Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

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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.

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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blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.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

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Larry Kramer billed $19,000 annually for drugs “I never took”

The activist playwright misleads us on his own experience

Having been called out of order for crucifying the increasingly bewildered playwright Larry Kramer by a distinguished comment writer to the last post, we feel rather guilty at having to drive the nails in further, but after all, the irresponsibility of leaders in science and politics exploiting the trust of the ignorant and vulnerable is the theme of this blog. (Click photos twice for maximum size)

At 71 Kramer is still the grand old activist hero of the gay community when it comes to HIV?AIDS, influential in media circles and a performer who can pack the great Cooper Union hall with hundreds of men so attentive that you can hear a condom packet drop as he declaims his poetically styled despair at their unwitting cooperation with the Bush administration in murdering each other with irresponsible partying.

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PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY DEPT.

NOWHERE

New Yorker Issue of 2004-11-22

Posted 2004-11-15

Larry Kramer delivered a long and fiery speech at Cooper Union last Sunday night. That, of course, was nothing new. Kramer, the playwright who founded the activist group act up and was the signature voice of the age of aids, is famous for his fury: once, he and thousands of his supporters invaded St. Patrick’s Cathedral during Mass; another time, they wrapped Jesse Helms’s house in a giant yellow condom. Over the years, they hounded pharmaceutical companies and the government into developing and providing drugs and treatments.

In the early days of aids, straight people disliked Kramer for his aggressive honesty and gays ridiculed him for what they saw as his prissiness about sex, but now, at sixty-nine, he seems to have outlived the animosity of both groups. He has also outlived almost all of his friends. “It’s funny,’’ the playwright Tony Kushner said recently. “These days, audiences are fond of Larry. They seem wistful. Can you imagine that? Being wistful about Larry?”

Kramer surprises people who have seen him screeching on television or have read one of his radioactive e-mails. In conversation, he tends to speak so softly that one has to lean in to hear him. At Cooper Union, Kramer wore his usual uniform: overalls and a sweater with an American flag on it, over a red turtleneck. He looked stooped, old. He spoke for more than an hour, at the same lectern that Abraham Lincoln (who Kramer ceaselessly insists was gay) used when he addressed New Yorkers, in 1860. On Sunday night, the Great Hall was full; hundreds of people were turned away.

The speech, entitled “The Tragedy of Today’s Gays,” began with a dire assessment of the Presidential election. “I hope we all realize that, as of November 2nd, gay rights are officially dead,’’ Kramer said. “And that from here on we are going to be led even closer to the guillotine. Almost sixty million people whom we live and work with every day think we are immoral. ‘Moral values’ was at the top of many lists of why people supported George Bush. Not Iraq. Not the economy. Not terrorism. ‘Moral values.’ In case you need a translation, that means us.’’

But Kramer has never been harder on others than he has been on homosexuals themselves. It is the main reason that he has occasionally been dismissed as a febrile modern version of Cotton Mather. “I know many people look to me for answers,” he went on. “Perhaps that is why many of you are here. You want answers? We’re living in pig shit, and it’s up to each one of us to figure out how to get out of it.” By pig shit, he meant, more or less, a heedless life of unprotected sex and crystal-meth addiction. “It takes hard work to behave like an adult,” he continued. “It takes discipline. You want it to be simple. It isn’t simple. Yes, it is. Grow up. Behave responsibly. Fight for your rights. Take care of yourself and each other. These are the answers. It takes courage to live.”

He went on, “Does it occur to you that we brought this plague of aids upon ourselves? I know I am getting into dangerous waters here, but it is time. With the cabal breathing even more murderously down our backs, it is time. And you are still doing it: you are still murdering each other. . . . From the very first moment we were told, in 1981, that the suspected cause was a virus, gay men have refused to accept responsibility for choosing not to listen, and, starting in 1984, when we were told it definitely was a virus, this behavior turned murderous.”

A few weeks earlier, there had been a tribute to Kramer at the 92nd Street Y, produced by Kushner. On that evening, actors read from Kramer’s novel “Faggots,”from his plays “The Normal Heart” and “The Destiny of Me,” and from other works, including his prescient 1983 essay “1,112 and Counting,’’ in which he asked, incredulously, how many more people would have to die before gays got serious about aids. That was, roughly, seventy million infections ago.

“I guess if you live long enough people give up and accept you,’’ Kramer said that night, with something approaching giddiness. “I got invited to the National Cancer Institute, to a conference that is so high-level I don’t even understand the topics. And Harvard just called.”

Kramer understands, however, that acceptance doesn’t mean much, in the scheme of things, since it seems not to extend to gay people in general. “Nobody listens to us,” Kramer said at Cooper Union. “There is not a single person in Washington who will get us or give us anything but shit and more shit. I’m sorry. This is where we are now. Nowhere.”

COMMENT

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY DEPT.

— Michael Specter

Meanwhile Tony Fauci, that he once called a “murderer”, is now his savior and long time friend especially since he took a hand in arranging for Larry to receive proper care at the NIH in surviving liver damage long enough to be able to win a liver transplant in Pittsburgh.

All Larry’s crowd-swaying rhetoric and newfound fondness for Tony Fauci – not to mention his need for a liver transplant – is precariously predicated on one tragically questionable premise, however, and that is that the decline in gay men’s immunity to the impressive range of chemical and biological assaults on their bodies to which they are exposed in heavy partying is not due to the alien substances and internal flora and fauna themselves but to a negligible wisp of RNA whose genetic machinery is so limited that it cannot even reproduce without the help of a healthy cell.

That wisp is HIV, a 9 kilobase retrovirus, an otherwise inert entity belonging to a species of virus which has never been proven to cause any harm to any person (pace Robert Gallo and his not so leukemic HTLV-1 for which the US blood banks test blood for his profit and our supposed security, although most of the population in Japan in a certain large region have it in their veins with nil effect on their leukemia rate) despite billions being spent on testing them in the Nixon War on Cancer in the vain hope that such retroviruses might be a cause of human cancer, since one and only one of the species is able with a little encouragement to cause a tumor in chickens, which is hardly a cell killing activity.

So says the most tested scientific literature.

Faced with alien words like ‘retrovirus’, however, it’s possibly understandable that the artistic temperament of key players in HIV?AIDS gay politics such as Larry and the ebullient Brit Andrew Sullivan should be short circuited into a kind of mental paralysis which leaves them the passive recipients of whatever their more authoritative connections want to tell them.

Kramer has paid no attention even to members of ACT-UP the organization he founded when they changed their tune. A typically presumptuous 2000 piece by a reporter in POZ, always resolutely head-in-the-sand when it comes to HIV?AIDS, contains this quote:

But if the ((ACTUP/SF HIV rejecting)) members see themselves as unheeded, others see them as unhinged, and increasingly a public health menace. “To maintain that AIDS is not caused by HIV, to disrupt government and other official hearings to argue that money should not be voted for AIDS research and patient aid, to utilize vicious smear campaigns and to threaten legitimate activists with physical harm is beyond any intelligent comprehension,” said ACT UP founder Larry Kramer in a widely circulated e-mail in June. “Truly, in the face of our worldwide plague, such actions can only be construed as crazy”

Opinion leader Larry’s dereliction of duty

Most people can be forgiven for not wanting to go into the scientific literature, or even discuss HIV and AIDS in social situations. It is hardly dinner party conversation. But Larry is a leader of his community, and HIV positive since 1987. It is hardly good enough that his research method into whatever is really going on in HIV?AIDS, scientifically and medically, consists of a) palling around with Tony Fauci of NIAID and b) forwarding copies of articles by Celia Farber to his well placed media and activist friends and asking what they think of them.”

But this Ask John approach is an abdication of responsibility if you are a respected leader of the gay community in this life or death matter, certainly if you are aware of the serious professional challenge to the HIV?AIDS paradigm, as Larry has been from the first, since he is known to have been sent on request a copy of at least one of Duesberg’s early papers, and if he never followed Celia Farber’s columns in SPIN, which seems doubtful, he certainly read her piece in Gear in which she discussed the dangers of protease inhibitors.

It is thus hard to sympathize with his evident disinclination over many years, to do any serious reading himself into the peer-reviewed, two decade long scientific challenge to his key assumption, the one peddled by the activist-friendly scientists, official and reporters who so zealously purvey the standard line in HIV?AIDS to the general public, especially when his own health is at stake, let alone the health and lives of his followers. Like the thoughtful and thorough SPIN columns of Celia Farber, the twenty or so popular books on the topic are all very accessible, after all. Has he read any of them, apart from The Band Played On? They should have been his bedside reading, even if he can’t handle the Duesberg papers.

But sadly, it seems that Larry has just assumed all along that the scientific dispute is beyond him, although he has by his own account become a master of the complexities of which pills to take when.

Thus his response to being sent the latest cannonade fired by Duesberg into the side of the good ship HIV=AIDS, that vessel so many years becalmed in the doldrums of no cure, no vaccine, no explanation and still no hope of eventually avoiding death, was not promising. As mentioned Duesberg recently emailed him a pdf of his 2003 Journal of Biosciences paper. Larry’s response was a faint “It’s not quite within my ken, but I’ll try”.

He should try. Come on Larry, read it. OK, we admit that the chances of you being able to get through all 270 pages of the best recent briefing on the topic are small. We mean the book by Harvey Bialy, the uncompromisingly accurate and scientifically and socially precise account of the way scientists have really thought and behaved in HIV?AIDS and cancer research, “Oncogenes, Aneuploidy an AIDS: The Scientific Life and Times of Peter H. Duesberg” (North Atlantic Press 2004).

Bialy’s paperback is high quality, and parts are gossipy in a meaningful way, but it’s not for the science challenged. Larry tackling that might be too much like a tugboat trying to break through thick winter ice in Hudson Bay. Bialy’s clarity is as exact as Duesberg’s. But even with some familiarity with the scene it describes we had a hard time staying the course through every page of that scintillating but diamond hard jewel of science history and analysis, already saluted by some as a classic of its kind. A pity really since it is the one book that slows down the scientific shell game to slow motion for all to see.

But couldn’t lazy Larry have read and understood the gist of Peter Duesberg’s writings over the years, especially when his own life was at stake? Did he even try to? As an artist he would have appreciated the finesse and elegance of Duesberg’s texts, which we daresay are among the finest scientific papers extant in that regard. If truth and beauty are related, Duesberg’s historic papers persuade with style as much as substance, so even those readers who do not have time to pore over every sentence can be convinced that there is something to what he argues.

Some people accuse us of hero-worship when we compliment Duesberg for his work, but we challenge them to a) read his papers and b) suggest any in science that rival them in academic and even literary quality. We know of none. Certainly any effort by Robert Gallo or Anthony Fauci or David Baltimore to rival them in clarity, elegance and power of analysis will be a long time acoming.

It is that mastery of the topic that makes it relatively easy for a patient lay reader to follow the points of Duesberg’s definitive latest paper, which sends the main pillars of the paradigm flying like pins in a bowling alley. This is the 2003 Journal of Biosciences paper, Duesberg, P., Koehnlein, C. and Rasnick, D. (2003) The Chemical Bases of the Various AIDS Epidemics: Recreational Drugs, Anti-viral Chemotherapy and Malnutrition.(J. Biosci. 28: 383-412), which can be downloaded as a pdf from that link, which is listed in the Scientific Papers page of Duesberg’s AIDS (non cancer) site. Anyone attentive can read the list of AIDS claims and facts which do not accord with established science or common sense and realize just how bereft of reason and evidence the current paradigm appears to be.

Not that there is anything new in it. The same points have been made for twenty years, with no good answers yet except evasion, obfuscation and ad hominem politics. Duesberg’s own very readable book, Inventing the AIDS Virus (Regnery, 1995) is still as valid as ever, and makes the political context clearer as well. Then there is a slew of other books, including one by Christine Maggiore, which can be understood by a child of twelve, What If Everything You Thought You Knew About AIDS Was Wrong? There is really no excuse for anybody not to read this lay literature with attention, if they are diagnosed HIV positive.

Too late for Larry

But now, of course, it may be too late for Larry, who may well be on his last legs. After a liver transplant and years of deleterious drugs, it seems that Kramer is not in any shape to undertake such a challenge. That he didn’t do it in the past seems like wilful neglect, since he was after all the best known HIV?AIDS agitator in the gay community, which has lost so many lives, including many distinguished artists of all kinds. But now it seems that he has lost his grip completely, contradicting himself in his own account of whether he has taken drugs or not.

Certainly he misled Peter Duesberg in his recent attempt to get the lowdown from the scientist on his own particular case. As noted in the last post Larry told the distinguished Berkeley scientist that he had been diagnosed HIV positive in 1987 and had not taken any party drugs or anti-HIV drugs until the liver transplant he endured in 2001, when antiretrovirals were prescribed.

Here is what he actually wrote:

“would you explain something to me. i never used poppers. i never took drugs. i never had any chemo. i do not suffer and never have from malnutrition. i did not start taking anti-hiv drugs until 2001 when i got my liver transplant and they were required. i tested positive in 1987. you say these are the causes of hiv infection. i am hiv infected. i have and had many friends in the same boat, who simply do not fall into your criteria.”

As we pointed out this claim seemed rather inconsistent with his politics but he has said this before in public, for example, in his 2003 interview for the MIX Film Festival:

I never had to take any HIV drugs, until I got my liver. And the only reason I had to take it was because the transplant people insisted, to protect the liver. They wanted to keep HIV in check – whether it was out of check or not.- Larry Kramer Interview November 15, 2003, MIX -– The New York Lesbian and Gay Experimental Film Festival Interview Number: 035 Interviewer: Sarah Schulman

Of course, this is perfectly possible, since there are other reasons why a liver can be so damaged that a transplant is undertaken, including alcoholism and Hepatitis B and C.

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The liver, the largest organ in the body, is essential in keeping the body functioning properly. It removes or neutralizes poisons from the blood, produces immune agents to control infection, and removes germs and bacteria from the blood. It makes proteins that regulate blood clotting and produces bile to help absorb fats and fat-soluble vitamins. You cannot live without a functioning liver.

In cirrhosis of the liver, scar tissue replaces normal, healthy tissue, blocking the flow of blood through the organ and preventing it from working as it should. Cirrhosis is the twelfth leading cause of death by disease, killing about 26,000 people each year. Also, the cost of cirrhosis in terms of human suffering, hospital costs, and lost productivity is high.

Causes

Cirrhosis has many causes. In the United States, chronic alcoholism and hepatitis C are the most common ones.

Alcoholic liver disease. To many people, cirrhosis of the liver is synonymous with chronic alcoholism, but in fact, alcoholism is only one of the causes. Alcoholic cirrhosis usually develops after more than a decade of heavy drinking. The amount of alcohol that can injure the liver varies greatly from person to person. In women, as few as two to three drinks per day have been linked with cirrhosis and in men, as few as three to four drinks per day. Alcohol seems to injure the liver by blocking the normal metabolism of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.

Chronic hepatitis C. The hepatitis C virus ranks with alcohol as a major cause of chronic liver disease and cirrhosis in the United States. Infection with this virus causes inflammation of and low grade damage to the liver that over several decades can lead to cirrhosis.

Chronic hepatitis B and D. The hepatitis B virus is probably the most common cause of cirrhosis worldwide, but it is less common in the United States and the Western world. Hepatitis B, like hepatitis C, causes liver inflammation and injury that over several decades can lead to cirrhosis. Hepatitis D is another virus that infects the liver, but only in people who already have hepatitis B.

Autoimmune hepatitis. This disease appears to be caused by the immune system attacking the liver and causing inflammation, damage, and eventually scarring and cirrhosis.

Inherited diseases. Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, hemochromatosis, Wilson’s disease, galactosemia, and glycogen storage diseases are among the inherited diseases that interfere with the way the liver produces, processes, and stores enzymes, proteins, metals, and other substances the body needs to function properly.

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In NASH, fat builds up in the liver and eventually causes scar tissue. This type of hepatitis appears to be associated with diabetes, protein malnutrition, obesity, coronary artery disease, and treatment with corticosteroid medications.

Blocked bile ducts. When the ducts that carry bile out of the liver are blocked, bile backs up and damages liver tissue. In babies, blocked bile ducts are most commonly caused by biliary atresia, a disease in which the bile ducts are absent or injured. In adults, the most common cause is primary biliary cirrhosis, a disease in which the ducts become inflamed, blocked, and scarred. Secondary biliary cirrhosis can happen after gallbladder surgery if the ducts are inadvertently tied off or injured.

Drugs, toxins, and infections. Severe reactions to prescription drugs, prolonged exposure to environmental toxins, the parasitic infection schistosomiasis, and repeated bouts of heart failure with liver congestion can all lead to cirrhosis.[Top

But in fact we don’t have to look so far on the Web for the real causes of Larry’s liver deterioration into what his surgeon called a “really disgusting” condition. In the first place, he had Hepatitis B. Secondly, he was taking liver damaging HIV drugs, including AZT, according to his own words. His mind is apparently so muddled that this “I took no drugs” assertion is not only contradicted by statements he has made in the past, but in this 2003 interview, he makes a new and conflicting statement within a few pages.

So, which HIV meds are you taking?

LK: I took AZT when my liver started going bad, when my platelets went down. AZT, unknown to a lot of people, raises your platelets, so I took it for that. And then, I took Epivir, 3TC – whatever it’s called – for the Hep-B. And, that’s all I took for a number of years. And then since the transplant started, I’ve taken a bunch of them. I took Viracept, until I became resistant to it. I took Sustiva, which I loathed, until fortunately I became resistant to it, because it drove me nuts. And now, I’m on something which is an amazing drug, because it has absolutely no side effects – it’s like taking aspirin – it’s called Reyataz. Only now, they’ve just discovered – Steve Miles, the UCLA AIDS man has just discovered that Reyataz interacting with the other drugs I take is bad for Hepatitis-B. We know so much now, and I have so many doctors that I correspond with. I mean, talk about patient empowerment. I brought it to a new art. I have six doctors who I e-mail everything about me, and I pester them all to death, and I take advantage of everything that I possibly can, to get the information I need – just what we advocated everybody to do

So it certainly looks as if Larry is good at pestering doctors, at least, for information. Why doesn’t he think of pestering scientists, or looking in the literature which is the ultimate source, or should be, of the doctor’s pescriptions.

Anyhow, it is clear that before his liver transplant, he was taking AZT. How early? Apparently much earlier. He was certainly taking some drugs before 1996, $19,000 worth of them annually, in fact, including AZT. For in 1996 Larry himself was the author of a piece in the New York Times Magazine on July 14 in which he wrote:

The cost of my current drugs, which do not include a protease, already amounts to about $19,000 a year; this does not include visits to my doctor or the batteries of blood tests that he, and this virus, routinely require. And I am what’s called asymptomatic: I am not and have not been sick. A New York Times article earlier this year estimated that drugs for someone with full blown AIDS cost about $70,000 a year; in response, Tom Stoddard, New York University adjunct law professor and gay-rights advocate, wrote a letter to the editor saying that his cost $84,000 a year. Indeed, the seriously sick can find their annual drug cost exceeding $150,000.”

This statement was quoted by Duesberg in a subsequent papers. Thus in “The AIDS dilemma: drug diseases blamed on a passenger virus” by Peter Duesberg & David Rasnick in Genetica 104: 85-132, 1998 Duesberg referred to his drug use as follows:

Some insiders have described how the medical establishment urges HIV-positives to take countless anti-HIV drugs and how these drugs affect their lives. In “Checking in, my chart” the HIV-positive playwright Larry Kramer describes his own polypharmacy of 19 drugs composed by several AIDS luminaries such as Anthony Fauci, David Ho, Joseph Sonnabend, Alvin Friedman-Kien, and others: AZT, acyclovir [for genital herpes], Zantac, colchicine [mitosis blocker], propranolol, spironolactone, myphyston [for liver cirrhosis and hepatitis], Eucerin, Moisturel, Retin-A, mycolog, flucinonide, sulfacet-r, Nizoral [fungal dermatitis], Hisminal and Humbid [bronchitis], and Shaklee vitamins, zinc, NAC and a ‘turquoise stone which a fortune teller, many years ago, advised'(Kramer, 1994) – for an annual price tag of $19,000 (Kramer, 1996).

Nor is Kramer unaware that HIV drugs cause liver disease. In an interview on January 7, 2000 now at WebMD Transcript/AIDS Decade in Review With Larry Kramer, Richard Marlink MD and Parnessa Seele he was able to inform his MD listener that

“We’re finding out, for instance, that 50 per cent of people who take certain drugs die from liver disease rather than AIDS, because the drugs are so harsh on the liver. Norvbir has now been discovered to cause liver cancer in so many of the people who take it. I said to a friend of mine, David Sanford, who’s editor of the Wall Street Journal, who has AIDS, and who just feels so awful from all of these drugs, and I said ‘why don’t you get out there and say I feel awful from all these drugs?’ And he said, “well, because I’m alive.”

Thus the Ask-John method of confirmation at work, and an extraordinary quote from a Wall Street Journal editor, for whom, it seems, everything follows from the assumption that HIV is the danger being kept at bay, so everything suffered in this overriding cause is worth it, even, it appears, liver transplants and death. In other words, one’s own experience counts for nothing if authority says otherwise.

Elsewhere in print, months before his liver transplant, Larry also admitted to taking HIV meds prior to the transplant, and said that one them, 3TC (Epivir), “caused…the liver disease than now is requiring a new liver.” In other words, he conceded Duesberg’s point: that HIV drugs can cause the liver disease seen in HIV positive patients.

Apparently for years now poor Larry has not been in good shape and can forget what he said only a few moments earlier. Fair enough. That is no crime for a man of 71 who has endured whatever attacks the drugs have made upon his system throughout the years, let alone more recently the mother of all organ operations. And let’s give him credit for avoiding crystal meth and antiviral drugs as best he could. But one thing is clear. Over two decades Kramer has not been well qualified to lead his community in this vexed and deadly issue because he has not met his responsibility to double check the science thoroughly.

In the end, does the fault belong to the shepherd or the sheep?

That all these supposedly alert people have followed the Pied Pipers of ACTUP and the NIH into drug hell and eventually decline and death, and agitated for the privilege of doing so, is something that can surely be blamed on the sheep as much as the shepherd. For there is no reason why any one of them should have ignored the many warnings sounded at such great personal cost by Peter Duesberg and by other scientists, academics, journalists, lawyers and independent minded laypeople such as Kary Mullis, Walter Gilbert, Harvey Bialy, Serge Lang, David Rasnick, Richard Strohman, Charles Geshekter, John Lauritsen, Celia Farber, Charles Ortleb, Katie Leishman, Anthony Liversidge, Jad Adams, Joan Shenton, Marco Mamone Capria, Gordon Stewart, Gordon Moran, Neville Hodgkinson, Robert Leppo, Etienne de Harven, Rian Malan, Anthony Brink, David Crowe, Liam Scheff, Christine Maggiore, Robin Scovill, Michael Ellner, David Steele, Frank Lusardi, Marcus Cohen, Robert Houston, James Hogan, Tom Bethell, Bryan Owen, Robert Laarhoven, Dean Esmay, Rebecca Culshaw, Mark Biernbaum and countless others in a list which is an honor roll of truth seeking as far as this blog is concerned.

The mental paralysis induced by medical and scientific authority is a phenomenon which has no excuse for intelligent, educated people, seems to us, even if they are unfamiliar with the details of science and medicine. We will always remember telling an HIV-positive writer for Vanity Fair at the San Franscisco AIDS Conference about Duesberg and the fact that he had reviewed the HIV paradigm with every intention of hopping on the funding bandwagon himself only to find there was nothing in it, and suggesting the writer look into it himself before taking any more AZT.

We even took round a long piece we had written for Harper’s on the subject (never published, as noted in an earlier post, because of Lewis Lapham’s unwillingness to get into bed, politically speaking, with the Heritage Foundation, which published Duesberg in Policy Review while our draft was being reviewed) to this poor fellow when we were both back in New York. He opened the door a crack and reached his hand through to take the paper and said he would let us know.

Two weeks later we called and exactly like Arthur Ashe in similar circumstances, he said, yes, it all looked very convincing, but he would just have to continue trusting his doctors. Five months later he was dead.

4 Responses to “Larry Kramer billed $19,000 annually for drugs “I never took””

  1. Dean Esmay Says:

    Re the Policy Review paper: I hadn’t known about that. A bit disappointing that it seems to have made little impact. But perhaps these things are cumulative, especially as the hysteria of the early years recedes further and further into the past, and more and more data shows how much they’ve gotten wrong? Well we’ll see.

  2. Robert Houston Says:

    Excellent detective work, Truthseeker. You’ve managed to unravel Mr. Kramer’s contradictory web of prevarication and/or misremembrance to show that his experience of liver damage was consistent with adverse drug effects and with Dr. Duesberg’s conclusions. You even found Kramer’s own confessions! By the way, the paper by Duesberg and Ellison in Policy Review , along with the letters in comment, can be found at the Virusmyth website. Click HERE to see it.

  3. Michael Says:

    Hey Chris.

    You just made the following post over on Aetiology. Some girl named Laura was interested in looking at dissident sites, and you made the claim to her that four people whom you named below had died of “AIDS”. And you claim Dr. Duesberg had lied about the deaths. Aids is not a cause of death. Nobody has ever died of AIDS Chris. Don’t you think that you should tell her what the exact cause of death was, such as liver failure or kidney failure, which was unrelated to any virus? Or maybe you should also tell her what any co-factors in these deaths might have been, such as any medical or illicit drug use, seeing as you are now a self proclaimed expert in what these four people died from?

    Here is Chris Nobles actual post of untruths:

    Laura, there is nothing wrong with rethinking if that is what people are actually doing.

    In 25 years the so-called “rethinking movement” has neither rethought its original position nor moved from it. They are still stuck in the same position they were 25 years ago. They just keep on going to more and more incredible lengths to protect their dogma.

    Take the case of Raphael Lombardo. According to Duesberg in 1995 Rapahael Lombardo was a HIV+ person who did not take illicit drugs or ARVs and had not developed AIDS. As such he was evidence for his theory that HIV does not and cannot cause AIDS. When it was pointed out to Duesberg that Raphael Lombardo had in fact diedfrom AIDS in 1996 Duesberg changed his mind completely. Duesberg calls him a liar. Raphael Lombardo must have been taking drugs.

    This should be a lesson to all HIV+ that are tempted to believe in Duesberg’s lies. If you don’t take illicit drugs and don’t take ARVs but still die from AIDS Duesberg will call you a liar. He will make up stories about you taking drugs.

    Raphael Lombardo is not the only case of revisionism. Various people have also accused David Pasquarelli, Jack levine and Huw Christie of secretly taking illicit drugs or ARVs.

    Posted by: Chris Noble | August 22, 2006 12:05 AM on Aetiology thread of Rebecca Culshaw Interview

    Hey Chris, by the way, have you checked out the post on the http://www.newaidsreview.org New Aids Review blog, where Larry Kramer, the founder of Act-Up New York, claimed he never did HIV drugs, and then was found to have been billed $19,000 per year for the drugs he “never took”? And then, needed a liver transplant not too long ago, which Tony Fauci at the NIH arranged for him to get? Don’t you think you should fill “Laura” in on all this Mr. Honest and wannabe noble one? And also Chris, you wanna back up your statement of Dr. Duesberg having called Mr. Lombardo a liar with the proof? This sounds like lies and libel to me, there Un-noble one.

    Chris Noble, You are a scoundrel and a liar. I would post this info at Tara’s in the Culshaw thread myself if I could get a post in. And I hope somebody here copies and pastes this message into the thread.

  4. Dan Says:

    Michael,
    you’re correct that nobody dies of AIDS.

    Unfortunately, this lie has been perpetuated almost from the beginning. People can die from pneumonia, lymphoma, malaria or tuberculosis, but they don’t die from “AIDS”. This distinction is important, and the AIDS promoters are well aware of that. It would seriously undermine the mass hypnosis of “AIDS” to state that somebody died of lymphoma, rather than “AIDS” or “AIDS-related complications”. I think many of the readers here can appreciate this distinction.

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