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12 Jun, 2016 13:53

Bilderberg 2016: Libertarianism not synonymous with radical transparency, claims Peter Thiel

Bilderberg 2016: Libertarianism not synonymous with radical transparency, claims Peter Thiel

Tech billionaire Peter Thiel defended the secretive nature of the Bilderberg conference, taking place in Dresden, Germany this weekend, and compared those who call for transparency to the East German secret police force, the Stasi.

After initially refusing to speak with reporters outside the luxurious, yet heavily-fortified Hotel Taschenbergpalais on Saturday, the PayPal co-founder finally took the bait and launched into a rant about libertarian ideology.

While saying he feels “it’s always important to exchange views with people no matter what their perspectives are,” he added the caveat that they “need to be finding ways to talk to people where not everything is completely transparent.”

While the official agenda for the three-day event has been released, those opposed to it have aired their unease at the way in which over 120 of the most powerful politicians, bankers, and industry leaders meet to discuss the “problems in our society," since it’s not clear what "secret" deals have been cut and later inflicted on people around the world who aren’t on the invite list.

“Libertarianism is not synonymous with radical transparency; that’s often an argument the Stasi would make in East Germany where everything had to be monitored by society,” Thiel said on Saturday.

The irony of the statements weren't missed by social media users, who were keen to note that Thiel sits on the board of directors at Facebook, a company renowned for its monitoring and monetization of its users’ data.

The tech billionaire added: "Often you have the best conversations in smaller groups where not everything is being monitored. That’s how you have very honest conversations and you can think better about the future.”

This echoes similar comments from Thiel who, in 2009, wrote an essay entitled, "The Education of a Libertarian in which he admitted he “no longer believe[s] that freedom and democracy are compatible.”

Thiel made headlines last month when he was outed as Hulk Hogan’s “secret” funding source for his lawsuit against Gawker, which caused the media organization to file for bankruptcy this week.

READ MORE: Gawker files for bankruptcy after Hulk Hogan verdict, will be auctioned off

His legal action was in response to a long-standing battle with the online publisher that started with their 2007 "Peter Thiel is totally gay, people."

Much like his views on “radical transparency," the lawsuit centered around privacy, free speech, and free press with Hogan ultimately winning $140 million in damages.

To ensure privacy at Bilderberg, organizers brought in Germany’s military and “corporate security from Airbus” to oversee event security, the Guardian reported

Army officers working alongside a private company got conspiracy theory websites all worked up, with one reporter from Infowars spotting what he believed to be “numerous vans, full of federal police covering their faces, carrying in bags full of weapons.”

Thiel isn’t the only Silicon Valley investor at Bilderberg, but he is the only vocal supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The one Republican elected official at the conference, Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina, previously suggested one of Bilderberg’s main talking points would be “how to beat Trump” and has issues with his party’s presumptive nominee. 

Most Silicon Valley billionaires are backing Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton.