The West Coast was more fruitful for business as I managed to get to see key players at Boeing, Lockheed, Northrop and others to get my scopes listed in their maintenance kits.
At Northrop’s plant I spent rather a long time waiting and spoke with the gate security guard at length, He regaled me with his theories about the ills of the world being the responsibility of the Illuminati, this was my first encounter of them. But he intrigued me enough that I read some of the material that was, back then, relatively scarce, not the case today with its presence all over the Net. In 2013 poll by the US Public Policy organisation suggested that 28% of Americans believed in the Illuminati – only 28%? Yet they are real!
Of course, this theory may be to some extent assisted by the ‘Eye of Providence’ or ‘all-seeing eye’, being on every dollar bill. It is also a feature of the Great Seal of the United States used to suggest guidance by a divine providence.
The symbol places ‘mystery’ at the centre of American iconology, it is associated both with the Illuminati and Freemasonry. A number of the Founding Fathers of the USA were Freemasons and used the symbol to represent the ‘Great Architect of the Universe’.
The real Illuminati does have roots around the time of the formation of the USA, but in Bavaria. It was an Enlightenment secret society founded on 1May1776 and was in fact formed to oppose superstition and obscurantism, the abuses of state power and religious influences over public life. That latter goal is intriguing because my Northrop guy linked the Illuminati with the Opus Dei, suggesting some threatening interactions. But Opus Dei is a more modern institution of the Roman Catholic church, founded in Spain in 1928 and meaning the ‘Work of God’. It believes that each one of its members (it had c.95,000 members in 2016) should strive to become a saint, and its focus is professionalism and work. It appears to be quite prominent in several European Catholic publishing houses. Labour MP and Minister, Ruth Kelly, was identified as a member in the Noughties, her brother a supernumerary of that organisation.
The conspiracy theory goes on. In 2005 Paul Hellyer, a former Canadian minister of defence, blamed the Illuminati for suppressing technology brought to Earth by aliens that could eliminate the burning of scarce fuels within a generation, and halt our reliance on fossil fuels. Having been intrigued by the organisation I read articles and books on the subject but took this nowhere at the time. However, pursuing the security aspects of KeyMed equipment I met some interesting people who changed all of that.
There was a guy we knew as ‘Rent-a-thug’ who was recently ex-SAS and had been involved in the sieges where our kit was used. I got to know him well enough to have a few drinking sessions with him. Several of these at the Special Services Club located behind Harrods. I have met other members who on learning I had ‘worked’ with Steve Callan afforded me additional respect, he is much admired. Pete Scholey devoted a whole chapter of his SAS Heroes to Steve. He died young, at just forty-two, and appears on the SAS Roll of Honour.
Imagine how surprised I was when he, albeit somewhat in his cups, mentioned that he had been in charge of security of a meeting when the Illuminati invited Sheik Yamani, then a high-profile Saudi government minister (of Oil) and OPEC minister, to meet with them and learn of their aims and ambitions.
But Steve dismissed the Illuminati as harmless. He suggested that I should instead be much more worried about the Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) who were amassing genealogical records in a dubious manner. For example, they had offered at no charge to microfilm the raw data of UK censuses (not then available to we Brits), if it could retain a copy on their Salt Lake City database.
He then mentioned heading a team that had been despatched to South America by the British government to reach a cave before the Mormons. He hinted broadly that he had a shoot-to-kill authorisation if they got in his way, but that may have been the drink talking. That was weird enough but when I pressed for more details he explained that this was the cave that Erich von Däniken had referenced in his Chariots of the Gods? Images that resembled an astronaut in a capsule were his interest, but there were also genealogical records that the Mormons would transcribe and destroy, so theirs would be the only record.
But why was the British government interested in what I had thought was a dubious ‘Ancient Alien’ conspiracy theory presented by a rather truculent attention-seeking author? I concluded that I was much too busy to delve any further and realised that I really preferred not to know.