September 10, 2008
The Hidden Bailout Of $1.4 Trillion In Fannie / Freddie Credit-Default Swaps
by Daniel Amerman
Something extraordinary happened on Monday, September the 8th, 2008. The government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac triggered the pending settlement of $1.4 trillion in credit-default swaps. This single event could have led to a cascading series of failures that might have bankrupted Wall Street – and much of the rest of the financial world – by the end of the week. That isn’t happening, and indeed, the media is treating this as something close to a non-event. However, a very real $1.4 trillion event happened – whose resolution effectively constitutes one of the largest government bailouts in history. Nobody noticed, for even though this is occurring in “plain sight”, the simple fact is that few people outside of the financial industry understand the $600 trillion derivative securities market. In this article, written the day after the event, we will briefly explain why this hidden, massive bailout – not of Fannie and Freddie but of the financial derivatives industry – is hugely significant, with potentially profound – and arbitragable – implications for the dollar, the markets and your personal financial future.
What Did NOT Happen
(These first several paragraphs in italics do not describe what did happen, but rather what could have happened in an alternate universe in which we actually had a free market that functioned without massive government interventions.)
The financial news of the day was that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were both unable to make debt payments and had defaulted on $5 trillion in bonds and mortgage-backed securities. With the US real estate market having fallen $4 trillion in the previous two years (non inflation-adjusted), it should have been no surprise that these two highly leveraged companies were not able to absorb the staggering losses. As this became clear to the markets, Fannie and Freddie lost the ability to borrow – which their survival was based upon – and actual default followed soon after. This default immediately triggered settlements on $1.4 trillion in credit-default swaps (credit derivatives), which had been entered into by major financial firms who had promised – in exchange for lucrative fee income – that if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac were to default, these guarantor firms would make good on the defaulted bonds.
As the value of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt plunged to 30 cents on the dollar, this meant that there was a 70% loss on the bonds (if one could find a buyer at all). This then triggered a call for settlement on the $1.4 trillion in credit-default swaps outstanding. Because the debt of the two former titans of the financial world was trading at a 70% discount compared to par value, this meant that total credit losses were $1 trillion ($1.4 trillion X 70% = $1 trillion). This meant $1 trillion worth of payments was due from the companies that had guaranteed the value of this debt, through their entering into credit-default swaps.
Settlement was triggered, but as the credit-default swap beneficiaries soon found out, collecting their settlements was an entirely different matter. The financial institutions around the world who had guaranteed Fannie and Freddie in exchange for lucrative corporate fee income (and multi-million dollar individual bonuses) were all highly leveraged themselves (indeed, weaker than the companies they were guaranteeing), and absolutely reliant on the day to day availability of large lines of credit and general borrowing capacity. As the creditors of these financial giants realized that a trillion dollar hit was barreling straight at them, they pulled their financing. Having to repay or replace these loans, without being able to sell massive portfolios of illiquid assets in a market suddenly devoid of buyers, left nearly every major investment bank and commercial bank in the United States and Europe unable to meet their obligations – even before settlement of their trillion dollar credit-default swap losses.
The failure of the major financial firms triggered another massive round of credit-default swap events, with amounts well over $10 trillion by Thursday, and over $20 trillion by Friday. By that time, however, no one was naïve enough to expect actual payment on those swaps, as Wall Street and the rest of the world’s financial hubs had all been insolvent since Wednesday. When the markets eventually opened for business again more than two months later, the official drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average was over 10,000 points, meaning the index was trading at a level in the 1,000 – 1,500 range.
What Did Happen
“They say there are no atheists in a foxhole. Well, there are no libertarians in a financial crisis, either.”
Jeffrey Frankel, Harvard economist
The above scenario is what might have happened if we took the naïve perspective that markets actually function on their own without government intervention, and that corporations take the consequences for their own bad decisions, in exchange for the profits that come from their good decisions. That is of course a hypothetical world that has little to do with current global financial markets.
If you want a glimpse of the real world future, and what is happening as the same flawed business model that destroyed the $1.2 trillion subprime mortgage derivative securities market now threatens the over $60 trillion credit derivatives market, then we need to look no further than what actually happened with the $1.4 trillion worth of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac credit default swaps. The companies were taken into conservatorship on September 6th. They have effectively failed even if legally there are some different ways of phrasing it. As reported by Bloomberg on September 8th, that led to a unanimous agreement by 13 Wall Street firms on Monday, September 7, 2008, that settlement of $1.4 trillion in credit default swaps had been triggered.
If Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had actually failed to make payments on their debt – the consequences would have quite likely destroyed Wall Street right there. As illustrated in the scenario above, there simply isn’t a big enough capital base on Wall Street to absorb a trillion dollars in losses in a week, particularly once your creditors catch on to what is happening. Much smaller losses from subprime mortgage derivatives incrementally dribbling out over the course of the year, still might have taken down Wall Street, had it not been for the ability to hide losses in Tier Three assets (with the full complicity of the government), as well as the reassurances that the Federal Reserve provided by so swiftly bailing out Bear Stearns via JP Morgan, when a creditor driven bankruptcy (as described above) threatened to take down a major player.
Of course, the hypothetical collapse did not happen. The meltdown was averted because the federal government proactively and aggressively intervened to keep a financial disaster from taking down Wall Street (just as it did with Bear Stearns, and Long Term Capital Management the decade before). When the situation started to get bad, the federal government stepped in and – even if they still are hedging a bit legally – effectively guaranteed the debt of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Which means that they also – and this is crucial – bailed out the firms who had guaranteed the $1.4 trillion in credit derivatives. There may very well be losses, perhaps significant losses, but there would be no catastrophic loss there, that would threaten the viability of the financial system. Because what has really happened is that you have replaced a credit default swap on a quasi-governmental agency, that being Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, with a credit default swap on the full faith and credit of the United States government. If the US guarantee had not been substituted then it would be a catastrophic failure. But because the US guarantee was substituted, it’s seemingly not a big deal, though much remains to be worked out.
In other words, the biggest beneficiaries of the $1.4 trillion Fannie and Freddie bailout were not Fannie or Freddie at all, but the Wall Street firms whose senior officers just happen to be major political contributors to both political parties – with some of those senior officers also running the Treasury Department on a revolving door basis.
How the ending valuation of the credit default swaps for settlement purposes will work out is a fascinating question. Arguably you could say that the value of Fannie and Freddie debt just rose, not only in comparison to prices during the recent financial turmoil, but also compared to par value. After all, we have just gone from quasi-governmental debt to something that is much closer to being explicitly a full faith and credit obligation of the United States Government, which means we should be losing part of the small spread that Fannie and Freddie traded at as quasi-governmental debt over direct governmental debt yields. From this perspective, one could say that the United States stepping in and taking over actually improves credit quality and the value of the bonds, so there is no loss at all – but a gain.
However there still remains a level of uncertainty, as the debt has not explicitly been made full faith and credit of the United States government. There’s a taint involved, and there could be liquidity issues – as investors typically are not too fond of even small uncertainties. So there’s a good chance the ending value will end up somewhere in the 90s – perhaps very close to par or perhaps a little bit further away. Wherever the ultimate settlement prices, however, it will not be a massive loss, because what has really happened is that a swap has indeed taken place, and the United States government bailed Wall Street out of self-inflicted credit swap-driven destruction, through preemptively swapping its guarantee for the guarantees by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The real implication of this then is that there is no danger from credit default swaps directly taking down Wall Street, so long as the federal government is willing to aggressively intervene every time there is a potential failure. I think we can see a clear path to the future here.
Where Did That Trillion Come From?
Before going any further, let’s stop and ask a simple question.
Where did the money for the bailout come from?
How did a strapped federal government come up with the trillions (if need be) to make good on all of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s obligations?
How did a government that is already running over a $400 billion deficit so smoothly and easily come up with an extra trillion dollars or two, if needed? (With the $400 billion being based upon government accounting standards whose usage would get an individual or private firm thrown in prison. The deficit is far, far higher when unfunded retirement obligations are taken into account.)
And, for that matter, now that we’re on the subject – where did the government come up with the money for the $170 billion “tax rebate”?
How about that $59 trillion number for unfunded retirement related government obligations that keeps being bandied around? (The real number is a good bit higher as I cover in my article “The $2 Million Opportunity.”)
Where does the government come up with all that money, anyway?
The answer is simple – there is an unlimited supply of dollars. When you issue your own currency, and you are sufficiently determined, then there is an infinite supply of money available. Which could be a very good thing(?), for the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac credit-default swaps are only one small part of a much larger market – and much larger risk. As we will discuss later in the article, however, while the supply of money is infinite, the value of that money is a different matter.
Taking Full Advantage Of Implicit Government Guarantees
Once you understand that the supplyof money is effectively infinite for a sufficiently grave emergency, then you are ready for the next step in understanding some recent events which might otherwise seem indecipherable. From some perspectives, this near catastrophe which could have so easily taken down all of Wall Street (had the federal government not intervened), was not a catastrophe at all. It was instead a highly successful experiment. For the many firms which purportedly took on the risk in creating $1.4 trillion of credit-default swaps for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac did not do so for the fun of it or out of the goodness of their hearts. They did so because they got paid enormous sums of money for purportedly taking on all those risks. With much of that money quite directly passing through to the already wealthy individuals involved.
If Fannie and Freddie had not run into problems then the guarantor financial firms would have just pocketed all of their fees, ultimately as pure profit. Instead of that, a worst case scenario occurred that arguably should have destroyed every one of the firms involved in this business – and would have likely done so if there had genuinely been a free market involved.
What the experiment proved was that as long as the risk that you take is big enough, then the federal government and your former coworkers down at the Treasury Department can be absolutely relied upon to bail you out. Now, Wall Street felt this was likely already the case. It was kind of a shame to lose a firm like Bear Stearns, but the good part about it was it proved that a major derivatives market failure wouldn’t be allowed to occur, as was remarked upon in the article from last month quoted below:
“Government intervention has saved the $62 trillion credit derivatives market from facing the nightmare of counterparty failure during the credit crisis of the past year…
After the government backed rescue of Bear Stearns, the market views other major derivative counterparties as also “too big to fail”, and this implicit support… means the credit derivatives market will likely be spared the ultimate test.”
Reuters (Karen Brettell), August 7, 2008
With the takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the markets have been shown to be correct, and the reliability of the government bailout occurring has now been proven on a much larger scale. If the dollar amount is great enough, then no individual firm has to go down. Instead the United States Treasury and/or Federal Reserve will preemptively step in, and effectively make every one whole (or close thereto), perhaps without even affecting Wall Street bonuses.
The principle is very simple. Take huge risks that you know cannot possibly pay out if you lose. In fact – that’s the key to the whole transaction. The risks have to be so large that you cannot afford to lose, and the economy and markets cannot afford for you to lose. Then one of two things happens. Either the risk event does not come about and you make an extraordinary amount of money as an individual and as a firm for having taken on this huge amount of risk. Or the risk happens and you have to pay out. Except you really don’t, because you can’t afford to pay out and you have effectively blackmailed the rest of the population through being too big to fail. Then the government steps in and bails you out. Except it’s not really the government, because the government can’t truly do that, it is the rest of the population which bails you out.
Situations like this are sometimes referred to as “moral hazard” – a weak and theoretical sounding term for an insider’s game of global economic blackmail that is growing at a rate much faster than the overall global economy. The cozy relationship between Wall Street and regulators is crucial, and much of the massive, hidden derivatives bailout that just occurred can be explained by looking at just who the chief “cop” is. US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson built his half billion dollar personal fortune as the former head of Goldman Sachs, meaning he was chief executive of one of the world’s leading derivatives players.
Making Sense Of The Irrational
It is only when you understand the game that is being played, that the actions of Wall Street and much of the rest of the financial world after the subprime mortgage crisis becomes clear.
The subprime mortgage derivates experiment failed spectacularly. The firms that were creating these derivative securities and the rating firms who were rating them were making numerous and obvious mistakes. Yet once the fundamentally flawed business model was disproven – the world did not move away from derivative securities. Oh, they stopped creating new subprime mortgage derivatives, but when we look at the arguably much riskier credit derivatives market (this greater risk is explored in my article “Credit Derivatives Dangers In 2008 & Beyond – A Primer”), the market grew from $35 trillion in outstanding credit derivatives in July 2007 — the same time it was becoming clear that something was going very badly wrong in the subprime mortgage derivatives market — to a current level of about $62 trillion. In other words the market reacted to the real world proof that these things don’t actually work, by almost doubling the amount in existence in one year. Indeed, the amount of credit derivatives outstanding grew at an annual rate that was about twice the size of the entire United States economy.
Now if you are an academic modeling a hypothetical world of free markets and rational behavior by sophisticated investors keeping the markets safe and fairly valued for all involved, this would make no sense whatsoever. Rational investment firms ought to be fleeing markets like credit derivatives – not doubling up on an already failed experiment.
The reason? It’s the best game in town. Take a huge amount of risk, be paid exceedingly well for it and if you screw up — you have absolute proof that the government will come in and bail you out at the expense of the rest of the population (who did not share in your profits in the first place).
Investing For The Bailout, Not The Crisis
Once we recognize that what is happening here is not a massive credit default, but a monetization by the US government of those losses on a potentially multi-trillion dollar scale, then our investment strategy changes dramatically. We are no longer investing for the crisis – but for the bailout. The combination of this bailout and the Federal Reserves unprecedented actions in forcing interest rates so far below the rate of inflation creates a “target-rich environment” for the execution of arbitrage strategies by both corporate and individual investors.
The federal government is not going to let the financial system fail. It will create however much money needs to be created to bail out the institutions and attempt to bailout the economy, as it has already shown in real world test after test, from the so-called “tax rebate”, to Bear Stearns, to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Which means that the government is prepared to destroy the dollar, and is not just prepared to, but is currently actively destroying the value of the dollar rather than let those firms fail. So the way you invest for the failure of an out of control derivatives market is to invest for the destruction of the dollar. Which means taking on new tools for a new time.
Four Steps To Creating Wealth From Catastrophe
The first step in creating wealth in an unfair world – is to avoid getting cheated. If you are investing money at short term rates of 1%, 2% or even 5%, while the value of your money is eroding at 9% a year, then you are being deliberately played for a sucker, and cheated out of the value of your money by the Federal Reserve.
Not that secret meetings are being held and an explicit agreement is being made to “get the little guys”. It’s just that sacrifices have to be made for the greater good to try to avert a catastrophic market meltdown, and that means that trusting individual investors get paid a negative interest rate on their money (after adjusting for inflation), while paying taxes on (economically) non-existent income for the privilege. Keep in mind as well that one of the purposes in destroying the value of your money is to keep the prices on financial assets propped above where they would otherwise be, if genuine market forces were setting short term interest rates. Which means that you are systematically overpaying for financial assets compared to actual fundamental values, and are getting played for a sucker there as well, to the extent that you are not being subsidized with below (real) market rates like the banks, investment banks and hedge funds. (See my article “Fed Manipulations Subsidize Wall Street & Cheat Investors” for more on this.)
The second step to turning financial catastrophe into personal wealth requires understanding one simple thing – which most investors do not. Inflation does not destroy real wealth, at least not directly. Inflation redistributes real wealth. Indeed, inflation can be used by individuals to quite directly take real wealth from both financial institutions and other individuals, as I illustrate in my (slightly twisted) morality tale “Inflation Pickpocket”. (To add insult to injury, those doing the pocket picking can often do so tax-free, even while their victims pay real taxes on illusory income.)
The third step is to understand that wealth redistribution on a massive scale creates personal opportunity on a massive scale. John Paulson (no relation to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson) saw the crisis that was coming in subprime mortgages, researched and educated himself on this area (which had not been his field of expertise), and he turned the crisis into a $3-$4 billion personal payday in 2007. If you’re not a hedge fund manager like John Paulson, you may not have the tools that he used to turn a market crisis into personal billions. That’s OK, because Paulson didn’t start with the tools either. He started with educating himself and learning about a new area, until he came up with a novel way to profit from disaster. A method that wasn’t in the financial textbooks, and that he didn’t find by reading a financial columnist in the paper.
Next you need to understand that you personally may have more tools than you may think, some of which may surprise you. Tools which can give you the opportunity to turn financial disaster into personal net worth. There are ways you can use those tools to turn the destruction of the currency into perhaps the greatest real wealth-building opportunity of your life, on a long-term and tax-advantaged basis. But, if you want this to happen –you will need to start with learning. That is the irreplaceable fourth step. You are going to have to educate yourself, and work to not just understand, but to master some of the financial forces and methods in play here. You will have to learn how to turn the destruction of paper wealth into real wealth. With Turning Inflation Into Wealth being the key to this next step. My best wishes to you for turning this challenge into an extraordinary personal opportunity.
Bilderberg 2007 – Towards a One World Empire?
Discussions at the 2007 Bilderberg Group meetings covered concerns over the World Bank presidency, Russia’s muscle-flexing on energy issues and the failure of US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan.
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The Sun has set on Bilderberg 2007 in Istanbul, Turkey. After a sumptuous lunch on this warm and sunny 3rd June, most Bilderbergers returned to their countries of choice, freshly armed with precise instructions from the Steering Committee on how to proceed in covertly expanding the powers of One World Government. Amongst this year’s luminaries in attendance were: Henry Kissinger; Henry Kravis of KKR; Marie-Josée Kravis of Hudson Institute; Vernon Jordan; Etienne Davignon, Bilderberg Group President; Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, daughter of one of the founders, Prince Bernhard; and the King and Queen of Spain.
As a rhetorical question, can someone please explain to me how it is that progressive liberals such as John Edwards and Hillary Clinton as well as do-gooder humanitarians with multiple social projects on the go, such as David Rockefeller and every Royal House in Europe, can perennially attend Bilderberg meetings knowing that the final objective of this despicable group of hoodlums is a fascist One World Empire? How could it be orchestrated?
The idea is to give to each country a political constitution and an appropriate national economic structure, organised for the following purposes: (1) to place political power into the hands of chosen people and eliminate all intermediaries; (2) to establish a maximum concentration of industries and suppress all unwarranted competition; (3) to establish absolute control of prices of all goods and raw materials (Bilderbergers make it possible through their iron-grip control of The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization); and (4) to create judicial and social institutions that would prevent all extremes of action.
NOT PRIVATE, BUT SECRET
Although participants emphatically attest that they attend the Club’s annual meeting as private citizens and not in their official government capacity, that affirmation is dubious-particularly when you compare the Chatham House Rule with the Logan Act in the United States, where it is absolutely illegal for elected officials to meet in private with influential business executives to debate and design public policy.
Bilderberg meetings follow a traditional protocol founded in 1919, in the wake of the Paris Peace Conference held at Versailles, by the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA) based at Chatham House in London. While the name Chatham House is commonly used to refer to the Institute itself, the Royal Institute of International Affairs is the foreign policy executive arm of the British monarchy.
According to RIIA procedures: “When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed; nor may it be mentioned that the information was received at a meeting of the Institute.”
The Logan Act was intended to prohibit United States citizens without authority from interfering in relations between the United States and foreign governments. However, there have been a number of judicial references to the Act, and it is not uncommon for it to be used as a political weapon.
Those who have attended Bilderberg Group meetings over the years and flouted the Logan Act include: Allen Dulles (CIA); Senator William J. Fulbright (from Arkansas, a Rhodes Scholar); Dean Acheson (Secretary of State under President Truman); Nelson Rockefeller and Laurance Rockefeller; former President Gerald Ford; Henry J. Heinz II (former CEO, H. J. Heinz Co.); Thomas L. Hughes (former President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace); Robert S. McNamara (President Kennedy’s Secretary of Defense and former President of the World Bank); William P. Bundy (former President of the Ford Foundation, and former editor of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Foreign Affairs journal); John J. McCloy (former President of Chase Manhattan Bank); George F. Kennan (former US Ambassador to the Soviet Union); Paul H. Nitze (former representative of Schroeder Bank; Nitze played a very prominent role in matters of arms control agreements, which have always been under the direction of the RIIA); Robert O. Anderson (former Chairman, Atlantic Richfield Co., and Chairman, Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies); John D. Rockefeller IV (former Governor of West Virginia, now US Senator); Cyrus Vance (Secretary of State under President Carter); Eugene Black (former President of the World Bank); Joseph Johnson (former President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace); Gen. Andrew J. Goodpaster (former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, and later Superintendent of West Point Academy); Zbigniew Brzezinski (National Security Adviser to President Carter, co-founder of the Trilateral Commission); General Alexander Haig (once European NATO Commander, former assistant to Henry Kissinger, and later Secretary of State under President Reagan); James S. Rockefeller (former President and Chairman, First National City Bank, now Citibank).
BILDERBERG 2007 CONCLUSIONS
Thanks to our inside sources at the conference, we have compiled what we believe to be an accurate and a credible model of the Bilderberg 2007 conclusions. Following is a summary of some key points with some additional commentary added. Other subjects discussed were climate change and global warming, Turkey’s role in the new European Union, World Bank reforms, Middle East geopolitics, the conflict in Iraq, Iran’s potential nuclear threat, and the future of democracy and populism.
Robert Zoellick and The World Bank
The United States delegation is standing unanimously behind Robert Zoellick’s candidacy as the next President of The World Bank. Zoellick is a 53-year-old Wall Street executive, a former official in two Bush administrations and a free-market fundamentalist. During the meeting, he pledged “to work to restore confidence in the bank”. “We need to put our differences aside and focus on the future together. I believe that the World Bank’s best days are still to come,” Zoellick said. The chances of Zoellick not being approved for the presidency are slim to none. The final decision is to be made in late June by the bank’s 24-member board of directors.
The United States and Europe have a tacit agreement between them that the World Bank’s President should always be a US national, while its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), should always be headed by a European. Nevertheless, according to our sources at the conference, European Bilderbergers are not at all pleased with continuing the status quo, in which the US nominates a single candidate after informal consultations with World Bank members.Ê
The Zoellick nomination also appears to short-circuit burgeoning calls for reform of this selection process at the World Bank, one of the cornerstones of the global financial architecture as designed by the victors of World War II. One Belgian Bilderberger proposed “a merit-based selection process, without regard to nationality”, something which will obviously be discarded by the inept Bush administration. What is quite remarkable is that on several occasions European Bilderbergers openly rejected the current model, saying “the nomination reeks of double standards”, especially because both the USA and the World Bank preach accountability and transparency to developing countries-the main clients of the bank.
But with the IMF under the control of a Spaniard, Rodrigo Rato, and the European Central Bank headed by a Frenchman, Jean-Claude Trichet, it was difficult to imagine that the USA would give up control of the World Bank. Only the US Federal Reserve would remain in the hands of the Americans.
“Replacing one Bush appointee with another will not resolve the fundamental governance problems of the World Bank,” said one Scandinavian. “Member governments should reject a back-door deal that leaves the bank’s governance structure intact, and should press for an open, merit-based selection process,” he said.
Zoellick’s name also raised eyebrows among development groups for his close ties to the US establishment and corporate interests.
One of the attendees (I have not been able to confirm this individual’s identity) asked Zoellick how he was planning to patch up relationships with Third and Fourth World nations when he is best remembered during his tenure as US Trade Representative for arm-twisting poor nations’ governments to adhere to US-imposed intellectual-property laws that make medicines, for example, unaffordable in the developing world. Zoellick has been a close friend to the brand-name pharmaceutical industry, and the bilateral trade agreements he has negotiated effectively block access to generic medications for millions of people.
However, what has really riled both the American and European delegates is the fact that the World Bank’s dirty linen is being washed in public, thanks in great part to Paul Wolfowitz and his ineptness, which incidentally he has blamed on the press.
[Postscript: On 25 June, Robert Zoellick was unanimously elected President of The World Bank for a five-year term, taking over from Paul Wolfowitz on 1 July. In a statement posted at http://www.worldbank.org, he said: “Once I start at the World Bank, I will be eager to meet the people who drive the agenda of overcoming poverty in all regions, with particular attention to Africa, advancing social and economic development, investing in growth, and encouraging hope, opportunity and dignity.”]
Relations with Russia
Another issue of great concern to both American and European Bilderbergers is Russia’s current muscle-flexing on the issue of energy. The controversy over the TNK-BP licence, BP’s Russian venture, is just one of many circumstances causing anger amongst the globalist elite.
One American Bilderberger said that after years of economic stagnation, “Russia is acting against unipolarity’s accommodating ideologies and politics, against its recently resurgent manifestations and machinations, and against the instruments of its perpetuation, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation [NATO]”.
Bilderberg 2007 served as a consensus-building exercise to decide on a common policy and strategy to deal with Russia’s resurgence. In particular, Bilderberg is not at all happy with Russia’s current strategy of actively dismantling what remains of “the atmosphere of acquiescence to America’s will”, in the words of one Bilderberger, which arose in the post-Soviet period and was absolutely crucial to the thriving of US-led unipolarity.
That was in the beginning of the 1990s, the early stages of the Yeltsin reign. With the wholesale looting of Russia in the 1990s through shock therapy and the loans-for-shares scheme, engineered by the socialist theoreticians at Harvard such as Jeffrey Sachs, Andrei Schliefer, David Lipton and Jonathan Hay, the country was brought into the dawn of the 21st century capitalist economy. As a result, Russia eventually toppled into anarchy, its population rendered desperate; its ability to support a world-class military establishment was smashed, which then made it inevitable that colonial behaviour would occur. That is exactly what George Ball was proposing during the Bilderberg 1968 meeting in Canada. I’ll get back to Ball later in this section.
Incidentally, the term “shock therapy” refers to the sudden release of price and currency controls combined with the withdrawal of state subsidies and immediate trade liberalisation within a country-all the necessary ingredients for impoverishment of the society…in this case, Russia.
In Zbigniew Brzezinski’s 1997 book The Grand Chessboard,1 “Russia” and “vital energy reserves”, as it turns out, are mentioned more frequently than any other country and subject in the book. Brzezinski is President Carter’s former National Security Advisor, a co-founder of the Trilateral Commission, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Bilderberg Club and a close associate of David Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger. He is the proverbial insider’s insider. According to Brzezinski, global US and thus Bilderberg hegemony depended on having complete control of Russia’s vital energy reserves in Central Asia. As long as Russia remained strong, it remained a threat-a potential block to the complete imposition of Bilderberg-led economic and military will.
Bilderberg energy imperatives and geopolitical control are once again coming to play a key role in the lives of hundreds of millions of unsuspecting people.
Brzezinski spelled out in The Grand Chessboard the compelling energy issue driving American policy: “A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa’s subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world’s central continent. About 75 percent of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprise and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for 60 percent of the world’s GNP and about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources.”
The history of mankind has always shown that controlling the heart of Eurasia was the key to controlling the entire known world. Azerbaijan, containing the riches of the Caspian Sea Basin and Central Asia, is a case in point. From the US perspective, the independence of the Central Asian states will be rendered nearly meaningless if Azerbaijan becomes fully subordinated to Moscow’s control. To the Bilderbergers, energy imperatives are the end game.
The energy theme appears again later in Brzezinski’s book, written four years before 9/11: “The world’s energy consumption is bound to vastly increase over the next two or three decades. Estimates by the US Department of Energy anticipate that world demand will rise by more than 50 percent between 1993 and 2015, with the most significant increase in consumption occurring in the Far East. The momentum of Asia’s economic development is already generating massive pressures for the exploration and exploitation of new sources of energy.”
Clearly, to the Bilderbergers, Russia was the beginning of the end game.
During a presentation titled “Internationalisation of Business” to the 26-28 April 1968 Bilderberg meeting at Mont Tremblant, Canada, George Ball provided a far more truthful and insightful glimpse into the group’s economic orientation. Ball, who was Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs under JFK and Lyndon Johnson, a Steering Committee member of the Bilderberg Group as well as a Senior Managing Director for Lehman Brothers and Kuhn Loeb Inc., defined the Bilderberg’s new policy of globalisation and how it would shape the New World Order.
As Pierre Beaudry noted in Synarchy Movement of Empire,2 “…Ball presented an outline of the advantages of a new-colonial world economic order based on the concept of a ‘world company’, and described some of the obstacles that needed to be eliminated for its success. According to Ball, the first and most important thing that had to be eliminated was ‘the archaic political structure of the nation state’.”
In other words, Ball was calling for a return to the old colonialism system, but this time built on the concept of a “world company”.
“Ball wrote: ‘To be productive, we must begin our inquiry by explicitly recognizing the lack of phasing between development of the world company-a concept responding to modern needs-and the continued existence of an archaic political structure of nation states, mostly small or of only medium size, which is evolving only at glacier pace in response to new world requirements of scope and scale.'”
Beaudry concluded: “It was clear for Ball that the very structure of the nation state, and the idea of the commonwealth, or of a general welfare of a people, represented the main obstacle against any attempt of freely looting the planet, especially the weak and poor nations of the world, and represented the most important impediment to the creation of a neo-colonial world empire. The priority of the world company is obviously based on international free trade without restraint, that is, trade measured by the British standard of profit of buying cheap and selling dear. The problem is that national governments have priorities, which are different than and contrary to those of a looting company…”
On page 39 of a Bilderberg transcript from the 1968 meeting at Mont Tremblant, Ball self-assuredly stated the following: “Where does one find a legitimate base for the power of corporate managements to make decisions that can profoundly affect the economic life of nations to whose governments they have only limited responsibility?”
In other words, Messrs Rockefeller and Davignon, what Mr Ball would like to know is: how does one establish a Halliburton type of world company, which would greatly surpass in authority any government on the planet? Isn’t that what “world company”, run by the ruling class, stands for?
Not according to Bilderberg President and Belgian multimillionaire Etienne Davignon. During his 2005 BBC interview, Mr Davignon said: “I don’t think a global ruling class exists. Business influences society, and politics influences society-that’s purely common sense. It’s not that business contests the right of democratically elected leaders to lead.”
Is that so, Mr Davignon? Current parliamentary democracy works on the basis of an “elected” head of state and a parliament, which can be dumped any time you decide to orchestrate a crisis and put a third branch of government in charge of its financial system, called an “independent central banking system”.
In the United States, this “independent” banking system is known as the Federal Reserve, a privately owned bank interlocked with the Bilderberg Group. In Europe, the independent banking system is run through the European Central Bank, whose monetary policies are put together by the leading members of the Bilderberger elite, such as Jean-Claude Trichet. In Britain, this independent system is run by the Bank of England, whose members are also full-time members of the Bilderberg Group’s inner circle. The independent central banking system controls the emission of currency, controls national credit and interest rates, and, any time the government displeases it, uses its power to orchestrate the overthrow of the government. The British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was overthrown because she opposed the wilful handover of British sovereignty to the global world company superstate designed by the Bilderbergers. This is what Kuhn, Loeb and Lehman Brothers have been building worldwide, by way of mergers and acquisitions, from the 1960s until today. In the past decades, the entire deregulation policy of US industries and banking was precisely set up in response to this blueprint scenario for creating giant corporations for a new empire whose intention is nothing short of perpetual war.
Could the eventual dismemberment and weakening of Russia-to the point that it could not oppose US military operations that have now successfully secured control of the oil and gas reserves in Central Asia-been part of a multi-decade plan for global domination? Most credible senior analysts definitely believe so.
At a 1997 symposium held in Bonn, Germany, Dr Sergei Glazyev, Chairman of the Economic Policy Committee of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, explained: “This colonisation, masked as reforms, destroyed the basic institutions of Russian society along the following basic lines: (1) destruction of the financial system of the state by means of an endless build-up of the state debt pyramid, shrinking of the tax base, deepening of the non-payments crisis, and disorganisation of the monetary system; (2) destruction of the scientific and technological potential of the country, achieved by means of a many-fold reduction in state financing of science, the collapse of technological cooperation and scientific production integration in the course of mass privatisation, and the refusal of the government to have any scientific and technical, industrial or structural policy at all; (3) sale of controlling blocs of shares in the leading and most valuable Russian firms, in industry, electric power and telecommunications, to foreign companies; (4) Transfer of the right to exploit the most valuable Russian raw materials deposits to transnational corporations; (5) establishment of foreign control over the Russian stock exchange; (6) establishment of direct foreign control over the shaping of Russian domestic and foreign economic policy.”3
The Bilderberg conclusions are striking in their candidness: “The US can no longer ride roughshod over, nor bully, nor simply ignore resurgent Russia, rising China or the globe’s regimes that supply the vital oil that fuels the US economy. Something must be done, and urgently, in order to cut deeply into Russia’s mounting global energy leverage. The US-Russia strategically deteriorating relations are one victim of this geopolitical struggle for energy supremacy.”
One Finnish delegate’s opinion that “no US-Russia military confrontation is likely, no matter how tense things should get” is increasingly an unsafe one as a more desperate US pushes back against a much more aggressive Russia. Dr Henry Kissinger added that “aggressive, unilateralist US foreign policy has forced ‘axis of evil’ states to accelerate their pursuit of nuclear weapons to immunise themselves against US military strikes”.
Richard Perle pointed out that in response to aggressive US tactics across the globe, Russia has undertaken asymmetric steps to undermine the ability of the US to project its military power effectively into their neighbourhoods and into those of their partners and allies. When one American Bilderberger tried to object, European delegates brought up China’s recent response to US intentions to weaponise space: a simple and relatively inexpensive demonstration of destruction of its satellite. The example produced snickering in the room, much to the chagrin of the Americans.
Afghanistan and the price of treason
Another subject under discussion dealt with Afghanistan. It was commonly agreed by the attendees that the US-led NATO alliance/mission is in a state of quagmire and that “the situation in the country is getting worse”. The problem can be defined, in the words of one British Bilderberger, as “one of the unreal expectations”. He went on to explain that clamouring for democratic reform while simultaneously propping up Pashtun warlords without delivering serious progress “has managed to discredit a lot of our basic notions in the eyes of the Afghans”.
Bilderbergers, however, aren’t the only ones left scratching their heads as to how Western governments and their carefully chosen Afghan partners have managed to spend billions of dollars in development assistance with little to show for it.
Catastrophe is good for business; always has been. Without suffering, there would be no humanitarian assistance. And without humanitarian assistance, there would be no room for undercover intelligence network operations as part of Western imperatives for geopolitical control.
The worse it looks, the better it sells. While the American people were getting their daily diet of ubiquitous images of repression, suffering and burka-clad Afghani women beamed into every living room in America, a propaganda campaign was surreptitiously launched in the pages of newspapers and glossy magazines. The New York Times and the New Yorker were greasing the gears of the misery machine by urging the US government, the United Nations and anyone who would listen to “do something”-amid the jewellery advertisements. Terror and horror, like expensive jewellery, became commodities.
Today, Afghanistan and its African cousins of Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Congo and Rwanda and the rest of the nations blessed with Western humanitarian help are all basket cases. Bilderbergers seem to be asking: how is it possible that humanitarian missions of such scale and magnitude could have failed so miserably? Is it a case of good-intentioned exercises going bad due to corruption, greed and lack of oversight? Or is it the merciless dismemberment of yet more foreign lands and cultures exercised stealthily through humanitarian aid agencies tied to the larger apparatus of government?
Furthermore, the US government’s support for known Afghani drug warlords adds another vital clue to the puzzle. The amount of profit generated annually by the drug trade, according to the United Nations, is somewhere around $700 billion in tax-free cash flow per year. Seven hundred billion dollars a year is too much money to hide in a sock. You need a lot of experience and expertise to move those kinds of funds stealthily. Does anyone doubt that Afghanistan is about drugs? Does anyone doubt that the CIA is involved?
For example, the CIA financed the Muslim Brotherhood in 1977 and trained the mujahedin in preparation for the campaign of collusion between Washington and right-wing Islam: the Afghan War. The roots to the Afghan conflict can be traced to Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, the centre of the Muslim Brotherhood’s activity. Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, alleged airline hijacker Mohammed Atta was identified as a Muslim Brother in several Western publications such as the Washington Post (22 September 2001), the Observer (23 September 2001) and Newsweek (31 December 2001). Other Muslim Brothers involved were Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Ramzi Yousef, who masterminded the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man, an Egyptian by the name of Ayman al-Zawahiri, is also a lifelong member of the Brotherhood.
Robert Dreyfuss, in his extremely important book Devil’s Game,4 explained it thus: “They returned to Afghanistan and formed a branch of the Brothers, the Islamic Society. Later, these same ‘professors’, as they were known, would form the backbone of the Afghan mujahedin who waged a US-backed, decade-long war against the Soviet occupation. The three leading ‘professors’ were Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, Burhanuddin Rabbani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.” Sayyaf and Hekmatyar, two big-time Pashtun drug traffickers and CIA assets, were backed by Pakistani Intelligence as well as Pakistan’s own “branch” of the Brotherhood and funded by Saudi money.
There is yet another link between the Brotherhood and the super-secret Bilderberg Group. In the early 1980s, Bilderberger Michael Ledeen of the ultraconservative American Enterprise Institute and Bilderberger Richard Perle used Hekmatyar as a poster boy of anti-Soviet resistance at the time when Hekmatyar was actively working with Hezb-i-Islami terrorists to undermine America’s influence in Afghanistan. Does anyone reading this doubt that this is hardly a coincidence?
First came the “humanitarian relief” through non-government organisations. In short order, this was followed by the US military which came to the rescue out of the goodness of its heart for “purely humanitarian objectives”. Once on the ground, it became an exercise in “nation-building”. In the end, it morphed into the hunt for a terrorist dictator.
During an animated discussion at Bilderberg 2007 in Istanbul, one Italian asked if the US-led NATO forces have “the will to stay the course”. In the wake of the US military siege of Tora Bora, Afghanistan, in December 2001, the commanding general, Tommy Franks, reportedly said it was not his intention to “get embroiled in a Soviet-style long-term engagement as in the 1980s”.5 Now, however, American Bilderbergers are pressuring NATO allies to provide larger troop contributions to the cause.
Dr Kissinger insisted that “the will” is lacking and so “we must now begin to acknowledge our limits”. “The choices facing us are very difficult,” reflected one European Royal, wholeheartedly agreeing with Kissinger’s assessment on the lack of commitment and will. A NATO representative categorically stated that the West has neither the political intelligence nor the understanding to fight a protracted, decade-long counter-insurgency campaign in Afghanistan.
A MEANS TO AN END?
The Bilderberg Group is not the end but the means to a future One World Government. This organisation has grown beyond its secretive beginnings to become a virtual shadow government which decides in total secrecy at annual meetings how its plans are to be carried out. The ultimate goal of this nightmare future is to transform Earth into a prison planet by bringing about a single globalised marketplace, controlled by a One World Government, policed by a United World Army, financially regulated by a World Bank, and populated by a microchipped population whose life’s needs have been stripped down to materialism and survival-work, buy, procreate, sleep-all connected to a global computer that monitors our every move.
And it is becoming easier because the development of telecommunications technology together with profound advances in present-day knowledge and new methods of behaviour engineering to manipulate individual conduct are converting what, in other epochs of history, were only evil intentions into a disturbing new reality. Each new measure, viewed on its own, may seem an aberration, but a whole host of changes, as part of an ongoing continuum, constitutes a shift towards total enslavement.
But there is hope. In almost every corner of the planet, stress points are beginning to fracture and people are starting to take sides. There is a general awakening taking place as people hold mirrors up to the irrationality that’s being imposed upon them. This awakening is beginning to empower our collective learning and understanding. You see, the powers-that-be have told us that world events are too difficult for the layperson to understand. They lied! We have been told that national secrets must be zealously protected. Indeed, they must! No government wants its citizens to discover that its best and brightest participate in massive collusion, conspiracy and pillaging of the planet.
Now, as the year 2007 unfolds, we find ourselves at the crossroads. The road we take from here will determine the very future of humanity and whether we will become an electronic global police state or remain free human beings. We must always remember that it is not up to God to bring us back from the “New Dark Age” planned for us. It is up to us. Forewarned is forearmed. We will never find the right answers if we don’t ask the right questions.
1. Brzezinski, Zbigniew, The Grand Chessboard: American primacy and its geostrategic imperatives, Basic Books, New York, 1997
2. Beaudry, Pierre, Synarchy Movement of Empire, Leesburg, Virginia, USA, 2005, Book IV, chapter 4, pp. 104-05, at http://www.pehi.eu/organisations/SME/Synarchy_Movement_of_Empire_book_04.pdf
3. Glazyev, Sergei, “From a Five-Year Plan of Destruction to a Five-Year Plan of Colonisation”, EIR Bonn Symposium, 1997
4. Dreyfuss, Robert, Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam, Henry Holt & Co., New York, 2005
5. Smucker, Philip, “Missions impossible: NATO’s Afghan dilemma”, Asia Times Online, 1 June 2007, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/IF01Df01.html
About the Author:
Based in Spain, Daniel Estulin is an award-winning investigative journalist who has been researching the Bilderberg Group for over 15 years. He is the author of La Verdadera Historia del Club Bilderberg (2005), a bestseller in Spain and now in its 13th printing; it has been translated into 24 languages and sold to over 42 countries. The English-language edition, The True Story of the Bilderberg Group, is to be published by Trine Day, USA in September 2007 (available through Amazon.com). The sequel, Los Secretos del Club Bilderberg (2006), is already in its second printing in Spanish; bidding for international rights is scheduled for (northern) autumn 2007.
Estulin’s previous contribution to NEXUS was in 2005 with “Breaking the Silence: Bilderberg Exposed” (vol. 12, no. 5). The original text of this 2007 article is at the web page http://www.danielestulin.com/?op=noticias¬icias= ver&id=345&idioma=en.
Daniel Estulin can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit his website at http://www.danielestulin.com.
DELEGATES AT BILDERBERG 2007
Istanbul, Turkey, 31 May – 3 June 2007
This year’s delegation included many of the most important politicians, businessmen, central bankers, European commissioners and executives of the Western corporate press. They were joined at the table by leading representatives of European royalty.
According to the Bilderberg Steering Committee list which this author has had access to, the following names have now been confirmed as attendees at the Bilderberg 2007 conference (uncharacteristically, David Rockefeller was not present).
Graham Allison, Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (USA); George Alogoskoufis, Minister for Economy and Finance (Greece);
Ali Babacan, Minister for Economic Affairs (Turkey); Francisco Pinto Balsemo, Chairman and CEO, IMPRESA SGPS, former Prime Minister (Portugal); Michel Barnier, Vice President, Merieux Alliance; former Minister for Foreign Affairs (France); Michael Barone, Senior Writer, US News & World Report (USA); Martin Bartenstein, Federal Minister of Economics and Labour (Austria); Nicolas Baverez, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP (France); Her Majesty Queen Beatrix, Queen of The Netherlands (The Netherlands); Leonor Beleza, President, Champalimaud Foundation (Portugal); Franco Bernabe, Vice Chairman, Rothschild Europe (Italy); Rosina M. Bierbaum, Professor and Dean, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan (USA); Carl Bildt, Minister for Foreign Affairs, former Prime Minister (Sweden); Mehmet A. Birand, Columnist (Turkey); Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs & Co. (USA); Anders Borg, Minister for Finance (Sweden); Charles G. Boyd, President and CEO, Business Executives for National Security (USA); Umit N. Boyner, Member, Executive Board, Boyner Holding (Turkey); Vendeline A. H. von Bredow, Business Correspondent, The Economist; Rapporteur (Germany); Ian Bremmer, President, Eurasia Group (USA); Oscar Bronner, Publisher and Editor, Der Standard (Austria); Hubert Burda, Publisher and CEO, Hubert Burda Media Holding (Belgium); Gerald Butts, Principal Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister of Ontario (Canada);
Cengiz Candar, Journalist, Referans (Turkey); Henri de Castries, Chairman of Management Board and CEO, AXA (France); Juan Luis Cebrian, CEO, Grupo PRISA media group (Spain); Hikmet Cetin, Former Minister for Foreign Affairs and former NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan (Turkey); Kenneth Clarke, Member of Parliament (UK); Timothy C. Collins, Senior Managing Director and CEO, Ripplewood Holding, LLC (USA);
Frans van Daele, Permanent Representative of Belgium to NATO (Belgium); George A. David, Chairman, Coca-Cola HBC SA (Greece); Etienne Davignon, Vice-Chairman, Suez-Tractebel, Honorary Chairman, Bilderberg Meetings (Belgium); Richard Dearlove, Master, Pembroke College, Cambridge (UK); Kemal Dervis, Administrator, UNDP (Turkey); Anna Diamantopoulou, Member of Parliament (Greece); Thomas E. Donilon, Partner, O’Melveny & Myers LLP (USA); Mathias Dopfner, Chairman and CEO, Axel Springer AG (Germany); Cem Duna, Former Ambassador to the European Union (Turkey); Esther Dyson, Chairman, EDventure Holdings, Inc. (USA);
Anders Eldrup, President, DONG AS (Denmark); John Elkann, Vice Chairman, Fiat SpA (Italy);
Ulrik Federspiel, Permanent Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Denmark); Martin S. Feldstein, President and CEO, National Bureau of Economic Research (USA);
Timothy F. Geithner, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of New York (USA); Paul A. Gigot, Editorial Page Editor, The Wall Street Journal (USA); Eival Gilady, CEO, The Portland Trust, Israel (Israel); Dermot Gleeson, Chairman, AIB Group (Ireland); Emre Gonensay, Professor of Economics, Isik University, and former Minister for Foreign Affairs (Turkey); Marc Grossman, Vice Chairman, The Cohen Group (USA); Alfred Gusenbauer, Federal Chancellor (Austria);
Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations (USA); Victor Halberstadt, Professor of Economics, Leiden University, former Honorary Secretary-General of Bilderberg Meetings (The Netherlands); Peter D. Hart, Chairman, Peter D. Hart Research Associates (USA); Frank Heemskerk, Minister for Foreign Trade (The Netherlands); Paul Hermelin, CEO, Cap Gemini SA (France); Richard C. Holbrooke, Vice Chairman, Perseus, LLC (USA); Jan H. M. Hommen, Chairman, Reed Elsevier NV (The Netherlands); Jaap G. de Hoop Scheffer,* Secretary-General, NATO (The Netherlands/International);
Atte Jaaskelainen, Director of News, Sports and Regional Programmes, YLE (Finland); Kenneth Jacobs, Deputy Chairman, Head of Lazard USA, Lazard Freres & Co. LLC (USA); James A. Johnson, Vice Chairman, Perseus LLC (USA); Vernon E. Jordan, Jr, Senior Managing Director, Lazard Frres & Co. LLC (USA); His Majesty, King Juan Carlos I,* King of Spain (Spain);
Jyrki Katainen, Minister of Finance (Finland); Jason Kenney, Member of Parliament (Canada); Muhtar Kent, President and Chief Operating Officer, The Coca-Cola Company (USA); John Kerr (Lord Kerr of Kinlochard), Member, House of Lords, Deputy Chairman, Royal Dutch Shell PLC (UK); Henry A. Kissinger, Chairman, Kissinger Associates (USA); Eckart von Klaeden, Foreign Policy Spokesman, CDU/CSU (Germany); Klaus Kleinfeld, President and CEO, Siemens AG (Germany); Mustafa V. Koc, Chairman, Ko Holding AS (Turkey); Bruce Kovner, Chairman, Caxto Associates LLC (USA); Henry R. Kravis, Founding Partner, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (USA); Marie-Josée Kravis, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute, Inc. (USA); Idar Kreutzer, CEO, Storebrand ASA (The Netherlands); Neelie Kroes, Commissioner, European Commission (The Netherlands/ International);
Bernardino Leon Gross, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Spain); Mogens Lykketoft, Member of Parliament (Denmark); William J. Luti, Special Assistant to the President for Defense Policy and Strategy, National Security Council (USA);
Jessica T. Mathews, President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (USA); Michael McDowell, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Ireland); John R. Micklethwait, Editor, The Economist (UK); Mario Monti, President, University Commerciale Luigi Bocconi (Italy); Craig J. Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Microsoft Corporation (USA); Egil Myklebust, Chairman, SAS and Norsk Hydro ASA (Norway);
Matthias Nass, Deputy Editor, Die Zeit (Germany); Ewald Nowotny, CEO, BAWAG PSK (Austria);
Christine Ockrent, Editor-in-Chief, France Television (France); Jorma Ollila, Chairman, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Chairman and CEO, Nokia Corporation (Finland); George Osborne, MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer (UK);
Laurence Parisot, President, MEDEF (Mouvement des Entreprises de France) (France); Christopher Patten, Member, House of Lords (UK); Richard N. Perle, Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (USA); Rick Perry, Governor of Texas (USA); Volker Perthes, Director, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (Germany); HRH Prince Philippe of Belgium (Belgium);
Rodrigo de Rato y Figaredo, Managing Director, IMF (International); Olli Rehn, Commissioner, European Commission (International); Heather Reisman, Chair and CEO, Indigo Books & Music Inc. (Canada); Mat’as Rodriguez Inciarte, Executive Vice Chairman, Grupo Santander, Ciudad Grupo (Spain); Olivier Roy, Senior Researcher, CNRS (France);
Paolo Scaroni, CEO, Eni SpA (Italy); Eric Schmidt, Chairman of the Executive Committee and CEO, Google (USA); Rudolf Scholten, Member of the Board of Executive Directors, Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG (Austria); Jorgen E. Schrempp, former Chairman of the Board of Management, DaimlerChrysler AG (Germany); Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum (Switzerland); Robert W. Scully, Co-President, Morgan Stanley (USA); Kathleen Sebelius, Governor of Kansas (USA); Josette Sheeran, Executive Director, UN World Food Programme (USA); Kristen Silverberg, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Interational Organization Affairs (USA); Domenico Siniscalco, Managing Director and Vice Chairman, Morgan Stanley (Italy); Javier Solana,* High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union and the Western European Union (International); Her Majesty Queen Sophia, Queen of Spain (Spain); Ayse Soysal, Rector, Bosphorus University (Turkey); Lawrence H. Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor, Harvard University (USA); Peter D. Sutherland, Chairman, BP PLC, and Chairman, Goldman Sachs International (Ireland); Carl-Henric Svanberg, President and CEO, Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (Sweden);
Paul A. Taggart, Professor of Politics, University of Sussex (UK); Sidney Taurel, Chairman and CEO, Eli Lilly and Company (USA); J. Martin Taylor, Chairman, Syngenta International AG (UK); Peter A. Thiel, President, Clarium Capital Management, LLC (USA); Teija Tiilikainen, State Secretary, Ministry for Foreign Affairs (Finland); Michel Tilmant, Chairman, ING NV (The Netherlands); Jean-Claude Trichet, Governor, European Central Bank (France/International);
Jens Ulltveit-Moe, CEO, Umoe AS (Norway);
Daniel L. Vasella, Chairman and CEO, Novartis AG (Switzerland); Jeroen van der Veer, Chief Executive, Royal Dutch Shell PLC (The Netherlands);
Jacob Wallenberg, Chairman, Investor AB (Sweden); Vin (J.V.) Weber, Partner, Clark & Weinstock (USA); Guido Westerwelle, Chairman, Free Democratic Party (Germany); Ross Wilson, Ambassador to Turkey (USA); James D. Wolfensohn, Chairman, Wolfensohn & Company, LLC (USA); Paul Wolfowitz, President, The World Bank (International); Joseph R. Wood, Deputy Assistant to the Vice President, National Security Affairs (USA); Adrian D. Wooldridge, Foreign Correspondent, The Economist; Rapporteur (UK);
Arzuhan Dogan Yalindag, President, TUSIAD (Turkey); Erkut Yucaoglu, Chairman of the Board, MAP, former President, TUSIAD (Turkey);
Philip D. Zelikow, White Burkett Miller Professor of History, University of Virginia (USA); Robert B. Zoellick,* former US Trade Representative, former Deputy Secretary of State, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs (USA).
* Known to have attended Bilderberg 2007, although not included on the official list of attendees distributed by the Bilderberg Meetings office.