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The sky doesn't matter, it's the issues
June 3, 2013 2:29 AM   Subscribe

This year's Bilderberg Conference, an annual gathering of influential people from politics, industry, finance, the intelligence community and the old and new aristocracies, will be taking place in Watford, an outer suburb of London not typically associated with global elites. While tight secrecy is being kept, the organisers have, for the first time, conceded to open a press office. Meanwhile, a loose collective of “activists, artists, journalists and human beings” are organising the Bilderberg Fringe Festival to coincide with it, with conspiracy theorists David Icke and Alex Jones as keynote speakers.
posted by acb (62 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
So, is it ok to hate everyone involved, the conference participants, the counter-demonstrators, David Icke and Alex Jones in particular? Because I feel like this is a no-win situation. Of course the Bilderberg group is at best a meeting of global elites to the exclusion of the 99.9%. And of course Icke, Jones, and the counter-protesters in general are conspiracy loons who most of all make the people they supposedly oppose look reasonable in contrast.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:10 AM on June 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Commiserations to Watford. I have no idea what it has find to deserve this.
posted by Artw at 3:37 AM on June 3, 2013


Charlie is there. See his previous reporting; and previously here on the blue.
The Telegraph tells us that the Bilderberg steering commitee includes Mr Clarke, Cabinet minister without portfolio, Thomas Enders, chief executive of defence company EADS, and Peter Sutherland, the chairman of Goldman Sachs.
For those thirsting for further entertainment InfoWars has it for you.
posted by adamvasco at 3:40 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


'Grey Fluffy Clouds' "Watford, Watford, Watford"
posted by panaceanot at 3:46 AM on June 3, 2013 [10 favorites]


For those thirsting for further entertainment InfoWars has it for you.

No thanks.
posted by panaceanot at 3:50 AM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Excellent title!
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:52 AM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ooooh, David Icke and Alex Jones, that's edgy, that's super-edgy, so many edges, don't cut yourself on all those edges, Now That's What I Call Edgy, The Edge starring Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin, Over the Hedge starring Bruce Willis and Garry Shandling, etc. etc. etc.

Then again, if they're getting Icke and Jones just for laughs, then I'm okay with this. The rest of the website seems to be going more for "this is fun and silly" than "COME HERE FOR THE REAL EDUCATION".

It would be fun if they could accompany their talks with improvisational PowerPoints, especially if neither Icke nor Jones expect or want this accompaniment. Is there a visual equivalent to Reggie Watts? Whoever that is, get that person.

You know what would also be fun? During Icke's speech, have shills in the audience, under thick makeup, tear off their "skin" to reveal themselves to be lizard people. And then David Icke would be like, "ha ha, you brought people dressed as lizards to my thing, I totally get that". But then other shills would reveal themselves to be far more realistic lizard people, and the "fake" lizard people would be all confused and scared, and then David Icke would be like, "oh, I get it, this is supposed to make me think that these are the real lizard people who have come to ruin your joke". But then they would start eating everybody else, and it would become a Grand Guignol, a sea of guts, and David Icke would be like, "uh, I get it, guys, joke's over, can I leave now", but then they would actually, literally, physically eat David Icke, and then he would be like, "JEWS" before literally becoming actual, physical poop.

I'm not sure what happens to Alex Jones in my scenario. Tila Tequila shoots him with mental force, with shockwave effects like in the climax of Dark City? He sighs "I never saw Venice" before exploding?

But then we're stuck with Tila Tequila. Hmm.

Maybe she then clears her throat and delivers a sober and well-cited economic plan that is generally well-received by the press, but is criticized in leftist circles for being merely warmed-over Neo-Keynesianism. This prompts from her a lengthy, polite, but clearly irritated YouTube missive in which she accuses her critics of holding on to outdated and unhelpful radical chic, and that while she has no formal education in economics qua economics, her PhD in Urban Planning entailed much more study in economics (both heterodox and orthodox) than most of her critics have bothered to attempt. This starts an academic flame war that is concluded once and for all through a brand new MTV reality show that is generally well-received by the press, but is criticized in leftist circles for being merely warmed-over Real World Paris.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:53 AM on June 3, 2013 [54 favorites]


Laugh all you want, but 38 degrees have a petition to try to get the beeb to cover this.

Here.

And why have these people been meeting in secret for 50 odd years under the Chatham House Rules?
posted by marienbad at 4:05 AM on June 3, 2013


Elton John is probably in on the conspiracy.
posted by panaceanot at 4:32 AM on June 3, 2013


Are David Icke's giant lizards an anti-Semitic dog-whistle? I thought that the poor man actually believed in 8-foot shape-shifting cannibalistic reptiles ruling the world, with perhaps a few unconnected people making the Elders of Zion segue (“Oy vey, the ‘giant lizard’ said, are you goyim stupid!” or something) quite separately, in much the same way that white supremacists might try to use The Matrix or They Live as an allegory for their conspiracy theories.
posted by acb at 4:35 AM on June 3, 2013


Mmmmm. Bilderburgers.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:40 AM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Are David Icke's giant lizards an anti-Semitic dog-whistle?
It doesn't matter what the exact strangeness going on in his head might be; if he's giving currency to the Protocols - the classic anti-Semitic hoax - then that alone makes what he does objectively anti-Semitic in its effects as far as I'm concerned. Certainly no shortage of his followers who take it that way either - this was a backgrounder on him from ten years or more back which sets out a bit about his endorsement of the Protocols in one or other of his dreary tomes.
posted by Abiezer at 5:03 AM on June 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Colbert did a bit on this group called the bohemian grove where some of the most powerful men meet on some secret compound each year. Apparently they engage in weird rituals of some sort.

Apparently Richard Nixon went from time to time and on his tapes he called it " the most f---gy god dammed thing you could ever imagine"

Anyway, Alex Jones can go fuck himself.
posted by delmoi at 5:08 AM on June 3, 2013


Bilderberger, Bohemian Grove, it's all in Jon Ronson's excellent book, Them: Adventures with Extremists.
posted by NoMich at 5:12 AM on June 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Official list of participants.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:13 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Abiezer: "t doesn't matter what the exact strangeness going on in his head might be; if he's giving currency to the Protocols - the classic anti-Semitic hoax - then that alone makes what he does objectively anti-Semitic in its effects as far as I'm concerned."

That might not be entirely fair to him. There's a whole cottage industry in the conspiracy theory subculture dedicated to talking about how the Protocols are explicitly not about the Jews, they're about [whatever group the current conspiracy theory concerns].

Off the top of my head, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, the purportedly non-fiction book that "inspired" The Da Vinci Code does exactly that, claiming the Protocols are talking about the Priory of Sion, the secret society supposedly protecting the bloodline of Christ into the current day.

I'm not familiar enough with Icke (other than superficially) to know if he's doing something like that, or if he's actually an anti-semite, but it seems to me quite possible to give credence to the Protocols as such and interpreting them as not being about the Jews, and thus not anti-semitic.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 5:13 AM on June 3, 2013


That might not be entirely fair to him.
More than fair I reckon. I struggle to see how the objective effect (which is what I mentioned, as I think it's what matters, not bothered about labelling him) of sustaining the currency of an anti-Semitic hoax proven a forgery almost a hundred years ago can be anything other than anti-Semitic itself. To repeat, it doesn't matter what he thinks, he's a public figure promoting the legitimacy of a lie created by the Tsarist secret police. If I were myself not given to racist thoughts but endorsed a series of caricatured portrayals of a given ethnic group, I could be fairly said to be being objectively racist, regardless of my own intent.
posted by Abiezer at 5:29 AM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ed Balls is attending. I wonder if he'll be Tweeting?

I'd love to see an age breakdown of the list of attendees. At 46 Ed might be the youngest.
posted by DanCall at 5:40 AM on June 3, 2013


W/R/T Icke and anti-Semitism, it's useful to read the chapter on him in Them. The ADL come off quite badly in that, and Ronson comes to the conclusion that he means lizards when he says lizards.
posted by Grangousier at 5:51 AM on June 3, 2013


Lawrence Lessig is on the list, but neither Dick Cheney nor Paul Wolfowitz is. And no Clintons. This would seem to be a very much off-Broadway production.
posted by three blind mice at 5:52 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


"a loose collective of “activists, artists, journalists and human beings”... should be ashamed of associating themselves with for-profit conspiracy bigots like Alex Jones.
posted by markkraft at 6:01 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


This would seem to be a very much off-Broadway production.
Closer to off Ealing Broadway even (well, not very close).
Maybe the secret elite is actually a set of competitive leagues with promotion and relegation, bit like Association Football. Start three resource wars in somewhere geopolitically unstable and you could be up for the end-of-season play-offs.
posted by Abiezer at 6:13 AM on June 3, 2013


It may seem seem odd, as our own lobbying scandal unfolds, amid calls for a statutory register of lobbyists, that a bunch of our senior politicians will be holed up for three days in luxurious privacy with the chairmen and CEOs of hedge funds, tech corporations and vast multinational holding companies, with zero press oversight
Micheal Meacher - With link to Guardian article quoting him.
posted by rongorongo at 6:17 AM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


If it wasn't for metafilter I would have no idea who Alex Jones is. I truly feel that ignorance is not better than knowledge, but now that I know can we please quit talking about him?
posted by cjorgensen at 6:22 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I read the list DanCall posted. I didn't see Lessig's name (scanning the titles went pretty fast). The names I recognized:

Bezos, Geitner, Kissinger, Petraeus, Theil. I looked it up and Kissinger is freaking 90 years old.
posted by bukvich at 6:22 AM on June 3, 2013


Both Balls and Gideon are there.

Surely Icke is wrong about the Jew-Lizard connection. I thought the Lizard people were descended from the Nephilim, as mentioned in Genesis 6:4 (this is before Phil Collins became the lead singer) and Numbers 13:33. It doesn't mention whether they mated with jew or gentile, so statistically, there would be some jew-lizards and some gentile-lizards. Although it does then say that there is a massive flood and only one jewish family survived, so I guess that means we're are jewish.* Funny really, as Icke says the Queen and the Pope are lizard people.

* insert Schnozz joke here
posted by marienbad at 6:31 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I read the quotes by Bilderberg cofounder Denis Healey as saying they help work out compromises amongst elite's that strengthen said elite's hold on power, definitely not the good guys.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:32 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Bilderberg Fringe Festival must be a false flag operation. Only the Lizard mind of a Kissinger could blight Watford with the likes of Alex Jones, David Icke, and Will and the People, whose unrivalled energy is sending their power-blending pop, ska, soul, reggae, and rock unstoppably up the charts.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:59 AM on June 3, 2013


IF ONLY THERE WAS SOME PRESS OVERSIGHT!
posted by kiltedtaco at 6:59 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I tried to go to this last year, but the girl working the counter at the Build-a-Bear Workshop said she thought I was probably at the wrong place. I could just barely make out her reptilian slitted eyes, though, so who the fuck knows.

Hope the festival organizers have budgeted for Alex "Vacuum Cleaner" Jones' massive cocaine consumption, as word is he expects his yayo to be on his rider marked as "clean white towels".
posted by item at 7:00 AM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


While tight secrecy is being kept, the organisers have, for the first time, conceded to open a press office.

Of course. Half the point is to remind everyone who's "really" in charge and how valuable access to them is. In that respect, especially, the Bilderberg Fringe probably isn't an entirely unwelcome development to the organizers.

The funny part is that the Bilderberg Fringe is more a mirror of the Bildenburg than they think. Conspiracy theorists don't just want to fight a powerful group of insiders who know all and control all; they also want to *be* a group of insiders who know things the rest of us don't and have a great deal of power in the cultural conversation.

I tend to think of a conspiracy theorist as someone who positions themselves in a particular way within political conversations. Sometimes people can even be right about some or all of the facts while still being "conspiracist," because they really want access to the discursive power that comes with being perceived as in-the-know. It's not enough to be right; everyone else must be a fool.

So of course the conspiracists' convention essentially parasitizes the Bilderberg meeting. They feel powerless or want to be perceived as powerful, and so imitate the ritualized trappings of power as they understand them; on both sides, the meeting is cargo cult politics. It's just that some people actually have power and some just stage the ritual of power. (This is as true within the conspiracist culture as it is in the wider world.)
posted by kewb at 7:02 AM on June 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


Watford!

Talk about the banality of evil - Watford may not be the dullest place in the great Ring of Drab - a sort of non-event horizon - that encrusts our great capital, but it's near the top of the league. I would truly like to know the decision making process that plucked it from the great grey stew of low-energy options.

Is it true of all exciting cities, that they suck all the goodness out of their surrounding accretion disks and leave a belt of orbiting, airless rocks? (Although in London's case, there's an argument to be made that this zone extends from Penzance to Saxa Vord.)

((must do that FPP on Saxa Vord))
posted by Devonian at 7:15 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


The sky doesn't matter, it's the issues

best post title
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:15 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, is it ok to hate everyone involved, the conference participants, the counter-demonstrators

Only if you are also willing to add to your list "the media" who agree to either not report on the conference at all - or to to cover it only as novelty story on account of the conspiracy theorists.
posted by rongorongo at 7:18 AM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Some political insight from Alex Jones
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:21 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


All the Alex Jones / David Icke crap is just a sideshow, but be distracted if you want to be.
Looking at the guest list what immediately springs to mind is that this is a very Western / Nato orientated meeting with heavy Turkish participation.
There is no one from China, India or any eastern country and S. America is completely ignored.
So no BRIC nations, I presume this is the old guard circling the wagons.
The right wing / ultra right wing is there in force. Banks, Oil companies, Conservative Politicians, and other assorted courtiers to the ruling elites such as Nicholas Eberstadt,
Robert Zoellick.
But hey it's much easier to talk about the loonies.
posted by adamvasco at 7:23 AM on June 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I wonder what the deal with Lawrence Lessig's presence is. He started off fighting against copyright maximalism and then switched his focus to corruption and regulatory capture of democracies by powerful vested interests. Have the Illuminati made him an offer he cannot refuse, or does he think that he can achieve his aims by petitioning the captors of government directly?
posted by acb at 7:26 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Looking at the guest list what immediately springs to mind is that this is a very Western / Nato orientated meeting with heavy Turkish participation.

From their website: "Founded in 1954, Bilderberg is an annual conference designed to foster dialogue between Europe and North America."
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:29 AM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am quite aware of the fact or fiction section of the Watford Public Library.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:46 AM on June 3, 2013


The Bildeburgers and the conspiracy nuts share the delusion that the gathering has something to do with controling the world.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:49 AM on June 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Bildeburgers and the conspiracy nuts share the delusion that the gathering has something to do with controling the world
The Bilderbergers certainly control an awful lot of the world's wealth, as well as being, or influencing political decision makers.
As this tea party is being footed, to a large extent out of taxpayers money; then those taxpayers have a democratic right to know what the fuck it's all about.
Meanwhile apologists like yourself wash your hands of this gathering of not exactly nobodies and look in the other direction ie at Alex Jones and the other idiot.
posted by adamvasco at 8:06 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lawrence Lessig is on the list, but neither Dick Cheney nor Paul Wolfowitz is. And no Clintons. This would seem to be a very much off-Broadway production.
No one gives a shit about Cheney and Wolfowitz at this point. The Clintons could probably get an invite if they wanted, but would it look good for 2016?

It's not like the global elite really 'need' a big meeting once a year to discuss things, these people all have email, and there are tons of events besides this one (like the world economic forum, the Clinton global initiative, etc)
posted by delmoi at 8:19 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can Hillary get an invite to Bohemian Grove? I thought it was a men's club but I can't keep track.
posted by bukvich at 8:24 AM on June 3, 2013


Alex Jones is a human being?
posted by Madamina at 8:45 AM on June 3, 2013


B-boy, nothing meets the "Proverbs for Paranoids" criteria (from Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon) as well as the annual Bilderberg meeting:


Proverbs for Paranoids:

1. You may never get to touch the Master, but you can tickle his creatures.

2. The innocence of the creatures is in inverse proportion to the immorality of the Master.

3. If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.

4. You hide, they seek.

5. Paranoids are not paranoid because they're paranoid, but because they keep putting themselves, fucking idiots, deliberately into paranoid situations.

posted by chavenet at 9:29 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's not like the global elite really 'need' a big meeting once a year to discuss things, these people all have email, and there are tons of events besides this one (like the world economic forum, the Clinton global initiative, etc)

E-mails can be hacked, subpoenaed, and so forth. A face-to-face conversation is less vulnerable if you screen the staff and have decent security. (No one's going to make Mitt Romney's mistake if they can help it.) The meeting also has the advantage of demonstrating who's "in" and who's not.
posted by kewb at 9:42 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, the Bilderbergers and the loons are in one spot?

The term "target rich environment" comes to mind.
posted by ocschwar at 10:21 AM on June 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


> So, is it ok to hate everyone involved, the conference participants, the counter-demonstrators

Only if you are also willing to add to your list "the media"


<looks at list> No worries, they're already there.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:46 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


> ((must do that FPP on Saxa Vord))

RAF Saxa Vord:
The station was named after Saxa Vord, which is the highest hill on Unst at 935 ft (285 m). It holds the unofficial British record for wind speed, which in 1962 was recorded at 177 mph (285 km/h) — just before the measuring equipment blew away.
I have no idea what should be done with this fact, but I know it's very sad that it's too late to involve Alec Guinness.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:50 AM on June 3, 2013


I thought the Lizard people were descended from the Nephilim, as mentioned in Genesis 6:4 (this is before Phil Collins became the lead singer) and Numbers 13:33.

Phil Collins never became the lead singer of the Nephilim. You're thinking of Carl McCoy.
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:51 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


didn't he have a feud with hatfield and the north?
posted by pyramid termite at 12:59 PM on June 3, 2013


My joking theory - that Alex Jones is actually under the employ of the People Who Really DO Control The World in order to provide a distraction - is starting to look less and less like a joke. In fact, the Bilderbergers could be directly financing the "Fringe Festival", hiring Icke and Jones specifically to help discredit any legitimate opposition.

But Lawrence Lessig has a lot of explaining to do. And that will absolutely require him violating any confidentiality agreement he made to get in.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:21 PM on June 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94: "The sky doesn't matter, it's the issues

best post title
"

Holy shit! I didn't even notice that until you pointed it out! Damn, I can be such a dimwit.

I came in here to post a link to Grey Fluffy Clouds, but I saw that panaceanot had beaten me to it.

That song/mix is hilarious.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 5:08 PM on June 3, 2013


So, the Bilderbergers and the loons are in one spot?

The term "target rich environment" comes to mind.
posted by ocschwar at 1:21 PM on June 3 [1 favorite +] [!]


KHAN!!
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:13 PM on June 3, 2013


...and the Bilderbergers are having the last laugh.
posted by blue shadows at 12:01 AM on June 4, 2013


The white and powerful have always had the last laugh...until now: just kidding
posted by lordaych at 12:43 AM on June 4, 2013


They're everywhere!
posted by forgetful snow at 5:49 AM on June 4, 2013


I seriously don't understand all the attention this Bilderberg thing gets, and that's before before all the wackadoos get their say.

It just seems like more of the same country-club bullshit that has been going on since forever. It sounds pretentious and lacking in selfinspection , but on the other hand I probably wouldn't mind sitting around some smart people drinking ridiculous decadent drinks.
posted by rosswald at 7:10 PM on June 4, 2013


Molesworth is tweeting #BilderbergatStCustards
posted by infini at 9:42 PM on June 5, 2013


People work better together on projects if they've had face time together. This gives everyone who is on the take in various "business models" time to get to know the other players, and form up future alliances.

They've been doing this for years, and will keep doing it because it works. The only thing that's changed is that now, having managed to quash the free press, and effectively marginalize anyone who dares question the official story about this group, they don't have to hide any more.

Many of the "conspiracy theories" you hear are disinformation, meant to bury any actual leakage of truth in a nice absorbent layer of cognitive noise. The rest are true, but it takes waiting until years after they are done to even have a chance at finding out the truth.

Governments and the powerful have always been operating against the interests of the public, why assume that's not still true? When you bias against the possibility of a conspiracy, you're ignoring history, and doomed to repeat it.
posted by MikeWarot at 7:11 AM on June 9, 2013


Many of the "conspiracy theories" you hear are disinformation, meant to bury any actual leakage of truth in a nice absorbent layer of cognitive noise. The rest are true, but it takes waiting until years after they are done to even have a chance at finding out the truth.

So none of them are simply the paranoid delusions of disturbed people? Or bullshit cooked up by some conspiracy pornographer to make a buck?
posted by JaredSeth at 9:12 AM on June 9, 2013


Former BBC Journalist Tony Gosling
posted by jeffburdges at 8:21 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


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