Kremlin TV

Russia Today Has an Illuminati Correspondent. Really.

No, seriously. He lives in England and thinks they’re everywhere.

Photo Illustration by Emil Lendof/The Daily Beast

In the aftermath of the French Revolution, many supporters of the ancien régime convinced themselves that the revolution had been carried out by secret cells within the Freemasons called the Illuminati. This belief was popularized in two widely read books published in 1798, Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism by Abbé Augustin Barruel and Proofs of a Conspiracy Against all the Religions and Governments of Europe by John Robison.

The idea of a secret society undermining institutions for nefarious purposes provided the template for future conspiracy theories, and conspiracy theories involving Freemasons in particular continued to have considerable influence. In the 19th century, the ideas promoted in those books played a role in the creation of the United States' first third party, the Anti-Masonic Party. In France, they were widely believed among conservatives, and were promoted in Catholic schools and in the popular press. In the 20th century, opponents of the modern banking system found these conspiracy theory useful, as did the Nazis, the John Birch Society, and Hamas.

In targeting an adversary whose presence was widespread but whose activities were secret, the authors of these theories found a perfect scapegoat: one which was adaptable to almost any issue, and whose hidden hand could be blamed for any problem.

So it makes perfect sense that RT, Russia’s state-run news service aimed primarily at non-Russian audiences, employs a reporter who specializes in uncovering the hidden role the Illuminati plays in world affairs. His name is Tony Gosling.

Gosling writes a column for the RT website and frequently appears on RT’s broadcast channels, where he is presented as an investigative journalist, historian or social justice activist. In fact, he is none of those things. He is an arch-traditionalist adherent of the brand of conspiracy theory which he gets directly from Barruel and Robson’s books on the Illuminati (as he admits here and here), as well as from other pseudo-historical sources including the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. (Gosling writes in contradictory terms about the Protocols, claiming that they aren’t anti-Semitic, have never been proven false and are worthy of study for what they say about Zionism, even while admitting in the same column that they are “almost certainly fake.”)

The bio accompanying Gosling’s RT columns claims that he worked in the aviation industry, was “trained by the BBC,” and describes him as “a British land rights activist, historian [and] investigative radio journalist. Over the last 20 years he has been exposing the secret power of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and élite Bilderberg Conferences where the dark forces of corporations, media, banks and royalty conspire to accumulate wealth and power through extortion and war.”

While the nature of his work in aviation and for the BBC are unclear, his c.v. is accurate with respect to his decades working to expose the hidden hand of a shadowy elite which is behind much of the world’s evils. A resident of Bristol, England, Gosling is best known locally for having been expelled from the local branch of the Green Party for making statements condemning what he sees as gay indoctrination of schoolchildren. His concern with Freemasonry seems to have started with his investigation of his hometown's Bristol Freemasons Hall. He has gone so far as to publish on a local activists’ website called Bristol Indymedia extensive photographs and notes he took during tours of the Bristol Freemasons Hall, along with his conclusion that six-pointed stars in the its carpets implicate the Masons in a Zionist plan to dominate the world. Gosling found similar evidence in the Freemasons’ use of a seven-stick candelabra, and in other purportedly Hebraic aspects of the Masons’ occult imagery.

Where in his previous decades of investigating such matters Gosling relied on barely read websites, RT has in recent years provided him with both a regular column published on its own site, and frequent on-air interviews. This gives Gosling an international forum in which he can expound on his ideas about the Freemasons and Illuminati, such as the signs of an international conspiracy in the interior design choices made by his local Masonic Temple, which he explored in a column for RT called “Freemasonry: ‘the firm within the firm.’”

In that column, Gosling writes, “Masons certainly hold strong beliefs about Western influences in the Holy Land. Those of the higher degrees privately profess a ‘fundamentalist’ fervor for Zionism… Indeed even in Bristol’s windowless ‘Royal Arch’ Masonic Temple, the furnishings are embossed throughout with golden Israeli ‘Star of David’ emblems...” Could Gosling actually be unaware of the fact that the use of six-pointed stars by Jews, Freemasons, and many other groups predated Zionism by millennia?

He goes on to criticize his local MP for failing, he says, to make public a list of Bristol’s Freemasons after Gosling demanded that he do so. He says the public has a right to know whether government employees are part of the masonic conspiracy because “as a secret establishment club, Freemasonry rightly rings alarm bells. By seizing only a handful of key positions in the criminal justice system, like any unscrupulous interest, it could corrupt the entire caboodle. The other nerve-jangling concern is that Freemasonry’s ‘Don’ just happens to be a little too close to one the top figures in Britain’s military and judicial chain-of-command; UGLE’s Grand Master, Prince Michael of Kent, is Queen Elizabeth II’s cousin.” (UGLE is the United Grand Lodge of England, the governing body for England’s Freemasons, in case you’re wondering.)

So Gosling’s thesis is that the British royal family are involved in a nefarious international conspiracy because the interior design of his local masonic hall is too Jewish.

Gosling may not be a historian in the traditional sense: He has no degree in history, nor has he taught it or written a book about it. He does, however, devote much of his time to distorting history, both on his voluminous website, on RT, and in numerous other video interviews on outlets such as Iran’s Press TV.

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Earlier this year, Gosling reported for RT on the G7 summit in Bavaria, a subject which the Russian network covered heavily because of the prominent role issues relating to Russia played there, given the repercussions of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. While this might have been an opportunity to break out of his comfort zone and report on a major event, Gosling stayed true to form, saying that the G7 locale was chosen as a convenience for the Bavarian Illuminati. That unusual observation passed by without comment by his interviewer, who was perhaps aware of Gosling’s idiosyncratic area of expertise.

In December, 2014, Gosling was interviewed on RT concerning why the Western media reports about Russia’s economic problems. He concluded that this was done as part of a shadowy elite’s campaign of economic warfare against Russia. Asked in another RT interview to comment on allegations that London police improperly used the names of dead children in carrying out investigations, Gosling replied, “it’s almost like Scotland Yard is being run like some kind of secret cult, and we’ve got to break that cult if we're going to have justice and we’re going to have decent, fair policing.” Although he didn’t name the cult, it isn’t difficult to see which one he had in mind.

Interviewed on RT in November 2014 about the root causes of the violence in Ferguson, Missouri, Gosling blamed “a criminal elite” within the U.S. government who were trying to start a race war. He went on to claim that the same elite group was also behind the assassination of Martin Luther King and the Manson Family murders.

While Gosling’s columns on RT’s website sometimes have a reasonable-sounding premise, such as one advocating that MI5, Britain’s domestic intelligence arm, stop spying on religious organizations (“MI5 must get out and stay out of our Places of Worship”), their content is typically a web of bizarre, unrelated assertions. That column in particular leads off by claiming without evidence that Abu Hamza, the violence-advocating former imam of London's Finsbury Park Mosque now serving a life year sentence for promoting terrorism, was a covert agent working for the British government. Reading on, one learns that “the fingerprints of Britain’s intelligence agencies...are likely to be found at the scenes of all post-9/11 terror attacks in the UK,” and that this government campaign to frame Muslims is analogous to the Third Reich’s treatment of Jews before the Holocaust.

Gosling goes on to state that the 7/7 London Tube bombings were carried out by Britain’s foreign intelligence service, MI6, although, as usual, he doesn’t even try to substantiate that allegation. Changing subjects, he asserts (again without citing a single source) that the CIA used money stolen from Nazi Germany to set up Jim Jones’s People’s Temple, and that the Jonestown Massacre was a CIA covert op designed to silence Congressman Leo Ryan’s criticisms of U.S. intelligence agencies.

From there, he abruptly segues into an argument that the murderers of Royal Fusiliers drummer Lee Rigby, who was beheaded by jihadists last year, acted at the behest of MI5, and that those who investigated the crime were in on the conspiracy.

Gosling concludes that intelligence agencies routinely use clerics or phony clerics to convince innocent believers to commit terrorist acts, and helpfully advises his readers “if you are approached by a dodgy spook or cleric, consider carefully whether you have the confidence to go to the press but meanwhile draw up a short sharp statement of fact, an affidavit, and, if appropriate take it straight to your local civil police”.

This dovetails nicely with his belief that Western intelligence agencies have assassinated pretty much everyone of note in the past half-century—former Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba, Princess Diana, Dr. David Kelly (the British weapons expert), UK politician Robin Cook, John Smith (Tony Blair’s predecessor as leader of the Labour party), Yasser Arafat, Slobodan Milosevic, Hugo Chavez, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Bob Marley, John Lennon, and Michael Jackson. All were killed by “forces lurking in the unaccountable grey areas of the NATO countries’ military intelligence services.”

In another RT column, Gosling argues that Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Brevik was assisted by co-conspirators in the upper echelons of the Norwegian police and media. Gosling apparently bases this claim on the fact that Brevik had been photographed in masonic attire. In a column condemning British responses to Muslim extremism, Gosling argues that anti-extremist Muslim groups secretly work for (of course) the Bilderberg Group, via the Council for Foreign Relations, which, he claims, is merely a Bilderberg front. Other RT columns find him in prophetic mode, such as one which blames “the same nasty cult” that secretly runs the Bilderberg Group and NATO—by which Gosling clearly means the Illuminati—for the Holocaust, 9/11, and the Iraq War. He warns that the Illuminati are planning an apocalyptic war between “Zionists and Jihadis.”

So why does RT bother with him?

Leaving aside that the network has aired “experts” who, when the camera aren’t rolling moonlight as neo-Nazis or believe the Pope is from outer space and has stolen all the gold from Fort Knox, there’s a purpose to having an Illuminati correspondent on hand. Russia is engaged in a concerted information warfare campaign against the West, designed, as the former Soviet campaign was, to cultivate distrust of the Western or “mainstream” media. An obsession with Freemasonry and the Illuminati is the ur-conspiracy theory; unlike Holocaust denial or 9/11 trutherism (two other well-trod topics at RT), this one can appeal to a large and diverse demographic. The alleged victims of this global elite are white, black, Muslim, Jewish, and Christian, after all. And the perpetrators are everywhere. That’s the best part: No one but Gosling can be trusted because everyone else is potentially in thrall to the Illuminati.