Unhealthy Landscapes: Policy Recommendations on Land Use Change and Infectious Disease Emergence

Unhealthy Landscapes: Policy Recommendations on Land Use Change and Infectious Disease Emergence

The could possibly be the rabbit hole from Hell… Some of it seems like it could make sense but that’s how the work. I wonder what one would find if they dug deep – real deep and followed the money Trail on this subject???

Anthropogenic land use changes drive a range of infectious disease outbreaks and emergence events and modify the transmission of endemic infections. These drivers include agricultural encroachment, deforestation, road construction, dam building, irrigation, wetland modification, mining, the concentration or expansion of urban environments, coastal zone degradation, and other activities. These changes in turn cause a cascade of factors that exacerbate infectious disease emergence, such as forest fragmentation, disease introduction, pollution, poverty, and human migration. The Working Group on Land Use Change and Disease Emergence grew out of a special colloquium that convened international experts in infectious diseases, ecology, and environmental health to assess the current state of knowledge and to develop recommendations for addressing these environmental health challenges.

The group established a systems model approach and priority lists of infectious diseases affected by ecologic degradation. Policy-relevant levels of the model include:

specific health risk factors, landscape or habitat change, and institutional (economic and behavioral) levels.

The group recommended creating Centers of Excellence in Ecology and Health Research and Training, based at regional universities and/or research institutes with close links to the surrounding communities.

The centers’ objectives would be 3-fold:

a) to provide information to local communities about the links between environmental change and public health;

b) to facilitate fully interdisciplinary research from a variety of natural, social, and health sciences and train professionals who can conduct interdisciplinary research; and

c) to engage in science-based communication and assessment for policy making toward sustainable health and ecosystems.

Human-induced land use changes are the primary drivers of a range of infectious disease outbreaks and emergence events and also modifiers of the transmission of endemic infections (Patz et al. 2000).

These land use changes include:

  • deforestation
  • road construction
  • agricultural encroachment
  • dam building
  • irrigation
  • coastal zone degradation
  • wetland modification
  • mining
  • the concentration or expansion of urban environments
  • and other activities.

These changes in turn cause a cascade of factors that exacerbate infectious disease emergence, such as forest fragmentation, pathogen introduction, pollution, poverty, and human migration. These are important and complex issues that are understood only for a few diseases. For example, recent research has shown that forest fragmentation, urban sprawl, and biodiversity loss are linked to increased risk for Lyme disease in the northeastern United States (Schmidt and Ostfeld 2001). Expansion and changes in agricultural practices are intimately associated with the emergence of Nipah virus in Malaysia (Chua et al. 1999; Lam and Chua 2002), cryptosporidiosis in Europe and North America, and a range of food-borne illnesses globally (Rose et al. 2001). Road building is linked to the expansion of bushmeat consumption that may have played a key role in the early emergence of human immunodeficiency virus types 1 and 2 (Wolfe et al. 2000), and simian foamy virus has been found in bushmeat hunters (Wolfe et al. 2004).

In recognition of the complexity of land use change and the risks and benefits to human health that it entails, a special colloquium titled “Unhealthy Landscapes: How Land Use Change Affects Health” was convened at the 2002 biennial meeting of the International Society for Ecosystem Health (6–11 June 2002, Washington, DC) to address this issue. The invited experts worked to establish consensus on the current state of science and identify key knowledge gaps underlying this issue. This article condenses the working group’s report and presents a new research and policy agenda for understanding land use change and its effects on human health. Specifically, we discuss land-use drivers or human activities that exacerbate infectious diseases; the land–water interface, common to many infectious disease life cycles; and conclusions and recommendations for research and training from the working group.

Land-Use Drivers of Infectious Disease Emergence

The emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) resulting from land use change can be entirely new to a specific location or host species. This may occur either from “spillover” or cross-species transmission or simply by extension of geographic range into new or changed habitats. More than 75% of human diseases are zoonotic and have a link to wildlife and domestic animals (Taylor et al. 2001).

The working group developed an extensive list of processes by which land use affects human health (specifically, infectious disease occurrence) and of other factors that contribute to this relationship: agricultural development, urbanization, deforestation, population movement, increasing population, introduction of novel species/pathogens, water and air pollution, biodiversity loss, habit fragmentation, road building, macro and micro climate changes, hydrological alteration, decline in public health infrastructure, animal-intensive systems, eutrophication, military conflict, monocropping, and erosion (ranked from highest to lowest public health impact by meeting participants). The four mechanisms that were felt to have the greatest impact on public health were changes to the physical environment; movement of populations, pathogens, and trade; agriculture; and urbanization. War and civil unrest were also mentioned as a potentially acute and cross-cutting driver. Infectious disease agents with the strongest documented or suspected links to land use change are listed in Table 1.

Changes to the biophysical environment.

Deforestation.

Rates of deforestation have grown exponentially since the beginning of the 20th century. Driven by rapidly increasing human population numbers, large swaths of species-rich tropical and temperate forests, as well as prairies, grasslands, and wetlands, have been converted to species-poor agricultural and ranching areas. The global rate of tropical deforestation continues at staggering levels, with nearly 2–3% of forests lost globally each year. Parallel with this habitat destruction is an exponential growth in human–wildlife interaction and conflict. This has resulted in exposure to new pathogens for humans, livestock, and wildlife (Wolfe et al. 2000). Deforestation and the processes that lead to it have many consequences for ecosystems. Deforestation decreases the overall habitat available for wildlife species. It also modifies the structure of environments, for example, by fragmenting habitats into smaller patches separated by agricultural activities or human populations. Increased “edge effect” (from a patchwork of varied land uses) can further promote interaction among pathogens, vectors, and hosts. This edge effect has been well documented for Lyme disease (Glass et al. 1995). Similarly, increased activity in forest habitats (through behavior or occupation) appears to be a major risk factor for leishmaniasis (Weigle et al. 1993). Evidence is mounting that deforestation and ecosystem changes have implications for the distribution of many other microorganisms and the health of human, domestic animal, and wildlife populations.

One example of the effects of land use on human health is particularly noteworthy. Deforestation, with subsequent changes in land use and human settlement patterns, has coincided with an upsurge of malaria and/or its vectors in Africa (Coluzzi 1984, 1994; Coluzzi et al. 1979), in Asia (Bunnag et al. 1979), and in Latin America (Tadei et al. 1998). When tropical forests are cleared for human activities, they are typically converted into agricultural or grazing lands. This process is usually exacerbated by construction of roads, causing erosion and allowing previously inaccessible areas to become colonized by people (Kalliola and Flores Paitán 1998). Cleared lands and culverts that collect rainwater are in some areas far more suitable for larvae of malaria-transmitting anopheline mosquitoes than are intact forests (Charlwood and Alecrim 1989; Jones 1951; Marques 1987).

Another example of the effects of land use on human health involves deforestation and noninfectious disease: the contamination of rivers with mercury. Soil erosion after deforestation adds significant mercury loads, which are found naturally in rainforest soils, to rivers. This has led to fish in the Amazon becoming hazardous to eat (Fostier et al. 2000; Veiga et al. 1994).

Habitat fragmentation.

This alters the composition of host species in an environment and can change the fundamental ecology of microorganisms. Because of the nature of food webs within ecosystems, organisms at higher trophic levels exist at a lower population density and are often quite sensitive to changes in food availability. The smaller patches left after fragmentation often do not have sufficient prey for top predators, resulting in local extinction of predator species and a subsequent increase in the density of their prey species. Logging and road building in Latin America have increased the incidence of cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis (Desjeux 2001), which in some areas has resulted from an increase in the number of fox reservoirs and sandfly vectors that have adapted to the peridomestic environment (Patz et al. 2000). Foxes, however, are not very important reservoirs for leishmaniasis in Latin America (Courtenay et al. 2002), and a more important factor in the transmission cycle includes domestic dogs.

Ostfeld and Keesing (2000) have demonstrated that smaller fragments in North American forests have fewer small mammal predators. Results suggest that the probability that a tick will become infected depends on not only the density of white-footed mice but also the density of mice relative to that of other hosts in the community. Under this scenario, the density effect of white-footed mice, which are efficient reservoirs for Lyme disease, can be “diluted” by an increasing density of alternative hosts, which are less efficient at transmitting Lyme disease. These results suggest that increasing host diversity (species richness) may decrease the risk of disease through a “dilution effect” (Schmidt and Ostfeld 2001).

Extractive industries.

Gold mining is an extractive industry that damages local and regional environments and has adverse human health effects, because mercury is used to extract gold from riverbeds in the tropical forests. Not only does mercury accumulate in local fish populations, making them toxic to eat (Lebel et al. 1996, 1998), but mercury also suppresses the human immune system. Also, in gold-mining areas, more mosquito-breeding sites and increased malaria risk result from digging gem pits in the forest and from craters resulting from logging; broader disease spread occurs as populations disperse throughout the region (Silbergeld et al. 2002).

Movement of populations, pathogens, and trade.

The movement of humans, domestic animals, wildlife populations, and agricultural products through travel, trade, and translocations is a driver of infectious disease emergence globally. These sometimes inadvertent, sometimes deliberate movements of infectious disease and vectors (e.g., the introduction of smallpox and measles to the Americas by Spanish conquistadors) will continue to rise via continually expanding global travel and by development of Third World populations. Human introduction of pathogens, hosts, or materials into new areas has been termed “pathogen pollution” (Daszak et al. 2000).

Land use changes drive some of these introductions and migrations and also increase the vulnerability of habitats and populations to these introductions. Human migrations also drive land use changes that in turn drive infectious disease emergence. For example, in China’s Yunnan Province, an increase in livestock populations and migration has led to an increase in the incidence of schistosomiasis (Jiang et al. 1997). In Malaysia, a combination of deforestation, drought, and wildfires has led to alterations in the population movements and densities of flying foxes, large fruit bats known to be the reservoir for the newly emergent zoonosis Nipah virus (Chua et al. 1999). It is believed that the increased opportunity for contact between infected bats and pigs produced the outbreak of the disease in pigs, which then was transmitted to people in contact with infected pigs (Aziz et al. 2002).

Another example of human-induced animal movement on a much larger scale is the international pet trade. This movement of animals involves many countries and allows for the introduction of novel pathogens, such as monkeypox, with the potential to damage ecosystems and threaten human and animal health. Monkeypox was originally associated with bushmeat hunting of red colobus monkeys (Procolobus badius); after a localized epidemic emerged in humans, monkeypox persisted for four generations via human-to-human contact (Jezek et al. 1986).

Human movement also has significant implications for public health. Not only are travelers (tourists, businesspeople, and other workers) at risk of contracting communicable diseases when visiting tropical countries, but they also can act as vectors for delivering infectious diseases to another region or, in the case of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), potentially around the world. Refugees account for a significant number of human migrants, carrying diseases such as hepatitis B and tuberculosis and various parasites (Loutan et al. 1997). Because of their status, refugees become impoverished and are more exposed to a wide range of health risks. This is caused by the disruption of basic health services, inadequate food and medical care, and lack of clean water and sanitation (Toole and Waldman 1997). People who cross international boundaries, such as travelers, immigrants, and refugees, may be at increased risk of contracting infectious diseases, especially those who have no immunity because the disease agents are uncommon in their native countries. Immigrants may come from nations where diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria are endemic, and refugees may come from situations where crowding and malnutrition create ideal conditions for the spread of diseases such as cholera, shigellosis, malaria, and measles [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 1998].

Zoonoses.

The importance of zoonotic diseases should be emphasized. Zoonotic pathogens are the most significant cause of EIDs affecting humans, both in the proportion of EIDs that they cause and in the impact that they have. Some 1,415 species of infectious organisms are known to be pathogenic to people, with 61% of them being zoonotic. Of the emerging pathogens, 75% are zoonotic, and zoonotic pathogens are twice as likely to be associated with emerging diseases than are nonzoonotic pathogens (Taylor et al. 2001). More important, zoonotic pathogens cause a series of EIDs with high case fatality rates and no reliable cure, vaccine, or therapy (e.g., Ebola virus disease, Nipah virus disease, and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome). Zoonotic pathogens also cause diseases that have some of the highest incidence rates globally [e.g., acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)]. AIDS is a special case, because it is caused by a pathogen that jumped host from nonhuman primates and then evolved into a new virus. Thus, it is in origin a zoonotic organism (Hahn et al. 2000).

Because of the important role of zoonoses in current public health threats, wildlife and domestic animals play a key role in the process by providing a “zoonotic pool” from which previously unknown pathogens may emerge (Daszak et al. 2001). The influenza virus is an example, causing pandemics in humans after periodic exchange of genes among the viruses of wild and domestic birds, pigs, and humans. Fruit bats are involved in a high-profile group of EIDs that includes rabies and other lyssaviruses, Hendra virus and Menangle virus (Australia), and Nipah virus (Malaysia and Singapore), which has implications for further zoonotic disease emergence. A number of species are endemic to both remote oceanic islands and more populous suburban and rural human settlements; these may harbor enzootic and potentially zoonotic pathogens with an unknown potential for spillover (Daszak et al. 2000).

Thus, some of the current major infectious threats to human health are EIDs and reemerging infectious diseases, with a particular emphasis on zoonotic pathogens transferring hosts from wildlife and domestic animals. A common, defining theme for most EIDs (of humans, wildlife, domestic animals, and plants) is that they are driven to emerge by anthropogenic changes to the environment. Because threats to wildlife habitat are so extensive and pervading, many of the currently important human EIDs (e.g., AIDS, Nipah virus disease) are driven partly by human-induced changes to wildlife habitat such as encroachment and deforestation. This is essentially a process of natural selection in which anthropogenic environmental changes perturb the host–parasite dynamic equilibrium, leading to the expansion of those strains suited to the new environmental conditions and facilitating expansion of others into new host species (Daszak et al. 2001).

Agriculture.

Crop irrigation and breeding sites.

Agriculture occupies about half of the world’s land and uses more than two-thirds of the world’s fresh water (Horrigan et al. 2002). Agricultural development in many parts of the world has increased the need for crop irrigation, which reduces water availability for other uses and increases breeding sites for disease vectors. An increase in soil moisture associated with irrigation development in the southern Nile Delta after the construction of the Aswan High Dam has caused a rapid rise in the mosquito Culex pipiens and consequential increase in the arthropod-borne disease Bancroftian filariasis (Harb et al. 1993; Thompson et al. 1996). Onchocerciasis and trypanosomiasis are further examples of vector-borne parasitic diseases that may be triggered by changing land-use and water management patterns. In addition, large-scale use of pesticides has had deleterious effects on farm workers, including hormone disruption and immune suppression (Straube et al. 1999).

Food-borne diseases.

Once agricultural development has expanded and produced food sufficient to meet local need, the food products are exported to other nations, where they can pose a risk to human health. The increase in imported foods has resulted in a rise in food-borne illness in the United States. Strawberries from Mexico, raspberries from Guatemala, carrots from Peru, and coconut milk from Thailand have caused recent outbreaks. Food safety is an important factor in human health, because food-borne disease accounts for an estimated 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,200 deaths in the United States each year (CDC 2003). Other dangers include antibiotic-resistant organisms, such as Cyclospora, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and other pathogenic E. coli strains associated with hemolytic uremic syndrome in children (Dols et al. 2001).

Secondary effects.

Agricultural secondary effects need to be minimized, such as the emerging microbial resistance from antibiotics in animal waste that is included in farm runoff and the introduction of microdams for irrigation in Ethiopia that resulted in a 7-fold increase in malaria (Ghebreyesus et al. 1999).

Urbanization.

On a global basis, the proportion of people living in urban centers will increase to an unprecedented 65% by the year 2030 (Population Reference Bureau 1998). The 2000 census shows that 80% of the U.S. population now lives in metropolitan areas, with 30% living in cities of 5 million or more. The environmental issues posed by such large population centers have profound impacts on public health beyond the city limits (Knowlton 2001).

Alterations of ecosystems and natural resources contribute to the emergence and spread of infectious disease agents. Human encroachment of wildlife habitat has broadened the interface between wildlife and humans, increasing opportunities for both the emergence of novel infectious diseases in wildlife and their transmission to people. Rabies is an example of a zoonotic disease carried by animals that has become habituated to urban environments. Bats colonize buildings, skunks and raccoons scavenge human refuse, and in many countries feral dogs in the streets are common and the major source of human infection (Singh et al. 2001).

Infectious diseases can also pass from people to wildlife. Nonhuman primates have acquired measles from ecotourists (Wallis and Lee 1999). Also, drug resistance in gram-negative enteric bacteria of wild baboons living with limited human contact is significantly less common than in baboons living with human contact near urban or semiurban human settlements (Rolland et al. 1985).

The Land–Water Interface

Another major driver of infectious disease emergence results from the land–water interface. Land use changes often involve water projects or coastal marine systems in which nutrients from agricultural runoff can cause algal blooms.

Currently the seventh Cholera pandemic is spreading across Asia, Africa, and South America. In 1992, a new serogroup (Vibrio cholerae O139) appeared and has been responsible for epidemics in Asia (Colwell 1996). The seasonality of cholera epidemics may be linked to the seasonality of plankton (algal blooms) and the marine food chain. Studies using remote-sensing data of chlorophyll-containing phytoplankton have shown a correlation between cholera cases and sea surface temperatures in the Bay of Bengal. Interannual variability in cholera incidence in Bangladesh is also linked to the El Niño southern oscillation and regional temperature anomalies (Lobitz et al. 2000), and cholera prevalence has been associated with progressively stronger El Niño events spanning a 70-year period (Rodo et al. 2002). This observation on cholera incidence may represent an early health indicator of global climate change (Patz 2002).

Infectious diseases in marine mammals and sea turtles could serve as sentinels for human disease risk. Sea turtles worldwide are affected by fibropapillomatosis, a disease probably caused by one or several viruses and characterized by multiple epithelial tumors. Field studies support the observation that prevalence of this disease is associated with heavily polluted coastal areas, areas of high human density, agricultural runoff, and/or biotoxin-producing algae (Aguirre and Lutz, in press). This represents the breakdown of the land–water interface, to the point that several pathogens typical of terrestrial ecosystems have become established in the oceans. Toxoplasmosis in the endangered sea otter (Enhydra lutris) represents an example of pathogen pollution. Massive mortalities in pinnipeds and cetaceans reaching epidemics of tens of thousands are caused by four morbilliviruses evolving from the canine distemper virus (Aguirre et al. 2002). Additionally, overfishing has myriad ramifications for marine ecosystems and sustainable protein food sources for human populations.

Cryptosporidium, a protozoan that completes its life cycle within the intestine of mammals, sheds high numbers of infectious oocysts that are dispersed in feces. A recent study found that 13% of finished treated water still contained Cryptosporidium oocysts, indicating some passage of microorganisms from source to treated drinking water (LeChevallier and Norton 1995). The protozoan is highly prevalent in ruminants and is readily transmitted to humans. Thus, management of livestock contamination of watersheds is an important public health issue.

One example of how overexploitation of a natural water resource led to infectious disease is that of Lake Malawi in Africa. Overfishing in the lake reduced the population of snail-eating fish to such a level that snail populations erupted. Subsequently, schistosomiasis incidence and prevalence markedly rose after this ecologic imbalance (Madsen et al. 2001).

Recommendations from the Working Group

Conceptual model: bringing land use into public health policy.

The recommendations stemming from the international colloquium are highly relevant to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA), a broad multiagency/foundation-sponsored scientific assessment of degraded ecosystem effects on human well-being. A conceptual framework of the MEA already provides an approach to optimize the contribution of ecosystems to human health (MEA 2003). This framework offers a mechanism to a) identify options that can better achieve human development and sustainable goals, b) better understand the trade-offs involved in environment-related decisions, and c) align response options at all scales, from the local to the global, where they can be most effective. This conceptual framework focuses on human well-being while also recognizing associated intrinsic values. Similar to the MEA, focus is particularly on the linkages between ecosystem services and human health. Workshop participants developed a conceptual model (Figure 1). Like the MEA, it assumes a dynamic interaction between humans and ecosystems that warrants a multiscale assessment (spatial and temporal).

By using this framework, policy makers may approach development and health at various levels. These levels include specific health risk factors, landscape or habitat change, and institutional (economic and behavioral) levels. For sound health policy, we must shift away from dealing primarily with specific risk factors and look “upstream” to underlying land-use determinants of infectious disease and ultimately the human behavior and established institutions that are detrimental to sustainable population health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a similar DPSEEA (driving forces, pressures, state, exposure, effect, actions) model that in a similar way describes the interlinkage between human health and different driving forces and environmental change (WHO 1997).

As such understanding increases, it will become more feasible to plan how to prevent new infectious disease emergence. Yet, because these are rare events, accurate predictions will remain daunting. It is already evident that inserting humans into complex ecosystems can lead to a variety of EIDs, but health outcomes depend on the economic circumstances of the human population. In poor and tropical communities, land use change can lead to major shifts in infectious disease patterns. For these situations, many conventional public health interventions can prevent several infectious diseases at relatively low cost. In rich and temperate-climate communities, the infectious disease shifts tend to be more disease specific, for example, in the case of Lyme disease and habitat fragmentation.

Research on deforestation and infectious disease.

Considering the deforestation that usually accompanies agricultural development, new conservation-oriented agriculture should be pursued. As discussed above, water project development and modern livestock management present major health disease risks. However, often the secondary unintended consequences can also wreak havoc; for example, a leaking dam may present greater risks than the reservoir itself. A distressingly large number of development projects not only have adverse effects on human health but also fail to attain their primary economic purposes in a sustainable manner.

Habitat fragmentation, whether caused by forest destruction, desertification, or land-use conversion, affects human and wildlife health and ecosystem processes. There is already much research undertaken by landscape ecologists on the consequences of habitat fragmentation for wildlife, especially larger animals. It would be important to study the effects of landscape fragmentation on public health hazards. Such research could entail three components. The first component consists of gathering baseline data, including using historical data where possible and beginning monitoring programs where necessary. Key data include identifying and quantifying the relevant pathogen load of wildlife, livestock, and human communities in fragmented landscapes. The goals of this data collection are, first, to identify key infectious diseases, both chronic and emergent or reemergent and, second, to document the consequences of fragmentation on relative abundance of wildlife and subsequent pathogen load. For example, the loss of large predators in fragmented habitats in the northeastern United States has led to a superabundance of rodent vectors for Lyme disease.

The second component of the research program would involve health impact modeling, primarily in three areas: a) estimating changes in the relative abundance of organisms, including infectious disease vectors, pathogens, and hosts; b) projecting potential vector or transmission shifts (e.g., should the Nipah virus shift to pulmonary as well as neurologic expression in humans as in swine); and c) projecting the impact of infectious diseases in a region on different geographic scales.

The results of these analyses, if successful, could support the third component of research: development of decision-support tools. Improved decisions on land-use policy could be made from a better understanding of costs and benefits to health and environmental decision makers. In all probability, however, they will be very location specific. For example, to construct an irrigation scheme in India would likely invite a malaria epidemic, whereas the same activity in sub-Saharan Africa may have little effect on malaria transmission. It is worth mentioning that costs and benefits could depend on the time course over which they are assessed. For example, some land-use changes can lead to short-term increases in transmission followed by longer-term decreases (e.g., irrigation and malaria in Sri Lanka) or vice versa (e.g., deforestation and cutaneous leishmaniasis in Latin America).

Policies to reduce microbial traffic/pathogen pollution.

In today’s interconnected world, it becomes very important to invest in the worldwide control of infectious diseases in developing countries, for example. It is also necessary to control transport to stem the flow from one place to the next.

Improved monitoring of trade is warranted in order to target infectious disease introductions. In the attempt to prevent the invasion of a pathogen (and drug-resistant organisms) into the vulnerable areas subject to land use changes, we need to pay greater attention to controls at the sources. We need to document and map these trades and investigate the vectors, the infectious diseases they harbor, and the populations they threaten. Risk assessment should guide surveillance and the development of test kits, targeting point-of-origin intervention to preempt these processes. Assessments must further include nonmarket costs (usually to the detriment of the environment and long-term sustainable health). We should communicate to both the exporters and consumers the need to make their trades clean, economically viable, and certified “clean and green” by an independent scientific agency at the source and/or destination. Additionally, strategies for screening travelers for pathogens that may be introduced to a region should be improved.

Centers of Excellence in Ecology and Health Research and Training.

One approach to developing the issues to which this article draws attention is the creation of a system of regional- or subregional-based interdisciplinary Centers of Excellence in Ecology and Health Research and Training. Based at regional universities and/or research institutes but with very close links to the surrounding communities, these centers would have the following objectives:

  • Providing information based on good science to local communities about the links between environmental change and public health, including the factors that contribute to specific infectious disease outbreaks. The new research agenda must gather information on household and community perspectives about proposals for the use of their land. These perspectives are key to assessing the cost/benefit of a proposed project. Training local professionals in environmental, agricultural, and health science issues, with a particular focus on granting degrees in a new “trans”-discipline linking health and the environment, would be emphasized.
  • Acting as centers of integrated analysis of infectious disease emergence, incorporating perspectives and expertise from a variety of natural, social, and health sciences. Research activities would range from taxonomy of pathogens and vectors to identifying best practices for influencing changes in human behavior to reduce ecosystem and health risks.
  • Incorporating a “health impact assessment” as an important cross-sectorial decision-making tool in overall development planning (parallel to an environmental impact assessment), along with the need for doing more research.
  • Equipping professionals with the ability to recommend policy toward maintaining ecosystem function and promoting sustainable public health for future generations. For example, the link between forest fragmentation and Lyme disease risk could lead to preserving more intact tracts of forest habitat by planning “cluster” housing schemes.
Implementing research and policy programs.

In selecting areas for research and the placement of centers of excellence, it is important to choose geographically representative, highly diverse areas around the world. In addition, research projects should take place in regions or landscapes that have both well characterized and less characterized patterns of infectious disease emergence or transmission for comparison purposes. Local health and environment professionals, who are in the best position to understand local priorities, should make the choices within each region for initial research areas and sites.

Addressing trade-offs among environment, health, and development.

There are some inherent trade-offs when considering land-use change and health. They are ethical values, environmental versus health choices, and disparities in knowledge and economic class. Trade-offs are between short-term benefit and long-term damage. For example, draining swamps may reduce vector-borne disease hazards but also destroy the wetland ecosystem and its inherent services (e.g., water storage, water filtration, biologic productivity, and habitats for fish and wildlife). Research can help decision making by identifying and assessing trade-offs in different land-use-change scenarios. Balancing the diverse needs of people, livestock, wildlife, and the ecosystem will always be a prominent feature.

Conclusions

When considering issues of land use and infectious disease emergence, the public needs to be attentive to entire ecosystems rather than simply their local environs. Although we may not live within a certain environment, its health may indirectly affect our own. For example, intact forests support complex ecosystems and provide essential habitats for species that are specialized to those flora and that may be relevant to our health. If these complex relationships are disrupted, there may be unforeseen impacts on human health, as the above examples clearly demonstrate.

Encouraging initiatives.

Three new initiatives are rising to the challenges presented above. The first initiative, the Consortium for Conservation Medicine (CCM), was formed recently to address these health challenges at the interface of ecology, wildlife health, and public health (Figure 2). At its core, conservation medicine champions the integration of techniques and partnering of scientists from diverse disciplines, particularly veterinary medicine, conservation biology, and public health. Through the consortium, therefore, these experts work with educators, policy makers, and conservation program managers to devise approaches that improve the health of both species and humans simultaneously [more information is available from the CCM website (CCM 2004)].

The second initiative, the new international journal EcoHealth, focuses on the integration of knowledge at the intersection of ecologic and health sciences. The journal provides a gathering place for research and reviews that integrate the diverse knowledge of ecology, health, and sustainability, whether scientific, medical, local, or traditional. The journal will encourage development and innovation in methods and practice that link ecology and health, and it will ensure clear and concise presentation to facilitate practical and policy application [more information is available from the EcoHealth website (EcoHealth 2004)].

The third initiative, the MEA, is an international work program designed to meet the needs of decision makers and the public for scientific information concerning the consequences of ecosystem change for human health and well-being and for options in responding to those changes. This assessment was launched by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in June 2001 and will help to meet the assessment needs of international environmental forums, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention to Combat Desertification, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and the Convention on Migratory Species, as well as the needs of other users in the private sector and civil society [more information is available from the Millennium Assessment Working Groups website (Millennium Assessment Working Groups 2004)].

Challenges ahead.

As this working group of researchers continues to work on these topics, we face three challenges. First, strong trans-disciplinary research partnerships need to be forged to approach the research with the degree of creative thinking and comprehensiveness required by the nature of the problems. Second, if the work is to influence policy, the choice of questions and the research must be undertaken collaboratively with the local community and also through discussion with decision makers in government, industry, civil society, and other sectors. Third, investigators must consider how they can integrate their findings into the social, economic, and political dialogue on both the environment and health, globally and locally. As links between land use and health are elucidated, an informed public will more readily use such discoveries to better generate political will for effective change.

Figures and Tables

Figure 1 A systems model of land use change that affects public health. This model shows relationships between drivers of land use change and subsequent levels of environmental change and health consequences. Various levels of investigation and intervention are evident and range from specific risks factors and determinants of population vulnerability to larger institutional and economic activity.
Figure 2 The main elements converging under the Consortium for Conservation Medicine. Conservation medicine combines conservation biology, wildlife veterinary medicine, and public health. Adapted from Tabor (2002).

Table 1

SOURCE :

https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/full/10.1289/ehp.6877

CDC reports fewer COVID-19 pediatric deaths after data correction

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 966,575 deaths from COVID-19 on Friday after it corrected the data earlier this week, which reduced the death tallies in all age-groups, including children.

The health agency, in a statement to Reuters, said it made adjustments to its COVID Data Tracker’s mortality data on March 14 because its algorithm was accidentally counting deaths that were not COVID-19-related.

The adjustment resulted in removal of 72,277 deaths previously reported across 26 states, including 416 pediatric deaths, CDC said.

The reduction cut the CDC’s estimate of deaths in children by 24% to 1,341 as of March 18.
— Read on news.yahoo.com/cdc-reports-fewer-covid-19-204027980.html

WHO ARE THE DIRECTORS OF THE SHOW?

The world seems be lost in a never ending state of chaos and confusion. Division is becoming the end goal. Usually that nonsense calms down after presidential elections but it hasn’t. It has been snowballing since Trump ran for office! I knew politicians weren’t going to agree with him necessarily but for Pete’s sake! ENOUGH is enough.

The ongoing demand for control has to stem from something much deeper or someone that is directing the show from behind the red velvet curtain. Things are so out of hand, that they have forgotten who they are. FREE PEOPLE! FREE AMERICANS! FREEDOM US WHAT THIS COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED ON! WE ARE NOT A SOCIALIST COUNTY? So what is going on?

The Great Reset

Let’s look at The Great Reset that we all keep hearing about. Here’s a little bit of information on this new agenda that is not actually very new at all come to find out.

The Great Reset is the name of the 50th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), held in June 2020. It brought together high-profile business and political leaders, convened by Charles, Prince of Wales and the WEF, with the theme of rebuilding society and the economy following the COVID-19 pandemic.

WEF chief executive officer Klaus Schwab described three core components of the Great Reset:

International Monetary Fund director Kristalina Georgieva listed three key aspects of the sustainable response: green growth, smarter growth, and fairer growth.

1. the first involves creating conditions for a “stakeholder economy”;

2. the second component includes building in a more “resilient, equitable, and sustainable” way—based on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics which would incorporate more green public infrastructure projects;

3. the third component is to “harness the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution” for public good. In her keynote speech opening the dialogues,

The launch of The Great Reset

At the launch event for the Great Reset, Prince Charles listed key areas for action, similar to those listed in his Sustainable Markets Initiative, introduced in January 2020.

In June 2020, the theme of the January 2021 50th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting was announced as “The Great Reset”, connecting both in-person and online global leaders in Davos, Switzerland with a multi-stakeholder network in 400 cities around the world. The Great Reset was also to be the main theme of the WEF’s summit in Lucerne in May 2021, which was postponed to 2022.

The World Economic Forum generally suggests that a globalised world is best managed by a self-selected coalition of multinational corporations, governments and civil society organizations (CSOs). It sees periods of global instability – such as the financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic – as windows of opportunity to intensify its programmatic efforts. Some critics hence see the Great Reset as a continuation of the World Economic Forum’s strategy of focusing on connotated activist topics such as environmental protection and to disguise the organization’s true plutocratic goalssocial entrepreneurship

By mid-April 2020, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the COVID-19 recession, the 2020 Russia–Saudi Arabia oil price war and the resulting “collapse in oil prices”, the former Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, described possible fundamental changes in an article in The Economist. Carney said that in a post-COVID world “stakeholder capitalism” will be tested as “companies will be judged by ‘what they did during the war,’ how they treated their employees, suppliers and customers, by who shared and who hoarded.” The “gulf between what markets value and what people value” will close.

In a post-COVID world, it is reasonable to expect that more people will want improvements in risk management, in social and medical safety nets, and will want more attention paid to scientific experts. This new hierarchy of values will call for a reset on the way we deal with climate change, which, like the pandemic, is a global phenomenon. No one can “self-isolate” from climate change so we all need to “act in advance and in solidarity”. In his 2020 BBC Reith Lectures, Carney developed his theme of value hierarchies as related to three crises—credit, COVID and climate.

According to a May 15, 2020 WEF article, COVID-19 offers an opportunity to “reset and reshape” the world in a way that is more aligned with the United Nations 2030

In June 2020, Klaus Schwab, who founded the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 1971 and is currently its CEO, described the three core components of the Great Reset.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), as climate change, inequality and poverty gained even greater urgency during the pandemic.

This includes resetting labour markets, as more people work remotely speeding up the process of the “future of work”. The reset will advance work already begun to prepare for the transition to the Fourth Industrial Revolution by upskilling and reskilling workers. Another post-COVID concern raised by the WEF is food security including the “risk of disruptions to food supply chains”, and the need forglobal policy coordination” to preventfood protectionism from becoming the post-pandemic new normal.”.

In her June 3, 2020 keynote address opening the Great Reset forum, a joint initiative of the WEC and the Prince of Wales, Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that there has been a “massive injection of fiscal stimulus to help countries deal with this crisis” and that it was of “paramount importance that this growth should lead to a greener, smarter, fairer world in the future”.

Georgieva listed three aspects of the Great Reset; green growth, smarter growth and fairer growth. Government investments and government incentives for private investors could “support low-carbon and climate-resilient growth” such as “planting mangroves, land restoration, reforestation or insulating buildings.” With low oil prices, the timing was right to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and introduce carbon pricing to incentivize future investments. READ THAT AGAIN… INCENTIVE FOR FUTURE INVESTMENTS.

Are you getting the picture yet?

The COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity to shape an economic recovery and the future direction of global relations, economies and priorities.

In one of the Great Reset Dialogues, John Kerry and other members of a WEF dialogue discussed how to rebuild the “social contract” in a post-COVID world.

According to Prince Charles, the economic recovery must put the world on a path to sustainability, which would include carbon pricing. Prince Charles emphasized that the private sector would be the main drivers of the plan. The market should adapt to the current reality by aiming for fairer results, ensuring that investments are aimed at mutual progress including accelerating ecologically friendly investments, and to start a fourth industrial revolution, creating digital economic and public infrastructure. According to Klaus Schwab, they would not change the economic system, but rather improve it to what he considers to be “responsible capitalism”. HA!

Klaus SchwabGerman economist, founder of World Economic Forum

The Short Scoop on Klaus Martin Schwab

Schwab was born on 30 March 1938 and is a German engineer and economist best known as the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.

During the earlier years of his career, he served on a number of company boards, such as The Swatch Group, The Daily Mail Group, and Vontobel Holding. He is a former member of the steering committee of the Bilderberg Group

The Swiss radio and television corporation SRF mentioned the salary level of Klaus in the context of ongoing public contributions to the WEF and the fact that the Forum does not pay any federal taxes. Moreover, the former Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung journalist Jürgen Dunsch made the criticism that the WEF’s financial reports were not very transparent since neither income nor expenditure were broken down. I’m certain there are very good reasons for concerns about how he maintained his wealth over the years but that’s another dig for another day.

The Bilderberg Group Meetings are secret and by invitation only

The Bilderberg meeting (also known as the Bilderberg Group) is an annual conference established in 1954 to foster dialogue between Europe and North America. The group’s agenda, originally to prevent another world war, is now defined as bolstering a consensus around free market Western capitalism and its interests around the globe.

The conference was initiated by several people, including Polish politician-in-exile Józef Retinger who, concerned about the growth of anti-Americanism in Western Europe, proposed an international conference at which leaders from European countries and the United States would be brought together with the aim of promoting Atlanticismbetter understanding between the cultures of the United States and Western Europe to foster cooperation on political, economic, and defense issues.

Participants include political leaders, experts from industry, finance, academia, and the media, numbering between 120 and 150. Attendees are entitled to use information gained at meetings, but not attribute it to a named speaker. This is to encourage candid debate, while maintaining privacy – a provision that has fed conspiracy theories from both the left and right.

In 2002 in Them: Adventures with Extremists, author Jon Ronson wrote that the group has a small central office in Holland [sic] which each year decides what country will host the forthcoming meeting. The host country then has to book an entire hotel for four days, plus arrange catering, transport and security. To fund this, the host solicits donations from sympathetic corporations such as Barclays, Fiat Automobiles, GlaxoSmithKline, Heinz, Nokia and Xerox.

List of the Bilderberg Group Meetings Participants from the United States

Senators

Governors

Concerns about lobbying have arisen.

Ian Richardson sees Bilderberg as the transnational power elite, an integral, and to some extent critical, part of the existing system of global governance”, that is “not acting in the interests of the whole”. An article in The Guardian in June 2017 criticized the world view expressed in an agenda published by the Bilderberg group.

This should give you a general idea of what the Bilderberg Group is about but if you want to further your knowledge you can read more about the them, their meetings, goals and activities on their website at https://www.bilderbergmeetings.org

For a list of their FAQ’s go here

See also

WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM (WEF)

In the view of some critics, the WEF is exercising too much influence on global systems and institutions. The picture shows George Soros during a Davos session on redesigning the international monetary system.
George Soros speaking at the Word Economic Forum

In the view of some critics, the WEF is exercising too much influence on global systems and institutions. The picture shows George Soros during a Davos session on redesigning the international monetary system.

This brings me to the Plandemic

Since these “Globalist” seemed to be so concerned about the all of us normal folks and managed to sling trillions and trillions of money around like it grew on tree’s… Just who were the winners from lockdown nation?

And now that we have actual evidence of collateral damage from the lockdowns around the world why is almost the entire world protesting and demanding freedom? Why are we all in a bad way still and having such a difficult time getting back to normal? One would think that the current gas prices, food shortages in certain areas and the overall economic crisis would persuade even those on the far left who generally support the heavy hand of government to take a look around and question the people in power that are controlling the pathetic narrative. It would be apparent to a first grader they are all about complete control.

Big businesses scored a “$1.4 trillion payday” during the pandemic. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft increased their profits by 45% last year. “Wow, bring back more pandemics!” they must be shouting around the boardroom table.

Shutting down the economy hurt the poor the most and vastly widened the chasm between rich and poor. Lockdowns squashed small startup businesses, hurt low-income workers whose jobs were first in line to be destroyed, and devastated educational advances of children in the worst school districts.

For example, we have learned that high-achieving children did fine with remote learning. However, those who scored below average in school performance or from low-income families without computer skills tended to tune out and shut down online lessons completely. We know from teachers that as many as one-third of children rarely, if ever, even turned on a computer during the lockdowns. The long-term educational setbacks for these children as they grow to adult age could be devastating.

It’s not rocket science to figure out that the wealthy got wealthier! So, Just who were the BIG winners from lockdown nation? Let’s start with the corporate titans: Walmart, Google, Amazon, Walgreens, Apple, McDonald’s, Pfizer, Goldman Sachs, etc. THEY’ were rewarded with the designation of “essential” by the politicians. Their doors stayed open. They raked in dollars by the millions.

You can find all the information you need to confirm these facts. For instance there was is a headline from MarketWatch earlier this month: “Big Tech’s pandemic year produces mind-boggling financial results.” There was also was this nugget from the front page of The New York Times: “Wealth inequality is the highest since World War II.” George Soros, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett won the lottery.

I’m usually not a Big Tech or Big Pharma basher and actually like to see the stock market rise. It means people are making money. If these corporations make great products or can sell valuable services that people need, I am all for it! Yay for capitalism. Everyone’s happy.

But within the case of of our current situation, we see the hypocrisy of the left in the media shining big and bright. The left denounces inequality, but it embraces the policies that allow the uneven playing field. The entire situation baffles me to the core.

History lessons keep repeating Thema. They are like a skip on a vinyl record. Why on earth would anyone want to relive these deliberately concocted scenerios ridden with fear and oppression? What happened to faith in personal judgment. Big government creates economic unfairness. It never solves it.. When will people turn off the TV and stop believing the propaganda and LIVE LIFE?

LEVY: The persecution of Freedom Convoy donors is disgustingFebruary 18, 2022

With the Freedom Convoy’s fundraiser on GiveSendGo hacked on Sunday and the list of its donors illegally leaked online, politicians and legacy media have been doxxing and shaming everyone they can find who donated their own money to support the grassroots freedom movement.

I never thought that free speech would have sunk to such a low in Canada that it feels as if the Communist Party has taken over – that people would actually feel targeted and bullied for supporting an important and extremely valid cause.

To give one example, an Etobicoke man reached out to me Wednesday after his name was shared with some nefarious types for donating a mere $10 to the Freedom Convoy.

The man – who didn’t want his name used for obvious reasons – had received a vulgar e-mail at 2 a.m. on Wednesday, out of the blue. He said he was “very unsettled” when he went to bed, and he woke up exhausted.

The email from someone by the name of FruitBussy – a handle accompanied by an extremely vulgar bio – informed my contact that “supporting crime is never a good idea, especially on a platform run by deranged dimwits.”

The email’s recipient remains understandably shaken. 

“It is very distressing what my country and my countrymen have become,” he said. “I am ashamed of my fellow Canadians.”

He is 100% right.

Not only was the GiveSendGo fundraising platform hacked, but someone under the Twitter handle @WatcherToronto has been sharing the lists of donors for the past 48 hours, together with members of our “objective” media and some politicians.

The anonymous tweeter has repeatedly used the hashtags #RamRanchResistance, #FluTruxKlanGoHome, #KKKonvoy and #Clownvoy. Judging from his tweets, he is clearly enjoying his doxxing activities, saying no laws were broken, no one was libelled and the information is all public.Tweets by WatcherToronto

He even advises those who see the lists to write the donors a stern letter.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=e30%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1493877408985976833&lang=en&origin=safari-reader%3A%2F%2Ftnc.news%2F2022%2F02%2F18%2Flevy-the-persecution-of-freedom-convoy-donors-is-disgusting%2F&theme=dark&widgetsVersion=2582c61%3A1645036219416&width=550px

There’s no doubt this is sick and appalling, and it makes me angry to think how far things have gone. But mainstream media on the Trudeau payroll – many of whom are publishing the names and/or contacting the donors – are as much at fault for doing Trudeau’s bidding.

They should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. 

The doxxing that is going on has clearly been enabled by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s implementation of the Emergencies Act on Monday, which is seeing the bank accounts of convoy donors frozen with a court order.

And it’s clearly all about protecting Trudeau, who is looking more and more each day like a supreme dictator. 

I blame Trudeau for setting the tone with his vile talk, and even more, his autocratic actions against the Freedom Convoy. His failure to understand or entertain their concerns speaks to his absolute disdain for ordinary and working-class Canadians.

Ditto for mayors Jim Watson in Ottawa and John Tory in Toronto  – self-serving, virtue-signaling Liberals both. 

And we can’t forget Premier Doug Ford either, once a man of the people who alone among premiers openly supported Trudeau’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act.

I also blame those Canadians who have swallowed the Liberal party line hook, line and sinker – the uninformed, entitled and intellectually lazy voters with ‘head in the sand syndrome’ who can’t or refuse to understand the long-term ramifications of what is happening.

Perhaps one day in the not-too-distant future, Canadians will get it when their favourite charity is targeted by the government of our supreme dictator.

Until then, and as my Etobicoke contact stated so eloquently, Canada has been overtaken by “wretched, disgusting fascists.”

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Unlike the mainstream media, True North isn’t getting a government bailout. Instead, we depend on the generosity of Canadians like you.

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This is why independent media in Canada is more important than ever. If you’re able, please make a tax-deductible donation to True North today. Thank you so much.

BREAKING: U.S. Truckers to Launch ‘People’s Convoy’

BREAKING: U.S. Truckers to Launch ‘People’s Convoy’

Feb 17, 2022

NEWSMAX: The “People’s Convoy,” the United States’ trucker protest against COVID-19 mandates, will hit the road on Wednesday on its trip from California across the nation, with about 1,000 trucks expected to start the trip and more to join in as the convoy heads east, Maureen Steele, the national organizer of the effort, confirms to Newsmax.

“We’re going to be starting the convoy out of Barstow, California,” Steele told Newsmax’s Eric Bolling on “Eric Bolling The Balance,” adding that the specific location in Barstow will be announced closer to the event because the concern for operational security is “paramount.”Do you stand with American truckers?

“The Canadian convoy was pretty organic when it happened,” Steele said. “Ours, they had a month’s notice, so our concern is disruptive groups coming in. We’re trying to just prepare for counter-protests and to take safety precautions for that.”

The organizers have also set up a website where truckers can register, including their license plates, “so we know exactly who is in the convoy and to make sure that it’s going to be a safe ride,” said Steele. 

Click here to sign up for Todd’s free newsletter – and avoid Big Tech censorship!

The organizers, on the website, said the organization is demanding that the “declaration of a national emergency concerning the COVID-19 pandemic be lifted immediately and our cherished Constitution reign supreme.”

Donations are also being accepted through a website link, rather than through Go Fund Me or other crowdfunding sources.

Steele added that the organizers will be releasing the towns where the convoy will stop at about 24 hours before they arrive, for precautionary purposes. 

She confirmed stops in Arizona and Texas, but said other stop locations will be announced as the convoy moves through the country. Bolling said he plans to join the convoy before it reaches Washington, D.C., “if that’s the final location. Again, you’re holding that back for now.”

SUPPORT THE FREEDOM CONVOY! Click here to order directly from the Todd Starnes Show page on MyPillow. Mike Lindell has some amazing deals for our readers!

Steele said the effort anticipates that about 1,000 trucks will leave California, and plans to have a few trucks ahead of the convoy “just to check in with law enforcement in towns ahead of the convoy, that if we’re going to be marshaling there that evening, to make sure they’re prepared for a massive convoy to roll into town.”

Alan and Bonnie Kelly, who are truck owners and operators, also told Newsmax Wednesday that they will be in Barstow on Feb. 23 from the beginning of the convoy, and said the effort is already getting large amounts of support for its trip.

“I haven’t talked to anybody yet who doesn’t support what we’re doing,” Mr. Kelly told Bolling. “I’ve talked to our pastor. He plans on attending…everybody is supportive, and everybody plans to participate, so I think it’s going to be very huge because it’s not just the truckers. It’s we, the people, and its people from every facet and every industry in the country that are better participating, so it’s got potential to be probably the biggest that its ever been.”

The convoy’s Facebook group page already has almost 100,000 followers.

“Our brothers and sisters of the highway succeeded in opening Canadians’ eyes about the unconstitutional mandates and hardships forced onto their people,” the organizers of the event said on the page. “Now it’s time for the citizens of the United States of America to unite and demand restoration of our constitutional rights.”

Big Tech Censored Dozens of Doctors, More Than 800 Accounts for COVID-19 ‘Misinformation,’ Study Finds

Resource : https://www.bloomberg.com/press-releases/2022-02-08/merck-and-ridgeback-announce-that-3-1-million-courses-of-molnupiravir-an-investigational-oral-antiviral-covid-19-medicine-have

Big Tech Censored Dozens of Doctors, More Than 800 Accounts for COVID-19 ‘Misinformation,’ Study Finds

Ailan Evans / @AilanHEvans / February 09, 2022

Twitter, Google, Google+, Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are among the platforms arrayed on the screen of an Apple iPhone. Many of them have used their largely unregulated power to censor information they don’t approve of as “misinformation.” (Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images)

Major technology companies and social media platforms have removed, suppressed or flagged the accounts of more than 800 prominent individuals and organizations, including medical doctors, for COVID-19 “misinformation,” according to a new study from the Media Research Center.

The study focused on acts of censorship on major social media platforms and online services, including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Ads, and TikTok.

dailycallerlogo

Instances of censorship included Facebook’s decision to flag the British Medical Journal with a “fact check” and “missing context” label, reducing the visibility of a post, for a study delving into data-integrity issues with a Pfizer vaccine clinical trial.

Facebook also deleted the page of the Great Barrington Declaration, an open letter led by dozens of medical professionals, including Dr. Jay Battacharya, a Stanford epidemiologist, and Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a former employee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which advocated for less restrictive measures to address the dangers of COVID-19.

“Big Tech set up a system where you can’t disagree with ‘the science’ even though that’s the foundation of the scientific method,” Dan Gainor, MRC vice president of Free Speech America, told the Daily Caller National Foundation. “If doctors and academic journals can’t debate publicly, then it’s not science at all. It’s ‘religion.’”

Big Tech also scrubbed podcast host Joe Rogan’s interviews with scientists Dr. Peter McCullough and Dr. Robert Malone, the latter of whom was instrumental in pioneering mRNA technology. Twitter banned Malone from its platform permanently in late December over the virologist’s tweets questioning the efficacy and safety of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We tallied 32 different doctors who were censored, including mRNA vaccine innovator Dr. Robert Malone,” Gainor said. “Censoring views of credentialed experts doesn’t ensure confidence in vaccines. It undermines faith in government COVID-19 strategies.“

In addition to medical doctors, the study examined instances in which members of Congress were censored by tech platforms.

These included an incident last August in which YouTube suspended Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., for posting a video arguing that “cloth masks” are not effective against the coronavirus, a view later echoed by many prominent medical commentators. Twitter also flagged a tweet from Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., in which he wrote “studies show those with natural immunity from a prior infection are much less likely to contract and spread COVID than those who only have vaccine-induced immunity.”

The study also examined Big Tech censorship of prominent media personalities, such as Rogan, Tucker Carlson, and Dan Bongino.

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World Economic Forum’s “Young Global Leaders”

World Economic Forum’s “Young Global Leaders”

Bill Gates and Justin Trudeau

By Jacob Nordangård

5 februari, 2022 Agenda 2030, Demokrati, ENGLISH, TeknokratiComments: 14

Through its Young Global Leaders program, the World Economic Forum has been instrumental in shaping a world order that undermines all democratic principles. For several decades, this program has nurtured compliant leaders acting as WEF agents in governments around the world. The consequences are far-reaching and may turn out to be devastating for humanity.

I have to say then I mention names like Mrs Merkel, even Vladimir Putin and so on… they all have been Young Global Leaders of The World Economic Forum. But what we are really proud of now with the young generation like Prime Minister Trudeau, President of Argentina and so on, is that we penetrate the cabinets… It is true in Argentina and it is true in France now…” (Klaus Schwab)

In 1992, Klaus Schwab and World Economic Forum launched a program initially called Global Leaders of Tomorrow. In 2004, this program was turned into the Forum for Young Global Leaders (which I cover in my book The Global Coup D’Etat) – a 5-year program of indoctrination into WEFs principles and goals. The aim was – and is – to find suitable future leaders for the emerging global society. The program has since its inception has included politicians, business leaders, royalty, journalists, performers and other cultural influencers who have excelled in their fields but have not yet turned 40 years of age (originally 43 in order to include Angela Merkel). It has since grown into an extensive global network of dedicated leaders with enormous resources and influence, all working to implement the technocratic plans of the World Economic Forum in their respective nations and fields.

The network creates a force for worldwide influence through the combination of the individual skills and resources of its members.

As Klaus Schwab says in the introductory quote, it has become very successful. Already in the first year, 1992, a number of highly influential candidates were elected.

Among 200 selected were global profiles such as:

  • Angela Merkel
  • Tony Blair
  • Nicolas Sarkozy
  • Bono
  • Richard Branson (Virgin)
  • Jorma Ollila (Shell Oil), and
  • José Manuel Barroso (President of the European Commission 2004–2014).[1]
  • Bill Gates (Global Leader of Tomorrow 1992)
  • Justin Trudeau (Young Global Leader, unknown class)

More examples of influential Young Global Leaders [2]:

  • Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
  • Crown Prince Haakon of Norway
  • Crown Prince Fredrik of Denmark
  • Prince Jaime de Bourbon de Parme, Netherlands
  • Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al-Saud, Ambassador for Saudi-Arabia in USA
  • Jacinda Arden, Prime Minister, New Zeeland
  • Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister, Belgium
  • Emmanuel Macron, President, France
  • Sanna Marin, Prime Minister, Finland
  • Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President, Costa Rica
  • Faisal Alibrahim, Minister of Economy and Planning, Saudi Arabia
  • Shauna Aminath, Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Technology, Maldives
  • Ida Auken, MP, former Minister of Environment, Denmark (author to the infamous article “Welcome To 2030: I Own Nothing, Have No Privacy And Life Has Never Been Better”)
  • Annalena Baerbock, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Leader of Alliance 90/Die Grünen, Germany
  • Kamissa Camara, Minister of the Digital Economy and Planning, Mali
  • Ugyen Dorji, Minister of Domestic Affairs, Bhutan
  • Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Canada
  • Martín Guzmán, Minister of Finance, Argentina
  • Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Minister of Energy, Pakistan
  • Paula Ingabire, Minister of Information and communications technology and Innovation, Rwanda
  • Ronald Lamola, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, South Africa
  • Birgitta Ohlson, Minister for European Union Affairs 2010–2014, Sweden
  • Mona Sahlin, Party Leader of the Social Democrats 2007–2011, Sweden
  • Stav Shaffir, Leader of the Green Party, Israel
  • Vera Daves de Sousa, Minister of Finance, Angola
  • Leonardo Di Caprio, actor and Climate Activist
  • Mattias Klum, photographer and Environmentalist
  • Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba
  • Larry Page, Founder of Google
  • Ricken Patel, Founder of Avaaz
  • David de Rothschild, adventurer and Environmentalist
  • Jimmy Wale, Founder of Wikipedia
  • Jacob Wallenberg, Chairman of Investor
  • Niklas Zennström, Founder of Skype
  • Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of Facebook

The purpose from the beginning has been to “identify and advance a future-oriented global agenda, focusing on issues at the intersection of the public and private sectors.” Public–Private Partnerships is one of the cornerstones of the World Economic Forum philosophy. That is, a merger between state and large companies (also known as corporativism) with the aim of solving global problems of in a more “effective” way. The choice of leaders clearly reflects this aspiration.

The Young Global Leaders group was initially instructed to identify the major challenges of the 21st century. These included peace, the environment, education, technology and health areas which these upcoming leaders could exploit politically, economically, and culturally in the new millennium.

Partners for Global Leaders of Tomorrow in 2000 were large global companies such as:

  • The Coca Cola Company
  • Ernst & Young
  • Volkswagen, and
  • BP Amoco

These could contribute to the agenda by “playing an active role in developing and implementing the concept of the GLT project. The partners can therefore actively participate in the development of GLT programs; representatives of the partner companies as well as their guests are invited to GLT meetings ..

Since the Global Leaders of Tomorrow was turned into Young Global Leaders 2004, partners such as:

  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Google
  • JPMorganChase (with alumni from the program) have also participated as sponsors.

The ultimate consequence of both public–private partnerships and these target areas is the creation of a largely fascist social contract in which the individual has become subordinated to these powerful interests. Noble goals of creating a better world have also been kidnapped. This is especially evident in the context of the partnership between the WEF and the UN and the implementation of the global goals (Agenda 2030) through the application of the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

This means that the democratic principles and division of power of the 20th century have largely been completely undermined and instead replaced by a new global class that shapes our common future based on their own interests. This has led to a de facto privatisation of both  national governments and international organisations, where lobbyists are no longer kept in the lobby but have moved into the seat of power, shaping policies directly affecting our lives. What this means has become particularly evident since the pandemic was declared in March 2020. In addition, leading multinational investment management corporations such as BlackRock, led by the World Economic Forum’s own Larry Fink, have constantly moved their positions forward.

German economist and journalist Ernst Wolff believes that many of the national leaders included in the Young Global Leader program have been selected for their willingness to carry out the tough agenda of lockdowns in recent years without asking any questions, and that their impending failure (as evidenced by in a growing dissatisfaction of the masses) will be used as an excuse to create a new form of Global Government where the old nation states become largely obsolete. A new global digital currency with Universal Basic Income (UBI) can then be gradually introduced to replace our doomed monetary system.[3] This conclusion partly coincides with my own. It is also supported by Paul Raskin‘s scenarios from The Great Transition Initiative on how  a totalitarian “New Earth Order” is established, to be replaced in the long run by a global democratic government (Earth Federation) with a World Constitution.[4]

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the catastrophic failure of an every-country-for-itself approach to public health, and national economic interests, rather than global needs, continue to dominate discussions of climate policy, paving the path toward climate chaos.

Under the tricameral World Parliament come the four main agencies of the Earth Federation government: the World Supreme Court system, the World Executive, the World Enforcement System, and the World Ombudsman.[5]Glen T. Martin, The Great Transition Requires the Earth Constitution

The vision is that a peaceful and harmonious world in balance is created through the establishment of a World Federation with a World Parliament, World Government and a World Court. These are ideas that have long circulated in Club of Rome and closely connected New Age circles. The question is how such a new global system of power would escape the fate of being kidnapped by the same interests that created our current corrupt and failing system? This is in view of those who support projects such as The Great Transition (initiated with start-up capital from Steven Rockefeller). What is happening is rather a method of taking us to their ultimate solution in the form of a global technocratic control system.

However, it is highly unlikely that this plan will succeed. Awareness is spreading like wildfire and the panic of the elite increases as their narrative crumbles and people become more and more immune to the propaganda. Hence all the inquisitors and “fact checkers” who diligently gatekeep the narrative and help steer public opinion in the “right” direction. They are surely to be trusted since, for example, David Roy Thomson, Chairman of the Thomson Reuters Corporation, is an alumni of Global Leaders of Tomorrow, class of 1993.

It is now time to take control of our own destinies and to avoid falling into new traps.

References

Thanks to investigative journalist Cory Morningstar for the clip that inspired this blog article. Follow her blog Wrong Kind of Green.

[1] World Economic Forum, GLT Class of 1993.pdf
[2] World Economic Forum, Young Global Leaders Community (searchable list over YGL alumni)
[3] Michael Lord, “Exposed: Klaus Schwab’s School For Covid Dictators, Plan for ‘Great Reset’“, RAIR Foundation, November 10, 2021
[4] Paul Raskin, Journey to Earthland: The Great Transition to Planetary Civilization.pdf, Tellus Institute, Boston, 2016
[5] Glen T. Martin, The Great Transition Requires the Earth Constitution“, Great Transition Initiative, November 2021

Worldwide Movement: Massive Freedom Convoy Formed in Helsinki, Finland Against COVID-19 Mandates and High Fuel Taxes – Cops Detain 55 Protesters

www.thegatewaypundit.com/2022/02/worldwide-movement-massive-freedom-convoy-formed-helsinki-finland-covid-19-mandates-high-fuel-taxes-video/

A massive freedom convoy was organized on Friday outside parliament in Helsinki, Finland demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s government, cutting 50% of fuel prices, and an end to all COVID restrictions.

Finland was enthusiastic about the Canadian convoy and the Finns set up a Facebook group that has gathered more than 45,000 members in just two days. The group name was called “CONVOY FINLAND 2022.”
CONVOY FINLAND 2022″ is expected to resume daily through Wednesday, February 9, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day.

TRENDING: National Archives Raids Mar-a-Lago to Retrieve Trump White House Record Boxes – All They Found Were Mementos, Gifts and Letters From World Leaders

The demands to release the blockade of Helsinki are as follows:
  • All corona measures and restrictions in Finland shall be abolished and abolished permanently and permanently.
  • Fuels (both petrol and diesel) must be cut by 50% of the current tax.
  • The current Finnish government must resign.

It was reported that Finland will begin to ease COVID-19 restrictions in mid-February.

Watch on Twitter below

https://twitter.com/ElectionWiz/status/1489736937011396613?s=20&t=02Dt0QQspqGZvHAcXbwlvw

Public Health Or Private Wealth? How Digital Vaccine Passports Pave Way For Unprecedented Surveillance Capitalism

This undoubtedly the worst idea ever. I can not believe that anyone would agree to this! This is going to be disastrous!!

For those yearning for an end to pandemic-related restrictions, credential programs certifying their vaccination against Covid-19 have been marketed as the key to reopening the economy and restoring their personal freedom. But the implementation of immunity passports is also accelerating the establishment of a global digital identity infrastructure.

As the military surveillance firm and NATO contractor Thales recently put it, vaccine passports “are a precursor to digital ID wallets.”

And as the CEO of iProove, a biometric ID company and Homeland Security contractor, emphasized to Forbes, “The evolution of vaccine certificates will actually drive the whole field of digital ID in the future. So, therefore, this is not just about Covid, this is about something even bigger.”

For the national security state, digital immunity passports promise unprecedented control over populations wherever such systems are implemented. Ann Cavoukian, the former privacy commissioner of Ontario, Canada has described the vaccine passport system already active in her province as “a new, inescapable web of surveillance with geolocation data being tracked everywhere.” 

For tech oligarchs such Bill Gates and neoliberal institutions such as the World Economic Forum, digital ID and digital currency systems have already enabled the extraction of unbelievable profits in the Global South, where hundreds of millions of people remain “unbanked” and therefore outside the sphere of electronic payments systems.

ayments systems. 

Now, with grassroots protest building against an exclusionary regime of vaccine passports, the captains of global capitalism are campaigning with more urgency than ever to bring digital ID to the West.

For these elite interests, the digitization of immunity passports represent a critical tool in a long-planned economic and political transformation.

“With no Covid Pass, my wife and I are banished from society”

Across the globe, the certification of vaccination against COVID-19 is already a requirement to participate in daily life. 

In Indonesia, COVID-19 vaccines are mandatory, and those who refuse may face fines or be refused access to public services. In Greece, residents must present immunity to work in or enter bars, theaters, and other indoor public spaces.

France has similarly required residents to carry a health pass for access to all restaurants, bars, trains, and any venue accommodating more than 50 people, a decision that has stoked widespread protests throughout the country. The socialist French former presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon has blasted the new restrictions as “absurd, unfair and authoritarian.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=e30%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1424730996738568195&lang=en&origin=safari-reader%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fgeopolitical%2Fpublic-health-or-private-wealth-how-digital-vaccine-passports-pave-way-unprecedented&theme=dark&widgetsVersion=f001879%3A1634581029404&width=550px

Italy has mandated its Green Pass for all workers, threatening them with termination from jobs and suspension of pay. Italy also requires the pass to use Italian public transit. Scenes of private security over-enforcement of the Green Pass and the exclusion of Italy’s elderly from vital services have already begun to go viral on social media.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-1&features=e30%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1450542096956461057&lang=en&origin=safari-reader%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fgeopolitical%2Fpublic-health-or-private-wealth-how-digital-vaccine-passports-pave-way-unprecedented&theme=dark&widgetsVersion=f001879%3A1634581029404&width=550px

Restrictions for Lithuanians who are not double vaccinated or unable to demonstrate recent prior infection from Covid-19 represent some of the harshest in the world. They are banned from restaurants, all non-essential stores, shopping centers, beauty services, libraries, banks or insurance agencies, universities, inpatient medical care, and train travel.

Gluboco Lietuva, a self-described “Lithuanian father” who has refused vaccination, stated on Twitter: “With no Covid Pass, my wife and I are banished from society. We have no income. Banned from most shopping. Can barely exist.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-2&features=e30%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1441691330825031680&lang=en&origin=safari-reader%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fgeopolitical%2Fpublic-health-or-private-wealth-how-digital-vaccine-passports-pave-way-unprecedented&theme=dark&widgetsVersion=f001879%3A1634581029404&width=550px

Four out of ten Canadian provinces currently require citizens to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter indoor public venues like restaurants and theaters. All federal public servants and some other workers must be vaccinated to keep their jobs.

The government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also requires all air travelers and interprovincial train travelers to be vaccinated. Canada’s Alberta province took the measures a step further this September when it announced that those who cannot prove full COVID vaccination will no longer be allowed to socialize indoors in groups of more than 12.

In Israel, meanwhile, only those who have received three doses can work or shop indoors and go to restaurants; citizens who received two shots over six months ago are now considered unvaccinated. This rule has consolidated what even the New York Times has deemed a “two-tier system for the vaccinated and unvaccinated … raising legal, moral and ethical questions.” 

In the US, President Joe Biden is “moving forward with vaccination requirements wherever [he] can.” Biden, who declared that his “patience is wearing thin” with unvaccinated Americans, recently announced new federal requirements mandating that about 80 million Americans – including all those who work at companies with more than 100 employees – must either be vaccinated or get tested for COVID-19 weekly. 

Biden has also mandated that those working at facilities which receive Medicare or Medicaid must show proof of immunity to keep their jobs. According to AP, President Biden is considering proof of immunity for interstate travel, a restriction his former public health advisor, Ezekiel Emanuel, has clamored for

In the state of Colorado, the UCHealth hospital system has announced that it will not allow organ transplants to be performed on unvaccinated patients, prompting some to travel to Texas for life-saving procedures.

New York City offers a glimpse of the program in store for the rest of the country. The city’s “Key to NYC” requirement, which went into effect September 13, requires proof of vaccination to work at or attend indoor dining, indoor fitness, and entertainment venues like museums, stadiums, arcades, and theaters.

“If you want to participate in our society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated,” Mayor De Blasio stated. “[New York City] is a miraculous place literally full of wonders … if you’re un-vaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate.”

COVID-related mandates could be permanent

While outlets like CNN have referred to vaccine passports as a “useful, temporary measure,” it is increasingly evident that the proof of immunity restrictions imposed on Western populations may not go away any time soon.

Australia’s New South Wales Ministry of Health Dr. Kerry Chant has stated that citizens “need to get used to being vaccinated with COVID vaccines for the future… it will be a regular cycle of vaccination and revaccination.”

Albert Bourla, CEO of the Pfizer corporation that has seen its stock skyrocket during the pandemic, remarked that the “most likely scenario” is coronavirus vaccine shots mandated on an annual basis.

As a February Nature headline read, “the coronavirus is here to stay.” Or, as Dr. Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Health Emergency Program, put it: it is “very, very, unlikely” that COVID-19 will ever go away. 

“Eradicating this virus right now from the world is a lot like trying to plan the construction of a stepping-stone pathway to the Moon,” said Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. “It’s unrealistic.”

“This is our life from now, in waves,” Israel’s Coronavirus Czar, Salman Zarka, acknowledged. 

Already, Zarka has prepared plans to mandate a fourth dose for Israelis.

COVID mandates to be digitally enforced

While a state-mandated treadmill of boosters may seem unappealing to many, if not outright hellish, for others the nightmare presents the opportunity of a lifetime. As early as May 2020, only seven weeks after the pandemic was declared, US tech billionaire Bill Gates predicted that “eventually we will have some digital certificates to show who has recovered or been tested recently or when we have a vaccine who has received it.” 

Now, over a year later, a growing number of local and national governments require some form of digital proof of vaccination or natural immunity against COVID-19. 

Those who want to travel to Canada, for example, are required to download an app that verifies the vaccination status of incoming travelers. The government also plans to introduce a federal, Canada-wide digital vaccine passport in the coming months.

When the European Union (EU) opened up to foreign tourists this summer, it introduced a “Digital COVID Certificate” which granted entry to those vaccinated against COVID-19, those who have had a negative test, or those who recently recovered from an infection. Its proposed “Digital Green Certificate” has been branded as a means to facilitate safe free movement inside the EU during the pandemic.

The government of France is partnering with a biometric technology company called IDEMIA to “make it easier for its citizens to prove their identity and complete online transactions using a smartphone.” The new app will “enable French citizens to place their national electronic identification cards [introduced to France as a COVID-19 response in August 2021] …  on the back of their smartphones and have their identity instantly confirmed.” IDEMIA is also helping France certify travelers immunity data with their Health Travel Pass suite. 

The US is still accepting paper vaccination records, and President Biden has insisted no national app is in the works. However, seven U.S. states (California, New York, Louisiana, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, and Hawaii) have already implemented apps certifying vaccination against COVID-19 and have various degrees of COVID-19 vaccine mandates in place.

ImmunaBand, a wearable wristband, whose company mission is “to bring the world a little closer in a time of the COVID-19 pandemic and for you to demonstrate to the world your vaccination status,” has also been approved by New York City as proof of vaccination.

“In typical American fashion, the US government is relegating the creation of digital vaccination certifications to the private sector,” stated the non-profit Data & Society

Indeed, behind the push for digital vaccine passports is a coterie of supra-national neoliberal institutions guided by oligarchic tech industry donors.

Elite corporate interests behind digital COVID passports

Mega-corporations, international finance institutions, and billionaire-backed private foundations have played a vital role in lobbying for and implementing digital immunity passports.

The burgeoning global health passport system has been coordinated under the umbrella of the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO). However, this institution is so intertwined with wealthy private interests it can hardly be characterized as a “public” health body. 

As former WHO director Margaret Chan told filmmaker Lilian Franck, “only 30 percent of my budget is predictable funds. The other 70 percent, I have to take a hat and go around the world to beg for money. And when they give us the money, [it] is highly linked to their preferences, what they like.”

Chief among those private funders is the second wealthiest man in the world, Bill Gates, and his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which happens to be the second largest donor to the WHO.

Bill Gates with World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom

The Gates Foundation recently helped fund a WHO paper providing “implementation guidance” for proof of vaccination certifications across the world. The authors crafted the paper alongside the Rockefeller Foundation and with guidance from several high-level representatives of the World Bank.

According to Foreign Affairs, “few policy initiatives or normative standards set by the WHO are announced before they have been casually, unofficially vetted by Gates Foundation staff.” Or, as other sources told Politico in 2017, “Gates’ priorities have become the WHO’s.”

Also at the forefront of the shift to digital credentials is the World Economic Forum (WEF). “The Forum is involved in the WHO task force to reflect on those [vaccine credential requirements] standards and think about how they would be used,” reads a May WEF article.

On paper, the WEF (also known as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation) is an NGO and think tank “committed to improving the state of the world.” In reality, it is an international network of some of the wealthiest and most influential people on the planet. The Forum positions itself as the thought leader of global capitalism.

The organization is best known for its annual gathering of the global ruling class. Each year, hedge fund managers, bankers, CEOs, media representatives, and heads of state gather in Davos to “shape global, regional and industry agendas.” As Foreign Affairs put it, “the WEF has no formal authority, but it has become the major forum for elites to discuss policy ideas and priorities.”

In 2017, German economist and WEF founder Klaus Schwab introduced the concept of “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” with the title of the book he published that year. The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) denotes the current “technological revolution” that is changing the way people “live, work, and relate to one another,” and with implications “unlike anything humankind has experienced,” according to Schwab.

For him, the 4IR is the “merging of the physical, digital and biological worlds.” Schwab has even said that the 4IR will inevitably veer into trans-humanism, or human genome editing.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-3&features=e30%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1434964287437541380&lang=en&origin=safari-reader%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fgeopolitical%2Fpublic-health-or-private-wealth-how-digital-vaccine-passports-pave-way-unprecedented&theme=dark&widgetsVersion=f001879%3A1634581029404&width=550px

In January 2021, several WEF partners, including Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, and several other “heavyweights,” announced a partnership to launch the Vaccine Credential Initiative (VCI) to develop digital immunization authentication tools, according to Forbes.

Aiming to institute a single “SMART Health Card” for the world, the VCI intends for its SMART Health Cards to be recognized “across organizational and jurisdictional boundaries.”

In the US, some states are already deploying the SMART Health Cards developed by the VCI. These SMART Health Cards have laid the basis for a de-facto national standard for vaccine credentials.

“If enough states embrace the technology, it could become a de facto nationwide standard and relieve the Biden administration of having to lay out federal requirements for domestic purposes,” Politico noted.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-4&features=e30%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1424776423676563456&lang=en&origin=safari-reader%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fgeopolitical%2Fpublic-health-or-private-wealth-how-digital-vaccine-passports-pave-way-unprecedented&theme=dark&widgetsVersion=f001879%3A1634581029404&width=550px

The latest version of Apple’s iOS, iOS 15, even includes SMART Health Card support.

As of today, those who received a vaccine in California, Hawaii, Louisiana, New York, Virginia, or certain counties in Maryland can obtain a SMART Health Card from the state.

In most other states, a SMART Health Card is available to those who were vaccinated at one of more than 17,100 CVS, Walgreen’s, or Rite Aid pharmacy chains nationwide.

“More states, pharmacies, and health systems will begin issuing SMART Health Cards very soon,” promises the site of the Commons Project, one of the founders of the VCI initiative.

Commons Project CEO Paul Meyer happens to be a WEF “young leader.” 

Commons Project CEO and World Economic Forum Young Leader Paul Meyer

In India, tech oligarchs use digital ID to force social credit on rural poor, spawning exclusion and even death

In 2015, The Gates Foundation provided seed money to a Yale School of Public Health project that would become known as Khushi Baby. Now a non-profit, Khushi Baby makes microchip-equipped necklaces for a child to wear at all times to track their vaccination status and establish continuous monitoring from their first immunizations through adulthood. The non-profit says it is now using data from over 35,000 villages in India to create algorithms that “predict health outcomes for mothers and children.” 

From the website of KhushiBaby.org

In 2016, IDEMIA, the security firm now working with the French government on vaccination and identity verification, designed the microchip-equipped necklaces. The necklaces have been used to track health data for 13 million people in India since the beginning of the pandemic.

These programs have been marketed by corporate consultants as essential tools for improving equality and inclusion in the Global South. “Digital identification is key to inclusive growth,” claimed McKinsey, the global consulting firm, in 2019.

“Something like 1 billion people could be more financially included and participative,” said Mike Kubzansky, managing partner of Ebay founder and media mogul Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Network during a WEF panel exploring how “Digital Identification Provides a Significant Opportunity for Value Creation.”

Like Gates, Omidyar is heavily invested in the advancement of digital ID and currency systems through his Omidyar Network, which collaborates with the World Economic Forum on the Good ID initiative.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-5&features=e30%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1325761804170047488&lang=en&origin=safari-reader%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fgeopolitical%2Fpublic-health-or-private-wealth-how-digital-vaccine-passports-pave-way-unprecedented&theme=dark&widgetsVersion=f001879%3A1634581029404&width=550px

A closer look at the push for “inclusion” by corporate behemoths reveals their altruistic language as little more than public relations cover for raw profit motives, resulting in marginalization and even death for many of those roped into their digital ID systems.

Besides serving as the staging ground for the Khushi Baby venture, India has become a laboratory for digital tracking and identity systems. With support from Western capitalist outfits like the Gates Foundation and the World Bank, the country has become the site of the world’s largest digital ID database, known as Aadhaar.

The Aadhaar system is named for a 12 digit number that serves as a proof of identity and address, among other markers, anywhere in India. To date, a whopping 1.3 billion Indians have been enrolled in the system, making it the largest biometric ID database ever constructed. It contains iris scans and fingerprints from both hands of each user. The technology for this system was provided by none other than the French security firm IDEMIA.

Nandan Nilekani, creator of the Aadhar digital ID system, with Bill Gates

Aadhaar was implemented in 2014, the year that the free marketeering, tech-centric Narendra Modi entered the prime minister’s office. Its creator, tech billionaire Nandan Nilekani, has been branded “the Bill Gates of Bangalore,” celebrated by globalization enthusiasts like Thomas Friedman, and hailed by none other than Gates as an altruistic “hero.” Gates’ foundation has collaborated with Nilekani through its “Co-impact” project alongside billionaire eBay co-founder Jeffrey Skoll’s Skoll Foundation.

“Aadhaar is a huge asset for India,” effused Gates in a 2019 interview with the Indian network Times Now. “The fact that you can make digital payments and open a bank account so easily, India is a leader in that. There are huge benefits in being able to get digital government money to the beneficiary.”

But behind the neoliberal spin, Nilekani’s Aadhar digital ID system has wreaked havoc on the lives of India’s most vulnerable and stigmatized populations.

In the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand, a wave of deaths took place in 2017 when impoverished citizens were cut off from government-subsidized food rations by the Aadhaar system. In several cases, aging widows were denied rice for several months because the system rejected their fingerprint scans.

Around the same time, three brothers died of starvation after they failed to properly register with Aadhaar and were subsequently denied rations for six months. The same cruel fate was visited on the Kumari family, which was unable to obtain an electronic Aadhaar ID, lost its ration card, and saw its 11-year-old daughter, Santoshi, die of hunger.

“Many people in Jharkhand have been victims of similar deprivation of food entitlements during the last few months,” reported India’s Scroll. “The main reason is that Aadhaar-based biometric authentication is now compulsory in about 80% of ration shops in the state.”

According to Scroll, a random sample of 18 villages where biometric authentication was compulsory found that a staggering 37% of cardholders were unable to buy their food rations.

Besides making Aadhaar the key to obtaining government services, the Modi government has integrated data collected by Aadhar to establish a “360-degree database” that “automatically track[s] when a citizen moves between cities, changes jobs, or buys a new property,” according to the Huffington Post. 

When Covid-19 first reached India in early 2020, Nilekani proposed employing Aadhar as the basis for an anti-Covid vaccination and tracking program. “We must ensure that everybody gets a digital certificate with the date of vaccination, name of the vaccine and through which vendor and at what location,” he declared in 2020.

Unsurprisingly, Nilekani’s system of mass surveillance has proven much more effective at harvesting data than it has been at protecting it. In 2018, the Indian Tribune newspaper was able to purchase the personal information of nearly every Aadhaar user through anonymous sellers over WhatsApp. The process took only 10 minutes and cost about $6 USD, the paper reported.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-6&features=e30%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=948789439123226624&lang=en&origin=safari-reader%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fgeopolitical%2Fpublic-health-or-private-wealth-how-digital-vaccine-passports-pave-way-unprecedented&theme=dark&widgetsVersion=f001879%3A1634581029404&width=550px

The system’s serial breaches of privacy even prompted some HIV-positive Indians to drop out of antiretroviral treatment programs that require the Aadhaar card. Though the Aadhaar is said to be voluntary, individuals with HIV have complained to Indian media that they were pressured into enrolling into the ID program, and had been threatened with the loss of medical services.

US privacy advocates have pointed to digital national identity programs like Aadhaar as gargantuan surveillance tools that establish the basis for a social credit system.

Addressing the US House Committee on Financial Services in July 2021, Elizabeth Renieris of Notre-Dame’s Technology Ethics Lab warned, “The Aadhaar number in India is able to track your activity across all facets of your life, from employment to healthcare, to school, to pretty much everything you do. You can’t retain autonomy over specific domains of your life. You can’t separate your personal and professional reputation. You can’t have this kind of contextualized personal identity. I think that’s really problematic.”

“We must avoid building digital identity systems and infrastructure in a way that further expands and entrenches the surveillance state, as does the national identity system in India,” Renieris continued. 

But it is the all-encompassing social credit aspect of Aadhaar that has made Gates so fond of the system. 

Addressing India’s top policy makers in 2016, the world’s second wealthiest man declared, “Over time, all of these transactions create a footprint and so when you go in for credit, the ability to access the history that you’ve paid your utility bills on time, that you’ve saved up money for your children’s education, all of those things in your digital trail, accessed in an appropriate way allow the credit market to [score the risk properly].“ 

ID4D expands digital ID to track more human activity than ever

In 2016, the Gates Foundation ponied up funding for a World Bank project called the Identity for Development (ID4D) Initiative for the declared purpose of bringing the “Aadhaar approach to other countries.”

To date, the World Bank has invested $1.2 billion into the ID4D initiative, with the official aim of creating “identification systems using 21st Century solutions.”

Among the four financial partners that established the initiative were two familiar Big Tech-backed operations: The Gates Foundation and The Omidyar Network, along with Australian Aid and UK Aid. According to the World Bank, the Gates Foundation’s “catalytic contributions” in particular transformed the project from an idea to a functional World Bank initiative.

Aadhaar’s Nilekani currently sits on the ID4D Initiative advisory council.

According to the World Bank, ID4D “promote[s] the use of digital ID systems for free movement and service delivery, by creating linkages across systems that allow users to authenticate themselves for key services such as receiving social transfer payments, completing financial transactions, and crossing borders.”

Promotional materials frame this venture as a humanitarian cause centered on helping poor women and making sure ”unbanked” individuals (those without a bank account) such as refugees and migrants are included in the modern economy. 

Yet a closer look at the initiative’s backers and their agenda reveals a longstanding goal of the captains of global capitalism: creating a digitally centered identity system that enables powerful public and private institutions to track more human activity than ever.

“Digital ID … can be leveraged by government and commercial platforms to facilitate a variety of digital transactions, including digital payments,” explains the World Bank. 

In an August 2021 white paper, the World Bank called on African nations to achieve a “single digital market” and loosen regulations on digital infrastructure to lower the risk for investors. The paper revealed the real intentions behind the World Bank’s push for a closure to the digital divide: opening up the continent for foreign investment. “Government regulation,” the paper declared, “needs to smoothen the path to digital transformation in the region.”

“By accelerating Africa’s digital transformation, businesses can reap the benefits,” the World Economic Forum (WEF) proclaimed in a 2020 article titled, “Africa has the potential to boost global growth.”

“There will […] be lucrative opportunities in Algeria, Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia … a good bet for companies seeking to enter new markets,” the WEF advised.

As the World Economic Forum recently wrote, “COVID-19 has highlighted the advantages of creating a digital economy.” Yet the advantages the group speaks of will likely fall on the side of its stakeholders. 

Partners of the World Economic Forum’s “Platform for a Good Digital Identity ” include the biometric ID firm Accenture, Amazon, Barclays Bank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC Bank, Mastercard, the biometric technology firm Simprints, and the credit giant, Visa. 

The initiative’s stakeholders represent the key beneficiaries of a biometric ID system imposed on the Global South, with Western multinational financial firms functioning as the gateway for its inhabitants to participate in the global economy.

The WEF has also made clear that the “end goal” of its agenda is expanding the model it established in India until every person in the world holds a unique digital ID. 

In an article titled “Digital ID is the Catalyst of Our Digital Future,” Mohit Joshi, a WEF ‘young leader,’ argued that “governments should use [Aadhaar] to streamline the delivery of services and payments, and massively increase financial inclusion.”

In a separate paper, however, the WEF conceded that the new digital system will not necessarily provide users with the liberation they have been promised: “Fourth Industrial Revolution digital identity will determine what products, services, and information we can access – or, conversely, what is closed off to us,” the WEF stated.

ID2020 leverages vaccinations to push “beyond dystopian” digital ID’s and payments

Back in 2016, Bill Gates’ Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), Microsoft, Accenture and the Rockefeller Foundation established a new consortium to provide digital ID certificates to infants when they receive their routine immunizations. They called it ID2020, incidentally naming it for the year that a global pandemic would be declared.

ID2020 says it is “dedicated to spearheading a global digital biometric identity standard,” and claims Digital IDs will lead to “financial independence.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-7&features=e30%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1444132060935897091&lang=en&origin=safari-reader%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fgeopolitical%2Fpublic-health-or-private-wealth-how-digital-vaccine-passports-pave-way-unprecedented&theme=dark&widgetsVersion=f001879%3A1634581029404&width=550px

Partners in the ID2020 initiative include the credit card giant Mastercard and Simprints, a biometric technology firm supported by the US Agency for International Development, a traditional front organization for US intelligence.

From video of USAID’s May 2018 introduction of biometric data at refugee settlements in Uganda

Mastercard’s ‘community pass’ project aims to capture the biometrics of 30 million individuals in remote parts of Africa over the next three years and issue them a Mastercard Community Pass biometric smart card, which will in turn provide Africans with a digital biometric identity and a digital bank account. 

ID2020 is currently operating in Bangladesh, where it administers biometric enrollment and digital ID to infants when they receive routine immunizations. GAVI CEO Seth Berkely has said he plans to expand the program across the underdeveloped world, working with mega-corporations such as Facebook and Mastercard to tie vaccination status to a biometric identification system.

“Eighty-nine percent of children and adolescents without identification live in countries supported by Gavi,” Berkley stated. “We are enthusiastic about the potential impact of this program not just in Bangladesh, but as something we can replicate across Gavi-eligible countries.”

With the WHO’s declaration of a global pandemic in March 2020, an unprecedented opportunity arrived for the forces advancing digital IDs. As Andrew Bud, the CEO of biometric tech company and Department of Homeland Security contractor iProov, enthused, “The evolution of vaccine certificates will actually drive the whole field of digital id in the future. So, therefore, this is not just about Covid, this is about something even bigger.”

By the following year, ID2020 and the USAID-partnered biometric ID firm, Simprints, had leveraged funding from Gates Foundation to publish an article entitled, “COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery: An Opportunity to Set Up Systems for the Future.” The authors argued that COVID-19 vaccines in the Global South could be used as a “potential lever” to deliver digital biometric IDs.  

They went on to admit that such digital biometric systems would stay in place long after the COVID-19 pandemic was over, and would be exploited for an array of purposes after the rollout: “Biometrics have the advantage of being agnostic to use case,” the co-authors wrote, “meaning they can connect different systems during or even after rollout.” 

From Simprints.com

Elizabeth Renieris of the Notre Dame-IBM Tech Ethics Lab resigned from a technical advisory role on ID2020, citing “risks to civil liberties” after the initiative teamed up with tech giants to design COVID immunity passports backed up by experimental blockchain technology. 

Renieris went on to denounce the burgeoning ID system as a civil liberties nightmare: “The prospect of severely curtailing the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals through ill-thought-out plans for ‘immunity passports’ or similar certificates, particularly ones that would leverage premature standards and a highly experimental and potentially rights-infringing technology like blockchain, is beyond dystopian.”

Digital ID mavens prey on the global poor

While linking a digital biometric ID to individuals’ finances is almost certain to exclude masses of people, and has even killed some by cutting impoverished citizens off from government services, predatory financial and credit institutions see the technology as the perfect means for capitalizing on untapped and developing markets. 

A September 2021 report by BankservAfrica, the largest automated digital payments clearinghouse in Africa, which is headed by former executives at MasterCard, VISA, and IBM, urged South Africa to adopt a biometric digital ID system.  

The report proclaimed, “The time has come for consumers, investors, and the private and public sectors to work collectively to achieve the common goal of enabling a robust, secure, and trusted digital identity for South Africa.”

BankServAfrica’s digital payment platform is currently being tested in Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania with financial support from the World Bank, USAID, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown just how critical a digital ID is,” BankServAfrica’s Chief Business Officer insisted.

BankservAfrica’s report argued that a robust biometric digital ID system will help South Africa achieve “simpler FICA [credit score] processes” and “a fair, transparent, competitive, sustainable, responsible, efficient and effective consumer credit market.”

But behind the lofty neoliberal rhetoric deployed by the financial industry lies a sordid record of profiteering and privacy invasion on a massive scale.

In 2007, Vodafone and Safaricom launched mPesa, a system that allows users to digitally deposit, withdraw, transfer, and pay with money. The project was “able to make credit and growth capital available to millions of people who have never had access to credit before,” according to Areiel Wolanow, who led the team that designed and built the credit scoring engine for mPesa in Kenya.

But a study by economist Alan Gibson revealed that it was the financial sector – not the rural population of the Global South – that truly benefited from mPesa. Meanwhile, the living conditions of the system’s mostly impoverished participants failed to improve at all:

“What is indisputable is that the supply-side of the finance market has benefited greatly from the last ten years. Banks’ sales have increased by 2.5 times and profits by 3.5 times, with profit margins also increased; the inclusion years have undoubtedly been good years for the banks. This apparent contrast between conspicuous supply-side success and a still-poor economy … raises questions on the role of the finance sector. In particular, it begs questions on who/what it is there to serve, and on the incentives that drive behavior.”

In a further indictment of supposedly “inclusive” digital payment schemes, the Review of African Political Economy found that “the bulk of this [mPesa] value does not go to the poor. Rather, such fintech is very clearly designed to hoover up value and deposit it into the hands of a narrow global digital-financial elite that are the main forces behind the fintech revolution.”

Despite the evidence of widening inequality, Bill Gates – whose foundation spends hundreds of billions of dollars promoting digital financial services for the poor – gushed praise for mPesa. 

“M-Pesa is an excellent program,” Gates effused on Twitter in one of several tweets hailing the digital payments system. 

Gates linked to an article promoting the program by NPR, the US public broadcaster which has received upwards of $17.5 million from Gates while producing hundreds of articles praising the tech billionaire and his initiatives around the world.

Back in the US, meanwhile, Gates’ ID2020 campaign has collaborated with the forces advancing a system that registers Americans’ vaccination status with the same corporation that calculates their financial credit score.

The US credit industry and digital immunity ID outfits collaborate on “huge opportunities for the commercial sector”

In Illinois, residents are currently required to verify that they have received the COVID-19 vaccine through an online portal called Vax Verify which will work in concert with Chicago’s soon-to-be-implemented vaccine passport.

To register their proof of vaccination, Illinois residents must turn to Experian, the world’s leading credit score service. 

Already, the Vax Verify portal is facing backlash for providing inaccurate vaccine status information. It is also the subject of serious security concerns given Experian’s record of breaches that leaked the personal data of millions of citizens from Brazil to South Africa.

Further, the online portal requires that any resident with a freeze on their credit must unfreeze it with Experian before registering a vaccination.

“Using Experian is definitely one of the worst [vaccine passports] I’ve seen yet,” Electronic Frontier Foundation Director of Engineering Alexis Hancock commented to Yahoo News

After Illinois became the first US state to forge a formal relationship between vaccine certifications and Experian, Illinois Congressman and financial industry darling Bill Foster introduced legislation that would foist a digital biometric ID onto the entire American population. 

The Improving Digital Identity Act of 2021introduced by Foster in July, calls for the public sector, and particularly the Department of Homeland Security, to work with the private sector to develop a new biometric digital ID infrastructure for the United States.

In November 2020, the Gates-sponsored ID2020 provided an online forum for Foster to promote his bill. During the event, the congressman advocated for a “trusted biometric digital immunity certificate system” while explaining that his bill would obtain biometrics from every citizen so private corporations could then “leverage” it to generate enormous profits.

Rep. Bill Foster headlined the Gates-backed ID2020’s November 2020 webinar

“Once the government has [taken] those fairly serious biometrics from you – there will be huge opportunities for the commercial sector to leverage that,” he said. “And to try to get this all started, I introduced the ‘Improving Digital ID Act.’”

Banking and credit card companies are among the many “commercial sectors” that Foster’s bill will benefit through digital biometric IDs. The bill plainly states that the corporate ID system will give “under-banked and unbanked individuals better access to digital financial services,” cloaking the opening of markets for finance giants in the same woke language that ID4D and ID2020 employ. 

But as tech oligarchs and their partners in the financial and national security industries leverage the coronavirus epidemic to institute a lucrative apparatus of digital monitoring, dissent is erupting in the countries where vaccine passports have begun to exclude millions.

Protests erupt against vaccine passports and “people who have very little to do with parliament”

In New York City – ground zero of the US vaccination passport roll-out – where over 80 percent of all Covid social distancing arrests were conducted against Black residents in 2020, simmering tensions boiled over when three Black diners initiated a brawl with staff at Carmine’s, an Upper West Side restaurant that prevented them from dining without their vaccination proof.

The incident spurred condemnation from a local Black Lives Matter chapter, which accused city authorities of exploiting mask mandates and vaccine passports to exclude and incarcerate Black residents. “What we are seeing here is the NYPD and restaurants using vaccination proof as a reason to discriminate against Black people,” declared BLM activist Kimberly Bernard. https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-8&features=e30%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1441419048659652608&lang=en&origin=safari-reader%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fgeopolitical%2Fpublic-health-or-private-wealth-how-digital-vaccine-passports-pave-way-unprecedented&theme=dark&widgetsVersion=f001879%3A1634581029404&width=550px

France has been the site of some of the world’s largest protests against the vaccine passport system imposed under the watch of former banker and President Emanuel Macron. On August 14, over 210,000 people took to the streets in over 200 protests across France against the nascent biomedical security regime. 

Puncturing the corporate media’s pigeonholing of the demonstrators as far-right shock troops, France’s Le Monde described them as “alone, coupled up, here with their family or friends, of all ages, white, Black, employed, retired, some vaccinated, others who refuse to get the shot.” 

French journalist Pauline Bock noted that in her country, “the only trade that’s exempt from mandatory vaccination — the police — will be the one to make sure everyone else obeys. The policy is ripe for authoritarian misuse.” 

In Italy, meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister and former European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has mandated that all employees of both public and private businesses produce a Green Pass proving vaccination in order to enter their place of work. 

The Green Pass vaccine passport system has already excluded unvaccinated individuals from restaurants, gyms, as well as trains, buses and domestic flights across the country. Official government numbers show the pass has failed to increase vaccine uptake.

With the expansion of the Green Pass to places of work, Italians have risen up in some of the largest protests the world has seen against the nascent biosecurity regime.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-9&features=e30%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1446827350902157323&lang=en&origin=safari-reader%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fgeopolitical%2Fpublic-health-or-private-wealth-how-digital-vaccine-passports-pave-way-unprecedented&theme=dark&widgetsVersion=f001879%3A1634581029404&width=550px

On October 9, hundreds of thousands of protesters poured into Italian streets from Rome to Trento to voice their rejection of Draghi’s policy. In Rome, where police repressed peaceful demonstrators with batons and riot shields, a group of about 20 far-right hooligans attacked a local union office while police stood by. Interior Minister Carlo Sibilia exploited the incident to claim that “neo-fascist groups hide behind the so-called anti-vaxxers.”

The secretary of a faction of Italy’s Communist Party, Marco Rizzo, who has condemned the passport system as “a discriminatory, divisive tool that pits one against the other,” cast suspicion on the incident. https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-10&features=e30%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1448223563660529665&lang=en&origin=safari-reader%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fgeopolitical%2Fpublic-health-or-private-wealth-how-digital-vaccine-passports-pave-way-unprecedented&theme=dark&widgetsVersion=f001879%3A1634581029404&width=550px

In an October 10 statement, Rizzo warned that the incident of “fascist violence” the day before played directly into the hands of the neoliberal government, and questioned whether a new “strategy of tension” was in play. The communist leader was referring to the Italian state’s covert weaponization of far-right militants during the 1970’s “years of lead” to foment violence and neutralize Marxist organizations.

The demonstrations have now spread to the port city of Trieste, where union dock workers have refused to offload goods until the Green Pass is revoked. On October 18, Italian police attempted to break the workers’ strike with water cannons, tear gas, and heavy repression.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-11&features=e30%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1448223563660529665&lang=en&origin=safari-reader%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fgeopolitical%2Fpublic-health-or-private-wealth-how-digital-vaccine-passports-pave-way-unprecedented&theme=dark&widgetsVersion=f001879%3A1634581029404&width=550px

Two days before anti-Green Pass protests exploded across Italy, the renowned philosopher Giorgio Agamben appeared before the Italian Senate’s Constitutional Affairs Commission to issue a dramatic statement of opposition to the Green Pass. 

Agamben is most famous for his concept of Homo Sacer, or bare life, in which an individual is stripped of rights and reduced to their biological essence in an extra-legal regime justified by war or other emergencies. When Italian authorities declared the first lockdown in March 2020, the philosopher applied the theory to his own country’s heavy-handed restrictions.

“The defining feature…of this great transformation that they are attempting to impose is that the mechanism which renders it formally possible is not a new body of laws, but a state of exception – in other words, not an affirmation of, but the suspension of constitutional guarantees,” the philosopher explained in the foreword to his collection of 2020 writings on Covid-19, “Where Are We Now: The Epidemic As Politics,”

In his remarks before the Italian Senate, Agamben pointed to a sinister agenda behind the official rationale for vaccine passports: “It has been said by scientists and doctors that the Green Pass has no medical significance in itself but serves to force people to get vaccinated. Instead, I think we must say the opposite: that the vaccine is a means of forcing people to have the Green Pass. That is, a device that allows individuals to be monitored and tracked, an unprecedented measure.”

The philosopher concluded his address by taking aim at the supra-national forces – Bill Gates, the World Economic Forum, and Rockefeller Foundation, among others – determined to impose a system of digital identification and high-tech social credit as much of the human population as possible. 

“I believe that in this perspective,” Agamben warned, “it is more urgent than ever for parliamentarians to consider the political transformation underway, which in the long run is destined to empty parliament of its powers, reducing it to simply approving – in the name of bio-security – decrees emanating from organizations and people who have very little to do with parliament.”

Colleges may face lawsuits over COVID-19 vaccine requirement

Colleges may face lawsuits over COVID-19 vaccine requirement

  • By Christian M. Wade Statehouse reporter
  • May 13, 2021

    

BOSTON — More colleges are telling students to get a COVID-19 vaccination before coming back to campus this fall, but legal experts say the mandates could spur legal challenges.

A stream of private and public colleges have said vaccinations will be mandatory. They include Northeastern University and Boston University, as well as all state universities in Massachusetts.

In most cases, students will be expected to arrive on campus fully vaccinated, unless they have a medical, disability or religious exemption.

Lynn Pasquerella, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, said more than 300 higher learning institutions have decided to require COVID-19 vaccinations and the number “continues to grow.”

“They want to make sure that the students, faculty and staff are protected in situations where there is a residential environment and the risk is greater,” she said.

Legal experts say the mandates could leave colleges open to lawsuits — even if they may ultimately be unsuccessful.

That’s because all three COVID-19 vaccines in use — produced by Pfizer, Cambridge-based Moderna and Johnson and Johnson — are only authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration.

Pfizer and Moderna are seeking full approval from the FDA, but the process is expected to take several months.

Joel Rosen, an Andover attorney who specializes in health care law, said mandating vaccines that aren’t fully FDA approved is “a bit of a gray area.”

“It does increase the likelihood that someone could successfully challenge a decision by a college to require a vaccine that is only approved for emergency use,” he said.

Still, Rosen said he doubts such a challenge would succeed.

He pointed out that public schools and colleges have for years required incoming students to be vaccinated against measles and other infectious diseases.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued guidance in December that federal law doesn’t prevent private employers from requiring vaccines or proof of vaccination from employees.

“It’s hard to see how a college would be different from an employer in enacting a neutral rule which is logically calculated to preserve the health of students,” Rosen said.

To be sure, there are no federal or state mandates for COVID-19 vaccines in schools or colleges, public or private.

Gov. Charlie Baker has said he opposes vaccine “passports” and other mandates and won’t require the state’s workforce to get vaccinated.

Baker, a Republican, has also pushed back on questions about whether he will require students to get vaccinated, with 12-15 year-olds becoming eligible on Thursday.

Last month, Massachusetts’ 15 community colleges said they don’t plan to mandate vaccinations, citing concerns about the potential impact on minorities and other students with “disproportionate access” to vaccines and the fact most don’t have on-campus housing.

Lane Glenn, president of Northern Essex Community College, said he believes mandates won’t be necessary because most college students will be vaccinated by the fall.

“We are expecting 80 to 90% of our students to be vaccinated,” he said. “So by the time September rolls around, I suspect this will be much less of an issue.”

Glenn also suggests there is a profit motive behind the decision of large private universities to require vaccines for on-campus students.

The cost of room and board can range from $12,000 to $15,000 a year. Many private colleges took big financial hits last year after shutting down their campuses and moving to remote learning.

“The money involved in dormitories and cafeterias is too huge to pass up,” he said.

Pasquerella said the mandates face pushback in states such as Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed a law banning businesses, schools and local governments from requiring proof of vaccination.

The University of California’s sprawling 23 campus system also plans to require students to get vaccinated in the fall, but not until the FDA has given final authorization.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in more than 40 states have filed proposals seeking to ban or curtail vaccine mandates, according to the National Conference State Legislatures.

Rosen said he expects legal challenges from conservative groups, anti-vaccine groups or others “who believe the vaccines are somehow dangerous.”

“This country is so divided,” he said. “Unfortunately, something that should be a medical decision has become a political decision. But the benefits outweigh the risks.”

Christian M. Wade covers the Massachusetts Statehouse for North of Boston Media Group’s newspapers and websites. Email him at cwade@cnhinews.com

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