Bilderberg 2022: Back from Lockdown. Part 3: The Agenda – Harbingers of Doom?
By Will Banyan (Copyright © 04 April 2023)
With mainstream media coverage largely absent for the duration of the 2022 Bilderberg conference, much of the commentary from Bilderberg’s alt-media antagonists was focused on the few morsels of information that Bilderberg deigned to officially release: the list of participants and the list of key topics. Of these, the rather spartan “key topics for discussion” (Figure 1), spawned most of the speculation. Steve Byas, for example, writing in The New American (Jun. 04, 2022), claimed this list “essentially establishes the globalist agenda of the [Bilderberg] group”; while ZeroHedge argued that it revealed the global elite’s plans to both “manage the emergence of a bipolar world” and to silence its opponents. According to Paul Taylor, Executive Director of the Dr Rath Health Foundation, the topic list “suggests Bilderberg expects the current period of global instability to continue.”
John Friend from the American Free Press (AFP), interpreted the list as evidence “the would-be rulers of the world are increasingly concerned their death grip on information and politics is waning.” The AFP’s Mark Anderson described the 2022 Bilderberg agenda as “especially hard-hitting”, and observed that it included two “ominous-sounding items” – “Continuity of Government and the Economy” and “Disruption of the Global Financial System” (AFP, Jun. 13 & 20, 2022, p.22). The UK-based Bilderberg Meetings website noting these same topics, suggesting that Bilderberg’s agenda was “creaking under the weight of war and ‘geopolitical realignments’”, and these topics were a sign that “we are about to enter a rather turbulent period.” Bilderberg’s 2022 agenda “reeks of crisis and chaos”, wrote Nigerian analyst Meziechi Nwogu. According to Tristan Vanhueckelom from The European Conservative (Jun. 10, 2022), the implications of the Bilderberg agenda were clear:
Russia and China are posing a challenge to the United States-led world order, putting the Bilderberg group in a reactive, instead of proactive, state of mind. An emerging, alternative world order, one not of their own choosing, is staring them in the face.
Unpacking the Bilderberg Agenda: A World In Crisis
Such assessments were hardly unwarranted. Although most participants have refused to discuss any aspect of the meeting,1 the few that did have confirmed Bilderberg’s dark mood as well as its fixation on Ukraine. Italian journalist Stefano Feltri, for example, attending his second Bilderberg meeting, observed a notable difference between the 2019 meeting, where “the world still seemed under control”, and the 2022 event, where “there was practically only one topic: the war in Ukraine and its consequences on everything else, from the Indo-Pacific region to the ecological transition.” Feltri claimed “the only thing on which all the participants agreed on is that we have entered a phase of radical uncertainty that makes it impossible to predict the future” (Domani, Jun. 06, 2022). Danish journalist Martin Krasnik, attending his first Bilderberg meeting, also noted that: “This year, it’s all about Ukraine and the impact of the war on all other issues: on Europe, relations with China, the climate, technology and the economy” (Weekendavisen, Jun. 09, 2022).
Through a more in-depth dissection of the agenda and participant list, augmented by other sources, in particular the reporting of European journalists Feltri, Krasnik and Kaius Niemi, Editor-in-Chief of the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, who all attended the meeting and summarized parts of those discussions; it is possible to reconstruct parts of what transpired at the 2022 conclave in Washington DC. Thus, the veil on elite angst about the state of the world as it stood in June 2022 can be partially lifted:
Geopolitical Realignments: Amongst the more esteemed participants at the 2022 Bilderberg meeting it was already a truism that major geopolitical realignments were afoot, with the invasion of Ukraine as the catalyst. Long-time Bilderberg participant 99-year old Henry Kissinger, for example, (described by Feltri as “still very lucid and active in suggesting solutions and analysis” despite his advanced age) in an virtual interview with Klaus Schwab at the WEF meeting in May 2022, had agreed the world was at a “turning point”, with relations between Europe and Russia being “reshaped” in a way that could leave “Russia isolated” and “driven into a permanent alliance with China.”
Other potential panellists had expressed similar views. Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra, in his address to the EU Heads of Mission (Feb. 10, 2022), had noted how the “balance of power is shifting” and warned of growing “instability”, driven in part by climate change, migration, but also by “countries like China and Russia, as they challenge the balance of power that has fostered stability since the Second World War.” GCHQ Director Jeremy Fleming, speaking in Australia in March 2022 had pointed to the pandemic, technological change, China, the end of the Afghan campaign and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as signs of a “period of generational upheaval.” And according to Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, the key realignment was between the US and Europe, where the previous conflict of interests had been replaced by “exceptionally powerful…coordination and cooperation across the Atlantic” (Foreign Policy, Jan. 19, 2022). “Today Europe and the United States are fundamentally aligned on the biggest challenges we face”, Sullivan had told the Council on Foreign Relations in December 2021. There was “growing alignment on the challenged posed by China”, and the US and Europe were “on the same page when it comes to trade, technology, and climate…”
These public assessments were naturally echoed at Bilderberg. According to Krasnik there was a “pervasive feeling” of “newfound transatlantic love” at Bilderberg. Some of the American participants were reportedly pleased that recent events had improved transatlantic relations; especially compared to the past 10-15 years where Russia and China had seemingly been “competent and resolute”, while the US-European relations had been defined by a “mess and incompetence.” As Krasnik notes:
A European participant [stated]: “We have agreed to six sanctions packages against Russia! We stand together in a way that surprises everyone, perhaps most of all ourselves.”
In that sense, the war in Ukraine is, if you dare say so, a blessing. The disaster has revived both the EU and NATO and in addition brought together the Nordic countries, whose often-mentioned community has always seemed a little fresh. Now it seems solid and significant [emphasis added].
But the trans-Atlantic alignment was one of few positive developments to be addressed at Bilderberg. The rest of the global situation was dire on a number of levels, or as one American participant said, according to Krasnik: “‘It’s all SNAFU here.’ SNAFU means Situation Normal All Fucked Up.”
NATO Challenges: One of the other positives was NATO. The 2022 Bilderberg meeting had come at an “exceptionally interesting time”, according to Finnish journalist Kaius Niemi,reflecting on his participation, for no other particular reason than the fact that “Finland and Sweden had submitted a NATO application only a couple of weeks earlier.” At a press conference marking their joint applications (May 18), NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, had “warmly” welcomed Finland and Sweden’s requests to join NATO, declaring both countries were “our closest partners” whose NATO membership would only “increase our shared security.” But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, had almost immediately opposed their applications, accusing both countries of harbouring the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). Pursuing this issue as any Finnish journalist would at such an event, Niemi reported on his discussion with “several dozen experts” at Bilderberg about the “problem created by Turkey”:
Only one of them considered it possible that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would eventually veto it to block Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO memberships. Rather, Turkey was seen to be building pressure towards the NATO Summit in Madrid at the end of June. I don’t think the situation would be resolved by then.
“This could take weeks or, say, thirteen months, as took in the NATO process in North Macedonia,” says one of the participants.
The message was reassuring towards Finland and Sweden. If Turkey were really trying to prevent the expansion of the military alliance, it would be a crisis that has shaken the very existence of NATO and its open-door policy. That would not be allowed to happen to the big NATO countries, especially right now. Erdoğan is therefore writing a play aimed at a Turkish home audience in which he tries to patch up his weakened support ahead of next summer’s elections. The situation will be resolved, but it may take time.
Conveniently, in addition to Stoltenberg and a number of senior US officials, Bilderberg was also attended by Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin (the “big star of the meeting”, according to Krasnik) and the Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Lena Hellengren (even though she would have been selected for Topic 11 on Post Pandemic Health, given Sweden’s unique approach to managing the pandemic).2 Stoltenberg would later post on Twitter that he had met with Prime Minister Marin in Washington to discuss Finland’s NATO membership and Turkish opposition, although he curiously neglected to mention the Bilderberg setting, but the picture clearly showed he and Marin in the grounds of the Mandarin Oriental:
There is a long history of Bilderberg meetings being used by official participants to conduct diplomatic activity on the side.3 But Stoltenberg’s social media post was perhaps the first real-time evidence of its occurrence, with the added novelty of being reported by the participant.4 Also of note was the fact of their meeting received widespread coverage, although the Bilderberg angle was often downplayed or ignored.5 As for Finland’s push to join NATO, it has now been formally accepted as the “31st Ally”.
China/Sino-US Tech Competition: China loomed large as one of the key negative forces in a number of agenda items at Bilderberg.Potential panellists and debaters for these China-focused topics included: Elizabeth Economy, Senior Advisor for China in the US Department of Commerce; Tom Tugendhadt, a British MP and Chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee,6 once lauded by Foreign Policy magazine as the “British MP China Hates Most”; Yaya J. Fanusie, from the Center for New American Security, whose work has focused on China’s development of a digital currency; Peter Wennick, CEO of AMSL, a Dutch company specialising in supporting the semi-conductor industry; and Tarun Chhabara, Senior Director for Technology and National Security from the National Security Council, whose expertise is reportedly on “geopolitical implications of emerging technology, with an emphasis on China.”
Only Krasnik reported on the first topic, which focused on “relations with China”, with one participant expressing concern that a “gigantic space has opened up between us and China…” The situation with China is, as Krasnik relates, quite serious:
The uncertainties are related. The lack of precision in the debate on Russia is also about China – and Taiwan. There is widespread agreement on the high risk of a Chinese attack on Taiwan over the next ten years. President Biden said last week that the United States will defend the island if China attacks, which immediately was subjected to the usual diplomatic clarification [emphasis added].
The Bilderbergers also learn that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan could be economically catastrophic to the West, due to the dependence of the US and indeed much of the world on Taiwan for the manufacture of semiconductors, an essential component in electronic devices. The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) was singled out for special mention given its 50 percent share of the global market for the production of chips. According to Krasnik:
In one of the debates, we are reminded that in the event of a Chinese occupation of Taiwan, the West would be hit hard: The Taiwanese company TSMC produces 90 percent of the microchips that are used by Apple, Amazon and Google [emphasis added].
Feltri also reported there was “substantial unanimity” at Bilderberg “in assessing that the annexation of Taiwan by China is an extremely realistic possibility, even in the short term (a decade).” His account also confirms Bilderberg concerns that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would result in an economic calamity:
TSMC has 54 percent of the world chip market, Taiwan overall 63 percent. The spike in demand in the post-Covid phase paralyzed entire sectors for months (especially the automobile), but without the Taiwanese chips the entire Western economy would be paralyzed. There is talk of damages for trillions of dollars [emphasis added].
Perhaps the final word on this goes to a Bilderberger quoted in Krasnik’s report: “We are more or less united against Russia, but you cannot make a similar coalition against China. It’s way too risky for most Asian countries.”
Indo-Pacific Realignment: The trio of European journalists who reported on Bilderberg had little to say about this topic, perhaps reflecting both their bias toward European problems, and perhaps the overshadowing of the Indo-Pacific region by the war in Ukraine. Potential panellists included Kurt Campbell, the White House Coordinator for the IndoPacific in the US National Security Council and Ashley J. Tellis, a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and specialist in US foreign and defense policy, with on Asia and Indian subcontinent. Krasnik notes “We are talking about war as a showdown between democracies and autocracies: it is meaningless. It will not convince either Indians or many Asians.”
The only other fragment of information of note was an anonymous Bilderberg organizer quoted by The Australian (Jun. 06, 2022) who said that “it’s fair to say that Australia was mentioned a few times” during the discussion on Indo-Pacific Realignment. This discussion was most probably in relation to the AUKUS trilateral security pact between the US, UK and Australia, first announced in September 2021, and more recently formalised with the Joint Leaders Statement on helping Australia to develop a nuclear-powered submarine capability; a move some critics contend is entirely aimed at containing China in order to maintain US “strategic hegemony of East Asia.”
Russia: The other challenger to US hegemony is Russia. As Feltri notes, any number of Bilderberg participants could offer some opinion on Russia and, most importantly, its leader Vladimir Putin, as many had “met [him] on business: from government leaders to company leaders to diplomats.” Likely panellists include first-time participant Michael Kofman, Director of the Russia Studies Program at the Center for Naval Analysis. Just two days before the invasion, Kofman had written in Foreign Affairs online that Russia appeared to be “on the verge of launching a major military operation against Ukraine.” Following the invasion he became a sought after commentator providing insights to various outlets including: the New Yorker; the Royal United Services Institute; Politico; War on the Rocks; the Foreign Policy Research Institute; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; and PBS. In addition to Kofman, and the current and former foreign ministers, diplomats and intelligence officials who had dealt with Putin (such as Henry Kissinger), other likely panellists and debaters with some Russian expertise would have included: Financial Times journalist Gideon Rachman; The Atlantic staff writer and Agora Institute (Johns Hopkins University) Senior Fellow, Anne Applebaum; former deputy National Security Advisor and Hudson Institute Senior Fellow, Nadia Schadlow; and Lt.Gen. (Ret.) Ben Hodges then with the Centre for European Policy Analysis.
And yet, in spite of (or perhaps because of) all this collective expertise and experience with Russia, Feltri reports that meeting participants are only able to agree that Putin “is as skilled as he is ambiguous: he works carefully at every meeting, always seems very well prepared, knows the key words to seduce the interlocutor… But he offers no clue as to his true intentions.” Feltri also notes that:
Intelligence analysts, diplomats and the military observe that in recent years, and especially during Covid, Putin has increasingly reduced the small group of advisers he trusts. This cost him bad information and poor decision-making clarity.
The roots of Putin’s “anti-Western paranoia” are traced to the 2011 protests in St. Petersburg after the legislative elections. Putin was apparently “convinced that the CIA and West were provoking the citizens against him in the name of democracy. Since then he has become more and more hostile.” “Putinism” is a “system of power” that the American and East European participants “consider capable of surviving Putin, even if the president were to die.” Although Feltri also notes that the subject of Putin’s health is “hardly mentioned” at Bilderberg.
Disruption of the Global Financial System: This topic is contentious, but generates only a few mentions from our journalistic trio.Krasnik notes that on these economic matters “everyone” at Bilderberg is “touchingly in agreement: In the autumn, the recession will hit hardest in Europe. Energy prices are rising even more. Food prices included. And inflation will amplify the division in the western countries that already became polarized by the financial crisis and the [pandemic].” From the various participants, particularly those involved in financial and economic matters, comments are few. As noted in Part 2, Austrian banker Andrew Triechl did answer one question at the Washington DC airport, when confronted by Josh Friedman, on the global financial situation, describing it as “pretty bad” and a “serious situation” and they had to be “extremely careful” so “people in Europe…don’t suffer from that.”
Disinformation: None of the reporters had anything to offer about this discussion of topic, but we do know for certain, though, that Didier Reynders, the European Commissioner for Justice was a panellist for this topic (see Figure 2). Other likely panellists would have included members of the intelligence and national security community with expertise in such matters, such as: CIA Director Burns, GCHQ Director Fleming, DGSE Head Bernard Émié, and Tarun Chhabra, from Biden’s NSC.
Energy Security and Sustainability: The message from Bilderberg debates on the energy transition or “green conversion” from fossil fuels to renewables, as reported by Krasnik, was one of “hope and defeatism”, with the war now forcing the change. There was a host of likely panellists and other contributors. This included politicians involved in both energy and the environment, such as Belgium’s Minister for Energy, Tinne Van der Straten and Danish parliamentarian Ida Auken of the Social Democrat Party, who was a former Minister for the Environment (2011-2014). The oil and gas sectors were represented by Ben van Beurden, CEO of Shell plc; Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of Total Energies SE; Bernard Looney, CEO of BP plc; and Yuriy Vitrenko then the CEO of Ukrainian state run gas company Naftogaz.7 While the renewables sector was represented by Mark Little, then President and CEO8 of Suncor Energy Inc; Francesco Starace, CEO of Italian company Enel Group; and Øyvind Eriksen, President and CEO of Norwegian investment company Aker ASA with interests in both renewables and oil and gas. Representing transportation were Martin Lundstedt, CEO and President of the Volvo Group and Isabel Furtado, CEO of Portuguese company TMG Automotive.
Krasnik reports that theoil producers were reluctant to accelerate the transition without government intervention as “the market cannot handle [the energy transition] by itself.” A big issue was that China needed to be part of the global green transition agreements or “the planet is doomed.” A “top US official” was blunter, explaining during wine and cocktails in the Mandarin Oriental’s garden: “We are planning for a three to four-degree temperature rise, at least. It will be pure adaptation.” The Economist (Nov. 5, 2022) subsequently reported that the goal of limiting the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees was in the “realm of the incredible.” Moreover, this was a fact that most climatologists, officials and politicians know to be true, but “[v]ery few say it in public, or on the record.” Krasnik’s summation from his “overflowing notebook” is grim:
We have ten years to bring us together. Ten years to win the race with China to develop and define the standards for the technology we will use. “Our only option is to be faster than the Chinese. We are far behind, we do not have the relevant education, the right abilities, and we do almost nothing to change it. It feels like a suicide.” And ten years to move whole world’s climate policy: “We just do not have the systems to make the decisions.”
Such a focus would be consistent with Bilderberg’s worldview, as one participant, described as a “regular Bilderberg industrialist”, once told the academic authors of Bilderberg People (2011): “The one area where probably there is the least debate and most consensus [at Bilderberg] is, of course, global warming and environmental issues” (p.105; emphasis added). In this spirit, it is noteworthy that a recent addition to the Bilderberg Steering Committee was Marco Alverà, the founder of zhero, a “focused developer of green and clean energy projects, such as renewables, H2 and derivatives, interconnections, energy storage and repurposing.” Alverà was also the author of The Hydrogen Revolution: A Blueprint for the Future of Clean Energy (2021), included in the Financial Times best books list for 2021 (under climate and environment), and praised by Bilderberg Co-Chair Victor Halberstadt for its “compelling views for energy transition [that] show a practicable way forward.” On the first day of the 2022 Bilderberg Meeting, TES, a global green-hydrogen company devoted to achieving the “energy transition”, announced the appointment of Alverà as its new CEO. Alverà is yet to attend a single Bilderberg meeting (despite his Steering Committee appointment) and missed this event. No doubt he would have been a useful contributor to that discussion.
Krasnik also noted Europe’s war-driven switching of gas suppliers from Russia to the US was “not perceived as particularly positive.” With one European official, reflecting on their meeting with US officials responsible for climate change, stating: “I was shocked at how much they are speculating on the coming European dependence on American gas. We are becoming totally dependent on the Americans.”9
Fragmentation of Democratic Societies: Another contentious issue, with reporting from Bilderberg sources by Spanish publication El Confidencial Digital (Jun. 07, 2022), indicating the focus of this topic was the “rise of the extreme right and populism in Europe”, a perennial Bilderberg concern.10 Certain participants were concerned that “the agenda set by the extreme right has already managed to influence European public opinion on issues as important as immigration.” Moreover:
This is a dangerous circumstance that should be taken into account by the democratic forces of the continent, faced with a rival whose message of fear is successfully reaching the electorate.
Some of the senior managers who were present at the debates warned of the cases of Italy, Hungary or Poland. They stressed that they were countries with markedly nationalist governments and confronted with the integration policies of the EU. That is why, in his opinion, they concentrate the largest number of populations in favor of a total restriction on the arrival of immigrants.
The discourse of fear spread by the extreme right has ensured that concepts such as the elimination of borders are no longer seen by many Europeans as a conquest for the EU, but rather as a dangerous slide towards insecurity and the loss of freedom.
El Confidencial also reported that Spanish politician Pablo Casado, former President of the Partido Popular (Popular Party) had been invited to Bilderberg so a message could be delivered to him: populist Spanish political party Vox “must be prevented from entering Spanish governments.” “Once they are inside, it is difficult to get them out… like Podemos”, the Bilderbergers wanted to highlight – Podemos being an anti-austerity left-wing party that had become a coalition partner in Spain’s current government. In short, the Bilderberg view is that populist barbarians must not be let through the gate!
The Main Event: Ukraine
As noted by our journalistic trio, at the 2022 Bilderberg meeting the “war in Ukraine” was “practically the only topic” (Feltri), it was “all about Ukraine and its impact on all other issues” (Krasnik). Almost every senior American or European national security official was a potential panellist, though it was probably a certainty that Oksana Markarowa, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the US, would have been invited to give a brief speech to those assembled. From Feltri’s account we know that some senior US officials (probably Jake Sullivan or CIA Director Burns) provided the following account of US early warning of the invasion:
Already at the end of October 2021, American intelligence had the certainty that Putin was preparing the invasion and that it was an urgent matter: the Kremlin saw there was a window of opportunity, with the passage of leadership in Germany between Angela Merkel and Olaf Scholz and Emmanuel Macron’s France mired in the presidential elections.
In November, the CIA is convinced that the invasion project is irreversible and President Joe Biden decides to make public some intelligence information, which is very rare, to try to report what is happening to European partners as well. In those weeks at the end of 2021, however, many underestimate the danger: both the European secret services and the Washington intelligence community.
The error is due, paradoxically, to a correct analysis: the troops that Putin amasses on the border with Ukraine at the end of 2021 – up to 190,000 men – are not enough to carry out what appears to be his plan, namely the replacement of the Zelensky government with a Putinian puppet regime after the occupation of the country. There are too few, it must be a bluff, many think in Washington. But it was not a bluff, only the CIA had seen it right, but it was not enough to organize an adequate reaction.
The ensuing debates on Ukraine revealed a host of seemingly unresolvable issues and no clear way forward. According to Feltri’s account, “nobody has high hopes in regime change” in Russia with the “Americans, NATO and the military too aware of the risks of an escalation, even towards nuclear power, to evaluate rash moves.” But it is also “not clear how to live with a Putin-led or Putinist Russia”, even in the event of a ceasefire. Russia could become a “gigantic failed state” similar to Afghanistan or Iraq. The view of the Ukrainians and those Europeans closest to Russia is that “there can be no future with Putin power” due to his record of deceit and deception. Moreover, “the Americans” claimed that Putin remained focused on overthrowing Zelensky’s government and installing a Russian figurehead.
A number of options were considered on how to force Putin’s hand. Both Feltri and Krasnik report on a “concrete” proposal at the meeting to force Russia into negotiations by giving Ukraine enough weapons to sink Russia’s Black Sea Fleet; when the Russians have lost 100,000 men and “are broken”, only then can Putinism can be defeated. The other option is to wait to see if sanctions can undermine Russia’s internal consensus. A more “belligerent” participant suggests sending nuclear weapons to Ukraine “so as not to allow Moscow to resort to nuclear deterrence to intimidate” its opponents (Feltri).
Such proposals co-existed with the dishonest mantra that Ukraine alone will determine how long it will resist Russia’s incursion, despite being wholly reliant on US and European military and economic support. As Krasnik observed:
Everyone, from first speaker Thursday night to last debater Sunday morning, repeats the mantra “the Ukrainians themselves must decide their own fate”, even though everyone well knows that it is not entirely true, perhaps even a lie. Without Western support and money, they will lose immediately. “We have given 40 billion,” says one American. “This is equivalent to ten times the Ukrainian defense budget. And to be completely honest, it’s not a war that really matters to the Americans” [emphasis added].
Feltri said much the same: “despite the American rhetoric that ‘the Ukrainians will decide how long to fight and when to negotiate,’ Zelensky has only the autonomy that Western and American supplies in particular grant him.” But it was also apparent, then barely four months into the war, that Putin “still wants all of Ukraine, or at least to negotiate from a position of greater strength.” Russia though, will never have enough troops to occupy Ukraine without mass compulsory conscription, and Putin is reluctant to focus Russia’s full military power against Ukraine because he does not want to “ruin the rubble.” Russia’s apparent hesitancy is apparently “why the United States continues to arm Kiev.”
As for a negotiated end to the conflict, Feltri reports the Bilderberg consensus that the “only certainty is that at the moment Putin has no intention of negotiating”, evident in his failure to react to an Italian peace plan or Zelensky’s statement that a return to the situation prior to the invasion would be a desirable goal, suggesting that “he does not intend to get Crimea back immediately.” Krasnik notes that Bilderberg revisits Kissinger’s controversial view, expressed to the WEF shortly before the Bilderberg meeting,11 that Ukraine should cede territory to Russia in negotiations. At Bilderberg Kissinger says that he was “misunderstood” and that the “starting point for a solution must of course be the situation in it eastern Ukraine before the start of the war.” Krasnik also adds:
Others say during the breaks that Kissinger was right: that there must be an end, but it seems obvious that the most unrealistic is an agreement consolidating the position between the parties before 24 February.
“Either negotiations begin soon, or it continues as an endless war of exhaustion that will destabilize Ukraine for years.” Some argue that negotiations will freeze the war where it is now and that Russia will use it as point of departure for new attacks.
There are other issues as well, with many Bilderberg participants “very concerned about both the war and its impact on the world’s food situation” (Niemi). The US and its NATO allies are also concerned about Chinese support for Russia, with some participants speculating that the US had not developed a clear strategy because it was worried about China, but also about how other countries will position themselves. Whatever the reason, the absence of a “coherent” or “organic” strategy for dealing with Russia frustrates some participants:
“The war on terror gave us a framework we roughly agreed on, even though we quarreled about the individual decisions. The financial crisis as well. Now we are faced with a concrete, overwhelming threat, but there is no overarching strategy and we are making decisions on a whim” [Krasnik, emphasis added].
But for all the talking in Washington DC, claims Feltri, it seems there was no Bilderberg consensus on what to do about Ukraine:
After three days of Bilderberg, the questions are far more than the answers: How much is the United States willing to spend to arm and rebuild Ukraine? What role do they envision for Russia, whether it wins or loses? And what weight will the European Union have? Are sanctions against Russia aimed at inciting the popular uprising against Putin or weakening the Russian economy so that the country, with Putin or without Putin, is no longer capable of doing harm for a few decades?
Most participants, notes Krasnik “think that the conflict will last a long time.” Feltri is more precise: “Nobody expects a short war in Ukraine, the summer will be long. And probably not decisive.”
The Temple of Doom
Bilderberg critics are certain these meetings have a sinister purpose. In addition to its alleged devotion to forming “a New World Order global government” (Mark Dice, The Bilderberg Group, p.51), or even “some form of a Holy Roman Empire that would straddle the Atlantic Ocean” (Mezeichi Nwogu); conspiracists, the alt-media and other critics, have long attributed to Bilderberg unique powers. According to Gary Allen and Larry Abraham, for example, at Bilderberg, “Decisions are reached, resolutions adopted, plans of action initiated, but only Bilderbergers ever know for sure what happened” (None Dare Call It Conspiracy, p.96). While Daniel Estulin once claimed that Bilderberg “has the power and influence to impose its policies on any nation in the world” (The True Story of the Bilderberg Group, p.43). According to Stuart J. Hooper, a Political Science Instructor at Cameron University, although Bilderberg is an “unofficial institution…the decisions it makes are subsequently endorsed by official agencies like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and national governments” (The Wire, Jun. 18, 2022; emphasis added).
Recent academic accounts, however, have taken more nuanced view on the power of Bilderberg. To note one significant example, Associate Professor Thomas Gijswijt in his recent book, Informal Alliance: The Bilderberg Group and Transatlantic Relations during the Cold War, 1952-1968 (2019), found that:
The historical record shows that the Group was not involved in decision-making, nor were any specific, actionable conclusions reached. However, the Bilderberg organizers did hope and expect that through the agency of the Bilderberg participants, the discussions would have an impact on decision-makers and public opinion (Informal Alliance, p.4; emphasis added).
The record provided in this instance, gathered from the fragmented commentary of some participants, and the Chatham House observing-accounts from three journalist participants, hardly supports the former view of Bilderberg as a secretive, tightly organized informal transatlantic decision-making forum. This lack of an explicit decision-making function was obvious to Krasnik, who ended his piece on this maudlin note:
The meeting ends on Sunday with a caesar salad and cheese board. People take heartfelt farewell and go home or onto other meetings. As is customary, resolutions are neither adopted nor are secret decisions taken that are to be implemented in the rest of the world. One would wish that it did [emphasis added].
But the insights provided by Krasnik, Feltri and Niemi into the workings of Bilderberg is entirely consistent with its essential purpose as a shaping and influencing operation, where the meetings are used to promote, discuss, and ultimately disseminate into the private and public policy-making sphere, new ideas through people who are identified as key influencers in their respective countries. The aim is to build a policy consensus through such forums, particularly on how to respond to current and emerging issues. Even though much of the agenda was overshadowed by Ukraine, across multiple issues, Bilderberg successfully brought together key leaders from government, multilateral institutions and the private sector, to discuss and debate the issues outlined in the topic list.
That the 2022 Bilderberg meeting, after a Covid driven hiatus, took place with an impressive range of participants in Washington DC, suggests that this long-running elite forum remains an important and relevant fixture for the global elite, one that has not been displaced by the WEF, nor is it on the “verge of folding”, as Mark Anderson had once suggested. According to some pundits the next Bilderberg meeting is due to take place in Lisbon, Portugal in May 2023 (there is no official announcement at the time of writing). Whenever and wherever it occurs, it is clear that Bilderberg still lives.
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1 For example, Netherlands Prime Minister Rutte twice refused to answer specific questions in the Netherlands Parliament about what was discussed at the 2022 Bilderberg meeting, invoking the Chatham House Rule imposed at the meeting as the reason for his silence. The Dutch Foreign Minister Hoekstra also refused to detail what was discussed when questioned about his participation during a parliamentary committee meeting.
2 Since Bilderberg, both Marin and Hellengren have lost their government positions after elections in Finland and Sweden, in both cases their parties were ousted by opponents characterized by the mainstream media as a “far-right” supported coalition (Sweden) and “conservative and far-right” (Finland). Hellengren is now the Group Leader for the Social Democrat Party in the Swedish Parliament (Riksdag), while at the time of writing, Marin is still considering her future, though Reuters reported that if she is unable to be part of a new coalition government “she may shift focus to a top job in Brussels, such as the ‘Spitzenkandidat’, the lead candidate of the European Social Democrats to head the European Commission.”
3 There are numerous examples of this practice. One of the earliest accounts can be found in the first volume of Henry Kissinger’s biography, The White House Years (1979), where he recounts arranging to use the 1971 Bilderberg meeting in Woodstock to have a clandestine meeting with West German emissary Egon Bahr to discuss relations with the Soviet Union (p.828).
4 Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat (Jun. 03, 2022) reported that Prime Minister Marin had posted on Instagram that she had met with Stoltenberg on June 3, apparently publishing a picture and thanking him for the discussion. There is no sign of this post in Marin’s Instagram account.
5 See for example reporting on the meeting by First News Channel, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Tasnim News Agency, Politico, Dagens industri, and Royals Blue.
6 In September 2022, a few months after Bilderberg, Tugendhat was appointed as Minister of State (Minister for Security) by then new British Prime Minister Liz Truss. His duties were reported to cover cybercrime, and maintaining aviation, border and maritime security. Tugendhat retained this position after Rishi Sunak subsequently replaced Truss.
7 In November 2022, it was reported that Vitrenko had resigned as head of Naftogaz (Reuters, Nov. 2, 2022).
8 On 8 July 2022, shortly after Bilderberg, Suncor announced that Little had stood down as President and CEO of Suncor, and that he had also resigned from the Board. His permanent replacement, Rich Kruger (former CEO of Exxon Mobil subsidiary Imperal Oil), was announced in February 2023.
9 Noting that the US does not have a “Department of Climate Change”, and there are no records of any European officials who were at Bilderberg also visiting the Department of Energy or the Environmental Protection Agency, there are few obvious explanations for these claims. One possibility is the growing European dependency on US gas came up during Didier Reynders official meeting with the US Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo (also a Bilderberg participant) on June 3, the second day of the Bilderberg meeting. The other more likely option is the Belgian Minister for the Energy, Tinne Van der Straeten, who met with a group of US experts at the Belgian Embassy in Washington DC, also on June 3, for a “timely conversation on shared climate and energy challenges.” The experts she met with included representatives from the American Exploration and Production Council and the American Petroleum Institute.
10 To note some examples: “Why is Populism Growing?” (2017); “Nationalism and Populism” (2013); “Economic Patriotism – A Real Threat” (2006); “The Influence of the Extreme Right” (2002); and “The European Far Right – Is There a Threat?” (2000).
11 Kissinger’s exact comments in his interview with Klaus Schwab were that:
“In my view, movement towards negotiations and negotiations on peace need to begin in the next two months so that the outcome of the war should be outlined. But before it could create upheaval and tensions that will be ever-harder to overcome, particularly between the eventual relationship of Russia, Georgia and of Ukraine towards Europe. Ideally, the dividing line should return the status quo ante.”
This statement was characterized, not entirely inaccurately, as Kissinger advocating that “Ukraine should cede territory to Russia to help end the invasion” (Washington Post) and he was widely pilloried for this suggestion. Interviewed by Der Spiegel a month after Bilderberg, Kissinger denied that he had advocated that Ukraine “should give up any territory. I said the logical dividing line for a ceasefire is the status quo ante.” He also claimed Zelensky’s comments to the Financial Times about “regaining the status quo” being a “great victory” was “in line with my position” (Der Spiegel, Jul. 15, 2022).