Category Archives: Bilderberg Group

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.

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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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Bilderberg 2016: The Elephant in the Lobby

Charlie Skelton writes for Transparency International UK:

On Thursday of next week, at a luxury hotel in central Dresden, the doors of the annual Bilderberg policy conference will be flung open. Not to members of the press, mind. In fact, perhaps “flung” is overstating it. Gingerly, behind a battalion of armed police, private security and secret service bodyguards, the hotel door will be cracked ajar, and in will slide a handpicked few of the most senior corporate executives in the world: board members of transnational banks, chairmen of global energy companies, and the owners of vast industrial and media conglomerates.

Scurrying in behind the bank bosses and hedge-fund billionaires will be a clutch of extremely senior politicians from around Europe: Chancellors, PMs, party leaders and finance ministers. Last year, the President of Austria and the Prime Ministers of Holland and Belgium took part in the discussions. Our own esteemed Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, is a regular attendee, David Cameron himself was ushered inside in 2013, and Lord Mandelson is often to be found popping on a coveted white lanyard. This year, most notably, a hefty contigent from the German cabinet is due to attend.

Inquiries made by the left-wing Die Linke party prompted the German government to confirm that Chancellor Angel Merkel has been invited to the Dresden conference, along with five senior federal ministers: Wolfgang Schäuble (Finance); Ursula von der Leyen (Defence); Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Foreign Affairs), Sigmar Gabriel (Economic Affairs and Energy); and Peter Altmaier (Special Affairs, and in charge of German’s intelligence services).

On the table: the most pressing economic, military and strategic issues of the day. Around the table: the assembled heads of NATO, Deutsche Bank, Airbus, the IMF and Google. Stretching out before them: three days of intense, meticulously structured talks, with nothing but a laughably skeletal agenda released to the press. What the organisers deign to provide is scarcely better than nothing – a weedy list of brilliantly vague bullet points, like “current events” and “Africa”, as if that’s any sort of information at all. I’d be genuinely more impressed if their entire press release was a grainy photograph of the Clacton seafront. It would be intellectually more honest, and a great deal less irritating.

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Bilderberg 2016: EU Referendum Looms Large

Miles Goslett writes for Heat Street:

The Bilderberg Steering CommitteeThe Bilderberg Group is often called the ‘shadow world government’.

But you do not have to be Sherlock Holmes to know that only one topic will be on the agenda at this year’s highly secretive gathering of politicos and industrialists: the EU referendum.

The 2016 Bilderberg Meeting takes place at the five-star Kempinski Hotel in the east German city of Dresden between June 9 and 12.

EU fanatic Angela Merkel is expected to attend at least part of the conference, which does not publish any minutes and from which journalists are banned but which has a clear pro-EU bias.

The giveaway as to Bilderberg’s anti-Brexit agenda lies in a quick look at its 31-strong steering committee.

It is groaning with those who have spoken out against Brexit recently.

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Peter Thiel: The Only Living Trump Supporter In Silicon Valley

John Naughton writes for The Guardian:

The most interesting discovery of the week was not that IBM, Citigroup and Microsoft were unwittingly running ads on (and therefore providing funds to) an Indonesian jihadi website – though they were – but that Peter Thiel is supporting Donald Trump in his bid to become the next president of the United States.

“Peter who?” I hear you say. Mr Thiel is not exactly a household name in these parts, but in Silicon Valley he’s a big cheese, as a co-founder of PayPal and the first investor in Facebook. He is therefore rich beyond the dreams of avarice. But he is also: a philosophy graduate; a lawyer; a former bond trader; a hedge-fund manager; a venture capitalist; a philanthropist; a far-out libertarian; and an entertaining author. So what is a guy like that doing supporting Trump?

One answer might be that he’s as much of an irritant to the Silicon Valley crowd as Trump is to the Republican establishment. Although the Valley’s tech titans like to portray themselves as non-statist disruptors, in fact most of them are – politically speaking – Democratic party supporters, albeit of an unusual kind. They may detest trade unions, for example, but they’re very keen on immigration – so long as the immigrants have PhDs from elite Indian or Chinese universities. And they’re not opposed to big government, so long as it’s “smart”, whatever that means.

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Bilderberg to Meet in Dresden from 9-12 June, According to German Newspaper Report

Editor’s Note: It’s official! Bilderberg have announced that the meeting will be held in Dresden on their website.

SPIEGEL reports:

Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski in DresdenThe Bilderberg conference of senior representatives from politics and business will take place this year apparently held in Dresden. The meeting will be held there from 9 to 12 June the Interior Ministry said, according to the Berlin “Tageszeitung” with. Accordingly, the Kempinski Hotel Taschenbergpalais was not far from the Semper Opera House named as the venue from the environment of a subscriber.

The Bilderberg conference first met in 1954 at the Hotel “De Bilderberg” in Dutch Oosterbeek. It ends without final declaration, there is no written decisions, and of the discussions penetrates usually little or nothing to the outside. Participants are usually more than one hundred leading figures from politics, business and financial world.

Critics accuse the Bilderberg Group have long to make important political and economic decisions without democratic legitimacy and public control in their conferences. Other critics complain that the group to stand up for an ultra-liberal orientation of globalization.

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AXA CEO Henri de Castries tipped to replace Douglas Flint as chairman at HSBC

This Is Money reports:

AXA boss (and Bilderberg Chairman) Henri de Castries is resigning after three decades at the insurance giant as rumours swirl that he could be in line for the chairman’s role at HSBC.

De Castries, a member of French nobility, joined Axa 27 years ago and was appointed chief executive nearly 17 years ago.

The 61-year-old took home a £4.2million pay packet for 2014.

He joined HSBC as a non-executive director on March 1 and is being hotly tipped as a successor to chairman Douglas Flint (and Bilderberg member), who is to leave the post next year.

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Goldman Sachs backs campaign to keep Britain in European Union

Jill Treanor and Larry Elliott report for The Guardian:

Goldman Sachs signGrowing concern in the City about Britain’s possible exit from the European Union has been underlined by the fact that the Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs had pumped a significant sum into the campaign for staying in.

The move on Wednesday by the high-profile US investment bank to back the in campaign – Britain Stronger in Europe – comes at a time when the City has started to focus on the possibility that the UK will vote to end its 43-year relationship with the EU.

Other City firms are known to be spending large sums of money considering the implications for their business of a possible Brexit, even though the date for a referendum has not yet been set.

David Cameron would like the referendum to be held in June to avoid the possibility of prolonged coverage of refugees fleeing to the EU. The news of the donation by Goldman Sachs to the in campaign – said to run to six figures – appeared to be carefully timed: Cameron is due to address delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where a large delegation of UK business leaders and financiers have gathered for the annual event in the Swiss ski resort.

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Silicon Assets: Is This the Bilderberg or the Circle K Behind My House?

Charlie Skelton writes for Flaunt Magazine:

Where does true power reside? Is it waving at you from a stage-lit, Presidentially-sealed podium? Or tucked away inside a billionaire’s wallet? Can you smell it in a mahogany-clad clubroom at Yale in the smoke of a Bonesman’s cigar, or catch a glimpse of its dark feathers perching on the advisory council of a transnational bank? One thing we know for sure: the nature and location of power is changing, and the agents of that change are the Californian technology companies that have the taken the 21st century by the throat.

A revolution in “connection technologies” means we are entering what executive chairman at Google, Eric Schmidt, calls “a new age of shared power.” New power dynamics will be played out within what he calls “the interconnected estate,” a realm in which, soon enough, humans will be sharing power, policies, and influence not just with each other, but with increasingly intelligent computers.

The rise of Artificial Intelligence is set to change everything: the dynamics of power and politics for starters, but beyond that, the nature of life itself. “We are just at the beginning of this infinite journey,” gushes PayPal founder and AI enthusiast Peter Thiel, as he announces his intention to live forever. Thiel sits on the board of Facebook, a company “on a mission to connect the world,” and one of the biggest investors in AI. Meanwhile, over at Google’s DeepMind project, British specialist Demis Hassabis, is working to unravel “the deepest mysteries of the mind.” Hassabis wants to create Artificial Intelligence in order to “solve intelligence and use it to solve everything else.”

Solve everything, connect everyone, live forever: the time for humble ambitions is past. The mood of the day is summed up in the triumphant howl that echoes from Google’s R&D department, when the former head of DARPA, Regina Dugan, swallows a microchip in a pill that turns her body into a digital authentication device, and cries: “My first superpower!”

READ MORE…

Presidents, Bankers, the Neo-Cold War and the World Bank

Editor’s Note: Nomi Prins is a former managing director at Goldman Sachs and a former senior managing director at Bear Stearns. I would HIGHLY recommend reading her latest book, “All The Presidents’ Bankers“. You can check out more of Nomi’s great work at her website.

Nomi Prins writes:

At first glance, the neo-Cold War between the US and its post WWII European Allies vs. Russia over the Ukraine, and the stonewalling of Greece by the Troika might appear to have little in common. Yet both are manifestations of a political-military-financial power play that began during the first Cold War. Behind the bravado of today’s sanctions and austerity measures lies the decision-making alliance that private bankers enjoy in conjunction with government and multinational entries like NATO and the World Bank.

It is President Obama’s foreign policy to back the Ukraine against Russia; in 1958, it was the Eisenhower Doctrine that protected Lebanon from a Soviet threat. For President Truman, the Marshall Plan arose partly to guard Greece (and other US allies) from Communism, but it also had lasting economic implications. The alignment of political leaders and key bankers was more personal back then, but the implications were similar to the present day. US military might protected its major trading partners, which in turn, did business with US banks. One power reinforced the other. Today, the ECB’s QE program funds swanky Frankfurt headquarters and prioritizes Germany’s super-bank, Deutschebank and its bond investors above Greece’s future.

These actions, then and now, have roots in the American ideology of melding military, political and financial power that flourished in the haze of World War II.  It’s not fair to pin this triple-power stance on one man, or even one bank; yet one man and one bank signified that power in all of its dimensions, including the use of political enemy creation to achieve financial goals. That man was John McCloy, ‘Chairman of the Establishment’ as his biographer, Kai Bird, characterized him. The relationship between McCloy and Truman cemented a set of public-private practices that strengthened private US banks globally at the expense of weaker, potentially Soviet (now Russian) leaning countries.’

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