DisInfoWars with Tom Secker: Was Guy Fawkes a Patsy?

The Gunpowder Plot is the most famous terrorist conspiracy in British history and one of the most famous in the world. The name 'Guy Fawkes' is familiar to almost anyone who speaks English, but this was a much larger and more complex event than we have been led to believe, particularly by Hollywood versions like V For Vendetta. In this episode I offer a background history of the conflict between the Catholic Church and the English monarchy and outline the competing theories and interpretations of what happened. Was this a genuine rebellion? An elitist uprising? A fake plot? An excuse for government terror? A calculated entrapment operation? All the cards are on the table in this episode.


Antonia Fraser - The Gunpowder Plot: Terror and Faith in 1605

Monteagle Letter

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  1. Thank you for the enlightening history lesson. I have seen the movie V for Vendetta but I never bothered to investigate further. I honestly did not comprehend the vile behavior of the King in England, and his regime, about the time of the first settlers coming to America (Jamestown 1607).

    Just like you mentioned at the start of your story, concentrating on Guy Fawkes ignores all the context that is so important to understanding this time in history.

    • No doubt there is a connection between the religious repression in England in the 16th-17th centuries and people moving to the Americas. The same goes for a lot of Western Europe at this time, but it was particularly bad here.

  2. the V-Sign.
    A Bowman’s fingers, they are. ( Medieval Longbow ).
    History are…Spun to suit a variety of agendas.
    I know that.
    ( The French Knights were not just mortified by their defeat but also because they had been defeated by common peasants and the English longbow )…!
    Best Regards
    Jens and Bornholm.

  3. Arnar Steinsson says:

    Thanks Tom, look forward to the next one.

  4. candideschmyles says:

    Thanks for another enjoyable podcast. I agree that there is a fog around those other than Guido, the name he chose to be called, involved in this plot however I feel that Guido is remembered because he was caught red handed at the scene and because he was a larger than life character of unrepentant courage. In this he gained the respect of King James himself who is quoted as admiring “his Roman resolution”. As a Scot I could take issue with Guido’s first remark on capture where he is quoted as saying on being asked why he was doing this”to blow you Scotch beggars back to your native mountains.” But as we are also responsible for Masonic Lodges I can see his point.
    I do take issue that Guido was a commoner. He certainly was not. His father Edward Fawkes was a landed gentleman and an advocate, and his grandfather was Lord Mayor of York. Guido had an inherited estate he sold to fund his revolutionary exploits on the continent and was in the employment of Viscount Montagu. He also had audiences with the Spanish King Phillip lll. None of which is consistent with being a common man. And given all of the above its very difficult to see him as a Patsy.

    As for V for Vendetta… Perhaps you have a point about the shallowness of the movies plot however for many 1000s of activists around the world in this age of ubiquitous surveillance it gave a a new of spirit and a meme that goes far beyond the film and the comics that inspired it. Yet I sense you might explain to me that this was the intention of the film all along and that the mask hides operatives of the state as well as it does outraged youth. Such as Sabu and his handlers that took down Jeremy Hammond.

    • Hey candideschmyles,

      OK, you’re not wrong about Guy Fawkes and perhaps I overstated the case. I guess my point was that he spent much of his life as a soldier – a ‘common’ man in that sense, rather than those who plotted and connived behind the scenes from a position of comfort and much less risk.

      I don’t really consider him a patsy, not in the legal or moral sense but perhaps in the historical sense? You are right that he is partly remembered for being unrepentant and thus charismatic, but in the way that I’ve experienced this story growing up in England the whole thing is pinned on him, forgiving not only the other conspirators/foreign supporters, but also the government who were behaving abysmally and only got worse after the Plot was rumbled.

      While I do have reservations about a ‘radical’ or ‘rebellious’ collective who all wear masks produced by the 5th largest media company in the world, I have very mixed feelings about anonymous. I do think that the film was partly designed to appeal to that sort of person and give them an image, a meme to call their own. And there is the infiltration/provocation/entrapment angle. I’m really not sure on that one.

      • candideschmyles says:

        Thanks for the candide reply Tom (sic). And I repeat I did enjoy the podcast, it is just a part of my established thinking process to always entertain a counter argument to an issue before weighing it.

        On the same thoughts regarding the deep state establishing ownership of dissent by creating the counter culture I harbour a strong déjà vu over the victory of Jeremy Corbyn. Like Obama was set up in his campaign of ” change ” and “yes we can” after the Bush policies made Republicans unelectable an unelectable candidate(s) was fielded. McCain (Palin). As Cameron has stated he personally will not be running for a third term I foresee the most unelectable Tory will be fielded and Corbyn will win. Only to be revealed as another actor like Obama, promising substantive change but delivering only a crushing disappointment and sense of futility to those that are naive enough to think political engagement can change things. It is very much the same game as what was done to anonymous/lolsec when Hammond was fed backdoors by state agents and then caught and jailed to destroy the hope of young activists. Just my thoughts on it.

        • Hey candide,

          I am in more than two minds about Corbyn. It’s entirely possible that he’s a trojan horse, or a sincere guy who won’t be able to make much difference even if he does get into power.

          We will see if the media response to him changes over the next couple of years, from ‘he’s unelectable!!!!’ (preached by everyone from The Sun to The Guardian) to what we saw with Obama, where the media largely portrayed him as the new light for hope and change and la la la. So far, Corbyn comes across like a true dissident – he doesn’t accept austerity or the need for constant war. And the papers are responding in typical fashion, constantly referring to him as ‘Left wing’ and publishing pictures of him looking a bit sad on a bus. That all could be a way of burgeoning his reputation as a dissident, of course.

          It’s not like I have a huge amount of hope when it comes to British politics, but I will say that anything is better than a Tory government. At least Labour weren’t this cynical and bigoted and didn’t solely try to rule by appealing to people’s fears and anger. If nothing else, the mood of the country, the general mentality, is better under Labour than Tory, even if the policies themselves don’t look that different.

        • dancingbrave says:

          Enjoyed your podcast as always Tom.

          Candide and Tom In the alternative media generally speaking New world order/global governance is bad, decentralising power is good. Labour were never into coming out of the EU and under Corbyn this doesn’t seem to have changed, Conservatives say they will offer a referendum but in my opinion probably wont as there will be enough of a compromise. I understand you may not like UKIP for various reasons but do you think UKIP would have offered a referendum as promised and/or do you think they are controlled by the deep state as Candide suggests both Labour and Conservative are?

          • Hi Dancingbrave,

            I’m all in favour of decentralising power, but UKIP are just the far-right wing of the Tory party. That’s who controls it, that’s who funds it. And as such, they are about as in favour of decentralising power as any arch-nationalist. For example, when it came to the Scottish referendum UKIP were ardently opposed to independence.

            But in broader terms they are in favour of:
            Militarising the immigration system
            Doubling the number of prisons in this country
            A higher military budget

            So when you see Farage saying he doesn’t want this country run by Brussels, what he actually means is that he – does – want this country to be run by Brussels, but by the NATO HQ instead of the EU HQ. He is the comic front man for a group of fascists.

            As to EU membership – Corbyn himself is in favour of a referendum, and while the Tories will probably have a referendum you can be damn sure it won’t be binding, and in reality will not make much difference to anything whatever the outcome.

            I’ve also found that a lot more Left wingers have because EU sceptics, in part as a result of what’s been done to Greece. I will vote to leave the EU if we get a referendum precisely because of this, and I am very Left wing by most people’s standards.

            Meanwhile, and this is the absolutely key bit for me – do you think we’d EVER get a referendum on whether to continue being a member of NATO? Do you think UKIP will ever even mention NATO membership as something to consider when evaluation our ‘national sovereignty’?

            As you can imagine, I have quite strong feelings on this. I mean no disrespect in my emphasis and bluntness, but if you held a gun to my head I would still refuse to support UKIP.

          • I apologise for the numerous typos in my reply – it’s been a long day and I’ve had a horrible cold this week.

      • 344thBrother says:

        I would also be interested in your reservations abot anonymous. A new podcast sometime perhaps?
        I’m with you in your reservations, but not articulate as to exactly why or what their real motivation is.

  5. Thanks, Tom! Great podcast!

    Do you know, if there were examples of genuine ‘lone wolves’ (without intelligence or police help) in contrastre Hitler held his annual speech to Nazi veterans in 1938. The bomb exploded and killed several Nazto Patsies in history?
    One, who comes into my mind as a possible genuine ‘lone wolf’ is George Elser, who tried to blow up the building, wheis, but Hitler left the location earlier than planned and survived. When the Nazis captured Elser, they could not believe, that he acted alone. They thought at the beginning, that he had support from british intelligence.

    • Thanks, Tom! Great podcast!
      Do you know, if there were examples of genuine ‘lone wolves’ (without intelligence or police help) in contrast to Patsies in history?
      One, who comes into my mind as a possible genuine ‘lone wolf’ is George Elser, who tried to blow up the building, when Hitler held his annual speech to Nazi veterans in 1938. The bomb exploded and killed several Nazis, but Hitler left the location earlier than planned and survived. When the Nazis captured Elser, they could not believe, that he acted alone. They thought at the beginning, that he had support from british intelligence.

      • Hi sagned,

        Good question. I’m struggling to think of any ‘terrorists’. Obviously there are countless serial killers and so on, but when it comes to hitting high-profile targets, it’s almost always more than one person.

        Though I do still wonder about Breivik. I think he was being used as part of something larger, but it’s still theoretically possible that he did do this himself. I suggested he might have been a Gladio copycat, a lone wolf inspired by NATO’s use of fascist terror gangs. I think it’s more likely he was being handled, but I’ve never seen definitive proof of that.

        • Hi Tom,

          speaking of Breivik, last month, I listened to Ole Dammegard talking about his recent investigations into this case. According to Dammegard, who visited Norway after 2011, there were multiple shooters on the island.


          I know, that you´re not a big fan of Dammegard, but you are more experienced than me in evaluating his possible findings.

          Another question: Do you like the graphic novels of Alan Moore, the author of ‘V for Vendetta’?

          Finally, a recommendation from my side, connected to your last ClandesTime show on Marilyn Monroe´s death, which was a great show to listen to.
          This spring, I saw on TV a french fictional film, which put the Marilyn Monroe story into a fargo-style french parallel universe. I enjoyed watching the movie and now I can see, that the film was very close to the most plausible sequence of events presented in your show.
          The film is from 2011 and has three different titles. “Who killed Marilyn?” or also “Nobody else but you” or just “Poupoupidou” (original title):




          • Hi sagned,

            Dammegard is a total fraud of a man, I would not trust anything he says, about anything, ever. The people he associates with are the worst of the worst of the worst in alt media – because they are the only people who will give him a platform. He has tried maybe half a dozen times to invite himself onto my show, trying to infect my good work with his poisonous bilge.

            As to multiple shooters on Utoya – it’s possible, but no one has ever been able to provide meaningful evidence of this, or a plausible account of who these shooters were, where they went afterwards (they were on an island, after all), basically anything that makes this explanation believable to me. So I don’t really buy it, it is wholly possible that Breivik shot all those kids, which is what the vast, vast majority of witnesses say is what happened.

            And this claim about multiple shooters is made at EVERY high profile shooting, sometimes on good grounds but sometimes on incredibly lazy grounds. With the Breivik thing this meme got into the water supply very early on but like I say, I’ve never seen any evidence for it.

            Thanks for the link to this odd-looking French film, I will definitely watch it. I love Fargo (both the film and TV series).

          • “Dammegard is a total fraud of a man, I would not trust anything he says, about anything, ever. The people he associates with are the worst of the worst of the worst in alt media – because they are the only people who will give him a platform. He has tried maybe half a dozen times to invite himself onto my show, trying to infect my good work with his poisonous bilge.”

  6. Thanks, Tom!

    What are your thoughts on Ted Kaczynski? Being an MK Ultra victim as Harvard student in the 60´s, doesn´t this make him a possible patsy? Did he damage the environmental movement and the anarchist movement with his terror attacks and his back to the stone age ideology?

    This question remained unanswered, so again: Do you like the graphic novels of Alan Moore, the author of ‘V for Vendetta’?

    • Hi Sagned,

      I don’t have a strong view on Kaczynski to be honest, but yes I do think he damaged the environmental movement. Along with lots of other things that have rendered that movement all but irrelevant.

      I am not familiar with the graphic novels of Alan Moore, so I neither like nor dislike them. Sorry for not answering before – it’s probably because I don’t have an answer.

      • Hi Tom,

        I only read three Alan Moore graphic novels, which are ‘V for Vendetta’, ‘Watchmen’ and ‘From Hell’. All three were adapted by Hollywood in the end, but without approval by Moore. He always refused to be mentioned in the credits. Maybe he has a general mistrust against Hollywood and he don´t want to make any compromises, but a main reason is, according to Moore himself, an aesthetic one: There is only a loss, when changing the medium.

        From the three novels mentioned above, ‘From Hell’ was the best. It´s the story about the Jack the Ripper murders, but it´s not the typical crime novel, because in chapter 2 or 3, the identity of Jack the Ripper is already revealed. Therefore the focus is more on socio-political context, milieu, psychology, mythology. Although the murder of the women is brutal, they are portrayed with a lot of dignity in the whole book. The book is even dedicated to the memory of the murdered women.

        I read a copy with an appendix full of background information and source material written by Moore. Moore admitted, that he was obssessed with the Jack the Ripper story for many years, did a lot of research and dived into all conspiracy theories he could find, but in the end he had to pick (or compose) the one, he found most plausible.

    • 344thBrother says:

      I read kaszenski’s self published book shortly after he was arrested. I got the impression that he really believed that technology was going to kill humanity. (Looking at Nuclear energy, I think he may have been onto something). After the doctor at Harvard spent 2 years “Attacking his core belief system” he drops out and starts making impossible to trace bombs targetting people who were on the cutting edge of technology, or “pimping it”.

      He may have been a patsy and probably did do damage to the environmental movement in general and anarchism in particular, but my take is, he was an unconscious patsy and a lone wolf who believed in what he was doing. He wasn’t paid to do it, so , there’s that.

      My take

      • Hi 344thBrother,

        I have also read Ted Kaczynski´s book, but years later. Maybe you can remember the documentary film “The Net” by Lutz Dammbeck. The film came out together with a book, where Kaczynski´s pamphlet was reprinted. The film is a good essay about the connections between cybernetics, early internet (ARPA), counter-culture, LSD, social control, technology.

        Yes, technology can be self-destructive for humanity, especially with nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. For more profound technology critic, I can recommend the works of Guenther Anders and Ivan Illich.

  7. UKIP..Are surfing the waves…
    The waves of…Populism.
    Not just in the UK…
    Also in Denmark…Sweden..Germany..
    And USA.!
    Nato do rules the world.
    Whatever we like or not…!
    Kind Regards
    Jens and Bornholm.

  8. candideschmyles says:

    In response to your questions Sagned I am not qualified to offer anything more than my own barely informed opinion on the matter of lone wolves. For me it boils down to statistical probability. Every now and then it is inevitable that some individual will work himself into the fevered notion that he has not only some significant gnosis but the ability to effect change through some action or other. Breivic and the Uni bomber are in my opinion two prime examples. To my mind what is remarkable about lone wolves is that there are so few of them that ever get to the point where they make the headlines. And what is notable about them is how they demonstrate the sheer senselessness of murdering people, usually innocent people, to make some ideological point.

    • I agree with you, candide!

      Breivic and the Una bomber are narcissist attention seekers, with no empathy for others.
      Imagine, that both killed and bombed in order to get their books published.

      A fictional character, that also fits this pathological pattern is the psychopathic religious serial killer played by Kevin Spacey in the film “Se7en”.
      Also an interesting character to watch is Sean Penn in “The Assassination of Richard Nixon”. As presented in the film, we have here a idealist left-wing progressive turning aggressive (while being psychologically unstable all the time).

  9. CuChulainn says:

    a comparison that imposes itself
    English Catholics were considered as dangerous as jihadis

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