- CONSPIRACIES AND SECRET SOCIETIES:
- THE COMPLETE DOSSIER
- By Brad Steiger and Sherry Steiger
- America has been a cradle for conspiracies
and secret societies from its earliest beginnings. Its discoverer, Christopher
Columbus, held apocalyptic beliefs and claimed to have received a vision
that the world would end in 1650 and that it was his divine mission to
find a new land that would be the location of the new heaven and new earth
promised by St. John of the Apocalypse in the book of Revelation. In the
1600s, the master Freemason Sir Francis Bacon predicted that America was
the New Atlantis and that it would bring forth a New World Order that would
restore all humankind to the earthly paradise that existed in that Golden
Age of old.
- By the mid-1700s, Freemasonry had established
its lodges throughout Europe and had been carried across the ocean to the
British colonies in New England. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin,
John Hancock, Paul Revere, and many others of the Founding Fathers were
openly proud of being Masons, and Washington, the nation's first President,
donned his ceremonial Masonic apron to preside over the dedication of the
United States Capitol.
- Opposite the Great Seal of the nation
on the backside of the one dollar bill, the basic unit of currency in the
United States is an incomplete pyramid with an eye floating in a glowing
triangle where the capstone should be. The pyramid is the Great Pyramid
of Cheops at Giza, which for the Freemasons is emblematic of the legend
that Egyptian civilization was founded by survivors from the lost continent
of Atlantis. The all-seeing eye represents the Great Architect of the Universe
that guided the Founding Fathers to establish a nation that might one day
reveal itself as the heir of the fabled mysteries of Atlantis. Above the
eye is the caption Annuit Coeptis, commonly translated as "He has
favored our undertaking," and in a scroll beneath is the slogan Novus
Ordo Seclorum, "a new order of the ages," a New World Order.
- While the Freemasons remain today as
a benign nondenominational fraternity, many clergy members and conspiracy
theorists insist that their secret rites, passwords, initiations, and handshakes
have their origins in the Roman mystery religions, Egyptian rituals, and
Babylonian paganism. These same critics claim that the Freemasons are linked
to the Illuminati and other secret societies who work to achieve a New
World Order and a One World Government. Together, conspiracists insist,
these sinister groups constitute powerful brotherhoods of darkness that
have exerted their influence on every aspect of American society and are
planning to take over the world.
- Petty conspiracies that circulate about
political or business rivals are as old as the human psyche, Daniel Pipes
reminds us in FrontPage magazine (January 13, 2004); but fears about grand
conspiracies, such as some secret society seeking to take over the world,
go back only 900 years, and "have been operational for just two centuries,
since the French Revolution." While royal heads were being lopped
off by Madame Guillotine, some citizens were blaming the revolution on
the political manipulations of the Bavarian Illuminati and its hold on
- Fear of such conspiracies and shadowy
societies have made American history replete with warnings of secret plots
by the Freemasons, the Zionists, the Roman Catholics, the Communists, the
World Bankers, the Secret Government, New Agers, and Extraterrestrial Invaders.
Charges of conspiracy have grown to self-perpetuating histories of sinister
cabals responsible for the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield,
John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X,
and Princess Diana of Wales. Polls indicate that increasing numbers of
Americans believe that they have not been told the truth about Pearl Harbor,
the Gulf of Tonkin, the Oklahoma City Bombing, the fires that consumed
Waco, or the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
- The years following 9/11 have seen what
Mike Ward, writing in PopMatters [January 3, 2003] termed "probably
the most staggering proliferation of 'conspiracy theories' in American
history. Angry speculation-focused mainly on government dirty dealings,
ulterior motives, and potential complicity in the attacks-has risen to
a clamor that easily rivals what followed the Kennedy assassination."
- Michael Barkun, a political scientist
at Syracuse University and the author of A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic
Visions in Contemporary America (2003) has remarked that conspiracy theories
"are one way to make sense of what happened and regain a sense of
control[conspiracy theories] are reassuring. Because what they say is that
everything is connected, nothing happens by accident, and that there is
some kind of order in the world, even if it is produced by evil forces."
In Barkun's opinion, conspiracy theories are "psychologically consoling
to a lot of people."
- There seems little question that since
the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the
American public has tended to believe that their government lies to them.
Rick Ross, whose Ross Institute of New Jersey investigates conspiracies,
has observed that more and more Americans see manipulative forces working
behind the scenes of their own government. "The enemy is the United
States government, the enemy is within," Ross said to Carol Morello
of the Washington Post (October 7, 2004). "Instead of projecting theories
out [they have] become internalized."
- Conspiracy theorists in the United States
are quick to respond that they have many good reasons to questions the
government's behind the scenes dirty dealings. The FBI's COINTELPRO really
did have orders to defame, disgrace, and dispose of war protesters, radical
political groups, and freedom marchers by any means necessary. The CIA's
insidious, top-secret MK-ULTRA really did conduct ghastly brainwashing
and mind-altering drug experiments that may have produced the perfect assassins,
as well as the Unabomber.
- For at least 50 years, the Department
of Defense has used hundreds of thousands of military personnel and private
citizens in experiments with mustard and nerve gas, ionizing radiation,
and hallucinogenic drugs. While there were individuals who volunteered
for some of these experiments, the 200 black men who were diagnosed with
syphilis in the 1932 Tuskegee Study were never told of their illness and
were used as human guinea pigs in order to better understand the symptoms
of the disease. None of the men received any kind of treatment, and they
- In 1950, when nuclear weapons were still
in their infancy, Department of Defense detonated nuclear devices in desert
areas, then monitored unsuspecting civilians in cities downwind from the
blasts for medical problems and mortality rates.
- In 1966, more than a million civilians
were exposed to germ warfare when U.S. Army scientists dropped light bulbs
filled with bacteria onto ventilation grates throughout the New York City
- In 1977, Senate hearings revealed that
between 1949 and 1969, 239 highly populated areas, including San Francisco,
Washington, D.C., Key West, Panama City, Minneapolis, and St. Louis had
been contaminated with biological agents.
- In 1995, evidence surfaced that the biological
agents used during the Gulf War had been manufactured in Houston and Boca
Raton and tested on prisoners in the Texas Department of Corrections.
- In the August 26, 2005 issue of The Executive
Intelligence Review, Jeffrey Steinberg discusses the document authored
by Col. Paul E. Vallely, the Commander of the 7th
- Psychological Operations Group entitled,
From PSYOP to MindWar: The Psychology of Victory, and details the occult
and paranormal activities of Pentagon researchers regarding "weapons
that directly attack the targeted population's nervous system and brain
functioning" and "such phenomena as atmospheric electromagnetic
activity, air ionization, and extremely low frequency waves."
- Sometimes, it seems, the paranoids are
really on to something. When such conspiracies as those cited above prove
to be true, the assertion that there is a kernel of truth in even the most
far-fetched conspiracy theory appears also to be true. Conspiracies are
often replete with internal paradoxes, and some are easily dismissed by
rational folks as completely weird and crazy. Often, the truth lies in
the middle, and the task of the serious researcher is to make an intelligent
discernment. To dismiss some conspiracy theories as too wild and off the
wall to deserve attention may only result in the last laugh being enjoyed
by those who seek to control and to manipulate others.
- Michael Barkun has identified what he
believes to be three principles to be found in every conspiracy theory:
Nothing happens by accident. Nothing is as it seems. Everything is connected.
The essence of conspiracy beliefs, Barkun says, "lies in attempts
to delineate and explain evil." Barkun also states that contemporary
conspiracy theories have taken on a major new development, the joining
of the occult, the heretical, and the unfashionable, such as spiritualism,
alchemy, and Theosophy.
- On this point, we disagree. In our research
we have found that for centuries the schools of "hidden wisdom"
have co-existed with rational and materialistic progress in the Western
world. While science and technology have advanced in the European and American
cultures, there have always been the conspiracy theories that maintained
a belief in demonology, forbidden secrets, and a global plot by a satanic
secret society to obtain world domination.
- Norio Hayakawa, director of the Civilian
Intelligence Network, has defined "conspiratology" as a "comprehensive
study of the origins, the role, and the effects of conspiracy theories
on society," in order to determine why conspiracy theories are so
"deeply ingrained in the psyche of a segment of human society."
With the advent of the Internet, anyone can become a conspiracy theorist
and broadcast his or her unchecked, unquestioned, and unchallenged claims
of government corruption, racist propaganda, or alien reptilian abduction
all over the world. On Google alone, there are 222,000 websites devoted
to conspiracy theories and 2,250,000 dedicated to secret societies. Sharing
stories about conspiracies and secret societies is very much like spreading
sinister gossip, and one needs to develop a sense of what is true and what
is merely a reflection of someone else's personal prejudices and beliefs.
- Readers of our previous books will know
that we believe in a Divine Plan, good eventually triumphing over evil,
and the power of everyone to be able to exercise his or her personal responsibility
to resist the demons of avarice and self-aggrandizement that inspire people
attracted to secret societies to seek to manipulate and exploit others.
As researchers of the unusual and the unknown, we have tried our best to
approach this work on conspiracy theories and secret societies without
any personal agendas. We do not subscribe to any particular conspiracy
theory, and we do not belong to any secret society.
- For many years now, we have studied and
evaluated the enormous influence of conspiracy theories on society and
how people's beliefs can be manipulated for good or for evil by the promulgation
of certain idea, theories, and belief concepts. In conventional works of
history, many historians wish to leave a record of how noble, wise, and
compassionate our species has become in its social, moral, political evolution.
What we present in this book is a dossier of the more shadowy visages of
human history, the images that appear in the dark mirrors that reflect
portraits of chaos, confusion, and deceit. It remains for the readers to
judge which images of humankind are the more accurate-and it is up to the
readers to work to build a future that more accurately reflects what they
hope humankind may become.