Kenneth P. Vogel
Sunday, March 15, 2009
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The highest levels of the Obama administration are infested with members of a shadowy, elitist cabal intent on installing a one-world government that subverts the will of the American people.
It sounds crazy, but that’s what a group of very persistent conspiracy theorists insists, and they point to President Obama’s nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, as the latest piece of evidence supporting their claims.
It turns out that Sebelius – like top administration economists Timothy Geithner, Larry Summers and Paul Volcker, as well as leading Obama diplomats Richard Holbrooke and Dennis Ross – is a Bilderberger. That is, she is someone who has participated in the annual invitation-only conference held by an elite international organization known as the Bilderberg group.
The group, which takes its name from the Dutch hotel where it held its first meeting in 1954, exists solely to bring together between 100 and 150 titans of politics, finance, military, industry, academia and media from North America and Western Europe once a year to discuss world affairs. It doesn’t issue policy statements or resolutions, nor does it hold any events other than an annual meeting.
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Past participants have included Margaret Thatcher, who attended the 1975 meeting at Turkey’s Golden Dolphin Hotel, former media mogul Conrad Black, who has been to more than a dozen conferences, and Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, King Juan Carlos of Spain and top officials of BP, IBM, Barclays and the Bank of England.
It is precisely that exclusive roster of globally influential figures that has captured the interest of an international network of conspiracists, who for decades have viewed the Bilderberg conference as a devious corporate-globalist scheme.
The fulminating is aggravated by Obama’s preference for surrounding himself with well-credentialed, well-connected, and well-traveled elites. His personnel choices have touched a populist, even paranoid nerve among those who are convinced powerful elites and secret societies are moving the planet toward a new world order.
Their worldview, characterized by a deep and angry suspicion of the ruling class rather than any prevailing partisan or ideological affiliation, is widely articulated on overnight AM radio shows and a collection of Internet websites.
The video sharing website YouTube alone is home to thousands of Bilderberg-related videos.
“I don’t laugh at the people who claim that they understand the connections, but I’ve never really spent much time tracing that through,” said Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a former presidential candidate whose libertarian sensibilities have made him a darling of the Bilderberg conspiracists.
“The one thing that concerns me is that the people who surround Obama or Bush generally come from the same philosophic viewpoint and they have their organizations – they have the Trilateral Commission, the CFR [Council on Foreign Relations] and the Bilderbergers, and they’ve been around a long time. And my biggest concern is what they preach: Keynesian economics and interventionism and world planning,” he said.
While it’s easy to dismiss the Bilder-busters as cranks, these voices have a way of making themselves heard on the margins of the debate in ways that can prove to be a real, if minor, distraction to Obama’s political team. Bill Clinton had trouble shaking rumors that he was behind a shady criminal syndicate operating out of the Mena airport. George W. Bush was sometimes portrayed as the puppet of clandestine Middle Eastern oil interests.
Obama’s selection of numerous Bilderbergers for key posts “certainly would verify their suspicions,” said Paul, referring to fears of the group’s influence.
“And I don’t think it’s just Obama. Whether it’s the Republicans or the Democrats – Goldman Sachs generally has somebody in treasury. And the big banks generally have somebody in the Federal Reserve. And they’re international people, too. And they’re probably working very hard this weekend, with the G20. And they get involved in the IMF. But that is their stated goal. They do believe in a powerful centralized government and we believe in the opposite.”
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