Category Archives: Italy

K 100! pt2 — Happy Birthday Henry!

Today marks Henry Kissinger’s centenary, which means that he only has to cling on for less than two more years to have outlasted his friend and mentor, the banker David Rockefeller. David’s final appearance at a Bilderberg Meeting was in 2011, when he was a mere stripling of 95, turning 96 on the final day of the conference. Henry attended this month’s conference in Lisbon at the age of 99, and is still happily lecturing the world about China, Russia, AI and the future of humanity. And he is still doing his best to keep a hand on the tiller of history.

Back in 1971, when he was well established as the US National Security Advisor, Henry was more directly involved in shaping world events…


General Franco of Spain had chosen Prince Juan Carlos of Bourbon as his heir-apparent, and in 1971 the prince made a trip to the United States, where he was received with the honours reserved for a head of state. The American leaders gave him a warm welcome, including Henry Kissinger, who showered him with attention.

For the well-known Spanish journalist and essayist Pilar Urbano, the fact that Don Juan Carlos de Bourbon acceded to the Spanish throne following the death of Francisco Franco in 1975 was due to the good offices of the Bilderberg Group. In her book ‘El precio del trono’, published in 2011, she repeatedly highlights the influence of both the CIA and Bilderberg in this historic event.

On the basis of original documents that she was able to consult (reproduced in the appendix of the book), the author noted that the Group had openly interceded in favour of this institutional solution with the Caudillo, as early as 1968. There is much to be said for her assertions and for the authenticity of certain documents.

During that 1971 visit to America, flattered by the attention of Kissinger and Co., the son of the Count of Barcelona openly distanced himself from Francoism and proclaimed that he had come to seek Washington’s support for his plan to see Spain join NATO and the EEC one day. From that moment on, the American propaganda machine was set in motion on both sides of the Atlantic, with the aim of promoting a positive image of the Prince in public opinion. That of a strong, dynamic, brilliant man, prepared and appreciated both in Spain and abroad.

Two years later, the two American Bilderberg pundits, Henry Kissinger and George Ball, were in the midst of political action to follow up this project, as the second document reproduced by Pilar Urbano attests. It is an undated letter, probably dating from February 1973, sent by the National Security Advisor to the members of the National Security Council, concerning ‘policy towards post-Franco Spain’. Among the recipients of the missive are the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Director of the CIA, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Deputy Secretary of State, the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs and the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.
Its contents are as follows:

“The President has directed the preparation of a paper on the impact of General Francisco Franco’s death on U.S. Security and overseas interests. The study should look forward at least until the year 1982. The paper should consider alternative strategies for overall US policy in Spain and include analysis of Prince Juan Carlos of Borbon’s future role as the nation’s King. To prepare the paper, the President has directed the creation of an Ad Hoc Working Group chaired by the former Undersecretary of State and to include the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, a member of the NSC staff, appropriate representatives from the Bureau of the Budget and Export-Import Bank, and/or their alternates. The report of the Group shall be forwarded to the NSC Review Group by March 28, 1973 and be available to the Bilderberger Steering Committee by April 14, 1973.”

This text illustrates how the Bilderberg Group was integrated into the process of shaping US foreign and security policy during Henry Kissinger’s time in office. More specifically, it shows how the Steering Committee acted as a relay between the highest Western authorities regarding the future of post-Franco Spain. All in the best interests of the Atlantic Alliance.


On 13 May 2001, the”House of Freedom”, the centre-right coalition led by the leader of Forza Italia, Silvio Berlusconi (who had already been Prime Minister between 1994 and 1995) won the Italian general election. Immediately, the main European chancelleries were in an uproar. Indeed, the launch of the euro in its monetary form was scheduled for 1 January 2002. Italy, co-sponsor of the new single European currency, founding member of the EEC and member of the G8, was not allowed to slip up. It had to set an example and respect its international commitments, particularly in terms of economic policy and public debt. It therefore had six months to finish putting its accounts in order.

From London to Berlin, via Brussels and Paris, many wondered what line the new Italian government would take on European issues. For years, Berlusconi’s own personality had been a source of doubt and perplexity. Now, the expected presence in the future executive of Eurosceptic parties, such as the Northern League and the National Alliance, raised fears of the worst. The pressure on the Prime Minister in pectore began to grow daily. They came from all sectors of Italian society, but also from abroad. Berlusconi had to commit himself to all international agreements if he wanted to avoid being marginalised.

To understand his situation, it is worth noting that many of his institutional interlocutors at European level were linked to each other through Bilderberg. At the time, the Group was chaired by the Belgian Etienne Davignon, who had been a European Commissioner and Vice-President of the Commission in the 1970s and 1980s. The European Central Bank (ECB) was chaired by a former Bilderberg treasurer, the Dutchman Willem Frederick Duisenberg. The Italian representative on the ECB’s Executive Board, Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, was an active member of the Steering Committee at the time. Romano Prodi, who sat on the Steering Committee at the same time as Duisenberg, was President of the European Commission. Prodi’s Italian successor in the Group, Mario Monti, was European Commissioner for Competition. Finally, Bilderberg friend Mario Draghi was then Director General of the Italian Treasury and Chairman of the Economic and Financial Committee of the European Council.

All of these figures intervened, in one way or another, to remind Silvio Berlusconi of his obligations. Berlusconi finally capitulated by agreeing to open his government to ministers from outside the House of Liberty, despite the contrary opinion of several members of his coalition. Perhaps because of their inexperience, they did not understand that winning elections was a necessary but not sufficient condition for governing. In order to appease his European partners and thus keep himself in power, Berlusconi will agree to provide the necessary guarantees for Italy to switch to the euro and for it to land quietly in the pockets of the citizens, with the blessing of the financial markets.

The days go by and the Cavaliere is racking his brains to compose his government, and he seeks some advice from an elder statesman of Italian politics and industry: on 23 May, he goes to Turin to meet the honorary member of Bilderberg, Umberto Agnelli. That day, an interesting article appeared in La Repubblica. Signed by Gianluca Luzi, it is entitled ‘Ruggiero and Kissinger will consult Berlusconi’. On reading it, one discovers that the day before this meeting, the two Bilderbergers, Renato Ruggiero and Henry Kissinger, met with Berlusconi in Rome to discuss Ruggiero’s appointment as Foreign Minister, to the great displeasure of his Northern League ally, Umberto Bossi, for whom Ruggiero embodied the ‘system’ that he and his friends wanted to change. Ruggiero had been a career ambassador, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Foreign Trade, President of the energy company ENI, Director of FIAT (run by the Agnellis) and Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Ruggiero attended his first Bilderberg in 1986, when he was listed as “General Secretary, Ministry for Foreign Affairs”. He was a regular visitor until 2000, also earning election onto the Group’s governing body, its steering committee.

On May 22, 2001, according to the Luzi article, Ambassador Ruggiero “arrived at Berlusconi’s residence shortly before five o’clock, accompanied by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, an old friend of the lawyer Agnelli and a member of the Trilateral Commission with Ruggiero. The eventual Foreign Minister of the Berlusconi government left the premises after about forty minutes, while Kissinger continued to converse with Berlusconi until 6.40 pm. Of course, on the way out, none of the three protagonists of the summit said a single word, but the theme of the discussion could not have been more obvious.” Similarly, you don’t have to be clairvoyant to guess what Umberto Agnelli and Silvio Berlusconi said to each other during their tête-à-tête the next day.

Once this mission was accomplished, Henry Kissinger left Italy for Stenungsund, Sweden, where the annual Bilderberg conference was to take place from 24 to 27 May 2001. During this meeting, he participated in a session entitled ‘Consequences of the Italian elections’, which reflects the Group’s interest in the subject. What did the former US Secretary of State say on this occasion? Did he share with the participants the details of his trip to Rome? What was the position of the Italians present (Franco Bernabè, Mario Draghi, Gian-Maria Gros-Pietro, Mario Monti and Gianni Riotta)? What was the content of the discussions as a whole? We will only know in 2052, when the archives of that year are finally made public.

Berlusconi, for his part, did not have to wait long to find out. On 1 June, he received ‘unexpected’ visits to his office from European Commissioner Mario Monti and NATO Secretary General George Robertson, among others. What did they discuss? With Monti, the upcoming Italian Presidency of the European Union, among other things. With Robertson, the NATO summit that was to take place in Brussels on 13 June. The Briton described the meeting as “interesting” and “reassuring” and added: “I’m sure there will be continuity in Italy’s relationship with NATO”. The fact is that both Monti and Robertson had just returned from the Stenungsund Conference and it is conceivable that they acted as ambassadors of the mood of the “international community” to the new Prime Minister.

As foreseen by Luzi, Ambassador Renato Ruggiero was appointed Foreign Minister. He was presented to the public as a politically independent and super partes technician, a champion of a united Europe.
Immediately the Italian press began to speak of a honeymoon between Silvio Berlusconi and the Agnelli clan. If true, this will be short-lived.
In addition to the turbulence linked to the arrival of the euro, Renato Ruggiero will soon have to deal with other, more serious ones. The first clouds appeared a few days after the government took office, when the question of parliamentary ratification of the Treaty of Nice came up. For Umberto Bossi and Giulio Tremonti, it was not necessary because it was the result of an agreement made by the previous government, headed by Giuliano Amato. Ruggiero immediately had to raise his voice and remind the public that the continuity of the country’s foreign policy was not an opinion but a duty. He succeeded in convincing Prime Minister Berlusconi of the validity of his position, but the quarrel with his ministers had only just begun…

Bilderberg 2018: Turin, June 7-10

The influential Bilderberg policy summit is this year being held in Turin, from June 7th to 10th.

Taking part in this year’s conference are a large number of senior politicians and public figures, including the Secretary General of NATO and the Prime Ministers of Holland, Belgium, Serbia and Estonia.

Also attending are the King of Holland, the Deputy Prime Ministers of Spain and Turkey, the German Defence Minister, and the Secretary of State of the Vatican.

Top of the conference agenda for these politicians is “Populism in Europe”, the rise of which is obviously troubling for the intensely pro-EU Bilderberg group. They will also be discussing such geopolitical issues as “Russia”, “Saudi Arabia and Iran”, and “US world leadership”.

With the world on the edge of war, the US is sending the Director of Net Assessment at the US Defence Dept., James H. Baker, whose job is to weigh up the military capabilities of America and its ‘competition’.

From the world of finance, the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, is heading to Turin, along with his Dutch counterpart, Klaas Knot. They’ll be discussing “Free Trade” with the President of the World Economic Foundation, Børge Brende, and the Senior Deputy Governor of the Bank of Italy.

The former UK Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, is invited, along with the former UK Chancellor George Osborne, in his capacity as Editor of the Evening Standard. Osborne recently took a senior advisory role at Exor, the holding company for the Agnelli billions.

The Chairman of Exor, John Elkann, is on Bilderberg’s steering committee, which is run by the Vice-Chairman of Nestlé, Henri de Castries. It is big year for Elkann, as he is effectively hosting this year’s conference in Turin.

Corporate leaders invited to Turin include the CEOs of Shell, Airbus, Vodafone and Total, billionaire financiers such as Henry Kravis of KKR, and the CEO of ICONIQ Capital — the silicon valley investment fund linked to Mark Zuckerberg.

High tech is high on the agenda, with “Artificial intelligence” and “Quantum computing” being discussed by leaders from the sector, such as Demis Hassabis the head of Google’s DeepMind project, and AI expert Tim Hwang.


Bilderberg and the Agnellis

The official Bilderberg website has a list of current and former members of the Steering Committee.  However, there is no mention in the list of the flamboyant billionaire industralist Giovanni ‘Gianni’ Agnelli (1921-2003). The absence of L’Avvocato is absolutely extraordinary, given the central role that he and FIAT have played within the history of Bilderberg.

The links between FIAT and Bilderberg date back to the Group’s origins in the early 1950s. Vittorio Valletta, who was president of FIAT for two decades from 1946 until 1966 was part of the Italian delegation that participated in the first transatlantic meeting, in 1954. Valletta attended again in 1955, and helped organize, on behalf of FIAT, the sixth Bilderberg Conference, held at the Hotel Palazzo della Fonte, in Fiuggi, in 1957, which he did not attend for family reasons.

Enter Gianni

The 1957 meeting in Italy is the first of the thirty-six Bilderberg Conferences in which Giovanni ‘Gianni’ Agnelli takes part: it is the debut on the international scene of the dashing aesthete with a magnetic charm and a devastating smile. Quickly bored, Gianni lives at a thousand miles per hour, fascinated by art, women, architecture, cars, football and politics —  especially international relations.

His assiduous interest in the Bilderberg Group’s activities ensures that Gianni Agnelli is soon identified as the ideal candidate to take one of the two Italian chairs in the Steering Committee. Shortly after the 1958 conference, Gianni was invited to a meeting of the ‘Enlarged Steering Committee’ — the first time that Agnelli had access to the backstage of Bilderberg.

But it is not until the early years of the next decade that Giovanni Agnelli finds himself fully involved in the activities of the International Steering Committee. On 20 November 1962, he is invited him to a meeting of the Advisory Committee of the Group aimed at defining the agenda of the Bilderberg Conference of 1963 in Cannes. The Cannes conference is the first at which Agnelli took part as a full member of the Steering Committee.

Before long, Gianni became a business partner and friend of one of the most influential people in the history of Bilderberg, the American banker David Rockefeller. The two shared many ideas besides the love of sailing and the same conception of world order, and were instrumental in making Bilderberg more business oriented. He also became enamoured of young strategist and intellectual, a protégé of the Rockeller brothers — Henry Kissinger. Over time, they formed a friendship that became an anchor of stability in their respective lives. As Henry Kissinger wrote, in a foreword to a book on his friend:

“During the last two decades of his life, no one was closer to me than Gianni Agnelli. We spoke on the telephone three or four times a week and whenever something interesting happened in either of our lives. We spent time together when either of us traveled to the other’s country, which was every month or so.”

In 1981, Gianni Agnelli was co-opted in the Advisory Board (a sort of Bilderberg Hall of Fame), reflecting his commitment to the Group.

Bilderberg and FIAT

In an article La Repubblica in 2013, Giuliano Balestreri observed that most of the Italians who have been co-opted in the Steering Committee from 1960 to today have at one point or another seen their personal interests allied with those of FIAT:

  • Paolo Zannoni had most of his career in FIAT, holding important positions including: president of FIAT Washington Inc.; representative of FIAT in the Soviet Union; and senior vice-president for the development of international affairs of the FIAT group.
  • Career diplomat, Gian Gaspare Cittadini Cesi became CEO of FIAT France after going to rest.
  • Renato Ruggiero was responsible for the international relations of the FIAT group between 1991 and 1995, after having held the position of Minister of Foreign Trade and before becoming Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
  • Mario Monti was co-opted on the Board of Directors of FIAT Auto SpA in 1988, at the age of 45.
  • Franco Bernabè debuts his career in the private sector in FIAT, where he joined in 1978 as chief economist at the planning office. He then became director of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA).
  • Tommaso Padoa Schioppa was co-opted on the board of directors of FIAT Industrial on December 15, 2010. Three days later he died as a result of cardiac arrest.

After Gianni, John

Gianni’s younger brother, Umberto, was invited to his first Bilderberg Conference in 1983, and ended up joining Gianni on the Group’s Steering Committee. Umberto died in 2004, a year after Gianni, forcing the then 28-year-old grandson of Gianni, John Elkann, to oversee the family’s investment in FIAT. Elkann was invited to attend his first Bilderberg Conference in 2005, in his capacity as Vice President of the FIAT Group. To quote a Reuters article from 2012:

When he inherited Fiat, Elkann got much more than a company. Just as General Motors and Ford have shaped America, Fiat’s history is tightly entwined with Italy’s transformation from a poor agricultural nation to a top industrial power.

John Elkann was invited to joined the Steering Committee in 2015, the same year as the journalist Lilli Gruber. And it is Elkann who is acting as the principal host of the 2018 Bilderberg conference in Turin, the longtime home of Fiat and the Agnellis.


Participant Profile: John Elkann

John Elkann is he grandson of the famous Italian industrialist, Gianni Agnelli. He is the Executive Director of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, a director of News Corp and the Economist Group, and a regular participant at Bilderberg meetings.

Here he is the stylish Elkann at the 2014 Bilderberg conference in Copenhagen, in conversation with Evan Greenberg (board member of Coca-Cola):


And here is trotting after Alex Karp (CEO, Palantir Technologies, described by Forbes in 2013 as “a CIA-Funded Data-Mining Juggernaut”) and Klaus Kleinfeld (CEO of Alcoa, and director of Morgan Stanley and Hewlett Packard):


According to the Financial Times (2015):

“[Elkann] has spent the past decade quietly building up a network to rival his grandfather. A regular participant at Sun Valley, Berkshire Hathaway and Bilderberg conferences, he sits on the boards of the Economist and News Corp.”

On the Economist board, he sits alongside Eric Schmidt (the Executive Chairman of Google, and another regular participant at Bilderberg) and Sir Simon Robertson (the Deputy Chairman of HSBC – the Bilderberg Association is registered to Simon Robertson Associates LLP).

Henry Kissinger, one of the inner circle of the Bilderberg Group, was a friend of John Elkann’s grandfather, Giovanni Agnelli. Kissinger wrote:

“During the last two decades of his life, no one was closer to me than Gianni Agnelli.”

Agnelli was also a close friend of David Rockefeller, another leading light of Bilderberg:

“It is fervently hoped that Iachi will rise to this Pantheon. Ready to assist him are Fiat consultant Henry Kissinger, and Agnelli’s dear friend David Rockefeller, just in case.” (Harpers and Queen, 2002)

Dr Kissinger remains close to the family, and to John Elkann:

“Mr Elkann’s godfather is Henry Kissinger and he openly admits an affinity with Pritzker, Ridley and Walton US industrial dynasties.” (Financial Times, 2015)

Here is Elkann with Kissinger in Rome 2008:


John Elkann’s brother is Lapo Elkann, who was Henry Kissinger’s personal assistant in New York in 2001. His wife is Donna Lavinia Borromeo, of the aristocratic Italian family, the House of Borromeo. Their wedding:

“featured a 5m long chocolate cake depicting dozens of chocolate Cinquecento and a guest list including Henry Kissinger”

Elkann controls the Agnelli family investments. This, from a Financial Times profile (2011):

“in recent days, Mr Elkann has taken full control of the family investment company, a firm with €9bn ($12.6bn) in net asset value and more than €1bn of investment firepower, with the intention of making it into a kind of Berkshire Hathaway for the capital goods industry. He wants to expand into the US and Asia.”

Finally, further details on Elkann and his relationship to the  Agnelli fortune:

“The partnership Giovanni Agnelli & C is effectively controlled by John Elkann, a grandson and main heir of Gianni (Giovanni) Agnelli. Elkan controls a holding company called Dicembre, which has 31.2 per cent of the votes in the limited company.” (Economist, 2007)

“Dicembre controls Giovanni Agnelli & Company, a limited partnership which in turn controls a holding company called I.F.I., which in turn controls a $12 billion holding company called I.F.I.L., which owns a controlling 30 percent of Fiat Group, which owns Fiat Auto, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, and a majority of Ferrari, plus a diversified portfolio of holdings in the Juventus soccer team, Intesa Sanpaolo (Italy’s largest bank), and the U.S. real-estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield, among others.” (Vanity Fair, 2008)