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Between Berlin and a Hard Place: Greece and the German Strategy to Dominate Europe

Between Berlin and a Hard Place: Greece and the German Strategy to Dominate Europe

By: Andrew Gavin Marshall

7 July 2015

Germany and the Troika: (left to right) German Chancellor Angela Merkel, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi

Germany and the Troika: (left to right) German Chancellor Angela Merkel, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi

“They just wanted to take a bat to them,” said former U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, referring to the attitude of European leaders towards debt-laden Greece in February of 2010, three months before the country’s first bailout. Mr. Geithner, Treasury Secretary from 2009 until 2013, was attending a meeting of the finance ministers and central bankers of the Group of Seven (G7) nations: the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada.

It was the first occasion he had to meet Germany’s new Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schauble, presenting an opportunity to pressure the Europeans to end the crisis. The Europeans, specifically Germany and the European Central Bank (ECB), always had the ability to end the crisis. Putting up enough money in a regional bailout fund or allowing the ECB to fund governments (acting as a ‘lender of last resort’) would provide enough reassurance to the markets that no country would go bankrupt and therefore the crisis would end. It was referred to as the ‘big bazooka’ option, but Mr. Geithner had no such luck in convincing the Europeans to act quickly, largely due to German resistance.

The Europeans arrived at the G7 meeting in the remote Arctic Canadian city of Iqaluit wanting “to teach the Greeks a lesson” and “crush them,” explained Mr. Geithner. The Treasury Secretary warned them, “You can put your foot on the neck of those guys if that’s what you want to do,” but they still had to take action to reassure markets that the crisis would not spread to other countries, or threaten the euro itself. “I thought it was just inconceivable to me they would let it get as bad as they ultimately did,” said Mr. Geithner.

As the United States and the rest of the world would learn, the European strategy for the debt crisis that began in Greece and spread across the eurozone would be dictated by Germany, “the undisputed dominant power in Europe.” More than five years later, the Americans are still pressuring the Europeans to resolve their debt crisis problems, but to little effect. The stakes are now even higher as the U.S. fears the possibility of losing Greece to Russia, a conflict in which Germany is increasingly involved.

The Americans would attempt to influence Europe’s crisis through extensive contact between Mr. Geithner and Mr. Schauble at the German Finance Ministry, Mario Draghi at the ECB, and Christine Lagarde at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Americans knew that for anything to get done in Europe, you needed the Germans and the central bankers on board. The U.S. spy agency, the NSA, was even wiretapping the phone calls of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, top officials of the Finance Ministry and the ECB, with a particular interest in economic issues and Greece.

Germany’s political strategy was to allow the debt crisis to spread, creating the pressure required to force eurozone nations to accept German demands of restructuring their economies in return for financial aid from the EU. The German magazine Der Spiegel described Frau Merkel’s overall European strategy: “the aim was to solve the debt crisis in a step-by-step fashion.”

“If the euro fails, then Europe fails,” said the Chancellor in May of 2010, shortly after the first Greek bailout program was agreed. “The euro is in danger. If we do not avert this danger, then the consequences for Europe are incalculable and then the consequences beyond Europe are incalculable.” Merkel worked closely with Mr. Schauble at the Finance Ministry and her Minister of Economics, Rainer Brüderle, to write a draft proposal outlining the changes Germany wanted in the European Union.

The German publication Der Spiegel was leaked a copy of the draft, and concluded: “Berlin is serious about taking the lead as the euro zone struggles with a suddenly weak currency.” Germany wanted a Europe where the European Commission had the power to suspend the voting rights of nations for violating the eurozone’s debt and spending laws, including plans for managing the bankruptcy of a member nation. “Europe,” said Angela Merkel, “needs a new culture of stability.” But that culture would be enforced through the destabilizing power of financial market crises.

The German bet was that the EU could outrun financial markets, using the crisis as an opportunity to advance fiscal and political integration and impose their demands upon the rest of Europe, while simultaneously preventing markets from creating a crisis so severe that it threatened the euro or the economies of the more powerful nations. Without the pressure of financial markets, the EU could not force its member nations to restructure their economies and societies. Chancellor Merkel would frequently describe the European debt crisis to her colleagues as a “poker game” between financial markets and politicians. The first to flinch would lose.

In 2011, Bloomberg noted that Merkel was “turning Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis into an opportunity to reshape the euro region in Germany’s image,” concluding that she had “pulled ahead for now in her battle to restore policy makers’ mastery over the market.” A biographer of Merkel explained, “It’s policy by trial and error.”

Merkel’s powerful Finance Minister, Mr. Schauble, was one of the chief architects of the German strategy for Europe’s crisis. In March of 2010, he wrote in the Financial Times that, “from Germany’s perspective, European integration, monetary union and the euro are the only choice.” But aid comes with strings attached and harsh penalties for violations. “It must, on principle, still be possible for a state to go bankrupt,” wrote Mr. Schauble. “Facing an unpleasant reality could be the better option in certain conditions.”

The German minister believed “the financial crisis in the eurozone is not just a threat, but an opportunity,” as markets would “force the most debt-laden members of the 17-nation currency union to curb their budget deficits and increase their competitiveness.” This would pressure governments to accept further integration into a “fiscal union” defined and shaped by Germany. “We need to take big steps to get that done,” Mr. Schauble said in 2011. “That is why crises are also opportunities. We can get things done that we could not do without the crisis.”

Financial markets were happy to oblige the German-EU strategy, as the crisis would force the reforms long demanded by banks as a solution to the irresponsible spending of governments: austerity and structural reform. From 2002 to 2012, Josef Ackermann led Germany’s largest bank, Deutsche Bank. In 2011, the New York Times described Ackermann as “the most powerful banker in Europe” and “possibly the most dangerous one, too,” standing “at the center of more concentric circles of power than any other banker on the Continent.”

When the financial crisis struck in 2008, Angela Merkel and Josef Ackermann established a close working relationship, though not without its ups and downs. “We have a cordial and professional relationship,” said Mr. Ackermann in 2011. The banker would advise Frau Merkel on her strategy through the financial and debt crises, also working closely with Jean-Claude Trichet, then-president of the ECB. From his “seat at the nexus of money and politics,” Ackermann was “helping to shape Europe’s economic and financial future.”

After he left Deutsche Bank in 2012, Ackermann delivered a speech to the U.S.-based think tank, the Atlantic Council, where he outlined Germany’s overall strategy for Europe’s crisis. When asked why Germany simply didn’t say that it would do whatever it took to protect the euro and eurozone nations from bankruptcy (thus ending the financial crisis), Ackermann explained that it was largely due to a “political tactical consideration.” While such an option would surely end the market panic and save the euro, it would be unacceptable to the German public, let alone the German parliament.

But another major problem, noted Mr. Ackermann, was that if Germany made such an announcement, other eurozone nations “would then say, well, why then go on with our austerity programs? Why go on with our reforms? We have what we need.” Thus, he said, “I think to keep the pressure up until the last minute is probably a – not a bad political solution.” However, “if it comes to the worst,” with the potential of a eurozone collapse, the banker had “no doubt” that Germany would come to the rescue.

If the eurozone collapsed, not only would an economic and financial contagion spread with drastic consequences for all its members and the world economy as a whole, but there was also a strong political element. “A fragmented Europe has no way for self-determination,” said Mr. Ackermann. “We will have to accept what the United States, China, India, Brazil and other countries will finally define for us.” But Germany was to define the future of Europe.

“My vision is political union,” said Chancellor Merkel in January of 2012. “Europe has to follow its own path. We need to get closer step by step, in all policy areas.” In the Chancellor’s Europe, Brussels (home of the European Commission) was to be given immense new powers over member nations. “In the course a long process,” she said, “we will transfer more powers to the Commission, which will then work as a European government.” Outlining the EU’s path to a federation of nations functioning like individual states within the U.S., Merkel said, “This could be the future shape of the European political union.” Further integration among eurozone nations was a major objective, she explained, “we need to give institutions more control rights and give them more teeth.”

As Chancellor Merkel and other German leaders would frequently remind the rest of Europe and the world, with 7% of the world population, 25% of global GDP and 50% of world social spending, Europe’s economic system was unsustainable and uncompetitive in a globalized economy. Germany’s vision for Europe was aimed at introducing “rules to force Europe’s economies to become more competitive.” But competitiveness was defined by Germany, and thus, “the rest of Europe needs to become more like Germany.”

Germany wanted Greece and the rest of Europe to impose ‘budgetary discipline’ through austerity measures: cutting public spending in order to reduce the debt. But these are painful and highly destructive policies that depress the economy, impoverish the population, destabilize the political system, undermine democracy and devastate the wider society. If you live in a country where the government funds healthcare, education, social services, welfare, pensions and anything that benefits the general population, under austerity measures, now you don’t! Not surprisingly, austerity is always unpopular with the people who are forced to live through it.

Only in times of crisis can austerity be pushed through. When financial markets threaten to cut a country off from its sources of funding, it must to turn to larger nations and international organizations for financial aid. “The current strategy of the EU,” wrote Wolfgang Münchau in a November 2009 article for the Financial Times, “is to raise the political pressure – perhaps even provoke a political crisis – with the strategic objective that the Greek government might eventually relent.” And the government would have to relent to the diktats of Germany and “the Troika”: the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who collectively managed Europe’s bailout programs.

In early 2010, European banks held more than 141 billion euros of Greek debt, with the largest share being held by French and German banks. The first bailout largely went to bailout these very banks. Karl Otto Pohl, the former President of the German Bundesbank noted back in 2010 that the Greek bailout was about “rescuing the banks and the rich Greeks,” especially German and French banks. As the Troika bailed out the banks, these institutions took on the Greek debt.

The second bailout organized by the Troika largely went to paying interest on Greek debt owed to the Troika. Thomas Mayer, a senior adviser to Deutsche Bank, said, “the troika is paying themselves.” Between May 2010 and May 2012, Greece had received roughly $177 billion in bailouts from the Troika. A total of two-thirds of that amount went to payoff bondholders (banks and rich Greeks), while the remaining third was left to finance government operations.

In 2015, a study by the Jubilee Debt Campaign noted that of the total 252 billion euros in bailouts for Greece over the previous five years, over 90% ultimately went “to bail out European financial institutions,” leaving less than 10% for anything else. At the time of the first bailout in 2010, Greece had a debt-to-GDP ratio of roughly 130%. As a result of the bailouts and austerity, the debt ratio has risen to 177% of GDP at the beginning of 2015. Thus, after more than five years of supposed efforts to reduce its debt, that debt has grown substantially.

But the banks are no longer the largest holders of Greek debt. Today, the Troika owns 78% of the 317 billion euro Greek debt. Greece now owes the IMF, ECB, and eurozone governments a total of 242.8 billion euros, with the largest single holder being Germany with more than 57 billion euros in Greek debt. And now the Troika wants to be paid back. “In short,” wrote Simon Wren-Lewis in the New Statesman, “it needs money from the Troika to repay the Troika.”

The effects on Greece of more than five years of living under the domination of Germany and the Troika have been palpable. Greece is a ruined economic colony of the European Union. Austerity in Greece led to the creation of “a new class of urban poor” with more than 20,000 people being made homeless over the course of 2011, and dozens of soup kitchens and charities opening up to attempt to address the growing social and human crisis.

As austerity continued to collapse the economy, unemployment and poverty soared. By 2013, more than 27% of Greeks were unemployed and 10% of school-age children were going hungry. Between 2008 and 2013, the Greek government cut 40% of its budget, healthcare costs soared, tens of thousands of doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers were fired, drug costs rose, as did drug use with HIV infections doubling and a malaria outbreak was reported for the first time since the 1970s, while suicide rates increased by 60%.

By early 2014, more than a million Greeks were left without access to healthcare, accompanied by rising infant mortality rates. A charity director in Athens noted that, “Alcoholism, drug abuse and psychiatric problems are on the rise and more and more children are being abandoned on the streets.” By 2015, roughly 40% of children in Greece lived under the poverty line while the richest Greeks, responsible for roughly 80% of the tax debt owed to the government, were hiding tens of billions of euros in offshore accounts.

Unemployment has grown to 26% (and over 50% for youth), wages dropped by 33%, pensions were cut by 45%, and 40% of retired Greeks now live below the poverty line. Just prior to the Greek elections that brought his party to power in January of 2015, Alexis Tsipras wrote in the Financial Times that, “This is a humanitarian crisis.” Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning former chief economist of the World Bank, wrote in late June of 2015 that, “I can think of no depression, ever, that has been so deliberate and had such catastrophic consequences.”

Thus, the German-Troika strategy of prolonging the debt crisis to reshape Europe has resulted in a human, social and political crisis that threatens the future of democracy in Europe itself. Germany has, in effect, established an economic empire over Europe, largely operating through the Troika institutions, all of which are unaccountable technocratic tyrannies.

The first pillar of the Troika is the International Monetary Fund (IMF), based in Washington, D.C., just a few short blocks down the road from the White House and U.S. Treasury Department. The United States is the largest single shareholder in the IMF, and the only one of its 188 member nations with veto power over major Fund decisions. The Financial Times referred to the IMF as “a tool of US global financial power.”

In 1977, U.S. Treasury Secretary Michael Blumenthal described the IMF as “a kind of whipping boy” in a memo to President Carter. In return for a loan to a country in crisis, the Fund would demand harsh austerity measures and other ‘structural reforms’ designed to restructure the economy along the lines desired by Washington. “If we didn’t have the IMF,” wrote Blumenthal, “we would have to invent another institution to perform this function.”

In the early 1990s, the IMF was managing ‘programs’ in over 50 countries around the world, and was “long been demonized as an all-powerful, behind-the-scenes puppeteer for the third world,” noted the New York Times. In 1992, the Financial Times noted that the fall of the Soviet Union “left the IMF and G7 to rule the world and create a new imperial age.” Operating through the Troika, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde took a “tough love” approach to Greece, with the Fund being referred to as “the toughest” of the three institutions.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is another pillar of the Troika, run by unelected central bankers responsible for managing the monetary union, with its headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, home to the German central bank (the Bundesbank) and Germany’s large financial sector. Throughout the crisis, Brussels has pushed to give the ECB more powers, specifically to oversee the formation and management of a single ‘banking union’ for the EU. The ECB has, in turn, advocated for more power to be given to Brussels.

The ECB played a central role in the debt crisis, pushing Greece into a deep crisis in late 2009, making “an example” of the country for the rest of Europe, blackmailing Ireland into accepting a Troika bailout program, then blackmailing Portugal into doing the same, and putting political pressure on Italy and Spain to implement austerity measures.

In late 2014, ECB President Mario Draghi rebooted efforts to advance integration of the economic and monetary union. When the anti-austerity Syriza government came to power in Greece in early 2015, the ECB was placed to be “the ultimate power broker” in negotiations between the country and its creditors. A member of the central bank’s executive board welcomed the democratic victory in Greece by warning, “Greece has to pay, those are the rules of the European game.”

The ECB took a hardline approach to dealing with Greece, increasing the pressure on Athens to reach a deal with its creditors, with The Economist referring to the central bank as “the enforcer.” This unelected and democratically unaccountable institution holds immense, undeniable power in Europe.

The European Commission is the third pillar of the Troika based in Brussels, functioning as the executive branch of the European Union overseeing a vast bureaucracy of unelected officials with responsibility for managing the union. Throughout the crisis, the Commission has been given sweeping new powers over economic and spending policies and priorities of member nations.

Brussels was to be given the centralized power to approve and reject national budgets of eurozone nations, establishing a technocrat-run ‘fiscal union’ to match the ECB’s role in managing the monetary union. EU institutions would have “more powers to serve like a finance ministry” for all the nations of the eurozone, potentially with its own finance minister, “who would have a veto against national budgets and would have to approve levels of new borrowing,” said Mr. Schauble, the German Finance Minister.

In 2007, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso mused aloud during a press conference. “Sometimes I like to compare the E.U. as a creation to the organisation of empires,” he said. “We have the dimension of Empire but there is a great difference. Empires were usually made with force with a centre imposing diktat, a will on the others. Now what we have is the first non-Imperial empire.” Eight years later, it is clear that the EU is officially an imperial empire, using bailouts not bombs, choosing the Troika over tanks, Brussels over bullets, austerity instead of armies, advocating for consolidation instead of colonization.

Philippe Legrain, a British political economist, author, and adviser to President Barroso from 2011 to 2013 wrote that the debt crisis “divided the euro zone into creditor nations and debtor ones,” and the EU’s institutions “have become instruments for creditors to impose their will on debtors, subordinating Europe’s southern ‘periphery’ to the northern ‘core’ in a quasi-colonial relationship. Berlin and Brussels now have a vested interest to entrench this system rather than cede power and admit to mistakes.”

“In general,” wrote Gideon Rachman in the Financial Times in 2007, “the [European] Union has progressed fastest when far-reaching deals have been agreed by technocrats and politicians – and then pushed through without direct reference to the voters. International governance tends to be effective,” he concluded, “only when it is anti-democratic.”

Perhaps the greatest lesson of the past five years of crisis is that in a Europe under the rule of Germany and the Troika, the people and democracy suffer most. For democracy to survive in Europe, the technocratic tyranny of the Troika and debt-based domination of Germany must be challenged. Democracy is too important to be sacrificed at the altar of austerity. It is any wonder why Greeks voted ‘no’ to the status quo?

Andrew Gavin Marshall is a freelance researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada.

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Global Power Project: Bilderberg and the Global Financial Mafia

Global Power Project: Bilderberg and the Global Financial Mafia

By: Andrew Gavin Marshall

11 December 2014

Originally posted at Occupy.com

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This is the fourth installment in a series that examines the activities and individuals driving the Bilderberg Group. Read the first partsecond part and third part.

In the previous Bilderberg article, I wrote that financial markets were “a type of global parasite with unprecedented power capable of determining the fate of nations and peoples.” In truth, the “super-entity” known as financial market power functions like a cartel, or an organized criminal network: a Mafia. This installment examines some of the members of the global financial mafia who are present at Bilderberg meetings and thus are given unparalleled access to political leaders behind closed doors.

At Bilderberg meetings, participants frequently include leading officials and advisers to banks like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and AXA, among others. The participation of leaders and advisers to these and other large financial institutions provides world leaders with direct, “private” access to some of the leading voices at the core of global financial markets. The interests and actions of financial markets can thus be articulated to the leaders of powerful political, media, military, intelligence and technocratic institutions. The “invisible hand” may voice where and when it might smack.

Through Bilderberg, leaders in financial markets are given an inside look at, and access to, those who shape and wield foreign and economic policy in the world’s most powerful nations. Their interests become a part of that process, just as geopolitical interests are integrated into the actions of financial markets. While financial markets command no armies, they determine the flow and functions of money upon which all armies are dependent, and to which nations are obedient. Bilderberg brings these institutions and individuals together for an off-the-record, private chat about global affairs and policy.

Martin Feldstein, who serves on the International Council of JPMorgan Chase, attended all but one Bilderberg meeting between 2010 and 2014. Feldstein is one of the most influential American economists over the past several decades, serving as a professor at Harvard, a member of the Group of Thirty, the Trilateral Commission, the International Advisory Board of the National Bank of Kuwait, and the Council on Foreign Relations. He advised President George W. Bush as a member of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board between 2007 and 2009, a position in which he was given access to top-secret intelligence information. He had previously served as one of Ronald Reagan’s chief economic advisers, and President Obama appointed him in 2009 to serve on the Economic Recovery Advisory Board, advising on how to manage the “recovery” following the financial crisis.

Feldstein’s views are well known. Relating to Europe’s debt crisis, for which Bilderberg meetings hold a great deal of significance, Feldstein wrote in the Financial Times in July of 2013 that governments that bowed to “popular political pressure” to lessen the brutal austerity measures widely seen as the cause of mass unemployment, poverty and social unrest, were at risk of facing rising interest rates and “a new fiscal crisis.”

In other words, if governments bend to the will of the people, financial markets will seek to bend them back. A “fiscal crisis” only takes place when creditors (financial markets) decide to stop funding the government. In Europe, nations are largely dependent upon banks to provide them with credit to function. Thus, if the heads of financial markets don’t like the policies of nations, they can cut off their funding, creating a major crisis and even collapsing the government. This leverage forces nations to follow policies favored by financial markets, such as austerity and various other “structural reforms.” Meanwhile, the policies combine to impoverish the population, enrich the elite, allow for mass exploitation of resources and labor, and consolidate control of the economy into the hands of relatively few, large global banks and corporations.

Another key Bilderberg member and leading figure in financial markets is Josef Ackermann, whom I have written about previously. Ackermann has been one of Europe’s most powerful bankers over the past decade, as the CEO of Deutsche Bank and a major power player throughout the debt crisis holding key leadership positions in large industry associations such as the Institute for International Finance (IIF).

The current chairman of the Bilderberg Group, Henri de Castries, is chairman and CEO of the French insurance giant, AXA, one of the top companies on the Swiss study’s list of the “super-entity” of banks and insurance giants. De Castries is also a member of the European Financial Services Round Table (EFR), a lobby group made up of the chairmen and CEOs of Europe’s largest financial institutions.

In 2012, the Financial Times referred to Henri de Castries as one of France’s “best known captains of industry,” having served as an unofficial adviser to former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and been school classmates with the current President Francois Hollande. De Castries is considered “as establishment as you can get in France.”

In the wake of the European debt crisis, Henri de Castries supported the policies of austerity and structural reform, warning in 2012 that the crisis would continue for some time. He suggested that governments needed to learn how to “spend less” and the only way to “win back our competitiveness” was “through business investment and not by public spending,” adding: “What we need is a profound cultural change.”

Marcus Agius, a member of Bilderberg’s steering committee, is the chairman of PA Consulting, having previously served as the chairman of Barclays, the bank listed in the number one spot on the list compiled by the Swiss study. As chair of Barclays between 2007 and 2012, Agius also served as chairman of the British Bankers Association, was a director of the BBC from 2006 to 2013, and served as a Business Ambassador of the Trade and Investment Ministry of the British government. Agius also married the daughter of Edmund de Rothschild, bringing him into the family of one of the most prestigious and influential financial dynasties in the world.

Agius resigned from Barclays in 2012 as a result of the massive global financial fraud revealed by the Libor rate scandal, whereby some of the world’s largest banks – including Barclays – formed a cartel at the British Bankers Association to manipulate the interest rate at which banks lend to each other, influencing prices throughout the global economy. Despite the resulting scandal for Agius and others, which forced resignations in 2012, he stayed on the bank’s payroll as an adviser until March of 2014, a full 20 months following his official resignation.

Douglas J. Flint, who is chairman of HSBC, has attended every Bilderberg meeting since 2011. He is also chairman of the Institute of International Finance (IIF), and is a member of the European Financial Services Round Table (EFR), the Financial Services Forum, the International Monetary Conference (IMC), and serves on advisory boards to the Mayors of Shanghai and Beijing.

W. Edmund Clark, the chair of one of Canada’s largest banks, TD Bank, has attended every Bilderberg meeting since 2010.

Peter Sutherland has been a long-time Bilderberg participant, and serves as the chairman of Goldman Sachs International.

Robert Zoellick, former World Bank president and Bilderberg participant at every meeting between 2010 and 2014, now serves as the chairman of the Board of International Advisers of Goldman Sachs.

Peter R. Orszag, a Vice Chairman at Citigroup, attended Bilderberg meetings between 2010 and 2012.

The Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs, J. Michael Evans, attended Bilderberg meetings in 2012 and 2013.

This is but a small sampling of some of the names of the leaders of financial institutions represented at Bilderberg meetings over the past few years. Apart from leading individual banks and financial institutions, many of the financiers who attend Bilderberg meetings simultaneously hold leadership positions within other large banking lobby groups, industry associations, and major international conferences.

For example, Bilderberg members and participants frequently hold simultaneous leadership positions at the Institute of International Finance (IIF), the International Monetary Conference (IMC), and the Group of Thirty (G30), all of which have been the focus of previous installments of the Global Power Project, as they have been profoundly influential organizations in their own right. The fact that so many leading figures in those organizations are leaders and participants in Bilderberg meetings lends extra weight to the importance of the meetings.

Roger Altman, a Bilderberg steering committee member and head of a large investment bank, wrote in a May 2013 article in the Financial Times that financial markets in the 21st century were “much more powerful than any government leader,” noting that the spread of austerity across Europe was not driven by Angela Merkel of Germany or other political leaders, but rather, by “private lenders… who declined to finance further borrowing by those countries,” and thus, “markets triggered the Eurozone crisis, not politicians.”

The views and the desires of bankers and financiers are important – and influential – precisely because if these individuals don’t get what they want, they wield the power in numbers on screens that can force the hands of even the most powerful governments and politicians. As such, the favored policies of bankers frequently become the implemented policies of states.

Andrew Gavin Marshall is a freelance writer and researcher based in Montreal, Canada. 

Global Power Project: Central Bankers and the Institute of International Finance, Part 3

Global Power Project: Central Bankers and the Institute of International Finance, Part 3

By: Andrew Gavin Marshall

Originally posted at Occupy.com

Left to right: Then-Managing Director of the IIF Charles Dallara, then-President of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet, then-Governor of the Bank of Canada and Chairman of the Financial Stability Board Mark Carney, then-CEO of Deutsche Bank and Chairman of the IIF Josef Ackermann

Left to right: Then-Managing Director of the IIF Charles Dallara, then-President of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet, then-Governor of the Bank of Canada and Chairman of the Financial Stability Board Mark Carney, then-CEO of Deutsche Bank and Chairman of the IIF Josef Ackermann

In Part 1 of the Global Power Project exposé on the Institute of International Finance, I examined the origins and evolution of an organization representing the interests of global banks. In Part 2, I looked at the role played by the IIF and its leadership during the European debt crisis. In this third and final part in the series, I examine the relationship between the IIF and global central bankers.

Since the early 1990s, the IIF has been heavily involved working with central bankers, particularly through the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, Switzerland, where private bankers have been granted a powerful position determining their own regulations in international financial markets. The IIF has been central throughout the reform of Basel I and the entire process of both Basel II and Basel III – collectively known as the Basel Accords – which were officially organized through the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), run out of the BIS.

From 1999 to 2004, the Basel Committee organized to impose a new set of global banking regulations, called Basel II. The head of the Basel Committee at the time was William McDonough, then the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and a former Vice Chairman at the First National Bank of Chicago. He was also a founding member of the IIF at the 1982 Ditchley Conference, and remained a member on the board of the IIF from 1984 until 1990.

McDonough later explained: “Without the IIF it would have been far more difficult for regulators, such as the Basel Committee, to fully understand the critical issues that confronted the banks. The meetings with the IIF were an excellent sounding board – we trusted them (the banks) and they trusted us (the regulators).”

At the start of the Basel II process in 1999, the IIF created a special group, the Steering Committee on Regulatory Capital, which was to engage with the Basel Committee on behalf of the global banking industry. The papers put forward by the Steering Committee were ultimately accepted and implemented by the Basel Committee in the final accord, Basel II, essentially allowing the banks to regulate themselves.

The Chair of the Steering Committee, Daniel Bouton, who was also chairman and CEO of the French bank, Société Générale, later commented that, “It was of the utmost importance to try to have a coordinated view of the global banking industry in order to be able to discuss with the Basel Committee the most important questions. In fact, the IIF has been the single platform to forge a consensus between global banks about the key principles. And so it has played a very important part in discussions with the Basel Committee.”

But the relationship between the IIF and central bankers goes beyond the timid attempts at “regulation” on the part of global central banks. In fact, central bankers traverse through the revolving door of financial markets: from the mega-banks into the central banks.

At the mega-banks, the bankers’ job is to maximize profits through financial markets. At central banks, their job is to protect the banks through management of financial markets. It is a relationship of mutual interest, each side in need of the other, and together, with unprecedented power, central bankers and the “too-big-to-fail” mega-banks have become financial institutions that dominate the global economy.

Indeed, the Institute of International Finance has a number of boards which meet regularly that include several central bank chiefs. Notably, there is the IIF’s Group of Trustees of the Principles, with four co-chairs. One of the co-chairs is Agustin Guillermo Carstens, the Governor of the Bank of Mexico, who also sits on the board of directors of the Bank for International Settlements. In addition he is a member of the Steering Committee of the G20 Financial Stability Board (FSB), a group of central bank chiefs and finance ministers from the G20 nations who meet alongside leaders of the BIS, European Central Bank, European Commission, IMF, World Bank and the OECD to determine the world’s response to the recent global financial and economic crises.

The other co-chairs of the IIF’s Group of Trustees include: Christian Noyer, the Governor of the Bank of France (from 2003 to the present) and chairman of the Bank for International Settlements (from 2010 to the present); Zhour Xiaochuan, the Governor of the People’s Bank of China (2002 to the present) and a member of the board of directors of the BIS, as well as chairman of the Chinese Monetary Policy Committee and Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC); and Toshihiko Fukui, former Governor of the Bank of Japan from 2003 to 2008, current president of the Canon Institute for Global Studies, and a former member of the board of the BIS.

Another notable member of the Group of Trustees is Jaime Caruana, the General Manager of the BIS (from 2009 to the present), former Governor of the Bank of Spain, former member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB), former Chairman of the Basel Committee, and current member of the G20 Financial Stability Board (FSB). Caruana is also a member of the Group of Thirty, a major think tank bringing together finance chiefs, central bankers and private bankers.

Also on the list is Jean-Claude Trichet, the former President of the European Central Bank from 2003-2011, current chairman of the Group of Thirty, European Chairman of the Trilateral Commission, Chairman of the board of directors of the European think tank BRUEGEL, member of the board of directors of EADS, former president of the Global Economy Meeting of Central Bank Governors at the BIS, former member of the board at the BIS, and current member on the board of the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics, as well as a member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group.

Left to right: IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, then-President of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet, then-CEO of Deutsche Bank and Chairman of the IIF Josef Ackermann

Left to right: IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, then-President of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet, then-CEO of Deutsche Bank and Chairman of the IIF Josef Ackermann

Other members of the Group of Trustees include current or former top officials from the Bank of Canada, the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Bank of Italy, the Spanish Ministry of Finance, the IMF, Bank of France, Bank of Brazil, Bank of Chile, Bank of Iceland, German Finance Ministry, the European Central Bank, the World Bank, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), South African Ministry of Finance, Nigerian Ministry of Finance, and the Turkish Ministry of Finance, among many others.

The Group of Trustees doesn’t merely consist of so-called “public officials,” but also many private bankers and other prominent global power players including top officials from Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Credit Suisse, Commerzbank, Citigroup and others.

Another noteworthy member of the Group of Trustees of the IIF is Paul Volcker, the former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 1979 to 1987, who was previously a chief economist at Chase Manhattan Bank (then under the leadership of David Rockefeller) as well as a former Treasury official and former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Volcker has since been Chairman of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board from 2009 to 2011, a member of the board of directors of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a member of the Executive Committee of the Trilateral Commission, Chairman Emeritus of the Group of Thirty, and a participant at Bilderberg Meetings.

Not only are central bankers, finance ministers and other “public officials” members of various boards at the IIF, but they also attend regular meetings hosted by the IIF, bringing them into consistent, close contact with the leading figures of the world’s largest financial institutions (aka: their real constituents). With the emerging financial crisis in 2007, the IIF hosted a meeting in Washington, DC, over the course of a weekend that they spent “lavishing central bankers and policymakers with praise, awards and banquets,” and as the Financial Times reported, “a genuine warmth appears to have developed between many senior bankers and policymakers.”

At the 2010 annual meeting of the IIF, in the midst of the exploding European debt crisis, notable invited guest speakers included the Greek Finance Minister as well as Olli Rehn, the European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs. In his speech, Rehn made clear that his objective, and that of the European Commission, was to enforce austerity measures and “bold structural reforms,” particularly in “labor and product markets.”

At the 2011 annual meeting of the IIF, guest speakers included the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble alongside the Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, who spoke of the “political and social cost” of the austerity measures in Greece, enforced under the pressure of financial markets, which he claimed were “an important step that will… convince the markets that the Euro Area can indeed protect itself and its member states.”

Also in attendance at the same IIF meeting was Mark Carney, then the Governor of the Bank of Canada, a board member at the BIS, Chairman of the Committee on the Global Financial System at the BIS, incoming Chairman of the Financial Stability Board (FSB), and now also Governor of the Bank of England. While Carney is often praised for being unafraid to confront bankers, he told the annual meeting that “financial institutions and markets should play critical and complimentary roles in supporting long-term economic prosperity,” even while acknowledging that the latest Basel III banking “regulations” (which he was pivotal in forming) would have little effect in making financial markets safer.

At the 2011 meeting, a special tribute was paid to the outgoing president of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, who had done so much to protect financial markets and banks at the expense of the living standards of the EU general population. Special remarks and presentations in honor of Trichet were delivered by Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann, IIF Managing Director Charles Dallara, Paul Volcker and Mark Carney. Trichet was commended for two “resolutions,” one of which was signed by the finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20 nations, as well as the leaders of the World Bank and IMF (with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde present at the IIF meeting as well), who praised Trichet for his “steadfast leadership in encouraging the governments of Europe to strengthen economic governance and fiscal discipline in the Euro Area,” as well as for “his leading role among global central bank governors in Basel” at the Bank for International Settlements.

Another “resolution” delivered in honor of Trichet was signed by the board of directors of the IIF who praised him “for his many contributions over the past decades to the stability and soundness of the international financial system and the global economy” – which, if anything, Europe’s crisis in 2011 stood as a profound testament against – and they also thanked Trichet for his “laudable improvements to global financial markets” and for being “a tremendous force behind the development of market-based approaches to debt crisis prevention and resolution.”

It is cause for concern when the world’s biggest bankers sit on the same boards and invite the major regulators, central bank chiefs and finance ministers to their meetings, gathering up awards and praise while keeping those parties firmly entrenched within their sphere of influence. The relationship between private banks and central banks is a complex one that is mired in overlap, mutual interests and mutual benefits: a system in which more profit and power is continually bestowed on ever fewer global banking chiefs and technocrats who are unelected, unaccountable and unapproachable – except, of course, to other members of the Institute of International Finance.

Andrew Gavin Marshall is a 26-year old researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada. He is Project Manager of The People’s Book Project, chair of the Geopolitics Division of The Hampton Institute, research director for Occupy.com’s Global Power Project, and hosts a weekly podcast show with BoilingFrogsPost.

Global Power Project: Connecting Josef Ackermann, the Institute of International Finance and the Euro Debt Crisis

Global Power Project: Connecting Josef Ackermann, the Institute of International Finance and the Euro Debt Crisis

By: Andrew Gavin Marshall

Originally posted at Occupy.com

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In Part 1 of a Global Power Project exposé on the Institute of International Finance (IIF), I examined the founding the institute as a response by leading world banks to organize and manage their interests in relation to the 1980s debt crisis. When the European debt crisis hit headlines in 2010, the IIF was again on the scene and playing a major part. At the center was the CEO of Deutsche Bank, Josef Ackermann.

Josef Ackermann served as CEO of Deutsche Bank from 2002 to 2012, and over the same period served as Chairman of the IIF. Ackermann was also, and still remains, a member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group and continues to serve on the IIF’s Group of Trustees, a board which includes a number of prominent central bankers including Christian Noyer, the Governor of the Bank of France and Chairman of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS); Jamie Caruana, the General Manager of the BIS; and Jean-Claude Trichet, who was the president of the European Central Bank from 2003 to 2011.

During the early stages of the financial crisis, Ackermann served as an “unofficial adviser” to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her then-Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck. In December of 2009, Ackermann was speaking at a summit in Berlin attended by Chancellor Merkel and several other German cabinet ministers, corporate CEOs and others, where he explained that while the financial crisis had largely been “abated,” many “time bombs” remained — in particular, Greece, which he referred to as the “problem child” of Europe. Ackermann blamed the debt crisis on people having “lived beyond their means for years, if not decades,” warning that pensions and health care systems would “compound the problem” in the future.

The Financial Times has referred to Ackermann as a “reluctant power broker” who “has the ear of Angela Merkel, Europe’s most powerful politician.” Ackermann not only became one of the most influential bankers in the world, but a major political figure as well. As he himself explained: “Financial markets now are very political – political considerations have to play an important role.” In 2011, Ackermann warned that in terms of Europe’s crisis, “I don’t see a quick economic recovery, so we will have a longer time of somewhat lower growth – certainly three to five years.”

In October of 2011, Ackermann delivered a speech in which he said that Europe had “now entered a period of deleveraging” which “will inevitably entail a long period of austerity as governments, households and firms raise their savings.” At an economic forum in December of 2011, Josef Ackermann stated that Europe had to get its debt under control, “even at the cost of national sovereignty,” suggesting that neither “the pressure of financial markets” nor austerity measures “threaten democracy.” The real threat to democracy, according to Ackermann, was the “excessive debt” of European states.

In 2011, France and Germany agreed to negotiate directly with the “private sector” in the next planned Greek bailout agreement. The lead negotiator for the banks was the Institute of International Finance, which was brought in to discuss the potential for the banks to take a slight loss on their holdings of Greek debt. Ackermann was to be one of the lead negotiators for the IIF (also representing Deutsche Bank,a major private holder of Greek debt).

The Institute of International Finance under Ackermann’s chairmanship in turn became directly involved in major European summits, providing key input and suggestions that led to the Greek bailout. In July of 2011, the IIF warned the Eurozone countries that they would have to conclude a bailout agreement for Greece in order to avoid financial markets “spinning out of control.” The IIF delivered these warnings in a report delivered directly to European finance ministers, stating: “It is essential that euro area member states and the IMF act in the coming days to avoid market developments spinning out of control and risk contagion accelerating.”

The IIF undertook talks with Greek political leaders as well as EU officials, the European Central Bank and the IMF, with the organization noting that its managing director Charles Dallara and an IFF team “had extensive meetings with very senior European government officials over several weeks.” The three main IFF officials involved in discussions and negotiations were Charles Dallara (managing director from 1993-2013), Ackermann and Baudouin Prot, the Chairman of BNP Paribas.

According to one report, Ackermann even attended a meeting of the European Council during the EU summit to discuss the Greek bailout. Dallara was reported to have engaged in a conference call with top EU officials, including the Eurogroup chair Jean-Claude Juncker and the European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Olli Rehn. Dallara also reportedly met with European Council President Herman van Rompuy, then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel.

Discussions continued over the following months with little resolution. In an October meeting, EU officials reportedly hit a wall, at which point they summoned Dallara as the representative of the banks to the meeting in order “to break the deadlock.” Dallara met with Sarkozy and Merkel and other leading EU officials. While a general agreement was reached with the banks, negotiations over the technicalities continued into 2012, taking place between the Greek government, the EU, IMF and the IIF.

Ackermann explained that the banks were being “extremely generous” and then warned that failure to agree on a new program would open“a new Pandora’s box” for the debt crisis. Ackermann spoke at the World Economic Forum where he said that any agreement would have to force Greece to adhere to “harsh new austerity measures,” including cuts to wages and pensions, as well as making “the labor market more flexible.”

The final agreement had the banks holding Greek debt to take a 50% “loss” of their holdings of that debt, which would be done through a “bond swap” where they were to exchange their current junk status Greek debt for long-term Greek government bonds (debt) with a higher rating. In other words, the much-touted “write off,” or “loss,” for banks holding Greek debt amounted to a fancy financial method of kicking the can down the road.

After leaving his position as Chairman and CEO of Deutsche Bank as well as Chairman of the IIF, Ackermann spoke at the Atlantic Council, a U.S. think tank where he stated that elections in Greece were “not necessary” and “a big mistake.” What was necessary, he said, was “to make the funding of the banking system more certain,” and claimed it would require between 1 and 2 trillion euros. The European Stability Mechanism’s (ESM) ability to provide banks with $1 trillion was, according to Ackermann, “sufficient,” but he added, “we have to do more” and “we should maintain the pressure on the countries to do the necessary structural reforms and the necessary financial reforms to reduce the debt burden.” However, he noted, “if it comes to the worst,” in terms of a potential collapse of the Eurozone, “everything will be done to bail the Eurozone out.”

When Ackermann was asked why Germany did not simply come out and say that it would guarantee bank debts in the Eurozone, he explained that “it would be very difficult to get parliamentary approval for such behavior or attitude. People would not support it at all.” Further, if Germany did publicly state that it would guarantee bailouts for banks, many countries in the Eurozone would then ask, “Well, why then go on with our austerity programs? Why go on with our reforms? We have what we need.” Thus, Germany was not saying so publicly, based on what Ackermann called “political tactical consideration,” adding: “I think to keep the pressure up until the last minute is probably… not a bad political solution.”

Ackermann has never lacked as a source for controversy. He has been referred to as “a global banker and political power broker” by one financial analyst, and Simon Johnson, former Chief Economist at the IMF, referred to him as “one of the most dangerous bank managers” in the world whose advice not just to Germany and Greece but also to Belgium and Switzerland “shaped talks to bail out German lenders [banks], reduce Greece’s debt, leverage the euro-area’s rescue fund and influence regulation.” Ackermann himself stated, “Financial markets have become highly political over the past years… Politics and finance will become even more intertwined in the future. Accordingly, bankers have to think and act more politically as well.” One financial analyst stated: “He’s the most influential banker in the euro zone.” A German economics professor noted, “Deutsche Bank and its CEO are the target of all the people who feel our social or economic system is unfair or wrong.”

In 2011, Ackermann was targeted by an Italian anarchist group that claimed responsibility for sending a letter bomb to the Deutsche Bank CEO, though it was intercepted by police. When confronted by Occupy protesters during a speech he gave in November of 2011, Ackermann touted his “environmental” credentials, explaining that the UN Secretary General had referred to him as a “visionary.”

When Ackermann left Deutsche Bank and the IIF, he did not leave the world of financial and political power. He continued holding positions as a member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group; Vice Chairman of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum; and as a member of the Group of Trustees of the Principles for the Institute of International Finance. On top of that, he became a board member of Investor AB, Siemens AG, and Royal Dutch Shell, as well as being appointed Chairman of Zurich Insurance Group. Ackermann also sits on the international advisory boards of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, the National Bank of Kuwait, and Akbank, Turkey’s largest bank, as well as sitting on the boards of a number of other corporate and financial institutions.

When Ackermann left his position as CEO of Deutsche Bank and Chairman of the IIF, he was replaced at the IIF by Douglas Flint, the chairman of HSBC Holdings, who also sits on the board of the IIF. Flint is a member of the Mayor of Beijing’s International Business Leaders’ Advisory Council, a member of the Mayor of Shanghai’s International Business Leaders’ Advisory Council, a member of the International Advisory Board of the China Europe International Business School, a former director of BP (from 2005-2011), a participant in Bilderberg meetings (including for the years 2011-2013), a member of the European Financial Services Round Table (a group of CEOs and chairmen from Europe’s top banks), a member of the Financial Services Forum, a member of the European Banking Group (a group of over ten top European bank leaders formed to directly lobby the EU on “regulation” of the financial industry), and a member of the International Monetary Conference (IMC), an annual conference of private bankers formed to “compliment” the annual IMF meetings.

Whether through the leadership of Josef Ackermann, or now under the chairmanship of Douglas Flint, the IIF has been and will remain a major global player within the debt crisis and future financial crises, representing the organized interests of the financial markets. It’s no surprise, then, that even the Financial Times noted in 2010 that, three years after the financial crisis began, “the markets (and the bankers) still rule.”

Or as former Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman noted, in 2011, that financial markets had become “a global supra-government” that “oust entrenched regimes… force austerity, banking bail-outs and other major policy changes,” whose “influence dwarfs multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund” as “they have become the most powerful force on earth.”

We need look no further than the Institute of International Finance to see just how “the most powerful force on earth” is organized.

zurich-insurance-chairman-resigns-over-the-suicide-of-its-cfo

Andrew Gavin Marshall is a 26-year old researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada. He is Project Manager of The People’s Book Project, chair of the Geopolitics Division of The Hampton Institute, research director for Occupy.com’s Global Power Project, and hosts a weekly podcast show with BoilingFrogsPost.

The Bilderberg Plan for 2009: Remaking the Global Political Economy

The Bilderberg Plan for 2009: Remaking the Global Political Economy
Global Research, May 26, 2009

From May 14-17, the global elite met in secret in Greece for the yearly Bilderberg conference, amid scattered and limited global media attention. Roughly 130 of the world’s most powerful individuals came together to discuss the pressing issues of today, and to chart a course for the next year. The main topic of discussion at this years meeting was the global financial crisis, which is no surprise, considering the list of conference attendees includes many of the primary architects of the crisis, as well as those poised to “solve” it.

The Agenda: The Restructuring of the Global Political Economy

Before the meeting began, Bilderberg investigative journalist Daniel Estulin reported on the main item of the agenda, which was leaked to him by his sources inside. Though such reports cannot be verified, his sources, along with those of veteran Bilderberg tracker, Jim Tucker, have proven to be shockingly accurate in the past. Apparently, the main topic of discussion at this year’s meeting was to address the economic crisis, in terms of undertaking, “Either a prolonged, agonizing depression that dooms the world to decades of stagnation, decline and poverty … or an intense-but-shorter depression that paves the way for a new sustainable economic world order, with less sovereignty but more efficiency.” Other items on the agenda included a plan to “continue to deceive millions of savers and investors who believe the hype about the supposed up-turn in the economy. They are about to be set up for massive losses and searing financial pain in the months ahead,” and “There will be a final push for the enactment of Lisbon Treaty, pending on Irish voting YES on the treaty in Sept or October,”[1] which would give the European Union massive powers over its member nations, essentially making it a supranational regional government, with each country relegated to more of a provincial status.

Shortly after the meetings began, Bilderberg tracker Jim Tucker reported that his inside sources revealed that the group has on its agenda, “the plan for a global department of health, a global treasury and a shortened depression rather than a longer economic downturn.” Tucker reported that Swedish Foreign Minister and former Prime Minister, Carl Bildt, “Made a speech advocating turning the World Health Organization into a world department of health, advocating turning the IMF into a world department of treasury, both of course under the auspices of the United Nations.” Further, Tucker reported that, “Treasury Secretary Geithner and Carl Bildt touted a shorter recession not a 10-year recession … partly because a 10 year recession would damage Bilderberg industrialists themselves, as much as they want to have a global department of labor and a global department of treasury, they still like making money and such a long recession would cost them big bucks industrially because nobody is buying their toys…..the tilt is towards keeping it short.”[2]

After the meetings finished, Daniel Estulin reported that, “One of Bilderberg’s primary concerns according to Estulin is the danger that their zeal to reshape the world by engineering chaos in order to implement their long term agenda could cause the situation to spiral out of control and eventually lead to a scenario where Bilderberg and the global elite in general are overwhelmed by events and end up losing their control over the planet.”[3]

On May 21, the Macedonian International News Agency reported that, “A new Kremlin report on the shadowy Bilderberg Group, who this past week held their annual meeting in Greece, states that the West’s financial, political and corporate elite emerged from their conclave after coming to an agreement that in order to continue their drive towards a New World Order dominated by the Western Powers, the US Dollar has to be ‘totally’ destroyed.” Further, this same unconfirmed Kremlin report, stated that, “most of the West’s wealthiest elite convened at an unprecedented secret meeting in New York called for and led by” David Rockefeller, “to plot the demise of the US Dollar.”[4] This report, which was not acknowledged by other media sources, requires verification.

The Secret Meeting of Billionaires

The meeting being referred to was a secret meeting where, “A dozen of the richest people in the world met for an unprecedented private gathering at the invitation of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to talk about giving away money,” held at Rockefeller University, and included notable philanthropists such as Gates, Buffett, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, George Soros, Eli Broad, Oprah Winfrey, David Rockefeller Sr. and Ted Turner. One attendee stated that, “It wasn’t secret,” but that, “It was meant to be a gathering among friends and colleagues. It was something folks have been discussing for a long time. Bill and Warren hoped to do this occasionally. They sent out an invite and people came.” Chronicle of Philanthropy editor Stacy Palmer said, “Given how serious these economic times are, I don’t think it’s surprising these philanthropists came together,” and that, “They don’t typically get together and ask each other for advice.” The three hosts of the meeting were Buffet, Gates and David Rockefeller.[5] [See: Appendix 2: Bilderberg Connections to the Billionaire’s Meeting].

At the meeting, “participants steadfastly refused to reveal the content of the discussion. Some cited an agreement to keep the meeting confidential. Spokesmen for Mr. Buffett, Mr. Bloomberg, Mr. Gates, Mr. Rockefeller, Mr. Soros and Ms. Winfrey and others dutifully declined comment, though some confirmed attendance.”[6] Reports indicate that, “They discussed how to address the global slump and expand their charitable activities in the downturn.”[7]

The UK newspaper The Times reported that these “leading billionaires have met secretly to consider how their wealth could be used to slow the growth of the world’s population,” and that they “discussed joining forces to overcome political and religious obstacles to change.” Interestingly, “The informal afternoon session was so discreet that some of the billionaires’ aides were told they were at ‘security briefings’.” Further, “The billionaires were each given 15 minutes to present their favourite cause. Over dinner they discussed how they might settle on an ‘umbrella cause’ that could harness their interests,” and what was decided upon was that, “they agreed that overpopulation was a priority.” Ultimately, “a consensus emerged that they would back a strategy in which population growth would be tackled as a potentially disastrous environmental, social and industrial threat,” and that, “They need to be independent of government agencies, which are unable to head off the disaster we all see looming.” One guest at the meeting said that, “They wanted to speak rich to rich without worrying anything they said would end up in the newspapers, painting them as an alternative world government.”[8]

The Leaked Report

Bilderberg investigative reporter Daniel Estulin reportedly received from his inside sources a 73-page Bilderberg Group meeting wrap-up for participants, which revealed that there were some serious disagreements among the participants. “The hardliners are for dramatic decline and a severe, short-term depression, but there are those who think that things have gone too far and that the fallout from the global economic cataclysm cannot be accurately calculated if Henry Kissinger’s model is chosen. Among them is Richard Holbrooke. What is unknown at this point: if Holbrooke’s point of view is, in fact, Obama’s.” The consensus view was that the recession would get worse, and that recovery would be “relatively slow and protracted,” and to look for these terms in the press over the next weeks and months.

Estulin reported, “that some leading European bankers faced with the specter of their own financial mortality are extremely concerned, calling this high wire act “unsustainable,” and saying that US budget and trade deficits could result in the demise of the dollar.” One Bilderberger said that, “the banks themselves don’t know the answer to when (the bottom will be hit).” Everyone appeared to agree, “that the level of capital needed for the American banks may be considerably higher than the US government suggested through their recent stress tests.” Further, “someone from the IMF pointed out that its own study on historical recessions suggests that the US is only a third of the way through this current one; therefore economies expecting to recover with resurgence in demand from the US will have a long wait.” One attendee stated that, “Equity losses in 2008 were worse than those of 1929,” and that, “The next phase of the economic decline will also be worse than the ’30s, mostly because the US economy carries about $20 trillion of excess debt. Until that debt is eliminated, the idea of a healthy boom is a mirage.”[9]

According to Jim Tucker, Bilderberg is working on setting up a summit in Israel from June 8-11, where “the world’s leading regulatory experts” can “address the current economic situation in one forum.” In regards to the proposals put forward by Carl Bildt to create a world treasury department and world department of health under the United Nations, the IMF is said to become the World Treasury, while the World Health Organization is to become the world department of health. Bildt also reaffirmed using “climate change” as a key challenge to pursue Bilderberg goals, referring to the economic crisis as a “once-in-a-generation crisis while global warming is a once-in-a-millennium challenge.” Bildt also advocated expanding NAFTA through the Western hemisphere to create an American Union, using the EU as a “model of integration.”

The IMF reportedly sent a report to Bilderberg advocating its rise to becoming the World Treasury Department, and “U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner enthusiastically endorsed the plan for a World Treasury Department, although he received no assurance that he would become its leader.” Geithner further said, “Our hope is that we can work with Europe on a global framework, a global infrastructure which has appropriate global oversight.”[10]

Bilderberg’s Plan in Action?

Reorganizing the Federal Reserve

Following the Bilderberg meeting, there were several interesting announcements made by key participants, specifically in regards to reorganizing the Federal Reserve. On May 21, it was reported that US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner “is believed to be leaning heavily towards giving the Federal Reserve a central role in future regulation,” and “it is understood that the Fed would take on some of the work currently undertaken by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.”[11]

On Wednesday, May 20, Geithner spoke before the Senate Banking Committee, at which he stated that, “there are important indications that our financial system is starting to heal.” In regards to regulating the financial system, Geithner stated that, “we must ensure that international rules for financial regulation are consistent with the high standards we will be implementing in the United States.”[12]

Bloomberg reported that, “The Obama administration may call for stripping the Securities and Exchange Commission of some of its powers under a regulatory reorganization,” and that, “The proposal, still being drafted, is likely to give the Federal Reserve more authority to supervise financial firms deemed too big to fail. The Fed may inherit some SEC functions, with others going to other agencies.” Interestingly, “SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro’s agency has been mostly absent from negotiations within the administration on the regulatory overhaul, and she has expressed frustration about not being consulted.”

It was reported that “Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was set to discuss proposals to change financial regulations last night at a dinner with National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers [who was also present at Bilderberg], former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker [also at Bilderberg], ex-SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt and Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard University law professor who heads the congressional watchdog group for the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program.”[13] The Federal Reserve is a privately owned central bank, owned by its shareholders, consisting of the major banks the make up each regional Fed bank (the largest of which is JP Morgan Chase and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York). This plan would essentially give a privately owned bank, which has governmental authority, the ability to regulate the banks that own it. It’s the equivalent of getting a Colonel to guard a General to whom he is directly answerable. Talk about the fox guarding the hen house. It is literally granting ownership over the financial regulator to the banks being regulated.

As Market Watch, an online publication of the Wall Street Journal, reported, “The Federal Reserve, created nearly 100 years ago in the aftermath of a financial panic, could be transformed into a different agency as the Obama administration reinvents the way government interacts with the financial system.” Referring to Geithner’s Senate appearance, it was reported that, “Geithner was also grilled on the cozy relationships that exist between the big banks and the regional Federal Reserve banks. Before Geithner joined the administration, he was president of the New York Fed, which is a strange public-private hybrid institution that is actually owned and run by the banks.” In response, “Geithner insisted that the private banks have no say over the policies of the New York Fed, but he acknowledged that the banks do have a say in hiring the president, who does make policy. The chairman of the New York Fed, Stephen Friedman, was forced to resign earlier this month because of perceived conflicts of interest due to his large holdings in Goldman Sachs.”[14]

The IMF as a Global Treasury

The Bilderberg agenda of creating a global treasury has already been started prior to the Bilderberg meeting, with decisions made during the G20 financial summit in April. Although the G20 seemed to frame it more in context of being formed into a global central bank, although it is likely the IMF could fill both roles.

Following the G20 meeting at the beginning of April, 2009, it was reported that, “The world is a step closer to a global currency, backed by a global central bank, running monetary policy for all humanity,” as the Communiqué released by the G20 leaders stated that, “We have agreed to support a general SDR allocation which will inject $250bn (£170bn) into the world economy and increase global liquidity,” and that, “SDRs are Special Drawing Rights, a synthetic paper currency issued by the International Monetary Fund that has lain dormant for half a century.” Essentially, “they are putting a de facto world currency into play. It is outside the control of any sovereign body.”[15] [See Appendix 2: Creating a Central Bank of the World]

Following the Bilderberg meeting, “President Obama has asked Congress to authorize $100 billion in loans to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help create a $500 billion global bailout fund,” which would give the IMF the essential prerogative of a global treasury, providing bailouts for countries in need around the world. Further, “the bill would allow the IMF to borrow up to $100 billion from the U.S. and increase the U.S. fiscal contribution to the IMF by $8 billion.” Elaborating on the program, it was reported that, “World leaders began on the global bailout initiative, called the New Arrangement for Borrowing (NAB), at the G-20 summit in early April. The president agreed at that time to make the additional funds available.” Obama wrote that, “Treasury Secretary Geithner concluded that the size of the NAB is woefully inadequate to deal with the type of severe economic and financial crisis we are experiencing, and I agree with him.”[16]

With the G20 decision to increase the usage of IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), forming a de facto world currency, it was recently reported that, “Sub-Saharan Africa will receive around $10 billion from the IMF in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to help its economies weather the global financial crisis,” and that, “As part of a $1.1 trillion deal to combat the world economic downturn agreed at April’s G20 summit, the IMF will issue $250 billion worth of SDRs, which can be used to boost foreign currency reserves.”[17]

Recent reports have also indicated that the IMF’s role in issuing SDRs goes hand in hand with the Bilderberg discussion on the potential collapse of the US dollar, and, “Transforming the dollar standard into an SDR-based system would be a major break with a policy that has lasted more than 60 years.” It was reported that, “There are two ways in which the dollar’s role in the international monetary system can be reduced. One possibility is a gradual, market-determined erosion of the dollar as a reserve currency in favor of the euro. But, while the euro’s international role – especially its use in financial markets – has increased since its inception, it is hard to envisage it overtaking the dollar as the dominant reserve currency in the foreseeable future.” However, “With the dollar’s hegemony unlikely to be seriously undermined by market forces, at least in the short and medium-term, the only way to bring about a major reduction in its role as a reserve currency is by international agreement.” This is where the SDRs come into play, as “One way to make the SDR the major reserve currency relatively soon would be to create and allocate a massive amount of new SDRs to the IMF’s members.”[18] This is, interestingly, exactly what is happening with Africa and the IMF now.

Former IMF Managing Director Jacques de Larosière recently stated that the current financial crisis, “given its scope, presents a unique opening to improve institutions, and there is already a danger that the chance might be missed if the different actors cannot agree to changes by the time economic growth resumes.” He is now an adviser with BNP Paribas, a corporation highly represented at Bilderberg meetings, and he was head of the Treasury of France when Valéry Giscard d’Estaing was President of France, who is a regular of the Bilderberg Group.[19]

The Guardian Covers Bilderberg

The British paper, the Guardian, was the only major mainstream news publication to provide ongoing coverage of the Bilderberg meeting over the weekend. His first columns were satirical and slightly mocking, referring to it as, “A long weekend at a luxury hotel, where the world’s elite get to shake hands, clink glasses, fine-tune their global agenda and squabble over who gets the best sun loungers. I’m guessing that Henry Kissinger brings his own, has it helicoptered in and guarded 24/7 by a CIA special ops team.”[20] However, as the weekend dragged on, his reporting took a change of tone. He reported on the Saturday that, “I know that I’m being followed. I know because I’ve just been chatting to the plainclothes policemen I caught following me,” and he was arrested twice in the first day of the meetings for attempting to take photographs as the limousines entered the hotel.[21]

He later reported that he wasn’t sure what they were discussing inside the hotel, but that he has “a sense of something rotten in the state of Greece,” and he further stated, “Three days and I’ve been turned into a suspect, a troublemaker, unwanted, ill at ease, tired and a bit afraid.” He then went on to write that, “Bilderberg is all about control. It’s about “what shall we do next?” We run lots of stuff already, how about we run some more? How about we make it easier to run stuff? More efficient. Efficiency is good. It would be so much easier with a single bank, a single currency, a single market, a single government. How about a single army? That would be pretty cool. We wouldn’t have any wars then. This prawn cocktail is GOOD. How about a single way of thinking? How about a controlled internet?,” and then, “How about not.”

He makes a very astute point, countering the often postulated argument that Bilderberg is simply a forum where people can speak freely, writing: “I am so unbelievably backteeth sick of power being flexed by the few. I’ve had it flexed in my face for three days, and it’s up my nose like a wasp. I don’t care whether the Bilderberg Group is planning to save the world or shove it in a blender and drink the juice, I don’t think politics should be done like this,” and the author, Charlie Skelton, eloquently stated, “If they were trying to cure cancer they could do it with the lights on.” He further explained that, “Bilderberg is about positions of control. I get within half a mile of it, and suddenly I’m one of the controlled. I’m followed, watched, logged, detained, detained again. I’d been put in that position by the “power” that was up the road.”[22]

On Sunday, May 17, Skelton reported that when he asked the police chief why he was being followed, the chief responded asking, “Why you here?” to which Skelton said he was there to cover the Bilderberg conference, after which the chief stated, “Well, that is the reason! That is why! We are finished!”[23] Do reporters get followed around and stalked by police officers when they cover the World Economic Forum? No. So why does it happen with Bilderberg if all it is, is a conference to discuss ideas freely?

On the Monday following the conference, Skelton wrote that, “It isn’t just me who’s been hauled into police custody for daring to hang around half a mile from the hotel gates. The few journalists who’ve made the trip to Vouliagmeni this year have all been harassed and harried and felt the business end of a Greek walkie-talkie. Many have been arrested. Bernie, from the American Free Press, and Gerhard the documentarian (sounds like a Dungeons and Dragons character) chartered a boat from a nearby marina to try to get photos from the sea. They were stopped three miles from the resort. By the Greek navy.” As Skelton said himself, “My dispatches on the 2009 conference, if they mean anything at all, represent nothing more acutely than the absence of thorough mainstream reporting.”[24]

Skelton’s final report on Bilderberg from May 19, showed how far he had gone in his several days of reporting on the meeting. From writing jokingly about the meeting, to discovering that he was followed by the Greek State Security force. Skelton mused, “So who is the paranoid one? Me, hiding in stairwells, watching the pavement behind me in shop windows, staying in the open for safety? Or Bilderberg, with its two F-16s, circling helicopters, machine guns, navy commandos and policy of repeatedly detaining and harassing a handful of journalists? Who’s the nutter? Me or Baron Mandelson? Me or Paul Volker, the head of Obama’s economic advisory board? Me or the president of Coca-Cola?”

Skelton stated that, “Publicity is pure salt to the giant slug of Bilderberg. So I suggest next year we turn up with a few more tubs. If the mainstream press refuses to give proper coverage to this massive annual event, then interested citizens will have to: a people’s media.”

Amazingly, Skelton made the pronouncement that what he learned after the Bilderberg conference, was that, “we must fight, fight, fight, now – right now, this second, with every cubic inch of our souls – to stop identity cards,” as, “It’s all about the power to ask, the obligation to show, the justification of one’s existence, the power of the asker over the subservience of the asked.” He stated that he “learned this from the random searches, detentions, angry security goon proddings and thumped police desks without number that I’ve had to suffer on account of Bilderberg: I have spent the week living in a nightmare possible future and many different terrible pasts. I have had the very tiniest glimpse into a world of spot checks and unchecked security powers. And it has left me shaken. It has left me, literally, bruised.” Pointedly, he explains that, “The identity card turns you from a free citizen into a suspect.”[25]

Who was there?

Royalty

Among the members of the Bilderberg Group are various European monarchs. At this years meeting, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands was present, who happens to be the largest single shareholder in Royal Dutch Shell, one of the world’s largest corporations. She was joined by one of her three sons, Prince Constantijn, who also attended the meeting. Prince Constantijn has worked with the Dutch European Commissioner for the EU, as well as having been a strategic policy consultant with Booz Allen & Hamilton in London, a major strategy and technology consulting firm with expertise in Economic and Business Analysis, Intelligence and Operations Analysis and Information Technology, among many others. Prince Constantijn has also been a policy researcher for RAND Corporation in Europe. RAND was initially founded as a global policy think tank that was formed to offer research and analysis to the US Armed Forces, however, it now works with governments, foundations, international organizations and commercial organizations.[26] Also present among European Royalty was Prince Philippe of Belgium, and Queen Sofia of Spain.

Private Bankers

As usual, the list of attendees was also replete with names representing the largest banks in the world. Among them, David Rockefeller, former CEO and Chairman of Chase Manhattan, now JP Morgan Chase, of which he was, until recently, Chairman of the International Advisory Board; and still sits as Honourary Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, Chairman of the Board of the Americas Society and Council of the Americas, Honourary Chairman of the Trilateral Commission, which he founded alongside Zbigniew Brzezinski; also a founding member of the Bilderberg Group, prominent philanthropist and is the current patriarch of one of the world’s richest and most powerful banking dynasties.

Also present was Josef Ackermann, a Swiss banker who is CEO of Deutsche Bank, also a non-executive director of Royal Dutch Shell; Deputy Chairman of Siemens AG, Europe’s largest engineering corporation; he is also a member of the International Advisory Council of Zurich Financial Services Group; Chairman of the Board of the Institute International of Finance, the world’s only global association of financial institutions; and Vice Chairman of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum.[27]

Roger Altman was also present at the Bilderberg meeting, an investment banker, private equity investor and former Deputy Treasury Secretary in the Clinton Administration. Other bankers at this years meeting include Ana Patricia Botin, Chairman of the Spanish bank, Banco Español de Crédito, formerly having worked with JP Morgan; Frederic Oudea, CEO and newly appointed Chairman of the Board of French bank Societe Generale; Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, an Italian banker and economist, formerly Italy’s Minister of Economy and Finance; Jacob Wallenberg, Chairman of Investor AB; Marcus Wallenberg, CEO of Investor AB; and George David, CEO of United Technologies Corporation, who also sits on the board of Citigroup, member of the Business Council, the Business Roundtable, and is Vice Chairman of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. [For more on the Peterson Institute, see: Appendix 1]

Canadian bankers include W. Edmund Clark, President and CEO of TD Bank Financial Group, also a member of the board of directors of the C.D. Howe Institute, a prominent Canadian think tank; Frank McKenna, Deputy Chairman of TD Bank Financial Group, former Canadian Ambassador to the United States, former Premier of New Brunswick; and Indira Samarasekera, President of the University of Alberta, who is also on the board of Scotiabank, one of Canada’s largest banks.

Central Bankers

Of course, among the notable members of the Bilderberg Group, are the world’s major central bankers. Among this years members are the Governor of the National Bank of Greece, Governor of the Bank of Italy, President of the European Investment Bank, James Wolfensohn, former President of the World Bank, and Nout Wellink, on the board of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).[28] Jean-Claude Trichet, the President of the European Central Bank was also present.[29] There is no indication that the Governor of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke was present, which would be an odd turn of events, considering that the Federal Reserve Governor is always present at Bilderberg meetings, alongside the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, William C. Dudley. I have contacted the New York Fed inquiring if Dudley visited Greece or went to any meetings in Greece between May 14-17, or if another senior representative from the New York Fed went in his stead. I have yet to get a response.

The Obama Administration at Bilderberg

The Obama administration was heavily represented at this years Bilderberg meeting. Among the attendees were Keith B. Alexander, a Lieutenant General of U.S. Army and Director of the National Security Agency, the massive spying agency of the United States; Timothy Geithner, US Treasury Secretary and former President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Richard Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan; General James Jones, United States National Security Advisor; Henry Kissinger, Obama’s special envoy to Russia, longtime Bilderberg member and former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor; Dennis Ross, special advisor for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; David Patraeus, Commander of CENTCOM, (U.S. Central Command, in the Middle East), Lawrence Summers, Director of the White House’s National Economic Council, former Treasury Secretary in the Clinton administration, former President of Harvard University, former Chief Economist of the World Bank; Paul Volcker, former Governor of the Federal Reserve System and Chair of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board; Robert Zoellick, former Chairman of Goldman Sachs and current President of the World Bank;[30] and Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg.[31]

Other Notable Names

Among many others present at the meeting are Viscount Étienne Davignon, former Vice President of the European Commission, and Honourary Chairman of the Bilderberg Group; Francisco Pinto Balsemão, former Prime Minister of Portugal; Franco Bernabè, CEO of Telecom Italia and Vice Chairman of Rothschild Europe; Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister of Sweden; Kenneth Clarke, Shadow Business Secretary in the UK; Richard Dearlove, former head of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Services (MI6); Donald Graham, CEO of the Washington Post Company; Jaap De Hoop Scheffer, Secretary-General of NATO; John Kerr, member of the British House of Lords and Deputy Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell; Jessica Matthews, President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Richard Perle of the American Enterprise Institute; Romano Prodi, former Italian Prime Minister; J. Robert S. Prichard, CEO of Torstar Corporation and President Emeritus of the University of Toronto; Peter Sutherland, former Director General of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), first Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and is currently Chairman of British Petroleum (BP) and Goldman Sachs International as well as being a board member of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Chairman of the Trilateral Commission, Vice Chairman of the European Roundtable of Industrialists, and longtime Bilderberg member; Peter Thiel, on the board of directors of Facebook; Jeroen van der Veer, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell; Martin Wolf, Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator of the Financial Times newspaper; and Fareed Zakaria, US journalist and board member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[32] There were also some reports that this years meeting would include Google CEO Eric Schmidt, as well as Wall Street Journal Editor Paul Gigot,[33] both of whom attended last years meeting.[34]

Conclusion

Clearly, it was the prerogative of this year’s Bilderberg meeting to exploit the global financial crisis as much as possible to reach goals they have been striving toward for many years. These include the creation of a Global Treasury Department, likely in conjunction with or embodied in the same institution as a Global Central Bank, both of which seem to be in the process of being incorporated into the IMF.

Naturally, Bilderberg meetings serve the interests of the people and organizations that are represented there. Due to the large amount of representatives from the Obama administration that were present, US policies revolving around the financial crisis are likely to have emerged from and serve the interests of the Bilderberg Group. Given the heavy representation of Obama’s foreign policy establishment at the Bilderberg meeting, it seemed surprising to not have received any more information regarding US foreign policy from this year’s meeting, perhaps having to do with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

However, the US recently decided to fire the general who oversaw the Afghan war, being replaced with “Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, a former Green Beret who recently commanded the military’s secretive special operations forces in Iraq.”[35] From 2003 to 2008, McChrystal “led the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which oversees the military’s most sensitive forces, including the Army’s Delta Force,” and who Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh singled out as the head of VP Cheney’s “executive assassination wing.”[36]

So, given these recent changes, as well as the high degree of representation Obama’s foreign policy establishment held at Bildebrerg this year, there were likely to have been some decisions or at least discussion of the escalation of the Afghan war and expansion into Pakistan. However, it is not surprising that the main item on the agenda was the global financial crisis. Without a doubt, the next year will be an interesting one, and the elite are surely hoping to make it a productive one.


APPENDIX 1: Bilderberg Connections to the Billionaire’s Meeting

Peter G. Peterson, one of the guests in attendance at the secret billionaires meeting, was the former United States Secretary of Commerce in the Nixon administration, Chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers, Kuhn, Loeb Inc., from 1977 to 1984, he co-founded the prominent private equity and investment management firm, the Blackstone Group, of which he is currently Senior Chairman, and in 1985, he became Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, taking over when David Rockefeller stepped down from that position. He founded the Peterson Institute for International Economics and was Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve Bank from 2000-2004. The Peterson Institute for International Economics is a major world economic think tank, which seeks to “inform and shape public debate,” from which, “Institute studies have helped provide the intellectual foundation for many of the major international financial initiatives of the past two decades: reform of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), adoption of international banking standards, exchange rate systems in the G-7 and emerging-market economies, policies toward the dollar, the euro, and other important currencies, and responses to debt and currency crises (including the current crisis of 2008–09).” It has also “made important contributions to key trade policy decisions” such as the development of the World Trade Organization, NAFTA, APEC, and East Asian regionalism.[37]

It has a prominent list of names on its board of directors. Peter G. Peterson is Chairman of the board; George David, Chairman of United Technologies is Vice Chairman, as well as being a board member of Citigroup, and was a guest at this year’s Bilderberg meeting; Chen Yuan, Governor of the China Development Bank and former Deputy Governor of the People’s Bank of China (China’s central bank); Jessica Einhorn, Dean of Washington’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University, former Visiting Fellow of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), former Managing Director of the World Bank, and currently on the board of Time Warner and the Council on Foreign Relations; Stanley Fischer, Governor of the Central Bank of Israel, former Vice President at the World Bank, former Managing Director at the IMF, former Vice Chairman of Citigroup, and has also been a regular participant in Bilderberg meetings; Carla A. Hills, former US Trade Representative, and was the prime negotiator of NAFTA, she sits on the International Advisory Boards of American International Group, the Coca-Cola Company, Gilead Sciences, J.P. Morgan Chase,  member of the Executive Committee of the Trilateral Commission, Co-Chair of the Council on Foreign Relations, and played a key part in the CFR document, “Building a North American Community,” which seeks to remodel North America following along the lines of the European Union, and she has also been a prominent Bilderberg member; David Rockefeller also sits on the Peterson Institute’s board, as well as Lynn Forester de Rothschild; Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank, who is at every Bilderberg meeting; Paul A. Volcker, former Governor of the Federal Reserve System, regular participant of Bilderberg meetings, and current Chair of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

Honourary Directors of the Peterson Institute include Bilderbergers Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, a prime architect of the current crisis; Frank E. Loy, former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, and is on the boards of Environmental Defense, the Pew Center for Global Climate Change, Resources for the Future, and Population Services International; George P. Shultz, former US Secretary of State in the Reagan administration, President and Director of Bechtel Group and former Secretary of the Treasury.[38]

APPENDIX 2: Creating a Central Bank of the World

Jeffrey Garten, Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade in the Clinton administration, former Dean of the Yale School of Management, previously served on the White House Council on International Economic Policy under the Nixon administration and on the policy planning staffs of Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Cyrus Vance of the Ford and Carter administrations. He also was a managing director of Lehman Brothers and the Blackstone Group, is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. As early as 1998, Garten wrote an article for the New York Times in which he advocated the creation of a global central bank.[39]

Amid the current financial crisis, Garten wrote an article for the Financial Times in which he advocated for “the establishment of a Global Monetary Authority to oversee markets that have become borderless,” acting as a global central bank.[40] In late October, Garten wrote an article for Newsweek in which he said that world “leaders should begin laying the groundwork for establishing a global central bank.”[41]

Three days after the publication of Garten’s Newsweek article, it was reported that, “The International Monetary Fund may soon lack the money to bail out an ever growing list of countries crumbling across Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa, and parts of Asia, raising concerns that it will have to tap taxpayers in Western countries for a capital infusion or resort to the nuclear option of printing its own money.” Further, “The nuclear option is to print money by issuing Special Drawing Rights, in effect acting as if it were the world’s central bank.”[42]

[For a detailed look at the moves to create a global central bank, regional currencies, a global reserve currency and a world governing body, see: Andrew G. Marshall, The Financial New World Order: Towards a Global Currency and World Government: Global Research, April 6, 2009]

Endnotes

[1] CFP, Annual Elite Conclave, 58th Bilderberg Meeting to be held in Greece, May 14-17. Canadian Free Press: May 5, 2009:
http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/10854

[2] Paul Joseph Watson, Bilderberg Wants Global Department Of Health, Global Treasury. Prison Planet: May 16, 2009:
http://www.infowars.com/bilderberg-wants-global-department-of-health-global-treasury/

[3] Paul Joseph Watson, Bilderberg Fears Losing Control In Chaos-Plagued World. Prison Planet: May 18, 2009:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/bilderberg-fears-losing-control-in-chaos-plagued-world.html

[4] Sorcha Faal, Bilderberg Group orders destruction of US Dollar? MINA: May 21, 2009:
http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/6807/53/

[5] Kristi Heim, What really happened at the billionaires’ private confab. The Seattle Times: May 20, 2009:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/thebusinessofgiving/2009244202_what_really_happened_at_the_bi.html

[6] A. G. Sulzberger, The Rich Get … Together (Shhh, It Was a Secret). The New York Times: May 20, 2009:
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/20/the-rich-get-together-shhh-it-was-a-secret/

[7] Chosun, American Billionaires Gather to Discuss Slump. The Chosun Ilbo: May 22, 2009:
http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2009/05/22/2009052200772.html

[8] John Harlow, Billionaire club in bid to curb overpopulation. The Sunday Times: May 24, 2009:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6350303.ece

[9] Press Release, Investigative Author, Daniel Estulin Exposes Bilderberg Group Plans. PRWeb: May 22, 2009:
http://www.prweb.com/releases/Bilderberg_Group_Meeting/Daniel_Estulin/prweb2453144.htm

[10] James P. Tucker Jr., BILDERBERG AGENDA EXPOSED. American Free Press: June 1, 2009:
http://www.americanfreepress.net/html/bilderberg_2009_179.html

[11] James Quinn, Tim Geithner to reform US financial regulation. The Telegraph: May 21, 2009:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance
/5359527/Tim-Geithner-to-reform-US-financial-regulation.html

[12] Greg Menges, U. S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner speech before the Senate Banking Committee. Examiner: May 20, 2009:
http://www.examiner.com/x-8184-Boston-Investing-Examiner~y2009m
5d20-U-S-Secretary-of-the-Treasury-Timothy-F-Geithner-speech-before-the-Senate-Banking-Committee

[13] Robert Schmidt and Jesse Westbrook, U.S. May Strip SEC of Powers in Regulatory Overhaul. Bloomberg: May 20: 2009:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a18ctNv3FDcw

[14] Rex Nutting, Fed could be completely retooled, Geithner says. Market Watch: May 20, 2009:
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-could-be-completely-retooled-geithner-says

[15] Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The G20 moves the world a step closer to a global currency. The Telegraph: April 3, 2009:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/5096524/The-G20-moves-the-world-a-step-closer-to-a-global-currency.html

[16] Marie Magleby, Obama Wants U.S. to Loan $100 Billion to Global Bailout Fund. CNS News: May 20, 2009:
http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=48329

[17] Joe Bavier, Sub-Saharan Africa to receive $10 bln in SDRs-IMF. Reuters: May 25, 2009:
http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSLP336909

[18] Onno Wijnholds, The Dollar’s Last Days? International Business Times: May 18, 2009:
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/20090518/dollar-rsquolast-days.htm

[19] MATTHEW SALTMARSH, Former I.M.F. Chief Sees Opportunity in Crisis. The New York Times: May 22, 2009:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/23/business/global/23spot.html?ref=global

[20] Charlie Skelton, Our man at Bilderberg: in pursuit of the world’s most powerful cabal. The Guardian: May 13, 2009:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/13/in-search-of-bilderberg

[21] Charlie Skelton, Our man at Bilderberg: They’re watching and following me, I tell you. The Guardian: May 15, 2009:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/15/bilderberg-charlie-skelton-dispatch

[22] Charlie Skelton, Our man at Bilderberg: I’m ready to lose control, but they’re not. The Guardian: May 15, 2009:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/15/bilderberg-charlie-skelton-dispatch1

[23] Charlie Skelton, Our man at Bilderberg: ‘You are not allowed to take pictures of policemen!’ The Guardian: May 17, 2009:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/17/charlie-skelton-bilderberg

[24] Charlie Skelton, Our man at Bilderberg: Fear my pen. The Guardian: May 18, 2009:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/18/bilderberg-charlie-skelton-dispatch

[25] Charlie Skelton, Our man at Bilderberg: Let’s salt the slug in 2010. The Guardian: May 19, 2009:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2009/may/19/bilderberg-skelton-greece

[26] Dutch Royal House, Work and official duties. Prince Constantijn:
http://www.koninklijkhuis.nl/english/content.jsp?objectid=18215

[27] Deutsche Bank, Management Board. Our Company:
http://www.db.com/en/content/company/management_board.htm

[28] InfoWars, Bilderberg 2009 Attendee List (revised). May 18, 2009:
http://www.infowars.com/bilderberg-2009-attendee-list/

[29] Demetris Nellas, Greek nationalists protest Bilderberg Club meeting. AP: May 14, 2009:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jep_nbEq1srzJHFQ8fRGNQO3P38QD987H3200

[30] InfoWars, Bilderberg 2009 Attendee List (revised). May 18, 2009:
http://www.infowars.com/bilderberg-2009-attendee-list/

[31] MRT, Top US official arrives in Greece. Macedonian Radio and Television: May 15, 2009:
http://www.mrt.com.mk/en/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6112&Itemid=28

[32] InfoWars, Bilderberg 2009 Attendee List (revised). May 18, 2009:
http://www.infowars.com/bilderberg-2009-attendee-list/

[33] WND, Google joins Bilderberg cabal. World Net Daily: May 17, 2009:
http://worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=98469

[34] Adam Abrams, Are the people who ‘really run the world’ meeting this weekend? Haaretz: May 14, 2009:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1085589.html

[35] YOCHI J. DREAZEN and PETER SPIEGEL, U.S. Fires Afghan War Chief. The Wall Street Journal: May 12, 2009:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124206036635107351.html

[36] M.J. Stephey, Stan McChrystal: The New U.S. Commander in Afghanistan. Time Magazine: May 12, 2009:
http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1897542,00.html

[37] PIIE, About the Institute. Peterson Institute for International Economics:
http://www.petersoninstitute.org/institute/aboutiie.cfm

[38] PIIE, Board of Directors. Peterson Institute for International Economics:
http://www.petersoninstitute.org/institute/board.cfm#52

[39] Jeffrey E. Garten, Needed: A Fed for the World. The New York Times: September 23, 1998:
http://www.nytimes.com/1998/09/23/opinion/needed-a-fed-for-the-world.html

[40] Jeffrey Garten, Global authority can fill financial vacuum. The Financial Times: September 25, 2008:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/7caf543e-8b13-11dd-b634-0000779fd18c,Authorised=false.html?_i_
location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ft.com%2Fcms%2Fs%2F0%2F7caf543e-8b13-11dd-b634-000077
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[41] Jeffrey Garten, We Need a Bank Of the World. Newsweek: October 25, 2009: http://www.newsweek.com/id/165772

[42] Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, IMF may need to “print money” as crisis spreads. The Telegraph: October 28, 2009:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans
_pritchard/3269669/IMF-may-need-to-print-money-as-crisis-spreads.html