It’s a dangerous world out there. Everywhere across the globe, there are various organisations dedicated to pursuing all manner of sinister agendas. Agendas of political upheaval, religious fanaticism, disruption, terrorism, profit and self interest. Agendas that are pursued with a total disregard for the safety and well being of people like you and me – the little people. Read ahead at your caution: you’ll sleep easier in your bed if you’ve never heard anything about these guys. Ruthless people who will stop at nothing to achieve their mysterious purposes. By no means a definitive list of the organisations that go bump in the night, here is a synopsis of just 13 of the World’s Most Sinister Organisations:
Al Qaeda – Has an organisation known as “Al Qaeda” ever actually existed? To this date there is no specific evidence to suggest that any terrorist organisation ever branded itself with such a name. But what is pretty much clear is that a group of like minded individuals, including Palestinian Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri, Saudi Arabian Osama bin Laden and various veterans of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, founded a group of fanatic Sunni Muslims in the late eighties, with the stated aim of taking violent action against the West. The group either sponsored various initiatives or took direct action themselves in a series of terrorist attacks, culminating in the infamous events of September 11. The name “Al Qaeda” emerged from various FBI investigations as a reference, in Arabic, to a “base of operations” and has since been adopted by every media outlet, intelligence and law enforcement agency in the world. The label is now applied (often incorrectly) to any act of terrorism associated with Islam. However, the notion that “Al Qaeda” exists as some sort of secret network of terrorist operatives is very much a fiction, with most of the original members, including Osama bin Laden himself, so deep in hiding as to be largely out of contact with the outside world. Some figures associated with the original group have gravitated to other areas of conflict, such as the insurgency movement in Iraq, also dubbed “Al Qaeda” by intelligence agencies and media outlets. Although the original group has long since been disbanded, the name Al Qaeda lives on as an inspiration for numerous strands of militant Islam across the world, most of them unconnected. The meaning of the term has become so debased that any militant Islam organisation might now be termed as “Al Qaeda” – perpetuating the myth of a James Bond style organisation of super-villainy with tentacles across the globe.
Anti-Defamation League – Initially formed in the early 20th century to counter the influence of the Ku Klux Klan, the Anti-Defamation league supposedly promotes justice and fair treatment for Jewish people across the world. In its formative years, the Anti-Defamation League was an important factor in the establishment of a civil rights movement and in changing the perception of racial issues in the United States. Unfortunately, the Anti-Defamation League, established on good intentions, now wields an immensely worrying influence in US politics. Jewish political activist Noam Chomsky has written of the League:
“The ADL has virtually abandoned its earlier role as a civil rights organization, becoming ‘one of the main pillars’ of Israeli propaganda in the U.S.… These efforts, buttressed by insinuations of anti-Semitism or direct accusations, are intended to deflect or undermine opposition to Israeli policies, including Israel’s refusal, with U.S. support, to move towards a general political settlement.
…one of the ugliest, most powerful pressure groups in the U.S. … Its primary commitment is to use any technique, however dishonest and disgraceful, in order to defame and silence and destroy anybody who dares to criticize the Holy State (‘Israel’).”
Operating with an annual budget of US$50 million, 33 regional offices, a paid staff of 400 professionals and thousands of unpaid support members, the ADL is now considered in some quarters to be the most influential political lobby group in the United States. It retains links with Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, as well as the FBI and CIA. It has recently emerged that the ADL itself retains thousands of secret intelligence files on various private citizens of the US and Canada. It’s an organisation that does not hesitate to ruthlessly stamp out dissenting voices through defamation, slander and litigation. Many critics now consider the ADL to be the number one factor in forming US foreign policy with regards to Israel and the Middle East, a crucial component of the most dangerous international situation existing in the world today.
Aum Shinrikyo – A mysterious Japanese religious cult founded by Shoko Ashara in the mid eighties, based on a bizarre mixture of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, science fiction and the prophecies of Nostradamus. Aum Shinrikyo attempted a series of terrorist acts involving the use of chemical weaponry, before achieving worldwide notoriety in 1995 with the sarin nerve gas attack on Tokyo subways, killing 12 commuters and injuring perhaps as many as several thousand more. Later discovered to be operating a remote ranch in Western Australia, in which various nerve gases were being tested on sheep. The group were also attempting to obtain uranium from abondoned mines in the region. Some have specualted that Aum Shinrikyo even managed to detonate a nuclear device somewhere out in the Australian wilderness. In the wake of the Tokyo attacks, Japanese police discovered the Aum Shinrikyo headquarters, which held a cache of weapons, chemical materials sufficient to create gases for the murder of up to 4 million people, a Russian MIL-Mi-17 military helicopter and biological agents which could be used to spread the Ebola and Anthrax viruses. Reportedly, Aum Shinrikyo agents had made repeated overtures in Russia to obtain materials necessary for the construction of an atomic bomb. The group has also been linked to kidnappings, extortion and the forced induction of members. Various prisoners were discovered in holding cells within the Aum Shinrikyo headquarters. Founder and religious leader Shoko Ashara is currently in a Japanese prison cell awaiting execution, prompting the group to reorganise itself into a new cult known as the Aleph. At its height in 1995, Aum Shinrikyo was reported to have as many as 40,000 members worldwide. Huge popular opposition to the group in Japan, along with close police monitoring of their activities, has perhaps limited the opportunity for further action. Membership is now estimated to be much reduced at around 2,000 devotees.
Bilderberg Group – Once every year, under conditions of the utmost secrecy, the mysterious Bilderberg Group convenes for an unofficial conference. Attendence is via invitation only, with the 130 plus attendees thought to consist of some of the world’s most wealthy, powerful and influential individuals, hailing from the fields of politics, banking and big business. What do they discuss? Well nobody knows for sure. The group releases no information to the public and press coverage is strictly forbidden. In fact, no mainstream media outlet attempts to cover the Bilderberg conferences at all, and indepedent investigators are held at bay by a large and heavily armed security force, with assistance from local police and in some cases, the military. The secrecy of the conferences has given the imaginations of conspiracy theorists free reign, with the most outlandish allegations suggesting that the Bilderbergs are in fact convening to determine the fate of the world. How much truth is behind the theories is obviously very much a debatable point, but there’s little doubt that there is something quite sinister about public officials meeting in privacy with prominent corporate figures while under heavy armed guard in conditions of the utmost secrecy. One of the Bilderberg Group’s founding members and former prominent Member of British Parliament, Denis Healey, has said:
“To say we were striving for a one-world government is exaggerated, but not wholly unfair. Those of us in Bilderberg felt we couldn’t go on forever fighting one another for nothing and killing people and rendering millions homeless. So we felt that a single community throughout the world would be a good thing.”
British comic writer, Charlie Skelton attempted to cover the 2009 Bilderberg conference in Athens for The Guardian. What initially began as a tongue in cheek commentary on the event quickly turned rather sinister as Skelton found himself the object of pursuit and harassment from the Greek authorities. All of which raises the question: just what is it these guys are so desperate to hide?
Christians United for Israel – Founded by arch-conservative fire and brimstone televangelist, John C Hagee, Christians United for Israel is supposedly a grassroots movement dedicated to the support of the state of Israel among Christian Americans. Hagee controls a huge television company, Global Evangelism Television, that broadcasts sermons on 160 TV stations, 50 radio stations and 8 networks across the world, principally in the US. It is thought that Hagee’s sermons can reach a potential audience of 99 million homes per week. The CUFI believe in such things as the necessity of nuclear Armageddon, which will result in true believers ascending to heaven in rapture, while the rest of us perish in a nuclear holocaust. Hagee believes that a nuclear war between Israel, the US and Iran has been foretold in the Bible, and that not only is this event inevitable, but desirable to bring about. The CUIF organisation is far from a lunatic fringe group, and is in fact the focal point for a vast number of pro-Israel lobbies and churches, incorporating a network of possibly millions of American believers. Most disturbingly of all, Hagee maintains strong political links with the present US administration, and has met with former White House deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams for discussions on US foreign policy. Directors of the CUFI have allegedly been invited to lecture at the Pentagon at the behest of former US Secretary of Defence, Dick Cheney. Hagee has also instigated much furore over his vociferous comments regarding homosexuality, Catholics, Nazism and other topics. In the aftermath of the mass devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, Hagee commented:
“The newspaper carried the story in our local area that was not carried nationally that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other Gay Pride parades. So I believe that the judgment of God is a very real thing. I know that there are people who demur from that, but I believe that the Bible teaches that when you violate the law of God, that God brings punishment sometimes before the Day of Judgment. And I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.”
Church of Scientology – Founded on the bizarre musings of pulp science fiction writer, L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology has astonishingly risen to huge world-wide status, incorporating an estimated 15 million members. It is widely considered to be the fastest growing religion in the world. At much the same time, Scientology has become the source of huge controversy, running into various legal conflicts with governments around the world. Much doubt remains whether Scientology could actually be considered a religion at all, with many critics believing it to be a purely profit making enterprise. New members are required to pay fixed “donation” fees in order to undergo a variety of tests, seminars and initiations. In the basic stages of the religion, the fees are generally less than a few hundred dollars, but the personal cost of advancing to higher levels in the organisation is estimated at hundreds of thousands of dollars. Commission fees are paid out to existing members for introducing new recruits, in a fashion similar to a pyramid scheme. A favourite tactic has involved the recruitment of various Hollywood actors and luminaries such as Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirsty Alley and Beck, in a bid to generate publicity and attain credibility. The Church has also been accused of harassing critics, initiating smear campaigns and placing members under extreme emotional duress. In some instances, kidnapping of former members and even cases of murder have been linked with the group, although definitive evidence has proven elusive. In 1979, the Church was embroiled in serious controversy during the events of Operation Snow White, in which Church operatives engaged in wholesale espionage in a bid to purge unfavourable government records on founder L. Ron Hubbard. Tactics involved spying, theft of government documents and covert action against private organisations critical of the Church. The operation was considered to be the single largest infiltration of the US government undertaken in history, exceeding even the activities of the KGB.
CIA – The Central Intelligence Agency of the United States government has never been officially recognised as anything other than an intelligence gathering agency. It’s not a very well kept secret, however, that the CIA’s principle function has always been covert action. The CIA has been widely implicated in a long series of nefarious activity including, but not limited to, drug trafficking, terrorism, the sponsorship of terrorist organisations, sabotage, assassination and arms trading. A particularly favourite operation has been the overthrow of foreign democratic governments with the aim of establishing military juntas, sympathetic to US interests. Other infamous incidents have included the bombing of Cubana passenger flight 455 in 1976, killing all 73 civilians on board, traced back to the CIA via a militant group of anti-Castro Cuban exiles. In recent years there has been much publicity surrounding the CIA’s supposed involvement in the international drug trade. In both the Vietnam War and in Soviet occupied Afghanistan, the CIA is alleged to have organised the smuggling of opium crops to US based drug manufacturers, where it was then processed into heroin and sold domestically. In various operations in Latin America during the eighties, the CIA was said to assist the import of cocaine into the domestic market, where it was processed into highly addictive crack and sold in inner city ghettoes. In each instance, the profits raised from drug trafficking were allegedly used to fund the arming and sponsorship of various guerrilla operations in third world nations. Although the CIA’s actual role in covert activity is said to be much reduced in recent years, the organisation is still widely suspected to be mixed up in all manner of nasty of business in the Middle East.
FSB – The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation is the organisation that displaced the KGB upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The FSB is a government controlled agency supposedly concerned with counter intelligence, counter terrorism and border security. While it probably does fulfill these functions to some degree, it’s widely suspected that the chief purpose of the FSB is rather more sinister. In fact, the FSB occupies the same former headquarters as the KGB and is said to carry on many of the same functions as the notorious secret police. The Russian government, with its increased resort to autocratic methods, is said to rely on the FSB to control interests at home and abroad, with the ultimate aim of eliminating any challenges to the established authority. Recent activities are said to have included coercion of the media, propagation of false information, silencing of dissident voices and even murder. Former FSB security officer, Alexander Litvinenko, was poisoned and killed in his London home in 2006 after publishing a series of books criticising Putin’s government, along with the FSB’s role in staging a series of apartment bombings designed to ease Putin’s ascent to power. Litvinenko’s murderers were widely suspected to be FSB operatives, although no actual link has been proven. The FSB has been strongly linked, however, to the assassination of every elected President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria so far. The agency maintains extremely close ties to the top level of Russian government. Former Russian President and current Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, is himself a former head of the FSB. According to former Russian Duma member Konstantin Borovoi:
“Putin’s appointment is the culmination of the KGB’s crusade for power. This is its finale. Now the KGB runs the country.”
Hezbollah – Initially emerging as a Shi’a resistance movement to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in the early eighties, Hezbollah has evolved to become a virtual state in itself, including a political branch, a paramilitary organisation, seats in the Lebanese government, a radio station, a satellite TV station and the implementation of various programs of social reform. Six nations currently list Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation, although it’s viewed as a legitimate resistance movement and positive force for social change throughout much of the Middle East. Originally formed with the aim of overthrowing Israel’s occupation of Lebanon and establishing an Islamic regime in its place, Hezbollah has since become involved in so many cross alliances and conflicting projects that the original intentions have become somewhat blurred. The group maintain strong links and allegedly receive funding from the Iranian and Syrian governments. Heavily suspected in a steady series of bombings, kidnappings and plots against Israel from the early eighties to the present day. Has engaged in several full-scale armed conflicts with Israel, including the 2006 Lebanon War, which ended in a UN cease fire but was widely regarded as a major success for the organisation, dramatically increasing its power and influence. With a membership possibly numbering in the tens of thousands, ready access to weapons, funding and equipment, and with support from a reported 87% of the Lebanese population, Hezbollah is possibly the largest and most capable insurgency movement in the world today.
Ku Klux Klan – The infamous white robes and conic masks have actually been adopted by a variety of organisations calling themselves the “Ku Klux Klan” over the years, including an estimated 179 splinter groups or “chapters” in the KKK network today. The Klan was initially formed in the mid 19th century, to order to re-establish the supremacy of white Americans during the flood of immigration and freed slaves that followed the American War of Independence. The Klan quickly resorted to violent means, with favourite tactics involving the raid of small townships and villages in the middle of the night, rounding up freed black slaves and either hanging or burning them to death. Although the Klan flourished in its early years, it was eventually forced into suppression due to various government reforms and crackdowns. But the Klan was reformed and rose to prominence again in the early 20th century, in response to renewed waves of immigration in the US. This time the scope of aggression was expanded from blacks and immigrants to include Jews, Catholics and Socialists. Public lynching’s became commonplace in the American south, with a favourite target being black soldiers returning home from World War I. Other activities included the setting alight of black churches and schools. Between 1918 and 1927, a reported 416 African Americans were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan and their affiliates. The organisation had wide support in the US, at its peak including an incredible 6 million members (or 15% of the white adult population in the US at the time). Klansmen included prominent businessmen and politicians and the group were said to control the state governments of Tennessee, Indiana, Oklahoma and Oregon. Changing social values and the popular rejection of the Klan’s extremist methods led to the organisation’s gradual decline, although there have been several revivals throughout the last century. Today, the Ku Klux Klan still registers an estimated 3,000 members over several networked groups, and is itself part of a much larger network of white supremacist movements across the world, including Neo-Nazi skinheads.
Mossad – Initially formed as a Zionist underground movement to establish a Jewish population in Palestine, Mossad was adapted as the intelligence agency of the newly created state of Israel in 1948. Mossad has since performed a similar role for Israel as the CIA does for the Unites States or the M16 for the United Kingdom, involved in counter intelligence, espionage, and especially, covert action. Regarded as one of the best secret service agencies in the world, Mossad reportedly provided the United States with advance intelligence of a major terrorist attack involving multiple targets that would occur in 2001. Particularly notorious actions undertaken by Mossad have involved the “Kidon” branch, established to perform special operations – assassinations in particular. This is the branch portrayed in the Steven Spielberg movie “Munich” – depicting the alleged “Operation Wrath of God” campaign, undertaken to assassinate Islamic militants in the wake of the Munich massacre in 1972. Previous missions had already included the targeted assassination and kidnapping of ex-Nazi party members, hiding out in various locales around the world, especially South America. Mossad operations have repeatedly been carried out in full defiance of international convention and with flagrant disregard for foreign relations. In one notorious example of 1968, Mossad allegedly arranged the hijacking of a German freighter and the theft of its cargo – 200 tons of uranium oxide. The material was said to be indispensable in Israel’s efforts to develop its present nuclear arsenal. Other international incidents provoked by Mossad activity have involved nations as varied as Argentina, Norway and New Zealand.
State Security Department of North Korea – In one of the few genuinely crazy nations existing in the world today, the North Korean State Security Department is the apparatus of control. Said to report directly to the command of Dear Leader Kim Jong Il himself, the department operates as a secret police force, identifying possible sources of dissidence and ruthlessly eliminating them. Part of the department’s network of responsibilities includes management of North Korea’s concentration camp system. In particular, the notorious Camp 22, a complex which is said to cover roughly the same area as Washington DC, and currently holds an estimated 50,000 political prisoners. Although information on North Korean affairs is difficult to obtain, reports of severe human rights abuses in Camp 22 have surfaced, including accounts of chemical experimentation on the inmates. The Security Department also maintains branches dedicated to international espionage. For fanatic dedication to the cause of a mission and outright capability, North Korean secret agents are considered to rank among the best in the world. North Korean operatives are heavily suspected to have achieved deep infiltration in South Korea and Japan, where they seek to sabotage US interests in these nations. There have also been repeated insurgency movements, involving small dispatches of fanatic North Korean troops landing in remote South Korean villages, probably facilitated by the State Security Department. North Korea is also heavily suspected to carry on an active nuclear weapons program, with a major goal of the Security Department being the theft of information on nuclear technology and delivery systems. The possibility of North Korean espionage operatives smuggling a nuclear or chemical weapons device into a vulnerable US coastal city is considered one of the greatest threats to US security.
Xe Services LLC (Blackwater Worldwide) – A private military contractor founded in the late nineties. Over the last decade, Blackwater has become one of the favoured security contractors of the US government. Mercenaries for hire, in other words, although much effort is expended on the part of the company and clients in the US government to deny that fact, given that use of mercenaries in military action is a contravention of international law. Little is known about secretive founder and CEO Erik Prince, although he is said to be a devout Christian, a political conservative and maintains close contacts with various higher-ups in the US government, including George Bush himself. Prince refuses all contact with the media and all Blackwater executives are required to sign confidentiality agreements, forbidding them from talking about their employer. Blackwater has created a state of the art training facility to prepare approximately 40,000 security personnel for action every year, ranging from ex military servicemen and ex policemen to veterans of the secret services and security outlets in a variety of nations. Most controversially, Blackwater is said to employ approximately 60 staff who served in security details under former Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet. Blackwater’s services have been heavily utilised by the US government in the Iraq War. Typical Blackwater missions involve patrolling of occupied territory, escort roles and bodyguard functions. The company has been involved in a series of controversial incidents, most infamously in September 2007, when Blackwater personnel opened fire on a crowd of Iraqi civilians, killing 17 people. Subsequent FBI investigations concluded that the murders were carried out without justifiable cause, although no charges have been pressed. Blackwater have been heavily criticised in some quarters for what is perceived as a virtual paramilitary force available on demand for lucrative contracts. However, perhaps because the legal responsibility of hired “security personnel” in a military conflict is very much a hazy issue, Blackwater remain one of the favourite contractor companies utilised by the US government in combat arenas. Recently rebranded as “Xe” – perhaps to deflect the spate of negative publicity surrounding the company in recent years.