Uncensored Investigative Journalism
Subscribe

Subscribe with RSS Subscribe with RSS

Subscribe

Get notified of the latest articles, podcast and press releases

Please wait...

Thank you for signing up! 

Wall Street’s Takeover of Nature Advances with Launch of New Asset Class

A project of the multilateral development banking system, the Rockefeller Foundation and the New York Stock Exchange recently created a new asset class that will put, not just the natural world, but the processes underpinning all life, up for sale under the guise of promoting “sustainability.”

Last month, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) announced it had developed a new asset class and accompanying listing vehicle meant “to preserve and restore the natural assets that ultimately underpin the ability for there to be life on Earth.” Called a natural asset company, or NAC, the vehicle will allow for the formation of specialized corporations “that hold the rights to the ecosystem services produced on a given chunk of land, services like carbon sequestration or clean water.” These NACs will then maintain, manage and grow the natural assets they commodify, with the end of goal of maximizing the aspects of that natural asset that are deemed by the company to be profitable.

Though described as acting like “any other entity” on the NYSE, it is alleged that NACs “will use the funds to help preserve a rain forest or undertake other conservation efforts, like changing a farm’s conventional agricultural production practices.” Yet, as explained towards the end of this article, even the creators of NACs admit that the ultimate goal is to extract near-infinite profits from the natural processes they seek to quantify and then monetize.

NYSE COO Michael Blaugrund alluded to this when he said the following regarding the launch of NACs: “Our hope is that owning a natural asset company is going to be a way that an increasingly broad range of investors have the ability to invest in something that’s intrinsically valuable, but, up to this point, was really excluded from the financial markets.”

Framed with the lofty talk of “sustainability” and “conservation”, media reports on the move in outlets like Fortune couldn’t avoid noting that NACs open the doors to “a new form of sustainable investment” which “has enthralled the likes of BlackRock CEO Larry Fink over the past several years even though there remain big, unanswered questions about it.” Fink, one of the world’s most powerful financial oligarchs, is and has long been a corporate raider, not an environmentalist, and his excitement about NACs should give even its most enthusiastic proponents pause if this endeavor was really about advancing conservation, as is being claimed.

How to Create a NAC

The creation and launch of NACs has been two years in the making and saw the NYSE team up with the Intrinsic Exchange Group (IEG), in which the NYSE itself holds a minority stake. IEG’s three investors are the Inter-American Development Bank, the Latin America-focused branch of the multilateral development banking system that imposes neoliberal and neo-colonalist agendas through debt entrapment; the Rockefeller Foundation, the foundation of the American oligarch dynasty whose activities have long been tightly enmeshed with Wall Street; and Aberdare Ventures, a venture capital firm chiefly focused on the digital healthcare space. Notably, the IADB and the Rockefeller Foundation are closely tied to the related pushes for Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) and biometric Digital IDs

The IEG’s mission focuses on “pioneering a new asset class based on natural assets and the mechanism to convert them to financial capital.” “These assets,” IEG states, make “life on Earth possible and enjoyable…They include biological systems that provide clean air, water, foods, medicines, a stable climate, human health and societal potential.” 

Put differently, NACs will not only allow ecosystems to become financial assets, but the rights to “ecosystem services”, or the benefits people receive from nature as well. These include food production, tourism, clean water, biodiversity, pollination, carbon sequestration and much more. IEG is currently partnering with Costa Rica’s government to pilot its NAC efforts within that country. Costa Rica’s Minister of Environment and Energy, Andrea Meza Murillo, has claimed that the pilot project with IEG “will deepen the economic analysis of giving nature its economic value, as well as to continue mobilizing financial flows to conservation.”

With NACs, the NYSE and IEG are now putting the totality of nature up for sale. While they assert that doing so will “transform our economy to one that is more equitable, resilient and sustainable”, it’s clear that the coming “owners” of nature and natural processes will be the only real beneficiaries.

Per the IEG, NACs first begin with the identification of a natural asset, such as a forest or lake, which is then quantified using specific protocols. Such protocols have already been developed by related groups like the Capitals Coalition, which is partnered with several of IEG’s partners as well as the World Economic Forum and various coalitions of multinational corporations. Then, a NAC is created and the structure of the company decides who has the rights to that natural asset’s productivity as well as the rights to decide how that natural asset is managed and governed. Lastly, a NAC is “converted” into financial capital by launching an initial public offering on a stock exchange, like the NYSE. This last stage “generates capital to manage the natural asset” and the fluctuation of its price on the stock exchange “signals the value of its natural capital.”

Source: IEG

However, the NAC and its employees, directors and owners are not necessarily the owners of the natural asset itself following this final step. Instead, as IEG notes, the NAC is merely the issuer while the potential buyers of the natural asset the NAC represents can include: institutional investors, private investors, individuals and institutions, corporations, sovereign wealth funds and multilateral development banks. Thus, asset management firms that essentially already own much of the world, like Blackrock, could thus become owners of soon-to-be monetized natural processes, natural resources and the very foundations of natural life itself.

Both the NYSE and IEG have marketed this new investment vehicle as being aimed at generating funds that will go back to conservation or sustainability efforts. However, on the IEG’s website, it notes that the goal is really endless profit from natural processes and ecosystems that were previously deemed to be part of “the commons”, i.e. the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth. Per the IEG, “as the natural asset prospers, providing a steady or increasing flow of ecosystem services, the company’s equity should appreciate accordingly providing investment returns. Shareholders and investors in the company through secondary offers, can take profit by selling shares. These sales can be gauged to reflect the increase in capital value of the stock, roughly in-line with its profitability, creating cashflow based on the health of the company and its assets.”

Researcher and journalist Cory Morningstar has strongly disagreed with the approach being taken by NYSE/IEG and views NACs as a system that will only exacerbate the corporate predation of nature, despite claims to the contrary. Morningstar has described NACs as “Rockefeller et al. letting the markets dictate what in nature has value – and what does not. Yet, it’s not for capitalist institutions and global finance to decide what life has value. Ecosystems are not ‘assets.’ Biological communities exist for their own purposes, not ours.”

A New Way to Loot

The ultimate goal of NACs is not sustainability or conservation – it is the financialization of nature, i.e. turning nature into a commodity that can be used to keep the current, corrupt Wall Street economy booming under the guise of protecting the environment and preventing its further degradation. Indeed, IEG makes this clear when they note that “the opportunity” of NACs lies not in their potential to improve environmental well-being or sustainability, but in the size of this new asset class, which they term “Nature’s Economy.”

Source: IEG

Indeed, while the asset classes of the current economy are value at approximately $512 trillion, the asset classes unlocked by NACs are significantly larger at $4,000 trillion (i.e. $4 quadrillion). Thus, NACs open up a new feeding ground for predatory Wall Street banks and financial institutions that will allow them to not just dominate the human economy, but the entire natural world. In the world currently being constructed by these and related entities, where even freedom is being re-framed not as a right but “a service,” the natural processes on which life depends are similarly being re-framed as assets, which will have owners. Those “owners” will ultimately have the right, in this system, to dictate who gets access to clean water, to clean air, to nature itself and at what cost. 

According to Cory Morningstar, one of the other aims of creating “Nature’s Economy” and neatly packaging it for Wall Street via NACs is to drastically advance massive land grab efforts made by Wall Street and the oligarch class in recent years. This includes the recent land grabs made by Wall Street firms as well as billionaire “philanthropists” like Bill Gates during the COVID crisis. However, the land grabs facilitated through the development of NACs will largely target indigenous communities in the developing world. 

As Morningstar notes:

The public launch of NACs strategically preceded the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the biggest biodiversity conference in a decade. Under the pretext of turning 30% of the globe into “protected areas”, the largest global land grab in history is underway. Built on a foundation of white supremacy, this proposal will displace hundreds of millions, furthering the ongoing genocide of Indigenous peoples. The tragic irony is this: while Indigenous peoples represent less than 5% of the global population, they support approximately 80% of all biodiversity.

IEG, in discussing NACs, tellingly notes that proceeds from a NAC’s IPO can be used for the acquisition of more land by its controlling entities or used to boost the budgets or funds of those who receive the capital from the IPO. This is a far cry from the NYSE/IEG sales pitch that NACs are “different” because their IPOs will be used to “preserve and protect” natural areas.

The climate change panic that is now rising to the take the place of COVID-19 panic will surely be used to savvily market NACs and similar tactics as necessary to save the planet, but – rest assured – NACs are not a move to save the planet, but a move to enable the same interests responsible for the current environmental crises to usher in a new era where their predatory exploitation reaches new heights that were previously unimaginable.

36 comments
  1. Excellent article. A lot of well-meaning folk might not well understand how stock markets work and be taken in by this attempt to grab and sell nature.

  2. This is the logical next step in the reshaping of the global political economy from consumer capitalism to a form of totalitarian neofeudalism. The lords of capitalism will eventually own and control almost everything, the rest of us indebted to them for the “privilege” of survival, inalienable “rights” an archaic concept. The manufactured crisis of COVID-19 will soon be joined by the real crisis of accelerating environmental catastrophe which will be exploited to achieve elite objectives. One of these probably includes the creation of elite islands of survivabity amid the looming chaos. We are in the midst of the 6th great extinction with runaway global warming close at hand, libertarian fantasies about a grand solar minimum new ice age notwithstanding.

    1. Challenge your beliefs.
      “Have Scientists Ignored 11.7 TRILLION Tons Of Sequestered Carbon? (45 Times Man’s Addition)” https://notrickszone.com/2021/10/06/have-scientists-ignored-11-7-trillion-tons-of-sequestered-carbon-45-times-mans-addition/
      “All Fake News – All The Time (CBS News says the Arctic is record hot at 100 degrees and bazillions of scientists say we have to take action to save the climate)” https://realclimatescience.com/2021/09/all-fake-news-all-the-time-2/
      “Met Office’s Fake Arctic Ice Claims Mislead Public” https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2021/09/27/met-offices-fake-arctic-ice-claims-mislead-public/
      “Environmentalism is class war by other means” https://www.spiked-online.com/2021/10/04/environmentalism-is-class-war-by-other-means/
      “Arctic Ice Coverage Is Up Substantially (The news did not fit the media’s narrative)” https://spectator.org/arctic-ice-coverage-is-up-substantially/

      1. Joe, my beliefs concerning global warming are based upon my evaluation of known scientific facts and hard empirical data. The non-controversial fact is that greenhouse gases (CO2, Methane, N2O) trap solar radiation roughly in proportion to their concentration. Due to human activities, CO2 has increased about 44% from 1850 levels, N2O 24% and Methane a whopping 242%. Logically, this unprecedented rapid increase in greenhouse gases should have a significant impact on the climate. Has it? Average global temperature has increased over 1 degree centigrade (1.8 degrees farhrenheit) from 1850 with an accelerating rate of increase. There have been large changes in the past, however, these have occurred over thousands of years.

        I have analyzed the NASA data and have discovered that beginning in 1970, every 5 year period (1970-1974, … , 2015-2019) has been warmer than the previous 5 year period, 2015-2019 was a whopping .25 degrees C (.45 degrees F) warmer than 2010-2014. Because the 2015-2019 increase was so huge, 2020-2024 will likely be much less, perhaps even a slight decrease. If it continues the trend, however, and if the increase is significant, that could be a indication of runaway global warming. The Arctic and the Amazon, once carbon sinks, have now become carbon emitters becoming positive feedback loops. Siberian and Arctic frozen methane is being thawed and released. The prognosis is dire, The American Spectator assurances notwithstanding.

        Of course, the elites are exploiting this reality to achieve their own objectives. The Green New Deal is mostly a fraud, “net carbon neutral” a PR term for carbon offsets. At this stage of the game, I don’t think that it is even remotely possible to prevent global environmental catastrophe, local autonomy the only hope for the privileged few.

        1. Yes, this a more realistic way to look at both global warming and Covid19; crony politico-capitalists using a tragedy to gain control and make ‘money’. also grandstanding being ‘whiter than white’ status. Sad people aren’t they?

          1. Prasanna, the Green New Deal is an opportunistic exploitation of environmental reality, however, COVID-19 is a manufactured crisis created to provide a pretext for restructuring the global political economy from consumer capitalism to a form of totalitarian neofeudalism. This is in response both to the imminent threat of an uncontrolled collapse of our no-longer-viable financial system as well as a way to install a matrix of near total control to deal with the potential for chaos following an environmental collapse affecting our food supply. Part of this matrix of control appears to involve genetic engineering infusions (mRNA “vaccines”) into the global population which may ultimately enable the 1% to control the 90% (not the 99%) from the inside out. DARPA and others have stated that control of the human body and the human mind is the next battlespace (no joke). We are at the end of the hydrocarbon era of cheap and plentiful energy, the old normal no longer viable. What lies ahead is uncertain. Whitney Webb’s articles on Moderna, etc. provide a glimpse at what may be in the offing. The response to COVID-19 makes no sense as a healthcare issue but makes complete sense from a social restructuring perspective.

          1. greydogg, climate change denier Easterbrook claimed in 2014 that 1998 was the high point of global warming and that we were in a cooling trend which would last at least a couple of decades. According to NASA data, the average temperature anomaly for 1995 through 1999 was 44.8 degrees C. The average temperature anomaly for 2015 through 2019 was 93.4 degrees C. Does the doubling of the temperature anomaly in a scant 20 years look like a cooling trend to you? Since the data absolutely refutes Easterbrook, he claims huge data fraud. Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he? Also, that known green house gases don’t effect climate, a preposterous assertion. In case anyone is interested, I provide a link to paleoclimatologist Richard Alley’s 24 min video lecture on 4.6 billion years of earth’s climate history. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ujkcTZZlikg

          2. greydogg, correction to my comment @3:16 pm. Temperature anomalies are expressed in hundredths of a degree. My corrected comment should read “According to NASA data, the average temperature anomaly for 1995 through 1999 was .448 degrees C. The average temperature anomaly for 2015 through 2019 was .934 degrees C.” All else remains unchanged.

        2. Did you know, Keith, that NASA “altered” the numbers for the 1930s absolutely out of the proportion high temperatures?

    2. Yes you are absolutely right and guess who is the biggest landowner in the US…. Ms Gates himself, who has shifted/ invested his fortune wisely and at the right time. As soon as the „normal“ money i.e. US $ or EUR € ect. will lose all its value Gates & Co are again the lucky one’s……

    3. Agreed. Capitalism has entered into what the movie The Corporation stated so many years ago. The privatization of every inch of the world.
      This is a neo enclosure movement by the ruling class,the first done at the beginning of the industrial revolution and now is happening globally, for capital is global, in the financialization stages of capital accumulation.
      Resource sales will transform the developing world into a cesspool of inequality.

      Accompanying the development of a more brutal and life condemning capitalism will be the cultural charades, the tireless campaigns, the endless sophistry from the corporate media.

      So why is this happening?

      The answer is to be found in the structural crisis of capital itself. The stagnation and financialization of the capitalist economy, of which neoliberalism is the outward manifestation, requires that the system continually seek to intensify its exploitation and expropriation of the population and posits this as the only answer.

      Unable to rule in the old way, based simply on the actual accumulation process, and choosing outright robbery (so-called accumulation by dispossession) as its answer to its crisis of valorization, monopoly-finance capital in the neoliberal era is drawn to ever-greater extremes of expropriation, undermining and subsuming the liberal-democratic state itself.
      This is transnational fascism. The nation states will play an administrative role in selling their precious assets.
      So yes, the role the role of the State becomes not to look after its citizens, but to subsidize corporations and thus concentrated power, while creating a medieval economy of modern serfs and peasants.
      And with the techno fascism will arise the need for repression. This too will offer profitable opportunities to the investor class.
      Capital accumulation through militarization both at home and abroad will be available to protect the new economy.
      However, the ruling class faces challenges: growing surplus labor that will never work. Although NAC’s will create gigantic profits for a few, the dispossession of the neo enclosure movement will render a Hobbsian life under the Leviathan.
      Only an organized global opposition to capitalism itself can staunch this, if it can be staunched.
      Costa Rica has always been a puppet of the US.
      They are what nation states will do if the citizens do not stop it.

  3. This was inevitable, considering the predatory foothold into the natural water supply with companies like Nestle, (primarily owned by Blackrock, State Street and Vanguard, i.e. the redshields and their ilk). Now we know what Gates will be doing with all the farmland – massive monocultures, squeezing out biodiversity as they virtue signal their disingenuous sustainability mantra. You should read up on Bill Engdahl in this area, I believe he would be an asset to your research. Thank you for staying the course. Your conclusions seem always spot on.

  4. I watched The Corporation last night (2003) It was pitched i never thought i would live to see it. I been Reading Mariana Mazzucato, R Werner for about a month now. I really don’t know how Corpotative imperialism can be save. The For Profit answer is more profit from nature…. Has i read you article it was a dagger trough the heart. This is profoundly anti human.

  5. As the article notes, the initial focus will be on assets in the developing countries. The NAC or related entity needs to own or control the natural asset as with other such assets like forests or agricultural land. The danger here is that this will be a variance of what John Perkins has termed the EHM or economic hit men who convince those who currently “own” or control the asset that they will benefit from the relationship. It will be interesting to see how the pilot in Costa Rica evolves since that country has been at the front edge of protecting its natural assets.

    In addition to traditional “profits” for traditional management, there are potentially additional tax benefits under this model including another way to shelter profits. As countries are becoming more aggressive in taxing profits, there are legions of accountants and lawyers who will be lined up for their fees.

  6. Wow, it’s literally “Step 1) Identify a natural asset, Step 2) ??? Step 3) Profit!!!”
    In The Expanse, the people who live on space stations have to pay for air and water, but at least the mass of humanity subsisting on UBI on earth are envied for the freely available access they have to these “assets.”

  7. To quote Nancy Reagan, “Just Say No.” In as many ways as possible. And the way to communion is through communities who say yes to local electric power; yes, local food supply, and yes, local education of our children learning the basic growing techniques need for thriving in this ultra-commodified world. We hold this world in trust for our grandchildren. Here in Sierra County, New Mexico, we have started Sierra County Growing Independence. We hope others will find their way through this maze to thrive, not just survive!

  8. Pure satanism in full flow, i.e. a logical extension of the “pandemic” and the creation of a “new world order”. The sooner “Revelations” comes true the better.

  9. Governments have do many ways they can create to control us. One such way in rural Florida. They try and force people to have their well water tested, which was just another tax. So, when they get ready to move, they will use some safety factors with big corporations backing them. They show how shrewd they could be back the last of 2020 when Wallstreet was screaming meat shortages and showing cows that had to be slaughter and buried. But the truth was much different then the propaganda. It actually was that the Chinese was paying premium price; so, it was all being shipped overseas, thus the outrages meat prices.The lies and cons are never-ending.

  10. Thank you again for this very interesting investigation. But there is left one question, you wrote:

    IEG’s three investors are the Inter-American Development Bank, the Latin America-focused branch of the multilateral development banking system that imposes neoliberal and neo-colonalist agendas through debt entrapment; the Rockefeller Foundation, the foundation of the American oligarch dynasty whose activities have long been tightly enmeshed with Wall Street; and Aberdare Ventures, a venture capital firm chiefly focused on the digital healthcare space.

    I can’t find the source for this founding members. There is nothing in your links about this, also the IEG itself does not inform about the founders. While it would be completely unlikely that the Rockefellers would NOT be involved in such a significant development, the source for this statement is missing. Can you help me further? That would be really nice.

  11. I am so tired of these demented thieves… What they want, apart of owning everything for their sole benefit, is to park all humans in smart-city prisons.

  12. I thank you for this article it is well written and informative. And terrifying.
    One small note: I take exception to the Morningstar comment that it is “built on a foundation of white supremacy”…I am white and for some reason reading this doesn’t make me feel very empowered. Rather the opposite really. . I think this program is built on Rockefeller Power and Gates Power and who-knows-who-else power.

  13. Now that I think more about it, all of this horror is but based on the idiotic illusions of greedy psychopaths. So now, the imbeciles who will claim owning nature, will, for example, charge anyone wanting to go walk in the nearby forest, and all of this is supposed to earn billions of dollars. Except that the source of all of these dollars are but a finite (and shrinking!) amount, coming from those who actually work to make a living. What people spend here, they cannot spend there. Hence, dollars to be able to walk in the nearby forest, will compete with the dollars to eat a pizza. You see what I mean ? There is in fact zero dollar to make from owning nature. All of this will just accelerate the big and final economical collapse, and end our monstrous civilization.

  14. I don’t disagree with any of the negative takes and suspicious.
    BUT, hear me out…
    They already buy whatever natural assets they want, and in the case of forests, liquidate them (ie. cut them down for timber) in order to profit. No value is placed on the ecosystem services, animals within, or intangibles like biodiversity.
    So the ONE question that needs to be asked about this new scheme is: will it be more profitable to cut the forest down or keep it standing and healthy?
    If the latter, then this is actually going to be good for Nature.
    Our exist economic systems have failed to value Nature for its own sake for all of the Industrial Revolution. This scheme is, at least, a new idea. Their income will come from charging for the ecosystem services – which of course could go horribly for us plebs, but it may mean that dumping chemicals into rivers becomes more costly than dealing with them in nicer ways.
    It may mean that collecting the fees for “ecosystem services” for the forest one owns is more profitable than cutting it down and selling timber so Americans can “redo” their perfectly good wood floors with virgin rainforest timber for the third time this decade.

  15. Wow, two typos. suspicious = suspicions and “Our exist” should be “Our existing”
    That also came out too long. The gist is:
    The ONE question that needs to be asked about this new scheme is: will it be more profitable to cut the forest down or keep it standing and healthy?

    1. Anyone who feels like the elites are winning or are depressed about the future , Please listen to “Welcome to the Second Enlightenment on the New Discourse podcast with James Lindsay episode 51
      It actually gave me hope that I’ve been missing for about 3 years now.It explains a lot of what’s happening and how we can change it.
      https://youtu.be/nVUg4NeYpgA

  16. This has long been one of my biggest fears. In the western United States, there is A LOT of public land that is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). I have often wondered if this assets will ever be released for purchase. I fear that this NAC asset class is one way of doing that. What does that do for the ownership of the asset? Do the American people still “own” the asset, or do the NAC owners actually own it? Lots of questions here.

  17. Hi George, I see you are an indefatigable optimist. Of course all this could result in a better outcome for the environment. But the decision point will always be money. Knowing that money has a time value and today’s dollar in hand is worth far more than a dollar 100 years from now, I am convinced that environmental decisions will be made on Present Value (PV) dollars. We are dealing essentially with corporations, and they must show results quarterly or the value of the stock goes down. Hence, near term results of cash flow, earnings, and financial ratios among others, will dictate decisions on the environment. I was in the oil industry. At the time, the cheapest way to drill a well was to treat the eventual remediation costs as being of a small value because they were 30 to 50 years out. Well we are there and remediation costs are soaring and are real expenses which hurt the bottom line. The same thing will happen with these nature owning companies.
    In addition these entities will be run be people. And people are greedy. Corruption will occur. Multi-million dollar salaries will be paid. Under the table deals will happen. Politicians will be bought (by way of their sons, husbands, or wives, as is done today.) Your idealism is admirable, but corporations can perform contrary to the good of nature. It won’t be anything new. And I don’t trust Congress to regulate them without loopholes for their friends and families. Sorry about that.

  18. Exxon has just claimed ownership of the Sun. Gazprom claims ownership of gravity and any object that falls including rain.

  19. We are all tenants on this planet. The landlords or landladies are either the Lord God (if you have a faith) or the future generations of animals (including people), fungi, plants, bacteria, algae and so on.
    Anything of value that I consume from my surroundings during my life is a loan or service from God or the future natural world, and when I give back (such as via love or work) that is my rent or loan repayment.
    See, trying to monetize Life sucks.
    If the stock markets have spare money to buy up life, instead let them cheerfully be taxed more by and the taxes used to by responsible people to save the natural world, including ourselves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts
Read More

Tanzania’s Late President Magufuli: “Science Denier” or Threat to Empire?

While his COVID-19 policies have dominated media coverage regarding his disappearance and suspicious death, Tanzania’s John Magufuli was hated by the Western elites for much more than his rebuke of lockdowns and mask mandates. In particular, his efforts towards nationalizing the country’s mineral wealth threatened to deprive the West of control over resources deemed essential to the new green economy.
DARPA's Man in Wuhan
Read More

DARPA’s Man in Wuhan

Michael Callahan's career began in USAID and in the bioweapons labs of the former Soviet Union, advancing the agenda of the global bioweapons and pharmaceutical cartels. He would take what he learned there to execute a massive expansion of DARPA's biodefense portfolio and today finds himself squarely in the center of the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.