June 3, 2010
This is the second dispatch from Charlie Skelton’s Bilderblog. Read part one here.
“Congratulations!” grinned the man in charge of this year’s Bilderberg conference, mustering as much sarcasm as a Dutchman could muster.
“You are the last guests here! You should have a banner!” he whooped, punching the air, wanting us gone. It’s true – we had been dragging our heels as we left the Hotel Dolce Sitges. The folding tables were already being set up in the courtyard for participant lanyards and orientation packs. It was well past the midday “lockdown” of the hotel.
“Lockdown” at Bilderberg means that security is snapped securely shut – it means an unbreachable, Pentagon-like security cordon is tightened around this seaside hotel.
It means that hundreds (and I mean hundreds) of police, in various states of riot readiness, position themselves at every junction, every roundabout, along every road, layby and dirt track within a mile of the building. And every 15 minutes or so, ruining everyone’s poolside naps, police choppers circle in the perfect sky above.
The helicopters started yesterday. The day before, as we were checking in, a couple of tourists in microlights came buzzing over the hotel before buzzing off towards the beach. For about two seconds, I thought: “Brilliant! That’s how we’re going to get photos! From the air!” Then I thought: “CIA snipers! Not so brilliant!”.
We’ve made do with a few sneaky shots around the hotel and some hushed chats with the barstaff. We did a little undercover work. And, as a result, we can confirm the following people will definitely be attending this year’s Bilderberg conference in Sitges.
I can’t tell you how I know this. Let’s just say we ‘obtained’ this information. Step forward if you hear your name.
1. Marcus Agius: The chairman of Barclays and a senior non-executive director on the BBC’s new executive board. Married to Katherine, daughter of Edmund Leopold de Rothschild (I don’t know why I mention that. Just a bit of family trivia – the sort of thing some people find interesting).
2. Josef Ackermann: The CEO of Deutsche Bank and a non-executive director of Shell.
3. General Jack Keane, the former vice chief of staff of the US army and on the board of the US defence conglomerate General Dynamics.
4. Juan Luis Cebrián Echarri: The CEO and co-founder of El Pais; the CEO of Grupo Prisa (Spain‘s biggest publisher); on the board of directors of Le Monde.
5. Richard Holbrooke: Barack Obama’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan and a member of the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations.
6. Gustavo A Cisneros Rendiles: A Venezuelan media mogul – one of the world’s richest men.
7. Victor Halberstadt: Professor of public economics at Leiden University and international advisor to Goldman Sachs. President of the International Institute of Public Finance.
8. Roger Altman: The founder and chairman of Evercore Partners, “the most active investment banking boutique in the world” (their website says).
9. Joaquín Almunia: Senior Spanish member of the European commission.
10. W. Edmund Clark: President and CEO of the TD Bank Financial Group.
11. Jan H.M. Hommen: Chairman of the ING Group.
12. Jyrki Katainen: Minster of finance in Finland, chairman of the Finnish National Coalition party.
And they’re just the tip of the Bilderberg. More names will emerge as the weekend progresses, and the long-lens snaps have started coming in. The police have started pushing us further from the roundabouts. We’ve had the first detentions and the first angry deletions of photographs by police.
This article was posted: Thursday, June 3, 2010 at 9:57 am