Uncovering the “Truth” Among the Conspiracy Theorists at the 2013 Bilderberg Fringe Festival
Every year, the Bilderberg Group—a collection of some of the world’s most powerful people—gets together to discuss how to keep on being powerful. Now, considering that the past couple weeks haven’t been great ones for democracy (shouts to Turkey and the NSA!), I don’t blame you if the prospect of powerful government officials holding a closed-door meeting with the financial elite gets your goat a little. Especially since while the big swinging dicks gathered in Watford, England, last weekend, unemployment in the UK continued to rise, cities in Turkey kept on burning, and the war in Syria remained the stuff of nightmares.
While you might look at these worldwide messes and see a lot of basic human weakness and error, conspiracy theorists read the news, see the word Bilderberg, and immediately start connecting the dots: the puppet masters are poisoning the water supply, they’re enslaving your mind—bad events aren’t the result of human weakness or error at all, but a malicious plan being orchestrated against humans by a New World Order of aliens from space. You can argue that with a guestlist that includes David Cameron, IMF chief Christine Lagarde (one of 14 women among 134 delegates), David Petraeus, and the heads of BP, Goldman Sachs and Shell, the Bilderberg Group should make its high-level discussions open to the public. Unfortunately, the legitimate demand for allowing media inside the conference gets discredited by the swarms of conspiracy theorists who show up at the event each year to stand outside the gate and scream stuff about secret occult societies.
Sure enough, when the Bilderbergers arrived at the five-star Grove hotel in Watford, they were joined by the biggest crowd of conspiracists to date. In fact, the protesters had decided to create an official event and so the inaugural Bilderberg Fringe Festival was born, complete with a campsite, makeshift press tent, security, and the biggest names in the conspiracy world, including David Icke and Alex Jones. So what’s the latest in secret truths dreamt up by the powerful to fuck us? I went down to the Grove to test the (fluoride-saturated) waters.
When I arrived, the police had put a one-in, one-out policy in place. “The event has already exceeded capacity,” they shouted. “We intended to have 1,000 people there; there are now 2,000. Please keep off the grass.”
"Keep off the grass? Is that what we’re paying our taxes for?" one guy shouted, to whoops and cheers from the crowd. I waited patiently for my turn to get closer to the fringe festival, along with a bunch of totally legit media organisations, like InfoWars, WeAreChange, and Truthjuice. Everyone seemed nervous and the air smelled ofCannabis Cup-winning weed. I wondered whether these two phenomena might be connected in some way.