"THE INVESTIGATOR," SANTA BARBARA NEWS-PRESS, June 14th, 2008
They are still at it--a confab of politicians, bankers, industrial captains and scholars from North America and Western Europe.
Some say they rule the world.
"They" took their name from Hotel de Bilderberg, in the Netherlands, where they first met fifty-four years ago and have been meeting ever since, annually, for hush-hush talks on the foreign policies and economies of nations.
Bilderbergers shift to a different member country every year and try to elude the fringe media, which accuses them of plotting world events. Particularly, they are charged with conspiring to evolve the globe into a one-world government.
So who are these "secretive manipulators"?
The story begins in 1946, with an address by Joseph Retinger to the Royal Institute for International Affairs in London on the threat posed to a disparate Europe by the Soviet Union. A Polish political philosopher from Krakow, Dr. Retinger, became known in his circles as a gray eminence. His speech spawned the idea of a European Movement, thereafter formalized with inside assistance from the American Committee on a Unified Europe, secretly funded by the CIA, which channeled more than $3 million to Dr. Retinger.
"He always believed that public opinion follows the lead of certain individuals," said John Pomian, Dr. Retinger's personal assistant.
Dr. Retinger's plan: to bring together the most powerful names from Western nations and promote European unity from behind the scenes. He was introduced to Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, who agreed to become its figurehead.
The group's first informal meeting took place in Paris in September 1952. Seated around an old Ping-Pong table, fourteen Europeans--including the prime ministers of France and Italy--decided to involve the United States. So Prince Bernard and Dr. Retinger journeyed to Washington and met with CIA Director Walter Bedell Smith and Charles Jackson, national security assistant to President Dwight Eisenhower.
An American committee formed that included banker David Rockefeller and Dean Rusk, who would later become secretary of state in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations. (Rockefeller, who turns 93 this month, still attends Bilderberg religiously.)
A conference was arranged for May 29-31, 1954, in Oosterbeek, Holland.
"There were about eighty participants," said Mr. Pomian. "It was a very high-powered gathering of prominent men. After three days of living together in this secluded place, a bond was created."
According to "strictly confidential" minutes, they agreed that "When the time is ripe, our present concepts of world affairs should be extended to the whole world."
European Union was one such concept. Former U.S. Ambassador George McGee said, "The Common Market was nurtured at Bilderberg meetings."
Bilderberg's conference in Garmisch, West Germany, September 1955, produced these "strictly confidential" minutes: "It is our responsibility to arrive in the shortest possible time at the highest degree of integration, beginning with a common European market." Giovanni Agnelli, Italy's top industrialist as chairman of Fiat (and Bilderberg habitué), declared, "European integration is our goal. Where the politicians have failed, we industrialists hope to succeed."
Relations between European countries -- and between Europe and the United States -- greatly strengthened, much to the alarm of Soviet leaders. When socialist governments rose to power in Europe, Bilderberg ensured that they were tame socialists, bred at Bilderberg. Filtering potential political leaders became its métier.
Henry Kissinger was a Bilderberger (and still is) for more than ten years before claiming fame in President Richard Nixon's administration. Bill Clinton attended Bilderberg in 1991 on the eve of announcing his candidacy for president.
Hillary Clinton attended Bilderberg's June 2007 conference in Istanbul, Turkey. Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas attended that same conference. Some are already whispering that Sebelius, not Hilary, will be elected the first female U.S. president.
Today's Bilderberg is a relic from the days of backroom politics. Strip away its early successes, and you're left with networking albeit on a super scale.
Most of this year's Bilderbergers do not even know the group's history--and they are likely puzzled, even amused, by those who accuse them of conspiring to rule the world.