Subject: Salvi & Freemason Conspiracy Theory

To: All From:

Date: 1/8/95 18:29:31

by Chip Berlet January 5, 1995

A handwritten statement released by anti- abortion activist John C. Salvi, III, accused in the clinic shootings in Brookline, MA, contains references to obscure but surprisingly widespread conspiracy theories long circulated by a specific sector of right wing groups in the U.S. The statement alleges a Freemason conspiracy against Catholics. The courts will have to decide if Salvi is competent to stand trial, but his statement is based on well-defined theories that scapegoat secret elites.

The idea that a conspiracy of Freemasons controls the economy through the manipulation of paper money is based on conspiracy theories originally spread in the 1700's and 1800's. The Freemason theory is one current variation of these earlier theories, and persons who embrace this theory often point to Masonic symbols on the dollar bill as evidence of the conspiracy.

The basic premise of this worldview is that a conspiracy of secret wealthy elites controls the U.S. Variations on these themes include overtly bigoted theories concerning Jews, theories of a secular humanist conspiracy of liberals to take God out of society, One World Global Government theories, and many others. Symptoms of the corrosive nature of this alleged conspiracy are seen variously as abortion, homosexuality, the feminist movement, sex education, Outcomes Based Education, the environmental movement, and various others.

Salvi is reported to have quoted the Biblical book of Revelations; he met with a Catholic priest and demanded to distribute lurid photographs of aborted fetuses, charging that the Catholic Church is not doing enough to stop abortions; he confronted his parish on Christmas Eve for failing to live up to his interpretation of the Catholic faith and its obligations. Each and every one of his actions and statements can be traced to specific theological and political arguments promoted by organizations in the Boston area and nationwide.

The photographs of fetuses distributed by Salvi come from Human Life International, a right-wing Catholic anti-abortion group with a chapter in Massachusetts.

HLI promotes a highly orthodox vision of Catholicism that is critical of liberal Catholics around the issues of abortion, sex education, homosexuality, and feminism.

HLI publishes books with titles such as "Sex Education: The Final Plague," "The Feminist Takeover," "Ungodly Rage: The Hidden Face of Catholic Feminism," and "New World Order: The Ancient Plan of Secret Societies." The book attacks the Freemasons as part of conspiracy to control the country through the manipulation of the economy and paper money.

These theories have a greater audience than many believe. They are spread for instance by Pat Robertson in his books and on his TV program, The 700 Club. They are also spread by the John Birch Society, the Liberty Lobby, on the computer Internet, on radio and TV talk shows, on short-wave radio, and in hundreds of small books, pamphlets, and flyers available through the mail.

The central division among those who believe in these theories is whether or not Jewish bankers are behind the conspiracy. Some experts such as Walter Laqueur in his book Black Hundred: The Rise of the Extreme Right in Russia, trace all these theories back to the anti-Jewish tract, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Frank P. Mintz, in his book The Liberty Lobby and the American Right: Race Conspiracy, and Culture, argues that there is now a clear division--with the ultra-conservative John Birch Society spreading theories that do not center on Jews, and the quasi-Nazi Liberty Lobby, with its newspaper the Spotlight, circulating theories that do center on Jews and Jewish institutions. The theories of fascist Lyndon LaRouche are an example of conspiracy theories linking Freemasons to Jewish institutions.

Author Sara Diamond in her book Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right discusses the role of the secular humanist conspiracy theory within the Religious Right. It is the secular humanist conspiracy theory that is central to many of the groups involved in religious right organizing in Massachusetts, such as the Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family, Eagle Forum, and Concerned Women for America. The secular humanist conspiracy theory is a variation of the Freemason conspiracy theory, and is spread by elements in the Protestant Christian Reconstructionist and Dominion Theology branches of the Christian Right. Christian Reconstructionism has influenced the militant wing of the anti-abortion movement, a development discussed by Fred Clarkson of Planned Parenthood's Public Policy Institute in a two-part article in The Public Eye newsletter, published last year by Political Research Associates. In some cases these conspiracy theories are adopted by persons who believe we are in the Biblical End Times described in prophesies in the book of Revelations.

Another element of these theories is that the country is composed of two types of persons-- parasites and producers. The parasites are at the top and the bottom, with the producers being the hard-working average citizen in the middle. This is the theory of right-wing populism. The parasites at the top are seen as lazy and corrupt government officials in league with wealthy elites who control banking and the currency. The parasites at the bottom are the lazy and shiftless who do not deserve the assistance they receive from society. Salvi echoes this scapegoating refrain when he complains about persons on welfare. Right-wing populism and paranoid conspiracy theories have emerged in times of economic and social crisis throughout U.S. history. Some analysts dismiss these movements as "paranoid," "extremist," or "radical," but a more current social science view is that these right-wing populist movements with their conspiracy theories reflect deep divisions and grievances in the society that remain unresolved and lead persons to begin scapegoating the problems of the society on named groups or sectors in the society.

Examples of this scapegoating conspiracism can be seen in the postings on the computer Internet in the <alt.conspiracy> conference. "Conspiracy Nation" by Brian Francis Redman, and "The People's Spellbreaker" by John DiNardo have become regular features.

Other notables are Linda Thompson and Glenda Stocks. Sources frequently cited as having "proof" of the conspiracy include the "Spotlight" newspaper from Liberty Lobby, the "New American" from the John Birch Society, and "Executive Intelligence Review" and "The New Federalist" from the Lyndon LaRouche movement.

Key individuals promoting scapegoating conspiricism include Sherman Skolnick, David Emory, John Judge, Ace Hayes, and Dan Brandt. A catolog of conspiracy material is offered by A-Albionic. Further to the right are the scapegoating diatribes of the Holocaust Revisionists posted in <alt.revisionism>.

Varieties of these conspiracy theories are common in the emerging Patriot movement--of which the armed militias movement is a zealous offshoot. The Patriot movement, which has as its core tenet a right wing anti- government sentiment, is bracketed on the moderate side by the John Birch Society, and on the more militant side by the Liberty Lobby. There are perhaps five million persons who consider themselves part of the Patriot movement and ten thousand persons in over thirty states who are involved in the armed militia movement. Persons who regularly are exposed to variations on the Freemason conspiracy theory (such as the secular humanist conspiracy theory) number in the tens of millions, primarily through right- wing religious broadcasting. In recent months there has been evidence of a growing alliance, at least ideologically, between certain anti-abortion elements within the armed militia movement and certain militant members of the anti-abortion movement.

Under the umbrella of the little known "Patriots" movement, groups who oppose the New World Order conspiracy held a meeting in November, 1994 at a Burlington, MA High School a few miles away from Boston and Brookline. Speakers included Birch Society stalwart Samuel L. Blumenfeld, Sandra Martinez of Concerned Women for America, and leading anti-abortion organizer Dr. Mildred Jefferson, who tied groups such as NOW and Planned Parenthood to a conspiracy of secular humanists tracing back to the 1800's. Both the Birch Society and CWA are active in the anti-abortion movement.

Jefferson is a founder and former officer of the National Right to Life Committee and a Board member of Massachusetts Citizens for Life. Salvi attended at least one meeting of Massachusetts Citizens for Life and met with several of its leaders.

While Dr. Jefferson spoke, attendees browsed three tables of literature brought by Den's Gun Shop in Lakeville MA. One book offered instruction in the use of the Ruger .22 rifle, the weapon used by Salvi. Other books contain diagrams on how to build bombs and incendiary devices. One title was "Improvised Weapons of the American Underground." You could even purchase the book Hunter by neo- Nazi William Pierce of the National Alliance.

Hunter is a book about parasitic Jews destroying America and the need for armed civilians to carry out political assassinations to preserve the white race. Leaflets from the National Alliance attacking the New World Order and "minority parasites" have been appearing in Cambridge, Somerville, ---

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