How Did The Gates Foundation Become a Global Health Empire?
The Gates Foundation has used a “human laboratory” as a vehicle for Western capital, hidden behind corporate media PR. There’s a good chance that the coronavirus outbreak will ratchet up this ominous trend further.
A process that will have a significant impact on global public health policy – and on the fortunes of one of the world’s wealthiest people – was set in motion by President Donald Trump’s announcement in July of 2019 that the United States would withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO).
By leaving WHO, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the organization’s second-largest financial contributor, is set to overtake the US government as its largest donor, giving it unprecedented power over one of the world’s most important multilateral organizations.
During the pandemic, Bill Gates has become a hero. According to the Washington Post, a “champion of science-backed solutions,” according to the Washington Post, and “the most interesting man in the world,” according to the New York Times recently. “Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak,” a Netflix docu-series starring Bill Gates, was released just weeks before the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. It was produced by Sheri Fink, a New York Times correspondent who previously worked at three Gates-funded organizations (ProPublica, the New America Foundation, and the International Medical Corps).
During Covid-19, the mainstream media showered praise on Gates, which has led to increased scrutiny of the billionaire and his dealings on the far–right. It can be dismissed as the conspiracy theories of Trumpists and Q-Anon quacks by progressives.
There is a troubling history behind Bill Gates’ public relations bonanza, which should raise questions about whether his foundation’s plans to combat the pandemic will benefit global citizens as much as his foundation expands and entrench its power over international institutions.
Essentially, the Gates Foundation has already privatized the international health policy-making body, turning it into an instrument of corporate power. The Global South has facilitated the dumping of hazardous waste and even used the poor as test subjects for drug experiments.
Safety regulations and other government functions must be weak enough to bypass the Gates Foundation to sway public health policy. As a result, it works against national sovereignty and as a means of Western capital accumulation.
Professor Vandana Shiva of the India-based Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology told The Grayzone that she has “watched government after government fall in its sovereignty” due to the Gates Foundation.
Is it possible to save the world?
Over $51 billion in assets were reported by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation at the end of 2019. Bill Gates claims that the majority of his foundation’s resources are spent on “reducing infectious disease deaths,” and it appears that he has established a reputation as an infectious disease expert due to this philanthropy.
When Bill Gates gave his advice on dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak, corporate media networks gave him a red carpet welcome. While the virus was wreaking havoc on the United States in April, he appeared on CNN, CNBC, Fox, PBS, the BBC, CBS, and MSNBC, as well as The Daily Show and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. He called himself an “expert on health” on the BBC despite having no formal training in medicine or a related field.
Every time Gates appears in the media, it’s about how the world would be better prepared to fight the pandemic if leaders worldwide listened to him. “Why Isn’t Bill Gates Running the Coronavirus Task Force?” asked Vogue.
The Ideal Option
According to Bill Gates, there is “no ideal option” other than creating and disseminating a universal Covid-19 vaccine. “A successful vaccine must be made available for 7 billion people,” said Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman.
It was reported in April on CNN that the co-director of Bill Gates’ foundation, Melinda Gates, expressed her concern about vulnerable populations in Africa and how unprepared they were for the Ebola virus because she was “kept up at night.” In June, she told Time magazine that in the United States, African-Americans should be the first to receive the vaccine.
A noble cause, bringing a life-saving vaccine to Africa’s and America’s vulnerable black populations and then to the rest of the world, and Bill Gates is certainly doing what he says he will do. According to reports, he resigned from his position on Microsoft’s board of directors and is now “predominantly focusing on the pandemic,” according to reports.
To date, the Gates Foundation, which bills itself as the world’s “biggest vaccine funder,” has contributed more than $300 million to the global effort to combat the coronavirus. Inovio Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca, and Moderna Inc., have been dubbed frontrunners in the race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, have all received financial support for vaccine trials.
For the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI), which invests up to $480 million in “a wide range of vaccine candidates and platform technologies,” the foundation co-founded and funds the foundation.
Even so, examining the reality of a Gates-led global vaccination effort raises some questions.
Bill Gates, the world’s second-richest man, has no desire for money. A typical response to criticism is that Bill Gates’ philanthropy isn’t solely motivated by altruism. Even though Gates is often portrayed as “giving away” his fortune, the truth is that in the last two decades, his wealth has more than doubled.
The Gates Foundation also appears to serve as a ruse for Western corporations, all of which have one goal in mind: to increase their profit margins.
One only has to think about how the Gates Foundation and Big Pharma’s relationship constantly changes hands.
Bill and Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute CEO Penny Heaton came from Merck and Novartis, the foundation’s director of vaccine development.
Trevor Mundel, president of the foundation’s global health division, previously worked for Novartis and Pfizer. Former GlaxoSmithKline executive Tachi Yamada served as his predecessor (GSK).
Kate James, the foundation’s chief communications officer, previously worked for GSK for almost ten years. There are countless examples like this.
The foundation has stock in several pharmaceutical companies and has done so since its inception. The Nation recently discovered that the Gates Foundation owns stock and bonds in major pharmaceutical companies like Merck, GSK, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and Sanofi.
Vaccine manufacturers are referred to as “mutually beneficial partners” on the foundation’s website.
Bill Gates has procured the World Health Organization.
The WHO receives funding from two sources. UN member states are required to make a financial contribution based on their population and income. This transaction is known as assessed contributions. The second option is to accept voluntary contributions that are designated for a particular purpose.
Over 80% of WHO’s current budget comes from voluntary earmarked contributions. To put it another way, most of WHO’s funding is conditional.
“Obligatory contributions by nation-states cover the cost of administration,” said Dr David Legge, emeritus public health scholar at La Trobe University in Melbourne’s School of Public Health. It doesn’t cover any of the project costs, so all of the funding comes from donors. Donor money is almost exclusively earmarked for specific projects that the donors themselves want to fund.
In 2018, the pharmaceutical industry donated over $70 million to the WHO due to voluntary contributions (the last year for which complete data is available). Big Pharma now has a perfect vehicle to influence WHO, thanks to the Gates Foundation.
The foundation was the second-largest donor to the WHO after the United States in 2018, donating $237.8 million in total.
As a “public-private partnership,” the foundation also funds the WHO through the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI), making vaccines more affordable for developing countries. Non-state funder GAVI is the WHO’s second-largest (after the Gates Foundation) with a 2018 donation of $158.5 million.
Bill Gates sponsored meetings in the late 1990s that led to the creation of GAVI and the provision of $750 million in seed money for the organization. GAVI has received more than $4.1 billion from the Gates Foundation, or about 20% of all GAVI funds received to date. It is also a member of the GAVI board of directors.
When it comes to trying to shape vaccine markets, GAVI says the Gates Foundation “plays both a technical and financial role.”
“Other global health actors are accountable to the Gates Foundation but not the other way around,” explained activist group Global Health Watch, using GAVI as an example.
In total, the Gates Foundation and GAVI have contributed more to WHO than the United States government, making it the unofficial top sponsor of WHO even before the Trump administration’s recent withdrawal.
According to Alison Katz, a sociologist who spent 18 years at WHO headquarters, the WHO “has become a victim of neoliberal globalization.” He wrote an open letter to WHO Director General Margaret Chan in 2007. He criticized public organizations that “go begging to the private sector [and] celebrity philanthropists with diverse agendas, from industry” for financial support.
Of course, the WHO’s close financial relationship with a private organization is a problem only because it relies on gift exchange. And it appears that’s exactly what’s happening.
As most of the Gates Foundation’s contributions to WHO are pre-designated, it’s not the WHO that gets to decide how the money gets spent. The WHO’s polio eradication program, for example, receives the most funding because the Gates Foundation designates the majority of its contributions for polio.
Aside from that, Bill Gates has assumed an official leadership position within the organization despite not having been elected to that position. And for that reason, a “Global Vaccine Plan” co-authored by the Gates Foundation was adopted by the World Health Assembly, which sets WHO agenda, in 2012.
Scholar emeritus at La Trobe University’s School of Public Health, Dr David Legge, believes that Bill Gates’ financial “donations” are a mechanism for establishing policy. Legge stated to The Grayzone that “his massive contributions distort the kind of budget priorities that the World Health Assembly would wish to see.” Legge
There are few WHO policy initiatives or normative standards announced before they’ve been casually, unofficially vetted by Gates Foundation staff, as reported in Foreign Affairs. For all we know, Gates’ priorities may have shifted to those of the World Health Organization.
“The people at WHO seems to have gone crazy,” one senior health policy officer from a large NGO said in an interview with Global Health Watch. Gates gets a resounding “yes sir” on every issue.
Dr Arata Kochi, WHO Malaria Program Chief, warned in 2007 that the Gates Foundation’s money could have “far-reaching, largely unintended consequences” because of its financial dominance.
Approximately seven years later, WHO Director General Margaret Chan stated that the WHO’s budget is “driven by what [she calls] donor interests” because it is so heavily earmarked.
Gates’ influence was again questioned after Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus took over as WHO Director General in 2017.
Gates founded GAVI and the Global Fund, which Tedros chaired, and provided seed money for them. Tedros has served on the boards of both organizations.
The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), the WHO’s primary vaccine advisory group, is another tool the Gates Foundation uses to influence WHO policy. SAGE’s board of 15 members must publicly disclose any potential conflicts of interest to comply with the law.
For example, during a recent virtual board meeting, half of the participants declared possible conflicts of interest related to the Gates Foundation.
Beyond the WHO, the foundation has a significant impact on international health policy. Of the 23 global health partnerships examined in 2017, the Gates Foundation provided funding for seven of them in total, and nine others listed the foundation as a major donor.
Many international development actors who would criticize the Foundation’s policy and practice otherwise are unable to speak out independently due to its funding and patronage, as noted by the UK-based NGO Global Justice Now.
Dr Vandana Shiva told The Grayzone that the World Bank and the IMF are “midgets” compared to the Gates Foundation in terms of power and influence.
The process of shaping the media
Gates has also used his fortune to influence the way global health policy. It was reported in the media and to quell criticism of his foundation’s less-than-savory activities.
The foundation has donated millions of dollars to major media organizations, including NPR, PBS, ABC, BBC, Al Jazeera, the Daily Telegraph, the Financial Times, and The Guardian (in the United Kingdom and the United States). The entire “Global Development” section of The Guardian was made possible by the Gates Foundation’s partnership with the publication.
In addition, the foundation has spent millions on journalism, education, and research into the most effective ways to tell stories in the media. The New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Huffington Post use experts coached through Gates-funded programs to publish columns in their publications, while digital portals blur the line between journalism and spin.
“There’s not a heck of a lot of things you could touch on global health these days,” explained PBS NewsHour’s communications chief, Rob Flynn, in 2008. Around that time, the foundation donated $3.5 million to NewsHour to create a dedicated production unit for covering global health-related issues.
The president of the Media Freedom Foundation, Mickey Huff, told The Grayzone that the Gates Foundation uses PR firms, grants, and professor endowments to influence policy. As Huff put it, “Edward Bernays would be very pleased with these results.”
With so much positive coverage in mainstream media, it’s no surprise that the foundation’s more questionable activities in developing countries go unnoticed.
Over the past two decades, the Gates Foundation has worked primarily in Africa and South Asia to influence global health policy. That work appears to have been tainted by the company’s close ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
While the foundation’s mission statement declares that “we see equal value in all lives,” a look at recent events shows that this isn’t necessarily the case. The foundation sees the Global South as a place to dump drugs that are deemed unfit for use in the developed world and a place to test new drugs that have not yet been approved for use in the developed world.
The diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP) vaccine is the “flagship of Bill Gates’ / WHO African vaccine program.” In Africa, almost every child receives a series of three immunizations, but in the United States and most other developed countries, this series is not currently offered.
A British Medical Journal published a study in 1977 that found the whole-cell pertussis jab (used in the DTP vaccine) carries more significant risks than contracting wild pertussis. British medical professionals conducted this study. DTP was replaced with a safer version (called DTaP) that did not contain the whole pertussis cell after mounting evidence linked the drug to brain damage, seizures, and even death in Western countries in the 1990s.
On the other hand, African countries are financially rewarded for using the dangerous, out-of-date DTP vaccine, with GAVI prioritizing DTP for African children.
Shockingly, the Danish government-funded study of 2017 found that the deadly DTP vaccine killed more African children than the disease is prevented. Based on their data analysis collected in Guinea Bissau, the researchers found that the mortality rate for boys was nearly quadruple (3.93 times) that of non-vaccinated individuals, while that of females was almost ten times higher (9.98 times).
The Gates Foundation, despite these staggering figures, continues to pour millions of dollars each year into promoting the DTP vaccine in African healthcare systems.
The eradication of polio is probably the most well-known project of the Gates Foundation. Another stark contrast can be found between the polio drugs used in Western countries and those given to countries in the Global South.
OPVs containing live poliovirus have been distributed to African and Asian countries for over a billion dollars by the foundation’s foundation. Because it replicates in children’s intestines, this live virus has the potential to spread to areas with inadequate sanitation and piping. As a result, the vaccine itself may expose recipients to the virus.
Researchers from the University of California San Francisco and Tel Aviv University reported in 2017 that the polio virus used in the OPV quickly regained its strength and began spreading on its own in at least two dozen cases they had examined.
Recently, the vaccine strain of the OPV virus has paralyzed more children than wild polio. “It’s an interesting conundrum,” microbiologist Raul Andino told NPR in an interview. What you are doing to eradicate polio is making it worse.
The United States stopped using the OPV in 2000. The Gates Foundation, on the other hand, makes use of its clout to ensure that governments in developing countries continue to administer it.
The OPV has been blamed for polio outbreaks in the Philippines and Congo. OPV was blamed for outbreaks in China, Egypt, Haiti, and Madagascar in 2005, according to the Oxford Clinical Infectious Diseases Periodical, which stated that “the time is coming when the only cause of polio is likely the vaccine used to prevent it.”
This periodical argued that developing countries should use IPV but also stated that the OPV “seems to be ineffective at stopping polio transmission” to begin with, although the U.S. was using it.
“The most recent mass polio vaccination programs [in India], fueled by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have resulted in increased cases of polio,” the British Medical Journal reported in 2012.
OPV-caused outbreaks of a different disease, non-polio acute flaccid paralysis, say Indian doctors (NPAFP). NPAFP paralyzed 490,000 children between 2000 and 2017. Doctors published a report suggesting that “the increase in NPAFP and the later decrease in such cases was indeed an adverse effect of the [WHO’s] polio immunization program.”
There is no way to tell whether NPAFP is more contagious than polio because it is “clinically identical.” “It looks exactly like polio,” says Stanford Child Neurologist Keith Van Haren, “but that term freaks out public-health people.”
The British Medical Journal remarked in 2012 that India had “achieved polio eradication by renaming the disease.
This was also when the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics noticed an increase in vaccine-derived polio and NPAFP. It compared India’s efforts at eradication to the Iraqi occupation, saying:
‘Joe Galloway proposed that the United States declare victory in Iraq in 2005 and then withdraw. I wonder if such a noble approach to eliminating polio is finally in order.
To be sure, organizations like the Gates Foundation and WHO are continuing their polio vaccination campaigns in places like Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The foundation says the WHO is now providing “unprecedented levels of technical assistance” for these countries’ polio vaccination campaigns.
In 2016, the Gates-backed GAVI organization committed $25 million to the immunization of children against polio in Syria. The vaccine-derived form of the virus paralyzed 58 Syrian children a year later, according to the WHO.
Despite the scientific consensus against the OPV and the opposition to such programs in the target countries, OPV is still administered as part of “aid” programs in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, creating windfall profits for pharmaceutical giants who may not have been able to sell their products elsewhere…………………………………………..
African women now have a false sense of empowerment as the West pushes drugs.
There are other drugs that the Gates Foundation pushes onto developing countries’ health systems as well. Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives are made available through the program (LARCs).
Often, Melinda talks about how LARCs help women in impoverished countries gain more control over their lives. However, some of these LARCs have had adverse side effects, and the distribution of the products without informed consent offers women little autonomy.
Norplant, a Schering (now Bayer) contraceptive implant, is one such example. It can help women avoid pregnancy for up to five years. After more than 50,000 women filed lawsuits against the manufacturer and the doctors who prescribed it, it was removed from the U.S. market in 2002. Class action suits have been filed in the U.S. and other jurisdictions in connection with 70 different side effects.
Because it was “complicated” to insert and remove, Norplant “never gained much traction globally,” according to Degrees, a human development website funded by the Gates Foundation.
Known as Jadelle, the dangerous drug was marketed in Africa by the Gates Foundation, USAID, and EngenderHealth while being slightly modified. When it was called the Sterilization League for Human Betterment, EngenderHealth’s original mission was to “improve the biological stock of the human race” because of racist eugenics pseudoscience. The FDA has not permitted Jadelle to be used in the United States.
A contraceptive injectable widely used in Africa and Asia is Depo-Provera from Pfizer. Using a grant from the Gates Foundation and a grant from USAID, the Gates Foundation and USAID are once again working together to fund the distribution of this drug and introduce it into the healthcare systems of countries like Uganda.
When Melinda Gates first announced her plan in 2012, she pledged to provide 120 million women with affordable contraceptives like Depo-Provera, which costs between $120 and $300 a year. When Melinda Gates wrote an article for Medium in 2017, she reported that she and her partners were on track to fulfill that promise, as well as pledging an additional $375 million in funding to help them do it. Pfizer made anywhere from $14 billion to $36 billion as a result of this program.
Sayana Press, a one-time-use drug from Pfizer, is meant to be given by “community health workers.” Nearly half of the workers in Senegal, on the other hand, had only completed the sixth grade.
So that health workers could legally distribute the drug, Senegal’s Health Ministry had to change its regulations. USAID-funded non-governmental organizations, according to the Population Research Institute, “strong-armed” the government into making this choice.
In addition, Sayana Press’s training materials omitted information on all of DMPA’s side effects, in violation of informed consent principles. Per WHO recommendations, women suffering from rheumatic diseases should not take DMPA. However, patient screening checklists provided by USAID for Uganda did not direct medical personnel to inquire about a woman’s medical history.
The drug’s strong link to bone density loss and an increased risk of bone fractures is also not mentioned in the guidelines for trainers of Sayana Press providers. “The FDA requires U.S. women to be informed of this fact, but African women are kept in the dark,” said the Population Research Institute.
The regulatory approval of Depo-Provera was protested in 2015 by 70 Indian feminist groups and scholars, who cited side effects such as excessive bone density loss, weight gain, excess bleeding, and depression as reasons for their opposition. According to the women’s organizations, there is concern that women may not be given enough information to make an educated decision about contraception, who have consistently opposed the introduction of risky contraceptives like these.
Despite strong public opposition and mounting evidence of side effects, Depo-Provera is being distributed by the Gates Foundation and USAID.
Guinea Pigs in Third World Countries
Also, through the influence of Bill Gates, drugs have been tested on people in third-world countries.
Before a drug can be sold to the public, it must be tested on humans by a company, according to the FDA and other regulatory bodies in Europe. In phase III clinical trials, the last step before a drug can hit the market, companies are required to administer the medication to large numbers of people in carefully monitored studies.
Phase III trials account for 90% of drug development costs, according to current estimates. However, these businesses can save money by carrying out their trials in countries deemed to be developing.
A McKinsey client, it is, therefore, no surprise that the Gates Foundation stated its “goal” was to help pharmaceutical companies side-step safety trials and speed up the approval process for drugs. In other words, “refine potential interventions such as vaccine candidates before they enter costly and time-consuming late-stage clinical trials,” as stated by the authors.
Clinical trials on the poor can be profitable, but they can also be risky. As one South African newspaper famously put it, “We are the test subjects for the pharmaceutical companies.”
From 2009 to 2011, Gates Foundation-funded and GSK-manufactured phase III clinical trials in seven African countries examined the first malaria vaccine (Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Gabon, and Tanzania).
According to GSK’s statistics from 2011, the death rate for female children was more than twice as high as the rate for the control group. The risk of meningitis in children who received the vaccine was ten times greater than in those who did not.
In an unofficial clinical trial it calls a “pilot implementation,” the WHO still coordinates the drug administration to over 700,000 children in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi. (The Gates-aligned SAGE recommended the pilot implementation.)
The WHO claims that consent is implied because this product is administered to children as part of the country’s vaccination schedule. On the other hand, parents aren’t always informed about potential safety risks, which means they can’t give their children their informed consent. “An implied consent process means that recipients of the malaria vaccine are not informed that they are in a study,” explained the British Medical Journal‘s associate editor.
The Gates Foundation also supported GSK and Merck’s HPV vaccine clinical trials. As part of the Gates-backed Program for Appropriate Health and Technology, these drugs were administered to 23,000 young Indian girls (PATH).
Vaccination “benefits and risks” were not adequately communicated to parents/guardians, which robbed study participants of the ability to give informed consent.
Vaccines were administered to girls at ashram pathshalas (boarding schools for tribal children) without their parents’ consent, according to University of Essex Professor Linsey McGoey.
A system for recording severe adverse reactions to vaccines, which is legally required for large-scale clinical trials, was also not implemented by PATH. The Indian Committee on Health and Family Welfare (ICHFW) brought this alleged transgression to court, which accused PATH of violating human rights and abusing children. Even though foreign companies treat India as “a heaven for clinical trials,” the two-judge panel of the court found that it was “proving hell for India” in 2013.
Indian lawmakers charged that the Gates-funded project’s “sole aim” was to promote “commercial interests of the HPV vaccine manufacturers, who would have reaped windfall profits if PATH had successfully gotten the HPV vaccine included in the universal immunization program of India.”
According to the editor emeritus of the National Medical Journal of India, this was “an obvious case where Indians were being used as guinea pigs,” according to the editor emeritus of the National Medical Journal of India.
Reducing the quality of state public health services
The Gates Foundation pushes harmful products on developing countries and hinders progress in public health and healthcare access. Social and economic changes in health care take a backseat to vaccines and other technology-centric solutions because they are less profitable than vaccines.
The WHO budget reflects this trend. The WHO’s polio eradication program supports the foundation, but the WHO’s “health systems” program is funded primarily by the Japanese government.
Because of the foundation’s “heavy focus on developing new vaccines… it takes attention away from other, more vital health priorities such as building resilient healthcare systems,” Global Justice Now claims.
“Gates has a mechanistic view of global health in terms of looking for silver bullets,” says physician David Legge. All of the ideas he promotes are framed as panaceas… As a result, significant issues raised by the World Health Assembly, such as social determinants of health and health systems development, are not being addressed.
He said, “All 193 member states must make vaccines a central focus of their health systems,” in his 2011 speech to the WHO.
When it comes to understanding health, the foundation has a “narrowly conceived understanding of it as the product of technical interventions divorced from economic, social, and political contexts,” according to Toronto public health professor Anne Emanuelle Birn.
Birm told The Grayzone: “The Gates Foundation has long championed private sector involvement in, and private sector profit-making from, global health.
Another GAVI senior representative claimed that Bill Gates told him privately “that he is vehemently against’ health systems” because they are an “utter waste of money.”
GAVI’s policy agenda reflects this phenomenon as well. A similar approach is taken by GAVI, which focuses on vertical health interventions such as vaccines rather than horizontal ones such as strengthening health systems in low-income countries.
According to a Global Public Health report on the topic, disease-specific projects like vaccines have overshadowed work on publicly funded health systems. According to Katerini Storeng, the author of the article, “global health initiatives have come to capture the global health debate about strengthening health systems in favor of their disease-specific approach and ethos,” GAVI is an example of this.
GAVI CEO Julian Lob-Levitt was aware of the “absurdity of vaccine campaigns that consume four weeks in the planning, implementation, and clean-up and that when repeated eight times a year, completely paralyze the health system,” according to a former employee who spoke with Storeng.
As a result of a series of evaluations ordered by Lob-Levitt, it was determined that health systems in developing countries had weaknesses that needed to be addressed. Several powerful actors, including USAID and The Gates Foundation, on GAVI’s board, including Storeng’s interviews, strongly resisted the push to do so.
A GAVI employee told Storeng the Foundation was a “thunderous, vocal voice saying that we do not believe in strengthening health systems,” according to Storeng’s account.
In addition, the document points out:
Gates’ ‘not very good at listening’ reputation has encouraged a non-confrontational approach in the global health arena. “When Bill Gates came to the GAVI headquarters in Geneva, he and his colleagues used to ‘roll down the HSS posters’ because he is known to ‘hate this part’ of GAVI’s work,” said a former GAVI employee and HSS proponent.”
No matter how closely it works with the pharmaceutical industry, the foundation favors ineffective public health systems and technocentric solutions to public health problems. As a result, it has an impact on food policy as well.
Gates established a new non-profit institute in St. Louis, Missouri, the home of Monsanto, at the beginning of this year. Gates Ag One will “enable the advancement of resilient, yield-enhancing seeds” and introduce them to “crops essential to smallholder farmers, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia,” according to the foundation.
While helping small farmers may seem like a noble goal, the foundation has worked to keep the Global South dependent on Western industry, whether through pharmaceuticals or high-tech seeds and agrochemicals of any kind.
The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa was born in 2006 due to a partnership between the Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation (AGRA). The Rockefeller Foundation contributed $50 million, while Gates pledged $100 million.
AGRA’s strategy, which opened African markets to U.S. agribusiness, is based on the assumption that hunger is caused by a lack of Western technology rather than inequality or exploitation.
The African Center for Biosafety reports that “it is striking that none of those leading the revolution is Africans.” In a similar vein to the colonial project in Africa, white men who claim to be fighting for the liberation of Africans from the grips of hunger and poverty are driving this new revolution.
The AGRA Foundation works to get patented, genetically modified (GM) seeds and fertilizers on the market through AGRA’s efforts. These new technologies benefit seed and chemical companies like Monsanto, but they also put people’s health and livelihoods at risk by compromising food security.
“The scientific falsehood” of GM crops increase yields, according to Dr Vandana Shiva, is a fact. Also, the foundation makes sure that funds are not going toward long-term solutions to hunger and poverty that require systemic change.
Rather than dealing with the root causes of hunger, poverty, and food insecurity, Gates, Monsanto, and others work together, according to The Ecologist, on an “inappropriate and fraudulent GMO project.”
In addition, the Gates Foundation can influence African governments to alter legislation to accommodate the agriculture industry.
Grain.org reports that:
“In Ghana, AGRA worked with the government to reexamine its seed policies to identify obstacles that prevent the private sector from becoming more involved. The country’s seed legislation was revised, and a new business-friendly seed law was passed in mid-2010 with the help of AGRA’s technical and monetary support. It created a register of marketable varieties, among other things.
As a result of discussions between AGRA and government officials, seed production was eventually privatized. When the Malawian government needed help revising its maize pricing and trade policies, AGRA was there to help.
Shiva told The Grayzone that when you create a new field, you put money into it, and that’s what Gates has done in agriculture markets. As long as you keep putting pressure on governments to spend money on it, the regulations will crumble. The alternatives are destroyed, and scientists are attacked. Furthermore, you set up a complete infrastructure to support your monopoly.”
The Gates Foundation’s apparent conflicts of interest may explain these decisions, as they did in the Gates-Big Pharma case. The list goes on and on, as usual.
Previously, Robert Horsch was a high-ranking executive at Monsanto, where he spent 25 years before joining the foundation’s agriculture program as deputy director. Global Policy Forum reports that Horsch was asked to join the Gates Foundation precisely to continue his Monsanto research after he left his position as head of agricultural grants management.
Agragentics Corporation and Emergent Genetics, two of the world’s largest genetically modified seed companies, were previously led by Sam Dryden, a Gates Foundation agriculture program director. Monsanto acquired Emergent in 2005, and Dryden remained with the company for six months after that. The Guardian described him as “the most powerful figure in Global South agriculture” while working at the Gates Foundation.
Don Doering, a former Gates agriculture program officer and current member of Monsanto’s Biotechnology Advisory Council, was a founding member. To help “poor farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia,” Doering led a team of agricultural development experts.
Flora Wambugu, a self-described “apostle of Monsanto in Africa,” wrote the book “Modifying Africa.” Wambugu joined Monsanto as a researcher after receiving a scholarship from USAID. Afterward, she was named to the Global Development Board of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Gates Foundation collaborates with USAID on agricultural projects, as it does with a number of its pharmaceutical ones. Pamela K. Anderson, the Gates Foundation’s current Director of Agriculture Development, serves on USAID’s board.
Every day, 22,000 children die as a result of the effects of poverty. However, when industry-aligned interests are in charge, the social determinants of health can be overlooked. The Gates Foundation holds sway over global health policy because of its size and influence.
Thus, the foundation’s previous global health efforts show that it is not committed to public health but the needs of Western capitalists. To keep nations dependent on Big Pharma and/or Big Agriculture as long as possible, it prefers not to strengthen health systems.
Big Pharma has been protected from lawsuits thanks to Operation Warp Speed.
The Trump administration unveiled Operation Warp Speed, its new coronavirus vaccine project, in mid-May. When announcing the new initiative, President Trump bragged about how his administration “cut through every piece of red tape to achieve the fastest-ever, by far, launch of a vaccine trial.”
Like the Trump administration, Bill Gates wants the approval timeline for the Covid-19 drug to be accelerated. To get the vaccine to over 7 billion people quickly, governments will have to speed up their normal drug approval processes, he writes. He asserts that there is “simply no alternative” to this course of action.
In March, federal regulations were passed in the United States that grant immunity from liability to companies that manufacture coronavirus drugs, including vaccines. It also shielded companies that distributed the drugs from liability.
More than a hundred Covid-19 vaccines are being developed, which means products will be protected from lawsuits even if they have harmful side effects.
To protect vaccine makers from legal penalties, governments worldwide must ensure vaccine makers are not subject to legal penalties. It appears that the poorest people on the planet will once again be used as “guinea pigs” for pharmaceutical companies.
During the Ebola outbreak in 2015, Bill Gates lamented the lack of a “clear process for providing indemnity against legal liability” in his support for legal immunity for drug manufacturers. To “avoid long delays,” he recommended that drug companies be compensated during a “global epidemic.” As a result of his efforts, his plan is now coming to pass.
Gates defended his stance by arguing that pharmaceutical companies will have to produce drugs as quickly as possible to save lives, and these new drugs may not be completely reliable. In an interview with CBS, he said, “Understanding safety… is very, very hard”. To decide on [releasing a vaccine], some risk and indemnification will be required.
Before a drug is tested on a small (phase I), medium (phase II), or a large number of people, it is typically tested on animals first (phase III). It’s not clear whether or not testing on humans and animals simultaneously will be feasible with Covid.
National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins says the United States is “compressing what is typically a 10-year vaccine development cycle” today (NIH).
This could have unwelcome consequences. It is still impossible to produce a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine at this time, and attempting to do so could result in fatal reactions.
Dr Peter Hotez, a specialist in tropical diseases who worked on a failed vaccine for another coronavirus (SARS), claims that animals died due to “immune enhancement” during drug testing. Compared to unvaccinated animals, animals given the vaccine developed more severe (and often fatal) forms of the virus.
This risk can be reduced for humans by first showing it doesn’t occur in laboratory animals, Hotez told Reuters. This is not the vaccine to be doing it with, according to the medical expert. “The importance of accelerating vaccine timelines in general,” he said.
Moderna, a biotech company, is conducting human trials for its Covid-19 vaccine without performing the initial phase of animal testing customarily to introduce required for the introduction of a vaccine to the market. The vaccine developed by Moderna is an mRNA type that has never been approved for human use by the FDA.
The Gates Foundation and the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency provided funding for the development of this technology (DARPA). DARPA provided Moderna with $25 million as part of a “strategic alliance,” according to Moderna.
“One of the most promising options for COVID,” according to Bill Gates, is Moderna’s mRNA technology. With Moderna, Gates has a “global health project framework agreement” under which the company will receive “certain non-exclusive licenses” to develop its mRNA technology in exchange for up to $100 million.
Former Moderna co-founder Robert Langer worked with Bill Gates on projects like the wirelessly activated contraceptive microchip implant in the past.
Corporate news outlets repeated Moderna’s “good news” after announcing customarily to an additional May 18 that its phase 1 safety trial was completed. Only three of 15 people vaccinated with the highest dose developed grade three systemic symptoms, which the FDA defines as “severe” and “disabling.” These participants needed to be hospitalized, although their condition was not immediately life-threatening.
President Trump appointed Moderna board member Moncef Slaoui, who held more than $10.3 million in Moderna stock until May 19, as the nation’s chief scientist in charge of searching for a Covid-19 vaccine on May 15, 2018.
At the same time as serving on the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative board, Slaoui has received $359 million in funding from the Gates Foundation, which he refers to as a “public-private partnership.”
Slaoui was also a senior executive at GlaxoSmithKline. GSK pleaded guilty and paid $3 billion in what the U.S. Justice Department called the “largest healthcare fraud settlement in U.S. history” while leading the company’s R&D department. On top of this, there were cover-ups involving drugs like Paxil and suicidal and depressive side effects, as well as Avandia and heart attacks, which the FDA estimated resulted in 83,000 extra cardiac arrests. There were also bribery and illegal kickback schemes involved in the fraud.
In his role as GSK’s head of vaccines, Slaoui was in charge of the development of Pandemrix, the swine flu vaccine that was rushed to market during the swine flu outbreak without proper testing. As a result of the errant shot, at least 800 people, most of whom were children, suffered brain damage. Because GSK only agreed to provide governments with vaccines in exchange for immunity from liability, millions of pounds of U.K. taxpayer money were used to compensate the victims.
Slaoui was hired as a private contractor, not a government employee, to be the Trump administration’s “vaccine czar.” Public Citizen explains that Slaoui can “maintain an extensive web of conflicting financial interests without the need to divest, recuse or disclose those conflicting interests,” as they put it in their analysis.
The corporate media portrays the Covid-19 response as a fight between “champions of science” like Bill Gates and anti-science zealots like Donald Trump. This is not the case. According to a report by CNN, Trump and the Gates Foundation are working together on “Operation Warp Speed,” with Slaoui as the co-director.
Slaoui stated that Moderna’s clinical trial data gave him confidence that “we will be able to deliver a few hundred million doses of vaccines by the end of 2020” after joining the Trump administration.
Despite Moderna’s selection by the US government as one of five “finalists” for a coronavirus vaccine, some company executives’ financial moves suggest that Moderna’s best days may be behind it.
According to SEC filings, Chief Financial Officer Lorence Kim made over $16 million in profits by selling 214,000 Moderna shares on the day of the press release.
A few days before Moderna announced that its vaccine was ready for human testing, Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks started dumping shares and has made more than $18 million in 2020. He now owns zero shares.
Making WHO dependent on Big Pharma through a centralized stockpile
The World Economic Forum and the Gates Foundation partnered with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security to host “Event 201” in October 2019.
In the Trump administration, a former member of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security steering committee is now in charge of stockpiling. In addition, the CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine sits on the board of directors of the pharmaceutical company Merck.
Event 201 was a drill that acted as if a new coronavirus had broken out. The participants included members of the National Security Council of the United States and executives from pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson & Johnson.
Despite unfounded claims that Bill Gates “predicted” COVID 19 based on similarities between the mock and real outbreaks, it is undeniable that the policy recommendations derived from the exercise are being implemented today.
It ended with a mock press conference and newscast by a fake network called GNN, and the three organizations issued recommendations on how to handle a “severe pandemic.” A “robust international stockpile” of vaccines and other medical countermeasures was recommended.
During the simulation, Chris Elias, president of the Gates Foundation’s global health program, advocated for a vaccine stockpile. To ensure rational and strategic allocation, he said, “a global stockpile would certainly help.” However, to make one effective, he said, the WHO and the private sector must collaborate.
A centralized supply of medical countermeasures can be helpful in the event of a health emergency, regardless of politics. However, there are troubling implications to who controls and distributes it.
“Undoubtedly, a public-private partnership with a procurement focus and distribution focus would involve Big Pharma and make WHO dependent on the goodwill of Big Pharma,” Dr David Legge told The Grayzone about Elias’s suggestion.
According to Gates, Western institutions like NATO should have a say in controlling and distributing such stockpiles. “Some global institution could be empowered and funded to coordinate [the epidemic response system] system during a severe epidemic,” he wrote in 2015, and that discussion should be held about dividing authority between the WHO and “others” (including World Bank and G7 countries) and that “military alliances such as NATO should be included.”
As a result of Gates’ efforts, the Covid-19 vaccine will likely be given to “low-income countries” first. Aid from NATO could be used to further Western military interests, as it has been in humanitarian intervention before. If NATO is involved in vaccine distribution and control, this is not unprecedented.
As far as public health policy is concerned, Bill Gates has monopolized both the national and international scene. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and is in constant contact, he says, referring to the U.S. Covid response.
The mega-billionaire is in touch “ every day when it comes to pharmaceutical CEOs and government leaders; the mega-billionaire is reportedly in touch “every day.”
Though the Gates Foundation still works closely with government agencies and the for-profit private sector, it has emerged as one of the most significant players in the global Covid-19 response. So why should anyone expect a different outcome this time if the foundation’s work has historically favored Western multinationals at the expense of public health?
The past is a recurrence of the present.
According to the Associated Press, South Africans gathered in Johannesburg in July to protest the presence of an AstraZeneca Phase III Clinical Trial there. This vaccine effort had received $750 million in funding from the Gates Foundation just a month earlier, and protesters were seen holding signs that read, “We are not test subjects” and “no to Gates poison.”
According to the Associated Press, demonstration organizer Phapano Phasha said vulnerable groups were coerced into taking part in the trial without choice. Phasha asserted, “I believe in science. In other words, while I’m not anti-vaccine, I’m anti-profiteering.
Both the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines, according to reports, could be available to the general public by the end of 2020.
The article was sent to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, GAVI, and PATH, but no response has yet been received; Grayzone has yet to respond from any of these organizations.