Uri Geller, CIA Masterspy?
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy: An interview with Israeli mentalist Uri Geller.
On the eve of the publication of his new book, The Secret Life of Uri Geller: CIA Masterspy? I “sat down” by phone with Uri Geller, one of the most successful mystifyers of all time. I found him to be unflinchingly honest about his motives, “business” and beliefs, which he blends with a devastating sense of humor. In searching for “the truth” about the man known for bending spoons, far more critical issues emerged; issues Jews have been dealing with for over 3,000 years – our relationship to our Creator, ourselves and the universe. Fasten your seatbelts my friends … you will be surprised.
I believe in God and the extraordinary energy he endowed us with.
MM: Uri, you’ve called and been called many things over the years; a psychic, mentalist, paranormalist. How do you refer to yourself today?
URI: When I started in Israel I did call myself a psychic. But I always knew it was important to go with the flow and the belief system of those around me to insure longevity in my career. I then called myself a paranormalist then mystifiyer, which I love the most as I indeed have mystified tens of millions of people. It is a neutral name but I have never ever in my career said that I’m not real. What I do is genuine but you cannot stop the skeptics. They can write whatever they wish about someone when you’re successful and very controversial. For fame, you will be attacked.
MM: Talk to me about your skeptics, for example James Randi (born Randall James Hamilton Zwinge; a former magician).
URI: Since I was born (In Tel Aviv) I was attacked. I now know to take the negative material thrown at me to boost my own career. I should make Randi my unpaid publicist! I should send him flowers! If anyone has contributed to the mystery of Uri Geller, it’s Randi. Years ago, on Johnny Carson I was humiliated. The spoon was a set up by Randi. I went back to the hotel devastated. I thought Carson just destroyed me. Finally, I fell on the bed, asleep. The phone operator wakes me up, saying “Merv Griffin is on the line.” The Merv Griffin?! I get on the phone and he says “I saw you on Carson and I want you on my show this week!” It was a success, and that’s when it dawned on me. There’s no such thing as bad PR.
MM: About Carson … are these abilities black or white, are there degrees, and are they always accessible?
URI: No, they are not consistent. The environment, the atmosphere has a lot to do with focusing our mind, our intuitive powers. Carson’s negativity was in high gear.
MM: Let’s talk about your view of the mind, and these powers.
URI: All humans have some kind of an intuitive power. Intuitive energy is in our genes. Some know how to ignite these forces better than others. Women are more intuitive. Women are already “mystifyers” as they give birth which is the biggest miracle on this planet. I believe in God and the extraordinary energy he endowed us with. The Jewish scientist Albert Einstein proved to the world that everyone in the universe is made of energy that can’t be destroyed. It is within us. I am a huge believer that our minds are the most powerful computers in the universe, capable of using energy in extraordinary ways. Science has mostly positioned themselves away from exploring this, but I believe there is a God-given biological connection. This I find ironic, as science will look at other phenomenon, idiot savants for example … and still not have an answer, yet resist looking at other equally amazing possibilities.
MM: Uri, then do you know the truth about YOU?
URI: That is an amazing question. I know the truth about me to a point. Nobody really knows the truth about themselves because we are too complex. It is impossible to truly know oneself completely beyond the superficial. I know I am not a guru, a miracle worker, or a healer. If one is ill, I tell them “go to a doctor.” I don’t predict the future, talk to the dead, do tarot cards or readings. I am just an individual who has what some consider rather “bizarre” abilities that have made me famous. I believe strongly in energy, focus, and positive thinking – not mumbo jumbo at 3.99 an hour. It’s this gift of focusing energy … that’s where I’m stuck. I do not want to make myself out as a religious figure. I am not a prophet. If they exist, they may live on mountaintops, and not charging 3.99 a minute.
I believe that through God, anything and everything is possible.
MM: Let’s talk about religion, Judaism.
URI: Going into the Jewish Bible there are many amazing miracles. I believe in miracles. I believe that through God, anything and everything is possible. We Jews are an open-minded people, which, in my opinion, gives believers more access to accepting the powers of the mind, including what is now termed the supernatural. I hope every Jewish person reads my book. There are certain elements that show the very powerful messaging systems that emanate from our small Israel.
MM: About your book, The Secret Life of Uri Geller: CIA Masterspy? In it you reveal your work as a spy for many government agencies, including the Mossad and the CIA. Prior, there was the highly researched documentary about you [The Secret Life of Uri Geller: Psychic Spy?] done by award-winning filmmaker Vikram Jayanti. He also worked on the book, primarily written by technology journalist and former Time correspondent Jonathan Margolis. How did you get into intelligence work?
URI: I always wanted to be a spy. My stepfather ran a safe house for the Mossad in Cyprus so the buzz was there. But more, I wanted to help Israel. I was deeply affected by the Bible; when Moses sent 12 spies to the Holy Land. Years later the Mossad saw my show – and some individuals used me.
MM: You talk in the book about the CIA testing you.
URI: Among many things, I reveal certain experiments that were conducted on me that will shock people. When I was being studied, the CIA was very concerned that I might be a double agent. After each session, the lab was torn apart as they looked for hidden cameras. I was asked to kill a pig with the power of my mind. I’m a vegetarian, so I don’t like eating animals – nor killing them. When I was asked to do this, I was so horrified, I catapulted out of this part of the research.
MM: And the successes you talk about in the book …
URI: I got Israel and the Palestinians into the International Red Cross using … charisma! Also the spoon. Initially, the Palestinians wouldn’t sign the contract. When I handed the bent spoon to their negotiator, he started shouting, freaking out and immediately signed the agreement!
I talk in the book about intelligence gathering and using my energy and abilities to influence people, for instance, Senator Claiborne Pell asked me to convince the Russians to sign the nuclear reduction treaty for which I was secretly briefed. For this sort of influence I have to get really close physically. As I stood next to Al Gore and Yuli M. Vorontsov, First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union, I bombarded his mind to sign the nuclear treaty by focusing on him to sign. He signed! You must understand, since the 1950s, the United States, believing the Soviets were experimenting with the paranormal, was determined to keep pace. I know from all the work I’ve done with intelligence agencies, they will do everything … anything to obtain information.
MM: So then … is Uri the performer covering for Uri the spy or did the spy come from performing?
URI: They are equal and parallel. The former is a necessity to cover the espionage. It was my intuitive safety device, protection. But I am also a showman; one who has been equally devoted to spy at the Soviet Embassy as to perform in say, Mexico City.
MM: You used the term “has been equally” as in the past. I’ve heard that you were called up again after 9-11. Are you still in espionage?
URI: This I cannot talk about, Marnie, but it can be deduced … I will say this: We are living in a very dangerous world, a radical deadly world in which we are being killed, murdered, and blown up by terrorists. We must find them, even if it means shoving what some would call “ethics” aside. It is a matter of survival – for Israel and for the world.
MM: Uri … finally, what is your ultimate philosophy about what you and we must do?
URI: I live in two worlds -- as a performer and in espionage over matters that affect our very existence. Yet, it’s ironic. I’ve become a cultural icon -- for spoon-bending! To me, this is a rather trivial demonstration of the God-given power of the mind. The danger as I see it, is a closed minded world and science that hinders our great gift of imagination. I see the universe as being in the brief summer of its life – one made glorious by the potential God has given us. I believe we must be humble in these gifts we don’t yet understand. God is eternal. I believe that once we have grown beyond our youth, perhaps in a few fleeting billions of years, we will without question accept the miracles that are part of our past and our human endowment. If belief, science and our imaginations are unlocked, I cannot even envision such a miraculous world, but my feeling is … our descendants may envy us for basking so near to the bright glow of Creation … and for the opportunity to explore all possibilities when we were young.
MM: Thank you Uri, for your time and your insights.
URI: It was my pleasure.