A Conspiracy Theorist's Tour of D.C.
Guests at this year's GAC are invited to take the “Crimes, Spies and Law Enforcement” tour on Feb. 24 at the Drug Enforcement Administration Museum, the International Spy Museum, and the new Crime and Punishment Museum.
But D.C. also has another “dark side” to explore.
As the epicenter of conspiracy theories, the nation's capital is filled with sights that some say would be better kept secret.
Skeptics and believers, join us as we take a stroll down Conspiracy Lane, home to some of the most powerful – and sometimes secretive – organizations in the world.
Since you’re in the credit union industry, and already feel like the feds are watching everything you do, you’ll feel right at home in our first stop at a government agency that has recently become a household name.
As you enter the National Security Agency headquarters, located north of D.C. in Fort Meade, Md., it might feel a bit like you’re stepping into the pages of George Orwell's futuristic novel “1984,” which introduced the concept of “Big Brother” and the “Thought Police.”
Please mute your cell phones, but don't turn them off because the GPS tracking device inside is a rather handy tool for the NSA. According to recent reports, the NSA employs more than 30,000 fellow Americans to protect our national security by monitoring millions of telephone calls, intercepting Internet communications and tracking the locations of cell phones.
Watchdog groups and conspiracists are complaining that our government may be listening to, watching, recording and analyzing almost everything we say and do. Perhaps that is because most people don't deal daily with the NCUA, FDIC and other federal regulators.
Read more: NSA Headquarters ...
The NSA headquarters in Fort Meade might be a good place to visit if you like being watched.
Monitoring everything may seem like nothing new to most folks in the credit union business.
Our next destination is the bastion of U.S. banking. The Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve Board Building, located at 20th Street and Constitution Avenue, houses the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
Some conspiracy theorists claim that the Federal Reserve, known simply as the Fed, is at the heart of an evil empire that controls and manipulates governments, industry and media organizations around the globe, but that seems a bit harsh to others.
According to popular conspiracy theories, the primary tool used to dominate nations is the system of central banking. Fortunately, there don't appear to be any references to credit unions among mainstream conspiracy plots.
With all that bad publicity for big banks, it's a good thing that the mission of credit unions is to be “community-oriented” and “serve people, not profit.”
Read more: International Monetary Fund ...
The IMF describes itself as “an organization of 188 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.”
It's the organization at the very core of modern conspiracy theories that the world is being run by the Illuminati, a secretive group seeking to institute a “New World Order” that abolishes individual countries, economies and governments.
In the 2008 book “Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making,” author and political scientist David Rothkopf contends that the world's population of 7 billion is governed by an elite super class of 6,000 people.
Read more: The House of the Temple ...
The House of the Temple is a landmark and headquarters of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry and has regular tour hours.
Not to worry, worldwide there are over 40,000 credit unions in 80 countries and new members joining every day. Take that, Illuminati!
Speaking of secretive groups, we now move on to the House of the Temple at 1733 16th Street NW.
Completed in 1915, the majestic building looks like something out “The Da Vinci Code” or another Dan Brown thriller. It was modeled after the Mausoleum of Maussollos, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and its 17-ton guardian Sphinxes - named Wisdom and Power - were sculpted by the artist who later designed the Mercury dime.
But it's what inside that sparks the imagination of conspiracy theorists.
The temple is the museum, library and clubhouse of the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, also known as Freemasons or Masons. The fraternal organization traces its origins to the 14th Century and touts that 14 U.S. presidents have been members, according to the Scottish Rite website.
Here's another fun fact from their site: All Shriners are Masons, but not all Masons are Shriners.
Read more: International Spy Museum ...
A James Bond exhibit with this intriguing title is a highlight at the International Spy Museum.
Like Shriners, Masons are known for wearing archaic accessories, flashing mysterious hand signs, performing secret initiation rituals and building imposing buildings
Although the public can't enter some Masonic lodges without being the guest of a member, the general public is welcome to tour the House of the Temple during specific hours. Tours are not offered on weekends.
The building is overseen by the governing body of Freemasonry, which is described on their site as: “The Supreme Council (Mother Council of the World) of the Inspectors General Knights Commander of the House of the Temple of Solomon of the Thirty-third degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America.”
Whew, their description is longer than a commercial bank's contract for a new checking account.
Unite, credit union leaders! Save the world from secrecy, elitism and global domination!