Category Archives: Bilderberg Group

Palantir Goes from Pentagon Outsider to Mattis’ Inner Circle

Jacqueline Klimas and Bryan Bender report for Politico:

Jim Mattis is pictured. | GettyThe Trump era has brought a change of fortune for a Silicon Valley software company founded by presidential adviser Peter Thiel — turning it from a Pentagon outcast to a player with three allies in Defense Secretary James Mattis’ inner circle.

At least three Pentagon officials close to Mattis, including his deputy chief of staff and a longtime confidante, either worked, lobbied or consulted for Palantir Technologies, according to ethics disclosures obtained by POLITICO. That’s an unusually high number of people from one company to have such daily contact with the Pentagon leader, some analysts say.

It also represents a sharp rise in prominence for the company, which just months ago could barely get a meeting in the Pentagon. Last year, Palantir even had to go to court to force its way into a competition for a lucrative Army contract.

Thiel was one of the few Silicon Valley titans to openly support Donald Trumpduring the campaign, a role that gave him a prime speaking slot at last summer’s Republican convention. He has since acted as a key adviser arranging meetings among the president and other tech executives. While there’s no evidence he had a direct hand in these specific Pentagon hires, analysts say they absolutely show his growing influence in the administration, where he holds no formal role.

“It is unusual to have several people with close ties to a particular contractor working in close proximity to the Defense secretary,” said Loren Thompson, a leading defense consultant. “It’s probably just a coincidence that several people with Palantir ties are around Mattis, but it certainly doesn’t look good.”

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Bilderberg Conference: Attendees Dodge the Press as Secretive Meeting Ends

Charlie Skelton reports for The Guardian:

Image result for Bilderberg 2017[…] To the heads of Ryanair, Bayer, AXA, Fiat Chrysler, Airbus, Lazard and Google, “useful” is not a vague or fuzzy term. It means “financially worthwhile”. Something they value enough to clear time in their diaries, to get on a long-haul flight, to risk having to make small talk with George Osborne over cocktails.

If you want to know why Michael O’Leary would want to join the steering committee of this annual, under-the-radar political summit, the answer lies in the nature of the beast. Bilderberg is plugged into the very highest levels of high finance and intelligence. There were two ex-CIA chiefs at this year’s conference: Gen David Petraeus and John Brennan, both of whom now work in the private sector. There was the current US national security adviser, HR McMaster, and a former director of MI6, Sir John Sawers, who now sits on the board of BP.

At its deepest level, the group is dominated by transnational finance and big business. The conference chairman is a director of HSBC, the newly appointed treasurer is the head of Deutsche Bank, and the administrative body is run by a senior adviser to Goldman Sachs.

The relationship between Bilderberg and Goldman Sachs runs deep. This year’s conference featured senior figures from the bank; the annual returns of American Friends of Bilderberg, a tax-exempt group, show it registered to the address of a Goldman Sachs board member, James A Johnson. Its sister organisation, the UK-based Bilderberg Association, is heavily funded by Goldman Sachs and registered to the business address of Simon Robertson, former managing director of the bank’s London operation, Goldman Sachs International.

The current chairman of Goldman Sachs International, José Manuel Barroso, sits on the Bilderberg steering committee, alongside the chairman of the bank’s International Advisory Board, Robert Zoellick. In other words, if Goldman Sachs is the “vampire squid” that Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi said it was, Bilderberg is its brain: doing the deep thinking, inviting historians and futurists’ perspectives, trying to work out where the world is going, doing its best to make sure everything stays more or less on course.

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Bilderberg: The World’s Most Secretive Conference is as Out of Touch as Ever

Charlie Skelton reports for The Guardian:

Image result for BilderbergSay what you like about Bilderberg, but they’ve got a sense of humour. The agenda for this year’s secretive summit of the global elite is full of in-jokes. They get big laughs straight off the bat by describing themselves as “a diverse group of political leaders and experts”.

They’re trumpeting the diversity of a conference where less than 25% of the participants are female. Which would be a huge step forward, if it were currently 1963.

And as for racial diversity, there are more senior executives of Goldman Sachs at this year’s Bilderberg than there are people of colour.

Perhaps by “diverse” they mean that some of the participants own hedge funds, whereas others own vast industrial conglomerates. Some are on the board of HSBC, others are on the board of BP. Some are lobbyists, others are being lobbied. That sort of thing.

Dafter still is the agenda item: “Can globalisation be slowed down?” You think that the assembled heads of Google, AT&T, Bayer, Airbus, Deutsche Bank, Ryanair, Fiat Chrysler, and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange want to see a brake on globalisation? It’s the air that they breathe.

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Bilderberg 2017: Interview with Charlie Skelton

Glen Bolton sits down for a short chat with Guardian journalist Charlie Skelton at Bilderberg 2017 in Chantilly, Virginia USA. Skelton has been covering Bilderberg for almost a decade.

Bilderberg 2017: Trump Tops Agenda at Annual Secret Meeting of Global Elite

Charlie Skelton writes for the International Business Times:

Image result for Bilderberg 2017With all the supple silence of a python sliding round the gut of a sleeping monkey, Bilderberg 2017 is slipping unobtrusively into life.

Throughout today (1 June), limousine after limousine will come purring through the heavily guarded gates of the Westfields Marriott hotel, just outside Washington DC, gently depositing politicians, party leaders and public officials into happy laps of some of the world’s most powerful financiers.

Bilderberg is an annual three-day political summit, held entirely in private, and hosted and paid for by big business.

It’s currently led by a board member of HSBC, Henri de Castries, and is run by a steering committee which includes the heads of Google, Deutsche Bank, Santander and Airbus.

They’re joined this year by the heads of AXA, Bayer, ING, Lazard, Fiat Chrysler and the IMF. And the King of Holland, who owns great chunks of Royal Dutch Shell. In short, Bilderberg is so high powered that if it were a car Richard Hammond would have killed himself in it.

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Bilderberg 2017: Secret Meeting of Global Leaders Could Prove a Problem for Trump

Charlie Skelton writes for The Guardian:

Image result for Bilderberg 2017The storm around Donald Trump is about to shift a few miles west of the White House, to a conference centre in Chantilly, Virginia, where the embattled president will be getting his end-of-term grades from the people whose opinion really matters: Bilderberg.

The secretive three-day summit of the political and economic elite kicks off on Thursday in heavily guarded seclusion at the Westfields Marriott, a luxury hotel a short distance from the Oval Office. The hotel was already on lockdown on Wednesday, and an army of landscapers have been busy planting fir trees around the perimeter, to protect coy billionaires and bashful bank bosses from any prying lenses.

Perched ominously at the top of the conference agenda this year are these words: “The Trump administration: a progress report.” Is the president going to be put in detention for tweeting in class? Held back a year? Or told to empty his locker and leave? If ever there’s a place where a president could hear the words “you’re fired!”, it’s Bilderberg.

The White House is taking no chances, sending along some big hitters from Team Trump to defend their boss: the national security adviser, HR McMaster; the commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross; and Trump’s new strategist, Chris Liddell. Could the president himself show up to receive his report card in person?

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Secretive Bilderberg Group To Meet In Chantilly, Virginia This Weekend

RT reports:

Many of the world’s most powerful people are gathering for the annual meeting of the mysterious Bilderberg Group this week. Russia, the Trump administration and ‘The war on information’ are among key topics up for discussion.

This year’s gathering takes place in Chantilly, Virginia, less than 30 miles from the White House, and goings on in the Oval Office are top of the agenda for the 131 people who’ve confirmed they’re attending.

Many top White House figures will be at the four-day event, including the Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, National Security Advisor HR McMaster and Assistant to the President Christopher Liddell.

Other topics up for discussion include ‘Russia in the international order,’ ‘China,’ ‘The Trans-Atlantic defence alliance: bullets, bytes and bucks,’ ‘The war on information,’ ‘Direction of the EU’ and ‘Why is populism growing?’

[…] As well of some of Trump’s top brass, other attendees this year include Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, Republican senators Tom Cotton and Lindsey Graham, and Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai.

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Peter Thiel: Donald Trump’s ‘Shadow President’ in Silicon Valley

Eliana Johnson reports for Politico:

170224_peter_thiel_trump_gty_1160.jpg[…] “Once Election Day came and went, Peter Thiel was a major force in the transition,” said a senior Trump campaign aide. “When you have offices and you bring staff with you and you attend all the meetings, then you have a lot of power.” At the Presidio, the old Army fort in San Francisco where Thiel’s investment firms are housed, many of his employees have taken to calling him “the shadow president.”

The notion is not entirely absurd. If Steve Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, is one ideological pillar of the Trump White House, Thiel, operating from outside the administration, is the other. Bannon’s ideology is a sort of populist nationalism, while Thiel’s is tech-centric: He believes progress is dependent on a revolution in technology that has been largely stymied by government regulation.

Thiel is a contrarian by nature, and his support for Trump was a signature long-shot bet that is paying big dividends in terms of access to and influence on the new administration.

Trump’s surprise victory in November also gave Thiel a renewed faith in the possibilities of politics, and he has worked around the clock to push friends and associates into positions that will give them sway over science and technology policy, an area he believes has been routinely neglected under previous administrations.

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How Peter Thiel and Alex Karp’s Palantir Helped the NSA Spy on the Whole World

Sam Biddle reports for The Intercept:

Image result for Thiel and KarpDonald Trump has inherited the most powerful machine for spying ever devised. How this petty, vengeful man might wield and expand the sprawling American spy apparatus, already vulnerable to abuse, is disturbing enough on its own. But the outlook is even worse considering Trump’s vast preference for private sector expertise and new strategic friendship with Silicon Valley billionaire investor Peter Thiel, whose controversial (and opaque) company Palantir has long sought to sell governments an unmatched power to sift and exploit information of any kind. Thiel represents a perfect nexus of government clout with the kind of corporate swagger Trump loves. The Intercept can now reveal that Palantir has worked for years to boost the global dragnet of the NSA and its international partners, and was in fact co-created with American spies. 

Peter Thiel became one of the American political mainstream’s most notorious figures in 2016 (when it emerged he was bankrolling a lawsuit against Gawker Media, my former employer) even before he won a direct line to the White House. Now he brings to his role as presidential adviser decades of experience as kingly investor and token nonliberal on Facebook’s board of directors, a Rolodex of software luminaries, and a decidedly Trumpian devotion to controversy and contrarianism. But perhaps the most appealing asset Thiel can offer our bewildered new president will be Palantir Technologies, which Thiel founded with Alex Karp and Joe Lonsdale in 2004.

Palantir has never masked its ambitions, in particular the desire to sell its services to the U.S. government — the CIA itself was an early investor in the startup through In-Q-Tel, the agency’s venture capital branch. But Palantir refuses to discuss or even name its government clientele, despite landing “at least $1.2 billion” in federal contracts since 2009, according to an August 2016 report in Politico. The company was last valued at $20 billion and is expected to pursue an IPO in the near future. In a 2012 interview with TechCrunch, while boasting of ties to the intelligence community, Karp said nondisclosure contracts prevent him from speaking about Palantir’s government work.

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The Long and Painful Journey to World Disorder

Martin Wolf, influential journalist and regular attendee at Bilderberg and Davos, writes for The Financial Times:

It is not true that humanity cannot learn from history. It can and, in the case of the lessons of the dark period between 1914 and 1945, the west did. But it seems to have forgotten those lessons. We are living, once again, in an era of strident nationalism and xenophobia. The hopes of a brave new world of progress, harmony and democracy, raised by the market opening of the 1980s and the collapse of Soviet communism between 1989 and 1991, have turned into ashes.

What lies ahead for the US, creator and guarantor of the postwar liberal order, soon to be governed by a president who repudiates permanent alliances, embraces protectionism and admires despots? What lies ahead for a battered EU, contemplating the rise of “illiberal democracy” in the east, Brexit and the possibility of Marine Le Pen’s election to the French presidency?

What lies ahead now that Vladimir Putin’s irredentist Russia exerts increasing influence on the world and China has announced that Xi Jinping is not first among equals but a “core leader”?

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Meet Peter Thiel: Donald Trump Taps Silicon Valley Billionaire Who Helped Bankrupt Gawker

Amy Goodman speaks to Sam Biddle, technology reporter at The Intercept, formerly of Gawker, who has followed Peter Thiel closely. (Democracy Now!)

 

Goldman Sachs Hires Former European Commission Chief Jose Manual Barroso

Reuters reports:

Goldman Sachs has hired former head of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso to be an advisor and non-executive chairman of its international business, as the U.S. bank grapples with the fallout from Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Barroso served as president of the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, from 2004 to 2014 and was prime minister of Portugal from 2002 to 2004.

Goldman Sachs and other U.S. investment banks are seen as particularly vulnerable to Brexit since they rely on the EU’s “passporting” regime that allows them to offer services across the bloc while basing most of their staff and operations in the UK. Banks have warned that if their British outposts lose their “passports” they will have to move some employees and business units to alternative bases in the EU.

Goldman Sachs International, which Barroso will chair, is headquartered in London and of its roughly 6,000 staff fewer than 1,000 are based outside Britain.

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Bilderberg 2016: It’s Time To Take Seriously This Diplomatic Summit

Charlie Skelton writes for Transparency International UK:

Another year, another Bilderberg conference done and dusted. Henry Kissinger has left the building. The limousines, bodyguards and snipers have left, the snazzy Airbus bubble-tent has been deflated, but some tricky questions remain. Questions, primarily, for the politicians who attended.

A hefty bulge of transatlantic political muscle took part in the Dresden talks: two prime ministers, four foreign ministers, a vice-president of the European Commission and a US Senator. Not to mention the deputy PM of Turkey and three members of the German Cabinet. Across the three intense days of the summit a range of important policy areas were discussed – topics on the agenda included “Russia”, “cyber security” and “commodity prices”. Yet the Bilderberg group itself takes pain to stress that this corporate-funded policy summit is not a “formal” event, describing the conference as “an annual forum for informal discussions” and “a forum for informal discussions about megatrends”.

The chairman of the group’s steering committee, Henri de Castries (the head of AXA and a director of HSBC) used similar language in a recent interview with a local Dresden paper, calling it “an informal group”. Likewise, Kenneth Clarke, a long-time member of Bilderberg, described it to Parliament in 2013 as “an off-the-record, informal discussion”. Clarke made a special effort to stress its informality: “We all attend extremely informally; we are not there in any capacity.”

Now, we know for a fact this last claim isn’t wholly accurate. We knew this as far back as 2011 in St. Moritz, when the Treasury confirmed, in no uncertain terms, that “George Osborne is attending the Bilderberg conference in his official capacity as Chancellor of the Exchequer”. He was out there in Switzerland, we were told, with staff from the Treasury – although “probably not more than one”. At the time, the Bilderberg website was insisting: “Participants attend Bilderberg in a private and not an official capacity.” Which was straightforwardly untrue, and the claim was subsequently removed from the site.

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No Press Conference in Sight as Bilderberg Stays Largely Under Wraps

Charlie Skelton reports for The Guardian:

“The paintings at the old master picture gallery are wonderful!” gushed the LVMH director Marie-Josée Kravis, as she wafted stylishly back to the conference. “You simply must go and have a look.” It was a charming and engaging answer to my question, even if my question had been: “Do you think Bilderberg will hold a press conference this year?”

It is possible, as a Bilderberg steering committee member, that she has forgotten what the words press conference mean. The phrase must have sounded like a baffling mishmash of alien syllables, so Kravis panicked and talked about art instead.

I turned to her husband, the billionaire investor Henry Kravis, scuttling along by her side. “How’s business at KKR?” I asked. Henry Kravis tightened his Wall Street jaw into a kind of terrifying aborted smile, and in the distance a dog howled. It is just as well that Marie-Josée Kravis is an art lover. She married someone who was painted by Francisco Goya.

As Henry maintained his grim silence, the pair were ushered in through the security cordon. Luckily, a few other delegates had nipped out for bit of sightseeing during a break in the schedule, and I managed to buttonhole the Italian financier and longstanding Bilderberg insider Franco Bernabè as he strolled anonymously across a square in Dresden. I asked again about a press conference. A reasonable question, I thought, considering the number of senior politicians at the conference – four finance ministers, two prime ministers, three German cabinet members, a vice-president of the European commission, the head of the Swiss parliament … The list goes on.

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Bilderberg Gathering Envisions Top Job For Kristalina Georgieva

Georgi Gotev reports for EurActiv:

Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva attended a meeting of the secretive Bilderberg group in Dresden yesterday (9 June), where, according to information obtained by EurActiv.com, former Commission President José Manuel Barroso promoted her as the next UN Secretary-General.

The official list of participants at the annual meeting includes the name of Georgieva. According to the Commission’s program, Georgieva was indeed in Germany. However, the Bilderberg event is not mentioned.

Speaking to a Bulgarian media, Georgieva said she attended the Bilderberg meeting in private capacity, but “presented the position of the Commission”.

EurActiv asked the executive to confirm or deny that it was aware that Georgieva participated to the Bilderberg gathering, and received confirmation that her participation was in private capacity. The European Commission’s weekly program mentions that Georgieva was in Germany yesterday, where she delivered a keynote speech at Berlin’s Europe in a changing world conference,  and also had a meeting in Dresden with Stanislaw Tillich, the premier of Saxony .

Georgieva’s name appears in the Bilderberg gathering list alongside VIPs such as Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, Thomas de Maizière, the interior minister of Germany, Kyriakos Mistotakis, the leader of Greece’s New Democracy party, Michael Noonan, minister of finance of Ireland, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Barroso and others.

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Bilderberg: An Innocent Conference or Conflict of Interests?

Charlie Skelton reports for The Guardian:

When they roll up outside Bilderberg, some of the guests simply cannot keep the grin off their faces. It’s all too amazing. This is the big time: their entry into the inner sanctum of power. The chance to rub clipboards with power, and slip out for a mid-conference cigarette with the king of Holland. Make a good impression, crack a few jokes about the Belgian PM, and who knows – maybe end up on the board of Royal Dutch Shell.

When Dave Cote, the boss of giant defence supplier Honeywell, got out of his limo, I honestly thought he was going to pop with joy. He hasn’t been this happy since his company was chosen to make the engines for Reaper drones.

But even grinning Dave wasn’t as giddy with glee as Niall Ferguson.Kissinger’s biographer burst out of his Mercedes like Usain Bolt off the blocks. Three days locked in a hotel basement with his beloved Henry! What could be sweeter?

Through the blinding intensity of his delight, Niall caught a fleeting glimpse of Jacob Wallenberg, the billionaire Swedish industrialist, fiddling with his luggage. He leapt across the hotel forecourt like a gazelle, darting between concierges so that he could trot along inside with Wallenberg. Zero to schmooze in 4.8 seconds. That’s world class.

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How Powerful Is The Bilderberg Group?

With the Bilderberg Group hosting its annual conference in Dresden, Germany, Folly Bah Thibault hosts a discussion with three guests about the power and influence of the meetings and those who attend. Charlie Skelton is a comedy writer and journalist who covers Bilderberg for the Guardian, Katy Wright is the Head of Global Affairs at Oxfam, and Giles Scott-Smith is a Professor of Diplomatic History at the University of Leiden. (Al Jazeera)

Why We Shouldn’t Dismiss Bilderberg Conspiracies So Lightly

Martin Parker, Professor of Organisation and Culture at the University of Leicester, writes for The Conversation:

[…] Some conspiracy theorists do have a point. These politicians and businessmen (because they are, mostly, men) do have common interests after all. These are the success stories of transatlantic post-war capitalism. What do they know of the “precariat” they’re supposed to be discussing?

If you spend much of your life occupying the first class compartment on aeroplanes, it doubtless becomes logical to assume that there is some virtue to the system that put you there. Your fillet steak always tastes better if it has been accompanied by a small side-helping of self-congratulation. So the 120-150 members of the elite who get together every year – two thirds of the participants from Europe and the rest from North America – are undoubtedly not terribly motivated to change much.

That is doubtless why most of the invitees tend to be from a narrow spectrum of occupations and positions – CEOs, finance ministers and heads of state. Some critics have attended in the past – journalists Will Hutton in 1997, Jonathan Porritt in 1999 – but they are few and far between. The conversations are therefore unlikely to explore radical reforms which might endanger the power and privileges of those who already have seats at the table.

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Bilderberg Group’s 2016 Meeting Includes These 10 Members From The UK

Aubrey Allegretti reports for The Huffington Post:

This week, around 130 of the world’s most rich and powerful figures will gather at the top-secret Bilderberg conference in Dresden, Germany.

The four-day event runs from Thursday until Sunday, and is an annual opportunity for those from the banking, academic, political and business worlds to mingle confidentially.

No agendas, resolutions, votes or policy statements are made as a result of the conference, but some criticise it as an opportunity for a global elite to come together and decide on actions that affect the lives of billions of people.

Prominent figures, such as Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary, ex-CIA chief David Petraeus and the Dutch King are among those on the guestlist.

But ten Brits have also been invited.

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The world’s most elite conference this year will discuss something called “the precariat”

Jason Karaian reports for Quartz:

For when Davos isn’t exclusive enough, there is Bilderberg. The Bilderberg Meeting is an annual gathering of world leaders, executives, and assorted grandees, established in 1954 and named for the Dutch hotel where the secretive group first gathered.

Amid heavy security, around 130 people—including three prime ministers and 30 CEOs—will hold talks on the world’s most pressing issues this week. The four-day retreat starts on Thursday (June 9) at an undisclosed location in Dresden, Germany.

This year’s agenda includes predictable topics like “China,” “migration,” and “cyber security.” But one talking point is particularly intriguing, addressing the “precariat and middle class.”

The what? The “precariat” is a term popularized by British economist Guy Standing, describing a growing class of people who feel insecure in their jobs, communities, and life in general.

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Bilderberg Staff Make Last Nervy Tweaks Before Arrival of the Rich and Powerful

Charlie Skelton reports for The Guardian:

You know Bilderberg’s about to begin when you start seeing the guns. The Taschenbergpalais hotel in Dresden is filling up with pistol-packing plainclothes security as the last guests are ushered out. The frowning gunslingers head up and down the corridors with their hotel maps, trying door handles and checking the lay of the land while, down in the hotel lobby, corporate goons gather in muttering huddles.

I don’t know why everyone’s so antsy. According to the local newspaper DNN, at least 400 police officers will be surrounding the venue for the three days of the talks. There’s already a ring of concrete blocks around the entrance. Is that not enough? What are they expecting? The charge of the light brigade? The hotel is being trussed up tighter than Reid Hoffman’s trousers. No one gets in or out without the right lanyard. As Ed Balls remembers only too well, from that awkward business in Copenhagen.

Inside the security cordon, the final nervy tweaks are being made by conference staff. They’ve got to make sure Henry Kissinger’s curtains don’t let any light in. A single ray could be fatal. A hotel manager has been cornered by a conference organiser who’s firing off questions from an iPad.

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Bilderberg: It’s Not a Conspiracy of the Global Superelite, It’s ‘a Summer School for the Influential’

Adam Lusher writes for The Independent:

They will gather behind the newly erected concrete security barriers of a five-star hotel.

No minutes of the 2016 Bilderberg Conference will be taken. Tight security will be provided by the German police, with logistical support from Airbus, one of the world’s biggest arms dealers.

No reporters will be allowed into the Taschenbergpalais Hotel in Dresden to hear what Henry Kissinger says to the Goldman Sachs board member as the prime ministers, financiers, oil executives, and former heads of the CIA and MI6 add their thoughts.

But it’s not a conspiracy of the global superelite.  It’s just a three-day “summer school for the influential.”

And that’s the truth, because The Independent has been told it, by none other than one of the Bilderberg Group’s own spokespeople.

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Bilderberg: What Actually Happens at the World’s Most Secretive Gathering of Global Elites, and Who is Attending?

Adam Lusher reports for The Independent:

No minutes will be taken. No reporters will be allowed in. There will be no opening press conference, no closing statement, and participants will be asked not to quote each other.

Welcome to the 64th Bilderberg Conference.

Rich and powerful bankers, prime ministers and former heads of the CIA and MI6 are about to join other members of the global elite for arguably the world’s most high-powered but secretive annual meeting which this year is being held in Dresden.

By their own admission, those organising the Bilderberg meetings have “never sought any public attention”, while always denying conspiracy theories that they are a global ruling class that can start wars and decide who becomes the next US President. They just refer to it as forum for informal discussions about the world’s “megatrends” and a chance for participants to “reflect and gather insights”.

The Bilderberg organisers have, though, just released a list those who will be present from June 9-12 for a three-day meeting chaired by a French count (and chairman of the global insurance giant AXA), who likes to spend his weekends at his castle in Anjou.

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Bilderberg: Still Powerful But Perhaps a Bit More Anxious This Year

Charlie Skelton writes for The Guardian:

Prime ministers, finance ministers, leading entrepreneurs and a former spy chief are among the attendees at this year’s influential Bilderberg conference, but one regular guest, George Osborne, will be absent.

The guest list for the conference, which begins on Thursday in Dresden, was released on Tuesday and includes a large number of senior politicians and policymakers, dozens of bank bosses and high-finance billionaires who will gather inside the newly erected security fence around the Hotel Taschenbergpalais.

Two prime ministers, four finance ministers, the head of the IMF and a vice-president of the European commission are all listed as attendees. With so many politicians present, including three members of the German cabinet, the German military has been drafted in to oversee security.

Army officers have been meeting conference staff, scouting the round the hotel and taking photos of the entrance. They’re working with corporate security from Airbus to make sure the politicians are kept safely away from the press for the entire three-day conference.

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Club Class: The Bilderberg Group (2003 BBC Radio 4 Documentary)

Bilderberg 2016: Agenda and Participant List

From BilderbergMeetings.org:

Agenda:

The 64th Bilderberg meeting is set to take place from 9-12 June 2016 in Dresden, Germany. A total of around 130 participants from 20 countries have confirmed their attendance. As ever, a diverse group of political leaders and experts from industry, finance, academia and the media have been invited.

The key topics for discussion this year include:

  1. Current events
  2. China
  3. Europe: migration, growth, reform, vision, unity
  4. Middle East
  5. Russia
  6. US political landscape, economy: growth, debt, reform
  7. Cyber security
  8. Geo-politics of energy and commodity prices
  9. Precariat and middle class
  10. Technological innovation

Participants:

CHAIRMAN
Castries, Henri de (FRA), Chairman and CEO, AXA Group

Aboutaleb, Ahmed (NLD), Mayor, City of Rotterdam
Achleitner, Paul M. (DEU), Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Deutsche Bank AG
Agius, Marcus (GBR), Chairman, PA Consulting Group
Ahrenkiel, Thomas (DNK), Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence
Albuquerque, Maria Luís (PRT), Former Minister of Finance; MP, Social Democratic Party
Alierta, César (ESP), Executive Chairman and CEO, Telefónica
Altman, Roger C. (USA), Executive Chairman, Evercore
Altman, Sam (USA), President, Y Combinator
Andersson, Magdalena (SWE), Minister of Finance
Applebaum, Anne (USA), Columnist Washington Post; Director of the Transitions Forum, Legatum Institute
Apunen, Matti (FIN), Director, Finnish Business and Policy Forum EVA
Aydin-Düzgit, Senem (TUR), Associate Professor and Jean Monnet Chair, Istanbul Bilgi University
Barbizet, Patricia (FRA), CEO, Artemis
Barroso, José M. Durão (PRT), Former President of the European Commission
Baverez, Nicolas (FRA), Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
Bengio, Yoshua (CAN), Professor in Computer Science and Operations Research, University of Montreal
Benko, René (AUT), Founder and Chairman of the Advisory Board, SIGNA Holding GmbH
Bernabè, Franco (ITA), Chairman, CartaSi S.p.A.
Beurden, Ben van (NLD), CEO, Royal Dutch Shell plc
Blanchard, Olivier (FRA), Fred Bergsten Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute
Botín, Ana P. (ESP), Executive Chairman, Banco Santander
Brandtzæg, Svein Richard (NOR), President and CEO, Norsk Hydro ASA
Breedlove, Philip M. (INT), Former Supreme Allied Commander Europe
Brende, Børge (NOR), Minister of Foreign Affairs
Burns, William J. (USA), President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Cebrián, Juan Luis (ESP), Executive Chairman, PRISA and El País
Charpentier, Emmanuelle (FRA), Director, Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology
Coeuré, Benoît (INT), Member of the Executive Board, European Central Bank
Costamagna, Claudio (ITA), Chairman, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti S.p.A.
Cote, David M. (USA), Chairman and CEO, Honeywell
Cryan, John (DEU), CEO, Deutsche Bank AG
Dassù, Marta (ITA), Senior Director, European Affairs, Aspen Institute
Dijksma, Sharon A.M. (NLD), Minister for the Environment
Döpfner, Mathias (DEU), CEO, Axel Springer SE
Dudley, Robert (GBR), Group Chief Executive, BP plc
Dyvig, Christian (DNK), Chairman, Kompan
Ebeling, Thomas (DEU), CEO, ProSiebenSat.1
Elkann, John (ITA), Chairman and CEO, EXOR; Chairman, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Enders, Thomas (DEU), CEO, Airbus Group
Engel, Richard (USA), Chief Foreign Correspondent, NBC News
Fabius, Laurent (FRA), President, Constitutional Council
Federspiel, Ulrik (DNK), Group Executive, Haldor Topsøe A/S
Ferguson, Jr., Roger W. (USA), President and CEO, TIAA
Ferguson, Niall (USA), Professor of History, Harvard University
Flint, Douglas J. (GBR), Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings plc
Garicano, Luis (ESP), Professor of Economics, LSE; Senior Advisor to Ciudadanos
Georgieva, Kristalina (INT), Vice President, European Commission
Gernelle, Etienne (FRA), Editorial Director, Le Point
Gomes da Silva, Carlos (PRT), Vice Chairman and CEO, Galp Energia
Goodman, Helen (GBR), MP, Labour Party
Goulard, Sylvie (INT), Member of the European Parliament
Graham, Lindsey (USA), Senator
Grillo, Ulrich (DEU), Chairman, Grillo-Werke AG; President, Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie
Gruber, Lilli (ITA), Editor-in-Chief and Anchor “Otto e mezzo”, La7 TV
Hadfield, Chris (CAN), Colonel, Astronaut
Halberstadt, Victor (NLD), Professor of Economics, Leiden University
Harding, Dido (GBR), CEO, TalkTalk Telecom Group plc
Hassabis, Demis (GBR), Co-Founder and CEO, DeepMind
Hobson, Mellody (USA), President, Ariel Investment, LLC
Hoffman, Reid (USA), Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, LinkedIn
Höttges, Timotheus (DEU), CEO, Deutsche Telekom AG
Jacobs, Kenneth M. (USA), Chairman and CEO, Lazard
Jäkel, Julia (DEU), CEO, Gruner + Jahr
Johnson, James A. (USA), Chairman, Johnson Capital Partners
Jonsson, Conni (SWE), Founder and Chairman, EQT
Jordan, Jr., Vernon E. (USA), Senior Managing Director, Lazard Frères & Co. LLC
Kaeser, Joe (DEU), President and CEO, Siemens AG
Karp, Alex (USA), CEO, Palantir Technologies
Kengeter, Carsten (DEU), CEO, Deutsche Börse AG
Kerr, John (GBR), Deputy Chairman, Scottish Power
Kherbache, Yasmine (BEL), MP, Flemish Parliament
Kissinger, Henry A. (USA), Chairman, Kissinger Associates, Inc.
Kleinfeld, Klaus (USA), Chairman and CEO, Alcoa
Kravis, Henry R. (USA), Co-Chairman and Co-CEO, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
Kravis, Marie-Josée (USA), Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute
Kudelski, André (CHE), Chairman and CEO, Kudelski Group
Lagarde, Christine (INT), Managing Director, International Monetary Fund
Levin, Richard (USA), CEO, Coursera
Leyen, Ursula von der (DEU), Minister of Defence
Leysen, Thomas (BEL), Chairman, KBC Group
Logothetis, George (GRC), Chairman and CEO, Libra Group
Maizière, Thomas de (DEU), Minister of the Interior, Federal Ministry of the Interior
Makan, Divesh (USA), CEO, ICONIQ Capital
Malcomson, Scott (USA), Author; President, Monere Ltd.
Markwalder, Christa (CHE), President of the National Council and the Federal Assembly
McArdle, Megan (USA), Columnist, Bloomberg View
Michel, Charles (BEL), Prime Minister
Micklethwait, John (USA), Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg LP
Minton Beddoes, Zanny (GBR), Editor-in-Chief, The Economist
Mitsotakis, Kyriakos (GRC), President, New Democracy Party
Morneau, Bill (CAN), Minister of Finance
Mundie, Craig J. (USA), Principal, Mundie & Associates
Murray, Charles A. (USA), W.H. Brady Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
Netherlands, H.M. the King of the (NLD)
Noonan, Michael (IRL), Minister for Finance
Noonan, Peggy (USA), Author, Columnist, The Wall Street Journal
O’Leary, Michael (IRL), CEO, Ryanair Plc
Ollongren, Kajsa (NLD), Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam
Özel, Soli (TUR), Professor, Kadir Has University
Papalexopoulos, Dimitri (GRC), CEO, Titan Cement Co.
Petraeus, David H. (USA), Chairman, KKR Global Institute
Philippe, Edouard (FRA), Mayor of Le Havre
Pind, Søren (DNK), Minister of Justice
Ratti, Carlo (ITA), Director, MIT Senseable City Lab
Reisman, Heather M. (CAN), Chair and CEO, Indigo Books & Music Inc.
Rubin, Robert E. (USA), Co-Chair, Council on Foreign Relations
Rutte, Mark (NLD), Prime Minister
Sawers, John (GBR), Chairman and Partner, Macro Advisory Partners
Schäuble, Wolfgang (DEU), Minister of Finance
Schieder, Andreas (AUT), Chairman, Social Democratic Group
Schmidt, Eric E. (USA), Executive Chairman, Alphabet Inc.
Scholten, Rudolf (AUT), CEO, Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG
Schwab, Klaus (INT), Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum
Sikorski, Radoslaw (POL), Senior Fellow, Harvard University; Former Minister of Foreign Affairs
Simsek, Mehmet (TUR), Deputy Prime Minister
Sinn, Hans-Werner (DEU), Professor for Economics and Public Finance, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
Skogen Lund, Kristin (NOR), Director General, The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise
Standing, Guy (GBR), Co-President, BIEN; Research Professor, University of London
Thiel, Peter A. (USA), President, Thiel Capital
Tillich, Stanislaw (DEU), Minister-President of Saxony
Vetterli, Martin (CHE), President, NSF
Wahlroos, Björn (FIN), Chairman, Sampo Group, Nordea Bank, UPM-Kymmene Corporation
Wallenberg, Jacob (SWE), Chairman, Investor AB
Weder di Mauro, Beatrice (CHE), Professor of Economics, University of Mainz
Wolf, Martin H. (GBR), Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times

Bilderberg 2016: We Can Expect Desperate Lobbying Against Brexit From Big Business

Charlie Skelton writes for International Business Times:

BilderbergAs the EU referendum looms, a great counsel of war is gathering. Henri de Castries, the Chairman of the influential Bilderberg Group, has made his way to the highest hill above Dresden, placed a mighty conch shell to his aristocratic French lips and blown.

Responding to his call, 140 or so of the most powerful pro-European business leaders and politicians will be making their way to the five-star Hotel Taschenbergpalais to discuss the future of their beloved free trade zone.

The annual three-day Bilderberg conference kicks off on Thursday, and you can be sure the mood in Dresden will be a grim one. The heads of Google, Shell, BP and Deutsche Bank will be there, and Brexit will be top of the agenda. The Bilderberg Group has been nurturing the EU to life since the 1950s, and now they see their creation under dire threat.

READ MORE…

Bilderberg Group Steering Committee (By Country)

From Bilderberg Meetings UK:

AUSTRIA

Rudolf Scholten – CEO, Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG

BELGIUM

Thomas Leysen – Chairman, KBC Group; Chairman, Umicore; Chairman, Corelio (Belgium’s largest newspaper pubishing group); Global Advisory Council, Toyota; European Round Table of Industrialists

CANADA

Heather M. Reisman – Chair and CEO, Indigo Books & Music Inc.; Director, ONEX Corp.

DENMARK

Ulrik Federspiel – Group Executive and Chief International and Public Affairs Officer, Haldor Topsøe A/S; Director, Karnaphuli Fertilizer Co.

FINLAND

Matti Apunen – Director, Finnish Business and Policy Forum EVA

FRANCE

Nicolas Baverez – Partner, Gibson Dunn

Henri de Castries – Chairman of Bilderberg; Chairman and CEO, AXA Group; Director, HSBC; Director, Nestlé

GERMANY

Paul Achleitner – Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Deutsche Bank AG; Supervisory Board, Daimler; Supervisory Board, Bayer AG; International Advisory Board, Allianz.

Thomas Enders – CEO, Airbus Group

GREECE

Dimitri Papalexopoulos – CEO, Titan Cement Co.; European Round Table of Industrialists

HOLLAND

Victor Halberstadt – Chairman, Bilderberg Meetings; Professor of Economics, Leiden University; International Advisory Group, Goldman Sachs

IRELAND

Michael O’Leary – CEO, Ryanair Plc

ITALY

John Elkann – Chairman and CEO, EXOR; Chairman, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles; Director, Economist Group; European Round Table of Industrialists.

Lilli Gruber – Editor-in-Chief and Anchor“Otto e mezzo”, La7 TV

NORWAY

Svein Richard Brandtzæg – President and CEO, Norsk Hydro ASA; European Round Table of Industrialists

PORTUGAL

José M. Durão Barroso – Former President of the European Commission

SWEDEN

Jacob Wallenberg – Chairman, Investor AB; Director, Coca-Cola; Vice Chairman, Ericsson; Vice Chairman, SAS; European Round Table of Industrialists

SWITZERLAND

André Kudelski – Chairman and CEO, Kudelski Group

UNITED KINGDOM

Marcus Agius – Non-Executive Chairman, PA Consulting Group

Sir John Sawers – Chairman and Partner, Macro Advisory Partners

UNITED STATES

Roger C. Altman – Executive Chairman, Evercore

Kenneth M. Jacobs – Chairman and CEO, Lazard

James A. Johnson – Chairman, Johnson Capital Partners; Director, Goldman Sachs

Alex Karp – CEO, Palantir Technologies; Director, Economist Group

Klaus Kleinfeld – Chairman and CEO, Alcoa; Trustee, World Economic Forum.

Marie-Josée Kravis – President American Friends of Bilderberg; Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute

Craig J. Mundie – Principal, Mundie & Associates

Eric Schmidt – Executive Chairman, Alphabet Inc.; Chairman, Defense Innovation Advisory Board (Pentagon)

Peter Thiel – President, Thiel Capital; Director, Facebook

Robert Zoellick – Chairman, Board of International Advisors, The Goldman Sachs Group; Director, Temasek; International Advisory Board, Rolls-Royce; Aspen Strategy Group

ADVISORY GROUP

UNITED STATES
David Rockefeller

Profile: Henri de Castries, Bilderberg Group Chairman

From Bilderberg Meetings UK:

Henri de Castries is “a well-connected member of French society who also chairs the Bilderberg Group of business leaders” (Daily Telegraph).

De Castries has been the chairman of the Bilderberg Group’s steering committee since 2012, having replaced Étienne Davignon in the role.

De Castries spent 27 years at AXA, the giant insurance and asset management company.  For the last 17 years he has been the company’s CEO. The company is enormous. According to AXA’s 2015 annual report:

Based on available information at December 31, 2015, the AXA Group was the world’s largest insurance group with total assets of €887 billion and consolidated gross revenues of €99 billion for the year ended December 31, 2015. Based on available information at December 31, 2015, the AXA Group was the world’s 10th largest asset manager with total assets under management of €1,363 billion.”

In 2015, AXA was named the number 1 global insurance brand by Interbrand. And the Fortune 500 lists it as the 20th biggest company in the world.

But now Henri de Castries is on the move. In March 2016 he announced that he would be leaving AXA in September. This followed his appointment to the board of banking giant HSBC – the world’s 3rd biggest bank (Global Finance magazine).

De Castries has been called “the front-runner to become the next chairman of HSBC” (Sunday Times), when Douglas Flint leaves the bank.

De Castries is also on the board of directors of Nestlé, the 33rd biggest company in the world (Forbes). And he’s President of the influential French think tank, l’Institut Montaigne.

READ MORE…

2016 Bilderberg Conference: Dresden, June 9-12

From Bilderberg Meetings UK:

The 2016 Bilderberg conference will take place from June 9-12 in Dresden, Germany.  The conference venue is the five-star Taschenbergpalais Hotel.

BB2016 Hotel Pic 400x400

The Taschenbergpalais Hotel is located just south of the river, in Dresden’s historic city centre, the “Innere Altstadt”:

dresdensmallerr

Travel Information

For anyone wishing to travel to Dresden for the conference, here is some information about reaching the venue:

By plane

Dresden International Airport is about 6 miles away from the hotel. The journey takes about 20 to 30 minutes by car, depending on traffic, and will cost about €30 in a taxi.

By train

Dresden’s main rail station is about two and a half miles from the hotel (about ten minutes by car), and is connected to the hotel via the number 8 tram route (which takes about eight minutes).

By car

Exit the A4 highway at “Dresden-Altstadt”. Follow route B6 to the city centre. Follow signs saying “Hotel Route B” through the city centre: they will lead you right to Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski.

By tram

The nearest tram stops to Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski are Theaterplatz, Postplatz and Neumarkt.

For more information,  visit the hotel’s official website.

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