CHD Article on Big-Picture Look at Current Pandemic Beneficiaries Accepted by Peer-Reviewed Journal
An article by Children’s Health Defense on how the pandemic facilitated a financial, tech, biopharmaceutical and military-intelligence push for centralized, technocratic control has been accepted by the International Journal of Vaccine Theory, Practice and Research.
“Planned Surveillance and Control by Global Technocrats: A Big-Picture Look at the Current Pandemic Beneficiaries,” a peer-reviewed article by Children’s Health Defense, has been accepted for publication in the journal, International Journal of Vaccine Theory, Practice and Research. The journal was launched in 2020 by John W. Oller, Jr., Ph.D. (editor-in-chief) and Christopher A. Shaw, Ph.D. (senior editor) “to make independent research, free from constraints of monetary, political, or any other undisclosed influence, about vaccine theory and practice freely accessible.”
The Children’s Health Defense article, which will appear in the journal by year’s end, assesses how the pandemic has facilitated a financial, tech, biopharmaceutical and military-intelligence push for centralized, technocratic control.
Here’s the article:
Global financial patterns and pronouncements point to a seismic overhaul of governance and financial systems that is playing out beneath the surface of the Covid-19 pandemic, reaching far beyond the health domain. Increased centralized control has the potential to create an unbridgeable chasm between a tiny handful of winners and a majority of losers. To foster an integrated analysis of the technocratic and financial forces and agendas at play, this rapid review identifies some of the pandemic’s principal beneficiaries across the interwoven financial, tech, biopharmaceutical, and military-intelligence sectors, assessing developments in the context of the accelerating global push for technocratic consolidation and control. The evidence suggests that Trojan horse coronavirus vaccines may challenge bodily integrity and informed consent in entirely new ways, transporting invasive technologies into people’s brains and bodies. Technologies such as brain-machine interfaces, digital identity tracking devices, and cryptocurrency-compatible chips would contribute to the central banking goal of replacing currencies with digital transaction and identification systems and creating a global control grid that connects the world population to the military-pharma-intelligence cloud of the global technocrats. Moreover, using vaccines as a delivery vehicle for surveillance technologies cancels any legal liability.
Keywords: Biopharmaceuticals; central banks; Covid-19 pandemic; digital identity; Operation Warp Speed; technocracy; vaccines
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) upgraded a reportedly novel coronavirus from a global health emergency (as of January 30) to a global pandemic, having given the name “Covid-19” to the newly minted disease associated with the virus (Forster, 2020; World Health Organization, 2020a). If one examines actions taken both before and since the WHO’s March decree, it seems evident that many highly placed individuals and sectors were able to strategically position themselves to benefit from the declared crisis (Children’s Health Defense, 2020b). At the same time, with a “new form of economic shock” being imposed worldwide under cover of Covid-19 (Lagarde, 2020), it has become apparent that old-fashioned corporate profiteering is far from the whole story.
In fact, global financial patterns and pronouncements point to a seismic overhaul of governance and financial systems that is playing out beneath the surface of the pandemic, reaching far beyond the health domain. These developments highlight a disturbing push for global technocracy — a form of centralized, expert-led control over resource production and consumption that the Wall Street Journal has characterized as “anti-democratic rule by elites who think they know better” (Wood, 2018, 2020; Fitts, 2020a; Schinder, 2020; Schumacher, 2020; White, 2020). In the U.S., many of the actions unfolding behind the scenes are also benefiting from a climate of institutionalized secrecy enabled by the October 2018 adoption of a game-changing policy statement (FASAB Statement 56), which turned financial disclosure rules upside-down to allow the U.S. government and its contractors to maintain secret books (Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board, 2018; Ferri & Lurie, 2018).
As 2020’s rapid-fire events suggest, substantially increased centralized control and secrecy have the potential to create an unbridgeable chasm between a tiny handful of elite winners and a majority of upper and lower middle class losers. In early June, CNBC’s Wall Street analyst Jim Cramer heatedly pointed out the fact that the pandemic had already produced “one of the greatest wealth transfers in history” (Clifford, 2020). Others have echoed these observations, describing the “monumental transfer of wealth from the bottom of the economic ladder to the top” (Barnett, 2020; Kampf-Lassin, 2020). In comparison to the benefits flowing to large corporations and billionaires, Cramer bluntly observed that pandemic-related restrictions have had a “horrible effect” on America’s small-business economy, with a similar pattern on display outside the U.S. (Clifford, 2020). Even the World Economic Forum — which has promoted many of the structural changes now underway at its annual Davos meetings — acknowledges the “asymmetric nature” of Covid-19-related hardships and the “greater ferocity and velocity” of the pandemic’s impact on populations already under stress before 2020 (World Economic Forum, 2020).
By early fall, fifty million Americans (many with already high burdens of debt) had lost jobs; financial forecasters were issuing warnings about further layoffs; and millions of the still-employed were earning less than pre-pandemic (Andriotis, 2020). In addition, the bulk of the trillions in federal stimulus (which by early May exceeded the gross domestic product of all but six nations worldwide) had made its way to large corporations; Forbes reported that roughly 70 percent of the initial $350 billion intended for struggling small businesses went to large companies (Simon, 2020). Observers suggest that by channeling taxpayer bailouts to the companies that already had the greatest ability to withstand the shutdowns, the largest players have been able to gain even more of a “stranglehold” over the economy (Kampf-Lassin, 2020).
As U.S. billionaires’ wealth increased by almost a trillion dollars (a weekly average of $42 billion), weekly jobless claims, requests for food bank assistance, and reports of addiction, overdoses, depression, and suicide began “shatter[ing] all historical records” (Feeding America, n.d.; Alcorn, 2020; Americans for Tax Fairness, 2020; Baldor & Burns, 2020; Community FoodBank of New Jersey, 2020; Dubey et al., 2020; Ettman et al., 2020; Hollyfield, 2020; Lerma, 2020; Prestigiacomo, 2020; Schwarz, 2020; Sergent et al., 2020; Thorbecke, 2020; Wan & Long, 2020). Outside the U.S., the situation is similar (Bueno-Notivol et al., 2020). As a marker of the global surge in hunger, the Nobel Committee awarded its 2020 Peace Prize to the World Food Programme, prompting the agency’s head to warn that the world is “on the brink of a hunger pandemic” that could result in “famines of biblical proportions” in the coming year (Lederer, 2020).
In November, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data identifying over 100,000 excess U.S. deaths “indirectly” associated with the pandemic (Rossen et al., 2020), including a “stunning 26.5% jump” in excess deaths in young adults in their mid-twenties through mid-forties (Prestigiacomo, 2020). Commenting on these mortality data — which reflect “a death count well beyond what [researchers] would normally expect” (Preidt, 2020) — the former U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb voiced his suspicion that “a good portion of the deaths in that younger cohort were deaths due to despair,” including drug overdoses (Squawk Box, 2020). University researchers writing about mortality in JAMA concurred that “Excess deaths attributed to causes other than COVID-19 could reflect deaths . . . resulting from disruptions produced by the pandemic” (Woolf et al., 2020), including “spillover effects . . . such as delayed medical care, economic hardship or emotional distress” (Preidt, 2020). Multilateral entities like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) emphasize that it will be essential to assess the long-term impact of “confinement and deteriorating financial conditions” on mortality and warn that the social and economic fallout is likely to be “significant” (Morgan et al., 2020).
As an ideology, technocracy is recognized for exalting knowledge and expertise as the principal sources of legitimate power and authority and for asserting that there is “one best way” that only “the experts” (e.g., engineers, scientists, and doctors) can determine (Burris, 1989). However, critics of technocracy have long pointed out that, particularly in crisis situations, the know-how, “discretionary interventions” and seemingly “elastic” power claimed by technocrats can end up blurring the line between useful expertise and “arbitrary rule” (White, 2020). Moreover, technocrats typically resist attempts to make explicit “the non-rational attributes of technocratic decision-making” (Burris, 1989).
With the noticeable absence of any cost-benefit analysis and the increasingly “non-rational” justifications being put forth for Covid-19 restrictions (Handley, 2020; Kristen, 2020; Kulldorff et al., 2020; The Reaction Team, 2020) — as well as the economic, political, social, and cultural changes rolling out at dizzying speed — it is important to try to understand the technocratic and financial agendas at play. Three increasingly interwoven sectors (Big Finance, Big Tech, and Big Pharma) are reaping rewards from Covid-19, benefiting from close relationships with the military-intelligence apparatus (Glaser, 2020; Usdin, 2020). This rapid review seeks to (1) identify some of the pandemic’s principal beneficiaries (financial and otherwise) across these sectors, and (2) assess these parties’ actions in the context of the accelerating global push for technocratic consolidation and control through invasive surveillance.
Rapid reviews are used to synthesize evidence in a streamlined manner, abbreviating the timeline and requirements of more involved systematic reviews (Ganann et al., 2010). A rapid review is particularly well suited to emerging current event sequences, and the dynamic Covid-19-related situation certainly qualifies. Though not exhaustive, rapid reviews make it possible to quickly summarize available evidence across multiple disciplines, whether for the purpose of informing policy-making and decision-making or to identify patterns and take stock of the bigger picture.
For the purposes of this broad overview of current events, we relied primarily on the so-called grey literature as well as media accounts (from both the legacy media and independent journalists) and various online sources. We also consulted relevant peer-reviewed literature. Notably, while the peer-review process is ordinarily slow-moving, Covid-19-related studies have been making their way through the pipeline at breakneck speed (Packer, 2020).
Examples of sources consulted for this review include conventional and alternative financial commentary; webpages and communications from public health agencies, international organizations, and universities; individual blogs and commentary; and peer-reviewed studies cataloguing the impact of Covid-19 restrictions.
Assisted by the media, commentators have had an easy time framing the events of 2020 principally as a health crisis. With each passing month, however, those claims wear thinner (Barnett, 2020). In a comprehensive analysis titled The State of Our Currencies, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Housing Catherine Austin Fitts (2020a) offers a broader and more instructive interpretation. Informed by close attention to financial patterns, Fitts asserts that the “shock doctrine” measures being imposed under cover of Covid-19 are helping lay the train tracks for a new global central banking machine and a technocratic “regulatory and economic model that permits far greater central control.”
Fitts calls attention to G7 central bankers’ August 2019 approval in Jackson Hole, Wyoming of a plan called “Going Direct” (Bartsch et al., 2019) that makes the case for a novel “blurring [of] the lines between government fiscal policy and central bank monetary policy” (Martens & Martens, 2020). Drafted months before Covid-19, the plan — co-branded by the World Economic Forum (n.d.) as “the Great Reset” — evokes the prospect of a serious economic downturn and “unusual circumstances” that could be used to justify “unprecedented” global measures (Bartsch et al., 2019).
Fitts (2020a) postulates that central bankers have both a short-term aim (to extend the existing dollar-based reserve currency system) and an ambitious longer-term goal: to implement a “new global governance and financial transaction system, and gather the power necessary to herd all parties into the new system”. Characterizing these aspirations as nothing short of ending currency as we know it, Fitts suggests that the top-down digital-currency-based model being promoted as a replacement could end up sidelining traditional intermediaries and instead directly furnish populations with something akin to a “credit at the company store”. Spelling out the implications of such a model, Fitts notes that with the help of digital surveillance and a social credit system, the central-bank-controlled “credit” could easily be “adjusted or turned off on an individual basis”. General Manager Agustín Carstens of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) — the central bank of central banks — recently acknowledged as much, stating that in stark contrast to cash, a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) would give central banks “absolute control” over CBDC use “and the technology to enforce” CBDC rules and regulations (International Monetary Fund, 2020). With a vaccine-injected digital surveillance program in individuals, the CBDC would have dictatorial power at the level of individual buying and selling.
Fitts’ analysis suggests that central bankers began laying the groundwork for the desired global transition well in advance of the coronavirus mayhem. In 2019 alone, G7 finance ministers endorsed a cryptocurrency action plan in July; in August, the G7 central bankers approved “Going Direct”; in September, the U.S. Federal Reserve (“the Fed”) started making hundreds of billions of dollars in loans “direct” to Wall Street trading houses; and in October, the BIS issued a major report on global cryptocurrencies (Bank for International Settlements, 2019; Helms, 2019; Fitts, 2020a; Martens & Martens, 2020). In the middle of the frenzy of central bank activity in October, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (along with the World Economic Forum and Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security) held the well-publicized “pandemic tabletop exercise” called Event 201, which played out a global coronavirus outbreak scenario strikingly similar to 2020’s actual events (Center for Health Security, n.d.).
In January 2020, U.S. corporations witnessed a record number of CEO departures (Ausick, 2020; Marinova, 2020) — a mass exodus that strategically allowed over 200 departing executives to sell their stock at or near the market high (see Table 1). Other wealthy and influential insiders also engaged in surprisingly well-timed stock market transactions. For example, following a late-January, behind-closed-doors briefing about the virus (which had yet to affect a single American), certain U.S. senators sold hundreds of thousands of dollars of stock, “unloading shares that plummeted in value a month later” (Lane, 2020). The world’s wealthiest person, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, sold nearly $4.1 billion over an 11-day period in early February after having also sold $2.8 billion in shares in August 2019 (Palmer, 2020).
Table 1. U.S. CEO Departures in January 2020
In October 2020, the World Economic Forum — the Great Reset’s front-row marketer — released a report on the future of jobs, describing the significant displacement of workers resulting from the pandemic and the related global restructuring that the organization has been taking the opportunity to promote (Petzinger, 2020). With automation and Covid-19 causing a “double-disruption” that is not only accelerating job destruction in the short term but “shrinking opportunities” in the longer term, the report solemnly pronounced a “new division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms” (World Economic Forum, 2020). Well before the pandemic, Amazon had established a robot-centric system at its fulfillment centers, with a process focused on “limit[ing] movement of people [and] let[ting] robots move everything” (Masud, 2019). This downsizing of humans has apparently served Amazon well: by May 2020, Amazon’s e-commerce business had shot up by 93 percent compared to the previous May (Klebnikov, 2020).
A September 2020 survey showed that many other companies plan to substantially boost their spending on AI and machine learning, citing Covid-19 as their rationale for prioritizing “the adoption of new technologies that enhance and enable automation” (Shein, 2020). Observers also predict, however, that the AI gold rush will lead to even more market consolidation and control by Amazon and three other big Covid-19 winners — Alphabet, Facebook, and Microsoft. These four companies, according to Forbes, have the “scale to push the envelope”, the “talent and the technology to perfect [AI]”, and the computing power to dominate the field (Markman, 2019). Amazon already controls nearly 46 percent of the worldwide public cloud-computing infrastructure that is a key backstop for AI functions such as parallel processing and the digestion of Big Data (Atlantic.Net, 2018; Nix, 2019).
Before Covid-19, consumer rejection of 5G wireless technology had been growing (Castor, 2020). However, the imposition of social distancing measures, remote learning, and online work requirements has provided the telecommunications industry with a ready-made pretext to fast-forward 5G’s deployment while attempting to burnish the industry’s unfavorable public image. Taking advantage of virus fears, Big Tech and Big Telecom are claiming that 5G can help enable “a future in which business, health care and human interaction must be at more than an arm’s length” (Wasserman, 2020). Forbes has praised communication service providers for responding to the coronavirus lockdowns “with a sense of urgency, purpose and empathy” (Wilson, 2020). Describing areas requiring more “advanced connectivity”, a technology expert at Deloitte Consulting cited the example of “cameralytics” (video surveillance) “to help worker safety and social distancing” (Howell, 2020). Whatever the rationale, the reality on the ground has been a massive increase in U.S. telecom companies’ capital spending on 5G and a “full steam ahead” rollout of spectrum and infrastructure that has placed the U.S. “ahead of schedule” (Knight, 2020; Ludlum, 2020). The European Commission is now attempting to follow the U.S.’s lead by pushing for the removal of “regulatory hurdles” and making the case that 5G will aid the region’s post-coronavirus economic recovery(McCaskill, 2020).
Covid-19 has also brought another of Big Tech’s interests into sharper focus: food. Billionaires such as Bill Gates and Peter Thiel have, for some time, been investing in biotech start-ups that aim to produce, in a lab, stem-cell-based “meat”, “fish”, “dairy”, and “breastmilk” (Kerr, 2016; Kosoff, 2017; Beres, 2020; Wuench, 2020). These start-ups and their investors have been only too happy to position the burgeoning industry as a partial solution to pandemic-related food insecurity and supply chain interruptions (Galanakis, 2020; Pereira & Oliveira, 2020; Yeung, 2020), welcoming Covid-19 as an “accelerator” as well as an opportunity to overcome consumer skepticism (Siegner, 2019; Morrison, 2020). In addition, as the coronavirus breathes new life into the term “sustainability” — long used by technocrats as a cover term for more centralized control (Wood, 2018) — global partners like the United Nations and the World Economic Forum are making the improbable claim that the complex, high-dollar, lab-created food substitutes (which require genetically stable cell lines, bioreactors, “edible scaffolds”, and cell culture media) are a “sustainable” option (Whiting, 2020). The biopharma giant Merck is also getting in on the “cultured meat” action, offering to make its “extensive knowledge of the relevant science and biotechnology” available to companies seeking to overcome “critical technological challenges” (Whiting, 2020). Merck frequently collaborates with the Gates Foundation, including in the development of Covid-19 vaccines (Lardieri, 2020).
In September 2019, an annual Gallup poll reported that the restaurant industry was America’s top-ranked and most-liked among the 25 industries regularly assessed by the polling group (McCarthy, 2019). Sadly, less than a year later the Independent Restaurant Coalition predicted the permanent demise of up to 85 percent of independent restaurants (Jiang, 2020). In contrast, the pharmaceutical industry came in “dead last” in the 2019 poll, despite $9.6 billion spent annually on direct-to-consumer advertising and another $20 billion on marketing to health professionals (McCarthy, 2019; Schwartz & Woloshin, 2019). The U.S. is one of only two countries in the world that allows drug companies to market directly to consumers and, in non-election years, roughly 70 percent of news outlets’ advertising revenues come from pharma (Solis, 2019).
The pharmaceutical industry’s history of “fraud, bribery, lawsuits and scandals” is well known (Compton, n.d.), and no less a figure than Bill Gates has suggested that the public perceives Big Pharma as “kind of selfish and uncooperative”; however, Mr. Gates and Fortune magazine propose that Covid-19 may offer the industry an opportunity for “redemption” (Leaf, 2020). The stage may have been set for Big Pharma’s year of opportunity in January, when JPMorgan Chase held its 38th annual invitation-only health care conference. The business press describes the yearly conference as “one of the biggest biotech dealmaking events, often setting the tone for funding rounds, partnerships and mergers and acquisitions” (Leuty, 2020). Thus, just when the coronavirus ball was getting rolling, the conference brought an estimated 20,000 venture capitalists, investment bankers, and drug development executives and entrepreneurs to San Francisco to hear keynote addresses by JPMorgan’s and GlaxoSmithKline’s CEOs and to stoke expectations of a strong year for the biotech-plus-pharma chimera known as “biopharma” (JPMorgan, n.d.; Leuty, 2020; Lipschultz, 2020). In 2014, McKinsey & Company described the investment opportunities in biopharmaceuticals as “big and growing too rapidly to ignore”, with an annual growth rate more than double that of conventional pharma and a 20 percent share of global pharmaceutical revenues (Otto et al., 2014).
A few weeks after the JPMorgan conference — and well before any Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. — the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) helped ensure that significant pandemic benefits would flow into the biopharma and medical space. HHS did so by issuing a declaration (on February 4) making vaccines and all Covid-19-related medical countermeasures immune from legal liability (HHS, 2020a). On March 6, roughly a week after the first reported coronavirus death, President Trump sweetened the pot by signing into law the first in a series of emergency stimulus packages, earmarking 40 percent of the $8.3-billion bill for vaccines and drugs under terms the pharmaceutical industry openly dictated (Karlin-Smith, 2020).
Following the February 4 HHS declaration eliminating legal liability, Bill and Melinda Gates instantly pledged $100 million in funding for coronavirus vaccine research and treatments, followed by another $150 million in mid-April (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2020; Voytko, 2020). When Operation Warp Speed followed, making untold billions available for research and development of therapeutics and vaccines at taxpayer expense (see Table 3), dozens of biopharma companies jumped into the fray (HHS, n.d.). Catherine Austin Fitts notes that a system that exempts from liability anything labeled as a “vaccine” amounts to “an open invitation to make billions . . . particularly where government regulations and laws can be used to create a guaranteed market through mandates” (Fitts, 2020b). Moreover, each time the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) adds a given vaccine to the CDC schedule, it is not only the equivalent of a “golden ticket” for the vaccine manufacturer but also directly benefits the CDC, which owns dozens of vaccine-related patents and routinely shares licensing agreements with manufacturers (Taylor, 2017; Children’s Health Defense, 2019).
Currently, there is one injury for every 39 vaccinations administered (2.6%), often resulting in a “disastrous outcome of life-altering iatrogenic illnesses” (Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, n.d.; Kennedy Jr., 2019; Kristen, 2019). A CDC study published in JAMA in 2016 reported that one in five young children (19.5%) under age five who were admitted to emergency rooms for drug reactions were suffering from vaccine injuries (Shehab et al., 2016). Early clinical trial results and Covid-19 vaccines’ use of an array of experimental, never-before-approved technologies suggest that comparable (or worse) levels of injury could follow the rollout of coronavirus vaccines (Children’s Health Defense, 2020a, 2020c, 2020d, 2020e). The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, for example, feature mRNA molecules that are known to be “intrinsically unstable and prone to degradation”, with an inflammatory component that risks dangerous immune reactions (Feuerstein, Garde, & Joseph, 2020; Jackson et al., 2020; Wadhwa et al., 2020). Assuming the same vaccine injury rate of 2.6 percent, Operation Warp Speed’s projected vaccination of roughly 25 million Americans per month (Owermohle, 2020b) could conceivably result in 3.9 million injuries over just the first six months. (Given that the leading vaccines will require two initial doses and probable boosters thereafter, this figure could even be an underestimate.) If Bill Gates and other technocrats succeed in their declared aspiration to manufacture billions of doses of coronavirus vaccine and “get them out to every part of the world” (Gates, 2020), the scale of injury would not only be unprecedented but could open a lucrative, long-term gateway to the wider drug market to manage the injuries (Kristen, 2019).