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CENSORED Rumsfeld profiteer Bird Flu

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U.S.: Drug Profiteering, Bird Flu and Navajo Hantavirus, by Brenda Norrell (censored by Indian Country Today)
U.N. OBSERVER & International Report


While states prepare for the possibility of Avian or bird flu pandemic, corporate analysts question if the bird flu scare was a hoax designed to benefit Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the companies manufacturing the antiviral drug Tamiflu.

Rumsfeld’s rise in wealth from the sales of Tamiflu was recently revealed and resulted in questions about the pandemic scare.

Fortune magazine reported that after the bird flu scare, stocks rose and Rumsfeld, already one of the richest men in the Bush cabinet, benefited by at least $1 million in 2005, with profits continuing.

Tamiflu is manufactured and marketed by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche. Gilead Sciences, Inc. receives a royalty of about 10 percent from sales.

Rumsfeld served as chairman of Gilead Sciences, Inc., before joining the Bush administration. Rumsfeld still holds between $5 million and $25 million in the company, according to Rumsfeld’s financial disclosures.

Rumsfeld lists this position on his biography on the Department of Defense website: “Until being sworn in as the 21st Secretary of Defense, Mr. Rumsfeld served as Chairman of the Board of Gilead Sciences, Inc., a pharmaceutical company.”

In July, the Pentagon ordered $58 million worth of Tamiflu for the treatment for U.S. troops. Then, the U.S. signed a two-year deal to help states buy more than half a billion dollars worth of Tamiflu, with states in the U.S. required to pay three-quarters of it. Tamiflu is the primary drug of treatment for the strain of bird flu, H5N1.

Some states are now beginning the costly stockpile of Tamiflu. The states’ share will be $447 million, and the federal share will be $149 million.

However, Tamiflu has not been successful in the treatment of all bird flu cases around the world. In August, California became one of 13 states in the U.S. to purchase the drug and ordered $53 million.

On the Navajo Nation, tribal members still question another deadly outbreak, the hantavirus.

After the 1993 hantavirus outbreak on the Navajo Nation, the Centers for Disease Control said the hantavirus here was carried by field mice.

However, Navajos pointed out that the field mice have always been present on the Navajo Nation. Further, Navajos point out that the area with the heaviest concentration of field mice was not hit by the hantavirus.

These areas include the Tsaile and Chuska Mountains near the Arizona and New Mexico border where the large population of mice harvest pinions.

Navajo Councilman David John of Red Mesa, Ariz., was among the Navajo leaders who questioned if the hantavirus was released by the US military at Fort Wingate Army Depot in New Mexico, either intentionally in the form of a military germ warfare experiment, or accidentally as the site was being decommissioned at the time.

The Army Depot site was the actual center point of the radius of the first outbreak of Navajo hantavirus deaths in 1993, according to a map of the initial deaths compiled by Navajo Indian Health Service in Window Rock, which was not made public at the time of the outbreak.

As the military post was decommissioned, the buildings at Fort Wingate Army Depot, east of Gallup, N.M., were being torn down.

Genevieve Jackson, then Navajo councilwoman from Shiprock, N.M., was among the Navajo Nation Council leaders that urged the tribe not to become involved in the study of, or stockpiling, of the anti-viral drug ribavirin, used in the treatment of hantavirus.

During one tribal council session, Jackson questioned the origin of the hantavirus outbreak and possible corporate drug profiteering from the tragedy.

Since that time, watchdog groups in Washington have documented the “revolving door”, between politicians, lobbyists and pharmaceutical companies.

Companies that manufacture both Tamiflu and ribavirin have been linked to elected leaders in Washington.

Brenda Norrell (censored by Indian Country Today)
U.N. OBSERVER & International Report

Please also see:

Indian Country reporter censored & terminated.

Time to End the Bird Flu Hysteria ?

The Great Bird Flu Hoax:
The Truth They Don't Want You to Know About the "Next Big Pandemic."



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