LITTLE GREEN MEN: Jesse Ventura takes a moment to contemplate the heavens during a UFO investigation this season on his TruTV series “Conspiracy Theory.” Photo: Hopper Stone
By ADAM BUCKMAN
NEW YORK, Oct. 15, 2010 — There’s no conspiracy here: Just an outspoken former pro wrestler turned Minnesota governor who’s now hosting a TV series that purports to expose secrets the government doesn’t want you to know. You got a problem with that?
He’s Jesse Ventura, once known as “The Body” in his wrestling days and now holding forth on TruTV on his show, ‘Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura,’ which starts its second season Friday (Oct. 15) at 10 p.m./9c.
The governor is passionate about conspiracies. Last season, The Governing Body and his team investigated the persistent rumors that the U.S. government had a hand in planning the 9/11 terror attacks; that the CIA has a “Manchurian Candidate”-like program to turn ordinary citizens into assassins; and that a remote government-run facility in the wilds of Alaska is being used to develop a secret super-weapon capable of altering the weather.
In a free-wheeling phone interview from his Minnesota home, Ventura insisted that his show is turning up evidence of government wrongdoing that you can’t refute. We also got the 59-year-old ex-gov to talk politics in this turbulent election season, and you won’t believe what this maverick of gubernatorial politics had to say about Sarah Palin and the Tea Party.
Do you consider ‘Conspiracy Theory’ to be an information show or an entertainment show?
Gov. Ventura: It’s an entertainment show, but it is based upon facts. Originally, when we had the concept for the show, we were going to show both sides of the conspiracy and allow the viewer to pick. Well, when one side won’t cooperate in any way, shape or form, it makes it difficult to show their side. And then I also felt, Hell, well, everybody knows the government’s side. Why do we need to show that? Let’s show the alternative side. And I can unequivocally state this: In every conspiracy that I’ve done, the evidence seems overwhelmingly to support the conspiracy rather than the government when those two go head-to-head.
Before you became involved in the show, were you a person who was interested in the subjects that you’re now covering on the series?
The only conspiracy that consumes me is the killing of [President] John Kennedy. And the reason that happened was from wrestling, in a way. Wrestling changed in the mid-’80s from us driving cars to flying in planes. Well, if you’ve ever done a lot of plane-flying, you know that it’s so boring. I mean, you’re in airports and planes everyday. Well, I read. I found a way to counteract that boredom is to read. And so I got hooked on reading about the assassination of Jack Kennedy and every book I could get on it, I’d read on the plane.
‘Conspiracy Theory’ will tackle the JFK assassination later this season, but what can you possibly report that hasn’t been reported already about this story?
Here’s what’s new: On the episode this year, you will hear an audio, visual and written confession from a person who was involved [in the assassination plot] on his deathbed to his son. Most people don’t lie when they’re dyin’!
On the premiere episode this Friday, about the mysterious government bio-research lab on Plum Island off the coasts of Long Island and Connecticut, you make quite an effort to go to the island by boat, even though the authorities frown on it.
I didn’t actually want to go to it. I just wanted to get a closer look at it. I didn’t want to set foot on this place. There’s no telling what you’d catch. . . . Here’s the thing with Plum Island that irks me: It was created by a freakin’ Nazi! [The show posits that the facility was founded in the early 1950s by a former Nazi bio-warfare scientist named Erich Traub who was recruited by the U.S. government after World War II.] And nobody seems to care. And this guy’s expertise was what? Infecting ticks and mosquitos with biological weapons to unleash upon another country!
What is the aim of ‘Conspiracy Theory’? OK, so you expose these conspiracies. Then what? Do you expect this exposure to effect change somehow?
I hope that it wakes people up to not sit and listen to mainstream media and our government – what I call soundbite news. They don’t investigate nothing [sic]. And the point is, many of these stories have a lot more to them than what you get on soundbite news. And I’m hoping to make people question it, to say, Are we being lied to? And the other thing I want to show people is that you’re not allowed to ask the government a question and expect an answer. Why? Don’t we pay their salaries? Don’t they work for us?
Let’s talk politics, governor, because it’s an election season, and a pretty dramatic one so far, due in part to the Tea Party movement. Is it accurate to say that you still follow politics pretty avidly?
Oh, God, yes. I have to doing this show. I’ll put it to you this way about the Tea Party: Anybody that would put Sarah Palin to the top of their list will never get me. She’s a quitter.
You’re not a fan of hers. Why – because she quit her job?
You’re damn right. She quit in the middle of her term. That’s the contract you have with the voters.
Did you feel differently about her before she quit?
Well, I felt she was completely unqualified. I had more qualifications than she did. I had served as a mayor of a town [Brooklyn Park, Minn.] of 60,000 – hers [Wasilla, Alaska] was 10,000. I had served as governor for two years when everybody wanted me to run for president in 2000, and I said I’m not prepared to be the president. I haven’t even completed office as a governor yet. Now, she never completed her office as governor. She didn’t even get two years in hardly! And she quit to get money. Jesus, how do people not see that! She saw greener pastures, said, Screw the people of Alaska, and went on to collect.
Maybe you can do an episode of ‘Conspiracy Theory’ about her.
I wouldn’t waste my time.
Would you ever consider a return to the political arena?
Well, you never say never. I’ve learned that after 59 years. Now, do I have any aspirations to do that at this moment? No. I’d rather do this TV show. I feel I’m being as effective with this TV show as I would be if I ran for office because, remember, I’m an independent, so let me explain what it’s like for me in Washington. I’m like the redheaded stepchild that shows up on the day they read the will. That’s how welcome I am. I now proudly state this: When I hit Washington now, people run faster from me than they do Michael Moore.
Contact Adam Buckman: email@example.com