Mitt Romney isn’t very far into the vice presidential selection process. But according to a dedicated band of conspiracy theorists, the pick is all but a lock: Sen. Marco Rubio. That’s the current thinking among a worldwide collection of activists who are obsessed with the secretive Bilderberg Group, an alternating roster of global power players who loom as large — if not larger — in the online fever swamps of the fringe as the Trilateral Commission or the Council on Foreign Relations.
The Bilderberg Group, which takes its name from the Dutch hotel where it first gathered in 1954, exists solely to bring together between 100 and 150 titans of politics, finance, military, industry, academia and media mostly from North America and Western Europe once a year to discuss world affairs.
Yet in the netherworld of conspiracy theory, the group is part of an insidious corporate-globalist scheme. And this year, the speculation holds, the Bilderberg Group is set to hold its annual meeting in the coming weeks at a Northern Virginia hotel where, among other things, they likely will select Rubio as Romney’s running mate.
But like any good conspiracy theory, there’s just enough there to stoke questions. John Edwards’s speech to the Bilderberg Group’s 2004 meeting in Stresa, Italy, reportedly helped clinch his selection as that year’s Democratic vice presidential candidate. And Jim Johnson, the man who chaired that vice presidential selection process and initially was tasked with spearheading Barack Obama’s 2008 search for a running mate, is a leading Bilderberg member, while prominent Romney advisers including Robert Kagan and Vin Weber have attended past meetings, as have Bill Clinton, Donald Rumsfeld and top finance, media and tech executives.
“These are influential folks — and they’ve all got friends in American politics — so if they see somebody that impresses them or doesn’t, I expect that they would pass that view on,” said Weber, a former Minnesota congressman who has attended two Bilderberg meetings. “But I would tell all of those bloggers and protestors to save their outrage for a real conspiracy, because this is just a conference.”
That assessment is rejected as pure spin by the international community of Bilderberg obsessives. They’re convinced that the meeting is ground zero in an worldwide plot by big banks, mainstream media, defense contractors and governments to suppress working people around the world.
This year, anti-Bilderberg activists are planning an “ Occupy Bilderberg” protest outside the Westfield Marriott in Chantilly, Va., where they believe the group will hold its conference May 31-June 3.
The Rubio-Bilderberg rumors caught fire last month after veteran Washington Post columnist Al Kamen suggested that the Florida senator’s appearance before last month’s Summit of the Americas in Colombia could boost his veepstakes prospects, just as Edwards’s 2004 Bilderberg speech did.
That was enough for the popular anti-government website Infowars to conclude in a blaring headline: “Washington Post Suggests Bilderberg Group to Pick Romney’s Running Mate,” while a website called the Globalist Report also relied on Kamen’s column for a post asking: “ will Mitt Romney be attending the next Bilderberg Group meeting?”
Radio host Alex Jones, a hero on the anti-government fringe who also runs Infowars, this month told the Russian government-funded cable network Russia Today that at their upcoming meeting Bilderberg attendees will decide on “wars with Iran, ways to censor the Internet … how to sell the public on more banker bailouts” and “how to ram through carbon taxes.”
But the most immediate issue on the agenda, he said, will be a decision on “Should the elite get behind Mitt Romney or Barack Obama? Both men are bought and paid for by the same financial interests, and so the discussion will be which candidate can basically con the American people into laying down to tyranny for another four years.”