White Man’s Burden

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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Man’s Burden

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