Summary: India is ahead of Bill Gates’ game as his plot to profit by seeding the patents market through Africa and India (poor continent and nation) gets criticised even in the Economic Times
THE Gates Foundation — just like software patents — has become somewhat of a naked emperor. Despite spending a million dollars (or more) per day on mere PR which includes paying journalists, the more enlightened people manage to get their voices heard and occasionally those voices also enter the corporate/mainstream press, which must really piss off Bill Gates. The last thing he needs is for people to understand what he is really up to. It is hard to silence and suppress millions of blogs, although it is easy to bribe selected publications in the areas where he invests his money (we gave examples of those). Those who contradict such bribed sources can then be labelled out of line. It’s the manufacturing of fake consensus.
The Economic Times (India) has published the article “Dark side of giving: The rise of philanthro-capitalism”. It states the following facts:
For instance, the Gates Foundation’s sheer clout is taking it, intentionally or unintentionally, to places where policy, business and philanthropy intersect. There are its business and investment links with large companies that are driven by the profit motive. There is its growing stranglehold in the policy-making space across emerging markets, especially in education, healthcare and agriculture.
The $23.1-million investment by the Gates Foundation in Monsanto, the world’s largest producer of GM seeds, is a small example of a trend.
Civil society organisations see it as vindication of what they had always suspected: the unstated agenda of pushing GM crops into Africa. In recent times, though, following strident protests, Bill Gates appears to have tempered his views on agriculture; he talks about picking the best from organics and tech-driven agriculture.
The Gates Foundation’s insistence that its investments and grants ought to be seen separately has also attracted considerable flak. The question is asked: how can it be a ‘passive investor’ in companies such as Monsanto when its avowed goal is doing good with philanthropic monies? “Doubts about his (Bill Gates) larger motives, despite some good outcomes of his charity, are beginning to cloud my thinking,” concedes Mira Shiva, a public health activist. Two emails sent by ET to the Gates Foundation, on December 29 and March 22, went unanswered.
In his blog postings and writings, Eric Holt-Gimenez, director of the US-based Food First: Institute for Food and Development Policy, labels it ‘Monsanto in Gates’ clothing’.
For more about Gates’ relationship with Monsanto, just search this site for “Monsanto”. We have dozens of posts on this topic.
Dissident Voice too is raising concerns about that. From around the same time (as the article above):
Monsanto and other biotech corporations have been pushing to find new market footholds in collaboration with USAID, the US State Department and the Gates Foundation Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). According to Netline: “The collusion of the Gates Foundation with Monsanto Corporation is no accident, as high level officials leading AGRA are former Monsanto executives. The recent purchase by AGRA of $500,000 worth in Monsanto stocks was vivid proof of that close relationship. Despite many words by Gates officials since the inception of the AGRA agenda denying that GMO seeds would be used as part of AGRA, their close relationship with Monsanto has now been revealed to be a key element in their agronomic ‘new green revolution’ strategy.”
On 7 January 2007 Los Angeles Times published an investigation report on the activities of Gates Foundation in Niger Delta in Africa. Its staff Charles Piller, Edmund Sanders and Robyn Dixon wrote: “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 it is paying for inoculations to protect health, it has invested $423 million in Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Total France—the companies responsible for most of the flares blanketing the delta with pollution, beyond anything permitted in the United States or Europe. A sampling of the Gates Foundation’s largest investments between $100 million and $1 billion: Abbott Laboratories, Archer Daniels Midland, British Petroleum, Canadian national Railway, Exxon Mobil, Freddie Mac, French Government, Japanese Government, Merck, Schering Plough, Tyco International, Waste Management… Indeed, local leaders blame oil developments for fostering some of the very afflictions that the foundation combats.”
The report in the LA Times points out, “Oil bore holes fill with stagnant water, which is ideal for mosquitoes that spread malaria, one of the diseases the foundation is fighting. Investigators for Dr. Nonyenim Solomon Enyidah, heath commissioner for Rivers State… cite an oil spill clogging rivers as a cause of cholera, another scourge the foundation is battling. The bright, sooty gas flares—which contain toxic byproducts such as benzene, mercury and chromium—lower immunity, Enyidah said, and make children more susceptible to polio and measles—the diseases that the Gates Foundation has helped to inoculate against.”
The Gates Foundation endowment had major holdings in:
* Companies ranked among the worst US and Canadian polluters, including ConocoPhilips, Dow Chemicals Co., and Tyco International;
* Many of the other major polluters, including companies that own oil refinery that cause sickness in 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;
* This is “the dirty secret” of many large philanthropists, 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.”
This report on Gates Foundation reminds me of Janus, a two-face Roman god. Janus was characterised by the blending of maleficent and beneficent. His one face represents war and the other peace.
Around the same time a blogger from India ranted:
THE BILL and Melinda Gates Foundation, a major donor in the health sector in India, has links with food and drug corporations including Coca- Cola, McDonald’s, Merck and Monsanto. These links constitute a conflict of interest to the foundation’s philanthropic work, reveals a new study published on Wednesday.
Several large grants that the foundation makes in developing countries, including India, are linked to companies in which the foundation has invested.
Its grants in the health sector may benefit leading pharmaceutical companies such as Merck and GlaxoSmithKline through partnerships to test or promote their drugs, points out the study by Sanjay Basu of the University of California and others in the journal PLoS Medicine . On his recent visit to India, Gates lobbied with the health ministry for the introduction of Merck’s rotavirus vaccine. The foundation is already funding acceptance studies related to another Merck product in India – the HPV vaccine. Tribal girls in Andhra Pradesh have died in the controversial trials.
The bias in the foundation’s investment in junk food companies is reflected in its grant pattern in the health sector.
It has given just three percent of its grants for noncommunicable diseases which experts feel are being fuelled by the consumption of junk food, among other factors, coming from Coca Cola and McDonald’s.
In fact, the foundation has given direct grants to Coca Cola subsidiaries that “ encourage communities in developing countries to become business affiliates of Coca- Cola”.
On his India visit, Gates lobbied for the introduction of Merck’s rotavirus vaccine.
Tribal girls in Andhra Pradesh have died in trials of Merck’s HPV vaccine, funded by his foundation
It has given just 3% grants for non- communicable diseases fuelled by consumption of junk food, including Coca Cola and McDonald’s ( left).
Only days ago we wrote about the special role of GlaxoSmithKline in the foundation, having had its head come from GlaxoSmithKline.
The bottom line is, more and more people are starting to get it. It’s like disdain for Novell and for software patents, which was well overdue. The illusions won’t last for long. People are not dumb enough. █