WASHINGTON – It started in 1952.
Nearly every person elected as president of the United States since then – and nearly every opponent – has belonged to a secretive, globalism-oriented organization known as the Council on Foreign Relations.
Some presidents and their challengers have belonged to additional clubs of internationalists – the Bilderberg Group and the Trilateral Commission. Running mates, too, more often than not have had ties to the groups.
That the groups exert enormous influence on public policy is indisputable. What is disputed is whether such groups are, as adherents and members argue, just discussion forums for movers and shakers, or, as critics have long alleged, secret societies shaping a new world order from behind the scenes. On that last point at least, no one could challenge the critics: All these groups operate in considerable secrecy, away from the scrutiny of the American public
Regardless of how one characterizes them, the fact that virtually all presidents belong to the same secret clubs prompts the author of a new book to wonder if the 2008 election will also be a contest between globalist insiders. Judging from the list of frontrunners of each party, Daniel Estulin, author of "The True Story of the Bilderberg Group," may be on to something.
According to a variety of sources, the following presidential candidates are either members of one of the groups or have strong ties: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, John McCain, John Edwards, Fred Thompson, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson.
Mike Huckabee, though not a member, spoke to the CFR in September. Since then, his political star has risen to the point that he has become a top-tier candidate.
So often throughout recent history it has been the case.
Ever since Democrat Adlai Stevenson challenged Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956, the odds have significantly favored those with membership in the elite groups.
In 1960, both John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon were members.
In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson was not a member. Neither was his opponent, Barry Goldwater. But Johnson had already staffed his administration with plenty of insiders.
In 1968, it was Nixon versus club member Hubert H. Humphrey.
In 1972, it was Nixon again against Democratic Party CFR member George McGovern.
In 1976, it was CFR Republican Gerald Ford losing to CFR Democrat Jimmy Carter.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan was not a member, but his running mate, George H.W. Bush, was. So were both of his opponents – Carter and independent John Anderson. Assuming office, however, Reagan quickly named 313 CFR members to his team.
In 1984, another CFR member, Walter Mondale, was nominated by the Democratic Party to challenge Reagan.
In 1988, CFR member Bush took on CFR member Michael Dukakis.
In 1992, Bush was challenged by an obscure governor from Arkansas, Bill Clinton, who won the "trifecta" by being a member of the CFR, Trlateral Commission and Bilderberg Group. He was also a Rhodes scholar – another favored credential of the worldwide elite.
In 1996, Clinton was challenged by CFR member Bob Dole.
In 2000, CFR member Al Gore ran against non-member George W. Bush, but his running mate, Dick Cheney, was.
In 2004, Bush was challenged by CFR member John Kerry.
"David Rockefeller, whose family financed the CFR, is a common denominator among these parallel groups," writes Estulin. "Not only is he the CFR chairman emeritus, but he also continues to provide financial and personal support to the TC, CFR and Bilderberg Group."
What is the agenda behind these groups, which Estulin says are comprised of "self-interested elitists protecting their wealth and the investments of multinational banks and corporations in the growing world economy at the expense of developing nations and Third World countries"?
"The policies they develop," he writes, "benefit them as well as move us towards a one-world government."
Those questioning Estulin's conclusion as mere speculation need only recall organizational financer David Rockefeller's own words as recorded in his "Memoirs."
"Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will," he wrote. "If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it."
With regard to insider roles in recent U.S. presidential races, two of the most interesting were 1976 and 1992.
"In the spring of 1972, a high-profile group of men gathered for dinner with W. Averell Harriman, the grand old man of the Democratic Party, a Bilderberger and a member of the CFR," writes Estulin. "Also present were Milton Katz, a CFR member and director of international studies at Harvard, Robert Bowie, who would later become deputy director of the CIA, George Franklin, David Rockefeller's coordinator for the Trilateral Commission, and Gerald Smith, U.S. ambassador-at-large for non-proliferation matters. The focus of their discussion was the not-too-distant 1976 presidential elections. Harriman suggested that if the Democrats wanted to recapture the White House, "we had better get off our high horses and look at some of those southern governors." Several names cropped up. Among them were Ruben Askew, governor of Florida, and Terry Sanford, former governor of North Carolina and, at the time, president of Duke University."
Katz reportedly informed David Rockefeller of the viability of Jimmy Carter, then governor of Georgia. According to the author, he could be sold politically to the American people. At a dinner in London, recorded by the London Times, Rockefeller got acquainted with Carter and became convinced he could become the next U.S. president. Carter was invited to join the Trilateral Commission and quickly accepted.
Later, U.S. News and World Report would have this to say about the Carter administration: "The Trilateralists have taken charge of foreign policy-making in the Carter administration, and already the immense power they wield is sparking some controversy. Active or former members of the Trilateral Commission now head every key agency involved in mapping U.S. strategy for dealing with the rest of the world."
In 1992, Estulin concludes Bill Clinton was similarly "anointed" for the presidency at the 1991 Bilderberg Conference in Baden-Baden. Following the meeting, Clinton immediately took a trip to Russia to meet with Soviet Interior Minister Vadim Balatin, then serving Mikhail Gorbachev. Later, when Boris Yeltsin won the presidential election, Bakatin became the new chief of the KGB.
The meeting went unnoticed in most of the press, with the exception of the Arkansas Democrat, whose headline told the story: "Clinton has powerful buddy in U.S.S.R – New head of KGB."
Estulin's book, first written in 2005 in Spain, has been translated into 24 languages, most recently this English edition. He has covered the Bilderberg Group as a journalist for more than 15 years.
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