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Global conCERN – Earth Down Tiny Black Hole Soon, Maybe

November 25th, 2009

Dazzling engineering switched on, running fine and will risk all after Christmas

Critics appeal to UN to stop boffins playing with nuclear fire, but threat disturbs few

CERN escapes oversight, shielded by PR and scientists’ denial

Unrefuted paper by top physicist argues dire possibilities but goes unread

Interior of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Geneva: This magnificent sight is testimony to the mind of man and its brilliant ability to build a machine that can ape the moment one trillionth of a second after the universe began, as well as the confidence to switch it on in spite of the fact that no one has any real idea what will happen, but this courage and determination to explore the unknown may establish the existence of the Higgs boson to complete the Standard Model and the existence of extra dimensions needed to produce micro Black Holes and thus vindicate the popular author Brian Greene and his fellow string theorists, who otherwise have nothing in nuclear physics yet to back their speculations, keep their positions and win them a Nobel prize, but who of course are not influenced at all by any of that in supporting CERN in dismissing the chances of universal catastrophe as zero, and the critics' equally expert papers as not worth reading.

There was renewed excitement for thrill seekers around the world on Friday (Nov 20) as the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, otherwise known as CERN, fired up the Large Hadron Collider, its newly repaired $10 billion research gargantua/Christmas toy/doomsday machine which will explore the origins of the universe. Reports so far are that all is working smoothly in the LHC as proton beams whiz around its spectacular 17 mile racing circuit 330 feet under Switzerland and France in opposite directions, ready to crash into each other and reveal what happened the instant after the universe began.

A large part of the frisson of nervous pleasure generated by the biggest machine the world has ever seen derives, for some, from the thought that two thousand physicists are now playing with almost Godlike powers at recreating the way things were when galaxies didn’t yet exist. Respectable theorists have shown there is a not necessarily small chance that an inadvertent result may be the swift disappearance of the entire planet and possibly the sun as well into a small black hole, or if that is not our fate, the gigantic, gleaming, colorful contraption may spew forth sufficient “strangelets” to turn the world into an smoking asteroid of “strange matter” the size of a football field.

Supreme confidence in the unknown

Most people dismiss such notions as the scientific equivalent of “a dragon suddenly appearing in this room,” as a superconfident Brian Greene put it to us recently. The renowned string theorist and best selling author appeared at Philoctetes last weekend to discuss Mathematics and Beauty, and we took the opportunity to ask him where he stood on this neglected issue. His Op Ed contribution to the New York Times a year ago, The Origins of the Universe: A Crash Course, was unreservedly gung ho on going ahead with the LHC (Large Hadron Collider, hadrons being certain subatomic composite particles including protons and neutrons which combine quarks and antiquarks) to maximum power, but has been outdated, after all, by CERN’s safety report admitting that the chief reassurance he used, the familiar “we live with cosmic rays hitting the earth every day and remain unscathed” argument, was null and void.

Green wrote in the Times (Op. Ed. on the interesting date of September 11 2008):

Work that made Stephen Hawking famous establishes that tiny black holes would disintegrate in a minuscule fraction of a second, long enough for physicists to reap the benefits of having produced them, but short enough to avoid their wreacking any havoc.

Even so, some have worried further that maybe Dr. Hawking was wrong and such black holes don’t disintegrate. Are we willing to bet the fate of the planet on an untested insight? And that question takes us to the crux of the matter: the collisions at the Large Hadron Collider have never before occurred under laboratory settings, but they’ve been taking place throughout the universe — even here on earth — for billions of years.

Cosmic rays — particles wafting through space — constantly rain down on the earth, the other planets and the wealth of stars scattered throughout the galaxy, with energies far in excess of those attainable by the Large Hadron Collider. And since these more powerful collisions haven’t resulted in astrophysical calamities, the collider’s comparatively tame collisions most assuredly won’t either.

But the LHC safety report to the public from CERN (see summary page) now admits that micro black holes (mBHs) produced by the massive collider could stay on Earth (7th para.). Since the proton beams will crash into each other in opposing directions, anything they yield could move slowly, like the fragments produced by two cars in a head on collision:

“Those (mBHs) produced by cosmic rays would pass harmlessly through the Earth into space, whereas those produced by the LHC could remain on Earth.”

Greene’s reply to us at Philoctetes, which we will detail in a future post, was the above dragon concept, the cosmic ray argument part II (equally flawed, some argue) and that anyway it “isn’t my field.” Given that no reputable physicists are writing papers saying a dragon may appear, the analogy seemed doubtful. Also, this statement seemed overlook the fact that the Columbia University department Greene belongs to has a project at the LHC, and funnels money and expertise to it, not to mention that his Op Ed piece remains the most prominent personal reassurance in the States that we don’t have anything to worry about. But Greene hurried away to an ice cream shop afterwards avoiding further questions.

“The current issue has all the earmarks of something that needs outside review – possibly fatal global consequences, a safety report entirely produced by CERN scientists, the typical schoolboy attitude of physicists satisfying their curiosity, great public expense, the commitment of large organizations to evading public scrutiny, the tendency of huge projects to become unstoppable juggernauts, and so on.”

We also attended the triumphant double presentation on “Hubble Trouble” at NYU recently, where Gregory Gabadadze and David Hogg, two top young physicist/astronomers there, described the latest results on black holes, white dwarves and other components of the universe beyond human sensory experience. Afterwards we asked both about CERN, receiving extensive replies (which we will convey in more detail later) full of boisterous confidence even after both graciously acknowledged that the cosmic ray argument constantly waved at doubters was invalid.

A black hole of possibility

But, as the Fermilab director Pier Oddone told Dennis Overbye of the New York Times a year or more ago (see earlier post), the truth is that “That there are many theories means we don’t have a clue. That’s what makes it so exciting. ” In other words, no one really knows what will happen as the drain on the Geneva power grid rises up to ten per cent of the total and the beam energy surpasses the current 0.9 teravolts (1 TeV = 10_12 electronvolts) operation record held by the Tevatron at Fermilab at Batavia near Chicago heading to levels never before explored (seven teravolts) to reproduce the conditions of the universe a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.

This is still the case. Nothing has changed since Fabiola Gianotti, a Cern physicist and the deputy spokeswoman for the team that built Atlas told Overbye in 2007, “Either we find the Higgs boson, or some stranger phenomenon must happen.”

Finding the “God particle” will complete the Standard Model of particle physics, and the planned production of mini black holes will imply extra dimensions do actually exist and thus will let string theorists off the hook of not yet having any actual physical results yet to show skeptics, but the truth is anything can happen. We have Brian Greene’s word for it in his Op Ed piece, Fermilab Director Pier Oddone has said the same thing, and Brian Cox, author of Why does E=Mc2, who might be said to be Britain’s version of Brian Greene, admits as much even while cheerfully if rather crudely dismissing fears of a black hole lunching on the planet as “a steaming pile of bollocks” on the Colbert Report a month ago.

Here is Brian Greene last year:

But the most exciting prospect of all is that the experiments will reveal something completely unanticipated, something that forces us to rethink our most cherished explanations.

Confirming an idea is always gratifying. But finding what you don’t expect opens new vistas on the nature of reality. And that’s what humans, including those of us who happen to be physicists, live for.

Can these men be trusted?  Two happy scientists at the controls of the CERN LHC as it started up in September 2008, only to fall apart almost immediately and take a year to repair and start up again on Friday, after 53 of the 9300 superconducting magnet units had to be removed and brought to the surface for repair after helium flooded the tunnel, following which a lightning strike put a transformer out of commission, and lately a small piece of bread shorted out the works for days.  On the basis of this record, would you trust these men, however worthy their motives, with the fate of the world? Rainer Plaga fires across CERN’s bows

Behind all the ridicule, however, there are some serious theoretical papers. One respectable theorist of disaster is physicist Rainer Plaga, previously a group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich. He is now being being ignored by CERN and the media, but he has shown that CERN safety theorists managed to reject his argument last year only by picking on the wrong equation, and they have not come up with anything better since that embarrassment, despite promises.

Plaga has refined his initial paper, On the potential catastrophic risk from metastable quantum-black holes produced at particle colliders, Version 1 through a second version, Version 2 (abstract), click this for full Version 2 pdf, in which he appended an explanation of how the attempted CERN rebuttal had confused his paper’s equations, into a third edition, of which this is the abstract at the physics site arXiv, On the potential catastrophic risk from metastable quantum-black holes produced at particle colliders Version 3 (Abstract):

On the potential catastrophic risk from metastable quantum-black holes produced at particle colliders

R. Plaga
(Submitted on 10 Aug 2008 (v1), last revised 9 Aug 2009 (this version, v3))
The question of whether collider produced of subnuclear black holes might constitute a catastrophic risk is explored in a model of Casadio & Harms (2002) that treats them as quantum-mechanical objects. A plausible scenario in which these black holes accrete ambient matter at the Eddington limit shortly after their production, thereby emitting Hawking radiation that would be harmful to Earth and/or CERN and its surroundings, is described. Such black holes are shown to remain undetectable in existing astrophysical observations and thus evade a recent exclusion of risks from subnuclear black holes by Giddings & Mangano (2008) and and a similar one by Koch et al. (2009). I further question that these risk analyses are complete for the reason that they exclude plausible black-hole parameter ranges from safety consideration without giving any reason. Some feasible operational measures at colliders are proposed that would allow the lowering of any remaining risk probability.
Giddings & Mangano drew different general conclusions only because they made different initial assumptions about the properties of microscopic black holes, not because any of their technical conclusions are incorrect. A critical comment by Giddings & Mangano (2008) on the present paper and a preprint by Casadio et al.(2009) – that presents a treatment of the present issue with methods and assumptions similar to mine – are addressed in appendices.

This is the paper (full version 3 in pdf form is at Full Rainer Plage Paper Version 3 pdf) that physicists involved in the enterprise at CERN and elsewhere are not bothering to read or are not even aware of, according to our interviewing. Their assumption appears to be that the initial CERN riposte rendered the paper invalid.

In fact, as Plaga makes clear, they foolishly chose the wrong equation to critique, and his polished third edition and its demolition of their assumptions and excessive confidence stands untouched, arguing that the world and all its inhabitants including you and me may well vanish down a black hole or in a third scenario that CERN has not even considered, that there is a distinct possibility that the greatest machine ever built could produce black holes generating an energy level equivalent to an H bomb every second, producing unprecedented global warming, multi continent earthquakes devastating civilization if not all of life, incinerating the 2200 physicists at CERN, Geneva and a large pie slice of France in the bargain.

Physicists joyride = planetary death ride?

Others like Nobel physicist Frank Wilczek and Astronomer Royal Martin Rees (in ten pages on collider risks in Our Final Hour) earlier (they have since retreated), and now prominent physicist Adrian Kent of Cambridge and space engineer and computer scientist Richard Wagner say that it could spew strangelets that will turn the earth into a smoking asteroid the size of a football pitch. Then there is the admittedly somewhat eccentric (he likes to include dirty jokes in his papers) all round wiz theoretical chemist and physicist (and immunology Ph.D) Otto Rossler, and attorney physicist and nuclear safety officer Walter Wagner, who say the world could go slowly down a black hole, which Plaga notes in passing that CERN has not disproved.

In other words, outlandish or not, it can be soberly maintained that the fate of the world is in the hands of physicists and bureaucrats who are acting like a bunch of overgrown schoolboys who are going ahead regardless of high level papers suggesting that dire possibilities are theoretically valid, and not even as extremely unlikely as generally supposed, ranging from tiny through 1 in 6 to 50% or even 100% in some doomsday analyses.

There is no indication in the literature yet that the sophisticated critics are any less correct in their analysis than the CERN scientists, and currently Rainer Plaga has the best of his CERN critics.

Doubts about the gung ho approach have also been voiced by respected physicists such as Adrian Kent of Cambridge. Tony Rothman of Princeton quotes the papers of the highly respected Russian physicist Grigory Vilkovisky in support of caution, and a group of well informed professionals including the theorist Otto Rossler (founder of endophysics, the Rossler attractor in chaos theory and visiting professor in theoretical physics) and the knowledgeable former federal radiation safety official (he studied physics and did cosmic ray research at Berkeley) Walter Wagner (founder of who has now appealed to US federal court after his Hawaii suit was ruled out of jurisdiction) appealed to the United Nations last Friday (Nov 20) as the LHC was cranked up.

That 73 page appeal to the UN Human Rights Committee and the Commissioner of Human Rights at the UN by conCERNed international and LHC Kritik (Critique), calls attention to the lack of oversight of CERN actions and asks the UN to intervene and insist on outside review for CERN’s plan to take the planet on a roller coaster thrill ride with no guard rail to prevent a drop into the chasm.

Enclosed are critical studies of the method used in the CERN risk studies, one from members of the “Future of Humanity Institute” of the University of Oxford and a review on the LHC safety assessment process by risk assesment expert and ethicist Dr. Mark Leggett concluding that CERN at this date has fulfilled not more than a fifth of the necessary criteria expected for a modern safety study.

As long as there is no clear evidence that the possible production of “micro black holes” (expected to be created by many CERN scientists) pose neither long- nor short-term danger to life and to planet Earth, CERN and the member states should not aim for their production in high energy experiments at all.

CERN LHC under repair yet againCynics however do not expect it to result in action fast enough to stop the fuse CERN has lit reaching high explosive. We use that metaphor advisedly since another possibility in the forefront of consideration is that heat radiation as powerful as a 12 megaton H Bomb every second may irradiate Geneva and a sizeable portion of France to a crisp in short order, according to Plaga’s calculations.

Panic over flu but end of world faced with calm fortitude

All in all, concerned citizens must wonder why scientists and their supporters in the media are ridiculing the critics when even the most infinitesmal chance of the biggest setback possible would seem to argue caution.

After all, the media have been happy to help stir up fear over the second coming of swine flu, which has now peaked at about two million cases so far in the US yielding 4000 deaths according to the CDC, compared with 20,000-50,000 for seasonal flu related deaths annually. There were plenty of sensational segments on national network television showing children in hospital dying from “swine flu” to the prayerful horror of their parents at bedside day and night, and 160 million vaccines were being rushed into production, with much popular clamor and even some cheating among people who want them as soon as possible.

Meanwhile excitement over the imagined consequences of the LHC has so far been confined to Hollywood (Angels and Demons), and amusing articles in the Times over whether the future is sending preventive measures:

A pair of otherwise distinguished physicists have suggested that the hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to rescue his grandfather from a traffic accident.

Holger Bech Nielsen, of the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, and Masao Ninomiya of the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics in Kyoto, Japan, put this idea forward in a series of papers with titles like “Test of Effect From Future in Large Hadron Collider: a Proposal” and “Search for Future Influence From LHC,” posted on the physics Web site in the last year and a half.

There is no doubt that the LHC is the most exciting machine ever built, and inevitably whets the appetite of every red blooded physicist to start it up and take it out on the racing ciruit at top speed to see what happens, which of course since it has already gone wrong in unexpected ways none of the responsible senior officials and physicists at this international project would allow to happen unless everything was fully checked out as far as safety goes in advance.  What?  They have already gone ahead, you say?  Surely not.Despite all the signs that the physicists in charge have an almost comic inability to handle basic engineering tasks such as insulating the vast creation from lightning strikes and even bird droppings, the PR campaign of behalf of the LHC has effectively shut down public debate this year, and now the LHC has started up again without fanfare.

Captive congregation of $10 billion church

The difference, we imagine, is that CERN scientists are the high priests of a very rich and esoteric church, particle physics, whose texts are completely illegible to most mortals, and whose credibility is absolute with the general public. On the face of it, the idea that they are behaving like NASA sending up the entire world’s population including 1.8 billion innocent children on a spectacular joyride which might explode like the Challenger or vanish as it heads for regions of tiny space and time beyond our ken seems no more credible that the prognostications of Michel de Nostradamus, 1503-66.

The CERN LHC seems to have been foretold by Nostradamus, according to  those who see the analogy between two fish passing in opposite directions and two beams doing the sameThat notorious prognosticator did make a prediction that sounds rather ominous in this respect,as it happens. According to our reading of his text he advised everyone to leave Geneva around this time since there was a threat of “counter positive rays” dealing death and destruction to that city. The exact phrase was “Migrés, migrés de Genesve trestous, Saturne d’or en fer se changera, Le contre RAYPOZ (sic) exterminera tous” which, since the three metals named (Saturn means lead, to be collided in the ALICE experiment at CERN late next year, gold and iron) are or have been involved in collision experiments using beams moving counter to each other, offers juicy fodder for prophecy mavens.

The world keeps its nerve

So while the flu false alarm is trumpeted noisily in media world wide, whatever public concern was felt last year, when the LHC was first started up only to fall apart rather ignominiously, has largely dissipated, at least in the media. The whole issue has been successfully painted by the CERN publicity machine as one deserving of fictional treatment only, and Hollywood has been happy to oblige. Thus Angels and Demons offered a fine glimpse of the great 21 Century time and space galleon in its opening segments, and the just premiered 2012 overlooks CERN but has followed up with all kinds of imaginary threats derived from Mayan tablets and climate doomsayers to bring nervous Nellies into disrepute.

“Most of what’s claimed for 2012 relies on wishful thinking, wild pseudoscientific folly, ignorance of astronomy and a level of paranoia worthy of ‘Night of the Living Dead,’ ” Ed Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory, in Los Angeles, and an expert on ancient astronomy, wrote in an article in the November issue of Sky & Telescope.

CERN LHC scientists at the Atlas controls, presumably hoping the darn operating system doesn't freeze up just when they inadvertently go over the danger mark in beam energy and plunge Geneva into darknessEven the New York Times’s previously helpful correspondent in this matter, the same Dennis Overbye, has done little this time on the topic other than write a jokey piece, Is Doomsday Coming? Perhaps, but Not in 2012, about speculation in some quarters that all the accidents that have interfered with the progress of the LHC so far – the latest being an a fowl or some other force of nature that shortcircuited its operation last week by dropping pieces of a baguette into its wires, if you can believe it – are visitations from a future than cannot survive if the LHC does rev up to its grand aim of over seven times the record set by the Tevitron (0.98 TeV).

Overbye took the opportunity to swipe at the CERN doubters rather offhandedly in passing: “All of this reminded me of the kinds of letters I received last year about the putative black hole at CERN. That too was more science fiction than science fact”.
The normally sensitive and alert New Yorker doesn’t seem interested, either, although Elizabeth Kolbert in 2007 caught the CERN officials telling the staff to say that the risk of things going wrong should always be said to be zero in answer to any public enquiry.

CERN’s chief scientific officer, Jos Engelen, is from the Netherlands. He serves under the director general, who is from France, and alongside the chief financial officer, who is from Germany. I went to speak to Engelen in his office; behind his desk a chart indicated when the various parts of the collider are supposed to be completed. It was a crazy quilt of multicolored blocks, with lines radiating in all directions. Engelen greeted me with a half-ironic cheerfulness that struck me as very Dutch. Among his responsibilities is dealing with the frequent calls and letters CERN receives about the possibility that the Large Hadron Collider will destroy the world. When I asked about this, Engelen picked up a Bic pen and placed it in front of me.
“In quantum mechanics, there is a probability that this pen will fall through the table,” he said. “All of a sudden, it will be on the floor. Because it can behave as a wave, it can go through; we call that the ‘tunnel effect.’ If you calculate the probability that this happens, it is not identical to zero. It is a very small probability. But it never happens. I’ve never seen it happen. You have never seen it happen. But to the general public you make a casual remark, ‘It is not identical to zero, it is very small,’ and . . . ” He shrugged….

Engelen said that CERN officials are now instructed, with respect to the L.H.C.’s world-destroying potential, “not to say that the probability is very small but that the probability is zero.”

Russian roulette, or caution?

CERN scientist hard at work repairing the LHC, where one of the 7200 or so scientists employed was taken off the job and accused of contacting Al Quaeda a few weeks ago.We would probably be in the same camp dismissing CERN anxiety as laughable if it weren’t for the fact that the realm of HIV/AIDS has shown so clearly that the advice of a distinguished scientist who is indubitably right can be swept under the carpet and then flattened by the steam roller of political propaganda and disinformation generated by those in charge of maintaining funding for huge scientific organizations, such as NIAID.

After all, it certainly seems like science fiction to suggest that the future is sending back signals that CERN’s gigantic adventurism is unacceptable, and sabotaging it accordingly. It is also hard to credit that so many responsible experts working in unison on a fabulous machine are prepared to risk their own lives, and the lives of their wives and children, let alone six billion other human beings, simply to find out whether the Higgs boson exists, and create the mini black holes which will support the string theorists in their dreams of glory and a Nobel prize, if there was the slightest chance that the entire globe would reduce to the size of a 2 cm marble and disappear into a black hole the size of a golf ball, as Rossler states.

But the history of internal disputes in science, particularly of the distinguished Duesberg’s fate in the hands of the distinctly lesser folk running AIDS science, tells us not to dismiss lightly members of the elite (such as Plaga or Adrian Kent) who challenge the mainstream.

The current issue has all the earmarks of something that needs outside review – possibly fatal global consequences, a safety report entirely produced by CERN scientists, the typical schoolboy attitude of physicists satisfying their curiosity, great public expense, the commitment of large organizations to evading public scrutiny, the tendency of huge projects to become unstoppable juggernauts, and so on.

That is why we will post further on this ridiculed topic by showing what the literature of the dispute actually conveys, and noting in full what three prominent physicists at NYU and Columbia admitted to us when we talked to them recently.

So far of course the world has emerged unscathed from similar anxious moments, such as start up of the Tevatron which was contested on similar grounds. The detonation of the world’s first atomic bomb was thought to risk the possibility that the atmosphere would catch fire and burn up. The research of Emil Konopinski suggested that it was safe (E. Konopinski, E. J, C. Marvin; Edward Teller (1946, declassified Feb. 1973). Ignition of the Atmosphere with Nuclear Bombs. Technical Report Los Alamos National Laboratory LA-602.)

But as noted previously, when we asked Hans Bethe once if there was 100% certainty, he denied it. “We were not completely sure.”

Given that speeding past the limit observed by the Tevatron is scheduled for the world’s biggest experiment before the New Year, the CERN public affairs group will no doubt begin crowing that the danger is over soon after, if nothing worrying seems to happen, but that may be premature.

The scenarios extant include waiting for several years as the black hole sinks to the center of the globe and digests the Earth from the inside out. Only after as long as four to fifty years will the complacent routines of everyday life eventually be disrupted as the surface finally crumbles and we and all our works all fly into a tiny golf ball of inner space.

Here is a preview of what we are in for if the nervous Nellies are right after all, viewed 3.5 million times so far.:

Black Hole Swallows Earth on YouTube

Or you may prefer a more poetic version:

Our Final Days

A list of papers and articles on the topic from experts is at LHC Defense – Experts and also LHC Defense – What Experts Say

Interesting facts from Hazel Morris about the LHC (It could hold 150,000 fridges full of sausages at a temperature colder than deep outer space etc)

“Defamation” doc defamed by Times

November 21st, 2009

Another example of how Times movie reviews play politics

Deft doc too hot to handle objectively, it seems

In fact, Defamation offers crucial evidence of political distortions

Israeli kids take in Auschwitz as some adults wonder if Jews should leave their past behind in justifying Israel's actions todayAn interesting case of politics distorting film reviewing in the Times occurred today (Nov 20 Fri) with the release of Defamation, a fine documentary study of the issue of how surprisingly little anti Semitism there is in the West today, and how this specter of past horrors is overused as a stick by the Jewish Defense League to raise funds and to beat back criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

This is today’s review of Defamation in the Times, which seems likely to reduce its audience in Manhattan to the small number of people who research a documentary slammed by the Times on the reasonable supposition that it is likely to be worthwhile if the paper cannot handle it objectively:

The Past in the Present

by Neil Genzlinger

In his disorganized and somewhat annoying “Defamation,” Yoav Shamir, an Israeli filmmaker, tries to stir up a tempest with the notions that “anti-Semitic” has become an all-purpose label for anyone who dares criticize Israel and that some Jews’ preoccupation with the past — i.e., the Holocaust — is preventing progress in the here and now.

These ideas deserve a thorough, dispassionate discussion, but what they get here is an imitation-Michael Moore treatment, with Mr. Shamir trying to catch his subjects in unguarded moments. Not helping is that some of those subjects, at least for an American audience, are overexposed. Mr. Shamir’s main fixation is Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, one of the most prominent voices on Jewish issues in the United States, and he also zeros in on Norman G. Finkelstein, whose positions on matters related to Israel are well known from his books, like “Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History.”

Presumably Mr. Shamir’s film plays differently in Israel. In the United States, it feels like just another day on the Op-Ed page.

Contrary to this markedly superficial estimation, from a copy editor at the Times who has written many reviews and two plays, the lively film has won a full bouquet of well deserved awards and assuredly doesn’t deserve dismissal in such an offhand and lazily contemptuous fashion (what does “somewhat annoying” mean, one wonders?) Here’s a more capable and straightforward review in the Hollywood Reporter, , and a fuller one by Philip Weiss at his site, Mondoweiss, which give a much better picture of what the movie is all about. Here is Weiss:

Yoav Shamir’s great film, ‘Defamation’, offers a devastating and transcendent portrait of Foxman

by Philip Weiss (April 29, 2009)

I saw a great movie last night, the documentary Defamation, by Yoav Shamir, an Israeli filmmaker. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and it is about the consecration of anti-Semitism as the central mode of Jewish identity and the raison-d’etre of Jewish nationalism–it sustains Israel. The group of Israeli kids traveling to Majdanek carries the Israeli flag into the ruined gas chambers, and they all wear sweatshirts with the star of David and the word Israel on the back. The point of the film, stated by one of the sour concentration-camp tour-guides near the end, is that this is a miserable basis for Jewish existence, a cult of death and fear and mistrust. The Israeli kids are so indoctrinated they think that the Poles are out to kill them now, and they don’t go out of their hotel room.

The film is great journalism for Shamir’s tenacity at insinuating himself into the emotional life of events, and for his portraits: of Abraham Foxman, Charles Jacobs, John Mearsheimer, Uri Avnery, and Norman Finkelstein.

The Foxman portrait is the core of the film and at once devastating and sympathetic. We see him manipulating the Holocaust in a number of situations. The scenes of ADL staff coming up with anti-Semitic incidents in the US to keep the ball rolling are strictly farcical. There is even farcical music, as they tell you of threats that aren’t threats. Foxman is shown pressing Ukrainian president Viktor Yuschenko in a conference room over Holocaust remembrance/guilt. Later, in Rome, enroute to meet the Pope, Foxman tells Shamir that there’s a “very thin line” between the perceptions of Jewish power by anti-Semites and the actual power that Jews have in the world. “Jews are not as powerful… as our enemies think we are.” But we’re not going to try and convince them otherwise, he says. Yes: the man is going to meet the Pope. Of course Jews have power, and Foxman has no awareness of this.

Are Israeli kids being sacrificed to the politics of right wing extremists in Israel and the US, so that in the future reconciliation of Israel with the other inhabitants of the Middle East will be harder than ever?The portrait becomes transcendent at Babi Yar. Foxman gathers the board of the ADL at the Ukrainian massacre site and all the old Jews are talking about how Israel must be maintained because it may be necessary for all Jews in the world to go there, and then Foxman says a Hebrew prayer and his voice trembles and he is in tears. The scene gave me tremendous sympathy for Foxman. He is locked in his childhood of suffering. It makes perfect sense that he has projected his childhood demons on to the world, but they are just demons. The same point is made with an old Israeli journalist who has blue numbers tattooed on his arm and writes about anti-Semitism night and day. Well he has a fine reason, Shamir is saying.
(Click this tab for the rest of the middle portion of this very complete review)

The real blows to Foxman come from a couple of rabbis. A Rabbi Hecht in Brooklyn says, “I’m nervous about his reports… Are they accurate? He has to create a problem because he needs a job.” A Rabbi Dov Bleich in Kiev, who is Orthodox, says that anti-Semitism is not a problem, and that if these people only had a religious practice they wouldn’t need the church of anti-Semitism.

Shamir follows Foxman devoting an entire three-day conference in Israel to discussing Walt and Mearsheimer’s book. Charles Jacobs, then of the David Project, is there and comes off as a crazy man. He says, we always thought that antisemites were skinheads saying Kike, little did we know they would turn out to be softspoken college professors. David Hirsch, a sociologist from England, gets up to say, bravely, that not one word has been said about the occupation and the humiliation of the Palestinians, and this is the true context for much of the criticism of Israel. There is dead silence, and then people attack him. When Shamir says to Jacobs that this is sensible, Jacobs goes off on him. He says you are like the beaten wife who goes to the police station and blames herself and never blames the husband. You have accepted the world’s evil view of you, this is the problem with the left. Islamists think you are evil and you have accepted it.

It is too bad more journalism was not done of Jacobs when he was leading the assault on Columbia professors. He is so wildeyed and removed from reality he demolishes his own case.

Really it is terrible that so little journalism has been done about any of these people. How much journalism have we seen of John Mearsheimer and Norman Finkelstein. There are two scenes of Finkelstein, the first at DePaul before he has been cracked in the jaws of the Israel lobby, the second when he is tan and on the Boardwalk in Brooklyn and in his humble apartment. Now Finkelstein is as possessed by the Holocaust as Foxman—and the film is unkind to Finkelstein at the end, as a way of seeking to preserve its surface balance, making him out to be mad after he compares Foxman to Hitler–but Finkelstein is eloquent and fierce when talking about the Israelis’ use of suffering to justify the affliction of the Palestinians. The suffering is a package deal; it is “suffering wrapped in a club.” The suffering is cited as Palestinians are humiliated, degraded and tortured.

Earlier in the film, an Israeli girl on the Holocaust tour makes Finkelstein’s point. She says that when she sees the Jewish suffering at Auschwitz she doesn’t think that the Arabs have really suffered at all. Avraham Burg has also made this point: that Israelis too quickly forgave the Germans, for the money, and put the hatred on to the Arabs.
Back to Finkelstein. Shamir compares Finkelstein to the biblical prophets. He looks like a prophet, with his long face and large forehead and level blue eyes. He says that the Holocaust is used to prevent any criticism of Israel. He opens the radio (a quaint old expression) and “I hear nonstop about Sudan, I hear nonstop about Tibet, I hear nonstop about Darfur. The only place I hear excuses made for is Israel.”

As for Mearsheimer, he comes off as puckish, which he can be, and wise. It is a very affectionate portrait, Mearsheimer in his booklined Chicago office merely raising an eyebrow when Shamir asks him if he doesn’t have anti-Semitism deep inside him. “I’m not anti-Semitic, and I never had any doubt that I’m not anti-Semitic… My arguments are not in any way hostile to the Jews or the state of Israel.” He isn’t going to talk about how many of his friends are Jewish because that–a puckish smile–will only hurt his point.

The news in the film involves Mearsheimer. I blogged about that earlier today, Teddy Katz’s statement that Mearsheimer and Walt are blessings to Israel. Finkelstein echoes the point about the lobby. Holocaust education is not intended to enlighten; it is being used by “war mongers from Martha’s Vineyard, and war mongers from the Hamptons, and war-mongers from Beverly Hills and… Miami.” It’s a disaster for Israel, he says. A curse.
Many people speak of the occupation in the film. It goes unseen. In the Q-and-A that followed the premiere last night at the Tribeca Film Festival, Yoav Shamir also spoke hintingly of it, that as Jews we started out being walled and now we have put a wall about us in Israel. A delicate reference to the wall. He never showed it, he did show Auschwitz. The Palestinians are off stage. He can’t show the occupation, can’t show the wall. He wants to open as a feature in the U.S. and to be on television. Good luck to him. And oh how wise not to show us the occupation. It is enough for now that Americans heard from Finkelstein and Mearsheimer.

(P.S. The film is working. A Jewish woman in the audience said, “We have the situation in Israel that has lasted all these years– and we need a shift.” Jewish identity is changing.)

This is the film that the Times now sees fit to dismiss in a few lines. So much for All The News That Is Fit To Print.

One point of correction, however. Shamir does not make a fool of Finkelstein for raising a Nazi salute to show what he thinks of Foxman. He tells him, in fact, that the gesture may be misunderstood by viewers. In that way, he ensured it would not be.

No criticism of Israel, please

Apparently a film that has significant awards
(AMNESTY AWARD at CPH : DOX; Kopenhagen;Feature Film Competition Festival dei Popoli, Firenze/Florence, ITALY – The Peoples’ Award for Best Documentary (EUR 10,000);Nominated to the ASIAN PACIFIC SCREEN AWARD – best Feature length documentary 2009;THE TIMES BFI, London Film Festival, Grierson Award for Best Documentary 2009;ZÜRICH FilmFestival 09; Special Jury Mention;Nominated to the European FilmAcademy´s BEST EUROPEAN DOKFILM – PRIX ARTE;New York Tribeca Filmfestival – Special Jury Mention/Award; (Robert de Niros Festival);Paju 09; Grand Award of the Documentary Filmfestival of PAJU Prizren 09; Special Jury Mention Madrid, Documenta 09 – Audience Award and 3.000 Euro;Tel Aviv DOCAVIV 09 – First Research Award;STANLEY KUBRICK AWARD, at Traverse City 09, for Bold and Innovative Filmmaking(Michael Moore´s Festival!) but is a hot political potato in Jewish and Israeli circles (since it argues that the Israeli lobby uses the specter of anti-Semitism to deflect criticism of Israel’s abuse of Palestinians at the cost of frightening Israeli kids into thinking the whole world is against them) is another truth seeking film that the Times editors and management do not wish to deal with in a professional manner.

In fact the director Yoav Shamir does a skillful job showing what is really going on in this propaganda war, and makes a very good case that Israelis should move beyond the past and its horrors and not allow them to be used to avoid taking responsibility for their own cruelties today. The segments where the Israeli schoolgirls are finally reduced to sobbing fright by what they see of the remains and hear of the stories of Auschwitz is very moving.

Shamir also shows very well how academics who have described the problem are themselves trashed on this spurious basis. even if they themselves are Jewish and their parents are Holocaust survivors. But it is the extreme fantasies of the right wing defenders of using this weapon which make the biggest impression, along with the shameless fear-arousal of the JDL leader Abraham Foxman in his own cause as much as the defense of Jews against what is mostly a ghost in the West.

In this charming scene, professor John Mearscheimer clambers on top of his desk to raise his window shade, before climbing down to defend his book on the Israel Lobby and explain that he is not an anti-Semite, and does not have to search his soul to see whether he can deny this charge which is almost impossible to defend againstAll of which reminds us of House of Numbers, since this is another example of how documentary filmmakers today can throw light on the most difficult topics in an indisputable way that their print counterparts never achieved.

Video can offer eye witness evidence of human beings in action, giving themselves away with their own testimony, without being able to hide later behind claims that the scene or their words were misreported or misframed, at least as long as their shooting segment is long enough.

Of course, as in the case of House of Numbers, all hope is not lost. The New York Times may rise to their defense by publishing a cursory dismissal.

A trailer for Defamation is on this page at Indiewire.

Here is the director’s synopsis of the film:

What is anti-Semitism today, two generations after the Holocaust? In his continuing exploration of modern Israeli life, director Yoav Shamir (Checkpoint, 5 Days, Flipping Out) travels the world in search of the most modern manifestations of the “oldest hatred”, and comes up with some startling answers.
In this irreverent quest, he follows American Jewish leaders to the capitals of Europe, as they warn government officials of the growing threat of anti-Semitism, and he tacks on to a class of Israeli high school students on a pilgrimage to Auschwitz.

On his way, Shamir meets controversial historian, Norman Finkelstein, who offers his unpopular views on the manner that anti-Semitism is being used by the Jewish community and especially Israel for political gain. He also joins scholars, Stephen M. Walt and John J. Mearsheimer, while they give a lecture in Israel following the release of their book “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy”, about the un-proportional influence the Israel lobby in Washington enjoys. Yoav visits Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem, the must stop for all world leaders on their visits to Israel. While in Jerusalem, he drops by the house of his grandmother that offers her insight on the issue and declares that she is the “real Jew”.

The film questions our perceptions and terminology when an event proclaimed by some as anti-Semitic is described by others as legitimate criticism of Israel’s government policies. The film walks along the boundary between anti-Zionism, rejecting the notion of a Jewish State, and anti-Semitism, rejecting Jews. Is the former being used to excuse the latter? And is there a difference between today’s anti-Semitism and plain old racism that is affecting all minorities?

Opinions often differ and tempers sometimes flare, but in Defamation we find that one thing is certain – only by understanding their response to anti-Semitism can we really appreciate how Jews today, and especially modern Israelis, respond to the world around them, in New York and in Moscow, in Gaza and Tel Aviv.

That’s a perfectly accurate account of a film we urge all to see if they can, and ignore the potshots of the too quick on the draw Genzlinger. Sadly, it is media incidents like this that undermine the standing and the future of the New York Times, soon to be one of the handful of newspapers that will survive in the US in print form.

Let’s hope that this kind of abdication of journalistic responsibility will be rooted out as surplus editors and writers are removed from the Times’ still rather bloated rolls by the hurricane which is flattening print advertising.

Seaside Conference Reexamines HIV and AIDS

November 6th, 2009

Fine speaker line-up will brief all comers on hollowness of HIV wisdom

Duesberg and Geshekter on why African claims make no sense

Media are invited, but will they come?

The Waterfront Plaza Hotel in Oakland is a palace of enlightenment over this weekend as authorities on the vexed issue of why HIV/AIDS beliefs make no scientific or common sense at all hold forth for two day of conferencing, including Peter Duesberg himselfsA gathering of luminaries in the movement to review the current dogma in HIV/AIDS is meeting today, tomorrow and Sunday morning (Nov 6-8) at the Waterfront Plaza Hotel, Jack London Square, Oakland, California. Media are invited to all conference sessions including the documentary screening on Saturday afternoon at 4.30 of House of Numbers, and the cocktails after the keynote lecture today, Friday (Nov 6).

The speakers will include Peter Duesberg, the Berkeley professor who has stood against the paradigm for 22 years, John Lauritsen, the Harvard graduate and market researcher and author of AIDS: Death by Prescription, Etienne de Harven, expert on electron microscopy, David Rasnick, Henry Bauer, Charles Geshekter, Klaus Koehnlein, Robert Giraldo, Joan Shenton, and Tony Lance. Panelists will include Celia Farber and Gary Null, and the keynote speaker is Michael Tracy professor at the School of Journalism at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Tracy is a specialist in media issues, public broadcasting and “the injustice of the American justice system.” Several years ago he said, “the news about AIDS was flagrantly wrong in fact and interpretation, but hugely successful in constructing a prevailing understanding, locking into modern consciousness the belief that here was one more bug to threaten us all.”

Here are the speakers biographies together with the abstracts of the talks (English and Spanish) (hit the icon, which is meant to display as a show button).


David Crowe
David Crowe is a science critic and writer based in Calgary, Canada. He has a degree in biology and mathematics and has written extensively on HIV/AIDS, failures of modern medicine and telecommunications. He was one of the founders of the Green Party of Alberta, and is president of Rethinking AIDS and the Alberta Reappraising AIDS Society.

Michael Tracey
Professor Michael Tracey has been Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Colorado at Boulder since 1988. From 1981 to 1988 he was head of the London based Broadcasting Research Unit, then Britain’s leading think tank dealing with media issues. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Politics from the University of Exeter in 1971, and his doctorate from the Centre for Mass Communications Research at the University of Leicester in 1975. From 1975 to 1981 he was a Research Fellow at the Leicester Centre. Tracey has written eight books, including his 1983 biography of Sir Hugh Greene, Director General of the BBC from 1960 to1969, “A Variety of Lives; a Biography of Sir Hugh Greene” (Bodley Head) and his 1998 book, “The Decline and Fall of Public Service Broadcasting” (Oxford University Press.) Tracey has also written scores of articles on many different aspects of media and communication, but most notably dealing with the history, condition and future of public service broadcasting. He has also lectured in many different countries. From 1991 to 1998 he was a Trustee of the International Institute of Communications, and from 1994 to 1999, Visiting Professor and Chair of International Communications at the University of Salford. More recently he has produced documentaries, with his friend and colleague David Mills, and their work has appeared in the UK on Channel Four, ITV, and the American networks CBS, Court TV and A&E. They are currently – 2009 – developing a documentary series that will profile the lives of successful men who never knew their fathers. In 2008 he published his first e-book on “From Xmas to August: an Essay on Murder, Media Mayhem and the Condition of the Culture” is about his decade-long involvement in the case of JonBenet Ramsey. He is currently working on a book of essays, “The Inner Moonlight: Literacy, Culture and the Future of Democracy” and writing the authorized biography of the life and times of the legendary British broadcaster Donald Baverstock. He lives with his wife, Jen, three dogs, Beau, Jess and Babe and his cat Miss Bardot, in a small hamlet at 9,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains west of Boulder.

Keynote Lecture
The talk reflects on a number of subjects and issues that confront not just the discourse around Aids, though that will be front and center, but also other areas of discourse. Taking a historical perspective the talk will consider the confluence of forces—political, medical-industrial, cultural—which so effectively closed down ways of thinking that did not accept the HIV-Aids hypothesis. It will suggest that here was a potent example—but far from being the only one—of the extraordinary capacity of key institutions and actors to shape the public imagination, to establish “understandings” in the public mind, to lead that public to see “this” way rather than “that,” with immense consequences for fashioning public policies that rest on ignorance not knowledge, and that serve particular interests but not the public interest. It will point to the way in which the cultural apparatus employs a political economy of fear because fear, like blood, sells, is something the public understands and seems to need: fear of the “other,”—think Muslim—of “death panels,” of “socialism, Marxism, fascism” often uttered in the same sentence, and fear of “the bug” that is going to decimate human kind. In other words, “fear” however perversely, has a crude fiscal utility: it sells. The talk will finally argue that in many ways one might see in the way in which the discourse around Aids evolved, or didn’t, of how counter-discourses were so successfully closed down a harbinger of what America has become, a closing down of the rational mind, a casting aside of the pursuit of truth and understanding, and their replacement with the almost willful pursuit of ignorance so long as that comports with, and feeds, distressed emotional needs as well as political and economic interests. In other words, the repressing of open discourse about HIV-Aids was yet one example of a society in deep betrayal of the vision of its founders, that a democratic society needs rational, open, honest debate if it is to thrive. There is, in effect, as the literary critic Lionel Trilling put it, a “moral obligation to be intelligent,” not blinkered, biased, closed minded.
Conferencia principal
La ponencia reflexionará sobre un número de cuestiones y temas que no se enfrentan exclusivamente al discurso en torno al SIDA, aunque será central y principal, si no también a otros discursos. Desde una perspectiva histórica, la charla considerará aquella convergencia de fuerzas – políticas, médico-industriales, culturales – que tan eficazmente bloqueó la manera de pensar de aquellos que no aceptaban la hipótesis VIH-SIDA. La charla sugerirá que este es un ejemplo fuerte – aunque lejos de ser el único – de la extraordinaria capacidad de la que disponen las instituciones y los protagonistas claves a la hora de determinar la imaginación pública para establecer “interpretaciones” en la mentalidad pública y para guiar a aquel sector del público a ver “esta” vía en vez de “aquella”. Asimismo, las inmensas consecuencias que esto tiene a la hora de diseñar unas políticas que se apoyan en la ignorancia en lugar del conocimiento, y que sirven a intereses particulares en lugar de intereses públicos. Indicará la manera por la cual el aparato cultural emplea la política económica del miedo, ya que el miedo, al igual que la sangre, vende, siendo esto algo que el público entiende y parece necesitar: miedo al “otro”, – piensen en musulmán – a los “death panels”, al “socialismo, marxismo, fascismo” pronunciados con frecuencia dentro de la misma frase, y miedo al “bicho” que va a diezmar al ser humano. En otras palabras, el “miedo” por perverso que sea, tiene una dura utilidad fiscal: vende. Por último, la charla argumentará que uno puede ver de muchas maneras la forma en la cual el discurso en torno al SIDA evolucionó, o no lo hizo, y como los discursos en contra de la corriente oficial fueron bloqueados con tanto éxito, siendo esto precursor de lo que los EE.UU. ha llegado a convertirse. Es decir, un cerramiento de la mente racional, un dejar de lado la búsqueda de la verdad y el conocimiento, y como esto fue substituido por la casi intencionada búsqueda de la ignorancia con el fin de que ello corresponda y alimente las necesidades emocionales afligidas además de intereses económicos y políticos. En otras palabras, la represión del discurso abierto sobre el VIH-SIDA fue un ejemplo más de una sociedad en profunda traición a la visión de sus fundadores, es decir, que la sociedad democrática necesita un debate racional, abierto y honesto para prosperar. Hay, de hecho, como el crítico literario Lionel Trilling lo expuso, la “obligación moral de ser inteligentes,” sin estrecheces de miras y sin ser parciales ni cerrados de mente.

John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen graduated from Harvard in 1963. He is a writer, retired survey research analyst, gay liberationist, AIDS dissident, and freethinker. His first major AIDS article, “CDC’s Tables Obscure AIDS-Drugs Connection”, was published in February 1985. Beginning in 1986 he wrote for the New York Native, which in eleven years would publish over fifty of his articles. His AIDS-dissident books include Death Rush: Poppers & AIDS (1986), AZT: Poison by Prescription (1990), The AIDS War (1993) and (co-edited with Ian Young) The AIDS Cult: Essays on the gay health crisis (1997).

History of AIDS controversy spanning three decades
This talk will analyze the underlying premises and assumptions of “AIDS”, a protean construct rather than a coherent disease entity. Particular attention will be paid to gay men, the group most targeted by the AIDS Industry, with a discussion of gay media, AIDS organizations, and the premier gay drug, “poppers” (nitrite inhalants).
Historia de la controversia SIDA que ya abarca tres décadas
Esta ponencia analizará las premisas subyacentes y las suposiciones sobre el “SIDA”, una invención de extremada variabilidad más que una coherente entidad patológica. Se prestará particular atención a los hombres gays, el grupo que más ha estado en el punto de mira de la industria SIDA, con un debate sobre los medios de comunicación gays, organizaciones del SIDA, y la droga gay por excelencia, los “poppers” (inhaladores de nitritos).

Peter Duesberg
Peter H. Duesberg, Ph.D. is a professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. He isolated the first cancer gene through his work on retroviruses in 1970, and mapped the genetic structure of these viruses. This, and his subsequent work in the same field, resulted in his election to the National Academy of Sciences in 1986. He is also the recipient of a seven-year Outstanding Investigator Grant from the National Institutes of Health. On the basis of his experience with retroviruses, Duesberg has challenged the virus-AIDS hypothesis in the pages of such journals as Cancer Research, Lancet, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Science, Nature, Journal of AIDS, AIDS Forschung, Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapeutics, New England Journal of Medicine and Research in Immunology. He has instead proposed the hypothesis that the various American/European AIDS diseases are brought on by the long-term consumption of recreational drugs and/or AZT itself, which is prescribed to prevent or treat AIDS. Since 1996, he has published extensively on the chromosomal (aneuploidy) theory of cancer.

HIV-AIDS hypothesis out of touch with South African AIDS — a new perspective
A recent study by Chigwedere et al., “Estimating the Lost Benefits of Antiretroviral Drug Use in South Africa”, claims that during the period from 2000 to 2005 about 300,000 South African deaths from AIDS per year could have been prevented by available anti-HIV drugs. The study blamed those who question the hypothesis that the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the cause of AIDS, particularly former South African President Thabo Mbeki and Peter Duesberg, for not preventing these deaths by anti-HIV treatments such as the DNA chain-terminator AZT and the HIV DNA inhibitor Nevirapine. Here we ask, (1) What evidence exists for the huge losses of South African lives from HIV claimed by the Chigwedere study? (2) What evidence exists that South Africans would have benefited from anti-HIV drugs? We found that vital statistics from South Africa reported about 12,000 HIV-positive deaths per year between 2000-2005. This figure is 25-times lower than the 300,000 lives per year estimated by Chigwedere et al. Moreover, the US Census Bureau and South Africa reported that the South African population had increased by 3 million during the period from 2000 to 2005 instead of suffering losses, growing from 44.5 to 47.5 million, even though 25-30% were positive for antibodies against HIV. A similar discrepancy was found between claims for a devastating AIDS epidemic in Uganda and a simultaneous explosive growth in its population. We conclude that the claims that HIV has caused huge losses of lives are unconfirmed and that HIV is not sufficient or even necessary to cause the previously known diseases, now called AIDS when antibody against HIV is detected. Further we call into question the claim that HIV antibody-positives would benefit from anti-HIV drugs, because these drugs are inevitably toxic and because there is as yet no proof that HIV causes AIDS.

La hipótesis VIH-SIDA anticuada ante el SIDA sudafricano — una nueva perspectiva
Un estudio reciente por Chigwedere et al., “Calculando los beneficios desaprovechados por el uso de medicamentos antiretrovirales en Sur África”, afirma que durante el periodo del 2000 al 2005 se podían haber prevenido aproximadamente 300,000 muertes anuales de SIDA en Sur África a través de los medicamentos anti-VIH disponibles. El estudio culpó a aquellos que cuestionan la hipótesis de que el virus de inmunodeficiencia humana (VIH) es la causa del SIDA, particularmente al anterior presidente sudafricano Thabo Mbeki y Peter Duesberg, por no prevenir aquellas muertes a través de tratamientos anti-VIH como son el terminador de cadenas de ADN el AZT y el inhibidor de ADN del VIH el Nevirapine. Nuestra pregunta aquí es, (1) ¿Qué evidencia existe sobre la gran cantidad de muertes en Sur África por el VIH que afirma el estudio Chigwedere? (2) ¿Qué evidencia existe de que los sudafricanos podían haberse beneficiado por medicamentos anti-VIH? Vemos que las estadísticas vitales de Sur África notificaron aproximadamente 12,000 muertes anuales por VIH entre el 2000 y el 2005. Esta cifra es 25 veces menor que las 300,000 muertes anuales calculadas por Chigwedere et al. Además, el US Census Bureau y Sur África documentaron que la población sudafricana en lugar de sufrir pérdidas incrementó en 3 millones de personas durante el periodo de 2000 a 2005, creciendo de 44.5 a 47.5 millones, incluso cuando del 25-30% dieron positivos a anticuerpos contra el VIH. Una discrepancia similar se halló en las afirmaciones sobre una devastadora epidemia de SIDA en Uganda y simultáneamente un crecimiento explosivo de su población. Llegamos a la conclusión de que las afirmaciones que el VIH ha causado gran cantidad de muertes no están confirmadas, y que el VIH no es suficiente o ni siquiera necesario para causar las enfermedades ya conocidas y ahora llamadas SIDA cuando van acompañadas de la detección de anticuerpos contra el VIH. Más aun, hacemos un llamamiento a que se cuestione la afirmación de que las personas seropositivas se beneficiarían de medicamentos anti-VIH, ya que estos medicamentos son inevitablemente tóxicos y porque todavía no hay prueba de que el VIH cause el SIDA.

Etienne de Harven
Etienne De Harven obtained his M.D. degree in 1953 from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, (where he later became “Professeur Agrégé” in Pathology). He specialized in electron microscopy at the “Institut du Cancer” in Paris. In 1956, he joined Charlotte Friend’s team at the Sloan Kettering Institute in New York, the largest cancer research center in the United States, where he was in charge of electron microscopy research. It was there that he produced the world’s first description of a retrovirus budding on the surface of infected cells. He served as President of the Electron Microscopy Society of America in 1976. In 1981, he was appointed Professor of pathology and director of the electron microscopy laboratory at the University of Toronto, Canada, where he researched the marking of antigens on the surface of lymphocytes. He is former President of Rethinking Aids (2005-2008), a group comprising over 2600 scientists and other re-thinkers who refute the viral origin of AIDS. He recently published Ten Lies About AIDS

Questioning the Existence of HIV
Most unfortunately, AIDS Rethinkers have recently appeared divided on the issue of the existence or of the non-existence of HIV, one group claiming that HIV exists but is a harmless, passenger virus, while the other group asserts simply that HIV does not exist. Neither of these two stands is compatible with available scientific evidence.
Claiming a harmless passenger is not consistent with the name HIV that implies a causal relationship with immunodeficiency, a most serious pathological condition. Asserting simply that HIV does not exist is a fragile position that can hardly account for 1) the fact that typical retrovirus particles illustrated in the 1983, Barré-Sinoussi et al. Science paper, and 2) the fact that retroviral nucleic acid sequences are routinely amplified by PCR methodologies in attempts to measure an hypothetical viral load in AIDS patients.
Obviously, an alternative analysis is urgently needed that is consistent with all the scientifically published evidence. Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) provide such an alternative analysis that can no longer be ignored. As stated by myself in Pretoria in 2000, nobody has ever demonstrated by EM retroviral particles in the blood of patients tagged as presenting with a high viral load. An award, offered to whomever would demonstrate the opposite, has never been claimed. However, harmless viruses, when existing, are just as readily visualized by EM as pathogenic ones. The fact that they have never been observed in high viral load blood samples is therefore significant.
In conclusion, HERVs have interfered with HIV/AIDS research. Facing this fact makes it possible to correct several miss-interpretations that stand at the roots of the current HIV/AIDS dogma. Recognizing the role of HERVs in a coherent analysis of available data shall restore RA’s scientific credibility, consolidate a united front for RA, and provide RA with the strength of fundamentally redirecting AIDS research, far away from hypothetical exogenous retroviruses.
Cuestionando la existencia del VIH
Desafortunadamente, los “disidentes” del SIDA se han mostrado recientemente divididos sobre el tema de la “existencia” o “no existencia” del VIH. Mientras que un grupo alega que el “VIH existe pero es un virus inofensivo y pasajero”, el otro grupo simplemente afirma que “el VIH no existe”. Ninguna de estas dos posturas es compatible con la evidencia científica disponible.
Alegar que es “un pasajero inofensivo” no es coherente con la denominación “VIH” ya que esta implica una relación causal con la inmunodeficiencia, una condición patológica muy seria. Afirmar simplemente que el VIH no existe es una posición frágil y que apenas puede explicar 1) el hecho de que el artículo de Science de 1983 por Barré-Sinoussi et al. estuviese ilustrado por partículas típicas de retrovirus, y 2) el hecho de que se amplifiquen rutinariamente secuencias de ácido nucleico retroviral usando metodologías basadas en PCR con el fin de medir una hipotética carga viral en pacientes de SIDA.
Obviamente, se necesita con urgencia un análisis alternativo que sea coherente con toda la evidencia científica publicada. Los retrovirus endógenos humanos (HERVs) proporcionan dicho análisis alternativo que no puede seguir ignorado durante más tiempo.
Como indiqué en Pretoria en el 2000, nadie ha demostrado mediante EM la presencia de partículas retrovirales en la sangre de pacientes etiquetados como portadores de una carga viral alta. Nunca se ha reclamado un premio que se ofrecía a cualquiera que demostrase lo contrario. Sin embargo, mediante EM, los virus “inofensivos”, cuando existen, se visualizan con la misma facilidad que los que son patógenos. Por lo tanto, es significativo el hecho de que nunca se hayan observado en muestras de sangre con una carga viral alta.
En conclusión, los HERVs han interferido con la investigación sobre VIH/SIDA. Afrontar este hecho hace posible corregir varias interpretaciones erróneas que se levantan sobre las raíces del actual dogma del VIH/SIDA. En un análisis coherente de la información disponible, reconocer el papel que juegan los HERVs restaurará la credibilidad científica de RA, consolidará un frente unido para RA y proporcionará a RA la fuerza, fundamentalmente, para redirigir la investigación del SIDA, lejos de los retrovirus hipotéticos.

Charles Geshekter
Charles Geshekter is Emeritus Professor of African history at California State University, Chico. After earning his Ph.D. in History from UCLA, Geshekter has held three Fulbright Awards and his African field research was supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Ford Foundation and Social Science Research Council. His publications examine various aspects of modern Somali history, techniques of documentary film making, and reappraising the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Geshekter helped to establish the Somali Studies International Association, coordinated its first conference in Mogadishu in 1980, and co-edited the Proceedings of the 1st Congress of Somali Studies. During the United Nations intervention in Somalia, Geshekter was news analyst for CBS National Radio Network, KRON-TV/San Francisco, PBS, and numerous radio stations. In 1985, he produced a PBS documentary, “The Parching Winds of Somalia” for WQED-TV. Portions of the film were included in a McNeil-Lehrer NewsHour special program, “Somalia: Anatomy of a Tragedy” that was nominated for a 1993 Emmy Award. Geshekter was Program Coordinator for the 1989 Meeting of the American Association for Advancement of Science/Pacific Division. From 1991-95, he served as Chairman for its History of Science Section and was on its Executive Council. In 1996, he was Chief Policy Advisor on Education Finance for the California State Assembly. He has worked for the Department of Justice as a consultant and researcher on African immigration issues. From 2000 to 2003, Geshekter was a member of the South African Presidential AIDS Advisory Panel.

The Deception and Dishonesty of African AIDS Statistics
For over 25 years, the media has bombarded the public with a barrage of figures purporting to tally AIDS cases and AIDS deaths in Africa. This presentation examines the empirical basis for those numbers and critiques the methodology used by AIDS agencies and its researchers to gather such data, interpret its meaning, and then use dubious statistics as the basis for requesting ever increasing amounts of funding.
As an example of how bogus claims come to form the basis to solicit funds and initiate interventions into African societies, the author will critique the findings of prominent AIDS investigators, published in The Lancet (2007-2008), that purported to show how male circumcision in Kenya and Uganda reduced a male’s chances of contracting HIV.
Fraude y engaño de las estadísticas del SIDA africano
Durante más de 25 años, los medios de comunicación han bombardeado al público con un aluvión de cifras pretendiendo cuadrar casos de SIDA con muertes por SIDA en África. Esta ponencia examina las bases empíricas de esos números y critica la metodología usada por los organismos oficiales del SIDA y sus investigadores para reunir tales datos, interpretar su significado y luego utilizar dudosas estadísticas como base para solicitar cada vez una mayor financiación.
A modo de ejemplo de como afirmaciones falsas llegan a formar la base para recaudar fondos e iniciar intervenciones en las sociedades africanas, la ponencia critica los hallazgos de destacados investigadores sobre el SIDA, publicados en The Lancet (2007-2008), que pretendieron demostrar como la circuncisión masculina en Kenya y Uganda reducía las probabilidades de contraer el VIH en varones.

Christian Fiala
Dr. Christian Fiala is a gynaecologist and obstetrician and currently working in Vienna, but has extensive experience in Thailand and Africa. April, 2007, he established the Museum of Contraception and Abortion. For almost 20 years he has been following critically the scientific and political discussion on the epidemiological aspects of AIDS and contributed actively. He was a member of the Presidential AIDS Advisory Panel in South Africa. Dr. Fiala has published many papers focused on the problems of AIDS in Africa and the definition of AIDS. is the author of the book “Do We Love Dangerously? – A Doctor in Search of the Facts and Background to AIDS” (Lieben wir gefaehrlich? – Ein Arzt auf der Suche nach den Fakten und Hintergruenden von AIDS) (1997); and the article in English, Aids: are we being deceived?

Aids in Africa — a call for sense not hysteria

“Can Africa be saved?” asked Newsweek on it’s front page as far back as 1984, reflecting the old Western belief that Africa is doomed to starvation, terror, disaster and death. This was repeated two years later in an article in the same journal in a story about Aids in Africa. The title set the scene: “Africa in the Plague Years”. The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed “by mid-1991 an estimated 1.5 million Ugandans, or about 9% of the general population and 20% of the sexually active population, had HIV infection”. Similar reports were repeatedly published during the last 25 years. The predictions announced the practically inevitable collapse of the country in which the worldwide epidemic supposedly originated.
Today, however, one reads little about Aids in Uganda because all prophesies have proved false. Summing up, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics reported the results of the (ten-year) census in September 2002: “Uganda’s population grew at an average annual rate of 3.4% between 1991 and 2002. The high rate of population growth is mainly due to the persistently high fertility levels (about seven children per woman) that have been observed for the past four decades. The decline in mortality reflected by a decline in Infant and Childhood Mortality Rates as revealed by the Uganda Demographic and Health Surveys (UDHS) of 1995 and 2000-2001, have also contributed to the high population growth rate.” In other words, the already high population growth in Uganda has further increased over the past 10 years and is now among the highest in the world. Similarly economic development has shown a constant growth over the same period reflecting the energy and determination of Ugandans to improve their living conditions.
It is long overdue that we recognize obvious facts proving that all predictions about an Aids epidemic in Africa have been wrong because they were based on erroneous assumption. Consequently budgets need to be redirected so that they meet the actual needs of the local population. Furthermore, individuals and organizations who have deliberately taken advantage of the hysteria they helped to create, need to be held accountable.

Sida en África — una llamada a la razón, no a la histeria
“¿Se puede salvar a África?” preguntaba Newsweek en su portada remontándose a 1984, reflejando la creencia de occidente que África está condenada a la hambruna, el terror, el desastre y la muerte. Esto se repitió dos años después en un artículo de la misma publicación incluido en un reportaje sobre SIDA en África. El título preparaba la escena: “Äfrica en los años de plaga”. La Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) confirmaba que “para mediados de 1991 se calcula que 1,5 millones de ugandeses, o aproximadamente el 9% de su población general y el 20% de su población sexualmente activa, tendrían infección por VIH”. Se han publicado informes similares de manera repetida durante los últimos 25 años. Las predicciones anunciaban el colapso prácticamente inevitable del país en el que supuestamente originó la epidemia mundial.
Hoy, sin embargo, se lee poco sobre el SIDA en Uganda. Porque todas las predicciones han resultado ser falsas. Resumiendo, el Uganda Bureau of Statistics notificó los resultados de un censo (de 10 años) en setiembre de 2002: “La población de Uganda creció a un ritmo medio anual de 3.4% entre 1991 y 2002. El alto índice de crecimiento de la población es debido principalmente a los continuos altos niveles de fertilidad (aproximadamente siete hijos por mujer) que se han observado en las pasadas cuatro décadas. El descenso en mortalidad reflejado por el descenso en los índices de mortalidad infantil tal y como muestran el Uganda Demographic and Health Surveys (UDHS) de 1995 y 2000-2001, también han contribuido al alto indice de crecimiento de la población.” En otras palabras, el ya existente alto índice de crecimiento de la población en Uganda ha incrementado aún más en los últimos 10 años, encuentrándose ahora entre los más altos del mundo. Igualmente, el desarrollo económico ha demostrado un crecimiento constante en el mismo periodo reflejando la energía y determinación de los ugandeses para mejorar sus condiciones de vida.
Hace mucho tiempo que se debió reconocer hechos obvios que prueban que todas las predicciones sobre la epidemia SIDA en África han sido erróneas porque estaban basadas en asunciones erróneas. Por consiguiente, los presupuestos deben ser redirigidos para que cumplan con las necesidades actuales de la población local. Más aun, se deben pedir cuentas a individuos y organizaciones que se han aprovechado deliberadamente de la histeria que ayudaron a crear.

Roberto Giraldo
Roberto Giraldo MD, Specialist in internal medicine, infectious, immunological and tropical diseases from Universities of Antioquia (Colombia), Kansas and London. Independent AIDS researcher since 1981. Worked with the so-called HIV tests for 13 years at New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center. Author of several critical articles and books on AIDS. Former President of rethinking AIDS. Currently is Director of the Department of Psychosomatic Medicine of the International Society of Analytical Trilogy in São Paulo, Brazil. and

The role of the inner pharmacy in the prevention and treatment of AIDS
A short review of the literature on the Psychoneuroimmunology of AIDS. 1. The role of negative emotions on the genesis of seropositivity and on the development of AIDS. Description of the main personality characteristics, both in rich and poor countries, needed to develop seropositivity and AIDS. 2. Experience dealing with seropositive individuals and patients with AIDS indicates that external therapies, even natural measures, have very little value in the prevention and treatment of AIDS. The real 1healing comes from our inner doctor also known as our inner pharmacy. Revealing the power of consciousness in dealing with seropositivity and AIDS.
El papel de la farmacia interior en la prevención y tratamiento del SIDA
Breve revisión a la literatura sobre la psiconeuroinmunología del SIDA. 1. El papel negativo de las emociones en la génesis de la seropositividad y en el desarrollo del SIDA. Descripción de las principales características de personalidad, tanto en los países ricos como en los pobres, que son necesarias para desarrollar seropositividad y SIDA. 2. La experiencia en el trato con individuos seropositivos y pacientes con SIDA indica que las terapias externas, incluidas las medidas naturales, tienen muy poco valor a la hora de prevenir y tratar el SIDA. La verdadera curación viene de nuestro médico interior también conocido como farmacia interior. Mostrándose el poder de la conciencia a la hora de tratar con la seropositividad y el SIDA.

David Rasnick
David Rasnick received a PhD in chemistry (organic and biochemistry) from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a BS in Biology and a BS in chemistry. He has over 20 years experience in the pharmaceutical/biotech industry working on cancer, emphysema, arthritis, and parasitic diseases. He is former President of Rethinking AIDS: the group for the scientific reappraisal of the HIV hypothesis and former President of the International Coalition for Medical Justice. He was a member of the Presidential AIDS Advisory Panel of South Africa. He published Germ of Lies, a scientifically accurate but reader-friendly novel depicting of the AIDS blunder. Since 1996 he has been working closely with Peter Duesberg at University of California at Berkeley on the aneuploidy (or chromosomal imbalance) theory of cancer.

HIV drugs causing AIDS
It has never been shown that adults or children or fetuses in the womb taking the anti-HIV drugs live longer or at least better lives than a similar group of people not taking the drugs. On the contrary, there is ample evidence that ARVs cause AIDS-defining and other diseases and death. To hide this fact, the AIDS orthodoxy has come up with yet another syndrome given the oxymoronic name Immune Reconstitution Syndrome or IRS. The diseases of IRS are identical with the list of AIDS-defining diseases. IRS is nothing other than AIDS caused by the antiretroviral drugs.
Los medicamentos anti-VIH causan SIDA
Nunca se ha demostrado que ni adultos, ni niños, ni fetos en el útero tomando los medicamentos anti-VIH vivan más o por lo menos mejores vidas que un grupo similar de personas que no los tomen. Por el contrario, hay abundante evidencia de que los ARV causan enfermedades definitorias de SIDA además de otras enfermedades y la muerte. Para ocultar este hecho, otro síndrome más ha surgido por parte de la ortodoxia del SIDA, dándole el nombre oximorónico de Síndrome de Reconstitución Inmunológica o IRS (siglas en inglés). Las enfermedades del IRS son idénticas a las enumeradas en la lista de enfermedades definitorias de SIDA. El IRS no es más que SIDA causado por los fármacos antiretrovirales.

Claus Koehnlein
Claus Köhnlein received his MD in 1982 from the University of Kiel, Germany. From 1983-92, he trained in internal medicine in the Department of Oncology at the University of Kiel. Since 1993, he has been practicing internal medicine in Kiel and treating HIV-positive patients who are critical of antiviral treatment. Co-author of Virus Mania:

The treatment dilemma of HIV-positive patients as a result of the HIV-AIDS hypothesis. The illusion of antiviral treatment.
The study that eventually led to FDA approval of AZT in 1987 was terminated after only 4 months because the treated group seemed to do better than the placebo group. In the following years, however, the mortality in both groups rose significantly. Most physicians thought that this was due to the HIV infection. However, it soon became clear that the recommended dosage of 1.5 g of AZT caused severe bone marrow suppression (AIDS by Prescription) and was killing large numbers of AIDS patients. The dosage of AZT was reduced several times to lower its toxicity and the mortality of patients taking the drug began to decline. Unfortunately, the decline in the mortality was wrongly attributed to the life-saving benefits of AZT (Pallela, 1998). In the mid 1990s, new treatments such as the HIV protease inhibitors were introduced. The HIV protease inhibitors turned out to be very good against fungal infections. The combinations of the cytotoxic antiviral drugs plus protease inhibitors are antibiotic treatments in the true sense of the word—they are anti-life. This may account for their successful short term effects in treating bacterial, viral and protozoal infections. Thus, the symptoms due to infectious diseases that are called AIDS in the presence of a positive HIV-test may improve when the drugs are first used. But soon, the combinations of anti-HIV drugs damage the liver, kidney, central nervous system and bone marrow, which is the very source of the immune system. It would be much better to treat the specific infectious diseases (e.g. TB) with recognized specific treatments instead of using the inevitably toxic anti-life cocktails.
El dilema del tratamiento de personas VIH-positivas como consecuencia de la hipótesis VIH-SIDA: La ilusión del tratamiento antiretroviral.
El estudio que finalmente llevó a la FDA a aprobar el AZT en 1987 se concluyó en sólo 4 meses, dado que el grupo bajo tratamiento parecía reaccionar mejor que el grupo placebo. Sin embargo, en los años siguientes la mortalidad en ambos grupos incrementó considerablemente. La mayoría de médicos pensó que eso era debido a la infección por VIH. Sin embargo, pronto se hizo evidente que la dosis recomendada de 1.5g de AZT causaba supresión severa de la médula ósea (SIDA recetado) y estaba matando a una gran cantidad de pacientes con SIDA. La dosis de AZT se redujo varias veces con el fin de bajar su toxicidad y la mortalidad de pacientes tomando el medicamento empezó a reducirse. Desafortunadamente, el descenso en la mortalidad fue erróneamente atribuido a los beneficios salva-vidas del AZT (Pallela, 1998). A mediados de la década de los 90, se introdujeron nuevos tratamientos como los inhibidores de proteasa. Los inhibidores de proteasa resultaron ser muy efectivos contra infecciones fúngicas. La combinación de medicamentos antivirales citotóxicos e inhibidores de proteasa son tratamientos antibióticos en el verdadero sentido de la palabra – son antivida. Esto podría explicar sus exitosos efectos a corto plazo a la hora de tratar infecciones por protozoas e infecciones bacterianas y virales. Por consiguiente, los síntomas debidos a enfermedades infecciosas, llamadas SIDA cuando van acompañadas de un resultado positivo a un test de VIH, podrían mejorar cuando los medicamentos son utilizados por primera vez. Sin embargo, las combinaciones de los medicamentos anti-VIH pronto dañan el hígado, los riñones, el sistema nervioso central, y la médula ósea que es la verdadera fuente del sistema inmune. Sería mucho mejor tratar aquellas determinadas enfermedades infecciosas (por ejemplo, tuberculosis) con tratamientos específicos reconocidos para dichas enfermedades, en vez de usar los inevitables cócteles tóxicos anti-vida.

Henry Bauer
Henry H. Bauer earned his Ph.D. in 1956 from the University of Sydney. He was trained as an electrochemist and reported his research in numerous publications. He is emeritus professor of chemistry and science studies, and emeritus dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. After his retirement in 1999, he was editor-in-chief of the Journal of Scientific Exploration from 2000 to 2007. You can find details about his book The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory at; the book collates and analyzes, for the first time, the results of more than two decades of HIV testing, revealing that common assumptions about HIV and AIDS are incompatible with the published data. Links to his other books are at His home page is

HIV/AIDS blunder is far from unique in the annals of science and medicine
I believe an enormous hindrance to Rethinking is that most people find it incredible that “everyone” could be so wrong about this for so long, but the history of science and medical science in particular shows it’s far from atypical. This wider historical context also has potential lessons for how the mainstream consensus might eventually be overturned.
El gran error VIH/SIDA está lejos de ser el único en los anales de la ciencia y la medicina
Creo que un enorme obstáculo para Repensar es que a la mayoría de la gente le parece increíble que “todo el mundo” pueda estar tan equivocado acerca de este asunto durante tanto tiempo. Sin embargo, la historia de la ciencia y la ciencia médica en particular, demuestra que está lejos de ser atípico. Este contexto histórico más amplio también ofrece lecciones potenciales sobre cómo puede ser derrocado finalmente el consenso de la opinión pública dominante.

Christopher Black
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer and political activist based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has been involved in high-profile human rights cases investigating alleged war crimes and defending those accused of these crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. Black is currently defending Augustin Ndindiliyimana, the former head of Rwanda’s Gendarmerie or National Police Force, before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania. He and other defense lawyers went on strike in early 2004, claiming that the tribunal was being used by the U.S. for political ends and that a fair hearing was impossible. He has been the subject of several death threats as a result of his work at the Rwanda tribunal and the subject of threats and intimidation from the current RPF Rwandan regime. Christopher Black is listed as a member by the Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV-AIDS Hypothesis. He was a signatory to a December 2008 letter which urged the journal Science to retract a number of scientific papers from the early 1980s in which Robert Gallo alleged HTLV-III (HIV) caused AIDS.

The Criminalization of Illness
The criminalization of people allegedly infected with a virus known as HIV is unique in history. No communicable disease has been criminalized in this manner. It is a phenomenon that has spread to many countries in the world. In some countries specific criminal laws have been passed, as in the UK and some US states for example, in others, such as Canada, the existing criminal law is used. I will briefly outline the various reactions to hiv in the criminal law and its contradictions and inconsistencies, and then discuss what I and others think really lies behind the criminalization of an infection whose existence is not established and whose role in AIDS is refuted.
La ciminalización de la enfermedad
La criminalización de las personas supuestamente infectadas con un virus conocido como VIH, es única en la historia. Ninguna enfermedad contagiosa ha sido criminalizada de esta manera. Es un fenómeno que se ha extendido a muchos países alrededor del mundo. Leyes penales específicas han sido aprobadas en determinados países, por ejemplo el Reino Unido y algunos estados de EE.UU., y otros, como Canadá, utilizan la ley penal existente. Resumiré brevemente las diversas reacciones al VIH por parte de la ley penal y sus contradicciones e inconsecuencias. Posteriormente hablaré sobre lo que yo y otros piensan de lo que en realidad subyace bajo la criminalización de una infección cuya existencia no se ha establecido y cuyo rol en el SIDA ha sido rebatido.

Universidad Libre Pereira Colombia Law Grouppe
The “Free University of Pereira (Colombia) Law Group” is composed of three people. Jose Ramon Lopez Gomez is a university teacher of philosophy and law and has worked with people affected by HIV and AIDS for the past 5 years. Leon Dario Muñoz is a cancer specialist with more than 20 years experience. Rodrigo Andres Medina Diaz is a law student working on a thesis on AIDS and the law who has worked with people affected by HIV and AIDS for the past 3 years.

There are two main positions on the origins, diagnosis, treatment and understanding of AIDS and a Colombian law applies to physicians and patients and resulting from that established by UNAIDS in this regard. A group of teachers, students and researchers have known and studied the medical, the legal, the psychological, and nutritional Rethinking posed by Colombian MD Roberto Giraldo. Today is legally obliged to patients and physicians to follow protocols without taking into account that the Colombian law gives the possibility of applying the proposed cheap and effective treatments for RA. In the Faculty of Law at the Free University of Pereira in Colombia we have the task of studying what is nationally and internationally as legal for AIDS patients and physicians have a legal support for the proposal and receive treatment than those conventional do not give good results, but on the contrary, aggravate the situation of the sick. All our efforts are directed to seek legal action through which patients can claim and defend their rights to good health, to be fully informed, to choose between treatment options to one that better results and to foster better quality of life, even in the midst of his illness. also look through the same mechanisms that physicians can fulfill their Hippocratic duty of disclosure to the patient the whole truth about their illness and various treatment options for patients, as is their right, choose according to his will.
Repensando los aspectos jurídicos del SIDA en Colombia
Existen dos grandes posiciones sobre el origen, diagnóstico, tratamiento y comprensión del SIDA y hay una legislación colombiana aplicable a médicos y pacientes y derivada de lo establecido por la ONUSIDA al respecto. Un grupo de docentes, estudiantes e investigadores hemos conocido y estudiado lo médico, lo legal , lo sicológico, lo nutricional que plantea RA a través del MD colombiano Roberto Giraldo. Hoy en día se obliga legalmente a pacientes y médicos a seguir unos protocolos sin tener en cuenta que la legislación colombiana da la posibilidad de aplicar los baratos y efectivos tratamientos propuestos por RA. En la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad Libre de Pereira Colombia nos hemos dado a la tarea de estudiar lo que hay nacional e internacionalmente en lo jurídico sobre SIDA para que médicos y pacientes tengan un apoyo legal para proponer y recibir tratamientos distintos a los convencionales que no dan buenos resultados sino que , por el contrario, agravan la situación de los enfermos. Todo nuestros esfuerzos están encaminados a buscar que mediante acciones legales los pacientes reclamen y defiendan su derechos a un buen estado salud, a estar totalmente informados , a escoger entre opciones de tratamientos a aquel que de mejores resultados y le propicie mejor calidad de vida, aun en medio de su enfermedad .Además, también buscaremos mediante los mismos mecanismos que los médicos puedan cumplir su hipocrático deber de darle a conocer al paciente toda la verdad sobre su enfermedad y las diversas opciones de tratamiento para que el enfermo, como es su derecho ,escoja según su voluntad.

Joan Shenton
Joan Shenton is founder and administrator of Immunity Resource Foundation. The is the author of Positively False: Exposing the myths around HIV and AIDS. She is an award winning television producer whose company Meditel Productions has specialized in science and medical programmes. She has made over 150 programmes for network television. In 1987 she produced the first documentary challenging the science behind the HIV/ AIDS hypothesis: AIDS—The Unheard Voices (Dispatches Ch4) which won the Royal Television Society Award for Journalism. There followed three further Dispatches documentaries on the subject, The AIDS Catch, AZT—Cause for Concern and AIDS and Africa. Sky News has broadcast Diary of an AIDS Dissident, AIDS Dissidents in Europe and AZT Babies. In 2000, she was granted an interview by the South African president Thabo Mbeki broadcast by M-Net South Africa – Search for Solutions—The Great AIDS Debate. Joan Shenton is currently compiling 15 years of archive material on the AIDS debate for the Immunity Resource Foundation website.

Censorship in the AIDS debate — the success of stifling, muzzling and a strategy of silence
My talk will offer examples from my own experience of some of the most sinister examples of censorship that I and my colleagues have endured, and describe how censorship, largely the result of a very successful strategy of silence adopted by the scientific orthodoxy, has prevented the truth from coming out about the cause or causes of what came to be called Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. I have searched the Immunity Resource Foundation archive and found some filmed gems that have never before been broadcast. They include excepts from interviews with Robert Gallo, Luc Montagnier, Sam Mhlongo, Huw Christie and others that reflect essentially, what we wanted to say but couldn’t.
Censura en el debate SIDA — el éxito de sofocar, de amordazar y de una estrategia de silencio
Mi ponencia ofrecerá ejemplos desde mi experiencia personal sobre algunos de los casos de censura más siniestros que yo y mis colegas hemos sufrido y describe como la censura, en gran medida el resultado de una estrategia de silencio adoptada con mucho éxito por la ortodoxia científica, ha impedido que la verdad salga a la luz sobre la causa o causas de lo que llegó a llamarse Síndrome de Inmunodeficiencia Adquirida. He buscado entre las filmaciones de los archivos de la Immunity Resource Foundation y he encontrado algunas joyas que nunca han sido retransmitidas. Incluyen extractos de entrevistas con Robert Gallo, Luc Montagnier, Sam Mhlongo, Huw Christie y otros, que reflejan en esencia, lo que quisimos pero no pudimos decir.

Marco Ruggiero
Marco Ruggiero, MD, PhD, is a professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Firenze, Italy. He has a specialization in clinical radiology and served as Lieutenant Medical Officer in the Italian Army. In 1984-86 he worked on signal transduction and protease inhibitors as a post-doctoral fellow at Burroughs Wellcome Co. (Research Triangle Park, NC) with Drs. Cuatrecasas and Lapetina. One of his papers on protease inhibitors was presented to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Nobel laureate Sir John Vane. Subsequently he worked as visiting scientist at the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology (Chief: Dr. S. A. Aaronson) of the National Cancer Institute (NIH, Bethesda, Maryland); his research was focussed on oncogenes and signal transduction. In 1992, he moved back to Firenze, Italy, where now he teaches in the Faculties of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences, Medicine and Surgery, and Engineering. He has been the tutor of many students preparing Bachelor or PhD. theses, several of which have been on AIDS with particular emphasis on the non-viral origin of the disease. He is the author of more than 100 scientific papers in journals such as Science, PNAS or Oncogene, and he has been recently appointed Author in Chief of the “Springer Reference Live: Cancer”. His website is:

Religion, Politics, and AIDS in Italy: curious paradoxes from the Ministry of Health
According to the Vatican, AIDS is “a pathology of the spirit”, and not condoms, but “chastity and fidelity are the means to defeat the fatal virus”. The Vatican is highly respected by politicians and common people alike, which has led to curious paradoxes concerning HIV infection and AIDS. The most notable is that the Italian Ministry of Health appears convinced that AIDS is not (or not solely) caused by HIV. In Italy AIDS can be diagnosed in the absence of signs of HIV infection. As of May 2009, there is no surveillance system of new HIV infections, which allows manipulation of data concerning HIV infection. The Ministry of Health does not classify AIDS either as a relevant and particularly interesting infective disease or as highly frequent, or even susceptible to control interventions. AIDS in Italy is confined to two categories of people not particularly liked by the pervasive moral regime—gay men and drug addicts. In about 25% of paediatric AIDS cases the mother was HIV-negative. If the data and the definitions provided for by the Italian Ministry of Health are accurate and consistent, and assuming that the Ministry always uses the acronym “AIDS” to indicate the same pathologic entity, then we are forced to conclude that the Ministry is convinced that HIV is not the sole cause of AIDS in Italy.

Religión, política y SIDA en Italia: curiosas paradojas del Ministerio de Salud
Según el Vaticano, el SIDA es una “patología del espríritu”, y no son los condones, si no “la castidad y fidelidad los medios para derrotar a este virus mortal”. El Vaticano es tenido en mucha consideración tanto por los políticos y como por el pueblo, lo cual ha dado lugar a curiosas paradojas respecto a la infección por VIH y el SIDA. La paradoja más notable es que el Ministerio Italiano de Salud, parece estar convencido que el VIH no es la (o no es la única) causa del SIDA. En Italia, el SIDA se puede diagnosticar en ausencia de indicios que indiquen infección por VIH. A día de hoy, mayo de 2009, un sistema de censo nacional de nuevos diagnósticos de infecciones por VIH no está disponible, lo cual permite la manipulación de datos con respecto a la infección por VIH. El ministerio de salud no clasifica el SIDA ni como una enfermedad infecciosa relevante ni particularmente interesante, ni tampoco como una patología muy frecuente, ni siquiera como una enfermedad susceptible a intervenciones de control. El SIDA en Italia esta confinado a dos categorías de personas que no son de particular agrado del régimen moral dominante – hombres gays y drogadictos. Aproximadamente en el 25% de casos de SIDA pediátricos la madre era VIH-negativa. Si los datos y definiciones proporcionados por el Ministerio Italiano de Salud son precisos y consistentes, y asumiendo que el Ministerio siempre utiliza el acrónimo “SIDA” para indicar la misma entidad patológica, entonces estamos obligados a concluir que el Ministerio está convencido que el VIH no es la única causa del SIDA en Italia.

Daniele Mandrioli
Daniele Mandrioli, M.D, 26 years old. He obtained his M.D. degree in 2009 from the University of Bologna, Italy, including a thesis on the Chemical-AIDS hypothesis. His thesis work was supervised by Prof. Giovanni Pierini, toxicologist, and realised thanks to his experiences at Dr. Koehnlein’s practice in 2008. In 2007/2008 he was a Medical Student at Charité—Universitätsmedizin, Berlin. He is a member of the “Conflict of Interest Formation Program”, a group where Medical Doctors and Medical Students discuss conflict of interest in medicine, which was created by the Center for International Health, Bologna with the help of NoGraziePagoIo (Italian branch of Nofreelunch). In the summer of 2009 he attended the BSRT International Summer School on Innovative Approaches in Regenerative Medicine in Berlin.

The Italian epidemiology supports the chemical AIDS theory
The Italian epidemiology supports the chemical AIDS theory. The AIDS cases went down in the last 10 years just among the drug abusers (4737 to 680). This happened because of the decline in Heroin abuse. Moreover, in Italy just 1/3 of HIV-positive people use the anti-HIV drugs, which means that antiretroviral use cannot account for the decline in AIDS cases (from 5052 to 1144) in the last 10 years. Moreover, scanning electron microscope images (SEM) help us see how the immune system could be stressed by the impurities that we can find in a heroin doses.
La epidemiología italiana apoya la teoría química del SIDA
La epidemiología italiana apoya la teoría química del SIDA. En los últimos 10 años, sólo se redujeron los casos de SIDA entre los drogadictos (de 4737 a 680). Esto es debido a la caída en el abuso del consumo de heroína. Además, en Italia sólo 1/3 de los pacientes utilizan los ARV, por lo que esto no podría explicar el descenso en los casos de SIDA de los últimos 10 años (de 5052 a 1144). Asimismo, algunas imágenes al microscopio electrónico de barrido o SEM (siglas en inglés), nos ayudarán a ver como el sistema inmune podría estar estresado por las impurezas que se pueden encontrar en una dosis de heroína.

Karri Stokely
Karri is a 43 year old mother of two children, ages 17 and 14. She and her husband, Joe, have been married for 19 years. Karri’s background is in emergency medicine; she worked as a Paramedic, then in out-patient surgery until she had her children. As a stay-at-home mom, she has successfully home schooled both kids for the past 12 years. “It has been such a wonderful experience, quite a blessing and a privilege to build relationships with them while home-schooling” says Karri. In her spare time, Karri enjoys exercise, reading, and teaching classes on whole/living foods nutrition. Karri makes her own herbal tinctures and believes the key to good health is through natural remedies, sprouting, juicing and organic, living foods. One of Karri’s favorite quotes is: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”—Hippocrates
Diagnosed with AIDS after a positive HIV test in 1996, Karri followed the current orthodox paradigm of treating AIDS for 11 years until she and Joe discovered there was another side to the story—One they had never heard or been told. Karri has fully regained her health and has successfully been off pharmaceutical drugs for 2 ½ years.
Karri and her family reside in Florida and you can find out more about them at:

How I fell victim to the AIDS machine
My story is one of how I fell victim to the AIDS machine and how my husband and I found out the truth surrounding this controversy after I had been taking the HIV drugs for 11 years. I was given an AIDS diagnosis in 1996, based on nothing but a t-cell count. I experienced many side effects from the drugs over the years, ranging from nausea and vomiting, muscle cramps, anemia, insomnia, wasting, and hair falling out. We were led to believe that these were all symptoms of HIV disease, or having full blown AIDS. My doctor never told us that these symptoms could be medication related. Since stopping all the medications in April 2007, I have fully regained my health and well-being, and all side effects have disappeared. I do have some concerns about any long-term, unseen damage these poisons may have done to me, but I try not to worry about it, as I live my life as healthy as possible.
Como caí víctima de la máquina SIDA
Mi historia trata sobre como caí víctima de la máquina SIDA y como, tras llevar 11 años tomando los medicamentos anti-VIH, mi marido y yo descubrimos la verdad en torno a esta controversia. En 1996 me diagnosticaron SIDA basado únicamente en un recuento de células T. Sufrí muchos efectos secundarios producidos por los fármacos que iban desde náuseas y vómitos, calambres musculares, anemia, insomnio, consunción y caída del cabello.
Nos hicieron creer que estos síntomas eran propios de la enfermedad por VIH, o un estadio SIDA completamente desarrollado. Mi doctor nunca nos informó que estos síntomas pudiesen estar relacionados con la medicación. Desde que deje de tomar los medicamentos en abril del 2007, he recuperado íntegramente mi salud y bienestar, y todos los efectos secundarios han desaparecido. Tengo algunas preocupaciones acerca de cualquier daño que me haya podido causar estos venenos a largo plazo y que haya podido pasar inadvertido, pero intento no preocuparme de esto mientras vivo mi vida de la manera más sana posible.

Noreen Martin
After having survived cancer, hepatitis, and having been diagnosed with full-blown AIDS, she knew that it was time to make major changes in her life, as she did not think that modern medicine holds out much hope for life-threatening diseases. Having to cope with these diseases in a lifetime would probably be enough to push most people over the edge. However, Noreen found that all the hurdles that one has to overcome in life only go to make one stronger. She has never accepted that these diseases, or any other for that matter, were incurable. She believes that the body and the mind have a great healing capacity if given time and the proper ingredients to work with. She has since rebuilt her health, is not on anti-retroviral medication, but takes an enhancer called low dose naltrexone. She has completed a nutritional course and a master herbalist program and soon will have a Bachelor of Science in Holistic Nutrition. She is also working on a naturopathy degree. Noreen’s program of recovery started by getting educated about health issues, then she proceeded to detoxification, eliminated negative influences and added positive ones which included vitamins, supplements, and herbal products. She paid special attention to all of the food and drinks which went into her body, including products used on the body. Her health wasn’t destroyed in a day, neither does she think it could be rebuilt in a day. She took one day at a time and pressed forward with good health habits and a positive attitude. Her latest book is Perfect Immunity Against Disease

AIDS, Big Deal, Next!: A journey to hell and back with AIDS
A journey to hell and back with AIDS that nearly killed me to wonderful health without the HAART. When life gives one lemons, make lemonade as there is always a silver lining to be found in any situation!
SIDA, no es para tanto, ¡El siguiente!: Un viaje de ida y vuelta al infierno con el SIDA
Un viaje de ida al infierno con el SIDA que casi me mata y de vuelta a una maravillosa salud sin los HAART. Cuando la vida te da un limón, haz limonada ya que en cada situación no hay mal que por bien no venga!

Tony Lance
Tony Lance is a freelance writer and editor living near Nashville, TN. He’s been active in the rethinking community since 1997 when he co-founded the HEAL-Atlanta chapter (now defunct). From 2004-2008 he ran an Alive and Well-affiliated peer support group in NYC. In 2008 he wrote an article exploring the connection between intestinal dysbiosis and immune dysfunction in gay men that was published on Dr. Henry Bauer’s blog.

Challenges faced by gays who question HIV/AIDS with implications for dissidents
For several decades HIV/AIDS has been a rallying point for the gay community, bringing it together against a perceived common threat and, in the process, catalyzing the gay rights movement. Consequently, there is a shared sense of pride in this group about the manner in which they’ve responded to the issue, inextricably linking HIV/AIDS to the collective esteem of many gay men and women. Where does that leave those in the community who question HIV/AIDS? What challenges does that pose for dissidents at large?
Desafíos a los que se enfrentan los gays que cuestionan el VIH/SIDA y sus consecuencias para los disidentes
Durante varias décadas el VIH/SIDA ha sido un motivo de reivindicación para la comunidad gay, aunándola contra lo que se percibe como una amenaza común y, en ese proceso, catalizando el movimiento por los derechos de los gays. Por consiguiente, existe en este grupo un sentimiento compartido de orgullo sobre la manera en que han reaccionado a la cuestión, vinculando de manera inextricable el VIH/SIDA a la estima colectiva de muchos hombres y mujeres gays. ¿Dónde deja esto a aquellos en la comunidad que cuestionan el VIH/SIDA? ¿Que desafíos plantea esto para los disidentes en general?

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That's odd - the more HIV we find the more AIDS diagnoses and AIDS deaths tail off.  This seems very odd - is it possible?  Something must be very wrong, somewhere.  Let's ask Anthony Fauci to explain.Notably absent from the impressive lineup are some of the best authors of books against the prevailing wisdom, including Rebecca Culshaw author of Science Sold Out, and Harvey Bialy, author of Oncogenes, Aneuploidy and AIDS. To some extent this absence reflects the vicious politics used to repress the view that HIV/AIDS science is profoundly incorrect and in urgent need of review and revision, which will undoubtedly be the theme of the conference.

The Rethinking AIDS 2009 Conference “will consist of talks that question the widely held dogma that HIV causes AIDS, including whether HIV exists, whether it is sexually transmitted, whether HIV tests are accurate and whether AIDS drugs are safe and effective. The social, psychologic and legal impacts of an HIV diagnosis will also be considered, as well as alternative health approaches for people whose health has been damaged by an HIV diagnosis, by the prescription of AIDS drugs or who have been diagnosed with an AIDS-defining illness.”

Brent Leung’s excellent documentary House of Numbers, revealing the disarray of leading scientists who promote the current paradigm and propagandize in its favor will be shown on Saturday afternoon at 4.30pm. Joan Shenton’s talk will also include her own found gems of the kind that decorate House of Numbers: statements by HIV/AIDS scientists which support the statement and claims of their critics, such that the critics are vindicated by the very people that strive so determinedly to silence them. “I have searched the Immunity Resource Foundation archive and found some filmed gems that have never before been broadcast. They include excepts from interviews with Robert Gallo, Luc Montagnier, Sam Mhlongo, Huw Christie and others that reflect essentially, what we wanted to say but couldnh’t.”

Media are invited to all conference sessions including the documentary screening and the Welcome Cocktail after the Keynote Lecture today, Friday (Nov 6) (register in advance by filling out the attached registration form and emailing it back to or call Siggi Sachs at (510) 717-8635.

Here is the program:

Rethinking AIDS 2009 Conference

Friday November 6th

Opening Session
Welcome and introduction of Keynote Speaker by David Crowe (Calgary, Canada)
Keynote Lecture: The media, HIV/AIDS, and the making of public “understandings”
by Michael Tracey (Boulder, CO, USA)
7:15 Welcome Cocktail

Saturday November 7

Morning Session Chaired by Charles Geshekter
8:00 1. History of the AIDS controversy spanning three decades by John Lauritsen
(Dorchester, MA, USA)
8:40 2. HIV-AIDS hypothesis out of touch with South African AIDS—a new
perspective by Peter Duesberg (Berkeley, CA, USA)
9:20 3. Questioning the existence of HIV by Etienne de Harven (Saint Cézaire, France)
10:00 Coffee Break
Chaired by Helen Lauer
10:30 4. The deception and dishonesty of African AIDS statistics by Charles Geshekter (Chico, CA, USA)
11:10 5. Aids in Africa—a call for sense not hysteria by Christian Fiala (Vienna, Austria)
11:50 6. The role of the inner pharmacy in the prevention and treatment of AIDS by
Roberto Giraldo (São Paolo, Brasil)
12:30 Lunch

Afternoon Session

Chaired by Christian Fiala
2:00 7. HIV drugs causing AIDS by David Rasnick (Oakland, CA, USA)
2:40 8. The treatment dilemma of HIV-positive patients as a result of the HIV-AIDS hypothesis: The illusion of antiviral treatment by Claus Koehnlein (Kiel, Germany)
3:20 9. HIV/AIDS blunder is far from unique in the annals of science and
medicine by Henry Bauer (Blacksburg, VA, USA)
4:00 Coffee Break
4:30 Screening of Brent Leung’s documentary, House of Numbers

7:00 Conference Banquet ($100)

Sunday November 8th

Morning Session Chaired by Roberto Giraldo

8:00 10. The criminalization of illness by Chris Black (Toronto, Canada)
8:30 11. Rethinking legal aspects of AIDS in Colombia by Rodrigo Andres Medina Diaz, Jose Ramon Lopez Gomez (Universidad Libre Pereira Colombia Law Group, Pereira, Colombia)
9:00 12. Censorship in the AIDS debate—the success of stifling, muzzling and a strategy of silence by Joan Shenton (London, UK)
9:30 Coffee Break
Chaired by Joan Shenton & Dale DeMatteo
9:45 13. Religion, politics, and AIDS in Italy: curious paradoxes from the Ministry of Health by Marco Ruggiero (Florence, Italy)
10:15 14. The Italian epidemiology supports the chemical AIDS theory by Daniele Mandrioli (Bologna, Italy)
10:45 15. How I fell victim to the AIDS machine by Karri Stokely (Lakeland, FL, USA)
11:00 16. Challenges faced by gays who question HIV/AIDS with implications for dissidents by Tony Lance (Nashville, TN, USA)
11:15 Panel discussion: Panelists: Celia Farber, Gary Null, Joan Shenton, and Michael Tracey Moderator: David Crowe
12:00 Closing Remarks

Conference organized by Rethinking AIDS
or contact at

Whether any of this will have any influence on the political scene in this high spending arena is a question. Currently the leaders of HIV/AIDS are clamoring as loudly as ever for increased funding, and the idea that spending is based on a grand error maintained by self serving scientists against all logic and evidence is not something that will make itself heard until the New York Times opens up its columns to all the news fit to print on this issue, or some other watershed change comes about.

Meanwhile, one wonders about the priorities of the conference organizers themselves when they schedule the remarkable and rarely heard analyst John Lauritsen and the distinguished Peter Duesberg to speak at the ungodly hours of 8 am and 8.40 am on Saturday morning.

It reminds us of the New York conference of Rethinking AIDS where Peter Duesberg, the key speaker, was rushed off stage before he could even complete his presentation, not to mention answer any questions, so that the program schedule could be maintained.

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