A recent press release announces a new partnership between the World Health Organization (WHO) and the multibillion-dollar Rockefeller Foundation. Stating that the aim is to strengthen the WHO’s so-called ‘Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence,’ it describes how the Rockefellers are investing $5 million in “partners working with the WHO,” apparently with the goal to “cultivate global networks for pathogen detection and strengthen pandemic preparedness capabilities.” Adding to the $27 million the Rockefeller organization has already pumped into the WHO over the past two decades, the tie-up illustrates how the global health body has become dependent on funding from corporate and philanthrocapitalist sources.
Founded in 1913 by oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, his son John D. Rockefeller Jr., and their chief philanthropic and financial lieutenant Frederick T. Gates, the Rockefeller Foundation claims to be seeking “a better use of science and data…through collaboration with broad and diverse partners.” Its reliance on the word “better” is controversial, however, as in 2020 it committed to spending $1 billion on pandemic recovery projects that included channeling money into COVID-19 vaccines.
During the pandemic the Rockefeller Foundation openly celebrated the announcement, emergency use authorization, and approval of Pfizer’s experimental mRNA vaccine. In reality, however, not only can mRNA vaccines have potentially devastating side effects, including death, some of the study data claimed to have been obtained from trials testing the Pfizer vaccine are alleged to be falsified.
Using words echoing those of the notorious Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, has openly asserted that “There’s no going back to the past, to before-Covid.” Just as they were in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century when John D. Rockefeller built Standard Oil into one of the world’s largest multinational corporations, the Rockefellers today remain closely wedded to the idea that corporate and private wealth can be a major influence on government policy.
In recent years this influence has been extended to include international non-governmental organizations, such as the WHO and other agencies of the United Nations. For the year ended 31 December, 2021, the WHO’s General Fund received a total of almost $1.4 billion in donations from the multinational corporate sector, private foundations, and related non-state bodies. The Rockefeller Foundation itself has a 75-year history of involvement with the WHO.
The largest donor to the WHO’s General Fund is currently Germany, a major drug and vaccine exporting country, which gave a whopping $605 million for the year ended 31 December, 2021. The fund’s second largest donor was the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which gave $375 million. When it comes to dictating global health policy, he who pays the piper calls the tune.
With its open mention of “partners working with the WHO,” the Rockefeller press release illustrates that the global health body is no longer even trying to hide its relationship with the corporate world. The release specifically describes how the WHO’s ‘Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence’ facilitates “a global collaboration of partners from multiple sectors to address future pandemic and epidemic risks.”
Not by accident, therefore, the hub turns out to be established in Berlin, Germany. Home to pharmaceutical multinationals including Bayer, Merck, and Boehringer Ingelheim, Germany is one of the world’s largest drug exporting countries. As and when the much-trumpeted ‘next pandemic’ arrives, German drug and vaccine makers will be ideally situated to benefit from it.
The Rockefeller family has a long history of wanting to ensure medicine principally serves capitalist society and that it is controlled by wealthy foundations independent from governments. As E. Richard Brown describes in his classic 1979 book, ‘Rockefeller Medicine Men: Medicine and Capitalism in America,’ the organizing of US healthcare into a business controlled by powerful interest groups would not have happened without the money and influence of wealthy industrialists such as John D. Rockefeller and steel magnate Andrew Carnegie.
Seen in this light, the Rockefeller Foundation’s recent tie-up with the WHO is nothing new. It is simply the latest episode in a more than century-long history of corporate and philanthrocapitalist interests putting human diseases at the mercy of profit. After three years in which they have been confined to their homes, forced to wear face masks, and injected with experimental vaccines, the people of the world deserve better.