"Bohemian Grove Photos: Set 1"
photos and text copyright © 1997 Kerry Richardson, archived at [http://www.sonic.net/~kerry/bohemian/photosone.html]:
Ronald Reagan is one of several former United States Presidents who are or were members of the Bohemian Club. Others include George Bush, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Dwight Eisenhower, and Herbert Hoover. Reagan's administration had a strong overlap with the Bohemian Club, several of his cabinet members were also affiliated with the Bohemian Club. This photo was made July 29, 1989 after Reagan was out of office. He did not attend the summer Bohemian Grove encampments while in office. His travelling companion pictured in the yellow shirt is retired U.S. Marine Lt. General Victor Krulak who, along with Reagan, is affiliated with the "Owl's Nest" camp within the Bohemian Grove. Sort of a summer camp for grownups, the Bohemian Grove contains over 100 residential camps with names such as "Lost Angels", "Mandalay", and "Cave Man."
Secretary of State George Shultz (in the dark shirt on the plane ramp) arrived in Santa Rosa on an Air Force jet en route to the Bohemian Grove Friday, July 22, 1988. Traveling with Shultz was then National Security Advisor Colin Powell. This was before Powell was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and before the Gulf War. Shultz is affiliated with the "Mandalay" camp at the Bohemian Grove and attended the summer gatherings while serving as Secretary of State.
Dr. Henry Kissinger, shown here en route to the Bohemian Grove with Drew Lewis of Union Pacific in 1986, likes to attend the Grove gathering and has been featured as a speaker at the "Lakeside Talks" that occur daily during the two-and-one-half week long Bohemian Grove encampment. At the Grove, Kissinger often host guests who have included foreign dignitaries and clients of Kissinger's consulting firm. Like George Shultz, former Secretary of State Kissinger is affiliated with the "Mandalay" camp, as is Drew Lewis.
2001-06-19 "Meet the Secret Rulers of the World: The Truth About The Bohemian Grove"
by Alexander Cockburn And Jeffrey St. Clair [http://www.counterpunch.org/2001/06/19/the-truth-about-the-bohemian-grove/]:
Where’s the fashionable rendezvous for the World’s Secret Government? In the good old days when the Illuminati had a firm grip on things, it was wherever the Bilderburgers decided to pitch their tents. Then Nelson and David Rockefeller horned their way in, and the spotlight moved to the Trilateral Commisssion. Was there one secret government or two? Some said all the big decisions were taken in England, at Ditchley, not so far from the Appeasers’ former haunts at Cliveden and only an hour by Learjet from Davos, which is where jumped up finance ministers and self-inflating tycoons merely pretend they rule the world.
Secret World rulers spend a good deal of time in the air, whisking from Davos to APEC meetings somewhere in Asia, to Ditchley, to Sun Valley, Idaho, though mercifully no longer to the Clinton-favored Renaissance Weekend in Hilton Head, South Carolina. But comes next July 14 and every self-respecting member of the Secret World government will be in a gloomy grove of redwoods alongside the Russian river in northern California, preparing to Banish Care for the 122nd time, prelude to three weeks drinking gin fizzes and hashing out the future of the world.
If the avenging posses mustered by the Bohemian Grove Action Network manage this year to burst through the security gates at the Bohemian Grove, they will (to extrapolate from numerous eyewitness accounts of past sessions) find proofs most convincing to them that here indeed is the ruling crowd in executive session: hundreds of near-dead white men sitting by a lake listening to Henry Kissinger, plus many other near-dead white men in adjacent landscape in a state of intoxication so advanced that many of them had fallen insensible among the ferns, gin fizz glasses gripped firmly till the last.
The avenging posses may find some puzzling elements within the Grove. Why, for example, areat least 80 percent of the Bohemians in a state of intoxication so advanced that many of them had fallen insensible among the ferns, gin fizz glasses gripped firmly till the last? Why so many games of dominoes? Why the evidence that a significant portion of the Secret Government appear to be involved in some theatrical production, involving the use of women’s clothes and lavish application of make-up?
Many an empire has of course been run by drunken men wearing make-up. But a long, hard look at the Bohemian Club, its members and appurtenances, sug-gests that behind the pretense of Secret Government lies the reality of a summer camp for a bunch of San Francisco businessmen, real estate plungers and lawyers who long ago had the cunning to recruit some outside megawattage (e.g., Herbert Hoover, a Rockefeller, Richard Nixon) to turn their mundane frolicking into the simulacrum of Secret Government and make the yokels gape.
The simulacrum isn’t half bad. For Republicans the club is an antechamber to the White House. Teddy Roosevelt was a member. So, as noted, was Herbert Hoover. In his memoirs Hoover wrote that within one hour of Calvin Coolidge’s announcement in 1927 that he would not run again, “a hundred men... editors, publishers, public officials and others from all over the country who were at the Grove, came to my camp demanding that I announce my candidacy.” Hoover was at the Grove again the following summer, as he had been with some considerable regularity since 1911, when news came that Republicans had chosen him for their candidate.
A speech to the industrial and financial titans clustered for one of the Grove’s famous lake-side talks could make or break a candidacy. After a poor reception, Nelson Rockefeller abandoned his bid for the Republican nomination in 1964. Richard Nixon, like Hoover a member of Cave Man’s camp inside the Grove, got a rapturous reception in 1967 and pressed forward to the nomination and the White House. It was at the Bohemian Grove that America’s nuclear weapons program was first devised by physicists such as Ernest O. Lawrence and Edward Teller, both members, meeting with other members who were then in government, all confident of the security of the redwood club-house built by Bernard Maybeck (one of our favorite American architects) in 1904.
European leaders travel discreetly to the Grove to ad-dress the American elite. German chancellor Helmut Schmidt (not to be confused with Club members Chauncey E. Schmidt or Jon Eugene Schmidt) strolled its paths with club member Henry Kissinger, as did French socialist leader Michael Rocard. Where else could such men hope to chat privately with the head of IBM, a couple of Rockefellers, bankers galore, a Justice of the US Supreme Court and Charlton Heston? Even the prickly Lee Kuan Yew hastened to visit the club, only to have the mortification of being mistaken for a waiter.
The Bohemian Club began as a San Francisco institution in 1872, founded by journalists and kindred lowly scriveners as an excuse for late-night boozing. Its membership was dignified by Jack London, Mark Twain, Bret Harte and other literary roustabouts who had fetched up in the city after the Gold Rush.
The hacks soon concluded that Bohemianism, in the sense of real poverty, was oppressive. “It was decided,” clubman Ed Bosque wrote, “we should invite an element to join the Club which the majority of its members held in contempt, namely men who had money as well as brains, but who were not, strictly speaking, Bohemians.” So they pulled in a few wealthy men of commerce to pay for the champagne and the rot soon set in. Within a very few years the lowly scriveners were on their way out — except for a few of the more presentable among them to lend a pretense of Boho-dom — and Mammon had seized power.
There were laments. “The salt has been washed out of the Club by commercialism,” one writer grumbled. On his visit to the city, Oscar Wilde gazed around at the fleshy faces and handsomely attired members and re-marked, “I have never seen so many well-dressed, well-fed, business-like looking bohemians in all my life.”
The final blow to the hacks came soon thereafter. Near the end of the last century the cult of the redwood grove as Nature’s cathedral was in full swing and the Boho-businessmen yearned to give their outings a tinc-ture of spiritual uplift. The long-range planning commit-tee of the club decided to buy a grove some sixty miles north of the city near the town of Monte Rio. When the wheeling and dealing was over, the club owned 2,700 acres of redwoods — a grove of the mightiest of thou-sand-year-old Sequoia sempervirens:
“We are grown men now,” a piece of club literature announced in the early 1920s, “but each year in the hard procession of our days there comes, thank God, to us Bohemians, a recess time — it is upon us. Come out, Bohemians. Come out and play!” Soon the ancient redwoods, hated by the Pomo Indians of the area as clammy and sepulchral, rang to the laughter of the disporting men of commerce.
When all is said and done, the way the beleaguered American male asserts his personhood, defies convention, hails the American dream, is to piss against a tree. Indeed, when confronted with a sex-discrimination suit a few years ago, the Bohemians indignantly asserted that theirs had to be a Men Only institution precisely because any woman entering the club’s precincts would see nothing but men occupied in this crude pastime.
Like all such institutions the club has its rituals, its ceremonies, its hallowed rules. In June there are three long weekends of Springjinks, mostly attended by Californians. At the opening of each summer season proper, on July 14 this year, there is the traditional masque, representing the banishment of Care. Amid somber music, horses carrying caped riders gallop through the trees. Then, eerily picked out by torchlight, robed tycoons move slowly into a clearing with a bier supporting the effigy of Care. Amid stentorian chants, a blare of music and leaping flames, Care is finally cremated. In its place the flame of eternal friend-ship is ignited and three weeks of Boho-dom are underway.
This amalgam of pop Druidry, Klan kitsch and Fraserian mumbo- jumbo stems from the nineteenth-century passion for “ancient ritual.” Two thousand miles away, at the other end of the continent, the same impulse produced Mardi Gras in New Orleans, with its Mystick Krewe, its Elves of Oberon and the tribute paid by Rex to Comus. Many of the Boho rituals and its first play, The Triumph of Bohemia, were worked up by a real estate speculator called George Sterling who took to poesy and Boho-dom late in life and banished Care permanently in 1926 by taking strychnine in the Club’s city premises.
A college kid we’ll call Tom — the arm of the Secret Government is, after all, far-reaching — worked at the Bohemian Grove each summer for three years in the middle 1990s. At that time (and we doubt things have changed) the basic wage for the very ample force required to assist in the banishing of Care is not handsome — $5 to $6 an hour. But Tom worked for an independent con-tractor supplying food and help and got $125 a day plus tips (officially banned at the Grove) and ended up with $3,000 for his three-week stint.
Tom’s day began at 5:30 a.m., preparing for break-fast. The Bohemian Club is set up along frat house lines. Instead of Deltas and Pi Etas there are camps, some 120 in all, stretching along River Road and Morse Stephens canyon. Their names follow the imaginative arc of American industrialists and financiers over the past hun-dred years, from Druids to Hillbillies (George Bush, Walter Cronkite, William F. Buckley), Isle of Aves (John E. Du Pont), Meyerling, Owl’s Nest (Eddie Albert, Ronald Reagan), Silverado Squatters, Totem Inn (which has actually boasted a writer, Allen Drury), Woof (former Secretary of State James A. Baker III), Wayside Log (which has boasted another writer, Herman Wouk), Ye Merrie Yowls, Zaca.
The camp Tom lived and worked at was thick with real estate tycoons and had a reputation for good food and comfortable appointments. Tom fixed the early morning gin fizzes and kindred cobweb banishers. He got the pa-pers — San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, New York Times. He cleaned up the mess left by the Bohos’ nocturnal revels. He served up the fruits, juices, eggs and bacon and listened to captains of commerce start their day’s chat about business affairs. The club has a famous motto, “weaving spiders not come here,” meaning No shop talk, but Tom laughs. “They talk business here all the time. The younger members brown-nose shamelessly, making contacts.” By midmorning it’s another day in Bohemia, with Tom’s hands never idle as he runs up Old Fashioneds and Manhattans. The members prefer to mix their own martinis.
Though he was no career man at the Grove Tom had already taken on a caustic loyalty to his camp. He sneered at nearby Abbey, a lowly place equipped merely with tents and believed to have a tradition of unmentionable prac-tices. He sneered too, though more deferentially, at lordly Mandalay camp, inaccessible save by written invitation by a member, luxuriously appointed and stocked with the Membership Committee’s most determined stab at the pretense of Secret Government. Here are to be found members of the Bechtel clan owners of the largest engineering contractorship in the world, veterans of Republican Washington of the era of Gerorge Bush Sr (former Treasury Secretary Nick Brady, former Secretary of State George Shultz), souvenirs of industrial might (Leonard K. Firestone. Edgar F. Kaiser), 1970s retro (Gerald Ford, Henry Kissinger) and foreign bric-a-brac (Andrew Knight of The Economist).
The waiting lists for membership are so long it takes years for the novitiate to be admitted. Lobbying is pathetically fierce. Tom Watson, the builder of IBM, once took a long weekend off from his retirement job as US ambassador to Moscow to fly to San Francisco to dine with a Bohemian Grove board member and discreetly lobby for membership. A friend of mine, big in Reagan time, has been on the doorstep for 15 years. He says he likes it that way. He’s spared the hefty sign-up fee of around $10,000 and annual membership dues and only has to pony up when he’s invited, which is every two or three years. Particularly in the more sumptuous camps even this takes plenty of money, sharing bills for retinues of uniformed servants, vintage cellars, master chefs and kindred accouterments of spiritual refreshment. But what, in the end, does the member get for his pains?
There are lakeside talks. Here, of an evening, Grovers can hear a banker or a Treasury official wend his way through the intricacies of Third World debt rescheduling, or listen to a European leader who will offer himself up for inspection. There are increasingly popular science talks at the Bohemian Grove’s museum. During the day there are enviro-strolls with some biologist from Stanford or Berkeley lecturing his retinue on successional stages in redwood regeneration. There’s skeet-shooting on the private range. There’s endless dominoes — the Grove’s board-game par excellence. There’s Not Being At Home with the wife. But best of all, there are the talent revue and the play.
Visit some corporate suite in San Francisco in June or early July and if you see the CEO brooding thoughtfully before his plate-glass window overlooking the Bay Bridge, the chances are he is not thinking about some impending take-over or merciless down-sizing. He is probably worrying about the cut of his tutu for the drag act for which he has been rehearsing keenly for many months.
These plays are planned five years in advance, with no expense spared. Tycoons vie eagerly for the privilege of shifting a stage prop or securing the best computerized lighting system that money can provide. Although the talent shows put on by Merv Griffin and Art Linkletter were reckoned at least in past years to be good, the plays are pretty awful, heavily freighted with double-entendres about swollen members and the like. A poster for one Grove play, Pompeii, featured a mighty erection under a toga, modeled no doubt on the redoubtable organ in the Pompeiian fresco photographed by many a touring tycoon.
Along with the big play there is the comedy revue — Low Jinks — for which members again rehearse with passionate anticipation. World affairs stood still a few seasons ago as Henry Kissinger prepared for his big moment, which was to enter, dressed as a dumpy man wearing a Kissinger mask which he duly pulled off, to reveal the ever-familiar features, while announcing in his glottal accent, “I am here because I have always been convinced that The Low Jinks is the ultimate aphrodisi-ac.” Puissance — this is after all a mature crowd scampering about amid the Sequoia sempervirens — is a big theme, and the drag acts are heavily overstated.
Boho-member Wouk once got off a sententious paragraph about the Grove being the site of that purest of loves, the friendship that men can nourish between each other in noble surroundings. Some years ago a gay writer called Ron Bluestein described his stint waitering at the Grove in a very funny pamphlet, “A Waitress in Bohemia,” in which he evoked the below-the-stairs homosexual culture fostered by a workforce mostly recruited from San Francisco. Some anthropologists of Boho culture even believe that the Grove is now encircled with gay residential suburbs that have inevitably sprung up to accommodate these migrants.
Informed sources discount these stories somewhat. Of course there are gay waiters and gay bohemians too, discreetly cruising River Road, but it seems that it was back in the 1970s things got somewhat out of hand. The Club took certain measures and things are now under control.
Along with its most definitely closet contingent, the club also has about 2,000 heterosexuals cooped up for the summer retreat, with no women officially on the premises except for a daily minibus of female cleaners — the consequence of a lawsuit brought by feminists a few years ago — which can go no farther into the Grove than the Camp Fire circle, 400 yards from the Main Gate. Randy members break bounds and head for such straight cruising spots as the Northwood Lodge and Country Club where vigorously bejeweled women in their thirties are to be found
A few years ago KGO radio, out of San Francisco, had an interesting talk show in which callers with first-hand Grove experience told their tales. A man from Monte Rio said he was only one of several towns-people renting cabins every year to prostitutes traveling from as far as Las Vegas to renew the Bohos’ spiritual fibers. He said it was a big shot in the arm for Monte Rio’s ailing economy. This same caller moved from shots in the arm to shots in another location. He said he stocked his cabins with plenty of booze as well as syringes of a potency drug recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration which furnishes four to six-hour erections. Sempervirens indeed. The Monte Rio caller added that at least this quotient of Secret Government included good tippers, doling out splendid gratuities to their companions.
In the 1990s the Grove’s reputation as the site of Secret Government was in eclipse. The Mandalay camp roster told the story, with its grizzled veterans of the Reagan-Bush years. The contours of the Republican Party had changed, in a manner not entirely suited to the Club. The young Christian zealots of the Newt revolution were scarcely Low Jinksters, and Newt — he did give a lake-side talk in 1995 — was a little too tacky in style for the gin fizz set. Dole wasn’t even a member and with Bill and Hillary in office, journalists dashed off each year to the Carolina coast to write about the Renaissance Weekend at Hilton Head where the idiom was of the 1990s — self-awareness, being in touch with your inner self, networking — rather than the 1890s — making merrie, getting drunk and us-ing the Old Boy Net.
But here we are in the Bush II era, and the Bush Clan is pure Secret Government, all the way from the old Rockefeller connection, to Skull and Bones and the Knights of Malta. Dick Cheney’s a Grover.
So spare yourself the expense of traveling from Quebec to the next session of the WTO. Voyage to Sonoma County and muster against Secret World Government which, let’s face it, isn’t exactly secret. For the Rally and Line of Shame, be at the Monte Rio parking lot across from the Rio theater at 2pm, July 14
For further details, call the Bohemian Grove Action Network, whose Mary Moore has been chivvying the Grovers for twenty years, at 707-874-2248 or check out http://www.sonomacountyfreepress.org
1991-11 "Inside Bohemian Grove: The Story People Magazine Won't Let You Read"
When Dirk Mathison, San Francisco bureau chief for People magazine, infiltrated the exclusive Bohemian Grove retreat this summer, he got a view into the U.S. elite that very few reporters have glimpsed. Unfortunately, that elite includes the management of Time Warner, the owner of People, which prevented Mathison from telling his story.
Bohemian Grove, a secluded campground in California's Sonoma County, is the site of an annual two-week gathering of a highly select, all-male club, whose members have included every Republican president since Calvin Coolidge. Current participants include George Bush, Henry Kissinger, James Baker and David Rockefeller -- a virtual who's who of the most powerful men in business and government.
Few journalists have gotten into the Grove and been allowed to tell the tale (one exception is Philip Weiss, whose November 1989 Spy piece provides the most detailed inside account), and members maintain that the goings-on there are not newsworthy events, merely private fun. In fact, official business is conducted there: Policy speeches are regularly made by members and guests, and the club privately boasts that the Manhattan Project was conceived on its grounds.
Given the veil of secrecy that surrounds the Bohemian "encampment," a reporter needs to enter the grounds covertly in order to get a full portrait. Mathison entered the grounds three times July 1991, aided by activists from the Bohemian Grove Action Network.
He witnessed a speech -- "Smart Weapons" -- by former Navy Secretary John Lehman, who stated that the Pentagon estimates that 200,000 Iraqis were killed by the U.S. and its allies during the Gulf War. Other featured speakers included Defense Secretary Richard Cheney on "Major Defense Problems of the 21st Century", former Health, Education and Welfare Secretary Joseph Califano on "America's Health Revolution -- Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Pays", and former Attorney General Elliott Richardson on "Defining the New World Order".
Mathison's entree into the secret world of the Grove was cut short on July 20, however, when he was recognized by two of the participants in the festivities -- executives from Time Warner, People's publisher. More loyal to the Grove than to journalistic endeavor, they had the reporter removed from the premises (San Francisco Weekly, 8/7/91).
Mathison already had plenty of material, however, and turned in an article to his editors, which was scheduled to appear in the Aug. 5, 1991 issue. They were pleased with the piece, according to Mathison: "They liked it enough to expand it a bit," he told Extra!.
But then the story was suddenly killed. Landon Jones, managing editor of People, told Extra! that the decision had nothing to do with the Time Warner executives. "It was cut partially because he hadn't been there long enough to get a complete story. Secondly, we felt very uncertain about reporting what we did have, because, and this is my fault and I take responsibility for this, I simply didn't realize it was technically trespassing."
For his part, Mathison said he did not know why the story was killed, and implied it would be nearly impossible to find the real reason. "It's easier to penetrate the Bohemian Grove than the Time-Life Building," he told Extra!.
But the story raises questions about the ability of a media entity to report critically on an elite when its executives are enthusiastic members of that elite. Indeed, the Time organization was noted for sending a corporate plane to the Bohemian gathering every year, according to long-time Grove-watcher Kerry Richardson.
Time Warner is not the only media corporation with Bohemian connections. The list of Fourth Estate bigwigs who have been members or guests is extensive: Franklin Murphy, the former CEO of the Times Mirror corporation; William Randolph Hearst, Jr.; Jack Howard and Charles Scripps of the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain; Tom Johnson, president of CNN and former publisher of the Los Angeles Times.
When Associated Press president Louis Boccardi spoke at one of the Grove's "Lakeside Talks" about kidnapped reporter Terry Anderson (Spy, 11/89), he referred to his audience as men of "power and rank" and "gave them more details than he said he was willing to give his readers."
Walter Cronkite, now on the CBS board, hangs out at the same lodge at Bohemian Grove as George Bush and the former chairs of Procter & Gamble and Bank of America; Cronkite's voice has served as the voice of the Owl of Bohemia, a fixture in the club's mock-druidic rituals.
The media figures attending the retreat all agree not to report on what goes on inside. The prohibition seems to apply to reporters who are not guests or members as well: In 1982, NPR got a recording of Henry Kissinger's speech at the Grove -- but declined to air it (Spy, 11/89). Also in 1982, a Time reporter went undercover as a waiter in Bohemian Grove; like Mathison's People article, his story was killed