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Oh, look, they made another Dan Brown movie at some point. Angels & Demons deals with the deep dark secret organization, The Illuminati, and their attempts to control the world, which means you're probably going to be hearing a lot about that in the next few months on certain, paranoid websites.

Yes, wide-ranging conspiracy theories aren't limited to pulp novels reenacted by a terrible Tom Hanks haircut. YouTube and Digg comments and countless blogs are full of people ranting about the secret elite who are out to enslave all of us.

They have a lot of reasons for believing the following groups are the guilty parties behind everything wrong with the world, and most of those reasons are very, very retarded.

5
The Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg Conference

"We know you are ruthless. We know you are evil. We respect your dark power."

-Radio talk show host Alex Jones, shouting into a bullhorn outside a Bilderberg meeting.

Who Are They?

You'll hear both of these come up during any hour of conspiracy talk radio. These are two separate, private groups of powerful men (some of them probably Jews!) who like to meet and talk about the state of the world, kind of like how guys will gather at the bar and talk about what the Yankees should do with their pitching rotation.

The Trilateral Commission is a club consisting of a few hundred rich guys from around the world, started by David Rockefeller in the early 70s in order to "foster closer relations" between America, Europe and Japan. And to bone hot ladies from distant lands. Probably.

The Bilderberg Conference or "Bilderbergers" are a different group of influential guys from America and Europe who meet once a year in fancy hotels, and they've been doing it since 1954. There are a little more than 100 members and prominent politicians are known to have shown up at their meetings. By the way, they're called "Bilderbergers" because "Bilderberg" was the name of the first hotel where they met. So a small change in plans could have led them to being called the Best Westerners.


Look at these guys, they're awesome. We'd totally let them rule the world.

Who Thinks They Control the World?

Former Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater believed the Trilateral Commission was planning something nefarious, and so does the John Birch Society. There have been books written on the subject, as well as articles in several magazines, including U.S. News and World Report and Penthouse, where paragraph after paragraph on this dark organization rubbed up against some huge, fake titties.

Meanwhile, Daniel Estulin's book on the Bilderberg group is currently number one on Amazon's bestselling conspiracy theory book list.

Why People Believe It:

The Trilateral Commission first appeared on the conspiracy community's radar in 1976, when freshly elected Trilateralist Jimmy Carter filled his cabinet with 26 other members of the organization. Since then, every single administration has had Trilateralists in some of its highest positions.

The Bilderbergers are more secretive about their meetings, so in their case the paranoid are simply filling in the information void. If they won't tell us why they're meeting, they must be orchestrating a worldwide takeover, right?

Why it's Retarded:

The underlying claim behind both is that these groups of wealthy men have been working to create the infamous One-World Government that you'll see pop up in most of these conspiracy theories. They want a totalitarian regime that will enslave all of mankind, all at once.

Of course these guys have had decades to establish their plan, but instead they apparently opted for plan B, One-World Clusterfuck. Europe hates America; the Middle East is more fucked than a German whore on coupon day; all China cares about is exporting delicious lead paint; and North Korea is still run by that crazy fucker with the big granny glasses. It's almost as if the result of their "one-world government" conspiracy looks exactly like the random chaos of geopolitical events we've seen for the last few thousand years.


"We've got them right where we want them."

Don't get us wrong; we suspect both of these groups would like to rule the world (so would we, in fact). But in the grand scheme of political and economic power worldwide, a few hundred important guys basically amount to a fart at a Motorhead concert. It's too much to assume that even within the groups that there is agreement about what the Master Plan should look like, since they're made up of people from different countries, political parties and competing corporations.

But what conspiracy buffs are doing is taking any world event and retroactively declaring it to all be part of the Secret Plan. Economy booming? Of course, that's part of the secret plan to make the corporations control all wealth. Economy collapsing? Of course, that's part of the secret plan to destroy capitalism.

If it rains, it's because the Trilateralists want a flood. If it doesn't, it's because they want drought. And both are held up as proof after the fact, so as far as they're concerned, they've got proof out the ass.

4
The U.N.

"The antichrist will do these ten things when he comes to power. One, he will bring a one-world government. He's doing that now, at the United Nations."

-John Hagee

Who Are They?

The heads of all the major nations of the world gather to write resolutions demanding one thing or other, that are promptly ignored.

Who Thinks They Control the World?

Ah, here's our second reference to a "one-world government."

Welcome to the fucktarded world of Apocalyptic Christianity. There is a whole layer of society that wakes up every morning and thinks, "I bet God's going to end the world today!" Then they read the newspaper and interpret absolutely every headline, from "Earthquake in Iran" to "Hugh Jackman to Host Oscars" as evidence the prophecy is coming true.

The madly successful Left Behind book series depict a post-apocalyptic "end times" world that millions of Americans fully believe is coming within their lifetime and in those books, the Antichrist is, you guessed it, the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Why People Believe It:

Well, if your religion teaches that a one-world government will spell doom for mankind (a subject that the Bible actually mentions not at all) well, hell, here's a place where all of the leaders of the world gather to talk about stuff! That's practically a one-world government right there!

After all, the U.N. stops countries from going to war, sucks up money from powerful nations and controls massive amounts of our precious wealth in the form of the International Monetary Fund!

Why It's Retarded:

Actually, it does none of that.

It tries to, yes, but it fails miserably. The U.N. voted against the war in Iraq, but the U.S. went ahead and did it anyway. The U.N. tried to get countries to interfere in Darfur. They didn't. And with the I.M.F.'s budget cuts, it's not hard to see how it hasn't shattered the hinges off of every vault in Switzerland with all its wealth. Honestly, if an organization couldn't even force the tiny republic of Mauritania to make slavery illegal until 2007, it's not in control of the world.

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3
The Council on Foreign Relations

"The Bushes and Clintons, The Neo-Cons, Republicans, Democrats, Communist and the Socialist all sit at the same Round Table. The Council of Foreign Relations. Another term for treason!"

-YouTube video.

Who Are They?

After World War I, a group of about 150 scholars were hired to advise the president about how to navigate a chaotic, post-war world. They never stopped doing that, and for about 90 years they've worked as a private "think tank" that "advises" the government on foreign policy. And steals babies.

Who Thinks They Control the World?

Historian Carroll Quigley's 1,350-page, unfootnoted 1966 brain fart, Tragedy & Hope, mentioned the little-known think tank, saying it would do anything to further its agenda of globalization. Conspiracy nuts took that ball and ran with it, and now there are bestselling books and endless YouTube videos blowing the lid off their horrifying plans for mankind.


And Angelina Jolie will speak unto them, as it was prophesied in Wanted!

Why People Believe It:

There's no question, the CFR is a very influential group. The Council was singlehandedly responsible for Nixon's diplomatic relations with Communist China, as they were the ones who pressed the idea that reaching out to China wouldn't be political suicide.

Toss in secrecy clauses, the slew of members in high-ranking political posts and it's only a matter of time before we get a group photo of the whole council on holiday in Hell itself.

Why It's Retarded:

The Council on Foreign Relations is basically the idiot at work who blurts out every retarded idea that goes through his head, even though 95 percent of his suggestions get shot down for being completely fucking stupid and the other five percent the company was probably going to do anyway.

In the late 1950s, the Council tried to convince Congress to work with the Communist North Vietnamese to prevent the Vietnam war, and Congress told them to suck it. The Council has been advocating everything from nuclear non-proliferation to merging the U.S., Canada and Mexico to ending the war on terror.

Notice how the U.S. Government has done none of those things. That's the thing, they are influential in that Washington pays attention to them, but nothing makes any of the CFR's demands binding. The government can take the advice or leave it and it mostly does the latter.

It turns out it's kind of hard to secretly run the world via a series of wordy suggestions.

2
The Illuminati and/or Freemasons

"Is the Illuminati real? The answer is yes. Is AIDS man-made? I think you can guess."

-This informative rap video

Who Are They?

We've arrived at basically the master conspiracy theory that overrides them all. The Illuminati is an ill-defined group of, well, every single prominent person in the world, from Barack Obama to Tony Hawk.

What does this have to do with Freemasons? After all, isn't that just like a Rotary Club made up of old people who do charity stuff? Well, yes, but lots and lots of prominent people have been members, including most of the Founding Fathers. And, again, they meet in secret. So who knows what depravity goes on in their dark chambers?

These days the mythology behind both groups overlaps to the point that they are often referred to as being one and the same. That's why when conspiracy types talk about that one-eyed pyramid on the dollar bill, some will refer to it as a secret Freemason symbol and others as a secret Illuminati symbol, depending on which they think sounds more ominous.

Who Thinks They Control the World?

This is kind of the umbrella that all the above theories fell under. The CFR, Bildebergers, all are ultimately just tools of the Illuminati. Go to any sites spouting theories about the above and search for the word "Illuminati." You'll usually find it in there somewhere.

Why People Believe It:

The historical Illuminati (yes, there was an actual organization called that) was an 18th Century group of Bavarian humanists and free thinkers, basically the 18th Century's version of pothead college professors. In 1777, they were banned for totally being too real, man, after which nobody really knows what happened.

The modern-day fascination with the Illuminati is mainly due to a trilogy of books by pair of Playboy Editors called Illuminatus and then Mr. Dan "Da Vinci Code" Brown started casting them as the villains in his novels.

As for the Freemasons, well, 14 American presidents were said to have been Freemasons, and there are claims that signs of the Freemasons were "left" across Washington D.C.


Oh, God! Someone took a geometric urban street grid and managed to find 14 interconnecting lines! WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED?

Why It's Retarded:

First, all of those books we mentioned above, including Illuminatus, are fiction.

But more importantly, this seems to be the ultimate product of the paranoid mind, in that depending on who you talk to, the Illuminati includes everyone. Not just governments and corporations, but also Hollywood.

So every single ideological difference you think there is between political parties, competing companies and even the makers of your favorite TV shows, is fake. In reality, they all meet behind the scenes, with perfect secrecy, with perfect cooperation, to control everything. They're having round-table meetings in the penthouses of five-star hotels where they decide that America needs a terrorist attack this year while using their sinister connections to implant secret messages into Hannah Montana songs.

The interesting thing here is that cumulatively, they're talking about groups--politicians, bankers, big media--that do control the world. But they control it in the sense that a group of squirrels can "control" how that meatloaf they found the trash gets eaten. It'll get eaten, all right, but the organization is what's lacking.

And yet, this is still not the most retarded conspiracy theory out there...

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1
Lizard People

"SINCE I BEGAN TALKING ABOUT THE REPTILIAN CONNECTION, THE OPPOSITION HAS BEEN INCREASED SUBSTANTIALLY. WHY? IF I AND THE ENDLESS PEOPLE ANCIENT AND MODERN WHO HAVE SEEN THE SHAPE-SHIFTERS ARE SO MISGUIDED, WHY HAS THE OPPOSITION INCREASED SO MUCH SINCE THE BIGGEST SECRET WAS PUBLISHED AND NOT THE OPPOSITE?"

-David Icke

Who Are They?

People. Who are lizards.

You can't tell, though, because they're also shape-shifters.

Who Thinks They Control the World?

Meet David Icke. He is a fucking loon.

A former football player and sports announcer, David Icke became shithouse rat insane in 1994. For most of that decade he was lost in the crowd, talking about a group of "Global Elite" secretly controlling the world (by which he usually meant "the Jews"). Then one day in 1999, he published a book that revealed the greatest secret in human history: We're all secretly being controlled by alien lizards from the constellation Draco.

In case his word isn't enough, Icke offers up a convoluted theory about how the elite families in America and Europe interbreed not because of snobbery, but so they can preserve their alien lizard DNA. The British royal family, the Bushes, the Kennedys, the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers are all part of this alien collective. Never mind the fact that Joe Kennedy, Sr. was just some middle-class Irish guy before he built himself up via stock market scams and, possibly, bootlegging. And we don't know how he's going to integrate the horribly impoverished Kenyan Obama bloodline into that theory. Probably some drunken lizard uncle who went slumming for a spell.


ARE YOU STILL NOT CONVINCED!?!

Oh, and did we mention that lots of people agree with him?

Icke spends most of his time writing and traveling across the world giving crazy talks that draw surprisingly large crowds. Especially in Canada. We like to think that most of his "followers" just love him ironically, like Ed Wood fans, but unfortunately there's no way to tell.

Why People Believe It:

Icke basically took the concept of the Illuminati in his hand and fisted it deep into the bowels of crazy land. The element of V-style shape-shifting aliens adds a cool layer of sci-fi to the whole thing that's hard to resist.

These days, fans of the theory have dug up thousands of photos that claim to have caught world leaders dropping their disguise, from photos of George Bush, Sr. with reptilian slit pupils:

... to this video of George W. Bush accidentally displaying his serpent tongue, to TV reporters accidentally revealing reptilian dual eyelids.

Why It's Retarded:

Because it's too awesome to be true, damnit.

To see the people who did rule the world from the shadows, check out 6 People Who Secretly Ruled The World. Or find out about some nuthouse crazy theories that were actually true, in 7 Insane Conspiracies That Actually Happened.

And stop by Cracked.com's Top Picks to see the secret organizations that own the Internet.

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