The secretive Bilderberg meetings that took place over the weekend at The Grove hotel and resort in Watford, England, drew protesters from around the world and seemingly unprecedented amounts of media coverage in the international press — a stark contrast with decades of near-total silence surrounding the controversial annual gathering of some of the planet’s most powerful figures in politics, business, military, academia, banking, and more. As usual, however, virtually nothing is known publicly about the agenda or what went on behind the veil of secrecy surrounding the entire conference.
This year, like at other Bilderberg gatherings in recent years, throngs of protesters — primarily from the United Kingdom but others hailing from all over the world — greeted summit attendees with a wide assortment of complaints and insults. Among the anti-Bilderberg demonstrators were members of the European Parliament, British lawmakers, and even a former U.K. Environment Minister who is hoping that the British House of Commons will seek answers to the many questions surrounding the conference.
British Member of Parliament Michael Meacher with the Labor Party, for example, was with critics and said the secrecy around the conference was “utterly anti-democratic” and should be urgently investigated by authorities. The MP also said he did not believe participants were attending just for tea and coffee.
“If there is any conference which required transparency, it is the Bilderberg conference because this is really where the top brass of western finance capitalism meet,” he told Sky News. “This is totally in contradiction to the government’s commitment to have greater transparency.” The official parliamentary website noted on Monday that Meacher will ask an “urgent question” about Bilderberg in the lower house of Parliament.
Also among the demonstrators was Member of the European Parliament Gerard Batten with the liberty-minded and increasingly popular United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). Speaking to the Financial Times, which had its own “Chief Economics Commentator” at this year’s Bilderberg confab, Batten said he suspected decisions about Europe would be made during the summit.
Evidence has emerged showing that Bilderberg meetings indeed played a central role in creating the European Union and the euro — former participants have publicly admitted as much. Batten and other critics believe the public has a right to know what is going on. “If they want to fix the world’s problems, they do have to bring the people with them,” he was quoted as saying.
In recent years, multiple legislators and politicians have started to demand transparency and accountability from participants — not that it has done much good. Two years ago, Italian Member of the European Parliament Mario Borghezio even attempted to force his way into the conference on the first day. He was reportedly detained and roughed up by police.
Center-right Parliamentarian Dominique Baettig with Switzerland’s largest political party also tried to barge in. In 2011, when the confab was held at a Swiss hotel, he asked prosecutors to consider arresting attendees such as former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for war crimes. He also suggested that Swiss officials at the event should be charged with treason, echoing concerns of critics around the world.
Still, Western leaders attend the meetings with impunity while revealing nothing to the public that pays their salaries. British Prime Minister David Cameron, for example, attended the meetings this year despite not having his name on the original list of participants released by Bilderberg.
While he was hardly alone, Cameron’s appearance seems to have sparked the loudest public outcry, with Britons outraged that their top supposed “public servants” were meeting with foreign governments, bankers, and CEOs behind closed doors. A spokesman for the British prime minister said the meeting was “private” so details would not be released.
"The prime minister has always believed in importance of transparency," the spokesman was quoted as saying by the Huffington Post amid critics claiming that Cameron's attendance represented a conflict of interest. “My understanding is that it is usual for Bilderberg to invite the head of government of the country where it is meeting. He will participate in a discussion around domestic and global economic issues. He feels it is an opportunity to discuss economic issues with senior ministers, business people and academics."
Of course, Cameron was not the only senior U.K. government leader in attendance. Lawmakers from both houses of Parliament were also there, including the powerful MP Kenneth Clarke, who has served in at least five senior cabinet positions in past governments. Other officials who participated this year were U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, akin to treasury secretary, and his shadow chancellor Edward Balls.
Aside from the United Kingdom, multiple European governments were well-represented at the summit this year as well. Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands, was there. Former prime ministers from France and Italy were there, too, as were numerous deputy prime ministers and cabinet-level officials from around Europe. Sweden’s finance and foreign affairs ministers both attended, as did some top officials from Turkey.
In addition to the broad range of political leaders from across the supposed ideological spectrum who attended Bilderberg, as usual, the world’s mega bankers, known as “banksters” among protesters, were also there in force. Goldman Sachs, for example, was very well represented, with two of its top leaders in attendance. Senior leaders from Big Oil, Big Media, Big Finance, Big Business, Big Pharma, royalty, military, and more were all at the meetings with top officials as well.
While media coverage of Bilderberg has exploded in recent years, reporting on the 2013 confab seems to have reached record levels. Even much of the establishment media represented among attendees has at least started acknowledging that the summit exists.
However, since virtually nothing is known publicly about the real agenda or the discussions that take place behind legions of heavily armed government “security” personnel, media reports have largely focused on ridiculing or demonizing “conspiracy theories” and people who are upset about the secretive conference. One such article, for example, focused on bizarre claims of “shape-shifting lizards” in an apparent effort to discredit critics.
Some pieces actually joked about Bilderberg, the myriad “conspiracy theories” that surround it, as well as its apparently waning influence. “With the eurozone still in the recovery room at best and the US hegemony no longer a given, this no longer feels like an organization with its grip on every lever of power,” wrote Robert Shrimsley in the Financial Times, an establishment media outlet that usually has at least one representative at Bilderberg. “They might be able to talk up the dollar but only for a few hours and gone are the days when attendees might use a break in proceedings to nip out and bomb Cambodia.”
Others argued that the meetings — even if they may represent an affront to self-government — might be worth it as long as attendees were using their “undemocratic” means to accomplish some positive end. Writing in the Scotsman, for example, columnist Jane Devine said she would be willing to “set democracy aside” if Bilderberg participants were secretly working to do something like end child pornography, prevent deaths from curable diseases, or eradicate rape as a weapon of war. Other than mentioning the fact that Google boss Eric Schmidt was there, Devine did not make clear what might lead her to believe that attendees would be working toward such noble goals. Indeed, few analysts ascribe such lofty motives to Bilderberg participants.
This year, in an interesting twist, news about the shadowy cabal and its secret meetings seems to have been almost overshadowed by American radio host Alex Jones, who dominated Bilderberg-related headlines for days. At one point, Jones and members of his Infowars crew took a small boat and used a bullhorn to inform Bilderberg attendees that their so-called “New World Order” would fail. Police showed up in another boat only to be informed that they were being used as stooges by a cabal that does not care about them.
The popular but polarizing U.S. media figure, whose growing audience now reaches into the millions, also spoke to hundreds of cheering Bilderberg protesters — maybe thousands. "I want to salute every single man, woman, and child that traveled here from all over jolly-old England and the rest of the world," he said as the crowd roared, adding that summit attendees were planning worldwide poverty and forced population reduction. Blasting fiat currency, Jones also said that the end goal was to bring in “total technocratic slavery.”
Speaking about the increasing global press coverage, Jones said the alternative media had forced Bilderberg out into the open. He still slammed the establishment news, however. “The BBC will probably report that there were five people here, but that’s why they’re discredited, that’s why the power structure is falling apart,” he told the mass of protesters. “People are awake to the globalists and their lying propaganda organs.”
Jones also appeared on multiple state-funded BBC programs, making headlines in the U.K.’s biggest newspapers after loudly confronting a host who called him “the worst person I’ve ever interviewed.” While the establishment and state-run press may be content to demonize Bilderberg critics and claim nothing can or should be done about it, opponents of the secrecy and the current state of the world say humanity deserves real answers.
Photo of The Grove in Watford, England
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is currently based in Europe. He can be reached at
Media Spotlight Shines on Bilderberg; Agenda Still Secret