Interview with Elze van Hamelen, May 3, 2024

Why is it surprising when academics publish dissident content? Global class war, misunderstandings of Marxism, Omniwar, the deep state, technocracy, psychological torture, and Desmet’s failings

My thanks go to Elze van Hamelen for conducting only the second ever interview about my book, “Covid-19,” Psychological Operations, and the War for Technocracy.

Elze wrote up the interview for the Dutch alternative newspaper, De Andere Krant. The Dutch version, published on June 13, 2024, can be found here.

I have provided an edited machine translation below.

Interview with David A. Hughes: World War III Started in 2020


The Third World War started in 2020. It is not about territory, but about control over the human mind. It is waged by a transnational ruling class against the rest of the population. This is what academic David Hughes argues in an impressive new book, Covid-19, Psychological Operations, and the War for Technocracy. Hughes, building on the work of Professor Kees van der Pijl, argues that we are dealing with a globalised class struggle. “World inequality has become so great, the oligarchic capitalist system is so skewed, that the ruling class must adopt a new model of governance, a global technocracy, a kind of bio-digital form of totalitarianism.”

It is not often that an academic is able to publish a book from university that argues that events such as Covid policies and the 9/11 attacks were deliberate actions part of a ruling class war. David Hughes, who teaches International Relations at Lincoln University in England and was educated at the University of Oxford, succeeded wonderfully. He says he “simply went through all the procedures” and then submitted his research proposal for peer review. “After three reviews, my book was published by a respected publisher, Palgrave.”

Nevertheless, Hughes has now run into problems. He says his academic career is coming to an end, but does not want to go into details. He has made his book – which is very expensive to purchase – available online for free, so that as many interested people as possible can read it. He is even working on a second volume, for which he needs financial support from readers. (See below.)

Hughes ‘woke up’ in December 2016, he says, when he was confronted with the collapse of the WTC7 building in New York. “You don’t need to be a student to see that the only way WTC7 could collapse the way it did was if all the columns were destroyed at the same time. This could never have been caused by isolated fires resulting from debris that had fallen from the Twin Towers hours earlier. That showed to me that the official version of 9/11 is a lie.” In 2020, he published a peer-reviewed article (9/11 Truth and the Silence of the IR Discipline), in which he expresses his surprise that his fellow academics working on ‘international relations’ (IR) refuse to look at the evidence surrounding 9/11 – “the most important political event in 21st century Western history to date.” Now, more than four years later, his article has still not been challenged by anyone.

For Hughes, ‘Corona’ is an extension of 9/11. In his book he shows, supported by hundreds of references, that it was the largest psychological operation in history, based on years of psychological and social engineering experiments aimed at controlling the population. According to Hughes, this psychological warfare is part of a class struggle waged by the international oligarchy against the common man, in an attempt to install a technocratic system of control. He is not alone in this, but unlike many critics of globalism, he looks at the seizure of power through Marxist glasses.

You analyse recent years in the context of class war and psychological warfare, supported by numerous examples. I found it very helpful to have the context, chronology, and academic references.

This is the most important political issue of our time and we need intellectuals to apply their skills to try to understand what exactly it is, what we have endured in recent years. The big picture is what is missing at the moment. What fundamentally took place? The world did not just turn completely upside down on its own, people did not go crazy on their own, for no reason whatsoever. All the measures were based on far-reaching planning that was rolled out very systematically.

You describe this in terms of a class struggle. Can you explain that?

I build on the work of Kees van der Pijl in States of Emergency. We have a world population of almost eight billion people. Income inequality has never been greater. The richest 10 percent control 76 percent of the world’s wealth, the poorest 50 percent own only 2 percent. As you get closer to the top, inequality increases exponentially. This oligarchic capitalist system is so unbalanced that it is no longer accepted. What Van der Pijl documents in his book is that mass protests broke out in 35 countries in 2019. In addition, there was a crisis in the international financial system and the Western propaganda system fell into crisis, because fewer and fewer people trusted the mass media. Therefore, the ruling class needed a new model of governance. As far as I can tell, that model is a global technocracy, a kind of bio-digital form of totalitarianism.

Most people are no longer used to thinking in terms of a class struggle.

No, there’s a reason for that. Marxist discourse has been consciously driven out of the academic debate. Marxism is equated with Stalinism, with totalitarian dictatorship. But the basic premise of Marxism is that history is the outcome of class conflict. What I argue in my book is that we now have a globalised version of class conflict. It annoys me that many people call the World Economic Forum (WEF) a Marxist organisation. It’s the opposite. The WEF is concerned with the coordination of capitalist interests against the working class. They don’t do it for the workers.”

What motivates the ruling class?

What has happened in recent years is an attempt to transform societies top-down. Throughout history, war has always been necessary for such projects to be successful. I think World War III actually started in 2020. It’s nothing like the other world wars. The Second World War was nothing like the First. The current war is being waged by the transnational ruling class, which comprises a tiny fraction of the world’s population, against the rest of us. They can do this because they control money creation, the means of production and the media, among other things. The war is being waged on many fronts: economic war, information war, psychological war. Most people are not aware of this, while the battle revolves around their body and mind. They are part of it whether they want to be or not. That, in a nutshell, I think is the big picture. The hard truth is that we are in a war that we didn’t ask for. But, I think it is better to face evil and be honest about the circumstances we find ourselves in, rather than bury our heads in the sand.

You explain in your book that – because this is a war of the few against the many – it is mainly waged clandestinely, as a psychological war. It was known that the corona measures such as face masks, lockdowns and keeping distance did not work against corona, but were known as psychological warfare tactics and torture practices.

Yes, after World War I many soldiers came back shell-shocked. What the psychiatrists discovered is that the soldiers were then very impressionable. They explored ways to exploit that state of shock, not just in individuals, but in entire societies. In the 1960s they came up with the idea of ​​’social turbulence’, which keeps the population on edge through a series of shocks and crises, making them more receptive to propaganda. Consider, for example, the oil price shock in the 1970s and various false-flag terrorist attacks, such as Gladio (operations in Europe in which secret services led by NATO carried out false-flag attacks on the civilian population – ed.). In her book The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein elaborates further on the (ab)use of shock. She is mainly talking about neoliberalist policies and disaster capitalism, but also acknowledges that the techniques used can be traced back to the CIA’s MKUltra experiments in the 1950s (the CIA’s psychological research into brainwashing – ed.). These methods have now been applied again. At the moment of shock you can implant all kinds of trigger words and images. In the case of Covid, the lockdowns were the moment of shock, alongside other techniques dating back almost a hundred years, such as isolation and defamiliarization. Defamiliarization makes a world that was familiar and comfortable suddenly strange and uncanny. Suddenly everyone is walking around in masks and acting absurdly. What used to be normal is suddenly surreal and grotesque. That puts people out of balance mentally.

In addition to exploiting the shock state, you also spend a chapter on trauma-based control and how those techniques have been applied in Covid times.

Most people think of torture as medieval practices such as quartering. But it has been known for centuries that this is not an effective method of torture at all. What became clear from the MKUltra experiments is that the most effective forms of torture are psychological. They discovered that when you torture people, force them to hurt or even kill others, or force people to hurt themselves, combined with suppressing sensory sensations (sensory deprivation), they become extremely susceptible to programming. Consider face masks, for example. Sure, surgeons wear masks, but that’s not to prevent viral transmission. The only other time I can find where people were required to wear masks was Guantánamo Bay. And maybe you’re thinking, that’s a coincidence or that was to protect the guards. But that statement does not hold true when you look closely at the photos. For example, there are photos where the prisoners wear industrial ear protection and thick gloves. These are well-known ways from MKUltra and CIA torture manuals to dampen sensory perception. In another photo, the prisoners are not wearing gloves or ear protection, they simply wear face masks.

We know Guantanamo is a torture facility, so what are those masks doing there? What is also clear from decades of research into psychological torture is how effective it is to get people to harm themselves. People do those things to themselves. They were clearly uncomfortable, unsanitary and oppressive. They led to a feeling of alienation, because you no longer see faces. It has a dehumanising effect. These measures, which were presented as good for public health, take on a completely different light when you look at them as measures that were part of a psychological operation aimed at intimidating and indoctrinating the population. If you then read the Amnesty reports from the 1970s on torture, they are about inflicting chronic stress to control people. The work of Dennis Rancourt, who conducted statistical research into mortality during the corona years, shows that stress played a large part in mortality. That is not a coincidence. The infliction of enormous stress through military propaganda and fear campaigns in the media, and the requirement that entire populations had to wear face masks, contributed significantly to this.

Mattias Desmet’s theory of ‘mass formation’ is often put forward as an explanation for the collective madness in recent years. Your research shows very different causes.

The theory of mass formation is completely outdated, it is more than a hundred years old. Desmet builds on the work of Sigmund Freud and ignores current developments in psychology. I discuss this criticism in my co-authored article “Covid-19, Mass Formation or Mass Atrocity?” on the Unlimited Hangout website. Only a third of Desmet’s book is about the Covid period. He is not talking about things like vaccine damage and other atrocities that have taken place. He does not refer to Joost Meerloo’s classic work, Rape of the Mind, so he does not pay attention to the psychological breaking of people in totalitarian systems. He completely ignores the fact that we have just been exposed to the largest psychological warfare operation in human history. As a result of Desmet’s theory, the perpetrators behind this operation go free and the blame is shifted to the public, who are allegedly hypnotised by their own vague fears. But why are people afraid? Because they have been exposed to fear propaganda 24 hours a day since 9/11.

I think this book is an important historical document. It describes in detail both the methods used in clandestine war and the way in which they were applied. As you write: this war is not about territory, but about the freedom of the human spirit. Besides telling people to read your book to become familiar with the weapons being used against us, what else do you recommend?

Put away your smartphone and all other ‘smart’ devices. The end goal is to install a form of technocracy in which there is no more privacy. The idea behind technocracy is that everything and everyone should be constantly monitored, through the 5G network, smart meters, smart cities. What is the purpose of that technology? Biodigital control. The technologies are presented as easy and convenient, but they lead to a form of slavery. If more people realized that and just didn’t allow that surveillance network to be built, it would go a long way to thwarting these plans.

Elze’s Closing Comments


Academic publications are very expensive. David’s book costs more than 100 euros at Amazon. To make his book publicly accessible, David has made an arrangement with the publisher whereby he will not receive royalties. The book can be downloaded for free here: 

However, David does need money to complete Part 2 of his book. You can support him via: or or by taking out a paid subscription to his Substack.

For Hughes’ criticism of Desmet’s theory see: and