The Seattle Times Company

NWjobs | NWautos | NWhomes | NWsource | Free Classifieds |

Editorials / Opinion

Our network sites | Advanced

Ed cetera

Join the informed, opinionated journalists of The Times' editorial staff in lively discussions at our blog Ed Cetera.

July 30, 2009 at 1:28 PM

Comments (0)     E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

That Bilderberg Book

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

A reader came to me with the book, “The Bilderberg Group” by Daniel Estulin and asked me to read it. It is a conspiracy book about a group of political, corporate and academic leaders who meet every year and allow no press to attend and want no publicity. Investigating and denouncing such a group might might appeal to the right or the left. I saw it recommended by the staff at Powell's Books, and assumed the appeal was to the left. My reader was on the right.

Mainstream newspapers like The Seattle Times ignore books like "The Bilderberg Group." The fans of this kind of book accuse us of suppressing the truth. We are part of the conspiracy. We are the controlled media. Once in a while I think we of the mainstream media ought to read and comment on books like this--because they're out there, our readers are reading them, and they wonder why we "suppress" them. By this blog, I give the book some publicity--albeit the publicity of being kicked.

My reaction to the book was like the fellow on who wrote:

This is purely rabid fabulation, and we are asked to believe it without a single source citation (how convenient that this topic can only be discussed by individuals whose identities must remain classified). Henry Kissinger and a bunch of royals and businessmen have been responsible for every election, coup, assassination and case of diarrhea since the 1950s? I found the unbelievability too much to stomach, and I could do no more than skim the book after page 50.

I made it to page 48. Here is some of what I wrote to the man who gave me a copy:

Dear Mr. ------------,

I regret to say I don’t think much of Daniel Estulin’s book, “The Bilderberg Group.” I have not read all of it, but I have had enough. It is not believable.

I am not an expert on the world he purports to describe. But I am a writer. I can tell when a writer is on solid ground. Estulin isn’t.

Take the story at the beginning of the book about how he almost fell down an elevator shaft (which he interprets as an attempt to murder him). If the Bilderbergers were as powerful as he says, and they wanted to murder him, they would have done it—and in a more publicity-averse way than having him fall down an elevator shaft in the middle of Canada’s largest city. The story, if you think about it, is highly improbable. But the reader who can bring himself to believe it is led to believe all else this man says—else, why would the Bilderbergers be trying to kill him?

There is more (p. 17):

Years later I found out why Vladimir had come to me. He was a double agent who had worked for the KGB and MI5. Or was it MI5 and the KGB? Somewhere along the line his cover was blown…

The method here is to initiate the reader into a special group of in-the-know; of mixing facts with assertions so that the casual reader won’t tell them apart, and to draw lines between A and B, when A is the person you want to impeach and B is a known wickedness. Here is an example on page 20:

Most reports contend the original members named their alliance the Bilderberg Group after the hotel where they made their covenant. Author Gyeorgos C. Hatonn, however, discovered that German-born Prince Bernhard was an officer in the Reiter SS Corp in the early 1930s and was on the board of an I.G. subsidiary, Farben Bilder.

Pause here. Note the word, “covenant,” suggesting secret cabals. The author has not established there was a covenant. Same with “alliance.” He has not established that, either. Then comes the statement that Prince Bernhard was in the Reiter SS Corps and worked for I.G. Farben. The source is one the reader has never heard of: more secrets!

Actually these facts are open knowledge, available on the Internet, on Prince Bernhard’s Wikipedia page. Bernhard was excused for these connections, partly because the Reiter SS was, according to Wikipedia, not much more than an “equestrian riding group” for aristocrats, and because of all the anti-Nazi things he did after the war started, none of which Estulin mentions. And who is the weird-sounding Gyeorgos C. Hatonn? Estulin quotes this man without saying who he is. I had never heard of him, but I googled him, too, and out popped his book, Creation, the Sacred Universe: The Incubation of the Phoenix. It’s nuts. There are a bunch of other books of Hatonn’s, with equally outlandish titles. All of them appear to be plumb crazy.

Anyway, back to the paragraph in Estulin’s book on page 20:

In his book, "Rape of the Constitution, Death of Freedom," Hatonn claims Prince Bernhard drew on his Nazi history in corporate management to encourage the super-secret policy making group to call themselves Bilderbergers after Farben Bilder, in memory of the Farben executives’ initiative to organize Heinrich Himmler’s “Circle of Friends”—elite wealth-building leaders…

To establish a menacing meaning for the name “Bilderberg”--otherwise only the name of a Dutch hotel--Estulin has drawn a line between Prince Bernhard and Hitler’s Reichsfuehrer-SS. The inference is that “Bilderberg” is a reference to a secret Nazi “circle.” How do we know this? Because “Hatonn claims” it. That’s all. He claims it. And if you read some Hatonn, you will see that Hatonn claims all kinds of stuff. Weird stuff. Unbelievable stuff. That Estulin relies on Hatonn as an authority on a prominent person’s Nazi connections, or on anything, condemns Estulin as a grossly unreliable fellow.

He relies on questionable sources again and again. On page 29 he quotes the Spotlight, which he admits was “a newspaper of dubious agendas,” but delicately avoids that it was Willis Carto’s anti-Semitic rag. He quotes it anyway. On page 48 he refers to New World Order Corruption in Canada, by Robert O’Driscoll and Elizabeth Elliott, published by Saigon Press. Who are they? Who is Saigon Press? (But then, who is TrineDay, Estulin’s publisher? Some outfit out of Walterville, Oregon, that publishes books on the Illuminati and the “9-11 mystery plane.”)

On page 44, Estulin quotes John Coleman, identified as a former MI6 secret agent, saying that nuclear power generates “abundant cheap electricity” and has been suppressed in order to keep poor countries dependent on rich-country aid. But nuclear power has not been cheap, and has been most successful in wealthier countries that have the capital and technical culture to use it. To argue that nuclear is a cheap leg up for poor countries is to go against common knowledge. An author can argue against common knowledge, but he has to show that he’s right. Here Coleman, the “secret agent,” merely asserts it, and Estulin believes him.

Regarding Otto van Amerongen, another Bilderberg figure, skip to page 30:

Werner Ruegemer, who co-directed a 2001 television documentary about Otto [von Amerongen]’s family firm, alleged that von Amerongen was a Nazi spy in Portugal, involved in selling shares of stock stolen from Jews and gold plundered from the central banks of European nations that Hitler had conquered. Ruegemer also claimed that von Amerongen exported tungsten—a key armaments metal used to harden steel in rifles and artillery—to Germany from Portugal, the only nation still trading tungsten with Germany through the war.

No responsible author writes that a prominent person, or any person, is alleged to have been a Nazi spy. To call someone a Nazi spy, “alleged” or otherwise, is per se libel under U.S. law, with two exceptions. First, it is not libel if it is true, and secondly, it is not libel if the person is dead.

Von Amerongen is dead. According to his Wikipedia entry, he died in 2007, two years before Estulin’s book came out. (Wikipedia does mention that he “was sent to Portugal to handle import-export business” for his dad’s company during the war, when he would have been 24 years old, so maybe the tungsten part is true.)

Estulin does the “alleged” thing also on page 5:

It became known to me from deep undercover sources within the meeting that the 1996 conference was allegedly to be used as a staging ground for the imminent breakup of Canada.

And on page 37:

In fact, some say the Bilderberg Group is really a creation of MI6 under the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

Damn it, are these facts or not? It does not cut the mustard for a supposedly well-researched book to print that “some say” a thing is true. Is it true? Who says it? And note how Estulin uses the phrase, “in fact” when he has no fact in his hand, and, in the previous quotation, how he uses “known to me” when nothing is known to him. Knowledge implies facts, and these are not facts.

I’m a writer. I know these tricks.

The author also makes wild claims directly, all by himself. In the first 48 pages (as far as I got), he says:

--That Margaret Thatcher was “dumped as head of state by her own Conservative Party on Bilderberg orders” (p. 29)

--That John Edwards was “literally chosen” as John Kerry’s running mate by Bilderberg members (p. 36);

--That Bilderbergers want to establish “mind control” and “destroy all national identity” (p. 41);

--That Bilderbergers want to stop all economic growth (p. 42) and “de-industrialize the world by suppressing all scientific development” (p. 44)--a very strange desire for the heads of Chase Bank, Goldman Sachs, ExxonMobil,;

--That Bilderbergers want to create “a socialist welfare state, where obedient slaves will be rewarded and non-conformists targeted for extermination” (p.43).

--That the Arab-Israeli war of 1973 was staged (p. 46).

I appreciate your coming here and giving me the book, and your sincere belief in it. But I can’t believe it.

Best wishes,
Bruce Ramsey
Seattle Times editorials

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

No comments have been posted to this article.

Recent entries




Browse the archives

July 2009

June 2009

May 2009

April 2009

March 2009

March 2009