The 1999 Bilderberg Meeting was the 47th such meeting and had participants from Europe, the United States and Canada. It was held at Sintra, Portugal. The 111 guests included 30 business executives, 24 politicians, 17 financiers, 11 editors/journalists and 9 academics.
- 1 Agenda
- 1.1 1. Kosovo
- 1.2 2. The US Political Scene
- 1.3 3. Current Controversies: Genetics and the Life Sciences
- 1.4 4. Redesigning the International Financial Architecture
- 1.5 5. The Social and Political Impacts on Emerging Markets of Recent Economic Events
- 1.6 6. NATO's future
- 1.7 7. The Relationship between Information Technology and Economic Policy
- 1.8 8. Current Events
- 1.9 9. Russia's Foreign Policy
- 1.10 10. How Durable is the Current Rosy Complexion of European Politics?
- 2 Exposure
- 3 Participants
- 4 Witnesses
- 5 References
The 1999 Bilderberg Agenda has not been leaked, but the website at Bilderberg Meetings has posted an agenda.
2. The US Political Scene
3. Current Controversies: Genetics and the Life Sciences
4. Redesigning the International Financial Architecture
5. The Social and Political Impacts on Emerging Markets of Recent Economic Events
6. NATO's future
7. The Relationship between Information Technology and Economic Policy
8. Current Events
9. Russia's Foreign Policy
10. How Durable is the Current Rosy Complexion of European Politics?
In the first of a two-part series, Gibby Zobel uncovers how the global power elite decides our future at the shadowy Bilderberg Summit each year. Documents from the secret summit - leaked to The Big Issue - reveal what they said about money and war.
For nearly 50 years an elite group of the West's most powerful men and women, a shadow world government, have met in secret. Tony Blair is in the club. Every US president since Ike Eisenhower has been too. So are top members of the British Government. So are the people who control what you watch and read - the media barons. Which is why you may never have heard of Bilderberg.
"Lines of black limousines, unmarked except for a 'B' on the windscreen, swept in, sometimes accompanied by police escorts, sometimes not," says an eyewitness of this year's meeting in Portugal. "A helicopter was overhead, and other security officers were prudently patrolling the hillsides. The policy on duty at the gates made it crystal clear that they were only the tip of the security iceberg."
For two-and-a-half days, relaxing in exclusive luxury amid vast armed security, the powerful leaders discussed past and future wars, a European superstate, a global currency, genetics, and the dismantling of the welfare state. Unaccountable, untroubled and unreported, the Bilderberg meetings have formed the basis of international policy for decades. Last year freelance journalist Campbell Thomas was arrested just for knocking on doors near the clandestine gathering in Turnberry, Scotland. He remained in custody for eight hours. Other journalists were told that even the Bilderberg menu was confidential (a move they named 'Kippergate'). A serving police officer told 'The Big Issue': "Special Branch and CIA were everywhere - they were calling the shots."
Never in its 47-year history has the content of these discussions been made public. Until now. 'The Big Issue' has uncovered the Bilderberg Papers - the secret minutes of this year's meeting in Portugal. Some of it is banal, some of it sensational. It blows the lid off the thoughts of presidents, chairmen of multinational companies, world bankers, Nato chiefs and defence ministers.
The meetings are shrouded in such secrecy that Prime Minister Tony Blair, when asked last year in the House of Commons, failed to disclosed his own attendance at Bilderberg in Athens in 1993. So, what have they been hiding?
- Nato gave Russia carte blanche to bomb Chechnya
- 'Dollarisation' could be the the next step after the single European currency
- A senior British politician thinks New Labour is "consolidating the victories of the Right". On welfare cuts he adds: "It might be easier for somebody who claimed to be a socialist to impose change."
- After Kosovo Nato is in danger of mimicking a colonial power
Although 14 media chiefs and journalists from across eight countries attended this year, none of them chose to tell their readers of the meeting. It would not serve their interests to be cut out of the elite loop. With an invite-only guest-list, covert operations and such deafening silence, it is little surprise that conspiracy theories have thrived, from the anti-semites who believe in a Jewish global elite, to the paranoid delusions of the radical left. The effect has been to leave the importance of the meetings tainted by association. It suits the Bilderbergers perfectly.
The Bilderberg meetings began in a Dutch hotel on May 29 1954, from where it gets its name. 'The Economist', in a rare reference to it in 1987, said that the importance of the meetings was overplayed but admitted: "When you have scaled the Bilderberg, you have arrived."
At last year's meeting, former defence minister George Robertson, who is now Nato secretary-general, planned strategies with the Bilderberg chair and ex-Nato chief Lord Carrington. 'Observer' editor-in-chief Will Hutton attended Bilderberg in 1997. He believes that it is the home of the "high priests of globalisation". "No policy is made here," he says, "it is all talk. But the consensus established is the backdrop against which policy is made worldwide."
The 64-page leaked document - The Bilderberg Papers - is dated August 1999. The powerful transatlantic clique at the private hideaway included new Northern Ireland secretary Peter Mandelson MP, environmentalist Jonathon Porritt, Kenneth Clarke MP, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, billionaire oil and banking tycoon David Rockefeller, Monsanto chief Robert B Shapiro, and the head of the World Bank, James D Wolfensohn.
Although Asian and African politics and economics were discussed the continents' countries had no seats at this summit. The official eight-strong UK delegation included bankers Martin Taylor, former chief executive of Barclay's and Eric Roll, a banker for Warburgs. They were joined by Martin Wolf of The Financial Times and two journalists from The Economist, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, who, the minutes indicate, prepared this document.
The papers are marked 'Not for Quotation'. It states: "There were 111 participants from 24 countries. All participants spoke in their personal capacity, not as representatives of their national governments or employers. As is usual at Bilderberg meetings, in order to permit frank and open discussion, no public reporting of the conference took place." None of the quotes in each of the 10 sections are directly attributable to any named individual, but the moderator and panellists in each discussion are listed. It is made perfectly clear, however, who is saying what. It is not known who else is in the audience, but their comments are identified by their country and profession.
Over two weeks, we report on the central themes of this year's meeting. This week: money and war. Next week: genetics - what the head of Monsanto and a leading British environmentalist discussed behind closed doors. what they said about... money
Giants of the global banking world, in a debate titled 'Redesigning the International Financial Architecture', discussed the concept of 'dollarisation' which is sure to send euro-sceptics into a frenzy. Around the table were Kenneth Clarke MP, Martin S Feldstein, president of the National Bureau of Economic Research, Stanley Fisher, deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ottmar Issing, board member of the European Central Bank and Jean Claude Trichet, governor of the Bank of France.
Bilderberg is understood to have been the birthplace of the single european currency. The deputy director of the IMF opens by remarking: "It is worth noting that this is the first Bilderberg meeting where the euro is fact rather than a topic for discussion."
During the discussion, "One of the panellists was sure that if the euro worked, more regional currencies would emerge. Others raised the question of dollarisation as a possible cure." There is a dissenting voice:
"The only possible reason for surrendering control of your monetary policy to Washington (where nobody would make decisions on the basis of what mattered in Buenos Aires [or London]) is the fairly rotten financial records of the governments concerned." what they said about... war
Despite Tony Blair's presidential stance over Kosovo, Nato's historic war was pilloried at Bilderberg. "The mood at the meeting was surprisingly subdued... most of the speakers concentrated on the downside of the conflict," begins the discussion on Kosovo.
Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of state, weighs in, saying Kosovo "could be this generation's Vietnam". Nato is in danger of replacing the Ottoman and Habsburg Empires in a series of permanent protectorates, he said. Another panellist warned that troops could be there for 25 years. Kissinger felt that this left Nato open to accusations of colonialism. "How did one persuade countries like China, Russia and India that Nato's new mandate was not just a new version of 'the white man's burden' - colonialism?" asked Kissinger.
Charles D Boyd, executive director of the US National Study Group, said Kosovo is now a wasteland, a humanitarian disaster comparable with Cambodia. "Nato used force as a substitute for diplomacy rather than as a support for it... it used force in a way that minimised danger to itself but maximised danger to the people it was trying to protect."
An unnamed British politician "wondered whether the [Nato] alliance could hang together after the end of the war. He warned that "there would be little popular enthusiasm for putting lots of resources into solving the region's gigantic problems."
Peter Mandelson told the group that "two roads stretch in front of Nato. One leads to a new division of Europe, where the continent returns to its ethnocentric ways. Under this scenario, the UN is fairly powerless, Russia and China are excluded, and Nato is little more than an enforcer. The second road is a little closer to the nineteenth century Europe, with all the great powers - not just America and the EU, but Russia, China and Japan co-operating."
More details from the papers published in the Big Issue on November 22.