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THE ORIGINS OF THE ILLUMINIST MYTH:
THE FABRICATION OF THE PROTOCOLS
OF THE LEARNED ELDERS OF ZION

by: S.R. Shearer

[What follows pertains largely to the forgery known to the world as The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion; but the same pattern of fabrication found here is repeated in all the other so-called "documentation" bearing on the Illuminati Myth. It also parallels the thesis behind Pat Robertson's book, The New World Order. Indeed, the extent to which the worldview behind Pat Robertson's book - The New World Order - and the hypothesis which undergirds The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion indicates the degree to which this kind of thinking - i.e., the kind of thinking which undergirds the Protocols - has seeped into the evangelical Christian community in recent years. (Many of these parallels are indicated in the text below.)] 1

THE ORIGINS OF THE ILLUMINATI
MYTH: THE ABBE BARRUEL

Illuminati enthusiasts and devotees like to paint the myth as extending back into the misty past, but that simply is not the case. The Illuminati Myth did not exist as literature prior to the French Revolution - and even then only as disjointed pieces, not as a consistent whole. Not until 1905 did the myth explode on the world as a coherent body of literature. What anti-Semitic writings that did exist prior to 1797 had nothing to do with the Jews as participants in a revolutionary world-conspiracy aimed at the destruction of Christianity; it was largely confined to religious themes with only the most indirect political overtones. Clearly, the anti-Semitic literature which existed prior to 1797 tied the Jews to the death of Christ, and on that basis they were persecuted; it also pictured them as "moneylenders," and occasionally it linked them to the practice of witchcraft; but it never portrayed them as revolutionaries bent on the conquest of the world. On the contrary, Jews were painted as weaklings and cowards; a people hardly worth even the most indirect kind of political attention - and for that reason, most European armies excluded Jews from military service well into the nineteenth century.

The first disjointed pieces of the Illuminati Myth can be traced back to the French Revolution, specifically to the French cleric, the Abbe Barruel. [Please see Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide (New York: Harper and Row)] As early as 1797, nine years after the revolution, Barruel, in his five-volume Memoire pour servir a l’histoire du Jacobinisme, argued that the French Revolution represented the culmination of an age-old conspiracy of the most secret of secret societies. Down through the centuries this secret society had purportedly poisoned a number of monarchs; and in the eighteenth century it had captured the Order of Freemasons [here, Robertson’s Juden-frei rendition parallels the original unswervingly (please see pgs. 67-68 of Robertson's New World Order)]. In 1763, the conspiracy supposedly created a secret literary academy consisting of Voltaire, Turgot, Condorcet, Diderot, d’Alembert and other luminaries of the "French Enlightenment." This group of men ostensibly met regularly in the house of Baron d’Holbach and through its publications had undermined all morality and true religion in France [parallels pg. 67, Robertson's New World Order]. From 1776 onward, Barruel maintained, Condorcet and the Abbe Sieyes had built up a vast revolutionary organization of half a million Frenchmen who were the "Jacobins" of the French Revolution. But the heart of the conspiracy - the real leadership of the revolution - was supposed to rest in a Bavarian group known as the Illuminati under the headship of a certain Adam Weishaupt [parallels pg. 67, Robertson's New World Order]. To this handful of Germans, all the Freemasons and Jacobins of France owed blind allegiance - or so Barruel thought.

THE STUPIDITY OF IT ALL

It is beyond belief that thoughtful men could possible accept such drivel! To those possessing even a modicum of knowledge concerning the "Enlightenment" and the French Revolution, such a tale represents absurdity and factual inaccuracy on such a vast scale that it hardly merits attention, let alone serious refutation.

Diderot, Voltaire, Holbach and the other founders of the "Enlightenment" - whose writings in large part produced not only the French Revolution, but the American Revolution as well - were anything but "lovers of the Jews." Voltaire, perhaps the leading figure of the French Enlightenment, was often heard to say that all men were worthy of freedom and the benefits of the Enlightenment except the Jews!! Why? - because "... the Jews were not of the same species as the rest of mankind!" This is hardly a statement which could reasonably be attributed to the supposed leader of the Jewish Conspiracy in France. Indeed, in it one can hear the demonic footsteps of the coming Holocaust echoing up through the corridors of history to lodge themselves finally in the hellish darkness of Hitler's Germany. Similar statements are easily attributable to many of the other leaders of the Enlightenment. But then such facts have never dissuaded anti-Semites before, and they could hardly be thought able to do so today.

To the men and women of the Enlightenment, Western Civilization had taken a wrong turn when it had embraced Judeo-Christianity. To "Enlightenment Man," history had begun with the flowering of Greek civilization in the sunny hills and islands of the Aegian - not the "backwaters" of Judea and Samaria - and had reached its zenith under Imperial Rome and the Emperor Marcus Aurelius - not the "secondary and relatively unimportant kingdom of David and Solomon."

The Ancient World of Greece and Rome had detested the Jews and their concept of "One God." Cicero and maintained, "They (i.e., the Jews) are - all of them - born with a raging fanaticism in their hearts, just as the Bretons and the Germans are born with blond hair. I would not be the least surprised if these people would not some day become deadly to the human race."

Voltaire's charge against the Jews - his hatred of them - had nothing to do with the Medieval and Catholic concept that they were the "killers of Christ." Voltaire refused to have recourse to the anti-Jewish position of the "Christian Civilization" that he himself had abandoned. Indeed, Voltaire was as much anti-Christian as he was anti-Semitic; to Voltaire, Christianity was merely an extension of Judaism, a view of Christianity which he had adopted from the Graeco-Roman Civilization he admired so much. Voltaire had instead recast his hatred of the Jews in the anti-Semitism of the Ancient World; he had cloaked his anti-Semitism in the ideas of Tacitus and Horace who had hated the Jews with a hatred older and much more obscene than anything conjured up by the Medieval Church - the pagan anti-Semitism of Greece and Rome.

The fact is, Voltaire's hatred of the Jews went far beyond the more "mundane" anti-Semitism of the church of his day, and there are scholars who argue with considerable persuasiveness that Voltaire's anti-Semitism was of a far more murderous kind than that found in the official church doctrine of his time. He had acquired his hatred of the Jews from the very same people who had supposedly taught him the value of freedom and the worth of man (i.e., the pagans of Greece and Rome). Moreover, it is probably not too much to say that his hatred went further even than the hatred of Cicero, Tacitus, and Horace in as much as he viewed Judaism (and Judaism's daughter, Christianity) of having poisoned the civilization he loved so well. This feeling of contempt and disgust for Judaism and Christianity was the view of the mainstream of the Enlightenment. Montesquieu, Locke, Gibbon, Hume, Rosseau, Mirabaud, Holbach, Voltaire, etc., were all to one degree or another anti-Semitic. The charge that these men were participants in some great Jewish world-conspiracy is so fraudulent and absurd that it hardly bears consideration, let alone rebuttal. It would be akin to seriously arguing with someone who insisted that two plus two equalled three. About all one could do is to shake his head and walk away.

THE FREEMASONS AND THE ILLUMINATI

As for the obscure German group known as the "Illuminati" - it was anything but a sinister group of men bent on a world-conspiracy. It was in fact nothing more than a cluster of "armchair intellectuals" more at home in their comfortable gatherings than in the streets inciting rebellion; they were more like an over-aged "athletic club" whose members could talk a good game, but nothing else. Moreover, they were anything but the leaders of the French Enlightenment, they were rather its timid followers. Indeed, they derived their name - "the Illuminati" (meaning the "enlightened ones") - from the fact that they were followers of the French Enlightenment, not its leaders. Finally, the Illuminati and the other followers of the Enlightenment were not Freemasons at all, but rather their rivals.

The Freemasons were the sworn enemies of the French Enlightenment and were (insofar as the French were concerned) originally Catholic and Monarchists who fought against the Revolution. Indeed, King Louis XVI and his brothers were all Freemasons. Rather than profiting from the Revolution, the Freemasons suffered greatly from its excesses under the Terror which the Revolution unleashed. The Freemasons were hunted down mercilessly and guillotined by the hundreds by the Jacobins. Furthermore, the charge that the Illuminati involved itself in witchcraft is so absurd that it fairly boggles the mind; these men were men who prided themselves on being men of science and rationalism; they everywhere denounced the "medieval" concept of witchcraft as being superstitious. Finally, the thought that half a million Frenchmen would ever under any circumstances "blindly" follow a small group of Germans (Bavarians) is so ridiculous that it is dizzying in its stupidity.

THE SIMONINI LETTER

In 1806, Barruel produced a document in support of his slanderous charges against the Jews - the Simonini Letter. Like almost everything else connected with the myth of the Jewish world-conspiracy, the letter was a forgery - a fabrication produced by the French Political Police under Fouche. Its objective was to influence Napoleon against the Jews. The letter was ostensibly written by an army officer, J.B. Simonini. After having congratulated Barruel on "unmasking" the Jacobins, which Simonini claimed were preparing the way for Antichrist, the letter went on to describe the so-called Jewish role in the entire "Jacobin Plot."

At the time of his death in 1820, Barruel had elaborated the beginnings of the modern myth of the Judeo / Masonic Conspiracy. He had written a vast manuscript to show how a revolutionary conspiracy had existed down through the ages, from Mani to the medieval Knights Templar, and thence to the Freemasons. The whole organization was supposedly controlled by a Supreme Council. The Council was veiled in impenetrable secrecy and had no fixed residence, but wherever the statesmen of the Great Powers gathered, there they could be found as an "unseen and controlling presence" lurking in the background [parallels pg. 71, Robertson's New World Order]. The Council, which - according to Barruel - was made up entirely of Jews, elected a Grand Master and around the figure of the Grand Master, Barruel wove a truly lurid tale of intrigue, terror, despotism, sorcery and witchcraft. The tale was so fanciful, and so much the product of his own fevered imagination, that a few weeks before his death, Barruel - in a fit of conscience - sought to destroy all his existing manuscripts. He failed.

IN THE JEWISH CEMETERY IN PRAGUE

Barruel’s fantasies and the Simonini fabrication by Fouche found little acceptance in the first half of the nineteenth century. But around 1850, the myth reappeared - this time in Germany as a weapon of the extreme right in its struggle against the growing forces of liberty and democracy.

Writing after the great democratic uprisings of 1848 had swept through Europe, rocking the monarchies of the "Old World" to their very foundations, E.E. Eckert began to expand on Barruel’s themes of half a century earlier. The Catholic magazine, Historische-Politische Blatter picked up Eckert’s writings and helped spread them throughout southern Germany. [And these are precisely the writings that Hitler "ran into" in Vienna and Munich in his youth.]

A few years later, Herman Goedsche, writing for Neue Pruessiche Zeitung, authored a book which was to become the basis of one of the most famous anti-Semitic fabrications of all times - "The Rabbi’s Speech." How a relatively obscure and openly fictitious novel by Goedsche was transformed into the twisted and demonic "Rabbi’s Speech" is itself a case study in the pathological mental processes at work in those who give credence to the Illuminati Myth. Herman Goedsche had at one time been a minor official in the Prussian postal service. He had been dismissed, however, after having participated in a plot designed to incriminate the famous democratic leader, Benedec Waldeck. The plot had involved the use of forged letters.

In 1868, Goedsche produced a sensational novel under the pseudonym of "Sir John Retcliffe." The novel was entitled Biarritz. It contained a chapter called, "In the Jewish Cemetery in Prague." The novel itself was straight fiction and Goedsche never claimed that it was anything else but that. The chapter in question described a secret, nocturnal meeting which was supposed to have taken place in the Jewish Cemetery in the city of Prague during the Feast of Tabernacles. [It's interesting to note in this connection that there are some in "Latter Rain" who have taken note of all this and who have described these "goings-on" as a kind of "Black Mass" - a satanic precusor or spiritual counterfeit to the "real thing" (speaking here of the so-called "Black Mass.") which some "Latter Rain" devotees expect to occur in the "Latter Days" just prior to the Return of Christ.]

At eleven o’clock, the gates of the cemetery creak softly and the rustling of velvety coats is heard. A vague, white figure passes like a shadow through the cemetery until it reaches a certain tombstone; here it kneels down, touches the tombstone three times with its forehead and whispers a prayer. Another figure approaches; it is that of an old man, bent and limping. It coughs and sighs as it moves. The figure takes its place next to its predecessor and it too kneels down and whispers a prayer. A third figure appears, and then a fourth and so on until thirteen figures have finally appeared, each one having repeated the aforementioned procedure.

When the thirteenth and final figure has at last taken its place, a clock strikes midnight. From out of the grave there comes a sharp, metallic sound. Suddenly, a blue flame appears and lights up the thirteen figures. A hollow voice says, "I greet you heads of the Twelve Tribes of Israel." And the figures dutifully reply, "We greet you, Son of the Accursed" - which is to say, "Antichrist." The assembled figures are meant to represent the twelve tribes of Israel. The additional figure represents the "unfortunates of the exile" - the Diaspore

BIARRITZ SPREADS

The relevant volume of Biarritz was published in 1868. But this was only the beginning of the story - for soon this frankly fictional episode began its demented transformation. It was the Russian anti-Semites who first thought of treating the story as an authentic record. In 1872, the chapter, "In the Jewish Cemetery of Prague," appeared by itself in St. Petersburg, then the capital of Czarist Russia, as a pamphlet. In 1876, a similar pamphlet appeared in Moscow with the title, "In the Jewish Cemetery in Czech Prague - the Jews, Sovereigns of the World." In 1880, a second edition of the Moscow pamphlet appeared in both Odessa and Prague. In 1886, it appeared in the Paris publication La Contemporain for July of that year. In all these versions, the chapter from Biarritz was presented no longer as fiction, but as fact - "The Rabbi’s Speech."

The authenticity of the speech was vouched for by an English diplomat - one "Sir John Readclif." To complete the irony and twisted turns of this story, when Francois Bournand printed the "Rabbi’s Speech" in La Contemporain, he prefaced it with a startling revelation: "We find the program of Jewry, the real program of the Jews, expressed by ... the Chief Rabbi, John Readclif ... It is a speech made in the 1880s."

Like a boomerang, the whole thing had come back on the unsuspecting Goedsche (Retcliffe).

Later editions of the "Speech" pictured Goedsche (AKA, Retcliffe, Retclif, Readclif, etc.) not as the Chief Rabbi, but as a hero. For instance, in 1933, the "Speech" surfaced in Sweden and was prefaced by a melancholy statement: "Sir John Readclif paid with his life for exposing the great Jewish conspiracy. It was a sad ending for a man ... who had been an English diplomat and historian."

Unbelievable? It would seem so! - but such are the "facts" that Illuminati enthusiasts marshal in defense of their system of conspiracy theories. And make no mistake about it, this is the stuff from which the entire myth of the Illuminati Conspiracy has been built.

DISJOINTED PIECES COME TOGETHER

Within a year of the publication of Goedsche’s fantasy, there appeared in France a book which was to become the "Bible" of the modern Illuminati Myth: La Juif, le judaisme et la judaisation des peuples chretiens by Gougenot des Mousseaux.

Mousseaux had become convinced that the world was falling into the grip of a mysterious body of Satan worshippers whom he called "Kabbalistic Jews."

In reality, the Kabbalah is nothing more than a body of Jewish mystical and theosophical doctrine dating in the main from the late medieval ages. It has been fully expounded in such works as the Zohar. While there can be no doubt that the Kabbalah falls outside the mainstream of Western (and Jewish) religious thinking, there is nothing secret about it.

Des Mousseaux, however, imagined the Kabbalah as something quite different: a secret demonic religion, a systematic cult of evil, established by the devil at the beginning of the world. According to des Mousseaux, the first practitioners of this cult were the sons of Cain, who after the flood were succeeded by the sons of Ham - these were the Chaldeans. In due time, they passed their secret on to the Jews who in turn controlled the Gnostics, the Manichees, and the Moslem sect of the Assassins. They at last transmitted their diabolical lore to the Templars who handed it to the Freemasons. But at all times the Jews, as the "representatives on earth of the spirit of darkness," had supplied the Grand Masters. [None of this, of course, is in the Bible - none of it; and for Christians - especially evangelicals - to accept such drivel and to pattern their "mindset" around it is tantamount to calling upon themselves the curse of Revelation 22:18 ("For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book"). Why? - because isn't that what one is doing by embracing such extra-Biblical material? (i.e., religious material which is so fundamental that it helps to shape one's world-view, but material which - nonetheless - cannot be found in the Bible).] According to des Mousseaux, the cult centered on the worship of Satan or Lucifer; the chief symbols of the cult were the serpent and the phallus. The rituals included exotic orgies of the wildest kind. But this was not all: by murdering Christian children, the Jews - who in reality were supposed to be witches - acquired demonic power. All this was supposed to be a part of the Kabbalah. Of course, it never was! Never! - except in the imaginations and innumerable forgeries produced by devotees of the Illuminati Myth.

Finally, in the last chapter of his book, des Mousseaux pictured Antichrist as a Jewish king whom all nations would accept as their savior. As he neared the 500th page of his manuscript, the author began to ratchet his frenzy up into monumental heights:

"... the Jews will raise up a man with a genius for political imposture, a sinister bewitcher around whom fanatical multitudes will cluster. The Jews will hail this man as the Messiah, but he will be more than that. After destroying the authority of Christianity, he will unite mankind in one great universal brotherhood and bestow on it a superabundance of material goods. For these great services, the Gentile nations will accept him, exalt him, and worship him as a god - but in reality, for all his apparent benevolence, he will be Satan’s instrument for the perdition of mankind." [Gougenot des Mousseaux, Le Juif, le judaisme it la judaisation des peuples chretiens, Paris, 1869, pgs. 485-498.]

What des Mousseaux had done was to bring together all the heretofore disjointed pieces of the Illuminist Myth and weave them together as a coherent whole. All that was needed now was for someone to tie it all to a specific and contemporary event. The man that did this was Pyotr Ivanovich Rachkovsky.

PYOTR IVANOVICH RACHKOVSKY

In the late nineteenth century, Russia was a hotbed of religious (as opposed to political) anti-Semitism. Russia was the last true autocracy or absolute monarchy in Europe. It was also the country with the largest Jewish population in the world - some five million, or about a third of all Jews everywhere. They were confined by decree to the "Pale of Settlement" - a group of provinces extending from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south - an area which embraces much of what is today modern Poland and the Ukraine - all of which was then part of the Russian Empire. They were subjected to severe economic, residential, and educational restrictions. Throughout the nineteenth century, they were persecuted by the peasantry and were on the whole miserably poor.

The nineteenth century was also a time when the Russian Autocracy was beginning to encounter active political opposition, notably from clandestine terrorist groups which were then operating throughout Europe much in the same fashion that Middle East terrorist groups are doing today. The authorities were determined at all costs to mask the fact that the main opposition to the regime was Russian in origin and that there were actually real Russians - and educated ones at that - who so hated the Autocracy that they were prepared to assassinate its representatives. Slowly at first - and quite haphazardly - they accordingly began to pretend that all opposition to the regime, and particularly all terrorism, was the work of a "Jewish conspiracy." The appearance of Biarritz in St. Petersburg in 1872, in Moscow in 1876, and in Odessa in 1880 was connected to this pretense. Still, there existed as yet no overall theme to the tales which surfaced, and there appeared to be no coordinated effort behind it all.

After the shocking assassination of Czar Alexander II in 1881, the Okhrana (i.e., the secret police) was founded by imperial decree for the "protection of public security and order." Previously, the chief organ of the Secret Police had been the "Third Section" of the Imperial Chancellery, which was founded after the Decembrist Revolt of 1825. The Okhrana had branches in all the principal towns in Russia, as well as a foreign service centered in Paris. The foreign service of the Okhrana was headed up by Pyotr Ivanovich Rachkovsky. A Russian compatriot described him as "... slightly too ingratiating in his manners and his suave way of speaking ... which made one think of a great cat carefully concealing his claws."

As chief of the foreign branch of the Okhrana, Rachkovsky organized over a period of some nineteen years (1884-1903) a network of agencies in France, Switzerland, London, and Berlin. As a result, he was easily able to keep a close check on the activities of the various exiled Russian revolutionary and terrorist groups. During this entire period, Rachkovsky resided in Paris and made it his headquarters.

Rachkovsky was a born intriguer who delighted in forging documents. One of his favorite methods of sewing discord in the ranks of the opposition was to forge a letter or pamphlet in which a supposed revolutionary attacked the revolution. For example, in 1887 there appeared in the French press a letter by a certain "P. Ivanov" who claimed - quite falsely - that the majority of the terrorists were Jews. In 1890 there appeared another pamphlet accusing the revolutionaries who had taken refuge in London of being British spies. In 1892 a letter appeared over the famous name of Plekhanov, accusing the leadership of Narodnaya Volya of having published the "confessions" of Plekhanov. A few weeks later came another letter in which Plekhanov in turn was attacked by other supposed revolutionaries. In reality, all these documents were forged by one man - Rachkovsky! Rachkovsky’s life was filled with such intrigues.

SERGEY ALEXANDROVICH NILUS

In 1902, Rachkovsky became involved in a court intrigue in St. Petersburg which also involved the future editor of the Protocols - Sergey Alexandrovich Nilus. Nilus, a man wholly dedicated to Orthodoxy and the concept of a "Holy Russia," was the perfect picture of the classic Russian - a huge man with a long, flowing gray beard and deep blue eyes. He had a veiled and somewhat troubled look. He wore boots and a simple peasant’s shirt with a belt which had a prayer embroidered on it. In character he was capricious, unruly, and despotic. He fancied himself a mystic and a heaven sent defender of "Holy Russia." He repudiated modern civilization and saw it as a conspiracy of the powers of darkness. He had become a systematic "anti-rationalist."

The intrigue was directed against a Frenchman named Phillippi who, like Rasputin after him, had established himself at the Russian Imperial Court as a "faith-healer;" he had become the idol and spiritual guide for the Czar and Czarina. Rachkovsky and Nilus both took part in the intrigue against Phillippi, and on the same side. Phillippi was cherished, flattered, and almost worshipped by the Imperial family, but he also had powerful enemies - the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna and the Grand Duchess Elizaveta Feodorovna. To break Phillippi, they had turned to Rachkovsky. Thanks to the relations which he had so carefully cultivated with the French police, Rachkovsky was able to develop an incriminating file on Phillippi.

The intrigue against Phillippi involved Nilus as the central player. Nilus, who had lost his entire fortune in riotous living while living in France as a young man, had returned to Russia and had adopted the life of a perpetual pilgrim, wandering from monastery to monastery. Around 1900 he wrote a book which described how he had been converted from atheistic intellectualism to a fervent believer in Orthodoxy. The book came to the attention of the Grand Duchess Elizaveta Feodorovna. Nilus was accordingly summoned to St. Petersburg at the end of 1901 and the court clique surrounding Rachkovsky and Feodorovna hit upon the following plan: Nilus was to be formally ordained as an Orthodox priest and then married to one of the Czarina’s ladies-in-waiting, Yelena Alexandrovna Ozerova. A concerted effort was then to be made to impose Nilus on the Czar and Czarina as their confessor; if it had succeeded, Phillippi would have been removed.

It was an ingenious plan, but Phillippi’s supporters were able to counter it. They drew attention to Nilus’s immoral past - Nilus had been (and still was) a notorious womanizer; as a result, Nilus fell into disgrace and was forced to leave the court. Nilus, who was then aged forty-seven, made his way to the great monastery of Optina Pustyn. There he and his dependents - which included his usual retinue of women (of which his new bride was now a part) - found permanent lodging in four rooms of a large villa located on the grounds of the famous monastery. The rest of the villa was employed as a home for cripples, idiots, and the mentally ill who lived there in the hope of a miraculous cure.

If the intrigue had failed in its original intent, it did accomplish one thing: it had brought together Rachkovsky and Nilus and established a relationship between the two which was to have a profound effect on the future course of the world.

THE GENESIS OF THE PROTOCOLS

Between 1894 and 1899, France was rocked by the arrest and imprisonment of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a Jew who had been falsely accused of selling French military secrets to the Germans. During this same period, Russia was moving inexorably in the direction of revolution. It was during this period that Rachkovsky hit upon a plan to take des Mousseaux’s anti-Semitic material, weave it into an obscure play entitled Dialogue by Maurice Joly, and create thereby the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion - and by doing so to lay the blame for all the unrest in Russia on the Jews. The French military authorities had been doing just that insofar as the Dreyfus affair was concerned, and by 1895 it looked as if they had been successful in transferring the blame for France’s sorrowful military condition from themselves to Dreyfus and the Jews. Rachkovsky reasoned that if it had worked so well for the French, why then not for the Russians? And this is precisely what Rachkovsky was attempting to do in forging the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.

THE DIALOGUE AND THE PROTOCOLS

Maurice Joly, the author of Dialogue, had conceived the idea of the play during a time when it was forbidden to criticize the despotic regime of Napoleon III. In order to avoid press censorship, Joly had developed the idea of writing an imagined dialogue between the great champion of the French Enlightenment, Montesquieu, and the infamous Italian cynic, Machivelli. Montesquieu was to present the case for democracy, liberalism, and reform. Machivelli would defend the position of cynical despotism and Napoleon III. In this way he thought that he could criticize the Emperor. But the play, which was published in Brussels, was confiscated in Paris. Joly was arrested by the agents of Napoleon III and his writings were suppressed. In despair, Joly committed suicide in 1879.

But Joly’s play was indeed an admirable work - incisive, ruthless, and logically and beautifully constructed. The debate is opened by Montesquieu who argues that in the present age, the enlightenment ideas of liberalism had made despotism, which Montesquieu argued had always been immoral, impractical as well. But Machivelli replies with such eloquence and at such length that he dominates the rest of the play. Machivelli argues that the great mass of people are simply incapable of governing themselves; normally, they are inert and only too happy to be ruled by a strong man. Machivelli maintains that the concepts of politics have never had anything to do with morality and insofar as practicality is concerned, the inventions of the modern world were better suited to the imposition of despotism than democracy. Moreover, the people in actuality desired despotism. The forces that might oppose the despot’s rule could be dealt with easily enough: the press could be censored and political opponents could be watched by the police.

So long as the despot dazzled the people with his prestige, he could be sure of their support. Such is the book that inspired the forger of the Protocols. He plagiarized it shamelessly. In all, about one-half of the entire text of the Protocols is clearly based on passages from Joly. In nine of the chapters, the borrowings amount to more than half of the text; in some they amount to three-quarters; in one (Protocol VII) they amount to the entire text. Moreover, with less than a dozen exceptions, the order of the borrowed passages remains the same as it was in Joly’s play, as though the forger had worked through the Dialogue mechanically, page by page, copying straight into the Protocols as he proceeded. Even the arrangement in the chapters is much the same - the twenty-four chapters of the Protocols corresponding roughly to the twenty-five chapters of the Dialogue. Only towards the end, where the prophecy of the anti-Christian "Messianic Age" of Antichrist appears, does the forger allow himself any real independence of thought. [Please see Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide (New York: Harper and Row) for a lengthy comparison between the Protocols and the Dialogue.]

NILUS AND THE PROTOCOLS

Rachkovsky entrusted the finished forgery to Yulina Glinka, his agent in Switzerland. She then transferred it to Rachkovsky’s old friend, Sergey Nilus at Optina Pustyn. Nilus was enthralled and totally taken in by the ruse. Rachkovsky had reasoned that if anyone could be duped by the intrigue and find a way of publishing the Protocols, Nilus would be the man. Rachkovsky had not reasoned in vain.

Alexander du Chayla, a Frenchman who visited Nilus at Optina Pustyn during this time, has left an account of how truly fooled Nilus was by Rachkovsky’s forgery. Du Chayla writes:

"Nilus took (the Protocols) from the shelf and began to (read to me) ... the most remarkable passages of the text and of his own commentaries. At the same time he watched the expression on my face, for he assumed that I would be dumbfounded by the revelation. He was rather upset when I told him that this was nothing new to me ...

"Nilus was shaken and disappointed by this. He retorted that I took this view because my knowledge ... (of these things) was superficial and fragmentary. It was absolutely necessary that I should feel the full impact. And it would be easy for me to get to know the Protocols because the original was in French.

"Nilus did not keep the (actual) manuscript of the Protocols in his house for fear lest it be stolen by the Jews. I recall how amused I was by his perturbation when a Jewish chemist of Kozelsk, taking a walk with a friend in the monastery forest and trying to find the quickest route to the ferry, happened to stray into Nilus’s garden. Poor Nilus! He was convinced for a long time afterwards that the chemist had come to carry out a reconnaissance.

"Some time after our first conversation about the Protocols, one afternoon about four o’clock, one of the patients from Nilus’s home ... brought me a letter: Nilus was asking me to come and see him on an urgent matter. (He was at last prepared to show me the actual manuscript - the original - of the Protocols).

"I found Sergey in his study. He was alone ... Dusk was falling, but it was still light for the earth was covered with snow. I noticed on his writing-table something like a rather large envelope, made of black material and decorated with a big triple cross with the inscription: ‘In this sign you shall conquer’. A little picture of St. Michael, in paper, was also stuck in the envelope. Quite clearly all this was intended as an exorcism.

"Sergey crossed himself three times before the great icon of the Mother of God ... and opened the envelope, from which he took a leather-bound notebook ...

"‘Here it is’, said Nilus, ‘the charter of the Kingdom of Antichrist’.

"He opened the notebook ... The text was written in French by various hands and, it seemed to me, with different inks.

"‘You see’, said Nilus, ‘during the sessions of the secret Jewish government, at different times, various people filled the office of secretary, hence the different handwritings’.

"After showing me the manuscript, Sergey placed it on the table ... and said: ‘Well, now read!’... While reading the manuscript, I was struck by certain peculiarities in the text. There were some spelling mistakes and above all, some expressions which were not French [Du Chayla was a native Frenchman, while the forger, Rachkovsky, was Russian and spoke French only as a second language - editor.] Clearly the manuscript was written by a foreigner ... It took me two and a half hours to read the document ... (Finally) Sergey wanted to know what impression my reading had produced on me. I told him straight out that I (still) stood by my previous judgment. I didn’t really believe in the ‘Elders of Zion’.

"Nilus’s face clouded. ‘You really are under the influence of the Devil’, he said. ‘Satan’s greatest ruse is to make people deny (these things) ... What will you say now if I show you how what is said in the Protocols is being fulfilled, how the mysterious sign of the coming of Antichrist appears on all sides, how the imminent advent of his kingdom can be felt everywhere’?" Then he proceeded to the ‘exhibits in the case’. He opened the chest. Inside there were, in an indescribable state of disorder, detachable collars, India rubbers, household utensils, insignia of various technical colleges, even the cipher of the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and the Cross of the Legions d’honheur. On all these objects Nilus detected, in his hallucination, the seal of Antichrist, in the form of a triangle or of two superimposed triangles ... If an object bore a trademark even vaguely suggesting a triangle, that was enough to secure it entry to his museum ...

"With increasing excitement and anxiety, in the grip of a sort of mysterious terror, Nilus explained to me that the sign of ‘the Son of Perdition’ is now contaminating all things, that it shines even from the scrolls of the great icon behind the altar in the Church of the Hermitage ... I felt a sort of fear. It was now past midnight. The gaze, the voice, the reflex-like gestures - everything about Nilus - gave me the feeling that he was walking on the edge of a (mental) abyss and that at any moment his reason might disintegrate into madness." [A. du Chayla in La Tribune Juive, pgs 3-4.]

Clearly, then, Nilus really believed in the Protocols and in the myth of the "Jewish-World Conspiracy." Rachkovsky had done his work well in choosing as his agent the mentally deranged Sergey Nilus.

Nilus soon arranged to have the book passed by the Moscow Censorship Committee on September 28, 1905 and it appeared in print a short time later attached to a commentary by Nilus called The Root of Our Troubles - meaning, of course, the Illuminati, i.e., the Jews. Nilus’s star quickly rose at the Imperial Court as a result, and the Metropolitan (Archbishop) of Moscow ordered a sermon quoting Nilus’s version of the Protocols to be read in all 368 churches of Moscow. This was duly done on October 16, 1905 and the sermon was promptly reprinted throughout all of Russia.

THE PROTOCOLS AND THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION

From 1905 onward, anti-Semitism took a decidedly different turn; no longer was it confined to religious circles; it had clearly burst those old bounds and had begun to flow in new and much more dangerous channels - so much so that agents of the government began to find it convenient to invent Jewish names for all the Autocracy’s opponents. From any kind of a factual standpoint, this was nonsense; to be sure, Jews were involved in the revolutionary movements of the time, but they played no greater role than many other minorities who were likewise persecuted by the hated Autocracy.

The Protocols were republished in 1911 and 1912; but it was not until 1917 (at the time of the Revolution) that they really took off under a new title: He is Near, at the Door ... Here Comes Antichrist.

The 1917 version was distributed as a pocket-sized pamphlet to the soldiers of the "White Armies" during the Revolution; most, therefore, came to believe that the Revolution had been the product of a Jewish conspiracy; and that Lenin, Trotsky, and the Red Army were nothing more than puppets in this vast plot, an intrigue which was - like the French Revolution before it - ultimately under the control of the "Illuminati."

After the defeat of the "Whites," thousands of them fled as expatriates to Western Europe, carrying with them their pocket-sized Protocols - and it was this rendition of the Protocols - with the imprimatur of the Czarist government on it's cover - which found itself onto the pages of the Times of London and other newspapers and magazines in the West; and more, it was this version which Russian émigrés carried with them to America after the final collapse of their forces in the Crimean Peninsula in 1922. TO THESE EMIGRES, THE WAR IN RUSSIA HAD BEEN A CONTEST WHICH HAD PITTED "CHRISTIAN RUSSIA" AGAINST THE POWER OF SATANIC ILLUMINISM, and it was this mindset, along with their pocket-sized copies of the Protocols, which they brought to this country - and it is precisely this myth which Pat Robertson and others are using today as a means to galvanize Christians into political action aimed at taking back the country for "Christ and the church." To be sure, the references to the Jews have been dropped and "code words" adopted (i.e., "secular-humanism," "liberals," "Illuminists," etc.), but the myth is the same - and there, lurking in the background, are still the Jews.

Some Christians, no doubt, will have a difficult time believing that their leaders could have "hooked into" such a deadly mythology - that certainly the story which Robertson has described in the pages of The New World Order is different from that which Hitler used to bewitch the German people. The sad answer is, it’s not! And it's not just that there exists a good deal of evidence which suggests the parallel nature of the two mythologies [i.e., Hitler's and Robertson's (minus the naked references to the Jews and the overt racism which characterized German fascism)] - but the fact is, it's relatively easy to prove the relationship between the two (i.e., Robertson's version and Hitler's version) by tracing the trail of the original mythology from Russia - where it first surfaced as a full-blown story - to Germany and ultimately to the United States. From there, it is not particularly difficult to follow its path up through the years straight to Pat Robertson and others in the Christian Right today. Many have done so. For example, take Professor Donald S. Strong of the University of Texas. As early as 1941 he wrote,

"... it is important to note here that the ideology spread by ... (enthusiasts of the Illuminati Myth) in the United States is the same as that which accompanied certain political developments in Russia before World War I, in Poland and Hungary shortly after that war, and more recently in Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy (and finally here in the United States)." [Donald Strong, Organized Anti-Semitism in America (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1941), pg. 1.]

THE TORTURED PATH OF THE ILLUMINATI MYTH

Strong continues,

"The appearance of this ideology (i.e., the Illuminati Myth) in postwar Hungary is of interest because, before World War I, anti-Semitism was almost unknown there ... It was during the crushing of the short lived ... (Communist) regime (in Budapest) that the antirevolutionary, anti-Semitic ideology made its (first) appearance. Here, as in postwar Russia, the ideology was not used as a means of elite defense; instead an old elite (i.e., the aristocracy and the large landholders) temporarily dislodged (by Bela Kun and the socialists), employed it as a means of discrediting the new revolutionary (i.e., communist) elite and justifying its (i.e., the aristocracy's) own return to power. Thus, in the name of this antirevolutionary, anti-Semitic ideology, the White Terror was directed not only against the ... (communists) in general and the few Jewish Bolsheviks (who were connected to them), but against all the half million Jews in Hungary. The speedy association of (the) Jews ... with the) Bolsheviks in the (Illuminist) ideology came about partly from the spread of the ideology from the White Russians and partly from the fact that Bela Kun and several other leaders of the revolution actually were Jews." [Donald Strong, Organized Anti-Semitism in America (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1941), pg. 6.]

From Hungary, the myth then spread into Germany. Like Russia, there had been a history of anti-Semitism in the Reich; but like Russia again, the anti-Semitism which had manifested itself prior to the First World War was more religious than it was political. Moreover, the anti-Semitism which had taken hold in Germany prior to the war had existed principally only in the lower classes. The middle and upper classes were relatively free of the scourge. Indeed, Bismarck, an aristocrat, had been responsible for launching a campaign in the latter part of the nineteenth century which had aimed at the full integration of the Jewish community into all aspects of German life. There was, of course, some resistance: in 1871 Professor August Rohling, a theologian, produced Der Talmudjude which represented Judaism as a devilish doctrine; in 1878, Adolf Stocker, the court preacher, founded the anti-Semitic Christian Social Labor Party; and finally - in connection with the Kulturkampf - the Catholic Church initiated a crusade which aimed at blaming the Jews for its troubles with Bismarck. But all in all, the population embraced Jewish assimilation as a measure whose time had come - modernity seemed to demand it. Nonetheless, despite this history of toleration, Germany - like Russia, Poland and Hungary before it - succumbed quickly to the allure of the Illuminati Myth and the political anti-Semitism which the myth inevitably unleashed; and in this respect, the German experience differed from the others only insofar as the "Communist Revolution" never really took hold in Germany.

While the Spartacists - a radical group of German Socialists under Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxumburg - threatened the government in Berlin for three months in the winter of 1918-1919, and Socialists seized power in Munich for a brief period, they were all quickly swept away. Unlike Poland, Hungary and Russia, no real military threat ever materialized in Germany. The catalyst in Germany was profound economic distress. Strong writes,

"The more menacing the ... (economic situation) became, the stronger the Nazis grew, ever professing to be defenders of the existing social order against revolutionary chaos." [Donald S. Strong, Organized Anti-Semitism in America (Washington, D.C.: American Council on Public Affairs, 1940), pp. 83-108.]

The Protocols are such a transparent forgery that one may wonder how it was that they spread so fast throughout the Christian West. The fact remains, however, that multitudes of people who were by no means insane took them very seriously at the time - after all, the government of one of the greatest nations in the world, Imperial Russia, had attested in unequivocal terms to their authenticity. Indeed, the Times of London editorialized, "What are these Protocols? Are they authentic? If so, what malevolent assembly concocted these plans and gloated over their exposition? ... Have we by straining every fiber of our national body escaped a Pax Germanica only to fall into a Pax Judaica?"

But shortly thereafter, the myth began to unravel. On August 18, 1921, the Times of London, which had done so much to spread the myth, took the lead in unraveling it by devoting a resounding editorial admitting its error. The Times had just published in its issues of August 16, 17, and 18 a lengthy dispatch from its correspondent in Constantinople, Philip Graves, which revealed the fact that the Protocols were nothing more than a clumsy forgery copied from Maurice Joly's play, Dialogue aux Enfers entre Montesquieu et Machiavel.

THE RAISON D'ETRE BEHIND
THE MYTH'S MAGNETISM

Still, countless numbers of people continued to feel irresistible drawn to the myth - the facts of the matter notwithstanding. Professor Strong also noted this phenomenon back in 1941 and was puzzled by it - and he refused to write off those who were drawn to it as uneducated buffoons - certainly Ford, DuPont, the Pope, Churchill and countless others like them could not be so easily dismissed. There had to be something more behind the myth's "drawing power."

To get a more precise idea of why people were drawn to the myth, Strong undertook a study of more than 121 organizations which were involved in one way or another with the Illuminist Myth during the years 1933-1940. Strong wrote,

"To understand precisely how and why ... the (Illuminist Myth) has circulated in America ... it is necessary to examine the character of the proponent organizations. What are the personality types, occupations, and affiliations of the leaders? What is the class status, religion, and geography ... of the membership? How are funds raised? What sort of propaganda is used and through what channels? To what extent do the groups cooperate? What objectives have they in common? These are the key questions to be answered." [Donald Strong, Organized Anti-Semitism in America (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1941), pg. 15.]

Strong chose 9 groups out of the 121 as representative; he then proceeded to subject these groups to a minute examination. He found that they could be grouped broadly into three different categories:

  1. Christian groups (the National Union for Social Justice, the American Christian Defenders, and the Defenders of the Christian Faith);
  2. Antilabor and business groups (the Industrial Defense Association, the Edmondson Economic Service, the American Vigilant Intelligence Service, and James True Associates); and
  3. Political and patriotic groups (The Paul Reveres and the Order of ’76).

AND IT'S PRECISELY HERE THAT STRONG BEGAN TO DISCOVER THE REAL REASON BEHIND THE "STAYING POWER" OF THE ILLUMINIST MYTH: IT WAS THE GLUE WHICH WAS HOLDING TOGETHER THIS RATHER POLYGLOT ALLIANCE OF OTHERWISE UNRELATED CULTURAL, ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL GROUPS WHICH WAS STANDING IN THE WAY OF SOCIALIST FORCES WHICH THREATENED THEIR UNDOING. The myth (whether expressed as the "Illuminist Plot," the "Communist Conspiracy," and/or "Secular-Humanism") gave the alliance the raison d'etre necessary to hold it together. It provided an enemy against which they could rally their forces and make "common cause." Without it, the alliance would fall apart.

The myth stimulated -

  1. Businessmen and antilabor groups because it portrayed communism and the business community's hated advesaries, the labor unions, as tools of Illuminism;
  2. It galvanized Christians in as much as it painted a dire threat against Christianity; and finally
  3. It excited national and patriotic groups as a response to the "one-worldism" of Illuminism.

Thus, it was (and is) in the interest of all three communities [Big Business and antilabor groups); Christians; and the various nationalist and patriotic groups (i.e., the John Birch Society, the American Security Council, etc.)] to fan the flames of Illuminism, and - if only unwittingly and unintentionally - the underlying anti-Semitism that goes along with it. Thus, it is a matter of pure fact - even today - that one cannot involve himself in this alliance without someday involving himself in anti-Semitism! - and this is as true for Christians as it is for Big Business, and the various nationalist and patriotic groups.

PLAYING WITH FIRE

What is it about American Christians which makes them think that they can play with such fire (i.e., the Illuminist Myth) and not get burned? Over twenty million people - from the White Terror which so gripped Europe after the First World War to the ovens of Auschwitz during the Second World War - have perished directly as a result of this myth.

Christians are being hustled, and its not "Minnesota Fats" who’s doing the hustling, but experts at the game of politics who would pimp their own mothers as prostitutes if it could achieve their goal of worldly political power. Thinking we are wise, we have become fools and are playing with the same fire which consumed the White Russians and the German people. American Christians think to use the political process for their own ends, but in the final analysis it may be the political process which will use them for its ends.

  1. Much of this information comes from two sources: Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide and Donald Strong, Organized Anti-Semitism in America.

 

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