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blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.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

The Lazarus Effect – Before and After photos

Bono-Clinton-GBC AIDS propaganda tsunami

But Gay and Lesbian Times prints sane piece

The latest glossy issue of Vanity Fair, with Bono as guest editor, has reached subscribers in the nick of time, rescuing Anthony Fauci, the NIAID and the CDC from their current embarrassment over Andrew “They told me I wasn’t infectious” Speaker eluding their net by reentering the US via Canada.

Speaker looked so healthy with his “deadly” extensively drug resistant XDR TB that the unlucky border agent didn’t stop him, assuming that the order to do so was discretionary. (One wonders, do border guards apply the same enlightened principle apply to people who are HIV positive, currently barred from entering the US without a waiver?)

The guard’s behavior seems sensible enough. Apparently Speaker’s TB behaves much the same as other forms of TB, the ones which drugs do deal with effectively. That is to say, it sits quietly in the system and will only become active if the immune system is damaged by some other cause. One third of the people in the world carry inactive TB.

At the hearings, which mostly seemed to worry about why the guard had relied on his own common sense, Dr. Julie Gerberding, Director CDC confirmed that Speaker was not highly contagious.

A few facts about TB

Here’s a pretty good rundown of the story with these and other official facts: U.S. Tuberculosis Case Raises Questions on Global Disease Issues

Obviously TB is a major concern globally with 9 million cases and 1.6 million dying each year, according to official statistics. Now there are said to be 50,000 cases of XDR TB annually, and building, as TB evolves beyond the current drug armory. If it really has only a five year outlook for survival, we wish Mr Speaker well.

But we cannot help wondering, if a normally healthy immune system keeps TB down, why the panic, with the unfortunate Speaker now publicly branded with the reputation of being selfish and more interested in getting married in Italy than preserving fellow passengers from his non contagious infection, which plenty of them have already albeit in a less drug resistant form?

We ask merely for information. Somehow we sense yet another exhibition of how important alarmist press coverage is to the funding campaigns of health apparatchiks.

Glossy proves meds work fine

Anyhow, the new Vanity Fair is certainly an even bigger score in propaganda terms for Anthony Fauci, since Bono fills its pages with everyone from Oprah Winfrey and Clinton to Barack Obama confirming that AIDS drugs must be delivered in huge quantities if the suffering population of the sub-Sahara is not to be decimated.

In fact, there is a special photo segment where individual cases of before-and-after are presented. We doubt that there will be a single influential reader left unpersuaded by this late-night-TV style presentation of the value of the “meds”.

118_04631.JPG‘Before’ in every case is a haggard, ravaged and scared looking black face with bloodshot eyes and hopeless expression. ‘After’ is six months later, shining, vibrant and with an enormous white grin, free of pestilence and despair and brimming with confidence and gratitude.

Why meds work – another view

Not that we argue with the truth of this representation. As we have explained rather often in this blog, the antiretroviral cocktail can undoubtedly give the impression of great short term benefit, since it is an effective poison which can immediately defeat the parasites which infest starving, disease ridden and malnourished people, or indeed anyone with a weakened immune system.

In other words, in the short run, ARVs are an effective substitute for a strong immune system. Not to mention that antibiotics and that excellent immune restorative, food, are often bundled with ARVs in Africa.

The issue, however, is whether the drugs have anything to do with HIV and its supposed threat to the immune system, as yet unproven and unexplained by the medical or scientific literature.

With TB so rampant in Africa, and known to cause a positive HIV∫AIDS antibody test (see previous posts and Comments) perhaps ARVs are effective against many patients because they have TB.

Why Dr Manto makes sense

Given the serious and eventually often fatal effects of the drug cocktail on the liver and kidney, however, it would seem a poor bargain for the patient who entrusts his or her welfare to modern Western medicine, rather than the beetroot, potatoes and other vegetable supplements to ARVs advocated by Dr Beetroot, the admirable Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, MD.

We sympathise with Dr Manto’s disgust with the medically ignorant activists who have insulted her in Toronto and since, and we well understand why she withdrew from the recently AIDS conference in South Africa. (See Manto’s boycott casts pall over Aids talks.

Unfortunately, the 4000 delegates in Durban were more than delighted with Manto’s retreat and at the prospect of more ARVs to be delivered to South Africa in future, with the warm support of David Allen, the spokesman for the Gates Foundation (see here S.Africa AIDS summit ends with unity, call to arms)

Drug pushers all

Meanwhile Bill Clinton is expressing decisive confidence in the power of the drugs he has done so much to raise money for to rescue Africa from its AIDS misery. Asked by a reporter recently how the drugs did, he gave them his celebrity endorsement: “Very well”. He recently struck a $100 million deal to deliver even more of them for even less. As he told us earlier, his reasoning remains that if the drugs work, then HIV must cause AIDS.

It is disappointing that like everyone else in the top socio-political firmament the former Rhodes scholar has fallen for this naive line of argument, but we can only remind readers that this is politics, and that with a wife running for President and a reputation of his own to be recovered, Clinton would have to change into a 21st Century Gandhi before we could reasonably ask him to consider whether this is good logic or not, let alone expect him to do anything about it if it isn’t.

After all, the next thing on his calendar is accepting a nice award from the Global Coalition to Fight AIDS at the Natural History Museum, where he will give the keynote speech. Here is the Media Advisory sent out by the pr man, David Stearns, about this corporate promotional event:Media Advisory: Former President Bill Clinton and Special Guests Honor Private Sector Fight Against HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria at 2007 GBC Awards Gala

MEDIA ADVISORY

June 5, 2007

Former President Bill Clinton and other Special Guests to Honor Private Sector Fight Against HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria at 2007 GBC Awards Gala

What: The Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria will honor former President Bill Clinton at its 6th Annual Awards for Business Excellence Gala. The Gala will also honor eight leading companies from the energy, pharmaceutical, beverage, entertainment and financial industries for their best practice programs in the fight against the three epidemics.

More than 700 high ranking guests from the private sector, national governments, NGOs, multilaterals and other champions from the HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria fields will gather to pay tribute to corporate best practices and mobilize additional business action in the effort.

Who: GBC honoring President Bill Clinton for his outstanding leadership on HIV/AIDS and global health. Other featured speakers & guests will include: GBC President & CEO Ambassador Richard Holbrooke; Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson; Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx; Zambian author and noted AIDS activist Ophelia Haanyama Orum; NBA star Samuel Dalembert of the Philadelphia 76ers; Malaria No More Co-Chair Ray Chambers, GBC Executive Director Dr. John Tedstrom, Global Fund Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine and Gala Chair Amy Robbins.

When: Wednesday, June 13, 2007; 7 p.m.

Location: American Museum of Natural History, Milstein Hall of Ocean Life
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, New York

Media Contact: Media interested in attending must RSVP in advance to:

David Stearns
GBC Media Relations Manager
212.584.1633 (direct) / 646.361.8058 (mobile)
dstearns@businessfightsaids.org

About GBC
The Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GBC) is an alliance of 220 international companies leading the private sector fight against these three epidemics. GBC works to leverage the business sector’s unique skills and expertise – including comprehensive workplace policies; community programs; core competencies; leadership and advocacy and public-private partnerships – in the global drive to eradicate these deadly illnesses. The official focal point of the private sector delegation to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, GBC maintains offices in New York, Paris, Johannesburg, Beijing, Geneva, Nairobi, Moscow, and Kiev.

www.businessfightsaids.org / www.businessfightsmalaria.org / www.businessfightstb.org

A candle lights at GLT

Meanwhile, a tiny counter to this overwhelming propaganda tsunami, sent around the world by Bono and Vanity Fair (complete with upfront ads for Changing the World by buying Red items at Gap – “introducing BabyGap and GapKids (product Red)”) is offered as a sop for dissidents contemplating all this who do not have their Therapy Buddy handy.

The Gay and Lesbian Times in San Diego has managed a less rabid than normal article on the media-censored (by NIAID and Dr Anthony Fauci, John P. Moore, etc) scientific dispute on whether HIV is the valid cause of AIDS or not.

AIDS dissidents: blinded by pseudoscience or asking the right questions? by Pat Sherman is a good effort in that it is fairly balanced and the dissidents are not discredited out of hand. In fact, they are treated with respect and quoted at reasonable length, sounding more scientific than some of the comments of John P. Moore.

This may be a first for a gay journal, other than the late lamented Native of New York City, Chuck Ortleb’s brave but doomed venture which questioned HIV∫AIDS think from the beginning, only to be defeated by activist supporters of the gay-exculpating theory.

Some nice admissions and telling stories

There is even at least one damaging quote from a mainstream researcher, who apparently is too young to understand the policy of Total Impenetrable Wall of Non-admission of Any Flaw followed by the paradigm protectors senior to him.

However, Dr. Davey Smith, an assistant adjunct professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at UCSD, said it has been his experience that the virus hasn’t been mutating.
“There’s been a bunch of papers around about that,” said Smith, who agreed to answer some specific questions about HIV, so long as they were removed from the issue of the AIDS dissidents. “I don’t think there’s really much difference between the virus that is circulating now and the virus that was circulating 20 years ago.”

Historian Charles Geshekter is given some space to suggest exactly how evasive the paradigm establishment is in HIV∫AIDS and why:

Earlier this year, Geshekter was invited to discuss his views with other dissidents and AIDS researchers in Mexico City, in anticipation of the upcoming International AIDS Conference, to be held in Mexico City in August 2008.
Ricardo Rocha, a veteran journalist with TV Azteca, had scheduled a televised debate between dissidents and AIDS researchers as part of a three-hour series questioning established HIV/AIDS science.
The researchers agreed to the debate on the condition that they first be granted one hour of airtime alone to explain the prevailing AIDS theory and refute the dissidents’ claims. When their segment was over, the Mexican researchers declined to stay for the televised debate.
“We were watching this live in another room,” Geshekter recalled. “When Ricardo said, ‘We’ll have a chance to debate later the efficacy and the toxicity of Nevarapine and AZT and any number of these other chemicals that are given to people to fight HIV,’ they said, ‘We’re not going to be here for the second segment.’ Ricardo tried to shame them. He told them, ‘If you’re not here, I’m going to have your four seats with your names on them vacant on the set and I’m going to explain to the audience why you’re not there.’ When that program was over, they scurried out the back door.”
Geshekter said he also suspects that too much is at stake to have even one stone lodged at what he views as a scientific glass house.
“If I come along and I say that [current AIDS theory] is a fruitless, lost, counterproductive and barren hypothesis, I’m basically saying that 25 years of an enormous amount of energy and advertising and money has been sent down a rat hole,” he said. “That absolutely cannot be accepted…. This is not about science any longer. This is a religious crusade, and anyone who challenges the religious crusade must be punished, because that’s a heresy.”

AIDS dissidents: blinded by pseudoscience or asking the right questions?
by Pat Sherman
Published Thursday, 07-Jun-2007 in issue 1015

It’s seemingly as implausible as if the moon landing had been faked on a Hollywood soundstage. It’s the conspiracy theory to end all conspiracy theories. Yet a group of highly accredited scientists contends it’s true: that HIV is not the cause of AIDS and that pharmaceutical companies, the World Health Organization, governments and AIDS researchers are all in collusion to suppress the truth and keep the multi-billion-dollar HIV/AIDS gravy train rolling.
These “AIDS Denialists,” as the scientific establishment pejoratively refers to the group, include Nobel Prize recipients, Africa historians, chemists, statisticians and virologists.
They say that the first U.S. AIDS cases were caused, not by HIV infection spread through unprotected sex, but by illicit drug use, amyl nitrate sniffing and exposure to antibiotics used to combat venereal diseases rampant in the 1970s – a hypothesis that gained some traction in the late ’80s and early ’90s, but that AIDS researchers thought had subsided.
“[The AIDS dissident movement] basically says that every scientist, every physician and every clinician out of the hundreds of thousands of professionals working worldwide on this is either some kind of malicious scumbag who will do anything for money, or we’re all stupid,” said AIDS researcher John P. Moore, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Cornell University, the recipient of AIDS drug manufacturer Bristol-Myers Squibb’s $500,000 “Freedom To Discover” grant and the man HIV dissidents refer to as the most “unashamed” spokesperson for the AIDS establishment.
Despite the dissident scientists’ credentials, each has, more or less, been discredited, excommunicated or labeled a “crackpot” or purveyor of pseudoscience for disputing a correlation between HIV and AIDS. However, a March 2006 article in Harper’s magazine gave the theory serious attention. Although it was published 22 years after then President Reagan’s secretary of health and human services, Margaret Heckler, and virologist, Robert Gallo, announced the discovery of HIV, and one might have expected the response from the HIV/AIDS establishment to have been a collective yawn, the article instead sounded universal alarm among those in the HIV/AIDS field.
HIV educators and researchers swiftly mobilized to counter the arguments put forth in the article, “Out of Control: AIDS and the Corruption of Medical Science,” by longtime AIDS dissident Celia Farber. And media from The Nation to the New York Times denounced the story, even while conceding that the first half of the article, which exposed gross mishandling of HIV drug trials in Africa and the United States, was a solid piece of investigative journalism. The Columbia Journalism Review, while deriding Harper’s for racing “right over the edge of a cliff,” offered temperate praise for the first half of Farber’s article, stating: “Her argument is that AIDS has become an industry and a certain kind of sloppiness has entered the search for new anti-retroviral drugs. So far, so good, and if this were the only story Farber hoped to tell, we might well be tipping our hat to her.”
But it was not the only story the former Spin magazine reporter had to tell. Citing the man considered to be the founding father of AIDS dissidents, University of California, Berkeley molecular and cell biologist, Peter Duesberg, Farber painted a grim picture of a profit-hungry pharmaceutical industry, one knowingly promoting the “false” notion that HIV causes AIDS in order to peddle its toxic drugs – drugs Farber, Duesberg and other AIDS dissidents point to as the current cause of AIDS in the U.S. and Europe.
Moore and a group of researchers and AIDS activists promptly fired back at Harper’s. Demanding a retraction with at least 50 corrections and clarifications, the team launched its own Web site, aidstruth.org, to refute the claims Farber put forth. Far from being merely an objective refutation of the dissidents’ argument, the site includes speculation about Duesberg’s presumed homophobia and a “humor” section with an entry titled, “Crank How to – a definitive step by step guide” (i.e. “Step one: Develop a wacky idea”).
“The reason we take these people on is because they kill people,” Moore said. “If you persuade someone that HIV is harmless and then that person engages in unsafe sex or doesn’t take effective therapies, you’re killing that person. We didn’t want to see any resurgence of this nonsense in the mainstream American media.”
While Moore and others have taken on the dissidents with fervor, the majority of those in the HIV/AIDS field refuse to debate the dissidents or address their questions about the mysterious nature of HIV.
Asked for a response to the dissidents’ claims, a spokesperson for the UCSD Antiviral Research Center issued the following statement, in part: “A number of investigators at UCSD Medical Center … [and] School of Medicine all agree that knowledgeable people no longer engage in debate with HIV deniers because of the overwhelming scientific evidence that HIV causes AIDS and the lack of willingness of these HIV deniers to accept this overwhelming evidence.”
One San Diego-based HIV researcher who has worked on HIV drug trials agreed to comment on the dissidents’ views only on the condition that his anonymity be protected.
“I can totally understand how someone would want to deny the presence of this horrible thing, especially if someone had it,” he said. “Denial is a basic, human psychological protective mechanism. However, you can’t usually reason somebody out of denial, ever – and the more exposure they get and the more people put it up as a legitimate theory, the more play it gets and the more harm it does in the community.”
Certainly, it would seem scientists such as Duesberg, a tenured professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley, the recipient of the Outstanding Investigator Grant from the National Institutes of Health and a once-revered expert in the field of retroviruses, would have everything to gain from jumping off the denial bandwagon.
“I could easily conform,” Duesberg told the Gay & Lesbian Times. “I would be right there up on top again.”
Since he began questioning the accepted model of HIV in 1987, Duesberg hasn’t received a dime in government funding.
“Since I questioned HIV/AIDS, I’m only teaching the lab course,” he said. “I haven’t had a graduate student in 15 years.
“Some of [the students], under the condition of anonymity, tell me that this is what they were told. ‘You spent a lot of time and paid a high price to get into Berkeley. Duesberg is not the way to go…. This will kill your career.’ They have done a fairly good job excommunicating me.”
However, not all Duesberg’s work has been dismissed. Known for isolating the first cancer gene in 1970, his theory that cancer is caused by irregularities in the chromosomes, not the genes, was published this year in Scientific American. While lauding his ideas, however, the journal carefully covered its tracks in regard to Duesberg’s unpopular HIV theories, via an editorial labeling him “a pariah with good ideas.”
When questioned as to why AIDS, if not caused by a virus spread through anal intercourse, was first only found in gay men – bypassing Liza Minnelli and other heterosexual denizens of the Studio 54 drug scene – Duesberg’s answer hinted more at his alleged conservative views than any solid ideas about science.
“You don’t see it in the entire gay population,” he said. “You’re looking at a very small minority of the gay population who come to San Francisco or New York from the Midwest and so forth and they try to make it there as gay guys. There’s peer pressure among them to have 20 or 30 dates in a weekend and wear a leather jacket – God knows what it is.”
In order to have this much sex, Duesberg contends, gay men acquired a ravenous appetite for toxic drugs.
“Heterosexuals tend to get married or tend to go steady, so then the fun is over in this regard,” Duesberg said. “What we call the 10-year latent period of HIV is a euphemism for the time it takes to cause irreversible damage by drug use. It’s the same with alcohol; it’s the same with smoking.”
Lingering questions
Dissenters also contend that HIV has yet to be isolated.
“I don’t know whether HIV exists or not,” said retired Virginia Tech professor of electrochemistry, Henry Bauer, author of The Origins, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory. “What’s clear is that HIV tests do not detect viral particles – only antibodies – and it’s clear that they’ve never been isolated.”
Duesberg said the problem with HIV is that it behaves markedly differently than typical viruses, which reproduce rapidly. The average 10-year period it takes from the time someone is infected with HIV to the time they receive an AIDS diagnosis is circumspect, he said.
“There cannot be a slow virus,” Duesberg maintained. “If there is one, whoever proves it deserves the Nobel Prize in virology and in biochemistry…. A virus replicates like a biological chain reaction. It doubles its template every 20 minutes. This is not a process you can slow down or stop…. There’s no way this thing could be delayed for 10 years…. They keep dancing around [the issue], with guys like [Pawel] Liberski inventing ‘slow viruses,’ but it’s a term for not knowing what happened.”
Moore attributed Duesberg’s statement to “pure ignorance.”
“It just demonstrates he doesn’t read or understand HIV literature,” Moore said. “It’s just a silly statement based on how he thinks a virus should behave. He has no … right to claim that he knows everything about how every virus interacts with every human or animal immune system…. Where is the law of virology that says a virus can only interact with an organism in one particular way? … It’s like saying that all mammals are the same or all plants are the same. They’re not.”
Bauer is part of a group of scientists with an interest in questioning scientific orthodoxies. He said he recently pored over what he believes to be the most comprehensive collection of HIV test data analyzed to date, including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) files and medical journals at Virginia Tech.
Bauer believes it is not sexual transmission that makes one susceptible to HIV infection, but racially determined genetic factors.
“The HIV test data do not look like what you get for a sexually transmitted agent,” Bauer said. “Any group that you look at, child-bearing women, Marines, blood donors, whatever, the variation of the likelihood of a positive-HIV test with AIDS is the same….
“Overall,” Bauer said, “it’s roughly that African-Americans test HIV-positive five times or more than white Americans; Asian-Americans test positive about two-thirds as often as white Americans…. Amongst homosexuals, you find these racial disparities in the same order – [though] they’re not as great.”
Bauer conceded, however, that the high rate of HIV-positive [test results] among gay men is something that needs to be studied.

“[The AIDS dissident movement] basically says that every scientist, every physician and every clinician out of the hundreds of thousands of professionals working worldwide on this is either some kind of malicious scumbag who will do anything for money, or we’re all stupid.

“There are plenty of gay men who have been HIV-positive for 20 years without becoming ill and without having antiretroviral treatment,” he said.
Time will tell
Bauer points to numerous cases throughout history in which long-held scientific theories have been proven incorrect.
For example, in 2005, two Australians won the Nobel Prize in physiology for proving that it is bacteria, not stress, that causes ulcers – a previously discredited theory. In 1976, a Nobel Prize was awarded to researchers who proved that Kuru, a brain disease found among New Guinea natives, was not caused by a lentivirus, which is what HIV is believed to be, but by prions, the source of Mad Cow Disease.
AIDS in Africa: Same name, different disease?
Charles Geshekter, an economist and Africa specialist in the history department at California State University, Chico, has long criticized the definition of AIDS in Africa, claiming that it is “not a microbial problem to be controlled through sexual abstinence, behavior modification, condoms and drugs (the so-called “ABCs” of AIDS interventions),” but a misnomer for a set of pre-existing conditions such as diarrhea, high fever, weight loss and a dry cough.
Geshekter said he formed his view based on his travels in the Great Horn region of Africa, which includes Ethiopia and Somalia, in the 1970s and 1980s. He questions how the AIDS establishment was able to collect such firm statistics on Africa.
“I was always aware of how hard it was to get good, reliable statistics on those things in Somalia,” Geshekter said. “I started to wonder: ‘Where did they get these numbers from? How are they so reliable and accurate about AIDS cases in Congo or Uganda or Rwanda or Tanzania?’ I knew that statistical record-keeping in Africa was a very chancy, very irregular matter…. Africa has the lowest record of reliable statistics for epidemiology, for death and illness because of the shortage of practitioners and the shortage of infrastructure for collecting that kind of data.”
After looking into the matter, Geshekter said he began to question the definition of AIDS in Africa as put forth during a World Health Organization conference in 1985.
“In 1985, testing for HIV antibodies was hardly ever done in Africa, so they came up with a clinical symptoms definition, a working definition of AIDS. When I saw what those symptoms were, I realized that I got those symptoms any time I worked in the Bush in Somalia: high fever, persistent cough, chronic diarrhea for 14 days, and a 10-percent loss of your body weight over eight weeks…. There’s never been a time that I hadn’t worked in the Bush in Somalia, drinking camels’ milk, on a very sketchy diet, under a tropical sun, that I didn’t suffer from all of those symptoms. Yet not being an African, I could get on an airplane and fly … [back to] Chico and I was cured of ‘AIDS.’ So, there was something illogical, inconsistent and very screwy about the whole definition.”
However, Moore and others explain that the symptoms of AIDS in Africa are consistent with existing diseases because of the way AIDS works.
“What the individual with a damaged immune system suffers from depends on the prevalent infections that are around at the time and the place that he or she lives – opportunistic infections that generally won’t kill people,” Moore said. “In Africa, a very common cause of death from AIDS is tuberculosis infection because it’s far more prevalent in Africa than it is in Europe and North America, and many of the people who die in Africa now die of the multi-drug resistant forms of tuberculosis.”
Geshekter further questions how AIDS is being spread in Africa. He said the view of Africa as a sexually promiscuous society doesn’t mesh with his observations in the country.
“It was completely at variance with everything I’d ever seen or heard or read about regarding sexual activity, generally, in Africa, … [that] Africans are wildly promiscuous people for whom disloyalty to one’s spouse and sex on a regular loose basis is just part of their culture. It was a perfect piece of fiction created from a whole cloth from people who had spent very little time in Africa themselves.”
Science or religious crusade?
Earlier this year, Geshekter was invited to discuss his views with other dissidents and AIDS researchers in Mexico City, in anticipation of the upcoming International AIDS Conference, to be held in Mexico City in August 2008.
Ricardo Rocha, a veteran journalist with TV Azteca, had scheduled a televised debate between dissidents and AIDS researchers as part of a three-hour series questioning established HIV/AIDS science.
The researchers agreed to the debate on the condition that they first be granted one hour of airtime alone to explain the prevailing AIDS theory and refute the dissidents’ claims. When their segment was over, the Mexican researchers declined to stay for the televised debate.
“We were watching this live in another room,” Geshekter recalled. “When Ricardo said, ‘We’ll have a chance to debate later the efficacy and the toxicity of Nevarapine and AZT and any number of these other chemicals that are given to people to fight HIV,’ they said, ‘We’re not going to be here for the second segment.’ Ricardo tried to shame them. He told them, ‘If you’re not here, I’m going to have your four seats with your names on them vacant on the set and I’m going to explain to the audience why you’re not there.’ When that program was over, they scurried out the back door.”
Geshekter said he also suspects that too much is at stake to have even one stone lodged at what he views as a scientific glass house.
“If I come along and I say that [current AIDS theory] is a fruitless, lost, counterproductive and barren hypothesis, I’m basically saying that 25 years of an enormous amount of energy and advertising and money has been sent down a rat hole,” he said. “That absolutely cannot be accepted…. This is not about science any longer. This is a religious crusade, and anyone who challenges the religious crusade must be punished, because that’s a heresy.”
Chemical or virus?
Duesberg and others question why there has been no AIDS vaccine after nearly two decades as Heckler promised would be forthcoming within two years during her April 1984 HIV press conference.
“Tying [HIV] to a virus doesn’t do it,” Duesberg said. “Every year it’s not going to work. That’s how it’s going to be. With these billions of dollars [spent], I consider that as proof of my hypothesis that it’s chemical and isn’t a virus.”
However, Moore said the search for a vaccine is far more complex.
“It’s an extraordinarily difficult scientific problem that is defeating the finest scientists working in the field. It’s because HIV is different than other viruses that interact with the human organism in much simpler ways…. If it were as easy to deal with as yellow fever virus or poliovirus it would have been done years ago….
“HIV is a member of the lentivirus family of retroviruses,” Moore said. “It’s been very difficult to make vaccines in animals against other lentiviruses with similar properties.”
To a degree, inconsistencies also exist in what mainstream researchers hold to be true about the nature of the AIDS virus.
For example, another reason it has been so difficult to produce a vaccine, Moore believes, is the “incredible variation in the HIV genome.”
“It’s a very, very variable virus because it mutates so rapidly,” Moore said.
However, Dr. Davey Smith, an assistant adjunct professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at UCSD, said it has been his experience that the virus hasn’t been mutating.
“There’s been a bunch of papers around about that,” said Smith, who agreed to answer some specific questions about HIV, so long as they were removed from the issue of the AIDS dissidents. “I don’t think there’s really much difference between the virus that is circulating now and the virus that was circulating 20 years ago.”
Finding a vaccine has been difficult, Smith said, because of the way the virus works itself into DNA.
“Once it gets into the bloodstream and it integrates into the person’s own DNA, it lives there … and we can’t get it out,” Smith said. “Even though we can start someone on therapy and we can keep the virus from producing copies of itself, we can’t get it out of the DNA form. Once we stop the therapy, it just makes more copies of itself.”
Keeping an open mind

“There are plenty of gay men who have been HIV-positive for 20 years without becoming ill and without having antiretroviral treatment.”

Wading through the science on both sides of the issue is so complex it can be a crazy-making endeavor for the average person seeking health information.
One former medical journalist, who also requested anonymity due to a conflict with his current position, said that, despite his outspoken criticism of the dissidents’ view, he feels it is not helpful for the AIDS establishment to ignore the dissidents altogether. The ongoing cycle of investigation, debate and analysis of the facts, after all, remains the crux of science.
“I have never thought that it’s helpful,” he said. “Certainly in science, like all human activity, there is a tendency [toward] institutional discouragement against rocking the boat, so whatever the orthodoxy is, those tend to be self-perpetuating. That is a legitimate criticism. On the other hand, there is a point at which it’s reasonable to say, this has been answered already. The reason you’re still raising the question is because you’re not listening.”
All in all, a remarkably helpful piece in that for once an editor has allowed into his/her paper the kind of informative and balanced coverage of the controversy that in normal circumstances would be written all the time in most of the media, but which in this field has been curbed by the hostility and silence of scientists who evidently feel that the paradigm is so hard to justify and so full of weaknesses at every point that they dare not expose it to free debate and free reporting.

In this, any student of the scientific literature has to agree with them.

12 Responses to “Bono’s Vanity Fair shows ARVs saving Africa”

  1. Dan Says:

    Some potent propaganda in Vanity Fair…

    It does work its magic though.

    Take a dark-skinned person suffering from any number of diseases endemic in Africa. Call it AIDS, rather than any of the diseases it is (a medical slight-of-hand) . Give them powerful drugs that can kill all sorts of microbes (and people). If the person recovers, the drugs are given credit. If the person doesn’t recover, then it’s assumed that HIV won it’s battle against blacks and gays yet again.

    Few will question or even understand how “AIDS” is constructed. Instead of seeing somebody recovering from whatever disease or diseases they had, they’ll see somebody recovering from “AIDS”.

    It’s a win-win situation for AIDS promoters.

    I liken it to the witch trials a few hundred years ago. If she floats, she’s a witch (and will be burned at the stake), if she drowns, she’s innocent. Exactly the same logic is used with AIDS.

  2. Michael Says:

    I just noticed that John Moore’s AIDSTRUTH site just posted only a small portion of the article by Pat Sherman that is in the San Diego Gay Lesbian Times this week, which can be found online at http://www.gaylesbiantimes.com/?id=9919.

    Naturally, Moore posted only his own words and a bit of whatever could be favorable to the HIV advocates position, while leaving out the many valid points and criticisms of the HIV paradigm and belief system that were made by dissidents.

    If anyone would like to write a letter to the editor of the Gay Lesbian Times regarding their article, “AIDS DISSIDENTS: PSEUDOSCIENCE OR ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS”, they do publish all letters to the editor. Here is the “how to”:

    If you would like to respond to this week’s articles, e-mail us at editor@uptownpub.com or send letters to P.O. Box 34624, San Diego, CA 92163. Please include your full name, address and phone number for verification purposes. Only your name will be published. Letters must be 500 words or less.
    The Gay & Lesbian Times publishes all letters to the editor unedited. Letters received that do not contain subject matter in reference to the publication will be published at the discretion of the Gay & Lesbian Times. In the event that we receive more letters than space allows, all overflow will be posted on our Web site, http://www.gaylesbiantimes.com.

  3. Dan Says:

    It seems quite significant to me that this article appeared in a gay publication. No doubt Mr. Moore is trying to deal with this PR debacle. Once the gays have come ’round on this issue, it will be a done game.
    I’d like to be optimistic and hope that this leads to vital discussion in the larger gay community. Time will tell.

  4. MacDonald Says:

    JP continues his high standards of article writing and editorial policy, in all ways comparable to the standards HIV science has set for itself. The latest riveting piece, authored by the master himself one presumes, is another desperate attempt at damage control: JP gives his reader(s?) a rundown of the article in GL times without linking it, seemingly confident that the quality of reader that ends up on AIDStruth’s newspages won’t be bothered to look up the original article. I recommend very strongly that someone (Michael, Dan) write a letter to GL Times making all its readers aware of this fact, and inviting them to compare the article with Moore’s spin job. That would go very well with certain other letters already submitted to GL Times.

    Probably most telling is Moore’s feeble attempt to gloss over disagreement among HIV scientists:

    AIDStruth.org notes that the writer of the article placed a quote from Dr. Davey Smith of UCSD out of the context in which it was made, in an attempt to create the impression that there are disagreements among AIDS scientists on the difficulties of making an HIV vaccine. Dr. Smith’s comments are accurate in context and he is commended for making them.
    “I don’t think there’s really much difference between the virus that is circulating now and the virus that was circulating 20 years ago.”
    Finding a vaccine has been difficult, Smith said, because of the way the virus works itself into DNA. “Once it gets into the bloodstream and it integrates into the person’s own DNA, it lives there … and we can’t get it out,” Smith said. “Even though we can start someone on therapy and we can keep the virus from producing copies of itself, we can’t get it out of the DNA form. Once we stop the therapy, it just makes more copies of itself.”

    But, predictably, it’s JP who quotes out of context, leaving out the part where the disagreement is specified:

    For example, another reason it has been so difficult to produce a vaccine, Moore believes, is the “incredible variation in the HIV genome.”
    “It’s a very, very variable virus because it mutates so rapidly,” Moore said.
    However, Dr. Davey Smith, an assistant adjunct professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at UCSD, said it has been his experience that the virus hasn’t been mutating.
    “There’s been a bunch of papers around about that,” said Smith, who agreed to answer some specific questions about HIV, so long as they were removed from the issue of the AIDS dissidents. “I don’t think there’s really much difference between the virus that is circulating now and the virus that was circulating 20 years ago.”

    As can be seen, Dr. Smith specifically refers to ”a bunch of papers” whose basic premise and/or conclusions he disagrees with. Don’t worry, knowing JP It is guaranteed the last time poor Smith makes that mistake. He’ll probably soon be on AIDStruth apologizing profusely and explaining that he didn’t mean any of what he said.

    But gee, JP, good ole MacD musta been kinda prescient because in a recent exchange here on NAR he made Drpsduke, who is far more expert on biology and virology than the Perth Group according to himself, state for the record that HIV mutates at the same rate as other (RNA) viruses.

    I suggest that Drpsduke write to Prof. Moore and tell him he must have quoted himself out of context because it distinctly looks like the good Prof claims that HIV’s unique variability is due to some extraordinary mutational rate. But as Drpsduke so authoritatively informed NAR’s readers:

    There are many things that are unique about HIV, but the mutation rate or evolution rate is not one of them. http://www.paradigmoverthrow.com/blog/legally-blind.htm#comment-4662

    But genomic variability is not the only argument in JP’s arsenal. The Prof. argues very convincingly that,

    “HIV is a member of the lentivirus family of retroviruses, it’s been very difficult to make vaccines in animals against other lentiviruses with similar properties.”

    Ah, so HIV is a lentivirus. But that explains everything!- especially since Prof. Duesberg has just told us exactly what a lentivirus is, or rather isn’t:

    “There cannot be a slow virus,” Duesberg maintained. “If there is one, whoever proves it deserves the Nobel Prize in virology and in biochemistry…. A virus replicates like a biological chain reaction. It doubles its template every 20 minutes. This is not a process you can slow down or stop…. There’s no way this thing could be delayed for 10 years…. They keep dancing around [the issue], with guys like [Pawel] Liberski inventing ‘slow viruses,’ but it’s a term for not knowing what happened.”

    For some reason JP did not lay claim to a Nobel Prize in biochemistry right then and there, but chose instead to appeal to the non-existent rules of virology:

    Moore attributed Duesberg’s statement to “pure ignorance.”
    “It just demonstrates he doesn’t read or understand HIV literature,” Moore said. “It’s just a silly statement based on how he thinks a virus should behave. He has no … right to claim that he knows everything about how every virus interacts with every human or animal immune system…. Where is the law of virology that says a virus can only interact with an organism in one particular way?

    In other words, dear readers, ”lenti” (slow) is a name we give a virus when we want to claim for it that it interacts with a human or an animal in some ”other” not ”particular” way. Or as Prof. Duesberg just said only a little less pretentiously, ”when we don’t know what happened”.

  5. Dan Says:

    MacDonald,

    I’ve already written to the GLT. Pat Sherman’s treatment of the “dissidents” seems to show a nuanced understanding of what’s going on between “dissidents” and the orthodoxy.

    I’ve got a wait and see attitude toward this at the moment. I wonder if the GLT is prepared to become a lightning rod for this issue. Will they be brave and continue to treat “dissidents” like real human beings, and allow for open discussion? Or will they fold under the pressure to marginalize and propagandize? Plenty of people I know have written to them with letters of support. GLT’s made a brave move, but that doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily stick with it.

    I’m glad the issue of HIV’s unbelievable mutation rate was brought up. It’s the rug under which all sorts of inconvenient questions about the paradigm are swept.

  6. MacDonald Says:

    Speaking of damage control, the eager to please graduate student, Ken Witver, who allegedly authored an attempted rebuttal of Rebecca Culshaw’s book, Science Sold Out, almost longer than the work itself, and next was forced to write a rather pathetic disclaimer to YBYL’s editors when the amateurish quality of his efforts was exposed by Darin Brown here,

    http://barnesworld.blogs.com/barnes_world/2007/04/science_sold_ou.html

    has made a comeback with a new must read article whose title alone bears witness to the young man’s literary talent:

    Nobel Denial?
    Several denialist websites proclaim that two—even three—Nobel Prize winners question HIV as the cause of AIDS. Is this true? AIDS Truth investigates…

    In this long overdue inquiry into the truth about ”Nobel Denial”, an investigation whose importance can hardly be overestimated, Ken Witver expands his scientific repertoire by slandering all Nobel Prize winners who have been sympathetic to the dissident position – which undertaking in itself is a surprising coincidence, since in the above mentioned attempt at washing his co-writers’ hands of the Science Sold Out review disaster Ken writes following:

    An associate has just sent me a review by Darin Brown of one of the points in my recent scribblings on HIV/AIDS denial. Since the Brown piece has apparently been placed on the Internet, I feel compelled to suggest one correction: John Moore and Bob Gallo had nothing to do with my decision to write the review of “Science Sold Out,” nor are they responsible for any errors that may be found in it. The writing was mine. If you wish to take issue with my writing, please do. But please don’t say that Bob Gallo or anyone else was behind this.

    To give you a timeline: I happened on Culshaw’s book in the health section of my local bookstore in January and soon discovered that Culshaw had a modest presence on the Internet. People were taking her suggestions as medical advice, and that bothered me since she is not a clinician and she does not even seem to know the basics of virology. So I casually wrote several pages about the falsehoods in her book. I wanted to publish this somehow, but I’m a nobody with no contacts, and I didn’t just want to put it on a random blog.

    Perhaps Ken Witver also ”happened on” something about Nobel Denial in his local bookstore and felt compelled to write a few ”casual pages” about that as well, or perhaps, our bet, JP thought the style, quality and depth of thought evidenced in the first piece suited AIDStruth so well that Ken was invited back for more co-authoring.

    With such hand picked graduate student talent as Ken Witver and Mark Hoofnagle…

    http://www.newaidsreview.com/blog/american-inventors-reality.htm#comment-4715

    …Moore doesn’t even need Nobel Prize winners in his corner. No doubt both of these young academics have a great career ahead of them with the favourable exposure they are now enjoying on JP’s internet publication. Dare we, the fans, look forward to a possible future collaboration between the two rising stars?

  7. MacDonald Says:

    O I almost forgot, Ken’s masterpiece can be seen speaking for itself here:

    http://aidstruth.org/Nobel-Denial.pdf

  8. Dan Says:

    From GLT. First, the obligatory lashing.

    Flooded with congratulatory e-mails from AIDS dissenters worldwide in response to last week’s feature, “AIDS dissidents: blinded by pseudoscience or asking the right questions?” we thought we’d state our position on the AIDS dissident movement: You’re all nuts!

    Next, the moment of reason.

    Yet, despite the fact that AIDS dissenters are at odds with majority opinion, they are part of our collective story and should not be silenced. Their message may be reckless, even dangerous, but so is blindly accepting the status quo. We welcome watchdog groups that police pharmaceutical and insurance companies, or anyone who stands to profit off the sick and dying.

    I’m not normally a glass-half-full person. But it looks to me like the folks at GLT are more awake than they’re letting on.

    http://www.gaylesbiantimes.com/?id=9943

  9. Michael Says:

    I picked up a paper copy of the current edition of the Gay Lesbian Times. Yes the editorial distancing the publisher from the dissenters is at best schizophrenic.

    And also consider this: There is a three full page color ad for Truvada. That must be a real moneymaker for the publisher that I am very sure he does not want to alienate.

    On a humorous side, check this out:
    http://www.gaylesbiantimes.com/?id=9946

    Seems the local Hillcrest (which is the gay neighborhood) historical group has buried a time capsule a few days ago to be opened in 100 years. Notice the publication that was buried in the time capsule. They included a copy of last weeks Gay Lesbian Times with the feature story being “AIDS DISSIDENTS: PSEUDOSCIENCE OR ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS”

    It is somehow reassuring to me that someone will be addressing and looking back on the dissident issue again 100 years from now. I wonder if mainstream will have it figured out by then!

    I think as soon as a lot of the “old guard”, such as Fauci, Gallo, Moore, etc, pass on, the dissident side will rapidly gain steam with the coming younger generations who will question much of what previous generations uphold as truth.

  10. MacDonald Says:

    Democracy 101

    http://gulcfac.typepad.com/georgetown_university_law/files/al.marri.cta4.decision.pdf

    From the Conservative 4th. circuit Court of Appeals:

    DIANA GRIBBON MOTZ, Circuit Judge:

    For over two centuries of growth and struggle, peace and war,
    the Constitution has secured our freedom through the guarantee
    that, in the United States, no one will be deprived of liberty
    without due process of law. Yet more than four years ago military
    authorities seized an alien lawfully residing here.

    And he has been so held, without
    acknowledgment of the protection afforded by the Constitution,
    solely because the Executive believes that his military detention
    is proper.
    While criminal proceedings were underway against Ali Saleh
    Kahlah al-Marri, the President ordered the military to seize and
    detain him indefinitely as an enemy combatant.

    Al-Marri pleaded not guilty to all of these charges. In May 2003,
    a federal district court in New York dismissed the charges
    against al-Marri for lack of venue.

    On Friday, June 20, 2003, the
    court scheduled a hearing on pre-trial motions, including a motion
    to suppress evidence against al-Marri assertedly obtained by
    torture. On the following Monday, June 23, before that hearing
    could be held, the Government moved ex parte to dismiss the
    indictment based on an order signed that morning by the President.
    In the order, President George W. Bush stated that he
    “DETERMINE[D] for the United States of America that” al-Marri: (1)
    is an enemy combatant; (2) is closely associated with al Qaeda; (3)
    “engaged in conduct that constituted hostile and war-like acts,
    including conduct in preparation for acts of international
    terrorism;”

    Since that time (that is, for four years) the military has
    held al-Marri as an enemy combatant, without charge and without any
    indication when this confinement will end. For the first sixteen
    months of his military confinement, the Government did not permit
    al-Marri any communication with the outside world, including his
    attorneys, his wife, or his children. He alleges that he was
    denied basic necessities, interrogated through measures creating
    extreme sensory deprivation, and threatened with violence. A
    pending civil action challenges the “inhuman, degrading” and
    “abusive” conditions of his confinement.

    The Rapp Declaration does not assert that al-Marri: (1) is a
    citizen, or affiliate of the armed forces, of any nation at war
    with the United States; (2) was seized on or near a battlefield on
    which the armed forces of the United States or its allies were
    engaged in combat; (3) was ever in Afghanistan during the armed
    conflict between the United States and the Taliban there; or (4)
    directly participated in any hostilities against United States or
    allied armed forces.

    The magistrate judge ruled that the Rapp Declaration
    provided al-Marri with sufficient notice of the basis of his
    detention as an enemy combatant and directed al-Marri to file
    rebuttal evidence.
    In response to the magistrate’s ruling, al-Marri again denied
    the Government’s allegations, but filed no rebuttal evidence,
    contending that the Government had an initial burden to produce
    evidence that he was an enemy combatant and that the Rapp Declaration did not suffice.

    [NB!!! Burden of proof laid on the defendant. When Clinton bombed a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan, the burden of proof was likewise placed on Sudan to prove that the demolished factory had not been producing chemicals for terrorists]

    In light of al-Marri’s due process rights under our Constitution
    and Congress’s express prohibitionin the Patriot Act on the indefinite detention
    of those civilians arrested as “terrorist aliens” within this country,
    we can only conclude that in the case at hand,
    the President claims power that far exceeds that
    granted him by the Constitution.

    We do not question the President’s war-time authority
    over enemy combatants; but absent suspension of the writ of habeas corpus
    or declaration of martial law, the Constitution simply
    does not provide the President the power to exercise military authority
    over civilians within the United States. See Toth, 350 U.S. at 14
    (”[A]ssertion of military authority over civilians cannot rest on the President’s power
    as commander-in-chief, or on any theory of martial law.”).
    The President cannot eliminate constitutional protections
    with the stroke of a pen by proclaiming a civilian, even a criminal civilian,
    an enemy combatant subject to indefinite military detention.
    Put simply, the Constitution does not allow the President
    to order the military to seize civilians residing within the United States
    and detain them indefinitely without criminal process, and this is so
    even if he calls them “enemy combatants.”

    A “well-established purpose of the Founders” was “to keep the military strictly within its proper sphere, subordinate to civil authority.”
    In an address to Congress at the outset of the Civil War,
    President Lincoln defended his emergency suspension of the writ
    of habeas corpus to protect Union troops moving to defend
    the Capital. Lincoln famously asked: “[A]re all the laws, but one,
    to go unexecuted, and the government itself to go to pieces,
    lest that one be violated?” Abraham Lincoln, Message to Congress
    in Special Session (July 4, 1861), in Abraham Lincoln: Speeches and Writings
    1859-1865 at 246, 254 (Don E. Fehrenbacher ed., 1989).
    The authority the President seeks here turns Lincoln’s formulation
    on its head. For the President does not acknowledge that
    the extraordinary power he seeks would result in the suspension
    of even one law and he does not contend that this power
    should be limited to dire emergencies that threaten the nation.
    Rather, he maintains that the authority to order the military
    to seize and detain certain civilians is an inherent power of the Presidency,
    which he and his successors may exercise as they please.
    To sanction such presidential authority to order the military
    to seize and indefinitely detain civilians, even if the President
    calls them “enemy combatants,” would have disastrous consequences
    for the Constitution — and the country. For a court to uphold a claim
    to such extraordinary power would do more than render lifeless
    the Suspension Clause, the Due Process Clause, and the rights
    to criminal process in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments;
    it would effectively undermine all of the freedoms
    guaranteed by the Constitution. It is that power — were a court to recognize it —
    that could lead all our laws “to go unexecuted, and the government itself
    to go to pieces.” We refuse to recognize a claim to power
    that would so alter the constitutional foundations of our Republic.

  11. Truthseeker Says:

    The Science Guardian Message Boards must go forward, and that is an ideal post for that arena, MacD, so perhaps you could put it there. It is universal comment, rather than one applicable to this particular post, is it not? If so, can you post it there, and perhaps others will reply. Here is too restricted a venue. Then perhaps it can kick start the message Boards, which have been left dormant. They are booted by clicking the legend “Science Guardian Message Boards” top right.

    Thanks all. Hope they work out OK, since they were kindly set up by Frank Lusardi, who has mysteriously gone AWOL for months now, and is apparently no longer able to help us.

  12. MacDonald Says:

    TS, you are quite right re. the remote relevance, in a ‘restricted’ sense, of my latest comment here.

    Truth is I never suspected the existence of those message boards. The comment has now been copied on one of them.

    I have also delivered some other comments pertaining to the message boards in an even more exclusive forum. Do with those as you see fit.

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