does Thrive Say About “False Flag” Attacks?

At 1:30:00 (+/- a few seconds) in Thrive, Mr. Gamble asserts that “it is a documented fact that we entered the Vietnam War under false pretenses.” He is talking about the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, an attack by North Vietnamese forces on U.S. warships which caused President Lyndon Johnson to ask Congress for a resolution broadly authorizing expanded use of military force in Vietnam. A few moments later, Robert McNamara, who was Secretary of Defense under Johnson, is shown on the screen acknowledging that the attack on a U.S. ship in the Gulf of Tonkin did not actually take place.

At 1:30:44, after Mr. Gamble mentions that George W. Bush used the idea of weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s) in Iraq to build support for the 2003 invasion, he states, “Tactics such as this are sometimes referred to as ‘false flag’ operations.”

At 1:30:56, Gamble makes the following assertion:

“A growing number of people believe that 9/11 was a ‘false flag’ operation by the global elite as a means of taking over Middle Eastern oil and dismantling U.S. constitutional protections.”

As he says this, on the screen the collapse of World Trade Center 7 is shown. The title on the screen reads, “Building 7, World Trade Center—September 11, 2001—(not hit by any plane).”

In about one minute of screen time, Mr. Gamble has committed a number of serious historical, logical and factual errors. This article will demonstrate three principal factual conclusions: (1) that Mr. Gamble is absolutely wrong, as a matter of historical fact, to claim that the Gulf of Tonkin incident was a “false flag” operation; (2) that belief in “9/11 was an inside job” conspiracy theories is not growing, but in fact shrinking; and (3) the conclusion that Mr. Gamble invites, but does not expressly state, regarding September 11—specifically regarding WTC7, that it was part of a “false flag” operation—is incorrect. Additionally, this article will demonstrate why the whole idea of “false flag” operations, as conceived of by conspiracy theorists, is extremely unrealistic and in fact pretty silly.

What Is a “False Flag” Attack?

If you hear the term “false flag” in ordinary conversation, chances are pretty good you’re talking to a conspiracy theorist. As conspiracy theorists often do, they have taken a fairly obscure term—this one from the world of military and intelligence strategy—and colored its meaning into something not quite the same as its original meaning. Just for the sake of defining the term, I’ll quote the Wikipedia definition:

“False flag (aka Black Flag) operations are covert operations designed to deceive the public in such a way that the operations appear as though they are being carried out by other entities. The name is derived from the military concept of flying false colors; that is flying the flag of a country other than one’s own. False flag operations are not limited to war and counter-insurgency operations, and can be used in peace-time.”

Historically, false flag operations have been confined to fairly small-scale military maneuvers, especially in naval warfare. Did you see the film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, which involves British Navy ships in the Napoleonic era? There is a scene in that film where a British warship disguises itself as a whaling vessel from Brazil so as to lure an enemy French ship into close quarters, whereupon the British standard is suddenly raised and the attack begins. This is a type of false flag operation in its proper context.

When conspiracy theorists talk about “false flags,” what they mean is a tragic event, usually a very large-scale attack or other act of war or aggression, which is entirely staged by a government or elite group as a means to blame a totally innocent party and thus create a cause to retaliate against that innocent party. It’s the same thing in spirit, but not in scope. False flag operations in real life tend to be small and limited in scale. To conspiracy theorists, however, there is no practical limit to the events that can be staged successfully. Indeed the term “false flag” itself is often used as shorthand to allege a conspiracy behind something.

Why Is The Gulf of Tonkin Incident Not a “False Flag”? 

Mr. Gamble states boldly that “it is a documented fact that we entered the war under false pretenses.” It’s very clear that he’s alleging that the Gulf of Tonkin incident was a false flag attack. But it wasn’t. The reality is complicated, and considerably different than Mr. Gamble’s conspiracist shorthand. 

First, and most importantly, he does not tell the audience that what is referred to as the “Gulf of Tonkin incident” was actually two incidents. There were two alleged attacks on U.S. warships by North Vietnamese patrol boats on two separate occasions in early August 1964. One such attack clearly and definitely occurred. In fact it has been admitted by Vietnamese officials. The second attack did not occur. This is the attack that Robert McNamara is speaking of in his brief clip shown in Thrive, which is taken out of context. 

Because we know for a fact that one attack definitely occurred, this automatically disqualifies the Gulf of Tonkin incident as being a “false flag.” However, the second attack—the one that did not happen—doesn’t satisfy the definition either. It didn’t happen, but it wasn’t staged. Gamble clearly wants you to believe that elements of the imaginary “Global Domination Agenda” staged the incident in order to give the U.S. a pretext to go into Vietnam. That’s not what happened. Whatever did happen in the Gulf of Tonkin that night was misperceived by U.S. military personnel as an attack. They made a mistake; but that’s different than staging an attack.

What Happened in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964?

The United States had been supporting the government of South Vietnam since 1954, when a complicated cease-fire ended France’s war there (much of Southeast Asia had long been a colony of the French). This accord separated Vietnam into two countries, North Vietnam which was Communist, and South Vietnam which was pro-Western. American military and intelligence forces, euphemistically called “advisers,” were in the country beginning in the late 1950s, helping the South Vietnamese resist the civil war going on within its borders to unify all of Vietnam under Communist rule. Inch by inch the United States was being pulled in to a more active role, but by August 1964 there were no U.S. combat troops directly engaged in warfare with the Vietnamese.

On August 2, 1964, the destroyer USS Maddox, cruising in the Gulf of Tonkin on a mission to collect intelligence about North Vietnamese military activity, fell under attack by North Vietnamese patrol boats. The U.S. returned fire and sank one of the boats. Part of the reason this small battle occurred was because North Vietnam claimed a zone of up to twelve miles from its coasts were its territorial waters, and this claim was not recognized by the United States. Historically, there is no question that the August 2 attack did occur. The only question was who in North Vietnam’s military had ordered it and whether they had authority of the government to do so.

In 1998, former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara—the exact person who a brief clip of appears in Thrive—and other U.S. officials, in an effort to repair relations with Vietnam (which ultimately was unified under Communist rule in 1975), went to Vietnam to talk about the war with officials who had been in command of the North Vietnamese government at that time. These fascinating discussions were recorded and became the basis of a book by Robert S. McNamara, James G. Blight, and Robert K. Bringham called Argument Without End: In Search of Answers to the Vietnam Tragedy (New York: Public Affairs, 1999). On page 203 of this book, McNamara and his opposite numbers from Vietnam discuss the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Here was the record of the exchange about the first attack:

Robert McNamara: The first question I have is: was there an attack on the Maddox on August 2, 1964? The answer to that is almost surely ‘yes.’ I say this because I have a fragment of a North Vietnamese shell that I took off the deck of the Maddox, so I think there had to be an attack. But I’d like this on the record. I see my Vietnamese colleagues nodding agreement. Okay, we’ll accept that.”

Gen. Nguyen Dinh Uoc: Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap said that one of the responsibilities of the Vietnamese navy in Thanh Hoa was to guard against any vessels violating the national waters of Vietnam. And if there were violations, the navy had the right to attack in order to protect those waters. That was the general policy adopted by the central authority to defend the country’s sea coast, at the time. It was not a decision made centrally. That is the answer.”

Robert McNamara: Thank you for a very clear answer. It points to something that we certainly did not understand or anticipate at the time…There was a far greater decentralization of authority and command with respect to the North Vietnamese military than we understood at the time…”

So you see here that even the North Vietnamese admit that the August 2 attack did in fact take place. This is proof positive that Foster Gamble (A) is wrong that the Gulf of Tonkin was a “false flag,” because it is clear that an attack did take place; and (B) that he took the McNamara quote out of context. Before I explain where the McNamara quote comes from, let’s look at the second part of the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

Two days after the August 2 incident, the USS Maddox and another ship, the USS Turner Joy, claimed that they were under attack again. Technicians aboard these ships saw radar blips and there were also visual sightings of what people interpreted as patrol boats headed toward the U.S. ships. In fact, they misinterpreted what they saw. I will quote from another book, Edwin E. Moise, Tonkin Gulf and the Escalation of the Vietnam War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996), where it states on page 203-04:

“Several participants in the incident who contend that there really was a PT boat attack on the night of August 4 have summarized for the author the reasons for their belief. John Barry firmly believes that his ship actually was attacked by torpedo boats…Ensign Douglas Smith was completely convinced, on the basis of what he could see on his radar screen, that the Turner Joy was under PT boat attack. Despite contrary evidence of which he has become aware since, he is still inclined to believe in the reality of the attack…The evidence of the radar screen returns was convincing then, as it is now…

When the documentary evidence is added, the weight of the evidence is overwhelming: no attack occurred. There exist rational explanations of how all the evidence of an attack could exist without there having been an attack.”

The captain of the Maddox cabled Washington that his ship was under attack. Not long after he began to send cables hedging on this conclusion and suggesting that perhaps the second attack had not, in fact, occurred. McNamara did not tell President Lyndon Johnson that the Maddox commander was changing his mind. When Johnson made the decision to seek Congressional authority to strike back, on the basis that U.S. forces had been attacked, he did not know that the August 4 attack was in serious question.

In 2003, Robert McNamara gave a lengthy interview to filmmaker Errol Morris. This interview became the basis of a documentary film called Fog of War: Eleven Lessons From the Life of Robert S. McNamara. It is from this film that the brief clip of McNamara that appears in Thrive is taken. (I hope Mr. Gamble got the appropriate clearances to use it). In the specific clip that is used in Thrive, McNamara, who died in July 2009, is clearly talking about the August 4 attack. To my knowledge, at no time did he ever hold the opinion that the August 2 attack did not take place.

It is important to view the questions about the August 4 attack in their proper context. The brief and misleading presentation of the Gulf of Tonkin issue in Thrive clearly invites the reader to jump to the conclusion that the Gulf of Tonkin incident was some sort of deliberate fabrication. Indeed, the characterization of the event as a “false flag” attack requires that interpretation. But, as we’ve seen here, the August 2 attack did occur, and the August 4 attack, which did not occur, was a result of mistake, not fabrication. There is not a single shred of evidence anywhere that the apparent August 4 attack on the USS Maddox was a deliberate and knowing fabrication. Thus, it is impossible that it could have been a “false flag.”

Did the Gulf of Tonkin Incident Really “Get us into Vietnam?” 

Historically speaking, the answer to this question is clearly no. By August 1964 the United States was already deeply involved in Vietnam. It is therefore a mischaracterization of history to assert that the Gulf of Tonkin incident caused the United States to enter the Vietnam war. It simply didn’t happen that way. 

While obviously the point of this section of Thrive is not to engage in any sort of deep historical analysis, again the conclusion that Mr. Gamble invites with his words, and his selective presentation of the issues, is telling. Look at his exact words again: “It is a documented fact that we entered the Vietnam War under false pretenses.” It is not a documented fact, because it simply isn’t true. He’s playing games with the idea of when and under what circumstances the U.S. “entered the Vietnam War.” 

I will again quote the Moise book, Tonkin Gulf and the Escalation of the Vietnam War. In the preface, Moise states: 

“The incorrect report of August 4 did not really “cause” the outbreak of large-scale war in Vietnam. By August 1964, Washington and Hanoi were already on a collision course. The level of combat in South Vietnam, and the level of outside support on both sides, were increasing; meanwhile the United States was sponsoring a program of covert operations against North Vietnam…If reports from the Gulf of Tonkin had not caused President Johnson to order airstrikes against North Vietnam in August 1964, something else would have done so within a few months. 

“[T]he Tonkin Gulf incidents—the real one of August 2 for which the United States did not retaliate, and the imaginary one of August 4 that provoked the airstrikes and the Tonkin Gulf Resolution—deserve careful attention.”

This analysis is absolutely supported by all historical data regarding the United States’s entry into the Vietnam War. If you go to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., you’ll see two dates on the wall—1959 and 1975, the prior being the first year in which a U.S. serviceman died in Vietnam, and the latter being the last year in which that occurred. Those are, incidentally, also the dates by which the U.S. government, for purposes of veterans benefits and classification, defines the “Vietnam conflict.” It is true that a sustained long-term air campaign (“Rolling Thunder”) and large-scale infusion of American ground forces into Vietnam did not occur until 1965, after LBJ asked for, and received from Congress, the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. But it is totally false to state or imply that the war began in the Gulf of Tonkin. If it did, what war did the Americans who died between 1959 and 1965, and whose names are inscribed on the Vietnam War Memorial, die in? 

By his misleading use of the term “false flag,” Foster Gamble seems to want you to conclude that the Gulf of Tonkin incident alone took the United States and North Vietnam from peaceful coexistence to open armed conflict, and that, if the Gulf of Tonkin incident hadn’t happened, or if the truth about the August 4 attack had been known, the Vietnam War would not have occurred. This conclusion is ludicrous and is totally at odds with every bit of historical knowledge we have about the war. It simply isn’t true. 

Okay, So the Gulf of Tonkin Wasn’t a False Flag. Does That Mean the Vietnam War was Perfectly OK? 

No. That is not the argument at all. The issue is whether the Gulf of Tonkin incident was a “false flag.” It was not. The legitimacy or morality of American involvement in Vietnam is a totally different question. 

Because I’m sure I’ll be asked about it, I’ll state that, personally and as a historian, I do not believe the Vietnam War should ever have been fought. I have not been able to find in the historical record anything that I regard as a convincing argument having been made by proponents of the war, such as John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson or Robert McNamara, as to why U.S. national interests at stake in Vietnam justified the terrible price of that conflict. I believe the U.S. government sorely misjudged both the stakes and the likely consequences of the war, and compounded the damage by making one disastrous decision after another. That’s what I think about Vietnam. But was it started by a “Global Domination Elite” with a “false flag” in the Gulf of Tonkin? Absolutely not. 

Is the Number of People who Believe 9/11 Was a “False Flag” Growing? 

Let’s move on to the subject of 9/11. Mr. Gamble is curiously circumspect about 9/11, as we’ll see in the next section, but let’s look briefly at what he specifically says: “A growing number of people believe that 9/11 was a ‘false flag’ operation by the global elite as a means of taking over Middle Eastern oil and dismantling U.S. constitutional protections.” 

This statement is utterly false. Although most 9/11 conspiracy theorists refuse to accept it, fewer people believe that 9/11 was an “inside job” now than did four, five, or six years ago. An interesting article from Slate.com charts the rise and fall of 9/11 conspiracy beliefs: 

“[I]n the immediate aftermath of 9/11, only a tiny segment of the American population, 8 percent according to one poll in early 2002, was inclined to believe that their government was lying to them about what happened that day….

Although most Americans still believed that the Bush administration was “mostly telling the truth,” by early 2004 16 percent of the population believed it was “mostly lying” about how much it knew prior to the attacks—double the number from the same CBS poll two years prior…By mid-2006, one in three respondents would tell pollsters that they believed the government either orchestrated the attacks or allowed them to happen in order to go to war in the Middle East…

By 2009, with the first-ever African-American president having taken office, the number of Americans who said that Bush let 9/11 happen in order to go to war in the Middle East was at 14 percent. (Because the wording of questions about responsibility for 9/11 has changed over the years, getting a consistent measure of the public’s view is difficult)…. In another poll in 2010, only 12 percent of Americans said they did not believe Osama Bin Laden had carried out the 9/11 attacks.”

Did you follow that? Belief in conspiracy theories started out at 8% in 2002, doubled to 16% in 2004, exploded to 33% in 2006, then slumped to 14% and was still falling as of 2010. If you follow the links in the above quote you can see the raw poll data upon which this summary is based. Any way you slice it, you’ll see that 9/11 conspiracy theories are becoming less popular, not more.

It is very clear: Foster Gamble is simply wrong when he says “a growing number of people” believe that 9/11 was a “false flag” operation. In fact, the reverse is true: a shrinking number of people believe that 9/11 was a “false flag” operation. 

Was September 11 a “False Flag” Operation? 

No. 

Mr. Gamble is curiously circumspect about the subject of 9/11. He doesn’t specifically state in Thrive that “9/11 was an inside job.” All he says specifically is that “a growing number of people” believe that it is, a statement which, as you’ll see above, is incorrect. But let’s not kid ourselves. Thrive is aimed at conspiracy theorists. Among such people, the delusional belief that 9/11 was an “inside job” is an axiom. If Mr. Gamble does not believe that it was, I challenge him to come out and say unequivocally, without reservation, that he believes that 9/11 was done by Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda terrorists without the foreknowledge or assistance of the U.S. (or Israeli) government. 

Clearly Mr. Gamble invites you to make the conclusion that 9/11 was an “inside job.” While he makes his incorrect statement about the numbers of people who believe it is, on the screen we see World Trade Center 7 crumbling. 9/11 conspiracy theorists continually point to WTC7, a skyscraper that collapsed several hours after the main WTC towers fell, as “evidence” that it was a conspiracy. I’ll give Thrive a very rare point for factual accuracy when I note that the caption flashed on the screen at this part of the movie, stating that WTC7 was not hit by a plane, is correct. It was not hit by a plane. However, that doesn’t mean that September 11 was a “false flag.” 

At my other blog, I have written extensively about September 11 conspiracy theories and why they’re false. You can peruse examples here, here and here. I won’t rehash all the material debunking 9/11 conspiracy theories in this article. If you need convincing that 9/11 was not an inside job, I suggest you consult this website, or this one, which has a page devoted specifically to explaining why WTC7 does not indicate conspiracy, or you can go to an article I created in 2010 setting out very carefully what we know about 9/11 and why we know it was not an “inside job.” In a nutshell, WTC7 collapsed because it was severely damaged structurally, and set on fire, by debris that struck it when WTC1 and WTC2 collapsed earlier in the day. Uncontrolled fires raged for hours in the building and authorities knew well ahead of time that it was going to collapse. Here is a recent news article incorporating footage that graphically shows how bad the damage was in WTC7. It is very clear that September 11 was not an “inside job.” 

So, Mr. Gamble is 0 for 3. He is wrong when he says the Gulf of Tonkin incident was a “false flag.” He is wrong when he says that a growing number of people believe in 9/11 conspiracy theories. He is also wrong when he invites the audience of Thrive to draw the conclusion that 9/11 was a “false flag.” 

“False Flags” in General: They’re a Lot Rarer Than You Think. 

For the most part, I’m annoyed when conspiracy theorists like Mr. Gamble assume that certain events must be “false flag” attacks. They always—always–jump to this conclusion without investigating the evidence behind a particular event. They also ignore the fact that, in real life, “false flag” attacks are exceptionally rare. I can think of only one that makes any sort of fit with the concept as Mr. Gamble describes it, and ironically he doesn’t even mention it in Thrive. On August 31, 1939, the day before the beginning of World War II, Nazi commandos attacked a German radio station on the frontier between Germany and Poland, and planted false evidence to make it look like Poles had done it. This is known as the “Gleiwitz Incident.” However, even at that, it wasn’t very consequential. By that time Hitler had been railing at Poland for months, with his usual demand being the return of a piece of Polish territory, known as the Danzig Corridor, to Germany. Had the Gleiwitz Incident not occurred at all, the war would have begun the next day just as scheduled. Furthermore, the Gleiwitz Incident failed to fool very many people in the first place. Virtually no one outside of Germany believed it, and as for belief within Germany, Hitler, being an absolute dictator, did not require public support to launch his war against Poland in the first place. Gleiwitz simply didn’t matter very much—far from being the global game-changer of the kind Mr. Gamble imagines happened in 1964 in Vietnam, or suggests happened in 2001. 

Only one other alleged “false flag” even bears mentioning. Whenever you hear the words “false flag,” conspiracy theorists trot out another tired trope—that being “Operation Northwoods.” This was a memo drawn up within the U.S. intelligence community in 1962 suggesting that acts of terror be committed against U.S. interests abroad and blamed on Fidel Castro, so as to galvanize public opinion for an invasion of Cuba. The document was declassified in 1998. What conspiracy theorists forget is that this document, and the scenario it suggests, was so outlandish and outrageous that President John F. Kennedy, to whom it was presented, was aghast at the suggestion and rejected it out of hand. Not only was “Operation Northwoods” never attempted, Kennedy fired the guy who proposed it. Sadly for conspiracy theorists, this document does not help make their case that “false flag” operations are common. 

When I hear conspiracy theorists complain that “false flag” attacks are used to justify American action against terrorists abroad, I sometimes present them with a list of terrorist attacks that have occurred in the past 30 or so years and then ask them to identify which ones they are willing to believe as really having occurred—i.e., as not “false flags.” For example, conspiracy theorists love to talk about 9/11 and the 2005 “7/7” London Underground massacre as being “false flags.” 

However, what about lesser-known acts of terrorism? What about the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 in the summer of 1985, in which a U.S. Navy diver was murdered and his body thrown on an airport runway? Or the hijacking of the cruise liner Achille Lauro, also in 1985, where an elderly American passenger in a wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer, was murdered and thrown overboard? Or, at the very end of the year, the machine-gun massacres at airport ticket counters in the Vienna and Rome airports? These are three terrorist incidents that occurred in 1985 alone. Which of these three are “false flag” attacks? All of them? One of them? Two? If any of them were “fals flags,” where is the evidence that they were faked? 

When I ask questions like this, conspiracy theorists usually confess that they’ve never heard of these incidents so they can’t opine whether they are “false flags” or not. Some will add a naked and uninformed conjecture that they probably are, because most conspiracy theorists are reluctant to concede that terrorism really exists. 

The reality is this: “false flag” attacks are extremely rare, they are of limited size and scale, they are difficult and dangerous to pull off, and even the ones that do occur (like the Gleiwitz attack) are rarely convincing or consequential. The scale and scope of “false flag” activity imagined by Mr. Gamble and other conspiracy theorists is simply the stuff of fantasy. 

Thrive is wrong about “false flag” attacks. Period.

Global Domination Agenda–Debunked!

Contents

  • What is the “Global Domination Agenda”?
  • The Central Assumption Behind The Theory.
  • A diagram: the “Global Domination Agenda” and its logical links.
  • Example One: “The GDE deliberately created the global economic crisis!”
  • Example Two: “George H.W. Bush said he was instituting the New World Order!”
  • Example Three: “But the Bilderberg Group and the Trilateral Commission are real! You can’t claim they don’t exist!”
  • Mistaking Political/Economic Power or Social Status for “Evidence” of GDE.
  • A Logic Game: The Neighborhood Watch.
  • Questions Believers in “Global Domination Agenda” Should Ask Themselves.
  • So if there’s no GDE and the “Global Domination Agenda” doesn’t exist, who does rule the world?
  • You call this a “debunking”? You haven’t disproved the Global Domination Agenda at all!
  • Conclusion

One of the central messages of the Thrive movie—indeed, arguably the central message—is the assertion that the world is controlled by a conspiratorial group of persons, entities and business interests who are pursuing goals inimical to the best interests of humanity. On the Thrive website, this conspiracy theory is referred to as the “Global Domination Agenda,” though there are many permutations of this conspiracy theory which go by many different names. This article will debunk the notion that the world is controlled by a unified group pursuing a “Global Domination Agenda,” at least as that concept is elucidated in the Thrive movie.

Debunking “Global Domination Agenda” is at once simple and very complicated. The simple answer is, there is not a shred of evidence to support the existence of this conspiracy theory. However, explaining how and why this is so, and why it is illogical to believe in the existence of a “Global Domination Agenda,” is more complicated. It also involves the exact sort of reasoning and argumentation that is least likely to satisfy believers in this conspiracy theory.

This is a lengthy article. Before we begin, I’d like to ask all persons who intend to post comments on this article to read the entire thing before making comments. Please don’t raise an objection in the comments that’s already covered by the main bulk of the article.

What is the “Global Domination Agenda”? 

For purposes of this article I will refer to the conspiracy theory at issue as the “Global Domination Agenda,” because that’s the term used by the makers of the Thrive movie. I conceive of this conspiracy theory as being essentially synonymous with the idea of the “Illuminati” or the “New World Order,” both much more popular terms than “Global Domination Agenda.” Exactly what this conspiracy theory means, and what its details are, differ widely depending on who believes it. It’s impossible to come up with a description of this conspiracy theory that takes into account all permutations of it; however, the most commonly agreed-upon features of the theory generally hold: 

  1. That a group of persons, entities and business interests exert total, or at least significant, control over international relations, economics, media and technology on a global scale;
  2. That this group has some sort of internal unity—i.e., that its actors are working in concert toward a common goal or goals; and
  3. That either the direct goal of this group, or the effect of their goals, is to consolidate dictatorial power over all, most, or a significant portion of the world’s people.

Believers in a “Global Domination Agenda” are probably the most intractable and unyielding of all conspiracy theorists. Many debunkers simply throw up their hands when confronted with a believer in this theory, because it’s virtually impossible to convince them that this conspiracy theory is illogical and completely unsupported by evidence. Nevertheless, a full debunking of the Thrive film wouldn’t be complete without at least an attempt at addressing this conspiracy theory. Therefore, we will try to analyze why people believe in this conspiracy theory and what can be done to demonstrate that the “Global Domination Agenda” does not exist. 

The Central Assumption Behind The Theory. 

At its core, the “Global Domination Agenda” conspiracy theory is an assumption. Conspiracy believers simply assume that points 1, 2, and 3 are true. Once they make this assumption, virtually anything they see they will interpret as “evidence” supporting the truth of points 1, 2 and 3. Basically, they think it’s true because it’s true. The circular and self-reinforcing nature of the assumption admits no outside stimulus that can either support or refute the points of the assumption. 

How do we know that a group of persons, entities and business interests exert total, or at least significant, control over international relations, economics, media and technology on a global scale? Because they do, and if you don’t agree, you’re a blind brainwashed sheeple. How do we know that this group has some sort of internal unity—i.e., that its actors are working in concert toward a common goal or goals? Because they are, and if you don’t agree, you haven’t done your research. How do we know that that either the direct goal of this group, or the effect of their goals, is to consolidate dictatorial power over all, most, or a significant portion of the world’s people? Because it is. Wake up! 

This is a difficult point to grasp. At the risk of making this more complicated than it is, I’ll attempt to demonstrate it graphically. 

A diagram: the “Global Domination Agenda” and its logical links. 

Let us map out how this system would work if the “Global Domination Agenda” was true. A graph of it would look like a pyramid. There would have to be some sort of unified command, a group of ultimate decision-makers, at the very top. Let’s call this the “Global Domination Elite” or GDE for short (a term I just made up, but call it what you want—Illuminati, NWO, reptilians, whatever). There would have to be connections of some type between the GDE and the persons, entities, governments etc. that they use to do their bidding. Let’s call that layer the “Action Elements.” There would have to be connections of some type between the Action Elements and the individual acts or conditions that they create—the “Results” layer.

 

[Click to see a larger version.]

In order to prove that the “Global Domination Agenda” is true, you need to prove (I) that each layer of this pyramid exists; and (II) the connections between each layer. Without both I or II, the very idea of a “Global Domination Agenda” collapses. 

Believers in the “Global Domination Agenda” simply assume that I and II are either already proven, are self-evident, or can be proven by evidence that in fact does not point to either I or II. 

I don’t expect this statement to make much sense without concrete examples. So, we’ll get to some. 

Example One: “The GDE deliberately created the global economic crisis!” 

This type of claim is very common among “Global Domination Agenda” believers. In fact it is presumed in Thrive that the GDE deliberately tanked the world’s economy as part of whatever their plan is supposed to be. If you ask a “Global Domination Agenda” believer to prove this, he or she will usually offer two types of “evidence”: 

1. Links to news articles about wrongdoing by mortgage bankers, irresponsible economic decisions by governments or corporations, or trends about worsening economic conditions like foreclosure or unemployment.

2. Statements of opinion, often made by other conspiracy theorists, that the GDE or persons working for them created the economic crisis. 

But note what’s really happening. News articles about bad economic decisions, corporate malfeasance etc. only prove the existence of the results—not the cause, not the connections between the various layers of the pyramid. That sort of evidence goes to prove only these parts of the diagram…

 

[click to see larger] …not these.

 Think about it. A CNN.com news article that Acme Megabank made a series of disastrous loans between 2000 and 2008, when they should have known better, does not prove the connection between Acme Megabank and the GDE. All it proves is that Acme Megabank made a series of disastrous loans when they should have known better. An article about how youth unemployment is at 30% and getting worse does not prove the connection between the employers who are refusing to offer jobs to young people and the GDE. All it proves is that there’s a youth unemployment problem. But we know that already.

Proving one set of connections and then the other doesn’t work either. Thus, proving that the former CEO of Acme Megabank is now Assistant Secretary of the Treasury does not make the connection, because you still haven’t proven that Acme Megabank acted on the GDE’s orders to make those disastrous loans. You have to prove connection from the bottom up—from the result all the way up to the GDE. 

Furthermore, statements of opinion, or unsourced assertions, by other conspiracy theorists—“Guess what? The directors of Acme Megabank made those disastrous loans on purpose to further the Global Domination Agenda!”—similarly proves nothing. It does not prove the existence of the GDE, nor the connections between the GDE and the Action Elements. All it proves is that somebody thinks there are connections. But that is not proof that the connections exist.

Indeed, these pieces of “evidence” are totally meaningless unless you already accept the assumption that the “Global Domination Agenda” exists. Then, and only then, do they become relevant. This is an other illustration of the point that the “Global Domination Agenda” conspiracy theory operates on totally circular logic. 

Example Two: “George H.W. Bush said he was instituting the New World Order!” 

Believers in the “Global Domination Agenda,” when they are not providing “evidence” along the lines discussed above, will sometimes point to “incriminating” statements by persons they believe to be part of the GDE, supposedly indicating an “admission” of their true agenda. One of the favorites in this category is a speech made on March 6, 1991 by President George H.W. Bush in which he used the words “New World Order.” Supposedly this indicates an “admission” that the New World Order, as conceived by conspiracy theorists, exists, and that Bush was one of the people trying to implement it.

But does it, though? I doubt most conspiracy theorists have actually read Bush’s speech, in which he outlined his vision of a world following the Persian Gulf War. Here is the full text (http://millercenter.org/president/speeches/detail/3430). He does in fact use the words “new world order.” But, if you read the full speech—I won’t excerpt it here because I encourage you to read it for yourself—it’s very clear he’s not talking about global domination. He’s talking about a vision for foreign policy which, ironically, ultimately did not come to pass. How, then, does this prove the existence of a “Global Domination Agenda”?

Time and time again, believers in a “Global Domination Agenda” will serve up these sorts of tidbits, which do not stand for the propositions they claim they stand for. (At least Bush’s “New World Order” speech is real, even though it doesn’t say what they think he said. Often, quotes by high-ranking figures used by conspiracy theorists are simply false. For example, the Thrive movie claims that Henry Kissinger makes an ominous-sounding statement. I cannot find any reputable source—meaning, not another conspiracy theorist website—that even indicates Kissinger ever said this.) 

Example Three: “But the Bilderberg Group and the Trilateral Commission are real! You can’t claim they don’t exist!” 

Yes, the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg Group exist. But their simple existence does not prove the existence of the GDE or the “Global Domination Agenda.” Very often believers in conspiracy theorists will cite the mere existence of these groups as supposed evidence of their claims. This ignores that, again, an assumption is being made: that these groups really do have the power and the characteristics that believers in a “Global Domination Agenda” claim that they do. 

The Bilderberg Group is a rotating conference of politicians, business leaders and intellectuals who meet informally to discuss affairs of the world. The membership changes frequently, but usually includes high-ranking government officials, CEOs, etc. The Bilderberg Group has no official power. It controls no army, it can neither make nor enforce laws, and has no formal status under any government in the world. It’s a think tank. Its members talk about things they think their countries should be doing, but little else. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bilderberg_Group 

The Trilateral Commission is a group of businesspersons who get together to discuss business relations between America, Europe and Japan. Like Bilderberg, it is populated by wealthy people who have a lot of influence. Also like Bilderberg, it has no official power, controls no army, can neither make nor enforce law, and has no formal status under any government in the world. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trilateral_Commission 

Most believers in the “Global Domination Agenda” conspiracy theory believe these groups are either the GDE or members of it. They routinely cite the mere existence of these groups as affirmative evidence n favor of the “Global Domination Agenda.” 

What’s missing here is any evidence that these groups have the influence or power that the believers in a Global Domination Agenda say they have. Not a single shred of evidence has ever been produced that these groups have any power at all! The fact that they are made up by influential people, and that they discuss world problems, are the sole basis for conspiracy theorists’ claims that they control the world. In fact, while individual members of these groups may have significant power in their own governments or organizations, there is a complete lack of evidence that matters discussed or recommendations made by these groups have ever translated directly into policy. And yes, we do know what they discuss. Search WikiLeaks for “Bilderberg Minutes.” You can download hundreds of pages of extremely boring policy discussions. Not one of them proves conspiracy theorists’ claims. 

Where is the proof of control? Where is the proof of influence and power? 

Indeed, as with most “evidence” proffered by believers in the “Global Domination Agenda,” what they say and what they can actually prove are very far apart. However, these people will often frame the argument in terms of, you cannot disprove a “Global Domination Agenda” unless you deny that the Bilderberg Group or the Trilateral Commission exists. Whether they exist is not the issue. The issue is whether they have the power that conspiracy theorists say they have. They don’t. 

Mistaking Political/Economic Power or Social Status for “Evidence” of GDE. 

Another mistake, made almost universally by believers in a “Global Domination Agenda,” is to argue that the fact that a person, corporation, or group has political power, economic power or social standing is evidence that they are in fact a member of the GDE. This is, yet again, misapplication of evidence. 

Let’s take George H.W. Bush again. I could not imagine a single believer in the “Global Domination Agenda” not believing that George H.W. Bush is a member of the GDE. 

There is no doubt that George H.W. Bush is, or at least was, a very powerful and influential person. Even before he was elected the 41st President of the United States in 1988, he was from a very rich and prominent family, had many connections among business and political leaders, and was ambitious for political power at an early age. When he was in the White House, he commanded the armed forces of the U.S. and exerted significant influence on the economy. 

But ask yourself this: why is George H.W. Bush a powerful and influential person? Is it because he is a member of the GDE? Or is it because he is from a very rich and powerful family, has many connections among business and political leaders, and held significant positions of political and economic power? 

This distinction will be lost on many believers in the “Global Domination Agenda,” but it might become a bit clearer if you ask yourself this question: 

Is it possible for any person, anywhere in the world, to rise to a position of significant political/economic power or social status, without being a member of the GDE? 

If you answered “no” to this question, you have just engaged in circular reasoning. George H.W. Bush is powerful/influential because he is a member of the GDE; because George H.W. Bush is a member of the GDE, he is therefore powerful/influential. 

See the circular reasoning there? 

If you answered “yes” to the question, then ask yourself: how can you distinguish between someone who has political/economic power or social status because he/she is a member of the GDE, or someone who has that power/status for some other reason? Chances are you won’t be able to answer that question at all. 

We do not live in a society without class or social stratification. There are powerful and influential people. Rich people and business interests do have influence on government and economic policy. But be careful that you don’t mistake evidence that these things are true for “evidence” that a “Global Domination Agenda” exists. It’s very easy to do that, especially when you’re accusing people of being members of the GDE based solely on membership in a group or family or because they hold a particular office. If you’re doing that, you’re again illustrating that all “Global Domination Agenda” theories proceed from an assumption that is never questioned. 

A Logic Game: The Neighborhood Watch.

Let’s play a little game of logic and reasoning that I hope will help illustrate both how the “Global Domination Agenda” conspiracy theory works, and why believers in it are so incredulous that it can’t be real. 

Imagine a gated community in the suburbs. Five couples live there: Alan & Bess, Charlie & Dora, Ed & Flo, Gerald & Harriet, Irving & Joyce, and Kevin & Linda. The community is a planned development with covenants and a homeowner’s association. Alan & Bess are the richest people in the community and own the biggest house. Bess is president of the homeowner’s association. 

Kevin is a conspiracy theorist. He believes in the existence of a secret group called the “Neighborhood Watch” which he thinks controls everything that happens in the community. He believes that the Neighborhood Watch intends to rule the community with an iron fist and destroy all freedom in the neighborhood. In fact, the Neighborhood Watch does not exist. 

At a homeowner’s association meeting, Bess proposes a new rule that everyone in the community must mow their lawn once a week. The group votes. Kevin & Linda are opposed, but everyone else votes yes and the rule goes into effect. Kevin believes that this vote demonstrates that the Neighborhood Watch controls the homeowner’s association, and that Bess, and probably Alan, are members of it. 

A week later, Irving & Joyce’s young son is playing in the street when he’s hit by a car and injured. At the next homeowner’s association meeting, Bess proposes a new rule that no one’s kids are allowed to play beyond the confines of their own yards. The rule passes, again with Kevin & Linda opposed. Kevin begins to tell everyone that the Neighborhood Watch deliberately lured Irving & Joyce’s son into the street so he would be hit by a car, thus giving the homeowner’s association an excuse to pass a restrictive rule. Because everyone else but Kevin & Linda voted for the rule, Kevin begins to believe that all the other couples are also members of the Neighborhood Watch. 

A week after that, Gerald is accused of sexually harassing his secretary and is fired from his job. He and Harriet can no longer afford their mortgage, so they have to move out. They sell their house to Alan & Bess who buy it for a song. Kevin begins to tell people that the Neighborhood Watch framed Gerald for sexual harassment, so he would lose his job and have to sell out of the neighborhood. 

A week after that, it rains heavily. All the houses in the neighborhood have faulty siding and after the rain all the siding must be replaced. As it turns out, Ed works for Acme Siding Co. and he gets a good deal for his neighbors, most of whom buy their new siding from Acme. Ed gets a fat bonus check as a result of this. 

Kevin believes that this proves that Ed is a member of the Neighborhood Watch. He now starts telling people that the Neighborhood Watch can control the weather, that they made it rain so the siding would be ruined, thus providing Ed and Acme the opportunity to make a killing by selling new siding to the neighbors. 

Alan & Bess have a dinner party where they invite Ed & Flo and Charlie & Dora. None of the other couples are invited. Kevin starts telling people that the dinner party must be the secret meeting place of the Neighborhood Watch and it is there that they must be deciding on their nefarious plans to control the community. 

Kevin says he can prove that the Neighborhood Watch secretly rules the community. What is his “proof”? The fact that Bess is influential and on the homeowner’s association; the fact that Alan & Bess are rich; the fact that Irving & Joyce’s young son got hit by a car; the fact that Gerald lost his job; the fact that Ed works for Acme Siding; and the fact that Alan & Bess had a dinner party. 

All of these facts are undeniable. What’s missing is the connection between them. Kevin has not proved—and cannot prove—that the Neighborhood Watch exists. All he can do is prove these various facts to be true, and then tell you to “connect the dots.” But the alleged “connection” between these events makes sense only if you accept Kevin’s basic assumption—which is that the Neighborhood Watch exists. If you question whether or not it exists, the facts that Kevin states suddenly don’t seem as connected as he insists that they are. 

This is exactly the reasoning engaged in by believers in the “Global Domination Agenda.”

If this Neighborhood Watch example seems pretty silly to you, it should. It’s a prime example of bad reasoning and faulty logic. But it also explains why Kevin will choose to view everything that happens in the neighborhood—every rule, every meeting, every accident, every association between everyone else—as “evidence” supporting the existence of the Neighborhood Watch. This is why believers in the “Global Domination Agenda” are shocked when you claim there is no evidence for their claims. “Look around!” they shriek, without realizing that what they think is evidence does not support what they think it supports. 

Questions Believers in “Global Domination Agenda” Should Ask Themselves. 

Here are four questions that people who believe in the “Global Domination Agenda” should ask themselves. The answers—or lack thereof—may be revealing. 

  1. Think of a specific person that you believe is a member of the GDE, i.e., a perpetrator of the “Global Domination Agenda.” What is your basis for believing that person is part of the GDE? 
  2. If the “Global Domination Agenda” exists, why is it taking so long for the GDE’s plans to be implemented?
  3. If the “Global Domination Agenda” exists, why are the GDE so incompetent?
  4.  Assuming the GDE want to take over the world, what do you think they’re going to do with it once they have it?

Let’s take the questions one by one. 

1. Think of a specific person that you believe is a member of the GDE, i.e., a perpetrator of the “Global Domination Agenda.” What is your basis for believing that person is part of the GDE? 

We touched on this with the George H.W. Bush example above. How do you know a member of the GDE when you see one? In almost all cases, the criteria for accusing someone of being a member of the GDE is based on (i) the person’s name; (ii) their job, position, wealth, or social status; or (iii) their opposition to conspiracy theories like the “Global Domination Agenda.”

Indeed, these are the only criteria that conspiracy theorists ever employ to categorize people as members of the GDE. The Thrive movie does this too, when Foster Gamble rages at the Rockefellers. The Rockefellers are rich and influential; therefore, they must, by definition, be part of the GDE. Conspiracy theorists also like to pick on people with the last names Rothschild, Du Pont, Kennedy, Bush, Vanderbilt, etc., etc. The same lack of reasoning is present with respect to a person’s job, position or social status. I’ve had more than one conspiracy theorist tell me that, because the GDE would never “allow” someone untrustworthy to become President of the United States, anyone who gets elected president is automatically a member of the GDE. If that’s not circular reasoning I don’t know what is.

Occasionally ordinary people like me are accused of being a member of the GDE, solely on the basis of my outspoken opposition to conspiracy theories. If someone doesn’t like conspiracy theories, they must be part of a conspiracy! In this vein I have been accused of being a member of the Illuminati, a CIA agent, and a Freemason. I even had one conspiracy theorist say that he felt certain I personally had a role in the September 11 attacks. Ludicrous accusations such as these are beneath comment.

The point is, there’s no rational basis for concluding that someone is a member of the GDE. Inclusion in the conspiracy depends solely on whether the person who believes in the conspiracy theory wants or needs to assume that person must be involved. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. It’s simply absurd.

2. If the “Global Domination Agenda” exists, why is it taking so long for the GDE’s plans to be implemented? 

Believers in the “Global Domination Agenda” have a hard time with this one. They talk about the awful things the GDE has done in the past, but the stress is always on the much worse things that are going to happen in the future. Various individual conspiracy theories that fit under the rubric of the “Global Domination Agenda” such as the North American Union, RFID microchipping, etc. all emphasize a future dimension. Yet the terrible future consequences never happen. They’re always going to happen, but they haven’t happened yet.

Example: FEMA camps. Supposedly the federal government is building large detention camps, run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where people will be sent. Oh, isn’t that awful!

How come it hasn’t happened yet? 

Indeed, Alex Jones—who is listed on the Thrive website as a resource for fighting the “Global Domination Agenda”–has been predicting horrible things for more than 10 years, including FEMA camps. They never happen. What’s taking the GDE so long? If they’ve been building those camps for 10+ years now, when are they actually going to open? 

Even past events fit this pattern. Many believers in the “Global Domination Agenda” will tell you that 9/11 was staged in order to provide an excuse for “taking away our liberties.” How did “they” (the GDE, surely) take away our liberties? By passing the PATRIOT Act, and by instituting invasive TSA searches at airports. Look! They’re taking away our liberties! 

So let me get this straight. The PATRIOT Act was passed 10 years ago, with all these expansive powers that have very seldom, if ever, been used in the past ten years. Some of its provisions have been used against suspected terrorists—but if the GDE really intended the PATRIOT Act as a major tool of oppression, why haven’t courts and enforcement officials been making more and ever-increasing use of it? I mean, why put this law into place but not use it? What is the GDE waiting for? 

Similarly, TSA searches. These were instituted in early 2011. The believers in the “Global Domination Agenda” want you to believe that the GDE, having done 9/11, waited an entire decade to institute a new type of search at security checkpoints. Assuming there’s a considerable distance remaining from invasive pat-downs at the airport to total dictatorial control over all the world’s people, it would seem that the GDE are moving very, very slowly. 

If the GDE is moving this slowly to implement their agenda, where’s the incentive for people to join the conspiracy? They’ll all be dead by the time we reach the “total world domination” stage, if we ever do. What, then, do they have to gain? Why should they commit crimes now to benefit some future generation of iron-fisted rulers who haven’t even been born yet?

This analysis gets sillier if you take into consideration that most believers in the “Global Domination Agenda” believe that the GDE has been around, and has been working on their nefarious plans, for a very long time already. The Thrive movie doesn’t talk about the “Illuminati,” but believers in that form of GDE think that a secret society founded in 1776 is the real power ruling the world. So, in addition to the dozens, scores, or perhaps hundreds of years that have yet to elapse before the GDE’s plans come to fruition, it turns out they’ve already been working on them for over 230 years!

Does this make any sense at all?

3. If the “Global Domination Agenda” exists, why are the GDE so incompetent?

This sounds like a joke, but it’s not. If this GDE is out there and really trying to enslave the world, why are they doing such a terrible job of it? Indeed, it would seem, with as many holes in their plans, that they’re totally incompetent.

After all, “Global Domination Agenda” believers are asking you to accept that a group of all-powerful conspirators is tightening their grip over the entire world, but yet

  • …Foster Gamble is allowed to blow the whistle on their agenda with his Thrive movie and website.
  • …Alex Jones is allowed to screech, grunt and wail about their agenda every single week on his radio show.
  • …Charlie Sheen and Rosie O’Donnell are allowed to make fools of themselves peddling “9/11 Inside Job” crap on their TV shows and in interviews.
  • …Bernie Madoff, undoubtedly a member of the GDE, is allowed to be caught red-handed in his Ponzi scheme.
  • …Richard Nixon, undoubtedly a member of the GDE, is caught on tape, in his own words, committing a crime that leads to him resigning his office.
  • …Nobody helps George W. Bush, undoubtedly a member of the GDE, make a slam-dunk case for his war in Iraq by planting WMD’s on Iraqi soil, instead letting the world see that there were no WMDs in the first place.
  • …Minutes of the Bilderberg Group meetings have been posted on WikiLeaks.
  • …Tens of thousands of conspiracy theorists are allowed to junk up YouTube with their videos claiming that the “Global Domination Agenda” is real.

Believers in the “Global Domination Agenda” who try to tackle this question will invariably say something like, “This is how the GDE wants it,” or “They have to give you [debunkers] something to use to claim they aren’t real.” Anyone familiar with psychology would recognize these responses as self-reinforcing delusions.

4. Assuming the GDE want to take over the world, what do you think they’re going to do with it once they have it? 

Believers in the “Global Domination Agenda” usually breeze right by this type of question. What’s the ultimate point of the GDE trying to rule the world? Power, of course! Why, then, do they want to rule the world? For the sake of ruling the world. 

History teaches us, however, that people who desire a great deal of power seldom desire it for its own sake. That’s a common trope in fiction, but don’t even James Bond supervillains have a plan of some kind that they hope to implement? Don’t they usually have an ideology they want to advance, or a set of goals that they feel can best be vindicated by achieving a position of dominance?

Few people would dispute that Napoléon Bonaparte was a very ambitious man, even power-hungry. A man who crowned himself Emperor of France could not be anything other. However, even Napoléon wanted something. He believed in the ascendancy of the French state and thought its interests would best be served by being the most military and politically powerful state in Europe. Napoléon took power in France in part to achieve these goals. He didn’t just sit there wringing his hands and cackling, “Wheeee, I’m going to rule the lives of millions of Frenchmen and lay waste to the continent of Europe!”

What, then, do the GDE want? Believers in this theory don’t have much of an answer beyond, “they want to rule the world.” They seem to assume that power is its own reward. But that doesn’t make much sense, does it? Yet conspiracy theorists cannot point to any specific set of goals that the attainment of “total world domination” would help the GDE achieve. What are they going to do with the world once they have it? Build themselves big mansions? Waterski behind yachts? Erect statues to themselves? (Can’t many of the people suspected of being members of the GDE already do that?)

Some conspiracy theorists attempt to avoid this question by declaring that the GDE are “psychopaths” or otherwise insane. This makes no sense either. In fact it’s a convenient out, by saying, “well, we don’t have to explain what these people want, because they’re just nuts and want power for its own sake.” This argument is not convincing.

So if there’s no GDE and the “Global Domination Agenda” doesn’t exist, who does rule the world?

This question again proceeds from the same assumption as the “Global Domination Agenda” conspiracy theory does—the assumption that someone rules the world, and that those people have some type of unity. Asking the question is pointless because it presumes that all you have to do is point a finger at some group and say, “They run the world!”

A lot of people run the world—more accurately, a lot of people run little pieces of it, or, more accurately still, they run little pieces of the little pieces of the little pieces of the world. Those people do what they do out of an extremely broad array of motivations. Much of what they do conflicts with each other, because people, countries and industries have competing and contradictory goals. Barack Obama is undoubtedly one of the most powerful men in the world. However, there are things he can’t do. He can order a nuclear strike on China, but he can’t get his budgets passed. He can influence Bernake to adjust interest rates, but he can’t snap his fingers and create millions of jobs. He can order a SEAL team to assassinate Osama bin Laden, but he can’t stop Mitt Romney from talking trash about him on the campaign stump.

There certainly are a lot of things wrong with the world. Clearly, people are starving in developing countries. Man-made global warming is threatening our environment. Personally, I believe that our economic system is not functioning properly, and social inequality is a serious problem. But to assume that these things are all part of a conscious design by a single person or small group of people is to ignore everything we know about history and about human nature. Thrive seems to suggest that the world is somehow deliberately built to be cruel and unfair, and it is the fault of the GDE, those evil people, who made it so. That belief is absolutely asinine, and should offend anyone who believes in rational thinking.

You call this a “debunking”? You haven’t disproved the Global Domination Agenda at all!

It is true, I have not disproven the existence of the “Global Domination Agenda.” But I am not required to do that.

You are required, if you believe in the “Global Domination Agenda,” to prove that it existsnot the other way around. Until you can prove that it does exist, it is not rational to believe in it. That is why this article is an effective debunking, because in it I’ve stated why the “Global Domination Agenda” is not worthy of belief.

The facts as we know them indicate that Grant is buried in Grant’s Tomb. The conclusion that Grant is buried in Grant’s Tomb is entirely consistent with what we know about the world around us. If we come upon a monument in New York City with an inscription reading “Here Lies Ulysses Grant,” it would be entirely rational to conclude, just by what we know about how funerals, cemeteries and graveyards work in the real world, that most likely Ulysses Grant is buried beneath that stone.

If you claim that Lincoln is buried in Grant’s Tomb, the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that this is true. You don’t get to believe that Lincoln is buried in Grant’s Tomb simply because you want to, and because, short of getting a bulldozer and a crowbar and cracking open the tomb and the coffin of the person buried inside, I can’t disprove that Lincoln is buried there. I can show you evidence, eyewitness accounts of Grant’s funeral, perhaps a document from his undertaker and the man who built the tomb stating that, yes, in fact Ulysses Grant is buried there. If you continue to insist that Lincoln is buried there, don’t be surprised, if you produce no further proof, that everyone else continues to accept what has been indicated as true—that Grant is buried in Grant’s Tomb.

I do not expect conspiracy theorists to be persuaded by this logic. I do, however, expect that maybe one or two rational people out there will begin to ask questions about whether the existence of the “Global Domination Agenda” is really as self-evident as it seems.

Conclusion

The Thrive movie’s claims of a “Global Domination Agenda” are based solely on an assumption that is self-reinforcing. Believers in this conspiracy theory will typically never, under any circumstances, even question the validity of the assumption. Once convinced of its veracity, strangely nearly everything they see in the world seems to look like “evidence” supporting the assumption, when in fact it is not.

I am not required to disprove the existence of the “Global Domination Agenda.” It is up to the believers to prove it exists.

There is no evidence that the “Global Domination Agenda” exists. Therefore, the “Global Domination Agenda” does not exist.

The Second (Partial) Debunking of the Full-Length Thrive Movie.

This is Part II of the first debunking done on the full-length Thrive movie. There will be additional debunking material that is more detailed, both on the full movie and on various individual aspects of it, posted later. This debunking is not by me, but by gabrieltech, who will (we hope) be a contributor to this blog. If you missed Part I, here it is.

——————————————–

Dr. Jack Kasher, Lane Andrews and James Gilliland

Little is known about these two (Kasher and Gilliland). They continue to claim a correlation between torus and energy control and transportation in UFOs, with Lane Andrews (supposed alien abductee) showing with sketches and drawing of the shape and pattern of the UFO. I’m sure she was chosen because her deception of the UFO was the only one from all alleged abductees that matched Gamble’s torus obsession along with James Gilliland who also described a similar UFO encounter to Andrews and of the two is the only one I whose information I could find on-line. He runs a website dedicated to alien encounters and the footage from his ranch sightings.

http://eceti.org/Eceti.IndexII.html

Some talk with Dr Kasher about the age of earth and the possibility of an earth like planet containing intelligent life existing, and faster than light travel.

Daniel Sheehan:

Nothing special about him besides his connection to Greer’s Disclosure project. In his brief appearance he tells how no politician likes to touch the extraterrestrial life theme because it’s a “world view” challenge instead of the political suicide of being associated with conspiracy groups.

Free energy and torus:

This part starts with Nicola Tesla’s works, and mistakenly relates it to free energy and radiant and how his work and financing was shut down by J.P Morgan and later had his laboratory burned and ostracized for his goals of implementing unlimited energy for everyone.

First, the free energy claim.

A few of Nicola Tesla’s works were related to wireless energy (http://www.google.com/patents?vid=1119732) and electro static induction,  methods to transfer electrical energy without the need to use wires. The power itself came from conventional electrical generators, it wasn’t free energy and neither was generated by his devices.

Second, J.P Morgan sponsor shut down.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wardenclyffe_Tower

The project J.P Morgan was sponsoring wasn’t related to energy but communications the Wardenclyffe Tower (the wireless power transmission served only for demonstration purposes), a wireless radio communication tower. Morgan withdrew his support for the project after failures and delays after changes in the main project resulted in undesired effects.

Tesla laboratory burned down.

While this indeed happened and was due to Tesla’s works it’s not about the reason Gamble leads you to believe. During Tesla’s time there were major patent wars between Tesla and several other inventors, the most notable being Thomas Edison.

This competition often ended with one inventor sabotaging each other’s labs and inventions, in when Tesla’s lab was burned down he was working on his Tesla generator and liquefaction of air, after the event a competitor in Germany Carl Paul Gottfried von Linde filed a patent for the same process Tesla was working on.

Tesla ostracized.

This part is an outright lie. Even after Wardenclyffe Tower and his lab being burned Tesla remained a respected scientist and filed several patents up until his death in 1943. His deeds are still remembered and his contribution to science are respected.

There is nothing relating those incidents to free energy.

Free Energy “suppresion”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_energy_suppression

This bumps into another conspiracy theory, but instead of 9/11 and New World Order we have free energy being suppressed (In my opinion it’s a convenient way to shrug off failure by just saying, “hey my generators worked, it was the government that confiscated everything !”).

Adam Trombly:

Mr Trombly is a common name in free energy circles an enthusiasts but none of his works or machines have been proven to work on their own.

http://peswiki.com/index.php/Directory:Adam_Trombly

http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php?topic=8510.0

http://www.ahealedplanet.net/journey.htm

http://projectearth.com/about/adam-trombly

http://www.rexresearch.com/trombly/trombly.htm (Trombly’s profile and his Homopolar Generator)

He talks about how his device resonates with earth magnetic field to generate power and how such device could bring power to anywhere on earth. Despite claiming his generator works as a fact, Thrive has shown nothing but CGI representation of the generator instead of a real life working one.

I couldn’t find references and pages about the federal raid and the alleged confiscation of his devices. The only places where I could find this were “free energy” forums, and sites that linked me to once again Greer’s work.

[Muertos comment: this is a telltale sign of a pseudoscientist. Any scientist or inventor with a radically new machine or process would be canvassing the legitimate scientific and engineering community in the hopes of attracting investors to help him bring the process to market. If the inventor won’t show you what he invented, especially if you want to invest money in it, chances are there’s nothing to see.]

John Bedini:

http://johnbedini.net/ (his website has a page that links to Rife, but more about Rife soon)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Bedini

http://johnbedini.net/john34/bedinibearden.html

His devices descriptions in Thrive fill the category of perpetual motion machines: “a device that generates more energy than it takes to run them.”

[Muertos comment: that is impossible given the laws of physics as we know them to be.]

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perpetual_motion)

Bedini still sells models and blueprints of his devices on-line and still has a company selling his inventions(some of which have been dismissed by the skeptic  James Randi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Randi)

He later claims Bedini was intimidated into stop advocating free energy, he doesn’t say by who and which organization, certainly he implies the US government is involved.

After showing videos with poor quality of free energy machines working Gamble’s appeals to his authority for the veracity of such concepts and their real applications.

John Hutchinson

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WK-BziiId_0 (This video fails at physics forever)

http://www.skepdic.com/hutchisonhoax.html

Another hoax passed as truth by Thrive and Gamble. I won’t waste my time trying to debunk this because it was already done.

But long story short, Hutchinson is credited in free energy circles to have created the “Hutchinson effect,” in which he used a series of Tesla coils and other electromagnetic equipment to resonate with objects in a testing table making the “defy” gravity and levitate. Needless to say no other scientist has been able to replicate the same results in a controlled environment using the same type of apparatus Hutchinson used.

His lab raids are only discussed free energy forums and other conspiracy theory sites, including David Icke’s forums, and somehow he becomes related to 9/11 “anomalies”.

http://www.rexresearch.com/hutchisn/hutchisn.htm#7

http://forum.davidicke.com/showthread.php?t=17964 (tying the he Hutchison effect to 9/11)

[Muertos: absolutely no reputable scientist or researcher would allow their work to be attached to 9/11 conspiracy theories. Witness what happened to Steven Jones. In addition to his work being incapable of being replicated, the 9/11 association alone is enough to declare Hutchinson completely untrustworthy.]

Eugene Mallove:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Mallove

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_fusion

Mallove gained some notoriety for advocating room temperature fusion also known as cold fusion and he is the creator of infinite energy magazine.

Cold fusion is considered by the scientific field as pathological science where experiments are made to trick people into believing false results. The history of cold fusion is ridden with false positives, measurement and theoretical errors and several attempts to replicate the results claimed by Martin Fleischmann were met with negative results.

[Muertos comment: Steven Jones, former BYU professor who later gained fame as a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, got his start in the late 1980s pushing cold fusion theories. Funny how these conspiracy people keep a tight circle, isn’t it?]

So far there has been no device able to create and manipulate cold fusion, and unlike what Thrive wants to make you believe, it wasn’t because of lack of attempts either, as major universities and research institutes poured money and time researching cold fusion.

Mallove was murdered in 2004. Gamble’s tone implies that he was also victim of suppression, but reason of his death was due to troubles he had with Chad Schaffe, who along his fellow Mozzelle Brown (Brown had prior criminal records) beat Mallove to death after finding Mallove was throwing away Schaffer’s parents’ belongings after their eviction.

http://www.norwichbulletin.com/carousel/x1555988219/Police-have-3rd-suspect-in-Eugene-Mallove-killing#axzz1dsQ12xFA

After the presentation of the suppressed “inventors”, Trombly and Greer talk about the military and major energy groups suppressing the free energy inventors and how free energy suppression is hand in hand with UFO suppression due to their supposed technological links, and implications of how free energy would shift the wheel of power from major energy corporations.

A few more pictures and videos of supposed working free energy generators are shown along with Brian O’Leary’s comments.

Gamble claims that instead of “smashing things together and trying to control the explosion” free energy relies on “blending and dancing with what naturally it is” with the common denominator is that they mimic the torus energy shape (news flash: every electromagnetic generator does).

Gamble couldn’t be less specific when describing how free energy devices work, and later implies why corporations and governments force us to rely on dangerous and polluting energy sources, declaring there are no other clean and cheap energy sources.

Right after this, Gamble, O’Leary and Gamble’s wife have a brief speech about the benefits and the importance of free energy and alternate technologies.

More material from gabrieltech’s debunking of Thrive will be posted at a later time.