N.C. Sen. John Edwards has reportedly
attended the annual meeting.

Bilderberg Conference, International Meeting of Mystery, Slips Under Press Radar

June 12, 2008 11:25 AM
by Anne Szustek
The annual June gathering of 140-odd politicians, business leaders, journalists and other arbiters of social thought, met in Chantilly, Va. this weekend—to little fanfare.

30-Second Summary

As would be expected of any summit involving dignitaries such as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, top Republican strategist and former Congressman Vin Weber and journalist Charlie Rose, the meeting was kept under tight security. But the Bilderberg Conference’s peculiarity lies in its secrecy.

The press, aside from journalists invited as participants, are banned entry. Slate recounts that “the Associated Press sent a reporter to cover the 1978 Bilderberger session in Princeton, N.J., but all he filed was a scene piece describing ‘men in gray suits and sunglasses’ chasing him away.”

And news outlets of varying ideological leanings say that the 56th annual meeting got even fewer column inches than in past years.

Bilderberg first convened in 1954 to provide an anonymous forum for policy analysts and financiers to discuss Cold War policy. Everything said at the meeting is kept off the record and is unattributed.

The conference maintains no official Web site. Calls to its headquarters in the Netherlands get a phone message so nondescript that, in the words of the BBC, “Anyone who accidentally dialed the number would probably think they had stumbled on just another residential answer machine.”

The summit’s cloak-and-dagger mystique has spawned a host of conspiracy theories, generally along the lines of forming a “New World Order.” U.K. writer Tony Gosling argues “that a forum where so many rich and powerful people meet should be open to public scrutiny.” But others, like the Financial Times, maintain that the privacy of the event allows for more frank discussion.

Headline Links: Shrouded meeting held near Washington, D.C.

Background: The founding of Bilderberg

Opinion & Analysis: Bilderberg conspiracy theories

Video: ‘Several People Protest Bilderberg’

Reference: Guide to International Relations


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