The secretive Bilderberg group is holding its annual meeting this weekend in a luxury hotel outside Washington, D.C.

In the words of, a website dedicated to disclosing information about the organization, “120 or so of the most influential men in Europe and North America” currently are holed up in the Westfields Marriott Hotel in Chantilly, Va. Many view the organization as the world’s “power elite,” part of a movement to replace national sovereignty with global governance.

Since 1953, the Bilderberg group has convened government, business, academic and journalistic representatives from the U.S., Canada and Europe. The locations and agendas of the conferences are closely guarded secrets.

A BBC World Service radio report earlier this week emphasized the mysterious nature of the group.

“This weekend, in a luxury hotel outside Washington, D.C.,” said the announcer, “Europe’s secret rulers are meeting their American counterparts – or that’s what some people believe. Today is the start of the annual gathering of the Bilderberg group. Never heard of it? That’s the whole point. It’s officially described as a private gathering, but with a guest list including the heads of European and American corporations, political leaders and a few intellectuals, it’s one of the most influential organizations on the planet.”

BBC reporter Bill Hayton called the hotel looking for information about the conference. His conversation was broadcast on his report.

    “Executive Office”

    “My name is Bill Hayton from BBC World Service. I just wanted to check, there’s some kind of big event happening at your hotel this weekend. Could you tell me what it is?”

    “There’s a couple of weddings …”

    “But there’s also a big conference going on as well.”

    “Not that I’m aware of.”

    “There’s nothing being organized by the Bilderberg group then?”

    “I’m sorry. Who?”

    “The Bilderberg group.”

    “I don’t even know who they are.”

The radio report continued by listing several people who were to have attended last year’s conference: the chairmen of ABB, France Telecom, ENI and Deutsche Bank, plus several European commissioners, central bankers, newspaper editors, the secretary-general of NATO and the queens of Spain and the Netherlands.

British journalist Jon Ronson, who is the author of a book on Bilderberg, was quoted in the BBC report.

“I’m a sort of semi-conspiracy theorist when it comes to Bilderberg,” he said, “because I think they wouldn’t go to that much trouble of having this incredibly expensive international conference every year and they’d go to all this trouble to keep themselves out of the press and be really secret and invite the world’s most powerful people if it was just a chat and a game of golf, which is basically what they say it is. So I do think they have some impact on world affairs, but I don’t think they have as much of an impact.”

Said Tony Gosling in a statement on the website, “Security is very tight (at the hotel) with FBI Secret Service and White House security staff, all paid from taxpayers’ money, on duty around the perimeter of this so-called ‘private’ meeting. This year, for the first time, all security have coded symbols on their lapels to distinguish who they work for.”

“Hotel staff are always sworn to secrecy at these events, but some still feel the world has a right to know what is going on behind the cordon. They risk their jobs, and possibly more, by telling those outside who is inside the hotel and what they’re talking about,” Gosling said.

According to the website, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will attend the conference today and is expected to give a presentation to the “power brokers” in attendance.

Global banker David Rockefeller has been spotted by hotel staff, claims the website, as have Henry Kissinger and several others.

Related stories:

The next Bilderberg meeting

Clinton, Pope join Bilderbergers

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