Bilderberg meetings remain a mystery
Stars and Stripes
Ever hear of Bilderberg? If not, that’s the idea.
According to various Web sites, the Bilderberg is an “unofficial, annual, invitation-only conference of around 130 guests, most of whom are persons of influence in the fields of politics, business and banking.”
The names of alleged past participants of this secretive group include former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and even former President Bill Clinton.
The Bilderberg group is currently holding its 57th annual conference at a hotel outside Athens, Greece. And while the list of the some 120 influential people is highly protected, Internet bloggers contend this year’s attendees include Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who supposedly will be “taking orders from the Global Elite,” according to one Web site.
The circle got its name from the Bilderberg hotel in the Netherlands, where the first meeting took place in 1954. The group is a “broad cross section of leading citizens that are assembled for nearly three days of informal and off-the-record discussions about topics of current concern especially in the fields of foreign affairs and the international economy,” according to a brochure the group provides to interested parties.
The booklet also mentions the topics that the Bilderbergs have discussed in the past.
In 1988, one year before German re-unification, one of the topics was “The German question revisited.” At the 2007 conference in Istanbul, Turkey, the power elites talked about “The new world order: uni-polar or non-polar?”
At last year’s conference in Virginia, “Cyber-terrorism” and “After Bush: The future of U.S.-EU relations” was on the agenda.
The agendas make it clear: The Bilderbergs do not come together for a vacation. It is big-world politics that are discussed at the meetings.
But how can a group that sends out a booklet with its agenda be so secretive? For starters, the group does not have an official headquarters, and no telephone operator will be able to provide you a phone number for the group.
However, some journalists who have dealt with the group for decades claim to have inside sources. These journalists publicized the phone number of the group on the Internet. The number is consistent with telephone numbers at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. If you dial the number, Maya Banks-Poldermann, the executive secretary of Bilderberg, will pick up the phone but she will not mention the group’s name. Only after asking if you have reached the Bilderberg office, will she confirm. The secretary will offer to send out the group’s booklet, but will not answer any questions.
In addition, the members will not talk about the meetings.
Does this group of power elites accomplish anything? It depends on whom you ask.
According to the Bilderberg brochure, “at the meetings, no resolutions are proposed, no votes are taken, and no policy statements issued.”
But George McGhee, a former U.S. ambassador to West Germany, reportedly told Mike Peters, a sociologist from Leeds University, that the “The Treaty of Rome … which brought the Common Market into being, was nurtured at Bilderberg meetings.”
What will come out of this year’s meeting, which ends Sunday?
It will be hard to find out. Britain’s Guardian newspaper carried a story from a reporter who was arrested for taking photos of the meeting site, so it is clear the group takes its secrecy seriously. However, that will not stop the meeting from being a hot topic on the Internet or from fueling bloggers’ speculation.