NEW YORK – Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of Colin Powell’s hacked Gmail account saga is that dozens of messages contain insider details of the famed Bohemian Grove — a place the Washington Post once described as “where the rich and powerful go to misbehave.”
Bohemian Grove is a 2,700-acre campground in Monte Rio, Calif that serves as a meeting place for top politicians and businessmen who are members of the Grove society. The site’s annual secretive meeting takes place for two weeks in July, with Powell writing that he was present at last July’s event.
Powell’s hacked emails reveal the names of several members, some of whom are world leaders and billionaires, with Powell sarcastically writing the attendees accounted for “half the nation’s GDP.”
The correspondence divulges some of the activities that take place inside the annual summit. One such event from last July’s summit was a comedy sketch starring Powell and Henry Kissinger that included a bit making fun of Bill Cosby.
While numerous conspiracies have swirled around Bohemian Grove, the email trove reviewed by this reporter paints a picture of a summit where a group of top opinion makers go to fraternize and exchange ideas outside the spotlight of the media.
Nothing sinister is discussed in the reviewed emails. But there are some unusual references, such as one email that refers to a “Ladies night” with no further explanation. Women are not allowed as guests in the Grove encampment area, although they have been allowed into the site’s Bohemian “City Club” building outside the encampment. Previous videos purporting to be from the Grove have claimed to show members dressed in drag.
One email to Powell reads, “Enjoy the cremation of care.” The Cremation of Care is Bohemian Grove’s annual theatrical production, with a video previously smuggled out by radio host Alex Jones showing the Cremation is ceremonial and ritualistic in nature.
The messages do betray a strict membership process, and the secrecy alone may give off an aura of impropriety to some.
The emails also divulge that attendees like to have fun, with Grove members putting on shows that evidence high production values. One email, for example, discusses show credits for a director, music producer, and a writing team.
One email from July 28 reveals this year’s show included a cast of world leaders, billionaires and former dignitaries, including Powell, Henry Kissinger, Michael Bloomberg, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Jimmy Buffet, and Juan Carlos, the former King of Spain.
That email relates:
And what star studded cast we had in the show: His Majesty King Carlos, General Powell and Dr. Kissinger (they ad-libbed some real funny lines), Ken Burns (fun, funny with great timing, and unfortunately had a good aim with the pie), Mayor Bloomberg, Senator Simpson, Prime Minister Harper, Jimmy Buffett, and Steve Wariner. Thank you for taking the time to add luster to our show.
And a special shout out to Will Fratt and Philip Adkins for arranging His Majesty King Carlos to be a spear carrier in our show. And thank you to Andrew Saxton (fellow Pelican and former member of the Canadian Parliament) writing and assisting me in getting Prime Minister Harper to be in our show. Thank you to Chip Wiser in arranging Warren, I mean Jimmy, Buffett to be in our show.
This past year’s Grove summit included a show titled, “The Complete History of Comedy in 55 Minutes,” which had a section making fun of Bill Cosby.
An email contained a script of the Cosby section of that show:
Cappy: Clint, no history of comedy show could ever be complete without acknowledging the tremendous contributions that Jewish-American and African-American comedians have made in the history of comedy.
Clint: You’re right, Cappy, just think about it—the Borscht Belt, the Marx Brothers, Milton Berle, Mel Brooks … the list goes on. Jewish comedians have made one hell of a contribution.
Cappy: You bet, and how about African-American comedians?
Clint: No doubt! How many times have you just cracked up watching Richard Pryor? Or Eddie Murphy? Or Bill C…
Cappy: [Interrupting] Whoa, whoa, Clint. Not the “C” word…
Clint: Right, sorry.
… Henry Kissinger and Colin Powell stage right looking somewhat bewildered. They cross downstage center and wait for the crowd applause to die down.
The Grove is not all fun and games, the emails reveal. Numerous serious events take place, with major policy players holding breakfast, lunch and dinner sessions discussing pressing domestic and foreign policy issues. Powell himself hosted one of those sessions – a breakfast at the Owl’s Nest, apparently one of the encampments.
Another speaker was General Joseph Ralston, former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Supreme Allied Commander for NATO in Europe. “Joe will discuss the situation in Russia and the Ukraine,” an email stated.
Other high profile guests and speakers at Grove events mentioned in the Powell emails have included General Keith Alexander, former NSA Director; and Supreme Court Justice Tony Kennedy.
Even though the camp is open to international guests, recent Grove events related in the Powell emails boasted national themes, including a tribute honoring George H. W. Bush, and, as one email relates, “a brief musical salute to our nation’s military services by members of Band Camp.”
Bitching about golf clubs, private jets
Powell sarcastically writes the attendees amounted for “half the nation’s GDP,” and that they were “all bitching about everything and discussing their next golf club to join, a G5 vs. a Global Express and their fifth home (Nantucket or Palm Beach).”
That full email reads:
Half the nation’s GDP was there, all bitching about everything and discussing their next golf club to join, a G5 vs. a Global Express and their fifth home (Nantucket or Palm Beach). Steve Wynn and I got into it again. Kissinger and Shultz weren’t there so I got the solo major role at the famous Owl’s Nest Saturday breakfast.
The emails hint at strict membership acceptance procedures, with one message explaining Steve Case, co-founder and former chief executive officer and chairman of America Online (AOL), had trouble getting in.
Case sent an email to Powell February 2015 explaining, “They recommended I defer until next year. From what I gather there were a couple hostile folks on the committee and they are rolling off.”
A September 2015 email from a Grove member explained to Powell that Case was not accepted the previous year:
Unfortunately, the Committee did not approve his application last year (technically the application was withdrawn at their suggestion). I’ll be happy to explain the reasons he didn’t make it last year on the phone with you – I’d rather not write them. Steve took it all very well and has been a champ at continuing the process (I probably would have told the Club to stuff it). …
In the bad news department, Steve joined Pelican Camp (yes, before becoming a Bohemian). I was holding out hope that he’d join Mandalay, but was too naïve to know that we could have extended an invitation to him before he even became a member of the Club! Once he got the Pelican invitation, he was tired of sleeping around and was too shy to ask if he could have joined Mandalay so he accepted Pelican’s invitation. I was disappointed with that event, but it is what it is and I’ll still be happy to see Steve in the Club.
In a 2011 profile, the Washington Post reported thusly on the Grove’s Cremation of the Care ceremony, which was once infiltrated and filmed by Alex Jones:
The club is so hush-hush that little can be definitively said about it, but much of what we know today is from those who have infiltrated the camp, including Texas-based filmmaker Alex Jones. In 2000, Jones and his cameraman entered the camp with a hidden camera and were able to film a Bohemian Grove ceremony, Cremation of the Care. During the ceremony, members wear costumes and cremate a coffin effigy called “Care” before a 40-foot-owl, in deference to the surrounding Redwood trees.
Bohemian Grove’s spokesperson calls the ceremony “a traditional musical drama celebrating nature and summertime.” The spokesperson also said that while Jones’ comments are inaccurate, the footage is real.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
With additional research by Joshua Klein.