Originally published October 7 2009
Activist Groups that Fund Pharma Try to Regulate Silver as a Pesticide (Opinion)
by Tony Isaacs
(NaturalNews) It was revealed that a handful of the activist agencies which were behind the petition to the EPA to regulate nano-silver as a pesticide received funding from pharmaceutical giant Merck, which annually has hundreds of billions of dollars in profits from patented antibiotics which colloidal silver poses a risk to. Now, further investigation has discovered that the initial revelations may just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Merck and other pharmaceutical companies funding of the groups who support the EPA petition.
The actual source of the funding that was first revealed in emails and colloidal silver blogsites was the John Merck Fund, which was set up in 1970 by Serena Merck, the widow of Merck Pharmaceuticals CEO George W. Merck. The recipients of funding who are signees on the petition to the EPA were identified as:
Center for Food Safety
$1,305,000.00 (1999 - 2005)
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
$490,000.00 (1992 - 2003)
International Center for Technology Assessment
Consumers Union of the United States
$90,000.00 (2000 - 2001)
$80,000.00 (2000 - 2002)
Friends of the Earth
$45,000.00 (1992 - 2000)
Subsequently, it was discovered that a second Merck foundation, the Merck Family Fund, gave a $200,000 grant for 2006-2007 to another petitioner, Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition.
The Center for Food Safety (CFS), which along with its sister organization the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA) initiated the EPA petition and enlisted the other groups which signed off on the petition, received the second largest amount of funding of any group from the John Merck Fund. The largest recipient by far of Merck funding was the Tides Center/Tides Foundation, whose total funding of almost $2.7 Million dwarfs the combined total of $1.75 Million given to the CFS and the ICTA and CFS.
Tides Foundation & Tides Center
$2,693,000.00 (1989 - 2005)
As it turns out, the Tides Foundation and Tides Center are also actively involved in the petition to regulate silver, as well as the source of funding and support to several of the other groups who signed the EPA petition. Their position became apparent to one and all when they posted a press release urging support of the EPA petition:
The Tides Foundation is described by Activistcash.com as quickly becoming "the 800 pound gorilla for activist funding." As reported on ActivistCash:
"The Tides foundation was established in 1976 by California activist Drummond Pike, Tides does two things better than any other foundation or charity in the U.S. today: it routinely obscures the sources of its tax-exempt millions, and makes it difficult (if not impossible) to discern how the funds are actually being used."
Activistcash went on to report:
"In practice, "Tides" behaves less like a philanthropy than a money-laundering enterprise (apologies to Procter & Gamble), taking money from other foundations and spending it as the donor requires. Called donor-advised giving, this pass-through funding vehicle provides public-relations insulation for the money`s original donors. By using Tides to funnel its capital, a large public charity can indirectly fund a project with which it would prefer not to be directly identified in public. Drummond Pike has reinforced this view, telling The Chronicle of Philanthropy: "Anonymity is very important to most of the people we work with."
Due to the efforts of many foundations to keep their funding activities anonymous, it is difficult to determine the true scope of pharmaceutical company funding for the Tides group as well as the individual activist groups. However, information on the Tides Center`s website and other web searches found that the Tides Center itself is a big source of funding and support to several of the other groups not listed as direct recipients of funding from Merck.
For example, the Center for Environmental Health is itself a a project of the Tides Center.
The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy received previous funding and had previous connections with the Tides Foundation.
The Clean Production Action is a Tides Center project.
Food and Water Watch receives donations from the Tides Foundation.
Though not listed as a recipient of funding from Merck or the Tides Center, The Loka Institute, which has no current offices, was previously provided office space and a mailbox in Washington, DC by the International Center for Technology Assessment in their own offices.
Lest one think that Merck is the only Big Pharma company funding the activist groups directly or else indirectly funneling money to them through the Tides Foundation and Tides Center, a quick internet search found the following listed as the top funding recipient from the Pfizer Foundation:
Tides Foundation & Tides Center
$300,000.00 (2003 - 2004)
Thus far, the EPA has taken no action on the petition, though it is widely expected to make a ruling by early fall, and many expect that silver will indeed be regulated as a pesticide. Such an action would have the effect of banning virtually all the colloidal silver products currently used by millions of people to combat infections and pathogens of all kinds. In many instances, mainstream medicine has no answer for some of the deadliest of pathogens, such as MRSA.
The environmental groups would have us believe that they are primarily concerned with new products that incorporated "nanosilver" into their makeup such as computer keyboards, clothing and other textiles that were impregnated with nanosilver for antimicrobial purposes. However, it appears clear that the true agenda of the petition to the EPA is to constrain colloidal silver. Colloidal silver represents a huge threat to the billions of dollars in profits Big Pharma annually rakes in from less effective, less safe and far more expensive patented antibiotic drugs.
Such an agenda becomes obvious when one looks at the list of products singled out for banning that was part of the petitions and finds the three largest producers of colloidal silver specifically listed among the products. Many more colloidal silver products were later added as an addendum.
As an example of the subterfuge, one of the environmental groups which signed the petition, Friends of the Earth, sent emails this past spring to concerned members who used colloidal silver to assure them that they had no desire or intention to regulate colloidal silver. Then in June they published a position paper which stated, "We believe that all over-the-counter colloidal silver products should be immediately withdrawn from the market and their sale should be banned (unless approved as a drug by the appropriate regulatory agency)."
Source: Friends of the Earth (FOE), June 2009 report "Nano and Biocidal Silver: Extreme Germ Killers Present a Growing Threat to Public Health" pg. 13
Similarly, in March of this year, just before the EPA closed the door to public comments on the campaign to regulate silver as a "pesticide," the environmentalists published an article claiming that a "major new clinical study" had proven that silver harms human cells.
What the environmentalists failed to report in their article is enlightening. First of all, it turned out that the study they cited was hardly "major." Indeed, it was a very small study conducted by a virtually unknown research group in China.
It also turned out that the group conducting the study was in cahoots with two major pharmaceutical companies who are major producers of prescription antibiotic drugs. And finally, the study itself merely demonstrated the well-known fact that silver kills e. coli bacteria by damaging its cellular structure and preventing it from replicating.
In other words, the study was on bacterial cells, not human cells.
The justification for considering silver to be a pesticide in the first place is because it kills bacteria, viruses and other single celled pathogens, which the environmental groups have defined as "pests". Using the same definition would apparently also make common bleach, rubbing and drinking alcohol, aerosol disinfectants, and antibiotic and antiviral drugs "pesticides" as well - but only silver has been singled out.
One wonders why environmental groups are seemingly in bed with Big Pharma to begin with on the issue of silver, which is a natural element that has been in our waters, soils and plants since mankind first put down footsteps in the sands of time. Where is the concern over all of the drugs that are polluting our drinking water? According to a recent investigative report from the Associated Press, "U.S. manufacturers, including major drugmakers, have released at least 271 million pounds of pharmaceutical drugs into waterways that often provide drinking water for millions of Americans - contamination the federal government has consistently overlooked..."
According to the Associated Press report, "...trace amounts of a wide range of pharmaceuticals - including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones - have been found in American drinking water supplies...pharmaceuticals have now been detected in the drinking water of at least 51 million Americans."
The figures reported may be merely the tip of the iceberg since, as the report itself states, "Most cities and water providers still do not test." The report also notes, "Some scientists say that wherever researchers look, they will find pharma-tainted water."
The AP report also noted that "Pharmaceutical makers typically are excused from having to submit an environmental review for new products, and the FDA has never rejected a drug application based on potential environmental impact."
Furthermore, according to the AP report, the Big Pharma companies do not even need to submit environmental reviews for their drugs, which are now contaminating the drinking water of tens of millions of American men, women and children.
But colloidal silver, which has never been demonstrated to contribute to environmental pollution, is being singled out by the environmental groups (backed by their Big Pharma paymasters) for extreme and completely unwarranted environmental regulations that will literally drive most if not all colloidal silver manufacturers and vendors completely out of business. And it`s all being pulled off in the name of "protecting the environment."
In short, Big Pharma produces hundreds of billions of dollars a year worth of prescription drugs and millions of pounds of these drugs annually end up polluting our environment, yet the environmental groups remain silent with nary a single call to regulate Big Pharma`s drugs as environmental pollutants. In other words, Big Pharma is polluting the environment with drugs, but, rather than opposing Big Pharma, the environmentalist groups are taking money from them and ruthlessly attacking the most popular natural health alternative to the prescription antibiotic drugs produced by Big Pharma.
Given the information outlined above, one can only wonder what other pharmaceutical funding is linked to activist groups such as the ones listed in this article. One shudders to think of how many activist groups have been corrupted by funding from Big Pharma and other companies with agendas that are anything but in the public interest.
It is easy to see how such hypocrisy and subterfuge can corrupt decision making, the same as can pay lobbyists and political funding. Obviously it would be in the distinct public interest to require full disclosure of funding sources for every organization which petitions a government agency or legislative body to see where there might be funding sources that would stand to benefit as a result of the desired action or legislation.
Similarly, it would also be in the public interest to require full details of all the activities and efforts of lobbyists, including expenses and the details of each meeting held by lobbyists with government officials. While we are at it, we would also be a better informed and better served citizenry if every elected official`s vote on any measure included donations and links to any companies or other entities affected by such legislation.
Granted, such reforms are a tall order, but until we see such altruistic change all the talk about true transparency in government is merely lip service - and the words from our own lips will continue to have little chance of reaching the ears of those captured by the special interests who have bought them off and rigged the process in their favor.
The complete list of groups who signed the petition to the EPA is: The International Center for Technology Assessment, the Center for Food Safety (the sister organization of the CTA), Beyond Pesticides, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, ETC Group, Center for Environmental Health, Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition , Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Clean Production Action, Food and Water Watch, the Loka Institute, the Center for Study of Responsive Law, and Consumers Union.
About the authorTony Isaacs, is a natural health author, advocate and researcher who hosts The Best Years in Life website for those who wish to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. Mr. Isaacs is the author of books and articles about natural health, longevity and beating cancer including "Cancer's Natural Enemy" and is working on a major book project due to be published later this year. He is also a contributing author for the worldwide advocacy group "S.A N.E.Vax. Inc" which endeavors to uncover the truth about HPV vaccine dangers.
Mr. Isaacs is currently residing in scenic East Texas and frequently commutes to the even more scenic Texas hill country near Austin and San Antonio to give lectures and health seminars. He also hosts the CureZone "Ask Tony Isaacs - featuring Luella May" forum as well as the Yahoo Health Group "Oleander Soup" and he serves as a consultant to the "Utopia Silver Supplement Company".
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