Category Archives: Global Elite

Did Hillary Clinton give a speech at the Bilderberg conference in 1997?

Newly released internal documents from the Clinton White House appear to show that Hillary Clinton gave a speech at a meeting of the secretive Bilderberg conference in 1997.  The meeting that year was held at the PineIsle Resort in Atlanta, U.S.A. from June 12-15.  This was during the time when her husband Bill Clinton was serving his second term as President, himself also an attendee at the conference in 1991.   Hillary’s attendance is revealed in internal emails between national security aides.  The documents show that Hillary’s speech appeared to cover serious foreign policy issues, including “a strong endorsement of immediate NATO membership for the Baltics.” Sadly, nothing else is revealed besides that snippet.

According to the 1997 attendee list compiled by Public Intelligence, Hillary was not there that year.  Although certain guests, whose public profiles could be considered too high, have been kept off the official guest list in order to avoid any unwanted or extra media attention.  In the past there has been speculation that Hillary attended the meeting in 2006 in Ottawa, Canada and in 2008 in Chantilly, Virginia.  The 2008 meeting in Virginia famously involved the disappearance of both Hillary and Obama for a ‘secret meeting’ at the same time Bilderberg was taking place.  This inevitably led to theories circulating that both of them had been at Bilderberg.  Although Vernon Jordan, a former Steering Committee member and the man who introduced Bill Clinton to Bilderberg, has denied that Obama ever attended. These internal emails are the first official confirmation that Hillary has attended Bilderberg.

Bilderberg 2013: Hertfordshire taxpayers hit with remaining £528,000 policing bill

Charlotte Ikonen reports for the Watford Observer:

The remaining cost of policing the Bilderberg Group meeting in Watford will be paid by Hertfordshire tax payers after an application for a grant has been refused by the Home Office. The controversial conference which took place in June 2013 attracted more than 2,000 people to The Grove Hotel and policing the event cost about £990,000. Scores of officers from a dozen forces were drafted in for the event, which involved roads being closed with anti-terror legislation and a no-fly zone being imposed over the area.

The Bilderberg Group had made a donation of £462,000 and Hertfordshire Police applied to the Home Office for the remaining £528,000. However, the cost of policing the event fell short of the one per cent threshold (£1.8 million) and was not assessed as bearing a risk to the force’s financial stability or capacity to deliver policing. Hertfordshire Police and crime commissioner David Lloyd previously said the money would come from reserve and he was “disappointed” to have the application refused by the Home Office.


Bryan Fischer tells poor people: ‘Kiss the ground’ beneath the richest one percent

David Edwards reports for Raw Story:

Bryan Fischer (AFA)Bryan Fischer, the director of Issues Analysis for the fundamentalist American Family Association (AFA), said on Tuesday that people who used welfare and other government services needed to “kiss the ground” beneath the richest 1 percent of Americans.

On his April 15 broadcast, Fischer opined that President Barack Obama was using the Internal Revenue (IRS) service to “go after the 1 percent.”

“The top 1 percent are funding 30 percent of the government!” the radio host explained. “So, rather than the poor, the low income and the middle class being resentful of these people, they should be kissing the ground on which they walk!”


New studies show super rich have more in offshore tax havens than thought

JohnThomas Didymus writes for All Voices:


Two scholars published a research paper in March that sought to explain the seeming discrepancy in the sharp rise in income inequality since the1980s and the relatively modest increase in wealth concentration in the top economic bracket.

While approaching the problem, focusing on the question of how to measure the total wealth of the rich, the duo may have opened a new can of worms on the hidden wealth of the superrich.


‘Affluenza’ Teen’s Parents to Pay Just a Fraction of Treatment Bill

Deanna Boyd reports for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

In this December 2013 image taken from a video by KDFW-FOX 4, Ethan Couch is seen during his court hearing in Fort Worth, Texas.The parents of a teen who was sentenced to 10 years probation for driving drunk and causing a wreck that killed four people were ordered by the court Friday to pay $1,170 a month for his rehab treatment — far less than the actual cost of his treatment.

Ethan Couch, who turned 17 Friday, is being treated at the North Texas State Hospital in Vernon, a state-owned in-patient mental health facility. His treatment began there Feb. 19. The actual cost of his treatment is $715 per day, according to testimony on Friday.


George Carlin: The Best 3 Minutes of His Career

Power is sexy…

“Power is sexy, not simply in its own right, but because it inspires self-confidence in its owner and a shiver of subservience on the part of those who approach it.”

~ Barbara Amiel a.k.a. Mrs Conrad Black in an article entitled “Why women marry up” for Canadian magazine Chatelaine

The heir, the judge and the homeless mom: America’s prison bias for the 1%

Sadhbh Walshe writes for the Guardian:

dupont heir arizona homeless momIn 2009, when Robert H Richard IV, an unemployed heir to the DuPont family fortune, pled guilty to fourth-degree rape of his three-year-old daughter, a judge spared him a justifiable sentence – indeed, only put Richard on probation – because she figured this 1-percenter would “not fare well” in a prison setting.

Details of the case were kept quiet until just the other day, as Richard’s ex-wife filed a new lawsuit accusing him of also sexually abusing their son. Since then, the original verdict has been fueling some angry speculation – shock, horror – that the defendant’s wealth and status may have played a role in his lenient sentencing.

I hate to shatter anyone’s illusions, but inequality defines our criminal justice system just as it defines our society. It always has and it always will until we do something about it, beyond just getting upset at local news stories.

America incarcerates more people than any other country on the planet,with over 2m currently in prison and more than 7m under some form of correctional supervision. The people who make up this outsize correctional population do not typically come from the Delaware trust-fund-creep demographic: more than 60% are racial and ethnic minorities, and the vast majority are poor.


An interview with Ulrik Federspiel, the only Dane currently sitting on the Bilderberg Steering Committee

Translated in to English from Danish news website BT:

Photo: Morten Juhl

Conspiracy theories about the exclusive network of power brokers from the U.S. and Europe are many. Now Bilderberg announced that its next annual meeting will take place in Denmark.

The Steering Committee’s only Danish permanent member is businessman Ulrik Federspiel, he also is Vice President for Global Affairs, at Haldor Topsoe. Today he tells BT what is going on within the organization mystikomspændte walls.

What is your role in Bilderberg?

- I am responsible for obtaining Danish participants to Bilderberg.ishDenmark has a quota of three people, and I am helping to decide who the three should be. I am the Danish contact or anchor man, as it is called.

How did you anchor?

- I’ve been to the meetings of the Bilderberg the past 15 years. And the anchor man should preferably be someone who knows a little about business processes.

How will you decide on who should be invited to meetings?

- It depends on what issues we need to discuss. But we do a lot of that there are too many repeats, and that we also have younger forces in the organization.

What are you talking about at the meetings?

- We often discuss future issues. Before many were aware of where revolutionized skiftergas would be in the United States, we discussed it. Even further back in time we discussed the Internet revolution and the virtual future. Also in the medical field, we have been able to foresee trends that you do not normally just walk around and think.

Why can not quote what is being said at the meetings?

- We want to create a free discussion group. It allows participants to test other people’s views on specific issues before they speak publicly about them. If Deutsche Bank’s chief executive, for example, is quoted for what he said at the meeting, it may affect how stock prices appear the following day. You throw in other words, his cap before entering the meetings.

Bilderberg next meeting will be held in Denmark. Can you tell what you’re going to talk about here?

- The agenda has not yet been set. But it is clear that we need to discuss economic development from different angles. Here I think especially that we are going to talk about the role of developing countries in the economic world and how we draw them into the market.

Bilderberg has been accused of influencing political decisions.What is your position?

- As I like to say, unfortunately, do not we as a world government. I do not know how the theories of our secrecy has occurred. I must admit that Bilderberg has been a very closed group earlier. But especially in recent years, we have done a lot to open up. So there is no truth in it. There are of course many associations and organizations like ours that does not invite the press into. I believe that Bilderberg is at least as open as them.


Norway’s Jens Stoltenberg (another Bilderberger) appointed as new NATO chief

Raf Casert and Mark Lewis report for The Associated Press:

Former Norwegian Premier Jens Stoltenberg will take over as NATO chief starting in October, the second Scandinavian in a row to lead the military alliance.

Friday’s announcement comes at a critical time as the crisis over Ukraine and Crimean Peninsula has suddenly made the 28-nation alliance a more important security force in Europe.

Stoltenberg called the crisis with Russia over Ukraine “a brutal reminder of how important NATO is.”

“I want to express my support that NATO does not accept the changing of borders by force within Europe,” he said in Oslo. “NATO has once again proven its relevance.”

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who took up the role in 2009, will step down after a NATO summit in Wales later this year.


Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?: Interview with George Irvin

Billionaire mogul Sheldon Adelson looks for mainstream Republican who can win in 2016

Matea Gold and Philip Rucker report for The Washington Post:

Credit: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg NewsCasino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who along with his wife plowed more than $92 million into efforts to help mostly losing candidates in the 2012 elections, is undertaking a new strategy for 2016 — to tap his fortune on behalf of a more mainstream Republican with a clear shot at winning the White House, according to people familiar with his thinking.

In 2012, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson spent so much of their money on long-shot candidate Newt Gingrich that they helped extend an ugly intraparty fight that left the eventual nominee, Mitt Romney, severely bruised by the time he faced President Obama in the general election.

This time, the Adelsons are plotting their investments based not on personal loyalty but on a much more strategic aim: to help select a Republican nominee they believe will have broad appeal to an increasingly diverse national electorate. The change in attitude comes amid early jockeying by a lengthy list of aspiring Republican presidential contenders to win the affections of the billionaire, who is in the beginning stages of assessing the field.


Bill Gates criticised over health initiatives

Xavier Symons writes for Bio Edge:

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, has made many enemies in his healthcare policy campaigns. Gates was heckled by protesters from the Foreskin Awareness Project (FAP) in Vancouver on Thursday, just before he delivered a talk at a TED conference. The protesters were criticising circumcision programs in Africa funded by the the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It donates millions of dollars each year to male circumcision programs in 14 countries, because of the procedure appears to reduce heterosexual HIV infections. FAP says that Gates is “Foreskin Enemy #1”.

FAP founder Glen Callender questions the merits of circumcision in preventing HIV, and is concerned about the aggression of ‘circumcision drives’ in African nations: “Soon it will be obvious that circumcision gave these men false confidence, not effective protection,” he said.

Elsewhere, conservative Bioethicist Wesley Smith attacked Gates for his recent remarks on “death panels” and “rationing medical advances”.


15 Tycoons Who Won’t Leave Their Fortunes to Their Kids

Megan Willett writes for Business Insider:

Not all of the world’s billionaires are dedicated to being extraordinarily altruistic — many decide to spend their money indulging in fancy cars, planes, and yachts.

But others want to spread as much of their wealth as possible before they die. A select few even want that last check to only cover the cost of their funeral.

Of course, not everyone stands to gain from such selflessness — namely, the children of these generous donors.

Though they will still have untold opportunities, advantages, and connections, to help them succeed, the children of these 15 tycoons won’t be living large off their inheritances.


Henry Kissinger’s Legacy of War Crimes Exposed by Secret Yale Visit

Abby Martin speaks about how Yale University’s secret invite to Henry Kissinger has shined a new light into the former Secretary of State’s long list of criminality, by helping facilitate US war crimes in South East Asia, South America and the Middle East, which resulted in the deaths of millions of civilians.’ (Breaking the Set)

Britain’s five richest families worth more than poorest 20%

Larry Elliott writes for the Guardian:

In a report, a Tale of Two Britains, Oxfam said the poorest 20% in the UK had wealth totalling £28.1bn – an average of £2,230 each. The latest rich list from Forbes magazine showed that the five top UK entries – the family of the Duke of Westminster, David and Simon Reuben, the Hinduja brothers, the Cadogan family, and Sports Direct retail boss Mike Ashley – between them had property, savings and other assets worth £28.2bn.

The most affluent family in Britain, headed by Major General Gerald Grosvenor, owns 77 hectares (190 acres) of prime real estate in Belgravia, London, and has been a beneficiary of the foreign money flooding in to the capital’s soaring property market in recent years. Oxfam said Grosvenor and his family had more wealth (£7.9bn) than the poorest 10% of the UK population (£7.8bn).

…The UK study follows an Oxfam report earlier this year which found that the wealth of 85 global billionaires is equivalent to that of half the world’s population – or 3.5 billion people. The pope and Barack Obama have made tackling inequality a top priority for 2014, while the International Monetary Fund has warned that the growing divide between the haves and have-nots is leading to slower global growth.


The Spirit Level authors: Why society is more unequal than ever

Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett write for the Guardian:

Kate Pickett and Richard WilkinsonA lot has happened in the five years since we published our book, The Spirit Level. New Labour were still perhaps too relaxed about people becoming “filthy rich”. And there was an assumption that inequality mattered only if it increased poverty, and that for most people “real” poverty was a thing of the past. But so much has changed. In the aftermath of the financial crash and the emergence of Occupy, there has been a resurgence of interest in inequality. Around 80% of Britons now think the income gap is too large, and the message has been taken up by world leaders.

…The truth is that human beings have deep-seated psychological responses to inequality and social hierarchy. The tendency to equate outward wealth with inner worth means that inequality colours our social perceptions. It invokes feelings of superiority and inferiority, dominance and subordination – which affect the way we relate to and treat each other. As we looked at the data, it became clear that, as well as health and violence, almost all the problems that are more common at the bottom of the social ladder are more common in more unequal societies – including mental illness, drug addiction, obesity, loss of community life, imprisonment, unequal opportunities and poorer wellbeing for children. The effects of inequality are not confined to the poor. A growing body of research shows that inequality damages the social fabric of the whole society.


Thom Hartmann: Billionaires… First They Came for the Economy

Thom Hartmann writes for Truthout:

Money clenchedFirst the oligarchs came for our economy, and we said nothing. Then they came for our government, and again, we said nothing. Now, they’ve come for science, and we’re not saying a word.

Thanks to Republican-backed austerity measures, our nation’s scientific infrastructure has been hit with devastating budget cuts. All across America, research labs are shutting their doors, scientists are joining unemployment lines, and potentially life-saving drug trials and research projects are being put on hiatus.

But have no fear, because the billionaire oligarchs are here.


Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for ‘irreversible collapse’?

Nafeez Ahmed writes for the Guardian:

This NASA Earth Observatory released onA new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution. Noting that warnings of ‘collapse’ are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.” Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to “precipitous collapse – often lasting centuries – have been quite common.”

The research project is based on a new cross-disciplinary ‘Human And Nature DYnamical’ (HANDY) model, led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharrei of the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, in association with a team of natural and social scientists. The study based on the HANDY model has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Elsevier journal, Ecological Economics.


The Amount of Money Hoarded by the Über Elite Will Astound You

‘Abby Martin breaks down off-shore tax havens for multinational corporations and the 1%, citing the $21 trillion missing from the global economy and the lack of progress made to get that money back.’ (Breaking the Set)

Nomi Prins: The Inevitability of Income Inequality

Nomi Prins writes for Truthdig:

There’s been a lot of discussion about the historically high levels of income and wealth inequality lately—mostly from people on the shorter end of that stick—with good reason: There’s no end in sight.

In his new book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” economist Thomas Piketty argues that worsening inequality is inevitable in a mature capitalist system, based on his analysis of 200 years of data. But inequality isn’t just an evolving condition like a crippling allergy that comes and goes, or just grows, enumerated by horrifying statistics. Nor is it just the result of a capitalist-utopian idea of free markets in which everyone gets a fair shot armed with equal information (which simply don’t exist in the real world, where markets are routinely gamed by the biggest players). Inequality is endemic to the core structure of an America that operates more as a plutocracy than a democracy. It is an inherent result of the consolidation of a substantial amount of both financial power and political influence in the hands of a few families.

In my upcoming book, “All the Presidents’ Bankers,” I trace the lineage of the banking and political families and their associates who have had the most combined influence on American policy. Inequality of income or wealth is a byproduct of the predisposition and genealogy of this coterie of America’s power elite. True, being born into wealth means having a greater chance of accumulating more of it—but take it a step further. Expanding on the adage of “it takes money to make money,” we get a much better idea of why inequality is so rampant: Because aside from income and wealth issues, it takes power to keep power.


No, really, you didn’t build that: How the rich became dependent on government subsidies

David Sirota wrtes for Salon:

No, really, you didn't build that: How the rich became dependent on government subsidiesRemember when President Obama was lambasted for saying “you didn’t build that”? Turns out he was right, at least when it comes to lots of stuff built by the world’s wealthiest corporations. That’s the takeaway from this week’s new study of 25,000 major taxpayer subsidy deals over the last two decades. Titled “Subsidizing the Corporate One Percent,” the report from the taxpayer watchdog group Good Jobs First shows that the world’s largest companies aren’t models of self-sufficiency and unbridled capitalism. To the contrary, they’re propped up by billions of dollars in welfare payments from state and local governments.

Such subsidies might be a bit more defensible if they were being doled out in a way that promoted upstart entrepreneurialism. But as the study also shows, a full “three-quarters of all the economic development dollars awarded and disclosed by state and local governments have gone to just 965 large corporations” — not to the small businesses and start-ups that politicians so often pretend to care about.

In dollar figures, that’s a whopping $110 billion going to big companies. Fortune 500 firms alone receive more than 16,000 subsidies at a total cost of $63 billion. These kinds of handouts, of course, are the definition of government intervention in the market. Nonetheless, those who receive the subsidies are still portrayed as free-market paragons.


The New Tyranny: How development experts have empowered dictators and helped to trap millions and millions of people in poverty

William Easterly published an excerpt from his new book ‘The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor’ at Foreign Policy:

On the morning of Sunday, Feb. 28, 2010, the villagers of Mubende District, Uganda were in church when they heard the sound of gunfire. They came out to find men torching their homes and crops. The soldiers held them off at gunpoint from rescuing their homes; one 8-year-old child was trapped and died in the fire. The soldiers then marched off the 20,000 farmers from the land that had been in their families for generations. The reason for the violence was that a forestry project financed by the World Bank wanted the land.

The only thing that distinguishes this episode from the many human rights violations that happen in the name of development is that it got unusual publicity. The New York Times ran a front-page story on it on Sept. 21, 2011. The World Bank the next day promised an investigation.  What is most revealing of all about this episode is what happened next: nothing. The World Bank never investigated its own actions in financing this project. Now, just after the fourth anniversary of the Mubende tragedy, it has been forgotten by nearly everyone except its victims.

The sad neglect of the rights of the poor in Mubende follows from the ideas behind the global war on poverty. Those who work in development prefer to focus on technical solutions to the poor’s problems, such as forestry projects, clean water supplies, or nutritional supplements. Development experts advise leaders they perceive to be benevolent autocrats to implement these technical solutions. The international professionals perpetrate an illusion that poverty is purely a technical problem, distracting attention away from the real cause: the unchecked power of the state against poor people without rights. The dictators whom experts are advising are not the solution — they are the problem.


Chris Hedges: Welcome to Satan’s Ball

Chris Hedges writes for Truthout:

[...] Bulgakov, Mann and Roth understood that there is no real political ideology among decayed ruling elites. They knew that political debate and ideological constructs for these elites is absurdist theater, a species of entertainment for the masses. They warned that once societies enter terminal decay, in the end it is the blunt forces of censorship, relentless propaganda, coercion, fear and finally terror that keep a subdued population in check. Those who hold power in such systems are thieves who run a vast kleptocracy.

The rise of criminal elites is global. Vladimir Putin is a megalomaniac and a thug who is filling his personal coffers while he is the leader of Russia, and Barack Obama, who has more polish and sophistication, will fill his own pockets, as did the Clintons, with tens of millions of dollars as soon as he leaves office. The banks and corporations for which Obama works are as criminal and corrupt as the Central Bank of Russia, which calculates that perhaps two-thirds of the $56 billion that left Russia in 2012 might have been from money laundering, drug trafficking, tax fraud or kickbacks. The circular system of patronage and crime that exists worldwide varies from region to region only by degrees and style.


Mark Twain: Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.

Development by the Elites, For the Elites: Global Poverty and Neoliberalism

Ben Selwyn, senior lecturer in international development at the School of Global Studies, University of Sussex, writes for CounterPunch:


Jim O’Neill is at it again. He is best known for inventing the acronym BRIC (now BRICS), a group of countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and then South Africa — which, he claimed, would dominate the world economy in the 21st century. Now he is suggesting that the MINTs (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) will have the same economic growth as China if they continue their market-orientated economic policies.

O’Neill, a British economist who used to work for the “vampire squid” investment bank Goldman Sachs, is pursuing a double objective. He is identifying emerging economies fit for investment by the global banking community; he says the BRICS and MINTs are knocking on a development door, which, if they’re pursuing the correct economic policies, will open wide to the benefits of economic growth. His view of the world system regards the self-interested actions of investment bankers as contributing to the development of poor countries; he and other neoliberal economists disguise the central dynamics of economic development under capitalism.

The contemporary world has unprecedented wealth, and mass poverty. Total global wealth was $241 trillion in 2013 and is expected to rise to $334 trillion by 2018. Yet the majority of people live in poverty. To suggest that rising global wealth and global poverty are interrelated, and that the former is premised upon the latter, is not something that most players in international development want to do because it would reveal the sordid foundation of their vision of development.


The Dominant Faith in the World Today: Materialism

Warren Song writes for The Epoch Times:

Money[...] This relatively new religion, Materialism, is becoming the fastest-growing faith in many parts of the world. Many so-called Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists are actually true followers of Materialism when given the million-dollar test. It is your answer to the test that decides your true faith.

The new religion Materialism has at least 1 billion followers around the world, thus making it the most important and dominant faith today. This new belief has its own god, whose name is Money Power Wealth. Its birthplace was Manhattan, birthdate some time around the 1980s, parents unknown.


George Soros blasts ‘parasite’ banks

John Ficenec reports for The Telegraph:

George Soros says Germany has three months to save the eurozoneGeorge Soros, the billionaire investor, believes the banking sector is a “parasite” holding back the economic recovery and an “incestuous” relationship with regulators means little has been done to resolve the issues behind the 2008 crisis. “The banking sector is acting as a parasite on the real economy,” Mr Soros said in his new book “The Tragedy of the European Union”.

“The profitability of the finance industry has been excessive. For a while 35pc of all corporate profits in the United Kingdom and the United States came from the financial sector. That’s absurd.” Mr Soros outlined how the problems that caused the Eurozone economic crisis remain largely unresolved.


Masturbating in Coffins & Other Bizarre Rituals of the Über Elite

‘Abby Martin goes over the strange rituals of secret societies, remarking on the Yale fraternity ‘Skull & Bones’ calling out the surreptitious behavior of two the society’s most famous members including George W Bush and John Kerry.’ (Breaking the Set)

Freemasonry: ‘The firm within the firm’

Britain's Prince Michael of Kent, Provincial Grand Master for Middlesex and Grand Master for The Mark Mason (an additional order of masonry) arrives at St Paul's Cathedral in central London, June 18, 2002 (Reuters)

Britain’s Prince Michael of Kent (Credit: Reuters)

Tony Gosling writes for RT:

Is there a vaster chasm than that between ‘worthy charitable giving’ and ‘swindlers at the top of society’? This is par for the course though when you do an internet search for the Freemasons. Last week brought more hard evidence of the latter (and darker), with the second leaked report from UK criminal justice authorities in as many years to conclude that mobsters use Freemasonry to freely recruit corrupt detectives, being one of ‘the most difficult aspects of organized crime corruption to proof against.’

Scotland Yard’s Operation Tiberius report was written over a decade ago but has only this week been made public by The Independent’s investigations editor, Tom Harper. It follows on from Project Riverside, revealed by Channel 4 News’ Andy Davies in March 2012 from the Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA), which also describes Freemasonry in round terms as ‘a firm within a firm’. Incredible though it may seem, although paid for with public money, both these reports have taken nearly a decade to surface, and then only as partial press leaks.

So why did the authors of Scotland Yard’s Operation Tiberius’ find Freemasons so difficult to winkle out? Most know Freemasonry sits somewhere between a religious cult and a pyramid selling scheme but have no idea where ‘The Craft’ came from, or what makes Masons tick. It’s the oath of secrecy, similar to the Mafia’s Omertà, on pain of death, which, in theory, makes any revelation about ‘The Craft’ a slip of the tongue you can die for.