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I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing that ever interfered with my learning was my education. I am Freeman Dyson, and I approve of this blog, but would warn the author that life as a heretic is a hard one, since the ignorant and the half informed, let alone those who should know better, will automatically trash their betters who try to enlighten them with independent thinking, as I have found to my sorrow in commenting on "global warming" and its cures.
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Letters in the NY Press highlight the lack of real AIDS debate

June 29th, 2005

A handful of letters in the lively NY Press this week in response to the Bergman-Farber clash over AIDS Drugs Worse than The Disease? range from the dissident Frank Lusardi’s judicious comments pointing out the telling contrast in styles to an asinine one liner (“Re: Celia Farber’s article “Drugs, Disease, Denial” (6/22): I believe she’s the one in denial”) and an attack on one dissident by another.

Most interesting is the one from a man whose wife was tested positive but whose suspicions were aroused by the fact he had never become positive himself, after fourteen years of apparently athletic marital sex. On further investigation be became a convinced skeptic on HIV and AIDS.

The gene for love of thinking

What gene is it that enables the small fraction of the population that thinks for itself, as this gentleman does? Or is the capacity for thought independent of authority a product of nurture? The billions spent on AIDS research have led nowhere as far as understanding the moduc operandi of the virus is concerned, let alone any preventive or cure. Perhaps a small part could be diverted to this challenging topic of why certain people like to think for themselves, unlike the majority of the human race.

Perhaps the research of Allen Snyder, the Australian scientist who won the Marconi prize a few years ago for enabling laser communications down wires, could be expanded.

After all, Snyder has achieved a breakthrough in the field already. He has discovered that if he outfitted experimental subjects with suitable helmets he could sear a certain area of their brains with focused magnetic resonance and remove the mental framework with which people process data input.

While the helmets were activated the subjects demonstrated the openminded receptivity of autistic children, and one of the symptoms of this was that they made drawings in a remarkably unfiltered way.

It is not too much to say that many supporters of the HIV paradigm are apparently in dire need of being fitted with Snyder helmets.

WWW.NYPRESS.COM | JUNE 29, 2005

THE MAIL

Drugs, Disease, Debate

I would like to congratulate you for the courage to enable an open debate on the subject of AIDS drugs. Hopefully we will see more discussions of this kind in order to overcome the domination of the prevailing mainstream view (“Drugs, Disease, Denial,” 6/22). It is one of the most tragic contradictions of our time that AIDS-specialists pretend to treat immunodeficiency by using drugs that kill the immune system.

Christian Fiala, MD, Vienna, Austria

South African Presidential Aids Advisory Panel

“Drugs, Disease, Denial” (6/22) once again illustrates the unfortunate fact that it requires the chutzpah of a New York Press to permit a public airing of this vitally important discussion. It also perfectly illustrates the tone of this now 20-year-old scientific disagreement.

On the one side, representing received authority, Jeanne Bergman gives us a farrago of invective and adulation, freighted hardly at all with history, facts, names, citations or argumentation, but wisely laced with caveats (side-effects can be fatal, ACS often abuses its power, American medicine has a history of racism, and the pharmaceuticals pursue profits single-mindedly).

On the other side of the debate, representing the “dissidents,” Celia Farber offers an analysis of how language can rigidify into ideology, delineates a history of the AIDS medications, cites newspapers, journals, books and the experiences of individuals “in the trenches,” and, in general, presents something resembling a reasoned argument.

Frank Lusardi, Manhattan

I guess you would now call me a “denialist” concerning HIV (“Drugs, Disease, Denial,” 6/22). But back in 1999, when my pregnant wife tested positive on a routine test, we were initially shattered by the news. A strange sequence of events, however, provoked a suspicion that soon became a certainty.

Kathleen, my wife, and I had been at that time monogamously married for 14 years. A vigorous athlete, she would, before she became pregnant, train each year to run a 26-mile marathon. No noticeable health problems had ever been apparent.

After her HIV positivity had been thoroughly established I took the test. It came back negative. I took it again. Negative. She took it again. Positive.

Before I continue I should assure the reader that Kathleen and I had had an active sex life. If HIV has even the remotest possibility of being transmitted sexually it would have been. However, this did not jibe with the propaganda promulgated by the Centers for Disease Control.

I became obsessed with a more scientific approach. Surely with the billions being spent on research some solid, useable science would have emerged. Here again I was disappointed. But don’t take my word for it. See if you can find, after 21 years and $40 billion, a paper that describes conclusively the mechanism of pathogenicity for HIV. You won’t. It doesn’t exist. Proof that HIV has any deleterious effect on the human metabolism whatsoever does not exist. Ample evidence abounds, on the other hand, that AZT and the assorted protease inhibitors effectively poison.

David H. Tyson, Eugene, OR

Re: Celia Farber’s article “Drugs, Disease, Denial” (6/22): I believe she’s the one in denial.

David Maciorkowski, Fords, NJ

I would like to see a debate between Jeanne Bergman and Celia Farber (“Drugs, Disease, Denial,” 6/22). It would be nice to see where Jeanne gets her facts regarding the claim that the dissidents’ theories have been disproved. It would be my bet that Jeanne would not go near such a debate.

Kyle Shields, via email

Re: “Drugs, Disease, Denial” (6/22): I can’t believe that Celia Farber quoted Paul King. What a huge disappointment in an otherwise excellent article. Paul King isn’t even the man’s real name. There are so many dissidents that are credible and whom have integrity and are in relatively good repute, why on earth would you quote a hack and a liar like Paul King?

Todd Phillips, San Francisco

© 2005 New York Press

The twenty year evasion of HIV debate

It is interesting that letter-writer Kyle Shields wants to see a genuine debate but she imagines that Jeanne Bergman would probaably refuse to go near such a debate where she would be challenged on her facts.

With this she reminds us of the fact that it is the scientists who promote the paradigm in this field that have failed in precisely this way for the duration of the entire AIDS scare. Not once have they dared any live confrontation with the reviewers who reject the theory, and they have failed even to answer the reviewers in the same journals they were published in (which have included the topmost journals Cancer Research and the Proceedings of the National Academy).

The one time in the past two decades a “debate” of sorts on the rationale for HIV took place in print in Science, it took the same form as this “debate” in the New York Press. Rival statements were written, followed in Science by one set of rival rebuttals, before the discussion was cut off by the editor. The editor of Nature also followed the same policy of cutting off debate, at one point famously proclaiming that the chief HIV reviewer and “denier” Peter Duesberg of Berkeley did not deserve the right of reply.

As Kyle Shields seems perceptively to divine, the greatest flaw in AIDS science is this lack of free debate and free speech. Is there anything which more powerfully suggests that the paradigm is vulnerable to any free and open inspection?

Like Saddam Hussein pretending he had weapons of mass destruction in the hope that America would not topple his regime, the purveyors of the AIDS paradigm may be just as empty handed.

In fact, it is very hard to imagine another motive for the resistance of the rulers of AIDS science to genuine debate, however much they protest that they are too busy saving lives to spare any time for defending their view.

With millions of lives and billions of dollars at stake, there is certainly no excuse for not holding hearings on this vital matter which has continued to be scientifically unresolved for two decades, in that the objections of the reviewers have not been refuted in the literature.

Times puts down parents with autism studies

June 25th, 2005

Today (June 25 Sat) the Times carries a front page center, above the fold story wrapping up the autism story by presenting an account of the fears and suspicions of parents of autistic children, and the one small study giving them some support, and countering with a scientific broadside, listing the five or six huge studies carried out here and in Europe which could find no correleation, or even a reverse correlation, between vaccines containing mercury and autism in children:

The New York Times

June 25, 2005

On Autism’s Cause, It’s Parents vs. Research

By GARDINER HARRIS and ANAHAD O’CONNOR

Kristen Ehresmann, a Minnesota Department of Health official, had just told a State Senate hearing that vaccines with microscopic amounts of mercury were safe. Libby Rupp, a mother of a 3-year-old girl with autism, was incredulous.

“How did my daughter get so much mercury in her?” Ms. Rupp asked Ms. Ehresmann after her testimony.

“Fish?” Ms. Ehresmann suggested.

“She never eats it,” Ms. Rupp answered.

“Do you drink tap water?”

“It’s all filtered.”

“Well, do you breathe the air?” Ms. Ehresmann asked, with a resigned smile. Several parents looked angrily at Ms. Ehresmann, who left.

Ms. Rupp remained, shaking with anger. That anyone could defend mercury in vaccines, she said, “makes my blood boil.”

Public health officials like Ms. Ehresmann, who herself has a son with autism, have been trying for years to convince parents like Ms. Rupp that there is no link between thimerosal – a mercury-containing preservative once used routinely in vaccines – and autism.

They have failed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the Institute of Medicine, the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all largely dismissed the notion that thimerosal causes or contributes to autism. Five major studies have found no link.

Yet despite all evidence to the contrary, the number of parents who blame thimerosal for their children’s autism has only increased. And in recent months, these parents have used their numbers, their passion and their organizing skills to become a potent national force. The issue has become one of the most fractious and divisive in pediatric medicine.

“This is like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” Dr. Melinda Wharton, deputy director of the National Immunization Program, told a gathering of immunization officials in Washington in March. “It’s an era where it appears that science isn’t enough.”

Parents have filed more than 4,800 lawsuits – 200 from February to April alone – pushed for state and federal legislation banning thimerosal and taken out full-page advertisements in major newspapers. They have also gained the support of politicians, including Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut, and Representatives Dan Burton, Republican of Indiana, and Dave Weldon, Republican of Florida. And Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wrote an article in the June 16 issue of Rolling Stone magazine arguing that most studies of the issue are flawed and that public health officials are conspiring with drug makers to cover up the damage caused by thimerosal.

“We’re not looking like a fringe group anymore,” said Becky Lourey, a Minnesota state senator and a sponsor of a proposed thimerosal ban. Such a ban passed the New York State Legislature this week.

But scientists and public health officials say they are alarmed by the surge of attention to an idea without scientific merit. The anti-thimerosal campaign, they say, is causing some parents to stay away from vaccines, placing their children at risk for illnesses like measles and polio.

“It’s really terrifying, the scientific illiteracy that supports these suspicions,” said Dr. Marie McCormick, chairwoman of an Institute of Medicine panel that examined the controversy in February 2004.

Experts say they are also concerned about a raft of unproven, costly and potentially harmful treatments – including strict diets, supplements and a detoxifying technique called chelation – that are being sold for tens of thousands of dollars to desperate parents of autistic children as a cure for “mercury poisoning.”

In one case, a doctor forced children to sit in a 160-degree sauna, swallow 60 to 70 supplements a day and have so much blood drawn that one child passed out.

Hundreds of doctors list their names on a Web site endorsing chelation to treat autism, even though experts say that no evidence supports its use with that disorder. The treatment carries risks of liver and kidney damage, skin rashes and nutritional deficiencies, they say.

In recent months, the fight over thimerosal has become even more bitter. In response to a barrage of threatening letters and phone calls, the centers for disease control has increased security and instructed employees on safety issues, including how to respond if pies are thrown in their faces. One vaccine expert at the centers wrote in an internal e-mail message that she felt safer working at a malaria field station in Kenya than she did at the agency’s offices in Atlanta.

An Alarm Is Sounded

Thimerosal was for decades the favored preservative for use in vaccines. By weight, it is about 50 percent ethyl mercury, a form of mercury most scientists consider to be less toxic than methyl mercury, the type found in fish. The amount of ethyl mercury included in each childhood vaccine was once roughly equal to the amount of methyl mercury found in the average tuna sandwich.

In 1999, a Food and Drug Administration scientist added up all the mercury that American infants got with a full immunization schedule and concluded that the amount exceeded a government guideline. Some health authorities counseled no action, because there was no evidence that thimerosal at the doses given was harmful and removing it might cause alarm. Others were not so certain that thimerosal was harmless.

In July 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Public Health Service released a joint statement urging vaccine makers to remove thimerosal as quickly as possible. By 2001, no vaccine routinely administered to children in the United States had more than half of a microgram of mercury – about what is found in an infant’s daily supply of breast milk.

Despite the change, government agencies say that vaccines with thimerosal are just as safe as those without, and adult flu vaccines still contain the preservative.

But the 1999 advisory alarmed many parents whose children suffered from autism, a lifelong disorder marked by repetitive, sometimes self-destructive behaviors and an inability to form social relationships. In 10 to 25 percent of cases, autism seems to descend on young children seemingly overnight, sometime between their first and second birthdays.

Diagnoses of autism have risen sharply in recent years, from roughly 1 case for every 10,000 births in the 1980’s to 1 in 166 births in 2003.

Most scientists believe that the illness is influenced strongly by genetics but that some unknown environmental factor may also play a role.

Dr. Tom Insel, director of the National Institute for Mental Health, said: “Is it cellphones? Ultrasound? Diet sodas? Every parent has a theory. At this point, we just don’t know.”

In 2000, a group of parents joined together to found SafeMinds, one of several organizations that argue that thimerosal is that environmental culprit. Their cause has been championed by politicians like Mr. Burton.

“My grandson received nine shots in one day, seven of which contained thimerosal, which is 50 percent mercury as you know, and he became autistic a short time later,” he said in an interview.

In a series of House hearings held from 2000 through 2004, Mr. Burton called the leading experts who assert that vaccines cause autism to testify. They included a chemistry professor at the University of Kentucky who says that dental fillings cause or exacerbate autism and other diseases and a doctor from Baton Rouge, La., who says that God spoke to her through an 87-year-old priest and told her that vaccines caused autism.

Also testifying were Dr. Mark Geier and his son, David Geier, the experts whose work is most frequently cited by parents.

Trying to Build a Case

Dr. Geier has called the use of thimerosal in vaccines the world’s “greatest catastrophe that’s ever happened, regardless of cause.”

He and his son live and work in a two-story house in suburban Maryland. Past the kitchen and down the stairs is a room with cast-off, unplugged laboratory equipment, wall-to-wall carpeting and faux wood paneling that Dr. Geier calls “a world-class lab – every bit as good as anything at N.I.H.”

Dr. Geier has been examining issues of vaccine safety since at least 1971, when he was a lab assistant at the National Institutes of Health, or N.I.H. His r�sum� lists scores of publications, many of which suggest that vaccines cause injury or disease.

He has also testified in more than 90 vaccine cases, he said, although a judge in a vaccine case in 2003 ruled that Dr. Geier was “a professional witness in areas for which he has no training, expertise and experience.”

In other cases, judges have called Dr. Geier’s testimony “intellectually dishonest,” “not reliable” and “wholly unqualified.”

The six published studies by Dr. Geier and David Geier on the relationship between autism and thimerosal are largely based on complaints sent to the disease control centers by people who suspect that their children were harmed by vaccines.

In the first study, the Geiers compared the number of complaints associated with a thimerosal-containing vaccine, given from 1992 to 2000, with the complaints that resulted from a thimerosal-free version given from 1997 to 2000. The more thimerosal a child received, they concluded, the more likely an autism complaint was filed. Four other studies used similar methods and came to similar conclusions.

Dr. Geier said in an interview that the link between thimerosal and autism was clear.

Public health officials, he said, are ” just trying to cover it up.”

Assessing the Studies

Scientists say that the Geiers’ studies are tainted by faulty methodology.

“The problem with the Geiers’ research is that they start with the answers and work backwards,” said Dr. Steven Black, director of the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center in Oakland, Calif. “They are doing voodoo science.”

Dr. Julie L. Gerberding, the director of the disease control centers, said the agency was not withholding information about any potentially damaging effects of thimerosal.

“There’s certainly not a conspiracy here,” she said. “And we would never consider not acknowledging information or evidence that would have a bearing on children’s health.”

In 2003, spurred by parents’ demands, the C.D.C. asked the Institute of Medicine, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences and the nation’s most prestigious medical advisory group, to review the evidence on thimerosal and autism.

In a report last year, a panel convened by the institute dismissed the Geiers’ work as having such serious flaws that their studies were “uninterpretable.” Some of the Geiers’ mathematical formulas, the committee found, “provided no information,” and the Geiers used basic scientific terms like “attributable risk” incorrectly.

In contrast, the committee found five studies that examined hundreds of thousands of health records of children in the United States, Britain, Denmark and Sweden to be persuasive.

A study by the World Health Organization, for example, examined the health records of 109,863 children born in Britain from 1988 to 1997 and found that children who had received the most thimerosal in vaccines had the lowest incidence of developmental problems like autism.

Another study examined the records of 467,450 Danish children born from 1990 to 1996. It found that after 1992, when the country’s only thimerosal-containing vaccine was replaced by one free of the preservative, autism rates rose rather than fell.

In one of the most comprehensive studies, a 2003 report by C.D.C. scientists examined the medical records of more than 125,000 children born in the United States from 1991 to 1999. It found no difference in autism rates among children exposed to various amounts of thimerosal.

Parent groups, led by SafeMinds, replied that documents obtained from the disease control centers showed that early versions of the study had found a link between thimerosal and autism.

But C.D.C. researchers said that it was not unusual for studies to evolve as more data and controls were added. The early versions of the study, they said, failed to control for factors like low birth weight, which increases the risk of developmental delays.

The Institute of Medicine said that it saw “nothing inherently troubling” with the C.D.C.’s adjustments and concluded that thimerosal did not cause autism. Further studies, the institute said, would not be “useful.”

Threats and Conspiracy Talk

Since the report’s release, scientists and health officials have been bombarded with hostile e-mail messages and phone calls. Dr. McCormick, the chairwoman of the institute’s panel, said she had received threatening mail claiming that she was part of a conspiracy. Harvard University has increased security at her office, she said.

An e-mail message to the C.D.C. on Nov. 28 stated, “Forgiveness is between them and God. It is my job to arrange a meeting,” according to records obtained by The New York Times after the filing of an open records request.

Another e-mail message, sent to the C.D.C. on Aug. 20, said, “I’d like to know how you people sleep straight in bed at night knowing all the lies you tell & the lives you know full well you destroy with the poisons you push & protect with your lies.” Lynn Redwood of SafeMinds said that such e-mail messages did not represent her organization or other advocacy groups.

In response to the threats, C.D.C. officials have contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation and heightened security at the disease control centers. Some officials said that the threats had led them to look for other jobs.

In “Evidence of Harm,” a book published earlier this year that is sympathetic to the notion that thimerosal causes autism, the author, David Kirby, wrote that the thimerosal theory would stand or fall within the next year or two.

Because autism is usually diagnosed sometime between a child’s third and fourth birthdays and thimerosal was largely removed from childhood vaccines in 2001, the incidence of autism should fall this year, he said.

No such decline followed thimerosal’s removal from vaccines during the 1990’s in Denmark, Sweden or Canada, researchers say.

But the debate over autism and vaccines is not likely to end soon.

“It doesn’t seem to matter what the studies and the data show,” said Ms. Ehresmann, the Minnesota immunization official. “And that’s really scary for us because if science doesn’t count, how do we make decisions? How do we communicate with parents?”

* Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

All very impressive, with an exemplary presentation of scientific studies to back up the reporting, and a salutary rap on the knuckles to any parents who are misguided enough to believe their own gut instinct about their own child rather than vast studies of hundreds of thousands of children.

Still, one cannot help but retain a nagging doubt after reading this piece. The trouble is not just that the Times’ reporters have put hasty conclusions on the front page before, which later have been exploded or quietly forgotten. It is that long experience of studies in many areas, let alone those in AIDS, teaches one that scientists are not necessarily always very good at designing studies or interpreting their results. The reason for this is simple enough. Not all scientists—just as not all journalists, and not all lawyers—are very bright.

On the other hand, in visiting the book party for Evidence of Harm, posted below, we were impressed by the quick intelligence of many of the excited parents who crowded round the author, David Kirby, as well as the level headed account of evidence of harm he had gathered in his book.

As the Times article notes, Kirby predicted that this year should reveal if there is anything to the theory that the mercury used in vaccines (in the thimerosal used to keep them uninfected) caused the rise in autism and related disorders. Now that the thimerosal has been removed, will the occurrence of autism decline?

Anyone who has been exposed to the parents at that party will probably prefer to wait for that indication before accepting that the correlation did not reflect causation.

Meanwhile, we can reflect on the possibility that the correlation of HIV with what is labeled “AIDS” may not mean causation, either.

NY Press shows who are the true “denialists”

June 23rd, 2005

This week a crack in the wall of mainstream media neglect of the AIDS dissidents appeared at the New York Press (Jun 22 Wed-28 2005 Vol 18 – Issue 25). This “alternative paper” with its independent politics is a frank and feisty weekly in New York City which, since it appeared some years ago, has become more interesting and relevant than the once dominant gay-mainstream weekly Village Voice, which it has largely replaced and thrown into hard times.

A while ago the New York Press devoted considerable space to a discussion of whether HIV really caused AIDS, and eventually followed this unprecedented break from the high stepping media AIDS chorus line with “Orphans on Trial”, a notable article last year by Liam Scheff, an investigative AIDS reporter (a rare species) who exposed the fact that experimental AIDS antiretroviral drugs had been tested on orphaned black children in the foster care of the city without reference to anyone acting in the interests of the children.

As noted in the post below New York researchers did abuse children this highhandedness doubly outrages AIDS skeptics since they are familiar with the peer-reviewed literature, and the NIH field studies, which demonstrate that these drugs are not “life saving” but in fact, after some temporary improvement due apparently to their killing effect on infections suffered by the AIDS patients (other than HIV, which is not much seen in AIDS patients) eventually cause groteque fat buildup and kidney aand liver damage annd death. No only that but the whole theory underlying their use is condemned by the most intensely peer-reviewed review literature in the field as utterly without scientifc or even common sense.

What the New York Press now offers readers is a “debate” between two proponents of the two sides, with the title�emblazoned on the front page and displayed from thousands of street bins in Manhattan�”Drugs�worse than the Disease? An AIDS debate”. In fact there is no debate as such but a blind exchange. The two opponents have each written an article without even being able to see in advance what their rival is saying.

Like virtually any AIDS debate on this level the discussion is incomplete, rife with error and evasion and on the HIV defenders’ side loaded with political, emotional and religious attitudes disparaging the motivations of the critics.

Nonetheless the exchange offers not only a chance to see how the two styles differ in this way, but also to make one serious point which conclusively establishes which side has to be talen seriously according to our scientific measure.

The editors introduce the clash as follows:

DRUGS, DISEASE, DENIAL

Last July, New York Press published an article by Liam Scheff entitled �Orphans on Trial.� The piece sparked a slow-building wave of media interest in the children of Incarnation Children�s Center in Washington Heights, who have since become a lightning rod for a larger debate on HIV/AIDS drugs. A small but increasingly influential faction, commonly known as AIDS denialists, claims that HIV does not cause AIDS, and that the drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS are worse than the disease. We have invited longtime human-rights activist Jeanne Bergman and Celia Farber, a journalist and self-described �AIDS dissident,� to discuss the positions of their respective camps. We hope the heat generates some light.

—The editors

It is unfortunate that the editors repeat the wretchedly illiterate and politically loaded formulation “denialist”, a usage aimed at identifying HIV-AIDS questioners with holocaust deniers. The words we prefer are “doubter” or “questioner”, since lay HIV critics make no claims to scientific expertise. Scientists, science journalists and others who do understand the science very well and emerge HIV critics are, however, invariably “dissident” to the point of denying HIV any functional relevance, and denying that HIV=AIDS has any basis in fact, so “denier” would not be inappropriate, if it were not subject to the same Holocaust-denier overtones.

But the “debate” forms a prize specimen of the different styles of argument adopted by a typical mainstream believer and an experienced doubter of the medications flowing from a prima facie grossly anomalous paradigm, HIV=AIDS. Both are typical, and telling.

On the mainstream side we have Jeanne Bergman, a “human rights activist” whose article is replete with ad hominem insults, general scorn, I-know-better smugness and the chanting of dogma with little supporting fact. Bergman knows without study that HIV dissidents are “HIV denialists, the dangerously deluded people who have “been around for years” though “every wingnut claim” they make has been “thoroughly and completely demolished”. But their “lies” continue, “destructive” and “cynical” “misinformation”, and now they are in this case “a sensationalist stew of lies, partial truths and innuendo”.

Her maligning of those who question the gospel has a lynch mob spirit, an appeal to shared political-religious feeling rather than any evidence of desire to deal with the problems the HIV=AIDS paradigm presents. The issue in play is the tangled rationale for admittedly dangerous and eventually lethal medications, but the problems are simply dismissed as if they didn’t exist.

But then, given the modus operandi of such adamant supporters as Bergman, objections do vanish. This is because every difficulty (for example, the eventual death of patients) is reinterpreted as a success (their lives were prolonged beyond immediate death, it is claimed). Meanwhile, supporting evidence is barely visible. Where it appears it consists of flat statements such as “almost all HIV+ infants are ill by the time they are three” which are inherently problematical (almost all? how ill? and in what way? were they medicated? if so, what with?) and without any reference.

This is not science but politics, of course, and it smacks of a shared religion in that we see tribal anger and outrage directed against doubters, rather than a genuine discussion of the science. Often, it seems, the most conviction is shown by those with the least science in hand. Yet Bergman has the effrontery to say that “creationism and HIV denial have a common enemy in science”,

Why the best science supports HIV critics

All this would be trivial except that it raises the only important point that can and must be made in answer to reflex defenders of the status quo in AIDS on any occasion at any time, which is this: Contrary to Bergman, it is the HIV doubters who have the most thoroughly examined science on their side.

This is easily established, as follows. Thousands upon thousands of HIV-AIDS papers have been published in scientific journals, but the peer review they have recieved has been of only the kindest, most collegial sort. For the peer reviewers chosen by major science journals are invariably orthodox, and have no reason to challenge the basic premises of HIV-AIDS,. and every reason to oppose it. Authors of mainstream AIDS papers and their peer reviewers are family, and as suggested by the telling dissident criticism of published orthodox papers over the years, the gatekeepers (like all of us) overrate work in line with their own view, and overlook the flaws.

The few very large and substantial articles written at the top level reviewing the theory that HIV is causing what is now labeled “AIDS” have also all been peer reviewed ie scientifically validated by orthodox peer reviewers. In their case, however, the gatekeeprs are not kindly disposed towards the articles because all of them have consistently rejected the HIV theory as unlikely, unsubstantiated, and unscientific, and in the end, plainly wrong. The reviewers naturally are all either very hostile to such papers which undermine the ground they themselves stand on, or at the very least are very, very anxious and careful not to allow any wrong claims or arguments along these lines pass into print, simply to protect their own rear ends with their colleagues.

Yet, and this is the key to the whole scientific debate over HIV as the cause of AIDS, in each case they ran out of objections which they could sustain, and the articles were published. Over the last twenty years, these damning review articles, rejecting HIV as the cause of AIDS, have met no answering articles in the same journals, although these have been requested and in one important case promised, but never delivered.

The last major review article condemning HIV-AIDS theory was published in 2003, and like the rest stands unrefuted by the peers that reviewed it and any peers that read it. It was published in the Journal of Biosciences of the Indian Academy of Sciences, as serious and scholarly a journal as any you can name. (Of course, the reasons why the article was not even considered by the editors of the Western equivalent journals are relevant and worth investigating, but whatever they are they are political and not scientific. Any article which is not rejected by peer reviewers but by the editors before peer review is by definition rejected for political reasons, unless it is completely incompetent, and the Indian Academy of Science does not, of course, publish completely incompetent papers.)

As things stand, then, the plain fact of the matter the best, most rigorously tested scientific literature condemns the HIV-AIDS hypothesis as having nothing to it, scientifically speaking—groundless in theory and evidence.

The best science is on the side of the HIV-AIDS questioners, and not as the unread Bergman fondly believes, on the side of the global congregation amassed by the conventional wisdom. Amongst these faaithful, even the scientists in the field are not well acquainted with the arguments, we have found, so she need not be ashamed of her own evident ignorance of them.

Here is the Bergman article in full:

WWW.NYPRESS.COM | JUNE 22, 2005

JEANNE BERGMAN

NEWS & COLUMNS

For the last year and a half, Incarnation Children’s Center, a small skilled nursing facility in Washington Heights for children with AIDS, has been the target of a concerted attack by HIV denialists, the dangerously deluded people who believe that HIV is not the cause of AIDS and that people with HIV should not receive treatment.

The denialists accused ICC of abusing the foster children who live there as “guinea pigs” for deadly medical experiments, and these charges have elicited interest and some support within the Black community in northern Manhattan, which is acutely aware of both the racist history of American medicine and the routine incompetence and hostility of the Administration of Children’s Services (ACS), New York City’s troubled foster care agency.

HIV denialists have been around for years. Scientists, AIDS activists, clinicians and service providers ignore them when they can. Every wingnut claim they make�that HIV does not exist, that AIDS does not exist, that HIV medicines are the cause of the disease�has been thoroughly and completely demolished. But the lies spread by the denialists are beginning to have a destructive effect, hampering prevention efforts and obstructing access to treatment for people with HIV, in the U.S. and globally. By selecting ICC as a target, the HIV denialists are cynically exploiting the African-American community’s deep and legitimate concerns about medical racism, pharmaceutical profiteering and ACS’s abuses of government power in order to spread disinformation about HIV and AIDS in communities of color.

The attacks on Incarnation Children’s Center began with a sensationalist stew of lies, partial truths and innuendo cooked up by an AIDS denialist and free-lance writer named Liam Scheff and circulated on the Internet in early 2004. The New York Post picked up the story in March of that year, eliciting a spasm of misinformed grandstanding by a couple of City Council members. Scheff got New York Press to print his story that July [vol. 17, issue 28]. But his claim that children at ICC were being tortured in hideous experiments by a cabal of plotters including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Catholic Archdiocese, GlaxoSmithKline, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, and the Administration of Children’s Services wasn’t taken seriously until the story was rendered by people with British accents on BBC Two in November 2004. Regrettably, the HIV denialists driving this hoax have since been joined by African-American activists affiliated with small groups like the December 12th Movement, whose rage is directed primarily at ACS. They started organizing protests outside ICC, thus outing the residents as children with AIDS and characterizing their home as a “slaughterhouse.”

The HIV denialists have also effectively worked the independent media networks. Over the last six months several programs on WBAI, NYC’s Pacifica radio station, have repeatedly and thoughtlessly reiterated the charges against ICC and the deadly lie that anti-HIV treatment, not HIV itself, is the cause of AIDS. Last month, the New York City Council’s General Welfare Committee convened a hearing showcasing the HIV denialists’ claims. Christian right-wing extremists have also joined the call for a criminal investigation of the National Institutes of Health for supporting foster children’s inclusion in clinical trials. The Executive Director of the Traditional Values Coalition, Mrs. Andrea Lafferty, parroted the denialists’ attack on medicine and ICC when she declared, “Powerless and parentless children � are being scrutinized by the ‘scientists’ of the NIH. But using HIV-infected foster children, some as young as infants, for their AIDS experiments is beyond despicable. � these voiceless little ones have no rights and no one to speak for them when the NIH is in charge.”

Creationism and HIV denial have a common enemy in science.

When Incarnation Children’s Center was founded in 1988, children with HIV/AIDS who were in foster care in New York City were not allowed to participate in clinical trials. As new medications were developed, including those for AIDS-defining opportunistic infections and eventually antiretrovirals, they were tested on, and approved for, adult populations first, and only then considered for children. Clinical trials are the first point of access to new and effective treatments; in addition, HIV+ children in clinical trials receive the best available medical care.

Children perinatally infected with HIV develop symptoms much more rapidly than adults: almost all HIV+ infants are ill by the time they are three, while adults are commonly symptom-free for a decade or more after infection. Children also do not live long without treatment. Before the advent of antiretroviral medications used in combination therapy, HIV infected newborns had a median survival rate of six months after diagnosis. In the 1980s, HIV+ children lucky enough to live with their birthparents could be enrolled in clinical trials and get both the newest drugs and the best available care. But a 1992 study reported that over 50 percent of the HIV-infected children in New York City lived with relatives or in foster care, and these children could not participate in the trials. That is, more than half of the kids with HIV�and they were overwhelmingly Black and Latino�were denied access to life-saving drugs simply because they were in foster care. That is the story of racial discrimination in health care and the foster care system that needs to be told.

ICC and other advocates for children with HIV successfully fought to have the policy that discriminated against foster kids changed. Almost all of the children from the ICC clinical trials period, children who would otherwise have died, are alive and well today because of what they accomplished. Not a single child at ICC died as a result of clinical trials they participated in there. Those kids were not “guinea pigs.” They were children with a deadly infection receiving state-of-the-art medical care and drugs already proven effective in adults.

ICC’s participation in clinical trials ended in 2002 because, as a result of the successful treatment of children in the clinical trials, those drugs were approved as safe and effective for pediatric populations. But the denialists spin even this as sinister: now, Scheff has charged, foster kids with HIV are being given anti-viral medications not just experimentally but as�gasp�routine treatment. That’s true. And that’s good.

The denialists emphasize the limitations and the side effects of antiretroviral medications; some, ignorant of the history of the epidemic, assert that these treatments are themselves the cause of AIDS. There is, of course, no cure yet for HIV, and the antiretroviral drugs are at best nasty to take and difficult to tolerate. (In his NY Press article last year, Scheff boldly revealed that ICC’s Medical Director admitted, “The drugs have a ‘significant, lingering, bitter taste.’ So they mix the pills or powders in chocolate or strawberry syrup.” Perhaps Scheff’s next expos� will tell the truth about cherry-flavored NyQuil.)

No one familiar with HIV and AIDS treatment has ever suggested that being on combination therapy is pleasant for anyone, and both immediate allergic reactions and long term side effects can be very serious, and even, in rare cases, fatal. HIV disease sucks, and the drugs so far available for it suck, too. Generally, however, the side effects are greatly outweighed by the benefits of treatment. The children at ICC had the advantage of living in a structured, supportive setting that ensured that they could adhere to complex regimens with stringent dietary requirements, and on-site health care that enabled rapid identification of, and response to, any side effects.

The HIV denialists say that the young children at ICC could not refuse the drugs or fight off the “researchers” who gave them their medications. Should children of two or even 12 years get to decide if they will or will not take their medicine? Of course not, particularly when irregular dosing may result in drug-resistant HIV. All responsible parents and caregivers understand that children can’t make crucial life-and-death decisions for themselves, and the law recognizes this fact too: that’s why legally children can neither give nor withhold medical consent. ICC, with its loving, expert and compassionate staff, cared for the children; parents or other guardians signed informed consent forms. The clinical trials�the only way the kids could get the drugs that kept them alive�were closely monitored by the National Institutes of Health, collaborating hospitals, and the Administration of Children’s Services. The HIV denialists see a conspiracy where there were in fact multiple levels of oversight.

Were the children at ICC stolen from their parents to be used for experiments? Absolutely not. The parents of many children at ICC had died from AIDS; others were incapacitated by HIV-related illness, drugs, or homelessness and unable to care for very sick children: that’s why the kids were in the foster care system. Until ICC was founded, orphaned and unparented HIV+ kids at Harlem Hospital were stuck there as “boarder babies”�too sick for regular foster care, they had nowhere to live but the hospital. The denialists assert that the Administration of Children’s Services as not merely neglectful, but complicit in a “full blown criminal conspiracy” when it placed HIV+ kids in ICC. ACS is always (and often justifiably) an easy target: the agency often abuses its power over parents while failing to protect children. But what ACS did in this instance was, for once, really wonderful: it put kids with HIV/AIDS who had no other home into a cozy, first-rate specialized care facility where they had access to state-of-the-art combination anti-viral therapy under the expert supervision of a brilliant and compassionate staff. That’s not a crime to be prosecuted, but an incredible accomplishment to be celebrated.

Thanks to other clinical trials proving the efficacy of AZT and Nevirapine in preventing perinatal transmission, and in particular to the amazing community education and care provided to pregnant women by Harlem Hospital, the incidence of perinatal HIV transmission in Washington Heights and Harlem has fallen dramatically. Almost no new HIV-infected babies are born in northern Manhattan now, and the AIDS babies of ICC are nearing adulthood.

It’s not hard to understand why some people don’t believe in the reality of HIV and AIDS. They may be in genuine psychological denial: they don’t want to be infected, and they don’t want this terrifying pandemic to decimate their families, their world. Others resist changing the behaviors that put themselves and others at risk of HIV infection, so they persuade themselves it doesn’t matter. More broadly, the history of racism in American medicine, the pharmaceutical giants’ single-minded pursuit of profit, and the frustration that more than 20 years into the AIDS epidemic there is no cure, have prepared fertile ground for denial and disinformation.

It’s more difficult to discern the motives of people who urge others to reject the overwhelming scientific evidence and medical consensus that HIV causes AIDS by destroying the immune system, allowing the opportunistic infections that would otherwise be easily fought off to turn deadly.

A closer look at the denialist who evidently instigated the hoax about ICC explains a lot. Christine Maggiore, one of the most visible HIV denialists, introduced Liam Scheff to the guardian of two children who lived at ICC. Maggiore has built a profitable career by combining a gift for self-promotion with a couple of false-positive HIV test results. The story she tells begins in 1992, when, despite the complete absence of risk factors, a routine HIV antibody test came back inconclusive. The retest was positive, and Maggiore threw herself into the whirlwind life of an AIDS poster girl, “booked for a year’s worth of engagements before I’d even finished [a speaker’s] training course. I made the audiences, laugh, cry, and scared.” When a year or so later her doctor suspected she wasn’t really infected with HIV, she “finally found the courage to retest,” and in a series of tests received results that were inconclusive, she reports, then positive, negative and positive again.

False-negative HIV tests are extremely rare, while false positives are much more common, though infrequent. This fact and all the other available evidence strongly indicate that Maggiore was never infected with HIV, and she herself emphasizes the term “positive” and avoids saying she is infected or has the virus, allowing others to draw that erroneous conclusion. Most people would be thrilled to learn they were uninfected, but Maggiore was unwilling to give up the spotlight. This HIV pretender twisted her good health and the marginal incidence of false positives into a lucrative new racket�selling HIV denialism and bragging about her good life “without pharmaceutical treatments or fear of AIDS.” But of course Maggiore has no “fear of AIDS”�she doesn’t have HIV. She has since had two children, now three and seven years old, whom she boasted to Scheff “have never been tested. � They don’t take AIDS drugs. And they’re not in the least bit sick.” But of course Maggiore didn’t want them to be tested: she knows that they are not at risk and that their being uninfected would lead people to question her own status. And of course they don’t take “AIDS drugs”�they don’t have HIV or AIDS.

Christine Maggiore isn’t living proof that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS; she’s just another lying AIDS profiteer, exploiting the real fears of those who actually are infected with HIV and the real suffering of those living with AIDS to get public attention, sell books and pick up well-paid speaking gigs. This might matter less if she wasn’t telling parents and caregivers of children who really are HIV-infected to take the kids off difficult but life-saving antivirals. Maggiore has never had to make agonizing treatment decisions for herself or for her children.

This month, the Centers for Disease Control reported that about 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV. (Of these, fully half are African-American.) This is the largest number of infected Americans since the start of the epidemic, reflects the good news that people with HIV are living longer because of antiretroviral therapy and the sad fact that HIV prevention messages are not effective enough, so the virus is continuing to spread. Because HIV denialists actively discourage people with the virus from taking antiretroviral drugs, and because disinformation about HIV allows people to ignore advice about safer sex and clean needles, the rates of both deaths and new infections will rise if their campaign is successful. The communities most at risk�African-Americans, Latinos, and gay men of all ethnicities�will suffer the greatest losses. Not believing in the virus offers no protection from it.

The small clutches of protesters who gather occasionally outside Incarnation Children’s Center vow “No More Tuskegee Experiments.” But remember: The essence of the Tuskegee atrocity was that poor African-Americans who were known by doctors to have a devastating, usually fatal infection were lied to about their condition and intentionally denied lifesaving medication that was available to others. That is exactly what the denialists are perpetrating right now. Denialism is the new Tuskegee. In Washington Heights, the heroes who fought the government to get treatment to the powerless children of color who were infected, sick and dying were the brave little group at Incarnation Children’s Center.

Volume 18, Issue 25

� 2005 New York Press

As usual, the lay debate rapidly deteriorates into an ad hominem discussion of motives, but Bergman’s is particularly egregious. For a human rights activist to invest in such calumny as suggesting the notorious HIV questioner Christine Maggiore is in it for “self-promotion” seems unconscionable. With the social pressure all on the side of orthodoxy�and there is probably no current social issue where greater pressure is at work�the penalties for being an AIDS dissident are great. No self-promotion would be worth the price which the Maggiores of the world pay for their dissent, which always includes widespread vilification of this kind.

Surely it is the wave of social pressure that buoys her that leads Bergman to triumphantly conclude that “In Washington Heights, the heroes who fought the government to get treatment to the powerless children of color who were infected, sick and dying were the brave little group at Incarnation Children’s Center.” Even the HHS has agreed that their behavior was against the code. And the lack of sense in this statement is stunning, if the studies were designed to test the effects of the drugs.

On the other side of the “debate”, we have the exemplary attitude of political humility and modestly inexpert enquiry assumed by Celia Farber, one of the longest running reporter-enquirers in AIDS, of which there are barely a handful in the media, few of them in the top mainstream yet. (Insiders expect a change in this shortly, for a stunningly well written piece is in the works at a major magazine which seems destined to gain the dissident view new respect and attention.)

Farber’s slightly mournful earnestness is charming and effective, quickly winning over readers by enlisting them as fellow travelers in her enquiry, by persuading them gently to join her in her incessant wondering at the inconsistencies of “AIDS”. That is to say, her incredulity at the disconnect between the theoretical fantasy of AIDS and the plain facts of experience, and wonder at the unscientific, often irrational, self-serving and socially irresponsible behavior of the people who are influential in the field, are both more persuasive in the public arena than direct attack.

Here (below) is Farber’s “denialism”, which is nothing more than “denying” that HIV-AIDS ideology makes sense. It denies any sense in accepting the current story of HIV-AIDS when it is rife with inconsistencies, irresponsible behavior, questionable claims, corrupt studies and statistics, concealment and dismissal of problems, and all the other earmarks of a boondoogle which has nothing to do with good science and everything to do with superstition, slow wittedness and self-interest.

In other words, she prefers to ask for answers, rather than accept unlikely claims.

WWW.NYPRESS.COM | JUNE 22, 2005

CELIA FARBER

NEWS & COLUMNS

The hysteria-laden question of whether anti-HIV drugs are �life-saving,� as the AIDS orthodoxy holds, or �deadly,� as the HIV dissidents claim, is unanswerable in the currently available language, which was blunted and rendered incoherent by political forces as early as 1981. Language is the only interface between phenomena and our comprehension of them, and I have grown weary of being forced to use AIDS language that is itself inaccurate and loaded. First of all, lives can�t really be �saved��they can only be extended. To prove that a life has indeed been extended one must first know, with absolute certainty, that without intervention, the life would have ended. In order to know that, one must know the natural history of the disease, and then one must examine the fate of the untreated population.

The unified voice of the AIDS establishment has claimed thunderous victory for the post-1996 drug regimens that came to be known as �cocktails,� which came into vogue about three years after death rates began declining, but nonetheless got full-trumpet credit for turning the tide.

Let me say, first, that I have been told and have reported and have imprinted upon my soul that for some people, at some stages of immune collapse, these drugs have helped, and maybe even prevented a slide into death. Roberto Giraldo, a doctor and expert in infectious and tropical diseases who crosses the world treating AIDS, tells me this is probably due to their anti-oxidant, anti-viral and anti-microbial properties. He also tells me that in his experience, severe immune deficiency�which may be a more useful term than �AIDS��occurs only where severe depletion of vital nutrients has occurred; reversing the illness starts with restoring those nutrients.

“Biochemically speaking, people who are malnourished, whether because they are poor, or because they are drug addicts, suffer from oxidization, and lack vitamins A, B, E, zinc and selenium. This is true of all AIDS patients I have ever seen,” he said via telephone. “We cannot say that protease inhibitors are useless. In 1996 when they started to use protease inhibitors, there is no doubt that there was a change. Before 1996, all the people who used AZT, they were killed. There was no benefit there. Protease inhibitors, they are also very toxic but they have benefits, they are antioxidants. No doubt they are poison and in the long run they kill the person, but you need proteases in the process of oxidation. Besides that, these drugs are also antibiotics.” Giraldo believes that AIDS is a disease �of poverty,� primarily, meaning of extreme depletion of the cells, and that those who have been middle- or upper-class, who have gotten sick, depleted their bodies through drug use and prolonged exposure to toxins. “HIV by itself causes nothing,” he says.

Giraldo has written and published voluminously on how to reverse the condition of severe immune suppression through intensive nutritional supplementation and orthomolecular medicine, combined with modified antibiotic and other targeted drug regimens. I am well aware of how scorned these ideas are among those who feel that they and they alone know what AIDS is, and how to �fight� it, i.e., the orthodoxy and the pro-drug activists. Since 1986, when I began reporting on AIDS, I have compensated for this scorn, ridicule and censure by quoting the Roberto Giraldos of this world, not because I know these voices are ‘right,’ but because I feel they must be represented against the relentless chorus of the new-and-better-drugs-into-all-bodies-in-all-nations crowd. I am not a doctor and have never treated an AIDS patient. I’ve known dozens if not hundreds of people though, in my 20 years studying this and listening to people, who have been HIV-antibody positive and stayed healthy for up to 20 years and probably more. I wish somebody was counting them, listening to them, logging them in the official history. Nobody is; they are not supposed to exist.

Each of the 26 anti-HIV drugs currently on the market, combined in infinite combinations, or ‘cocktails,’ is, by admission of the manufacturers, potentially lethal. One of the unexpected effects of Protease Inhibitors, or so-called HAART therapy (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy) seen in recent years was a disruption of the body�s fat-distribution mechanisms. This in turn (in addition to the fatty deposits on the upper neck and various parts of the body) has caused strokes and heart attacks in many patients, at the very moment when the drugs were theoretically �working,� meaning so-called surrogate markers (cd4 cells and viral load) were going the right way. The other significant danger of HAART proved to be liver and kidney failure, which, according to a study done at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, �surpassed deaths due to advanced HIV,� in 2002. In 2005 the Wall Street Journal reported that, according to a Danish study, AIDS drug cocktails �may double the risk of heart attacks.� In 2004, the journal AIDS reported, with characteristic lack of alarm, �All 4 classes of antiretrovirals (ARVs) and all 19 FDA approved ARVs have been directly or indirectly associated with life-threatening events and death.� The paper was titled �Grade 4 Events Are as Important as AIDS Events in the Era of HAART,� and �grade 4 events� referred to �serious or life-threatening events.�

The conclusion: More than twice as many people (675) had a drug-related (grade 4) life-threatening event as an �AIDS event� (332). The most common causes of grade 4 events (drug toxicities) were �liver related.� The greatest risk of death was not an AIDS �event� but a drug event�heart attacks (�cardiovascular events�). The authors wrote: �Our finding is that the rate of grade 4 events is greater than the rate of AIDS events, and that the risk of death associated with these grade 4 events was very high for many events. Thus the incidence of AIDS fails to capture most of the morbidity experienced by patients with HIV infection prescribed HAART.� (Italics mine) In plain English, AIDS drugs cause AIDS and death far more effectively than �AIDS� itself.

Any triumph or victory claimed by the AIDS lobby for these drugs must be measured against a phenomenon they continue to deny exists, namely the untold number of people who are, to use their language, �living with HIV.� This includes those invisible, uncounted, unloved people who are HIV-antibody positive, taking no drugs, not getting sick, not dying at a faster rate than HIV negatives. This begs the question of whether HIV causes AIDS. Currently, we have one camp�which I will call the �orthodoxy��that argues that although current HIV drugs have frightful side effects and are difficult to take, they have nonetheless reversed a tide of death, which was seen throughout the 1980s and into the mid 1990s in people who were diagnosed with severe immune dysfunction. This camp, since it views AIDS as �HIV disease,� meaning caused singularly by HIV, concentrates its efforts to �fight AIDS,� on high tech drugs that in various ways are meant to disable HIV in the blood. They are extremely mechanistic in their view of the human body and the immune system. It�s all numbers.

The much-maligned contraries camp, which I will call the �dissidents,� have argued since the early 1980s that AIDS has multiple causes, and that its resolution should be rooted in a direct address to all these root causes. These include a cessation of recreational drug use, avoidance (when possible) of the most toxic anti-HIV drugs, a strong focus on reversing malnutrition, (particularly in Africa) and a treatment approach that treats the specific opportunistic infection a person manifests, with the state of the art treatment for that infection.

PCP pneumonia, for example, is utterly treatable, yet thousands of people died in the 1980s of it. Why? Because fighting AIDS meant �attacking� HIV, period. Never the specific diseases; never the underlying causes�only the virus. David Ho, Time�s Person of the Year, sported a button at a conference that summed up this ideology. The button said, �It�s the virus, stupid.�

How that came to be the dominant scientific religion is a subject of infinite complexity and tragedy. The virus (which is actually a retrovirus, of a class that was never thought to be pathogenic prior to 1984, and which we all harbor shards of in our germline) provided an absolute measure, a clear delineation, a battleground, and above all, a focus for a gigantic industry, as well as an international corporation called AIDS Inc. The natural and true history of AIDS is only beginning to be told, or rather, retold. When AIDS Began: San Francisco and The Making of An Epidemic (Routledge) by Michelle Cochrane traces the earliest intersection between what was being observed, those who were doing the observing, and how the �truth� fared in the process. Cochrane weaves a rigorously detailed semantic, medical, and sociological examination of the first cases as they were charted and described by the San Francisco Department of Public Health in 1981. She explodes the myth of the first cases of AIDS having appeared, as the New York Times famously phrased it, in �previously healthy,� and even upwardly mobile, gay men, and shows that quite the contrary, the first nine cases were in men who had a range of immune assaults. All were recreational drug users, many were IV drug users, and some were even homeless. They suffered from diseases that had been seen in IV drug users since the 1930s, primarily fungal infections and lung diseases. That they were �gay,� was perhaps the least significant detail. Because the federal research effort ($36 billion so far) has been 100 percent HIV-centric, and because AIDS was presumed to be sexually transmitted as opposed to �acquired,� we are essentially 20 years behind in our intelligence gathering on AIDS. One of the most astonishing things about the politics of AIDS is the way in which the left repudiated any explanations of disease causation that could be predicted by poverty and social marginalization.

One of the hallmarks of the AIDS orthodoxy�s language is that coiled within each word and phrase is the answer, as well as the shaming of the question itself. George Orwell (in 1984) described the orthodox style as, ��at once military and pedantic,� characterized by a trick of ��asking questions and then promptly answering them.� Anti-HIV drugs, for example, are always called �life-saving drugs.� Why not just call them �drugs� and allow their merits to be debated? Because at the root of the AIDS orthodoxy is a relentless urge to control all thought on AIDS.

All people who question any facet of orthodox AIDS theory are �murderously irresponsible,� and dripping with the psychic blood of millions. In this gladiatorial atmosphere, it is a wonder anybody speaks out at all. If only we could agree that most people are not, by nature, homicidal, and that dissenting views are productive to a search for truth, we might get somewhere. But I know, as surely as I know anything, that my opponent in these pages will have characterized my position as �denialist.� I am not denying anything. People have died of AIDS and the matter at hand is what they died from. A retroviral infection? A host of immuno-compromising factors? An absence of AIDS drugs�or indeed, the AIDS drugs themselves?

In 1984, when the US government announced at a press conference that one of its scientists�Robert Gallo�had found the �probable cause of AIDS,� the official theory held that HIV caused AIDS by eating CD4 cells at a rapid clip. HIV was said to cause AIDS in a year or two, at best. Today, this theory has morphed into a range of possibilities; HIV causes AIDS in 10 to 15 years, in most people, but a small minority, so-called �long-term non-progressors,� might be spared due to a genetic fluke.

To my mind, if we are to stick to the orthodoxy�s own measure, one cannot begin to speak of �saving� life until one has surpassed these ten or fifteen years. In the 1980s, AZT was claimed, with the same high dudgeon by the same orthodoxy, to �save� lives, yet few survived for more than a year on the earliest AZT regimens. The word �denial� comes to mind.

When people make dramatic claims for current drug regimens, the death rates they are actually comparing are not drugs vs. no drugs, but rather extremely toxic drugs of the early years compared to less toxic drugs of today. The earliest AIDS cases, marked by Kaposi�s Sarcoma, were treated with chemotherapy (1981 to 1986) followed by AZT monotherapy in doses ranging from 1800 milligrams to 500 milligrams (1986 to 1989) followed by combinations of AZT, ddi, ddc and d4t (1989 to 1996) followed by protease inhibitors in various combinations, from 1996 to the present day. The one era I have no question resulted in deaths from the treatment itself, is the early AZT era, (circa 1986 to 1989) particularly when the common dosage was 1200 to 1800 milligrams. A German AIDS physician named Klaus Koehnlein told me in 2000, �We killed a whole generation of AIDS patients with AZT.�

My friend Richard Berkowitz, author of Stayin Alive: The Invention of Safe Sex, A Personal History (Westview), said: �Every friend I had that went on AZT in those early years is dead.� He says that they lasted on average nine months on the drug. HIV positive since the early 1980s, Berkowitz credits his survival to two things: 1) having avoided AZT, and 2) safe sex.

What he means by �safe sex,� a concept and term he himself developed and coined, together with the late activist Michael Callen, is far more complex than mere condom use. Drawing on the pioneering observations and warnings of Dr. Joseph Sonnabend, it involves an avoidance of many STDs and parasitic infections, coupled with a belief in life rather than a belief in the death sentence of HIV. Berkowitz has also mitigated my repudiation of cocktail therapy by stressing that a moderate regimen pulled him back from the brink of death a few years ago.

Paul King, a Brit who runs a dissident website called Dissident Action Group in the U.S., counters the establishment�s claim that dissenting views on AIDS, HIV and drug regimens are still �fringe.�

�From the very beginning in the 1980s, the AIDS dissident movement faced a level of censorship unrivaled since the anti birth control information Comstock Law of the early 20th century,� he said in an email. �Every day,� King claims, �almost without exception, we attract another PhD or doctor and now have well over 4,000 doctors and scientists endorsing our views.�

�The public has had enough of exaggerated stories of epidemics that never materialize and [that diminish] personal freedom.�

Volume 18, Issue 25

� 2005 New York Press

Here then we see that a seasoned HIV doubter answers a virulent, hysterical, verbal lynching with world weary logic and citing of evidence of harm, the harm, for example, that the HAART drug regimen does to the livers of patients, often culminating in a transplant. As a staff member of Mt Sinai’s group handling liver transplants told us the other day, “Oh yes we see lots of AIDS patients!”

Why are the AIDS drugs initially beneficial?

The central issue in many people’s minds on the question of HIV and AIDS, as we have pointed out before, is that if the drugs result in what is widely reported to be immediate improvment, surely this strongly indicates that the mainstream theory is essentially correct, and that HIV causes AIDS.

Farber takes the opportunity to anwer this question, which (as far as we can check) has been left unanswered by the HIV reviewers in the peer-reviewed literature, by quoting Roberto Giraldo, an impassioned foe of HIV=AIDS ideology who works in the Laboratories of Clinical Immunology and Molecular diagnosis at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical Center, in New York City, and who travels widely researching tropical diseases (see his web site Roberto Giraldo).

“Biochemically speaking, people who are malnourished, whether because they are poor, or because they are drug addicts, suffer from oxidization, and lack vitamins A, B, E, zinc and selenium. This is true of all AIDS patients I have ever seen,” he said via telephone. “We cannot say that protease inhibitors are useless. In 1996 when they started to use protease inhibitors, there is no doubt that there was a change. Before 1996, all the people who used AZT, they were killed. There was no benefit there. Protease inhibitors, they are also very toxic but they have benefits, they are antioxidants. No doubt they are poison and in the long run they kill the person, but you need proteases in the process of oxidation. Besides that, these drugs are also antibiotics.” Giraldo believes that AIDS is a disease “of poverty,” primarily, meaning of extreme depletion of the cells, and that those who have been middle- or upper-class, who have gotten sick, depleted their bodies through drug use and prolonged exposure to toxins. “HIV by itself causes nothing,” he says.

Short of a peer reviewed paper on the topic, which is what the world needs, this will have to do.

One briefly wonders if Farber’s civil, encompassing tone is wasted and if she should be as decisive and belligerent as Bergman to catch the eye of casual readers. But the imbalance of politesse seems to us to indicate that all the social pressure is on the side of the current wisdom most readers share with Bergman, and against any doubters, who simply cannot afford to be adamant as the believers.

This fiercely one-sided social pressure twists the lay AIDS debate into a pretzel of bad logic and bad behavior, where rationalization of nonsense and rejection of sense is the order of the day for HIV defenders. It also places a burden on challengers which is hard for them to survive. All the platforms are occupied by the mainstream, and they must be on their best behavior even to gain a hearing.

Meanwhile, HIV defenders can behave as badly as they wish.

For exposing this distortion so clearly by running these pieces, and for bringing the dicussion back into the mainstream arena, the New York Press deserves credit.

New York researchers did abuse children—HHS

June 17th, 2005

The abuse of foster children at the Incarnation Children’s Center in Harlem (see earlier post The Council will fight NIH over AIDS trial children) is apparently not the only case where the city’s Administration for Children’s Services served up foster children in its care to researchers to act as guinea pigs for potentially lethal doses of anti-AIDS medicines.

According to the New York Sun’s Daniel Hemel (p3 today Fri June 17 issue)), Federal investigators from the Department of Health and Human Services have confirmed that Columbia University Medical Center and New-York-Presbyterian Hospital violated protocol in the same way between 1998 and 2001, when doctors tried out experimental AIDS drugs on foster children at the center.

In a letter dated May 23 the HHS gave them till June 30 to say how they were going to clean up their act with a “corrective action plan”.

The ACS acknowledged in April that “465 HIV-positive and AIDS-infected (sic) foster children” received treatments not yet approved by the FDA. It was all part of the NIH project where pediatric AIDS drug tests were conducted on 13,000 children in at least seven states.

Quite what “HIV-positive and AIDS-infected” means exactly in the minds of Hemel and his editors at the Sun is interesting to contemplate, but given the lack of interest shown by the Times in this scandal we are not going to quibble when the Sun takes up the cudgels on behalf of children caught up in the AIDS machine. (The Times’ tentative article today trying to catch up with this story is reproduced at the end of this post).

And guess what the arguments used in their defense by the officials of these respected institutions were? Right, you got it the first time. They didn’t feel they had to appoint special advocates to represent the childrens’ interests because the treatments carried “the prospect of direct benefit” for patients with HIV and AIDS.

“These studies were instrumental in extending life saving HIV treatments to children,” a Columbia medical center spokeswoman, Marilyn Castaldi, assured Hemel.

In other words, the drugs would be good for the children�somehow the scientists knew this in advance of the experiments designed to establish the fact�so they didn’t need any guardians to clog up the works.

Bioethicists are appalled at this high handed approach even though they have no idea of the flimsy foundation to the science of these drugs, damned in the best AIDS peer-reviewed scientific review literature, which indicates that the trials of such drugs are needless and endanger the lives of the children without any justification at all.

There is “an obvious conflict of interest”, the director of the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethic, David Magnus, told the reporter Daniel Hemel.

Under fire already from members of the City Council such as Harlem’s William Perkins, who calls it “shocking disregard for the rights and well-being of foster care children by the ACS,” the ACS has contracted with the non profit, Manhattan-based Vera Institute for Justice to review city practices in this regard. In other words, they will pay someone to review their performance. Such sensitivity to conflict of interest!

The ACS officials also told the Sun that none of the city’s foster children are currently enrolled in drug experiments. But th NIH spokesman, John Burklow, said it is “likely” to be happening somewhere in the US.

The HHS letter demands that troves of documents be turned over by officials at the hospitals so that the hospitals’ review boards can themselves be scrutinized.

In other words, the officials and scientists involved in this underhanded experimentation on children without leave are going to get their come-uppance, unless they succeed in their strenuous efforts to whitewash their mistake by appealing to the global assumption that HIV drugs are good for patients of alll kinds, even pregnant mothers-to-be and children.

This will go over well with the AIDS mainstream but to AIDS skeptics this is one more horrific result of a modern superstition which irresponsible scientists have sold to the world and which now with its mismedication of patients ailments endangers even the lives of children in the care of the state.

To anyone not in either camp it suggests powerfully how very urgent it is to make sure that AIDS science makes sense before continuing with the policies and treatments based on this deeply suspect paradigm.

As the mainstream itself is always so happy to say, “lives are at stake.”

Here is the actual article (click “show).

June 17, 2005 Edition > Section: New York > Printer-Friendly Version

Health Officials: Hospital Broke AIDS Drug Rules

BY DANIEL HEMEL – Special to the Sun

June 17, 2005

URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/15595

Federal investigators have concluded that Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital violated protocol on the use of human research subjects between 1988 and 2001, when doctors at the center administered experimental AIDS drugs to foster-care children.

In a letter dated May 23, the Department of Health and Human Services gave Columbia and New York Presbyterian until June 30 to develop a “corrective action plan” to bolster safeguards protecting children in clinical trials.

According to the HHS investigators, the medical center’s institutional review board – which vets experiments involving human subjects – failed to determine whether it had proper consent to administer cutting-edge treatments to foster-care children.

The city’s Administration for Children’s Services acknowledged in April that approximately 465 HIV positive and AIDS-infected foster children received treatments that had not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The experiments at the Manhattan hospitals were funded by the National Institutes of Health, which has conducted pediatric AIDS drug tests on more than 13,000 children in at least seven states. An estimated 5-10% of patients in these trials were wards of the foster-care system.

“These studies … were instrumental in extending lifesaving HIV treatments to children,” a Columbia medical center spokeswoman, Marilyn Castaldi, said in a statement yesterday. She said that since the center is currently formulating a response to the HHS letter, “it would not be appropriate to comment further at this point.”

In previous correspondence with the HHS, Columbia and New York-Presbyterian officials argued that researchers did not have to appoint special advocates to represent the foster children’s interests because the treatments carried “the prospect of direct benefit” for patients with HIV and AIDS.

But federal investigators said that the review board didn’t gather enough information to make such an assessment.

Bioethics experts told The New York Sun yesterday that institutions conducting medical trials should never be the only judges of questions regarding young patients in clinical trials.

“The researchers obviously have a conflict of interest that would prevent them from being the sole protector of the child,” said the director of the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics, David Magnus.

The fact that many of the patients in the Manhattan hospitals’ trials were foster children should have prompted the institutional review board to consider “extra precautions,” the editor of the journal IRB: Ethics & Human Research, Karen Maschke, said.

“These are by definition vulnerable subjects,” Ms. Maschke said.

According to Ms. Maschke, the HHS investigators “dodged” a central issue in the inquiry: whether the research would have been permissible even with advocacy oversight. “If the answer is no, then the ‘advocate’ question is moot,” Ms. Maschke said.

Several of the drugs administered in the NIH-funded studies were in the first phase of development. Mr. Magnus said that Phase 1 research seeks to determine a drug’s “maximum tolerable dosage,” and he said it is “dubious” that such trials are ever in the best interests of child patients.

Meanwhile, local politicians are demanding to know how the ACS allowed infants and youngsters under its watch to be enrolled in drug trials.

The ACS has also weathered criticism for failing to stem alleged abuses at the Incarnation Children’s Center in Harlem. According to a BBC documentary that aired last November, HIV-infected children at the center allegedly received potentially lethal doses of anti-AIDS medicines, sometimes being force-fed the drugs through stomach tubes.

Council Member William Perkins, a Democrat who represents Harlem, said the HHS letter “confirms a shocking disregard for the rights and well-being of foster care children by the ACS.”

Mr. Perkins called on the ACS to conduct a “vigorous investigation” into the use of foster children in medical experiments. But according to ACS officials, the agency has already contracted the Vera Institute for Justice, a Manhattan-based nonprofit group, to review city’s practices regarding medical experiments that use foster children as subjects.

The ACS said it “intends to make all of Vera’s findings fully available to the public.”

Officials at the ACS told the Sun yesterday that none of the city’s foster children are currently enrolled in drug experiments. But NIH officials yesterday could not confirm or deny that foster children are still being used in ongoing federally funded medical experiments.

“It is likely” that foster care children currently being treated in federally funded AIDS drug trials, NIH spokesman John Burklow told the Sun, but he added, “the decisions about who can enroll into a clinical trial are made at the local IRB level.”

Officials at Columbia and New York-Presbyterian told the HHS last August that they were taking several steps to protect young patients in clinical trials – including a mandatory training program for staff on the use of children in research.

Last month’s letter requires officials at the hospitals to turn over troves of documents to the HHS so that investigators can scrutinize the hospitals’ institutional review boards.

June 17, 2005 Edition > Section: New York > Printer-Friendly Version

Here is the Times article today, with Janny Scott trying to catch up with the situation but not doing much reporting on it. For those who like the incisive reporting and arts pages of the intellectually vigorous New York Sun, it seems another good example of how the Sun is covering the city better. It may also be another example of how conservative papers tend to treat scientists with a little less collegial deference than the liberal ones do. at least in AIDS.

The New York Times

June 17, 2005

Drug Trials on Children Broke Rules, Officials Say

By JANNY SCOTT

Federal officials have found that a Columbia University Medical Center committee that oversees the use of patients as subjects in medical research violated federal regulations in the 1990’s in the case of four research projects. In the projects, experimental drugs were tested in children, including foster children, with AIDS or who were H.I.V.-positive.

The Office for Human Research Protections informed Columbia in a letter last month that the medical center’s institutional review board had “failed to obtain sufficient information” concerning the selection of foster children as subjects, the process for getting their parents’ or guardians’ permission and certain additional safeguards.

The exact nature and significance of the violations were unclear yesterday. A spokeswoman for the agency, Pat El-Hinnawy, declined to say what information the review board had failed to obtain, whether the information would have affected the board’s decision to approve the projects and whether any children were harmed.

The findings come at a time when questions have been raised nationally about the participation of foster children in drug trials during the 1980’s and 1990’s, when hundreds of babies in New York City alone were born H.I.V.-positive and when there were at first no treatments approved for children.

The city’s Administration for Children’s Services has hired the Vera Institute of Justice to investigate charges that the city inappropriately allowed foster children to take part.

The agency has said that it has found no evidence that it acted wrongly. Some 465 foster children took part between 1988 and 2001, the agency says.

Under federal regulations, foster children may participate in clinical trials as long as a parent or guardian has given permission, and if the risk is minimal or there is some prospect of direct benefit for the child. All clinical trials, even with adults, must have the approval of the institutional review board in the center where the trial is taking place.

The four trials cited in the letter were supported by the National Institutes of Health and involved dozens of medical centers nationwide. They occurred between 1993 and 2002. In a statement, a Columbia spokeswoman said the studies “were instrumental in extending lifesaving H.I.V. treatments to children.”

“We stand behind the clinical aspects of these trials,” Marilyn Castaldi, the spokeswoman, said in an interview. “It’s not an issue of safety or harm.”

New York researchers did abuse children—HHS

June 17th, 2005

The abuse of foster children at the Incarnation Children’s Center in Harlem (see earlier post The Council will fight NIH over AIDS trial children) is apparently not the only case where the city’s Administration for Children’s Services served up foster children in its care to researchers to act as guinea pigs for potentially lethal doses of anti-AIDS medicines.

According to the New York Sun’s Daniel Hemel (p3 today Fri June 17 issue)), Federal investigators from the Department of Health and Human Services have confirmed that Columbia University Medical Center and New-York-Presbyterian Hospital violated protocol in the same way between 1998 and 2001, when doctors tried out experimental AIDS drugs on foster children at the center.

In a letter dated May 23 the HHS gave them till June 30 to say how they were going to clean up their act with a “corrective action plan”.

The ACS acknowledged in April that “465 HIV-positive and AIDS-infected (sic) foster children” received treatments not yet approved by the FDA. It was all part of the NIH project where pediatric AIDS drug tests were conducted on 13,000 children in at least seven states.

Quite what “HIV-positive and AIDS-infected” means exactly in the minds of Hemel and his editors at the Sun is interesting to contemplate, but given the lack of interest shown by the Times in this scandal we are not going to quibble when the Sun takes up the cudgels on behalf of children caught up in the AIDS machine. (The Times’ tentative article today trying to catch up with this story is reproduced at the end of this post).

And guess what the arguments used in their defense by the officials of these respected institutions were? Right, you got it the first time. They didn’t feel they had to appoint special advocates to represent the childrens’ interests because the treatments carried “the prospect of direct benefit” for patients with HIV and AIDS.

“These studies were instrumental in extending life saving HIV treatments to children,” a Columbia medical center spokeswoman, Marilyn Castaldi, assured Hemel.

In other words, the drugs would be good for the children�somehow the scientists knew this in advance of the experiments designed to establish the fact�so they didn’t need any guardians to clog up the works.

Bioethicists are appalled at this high handed approach even though they have no idea of the flimsy foundation to the science of these drugs, damned in the best AIDS peer-reviewed scientific review literature, which indicates that the trials of such drugs are needless and endanger the lives of the children without any justification at all.

There is “an obvious conflict of interest”, the director of the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethic, David Magnus, told the reporter Daniel Hemel.

Under fire already from members of the City Council such as Harlem’s William Perkins, who calls it “shocking disregard for the rights and well-being of foster care children by the ACS,” the ACS has contracted with the non profit, Manhattan-based Vera Institute for Justice to review city practices in this regard. In other words, they will pay someone to review their performance. Such sensitivity to conflict of interest!

The ACS officials also told the Sun that none of the city’s foster children are currently enrolled in drug experiments. But th NIH spokesman, John Burklow, said it is “likely” to be happening somewhere in the US.

The HHS letter demands that troves of documents be turned over by officials at the hospitals so that the hospitals’ review boards can themselves be scrutinized.

In other words, the officials and scientists involved in this underhanded experimentation on children without leave are going to get their come-uppance, unless they succeed in their strenuous efforts to whitewash their mistake by appealing to the global assumption that HIV drugs are good for patients of alll kinds, even pregnant mothers-to-be and children.

This will go over well with the AIDS mainstream but to AIDS skeptics this is one more horrific result of a modern superstition which irresponsible scientists have sold to the world and which now with its mismedication of patients ailments endangers even the lives of children in the care of the state.

To anyone not in either camp it suggests powerfully how very urgent it is to make sure that AIDS science makes sense before continuing with the policies and treatments based on this deeply suspect paradigm.

As the mainstream itself is always so happy to say, “lives are at stake.”

Here is the actual article (click “show).

June 17, 2005 Edition > Section: New York > Printer-Friendly Version

Health Officials: Hospital Broke AIDS Drug Rules

BY DANIEL HEMEL – Special to the Sun

June 17, 2005

URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/15595

Federal investigators have concluded that Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital violated protocol on the use of human research subjects between 1988 and 2001, when doctors at the center administered experimental AIDS drugs to foster-care children.

In a letter dated May 23, the Department of Health and Human Services gave Columbia and New York Presbyterian until June 30 to develop a “corrective action plan” to bolster safeguards protecting children in clinical trials.

According to the HHS investigators, the medical center’s institutional review board – which vets experiments involving human subjects – failed to determine whether it had proper consent to administer cutting-edge treatments to foster-care children.

The city’s Administration for Children’s Services acknowledged in April that approximately 465 HIV positive and AIDS-infected foster children received treatments that had not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The experiments at the Manhattan hospitals were funded by the National Institutes of Health, which has conducted pediatric AIDS drug tests on more than 13,000 children in at least seven states. An estimated 5-10% of patients in these trials were wards of the foster-care system.

“These studies … were instrumental in extending lifesaving HIV treatments to children,” a Columbia medical center spokeswoman, Marilyn Castaldi, said in a statement yesterday. She said that since the center is currently formulating a response to the HHS letter, “it would not be appropriate to comment further at this point.”

In previous correspondence with the HHS, Columbia and New York-Presbyterian officials argued that researchers did not have to appoint special advocates to represent the foster children’s interests because the treatments carried “the prospect of direct benefit” for patients with HIV and AIDS.

But federal investigators said that the review board didn’t gather enough information to make such an assessment.

Bioethics experts told The New York Sun yesterday that institutions conducting medical trials should never be the only judges of questions regarding young patients in clinical trials.

“The researchers obviously have a conflict of interest that would prevent them from being the sole protector of the child,” said the director of the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics, David Magnus.

The fact that many of the patients in the Manhattan hospitals’ trials were foster children should have prompted the institutional review board to consider “extra precautions,” the editor of the journal IRB: Ethics & Human Research, Karen Maschke, said.

“These are by definition vulnerable subjects,” Ms. Maschke said.

According to Ms. Maschke, the HHS investigators “dodged” a central issue in the inquiry: whether the research would have been permissible even with advocacy oversight. “If the answer is no, then the ‘advocate’ question is moot,” Ms. Maschke said.

Several of the drugs administered in the NIH-funded studies were in the first phase of development. Mr. Magnus said that Phase 1 research seeks to determine a drug’s “maximum tolerable dosage,” and he said it is “dubious” that such trials are ever in the best interests of child patients.

Meanwhile, local politicians are demanding to know how the ACS allowed infants and youngsters under its watch to be enrolled in drug trials.

The ACS has also weathered criticism for failing to stem alleged abuses at the Incarnation Children’s Center in Harlem. According to a BBC documentary that aired last November, HIV-infected children at the center allegedly received potentially lethal doses of anti-AIDS medicines, sometimes being force-fed the drugs through stomach tubes.

Council Member William Perkins, a Democrat who represents Harlem, said the HHS letter “confirms a shocking disregard for the rights and well-being of foster care children by the ACS.”

Mr. Perkins called on the ACS to conduct a “vigorous investigation” into the use of foster children in medical experiments. But according to ACS officials, the agency has already contracted the Vera Institute for Justice, a Manhattan-based nonprofit group, to review city’s practices regarding medical experiments that use foster children as subjects.

The ACS said it “intends to make all of Vera’s findings fully available to the public.”

Officials at the ACS told the Sun yesterday that none of the city’s foster children are currently enrolled in drug experiments. But NIH officials yesterday could not confirm or deny that foster children are still being used in ongoing federally funded medical experiments.

“It is likely” that foster care children currently being treated in federally funded AIDS drug trials, NIH spokesman John Burklow told the Sun, but he added, “the decisions about who can enroll into a clinical trial are made at the local IRB level.”

Officials at Columbia and New York-Presbyterian told the HHS last August that they were taking several steps to protect young patients in clinical trials – including a mandatory training program for staff on the use of children in research.

Last month’s letter requires officials at the hospitals to turn over troves of documents to the HHS so that investigators can scrutinize the hospitals’ institutional review boards.

June 17, 2005 Edition > Section: New York > Printer-Friendly Version

Here is the Times article today, with Janny Scott trying to catch up with the situation but not doing much reporting on it. For those who like the incisive reporting and arts pages of the intellectually vigorous New York Sun, it seems another good example of how the Sun is covering the city better. It may also be another example of how conservative papers tend to treat scientists with a little less collegial deference than the liberal ones do. at least in AIDS.

The New York Times

June 17, 2005

Drug Trials on Children Broke Rules, Officials Say

By JANNY SCOTT

Federal officials have found that a Columbia University Medical Center committee that oversees the use of patients as subjects in medical research violated federal regulations in the 1990’s in the case of four research projects. In the projects, experimental drugs were tested in children, including foster children, with AIDS or who were H.I.V.-positive.

The Office for Human Research Protections informed Columbia in a letter last month that the medical center’s institutional review board had “failed to obtain sufficient information” concerning the selection of foster children as subjects, the process for getting their parents’ or guardians’ permission and certain additional safeguards.

The exact nature and significance of the violations were unclear yesterday. A spokeswoman for the agency, Pat El-Hinnawy, declined to say what information the review board had failed to obtain, whether the information would have affected the board’s decision to approve the projects and whether any children were harmed.

The findings come at a time when questions have been raised nationally about the participation of foster children in drug trials during the 1980’s and 1990’s, when hundreds of babies in New York City alone were born H.I.V.-positive and when there were at first no treatments approved for children.

The city’s Administration for Children’s Services has hired the Vera Institute of Justice to investigate charges that the city inappropriately allowed foster children to take part.

The agency has said that it has found no evidence that it acted wrongly. Some 465 foster children took part between 1988 and 2001, the agency says.

Under federal regulations, foster children may participate in clinical trials as long as a parent or guardian has given permission, and if the risk is minimal or there is some prospect of direct benefit for the child. All clinical trials, even with adults, must have the approval of the institutional review board in the center where the trial is taking place.

The four trials cited in the letter were supported by the National Institutes of Health and involved dozens of medical centers nationwide. They occurred between 1993 and 2002. In a statement, a Columbia spokeswoman said the studies “were instrumental in extending lifesaving H.I.V. treatments to children.”

“We stand behind the clinical aspects of these trials,” Marilyn Castaldi, the spokeswoman, said in an interview. “It’s not an issue of safety or harm.”

Mark Twain chips in

June 16th, 2005

A quote for the day from the master, who always recognized the same absurdities of human nature in himself as he detected in others:

“We are discreet sheep; we wait to see how the drove is going, and then go with the drove. We have two opinions, one private, which we are afraid to express, and another one—the one we use—which we force ourselves to wear to please Mrs. Grundy, until habit makes us comfortable in it, and the custom of defending it presently makes us love it, adore it, and forget how pitifully we came by it.”

The Character of Man, Twain’s autobiography, Vol. II, January 23, 1906.

AIDS of course is a field of politics and of supposed science where Mrs Grundys abound, self appointed Mullahs who whip the exposed calves of those who step out of line, whatever their standing.

For example, those who attended the first San Francisco world AIDS conference a while back included many eager to hear Luc Montagnier talk on the new HIV co-factor he had discovered in his (or more probably his underlings’) assiduous lab work at the Pasteur Institute, a mycoplasma.

Apparently worried that if indeed this bacterial blob could be responsible for the alleged immune system depredations claimed for the utterly simple yet unfathomable HIV, it might displace and shelve HIV completely as the agent of “AIDS”, the AIDS generals running the conference absolutely refused to let Montagnier in.

He was forced to deliver his account to a packed, low ceilinged room in a nearby hotel. Afterwards, he found the atmosphere so chilly that he hightailed it back to Paris on the next plane.

Mandela’s tragedy as AIDS propagandist

June 15th, 2005

On Saturday at a rock concert in Norway Nelson Mandela spoke out once again for redoubled aid for AIDS in Africa, as the G8 agreed to forgive $40 billion in debt owed by poor nations.

Mandela asks the “haves” to open the door to hope.

Nelson Mandela joined some of the world’s top musicians Saturday in pressing the rich world to act against Aids in sub-Saharan Africa. “We live in a world where the Aids pandemic threatens the very fabric of our lives,” the Nobel Peace prize winner said at a star-studded pop concert in Tromsoe, northern Norway. “Yet we spend more money on weapons than on ensuring treatment and support for the millions infected by HIV.”

More than 15,000 people watched stars including Annie Lennox, former Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant and Peter Gabriel perform inside the Arctic Circle under a clear sky and midnight sun. The 86-year-old former South African president hosted the concert, which was sponsored by the Norwegian parliament, as part of his “46664” anti-Aids campaign – named after his prison number during his 27 years in jail under apartheid. Mandela, who has appeared frail in recent public engagements, smiled broadly and waved to thunderous applause on a giant stage flanked by the sea and snow-capped mountains.

Here is the full text of a news report:

allAfrica.com

Mandela urges developed nations to act against Aids

L’Express (Port Louis)

NEWS

June 14, 2005

Posted to the web June 14, 2005

By Gordon Bell

Port Louis

Mandela asks the “haves” to open the door to hope.

Nelson Mandela joined some of the world’s top musicians Saturday in pressing the rich world to act against Aids in sub-Saharan Africa. “We live in a world where the Aids pandemic threatens the very fabric of our lives,” the Nobel Peace prize winner said at a star-studded pop concert in Tromsoe, northern Norway. “Yet we spend more money on weapons than on ensuring treatment and support for the millions infected by HIV.”

More than 15,000 people watched stars including Annie Lennox, former Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant and Peter Gabriel perform inside the Arctic Circle under a clear sky and midnight sun. The 86-year-old former South African president hosted the concert, which was sponsored by the Norwegian parliament, as part of his “46664” anti-Aids campaign – named after his prison number during his 27 years in jail under apartheid. Mandela, who has appeared frail in recent public engagements, smiled broadly and waved to thunderous applause on a giant stage flanked by the sea and snow-capped mountains.

He appealed to the G8 group of industrialized nations to take the lead in helping to end disease and poverty in Africa at their summit in July. “They have an historical opportunity to open the door to hope and the possibility of a better life for all,” he said. He made no direct reference to an agreement reached earlier in the day by the G8 finance ministers to write off $40 billion in debt owed by the poorest nations.

Mandela retired from public life last year but remains one of the leading international voices on Aids. This year he has also addressed the stigma surrounding the disease in his homeland by disclosing that his only surviving son, Makgatho, had died of an AIDS-related illness. Aid has devastated communities in sub-Saharan Africa. About 25 million people are infected with the HIV virus, and millions more contract it each year.

In South Africa, some 12 percent of the population are infected. In Botswana and Swaziland, it is up to 40 percent. The disease is spreading fast elsewhere. More than a million people are infected in Russia and other former Soviet states, and an estimated 5 million people in India are HIV-positive. “There is a genocide happening … and we need to get very upset about it,” former Eurythmics lead singer Lennox said.

Copyright © 2005 L’Express. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

Certainly one of the bravest political activists in Africa, Nelson Mandela spent a long time in prison before winning a revolutionary rebirth for a black South Africa.

But if the scientific evisceration of the conventional view of the AIDS pandemic is valid (and as we repeatedly note, the cautious peer reviewers who act as gatekeepers to publication in the top scientific literature have effectively endorsed the critical review by failing to find any fault with it) then a great tragedy of current AIDS politics is that Mandela is unwittingly entrained as a propagandist for the iatrogenic genocide of his people.

That is, trusting in the medicine of the white man (to put it in satirically lurid terms) Mandela is endorsing a process that ends with the administering of damaging if not lethal drugs to an ever widening target section of his nation, according to the imagined or real results of tests which are extremely questionable, since the specificity and crossreactivity of the tests (and the flexibility of their interpretation) render them almost meaningless.

That is, if they are done at all. Most African statistics are based on extrapolation from very limited testing, for tests are expensive and the WHO defines AIDS in Africa by symptom without testing.

Poor Mandela is ending his life as the spokesman for what looks increasingly like the Worldcom of science.

For an alternative view of AIDS testing, here is one rundown from the Web pages of the African Rainbow Circle, which says it aims to jettison standard AIDS theory and treatment for more natural apppoaches.

Note, for example that malaria, common in Africa, often causes a cross reaction.

A review by Christine Johnson from LA HEAL of HIV tests and a very long list of potential cross reactions, with references.

If you want the immediate text, rather than open the url, click here:

AIDS TESTS

Why HIV tests & mandatory vaccination should be banned

AFRICAN Rainbow CIRCLE

Mission statement

Constitution

Donations

Clinic

Volunteers

Health statistics

Know-how, where, when & why

PAK Addy. PhD, head of clinical microbiology at the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana [Says Aids in Africa is exaggerated and the Hiv tests kill people due to the mental turmoil a positive result causes, which leads to physiological immune depression and suicide]

By Christine Johnson

The AIDS establishment has managed to convince many people that the HIV antibody tests (ELISA, IFA and Western blot) are “99.5% accurate”. In this article Christine Johnson from HEAL Los Angeles, lists conditions documented in the scientific literature known to cause positives on these tests, and gives her references.

It is expected that this list will generate much discussion and dissension. For the time being, a few clarifications should be made at the outset.

Just because something is on the list doesn’t mean that it will definitely, or even probably, cause a false-positive. It depends on what antibodies the individual carries; as well as the characteristics of each particular test kit.

For instance, some, but not all, people who have had blood transfusions, prior pregnancies or an organ transplant will make HLA antibodies. And some, but not all, test kits (both ELISA and Western blot) will be contaminated with HLA antigens to which these antibodies can react. Only if these two conditions coincide might you get a false-positive due to HLA cross-reactivity.

Some things are more likely than others to cause false-positives. And some things that we aren’t aware of yet, but which may be documented in the future, may cause false-positives.

Some of the factors on the list have been documented only for ELISA, some for both ELISA and Western blot (WB).

Some people may be eager to argue that if a factor is only known to cause false-positives on ELISA, this problem won’t be carried over to the WB, so everything should be OK. But remember, a WB is positive by virtue of accumulating enough individual positive bands to add up to the total required by whatever criteria you use to interpret it (39) So the more exposures a person has had to foreign antigens, proteins and infectious agents, the more various antibodies he or she will have in their system, and the more likely it is that there will be several cross-reacting antibodies, enough to make the WB positive.

It is to be noted that all AIDS risk groups (and Africans as well), but not the general US or Western European population, have this problem in common: they have been exposed to a plethora of foreign antigens and proteins. This is why people in the AIDS “risk groups” tend to have positive WBs (i.e., to be considered “HIV-infected”) and people in the general population don’t. However, even people in the low-risk populations may have false-positive Western blots for poorly understood reasons.(47)

Since false-positives to every single HIV protein have been documented (36), how do you know the positive WB bands represent the various proteins to HIV, or just a collection of false-positive bands reacting to several different non-HIV antibodies?

Factors Known to Cause False-Positive HIV Antibody Test Results

* Anti-carbohydrate antibodies (52, 19, 13)

* Naturally-occurring antibodies (5, 19)

* Passive immunization: receipt of gamma globulin or immune globulin (as prophylaxis against infection which contains antibodies)(18, 26, 60, 4, 22, 42, 43, 13)

* Leprosy (2, 25)

* Tuberculosis (25)

* Mycobacterium avium (25)

* Systemic lupus erythematosus (15, 23)

* Renal (kidney) failure (48, 23, 13)

* Hemodialysis/renal failure (56, 16, 41, 10, 49)

* Alpha interferon therapy in hemodialysis patients (54)

* Flu (36)

* Flu vaccination (30, 11, 3, 20, 13, 43)

* Herpes simplex I (27)

* Herpes simplex II (11)

* Upper respiratory tract infection (cold or flu)(11)

* Recent viral infection or exposure to viral vaccines (11)

* Pregnancy in multiparous women (58, 53, 13, 43, 36)

* Malaria (6, 12)

* High levels of circulating immune complexes (6, 33)

* Hypergammaglobulinemia (high levels of antibodies) (40, 33)

* False positives on other tests, including RPR (rapid plasma reagent) test for syphilis (17, 48, 33, 10, 49)

* Rheumatoid arthritis (36)

* Hepatitis B vaccination (28, 21, 40, 43)

* Tetanus vaccination (40)

* Organ transplantation (1, 36)

* Renal transplantation (35, 9, 48, 13, 56)

* Anti-lymphocyte antibodies (56, 31)

* Anti-collagen antibodies (found in gay men, haemophiliacs, Africans of both sexes and people with leprosy)(31)

* Serum-positive for rheumatoid factor, antinuclear antibody (both found in rheumatoid arthritis and other autoantibodies)(14, 62, 53)

* Autoimmune diseases (44, 29, 10, 40, 49, 43): Systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, connective tissue disease, dermatomyositis

* Acute viral infections, DNA viral infections (59, 48, 43, 53, 40, 13)

* Malignant neoplasms (cancers)(40)

* Alcoholic hepatitis/alcoholic liver disease (32, 48, 40,10,13, 49, 43, 53)

* Primary sclerosing cholangitis (48, 53)

* Hepatitis (54)

* “Sticky” blood (in Africans) (38, 34, 40)

* Antibodies with a high affinity for polystyrene (used in the test kits)(62, 40, 3)

* Blood transfusions, multiple blood transfusions (63, 36,13, 49, 43, 41)

* Multiple myeloma (10, 43, 53)

* HLA antibodies (to Class I and II leukocyte antigens)(7, 46, 63, 48, 10, 13, 49, 43, 53)

* Anti-smooth muscle antibody (48)

* Anti-parietal cell antibody (48)

* Anti-hepatitis A IgM (antibody)(48)

* Anti-Hbc IgM (48)

* Administration of human immunoglobulin preparations pooled before 1985 (10)

* Haemophilia (10, 49)

* Haematologic malignant disorders/lymphoma (43, 53, 9, 48, 13)

* Primary biliary cirrhosis (43, 53, 13, 48)

* Stevens-Johnson syndrome9, (48, 13)

* Q-fever with associated hepatitis (61)

* Heat-treated specimens (51, 57, 24, 49, 48)

* Lipemic serum (blood with high levels of fat or lipids)(49)

* Haemolyzed serum (blood where haemoglobin is separated from the red cells)(49)

* Hyperbilirubinemia (10, 13)

* Globulins produced during polyclonal gammopathies (which are seen in AIDS risk groups)(10, 13, 48)

* Healthy individuals as a result of poorly-understood cross-reactions (10)

* Normal human ribonucleoproteins (48,13)

* Other retroviruses (8, 55, 14, 48, 13)

* Anti-mitochondrial antibodies (48, 13)

* Anti-nuclear antibodies (48, 13, 53)

* Anti-microsomal antibodies (34)

* T-cell leukocyte antigen antibodies (48, 13)

* Proteins on the filter paper (13)

* Epstein-Barr virus (37)

* Visceral leishmaniasis (45)

* Receptive anal sex (39, 64)

MISSING VIRUS!

£ 1000 Reward

Blind romantics still believe HIV causes AIDS. But if ‘HIV’ has never been isolated, what is AIDS?

Never isolated? You bet! A cash prize of £ 1000 is offered to the first person finding one scien-tific paper establishing actual isolation of HIV.

If you or a friendly ‘AIDS expert’ can prove isolation, £ 1000 is yours. In cash. In public.

Interested? Pledge the money to your favourite AIDS charity, why not?

We bet you’ll be surprised to discover the truth.

c o n t i n u u m

CHANGING THE WAY WE THINK ABOUT AIDS

Propaganda victims Zackie & Nelson do more harm than good unbeknown to them

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Ultimate control of humans via GE / GMO’s combined with Vaccines

AFRICAN Rainbow CIRCLE, P.O. Box 832, Waterfall 3652, KZN, South Africa

Email: information@arc.org.za


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