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The rich, shadowy Bilderberg group Add to ...

I hear the Bilderberg group is meeting this week. What is it?

The Bilderberg group consists of about 140 wealthy and powerful people who meet annually to discuss key global issues. Named after the Bilderberg hotel in Oosterbeek, the Netherlands, where it held its first meeting in 1954, the group is highly secretive, doesn't let journalists attend unless they agree beforehand not to report on the proceedings, and won't even say who is a member.

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It's known that attendees include politicians, royalty, wealthy industrialists and back-room power brokers. Conspiracy theorists say the group essentially controls the world and makes key decisions on international policy.

Canadians who have gone to the meetings in the past include Heather Reisman, chief executive officer of Indigo Books & Music Inc., former Torstar Corp. CEO Robert Prichard, former prime minister Jean Chrétien and former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna. Conrad Black has attended many times and he organized the 1996 meeting that was held just north of Toronto. The last time the Bilderberg group met in Canada was in June, 2006.

When and where is it meeting this year?

This year's session is set to start this Thursday in Vouliagmeni, Greece, just south of Athens. The global financial crisis will undoubtedly be on the agenda. Needless to say, Lord Black won't be in attendance.

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