U.S. Sen. John Edwards at Bilderberg

Among the 100 or so invitees to the annual Bilderberg conference under way Sunday in a northern Italy resort is potential U.S. vice president John Edwards.

Reporters generally are not invited and those who are observe the conference group’s general pledge of secrecy, reinforcing the view of conspiracy theorists that the elite gathering is up to no good, London’s The Guardian newspaper reported.

Sen. Edwards is regarded in Democratic circles as a good performer in his battle with Sen. John Kerry for the nomination to be presidential candidate and so is expected to be a finalist when Kerry chooses a running mate.

Other invitees are Mrs. Bill Gates and likely are regulars Bill Clinton, Henry Kissinger and U.S. Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld.

The Bilderberg tradition began in 1954 as a transatlantic post-war sounding board.