The 1001 Club: Bankers, Intelligence Agents, and Raw Materials Executives Striving for a Sustainable Future
by Joel van der Reijden
August 14, 2005
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Whether you search in Dutch, French, German, English, American, or South-African newspapers of the past 35 years, you will find that there is virtually no information available on a private association naming itself the 1001 Club. Even in the Netherlands, where Prince Bernhard's involvement with Bilderberg should be widely known by now, absolutely no one has heard of his role in creating "the 1001".
The only official information available about this club - which the average person is very unlikely to stumble upon - is that it was established in the early seventies by individuals as Prince Bernhard, Prince Philip, Charles de Haes, and Anton Rupert, and that every member paid a one time fee of $10,000 to get lifetime membership - that's about it.
This almost total absence of public awareness seems odd, as the men visiting 1001 Club receptions often represent some of the greatest economic interests on the planet.
Background of the WWF and the 1001
In 1948, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) was erected, mainly by Sir Julian Huxley, a famous biologist. Later, in September 1961, Julian Huxley officially established the WWF, together with persons like Prince Bernhard and Prince Philip.
Ten years later, around 1971, WWF officials Anton Rupert, Prince Philip, and Prince Bernhard came together and decided to form a club that would cover the administrative and fundraising aspects of the WWF, making the organization's existence independent from donations of the general public.
Anton Rupert is said to have been the one who came up with the idea.
Bernhard became the "figurehead" of the organization, a role similar to his role in the Bilderberg meetings. Bernhard was well liked, knew many people on both sides of the Atlantic, and as a prince, was considered neutral. Anton Rupert appointed the Belgian economist Charles de Haes as Bernhard's personal assistant.
Bernhard and de Haes would approach most of the individuals who would be invited to the 1001 Club, which mainly were friends and associates of the two princes. In 1974, all the members were recruited, each of them having paid the one-time contribution of $10,000 to the Club's "1001 Nature Trust".
From this point on, we have very little information on how the club organizes its meetings and how much each of the members keep contributing.
The strangest club in the world? (above image)
1. Fugitive banker and drug smuggler Robert Vesco, reportedly working for the CIA
2. Agha Abedi, founder and head of the BCCI
3. BCCI shareholder Salem Bin Laden, the older brother of Osama, whose small plane crashed when the BCCI scandal came out
4. Permindex founder Mortimer Bloomfield, who was a SOE-CIA-FBI Division Five and Haganah/Zionist agent, here talking to David Ben Gurion
5. 1001 Club member Mobutu Sese Seko, the anti-communist dictator of Zaire, having a laugh with Prince Bernhard, the 1001's head.
Press reports about the 1001 Club have been extremely sporadic. Possibly the only serious exposé on the club was published in 1980 by Private Eye.
One of the questions this magazine asked was:
"The puzzling question is what do the '1001' get for their money apart from private prestige and the privilege of dining with Prince Bernhard or the Duke of Edinburgh?" 
We'll leave the answer to this question for later.
The mentioning of diners indicates that the 1001 Club is organized in the same way as many other establishment clubs, including the prestigious Pilgrims Society. An initial problem when writing this article was that it was difficult to determine whether or not the 1001 still existed - information was extremely scarce to say the least. One thing that could be found was that new members were still invited in 1996.
On the website of Buttonboss Plc. we can read in the history section:
"Buttonboss celebrated its 20th Anniversary and, once again, Prince Bernhard honored us with his presence in attending the spectacular celebration party in Twente (Holland). It was on this occasion that he, in name of fellow members of the selection committee, offered Henk Brusse membership of the '1001-Club', for which he was responsible in founding. This club compromises 1001 good friends and relations of H.R.H. Prince Bernhard, all of whom support the world-wide activities associated with the World Wild Life Nature Fund."
The next step was to contact several branches of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature and ask them about the 1001.
On August 10, 2005, the Dutch branch of the WWF finally confirmed that meetings were still being organized:
"I received your question about the 1001-Club. Regular meetings indeed do take place. The location is different every time. For instance, last April there has been a Panda Ball in Monaco and a diner in Barcelona... Could you please inform me why you are interested in this information?"
In the email the question was asked if the meetings were held in London.
The WWF employee said that although it's very likely that meetings have been organized here too, that they were held in various countries. A very brief 1978 report in The Times confirms that Prince Philip gave a reception at Windsor castle for 1001 Club members .
A leaked, confidential internal report of the 1001 Club furthermore confirms that Prince Bernhard regularly organized receptions at Soestdijk Palace for Dutch 1001 Club members, and that King Juan Carlos organized his own receptions in Spain for Spanish members. According to this last report, international meetings have also been organized on a regular basis.  One example of these international trips/meetings appears to have been a five-day trip to Nepal of some thirty 1001 Club members. The excursion was headed by Prince Bernhard .
Three days after uploading the initial 1001 Club article (the site was visited by WWF headquarters in Switzerland for some time after the emails had been sent) and five weeks after sending them an email, the British branch of the WWF finally decided to reply (it should normally take two days max).
They confirmed the 1001 Club was still organizing meetings and added to it that the one-time introduction fee had been increased to $25,000.
"I have been in discussions with our major support section in order to find all the information that you require about the 1001 club. There is a one off membership fee of $25,000 (US Dollars) and there are field trips and events organised mainly by WWF International. If you have further queries please come back to us..."
This short message took them five weeks! And why did this person have to go in "discussions" to receive "all this information"?
Needles to say, we did get back to them and asked them whether or not the regular staff has actually heard of the 1001 Club, or if all this information is held behind closed doors within the WWF headquarters. The answer came after about three weeks, on September 5, 2005.
If we skip the usual apology for the delay, the whole email read:
"I would like to inform you that the 1001 Club is a scheme run by WWF-International, which is situated in Switzerland, and for detailed information we have to contact WWF-International."
As expected, the answer doesn't tell us a whole lot.
Anyway, if you have a thousand members with an average age of 45-50 years or so, you'd expect that at least an average of about twenty people die each year. Twenty new members who each pay the $25,000 introduction fee is a baseline income for the 1001 Club of at least $500,000 annually.
Difference between the 1001 and the Pilgrims
The Anglo-American Pilgrims Society is a good society to compare the 1001 Club with. Both are very aristocratic and very low profile social clubs. Both are international and have originated from England. The two are also comparable in size, with considerable overlap in membership when it comes to British or, to some extent, American members.
There are also differences, the most obvious being that members of the 1001 Club are recruited from all over the world.
• Conrad Black and Maurice Strong from Canada
• Henry Ford II and Robert McNamara from the United States
• Antenor Patino and Gustavo Cisneros from Latin America
• Sir Peter Cadbury and Lord Buxton from the United Kingdom
• Hilmar Reksten and Alf Bjercke from Norway
• Henk Brusse and Ferdinand Grapperhaus from the Netherlands
• Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza and Berthold Beitz (Krupp) from Germany
• Egmond Frommelt and Herbert Batliner from Liechtenstein
• Mobutu Sese Seko and Salay Edu from Africa
• Mohammed Al-Naki and Agha Abedi from the Middle-East
• Gyanendra Dev from Nepal
• Sir Kenneth Fung and Sir Y.K. Pao from Hong Kong
In contrast, the Pilgrims Society is strictly Anglo-American.
Nobility and royalty in the 1001:
• Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein, who is trying to become the absolute ruler of his country
• Gyanendra Dev with Prince Philip, right after Dev's family had been murdered almost entirely by his nephew Crown Prince Dipendra
• King Juan Carlos, who doesn't mind shooting endangered species
• Prince Johannes von Thurn und Taxis who seems to have been involved in underhand business with leading Cercle members
• Baron Heinrich II "Heini" von Thyssen-Bornemisza, nephew of the notorious Fritz Thyssen
Another difference between members of the Pilgrims Society and the 1001 Club is that Pilgrims virtually always remain highly respected individuals from high society throughout their life, whereas a considerable amount of 1001 Club members have fallen from grace over the years.
Among the examples are
• Mobutu Sese Seko, the ruthless dictator of Zaire
• drug and arms trader Robert Vesco
• arms/gold/diamond smuggler Sheikh Ali Ahmed
• the hard-right, anti-communist financier Nelson Bunker Hunt
• Mossad agent and money launderer Tibor Rosembaum
• Zionist agent Louis Mortimer Bloomfield
• Salem Bin Laden, the half brother of Osama Bin Laden
• Agha Hasan Abedi of the BCCI
• Zionist/mafia-linked bankers as (Mrs.) Edgar de Picciotto and Edmond Safra
There are leading figures from respectable banks and corporations, but overall the 1001 has a much more mixed crowd.
Because of all the foreign interests, persons representing the Vatican-Paneuropa network and Zionism are also considerably more prominent in the 1001 Club than the predominantly Episcopal and Presbyterian Pilgrims Society.
Land grabbing and covert operations
As Private Eye magazine asked: what is the real purpose of the 1001 Club?
Private Eye suspected that the real motive of many businessmen joining the 1001 has a lot to do with them seeking new ways to expand their business operations, in this case by using the WWF and the 1001 Club as a platform to casually meet the leaders of third world countries who control a substantial amount of the planet's natural resources.
This accusation is actually quite hard to substantiate. There are a number of British and American 1001 Club members who represent great oil, mineral, and shipping interests, but only a small number of third world political leaders can be found among the membership (Mobutu is probably the biggest exception).
Of course, the 1001 Club remains a good place to meet important persons from various countries around the world, but the question is if this is the primary purpose for members to join.
1001 Club members (above image):
• Sidney Spiro
• Harry Oppenheimer
• Sir Val Duncan
• Maurice Strong
• Sir Eric Drake
They represented corporations and banks as Anglo-American, De Beers, Charter, Rio Tinto, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and BP, the British Newfoundland Corporation, Société Générale pour l'Energie et les Ressources, the International Energy Development Corporation, P&O shipping, the Bank of England, Barclays and Hambro.
To a large extent the 1001 Club seems to be just what it is supposed to be: a group of influential people concerned about the environment.
However, as kings and emperors have shown over the centuries, it's perfectly possible to enjoy nature and not care anything for the common man. Striving for a sustainable future can be a very elitist thing. We all need fresh air and clean water. On top of that, many bankers and industrialists of the western world list among their hobbies such activities as hiking, fishing, visiting faraway places, and above all... hunting.
An ever-expanding world population seriously gets in the way of these things.
Although no politician or journalist will burn his fingers on this topic, helping people of third world countries is actually quite problematic from a strictly geopolitical point of view.
1. it may upset the balance of power
2. there aren't enough natural resources to support 6,5 billion people with a high standard of living
The economic power clique of the West seems to have realized this, judging from internal documents that leaked from the World Bank in recent years.
These documents described the process through which the IMF and World Bank crush third world countries economically by extending their loans only after the leaders of the respective countries have accepted secret and very far-reaching policies of privatization and deregulation. 
The eccentric financial expert Jean-Pierre van Rossem may have said it best:
"The whole third world is indebted to the banks. And it really is the financial power clique that keeps these countries poor. Why does poverty continue? Because it has a purpose." 
The bankers and industrialists of the Eastern Establishment have traditionally been very involved in suppressing Latin American trade unions, while anti-communist hardliners, mainly from the United States and Israel, have been training death squads in Latin America since at least the early 1980s. There has been a degree of antagonism between these two groups, mainly about the degree of support for radical Zionism, but the lines are hard to define.
Britain too has tried to find ways to remain an influence in the world, and some have argued over the years that British Intelligence and the Foreign Office have tried to use the WWF (and 1001 Club) to pursue some of the country's geopolitical interests. The most important of these critics has been the Irish journalist Kevin Dowling, who in 1990 produced the documentary 'Ten Pence in the Panda', in which he documented the extreme ineffectiveness of the WWF's efforts to defend species as the panda, the elephant, and the black rhino.
During the controversy in the weeks and months after the documentary, Dowling produced more damning evidence against the WWF.
It turned out that the people living in the reserves were forced to live under inhumane conditions (and could be shot on sight), that wealthy customers could illegally hunt on rhinos and elephants, that leading nature conservatives were involved in the illegal trade in ivory, and that criminal special operations were launched from nature reserves to sustain the apartheid system. 
The Dutch Attorney J. Wilgers in more recent years looked into the work of Kevin Dowling and reached similar conclusions.
According to Wilgers, the IUCN and the WWF (and therefore also the 1001 Club) have been created as fronts for British neo-colonial policies:
"In 1948, the IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, was established. The most important person involved was Julian Huxley. This IUCN had a close working relationship with the British Colonial and Foreign Office. All his life Huxley had been working on projects related to the conservation of nature.
In 1960, he made a trip through the British colonies that were about to become independent. He made sure that the British government was able to keep their hold on the nature reserves located in the countries of the Commonwealth, even today. Somehow he was able to convince the new African leaders that every person from Africa was a natural born poacher.
"Great Britain has always been preoccupied with the capture of raw materials from the countries in the Commonwealth and the protection of the unlimited supply of it. It is noteworthy that the IUCN still has the affix, "for natural resources" [International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources].
I also point to the fact that the IUCN is an extension of the government offices and the public sector of the United Kingdom, because in the end, these are the real beneficiaries. A year after Huxley's trip, the WWF was established with the sole purpose of gathering funds for the IUCN. The IUCN went to the background at the moment the WWF came into existence...
"Thirty years later, the WWF controls 10% of the world's surface. They control 40% of Tanzania. At the moment they are focused on South-America. This is something of the last 5 years [since 1994-1995]." 
It's no secret that a crucial aspect of the West's prosperity has to do with its reasonably inexpensive access to bulk materials as oil and precious metals around the world.
If these supplies were to dry up, or become too expensive to import, the economy of the West would collapse totally and permanently.
One person who understood that very good was Sir Julian Amery, one of the most important behind the scenes players in post WWII Britain.
"The prosperity of our people rests really on the oil in the Persian Gulf, the rubber and tin of Malaya, and the gold, copper and precious metals of South- and Central Africa. As long as we have access to these; as long as we can realize the investments we have there; as long as we trade with this part of the world, we shall be prosperous. If the communists [or anyone else] were to take them over, we would lose the lot. Governments like Colonel Nasser's in Egypt are just as dangerous." 
Amery made these remarks in late 1962, after Egypt had sent troops to Yemen in order to prevent domestic forces from bringing back the ousted Imam. The British had a Crown colony in the south, Aden, but realized they were not a superpower anymore and could do little to defend their overseas interests.
Overtly that is, as Amery and his good friend David Stirling, founder of the SAS, soon approached Sir Alec Douglas Home, Foreign Secretary at the time, in the White's Club to discuss their plan of a covert war.
Julian Amery, who would become head of Le Cercle in the 1980s. Billy McLean, Prince Turki Al-Faisal and the King of Jordan would all become members of this international private intelligence group.
The idea was that Stirling would be send to Yemen with a group of ex-SAS men and train the local royalist groups, who were supporters of the deposed Imam. Under the leadership of the SAS, they would then undermine the Egyptian forces.
Stirling approached the Saudi House of Al-Faisal, who agreed to fund the entire operation. Weapons were delivered by Adnan Khashoggi; the arms dealer's first major contract. Stirling also received support from the King of Jordan. The Mossad and former MI6 officers as George Kennedy Young and Billy McLean (another close friend of Amery) were also involved in the secret war. The operation was a huge success and in August 1965 the Egyptians had been so tied down that they were forced to sign a cease-fire with the Saudis, the main overt supporters of the Yemeni resistance, and begin their withdrawal.
Unfortunately for Stirling and Amery, Wilson had recently entered office and began withdrawing British forces all over the world. Yemen would soon be taken over by communist-sponsored elements in society. To prevent this from happening in Saudi Arabia, which had been left virtually defenseless by the British withdrawal, Stirling and his business associates managed to sell an Air Force to Saudi Arabia, maintained by SAS mercenaries.
The deal would bring many other business opportunities in the future. 
Although private interests, especially banks, always had a great deal of influence on the British government (or on any government), the events in Yemen is considered the start of not only the privatization of British foreign policy, but also of covert warfare. The result was not unlike a diluted version of the historic British East-India Company or Cecil Rhodes' British South Africa Company.
And herein lies the problem: even though someone like Stirling was quite brilliant in his own way, the group he hung out with was a combination of robber barons, imperialists and fascists. Examples are John Aspinall, Lord Lucan, Sir James Goldsmith, Tiny Rowland, the Cecil family and Lord Julian Amery. Especially the last four had many connections to the leading aristocracy (they were part of it), the business community and international intelligence.
They became involved in funding and training rebel groups across Africa; officially to counter the Soviet threat, unofficially to retain control over the minerals in that area. In itself not that much of problem, although human rights have never been a point of consideration for these people, who also supported dictators like Franco, Pinochet, Mobutu and Ian Smith.
Rowland, together with Adnan Khashoggi, did a lot of business with Ghaddafi . These two picked up where "rogue" CIA agent Edwin Wilson left off 10 years earlier.
One operation in particular would be damning to the British establishment if it were to be fully exposed. Men like the 7th Marquess of Salisbury (Cecil) and Julian Amery, both leading members of the international private intelligence group Le Cercle, were strong supporters of the apartheid governments in Africa . The accusation is that when it became obvious in the 1980s that the apartheid system was breaking down, British fascists set up private SAS operations in southern Africa to counter this movement, largely in the same manner as the operation in Yemen about 25 years earlier.
Retired SAS officers operated through front companies. One of those was KAS Enterprises, a private security firm first headed by David Stirling, and when he died in 1990, by Sir James Goldsmith. Officially, KAS was hired to protect elephants and rhinos from poachers in southern Africa. They were authorized to use deadly force.
However, soon people began to notice that a disproportionally large amount of the people killed were ANC activists, many of them part of the armed resistance. Even though reportedly 1,5 million people ended up dead, the operation of bringing a halt to majority rule was unsuccessful. Attention was now shifted to South Africa alone and an attempt was made to destabilize the country to such an extent that the military of the apartheid government could step in and declare martial law.
The idea was to set up the ANC against the Zulu-dominated Inkatha Freedom Party, respectively the largest and second largest anti-apartheid movements in South Africa. The tactic was to train black units, like the Anti-Cattle Thieves Brigade and the Crowbar Unit, and to have them commit terrorist actions in the black townships. This was to lead to a civil war followed by a military crackdown.
The operation killed several ten thousand people, but accomplished nothing; in 1994 the apartheid system was history.
Interestingly, a South African report about Operation Lock, as the project was called, was suppressed by the Mandela government as it was considered "too explosive". Press releases did however indicate that the SAS, in part through KAS, was the origin of the mysterious "third force", blamed for the campaign of terrorism and assassinations. 
KAS had been hired by "wealthy conservatives", although besides Prince Bernhard, names do not seem to have been released. It is also not known how much these men knew, or wanted to know, about the secondary operations of KAS.
"I discovered that in the so-called wildlife parks a system of total repression existed. People don't have any rights, their traditional way of income is forbidden. They can't even step on a flower without running the risk of being murdered.
At the same time these so-called wildlife parks turned out to function as staging grounds and training camps for all kinds of mercenaries. South-Africa stationed its secret troops there which had to sow death and destruction in the townships of South-Africa and the frontline states, while also the terrorists of Renamo and Unita liked to hide out there. ...
"Because I had so many contacts in Africa by that time, I was being overwhelmed with information about Project Lock. I discovered that very heavy guys were involved in the operation. The military branch of the operation was under the command of Colonel Ian Crooke, the second man of the special forces in England, the SAS....
Furthermore, in the Lock network I found the name of Gordon Shepard. That is a kind of dirty tricks [specialist of MI6 who used to work in Northern Ireland] ... There were people of Kroll Associates, a kind of private intelligence service of Wall Street. In short, it was a real heavy group, an old-boy network in which the WWF, the SAS, MI5 and MI6 plus some CIA guys and private intelligence services brotherly came together.
The civilian side of the operation was headed by John Hanks, Prince Bernhard's right-hand man in Africa." 
J. Wilgers, who was inspired by the work of Kevin Dowling, did his own research and reached similar conclusions:
"During that time these people trained a number of elite black units in the wildlife parks [of the Peace Parks Foundation and the WWF]... I have seen that these projects were completely financed by the World Wide Fund for Nature. Of course a certain Prince [Bernhard] has been involved in that, who has walked around there with a suitcase full of money, but the question remains how much this man knew about the projects..."
"It is known that in the past SAS units of the British army have been flown into South-Africa and were stationed on territory controlled by the WWF with the purpose of conducting military operations... Military units have been trained in these kinds of parks and were later brought in connection with murders in the South-African townships.
In the Zambezi-Valley, members of the military wing of the ANC have been shot at from WWF helicopters. The Zambesi-Valley was the primary entrance into South-Africa. Under the cover of fighting poachers ANC members have been executed without any form of trial. I call that an undeclared war or genocide..."
"There are 2 types of parks: nature parks and strategic parks. The official purpose of the nature parks is the protection of nature. Often, these parks contain important minerals like diamond or uranium.
Locals are encouraged to leave or simply chased away. Type 2 are the strategic parks. If you look carefully you'll find that these parks are either located on certain ridges useful for military observation, or they are border transcending parks like for example those in South-Africa and Mozambique...
It is remarkable that corridors have been projected in such a way that they cleverly combine the preservation of nature with the gaining of a military advantage." 
WWF map from a 2001. New parks have been created in the meantime.
Wilgers was persecuted by the WWF for making public statements that the World Wide Fund for Nature is a criminal enterprise.
Unfortunately for the WWF, they lost their case, although they never had to admit that Wilgers was right in his accusations. Wilgers wasn't "knowingly speaking untruths", it was concluded .
Years later, I made a call to Mr. Wilgers, who stated that the 1001 Club is directed by the Privy Council and MI6. This now turns out to be similar to the leadership of Le Cercle. All British chairmen of Le Cercle were deeply involved with British and foreign intelligence, and the last three were members of the Privy Council.
It may be possible that these so called 'strategic parks' might not be limited to Southern Africa. For instance, if you take a look at Pakistan, the "ally" of the United States in the War on Terror (and significantly represented in the 1001 Club, in part through the Bhutto family), you'll see five major national parks in the north of the country.
One is located at the border with India, another at the border with China, and yet another one at the border with northern Afghanistan. The management of these parks works closely with the IUCN and the WWF. The Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) of 1001 Club member Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan is another partner in many of the same projects in that area.
It's hard to say if these parks are used for some type of military operations, but they certainly are conveniently located.
Three major parks bordering the surrounding countries. More detailed geographical info can be found at the websites cited. Although the picture seems to indicate that two of the parks are located some distance from the border, in reality they extend right to the border.