Greg Lance – Watkins
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I have written, not infrequently, of suspicious & suspect secret societies over the years. They include The Speculative Society of Edinburgh; Bohemian Grove; The Freemasons; The Skull & Bones Society; Common Purpose; The Crachach; The Bilderbergers; The Broderbund and others many of you will have noted I have recently republished various articles by the independent journalist Marcus Stead on such subjects and I do so again on the subject of The Bilderberg meeting this year:
Freelance Journalist Marcus Stead
Bilderberg – What’s It All About?
IN LATE May and early June, a group of Europe and North America’s leading politicians, elder statesmen, bankers, businessmen and academics, met for a four-day conference at the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace Hotel, Switzerland.
There were no journalists present, no TV cameras, no reports on mainstream news bulletins or in newspapers. So what was it all about, and why the secrecy?
The occasion was the annual Bilderberg Meeting, named after the venue of the first conference at the Hotel de Bilderberg in Oosterbeek, Netherlands. In a free and open society, a gathering of such high-profile and influential people would command significant media coverage and scrutiny, as is the case of meetings of the UN General Assembly or the G8 Summits, but with Bilderberg, there is secrecy and silence.
An official agenda of items is published on the Bilderberg website, but we have absolutely no way of verifying what was discussed, nor are minutes of the meetings taken. It is hard to believe that such a group have met up to discuss the weather and their holiday plans.
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger turned 96 shortly before this year’s meeting. He hasn’t missed a Bilderberg Meeting for decades. But why? In theory, at least, he hasn’t been a major political figure for around 40 years. The same applied to the late former Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington, who continued to attend Bilderberg for decades after he ceased to be a frontline political figure.
The British delegation was, to put it mildly, eclectic. There was Lord Andrew Adonis, a Secretary of State for Transport during the Labour government of Gordon Brown. Adonis, who has never been elected by anybody, was a once-brilliant mind who has in recent years become wildly obsessive about stopping Brexit. He is given a wide berth by most journalists these days (a view I know veteran newscaster Alastair Stewart shares with me), and has a habit of blocking anyone who challenges him on Twitter. Why on earth would he be at Bilderberg?
Next up was Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, who has been a pivotal figure in the ‘Project Fear’ campaign, both before and after the Brexit referendum.
Also present were some less well-known names, Jeremy Fleming, director of the British Government Communication Headquarters (did you even know such a body existed?), and Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies at Oxford University.
Among the delegates was Helge Lund, chairman of BP Plc and Novo Nordisk AS, Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor-in-chief of The Economist magazine. John Sawers, the executive chairman of Newbridge Advisory (any ideas?) and Minouche Shafik, director of the London School of Economics and Political Science.
The list gets even more bizarre. Mustafa Suleyman, the co-founder of artificial intelligence company Deepmind, the Conservative backbench MP Tom Tugendhat, and Martin H. Wolf, chief economics commentator of the Financial Times.
Non-British delegates included former Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi. There was James Baker, the former US Secretary of State who left office more than 25 years ago and is now aged 89, as well as Jared Kushner, a senior advisor and son-in-law to President Donald Trump.
The list goes on and on, but a few other notable people include HSBC chairman Mark Tucker, Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, and controversial Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary.
Of all the MPs who could have been invited, why Tom Tugendhat? He is chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, but has only been in Parliament four years and can hardly be described as (on the surface, at least) a major figure in British politics.
Perhaps a clue can be found by looking at the guest lists of previous years. In 2011, a relatively unknown young and ambitious Conservative MP called Rory Stewart attended Bilderberg. That’s the same Rory Stewart who became the mainstream broadcast media’s preferred candidate of choice in the ongoing Conservative Party leadership race, despite having no substantial leadership qualities. His campaign came unstuck during a particularly poor performance during the BBC leadership debate, but in the preceding days, he was wildly overpraised by political reporters on all the main news networks, and by several national newspapers. Why?
The only other UK political figures to attend Bilderberg that year were then-Chancellor and now-London Evening Standard editor George Osborne, Lord Peter Mandelson, former Blairite henchman, Cabinet minister and EU Commissioner, and Lord John Kerr, then-deputy chairman of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. Why was Rory Stewart invited to be a part of such company?
Clues to the mainstream media’s compliance with the secrecy can be found in the guest lists of most years, including 2019, which saw, among others Bloomberg’s editor-in-chief, John Micklethwait in attendance. In 2015, Rona Fairhead, then-chairman of the BBC Trust, was in attendance.
I try and avoid swivel-eyed conspiracy theories. The 2019 guest list can be seen in full, below. What could this wide-ranging but influential group of people possibly be discussing? Why the secrecy? Why weren’t there press conferences and listed conclusions published afterwards? Why is the occasional little-known but ambitious MP invited to attend?
Sensible answers are welcome……
Castries, Henri de (FRA), Chairman, Steering Committee; Chairman, Institut Montaigne
Kravis, Marie-Josée (USA), President, American Friends of Bilderberg Inc.; Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute
Halberstadt, Victor (NLD), Chairman Foundation Bilderberg Meetings; Professor of Economics, Leiden University
Achleitner, Paul M. (DEU), Treasurer Foundation Bilderberg Meetings; Chairman Supervisory Board, Deutsche Bank AG
Abrams, Stacey (USA), Founder and Chair, Fair Fight
Adonis, Andrew (GBR), Member, House of Lords
Albers, Isabel (BEL), Editorial Director, De Tijd / L’Echo
Altman, Roger C. (USA), Founder and Senior Chairman, Evercore
Arbour, Louise (CAN), Senior Counsel, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Arrimadas, Inés (ESP), Party Leader, Ciudadanos
Azoulay, Audrey (INT), Director-General, UNESCO
Baker, James H. (USA), Director, Office of Net Assessment, Office of the Secretary of Defense
Balta, Evren (TUR), Associate Professor of Political Science, Özyegin University
Barbizet, Patricia (FRA), Chairwoman and CEO, Temaris & Associés
Barbot, Estela (PRT), Member of the Board and Audit Committee, REN (Redes Energéticas Nacionais)
Barroso, José Manuel (PRT), Chairman, Goldman Sachs International; Former President, European Commission
Barton, Dominic (CAN), Senior Partner and former Global Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company
Beaune, Clément (FRA), Adviser Europe and G20, Office of the President of the Republic of France
Boos, Hans-Christian (DEU), CEO and Founder, Arago GmbH
Bostrom, Nick (UK), Director, Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University
Botín, Ana P. (ESP), Group Executive Chair, Banco Santander
Brandtzæg, Svein Richard (NOR), Chairman, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Brende, Børge (NOR), President, World Economic Forum
Buberl, Thomas (FRA), CEO, AXA
Buitenweg, Kathalijne (NLD), MP, Green Party
Caine, Patrice (FRA), Chairman and CEO, Thales Group
Carney, Mark J. (GBR), Governor, Bank of England
Casado, Pablo (ESP), President, Partido Popular
Ceviköz, Ahmet Ünal (TUR), MP, Republican People’s Party (CHP)
Cohen, Jared (USA), Founder and CEO, Jigsaw, Alphabet Inc.
Croiset van Uchelen, Arnold (NLD), Partner, Allen & Overy LLP
Daniels, Matthew (USA), New space and technology projects, Office of the Secretary of Defense
Demiralp, Selva (TUR), Professor of Economics, Koç University
Donohoe, Paschal (IRL), Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform
Döpfner, Mathias (DEU), Chairman and CEO, Axel Springer SE
Ellis, James O. (USA), Chairman, Users’ Advisory Group, National Space Council
Feltri, Stefano (ITA), Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Il Fatto Quotidiano
Ferguson, Niall (USA), Milbank Family Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Findsen, Lars (DNK), Director, Danish Defence Intelligence Service
Fleming, Jeremy (GBR), Director, British Government Communications Headquarters
Garton Ash, Timothy (GBR), Professor of European Studies, Oxford University
Gnodde, Richard J. (IRL), CEO, Goldman Sachs International
Godement, François (FRA), Senior Adviser for Asia, Institut Montaigne
Grant, Adam M. (USA), Saul P. Steinberg Professor of Management, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Gruber, Lilli (ITA), Editor-in-Chief and Anchor “Otto e mezzo”, La7 TV
Hanappi-Egger, Edeltraud (AUT), Rector, Vienna University of Economics and Business
Hedegaard, Connie (DNK), Chair, KR Foundation; Former European Commissioner
Henry, Mary Kay (USA), International President, Service Employees International Union
Hirayama, Martina (CHE), State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation
Hobson, Mellody (USA), President, Ariel Investments LLC
Hoffman, Reid (USA), Co-Founder, LinkedIn; Partner, Greylock Partners
Hoffmann, André (CHE), Vice-Chairman, Roche Holding Ltd.
Jordan, Jr., Vernon E. (USA), Senior Managing Director, Lazard Frères & Co. LLC
Jost, Sonja (DEU), CEO, DexLeChem
Kaag, Sigrid (NLD), Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation
Karp, Alex (USA), CEO, Palantir Technologies
Kerameus, Niki K. (GRC), MP; Partner, Kerameus & Partners
Kissinger, Henry A. (USA), Chairman, Kissinger Associates Inc.
Koç, Ömer (TUR), Chairman, Koç Holding A.S.
Kotkin, Stephen (USA), Professor in History and International Affairs, Princeton University
Krastev, Ivan (BUL), Chairman, Centre for Liberal Strategies
Kravis, Henry R. (USA), Co-Chairman and Co-CEO, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
Kristersson, Ulf (SWE), Leader of the Moderate Party
Kudelski, André (CHE), Chairman and CEO, Kudelski Group
Kushner, Jared (USA), Senior Advisor to the President, The White House
Le Maire, Bruno (FRA), Minister of Finance
Leyen, Ursula von der (DEU), Federal Minster of Defence
Leysen, Thomas (BEL), Chairman, KBC Group and Umicore
Liikanen, Erkki (FIN), Chairman, IFRS Trustees; Helsinki Graduate School of Economics
Lund, Helge (GBR), Chairman, BP plc; Chairman, Novo Nordisk AS
Maurer, Ueli (CHE), President of the Swiss Federation and Federal Councillor of Finance
Mazur, Sara (SWE), Director, Investor AB
McArdle, Megan (USA), Columnist, The Washington Post
McCaskill, Claire (USA), Former Senator; Analyst, NBC News
Medina, Fernando (PRT), Mayor of Lisbon
Micklethwait, John (USA), Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg LP
Minton Beddoes, Zanny (GBR), Editor-in-Chief, The Economist
Monzón, Javier (ESP), Chairman, PRISA
Mundie, Craig J. (USA), President, Mundie & Associates
Nadella, Satya (USA), CEO, Microsoft
Netherlands, His Majesty the King of the (NLD)
Nora, Dominique (FRA), Managing Editor, L’Obs
O’Leary, Michael (IRL), CEO, Ryanair D.A.C.
Pagoulatos, George (GRC), Vice-President of ELIAMEP, Professor; Athens University of Economics
Papalexopoulos, Dimitri (GRC), CEO, TITAN Cement Company S.A.
Petraeus, David H. (USA), Chairman, KKR Global Institute
Pienkowska, Jolanta (POL), Anchor woman, journalist
Pottinger, Matthew (USA), Senior Director, National Security Council
Pouyanné, Patrick (FRA), Chairman and CEO, Total S.A.
Ratas, Jüri (EST), Prime Minister
Renzi, Matteo (ITA), Former Prime Minister; Senator, Senate of the Italian Republic
Rockström, Johan (SWE), Director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Rubin, Robert E. (USA), Co-Chairman Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations; Former Treasury Secretary
Rutte, Mark (NLD), Prime Minister
Sabia, Michael (CAN), President and CEO, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
Sarts, Janis (INT), Director, NATO StratCom Centre of Excellence
Sawers, John (GBR), Executive Chairman, Newbridge Advisory
Schadlow, Nadia (USA), Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute
Schmidt, Eric E. (USA), Technical Advisor, Alphabet Inc.
Scholten, Rudolf (AUT), President, Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue
Seres, Silvija (NOR), Independent Investor
Shafik, Minouche (GBR), Director, The London School of Economics and Political Science
Sikorski, Radoslaw (POL), MP, European Parliament
Singer, Peter Warren (USA), Strategist, New America
Sitti, Metin (TUR), Professor, Koç University; Director, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems
Snyder, Timothy (USA), Richard C. Levin Professor of History, Yale University
Solhjell, Bård Vegar (NOR), CEO, WWF – Norway
Stoltenberg, Jens (INT), Secretary General, NATO
Suleyman, Mustafa (GBR), Co-Founder, Deepmind
Supino, Pietro (CHE), Publisher and Chairman, Tamedia Group
Teuteberg, Linda (DEU), General Secretary, Free Democratic Party
Thiam, Tidjane (CHE), CEO, Credit Suisse Group AG
Thiel, Peter (USA), President, Thiel Capital
Trzaskowski, Rafal (POL), Mayor of Warsaw
Tucker, Mark (GBR), Group Chairman, HSBC Holding plc
Tugendhat, Tom (GBR), MP, Conservative Party
Turpin, Matthew (USA), Director for China, National Security Council
Uhl, Jessica (NLD), CFO and Executive Director, Royal Dutch Shell plc
Vestergaard Knudsen, Ulrik (DNK), Deputy Secretary-General, OECD
Walker, Darren (USA), President, Ford Foundation
Wallenberg, Marcus (SWE), Chairman, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB
Wolf, Martin H. (GBR), Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times
Zeiler, Gerhard (AUT), Chief Revenue Officer, WarnerMedia
Zetsche, Dieter (DEU), Former Chairman, Daimler AG
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