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10.01.10

New Examples of Gates Foundation Proximity to Government, Big Banks, Monsanto

Posted in Africa, America, Bill Gates, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents, Standard at 7:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Clinton family

Summary: A long roundup of Gates’ escapades last week, ranging from self-promotional activities to outright lobbying

TODAY’S post deals with the dealings of the Gates Foundation and it is focused solely on last week. For those whose knowledge about the foundation is limited, reading of prior posts may be required, as always. If in doubt, follow though to the external links or post a query in the form of a comment for pointers to be given. There is plenty of disinformation to undo and spin (PR) to be dissected.

“There is plenty of disinformation to undo and spin (PR) to be dissected.”As we showed repeatedly in the years 2009 and 2010, Gates has been buying book authors/publishers (we hardly tracked Gates before that, partly because in 2008 and prior years Microsoft was still big in the news and Gates still spent a lot of his time there). What we mean by “buying” is that Gates sponsored the writing of books whose storyline/doctrine concurred with the story he was trying to tell the world, be it about farming (e.g. GMO) or education (turning it all private). Techrights is sceptical of Gates’ crusade not just because the man was Napoleonic since a young age, causing his family some problems in the process (and later to be accused of Napoleonic behaviour by Judge Jackson). Techrights is wary of Gates because Gates is still working for Microsoft and he uses his tax-exempt foundation to help Microsoft become more profitable. Gates has found love in some other companies too, companies that he invests his money in. Those companies too receive the endorsement and at times a bit of lobbying help from Gates, who knows important people in high places (the “Bill Gates” brand can impact political decisions including the allocation of taxpayers’ money). What follows is a very dense and concise pass through one week of news and it ought to be quite complete because we use a wide variety of sources. Where possible, links are also given to prior posts that touch the same subjects. If in doubt about any of the claims, expansion on explanations and a plethora of references ought to be available once the links are followed.

Microsoft, Bill, and Tim O’Reilly

The special and recently-intensified relationship between Microsoft and O'Reilly was covered here some months ago. It was merely the culmination of many posts we have written about this pair for years. Attitude towards so-called ‘open APIs’ at O’Reilly [1, 2] worried us a great deal because it helped O’Reilly present Microsoft as “open”. As one person wrote some days ago in Twitter, “Just to reiterate, Open APIs is FAUXPEN (fake open). Its a step in the right direction, but supports walled gardening”. Red Hat’s Jan Wildeboer sort of responded to this by writing: “Lots of Microsoft people at #OWF [2010] trying to sell their definition of Open Source and Open Standards to journalists.”

“Lots of Microsoft people at #OWF [2010] trying to sell their definition of Open Source and Open Standards to journalists.”
      –Jan Wildeboer
In some of our previous posts we showed the closed nature of the Gates Foundation and its occasional promotion of artificial scarcity, e.g. in teaching material or reading (DRM). Well, the relationship between Microsoft and O’Reilly is to a large extent about literature. “Nearly 1,000 additional O’Reilly and Microsoft Press ebooks now available in Kindle Store” says this new headline from O’Reilly Radar. The relationship is working out for this pair: “There are still some titles that aren’t suitable for a reflowable format like EPUB or Mobipocket; titles such as the “Head First” series of books, or certain digital photography titles. But any ebook available in EPUB from oreilly.com (which is over 1,000 titles when including Microsoft Press) should now be available in the Kindle store, or will be shortly.”

Shame on O’Reilly for supporting an abusive aggressor and promoting artificial scarcity.

Finally we approach the subject of the Gates Foundation. O’Reilly Radar plays along with the painting as “Open source” the micro-lending initiative we see from Gates and the Grameen Foundation, which has roots in Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. It is a promotional piece which does nothing to challenge the inevitable effects of loans in very poor countries, which will only have international banks breathing down their necks some time down the line. Gates was doing something similar in Haiti and we are still seeing some articles about that.

Perhaps it would be reasonable to suggest that O’Reilly (the main site) should investigate issues more deeply. Otherwise, it only lends to the perception that O’Reilly plays along with crooked elements of the system, just as it was doing in OSCON (over consecutive years [1, 2, 3]). This is primarily a power grab.

Goldman Sachs and Loans

Here is a new press release about “WISeKey’s WISePay(TM): the Mobile Payment System” and another about WISeKey and Microsoft. We’ll come back to it later as it’s part of Clinton Global Initiative (the first headline is “WISeKey’s WISePay(TM): the Mobile Payment System for Unbanked and Underbanked Populations Fulfils Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment”).

As a little bit of unimportant background, Chelsea Clinton has just married Marc Mezvinsky (on July 31, 2010), who works for Goldman Sachs, the controversial and corrupt financial firm Bill Gates is investing in. Yes, Bill Gates has some investments (i.e. vested interests) in the banking industry and people who used to work for Microsoft run the programmes by which he imposes a modernised monetary system in shattered populations. It’s a convenient marriage that gives more power to banks, an opportunity for mediators like Gates to gain PR points and stock returns, and maybe — just maybe — even help some parts of the population, whose urgent problem is survival, not digital coinage/currency.

Showcasing “Good Causes” by Buying a TED

TED is considered to be a trusted platform on which interesting people gather and share their ideas. It is the high level of guests which makes TED what it is today. It seems like there are new efforts by TED to make more money using the reputation and one article is “evaluating TEDx as a brand strategy”:

So when I read the article in the New York Times this past Sunday about TEDx, the relatively new (and incredibly popular) offshoot of the legendary TED conference, I thought it might be a good opportunity to take a closer look. The issue?

Clearly TEDx has been a smart community-building strategy, but will it ultimately prove to be a smart brand strategy as well?

TEDx is not normal TED. It seems to be some kind of cluster of events for sale, given that we recently learned about TEDxRedmond and the Gates-funded TEDxChange too. Yes, Gate buys himself a TED and disappointingly enough, WorldChanging.com takes the bait. A Canadian WorldChanging.com affiliate had an appearance at TED about year ago when Bill Gates had one too. The New York Times, which Gates sometimes visits, brought some special coverage from this event: “On Monday he spoke at the Paley Center for Media in New York during TEDx Change, a conference organized by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, about the progress of the global health goals set forth a decade ago by the United Nations.”

“TEDx is not normal TED. It seems to be some kind of cluster of events for sale, given that we recently learned about TEDxRedmond and the Gates-funded TEDxChange too.”Some other sources which cover Bill’s and Melinda’s special events are thanking them for buying TED and arranging for themselves (Melinda) to thereby be the star of the show, generally attending an event where she lobbies the UN: “Much has been said about President Obama’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly today. Melinda Gates also addressed the UN.”

The difference between President Obama and Melinda Gates is that the latter was not elected by the public, just sold by the public by buying newspapers, having them sell their integrity as a token of respect for the money they received.

One particular source of praises that we worry about is called “Causecast” [1, 2, 3]. It seems like somewhat of a PR front. Oiaohm explains that Causecast has in its site a case where it’s argued that “Nike Uses Recycled Plastic Bottles To Make World Cup Jerseys”

“Treehugger is basically highly misinformed environmental message… Mostly to make companies appear green.”
      –Oiaohm
“Most world cups large percent of Jerseys end up in bins,” he explained, “So making them out of plastic that will not break down is a bad thing. Treehugger is basically highly misinformed environmental message… Mostly to make companies appear green.” When asked who might be sponsoring Causecast Oiaohm replied with: “I would suspect nike and other indirectly.”

For quite a few months we have had reasons to suspect that Causecast is possibly funded by Gates too, as it is linking to the Gates-funded, self-promotional TED event over at the Huff & Puff. There is also pro-Gates hand-picking (Huff & Puff content from AP) and other praises for Microsoft. If one looks some months back, the Causecast-Huff & Puff relationship was seemingly formed right after Arianna Huffington had dined with Gates. It aroused the suspicion that means of facilitating funds to Huff & Puff in exchange for Gates praises were being created. With glorification like in these Gates-on-throne photos at the AP and similar sightings at the Canadian Press, one must ask questions about funding. Gates already paid a lot of news agencies, which clearly changed their reporting on Gates as a result (leaving out any critics that may legitimately exist and speak out).

A few week ago we showed how Melinda Gates got glorified by The Guardian just days after cash infusion from Gates to The Guardian. It’s an important subject to discuss now that channels are blatantly manufacturing fake/biased ‘news’ (advertisements). To give new examples of AstroTurf/lobbying through the press, here are some very new posts about the subject:

  • Fake News Persists, FCC is Mute

    Television stations are continuing to broadcast fake news, four years after the Center for Media and Democracy exposed the practice and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) warned TV stations against using it. Public relations firms make videotaped fake TV news segments in which hired actors pose as “reporters” who tell “stories” about a product or service they want advertised. The PR firms then send these so-called video news releases (VNRs) to cash-strapped news rooms around the country, who broadcast them as though they were real news, without revealing that they are really advertisements. A 2006 CMD study titled Fake TV News: Widespread and Undisclosed, exposed 123 TV stations across the country that were regularly airing VNRs without informing viewers that the spots were paid ads. Four years later, FCC has yet to take a firm stand on the practice, or crack down on new tactics that are emerging. Recently, advertisers have started hiring paid “experts” to appear on newscasts. A reporter will present a “story” about a product, and then hand the microphone to a paid spokesperson who gets a free platform to pitch the product. In some cases, stations have been paid over $10,000 for such a promotion.

  • Fake News Invasion

    Fake news is invading our airwaves, and the Federal Communications Commission is standing idly by as it happens. In an age when consumers can mute and fast-forward commercial breaks, advertisers are looking for ways to sell you products where you’re least expecting it: Embedded into your local news.

  • Stop Fake News Now!

    The General Motors segment to the right is not news. It’s undisclosed corporate propaganda dressed up as the real thing.

    This practice is illegal, and the FCC needs to do something about it.

    Free Press has filed a letter at the FCC urging the agency to protect consumers from this deceitful practice. Take action now to protect consumers from fake news.

Unless Gates has already bought The Star like it did The Guardian weeks after it had criticised him, some of the latest coverage there makes little sense. Melinda Gates, as an investor in Coca Cola which murders union organisers (as covered in posts such as [1, 2, 3]), praises this company, maybe for its high brand value and marketing. “There are three things Coke does right when it comes to marketing, Gates said,” according to the Seattle P-I. She just keeps lobbying there and The Guardian which she sponsors of course did not neglect to report. Microsoft’s PR backup Ina Fried also did puff piece about it. Microsoft’s Fried carried on with more of the usual.

“What a lobbying affair. Money well spent. Remember who is playing master of ceremony for PR gain.”The Gates Foundation’s special event which it paid for was also broadcast in Dubai and other places: “TedxChange, a seminar in New York hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was broadcast simultaneously in more than 80 locations worldwide.”

It was broadcast in India too. What a lobbying affair. Money well spent. Remember who is playing master of ceremony for PR gain.

Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)

Amanda Reed from WorldChanging.com was there in the “Clinton Global Initiative” too [1, 2], helping to show Gates’ role in politics and making it seem like a good thing (never mind those who protest about Gates overriding judgment of elected officials). Friedman from the New York Times was there too along with Clinton, whose role was obviously prominent [1, 2], as is Clinton’s connection with Gates [1, 2, 3, 4]. As we have shown recently, they have the same speech writers sometimes and they also hired the notorious APCO Worldwide. PR Watch explained why this is a wrong strategy.

Former President Bill Clinton established the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in 2005 to implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems, like hunger, poverty and access to health care. By some accounts, CGI’s effectiveness rivals that of the United Nations in this regard. Ironically, CGI selected APCO Worldwide to help organize its 2010 annual meeting. APCO is the same public relations firm that helped Philip Morris organize a damaging front group in October, 1993 called The Advancement of Sound Science Coaltion that helped the tobacco industry fight public health efforts to control secondhand tobacco smoke after the EPA rated it a Group A Human Carcinogen. APCO has also helped industry pin the label of “junk science” on environmentalists. APCO also managed a massive, tobacco industry-funded, below-the-radar national effort aimed at altering the American judicial system to make it more hostile towards product liability lawsuits. The effort, also known as tort reform, was actually an internal corporate program of Philip Morris (PM).

Rania and Gates were there and the Rania story was told here before. The problem here is not congregation of rich & powerful people; rather, it is their control of events which merely lead to taxpayers’ money being sent to companies which Gates, for example, has got investments in. As we’ll show later, innocence can only be assumed when money gets given by those who talk the talk, with no strings attached. The storyline we see a lot of, e.g. from the MSBBC on Gates (it advertises him, having previously given him the platform too, not to mention that it’s now run by many former employees of Microsoft UK after many swaps) is that since Gates is getting even richer and promising to give money (while avoiding tax thanks to this claim), he should be glorified rather than questioned.

If one looks at blogs and some of the foreign press, there is a lot of resistance out there. The Chinese press labelled Gates a “baron” recently, criticised his lobbying in China (he and Warren were playing their ego games in China, as we explained before), and last week called his work "philanthrocapitalism".

USAID and Gates

Another new article is titled “How Obama Was Brainwashed by the Microsoft Theory of Foreign Aid”:

Reading this, it is hard not to feel that just as Walter Pater famously said that all art aspires to the condition of music, for the Obama administration all development aspires to replicate the experience of Microsoft. For what is being proposed here are “solutions” in the purely technical sense. But development is not a software problem that can be resolved—as Bill Gates and Paul Allen developed new products for their corporation—by bringing the best minds together to brainstorm innovative [sic] solutions. Development is a matter of culture, of politics, and of justice, far more than it is a matter of technology or, for that matter, the technologized vision of human beings that can, without embarrassment, speak of ‘unlocking’ people’s potential as if they were seams of some precious mineral buried in the dirt.

In this Gates/Obama vision of the world, all the fundamental ideological questions have been solved (this may also help explain why, domestically, the president has seemed so helpless in the face of the anger of the Tea Parties—aren’t we all liberals now?). There are no great ideological contradictions, just issues of “empowerment,” “good governance,” “transparency,” and “accountability.” The world as a global Seattle, a global Cambridge, Massachusetts: What an idea! That this is nonsense should be obvious, at least if one lets go of the idea that because what the administration would like to accomplish, and, more broadly, what the Millennium Development Goals represent, are good and moral, these ambitions as they are currently being articulated have any chance of being realized. Liberals might start by accepting that liberalism is an ideology, and not just the commonsense baseline that any sane and decent person should accept.

“Rieff rips into the Gates Foundation concepts of development,” says this commentary on the “Microsoftisation” of development at the Gates Foundation.

David Rieff rips into the Rajiv Shah and Gates Foundation technophilic cocacolaisation and Microsoftisation of development. This guy is as smart as his mother.

Here is the original which speaks about USAID (accommodated by former Gates Foundation staff). We covered it in (most recent first) [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. “The Alliance includes the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the UK Department for International Development (DFID), The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” says the article.

The WHO is moving not only into Gates’ pocket but also to Seattle, allegedly. In relation to the WHO, there is also a mention of Tachi Yamada, Gates’ head of health who has a shareholder's conflict and an ugly past of bullying researchers [1, 2, 3].

“In relation to the WHO, there is also a mention of Tachi Yamada, Gates’ head of health who has a shareholder’s conflict and an ugly past of bullying researchers.”What exactly is Gates’ involvement in many of these steering bodies? People may gradually find answers, but it is hard to get these answers from the foundation, which admits having communication and transparency problems.

Here we have another new example of a private meetings in Seattle: “Local and national faculty includes experts from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation”

One of the better articles we found last week is titled “Who Put Bill Gates In Charge of the World?” It deals with many of the problems we covered here before, e.g.:

Bill Gates looks so angelic and friendly. Looks are deceptive. This man is trying to rule and ruin the world with the help of philanthropists and the scientific dictatorship.

Microsoft founder and one of the world’s wealthiest men, Bill Gates, projects an image of a benign philanthropist using his billions via his (tax exempt) Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to tackle diseases, solve food shortages in Africa and alleviate poverty. In a conference in California, Gates reveals a less public agenda of his philanthropy—population reduction, otherwise known as eugenics.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, along with David Rockefeller’s Rockefeller Foundation, the creators of the GMO biotechnology, are also financing a project called The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) headed by former UN chief, Kofi Annan. Accepting the role as AGRA head in June 2007 Annan expressed his “gratitude to the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and all others who support our African campaign.” The AGRA board is dominated by people from both the Gates’ and Rockefeller foundations.

Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, Syngenta and other major GMO agribusiness giants are reported at the heart of AGRA, using it as a back-door to spread their patented GMO seeds across Africa under the deceptive label, ‘bio-technology,’ a euphemism for genetically engineered patented seeds. The person from the Gates Foundation responsible for its work with AGRA is Dr. Robert Horsch, a 25-year Monsanto GMO veteran who was on the team that developed Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready GMO technologies. His job is reportedly to use Gates’ money to introduce GMO into Africa.

To date South Africa is the only African country permitting legal planting of GMO crops. In 2003 Burkina Faso authorized GMO trials. In 2005 Kofi Annan’s Ghana drafted bio-safety legislation and key officials expressed their intentions to pursue research into GMO crops. AGRA is being used to create networks of “agro-dealers” across Africa, at first with no mention of GMO seeds or herbicides, in order to have the infrastructure in place to massively introduce GMO.

Farmers and civil society organizations around the world are outraged by the recent discovery of further connections between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and agribusiness titan Monsanto. Monsanto is a company that practices eugenics (I’m sorry new term is Bioethics, how nice), and Billy and that perky little Melinda really want to destroy at least 4/5s of the population. These people make Obama seem good.

Gates has been urging for taxpayers in the West to help Monsanto’s agenda of conquest. We covered this many times before and there are new articles that touch on this issue (more on this type of strategy in here).

Little is done by the press but a lot gets done by blogs to explain (as we too did before) the leading of efforts where money comes from taxpayers and the credit goes to the Gates family. In reality, the Gates Foundation sometimes promotes interests opposite to what it preaches, e.g. hunger in Africa. See the new article “The Food Crisis is Not About a Shortage of Food”. Gates and Monsanto are mentioned there but not the role of Gates’ investments in supporting those who cause hunger through price speculations.

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) an initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation supposedly works to achieve a food secure and prosperous Africa. While these sentiments and goals may be philanthropy at its best, some of the coalition partners have a different agenda.

One of the key players in AGRA, Monsanto, hopes to spread its genetically engineered seed throughout Africa by promising better yields, drought resistance, an end to hunger, etc. etc. Could a New Green Revolution succeed where the original Green Revolution had failed? Or was the whole concept of a Green Revolution a pig in a poke to begin with?

Monsanto giving free seed to poor small holder farmers sounds great, or are they just setting the hook? Remember, next year those farmers will have to buy their seed. Interesting to note that the Gates Foundation purchased $23.1

No such story would be complete without Gates bribing some communication channels not to tell these stories. As Accra Mail put it, “In 2007, Farm Radio International, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, launched the African Farm Radio Research Initiative (AFRRI), a project aimed at exploring how to use radio to help rural farmers improve their lives.”

It expanded this as follow: “The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which supported the Farm Radio International programme that have chalked so much success have also provided funding for CountrySTAT. CountrySTAT is a statistical framework for the compilation, management and dissemination of food and agriculture data at the national and international level. The two giant efforts of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will go a long way to responding to food security challenges and encouraging self-reliance, especially in Ghana.”

Waste Management (with accounting scandals) turns out to be in Gates’ portfolio too:

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust and others have reported a combined 5 percent stake worth $853.69 million in Waste Management Inc. (NYSE: WM), according to an SEC filing.

This is new to us.

More Lobbying

Mentioned last week was news from Belfast about Reg Empey meeting Bill Gates in New York. “Reg Empey set to meet Microsoft founder Bill Gates” says one headline and the Belfast Telegraph covers it some more, adding that “Gates keen for lessons about our education” (sounds like more ammunition for his school lobbying overseas).

This has nothing to do with charity, just lobbying. The Belfast Telegraph adds another shallow piece, “Why billionaire Bill is in a league of his own”. There are other such shallow new pieces:

Hey, what’s with the big “M” dropped in my parking space?

That’s the question Raikes asks Gates Foundation employees who have filed in for a town hall forum the day before the football game between Nebraska and Washington.

Next week we are going to look and to scrutinise the foundation for its typical activities that not only fail to deplete from Gates’ cash piles as he publicly signals/insinuates (there is no tax to pay) but also empower monopolists like Monsanto, putting the burden of harmful patents on a much greater proportion of the world.

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