[...]Besides, if anyone can lay claim to fathering the EU, it’s Bilderberg. Sixty years ago, Europe was a mere Bilderbaby, conceived in a solemn ceremony on Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands’ mattress. It grew into a fine young Bilderboy, but the years have caught up with it, and now it seems its knees are creaking and its heart is weak.
[...]It’s a shame the attendees are still so phobic of attention, seeing as how this year there’s shaping up to be more press interest than ever. People and the media have finally started noticing this quiet little conference at the centre of the storm. The last two countries to play host to the meeting were Greece and Spain, both of whom waved goodbye to Bilderberg and said hello to austerity and unrest. Happy Christmas, Switzerland.
This year, a bunch of less-than-happy Brits are heading out to St Moritz by minibus, to voice their concern at the policies being thrashed out at the conference. They’ve dubbed their fifteen-seater the Bilderbus, and it leaves Nottingham on Tuesday after work. There are still ten seats to fill: it’s £95 return, and camping’s cheap when you get there. And I can’t stress this enough: it really is a sight to behold. (The conference, not the minibus).
There are two seats free on the bus, since Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Ken Clarke have both been forced to cancel. Which is good news for the chamber maids at the Suvretta House (because Ken is so very untidy – cigar stubs and Ornette Coleman CDs everywhere …)
If you’d like to book a place on the minibus, you can email the organisers at this address: [email protected]. And if you’re interested to see what crops up on the official Bilderberg agenda, then keep an eye on their website. Jockeying for position are the crisis in the eurozone, the Arab Spring, the Fukushima fallout (with Germany backing away from nuclear), and of course, what to do about the internet. That old chestnut.
Maybe this year they’ll hold a press conference like, I don’t know, grown-ups might. I won’t be holding my breath.
Editor’s notes: the above Guardian article was so full of fluff, sarcasm, and attempts at humorous non sequiturs that it effectively made the entire article a joke. For some reason the “journalists” at the Guardian think a secretive meeting of the world’s most wealthy and influential individuals in which they discuss the world’s most pressing issues without any accountability or public input whatsoever is nothing more than a silly meeting to poke fun at. Of course they realize this is not actually the case, or else there would not be such a concerted effort put forth to make the name “Bilderberg” inseparable from conspiracy theory, even though their actions are so well documented that calling it a theory would be farcical. After the last sentence above is one of the few instances in which the author accurately portrays reality, but then he follows it up by making the entire thing into a joke again, “But I will be sniffing the air of St Moritz. If I find out one thing this year, it’s going to be what Kissinger has for breakfast. Live eels snatched from a bucket? Or ducklings? Suddenly I’m imagining ducklings. And a mallet.”
Oh, isn’t that just cute! Don’t worry about the coordinated manipulation of sovereign nations and economies, let’s just joke around about Henry Kissinger bashing ducklings. Anything to distract the “unwashed masses” from paying attention!
Bilderberg 2011: The polished blue line
I don’t know quite what I was expecting from a Swiss Bilderberg. I was expecting it clean, but I wasn’t expecting the Bilderberg I’ve found. For one thing, I was imagining a rather muted atmosphere, stern even – batons up, visors down – but there’s a happy buzz around the venue: the conference doesn’t kick off until Thursday but already there’s a growing crowd of journalists, bloggers and activists. The social justice group We Are Change are here in force. And (praise be!) representatives of the mainstream media are rolling up.
One of them is Anna Caprez, a journalist from Radio Rumantch, the Swiss radio station. She’s putting together a series of reports about the conference. “It’s a big story”, she says. “But only in March or April did we realize what Bilderberg is, or even that there is a Bilderberg conference.” [My emphasis. Is it not insane that a supposed journalist has not heard of the Bilderberg group until a few months ago? These meetings have been occurring for well over half a century and they have never stopped steering the world in the direction that most benefits them. I can't believe anyone could even call themselves a journalist without being completely informed about all of the round-table groups that direct police in the United States, Europe, and the world.]
She says it’s unusual to have the press descend on St Moritz like this. “We’re used to letting people do what they want here in the valley, in the Engadine. St Moritz is a special place. VIPs can be incognito, we’re used to famous people – who cares? – they can act and react without the press crawling over them. But this is different. This is important. And the media in Switzerland has finally woken up to it. The Swiss TV are coming, Swiss Radio, the Italian media. And it is thanks to him.”
Anna nods towards a man smoking a cheroot, enjoying a rare glimpse of alpine sun. “It is thanks to Manfred”. The Manfred in question takes a peek down a foot-long camera lens, which he’s focusing down on a security briefing in the hotel lobby. “There must be 300 security, easily” he growls.
Manfred Petrisch is a Swiss blogger and a long-time Bilderbotherer. This year, the conference is on his home turf, and he’s been lobbying politicians and the mainstream press for weeks.
“We put pressure on the media, we ask: “Why aren’t you reporting this?” – and now at last they have started. Of course, some of what they write is the usual, you know: just a meeting of some old guys sitting round, having a cup of tea.” He snorts his derision: “Come on! A four-day cup of tea, with heads of global companies, heads of state, EU commissioners, leaders of Nato, bank CEOs, people with a full schedule. They are not here for a cup of tea!”
Manfred has pulled strings with politicians, and questions have been asked in the Swiss parliament. “We asked and asked again: who is paying for all this? If we are to have a huge police force protecting a private meeting, as usual, then who is paying? The taxpayer? We made it a political problem.”
And the pressure seems to have paid off. “Look at what has happened! There is no police line, there is only private security. And they are not armed, not threatening, like in Greece or Spain. They are quite friendly. Of course, there are police here, inside the hotel, and secret services, lots of them, but they are in the background. This is a big victory.”
And it’s true – at first glance, this year’s conference could hardly be more different from Spain 2010 or Greece 2009. We’re standing, unharrassed, on a pavement not 50 metres from the hotel. Last year, in Sitges, the press was kept a kilometre away, at the business end of a machine gun. In Vouliagmeni the cordon was even wider, maybe a kilometre and a half, with (literally) hundreds of pumped-up policemen strip searching and camera snatching. St Moritz may be further from the beach, but apart from that it’s a gigantic improvement. “This is Switzerland!” explains Manfred. “That sort of thing cannot happen here. This is a democracy.”
Democracy is an idea that doesn’t fit easily with Bilderberg. For all you budding Bilderberg historians out there, here’s an interesting titbit. Back in 1958, when the conference had only been going a few years, Lord John Hope, the Tory politician who was joint under-secretary of state for Scotland at the time, reported back from a two-day meeting of Bilderberg’s steering committee in April: “the meeting was a preparatory one before the meeting of the Bilderberg Group at Buxton in September.” Here’s part of what he wrote:
(Damn that pesky democratic process! Always getting in the way of us doing what we want! What a bore!)
Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ll find that quotation a little uncomfortable. Or if you’re anything like David Aaronovitch, you’ll have scoffed so hard at it that you’re currently wiping spittle off your computer screen.
Aaronovitch is cheerleader-in-chief of the cup of tea brigade: “To have a strong belief in the Bilderberg Group means believing in a fantasy,” he says. “It replaces the intolerable thought that there’s nothing at work at all, that the world is chaotic. It may be a form of therapy but it has people believing in an anti-scientific message.”
Blimey. What I find most extraordinary about those remarks is not so much their appalling ignorance, it’s more that Aaronovitch appears to be making a quasi-religious statement. It’s an expression of faith: faith in there being “nothing at work at all” in the world – faith that the world is “chaotic” through-and-through.
A fairly extreme position, one could almost call it fundamentalist. What then is history? Stones being shaken in bucket? Has ever a human influenced the course of events? Are the attendees of Bilderberg in any sense influential? And if not, what on earth have they been doing all their lives? They might as well have sat jibbering on a rock rather than becoming secretaries of state and finance ministers, for all the good it’ll do them.
We can expect more of this fantasy/”old farts playing golf” spin over the next several days. (I can’t wait for David Frum’s annual scoff piece). But it sounds more and more detached from reality with every passing year. The more serious press attention that’s given to this serious political event, the less it’s possible to dismiss it. Give it another year, and it’ll seem as bonkers to dismiss Bilderberg as a fantasy as it would be to say Davos is a meeting of Mumsnet.
The Swiss activist Andrew Mūller, a member of We Are Change, takes a distinctly unAaronovitchian view of Bilderberg: “The media represent the fourth power in a democracy. They should be responsible for covering such things. If the heads of the media are meeting in secret with our politicians like this, then it is a dangerous situation for democracy.” And you don’t have to think every event dangles from a string tied to David Rockefeller’s fingers to agree.
Fateful Spring: The OPEC and Bilderberg 2011 Meetings
The last time Austria and Switzerland hosted an event of note and in tandem, was in 2008 for the European Football (soccer, for those of us in the US) Championship. This time around, it’s not planned but nonetheless quite serendipitous…or is it?
When it comes to major geopolitical and global economic events, this week’s events in Vienna and St.Moritz may just prove to be pivotal in deciding the fate of major currencies, specifically: the US Dollar, the Euro, and the Yen; commodities, in: gold, silver, crude and Brent oil; and economies, mainly: the US, China, and the PIIGS.
First up, on Wednesday June 8th is the annual OPEC meeting in Vienna, where terror-funding states get to decide how much we pay to fill up our cars. OPEC was founded in 1960 in Baghdad, Iraq, so as to combat the policies of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was the last president to make an attempt at making America energy independent, the number one reason being that of national security. It should therefore come as no surprise that in 1965, this organization came to be permanently headquartered in Austria, notorious for being a hotbed of anti-Israel and anti-semitic entities, and birthplace to the most famous enemy of the Jews in Adolf Hitler. Member states of note include: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. The first four have all refused to recognize the State of Israel, and the latter of which has expelled Israel’s ambassador from their country in solidarity with the Palestinians and has called Israel a terrorist state.
This years meeting is significant for a few reasons. One is that it comes on the heels of the ‘Arab Spring’, a series of events which has sent the price of both crude and Brent oil skyrocketing in recent months. Also, it comes in the heat of Israel’s ongoing conflict (even if still by way of proxies in Hamas and Hezbollah) with Iran, as well as the continued turmoil in Libya, where embattled leader Muammar Gaddafi still has not relinquished power and his regime still has a grip on the country’s oil wealth.
Then rounding out the week, from Thursday, June 9th to Sunday the 12th, there is the meeting of the clandestine Bilderberg Group, which this year will be held at the five-star Grand Hotel Kempinski in picturesque St.Moritz, Switzerland.
The annually held Bilderberg meetings are a sort of ”secret Davos” forum, where economic and political leaders from all over the world gather to discuss the pressing issues of the day. The major differences between this meeting and the one in Davos is that: it is by invitation-only and access to the press is very limited, if non-existent whatsoever. For example, two members from the press were invited to last year’s event held in Sitges, Spain. Both were business correspondents from The Economist. Moreover, it was undoubtedly incumbent upon them to operate under the ‘Chatham House Rule’, which strips (at least ethically) journalists of the ability to disclose much of what is discussed at such meetings. This makes one wonder about what exactly is discussed at these meetings that needs to be kept secret from the public, because up until 1971, the mere existence of this organization had been denied up and down by all perceived participants. Moreover, in-depth info of the event has only become available in recent years due to the internet.