Monte Rio, California was the site this weekend for the rich and powerful to discuss, well — who knows? Bohemian Grove is an annual event, but only those allowed inside know the group’s true agenda.
Alongside between beautiful redwood trees and picturesque coastlines, the Bohemian Grove site serves as the perfect getaway for the world’s rich and powerful. Every year, CEOs, media moguls and high-level politicians flock here to embrace each other during a secluded camp-out that has made the event one of the most well known of the world’s secret societies.
This year, as in the past, protesters gathered outside the property to demonstrate against what they argue is the erosion of a democratic society.
"Less than a mile from us there are millionaires, billionaires, people who control the world, control the central banks, build nuclear weapons. This is their summer playground,” says Dr. Peter Phillips of Project Censored.
Dr. Phillips once spent three days on the inside of the Grove, but now on the outside he argues that the public has a right to know what is happening on the other side of the fence. He participated in this weekend’s Occupy Bohemian Grove.
"It's speaking to the powerful of the world saying we want to have a democratic process, an open transparent process,” says Phillips. "They're making business deals there, they're talking policy in a lot of conversation."
Mark Dice, an author and activist, has also devoted countless hours to exposing the inner secrets of the Bohemian Grove. "Their motto is weaving spiders come not here, which means they claim there's no business discussions, it's just a vacation for wealthy men,” he says.
Personally, though, he believes otherwise.
"It's a good way for the ruling class to get an inside perspective on another ruling class member,” he adds.
Public records suggest that former US presidents including Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon are among the list of Bohemian Grove veterans. Dice has provided photographic evidence that also links personalities such as David Brooks of The New York Times, musician Jimmy Buffett and Henry Kissinger to the gathering. A 2005 roster he’s obtained includes the names of “Your typical war mongers,” as he puts it.
“Richard Pearle, Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz," rattles off Dice
Kimberly, a college student protesting this year’s gathering, says the event enforces the notion that this society isn’t all that democratic. "It shows we are really disenfranchised and that our voices are muted. Money is speech so if you don't have money you really don't have a voice,” she says.
Felipe Messina, a fellow activist, echoes Kimberly’s concerns.
"The nuclear program was discussed here and then developed later and that Reagan was here in the 80s and then afterward we had the Reagan revolution,” says Messina.
Many feel that, because those on the inside have ties to the mainstream media, the real truth will never come out. Activist Cindy Sheehan calls the group “the propaganda arm for the one percent” and agrees that they will only produce the kind of news that will help their own.
“The corporate media is the one percent,” Messina agrees. “MSNBC, FOX, CNN, they're not going to do negative stories about themselves, capitalism, global empire and war."
To those on ‘public’ side of the fence, though, the secrets discussed within Bohemian Grove should be made available to everyone. Someday, they say, they will accomplish that.