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Celia Farber’s view of the reality of AIDS


AIDS “most dangerous reporter” does not take scientific position, but she has clear view

Her responsibility is to report what has happened, she says

Jon Cohen as repugnant parrakeet

The great rush to attack the Harper’s article Celia Farber wrote for the March issue this year, on the grounds that it was wrong to imply that Duesberg was credible and HIV was extremely suspect as the cause of AIDS, has always mystified Celia Farber, she has said, because nowhere in the article did she assert that claim herself.

Now in her new interview with Bookslut, at this page Interview with Celia Farber by Joanne McNeil, she says the same thing repeatedly, just to make sure everybody hears her:

An Interview with Celia Farber”I have never written that HIV does not cause AIDS. I don’t think I’ve ever said that HIV does not cause AIDS. I took one semester of journalism in college. The first thing one is taught is to answer the question: what happened? What happened in 1987 was that a top virologist — Peter Duesberg — published a paper in which he argued that HIV was not the cause of AIDS. That was the news event that I reported on. It is not for me to say as a journalist — as a nonscientist — what causes or doesn’t cause AIDS. But it is for me to say as a journalist what’s going on the landscape of AIDS dialectic.” by Joanne McNeil

That’s the headline and subhead of the piece at Interview with Celia Farber by Joanne McNeil, which makes it plain that Celia wants to “get off the meat hook here”, as she puts it.

You are constantly described as an AIDS dissident that does not believe HIV causes AIDS — but nowhere in your book is this explicitly stated. So how would you describe your views?Thank you for noticing that critical detail. I have never written that HIV does not cause AIDS. I don’t think I’ve ever said that HIV does not cause AIDS. I took one semester of journalism in college. The first thing one is taught is to answer the question: what happened? What happened in 1987 was that a top virologist — Peter Duesberg — published a paper in which he argued that HIV was not the cause of AIDS. That was the news event that I reported on. It was my second column in Spin magazine. It came out in 1988. It immediately became clear to me that interviewing Peter Duesberg, who argued HIV does not cause AIDS could not and would not be distinguished from the writer saying HIV does not cause AIDS. Because the stance then and now of mass media was that to interview Duesberg, to describe what he was saying, was exactly tantamount to endorsing him and agreeing with him.

It is not for me to say as a journalist — as a nonscientist — what causes or doesn’t cause AIDS. But it is for me to say as a journalist what’s going on the landscape of AIDS dialectic. And this was a huge event on the landscape.

By the end of the piece it is clear that Celia’s real engine is more a rich literary sensibility devoted to the human experience and not that of an investigative science reporter, as such. At least, not when the cost exacted on her and her family is so great:

That’s a good question. I am asked often, if I had known what the cost would be to my life and my career, would I nonetheless have done it? My quick answer is usually yes, of course. But it’s unanswerable… What I wish I had done differently, in retrospect, was to calculate the damage and the blight, both on myself and on my family and ask myself, “Is it fair to do to others?” Because what you actually do is you invite financial ruin…

…But for the sake of the story itself, which absolutely had to be told, I’m very glad I did it and very proud to have been involved in it.

But in fact it turns out she has a very clear idea as to what the cause of AIDS is, and says so. It is a view we entirely support here at NAR:

Are there any medicines you see as beneficial?I always want to pull back so I don’t start sounding like a self-declared doctor… but if I had to commit to a causation camp, I would be some kind of multi-factorialist. What that means is AIDS is caused by an assault on the immune system over time from many sources, both chemical, nutritional, psychic, and social. It is always affected by the people pushed out into the margins of society — isolated and alienated.

I am most enthusiastic about the data I’ve seen — and this is mainstream data — about mass nutritional replenishment: limited antibiotic use and basically gradual rebuilding of the immune system. I know countless people for whom that has worked. Now, I don’t mean, you’re not eating your string beans. But if you are exposed to extreme toxic assaults on your body, you will cease to absorb nutrients properly. If we are absorbing nutrients properly, then our bodies are designed to fight infections and to live.

Nutritional answers excite me very much especially in Africa, where the idea drives most people insane. How we can have a world where the left is opposed to clean water, core nutrition and basic health care to poverty-stricken Africans? It just boggled my mind. If anything, it’s a traditionally left-wing position that people poor, marginalized, and starving are going to get sick — as they always have.

Where this leaves her parallel statement that she doesn’t wish to deny HIV a role in AIDS we are not sure, but that doesn’t matter. Celia Farber has not, it turns out, spent twenty years under heavy fire in the trench of honest HIV∫AIDS reporting without coming to the proper conclusion indicated by the mainstream scientific literature, as opposed to the unfounded claims of NIAID and the scientists who lead the field and exploit the HIV theory.

This lioness of a reality seeker has nothing but contempt and rightly so for the chicken hearted, NIAID fellow travellers who have led HIV∫AIDS mainstream journalism into the current mire:

Any journalist today who looks at the landscape including science journalism, conferences, the rigging of clinical trials, the cooking of data, the cover-up of deaths — all this stuff, for which there are just reams of evidence — to look at that and to declare fault on the part of those journalists, writers, and filmmakers who decry it: that is denialism. That’s pervasive and severe denialism.Jon Cohen strikes me as a journalist who has so abjectly identified with the ideological agenda of mainstream medicine and the pharmaceutical industry that he can’t seem to distinguish from what they say and from what he thinks. He’s just the official parakeet.

[Later, Farber e-mails me a link to Jon Cohen’s “repugnant” article in the July 28 issue of Science magazine about recruitment for AIDS vaccine trials in Peru.

Finally, a literary magazine gives Farber her writerly due.

(show)
Bookslut

September 2006

Joanne McNeil

features

An Interview with Celia Farber

Normally, when someone researches and writes about a topic obsessively for over twenty-years, he or she is considered an expert. But Celia Farber’s “obsession” with AIDS has been unfairly characterized as an eccentricity by a more-dilettantish mainstream press.

Things changed when Lewis Lapham published her 15-page article, “Out of Control: AIDS and the Corruption of Medical Science,” in the March issue of Harper’s, his last as editor. Rodger Hodge, Lapham’s successor, told the New York Times, “The fact that she’s been covering this story does not make her a crackpot — it makes her a journalist. She’s a courageous journalist, I believe, because she’s covered the story at great personal cost.”

So what about her reporting would make anyone think she’s a “crackpot”? Well, where to begin? In the Harper’s feature alone she cites a high rate of HIV false-positives (as many as one in four) testing pregnant women, questions the effectiveness of antiretroviral drugs, suggests a pharmaceutical conspiracy comparable to The Constant Gardner, and interviews a doctor who believes HIV alone may not cause AIDS.

This summer, Melville House published a collection of her reports, Serious Adverse Events: An Uncensored History of AIDS. I talked to Farber by phone and asked her about the book and its unavoidable controversy.

You are constantly described as an AIDS dissident that does not believe HIV causes AIDS — but nowhere in your book is this explicitly stated. So how would you describe your views?

Thank you for noticing that critical detail. I have never written that HIV does not cause AIDS. I don’t think I’ve ever said that HIV does not cause AIDS. I took one semester of journalism in college. The first thing one is taught is to answer the question: what happened? What happened in 1987 was that a top virologist — Peter Duesberg — published a paper in which he argued that HIV was not the cause of AIDS. That was the news event that I reported on. It was my second column in Spin magazine. It came out in 1988. It immediately became clear to me that interviewing Peter Duesberg, who argued HIV does not cause AIDS could not and would not be distinguished from the writer saying HIV does not cause AIDS. Because the stance then and now of mass media was that to interview Duesberg, to describe what he was saying, was exactly tantamount to endorsing him and agreeing with him.

It is not for me to say as a journalist — as a nonscientist — what causes or doesn’t cause AIDS. But it is for me to say as a journalist what’s going on the landscape of AIDS dialectic. And this was a huge event on the landscape.

As someone without a science background are there times you feel overwhelmed by the data?

What I feel overwhelmed by is actually not the “science” so much as the politics of the science and the sociology of the science… Scientific data doesn’t come alive until the people who are fighting for it come into focus. I always relied very much on the old-fashion techniques of making sure I got into the room with the scientist or the doctor in question — so that I could hear the voice, see the face, see the facial expressions. Really pick up — with a receptive satellite dish — all the things going on — and what they really meant to say.

The nature of journalism is that you are reporting on a deadline and looking for good quotes. It is easy to see how science journalism can turn out like a game of telephone.

It is disembodied from the human, the emotional, the psychic and social context in which someone is speaking to you… It’s so sterile. As I look back on years and years of interviews, I remember the emotion. Of course the data is embodied in the emotions and vice versa — but when I read straight, respectable, kosher, approved science journalism, I can’t connect to it. I don’t know how the interviewer feels or the interviewee feels. It’s very gee-whiz: “Gee-whiz: scientists have discovered x, y, z.” Or a gene that causes this and causes that… In most cases, what it should say is X scientist, working for X interest, totally governed by X biases said to me on this date that X is true, but all of those are leaps that shouldn’t be taken quite so easily

Do you wish you had taken a different approach reporting? Is there anything you would have done differently?

That’s a good question. I am asked often, if I had known what the cost would be to my life and my career, would I nonetheless have done it? My quick answer is usually yes, of course. But it’s unanswerable… What I wish I had done differently, in retrospect, was to calculate the damage and the blight, both on myself and on my family and ask myself, “Is it fair to do to others?” Because what you actually do is you invite financial ruin.

I wish that I had found a way to keep the storm at bay — keep it from totally shattering the vessel that is my life, for I am also responsible for my son and making sure he has a sort of sane ordered life. He’s had a mother since he was three-months-old who is under extreme attack including a federal court trial that was very much about the AIDS column. Strictly for his sake, I’m almost prepared to say I wish I never got involved in any of it. But for the sake of the story itself, which absolutely had to be told, I’m very glad I did it and very proud to have been involved in it

[The federal court case was a sexual harassment trial against Farber’s then-employer Bob Guccione, Jr. at Spin Magazine (with whom she once had a relationship). Farber said in the interview, “I can exactly see why they would think that and why they would jump to those conclusions that that was how I got my job, but I dare say that if my work had not been covering the dissidents’ side of the AIDS debate, it wouldn’t have happened.” She wrote about this experience in Salon, after a jury rejected the charges.]

As a non-gay male AIDS reporter and Westerner investigating Africa, did you have to deal with identity politics?

I never got that kind of guff from any Africans, [but] certainly from the gay community. Those that were opposed to what I was doing — that was one of the charges: that I wasn’t gay and how the hell could I know what I was doing and what right did I have to say anything? But that’s inconsistent with the core belief system, which is that AIDS is everybody’s disease, and everyone should react, and everyone should care, and everyone should have compassion. But we did! We cared like hell! Bob and I were alone in that. I remember Bob used to say AIDS was the Vietnam of our generation. We started the AIDS column because we felt it was our problem.

I wasn’t one of those intrepid dissidents who never wavered and never broke down. I was breaking down all of the time. I would go to AIDS conferences and go through an immense crisis each time, “Am I crazy or are they crazy?” And since there are far more of them I figured I was crazy. So then I would go back to the data and the story, and the interviews and just keep beating and beating and beating — in a way try to pull myself to a place where the story looked different: where the conclusions were different, where I could get across that bridge of respectability where they all were saying all that the evidence is overwhelming that HIV causes AIDS and so on.

When I was much younger I really wanted to get there. But I could only get there on a bridge built on evidence. And evidence included people, voices, and testimony. My bridge took me consistently to this other place. The real, uber-question is: do we as human beings only build these bridges out of material that will in some way vindicate what we already believe? And what we already staked our reputations on? I hope that’s not the case. I work really hard at seeing clearly. I can say categorically that I’ve lived through so many years that some of the huge questions we put out have since born out that we were correct and they just don’t talk about them any more

Could you give an example?

Chief among them is that there was going to be an explosion of heterosexual AIDS spread by unprotected sexual encounters.

In the book you compare that to Y2K.

Well, it’s as nonexistent. It did not happen as much as Y2K did not happen. It was a classic mass panic. There is nobody on the orthodox side who with a straight face can say, “Yes, our vision of heterosexual AIDS bore through.” If you notice what they said — Tony Fauci, Matilda Krim, Life magazine, Oprah Winfrey — this is just one statistic to give you a sense of the scale of what we are talking about: seventy million Americans were supposed to be dead from AIDS by 1990. The heterosexual spread we all agree did not happen.

[Another example is AZT.] At the time, the FDA agreed to approve it after only 17 weeks of testing [without any of the standard procedures that used to take up to 10 years]. And it flooded the community. Our side says AZT was a catastrophe; AZT killed a generation of AIDS patients. There are orthodox doctors who say that, there are gay activists who silently concede that… To be more concrete, I lived through and reported very carefully about that story and I have a few gay friends who were around then who are still alive today and simply put, they say, categorically, everybody who went on AZT in the early years died. It is the most toxic drug ever approved for human use. It is DNA-terminating chemotherapy that kills all categories of cells. And high doses especially were un-survivable — most people died around nine months, a max two years.

Of course [ACT UP and other activist groups] meant well! Of course they wanted to save their loved ones and brothers! Of course they didn’t know! But it was a disaster and we have to face it. The really weird thing about this whole thing is if you got on the phone with one of them, they would say people like me are responsible for mass deaths for planting the notion that HIV does not cause AIDS — which we discussed at the beginning — and for scaring people away from antiretrovirals. All I can say is only data speaks.

[Farber begins to read from an Aug. 5 Lancet article, “HIV treatment response and prognosis in Europe and North America in the first decade of highly active antiretroviral therapy: a collaborative analysis” (it looks at 20,000 patients in Europe and North America on cocktail therapy, also known as HAART therapy). “Virological response after starting HAART improved over calendar years, but such improvements has not translated into a decrease in mortality since 1996” (the year these drugs were launched).]

AIDS is immune deficiency. AIDS is immune collapse. There are many roads that lead to Rome; there are many roads that lead to immune collapse. What we were saying about AZT in the early years is that, for god’s sake, this is a chemotherapeutic agent — an old cancer drug from the ’60s that was shelved as too toxic for human use. Chemotherapy obliterates the immune system. AIDS is a disease described as obliteration of the immune system caused by a virus. Protease inhibitors are a different kettle of fish. While they also greatly undermine the immune system they also weren’t total killers like AZT. They didn’t just mass destroy the cells; they brought some benefit as well. They’re broad-spectrum microbials. They did clear up infections and they absolutely did bring people back from the precipice of death. But what I just told you about is a ten-year perspective study. And when they looked over those ten years the utopian dream did not pan out. Their HIV levels are going down, whoop-dee-doo, but they are not living longer. It’s a very strange position to be in. Those of us on the skeptical side have never been more right but we have never been more hated.

Are there any medicines you see as beneficial?

I always want to pull back so I don’t start sounding like a self-declared doctor… but if I had to commit to a causation camp, I would be some kind of multi-factorialist. What that means is AIDS is caused by an assault on the immune system over time from many sources, both chemical, nutritional, psychic, and social. It is always affected by the people pushed out into the margins of society — isolated and alienated.

I am most enthusiastic about the data I’ve seen — and this is mainstream data — about mass nutritional replenishment: limited antibiotic use and basically gradual rebuilding of the immune system. I know countless people for whom that has worked. Now, I don’t mean, you’re not eating your string beans. But if you are exposed to extreme toxic assaults on your body, you will cease to absorb nutrients properly. If we are absorbing nutrients properly, then our bodies are designed to fight infections and to live.

Nutritional answers excite me very much especially in Africa, where the idea drives most people insane. How we can have a world where the left is opposed to clean water, core nutrition and basic health care to poverty-stricken Africans? It just boggled my mind. If anything, it’s a traditionally left-wing position that people poor, marginalized, and starving are going to get sick — as they always have.

The cocktail era involves mixing and matching all these drugs in infinite combinations to infinitely unknowable results. So the best thing I can say about cocktail therapy is that I do concede it has worked to stop imminent death for those that are very far-gone.

What do you think about Jon Cohen characterizing your book, Sonia Shah’s The Body Hunters, and The Constant Gardner as “pharmanoia” in Slate?

Any journalist today who looks at the landscape including science journalism, conferences, the rigging of clinical trials, the cooking of data, the cover-up of deaths — all this stuff, for which there are just reams of evidence — to look at that and to declare fault on the part of those journalists, writers, and filmmakers who decry it: that is denialism. That’s pervasive and severe denialism.

Jon Cohen strikes me as a journalist who has so abjectly identified with the ideological agenda of mainstream medicine and the pharmaceutical industry that he can’t seem to distinguish from what they say and from what he thinks. He’s just the official parakeet.

[Later, Farber e-mails me a link to Jon Cohen’s “repugnant” article in the July 28 issue of Science magazine about recruitment for AIDS vaccine trials in Peru. Cohen reports on a “perplexing epidemiology — the epidemic is concentrated among men who have sex with men.” A “contentious” study will evaluate whether antiretroviral drugs can lower HIV transmission rates if uninfected people take them daily.]

Do you think The Constant Gardner was able to voice political dissent as it is shielded as fiction?

I would caution people against assuming that John le Carre is writing fiction. Let me make a generality: fiction writers today like John le Carre are doing journalism, and the journalists are writing fiction.

Who are the writers you most enjoy?

I love the South African journalist Rian Milan. Anthony Brink is a personal friend; I think he’s fantastic. He’s another South African. Totally putting aside the war, I do like a lot of what Christopher Hitchens writes. I used to read pretty much everything Hunter Thompson wrote, even at the end, even at his most confused. I read him for the originality of style and language.

[Among] writers who I feel have addressed what is actually the hell going on — Philip Roth. When he wrote Human Stain, I just went crazy. He became a writer of redress. And there was something enormous that needed to be redressed and punctured… And I think Tom Wolfe is nailing a lot of stuff that is important. But we think of these guys as fiction writers.

And John Strausbaugh has just written a book. It’s called Black Like You. Whatever he writes, I read it with interest and relish. I really like Armond White’s film criticism in the New York Press. I really like John Halpern’s theater criticism in the New York Observer. I rarely see movies or plays, I but I find their writing, raw and non-compromising.

You’ve listed a couple South African writers. Are they more open to dissenting opinions?

South African writers, of course, cut their teeth on apartheid. They cut their teeth on total evil and horror. They aren’t soft like American journalists tend to be… because we’ve never experienced true dictatorship — I mean, true dictatorship –we don’t really have a culture so much of investigate, threatening-to-power-structures journalism. There are so many writers that are clever and have great style, and are biting and witty; but what I look for are writers who are alarmed.

I remember you wrote some thoughtful pieces for Ironminds — one about the decline of courtship that I forwarded to all of my girlfriends — and you’ve interviewed O.J. Simpson. Do you ever wish you’d pursued lighter topics?

Yes, I do. The sad thing is that when I wrote about those other things I got a whiff of what it might be like to be heard and understood and not be in a gulag. I wish that I were not thought of as being obsessed with AIDS. I’d love to write about other things, but I’m not sure I can right now. The Harper’s article, and the phase we’re in — which includes The Constant Gardener — we’re in some kind of civil war and paradigm shift, and I’m caught up in this very powerful wave. There are a lot of things that still have not sorted out but there is a lot of rage and hysteria in the air.

I do wish that I could crawl away, quietly and turn up on some completely other part of the beach. I find it’s hard, because right now I’m so angry and my anger is keeping me from returning to that levity — the voice that I had. There wasn’t levity in the O.J. piece, but there was in that one you just cited — the courtship piece is overwhelmingly the most popular I ever wrote. And I’d like to write more about that but I don’t really know how to get back to that as an identity.

Actually the book that I’m imagining, that I’d like to write next is about very small things. I want to write kind of along the lines of that courtship piece: civility, grace, and manners, and decency — it sounds a bit pious, but I want to do it with variations of people and sort of funny stories over the years. I’m kind of obsessed with language and passive aggressiveness and rudeness — of course I live in New York City. And political correctness brought us to extreme lows of human language and behavior.

So yeah, I want to return to all that stuff, if I can just get off the meat hook here.

29 Responses to “Celia Farber’s view of the reality of AIDS”

  1. kevin Says:

    I commend Celia Farber and any journalist who is willing to report the facts of HIV/AIDs, in spite of the personal attacks such truth-telling inevitably brings. Her intelligent writings were the first to persuade me to delve deeper into this issue and for that I say ‘thank you, Celia’.

    I am somewhat new to this discussion but have been following the dialogue online for a few months now. Like many, my own health has lead me to seek information beyond what was available from my physician and from mainstream medical sources. Though I was never diagnosed with AIDS and have always tested HIV-, I have suffered from frequent, debilitating infections all my life, a few that are AIDS-defining illnesses including chronic fungal sinusitis and systematic candidiasis. Unfortunately, I was given antibiotics 3-5 times a year to treat acute flare-ups of the sinusitis. Over the past few years, my health continued to decline with each round of antibiotics. Finally, I said enough is enough and sought out alternative treatments for the sinusitis and was lucky enough to discover the fungal component of my illness. I had a very difficult time finding a doctor who would treat me for the fungal infection. I eventually found one and drove a 150 miles for treatment. It was well worth it. I have never been healthier than I am right now and have not had a sinus infection in over a year, after averaging three to five acute infections per year for all of my adult life. I firmly believe that the pervasive use of antibiotics by mainstream medicine plays a far larger role in this illness than is currently recognized by even dissidents, and that this factor could explain many “AIDS” cases that do not involve illicit drug use. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are quite dangerous when used frequently.

    As a result of my own experience, it was certainly easier to understand the dissident position; however, had I been privy to the facts of the matter without that experience, I still believe I would question the HIV/AIDS link. The perverted science supporting HIV should be terrifying to all health consumers, which is exactly what the citizens of this country have become. Consequently, I have decided to support Celia and all the other courageous reporters by reporting my story and my understanding to all those in my circle of contacts who will listen. Though I am sure I will meet ridicule and scorn from some, I feel that each and every one of us must be active in helping people learn to talk about this issue without the constraints currently established by the fear-mongering majority.

    Thanks again, Celia and to all those who post here and elsewhere. Your online contributions are reaching a far larger audience than you could ever imagine.

  2. Celia Farber Says:

    Dear Kevin,

    What an inspiring story. I am so happy to hear about your good health. I hav said this before and will say it again: Every single person who has a story to tell from any place on the spectrum of this should come out and tell it, using any name they wish, but telling the full truth as much as possible, as you have. Then we can start to form a coherent picture. There is as you know a thread that exploded into over two hundred posts that is about MATH and Padian etc etc.

    I don’t think this is a mathematical crisis but a humanistic one; We have created a culture, or sub culture, in which health is scorned and sickness is rewarded. All I ask of those who disdain the “dissident” dialectic is that they open a file, allow a space, in which people can tell their stories.

    I have one too–and as far as I know I am HIV – (last I checked which was a very long time ago.

    But as a child I had double pneumonia, both lungs, and was quite sick for extended periods. Three years ago my lungs caved in again, one evening, in a matter of minutes. Fever soared…I was gravely ill. It was during a time of extreme stress, and I developed pneumonia, bronchitis, and astma all at once. I think I almost died. But when I got better, slowly, after about a month, I finally followed the advice of Dr. Roberto Giraldo, who always spoke of certain nutrients particularly B complexes, being vital to health. I started taking a high quality multi vitamin and mineral supplement, which I now supplement with fulvic acid, and Omega 3s, every day. Knock on wood I have for the first time in my life not even had a sore throat or a cold since then, in three years. I have not had AIDS of course but I have had immune crashes, as the lungs are the ground zero of the immune system. I know that “nutrition” sounds flaky to many people but I have a new-found respect for it. I also have direct experience with the terrifying realm of what might be called psycho-somatic illness. I have started to wonder if we get sick because of an implosive response to hostility and dissonance around us. Grief. (etc.) That is one component, at least.

    My mother was a nurse and she always said: “Give your body a chance to heal itself. The body knows what to do.”

    In some way it is her simple, nature-bound wisdom that has guided me. When she was growing up in Sweden, during the war, when a child got sick with an infectious disease they brought that child to all the surrounding families to infect the others, so that they would get the sickness and develop immunity. The idea was to develop an immune system and learn to fight through diseases and get stronger. I know it sounds scary today, but I think about it and wonder who those people were, how they fared, how many they lost, and what it all means.

    I think the human body is a miracle. How did we lose faith in its powers, so utterly?

    I am so tired of thinking of and talking about illness. About fear. I am so tired of the fear. Directed at all of us. America has become a society that has declared total war against nature.

    I think I had best shut up now.

    Nice to meet you Kevin. Stay well.

  3. Truthseeker Says:

    “I think the human body is a miracle. How did we lose faith in its powers, so utterly?

    America has become a society that has declared total war against nature.”

    Right on, Celia. It is a miracle how it all works, and the more one learns about medicine the more one realizes how far beyond understanding a lot of it still is, and how crude some of this tampering is, and how important it is to seek health by relying on and assisting the body in its normal functions first and foremost rather than later artificially replacing bodily processes with too many drugs, despite the successes we have achieved with some.

  4. noreen martin Says:

    Some very wise comments above. We have given our power to heal to the pharmacueticals and forgot about nature and her or its wonderful ability to heal itself. Celia, your mother was a very smart woman and so was the community to allow a natural type immunity verses one with drug. Drugs are inorganic, unlike plants which convert to organic in the human body, overall do more harm than good. The second thing touched on above is fear, which I believe that our government uses quite nicely to its advantage, the fear of something. Nothing is more powerful to one’s heath that one’s belief, whether it is sickness or wellness. As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is. One of our great Predidents stated it best, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself”!

  5. john Says:

    Drugs are inorganic

    No, Noreen, it is inaccurate. Medicines are organic compounds, but which often contain dangerous functional groups for the life. The life itself, in cells, can create these groups, but it controls them.

    For example, compounds as metronidazole and chloramphenicol are dangerous nitrocompounds because they destroy the glutathion, but, to allow the cellular apoptosis, the synthesis of nitrogen monoxyde and of ion superoxidizes are going to provoke the nitration of certain amino acids of the cellular envelope (tyrosine for example).

  6. john Says:

    ion superoxidis, naturally

  7. john Says:

    sorry,

    ion superoxide

  8. noreen martin Says:

    John, how do you figure that medicines are organic compounds? Organic compounds are found in plants and are easily and quickly assimilated and do not disturb the system. In most cases inorganic substances disturb the proper functioning of the organs.

  9. john Says:

    The definition of the organic compounds groups includes all the compounds containing atoms of carbon and hydrogen. It is about the proposed definition 150 years ago. We do not speak of about it the same thing, Noreen.

  10. Martin Kessler Says:

    Kevin found out something I’ve known for years: that anitbiotics should be used frugally and as applicable as possible to the specific disease. Antibiotics have been implicated in Candida Albicans because the good bacteria that usuallly is present in our bodies controls is – once general antibiotics are used chronically, Candidiasis will take place.

    I believe Noreen is confusing organic compounds with man-made pharmaceuticals (that for the most part are organic compounds) that do not occur naturally.

  11. noreen martin Says:

    Yes, but given the choice, I think that I would rather take untampered products of nature than those of man. Manmade products may in most cases work faster, however, they seem to have more side effects to the body.

  12. pat Says:

    I have had a health experience that led me on a journey for which I really had to open my mind to alternative treatments and one that has so changed my life that I am equally thankful and sympathetic to the likes of Celia Faber and other mainstream “dissidents”
    Here’s my little health anecdote. They are two actually.
    First was my childhood asthma. When I was born I developed within months an acute lung infection that eventually became chronic asthma. I was allergic to everything. I was even allergic to physical movement. Then came the day when Glaxo developed a puffer called Ventolin. Ventolin changed my life literally overnight. Suddenly I could venture out into the world without fear of ending up in an oxygen tent at the hospital pumped full of cortizone. Unfortunatly the miracle treatments didn’t stop there. Then came the “long-term” treatments for asthma in the form of powdered inhalents, pills, and mechanical ventilators I had to hook myself onto. I forget all the names of the medicines but none of the long term treatments brought any kind of relief whatsoever. If anything they cut me off even further from my friends because they were so time consuming and who wants to show up at a b-day party all hooked up to machines anyway? The real improvment to my health came the day I decided in my head never to be sick with asthma again. I took all my meds and machines and returned them to my doc. I said I’ll keep the ventolin puffer for safety but that I never again wanted to hear about miracle treatments for asthma again. Overnight my asthma attacks stopped and I haven’t had one in 18 years now and most importantly I no longer feel like a cripple. The psycological improvement for me was just as significant as my physical improvement. I was finally a normal person and we got ourselves some cats and a dog.

    My second health experience involved my own immune system (HIV unrelated, I’m HIV-). I woke up one day with a fungal infection around my crotch (sorry about the details 😉 which was shortly followed by an outbreak of herpes I did not know I had. The fungal infection cleared up on its own but my herpes outbreak didn’t go away. The doctor prescribed Zovirax cream. Didn’t help. He prescribed Zovirax pills. Didn’t work. Then came a different brand of pill once a day for the rest of my life. I think the sales slogan went; “relief for a dollar a day”. Didn’t work. The doc told me I had a “very” virulent strain. So for two years I lived with a permanent herpes outbreak. To add some humor into my misery I dubbed myself Perma Blister. Not wanting to leave it at that and remembering my own empowering experience with asthma I decided to venture beyond the realm of allopathic medicine. I searched hard and eventually stumbled on oxygen therapy. Actually it was Ozone therapy. So in spite of the warnings about Ozone quackery I looked up a naturopath in Vancouver who did ozone therapy and for the first time in my life I heard that my immune system was in shambles. We tracked down an acute mercury and arsenic poisoning of my blood stream and cleared that one up with chelation. I also had my amalgam fillings removed (that was costly I admit 7000CDN$). She also informed me that my lifetime use of ventolin had upset my own body’s system and weakened my thyroids ( I might be confusing terms here; I have poor memory and I’m no doctor). So my treatment consisted of chelation (once), twelve treatments with ozone and a rather luxurious diet I stick to to this day and my herpes outbreaks bug me at most 3-4 times a year and they clear up within days. This treatment was done some 7 years ago and is still holding without medication; just good food. I was surprised no mainstream doctor had mentioned my immune system, not ONCE! It is these experiences combined that make me suspicious of of mainstream’s approach to desease: one desease, one bug, one treatment.
    Health is more complex than that and mainstream seems to be in the business of “desease” management. I wanted “health” management. With asthma it was all in my head, with herpes it was the immune system, stupid!
    So again, thank you Celia, thank you Kevin, thank you TS, thank you Michael, thank you Noreen, thank you Claus, thank you Dan and even thank you Tara eventhough she’ll never understand why.

  13. Celia Farber Says:

    Pat:

    Fascinating. These are the kinds of very important contextual threads we need to hoist outselves up and out of the core BIG IDEA namely that immune deficiency began in NY,LA,SF in about 1981. Never a problem before or since.

    What madness.

    I was reminded of certain clues from my own life, when you spoke of asthma and mercury. I had no mercury fillings UNTIL I was 11 years old, the year we moved to Sweden. It followed years of chaos and turmoil in NY, in a massive 70s style divorce, so I hadn’t seen a dentist in quite some time. The Swedish dentists found that I had 11 cavities, and over the next few months was almost permanently in the chair, being fitten with large mercury fillings–all molars, plus a few other teeth.

    In NY we’d always had cats; Three of them had now been shipped to Sweden, plus our dog Flicka, and they were waiting for us in a quarantine. When we went to pick them up (four months) I who had never been allergic before exploded into a massive attack that required hospitalization. Acute asthma, entire face swelled, eyes looked like a beaten boxer, etc etc.

    I remember being so sick I had blisters on the insides of my eyelids, and like Pat, I apologize for the level of detail.

    Long story short, we could not “get rid of” our animals because they were part of the family so I HAD to find a way out. Why had I suddenly become allergic? I suspect the mercury fillings…

    In any case, I was prescribed powerful allergy drugs and ointments into my eyes and all kinds of ghastly stuff. I had Ventolin too. (It worked, yes, it certainly did.)

    So miserable, and so exhausted from the drugs, which make you sleepy…I eventually somehow got hold of a book by Ann Wigmore, about raw foods to cure diseases. This being Sweden, the state immediately complied and altered my school lunches to mounds of carrots and cabbage. I was permitted NO wheat, dairy, gluten, etc etc. It was a very strict diet, and found it hard to maintain after some time.

    BUT–I swear to you I was allergy free in a matter of days after starting it. It worked like magic.

    None of this converted me into any kind of messianic raw foodist, because I am too fundamentally ungovernable, rebellious, too fond of food, and have been the family cook since childhood. But if the allergies ever reared up demonically again I would go right back to that diet.

    My mother used to make us take GARLIC for every condition by the way. Raw garlic, and lots of it. She stuck cloves in our ears if we got ear infections, and my recollection is that it always worked.

    I believe that my sudden lapse into sickness and allergies was caused by severe emotional trauma as well as mercury toxicity.

  14. pat Says:

    Garlic was always called the poor man’s medicine and for good reason. “poor man’s” because it costs nothing and “medicine” because it works. I eat enough garlic that I never attract any colds nor flus (nor anyone from the opposite sex it seems. hehe, I guess all medicines have “side effects”). I have never heard of garlic in the ears though.

    Mother:
    “How are your ears feeling, Celia?”
    Celia:
    “Pardon?”

    😉 teasing. Keep up the good work and the good health.

  15. Celia Farber Says:

    In the AIDS context, what matters most is WHY AND HOW DID THE AIDS ORTHODOXY GET THE IDEA THAT AIDS WAS NOT REVERSIBLE BY THE BODY ITSELF?

    YES, the first wave was horrific, yes they died, and quickly, BUT, as Michelle Cochrane and others have pointed out, they were ALSO in many cases on heavy chemo regimens, due to the KS they manifested.

    HENCE: NO WAY TO GET A CLEAR HISTORICAL PICTURE OF WHAT HAPPENED.

    Mass Panic caused us to send many thousands to their graves. Contrary to common cliche, a LESSER response to the AIDS crisis might have been preferable. Some kind of calm, faith, something.

    The big deal now in avant garde hiv treatment circles is Immune Restoration.

    How different is that from my mother, or anybody else’s mother saying: “Give the body a chance to heal itself and it will.”

  16. kevin Says:

    I am enjoying reading everyone’s stories in this thread. Not because they are “happy” stories, of course, but because they are familiar and otherwise, affirming. Thanks to all who have responded.

    Celia, your story could be my own. I too had double pneumonia (three times) as a child and was gravely ill by age 6. My fever was so high at one point that I was placed in a tub of ice water while in the hospital. Later, reflecting on that occurrence, I realized how much it had scared me, knowing that one of the best hospitals in the country was reduced to using ice water submersion for fever reduction. My faith in medicine was shaken early. That said, my poor health left little choice but to accept treatment that I quickly learned was never as effective as they promised.

    The antibiotics had started early, before the pneumonia, with ear infections. Cherry-flavored erythromycin was indeed a dietary staple for me, though part of an otherwise healthy diet as my parents were anti-junk food and grew much of our food. They simply trusted my doctors, as most everyone does, I suppose. I was frequently tested for various conditions related to immune system dysfunction, including lymphoma, leukemia, and cystic fibrosis. In addition, I saw my pediatrician twice a week for some of those years in order to have my blood cell counts monitored. I frequently had extremely high white blood cell counts. In that respect, I have some inkling of what HIV positives are facing when they submit to having scheduled surrogate marker testing done. It is terrorizing and completely destructive to building health. Alas, I now know what was wrong with me all those years: overuse of antibiotics had caused a severe overgrowth of Candida that continued to comprise my immune system for the next two decades, regardless of the healthy lifestyle habits I had always maintained. Had I not been able to self-diagnosis using quality resources online, I would still be in the system, still suffering and still marginalized by doctors who are incapable of questioning their own culpability, in spite of their own failed treatment protocols.

    You are correct, Celia. The real tragedy of HIV?AIDS is the lost humanity that seems to accompany each and every “advancement”. Case in point, when I diplomatically raised the possibility of a fungal infection being responsible for my poor health, my long-time doctor unequivocally shot that possibility down. He offered to refer me to an ENT, yet again, as if that was a worthy response after I had excitedly expressed the uncanny correlation of the purported symptoms to my own. I made a decision in that moment to never see or speak to him again, which I have since broken. Earlier this year, after a full year of superb health I called his office and left a very polite voicemail explaining how my situation had turned out. It was impossible not to divulge just how effective the anti-fungal regimen had been but in no way was my account accusatory. I simply wanted to share the information with someone in a position to use it. He had been my doctor for 5 years, after all and had seen me quite frequently. We were on a first-name basis. Well, he never returned my call, even though I had offered to schedule a paid appointment just so that he could see for himself and learn more about what had worked for me. In fact, it seems as though most HMO physicians are indeed better at rewarding sickness than they are at treating real disease.

    Kevin

  17. kevin Says:

    I think the human body is a miracle. How did we lose faith in its powers, so utterly?

    America has become a society that has declared total war against nature.

    Right on, Celia. It is a miracle how it all works, and the more one learns about medicine the more one realizes how far beyond understanding a lot of it still is, and how crude some of this tampering is, and how important it is to seek health by relying on and assisting the body in its normal functions first and foremost rather than later artificially replacing bodily processes with too many drugs, despite the successes we have achieved with some.

    Well said, Celia and Truthseeker. As many have stated here, believing in one’s ability to overcome sickness is essential to successfully regaining health. I used to feel like I had no control over my body’s well-being, particularly when sickness struck; after all, I had lead a healthy lifestyle and still suffered ill-health. Now, I know that the body, as diseased and stressed as it may be, is capable of extraordinary healing, and chemicals, more often than not, merely interfer, though there are exceptions. I tried fasting during my long road to health and though it did not extinguish the fungal infection, it made me stronger and more aware of how miraculous the human body truly is. Using principles of natural health and proper nutrition, along with a short-course of an appropriate medication, worked for me when nothing else did.

  18. kevin Says:

    Fascinating. These are the kinds of very important contextual threads we need to hoist outselves up and out of the core BIG IDEA namely that immune deficiency began in NY,LA,SF in about 1981. Never a problem before or since.

    Exactly! An important point, Celia.

    I remember an exchange between my mother and myself after watching the now infamous 1984 Gallo press conference. We were washing dishes (I was drying) while a small b/w TV explained the cause of AIDS. I was nine years old and somewhat precocious. Having been told numerous times that my immune system was responsible for my frequent illnesses, I immediately concluded that I had AIDS and was going to die. The confusion and mystery behind my illness had been exposed. I remember the deep sadness on my mother’s face as she vainly tried to assure me that that was impossible, that there were many causes for immune suppression. How right she was! I’ll never forget that night. At the time, we were both too locked in our shared fear of the new deadly virus to be of much comfort to each other and sadly the same could be said for us as a society, twenty-two years later.

  19. pat Says:

    Did any one see the piece on CNN about SA’s AIDS policy last night?

    The anchor, while interviewing a professor (of what, I can’t remember), blurted out this comment under the approving nod of his guest.
    (I paraphrase)

    “We now know that not only are there over 5 million infected people currently in SA, but it is now estimated that this number will climb to over 9 million in the next 20 years, one fifth of the population!”

    His guest didn’t seem to catch the bug in this statement

    Anyone care to comment on this?

  20. john Says:

    It does not however take the road.
    The french mainstream site ” Actions traitements ” has just relieved a report of Onusida which revises all the indicators of AIDS in the decline:

    http://www.actions-traitements.org/spip.php?article1423

    In this new report, South Africa so sees her prevalence decreasing from 29,5 % to 18,8 %.

    LOL for this professor.

    Does one of you know you the official source?

  21. kevin Says:

    Truthseeker,

    I made another post where the contents has disappeared. Just curious as to why that might happen?

    Thanks for your time.

    9.12.2006 7:43pm is the post in question.

    Kevin

  22. Truthseeker Says:

    The contents of your post have been replaced. Apologies. No idea how that happened.

    Was there “another” that needed fixing?

    Email directly to make such a request, if you like.

  23. Orwell's Ghost Says:

    This news (Sep. 19 2006) from AIDS., Inc. spin city is worth a look, and a critique:

    AIDS no longer killing all patients, study finds

    Sep 18, 5:17 PM (ET)

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than a quarter of New Yorkers infected with the AIDS virus are now dying of other causes, researchers said on Monday.

    An analysis of 68,669 New York City residents infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, found that of those who died between 1999 and 2004, 26.3 percent died of something other than HIV. That is a 32 percent increase from 1999, when just under 20 percent of HIV patients died of other causes.

    Cocktails of drugs that suppress the virus have been credited with allowing HIV patients to lead near-normal lives, and once- or twice-a-day dosing now makes them more manageable.

    Nonetheless, AIDS remains incurable and is always fatal in places where the drugs are not available — notably much of Africa.

    Writing in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Judith Sackoff and colleagues at the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said they found that 31 percent of HIV patients died because of substance abuse, close to 24 percent died of cardiovascular disease and 20 percent died of cancer unrelated to the virus.

    “Physicians everywhere must remember that most of their HIV-infected patients will survive to develop the diseases that plague the rest of us,” Dr. Judith Aberg of New York University wrote in a commentary.

    Another study published in the same journal found that nearly 10 percent of men interviewed in New York who identified themselves as heterosexual reported having sex with at least one man during the previous year.

    The survey of 4,193 men conducted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found that 70 percent of the men who had sex with other men were married.

    Many admitted they had not used a condom and had not been tested for HIV.

    “Doctors need to ask patients about specific sexual practices instead of relying on self-reported sexual orientation to assess risk for unsafe sexual practices and risk for sexually transmitted diseases,” said Preeti Pathela, who led the study.

    “Public health prevention messages should target risky sexual activities, such as unprotected receptive anal sex, and should not be framed to appeal solely to gay-identified men.”

    Copyright 2006 Reuters. All right reserved.

    The abstract of the study in the Annals of Internal Medicine that is the basis of the article above can be read here.

  24. Dan Says:

    Spot the propaganda: An analysis of 68,669 New York City residents infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS

    Usually, they let us know this “fact” in the first paragraph. Wonder why they feel the need to keep on telling us something that’s considered common knowledge? So we don’t accidentally wake up from this nightmare, continue to repeat the glassy-eyed mantra “HIV, the virus that causes AIDS”.

  25. Martin Kessler Says:

    And where is the proof that any one of those 68,669 New York City residents actually have that retrovirus in them? I’d bet a comprehensive attempt at actually isolating HIV from any of them will come up with bupkis. That is the dirty little secret that will always haunt the villians in this fiasco.

  26. Bialyzebub Says:

    Unfortunate impasses are sometimes arrived. All who have spent any time reading this weblog have experience of the multiple contradictions contained herein, and I will not expound any further at this juncture ( but wait a few lines).

    From time to time, I have attempted in various ways to enliven and otherwise meaningfully contribute to NAR, often using cyber-noms so that what I might write would stand independent of the author’s name (and what’s in one anyway, right?)

    And sometimes I have emailed suggestions to TS about ways he might, in the view from above, elevate his weblog to a position where it is worthy of its high falutin rubric of examining the faith in the light of the literature, instead of reminding me of an HIV?AIDS dissident People’s Magazine.

    These helpful suggestions are always received badly, and never taken.

    Today, I called his attention to posts at DW and Hank’s that concern one of his favorite topics, and in my usual devilish way, did so by sternly warning him against publishing his own inimitable take on the item they each concern.

    I find the contradictions contained in his response to this to be more than I can suffer in silence, and feel compelled to share them with you as I am sure TS in his constant quest for THE TRUTH would wish.

    First I write to TS:

    please whatever you do do not write a take on either of these ..it would be disastrous

    http://barnesworld.blogs.com/barnes_world /2006/09/the_scientific_.html

    http://deanesmay.com/posts/1158678497.shtml

    TS replies:

    From: TS

    To: bialyzebub
    Date: Sep 19, 2006 7:33 PM

    Subject: Picayune poison pen good riddance Re: Picayune drivel from the poison pen Re: please whatever you do do not write a take on either of these ..it would be disastrous

    More topics on which Bialyzebub has nothing of consequence to say as usual

    Thank God maybe no more comments either under innumerable pseuds because you don’t have the sense or the spine to stand up and stand for anything other than your own navel.

    Maybe you could spend the time learning to write in even more entertaining lively and comprehensible fashion so that those you purportedly support can be understood by the masses they need to topple their oppressors

    As my friend George might write, My my.

  27. Truthseeker Says:

    These helpful suggestions are always received badly, and never taken.

    Not when delivered in the poison pen mode our devilish correspondent affects with all comers indiscriminately. This sedate and uncombative blog insists on impeccable manners and discriminating taste in all who venture here, on the principle that only politesse allows the very finely adjusted brains here to think clearly and respond sensibly, since verbal heat buckles reason and results only in obscurity and incomprehensibility, as often evidenced in our correspondent’s otherwise presumably intelligent e-discourse.

    Unless our correspondent is actually aiming at the effect of 9/11, which pancaked two towers and killed three thousand people, an act of terrorism and barbarity unmatched in the civilized world since Pol Pot, we would hope he would keep his email rhetoric down to levels that will not frighten the children. Anyway, our mail software automatically blocks email that scores higher than three peppers, and his has been known to score 27.

  28. Bialyzebub Says:

    We wrote of contradictions. The magnificent TS has just produced the grandfather (or mother) of them all.

    In case it was not abundantly clear, these words:

    More topics on which Bialyzebub has nothing of consequence to say as usual

    Thank God maybe no more comments either under innumerable pseuds because you don’t have the sense or the spine to stand up and stand for anything other than your own navel.

    Maybe you could spend the time learning to write in even more entertaining lively and comprehensible fashion so that those you purportedly support can be understood by the masses they need to topple their oppressors

    were written by Truthseeker to me, in response to a subject heading text that read:

    please whatever you do do not write a take on either of these ..it would be disastrous

    and to which he twice replied in his unique (why would anyone want to imitate it) style by typing first: Picayune poison pen good riddance ,

    followed by Re: Picayune drivel from the poison pen

    So I ask you gentle late night readers of NAR, what can the bespotted TS possibly mean when he writes this to woolify your already bleary eyes?

    we would hope he would keep his email rhetoric down to levels that will not frighten the children. Anyway, our mail software automatically blocks email that scores higher than three peppers, and his has been known to score 27. (clever device huh? Remind you of anyone with the initials JPM?)

    To end on a more cheerful Bialyzebubbie note :: The very newest post follows along every one of my well described lines towards accomplishing the transformation I indicated above that the TS had been so reluctant to undertake. Just so you know, he sometimes does accept good advice, but seldom if ever acknowledges it, and often does the opposite as demonstrated here.

    Nonetheless, hypercontinumm entities are entitled to a lot of leeway, especially when they appear to be on the side of the angels, if you get my meaning.

    Gotta buzz now…other galaxies are calling.

  29. Truthseeker Says:

    There seems to be some misapprehension here – the post was written without any reference whatsoever to devilish suggestions from our unpredictable correspondent, which were blocked by the aforesaid red pepper detecting software.

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