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Cyprus represented for first time at secret Bilderberg meeting

Cyprus Mail | June 11 2004

CYPRUS was represented for the first time ever at the 50th anniversary conference of the top-secret prestigious Bilderberg group in Italy last weekend, it was confirmed yesterday.

The island’s ambassador to Greece, Leondios Pantelides, confirmed that he had joined the likes of Henry Kissenger, who is a regular Bilderberger, Richard Perle, Richard Holbrooke, the heads of the Rothschild and Rockefeller dynasties, European royalty, select media barons and world bankers.

Speaking to the Cyprus Mail from Athens yesterday, Pantelides said he could not discuss the content of the three-day meeting, which had been held in Stresa in Italy. “But I have no problem confirming that I was there,” he said.

For the best part of 50 years, the annual Bilderberg meeting, named after the Dutch hotel in which it was first held in 1954, has been something of a myth, which with the advent of the Internet has developed into a full-blown conspiracy theory.

It’s only in the past three years that its existence has become a topic in the mainstream media, following the Swedish-held meeting two years ago. Last year’s meeting was held in Versailles.

When the list of participants is viewed, and taking into account the strict media ban and hush-hush agenda, it’s not hard to see why Bilderberg is shrouded in mystery, or why conspiracy theorists suspect a big-moneyed elite are shaping world policy behind the scenes to further their own interests.

This year’s list of 126 invitees (33 of them Americans) from 25 countries, included BP boss John Browne, US senator John Edwards, Mrs Bill Gates, former British Chancellor Kenneth Clarke, Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands and Jean-Claude Trichet, President of European Central Bank, as well as a host of other big-name financiers, industrialists, politicians and opinion formers.

Regulars and those who have popped in to previous meetings include Prince Charles, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Donald Rumsfeld, Peter Mandelson, King Juan Carlos of Spain, and Lord Black. There was also a suggestion that George Bush might have dropped in to the Stresa meeting as he was in Italy late last week.

Pantelides said this was the first year that Cyprus had been invited to the Bilderberg meeting, although he said the Cyprus issue was not on the official agenda, which needless to say is a “secret”.

Alternative Internet media reports suggested this year’s conference dealt mainly with European-American relations, US Politics, Iraq, The Middle East, European Geopolitics, NATO, China, Economic Problems and Energy.

Pantelides said Cyprus may have been invited this year due to the fact that the island has now joined the EU, “although not all new members were invited,” he said. Cyprus has also been on the world stage in recent months.

Cyprus and Poland were the only two of the 10 new EU member states invited, compared to 14 of the 15 pre-enlargement countries. No one from Luxembourg attended.

“All I can say is that it was interesting,” said Pantelides.

According to a BBC report, "privacy, rather than secrecy", is key to such a meeting. Financial Times journalist Martin Wolf, who has been invited several times in a non-reporting role, told the BBC: "The idea that such meetings cannot be held in private is fundamentally totalitarian," he says.

"It’s not an executive body; no decisions are taken there."

However, left-wing activist Tony Gosling, a former journalist, said: "My main problem is the secrecy. When so many people with so much power get together in one place I think we are owed an explanation of what is going on.”

Former Observer editor Will Hutton, who has been invited in the past, has called the group the "high priests of globalisation".