Funded by Opus Dei, the James Madison Program throws money at students, scholars, speakers and professors who support the ideal of government which protects the wealthy and who can formulate the apologetics for that system. It also presents lectures and seminars to recruit (with more subtle persuasion) new followers. Founded in 2000, the Madison Program is affiliated with the Department of Politics at Princeton University. While the school does not fund it, the staff have email addresses @princeton.edu and it operates under the approval of the Princeton administration which allows it to conduct for-credit courses.
(Originally posted at www.streetprophets.com)
The James Madison Program was founded and is directed by Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton, referred to by the New York Times as “this country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker” and “the reigning brain of the Christian right.” George also founded the Witherspoon Institute located in Princeton, a think tank “to enhance public understanding of the moral foundation of free and democratice societies. More recently, he launched the American Principles Project (APP) “with an ambitious agenda that would change the face of conservative politics” by convincing Republican leaders “that social issues in particular are not lowbrow, emotional, and to be avoided” i.e. the Religious Right is still a necessary component of the GOP. The professor was also counselor to George W. Bush, especially in recommending nonimees for Supreme Court justices.
Although one never knows these things for sure when dealing with secret societies, George probably first gained the backing of Opus Dei twenty years ago, when he was introduced to then-Bishop John Myers, now archbishop of Newark, and one of 46 prelates around the world admittedly affiliated with Opus Dei. The Times article noted that George serves as “point man” to the US bishops’ obstructionism of health care reform and other initiatives by President Obama and Congressional Democrats.
Neir Eshel, senior writer for The Daily Princetonian, stated in 2005 that the James Madison Program received its funding from organizations linked to Opus Dei. The money takes a circuitous route through one Opus Dei-related organization to another. The Association for Cultural Interchange (ACI), transferred money to another nonprofit called the Higher Education Initiatives Fund (HEIF), which in its turn gave the money to the Madison Program. The Clover Foundation, which also sponsors Opus Dei groups, gave George some of the start-up funds directly. Clover also gave money to HEIF to be used to support the organization. “Other major donors to the program included the John Olin Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and publisher Steve Forbes.…In its first two years, the Madison program raised $8 million.”
It was Nixon’s secretary of the treasury and Opus Dei supporter, William Simon, who set up the system in the 1970s of passing corporate money to fund the neoconservative take-over of the US through foundations such as Olin, Bradley, Scaife, Earhart, Castle Rock et al. as disclosed by Penny Lernoux in the National Catholic Reporter. She wrote, “Wealthy conservatives would support foundations that would in turn cultivate conservative voices in universities, in the media, and of course, in religious politics.” Robert P. George’s anti-gay marriage National Organization for Marriage is located in offices previously occupied by the Witherspoon Institute and the ACI.
At last count (2006) Opus Dei had close to a hundred institutions, student residences or foundations in the US “many located near prestigious schools including MIT, Northeastern, Boston University, University of Notre Dame, UCLA, Colombia, Harvard, Boston College, Princeton, Marquette, University of Illinois, Brown University, Georgetown University, Rice University, UC Berkley, Stanford University, University of San Francisco, St. Louis University, American University, and more.”
The ACI funds the Opus Dei Social Trends Institute, operated out of the University of Virginia by a member of the James Madison Program. It also makes grants to OD schools in Nigeria, Kenya, Peru, Hong Kong, Australia, Mexico, Lebanon, South Africa, Honduras and India. “Two ACI holdings include a University Residence and Cultural Center in Jerusalem and an International Student Residence in Rome.” The Clover Foundation also provides grants and loans to foreign Opus Dei-affiliated schools such as the School of Medicine at the Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City, the University of Piura in Lima, and others.
By 2005, Opus Dei had a total of 608 education-related institutions: schools and university residences (68%), technical or agricultural training centers (26%), universities, business schools and hospitals (6%). Opus Dei supports 14 graduate business schools worldwide, including Lagos Business School in Nigeria and Ipade in Mexico.
This global network of MBA institutions was the subject of a 2006 Bloomberg article: “Opus Dei’s emphasis on recruiting and training businesspeople sets it apart.” “Cisco Systems, the world’s largest maker of computer networking equipment; Vodafone Group, the biggest mobile phone service company by market value; and Nokia Oyj, the top cell phone maker, all sponsor courses at [Rome’s] Centro ELIS.” At Spain’s IESE, “PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, one of the Big Four US accounting firms, funds the jobs of some of the school’s professors. Nissan Motor, Japan’s No2 automaker; Alcatel SA, the world’s second-largest supplier of telecommunications networks; and Banco Santander Central Hispano SA, Spain’s biggest bank, also provide funding….Citigroup, the world’s biggest financial services company, and Morgan Stanley, the third-biggest US securities firm by market value, are listed as ‘supporting companies….Citigroup has sponsored student activities and backed events in IESE’s MBA program.”
Peter Sutherland, current chairman of Goldman Sachs International, chairman of BP immediately preceding Tony Hayward and Consultor of the Extraordinary Section of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (i.e. financial adviser to the Vatican) is a member of IESE’s international advisory board. In the 2003 addendum to his book, Their Kingdom Come – Inside the Secret World of Opus Dei, Robert Hutchison states that, in fact, Opus Dei and the Roman Catholic Church, which would include its global financial network anchored by the legally-untouchable Vatican Bank and the US bishops tax-free and disclosure-proof bamk accounts as well, are now indivisible.
Alberto Lopez-Hermida, director of the Opus graduate business school at the Universidad de los Andes in Santiago which admits only managers at the division- head level and higher, stated the obvious: “The owner of a company can influence decisions more than a simple employee.” Opus Dei priest and Harvard graduate, John Wauck, confirmed “If we’re working with students, 30 years later they’ll be CEOs.” Although founded in Spain in 1929, Opus Dei didn’t begin its system of international business schools until after World War II, meaning we are now on a second generation of OD-trained CEOs.
Opus Dei’s goals, however, extend further than academia and the boardroom. It’s first real conquest was the political influence it was able to exert during the Franco regime. The coup putting Augusto Pinochet in power was plotted at an Opus Dei institute in Santiago and after the coup, a number of Opus Dei technocrats became cabinet members. Opus Dei’s free reign within the Catholic Church began after it helped install Karol Wojtyla as Pope John Paul II and then re-capitalized the bankrupt Vatican after the 1980s scandal which culminated in the murder of “God’s Banker,” Roberto Calvi, by hanging under London’s Blackfriar Bridge.
Martin A. Lee, co-founder of the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), wrote “no group played a more significant role than Opus Dei” in aiding the American-backed destruction of liberation movements in Latin America in the 1980s. The 2002 abortive coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was also supported by joint US/Opus Dei interests. The Bloomberg article noted, “Opus Dei counts top executives, political leaders in Latin America and a British cabinet official in its ranks.” Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin and Brazilian presidential candidate, “seeks spiritual counsel about once a month on economics, labor relations and religion from Opus Dei leader Carlos Di Franco. In Chile, Joaquin Lavin, Santiago’s former mayor and a losing presidential candidate last year, is an Opus Dei member…..Former Bank of England economist Kelly, 38, was elected to Parliament in 1997.” “In Argentina, the policy of developing the corporate sector allowed for representatives of public firms to negotiate flawed contracts with private contractors….The instigator of this policy was Opus Dei member Rodolfo Barra, who was justice on the Supreme Court and Minister of Justice under Menem.”
Leandro Aragoncilla, a Marine staff member for Vice President Dick Cheney, and Michael Ray Aquino, an FBI employee, were arrested in 2005 for illegally obtaining classified documents from the vice president’s and FBI’s computer systems. The documents containing information damaging to Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo were passed to an Opus Dei group planning a coup. According to Wayne Madsen, an investigative journalist, author and columnist, “The Aragoncilla-Aquino ring is being linked to a wider Opus Dei espionage and political black bag operation that reached into the highest levels of the FBI. Convicted Soviet and Russian spy Robert Hanssen was a longtime member of Opus Dei’s St. Catherine of Siena’s Church in Great Falls, Virginia. Other prominent members of St. Catherine’s included Hanssen’s boss at the FBI, Louis Freeh, Jr. The Opus Dei espionage ring operating out of Cheney’s office is reported to have had a degree of approval from officials inside the Bush White House.”
After the 2009 election in Panama, the Vice President and Foreign Relations Minister Juan Carlos Varela and the Education Minister Lucy Molinar are members of Opus Dei. “Giancarlos Candanedo, academic director of Panama’s Opus chapter, was the spokesperson during Varela’s campaign which landed him the vice-presidency. To further their cause, the group looks to place its people in strategic places: in decision-making and youth-training spheres such as national government, media, and universities. Their efforts to increase their influence in Panama is evident through their three institutions: a micro-enterprises training center in Cerro Azul, with Lucy Molinar, Guido Martinelli and Juan Carlos Varela among its supporters, the Rocazul cultural center, and the university residence Entremares in Bella Vista.”
According to a study published this past January, “Opus Dei participated actively in the coup against constitutional President Manuel Zelaya….Active members of this clan are making intromissions in Honduran national politics….Honduran coupist government Foreign Vice Minister Marta Lorena Alvarado, and the Mayor of Tegucigalpa, Ricardo Alvarez, are some of the members of Opus Dei.”
Step by step – the classroom, the boardroom, the government.
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