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bilderberg-group.jpgDaniel Estulin
The True Story of the Bilderberg Group
Trine Day Books
5.5/10
Since the dawn of mankind, or at least the turn of the last century, conspiracy theories have always existed. From the Kennedy assassinations to rumors of an underground network of brainwashed sex slaves, such rumors have always benefited from the supposed secrecy of the shadowy organizations they addressed, whether they be the Freemasons or the Central Intelligence Agency. These groups are said to run the world, and in some cases they’ve come close to doing just that, but the truth is hardly that simple. Nor do their tentacles extend as far as some conspiracy theorists- and even the groups’ leaders themselves- would hope. Yet that is exactly what Daniel Estulin claims in his new book The True Story of the Bilderberg Group. It is an alarming tale of greed, paranoia, and power run amok, and yet, in many ways the book suffers from the same affliction as its subjects.

The story opens in 1996 Toronto. Daniel, a veteran and seasoned reporter of the Bilderberg scene, rendezvous with a source in a mall. The encounter is classic cloak and dagger espionage. Estulin makes eye contact with the asset; they walk towards a secure location and exchange words.

“You stopped him this time around,” the informant says, referring to the torrent of leaks about the Bilderberger meeting that Estulin and his friends made to the Canadian press, a meeting where the participants allegedly discussed the breakup of the former British Commonwealth. Yet the man is hardly optimistic about the endgame, believing that the potential dissolution of the union was only postponed. It sounds like an episode out of an old John Le Carre novel, too good to be true. However, in successive chapters Estulin documents the extraordinary level of influence that Bilderbergers as a whole have, ranging from politics to the economy.

While some of his theories are exercises in wishful thinking, others, such as those surrounding its role in the 1973 energy crisis, are unsettling in light of current events. A quick browse through the postscript- a collection of documents and analyses that Estulin is said to have risked his own life to attain- confirms this assessment. However, in other respects the tome is hyperbolic and alarmist. Contrary to his claims, the group is far from being monolithic or unanimous on every issue, and some of his own research supports this.

Several of the vignettes, such as the interrogation scene in Italy, portray a paranoia bordering on a persecution complex, and as the author’s purported links to the KGB attest, there is still much to suspect about what we are being told. On balance, though, it is an informative read, albeit more offbeat than some would hope. However in light of the extraordinary hardship the author has faced, it is worth at least a cursory read. This is not a Nobel Prize winning book, and many of the claims it makes do not rise to the standard of truth that some in the media would prefer. Yet in terms of the amount of hard data that Estulin has collected, it is perhaps the only authoritative book on the subject that has been offered.

This is a book worth reading, if only to challenge our preconceived notions about the way the world works. But don’t check the skeptic hat at the door, and as always, consider the source.

Jack Winn