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Austerity Revisited: How Global Financiers Rigged the Bank Bailouts of the 1980s
By: Andrew Gavin Marshall
Originally posted at Occupy.com
20 May 2014
In the first part of this Global Power Project series, I examined the origins and early evolution of the International Monetary Conference, an annual meeting (to be held June 1-3 in Munich) of several hundred of the world’s most influential bankers who gather in secrecy with the finance ministers, regulators and central bankers of the world’s most powerful nations. The second part looked at the role of the IMC in the lead-up to the 1980s debt crisis. Now, in Part 3, we examine the role the IMC played throughout that debt crisis which began in August of 1982.
At the 1982 International Monetary Conference, bankers noted that they had been cutting back extensively on loans to developing countries, with some leading bankers warning that the lending cut-backs could result in “aggravating the problems of countries already in economic difficulties and threatening to throw them into default” – which is exactly what happened a couple of months after that’s year’s conference.
A. W. Clausen, former CEO of Bank of America, spoke at the IMC in 1982 as then-president of the World Bank, and told the assembled bankers it was “an honour to be the first President of the World Bank to address the International Monetary Conference,” noting that, “themes of partnership and interdependence have repeatedly been at the center of our IMC meetings.” It was the subject Clausen wanted to address, “the tightening interdependence between the developed and the developing nations,” announcing “a new era of partnership between the World Bank and international commercial banks for helping the economies of the developing countries.”
Clausen told the bankers that “in order to develop a closer partnership with you, we intend to expand the International Finance Corporation [the investment arm of the World Bank] to explore the possibility of a multilateral insurance scheme for private investment, and to develop new mechanisms for attracting commercial bank co-financing.”
He also noted that the “fundamental objective of the World Bank” was “to help raise the standard of living of people, especially poor people, in the developing countries,” and argued that “people in developing countries will benefit from a closer partnership between the World Bank and international commercial banks.” Clausen was speaking roughly three months before Mexico announced its debt repayment problems, sparking the debt crisis, though he acknowledged that the developing world was experiencing a “balance-of-payments disequilibrium and debt-servicing difficulties.”
In addition, Clausen noted that the affiliate organization of the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, had a special purpose which was “to encourage productive private enterprises in developing nations” whose loans do not have to be guaranteed by governments, and which can take equity (or shareholdings) in corporations. Clausen noted that together with the IMF and the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the World Bank “has helped to build an interdependent global economy,” adding: “International commercial banking depends on the relatively integrated, dynamic, and peaceful world economy that these official institutions have nurtured.”
Thus, he suggested, “we should now develop the complementarity between the World Bank and international commercial banks into a closer relationship of collaboration,” and recommended “greater collaboration between [the] IFC and commercial banks,” which “has great potential for stimulating commercial investment in the developing countries.” All of the initiatives Clausen proposed revolved around the basic objective of increasing “the collaboration of the international banking community” with the World Bank, in order “to assist poor nations to better manage their economies through the establishment of economic policies that are conducive to economic growth and development” and thus “bringing them fully into the global economy.”
The Debt Crisis
In the first full year of the international debt crisis that tore Latin America and other developing countries into financial ruin – with entire populations pushed overnight into poverty through austerity measures that were demanded by the IMF and the global banks, in return for additional loans and debt rescheduling – the more than 200 global bankers at the International Monetary Conference met in Belgium where they were “treated like royalty,” met at the airport by “special hostesses” and were then chauffeured in Mercedes limousines to the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
The bankers attended a cocktail party at the Palais d’Egmont and hosted the King of Belgium for an afternoon lunch. It was in this “fairy-tale atmosphere,” as the New York Times described it, that the world’s top bankers met with government officials and central bankers and enjoyed “the luxury of thinking about the grand problems of world finance, unfettered by the real world’s concerns.”
The bankers at the 1983 conference agreed that the major debtor countries, in particular Brazil and Mexico, would need time to reshape their economies, with estimates ranging from three to seven or eight years of austerity, and various “structural reforms” designed to enforce neoliberal economic policies upon those entire populations. James Wolfensohn, a former partner at Salomon Brothers who started his own consultancy (and later went on to become President of the World Bank), delivered a popular speech at the IMC recommending that there could be no one solution to the debt crisis, but that each country would have to be handled on a case-by-case basis.
The banker William S. Ogden, a former vice chairman of Chase Manhattan, presented another popular speech at the IMC in which he explained that what was needed to resolve the debt crisis was “sustained world economic growth, avoidance of protectionism, increased government aid to the third world and more disciplined economic policies among the developing countries.” In other words, harsh austerity measures.
That very same year, Ogden was in the midst of creating a unique organization of international banks and bankers to represent their collective interests as a global community in the face of the debt crisis. That organization came to be known as the Institute of International Finance, itself the subject of a previous set of exposés in the Global Power Project.
At the 1984 meeting of the International Monetary Conference (IMC), a special meeting occurred among some of the top banks that held a large percentage of Mexico’s debt. They participated in a “closed meeting” with major central bankers and finance officials, including representatives of the IMF, who recommended that the banks lower their interest rates on loans to Mexico in order to reduce pressure on the country. Walter B. Wriston, chairman of Citicorp, who had previously opposed any concessions to the impoverished nations in crisis, at this point appeared willing to adhere to some reductions in interest rates for Mexico.
The closed meeting was also attended by Willard C. Butcher, Jr., the chairman of Chase Manhattan; John F. McGillicuddy, chairman of Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company; Lewis T. Preston, chairman of J.P. Morgan & Company; Walter V. Shipley, chairman of Chemical Bank; Wilfried Guth, managing director of Deutsche Bank; Guido R. Hanselmann, executive board member of Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS), and Sir Jeremy Morse, chairman of Lloyds Bank of London.
The following day, the international banks announced that they would agree to negotiate a long-term debt solution for Mexico. Included in the decision as well was the IMF managing director, Jacques de Larosiere; the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker; and a special representative of the banks, Citibank Vice Chairman William R. Rhodes, who announced the decision to negotiate on behalf of the banks and who was personally responsible for chairing multiple “bank advisory committees” that negotiated debt rescheduling with various countries in Latin America.
Three years later, in 1987, Mexico was still caught in a painful crisis and the world’s bankers were still meeting for the IMC in luxurious surroundings, partaking in opulent social events to discuss the issue of world debt problems. The more than 200 bankers at the meeting expressed their frustration with the problems of the global monetary system, the instability of the floating exchange rate system, and currency crises. William Butcher, that year’s chairman of the IMC, warned that the global monetary system would not “correct itself” and instead the search for a new and more stable system “must be intensified.”
The most popular speech at the IMC that year was delivered by Japan’s vice minister of finance for international affairs, Toyoo Gyohten, who proposed the establishment of “some international mechanism” which would be responsible for managing international monetary crises, and would be required “to have at least several hundred billion dollars in order to influence the financial markets.”
At the next year’s meeting of the IMC, then-Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, spoke to the assembled bankers, explaining that further declines in the U.S. Dollar would not help American exports. His comments led to a rise in the Dollar, “greeted positively in the financial markets,” and stock and bond prices rose on Wall Street. The heads of the central banks of other major industrial nations, such as West Germany and Britain, were also present at the conference where collectively the central bankers “reiterated the need to keep inflation down as a way to continue worldwide economic growth” – a position met with great approval by the bankers present at the meeting.
At the 1989 meeting of the IMC, many of Mexico’s largest international lenders attended a special meeting after which they announced a $5.5 billion “aid” package (aka bailout) for Mexico in cooperation between Japanese banks, the IMF and the World Bank. But the so-called “aid packages” handed out by Western banks and international organizations to the crisis-hit developing nations were, in fact, bailouts for the major banks: the funds were given to the countries explicitly to pay the interest that they owed to the banks, while at the same time forcing those governments to implement strict austerity measures and other economic reforms.
William R. Rhodes, Citibank’s main official responsible for debt rescheduling agreements, was present at the meeting, which was also attended by Angel Gurria, the chief debt negotiator for Mexico. Rhodes stated that the meeting at the IMC “set the stage for rapid progress.” In the final part of the Global Power Project series on the International Monetary Conference, I examine the continued relevance of the IMC from 1989 to the present – including the bankers who composed its leadership, as well as a review of leaked documents pertaining to the 2013 meeting of the IMC in Shanghai.
Andrew Gavin Marshall is a 27-year-old researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada. He is project manager of The People’s Book Project, chair of the geopolitics division of The Hampton Institute, research director for Occupy.com’s Global Power Project and the World of Resistance (WoR) Report, and hosts a weekly podcast show with BoilingFrogsPost.
The Bilderberg Plan for 2009: Remaking the Global Political Economy
Global Research, May 26, 2009
From May 14-17, the global elite met in secret in Greece for the yearly Bilderberg conference, amid scattered and limited global media attention. Roughly 130 of the world’s most powerful individuals came together to discuss the pressing issues of today, and to chart a course for the next year. The main topic of discussion at this years meeting was the global financial crisis, which is no surprise, considering the list of conference attendees includes many of the primary architects of the crisis, as well as those poised to “solve” it.
The Agenda: The Restructuring of the Global Political Economy
Before the meeting began, Bilderberg investigative journalist Daniel Estulin reported on the main item of the agenda, which was leaked to him by his sources inside. Though such reports cannot be verified, his sources, along with those of veteran Bilderberg tracker, Jim Tucker, have proven to be shockingly accurate in the past. Apparently, the main topic of discussion at this year’s meeting was to address the economic crisis, in terms of undertaking, “Either a prolonged, agonizing depression that dooms the world to decades of stagnation, decline and poverty … or an intense-but-shorter depression that paves the way for a new sustainable economic world order, with less sovereignty but more efficiency.” Other items on the agenda included a plan to “continue to deceive millions of savers and investors who believe the hype about the supposed up-turn in the economy. They are about to be set up for massive losses and searing financial pain in the months ahead,” and “There will be a final push for the enactment of Lisbon Treaty, pending on Irish voting YES on the treaty in Sept or October,” which would give the European Union massive powers over its member nations, essentially making it a supranational regional government, with each country relegated to more of a provincial status.
Shortly after the meetings began, Bilderberg tracker Jim Tucker reported that his inside sources revealed that the group has on its agenda, “the plan for a global department of health, a global treasury and a shortened depression rather than a longer economic downturn.” Tucker reported that Swedish Foreign Minister and former Prime Minister, Carl Bildt, “Made a speech advocating turning the World Health Organization into a world department of health, advocating turning the IMF into a world department of treasury, both of course under the auspices of the United Nations.” Further, Tucker reported that, “Treasury Secretary Geithner and Carl Bildt touted a shorter recession not a 10-year recession … partly because a 10 year recession would damage Bilderberg industrialists themselves, as much as they want to have a global department of labor and a global department of treasury, they still like making money and such a long recession would cost them big bucks industrially because nobody is buying their toys…..the tilt is towards keeping it short.”
After the meetings finished, Daniel Estulin reported that, “One of Bilderberg’s primary concerns according to Estulin is the danger that their zeal to reshape the world by engineering chaos in order to implement their long term agenda could cause the situation to spiral out of control and eventually lead to a scenario where Bilderberg and the global elite in general are overwhelmed by events and end up losing their control over the planet.”
On May 21, the Macedonian International News Agency reported that, “A new Kremlin report on the shadowy Bilderberg Group, who this past week held their annual meeting in Greece, states that the West’s financial, political and corporate elite emerged from their conclave after coming to an agreement that in order to continue their drive towards a New World Order dominated by the Western Powers, the US Dollar has to be ‘totally’ destroyed.” Further, this same unconfirmed Kremlin report, stated that, “most of the West’s wealthiest elite convened at an unprecedented secret meeting in New York called for and led by” David Rockefeller, “to plot the demise of the US Dollar.” This report, which was not acknowledged by other media sources, requires verification.
The Secret Meeting of Billionaires
The meeting being referred to was a secret meeting where, “A dozen of the richest people in the world met for an unprecedented private gathering at the invitation of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to talk about giving away money,” held at Rockefeller University, and included notable philanthropists such as Gates, Buffett, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, George Soros, Eli Broad, Oprah Winfrey, David Rockefeller Sr. and Ted Turner. One attendee stated that, “It wasn’t secret,” but that, “It was meant to be a gathering among friends and colleagues. It was something folks have been discussing for a long time. Bill and Warren hoped to do this occasionally. They sent out an invite and people came.” Chronicle of Philanthropy editor Stacy Palmer said, “Given how serious these economic times are, I don’t think it’s surprising these philanthropists came together,” and that, “They don’t typically get together and ask each other for advice.” The three hosts of the meeting were Buffet, Gates and David Rockefeller. [See: Appendix 2: Bilderberg Connections to the Billionaire’s Meeting].
At the meeting, “participants steadfastly refused to reveal the content of the discussion. Some cited an agreement to keep the meeting confidential. Spokesmen for Mr. Buffett, Mr. Bloomberg, Mr. Gates, Mr. Rockefeller, Mr. Soros and Ms. Winfrey and others dutifully declined comment, though some confirmed attendance.” Reports indicate that, “They discussed how to address the global slump and expand their charitable activities in the downturn.”
The UK newspaper The Times reported that these “leading billionaires have met secretly to consider how their wealth could be used to slow the growth of the world’s population,” and that they “discussed joining forces to overcome political and religious obstacles to change.” Interestingly, “The informal afternoon session was so discreet that some of the billionaires’ aides were told they were at ‘security briefings’.” Further, “The billionaires were each given 15 minutes to present their favourite cause. Over dinner they discussed how they might settle on an ‘umbrella cause’ that could harness their interests,” and what was decided upon was that, “they agreed that overpopulation was a priority.” Ultimately, “a consensus emerged that they would back a strategy in which population growth would be tackled as a potentially disastrous environmental, social and industrial threat,” and that, “They need to be independent of government agencies, which are unable to head off the disaster we all see looming.” One guest at the meeting said that, “They wanted to speak rich to rich without worrying anything they said would end up in the newspapers, painting them as an alternative world government.”
The Leaked Report
Bilderberg investigative reporter Daniel Estulin reportedly received from his inside sources a 73-page Bilderberg Group meeting wrap-up for participants, which revealed that there were some serious disagreements among the participants. “The hardliners are for dramatic decline and a severe, short-term depression, but there are those who think that things have gone too far and that the fallout from the global economic cataclysm cannot be accurately calculated if Henry Kissinger’s model is chosen. Among them is Richard Holbrooke. What is unknown at this point: if Holbrooke’s point of view is, in fact, Obama’s.” The consensus view was that the recession would get worse, and that recovery would be “relatively slow and protracted,” and to look for these terms in the press over the next weeks and months.
Estulin reported, “that some leading European bankers faced with the specter of their own financial mortality are extremely concerned, calling this high wire act “unsustainable,” and saying that US budget and trade deficits could result in the demise of the dollar.” One Bilderberger said that, “the banks themselves don’t know the answer to when (the bottom will be hit).” Everyone appeared to agree, “that the level of capital needed for the American banks may be considerably higher than the US government suggested through their recent stress tests.” Further, “someone from the IMF pointed out that its own study on historical recessions suggests that the US is only a third of the way through this current one; therefore economies expecting to recover with resurgence in demand from the US will have a long wait.” One attendee stated that, “Equity losses in 2008 were worse than those of 1929,” and that, “The next phase of the economic decline will also be worse than the ’30s, mostly because the US economy carries about $20 trillion of excess debt. Until that debt is eliminated, the idea of a healthy boom is a mirage.”
According to Jim Tucker, Bilderberg is working on setting up a summit in Israel from June 8-11, where “the world’s leading regulatory experts” can “address the current economic situation in one forum.” In regards to the proposals put forward by Carl Bildt to create a world treasury department and world department of health under the United Nations, the IMF is said to become the World Treasury, while the World Health Organization is to become the world department of health. Bildt also reaffirmed using “climate change” as a key challenge to pursue Bilderberg goals, referring to the economic crisis as a “once-in-a-generation crisis while global warming is a once-in-a-millennium challenge.” Bildt also advocated expanding NAFTA through the Western hemisphere to create an American Union, using the EU as a “model of integration.”
The IMF reportedly sent a report to Bilderberg advocating its rise to becoming the World Treasury Department, and “U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner enthusiastically endorsed the plan for a World Treasury Department, although he received no assurance that he would become its leader.” Geithner further said, “Our hope is that we can work with Europe on a global framework, a global infrastructure which has appropriate global oversight.”
Bilderberg’s Plan in Action?
Reorganizing the Federal Reserve
Following the Bilderberg meeting, there were several interesting announcements made by key participants, specifically in regards to reorganizing the Federal Reserve. On May 21, it was reported that US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner “is believed to be leaning heavily towards giving the Federal Reserve a central role in future regulation,” and “it is understood that the Fed would take on some of the work currently undertaken by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.”
On Wednesday, May 20, Geithner spoke before the Senate Banking Committee, at which he stated that, “there are important indications that our financial system is starting to heal.” In regards to regulating the financial system, Geithner stated that, “we must ensure that international rules for financial regulation are consistent with the high standards we will be implementing in the United States.”
Bloomberg reported that, “The Obama administration may call for stripping the Securities and Exchange Commission of some of its powers under a regulatory reorganization,” and that, “The proposal, still being drafted, is likely to give the Federal Reserve more authority to supervise financial firms deemed too big to fail. The Fed may inherit some SEC functions, with others going to other agencies.” Interestingly, “SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro’s agency has been mostly absent from negotiations within the administration on the regulatory overhaul, and she has expressed frustration about not being consulted.”
It was reported that “Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was set to discuss proposals to change financial regulations last night at a dinner with National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers [who was also present at Bilderberg], former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker [also at Bilderberg], ex-SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt and Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard University law professor who heads the congressional watchdog group for the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program.” The Federal Reserve is a privately owned central bank, owned by its shareholders, consisting of the major banks the make up each regional Fed bank (the largest of which is JP Morgan Chase and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York). This plan would essentially give a privately owned bank, which has governmental authority, the ability to regulate the banks that own it. It’s the equivalent of getting a Colonel to guard a General to whom he is directly answerable. Talk about the fox guarding the hen house. It is literally granting ownership over the financial regulator to the banks being regulated.
As Market Watch, an online publication of the Wall Street Journal, reported, “The Federal Reserve, created nearly 100 years ago in the aftermath of a financial panic, could be transformed into a different agency as the Obama administration reinvents the way government interacts with the financial system.” Referring to Geithner’s Senate appearance, it was reported that, “Geithner was also grilled on the cozy relationships that exist between the big banks and the regional Federal Reserve banks. Before Geithner joined the administration, he was president of the New York Fed, which is a strange public-private hybrid institution that is actually owned and run by the banks.” In response, “Geithner insisted that the private banks have no say over the policies of the New York Fed, but he acknowledged that the banks do have a say in hiring the president, who does make policy. The chairman of the New York Fed, Stephen Friedman, was forced to resign earlier this month because of perceived conflicts of interest due to his large holdings in Goldman Sachs.”
The IMF as a Global Treasury
The Bilderberg agenda of creating a global treasury has already been started prior to the Bilderberg meeting, with decisions made during the G20 financial summit in April. Although the G20 seemed to frame it more in context of being formed into a global central bank, although it is likely the IMF could fill both roles.
Following the G20 meeting at the beginning of April, 2009, it was reported that, “The world is a step closer to a global currency, backed by a global central bank, running monetary policy for all humanity,” as the Communiqué released by the G20 leaders stated that, “We have agreed to support a general SDR allocation which will inject $250bn (£170bn) into the world economy and increase global liquidity,” and that, “SDRs are Special Drawing Rights, a synthetic paper currency issued by the International Monetary Fund that has lain dormant for half a century.” Essentially, “they are putting a de facto world currency into play. It is outside the control of any sovereign body.” [See Appendix 2: Creating a Central Bank of the World]
Following the Bilderberg meeting, “President Obama has asked Congress to authorize $100 billion in loans to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help create a $500 billion global bailout fund,” which would give the IMF the essential prerogative of a global treasury, providing bailouts for countries in need around the world. Further, “the bill would allow the IMF to borrow up to $100 billion from the U.S. and increase the U.S. fiscal contribution to the IMF by $8 billion.” Elaborating on the program, it was reported that, “World leaders began on the global bailout initiative, called the New Arrangement for Borrowing (NAB), at the G-20 summit in early April. The president agreed at that time to make the additional funds available.” Obama wrote that, “Treasury Secretary Geithner concluded that the size of the NAB is woefully inadequate to deal with the type of severe economic and financial crisis we are experiencing, and I agree with him.”
With the G20 decision to increase the usage of IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), forming a de facto world currency, it was recently reported that, “Sub-Saharan Africa will receive around $10 billion from the IMF in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to help its economies weather the global financial crisis,” and that, “As part of a $1.1 trillion deal to combat the world economic downturn agreed at April’s G20 summit, the IMF will issue $250 billion worth of SDRs, which can be used to boost foreign currency reserves.”
Recent reports have also indicated that the IMF’s role in issuing SDRs goes hand in hand with the Bilderberg discussion on the potential collapse of the US dollar, and, “Transforming the dollar standard into an SDR-based system would be a major break with a policy that has lasted more than 60 years.” It was reported that, “There are two ways in which the dollar’s role in the international monetary system can be reduced. One possibility is a gradual, market-determined erosion of the dollar as a reserve currency in favor of the euro. But, while the euro’s international role – especially its use in financial markets – has increased since its inception, it is hard to envisage it overtaking the dollar as the dominant reserve currency in the foreseeable future.” However, “With the dollar’s hegemony unlikely to be seriously undermined by market forces, at least in the short and medium-term, the only way to bring about a major reduction in its role as a reserve currency is by international agreement.” This is where the SDRs come into play, as “One way to make the SDR the major reserve currency relatively soon would be to create and allocate a massive amount of new SDRs to the IMF’s members.” This is, interestingly, exactly what is happening with Africa and the IMF now.
Former IMF Managing Director Jacques de Larosière recently stated that the current financial crisis, “given its scope, presents a unique opening to improve institutions, and there is already a danger that the chance might be missed if the different actors cannot agree to changes by the time economic growth resumes.” He is now an adviser with BNP Paribas, a corporation highly represented at Bilderberg meetings, and he was head of the Treasury of France when Valéry Giscard d’Estaing was President of France, who is a regular of the Bilderberg Group.
The Guardian Covers Bilderberg
The British paper, the Guardian, was the only major mainstream news publication to provide ongoing coverage of the Bilderberg meeting over the weekend. His first columns were satirical and slightly mocking, referring to it as, “A long weekend at a luxury hotel, where the world’s elite get to shake hands, clink glasses, fine-tune their global agenda and squabble over who gets the best sun loungers. I’m guessing that Henry Kissinger brings his own, has it helicoptered in and guarded 24/7 by a CIA special ops team.” However, as the weekend dragged on, his reporting took a change of tone. He reported on the Saturday that, “I know that I’m being followed. I know because I’ve just been chatting to the plainclothes policemen I caught following me,” and he was arrested twice in the first day of the meetings for attempting to take photographs as the limousines entered the hotel.
He later reported that he wasn’t sure what they were discussing inside the hotel, but that he has “a sense of something rotten in the state of Greece,” and he further stated, “Three days and I’ve been turned into a suspect, a troublemaker, unwanted, ill at ease, tired and a bit afraid.” He then went on to write that, “Bilderberg is all about control. It’s about “what shall we do next?” We run lots of stuff already, how about we run some more? How about we make it easier to run stuff? More efficient. Efficiency is good. It would be so much easier with a single bank, a single currency, a single market, a single government. How about a single army? That would be pretty cool. We wouldn’t have any wars then. This prawn cocktail is GOOD. How about a single way of thinking? How about a controlled internet?,” and then, “How about not.”
He makes a very astute point, countering the often postulated argument that Bilderberg is simply a forum where people can speak freely, writing: “I am so unbelievably backteeth sick of power being flexed by the few. I’ve had it flexed in my face for three days, and it’s up my nose like a wasp. I don’t care whether the Bilderberg Group is planning to save the world or shove it in a blender and drink the juice, I don’t think politics should be done like this,” and the author, Charlie Skelton, eloquently stated, “If they were trying to cure cancer they could do it with the lights on.” He further explained that, “Bilderberg is about positions of control. I get within half a mile of it, and suddenly I’m one of the controlled. I’m followed, watched, logged, detained, detained again. I’d been put in that position by the “power” that was up the road.”
On Sunday, May 17, Skelton reported that when he asked the police chief why he was being followed, the chief responded asking, “Why you here?” to which Skelton said he was there to cover the Bilderberg conference, after which the chief stated, “Well, that is the reason! That is why! We are finished!” Do reporters get followed around and stalked by police officers when they cover the World Economic Forum? No. So why does it happen with Bilderberg if all it is, is a conference to discuss ideas freely?
On the Monday following the conference, Skelton wrote that, “It isn’t just me who’s been hauled into police custody for daring to hang around half a mile from the hotel gates. The few journalists who’ve made the trip to Vouliagmeni this year have all been harassed and harried and felt the business end of a Greek walkie-talkie. Many have been arrested. Bernie, from the American Free Press, and Gerhard the documentarian (sounds like a Dungeons and Dragons character) chartered a boat from a nearby marina to try to get photos from the sea. They were stopped three miles from the resort. By the Greek navy.” As Skelton said himself, “My dispatches on the 2009 conference, if they mean anything at all, represent nothing more acutely than the absence of thorough mainstream reporting.”
Skelton’s final report on Bilderberg from May 19, showed how far he had gone in his several days of reporting on the meeting. From writing jokingly about the meeting, to discovering that he was followed by the Greek State Security force. Skelton mused, “So who is the paranoid one? Me, hiding in stairwells, watching the pavement behind me in shop windows, staying in the open for safety? Or Bilderberg, with its two F-16s, circling helicopters, machine guns, navy commandos and policy of repeatedly detaining and harassing a handful of journalists? Who’s the nutter? Me or Baron Mandelson? Me or Paul Volker, the head of Obama’s economic advisory board? Me or the president of Coca-Cola?”
Skelton stated that, “Publicity is pure salt to the giant slug of Bilderberg. So I suggest next year we turn up with a few more tubs. If the mainstream press refuses to give proper coverage to this massive annual event, then interested citizens will have to: a people’s media.”
Amazingly, Skelton made the pronouncement that what he learned after the Bilderberg conference, was that, “we must fight, fight, fight, now – right now, this second, with every cubic inch of our souls – to stop identity cards,” as, “It’s all about the power to ask, the obligation to show, the justification of one’s existence, the power of the asker over the subservience of the asked.” He stated that he “learned this from the random searches, detentions, angry security goon proddings and thumped police desks without number that I’ve had to suffer on account of Bilderberg: I have spent the week living in a nightmare possible future and many different terrible pasts. I have had the very tiniest glimpse into a world of spot checks and unchecked security powers. And it has left me shaken. It has left me, literally, bruised.” Pointedly, he explains that, “The identity card turns you from a free citizen into a suspect.”
Who was there?
Among the members of the Bilderberg Group are various European monarchs. At this years meeting, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands was present, who happens to be the largest single shareholder in Royal Dutch Shell, one of the world’s largest corporations. She was joined by one of her three sons, Prince Constantijn, who also attended the meeting. Prince Constantijn has worked with the Dutch European Commissioner for the EU, as well as having been a strategic policy consultant with Booz Allen & Hamilton in London, a major strategy and technology consulting firm with expertise in Economic and Business Analysis, Intelligence and Operations Analysis and Information Technology, among many others. Prince Constantijn has also been a policy researcher for RAND Corporation in Europe. RAND was initially founded as a global policy think tank that was formed to offer research and analysis to the US Armed Forces, however, it now works with governments, foundations, international organizations and commercial organizations. Also present among European Royalty was Prince Philippe of Belgium, and Queen Sofia of Spain.
As usual, the list of attendees was also replete with names representing the largest banks in the world. Among them, David Rockefeller, former CEO and Chairman of Chase Manhattan, now JP Morgan Chase, of which he was, until recently, Chairman of the International Advisory Board; and still sits as Honourary Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, Chairman of the Board of the Americas Society and Council of the Americas, Honourary Chairman of the Trilateral Commission, which he founded alongside Zbigniew Brzezinski; also a founding member of the Bilderberg Group, prominent philanthropist and is the current patriarch of one of the world’s richest and most powerful banking dynasties.
Also present was Josef Ackermann, a Swiss banker who is CEO of Deutsche Bank, also a non-executive director of Royal Dutch Shell; Deputy Chairman of Siemens AG, Europe’s largest engineering corporation; he is also a member of the International Advisory Council of Zurich Financial Services Group; Chairman of the Board of the Institute International of Finance, the world’s only global association of financial institutions; and Vice Chairman of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum.
Roger Altman was also present at the Bilderberg meeting, an investment banker, private equity investor and former Deputy Treasury Secretary in the Clinton Administration. Other bankers at this years meeting include Ana Patricia Botin, Chairman of the Spanish bank, Banco Español de Crédito, formerly having worked with JP Morgan; Frederic Oudea, CEO and newly appointed Chairman of the Board of French bank Societe Generale; Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, an Italian banker and economist, formerly Italy’s Minister of Economy and Finance; Jacob Wallenberg, Chairman of Investor AB; Marcus Wallenberg, CEO of Investor AB; and George David, CEO of United Technologies Corporation, who also sits on the board of Citigroup, member of the Business Council, the Business Roundtable, and is Vice Chairman of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. [For more on the Peterson Institute, see: Appendix 1]
Canadian bankers include W. Edmund Clark, President and CEO of TD Bank Financial Group, also a member of the board of directors of the C.D. Howe Institute, a prominent Canadian think tank; Frank McKenna, Deputy Chairman of TD Bank Financial Group, former Canadian Ambassador to the United States, former Premier of New Brunswick; and Indira Samarasekera, President of the University of Alberta, who is also on the board of Scotiabank, one of Canada’s largest banks.
Of course, among the notable members of the Bilderberg Group, are the world’s major central bankers. Among this years members are the Governor of the National Bank of Greece, Governor of the Bank of Italy, President of the European Investment Bank, James Wolfensohn, former President of the World Bank, and Nout Wellink, on the board of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). Jean-Claude Trichet, the President of the European Central Bank was also present. There is no indication that the Governor of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke was present, which would be an odd turn of events, considering that the Federal Reserve Governor is always present at Bilderberg meetings, alongside the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, William C. Dudley. I have contacted the New York Fed inquiring if Dudley visited Greece or went to any meetings in Greece between May 14-17, or if another senior representative from the New York Fed went in his stead. I have yet to get a response.
The Obama Administration at Bilderberg
Other Notable Names
Among many others present at the meeting are Viscount Étienne Davignon, former Vice President of the European Commission, and Honourary Chairman of the Bilderberg Group; Francisco Pinto Balsemão, former Prime Minister of Portugal; Franco Bernabè, CEO of Telecom Italia and Vice Chairman of Rothschild Europe; Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister of Sweden; Kenneth Clarke, Shadow Business Secretary in the UK; Richard Dearlove, former head of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Services (MI6); Donald Graham, CEO of the Washington Post Company; Jaap De Hoop Scheffer, Secretary-General of NATO; John Kerr, member of the British House of Lords and Deputy Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell; Jessica Matthews, President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Richard Perle of the American Enterprise Institute; Romano Prodi, former Italian Prime Minister; J. Robert S. Prichard, CEO of Torstar Corporation and President Emeritus of the University of Toronto; Peter Sutherland, former Director General of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), first Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and is currently Chairman of British Petroleum (BP) and Goldman Sachs International as well as being a board member of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Chairman of the Trilateral Commission, Vice Chairman of the European Roundtable of Industrialists, and longtime Bilderberg member; Peter Thiel, on the board of directors of Facebook; Jeroen van der Veer, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell; Martin Wolf, Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator of the Financial Times newspaper; and Fareed Zakaria, US journalist and board member of the Council on Foreign Relations. There were also some reports that this years meeting would include Google CEO Eric Schmidt, as well as Wall Street Journal Editor Paul Gigot, both of whom attended last years meeting.
Clearly, it was the prerogative of this year’s Bilderberg meeting to exploit the global financial crisis as much as possible to reach goals they have been striving toward for many years. These include the creation of a Global Treasury Department, likely in conjunction with or embodied in the same institution as a Global Central Bank, both of which seem to be in the process of being incorporated into the IMF.
Naturally, Bilderberg meetings serve the interests of the people and organizations that are represented there. Due to the large amount of representatives from the Obama administration that were present, US policies revolving around the financial crisis are likely to have emerged from and serve the interests of the Bilderberg Group. Given the heavy representation of Obama’s foreign policy establishment at the Bilderberg meeting, it seemed surprising to not have received any more information regarding US foreign policy from this year’s meeting, perhaps having to do with Pakistan and Afghanistan.
However, the US recently decided to fire the general who oversaw the Afghan war, being replaced with “Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, a former Green Beret who recently commanded the military’s secretive special operations forces in Iraq.” From 2003 to 2008, McChrystal “led the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which oversees the military’s most sensitive forces, including the Army’s Delta Force,” and who Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh singled out as the head of VP Cheney’s “executive assassination wing.”
So, given these recent changes, as well as the high degree of representation Obama’s foreign policy establishment held at Bildebrerg this year, there were likely to have been some decisions or at least discussion of the escalation of the Afghan war and expansion into Pakistan. However, it is not surprising that the main item on the agenda was the global financial crisis. Without a doubt, the next year will be an interesting one, and the elite are surely hoping to make it a productive one.
APPENDIX 1: Bilderberg Connections to the Billionaire’s Meeting
Peter G. Peterson, one of the guests in attendance at the secret billionaires meeting, was the former United States Secretary of Commerce in the Nixon administration, Chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers, Kuhn, Loeb Inc., from 1977 to 1984, he co-founded the prominent private equity and investment management firm, the Blackstone Group, of which he is currently Senior Chairman, and in 1985, he became Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, taking over when David Rockefeller stepped down from that position. He founded the Peterson Institute for International Economics and was Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve Bank from 2000-2004. The Peterson Institute for International Economics is a major world economic think tank, which seeks to “inform and shape public debate,” from which, “Institute studies have helped provide the intellectual foundation for many of the major international financial initiatives of the past two decades: reform of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), adoption of international banking standards, exchange rate systems in the G-7 and emerging-market economies, policies toward the dollar, the euro, and other important currencies, and responses to debt and currency crises (including the current crisis of 2008–09).” It has also “made important contributions to key trade policy decisions” such as the development of the World Trade Organization, NAFTA, APEC, and East Asian regionalism.
It has a prominent list of names on its board of directors. Peter G. Peterson is Chairman of the board; George David, Chairman of United Technologies is Vice Chairman, as well as being a board member of Citigroup, and was a guest at this year’s Bilderberg meeting; Chen Yuan, Governor of the China Development Bank and former Deputy Governor of the People’s Bank of China (China’s central bank); Jessica Einhorn, Dean of Washington’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University, former Visiting Fellow of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), former Managing Director of the World Bank, and currently on the board of Time Warner and the Council on Foreign Relations; Stanley Fischer, Governor of the Central Bank of Israel, former Vice President at the World Bank, former Managing Director at the IMF, former Vice Chairman of Citigroup, and has also been a regular participant in Bilderberg meetings; Carla A. Hills, former US Trade Representative, and was the prime negotiator of NAFTA, she sits on the International Advisory Boards of American International Group, the Coca-Cola Company, Gilead Sciences, J.P. Morgan Chase, member of the Executive Committee of the Trilateral Commission, Co-Chair of the Council on Foreign Relations, and played a key part in the CFR document, “Building a North American Community,” which seeks to remodel North America following along the lines of the European Union, and she has also been a prominent Bilderberg member; David Rockefeller also sits on the Peterson Institute’s board, as well as Lynn Forester de Rothschild; Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank, who is at every Bilderberg meeting; Paul A. Volcker, former Governor of the Federal Reserve System, regular participant of Bilderberg meetings, and current Chair of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
Honourary Directors of the Peterson Institute include Bilderbergers Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, a prime architect of the current crisis; Frank E. Loy, former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, and is on the boards of Environmental Defense, the Pew Center for Global Climate Change, Resources for the Future, and Population Services International; George P. Shultz, former US Secretary of State in the Reagan administration, President and Director of Bechtel Group and former Secretary of the Treasury.
APPENDIX 2: Creating a Central Bank of the World
Jeffrey Garten, Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade in the Clinton administration, former Dean of the Yale School of Management, previously served on the White House Council on International Economic Policy under the Nixon administration and on the policy planning staffs of Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Cyrus Vance of the Ford and Carter administrations. He also was a managing director of Lehman Brothers and the Blackstone Group, is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. As early as 1998, Garten wrote an article for the New York Times in which he advocated the creation of a global central bank.
Amid the current financial crisis, Garten wrote an article for the Financial Times in which he advocated for “the establishment of a Global Monetary Authority to oversee markets that have become borderless,” acting as a global central bank. In late October, Garten wrote an article for Newsweek in which he said that world “leaders should begin laying the groundwork for establishing a global central bank.”
Three days after the publication of Garten’s Newsweek article, it was reported that, “The International Monetary Fund may soon lack the money to bail out an ever growing list of countries crumbling across Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa, and parts of Asia, raising concerns that it will have to tap taxpayers in Western countries for a capital infusion or resort to the nuclear option of printing its own money.” Further, “The nuclear option is to print money by issuing Special Drawing Rights, in effect acting as if it were the world’s central bank.”
[For a detailed look at the moves to create a global central bank, regional currencies, a global reserve currency and a world governing body, see: Andrew G. Marshall, The Financial New World Order: Towards a Global Currency and World Government: Global Research, April 6, 2009]
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