Secrecy secret

All states maintain secret services. To the extent that these make decisions, plans and pursue activities which are not controlled by the legal authorities they should be considered as the real government.

Because they are secret it is difficult to know how far this is a realistic view.

There some reasons to believe that in Italy and Europe as a whole a network of secret services - Gladio - ostensibly created to maintain a resistance in the event of invasion by a communist power, conducted operations against the legal authorities. Were they supported by the United States which paid for them? Probably. Could they be regarded as the effective arm of an American Empire? That's a matter for dispute.

In several Central American states it is clear that the army and its associated secret services run the government.

Are modern industrial states actually run by their secret services? In favor: such activities as the illegal activities of US officials in supplying arms to Iran and money to the anti-government rebels in Nicaragua and Iraq during the first Gulf War.

Against: there is the suspicion that belief in a secret state is sometimes caused by mental illness. The joke is "being paranoiac doesn't mean they aren't out to get you". But the "Militia" movement in the US looks like mass delusion.

In Britain so much of government activity is secret that some wonder whether the democratic part of the constitution is more than decoration. What are the limits of democratic action?

Secret Societies
Many secret societies exercise political influence. How much? It's hard to measure because the members like to be secret. In pre-democratic states the Freemasons, were accused throughout Europe of being revolutionaries, and probably were. Are they now? Probably not. Do they assist corruption in local government? It's hard to prove or disprove. Fascists seem to believe there is a worldwide conspiracy of Masons and Jews. This is no doubt a paranoid fantasy (the author is neither).

In Northern Ireland the Orange Order used to control the government but is probably less influential now. In South Africa the Afrikaner Broederbond was very influential but has probably lost its power, after it split and elections were called. In Sierra Leone the Poro society is reputed to be very influential, and similar societies in other parts of West Africa.

In Spain during the Franco period Opus Dei is believed to have been very influential, and may still be in some Catholic countries. As it is answerable only to the Pope (not to local Catholic authorities) it is suspected of sinister aims and methods.

In the USSR the KGB was probably the real government, and the only agency which knew what was going on. Did it promote Putin? Is it still functioning behind the face of the new government? Who knows? The Nomenklatura is still ruling.

Last revised 6/06/08


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