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Duesberg Discovered

Popular science magazine salutes chief HIV critic’s integrity, and his good reasons for complaint

Balanced seven page profile in Discover magazine flows from investigation by BMJ writer

With HIV attack dogs kept on leash, the scientific case is explained and respectful account ends with telling quote.

p1280523.JPGPick up a copy of the Discover magazine just out if you want to read a rare example of a talented journalist and her editors doing a professional job of profiling Peter Duesberg, the distinguished but much reviled researcher who since 1987 has written top level critiques rejecting HIV as the cause of AIDS and for his political sin has suffered at the hands of powerful and sometimes rabid paradigm defenders ever since, not only losing all his rich NIH funding but enduring endless calumny in the media, with bogus attacks on his professional standing and character by paradigm defenders.

Apart from excellent articles in Scientific American and Harpers magazine in the last couple of years, however, there is no precedent in the popular press for this level of respectful and unbiased reporting on Duesberg since the many brave columns by Celia Farber (along with a couple by this author) in SPIN magazine some years ago, reprinted recently in her invaluable book, Serious Adverse Events: An Uncensored History of AIDS.

Farber was the author of the seminal Harpers piece of March 2006 which described the way in which HIV/AIDS drug studies were being adjusted to better fit the hopes and dreams of the drug companies which make antiretrovirals, and whose final pages outlined the reasons offered by Duesberg to think that the entire science of HIV/AIDS is built on theoretical quicksand.

Duesberg made whole

Nothing like this Discover piece has been printed on Duesberg so far, however. For the first time, readers can gain some idea of where the noted German-born American comes from, what his parents and his childhood were like, and why and how he is capable of such an extreme act of scientific and political integrity in blowing the whistle on HIV/AIDS for 22 years and counting, despite the best efforts of a multi billion scientific, political, bureaucratic and commercial machine to stop him dead.

lenzerjeanne.jpgThe article, Peter’s Principles, was written by Jeanne Lenzer of Kingston, New York, who contributes to Slate and to the British Medical Journal, which latter she favors she says because it covers “bad science”, something that American journals are generally unwilling to do.

Lenzer spins a very readable story which manages nonetheless to make all the main points of Duesberg’s case against the credibility of what currently looks like the least believable, highly funded fairy tale in science, the mainstream paradigm that it is HIV which causes AIDS. There is not much of the usual process of politically distancing the reporter from the heretic at every turn by quoting his opponents contradicting him as if that authoritatively settled the matter. In this account specious rebuttal and insults are kept to a minimum.

Max Essex of Harvard is given the most time to contradict Duesberg but his quotes are rather ineffectual, with some bitter personal remarks suggesting more political antagonism than genuine scientific rebuttal. On the whole the impression given seems to be that Duesberg has many valid points which have never been refuted, which is certainly true enough but rarely made so plain to lay readers.

Where Essex and Robert Weinberg of MIT try to contradict Duesberg – in his assertion that no combination of genes has ever produced cancer in tissue cultures, for instance, or that antiretroviral drugs do more harm than good – their flat claims seem unconvincing in the context of Duesberg’s nuanced reasoning and the relentless recitation of his list of the “perplexing contradictions of AIDS”.

We would say that on the whole this is such a positive view of the usually disparaged scientist that it will reverse his standing in the eyes of readers who have previously been misled by the standard misreporting of Duesberg in science journalism, or by the diatribes of John P. Moore on his disinformation site AIDSTruth.org.

No doubt Moore and his HIV/AIDS propaganda general Anthony Fauci, the director of NIAID who is notorious for blocking positive coverage of Duesberg by mainstream reporters, are breathing somewhat more deeply than normal as they contemplate how to sabotage its influence.

In fact the author barely lays a hand on Duesberg, despite the professionally objective tone of the piece which is always careful not to take sides in the actual debate, even as it suggests that Duesberg is reliable and principled. The one black mark Jeanne hands out is her condemnation as “disturbingly crass” of Duesberg’s easily misunderstood habit of using the words “homos” and “schwartzes” in conversation to refer to gays and blacks, a stricture which is nevertheless swiftly eased a couple of paragraphs further on when she quotes Duesberg’s wife Siggi rolling her eyes at her brilliant husband’s ironic sense of humor.

As we can also attest this is merely a European brand of elite amusement at the follies of mankind which is meant as fond satire and in no way exclusionary in human terms. Any humorless Americans embroiled in the PC wars are unlikely to see this straight off the bat, but anyone who knows Duesberg knows that he is not prejudiced against any social group, excepting possibly harboring a well founded aversion to those prone to violence (as the piece mentions, his family home was flattened by an Allied bomb in World War II) or to perpetrating bad science in the cause of their own interests, consciously or not

Meanwhile, the underlying anti-German racism of accusing Duesberg of being a “mass murderer” for denouncing the authorized poisonous drug treatment administered to those unfortunate enough to test HIV positive is made pretty clear, as loud echoes of the Holocaust resound in the word “denialist” flung so often at Duesberg and other HIV critics.

This point is neatly underlined and the tables turned on the critics by the final quote of the article, where Duesberg is asked why he persists so long with such self-sacrifice in saying what he think out loud without fear or favor. He thinks for a moment and replies, “I don’t want to be a ‘good German’.”

A rose with thorns

The saga of Duesberg’s battle with power is one of the great stories in modern science, but Jeanne Lenzer saw its political pitfalls, she says. “I was acutely aware oif what had happened before me. Merely asking questions is problematic. I knew I would be accused by some of being in bed with a mass murderer if I didn’t present him as a demon.” Now she says she is bracing herself for attacks on her integrity and accusations that she herself is a “denialist”, which she has seen already on one blog.

On the contrary, she says, she began with only a superficial knowledge of Duesberg and his predicament. As she pursued the five months of research and writing she was stunned to find how many unanswered questions Duesberg had raised. She spent ten days with Duesberg in his lab at Berkeley, where she records him teaching admiring undergraduates, and with his family, and visited his colleagues in Germany where he spends summers.

Lenzer says that in the end a great deal of science was cut out of the article for reasons of space, and may find its way into print in other pages in the future. By this she means more points that Duesberg raises as “perplexing questions in AIDS, such as the heterosexual AIDS in Africa contrasted with AIDS only among certain groups here.” So was she convinced that Duesberg is right to reject HIV as the cause? “No I haven’t made up my mind”, she says. “All I know is that these questions should be answered by studies, rather than claims.”

What astonished her most, she says, is that some of her familiar sources among respected scientists and medical authorities were prepared to tell her that they thought Duesberg might be right, and that his research should be funded to find out the answers.

But they were not willing to be named.

ADDENDUM: Deconstructing AIDSTruth

A specious piece of nonsense has been printed on the HIV/AIDS disinformation site regarding this article, which is worth noting here for its exhibition of diversionary tactics designed to avoid the real issue, which is that Duesberg’s critique of the paradigm has never been effectively refuted on any major point:

Discover story on AIDS denialist Peter Duesberg shows he’s a narcissist, racist and homophobe
* By AIDSTruth at 13 May 2008 16:10pm

AIDSTruth does not normally welcome the publication of any article in a mainstream magazine that features Peter Duesberg or any other AIDS denialist. Any publicity for AIDS denialists and their scientifically rejected views could increase the chances that vulnerable individuals will die, either by believing that HIV is harmless or that ARVs cause AIDS. That AIDS denialism kills is unquestionable (see, for example, our pages on denialism and politics as well as about denialists who have died).

(SG Note: The above series of statements are all misleading, since Peter Duesberg’s
views published with peer review in the top journals have never been scientifically rejected – they have gone unanswered in the highest level journals in which they were published, with attempted rebuttals only in other, lesser venues, the highest of which has been Science, where a debate between Duesberg and the paradigm defenders was ended unresolved after one round of statements and rebuttals on both sides. Readers can examine the pages of AIDSTruth which are said to justify this paragraph and judge for themselves, but they should note that like almost all supposed rebuttal of Duesberg they are not peer reviewed, and AIDSTruth is the leading disinformation site on HIV/AIDS, though not much read.)

The recent article in Discover Magazine (Peter’s Principles, by Jeanne Lenzer) is an exception, however, so we are pleased to post it on AIDSTruth. There is much in the article with which we do not agree – it does not make it clear enough that Duesberg and his fellow denialists are simply wrong on all aspects of the science that they attempt to promote. However, the article confirms what we have been saying on AIDSTruth:

* Duesberg’s career was in terminal decline before he declared that HIV was not the cause of AIDS, because of his maverick and scientifically flawed views on oncogenes and cancer.

(SG note: This is entirely incorrect, though one might get that impression from the article. Duesberg’s standing remained high until he published his article in Cancer Research in 1987, which contradicted both the oncogene theory he had helped to establish and the theory of HIV causing AIDS. It was the latter that got him into serious trouble in losing all support for his research proposals at NIH.)

* Duesberg’s current views on cancer have been rejected by the relevant research community, because they are as mistaken as his opinions on HIV/AIDS.

(SG Note: This is entirely incorrect. Many top researchers have begun to pursue the path that Duesberg has led them into, and his second San Francisco conference on the topic a couple of months ago (aneuploidy and cancer) was even more successful than the first.)

* Duesberg is a racist homophobe who utters hateful words without thinking of their impact.

(SG Note: We have dealt with this point in our post above, and there is no genuine evidence for either insult.)

* Duesberg has sought controversy throughout his career for the sake of it, because he craves personal publicity and because he resents the success of other scientists with more talent and better judgment than he himself possesses.

(SG note: Entirely incorrect, since Duesberg is more competent than any of his opponents, as can easily be seen in the quality of his papers, and his achievements in science, despite the lack of NIH funding which is almost the sine qua non of modern research.)

We therefore urge people to read this article, and ask themselves why it is that the views promoted by a man like Peter Duesberg have helped kill so many innocent people all over the world, and particularly in South Africa. Is President Mbeki truly comfortable seeking the advice of a man who refers to the majority of the South African population as “Schwarzes” (the German equivalent of the N-word)?

(SG Note: Inaccurate as ever, this is the reverse of the truth as attested to by the scientific literature. The writer, either John P. Moore of Cornell or one of his fellow disinformation specialists, is the cause of suffering and death all over the world of HIV/AIDS, since he supports bad science and the dangerous medications for which that bad science serves as the false rationale.)

8 Responses to “Duesberg Discovered”

  1. MartinDKessler Says:

    TS, Thanks for the heads up on the article. If I was just perusing the cover of this issue, I would not have known there was a major (7 pages) article on Peter Duesberg in it. In fact most of the articles referred to on the cover were less than the Duesberg article except 1 (the Weather article).

  2. Truthseeker Says:

    Yes, the editors did not dare put this exceptionally interesting article on their cover, instead preferring to put the following nonsense designed to appeal to the lowest brow sector of those who still read popular science articles:
    Image of robot’s hand holding a light bulb

    What is Your Water Footprint? Take Our Quiz.

    DISCOVER – Science, Technology and The Future.

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    CANCER-SNIFFING VIRUSES
    TELESCOPES BUILT ON ICE
    HACK-PROOF COMPUTERS
    UNDERSTANDING TIME
    TAMING THE WEATHER
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    PLUS Tornado physics, a real Iron Man, the truth about hydrogen cars, ancient mariners and Are you smarter than a 97th grader?

    As you intimate, this almost guarantees that no one of any intelligence will buy this copy from a newstand, and if it arrives automatically as part of a subscription, it will be thrown into the trash most of the time without any idea that inside is one of the great articles of science writing in an era in which the art has been almost completely lost in cheap sensationalism and pandering to the scientists that deign to talk to the ignorant ie the typical science writer.

    However, this probably doesn’t matter politically. The article is an excellent rundown, accurate and readily intelligible even to the cursory glance of a Congressman or Senator, even Presidents past and future. It is a fine addition to the armamentarium of all who wish to bring to the attention of politicians of influence the reality of HIV/AIDS and its politics, which is of course that the current paradigm was rejected two decades ago by a peer reviewed professional reviewer who was the most respected and informed scientist in the field. and has only survived and flourished like some mestastizing cancer on the international system by the strenous efforts of all its senior supporters to ban any media coverage of the review they failed to rebutt, when each year that passes brings new mainstream research results that are totally incompatible with their fond belief.

    No doube John P. Moore and Anthony Fauci are confident however that the enormous pyramid of ignorance on which they stand, a pyramid which doubles as the tomb of large number of scientifically befuddled gays, will prove utterly immovable in the face of these seven paper pages, but just in case will take action to smear its author and lie about its content, just as they did with Celia Farbers piece in Harpers in March 2006, and the ignorant pack of lickspittles that forms all too large a share of the trade of science news reporting and commentary currently will dutifully act as their stenographers.

    It will be interesting if there are any supportive letters published. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke.

  3. Sadun Kal Says:

    Here, take a look, you might want to add this info:

    “… several respected scientists who were willing to consider Duesberg’s theories told her they preferred to remain anonymous rather than risk being ostracized by their peers. “A few highly placed physicians didn’t want their names used even though they thought Duesberg could possibly be right in part, if not in whole, about HIV,” Lenzer says.

    (This link reproduces every page of the piece, thanks for the link. – Ed.)

  4. Truthseeker Says:

    Thanks, Sadun, we think that kind of thing is exactly the problem. In any large modern system in society it seems that the value put upon any ideas that break with the conventional wisdom rapidly approaches zero and then turns negative. Possibly this is worse in the US, home of large systems, than elsewhere. The tendency to read only material which already agrees with preconceptions is rated as higher here than elsewhere according to one study recently.

    Interestingly enough, we have found that this applies to dissidents in science just as much as anyone else. One of our colleagues is a good example. Despite being extremely thoughtful and well informed about current politics and economics all his research seems to be done from the same group of sites and periodicals, such as the Nation, Common Dreams, Alternet and similar. At least, this was true until recently when, he corrects us, he began to find Republican commentary on the bailout accurate, and even Rush Limbaugh entertainingly in line with his views on Obama as less progressive than promised.

    Personally we agree with his political leanings to a large extent, especially since such sites are the places to find important news neglected by the mainstream media, but we try to read across the spectrum of opinion, partly because we find that the more conservative/right wing organs and their correspondents tend to crunch the numbers better. We find left leaning opinions tend to be more enlightened morally and socially but less factually based in argument than the right, as a general rule.

    HIV/AIDS is a prime example of this phenomenon. The reigning error is enthusiastically supported by the left as a matter of course on a feel good basis. Judging from what gets into print the right tend to adopt dissident views in HIV/AIDS more readily, though possibly for equally spurious emotional reasons, and we have always thought they seem to look into the facts more readily. Perhaps the right are more businesslike and more realistic about numbers, but who knows? All this is hard to tie down and may be wrong. Perhaps it is simply that anyone who counters conventional wisdom is bound to come up with factual corrections. But one thing is fairly clear to us: media organs on the right have generally been kinder to Duesberg and more interested in publishing his correctives eg Regnery, American Spectator. The New York Times has been quite the opposite.

  5. raman kumar Says:

    sir i think that total blood of a aids patient should be removed and same blood group should be injected so that blood containing hiv virus will be removed and person may become healthy.
    when hivvirus is entered there will be attacks of many diseases,so if we cure all the diseases cant we say that this disease is cured??

  6. Truthseeker Says:

    Raman, please read this site properly or even partially so that you do not post scientific misinformation here, even if you believe it. This site tries to reserve its comment section for people who have some interest in the scientific literature and compare misguided speculation of the kind you have just stated with the relevant studies on a topic in the field before repeating the fantastic babble serving as current conventional wisdom in the field of HIV/AIDS.

    The first thing you should consider before thinking or commenting further is that the idea that HIV causes AIDS or any disturbance to health is entirely unsupported in the scientific literature, except that almost all of it uses this notion as an unreviewed premise. In fact, the idea that HIV is the culprit in AIDS was thoroughly reviewed in 1988 and 1989 by Peter Duesberg of Berkeley who found only evidence that it did NOT cause AIDS, and so wrote in thoroughly reasoned and copiously footnoted articles in Cancer Research and the Proceedings of the National Academy, articles which have never been directly answered let alone refuted in the same journals, and indirectly refuted only in articles which either were never peer reviewed or did not prove their objections to what he wrote.

    In other words, HIV does not cause AIDS and only scientific illiterates believe so, and those scientists who claim otherwise are evidently either incompetents or charlatans or misled (see our Master list of scientific corruptions), the best and most egregious examples being Robert Gallo, Anthony Fauci, John Moore, Harold Varmus and David Baltimore, with the sad addition of Luc Montagnier, the recent Nobel prize winner who tried desperately to provide another cause but was forced to keep quiet and eventually silenced with the prize itself.

    The need to contradict the basis of your own Nobel prize if evidence so dictates is an extreme test of honor and scientific integrity and to our knowledge the only scientist who has ever come close is Peter Duesberg, who would have got the Nobel for his discovery of the first supposed oncogene but for the fact he renounced the oncogene theory as well as HIV theory before he was given the reception in Stockholm he deserved.

    We believe that Duesberg was probably wrong not to keep quiet until he had the award, because then his renunciation of both theories would have had more influence and perhaps saved billions in misdirected research and lives lost.

  7. Nitpicker Says:

    Duesberg rediscovered the aneuploidy theory of cancer previously rejected many decades ago. It explains many mysteries such as non-mutagenic carcinogens like asbestos, sudden failure of chemotherapy agents, the long delay from carcinogen to cancer. Then Zheng Cui of Wake Forest found a cancer resistant mouse whose macrophages and neutrophils surrounded and killed cancer cells of at least 25 different kinds. He had permission for a clinical trial of his GIFT/LIFT infusions of white blood cells from a cancer resistant donor to the cancer patient. It failed by lack of funding but may yet be done by others.

    Then I found Dr. Nobuto Yamamoto who conducted clinical trials in Japan using weekly injections for almost up to a year of hundred nanogram doses of GcMAF, a potent macrophage activating factor. Each trial had more than a dozen patients, all of whom were completely cured of their three kinds of cancers. Reports can be found in peer reviewed journals, some freely available on the web. Another clinical trial apparently cured what ever the HIV test identifies as HIV+.

    It seems that Nagalase snips a triple sugar from one site on vitamin D binding protein known as DBP or Gc, preventing its conversion into GcMAF by enzymes found on B and T cells which only snip off two of those sugars. What surprised me was that cancers, some viruses, and fetuses protect themselves from activated macrophages by producing Nagalase (aka Alpha-N-something). There is no commercial source for GcMAF, but a process for making it in vitro has been described by Yamamoto.

    Cancer researchers have long opined that since cancer is hundreds of different diseases, depending on what cell types have become cancerous, there will never be a generic cure for cancer. They understate the case. Cancer, based on just the genetic content of the cells is millions or billions of different diseases. Yet both Yamamoto’s GcMAF and Cui’s white blood cells from cancer resistant humans seem to attack virtually all of them.

    I should note that I found this information because Bill Sardi wrote about it and a comment in Henry Bauer’s blog mentioned those articles. Neither treatment is likely to be approved since there is no patented drug, just natural compounds or white blood cells from selected donors suffice to cure cancers and apparently HIV+, whatever that actually means, as well. Could we get Duesberg and Cui and Yamamoto to collaborate to make sense of this?

    Perhaps veterinarians could first cure dogs, cats, cows, and horses using these approaches and let the pressure build to allow humans to use the same treatments. Would anybody else like to pursue curing cancer this way?

  8. Truthseeker Says:

    Well, as described in the current post (http://www.scienceguardian.com/blog/burzynski-alternative-medicine-pioneer-conquers-tumors-fda.htm) Burzynski is on this track of boosting the body’s natural cancer defenses and his stuff is patented and evidently making Pharma jealous as it approaches Phase III trials, so should be financed and reach the market. Perhaps these other approaches are part and parcel of the same thing, and could ride on his coattails. Or perhaps they are supplanted by his ability to synthesize what appears now to be proven and about to be confirmed in Phase III trials. This is the remarkable watershed we seem to have arrived at, which unfortunately is not yet being covered by the science writer hacks in thrall to the NIH and FDA.

    It appears Duesberg’s illumination of the way cancer arises is not really needed to get things done, since it only confirms your general remarks above. If so, this is a pity, since he deserves that kind of boost to his reputation and bank account, which have been unjustly weakened by the political poison of John Moore and others who now use cheap politics to prevent him gaining a hearing any more. since what he says would if not drowned out by their Vuvuzela horns ensure that they would have an even harder time getting renewed funding for their useless research.

    Just as the greed of BP has resulted in oil poisoning the Gulf, so the HIV gang’s pollution has poisoned the Gulf of HIV/AIDS (non) science.

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