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Secretive power group gathers in St Moritz

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Secretive power group gathers in St Moritz
14:31 CEST+02:00

The Bilderberg Group of some 100 political and economic leaders, as well as aristocrats, will meet from Thursday in the chic Swiss ski station of St Moritz.

The exact location and date of the meeting has been shrouded in mystery. A spokesman from the Graubunden canton told AFP that it will take place at the mountain resort, but would not give details on the location, date and participants.

"We have taken special police measures to protect the personalities," he said, adding however that the army has not been mobilised, unlike during the World Economic Forum, which gathers elites in nearby Davos annually.  

While few official details have emerged about the Bilderberg meetings, which have been ongoing since 1954, they have been catalogued by opponents of the group.

The president of the Young Swiss Socialists, David Roth, said that 100 participants will be meeting from Thursday over four days at the five-star Suvretta hotel.

"There is a problem as the politicians and economic representatives are meeting behind closed doors," said Roth, who is planning a protest against the event on Saturday at St Moritz.

The group is "making important decisions behind closed doors. The participants are not meeting to have coffee," but to influence world governance, he claims.

The Bilderberg meetings, including last year's event in Spain and 2009's in Athens, are usually secured by a tight police presence.

On what has been claimed as the official website – which is impossible to verify as it gives no contact information – the group is described as "a small, flexible, informal and off-the-record international forum in which different viewpoints can be expressed and mutual understanding enhanced."

"At the meetings, no resolutions are proposed, no votes taken, and no policy statements issued," it added.  

But investigative journalist David Estulin contests these claims. In his book "The Real Story of Bilderberg" he noted that the group has become "a kind of shadow world government, which decides during these annual meetings how it will implement its plans."

The group only publishes a list of participants afer a meeting is over.

Last year, they included Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, Airbus chief executive Tom Enders, Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou and US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg.

European Union commissioner on new technologies Neelie Kroes, was also present and will be back again this year, along with competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia, Brussels has confirmed.

Swiss Energy Minister Doris Leuthard will also be there, the government said Tuesday in response to a parliamentary question from Dominique Baettig, an MP from the far-right SVP.

"This meeting is in complete contradiction with the Swiss model of transparency. These leaders meet without us knowing what they are doing," Baettig said.

While he does not believe in any conspiracy theories surrounding the Bilderberg Group, he said he has been "made to understand that there is some sort of self-censorship on the subject."

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