March 5, 2013
President Clinton's Event Disrupted by Anti-Circumcision Activists
by Deirdra Funcheon
Surely, President Clinton was a little freaked out last night when in the middle of his event -- a Clinton Foundation Millennium Network talk in New York featuring the former president, Chelsea Clinton, and actor Ed Norton -- a whistle blew and a group of men stood up, held hands, and chanted, "Stop exploiting Africans; circumcision does not stop AIDS!"
The protesters were self-described "intactivists" -- those who believe that circumcision is actually a mutilation of the genitals.
Although circumcision is routinely performed on infants in the United States, it is not in other developed countries. Germans even moved to outlaw the practice last year (though Jews stopped the law on religious grounds), and it is banned in some Australian hospitals. Circumcision became widely popular as a means to prevent males from masturbating. Today's medical establishment generally supports circumcision, arguing that it has preventive effects for penile cancer and other diseases, though some studies say it leads to erectile dysfunction and other problems.
Last night's protest was led by a group called Intaction and promoted by "The Barefoot Intactivist" -- a University of Florida graduate who gives his name as Kevin and who runs barefoot to promote awareness of the anti-circumcision cause.
Protesters targeted Clinton because he has been a huge supporter of programs that seek to circumcise hundreds of thousands of African men in an attempt to slow the spread of AIDS.
Protesters say this is misguided -- that the research is flawed -- and that Africans are being used as pawns in science experiments.
Anthony Losquadro, executive director of Intaction, said that he and seven other activists had been planning the protest for a month. They each bought $100 tickets to the event, and had actually intended to put on white suits with bloodstains on the crotches before standing up, but the rows were packed too closely together to maneuver without sending the audience into a panic.
Losquadro said it was about midway through the program, when Norton was interviewing the Clintons about their foundation's initiatives, that his group interrupted. Clinton coolly said, "OK, you guys had your chance to speak, now its my turn" and "attempted engage us in a little bit of a dialogue. He mentioned the three studies in African countries that show circumcision results in a 60 percent reduction in the transmission of AIDS."
These three studies are the basis upon which millions of dollars are funneled into circumcision campaigns, though anti-circumcision activists say they research is flawed. "But it's kind of difficult to do a dialogue [about such a complicated subject] in the middle of the event," Losquadro said, "so we changed out chant to 'Condoms, no cutting' because we believe that condoms, education, and antiretrovirals are much more effective [in stopping the transmission of AIDS/HIV]. Then Chelsea Clinton interjected and said, 'The two are not mutually exclusive,' and we were escorted out of the building and the Secret Service questioned us."
Losquadro says he became an activist because "I see circumcision as the wrong thing to do to babies because they can't consent," he said. "It's just a matter of right and wrong, and we believe we're on the right side of this issue."
A statement by Intaction called African circumcision campaigns "exploitative and racist health policies," explaining:
See the full statement by Intaction here.
March 4, 2013
Human Rights Activists Demand Clinton Foundation End Exploitation Of Africans
BROOKLYN, N.Y., March 4, 2013 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- During tonight's Clinton Foundation Millennium Network event featuring a dialogue with President Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, and Hollywood actor Ed Norton, protesters from the human rights organization INTACTION disrupted the show wearing bloodstained white suits to protest the exploitative and racist health policies involving the circumcision of African men.
The concept of HIV prevention through circumcision began with biased medical researchers searching for a solution to the AIDS pandemic that could be marketed to government agencies and philanthropic organizations. The research teams that could develop a marketable solution, regardless of efficacy, would be richly rewarded with grants, research money, and tenure at their institution.
The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Clinton Foundation, and the Gates Foundation jumped on the circumcision bandwagon to demonstrate their effectiveness to their stakeholders and their donors. However, these organizations were either misguided or blinded by their quest to increase goodwill and donations by hyping circumcision.
Male circumcision is a dangerous mistake in the fight against HIV, and it endangers both men and women. Recent studies examining circumcision rates and HIV prevalence found that circumcision did not significantly the reduce rate of infection in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and America.
U.S government medical authorities and U.S. academic researchers have a checkered history over human rights, ethics, and outright racism with STD experiments. From the Tuskegee experiments done to American black men to the disastrous STD experiments conducted in Guatemala, American researchers are now inflicting the same racist theories and pseudo-scientific experiments on Africans.
African men and women are being duped into the belief that circumcision offers effective protection from HIV. These organizations can tout their achievements to keep their revenue streams flowing, while poor Africans suffer from the continued spread of HIV and the trauma from the loss of their foreskins.
Further detailed information on these issues with citations can be viewed at http://www.intaction.org/circumcision-a-dangerous-mistake-for-hiv-prevention/
Video footage and photos of the event available for publication
Press Contact: Anthony Losquadro Executive Director Intaction.org A 501 (c)(3) Non-profit organization 222 Varick Ave Brooklyn, NY, 11237, USA 877-CARE-103 firstname.lastname@example.org