Conspiracy theorists go ape-shit


In October 2016, shortly before the US Presidential election, Wikileaks released a batch of emails that had been hacked from the Democratic Party’s campaign to elect Hillary Clinton. Among the many emails released to the media was one containing a picture of the chairman of the Democratic Party’s election campaign, John Podesta.

For those who do not know, Podesta is a major player in Washington. He was chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and Counselor to President Barack Obama. He is currently Chair and Counselor of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank he founded in Washington, D.C., as well as a Visiting Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center.

Podesta is thus a big wheel in American politics, and just the kind of influential, behind-the-scenes figure that internet conspiracy theorists suspect of every kind of devilment, including Satanism, murder and paedophilia, among others.

The photograph of Podesta that was released in the October Wikileaks emails shows him holding up his hands, palms towards the camera, with mysterious symbols written on them in marker pen. His right hand carries the number “14” while his left has a symbolic drawing of a fish. The disclosure of this image sent the conspiracy theorists into a melt-down frenzy.

The image was hacked by Wikileaks activists from Podesta’s own private email server and the very fact that it had been made public showed that it must have some sinister implications, but what implications exactly?  Was Podesta communicating with his fellow Illuminati – the shadowy and sinister organisation that secretly controls the world?  And what was his coded message? Instructions for a takeover? Part of some arcane quasi-religious ritual?

Conspiracy theorists seized on the hacked photograph as though it were the Rosetta Stone through which they could finally decode the inner secrets of the Illuminati and disclose them to the world.

One of the first onto YouTube was  Marty Leeds with his video “De-Coding The Meaning On Podesta’s Hands” which you can see here

Marty tells us,  “What we’re going to do is deconstruct the highly occult significance of what John Podesta is saying in this picture. We’re going to be decoding this picture with symbolism, Arithmomancy, which is the theological study of arithmetic, and Gematria, as well as delving into ritually mystical, spiritual and occult themes.”

Using these tools, Marty explains how Podesta is signaling his membership of a dark, satanic cult that rules us all.

“One thing to remember,” he says, “ is that the most egregious and vile action one can imagine is to take that which is good, pure, beautiful and sacred and pervert and distort and destroy it. These people are not just engaged in evil acts, they take the highway to god and they corrupt it , they hide it, they keep such knowledge for themselves so that they can declare themselves as sacred and you as profane.”

Marty concludes his video with a stark warning; “Dark magicians and dark occultists run our world.”

Marty was soon joined by Tracy Twyman who published her video explanation here;

Tracy suggests that the Podesta photo “may relate to the myth of Osiris being dismembered, and a fish eating his penis”. She then examines “related traditions about castration and cannibalism from Egyptian and Greek mythology.”

It’s clear that winkling the deeply-buried occult truth from Podesta’s obscure clandestine message was not going to be easy and required the most strenuous intellectual, intuitive and theological efforts combined with in depth knowledge of early Egyptian mythology. However, those seeking to uncover the meaning of the symbols could have saved themselves a great deal of that effort had they simply read the email that accompanied it. It can be found here:

It is from the office of John Podesta, and was intended for circulation to Clinton supporters. The email celebrates the fact that leaders of 193 nations (practically every country on earth) had just signed up to a programme known as “Global Goals” – which is given as the subject of the email.

The Global Goals referred to are a list of 17 objectives for sustainable development which, if achieved, would mean an end to extreme poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030. Goal number 14 refers to conserving life in the sea and is symbolized by the outline of a fish. You can read about it here:-

In his email, Podesta said, “Applaud the global leaders & citizens who crafted the new #GlobalGoals. Let’s work together to #EndPoverty & create a better world by 2030.”

He added a personal note about one goal in particular. “My favorite of the #GlobalGoals? No. 14— we must protect our oceans and life below water.”

The thing that I find most interesting about this episode is that a wide variety of people, from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs (none of them fools or knaves) all converged on a similar conclusion by interpreting masses of complex data with intricate concealed relationships and dependencies – in very much the same way that professors of mathematics from an Israeli university “discovered” a secret code in the bible. (See here )

If John Podesta had blown his nose on a Kleenex tissue, or written a shopping list on a used lottery ticket, the same people would have found a way to reach the same conclusion.

It’s not the data that matters. It’s not the analytical method that matters. It’s not the mathematics, the history, the geography, the numerology, the theology, the mythology, the semantics, or the semiotics that matters. It’s the beliefs of the people who are constructing the narrative that determines what story is told and how the story ends.

It’s easy to laugh at people thinking in this way when their ideas are themselves risible – penis-eating fish and sinister global conspiracies – but what interests me most about this example of self-delusion is to wonder how far the same tendency and the same intellectual processes underlie our own belief systems.  Global warming anyone?

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