AIDS As Imperialism!
— Srilata Swaminathan
December 1 is being celebrated throughout the world as World AIDS Day. This, everyone will agree is a Good Thing. HIV-AIDS is a terrible scourge and all must join hands in eradicating it. Delhi, Chennai, Goa and other cities in India are hosting Big Events that will be attended by President Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and all the top glitterati, paparazzi, literati etc. etc. etc.
But wait a minute. There are some Dissident Voices! Whispers that are growing louder by the minute - not from some lunatic fringe - but by respectable doctors, scientists, researchers, field workers, pathologists and very, very, very concerned human beings! Even many HIV victims are joining in. What are they saying?
But first let’s try and understand the problem step-by-step. Everyone, i.e. you and I and the average layperson, knows (as we have been repeatedly told through the media, international and national publications, WHO, UNAID and all the conglomerations of NGOs) that firstly, HIV is a dreaded virus that in 5-6 years turns into the fatal AIDS for which there is no recovery and certain death; second, it is the leprosy of the modern era and its victims face a fate-worse-than-death ordeal in social isolation, excommunication and ostracism. Third, it appeared in Africa and is now threatening the whole world. Mind-boggling statistics show how it is galloping through Africa, Asia, Latin America and governments are being urged to make it their No.1 priority, divert all medical, health and other development funds and infrastructure to tackling this killer disease. NGOs, medical practitioners, the media, journalists, lawyers, academic faculties, consultants, artists, singers, theatre groups, stars of Hollywood, Bollywood and Tollywood are all being roped into fighting this Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse. Fourth, everyone also knows that there is no cure for AIDS but at the HIV stage it may be possible to arrest its growth into full-fledged AIDS by very expensive drugs that will drive your family and friends to bankruptcy. Fifth, we also have to be very careful not only with whom we have sex but who we touch, kiss and cuddle. Sixth, there are high-risk groups (HRG), like blacks, junkies, gays, truck-drivers, pregnant women and prostitutes, who are more prone to catching this blight.
Now, we are being told, by these Dissident Voices (DV) that all this is a load of, to put it politely, codswallop! The DVs say that the whole bogey of AIDS has been cooked up, manufactured and deliberately made into a bogey by a vast array of disinformation that they are unmasking and, exploding.
Firstly, it seems, HIV cannot be linked to AIDS as that there is no medical proof anywhere in the world that has been able to do so. The two are totally separate. Secondly, they say that till today no HIV virus has been found by any laboratory, doctor, scientist or pathologist anywhere in the world! Since 1984 more than 1, 00,000 papers have been published on HIV and none of them, singly or collectively, has been able to reasonably demonstrate or effectively prove that HIV causes AIDS 1 . No virus has been isolated and no peer review has ever been done.
On top of all this all the tests for HIV/AIDS are completely unreliable and the same person can test positive or negative on different days. In Africa they don’t even bother about tests and anyone who has a low-fever, cough and weight-loss (which could be you or me or the gate-post!) is automatically treated as an HIV victim. The same thing is now happening in India. HRGs, health workers, pregnant women etc. are being forced to take these expensive killer drugs, with no respect for scientific validity, privacy or any constitutional rights!
Far from coming ‘out of Africa’, AIDS was discovered in the US of America where it made its debut. Some American doctors have even had the audacity to claim that it was created in a laboratory by the US Army and some MNC pharmaceuticals and have even gone to the extent of filing a case in the Supreme Court of the US! However, there is a deliberate attempt being made to project this as a third world/poor country/ HRG disease. This is also total fabrication as there seems to be no evidence that any HRG section is more vulnerable than anyone else. In fact, the disinformation in this area is so complete that statistics are being twisted indiscriminately to target some group or region. This is being done in order to pressurize people, societies/governments/nations by creating a fear psychosis which is then used to manipulate them, get them deeper in debt and divert precious resources into tackling a non-existent problem and making the rich of the world even richer. Diabolical, what?
Towards, this end, many countries in Africa have had to divert all their development funds to just tackling AIDS. Many countries in Africa are going bankrupt, facing mounting debts where merely the annual interest payment on borrowing for HIV prevention add up to more than twice the total annual health budget of the country! 2
In India, this AIDS/HIV sector has become the area of exploitation and plundering of national wealth in the name of ‘social development’. Social development policies and programmes in India have anyway, always been used to keep the people perpetually poor. Anyone who talks against these, is labelled as ‘anti-people’ or ‘non-progressive’. In the anti-AIDS business there are 14 Ministries and about 21 Departments, at the central government level involved. At the state level, 28 out of 38 departments are involved in this sector and bilateral agencies in India contribute 4 to 10% of social sector investments. This enables them to control policy and directly take away 25% from the social sector budget. Apart from this, they generate billions of dollars worth of business for the western world.
Every sector of the Indian elite is being co-opted into playing a part in this billion-dollar tamasha. Top-ranking judges, PMs and ex-PMs (of which we have a plethora), political parties, academics, journalists, scholars, researchers, universities are all earning out of this new global money-spinner.
As if this was not bad enough, we have all the NGOs, who are busy making poverty into Big Business, jumping on to this bandwagon. Over 1600 Indian NGOs are directly involved working with GOI, international agencies and HRGs and from 1998-2003 received a massive Rs.9,000 crores! Over 40,000 groups and organisations are earning money holding camps, workshops etc.
A minimum of 10 “landmark” Supreme Court Judgments over the last decade, are mute witnesses of such manipulation; about a 1000 ‘national’ draft policies have been introduced. The whole package is being sold all over the world as the biggest bogey and even bypasses the spectre of Communism that, in any case, is supposed to be, with the end of history, dead! The frightening scenario is that this bogey is creating such a state of emergency that in every sector well-meaning people are even cheering the bypassing of the democratic processes for hasty introduction of such policies. Are we, in coming years, going to see that we may well forego the Parliament and Assemblies for e-mails and photocopying machines churning out thousands of policies? 3 Is this going to be the new terrorism that makes every other variety pale into insignificance? What does the future hold - scientific genocide, economic disaster, civil unrest?
To make the whole thing even worse is the nature of the drugs that MNC pharmaceuticals are selling and making profits hand over fist. According to the DVs not only has the drug industry made billions of dollars but it is through selling a drug which cannot do anything - it cannot cure AIDS nor prevent AIDS!! Yet, governments and societies are being forced to buy these drugs not only for HRGs and HIV cases but as prophylactics for thousands and thousands of health-workers. The drug costs are exorbitant. The annual treatment cost for 3.5 million HIV cases would amount to 16,100 crore rupees according to the World Bank and according to them the health care sector costs of an AIDS epidemic would amount to an additional 92,000 crores rupees to the government today, at 5% health subsidy.
By 1998 the 14 top MNCs, who are the purveyors of death, earned $38 billion in profits from their drugs! They are determined to kill you off one way or another and as one AIDS victim put it 4 , it is not the disease which kills you but the cure. A few of the documented side-effects are: retinitis often resulting in blindness, diabetes, liver failure, physical deformities, renal failure, kidney sludge, skin rashes, severe exhaustion, loss of appetite, pancreatitis, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, muscle and joint pain, neuropathy, sexual dysfunction, fever, chills, dizziness, abdominal pain, depression, sleep disorders and sudden death.
Do we really need to ask why has this Machiavellian, murderous scheme has been engineered? Who are the beneficiaries, as Hercule Poirot, or any good detective, would ask? It doesn’t take much political savvy to come up with the answer.
You and I have no illusions about the MNCs/G8/IMF-WB-WTO combine. We can now add WHO to this Who’s-Who of thugs who control and rule the world and will do anything to make a fast buck! Everyone who is anyone in the ruling elite of our countries, now has a vested interest in keeping this mother of all scams going. Apart from the recognised rogues (mentioned above) there is something for everyone. It is a godsend for all forms of patriarchal interests like organised religions who want to keep the family intact and hold on to their dwindling flock with yet another fear, anti-women groups, Christians like George Bush and his neo-cons, and, of course, NGOs, and the media.
1 “What if everything you thought you Knew about AIDS was Wrong?” by Christine Maggiore (she was diagnosed as an AIDS victim).
2 “HIV/AIDS Industry” by Joint Action Council Kannur. Email: <email@example.com>
3 From PowerPoint presentation on AIDS by Joint Action Council Kannur.
4 ‘What If’, Christine Maggiore
For further readings, see “Politics of AIDS”published by Polemics Communication. Also in Hindi (AIDS ki Rajneeti). <firstname.lastname@example.org>, and HEAL, Washington DC at email@example.com