Summer is here and that can only mean one thing, the annual meeting of arguably the world’s most influential and most clandestine political conference: The Bilderberg Group.
Once a year, since 1954, political leaders and financiers from Europe and North America have met to decide how best our lives should be governed for the upcoming year.
Although this group meets in secret, never publishes agendas or minutes and is rarely if ever discussed by the media, many of our most beloved bankers, CEOs and elected politicians will meet from May 31st to June 3rd in a hotel in Chantilly, Va. Although the media continues its wilful blindness, people are taking notice and ‘Occupy Bilderburg’ is trying to expose this shadowy organization. But seriously, who needs democracy when the rich people are looking out for us?
Attendance at the meetings is by invitation only, invitations sent out by the group’s steering committee headed by Henri de Castris, Chairman and CEO of AXA Group. Castris is ably assisted by Bilderberg founding member, heir to the Standard Oil fortune and sole participant in the ‘Member Advisory Group,’ David Rockefeller.
The goal of the organization is to bring together the elites of North America and Europe to allow them to speak freely with one another without the pesky restrictions of "silly liberal ideas" like public accountability. 2012 will be the first time the group has met in the U.S. since 2008, a year which coincidentally also included a Presidential election. Guess who got invited that year?
Other notable attendees at this year’s conference include among others, Rober B. Zoellick President of the World Bank Group, Henry Kissinger, Chairman of Kissinger Associates, Klaus Kleinfeld Chairman and CEO of Alcoa, John Kerry Senator for Massachusetts, John Kerr Member of the House of Lords, Douglas J. Flint Group Chairman of HSBC Holdings, Kenneth Clarke MP Minister for Justice, Mark J Carney Governor of the Bank of Canada, Mitch Daniels Governor of Indiana, Marcus Agius Chairman of Barclays plc and Peter D. Sutherland Chairman of Goldman Sachs International. A full guest list can be found here.
Yes, some of the world’s richest and whitest men (and Peggy Noonan) will meet to decide our future. Personally, I can see the advantage for elected politicians and even civil servants to occasionally meet in private.
The ability to candidly discuss delicate policy issues must be immensely useful tool, particularly in the field of international affairs. Any student of the history of the European integration project has read stories of the secret meetings that went into developing the European Coal and Steel Community.
The problem with the Bilderberg meeting is its inclusion of the wealthiest members of the private sector. Meetings of this kind make it difficult to deny that your life isn’t controlled by a small group of extremely rich people.
The idea of an ‘open and free society’ clearly means that as long your bank account is large enough you too can have a four day holiday with the world’s political leadership and be free to discuss whatever you feel like. The links between private business and public leadership are exposed once a year at this meeting, it’s no wonder no one wants to talk about it. Public policy isn’t formulated in order to benefit the electorate; it is formed to benefit those who write public policy.
Note: Much of the information for this article was taken from the Bilderberg group’s official website which can be found here. However, please be aware that the privacy agreement on the site states that your IP address will be logged and stored by the organization and that by visiting the site you agree to give them this information (You may want to fire up Tor before browsing). It’s also interesting that the disclaimer on the site states that there is no guarantee that any of the information is correct.