Readers with long memories will remember the antics of the Citizens’ Electoral Council (CEC) – the local followers of convicted American fraudster and conspiracy theorist Lyndon LaRouche, who have mostly disappeared from the headlines over the past decade. The CEC have a history of bizarre claims not only about the traditional evil nemesis of their conspiracy theories – the British royal family – but also concerning Jews and Zionists. Thus the alleged power of prominent Australian Jewish leaders has also featured in their theories, leaflets, magazines and website, with all sorts of unsubstantiated and false claims made.
But since January, all that conspiratorial thinking has been on public display every week via free-to-air TV. “CEC Report” is a half-hour show presented by CEC founder and leader Craig Isherwood and CEC Executive Member Robert Barwick broadcasting on Melbourne community station 31.
The show somehow manages to be both soporific and thoroughly alarming. Bland, measured and unassuming, Isherwood and Barwick appear much like most amateur community station TV hosts – except their message is stark raving bonkers.
Having reviewed a number of episodes of the “CEC Report”, the pair’s ideé fixé is the struggle by the British royal family to control the world through a range of methods, including subverting national sovereignty, creating triggers for thermonuclear war, sowing economic and political chaos, and establishing the environmental movement to lower global population levels. Oh, and anyone who disagrees is routinely labelled “insane.”
Remarkably, Barwick and Isherwood’s delivery in a curiously flat tone is in an inverse relationship to their message of imminent global catastrophe brought about through a premeditated nuclear war.
On March 22, AIJAC’s overseas guest speaker Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi attracted the attention of the CEC.
Before Ottolenghi’s talk at the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) in Melbourne, a fairly low-profile body which simply hosts a variety of lectures on international issues from a variety of perspectives, CEC members handed out flyers warning that his analysis of Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions is a “charade”.
Three days later Isherwood and Barwick elaborated on the “true” meaning of the talk and succinctly offered a summary of their worldview.
According to Barwick, “The purpose of this event is pure propaganda. It doesn’t matter even so much what is said there. What it does is paints the picture that very serious important bodies…are taking Iran’s nuclear threat seriously, therefore it must be serious. But mark my words, the AIIA would have held similar events in 2002 on Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction…of course it sets the tone. The most important thing about the AIIA, is it is the sister organisation of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London… Chatham House.”
Isherwood added, “This is also the organisation that penned a very savage report against Putin in Russia… they are simply a tool of the British crown and they intend to destroy sovereignties of nations.”
Isherwood described the claims that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons as a “lie” and “this is typical of British institutions” because “they are covering up for the big issue which is the fact that the global financial monetary system is in a process of disintegration” which would see the British lose their global financial control to Russia and China – and rather than allow that to happen would prefer to “foment a war”.
Underestimating the consequences of Iranian retaliation, Isherwood explained, “is so insane by the likes of Netanyahu and Obama, it’s sort of congruent with their insane mental states.”
Barwick finished the segment by claiming to know that “Obama has moved the majority of his nuclear arsenal into the Persian Gulf… which means that it’s the Wild West, everyone’s got their fingers on the trigger and here’s the British setting up Israel cause they’ll destroy Israel as well if they are allowed to pull this off.”
Although the TV show avoids direct antisemitism or racism, the CEC website certainly hosts a melange of material of a dubious nature.
For example, there was an apologia for former Malaysian PM Dr. Mahathir Mohammed’s infamous speech in 2003 at the 10th Organisation of the Islamic Conference where he said, “The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million. But today, the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.”
Then there is the truly bizarre, such as LaRouche’s tirade from 2009 against US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for supporting President Obama’s proposed medical panels: “…Lyndon LaRouche today demanded the immediate resignation of Harry Reid. “Because Harry Reid has now made himself a duplicate of Adolf Hitler, he’s responsible for every Jew who was killed by Hitler,” LaRouche said. “Harry Reid must take personal responsibility for every Jew killed by Hitler, by allowing this thing to go through.”
Despite its recent low profile and almost complete insignificance at the ballot box, the CEC apparently remains capable of raising large sums of money. The CEC’s 2010/11 annual return to the Australian Electoral Commission revealed receipts of $1,994,080, total payments of $1,989,671 and debts of $1,108,736.
The CEC may not be setting the world alight through the medium of late night community TV, but its long and ugly history clearly requires ongoing monitoring and vigilance vis-à-vis its current foray into the public airwaves.