Mai 27, 2020 | Ten years ago, the rich and powerful Rockefeller Foundation played through and favorably described a scenario in which a pandemic would lead to autocratic forms of government with total surveillance and control of citizens. Now it has published a pandemic plan to make this scenario a reality.
According to the preamble by the President of the Foundation, it took two weeks to set up and edit this plan, implicating a large number of “experts and decision-makers from academia, business, politics and government – across industries and political ideologies” and publish it in glossy on April 21, 2020, under the title “National Covid-19 Testing Action Plan: Pragmatic steps to reopen our workplaces and our communities”.
Two weeks seems a very short time for such a comprehensive work with allegedly many contributors and about 25 signers. However, the Foundation had ten years to prepare for this moment. So it wasn’t a hollow phrase in the 2010 publication, which already included the “Lock-Step” pandemic response scenario, telling decision-makers in foundations: ” Scenarios are designed to stretch our thinking about both the opportunities and obstacles that the future might hold; they explore, through narrative, events and dynamics that might alter, inhibit, or enhance current trends, often in surprising ways.”.
In the current brochure, the Rockefeller Foundation proposes, along with other recommendations, to form a Pandemic Testing Board, modelled on the War Production Board, which was an agency of the US to supervise and plan war production during World War II. This new powerful technocratic council is designed to consist of nine representatives from business, government, acadimia, universities and labor, and the order seems not to be random. Microsoft and Google are probably at the top of the list of candidates for this council.
The name of one of the four authors of the proposal caught my eye immediately: E. Glen Weyl, techno-libertarian market radical, Microsoft research manager and long-time campaigner for the legalisation and reintroduction of debt bondage, precisely for migrants.
Another author is Ganesh Sitaraman, professor of law at Vanderbilt University and former researcher at the “Counterinsurgency Training Centre” in Afghanistan. The third is Julius Krein, former hedge fund manager and head of the right-wing nationalist journal American Affairs, which emerged from the Journal of American Greatness. The renowned ethics professor Danielle Allen is allowed to dilute a bit this toxic cocktail of authors.
In wartime, anything goes
As in wartime, the Pandemic Board should have the power to confiscate and order the production of whatever is needed to achieve testing capacity in a short time, a capacity to test so many people a day that the majority of Americans, and possibly the entire world population, can be tested for Covid-19 on a weekly basis. This, it is said, is necessary to get the economy back on track.
Congruously, the state should guarantee test providers a fair price, “e.g. $100” per test. Where companies invest, governments are to relieve them from any risk for their great profit prospect by a guarantee to order tests.
A pandemic corps of 300,000 testers and contact tracers will have to perform police-like tasks towards a reluctant population – even if the latter is not stated explicitly in the brochure -, because “the infection status must be known for people to participate in many societal functions “. In other words: Those who cannot prove that they are corona-free will not be allowed to go to work and even less to participate in social life.
In order to “enable more complete contact tracing”, apps and tracking software should be used as extensively as possible, recording and reporting who is close to whom.
The foundation innocently writes that laws must be passed to prevent dismissal due to infection. As if that had even the slightest chance of happening in a country where in many states you can be dismissed for any reason with two weeks’ notice, including when you are being called up for jury duty.
The global unique ID under a new name
The brochure also promotes the plan to introduce a globally unique identification number for everyone, which the Rockefeller Foundation has already been busy pushing forward with the ID2020 total surveillance project, but now under the name “unique patient identification number”. Everyone is declared a patient here.
This unique “patient” number will provide information on the viral status, antibody status and finally the vaccination status of each citizen. But not only that. The database is to be a hyper database that will be linked to pretty much any other database with personal information, from attendance lists in schools, passenger lists of any kind of transport, or ticket sales at events. Of course, privacy is to be preserved. What else?
In order to identify populations at risk and to achieve performant contact tracing and decision support, powerful analytical tools must operate across any such platform of data. Existing obstacles in accessing and collating data by such analysis instruments (i.e. artificial intelligence) need urgently be removed. Recent progress towards this goal through new regulation is praised.
Artificial intelligence requires mass data
This directly points to a presentation by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) of last year. This commission, chaired by former Google boss, raises alarm by this presentation, that the USA will lose its global dominance if it does not succeed, in making available large masses of data to AI companies, including from the health sector, without regard for data protection, to train their analysis systems, like China is already doing.
But it is not supposed to end with testing and contact tracking. The stated hope is, that through intensive use of data and artificial intelligence, it will be possible to predict where the disease will occur more frequently. For this purpose, any data available should be used: data from the health care system, data from the monitoring of social media, mobility data (!), data from fit-bits, smart phones, smart thermometers and other digital gadgets, and population will voluntarily – on opt-in – allow for. All this data should be gathered on a common digital platform (database or data lake). In compliance with data protection regulation, of course. Stay serious.
This is not intended to be total surveillance for its own sake, off course, it’s just needed for anticipating possible bottlenecks in test capacities in the near future. Proposing this is worse than taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
Shifting the discourse is the target
No one should be deceived if the Foundation’s technocratic monitoring fantasy is not being implemented in this form, at least not on short term. That is not the point. The point of these advances is to shift and expand the space of discourse, the spectrum of what may be discussed.
Taking advantage ofthe favourable opportunity of the pandemic to raise such extreme proposals, is a test of whether the public opinion accepts this without getting upset. If it does, the main goal has already been achieved and the space of discourse is shifted. And that indeed it has. The US media, such as Forbes and CNBC reported on the initiative in a friendly manner as if it was something perfectly appropriate, not the outrageous tech-dictatorship fantasy that it is.
Further to this, all the somewhat less extreme single measures that can actually be implemented and that would have formerly stirred an uproar, suddenly appear as moderate innovations. For example, the agreements made by New York Governor Mario Cuomo with Google’s ex-chief Eric Schmidt and with Bill Gates that the latter would provide him with a completely digital reinvention of New York and its educational system.
As a conclusion, let me quote the (translated) conclusion from il manifesto, to which there is nothing to add:
“In short, this is the plan that the Rockefeller Foundation wants to implement in the United States and beyond. If it were to be implemented even partially, it would lead to a further concentration of economic and political power in the hands of even smaller elites, to the detriment of a growing majority that would be deprived of basic democratic rights. This operation is being carried out in the name of “control of Covid-19”, whose mortality rate, according to official figures, is so far less than 0.03% of the US population. The Rockefeller Foundation Plan uses the virus as a real weapon, more dangerous than Covid-19 itself.
Translated by Thomas Teichmann with support from www.DeepL.com. My thanks go to both. The original German blogpost was published on May 23.