Elites / Organizations

Bilderberg Group. Meeting Participants. June 3-6, 1999 in Portugal.

The name "Bilderberg" came from the group's first meeting place, the Hotel de Bilderberg of Oosterbeek, Holland, in May 1954. Over the next 47 years the secret meetings have included most of the top ruling-class players from Western Europe and America. Until he was implicated in the Lockheed bribery scandal in 1976, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands served as chairman. By now Bilderberg is a symbol of world management by Atlanticist elites. Some observers, particularly those on the Right, feel that it borders on the conspiratorial, while the Left is primarily interested in its implications for what they call "power structure research." The Bilderberg participants from the U.S. are almost always members of the Council on Foreign Relations, and since 1973 Japanese elites have been brought into the fold through a third overlapping group, the Trilateral Commission.

This list of 111 participants from 24 countries was found on the Web. While discussions during the sessions are not reported publicly, the list of participants is usually available. Those attending are always careful to insist that they participate as individuals and not as representatives of their government. Since top leaders of major countries attend, it appears that this is a convenient fiction designed to sidestep public scrutiny.

Domhoff, G.William. The Bohemian Grove and Other Retreats: A Study in Ruling-Class Cohesiveness. New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1975. 116 pages.

While most American sociologists spend their time writing about social stratification and delinquent behavior, there are a handful of scholars who deal seriously with upper-class social and economic power as a phenomenon of contemporary American politics. University of California at Santa Cruz professor G.William Domhoff is one of the more prominent.

The Bohemian Grove is an invitation-only summer camp on 2500 secluded acres 65 miles north of San Francisco, reserved for the richest and most powerful men in America. In 1986 a state appeals court ruled that it cannot refuse to hire women employees. The Grove is owned by the Bohemian Club in San Francisco, virtually all of whose members (Reagan, Bush, Ford, etc.) can be found in Who's Who. Through elaborate stage productions and other entertainment, campers are able to bond with fellow elites. Two other ruling-class watering holes, the Rancheros and the Roundup Riders, are more regional than national in scope but serve the same purpose.

Gill, Stephen. American Hegemony and the Trilateral Commission. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991. 304 pages.

In recent years the guardians of correct thinking on the U.S. left decided that any discussion of transnational elites in connection with high-finance and trade is just another version of those old right-wing conspiracy theories about Jewish bankers. If you suspect that real issues are involved -- particularly now that CFR/Trilateralist/Bilderberger Bill Clinton was slipped into the White House while we weren't looking -- you have to follow the issue by reading right-wing literature.

But there's one progressive scholar who still takes it seriously. Stephen Gill, a professor of political science at York University in Toronto, interviewed 100 of the 325 Trilateral members. Then he applied a thick spread of Gramscian analysis to show that: 1) American power has NOT declined, rather it has just taken on a more internationalist outlook as capital becomes more mobile; 2) transnational capitalists are stronger than ever due to recent political and economic trends as well as the enormous strides in global communications technology; and 3) groups such as the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, and Bilderberg are consciously co-opting the top intellectuals so that internationalism, free trade, and the New World Order become the correct line for political pundits everywhere. It's worth thinking about the next time you are unemployed.

Millegan, Kris, ed. Fleshing Out Skull & Bones: Investigations Into America's Most Powerful Secret Society. Walterville, OR: TrineDay, 2003. 712 pages.

Bonesman John Kerry is running against Bonesman George W. Bush for control of the world -- does this mean anything, or should we write it off as a coincidence? Here is a compilation of articles and chapters from other books, and lists of names and documents, all about that secret Yale society, Skull and Bones. Only 15 are tapped each year on the Yale campus, but it's been happening since 1833. That's enough to send some off to Yale's Sterling Library, to try and figure out who's been running things for the last 100 years. (The membership lists during the last 30 years have not been published, so you can skip the library these days.)

Only six dozen names were plucked out of this book for indexing in NameBase, out of what must be a couple thousand. For one thing, NameBase goes light on pre-World War II history. For another, several chapters are reprints of material already indexed in NameBase. Finally, this work owes its inspiration to Antony Sutton (1925-2002), a conspiracy theorist who was pretty far out. It's the old New World Order thing -- when they aren't secretly funding Nazis, they're busy funding Communists. This big picture is too big for us, which is why we only skimmed this book and plucked out little tidbits here and there.

Perloff, James. The Shadows of Power: The Council on Foreign Relations and the American Decline. Appleton WI: Western Islands, 1988. 264 pages.

This is a John Birch Society publication. In other words, the author takes a worthy notion, supports it with rather good research, and then runs with it for the goalpost on the wrong end of the field. Perloff, who is also a contributing editor for JBS's "The New American," claims to have once been a campus radical, until he realized that leftist students were tools of a very clever Establishment. So far, so good -- a case can be made for this. Perloff makes a stronger case for earlier elitist machinations -- such as those that gave us the Federal Reserve, or that got us into the world wars and Vietnam. But his research starts taking some curious turns in the 1950s -- a decade that started with McCarthy, and ended with the founding of JBS.

The JBS line infects a couple dozen pages in this book, and it can be easily spotted and bracketed, now that the Cold War is over. The weirdness has to do with JBS's theory that CFR elites are really closet communists, and that they are consciously bringing America into decline for the sake of the new world communist order. Oops, fast-forward ten years, when globalism rules while communism is dead. Now it's clear that while communism had its own global ambitions, it was never in cahoots with the globalism practiced by Atlantic elites. If only JBS could find it within themselves to give up the ghost of communism, they might yet have something to contribute.

Roelofs, Joan. Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism. Albany NY: State University of New York Press, 2003. 269 pages.

Few American scholars dare admit that capitalism could not survive without the support of the nonprofit sector. It helps to first get tenure, and then approach the topic very cautiously. Joan Roelofs, a political science professor at Keene State College in New Hampshire, has broken through to the other side. While Karl Marx criticized the role of bourgeois philanthropy only in passing, due to a lack of evidence, Roelofs starts with the robber barons and continues through the twentieth century. That adds up to a hundred years of heavy evidence.

Beginning with the cold war, American philanthropy branched into foreign policy. The Ford Foundation (and to a lesser extent, Rockefeller and Carnegie) worked very closely with the CIA. Ford funded many leftist minority and special-interest groups during the 1960s, but it was all part of the same grand scheme to promote pluralism as an antidote to class consciousness. McGeorge Bundy, an architect of U.S. policy in Vietnam, became president of Ford Foundation in 1966. In his words, his role was "to make the world safe for capitalism." Now it is 2006, and Russia is finally realizing that they've been raped by capitalists using philanthropy as a cover, and are taking steps to stop it. They should re-read their Marx. While they're at it, they might want to pick up this book as well.

Sanders, Jerry W. Peddlers of Crisis: The Committee on the Present Danger and the Politics of Containment. Boston MA: South End Press, 1983. 371 pages.

In April 1982 Ronald Reagan claimed that the Soviet Union had achieved a margin of strategic superiority over the U.S. (not true), and the Pentagon began planning for a protracted nuclear war. Thomas K. Jones, whom Reagan had appointed Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Strategic and Theater Nuclear Forces, told Robert Scheer in 1981 that the U.S. could fully recover from a full-scale war with the Soviets in just two to four years. "Dig a hole, cover it with a couple of doors and then throw three feet of dirt on top.... It's the dirt that does it.... If there are enough shovels to go around, everybody's going to make it."

Thinking like this doesn't emerge spontaneously. The Committee on the Present Danger began in 1950 as a bipartisan collection of U.S. elitists organized to promote containment. In 1976 they reorganized in the wake of the "Vietnam syndrome" to promote a strategic build-up. By the end of his presidency, Carter had lost control of foreign policy and had to go along; the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was merely a convenient excuse for a policy that was already in place. This book lists over 200 members of CPD and gives a one-line description of who they are.

Shoup, Laurence H. and Minter, William. Imperial Brain Trust: The Council on Foreign Relations and U.S. Foreign Policy. New York and London: Monthly Review Press, 1977. 334 pages (includes 23 pages of bibliography).

This is the first scholarly study of the CFR, written during a time when Marxian historical sociology was respectable in U.S. academic circles. It looks like we will have a long wait for the next one.

The Council on Foreign Relations has been the most powerful private organization in U.S. foreign policy since it began in 1921. While priding itself on non-partisanship and on recent efforts to recruit minorities, women, and youth (under 35), CFR's 2900 members mainly reflect the resources needed by the ruling class to maintain their power. Don't call them if you want to join; they call you. And don't wait for a call unless you have big money, national security expertise, CIA experience, a political constituency, or clout with the media. CFR publishes the prestigious journal "Foreign Affairs" as well as a number of books and reports. Another major activity is to organize closed meetings for their members with assorted world leaders. Everyone feels free to share views and information about current world events, primarily because CFR has strict confidentiality rules and keeps its records locked up for 25 years.

Trilateral Commission, 1156 Fifteenth Street NW, Washington DC 20005, Tel: 202-467-5410, Fax: 202-467-5415. Home page: www.trilateral.org

List of Members. January, 2005

No one is quite sure why the Trilateral Commission exists, and less clear about what it does, but critics from the lumpen (non-elite) Right as well as the scholarly Left are certain that it's important. If you feel that the Democrats and Republicans are two wings of the same party, and that someone else is pulling the strings and laughing all the way to the bank, then Trilateralism is your cup of conspiracy tea. When Reagan pointed out on February 7, 1980 that 19 key members of the Carter administration were Trilateralists, George Bush gingerly dropped his membership. And by 1992 some observers were getting curious about Bill Clinton's membership.

The Commission is an alliance of top political and economic leaders from North America, Japan, and Western Europe. Their aim is to manage global interdependence between these Big Three in a way that allows the rich to stay rich -- probably by discouraging protectionism, nationalism, or any response that would pit the elites of one against the elites of another. The anticipated economic pressures will be deflected downward rather than laterally. Trilateralist Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker put it more bluntly: "The standard [of living] of the average American has to decline."

Trilateral Commission, 345 East 46th Street, Ste 711, New York NY 10017. The Trilateral Commission at 25. Francois Sauzey, ed., 1998. 72 pages.

For this piece of puffery from the Trilateral Commission, fifteen members contribute glowing essays and prudent anecdotes, mostly about each other. David Rockefeller recounts how in the spring of 1972, at that year's Bilderberg meeting in Belgium, he suggested that the Japanese be invited to join. Some Bilderbergers balked, so Rockefeller and Zbig Brzezinski started making their own plans. They brought in George Franklin, who had just retired from his directorship at the Council on Foreign Relations.

First CFR, then Bilderberg, and then the Trilateral Commission -- these folks rule the world, and they all seem to know each other. Jimmy Carter appointed 70 men from CFR, and over 20 from TC, which is one-tenth the size. George Bush was a Trilateralist, and so was Bill Clinton. In 1972, the need to co-opt that emerging global player, Japan, was recognized by Rockefeller; his mission is to keep the world safe for concentrated wealth. C. Fred Bergsten, in another essay, confesses as much: "Japan's dazzling economic progress ... reinforced the need to keep Japan firmly in the anti- Communist camp for Cold War purposes." And Miguel Herrero de Minon speaks of the "cardinal goal" of TC as "the incorporation of Japan's most influential elements into the Atlantic oligarchy." (Of course, 363 media professionals who are CFR members [1997 roster] tell us that there's no ruling class!)

Wormser, Rene A. Foundations: Their Power and Influence. Sevierville TN: Covenant House Books, 1993. 412 pages. First published in 1958 by Devin-Adair Company, New York.

In 1952, Congress commissioned the Cox Committee to investigate U.S. foundations. In 1953 it was the Reece Committee, and the author of this book was its general counsel. Wormser concedes that "the emphasis on a search for organized Communist penetration of foundations absorbed much of the energy of the investigators and detracted somewhat from the efficacy of their general inquiry into 'subversion'" (page 177). He is more interested in an emerging "elite" that has control of gigantic financial resources: "An unparalleled amount of power is concentrated increasingly in the hands of an interlocking and self-perpetuating group. Unlike the power of corporate management, it is unchecked by stockholders; unlike the power of government, it is unchecked by the people; unlike the power of churches, it is unchecked by any firmly established canons of value." (page viii)

Forty years later, it's clear that Wormser's concerns over foundations were not misplaced; they still wield enormous political and cultural power. It's also clear that Congress should have worried more about the U.S. secret state than about Communism. The connections between intelligence elites, and the international programs funded by major foundations such as Carnegie, Ford, and Rockefeller, are quite amazing and deserve their own book.

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