Titans of Davos: Cutting the Iraqi Oil Pile
Christopher Bollyln - The American Free Press
DAVOS, Switzerland—For 33 years, for one week every January, government leaders and the moguls of global business have convened here in this small ski town high in the Swiss Alps. While the mainstream media describes the World Economic Forum (WEF) as an event with a social focus, they know well that the real business of the conference is the private meetings of the global elite.
“The main activity of the conference is making business deals," attendee Alexander Gordeyev, deputy editor of the Russian financial paper Vedomosti, told American Free Press.
Vedomosti is a Russian joint venture between The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times.
The moguls of the world media are themselves participants, sworn to secrecy, in what is the world’s largest private gathering of business leaders. The writers, editors, and television presenters who attend the secretive WEF year after year are not there to report on the conference—they are specially invited participants.
Dr. Theo Sommer, editor-at-large for the German paper Die Zeit, told AFP that he “earned his keep” at the conference by moderating a few discussion panels.
This year's conference was unusual because of the strong anti-war sentiment that translated into anti-U.S. opinions. Hugh Greenway, columnist with The Boston Globe and veteran WEF attendee, said, “I have never seen such hostility to the United States.”
Hotel workers in Davos say the same people come to WEF year after year. "It's brain-washing," one told AFP. "Every year it's the same faces." Another hotelier said the same people had come to the WEF for 30 years and conducted closed business meetings in his hotel.
The conference headquarters and many of the open sessions are held, behind a heavy security cordon, in the Davos Conference Center, a distinctly unattractive concrete structure that resembles a large Swiss bomb shelter. The lower level of the three-story building is actually a bomb shelter built to hold 1,000 people.
With the Swiss army, state and local police, and private security protecting the conference and its attendees, the security cost for this year’s conference was more than $10 million. Seven-eighths of this cost is borne by Swiss taxpayers while the Geneva-based WEF organization headed by Klaus Schwab pays one-eighth.
One of the invited participants, Tony Juniper, director of the British branch of an international environmental group, Friends of the Earth, issued a press release on Jan. 26, during the conference, that secret meetings were being held with oil executives to “carve up the Iraqi black gold cake.”
Juniper said he had been “reliably informed” by conference participants who “knew” that the distribution of Iraqi oil was being discussed behind closed doors.
With the head of nearly every major oil company in attendance, Juniper’s claim cannot be easily dismissed.
Peter Sutherland, the chief executive of British Petroleum (BP), and Philip Watts, chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, were among the scores of oil executives convening in Davos. Sutherland is also a leader in the secret Bilderberg and Trilateral Commission.
One of the subjects discussed was the oil pipeline from Baku on the Caspian Sea to Ceyhan, Turkey. The pipeline is operated by BP.
Israeli Yosef A. Maiman, the former Mossad agent who is responsible for developing the extensive natural gas reserves of Turkmenistan, was also at Davos. The plan to exploit Turkmenistan’s gas involves building a pipeline across Afghanistan to Pakistan and beyond.
Juniper told AFP that he would not be attending another WEF meeting because of the way in which organizations like his are kept out of the real business of the conference.
Asked whether he felt if he and others had been used to create a facade to mask the real business of the gathering, Juniper said, “That’s why I’m not going again.”
What Juniper alleges is confirmed by documents AFP has obtained from the conference. For the businessmen attending the conference, most of their time is occupied by “private events.” The private discussions are held behind closed doors in the numerous posh hotels of Davos.
The personal itinerary for one mining executive from South Africa reveals that during his stay in Davos, his agenda was nearly completely filled with private meetings with the “governors” of the mining and metals industries.
Companies invited to the conference pay $25,000 to attend the six-day event.
Mahmoud F. Elkady, director of Sultan for General Construction and Development of Saudi Arabia, told AFP that individual members pay $10,000 and non-members pay $25,000.
This year, the issue of war with Iraq loomed large over the WEF conference and a large number of senior officials of the U.S. administration, including Secretary of State Colin Powell and Attorney General John Ashcroft, traveled to Davos to address the concerns of the titans of business.
One of the Russian delegates told AFP that there was worry in the international business community of the effects of war on the U.S. economy, the “engine” of the world economy, particularly if the war becomes an extended affair.
During the gathering, which brought the global captains of industry together with the leaders of 82 nations, a host of current and former U.S. officials are found on the list of more than 2,300 participants.
American Free Press has a copy of the complete list of conference attendees, which conference participants, including journalists from the media, “actively agree” to treat as “strictly confidential.”
Among the senior U.S. officials invited to Davos were Paul S. Atkins, commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Kenneth W. Dam, U.S. deputy secretary of the treasury; and Alan P. Larson, under secretary of state for economic, business and agricultural affairs. Dam is also a Bilderberg participant.
The former president, Bill Clinton, came to Davos with his daughter and made local headlines when he occupied the suite that had been reserved for Powell in the Belvedere Hotel, where many of the high-level private discussions were held.
On the final day of the conference, Wesley Clark, the former U.S. general who commanded the NATO campaign against Yugoslavia, explained how a U.S.-led assault against Iraq might develop. Clark attended the conference as managing director of the Stephens Group.
On the list of WEF participants are a number of U.S. senators, including: Sens. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), Joseph R. Biden (D-Del.), Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), and Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.).
Phil Gramm, former Republican senator from Texas, attended as vice chairman of UBS Warburg LLC. Bill Owens, the governor of Colorado, and Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico, are also on the list.
About a dozen other congressional representatives attended, including: David Dreier (R-Calif.), Jane Harman (D-Calif.) with her husband Sidney, Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.), Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.), Michael G. Oxley (R-Ohio), Robert Portman (R-Ohio), and Jennifer Dunn (R-Wash.).
Among the notable Americans attending the WEF were: William H. Gates of Microsoft; Thomas L. Fried man of The New York Times; John E. Potter, postmaster general of USPS; H. Ross Perot, Jr. of Perot Systems, Corp.; Lawrence H. Summers, president of Harvard University; Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution; and David J. Stern, commissioner of the National Basketball Association.
The recently convicted currency speculator George Soros attended, along with the directors of Interpol, the European police force. Soros is a long-time Bilderberg luminary.
After presenting a valid press card to the WEF Media Center, American Free Press was told that only “invited media” were allowed into the conference and that there was no information available for the non-invited press.
The WEF describes itself as “an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world.”
The WEF is incorporated as a foundation, and has NGO consultative status with the United Nations.
AFP called WEF headquarters in Geneva and was told that nobody was available for comment and that all WEF phones in Davos had been disconnected.
Last updated 07/02/2003