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How The FDA Responds When Asked To Prove That It’s Safe To Inject Mercury (Thimerosal) Into Babies

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By Lyn Redwood, RN, MSN, Executive Director, World Mercury Project 

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Background: Peter Patriarca, an FDA employee, admitted back in 1999, in a confidential e-mail obtained through FOIA, that, “… the greatest point of vulnerability on this issue is that the systematic review of thimerosal in vaccines by the FDA could have been done years ago and on an ongoing basis as the childhood immunization schedule became more complex.  The calculations done by FDA are not complex. I’m not sure if there will be an easy way out of the potential perception that the FDA, CDC and immunization policy bodies may have been “asleep at the switch” re: thimerosal until now”. 

Since 1999, an entire generation of children both in the US and internationally has continued to be exposed to thimerosal – and it is time for this to stop.  Nobody should be exposed to a known neurotoxin.

The Ongoing Saga: On March 30, 2017, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and the World Mercury Project (WMP) team met with the Director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) Dr. Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D. and his colleagues to discuss the agency’s ongoing refusal to ban thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, from vaccines in the United States. CBER is the division of the FDA responsible for approving and monitoring the safety of all biological products, including vaccines, allergenic products, blood and blood products, and cellular, tissue, and gene therapies.

At the meeting, we presented a large amount of research showing the toxicity of thimerosal in humans, animals and cellular models, including at levels similar to those resulting from vaccine exposures.  We expressed our alarm regarding the total lack of adequate safety testing of thimerosal prior to licensure, especially given its current use in vaccines approved for infants and pregnant women and its worldwide use in millions of vaccines given to children, particularly in developing countries.  Dr. Marks promised to look over the studies and seriously consider our concerns.

After many months of back and forth emails, Dr. Marks sent a letter to us on July 11th that didn’t even look like he was in the same meeting. World Mercury Project was dismayed by CBER’s apparent unwillingness to seriously review the large archive of published science suggesting that using thimerosal is poisoning a generation of American children.  From his follow-up response, it is clear that none of the information WMP provided was seriously read or even minimally digested.  He made it clear in his letter that CBER does not intend to give any serious consideration to the abundant and mushrooming evidence of thimerosal’s profound toxicity.  His letter was simply an exercise in blindly promoting an incredible vaccine industry orthodoxy that is unsupportable by empirical evidence.

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Below is my letter back to Dr. Marks. We are awaiting his response.

Re: Response to your letter regarding the use of mercury in prescription drugs and vaccines.

Dear Dr. Marks,

On March 30th, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and members of the World Mercury Project met with you and your colleagues at the FDA to discuss our concerns regarding the continued use of the mercury-based preservative, thimerosal, in prescription drugs and influenza vaccines administered to pregnant women, infants and children.

During the meeting and in written letters following the meeting, we voiced concerns regarding:

  • Lack of adequate safety studies prior to marketing thimerosal as a vaccine preservative.
  • Thimerosal’s toxicity and ineffectiveness as a preservative.
  • Mercury exposure from thimerosal-containing vaccine administration resulting in mercury levels known to cause adverse outcomes.
  • Exposure to vaccine-level thimerosal resulting in harmful depositions of inorganic mercury in the brain.
  • The California Environmental Protection Agency’s listing of all mercury-containing products as reproductive and developmental toxicants under their Proposition 65 law.

Thimerosal was removed from all over-the-counter products when the FDA issued final rules in the Federal Register in 1998 acknowledging that thimerosal is not generally recognized as being safe or effective (GRASE).  Why is this same product allowed in prescription drugs and vaccines?

At the end of our meeting, you reassured us that you would take our concerns seriously and would “follow the science” wherever it might lead you. For several months after our meeting, I contacted the FDA public liaison Ms. McNeill inquiring when we might expect to hear back from you regarding our concerns. Ms. McNeill told me that we had provided the agency with extensive information and that it was taking additional time to review the material.  I was hopeful that FDA might finally, therefore, implement the 2001 recommendation of the Institute of Medicine that pregnant women, infants and children not be exposed to thimerosal-containing vaccines.

On July 11th, we received your written response to our concerns. I was dismayed by your agency’s apparent unwillingness to seriously review the large archive of published science suggesting that using thimerosal is poisoning a generation of American children.  From your follow-up written response, it is clear that none of the information we provided was seriously read or even minimally digested.  You make it clear in your letter that you do not intend to give any serious consideration to the abundant and mushrooming evidence of thimerosal’s profound toxicity.  Your letter is simply an exercise in blindly promoting an incredible vaccine industry orthodoxy that is unsupportable by empirical evidence.

You cite in your written response FDA’s mushy biologics regulations which define safety as “the relative freedom from harmful effect to persons affected, directly or indirectly, by a product when prudently administered, taking into consideration the character of the product in relation to the condition of the recipient at the time.” 21CFR 600.39(p). You report that in applying this elastic regulatory standard, “FDA must weigh the risk of a vaccine or any drug against its benefits when determining whether a product is safe. If the benefits of the vaccine or other pharmaceutical product outweigh the risks of its side effects, then the FDA finds the product to be safe.”  You further acknowledge that “the determination of a products safety is a relative rather than absolute measurement”,entirely subject to FDA’s “discretion and expertise.”  Even operating under these malleable standards, FDA should consider that vaccines are products given to healthy individuals, and their risks should be measured by an extremely high bar since they are not treating a disease.  Furthermore, FDA has no capacity to evaluate risks of thimerosal since, by FDA’s own admission to Congress, there has never been a long-term safety study performed on thimerosal in any human population including infants and pregnant women.

Vaccines containing thimerosal in the U.S. are predominantly influenza vaccines.   Furthermore, thimerosal is still widely used in vaccines given to tens of millions of children in the developing world and, since U.S. policy influences worldwide policy, FDA bears responsibility for these policies.  In the U.S., thimerosal-containing vaccines are administered to healthy six-month old infants, young children and pregnant women despite never having been safety tested in those populations.  According to their product inserts, influenza vaccines have been associated with an increased incidence of seizures and Guillain-Barre Syndrome.  Recent studies have linked influenza vaccines to miscarriageautism and, possibly, birth defects.  A significant percentage of influenza vaccines still contain thimerosal and studies should be done to see if thimerosal played a role in these outcomes.   There has been limited testing of influenza vaccines in animal models, however, there have not been any adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Because animal studies are not always predictive of human response, the package inserts for flu vaccines reiterate that flu vaccines “should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed”. In addition, there are numerous VAERS reports of injuries from thimerosal-containing vaccines.  Therefore, it is imperative that vaccines administered to sensitive populations (pregnant women, infants and children) be held to the highest standards of safety.  I think parents and the American public would be appalled to learn that vaccine safety determinations are “relative” and are within an FDA employee’s “discretion and expertise.”  That discretion and expertise should actually require a factual basis, not just opinion.  Needless to say, these decisions should be guided by the precautionary principle.

I have organized the remainder of my response into addressing the erroneous claims made in your letter.

Your Claim:  The agency evaluates whether a preservative contained in a product is at such levels that when used at the recommended dose is not toxic to the recipient and that the “FDA … has repeatedly found that the vaccines currently being marketed that contain thimerosal are safe…”

WMP Response: Please show us the data used to evaluate thimerosal safety in infants and pregnant women.  We do not believe they exist.

In an email discussion regarding the use of thimerosal-containing influenza vaccines administered to pregnant women, infants and children, in 1999, Dr. William  Egan, acting Director of the Center for Drugs and Biologics (CDER), recommended that the statement, “The chronic, daily ingestion reported (in several studies-primarily Seychelles study) greatly exceeds the amount of mercury that a pregnant woman would receive from a single annual dose of thimerosal-containing influenza vaccine”  might well be deleted.”  Egan went on to justify his recommendation by saying that the statement “…in some ways is misleading.  I am not sure that I would want to argue, for example, that one could take the allowed amount of mercury for a year and administer it as a bolus injection with the same outcome as having it spaced out evenly over the year: the issue then becomes one of how much of a bolus can one give at one time without harmful effect and this data does not exist (or at least I’m not aware of them).”  

Dr. Egan was right then and he is right today; such safety data do not exist.  In fact, many toxicologists believe that large bolus dose exposures such as those resulting from thimerosal-containing vaccines are more harmful in comparison to small daily dose exposures that the body is much more capable of excreting without overburdening detoxification pathways in the body. This concern is supported by research that found a mercury dose given acutely may produce toxic effects, whereas the same dose distributed over a period of time may give no evidence of poisoning. (Koos and Longo,1976).

Your Claim: “Thimerosal has a long record of safe and effective use in preventing bacterial and fungal contamination of vaccines with no ill effects other than occasional hypersensitivity and minor local reactions at the site of injection.”.

WMP Response:  There is ample evidence provided in multiple studies by federal agencies and independent scientists that spans the last 90 years which documents that thimerosal is neither an effective nor a safe vaccine preservative.

In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1948 titled “The bacteriostatic and bactericidal actions of some mercurial compounds on hemolytic streptococci,” the authors vigorously argued that thimerosal was ineffective as a “disinfectant, germicide and antiseptic.”  In the review of the literature in this paper, the authors cited eight studies from 1928, 1935, 1937, 1938, and 1944 all of which drew similar conclusions.

In 1975, the FDA convened a panel of experts to evaluate mercury-containing over-the-counter (OTC) products.  The panel issued its reports in 1980 and in 1982.  The FDA issued a report of the panel’s findings in the Federal Register where they concluded that “some mercury-containing preparations are not effective and others are not safe and effective for OTC topical antimicrobial use”.

With respect to thimerosal in particular, that panel found evidence from 1950 which concluded that “thimerosal was no better than water in protecting mice from potential fatal streptococcal infections.” Additionally, citing a 1935 study, the panel reported that thimerosal was “35.3 times more toxic for embryonic chick heart tissue than for Staphylococcus aureus.” Most of the literature reviewed addressed mercury’s lack of antibacterial properties. One review published in 1971 titled, “Three thousand years of mercury. A plea for abandonment of a dangerous, unproven therapy,” addressed mercury’s lack of effectiveness against fungal contamination as well.  

The FDA-appointed expert panel concluded that “thimerosal was not safe for OTC topical use because of its potential for cell damage if applied to broken skin and its allergy potential.  It is not effective as a topical antimicrobial because its bacteriostatic action can be reversed.”  However, it wasn’t until 1998 that the FDA issued its final report banning the use of thimerosal in topical OTC products because it was not “safe and effective.”

There are also several more recent published reports of thimerosal’s failure as a preservative.  Clusters of disease from Group A streptococcus infections were traced back to multi-dose vials of diphtheria toxoid, pertussis, and tetanus toxoid (DPT) vaccine which were contaminated after being opened.  Additionally, in 2004, a Chiron plant that manufactured Fluvirin was forced to close because its vaccine was contaminated with Serratia marcescens.   This vaccine used thimerosal as a preservative. In this case and in the many others cited, thimerosal failed to prevent bacterial growth.

In response to the reports from the FDA expert panel who reviewed the use of thimerosal in over-the-counter products in the 1980’s, the FDA published in the April 22, 1998 Federal Register Status of Certain Additional Over-the-Counter Drug Category II and III Active Ingredients. (April 22, 1998);63(77):19799-19802. 21 CFR Part 310 [Docket No. 75N-183F, 75N-183D, and 80N-0280 concluding that the use of thimerosal in over the counter products is not “generally recognized as safe or effective” (GRASE).

In the final rulemaking, the FDA states that “safety and effectiveness have not been established for the ingredients (mercury-based preservatives) included in this current final rule and manufacturers have not submitted the necessary data in response to earlier opportunities. The agency’s experience has been that under these circumstances companies have not submitted data in response to yet another opportunity. Consumers will benefit from the early removal from the marketplace of products containing ingredients for which safety and effectiveness has not been established.”

The World Mercury Project would like to know how is it possible that one division of the FDA recognizes that there is absolutely no safety or effectiveness data available for the use of mercury in over the counter products and essentially bans its use, while your FDA division of blood and biologics continues to recklessly allow its widespread use in over 100 prescription products including vaccines?

Your claim: “Under the FDA Modernization Act (FDAMA) of 1997, the FDA conducted a comprehensive review of the use of thimerosal in childhood vaccines.  Conducted in 1999, this review found no evidence of harm from the use of thimerosal as a vaccine preservative, other than local hypersensitivity reactions (Ball et al. 2001).”

WMP Response:  It’s disturbing that according to internal emails obtained by FOIA, Dr. Ball never conducted an extensive review of reports of harm.  On November 23, 1998, Dr. Leslie Ball of the FDA asked internal reviewers to perform a Medwatch query on thimerosal.  Medwatch is the FDA’s database for reporting adverse drug events.   On January 7, 1999, Dr. Ball was informed by Fredrick Varricchio of FDA that there were 7000 reports containing the word thimerosal on FDA’s Medwatch.  He stated, “I have some results for you.  Problem is that there are 7000 reports that mention thimerosal. What to do now.  Obviously looking at all 7,000 is a brute force approach.”  Dr. Ball responded by saying, “perhaps you can get records on a subset of 50 or so we can look at them and get a general feel for what’s been reported before we go any further.”  In a subsequent email on January 19th, Mr. Varricchio noted that the “plan is to get whatever is on the summary for every 100th report.” This means that only 70 adverse events out of 7000 reported to the FDA were actually reviewed by Dr. Ball and her team. This email calls into question the findings reported by Dr. Ball and also suggests that an extensive investigation has never been conducted by the FDA with regard to adverse events associated with the use of thimerosal.  Would you allow any other medical product to be widely used based on review of one percent of the information available?

I am also, Sir, frankly shocked at your unwillingness to acknowledge the robust body of literature that has been published the last 18 years since concerns regarding thimerosal first surfaced within the FDA in 1999.

There are literally hundreds of peer-reviewed, published studies that document the toxicity of thimerosal. Many of these investigated levels of mercury known to occur from vaccine exposure in cell and animal models.  In 2013, Jose G. Dorea published a meta-analysis of thimerosal research related to vaccine exposure.  Dorea searched major databases for human and experimental studies that addressed issues related to early life exposure to TCVs. The author concluded that: “ a) mercury load in fetuses, neonates, and infants resulting from TCVs remains in blood of neonates and infants at sufficient concentration and for enough time to penetrate the brain and to exert a neurologic impact and a probable influence on neurodevelopment of susceptible infants; b) etHg metabolism related to neurodevelopmental delays has been demonstrated experimentally and observed in population studies; c) unlike chronic Hg exposure during pregnancy, neurodevelopmental effects caused by acute (repeated/cumulative) early life exposure to TCV-etHg remain unrecognized; and d) the uncertainty surrounding low-dose toxicity of etHg is challenging but recent evidence indicates that avoiding cumulative insults by alkyl-mercury forms (which include Thimerosal) is warranted.”  Dorea emphasized the importance of “a) maintaining trust in vaccines while reinforcing current public health policies to abate mercury exposure in infancy; b) supporting WHO policies that recommend vaccination to prevent and control existing and impending infectious diseases; and c) not confusing the ‘need’ to use a specific ‘product’ (TCV) by accepting as ‘innocuous’ (or without consequences) the presence of a proven ‘toxic alkyl-mercury’ (etHg) at levels that have not been proven to be toxicologically safe.”

For your convenience, I have included a sampling of 35 abstracts that represent the more current state of the science regarding thimerosal that has emerged since 1999 as an appendix.  Even if Dr. Ball’s review had been adequate at that time, surely 18 years of further research should prompt an updated evaluation by the FDA.

Your Claim: A 2014 modeling study by your own Centers for Biologics Evaluation and Research employee, Dr. Robert Mitkus, showed that “peak body burdens of mercury following episodic exposures to thimerosal in this worst case did not exceed the corresponding safe body burden of mercury from MeHg at any time”.

WMP Response:  The Mitkus study reported that the body burden of mercury in infants, over the first 4.5 years of life following yearly exposures to thimerosal from annual flu vaccines, was two orders of magnitude lower than that estimated for exposures to the lowest regulatory threshold for MeHg over the same time period. The author relies completely on these findings to conclude that their pharmacokinetic analysis supports the safety of thimerosal when used as a preservative at current levels in certain multi-dose infant vaccines in the United States. Mitkus fails to acknowledge the past levels of exposure that infants received from vaccines starting in the late 1980s and extending well into 2000, that were 187.5 mcg etHg the first year of life versus 12.5 mcg etHg from flu vaccines annually. He also makes the assumption that there are no other mercury exposures outside of thimerosal, which is not supported by either established science or common sense.

The model developed by Mitkus relied solely on blood levels and did not take into consideration the accumulation of mercury in the brain tissue.  Data from the Burbacherstudy that assessed exposures from both methyl and ethyl mercury in infant non-human primates, based on vaccine level exposures, found that although there was little accumulation of Hg in the blood with repeated vaccinations, accumulation of Hg in the brain of infants did occur. In fact, there was a much higher proportion of inorganic Hg in the brain of thimerosal monkeys than in the brains of MeHg monkeys (up to 71% vs. 10%). Absolute inorganic Hg concentrations in the brains of the thimerosal-exposed monkeys were approximately twice that of the MeHg monkeys. Burbacher concluded that “the safety of thimerosal drawn from blood Hg clearance data in human infants receiving vaccines may not be valid, given the significantly slower half-life of Hg in the brain as observed in the infant macaques.”  But that is exactly what Mitkus does in his model and reports in his study.

Mitkus also makes the statement that thimerosal is more quickly and extensively metabolized to inorganic mercury in the brain than is MeHg and that process of dealkylation “may be” a detoxification step.  According to Burbacher, who is the author of the studies relied on by Mitkus in the development of his model, the statement that dealkylation may be a detoxification process is purely speculative and has not been established.  Mitkus is referring to previous reports that have indicated that dealkylation of Hg is a detoxification process that helps to protect the central nervous system (Magos 2003Magos et al. 1985). These reports are largely based on histology and histochemistry studies of adult rodents exposed to Hg for a short period of time. The results of these studies indicated that damage to the cerebellum was observed only in MeHg-treated animals that had much lower levels of inorganic Hg in the brain than animals comparably treated with ethylmercury. Moreover, the results did not indicate the presence of inorganic Hg deposits in the area where the cerebellar damage was localized (granular layer). In contrast, previous studies of adult M. fascicularis monkeys exposed chronically to MeHg have indicated that demethylation of Hg occurs in the brain over a long period of time after MeHg exposure and that this is not a detoxification process (Charleston et al. 199419951996Vahter et al. 19941995). Results from these studies indicated higher inorganic Hg concentrations in the brain 6 months after MeHg exposure had ended, whereas organic Hg had cleared from the brain. The estimated half-life of organic Hg in the brain of these adult monkeys was consistent across various brain regions at approximately 37 days (similar to the brain half-life in the Burbacher study). Stereologic and autometallographic studies on the brains of these adult monkeys indicated that the persistence of inorganic Hg in the brain was associated with a significant increase in the number of microglia in the brain. (Charleston et al. 19941995,1996). The microgliosis and neuroinflamation documented in the brains of the adult monkeys in association with deposits of inorganic mercury are two hallmark findings in brain tissue of both children and adults with autism.  Neuropathological studies of brain tissues from cerebellum, midfrontal, and cingulate gyrus obtained at autopsy from 11 patients with autism demonstrated the presence of an active neuroinflammatory processes in the cerebral cortex, white matter and, most notably, the cerebellum.  In a subsequent study, microglia appeared markedly activated in five of 13 cases with autism, including two of three under age six, and marginally activated in an additional four of 13 cases. The authors concluded that microglial activation “represents a neuropathological alteration in a sizeable fraction of cases with autism. Given its early presence, microglial activation may play a central role in the pathogenesis of autism in a substantial proportion of patients.”

In responding to the Mitkus study, I also need to refer back to previous meetings with FDA CBER employees. When FDA assigned its pediatrician, Dr. Leslie Ball, to oversee the review, analysis and public reporting of thimerosal, Dr. Ball had little knowledge of toxicology or thimerosal.  In 1999, Dr. Ball and her colleagues conducted an analysis that was prompted by the Food and Drug Modernization Act of 1997 which required FDA to compile a list of drugs and food that contain “intentionally” introduced mercury compounds and provide a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the exposure levels. They reported that the limits of exposure to mercury for an infant in the first year of life should be between 200-230 mcg total.  Infants are exposed to approximately 80 to 100 mcg of organic mercury from environmental sources alone.  Therefore, additional exposures from thimerosal-containing vaccines should be below 120 to 130 mcg the first year of life according to the FDA’s own findings.  At the time this analysis was done, American children were routinely receiving 187.5 mcg of organic mercury during the first year of life from vaccines.  This means American children were being exposed to cumulative levels of organic mercury in excess of federal safety guidelines.

The FDA consulted with an expert in the field of toxicology, Dr. Barry Rumack, MD, to better understand the potential impact of these exposure levels.  Dr. Rumack had a private consulting practice where he offered “toxicologic and pharmacologic evaluation of drugs, biological and potentially toxic or hazardous agents for government and industry”.  After creating several scenarios based on infants’ ages and weights, Dr. Rumack modeled both blood and body burden levels.

The models predicted sharp peaks of mercury concentrations in both blood and tissue, in a stair step sequence following each of the new thimerosal-containing vaccines given during the first six months of life.  Based on these models, Rumack predicted exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines was dosing American children with mercury levels far exceeding all three federal safety guidelines established by EPA, FDA and ATSDR.  There was no point in time from birth to approximately 16-18 months of age that infants were below the EPA guidelines for allowable mercury exposure.  In fact, according to the models, blood and body burden levels of mercury peaked at six months of age at a shockingly high level of 120 ng/liter. To put this in perspective, the CDC classifies mercury poisoning as blood levels of mercury greater than 10 ng/liter.  What is even more concerning is that the models developed by Dr. Rumack did not take into account background exposures from environmental and dietary sources of mercury.

In reporting the mercury exposure levels that result from thimerosal containing vaccines, the FDA chose not to report the findings from Rumack and Ball.  Instead, they averaged the exposures over the first six months of life, even though the exposures only occurred at birth, two, four, and six months of age or during four days out of 180 days.  In doing so, the agency could report that the exposures were below FDA and ATSDR guidelines in an effort to minimize concern.

In discussing this with independent toxicologists, I have been told that averaging exposures is not appropriate due to the fact that large bolus dose exposures are known to be more injurious than small daily dose exposures. If the FDA had reported the exposure levels from a daily dose perspective, it would reveal that infants were being exposed to mercury far in excess of ALL federal safety guidelines: FDA, ATSDR and EPA.

For example, my son at two months of age weighed 5 kg and received 62.5mcg Et Hg from his vaccines.  According to the EPA methyl mercury guidelines of .1 mcg per kg per day, his maximum exposure level for that one day was 0.5 mcg of mercury.  He received 125 times his daily allowable exposure level or 125 days of his daily allowable exposure. An analogy would be that it would be allowable to give my infant son a ½ tsp of Tylenol four times a day (320 mg), but if I gave him a 30-day dose of Tylenol (9,600 mg) on one day, it would be lethal. When I personally asked Dr. Ball why she reported the mercury exposure levels in this deceptive fashion, she responded, “That is what I was told to do.”

In a subsequent email to her superiors at FDA on July 6th, 1999 (six months after she had started her review of thimerosal), marked as being highly important and confidential and obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, Dr. Ball asked Norman Baylor, PH D, Director of the Office of Vaccines Research Review, “Has the application of these calculations as exposure guidelines received the sign off by toxicologists?  In prior discussions, the toxicologists seemed reluctant to state any Hg (mercury) level was “safe”.” Although there was no response back from Dr. Baylor in the FOIA documents we received, it is obvious that the answer was no.

By 2000, there was already a mountain of evidence that thimerosal was unsafe and ineffective.  For example, in 1987 the Commission of the European Communities initiated a research project on 10 known or suspected spindle poisons including thimerosal. In 1993, as described in Mutation Research, 287 (1993) 17-22 thimerosal was identified as a strong inhibitor of microtubular assembly, a process which is essential for proper neuronal development.  In 2000, Stajich et al.  measured blood Hg levels in newborns administered the Hepatitis B vaccine, containing 12.5 mcg ethyl mercury, and found elevated post-immunization concentrations relative to pre-immunization levels in all neonates studied.  Levels of blood mercury after exposure in low birth weight infants were 7.36 mcg/L (± 4.99).  One infant was found to have mercury levels of 23.6 mcg/L after exposure, which supports the inter-individual variability of mercury intoxication.  The study subjects had measurable blood Hg concentrations prior to immunization, indicating that risk assessment must include background mercury levels from other sources.

I also find it disturbing that safety assessments you reference take the position that thimerosal is a necessary ingredient for influenza vaccines.  This, of course, is not true.  Influenza manufacturers presently make approximately two-thirds of the U.S. influenza vaccine supply without the use of thimerosal by placing the vaccine in a single dose vial or syringe, which completely eliminates the need for a preservative.

Your Claim:   The scientific evidence collected over the past 15 years does not show any evidence of harm, including serious neurodevelopmental disorders from the use of thimerosal in vaccines. The Institute of Medicine report from 2004 concluded that the evidence favors rejection of a link between thimerosal and autism based on several epidemiological studies.

WMP Response:  A causal relationship between autism and vaccinations cannot be proven or rejected based on evidence from population-based epidemiologic studies – period. Epidemiological studies, by definition, are not designed to prove causality; they can provide only statistical associations.  Therefore, the committee’s conclusion that the “body of epidemiologic evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship…” has no scientific meaning.

Further, in the IOM report the committee admitted that population-based studies would not be able to detect subpopulations that could be genetically more vulnerable to mercury at lower doses than typical. On page 139, the report states that “This hypothesis cannot be excluded by epidemiological data from large population groups that do not show an association between a vaccine and an adverse outcome.  Depending upon the frequency of the genetic defect, a rare event caused by genetic susceptibility could be missed even in large study samples.”

What you also failed to acknowledge is that several of the same epidemiological studies reviewed by the IOM in 2004 documented an association between thimerosal-containing vaccine exposures during infancy and the subsequent development of motor and phonic tics.  Tics are a family of neurological disorders that are also associated with a diagnosis of autism. A significant association between Hg exposure from thimerosal-containing childhood vaccines and a diagnosis of tic disorder (TD) has now been found in six epidemiological studies (Verstraeten et al. 2003Andrews et al. 2004Thompson et al. 2007Young et al, 2008Barile et al. 2012Geier et al. 2015).   The Thompson study states that, “The replication of the findings regarding tics suggests the potential need for further studies.”  Tozzi et al. 2009, also found trends towards increased motor and phonic tics with increased thimerosal exposure but these did not reach statistical significance, possibly because of the lack of a non-exposed control group. These studies employed various epidemiological methods such as case–control or cohort designs, and were conducted on cohorts of children from several different countries. In addition, several of these studies observed significant dose-dependent relationships between Hg exposure from thimerosal in vaccines and the risk of diagnosed TD. A study by Young et al. found a dose-dependent relationship between increasing Hg exposure from thimerosal in vaccines given between birth and seven months and also between birth and 13 months of age and the risk of a diagnosed TD. Researchers observed that, for a 100 μg Hg difference in exposure between birth and seven months of age, the risk for diagnosed TD was significantly increased (3.39-fold). For the same 100 μg Hg difference in exposure between birth and 13 months of age, the risk for diagnosed tics was also found to be significantly increased (4.11-fold).

Autism etiology and severity have also been associated with mercury levels.  In June of this year, the international journal Science of the Total Environment published a compelling study from the Republic of Korea. The study identifies a strong relationship between prenatal and early childhood exposure to mercury and autistic behaviors in five-year-olds.  The  MOCEH study examines environmental exposures during pregnancy and childhood and their effects on children’s growth and development. A unique feature is that it includes five different blood samples: maternal blood from early and late pregnancy; cord blood; and samples from children at two and three years of age. In addition, the study asks mothers to complete three follow-up surveys and—when their child reaches age five—the 65-item Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), which assesses autistic behaviors.

The investigators report a significant linear relationship between mercury exposure and autistic behaviors (as indicated by a scaled score called an SRS T-score). Strikingly, they find that with a doubling of blood mercury levels at four time points (late pregnancy, cord blood, and at two and three years of age), SRS T-scores are significantly higher. They also looked specifically at SRS T-scores greater than or equal to 60. Sixty and above is the accepted threshold for detecting “mild to moderate” deficits of social behavior related to autism; scores of 76 or more are in the “severe” range. In these analyses, the same linear relationship holds for late pregnancy and birth (i.e., cord blood). With a doubling of blood mercury levels at these two time points, there is a 31% and 28% increase, respectively, in the risk of an SRS T-score of 60 or more. Finally, the researchers identify a stronger association between late-pregnancy mercury exposure and autistic behaviors in five-year-old boys versus five-year-old girls, perhaps due to mercury’s endocrine-disrupting properties.

Your Claim:  Schechter and Grether, 2008, showed that California’s rates of autism continued to rise while thimerosal was being phased out from three of the early childhood vaccines.

WMP Response:  This study has significant limitations in addressing what was really going on in the time period from 1999 to 2003.  Schechter and Grether estimated exposure for each birth cohort but made no attempt to look at the actual thimerosal exposures of individual children relative to their diagnosis.  In fact, looking at the data for the CDDS for the years immediately following their study, there was a notable flattening of the autism prevalence growth curve in the 2004-2006 birth cohorts, suggesting a possible effect of thimerosal phase-out.  At the same time, however, any downward effect on autism rates would have been blunted by three national autism awareness campaigns, by Autism Speaks, the CDC and the AAP , starting early in 2005 and continuing into 2006 which raised public awareness dramatically.

While thimerosal was being phased out of the Hepatitis B, Hib and DTaP vaccines over those four years, thimerosal exposure through influenza vaccines was increasing.  In 2004, the CDC started recommending flu shots for pregnant women in any trimester.  In 2004, over 90% of the supply of influenza vaccines contained thimerosal.  Studies of methyl mercury show that mercury is typically 1.7 times higher in cord blood than in maternal blood and there are no studies investigating the pharmacokinetics of ethylmercury in pregnancy.  Concurrently, in January 2003, the CDC recommended flu shots with thimerosal for all children starting at six months of age.  The idea that children were no longer being exposed to thimerosal was and is a fallacy.

Beyond California, in the spring of 2016, the CDC’s ADDM network finally reported the autism prevalence of children born in 2004.  For the first time that data did not show an increase in autism prevalence compared to the 2002 birth year cohort.  They both had a one in 68 prevalence.  This suggests that the removal of thimerosal from the three pediatric vaccines may have flattened autism rates prior to the widespread uptake of the flu vaccine and increased awareness. That same paper, based on children born in 2004, reported a prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders with IQ<70 of 4.0 per 1000.  This was a 15% drop from the previous report based on children born in 2002, when the prevalence of ASDs with IQ<70 was 4.7 per 1000.  Note that this had nothing to do with percentages of the ASD population or additional higher-functioning children being diagnosed – this meant that there were actually fewer severely affected children on a population basis.

Finally, your focus on autism ignores the evidence of thimerosal’s associations with a range of other disorders including ADHD, speech disorders, seizure disorders, autoimmunity and eczema and the broader associations of mercury with auditory and speech impairment, nephrotoxicity and somatosensory disorders.  According to the CDC, one in six American children of the thimerosal generation now suffers from a neurodevelopmental disorder. An HHS funded study found that 54% of children have a chronic disease.  What evidence have you, if any, that thimerosal is not a major culprit in the epidemics that have devastated this generation?  “None” is the answer!

Dr. Marks, I perceive you to be a smart man and sincere in your desire to protect children from harm. Do you, as an individual, not as the Director of CBER, really believe that the continued use of thimerosal in products given to pregnant women, infants and children, when it is completely unnecessary, is appropriate? I’m appealing to you as the mother of a young man who will never be able to take advantage of his full potential because he was harmed by thimerosal and other sources of mercury. It is my life’s mission, much like the mother who started MADD, to protect all children from this completely unnecessary exposure to mercury. I ask that you please again take our concerns to heart and help support our efforts instead of regurgitating the inaccurate and indefensible positions of your agency.

Sincerely,

Lyn Redwood RN, MSN, Executive Director

World Mercury Project

Read our overview — background and all of the letters between FDA and World Mercury Project.

Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the World Mercury Project. Your donation will help to support us in our efforts.

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Multiple Investigations Reveal Secrets About Where US Tax Dollars Are Really Going

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Multiple investigations and testimony from high ranking sources have discovered that trillions of dollars of our tax dollars are going towards programs that not even the highest ranking people within government know about.

  • Reflect On:

    Why are we made to believe our taxes dollars are going towards necessary services that favour the population? Why do we so easily trust our government and take their word for it when evidence says otherwise.

It’s amazing how much money is scraped off of each paycheque, and how much money multiple small and big businesses pay. We are told that it’s necessary, that this is the money going towards various programs that are responsible for building our schools, employing people for necessary services and infrastructure, among many other things. It’s truly amazing how much money governments rake in from taxes.

It’s an astronomical amount that makes it hard to see how all of the money is allocated to services that are in the people’s favour, instead of the possibility of it going into the pockets of certain politicians and elitists, among other places. Yet we are heavily taxed, and reasons for taxation are constantly brought up and justified, almost as if to imply that there really is no other way of changing things and doing things differently here on planet Earth. Our potential is huge, yet we are convinced that money and taxation are our only ways to operate.

Sure, some of our taxes are going toward various needs and services we deem necessary, but how much off of our paycheques is really required for this? Judging by the amount of money that has been poured into black budget programs, it doesn’t seem like much is needed at all, and this is because trillions upon trillions of our tax dollars are actually going towards projects that the public has absolutely no idea about.

These projects are known as ‘black budget programs,’ which include Special Access Programs (SAPs). Within these we have unacknowledged and waived SAPs. These programs do not exist publicly, but they do indeed exist. They are better known as ‘deep black programs.’ A 1997 US Senate report described them as “so sensitive that they are exempt from standard reporting requirements to the Congress.”

Not many people have investigated the black budget world, but The Washington Post revealed that the “black-budget” documents indicate that a staggering 52.6 billion dollars was set aside for operations in fiscal year 2013.(source) More recent investigations, however, reveal a lot more than that.  The topic was discussed in 2010 by Washington Post journalists Dana Priest and William Arkin. Their investigation lasted approximately two years and concluded that America’s classified world has:

Become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work. (source)

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Recently, Arkin quite NBC/MSNBC  and went public outing them as completely fake government run agencies. You can read more about that hereHere is another article we published that has links within it to documents showing the close relationship between mainstream media, academia, and the CIA.

The most recent investigation was conducted by economist and Michigan State professor Mark Skidmore, alongside some of his graduate students as well as Catherine Austin Fitts, former assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development. They discovered trillions of unaccounted for dollars missing from the Department of Housing & Urban Development as well as the Department of Defense. For their research, the team used several government websites and made inquiries to multiple U.S. agencies. Much of the time they received no response and the Office of the Inspector General even disabled links to all key documents that revealed unsupported spending, according to the team.

Given the Army’s $122 billion budget, that meant unsupported adjustments were 54 times spending authorized by Congress. Typically, such adjustments in public budgets are only a small fraction of authorized spending… Skidmore thought Fitts had made a mistake. “Maybe she meant $6.5 billion and not $6.5 trillion,” he said. “So I found the report myself and sure enough it was $6.5 trillion.” – Michigan State News.

They went on to find documents indicating a total of $20 trillion worth of undocumented adjustments made from 1998 t0 2015. Our tax dollars are going directly into these black budget programs, which often cost far more than our roads and services. If this information was made transparent and public for discovery and use, it would leap all of humanity into the stars and into new discovery and exploration. The implications would be huge, and it would force us to ask more questions.

Here’s a great quote from Paul Hellyer.

It is ironic that the U.S. would begin a devastating war, allegedly in search of weapons of mass destruction when the most worrisome developments in this field are occurring in your own backyard.  It is ironic that the U.S. should be fighting monstrously expensive wars  allegedly to bring democracy to those countries, when it itself can no longer claim to be called a democracy when trillions, and I mean thousands of billions of dollars have been spent on projects which both congress and the commander in chief know nothing about. (source)

What’s even more interesting is that Fitts has been quite outspoken about a secret space program and where this missing money is actually going. She explains how enormous amounts of resources were handed over to covert operations to develop a security system of finance. This then created the CIA and a select group of people who were in charge of UFO technology. “By the time JFK came into office ready to challenge this shadow government and make space program the centrepiece of his administration, the civil war between the Deep State and the public state was in full force.” (source)

Interesting to say the least.

Deeper Black Budget Discussion On CETV

CETV is a platform we created in order to combat censorship and demonetization we have been facing over the past few years. On episode 4 of The Collective Evolution Show on CETV, we discussed the Black Budget in much deeper detail. Below is a clip exploring the validity behind missing money from the black budget and special access programs, explaining where the money is going and what exactly it’s being used to do.

You can become a member of CETV, get access to the full show and many others, and support conscious media here.

The Takeaway

The takeaway here is to really question what’s going on with our tax dollars. Whose pockets is the majority of money going into, and for what purpose? What are we really paying for? Secret space programs? Deep underground and under ocean military bases?  Have we just been made to believe that the way we are taxed is absolutely necessary? What is really going on here and how come nobody is questioning it?

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Investigation Shows The MMR Vaccine Was Approved Based On Small Studies Showing Disturbing Results

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A FOIA request by Del Bigtree reveals that the 8 studies supporting the release of the MMR vaccine were only 6 weeks long, used only 800 children, and led to damaging respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses to many of the children.

  • Reflect On:

    Are we ready to collectively deal with the implications of ongoing revelations of industry malfeasance with regards to vaccines that for some may require a shift in long-held beliefs?

Amidst a rash of efforts to bring forward mandatory vaccination in pockets of the United States is the recent move in New York City to declare a public health emergency Tuesday over a measles outbreak and order mandatory vaccinations in one neighborhood for people who may have been exposed to the virus.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the unusual order to address what he said was a measles “crisis” in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg section, where more than 250 people have gotten measles since September. The order applies to anyone living, working or going to school in four zip codes in the neighborhood. The declaration requires all unvaccinated people who may have been exposed to the virus to get the vaccine, including children over 6 months old. People who ignore the order could be fined $1,000.

Challenging Assumptions

This kind of invasive move gives rise to several serious questions, including challenging many of the assumptions that are necessarily made to justify such a move.

Assumption #1: People who may have been infected with the measles should get vaccinated immediately. De Blasio wants people who may have been infected with the measles to get vaccinated. The assumption here is that the vaccine would actually help someone who has the virus by preventing them from getting the measles or preventing them from spreading it to others. But this just doesn’t stand to reason. If someone is already infected, getting a measles vaccine will not prevent the outbreak. That’s not what a vaccine is designed for. And while the person is going through the 2-week period it takes for the vaccine to take hold, it’s quite possible that this will weaken the immune response to the actual measles infection the person has. Quarantining people suspected of being infected would be the sensible response, not vaccinating. If they happen to have the measles, no problem. Once they recover they will then be immune for life.

Assumption #2: The MMR Vaccine Can Create Herd Immunity. There is an article in the Huffington post entitled ‘I’m No Anti-Vaxxer, But the Measles Vaccine Can’t Prevent Outbreaks,’ in which Dr. Gregory Poland, who strongly advocates for vaccines, notes that outbreaks are often initiated and spread by people who have been fully vaccinated against the measles–over 50% in the case of a 2011 outbreak in Quebec. How is this possible? While this Quebec outbreak happened within a community that supposedly had achieved herd-immunity status of over 95% vaccinated, the facts are, as the article notes, that “9 per cent of children having two doses of the vaccine, as public health authorities now recommend, will have lost their immunity after just seven and a half years. As more time passes, more lose their immunity.” Therefore, herd immunity for measles is simply impossible to achieve with this vaccine.

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Assumption #3: The MMR Vaccine, in de Blasio’s words, is ‘safe, effective, and life-saving.’ The claim that the MMR vaccine is ‘life-saving’ does not stand up to simple statistics, as we detail in our article ‘Statistics Show The MMR Vaccine Kills More People Than The Measles Does.’ Whether it is effective, we have already seen that it is incapable of creating herd immunity, wanes over time, does not work at all for some people, and in some of the latest outbreaks the majority of people infected were fully vaccinated. Is it safe? This is the important question we cover in the next section.

The Studies That Stand Behind The Approval Of the MMR Vaccine

The pharmaceutical industry, as well as governmental regulatory bodies like the CDC and the FDA, assure the public that they take the safety of vaccines seriously, and that there is irrefutable science behind the notion that vaccines are safe in terms of the studies that their approval is based on.

However, a Freedom of Information Act request by Del Bigtree has revealed absolutely startling information about the studies that supported the approval of the MMR vaccines that have been injected into our children. To begin with, only 8 studies were conducted and the total combined number of children participating in the studies was only a little over 800! Furthermore, the studies only recorded symptoms for the first 6 weeks after the vaccines were given, unlike many other drug studies that follow symptoms for 5 years or more. And finally, the study revealed serious side-effects in those receiving the vaccine, including a highly significant number of participants who suffered upper respiratory illness and gastrointestinal illness, which has been linked to autism.

In our latest episode of The Collective Evolution Show on CETV, Joe, Arjun and I discussed New York’s mandatory vaccination order as well as Del Bigtree’s analysis of the MMR studies he received and the reason that Big Pharma not only does not want to do proper, large-scale studies on the safety of vaccines, but they also want to try to prevent other researchers like Dr. Christopher Exley from doing so as well.

You can watch the full episode of The Collective Evolution Show where we talk about this subject in more detail here.

You can go here to see the full episode of ‘The Highwire’ where Del Bigtree breaks down the MMR studies in question.

The Takeaway

The veils of illusion that have been masking the truth are lifting as our consciousness awakens. Transparency is coming, though how long it takes will depend on our continued efforts to dig for and spread the truth far and wide.

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In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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Leaked Wikileaks Doc Reveals US Military Use of IMF, World Bank As “Unconventional” Weapons

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Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 14, 2018. Natacha Pisarenko | AP

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In light of recent events in Venezuela Wikileaks published a revealing document that highlights the fact that financial institutions are not independent, that they are owned by, and in turn own/work together with the US government to fulfill agendas.

  • Reflect On:

    The secrecy in our world runs rampant, under the guise of 'national security' when it's really because secrets need to be kept to avoid the population waking up to the tremendous amount of unethical corruption that plagues our geopolitical world.

As most of you reading this will know, Julian Assange was recently dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy. Assange has long been subjected to ridicule and character assassination by the Deep State owned mainstream media, and for one reason, it’s the same reason they’ve been wanting to snatch him up for so long.

It’s because for years he has been sharing information that the global elite around the world did not want him to share. He’s been publishing information that threatens various elitist, corporate, and political interests around the globe as well as information showing just how much the public is deceived to, lied to, and manipulated in several different ways in order to justify actions that do not resonate with the majority of people on planet Earth.

Various media outlets have been silenced, censored, and have and their revenue streams taken away, including us. This is why we created CETV, a platform to combat the censorship we are currently experiencing.

In Episode 5 of The Collective Evolution Show, we go deep into Assange’s arrest. The purpose was to explore the deeper details behind why Assange is a threat to power structures as opposed to being a COINTEL or psy-op as some are suggesting. We understand this position, and duke it out on our episode of The CE Show, but there are areas we must discuss with this.

I also recently published an article about his arrest, and the truth behind his arrest: What Julian Assange’s Arrest Tells Us About Our World.  We’ve published many Wikileak leaks as well, the latest one being a document exposing a “Secret Us Base on the Moon.”

I recently came across an article published on MintPress NewsIt was written by Whitney Webb is, who is a staff writer for MintPress News and has contributed to several other independent, alternative outlets. Her work has appeared on sites such as Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire among others. She also makes guest appearances to discuss politics on radio and television. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

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In her article, she references a leaked military manual on “unconventional warfare” that was recently highlighted by WikiLeaks. The U.S. Army states that major global financial institutions — such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) — are used as unconventional, financial “weapons in times of conflict up to and including large-scale general war,” as well as in leveraging “the policies and cooperation of state governments.”

She put it so well below that we have posted it below:

The document, officially titled “Field Manual (FM) 3-05.130, Army Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare” and originally written in September 2008, was recently highlighted by WikiLeaks on Twitter in light of recent events in Venezuela as well as the years-long, U.S.-led economic siege of that country through sanctions and other means of economic warfare. Though the document has generated new interest in recent days, it had originally been released by WikiLeaks in December 2008 and has been described as the military’s “regime change handbook.”

WikiLeaks’ recent tweets on the subject drew attention to a single section of the 248-page-long document, titled “Financial Instrument of U.S. National Power and Unconventional Warfare.” This section in particular notes that the U.S. government applies “unilateral and indirect financial power through persuasive influence to international and domestic financial institutions regarding availability and terms of loans, grants, or other financial assistance to foreign state and nonstate actors,” and specifically names the World Bank, IMF and The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), as well as the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), as “U.S. diplomatic-financial venues to accomplish” such goals.

The manual also touts the “state manipulation of tax and interest rates” along with other “legal and bureaucratic measures” to “open, modify or close financial flows” and further states that the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) – which oversees U.S. sanctions on other nations, like Venezuela — “has a long history of conducting economic warfare valuable to any ARSOF [Army Special Operations Forces] UW [Unconventional Warfare] campaign.”

This section of the manual goes on to note that these financial weapons can be used by the U.S. military to create “financial incentives or disincentives to persuade adversaries, allies and surrogates to modify their behavior at the theater strategic, operational, and tactical levels” and that such unconventional warfare campaigns are highly coordinated with the State Department and the Intelligence Community in determining “which elements of the human terrain in UWOA [Unconventional Warfare Operations Area] are most susceptible to financial engagement.”

The role of these “independent” international financial institutions as extensions of U.S. imperial power is elaborated elsewhere in the manual and several of these institutions are described in detail in an appendix to the manual titled “The Financial Instrument of National Power.” Notably, the World Bank and the IMF are listed as both Financial Instruments and Diplomatic Instruments of U.S. National Power as well as integral parts of what the manual calls the “current global governance system.”

Furthermore, the manual states that the U.S. military “understand[s] that properly integrated manipulation of economic power can and should be a component of UW,” meaning that these weapons are a regular feature of unconventional warfare campaigns waged by the United States.

Another point of interest is that these financial weapons are largely governed by the National Security Council (NSC), which is currently headed by John Bolton. The document notes that the NSC “has primary responsibility for the integration of the economic and military instruments of national power abroad.”

“Independent” but controlled

Though the unconventional warfare manual is notable for stating so openly that “independent” financial institutions like the World Bank and the IMF are essentially extensions of U.S. government power, analysts have noted for decades that these institutions have consistently pushed U.S. geopolitical goals abroad.

Indeed, the myth of World Bank and IMF “independence” is quickly eroded by merely looking at the structure and funding of each institution. In the case of the World Bank, the institution is located in Washington and the organization’s president has always been a U.S. citizen chosen directly by the president of the United States. In the World Bank’s entire history, the institution’s Board of Governors has never rejected Washington’s pick.

This past Monday, it was reported that President Donald Trump nominated former Bear Stearns economist David Malpass to lead the World Bank. Malpass had famously failed to foresee the destruction of his former employer during the 2008 financial crisis and is likely to limit World Bank loans to China and to countries allied or allying with China, given his well-established reputation as a China hawk.

In addition to choosing its president, the U.S. is also the bank’s largest shareholder, making it the only member nation to have veto rights. Indeed, as the leaked unconventional warfare manual notes, “As major decisions require an 85% supermajority, the United States can block any major changes” to World Bank policy or the services it offers. Furthermore, the U.S. Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs banker and “foreclosure king,” Steve Mnuchin, functions as the World Bank’s governor.

Though the IMF is different from the World Bank in several respects, such as its stated mission and focus, it too is largely dominated by U.S. government influence and funding. For instance, the IMF is also based in Washington and the U.S. is the company’s largest shareholder — the largest by far, owning 17.46 percent of the institution – and also pays the largest quota for the institution’s maintenance, paying $164 billion in IMF financial commitments annually. Though the U.S. does not choose the IMF’s top executive, it uses its privileged position as the institution’s largest funder to control IMF policy by threatening to withhold its IMF funding if the institution does not abide by Washington’s demands.

Protestors hold an effigy of Captain America with a photo of IMF Director Christine Lagarde during meetings by the IMF and World Bank in Lima, Peru, Oct. 9, 2015. Geraldo Caso Bizama | AP

As a consequence of the lopsided influence of the U.S. on these institutions’ behavior, these organizations have used their loans and grants to “trap” nations in debt and have imposed “structural adjustment” programs on these debt-saddled governments that result in the mass privatization of state assets, deregulation, and austerity that routinely benefit foreign corporations over local economies. Frequently, these very institutions – by pressuring countries to deregulate their financial sector and through corrupt dealings with state actors – bring about the very economic problems that they then swoop in to “fix.”

Guaidó hits up IMF

Given the close relationship between the U.S. government and these international financial institutions, it should come as little surprise that – in Venezuela – the U.S.-backed “interim president” Juan Guaidó – has already requested IMF funds, and thus IMF-controlled debt, to fund his parallel government.

This is highly significant because it shows that top among Guaidó’s objectives, in addition to privatizing Venezuela’s massive oil reserves, is to again shackle the country to the U.S.-controlled debt machine.

As the Grayzone Project recently noted:

Venezuela’s previous elected socialist president, Hugo Chávez, broke ties with the IMF and World Bank, which he noted were “dominated by US imperialism.” Instead Venezuela and other left-wing governments in Latin America worked together to co-found the Bank of the South, as a counterbalance to the IMF and World Bank.

However, Venezuela is far from the only country in Latin America being targeted by these financial weapons masquerading as “independent” financial institutions. For instance, Ecuador – whose current president has sought to bring the country back into Washington’s good graces – has gone so far as to conduct an “audit” of its asylum of journalist and WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in order to win a $10 billion bailout from the IMF. Ecuador granted Assange asylum in 2012 and the U.S. has fervently sought his extradition for still sealed charges ever since.

In addition, last July, the U.S. threatened Ecuador with “punishing trade measures” if it introduced a measure at the UN to support breastfeeding over infant formula, in a move that stunned the international community but laid bare the willingness of the U.S. government to use “economic weapons” against Latin American nations.

Beyond Ecuador, other recent targets of massive IMF and World Bank “warfare” include Argentina, which awarded the largest IMF bailout loan in history just last year. That loan package was, unsurprisingly, heavily pushed by the U.S., according to a statement from Treasury Secretary Mnuchin released last year. Notably, the IMF was instrumental in causing the complete collapse of the Argentinian economy in 2001, sending a poor omen for last year’s approval of the record loan package.

Though it was released over a decade ago, this “U.S. coup manual” recently highlighted by WikiLeaks serves as a salient reminder that the so-called “independence” of these financial institutions is an illusion and that they are among the many “financial weapons” regularly used by the U.S. government to bend countries to its will and even overthrow U.S.-disfavored governments.

Help Support Collective Evolution

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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