The well-known detective's injunction to "follow the money" can apply equally well to investigations of flu epidemics as it can to conventional criminal investigations. Indeed, as surprising as it may be to some, there are people in positions of power and influence who stand to directly benefit from the current swine flu hysteria.
While global stock and commodity prices are tubmbling due to the potential havoc a worldwide pandemic could wreak on markets, a Reuters article from last Friday points out that Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is set to reap massive profits from the scare. Kleiner Perkins manages a Bio Defense fund whose portfolio includes two companies (viral enzyme-blocking manufacturer Biocryst Pharmaceuticals and viral vaccine manufacturer Novavax) that are seeing massive upswings in stock prices as the swine flu fears grow. So who are Kleiner Perkins's notable partners? Al Gore is one of them and Colin Powell is another. Bill Joy (co-founder of Sun Microsystems and author of a controversial 1999 Wired Magazine article about how the world's top scientists are discussing how humans may be wiped out in the near future as they are made obsolete in a new posthuman paradigm) is another well-known name who has just profited from the current swine flu panic.
Another notable financial winner in the swine flu sweepstakes is Donald Rumsfeld, infamous investor in and former chairman of Gilead Sciences, the firm that receives royalties from Tamiflu manufacturer Roche. Now that the media has been including free advertising for Tamiflu in virtually every swine flu story they run (mentioning it by name as one of the only effective treatments against the disease), Gilead's share price has jumped 5 per cent in pre-market trading and is likely to see further increases.
Of course President Obama is no stranger to making money from flu pandemic fears, either. In 2005, shortly after being elected to the U.S. Senate, he set up a trust that invested in AVI BioPharma, a company working on avian flu treatments. Just weeks after investing in AVI BioPharma, he co-wrote a New York Times article pimping the pandemic avian flu threat and introduced Senate legislation to spend more federal money on avian flu prevention measures. AVI BioPharma's share price rose and Obama cashed out with a 28 percent profit when a furor erupted over potential conflict of interest.
To be sure, the fact that someone stands to gain financially from something like the swine flu does not mean they had a hand in its genesis or in hyping the panic further. However, when the people who stand to profit are some of the most influential politicans and public figures in the world, when the swine flu in question is a never before seen mixture human, avian and pig viruses from North America, Europe and Asia, and when the media is actively contributing to the stock gains of particular companies by touting brand name products as the only cure to this brand new virus, then perhaps we are at least justified in asking these people what they know and when did they know it.
Related works from The Corbett Report:
A Bioterror False Flag (podcast episode)