– Bilderberg 2011: Lord Mandelson’s nature walk (Guardian, June 12, 2011)
“Thanks to the fantastic work of Bilderberg activists, journalists and the Swiss media, we have now been able to obtain the full official list of 2011 Bilderberg attendees. Routinely, some members request that their names be kept off the roster so there will be additional Bilderbergers in attendance.
- Coene, Luc, Governor, National Bank of Belgium
- Davignon, Etienne, Minister of State
- Leysen, Thomas, Chairman, Umicore
- Fu, Ying, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Huang, Yiping, Professor of Economics, China Center for Economic Research, Peking University
- Eldrup, Anders, CEO, DONG Energy
- Federspiel, Ulrik, Vice President, Global Affairs, Haldor Topsøe A/S
- Schütze, Peter, Member of the Executive Management, Nordea Bank AB
- Ackermann, Josef, Chairman of the Management Board and the Group Executive Committee, Deutsche Bank
- Enders, Thomas, CEO, Airbus SAS
- Löscher, Peter, President and CEO, Siemens AG
- Nass, Matthias, Chief International Correspondent, Die Zeit
- Steinbrück, Peer, Member of the Bundestag; Former Minister of Finance
Breaking news. There’s been a bomb. Sorry, a “bomb”. A “tubular device” has been “found” by the police, two people have been cuffed and whisked off, and the security is tightening fast. The bomb business has only kicked off in the last hour, but a photo of the arrest is winging its way down the mountain towards me. I’ll post it up when it gets here.
So yes – seems that I spoke too soon about a chilled-out Swiss Bilderberg. The happy proximity of cameras and conference had already been broken, overnight, by a long white security fence, which blocked our view of the venue. No one seems to know who put it up, but the smart money says that it was hammered in at 3am by Jorma Ollila, the Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, while Peter Voser, the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, held the nails.
Now of course, when I describe what’s gone up as a “security fence”, what I actually mean is “privacy fence”. It’s a shower curtain, not a ring of steel. And of course, by “privacy” what I actually mean is “shame”. It’s a shame fence. A massive white fence of embarrassment. Privacy is what the delegates get when they close the door of their conference hall. Privacy is a Chatham House agreement not to discuss in public what was discussed at the various presentations and seminars of Bilderberg.
But this isn’t privacy. It’s hiding. It’s a child hiding behind the curtains in case the monsters see it, and I find it weirdly infantile. Oddly unconfident. Grown-ups, happy in what they’re doing, don’t slide down in their car seats and slip in through side doors. You’ve got the world’s most powerful people sneaking around like naughty kiddies. Naughty kiddies with secret service spotters on their hotel roof, and armed men on motorbikes flanking their limousines.
This is the bit about Bilderberg that I really don’t get. It’s an old chestnut, but let’s just take another bite at it. Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that Bilderberg benefits us all. The citizens of the world are made safer, or happier, or healthier, or better off as a result of this meeting. Let’s just say that the head of Deutsche Bank spends four days with the head of BP in order to improve our lives.
Let’s suppose, shall we, that the amiable hosts – David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, and the Queen of the Netherlands – have the interests of the general public written in big red letters at the top of their conference agenda.
Suppose all that. Then why the fence? Why do delegates fling themselves across the back seats of their limousines rather than be seen attending this helpful gathering? Why the blacked-out windows and the newspapers held in front of their faces? And why the big white fence? I don’t get it.
Why isn’t Josef Ackermann, the CEO of Deutsche Bank, waving benignly to the crowds? Why aren’t the excited participants pausing at the hotel gates to speak to the invited press? “Yes, thank you, we’re hoping to solve Europe‘s financial crisis this year – so finger’s crossed!” Why are German plane clothes policemen following members of the public around Swiss streets…? Sorry – different question. Important, but different.
Extracts from Bilderberg Lord John Hope’s notes in 1958:
Everyone recognised that the weakness of a democracy was that its government had to do broadly what the people wanted it to do …
You know you’re in Switzerland when the public lavatory at the multi-storey car park is cleaner than your own bathroom. And the streets! My God, you could eat your dinner off the pavement in St Moritz. I’m seriously thinking of writing to Tower Hamlets council suggesting they come here on a fact-finding tour. Although what the hell are they doing on a freebie junket to Switzerland when they’re busy cutting our rubbish collections? It’s a disgrace! I’m going to write to Tower Hamlets council to complain.
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.
“They have a new plan to censor the internet, because the internet is still free. They want to control it and use terrorism or what ever as a reason. They could even plan something horrible so that they have an excuse.”
Q: Can you tell us something about your involvement in the Swiss banking business?
A: I have worked for Swiss banks for many years. I was designated as one of the top directors of one of the biggest Swiss banks. During my work I was involved in the payment, in the direct payment in cash to a person who killed the president of a foreign country. I was in the meeting where it was decided to give this cash money to the killer. This gave me dramatic headaches and troubled my conscience. It was not the only case that was really bad but it was the worst.
– Rich, Famous and Powerful Converge at Bilderberg (CNBC, June 09, 2011)
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, naturally, isn’t attending this year, and his likely successor Christine Lagarde is in China, but the Bilderberg Conference which kicks off in the Swiss resort of St. Moritz on Thursday retains its conspiratorial chic and pulling power.
The attendee list of Bilderberg is still pretty much the only thing that is not a closely guarded secret, as 120 of the world’s richest and most powerful people meet behind closed doors, this time at the Suvretta House hotel in Switzerland, a venue which not only boasts a “fairytale castle” design, but also its own “Teddy World.”
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne are known to have attended in the past, although it seems unlikely that either will attend this week.