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Spectators wait to watch a cattle drive demonstration at the Fort Worth Stockyards Thursday, March 11, 2021, in Fort Worth, Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott allowed the state mandates for COVID-19 safety measures to expire so people can forgo masks. (AP) Spectators wait to watch a cattle drive demonstration at the Fort Worth Stockyards Thursday, March 11, 2021, in Fort Worth, Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott allowed the state mandates for COVID-19 safety measures to expire so people can forgo masks. (AP)

Spectators wait to watch a cattle drive demonstration at the Fort Worth Stockyards Thursday, March 11, 2021, in Fort Worth, Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott allowed the state mandates for COVID-19 safety measures to expire so people can forgo masks. (AP)

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher June 15, 2021

A 2010 Rockefeller Foundation report does not show that the COVID-19 was planned

If Your Time is short

  • The report, which explored “the role of technology and the future of globalization,” presented four possible future scenarios of how the world might evolve, including one in which an influenza pandemic and lockdowns occurred.

  • The scenarios were hypothetical. They weren’t predictions or plans.

A Facebook post claims that a 2010 report by the Rockefeller Foundation shows that the COVID-19 pandemic and the international response, with lockdowns and other restrictions, were "meticulously planned" at least a decade before they occurred. 

The post includes video from a far-right legislator in the Netherlands reading from the report and drawing connections to the pandemic. 

"The house of cards is collapsing," the caption on the post says. "This Dutch politician reads excerpts from the 2010 Rockefeller report and shows us clearly that this entire shit-show was meticulously planned AT LEAST 10 years ago. So what now? Are the tell-a-vision worshippers going to stick to the media drip-fed lies purely out of pride and ego? Is it too late now that so many are playing Russian Roulette by taking the mystery shot?"

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The post mischaracterizes the content of the Rockefeller report.

The report from the New York-based philanthropy, "Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development," was not a plan for creating the COVID-19 pandemic. It envisioned four ways in which the world might evolve, including one that involved an influenza pandemic and tighter government controls in response to it. 

The foundation’s president wrote that the foundation uses scenario planning, "a process of creating narratives about the future based on factors likely to affect a particular set of challenges and opportunities," for use in philanthropy to "identify unique interventions, simulate and rehearse important decisions that could have profound implications, and highlight previously undiscovered areas of connection and intersection." Foundation staff and others worked with the Global Business Network consulting firm, which does scenario planning, according to the report.

The video

The video shows remarks by Thierry Baudet, a member of the House of Representatives of the Netherlands and leader of the far-right Forum for Democracy party. 

In March, Twitter marked as misleading a tweet in which Baudet said he would not receive a COVID-19 vaccination, that the virus risk to him "is completely negligible" and the vaccine’s side effects "severe." 

In the five-minute video, posted June 4, Baudet reads excerpts from the report, drawing connections to the COVID-19 pandemic. He closed his remarks by saying "that the locking down of the entire country, half the world for 1.5 years because of a flu variety is insane…. This COVID phase has been a practice to train obedience." 

What the report says

The 54-page report explores "the role of technology and the future of globalization," and considers "the multiple, divergent ways in which our world could evolve" in four possible scenarios:

"LOCK STEP: A world of tighter top-down government control and more authoritarian leadership, with limited innovation and growing citizen pushback.

"CLEVER TOGETHER: A world in which highly coordinated and successful strategies emerge for addressing both urgent and entrenched worldwide issues.

"HACK ATTACK: An economically unstable and shock-prone world in which governments weaken, criminals thrive and dangerous innovations emerge.

"SMART SCRAMBLE: An economically depressed world in which individuals and communities develop localized, makeshift solutions to a growing set of problems."

The scenarios, the report’s introduction says, "are not predictions. Rather they are thoughtful hypotheses that allow us to imagine, and then to rehearse, different strategies for how to be more prepared for the future."

The "Lock Step" scenario, which is what Baudet read from, goes like this:

In 2012, a pandemic of a new influenza originating from wild geese infected nearly 20% of the global population and killed 8 million in seven months, most of them healthy young adults. Economies were devastated. China fared better than the United States and other nations by imposing a quarantine on all citizens and sealing all borders. 

Countries imposed measures such as mask requirements and, "even after the pandemic faded, this more authoritarian control and oversight of citizens and their activities stuck and even intensified," with developing countries ordering biometric IDs for all citizens. 

"Virulent nationalism created new hazards: spectators at the 2018 World Cup, for example, wore bulletproof vests that sported a patch of their national flag." 

In the developed world, "scientists and innovators were often told by governments what research lines to pursue and were guided mostly toward projects that would make money." 

By 2025, "people seemed to be growing weary of so much top-down control," and "disaffected youth and people who had seen their status and opportunities slip away — largely in developing countries — incited civil unrest."

The report indicates that some of the events of the past year may have been conceivable or predictable a decade ago, but not that they were "meticulously planned."

Our ruling

A widely shared Facebook post says a 2010 Rockefeller Foundation report shows the COVID-19 pandemic and the international response were "meticulously planned at least 10 years ago."

The report, which focused on technology, was not a plan. It presented four possible scenarios of how the world might evolve, including one in which an influenza pandemic led to widespread government restrictions.

We rate the post False.

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More by Tom Kertscher

A 2010 Rockefeller Foundation report does not show that the COVID-19 was planned

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