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John Moore’s untruth

March 17th, 2007


Cornell microbicide researcher posts libel of NAR on his site

His “AIDS Truth” revealed as malleable, if his propaganda war requires it

A couple of days ago, New AIDS Review achieved the signal honor of recognition as a “conspiracy theorist” and “denialist” site by none other than John “Macaque” Moore, the Cornell researcher and paradigm promoter in HIV∫AIDS whose ruthless methods of operating behind the scenes to defeat paradigm critics are notorious, as well as his conducting full scale smear campaigns against them in public by calling them names such as “denialist” and claiming, for once quite rightly, that they are “dangerous” to the cause of supplying toxic drugs to the hapless AIDS patients of the world.

The honorary mention reads as follows:

For an example of an AIDS denialist/conspiracy theorist site that is influential in those circles, see:

* http://www.newaidsreview.org

Our bursting pride was short lived however. Further news reached us by email, in the form of a jibe delivered by Moore to Harvey Bialy, the editor of the razor sharp, fully informed, witty and devastatingly impolite group blog You Bet Your Life, now a must stop for those in the know in the field of HIV∫AIDS as a sort of morning entertainment with their coffee.

Probably the biggest amusements on the YBYL site are the email exchanges between the previous editor of the site, Hank Barnes, The Moore Follies 1, 2, 3 and 4, and similar email more recently between Moore and Bialy.

In each exchange both parties attempt to score points off each other with scorn and derision, but the whiplash wit of the two HB’s in our view makes mincemeat out of the unfortunate and somewhat slower Moore. Bialy in particular runs circles around the Cornell mastermind, reducing him to a baffled stooge. A prize specimen was run on Tuesday in Comments under the post Confessions of a Subversive Grad. Student: Subversive Is No Longer So Secret:

In anticipation of today’s SGS article, I sent (in lc provocative style) a note to John advising him of its imminent publication. What I expected to receive was a version of the previous one note lie about not bothering to look at the site “except on rare occasions”, etc. What actually arrived was so much wilder than that it qualifies as a theme and variation with an additional note thrown in for bad measure. As is my habit with these exchanges, I will refrain from interlinear remarks and allow these masterpieces of ‘crafted’, self-contradiction to speak for themselves…etc.

Inspecting the email that Moore sent Bialy immediately revealed the reason why the AIDSTruth goon squad leader was willing to quote this obscure and plodding site as representative of “AIDS denialism and conspiracy theorising”, and not the dangerously expert group blog YBYL, with its star array of lethal paradigm skewerers.

From: “John P. Moore, PhD”
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2007 2:02 PM
Subject: Fwd: IAS Newsletter on AIDS denialists – March 2007

Dear “retiree”,
I hope you find this recently published article to be of
interest and that you post it wherever you wish (I think you must have accidentally inverted the words in your last email when you said that you publish, but I post). I had thought of mentioning you in the article, but on reflection decided that you were not significant enough, even in denialist circles, to be worth the words. Why go after the monkey when there are plenty of organ grinders around? We do, however, provide a link on AIDStruth.org to Anthony Liversidge’s
NAR site as an example of an ‘influential” AIDS denialist site that AIDS professionals need to know about. Unfortunately, YBYL just isn’t well enough written to be worth looking at, so I guess your friend Tony will be getting all the clicks to monitor.
Enjoy!
John

Evidently Moore believed that a) it would annoy Bialy if the superior YBYL was left off the list b) directing HIV∫AIDS loyalists to the obscure NAR was harmless and c) he was afraid to quote YBYL for fear that he would be brought into disrepute by exposing his email exchanges with Harvey to the private derision of colleagues.

However, we thought that this false accolade might prove the basis of a friendly meeting with John P. Moore, where we could usefully get him to discuss what genuine arguments he had left, if any, to support his evidently religious belief in the HIV∫AIDS paradigm. We could also ask him to explain why, if the case of HIV in AIDS is so inarguable, he felt it necessary to attack paradigm critics with unscientific, and underhand moves, such as more than once calling their employers or partners to complain about them undermining his scientific religion.

Alas, the distinguished macaque microbicide researcher replied with an outright refusal to meet or even have an email dialogue with NAR on any basis, given that we are in his eyes the perfidious purveyors of doubt in regard to his favorite political and economic research framework.

So we were reduced to insisting for the second time that he at least revise his description of this site as an “AIDS denialist/conspiracy theorist site”. We had a pretty good idea that he was unlikely to accede to our request, but we waited, just in case. After all, the title of his site is “AIDSTruth”, and conspiracy theorists and ‘denialists’ we are not.

No conspiracy theorists, we

In fact, any discussion of conspiracy theories is relevant here in one respect only – to make sure that people know the difference between a conspiracy theory (World Trade Center etc) and a professional scientific review of the literature said to justify a paradigm (Duesberg, Bialy etc), which in the case of HIV∫AIDS condemns the paradigm as utterly wrong, a complete misinterpretation of the literature it has generated.

The paradigm review of a dozen papers or more dismissing HIV as the cause of AIDS has been carried in the highest scientific journals and intensely peer reviewed to ensure its accuracy in data and interpretation. We at this blog are merely going over this material to show it to the public, from which it has been withheld through the explicit censorship of Dr Anthony Fauci at NIAID who long ago put reporters on notice in print that if they raise the topic and wish to cover it with the cooperation of scientists at NIAID, they will be frozen out forever:

“We know reporters must consult more than a single source and make room for dissenting opinions. But many people consider what is in the media to be true by definition.
One striking example is Peter Duesberg’s theory that HIV is not the cause of AIDS. I laughed at that for a while, but it led to a lot of public concern that maybe HIV was a hoax. The theory has extraordinary credibility just on the basis of news coverage. My barometer of what the general public is really thinking is my sister Denise. My sister Denise is an intelligent woman who reads avidly, listens to the radio, and watches television, but she is not a scientist. When she calls me and questions my integrity as a scientist, there really is a problem. Denise has called me at least ten times about Peter Duesberg. She says “Anthony, – she is the only one who calls me Anthony – “are you sure he’s wrong?” That’s the power of putting someone on television or in the press, although there is virtually nothing in his argument that makes scientifc sense. People are especially confused when they see divergent reports about the same thing….
Journalists who make too many mistakes or who are too sloppy, are going to find their access to scientists may diminish.” – AAAS Observer, September 1, 1989.

By virtue of this unscientific edict, and the inexplicit but equally strong influence of HIV∫AIDS community politics, noone involved ever dares to raise the topic of revising the HIV∫AIDS paradigm in meetings or in public, unless to condemn the “denialists” in fiercely prejudicial terms, as our new friend John Moore, Mark Wainberg, Jeanne Bergman and other members of the HIV∫AIDS paradigm protection goon squad like to do, since they evidently lack good rejoinders to the accusations that they are peddling bad science that kills.

But we are not ‘denialists’, since we deny nothing factual in the mainstream literature of HIV∫AIDS, which is all we know of scientific reality in this field, though we know a good deal about its shameful politics.

The only thing we deny is the claim that the paradigm reflects the evidence of the mainstream scientific literature, since it does not: there is research inconsistency with every aspect of the paradigm, which is constantly contradicted by the literature and those who write it, mostly the mainstream researchers who publicly claim the paradigm is correct, even though more and more of the papers they write show quite plainly it is not.

That HIV∫AIDS researchers typically make obeisance to the paradigm in their first paragraphs makes the odd fact that their results so often disprove it all the more baffling a ‘conundrum’, which is the word the chief theorist of the paradigm, Zvi Grossman, recently used to describe the black mystery of how HIV could possible cause immune deficiency.

If John P. Moore knows the answer to this conundrum he hasn’t yet informed his fellow scientists or the general public.

If anything, the denialists in HIV∫AIDS are the mainstream researchers who deny the import of their own literature, beginning with the papers that Robert Gallo produced in 1984, which proved that the likelihood of HIV causing AIDS was approximately the same as one of John Moore’s macaques jumping over the Empire State building.

Even Dr. Gallo has conceded this in his recent testimony in the Adelaide court.

“I would say, of course, that in and of itself, 40% isolation of a new virus I wouldn’t say (proves it) is the cause.”

So John has been asked by NAR to remove the label “conspiracy theorist” site from the mention of New AIDS Review on his AIDSTruth site, as well as the prejudicial and inappropriate label “denialist”, and we wait to see if he will respond.

Moore’s deplorable tactics

This is not to say we don’t agree with Moore’s views in some respects, though for reasons he may not like. For instance, his rude dismissal in Nature of Edward Hooper’s book The River must almost by definition be correct, given the fact that HIV evidently does not cause AIDS, at least not according to the current literature of HIV∫AIDS.

What we object to is the record of how Moore has notoriously flamed his targets rather than maintained the civilities of debate and talked science instead of using smears and other prejudicial inaccuracies. What this indicates to us from outside the field is that he much prefers to win his arguments with politics rather than with science.

Given our final email exchange, our hopes that he will bother to correct his site mention of NAR seem likely to be dashed.

For what he last wrote to us rather rudely in his third email was his usual vow never to respond to

“individuals who promote the view that HIV either does not exist or does not cause AIDS, individuals that I and others choose to refer to as the “AIDS denialists”.”

Overlooking the fact that this site has never supported the view that HIV does not exist, we replied as follows:

Dear John,

That’s fine, we probably would avoid live discussion if we were in your position too, given the abject weakness of your position judged in the light of the study literature your side has created so extensively and expensively.

But for the second time kindly correct your reference to New AIDS Review as a “conspiracy theory” and a “denialist” site. We at NAR allege no AIDS “conspiracy”, since even the two decade policy of Anthony Fauci of blocking journalists interested in media coverage of HIV∫AIDS critics from using NIAID sources was explicitly stated as the Director’s policy, and is not a conspiracy. The group foolishness of HIV∫AIDS scientists is a matter of collective politics and individual mental paralysis, as far as we are concerned, even though policy and behavior is voluntarily coordinated.

The use of the word “denialist” is also wrongly prejudicial. This site stands by the mainstream scientific literature as the best measure of truth. You deny its import. So if anything you are a “denialist”. This site is not.

Otherwise, my dear chap, you must see that we will have to defend NAR against this public calumny by public complaint, and calling attention to this example of your low standards of “AIDS truth”, even when corrections are offered to you.

John, by not responding to our correction and erasing the misstatement on your site, you will only confirm that you merit no scientific standing in the HIV∫AIDS debate, since you will be showing in public that you do not care about accuracy and knowingly mislead people on the facts.

By the way, also, since you publicly and privately reject the idea of meeting with those who interpret the literature differently, you are making painfully clear that you prefer to exploit AIDS funding for your own ends, at the cost of other people’s health and lives, rather than risk examining your own ideas in live interview or public debate.

In fact, we can think of only one construction to put on your refusal to talk to opponents about your position: it is a most telling symptom of conscious (or, to be kind, unconscious) knowledge of being wrong, especially in such a prominent scientist.

Why otherwise would you be so intent on evading and escaping the logic and exposure of debate, the examination and discussion of your position, and the possible exposure of flaws in your remaining scientific arguments, if there are any?

We believe all the above is correct. Do you object to any of it, and have any reply? Whether you do or not, kindly amend your site.

Best

Anthony

With no response so far from Moore we can merely repeat that his activities in fighting what he has described to Michael Geiger of HEAL, San Diego as his “war” on the paradigm debunkers betray, in our judgement, just how unscientific is his love for the paradigm.

For by going outside the debate to attack them in a political and underhand manner, the AIDS Truth is clearly that Moore is much more than merely a scientist who genuinely believes that the HIV∫AIDS paradigm is writ in biblical stone, and that all who reexamine the literature and debunk it are heretics to the one true religion, and lives will be lost if they are followed.

For beyond that he is clearly a scientist who believes that the paradigm is sufficiently vulnerable that he must avoid live debate at all costs with naysayers, and he must use political and psychological means to maintain it. In this he is obviously right. The paradigm is so weak that it has lived for twenty two years on artificial life support, and any exposure to bright sunlight will undoubtedly kill it stone dead.

That is why Anthony Fauci and now John Moore see fit to censor debate as much as they possibly can. That is why John Moore will not meet with us to brief us on his position even over lunch, even when we are within thirty blocks of each other and he could easily do so. This is why he likes to call this site quite inaccurately and libelously conspiracy theorist and denialist.

Having examined the issue from outside with no axe of our own to grind, we see him as the obtuse handmaiden of error rolling along in a bandwagon he joined very early in his career which is now slowly changing to a tumbril carting him to his career doom, one approaching a funding guillotine which will eventually fall on his neck whenever the toppling dominoes of the paradigm defense league reach Cornell, perhaps via the nearby Rockefeller University where he once worked, the same Rockefeller University that once ejected David Baltimore for his unscientific behavior.

This we imagine may happen after the court cases questioning HIV∫AIDS lore reach a critical mass, beginning we predict, perhaps optimistically, with the imminent decision of Judge Sullan in Adelaide to let Parenzee’s appeal go forward, on the grounds that the questions raised against the paradigm in the case have produced a reasonable doubt that cannot be dismissed by a judge who lacks the scientific expertise to arbitrate the matter.

For an unproven paradigm presumably cannot be used as grounds for a criminal conviction if the legislation on which the conviction is based was prepared on the understanding that the science was undisputed, and then the science is on appeal revealed to be a matter of serious dispute, which it is if six members of the US National Academy dispute it (Duesberg, Lang, Margulis, Rubin, Strohman, Gilbert).

That would seem to us to be the logic of the grounds for appeal in this case, and in other cases bound to come in the US as well as in Canada. Given his unconvincing bluster in Adelaide we doubt that Gallo will be any more successful as a witness for the paradigm in the US.

In the courts, the bullying methods adopted by Gallo and Moore in trying to repress review of their stock in trade do not wash, and just possibly a Congressional hearing may be on the cards as the next dominoe at some point during the unfolding of Australian, Canadian and US court hearings.

However, with the notHIV scientific truth something that if accepted will make twenty two year old monkeys out of a large swathe of top scientists and officials throughout the world, and bring science into huge disrepute, perhaps nothing like that will ever happen as long as their generation is alive. Their defense is bound to be as ruthless as John Moore’s, even if less honestly admitted.

Let’s see if we are correct in our rash Adelaide prediction, which flouts these eternal verities. Meanwhile, we await John’s correction.

Michael Specter’s Swiss cheese

March 12th, 2007


List of flaws in fact and implication makes lovely AIDS piece look holey

Manhattan media’s enduring “AIDS denialism” is root cause of problems

Lynn Margulis chimes in, stunning Tara Smith

Perhaps the last two posts seem overkill in chastising Michael Specter for his reporting sins in producing his HIV∫AIDS masterwork, “Annals of Science: The Denialists: AIDS mavericks and the damage they do”, the deft but inaccurate and biased rundown on current HIV∫AIDS science politics in this week’s (March 12) New Yorker, circulation 940,000.

After all the piece is well shaped and nicely done, aside from its parade of error when parroting the paradigm promoters. But the otherwise affable Specter’s journalistic failure in this respect is so massive, and the propaganda value to the paradigm defenders so great, that the piece cannot be ignored with disdain, as John Strausbaugh has wittily done in John Strausbaugh: The New Yorker to South Africa: Shut Up and Take It this morning (Mon Mar 12) at You Bet Your Life, with the ex editor of the New York Press judging it merely as an obligatory move in the provincial politics of Manhattan media:

I read somewhere online that David Remnick’s New Yorker had finally ridden to the aid of liberal magazine media. It had given Roger Hodge’s Harper’s the thrashing it so long and richly deserved for running that dangerous AIDS article by that horrid Celia Farber last spring. The New Yorker article, boldly entitled “The Denialists,” was said to be a thorough rebuttal to Farber’s wild-hair rantings. Hodge’s Folly, the gaffe of all gaffes, had been redressed. It had taken a year, but order and balance were now restored to print media. Glossy liberal thumbsuckers were safe to read again. No received knowledge or consensus opinions will ever again be challenged. Sorry for the disruption. You can all go back to sleep now. Nothing to see here.

In this world weary response he is joined by Peter Duesberg, who in a letter to Harvey Bialy, editor of You Bet Your Life, which Bialy posts in his Comments, informs him reasonably that he did not think it worth writing a letter to the New Yorker correcting the reporting of Michael Specter, because it would inevitably be cut down, and then replied to by Specter in the usual manner where authors of misleading reports are allowed to defend themselves with further error as the last word with no recourse.

Celia Farber has adopted the same energy conserving approach of confining herself, in a brief letter posted in YBYL Comments to David Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker, to merely making a witty but cutting observation characterizing the piece, or rather the role of the New Yorker, as a belated “morning after pill” taken a year later in response to her piece in Harpers, which evidently still has Specter and others worried enough to cook up a reply lacking in both accuracy and conviction.

But working on a less celestial plane we wonder how many outsiders will recognize that crack journalist Specter is merely reaffirming an ignorant but deadly social bias that has spread throughout the world, courtesy of the propaganda and censorship perpetrated by NIAID under the guiding hand of Dr. Anthony Fauci, who from the beginning 22 years ago, has taken upon his well tailored shoulders the responsibility of preserving the paradigm from the “dangerous” efforts of critics?

How many otherwise well informed people even know that Fauci has gone to such lengths to head off any effort to undermine the total acceptance of the paradigm by the universe of scientists, officials, politicians, reporters, doctors, social workers, and charity donors who steer by its light, not to mention the patients and populations throughout the world who are willing to take expensive toxic drugs to ward off illnesses which they also take for granted are caused exclusively by the effects of HIV, once they test positive?

Hardly any, obviously. To most influential people reading the New Yorker piece, or as is often the case, just the cover headline (The AIDS Denialists) and subhead (Michael Specter on Bad Science that Kills), it will seem as authoritative a counter punch to the Farber as John Moore could possibly wish. Not to mention the other 939,850 subscribers.

This is especially true since over the past year, despite the copious exposure of the weakness of the paradigm on the Web at this blog and in scathing, expert and penetrating posts at You Bet Your Life, the pile driver group blog that Barnesworld/Barnesville has turned into under the expert hand of Harvey Bialy, not a single major magazine has had the sense and the guts to follow Harpers’ lead and open up this can of scientific and political worms to public view.

As Strausbaugh says, instead of an intelligent response to the Harpers piece, the world of Manhattan based media has spent the past year trying to quietly absorb and digest the pearl produced by Celia Farber in an effort to avoid upsetting the status quo and its shared conventional wisdom, perhaps because like the scientific and political community it is so invested in the idea of HIV∫AIDS after all these years of reporting that a turnaround would be as gutwrenchingly impossible as reverse powering the Titanic from hitting its iceberg.

Thus the brilliant and strong minded new young editor of Harpers, Roger Hodge, whose outstanding performance, right out of the starting gate, in publishing “Out of Control AIDS and the corruption of medical science” a year ago will eventually be recognized, we are sure, as one of his greatest and most daring coups, has apparently been slowly coopted by Pulitzer prizes for other Harpers achievements and other nudges into a tactical retreat from his social gaffe.

At least, we were sorry to hear Hodge at the Small Press Center, in a talk in November on his first year at Harpers, slipping in the phrase “Peter Duesberg is probably wrong but –” in a reply to a question on the journalistic justification of printing Celia Farber’s masterwork, whose mention of Duesberg’s ideas over several pages he suggested was only intended to stir debate, not as any kind of endorsement. Given the vapidity of most of the reactions to the piece, one can sympathise with him. Here is a prize specimen we came across today.

But lives are at stake here, not to mention a large amount of public money and the health of millions. So having made all these claims about Specter—™s article containing both unusually helpful and positive material but a large number of false paradigm claims pronounced from on high by Specter without references, we feel it is incumbent on us to slog through a few examples for the uninitiated.

Specter’s missteps

So herewith a short list of the scientific errors and other blunders and missteps in Specter’s piece, errors to which Specter “does not intend to respond”, he has informed HEAL San Diego board member Michael Geiger, even though they are easily debunked by the very mainstream literature which he has, apparently with the guidance of John Moore, trustingly assumed is in line with the claims of the paradigm, when in fact it is consistently at odds with it. We add the embarrassing corrections needed in every case – embarrassing, that is, to a magazine once renowned for its fact checking.

1) Misleading and prejudicial titles

Specter and/or the New Yorker editors mistake: The article is titled “Annals of Science: The Denialists: The dangerous attacks on the consensus about HIV and AIDS”, with a different subhead in the front index – “AIDS mavericks and the damage they do” – and another on the Cover ad flap on the newstands – “Michael Specter on AIDS science that kills.”

Embarrassing correction: The incessant use of the word “denialist” is a political and mind jamming smear which unjustifiably associates paradigm critics with the intellectually and socially disreputable Holocaust denialists who assembled in Teheran recently. Contrary to the implication that the “denialists” – read “paradigm critics” – include no one of any great stature, they include elite scientists Peter Duesberg, Serge Lang and Lynn Margulis, who is currently stating her support on a scienceblog, Pharyngula as follows:

What is an HIV/AIDS denier? Or HIV/AIDS denialist? Peter Duesberg is a fine scientist, I have read his book and examined some of the scientific papers upon which it is based. From the CDC (Center for Disease Control) in Atlanta I have requested the scientific papers that prove the causal relationship between the HIV retrovirus and the IMMUNODEFICIENCY SYNDROME commonly known as AIDS. They have never sent even references to the peer-reviewed primary scientific literature that establishes the causal relationship because they can’t. Such papers do not exist.

I have seen all four of the films made by Coleman Jones and colleagues in Toronto. Film #3 in the series is most telling. Although no strong evidence exists for any simple causal relationship what is clear is that the HIV claim is erroneous by the standards of microbiology and virology.

When I saw the glowing review of George Miklos, a colleague and a fiercely honest scientist, of Harvey Bialy’s book on the scientific life of Peter Duesberg I bought and read Harvey’s book. I have also read Celia Farber’s superb article in the Lewis Lapham “swansong” issue of Harper’s magazine, last March, I believe. Rebecca Culshaw’s paper on why she quit AIDS statistical research and Dr. Charles Geshekter’s unpublished ms about African AIDS, accepted by the editor and then rejected both substantiated my reluctance to accept the glib “HIV/AIDS” term. I found all of these readings far more convincing than any literature proported to show a HIV-AIDS causal connection.

I heard a talk by a “medical scientist” from the Harvard Medical School at a meeting at Roger Williams Univ in Rhode Island from a supposed expert who attempts to design an HIV vaccine. He claimed the HIV virus mutates a billion times in 48 hours. It became clear that the HIV virus has no clear identity. The HIV tests, nearly always positive for pregnant women, that vary significantly in the US, Europe and Australia are particularly disturbing. My son-in-law, James di Properzio spent several months researching this story for the Common Review (the Great Books Foundation in Chicago). His findings were consistent with Celia Farber’s and after encouragement from the editor the board reviewed and rejected his draft.

“Science is the search for truth” said David Bohm, “whether we like it [the truth] or not. From my readings, discussions with knowledgable scientists close to the story, I simply conclude, as does Kary Mullis, the Nobel Lauriate who wrote a foreword to Duesberg’s classical work that there is no evidence that “HIV causes AIDS”. I have no special expertise. I simply seek the evidence for scientific claims, especially when they have dire consequences for the science itself and the treatment..not just medical..of so many people.

I have observed that the closer one comes to the study of humans the shoddier the quality of the scientific evidence. Maybe that is one of the reasons that I work with bacteria and protoctists (the eukaryotic microorganisms and their immediate descendants exclusive of plants, animals and fungi). The vast majority of these are harmless to human health.

Although I have written about the natural history of the anthrax bacterium, Beethoven’s and Nietzsche’s syphilis and the work of Hentry Taylor Ricketts with insect-borne pathgens (eg.g, ticks carrying Rocky Mt Spotted fever), in general I avoid the last 3 million years of evolution and any other studies that require detailed knowledge of mammalian, including human, biology. Why? Because political bias, hearsay and gossip are inevitable whereas in the first part of the evolution story (from 3800 until 3 million years ago) politics intervenes far less obtrusively. In pursuit of the story of life and its effects on planet Earth one can be more honest if the earliest atages of evolution are the objects of study.

And this way I can lay low and not be “name-called” (i.e., “denialist”) because I ask hard questions and require solid evidence before I embrace a particular causal hypothesis. Indeed, is not my attitude of inquiry exactly what science is about?

This typically forthright statement sparked a related comment thread at Tara Smith’s Aetiology, where the stunned blogger, still fetching in what looks like a bathing suit, calls it “incredible”.

Paradigm critics also include Nobel prize winners (Walter Gilbert and Kary Mullis), and a raft of academics, journalists and authors of intellectual and moral distinction (David Rasnick, Harvey Bialy, Rebecca Culshaw, George Miklos, Robert Root-Bernstein, Richard Strohman, Charles Geshekter, Roberto Giraldo, Etienne de Harven, Gordon Stewart, Claus Koehnlein, Andrew Maniotis, Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos, Valendar Turner, Rodney Richards, Mae Wan Ho, John Papadimitriou, Anthony Brink, Celia Farber, Michael Geiger, Stephen Davis, Jim Hogan, Liam Scheff, Elizabeth Ely, Jon Rappoport, Darin Brown, Jeffrey Dach, Robert Houston, David Crowe, Joan Shenton, Henry Bauer, Christine Maggiore, Neville Hodgkinson, Janine Roberts, Lee Evans, Dean Esmay, Claus Jensen and Anthony Liversidge amongst innumerable others).

Nor is the implication that it is proper to uphold the scientific consensus justified in the slightest. Consensus can and has been very wrong in the history of science, in several famous instances mistaking the toxicity of chemicals or bad diet causing illness for a disease caused by infection (Vitamin C deficiency causing scurvy, niacin deficiency causing pellagra, clioquinol or drug toxicity causing SMON syndrome in Japan). That this is what is happening again in AIDS is well argued in Duesberg’s book, “Inventing the AIDS Virus” (1996), with which no doubt Specter is still largely unfamiliar, but which is still completely current in its points.

2) Zeblon Gwala and his ‘rhino’ herbal potion

Specter reports: A hundred people a day are coming to the truck driver’s storefront clinic in downtown Durban, where he dispenses litres of herbal potion to cure AIDS, and reports that “people who were on the edge of death go back to work. It makes them feel better, and it gives them life.” Officials support the remedy, and the mayor of Durban buys it for a hospice, but Specter describes it as “untested”, and also disparages the beetroot, olive oil, garlic, lemons, and African potatoes advocated by Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, without stating, however, that they cause any harm.

Embarrassing correction: A very extensive literature shows that natural remedies are helpful to the immune system, whose weakness is the hallmark of AIDS, and to the liver, which is attacked by AIDS drug toxicity, often causing death. Herbs and the vegetables promoted by Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, the Health Minister that Specter mocks, are a real source of the vitamins and minerals, as well as the fibres, oils and fatty acids, that benefit the immune system, especially the phytochemicals in plants whose health benefits have been demonstrated in the lab, animal and human studies (see “Nutrition and AIDS” (2nd ed.), edited by Ronald Watson, Chapter 5: “Use of herbs and non-nutritive supplements in HIV positive and AIDS patients” (by “non nutritive supplements” Watson means hormones such as DHEA).

3) South African officials criticise ARVs as toxic

Specter states without a source that ARVs have “proved to be the only successful treatment for the millions of people infected with HIV,” as if that was so well known that it doesn’t need a reference, and afterwards adds that “for years, Vilakazi, Mbeki, and Tshabalala-Msimang have used words like “damaging”, “toxic”, and “poison to decsribe ARVs””, as if this was fallacious.

Embarrassing correction: The orthodoxy claims AIDS drugs are a great success, and the patients are typically initially enthusiastic, though their welcome wears off and drug holidays are often prescribed, and eventually half the AIDS patients who die die of drug effects, not AIDS symptoms. The initial good impression is because ARVs do have an initial impact which feels beneficial, and this is naturally assumed to prove that reducing the presence of the virus to low or non existent levels counters its alleged decimation of the immune system. In fact, last summer’s JAMA (as we explained here previously) showed this was not so – the immune system of an individual does not respond to changes in the level of viral load to any great degree (4-5%). There was also the notorious report in the Lancet that the HAART drugs haven’t improved in life saving effect in the ten years since they were introduced, when their initial favorable results were likely the effect of reducing the dose of AZT by three times, since AZT is now acknowledged to be a most damaging medication.

The felt benefit of the drugs appears to be (no one has officially researched this, of course, because the irrational assumption of how they work only through reducing HIV is taken for granted) because they are toxic and bactericidal ie act as antibiotics poisonous to parasites which handicap digestion, restore proper levels of zinc, selenium and other trace elements vital to the immune system, and have an antioxidant effect, at least in the case of lamavudine (see Jean Chamoix ck Crowe’s site . Meanwhile, toxic drug effects (liver and kidney rot) account for half the deaths of AIDS patients who die in the US, not so-called AIDS symptoms.

All that aside, the remarkable thing about Specter’s omniscient and unsourced reporting is that he provides much anecdotal evidence that the nutrition approach does a world of good, even though the paradigm cannot explain why.

Meanwhile the South Africans’ description of ARVs as “damaging”, “toxic” and “poisonous” is perfectly accurate, according to the Physicians Desk Reference and the labelling and inserts of the drugs, as well as numerous studies (eg . J. Dieleman et al. Determinants of recurrent toxicity-driven switches of highly active antiretroviral therapy. AIDS 16:737-745, 2002.) Sigma Chemicals, the manufacturer of AZT, adds a dire warning (“wear suitable protective clothing”) and a skull and cross bones on the bottle, for instance, reproduced in Duesberg’s 2003 Biosciences paper.

There is no more convincing suggestion of the madness of dosing patients with AIDS drugs without being deadly certain that HIV causes immune damage than to read through papers, such as Strategies of HIV management – when to switch,discussing the reaction of patients to drugs and the attempts they make to escape them.

4) The Australian is unlikely to have infected his partners

Specter reports blandly that “A thirty five year old man who had unprotected sex with three women—”and infected one” was convicted in Australia , as if the fact that he infected the partner who discovered she was HIV positive was a given.

Correction: This is the claim of the prosecution of course, and Specter cannot be blamed for parroting it. But the fact remains that the biggest study of hundreds of discordant heterosexual couples (one positive, one negative in HIV tests) over six years with many (47) making no effort to prevent transmission, carried out by the mainstream HIV researcher and official Nancy Padian in San Francisco, recorded no transmissions whatsoever. The scientific likelihood of the one transmission claimed in this case is thus low to non existent.

5)Exaggerated, over the top AIDS estimates

Specter reports: “Five and a half million of the country’s 48 million people are infected with HIV (in South Africa) and …nearly a thousand people die of AIDS every day, and nearly twice that many are infected.”

Embarrassing correction: The statistics for South African AIDS have long been incredible, as critics have long pointed out. These HIV infection figures are prima facie extraordinarily suspect. The original figures for South Africa were drawn from maternity clinics where mothers-to-be tend to score positive for HIV at a four or even ten times times higher rate than the general population, and were unreasonably extrapolated to males and to the entire sub-Sahara. The incidence of HIV positives among prisoners in South Africa is less than 3 per cent, while in the prenatal clinics it is about 12% – the opposite comparative levels than would be expected. Recent figures for prenatal clinics from this avert.org page show the rate of 30 or even 40% in some areas, prima facie evidence of the tendency of pregnancy to trigger positive test results

Meanwhile there are great questions about whether the figure for AIDS deaths is accurate. Certainly a death rate of an additional 350,000 a year for AIDS in South Africa, which would erase a significant chunk of the 46 million population in short order, would be visible, if it was a genuine addition to the normal rate of deaths from the usual spectrum of African diseases, including TB, malaria, dengue fever and severely unhealthy conditions. The invisibility of the epidemic, which conflicts with sensational reports in the New York Times and elsewhere which have not held up when checked by investigators, suggests that the “AIDS epidemic” in South Africa and in the entire sub-Sahara is produced entirely by moving patients from one disease label, eg TB, to another, AIDS.

Certainly the figure of 1000 deaths a day claimed by Specter is entirely contradicted by official statistics. The South African government’s statistics, analyzed here at avert.org records that in 2004, there were 46 million people living in South Africa, but only 13,590 died from “HIV-related disease”. Even if the claim of the Medical Research Council are credited that this number is underestimated by 61% because HIV infection related deaths are not always reported as AIDS, the figure is clearly quite wrong. As to 2000 a day being infected, in a supposedly heterosexual pandemic, the Nancy Padian study of transmission and others conflict with this statement so powerfully as to render it obvious fantasy.

A writer of the sophistication, not to mention the powerful professional affiliation, of Michael Spector, has little excuse for not knowing about the questionability of African statistics for AIDS, or for not knowing about this stunning anomaly, and instead, merely passing along the incredible assertions of his friends among the paradigm promoters, without any reference or source, as if he was empowered by the New Yorker to pull claims from heaven.

A second post will continue this list of Specter’s sins of omission and commission.

Michael Specter in denial

March 10th, 2007


Specter attended AMFAR forum, but was never conscious paradigm is wrong then or since

Dismisses notification of flaws in piece as unworthy of response

Critics puzzle over soft punch of New Yorker scribe: is he closet doubter?

In company with other paradigm critics Michael Geiger, board member of HEAL San Diego, has deluged Michael Specter at the New Yorker in the past few days with email strongly objecting to his piece this week, “The Denialists: The dangerous attacks on the consensus about HIV and AIDS”, energetically pointing out bias and factual errors.
(Cartoon by Andrew Dyson from theage.com)

Specter finally replied to Geiger yesterday afternoon (Thu Mar 8) with this revealing note, perhaps prompted by the fact that Geiger’s email to him was copied to as many departments at the New Yorker as possible:
(Michael_Specter@newyorker.com, themail@newyorker.com, newsbreaks@newyorker.com, fiction@newyorker.com; talkofthetown@newyorker.com, WebComments@newyorker.com; themail@newyorker.com, shouts@newyorker.com)

From: Michael Specter
Sent: Thursday, March 08, 2007 3:43 PM
Subject: Truth

Dear Mr. Geiger:

Thanks for your interest. I do not intend to respond to the letters you and so many of your colleagues in the denialist universe have written. But I do want to say this: No editor ever suggested to me that I write this (or any other AIDS) story. I have been thinking about this issue for twenty years, ever since I encountered Peter Duesberg at that AMFAR Forum in Washington. Until recently I always felt, on balance, it is better to ignore you people than to give you publicity. But after Harpers inexplicably published a
lengthy and irresponsible piece last year I realized I was wrong. In any case, nobody from the AIDS research world suggested the story. Nor did an editor. It was my idea, my reporting and I am totally willing to let people think or say anything they want about it.

Sincerely,

Michael Specter
Staff Writer
The New Yorker

This letter goes far towards explaining how it is that a prominent magazine, with a fact checking department once renowned for its dedication to getting every word right, could have printed such a cheekily uninformed piece, scientifically speaking.

Clearly after twenty years of “thinking” Specter is still so naively confident in the authority of Anthony Fauci, Robert Gallo, John Moore and the many institutions that they lead or that cooperate with these paradigm promoters, that he has never perceived the blatant unsustainability of the HIV∫AIDS ideology, even though he attended the AMFAR forum in the spring of 1988, and was alerted like the rest of us privileged hacks present at this backroom tournament, where Peter Duesberg took on the chief paradigm defenders at the time, to the fact that the claims of the paradigm defense team were so hollow that one of the graphs they presented was revealed then and there to be entirely fictional.

Apparently there is some kind of unconscious conflict going on in Michael Specter, although on the surface he is a stout defender of the HIV∫AIDS faith immune to the doubts he reports on so niftily and has mulled so long. The attitude that Gallo’s and Fauci’s critics must be wrong so permeates Specter’s psyche that he by his own account has never suspected then or since that there is anything at all to Duesberg’s incessant exposure of the paradigm’s lack of credible evidence and blatant scientific unreason, despite the dozen high level, exhaustive, peer reviewed articles Duesberg has written or co-authored before and since, and the flood of some twenty five critical books from scientists and laymen devoted to the problem, including Duesberg’s flagship “Inventing the AIDS Virus”, culminating in Harvey Bialy’s 2004 razor sharp exposure of the incriminating science politics of the field, and Rebecca Culshaw’s short but lethal treatment of its unreason in her book this January.

Specter’s scientific literacy

Obviously Specter hasn’t read these works, or if he has, the AIDS meme resident in his brain has fought off infiltration of the alternative view of HIV∫AIDS as the grandest boondoggle and most lethal caper in the history of biology. Specter’s blithe and scientifically shallow confidence in his prejudice, and his lack of credit or investigation of the claims of the alternative view (clear from his piece and from the dismissive tone of this letter), suggests that he is a highly literate man who is paradoxically unread in this particular science.

He apparently remains as averse as his mentor Anthony Fauci (see earlier NAR posts regarding Vitamin A and the bird flu flap) to perusing the medical and scientific literature through the data base Pub Med and its 16 million papers and studies, currently available to any member of the public courtesy of the NIH, literature which is the basis of this obscure blog and which would soon apprise him of the rank inconsistencies of more and ever more study results in the field with the claims of the politically driven scientific ideology of HIV∫AIDS, and its mismatch with science and sense.

For Specter shows no sign of having read for himself with any depth of understanding either the mainstream literature or any of the critics and their works, instead treating the issue in his letter as a kind of belligerent propaganda war against “you people”, whom he views even now as a bunch of “denialists” who have been effectively dealt with in the past by ignoring their points, as he himself has proudly done, he says. He only now felt it necessary to recognize them in order to condemn them in the wake of the Harpers piece last March, which he nervously calls “inexplicable and irresponsible”, a very odd opinion for a science opinion maker, as Specter now reveals himself to be, rather than an objective reporter.

That exemplary article (“Out of Control: AIDS and the corruption of medical science“) by Celia Farber, years in the making, which Specter has the effrontery to call “irresponsible”, was, in fact, fact checked to such a level of reliability that the only provable error discovered in it after publication involved an unfamiliarity with the works of cuckoo clocks, which Farber at one point used as a metaphor, unlike the Specter piece, whose six pages of major errors, scientific and political, are a sad commentary on the current state of education of New Yorker fact checking, if the hapless Michael Peed, whose work in this instance shows an acquaintance with the literature of HIV∫AIDS as remote as Michael Specter’s, is typical. Peed cannot even get the name of the journal Cancer Research correct (it is not Perspectives of Cancer Research).

All in all, all the surface signs are that the very literate New Yorker magazine appears to achieved the signal feat of publishing a piece by a science writer largely unread in the science of the issue he treats, one dispensing his ex cathedra judgments on a scientific question purely on the basis of crediting his friends on one side of the debate, using not even the mainstream literature as research and reference but their second hand information and claims as his source, and ignoring the challengers—™ critique of the literature and their references, other than repeating a few of them without assessment, and where the few scientific assertions made by the author are not only unreferenced but wrong, that is, contradicted by critics and the mainstream scientific and medical literature he ignores in what he appears to think is a propaganda war.

Why we stopped fuming

On that basis, taking what he writes at face value, we were initially tempted to fume that his piece is a social and scientific outrage, given what is involved here, that is to say, the lives and happiness of large numbers of people who, if the paradigm is as wrong as its own literature indicates it is, are all too likely to take severely toxic and ultimately often lethal drugs on the advice of their doctors.

We were about to fulminate that it is heinously irresponsible of the New Yorker editors, in the context of the health and duration of so many lives at risk in this issue, where so many people are taking toxic drugs at the behest of the paradigm faithful, to print a piece written, fact checked and headlined with prejudice against one side of this very serious scientific dispute, when the author, and evidently the fact checkers and the editors of the magazine, are so clearly underresearched in the science of the matter, and have no respect whatsoever for the critics of the paradigm, especially the scientists involved, despite even quoting Duesberg’s unmatched credentials, and thus show a most naive unfamiliarity with the nature of science as practice and profession, wherein a common characteristic of progress is the initial vehement rejection and disdain by the powers that be of any paradigm challenge which eventually displaces the status quo.

However, on extended contemplation of Michael’s remarkable piece we are inclined to wonder just what is going on here, for along with some astute observers in Comments we have noticed a strange tendency in the piece for Specter to pull his punches, and give the supposedly rascally “denialists” full credit for their fine credentials, at least in the case of Duesberg, and a platform for their views without specifically quarreling with their points, and specifically to mention a prime source of a thousand pages of ‘denialism” for anyone interested to explore (virusmyth.com), and to give a general impression that the overall accusation of the article, in its prejudicial title and subhead framing, that the denialists are “dangerous” and risking people’s lives with their advice to prefer nutrients over drugs as prophylactics against immune dysfunction, actually lacks quotable evidence that they have done any harm, even by dispensing rhinoceros potion.

In fact if we hadn’t read Specter’s note above to Michael Geiger we would have thought that the piece was in many places rather supportive of review of the paradigm, and surmised that John Moore must be very disappointed in Specter’s take on the scene, which instead of being an over the top hatchet job on a par with Moore’s Op Ed piece in the Times last summer, Deadly Quackery, is instead a partially hospitable platform for the denialists, where the rude headlines and subheads, and the smattering of unreferenced and inaccurate paradigm claims, flatly stated as biblical certainties, are all that John Moore can crow about, for at the same time Specter has provided copious coverage of paradigm challengers without any real rebuttal of their position, at least without making any specific scientific points against what they say other beyond speciously implying they are all, including Nobelists and members of the National Academy, the equivalent of witchdoctors.

A case study in self deception?

Perhaps the piece gained a momentum of its own, and just came out that way despite the conscious intentions of its author. It is conceivable that Specter is here giving a live demonstration of self-deception, or what MRI brain research has been showing us over the past decade, which is that the brain can compartmentalize ideas and process data in two different frames at the same time, so that data in conflict with one frame is merely moved to another for storage, in a process that is familiar to many spouses in conflict with their loved ones.

It seems possible on the evidence of the conflicted tone and thrust of the the piece that Michael is, one might say, a secret adulterer, intellectually speaking, who while married and faithful to the ruling HIV∫AIDS camp and thus retaining all the advantages of a courtier to those in power, is also a closet denialist, unconsciously recognizing the truth of the paradigm critics’ version of reality, and while unable to bring it to the surface of his consciousness, ending up presenting it to the reader willynilly as it evaded his emotional repression and seeped through to the printed page.

The more we contemplate his masterwork in detail the more we see such a process at work. But then, given the intelligence of the people at the top of the field, we are sure that this is the mental process also at work in Anthony Fauci, Robert Gallo and other ruling warlords of this scientific territory. For how otherwise than the trick of self-deception and compartmentalisation could it be that the likes of the distinguished, Brooklyn born, well suited Anthony Fauci, for instance, can tell the public that HIV kills T cells three different ways and yet in his surveys of the HIV∫AIDS anti terrorist campaign written for insiders in the field fail to acknowledge the fact that the main one, HIV killing T cells directly, is now thoroughly exploded and abandoned in the minds of all other top researchers in HIV∫AIDS, with the possible exception of the irrepressible Robert Gallo, and even write in his reviews that HIV, on the contrary, causes T cells to multiply?

The Specter syndrome

We think this split mental performance is the visible tip of the iceberg of unconscious repression that is the only explanation of how some of the great minds in science and journalism, such as Anthony Fauci and Michael Specter, can have failed to notice that the paradigm has no clothes, scientifically speaking, and has in fact been shivering naked of real justification for twenty years.

For that reason, we hereby posit that this syndrome is a deeply embedded characteristic of paradigm thinkers from Fauci to chief paradigm theorist Zvi Grossman and in honor of Michael’s stalwart performance exhibiting it in its most obvious form in this classic article we hereby name it the Specter Syndrome.

Since Specter is in denial in this way he is not likely to feel honored by this nomenclature and we can expect him to continue to be rude to “you people”, the “denialists”, even as he parades material that suggests they have a point or even the answer to his internal conflict, a private tussle which mirrors the external conflict between the claims of the paradigm which he treats as holy writ and the results of the massive literature it has spawned in PubMed, which Specter can at a click of his mouse discover disproves his faith wholesale.

Therefore, however much we admire his brilliantly schizophrenic dance in the six pages of the New Yorker this week devoted to his well composed and highly readable account, we are forced to match Specter’s superficial arrogance by deconstructing his story in terms of a simple tutorial of our own, a tutorial in how to perpetrate honest science journalism, whereby we ignore the many signs of his inner conflict and treat his piece in mundane fashion as a laboratory specimen of science writing which, though elegantly constructed and deftly written, is a prize exhibit of how not to write about a dispute in science. We are forced to do this because many people who share the HIV∫AIDS meme with Specter will imagine that his piece is basically a slam dunk for the status quo, as John P. Moore of Cornell seems to do, rather than proof in its own right of how intelligent people can support the prevailing wisdom only by abandoning critical thinking and research, and parroting the misleading claims of the science’s high priests while “ignoring” their critics.

Having made our own rather belligerent assertions about Specter—™s article containing unusually helpful and positive material about the paradigm debunkers, and a number of easily disproved false paradigm claims pronounced from on high by Specter without references, and other errors, it is now incumbent on us to give readers a complete list of both, but we will do it in the next post, since this one is already far too long and verbose.

New Yorker slams “denialists”

March 4th, 2007


Science-challenged Michael Specter takes on paradigm busters in AIDS, exposes them as ‘silly, dangerous, anti-Western nonconformists’

Evident hand holding by John Moore leads to inaccuracies, red meat for critics

John P. Moore, implacable foe of HIV∫AIDS reviewers A provoking email from Cornell researcher John P. Moore, well known for painting macaque pudenda with proposed HIV microbicides, was sent today (Sun Mar 4) to Harvey Bialy, Peter Duesberg and other HIV∫AIDS paradigm critics to alert them to the New Yorker article this week (Mar 15 issue) denouncing “The Denialists” and their “Dangerous attacks on the consensus about HIV and AIDS”.

The text of the email consisted of the following jibe:

I’m sure even a non-intellectual retiree” without a university affiliation can work out how this article came to be written….

Moore’s triumph is that Michael Specter, presumably with his and Anthony Fauci’s handholding, has managed to write his article, a quick six page summary of the situation, as a generally accurate highlighting of some of the salient facts but as usual with a subtle but effective built in bias, which presents the paradigm-busters in a poor light throughout, equating them in the mind of any skimming power reader with ignorant truck drivers dispensing home made berbal remedies, anti Western South African politicians who distrust Western medicine, and the unfortunate vitamin promoter Mathias Rath, whose enthusiasm for essential nutrients is trashed as unscientific (Rath allegedly having refused to speak to the author, presumably having read his other paradigm promoting AIDS pieces. Rath denies this, however, in a well expressed letter to New Yorker editor David Remnick.)

In other words, those who are trying to bring science and reality to bear are painted as antiscience, by invoking their less educated fellow travelers, while those who blindly support the paradigm are praised by implication as pro-Western science and enlightenment, though they are – like the writer, it appears – strangers to the massive literature of the field, and have never read the mainstream papers which defeat the assumptions that drive their emotions.

The prejudicial slant is of course seen at once in the headline and subhead, where the word “denialist” immediately triggers a strong association of HIV∫AIDS paradigm critics with the numbskulls invited by the president of Iran to his Holocaust conference in Teheran last year. The headline inside the magazine is “The Denialists” and the subhead, “The dangerous attacks on the consensus about HIV and AIDS”.

However, the advertising flap on the newstands is even more egregious. Loud and clear, it headlines “The AIDS Denialists” and subheads “Michael Specter on bad science that kills.” Precisely where this authoritative decree that the critics are purveyors of “bad science that kills” comes from is mysterious, since what little science Specter quotes is incorrect, and it is not clear that he has even heard of PubMed and how one can read the literature for oneself, even if one is a mere New Yorker writer.

No wonder John Moore is crowing – it must be a nice relief from the recent embarrassment of data showing that microbicides doubled the chances of HIV transmission. (But can this be correct, when Nancy Padian showed in the biggest study on transmission that between heterosexuals engaged in conventional sex HIV transmitted not at all? Perhaps John should call her for comfort).

There is little or no science in the piece, and what there is is too often misleading. Most egregious is the blatant parroting of the HIVNET line that nevirapine is the best thing in the world for Virus ridden pregnant women, one that has “saved hundreds thousands of infants’ lives”. It is as if Celia Farber’s article for Harpers last March was never written, or at least never read in the offices of the New Yorker.

Science ‘faction’ from a PubMed challenged scribe

Here are some of the key tidbits – factions, one might call them, a new literary device just invented for the purpose by HIV propagandists recruited in the media by John Moore and Anthony Fauci – designed to pass on the AIDS meme from the pen of Michael Specter to the prejudices of the reader without passing through the minds of either, let alone the minds of the apparently PubMed illiterate New Yorker fact checker, one Michael Peed, or editors.

What they all add up to is the theme, constantly pounded into the heads of readers, that any suggestion that the myriad inconsistencies with science and common sense exhibited by the HIV∫AIDS paradigm deserve penetrating review is not only dangerous to the public health but, well, just silly, to use a favorite Gallo word.

The problem, of course, is that it is Specter that is being silly–foolish to waste his talent and the advantage of his post at the New Yorker in the supine service of inferior sources merely because they occupy high perches in the mainstream system, water carrying for the conventional wisdom when he is in the best possible position to scrutinize it and discover why a scientist of the highest ability and credentials has found himself bound to deny its validity for twenty years at such great personal cost.

Indeed, his performance is a sad contrast with the efforts of Seymour Hersh, who with his piece on Bush’s plans for Iran last week provided a lesson for Specter in not taking government handouts as gospel, but doing a little investigative work to double check whether those in power are abusing their advantage.

Here is Specter’s best factional account of what is going on in the political science of AIDS:

(Keynote opener) Zeblon Gwala is a truckdriver who is instructed by his grandfather in a dream to dispense herbal remedies from a storefront in downtown Durban to hundreds of clients who would rather pay half their pay for his ubhejane (Zulu for black rhinoceros) than take antiretrovirals from the West, even though he has “no idea how it works”, but says “people who were on the edge of death go back to work.”

Silly fellow, silly people, typical paradigm challengers with faith in magical cure-alls.

Health minister Manto Tshabala-Msimang supports ubhejane, as does the mayor of Durban and a retired professor of sociology who says antiretrovirals are “so toxic that they can cause more harm than good” – even though (according to Specter) “ARVs have proved to be the only successful treatment for the mllions of people infected with HIV”.

Even the educated South African elite are silly.

President Thabo Mbeki embraced a “powerful industrial solvent” as a cure in 1997.

Mbeki is clearly silly.

Manto Tshabala-Msimang’s “antipathy towards pharmaceutical AIDS treatments has long been an international scandal” and she “astonished participants at an international AIDS conference in Toronto by presenting a government public-health display that focussed on beetroot, olive oil, garlic, lemons, and African potatoes. Antiretrovirals were included only after furious protest.”

‘Dr Beetroot’ also silly. Who would imagine that key nutrition is relevant to African AIDS in the slums and villages of Africa? First and foremost they need AZT and protease inhibitors.
“Denying the scientific consensus about what causes AIDS” is now seen in an Australian court, where the “denialist” Perth Group “insists that AIDS in gay men results from drug abuse and repeated exposure to semen. Last month, the President of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, disclosed that he had found a secret remedy for AIDS and asthma, and announced that he would begin to cure AIDS on Thursdays and asthma on Saturdays.”

Silly Perth denialists, meet the President of Gambia, in a juxtaposition that tells the reader all s/he needs to know.

South Africa has “the world’s deadliest AIDS epidemic. Nearly a thousand people die of AIDS every day…(and) only about two hundred thousand receive the drugs”, but there are “hints the government might be open to a new approach”, but Mbeki, an economist who is one of Africa’s most respected leaders, has never disavowed the view that HIV medicines are Western inventions aimed at maiming Africans” and has “hinted at CIA involvement in propagating the belief that HIV causes AIDS.”

Oh silly, benighted, paranoid Mbeki, to imagine that Westerners may not have African interests at heart.

At the ubhejane clinic, “the baby’s mother died of AIDS shortly after giving birth. The father died of AIDS before she was born” and all the infant has left is her old grandmother, who tells Specter she “believes in President Mbeki” while the clinic’s ex-truck driver assures him “the people who want to take those ARVs can take them, but they don’t cure anything. The side effects are like poison, and people get sicker.”

Ignorant people, silly truck driver – but wait, has the truck driver been reading the Lancet issue last year that showed that half of US AIDS patients who died died of drug effects? Surely not.

The “eminent molecular biologist Peter Duesberg” discovered cancer causing genes in a retrovirus, won an international reputation and election to the National Academy, was mentioned as a possible recipient of the Nobel Prize, “without Duesberg’s research, there might have been no significant progress in treating AIDS”, he has been highly praised by Robert Gallo, and has argued in more than a dozen papers that HIV is a harmless passenger virus, which cannot cause illness only after many years — but he is no match for Michael Specter and his informants, for as Specter tells us flatly “with HIV, more than a decade can pass between te moment a person becomes infected and the time when he becomes visibly ill. Duesberg also has written that no virus can cause disease after the body starts to produce a neutralizing immune response.”

Silly, denying, high ranking Duesberg. Though it should be pointed out that Duesberg never expressed the latter thought. What he has written and said repeatedly is that a virus cannot cause illness after it has provoked an immune response which has reduced its presence to negligible or non-existent presence, as in AIDS.

At the AMFAR meeting in Washington in 1988, Anthony Fauci, the “federal governments leading AIDS expert, sat silently for hours…(but) finally erupted. “This is murder,” he said after listening to Duesberg speak. “It’s really just that simple.”

Sensible man, Fauci, cutting through the hot air of HIV denialism to the eternal verity that HIV was the cause of two quite different incipient pandemics, AIDS in the US and Europe and AIDS elsewhere. It’s the virus, stupid!

“The Internet has made it possible for every conspiracy theory to flourish. There are three basic versions of the HIV-denial credo.”

Silly, denialist conspiracy theorists, unable to agree even among themselves!

“The second argues that, even if the virus is harmful, the risks of antiretroviral drugs far outweigh the benefits: AIDS drugs are poisons, pushed by doctors corrupted by the pharmaceutical industry.”

Silly, naive mistrust of an entire profession.

“The “poison” argument has been proved untrue in hundreds of studies across the globe, among women, men, drug users, homosexuals, and infants.

Silly denialists of proven science, though we won’t mention last year’s New England Journal of Medicine and Lancet studies, and certainly not Celia Farber’s Harper expose of the shenanigans in NIAID and HIVNET. After all, poison has a certain beneficial effect on those invaded by parasites of all kinds.

“Most perniciously, there are those who argue that sub-Saharan Africa where “as many as twenty million have died–simply has no AIDS epidemic. Instead, they blame the absence of proper nutrition or clean water–factors that certainly exacerbate the effects of AIDS but do not cause it.”

Silly indeed, since obviously there is more to AIDS in Africa than that, though we won’t mention other diseases, or that malnutrition produces exactly the symptoms that most characterizes AIDS in Africa.

On the Internet where anyone can profess to be an expert, rumor sites can make all these theories seem plausible, particularly to a new generation that has not been educated properly about the risks of HIV. One site, virusmyth.net, has more than a thousand Web pages attached to it”

Silly inexpert people, taken in by thousands of pages of mis-education. Let’s not mention New AIDS Review or You Bet Your Life, on which unmistakably well informed and intelligent corrspondents, including Duesberg and other first class experts in the field, have mercilessly trounced Anthony Fauci, Robert Gallo, John Moore and their claims, on which Michael Specter seems to be drawing without any discrimination whatsoever.

“Duesberg’s influence gained new momentum when Mbeki… discovered his work (in 1999) while rooting around onthe Internet… For Mbeki and many other South Africans whose world views were defined by their struggle with apartheid, it is understandably hard to see white white men in lab coats as people who want to help them.”

Absurd Mbeki, suspicious of Western attitudes towards the dark continent and ripe for conspiracy theorists on the Net. So much for truffle hunting in cyberspace, where in fact enlightenment for Michael Specter in the form of his much beloved mainstream science is only a click or two away at PubMed, which superresource languishes unexploited by this otherwise assiduously informed writer.

“Mbeki rare addresses scientific solutions to the AIDS epidemic” even though “in 2000 he appointed a Presidential advisory panel which included Duesberg and other denialists, to study the cause of AIDS”, (because) he was so brutally repudiated by world leaders and public-health professional that he essentially ceased talking about the issue. But,… Mbeki has since urged Africans to turn away from the medicine that most of the world has come to rely on.”

Silly Mbeki, quietly resisting a paradigm that penalizes public review at any indication of such “dangerous” tendencies.

Meanwhile Herbert Vilakazi, the academic who is “notorious
for his disdain for Western medicine” disagrees with “most researchers (who) would say that any potential medicine–herbal or chemical–nees to be subjected to the rigors of testing and analysis.” “I have personally seen hundreds of people who have taken ubhejane, and they get relief… The situation in America is one of intolerance. There are ARVs. Only one approach to treating this deadly illness is permitted”.

Nonsensical Mr Vilekazi needs to be taught the difference between the anecdotal experience of mere individuals and the reliable controlled studies from HIVNET, and to ignore any evidence that the results of those studies are interpreted to parallel the paradigm even if they appear to put a very large spanner into its central works.

Mathias Rath is reported to have evaded talking to Specter while at the same time posting lengthy letters to the editor of the New Yorker on his main Web site, and claiming that “a historic public debate between Dr Rath and The New Yorker has generated global interest”, and the government is criticized by a member of Medecins Sans Frontieres for doing nothing to stop him selling his multivitamin pills in the country’s poorest townships. “The whole thing was disgusting” she says, “and it cost lives.” She did what she could to “counteract the government’s false information” (Specter). “Rath has been criticized in public statemens by many organizations, including UNAIDS, the South African Medical Association, an the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society. In the United Stated the FDA has informed Rath that it considers advertisements on his Web site misleading.”

Ridiculous Mathias Rath, railing against the pharmaceutical drug cartel in expensive ads in the New York Times and elsewhere. Clearly he is an amateur and a menace, distributing vitamins to the poorly nourished, when he could be standing aside for the rush to deliver as many toxic ARVs to Africans as possible.“A study, called HIVNET, which found that just a few doses of Nevirapine, an antiretroviral given to the mother at the beginning of labor, and then to the infant within the first three days of life, dramatically reducing the risk of passing on the virus. The regimen is cheap and easy to use, and is now in place throughout the developing world. In just a few years, it has saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of infants.

Here we reach the point where the neglect of the investigative work of other journalists and commentators by Specter and his editors, let alone his inability or unwillingness to check PubMed for himself, apparently in favor of trusting the likes of John Moore, begins to be egregious and indeed dangerous. Have the New Yorker editors and fact checkers not read the piece in Harpers last March, where Celia Farber made it clear beyond reasonable doubt that nevirapine HIVNET research – the study is not called HIVNET, by the way, that is the research network for HIV drug efficacy trials, is there any fact checking going on here at all? – stinks, to put it mildly, and is no basis for prescribing a toxic drug to mothers or newborns. Don’t New Yorker editors read or credit Harpers?

Durban professor of epidemiology Abdool Karim, also at Columbia University in New York, tells Specter that the Durban Declaration produced in 2000 by “more than five thousand researchers who had gathered for the conference was “one of the saddest documents in modern scientific history”, as it stated “that the evidence that HIV causes AIDS is “clear-cut, exhaustive and unambiguous”, and meets “the highest standards of science””, yet Mbeki’s spokesman said that it would quickly find its way to “the dustbins of the office.”

Absurd Mbeki spokesman, trashing a document of faith expressed by so many scientists – even though they were apparently lacking hard evidence for their belief, otherwise why would they need to make a statement of faith? Do such points not occur to Specter at all when preparing this survey?

The deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, who diametrically opposes the views of her boss Tshabala-Msimang on how to deal with the epidemic, pins a beaded AIDS ribbon on Specter’s lapel, calls him “our brother”, and tells him she will speak out regardless of a year long ban on her speaking on AIDS. This is not my truth. But it is the truth…we are a country in great pain and mourning. But I still believe the truth will win.”On this upbeat note, the article ends, with the flag for truth planted firmly in the pro-paradigm camp by Specter, who has not written one word in the entire piece implying that the many objections, scientific and otherwise, to this conventional wisdom deserve serious consideration any more, if they ever got it.

This is not to say that Specter is trying to put his finger on the weighing pad at checkout. Indeed, if the intelligent reader strips the piece of its Moore influenced angles, there is plenty of sense from those who disagree with the paradigm included in this piece. One even wonders where Specter stands in private on this issue. For in fact, on that basis, with the Moore-ish bias removed, it would be a very clear account of why there are two sides to this issue, and why the “denialist” should be attended to very carefully indeed by all those who determine policy and spending in this area, particular the very large funders like Gates, Clinton and Soros who have bankrolled the established new initiatives to combat African disease.

Indeed, while it is hard to believe that any casual reader will not be propagandized by this piece, as is usual in the mainstream media, it is possible to guess that the more hardbitten minds in law, insurance, and Wall Street and in other fields of science who typically have to put their money behind their minds will be informed and alerted to the scientific can of worms that is HIV∫AIDS in a way which may disappoint the celebrating John Moore, since they are well aware from their work how often working journalists even at the New Yorker, which gives them more time than most for getting things right, are misled in areas where they fail to adopt an investigative stance, which in this case involves failing to go to PubMed and checking out the scientific literature for themselves, which Specter evidently has failed to do, preferring to trust John Moore.

But all in all, given the way an otherwise deft piece of journalism is spoiled by prior mental framing, it really is about time that David Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker and a very fine writer and reporter in his own right, caught on to what is going on in HIV∫AIDS. But possibly the AIDS meme has taken up residence in his head, as it obviously has in Michael Specter’s, and stands ready to kill all intruding ideas that might threaten its welfare.

The New Yorker now stands as yet another journal whose high reputation will eventually be tarnished by the inevitable fall of the house of HIV∫AIDS, along with the New York Review of Books, who also entrusted its fair pages to a writer (Richard Horton, the editor of the Lancet) who was not quite up to penetrating the claims of Robert Gallo and Anthony Fauci.

Fauci must be quite thrilled at the publication of this piece. It once again establishes what Robert Gallo complained about in his testimony to the Adelaide court recently, that “no one reads the papers.”

For clearly no one at the New Yorker, despite the NIH providing easy access to more than 16 million papers on medical science from your nearest keyboard, is PubMed literate. Perhaps they should simply hire some first year student at Mt Sinai as a part time intern.

Short of that, Anthony Fauci, John Moore, and the rest of the media bullies who have preserved the HIV∫AIDS bubble from pricking by media outsiders for twenty two years, will probably succeed for another twenty.

Unless, that is, the wave of court cases around the world begins to unearth the extent of the missing science in HIV∫AIDS, and the vast paradigm’s grotesque inconsistency with itself and with the study data it has spawned.

Which, come to think of it, a certain judge in Adelaide may publicly recognize any day now. Either that, or John Moore will be sending around another triumphantly rude email.

Nobelist against HIV enters court drama

March 1st, 2007

MacDonald, top gun witness for HIVXAIDS in Adelaide, hauled in to answer for rash email confession

He protests HIV loyalty, but enables Kary Mullis to advise court that the cause of AIDS is “not settled”

Onlookers might be forgiven for seeing another widening crack in the HIVXAIDS mountain in the events of the past couple of weeks, which led to a follow up court appearance yesterday of one of the top witnesses for HIV in the Adelaide appeal hearing of Andre Chad Parenzee, 36, who was convicted last year of sleeping with three women without telling them of his “HIV-positive” status.

Owing to the presence within commuting distance of the Perth Group the application for hearing his appeal has been turned into the first courtroom trial of the HIVXAIDS paradigm and its high priests, who have been forced into the inevitably embarrassing position of having to justify the prima facie inconsistent and unproven hypothesis, which is not normally questioned by lawyers, judges or anybody else in the mainstream social system anywhere in the world. This can be counted as a great success for the critics of the paradigm, who finally have their day in court.

Apparently Emeritus Professor Peter McDonald, of Flinders University in Adelaide is one of those high priests, who has spent much of his career chairing a committee disbursing funds for research based on the paradigm. So it was no surprise when he was called to testify last month and said he had no doubt that HIV was the cause of AIDS.

What was a surprise, however, was the at-least-provincially celebrated Aussie professor‘s unguarded emails to Kary Mullis three days after the hearing closed, in which he asked the lively and independent minded Nobelist whether it was true that PCR – the polymerase chain reaction method of magnifying the DNA of a substance present in a sample so that there is enough to work with in establishing its nature – was unreliable:

“The group of denialists giving evidence are people from Perth [Eleni Eliopoulos-Pappadopoulis and Valendar Turner] who quote you as indicating that PCR technology is erroneous and misleading.”

From: Peter McDonald

Sent: Saturday, February 03, 2007 1:36 PM

To:
Cc: Robyn Richardson, Attorney General Department of South Australia
John P. Moore, PhD

Subject:Appeal at HIV denialist trial in Australia

“I am assisting the prosecution in an appeal to the Supreme Court of Southern Australia about a conviction for criminal transmission of HIV. The basis for the appeal is that HIV does not exist and PCR technology is flawed. So in effect the technical basis for identification of virus is on trial.

“The group of denialists giving evidence are people from Perth [Eliopoulos-Pappadopoulis and Turner] who quote you as indicating that PCR technology is erroneous and misleading.”

“Can I ask you to comment on this statement? The Supreme Court will continue in another few days and I would appreciate your comment as a matter of urgency.

I look forward to your response.

Peter McDonald
Emeritus ProfessorAs it happened the Perth pair did not say that. What they said was that PCR was not a good way of proving the presence of HIV (see their Nature paper). Apparently this silly sally(which was copied to a presumably horrified John P. Moore, who is aware unlike the apparently fuddy duddy emeritus professor that Mullis is not an enthusiastic subscriber to HIV conventional wisdom) was an effort to get a quick and easy response from the surfing Nobelist rejecting any such disparagement of his 1993 Nobel prize winning experimental algorithm, an invaluable laboratory technique which is now used to free unjustly incarcerated innocents falsely accused of rape and murder, with successes numbering more than two hundred so far.

Then MacDonald could use his reply as a weapon against the Perth pair if they continued to challenge his no doubt heartfelt belief in the profitable scientific theology he has administered for two decades. If the case proceeds to appeal we presume they will be back in court again doing just that.

Mullis’s reply was priceless in its honest broker, Richard Feynman style of truth telling directness in replying to MacDonald’s gibberish with plain sense, in the manner which marks great scientists who seem to find it much easier than the average researcher to speak simply and clearly and directly on a big issue. (Perhaps this is because they have the wits and the courage to think and speak honestly, unlike many lesser people, and to address the big issues as well as the small ones.)

Mullis forthrightly set the scientifically challenged challenger straight with the following observation on the nub of the matter, which suggested that it wasn’t the accuracy of PCR that was in question, but its use as a means of validating the pestiferously pusillanimous paradigm by supposedly proving the presence of HIV:

A nucleic acid segment very similar in size and terminal base could easily, in a cursory examination, be mistaken for the sequence in question. If this happened in the course of a normal scientific finding, somebody would finally notice it. Papers are retracted all the time. I am not aware of the nature of the evidence you are considering, but when it comes to legal issues, retractions don’t necessarily make up for the original mistake, and if I were to offer advice to the courts system of Australia, I would plead that they realize that the AIDS/HIV issue is what is not settled scientifically, not the effectiveness of PCR.

In other words, PCR was not designed to be used as a test for the presence of HIV in blood and even if it was that would not be the issue, which is really the validity of the HIVXAIDS causal paradigm.

Then Mullis added this stinger:

I have enclosed a paper I published some years ago which encapsulates my personal opinion concerning the cause of AIDS. I represent a very small minority among scientists who have seriously considered this matter. Many scientific issues which are controversial are often decided in favor of the minority, by experiments. Some of the time the majority gets it right.

Prosecuting people based on an unproven hypothesis would seem to be unfair and rash.

To cloak the real issues in a veneer of irrelevant technological detail is, in my opinion, a bit of a sham, unworthy of Australians.”

Dear Dr. McDonald:

I will not try to convince anyone that PCR can be used successfully to specifically make multiple copies of any nucleic acid sequence that can be uniquely defined by two “primer target sequences” comprising the termini of the sequence of interest. The veracity of this no longer has anything to do with me. I think this has been confirmed by a huge number of laboratories around the world. The rapid spread of this simple technology would not have occurred had it been ineffectual or flawed in any persistent way.

The matter which you are considering, if I understand it correctly, is that the presence or absence of a given nucleic acid sequence, as determined by PCR, can be used as a reliable marker for a living organism in a biological sample. This is done quite often in scientific studies, but that does not mean there could never be exceptions. Remember scientific studies are done with the understanding that findings will be subject to scrutiny from colleagues. A nucleic acid segment very similar in size and terminal base could easily, in a cursory examination, be mistaken for the sequence in question. If this happened in the course of a normal scientific finding, somebody would finally notice it. Papers are retracted all the time. I am not aware of the nature of the evidence you are considering, but when it comes to legal issues, retractions don’t necessarily make up for the original mistake, and if I were to offer advice to the courts system of Australia, I would plead that they realize that the AIDS/HIV issue is what is not settled scientifically, not the effectiveness of PCR.

I have enclosed a paper I published some years ago which encapsulates my personal opinion concerning the cause of AIDS. I represent a very small minority among scientists who have seriously considered this matter. Many scientific issues which are controversial are often decided in favor of the minority, by experiments. Some of the time the majority gets it right.

Prosecuting people based on an unproven hypothesis would seem to be unfair and rash.
To cloak the real issues in a veneer of irrelevant technological detail is, in my opinion, a bit of a sham, unworthy of Australians.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Kary B. Mullis

[Mullis attached his 1995 Genetica paper entitled A hypothetical disease of the immune system that may bear some relation to the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome] Professorial panic

(Pic left is of Flinders University)

Perhaps MacDonald was in something of a panic when he wrote his first email since he was faced with the possibility that any minute the judge would deliver a verdict in favor of the plaintiff being allowed to appeal to the Supreme Court of Southern Australia that his conviction was possibly based on bad science, which will open up the can of scientific worms that is HIVXAIDS-think even further to close examination by some experienced and high quality legal minds, with possibly disastrous consequences for his fund disbursement activities.

In that case, he might have imagined that Mullis would give him a handy knife to twist in the guts of the Perth duo when they appeared to testify once again in the appeal hearing proper.

Indiscreet admissions

Instead he got this rather rude comment on his favorite scientific belief. So what did he do? Rashly, he gratefully and quickly sent an obsequious message back informing Mullis that he wasn’t so committed to the HIVXAIDS orthodoxy after all, at least as far as HIV transmission goes. He even admitted the possibility that HIV pathogenesis might be reassessed.

“Overall I think I share with you some scepticism about the jump from scientific observation to a deduction that HIV transmission and pathogenesis is set in stone and becomes a legitimate basis for criminal prosecution.

I personally do not believe that it is appropriate to lock people in jail for sexual transmission of HIV but that is the law!”


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