For the first time in its 59 year history, the annual Bilderberg Group meeting is being covered (to some extent) by the mainstream media. Shrouded in secrecy, and its existence denied by many of the past attendees, the 2013 meeting in Watford is the most open yet.
Most people have no idea what the Bilderberg meeting is, who attends, or what it is about. Yet this meeting of some of the most influential people in the world has shaped world policy and affects the lives of billions of people around the world.
Attendees at the meeting are from the areas of government, finance, industry, media, and big business, with a few academics thrown in for good measure. A regular attendee at the meeting is Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands. The list of past attendees reads like a powerhouse of international government, finance, and captains of international industry, with figures such as Henry Kissinger and Tony Blair attending.
This year, and ‘official’ list of attendees has been released prior to the meeting in Watford. The list includes George Osborne, Kenneth Clarke, Ed Balls, and Peter Mandelson. There are other attendees who do not appear on the official list, but who have been spotted or seem to make a last minute appearance. Bill Gates is rumoured to be attending after a photograph of a car entering the venue appeared to contain Gates. UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, will be attending, but does not appear on the official list. It is said to be customary for the head of the host nation to be invited.
According to the official website, the meeting is a forum for informal discussion of international topics without the restrictions of the attendee’s positions in their area of business. A place where they are free to discuss their own views with others in total secrecy with no detailed agenda.
Each year, the meeting has a loose framework of topics for discussion, and topics for the 2013 conference are (according to the official website):
• Can the US and Europe grow faster and create jobs?
• Jobs, entitlement and debt
• How big data is changing almost everything
• Nationalism and populism
• US foreign policy
• Africa’s challenges
• Cyber warfare and the proliferation of asymmetric threats
• Major trends in medical research
• Online education: promise and impacts
• Politics of the European Union
• Developments in the Middle East
• Current affairs
What is of concern is that the range of attendees are highly influential people in their respective fields. When the interests of business and government come together in such a closed and unaccountable environment, lobbying will take place and those who want to influence government policy have the perfect opportunity to strike private deals without fear of being exposed.
Through leaked documents and subsequent events, it has materialised that many deals have been made as a direct result of the Bilderberg Group meeting. In the 1970s, Prince Bernard of the Netherlands was forced to step down as Chairman of the Bilderberg Group when it became public knowledge that he had accepted a $1.1 million bribe from Lockheed in return for ensuring the Dutch Royal Air Force purchased Lockheed fighter aircraft. A result of his involvement in the Bilderberg Group.
The meeting is a golden opportunity for ambitious politicians to ensure a nicely lucrative position on the board of an international company, either while they are still in politics or when they finally get kicked out.
Until this year, there has been little coverage in the mainstream media about the secretive meetings. In fact, some mainstream broadcasters (particularly in the US) have denied any knowledge of Bilderberg, even though their company’s senior executives have attended meetings.
The meetings have been covered in some of the UK main press, but only very minor articles tucked away in some obscure part of their publication.
This year seems to have been very different. It is almost as though the press has been given ‘permission’ to cover the event in more depth than it has in the past. The establishment of a ‘press zone’ in the grounds of the Grove, and a media contact, were signs that the Bilderberg crowd were venturing into the realms of more openness. However, the media contact has disappeared as the meeting has got underway, and the mainstream press are left out in the cold, along with the protesters and ‘alternative’ media (who have covered the event for years).
The official website for this year’s event makes interesting reading.
In amongst the usual smokescreen rhetoric we have come to expect from this organisation, the section on the Bilderberg Group states:
“The Bilderberg Group is part lobby group, part think tank, part policy-forming body. The Bilderberg Group itself is the Steering Committee. Every year, the Bilderberg Group holds a conference, to which 120 or so highly influential people are invited.”
We would like to know the policies the Bilderberg Group are forming, and how (or if) they affect policies made in government – especially with regards to the financial and business sector, which is where a majority of the attendees (some of which are lobbyists) come from.
When government minister meet with CEOs of major international corporations and bank bosses there has to be something fishy going on – as we have seen in the real non-Bilderberg world.
This is an expensive conference, with the Bilderberg’s own charity footing the bill for the most part.
The massive security operation that has been underway for the past eighteen months is estimated to cost in the region of £1.7 million, and was originally to come out of Hertfordshire Police’s budget. But when there was public protest that the cost for a private function where multi-billionaires were to have a ‘jolly good time’ was being met out of the private purse, the Bilderberg charity (Bilderberg Association – primarily funded by BP and Goldman Sachs) coughed up and donated the cost back to the public purse.
The use of a public service such as the police for a private function must raise questions about the impact this has on local law enforcement, whose primary duty is to protect the public. Apart from some police liaison and presence on public roads, there is no reason why the organisers of the event could not have arranged their own security within the venue. Most of the major public figures have their own personal security anyway – probably also at public expense.
The Bilderberg meeting has drawn criticism from the political arena.
Michael Meacher, Labour MP, told Sky News:
“This is the most important gathering of the most powerful people in Western capitalism that there is. It is clearly is going to have an impact on government policy otherwise why is the Chancellor for the fifth time attending and Kenneth Clarke. And as far as I know there will be no statement in the House following it saying what happened and how it might affect government policy. This is totally in contradiction to the Government’s commitment to have greater transparency.”
When you consider that some of the attendee’s organisations have been (and still are) involved in global controversies, should they be the kind of organisations that influence the future of world policy?
From human rights violations and pollution by Shell and BP, to the banking crisis orchestrated by Goldman Sachs and the Rothschild’s, many of the Bilderberg Group’s attendees have significantly, if not wholly, contributed to many of the major problems the world faces today, some having been involved in corrupt criminal activities, or suspected of wrongdoing.
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands (whose father founded the Bilderberg Group) has not escaped her past being the subject of concern through her family’s very close association with Nazi organisations, including the Hitler Youth.
Christine Lagarde, who was is the subject of an investigation into allegations of a £342 million fraud at the International Monetary Fund where she is Managing Director, is also attending.
José Manuel Barroso, current president of the European Commission, has been implicated in several controversies that centre on his involvement in state aid given to European companies.
No doubt Cameron will be over the moon at being invited to take part in this year’s meeting, where he will be able to pick up tips on how to make a few extra quid to add to his fortune when his government is kicked out of office at the next election.
UKIP and Euro MP Gerard Batten talking to Alex Jones from Bilderberg 2013 on the conference and how the political system has become corrupt, CIA involvement in Europe and other interesting stuff: