BILL GATES’: KILLING AFRICANS FOR PROFIT AND PR. MR. BUSH’S BOGUS AIDS
Monday July 14, 2003
Bring back Jayson Blair! The New York Times has eliminated the scourge of
plagiarized journalism by eliminating journalism altogether from its front
>> Check this Sunday’s edition: “Bill Gates is no ordinary philanthropist,”
gushes a Times reporter named Stephanie Strom, re-writing one of the digital
diva’s self-loving press releases. Gates has saved 100,000 lives by
providing vaccines to Africans, gushes Stephanie, according to someone on
the payroll of … Bill Gates. And he’s making drugs for Africans, especially
for AIDS victims, “cheaper and easier.” Stephanie knows because she asked
Bill Gates himself!
>> Then we get to the real point of this journalistic Lewinsky: “Those who
think of Mr. Gates as a ruthless billionaire monopolist … may find it hard
to reconcile that image with one of a humorously self-deprecating
>> Actually, that’s not hard at all.
>> Stephanie, let me let you in on a little secret about Bill and Melinda
Gates so-called “Foundation.” Gate’s demi-trillionaire status is based on a
nasty little monopoly-protecting trade treaty called “TRIPS” – the
Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights rules of the World Trade
Organization. TRIPS gives Gates a hammerlock on computer operating systems
worldwide, legally granting him a monopoly that the Robber Barons of yore
could only dream of. But TRIPS, the rule which helps Gates rule, also bars
African governments from buying AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis medicine at
cheap market prices.
>> Example: in June 2000, at the urging of Big Pharma, Bill Clinton
threatened trade sanctions against Argentina for that nation’s daring to
offer low-cost drugs to Southern Africa.
>> Gates knows darn well that the “intellectual property rights” laws such as
TRIPS – 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.
Gate’s brilliant and self-serving solution: he’s spending an itsy-bitsy
part of his monopoly profits (the $6 billion spent by Gates’ foundation is
less than 2% of his net worth) to buy some drugs for a fraction of the
dying. The bully billionaire’s “philanthropic” organization is currently
working paw-in-claw with the big pharmaceutical companies in support of the
blockade on cheap drug shipments.
>> Gates’ game is given away by the fact that his Foundation has invested
$200 million in the very drug companies stopping the shipment of low-cost
AIDS drugs to Africa.
>> Gates says his plan is to reach one million people with medicine by the
end of the decade. Another way to read it: he’s locking in a trade system
that will block the delivery of cheap medicine to over 20 million.
>> The computer magnate’s scheme has a powerful ally. “The president could
have been reading from a script prepared by Mr. Gates,” enthuses the Times’
cub reporter, referring to Mr. Bush’s AIDS plan offered up this week to
skeptical Africans. The US press does not understand why Africans don’t
jump for Bush’s generous offer. None note that the money held out to the
continent’s desperate nations has strings attached or, more accurately,
chains and manacles. The billions offered are mostly loans at full interest
which may be used only to buy patent drugs at a price several times that
available from other nations. What Africans want, an end to the devastating
tyranny of TRIPS and other trade rules, is dismissed by the Liberator of
>> We are all serfs on Microsoft’s and Big Pharma’s ‘intellectual property.’
If Gates’ fake philanthropy eviscerates the movement to free Africans from
the tyranny of TRIPS, then Bill and Melinda’s donations could have the
effect of killing more Africans than then even their PR agents claim they
have saved. And for our own Republic, we can only hope that when the
bully-boy billionaire injects his next wad of loot into the Bush political
campaign, he uses a condom.
>> Greg Palast is author of the New York Times bestseller, The Best Democracy
Money Can Buy. Subscribe to his writings for Britain's Observer and
Guardian newspapers, and view his investigative reports for BBC Television's
Newsnight, at www.GregPalast.com.