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.

Classic case of a system fighting exposure: Dreyfus

July 25th, 2010

Railroaded onto Devil’s Island, Dreyfus was without doubt an innocent patriot

Army officers used anti-Semitism, manufactured evidence to keep him there regardless

Intellectuals finally freed him, but truthfinding whistleblower was persecuted, Zola exiled, Dreyfus nearly shot dead

Modern science twisted by like irrationalities, especially in HIVnot/AIDS

The Dreyfus Affair which split France reminds us of the irrational social forces which explain how an innocent retrovirus and its defenders can even today be convicted of killing humanity despite enormous efforts by high ranking whistleblowers to point out that the scientific literature has high level reviews in the best scientific journals stating without refutation that this accusation is false, a global fantasy maintained by those who live by it and cannot afford for it to be subjected to rational examination.  Far better, they think, to exile whistleblowers and censor review, at whatever cost to other people's lives. Anyone who thinks the Dreyfus Affair is an irrelevant episode which has no bearing on modern life should read today’s well executed summary of this shameful story in the New York Times Book review, where Leo Damrosch boils down Ruth Harris’s new tome, Dreyfus: Politics, Emotion and the Scandal of the Century to its essence.

An entirely innocent man was convicted of espionage and suffered four years of hell on earth on the notorious Devil’s Island before his brother enlisted Emile Zola and other intellectuals to reverse the monstrous injustice, with the Army and conservatives resisting all the way with lies, manufactured evidence and persecuting the whistleblower who discovered the real culprit, not to mention attacking Zola for libel and hounding him out of the country. Even then a zealot nearly killed Dreyfus with a pistol after he was freed.

Sound familiar? There are parallels in every facet of the appalling story of how HIV(not)/AIDS zealots who believe that HIV causes AIDS have managed to maintain their entirely irrational paradigm in the face of an avalanche of books, articles, contrary scientific papers and critics of all stripes, from both inside and outside the system – in this case, Big Science, rather than the French Army.

Nothing could be more obvious than the innocence of this harmless wisp of retroviral RNA of all charges of harming humans brought against it, yet the bulk of the world’s population has been led to believe it a very damaging and ultimately fatal threat to their health, and that the antibodies they form to it which repel it from their bodies in short order somehow much later will ruin their immune system and kill them, and anyone they have miraculously transferred those antibodies to, in a sequence of reasoning which is irrational in every step and which contradicts the basic premises of infectious disease as demonstrated throughout the rest of medicine and its science.

Have a look at Damrosch’s review and you will get a very clear picture of what happened to Dreyfus, and how human behavior in the leading civilizations of this planet has not changed one iota from over a century ago.

July 15, 2010
At War With Itself
Politics, Emotion, and the Scandal of the Century
By Ruth Harris
Illustrated. 542 pp. Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt & Company. $35
The scandal known as the Dreyfus Affair still resonates after more than a century, though it has been blurred for most Americans by time and distance. It is the goal of the Oxford historian Ruth Harris to extricate the story from the myths it has generated, on both the left and the right, and to trace its tortuous evolution from 1894 to 1906 in all of its human complexity. Combining an even-tempered tone with generosity of imagination, she has achieved that goal, charting a steady course through the voluminous literature that the affair inspired and exploring the reactions of scores of soldiers, politicians, journalists, salonnières and ordinary citizens. A helpful “Dramatis Personae” at the end of the book lists nearly 150 people, all of whom are given substantial treatment during the course of the narrative.

Alfred Dreyfus grew up in a wealthy Jewish family in Alsace, a disputed eastern territory that many French people regarded as covertly German. He was 10 years old at the time of the Prussian invasion in 1870, when the French Army suffered a humiliating defeat, and he remained fiercely patriotic ever after, which motivated his choice of a military career. Intent on improving its leadership, the army began to promote officers on the basis of success in examinations rather than through the old-boy network, and Dreyfus was one of those selected for special training. The old-boy network was predictably resentful, especially when beneficiaries of the new policy were Jews, who numbered fewer than 100,000 in a nation of 38 million and were regarded by many as an insidious “enemy within.”

On Oct. 14, 1894, a few days after his 35th birthday, Captain Dreyfus spent the evening in his Paris apartment with his wife, Lucie, and their two young children. The next morning he was summoned unexpectedly to headquarters, subjected to a bewildering interrogation and placed under arrest. During the star-chamber trial that followed, he was never permitted to know the actual charges against him, which were based entirely on a torn-up bordereau, or memorandum, that a cleaning woman had retrieved from the wastebasket of the German military attaché. It was clear that someone was offering to sell low-level secrets to the Germans, and a chain of flimsy circumstantial evidence was said to point to Dreyfus. He wasn’t short of money and wasn’t entangled with women, two of the most frequent motives for espionage at the time, but his superiors decided that the handwriting on the bordereau was his, and an Alsatian-Jewish scapegoat was convenient.

Early in 1895 Dreyfus stood at attention in the courtyard of the École Militaire while an officer publicly broke his sword in two (Harris mentions that it had been broken and soldered together in advance to preclude any embarrassing difficulty). He was then condemned to solitary confinement in the ferocious tropical heat of Devil’s Island in French Guiana. He spent four appalling years there, forbidden to speak with his guards and with no knowledge of what was happening in France. As Harris comments, “Dreyfus, in fact, was one of the few French alive who knew nothing of the Dreyfus Affair.”

Alfred’s brother Mathieu, tireless in support despite constant threats, managed increasingly to attract the attention of politicians and journalists who suspected that in its zeal to defend its honor, the army had perpetrated a monstrous injustice. The “Dreyfusards” appealed to Enlightenment ideals of truth and justice, while conservatives, with the support of the Roman Catholic Church, argued for nationalist traditions that the army was held to embody. As Harris shows, allegiances were often complicated and illogical. Some important Dreyfusards were personally anti-Semitic, and some conservatives who believed that Dreyfus was innocent nonetheless were convinced that defending the army, and hence its persecution of Dreyfus, was more important than justice.

The case against Dreyfus, such as it was, began to unravel when Lt. Col. Marie-Georges Picquart stumbled on evidence that the real spy was Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy, a commandant whose handwriting did indeed match that of the bordereau, and who did indeed need money to cover huge debts. In the tragedy of errors that followed, paranoid army leaders punished the whistle-blower Picquart and did everything in their power to protect Esterhazy. They even abetted the forging of a letter by a commandant, Hubert Joseph Henry, that allegedly confirmed Dreyfus’s guilt. Amazingly, after the forgery was exposed, the anti-Dreyfus press claimed that Henry had acted out of patriotism to defend his nation’s honor, and when he slit his throat in prison they proclaimed him a martyr.

In fact, the forces of reaction proved impervious to argument and evidence. The novelist Émile Zola became fascinated by the case and ignited a huge protest by analyzing its details in “J’Accuse,” a celebrated open letter to the president of the Republic. Zola was thereupon convicted of libel in a trial whose judge ruled nearly all the relevant evidence inadmissible and was forced to go into exile in England.

Dreyfus himself was brought back to France in 1899, a broken man after four years on Devil’s Island, and put on trial once more. His prosecutors claimed, as more recent governments have done, that national security forbade them to reveal secret evidence that would have been decisive if known, and he was convicted all over again. To forestall further controversy he was immediately granted an official pardon, which did nothing to clear his name. It was not until 1906 that a court finally declared him innocent. In 1908, after he had retired from the army, a would-be assassin wounded him slightly with a pistol; the attacker was tried and acquitted. Dreyfus died in 1935.

The story is clearly a very rich one, exposing the determination of military and political leaders to cover up their errors at all costs and, still more profoundly, the bigotry that foreshadowed the genocidal horrors of the 20th century. It was apparently at this time, too, that the word “intellectual” assumed its modern connotations, with writers and thinkers acquiring a prestige in public debate that they have retained in France to this day.

In the splendidly terse “Why the Dreyfus Affair Matters” (2009), Louis Begley brought a lawyer-novelist’s insight to untangling the deceptions through which Dreyfus was framed, and he suggests explicit parallels with post-9/11 legal abuses by the United States. More spacious, and also more densely detailed, is Frederick Brown’s “For the Soul of France: Culture Wars in the Age of Dreyfus” (2010), which traces the development of racist nationalism and reactionary Catholicism from the mid-19th century onward until they culminated in the Dreyfus Affair.

For readers who want a concise account of what Harris calls “the most famous cause célèbre in French history,” Begley’s book and Brown’s chapter will appeal. For the story in depth they should turn to Harris’s excellent “Dreyfus,” which deserves a wide audience for its patient, fair-minded exploration of human ideals, delusions, prejudices, hatreds and follies.

Leo Damrosch’s most recent books are “Tocqueville’s Discovery of America” and “Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Restless Genius.”

Anyone who remains innocently skeptical that today’s leaders of science and society and their unthinking followers can behave like braying asses in intellectual matters should read “Dreyfus” through for a good understanding of human folly, and how easy it is to mislead the faithful, even in science, when it turns political, and fights over its truths in the media rather than in peer reviewed journals.

Our not so modern era

What makes the Affair resonate so strongly even today, in this supposedly more enlightened Information Age, is that its exhibition of so many facets of crowd behavior in all its foolishness is still matched today in great issues ranging from the Iraq war to the nonscience of HIV/AIDS. For example, the US military adventures in Vietnam and Iraq were also initiated with deceptions and lies, with the Tonkin Gulf incident as imaginary as Saddam Hussein’s possession of “weapons of mass destruction.” Just as with the unfortunate Dreyfus, these false facts nevertheless became catalysts of huge waves of public feeling and misapprehension, with political responses from leaders in every social realm, and the truth of the matter quite irrelevant to the psychological forces called into action.

Likewise, the simple scientific misdirection published in Science in 1984 by Robert Gallo of the NIH that he had demonstrated that a retrovirus was the primary cause of AIDS (the key phrases being “strong evidence of a causative involvement of the virus in AIDS” and the “data suggest that HTLV-III is the primary cause of AIDS”), despite finding it in all too few AIDS patients (around a third) and despite finding the said virus thrived like Topsy in cultures of the very T-cells it was supposed to decimate, catalyzed a scientific boondoggle which is now the Worldcom of science, an enterprise whose essential bankruptcy is as yet unexposed behind the screening cloud of emotions and political and financial exploitation that has surrounded it for 26 years.

Whether Dreyfus’s sorry tale is worth going through page by unhappy page to see all the parallels with these modern debacles is probably dependent on how sophisticated the reader is in his/her perceptions of what is going on today, since the naive will probably feel it is all anachronistic old hat, now that we are free of all the problems such as anti-Semitism, blind trust in authority, belief that the law courts seek and find the truth, raging rumor mills and the tendency of a large national system such as the French Army to protect itself at the expense of justice for the individual, which France suffered then and which we don’t have any more.

If you do want to read up on this primer on mob politics and misdirection, however, we recommend the earlier book by Jean-Denis Bredin, “The Affair: The Case of Alfred Dreyfus”, which has all the important details knit together in a more effective, even novelistic dramatic structure, as against the comprehensive but rather plodding academic style of the current effort, which doesn’t add any updates which make any difference to the moral of the tale.

“Does it matter that Dreyfus was innocent? At Rennes, did Commander Merle, who wept while listening to Demange,, and Commandant Beauvais, who hesitated, it was said, until the last moment, believe that Dreyfus was innocent? It is not improbable, but his innocence was not enough to make them change their judgment. “I am convinced of Dreyfus’s innocence,” a French officer said to Emile Duclaux, “but if his verdict were up to me, I would convict him, again for the honor of the Army.” (Bredin, p.536)

The social principle that politics trumps truth in a court of law is one of the hardest lessons for the young idealist to learn. That it extends even into the heart of science is even more difficult to conceive, until one opens the Pandora’s box of skepticism about the claims of the generals of that Grand Armee, especially those in HIV/AIDS.

Wives get US military to aim at girls in Afghanistan, Wikileaks strikes again

July 18th, 2010

Greg Mortenson teaching Army new tactics of winning hearts and minds as both lose on the ground

Female power takes over US Army policy in history’s biggest quicksand, but can it overcome male doubledealing in millions to trillions of dollars?

If Army wives can redirect a juggernaut, why can’t Michele?

UPDATE: Wikileaks sends heat missile into US policymaking

The NYTimes sees fit today (Jul 18 Sun) to carry on the top left front page of its presumably well read Sunday edition a story by Elizabeth Bumiller on an Unlikely Tutor Giving Military Afghan Advice.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen joined Greg Mortenson at the opening of his latest of more than 130 mostly girl schools he has built in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as the US Army turns to "Three Cups of Tea" as its latest manual on how to achieve victory in Afghanistan ie leave without the Taliban taking over.Turns out the tutor is Greg Mortenson, author of “Three Cups of Tea”, and builder of more than 130 mostly girl schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the US Army under McChrystal has been paying a lot of attention to his ideas for the past year. The story gives the impression that “Three Cups of Tea” is now the unofficial army manual on how to achieve victory in Afghanistan ie how to leave it to the Afghanis without the Taliban taking over again. Mortenson’s answer, as we noted in an earlier post, is to educate the better half of Afghanistan, its women. And who is the group behind this sudden enlightenment after eight years of floundering in a military quicksand which has swallowed every other conqueror in history? Army wives:

“We will move through this and if I’m not involved in the years ahead, will take tremendous comfort in knowing people like you are helping Afghans build a future,” General McChrystal wrote to Mr. Mortenson in an e-mail message, as he traveled from Kabul to Washington. The note landed in Mr. Mortenson’s inbox shortly after 1 a.m. Eastern time on June 23. Nine hours later, the general walked into the Oval Office to be fired by President Obama.

The e-mail message was in response to a note of support from Mr. Mortenson. It reflected his broad and deepening relationship with the United States military, whose leaders have increasingly turned to Mr. Mortenson, once a shaggy mountaineer, to help translate the theory of counterinsurgency into tribal realities on the ground.

In the past year, Mr. Mortenson and his Central Asia Institute, responsible for the construction of more than 130 schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, mostly for girls, have set up some three dozen meetings between General McChrystal or his senior staff members and village elders across Afghanistan.

The collaboration, which grew in part out of the popularity of “Three Cups of Tea” among military wives who told their husbands to read it, extends to the office of Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Last summer, Admiral Mullen attended the opening of one of Mr. Mortenson’s schools in Pushghar, a remote village in Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush mountains.


Mr. Mortenson — who for a time lived out of his car in Berkeley, Calif. — has also spoken at dozens of military bases, seen his book go on required reading lists for senior American military commanders and had lunch with Gen. David H. Petraeus, General McChrystal’s replacement. On Friday he was in Tampa to meet with Adm. Eric T. Olson, the officer in charge of the United States Special Operations Command.

Mr. Mortenson, 52, thinks there is no military solution in Afghanistan — he says the education of girls is the real long-term fix — so he has been startled by the Defense Department’s embrace.

“I never, ever expected it,” Mr. Mortenson, a former Army medic, said in a telephone interview last week from Florida, where he had paused between military briefings, book talks for a sequel, “Stones into Schools,” and fund-raising appearances for his institute.

Mr. Mortenson, who said he had accepted no money from the military and had no contractual relationship with the Defense Department, was initially critical of the armed forces in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as “laptop warriors” who appeared, he said, indifferent to the civilian casualties inflicted by the American bombardment of Afghanistan.

In its early days “Three Cups of Tea,” the story of Mr. Mortenson’s efforts to build schools in Pakistan, was largely ignored by the military, and for that matter by most everyone else. Written with a journalist, David Oliver Relin, and published in hardcover by Viking in March 2006, the book had only modest sales. Most major newspapers, including this one, did not review it.

But the book’s message of the importance of girls’ education caught on when women’s book clubs, church groups and high schools began snapping up the less expensive paperback published in January 2007.

Sales to date are at four million copies in 41 countries, and the book’s yarn is well known: disoriented after a 1993 failed attempt on Pakistan’s K2, the second-highest mountain in the world, Mr. Mortenson took a wrong turn into the village of Korphe, was nursed back to health by the villagers and, in gratitude, vowed to build them a school.

He returned to Pakistan a year later with a $12,000 donation from a Silicon Valley benefactor and spent most of it on school construction materials in the city of Rawalpindi — only to be told he could not get his cargo to Korphe without first building a bridge.

The story of that bridge, Mr. Mortenson’s relationships with Pakistanis, and the schools that followed appealed so much to one military spouse that in the fall of 2007 she sent the book to her husband, Christopher D. Kolenda, at that time a lieutenant colonel commanding 700 American soldiers on the Pakistan border.

Colonel Kolenda knew well the instructions about building relationships with elders that were in the Army and Marine Corps’ new counterinsurgency manual, which had been released in late 2006. But “Three Cups of Tea” brought the lessons to life.

“It was practical, and it told real stories of real people,” said Colonel Kolenda, now a top adviser at the Kabul headquarters for the International Security Assistance Force, in an interview at the Pentagon last week.

Colonel Kolenda was among the first in the military to reach out to Mr. Mortenson, and by June 2008 the Central Asia Institute had built a school near Colonel Kolenda’s base. By the summer of 2009, Mr. Mortenson was in meetings in Kabul with Colonel Kolenda, village elders and at times President Obama’s new commander, General McChrystal. (By then at least two more military wives — Deborah Mullen and Holly Petraeus — had told their husbands to read “Three Cups of Tea.”)

As Colonel Kolenda tells it, Mr. Mortenson and his Afghan partner on the ground, Wakil Karimi, were the American high command’s primary conduits for reaching out to elders outside the “Kabul bubble.”

As Mr. Mortenson tells it, the Afghan elders were often blunt with General McChrystal, as in a meeting last October when one of them said that he had traveled all the way from his province because he needed weapons, not conversation.

“He said, ‘Are you going to give them to me or am I going to sit here and listen to you talk?’ ” Mr. Mortenson recalled. The high command replied, Mr. Mortenson said, that they were making an assessment of what he needed. “And he said, ‘Well, you’ve already been here eight years, ” Mr. Mortenson recalled.

Despite the rough edges, Colonel Kolenda said the meetings helped the American high command settle on central parts of its strategy — the imperative to avoid civilian casualties, in particular, which the elders consistently and angrily denounced during the sessions — and also smoothed relations between the elders and commanders.

For Mr. Mortenson’s part, his growing relationship with the military convinced him that it had learned the importance of understanding Afghan culture and of developing ties with elders across the country, and was willing to admit past mistakes.

At the end of this month, Mr. Mortenson, who lives in Bozeman, Mont., with his wife, Tara Bishop, and two children, is going back for the rest of the summer to Afghanistan, where to maintain credibility he now has to make it clear to Afghans and a number of aid organizations that he has no formal connection to the American military.

Mr. Mortenson acknowledges that his solution in Afghanistan, girls’ education, will take a generation and more. “But Al Qaeda and the Taliban are looking at it long range over generations,” he said. “And we’re looking at it in terms of annual fiscal cycles and presidential elections.”

To turn the US Army in a new direction after eight years is quite a feat, and here we learn it was achieved by the wives atop the Army power structure ie the spouses of Christopher D. Kolenda, then commanding 700 American soldiers on the Pakistan border, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen and General David H. Petraeus, now the Army commander in Afghanistan. Note that the actual first names of only the last two, Deborah and Holly, are mentioned by the Times female reporter, which seems odd.

Why doesn’t Mrs Kolenda deserve respect as the initiator of a vast expansion of US Army objectives in Afghanistan? Colonel Kolenda certainly took her point, judging from his piece in the Weekly Standard in October, 2008, How to Win in Afghanistan:It’s time to adjust the strategy.. At least, he included a reference to “Local governments desperately need to draw on the expertise of civilian partners from the international community to develop durable systems relevant to everyday life” amid his hard nosed assessment of spoiler factors in “winning” in Afghanistan including a dysfunctional timber trade and tax system.

The $200 billion pork barrel

How to win the war in Afghanistan is none of the business of this blog, of course, though we celebrate any advance in releasing the energies of the better half of the population of the world, which Greg Mortenson’s school building is part of.

But the influence of money on the behavior of large systems is our business, in that the influx of money into science from the post World War II federal funding of scientific research to the Wall Street exploitation of breakthroughs in biotechnology and medicine seem to us to account for much of the misbehavior we witness today in scientific leadership, since funding has become the first order of business in almost every field.

How does Afghanistan look from this point of view? A lost cause, we would say, unless things change. According to David Samuels in Harpers August issue, Barack and Hamid’s Excellent Adventure: Afghanistan’s president visits the White House , gigantic sums are being pocketed and dispensed as the powers involved cooperate in a clandestine game that has little to do with the headline stories we read in New York:

“Is your brother a CIA agent?”

The question refers to Hamid Karzai’s half brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, who is regularly portrayed in the American press as a corrupt drug lord who charges huge fees for allowing trucks full of opium to cross the bridges over the Helmand River to Kandahar. Last fall, President Obama duly warned that he expected Karzai to establish tough new anti-corruption laws and remove his brother from the government of a country into which the United States would soon be sending 30,000 additional troops. Never mind that Afghanistan produces an estimated 90 percent of the world’s supply of opium; and that the Taliban pays Wali Karzai to ship opium through the territories he governs; and that the U.S. Army, under the ill-fated General Stanley McChrystal, relies on Wali Karzai for logistical support and subcontracts special tasks, which include killing people, to gunmen under his direct control; and that as a courtesy we no longer destroy the poppy crop; and that Wali Karzai happens to be the CIA’s landlord in Kandahar, renting them Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s old villa. After a few months of back-and-forth, the message got through, and on March 30 the New York Times reported that “Afghan and American officials have decided that the president’s brother will be allowed to stay in place,” quoting a senior NATO official as saying that Wali Karzai could be a big help to the ongoing American reconstruction effort. “One thing, he is a successful businessman,” the official said. “He can create jobs.”….

…an interview with former U.S. diplomat Peter Galbraith, an arrogant creep who was forced out of his job as deputy U.N. envoy to Afghanistan and chose to express his unvarnished opinion of Karzai. “He can be very emotional, act impulsively,” said Galbraith, who repeated the word “emotional” three times in the course of the interview. In case viewers didn’t get the gossip-page code, Galbraith explained that “some of the palace insiders say that he has a certain fondness for some of Afghanistan’s most profitable exports,” leading a reporter to ask State Department spokesman Philip Crowley the next morning whether the United States had any reason to believe that Karzai was “like, hiding out in the basement of the palace doing bong hits, or something worse.” …

Eikenberry, a tall man in a good suit who used to be a lieutenant general, was opposed to the surge, because the Afghan government—whose ministers he knows better than any other American in the room does—was corrupt and unable to run the country effectively. Having spent more than twenty hours on a plane with Karzai and his ministers circumnavigating clouds of volcanic ash, Eikenberry is now even better equipped to evaluate the men in whose pockets much of America’s $276-billion investment in Afghanistan now resides. Appearing at a news conference in the White House briefing room on Monday, Eikenberry was asked whether his opinion of Karzai had changed. “President Karzai is the—he’s the elected president of Afghanistan,” Eikenberry said, falling back on the military man’s necessary obeisance to the idiocy of legal authority….
The fact that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate has been supplying the Taliban and even helping to plan attacks on Afghan and American forces is another inconvenient fact of the war that the leader of the free world would prefer not to deal with….

Yet there can be little doubt that a major source of money for the insurgency comes from payments made by elected Afghan officials and Wardak’s army, meaning that America is funding both sides in what is very clearly an Afghan civil war.

Cont. (much more)
A case in point is a recent scandal involving the defense minister’s own son, Hamed Wardak, a Rhodes scholar and class valedictorian at Georgetown University; his transportation company, NCL Holdings, won a $360-million Pentagon contract despite the fact that it wasn’t registered with the Afghan government and didn’t own any trucks. “Those accusations are without merit,” the defense minister responds, adding, correctly, that his son’s company has received the highest possible marks from the Pentagon.

I ask the minister about whether, in general terms, the logistics systems shared by the U.S. Army and the ANA might be susceptible to some form of graft. I note that Watan Risk Management and Compass Security, the two major companies that escort supply convoys across the country, are known to pay large bribes to the Taliban and even to stage attacks on convoys in order to raise their rates. Although the fee varies according to the number of trucks and what they are carrying, the average bribe required not to get shot at is reportedly somewhere around $800 per truck. Both companies are owned by relatives of President Karzai. A report published last year by the Center on International Cooperation at New York University estimated that the United States and its allies spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on payments to private security and trucking companies.

“We have a very good logistics system,” Wardak answers. “It works exceptionally well. There is proper institutional control. Accusations to the contrary are without any merit.”

To make him feel better, I ask whether girls’ schools are still being burned down in Afghanistan. “That does happen very regularly,” he assures me. Over the past year, he says, there have been approximately 600 attacks on schools that have resulted in the partial or complete destruction of their facilities.

The interior minister, Haneef Atmar, a tall, ascetic-looking man who walks with a cane and is known as one of the few competent ministers in Karzai’s cabinet, tells me that although corruption is indeed a problem, he has instituted a “zero-tolerance” policy for payments from contractors to the Taliban. He gives me his email address so we can talk further and then introduces me to a no-nonsense-looking military type named Kevin. “Kevin is my adviser,” he says. It turns out that every member of the Afghan cabinet has a minder who “controls” that minister, a locution that the minders not only do not avoid but in fact seem eager to stress, as in, “I control the minister of mines.” I ask Atmar when this meeting was planned, and he tells me, “About three weeks ago,” confirming my impression that this visit was more or less arranged on the fly, after someone in the administration determined that Karzai had outfoxed them. As it turns out, Atmar’s announcement of a zero-tolerance policy on payments to the Taliban is premature: he will be unceremoniously fired by President Karzai shortly after the cabinet returns to Kabul.

The State Department desk man for Afghanistan informs me that if I want a meeting with the minister of mines, Wahidullah Shahrani, he will be appearing later at the Chamber of Commerce. Huge deposits of minerals including iron, copper, and lithium have been found in Afghanistan over the past few years. Last year, a contract for the Aynak copper deposit, thought to be worth some $88 billion, was awarded to a Chinese company in exchange for what American intelligence officials told the Washington Post was a $30-million bribe paid to Shahrani’s predecessor, Mohammed Ibrahim Adel, who was reported to be a close friend of Mohammed Karzai, one of the president’s brothers.

The problem with building anything in Afghanistan, the men tell me, is ensuring a consistent supply of fuel. There’s an eleven-inch pipeline that the Red Army built, and everything else needs to be trucked in, which means payoffs to the security companies and the local police, who are worse than the Taliban. I talk to a young American-born Afghan who grew up in Virginia and is now working in Afghanistan for an organization called SEIF, which was set up by CARE with funding from USAID. His job is to help small and mid-level entrepreneurs build packing plants in the countryside for dried fruit and nuts. I ask him how he thinks the war is going. “People in the rural areas are not happy with the last five or six years,” he explains. “They see billions of dollars being pledged for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. They don’t understand why they don’t see any of that money, why they don’t have roads, they don’t have schools, why they are still living in a mud hut.”…

I ask Ambassador Wayne how it is possible for the Chinese to pick up an $88-billion copper mine in the middle of a country in which America has spent more than $200 billion to no apparent purpose. “First is that the package that was put together was very massive,” he says, arching his eyebrows again. “Speaking frankly, there are all sorts of rumors about what else was happening.”

After the meeting, I ride with Minister Shahrani to the Willard Hotel, where we sit on pale yellow chintz-covered armchairs in a far corner of the lobby. In addition to the copper mine, he says, Afghanistan has the largest undeveloped iron-ore deposit in the world, for which bidding will soon ensue. “Everything will be done in the most transparent way possible,” he assures me. “We’re not Nigeria or the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

I try to imagine how that conversation goes. “So, you have already stolen billions of dollars, and you’ve deposited it in Geneva,” I say out loud, playing the role of Shahrani. “Be content with what you’ve stolen already. Please don’t steal more or the international community will be mad at us.” Shahrani smiles. The State Department minder—who has been sitting three feet away while pretending not to listen to us—looks up, but the minister waves him off. “No, let him ask questions,” he says. “All contracts will be made perfectly transparent,” he repeats, before launching into a long disquisition on the procedures and the road show for the iron-ore contracts, which will happen sometime this fall. The total worth of the additional unexploited mineral resources in Afghanistan may be between $1 trillion and $5 trillion. Whatever the real number is, it will provide plenty of incentive to keep fighting.

Ann Gearan of the AP, who has covered the State Department for years in the old-fashioned way, stands up to ask the Afghan president a final question. Is it really appropriate for the United States to be launching a major operation in Kandahar when the president is unable to remove his brother from office? Karzai nods politely. “Fortunately, officials who are elected by the people cannot be removed by the president,” he explains. The issues raised by the American press have now been understood better, he concludes, before stating firmly, “the issue is resolved.” Hillary Clinton turns her face toward the bright, shining lights. “I have nothing to add,” she says. The vision is real and ineluctable. America will win the hearts of the Afghan people by defeating the Taliban and educating women to go to the moon, and our president will be reelected at a cost of $6 billion per month and tens of thousands more lives, Afghan and American.

Sobering stuff. Also, somewhat disillusioning to all those that wish Greg Mortenson and his girls schools well.

After all, he built no fewer than 130 schools over several years in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but the Taliban and other fighters have burnt down or crippled 600 in Afghanistan in the past year alone, so it would seem that the imagined transformation of Afghan society in support of the US Army might take a great deal longer than even a generation. Are the US Army prepared to stay the course? one might ask Colonel Kalenda.

Barack’s bedtime reading

So while we originally read the Times story as a heartening indication that perhaps our advice to the HIV/AIDS mythbusters to get to Michele somehow and let her insist that President Obama adjust US policy on AIDS in the right direction was not too wacky, we now realize that it may more difficult than it seems to actually change policy whatever success Michele has in getting Barack to make Peter Duesberg’s “Inventing the AIDS Virus” his bedtime reading.

After all, the amount invested so far in the totally spurious idea that HIV causes AIDS, a idea that is so scientifically silly it should be quickly rejected by any 14 year old who reads up on the topic, is calculated by some to exceed $400 billion, though the usual figure claimed in Vienna is half that.


WikiLeaks shoots heat seeking missile into Pentagon

Army intelligence specialist Bradley Manning, 22, is a champion leaker according to the suspicions of the Pentagon, which is fuming that he has given away the truly sorry state of "winning" the war in Afghanistan at such great cost to the lives and limbs of young American soldiers from the less privileged classes in this great democracy.  But most informed people were already aware of it.Today (Jul 26 Mon) the Wikileaks release of 92,000 Army records, more than 200,000 pages of detailed description of battle events from January 2004 through December 2009, delivered a body blow to current Afghanistan war policy possibly equivalent to the Pentagon papers undermining of Vietnam, though the documents are not as secret. The texts make clear that the war has not been going even as well as claimed by the White House, and why after $300 billion spent by the US the Taliban are stronger than ever.

They confirm the corruption and incompetence of the Afghan government, its army and its police, probable Pakistani ISI (Interservices Intelligence) support for the Taliban, at least until recently, that insurgents of all kinds have continually multiplied beyond official estimates and are now apparently using heat seeking missiles (Manpads, not Stingers) successfully against US helicopters, as they did against the Soviets, police cruelty to civilians sometimes as sadistic as the Taliban, and Army disregard of the lives of civilians who may be in a target zone without any hope of fleeing.

At the time of writing the Pentagon is fuming that this must have been the work of Bradley Manning, the 22 year old intelligence analyst they have in custody for releasing the video of the helicopter attack in which the Reuters correspondent got shot (see previous post, Bullets vs books: Greg Mortenson and the un-infowars), but Wikipedia isn’t saying, of course.

WikiLeaks Julian Assange has turned his site in just four years into the world's biggest secret buster. with ClimateGate, CopterGate and now AfghanGate to his credit.  Julian apparently believes that no large system should be allowed to keep secrets from the public, just as a matter of principle.The fundamental lesson for science here may be that what is needed for systematic scientific outrages such as the maintenance of the HIV/AIDS paradigm two decades after its expert debunking in top journals is a whistle blower who can expose internal memos and other correspondence which can give the game away to the public.

Unfortunately the only instance we know of where such a text was exposed was the incriminating memo written by some functionary at HHS asking why Peter Duesberg’s Cancer Research article in 1987, the one which first shot down the prima facie absurd HIV=AIDS claim, was not headed off at the pass ie not stopped before publication by intervention from the NIH or its agents.

Shortly after the Cancer Research paper appeared, a memo was sent from the office of the secretary of Health and Human Services, (HHS) with the words “MEDIA ALERT” that castigated the NIH for allowing the paper to have been published in the first place. “The article apparently went through the normal pre-publication process and should have been flagged at NIH,” it read. “This obviously has the potential to raise a lot of controversy…. I have already asked NIH public affairs to start digging into this.” The memo listed the few media outlets that had covered Duesberg’s review – primarily the New York Native, a gay weekly that has since gone out of business – and cited a few journalists by name it promised to check up on.

The notion that the NIH expects to vet every scientific paper in every cancer journal is surprising to people who think of science in the old fashioned, soft-fuzzy way. But to anybody who knows the system it is no surprise at all. The NIH exerts a militaristic control over the ideas that emanate from US government science, and the control extends to the media, who are rewarded and punished in accordance with their suspension of curiosity.
The NIH and all its branches are not only part of the “government,” they are part of the US military. Public Health has its roots in the military; the NIH began during World War I as an organization that solely focused on the health of soldiers. This remained its core mandate through World War II, after which it expanded to a more sweeping public health institution. Still, top NIH scientists hold military rank – the only openly stated one being the Surgeon General.
The NIH, UC Berkeley, the respectable science press, and needless to say the world’s many thousands of AIDS organizations choked on Duesberg like a bone lodged sideways in its throat. Ironically though, his achievements and reputation had lodged him deep in the system and it would take a while for them to expel him. (Celia Farber, The Passion of Peter Duesberg, at AIDS Wiki.)

Despite the fact that this notorious page has been displayed or at least quoted on the Web for years it seems to have made no difference at all to the success of HIV propagandists in selling the world on their lucrative idea, and that any challenge to it must be “dangerous” to the welfare of the public.

What is needed is 90,000 pages of such admissions but Alas there seems no chance of that. Although perhaps we should get in touch with Julian, just in case. He is reportedly miffed, however, that the copter killing video didn’t enough of a dent in the politics of Afghanistan’s civil war – for that is what it is now exposed to be – and that is why he released the current material, which is only part of the total, he states.

Meanwhile BradAss87 faces 52 years in prison.

From Huffington Post:

Jon Stewart Mocks Media for Wikileaks Reaction (Video) Watch for the final shot of Afghan soldiers smoking hits of opium before going on patrol with American soldiers one of whom complains it is impossible to get them to stop giggling.

From the Guardian:
Biting column by Simon Jenkins, A history of folly, from the Trojan horse to Afghanistan – By recording failure in meticulous detail, the leaked war logs bear devastating witness to our incompetence

Two Vienna AIDS Conferences, only one with good science

July 16th, 2010

HIV mythbusters precede Global AIDS Confab with truthseeking pow wow

Facing army of millions, scientific idealists try to correct its idea of the enemy

Naive Obama is no help at all, and John P. Moore is still well funded

Eric Goosby, Obama's point man on AIDS, evidently has no idea at all that HIV is not the cause of AIDS, that AIDS is not infectious, and that the black community is at risk of being ground up in the teeth of the HIV/AIDS monster through no fault of its own.  As US Global AIDS Coordinator he will fly into Vienna this weekend to share data, best practices, and lessons learned from the $200 billion worth of programs implemented so far by the global community of HIV/AIDS.  Is there any chance that in a walk around the city this weekend to recover from jet lag he may stumble across the AIDS Knowledge and Dogma meet and learn better?The world’s greatest HIV/AIDS gathering will cram Vienna next week, bonding over the latest ways attendees have worked out to milk the greatest funding cow any of them have ever encountered.

None other than Ambassador Eric Goosby, the US Global AIDS Coordinator, will lead the US delegation to the XVIII International AIDS Conference to join 25,000 other HIV/AIDS dogmatists “to discuss efforts to stop AIDS.”

From July 18 to 23, Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, will lead the U.S. delegation to the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria. The conference brings together an estimated 25,000 participants, including scientists, health care providers, political, community and business leaders, government, non-governmental and multilateral organization representatives, and people living with HIV/AIDS, to discuss efforts to stop HIV/AIDS. Reflecting America’s leadership in the fight against global AIDS through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. will use this opportunity to share data, best practices, and lessons learned from PEPFAR-supported programs with the global community of HIV/AIDS program implementers.

Truth on the sidelines

The only fly in the ointment will be the rather smaller, but more truthful AIDS Knowledge and Dogma – Discerning the Difference: Conditions for the Emergence and Decline of Scientific Theories, Congress, July 16/17 2010, Vienna, Austria running today (Jul 16 Fri) and tomorrow in the same city, announcing in innumerable ways that the whole basis for their work, the supposed science of HIV/AIDS, is hollow at the core, which is one reason why it has got nowhere in 26 years in explaining how AIDS works or curing it. (HIV/AIDS patients treated with the standard drugs in the US are dying at the same rate as ever, 20,000 a year, give or take three thousand (the CDC and the WHO estimates vary)).

Peter Duesberg, whose courage and tenacity in sticking to his guns and the outcome of his impartial reviews utterly rejecting the idea that HIV can be the cause of AIDS sets a rare example in idealistic science in this day and age of journeyman professionals in science who believe whatever everybody else believes, will address the truth telling AIDS confab in Vienna  on Saturday morning at 10.20 am on how the impact of HIV/AIDS on Southern Africa has been indiscernible as the population has gone through the roof over the last decades, contrary to the reporting of the New York Times.Unlike the gargantuan main fair, the AIDS Knowledge and Dogma conference will be an excellent source of accurate information on HIV/AIDS. One might view it as nothing less than a celebration of truth and good science, as verified by the published record in the highest peer reviewed journals. Its basic theme – that HIV does not cause AIDS, and HIV/AIDS is not infectious – has been sounded since 1987 and 1989 in comprehensive reviews which have never been challenged in the same publications, Cancer Research and the Proceedings of the National Academy, let alone refuted there or anywhere else, contrary to the propaganda of all those living off the current dogma.

But will its message calling for a return to good science in AIDS penetrate the noisy ramparts of the celebration of the status quo? The sorry tale of how politics and propaganda have trumped the best published science over the last quarter century in HIV/AIDS bodes ill for the prospects of turning the direction in which the vast crowd of lemmings at the other gathering is running, which is over the cliff of destruction and into the sea of despair, albeit well funded despair.

Can truth prevail in the numbers game?

It really is quite extraordinary how successful the promoters of the established paradigm have been in protecting it from debunkers led by the best man in the field, which is what Peter Duesberg of Berkeley was and is, even now, despite the Nobels given to less deserving rivals which have been used to (a)ward off his critiques.

Remarkable, indeed, given that there are so many books out now, well over thirty at last count, describing this scandal in detail, books by very acute minds with a perfect understanding of the issue, such as Peter Duesberg himself (“Inventing the AIDS Virus, 1996”) the science editor Harvey Bialy (“Oncogenes, Aneuploidy and AIDS: A Scientific Life and Times of Peter H. Duesberg , 2004”), science critic Henry Bauer (“The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory, 2007” ) and the mathematician Rebecca Culshaw (“Science Sold Out, 2007”), two of whom (Duesberg and Bauer) will be speaking in Vienna.

Other distinguished speakers in the program include the worldly ex-Sunday Times investigative science and medicine journalist and author Neville Hodgkinson (AIDS: The Failure of Contemporary Science (Fourth Estate, 1996)), the sharp minded market researcher, author and drug critic John Lauritsen (Death Rush: Poppers and AIDS, “Poison by Prescription: The AZT Story (1990), and The AIDS War” and others), gynaecologist, obstetrician and AIDS in Africa expert Christian Fiala (author of “Do We Love Dangerously? – A Doctor in Search of the Facts and Background to AIDS”), the virus structure electron microscope researcher Etienne de Harven who has just published “Ten Lies About AIDS”, internal medicine specialist and co-author of “Virus Mania: How the Medical Industry Continually Invents Epidemics, Making Billion-Dollar Profits At Our ExpenseClaus Kohnlein (video in French), molecular biologist and radiologist Marco Ruggiero (video) (site), and award winning British science and medicine documentary maker (“AIDS—The Unheard Voices”) Joan Shenton, author of “Positively False: Exposing the myths around HIV and AIDS”. The excellent full length 2009 documentary expose of the rot at the core of the HIV paradigm, “House of Numbers” will be shown, along with a shorter German film from 1996, “AIDS – die grossen Zweifel (AIDS -the huge doubts)”.

But is anyone else listening?

All this material is quite enough to convince anybody listening there in Vienna (or who follows the links above, and reads the fine page of abstracts of the HIV truth conference) that HIV is the Worldcom of science, but the likelihood of it being heard by anyone from the main AIDS event seems remote. For twenty six years the response of everyone in the vast world of HIV/AIDS has been to turn a blind eye to anything which might threaten the central place of HIV in their scheme, and the funding that flows from that idea. As Upton Sinclair once remarked, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

Though the ruling idea that HIV causes AIDS is as vulnerable to debunking as a sucked egg is to a sharp stick, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men of reason and disproof have so far failed to dislodge the Humpty Dumpty of HIV from atop his wall, because none of them can get anywhere near him. No one who matters in the system will discuss the topic.

Of course, the naivete of Presidents, officials, editors, charity celebrities, health workers and the general public when it comes to paradigm battles within science is not helpful. Or perhaps it is not naivete. After all, what recourse do people even in high position normally have to a second opinion in scientific matters, which are beyond their own understanding?

Like even scientists expert in other fields, they have to ask Joe, or Bill, or whomever they know or trust, in the established ranks, and this chain of collegial agreement extends outwards from a very small group of insiders in the know. The number of people in HIV/AIDS who are fully aware of its ramshackle, unbolted theoretical underpinnings can probably be numbered on both hands, and half of them probably refuse to admit even to themselves the weakness of believing that HIV causes AIDS. And as Peter Medawar observed in Advice to a Young Scientist, “a scientist who habitually deceives himself is well on the way toward deceiving others”.

Where is the candidate for change?

Suckered by the HIV/AIDS paradigm promoters: President Obama speaks before signing the $3.4 billion Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 on October 30, 2009 in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, DC.  Is it possible that Obama's success at getting into Ivy League schools made him forget his origins and turned him into an elitist, deaf to signs that the public is being misled?   Or is he simply naive, not having grown up with those that feed in the public trough?   And no, Ryan White did NOT die of AIDS, poor mistreated childIn such conditions it is probably unfair to blame even President Obama for going along with this appalling boondoggle, although a case could be made for expecting more from a sophisticated politician. After all, it was not beyond South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki to realize that if such highly qualified scientists still disagreed over the issue. something must be going on, and to demand open public discussion, if not reconciliation of views. Having examined the issue for himself, it seems clear that he concluded like every other intelligent and objective outsider who comes upon it that there is no reason to believe in the unique absurdities of HIV/AIDS, which are legion.

Not to mention the stark giveaway that in established circles reexamination of the HIV faith is verboten, which is why HIV mythbusters have to hold their conference separately in Vienna, in the Imperial court stables, or Hoffstallungen.

For as any child should be able to see, censoring disapproval of questioning of a belief in science is the mark of vested interests anxious lest the paradigm they are living off get toppled, and a signal of its weakness. The lethal degree of counterattack on anyone who raises doubts in HIV/AIDS is notorious, and the most obvious flag that a can of worms will be exposed if it is opened.

A world where no one reads the science

In a modern world where no one has time to read beyond the headlines of journal articles, and even expert reporters are not paid to do any investigation in scientific disputes, the general public rarely tries to read up on a scientific topic hiding behind mounds of jargon on all sides, and so we have a world where a scientific paradigm can be maintained forever floating on general opinion, maintained by censorship and propaganda and the enthusiastic fellow traveling of activists, and the enormous momentum of tens of thousands of organizations and their need for funding.

The Web, which was meant to save us from institutions and systems which might conceal the truth, has now been exposed as ineffective, despite the growing pile of video clips and now even films on You Tube. The number of attendees tells the story: 25,000 versus probably more than a hundred times less. The chance of change at the grass roots level now seems remoter than ever.

But then, truth is not a numbers game, and science is not a democracy. When will a truth seeking leader look into the matter, and rescue the situation?

Calling Mr Goosby

This is the ceiling of the Vienna Opera House, which might inspire thoughts of rising above materialism and feeding at the public trough in the leaders of HIV/AIDS next week, but on the other hand since opera is fiction it might only inspire them to greater flights of fancy which will pay off at the box office run by the NIH.Will Mr Goosby pass by the Imperial Court Stables, where the AIDS-Knowledge and Dogma congress is being held, despite the not very promising name of this venue, and grasp the baton? Will he report back to President Obama that things may be amiss? Will Michele take an interest, and be put in charge of a new White House AIDS Investigative Unit?

Perhaps the current trend led by New York State surreptitiously to test everyone on the country for HIV will turn up a positive somewhere in the White House power structure, perhaps Mr Goosby himself. Certainly that would provide a personal motivation to reexamine HIV skepticism on his part, at least, if he has heard of it at all.

Certainly if he ever troubled to read Peter Duesberg’s book or site, or Rebecca Culshaw’s slim but powerful book, Goosby would be privately persuaded, we feel. But who in this Blackberry era has time to read any book? And who in a world of overwhelming consensus would think that contrarian views are worth reading, especially one atop the pyramid of power, privilege and pay generated by that consensus for 26 years? Probably not Mr Goosby, even if his alternative was the drug regime that increasingly is used to attack the health of blacks here and in Africa.

Moore pipes down

I am John Moore, and I detest this blog, even though I admit it is well written and civil, because it is a denialist blog, which is my favorite word for those who doubt my favorite paradigm, that HIV is the sole cause of AIDS, who deserve only the most vicious attacks, including calling up their universities or employers and trying to get them fired, because this is a very dangerous way of thinking, which might put off patients from taking their drugs, not to mention my leadership of HIV microbicide research.  Meanwhile, we note that lately John P. Moore of Weill Medical College at Cornell, the lead propagandist in HIV/AIDS science notorious for attacking HIV skeptics as viciously as he possibly can (by his own account), has kept out of the limelight, so we doubt that he will be in Vienna hosting a panel on why the media should be censored of any mention of doubts about HIV, as he did in Toronto.

After all, the NIH listing of grants in 2009 in HIV/AIDS has him busy as the grantee of some eight projects amounting to $2,171,570 (click on PIName heading, then seek page 14).

All of them seem to be related to microbicides, where his last major result was that his microbicide actually assisted the passage of HIV, as we recall.

We doubt that the funding of the alternative AIDS – Knowledge and Dogma conference amounts to anywhere near this sum. Were we in charge at NIAID, however, we would allocate $2 million to it, and $20 million immediately to Duesberg, whose line of research in cancer seems more promising that the entire oncogene industry put together.

UPDATE: Russian English speaking TV has run segments featuring HIV Mythbusters during the week – see AIDS: questions remain unanswered – Jul 18 story with 8 video clips embedded. . (Thanks Carter and Questioning AIDS Forum where a couple more videos will be found of Neville Hodgkinson on YouTube from Russia Today and CrossTalk on the AIDS Industry – a TV news segment panel including Peter Duesberg.

Duesberg wins crossfire panel: The last one – Cross Talk – is a must see with Duesberg in a Crossfire type discussion where two stalwart defenders of the faith one from UNAIDS and one from the pharma side are pitted against Duesberg, who they try to repel as “dangerous” and a “murderer” 25 years out of date with his valid (they admit) complaints about AZT killing all the patients, but he is given adequate time to counter them by pointing out that his complaints are drawn from JAMA and the NEJ in the last few years where half (of the 17,000 (CDC) to 21,000 (UN) dying annually) AIDS victims in the US are now dying of symptoms not of AIDS but of drug toxicity, and is given the last victorious word on the topic with that unanswerable point.

A creditable performance by the news host, who did his research beforehand, it is clear, unlike almost all well paid interviewers and producers in the country which spawned this outrage to science, medicine and common sense.

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