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Did an Italian Lawmaker Call for Bill Gates to Face Trial for ‘Crimes Against Humanity’?
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Did an Italian Lawmaker Call for Bill Gates to Face Trial for ‘Crimes Against Humanity’?

A video shared by Gateway Pundit is authentic, but it includes several false claims.

A viral article from conspiracy theory website Gateway Pundit claimed that an Italian lawmaker has “called for billionaire Bill Gates to face trial in the International Criminal Court for charges of ‘crimes against humanity.’” The article, written by Gateway Pundit founder and editor Jim Hoft, received further attention after being shared on the blog’s Instagram page. 

The article shares a subtitled video of Italian member of parliament Sara Cunial alleging Bill Gates “has been working on depopulation and dictatorial control plans on global politics, aiming to obtain the primacy on agriculture, technology, and energy.” Gateway Pundit published this article on April 16, but the video of Cunial is not recent. It is, in fact, nearly a year old, and other fact checking outlets wroteabout it when it was first shared in May 2020. While Hoft does not editorialize about the video in the article, the video itself contains factual errors.

Cunial quotes Gates as having said, “If we do a good job on vaccines, health and reproduction, we can reduce the world population by 10-15 percent. Only a genocide can save this world.”

This appears to be a misquote of comments Gates made about reducing the rate of population growth, not reducing the existing population itself. During a 2010 TED talk about how to reduce carbon emissions, Gates said: “First, we’ve got population. The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about 9 billion. Now, if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by, perhaps, 10 or 15 percent. But there, we see an increase of about 1.3.” Gates did not say “Only a genocide can save this world” during his TED talk and there’s no record of him saying it elsewhere.

As noted in a previous fact check, the comments about vaccines are in line with statements Gates has made elsewhere about his theory of how slowing the birth rate in impoverished countries helps improve the quality of life in those countries:

“Gates explained that his approach to vaccines is based on data indicating a declining death rate leads to a declining birth rate. In countries where childhood mortality is high, Gates wrote in a Gates Foundation letter, ‘parents choose to have enough kids to give them a high chance that several will survive to support them as they grow old. As the number of kids who survive to adulthood goes up, parents can achieve this goal without having as many children. … When health improves, people have smaller families and the government has more resources per person, so improving nutrition and education becomes much easier.’ Vaccines lower childhood mortality rates, and thus reduce population growth, but not in the malevolent way Gates’ 2010 comments were interpreted by his critics.”

Cunial also alleged that Gates has sterilized millions of women in Africa and caused a polio epidemic that paralyzed 500,000 children in India. Both of these are old claims that have been debunked.

A conspiracy theory that Gates added sterilizing chemicals to tetanus vaccines in Kenya began in 2014, with a group of doctors claiming that lab tests showed the vaccine contained human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which the doctors claimed was present in an attempt to sterilize young women. The conspiracy theory was addressed by Snopes, which pointed out that none of the laboratories that tested the samples actually had the equipment necessary to make such an analysis. The World Health Organization denied the vaccine contained hCG and the Daily Nation, a newspaper in Kenya, reported that the head of one of the laboratories said the results had been misconstrued. 

In 2020, viral social media posts claimed that 496,000 children in India were paralyzed from a polio vaccine distributed by the Gates Foundation between 2000 and 2017. PolitiFact noted at the time that data from the WHO shows only 17 cases of vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV). Of those, 15 came in 2009 and the other two occurred in 2010. Another similar claim went viral last year, alleging that Gates had caused disabilities in 47,000 children in India. This turned out to be without basis as well. 

Cunial also claimed that “mRNA vaccines are tools for reprogramming our immune system.” This is, at best, a very simplistic explanation of how mRNA vaccines work. The vaccine introduces messenger RNA to the body, stimulating it to produce a type of protein found in coronavirus. Once the protein is created, the immune system recognizes that it shouldn’t be there and produces antibodies to combat it. The mRNA then breaks down, leaving the body with antibodies but without the mRNA. At no point in this process does the mRNA enter the nucleus of cells, where DNA is found, giving the mRNA no opportunity to interact with or alter our DNA. Khaya Himmelman addressed concerns of mRNA being “reverse transcribed” into DNA in a recent fact check. Dr. Sanjay Mishra, study coordinator and staff scientist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said that there is no “demonstrative evidence that [reverse transcription] can happen.” Mishra said that “the possibility is theoretically so small that I would be fair to say it doesn’t exist.” While it could be said that the vaccine “reprograms” our immune system to fight off coronavirus, Cunial’s comment alone is potentially misleading about the extent to which mRNA vaccines alter our immune system. It should also be noted that mRNA vaccines have been studied for decades and did not skip any level of testing, giving medical authorities no reason to think they’re unsafe. The coronavirus mRNA vaccines were tested on animals and went through several levels of human testing. 

While Gateway Pundit accurately reported that an Italian lawmaker called for Bill Gates’ arrest for “working on depopulation and dictatorial control plans,” the claims Cunial made are inaccurate and without any supporting evidence. 

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Alec Dent is a former culture editor and staff writer for The Dispatch.