This conversation never happened. Well, it actually did. Date: March 5 to 8, 2005. Location: the isolated, fully-booked Dorint Sofitel Seehotel Ueberfahrt in Rottach-Egern, 60 kilometers east of Munich, Germany. Essential amenities: luxury rooms, a lake, a golf course, no suits – and no wives. Participants: 120-odd Western movers and shakers – politicians, tycoons, bankers, captains of industry, so-called strategic thinkers – invited for the 2005 meeting of the ultra-secretive Bilderberg club. Security: absolutely draconian. Global media coverage: non-existent.
Talk about white man’s burden: Bilderberg is strictly “Western” elite, ie American-European. Bilderberg resolutely excludes Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. Bilderberg operates in strictly master of the universe territory: what we say goes. Only when events happen will corporate media report them, even though selected media people would have been aware of what has been decided weeks or even months in advance. The New York Times, the Big Three American networks, the Financial Times have all been represented at many Bilderbergs. But they are constrained by the silence of the lambs (see Asia Times Online’s report on Bilderberg 2003 in Versailles The masters of the universe May 22, 2003)
Bilderberg has an address – in Leiden, Holland – and even a phone number – always on female answering-machine mode. No website though. In an annual ritual, Bilderberg meeting places and agendas have to be painstakingly uncovered by a small group of independent sleuths like Briton Tony Gosling or American James Tucker – who has been following Bilderberg for 30 years. Tucker is publishing a book on Bilderberg later this year. Historian Pierre de Villemarest and journalist William Wolf have already published Facts and Chronicles Denied to the Public, volumes 1 and 2, which include a secret history of Bilderberg. Belgian sociologist Geoffrey Geuens from the University of Liege has also included a full chapter on Bilderberg in one of his books. Although Geuens condemns Bilderberg’s obsessive secrecy, he does not subscribe to conspiracy theories: he prefers to study how Bilderberg unmasks the way power works and the incestuous relations between politics, economics and the media.
Whenever corporate media approaches Bilderberg it mirrors the silence of the lambs. In 2005, the Financial Times released a classic pre-emptive story downplaying what it qualifies as conspiracy theories. In fact, anyone who questions the most powerful club in the world is derided as a conspiracy theorist. Bilderbergers like British lords or American policy-makers meekly justify it as “just a place to discuss ideas”, an innocent “forum” where anyone can “speak frankly”, and other assorted cliches.
Bilderberger Etienne Davignon, a former vice president of the European Commission, adamantly stresses “this is not a capitalist plot to run the world”. Thierry de Montbrial, director of the French Institute of International Relations and a Bilderberg member for almost 30 years, says this is only “a club”. The official Bilderberg 2002 press release, for instance, said that “Bilderberg’s only activity is its annual conference. At the meetings, no resolutions are proposed, no votes taken and no policy statements issued.” Bilderberg is just “a small flexible, informal and off-the-record international forum in which different viewpoints can be expressed and mutual understanding enhanced”. This is, in fact, what the much-lauded “trans-Atlantic relationship” is all about.
The Bilderberg group – which took its name from a Dutch hotel – was founded in 1954 by Prince Bernhard from the Netherlands. German-born Bernhard was a card-carrying Nazi and member of the SS. As it is well-known, Prescott Bush was an officer of W A Harriman & Co, which financed Adolf Hitler and the Nazis with the help of Averell Harriman and German tycoon Fritz Thyssen. Alden Hatch wrote a biography of Prince Bernhard where he insists that Bilderberg was the cradle of the European Community – later rebranded European Union. He describes Bilderberg’s ultimate goal as a one-world government.
Bilderberg’s membership is heavily crossed with the Council on Foreign Relations, the Pilgrims Society, the Trilateral Commission and the famous “Round Table” – a British, Oxford-Cambridge elite group crystallized in the homonymous journal of empire founded in 1910. The Round Table – which also denied its existence as a formal group – called for a more efficient form of global empire so that Anglo-American hegemony could be extended throughout the 20th century.
Bilderberg regulars include Henry Kissinger, David Rockefeller (of JP Morgan’s International Council), Nelson Rockefeller, Prince Philip of Great Britain, Robert McNamara (J F Kennedy’s secretary of defense and former president of the World Bank), Margaret Thatcher, former French president (and main redactor of the EU constitution) Valery Giscard D’Estaing, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and the chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan. The Rothschild family has hosted many Bilderbergs. In 1962 and 1973, on the island resort of Saltsjobaden, Sweden, the hosts were the Wallenberg banking family.
Some of these masters control more of the universe than others. They are the members of the steering committee, which includes Josef Ackermann (Deutsche Bank), Jorma Ollila (Nokia), Jeurgen Schrempp (DaimlerChrysler), Peter Sutherland (former North Atlantic Treaty Organization – NATO – general and now with Goldman Sachs), James Wolfensohn (the outgoing World Bank president) and the “Prince of Darkness” Richard Perle. Iraq war conceptualist and incoming World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz is a also a Bilderberg permanent member. George W Bush happened to be in the neighborhood – the Netherlands, for the World War II commemorations – during Bilderberg 2005. He may have dropped in. Bush did meet Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, who must be present at every Bilderberg.
Bilderberg certainly is not an executive council. British economist Will Hutton may have gotten closer to the truth when he said that the consensus reached at each Bilderberg meeting “is the backdrop against which policy is made worldwide”. What Bilderberg decides can be expected to be later implemented by a G-8 meeting, and International Monetary Fund and World Bank decisions.
No matter what, for innumerable, serious critics in Europe as well as the US, Bilderberg is everything from a Zionist plot to a megalomaniac secret cult. Serbs, not without some reason, blamed Bilderberg for the 1999 Balkan war and the fall of Slobodan Milosevic: after all, the US needed to control vital, Balkan pipeline routes. Bilderberg 2002 – although not without controversy – is thought to have cemented the invasion and conquest of Iraq. In his seminal A Century of War: Anglo-American oil politics and the New World War, F William Engdahl details what happened at Bilderberg 1973 in Sweden. An American outlined a scenario for an imminent 400% hike in the oil prices of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Bilderberg did not prevent the oil shock; instead it planned how to manage with mega-profits – what Kissinger described as “recycling the petrodollar flows”. Everyone that mattered was present at this Bilderberg: oil majors and major banks. Engdahl’s conclusion:
What the powerful men grouped around Bilderberg had evidently decided that May was to launch a colossal assault against industrial growth in the world, in order to tilt the balance of power back to the advantage of Anglo-American financial interests and the dollar. In order to do this, they determined to use their most prized weapon – control of the world’s oil flows. Bilderberg policy was to trigger a global oil embargo, in order to force a dramatic increase in world oil prices. Since 1945, world oil had by international custom been priced in dollars, since American oil companies dominated the post-war market. A sudden sharp increase in the world price of oil, therefore, meant an equally dramatic increase in world demand for US dollars to pay for that necessary oil.
Saudi petrodollars then moved to the “right” banks in London in New York to finance US government deficits. Game, set, match to Bilderberg – where the mandarins of global finance always win.
Although not a single word uttered inside the Bilderberg vaults is allowed to reach public opinion, it’s possible to take an educated guess as to what they’re talking about. Last week, the ubiquitous Kissinger started the proceedings by illuminating the meaning of “freedom” – the Bush version. Natan Sharansky, Bush’s democratic guru, was a participant.
Issues that would logically have interested Bilderberg 2005 include the role of NATO and the necessary approval in 2005 of the European constitution by all 25 members of the EU – the consequences of a French “no” in the upcoming May 29 referendum to approve the constitution need to be considered. Widespread job outsourcing in Europe to the Ukraine, China and India may sound the death knell to the constitution: French protesters – who have awakened the German and the Dutch – are insisting that what is good for big corporations may not be necessarily good for Western European workers. Critics say that chapter III of the constitution in fact details the way free trade may effectively kill the European welfare state.
They have their reasons to be concerned. In his book The Great Chessboard, Bilderberger Zbigniew Brzezinski hails “a Western Europe … staying in a large measure an American protectorate”. Brzezinski also insists that “Europe has to solve the problem caused by its social redistribution system”, which “prevents European initiative”. The father of the European constitution is none other than Bilderberger Valery Giscard d’Estaing, who happens to be very close to Kissinger.
From a geopolitical perspective, the heart of the whole matter is that the constitution legally confirms that Europe cannot have a defense force apart from NATO, ie outside the control of the US. Bilderberg beliefs would point to only one direction: an ever-expanding, US-controlled NATO, an ever-eastward-expanding EU, mass delocalization, mass corporate profits and unchallenged US military supremacy. No wonder this is the focus of a bitter debate inside EU corridors in Brussels, where scores of diplomats and commission officials openly complain of Washington’s bullying and accuse their governments of selling out. Gunther Verheugen, the European commissioner in charge of expanding the EU, happens to be a Bilderberger. When members of the European Commission go to a Bilderberg, their travel expenses and their daily allowance is provided by the commission. This certainly disqualifies Bilderberg’s self-presentation as a “private club”.
Bilderberg 2005 has – coincidentally? – merged with Bush’s tour among his Baltic friends and the tense meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The containment of Russia was likely top of the agenda for Bilderberg. Russia is very much worried about its “near abroad” and sees no reason to remove its army from bases in Georgia or its navy from Sebastopol, in Ukrainian Crimea – no matter how many color-coded revolutions happen at its doorstep.
European Commission sources assure that Brzezinski remains an extremely influential figure. The Bilderberg discussion on the control of Eurasia still refers to The Grand Chessboard. Washington is such an avid cheerleader of Turkey’s accession to the EU because this means increased American influence near the Caspian and over the eastern Mediterranean. And it also works towards the containment of Iran, Russia and China – which, according to Brzezinski, may not be allowed to emerge as rival powers to the US in Eurasia.
Another contentious issue that must have occupied the minds of those at Bilderberg 2005 is preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon – this is just a detail: the point is how to prevent Iran from becoming a first-rate Eurasian power. Some in Brussels do not discount the possibility of a scenario of massive propaganda buildup to try to convince American and European public opinion of the necessity of a strike against Iran. How to force Beijing to appreciate the yuan must also have been a topic.