Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

I am Richard Feynman and I approve of this blog

Qualified outsiders and maverick insiders are often right about the need to replace received wisdom in science and society, as the history of the Nobel prize shows. This blog exists to back the best of them in their uphill assault on the massively entrenched edifice of resistance to and prejudice against reviewing, let alone revising, ruling ideas. In support of such qualified dissenters and courageous heretics we search for scientific paradigms and other established beliefs which may be maintained only by the power and politics of the status quo, comparing them with academic research and the published experimental and investigative record.

We especially defend and support the funding of honest, accomplished, independent minded and often heroic scientists, inventors and other original thinkers and their right to free speech and publication against the censorship, mudslinging, false arguments, ad hominem propaganda, overwhelming crowd prejudice and internal science politics of the paradigm wars of cancer, AIDS, evolution, global warming, cosmology, particle physics, macroeconomics, health and medicine, diet and nutrition.


Henry Bauer, Peter Breggin , Harvey Bialy, Giordano Bruno, Erwin Chargaff, Nicolaus Copernicus, Francis Crick, Paul Crutzen, Marie Curie, Rebecca Culshaw, Freeman Dyson, Peter Duesberg, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, John Fewster, Galileo Galilei, Alec Gordon, James Hansen, Edward Jenner, Benjamin Jesty, Michio Kaku, Adrian Kent, Ernst Krebs, Thomas Kuhn, Serge Lang, John Lauritsen, Mark Leggett, Richard Lindzen, Lynn Margulis, Barbara McClintock, George Miklos, Marco Mamone Capria, Peter Medawar, Kary Mullis, Linus Pauling, Eric Penrose, Max Planck, Rainer Plaga, David Rasnick, Sherwood Rowland, Carl Sagan, Otto Rossler, Fred Singer, Thomas Szasz, Alfred Wegener, Edward O. Wilson, James Watson.

Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

Skepticism is dangerous. That’s exactly its function, in my view. It is the business of skepticism to be dangerous. And that’s why there is a great reluctance to teach it in schools. That’s why you don’t find a general fluency in skepticism in the media. On the other hand, how will we negotiate a very perilous future if we don’t have the elementary intellectual tools to ask searching questions of those nominally in charge, especially in a democracy? – Carl Sagan (The Burden of Skepticism, keynote address to CSICOP Annual Conference, Pasadena, April 3/4, 1982).

It is really important to underscore that everything we’re talking about tonight could be utter nonsense. – Brian Greene (NYU panel on Hidden Dimensions June 5 2010, World Science Festival)

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 ever interfered with my learning was my education. My name as you already perceive without a doubt is George Bernard Shaw, and I certainly approve of this blog, in that its guiding spirit appears to be blasphemous in regard to the High Church doctrines of science, and it flouts the censorship of the powers that be, and as I have famously remarked, all great truths begin as blasphemy, and the first duty of the truthteller is to fight censorship, and while I notice that its seriousness of purpose is often alleviated by a satirical irony which sometimes borders on the facetious, this is all to the good, for as I have also famously remarked, if you wish to be a dissenter, make certain that you frame your ideas in jest, otherwise they will seek to kill you.  My own method was always to take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then to say it with the utmost levity. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine) One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways. – Bertrand Russell, Conquest of Happiness (1930) ch. 9

(Click for more Unusual Quotations on Science and Belief)

Expanded GUIDE TO SITE PURPOSE AND LAYOUT is in the lower blue section at the bottom of every home page.

Brush fires in South Africa

May 18th, 2008

Jefferys at AIDS Truth in a quandary

Coverage of AIDS dissent awkward, because it may promote it

Is Jefferys a closet denialist like John P. Moore?

brushfireg.jpgDrug defender Richard ‘Judge’ Jefferys, who would dearly love to ship all HIV=AIDS paradigm critics off to Burma, and who unless we are very mistaken is the author of the recent stream of items on John P. Moore’s blog AIDSTruth.org disparaging successes scored by those he calls “denialists”, is at it again, shooting himself in the foot every time he tries to reinterpret the small victories of dissent in HIV/AIDS which threaten his livelihood promoting conventional HIV/AIDS drugs.

The Judge’s problem is how to attack any success of those who demand a review of HIV/AIDS and its core belief, that AIDS is caused by HIV and by HIV alone, without promoting the very questioning he deplores, for reasons which are not entirely clear but we are certain have nothing to do with the fact that his New York City Treatment Action Group is generously funded by drug company money.

First, he reported on the Semmelweis prizes awarded Peter Duesberg and Celia Farber last week in Washington for their Clean Hands in science and journalism, claiming the awards were of no political significance but making sure that as many telephone calls and visits as possible protesting the event were undertaken by his HIV/AIDS promoting activist allies in Washington.

This resulted in such concern by the nervous prizegivers (previously unaware of the antisocial behavior of these fanatics) over the possible disruption of their ceremony that the awards made to the principled and public spirited duo were delayed a whole day and the framed certificates handed to them in a private meeting on Wednesday, as described in our previous post (Jefferys has so far failed to update his misinformation that the awards were never made to Duesberg and Farber).

Another brush fire in South Africa

But in doing so he ensured that many people who otherwise would have ignored the awards took notice of them and asked why anyone would wish to censor the free speech of individuals who were counted whistleblowers of major significance, especially during Washington Whistleblower Week, a week in which politicians are made more aware than usual of the vengeful hostility of agencies, institutions and corporations visited upon whistleblowers by those whose oxen are gored.

Now the Judge – if it be he – has written up an outbreak of resistance to HIV/AIDS ideology in a South African province, KwaZulu-Natal, led by the Minister of Health there, who is following the sensible policy established by South African President Thabo Mbeki of double checking the advice of HIV/AIDS authorities before allowing them to proceed with prescribing dangerous drug regimens to pregnant African women who test HIV positive but are otherwise healthy.

South Africa shows the way

Here is his post, on the good news which he finds so alarming but which all familiar with the numberless questions raised about HIV/AIDS science in the best journals (that is, anyone who looks through the posts of this now rather extensive blog, as well as Jeanne Lenzer’s fine and balanced portrait of Peter Duesberg and his views in Discover June, and Celia Farber’s irrefutable condemnation of HIV/AIDS practices in Harpers, March 2006) will find encouraging.

Here we have Africans who do not kowtow automatically to the official line presented to them by supposedly impartial and informed medical authorities, but review the information they are given and take note of well informed critics in formulating policy.

Denialism again rears its head in South Africa’s worst-hit province
* By AIDSTruth at 16 May 2008 8:46am

peggynko.jpgPeggy Nkonyeni, provincial Minister of Health in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal, the province that accounts for a quarter of HIV cases in that country, has been in the news recently for a denialist-inspired crusade against her own doctors. Earlier this year, a doctor at the rural Manguzi hospital was threatened with disciplinary action for providing two drugs to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, allegedly in contravention of national guidelines (the dual therapy protocol is standard, recommended by the WHO and superior to the Nevirapine-only protocol used until recently in South Africa). After threatening a doctor for not unnecessarily letting infants be infected, she made the following extraordinary statement:

AZT is toxic and must be controlled. Dual therapy has not been agreed upon. … We have a problem with doctors who work in rural areas. They do not care about people. It is all about profit and not about caring for people.

She then had another doctor suspended who placed her portrait in a dustbin in anger at this statement. (See Jonathan Berger’s piece More Manto than Manto.) The Treatment Action Campaign and AIDS Law Project in South Africa have now laid a complaint with the country’s Human Rights Commission.

That she is being influenced by denialist ideas is clear. This is a woman who has been observed consulting books by the notorious vitamin entrepreneur and denialist Matthias Rath. She has also argued that HIV is a “bioterrorism” or “biological warfare” agent manufactured to “target a particular community”, echoing the mad conspiracy theories that Jeremiah Wright also recently cited.

It seems the fight against official denialism in South Africa is far from over.

“It seems the fight against official denialism in South Africa is far from over.” Welcome news, indeed. What with Thomas Friedman calling Mbeki “disgusting” for his unwillingness to censure Mugabe, and the unfortunate Dr Rath run out of town, we were afraid that resistance to bad science from the highest level in South Africa was fading, another temporary triumph of anti-science by South Africa’s own “queer fascists”, as gay activists in favor of truth are calling them in our Comments columns.

What Washington should know too

brushfire2.jpgGiven the appalling restriction of free speech and debate in HIV/AIDS, which has censored the full critique of the paradigm from the public arena for over two decades, and falsely represented it as answered, this level of political sophistication must be welcomed, whatever its roots, as Africa sets an example which Washington would do well to imitate – that is, showing an awareness that science can be distorted hugely by politics on the inside, as well as from the outside.

Of course, those like Richard Jefferys who in the spirit of what the more enlightened gay activists commenting here of late call “queer fascism” attempt to impose silence on HIV dissenters by force, disparagement, and shouting them down, are the most blatant example of how good science can be shut down by noisy ignorance, or what in Jefferys’ case may well be well informed and willful ignorance, since his postings on this blog, Science Guardian, and elsewhere have demonstrated a very well informed grasp of the science.

As an example of how well informed Jefferys is on the science, let us look no further than his impressive piece on the dim hopes for a an HIV vaccine, Merck HIV Vaccine Trial Results: Hopes Dim for Struggling Field

On September 18, 2007, the world of HIV vaccine research was dealt a dismaying and unanticipated blow: immunizations in an ongoing efficacy trial of Merck’s HIV vaccine candidate were stopped when the Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) conducted a planned interim analysis of the results and concluded that the vaccine was ineffective, both at preventing HIV infection and reducing viral loads in immunized individuals who became HIV infected. Results from the trial were not anticipated until 2009 and, while there was certainly some skepticism about whether the approach would work, nobody predicted that the vaccine would fail so quickly and unequivocally.

After the DSMB’s decision was announced publicly, concern began to mount that the vaccine had not only failed to work but also somehow increased susceptibility to HIV infection among a subset of the trial participants.

Clearly, Jefferys is sufficiently versed in HIV/AIDS science to appreciate Peter Duesberg’s unrefuted critique, which would tell him exectly why the vaccine hunt is a wild goose chase, except of course for its power in raising a couple of hundred million dollars from Bill and Melinda Gates if NIAID fails to come through.

The reason, of course, is that HIV is an effective vaccine against itself, which works like a charm in six weeks or less, after which finding the virus in anybody is virtually impossible, even those dying of AIDS.

Fair play and foul in science

Whether ignorant of the scientific case against HIV/AIDS, or simply ignorant in their attitudes to scientific debate, Jefferys and his editor John P. Moore on the AIDS disinformation site AIDSTRuth.org should remember that science proceeds by overturning certainties, and removing paradigms which have held on far past their due date by dint of political and emotional violence of the kind that they pursue.

A paradigm which needs to be held up by “queer fascism” and by secret phone calls to university administrations urging that tenure be withheld from authors who write respectable and scientifically based books condemning the position of the caller should not be part of any public discussion of the merits of any belief in science, let alone one involving so many lives and the health of so many people as HIV/AIDS.


Brush fires out of control

brushfire3.jpgYet another event to upset Jefferys et al at AIDSTruth has come hard on the heels of the one complained of above, suggesting that anti-HIV-propaganda successes this fast and furious are rather like brush fires in California, hard to put out, and liable to turn into a major conflagration.

But Jefferys is up to the task of slandering all comers as quacks, just as the headline writer does, in an effort to prevent readers from wondering whether there is anything in it. His latest effort on AIDSTruth reads:
“SA Health Minister backs denialists and quack AIDS cures

The South African Sunday Times newspaper ran an exposé today about a meeting of quacks in the port city of Durban, the major city in the epicentre of SA’s HIV epidemic. The meeting was attended by the provincial health minister for KwaZulu-Natal Peggy Nkonyeni and addressed by the national Minister of Health, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. ”

This is the event he refers to:Health chiefs back quackery to treat HIV:

Health chiefs back quackery to treat HIV
Kerry Cullinan and Anna-Maria Lombard Published:May 18, 2008

‘We can’t meet targets if we send confusing messages saying the ARVs that the government includes in its programme are poisonous and dangerous’

MEC, minister in workshop with dodgy doctors, denialists and bogus ‘cures’.

The KwaZulu-Natal Health Department is actively promoting Aids denialists and quack Aids cures — with the blessing of Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.

Last Friday, the department hosted an “information workshop on HIV treatment” at a Durban hotel, where speakers condemned antiretroviral drugs and called for traditional medicine to be promoted instead.

The meeting was opened by the KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Peggy Nkonyeni. Tshabalala-Msimang delivered the keynote address.

The meeting was then addressed by Dr Cyril Khanyile of Medunsa University, who disputes that HIV causes Aids; Traditional Healers Organisation president Nhlavana Maseko, who is an outspoken opponent of ARVs; and Zeblon Gwala, who makes an expensive concoction called uBhejane, which he touts as an Aids “cure”.

The only information handed to delegates was in the form of booklets produced jointly by the Dr Rath Health Foundation and the SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco), which claim that all antiretroviral medicine is toxic.

The meeting was for “stakeholders” in the HIV/Aids sector, according to provincial health spokesman Leon Mbangwa — yet the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) was barred from attending.

The TAC’s KwaZulu-Natal co-ordinator, Phillip Mokoena, said his organisation had heard about the meeting on the morning it was taking place and members had gone to the hotel to try to attend.

“The people at the door went to ask the MEC if we could attend the meeting, but she refused,” said Mokoena.

The general secretary of the eThekwini Traditional Healers’ Council, Bongi Nkomo, said that her organisation had also not been invited .

“I know nothing about this meeting and we don’t know the people who were speaking there or who attended,” she said .

When asked why someone like Gwala had been given a platform by his department, Mbangwa said it was a meeting to “share information” and that “these are the people who treat our people”.

Although the meeting claimed to be a workshop on HIV treatment, no speaker on the programme addressed the use of ARVs in HIV treatment, which is official government policy.

Carte Blanche presenter Bongani Bingwa, who attended part of the meeting, said it focused on how the Health Department could form partnerships with traditional healthcare providers to address HIV.

“Maseko said traditional healers must get an allocation from the national Health budget. He suggested they should get something like 25% of the budget,” said Bingwa, who was waiting, with news service Health-e, to interview the MEC for a programme being broadcast tonight on a spat with rural doctors.

Since being appointed MEC in late 2004, Nkonyeni has become increasingly vocal about her scepticism about antiretroviral drugs, particularly AZT.

In 2006, she and the Health minister also reportedly recommended to a hospice that it should give its patients uBhejane. In February, Nkonyeni described AZT as toxic, at a meeting at Manguzi Hospital.

When asked whether it was the official department view that AZT was toxic, Mbangwa said: “ARVs and AZT are not a treatment to HIV and Aids. They are part of the solution. But not an answer.”

When asked whether the MEC subscribed to the view in the Sanco-Rath literature that ARVs were being “pushed by drug cartels” intent on establishing “pharmaceutical colonialism”, Mbangwa replied: “I’m not going to say what the MEC subscribes to.

“She did not distribute this literature. You can be in a workshop and give a talk, but that doesn’t mean that the contents of the literature has been organised by you.”

However, in a recent meeting with the TAC, Nkonyeni prominently displayed one of the Rath-Sanco booklets that was distributed, called End Aids: Break the chains of pharmaceutical colonialism, on her desk.

The booklet compares the TAC to Nazi Brown Shirts, says that all ARVs are toxic and claims that Vitamin C “can block the multiplication of HIV by more than 99% ”.

When asked why Nkonyeni had displayed the book at the meeting, spokesman Chris Maxon said that “the MEC, like any person in this country, is free to stimulate her brains with anything and any reading material. The book is not banned in the country and we do not understand why she would be prevented from reading it or any other book for that matter.”

KwaZulu-Natal is the province worst affected by HIV, with 40% of pregnant women infected.

Mark Heywood, the deputy chairman of the SA National Aids Council, said that the ANC should “discipline and restrain” the MEC and minister.

“The position of the ANC is clear arising from the Polokwane conference, and that is we must expand access to antiretroviral medicines,” he said.

“They’re also in conflict with their own government policies. In 2007 the Cabinet adopted the National Strategic Plan on HIV and Aids, which says that by 2011 we should try to reduce the number of mother-to-child HIV infections to less than 5% .

“We can’t do that if we are sending out confusing messages that tell people that the antiretroviral drugs that the government includes in its programme are poisonous and dangerous.”

National Health spokesman Fidel Hadebe said that Tshabalala-Msimang had been invited to address the meeting by MEC Nkonyeni, and had nothing to do with invitations or information handed out.

“At no stage has the minister endorsed traditional medicine as being a solution to HIV and Aids,” said Hadebe.

“On a number of occasions, the minister has reiterated her commitment to the country’s National Strategic Plan.” – Health-e News Service

As readers of this blog know, the surprising fact is that the so called quacks are scientifically correct and that Manto Tshabalala-Msimang’s beetroot and garlic would do the unfortunate HIV positives of South Africa a good deal more good than the chemotherapeutic AIDS drugs Bill Clinton and Richard Jefferys are anxious to provide them as soon as possible.

It is certainly hard to see how they could possibly claim that these were not “toxic”, however else they might object to the resistance they are encountering from the suspicious South Africans.

Walking for the AIDS Vaccine

May 17th, 2008

Is the World AIDS Vaccine Day inevitably absurd?

Science indicates that a vaccine is already here, but ignored

Is this farce, or tragedy?

aidswalk.jpgIn the aftermath of the rejection of science in Washington this week, detailed in the previous three posts, we can all look forward to the grotesquerie of the New York AIDS Walk tomorrow, which will occur on World AIDS Vaccine Day, May 18.

The AIDS Walk, saluted at the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange yesterday, whose $50,000 Grand Sponsor is Duane Reade, a company which pays its counter employees little more than the minimum wage, and for which the Empire State building is lit up in red, has raised $97 million in the last twelve years, all of it predicated on the supposition that HIV causes AIDS, a proposition rejected in 1986 and 1987 in comprehensive reviews in elite peer reviewed journals by the top scientist in the field, who has not changed his opinion since.

A well funded wild goose chase

Mr Jefferys of Treatment Action Group in New York was lately pleased to call the Semmelweis prize for Duesberg and Farber a “farce”, but we have to say, to anyone who knows anything about the Duesberg critique of HIV as the cause of AIDS, if anything is a farce, the search for an AIDS vaccine is one.

The chief reason for this view is that, as we have pointed out before, all good science indicates that HIV vaccinates against itself, which is one of the many obstacles in the path of HIV believers as they try to ignore or contradict the plain facts of retroviral science, most recently brought home to them by the signal failure of the second candidate for realizing the vaccine dream.

As Medical News Today tells us, however, this failure may have encouraged some skeptics (not named) to wonder if we will ever achieve this Holy Grail of AIDS, but the pioneering optimism of those who would spend large amounts of public money in this unending quest is undaunted:

Eleven years ago, during a commencement speech made at Morgan State University, U.S. President Bill Clinton called for an AIDS vaccine within a decade. A year later, AIDS vaccine advocates around the world marked the first World AIDS Vaccine Day. While Clinton’s ten-year goal was unfortunately not met, a great deal has been learned in the quest to develop a vaccine.

This has been an eventful year in AIDS vaccine development; the second vaccine candidate to complete efficacy testing failed. In the wake of this news, some skeptics have questioned whether an AIDS vaccine will ever be developed. It is true that scientists have a difficult task ahead, and much remains unknown. But on May 18, as we honor all the individuals who work tirelessly to help make an AIDS vaccine a reality, it is an appropriate moment to reflect on what we do know. It’s much more than many realize.

Science suggests an AIDS vaccine is possible. Nearly every individual who becomes infected with HIV is able to hold the virus in check for several years before progressing to AIDS. What’s more, some individuals, known as elite controllers, are able to hold the virus in check indefinitely. Scientists are now actively studying the immune responses of these unique individuals to identify clues that could help in the design of an effective AIDS vaccine.

Second, some HIV-infected individuals develop antibodies that are capable of neutralizing a broad range of HIV strains. To date, scientists have identified and mapped the structure of several of these antibodies and are actively trying to design immunogens that can stimulate the production of these antibodies in humans.

We attach this misinformation partly to provoke those who already know very well, thanks to Peter Duesberg’s seminal papers, why “some people” (in fact, all) develop antibodies to HIV which successfully reduce its presence in their bodies to virtually nil, that is to say, so far beyond detection that the HIV test is for antibodies to the virus, not the virus itself.

The likelihood of any artificial vaccine doing better is nil.

Which is the true farce?

aidswalkcentralpark.jpgAs noted, Richard Jefferys writing on AIDSTruth.org in a panic over Duesberg’s award recently called the Semmelweis proceedings a “farce”, though they apparently were worth rushing to sabotage as strenously as possible.

But to all careful observers of the HIV/AIDS scene, who know that there has never been any successful refutation of Dr Duesberg’s condemnation of AIDS science, there is no bigger farce that the AIDS Walk and the search for the AIDS Vaccine, the latest acts in the absurd global theater provoked by Robert C. Gallo 23 years ago with a “probable” cause of AIDS he himself could only produce evidence against (only one third of his samples from patients with AIDS were positive).

Of course, we hurry to add that this is no farce here apart from the absurdity of the science, and having thousands of people of goodwill walk ten kilometers in favor of a misinterpreted threat and a misdirected cure.

There are real deaths caused by the faith of the gay community in a scientifically perverse ideology. As we see it, their irrational faith in its truth, and hostility to the willingness of Peter Duesberg and Celia Farber to inform them otherwise, despite all the obvious contradictions and inconsistencies in their religion, are attitudes caused by fear, the one emotion that most readily prevents us from thinking clearly.

Politics briefly quash science in Washington furore

May 17th, 2008

HIV fanatics panic at Duesberg and Farber awards, smash spotlight on HIV challengers

Duesberg testimony blocked, ceremony held in private, for fear of activist disruption

Whistleblower week leader Rev. Fauntroy of No FEAR supported Duesberg, but feared PR consequences

actupimage.jpgA storm of hostile protest from gay activists spoiled the Semmelweis Society International Clean Hands awards to Duesberg and Farber this week, in yet another resounding but temporary success on the part of paradigm defenders in blocking free speech on the topic of whether AIDS science makes scientific sense, or any sense at all.

Alerted by an item on the New York Post’s Page Six heralding the Semmelweis award to Celia Farber. gay activists wedded to their self-destructive certainty that Anthony Fauci of NIAID is leading them to a promised land of rescue from an HIV which he personally guarantees is lethal, went into high gear.

As well reported in the Housing Works piece out today (DENIED:AIDS denialists disinvited from Congressional hearing—but get indirect endorsement from Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee ), New York’s Treatment Action Group’s Richard Jefferys posted the news on an email list and a flurry of phone calls and visits resulted, which caught the besieged sponsors of the whistleblower awards off balance since they had not fully researched the extent to which Duesberg and Farber are subject to political counterattack, from Anthony Fauci of NIAID all the way down to gay HIV positive activist members of D.C. Fights Back (“HIV is a disease and with your help DCFB can beat it.”).

Alliance for Patient Safety president and Semmelweis board member Gil N. Mileikowsky, who recommended Duesberg and Farber for the Clean Hands honor, said the decision to yank Duesberg and Farber from the week’s events was 11th hour public-relations damage control that in no way reflects on the dubiousness of their whistleblower status. “Unfortunately some members of the Semmelweis Society were concerned [Duesberg’s] story would overshadow the story of other physicians [being honored] because the media would be writing about him and not the bills in Congress,” Mileikowsky said. “It’s like when Reverend Wright distracted from Obama’s campaign.”

Mileikowsky also said that Charles Phillips, one of the 19 Clean Hands awardees, was accompanied by a gay man and was worried he would be offended by the AIDS denialists’ claims. “Apparently many homosexuals don’t like Duesberg’s research,” Mileikowsky said. “This was interesting and new to me.”

As a result Duesberg and Farber did not attend the Tuesday award ceremony of the Semmelweis Society, nor did they give testimony as expected in the No FEAR Tribunals which occurred on Tuesday morning in Congress and Wednesday afternoon in the Senate. Rev. Fauntroy of the No FEAR Institute gave an impassioned speech in favor of Mbeki and Duesberg in the session held among the co-sponsors, but decided that the courageous duo were too radioactive on the national level to place too close to the other awardees, whose injustices were more limited in scope and hostile counterattack and attached to House bills he is trying to advance to protect whistleblowers.

Instead, the principled duo were given their awards in a closed ceremony held especially for them on Wednesday evening, from which gay activists were excluded with the sole exception of Michael Geiger, a staunch supporter of Duesberg from San Diego.

Thus was the dissemination of unconventional wisdom, and the enlightenment of the press and public curtailed, by Richard Jefferys (whose oddly misspelled name is presumably the one that should have been attached to the misleading notice on AIDSTruth.org whose jeering claims we deconstructed in our previous post and comments) and the many gays who against all their own interests support the current highly questioned paradigm HIV=AIDS with a violent hostility toward any review, as if the fervency of their fond belief was going to save them from being mistreated with unusually poisonous medication whose effects include buffalo humps, many other obscenities, and eventually lethal damage to liver and kidneys.

aidsdrugshump.jpegWhy gay men, including even the very well informed Jefferys, should want to fight getting a second or even a third opinion in a diagnosis which guarantees sickness from medication alone and for the weaker ones eventual death from the prescribed ARVs is one of the mysteries of the psychology of health and illness, on which many future Ph.D. theses will be written.

Of course, the fact that Richard Jefferys’ New York organization Treatment Action Group is funded to a very generous level by drug companies would not have any influence on his long held position that all questioning undermining the current drug regimen should be banned before being heard, and this blog would never be party to any such suggestion.

We are not aware of the source of funding for D.C. Fights Back which is publicly posted as drawn only through PayPal but any such suggestion in regard to the motivations of their members would of course be entirely uncalled for also.

Activist alarm emphazises vulnerability

Meanwhile the activists’ irrational sabotage of the proceedings no doubt has them chuckling over their success. Not only did they prevent a very distinguished scientist and a very principled journalist from receiving the full public honor and attention they deserved, but they scotched the book signings which could have backed up the good impression which both would have made by speaking in person.

Both Duesberg and Farber are famous for changing minds when they appear before audiences otherwise misinformed by NIAID and activist propaganda, which is always conveyed so uncritically by the New York Times and other media and science reporters generally. The latest exception, of course, is Jeanne Lanzer and her excellent piece in Discovery this month, June 2008 (see post below), which will show any intelligent reader that Duesberg’s critique is unrefuted and its rebuttal is purely political.

Of course, any such reader will also know at once that the alarm and agitation of the activists, and their desire to censor criticism of HIV theory before it is voiced, reflect only political emotions and not any scientifically informed views, except perhaps the very real sense that it is very vulnerable to rejection if examined without bias.

Anyone who was certain that HIV is shown by science to cause AIDS would presumably have no incentive to take up arms against critics in science or out of it. The repression of questioning, led by Anthony Fauci and endorsed by every scientist, bureaucrat, official and expert profiting from the paradigm is a very bright neon sign indicating how unjustified, uncertain, unproven and unlikely the conventional belief is.

The problem is that the HIV=AIDS paradigm is inconsistent, contradictory and unrealistic in almost every respect, and rejected by the best scientist in the field, and if it was not automatically endorsed by every scientifically ignorant official, celebrity and activist it would be questioned by every layman let alone every scientist and replaced in short order by scientific sense and common sense.

noose.jpegYet this is the noose into which Jefferys, Lawson and all other gay paradigm fanatics want their fellow sufferers to rush and put their heads into, because Anthony Fauci tells them it is not a noose but a lifebelt, even while the most respected scientist in the field – which Duesberg was and is, before being smeared for contradicting Fauci – says it is a noose.

A PR success after all

That activists tried to run the most important whistleblowers in the country out of town during Whistleblower Week in Washington and largely succeeded might seem a blow to all dissenters in AIDS science in the short run, but in fact it calls attention to their censored existence and indicates a strong concern that they might prevail if listened to, which translates to the likelihood they are right and have something persuasive to say.

Thus if anything Richard Jefferys might well have achieved a pr success for the very people he opposes with such alarm.

As the first piece of evidence for this, we suggest reading the Housing Works article (DENIED:AIDS denialists disinvited from Congressional hearing—but get indirect endorsement from Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee ) carefully. It is a litany of the successes achieved by dissent in AIDS so far, including the fact that a survey has found 45% of gays do not believe that HIV causes AIDS.

rep-sheila-jackson-lee.jpgAnd as the headline remarks, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), chair of Whisteblowers Week, failed to distance herself from the award given to HIV/AIDS most principled and public spirited commentators.

The upshot seems to be that despite the best efforts of the spoilers, Washington Whistleblower Week did after all allow Duesberg and Farber to seed minds in Washington with knowledge that will flower some time after the forthcoming Presidential election.

Note: Michael Geiger’s account

The gay HIV critic and firebrand letter writer Michael Geiger of the HEAL board in San Diego was interviewed after the event by Zengers Magazine, and gave a very good account of what transpired.

Awards in Washington for Duesberg and Farber

May 12th, 2008

Library of Congress site of ceremony honoring whistleblowers of HIV/AIDS

Semmelweis society salutes their self-sacrifice, then they will speak in No FEAR tribunal hearings in Congress

Black community will likely pay attention, and so will Congressional staffers

Should Anthony Fauci buy a suitcase?

libraryof-congress.jpgThis is Whistleblower Week in Washington, and among the award honorees who will testify before tribunal panels at both Houses of Congress are two chief thorns in the side of Anthony Fauci, noted medical bureaucrat, director of NIAID and chief promoter of the extremely well funded but almost entirely incredible claim that HIV is an infectious virus and causes AIDS.

Tomorrow, May 13 Tuesday, Peter Duesberg of the University of Berkeley, and Celia Farber, freelance contributor to Harpers and other magazines, will be among twenty people honored at the Library of Congress by the Semmelweis Society for their achievements in blowing the whistle on bad behavior in science and medicine.

The Clean Hands awards ceremony will stretch from morning to late afternoon, as each recipient of a Semmelweis prize will be given time to address the audience, which may include interested staff members of Congressional offices and committees, anticipating the non governmental hearings on Wednesday when both Duesberg and Farber will testify within both Houses of Congress in the so-called No FEAR Tribunals arranged by the No FEAR Institute of Washington, DC (301-320-3021).

As they were last year, the Tribunals will be panels composed of members of Congress and prominent civil and human rights activists, and the purpose of their hearings will be to air the facts on the individual cases highlighted by the awards, and others involving discrimination and reprisal against whistleblowers.

peter_duesberg.jpgThe Wednesday sessions are scheduled for 9-noon in the House of Representatives, Room 2200 of the Rayburn House Office Building, and from 2-4pm in the Senate, Room 215, Dirksen Senate Office Building. Among those testifying as well as Duesberg and Farber are fellow awardees Michael Bennett, president of the Coalition for Patients’ Rights which pushes to reduce hospital infections (one killed his father), Patrick Campbell who tipped the FBI that 83% of the heart surgeries at his hospital were unnecessary, and Tim Goosby, an anaesthetist who lost his license when he reported a surgeon using experimental drugs with patient consent.

In the evening on Tuesday there will be a screening of the film, The Constant Gardener, arranged by the Semmelweis Society, whose day’s events are presented by its president. Roland Chalifoux, and co-chair Gil Meleikowsky, the gravel voiced president of the Alliance for Patient Safety, whose motto is Edmund Burke’s observation that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Meleikowsky is a whistleblower himself, a gynecologist and fertility specialist in Los Angeles who reportedly horrified his hospital review committee by supporting a patient in her complaint that her Fallopian tubes were needlessly removed without warning or expectation, and who was then severed from the institution for the sin of “not maximizing the income of the hospital”, as one observer puts it.

Chalifoux is a neurosurgeon who survived the revocation of his license in Texas engineered by his rivals, who was granted new licenses after review in West Virginia and Michigan. Still pursued by the Texas medical board, Califoux has countered with a class action lawsuit.

A full list of this year’s Clean Hands honorees is at the Alliance for Patient Safety (323 650-6667), and a list of the ones that will testify is at this page.

Alerting the black community, and the next President

One result of Duesberg and Farber’s participation in these events may be to tip off the black community that Rev. Wright may not be completely off the mark in viewing HIV/AIDS as a governmental conspiracy to attack the black community, even if his theory of HIV itself as a federal concoction is prima facie ridiculous.

For if Duesberg is right and HIV is neither infectious nor the cause of AIDS, then the 22 years of evading this peer reviewed conclusion under the generalship of Dr Fauci and his legendary success in raising vast funds for HIV/AIDS research, all of it therefore misdirected, would be knowing and therefore culpable misuse of public funds, and its present culmination in targeting the black community a needless, and in its medical effects a vicious, assault on the black community, whose high percentage of HIV positive test results would be medically meaningless (in fact they appear to be genetically based).

fauntroy.gifWhy is the black community likely to pay attention to the Semmelweis Clean Hands awards, and the No FEAR tribunal testimony of Duesberg and Farber? Because the No Fear Institute is chaired by a black American, Walter E. Fauntroy, a confidant of Martin Luther King who represented the District of Columbia in Congress for 20 years.

After the tribunals on Wednesday evening, there will be another awards reception for his FEAR Institute from 6-8pm at 2168 Rayburn House Office Building, where the recipients will include Chalifoux, three Senators including John Kerry, and five Congressional Representatives including Sheila Jackson Lee and John Conyers. It seems unlikely that these influential people will not want to be fully briefed about Duesberg.

On the whole, it would seem that the case of Duesberg vs Fauci in the matter of HIV and AIDS would fit squarely into the purpose of the No FEAR Institute, which is to educate the public about how “intolerance and retaliation against whistleblowers (truth-tellers) in the federal sector threatens public health and safety.” It is, however, a massively larger case than the ones they are used to:

I was told to keep Americans safe from Weapons of Mass Destruction–but I didn’t have a computer with internet connection. After I filed a complaint, I was fired.” Janet Howard, former Commerce Department Employee 25 years.

“After I testified on behalf of a whistleblower–the government admittedly made a series of mistakes in my pay—and sent me to Federal prison.” Jon Grand, former EPA employee

“There is a long history of sexual and physical abuse perpetuated upon USDA Forest Service female employees.” Lesa Donnelly, USDA Coalition of Minority Employees

Perhaps next year Duesberg and Farber can get a No FEAR award to add to their mantelpiece collections, and in the meantime the next US president, Barack Obama, and his supporter Oprah Winfrey just might update their understanding of the true picture in the vexed field of HIV/AIDS.

fauci190.jpgAlong with this it does not seem impossible that staffers of some relevant Committee or Congressman/woman might pursue the matter, and the first steps taken to bring Anthony Fauci, Robert Gallo et al to account for what appears to be the greatest boondoggle in medical history, which will eventually yield its own movie.

Meanwhile we will have to be satisfied with the Constant Gardener, or the other movies on the theme of misconduct by the powers that be to be shown this week in the No FEAR Film Festival.

Michael Geiger’s account

The gay HIV critic and firebrand letter writer Michael Geiger of the HEAL board in San Diego was interviewed after the event by Zengers Magazine, and gave a very good account of what transpired.

Duesberg Discovered

May 11th, 2008

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.)

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