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The secretive Bilderberg group is holding its annual meeting this weekend in a luxury hotel outside Washington, D.C.
June 3, 2002 1:28 AM   Subscribe

The secretive Bilderberg group is holding its annual meeting this weekend in a luxury hotel outside Washington, D.C. Is it OK for the top-100 of most influential people (politics and industry) to discuss 'the New World Order' behind closed doors ? Should we care ? Some people obviously do. I haven't made my mind up.
posted by swordfishtrombones (36 comments total)

 
What is this becoming, ConspiracyFilter?
posted by dagny at 2:53 AM on June 3, 2002


"...I think they wouldn't go to that much trouble of having this incredibly expensive international conference every year and they'd go to all this trouble to keep themselves out of the press and be really secret and invite the world's most powerful people if it was just a chat and a game of golf..."

Maybe they just don't want 10,000 rioters surrounding them and trashing their cars and the city? (The Rolling Stones also try to travel incognito, but I don't think it's because Mick and Keith are plotting to take over.) Bankers and politicians could do all of this sneaky bastardry via teleconference, or they could meet in some impregnable fortress in a nasty country. At least they're open enough to meet in a hotel near DC, and they can't be all that secretive if outsiders are spotting Rumsfeld and Kissinger going in.

> Is it OK for the top-100 of most influential people (politics
> and industry) to discuss 'the New World Order' behind
> closed doors?

They may be (or may not be, but probably are) skulking scum, but unless you have good evidence that they are committing a crime, it has to be OK for people to meet and discuss whatever they want to discuss without being set upon and disbanded by hordes of angry protesters. However, it is right to expect that government representatives attending the meeting report on their activities and publish transcripts. Rumsfeld, for example, should not keep his official addresses secret; there is nothing he can tell a foreign bank president that he can't and shouldn't tell a US bank clerk.

I don't want people to drive these bastards underground; I want them to meet publicly, with no fear of physical harm to them or the city, and say exactly what they're up to. You won't find out by throwing rocks at their cars or breaking a few windows at the local McDonald's.
posted by pracowity at 3:02 AM on June 3, 2002


The question is, why do they need to hide from angry protestors? Or better yet, why are the protestors angry? 10,000 of them?
posted by magullo at 3:09 AM on June 3, 2002


For reference, read Them by Jon Ronson, quoted in the article. I picked up the book expecting a humorous depiction of extremist groups, only to find a humorous validation.

The book deals, in part, with the Bilderberg Group, who send cars and men in black suits to chase after Ronson and his maverick anti-Bilderberg friend. There's also the vague claim that the Bilderbergs are in line with the Jewish Anti-Defamation League. The claim is necessary, though, since no conspiracy is complete until the Jews are involved.
posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh at 3:12 AM on June 3, 2002


For reference, read Them by Jon Ronson, quoted in the article. I picked up the book expecting a humorous depiction of extremist groups, only to find a humorous validation.

The book deals, in part, with the Bilderberg Group, who send cars and men in black suits to chase after Ronson and his maverick anti-Bilderberg friend. There's also the vague claim that the Bilderbergs are in line with the Jewish Anti-Defamation League. The claim is necessary, though, since no conspiracy is complete until the Jews are involved.
posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh at 3:13 AM on June 3, 2002


There's an extract on the Bilderberg Group from Jon Ronson's book here. It was also a documentary on Channel Four in the UK, which is well worth seeing if you get the chance.
posted by kerplunk at 3:19 AM on June 3, 2002


The question is, why do they need to hide from angry protestors? Or better yet, why are the protestors angry? 10,000 of them?

Based on the previous world bank riots, the protesters aren't angry. It's just hip to be at a world bank protest... Look, we had a riot near a college campus outside of DC a couple months ago because the team WON the game.

These days, rioting doesn't seem to be about being angry anymore. Rioting is just a chance these days to destroy property for fun.
posted by crunchland at 3:21 AM on June 3, 2002


In case you came late to this discussion, just remember that Bilderberg Group = Stonecutters. They made Steve Guttenberg a star, ya know. Now that's power.
posted by davidmsc at 3:26 AM on June 3, 2002


Dismissing a global and growing protest movement (most of it non-violent, BTW) as "kids having fun" seems shallow enough for a foot soldier who unilaterally supports the higher-ups that are screwing him. As we say in Spain, there is nothing more pathetic than a right-wing laborer.
posted by magullo at 3:30 AM on June 3, 2002


The straight dope has a nifty article on this here. It says that there isn't really a group, just this one annual meeting.
posted by Keen at 3:35 AM on June 3, 2002


Democratically-elected politicians should not be conferring with one another behind closed doors. Politicians and executives who hold high levels of responsibility should not hold secretive parties which involve pantomime mock-pagan rituals (see Bohemian Grove).

I'm not saying that there is a conspiracy, but that you can't blame people for thinking a lot of this stuff looks suspicious.
posted by skylar at 3:37 AM on June 3, 2002


The straight dope not so straight:

The Bilderbergers are another one of those discussion groups for world leaders that have become a target of right wing crazy people.

Yeah, like those people who (gasp!!!) made the connection between Enron (business leader) and the California rolling blackouts (*major* annoyance driven by GOP & friends greed and blamed on Democrat politicians). Now they wouldn't screw us over money, would they?
posted by magullo at 3:50 AM on June 3, 2002


As we say in Spain, there is nothing more pathetic than a right-wing laborer.

How about a left-wing laborer that's swallowed the platitudes the left is feeding him, thinking he'll get a better deal, only to be screwed over just as badly... and supporting a whole slew of thing he wouldn't have signed on for, in the process?
posted by dissent at 4:05 AM on June 3, 2002


"But when your are inside and look around, what do you see? Businessmen, laywers, teachers, carpenters. The minds of the very people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of the system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand that most of these people are not ready to be unplugged and many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it."

-- Morpheus, The Matrix
posted by BoyCaught at 4:31 AM on June 3, 2002


Dissent The difference is that if the left is not helping the miserable, it's not doing it's job. If business-interest groups are screwing the small guy out of his money, they *are* doing their job. Why sign up to be screwed up front? See where the pathetic part comes in?
posted by magullo at 4:54 AM on June 3, 2002


> The question is, why do they need to hide from
> angry protestors?

Because some people (including, presumably, most of the protesters) don't trust them and think they're behind much of the evil in the world. And because they feel impotent to do anything about it any other way, the protesters in frustration swarm and yell and throw things.

But whether the protesters are right or wrong about these guys -- and they're probably at least half right -- what do the protesters expect to accomplish by messing up the city? It attracts attention to their cause ("raises awareness"), some good, some bad. But what else? How have globalization trends changed since, for example, the Seattle or Davos riots? If things have changed, how much can be attributed to busting up the joint when the suits come to town?

Surely the best way to fight globalization, for example, is to control your own buying and influence that of your friends and family and neighbors. Refuse to buy anything from globalization-friendly businesses, and put all that money and more into local efforts, and make it a year-round effort. Eat at Joe's. All the time. He needs the steady money or he'll go under and a chain will take his place. Make sure Joe buys supplies from Mary down the street and Fred just outside of town. Make sure Mary eats at Joe's. Never, not even for a coffee, even if the chain coffee is much better, go into a chain restaurant. Always talk your friends out of going to them. That sort of action would do much more to fight globalization than throwing a few rocks at windows each summer holiday.
posted by pracowity at 5:11 AM on June 3, 2002


(The Rolling Stones also try to travel incognito, but I don't think it's because Mick and Keith are plotting to take over.) by pracowity


They'd better hurry, unless they want to rule the world from within a life-support vat. Didn't Mick Jagger cease being entirely human about three or four years ago? The Stones are my number one pick for becoming some sort of cyberpunkish immortal entity, after Dick Clark.
posted by mecran01 at 5:45 AM on June 3, 2002


The Bilderberg Group has been meeting privately long before anti-globalization protests, so it's hard to make the argument that they're secretive for that reason.

I have no idea what goes on at these meetings, but I think it's probably an outgrowth of two things: the international cooperation that led to the United Nations founding and the kind of impulse that spawned Skull and Bones and other secret societies at Ivy League colleges. Rich and powerful people like to have their own secret handshakes and decoder rings.

Anyone who enjoys rabid anti-internationalization ought to listen to NewsWatch Magazine, a radio show from a small church in Texas that interprets the news through Bible prophecy. The host has some great theories on Queen Elizabeth's role in the drug trade, the Bilderberg Group and Trilateral Commission, and a lot of great anti-Soviet rhetoric he refused to give up at the end of the Cold War.
posted by rcade at 5:45 AM on June 3, 2002


pracowity After Seattle and Davos, the powerful had two choices: address the issues and work with the people or use their money and influence to fortify themselves. It's clear the option they chose.

Granted that the protestors have clear communication issues (but then again, they are voluntarily leaderless). Anti-globalization? Who wants anti-globalization? We do live in one single planet. Let's have a fair globalization, or at least a shot at it, or policies oriented towards it.

Actually, better than not buying (limited scope) or breaking windows (uncertain message) is exposing and informing people that the "Nike culture" means "Nike sells a pair of shoes in the States for hundreds of times more than it paid the Indonesia worker that put them together for week".
posted by magullo at 5:57 AM on June 3, 2002


Those of us invited find it amusing that the left-outs are bitching about our getting together for fun and entertainment. Eat your heart out.
posted by Postroad at 7:15 AM on June 3, 2002


"... weekend in a luxury hotel..."

Here's the key to leftist anger. Jealousy. Envy.
posted by mikegre at 7:24 AM on June 3, 2002


So what's the key to your anger? Simple stupidity?
posted by hincandenza at 7:29 AM on June 3, 2002


Eat at Joe's. All the time. He needs the steady money or he'll go under and a chain will take his place. Make sure Joe buys supplies from Mary down the street and Fred just outside of town. Make sure Mary eats at Joe's. Never, not even for a coffee, even if the chain coffee is much better, go into a chain restaurant. Always talk your friends out of going to them.

See, I don't know. This sounds good, but you don't think that if you started doing this your friends would start eating at McDonalds and wearing Nikes just to spite you?

Ideally I think there should be a "localization" movement that would be a positive force and therefore easier to get people behind than a great big confusing boycott.
posted by furiousthought at 7:53 AM on June 3, 2002


Here's the key to leftist anger. Jealousy. Envy.

Here is what some simple-minded fools don't understand: you can be rich and not be a self-centered prick. My next boat's name is going to be Karl Marx, and maybe then someone will get a hint. Yeah, that's right, I currently own an (admittedly modest) 18' canal boat used exclusively for pleasure and I am still a leftist. And I don't see anything wrong with that.
posted by magullo at 8:04 AM on June 3, 2002


Here is what some simple-minded fools don't understand: you can be rich and not be a self-centered prick.

The name George Soros does come to mind.
posted by y2karl at 8:13 AM on June 3, 2002


> This sounds good, but you don't think that if you started
> doing this your friends would start eating at McDonalds
> and wearing Nikes just to spite you?

That depends on whether you are an utter prat about it. If you're a strident sign-waving protester at the office every day when your friends only want to eat a quick lunch, you'll eat your locally-grown veggie plate alone. But if, when they suggest McDonalds, you always nicely push for your favorite place, the unique family diner around the corner, and make the place into your regular hangout and learn the names of everyone who works there and get special service because they know you and so on, you'll convince your better friends and maybe they'll start convincing others. Go on slow nights, when you'll get the best service and help the place out the most.

As for Nike, well, you just have to set an example -- wear something else -- and, if shoes ever come up in conversation, let them know how much you love your non-Nikes. Hope they follow your example. If you don't start, who will be the example in the all-Nike club?

If you're a parent, of course, you have a dilemma: you could make your kid wear what you think is right, but you'll do your kid a great disservice if you make your kid uncool when coolness is everything. If wearing non-Nikes gets your kid mocked at school, what have you accomplished and was it worth the cost to the kid's social status? But you can be a gentle influence and hope things turn out right when the kid grows up. And you don't have to take your kids to McDonalds, even if that's where they go when they're with friends.
posted by pracowity at 8:58 AM on June 3, 2002


Here's the key to leftist anger. Jealousy. Envy.

Here's the key to stupid rhetoric. Repetition. Synonyms.

Again: wealthy leftists really do exist! I swear!
posted by Skot at 9:09 AM on June 3, 2002


Indeed. Mikegre's made that simple-minded assessment before, and it pissed me off then, too.

Mike: Just an example for you. I'm part of that fabled top 5% of income: I'm one of those bad people who's benefiting the most from all those Bush tax cuts for the rich. Monetarily speaking, Bush has been a lot better for me than Clinton ever was, or than Gore would have been.

Know what? I still think he's a stupid, dangerous man. I'd rather pay higher taxes and live in a world ruled by diplomacy and compromises, than live in an unstable world with a widening income gap run by people who think politics is a matter of Good versus Evil. I'm a leftist. I see that as simple self-interest: an extra few percent tax will affect my lifestyle not at all -- but a too-wide income gap is dangerous for everybody.

Disagree with the left if you like, but don't be so dense as to dismiss it as pure jealousy.
posted by ook at 9:28 AM on June 3, 2002


[What is this becoming, ConspiracyFilter?]

Shhhh! They'll hear us.
posted by revbrian at 9:52 AM on June 3, 2002


Or better yet, why are the protestors angry? 10,000 of them?

Well, "they're morons" is the simplest and most obvious explanation, and by Occam's Razor...
posted by kindall at 11:05 AM on June 3, 2002


Or better yet, why are the protestors angry? 10,000 of them?

Well, "they're morons" is the simplest and most obvious explanation, and by Occam's Razor...


I know (well, hope anyway) that your tongue was in cheek, but note that this is also a possible response to the question, "Christ, what's the deal with Republicans anyway?"
posted by Skot at 11:21 AM on June 3, 2002


Harmless Old Pedant says:

Jealousy and envy are not synonyms
posted by skyscraper at 11:41 AM on June 3, 2002


That depends on whether you are an utter prat about it.

Oh, yeah, absolutely. It's just that the person you painted a picture of initially, who insists that their friends go to the neighorhood joint with the bad coffee and insists that the owner of the coffee shop buy his chairs from the carpenter down the street, well, that person sounded like a bit of a prat. Or in any case they've made their life revolve around anti-globalization, unless of course they're just going to avoid poster-child corporate bad boys like Nike and McDonald's. That isn't hard to do or particularly pratty - I do this myself - but as far as voting with your dollars goes, it can send a muddy message to other, less infamous but possibly worse multinational companies.

And as far as making your life revolve around anti-globalization in terms of your buying decisions, that's very honorable, but it's hard to expect other people would do the same in such numbers that it would affect the market significantly. Especially in areas where you don't have local choices in many or any industries. I don't think the brick-through-window method is effective either - I'm just sayin'.
posted by furiousthought at 11:53 AM on June 3, 2002


...as far as making your life revolve around anti-globalization in terms of your buying decisions goes, that's very blah blah blah.

Curses!
posted by furiousthought at 11:57 AM on June 3, 2002


Yeah, my tongue was in my cheek. I mean, how would 10,000 morons ever find their way to one place?
posted by kindall at 1:32 PM on June 3, 2002


I'm wondering where I can get some neat Bilderberger or Trialateral Commission car window stickers. You know, for access to the CONspiracy parking lots, so I don't have to get my CONspiracy parking validated every time I visit the super-secret world control center in Peoria.
posted by kablam at 6:50 PM on June 3, 2002


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