UPDATE 04. January 2020: How Bill Gates Created Bharat Biotech – India’s “Swadeshi” COVID-19 Vaccine COVAXIN Maker
UPDATE 11. December 2020: Yes, Bill Gates Said That (... we need Vaccine-Passports). Here’s the Proof
UPDATE 08. August 2020: James Corbett on Derailing the Gates Agenda
ICYMI: Bill Gates: "... be ready for pandemic two!" + Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Under Investigation + WHY THE BILL GATES GLOBAL HEALTH EMPIRE PROMISES MORE EMPIRE AND LESS PUBLIC HEALTH - Behind a veil of corporate media PR, the Gates Foundation has served as a vehicle for Western capital while exploiting the Global South as a human laboratory. The coronavirus pandemic is likely to intensify this disturbing agenda.
MUST WATCH: A Dangerous Idea: The History of Eugenics in America (see bellow)
Why We Must #ExposeBillGates
By James Corbett - 08. August 2020
Welcome. If you’re reading these words, then it’s likely that you’re here because of the #ExposeBillGates global day of action.
Perhaps you’re here out of curiosity. Perhaps you came here to argue with crazy conspiracy theorists. Perhaps you already know about the #ExposeBillGates movement but just want to learn more.
Whatever your motivations for clicking on this link, I promise you this article is not clickbait. This is not a put-on or satire or a trendy internet listicle. The #ExposeBillGates movement is deadly serious, and it aims to alert the public to the real dangers of the world that are coming into view: a world of lockdowns and quarantines, masks and vaccines, checkpoints and immunity passports, cashless payments and biometric IDs.
So the first question you might be asking is: why Bill Gates? Why are all these people on the internet trying to warn about Bill Gates in the midst of this global pandemic? Isn’t Gates a philanthropist who’s trying to help the world out by donating his fortune to good causes?
It was to answer that very question that I created my feature-length documentary on this subject, Who Is Bill Gates?
If you haven’t watched it already, please do so in the player above. You can also follow this link to access the full transcript and audio/video downloads completely for free.
But if you need a bit more information before you invest your time in watching a two-hour documentary, here are some important issues for you to explore, along with some suggestions for further reading and viewing that will help you get caught up on the reasons that we need to #ExposeBillGates.
Bill Gates is not a selfless philanthropist
When he set up the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with his wife and his father around the turn of the 21st century, Bill Gates went from villain to superhero in the public imagination seemingly overnight. No longer a reviled monopolist who built his Microsoft empire on the back of glitchy software and out of a ruthless desire to squash his competition, Gates was suddenly seen as a selfless philanthropist, generously giving away his fortune for the benefit of the world.
What few realize is that Gates’ philanthropy is hardly selfless. He “generously” donates to causes that directly benefit his family (like his $80 million gift to the prestigious private school that his own children attend) and his business interests. His foundation has even provided hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to corporations like Merck, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Vodafone, Sanofi, Ericsson, LG, Medtronic, and Teva in which his foundation trust holds corporate stocks and bonds.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has monopolized the global health industry
Gates’ unique brand of philanthropy doesn’t simply benefit his family financially. It also affords him unprecedented power in the field of global public health, where his foundation directs much of its funds. It is remarkable that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the second-largest donor to the World Health Organization (WHO), right behind the US government. In fact, if the US government does withdraw its funding from the WHO next year as it is currently threatening to do, the Gates Foundation will be the single largest funding source for the group.
But Gates’ influence extends far beyond the WHO. The Gates Foundation co-founded the Global Fund to Fight AIDS; the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents; the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the Stop TB Partnership; and seemingly every other major global health initiative of the past two decades.
To many, the fact that Gates’ funding is behind all of these initiatives is just another sign that Gates is serious in his pledge to devote his wealth to charitable causes. But a growing number of people around the world see the outsized influence of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as a cause for concern. By funding individual health initiatives and entire organizations into existence, Gates has garnered the ability to direct research priorities and even to determine what forms of medical intervention are used to treat various diseases.
As the WHO’s own malaria chief, Dr. Arata Kochi, warned in an internal memo, Gates’ influence means that the world’s leading malaria scientists are now “locked up in a ‘cartel’ with their own research funding being linked to those of others within the group” and that the foundation is “stifling debate on the best ways to treat and combat malaria, prioritizing only those methods that relied on new technology or developing new drugs.”
Suggested further reading: Bill Gates’ Web Of Dark Money And Influence – Part 1: Philanthropic Narrative Shaping
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been involved in illegal and unethical research in developing countries
The Gates Foundation has been involved in a number of scandals involving illegal and unethical medical research and clinical trials of vaccines and drugs throughout the developing world.
In 2006, for example, Gates funds were used to help PATH—a global health nonprofit based in Gates’ hometown of Seattle—embark on a five-year project “to generate and disseminate evidence for informed public sector introduction of HPV vaccines.” In India, this project involved a “demonstration project” for GlaxoSmithKline’s and Merck’s HPV vaccines. The aim was to get those vaccines included on India’s national immunization schedule. The Hindu noted that this “shockingly unethical trial” involved flagrant breaches of basic ethical guidelines, including 2,800 cases of children being enrolled in the program by wardens or headmasters acting as “guardian.” The Indian parliament itself wrote a blistering report excoriating the parties involved for their violation of the human rights of the study’s participants.
Other shocking examples of Gates participation or funding in questionable or outright unethical trials include:
- The Gates-founded and funded Meningitis Vaccine Project, which led to the creation and testing of MenAfriVac, a $0.50-per-dose immunization against meningococcal meningitis. The tests led to reports of between 40 and 500 children suffering seizures and convulsions and eventually becoming paralyzed.
- The 2017 confirmation that the Gates-supported oral polio vaccine was actually responsible for the majority of new polio cases and the 2018 follow-up study showing that 80% of polio cases are now vaccine-derived.
- The 2018 paper in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, which concluded that over 490,000 people in India developed paralysis as a result of being given the oral polio vaccine between 2000 and 2017.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has practiced philanthropic racism throughout the developing world
Critics of the Gates Foundation have noted that its efforts to limit population growth (including Melinda Gates’ promotion of the highly controversial Depo Provera drug and other forms of injectable birth control) have centered primarily on nations in Africa and Latin America. The charge that focusing population control programs on these countries constitutes “philanthropic racism” is bolstered by the specter of eugenics. Indeed, the eugenics philosophy has hung like a dark cloud over the realm of corporate foundation philanthropy ever since these philanthropic vehicles were pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation and similar organizations at the turn of the 20th century.
Eugenics is a pseudoscientific rationale for racism and classism that was massively popular in the United States during the Progressive Era of the early 1900s. It holds that the rich and powerful are fit, by virtue of their superior genes, to rule over the “infirm” and “feebleminded” and those with “defective germplasm”—terms that were used to refer to the handicapped, the poor, ethnic minorities and common criminals.
As a field of study, eugenics was largely funded by the philanthropic foundations that the late-19th-century robber barons had founded as a tax-free shelter for their enormous wealth. The Rockefeller Foundation and the Carnegie Foundation in particular helped with significant cash infusions into the Eugenics Records Office and other key research facilities in the eugenic movement. This research led to the passage of involuntary sterilization laws across the US and even the T4 eugenic sterilization program in Nazi Germany.
After the name of eugenics was tarnished in the wake of World War II, many of the eugenics researchers continued their work under different names. Thus, many members of the American Eugenics Society took up work in the offices of John D. Rockefeller III’s Population Council, and Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control League—which had boasted prominent members of the American Eugenics Society on its board—morphed into Planned Parenthood, which was led for many years by a director of the American Eugenics Society, Alan Guttmacher. Bill Gates, Sr. also served on the board of Planned Parenthood, a fact that Gates cited as being influential in his early years as a population control advocate.
The shadow of eugenics and racism still hangs over the field of “population control” research, a stigma that the Gates Foundation has openly wrestled with in recent years.
Gates is helping to form a cashless payment and biometric identity grid
By now, the general public is used to seeing Gates as the public face of the coronavirus crisis. Mainstream media outlets have turned time and again to Gates for more information on the response to COVID-19 and the pressing need to vaccinate “basically the entire world” against SARS-Cov-2.
But, while Gates’ role in funding the global health field is by now well known, his role in funding other technologies that will shape the post-COVID world is not.
The Gates Foundation is tied to ID2020 through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Also known as the “Digital Identity Alliance,” ID2020 brings Gavi and Gates’ old company Microsoft and other corporate partners together to create a global digital ID system. This has led the Gates-tied Gavi alliance to focus increasingly on tying vaccine recipients with governmental digital health records and, ultimately, with biometric ID databases. Meanwhile, Gates himself has been a vocal advocate of India’s Aadhaar system, the ambitious project to enroll a billion Indian citizens in the largest biometric database ever constructed.
Gates is also interested in advancing the digitization of the economy. For example, he has addressed government fora in both India and the US about the benefits of digital payment systems. Also, the Gates Foundation helped co-found the Better Than Cash Alliance, a consortium of governmental and non-governmental organizations whose members are committed to creating a digital payment infrastructure for development programs and aid for the poor. This infrastructure, Gates and his cohorts argue, will help governments and aid groups to more effectively target and manage their aid.
But while the fields of global health, biometric identification and digital payments may seem distinct, they have begun to converge as governments and intergovernmental bodies start to imagine the “Great Reset” of the post-COVID “new normal.” Gates has argued that digital immunity certificates—combining the medical diagnostic field with the biometric identification field—will be necessary if life is to return to normal. That convergence is already reflected in the World Economic Forum-promoted “CovidPass” vision of a “health passport,” which would allow people to travel or prevent them from traveling based on their health status and proof of immunity or vaccination.
It does not take a great deal of imagination to see how such a health passport could be tied into the digital payment structure to prevent unvaccinated people from transacting in any number of situations that the authorities might frown upon. After all, Gates himself has touted the ability of governments to block transactions they disapprove of as a key part of the digital payments systems of the future.
This agenda does not begin and end with Bill Gates
Don’t let the hashtag in #ExposeBillGates fool you. True, you have seen in this article (and you will see when you watch the complete Who Is Bill Gates? documentary) that Bill Gates has played an integral role in almost every facet of the coronavirus pandemic and, more importantly, in the global response to it. But the point of #ExposeBillGates is not simply to stop one man, Bill Gates, from enacting this agenda and then to call it a day.
No, Bill Gates is merely the recognizable spider at the center of a web of organizations, institutions, corporations and government bodies that are acting in concert to transform the world as we know it. But these various bodies are all dedicated to the same vision of The Great Reset and the new normal that Bill Gates is, and they would continue to bring that vision about even if Bill Gates himself were somehow stopped.
There are many reasons to be concerned about this agenda and its implications. But even if we were to trust that Gates himself actually is a selfless philanthropist with the purest of intentions, no one should trust that the heads of the various groups, organizations, bodies, NGOs, foundations and governments who are spearheading this agenda are all similarly trustworthy. The amount of power that is being centralized in the hands of unaccountable institutions and nongovernmental bodies should be disturbing to anyone who understands the real danger of putting so much power in so few hands.
It is for this reason that people around the world are joining the #ExposeBillGates movement. They are seeking to draw attention to these issues, to work hand-in-hand with one another, and to begin a public discussion that will derail the agenda promoted by Gates and his fellow travelers.
If you share these concerns, please continue to research the information presented under the #ExposeBillGates hashtag and help spread this vital information far and wide. Together, we can make a difference.
Thank you in advance to all those members of The Corbett Report community who help to spread the word about this article and this information as part of their #ExposeBillGates day activism.
Feel free to spread the link to this article directly (corbettreport.com/exposebillgates/) or to repost this article, in whole or in part, to your own blog or website. Also, feel free to copy/paste any of this text into your own emails, flyers, social media posts or anywhere/everywhere else (with or without credit to me).
Please keep us informed of your #ExposeBillGates day efforts on this thread: https://www.corbettreport.com/interview-1566-derrick-broze-announces-exposebillgates-day-of-action-2/
And post any general news/information/discussion on the 2020 Summer Open Thread: https://www.corbettreport.com/summer-2020-open-thread/
Suggested further reading:
Contrary to popular belief, the “Swadeshi” Indian COVID-19 vaccine COVAXIN maker Bharat Biotech was backed since its inception by Bill Gates and the international pharma lobby. Bharat Biotech is the first Indian company to receive massive grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for vaccine against Rotavirus called Rotavac. The vaccine was given green light by the authorities even before its trials were complete and its efficacy is mired in controversy till today with cases pending in the Supreme Court.
Birth of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
As the story goes, in 1996, Bill Gates read an article in the New York Times that sparked his passion for health. That moment was one of the factors that led him to co-found the Gates Foundation with his wife, Melinda
The story was about a disease he’d never heard of: Rotavirus.
So, over the next twenty years, Bill Gates poured massive funding in a huge international collaboration between scientists and policy makers across the globe to create a vaccine for Rotavirus.
The Bill Gates’ vaccine for Rotavirus was called Rotavac.
The Rotavac vaccine made waves as a case study for global health solutions created with help from a network of international powers. It was created in India.
Birth of “Swadeshi” Bharat Biotech
The central figure in the story of Rotavac is Duncan Steele, a virologist who has spent the bulk of his 35-year career studying rotavirus. He has spent time working at the World Health Organization (WHO) and another of Bill Gates’ funded Seattle-based global health nonprofit PATH, which coordinated Rotavac’s development. He now works in vaccine development at the Gates Foundation.
Steele collaborated with scientists at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi to looks for a cure for Rotavirus.
They found a strain in children at AIIMS which acted like a natural vaccine.
In late 1990s, as part of Indo-US Vaccine Action Program (VAP), a group of scientists at the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. modified this rotavirus strain so that it could be used as the basis for a vaccine.
The only problem now was the mass-scale manufacturing of Rotavac. India was the primary target for the new vaccine, but there weren’t any vaccine manufacturers that could do the job.
Hence, massive funding was poured by the network of international powers to create a “Swadeshi” Indian vaccine company – aptly named Bharat Biotech.
Dr. Krishna Ella, a molecular biologist with no experience developing vaccines or treating viruses was roped in. Despite his lack of expertise in the field or maybe because of it, the pharma lobby believed he was the right person for the job.
Bharat Biotech was headquartered in an area outside Hyderabad known as Snake Valley. Now, the area is known as Genome Valley and is now home to labs and offices of global pharma companies like Merck, Roche, Johnson & Johnson and even Monsanto.
Rotavac – The Controversial Vaccine
Years before the Phase 3 trial was complete, Bill Gates and Dr. Krishna Ella signed a contract agreeing to price Rotavac at $1 a dose. Maybe, because the results of these trials were never made public or are still controversial.
The Rotavac vaccine showed only 56% efficacy in phase III clinical trial and yet it was given a green light by the authorities. Jacob Puliyel, head of the Department of Pediatrics, St. Stephen’s Hospital, Tis Hazari, Delhi raised serious concerns over the Rotavac controversy:
“Do you know another vaccine with 50% efficacy that is used for public health programs? It is a toss-up if the vaccine will work for you. If 100% [of the] population is vaccinated it will reduce 50% [of the] rotavirus deaths. What are the numbers needed to treat [to prevent one death]?”
“I think the fact that this [vaccine] was announced before peer review, [means] it will never be properly reviewed. That is the story that must come out.”
In fact, the government announcement came before the study was even officially completed. According to the clinical trials registry, the estimated study completion date is April 2014, with an estimated primary completion date of December 2013, both months away.
A PIL filed in the Supreme Court by S Srinivasan from LOCOST, a Vadodara-based company that produces low cost medicines for the poor, asked for release of the segregated data from the Rotavac trial. The PIL said:
“concealment of this vital data does severe injustice to the thousands of infants who participated in this study, the researchers who painstakingly conducted the trials, and the medical/scientific community who depend on this data for their work.”
This case is still pending. Meanwhile, the vaccine continues to be used without vaccine recipients being informed of the risks – a clear violation of basic ethics.
The lack of transparency of data in the rotavirus vaccine case boils down to the motives of making profits off the vaccines. Misrepresenting research findings, cherry picking data, and concealing adverse events in clinical trials have become more common and are almost unquestioned practices to this end.
International Backers of Bharat Biotech
Bharat Biotech became the first Indian company to receive two grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) to develop new vaccines against Malaria and Rotavirus.
The Gates Foundation, still a young philanthropy, made a pledge to fund Rotavac’s development and eventually put nearly $65 million into the project.
Again, in 2015, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation poured a whooping $18,500,000 grant into Bharat Biotech “to support construction of a manufacturing facility eligible for World Health Organization prequalification, thereby ensuring availability and access to second generation liquid rotavirus vaccine for India and Gavi-eligible countries.”
In 2012, Bharat Biotech received USD 4 Million ‘Strategic Translation Award’ from the British Wellcome Trust for clinical development of a new life-saving conjugate vaccine for Invasive Non-Typhoidal Salmonella (iNTS).
Bharat Biotech’s research for the Typhoid fever vaccine named Typbar TCV was supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the Wellcome Trust and other donors.
Swadeshi vs Videshi COVID-19 Vaccine
There is a ridiculous argument being purposefully floated by vested interests pitting the so called “Swadeshi Vaccine” vs the “Videshi Vaccine”. The fact of the matter is that both of these vaccines and their manufacturers are funded by the same pharma lobby. The only reason they are being touted as “Made in India” is because India is their primary target.
British led GAVI has managed to infiltrate India’s healthcare policy-making thereby gaining a strategic position to dictate India’s response to coronavirus.
GAVI is largely funded by the British government and Bill Gates. While the UK is GAVI’s largest funder, its implementation follows what is known as the” Gates approach”. Known as the Vaccine Cartel or Pharma Cartel by critics, its vaccines have been accused of causing atleast 38 million premature deaths worldwide.
There are currently no laws in India that would protect victims of the COVID-19 vaccine side-effects according to legal experts. There is no law for vaccine compensation in India.
Moreover, governments have signed secret agreements with coronavirus vaccine manufacturers as per which the pharma companies cannot be held legally in case of an adverse reaction to the vaccine or in worst case if a patient dies from the vaccine.
In contrast, the US government paid over $57 million in compensation for vaccine injuries and deaths till March 2020 alone.
Truth of the Pharma Cartel
The pharma lobby behind these COVID-19 vaccines are directly tied to British Eugenics Movement. The Wellcome Trust, GAVI and the Galton Institute, have direct longstanding ties to the UK Eugenics movement.
The latter organization, named for the “father of eugenics” Francis Galton, is the re-named UK Eugenics Society, a group notorious for its promotion of racist pseudoscience and efforts to “improve racial stock” by reducing the population of those deemed inferior for over a century.
The new “wider definition of eugenics,” Galton has said, “would cover methods of regulating population numbers as well as improving genome quality by selective artificial insemination by donor, gene therapy or gene manipulation of germ-line cells.”
These vaccines are created for the developing world, specifically India – the very same areas the pharma lobby has called for reducing population growth.
Population control is a British policy to reduce the population of former colonies like India through various sterilization projects and other policies implemented through the United Nations and popularised by Hollywood to effectively keep nations under the Anglo-American orbit.
Yes, Bill Gates Said That. Here’s the Proof
By CHD - 11. December 2020
Gates and his minions insist the billionaire never said we’d need digital vaccine passports. But in a June 2020 TED Talk, Gates said exactly that. Someone edited out the statement, but CHD tracked down the original.
Some chiseler altered Bill Gates’ June 2020 TED Talk to edit out his revealing prediction that we will all soon need digital vaccine passports (slide 1). But after considerable effort, we tracked down the original video (slide 2).
Gates’ minions on cable and network news, his public broadcasting, social media and fact-checker toadies all now insist that Gates never said such things. They say he never intended to track and trace us with subdermal chips or injected tattoos.
They dismiss such talk as “conspiracy theories.”
Well, here it is from the horse’s mouth.
In 2019, according to a not-yet-purged Scientific American article, Gates commissioned the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to build an injectable quantum dot dye system to tattoo stored medical info beneath children’s skin. The tattoo was designed to be readable by an iPhone app.
Gates’ company, Microsoft, has patented a sinister technology that uses implanted chips with sensors that will monitor body and brain activity. It promises to reward compliant humans with crypto currency payments when they perform assigned activities.
Gates also invested approximately $20 million in MicroCHIPS, a company that makes chip-based devices, including birth-control implant chips with wireless on/off switches for remote-controlled drug-delivery by medical authorities.
In July 2019, months before the COVID pandemic, Gates bought 3.7M shares of Serco, a military contractor with U.S. and UK government contracts to track and trace pandemic infections and vaccine compliance.
To facilitate our transition to his surveillance society, Gates invested $1 billion in EarthNow, which promises to blanket the globe in 5G video surveillance satellites. EarthNow will launch 500 satellitesallowing governments and large enterprises to live-stream monitor almost every “corner” of the Earth, providing instantaneous video feedback with one-second delay.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also acquired 5.3 million shares of Crown Castle, which owns 5G spy antennas including more than 40,000 cell towers and 65,000 small cells.
Please make your own copy of these clips — as Gates’ power to disappear inconvenient facts is expanding every digital day.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s reputation as a resolute defender of the environment stems from a litany of successful legal actions.
By James Corbett • 08/08/2020
via Spiro Skouras: Bill Gates was recently asked by Yahoo Business what he would do if he were president of the United States. In this interview James Corbett of CorbettReport.com joins Spiro to ask the very same question, only to arrive at a much different conclusion.
Spiro BitChute channel
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Under Investigation
•Apr 18, 2020
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is under investigation. John Iadarola and Tim Schwab break it down on The Damage Report.
Last fall, Netflix premiered a three-part documentary that promises viewers a rare look at the inner life of one of history’s most controversial businessmen. Over three hours, Inside Bill’s Brain shows us a rare emotional side to Bill Gates as he processes the loss of his mother and the death of his estranged best friend and Microsoft cofounder, Paul Allen.
Mostly, though, the film reinforces the image many of us already had of the ambitious technologist, insatiable brainiac, and heroic philanthropist. Inside Bill’s Brain falls into a common trap: attempting to understand the world’s second-richest human by interviewing people in his sphere of financial influence.
In the first episode, director Davis Guggenheim underlines Gates’s expansive intellect by interviewing Bernie Noe, described as a friend of Gates.
“That’s a gift, to read 150 pages an hour,” says Noe. “I’m going to say it’s 90 percent retention. Kind of extraordinary.”
Guggenheim doesn’t tell audiences that Noe is the principal of Lakeside School, a private institution to which the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has given $80 million. The filmmaker also doesn’t mention the extraordinary conflict of interest this presents: The Gateses used their charitable foundation to enrich the private school their children attend, which charges students $35,000 a year.
Illustration by Jason Seiler.
The documentary’s blind spots are all the more striking in light of the timing of its release, just as news was trickling out that Bill Gates met multiple times with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to discuss collaborating on charitable activities, from which Epstein stood to generate millions of dollars in management fees. Though the collaboration never materialized, it nonetheless illustrates the moral hazards surrounding the Gates Foundation’s $50 billion charitable enterprise, whose sprawling activities over the last two decades have been subject to remarkably little government oversight or public scrutiny.
While the efforts of fellow billionaire philanthropist Michael Bloomberg to use his wealth to win the presidency foundered amid intense media criticism, Gates has proved there is a far easier path to political power, one that allows unelected billionaires to shape public policy in ways that almost always generate favorable headlines: charity.
The billionaire class: Warren Buffett (left) and Bill Gates, two of the Gates Foundation’s three trustees, sharing a laugh. (Jeff Christensen / WireImage)
When Gates announced in 2008 that he would step away from Microsoft to focus his efforts on philanthropy, he described his intention to work with and through the private sector to deliver public-goods products and technologies, in the same way that Microsoft’s computer software expanded horizons and created economic opportunities. Describing his approach by turns as “creative capitalism” and “catalytic philanthropy,” Gates oversaw a shift at his foundation to leverage “all the tools of capitalism” to “connect the promise of philanthropy with the power of private enterprise.”
The result has been a new model of charity in which the most direct beneficiaries are sometimes not the world’s poor but the world’s wealthiest, in which the goal is not to help the needy but to help the rich help the needy.
Through an investigation of more than 19,000 charitable grants the Gates Foundation has made over the last two decades, The Nation has uncovered close to $2 billion in tax-deductible charitable donations to private companies—including some of the largest businesses in the world, such as GlaxoSmithKline, Unilever, IBM, and NBC Universal Media—which are tasked with developing new drugs, improving sanitation in the developing world, developing financial products for Muslim consumers, and spreading the good news about this work.
The Gates Foundation even gave $2 million to Participant Media to promote Davis Guggenheim’s previous documentary film Waiting for Superman, which pushes one of the foundation’s signature charity efforts, charter schools—privately managed public schools. This charitable donation is a small part of the $250 million the foundation has given to media companies and other groups to influence the news.
“It’s been a quite unprecedented development, the amount that the Gates Foundation is gifting to corporations…. I find that flabbergasting, frankly,” says Linsey McGoey, a professor of sociology at the University of Essex and author of the book No Such Thing as a Free Gift. “They’ve created one of the most problematic precedents in the history of foundation giving by essentially opening the door for corporations to see themselves as deserving charity claimants at a time when corporate profits are at an all-time high.”
McGoey’s research has anecdotally highlighted charitable grants the Gates Foundation has made to private companies, such as a $19 million donation to a Mastercard affiliate in 2014 to “increase usage of digital financial products by poor adults” in Kenya. The credit card giant had already articulated its keen business interest in cultivating new clients from the developing world’s 2.5 billion unbanked people, McGoey says, so why did it need a wealthy philanthropist to subsidize its work? And why are Bill and Melinda Gates getting a tax break for this donation?
The Nation found close to $250 million in charitable grants from the Gates Foundation to companies in which the foundation holds corporate stocks and bonds: Merck, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Vodafone, Sanofi, Ericsson, LG, Medtronic, Teva, and numerous start-ups—with the grants directed at projects like developing new drugs and health monitoring systems and creating mobile banking services.
The Gates Foundation did not respond to specific questions about its work with the private sector, nor would it provide its own accounting of how much money it has given to for-profit companies, saying that “many grants are implemented through a mixture of non-profit and for-profit partners, making it difficult to evaluate exact spending.”
At business-friendly events, however, Bill Gates openly promotes his foundation’s work with companies. In speeches delivered at the American Enterprise Institute and Microsoft in 2013 and ‘14, he trumpeted the lives his foundation was saving—in one speech he said 10 million, in another 6 million—through “partnerships with pharmaceutical companies.”
Yet the foundation is doing more than simply partnering with companies: It is subsidizing their research costs, opening up markets for their products, and bankrolling their bottom lines in ways that, by and large, have never been publicly examined—even as you and I, dear reader, are subsidizing this work.
Bill Gates frequently boasts about having paid more taxes—$10 billion—than anyone else. That may or may not be true; the Gates Foundation would not release his tax forms or provide any substantiating information. But he may also end up avoiding more taxes than anyone else, through charitable giving.
By Bill and Melinda Gates’s estimations, they have seen an 11 percent tax savings on their $36 billion in charitable donations through 2018, resulting in around $4 billion in avoided taxes. The foundation would not provide any documentation related to this number, and independent estimates from tax scholars like Ray Madoff, a law professor at Boston College, indicate that multibillionaires see tax savings of at least 40 percent—which, for Bill Gates, would amount to $14 billion—when you factor in the tax benefits that charity offers to the superrich: avoidance of capital gains taxes (normally 15 percent) and estate taxes (40 percent on everything over $11.58 million, which in Gates’s case is a lot).
Madoff, like many tax experts, stresses that these billions of dollars in tax savings have to be seen as a public subsidy—money that otherwise would have gone to the US Treasury to help build bridges, do medical research, or close the funding gap at the IRS (which has resulted in fewer audits of billionaires). If Bill and Melinda Gates don’t pay their full freight in taxes, the public has to make up the difference or simply live in a world where governments do less and less (educating, vaccinating, and researching) and superrich philanthropists do more and more.
Naturally, Big Philanthropy has special interest groups pushing back on the creation of such rules. The Philanthropy Roundtable defends the wealthiest Americans’ “freedom to give,” describing itself as fighting the “increasing pressures from some public officials and advocacy groups to subject private philanthropies to more uniform standards and stricter government regulation.”
At a certain point, however, the Philanthropy Roundtable seems primarily to serve the private interests of billionaires like the Gateses and Koch who use charity to influence public policy, with limited oversight and substantial public subsidies. It’s unclear how the Philanthropy Roundtable’s work contributes to the Gates Foundation’s charitable missions “to help all people live healthy, productive lives” and “to empower the poorest in society so they can transform their lives.”
While there is no credible argument that Bill and Melinda Gates use charity primarily as a vehicle to enrich themselves or their foundation, it is difficult to ignore the occasions where their charitable activities seem to serve mainly private interests, including theirs—supporting the schools their children attend, the companies their foundation partly owns, and the special interest groups that defend wealthy Americans—while generating billions of dollars in tax savings.
Philanthropy has also delivered a public relations coup for Bill Gates, dramatically transforming his reputation as one of the most cutthroat CEOs to one of the most admired people on earth. And his model of charity, influence, and absolution is inspiring a new era of controversial tech billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos, who have begun giving away their billions, sometimes working directly with Gates.
Gates was already one of the richest humans on earth in 2008, but he was also an embattled billionaire, still licking his wounds from a series of legal battles around the monopolistic business practices that made him so extravagantly wealthy—and that compelled Microsoft to pay billions of dollars in fines and settlements.
Gates did not respond to multiple requests for interviews, but in a recent Q&A with The Wall Street Journal, he revisited his legal face-off with antitrust regulators, saying, “I can still explain to you why the government was completely wrong, but that’s really old news at this point. For me personally, it did accelerate my move into that next phase, two to five years sooner, of shifting my focus over to the foundation.”
Gates’s view of Microsoft as the victim of overzealous antitrust regulations may help explain the laissez-faire ethos driving his charitable giving. His foundation has given money to groups that push for industry-friendly government policies and regulation, including the Drug Information Association (directed by Big Pharma) and the International Life Sciences Institute (funded by Big Ag). He has also funded nonprofit think tanks and advocacy groups that want to limit the role of government or direct its resources toward helping business interests, like the American Enterprise Institute ($6.8 million), the American Farm Bureau Foundation ($300,000), the American Legislative Exchange Council ($220,000), and organizations associated with the US Chamber of Commerce ($15.5 million).
Between 2011 and 2014 the Gates Foundation gave roughly $100 million to InBloom, an educational technology initiative that dissolved in controversy around privacy issues and its collection of personal data and information about students. To Diane Ravitch, a professor of education at New York University, InBloom illustrates the way Gates is “working to push technology in classrooms, to replace teachers with computers.”
“That affects Microsoft’s bottom line,” Ravitch observes. “However, I’ve never made that argument…. [The foundation] is not looking to make money from this business. They have an ideological interest in free markets.”
Education isn’t the only area where Gates’s ideological interests overlap with his financial interests. Microsoft’s bottom line is heavily dependent on patent protections for its software, and the Gates Foundation has been a strong and consistent supporter of intellectual property rights, including for the pharmaceutical companies with which it works closely. These patent protections are widely criticized for making lifesaving drugs prohibitively expensive, particularly in the developing world.
“He uses his philanthropy to advance a pro-patent agenda on pharmaceutical drugs, even in countries that are really poor,” says longtime Gates critic James Love, the director of the nonprofit Knowledge Ecology International. “Gates is sort of the right wing of the public-health movement. He’s always trying to push things in a pro-corporate direction. He’s a big defender of the big drug companies. He’s undermining a lot of things that are really necessary to make drugs affordable to people that are really poor. It’s weird because he gives so much money to [fight] poverty, and yet he’s the biggest obstacle on a lot of reforms.”
Doing well while doing good: The Gates Foundation’s sprawling work with for-profit companies has created a welter of conflicts of interest. (Pius Utomi Ekpei / AFP via Getty Images)
The Gates Foundation’s sprawling work with for-profit companies has created a welter of conflicts of interest, in which the foundation, its three trustees (Bill and Melinda Gates and Buffett), or their companies could be seen as financially benefiting from the group’s charitable activities.
Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has billions of dollars in investments in companies that the foundation has helped over the years, including Mastercard and Coca-Cola. Bill Gates long sat on the board of directors at Berkshire, announcing his departure just last week, and he and his foundation together hold billions of dollars of equity stake in the investment firm.
The foundation’s work also appears to overlap with Microsoft’s, to which Gates, in recent years, has devoted one-third of his workweek. (Gates announced last week he would be stepping down from the company’s board, but remain involved with the company as a technology advisor). The Gates Foundation’s $200 million program to improve public libraries partnered with Microsoft to donate the company’s software, prompting criticism that the donations were aimed at “seeding the market” for Microsoft products and “lubricating future sales.” Elsewhere, Microsoft is investing money studying mosquitoes to help predict disease outbreaks, working with the same researchers as the foundation. Both projects involve creating sophisticated robots and traps to collect and analyze mosquitoes.
“The foundation and Microsoft are separate entities, and our work is wholly unrelated to Microsoft,” a Gates Foundation spokesperson says.
In 2002, The Wall Street Journal reported that Gates and the Gates Foundation’s endowment made new investments in Cox Communications at the same time that Microsoft was in discussion with Cox about a variety of business deals. Tax experts raised questions about self-dealing, noting that foundations can lose their tax-exempt status if they are found to be using charity for personal gain. The IRS would not comment on whether it investigated, saying, “Federal law prohibits us from discussing specific taxpayers or organizations.”
“It’s hard to draw the line between a) Microsoft; b) his own personal wealth and investment; and c) the foundation,” says consumer advocate Ralph Nader, one of Microsoft’s fiercest critics in the 1990s. “There’s been very inadequate media scrutiny of all that.”
The foundation’s clearest conflicts of interest may be the grants it gives to for-profit companies in which it holds investments—large corporations like Merck and Unilever. A foundation spokesperson said it tries to avoid this kind of financial conflict but that doing so is difficult because its investment and charitable arms are firewalled from one another to keep their activities strictly separate. Bill and Melinda Gates are trustees of both entities, however, making it difficult to draw a sharp line between the two.
And in some places, the Gates Foundation explicitly marries its investing and charitable activities. Gates’s “strategic investment fund,” which the foundation says is designed to advance its philanthropic goals, not to generate investment income, includes a $7 million equity stake in the start-up company AgBiome, whose other investors include the agrochemical companies Monsanto and Syngenta. The foundation also gave the company $20 million in charitable grants to develop pesticides for African farmers. Similarly, the foundation has a $50 million stake in Intarcia and an $8 million investment in Just Biotherapeutics, to which it gave $25 million and $32 million in charitable grants, respectively, for work related to HIV and malaria. At one point, the foundation held a 48 percent stake in an HIV diagnostic company called Zyomyx, to which it previously awarded millions of dollars in charitable grants.
A league of their own: Bill Gates Sr. (left) and his son prepare to throw out the first pitch for the Seattle Mariners in 2013. (Elaine Thompson / AP)
Asked about these apparent conflicts of interest, the foundation says that grants and investments “are simply two tools the foundation uses as appropriate to further its charitable objectives.”
When Gates began his foundation in 1994, he put his father, Bill Gates Sr., in charge. A prominent lawyer in Seattle, Gates Sr. was also a civic leader and, later, a public advocate on issues related to income inequality.
Working with Chuck Collins, an heir to the Oscar Mayer fortune who gave away much of his inheritance during his 20s, Gates Sr. helped organize a successful national campaign in the late 1990s and early 2000s to build political power around preserving the estate tax, the taxes levied against the assets of the wealthy after they die.
In interviews Gates Sr. gave at the time (he has Alzheimer’s disease now and was not contacted for an interview), his advocacy work seemed designed not to generate tax revenues but to inspire philanthropy.
“A wealthy person has an absolute choice as to whether they pay the [estate] tax or whether they give their wealth to their university or their church or their foundation,” he told journalist Bill Moyers.
That’s because when the rich give away their wealth, they reduce the assets that the estate tax targets. But such an arrangement, whereby the wealthiest Americans get to decide for themselves whether they want to pay taxes or donate their money to charity—including to groups that influence government policy—sounds like a peak example of tone-deaf privilege. In many respects, that’s how the tax system works for the superrich.
“The richer you are, the more choice you have between those two,” says Collins, who today works on income inequality at the nonprofit Institute for Policy Studies.
For some billionaire philanthropists, it may be less of a choice than an entitlement. Buffett and Gates have recruited hundreds of millionaires and billionaires to sign the Giving Pledge, a promise to donate most of their wealth to charity, which some signatories explicitly cite as an alternative to paying taxes.
According to Collins, Bill Gates Sr. had a nuanced view that included limiting billionaires’ tax benefits.
“He said to me…it’s a problem that his son is going to give—at the time, it was like $80 billion—to the foundation and never have to pay taxes on any of that wealth,” Collins recalls. “His view was that there should be a cap on the lifetime amount of wealth that could be given to charity where you get a deduction.”
Around the time that Collins and Gates Sr. were putting pressure on Congress to make sure the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, the younger Gates was running a multinational company aggressively looking for tax breaks. According to the assessor’s office for King County, which includes Seattle, Microsoft has filed 402 appeals on its property taxes. Likewise, a 2012 Senate investigation examined Microsoft’s aggressive use of offshore subsidiaries to save the company billions of dollars in taxes. And The Seattle Times reported that Microsoft spent decades creating lucrative, tax-reducing barriers around corporate profits.
Bill Gates, nevertheless, has managed to become a leading—and seemingly progressive—public voice on tax policy. Every year around tax time, he and Buffett make media appearances decrying how little they pay in taxes, calling on Congress to raise taxes on the wealthy. At times, however, they advocate policies that may not actually touch their wealth, such as promoting the estate tax, which they will likely avoid through charitable donations.
Gates, along with a growing chorus of billionaires, has also used his public platform to push back on a proposed wealth tax, supported by both Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. A wealth tax would take a percentage of a billionaire’s assets every year, limiting the accumulation of wealth—and possibly the amount of money spent on philanthropy. Gates counters that charity work reduces income inequality.
“Philanthropy done well not only produces direct benefits for society, it also reduces dynastic wealth,” he wrote on his blog, GatesNotes.
When the Gates foundation has faced criticism in regard to its endowment—including investments in prisons, fast food, the arms industry, pharmaceutical companies, and fossil fuels—conflicting with its charitable mission to improve health and well-being, Gates has pushed back in black-and-white terms, calling divestment a “false solution” that will have “zero” impact.
The Gates Foundation’s investments are not an insignificant part of its charitable efforts. Its $50 billion endowment has generated $28.5 billion in investment income over the last five years. During the same period, the foundation has given away only $23.5 billion in charitable grants.
In 2007, in one of the few investigative journalism series ever published about the foundation, the Los Angeles Times profiled the foundation’s investments in mortgage lenders involved in subprime loans and for-profit hospitals accused of performing unneeded surgeries. The Times also noted the foundation’s investments in chocolate companies that depend on cocoa production using child labor.
The Gates Foundation spokesperson says it “does not comment on specific investment decisions or holdings,” but did note that the “sole purpose” of its endowment is “to provide income to support the Foundation’s mission and to be capable to do so over the long term.”
The Gates Foundation’s endowment currently has an $11.5 billion stake in Berkshire Hathaway, which in turn has $32 million invested in the chocolate company Mondelez, which has been criticized in relation to the use of child labor. The foundation made $32.5 million in charitable donations to the World Cocoa Foundation, an industry group whose members include Mondelez, for a project to improve farmer livelihoods. The project doesn’t appear to address child labor.
The tax reform act of 1969 created special rules to limit the influence that wealthy philanthropists could exercise through private foundations—in theory ensuring they produce public benefits rather than serve private interests.
In practice, these rules give wealthy donors like Bill and Melinda Gates enormous latitude in their philanthropic activities. For example, when it comes to self-dealing, the IRS prohibits only the most egregious conflicts of interest, such as foundations awarding grants to companies controlled by board members. Likewise, IRS rules broadly allow charitable donations to for-profit companies, as long as the foundations keep paperwork showing that the money was used to advance their charitable missions.
But because the Gates Foundation views market-based solutions and private-sector innovation as public goods, the line between charity and business can be indistinguishable. Sociologist Linsey McGoey says, “They’ve defined their charitable mission so broadly and loosely that literally any for-profit company could be said to be meeting the Gates Foundation’s general goal of improving social and global well-being.”
The IRS’s oversight of private foundations is constrained by recent budget cuts and its limited mandate to collect taxes from nonprofits like the Gates Foundation, which are largely free from paying them.
“If you’re the IRS commissioner and you’re given a finite sum to spend on the agency, and your job is to make sure the US Treasury has money in it, you are going to give a token nod to tax-exempt organizations,” says Marc Owens, a former director of the IRS’s tax-exempt division who is now in private practice. “One [IRS] agent looking at restaurants in Washington or New York City is going to generate a lot of money…. One agent looking at private foundations will probably pay their salary, but it’s not going to bring in tax dollars.”
Reputation repair: Bill and Melinda Gates leaving court after testifying in the 2002 Microsoft antitrust trial. They have become known as famous philanthropists rather than corporate predators. (Kenneth Lambert / AP)
According to IRS statistics, there are around 100,000 private foundations in the United States, housing close to $1 trillion in assets. However, foundations generally pay a tax rate of only 1 or 2 percent, and the IRS reports auditing, at most, 263 foundations in 2018.
State attorneys general can exercise oversight of private foundations, as the New York attorney general’s office did in 2018 when it investigated Donald Trump’s private foundation, which shut down amid allegations that he used it for his personal benefit. The Gates Foundation’s location in Seattle gives the state of Washington purview over its charitable work, but the state attorney general’s office there says it did not have full-time staff dedicated to investigating charitable activities until 2014, a decade after the foundation became the largest philanthropy in the world. The Washington AG’s office would not comment on whether it has ever investigated the Gates Foundation.
Bill Gates’s outsize charitable giving—$36 billion to date—has created a blinding halo effect around his philanthropic work, as many of the institutions best placed to scrutinize his foundation are now funded by Gates, including academic think tanks that churn out uncritical reviews of its charitable efforts and news outlets that praise its giving or pass on investigating its influence.
In the absence of outside scrutiny, this private foundation has had far-reaching effects on public policy, pushing privately run charter schools into states where courts and voters have rejected them, using earmarked funds to direct the World Health Organization to work on the foundation’s global health agenda, and subsidizing Merck’s and Bayer’s entry into developing countries. Gates, who routinely appears on the Forbes list of the world’s most powerful people, has proved that philanthropy can buy political influence.
Gates’s personal wealth is greater today than ever before, around $100 billion, and at only 64 years of age, he may have decades left to donate this money, picking up a Nobel Prize along the way or—who knows?—a presidential nomination. The same could be said of Melinda Gates, who, at 55, recently took a big step into public life with a highly publicized book tour.
But it’s also possible that a day of reckoning is coming for Big Philanthropy, Bill Gates, and the growing number of billionaires following his footsteps into charity.
Economists, politicians, and journalists continue to put a spotlight on billionaires who aren’t paying their fair share of taxes but who shape politics through campaign contributions and lobbying. Charity is seldom regarded as a tax-avoiding tool of influence, but if income inequality continues to gain attention, there is simply no way to avoid asking tough questions of Big Philanthropy. Do billionaire philanthropists have too much power, with too little public accountability or transparency? Should the wealthiest Americans have carte blanche to spend their wealth any way they want?
It may seem like a radical proposition to challenge the ability or desire of multibillionaires to give away their fortunes, but such scrutiny has a historical precedent in mainstream politics. One hundred years ago, when oil baron John D. Rockefeller asked Congress to provide him with a charter to start a private foundation, his ambitions were soundly rejected as an anti-democratic power grab. As Theodore Roosevelt said at the time, “No amount of charities in spending such fortunes can compensate in any way for the misconduct in acquiring them.”
Editor’s note: this post has been updated.
Tim Schwab is a freelance journalist based in Washington, DC, whose investigation into the Gates Foundation was part of a 2019 Alicia Patterson Foundation fellowship.