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William J. Burns: The CIA’s new Bilderberg boss

Hurrah Hurrah, a ‘Bilderberger’ in the CIA!

On January 11, 2021, the President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden, designated the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Meetings, William J. Burns, as the new director of the CIA. This appointment is significant because it marks the return of diplomacy to the forefront of the American political scene, dear to the defenders of the ‘Bi-partisan center’ and of the ‘Trans-Atlantic dialogue’.

Indeed, Mr. Burns, who grew up in the shadow of the Pentagon, is a pure product of the State Department, those seasoned with English sauce. In his 33-year career in the service of American diplomacy, he has witnessed the main events that marked the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st, from the epilogue of the Cold War to the Arab Spring.

Three decades of diplomacy

Son of Major General William F. Burns (former Director of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency under President Reagan), William Junior studied History at La Salle University in Philadelphia, before obtaining a doctorate in International Relations from St. John’s College, Oxford, thanks to a Marshall scholarship, funded by the British taxpayer. He entered the State Department in 1982, where he rose through the ranks, until becoming Deputy Secretary of State, from 2011 to 2014. To be exact, he was even acting Secretary of State, from January 20 to 21, 2009.

Elegant and polite, a diplomat to the tips of his nails, Mr. Burns is a great state clerk who has always been keen to defend the country’s superior interests, beyond all partisan quarrels. He served in positions of responsibility both under the Republicans and under the Democrats, making himself, at every stage, ever more indispensable. After having been Deputy Director of Policy Planning Staff and Executive Secretary of the State Department, after advising Secretaries of State Warren Cristopher and Madeleine Albright, Mr. Burns was appointed, in 1998, as United States Ambassador to Jordan, by President Clinton. When George W. Bush arrived at the White House, he first confirmed him in office and later appointed him Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs in June 2001.

Burns held this post until 2005, when he was appointed Ambassador to Russia (a springboard in the career of any diplomat. Among his predecessors are William Averell Harriman, Walter Bedell Smith, George F. Kennan and Charles E. Bohlen). When Barack Obama arrived at the White House, he first confirmed him in office and later appointed him Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. This was in 2008. In 2011, Burns was propelled to the post of Under-Secretary of State, which he would occupy until his retirement in 2014. On this occasion, he saw himself awarded the US intelligence Community Medallion, for his discreet but decisive role in several sensitive issues involving national security (such as those of Israel-Palestine, Libya and Iran).

Mr. Burns forged a real bond of trust with Hillary Clinton, who saw in him a potential heavyweight in her future government, once she had defeated Donald Trump. However, history would have it otherwise, and Mr. Burns was then offered the post of President of the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace. This is a position as prestigious as it is strategic, given the key role played by this organization in the implementation of American foreign policies. The official role and the unofficial one.

Carnegie and Bilderberg

The Carnegie Foundation’s involvement in the creation of the American branch of Bilderberg in the 1950s is proof of this. It provided strategic, financial and logistical support to the Group during the early years of its existence, which proved to be vital. Its then president, Joseph E. Johnson (1950-1971) became Secretary General for the Bilderberg group in the United States in 1957 and remained so until 1975.

In this role, he invited his successor to the Carnegie Foundation, Thomas L. Hugues (1971-1991), to participate in the 1971 and 1972 Conferences. Jessica T. Mathews, who was President of the Carnegie Foundation from 1997 to 2015, attended virtually all of the Bilderberg Meetings between 1999 and 2017, and served for a long time on the Steering Committee. Mr. Burns participated in the Bilderberg Meetings of 2015 (Telfs, Austria), 2016 (Dresden, Germany), 2017 (Chantilly, Virginia) and 2018 (Turin, Italian), before being co-opted, quite naturally, within the ranks of the Steering Committee.

Burns’ appointment as head of the CIA was greeted with delight by his predecessor, retired General David Petraeus, who told Politico that it was “a truly inspired choice”, and that Burns would “bring vast international experience, global relationships, and impressive, steady leadership.” Petraeus himself has participated in 7 Bilderberg Conferences, from 2013 to 2019, in his role as President of the KKR Global Institute (since May 2013) and partner of the KKR Investment Fund (since December 2014). He was invited along by his employer, the spry billionaire Henry Kravis, who is none other than the husband of Marie-Josée Drouin Kravis, current co-Chairman of Bilderberg and historic president of its American branch. So Petraeus knows what he’s talking about when he speaks of the importance of Mr. Burns’ “global relationships”.

Bilderberg and the CIA

The appointment of Mr. Burns is very moving when one also knows the ‘family ties’ between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Bilderberg association based in the Netherlands. Indeed, the former Director of the CIA (1950-53), General Walter Bedell Smith, was the group’s first supporter in the United States and the main architect of the American branch, with the support of President Dwight Eisenhower and the help from his Psychological Warfare Advisor, General Charles Douglas Jackson.

The majority of the founding members of the Bilderberg had a direct connection to the intelligence community. From their experience during the war, in particular, they had kept both a forma mentis and a modus operandi that is reflected in the group’s natural inclination for secrecy.

Relations between Bilderberg and the international community of secret services have occupied an increasingly important place behind the scenes of power since September 11, 2001. Since then, and even more since the financial crisis of 2007-2011, a growing number of representatives of Western secret services (MI6, GCHQ, NSA, DGSE, DDIS) have been invited to participate in the annual conferences. Former MI6 Director Sir John Sawers also sits on the Steering Committee along with Mr Burns. An unprecedented situation, which never happened even in the darkest hours of the Cold War.

The CIA-Bilderberg relationship has always been special, but now with with Mr. Burns at the helm of ‘The Company’ we can be assured that it will grow even stronger in the years to come.

Endnote: Now that he is in charge, we urge Mr. Burns to reconsider the new CIA fractal logo. We of course understand the desire to encourage more diversity but the old logo is a mythical brand of the 20th century. It is full of color, it features the noble eagle, it symbolizes life, strength and action, while this new look manages to be both clumsy and sinster, lacking any ounce of the style of Mr. Burns. And as they say in Paris… moche is moche.

Bilderberg 2014: agenda released

The agenda for the 2014 Bilderberg conference in Copenhagen has been released. The key topics for discussion this year include:

Is the economic recovery sustainable?
Who will pay for the demographics?
Does privacy exist?
How special is the relationship in intelligence sharing?
Big shifts in technology and jobs
The future of democracy and the middle class trap
China’s political and economic outlook
The new architecture of the Middle East
Ukraine
What next for Europe?
Current events

The top discussion point – “Is the economic recovery sustainable?” – is certain to be focusing on the huge transatlantic free-trade agreement currently being negotiated between the EU and the US: TTIP. More details on TTIP and Bilderberg here.