Category Archives: Intelligence

Kissinger at 100: the arch-strategist of Bilderberg ponders the digital future of humanity

In 2015, Henry Kissinger was at the Bilderberg conference in Austria, listening to the head of Google DeepMind, Demis Hassabis, give a presentation on artificial intelligence, when he suffered what can only be described as a midlife crisis. As the giddying power of “self-learning machines” were laid out before him, the febrile mind of the former Secretary of State quivered with questions: “will AI’s decision making surpass the explanatory powers of human language and reason?” and if AI “makes strategic judgments about the future”, where does that leave human strategists like Kissinger?

His 92-year-old knuckles tightened on the edge of his desk as he felt himself teetering “at the edge of a new phase of human history”, one which promised nothing less than “the transformation of the human condition”. As a historian, he was determined to peer into this terrifying silicon future and make sense of it; to give the emerging technology the “guiding philosophy” it lacks. Today, as he turns 100, he’s still trying.

Just a week shy of his centenary, Kissinger found himself back at Bilderberg: this time in Lisbon, but once again with AI on the schedule and Demis Hassabis in the room. Other tech CEOs jostled for Kissinger’s attention: besides the DeepMind boss there were the heads of OpenAI, Palantir and Microsoft. And as ever, hovering at Kissinger’s right hand, his geopolitical acolyte and longtime AI collaborator, the former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt.

Schmidt and Kissinger have traveled through the revolving door between government and the private sector in opposite directions. After leaving Google, Schmidt chaired the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, and has quietly eased himself into the role of an influential government advisor with deep links to the military and intelligence communities. This is the world of politics and policy that Kissinger conquered in the 1970s and then left, picking up a slew of directorships and cushy advisory jobs on the way.

But when Kissinger left government in 1977, the first position he accepted, just a few weeks later, didn’t come with a salary: it was a seat on Bilderberg’s steering committee. He has remained at the strategic heart of Bilderberg ever since. The workaholic schemer still works 15-hour days, although presumably half of that time is spent staring at a globe with his one good eye, rubbing his hands and murmuring “yes, yes, everything is falling into place”.

Kissinger has been strategizing at Bilderberg since 1957, when the ambitious academic was invited along as a guest of the billionaire banker David Rockefeller. This was the year in which Kissinger’s first great grapple with strategy was published: his sprawling doctoral dissertation at Harvard brushed-up into book form. In it Kissinger muses on the fundamental task of the statesman: “to have the strength to contemplate chaos, there to find material for fresh creation.”

At Kissinger’s first Bilderberg, the chaos being contemplated included “the problems of Eastern Europe”, which the conference is still contemplating today. In many ways, Bilderberg is largely unchanged since the 1950s: the governing structure and the schoolroom format of the meetings are more or less identical. Even the participants aren’t that different. In 1954 you’ve got the Director General of Esso. In 2023 it’s the CEO of BP. In 1954 you’ve got the ex-head of SOE (the Special Operations Executive, a secret British military intelligence unit in WW2). In 2023 it’s the ex-head of MI6.

This determined sameness seems an odd fit with Kissinger: in his writings about diplomacy he cherishes “spontaneity” and “inspiration”, and has a special hatred of “pedants” and “bureaucratic minds”. History, for Kissinger, is “the conflict between inspiration and organisation”, in which the “genius” of greatness is inevitably crushed by arthritic political institutions.

But the creaky monotony of Bilderberg as an institution has never bothered him — perhaps because the rigidity of its format belies a willingness to embrace new thinking. The conference began a bold pivot towards high tech years ago, with Craig Mundie of Microsoft the first Silicon Valley luminary to enter the discussions in 2003. Mundie joined the group’s steering committee in 2011, and has just now, after the Lisbon meeting, given up his seat to the current CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella.

These days Bilderberg has gone all-in on AI, with “artificial intelligence” first creeping onto the conference agenda in 2015 and exploding in Kissinger’s cortex. There’s a curious continuity between Kissinger’s ideas about statesmanship and his musings on artificial intelligence. He sees a curtain falling on age of Enlightenment, as human reason is usurped by the lightning-fast logic of machines. He worries about the inscrutability of computers — the eerie opacity of their decision-making processes — and yet this is precisely what for Kissinger characterizes the decision-making of the human actor on the world stage. “The statesman”, he says, “must act on assessments that cannot be proved at the time that he is making them.” Grand political actions represent a kind of black box thinking: the statesman “must inevitably act on the basis of an intuition that is inherently unprovable.”

Likewise, despite his global fame (and infamy), Kissinger is every bit as inscrutable as an AI. He’s published millions of words about geopolitics but not one of those words is “Bilderberg” — even when alluding to the conference he refuses to speak its name. And his main private sector interest is notoriously mysterious: a shadowy consulting company called Kissinger Associates, which he founded in 1982. The business is intimately connected to US intelligence. Its first president was Brent Scowcroft, two time National Security Advisor, who replaced Kissinger in the role in 1975. Until recently, and for more than a decade, the business was run by Jami Miscik, former Deputy Director for Intelligence at the CIA — the agency’s most senior analyst. And when John Brennan left the top job at Langley, who headhunted him as an advisor? Henry, of course.

You can see Kissinger Associates as a mirror of Kissinger himself: with one foot in the intelligence community, and the other planted firmly in Bilderberg. One of his consulting company’s first directors was Lord Carrington, the former UK Foreign Secretary, who went on to become the secretary general of NATO and, rather more importantly, the chairman of the Bilderberg group. Kissinger tapped two other Bilderberg heads for his boardroom: Etienne Davignon and Lord Eric Roll of Ipsden.

Bilderberg’s own history is woven through with transatlantic intelligence interests. At its outset, the annual conference was conceived as a joint-venture between British and American intelligence, and the list of former “honorary secretaries general” is packed with state department heavyweights. It’s no wonder Henry fitted right in. He began his career in military intelligence, rising to become the National Security Advisor in 1969. The current National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, attended last year’s conference in Washington, alongside the director of the CIA, William Burns — a Bilderberg insider who was briefly a member of the steering committee before resigning just prior to taking the post.

This year in Lisbon the usual slew of US intelligence officials included the Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines, and Jen Easterly, who runs the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. They were joined from France by the head of their foreign intelligence service, and from the UK by the outgoing chief of GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, who was presumably sniffing round the bank bosses and fatcat industrialists in search of a plum private sector directorship. If he ends up the new vice-chair of Kissinger Associates it won’t be the biggest surprise in the world.

What then is the future for Kissinger and Bilderberg? As he turns 100, the arch-machinator must surely be making plans for his retirement, in the next couple of decades or so. He can’t possibly be keeping up this pace when he’s 130. As for Bilderberg, what place is there in the age of AI for a conference which prides itself on letting participants “take time to listen, reflect and gather insights”? Time is a thing of the past. As Eric Schmidt says, reflecting on Kissinger’s career: “let’s think about how much time he had to do his work 50 years ago, in terms of conceptual time, the ability to think, to communicate and so forth. In 50 years, what is the big narrative? The compression of time.” As Schmidt says, the question now is: “what about when everything happens too fast for humans?”

Why nurture links with intelligence when human intelligence is being so thoroughly surpassed. Why invite experts and academics to a real-world conference when you can simply feed all their works into the latest incarnation of ChatGPT and ask it their opinion on anything under the sun? It’ll take eight seconds and you don’t have to buy it a hotel room. Why even ask along the head of OpenAI, Sam Altman, whose company developed this all-conquering chatbot? He’s every bit as defunct as everyone else round the table. Or should they carry on pretending to strategize when strategy is no longer a human concern?

In Lisbon, poor old Kissinger would have been listening to the head of Palantir, Alex Karp, talk about the militarization of AI. Karp said recently: “If you wheel these technologies correctly, safely and securely, you have a weapon that will allow you to win, that will scare your competitors and adversaries.” In other words, every diplomatic concern that Kissinger has ever pondered has been reduced to: my AI is smarter than yours. Why carry on thinking about war when — as Kissinger admits — there “no limitations” to the potential destructiveness of AI? Why try to comprehend the incomprehensible? This isn’t a task for theorists or historians, it’s become a job for mystics.

All those books and all those Bilderbergs, and for what? History is dead, thinking is dead, strategy is dead, reason is over, geopolitical theory is pointless, and elite transatlantic conferences are a waste of everybody’s time, money and luggage. Happy birthday Henry, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Kissinger, Bilderberg and Le Cercle

The history of the mysterious organization known as “Le Cercle” is in some ways linked to that of the Bilderberg Group. To sketch out some details of this particular relationship one needs to consult the memoirs of American banker David Rockefeller, who was a member of both organisations at the same time. He writes: “The Bilderberg Group meetings more or less coincided for a time with my participation in a relatively obscure but potentially even more controversial organisation called the Pesent Group.”

The “Groupe Pesenti” or “Cercle Pesenti” is also known as the “Cercle Pinay”. Insiders simply call it “Le Cercle”. It is a secret transnational, Atlanticist and conservative forum, which was created at the beginning of the Cold War by the former President of the French Council of Ministers, Antoine Pinay. Its aim: to help forge a united Europe on Christian, conservative and anti-communist lines. As a co-founder and member of the Bilderberg Group, Pinay drew inspiration from the latter’s workings to give life to the Cercle, while giving it a structure with its own characteristics. While Bilderberg operated on a bi-partisan basis (representatives of the main democratic political parties, from both the right and the left, whether socialist, social-democrat, liberal, Christian-democrat or conservative), the Cercle was conceived on a rather partisan basis. With a few exceptions, its members were all from conservative backgrounds. The second feature of the Cercle was that it was intended to add action to reflection.

While Pinay assumed the presidency of the Cercle, he delegated the management of the organisation to one of his close friends, the lawyer Jean-Paul Léon Violet, known as Jean Violet. He was a man of the shadows, with a troubled past. Both shared the feeling that a united, stable and prosperous Europe could only be established on the basis of a solid Paris-Bonn axis. The key to success lay, in their view, in Franco-German reconciliation. Among the first people they involved were Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, Konrad Adenauer, Otto de Hasbourg and Carlo Pesenti. Initially, the members of the Cercle were recruited mainly from among politicians and diplomats who were dedicated to the political and economic integration of the Old Continent. They were also joined by bankers, industrialists, academics, journalists and heads of intelligence services.

In the 1960s, when protest took hold of Western student circles, the Circle began to deal with internal security issues as well, such as counter-subversive and counter-insurgency policies. Experts in psychological and unconventional warfare, both civilian and military, began to be co-opted. These cold warriors fought the scarlet enemy by all means, including the most devious. All in absolute secrecy. This explains why Rockefeller considered that ‘The Circle’, compared to Bilderberg, “would be even more controversial”.

David Rockefeller was approached by Carlo Pesenti at a forum organised by the Chase in Paris in October 1967. The Italian offered to join a “very closed circle” that discussed the “major contemporary trends in European and world politics”. Because Pesenti was a good client of the bank and because the group was chaired by Pinay, his colleague in Bilderberg, Rockefeller accepted. When he entered, he could see that it was indeed made up of eminent personalities, including “Giulio Andreotti and Franz-Josef Strauss”.

What struck him at first was that Le Cercle was composed mainly of Europeans and that he was the only American invited, “although on rare occasions, when the group met in Washington, Henry Kissinger, then President Nixon’s National Security Adviser, came to dine with us”.
This is not surprising given the symbiotic relationship between the two men. The question is more likely to be asked: why did members of the Circle meet in Washington if it was essentially composed of Europeans, interested in discussing only European issues? Part of the answer was given in 1997 by the former British Conservative MP Alan Clark, when he revealed that Le Cercle was in fact supervised and funded by the CIA.

If this was the case, it is hard to imagine that David Rockefeller did not know about it. If, as he claims, he was indeed the first American member of the group, he was certainly not the last. From the few lists of participants that have leaked throughout the years, it would seem that in addition to Henry Kissinger, several of his compatriots also attended the Circle’s meetings later on. These included Richard Nixon, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Margo Carlisle, William Casey, Miles Costick, Jeffrey B. Gyner, Admiral Robert J. Hanks, William Schneider, General Norman Schwarzkopf, Arnold M. Silver, General Richard G. Stilwell, Paul A. Volcker, Paul M. Weyrich and William A. Wilson. Over time, delegations from Canada, Colombia and South Africa were invited to join the discussions. Then, as the international political situation evolved, the Circle began to invite senior figures from the Middle East as well.

A footnote on this: an article in the Observer from April 2003 mentions the Sultan of Oman and King Hussein of Jordan as guests. In 2003, the chairman of Le Cercle was the former UK Chancellor, Norman Lamont, who attended the 1995 Bilderberg meeting in Zurich. According to the Observer: “It is perhaps his links with Le Cercle which reinforce Lamont’s most controversial business relationship, that with Iraqi billionaire Nadhmi Auchi, who was arrested in Britain last Monday. Auchi, who is known to have attended a number of Le Cercle meetings, made millions selling Italian warships to the Iraqi regime in 1980. Lamont is a director of one of Auchi’s biggest companies, Compagnie Internationale de Participations Bancaires et Financieres, the financial arm of General Mediterranean Holdings, which holds a stake in BNP Paribas and Jordan’s Union Bank for Savings and Investment.”


The Washingberg 2022


The White House turned orange for a night on Friday, June 3, 2022, “to raise awareness about gun violence”. The question is whether, by any chance, some of the residents of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, less than a mile away, took this as a thoughtful gesture towards them? If so, then President Joe Robinet Biden will have succeeded in killing two birds with one stone, without even realising it.

We are talking about the descendant of William of Orange, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, his Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra, all three of whom were attending the 68th Bilderberg Conference, which took place from 2 to 5 June 2022, at the Mandarin Oriental in Washington DC (and when you consider that the “mandarin” is orange, the circle is complete). Interestingly, this hotel is part of the Mandarin Oriental International Limited group, whose main shareholder is the British company Jardine Matheson, which became famous in the 19th century for its crucial role in the opium trade in China.


Joking aside, this American edition of the Bilderberg Conferences will go down in the annals of the Group for its secrecy. For the past twenty years, Bilderberg has been in the habit of informing the public of the meetings a few days before they take place. This allowed those interested in the summit to make arrangements in time to attend. This time, the Group only announced the event once the meeting was underway. This contradicts what the spokesperson for the organisation wrote to us two months ago: “Information about our next meeting will be made available as in all other years, i.e. a few days in advance we will publish the location, agenda and list of participants.”

It’s noteworthy that this year a quarter of the members of the group’s Steering Committee did not attend, which might suggest that the meeting was organised in haste: not enough time for everyone to organise their busy schedules around it.

This delay in the dissemination of information prevented, de facto, any European journalist from being able to arrive in Washington in time. This leads to a second observation: on the American side, astonishingly there were only two independent journalists with their cameras trained on the Mandarin Oriental: Josh Friedman and Luke Rudkowski. And that’s all. For four days, they were literally the only ones covering the event on site. Can you imagine? With the tens of thousands of journalists in the US, and the many thousands in Washington itself. It’s a sad fact that there were five times as many media representatives inside the hotel as outside. Inside the conference walls there were managers, owners, editors and journalists from groups such as Prisa, Axel Springer, The Economist, Financial Times, The Atlantic, Domani, Helsingin Sanomat Newspaper, Habertürk News Network, Weekendavisen and YetkinReport.

On the outside, Josh Friedman first had to scour the city to find out where the meeting was taking place, since the Bilderberg press release did not mention the name of the hotel where the meeting was taking place. It simply said that the meeting was taking place in Washington D.C. Once he arrived at the Mandarin Oriental, it took him some time to be sure he was in the right place, as there was nothing to confirm or deny this, except for the tarpaulin fence that hermetically enclosed the hotel. His experience (he had covered several Bilderberg meetings in the past) and his instinct told him it was there, but his professional conscience demanded that he be certain. Fortunately, some well-known faces appeared, such as Mark Carney and Mark Rutte, which reassured him, and at the same time electrified him. Imagine his emotion at being the only journalist in the world (Luke Rudkowski only joined him in the evening from New York) to report on this exclusive transatlantic summit.

The footage Friedman and Rudkowski shot around the Mandarin Oriental is remarkable. It is hardly conceivable that 130 of the most influential figures in the Atlantic Alliance could meet like that, in the heart of Washington, for four days, during a war, with literally only two good souls to witness it.

To grasp the general mood of the discussions, one would do well to read the article ‘Ukraine and the start of a second cold war’ written by one of the journalists allowed inside the charmed circle, Gideon Rachman, and published on the Financial Times website on 6.6.2022, the day after the end of the conference. It was Rachman’s fifth attendance in twenty years. In his article Rachman prefers not mention the ‘B Word’, as his colleague Martin Wolf usually does when reporting on his participations, but its content is too close to the agenda not to reflect it.


Let’s get to the heart of the matter with the agenda of the meeting, which was the following:

  1. Geopolitical Realignments
  2. NATO Challenges
  3. China
  4. Indo-Pacific Realignment
  5. Sino-US Tech Competition
  6. Russia
  7. Continuity of Government and the Economy
  8. Disruption of the Global Financial System
  9. Disinformation
  10. Energy Security and Sustainability
  11. Post Pandemic Health
  12. Fragmentation of Democratic Societies
  13. Trade and Deglobalisation
  14. Ukraine

Two sessions are particularly noteworthy because of their titles: sessions 7 and 8, ‘Continuity of Government and the Economy’ and ‘Disruption of the Global Financial System’. These serious issues are characteristic of times of war (inter-state or civil). The agenda is creaking under the weight of war and “geopolitical realignments”, and this is reflected in the list of participants.


Gathered in Washington for this Bilderberg conference was the top brass of the military-industrial complex, as President Dwight Eisenhower defined it in his farewell address on 17 January 1961. They were there to talk about the war in Ukraine, of course, in the company of the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarowa, and the CEO of the Ukrainian energy company, Naftagaz, Yuriy Vitrenko. But also to discuss a possible future confrontation with China.

Conference regular, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, had the opportunity in Washington to discuss international affairs with Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, as he himself reported on Twitter : “I was pleased to meet with Prime Minister @MarinSanna of our close partner Finland in Washington. We discussed the need to address #Turkey’s concerns and to advance Finland and Sweden’s application for NATO membership.”

It is a pity that he did not specify in what context their meeting took place and where the photo he published as an attachment was taken.
Nevertheless, as journalist Charlie Skelton wrote on his twitter account, “It’s a mad irony that the head of NATO is doing more actual reporting on #bilderberg2022 than almost every news outlet in the world.”

In addition to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, US National Security Council Director Jake Sullivan and leaders of the CIA, CISA, GCHQ and DGSE, Kurt Campbell, the White House Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific at the National Security Council, was also present. The Senior Director for Technology and National Security at the National Security Council, Tarun Chhabra. The Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Celeste Wallander. And the Director of the Office of Net Assessment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, James H. Baker.

For Europe, the President of the European Council Charles Michel, the Vice-President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas, and the European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders were present, as already mentioned, accompanied by the President of the Eurogroup and Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe.

Other politicians and public present included:
• US Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo.
• US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Adewale Adeyemo.
• Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares.
• Swiss Secretary of State of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Livia Leu.
• Greek Minister for Digital Governance, Kyriakos Pierrakakis.
• Belgian Minister for Energy, Tinne Van der Straeten.
• Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Lena Hallengren.
• Irish Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne.
• UK Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Michael Gove.
• The Chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee and former military intelligence officer, the Franco-British Tom Tugendhat.

Some political figures indicated their participation in the meeting in their official schedule. This is the case of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel; the Vice-President of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas; the European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders; the Prime Minister of Finland, Sanna Marin; and the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, Chrystia Freeland.

Mr Reynders also made it clear that he would participate in the panel on ‘disinformation’ at the meeting. Given his responsibilities, this suggests that a judicial solution to the problem at European level is in the offing. This means that we can expect tougher legislation against the spreaders of fake news in the coming months.

Looking now at the private sector, the conference boasted CEOs and directors from some of the world’s biggest companies. Big oil and big pharma were represented by Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, BP, Shell and TotalEnergies. Joining them were the heads of Brookfield Asset Management, CDPQ, Evercore, Goldman Sachs International, Enel, AXA, SwissRe, UBS, SEB, Volvo, Heineken, KKR, Ryanair, Microsoft, Palantir, Facebook, DeepMind, OpenAI, and InflectionAI, to name just a few.

Academics and senior members from some of the West’s most influential NGOs were present: the Center for European Policy Analysis sent the former head of the US Army in Europe, Ben Hodges and a member of its International Leadership Council, Anne Applebaum. From the Hudson Institute came senior fellow, Nadia Schadlow, a former member of the National Security Council, and a current member of Bilderberg’s Steering Committee. The Institut Montaigne was represented by its chairman, Henri de Castries, who is also a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment (and the former chair of Bilderberg’s Steering Committee). Also from Carnegie: the American diplomat and academic Ashley J. Tellis, who is an advisor to the US Chief of Naval Operations.

Perhaps the best example of the crossover between NGO advisors, international diplomacy and the military is conference attendee William J. Burns. The former deputy Secretary of State was President of the Carnegie Endowment and was briefly on the Steering Committee of Bilderberg before resigning from both to become Director of the CIA in March 2021.

Besides Burns, four other active intelligence chiefs attended the 2022 conference: the head of the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters; the director of France’s external intelligence agency, DGSE; the leader of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency; and Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan. Former spy chiefs at the talks include David Petraeus (CIA) and Sir John Sawers (MI6), now a board member of Bilderberg and BP.

The list of participants also includes the doyen of US intelligence and diplomacy, former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. At 99 years of age, he is still professionally active as President of Kissinger Associates Inc. A former member of the Steering Committee, he has participated in the Bilderberg Conferences since 1957. 65 years of loyalty to the Club is something to celebrate! At the same time, he confirmed his record of seniority within the Group. This record was previously held in Montreux in 2019 by his friend and mentor, the late David Rockefeller, who had been linked to the Group for a mere 61 years, from 1954 until his death in 2015.

Given the war in Ukraine and the tense situation with Russia, Kissinger must have found himself in a contradictory situation. If, on the one hand, his Cold War experience was to propel him among the ‘wise’, his ties with Putin were to place him among the suspects of Russophilia.

In an article published in 2012, the New York Times revealed that Putin and Kissinger were “old friends” and that they had met a dozen times over the years. Thereafter, they met several more times, as in 2017, in the Kremlin. As Gideon Rachman explained in the above-mentioned article, Kissinger continues to be a source of inspiration for some nostalgics: “While there is some glib talk in the West about attempting to “do a Kissinger” — and once again engineer a split between Russia and China, as happened in the 1970s — few in Washington believe that is a plausible near-term prospect. On the contrary, US officials see China as very firmly in Russia’s corner. Dissuading Beijing from translating its pro-Russian sentiments into direct military or economic support for Moscow remains a top American priority. “


To sum up — the list of participants, the agenda of the meeting and the level of secrecy surrounding it, suggest that we are about to enter a rather turbulent period, where anything can happen, be it military, political, economic or social. “Deglobalisation” is unlikely to be a joyous and happy process, especially in a context of societal ‘fragmentation’ and economic stagflation. Moreover, as Gideon Rachman reminded us in the article cited above, the Biden administration’s policymakers are already defining the war in Ukraine in global terms. They see Russia and China as partners in a challenge to the “world order”.

These policymakers “see Russia and China as partners in a challenge to the ‘rules-based order’, upheld by the US and its allies. The battles in Ukraine are currently the central theatre of that wider struggle.
Viewed from Washington, security threats in Europe and Asia are now so deeply connected that the two continents are seen by officials as a ‘single operating system’.”

As the Bilderberg agenda suggests, we are currently witnessing many ‘geopolitical realignments’, especially in the Indo-Pacific region. As Vaimiti Goin wrote in an article entitled: ‘The Indopacific Space, a geopolitical concept with variable geometry in the face of power rivalries” (« L’espace Indopacifique, un concept géopolitique à géométrie variable face aux rivalités des puissances ») published in 2021: “The use of the Indo-Pacific concept in international relations is not neutral: it underpins an ideological vision. There are two main visions: a first vision based on rivalry with China and a second one defending a free and open space including China. The main point of confrontation between the two visions, however, is China’s refusal to recognise the geographical and ideological existence of such a space, which it perceives as a strategy of containment against it.”

So what Martin Wolf predicted when he returned from the Montreux Conference in 2019 seems to be taking shape: “The disappearance of the Soviet Union left a big hole. The ‘war on terror’ was an inadequate replacement. But China ticks all boxes. For the US, it can be the ideological, military and economic enemy many need (…). Across-the-board rivalry with China is becoming an organising principle of US economic, foreign and security policies.”

William J. Burns: The CIA’s new Bilderberg boss

Hurrah Hurrah, a ‘Bilderberger’ in the CIA!

On January 11, 2021, the President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden, designated the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Meetings, William J. Burns, as the new director of the CIA. This appointment is significant because it marks the return of diplomacy to the forefront of the American political scene, dear to the defenders of the ‘Bi-partisan center’ and of the ‘Trans-Atlantic dialogue’.

Indeed, Mr. Burns, who grew up in the shadow of the Pentagon, is a pure product of the State Department, those seasoned with English sauce. In his 33-year career in the service of American diplomacy, he has witnessed the main events that marked the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st, from the epilogue of the Cold War to the Arab Spring.

Three decades of diplomacy

Son of Major General William F. Burns (former Director of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency under President Reagan), William Junior studied History at La Salle University in Philadelphia, before obtaining a doctorate in International Relations from St. John’s College, Oxford, thanks to a Marshall scholarship, funded by the British taxpayer. He entered the State Department in 1982, where he rose through the ranks, until becoming Deputy Secretary of State, from 2011 to 2014. To be exact, he was even acting Secretary of State, from January 20 to 21, 2009.

Elegant and polite, a diplomat to the tips of his nails, Mr. Burns is a great state clerk who has always been keen to defend the country’s superior interests, beyond all partisan quarrels. He served in positions of responsibility both under the Republicans and under the Democrats, making himself, at every stage, ever more indispensable. After having been Deputy Director of Policy Planning Staff and Executive Secretary of the State Department, after advising Secretaries of State Warren Cristopher and Madeleine Albright, Mr. Burns was appointed, in 1998, as United States Ambassador to Jordan, by President Clinton. When George W. Bush arrived at the White House, he first confirmed him in office and later appointed him Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs in June 2001.

Burns held this post until 2005, when he was appointed Ambassador to Russia (a springboard in the career of any diplomat. Among his predecessors are William Averell Harriman, Walter Bedell Smith, George F. Kennan and Charles E. Bohlen). When Barack Obama arrived at the White House, he first confirmed him in office and later appointed him Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. This was in 2008. In 2011, Burns was propelled to the post of Under-Secretary of State, which he would occupy until his retirement in 2014. On this occasion, he saw himself awarded the US intelligence Community Medallion, for his discreet but decisive role in several sensitive issues involving national security (such as those of Israel-Palestine, Libya and Iran).

Mr. Burns forged a real bond of trust with Hillary Clinton, who saw in him a potential heavyweight in her future government, once she had defeated Donald Trump. However, history would have it otherwise, and Mr. Burns was then offered the post of President of the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace. This is a position as prestigious as it is strategic, given the key role played by this organization in the implementation of American foreign policies. The official role and the unofficial one.

Carnegie and Bilderberg

The Carnegie Foundation’s involvement in the creation of the American branch of Bilderberg in the 1950s is proof of this. It provided strategic, financial and logistical support to the Group during the early years of its existence, which proved to be vital. Its then president, Joseph E. Johnson (1950-1971) became Secretary General for the Bilderberg group in the United States in 1957 and remained so until 1975.

In this role, he invited his successor to the Carnegie Foundation, Thomas L. Hugues (1971-1991), to participate in the 1971 and 1972 Conferences. Jessica T. Mathews, who was President of the Carnegie Foundation from 1997 to 2015, attended virtually all of the Bilderberg Meetings between 1999 and 2017, and served for a long time on the Steering Committee. Mr. Burns participated in the Bilderberg Meetings of 2015 (Telfs, Austria), 2016 (Dresden, Germany), 2017 (Chantilly, Virginia) and 2018 (Turin, Italian), before being co-opted, quite naturally, within the ranks of the Steering Committee.

Burns’ appointment as head of the CIA was greeted with delight by his predecessor, retired General David Petraeus, who told Politico that it was “a truly inspired choice”, and that Burns would “bring vast international experience, global relationships, and impressive, steady leadership.” Petraeus himself has participated in 7 Bilderberg Conferences, from 2013 to 2019, in his role as President of the KKR Global Institute (since May 2013) and partner of the KKR Investment Fund (since December 2014). He was invited along by his employer, the spry billionaire Henry Kravis, who is none other than the husband of Marie-Josée Drouin Kravis, current co-Chairman of Bilderberg and historic president of its American branch. So Petraeus knows what he’s talking about when he speaks of the importance of Mr. Burns’ “global relationships”.

Bilderberg and the CIA

The appointment of Mr. Burns is very moving when one also knows the ‘family ties’ between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Bilderberg association based in the Netherlands. Indeed, the former Director of the CIA (1950-53), General Walter Bedell Smith, was the group’s first supporter in the United States and the main architect of the American branch, with the support of President Dwight Eisenhower and the help from his Psychological Warfare Advisor, General Charles Douglas Jackson.

The majority of the founding members of the Bilderberg had a direct connection to the intelligence community. From their experience during the war, in particular, they had kept both a forma mentis and a modus operandi that is reflected in the group’s natural inclination for secrecy.

Relations between Bilderberg and the international community of secret services have occupied an increasingly important place behind the scenes of power since September 11, 2001. Since then, and even more since the financial crisis of 2007-2011, a growing number of representatives of Western secret services (MI6, GCHQ, NSA, DGSE, DDIS) have been invited to participate in the annual conferences. Former MI6 Director Sir John Sawers also sits on the Steering Committee along with Mr Burns. An unprecedented situation, which never happened even in the darkest hours of the Cold War.

The CIA-Bilderberg relationship has always been special, but now with with Mr. Burns at the helm of ‘The Company’ we can be assured that it will grow even stronger in the years to come.

Endnote: Now that he is in charge, we urge Mr. Burns to reconsider the new CIA fractal logo. We of course understand the desire to encourage more diversity but the old logo is a mythical brand of the 20th century. It is full of color, it features the noble eagle, it symbolizes life, strength and action, while this new look manages to be both clumsy and sinster, lacking any ounce of the style of Mr. Burns. And as they say in Paris… moche is moche.