As it does every year, this year's Bilderberg Conference sparked curiousity, fear, anger and the imaginations of conspiracy theorists around the world. But what really goes on at these meetings? Columnist Christian Nünlist of Switzerland's Aargauer Zeitung investigates.
For the Aargauer Zeitung, Christian Nünlist writes in part:
"Bilderberg conferences are legendary. Under normal circumstances, the public only learns after the fact of the secret annual conference of the world's most influential politicians, senior military officers, industrialists and bankers - meetings that have been held since 1954, and always at a different venue. Every year, the "Globocrats" (as the Economist calls them) take three days out of their busy schedules to chat about current global issues with other power brokers.
"Critics have denounced the Bilderberg meetings for decades, conjuring up fanciful images of profit-hungry capitalists who, holed-up in five star hotels, plot their next global moves. Conspiracy theorists call them "kings of the night" and a "shadow government" that secretly rules the world. The Bilderbergers have been credited with just about everything: the founding of the European Union, the introduction of the euro and the invasion of Iraq. The Internet is littered with plenty of absurd allegations: The Bilderbergers have connections with al-Qaeda, were hiding a cure for cancer or want the U.S. to merge with Mexico.
"But numerous reports from regular participants as well as their handwritten notes can be reviewed in private archives in the U.S. and Europe. Even the archives of the Ford Foundation in New York are a gold mine for Bilderberg historians. In addition, last December, WikiLeaks made available for download minutes of meetings from 1955 through to 1962 as well as from 1980."
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