Secret Rulers of the World

This brand new documentary series follows Jon Ronson as he takes a look at the world through the eyes of conspiracy theorists.

Crackpot conspiracy theorists or enlightened outsiders? In the first of five programmes, "The Legend of Ruby Ridge", Jon Ronson tells the story of the infamous killings at Ruby Ridge in Idaho. Ronson, aided by the candid and moving recollections of Rachel Weaver and her father Randy, examines how this seminal incident shaped the course of the American Militia movement, the Waco siege and possibly even the Oklahoma bombing. He also asks, was this merely an FBI siege gone horribly wrong, or did it represent something greater - the actions of a shadowy elite 'who intended to do to the world what they had done to the Weaver family at Ruby Ridge'?

Like an increasing number of U.S. citizens, the Weaver family believed a New World Order controlled the government, and was inherently evil. Rejecting conventional citizenship, they moved to a remote cabin on Ruby Ridge in the Idaho mountains, armed with guns for protection, to 'opt out' of normal life. In Randy Weaver's own words: 'It was for protection against a government that could become tyrannical.' This is the story about how their paranoid fantasies came true.

A visitor to the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations compound 70 miles away, Weaver was approached by the FBI because they thought he had the makings of a perfect government informer. But he refused outright, stating clearly that he wanted nothing to do with them, or their leaders. Jack McLamb, an ex-policeman and personal friend of Randy's, corroborates claims that very soon after, Weaver was coerced into selling under-cover agents an illegal sawn-off shotgun. Still refusing to co-operate, Weaver was indicted, but when he failed to turn up in court, U.S. Marshals started to survey their house - and the incident quickly became a stand off.

What followed was an incident that shocked America. Deeming Weaver and his family a threat to society, the FBI held them under siege for over a week. Tragically, and few are clear why, they shot the family dog, and then the 14-year-old son, Sam, who was trying to save him. Sam's mum Vicky was also shot seemingly in cold blood, holding her youngest, a baby in her arms, as she fell. How could such a horrific incident have been allowed or justified by the government?

The public outcry was reflected in a growing number of supporters who came from all over the States during the siege to lend the Weavers their support; some of a more sinister nature than others. Extremists lent their name to the family - those who believed that Z.O.G. ruled the World (Zionist Occupational Government) - and neo-Nazis whose concern was directed more against the FBI than towards the Weavers.

The FBI attempted to spin the story, even claiming that Weaver had killed his own son and wife. He was accused of being a white supremacist, and charged with 'murder, conspiracy and assault'. But the judge threw out the case, asserting that the government had shown a 'callous disregard for the Weavers' rights', and awarding the surviving children $1,000,000 in compensation each.

Where the Weavers cabin stood has now become a place of pilgrimage, for those who go to express sympathy for the family, but also for those who identify with other extremist movements. A few months before the tragic Oklahoma bombing which killed 168 people, the perpetrator, Timothy McVeigh, visited the site on his own and he believed the building in Oklahoma was the headquarters of the same New World Order. It is not surprising to hear claims that the American militia movement sprung from the vigil beneath Ruby Creek.

Ronson also notes that six days into Weaver's trial, the FBI laid siege to a building in Waco that they claimed was the headquarters of a subversive and child-abusing religious cult. This prompted accusations that they were trying to deflect from the bad publicity they were receiving over Weaver's trial. Yet again, this incident ended in tragedy, with 53 adults and 23 children burning to death: but what truth is there in these accusations? Does Ronson come away with any conviction in a New World Order, or is he finally persuaded that these far-fetched notions are nothing more than the result of a collective and highly paranoid imagination?

In the second programme of the series, entitled "David Icke, The Lizards And The Jews", broadcaster and journalist Jon Ronson encounters one of Britain's most infamous media figures as he continues his search to uncover the truth behind who - or what - is really controlling the world. Tonight Ronson joins David Icke on a lecture tour that takes the ex-sports broadcaster headlong into controversy as his extraordinary views dismay his detractors and inspire his audiences, providing a fascinating insight into extremists - and how the public responds to them.

David Icke was once the most ridiculed man in Britain after declaring on The Terry Wogan Show that he was the Son of God. But he has now resurrected his career and is an internationally successful conspiracy investigator who lectures to packed houses world-wide. His latest theory is that the ruling elite are genetically descended from a race of 12-foot blood-drinking, shape-shifting lizards. But when Icke says lizards does he just actually mean lizards, as he steadfastly maintains? Or does he, as a powerful coalition of prominent Jewish groups claim, mean Jews?

Ronson witnesses the media circus that ensues from Icke's tour of Canada. The Anti-Defamation League (ADF), the world's most powerful Jewish defence organization, and a coalition of leftist campaigners strongly oppose Icke's tour. The ADL believe that 'lizard' is code word for Jews, but Icke vehemently denies this. They point out that Icke has many followers on the extreme right. The hardcore neo-Nazis Unit Combat 18 once attended a lecture of his in London and gave him a glowing review in their newsletter. Old anti-Semitic cartoons from Eastern Europe portray Jews in a lizard-type way. Is this just coincidence?

In Vancouver, a coalition of prominent anti-racists call an emergency anti-Icke meeting. One member comments, "Above all, I think David Icke represents a political threat, because his writings are anti-Semitic." Efforts are also made by protestors to have Icke deported and his book seized and incinerated under Canadian Hate Crimes Legislation.

Icke is invited to a book signing at one of Canada's biggest book chains unaware that they have received calls warning about possible violent demonstrations. As a result, the book signing is called off. Following this, two radio interviews are cancelled. Icke views these attacks as part of dynamics of the conspiracy which prevent the truth from being told and calls one of the offending radio station managers "one of the architects, unknowingly, of the destruction of our freedom."

But the anti-Icke coalition begins to fall apart. The powerful Canadian Jewish Congress has already withdrawn, stunned by the lack of public support. The few remaining protestors resort to desperate measures. They decide to toss a cream-pie at Icke at a book signing; two protestors don giant lizard outfits as a decoy. In an embarrassing moment they miss, hitting the children's book section instead.

The people of Vancouver seem to like David and the lizards. His books have sold out and his lectures are packed. Ronson observes: "The problem is this, David Icke has become so popular here in Vancouver that those people who don't believe in lizards are beginning to seem like has-beens."

In the third edition "April 19th - The Oklahoma Bomb" Jon Ronson goes in search of the truth behind the notorious Oklahoma bombing. It's infiltrator, Timothy McVeigh was a conspiracy theorist - someone who believes government is controlled by a secret elite. But others where involved and his search for the truth throws up some bizarre characters.

In the fourth edition "The Satanic Shadowy Elite?" Conspiracy theories are rife in the modern world. There are millions of people who suspect that all is not as it seems in the corridors of power. This programme takes a step further to suggest that some of the elite members of the world - the bankers, the politicians, the media fat cats, even former presidents of the United States - are all in cahoots to deliver a New World Order, a clique that wields supreme force and brooks no opposition, promising destruction for those who dare to try.

Every year, in a leafy outpost in Northern California called Bohemian Grove, a mysterious ritual takes place that is attended by some of the most powerful people on the planet. This film, directed by Jon Ronson, follows Alex Jones, a hugely popular 26-year-old talk show host from Austin, Texas in his attempts to discover the truth behind these bizarre goings on. Is the ritual, which incorporates the burning of an effigy to a strange owl-like totem, really as sinister as some would have it, or is it merely a harmless symbol of the riddance of care for a short while?

We catch up with Alex on April 19th, a red-letter day for conspiracy theorists. Both the deaths at Waco and the Oklahoma bombing occurred on this date during the 1990s - events that they believe were sanctioned by the government in an effort to disarm and enslave the American people. Along with his cameraman Mike Hanson, Alex's raison d'être is to undermine the work of those he perceives as belonging to the New World Order. This latest mission: to film the private ritual at Bohemian Grove.

All Alex has is a map of the area and the knowledge that some prominent names - such as Henry Kissinger, Clint Eastwood, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Richard Nixon - have made the journey up to the Grove during the second weekend in July, the appointed time for the ritual. What he doesn't have is a plan. But like his diatribes over the radio, he seems at his best when working off-the-cuff. Nevertheless, he contrives a route and chooses clothes for the occasion in order that he might blend in better with the crowds.

Alex is not the first to have been moved to action over the Bohemian Grove ceremonies. Mary Moore spent every summer for 30 years protesting at the roadside as warmongers were chauffeured up to the site. Now retired, she has a more liberal opinion of the significance of the annual event. "There's a lot of right wing stuff, that they're killing children up there," she says, "but if that was happening I think we would know about it. I think we should stick with what they're doing to the earth and the people on it."

Alex's determination gets him into the heart of the ceremony where he films a bizarre sacrifice to an owl-like deity. He is convinced it is the sick behaviour of a group of individuals that are responsible for the population's well-being, despite no hard evidence of nefarious activities. And he is poised to do something about it. "We're ready to rock and the people are waking up," he stresses. "Some of us are willing to spill our blood for the sacrifice."

In "The Bilderburg Group" Jon tries to penetrate the mystique surrounding the Bilderberg group. This is a shadowy elite which is thought to include the like of Henry Kissinger, Peter Mandelson and Denis Healey.

He tries to discover if this alliance is really affecting world events, meeting Bilderberg legend Jim Tucker on a golf course in Portugal.

Genre: Documentary

Running Time: 60 minutes (approx)