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Nicholas Kristof still hasn’t caught up with HIV?AIDS reality

Good works columnist needs an update on HIV?AIDS

There are few establishment columnists on the Times or off it that take a greater interest in exposing the injustices of the world than Nicholas Kristof, who won a Pulitzer this year for just that public service. But his odd myopia on the questions surrounding HIV?AIDS continues, and once again spoiled his column today (Tues May 9).

For some reason Kristof has failed so far to take note of the Harper’s article in March (April issue) by Celia Farber, which clearly explained to readers how and why the entire science of HIV?AIDS is suspect. So he continues to use one of the least likely beliefs of the paradigm as a premise in his work, which is that the risk of heterosexual transmission of HIV, “the virus that causes AIDS”, is high. This is disillusioning for all who have imagined that Kristof might read Harper’s and learn better.

What he fails to understand is that even the mainstream scientific literature now acknowledges that heterosexual transfer of whatever it is that HIV tests measure as “positivity” is effectively nil, as we have mentioned before. So remarks like these are completely unfounded:

In an age of H.I.V., sex trafficking is particularly lethal. And for every political dissident who is locked up in a prison cell, hundreds of teenage girls are locked up in brothels and, in effect, sentenced to death by AIDS…

Whatever one thinks of that question, it’s peripheral to the central challenge: vast numbers of underage girls are forced into brothels against their will, and many die of AIDS.

We wonder what the problem might be. Possibly this admirable Times columnist (one who has risked his own comfort safety in travelling to darkest Africa to draw attention to the innocents being slaughtered in the Sudan), if he did skim the Farber piece, adopted the common research shortcut of asking the advice of his colleagues on the Times Science Desk if there was anything to the Harper’s piece.

Given that Larry Altman and Nicholas Wade have almost completely ignored the Duesberg critique for twenty years, and must take responsibility for peddling a global fiction on the front pages of their newspaper of record for twenty years if the independent view of HIV?AIDS is recognized as justified, it is hard to imagine that Kristof was given any reason to pursue the matter.


Tues May 9, 2006

Op-Ed Columnist

Bush Takes On the Brothels


I’m guessing that President Bush’s foreign policy will stand up about as well to the assessments of future historians as a baby gazelle to a pack of cheetahs.

Yet there is one area where Mr. Bush is making a historic contribution: he is devoting much more money and attention to human trafficking than his predecessors. Just as one of Jimmy Carter’s great legacies was putting human rights squarely on the international agenda, Mr. Bush is doing the same for slave labor.

We don’t tend to think of trafficking as a top concern, so Mr. Bush hasn’t gotten much credit. But it’s difficult to think of a human rights issue that could be more important than sex trafficking and the other kinds of neo-slavery that engulf millions of people around the world, leaving many of them dead of AIDS by their early 20’s.

My own epiphany came in 1989, when my wife and I lived in China and covered the crushing of the Tiananmen Square democracy movement. Arrests of dissidents were front-page news, but no one paid any attention as many tens of thousands of Chinese women and girls were kidnapped and sold each year by traffickers to become the unwilling wives of peasants.

Since then, I’ve seen the peddling of humans in many countries: the 8-year-old Filipino girl whose mother used to pull her out of school to rent to pedophiles; the terrified 14-year-old Vietnamese girl imprisoned in a brothel pending the sale of her virginity; the Pakistani teenager whose brothel’s owner dealt with her resistance by drugging her into a stupor. The U.N. has estimated that 12.3 million people worldwide are caught in forced labor of one kind or another.

In an age of H.I.V., sex trafficking is particularly lethal. And for every political dissident who is locked up in a prison cell, hundreds of teenage girls are locked up in brothels and, in effect, sentenced to death by AIDS.

In 2000, Congress passed landmark anti-trafficking legislation, backed by an unlikely coalition of evangelical Republicans and feminist Democrats. Even today, the Congressional leaders against trafficking include a conservative Republican, Senator Sam Brownback, and a liberal Democrat, Representative Carolyn Maloney.

But the heaviest lifting has been done by the State Department’s tiny office on trafficking — for my money, one of the most effective units in the U.S. government. The office, led by a former Republican congressman, John Miller, is viewed with suspicion by some career diplomats who fear that simple-minded conservative nuts are mucking up relations with countries over a peripheral issue.

Yet Mr. Miller and his office wield their spotlight shrewdly. With firm backing from the White House (Mr. Bush made Mr. Miller an ambassador partly to help him in his bureaucratic battles), the office puts out an annual report that shames and bullies foreign governments into taking action against forced labor of all kinds.

Under pressure from the report, Cambodia prosecuted some traffickers (albeit while protecting brothels owned by government officials) and largely closed down the Svay Pak red-light district, where 10-year-olds used to be openly sold. Ecuador stepped up arrests of pimps and started a national public awareness campaign. Israel trained police to go after traffickers and worked with victims’ home countries, like Belarus and Ukraine. And so on, country by country.

Some liberals object to the administration’s requirement that aid groups declare their opposition to prostitution before they can get anti-trafficking funds. But in the past, without that requirement, U.S. funds occasionally went to groups promoting prostitution. And in any case, the requirement doesn’t seem to have caused many problems on the ground (partly because aid groups sometimes dissemble to get money). In Zambia, India and Cambodia, I’ve seen U.S.-financed programs work closely with prostitutes and brothel owners when that is needed to get the job done.

Moreover, Ambassador Miller and his staff aren’t squeamish prudes. Mr. Miller is sympathetic to the Swedish model: stop punishing prostitutes, but crack down on pimps and customers. He says that approach seems to have reduced more forced prostitution than just about any other strategy.

The backdrop is a ridiculously divisive debate among anti-trafficking activists about whether prostitution should be legalized. Whatever one thinks of that question, it’s peripheral to the central challenge: vast numbers of underage girls are forced into brothels against their will, and many die of AIDS. On that crucial issue, Mr. Bush is leaving a legacy that he and America can be proud of.

5 Responses to “Nicholas Kristof still hasn’t caught up with HIV?AIDS reality”

  1. Martin Kessler Says:

    If Kristoff as a paid OP Ed columnist for the New York Times even hinted at questioning the HIV/AIDS paradigm, he would probably be fired. I distrust the mainstream media. But of course, if the mainstream media were really to get involved in the controversy – that is take the controversy seriously and start a real debate, medical science might lose a lot of credibilty (not that it shouldn’t). The media’s credibility might also be questioned because not necessarily because of what they reported, but why they took so long to get involved. Were journalists pressured to not look the “gift horse in the mouth”? Jon Lauritsen in “The AIDS War” said as much and added that AIDS establishment honchos like Anthony Fauci warned journalists that they wouldn’t get access to the corridors of the AIDS establishment if they made mistakes – like taking Duesberg seriously.


  2. Gene Semon Says:

    Journalists, especially at the NY times, are not paying attention. Years ago, studies, (see my posts of 5.18.2006 and 5.20.2006 at Larry Kramer/apology thread), were done which should have had an effect on consensus reporting, given the lead position of the Times and so-called expertise of Altman and Wade.

    Does anyone recall their headlines:

    Ho and Wei Refuted by Direct Measurement of T- Cell Dynamics;


    Natural Remedy Offers Promise for AIDS Treatments?

  3. Martin Kessler Says:

    I can’t believe that the “journalists” at the NY Times aren’t paying attention. I believe they are deliberately ignoring anything that eliminates HIV from the constellation of AIDS causes. Both of the headlines above refer to articles that (I believe because I haven’t access to the articles) do not refute HIV as the cause of AIDS and may acutally “strengthen” the premise. By this I mean that showing that this or that portion of the research has been shown to be either flawed or wrong, means that the “scientific” process is working and the the fundamental premise that HIV causes AIDS remains intact. I would believe that the NY Times “filters” any potentially dissident article to prevent looking like they might be skeptical about the HIV/AIDS paradigm.

  4. Truthseeker Says:

    Neither headline yields an article on the Times search engine.

    We are shocked – shocked! – that you point out that the editors and writers at the newspaper of record are behaving as the puppets of the paradigm purveyors. If the Times can’t behave properly, who can?

    One would think that they would have more respect for themselves, their institution, their profession and their professed principles. But expecting the Times to have any spine these days is like expecting a large pudding to retain its shape when sat on.

  5. Gene Semon Says:

    Shocking indeed. The headlines, of course, are made up and I apologize if anybody wasted serious time looking for them. Yes, David Ho has been challenged within mainstream AIDS research (e.g. Ascher, Anderson and Shepard) by timid scientists who won’t go the distance for guess what reasons. It was Dr Ho who convinced true believers with his “sink” model of the non-stop war in the immune system, caused by the virus with 9 heads, when the lentivirus model was discarded.

    On one of the boards, someone responded to a true believer by saying “you guys don’t know how funny you are”.

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