By Greg Piper
World and business leaders met in Washington, D.C. for the past few days for “informal discussions” about geopolitical realignments, Russia, Ukraine, “disruption of the global financial system,” “post pandemic health” and disinformation, among other subjects – all off the record.
The annual invite-only Bilderberg Meeting, which traces its roots to a postwar concern about insufficient cross-Atlantic cooperation, publishes a list of its participants and discussion topics, but bans “reporting journalists” from attending “to encourage the highest level of openness and dialogue.”
Its steering committee, which funds the meetings, includes failed Georgia gubernatorial Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams, World Economic Forum President Borge Brende and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, but also venture capitalist and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel, a strong supporter of former President Trump.
This year’s meeting included current and former CIA directors William Burns and David Petraeus, Schmidt, Thiel, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla and Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who ordered the freezing of Freedom Convoy supporters’ bank accounts.
Reams of other U.S. and European government officials also attended, including Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Treasury Deputy Secretary Adewale Adeyemo, National Security Council Director Jake Sullivan, Assistant Secretary of Defense Celeste Wallander, vetern diplomat Henry Kissinger, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas, and Prime Ministers Sanna Marin of Finland and Mark Rutte of the Netherlands.
Participants are banned from attributing the information they receive at the meeting to specific participants or their affiliations, known as Chatham House rules.
Activist group Reclaim the Net highlighted some of the attendees, topics and the nature of the meeting Saturday. The meeting’s FAQ page brushes off criticism it has faced as the product of “anti-globalisation protests and various conspiracy theorists” who have “expressed wild allegations about the purpose of the gatherings” and spread them “online and in social media groups.”