Bilderberg 2012: “Like a corporate cross between Santa Claus and a big friendly squid.”

It’s just as well that Ireland said ‘Yes’ to the Fiscal Treaty.  I can only imagine the embarrassed silences Irish Finance Minister, Michael Noonan, would have experienced this weekend if the result had gone the other way.  Where is Michael?  He’s in the US.  Virginia, since you ask.  In Chantilly.  At the 60th annual Bilderberg conference…  It’s quite a list of attendees

Some names you might recognise include Lord [Peter] Mandelson and US Senator John Kerry, as well as the chairmen of  Barclays and HSBC – to mention just two of the financial interests present.  Google and Microsoft are represented.  And the White House, natch.  A scattering of media representatives are there too, including columnists from The Economist, the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.  And a trio of Bilderberg Steering Committee members – UK Lord Chancellor, Kenneth Clarke MP, James A Johnson, director of Goldman Sachs, and another Irishman, Peter Sutherland, chairman of Goldman Sachs International. Around 145 ‘participants’ are there.

But it’s all fine.  As the press release on the Bilderberg Meetings Official Website, dated 31 May, tells us

Bilderberg’s only activity is its annual Conference. At the meetings, no resolutions are proposed, no votes taken, and no policy statements issued. Since 1954, fifty-nine conferences have been held. The names of the participants are made available to the press.  Participants are chosen for their experience, their knowledge, and their standing; all participants attend Bilderberg in a private and not an official capacity. [added emphasis]

ANYhoo, The Guardian’s Charlie Skelton is still there.  [So you don’t have to be? – Ed]  He’s outside the security barriers.

The official list of participants was released early this year. Praise where praise is due: well done Bilderberg for starting to behave like a grown-up political summit. Good behaviour like this should be given positive reinforcement – I feel like I should ruffle Henry Kissinger’s hair and toss him a meaty treat. Alas, I think I might be dropped by a sniper before I could reach his wheelchair.

That’s if I managed to get past the eagle eyes of Senator John Kerry. He’s attending this year, alongside Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana. I can imagine they’d grab an arm each, while Nick Boles MP stood on his little stool in the corner, jeering, as I was dragged from the conference room, and booted into the parking lot by Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, while Michael Noonan, Ireland’s minister for finance, tells me in no uncertain terms to get lost. Which, by the way, is news to me – Ireland has a minister for finance?

What a lovely lot of politicians we’ve got at this year’s Bilderberg. What a shot in the arm for democracy. I don’t know if Lord Mandelson belongs on a list of public servants, but he’s here; he’s becoming quite a regular these days. Mandelson will be striving privately towards a better world with the Polish finance minister, the Finnish finance minister – and, wait, who’s this…?

Why, it’s cuddly old Bilderberg insider, the Lord Chancellor, Kenneth Clarke MP. No wonder the press officer at the Ministry for Justice last week was so unwilling to talk: “I’m not in a position to either deny or confirm that the minister will be attending.” Yup. That’s exactly the sort of transparency and openness Ken is so keen to see implemented – as he said only a few months ago:

“Transparency is the most effective public inoculation against corruption that any country can have. There is a strong public interest case for almost all government information to be open to scrutiny.”

How very true. I feel a Freedom of Information request coming on.

We do have some of the topics for discussion

The Conference will deal mainly with political, economic and societal issues like Transatlantic Relations, Evolution of the Political Landscape in Europe and the US, Austerity and Growth in Developed Economies, Cyber Security, Energy Challenges, the Future of Democracy, Russia, China and the Middle East. [added emphasis]

Approximately 145 participants will attend of whom about two-thirds come from Europe and the balance from North America and other countries. About one-third is from government and politics, and two-thirds are from finance, industry, labor, education, and communications. The meeting is private in order to encourage frank and open discussion.

You never know, they might even come up with a solution to the European Project’s political trilemma…

[You do know the tinfoil doesn’t work? – Ed]  Indeed.

Adds  An Irish Times report notes that Peter Sutherland, of Goldman Sachs, is one of two former Irish Attorney Generals in attendance.  And it sounds like Minister Noonan didn’t get the ‘private and not an official capacity’ memo…

A spokesman for the Minister said the conferences were attended by some of the leading figures in the political and business worlds, so it was important for Ireland to be represented. “You’re better off in than out,” he said.

He added the Minister was working to promote a positive image of Ireland and would use the opportunity to advance Ireland’s case for investment, as well as represent the country’s position on the euro zone crisis.

Hmm…

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  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “Some names you might recognise include Lord [Peter] Mandelson”

    Peter has been a high-flyer for quite a long time. Just look at all those fine names in his Register of Interests declaration for 1999 when he was on a ‘sabbatical’ from ministerial office. Presumably having the ear of the Prime Minister would have had a certain drawing power.

  • Pete Baker

    A tree! A tree!

    *shakes head*

  • Alias

    “all participants attend Bilderberg in a private and not an official capacity”

    True, but they are only invited to attend because of that “official capacity”. Michael Noonan hasn’t been invited because he’s a former school teacher from Stab City and good fun on a bar stool but because he, along with the other invitees, are in a position of influence which they can use to advance Bilderberg’s agenda. Given that the public have elected him, they ought to know what agenda he has been invited to promote and whether it is any way implemented by him in an “official capacity” without their knowledge or democratic consent.

  • lover not a fighter

    If it was really important I don’t think Michael Noonan would be allowed to go.

    Unless of course by allowing Michael Noonan to go we are fooled into thinking its not important………!

    Jesus this bilderberg gang are heavy man !

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “in a position of influence”

    alias, some folks get overly excited about conspiracy theories whereas I’m quite interested in ‘networks of influence’. Sometimes I ‘embed’ myself in such networks in order to get a fuller understanding of certain governance practices in Northern Ireland.

    That Mandelson link at 10:53pm from the 1999 Register of Interests sheds a lot more light on such networks than does this Bilderberg snapshot. Perhaps Charlie Skelton should start with information that’s already in the public domain before engaging in the rather slow and often unsatisfactory FoI process.

  • Pete Baker

    Adds An Irish Times report notes that Peter Sutherland, of Goldman Sachs, is one of two former Irish Attorney Generals in attendance. And it sounds like Minister Noonan didn’t get the ‘private and not an official capacity’ memo…

    A spokesman for the Minister said the conferences were attended by some of the leading figures in the political and business worlds, so it was important for Ireland to be represented. “You’re better off in than out,” he said.

    He added the Minister was working to promote a positive image of Ireland and would use the opportunity to advance Ireland’s case for investment, as well as represent the country’s position on the euro zone crisis.

    Hmm…

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “sounds like Minister Noonan didn’t get the ‘private and not an official capacity’ memo”

    I prefer Noonan’s frankness to Bilderberg’s obfuscation.

  • Alias

    “I prefer Noonan’s frankness”

    Do you mean spin? He’s trying to present it to the public as an IDA investment conference or an ambassador’s meet-and-greet tea party for the business community when the reality is that it is to promote Bilderberg’s agenda, not Ireland’s.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    I view it as a two-way street, Alias, a mutual lobby group where each pursues their own particular agendas. Some will undoubtedly bring home more bacon than others.

  • Deep Space

    Bilderberg Vampires Converge In Chantilly, VA (Commentary)

  • Pete Baker

    Nevin

    “I view it as a two-way street, Alias, a mutual lobby group where each pursues their own particular agendas. Some will undoubtedly bring home more bacon than others.”

    And what do you base this assessment on? Your reliable gut feeling?

    It doesn’t match the Bilderberg Group’s own description of its meetings. Nor Minister Noonan’s. We’ll wait to see who is paying for that particular participant to attend. The Group itself is, apparently, funded by ‘private donations’.

    How nice for so many public representatives to give their time for such direct access by the financial interests of the world…

    And, for participants, the first rule of Fight Club the Bilderberg Group is: you do not talk about the Bilderberg Group. The second rule of the Bilderberg Group is: you DO NOT talk about the Bilderberg Group!

  • Alias

    Nevin, I think they have more pressing business than investing in a pig factory in Mayo or Stab City:

    Another significant event occurred when NATO celebrated its 50th anniversary in Washington, D.C. in April 1999. Kenneth Clark, former chancellor of the exchequer in Britain and a longtime Bilderberg luminary, agreed to what he thought would be a “sweetheart session” with a small group of reporters at the National Press Club. I asked the first question, pointing out that he would be attending the Bilderberg meeting in Sintra, Portugal, and inquired about the agenda. The question stunned him. He was too embarrassed to deny Bilderberg when he had been told the city, country, resort and precise dates. He was pounded by questions. Before the hour ended, he had openly acknowledged that Bilderberg intended for the Western Hemisphere to become an “American Union” similar to the European Union. The American Union’s common currency would be the dollar. Clark acknowledged Bilderberg’s plan to develop an Asian-Pacific Union with a third common currency. The world, he confirmed, was to be divided into three great regions for the administrative convenience of the world government emerging under the United Nations. All of this, he said, would come “sooner, rather than later.”

    Here is another British member of the steering committee, Denis Healey, on Bilderberg’s global government agenda:

    “To say we were striving for a one-world government is exaggerated, but not wholly unfair. Those of us in Bilderberg felt we couldn’t go on forever fighting one another for nothing and killing people and rendering millions homeless. So we felt that a single community throughout the world would be a good thing.”

    When leading members of the steering committee give the game away the ones wearing the tin foil hats are the ones who pretend there isn’t anything sinister about this secretive cabal. It has nothing to do with local investment and everything to do with supranational power, particularly its transfer from European states to an unelected cartel who use that power to promote their own interests.

  • Alias

    Incidentally, one reason why the minister’s spokesman might have ‘forgotten’ that the invite is private and that the minister does not attend in an official capacity could have something to do with the minister ‘accidentally’ letting his department pay for his private trip?

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “Your reliable gut feeling?”

    Why the use of italics, Pete? Let’s just keep to ‘playing the ball’.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Alias, I think you’ve fairly clearly demonstrated that even one of the most secret of cabals isn’t water-tight. It’s not the only group with global interests as the Mandelson link above demonstrates. Clark mentions the third dimension – Asia-Pacific – and these three also find expression in the less-secretive but still exclusive Trilateral Commission (TLC).

  • http://nwhyte.livejournal.com Nicholas Whyte

    I don’t know a lot about Bilderberg, but I have sat in on other high-level conferences. If Bilderberg is like any of the others, it is a networking event more than anything, where the powerful get to socialise and relax in a less formal setting than is possible at official meetings. There will be discussion panels to provide intellectual content; and indeed some of those panels will be opportunities for good debate of interesting ideas, and others will be rather dull. But most people will be there for the socialising, attracted by Bilderberg’s exclusive brand, which is rather enhanced by the obsessions of Jim Tucker and his fellow theorists.

    I think this is demonstrated as much as anything by the breathless account of the interview with Kenneth Clarke in 1999 (which is clearly a distortion even going by Tucker’s own account later in his own book). Clarke’s views were not and are not a secret: he had been advocating his idea of currency unions for years to anyone who would listen (but only Jim Tucker did). If, as is stated, Bilderberg had actually adopted his plan in 1999 (rather than just listening politely and then going home), don’t you think we might have seen some evidence of its implementation in the subsequent 13 years?

  • Alias

    “(which is clearly a distortion even going by Tucker’s own account later in his own book).”

    It is Tucker’s account, quoted verbatim from his own book. The thread isn’t accepting posts with links, but you can find the quote on americanfreepress-dot-net.

    Here is another quote from Tucker:

    The Bilderberg group is an organization of political leaders and international financiers that meets secretly every spring to make global policy. There are about 110 regulars—Rockefellers, Rothschilds, bankers, heads of international corporations and high government officials from Europe and North America. Each year, a few new people are invited and, if found useful, they return to future meetings. If not, they are discarded. Decisions reached at these secret meetings affect every American and much of the world.

    I guess we’ll find out next year if Noonan made himself useful, depending on whether he is invited back or not.

    He certainly made himself useful this year by paying unsecured bondholders 100% of the value of bonds and by his uncritical support for the EU’s supranational agenda (with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission being Bilderberg stooges among the political class), particularly since the bondholders were buying them up for as little as 30%.

  • Alias

    Incidentally, I think the key phrase in the Tucker quote above is “if found useful.” This is how influence is to be measured by Bilderberg. There is no instruction to implement a particular policy but there is a ‘consensus’ which the political hacks are made aware of. If said hack acts in his policy-making role in a way that is consistent with the concensus then the hack would be seen to be ‘on our side’ – and being on the side of the wealthy and powerful is a good place to be for a jobbing hack with a limited lifespan in politics. This is how globalisation, Bilderberg’s agenda, is promoted over the heads of the people by the political class – and it is promoted for the interests of the wealthy to the direct detriment of the poor sods who think the hack is ‘on their side.’

  • http://nwhyte.livejournal.com Nicholas Whyte

    Alias,

    I was able to find the full text of Tucker’s book on Scribd. There are three different accounts of his conversation with Clarke, the one you quote (from pages 10-11) and two others on pages 150-151 and 152-154. The last of these is clearly the most complete and accurate. The first account, the one you quoted, is obviously a distortion by Tucker of his own notes – he even spells Clarke’s name wrong!

    To be very specific, on page 10 Tucker writes that Clarke “acknowledged that Bilderberg intended for the Western Hemisphere to become an “American Union” similar to the European Union” and that he “acknowledged Bilderberg’s plan to develop an Asian-Pacific Union with a third common currency”. But on pages 150-54, it is made clear that these are actually Clarke’s personal views, not “Bilderberg”‘s. That’s a pretty huge distortion.

    I don’t see any evidence that decisions are even made “at” Bilderberg, let alone “by” Bilderberg, and the fact that there has been zero movement towards the two new currency union schemes advocated by Clarke in 1999 surely points to the real level of influence exerted by statements made at Bilderberg meetings. (Again, there is no evidence that “decisions” are actually made there.)

    I don’t disagree that there is a dangerous disconnect between the political class worldwide and their voting public. But spinning elaborate conspiracy theories about elite social gatherings is not the way to deal with that. I recommend questioning our elected leaders on the substance of their policies, rather than on what they did at the weekend.