This editorial first appeared on The Corbett Report in 2016. It is being republished here in light of recent news that makes this story relevant again.
by James Corbett
April 17, 2016
What is the most important bank the public has never heard of?
My fine audience excepted, not one in a hundred people could name the Bank for International Settlements as the culprit, and fewer still could describe the BIS' role as "the apex of the system" of world financial control (as Carroll Quigley so memorably put it).
But what about the second most powerful bank? How many people would even be able to venture a guess as to the identity of that institution? If they were told that its acronym was "GEF," how many people would even know what that stands for?
It's like something out of a comic book.
Picture, if you will, a group of the wealthiest, most powerful villains the world has ever seen meeting in a secret bunker in an undisclosed location. A hush descends on the room as the proceedings begin, and the assembled super-fiends discuss how best to enact their plan for world domination. It is obvious what must be done, but not so obvious how to achieve it.
One of the evil cabal's henchmen rises to speak:
"I suggest therefore that this be sold not through a democratic process - that would take too long and devour far too much of the funds - to educate the cannon fodder, unfortunately, that populates the earth. We have to take almost an elitist program, [so] that we can see beyond our swollen bellies, and look to the future in time frames and in results which are not easily understood, or which can be, with intellectual honesty, be reduced down to some kind of simplistic definition."
Then the head villain, old and soft-spoken but with a gravitas that makes the others tremble, speaks. In his quiet and deliberate way he lays out a plan for world domination: The takeover of one-third of the earth's surface. The creation of a global military force to maintain that control. And a bank to oversee the whole process.
Sound too cartoonish? Well, it really happened. Only it wasn't a secret bunker in an undisclosed location, but the 4th World Wilderness Congress that took place in Denver, Colorado, in 1987. The evil henchmen was David Lang, a banker from Montreal. The head villain was Edmund de Rothschild. He was introduced by none other than the ubiquitous super-gopher / Rockefeller protege / "environmentalist" Maurice Strong. Also in attendance at the meeting: David Rockefeller himself, Secretary of State James A. Baker, international banker and Rothschild associate Michael Sweatman, and a host of World Bank members, foreign bankers and international delegates who all converged on Colorado for the strangest "wilderness" conference ever assembled. And we are only fortunate enough to know about this meeting because of an extraordinarily unlikely series of accidents that happened to put the right man in the right place at the right time to observe, record and report on it.
That man was George Hunt. He was a businessman in Boulder, Colorado, who had been watching public broadcasting one evening in 1987 when he saw an announcement for the "4th World Wilderness Congress" in Denver later that year. The announcement displayed images of wildlife in the Arctic and, his son having told him the week before that he was interested in going to the Arctic, Hunt decided to attend the conference to "rub shoulders with the forest rangers" and see if he could procure his son a job. Upon inquiry, however, he discovered that the cost to attend the conference was much higher than he had expected, and so, rather than purchasing a ticket, he volunteered to help with the conference. As luck would have it, one of the volunteers had become quite sick and would be unable to attend, so Hunt took his place and gained behind the scenes access to the proceedings.
Hunt was, needless to say, blown away by the guest list. This was no mere forest ranger get together, and the agenda was not idle talk about saving the reindeer. Instead, Hunt encountered a who's who of world finance discussing the creation of a new "World Conservation Bank" that would direct funds from governmental, intergovernmental, public, private, charitable and individual sources for the "conservation of wilderness areas."
At the World Wilderness Conference, Hunt was able to record Edmund de Rothschild describing the World Conservation Bank idea in the most glowing terms:
"This International Conservation Bank must know no frontiers, no boundaries. Its funds must be used constructively – and not, and not to be channeled into greedy hands or weapons of destruction. I hesitate to link this bank with World Wilderness; but I would like to link it with our survival, as a human race. This, our generation, must not be cursed by our descendants – if we have any – as to the greatest destructors and squanderers of the world’s resources."
Or, that was how they were planning to sell the idea to the unwashed masses, anyway. But perhaps unsurprisingly, the banksters were planning something much more sinister: using concern over environmental degradation as a cover behind which they could erect a new financial institution: A bank that can direct the mind-boggling amounts of money (and property) that are being transferred in this, the first round of the coming technocratic revolution.
The idea for an International Conservation Bank had been around for some time by the time of the 4th World Wilderness Congress. It was discussed within the World Bank. It was kicked around Washington NGOs. It was fostered by family foundations and governmental agencies like the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Finally, France put forward a formal proposal for such a bank at a joint ministerial meeting of the IMF in 1989. The project was put under the umbrella of the World Bank and by 1991 the World Conservation Bank was formally established.
It calls itself the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), and it has so far made over $14.5 billion in grants and co-financed a further $75.4 billion. It is the funding mechanism for five different UN conventions, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which itself established the IPCC.
The bank's slick promotional videos highlight a number of projects it has helped fund in various impoverished nations: the construction of drainage trenches to prevent glacial lake flooding in Bhutan; the establishment of "protected areas" and economic development in Mali's wildlife areas; and the funding of Chinese companies producing solar cells and wind farm technology.
Supremely bizarre group chanting videos aside, the whole operation sounds pure as the driven snow, right? Not so fast.
According to the GEF's website, the facility "was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems." It has 18 "implementing partners" including the Rockefeller-funded Food and Agricultural Organization, the foundation-funded and corporate-friendly International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Maurice Strong-created United Nations Environment Programme, and the Prince Bernhard / Prince Philip-founded World Wildlife Fund.
If such a pedigree immediately casts doubt on the altruistic intentions of the bank, one is right to be skeptical. In reality, the GEF and its affiliated environmental finance organizations have an ulterior motive: using the debt chains sown by the World Bank and IMF on impoverished third world nations as leverage to gain control over vast swathes of these countries' lands and resources, and funnel money to the banksters' corporate cronies.
Sound far-fetched? The practice is fully admitted to, well-documented, and even has a catchy name: debt-for-nature swaps.
The GEF's own documents describe debt-for-nature swaps this way:
"Debt-for-nature swaps are voluntary transactions in which a portion of a developing country’s hard-currency debt is canceled or reduced by a creditor. In exchange, the debtor agrees to allocate a portion of its cancelled debt in local currency to environmental programs or projects. Initially, most were private swaps in which international environmental NGOs raised the funds and initiated the process. In recent years, many swaps have been bilateral, where both the creditor and debtor are governments. Other creditors can include commercial banks or commercial firms owed money by governments of developing countries."
Although it is generally touted as a win-win for debtor nations (with debt relief for the debtor and environmental protections that benefit the globe), the debt-for-nature scheme always comes with strings attached: the ceding of certain land for environmental "development," for example, or the imposition of certain regulations and restrictions on a country's existing industries.
As the Convention on Biological Diversity admits, the scheme usually comes with hefty transaction costs of between 1.5 and 5% of the face value of the debt itself. And the big winners of these projects are generally the ones contracted to do them, manage them, or direct the investments, not the locals who, like the aborigines of Palawan island, are kicked off their land and effectively wiped off the face of the map.
Although it sounds scarcely believable, the debt-for-nature swap proposal had been kicking around since it was first suggested by Thomas Lovejoy of the World Wildlife Fund in 1984. It was first used in Bolivia in 1987 and by 1991 the journal of the American Bar Association, The International Lawyer, was publishing articles about the concept. By 1998 it had been hardwired into US law through the Tropical Forest Conservation Act, which has so far facilitated $223 million in debt-for-nature deals with 14 different countries.
Never heard of the GEF, or debt-for-nature swaps, or the proceedings of the 4th Wilderness Congress? Of course you haven't. The powers-that-shouldn't-be have decided it's better for their scheme if you don't. After all, as David Lang was so quick to remind us at the 4th World Wilderness Congress, we're just the cannon fodder that unfortunately populates the earth.
But at least now you know what to answer when someone asks you what the second most powerful bank is.
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