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Today Kanata ...
...Tomorrow the world. Or so conspiracy theorists warn as secret confab wraps up

HOLLY LAKE, OTTAWA SUN | June 12 2006

YOU MIGHT not care or know about the ultra-secretive meetings that happened this weekend at the Brookstreet Hotel.

Whether you pay attention to the annual gathering of the Bilderberg group -- comprised of royalty, political power-brokers, national leaders, bankers and heads of some of the world's largest companies -- Mark O'Donnell says what they do and decide impacts our lives daily.

"The world we're living in right now is a reflection of some of the decisions that people like this have made."

The 32-year-old Kanata man and father of one said the meetings are part of the reason why gas is a dollar a litre and Iraq was invaded.

"A lot of people have a lot more local problems -- how to buy groceries this week," he said. "These are major, major issues and for a lot of people, it's too much for them to even care about. If it's not going to affect them in the next week or two, it's not really a concern."

A "moderate" conspiracy theorist, O'Donnell said some of more vocal Bilderberg critics do themselves a disservice by grandstanding.

"It's too easy to dismiss," he said. "You're not going to get any support or credit when people drive by and see, 'We're all going to hell'."

It's also too easy for people to label critics conspiracy theorists and be on with their day, he said. He's done some research and taken a close look at who's involved and he's convinced something stinks.

The Brookstreet Hotel was off limits to all but staff and Bilderbergers this weekend. Outside, heavy security staffed metal gates blocking all access to the hotel's empty parking lot. Two police cruisers patrolled the lot but even police officers who can usually go anywhere couldn't approach the hotel without a special Bilderberg-issued pass.

BLACK LIMOS

Even yesterday, as a steady stream of black limos with tinted windows ferried the privileged participants away from the hotel, onlookers were kept off the property.

Bilderberg is criticized for being accountable to no one and circumventing democracy by privately discussing public issues -- and some suspect setting public policy. Members say they're building transatlantic understanding, frankly talking about issues, but they prefer to do it in private where invited participants can speak freely.

Secret meetings that have Indigo Books CEO Heather Reisman, Richard Perle, one of George W. Bush's top advisors, billionaire David Rockefeller and Holland's Queen Beatrix in the same group?

"What could they possibly have to say to one another?" O'Donnell asked. "And why hide in secrecy if they're talking about good? It just seems to stink of something."

WHO'S WHO

Some of the more prominent attendees at this year's conclave at the Brookstreet:

GEORGE ALOGOSKOUFIS, finance minister of Greece.

Ahmad Chalabi, former deputy prime minister of Iraq.

George David, chairman of Coca-Cola.

Paul Desmarais, CEO of Power Corporation.

Richard Holbrooke, U.S. foreign policy advisor.

Vernon Jordan, friend and onetime aide to Bill Clinton.

Henry Kissinger, advisor to U.S. presidents (a regular participant).

Bernardino Leon Gross, Spain's foreign minister.

Ronald S. Lloyd, chairman of Credit Suisse First Boston.

Frank McKenna, former New Brunswick premier, former ambassador to the U.S. and deputy chair of the Toronto Dominion Bank (a regular participant).

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, whose father started the meetings (a regular participant).

Gordon Nixon, president and CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada.

George Pataki, governor of New York state.

Richard Perle, senior foreign policy adviser to U.S. President George W. Bush and an architect of the war in Iraq (a regular participant).

Heather Reisman, chairwoman and CEO of Indigo Books and Music Inc.

David Rockefeller, retired banker, heir to Rockefeller oil fortune (regular participant).

Dennis B. Ross, former Clinton Mideast negotiator.

James Wolfensohn, U.S. Mideast envoy, former head of the World Bank.

OUT IN THE OPEN'

- The Bilderberg group, a highly secretive annual gathering of some of the world's most powerful people, was founded in 1954 by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, ostensibly to foster better transatlantic understanding and co-operation through frank discussion. The group takes it name from the hotel in Holland where the group first met.

- They have no website and make few official statements but meet under extreme security, usually at the most luxurious five-star resorts in Europe and North America.

- Invited guests usually number around 120, and include European royalty, presidents, prime ministers and top global economic and foreign policy figures, academics, media moguls and others.

- Critics say they are a shadow government, the real power that transcends politics and national governments, who pick politicians and control key posts, decide macroeconomic events and when and where wars will take place.

- Their aim, critics say, is a new world order, one world government, one religion, elimination of national boundaries and governments and complete control of finance, energy, natural resources, and production and distribution of goods and services.

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