Early one morning a few years ago, a nondescript man started on a journey to a foreign land. The man was dressed casually, and inexpensively, He carried an ordinary briefcase filled with secret papers. He passed unnoticed through airport security and customs. At his destination he was met by a special unmarked van. Besides the driver, the vehicle contained three of his compatriots, all heading to the same private meeting. He knew two of the passengers, one well, the other only casually. He didn’t know the third man, but he had heard of his reputation. Like himself, his fellow passengers in the van appeared ordinary, and no one would have guessed that each of them was in control of millions of dollars, euros or yen, and headed large teams of associates. They were all in their 50s or 60s and had become powerful leaders at their local bases of operations.
The van deposited them at a small rural resort that was to host this international powwow of about 70 such men and women. There was no security because this meeting was so secret, so unknown, that none was needed. There were no cameras, no press, no tourists, no outsiders. Few other people in the entire world knew that this meeting was even taking place, and they were not talking.
At the meeting the nondescript man listened carefully as the discussions and presentations of his fellow conspirators wove a complex thread of potential collaborations, financial management, and distribution of resources. Reports of progress, intelligence on issues of import were shared among all the participants. And then, of course, there were the private, even more secret, hallway tete-a-tetes between pairs and small groups of individuals, all designed to further the individual ambitions of each of the conspirators, while also moving their common agenda forward.
They naturally all knew that their discussions and decisions would have a major impact on the lives of millions of people all over the world. They laughed and joked, just like any ordinary social group would do, but behind their sometimes casual and jocular behavior, the seriousness and indeed fanaticism of their common goals was always present.
It sounds pretty ominous. And it is all true. I know because I was there. Yes, I am the nondescript man, one of the conspirators at this secret, totally unreported, never publicly discussed meeting in the quiet secluded mountains of a foreign country. I confess. I am one of THEM.
So who were we, and what were we discussing? Care to guess? I will give the answer in a comment later.