The Bilderberg Conference could be the most famous secretive conference in existence. And its secrecy is what makes it popular and mired in controversies at the same time.
The Bilderberg Conference first took place in 1954 at the Hotel de Bilderberg in Netherlands (hence the name) and was co-founded by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, former Belgian prime minister Paul Van Zeeland, then head of CIA Walter Bedell Smith, among others.
It is 4 days long annual private conference consisting some of the world’s most powerful people. Every year around 120-150 people attend the conference. The meetings are organized by a “steering committee”, which consists of 2 members from each participating nation. The steering committee is headed by a chairman who is currently Henri de Castries, CEO of AXA Group.
All the participants come from either Europe or North America and are from diversified fields of work. Some people who attended the 2015 conference include Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Alphabet,Inc; former Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti; UK Chancellor George Osborne etc. Here is a breakdown of the countries and fields these people come from:
The meetings are held in any one of the participating nations every year, amid tight security. Last year, it was held at the Interalpen Hotel in Austria.
As their website suggests:
“The conference is a forum for informal discussions about megatrends and major issues facing the world.”
“There is no detailed agenda, no resolutions are proposed, no votes are taken, and no policy statements are issued.”
As such, the attendees to the conference talk about anything and everything which has or could have a significant global impact. Last year’s topics of discussion were as follows: “Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, Chemical Weapons Threats, Current Economic Issues, European Strategy, Globalisation, Greece, Iran, Middle East, NATO, Russia, Terrorism, United Kingdom, USA, US Elections”
This is what the Bilderberg Conference is famous for. The Chatham House Rule allows the participant to use any information he may receive from the meeting for his own purpose but prohibits the revelation of the speaker’s name or connection with the participant.
(Henry Kissinger and Eric Schmidt were among the attendees last year)
This can be very frustrating for journalists covering the event, and many have been arrested in the past trying to get hold of some information regarding the discussions taking place. But since the rules do not allow any kind of discussion after the conference, what happens inside remains top secret.
Like the Bermuda Triangle, many conspiracy theories have been associated with the Bilderberg Conference as well.
So what actually does take place when the world’s most influential people come together that it has to be kept a secret? According to its official website, the focus on secrecy allows the participants to speak freely, independent of their posts in the real world which allows them to “take time to listen, reflect and gather insights”.
But some people (usually journalists) cannot take in this opaqueness. For them, the secrecy results in some deep, dark conspiracy to unsettle the world for their own benefits. Some popular theories which move around are as follows.
Some people feel that the Republican Party is controlled by the Bilderberg attendees, their motive being to create a new order of world communism. Others (leftists) feel that the conference is a means of imposing capitalist domination at a global level.
Some people say that they had a contribution in starting the Serbian War, and more recently were the perpetrators behind the 2008 global recession.
Other outlandish theories include that the members of the conference are descendants of lizards (seriously?), want to create a 4th Reich, and control the European Union.
Here is my view:
When you bring together some of the world’s most influential people, it will surely have global ramifications. Some theories as to their working do sound believable, but they sound more and more like the wild accusations of a small child who cannot seem to figure out what the grown-ups are discussing around him.
Since there are no records of the developments taking place inside, it looks like a distant possibility that we will ever come to know whether the conspiracies are true or not. Maybe we could have had the NSA tap their phones as well. But since that is not possible, I think I will keep my focus on more relevant issues in today’s world.