Bilderberg Conference 2004 - The 50th anniversary of the
first meeting in 1954
Stresa, Italy 3-6 June 2004 - 50th anniversary conference now in session
The 52nd Bilderberg Meeting will be held in Stresa, Italy, 3-6 June 2004. The Conference will deal mainly with European American relations and in this context US Politics, Iraq, The Middle East., European Geopolitics, NATO, China, Economoic Problems and Energy......
CURRENT LIST OF PARTICIPANTS
S T R I C T L Y C O N F I D E N T I A L
Honorary Chairman - Davignon, Etienne - Vice-Chairman, Suez-Tractebel
Honorary Secretary General - Taylor, Martin - International Adviser, Goldman Sachs International
Nationalities of participants followed by names and partial portfolios
N - Auser, Svein - CEO, DnB NOR ASA
D - Ackermann, Josef - Chairman, Group Executive Committee, Deutsche Bank AG
I - Ambrosetti, Alfredo - Chairman, Abbrosetti Group
TR - Babacan, Ali - Minister of Economic Affairs
P - Balsemao, Francisco Pinto - Chairman and CEO, IMPRESA, SGPS, Former Prime Minister
ISR - Barnavie, Elie - Department of General History, Tel-Aviv University
I - Benedetti, Rodolfo De - CEO, CIR
I - Bernabe, Franco - Vice Chairman, Rothschild Europe
F - Beytout, Nicolas - Editor In Chief, Les Echos
INT - Bolkestein, Frits - Commissioner for the Internal Market, European Commission, former leader of Dutch right wing Liberal Party VVD.
USA - Boot, Max - Neoconservative, Council on foreign Relations, Features Editor, Wall Street Journal
CH - Borel, Daniel - Chairman, Logitech International S.A.
I - Bortoli, Ferrucio de - CEO, RCS Libri
S - Brock, Gunnar - CEO, Atlas Copco AB
GB - Browne, John - Group Chief Executive, BP plc
NL - Burgmans, Antony - Chairman, Unilever NV
F - Camus, Phillipe - CEO, European Aeronautic Defence and Space NV
I - Caracciolo, Lucio - Director, Limes Geopolitical Review
F - Castries, Henri de - Chairman, AXA Insurance
E - Cebrian, Juan Luis - CEO, PRISA (Spanish language media company), former Chairman, International Press Institute
TR - Cemal, Hasan - Senior Columnist, Milliyet Newspaper
GB - Clarke, Kenneth - Member of Parliament (Con.), Deputy Chairman, British American Tobacco
USA - Collins, Timothy C - MD and CEO, Ripplewood Holdings LLC, Yale School of Management, Trilateral Commission
USA - Corzine, Jon S. - Senator (D, New Jersey), Chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs
CH - Couchepin, Pascal - Former Swiss President, Head of Home affairs Dept.
GR - David, George A. - Chairman, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company SA
B - Dehaene, Jean-Luc - Former Prime Minister, Mayor of Vilvoorde
TR - Dervis, Kemal - Member of Parliament, former senior World bank official
GR - Diamantopoulou, Anna - Member of Parliament, former European Commissioner for Social Affairs
USA - Donilon, Thomas L - Vice-President, Fannie Mae, Council on Foreign Relations
I - Draghi, Mario - Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Goldman Sachs
USA - Edwards, John - Senator (D. North Carolina), Democratic Presidential Candidate
DK - Eldrup, Anders - Chairman, DONG gas company (becoming privatised) A/S
DK - Federspiel, Ulrik - Ambassador to the USA
USA - Feith, Douglas J. - Undersecretary for Policy, Department of Defense
I - Galateri, Gabriele - Chairman, Mediobanca
USA - Gates, Melinda F. - Co-Founder, Gates Foundation, wife of Bill Gates
USA - Geithner, Timothy F. - President, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
I - Giavazzi, Francesco - Professor of Economics, Bocconi University; adviser, world bank and European Central bank
IRL - Gleeson, Dermot - Chairman Allied Irish Bank Group (currently being investigated for personal and corporate tax evasion)
USA - Graham, Donald E. - Chairman and CEO, Washington Post Company
USA - Haas, Richard N. - President, Council on Foreign Relations, former Director of Policy and Planning staff, State Department
NL - Halberstadt, Victor - Professor of Economics, Leiden University
B - Hansen, Jean-Pierre - Chairman, Suez Tractabel SA
S - Heikensten, Lars - Governor, Swedish Central Bank
USA - Holbrooke, Richard C - Vice Chairman, Perseus, former Director, Council on Foreign Relations, former Assistant Secretary of State
USA - Hubbard, Allen B - President E&A Industries
USA - Issacson, Walter - President and CEO, Aspen Institute
USA - Janow, Merit L. - Professor, International Economic Law and International Affairs, Columbia University
USA - Jordan, Vernon E. Senior Managing Director, Lazard Freres & Co LLC
USA - Kagan, Robert - Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
GB - Kerr, John - Director, Shell, Rio Tinto, Scottish American Investment Trust
USA - Kissinger Henry A. - Chairman, Kissinger Associates Inc.
TR - Koc, Mustafa V. - Chairman, Koc Holdings AS
NL - Koenders, Bert (AG) - Member of Parliament, president, Parliamentary Network of the World Bank
USA - Kovner, Bruce - Chairman Caxton Associates LLC, Chairman, American Enterprise Institute
USA - Kravis, Henry R. - Founding Partner, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., acquisitions financier
USA - Kravis, Marie Josee - Senoir Fellow, Hudson Institute Inc.
FIN - Lehtomaki, Paula - Minister of Foreigh Trade and Development
FIN - Lipponen, Paavo - Speaker of Parliament
CHN - Long, Yongtu - Secretary General, Boao forum for Asia
P - Lopes, Pedro M. Santana - Mayor of Lisbon
USA - Luti, William J. - Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
CDN - Lynch, Kevin G. - Deputy Minister, Department of Finance
USA - Mathews, Jessica T. - President, Carnegie Endowment for International War Peace
USA - McDonough, William J. - Cahirman and CEO, Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, former president, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
CDN - McKenna, Frank - Counsel, McInnes Cooper, former premier of New Brunswick
I - Merlini, Cesare - Executive Vice Chairman, Council for the United States and Italy, Council on Foreign Relations, former director, Italian Institute for International Affairs
F - Montbrial, Thierry de - President, French Institute of International Relations
INT - Monti, Mario - Competition Commissioner, European Commission
USA - Mundie, Craig J. - Chief Technical Officer, Advanced Strategies and Policies, Microsoft Corporation
N - Myklebust, Egil - Chairman, Scandinavian Airline System (SAS)
D - Naas, Matthias - Deputy Editor, Die Zeit
NL - Netherlands, Beatrix HM Queen of The - Lady Shell, nuff said
GB - Neville-Jones, Pauline - Chairman, QuinetiQ (UK privatised military research/services company), governor of the BBC, Chairman Information Assurance Advisory Council, formar Chairman Joint Intelligence Committee, former Managing Director NatWest Markets
USA - Nooyi, Indra K. - President and CEO, PepsiCo Inc.
PL - Olechowski, Andrzej - Leader, Civic Platform
FIN - Ollila, Jorma - Chairman, Nokia Corporation
INT - Padoa-Schioppa, Tommaso - Director, European Central Bank
CY - Pantelides, Leonidas - Ambassoador to Greece
I - Passera, Corrado - CEO, Banca Intesa SpA
USA - Perle, Richard N. - Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, former Likud policy adviser, former chair Defence Policy Board, former co-chairman, Hollinger Digital
B - Phillipe, HRH Prince
USA - Reed, Ralph E. - President, Century Strategies
CDN - Reisman, Heather - President and CEO, Indigo Books and Music Inc.
I - Riotta, Gianni - Editorialist, Corriere della Serra
USA - Rockefeller, David - Member JP Morgan International Council, Chairman, Council of the Americas
E - Riodriguez Inearte, Matias - Vice Chairman, Grupo Santander
USA - Ross, Dennis B - Director, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
D - Sandschneider, Eberhard - Director, Research Institute, German Society for Foreign Policy
I - Scaroni, Paolo - CEO, Enel SpA
D - Schilly, Otto - Minister of the Interior
USA - Schnabel, Rockwell A. - Ambassador to the EU
A - Scholten, Rudolf - Director, Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG
D - Schrempp, Jurgen E. - Chairman, DaimlerChrysler AG
E - Serra Rexach, Eduardo - Head, Real Institute Elcano
RUS - Shevtsova, Lilia - Senior Associate. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
PL - Sikora, Slawomir - President and CEO, Citibank Handlowy
I - Siniscalo, Domenico - Director General Ministry of the Economy
P - Socrates, Jose - Member of Parliament
USA - Strmecki, Marin J. - Smith Richardson Foundation
B - Struye de Swielande, Dominique - Permanant repressentative of Belguim, NATO
IRL - Sutherland, Peter D. - Chairman, Goldman Sachs International, Chairman, BP plc
USA - Thornton, John L. - Chairman, Brookings Institution, Professor, Tsinghua University
I - Tremonti, Giulio - Minister of Economy and Finance
INT - Trichet, Jean-Claude - President, European Central Bank
I - Tronchetti Provera, Marco - Chairman and CEO, Pirelli SpA
N - Underdal, Arild - Rector, University of Oslo
CH - Vasella, Daniel L. - Chairman and CEO, Novartis AG
NL - Veer, Jeroen van der - Chairman, Committee of Managing Directors, Royal Dutch/Shell
GB - Verwaayen, Ben J. M. - CEO, British Telecom; former director, Lucent Technologies
I - Visco, Ignazio - Foriegn Affairs Manager, Banca D'Italia
INT - Vitorino, Antonio M. - Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner, European Union
INT - Vries, Gijs M. de - EU Counter Terrorism Co-ordinator
S - Wallenberg, Jacob - Chairman, SEB investments (including biotech); Chairman, W Capital Management AB
D - Weber, Jurgen - Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Deutche Lufthansa AG
GB/USA - Weinberg, Peter - CEO, Goldman Sachs International
NL - Wijers, Hans - Chairman, AkzoNobel NV
D - Wissmann, Matthias - Member of Parliament
GB - Wolf, Martin H. - Associate Editor/Economic Commentator, The Financial Times
INT/USA - Wolfenson, James D. - President, The World Bank
RUS - Yavlinsky, Grigory A. - Member of Parliament
USA - Yergin, Daniel - Chairman, Cambridge Energy Research Associates
D - Zumwinkel, Llaus - Chairman, Deutche Post Worldnet AG
GB - Rachman, Gideon - Brussels Correspondent, The Economist
GB - Wooldridge, Adrian D. - Foreign Correspondant, The Economist
Where will this year's Bilderberg meeting take place?
LATEST: VENUE CONFIRMED
American Free Press announced on Friday 30th April, that Bilderberg 2004 will be held in Italy. The best way to confirm is to contact the Bilderberg office in Leiden, Holland.
Bilderberg Conference venue and date
Venue: Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees - Stresa
Date: Thursday June 3rd to Sunday June 6th 2004
Hotel des Iles Borromees - Corso Umberto I, 67 - 28838 Stresa - ITALY
tel. +39 0323 938 938 / fax. +39 0323 324 05
The Borromeo Islands are 'verdant jewels' floating 'idyllically' in Lake Maggiore, and the finest place from which to observe their beauty is the equally stunning Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees, located on the lakefront in Stresa. The hotel's beautiful Belle Epoque architecture has been faithfully preserved both outside and inside. Lavish decor faultlessly recreates a grand era of days gone by, while recent refurbishments ensure the ultimate in comfort for the most modern of travellers. Built in 1861, the hotel has been host to many prominent guests, including Hemingway, Mussolini, Rothschild and Clark Gable. Today, its guests still enjoy the unrivalled beauty, unprecedented luxury and world- class facilities for which the Grand Hotel is famed.
174 stunning rooms faithfully recreate the Belle Epoque era; Impero or Maggiolini style, lavish drapes, warm, rich colours, fabrics and Murano chandeliers enhance the authenticity. Most lake-facing rooms enjoy a private balcony, and all bathrooms are tiled in Italian marble and have a whirlpool. Suites are magnificent, boasting fine art, inlaid ceilings, statues, vast whirlpool baths and separate showers in imperial suites.
http://www.borromees.it/inglese/index2.html - flashy flash site
Search of lots of pictures of the hotel - http://images.google.com/images?q=borromees&num=25&hl=en&lr=&sa=N&tab=wi
Take a look around Bilderbergland - http://www.pmnews.it/verbania___.htm
Press and Bilderberg observation venue
Please book in at the following hotel - or somewhere cheap nearby - if you wish to attend as press or a conference observer
Hotel Milan Speranza Au Lac - p.zza Marconi, 6/9 - 28838 Stresa (VB) ITALY
tel. 0323 31178 / 31190 fax 0323 32729
Who will be there?
This is Bilderberg's 50th anniversary - the big one - only the elitest of the elite get invites here - this year contacts in several countries have emailed and phoned me with names of people they have discovered will be there
Will George W. Bush fly by? Or will he drop in?
Keep your eyes open in Stresa on Saturday 5th June 2004 - George W Bush - just as Bill Clinton in the year 2000 - is travelling nearby this year. Experience tells us (Tony Blair dropped in at Bilderberg 1998 though he was not mentioned in Bilderberg's post conference 'Press Release') Bush might well drop in for a discreet chat with the oil and banking cartel people - not to mention the European royalty that will be there.
That Bush schedule in full
See above links - President Bush is in Rome on 4th June 2004. He will meet President Berlusconi, President Ciampi and Pope John Paul II. He will depart Rome on the 5th June and may well drop in to Bilderberg for a few hours on the Saturday. He will be staying in Paris in the evening of 5th June 2004 where he will meet Jaques Chirac and participate in the D-Day anniversary.
Antony Burgmans (Unilever)
Jeroen Van der Veer (Royal Dutch Shell)
Hans Wijers (Akzo Nobel)
Taylan Bilgic from the foreign news desk of the Turkish Socialist Daily Evrensel in Istanbul notes that in the Wednesday June 2nd edition of Milliyet has a verified list of names of Turkish attendees at Bilderberg 2004.
Hasan Cemal (neoliberal columnist from Milliyet)
Kemal Dervish (ex-world bank man, ex Turkish Chancellor, now leader of the opposition CHP, Social Democrats)
Mustafa Koc (CEO of Koc Holding)
Ali Babakan (Chancellor of the current AKP government)
According to Spanish political adviser Daniel Estulin the Spanish political class look set to be present in force at Bilderberg 2004.
Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (PM)
Pedro Solbes (Finance Minister)
Sofia Queen of Spain
Juan Carlos King of Spain
Michel David-Weill - US and French president of the board of Lazard Freres is due to be there. There is no other information about who will be there yet - apart from the usual royalty and Bilderberg Steering Group attendees - a list of which has been made available in previous years from Maja Banck at the Bilderberg office in Leiden
Comment: What is likely to be on the agenda at Bilderberg 2004?
By Marc Delcour 20 May 2004
Last year chairman of Royal Dutch Shell group's committee of directors, Sir Phillip Watts, was sacked. As expected Jeroen Van der Veer, last year attendant to Bilderberg, has assumed the key role in RD Shell. Peter Sutherland of BP was the other attendant. Are things to occur between the both companies?
I am personally betting upon the presence in Stresa this year of Mr Jean René Fourtou, the president of the International Chamber of Commerce and president of Vivendi Universal. As President of the I.C.C. born as well in 1919 his annual congress is to be held in Marrakech from 6 to 9 June 2004. "Standing up for the global economy " is the strapline for the ICC meeting.
"We ask George W. Bush to push the Doha cycle on international commerce again to the top of the priorities, as spectacularly unexciting EU trade commissioner Pascal Lamy (last year attendant) is making the same request at the expense of the EU against the will of France. Mr Zoellick (attendant last year) is overjoyed at these new developments.
Mr Fourtou is a intelligent man and a neo-liberal in favour of the opening of the borders, exchange liberalisation, investment, technology transfers, migrations of populations. With Fourtou everything is wide open except his flies!
ICC was founded in Atlantic City in 1919 and is now present in more than 130 countries. It s presenting itself as the voice of global business. The international secretariat is in Paris.
As the reliance of the cycle of Doha is as the centre of international negotiations after the failure of Cancun, as ICC is a globalist institution working with the TABD, as JR Fourtou is a clever man with a special role in Marrakech (Morocco) at the moment Business wants the US/UK/Isreal led Greater Middle East to work (despite the unintelligent work of GW Bush team) we may consider Fourtou as an eligible Bilderberger 2004.
The Nato Summit will be held in Istanbul on the 28 and 29 of June - main topic of conversation - improving links with the Chinese military - see also ther Turkish attendees confirmed.
And as the G8 is in England next year Bilderberg 2005 may also be here in England
Bilderberg 2003 article of the year by Pepe Escobar of the Asia Times 'Masters of the Universe'
One of the main agenda items on the 2004 Bilderberg Meeting will probably be a 'Greater Middle East' initiative to be imposed upon Europeans by their big brothers from USA. This initiative is aimed at a global strategy from Morocco to Afghanistan. Bush's puppeteers want to put on the table something bringing cooperation with his allies in an electoral year in order to promote a 'left-right' collaboration about the middle East.
The first to give his agreement to this plan was Joshka Fisher, German secretary then Chancellor Schroeder, but the French are more cautious about the project. Their position, quite correctly, is that before handling the region, the Israeli - Palestinian conflict has to be solved. Otherwise it will all be a waste of time/effort/money/life. Europeans understand correctly that US will ask them to finance their plan. Naturally, Javier Solana is again 100% in favour of this plan.
USA are trying to bring NATO into their plan and this is likely to be rejected by Europeans.
Bilderberg 2004: The 50th anniversary
by Aaron Braaten
If I am correct, this is the 50th anniversary. According to Pepe Escobar's Asia Times article, in 2003, the topic of discussion was how to "avert" (read: bring about) a financial collapse of the western sphere. If this is the 50th year of the Bildies, it is a Jubilee year, meaning a liquidation is in the works, possibly. The trick is to bring about a financial collapse of debt/credit and play this off as a failure of capitalism. This will make communism/socialism/fascist collectivism more appealing which is, of course what all the current chaos in the Middle East is really all about.
Finally, some stuff that may be of general interest - cheers - Aaron
You could also try American Free Press whose reporter Jim Tucker is usually
the only journalist in the world to figure out where Bilderberg are meeting
beforehand. Bristol troublemaker and spender of money raised for Palestinians
Ian Ferguson thinks I shouldn't link to American Free Press and got me thrown
out of Bristol Indymedia for having 'far right chums'.
One correspondant has heard that Bilderberg 2005 will be held at Waddesdon Manor in the UK?????
Please contact me with any foreknowledge or educated guesswork
Latest Bilderberg news
03Jun04 - BBC online magazine - Bilderberg: The ultimate conspiracy theory
03June04 - 'De Telegraaf' - PvdA'ers join 52nd Bilderberg conference
10May04 -American Free Press - Bilderberg Big-Wigs Set to Meet in Italy
07May04 - Canadian Television CTV - Conrad Black now being sued for $1.25B US
06Apr04 - Where Is The Media At Bilderberg?
06Apr04 - Richard Greaves - Who really runs the world - updated
19Feb04 - Independent - Black 'lied to board over secret Telegraph talks'
14Feb04 - Prufrock in The Times - Rulers of the world prepare to expel Black
03Feb04 - Bloomberg - Black Agreed to Sell Hollinger to Avert Bond Default
Jan04 - DutchTV - Dutch TV programme about Bilderberg
NATO's 2004 boss is right wing Dutch Bilderberger (from 2003 page)
Bilderberg: The ultimate conspiracy theory
By Jonathan Duffy BBC News Online
The Bilderberg group, an elite coterie of Western thinkers and power-brokers, has been accused of fixing the fate of the world behind closed doors. As the organisation marks its 50th anniversary, rumours are more rife than ever.
Given its reputation as perhaps the most powerful organisation in the world, the Bilderberg group doesn't go a bundle on its switchboard operations.
Telephone inquiries are met with an impersonal female voice - the Dutch equivalent of the BT Callminder woman - reciting back the number and inviting callers to "leave a message after the tone".
Anyone who accidentally dialled the number would probably think they had stumbled on just another residential answer machine.
But behind this ultra-modest façade lies one of the most controversial and hotly-debated alliances of our times.
On Thursday the Bilderberg group marks its 50th anniversary with the start of its yearly meeting.
For four days some of the West's chief political movers, business leaders, bankers, industrialists and strategic thinkers will hunker down in a five-star hotel in northern Italy to talk about global issues.
What sets Bilderberg apart from other high-powered get-togethers, such as the annual World Economic Forum (WEF), is its mystique.
Not a word of what is said at Bilderberg meetings can be breathed outside. No reporters are invited in and while confidential minutes of meetings are taken, names are not noted.
The shadowy aura extends further - the anonymous answerphone message, for example; the fact that conference venues are kept secret. The group, which includes luminaries such as Henry Kissinger and former UK chancellor Kenneth Clarke, does not even have a website.
In the void created by such aloofness, an extraordinary conspiracy theory has grown up around the group that alleges the fate of the world is decided by Bilderberg.
In Yugoslavia, leading Serbs have blamed Bilderberg for triggering the war which led to the downfall of Slobodan Milosevic. The Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, the London nail-bomber David Copeland and Osama Bin Laden are all said to have bought into the theory that Bilderberg pulls the strings with which national governments dance.
And while hardline right-wingers and libertarians accuse Bilderberg of being a liberal Zionist plot, leftists such as activist Tony Gosling are equally critical.
A former journalist, Mr Gosling runs a campaign against the group from his home in Bristol, UK.
"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.
Mr Gosling seizes on a quote from Will Hutton, the British economist and a former Bilderberg delegate, who likened it to the annual WEF gathering where "the consensus established is the backdrop against which policy is made worldwide".
"One of the first places I heard about the determination of US forces to attack Iraq was from leaks that came out of the 2002 Bilderberg meeting," says Mr Gosling.
But "privacy, rather than secrecy", is key to such a meeting says Financial Times journalist Martin Wolf, who has been invited several times in a non-reporting role.
"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."
As an up-and-coming statesmen in the 1950s, Denis Healey, who went on to become a Labour chancellor, was one of the four founding members of Bilderberg (which was named after the hotel in Holland where the first meeting was held in 1954).
His response to claims that Bilderberg exerts a shadowy hand on the global tiller is met with characteristic bluntness. "Crap!"
"There's absolutely nothing in it. We never sought to reach a consensus on the big issues at Bilderberg. It's simply a place for discussion," says Lord Healey.
Formed in the spirit of post-war trans-Atlantic co-operation, the idea behind Bilderberg was that future wars could be prevented by bringing power-brokers together in an informal setting away from prying eyes.
"Bilderberg is the most useful international group I ever attended. The confidentiality enabled people to speak honestly without fear of repercussions.
"In my experience the most useful meetings are those when one is free to speak openly and honestly. It's not unusual at all. Cabinet meetings in all countries are held behind closed doors and the minutes are not published."
That activists have seized on Bilderberg is no suprise to Alasdair Spark, an expert in conspiracy theories.
"The idea that a shadowy clique is running the world is nothing new. For hundreds of years people have believed the world is governed by a cabal of Jews.
"Shouldn't we expect that the rich and powerful organise things in their own interests. It's called capitalism."
03Jun04 - Telegraaf - PvdA'ers join 52nd Bilderberg conference
STRESA - In the Italian city Stresa 130 European and North American topbussinesmen -diplomats and politicians meet during the 52e (buttock of the mount= fun translation) Bilderberg Conference. They discuss European-American relations, but nobody know´s what the exact topics will be during this ´informal´ meeting. The participants solemnly promise that they will not talk about the result with the press.
On behalf of the Netherlands some top business men will join this secret meeting: Antony Burgmans (Unilever), Jeroen van de Veer(Shell) and Hans Wijers (Akzo Nobel). Euro commissioner Frits Bolkestein, the Professor Economy Victor Halberstadt, PvdA-government man Bert Koenders, Eu-coordinator for terrorism Gijs de Vries and Queen Beatrix are also on the guest list.
From the United States amongst others are former vice minister of foreign affairs Richard Holbrooke, top banker David Rockefeller and former-minister of foreign affairs Henry Kissinger. Also the president of the European central bank Jean-Claude Trichet, former prime minister of Belgium Jean-Luc Dehaene and the German minister of home affairs Otto Schily are present.
According to the organizers, the conferences are held as a forum for the elite to be able to discuss world issues without interference from the media. The participants are selected on the basis of their experience, knowledge and points of view.
This year, according to the organizers, the American foreign policy, Iraq, the Middle East, NATO, China and the worldwide economic discomfort are on the agenda. The meeting is concluded Sunday, without Final Declaration, without press conference, and bound to silence for all attendees.
The Bilderberg Conference was first held in 1954, and has been named to the Dutch Hotel where that first meeting took place. The first meeting was held on initiative of prince Bernhard, who was a regular attendee for many years.
Bilderberg Big-Wigs Set to Meet in Italy
American Free Press May 10, 2004
By James P. Tucker Jr.
Bilderbergers say they do not know where their secret meeting will be held this year, so, in the spirit of brotherhood, American Free Press will help them. Go to Stresa, Italy, and chick into the five-star Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees June 3 to June 6.
Until the moment AFP positively identified where the international banksters would hold their annual secret session, Bilderberg luminaries insisted they did not know where they would meet but were waiting for the word.
Stresa is 30 miles from Milan, in northern Italy, on the western shore of Lake Maggiore. It is a luxury resort town with a population of 4,684. The town has been the scene of major international conferences over the decades, although this is believed to be Bilderberg's first meeting in the tiny town.
Small as it is, Stresa has six major hotels. Five are four-star resorts, and one, where Bilderberg will set up shop, is five-star, with rooms costing about $500 a day. It is one of the most expensive and popular resorts in the Italian lake country.
By high noon on Wednesday, June 2, the Grand Hotel des Iles Bborromers (pictured) will be cleared of all guests except Bilderberg's advance staff. For months, people seeking reservations have been told the hotel is all booked up June 3 to June 6.
In the past, Bilderberg's private plainclothes guards have given photos and information to hotel security about this AFP reporter and of European reporters who have been increasingly pursuing Bilderberg in recent years.
On one occasion when I made reservations at a Bilderberg resort in the days preceding a meeting my room had been bugged - one bug in a couch and another embedded in a wall near the phone.
Uniformed police sealed off the grounds around the resort. Those admitted wore photo badges - one color for Bilderberg participants another for Bilderberg staff, another for hotel staff. But despite the high security, AFP has still been able to report in detail on the meetings.
This is Bilderberg's 50th anniversary, having held its first meeting under that name at the Bilderberg Hotel in Oosterbeck, Holland in 1954.
Of numerous major meetings in STresa the most impressive was in 1932, when a conference of 15 European nations was held on economic collaboration, In 1935, leaders from Britain, France and Italy met in Stresa to discuss a common posture toward Germany.
Insiders believe, that high on, the Bilderberg agenda will be the war in Iraq. Many European Bilderberg luminaries strongly opposed the U.S. invasion; but now other issues emerge: What new role for the United Nations? How to divide the oil and gas interests? Who will be embarrassed by having fraudulently profited from the UN's "oil-for-peace" program in which Saddam Hussein's Iraq was to be allowed to trade oil for food and medicine?
Traditional issues are sure to be on the table. What steps can be taken to advance the ultimate goal of establishing a world government under the UN? Will Americans be so eager to lighten the burden in Iraq and Afghanistan that one of several versions of a global tax imposed directly by the UN will be achievable? Proposals include a small tax on oil at the barrel head, which would be reflected at the pump when you buy gas and a levy on international financial transactions.
Conrad Black now being sued for $1.25B US
Updated: Fri. May. 7 2004 11:36 PM ET
In a radical escalation of its war against founder Conrad Black, Hollinger International Inc. has increased its court claim against him and other executives of the newspaper group to $1.25 billion US and accused them of corruption.
Black fired back that the company's latest action "is tabloid journalism masquerading as law."
The operating company of Black's newspaper empire said Friday evening that it has amended its complaint in a Chicago court and now is seeking $484.5 million US -- $380.6 million in damages and $103.9 million in prejudgment interest.
The company is also asserting that the defendants "engaged in a pattern of racketeering activities" and is demanding that the damages be tripled, as provided for in the U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
The RICO claim is based on "alleged fraudulent diversion of company funds through improperly obtained non-competition and other payments of fees, transfers of certain newspaper assets at less than fair value, and other acts."
The total claim including treble damages comes to $1.25 billion, plus legal fees.
A statement issued Friday night through Ravelston Corp., a Black private company through which he controls Hollinger International via Toronto holding company Hollinger Inc., commented that "overreaching use of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act has been frowned upon in virtually every circuit court in the United States. When this complaint is heard in a court of law, the poverty of this case will be plainly demonstrated."
Hollinger International alleged previously that Black and his associates took money improperly from the company -- whose holdings include the Telegraph of London, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Jerusalem Post -- through excessive management fees and unjustified non-competition payments.
The amended filing adds accusations of breaches of fiduciary duty "in connection with the sale of certain newspaper assets at less than fair value to companies controlled by certain of the defendants."
There have been persistent reports that Black and longtime associate David Radler arranged to buy small-town papers from Hollinger International at below market value.
The new filing also seeks to recover bonuses previously paid in connection with subsidiary Hollinger Digital.
The Ravelston response insisted that "the vast majority of the agreements and transactions to which Hollinger International is apparently objecting were reviewed and approved by its independent directors."
Black, who was forced to resign as Hollinger International's chief executive officer in November and as chairman in January, is engaged in a complex web of litigation with the operating company, whose previous claim in January was for $200 million US.
He in turn filed an Ontario action in February demanding $850 million in damages from Hollinger International directors, including $200 million for defamation, and last month sued Hollinger International for refusing to exercise his stock options.
The situation has snowballed since November, when a Hollinger International board committee uncovered $32.2 million US in alleged unauthorized or unreported payments to Black and three other executives.
In a development earlier Friday, the Toronto Stock Exchange said it is reviewing the status of the Hollinger Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership -- the remnant of Hollinger's Canadian holdings which briefly made Black the country's dominant newspaper proprietor.
The partnership, whose unitholders receive income from 13 small-market dailies and assorted trade publications and community papers, has not complied with a TSX requirement that listed companies have at least two independent directors. The partnership has been given 30 days to meet that rule.
The big-city Canadian newspapers Hollinger had owned, including the former Southam dailies and the National Post, were sold to CanWest Global Communications for $3.2 billion in 2000. Hollinger's dailies in smaller markets in Ontario were sold to Osprey Media Media Group for $220 million in 2001.
Beset by financial and legal troubles, Black arranged to sell his controlling interest in Hollinger Inc. to British tycoons David and Frederick Barclay in a $605-million deal which fell apart in March.
Hollinger International is now entertaining bids for some or all of its assets.
Where Is The Media At Bilderberg?
The Gateway Canada
The most orgiastic display of coordinated corporate capitalism/state cronyism happens at the annual Bilderberg meetings, but since our monolithic Canwest-Corus-Shaw-Quebecor-Bell media entity and even the venerable CBC refuse to cover them in-depth, all I can say is, thank God for the Internet.
The annual Bilderberg meetings were initiated in 1954 by the Nazi-sympathizing Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands at the Hotel de Bilderberg in Oosterbeek, Holland. Even though the meetings take place annually all over the world, they still retain their original name. The purpose of the meetings is to foster dialogue among world leaders in a private setting and enable leaders to be more candid than they would otherwise be in public.
Outsiders regard the meetings as secret, whereas attendees defend them as private. While they are exercising their rights to free assembly, I doubt that industry and state leaders of this calibre get together to engage in idle banter, scotch-drinking and a round of golf. The purpose of the meetings is to reach an informal consensus and then work towards that consensus through their more formal governmental bodies such as the G8.
Last years meeting took place near Versailles, France while most of us were enjoying our annual May-long holiday, and barely was a peep heard of it in the Canadian press. Some headline guests included, as always, Henry Kissinger and Conrad Black (who sits on the steering committee that chooses invitees) as well as big-name Canadians like Heather Reisman of Chapters-Indigo, Anthony Fell, Chairman of RBC Dominion Securities, Mark Steyn, writer for Conrad Blacks paper group, and Stephen Harper.
Maybe the corporate media is just stupid, or perhaps theyre in on it, too. Only the 15 May, 2003 issue of the Toronto Sun and the 6 June, 2003 issue of Edmontons See Magazine mentioned Stephen Harpers attendance, but both failed to provide the coverage that others such as Pepe Escobars Masters of the Universe article did for the Asia Times. The only other coverage available was on blogs and Independent Media Collective (Indymedia) websites across Canada.
A 1987 issue of the Economist magazine once declared: when you have scaled the Bilderberg, you have arrived. This is why Stephen Harpers recent attendance at the 2003 Bilderberg meeting has such significance, as it indicates that the global ruling class has placed its long-term bets on Harper. This is important for the Conservative leadership race, as Belinda Stronach has only captured the hearts of the World Economic Forum crowd, who rank lower in the global-ruling food chain. However, the real leadership race is amongst the partisan plebeians, and in all likelihood, the globalists can only hope for a positive outcome.
The Bilderberg group is said, though, to have made kings of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, who were unknowns until after they had done their rounds at the annual meetings. Uncle Ralph did it the other way, as he was whisked away in 1995 to a Bilderberg meeting a few years after becoming King of the Kleinocratic Ralph- ublic of Oilbertastan, 51st State in the Union. Some say it reflected Blacks admiration for the privatize and tell lots of lies strategy that plunged Alberta into the Kleinocracy it is today. Klein is not unique, though, as other Canadian politicians like Paul Martin and Mike Harris have attended. Is this why Klein appears closer to Martin and Harris? I asked Uncle Ralph this very question recently, and he responded with a no.
To Canadas media conglomerates, I say do your job to inform us as to how these meetings shape Canadas future and how the Bilderberg consensus affects our policies and lives. The next one might be in Florida or Georgiaget your asses down there and cover it. Because after all, we have a right to know.
Who Really Runs the World?
by Richard Greaves
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SECRECY & PRIVATE FORUMS
Everywhere you look - government, big business and any other institution seeking to exercise power - the key is secrecy. Meetings such as those of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the G-8, World Trade Organisation, World Economic Forum, Central Banks, the European Union Council of Ministers and the EU Commission, EU summits, government cabinet meetings, numerous think tanks etc. are always conducted behind closed doors. The only possible reason for this is that they don't want you and I to know what they are really up to. That well worn excuse for keeping things under wraps -"it is not in the public interest" really means that it is not in the interest of the powers that be that the public should know. However there is, in addition, a network of private forums and meetings that take place where the secrecy principle extends to the forums and meetings themselves - by and large, we don't even know that they are taking place, let alone what is being planned and discussed .
The Bilderberg Group
Did you know, for example, that some of the biggest names in world politics, media, banking and business met at Turnberry South Ayrshire from 14th. to 17th. May 1998 under the chairmanship of Lord Peter Carrington? If you didn't, this is your introduction to the Bilderberg Group - a private forum where powerful and influential figures from Europe and North America meet in great secrecy amid very tight security to plan and discuss global strategy and reach consensus on a wide range of issues. What then seems to happen is that ensuing consensus on various issues are then promoted by powerful commercial and business interests in the media at the same time becoming the policy of governments of supposedly different political persuasions.
Bilderberg was formed in 1954, named after the hotel in Oosterbeek, Holland where the first meeting took place. It has a main meeting annually in a heavily guarded location in Europe or North America. It brings together top people from a variety of spheres of influence and power on both sides of the Atlantic. Participants include Heads of State, prime ministers, other leading political figures, top corporate executives, industrialists, bankers, financiers, and an assortment of intellectuals, diplomats, influential representatives of the media and even the occasional trade unionist with demonstrated sympathy for establishment views. One insider apparently has observed that "..today, there are very few figures among governments on both sides of the Atlantic who have not attended at least one of these meetings."
What sets this private forum, (and others mentioned later) apart from other gatherings of the politically and economically powerful such as the G-8 meetings, European Union summits etc. is that they are little or almost unknown to the public and they escape media attention. Much of the centralisation of power that is taking place in the world today - a process that has been going on for many years, but is now accelerating into top gear - can very likely be attributed to the agreements and consensus reached at these meetings. Human nature being what it is, there are people in power who would seek to bring about some form of centralised all powerful global government. Much of what we see happening around us today is bringing that prospect ever closer. There is the increasing power of multi-national corporations, the surrender of national sovereignty in the EU, governments handing over complete control of money supply and monetary policy to unaccountable central banks, the rules and regulations of the World Trade Organisation, the ability of the International Monetary Fund to dictate to national governments etc. Power is being concentrated in the hands of ever fewer people operating through more remote unaccountable institutions. This is O.K. if you happen to trust the top people in power.. However remember the saying "all power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely".
Few journalists, reporters and news people in the mainstream media, until very recently, had even heard of Bilderberg, yet these are the people who claim to give us informed in-depth reporting of what is going on in the world. Even many M.Ps. in the House of Commons appear not to have heard of it, and those that have do not speak publicly about it. However some of the more prominent and "promising" ones will have actually attended its meetings.
It is claimed by the organisers to be an "informal" gathering. Attendance is by invitation from the steering committee - an inner circle of permanent members, who meet regularly, setting the aims and agenda of the group, and reviewing progress. Everyone is invited to "speak freely" - which suggests they can say what they really think and believe rather than what they tell the public they think and believe! And it is all off the record.
If you question anyone who has attended, about the group, the answers you get are either that it is just an informal airing of views in relaxed surroundings with no votes or formal resolutions. (However, one can build up consensus quite adequately without formal resolutions.) Alternatively it is claimed to be a gathering of political "has beens" who no longer wield any real power. An examination of the annual attendance lists reveals nothing could be further from the truth. Many a rising star has attended and the so called "has beens" who do attend are in fact still active and influential behind the scenes. Former Observer Editor Will Hutton attended the 1997 meeting. He did not disclose the content of any discussions, but he expressed the view, privately, that it is Bilderberg that sets the agenda for the forums and summits that follow, such as the G-8, Council of Europe and World Trade Organisation meetings.
Lord Carrington was chairman of the steering group until 2000, Lord Home was a former chairman. Kenneth Clarke and Henry Kissinger are current steering group members. Early steering group members included Denis Healey and Reginald Maudling, followed more recently by EU Commission President Romano Prodi, EU Commissioner Mario Monti and former Labour leader John Smith. In the past Wilson, Heath, Callaghan, Thatcher, Roy Jenkins, Jeremy Thorpe, David Steele, the Duke of Edinburgh, Cyrus Vance, George Shultz, Helmut Kohl, Francois Mitterand have all attended. More recently it has been Bill and Hilary Clinton, Blair, Brown, Mandelson, Paddy Ashdown, Norman Lamont, William Waldegrave, Malcolm Rifkind, Alan Greenspan (Head of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank), numerous EU Commissioners, Lord Roll of Ipsden (Labour Peer and former President of merchant bank Warburg, Dillon Read), Conrad - now Lord -Black (Chairman Hollinger Group which owns the Daily Telegraph and the Spectator), Andrew Knight (chief executive of Rupert Murdoch's News International media empire), Umberto Agnelli (President of Fiat SpA). Senior editors at the Financial Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal attend regularly. In 1996, T.U.C. General Secretary John Monks attended. Monks has establishment approval because, since then he's been in favour of Britain scrapping the Pound and adopting the Euro. Since ceasing to be TUC general Secretary, Monks has become Secretary of the European Trades Union Council. In 1998 at Turnberry, George (now Lord) Robertson attended - he was subsequently appointed Secretary General to NATO. In 1999 former Friends of the Earth Director and current Forum of the Future Director Jonathan Porrit attended. Ed Balls, senior economic advisor to Gordon Brown, attended in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Also in 2003, Philip Gould, described as Public Relations Advisor to Tony Blair, attended. Ever since its inception, members of the Rothschild and Rockefeller families have always attended.
What exactly has been going on here? There's certainly a wide range of prominent people attending these meetings, and, when hearing about Bilderberg for the first time, some people say isn't it great that so many different people come together to discuss global issues. Another perhaps more realistic interpretation is that it is the rich and powerful planning our future behind our backs without our knowledge and permission. Previous meetings in Britain have taken place in Buxton, Cambridge, Torquay, and Gleneagles, right under our noses only we didn't know about them. Only in very recent years has the veil of secrecy surrounding the event begun to break, with limited mention in the local press of the host country. Several Scottish newspapers made quite a splash that the 1998 meeting took place at Turnberry, but since then silence has returned. Nothing about the meetings in 1999 at Sintra, Portugal, in 2000 at Chateau du Lac near Brussels, in 2001 at a secluded island resort near Gothenberg, Sweden, in 2002 at Chantilly, Virginia, USA. Finally nothing on 2003's meeting at Versailles outside Paris.
Bilderberg is reckoned to be the most influential of the private forums, but there are other little known organisations such as the Trilateral Commission, the Pinay Circle, the Royal Institute of International Affairs- (RIIA is said to be responsible for British foreign policy) and its United States counterpart, the Council on Foreign Relations. Except occasionally the RIIA, these organisations are almost never mentioned in the mainstream media, all meet behind the usual closed doors, yet they are almost certainly closely linked. Some of them are strongly Anglo-American in membership. Indeed it appears that the RIIA and the CFR may be essentially one and the same organisation, born at the same time in the early '20's, out of an earlier grouping known as the Round Table, set up by those advocates of global domination, Cecil Rhodes and Lord Alfred Milner. Perhaps this gives true meaning to the "special relationship" between Britain and the U.S.A.
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Black 'lied to board over secret Telegraph talks'
By David Usborne in Wilmington, Delaware
19 February 2004
Contacts between Conrad Black and the Barclay brothers regarding their possible acquisition of The Daily Telegraph were taking place at the same time that Lord Black was promising the board of its owner, Hollinger International, not to interfere with its plans for a disposal of its assets, it was claimed yesterday.
The allegation was made at the start of a highly charged trial in Wilmington, Delaware, which will determine whether Lord Black's proposed sale of a majority voting stake in Hollinger to David and Frederick Barclay should be allowed. The Hollinger board is trying to block the sale. Lord Black is expected to take the stand on Friday. A ruling is expected within about ten days.
Lawyers for Chicago-based Hollinger submitted into evidence two letters written by Lord Black to David Barclay in early November last year. They were written at the time that a special committee at Hollinger was laying bare allegations that Lord Black and three other executives at Hollinger had received unauthorised payments of $32m. The revelations sparked the crisis at Hollinger.
The surfacing in court of the letters suggested that the Barclays brothers and Lord Black were at least entertaining the notion of a deal between them far earlier than has previously been suggested. Last month Lord Black stunned Hollinger by announcing that he had, as the controlling shareholder of Hollinger, unilaterally agreed to sell his stake to the Barclays in a $466m deal.
Hollinger says Lord Black agreed in mid-November to a broad restructuring strategy under which, among other things, the company would hire the Lazard brokerage firm to canvass for a buyer of its assets. It also says that Lord Black expressly agreed not to undercut that process.
Gordon Paris, who replaced Lord Black as the chief executive officer of Hollinger in November and who became chairman last month, was asked by a lawyer for the company if he had previously seen the letters to the Barclays. "Absolutely not," he replied twice.
On 3 November last year, the court was told, Lord Black wrote a letter to David Barclay apparently replying to an expression of interest in taking control of The Daily Telegraph and sister publications. "You have made your desire to buy the Telegraph abundantly clear," Lord Black wrote, before suggesting that Mr Barclay desist from writing to him on the subject.
But in a second letter, dated 11 November, Lord Black, who has denied wrongdoing, apparently changed tack and expressly asked Mr Barclay for help in how he might contact him by telephone, saying that since his previous communication he had had more time to "think of a suitable subject for a talk".
It was between those two dates that the special committee at Hollinger came out with its findings regarding the alleged unauthorised payments and confronted Lord Black. And it was several days after the second letter that Lord Black allegedly agreed to the terms of the restructuring agreement leaving the job of disposing assets to Lazard.
The court action in Delaware is part of a growing web of legal manoeuvres in a bitter struggle that will determine the fate not just of the Telegraph Group but of Hollinger's other newspaper holdings, including The Jerusalem Post and the Chicago Sun-Times.
A raft of alternative suitors has reportedly presented themselves to Lazard with offers. They include Richard Desmond, owner of Britain's Express newspapers, and rival newspaper publisher Daily Mail and General Trust, which both submitted bids for the Telegraph titles last week. Also in line are the private equity firms 3i, advised by the former Mirror Group chief David Montgomery, Candover and Apax.
The Barclay brothers, the famously reclusive owners of The Scotsman and The Business, are not participating in the Delaware case. Under their deal with Lord Black, they would buy his 73 per cent voting stake in Hollinger International held through its holding company, Hollinger Inc of Toronto.
Hollinger International is arguing that the Barclay deal should be blocked because it does not maximise possible returns for its minority shareholders. Also at issue at court are plans by Hollinger to use a "poison pill" defence to repel the Barclay advance. In a statement before the trial, Hollinger said it was acting to "prevent a disloyal director and controlling shareholder ... from manipulating the company's corporate machinery for his own selfish financial purpose".
Lord Black is countersuing to block the board's action against him. In his suit, he accuses some of the directors of "illegal manoeuvring and blatant thievery" of his rights. In addition, Lord Black last Friday filed a defamation lawsuit in Toronto against the same directors saying that with their attacks on him through the press they had attempted to turn him into a "loathsome laughing stock".
Mr Paris testified repeatedly that none of the payments to the executives uncovered by the Hollinger committee had been disclosed to the board or properly authorised. "We did not find any authorisation of those payments," he told the lawyer for Hollinger, Martin Flumenbaum.
When he takes the stand, Lord Black, who is also under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US, is expected to say the board misled him when it presented the evidence of alleged wrongdoing to him in November and that, for that reason, he is no longer bound by any agreements reached at that time.
Presiding over the Delaware trial is vice chancellor Leo Stern, who has a reputation for defending the rights of minority shareholders, a fact which may not augur well for Lord Black. He is expected to wrap up testimony on Friday and issue a ruling before 3 March, when the Barclays deal is due to close.
THE MAIN PLAYERS
Lord Black of Crossharbour
Canadian newspaper tycoon who hit the big time in 1986 when he bought The Daily Telegraph. He builds global media empire in Hollinger International but he stands accused of using it as his "personal piggy bank". Unusually for a businessman, he has written an acclaimed history book, a biography of F D Roosevelt, the former US president.
Born in Watford but brought up in Canada, she became romantically involved with Conrad Black 14 years ago, making him her fourth husband. She ensured that the couple moved in the right social circles and was later given a column in the Telegraph. Since 1995, she has been vice-president of Hollinger International.
In May 2003, Hollinger needed to add a non-executive director. It chose Mr Paris - one of its bankers. Shortly after, Hollinger started to implode. Mr Paris was picked to head a committee to look into allegations of impropriety. When Lord Black was forced to step down as chairman in November, Mr Paris was made chief executive.
Sir Frederick and Sir David Barclay
The Barclay twins are self-made multi-millionaires, having made their fortune in property; they live on their ownisland in the English Channel. Known for taking big risks, as they did with the Hollinger deal. They already own The Scotsman and The Business.
Prufrock: Rulers of the world prepare to expel Black
14Feb04 - Prufrock in the Times
MORE bad news for Conrad Black, the ousted chairman of Hollinger, which owns the Telegraph newspapers. The disgraced Canadian press baron faces being pushed out of Bilderberg, the elite club that conspiracy theorists think really runs the world.
As befits somone fascinated by powerful historical figures, Black has long been a dedicated member of the secretive group of businessmen and diplomats. But his financial woes, including the small matter of a dispute over $300m of payments at Hollinger, have left the inner circle at Bilderberg increasingly uncomfortable.
The final straw came this month when Black said he would sue Henry Kissinger and Richard Perle, both directors of Hollinger and fellow Bilderbergers. Now he is going to be pressed to leave the group. Meetings of its steering committee have become awkward affairs since Black had his little spot of bother, said one insider. His exile from the rich and powerful will be particularly painful, but perhaps he will be comforted by the words of one of his heroes, Napoleon, who said it was better to have a known enemy than a forced ally.
The deadline for bids for the papers passed last week, but there is one outstanding bid still to come: from the Berrys, the aristocratic press barons from whom Black wrestled the Telegraph in 1985. Three weeks after Prufrock first revealed the Berrys determination to win back the papers, their bid is still alive. Watch this space.
Black Agreed to Sell Hollinger to Avert Bond Default
The suit marks a rupture of relationships that Black developed over decades as he built his newspaper empire and filled his board with political figures who shared his conservative views. Black became friendly with Kissinger during meetings of the Bilderberg, an organization of European and North American political leaders and businessmen, according to his 1993 autobiography. Now he is accusing Kissinger, U.S. defense adviser Richard Perle, former U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Burt and other board members of breaching their fiduciary duty. Their actions to block the sale of his controlling stake caused ``irreparable injury,'' according to the suit.
Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Conrad Black, the former chief executive of Hollinger International Inc., said he's being forced to sell control of the Chicago-based newspaper publisher because it slashed payments he was using to finance his majority stake.
In a counterclaim against Hollinger International directors suing to stop the sale, Black said they reduced the payments by 95 percent to $100,000 a month since he resigned in November -- not enough to keep Hollinger Inc., the company he uses to control Hollinger International, from defaulting on its debt.
The claim contradicts earlier statements by Black, a British lord who took Hollinger International public to raise capital for papers such as London's Daily Telegraph and the Chicago Sun-Times. Investors accused him at the annual meeting in May of funneling more than $200 million from the company to help support a complex network of holding companies including Hollinger Inc.
``The inference has been incited that there's some connection between the debt-servicing needs of that company and the size of the management fee,'' Black said at the time in a telephone interview with Bloomberg News. ``We will completely atomize and reduce to dust any such suggestion. Obviously, there's no such connection and no conscientious or honest person would ever countenance any such thing.''
Black's claim filed in Delaware Chancery Court took a different position.
Cutting the fee ``to a pittance of its level in 2003 severely jeopardizes Hollinger's ability to satisfy ongoing obligations and hence its ability to continue as a going concern,'' Black said in the claim, which also names Hollinger Inc. and 504468 N.B. Inc. as plaintiffs.
Toronto-based Hollinger Inc. holds 30 percent of the equity and 73 percent of the votes in Hollinger International. Hollinger Inc. in turn is 78 percent owned by Black's investment vehicle, Ravelston Corp. Ravelston agreed last month to sell Hollinger Inc. to U.K. entrepreneurs David and Frederick Barclay for C$423.8 million ($317 million).
Regulatory filings had hinted at Hollinger Inc.'s dependence on payments from Ravelston, which until November was getting at least $22 million a year from Hollinger International for management services such as mergers advice.
Since March, Black had been steering at least $14 million of that to Hollinger Inc. to help pay the interest on $120 million of bonds, according to the filings.
$4 Million a Quarter
A December filing said the payments from Ravelston had to total at least $4 million a quarter or Hollinger Inc. might have to sell assets. The company's only other publicly disclosed source of income is C$6 million in annual consulting payments from CanWest Global Communications Corp.
Hollinger International last month filed a lawsuit in Delaware, where the company is incorporated, seeking to block the sale to the Barclays and contending it wouldn't benefit investors other than Black. A trial is scheduled for Feb. 18 to Feb. 20.
Black's counterclaim accuses Hollinger International's interim chief executive, Gordon Paris, and members of the company's board of deceiving him, breaking agreements and violating his rights as controlling shareholder. The company's directors include former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Illinois Governor James Thompson.
The claim asks a judge to dismiss Hollinger International's suit, invalidate its adoption of a ``poison pill'' takeover defense, uphold changes to Hollinger Inc.'s bylaws and award damages and costs.
``International and its board have no legal right to affect transactions in the shares of Hollinger -- another corporation -- or to demand that a purchaser of such shares negotiate with them as to the terms and conditions of its purchase,'' Black said in the counterclaim.
Molly Morse, a spokeswoman for Hollinger International, declined to comment.
The suit marks a rupture of relationships that Black developed over decades as he built his newspaper empire and filled his board with political figures who shared his conservative views. Black became friendly with Kissinger during meetings of the Bilderberg, an organization of European and North American political leaders and businessmen, according to his 1993 autobiography.
Now he is accusing Kissinger, U.S. defense adviser Richard Perle, former U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Burt and other board members of breaching their fiduciary duty. Their actions to block the sale of his controlling stake caused ``irreparable injury,'' according to the suit.
The dispute with Black was sparked by investors such as New York-based Tweedy Browne Co., which pressed for a company investigation of payments to Ravelston.
The probe, led by former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Richard Breeden, in November disclosed $32.2 million in unauthorized payments to Black, Hollinger Inc. and his business associates. The company later sued Black for more than $200 million, alleging he participated in a scheme to fabricate deals, falsify documents and mislead the company's board.
Black has said any payments were approved by the board.
Breeden is also a defendant in Black's counterclaim.
Separately, the Teachers' Retirement System of Louisiana, a pension fund that owns Hollinger International stock, sued the company and Black in U.S. District Court in Chicago, alleging securities fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.
James Badenhausen, a spokesman for Black, didn't return calls seeking comment. Jeremy Fielding, a spokesman for Hollinger International, declined comment on the suit.