The Assassins are a legend in the Muslim world. Part freedom fighters, part special forces and part Islamic fundamentalists, they were set up back in the 11th century in today's Syria around the time of the First Christian Crusade in the Holy Land. They were an elite sect of highly trained killers who often operated behind enemy lines, in deep cover, assassinating military leaders and rulers. Their covert tactics and ruthless operations spread fear and terror across the medieval world. Assassinations were primarily carried out with a dagger, which was sometimes tipped with poison. As their legend and infamy grew they started to carry out their assassinations in public spaces so as to instil terror in their foes. They would often assimilate themselves in the cities, palaces and fortresses of their targets and, over time, stealthily insert themselves into strategic positions. Although many scholars believe that they died out after the Crusades, there are those who say that they simply went 'underground' with reports of their activities in the early 20th century. Certainly, the Assassins have inspired, and possibly given rise to, many of today's Islamic fundamentalist groups, including the Taliban in Afghanistan, Al Qaeda and even ISIS. The training methods, secrecy, ruthlessness and covert operations of all these groups are directly the result of The Assassins.
With its origins in the Samurai culture of 17th century Japan, the Yakusa are one of the most infamous, secret and feared of all Asian secret societies. They call themselves a 'chivalrous organisation', and are notorious for their strict codes of conduct and highly organised structure, with an estimated 100,000 members today. They started as hired security men for local festivals, markets and gambling dens, before slowly growing in power and prestige. Today they are a vast organisation and their leaders, known as Oyabun, maintain strict rules within the ranks. No disloyalty is permitted. Yubitsume, or the cutting off of a finger, is a form of penance or apology. Upon a first offence, the transgressor must cut off the tip of his left little finger and give the severed portion to his boss. Its origin stems from the traditional way of holding a Japanese sword. The removal of digits starting with the little finger moving up the hand to the index finger progressively weakens a person's sword grip. Many Yakusa have full-body tattoos known as Irezumi which are often "hand-poked", that is, the ink is inserted beneath the skin using non-electrical, handmade and hand-held tools with needles of sharpened bamboo or steel. The Yakusa are a very powerful organisation in Japan who's tentacles of influence reach the very highest levels of power. Drawing on their rich Samurai heritage they believe they can operate above and beyond modern laws and government, bringing what they see as a purer form of justice and control to a corrupt country.
Every Easter across France, Spain and much of Europe a secret "confrerie" or "brotherhood" marches in silence through the old medieval streets wearing dark, hooded robes, their faces and identities concealed. So who are they? They are members of a little known and extremely secretive Catholic religious society known as the "The Brotherhoods of the Blood". The organisation can trace its roots back to the middle ages when they were used as part of the bloody Inquisition across Europe. The passionately Roman Catholic groups used to help hunt down, torture and burn "heretics" across Europe, working with the local Dominican Inquisitors. They then marched the accused to their execution wearing the same robes as today. Today, the Brotherhood is a part time calling for its members, but when called to do so, they still work with the local Bishops and Cardinals to do the Catholic church's work across Europe, much of which is done behind closed doors. This includes investigations, recruitment, finances and enforcement of Rome's edicts and punishments.
Hitler and the key officers of the Nazi High Command were all members of three main secret societies which had a strong belief in the occult; the Vril Society, the Thule society and the Ahnenerbe. The Vril Society was based on a novel written in 1871 by Edward Bulwer-Lytton called The Power of the Coming Race which talks of a superior subterranean master race and the energy-form called "Vril" which powers UFO's from hidden bases beneath the arctic ice. It sounds crazy but Hitler, Himmler and other leading Nazis took it very seriously. The Thule Society was named after a mythical northern country from Greek legend which was the origins of the "Aryan Race", also thought to have been the mythical Atlantis. It had about 2000 members, insisting on intense loyalty and secrecy, as well pure white blood, "untainted" by any other race, or colour. This belief in the Aryan race and its connection to Atlantis led to the foundation of the Ahnenerbe by Heinrich Himmler to research the archaeological and racial heritage of the Aryan race. It conducted experiments and launched expeditions in an attempt to find the lost city of Atlantis, and prove that mythological Aryan populations had once ruled the world. Although the Vril and Thule societies, as well as the Ahnenerbe were officially disbanded at the end of World War ll, there are reports that they continued for many decades afterwards through surviving Nazi officers in Europe, America and South America. Today, it's believed that several Neo-Nazi groups made up of descendants of former German soldiers, politicians and new, younger recruits, keep the flame alive, with regular meetings, and the same beliefs.
We learn about the history and origins of the Priory back in Jerusalem in the 12th century, and its connections to the Knights Templar. We learn about its history down through the centuries, including its Grand Masters like Leonardo Da Vinci, Sir Isaac Newton, Sandro Botticelli and Jean Cocteau. We learn about the release of the infamous 'Dossiers Secrets' in the 1960s in the Paris National Library, as well the Order's then grand master, Pierre Plantard, agreeing to an interview with the BBC. We learn about the Order's structure today, as well as who its members currently are. We also learn about the 'irrefutable' evidence it is said to protect that challenges accepted church doctrine, as well as what it is and where it might be hidden. We learn where, and how, the Order operates today, and how it is still releasing information, and its connection to, and relationship with, the Freemasons.
The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) - or just the 'Klan'- first played a violent role against African Americans in the South during the Reconstruction Era of the 1860s. Members made their own white costumes: robes, masks, and conical hats, designed to be outlandish and terrifying, and to hide their identities. They became infamous for their parades with large burning crosses, and the lynching and hanging of their victims. Today, many sources classify the Klan as a subversive or terrorist organisation. In April 1997, FBI agents arrested four members of the True Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Dallas for conspiracy to commit robbery and to blow up a natural gas processing plant. In 1999, the city council of Charleston, South Carolina passed a resolution declaring the Klan to be a terrorist organisation. It is estimated to have around 150 Klan "chapters" with between 5000 and 8000 members.
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