Sunday, June 12, 2011

U.S. Antitrust Lawyer Joins Bilderbergers

Robert Wenzel of Economic Policy Journal noted Christine A. Varney, Assistant U.S. Attorney General-Antitrust Division, is currently attending the annual meeting of global elitists, the Bilderberg Conference.  Christine Varney is no rookie, according to Ryder Systems, Inc. definitive proxy statement:

Christine A. Varney, 52, is a Partner in the law firm of Hogan & Hartson LLP, which she rejoined in 1997 after five years in government service. She leads the Internet Law practice group for the firm. Ms. Varney served as a Federal Trade Commissioner from 1994 to 1997 and as a Senior White House Advisor to President Clinton from 1993 to 1994. She also served as Chief Counsel to President Clinton’s Campaign in 1992 and as General Counsel to the Democratic National Committee from 1989 to 1992. Prior to her government service, Ms. Varney practiced law with the firms of Pierson, Semmes & Finley (1986 to 1988) and Surrey & Morse (1984 to 1986).

Ms. Varney was elected to the Board of Directors in February 1998 and is the Chair of the Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee and a member of the Compensation Committee. 

When she left the board Varney held 28,500 shares of Ryder.  She earned $165,000 in board compensation in 2007 and $193,000 in 2008.  Bloomberg lists Varney as an adviser to Exclusive Resorts LLC and former board member for ENCIRQ Corporation and True Ultimate Standards Everywhere (TRUSTe).  Below is a 2003 letter from Varney, TRUSTe's board chair.

Letter from TRUSTe Chairperson, Christine Varney

Privacy is a complex landscape viewed from different vantage points. TRUSTe’s enduring contribution is its ability to create one unified vision by merging the interests of business, consumers and regulators.  In 2002, TRUSTe expanded the scope of its mission to encompass a new medium: wireless. Over the following year, with the help of industry leader AT&T Wireless and others, TRUSTe completed development of viable, consumer-friendly privacy guidelines for wireless and location-based services. TRUSTe succeeded at the challenging task of bringing key stakeholders together and reaching consensus. The result is a roadmap for preserving consumer trust in a vital medium.

Leadership matters. With our success in wireless combined with the launch of email standards through Bonded Sender, TRUSTe has once again demonstrated its effectiveness in the privacy landscape: as a facilitator for all stakeholders to build and adhere to acceptable standards.  In 2004, many new privacy issues, resulting from new technologies, call out for broader discussion. The worst enemy of an emerging technology can be consumer fear. Industry leaders in RFID and other privacy sensitive technologies should carefully consider engaging all privacy stakeholders in a conversation that will preserve, not stifle, innovation. I encourage industry leaders, consumer groups and regulators to seek out the expert guidance only an organization like TRUSTe can provide.

Christine Varney
Board of Directors

Add Varney's "Internet focus" to the internet heavyweights at Bilderberg:

Kroes, Neelie, Vice President, European Commission; Commissioner for Digital Agenda
Bernabè, Franco, CEO, Telecom Italia SpA
Reisman, Heather, Chair and CEO, Indigo Books & Music Inc. Center, Brookings Institution
Alexander, Keith B., Commander, USCYBERCOM; Director, National Security Agency
Bezos, Jeff, Founder and CEO, Amazon.comHoffman, Reid, Co-founder and Executive Chairman, LinkedIn 
Hughes, Chris R., Co-founder, Facebook
Mundie, Craig J., Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Microsoft Corporation
Schmidt, Eric, Executive Chairman, Google Inc.
Lévy, Maurice, Chairman and CEO, Publicis Groupe S.A.
Löscher, Peter, President and CEO, Siemens AG
Cebrián, Juan Luis, CEO, PRISA 

Are Bilderbergers plotting to steer the future of the Internet?  Likely, and in a less democratic fashion.

Update 6-12-11:   Adding to Bilderberg intrigue is the IMF's report of a serious cyber attack by a nation state.  The attack occurred May 14, before Dominique Strauss-Kahn's sexual assault arrest.  The computer attack attempted to install software that would provide an insider digital presence.  The IMF waited until a meeting of global tamperers to reveal a "major cyber attack."  Did Mark Penn or Karen Hughes craft the narrative?  It vectors well with Bilderberg's apparent cyber focus.  Even Bill Gates turned out for a Bilderberger.

Update 6-19-11:  Facebook hired a former White House communications director, Blue Joe Lockhart who worked for Bill Clinton.   Clinton does global as well as anyone.

Update 7-7-11:  Christine Varney will join Cravath, Swaine & Moore as a partner.

Update 11-8-16:   Christine Varney helped Wall Street firms become bigger rather than splitting them up.  

Update 5-1-22:  I am saddened to report the death of Robert Wenzel.  His family said Robert passed away peacefully in his sleep on May 25th, 2021.  I am grateful to have learned from him and wish his family peace.  May their memories of Robert be of solace.