June 01, 2007

Why are we scared of Bilderberg?

Friday, June 1, 2007

Mehmet Ali Birand
It is the day of the conspiracy theorists.

They will be coming up with many fantasies starting today and lasting through the weekend. One wonders what they will come up with. They will form hard-to-believe stories about Turkey's future.

The reason for this exciting development is that the Bilderberg meeting is taking place in Istanbul this year.

According to conspiracy theorists, people against the West, nationalists, and fundamentalists, Bilderberg is no different from a mafia establishment full of tie-wearing, famous, influential people. They convene each year to decide how they will run the world and which country they would like to push and in what direction.

But Bilderberg has nothing to do with any of this. Participants of the meeting do wear ties, and they are well-known and influential people in their countries. However, one should not believe in what he or she hears or reads apart from these facts.

Bilderberg meetings constitute a forum where international developments are discussed, debated, and where participants learn a lot from each other. It is not much different from a seminar or a conference organized by an upscale NGO. The difference is the participants. The distinctness of the organization is a result of the quality of its participants, and not the decisions they make.

The reason for the confidentiality of the meetings is that attendees can reveal their views without constraints. So that they do not bite on their tongues, worried “How will the media reflect what I say?”

If well-known influential people convene in a luxury hotel under strict security measures for three days, it paves the way for conspiracy theorists.

We should be happy that Bilderberg is taking place in Turkey, at a time of the Iraq catastrophe, the increased Kurdish activity, and the Islamic-secular debate. There is an uncertainty in the international public opinion. Rumors of a coup are increasing. The tensions between the government on one side and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), the opposition, and the justice on the other are escalating. For the first time, Turkey's future is being discussed very seriously.

Under these circumstances, coming together in Istanbul, they will also discuss Turkey. They will try to make heads and tails of the situation. They will receive information. Let's not forget that their gathering in Istanbul is an opportunity for all of us because of these aspects of the meeting.

What is Bilderberg?

Polish sociologist Joseph Retinger first brought up the idea in 1954 against the dangers created by the increasing anti-Americanism in Europe. It became active when the Dutch Prince Bernard, Unilever Chairman Paul van Zeeland, who later became Belgium's prime minister, and Paul Rijkens joined in. It got its name from Hotel de Bilderberg in Arnhem, Holland, where the first meeting took place on May 29, 1954.

Two conservatives and two liberals were invited from each European country and the United States. The aim was to strengthen the relations between the United States and Europe and to form a common civilian frontier against the Soviet threat.

Nearly 100 people were invited among politicians, businesspeople, bankers, journalists, and from the artistic-cultural circles. The meeting was so successful that its founders decided to hold it on a yearly basis.

It had a general secretary, a 20-person administrative board, a small secretariat, and participants from three categories: permanent members, temporary members, and temporary guests that were invited to every meeting. No elections are held for the board; new members are chosen among those suggested by older members. Though at first all board members financially contributed, later the financing of the meeting was supported through rolling capital. Furthermore, as the administrative board and the participators in the meetings pay for their expenses, the organization does not need a substantial income.

The names of attendees are revealed but what is said cannot be revealed in detail or who said what. It was because of this secrecy that Bilderbergers got criticized for first being a CIA organization, then a Vatican organization. But they never discontinued their work. They were not perturbed by the criticisms. Carried on for the past 53 years, these meeting are institutionalized. They are carrying on with the participation of people such as Dr. Kissinger, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Alec Douglas Home, Lord Carrington, Clinton, and Blair.

© 2005 Dogan Daily News Inc. www.turkishdailynews.com.tr

1 comment:

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