White Man's Burden

| July 30, 2003

Writing on GuerillaNews.com, Greg Palast blasts a recent edition of the New York Times in which reporter Stephanie Strom gushes about Bill Gates' philanthropic efforts to provide AIDS drugs to sick people in Africa. 'Gates knows darn well that the 'intellectual property rights' laws such as TRIPS [trade-related intellectual property rights] -- which keep him and Melinda richer than Saddam and the Mafia combined -- are under attack by Nelson Mandela and front-line doctors trying to get cheap drugs to the 23 million Africans sick with the AIDS virus,' says Palast. What the U.S. press isn't broadcasting is that George W. Bush's recent offer of money to African nations, like the Gates' donations, comes with strings: loans at full interest to be used to buy only expensive patented AIDS drugs, when nearly identical generic drugs are available from other sources at a fraction of the cost. Gates' foundation, Palast notes, is spending less than 2% of Gates' net worth to buy only patented drugs for a small fraction of the infected, while investing millions in the pharmaceutical companies who stand to profit. It's a standard diversion tactic: 'If Gates' fake philanthropy eviscerates the movement to free Africans from the tyranny of TRIPS,' says Palast, 'then Bill and Melinda's donations could have the effect of killing more Africans than even their PR agents claim they have saved.'
-- Anne Geske

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