Shadow government (conspiracy theory)

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The shadow government (cryptocracy, secret government, or invisible government) is a family of conspiracy theories based on the notion that real and actual political power resides not with publicly elected representatives but with private individuals who are exercising power behind the scenes, beyond the scrutiny of democratic institutions. According to this belief, the official elected government is subservient to the shadow government, which is the true executive power.

Some of the groups proposed by these theories as constituting the shadow government include central banks, Freemasons, intelligence agencies, think tanks, organized Jewry, the Vatican, Jesuits, or Catholics in general, as well as secret societies, moneyed interests, and globalist elites and supranational organizations who seek to manipulate policy in their own interest or in order to serve a larger agenda that is hidden from the general public.


Literature on the subject postulates the existence of a secret government which is the true power behind the apparent government. Examples of such literature include works by Dan Smoot, William Guy Carr, Jim Marrs, Carroll Quigley, Gary Allen, Alex Jones, Des Griffin, G. Edward Griffin, David Icke, and Michael A. Hoffman II. Some of these authors believe members of the secret government may represent or be agents for groups such as the Council on Foreign Relations, United Nations, the Royal Institute for International Affairs, Tavistock Institute, the Trilateral Commission, the Club of Rome, the Bilderberg Group, the World Health Organization, George Soros, and the Koch Brothers, in co-operation with international banks and financial institutions such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the Bank for International Settlements.[1][2][3] Also popularizing the idea was the hit US television show, The X-Files.[citation needed]

Milton William Cooper claimed that the shadow government was in cooperation with extraterrestrial aliens. His 1991 book Behold a Pale Horse,[4][5] influential among "UFO and militia circles",[6] describes "the doings of the secret world government" and "a variety of other covert activities associated with the Illuminati's declaration of war upon the people of America".[7] Cooper claimed to have seen secret documents while in the Navy describing governmental dealings with aliens. Cooper linked the Illuminati with his beliefs that extraterrestrials were secretly involved with the US government, but later retracted these claims. He accused Dwight D. Eisenhower of negotiating a treaty with extraterrestrials in 1954, then establishing an inner circle of Illuminati to manage relations with them and keep their presence a secret from the general public. Cooper believed that aliens "manipulated and/or ruled the human race through various secret societies, religions, magic, witchcraft, and the occult", and that even the Illuminati were unknowingly being manipulated by them.[4]

Cooper described the Illuminati as a secret international organization, controlled by the Bilderberg Group, that conspired with the Knights of Columbus, Masons, Skull and Bones, and other organizations. Its ultimate goal, he said, was the establishment of a New World Order. According to Cooper the Illuminati conspirators not only invented alien threats for their own gain, but actively conspired with extraterrestrials to take over the world.[4] Cooper believed that James Forrestal's fatal fall from a window on the sixteenth floor of Bethesda Hospital was connected to the alleged secret committee Majestic-12, and that JASON advisory group scientists reported to an elite group of Trilateral Commission and Council on Foreign Relations executive committee members who were high-ranking members of the Illuminati.[8][9]


"The real menace of our Republic is the invisible government, which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy legs over our cities, states and nation."—John Hylan, Mayor of New York City, 1922[citation needed]

"Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it." - President Woodrow Wilson, "The New Freedom : A Call For the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People" (p. 13), 1913.

"Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people."—From the Platform of President Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive ("Bull Moose") Party.[10]

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of."—Edward Bernays, the "father of public relations", writing in his influential 1928 book Propaganda.[11]

"But quite frankly there is an outside source which we refer to as the 'deep state' or the 'shadow government'. There is a lot of influence by people which are actually more powerful than our government itself, our president,"— Ron Paul, former U.S. Representative, November 2016 (following Donald Trump presidential election win).[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chatham House (RIIA) and the CFR, its US sister organization, are the focus of Quigley's The Anglo-American Establishment.
  2. ^ The CFR as a central institution of the secret government of the United States is the focus of James Perloff's book The Shadows of Power
  3. ^ Jim Marrs cites all the institutions listed in this paragraph in his study Rule By Secrecy, published by Harper Collins.
  4. ^ a b c Michael Barkun (4 May 2006). A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America. University of California Press. pp. 60–. ISBN 978-0-520-24812-0. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
  5. ^ Carroll, Robert Todd (2003). "Illuminati". The Skeptic's Dictionary: A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p. 175. ISBN 9781118045633. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
  6. ^ Nattrass, Nicoli (2012). The AIDS Conspiracy: Science Fights Back. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 4, 23–27. ISBN 9780231149129. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
  7. ^ Gilroy, Paul (2000). "Planetary Humanism". Against Race: Imagining Political Culture Beyond the Color Line. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. pp. 352–353. ISBN 9780674000964. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
  8. ^ Richard Allen Landes (4 August 2011). Heaven on Earth: The Varieties of the Millennial Experience. Oxford University Press. pp. 418–. ISBN 978-0-19-975359-8. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  9. ^ Arthur Goldwag (11 August 2009). Cults, Conspiracies, and Secret Societies: The Straight Scoop on Freemasons, the Illuminati, Skull and Bones, Black Helicopters, the New World Order, and Many, Many More. Random House Digital, Inc. ISBN 978-0-307-39067-7. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  10. ^ Roosevelt, Theodore (2014). Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography. Auckland, New Zealand: The Floating Press. ISBN 978-1-77653-337-4.
  11. ^ Edward Bernays. Propaganda. (Routledge, 1928), 9.