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03.22.10

Gates Foundation Roundup: (Mis)Education With Spin; GAVI, Pfizer, Merck, and the African Ventures

Posted in Africa, America, Bill Gates, Finance, Microsoft, Patents at 9:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: A long and hard look at what Bill Gates is doing outside Microsoft in order to increase his wealth/power and improve his image at the same time

THIS is the latest summary about the Gates Foundation, which is a large body of philanthro-capitalism, i.e. making money while making it appear like philanthropy. We will try to make this a weekly-occurring type of post. This latest post will explain how Bill Gates uses new ventures to increase his power and his wealth while the public usually views him as a national or international hero. Everything in this post is based on the past week’s news, so readers can verify with the original sources and decide for themselves.

As we have shown many times before, the Gates Foundation is increasingly running the education system and controlling how/what children are taught, especially in the United States [1, 2, 3, 4]. In order to achieve this goal, the Gates Foundation prepares ‘studies’ (it’s paid for by Gates, thus the scare quotes) to change and influence how education is done. Watch how they interject themselves into articles about education.

“It’s really a combination of all of this together,” said Diane Troyer, a former Houston-area community college president who’s a senior program officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “It adds up to a situation that now is getting really strong national attention. I think for the first time we really have the light shone upon this in a way that’s going to make a difference.”

There are other new examples where the Gates Foundation uses its private funds to drive education [1, 2], even if that involves trips to Washington, D.C. and issues that relate to the Gates lobby [1, 2, 3, 4]. No lessons learned from the Gates-Abramoff visas blunder? They can affect the minds of children through their teachers whom they pay. The Gates Foundation almost speaks ‘on their behalf’ now, using Gates-sponsored ‘studies’ and other funds [1, 2] that can drive/alter agenda.

Now check out how Gates funds are actually being used (highlight in red added by us):

Although New York was named a Race to the Top grant finalist this month by the U.S. Department of Education, how the department scored the application and the amount of funding that may be coming New York’s way are still unknown.

[...]

According to the Associated Press, 14 finalists, including New York, received grants of up to $250,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to hire consultants to help construct their applications. Delaware and South Carolina were the only two finalists that did not use Gates Foundation funding.

Cornell University receives Gates funds for malaria and other universities show that Gates staff can take the podium and pitch its own “health” interests that we’ll come to later.

Athens, Ga. – Dr. Julie Jacobson from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program will be the featured speaker for the next “Global Diseases: Voices from the Vanguard” lecture on Tuesday, March 23 at 6 p.m. in the University of Georgia Chapel.

Gates makes money from disease, as we will show later in this post (we have covered this for years and provided evidence from reputable sources). Gates’ huge PR campaigns are doing a wonderful job daemonising any potential critic of the Gates Foundation. They are controlling the message the public receives and O’Neill carefully complains about it:

Taking Gates for a spin

It’s hardly Gatesgate, but it does beg a key question.

Why does the School District of Hillsborough County need to spend $375,000 on an outside public relations firm to explain the $100 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the public — and to its 17,000 teachers? The district has its own staff of communications specialists. If this doesn’t fall within its purview, priorities or skill set, something’s wrong.

“We don’t have time to do PR,” communications director Steve Hegarty told the Tribune.

We’re told that the Gates folks were adamant in putting a premium on communicating what’s entailed in its seven-year commitment to change how county teachers are recruited, trained and paid. Of course, they want this explained effectively. Nine-figure overhauls require no less. But they never demanded it be put out for bid.

$375,000 is a lot of money to be spent on merely “communicating” with the public (engagements with the press for example). Gates is also producing papers and influencing politicians for similar reasons, leading to fluff like this:

A report recently published by Public Agenda/Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (www.publicagenda.org/files/pdf/theirwholelivesaheadofthem.pdf) reveals the reality of the guidance received by high school graduates who are college-bound. It doesn’t reflect well on our state of affairs at the national level, but it does shed some light on the fact that students need help. More students are dropping out of college than are graduating. And this can be avoided.

So, Gates’ investment firm is now an authority by which to decide how education should be done? This is a risky step of privatisation. Gates also has people in the US government [1, 2], leading to complaints/skepticisms like this one:

Rajiv is on a roll. In his new role, is it any surprise that he prioritises Gates Foundation priorities on a visit to Seattle?

Nieman fellows or former fellows are still being used as worshipers of Gates and the following new post from Nieman confirms that Gates is paying journalists who cover his own investment work and fields of operation.

Mason and Albrecht were two of nine journalists whose fellowships in global health reporting were supported over three years by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Now, the global health grants have expired, but the significant impact of their work affirms the Nieman Foundation’s commitment to this effort.

We have already covered many other examples where the Gates Foundation pays for people to write about its activities (positively of course, as the funding implicitly demands it).

As we showed some time in the past, the Gates Foundation is also investing in the Canadian government where there are Microsoft troubles with the law [1, 2 and some migrations to GNU/Linux. According to the following news article, the Gates Foundation has actually had a “joint venture” with the Canadian government. The article is about vaccination.

Butler-Jones and Aglukkaq both said the funding that was to go the facility is still going to the CHVI and the government and the Gates Foundation are discussing how it will now be used.

Butler-Jones said he could not say when a decision will be made.

The CHVI was created in February 2007 as a joint venture of Canada and the Gates Foundation. Ottawa put up $111 million and Gates $28 million.

This is also covered in:

1. Report used in shelving HIV-vaccine facility flawed: critique

The HIV-vaccine facility was supposed to be the centrepiece of the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative but it was cancelled last month when the government said none of the proponents met the criteria and a study by the Gates Foundation said such a facility was no longer needed.

2. Gates study on HIV vaccine facility ‘fatally flawed’: expert

A new report from a Canadian vaccine expert pours water on the Harper government’s argument a non-profit HIV vaccine manufacturing facility is no longer needed, opposition critics charged Thursday.

Ron Gerson, president of vaccine manufacturer PnuVax and a pharmaceutical and vaccine industry consultant, critiqued a study from the Gates Foundation, which was one of the main reasons Canada shelved its plans to build a manufacturing facility.

Gerson, who was involved in initial reviews of bids for the facility, called the Gates study “fatally flawed” because it looked only at the quantity of manufacturers available to produce HIV vaccines for clinical trials, not the quality of their work.

3. Flaws cited in report used to shelve HIV-vaccine facility

4. Health boss grilled on city vaccine plan

He said at the same time the Gates Foundation, Canada’s partner on CHVI, produced a study which says there is now sufficient capacity available in existing facilities to produce enough research vaccines for use in clinical trials.

[...]

She dismissed the Gates study, saying it was always known there was capacity to produce vaccines but there is a difference in having private-sector versus non-profit capacity.

5. Feds drop plans to build vaccine facility

6. Health Agency Defends Decision to Cancel HIV Vaccine Facility

7. Health Department Under Scrutiny after Scrapping HIV Vaccine Facility Plan

8. Feds drop plans to build vaccine facility

“After weighing all of the evidence, the Government of Canada and the Gates Foundation have decided not to proceed with the pilot-scale vaccine manufacturing facility,” says the notice.

They act like it’s an extension of the government, in which Gates put literally billions of dollars. For some newly-written background from CBC:

The facility would have been the main project in the $111-million Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative, a venture between Canada and the Gates Foundation that was announced three years ago.

Watch how Microsoft approached the Canadian government very recently:

Microsoft Canada Inc. announced today it is working with local open government experts and Vancouver-based developer Nitobi, to help make government data more easily accessible and useful for citizens. Leveraging the City of Vancouver’s Open Data catalogue and Microsoft’s Open Government Data Initiative : (OGDI) platform, Nitobi has developed VanGuide : , a web and mobile based social mapping application that enables citizens to tag, rate and comment on Vancouver landmarks and locations.

They then misuse the term “open source”. They love doing this. Last week they sent out unsolicited mail to Canadian Free software users/developers so that they create/increase their government's Windows lock-in.

Hitherto, a lot has been said about Gates’ interest in vaccines, but not much has been said (repeated) about the motives.

For those who do not know yet, Gates has shares (stock) in the pharmaceutical cartel, which he obviously wants to become more profitable (at the expense of generics for instance). What’s good for the pharmaceutical cartel is good for Gates. The following new article shows Pfizer connections to Gates. We previously wrote about Pfizer (just over a week ago) because it helps kill the Indian population for the sake of its patents (price fixing). It’s all about profit to these people, but they are good at disguising their motives. Good luck telling poor people that they die needlessly because of this thing called “patents”, which many of them can’t understand or even justify.

As for Gates himself, he is looking to raise money from taxpayers — money that will in turn be passed to companies that Gates has shares in (he has made around $13 billion in the past year, despite claiming to have decided to give away his wealth). We have already shown how Bill and Melinda lobby governments to pay money to these initiatives from which they profit. We have the references in last week’s long summary (which we shared publicly). For those who are not familiar with Gates’ new monopolies, here is a place to start.

“Gates-linked vaccine group wants $4.3 billion,” heralds Associated Press.

A global vaccine initiative launched with the help of Bill Gates is seeking $4.3 billion in new funding to ramp up child immunization campaigns against deadly diseases such as hepatitis B, diarrhea and pneumonia in the developing world.

The Geneva-based GAVI alliance, launched a decade ago as a partner of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said governments and other donors could help save 4.2 million lives if they meet the funding demands through 2015.

They are currently raising funds (while already linked to Gates, who does not offer such money). This is the type of action that we see all the time. Bill and Melinda occasionally add their “rockstar status” and widely-recognised faces to these causes from which they profit. The pharmaceutical giants are akin to mercenaries in Iraq in this context. A lot of money passes to private hands at the expense of taxpayers, yet nobody wants to talk about it. The most important point to remember is that the public is paying for patents. Medicine has an over-inflated if not altogether imaginary value given the low production costs. And yet, proponents of this profiteering operation sell the illusion that Gates donates $10 billion when this money in fact goes towards patents from the very same companies he works with and invests in (so it’s like Microsoft's warped notion of "donating" software to poor people).

But forget about the truth. A lot of PR staff is pushing this spin from Gates and GAVI the into big papers, e.g.:

Donors asked for $4.3 billion for vaccines for poor

Nature News examines GAVI Alliance’s budget gap

Alliance seeks billions to boost life-saving jabs for poor

Decision to Implement Hib Vaccine Influenced by Policies of Neighbouring Nations

This is a perfect example of the “philanthro-capitalism” which we mentioned at the start. Some people are getting extremely rich in this process, but all the public can be told about are those poor people who “we” — the generous people from the West — are saving with our tax money. A better solution would cut off the leeches and provide cheaply-manufactured medicine without press releases that have gigantic fake numbers in them (like reports from the RIAA, the MPAA, and the BPI).

Last week we showed that the Huffington Post had signed a new deal that seemed to fund the site through Gates, in exchange for positive articles about philanthro-capitalism. Here again is a promotional article for him, courtesy of Huffington, as usual [1, 2, 3].

Bill Gates Can’t Do it Alone

Next week GAVI’s donors will sit together in the Netherlands and consider new pledges to support GAVI’s work. Many will no doubt be looking to the Gates Foundation, which recently announced $10 billion in funding for vaccine research, development, and delivery over the next 10 years to fix this problem. But in this case, Bill Gates is just not rich enough to fill this gap on his own. Other donors must step up and help to fill the breach as well.

These are the same fake numbers which we explained earlier. The number overwhelmingly refers to patents, so it’s akin to Microsoft’s claims of “donations” using licences to run some binaries. They usually mix the numbers with a tiny portion of something else in order to claim that there is something tangible too (relative proportions are rarely emphasised). We see this pattern all the time.

“It turns out now that Gates takes a leading role alongside the FDA (which he is also connected to through Monsanto) in the TB Alliance.”A very recent study showed that most news is simply PR (about 60% of it), which means it’s pushed or ghostwritten by PR people. Here again is Huffington spinning Microsoft’s collaboration with suppressive regimes last week. We wrote about this earlier, omitting the unnecessary spin. There is something increasingly sickening about what Huffington is doing, maybe because it’s desperate for revenue so it puts PR before investigative reporting.

Earlier this month we wrote about Microsoft's new hire from the FDA, which will help the company lobby the government. It turns out now that Gates takes a leading role alongside the FDA (which he is also connected to through Monsanto) in the TB Alliance. Gates was accused of monopolising research in these areas.

The companies will attend regular meetings led by the Gates Foundation and the TB Alliance, and researchers will work with the FDA to determine which combinations should be tested and how the trials should proceed, Stoffels said.

More connections with the pharmaceutical cartel:

FDA Looks to Streamline Rules for New Drug Cocktails

[...]

Two pharmaceutical consortia want to use the new approach, the article says. One is a group of 10 drug companies and several nonprofit organizations convened by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop medicines to fight tuberculosis. The other is an effort by Merck and AstraZeneca, which are jointly testing two anticancer agents. Others may be interested as well.

Merck is utterly corrupt and it is connected to Microsoft. The above is the blog item corresponding to the final report from the Wall Street Journal, which says:

At least two pharmaceutical consortia are poised to take advantage of the forthcoming policy: a group of 10 drug companies and several nonprofit organizations convened by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop medicines to fight tuberculosis; and pharmaceutical giants Merck & Co. and AstraZeneca PLC, which are jointly testing two anticancer agents.

People must remember that Gates was openly criticised for greed in his health agenda, even by very notable people who dared to face the PR machine which spews endlessly. There is a dark side to all this and those who consider themselves victims of the pharmaceutical cartel can probably tell their story. Usually it takes an illness for people to actually study the truth.

Here is Gates himself trying to push for more spendings in areas that he invests in. He wants the governments — not businesses — to fuel the companies that he has shares in. Need one mention the personal connection Gates has with the UN, as we have repeatedly shown for years? It’s a reciprocal but dangerous relationship because it does not take into account the externality, which is all of us outside Gates’ private enterprise and the UN. They can give Gates all the medals that they want, but this older article reminds us of the UN’s view. It’s an interview with the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who is literally hanging out in Bill's and Melinda's mansion in Washington (there are also Microsoft-UN connections [1, 2, 3]). Here is what Ban Ki-moon said:

Q: Some say the emergence of super rich philanthropies like the Gates Foundation has undermined the effectiveness of the U.N. and its member organizations, like the WHO.

A: On the contrary that is what we really want — contributions from the business community as well as philanthropies. We need to have political support, but it doesn’t give us all that we need. NGOs and philanthropies and many foundations such as Bill Gates Foundation — they’re taking a very important role. The United Nations stands in the center of mobilizing and raising awareness of climate change and food security. When this H1N1 flu broke out I immediately had a meeting with WHO Director Margaret Chan. We even convened a meeting with international pharmaceutical CEOs in Geneva. We were discussing how pharmaceutical companies could help providing vaccines for developing countries. Major pharmaceutical companies have now donated 150 million vaccines.

Our reader who brought this up has more to say on the subject. “Gates energy talk at TED might spur investments,” says this article. It says “spur investments” (not “donations”). How telling. Putting aside the seemingly more innocent investments, there is an increasing amount of intervention in Africa, which has a lot of minerals and other natural resources the West drools over. Here’s a little bit of detail and insight into Gates’ role:

But that’s exactly the point, says Todd Barker, a partner for the Meridian Institute, which organized the trip with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

People who do not know what Gates does with Monsanto in Africa can start in, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. It’s a tad creepy that Gates is now supporting a monopolist of the world’s food supply. Additionally, now he is taking his children more public around the nuclear industry, appearing with his son at the Hanford site [1, 2]. These are the young people whom he will pass his ventures to, just like the Rockefeller dynasty. The vision is one where few super-rich people decide very privately how the world should be run. Ask Ban Ki-moon about it.

“Gates has created a huge blood-buying operation that only cares about money, not about people.”

AIDS organisation manager, December 2009 (New York Times)

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A Single Comment

  1. your_friend said,

    March 23, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Gravatar

    It would be good to do a careful study of a US state where Gates is corrupting education. As noted above, many of the grants demand that a large percentage of the money is spent on Gate’s own PR firms to make the deals look better than they are. My impression is that Gates typically uses a large donation to steer the use of much larger public spending, typically ten to 20% of a projects budget is enough to steer 100% of the portion of the project that Gates cares about, “intellectual property” and software, perhaps vaccine spending. The larger picture is that individual projects are only a small part of any state’s educational budget and that Gates only spends money in a few influential states or in the wake of a some kind of public attention grabbing incident. A study of a single state, which compares the strings attached to the spending and the actual cost of those strings should demonstrate that Gates’ gifts are highly profitable. This will be difficult because states try hard to hide their embarrassing Microsoft software spending.

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