Master of conspiracies David Icke isn't interested in stories. He only wants to know the truth. He believes he has found it. And he wants you to see it too.
The prominent and controversial figure is touring Australia in March to tackle the secret societies being used to manipulate us all, reveal how the Pentagon controls Silicon Valley and its products, and show how our freedoms are being rapidly diminished.
But he is particularly concerned about the nature of reality.
What is it anyway?
Ultimately, he believes, the truth is a deeply personal thing. So personal, it transcends our physical bodies.
"We are just consciousness and learning, a form of awareness," he says.
Finding it, however, is the hard part.
Becoming the world's greatest conspiracy thinker has been a long journey for Icke.
He grew up in a Leicester housing estate in the English Midlands during the 1960s. Newly invented television didn't play a part in his life. But he found enjoyment in football (soccer) — he went on to become a professional player — and watching the many steam trains come and go on nearby lines.
But he was no 'trainspotter'.
"I wouldn't take their numbers and stuff, I wasn't like a nerd … I just liked to watch them go past," he says.
"I've never been a joiner," he adds. Icke recalled attending a scout meeting with his friends, not having any real idea about what went on. "But they wouldn't have me".
Books were also not a thing. At least then.
"But then I got to my mid 20 and then I was reading insatiably … and have done ever since."
Television, however, still doesn't rate.
"The only thing I watch on television is football. I work all day, and I chill my mind in the evening by watching football."
Perhaps this lack of information bombardment at such a young age let his mind loose.
Even as a child, Icke says, he questioned authority. "Authority didn't get respect from me just because it was an authority, it had to do so by its behaviour."
This would eventually set him down the path to where he is now.
As a young reporter working on the Isle of Wight, Icke says his eyes were opened.
"It's such a lovely place," he says. "But I was seeing development happening that was not conducive to the island."
So he started a community group in the early 1980s to challenge this.
"They were having council meetings in the evening to decide which things should be built … but many of them had been meeting in their Freemasonic lodges in the afternoon and deciding what was going to get the planning or not!
"I realised that the world was not like we were led to believe."
SENSE AND SENSIBILITIES
His encounters with the Isle of Wight council was just a start.
"Basically it was a series of steps from there. I just dug a bit further and came across more and came across more … then this great vista, this great panorama opened up, and I realised that the world is actually controlled and directed by a handful of people."
Politicians. Archaeologists. Journalists. Programmers. Secretaries. "The vast overwhelming majority of people who are contributing to pushing the world in its direction have no idea that it's actually being co-ordinated — they just think they're part of random events happening."
Icke says he sees it as his job to connect the dots and bring his version of reality to everybody's attention.
"It's not random, it's a fact. It's founded on the centralisation of power. Every time you centralise power you are handing more power to fewer people over more people".
He sees vindication in the paedophilia scandals of the past decade which have reached deep into Britain's entertainment and political institutions.
"As I started to identify the organisations, the secret societies and the strands in the web that are pushing the world … I started coming across this common theme, that so many of them were into paedophilia, and then you go deeper and find a ridiculous number of them are into Satanism."
Then, a turn of events.
"Suddenly, there's this Jimmy Savile scandal … and it started to come out into the mainstream, and the names they were naming were the names in my (1990s) books."
Among them was former British Prime Minister Edward Heath.
But Icke says he did not contribute any evidence to police investigations.
"No, because I am painted as this strange man who is not to be taken seriously by the establishment, they don't come to the person who was telling them (all this) in the 1990s".
WHO ARE 'THEY'?
Icke says the few pulling the strings controlling every aspect of our daily lives are insane — but intelligent.
Are they power-hungry people? Or shapeshifting human-alien hybrids?
It doesn't really matter, Icke says.
"They're very clever in their systems of manipulation which is overwhelmingly psychological manipulation, because if you can manipulate perceptions to believe that Osama bin Laden was behind 911, then you'll get support to invade Afghanistan".
He says these 'manipulators' are particularly busy, at the moment, in Silicon Valley.
"First of all you set out to make the internet the central pillar foundation of all human society," he says. "To do that you have to give people an internet that they will want, that they will become addicted to."
That is why the internet initially had no censorship or control, he says.
"Once you've got the internet irreversibly at the centre of society, where people get most of the information from, increasingly do most of their retail etcetera — then you've got them."
Now things have begun to change.
Algorithms are being tweaked. People are being banned. 'Their' agenda is being enacted.
"Because I come from the alternative media, we have to live with this all the time. It's harder and harder to get our information out there."
Icke says the actions and behaviour of government and business are a distraction.
It's all about those manipulating these players.
"I don't believe for a second that Zuckerberg controls Facebook or Jeff Bezos Amazon. I say these are front assets of the military intelligence complex — basically the Pentagon".
'JUST SOMEONE QUITE WELL KNOWN'
His books sell well. He makes regular public appearances. His ideas are circulated widely.
But Icke says he doesn't see himself as a celebrity.
"I'm just someone who's quite well known. I don't self identify with all the celebrity stuff, I can't be bothered. I'm well known because of what I do."
He sees himself as an investigative journalist — "just not one with an editor telling me what I can or cannot write".
Icke started writing in 1994: "The publisher saw my manuscript, and I think he's still running".
Undeterred, Icke started his own publishing company.
"I don't have a censor, I just write what I believe is right. It's just a wonderful thing … the thought of working in mainstream media today with all the limits on what you can say and how you can say it would drive me potty".
It's all about piecing together the fragments of a puzzle that slip through the censor's fingers, he says.
"The biggest thing that people don't grasp is actually the scale of evil that's behind all this. If you judge what these people will do by what you will do, then you will never get the scale of evil we are talking about. They're not the same. They're psychopaths. They're extreme psychopath's. And therefore they're capable of anything".
Conspiracy theories and alternative facts can be deadly.
In 2017, a gunman burst into a Washington DC pizza restaurant. He was hunting a satanic paedophile ring — run by Hillary Clinton — that used a dungeon concealed on its premises.
He scared a lot of people. And found nothing.
Much more dangerous, however, was the way Nazi Germany seized upon the myth of Atlantis as evidence supporting claims of their 'master race'.
The magicians that ran the prehistoric super-civilisation of Atlantis — often also claimed to be an alien race called the Anannuki — are supposedly set to return, soon, hidden on an invisible planetoid named Nibiru. It's supposed to have arrived several times in recent decades but is yet to materialise.
But it's an idea which has been seized upon by modern white supremacy groups, among others.
Icke isn't worried.
He blames misinformation.
"People will believe loads of unsupportable things, and a lot of psychopaths do. But the question is, is it true?
"What played a role in World War II was you had a bunch of crazy psychopaths who got control of the country, whether they believed in bloody Atlantis and Constantine or whatever it doesn't really matter."
He says the term 'conspiracy theory' and 'conspiracy theorist' was a term coined by the CIA to denigrate those suspicious about the circumstances behind the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
"My criteria is not seeing a conspiracy everywhere, I want to know if something is true or not."
Icke has no time for amateur investigative groups such as Bellingcat, the volunteer 'open source' cooperative that has been collecting — and submitting — evidence from phone logs, satellite photographs and vehicle movements relating to Russian involvement in the shooting down of Flight MH17 in 2014.
He argues the need for high-quality sources.
"Organisations such as Bellingcat that don't dispassionately step out to find the truth, they step out to support the official narrative," he says. "There's a narrative to demonise Russia, so Bellingcat has not set out to uncover the truth — which might be that Russia wasn't responsible — it's stepped out to confirm that Russia was responsible.
"I wouldn't believe a word of it without checking it."
And this applies to everything. Particularly history.
"It's like Orwell said in 1984, … he who controls the present controls the past and he who controls the past controls the future."
Historians. Archaeologists. Researchers. He says all are unwittingly complicit because they are reliant on external funding and the approval of their peers.
Which is why, in 2014, two German 'hobbyists' gained access to Egypt's Great Pyramid to steal a sample of a cartouche bearing Pharaoh Khufu's name. They wanted to prove it was younger than the pyramid itself, and therefore evidence Khufu's reputation as its builder was a cover-up.
In 2017, Russian media quoted a 'researcher' as claiming to have found mummified alien remains in Peru. Despite repeated promises to do so, samples have not been supplied for DNA analysis — leaving open allegations they are actually desecrations of Nazca mummies purchased on the black market.
But the issue isn't evidence, says Icke.
It's about piecing together the puzzle. Finding the patterns that fit his message.
"The thing is to get informed about what's actually happening and how the world works, and then the penny starts to drop".
There is no need for people to find fresh evidence, leak new documents to expose these conspiracies.
"The thing is that there is an enormous amount of information already out there, you know, some of us have been uncovering for 30 years. What we want is to get it into the public arena."
Icke has in the past been accused of thinly-veiled anti-Semitism with his allegations the world is run by a secret cabal of lizard-men.
He rejects this.
It's also irrelevant, he says.
"Our bodies exist to give us experiences," Icke says. "And therefore the colour of this body you're having this experience through, or its bloody race or its religion or its history is all a load of crap to me — it's irrelevant."
"Anyone who self identifies with their colour, with their labels, has completely lost the plot of reality because we are the awareness having the experiences we give labels to. So this whole kind of Aryan supremacy and black supremacy and all this stuff is all a load of utter garbage.
"It's complete confirmation that the people that are pursuing that belief system have no clue what reality is or what they ultimately are — which is a consciousness having an experience through a particular body.
"It's the same with sexuality. Whether you're a woman, whether you're a man or whether you think you're something in between — it's just an experience for your consciousness.
"That's all it is. It's very transitory. It's very short … my life's flashing by. And then you leave.
"If, in the middle, you become mesmerised by all the labels — I am are this, I am are that — then that's how we get caught in the illusion. The labels are getting played off against labels, and the labels are at war with each other — while the few with their hands controlling the strings of all the bloody labels are laughing their socks off."
And the only way to free our spirits is through the truth, Icke says.
"I've just spoken with 3000 people in Mexico, and the number of people that have come up to me and said 'whoah, you know, I've never seen the dots connected like that … it all makes sense to me now".