Who funds Collateral Global?
GBD outfit publishes its first accounts
Collateral Global were incorporated in November 2020 as a private limited company founded by James Bassam of Farha Secretaries limited and Alexander Caccia who is Sunetra Gupta’s partner and runs Animal Dynamics, a company that holds contracts with the UK’s Ministry of Defence. In December 2020 Gupta became director.
Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorf are members of Collateral Global, as is Ellen Townsend, Great Barrington Declaration (GBD) signatory, Pandata and HART member who has also been providing support to anti infection control in schools campaign group Us For Them.
David Livermoore is also a GBD signatory and was a member of HART, he was also on the advisory board for Russia’s Sputnik V advisory board.
Jennie Bristow was a HART member, providing the group with media links developed when she was an editor of Spiked Online, she was also a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, worked on Living Marxism.
Andreas Sonnichsen is also a member of anti-vax group Doctors for Covid Ethics whose members include Wolfgang Wodarg and Michael Yeadon. He is a member of the s h hplinter German political party Die Basis which also includes Wolfgang Wodarg and the lawyer Reiner Fuellmich who has pushed the Nuremberg 2.0 narrative and an assortment of wild conspiracy theories.
Alberto Giubilini is co-author on Gupta’s pandemic papers, and has previously written for the Spectator.
Jonathan Ketchem has co-authored papers with Bhattacharya for the Cato Institute.
Carl Heneghan spent 2020 claiming there couldn’t be a second wave, when he was proven wrong he deleted his social media history. He received WHO funding to research mode of transmission and concluded covid isn’t airborne. Heneghan was accused of misrepresenting an infamous Danish randomised controlled study to claim masks had no impact on transmission. He is also a member of the Academy for Scientific Freedom alongside Kulldorff, Bhattacharya and former Trump White House advisor Scott Atlas.
Paul Dolan was involved in the MINDSPACE document on behavioural nudge that was developed into the UK’s Behavioural Insights Team which was part of the Cabinet Office team than ended up with herd immunity as a strategy in early March 2020. Paul Dolan has since worked with Steve Baker MP who is vice chair of the Covid Recovery Group of MPs that is working directly with various disinformation groups including HART.
Ellen Townsend was a member of HART and Pandata, she has been supporting the group Us For Them since their inception, the group has successfully campaigned against measures to reduce covid in schools with the support of the Children’s Commissioner and Conservative MP’s including Robert Halfon the chair of the Education Select Committee.
Articles by Collateral Global have made claims covid deaths have been widely exaggerated and that PCR tests exaggerated the pandemic. In some interviews members have claimed only those over 40 should be vaccinated while in other interviews they have raised this to over 65’s suggesting the benefit to risk benefit for those younger is negligible at best or potentially harmful.
Examples of some of Collateral Global’s links
Who funds Collateral Global?
In August 2022 Collateral Global published its first set of accounts.
The Georg & Emily Von Opel Foundation has awarded Sunetra Gupta and her organisation £220,000 that we know of.
Funding the Covid Recovery All Party Parliamentary Group
October 2021 a cross bench group of UK MPs set up a new parliamentary group (these are single issue groupings that conduct research, evidence sessions and can publish reports and policy suggestions). The new Covid Recovery APPG is funded directly by Collateral Global, with Jenny Moran acting as the group’s secretariat. HART’s Jenny Moran was responsible for the APPG’s launch press release.
Controversial UK government advisor Robert Dingwall also spoke at the launch event, Dingwall wrote a blog in March 2020 arguing that rather than introducing measures to control the pandemic families should consider if elderly members may be better off dying soon from covid than in years time from a degenerative disease like dementia. He has consistently argued against measures and has claimed that fully opening schools without mitigations even in the midst of high infection rates has never had an impact on transmission. In the HART leaks Michael Yeadon said that he had been in contact since autumn 2020 and that Dingwall would prefer to remain “working on the inside” for the cause rather than joining HART.
The APPG Chair is Esther McVey who has openly supported Us For Them, as have other members of the APPG including Miriam Cates who led a Westminster Hall debate on behalf of an Us For Them petition calling for the halt of vaccination for under 16. She has also posted pictures of herself lobbying the Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi against masks being worn anywhere in schools, the evidence she brought to the meeting was a piece written by Bhattacharya for the Brownstone Institute. The House of Lords’ Claire Fox is also a member of the APPG, she is a former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, a writer for Living Marxism, and a Brexit Party politician alongside Nigel Farage and Richard Tice whose links to Trump and Steve Bannon are well known.
The APPG has hosted a succession of sessions claiming deaths were over exaggerated, measures don’t prevent transmission and arguing against child vaccination which has consisted of a one sided list of experts drawn primarily from Collateral Global and HART. The group wrote to the UK’s immunisation body the JCVI in an open letter published by the Daily Sceptic which once again called for the end of child vaccination because “the risks outweigh the benefits” which included misrepresenting. CDC data. As with the APPG and Collateral Global’s other releases the letter claims natural immunity is superior to vaccination.
Having members of disinformation groups make their statements in Parliament has added a veneer of credibility to misleading statistics allowing antivax and conspiracy theorist groups to quote parliamentary sources in their literature.
Another expert witness at one of the APPG’s sessions was Luke Johnson who has been a speaker at a Pandata event and fund the Covid Recovery Group of sceptical Conservative MPs who have been working directly with HART and Us For Them.
Covid Recovery Group of MPs
Many groups and campaigns were launched in October coinciding with the Great Barrington Declaration’s release. Another example is the Covid Recovery Group of sceptic Conservative MPs who openly support the Great Barrington Declaration, one of their first actions was to call for the immediate lifting of all restrictions, advocating for a strategy of herd immunity.
Investigating the CRG’s funding, Open Democracy revealed the vice-chair Steve Baker had received £30,000 in donations including £10,000 from the Recovery Alliance, “which has almost no internet footprint, is an ‘unincorporated association’ – meaning that details about its finances and leaders can be kept anonymous” leading to accusations dark money was influencing the pandemic response.
A text message from Baker to the rest of the CRG sent after lockdown restrictions were extended at the start of 2021 was leaked to the press. “It is the sworn duty of all officers to try to escape. If they cannot escape, then it is their sworn duty to cause the enemy to use an inordinate number of troops to guard them, and their sworn duty to harass the enemy to the best of their ability.”
Open Democracy suggests “Recovery Alliance is an umbrella organisation that brings together lockdown-sceptic MPs with the UsforThem campaign group. Reports say that both groups are being advised by Westminster lobbyist Ed Barker, a former parliamentary candidate for the Conservative Party.”
Via Baker the CRG also received £4,500 from private equity firm called Risk Capital Partners LLP owned by Luke Johnson, the former chair of Patisserie Valerie, who previously admitted he considered fleeing the country after the café chain uncovered what it called “potentially fraudulent” accounting irregularities. Five people were arrested and questioned in relation to the allegations in 2019. Luke Johnson was a guest speaker at a Pandata event and is a signatory of the Together Declaration.
The CRG has also received £15,000 from Matthew Ferrey, a former senior partner at oil company Vitol, who has donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Conservative Party
Dark Money Concerns
Open Democracy reported concerns raised about the Recovery Alliance.
“The Electoral Reform Society has previously warned about unincorporated associations “potentially masking many separate donations through a single entity”, and pointed out that they have “few legal reporting requirements”.
Jess Garland, director of policy and research at the Electoral Reform Society, told openDemocracy: “Unincorporated associations are another giant hole in the sieve that is Britain’s party funding rules, letting ‘dark money’ flood into our political system.
“There is a glaring lack of transparency that only fosters distrust and – often justified – fears over who is secretly steering our political debate.
“Voters have a right to know who is influencing our politics. It’s time for transparency and openness, to fix the rot and restore faith in politics.”
Steve Goodrich, head of research and investigations at Transparency International UK, also criticised the role of unincorporated associations in political donations, saying there are “too many dark corners for donors to hide”.
“It is far too easy to evade the rules on donor disclosure through the use of murky unincorporated associations. Despite reforms a decade ago, it is still nearly impossible to learn who is really making political contributions through these secretive clubs.
“To bring dark money out of the shadows we should have greater sight of all political donations worth over £500.”
The CRG’s chair Mark Harper and vice-chair Steve Baker also led the ERG, the ultra hardline Brexiter’s who were responsible for ousting Theresa May as Prime Minister. Baker also leads the Conservative Way Forward group inside the Conservtive Party which has ties to the Republican Party and the Mercers. Conservative Way Forward also receives PR support from Ed Barker, to go alongside his work with the CRG, Us For Them, Legatum, Global Britain, StandUp4Brexit and other interlinked organisations. Steve Baker is also a trustee of the climate change denying Global Warming Policy Forum, which is Koch linked and also receives PR support from Ed Barker.
Byline Times reported, “Conservative Way Forward’s president is former Conservative MP Sir Gerald Howarth, who was a political advisor to the Leave Means Leave campaign run by Richard Tice and Nigel Farage.
Howarth is notorious for his support for Enoch Powell’s anti-immigrant ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech and his bigotry on race relations, Muslims, and gay people. He is also an anti-masker who criticised how “the Government has slavishly adhered to the advice of experts” in its pandemic response.”
While the organisations have claimed no affiliation, in mid-February 2021 The Times published a report stating, “MPs in the COVID Recovery Group, organised by Steve Baker, a perennial backbench Machiavelli, have joined forces with the UsforThem campaign, which has been pressing for schools to re-open, to form an umbrella organisation called The Recovery Alliance. Ed Barker, a political consultant, is bringing them together with business figures who want the focus to shift from health to the economy.”
The HARTleaks reveal how the CRG MP’s have coordinated with HART. CRG assisted HART in establishing media links, while HART provides the CRG weekly briefing documents proving them with alternative facts and studies produced by the disinformation network to argue against measures and child vaccination. CRG MPs have quoted HART papers in parliament, asked questions on their behalf in Parliament, William Wragg even tried to bring a vaccine damages bill to parliament on their behalf.
John Byes thread on the HARTleaks provides the details of MP’s working with the HART groups and members of Collateral Global.
Graham Brady chair of the Conservative backbench 1922 committee who oversees votes of no confidence in the party leader and chooses the rules leadership elections has met with a number of antivaxxers and conspiracy theorists.
@aw_what provides details here.