The Washington conference, a high-level council of war, will be headlined by Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general
Bilderberg is back with a vengeance. After a pandemic gap of two years, the elite global summit is being rebooted in a security-drenched hotel in Washington DC, with a high-powered guest list that includes the heads of NATO, the CIA, GCHQ, the US national security council, two European prime ministers, a healthy sprinkle of tech billionaires, and Henry Kissinger.
What a difference those two years have made. The western world order, which the Bilderberg group has been quietly nudging into shape for the best part of 70 years, is in all kinds of flux.
Back in 2019, the last time Bilderberg met in the flesh, the conference kicked off with the optimistic topics “A Stable Strategic Order” and “What Next For Europe?” This year however, the agenda reeks of chaos and crisis. Top of the schedule is the blandly terrifying item “Global Realignments”, followed by “NATO Challenges”, the biggest of which is obviously Ukraine.
To be sure, the Washington conference is a high-level council of war, headlined by the secretary general of NATO, Bilderberg veteran Jens Stoltenberg. He’s joined at the luxurious Mandarin Oriental hotel by the Ukrainian ambassador to the US, Oksana Markarova, and the CEO of Naftogaz, the state-owned Ukrainian oil and gas company.
They’ll be clinking bespoke cocktails in the Empress lounge with some of the allied war effort’s leading lights, among them Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s half-Ukrainian deputy prime minister.
The summit is heaving with experts in Russia and Ukraine, including the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, Celeste Wallander, and ex-deputy national security adviser Nadia Schadlow, who has a seat on the elite steering committee of Bilderberg.
The conference room is rigged up with video screens for shy dignitaries to make a virtual attendance, and it’s highly likely that Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy will Zoom in for a T-shirted contribution to the talks. Just a few days beforehand, Zelenskiy met with a Bilderberg and US intelligence representative Alex Karp, who runs Palantir, the infamous CIA-funded surveillance and data analysis company.
Palantir, which was set up by billionaire Bilderberg insider Peter Thiel, has agreed to give “digital support” to the Ukrainian army, according to a tweet by the country’s deputy prime minister.
The participant list is rife with military advisers, one of which is a former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and some hefty cogs from the Washington war machine. Among the heftiest is James Baker, head of the ominous sounding office of net assessment.
Bilderberg is sometimes dismissed as a talking shop or crazed imagining of conspiracy theorists. But in reality it is a major diplomatic summit, attended this year as ever by extremely senior transatlantic politicians, from the US commerce secretary to the president of the European Council.
Many consider it an older, less flashy Davos, staged annually by the World Economic Fund. The two events have a good bit in common: namely, three WEF trustees at this year’s conference, and Klaus Schwab, the grisly head of Davos, is a former member of Bilderberg’s steering committee. His “Great Reset” looms large over the Washington conference, with “Disruption of the Global Financial System” at the heart of the agenda.
The conference troubles some ethicists, with politicians thrashing out an “Energy Security and Sustainability” talk with the CEOs of oil giants BP, Shell and Total. There’s also “Post Pandemic Health” with the CEOs of Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline, who are locked away for days with Wall Street investors and no press scrutiny.
Bilderberg gets scant coverage partly because of its connections to the transatlantic intelligence community.
Formed in the mid-1950s as a joint project of British and US intelligence, the conference has kept its cards so close to its chest that the world’s press has given up trying to get a glimpse of them.
This year’s conference lineup, led by CIA head William Burns, reflects those roots.
Burns is a former US ambassador to Russia and was elected to Bilderberg’s steering committee just a few months before Joe Biden gave him the job, whereupon he discreetly resigned his seat.
Four other active intelligence chiefs are attending: the head of the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters; the director of France’s external intelligence agency, DGSE; the leader of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency; and Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan.
Former spy chiefs at the talks include David Petraeus (CIA) and Sir John Sawers (MI6), now a board member of Bilderberg and BP.
And of course, holding court at the hotel bar will be Klaus Schwab’s mentor, Henry Kissinger.
Incredibly, Kissinger, 99, has been attending Bilderbergs since 1957.
The prince of realpolitik has been the ideological godfather of Bilderberg for as long as anyone can remember. And he’s recently co-authored a book, The Age of AI, with Bilderberg steering committee member Eric Schmidt, the former head of Google, and this year’s Washington conference is noticeably rammed with AI luminaries, from Facebook’s Yann LeCun to DeepMind’s Demis Hassabis.
Bilderberg knows that however the global realignments play out, and whatever a reset global financial system looks like, the shape of the world will be determined by big tech. And if the endgame is “Continuity of Government”, as the agenda suggests, that continuity will be powered by AI.
Whatever billionaire ends up making the software that runs the world, Bilderberg aims to make damned sure that it has its hand on the mouse.