The Bilderberg Group: Don’t Bother To Apply

“Coil” Based on Real-Life Shadow Group
About eight years ago during research, I stumbled upon one of those paragraphs that are the lifeblood of a novelist. It mentioned a yearly meeting of powerful world leaders that called itself the Bilderberg Group. I was intrigued. Unlike the VIP-bristling World Economic Forum, which usually gathers in Davos, Switzerland, and Allen & Co., which is legendary for its low-key, high-level summits in Sun Valley, Idaho, the Bilderbergers were a complete unknown to me.

For good reason. As it turned out, the elite organization not only shuns publicity, it forbids it. Or as the Toronto National Post explained later, on May 24, 2001, “The conferences are held under absolute secrecy and tight security, with no media coverage allowed.”

But back in 1995, I had no idea what I faced. I dove in, setting up shop in the library, hunting through thousands of U.S. newspapers, magazines, and books. I’m a researcher. I know how to find the most arcane data, but I was stymied, until I discovered Spotlight, a right-wing populist newsweekly based in Washington, D.C., which claimed to have reported Bilderberger’s annual assemblies for more than two decades. Taking away Spotlight’s extreme political and emotional spin, but figuring in its on-the-scene photos, lists of attendees, and lists of yearly venues dating back to 1954, I began to believe Bilderberg might not only be real but an idea for a book.

The test came a year later, when Spotlight predicted the group would hold its next covert confab at a luxury resort outside Toronto. I ordered the Toronto Star and held my breath. On June 6, 1996, I had confirmation at last from a mainstream news source: “The Bilderberg Conference of 120 world business and political leaders is unfolding in secrecy,” the Star reported, “just as they planned” at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s leadership center at the former King City Ranch.

That night, I celebrated with a large glass of excellent pinot noir.

Over the years as I wrote other novels, I continued to research the Bilderbergers, a hobby, perhaps an obsession. As a result, my new thriller, The Coil, delves deeply into the Nautilus Group, which is based loosely on the Bilderberg Group. Both have headquarters in the Hague, both were named for the hotels in which they first officially met, and both employ extreme security, color-coded badges, and sniffer dogs. But after that, the facts diverge. For instance, I have no information or knowledge that a diabolical inner circle such as the Coil exists within Bilderberg.

I’m pleased to report that because of the doggedness of some journalists and protesters and the vast resources of the Internet, news coverage of Bilderberg is widening at last. In fact, London’s Sunday Times jokes that Bilderberg meetings are “the world’s greatest networking opportunity,” while Portugal’s The News refers gravely to the group’s members and guests as “the world’s unelected leaders.”

In a tongue-in-cheek article, The Guardian of England and Wales points out, “It is, according to some, a sinister shadow world government dedicated to seizing control of the levers of the global economy. So why . . . put Lord Carrington’s picture at the top of this column? He runs [Bilderberg] along with Henry Kissinger and David Rockefeller, billionaire owner of New York’s Chase Manhattan Bank. . . . What will they discuss? Don’t know. There are no statements, no sound bites, no photo calls. . . .”

The Atlanta Constitution seems to have a better handle on the situation: “. . . the Bilderbergers say the required pledge of delegates not to discuss what goes on at their meetings is simply to provide a private, informal environment in which those who influence national policies and international affairs can get to know each other and discuss, without commitment, their common problems.”

Still, with media giants like Donald Graham of The Washington Post and billionaire bankers like Edmond de Rothschild and auto tycoons like Jurgen Schrempp of DaimlerChrysler and politicians with global clout like James D. Wolfensohn of the World Bank and Donald Rumsfeld of the U.S. Department of Defense in attendance . . . the Bilderbergers continue to hold my interest.

They may just be talking shop, but the clandestine nature of their gatherings continues to provoke. As The Financial Times once pointed out, “If the Bilderberg group is not a conspiracy of some sort, it is conducted in such a way as to give a remarkably good imitation of one.”

Its current secretary-general, Martin Taylor of WH Smith, says he’s done his best to increase its openness, according to The Sunday Times. But then, the minutes of its meetings have been secret for the past half century, which likely hinders that goal. When Time magazine analyzed the top six “Business Power Camps” in its July 20, 1998, issue, it awarded exclusivity ratings. Ten meant the most exclusive. Only one group rated it — the Bilderbergers.

You’ll learn all about the fictional Nautilus Group, the high chamber of the high priests of capitalism, in The Coil.

For further reading, try


The Assassins The Book of Spies The Last Spymaster The Coil Mesmerized Mosaic Masquerade The Altman Code The Paris Option The Hades Factor
The Assassins The Book of Spies The Last Spymaster The Coil Mesmerized
Mosaic Masquerade The Altman Code The Paris Option The Hades Factor
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