They began meeting in secret in 1954. Their membership was comprised of the upper echelon of society; the most powerful and wealthy figures from the fields of academia, politics and business. The groupќs founders included tycoon David Rockefeller and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, both elite leaders within the oil industry. What may have started as a simple meeting of the minds, where current issues could be discussed, analyzed and debated, would soon morph into something far more sinister in its influence.

Cloaked in the shadows from the light of public scrutiny, these emperors of industry began to form their own self-serving agendas, and wielded their immense power and resources to redesign the world in their vision. They called themselves the Bilderberg group, and their organization still exists and operates to this day.

Today, this old institution must function in a climate which has become more aware of their particular brand of back-door dealings, thanks to a new wave of savvy investigative journalists and a searing and insightful new documentary titled Bilderberg’$ Club. The film takes on the monumental task of peeling away the secret history and ongoing influence of the organization.

The group’s current membership, as stated in the film by interview subject and editor of the American Free Press Jim Tucker, are “a bunch of unscrupulous, lousy, rotten international criminals.” More specifically, there are only a handful of core members who remain consistent, while many others are invited to join in on an as-needed basis. During their annual meetings, which take place over the course of a weekend, everyone from Bill Gates to heads of state may be included in the group’s private circle, depending upon the potential value and influence of each invited member on the topic of choice. As reported in the film, the decisions they agree upon behind closed doors profoundly impact the shaping of policy and public consciousness on issues as pressing as the price of oil to support for the war in Iraq.

In shining a much-needed light upon its unprecedented levels of secrecy and powerful world players, Bilderberg’$ Club bravely contends that the group’s lobbying powers represent nothing less than a threat to the democratic process.