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FTR #1160 Bio-Psy-Op Apocalypse Now, Part 20: An Ounce of Prevention, Part 5

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FTR #1160 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Azov sol­dier active in Hong Kong

Intro­duc­tion: The pro­gram begins with dis­cus­sion of oper­a­tional links between the Nazi/GOP milieu ana­lyzed in FTR #1159 and ele­ments we have ana­lyzed in the con­text of the desta­bi­liza­tion of Chi­na. (For the con­ve­nience of the lis­ten­er and read­er, key points of that dis­cus­sion are includ­ed in the broad­cast and below in this descrip­tion.)

In FTR #‘s 1103, 1143, 1144, 1153 and 1154, we detailed the pres­ence of OUN/B‑connected ele­ments in Hong Kong and work­ing in a pro­pa­gan­da role vis a vis the Uighurs in Xin­jiang province. In Hong Kong, ele­ments of the Azov Bat­tal­ion and Pravy Sek­tor (Right Sec­tor) have been active in con­junc­tion with the “pro-democ­ra­cy” move­ment in Hong Kong (under the aus­pices of an EU NGO.)

Ger­man nation­al and End Times Chris­t­ian Adri­an Zenz, a fel­low with the Vic­tims of Com­mu­nism Memo­r­i­al Foun­da­tion, has been the go-to fig­ure for West­ern media on the alleged per­se­cu­tion of the Uighurs in Xin­jiang Province. The Vic­tims of Com­mu­nism Memo­r­i­al Foun­da­tion is a sub­sidiary ele­ment of the Cap­tive Nations Com­mit­tee and the OUN/B.

Peter Daszak

In pre­vi­ous pro­grams, we exam­ined in detail the activ­i­ty of Peter Daszak and his Eco­Health Alliance–an orga­ni­za­tion craft­ed to “pre­vent” future pan­demics, yet net­worked with the Pen­ta­gon and oth­er nation­al secu­ri­ty bod­ies in work dis­turbing­ly sug­ges­tive of bio­log­i­cal war­fare research.

Join­ing Daszak in a com­mis­sion assem­bled by the pres­ti­gious British med­ical jour­nal The Lancet is Jef­frey Sachs, eco­nom­ic advis­er to Bernie Sanders and AOC and the prin­ci­pal eco­nom­ic advis­er to Russ­ian pres­i­dent Boris Yeltsin. Sachs’ advice drove the Russ­ian econ­o­my back to the Stone Age.

In this pro­gram we detail the strong, eugeni­cist over­lap between “main­stream” anti-abor­tion orga­ni­za­tions and their close­ly linked white suprema­cist col­leagues. Seek­ing to max­i­mize the birth rate of “Aryan” off­spring and their per­cent­age in the world’s pop­u­la­tion, they may be seen as being part of a polit­i­cal con­tin­u­um which includes the Third Reich.

” . . . . Coex­ist­ing in abor­tion oppo­si­tion is . . . . a white suprema­cist ide­ol­o­gy that only desires to pre­vent white women from obtain­ing abor­tions, but uses uni­ver­sal oppo­si­tion to abor­tion as a prag­mat­ic screen for its goals. As Kath­leen Belew, author of Bring the War Home: The White Pow­er Move­ment in Para­mil­i­tary Amer­i­ca, told The Nation in an inter­view in Sep­tem­ber, for white suprema­cists, ‘oppos­ing abor­tion, oppos­ing gay rights, oppos­ing fem­i­nism, in white pow­er dis­course, all of this is tied to repro­duc­tion and the birth of white chil­dren.’ . . . Tim Bish­op, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the white nation­al­ist Aryan Nations, said, ‘Lots of our peo­ple join [the anti-abor­tion move­ment]…. It’s part of our Holy War for the pure Aryan race.’ . . . .

Cen­tral to our analy­sis is a spec­u­la­tive, yet ter­ri­fy­ing biotech­no­log­i­cal ele­ment–gene dri­ve tech­nol­o­gy. We have spo­ken about this in numer­ous pre­vi­ous pro­grams.

” . . . . Gene dri­ves have been dubbed an ‘extinc­tion tech­nol­o­gy’ and with good rea­son: gene dri­ve organ­isms are cre­at­ed by genet­i­cal­ly engi­neer­ing a liv­ing organ­ism with a par­tic­u­lar trait, and then mod­i­fy­ing the organism’s repro­duc­tive sys­tem in order to always force the mod­i­fied gene onto future gen­er­a­tions, spread­ing the trait through­out the entire pop­u­la­tion. . . .”

” . . . . the Bill and Melin­da Gates Foun­da­tion (BMGF) is forc­ing dan­ger­ous gene dri­ve tech­nolo­gies onto the world. BMGF is either the first or sec­ond largest fun­der of gene dri­ve research (along­side the shad­owy U.S. mil­i­tary organ­i­sa­tion Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA] ). . . .”

Just imag­ine what such technology–applied to human repro­duc­tive capacity–could do when deployed by fas­cist and Nazi ele­ments in the military/medical estab­lish­ment!

The emer­gence of such a devel­op­ment is being facil­i­tat­ed:

” . . . . a pri­vate PR firm called Emerg­ing Ag, was paid US$1.6 mil­lion by the BMGF. Part of their work involved coor­di­nat­ing the ‘fight back against gene dri­ve mora­to­ri­um pro­po­nents,’ as well as run­ning a covert advo­ca­cy coali­tion to exert influ­ence on the Unit­ed Nations Con­ven­tion on Bio­log­i­cal Diver­si­ty (CBD), the key body for gene dri­ve gov­er­nance. After calls in 2016 for a glob­al mora­to­ri­um on the use of gene dri­ve tech­nol­o­gy, the CBD sought input from sci­en­tists and experts in an online forum. Emerg­ing Ag recruit­ed and coor­di­nat­ed over 65 experts, includ­ing a Gates Foun­da­tion senior offi­cial, a DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) offi­cial, and gov­ern­ment and uni­ver­si­ty sci­en­tists, in an attempt to flood the offi­cial UN process with their coor­di­nat­ed inputs. . . .”

At the con­clu­sion of the pro­gram we present a very dis­turb­ing hypo­thet­i­cal con­cept: we fear that the effort to find viral pathogens around the world and make them more infec­tious via gain-of-func­tion manip­u­la­tions is intend­ed to real­ize a glob­al, eugeni­cist, exter­mi­na­tion­ist and white suprema­cist agen­da by cre­at­ing pan­demics in the Third World, prof­it enor­mous­ly by mak­ing vac­cines to treat those pan­demics and intro­duce gene dri­ve tech­nol­o­gy into those pop­u­la­tions via the vac­cines in order to dimin­ish repro­duc­tion in those pop­u­la­tions.

The mRNA and DNA vac­cines being pro­duced by the DARPA-sup­port­ed Mod­er­na and Inovio firms should be con­sid­ered in con­nec­tion with this night­mar­ish work­ing hypoth­e­sis. 

1. It is impor­tant to note that serv­ing, in effect,  as an advance ele­ment for the neo-Lib­er­al poli­cies presided over by Yeltsin and craft­ed by Jef­frey Sachs & Com­pa­ny, the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion served as an exten­sion of The Cru­sade For Free­dom and the incor­po­ra­tion of the ABN milieu into the GOP.

This was the polit­i­cal pre­de­ces­sor to the Yeltsin poli­cies.

Dom­i­nat­ing the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion, the ABN milieu was pro­ject­ed back into East­ern Europe and the for­mer Sovi­et Union by the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion, heav­i­ly over­lapped with Las­z­lo Pasz­tor and the GOP Nazis dat­ing from the Cru­sade For Free­dom.

This pha­lanx played a lead­ing role in the polit­i­cal tutor­ing of Boris Yeltsin’s IRG orga­ni­za­tion. Ulti­mate­ly, Yeltsin’s forces were instru­men­tal in break­ing up the U.S.S.R.

Hav­ing their path cleared by the FCF, ABN and OUN/B, Jef­frey Sachs and the U.S. gov­ern­ment-financed Har­vard Inter­na­tion­al Insti­tute of Devel­op­ment then pro­vid­ed the advi­so­ry capac­i­ty to Boris Yeltsin which drove the Russ­ian econ­o­my back to the stone age.

We won­der just WHAT he is doing co-chair­ing The Lancet’s Covid-19 inquiry com­mis­sion? Are the Rus­sians right about Sachs being CIA? Is THAT what he is doing on The Lancet’s Covid-19 inquiry com­mis­sion? 

“The Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion Goes East” by Russ Bel­lant and Louis Wolf; Covert Action Infor­ma­tion Bul­letin #35; Fall/1990.

With the rapid pace of polit­i­cal change sweep­ing East­ern Europe and the Union of Sovi­et Social­ist Republics, many oppor­tu­ni­ties have emerged for west­ern inter­ests to inter­vene in the pol­i­tics of  that region. In some cas­es, such a vac­u­um has been cre­at­ed that vir­tu­al strangers to the area sev­er­al years ago are now able to active­ly par­tic­i­pate in chang­ing those soci­eties from with­in.

These inter­ven­tions are not only being prac­ticed by main­stream orga­ni­za­tions. The involve­ment of the Unit­ed States Far Right brings with it the poten­tial revival of fas­cist orga­ni­za­tions in the East. One U.S. group, the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion, has been plahy­ing a role in East­ern Euro­pean and Sovi­et pol­i­tics and has ties to Boris Yeltsin and the Inter-Region­al Deputies Group (IRG) in the U.S.S.R.

The Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion (FCF) was found­ed in 1974 by Paul Weyrich as the Com­mit­tee for the Sur­vival of a Free Con­gress. Weyrich, who had start­ed the Her­itage Foun­da­tion the year before, was heav­i­ly fund­ed by the Coors fam­i­ly for both orga­ni­za­tions.

Weyrich has kept one foot in the right wing of the Repub­li­can Par­ty while dal­ly­ing with the racist Right and the extreme Chris­t­ian Right. In 1976, for instance, he and a hand­ful of oth­er New Rights (William Rush­er, Mor­ton Black­well, Richard Viguerie) attempt­ed to take over the seg­re­ga­tion­ist  Amer­i­can Inde­pen­dent Par­ty (AIP), formed by George Wal­lace in 1968. The AIP was an amal­gam of Ku Klux Klan and John Birch Soci­ety ele­ments. . . .

. . . . The IRG was estab­lished by Andrei Sakharov, Boris Yeltsin and oth­ers in the sum­mer of 1989. By the end of that year, a train­ing school had been estab­lished for can­di­dates to put for­ward the IRG pro­gram. Their elec­toral suc­cess this year pro­pelled Yeltsin to the lead­er­ship of the Russ­ian Sovi­et Social­ist Repub­lic. He imme­di­ate­ly began forg­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive rela­tion­ships with the deeply reac­tionary lead­ers of the Lithuan­ian Sajud­is par­ty. The IRG has also served as a source of right-wing pres­sure on Gor­bachev to dis­man­tle social­ism and the Sovi­et Union itself.

One of the key dan­gers in this agen­da is the polit­i­cal vac­u­um it cre­ates, allow­ing ultra-nation­al­ist forces in a num­ber of republics to take pow­er. Such nation­al­ist and fas­cist ele­ments are already evi­dent in Lithua­nia and the Ukraine. In the lat­ter repub­lic, the pro-Nazi Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (OUN) has gained influ­ence in sev­er­al par­ties and has mobi­lized large demon­stra­tions that hon­or OUN lead­ers who abet­ted Hitler’s war on the East­ern Front. Sim­i­lar­ly, sev­er­al deputies Sajud­is deputies served in Ger­man mil­i­tary units in 1944, and Sajud­is has made dec­la­ra­tions against eth­nic Rus­sians liv­ing in Lithua­nia. Accord­ing to some reports, Poles have also been den­i­grat­ed.

It should also be not­ed that the “rad­i­cal reformer” Boris Yeltsin has dal­lied with Pamy­at, the fore­most Russ­ian fas­cist group to emerge in the last sev­er­al years. Pamy­at’s vir­u­lent anti-Semi­tism com­pares to the crude pro­pa­gan­da of the ear­ly Ger­man Nazi Par­ty in the 1920’s.

The FCF is not entire­ly dis­con­nect­ed from the his­to­ry of the OUN. The Trea­sur­er of the FCF board is George­town Uni­ver­si­ty Pro­fes­sor Charles Moser. Moser is also serves on the edi­to­r­i­al advi­so­ry board of the Ukrain­ian Quar­ter­ly, pub­lished by the Ukrain­ian Con­gress Com­mit­tee of Amer­i­ca, a group dom­i­nat­ed by the OUN. The Ukrain­ian Quar­ter­ly has praised mil­i­tary units of the Ger­man SS and oth­er­wise jus­ti­fied the OUN alliance with the Third Reich which reflects the fact that the OUN was polit­i­cal­ly and mil­i­tar­i­ly allied with Hitler and the Nazi occu­pa­tion of the Ukraine.

The OUN, an inter­na­tion­al semi-secret cadre orga­ni­za­tion head­quar­tered in Bavaria, has received finan­cial assis­tance from the late Franz Joseph Strauss, the right­ist head of the Bavar­i­an state. Strauss also had a work­ing rela­tion­ship with Weyrich. . . .

. . . . Final­ly, FCF’s insin­u­a­tion into the pol­i­tics of the East must be judged by their selec­tion of Las­z­lo Pasz­tor to head their Lib­er­a­tion Sup­port Alliance, “which seeks to lib­er­ate peo­ples in Cen­tral and East­ern Euro­pean Nations.”

Pasz­tor’s involve­ment in East Euro­pean pol­i­tics began in World War II when he joined the youth orga­ni­za­tion of the Arrow Cross, the Nazi par­ty of Hun­gary.

When the Arrow Cross was installed in pow­er by a Ger­man com­man­do oper­a­tion, Pasz­tor was sent to Berlin to help facil­i­tate the liai­son between the Arrow Cross and Hitler.

Pasz­tor was tried and served two years in jail for his Arrow Cross activ­i­ties after an anti­com­mu­nist gov­ern­ment was elect­ed in 1945. He even­tu­al­ly came to the U.S. and estab­lished the eth­nic arm of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee for Richard Nixon. He brought oth­er Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors from the East­ern front into the GOP. Some were lat­er found to have par­tic­i­pat­ed in mass mur­der dur­ing the war.

The dor­mant Arrow Cross has sur­faced again in Hun­gary, where there have been attempts to lift the ban on the orga­ni­za­tion. Pasz­tor spent sev­er­al months in Hun­gary. When Weyrich lat­er con­duct­ed train­ing there, he was pro­vid­ed a list of Pasz­tor’s con­tacts inside the coun­try. Weyrich reports that he con­duct­ed train­ing for the recent­ly formed and now gov­ern­ing New Demo­c­ra­t­ic Forum.

Pasz­tor claims to have assist­ed some of his friends in Hun­gary in get­ting NED funds through his advi­so­ry posi­tion with NED. In 1989 he spoke at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion under the spon­sor­ship of the Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations (ABN), a multi­na­tion­al umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tion of emi­gre fas­cists and Nazis found­ed in alliance with Hitler in 1943. It is led by the OUN. Pasz­tor spoke for the “Hun­gar­i­an Orga­ni­za­tion” of ABN, which is the Arrow Cross. . . . .

2. Switch­ing focus to the eugeni­cist phi­los­o­phy at the core of the Under­ground Reich, we note the heavy degree of over­lap between the pro-life move­ment and white suprema­cy.

” . . . . Coex­ist­ing in abor­tion oppo­si­tion is . . . . a white suprema­cist ide­ol­o­gy that only desires to pre­vent white women from obtain­ing abor­tions, but uses uni­ver­sal oppo­si­tion to abor­tion as a prag­mat­ic screen for its goals. As Kath­leen Belew, author of Bring the War Home: The White Pow­er Move­ment in Para­mil­i­tary Amer­i­ca, told The Nation in an inter­view in Sep­tem­ber, for white suprema­cists, ‘oppos­ing abor­tion, oppos­ing gay rights, oppos­ing fem­i­nism, in white pow­er dis­course, all of this is tied to repro­duc­tion and the birth of white chil­dren.’ . . . Tim Bish­op, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the white nation­al­ist Aryan Nations, said, ‘Lots of our peo­ple join [the anti-abor­tion move­ment]…. It’s part of our Holy War for the pure Aryan race.’ . . . .

“The Long His­to­ry of the Anti-Abor­tion Movement’s Links to White Suprema­cists” by Alex DiBran­co; The Nation; 02/02/2020

The anti-abor­tion move­ment in the Unit­ed States has long been com­plic­it with white suprema­cy. In recent decades, the move­ment main­stream has been care­ful to pro­tect its pub­lic image by dis­tanc­ing itself from overt white nation­al­ists in its ranks. Last year, anti-abor­tion leader Kris­ten Hat­ten was oust­ed from her posi­tion as vice pres­i­dent of the anti-choice group New Wave Fem­i­nists after iden­ti­fy­ing as an “eth­nona­tion­al­ist” and shar­ing white suprema­cist alt-right con­tent. In 2018, when neo-Nazis from the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­er Par­ty (TWP) sought to join the local March for Life ral­ly orga­nized by Ten­nessee Right to Life, the anti-abor­tion orga­ni­za­tion reject­ed TWP’s involve­ment. (The organization’s state­ment, how­ev­er, engaged in the same false equiv­a­len­cy between left and right that Trump used in the wake of fatal white suprema­cist vio­lence at Char­lottesville. “Our organization’s march has a sin­gle agen­da to sup­port the rights of moth­ers and the unborn, and we don’t agree with the vio­lent agen­da of white suprema­cists or Antifa,” the group wrote on its Face­book page.)

But despite the movement’s care­ful cura­tion of its pub­lic image, racism and xeno­pho­bia have been woven into it through­out its his­to­ry. With large fam­i­lies, due to Roman Catholic Church pro­hi­bi­tions on con­tra­cep­tion and abor­tion, Catholic immi­gra­tion in the mid-1800s through 1900s sparked white Anglo-Sax­on Protes­tant fears of being over­tak­en demo­graph­i­cal­ly that fueled oppo­si­tion to abor­tion as a means of increas­ing birthrates among white Protes­tant women. At the time, Roman Catholic immi­grants from coun­tries like Ire­land and Italy who would be con­sid­ered white today were among the tar­gets of white suprema­cist groups like the Ku Klux Klan. As soci­ol­o­gists Nico­la Beisel and Tama­ra Kay wrote with regards to the crim­i­nal­iza­tion of abor­tion in the late 19th cen­tu­ry, “While laws reg­u­lat­ing abor­tion would ulti­mate­ly affect all women, physi­cians argued that mid­dle-class, Anglo-Sax­on mar­ried women were those obtain­ing abor­tions, and that their use of abor­tion to cur­tail child­bear­ing threat­ened the Anglo-Sax­on race.”

Hos­tile anti-Catholic sen­ti­ment cut both ways when it came to abor­tion, how­ev­er. Until the 1970s, “pro-life” activism was firm­ly asso­ci­at­ed with Catholics and the pope in the minds of Amer­i­can Protes­tants. This deterred many Protes­tants from oppos­ing abor­tion as a Chris­t­ian moral issue—not only in the polit­i­cal sphere, but even as a mat­ter of denom­i­na­tion­al teaching—because of its asso­ci­a­tion with “papists” (a deroga­to­ry term for Catholics). Even the Roe v. Wade deci­sion in 1973 decrim­i­nal­iz­ing abor­tion did not imme­di­ate­ly bring con­ser­v­a­tive Protes­tants around. As late as 1976, the con­ser­v­a­tive evan­gel­i­cal South­ern Bap­tist Con­ven­tion (SBC) passed res­o­lu­tions affirm­ing abor­tion rights. “The assump­tion was that it must not be right if Catholics backed it, so we haven’t,” com­ment­ed John Wilder, who found­ed Chris­tians for Life as a South­ern Bap­tist min­istry in 1977 as the resis­tance to the pro-life move­ment began to dis­si­pate.

The cul­tur­al posi­tion of Catholics had shift­ed dra­mat­i­cal­ly by the 1970s. As sub­stan­tial immi­gra­tion from Latin Amer­i­ca and Asia posed a new threat to white numer­i­cal supe­ri­or­i­ty, Catholics from Euro­pean coun­tries became cul­tur­al­ly accept­ed as part of the white race, a read­just­ing of bound­aries that main­tains demo­graph­ic con­trol. The elec­tion of Roman Catholic John F. Kennedy as pres­i­dent in 1960 demon­strat­ed how far Catholic accep­tance had come—at least among lib­er­als. Although con­ser­v­a­tive evan­gel­i­cal oppo­si­tion to his can­di­da­cy remained rife with anti-Catholic fears, the rhetoric was less racial­ized and more focused on con­cerns about influ­ence from the Vat­i­can.

To counter this lin­ger­ing prej­u­dice, con­ser­v­a­tive Catholic lead­ers seized on the oppor­tu­ni­ty offered by the specter of athe­ist Com­mu­nism in the mid-20th cen­tu­ry to estab­lish them­selves as part of a Chris­t­ian coali­tion with Protes­tants, uni­fied against a com­mon god­less ene­my. As Ran­dall Balmer has writ­ten, evan­gel­i­cal con­cerns about being forced to deseg­re­gate Chris­t­ian schools spurred polit­i­cal invest­ment that Catholic New Right lead­ers cap­i­tal­ized on and chan­neled into anti-abor­tion and anti-LGBT oppo­si­tion.

For white nation­al­ists, mean­while, as Car­ol Mason wrote in Killing for Life, Jew­ish peo­ple replaced Catholics as tar­gets for groups like the KKK. “Now that abor­tion is tan­ta­mount to race suicide…naming Catholics—whose oppo­si­tion to abor­tion has been so keen—as ene­mies would be coun­ter­pro­duc­tive,” Mason wrote. Mil­i­tant anti-abor­tion and explic­it white nation­al­ist groups came togeth­er promi­nent­ly in the 1990s when a wing of the anti-abor­tion move­ment, frus­trat­ed with a lack of leg­isla­tive progress, took on a more vio­lent char­ac­ter fed by rela­tion­ships with white suprema­cists and neo-Nazis.

White suprema­cists were already par­tic­i­pants in the anti-abor­tion cause, as Loret­ta Ross wrote in the 1990s. In 1985, the KKK began cre­at­ing want­ed posters list­ing per­son­al infor­ma­tion for abor­tion providers (dox­ing before the Inter­net age). Ran­dall Ter­ry, founder of the anti-choice group Oper­a­tion Res­cue, and John Burt, region­al direc­tor of the anti-abor­tion group Res­cue Amer­i­ca in the 1990s, adopt­ed this tac­tic in the 1990s. Terry’s first want­ed poster tar­get­ed Dr. David Gunn, who was mur­dered in 1993 in Pen­saco­la, Flori­da. Gunn’s suc­ces­sor, Dr. John Brit­ton, tar­get­ed by a Res­cue Amer­i­ca want­ed pos­er, was killed in 1994.

The Flori­da-based KKK orga­nized a ral­ly in sup­port of Dr. Britton’s killer, Paul Hill, and Tom Met­zger, founder of the racist group White Aryan Resis­tance (WAR), con­doned the killing if it “pro­tect­ed Aryan women and chil­dren.” Burt him­self was a Flori­da Klans­man pri­or to becom­ing Chris­t­ian and an asso­ciate of both killers. “Fun­da­men­tal­ist Chris­tians and those peo­ple [the Klan] are pret­ty close, scary close, fight­ing for God and coun­try,” Burt told The New York Times in 1994. “Some day we may all be in the trench­es togeth­er in the fight against the slaugh­ter of unborn chil­dren.” Mem­bers of the Port­land-based skin­head group Amer­i­can Front reg­u­lar­ly joined Oper­a­tion Res­cue to protest abor­tion clin­ics. Tim Bish­op, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the white nation­al­ist Aryan Nations, said, “Lots of our peo­ple join [the anti-abor­tion move­ment]…. It’s part of our Holy War for the pure Aryan race.”

While in recent years, the main­stream anti-choice move­ment has been care­ful to dis­tance itself from overt­ly racist and white nation­al­ist groups and fig­ures, embed­ded anti-Semi­tism appears in the triv­i­al­iza­tion of the Holo­caust and in cod­ed appeals to neo-Nazis. Abol­ish Human Abor­tion (AHA), a more recent­ly found­ed group led by young white men (in a move­ment that typ­i­cal­ly likes to put female lead­ers at the fore­front for bet­ter main­stream appeal) that views that pro-life move­ment as too mod­er­ate, cre­at­ed an icon link­ing the acronym AHA in such a way as to resem­ble “new­er incar­na­tions of swastikas that are pro­lif­er­at­ing among white suprema­cist groups,” accord­ing to Mason.

AHA claims that “the abor­tion holo­caust exceeds all pre­vi­ous atroc­i­ties prac­ticed by the West­ern World,” a state­ment that sig­nals to anti-Semi­tes an implic­it dis­be­lief in the Nazi Holo­caust and a triv­i­al­iz­ing of real his­tor­i­cal per­se­cu­tions. The anti-abor­tion move­ment has long framed abor­tion as a holocaust—a holo­caust that it depicts as numer­i­cal­ly more sig­nif­i­cant than the killing of 6 mil­lion Jew­ish peo­ple. His­to­ri­an Jen­nifer Hol­land told Jew­ish Cur­rents that because Jew­ish peo­ple in the Unit­ed States are more pro-choice than oth­er reli­gious groups, anti-abor­tion activists “often imply and even out­ward­ly state that Jews are par­tic­i­pat­ing in a cur­rent geno­cide and were thus ide­o­log­i­cal­ly com­plic­it in the Jew­ish Holo­caust.” This frame some­times goes hand in hand with out­right anti-Semit­ic denial that the Nazi Holo­caust even hap­pened.

Flori­da State Sen­a­tor Den­nis Bax­ley, dis­cussing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of imple­ment­ing sim­i­lar leg­is­la­tion in his state, revealed that nativist fears of replace­ment went into sup­port for the idea. “When you get a birth rate less than 2 per­cent, that soci­ety is dis­ap­pear­ing,” Bax­ley said of West­ern Europe. “And it’s being replaced by folks that come behind them and immi­grate, don’t wish to assim­i­late into that soci­ety and they do believe in hav­ing chil­dren.”

Anti-choice fig­ures con­tin­ue to tout demo­graph­ic concerns—which at their core are a form of white nationalism—in order to oppose abor­tion. In the polit­i­cal sphere, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Steve King is the most promi­nent polit­i­cal fig­ure to emerge as a sym­bol of both white suprema­cism and abor­tion oppo­si­tion. “If we con­tin­ue to abort our babies and import a replace­ment for them in the form of young vio­lent men, we are sup­plant­i­ng our cul­ture, our civ­i­liza­tion,” King stat­ed. King has tak­en far-right posi­tions on both immi­gra­tion and abor­tion, includ­ing defend­ing rape and incest as nec­es­sary for his­tor­i­cal pop­u­la­tion growth.

These overt expres­sions of demo­graph­ic nativism by politi­cians mak­ing deci­sions about repro­duc­tive rights on the state and nation­al lev­el is cause for alarm. With the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump and the rise of the alt-right—an umbrel­la for white suprema­cist, male suprema­cist, and anti-Semit­ic mobilizations—the “kinder, gen­tler” image the Chris­t­ian right and the “pro-life” move­ment have strate­gi­cal­ly invest­ed in may be slip­ping, but also may be less nec­es­sary.

Coex­ist­ing in abor­tion oppo­si­tion is an ide­ol­o­gy that hon­est­ly seeks to end abor­tion for peo­ple of all races and eth­nic­i­ties, along­side a white suprema­cist ide­ol­o­gy that only desires to pre­vent white women from obtain­ing abor­tions, but uses uni­ver­sal oppo­si­tion to abor­tion as a prag­mat­ic screen for its goals. As Kath­leen Belew, author of Bring the War Home: The White Pow­er Move­ment in Para­mil­i­tary Amer­i­ca, told The Nation in an inter­view in Sep­tem­ber, for white suprema­cists, “oppos­ing abor­tion, oppos­ing gay rights, oppos­ing fem­i­nism, in white pow­er dis­course, all of this is tied to repro­duc­tion and the birth of white chil­dren.”

Com­ment­ing on the strate­gic prag­ma­tism of white suprema­cist move­ments, Jean Hardis­ty and Pam Cham­ber­lain wrote in 2000 that “pub­lic advo­ca­cy of abor­tion for women of col­or might alien­ate poten­tial far right sup­port­ers who oppose all abor­tion.” White suprema­cist lead­ers, like David Duke, have instead focused on oth­er ways to deter birthrates among peo­ple of col­or, such as encour­ag­ing long-term con­tra­cep­tion or con­demn­ing social wel­fare pro­grams.

The rela­tion­ship between Chris­t­ian right anti-abor­tion, white suprema­cist, and sec­u­lar male suprema­cist ide­ol­o­gy is com­plex. While they often put aside their dif­fer­ences in order to col­lab­o­rate on shared goals, the agen­das are dif­fer­ent and inclu­sive of con­flict.

White suprema­cist respons­es demon­strat­ed “com­pli­cat­ed feel­ings” fol­low­ing the pas­sage of the Alaba­ma law, as the Anti-Defama­tion League (ADL), which tracks hate and big­otry, report­ed. Some, like the founder of Gab, a pop­u­lar alter­na­tive social media forum fre­quent­ed by white suprema­cists and neo-Nazis, her­ald­ed the Alaba­ma law. Oth­er white suprema­cists were unsat­is­fied that the ban would apply to white women and women of col­or alike. Long­time white nation­al­ist Tom Met­zger eschewed the prag­mat­ic approach in post­ing on Gab that he had instruct­ed “com­rades in the Alaba­ma state leg­is­la­ture to intro­duce a bill that releas­es all non­white women with­in the bor­ders of Alaba­ma to have free abor­tions on demand.” (It’s not clear whether this claim is true or which rep­re­sen­ta­tives he meant.)

The anony­mous nature of many online forums, like The Red Pill, pos­es a chal­lenge for deter­min­ing how much influ­ence mem­bers of these com­mu­ni­ties have. We might be inclined to dis­miss Metzger’s claim to have “com­rades in the Alaba­ma state leg­is­la­ture” as mere blus­ter. But before Bon­nie Bacarisse’s inves­tiga­tive report­ing in The Dai­ly Beast in 2017 uncov­ered New Hamp­shire Repub­li­can state Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Robert Fish­er as the founder of The Red Pill, which pro­motes con­spir­acist the­o­ries about fem­i­nist con­trol of soci­ety and advo­cates manip­u­lat­ing women into sex­u­al inter­course, these online misog­y­nist forums were often assumed to be divorced from real-world pol­i­tics. An online pseu­do­nym that The Dai­ly Beast has linked to Fisher’s per­son­al e‑mail address advo­cat­ed vot­ing for Trump in 2016 because he’d been accused of sex­u­al vio­lence. A spokesper­son for a state anti-vio­lence group said that Fish­er was part of a “very vocal minor­i­ty in the NH House right now that is very anti­woman and antivic­tim,” and that there had been sur­pris­es in recent leg­isla­tive votes.

These sec­u­lar misog­y­nist mobi­liza­tions address abor­tion in a vari­ety of ways, though always through the lens of estab­lish­ing male pow­er and rights, even when endors­ing legal abor­tion. Male suprema­cist com­mu­ni­ties seek con­trol over women’s bod­ies, whether it is through deny­ing abor­tion care or coerc­ing it, or through defend­ing or even per­pe­trat­ing sex­u­al assault.

On Return of Kings (ROK), a web­site list­ed by the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter as a hate group for pick­up artists (PUAs) and found­ed by Daryush Val­izadeh, who goes by “Roosh V.,” the cov­er­age of abor­tion has shift­ed from a posi­tion accept­ing of abortion—though not out of sup­port for women’s human rights—to an increas­ing­ly anti-choice posi­tion. In 2013, abor­tion was dis­cussed as ben­e­fi­cial because it reduces the minor­i­ty pop­u­la­tion, demon­strat­ing the racism already inher­ent in this ide­ol­o­gy, and “sav[es] a lot of alpha play­ers from hav­ing to write a check to a sin­gle mom.” Oth­er posts pro­mot­ed access to con­tra­cep­tion as a means to pre­vent abor­tion, crit­i­ciz­ing Chris­t­ian right oppo­si­tion to birth con­trol as inef­fec­tive to stop­ping abor­tion.

Two years lat­er, Val­izadeh him­self wrote a post on ROK titled “Women Must Have Their Behav­ior and Deci­sions Con­trolled by Men,” rec­om­mend­ing that women receive per­mis­sion from a guardian to access abor­tion or birth con­trol. He con­tin­ues, “While my pro­pos­als are undoubt­ed­ly extreme on the sur­face and hard to imag­ine imple­ment­ing, the alter­na­tive of a rapid­ly pro­gress­ing cul­tur­al decline that we are cur­rent­ly expe­ri­enc­ing will end up entail­ing an even more extreme out­come.” (In case you’re won­der­ing, Val­izadeh has iden­ti­fied oth­er offen­sive posts as satire, but made no such excuse for this one.) In anoth­er 2015 arti­cle, “The End Goal of West­ern Pro­gres­sivism Is Depop­u­la­tion,” he con­demns abor­tion rights, birth con­trol, and female empow­er­ment as caus­es of declin­ing pop­u­la­tion that risk West­ern cul­ture. Val­izadeh has admit­ted to per­pe­trat­ing acts that meet the legal def­i­n­i­tion of sex­u­al assault and has endorsed the decrim­i­nal­iza­tion of rape. Though he lat­er claimed that endorse­ment was a “thought exper­i­ment,” sim­i­lar excus­es have been used by oth­er misog­y­nist lead­ers such as Paul Elam to pro­vide cov­er for their most egre­gious state­ments.

In 2019, Val­izadeh announced that he had found God and would no longer pro­mote casu­al sex. His pri­or argu­ments about male con­trol of women and his oppo­si­tion to abor­tion and con­tra­cep­tion on the basis of con­cern about pop­u­la­tion decline, how­ev­er, fit seam­less­ly into his new per­spec­tive, demon­strat­ing how easy it can be to shift from sec­u­lar to reli­gious misog­y­ny.

As ele­ments of the male suprema­cist sphere take on more anti-abor­tion and white suprema­cist posi­tions, the con­flu­ence of this overt misog­y­ny and racism with the anti-abor­tion move­ment may strength­en the sup­port for harsh­er anti-abor­tion leg­is­la­tion that eschews the anti-abor­tion prag­ma­tism of the past and becomes more overt about its crim­i­nal­iza­tion of preg­nant peo­ple. In 2019, Geor­gia passed a six-week abor­tion ban, cur­rent­ly blocked in court, that applies crim­i­nal penal­ties for mur­der (which includes life impris­on­ment or the death penal­ty) for ter­mi­nat­ing a preg­nan­cy, with no excep­tion for preg­nant peo­ple self-ter­mi­nat­ing. Bills like this ful­fill Trump’s and Abol­ish Human Abortion’s claims that the crim­i­nal­iza­tion of abor­tion should include pun­ish­ments for women; even though Trump backpedaled because of con­cerns from main­stream anti-choice groups, his sup­port for this posi­tion is already out there, along with his dog whis­tles to white and male suprema­cists.

Anti-abor­tion vio­lence has also been climb­ing in recent years, as has white suprema­cist and misog­y­nist vio­lence. Giv­en the his­to­ry of fatal anti-abor­tion vio­lence in the 1990s per­pe­trat­ed by indi­vid­u­als with the con­nec­tions with white suprema­cist and anti-Semit­ic groups, the con­flu­ence of these ide­olo­gies must be cause for con­cern beyond the polit­i­cal realm as well.

3. Cen­tral to our analy­sis is a spec­u­la­tive, yet ter­ri­fy­ing biotech­no­log­i­cal element–gene dri­ve tech­nol­o­gy. We have spo­ken about this in numer­ous pre­vi­ous pro­grams.

” . . . . Gene dri­ves have been dubbed an ‘extinc­tion tech­nol­o­gy’ and with good rea­son: gene dri­ve organ­isms are cre­at­ed by genet­i­cal­ly engi­neer­ing a liv­ing organ­ism with a par­tic­u­lar trait, and then mod­i­fy­ing the organism’s repro­duc­tive sys­tem in order to always force the mod­i­fied gene onto future gen­er­a­tions, spread­ing the trait through­out the entire pop­u­la­tion. . . .”

” . . . . the Bill and Melin­da Gates Foun­da­tion (BMGF) is forc­ing dan­ger­ous gene dri­ve tech­nolo­gies onto the world. BMGF is either the first or sec­ond largest fun­der of gene dri­ve research (along­side the shad­owy U.S. mil­i­tary organ­i­sa­tion Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA] ). . . .”

Just imag­ine what such technology–applied to human repro­duc­tive capacity–could do when deployed by fas­cist and Nazi ele­ments in the military/medical estab­lish­ment!

The emer­gence of such a devel­op­ment is being facil­i­tat­ed:

” . . . . a pri­vate PR firm called Emerg­ing Ag, was paid US$1.6 mil­lion by the BMGF. Part of their work involved coor­di­nat­ing the ‘fight back against gene dri­ve mora­to­ri­um pro­po­nents,’ as well as run­ning a covert advo­ca­cy coali­tion to exert influ­ence on the Unit­ed Nations Con­ven­tion on Bio­log­i­cal Diver­si­ty (CBD), the key body for gene dri­ve gov­er­nance. After calls in 2016 for a glob­al mora­to­ri­um on the use of gene dri­ve tech­nol­o­gy, the CBD sought input from sci­en­tists and experts in an online forum. Emerg­ing Ag recruit­ed and coor­di­nat­ed over 65 experts, includ­ing a Gates Foun­da­tion senior offi­cial, a DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) offi­cial, and gov­ern­ment and uni­ver­si­ty sci­en­tists, in an attempt to flood the offi­cial UN process with their coor­di­nat­ed inputs. . . .”

“Dri­ven to Extinc­tion”; ETC Group; 10/14/2020

As part of our con­tri­bu­tion to a new Glob­al Citizen’s Report ‘Gates to a Glob­al Empire’, we explore the way in which the Bill and Melin­da Gates Foun­da­tion (BMGF) is forc­ing dan­ger­ous gene dri­ve tech­nolo­gies onto the world. BMGF is either the first or sec­ond largest fun­der of gene dri­ve research (along­side the shad­owy U.S. mil­i­tary organ­i­sa­tion Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA] whose exact lev­el of invest­ment is dis­put­ed). BMGF have also fund­ed and influ­enced lob­by­ists, reg­u­la­tors, and pub­lic nar­ra­tives around gene dri­ves, in an attempt to push this dan­ger­ous sci-fi sound­ing tech­nol­o­gy into real world use, shift­ing research pri­or­i­ties on indus­tri­al agri­cul­ture, con­ser­va­tion and health strate­gies along the way, and attract­ing the inter­est of the mil­i­tary and agribusi­ness sec­tors alike.

Full report: Glob­al Cit­i­zens’ Report “Gates to a Glob­al Empire”, pub­lished by Nav­danya Inter­na­tion­al

Full arti­cle:

Dri­ven to Exter­mi­nate

How Bill Gates brought gene dri­ve extinc­tion tech­nol­o­gy into the world

By Zahra Moloo and Jim Thomas, ETC Group.

In 2016, at the Forbes 400 Sum­mit on Phil­an­thropy in New York, Bill Gates was asked to give his opin­ion on gene dri­ves, a risky and con­tro­ver­sial new tech­nol­o­gy that could—by design—lead to the com­plete exter­mi­na­tion of the malar­ia-car­ry­ing mos­qui­to species, Anophe­les gam­bi­ae. If it were his deci­sion to wipe out this mos­qui­to once and for all, giv­en the risks and ben­e­fits being con­sid­ered, would he be ready to do it? “I would deploy it two years from now,” he replied con­fi­dent­ly. How­ev­er, he added, “How we get approval is pret­ty open end­ed.”

Gates’s ‘let’s deploy it’ response may not seem out of char­ac­ter, but it was an unusu­al­ly gung ho response giv­en how risky the tech­nol­o­gy is wide­ly acknowl­edged to be. Gene dri­ves have been dubbed an “extinc­tion tech­nol­o­gy” and with good rea­son: gene dri­ve organ­isms are cre­at­ed by genet­i­cal­ly engi­neer­ing a liv­ing organ­ism with a par­tic­u­lar trait, and then mod­i­fy­ing the organism’s repro­duc­tive sys­tem in order to always force the mod­i­fied gene onto future gen­er­a­tions, spread­ing the trait through­out the entire pop­u­la­tion.

In the case of the Anophe­les gam­bi­ae project (that Gates bankrolls), a gene dri­ve is designed to inter­fere with the fer­til­i­ty of the mos­qui­to: essen­tial genes for fer­til­i­ty would be removed, pre­vent­ing the mos­qui­toes from hav­ing female off­spring or from hav­ing off­spring alto­geth­er. These mod­i­fied mos­qui­toes would then pass on their genes to a high per­cent­age of their off­spring, spread­ing auto-extinc­tion genes through­out the pop­u­la­tion. In time, the entire species would in effect be com­plete­ly elim­i­nat­ed.

Although still new and unproven, gene dri­ves have pro­voked sig­nif­i­cant alarm among ecol­o­gists, biosafe­ty experts and civ­il soci­ety, many of whom have backed a call for a com­plete mora­to­ri­um on the tech­nol­o­gy. By delib­er­ate­ly har­ness­ing the spread of engi­neered genes to alter entire pop­u­la­tions, gene dri­ves turn on its head the usu­al imper­a­tive to try to con­tain and pre­vent engi­neered genes from con­t­a­m­i­nat­ing and dis­rupt­ing ecosys­tems. The under­ly­ing genet­ic engi­neer­ing tech­nol­o­gy is unpre­dictable and may pro­voke spread of intend­ed traits. The notion that a species can be removed from an ecosys­tem with­out pro­vok­ing a set of neg­a­tive impacts on food webs and ecosys­tem func­tions is wish­ful think­ing and even tak­ing out a car­ri­er of an unpleas­ant par­a­site does not mean the par­a­site won’t just jump to a dif­fer­ent host. More­over, the implic­it pow­er in being able to re-mod­el or delete entire species and ecosys­tems from the genet­ic lev­el up is attract­ing the inter­est of mil­i­tar­i­ties and agribusi­ness alike and runs counter to the idea of work­ing with nature to man­age con­ser­va­tion and agri­cul­ture.

That Gates is so enthu­si­as­tic about releas­ing this pow­er­ful genet­ic tech­nol­o­gy is not so sur­pris­ing when one scratch­es the sur­face of the myr­i­ad insti­tu­tions that have been research­ing and pro­mot­ing gene dri­ves for years. To date, the Bill and Melin­da Gates Foun­da­tion (BMGF) is either the first or sec­ond largest fun­der of gene dri­ve research (along­side the shad­owy U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) whose exact lev­el of invest­ment is dis­put­ed). Gates is not just anoth­er tech opti­mist stand­ing on a busi­ness stage call­ing for gene dri­ve release to be allowed—his foun­da­tion has poured mil­lions of dol­lars into gene dri­ve research for over a decade. Yet direct research fund­ing is not the only way in which the BMGF has accel­er­at­ed the devel­op­ment of this tech­nol­o­gy. They have also fund­ed and influ­enced lob­by­ists, reg­u­la­tors, and pub­lic nar­ra­tives around gene dri­ves, in an attempt to push this dan­ger­ous sci-fi sound­ing tech­nol­o­gy into real world use, shift­ing research pri­or­i­ties on indus­tri­al agri­cul­ture, con­ser­va­tion and health strate­gies along the way.

Fund­ing the Research

While the con­tro­ver­sy around gene dri­ves is recent, pro­mot­ers like to empha­size that research towards cre­at­ing gene dri­ve tech­nol­o­gy has been in the works for many years. From its incep­tion, much of this research has received direct fund­ing from the BMGF, fun­neled through dif­fer­ent aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tu­tions. The begin­ning of cur­rent research into genet­i­cal­ly mod­i­fied extinc­tion tech­nol­o­gy can be traced back to 2003 when Austin Burt, a pro­fes­sor of Evo­lu­tion­ary Genet­ics at Impe­r­i­al Col­lege in Lon­don, was work­ing with yeast enzymes, not­ing how ‘self­ish genes’ were able to repro­duce with a greater prob­a­bil­i­ty than the usu­al 50–50 ratio that occurs in nor­mal sex­u­al repro­duc­tion. In a paper, he explained how these genes could be adapt­ed for oth­er uses, such as in mos­qui­toes, where the destruc­tion of the insects could be embed­ded direct­ly into their genes. Burt, along with Andrea Chrisan­ti, anoth­er biol­o­gist at Impe­r­i­al Col­lege, applied for a US$8.5 mil­lion grant from the Bill and Melin­da Gates Foun­da­tion (which they received in 2005) to take for­ward their the­o­ries and apply them in a lab, even­tu­al­ly cre­at­ing an inter­na­tion­al project called ‘Tar­get Malar­ia’. In an inter­view with Wired mag­a­zine, Chrisan­ti explained how this fund­ing and the rela­tion­ship with the BMGF was instru­men­tal in the fur­ther devel­op­ment of gene dri­ves tech­nol­o­gy. “If you need a resource, you get it, if you need a tech­nol­o­gy, you get it, if you need equip­ment, you get it. We were left with the notion that suc­cess is only up to us,” he said.

At the same time, in 2005, the BMGF was also chan­nel­ing mon­ey into the Foun­da­tion for the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health (FNIH), as part of a larg­er US$436 mil­lion grant for a project called the Grand Chal­lenges in Glob­al Health Ini­tia­tive. Through the FNIH, a biol­o­gist at UC Irvine, Antho­ny James, was inject­ing DNA into mos­qui­to embryos to cre­ate trans­genic mos­qui­toes resis­tant to dengue fever. These mos­qui­toes were able to repro­duce which meant that nor­mal mos­qui­to pop­u­la­tions could pos­si­bly be replaced by GM mos­qui­toes if only a way could be found to dri­ve the engi­neered genes into pop­u­la­tions. In 2011, James’ lab genet­i­cal­ly engi­neered the mos­qui­to species Anophe­les stephen­si with genes that made it resis­tant to malar­ia.

All these devel­op­ments were sig­nif­i­cant, but they had not yet led to the cre­ation of gene dri­ves. That moment came in 2015, when two sci­en­tists at UC San Diego, Cal­i­for­nia, Ethan Bier and Valenti­no Gantz, cre­at­ed a gene-con­struct that could spread a trait through fruit flies, turn­ing the entire pop­u­la­tion yel­low. The tech­nol­o­gy they had devel­oped used a new genet­ic engi­neer­ing tool called CRISPR-Cas9 which could cut DNA and enable genes to be insert­ed, replaced or delet­ed from DNA sequences. In effect Gantz and bier built the genet­ic engi­neer­ing tool direct­ly into the flies genome so each gen­er­a­tion genet­i­cal­ly engi­neered its off­spring. CRISPR-Cas9 tech­nol­o­gy was instru­men­tal in the cre­ation of the gene dri­ve and in late 2015, func­tion­al gene dri­ve mod­i­fied mos­qui­toes were cre­at­ed. This is what the Gates Foun­da­tion was wait­ing for. In 2016, an offi­cial with the Gates Foun­da­tion said in an inter­view that malar­ia could not be wiped out with­out a gene dri­ve; all of a sud­den this ‘extinc­tion tech­nol­o­gy’ was con­sid­ered not just desir­able, but “nec­es­sary” in the fight to end malar­ia.

Since then, the push for fur­ther research and deploy­ment of gene dri­ves has gained con­sid­er­able momentum—mostly pro­pelled by Gates dol­lars. The BMGF has fun­neled even more fund­ing into tak­ing gene dri­ve research for­ward. In 2017, UC Irvine received anoth­er US$2 mil­lion direct­ly from the BMGF for Antho­ny James to genet­i­cal­ly engi­neer the malar­ia-car­ry­ing mos­qui­to species Anophe­les gam­bi­ae, with a view to even­tu­al­ly releas­ing them in a tri­al. Mean­while, Tar­get Malar­ia, the flag­ship research con­sor­tium that came from Burt and Chrisanti’s work, has received US$75 mil­lion from the foun­da­tion. This has been used to cre­ate labs in Burk­i­na Faso, Mali and Ugan­da in order to begin exper­i­ment­ing with gene dri­ves in Africa, and in 2019 Tar­get Malar­ia released 4,000 genet­i­cal­ly mod­i­fied (not gene dri­ve) mos­qui­toes in Burk­i­na Faso as a first step in their exper­i­ment. Their goal is to release the gene dri­ve mos­qui­toes in Burk­i­na Faso in 2024. BMGF has also bankrolled fur­ther gene dri­ve research in Siena Italy, Jerusalem, Israel and Boston, USA.

Syn­thet­ic Biol­o­gy and Agri­cul­tur­al Inter­ests

Although main­stream media cov­er­age of gene dri­ve devel­op­ments empha­sizes Gates’s grandiose phil­an­thropic inten­tions in elim­i­nat­ing malar­ia and sav­ing lives in Africa, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to Gates’s direct fund­ing of gene dri­ve research.

Gene dri­ves are clas­si­fied as part of a con­tro­ver­sial field of extreme genet­ic engi­neer­ing known as syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy (syn­bio) or ‘GMO 2.0’ in which liv­ing organ­isms can be redesigned in the lab to have new abil­i­ties. Syn­thet­ic Biol­o­gy aims to redesign and fab­ri­cate bio­log­i­cal com­po­nents and sys­tems that do not exist in the nat­ur­al world. Today it is a mul­ti-bil­lion-dol­lar indus­try which cre­ates com­pounds like syn­thet­ic ingre­di­ents (syn­thet­ic ver­sions of saf­fron, vanil­la etc), med­i­cines and lab-grown food prod­ucts. Gates’s ambi­tions for this rad­i­cal biotech field extend beyond gene dri­ves and malar­ia research and into the field of syn­bio. In an inter­view, he said that if he were a teenag­er today, he would be hack­ing biol­o­gy: “If you want to change the world in some big way, that’s where you should start—biological mol­e­cules.”

The Gates Foun­da­tion has had a sub­stan­tial influ­ence on the syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy indus­try since its incep­tion. In 2005, when the field was still rel­a­tive­ly new, the BMGF gave a grant of US$42.5 mil­lion (and lat­er more) to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia Berke­ley and Amyris, a start­up syn­bio com­pa­ny, in order to pro­duce the anti­malar­i­al drug artemisinin in a lab­o­ra­to­ry with genet­i­cal­ly engi­neered microbes. The aim of this grant was not only to cre­ate the anti­malar­i­al drug, but also to cre­ate new bio­fu­els, med­i­cines and high val­ue chem­i­cals. The founder of Amyris, Jay Keasling, has told ETC Group that the Gates funds were con­tin­gent on find­ing oth­er more prof­itable lines of busi­ness in addi­tion to artemisinin and so ini­tial­ly the tech­nol­o­gy was simul­ta­ne­ous­ly applied to bio­fu­el pro­duc­tion. Jack New­man, a sci­en­tist at Amyris explained that “the very same path­ways” used in artemisinin “can be used for anti­cancer (drugs), antivi­rals, antiox­i­dants.”

While using phil­an­thropic funds to bankroll a pri­vate bio­fu­el busi­ness might seem eth­i­cal­ly ques­tion­able, the sup­pos­ed­ly ben­e­fi­cial tar­get of mak­ing an anti­malar­i­al mol­e­cule may not have been so pos­i­tive either. In 2013, after many years of research by the UC Berke­ley Lab­o­ra­to­ry and Amyris, it was announced that the French phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­ny, Sanofi, would launch the pro­duc­tion of syn­thet­ic artemisinin. Com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion of the com­pound was hailed as more afford­able than nat­u­ral­ly grown artemisinin, which is farmed in coun­tries like Kenya, Tan­za­nia, Mada­gas­car, Mozam­bique, India, Viet­nam and Chi­na. How­ev­er, what was not men­tioned dur­ing all the hype around the syn­thet­ic pro­duc­tion of the com­pound was that artemisinin farm­ers in these coun­tries would lose their liveli­hoods as a result of the sale of the syn­bio ver­sion. In the hype and sup­port­ed by phil­an­thropic mon­ey, prices for artemisinin crashed and some nat­ur­al artemisinin extrac­tors were shut­tered. Even­tu­al­ly, even the syn­thet­ic prod­uct proved too expen­sive to sell.

The BMGF invest­ments’ in syn bio go fur­ther still. The Foun­da­tion invest­ed in a num­ber of oth­er syn­bio com­pa­nies includ­ing Edi­tas Med­i­cine, a genome edit­ing com­pa­ny that con­trols the CRISPR-Cas9 tech­nol­o­gy behind gene dri­ves, and Gink­go Bioworks, which cre­ates microbes for appli­ca­tion in fash­ion, med­i­cine and indus­try. Gates is also keen on the so-called “cel­lu­lar food rev­o­lu­tion” which grows food from cells in a lab. His invest­ments in the sec­tor include Mem­phis Meat, a com­pa­ny that cre­ates cell-based meat with­out ani­mals, Piv­ot Bio, which cre­ates engi­neered microbes for use in agri­cul­ture, and Impos­si­ble Foods, which makes processed meat-like burg­ers from a syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy-derived blood sub­sti­tute.

That Gates is pour­ing so much mon­ey into an indus­try that is ori­ent­ed toward shift­ing agri­cul­ture and the food sys­tems toward hi-tech approach­es is no acci­dent, giv­en how influ­en­tial the Foun­da­tion is in glob­al health and agri­cul­ture pol­i­cy gen­er­al­ly, and in pro­mot­ing indus­tri­al agri­cul­ture in the glob­al South and espe­cial­ly Africa. In the case of gene dri­ves, while most inter­na­tion­al debate has focused on their appli­ca­tion in malar­ia and con­ser­va­tion, the indus­tri­al farm is where gene dri­ves may first make their impact; the very foun­da­tion­al patents for gene dri­ves have been writ­ten with agri­cul­tur­al appli­ca­tions in mind. In 2017, a secre­tive group of mil­i­tary advi­sors known as the JASON Group pro­duced a clas­si­fied study on gene dri­ves com­mis­sioned by the US gov­ern­ment which was tasked to address “what might be real­iz­able in the next 3–10 years, espe­cial­ly with regard to agri­cul­tur­al appli­ca­tions.” The JASON Group was also informed by gene dri­ve researchers who were present dur­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion on crop sci­ence and gene dri­ves deliv­ered by some­one from Bay­er-Mon­san­to. Oth­er groups involved in gene dri­ve dis­cus­sions behind the scene include Cibus, an agri­cul­tur­al biotech firm, as well as agribusi­ness majors includ­ing Syn­gen­ta and Corte­va Agri­science. The start­up Agra­gene, whose co-founders are none oth­er than the gene dri­ve researchers Ethan Bier and Valenti­no Gantz of Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia at San Diego, “intends to alter plants and insects” using gene dri­ves. The JASON Group and oth­ers have also raised the flag that gene dri­ves have biowar­fare potential—in part explain­ing the strong inter­est of US and oth­er mil­i­taries in the tech­nol­o­gy.

Shap­ing the Nar­ra­tive Around Gene Dri­ves

Not only has the Gates Foun­da­tion fund­ed the under­ly­ing tools of the syn bio indus­try and mould­ed gene dri­ve research for years, it has also been qui­et­ly work­ing behind the scenes to influ­ence the adop­tion of these risky tech­nolo­gies. The way in which pol­i­cy and pub­lic rela­tions about gene dri­ves research has been shaped by the Foun­da­tion becomes clear when one exam­ines what hap­pened imme­di­ate­ly after the cre­ation of the first func­tion­al gene dri­ves with CRISPR Cas9 tech­nol­o­gy in late 2014.

In ear­ly 2015, the US Nation­al Acad­e­mies of Sci­ence, Engi­neer­ing and Med­i­cine announced that they would have a major inquiry into gene drives—an unprece­dent­ed move for such a brand new (only months old) tech­nol­o­gy. The study did not explore just the sci­ence of gene dri­ves, but also aimed to frame issues around pol­i­cy, ethics, risk assess­ment, gov­er­nance and pub­lic engage­ment around gene dri­ves. It was spon­sored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and The Bill & Melin­da Gates Foun­da­tion, through the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health (NIH) and the Foun­da­tion for the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health (FNIH). Sev­er­al pan­el mem­bers were recip­i­ents of Gates funds.

The Foun­da­tion has also chan­neled mon­ey into the MIT media lab, home to Kevin Esvelt, who directs a group called Sculpt­ing Evo­lu­tion and was among the first peo­ple to iden­ti­fy the poten­tial of CRISPR-based gene dri­ve to alter wild pop­u­la­tions. Last year the MIT Media Lab was embroiled in a con­tro­ver­sy when it was revealed that it had received dona­tions from the con­vict­ed sex offend­er Jef­frey Epstein. Through Epstein, the media lab secured US$2 mil­lion from Gates although it is not clear for which project.

One of the most con­tro­ver­sial find­ings which illus­trate the extent to which the Gates Foun­da­tion is invest­ed in influ­enc­ing the uptake of gene dri­ve tech­nol­o­gy was made in 2017 by civ­il soci­ety orga­ni­za­tions fol­low­ing a Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion request. That process led to the release of a trove of emails reveal­ing that a pri­vate PR firm called Emerg­ing Ag, was paid US$1.6 mil­lion by the BMGF. Part of their work involved coor­di­nat­ing the “fight back against gene dri­ve mora­to­ri­um pro­po­nents,” as well as run­ning a covert advo­ca­cy coali­tion to exert influ­ence on the Unit­ed Nations Con­ven­tion on Bio­log­i­cal Diver­si­ty (CBD), the key body for gene dri­ve gov­er­nance. After calls in 2016 for a glob­al mora­to­ri­um on the use of gene dri­ve tech­nol­o­gy, the CBD sought input from sci­en­tists and experts in an online forum. Emerg­ing Ag recruit­ed and coor­di­nat­ed over 65 experts, includ­ing a Gates Foun­da­tion senior offi­cial, a DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) offi­cial, and gov­ern­ment and uni­ver­si­ty sci­en­tists, in an attempt to flood the offi­cial UN process with their coor­di­nat­ed inputs.

Emerg­ing Ag now man­ages an overt advo­ca­cy net­work also fund­ed by the BMGF called the Out­reach Net­work for Gene Dri­ve Research whose stat­ed inten­tion is to “raise aware­ness of the val­ue of gene dri­ve research for the pub­lic good.” Its mem­bers include researchers and orga­ni­za­tions that work on gene dri­ve research, stake­hold­er engage­ment, out­reach and even fun­ders. Almost all of its mem­bers are sep­a­rate­ly fund­ed by the Gates Foun­da­tion. In 2020, Emerg­ing Ag received anoth­er grant from the Foun­da­tion for $2,509,762. . . .

 

 

 

 

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