Secret Societies News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on secret societies
It's the world's most well-known secret society. Rich with symbols and ritual, it's the source of legends ... parodies ... and conspiracy theories. Welcome to the world of Freemasonry. Freemasons laid the cornerstone of America [or] at least some of its most iconic structures, like the National Cathedral in Washington and the Statue of Liberty. So what is Freemasonry? It's the world's oldest and largest fraternity. Its membership is a Who's Who of world history -- George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill, Mozart, Davy Crockett, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Houdini, Gerald Ford, Henry Ford, John Wayne, even Colonel Sanders. Freemasonry began in medieval Europe as a guild for stonemasons. The first grand lodge was created in London in 1717. It wasn't long afterward that ... conspiracy theories began. In 1738 Pope Clement XII issued the Catholic Church's first decree against Freemasonry -- and it still applies today. In the U.S., Freemasonry flourished until its secrecy made it the object of suspicion here, spawning America's first third party, the Anti-Masonic Party. Today, Freemasonry has about 1.3 million members in the U.S., down from 4 million in 1959. Among the members today: African-Americans, formerly relegated to a separate, black-only branch of Freemasonry. If you want to be a Mason, you can petition a local lodge for membership. You'll need to demonstrate good character and belief in some sort of Supreme Being. In almost all lodges, it's men only. The House of the Temple for the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite [is] one branch of Freemasonry. Inside [The House], the temple lodge room is a stunner. And downstairs, you can see the flag that Buzz Aldrin took to the Moon.
Note: This informative article on Freemasonry fails to go into any depth about the secrecy of this influential secret society. For an in-depth MSNBC article which is much more revealing, click here. For more on other intriguing secret societies, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
A woman who wore a meat dress was never going to be massively phased by even the most ghoulish piece of performance art. But still, there was an incredible nonchalance about Lady Gaga as she scooped fake blood sauce from a woman's naked body at the 20th annual benefit for the Watermill Center. Gaga arrived with performance artist Marina Abramovic and the center’s director Robert Wilson then mingled with stars like Hugh Jackman and Winona Ryder. The 27-year-old then caused even more of a commotion by bidding $60,000 to buy an Abramovic work, a wall-mounted quartz brick. After the dinner and auction, hosted by Alan Cumming, guests danced with several women wearing nothing but body paint. Gaga, then spotted the woman covered in blood, an onlooker told the NY Post: 'There was a casket with a totally naked woman laying in what looked like a pool of blood. On a table nearby there was a row of little spoons — no one had touched them, because no one knew what they were for. [Wilson] gave two spoons to Gaga and Marina . . . and Gaga dipped the spoon right between the artist’s legs, and took a sip.' She then, 'proceeded to lick the spoon.'
Note: See how this is related to the Pizzagate case in our thoroughly research essay on this topic.
A dull office park near Dulles International Airport took on the sheen of a Hollywood thriller this week, when an invitation-only cadre of global leaders gathered for a secretive meeting known as the Bilderberg conference. Henry Kissinger and Bill Gates were chauffeured in. Fairfax County police established a security perimeter around the Westfields Marriott and prohibited a Washington Post photographer from snapping pictures from a public street. Outside the Jersey barriers, dozens of protesters and conspiracy theorists — convinced that Bilderberg is a global cabal that runs the world — waved signs and shouted into bullhorns. The current chairman of its steering committee is a French count. Participants include the [neoconservative] Richard Perle, billionaire Peter Thiel, and financiers such as Roger Altman and Kenneth M. Jacobs, chairman and chief executive of Lazard. Attendees are encouraged not to discuss the proceedings, which fuels the secrecy concerns. Over the years, conspiracy buffs have embraced notions such as the group is behind the creation of the euro and meets to select the winners and losers in the U.S. presidential election.
Note: For an informative, revealing video on the Bilderberg Group featuring top Guardian journalist Charlie Skelton, click here. For excellent summaries of revealing major media news articles on the Bilderberg Group and other powerful secret societies, click here.
What really happens behind the padlocked doors of this windowless building, [the home] of Skull and Bones, Yale's oldest secret society? Its members include some of America's most powerful and privileged elite all sworn to secrecy. [CAMPBELL] BROWN: Alexandra Robbins broke through the wall of silence to write Secrets of the Tomb based on clandestine interviews with dozens of bonesmen. Only 15 [Yale students] get picked each year. The society includes at least three U.S. presidents, Supreme Court justices, and too many senators and CEOs to name. In 2004, Bush versus Kerry was the first all-bonesmen presidential election. ALEXANDRA ROBBINS: Skull and Bones' only purpose is to get its members into positions of prominence around the world so that they can elevate other members to similar positions. One of the first activities they participate in is called connubial bliss, where ... each member must spend an evening standing in front of the other 14 bonesmen and recount his or her entire sexual and romantic history. BROWN: According to one ... story, Prescott Bush, George W. Bush's grandfather, was part of a group that broke into the Oklahoma burial place of the Apache chief Geronimo and made off with his skull. Geronimo's grave was disturbed back in 1918, there are photos of skulls inside the "Skull and Bones" tomb. They have their own private retreat. Deer Island off the coast of New York. And a world of ready investors and political contacts in the highest echelons of American society. What has kept the secret society alive for all these years? Good old fashioned networking for the super elite.
Note: To watch the CNN video clip on this Yale secret society, click here. For lots more powerful information on Skull and Bones and other secret societies reported in major media articles, click here.
Who rules the world? The rise of nation states produced national ruling classes. It would be odd if the current integration of the world economy did not produce new global elites — business people and financiers who run global companies and global politicians who steer supra-national organisations such as the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund. David Rothkopf, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, argues that these elites constitute nothing less than a new global “superclass”. They have all the clubby characteristics of the old national ruling classes, but with the vital difference that they operate on the global stage, far from mere national electorates. They attend the same universities. They are groomed in a handful of world-spanning institutions such as Goldman Sachs. They belong to the same clubs — the Council on Foreign Relations in New York is a particular favourite — and sit on each other's boards of directors. Many of them shuttle between the public and private sectors. They meet at global events such as the World Economic Forum at Davos and the Trilateral Commission or — for the crčme de la crčme — the Bilderberg meetings or the Bohemian Grove seminars that take place every July in California. Mr Rothkopf is anything but a crank, and he is right when he says that, these days, the most influential people around the world are also the most global people. He is also admirably ambivalent about his subject. He worries about surging inequality — the richest 1% of humans own 40% of the planet's wealth — and about the rumbling backlash against so much unaccountable power.
Note: For reliable, verifiable information the secret societies of which the global elite are a part, click here. Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making by David Rothkopf is available here.
[In] speaking [with New York Federal Reserve Bank president Timothy] Geithner while I was doing the research for my recently published book Superclass, he sketched in fascinating detail how the world's power elite rallies when the markets quake. Recalling an earlier crisis in global securities markets that he helped to manage, Geithner said the Fed brought together the leaders of the world's 14 major financial firms, from five countries, representing 95 percent of all the activity in global markets. The Swiss were there, the Germans were there, the British were there. Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein "jokingly called them 'the 14 families,' like in 'The Godfather'," says Geithner. "And we said to them, 'You guys have got to fix this problem. Tell us how you are going to fix it and we will work out some basic regime.' You ... need a critical mass of the right players. It is a much more concentrated world." Geithner's description of the financial elite in crisis mode came many months before the recent meltdown of Bear Stearns, yet foreshadowed [it] in an uncanny way. The people ... described by Geithner, plus a few thousand more like them, not only in business and finance, but also politics, the arts, the nonprofit world and other realms, are part of a new global elite that has emerged over the past several decades. I call it the "superclass." They have vastly more power than any other group on the planet. Each of the members is set apart by his ability to regularly influence the lives of millions of people in multiple countries worldwide. Each actively exercises this power, and often amplifies it through the development of relationships with other superclass members.
Note: For many revealing stories from reliable sources on secret societies of the world's most powerful people, click here.
Public kept in dark as business leads talks about North American integration. Away from the spotlight, from Sept. 12 to 14, in Banff Springs, Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day and Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor met with U.S. and Mexican government officials and business leaders to discuss North American integration at the second North American Forum. The guest list included such prominent figures as U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Mexican Secretary of Public Security Eduardo Medina Mora and Canadian Forces chief General Rick Hillier. The event was chaired by former U.S. secretary of state George Schultz, former Alberta premier, Peter Lougheed and former Mexican finance minister Pedro Aspe. Organizers did not alert the media about the event. Our government ... refuses to release any information about the content of the discussions or the actors involved. The event was organized by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. The media have paid little attention to this far-reaching agreement, so Canadians are unaware that a dozen working groups are currently "harmonizing" Canadian and U.S. regulations on everything from food to drugs to the environment and even more contentious issues like foreign policy. This process ... is about priming North America for better business by weakening the impacts of such perceived obstacles as environmental standards and labour rights. This is why the public has been kept in the dark while the business elite has played a leading role in designing the blueprint for this more integrated North America.
Note: If the above link fails, click here. Why has the U.S. media not covered this key topic? For a second article discussing this secret meeting on a top Canadian TV website, click here. To learn about other secret meetings of the power elite, click here
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside an exclusive California retreat for government and business leaders Saturday to challenge the right of a "ruling elite" to make policy decisions without public scrutiny. The annual Bohemian Grove retreat has attracted powerful men such as Ronald Reagan, George Bush, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, philanthropist David Rockefeller, former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. It's also become a magnet for all types of activists who increasingly use the event to network and organize their campaigns. The men who attend the Bohemian Grove retreat spend two weeks performing plays, eating gourmet camp grub, listening to speakers and power-bonding at the 2,700-acre compound near the Russian River in Sonoma County. The retreat is organized by the exclusive San Francisco-based Bohemian Club. The club and event are shrouded in mystery, much like Yale University's most-famous secret society, Skull and Bones, whose members include President George W. Bush and his presidential rival Sen. John Kerry.
Note: This article strangely has been removed from the San Francisco Chronicle website. To see it in the Internet Archive, click here. For an informative five-minute ABC news clip on the power elite gathering Bohemian Grove reported in 1981, click here. And for reliable information on the most secretive meeting of the world's elite reported by the major media, see our Bilderberg Group compilation available here.
"Conspiracy of Silence" is a powerful, disturbing documentary revealing a nationwide child abuse and pedophilia ring that leads to the highest levels of government. Featuring intrepid investigator John DeCamp, a highly decorated Vietnam war veteran and 16-year Nebraska state senator, "Conspiracy of Silence" reveals how rogue elements at all levels of government have been involved in systematic child abuse and pedophilia to feed the base desires of key politicians. Based on DeCamp's riveting book, The Franklin Cover-up, "Conspiracy of Silence" begins with the shut-down of Nebraska's Franklin Community Federal Credit Union after a raid by federal agencies in November 1988 revealed that $40 million was missing. When the Nebraska legislature launched a probe into the affair, what initially looked like a financial swindle soon exploded into a startling tale of drugs, money laundering, and a nationwide child abuse ring. Nineteen months later, the legislative committee's chief investigator died suddenly and violently, like more than a dozen other people linked to the Franklin case.
As opposite as George Bush and John Kerry may seem to be, they do share a common secret - one they've shared for decades. The secret: details of their membership in Skull and Bones, the elite Yale University society whose members include some of the most powerful men of the 20th century. Bonesmen, as they're called, are forbidden to reveal what goes on in their inner sanctum. Bones has included presidents, cabinet officers, spies, Supreme Court justices, [and] captains of industry. They'd responded to questions with utter silence until an enterprising Yale graduate, Alexandra Robbins, managed to penetrate the wall of silence in her book, Secrets of the Tomb. "I spoke with about 100 members of Skull and Bones. They were members who were tired of the secrecy," says Robbins. "But probably twice that number hung up on me, harassed me, or threatened me." Skull and Bones, with all its ritual and macabre relics, was founded in 1832. Since then, it has chosen or "tapped" only 15 senior students a year who become ... lifetime members of the ultimate old boys' club. A lot of Bonesmen have gone on to positions of great power. President Bush ... tapped five fellow Bonesmen to join his administration. Bonesmen have [included] William Howard Taft, the 27th President; Henry Luce, the founder of Time Magazine; and W. Averell Harriman, the diplomat and confidant of U.S. presidents. Mr. Bush, like his father and grandfather before him, has refused to talk openly about Skull and Bones. But as a Bonesman, he was required to reveal his innermost secrets to his fellow Bones initiates. They're supposed to recount their entire sexual histories in ... a dimly-lit cozy room.
Note: For a highly revealing, four-minute CNN News clip on Skull and Bones, click here. For other major media news clips reporting on this powerful secret society, click here. And for lots more reliable information from major media sources on powerful, secret groups like this, click here.
John "Jack" Whiteside Parsons, a founder of the legendary Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a maverick visionary honored with a moon crater bearing his name, gave no early hint of the inner stirrings that propelled him to worship the devil and lead an extraordinary double life: respected scientist by day, dedicated occultist by night. Parsons earned his bread and butter working on a jet-assisted takeoff unit that developed into a solid-fuel rocket that would help win World War II. In 1942, Parsons and his wife, Helen, moved into an aging Pasadena mansion, [and] converted the rooms into 19 apartments. The residents mockingly named the place "the Parsonage," for it was anything but. Soon the house on South Orange Grove was a laboratory ... for black magic. In 1944, Parsons resigned from JPL in favor of whizzing through time and space via ... hallucinogens. Helen became pregnant by another member of the Parsonage circle, and Parsons took up with Helen's beautiful 18-year-old sister, Sara Northrup. L. Ron Hubbard, the future founder of Scientology ... moved into the house [in 1946] and later married Sara, Parsons' lover and sister-in-law, before divorcing his first wife. After one reputed out-of-body experience, [Parsons] acquired the name "Belarion Armiluss Al Dajjal, antichrist." But even the antichrist had to eat. Low on funds, he worked for various local aviation companies ... and bootlegged nitroglycerin. The FBI [began] investigating him on ... cult activities; the scrutiny cost Parsons his government security clearance.
Note: In these wild and crazy times, it is vitally important that as many people as possible understand the role of Satanism behind the scenes in influencing global politics and much more. For the best documentary on this, watch the suppressed Discovery Channel film Conspiracy of Silence. For the best written essay on the topic, read chapter 12 of the book Lifting the Veil. Another great documentary is available here.
A secretive organization that has courted political leaders and built international influence while undermining the constitutional division of the church and the state in the process is at the center of a new five-episode documentary series called "The Family." Since 1953, the National Prayer Breakfast has remained a fixture in American politics. While the annual event is purportedly hosted by members of Congress, it is actually organized and run by an evangelical Christian organization called The Fellowship Foundation, or "The Family," as it is referred to internally. The series ... takes a look at the group that operates with its own higher purpose – quietly building its influence on global politics "in the name of Jesus." "The Fellowship isn't about faith. It's about power," said Jeff Sharlet, whose books, "The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power," and "C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy," inspired the Netflix series. "Internally, it is spoken of primarily as a 'recruiting device' with which to draw 'key men' into smaller prayer cells" according to Sharlet. "Practically, the Prayer Breakfast has functioned from the very beginning as an unregistered lobbying festival." The reach of the Fellowship has extended well beyond the confines of Washington. Politicians and businessmen affiliated with the group have met to pray and parlay with the likes of the late Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, Indonesian despot Suharto and Haitian dictator Papa Doc Duvalier, Sharlet said.
Note: Prayer Breakfast founder Douglas Coe was an admirer of Hitler according to this MSNBC article. Watch the incredible four-minute NBC video clip showing Coe praising a communist Red Guard member for cutting the head off his mother at this link. Yet he was highly respected by U.S. presidents and many other top dignitaries. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on secret societies from reliable major media sources.
A devil-worshipping sailor in the Royal Navy has become the first registered Satanist in the British Armed Forces. Chris Cranmer, 24, a technician serving on the Type 22 frigate Cumberland, has been officially recognized as a Satanist by the ship's captain. That allows him to perform satanic rituals aboard and permits him to have a non-Christian Church of Satan funeral should he be killed in action. A spokesman for Britain's Ministry of Defence told CNN Sunday that it had a duty to allow members of the forces to practice their religion. "The Royal Navy allows this kind of approach because it is clearly in line with current regulations. We are not aware of any other individuals who want to be registered as Satanists." Cranmer ... is now lobbying the Ministry of Defence to make Satanism a registered religion in the Armed Forces. He says he wants Satanists to be able to join the military without "fear of marginalisation and the necessity to put up with Christian dogma." The defense ministry told CNN that Cranmer went to his commanding officer with a request to practice his beliefs on board his ship and, after consultation with the ship's chaplain, this was granted. The decision was at the discretion of the captain, the MoD, said, and was on the basis that it did not impinge on the operational effectiveness, safety or security of the ship, or the well-being of colleagues. "From a military perspective, I believe in vengeance," [said Cranmer]. "If I were asked if I were evil, I would say yes - by virtue of the common definition."
Note: The U.S. army also allows Satanists, as shown in this video of the Geraldo show in which Col. Michael Aquino even dresses in his Satanic garb. Read more about Aquino in this Washington Post article.
Did you make it to the Allen & Co conference in Sun Valley, Idaho this past week? The investment bank sponsors the annual schmooze-fest and "summer camp for billionaires" for the same reason that companies give away their luxury products in Oscars gift baskets: because if you spoil rich people enough, they may develop sufficiently warm feelings towards you to throw you some business one day. At Sun Valley each year, the billionaires are feted by the mere millionaires; the millionaires drum up enough deals to allow them to buy their third and fourth homes. The Sun Valley conference is primarily known as a place where tech and media moguls gather to do a little fly fishing and strike multibillion-dollar merger deals. More fundamentally, the conference is, like Davos, a mechanism for the concentration of wealth, dressed up as something friendlier. Here, America's wealthiest mega-billionaires gather with the chief executive of America's most powerful companies, the director of the CIA, and America's most worthless pseudo-journalists ... to develop the social and business connections that allow the top 0.00001% of earners to continue to accumulate a share of our nation's wealth that already exceeds the famously cartoonish inequality of the Gilded Age of Rockefeller and Carnegie. We are developing a private class of billionaire kings whose will is omnipotent and untouchable by any democratic force. This is the state of affairs that the Sun Valley conference serves to intensify.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.
After closely guarding their secrets for centuries, Britain's Freemasons have spent the last decade trying to open up their organisation, and some of its rituals, to outside scrutiny. Public relations consultants have been hired ... and documentary makers have been allowed into lodge meetings. The unspoken message has been that the wider public has nothing to fear. Freemasonry's problem, however, is that there is a limit to its transparency. It remains a secret society, or "a society with secrets" as it prefers to put it. There will always be some on the outside, unable to peer in, who will assume the worst – that the fraternal ties of the brotherhood could encourage improper conduct in public life. Some of the rumours about the ancient initiation ceremony are true. Suspicion grew during the 1970s after journalists began unearthing evidence that a handful of police officers and criminals were members of the same lodges. The following decade, suspicion turned to paranoia after police in Italy began to investigate the notorious Propaganda Due lodge and its suspected links with a banking collapse and the murder of the banker and lodge member Roberto Calvi, who was found hanged under Blackfriars Bridge in London in 1982. As one mason put it: "The idea that there is an inner circle has a real allure, particularly for men working in a hierarchical situation: the police, the army, in business." As long as secrecy remains, Freemasonry's age-old problem – the suspicions of outsiders – will also persist.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on secret societies from reliable major media sources.
Reform in policing is being blocked by members of the Freemasons, and their influence in the service is thwarting the progress of women and people from black and minority ethnic communities, the leader of rank-and-file officers has said. Steve White, who steps down on Monday after three years as chair of the Police Federation, told the Guardian he was concerned about the continued influence of Freemasons. White took charge with the government threatening to take over the federation if it did not reform after a string of scandals and controversies. One previous Metropolitan police commissioner, the late Sir Kenneth Newman, opposed the presence of Masons in the police. White would not name names, but did not deny that some key figures in local Police Federation branches were Masons. Masons in the police have been accused of covering up for fellow members and favouring them for promotion over more talented, non-Mason officers. White said: “Some female representatives were concerned about Freemason influence in the Fed. The culture is something that can either discourage or encourage people from the ethnic minorities or women from being part of an organisation.” The federation has passed new rules on how it runs itself, aimed at ending the fact that its key senior officials are all white, and predominantly male.
Note: In response to these accusations, the Freemasons placed a series of full page ads defending themselves in several of the UK's top newspapers, as reported in this BBC News article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and secret societies.
For the investors and market-movers at the annual World Economic Forum [in Davos, Switzerland], a threat lurks. At cocktail parties where the Champagne flows, financiers have expressed bewilderment over the rise of populist groups that are feeding a backlash against globalization. The world order has been upended. As the United States retreats from the promise of free trade, China is taking up the mantle. The stark shift leaves investors trying to assess the new risk and opportunities in the global economy. “This is the first time there is absolutely no consensus,” said William F. Browder ... who has been coming to Davos for 21 years. “Everyone is looking into the abyss.” The religion of the global elite - free trade and open markets - is under attack, and there has been a lot of hand-wringing, [but] little agreement on how to deal with it. The biggest concern? Finding a way to make the people who are driving populist movements feel like they are part of the global economic pie that Davos participants have created and largely own. Ian Bremmer, the president of Eurasia Group, a political-research firm, offered his advice: “Elites won’t be able to manage populism until they stop seeing it as a threat and start seeing it as a symptom.” If that is the case, Davos has, so far, made little progress. Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba in China, offered his view of the problem in the United States. Americans, he said, “do not distribute the money properly.”
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of the secret societies of the elite which manipulate global politics from behind the scenes, and deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
A satanic group unveiled designs ... for a 7-foot-tall statue of Satan it wants to put at the Oklahoma state Capitol, where a Ten Commandments monument was placed in 2012. The New York-based Satanic Temple formally submitted its application to a panel that oversees the Capitol grounds, including an artist's rendering that depicts Satan as Baphomet, a goat-headed figure with horns, wings and a long beard that's often used as a symbol of the occult. In the rendering, Satan is sitting in a pentagram-adorned throne with smiling children next to him. "The monument has been designed to reflect the views of Satanists in Oklahoma City and beyond," temple spokesman Lucien Greaves said in a statement. "The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation." The Satanic Temple maintains that the Oklahoma Legislature's decision to authorize a privately funded Ten Commandments monument at the Capitol opened the door for its statue. The Ten Commandments monument was placed on the north steps of the building in 2012, and the Oklahoma chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has sued to have it removed. Similar requests for monuments have been made by a Hindu leader in Nevada, an animal rights group and the satirical Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. In response, the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission recently placed a moratorium on considering any new requests. "Anybody can still make their request, but we'll hold off on considering them until the lawsuit is adjudicated," commission Chairman Trait Thompson said.
Note: We include this article because so many people ignore the existence of the Satanists among us, some of whom have even had high rank in the U.S. military. Watch this video to hear U.S. army colonel Michael Aquino defend his being a satanist. If you are open to more, read this essay by a professor who exposed the destruction being caused by these groups.
No [encounters with demonstrators] will take place in Watford this week, as the Bilderberg, the annual conference for 140 of the world’s most powerful, meet for four days at The Grove, a Ł300-a-night golf hotel. The entire hotel has been booked out, and a high fence erected around the exclusion zone. Armed checkpoints have been set up on local roads, and locals must show their passports to enter their own driveways. The Bilderberg was founded in 1954 ... at the Bilderberg Hotel, near Arnhem. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands was the chair. In that first meeting, the participants ... debated the Communist threat and the prospect of European integration. Publicly, the group says it is still merely a debating society – a forum for leaders to "listen, reflect and gather insights" unbound by official policy positions. But while they rankle at the conspiracy theorists, former leaders of the Bilderberg conferences says they were the most important events they ever went to, and the freedom of speaking away from the ears of Whitehall officials meant the discussions that took place decisively shaped modern Europe. On the agenda is economic growth, big data, Africa, medical research and the rise of cyber warfare. The future of the welfare state is likely to be discussed, as one topic is titled "jobs, entitlement and debt". Another session is called simply "current affairs".
On [June 6], a heady mix of politicians, bank bosses, billionaires, chief executives and European royalty will swoop up the elegant drive of the Grove hotel, north of Watford, to begin the annual Bilderberg conference. The CEO of Royal Dutch Shell will hop from his limo, delighted to be spending three solid days in policy talks with the head of HSBC, the president of Dow Chemical, his favourite European finance ministers and US intelligence chiefs. The conference is the highlight of every plutocrat's year and has been since 1954. The only time Bilderberg skipped a year was 1976, after the group's founding chairman, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, was caught taking bribes from Lockheed Martin. It may seem odd, as our own lobbying scandal unfolds, amid calls for a statutory register of lobbyists, that a bunch of our senior politicians will be holed up for three days in luxurious privacy with the chairmen and CEOs of hedge funds, tech corporations and vast multinational holding companies, with zero press oversight. Michael Meacher, MP ... describes the conference as "an anti-democratic cabal of the leaders of western market capitalism meeting in private to maintain their own power and influence outside the reach of public scrutiny". The Bilderberg conference is paid for, in the UK, by an officially registered charity: the Bilderberg Association (charity number 272706). The charity receives regular five-figure sums from two kindly supporters of its benevolent aims: Goldman Sachs and BP. The most recent documentary proof of this is from 2008, since when the charity has omitted its donors' names from its accounts.
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