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Janus – Roman God of Gates, Doors, Beginnings and Endings
According to a January 7, 2007 article posted in the Los Angeles Times, “The Gates Foundation has poured $218 million into polio and measles immunization and research worldwide, including in the Niger Delta. At the same time that the foundation is funding inoculations to protect health, The Times found, it has invested $423 million in Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and Total of France — the companies responsible for most of the flares blanketing the delta with pollution, beyond anything permitted in the United States or Europe.”
In addition, The Times found the Gates Foundation endowment had major holdings in:
• Companies ranked among the worst U.S. and Canadian polluters, including ConocoPhillips, Dow Chemical Co. and Tyco International Ltd.
• Many of the world’s other major polluters, including companies that own an oil refinery and one that owns a paper mill, which a study shows sicken children while the foundation tries to save their parents from AIDS.
• Pharmaceutical companies that price drugs beyond the reach of AIDS patients the foundation is trying to treat.
Using the most recent data available, a Times tally showed that hundreds of Gates Foundation investments — totaling at least $8.7 billion, or 41% of its assets, not including U.S. and foreign government securities — have been in companies that countered the foundation’s charitable goals or socially concerned philosophy.
This is “the dirty secret” of many large philanthropies, said Paul Hawken, an expert on socially beneficial investing who directs the Natural Capital Institute, an investment research group. “Foundations donate to groups trying to heal the future,” Hawken said in an interview, “but with their investments, they steal from the future.”
In South Africa:
AT a clinic in Isipingo, a suburb of the South African port city of Durban where the HIV infection rate is as high as 40%, Thembeka Dube, 20, was getting a checkup.
Dube had volunteered for tests of a vaginal gel that researchers hope will be shown to protect against HIV. The tests are part of a study conducted by the New York-based Population Council, and funded by a $20-million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Dube’s boyfriend won’t use condoms. She hoped the tests would show she could use the microbicidal gel, called Carraguard, and stop worrying about AIDS.
Research into prophylactics such as Carraguard can fight AIDS by empowering women, Bill Gates told the International AIDS Conference in Toronto in August. “Whether the woman is a faithful married mother of small children, or a sex worker trying to scrape out a living in a slum … ” he said, “a woman should never need her partner’s permission to save her own life.”
Two days before Gates spoke, Kyrone Smith was born only a few kilometers from the Isipingo clinic. At the same time the Gates Foundation was trying to help Dube, it owned a stake in companies that appeared to be hurting Kyrone.
At six weeks, his lungs began to fail. Kyrone struggled to cry, but he was so weak that no sound came out — just husky, labored breaths.
His mother, Renee Smith, 26, rushed him to a hospital, where he was given oxygen. She feared it would be the first of many hospital visits. Smith knew from experience.
“My son Teiago was in and out of hospital since the age of 3,” she said. “He couldn’t breathe nicely…. There are so many children in this area who have the same problems.”
Two of the area’s worst industrial polluters — a Mondi paper mill and a giant Sapref oil refinery — squat among the homes near Isipingo like sleepy grey dragons, exhaling chemical vapors day and night.
The Sapref plant, which has had two dozen significant spills, flares, pipeline ruptures and explosions since 1998, and the Mondi plant together pump thousands of tons of putrid-smelling chemicals into the air annually, according to their own monitoring.
In 2002, a study found that more than half of the children at a school in nearby Merebank suffered asthma — one of the highest rates in scientific literature. A second study, published last year, found serious respiratory problems throughout the region: More than half of children aged 2 to 5 had asthma, largely attributed to sulfur dioxide and other industrial pollutants. Much of it was produced by companies in which the Gates Foundation was invested.
Michael Larson may be to Bill Gates what Frederick T. Gates was to John D. Rockefeller. Michael Larson was unavailable to speak to the Los Angeles Times in 2007, but the most recent investments of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are an open book. More than 40% of the portfolio is Berkshire Hathaway stock. The rest of the portfolio is full of “blue chip” pharmaceutical manufacturers like Merck, Schlering Plough and others (More on this in Part VI). Even Abbott Labs, the first which issues HIV tests, is among the leaders. The Gates Foundation appears to have the financial compensation side of giving money away completely covered.
Just as the Roman god Janus was able to look forwards and backwards, so too does the Gates Foundation fund that which brings life and that which takes life. Bill Gates is a new god of beginnings and endings – and he has the endowment to prove it. At the time of the LA Times article, the BMGF had assets sufficient to rank 56th in national Gross Domestic Product. It would rank 89th among corporations based on market capitalization. To date, it has dispensed more than $13 billion.
Mama! It’s that Rockefeller Man, Again!
The Population Council was created in 1952 as a permanent organization. The business of the Council was to study population and drive public policy on issues of reproduction and birth control. One of the first board members for the Population Council was Lewis L. Strauss, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission from 1953 to 1958. Another prominent member was Frank Notestein. Notestein directed the first population office at Princeton University and also led the United Nations’ Population Division in the 1940’s. No Population Council is complete without a eugenicist who has “academy cred.” The Rockefeller’s man of science was Frederick Osborn. (Osborn also served on the Atomic Energy Commission.) Of particular concern to the Population Council was the reproduction of Africans and Asians residing in “Third World” nations. We’ve reached that moment in time when wealthy people feel the need to make grant to Rockefellers. This may be a strange time, but in an international discourse about population, it might as well be 1920. That was the year that Lothrop Stoddard penned his classic tome on race relations: The Rising Tide of Color Against White-World Supremacy. One of Stoddard’s principal beliefs was that whites contributed to the growth of population in Africa by ending “tribal wars, waging truceless combat against epidemic disease”,improved communications and distribution of food. The evidence supporting these claims is at least as two-sided as the face of Janus. His fear was that emigrating Asians and Africans would eventually leave their over-populated homelands and move to lands dominated by “whites.” Stoddard’s book was well-received then and it would be as well received today as Ben Wattenburg’s The Birth Dearth. Justifications for deeply embedded concerns about population, reproduction, survival, death and dying are deeply immersed within all of this work. The philanthropy numbers do not amount to much more than pennies in the grand scheme of things.
The 2007 budget for the Population Council: $71.5 million.
From the PC website:
The Population Council has been conducting research and other programs in the sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region for 40 years.
Much of the Council’s current portfolio of activities in sub-Saharan Africa are part of the FRONTIERS and Horizons programs. Because SSA carries the heaviest burden of the HIV pandemic and has the least amount of access to reproductive health services of all the Council’s regions, it is not surprising that many of the region’s activities fall under the work of these two programs.
In most of the countries where the Population Council has been active, the focus has been on examining ways to improve availability and the quality of contraceptive and reproductive health services and reducing the transmission of HIV.
Recent safe motherhood activities in Kenya included providing technical assistance for updating the standards and national guidelines for essential obstetric care and undertaking innovative research with the Ministry of Health in four districts of Western Province to test new approaches to providing safe motherhood services. The expected outcomes of these activities are improved quality of antenatal, delivery, postnatal, and post abortion care services; demonstrated effectiveness of systems of referral, access, health management, and information, education, and communication services; and enhanced and appropriate safe motherhood components in all safe motherhood strategies.
In addition, Population Council staff in Kenya have been engaged in a three-year collaborative project with the K-REP Development Agency to test and scale up a saving and micro-credit program for adolescent girls and to expand the urban-based pilot program to a rural area of Kenya. In South Africa, as part of the study on the transition to adulthood in the context of HIV and AIDS, a project was implemented to increase young people’s knowledge of risky behaviors. In Burkina Faso, Council staff worked with the government, the Burkinabe Association for Family Welfare, the Mille Jeunes Filles project, and the United Nations Population Fund/UNICEF/United Nations Foundation to strengthen social and health services to meet adolescent girls’ health and development needs. The project aimed to test the feasibility of using community resource people to provide reproductive health information to adolescent girls; define appropriate venues, including special spaces for adolescent girls; determine appropriate content of training; and develop appropriate indicators for evaluating project outcomes.
In Ethiopia, Population Council staff worked with the Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia on an operations research study to explore the impact of expanding access to coital-dependent methods of family planning (e.g., male and female condoms) and emergency contraception. Results of the two-year study are expected to point to strengthening the quality of health care services and maximizing the potential of these two methods-either individually or as dual protection-to reduce the risk of both HIV/STI transmission and unwanted pregnancy.
Two community-based distribution projects are being undertaken in Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire in an effort to increase access to and use of reproductive heath services in rural areas of the two countries. Activities consist of strengthening the functional capacity of district health centers and introducing a community-based intervention program on reproductive health services. A research focus in Cameroon was to design a study to test the community-based distribution model and determine its cost-effectiveness in improving access, quality, and sustainability of community-level reproductive health services.
Could This Be Happening?
In Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins introduces the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL). This organization was supported by the Rockefeller’s and served as a front for espionage and other programs in Ecuador. On page 166, Perkins writes:
“SIL had been working extensively with the Huaorani tribe in the Amazon basin area, during the early years of oil exploration, when a disturbing pattern appeared to emerge. While it might have been a coincidence (and no link was ever proved), stories were told in many Amazonian communities that when seismologists reported to corporate headquarters that a certain region had characteristics indicating a high probability of oil beneath the surface, some SIL members went in and encouraged the indigenous people to move from that land, onto missionary reservations; there they would receive free food, shelter, clothes, and medical treatment, and missionary-style education. The condition was that, according to these stories, they had to deed their lands to the oil companies.
Rumors abounded that SIL missionaries used an assortment of underhanded techniques to persuade the tribes to abandon their homes and move to the missions. A frequently repeated story was that they donated food heavily laced with laxatives – then offered medicines to cure the diarrhea epidemic. Throughout Huaorani territory, SIL airdropped false-bottomed food baskets containing tiny radio transmitters; the rumor was that receivers at highly sophisticated communications stations, manned by US military personnel at the army base in Shell, tuned in to these trasmitters. Whenever a member of the tribe was bitten by a poisonous snake or became seriously ill, an SIL representative arrived with antivenom or the proper medicines – often in oil company helicopters.”
The stakes are high. Whether we’re talking about oil in Ecuador or tissue for conducting research within the United States, international organizations and medical research professionals were a thin mask of legitimacy that should be snatched off at every instance. Beneath that mask, there is often a duplicitous, greedy soul with an unquenchable thirst for recognition, acclaim or wealth. The history of science in this nation is full of stories where the ghastly meet the horrific.
In Part VI, a tale of 1,000 brains, Albert Einstein and the rise of HIV.
“They took my brother’s brain without consent, and the doctor, in his obituary it said that he had one of the largest brain collections,” says Karen. “And if there’s any way for me to find that, I would like to put him back together.”