Last weekend, the World’s Most Powerful hid behind a £2m tax payer funded security cordon to conduct their latest clandestine meeting safe from public scrutiny. Meanwhile, a whistle blower waived his anonymity to reveal the largest illegal surveillance operation (by governments, on citizens around the world) in history. The comparison tells a story about the opposite ends of the moral spectrum – at one end, the self-indulgent chicanery of the global elite; at the other, the heroic stand of the little guy, shining the light of truth into the darkness.
In 1884, the leaders of the European Powers met at the Berlin Conference, and carved up the Magnificent African Cake. The continent of Africa was divided up along their negotiated lines of interest – creating countries which had not existed before. This meeting formalised the Colonial Period, saw the genocide of multiple racial and other groups by European Powers, and the absolute plunder of the continents rich natural resources. Africa has never recovered, and the boot has not been lifted from their necks since.
Seventy years later, in 1954, as the Colonial Period was drawing to its close while the European Powers struggled to recover from World War II, the Bilderberg Group held its first meeting in the luxurious Bilderberg Hotel, in The Netherlands. This meeting kicked off the Neoliberal period – essentially moving the feast from the Magnificent African Cake, to the rest of the world.
Ever since, this annual meeting of the world’s most powerful corporations, banks, businesses, governments and academics has taken place in conditions of absolute secrecy. There are no minutes taken, no media access, no statements made. It is a black box.
Mr. Gill: To ask the Prime Minister which members of his Government have attended meetings of the Bilderberg Group. 
The Prime Minister [holding answer 16 March 1998]: None.
For decades, those who argued the existence of the group were dismissed as conspiracy theorists and lunatics. Today, the meeting has been exposed, so the new track is to dismiss it as a talking shop with canapés.
The reality, major domestic and foreign policy issues are debated and opinions formed during the Bilderberg meetings. Former EU Commissioner and Bilderberger Etienne Davignon credits the Bilderberg Group with creating consensus for the Euro. Former US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was recorded by Chinese and Czech Newspapers, claiming to have decided US missile defence policy at Bilderberg 2008. Other notable decisions formulated at Bilderberg include, the creation of the European Union, the reunification of Germany, and the Falklands War.
It may also be the case that the Bilderbergers not only dictate the future policy decisions of world governments, but the future political leaders making them:
Bill Clinton first attended the Bilderberg Group in 1991; he won the Democratic Party nomination and became US President in 1992.
Tony Blair first attended Bilderberg in 1993; became Labour Party leader in 1994 and UK Prime Minister in 1997.
George Robertson first attended Bilderberg in 1998; appointed NATO Secretary-General 1999.
Romano Prodi first attended Bilderberg in 1999; sworn in as President of the EU September 1999 and served until 2005. Elected Prime Minister of Italy in 2006.
The Bilderberg Group have lied about their own existence, and now they are lying about the nature of their existence. This meeting is likely where the destinies of every man, woman and child across the globe are formed, in part, by the decisions of these world leaders. Extraordinary efforts by citizen journalists have kept the focus on Bilderberg, whilst the corporate media maintained almost black out conditions on the meetings. When Bilderberg was held in in the US in 2008, there was just one mainstream media news item on the meeting.
This year, the party moved to Watford, England. The UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Chancellor George Osborne, Former Justice Secretary Ken Clarke and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls were all in attendance. They were invited in their roles as elected representatives of the UK citizenry, without providing any means of for the electorate to know how they’re interests were being served, or not, by such attendance.
“These are people who are all in the dominant positions in western capitalism. They only meet in order to concert their plans about the future of capitalism over the immediate future…and my objection…is that it’s being done in utter secrecy.”
It is all too easy to scoff at those who raise serious concerns about the secretive nature of Bilderberg and the potential and real dangers posed by its existence. But when will we stop shooting the messenger and target such mistrust at the state and corporate institutions which continue to deceive?
Just a few weeks ago, if a person had suggested that internet companies were working in cahoots with US military intelligence to illegally spy on our emails, web chats, Skype calls and Facebook messages – they would have been derided as a member of the foil hat brigade. We now know, thanks to the bravery of a lone whistle blower, that this, like the existence of the Bilderberg Group, is just more painful reality.
We Are All ‘Persons of Interest’ Now…
It really is the stuff of nightmares. The Guardian newspaper was able to obtain documents from whistle blower Edward Snowden which confirm the existence of massive US surveillance programme on civilians across the globe. The conspiracy theorists were right: governments and military intelligence are indeed given privy access to our internet and social media accounts, without warrant, and without our knowledge. Fact.
The surveillance programme, called PRISM, is run by the National Security Agency (NSA) the intelligence wing of the US military. PRISM allows direct access to the data of Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Skype – to name but a few. It allows US spies to access historical data (email, video, file transfers, images and private chats/messages) and live monitor Skype calls and other communications. In short, they can access your entire communications history, and listen to or watch you communicating real time- all without any judicial intervention.
The document also states that the internet companies are complicit in PRISM. The programme has been running since 2007, and throughout this time, representatives of the State and of the internet companies involved have dismissed allegations that such a programme existed, or could ever exist. We now know they lied.
According to the Guardian, “When the NSA reviews a communication it believes merits further investigation, it issues what it calls a “report”. According to the NSA, “over 2,000 Prism-based reports” are now issued every month. There were 24,005 in 2012, a 27% increase on the previous year. In total, more than 77,000 intelligence reports have cited the PRISM program.”
This is not the end of the story, but the initial unravelling of a conspiracy of lies about the true nature of the surveillance state. It is also alleged that UK spy centre GCHQ has used the programme to spy on UK citizens, contrary to UK law. Foreign Secretary William Hague disguised these claims as ‘fanciful nonsense’, insisting UK citizens had ‘nothing to fear’ from PRISM.
If it were not for the admirable efforts of Edward Snowden and journalist Glenn Greenwald, we would still believe PRISM was ‘fanciful nonsense’. Why trust such demonstrably deceitful representatives?
“I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong… I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”
He continued: “I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions,” but “I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.”
He is right to acknowledge the extent to which he is likely to suffer for his moral compass. Bradley Manning, the US army whistle blower who released 2.5m classified documents to WikiLeaks, revealing US complicity in torture, and the murder of civilians by US armed forces, is enduring his third year in prison, while his trial has only just begun. He has suffered what the UN Rapporteur on Torture describe as ‘cruel and inhuman treatment’. This has included: being held in solitary confinement for almost a year, locked up alone for 23 hours a day, and being made to strip naked each night. He now faces 22 charges and potential life imprisonment for his role in exposing state murder. We are allowing state murderers to punish the man exposing their crime.
In our messed up world, exposing murder is a bigger crime than murder.
We Need to Wake Up
While many have stood by Bradley Manning, the majority have swallowed the state propaganda hook, line and sinker. The latest snub came from San Francisco Gay Pride, who announced over the weekend that Manning will not be honoured in this year’s festival. One would struggle to find a more globally significant gay person than Bradley Manning – but San Francisco Pride will no doubt focus on more important matters such as commercial sponsors, speedos and glitter.
No doubt, in coming days, we will be made to feel that Edward Snowden is some truly terrible person. There will be explicit and implicit accusations as every morsel of his personal history is feasted upon by corporate media vultures.
If after all this, people are still naïve enough to believe the very state and corporations that Snowden and Manning proved liars, over such bastions of transparency, what hope for humanity? This obtuse faith in institutions and individuals repeatedly busted misleading and misrepresenting the facts must be abandoned, like a child abandons faith in the existence of Santa Claus.
It is time for the electorate to put away childish things, and get to grips with a less certain, scarier world. The likes of Snowden and Manning are fighting on behalf of all of us. They sit at the opposite end of the moral spectrum to the forces of Bilderberg. They use their positions to open the machinery of government to us all, thus we are able turn that knowledge into power. They stand and fall alone. We owe it to their courage to stand with them, not against them. We owe it to ourselves to use the knowledge they have exposed for us, to make changes in our world and restore power to majority. We must form a protective circle around our whistle blowers, as the exposed machine of corporate government fixes to trample them under its wheels – not throw them under ourselves.