The CIA Wants Me to Believe What? — Part 3: Having Read the Fiction Volumes of Sekret Machines

My last two posts were reflections about the non-fiction volumes of Tom DeLonge’s Sekret Machines series. The conclusions I reached based on those two volumes can be summarized in the following points:

  1. Certain elite groups wish to persuade the public into accepting a Gnostic metaphysic.
  2. A necessary correlate of this Gnostic metaphysic are an occult/esoteric/hermetic epistemology.
  3. The primary results of this Gnostic metaphysic are:
    • An original ontology of chaos that justifies technocracy
    • A view of spiritual or non-human entities that is ambivalent, they can be both good and bad.
    • An anthropology that prioritizes consciousness and sees human beings as malleable–things that can be changed by the application of technology (either esoteric or exoteric).

Each of these elements is on full display in the fictional narrative of the two published volumes of Sekret Machines, subtitled Chasing Shadows and A Fire Within, respectively. Like the non-fiction volumes, these fictional books are produced with a co-author: A. J. Hartley. As stories and nothing more, my first impression is that bringing Hartley into the project was a good idea. As novels these two books are as good as, if not better than, much of the mainstream fiction available on the market. The stories are tight, the action flows coherently, and the characters are compelling.

The books are structured so that each chapter focuses in on a specific character. Although there are several minor characters introduced throughout, in order to develop the narrative’s background, the story revolves around four protagonists and one antagonist. The protagonists are Alan Young, an ace Marine pilot recruited by the CIA into a program where he flies UFOs; Barry Regis, Alan’s best friend from high school and fellow Marine; Jennifer Quinn, an English heiress drawn into the secretive world of UFOs when she inherits her father’s businesses; and Timika Mars, a freelance investigative journalist sucked into the shadowy world of top-secret UFOs by chasing leads. The main antagonist is the shadowy Morat, whose real name we do not know, who lives like a spy but works for the business conglomerate that links Jennifer Quinn to the narrative. In the second volume, a fifth protagonist is also introduced: Nicholas Tan, an archaeology professor who is confronted with paranormal reality after agreeing to consult for Timika and Jennifer.

My goal here is not to write a review full of spoilers, but spoiling some of the plot is necessary. If you intend on reading the books for yourself and find that spoilers decrease your enjoyment, consider coming back to this analysis after having read both books.

The foreword to the first volume, Chasing Shadows, is written by Jim Semivan, a career CIA officer whose connections to DeLonge and the To The Stars organization I covered in the first post about the topic. In his forward, he gives his reasons for participating in the project. His reasons are quite telling. In his own words, Semivan’s collaboration with DeLonge is due to:

Tom’s desire to research and disseminate information on the Phenomenon in a more balanced and scientifically rigorous fashion than is currently being done in some of the popular literature on the subject. To me, this sounded like a highly innovative and worthwhile endeavor. And as a career civil servant, I found that Tom’s intent to portray the U.S. government in a more positive light was an added plus.

Jim Semivan in Forword to Sekret Machines: Chasing Shadows, pg: xi-xii.

So in the foreword by a career CIA operations officer, we’re informed that the story told in Sekret Machines is balanced, scientifically rigorous, and aims at portraying the U.S. government in a positive light.

Let’s start with the scientific rigor portion. Here are some of the things portrayed in Sekret Machines:

  • UFOs that are piloted by merging the pilot’s mind with the machine itself.
  • UFOs that operate on a hive-mind type of consciousness.
  • Psychokinesis that is inherent in some individuals but that can be enhanced through proximity to or contact with ancient relics delivered by extraterrestrial/interdimensional entities.
  • Psychic foreknowledge.
  • Astral projection that not only allows one to travel through space but also allows for the conscious overtaking and control of another’s body against their will.
  • The existence of extraterrestrial/interdimensional factions–some good, some bad–that cooperate with governments and other global interests to influence human affairs.
  • The genetic modification of human beings to give them these types of abilities (foreknowledge, astral projection, hive-mind capabilities, etc.).

So, we have a career CIA officer agreeing to hop onto a project that includes both fiction and non-fiction works aimed at the scientifically rigorous portrayal of things that for most of my life have been relegated to science-fiction, comic books, and mocking portrayals of literate hillbillies who listened to Bill Cooper on shortwave. Not only that but, amazingly, this scientifically rigorous portrayal also vindicates the U.S. government as a positive force in human history.

The thing is, I do not think that what DeLonge or Semivan have in mind is the mere realistic portrayal of what we tend to call paranormal or supernatural phenomena. Sure, perhaps on some level they want to make UFOs or astral projection or genetically modified superpowers socially acceptable topics of conversation. But there’s something deeper going on, something on the level of what Leo Strauss talks about in Persecution and the Art of Writing. DeLonge and his collaborators are writing “between the lines” in order to tell us something about how they believe the universe works, about how reality is put together, and it’s something that they aren’t willing or are unable to say outright. What I think that something is is the points I laid out above: (1) we live in a Gnostic universe which necessitates (2) occult and esoteric epistemologies, which allow for (3) a hermetic application of knowledge to change human beings through technology.

Consider some of the elements in the story of Sekret Machines. Alan and Barry, the reader comes to find out, were subject to strange medical treatments as children. Jennifer was “kidnapped” as an infant, which is connected to the “fairy circle” located on her father’s estate. These experiences are what connected them to the Phenomenon, what brought them together as “experiencers.” Timika was brought into it by accident, but an abduction experience during the narrative allows her into the group with her own set of special abilities. At one point, a character–a physician in the employ of the U.S. government–asks her, “Who are you? What are you?”

What each of these people come to find out during the course of the narrative is that a large part of their having special abilities relates to the fact that there are interdimensional or spiritual forces at work on earth and among human civilization. In fact, the existence of human civilization is itself a product of intervention by these spiritual/interdimensional entities. The first chapter of A Fire Within (the second volume) tells the story of a Sumerian peasant’s spiritual experience in which he is given the gift of writing, which of course changes the course of civilization. This retelling of the Promethean myth follows naturally from the conclusion of Chasing Shadows (the first volume), which ends with the following dialogue between Alan and a CIA officer:

“Tell me, Major,” he said absently. “Are you religious?”

Alan blinked and tried to focus. Maybe he was already dreaming.

“Not really,” he said at last. “Why? What does any of this have to do with religion?”

“Oh,” said the bald man, looking up and smiling, a cat-like grin that did not reach his eyes. He pushed the book across the table to where Alan could read the two words on its spine. “Absolutely everything,” said the man, tapping the book with his index finger. The lettering on its spine said The Odyssey, by Homer. “Though perhaps myth is a better term than religion. Less loaded. Major Young, did you ever wonder how the Apollo space program got its name?”

Alan blinked. “Apollo was the god of the sun, right?” he said.

“And crossed the sky daily in a glittering chariot,” Kenyon agreed.


“So let’s consider the possibility that the chariot was more than metaphorical.”

“Let me get this straight,” said Alan. “You’re saying that the craft we’re flying were brought here by aliens which humans took to be the gods of ancient Greece, but they left and now we have their stuff?”

In response to Alan’s contemptuous tone, Kenyon smiled but, for a moment so long it became uncomfortable he said nothing, just staring unblinkingly at Alan–that odd, knowing smile fixed on his nondescript face. At last he opened his mouth, but the next eight words came out so low that Alan had to strain to hear them.

“What makes you think that they ever left?”

Sekret Machines: Chasing Shadows, pgs: 669-670

The point of the whole series (at least so far, since there is still one volume each yet to be published in both the fiction and non-fiction series) is to communicate the fact that powerful elites, to include the U.S. government and large, powerful, transnational corporations, have technology that can modify human capabilities and consciousness. This technology is the result of secret knowledge delivered to these elites by supernatural, interdimensional, spiritual entities. These entities take sides in human conflicts, influence human affairs, and deliver secret, generally unknown (i.e., occult or esoteric) knowledge to those with whom they have contact.

In case you need reminding, Tom DeLonge has claimed that the perspectives presented in these books are derived from information obtained from members of the U.S. government’s intelligence, defense, and scientific agencies. To The Stars has had official partnerships with the likes of NASA and the U.S. Army. It’s also worth remembering that the company is now, primarily, focused on producing “entertainment.” And, of course, entertainment is a major vehicle for the dissemination of propaganda.

The second fiction book, Sekret Machines: A Fire Within, ends with three of the characters (Barry, Timika, and Nicholas) commiserating about the strange new world they occupy, a world in which they, along with a few others, have obtained knowledge not commonly known and that they cannot share with others. Interestingly, Nicholas–the archaeologist–has a fascination with the Atlantean myth and the possibility that Atlantis really does, or did, exist. This is interesting because, despite all of the pseudo-historical scholarship that exists about Atlantis, there is a very real way in which the idea of Atlantis has, and continues, to shape civilization.

In a text published mid-century, around the end of World War II, the esoteric philosopher Manly P. Hall disclosed what he believed was (as the book’s title suggests) The Secret Destiny of America. The point of the book is to describe the ways in which the purpose of the United States is determined and driven by the beliefs and teachings of secret societies. He links this purpose and destiny to the myth of Atlantis in Plato’s Critias and the adaptation of that myth in the thought of Francis Bacon, who Hall implies is the intellectual founder of modern Western esotericism.

Bacon’s adaptation of the Atlantean myth was to see the New World as the place where, to use Hall’s terminology, the “philosophic empire” could be built. Hall makes this claim based on his understanding of Bacon’s New Atlantis. What this means is that Atlantis mythologically represents the perfect republic in the Platonic sense–an empire ruled by illumined, enlightened philosopher-kings who, unlike the vulgar masses, have obtained the highest knowledge. Hall quotes and interprets William Rawley’s introduction to New Atlantis:

Rawley writes in his introduction to Bacon’s New Atlantis, “This fable My Lord devised, to the end that he might exhibit therein, a model or description of a college, instituted for the interpreting of nature, and the producing of great and marvelous works, for the benefit of men; under the name of Solomon’s house, or the college of the six days work.”

The “college of the six days work” is, of course, a thinly veiled reference to the perfection of nature through art. The six days are the days of creation by which the natural world was brought into existence, according to the account given in Genesis. As God created the universe in six symbolic days, so man by art–that is, philosophy–must create the condition of his own perfection by means of six philosophical steps.”

Manly P. Hall, The Secret Destiny of America, pgs: 79-80

What these “six philosophical steps” are, Hall does not say, but goes on to claim that Bacon died before being able to publish the second volume of New Atlantis in which these steps would be revealed. He also claims that Bacon was a meticulous editor and wrote several revisions of his works before publication, implying that Rawley had access to Bacon’s unpublished drafts. In other words, these “six philosophical steps” are another form of hidden, occult knowledge.

A few other points to consider: Hall interprets the six days of Genesis 1 as “symbolic days” that correspond to the “six philosophical steps.” That is, Hall interprets the Bible esoterically. He goes on to claim that this esoteric knowledge is what grounds the American project and will determine America’s future.

I do not wish to get trapped going down some well-trod conspiracy theory rabbit hole. The idea that secret societies–particularly the Freemasons–control not only the United States but all Western nations, is not a new idea. But what you have in Manly P. Hall’s book is an open claim by someone who is a known esotericist, Freemason, and Theosophist that the United States was founded upon, is ruled by, and will ultimately culminate in an esoteric plan for achieving what he calls a “Universal Republic,” a “Universal Commonwealth,” or a “Universal Democracy.”

That is to say that the political theory which underlies all the major governments of the world–and their collaborators in the NGO and corporate space–is driven by secret knowledge. Their goal is ultimately to make the actual political world conform to the teachings of this secret knowledge, which only they possess.

In other words, the political theory underlying all global politics and most domestic politics is . . . Gnosticism.

Now, to return to Tom DeLonge and his goal of providing “scientifically rigorous” entertainment on the topic of UFOs. The official story is that DeLonge’s To The Stars project has shifted primarily towards entertainment, and that’s why the serious disclosure advocates, like Elizondo and Mellon, decided to part ways with DeLonge. What goes unmentioned in the official story is that since at least the mid-twentieth century, at around the same time that Manly P. Hall was publishing his claims about the esoteric influence on American policy, it has been openly acknowledged that all channels of communication–to include entertainment–are used for propaganda purposes by the United States and other nations (Smith, et al. 1946). This is considered, at least to some degree, legitimate and above-board insofar as a functioning democratic society requires broad consensus (Bernays 1928). Stated plainly, when it comes to propaganda, the ends (a functioning democratic society) justify the means (propagandizing the population to achieve broad consensus).

So what does any of this have to do with this four-part excursion on UFOs?

It isn’t about UFOs.

It’s about worldview presuppositions and metaphysical beliefs.

The UFO issue and related phenomena are means for developing channels by which to distribute propaganda. In terms best explained by Jacques Ellul in his book, The Technological Society, they are a form of technique–roughly equivalent to technology–aimed at manipulating human beings and their social environment. He writes, “Propagandistic manipulations take place under all forms of government and in all walks of life” (1964, 368). Within the larger corpus of his work, in Technological Society and elsewhere, these manipulations are aimed at gaining compliance among the public in regards to other governing techniques. Governing itself, in the modern era, is itself a form of technique or technology. This is revealed in one of my own areas of academic specialization: public policy.

The whole project of public policy and public administration as a field of academic study is the idea that there are certain areas of knowledge that allow for proper governance. Harold Lasswell, the father of modern public policy sciences, defined politics in the title of a book: Politics: Who Gets What, When, How. In the opening chapter of that book, he writes: “The influential are those who get the most of what there is to get. Available values may be classified as deference, income, safety. Those who get the most are elite; the rest are mass” (2018, 8). The idea of public policy is that there is a science which allows for the determination of who ought to be elite and who ought to be mass. The goal of public policy is to gain the approval and consensus of the masses to go along with the decisions and goals of the elite. This in itself is not hidden knowledge. Scholars in the field are open about the idea that the complexity of modern society requires experts to govern (Esmark 2020). This expertise itself is what is hidden.

In some sense, the idea that the ability to make decisions for the masses is a form of esoteric knowledge permeates our society. We can see it, most clearly, in the ongoing debates about COVID-19 and the responses to it (“Trust the Science”). For more than a year in the United States, and for now nearly three years in other Western nations, the masses have handed over the most basic decision-making capacity (Can I go to work? Can I travel more than 5 km from my home? Can my children go to school? What’s an “essential” occupation? What are “essential” goods justifying a trip to the market?) to experts–possessors of a secret, hidden knowledge that cannot be questioned, that must be obeyed, and that is not subject to public accountability.

And if we’re honest with ourselves, the COVID-19 issue only made clear what was already present. Think, for example, of the CIA, which has figured prominently in my analysis of DeLonge’s work, for good reason. The Freemasons describe themselves (in opposition to Manly P. Hall) as not a secret society but a society of secrets. What then is the CIA, if not a society of secrets? Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not going down some path of equating Freemasons selling Christmas trees as being the real power behind the CIA or the Global American Empire. But consider how the agency and the government that backs it is portrayed in DeLonge’s work. It keeps secrets which allow it to do its hidden work which is ostensibly for the public good. Only initiates are allowed to know its secrets and there is a hierarchy of who can know which secrets. Once one is initiated into these secrets–like the protagonists of Sekret Machines–it’s like having one foot in the normal world and one foot in a completely different one, and you can never look at the normal world the same again.

Consider all the rhetoric of the last few years about “defending democracy.” And then ask yourself, “what is democracy?” Ostensibly, democracy is a form of government in which the people govern themselves. And yet, in the academic and specialist literature democracy is divided between the elite and the masses, where the elite are those who get to determine who gets what, when, and how (Lasswell). And the masses are merely the folks who are manipulated into going along with the elite program, primarily through propaganda that convinces them, or a majority of them, that what the elite are doing is precisely what the masses would do if they were the elite (Bernays). In Ellul’s terminology, the elite are those who possess the technique and the masses are those on whom the technique is used.

Then consider, especially in the last weeks, organizations like the World Economic Forum (WEF)–an annual, invite-only meet-and-greet for the most powerful people in politics, business, science, and academia. No real press is allowed inside. Whatever we learn about their proceedings and discussions are either carefully curated or leaked. And what we do know for sure is that these people know that they’re elite, know that they possess specialized techniques, and aim to apply those techniques across the globe with or without the consent of the mass public (You can view leaked attendee documents by clicking here). I won’t go into a full analysis of who attended from where and why, many have already done so.

But then consider DeLonge’s credible case that the fantastic details in both the fiction and non-fiction Sekret Machines books are taken straight from U.S. government insiders. Then consider the WEF’s open disclosure (now scrubbed) that technology exists by which human thought can be manipulated using sound waves. And then consider the comments of soon-to-be-former Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern during the prime of COVID hysteria to the effect that government is the sole reliable source of truth.

I hope you’re starting to get the point about the importance of worldviews, the nature of one’s metaphysical beliefs, and their impacts on political opinions and attitudes.

So why would Tom DeLonge and his NatSec/Intel pals go through all the trouble of setting up an entertainment company based around UFO disclosure?

A: To push a Gnostic worldview that necessarily includes an esoteric/occult epistemology and a hermetic application of that knowledge.

Why would they want to do that?

Because the systems of government that currently exist are fundamentally Gnostic, esoteric, and hermetic. You’re either an adept-initiate or a vulgar outsider. These classes correlate with Lasswell’s classifications of elite and mass. If you’re an adept, you apply propaganda and other techniques. If you’re an outsider, you are that to which the technique is applied.

When it comes to politics, I can quote DeLonge and Hartley from Chasing Shadows once again:

“What does any of this [governing and politics] have to do with religion?”

A: “Absolutely everything.”

Works Cited

Bernays, Edward L. 1928. Propaganda. New York: Horace Liveright.

DeLonge, Tom and A. J. Hartley. 2018. Sekret Machines: A Fire Within. Encinitas, CA: To The Stars, Inc.

________. 2016. Sekret Machines: Chasing Shadows. Encinitas, CA: To The Stars, Inc.

Ellul, Jacques. 1964. The Technological Society. Translated by John Wilkinson. New York: Vintage Books.

Esmark, Anders. 2020. The New Technocracy. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press.

Lasswell, Harold D. 1936. Politics: Who Gets What, When, How. Auckland, NZ: Papamoa Press (Reprint 2018).

Smith, Bruce Lannes, Harold D. Lasswell, and Ralph D. Casey. 1946. Propaganda, Communication, and Public Opinion: A Comprehensive Reference Guide. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Strauss, Leo. 1988. Persecution and the Art of Writing. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press.

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