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Is Bill Gates really
the Antichrist?
Inquiring paranoids
want to know.

Chairman Bill Wines & Dines the Global Elite

by Ruffin Prevost
Special Assignments Team

Do you believe in conspiracies? What about "the Beast?" How about conspiracies involving the Beast? How abut a conspiracy yarn that includes the Beast and the planet's top executives, bankers and politicians? Skeptical? Alarmed? Keep reading!

If Americans were asked to pick a single living person that is most likely to turn out to be "the Beast" or Antichrist referred to in the Bible's book of Revelation, there's little doubt that Microsoft's Bill Gates would be a strong contender. And among the online and computer set, he's sure to top the list.

But despite the best efforts of the Microsoft public relations machine to make Chairman Bill a lovable nerd who just wants to help us make the 21st century a more user-friendly place to live, he remains the digital age robber baron we most love to hate. (Important message to Bill and the gang: Stunts like last week's "CEO Summit" aren't helping your image among the commoners!)

Last week in Seattle, William Henry Gates III went beyond the stereotypical "smoke-filled room with a dozen powerful white men." He invited more than 100 of the world's most powerful corporate executives, politicians and policy czars to tour Microsoft headquarters and then take a cruise ship ride to Gates's lakeside bunker-cum-mansion.

In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that America Online's own Steve Case was invited and did attend. But, when ParaScope contacted AOL's corporate communications office for a comment from Steve Case on the summit, the representative we spoke to had never heard of ParaScope. (This despite the fact that AOL owns a minority interest in ParaScope, which was launched via the company's Greenhouse program and has since become one of the top 50 Members' Choice areas on AOL.) A representative from Case's office confirmed that he did attend, but did not contact us by deadline with details or comments from Case.

But like so many other "visionary ideas" attributed to Bill Gates, the CEO Summit was neither original nor particularly unique among such events. Shadowy organizations like the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg Group and the Trilateral Commission have been organizing secret clubhouse get-togethers for the rich and powerful for years. (Fourteen heavy-hitters that were on Gates' invitation list are corporate members of the CFR.) President Bill Clinton is fond of his closed-door Renaissance Weekend retreats, the super-secret Bohemian Grove meets yearly in Northern California, and Davos, Switzerland plays host to a huge (also secret) elite-fest every year as well.

In fact, Gates himself (or his ghost writer) gushed about his experience at the Davos World Economic Summit in one of his infamously bland columns for the New York Times. The article amounted to little more than a cheerleader's rant in support of such secret meetings between global power brokers, so it's little surprise that Gates decided to steal yet another good idea, make it his own, and hoodwink everyone into buying into it whole-hog.

But perhaps what is most disturbing is that Gates tried to keep his little party's guest list a secret, and the corporate press scarcely reported on the event at all. Gates apparently has nothing to fear from the press, having played cover-boy for Time, Fortune and countless other magazines, and being the subject of a prime time love-fest with NBC's Tom Brokaw. (Never mind that Microsoft and NBC co-own the accurately named MSNBC[] cable network.) In fact, among the summit's invited guests was Anthony Ridder of Knight-Ridder, Inc., the nation's second-largest newspaper chain, which owns such publications as the inaccurately named Detroit Free Press, Miami Herald and Philadelphia Inquirer.

Luckily, the less corporate and more responsible Seattle daily Eastside Journal obtained a copy of the guest list and leaked it to Wired News for all the web to read. ParaScope is happy to pass along the Gates CEO Summit guest list, and is quick to point out the presence of many Microsoft allies and the conspicuous absence of such Microsoft foes as representatives from Apple, Oracle or Motorola. Let's not forget such neck-hair-raising names as alleged info-highway-lover Vice President Al Gore and the National Security Agency's Kenneth Minihan, who aren't "on the list" but attended anyway.

For those who would argue that meetings such as Gates's summit or the other secret gatherings on the growing "star chamber" circuit amount to little more than a private ego trip for those who organize and attend them, then why all the secrecy? Why bar the press? Since public policy is likely to be addressed, and since elected officials are often included in such meetings, there's even merit in the argument that keeping such meetings secret may violate local, state and federal open meetings laws. The bottom line: if there's nothing to hide, why act like you're hiding so much?

Still not worried? Well, then perhaps taking our Microsoft Monopoly Quick Quiz or glancing over the CEO Summit Guest List will give you that queasy feeling so many other folks have lately.

(c) Copyright 1997 ParaScope, Inc.

Chairman Bill's "Lucky Hundred"

(CFR) = Company listed is a current corporate member of the Council on Foreign Relations

Abacus Distribution Systems Ple. Ltd., William W.H. Liu, Singapore
ABB Asea Brown Boveri Ltd., Percy Barnevik, Switzerland
Aetna Inc., Ronald E. Compton, US
Amdahl Corp., John C. Lewis, US
America Online Inc., Stephen M. Case, US
American Standard Companies Inc., Emmanuel A. Kampouris, US (CFR)
American Stores Company, Victor L. Lund, US
AMR Corp., Robert L. Crandall, US
An Post, John Hynes, Ireland
Applied Materials, Inc., James C. Morgan, US
AT&T Wireless Services Inc., Steven W. Hooper, US (CFR)
Autodesk Inc., Carol A. Bartz, US
Banco Chemical Finance, S.A., Carlos A. Rodrigues, Portugal
Banco do Brasil S.A., Paulo Cesar Xione Ferreira, Brazil
Bankers Trust New York Corp., Frank N. Newman, US
Barclays PLC, Martin Taylor, United Kingdom
Baxter International Inc., Vernon R. Loucks Jr., US
Bechtel Group Inc., Riley P. Bechtel, US
Belgacom, John J. Goossens, Belgium
Bell Canada, John McLennan, Canada
Caixa Economica Federal, Sergio Cutolo dos Santos, Brazil
Cariplo SPA, Sandro Molinari, Italy
Charoen Pokphand Group Co. Ltd., Supachai Chearavanont, Thailand
Cisco Systems Inc., John T. Chambers, US
Cognizant Corp., Robert E. Weissman, US
Columbia/HCA Healthcase Corp., David T. Vanderwater, US
Compaq Computer Corp., Eckhard Pfeiffer, US
Consolidated Edison Co. of New York Inc., Eugene R. Mcgrath, US
Deere & Company, Hans W. Becherer, US (CFR)
Defense Information Systems Agency, Albert J. Edmonds, US
Deutsche Bank AG, Michael Endres, Germany (CFR)
Electronic Data Systems Corp., Lester M. Alberthal, Jr. US
Emirates Bank International, Anis Al Jallaf, United Arab Emirates
Ernst & Young LLP, Philip A. Laskawy, US (CFR)
First Data Corp., Ric Duques, US
Ford MotorCompany, Kenneth R. Dabrowski, US (CFR)
Freightliner Corp., James L. Hebe, US
Genentech Inc., Arthur D. Levinson, US
Generale Bank, Jean-Jacques Verdickt, Belgium
Goldman, Sachs & Co., Jon S. Corzine, US (CFR)
Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Phillip M. Nudelman, US
GTE Corp., Charles R. Lee, US
Harris Methodist Health System, Ronald L. Smith, US
Hoffman-La Roche Inc., Patrick J. Zenner, US
Honeywell Inc., Michael R. Bonsignore, US
Hyundai Electronic Industries Co. Ltd., Young Hwan Kim, South Korea
Kemper Insurance Companies, David B. Mathis, US
Knight-Ridder Inc., P. Anthony Ridder, US
Lockheed Martin Corp., Peter B. Teets, US (CFR)
McKesson Corp., Alan Seelenfreund, US
McKinsey & Company, Inc., Rajat Kumar Gupta, US (CFR)
Mellon Bank Corp., Frank V. Cahouet, US
MITRE Corp., Victor A. DeMasines, US
Mitsubishi Corp., Minoru Makihara, Japan
Monsanto Company, Robert B. Shapiro, US
National Computer Board of Singapore, Stephen Siew Chy Yeo, Singapore
NatWest Group, Bernard P. Horn, United Kingdom
New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., Iwao Itoh, US
New York Life Insurance Company, Seymour Sternberg, US
Northern Telecom Limited, Jean C. Monty, Canada
NYNEX Corp., Ivan Seidenberg, US (CFR)
Old Mutual, Gerhard van Niekerk, South Africa
Pacific Century Group, Richard Li, Hong Kong
Pacific Telesis Group, Philip J. Quigley, US
Philips Electonics N.V., Cor Boonstra, The Netherlands
PKO BP, Michal Machlejd, Poland
Price Waterhouse, Geoffrey Johnson, United Kingdom (CFR)
SAFECO Corp., Roger H. Eigsti, US
Samsung Data Systems Co. Ltd., Suek Namgoong, South Korea
Sandia Corp., C. Paul Robinson, US
Sanlam, Marinus Huig Daling, South Africa
Schering AG, Giuseppe Vita, Germany
Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG, Gerhard Schulmeyer, Germany (CFR)
Smith Barney Inc., James Dimon, US (CFR)
Spoornet, Abraham Spies Le Roux, South Africa
Sprint, William T. Esrey, US
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Edward B. Rust Jr., US
Tandem Computers Inc., Roel Pieper, US
Target Stores, Kenneth B. Woodrow, US
Tata Industries, Ratan Tata, India
Telekomunikacja Polska S.A., Wlodzimierz W. Gogolek, Poland
The Acer Group, Stan Shih, Taiwan
The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Ltd., Tasuku Takagaki, Japan (CFR)
The Dun & Bradstreet Corp., Volney Taylor, US
The Nasdaq Stock Market, Alfred R. Berkeley III, US
The Nationwide Insurance Enterprise, D. Richard McFerson, US
The New York Stock Exchange, Richard A. Grasso, US
The Quaker Oats Company, William D. Smithburg, US
The Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies, Mark Moody-Stuart, United
Kingdom Trygg-Hansa AB, Lars H. Thunell, Sweden
Unisys Corp.ration, James A. Unruh, US
United Airlines, Gerald Greenwald, US
United Parcel Service, John W. Alden, US
Universal Studios Inc., Frank J. Biondi, US
US Department of the Navy, Richard Danzig, US
US Postal Service, Marvin T. Runyon, US
Wells Fargo & Company, Paul Hazen, US
Winbond Electronic Corp., Ding-Yuan Yang, Taiwan