posted 03-28-2004 12:55 AM
"There are usually three senators from the USA - like John Kerry (Democrat), Chuck Hagel (Republican) and Christopher Dodd (Democrat). Kenneth Clarke (previous British Conservative Minister of Finance) is often there.'
SECRET MEETINGS FOR ALMOST 50 YEARS
13 May 2001 - Dagens Nyheter - Swedish daily newspaper
On the 24th of May the secretive Bilderberg group starts their meeting in Stenungsund, Sweden. Host for the meeting is the Wallenberg-group's powerful corporation Investor which has booked the entire conference hotel Stenungsbaden. More than one hundred of the world's most powerful and wealthy people are gathering in total seclusion to discuss the problems of the world. DN is the first newspaper able to disclose what is going on behind the curtains.
The power-holders' meeting at Hotel Stenungsbaden
The hotel is situated on an island outside Stenungsund on the Swedish west coast. This is where the members of the Bilderberg group is going to be meeting from the 24 to 28 of May. In the spacious Bohus-salongs with a view over Hakefjord some of North America's and Europe's most influential persons will discuss big politics and business. The meeting is "private", so nobody needs to worry about being quoted in media.
Investor is host of the meeting and has hired the entire hotel. The Swedish secret police, SÄPO, is responsible for the Swedish participants - and responsible for surveillance of the perimeters of the hotel and beyond. Prominent foreign participants have protection of their own respective state security services. These have contacted SÄPO and required permission to carry arms. A person like Henry Kissinger still has protection of the US Secret Service. Drawings over the layout of the hotel has been classified and the staff of the hotel has been instructed not to discuss the meeting with media.
The delegations - each country sends a delegation of, usually, 3 persons:
1 prominent industry- or business-leader.
1 politician of high ranking (minister, prime minister, senator).
1 intellectual (an academic or chief editor, for instance).
Sweden often has had more than three participants, and this year probably will have an extra surplus - being that the meeting is held in Sweden. The United States has most participants because of its size. Individual participants are seated in alphabetical order, not delegation by delegation.
The "Chatham House rule":
Citing direct quotes is forbidden according to this rule, which was created in 1927 by the Royal British Foreign Policy Institute [Royal Institute of International Affairs], whose seat is in Chatham House. Nobody is allowed to tell who said what. The purpose for this rule is supposed to be, that every participant should be able to speak freely, without any risk of being criticised by their employer, by parliament - or by media.
Six "panels", with three members in each, leads the conversations. Each panel lasts for the duration of approximately two hours. After an introductary speech of about ten minutes, the rest of participants choose - when they want to enter into the conversation - whether they want to speak for one, three or five minutes - by raising one, three or five fingers. One-minute-speakers get to speak first.
NB. The above two items came with a graphic illustration of the seating arrangements in the plenary - surrounded by 21 photos of certain named participants (maybe you could get lucky and find this on the homepage of the newspaper: www.dn.se - or by getting a copy of the actual newspaper. PH).
Dagens Nyheter http://www.dn.se/ E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Facts/ previous meetings in Sweden:
This year's meeting in Stenungsund will be the fourth time that the Bilderberg group gathers in Sweden.
- The first time was in 1962 at Saltsjöbaden. At that time there were 8 Swedes participating, headed by Stateminister Tage Erlander, industry tycoon Marcus Wallenberg and the national labour union leader Arne Geier. The press was astonished by the near total secrecy - and DN's editorial described it as ludicrous.
- In 1973 was the next occasion and again it was staged at the Wallenberger's Grand Hotel in Saltsjöbaden. Now Stateminister Olof Palme was attending together with Finance Minister Gunnar Sträng and Foreign Minister Krister Wickman. And, of course, Marcus Wallenberg.
- In 1984 the meeting again was held at Saltsjöbaden - and this time Wallenberg had been replaced by the boss of Saab-Scania, Sten Gustafsson. Palme was there again, and previous Army Chief in Command, Stig Synnergren, Peter Wallenberg from the SE-Bank and Hans Werthén from Electrolux. Representatives from The Economist, Le Monde and New York Times were included at that time. Palme explained to DN about the Bilderberg meetings that "they are of great informational value and that is why I have participated from time to time since 1965".
The Bilderberg group publishes an "information"-folder: The latest is dated January 2001. General Secretary and Chairman is Martin Taylor from Goldman Sachs. In the Steering Committee's Secretariat of 30 persons, Jacob Wallenberg (SEB) is the only Swede. The membership register includes 110 names. Four of them are Swedish: Percy Barnevik (Investor), Sten Gustafsson (Saab-Scania), Björn Lundvall (Ericsson) and Marcus Wallenberg (Investor). Most strikingly is the fact, that all Swedes - with permanent positions in Bilderberg - belong to the Wallenberg empire.
INFILTRATION and NUCLEAR POWER has been on the agenda down through the years.
What can be found out from the agendas of the Bilderberg meetings from 1954 to 2000?
The Soviet Union, Communist infiltration, NATO, Nuclear Power, the German unification, the Satellite states - these have all been standing topics of discussion. Economic-, military- and police- co-ordination against the Soviet Union seems to have been the main theme. In 1969 one topic was the instability of the West, which logically must have concerned the 68-revolts.
After the fall of the Iron Curtain, the topics have shifted to such as "threats against Globalisation" and the unrest in the Balkans. In 1995 they were asking whether the "IT-society is creating a new set of political behaviour?". In 1997 they were worrying about "whether continual economic growth may threaten social solidarity in the West?". And last year it was questioned whether rightist extremism might pose a threat.
“SECRET MEETINGS FOR ALMOST 50 YEARS”
The Bilderberg group is having a meeting in Stenungsund on the west coast 24th - 28th of May.
"The secret high priests of capitalism and globalisation", their critics claim. "Nonsense", says Minister of Trade, Leif Pagrotsky, who is going to participate - "the meetings serve a purpose to reduce prejudices and misunderstandings".
The Bilderberg group is often depicted as some sort of freemasons, where the powerful of the world, in secrecy, are drawing up the guidelines for how capital may rule, without interference from either people or public scrutiny.
It sounds tantalising, but the picture becomes quite different when you speak with persons who've participated frequently in the meetings.
On the Internet and in the newspaper files, even in the big international ones, there is very little to be found about the Bilderberg-group. What you'll find is mostly the "run-of-the mill conspiracies" - not any accounts of what actually takes place at the meetings.
The group was formed in 1954, on the initiative of the Netherlands - and was named after the first conference hotel, Bilderberg. It had a lot to do with trying to strengthen the ties between USA and Europe in the face of the threat from the Soviet Union and Communism. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands served as the front figure.
Carl Bildt, who has participated in six meetings, says: "There are several conferences of this sort of type, where people are gathered for a concentrated discussion on subjects of acute importance. Most of the time they are carried out under what is called Chatham House rules, which means that you may use the information given - but you must never tell who have told what. This is normal.
Bilderberg is an old and merited group. There are others which are somewhat more dynamic. Discussions may be on a variety of subjects. Last year I remember a real battle over the sanctions against Austria. I am not going to be participating this year. I have to be at the Aspen-conference instead, which has a similar purpose, in the north of Italy and at the same time", says Carl Bildt.
Professor Anders Åslund, peace-researcher at the Carnegie Fund in Washington and previous economic advisor for the Russian government, says: "Bilderberg is a private network of influential persons from Western Europe and North America. Approximately 110 people are participating each year. The idea is to have a discussion of the world's big economic and political issues.
Every country has a co-ordinator, who is permitted to invite participants. In Sweden it has been from the beginning Marcus Wallenberg (senior) and later on, Sten Gustafsson from Saab - and now it is Percy Barnevik. Normally, small countries are allowed to have three participants, but Sweden usually has a few more. Carl Bild is admitted on an "international quota". A typical delegation is comprised of one person from industry - a businessman or a chief of a bank - one prominent politician, preferably a prime minister, a finance or foreign minister, and some intellectual, who usually is an academic or some chief editor.
Swedish politicians don't seem particularly interested in international issues - Björn Rosengren was present once in Portugal, and Leif Pagrotsky is one of the few who is genuinely interested. There are usually six panels on different subjects which are staged in two-hour sessions. All meetings are held in a pleni-auditorium, the participants are sitting in alphabetical order - and also the panels are put together according to the principle: industry, politics, analysts. I find it to be valuable meetings with a strong discipline.
The introductory speaker usually confines himself to a ten minutes speech - and after that you may raise one, three or five fingers signifying as many minutes. One-minute speakers get the floor first. This is no conspiracy - it is stimulating and one learns a lot. They are very prominent participants, often strong personalities and in the duration of the meetings one will usually get the chance to speak with half of them.
Jurgen Schrempp (Daimler-Chrysler) is usually there plus Conrad Black (The Telegraph, Canada) and Bertrand Collomb (Lafarge), the chiefs of the German and French National Banks, Giovanni Agnelli (Fiat) and the bosses of IMF, the World Bank - and the World Trade Organisation, WTO.
I usually end up sitting next to Bernard Arnault from the French luxury firm LVMH and Paul Allaire (Xerox), because of the alphabetical order. Vernon Jordan is usually always there (Lazard Brothers) - and either the owner of Washington Post, Katherine Graham - or her son. There are usually three senators from the USA - like John Kerry (Democrat), Chuck Hagel (Republican) and Christopher Dodd (Democrat). Kenneth Clarke (previous British Conservative Minister of Finance) is often there.
There are few representatives from labour unions, at most a couple from USA. But Social Democrats are usually well represented through European politicians, such as Peter Mendelsohn. Henry Kissinger or Peter Carrington is usually chairman. Percy Barnevik normally brings along Marcus or Jacob Wallenberg - one year it was Tom Hedelius and a minister and an intellectual, like myself. But this year I am not attending.
The normal agenda covers Russia, Japan, China, big economic questions like East-West co-operation and the Balkans", ends Mr Åslund.
The Swedish Minister for this year is Leif Pagrotsky, who also attended last year. He explains: "Industry often has an odd perception of those of us who are working in politics. Even in such a small country as Sweden - we are living in separate worlds. When we are invited, I think we should participate and not remain standing on the sideline claiming that this is just too conservative... Last year, I didn't see many Social Democrats in the assembly, but it is good that persons like myself, from a small European party on the Left, get to meet senators from the USA - and vice-versa", says the Minister of Trade.
"When I have travelled the Anglo-Saxon business-world, I have often been met by a belief, that a Swedish Social Democratic minister is some kind of half-Communist, who hasn't got any grasp on economy. It is very useful to be able to air out prejudices and misconceptions. The fact, that the meetings are secret, or rather, private - in the way that one doesn't disclose what other people have said, is actually quite normal - this is the same way of things within the EU and OECD, too.
What is not really good, is all the strange conceptions about the Bilderberg group that abound. Between the EU and the USA there have been a lot of suspicion and struggle. That is why it is important that representatives from both sides are given the opportunity to understand the reasoning of the other side. Last year year's meeting was concerned with the expansion of the EU, the situation in Eastern Europe and the situation in the USA, before the presidential elections. What it will be this year, I don't know", says Minister of Trade, Leif Pagrotsky.
-- ©Copyright Peter Bratt, Dagens Nyheter, Swedish Daily Newspaper, 13 May 2001.