It’s June, and you know what that means — Bilderberg season!
Every year around this time, a selection of national and corporate leaders (and some of their biggest fans) get together for a no-holds-barred talk about running the world (and, some fear, running us). Among the participants at the 2015 Bilderberg conference in Austria:
- Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg
- Eric Schmidt (of Google fame)
- Henry Kissinger (of “war criminal” fame)
- Ben van Beurden, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell
- BlackRock VC Philipp Hildebrand
…and public officials from a number of countries, including the US, UK, France, and Turkey.
It’s called Bilderberg because its first meeting was at the Hotel de Bilderberg in the Netherlands. And for years now, conspiracy theorists have speculated that the 150 (or so) attendees of the meeting are the real, secret rulers of the world.
(While Bilderberg is definitely a key conspiracy meme, there are also level-headed journalists out there that have examined the event, and whose work is worth checking out. This includes Jon Ronson, who has a chapter in his book Them devoted to the Bilderberg Group on his website, and Charlie Skelton, who is currently on the scene in Austria, where he’s updating his BilderBlog daily. And just this morning, Mark Ames at PandoDaily gave us a report on the Silicon Valley contingent that made the trip this year.)
Without belaboring the history of the annual meeting (because, who cares?) the thing is an opportunity for representatives of various countries in North America and Europe to discuss the issues of the day. This year, topics including cybersecurity and the American elections are on the table. Of course, the attendees deserve close scrutiny; but they always deserve close scrutiny, whether they all go on vacation together or not.
On Conspiracy Planet, the foremost expert on the Bilderberg Group is Daniel Estulin, author of The True Story of the Bilderberg Group. As is often the case, Estulin is not an expert that wrote a book. Rather, he’s considered an expert because he wrote a book. It’s presented as part investigative journalism / part spy thriller, but in reality it is little more than a summary of longtime “conspiracy classics” like The Committee of 300 by John Coleman (which posits that a secret committee of British aristocrats rule the world, and started The Beatles) and articles from Lyndon LaRouche’s Executive Intelligence Review.
One fun outtake from Estulin’s book, picked at random: “One Bilderberg objective is to de-industrialize the world by suppressing all scientific development, starting with the United States. Especially targeted are the [nuclear] fusion experiments as a future source of energy for peaceful purposes.”
I suppose that’s why Peter Thiel and no less than three representatives from Google are in attendance as I write this: to kill innovation.
Of course, all that isn’t to say that the Bilderberg meetings aren’t a vile affair. Perhaps the character of the annual event is best exemplified by Bilderberg’s (92 year old) golden boy, Henry Kissinger. While most participants can hope to attend the meeting once or twice in their lifetime, Henry Kissinger has appeared every year since 2010 — and he was a regular guest in the 1970s as well. In fact, Kissinger has been attending since at least 1957, when he was at Harvard.
His appearances in the 1970s coincided with his stint as Secretary of State. This was after he had conjured up the secret war on Cambodia with Richard Nixon, running B-52 bombing raids over the country and lying to the press, Congress, and the American people in the process.
Secret wars, like secret meetings and backroom dealings, are Kissinger’s style. He reached the White House not through public service, but through a life of service to the establishment, beginning with Army intelligence at the end of World War II.
Kissinger was an Army private in his early twenties when he found himself assigned to run the city of Krefeld, located northwest of Dusseldorf (on account of the fact that he could speak German). The Army saw that he had talent as a de facto dictator, so it promoted him to sergeant and reassigned him to the Army Counterintelligence Corps. From Krefeld, he was sent to run the town of Bensheim and the Bergstrasse County.
“Kissinger seized a well-appointed villa outside Bensheim and a fancy Mercedes car for his tours around the area, further contributing to his image as an imperial figure. Stories of his affairs with German women and his lavish dinner parties quick began to swirl. Jerry Bechhofer, an Army officer who visited Kissinger at the time, recounts: ‘he really enjoyed the trappings of authority.’” (Jeremi Suri, Henry Kissinger and the American Century)
After the war, Kissinger was assigned to the 970th CIC attachment, a unit that was involved in recruiting ex-Nazi intelligence officers for the Cold War against the Soviet Union.
“After entering Harvard as an undergraduate in 1947, at age twenty-four, he retained his ties, as a reserve officer, to military intelligence. By 1950, he was a graduate student and was working part time for the Defense Department—one of the first at Harvard to begin regular shuttles to Washington—as a consultant to its Operations Research Office. That unit, under the direct control of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, conducted highly classified studies on such topics as the utilization of former German operatives and Nazi partisan supporters in CIA clandestine activities. In 1952, Kissinger was named a consultant to the the director of the Psychological Strategy Board, an operating arm of the National Security Council for covert psychological and paramilitary operations. In 1954, President Eisenhower appointed Nelson Rockefeller his Special Assistant for Cold War Planning, a position that involved the monitoring and approval of CIA operations. These were the days of CIA successes in Iran, where the Shah was installed on the throne, and in Guatemala, where the government of Jacobo Arbenz, considered anti-American and antibusiness, was overthrown. In 1955, Kissinger, already known to insiders for his closeness to Rockefeller and Rockefeller’s reliance on him, was named a consultant to the NSC’s Operations Coordinating Board, which was then the highest policy-making board for implementing clandestine operations against foreign governments.” (Seymour M. Hersh The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House)
Of course, this was all merely prelude to Kissinger’s war crimes as National Security Adviser and Secretary of State under Nixon and Ford. And it certainly lends credence to the claim (made by Christopher Hitchens, among many others) that Kissinger was the “back channel” in Nixon’s 1968 scheme to sabotage the Paris Peace Accords, delaying the end of the war by four years and costing 20,000 American lives (and untold Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Laotian lives).
Kissinger’s tenure saw the United States government involved in any manner of affronts to its supposed democratic ideals, including its support of the Pinochet regime in Chile and the government of Turkey during its invasion of Cyprus. Pinochet would eventually be responsible for up to 3,200 civilian deaths, 80,000 internments, and something like 30,000 tortured, while the 1974 invasion of Cyprus would result in the “deliberate killing of civilians, in the execution of prisoners, in the torture and ill-treatment of detainees, in the arbitrary collective punishment and mass detention of civilians, and in systematic, unpunished acts of rape, torture, and looting” (according to a European Commission of Human Rights report from 1976).
These items only scratch the surface of the foreign policy that Kissinger presided over in the 1970s, and they only hint at what the governments represented at Bilderberg are capable of. It makes you wonder why the meeting itself is such a favored topic of conspiracy theorists — and what the same conspiracy theorists are obsessed with the other 360-odd days a year.
Besides Jade Helm, that is.