Blowing The Lid On The Bilderbergers
Report from secretive annual meeting of global elites
Tony Gosling shines a light on the shady secret annual meeting of some of the world's most economically powerful men, this year held at the Chateau Du Lac Hotel, Belgium.
June 2000 / Squall Download 5, July-Aug 2000, pp. 10-11.
You'd imagine that if the President of the World Bank, the director of the World Trade Organisation, the Queen of the Netherlands and the head of the Xerox Corporation were amongst the delegates at an international conference, there would be some mention of it in the media.
But then again this is the annual meeting of the highly influential and highly secretive Bilderberg Group, a collection of top ranking western politicians, media moguls, corporate presidents and big bankers who meet at a different location each year to conduct clandestine talks on the furthering of global capitalism. Every delegate, including a handful of carefully selected journalists, are sworn to secrecy.
At the beginning of June, Bilderberg watcher, Tony Gosling, travelled to the site of this year's Bilderberg Group conference at the Chateau Du Lac Hotel just outside Brussels and watched as some of the world's most economically powerful men arrived in secret to discuss their strategies......
Euro-Green party researcher Grattan Healy and I tuck into a rare five-star dinner in the bar of the Chateau du Lac hotel, just outside Brussels. For once, our minds are not on the food, they're fixed on figuring out whether or not the secretive Bilderberg Group will have sealed off this hotel for their notorious annual meeting tomorrow.
Bilderberg takes its name from a hotel in Holland where the group's first secret transatlantic conference took place back in 1954. Original chairman and founder of the exclusive club, ex-SS Nazi Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands owned the place. Bilderberg's steering group boasts the wealthiest bankers and industrialists in the western world, no less.
Grattan Healy's research has shown how elite clubs like Bilderberg and the Trilateral Commission are managing to install more of their members as European Commissioners, at the heart of Europe.
More recently links have been exposed with powerful European policymakers ERT, European Round Table of industrialists. The current Bilderberg chairman, Viscount Etienne Davignon, founded it.
Grattan's been getting embarrassing questions tabled by greens at the European Parliament.
As for me, I'm curious to see these Bilderbergers in the flesh for the first time. Being stony broke as usual I've got to Brussels from Bristol mostly by skipping trains, it's got to be the right place after all that effort. During a snoop round the hotel interior Grattan spots a sign pointing to a Steering Group meeting. A deliberate hoax? We'll just have to find out in the morning.
Mike Peters, Marxist Sociology lecturer from Leeds, who has written one of the most comprehensive studies to date on the Bilderbergers, flew into Brussels late that evening Wednesday May 31. Another leap of faith. Arriving at the Chateau the next morning we notice rear entrances have been padlocked and chained. Around the front, the mock-Florentine lobby has a rude addition, a white plastic entrance tunnel and drive-in awning has sprung up overnight. Is this to protect chauffeur-driven guests from the rain on this cloudless day...? Or from prying eyes. This is no bum-steer afterall.
About four o clock, the limos begin arriving. The shiny black Mercedes with their characteristic 'B' clearly displayed in the front windscreen. We can just see into the awning and film most of the participants as they emerge from the backs of the limos. Doormen attempt to hold makeshift curtains up to conceal the more sensitive guests. We manage mostly to film them between the gaps.
We have a chat with a photographer and reporter for The Spotlight, a right-wing American magazine and the only people in the world able to root out Bilderberg venues ahead of the event. What a sincere, concerned pair they seem, and we had been told Spotlight were neo-nazis. Chilling to think that without the bloodhound work of writer Jim Tucker no-one but the participants would know this meeting was taking place.
"But we send out a press release," the Bilderberg office bleat if you bother to complain. What they don't tell you is that you have to request it from the hotel (how is anyone supposed to know where to call?) and they only release it as everybody's leaving. Too late for the press.
Thursday June 1 is a bank holiday in Belgium. Families are out in the sun, taking a stroll round the lovely Genval lake, almost oblivious to the capitalist heavyweights emerging from limos a matter of feet away inside the awning.
The regulars are arriving, Conrad Black, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Kenneth Clarke, David Rockefeller, James Wolfenson, president of the World Bank.
The new Chairman, Viscount Etienne Davignon, comes out to get what - we Joke - looks like a bag of drugs from his car. He owns most of the public utilities and one of the biggest banks in Belgium.
"Will you be holding a press conference Mr Davignon?" Grattan shouts. "I don't think so," Davignon replies.
"We don't have enough interesting things to say."
And who's that? It's Jean-Claude Trichet. Who's he? The next boss of the European Central Bank. He obviously won't have anything interesting to say either...
What about this one? That's Daniel Vasella, Chief Executive Officer of Novartis alongside William McDonough, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. That one's the boss of the Washington Post and hey, there goes George Soros! Look, it's one of the new European Commissioners, Pascal Lamy! This looks like an elite to me.
Another brand-new Merc arrives. An aloof looking guest turns away from the cameras. We look at each other and shake our heads, another one we don't recognise. Grattan calls out to him: "Are you a big shit sir?" The passing Belgian public are spellbound by the line of polished black Mercs. "What's going on?," they keep asking in French, as we prepare for the next arrival.
"It's Bilderberg." They nod in reply, as if they know what we mean, then shuffle off looking a little puzzled.
The untouchable elite continue swinging out of limos next to a busy public road and footpath. Clearly an uptight securityman's nightmare. Men with bulging sweaters or badly-fitting jackets wearing dark glasses walk back and forth. Ah, that'll be the plain clothes Belgian secret service with their guns then. I ask one if he knows what's going on at the hotel, "I dunno," he smiles, baring rat-like teeth. He's not a good actor, glad I can't see his eyes. A big CIA officer turns up and orders the Belgians around, they know their place. This year's Bilderberg had to be hastily rearranged after the Austrian anti-EU Freedom Party was elected, one of the reason's that we and the public are so close by. We might never get this opportunity again. If they had met as planned in Austria there would probably have been official criticism and heaps of publicity. For a cabal, all publicity is bad publicity.
Bilderberg does everything it can to conceal where it's meeting and doesn't bother with a press conference any more. Out the window go journalistic freedoms which are the lynch pin of any democracy. Inside the Bilderberg meeting, media barons and compliant writers from The Economist, sworn to secrecy, smooch year after year.
They have created a vacuum. We decided to get on the telephone. On Saturday morning Belgian daily De Morgen delivered the goods with a lead front page story by the ex-editor all about the no-longer-quite-so-secret Bilderberg conference. Critical and amusing coverage on national Belgian TV news and in Sunday papers followed into the week.
When the Belgian papers phoned the mayor of the local Genval principality he said they must be joking. If Queen Beatrix and Henry Kissinger were there he'd know about it he maintained. Bilderberg, it seems, is above politics. Politicians, newspaper editors, European commissioners and civil servants who agree to enter Bilderberg swear complete secrecy. Not just about the content of the meeting but about the very existence of Bilderberg. They leave their accountability at the door. Just as the Bilderbergers were leaving on the Saturday, two secret service agents asked the Spotlight photographer to show a Belgian press pass then threatened to beat him up. They chased him into a nearby taverna where he was rescued by boss and waiters only to be chased again at the local station. He made a narrow escape by running across the tracks to jump on a train going the wrong way. Surreal.
Was someone about to leave the hotel they didn't want photographed? Clinton was in Aachen that day, just down the road. Bilderberg stretches our credulity. According to the hotel, this year's meeting was a croquet tournament with some well-known spectators. Another cover story was that the French football team were staying. Even the security name tags said Brussels 2000, just like the football.
These power-brokers lie too easily. The more facts that emerge about Bilderberg's key role in lobbying for a Corporate European superstate and the more lies they disseminate to try to cover themselves the more healthy suspicion they arouse.
Why, for example, might Tony Blair have said in answer to a parliamentary question by Christopher Gill MP in March 1998 that no members of his cabinet had attended Bilderberg meetings, when he himself clearly was on the official Athens conference list in 1993 before becoming Labour leader?
His attendance was even commented on by William Rees-Mogg in The Times! The Danish parliament is considering banning all politicians from attending. So who's in charge? The bankers or the politicians? What about the proverb which says the borrower is servant to the lender? Can Bilderberg Group politicians like Kenneth Clarke and Peter Mandelson be trusted? And are the governments of the world now just PR and tax managers for the banks?
There simply has to be a thorough international examination of this private little bankers club which has its foot wedged in so many political doors. Economic priorities detrimental to ordinary people in the west, not to mention the developing world, are pushed forward at Bilderberg by the ruling class, those who have more influence than anyone else over the future, in total secret. It's time to call this elite cabal to account.
For the leaked minutes of last year's Bilderberg Group meeting in Portugal check the SQUALL resources page.