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Disgraced CDC Director’s Tobacco Investments Overlap With Vaccine Investments

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By the World Mercury Project Team

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WMP NOTE: After the recent media uproar about the CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald’s resignation, which focused on the inappropriateness of her ownership in tobacco stock, the WMP team decided to investigate further. What we uncovered is new technology that utilizes tobacco leaves to produce vaccines in a much shorter time frame and clinical trials are already underway using this new technology to produce flu vaccines here in the US. So maybe Fitzgerald’s stocks had nothing to do with smoking tobacco cessation and everything to do with vaccine production?

By nearly everyone’s admission, this year’s influenza vaccine has been a colossal flop. In any given year, flu shot effectiveness in the United States varies widely anyway, but this year’s estimates point to rock-bottom effectiveness of 10%. The previous low over the past five years was an estimated 19% for the 2014-2015 influenza season, when public health researchers concluded that the shot “offered little protection” against the predominant influenza strain. (This does not even take into account research showing that individuals who get the flu shot year after year have diminished protection and are at greater risk of spreading the flu to others.) The figure below shows the flu vaccine’s inconsistent levels of effectiveness since 2004.

Influenza vaccine effectiveness, 2004-2017 (Source: CDC)

Pharmaceutical companies and public health officials acknowledge the issue of “suboptimal” influenza vaccine effectiveness and blame it on a variety of factors, including the conventional flu vaccine production process that uses eggs or cultured mammalian cells and requires a six-month lead time. With the exponential growth of the biotechnology industry, a search has been underway to genetically engineer vaccines that are less cumbersome and more cost-effective to make.

…interest in molecular farming strategies has skyrocketed in the past decade alongside the push to develop ever more vaccines.
The emerging technology of plant-based vaccine production, or “molecular farming,” inserts viral vectors that contain specific genetic information into plants; these genetic instructions tell the plants to produce target proteins that later are harvested to make vaccines. This is called recombinant protein production. Although initial attempts to produce vaccines in plants date back to the early 1990s, interest in molecular farming strategies has skyrocketed in the past decade alongside the push to develop ever more vaccines.

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The pivotal role of military dollars
Interestingly, one of the parties most invested in the plant-based model of vaccine production is the US military. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded trials that showed plant-based vaccine production to be capable of making 10 million doses of flu vaccine in 30 days while bearing infrastructure costs that reportedly were 10 times lower than for other vaccine manufacturing methods. DARPA was enthusiastic about these results.

DARPA views potential pandemics and biodefense as matters of national security and—guided by its strategic objective of “harnessing biology as technology”—has sought to acquire capability for quick, on-demand production of vaccines to “enable [an] agile, robust, and rapid surge response.” After launching an Accelerated Manufacturing of Pharmaceuticals program in 2005 to begin studying plants as a vaccine manufacturing platform, DARPA began pouring additional millions into these efforts in 2009 when the H1N1 influenza virus appeared on the scene.

…consumers seemingly “like the idea of creating something positive from a plant with such negative stigma.”
Rehabilitating tobacco—and tobacco stocks
Various properties of tobacco make it an excellent vehicle for molecular farming and for influenza vaccines, in particular. Proponents of tobacco-based vaccine production cite tobacco’s “winning attributes” (including the fact that it is “robust and hearty” and grows to maturity quickly) and also report that consumers seemingly “like the idea of creating something positive from a plant with such negative stigma.”

The mention of tobacco’s public relations problems is noteworthy in the context of Brenda Fitzgerald’s January 31, 2018 resignation from her post as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Media reports embarrassed the nation’s top public health official into resigning when it became apparent that she had financial conflicts of interest, including sizeable investments in both the tobacco and vaccine industries, among others. Fitzgerald’s published tobacco investments include holdings in Japan Tobacco (JT), the world’s third largest and fastest growing tobacco company (with one-third ownership by the Japanese government). Japan Tobacco makes leading cigarette brands such as Camel and Winston and boasts of having “roots in many of the most famous tobacco companies around the world,” including RJ Reynolds in the US and Gallaher Group in the UK.

Although the media uproar about the CDC director’s resignation focused mostly on the inappropriateness of Fitzgerald’s tobacco investments, the news reports ignored the increased blurring of distinctions between the tobacco and pharmaceutical sectors. For example, recognizing the limited prospects for growth in traditional tobacco sales, Japan Tobacco launched a pharmaceutical division in 1987, which develops, manufactures and sells prescription drugs for metabolic and autoimmune diseases as well as “viral infection.” Even as JT’s tobacco market “struggles amid a tough business climate,” its pharmaceutical arm is “growing rapidly” and shareholders are pushing for it to become a “core operation.” JT also has been forging strategic partnerships with biotechnology and biopharmaceutical companies for many years, including obtaining exclusive rights in 1999 to market eventual lung cancer vaccines. All of this exemplifies two converging global trends toward the pharmaceuticalization of the tobacco industry and reliance by the pharmaceutical sector on vaccines as their engine for growth. Given the CDC’s central role in vaccine production and distribution, these types of overlapping relationships cast Fitzgerald’s financial commitments to companies like JT in an even more questionable light.

Reflecting a similarly dizzying entanglement between pharmaceutical and tobacco ambitions, another Japanese company—Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (MTPC)—is one of the industry leaders in the tobacco-to-vaccine technology. MTPC acquired the technology in 2012-2013 when it partnered with the Quebec-based biotech firm Medicago to develop and commercialize influenza and other vaccines. It went on to purchase most of Medicago the following year—with the exception of roughly 38% of the company already owned by the tobacco giant Philip Morris! Medicago perfected the plant-based vaccine production technology at a deluxe 97,000 square foot DARPA-funded greenhouse in North Carolina.

MTPC expects to bring the tobacco-based vaccine technology to market in the US (where approval standards are less rigorous than in Japan) in fiscal 2018 or 2019. With DARPA and US Army funding and Medicago sponsorship, the results of pre-clinical studies and Phase I clinical trials that examined the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines already have been published. Poised to finalize its clinical trials this year in the U.S., MTPC anticipates over $700 million in annual sales by fiscal 2020, a sales target that, if achieved, would represent nearly one-fifth (18.4%) of the estimated $3.8 billion annual market for flu shots globally.

It is difficult to ascertain whether JT and MTPC are competitors or collaborators, but the two certainly frequent many of the same circles. For example, Japanese drug researchers often disclose financial and research support from both companies, and the two businesses both are members of the Japan Microbiome Consortium. Both also have drug development and distribution agreements with the same third parties.

Will more collaboration be in the two companies’ future, as JT seeks to build up its vaccine business and MTPC looks for tobacco producers with the expertise to help tobacco-based vaccine manufacturing come fully online? And how much of all this did Dr. Fitzgerald know when she purchased Japan Tobacco stock shortly after her appointment to direct the CDC’s four-billion-dollar-a-year vaccine program?

Note: A follow-up World Mercury Project article will examine safety considerations pertaining to these newer vaccine technologies.

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‘Google Brain’ Implants Will Allow Access To All Information Instantaneously

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    AI technology is advancing at an extremely rapid rate. It will surpass human intelligence.

  • Reflect On:

    Should we be wary of this technology and what it could potentially mean to the human species as we know it? Should we have a say in laws regarding the responsible use of AI?

As the lines between the use of technology and doing anything manually become increasingly blurred, the general public and policy makers don’t have time to consider the potential implications of too much technology, or more alarmingly, the merging of humans with AI. It’s like all of those great sci-fi movies are coming to life, right before our eyes. Some, especially those who are developing AI, are more optimistic, like Nikolas Kairinos, founder and CEO of Fountech.ai, who believes that this technology could improve our lives and completely change how we learn.

Who Needs School If Our Brains Are Computers Anyways?

During an interview with the Daily Star, Kairinos explained that he has been working on a game-changing AI to “personalize education” claiming “anyone can learn almost anything using AI.”

He believes that within the next 20 years our brainpower will be boosted with AI implants so you “won’t have to memorize anything.” Apparently, according to Kairinos, people won’t even have to bother typing any questions, as the moment the question comes to mind it will be answered via an AI implant. He believes this will result in the end of what he calls “parrot fashion” learning at schools.

While the current educational system could definitely use some work, should we be eliminating the process of learning altogether just because a chip can do it for us?

According to Fountech’s website: “For someone who doesn’t have an in-depth understanding of technology, AI may seem like an alien concept.”

“Yet, the basic crux of the term is simple – namely the ability of a computer or machine to think, learn and imitate intelligent human behavior.”

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“When it comes to AI in learning, we are only just scratching the surface… we shouldn’t think that tailored learning through AI is something that we won’t see for decades.”

Instant Artificial Learning, Should We Be Wary?

You know that famous movie that captivated the world, The Matrix? Well, just in case you’re not familiar with it, here is the synopsis:

Morpheus awakens Neo to the real world, a ravaged wasteland where most of humanity have been captured by a race of machines that live off of the humans’ body heat and electrochemical energy and who imprison their minds within an artificial reality known as the Matrix.

Many of today’s popular researchers have claimed that The Matrix is actually more like a documentary than a movie as there is so much symbolism and so many metaphors embedded within the film that pertain to our current reality as we know it.

So, when we look at AI and how it is able to self-learn, shouldn’t we all at least be wary of it? There should be regulations on such technology before it’s too late… If it isn’t already. Sure, we can’t just assume that AI is innately evil or has bad intentions or plans to takeover humanity, but if it does surpasses natural human intelligence, how can we know what it will be capable of or what it could potentially try to do?

Even Tesla founder Elon Musk expressed his concerns over the rapid advancement of AI technology in a recent episode of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

To Those Who Want The Latest & Greatest

I am aware that many people will brush off these concerns and say, you are ridiculous this will never happen, or have you been watching too many sci-fi movies? Or this is just the natural advancement of the human race, get with the times. Many consumers are always after the latest and greatest gadget, people marvel at the incredibly rapid development of new technology. And, yes! It absolutely has and will continue to benefit our lives in many ways. But what happens when it advances us?

I was working for a tech company a few years ago and was having a conversation with one of the founders who was telling me about the concept of this very thing–an implantable chip that will give instant access to all of the information in the world.

I said, “I will never get that.”

He replied, “So, what will you do when we are all sitting here having a super intelligent, advanced conversation and you have nothing to add?”

And this, my friends, is how they will get you!

Implementation of tech into our lives has evolved extremely rapidly–just look at our reliance on computers, then the Internet, and now smartphones. Next up is wearable tech including smart watches and fitbits, and then it will be implants. The merging of (wo)man with AI. These things happen so swiftly and are marketed to be huge advancements to us. We should at the very least be asking these important questions.

Much Love

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Prime Minister Of Iceland Calls For Prioritizing “Well-Being” Of Citizens Over GDP

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Leaders from Iceland, Scotland and New Zealand join forces to prioritize a new agenda for the well-being of the citizens of these nations.

  • Reflect On:

    For decades, most developed nations of the world have been focused solely on GDP and economic growth, but what about the well-being of the citizens?

Prime Minister of Iceland Katrin Jakobsdottir is now urging governments to prioritize sustainability and family time over obsessing about economic growth — as most developed nations seem to do.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeion and New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have teamed up with Iceland’s PM to promote an agenda focused on “well-being.” Jakobsdottir has called for “an alternative future based on well-being and inclusive growth.”

She feels that new social indicators are needed outside of the traditional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data.

It’s About Time

You’d think that the overall well-being of a nation, extreme regard to protecting the environment, and working towards global sustainability would be the top priorities for all nations of the Earth. However, for the most part, it is all about the economy: how can we support the economy, how can we grow the economy, how can we protect the economy? I love the following Cree Indian proverb, it fits nicely here:

“When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.”

It’s about time someone started standing up for the people and the planet, and this stance is sure to turn some heads.

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 Prioritizing Mental Health

Back In August, Nicola Sturgeon of Scotland made a plea during a TED Talk for modern economies to consider mental health, childcare, parental leave and green energy.

  

“Iceland uses more antidepressants than neighboring countries,” she said. “We need to strengthen prevention [of depression], through sports and the arts.”

This is an amazing initiative put forth by leaders of these nations to do whatever it takes to support the citizens who are struggling with mental health disorders, particularly depression. They are able to see that the most important thing is not economic growth, because what difference does that make if so many people are unhappy?

She said the “well-being” initiative promoted by herself, Ms. Sturgeon and Ms. Ardern should not be seen as a gender-based backlash against populism.

“It’s very important to have all genders at the table – it affects the way you think, and then different decisions are made,” she told BBC.

Female Force?

It is interesting that the three members of this initiative are all women, and of course that fact alone will certainly turn some heads. However, this doesn’t take away from the legitimacy of their purposed agenda.

Perhaps the more nurturing side of women is what is bringing this all to the table, or just the knowledge that what we have been doing for so long is simply not working anymore. It’s time to prioritize what’s really important for each nation — the well-being of the citizens. Perhaps, if people are happier and feel more supported, they will be able to contribute more to their society, which in turn could very well increase GDP. Might as well give it a shot as we’ve got nothing left to lose at this point!

Now, let’s see if other nations’ leaders (Trump, Trudeau, ahem..) will follow suit and prioritize what’s really important.

Much Love

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‘Julian Assange Could Die in Prison Without Urgent Medical Care’ – More Than 60 Doctors Warn

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    More than 60 doctors have expressed their concern that Julian Assange may die in prison, and that he is in need of urgent care.

  • Reflect On:

    Never before have we seen the massive censorship of information, combine with the massive awakening of humanity. Our collective perception of the what's happening on our world

‘National Security’ has become an umbrella term to keep information ‘classified’ not truly for national security purposes, but rather to conceal information that threatens elitist agenda’s, be it corporate, political, or financial. Usually, they’re all intertwined. President Eisenhower warned us about the “military industrial complex” and the dangers it poses, after him John F. Kennedy warned us that “there is a very grave danger than an announced need for an increased need for security, will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of censorship and concealment.” Today, secrecy is out of hand, and it’s the backbone of un-just, immoral, and inhumane actions taken by not only the American empire and the Deep State, but by powerful global elitists as well.

This is exactly why Julian Assange is where he is now, because he was publishing secrets that had no justification for concealment, secrets that show how war, terrorism, and other actions by powerful people were undertaken for other reasons, and not those (reasons) that are commonly given in the form of mainstream media. One example would be the funding and arming and in some cases, creation of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda by agencies like the CIA in order to help destabilize countries in the Middle East so the United Stats could justify an intervention, supposedly to bring ‘democracy’ and ‘restore peace’ to those countries. This type of thing is well known, which is why current democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard introduced the ‘Stop Arming Terrorist Act,’  a proposed act that would stop the U.S. government from using taxpayer dollars to directly or indirectly support groups who are allied with and supporting terrorist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda in their war to overthrow the Syrian government.

Julian Assange exposed nothing but lies and deception, and it’s truly a crime that he is not a free man, but this is the type of world we live in. A world where activists and journalists like Assange are silenced, a world where alternative independent media out lets like Collective Evolution are extremely censored and demonetized.

We are living in an ‘Orwellian’ type of time, where there is a ‘ministry of truth’ that claims to be ‘fact checking’ information when really, these organizations seem to simply be ridiculing credible information that is full of evidence and legitimate sources, simply for the purposes of, again, threatening powerful people.

Assange is a hero in this field, and those who make big leaps with regards to exposing such corruption are often vilified. Retired USAF lieutenant colonel Karen Kwiatkowski writes in an article posted at Lew Rockwell’s website that Julian Assange is receiving the same treatment as suspected terrorists while in captivity at “Her Majesty’s Prison Service” at Belmarsh, stating that he’s probably being tortured with psychotropic drugs.

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The FBI, Pentagon, and CIA are “interviewing” Assange. Kwiatkowski writes:

Interviewing is the wrong word.  I’d like to say doctoring him, because it would be more accurate, except that word implies some care for a positive outcome.  Chemical Gina has her hands in this one, and we are being told that Assange is being “treated” with 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate, known as BZ. 

Not long ago, John Shipton, Julian Assange’s father, gave an interview to the Strategic Culture Foundation sharing the latest on Julian Assange and how he’s being treated, claiming that “they are murdering my son.” You can read that interview interview here.

Assange is a man who clearly knows a lot, and has information that probably goes well beyond what’s already been divulged by Wikileaks. The treatment of him and everything he is going through is horrific and heart-breaking, but not surprising. It’s truly jaw dropping and un-fathomable how such treatment and even such an arrest can in anyway be justified within the minds of anybody. And it goes to show how powerful people are capable of doing anything they want, no matter how immoral and illegal.

An article recently published in The Independent  written by Henry Vaughan states:

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could die in prison without urgent medical care, according to an open letter signed by more than 60 doctors. The medics, from the UK, Australia, Europe and Sri Lanka express “serious concerns” about 48-year-old Assange’s fitness to stand trial in the letter addressed to Priti Patel, the home secretary.He is being held in Belmarsh prison, in south-east London, ahead of a hearing in February to fight extradition to the US, where he faces 18 charges, including conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer. Assange is accused of working with former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak hundreds of thousands of classified documents.The doctors are calling for Assange to be transferred to a university teaching hospital, where he can be assessed and treated by an expert medical team.

The letter, which has also been copied to shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, says: “From a medical point of view, on the evidence currently available, we have serious concerns about Mr Assange’s fitness to stand trial in February 2020. Most importantly, it is our opinion that Mr Assange requires urgent expert medical assessment of both his physical and psychological state of health. Any medical treatment indicated should be administered in a properly equipped and expertly staffed university teaching hospital (tertiary care). Were such urgent assessment and treatment not to take place, we have real concerns, on the evidence currently available, that Mr Assange could die in prison. The medical situation is thereby urgent. There is no time to lose.”

Doctors are warning if action isn’t taken that Julian Assange may actually die.

Below is a tweet from Australian journalist and BAFTA award-winning documentary filmmaker John Pilger, who made comments last month that shed some light on how Assange is being treated.

The Takeaway

What you read here is no surprise, for a long time Julian Assange was allowed no visitors, and now, it’s quite clear why. Those who have had access to visits have made it quite clear that he is in very poor health. It’s unbelievable how the powers that be can simply do as they please, illegally, with no consequence, and their power lies within the human population and in those who have been subjected to perception manipulation, believing that Julian Assange should actually be locked up and done away with.

A great quote by Edward Bernays, who was known as the father of public relations, comes to mind here:

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. (source)

The ability for this powerful group to manipulate our minds is clearly fading, and Julian Assange has been a big part of that, but we still have a lot of work to do.

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