By Jackie Kucinich - 05/12/05 12:00 AM EDT
The discussions are private, the location is not publicized and only the most powerful may attend.
The 53rd Bilderberg Meeting, a gathering shrouded in secrecy, allegedly took place this past weekend near Munich, Germany, at the Dorint Sofitel Uberfahrt hotel.
Several members of Congress have been said to be on the guest list in the past, including Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Jon Corzine (D-N.J.), Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and Evan Bayh (D-Ind.).
Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C) took a break from the campaign trail to attend the meeting last year.
Hagel’s office confirmed that he had attended the conference in 1999 and 2000.
While none of those members attended this year’s conference, Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, did.
“He was invited by the conference, and he was pleased to attend,” RNC press secretary Tracey Schmitt said. She added that she did not have information on what specifically was discussed at the meeting.
Of course not. Participants are forbidden from disclosing what they discussed.
Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, was also confirmed to be in attendance. About 30 of the 130 attendants this year were from the United States.
According a release provided to The Hill, the Bilderberg Meeting dealt with a range of vague topics including: European-American relations, Russia, Iran, Iraq, the Middle East, Asia, economic problems and nonproliferation.
This year’s meeting opened with a discussion led by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger about the meaning of “freedom,” according to a May 1 article in the Financial Times.
The last Bilderberg Meeting in the United States was held in Chantilly, Va., in 2002. When called by The Hill, a hotel representative said the hotel had not hosted the conference the weekend of May 30-June 2 of that year; Xerox Corp. rented the entire hotel. However, Paul Allaire, former chairman and CEO of Xerox, was on the list of attendees from that year.
The conference is named after the Bilderberg Hotel in Holland, the site of the first secret meeting in 1954. The meeting was called by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands in response to his concerns that the relationship between the United States and Western Europe were becoming too antagonistic to discuss critical common concerns.
Since then, a group consisting of government, finance, industry, labor, education and communication leaders has met annually to talk about rising concerns and common interests. The official languages of the conference are English and French, according to the Library of Congress.
The meetings are kept private to encourage open discussions. Spouses are banned from attending. Several media outlets are invited to attend the conference; however, they must agree not to report on it. While there are no official “members” of the Bilderberg, several people, such as former Pentagon official Richard Perle and Kissinger, have attended several times.
Conspiracy theorists and websites about Bilderberg speculate that the participants crafted the idea for the euro and attendees go there to reevaluate how to “rule the world.”