Hide Raphael’s ‘The School of Athens’
Hide : : Raphael’s ‘The School of Athens’ : : Show

Rethinking AIDS’s Politically Correct Eureka Moment

This is part II of  an examination of Rethinking AIDS’s politically motivated censorship of the Perth Group’s Toxic Semen theory of AIDS. In part I we showed how “strategic blunders”, unpopular or politically incorrect  (according to David Crowe’s understanding of political correctness) theories and their originators get censored in the Rethinking AIDS forum. Here we present a directly related example of the kind of favourable reception even minor contributions and contributors receive if they fit the political agenda.

In February of 2008, Professor Henry Bauer presented a paper by Tony Lance on “Intestinal Dysbiosis”, hailing it as a historical breakthrough. In a comment he summed it up in these glowing terms:

The intestinal dysbiosis theory seems able to answer all the salient questions that have been so puzzling for so long about HIV and AIDS.

Mainly through Bauer’s and Crowe’s endorsement, Tony Lance became an overnight Rethinking AIDS sensation. He was elevated to scientific expert status and invited to speak on his theory at the 2009 Rethinking AIDS conference where Anthony Brink, who has merely authored a book on AZT that altered the course of South African history,was considered too much of a lightweight to earn a place; he was a co-conspirator in the “hostile take-over” of Rod Knoll’s Aidsmythexposed forum, a distinguished guest on Crowe’s radio show, and latest Bauer has introduced Prof. Ruggiero’s new “cure for AIDS” as “confirming the intestinal dysbiosis hypothesis of Tony Lance”.

So, what’s so revolutionary about the Intestinal Dysbiosis hypothesis of Tony Lance that even Marco Ruggiero can aspire to no higher honour than confirming it? Bauer explains how it dethroned his previous favourite, the rather ill-defined “Multifactorial AIDS” theory:

1. Why did AIDS appear first among gay men in the United States?
2. Why in the late 1970s to early 1980s?
3. Why did it manifest in the specific forms of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, candidiasis, lymphadenopathy, and Kaposi’s sarcoma?

Dissent from HIV/AIDS theory has persisted for some two decades, but the dissidents agree only over the inadequacy of that theory; no consensus has formed over a possible alternative among a number of suggestions: drug abuse; multifactorial—a combination of many insults including a variety of infections and antibiotic treatments; undiagnosed syphilis. None of those offer convincing answers to those three questions. And dissidents have an additional question to answer:
4. If HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, why do antiretroviral drugs sometimes make people feel much better, quite quickly? (even if that benefit doesn’t last, and the drugs themselves cause harm in the longer run) (…) acknowledging an association with drug abuse leaves unanswered those same three questions. After all, there had been an epidemic of drug abuse, not restricted to gay men, in the 1960s to 1970s. Then, and also in more recent times with cocaine, crack, and meth, certain consequences deleterious to health are well known—but they did and do not prominently feature Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia or candidiasis.

This assumes two things: 1. That the pattern of drug abuse and kind of drugs used among fast-lane gays from the mid-1970s were the same as the “epidemic” in other demographics in the 1960s and 1970s. John Lauritsen for one doesn’t think so 2. That overuse of antibiotics is not drug abuse, or that the originators of the Multifactorial theory of AIDS were as ignorant as Bauer about the real damage done by antibiotics.  In a comment to his own blog post, Bauer explains:

When told about (the Intestinal Dysbiosis theory), I experienced a Eureka moment, because it resolved some things that had puzzled me about the multifactorial theory which, up to then, had seemed to me the best explanation for AIDS. I had accepted as plausible that recurrent infections of various sorts, recurrently treated with antibiotics, as well as the steady consumption of antibiotics as prophylactics, could suppress the immune system and permit opportunistic infections like candidiasis—thrush, yeast infections—to flourish. “Of course”, I had thought to myself, “if a few weeks of those things brings on thrush for me, then naturally months or years of that sort of stuff could break the immune system down altogether”. What I overlooked was that a few weeks of an antibiotic could hardly inflict serious damage on the immune system as a whole. What it does very effectively, though, is to upset the stomach by killing some of the beneficial resident bacteria; after all, that’s what antibiotics do, they kill bacteria. What finally brought my prostate infections to an end was a course of intravenous antibiotic. Moreover no stomach upset, no thrush. The antibiotic wasn’t harming the immune-system cells that circulate in the blood stream.

Since overuse of antibiotics does in fact feature, sometimes quite prominently, in the “Multifactorial” theory of AIDS, Tony Lance’s Intestinal Dysbiosis theory of AIDS could only be news, never mind a “Eureka moment”, if the proponents of it were all as ignorant of dissident lore and the action of antibiotics on gut flora and how that could be linked to AIDS as Bauer was. Perhaps that is the case for many American dissidents, but Bauer is on the mailing list of Felix deFries and the Study Group (on) AIDS Therapy, who wrote the following open letter in 2001 (excerpt, slightly edited for spelling errors):

Chemical antibiotics (e.g. sulphonamides, TMPSMX and Co-trimoxazole), that have been repeatedly administrated from 1970 on in any kind of infections, cause immunosuppression, resistant bacteria and toxic effects like skin rash, nausea and vomiting, leukopenia, pancreatitis, hyperkalemia, thrombo-cytopenia, toxic metabolites, elevated levels of liver enzymes and methhaemoglobinemia. By destroying bacteria in the gut they inhibit the production of immunoglobulins, needed for the body’s inner defences, and lay the body open to all sorts of bacterial, fungal and viral infections, including those associated with AIDS. By their strong oxidative effects they lead to a deficiency of glutathione molecules in cells, that is characteristic for the development of AIDS-defining illnesses.

Lance himself is quick to acknowledge the primacy of Vladimir Koliadin in this area. Furthermore, in early February 2008 we wrote a letter to Bauer alerting him to what was advertised as the first study of probiotics in the context of African AIDS. The mail was headlined “Wonder Drug Stabilizes CD4 Count”, and it contained a quote from an article accompanied by an ironic comment assuming he was familiar with gut immunity and its suspected role in HIV and AIDS (exerpt):

“This is the first study to show the benefits of probiotic yogurt on quality of life of women in Nigeria with HIV/AIDS and suggests that perhaps a simple fermented food can provide some relief in the management of the AIDS epidemic in Africa

Now why didn’t we “denialists” ever think of the possible link between proper nutrition, healthy gut flora and African AIDS?

Bauer didn’t reply, and two weeks later he trumpeted Tony Lance’s paper on his blog as a historical breakthrough.

As far as the Multifactorial theory, including the Oxidative Stress theory of AIDS, being unable to explain why certain AIDS indicator diseases are almost exclusively found in the fast-lane gay demographic, Bauer neglects to inform his readers why he doesn’t consider for example the combination of overuse of corticosteroids (notably stressed by Al-Bayati but also the European rethinkers quoted above as linked to both Pneumocystis Jiroveci and Kaposi’s sarcoma) and abuse of nitrite inhalants (Lauritsen – linked to Kaposi’s sarcoma) to be fairly unique to the fast-lane gay demographic in the AIDS era. In addition, Eleopulos-Papadopulos suggested a specific role for the synergistic effect of nitrites and anally deposited sperm, the latter itself oxidized by nitrites and the other polluting substances to which the fast-lane gay demographic was heavily exposed.

But Bauer persists in pretending that his personal “Eureka moment”  is a collective Eureka moment for all rethinkers, so the question becomes what stake does he have in pretending so? Bauer has been very active in rewriting the history of rethinking to focus it around himself. He facilitated and hailed Prof. de Harven’s shoddy, wholly derivative paper on the ”Endogenous Retrovirus” theory of HIV as a historical breakthrough, and now he can add another historical claim to have “encouraged”, provided “invaluable editorial suggestions” to and shepherded his latest protege’s original breakthrough paper on the “real cause” of AIDS through to Rethinking AIDS prominence. But there is added value because Tony Lance is a gay man, an “insider” who is also a long term HIV positive.  It can’t get any sexier than that for the homophobia-accused Bauer, who was forced to explain the, largely manufactured, charge publicly, and the equally political correctness-hungry Rethinking AIDS president Crowe. Significantly, what’s left when we remove  antibiotics from the equation is Tony Lance’s remarks on “anal douching”. This is the only part of his theory Lance himself claims is completely, original and the way in which it is introduced in his paper is revealing:

First, bear in mind the connection between receptive anal sex and the propensity to test “HIV+” which has been noted since AIDS began. The Perth Group in a letter to David Rasnick, citing the Multicenter AIDS Cohort study and the Padian study, stated “The only sexual act, in both gay and heterosexual sex, which is related to the appearance of AIDS and a positive antibody test is receptive anal intercourse.” And “The frequency of this practice, by either sex, and not the number of partners (promiscuity) is the risk factor for the development of AIDS and of a positive antibody test.” They go on to say, “…for AIDS to appear a very high frequency of receptive anal intercourse over a long period is necessary” (15). It doesn’t take much imagination to connect receptive anal sex with a disturbance of the microflora found in the mucosal lining of the intestinal tract. Trauma associated with anal penetration and the effects of sexual lubricants are two factors that might plausibly be implicated.

Any mention of semen has conveniently disappeared from Lance’s quote of the Perth Group, as it has from the rest of his paper. This is still not very politically correct since “the act itself”, as Crowe puts it, remains the culprit. But fortunately Tony Lance has a much more acceptable alternative explanation for the Perth Group’s observation:

But another practice likely plays a significant role in intestinal dysbiosis, at least as far as many gay men are concerned: Douching. It’s easy to see how one might completely overlook that this common practice could be a health risk. Cleanliness through washing is a shibboleth; and anyway, how dangerous could a little water be?

This is of course heaven-sent for all “politically correct” rethinkers; it is not the unnatural, immoral, dangerous or dirty character of the “act itself”, but, paradoxically, the extreme propensity for cleanliness and consideration in gay men that is the main cause of AIDS. It is a perfect counter theory to the Perth Group’s unacceptable interpretation of the same data, and the opportunity to write off the Perth Group on this issue as well proved so irresistible that the fact that Lance offers practically zero evidence  in support of a strong causal link between anal douching and severe Intestinal Dysbiosis or the classical Gay AIDS indicator diseases is completely ignored. Consequently, when advertised on David Crowe’s radio show,  the Intestinal Dysbiosis theory had already become the “Rectal Enema” theory of AIDS in the summary:

This theory is based on observing gay male sexual practices that involve rectal washing or enemas that may deplete the natural bacterial flora in the intestine that is critical to good health.

The radio show featuring Tony Lance is also involuntarily amusing because of co-host Terry Michael’s unwitting “deconstruction”, heedless of Lance’s attempts to keep the discussion focused on anally inserted objects, of the central dishonesty perpetrated by both Bauer and Lance: the premise that the Intestinal Dysbiosis theory is fundamentally different from or simpler than the Multifactorial theory.  Lance readily admits that intestinal dysbiosis is only one of many possible causes of the syndrome called AIDS, but what’s glossed over is that intestinal dysbiosis itself has multiple causes. Lance comes up with fisting, lubricants and antibiotics in addition to anal douching, and the helpful radio hosts quickly add around-the-clock partying, alcohol, unhealthy food, unclean water, consumption of HIV drugs etc.. . . . until Michael excitedly declares that “it was the Multifactorial theory!”, forgetting the narrow, freely-invented-for-the-occasion definition of ”multifactorial” he used to accommodate Lance at the beginning of the show.

In his paper, Lance nevertheless cannot resist the temptation to stretch his theory beyond its capacity to “answer all salient questions in a coherent way”. Under the heading “HIV/AIDS and Heterosexual Women” Lance writes:

A 1999 study concluded that the presence of abnormal vaginal flora was associated with an increased risk of HIV infection (60) and a 2006 paper found that vaginal douching among African sex workers increased their risk of acquiring HIV (61). The conventional explanation for these observations is that douching disturbs the protective mucosal lining of the vagina, making it easier for HIV to reach the underlying tissue and gain entry into the body. But the mucosal lining is also where the beneficial flora reside. So if the mucosa are damaged then it follows that the flora it harbors are being disturbed as well.

Abnormal vaginal flora and intestinal dysbiosis or “leaky gut” are not the same thing; the female immune system is not primarily located in the vagina, so what Lance’s example shows, if anything, is that something related to sexual practices or hygiene but unrelated to intestinal dysbiosis is a sufficient cause of testing HIV positive.

In the section headlined “HIV/AIDS is Equally Distributed Between the Sexes in Africa”, Lance writes:

HIV/AIDS in Africa does not discriminate based on gender. This would be predicted by the intestinal dysbiosis theory. Conditions of poverty such as malnutrition, poor sanitation, limited access to health care, widespread parasitic infections, and the lack of clean water would likely contribute to and exacerbate intestinal dysbiosis. Indeed, intestinal problems are endemic in much of Africa. And intestinal dysbiosis resulting from living conditions would not skew toward one sex or the other but would instead be evenly divided between the two.

This is true, but the Intestinal Dysbiosis theory also predicts, at least in the first part of the paper, that the AIDS indicator diseases caused by it would be skewed towards Pneumocystes jiroveci and Kaposi’s sarcoma. This in fact was the essence of Prof Bauer’s Eureka moment. But since neither of those diseases is characteristic of African AIDS, it means there  must be other factors, either in addition to intestinal dysbiosis or sufficient in themselves,  causing the classical Gay AIDS diseases among Western homosexuals.

In sum, Tony Lance’ s exploration of intestinal dysbiosis is a much appreciated highlight of one important link in the synergistic chain of multiple factors contributing to AIDS, nothing more, nothing less, and Lance himself would be the first to recognize that if he hasn’t yet been blinded by the politically motivated Rethinking AIDS spotlight. It is highly doubtful  that Bauer and Crowe would have propelled him unchallenged to Rethinking AIDS stardom, normally reserved for  the well connected, the well credentialed  and the “politically correct”  had they not deemed it  expedient to their efforts at rewriting the history of AIDS rethinking.



Is David Crowe working against The Perth Group because of their Beliefs about Semen?

The debate is over whether we should strive to evict or eliminate dissidents with whom we have some disagreements with. Do I strive to have Duesberg removed from RA because he believes in a passenger virus? Do I work against the Perth Group because of their beliefs about semen? (Crowe to Eugene Semon 9 August 2010)

[Note: This is part I of an examination of Rethinking AIDS' politically motivated censorship of the Perth Group's "Toxic Semen" theory of AIDS. In part II we will discuss the theory they have chosen to prop up instead: Tony Lance's Intestinal Dysbiosis theory of AIDS]

When a reason is given as to why the members of the Perth Group are persona non grata on the Rethinking AIDS board of directors, it is usually their uncompromising insistence on the primacy of the HIV isolation issue, which the sitting Rethinking AIDS Board considers a “strategic blunder”, according to their PR person, Martin Barnes. But the Perth Group has committed another “strategic blunder”, which perhaps is less well known but seems to be gaining significance.  The Perth Group has from the beginning recognised the correlation between “Classical AIDS” and receptive anal sex, which led them to formulate their “Toxic Semen” theory of AIDS as a subset of their Oxidative AIDS theory. But the idea that anally deposited semen could have serious health consequences is strongly opposed by Rethinking AIDS president David Crowe to the point that it dominates almost all his recent communications with or about the Perth Group.  This seems to be part of a larger effort to convince dissidents in general and the Rethinking AIDS Board in particular that the Perth Group is improperly fixated on semen. In a recent mail to Martin Barnes and his Board attempting to dissuade them from engaging in a dialogue with the Perth Group about the AIDS Trap brochure Crowe wrote to the Perth Group:

Your old statement that, “AIDS is not sexually transmitted but it is sexually acquired” was polished off and this caused you to overemphasize the role of semen even more than before. I never got a reasonable response when I pointed out to you that the evidence is for this position is very weak. (15 July 2011 – Our highlight).

Crowe elaborated on the “reasonableness” of the Perth Group in his next mail:

It is strange that at times you can be extremely rational and methodical in the development of an argument but, when you really want to believe something, such as that (…) semen is the cause of many diseases, you lose your rationality and accept any evidence that supports your views, no matter how weak or unsupported it is. (17 August 2011)

One wonders if Crowe is equally forthright about his view of Peter Duesberg’s rationality when he discusses the “weak and unsupported” Passenger Virus theory with him. Crowe’s strong language prompts the question what consequences his opposition to the Perth Group’s “irrational” Toxic Semen theory has. If we believe his rhetorical question to Eugene Semon in his mail to the hivaidsparadigm chat group, Crowe treats the Perth Group and Duesberg exactly the same:

The debate is over whether we should strive to evict or eliminate dissidents with whom we have some disagreements with. Do I strive to have Duesberg removed from RA because he believes in a passenger virus? Do I work against the Perth Group because of their beliefs about semen? (Crowe to Eugene Semon 9 August 2010)

Crowe had already answered his own question in a previous mail,  where he offered the following explanation for not inviting Anthony Brink to the 2009 Rethinking AIDS Convention:

Eleni apparently suggested Anthony Brink as a substitute (at the 2009 RA Convention). David Rasnick felt this was not appropriate, and I agree. Val and Eleni did all the original reading and analysis of thousands of papers. The Perth Group theory also includes their beliefs about the causes of “AIDS”, most controversially exposure to semen. Additionally some people may want to ask whether the fact that the Perth Group has not questioned the existence of other major viruses means that they believe they exist, have inadequate information, or that this is a strategic decision. The originators of the theory need to be there to respond to such questions.  (7 July 2009)

Granted, it would be best if only the originators of the various theories were to present them. But in that case Duesberg shouldn’t give presentations on Chemical AIDS or de Harven, Nancy Banks and Bauer on the Missing Virus and the “unreliable” HIV tests. These all originated with the Perth Group (in one instance also John Lauritsen) and are parts or subsets of their original theory. And it should certainly have disqualified Crowe himself from posing as an expert on legal strategy. This approach also originated with the Perth Group, who have posted it on their website as one of two ways to successfully challenge the HIV/AIDS establishment. Furthermore, in an exquisitely ironic twist,  the disinvited Anthony Brink is arguably the foremost legal expert among the dissidents, both in terms of credentials and experience. It would have been very easy to accommodate both the Perth Group and Anthony Brink by changing the topic of Brink’s presentation to, for example,  “Lessons Learned from the Parenzee Case”, allowing him to cover more or less the same ground from his indisputably expert perspective.  Of course Crowe has no interest in Brink’s analyses for reasons that have become abundantly clear by now.

So what about the questions the originators “need to be there to respond to”? We see here the root of the false equivalence Crowe makes between the Perth group’s Toxic Semen theory and Duesberg’s Passenger Virus theory. Contrary to what Crowe claims, it is not true that the Perth Group theory about the causes of AIDS includes their beliefs about exposure to semen. It would have very little impact, if any, on their Missing Virus and Oxidative Stress theories if their “beliefs” about semen were wrong, just as Duesberg’s Chemical AIDS “belief” wouldn’t be refuted if poppers turn out not to cause Kaposi’s sarcoma. While doing everything in his power as Rethinking AIDS president to shield Duesberg and defend his right not to be confronted on his essential Passenger Virus theory, Crowe demands that the originators of the Toxic Semen theory be held accountable in person on this side-issue.

The rejection of Anthony Brink is one example showing  that Crowe does indeed work against the Perth Group at least partly because of their “beliefs about semen” – or he uses the issue to work against them – but it is not the most recent example. In a telephone conversation with Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos, David Crowe expressed his vision of Rethinking AIDS as a passive forum for the various actors to enter and say their piece

Eleopulos-Papadopulos:  David, is it possible to deconstruct the HIV theory of AIDS with the RA science?

Crowe: There is no RA science.

Eleopulos-Papadopulos:  The HIV theory of AIDS is based on the science in these papers.  It may be bad science but it is science.  The only way to deconstruct something based on science is with better science. If there is no RA science how are you going to deconstruct the “HIV” theory of AIDS.  Is not your aim to deconstruct the HIV theory of AIDS?

(Perth Group commentary): David avoided responding to the question. After the question was repeated a few times and he was asked to respond with a yes or no, he replied:

Crowe: No.

Eleopulos-Papadopulos:  What are the aims of RA if not to deconstruct the “HIV” theory of AIDS?

Crowe: To organise meetings so that scientists can express their views.

In his mail of 17 August, David Crowe also stressed the point that Rethinking AIDS is a forum where views can be expressed but that the Rethinking AIDS entity itself is something apart from those views:

I am also concerned about (the Perth Group)’s distortions of the position of Rethinking AIDS which, on detailed scientific issues (such as the existence of HIV), often does not have a position but allows its members to think and speak for themselves.

Of course Rethinking AIDS allows it members to “speak for themselves”; the question is what happens when scientists want to speak on behalf of or through media controlled by Rethinking AIDS? In a public mail sent 2 December 2009, David Crowe had a less tolerant and all-embracing message for the Perth Group:

Dear Val;

I would like to expand on my questions to you regarding semen and AIDS based on your comments to “The AIDS Trap”. I have great difficulty accepting your claims and using them to modify “The AIDS Trap” when the evidence for a correlation between exposure to large quantities of semen and AIDS appears to be so speculative

Crowe in effect uses his veto power unilaterally if not to “evict” or “eliminate” the Perth Group, certainly to “work against” them and exclude their views in favour of other views he finds more convincing. Moreover, he does so on a purely scientific pretext despite his repeated claim that there is no Rethinking AIDS science. This begs another question: If the criteria for having one’s views represented in a Rethinking AIDS publication is that David Crowe finds them convincing, why does he not “work against” Duesberg’s Passenger Virus theory, which he claims to find equally unconvincing?

One can think of a few reason reasons. Duesberg has greater status as a scientist, thus greater PR value, and of course he is a direct link to Bob Leppo’s purse. But another reason would be that Crowe’s scientific discernment is dictated by what he deems to be politically correct or expedient.  Amidst the accusations of homophobia leveled against dissidents in general and Profs. Duesberg and Bauer in particular Crowe is likely horrified of appearing critical of any type of sexual behaviour between consenting adults and therefore censors what he considers to be politically incorrect views. In this case there’s the added advantage that by setting himself up as a champion of politically correct views on sex, and by challenging the Perth Group publicly at every opportunity, he can score easy points with his gay constituency and passive Board. By constantly bringing up the issue, no matter how far-fetched in the context, and proclaiming it to be an integral part of their Oxidative Stress theory of AIDS, he can pretend that the Perth Group are as fanatically fixated on Toxic Semen as the cause of AIDS as they are on the Missing Virus issue. He can pretend that in the Perth Group scientific tyranny he heroically opposes, a tyranny in which Duesberg would get “evicted” or “eliminated”, certain types of common sexual acts would be frowned upon.

These are the real reasons for what is in reality Crowe’s own fixation on this side-issue. Not only is he “working against the Perth Group” because of their “beliefs about semen”, he actively distorts those beliefs in order to work against them and to his  own political advantage.


1 Comment »

Trojan Horse from Tanzania

We have repeatedly criticised the “Trojan Horse” strategy of Profs. Bauer and Ruggiero for being ultimately self-contradictory, thereby running an unnecessary risk of being ultimately self-defeating. The last time we did so was in The End of Dissent. However, we recently came across another kind of Trojan horse presented by a team of researchers from Tanzania last year (2010):

Testing for HIV Specific Proteins in Otherwise Western Blot  Negative Theiller Albino Mice

Kabati, C. I. A., 1* Chande H., 2  Maurice, H. B.3 and Fatima G.1

1 Department of Pharmaceutics. Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences. 2 Department of Histopathology and Morbid Anatomy, Muhimbili University of Health and  Allied Sciences. 3 Department of Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, School of Pharmacy,  St John’s University of Tanzania.


In a simple, direct, unequivocal experiment Kabati et al.  highlight the core problem of the HIV tests and put it in the proper context. Below we cite all but the most technical parts of the Kabati et al paper:


Theiller albino mice were used to carry out various experiments in order to check for the presence or absence of HIV specific proteins in Western-Blot negative blood donors and   recipient mice.The results of this study have shown one or more HIV specific bands and some indeterminate bands for positive but not complete absence of bands. The most likely explanation is that the mice had antibodies that cross-reacted with one or more of the  proteins of HIV.


We know that AIDS exist and there is a correlation between AIDS and the antibody tests.  And that sex plays a role in the development of a positive antibody test and AIDS. We do, however, have misgivings that the HIV antibody proteins in the Western Blot are not specific.  There is no proof that all of the supposed HIV proteins actually come from HIV. The reason is that many attempts at virus isolation have presented numerous insurmountable difficulties. Thus one cannot say for sure that any of the HIV antibody proteins actually come from HIV. It follows therefore that if you cannot know for sure that the proteins in the antibody test come from HIV, then you cannot know for sure whether these proteins are anti-HIV antibodies.

In the Western Blot (WB), the presumed HIV proteins are present separately instead of in a mixture and, after being allowed to react with a blood sample, each protein is capable of giving a visible signal if it has bound an antibody. These tests which are thought to be highly specific are generally used to confirm them. In fact so much weight is put on these Western Blots that a positive result is almost always taken to equal an active HIV infection1. In order to realize that this problem exists, for analogy purposes, diagnosing infections using antibodies is serological diagnosis, and is like trying to identify objects from the shadow they cast on the ground. There is a connection but clouds, buildings, trees and so forth may produce shadows that may look the same or similar. The best way therefore is to prove the existence of HIV in every patient by means that are unambiguous for a unique retrovirus. Although many claims are made that the HIV antibody tests have a high specificity, some schools of thought think that this is not the case1, 7 A test that is not specific will give a positive reading in the presence of other (proteins) than those it is supposed to detect. Clearly, if an HIV antibody test is not specific, a positive result is at best ambiguous2, 3.

Some groups of people generally make a lot of antibodies because they are exposed to a much greater than the normal amount of diseases and unhealthy conditions. This includes poverty-stricken Africans and intravenous drug users. Reactivity in both Elisa and Western Blot analysis may be nonspecific in Africans.4, 6

A study by Kion and Hoffman using alloimmune mice (mice that have been exposed to cells from another murine strain), the mice were shown to make antibodies against gp120 and p24 of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and mice of the autoimmune strains MRL-1pr/1pr and MRL-(+)/+ made antibodies against gp120. This was surprising because the mice were not exposed to HIV. Furthermore, anti-anti-MHC antibodies (molecules  that have shapes similar to those of major histocompartibility complex molecules) were detected in both alloimmune sera and MRL mice5 .


After blood grouping and cross-match, the HIV negative blood from donor to recipient mice showed bands corresponding to gp120 and gp160 were observed in nine mice. Two mice had both gp120 and gp160 bands and one unidentified peak, two showed only one band gp160 and five had weak gp160 bands the so called indeterminate bands for positive but not complete absence of bands.

The western blot (WB) is a general laboratory technique for visualizing individual protein/antibody reactions (bands). One would think that if there really were HIV proteins, and that the HIV antibodies were truly specific, then just having one band light up would be proof that HIV is present. But according to experts, that is not the case, you need more than one (band)3. The intriguing thing is, even if one or two bands are not sufficient to diagnose HIV infection, there must still be a reason why they are there. In fact cross-reaction is the explanation given by all HIV experts for “noninfected” Western Blots3. But if one or two bands in the WB can be caused by non-HIV, cross reacting antibodies why cant three or four or five or all of the ten bands be caused by cross reacting non-HIV antibodies.

Around the world different combinations of two or three or four bands of the possible ten bands are deemed proof of infection. In Africa you need only two, envelope proteins without gag or pol to prove HIV infection, (WHO Criteria). FDA and Red Cross rules you need three bands. We conclude therefore that the HIV antibody proteins in the Western Blot antibody test are not specific. These findings are similar to those obtained by Kion and Hoffman.

Simple, direct, unequivocal, this paper deals a blow to the HIV antigen-antibody mythology without denying the correlation between a positive test or sex and disease/AIDS. Kabati et al. make no secret of the fact that their paper is based on the Perth Group’s 1993 paper Is a positive Western Blot Proof of HIV Infection, and their insight that antibodies are inherently promiscuous and therefore cannot be relied on to identify “HIV”. Neither do they seek to “improve on” the Perth Group’s original critique or be “all-inclusive” or “up-to-date” by quoting derivative sources, such as de Harven, Johnson, Bauer,  or rely on clever re-interpetations of the mainstream’s epidemiological guesswork, accepting  epidemiology known to be based on flawed premises, as is Duesberg’s wont. The Kabati paper’s strength, its single sharp point stabbing right at the heart of the matter and warranting its publication as a piece of independent research, is the simple, indisputable test they present of the supposed specificity of the HIV antigen-antibody reaction coupled with their bold, crisp discussion of the implications.

Kabati’s et al second inspiration, the Kion and Hoffman paper referenced, appeared in the prestigious journal Science in 1991. The abstract states:

Alloimmune mice (mice that have been exposed to cells from another murine strain) were shown to make antibodies against gp120 and p24 of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and mice of the autoimmune strains MRL-lpr/lpr and MRL-(+)/+ made antibodies against gp120. This is surprising because the mice were not exposed to HIV. Furthermore, anti-anti-MHC antibodies (molecules that have shapes similar to those of major histocompatibility complex molecules) were detected in both alloimmune sera and MRL mice. These results are discussed in the context of a possible role for allogeneic stimuli in the pathogenesis of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, as suggested by an idiotypic network model.

Kion and Hoffman’s “surprising” result not only corroborates the Tanzanian study, but also includes p24 among cross-reacting “HIV” antigens.


1 Comment »

The End of Dissent: Sincere Congratulations, a Long Overdue Answer and a Cautionary Tale for the Benefit of Profs. Ruggiero and Bauer

On his personal website, Rethinking AIDS president, David Crowe, has published a comment attributed to Prof. Marco Ruggiero (we do suspect it received a “light edit” by Crowe), aptly headlined Firenze 2011, The End of Dissent.

It details the encouraging news that several (not so) dissenting papers were accepted for presentation at the Italian Conference on AIDS and Retroviruses. The presentations include an edited version of the Duesberg paper that was withdrawn from the Medical Hypotheses journal, as well as a rehash of a couple of papers whose main author is Prof. Bauer. They also include a presentation of some promising results achieved with the immune stimulant GcMAF.

We congratulate Prof. Marco Ruggiero, who is almost single-handedly responsible for the exposure and respectability RA has achieved in Italy. Although we may hold different opinions on the general quality of dissident scholarship on display in Firenze, it seems the standard is good enough to impress mainstream HIV/AIDS professionals (who admittedly have been trained during three decades to swallow almost anything raw) and the development is overall positive and exciting.

We also appreciate Prof. Ruggiero’s “Trojan Horse” game, and again, so far it seems to be working when it comes to mainstream HIV/AIDS professionals. But such a Trojan horse is most effective when we do not believe in it ourselves. It is therefore a little troubling that Ruggiero’s End of Dissent piece is almost entirely devoted to heaping praise on himself and his fellow “dissenting” scientists represented in Firenze, including an exhaustive list of all the prestigious persons and organisations that now “accept” “dissenters”. Since when have true dissidents stood in such awe of established institutions and organisations, or been so thrilled when patted on the head by those in power, that they rush to proclaim the “end of dissent”?

On occasion of the publication back in 2010 of Safety issues in didactic anatomical dissection in regions of high HIV prevalence, a prominent ingredient in at least one of the Firenze presentations, Prof. Ruggiero excitedly asked us, “Will Kalichman, Moore and Chigwedere recognize those results?” We were not sure if he was joking, and not wanting to ask him if he was, we did not answer then. But since it is now clear that he was not joking, we shall answer his question appropriately: “Prof Ruggiero, sir, you have got to be joking!”

In their presentation Towards Improvements in HIV Epidemiology, subheading “False-Positive HIV Tests”, Bauer et al write the following:

An estimate of the frequency of false positives can be made based on the following premises:

1. Untreated HIV infection leads almost inevitably to death after a median period of about a decade (this is a fundamental tenet of HIV/AIDS theory, an axiom not an assumption)

2. In the United States between one quarter and one third of HIV-positive individuals are not aware that they harbour HIV.

3. There were between 1 and 1.5 million HIV-positive Americans as early as 1986.

4. People not known to be HIV-positive would not be receiving antiretroviral treatment and could be expected to have died about a decade after becoming HIV positive.

Together with published data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the numbers of deaths of HIV+ Americans and of American AIDS patients, the pertinent calculations show that approximately one half of all positive HIV tests are false positives.

Would Kalichman, Moore and Chigwedere recognize these results? Kalichman is probably too stupid to form his own opinion, but let us try putting ourselves in Moore’s and Chigwedere’s place and begin by making Profs. Ruggiero and Bauer aware that:

1. the 1-1.5 million HIV-positives as early as 1986 represent (early over)estimates, not actual positive tests. By what rule do we discredit the tests instead of adjusting the estimates?

2. the between one quarter and one third HIV-positive Americans unaware that they harbour HIV also represent estimates. By what rule do we discredit the tests instead of adjusting those estimates?

3. for the alleged discrepancy to arise between undiagnosed HIV infections and AIDS deaths, Bauer’s et al calculation assumes that a death would be registered as HIV-related in the absence of a positive HIV test. Posthumous HIV tests are occasionally performed, but a significant portion of those estimated undiagnosed HIV-positives would of necessity also become undiagnosed AIDS deaths. Thus, if actual or estimated AIDS deaths and estimated total HIV cases do not add up, it is due to oversights in the epidemiological (back-)calculations; that is, faulty epidemiological models, not faulty tests.

4. Bauer’s et al calculation also assumes that once unaware that one harbours HIV always unaware that one harbours HIV. Those unaware of their status are assumed to be a static quantity who never become aware of their status. But reality is that the longer one has been HIV+, and the worse one’s clinical condition becomes the more likely it is that one gets tested, becomes aware of one’s status and starts receiving life-saving antiretrovirals. Thus those most in need of antiretrovirals are those most likely to receive them, and the one third to one quarter estimate is kept constant by the influx of newly infected who are not yet aware of their status.

5. in the Safety issues in didactic anatomical dissection in regions of high HIV prevalence paper Bauer himself argues that the same one third to one quarter unaware of their HIV+ status represent non-progressors rather than false positives. So which is it, Profs. Ruggiero & Bauer, non-progressors or false positives? Bauer resolves the contradiction in a truly original manner. He defines a non-progressor, or elite controller, as someone who has HIV antibodies but no active infection as measured by the viral load tests, and someone who has no detectable viral load as someone who has “no virions”, and someone who has no virions/detectable active infection as a false-positive. The only way for this to make sense is that the elite controller, is not “controlling” the infection, but has eradicated it completely, including latent proviruses. It is the inescapable “eradication of HIV” theme that seems to be obligatory in every dissident paper or commentary since Montagnier’s comments in HoN – except Montagnier is specifically talking about disappearing antibodies, whereas in Bauer’s version antibodies is the only thing that hasn’t disappeared.

In the same paper, as well as in Iatrogenic Harm Following HIV Testing, Bauer also argues that these non-progressors/false positives make up ”more than half of all those who would test positive currently—if there were universal testing in the United States”, and that they therefore would be prescribed ARVs needlessly. That amounts to saying that more than half of all HIV positives are completely viral load-free. With the widespread testing going on, it is truly astounding that more of these “false-positives”/elite controllers have not been discovered. Bauer seems to think it’s because they are put on ARVs and killed based on the initial antibody tests, but as Papadopulos points out:

The proportion of non-progressors, no matter how large, cannot be used “To estimate the proportion of people receiving ART who should not be doing so”. The reason is simple. By definition the non-progressors are individuals who have a positive antibody test but never developed any laboratory (T4 decrease/or clinical abnormality).  These individuals are not treated with ART.


(…) in low-risk individuals the results are “confirmed” with non-antibody tests i.e. PCR.

In other words, those most likely to be antibody positive and viral RNA-free, according to Bauer, are all confirmed positive by the “active infection” test.

6. in another presentation from the same Firenze conference, Bauer argues along with Duesberg that the lacking AIDS epidemic and unusually “slow” spread of HIV antibody prevalence in South Africa, from 0.7% in 1990 to 30% in 2000, is evidence that HIV is a harmless passenger virus. If HIV is harmless, how can Bauer use AIDS deaths as a gold standard for the HIV tests the way he does above (if you are a true positive you get AIDS and die within a median period of ten years, if you are a false positive you don’t)?

Bauer claims that the HIV tests are invalid because of the many false-positives in low prevalence populations. The broader claim is that not only the individual HIV test, but the test algorithm (standard combination of tests, including PCR) produces a prodigious number of false positives, far beyond what’s acceptable for any diagnostic test. The only evidence he has of that is the above hapless epidemiological argument about non-progressors/false-positives. When that argument is shot down - as Bauer himself does by signing the Duesberg paper – so is Bauer’s entire elaborate case against the HIV tests.

And herein, good professors, lies the danger in beginning to believe in one’s own Trojan horses; you risk waking up one day to find that your serious, career-defining hypotheses depend on what started out as just another careless prank.

UPDATE: A reader has privately asked why it matters that the Duesberg paper contradicts Bauer’s HIV test paper, since Bauer presumably does not really believe in either the passenger virus or the HIV/AIDS theory, and the different arguments are for different purposes. We would like to remind all of our readers that Bauer thinks the high false-positive rates in low-risk populations argument is so brillant that it should be the dissidents’ main weapon in the courtroom as well as with the general population and the media. This means that Bauer et al. would begin a court case by conceding that a positive HIV test means there’s on average, depending on whether you are in a risk group or not, an approximately 50% chance that you are currently infected with a real virus, HIV, and will die of  AIDS. Bauer has no evidence that HIV tests are more unreliable than any other test without making this initial concession. This is one reason why one shouldn’t start believing in one’s own Trojan horses, or take seriously conclusions reached on what one knows are false premises.



HIV Generation X Heralded by Luc Montagnier and Hans Gelderblom?

As we were reminded not long ago by Prof. Marco Ruggiero, virology is a blessedly rule-free science, and HIV has come to define and redefine this rulelessness as it gathers to itself every arcane power ever attributed to any virus of any class in the service of novel teleologies. In the following we will look at just two new HIV phenotypes that have grown out of what was until recently considered one of HIV’s waste products, unintegrated viral DNA.

Luc Montagnier redefined mainstream HIV/AIDS rethinking as well as retroviral infection with his remarks in the documentary House of Numbers that a good immune system can clear the body of (at least early) HIV infection. Perhaps the mainstream rethinkers’ fixation on sound bites and accessible media is the reason why equally remarkable comments made in serious publications have gone unnoticed. The passages below are taken from two of Montagnier’s latest papers, Electromagnetic Detection of HIV DNA in the Blood of AIDS Patients Treated with Antiretroviral Therapy and DNA Waves and Water .

We therefore will favor a third hypothesis. The antiretroviral therapy works efficiently to prevent reverse transcription of viral RNA into DNA and therefore blocks any productive infection of susceptible cells. However, it will not prevent DNA-DNA replication in a non-integrated state. In other words, we hypothesize that the ART treatment will push the virus towards an alternate way of replication, probably minor and depending on a cellular polymerase, but sufficient to maintain the viral genetic information as unintegrated viral DNA and able to resume the normal viral cycle if ART is interrupted for any reason (…) The cells and tissues in which this replication occurs remain to be identified.

(…) it is suggested that the HIV DNA fragments and their nanostructures present in the blood may not originate from cell lysis but, on the contrary, represent pieces of definite size able to recombine in the appropriate recipient cells (lymphocytes) to form whole genomic DNA and finally regenerate infectious virus.

If we can target by specific inhibitors this episomal replication without damaging the cellular processes, we might achieve complete elimination of the HIV reservoir and therefore eradication of HIV infection.

In these passages from Montagnier we learn that HIV can adopt an “alternate” mode in which it:

  • has no need of its specific reverse transcriptase, the original defining characteristic of retroviruses; their raison d’etre as an explanatory hypothesis, as it were.
  • can replicate in “cells and tissues” that “remain to be identified”.
  • can infect without the need to ever become an infectious particle.

Furthermore, and perhaps most extraordinarily, we are given to understand that were it not for this ability of the HI-virus to replicate without ever becoming a virus, antiretrovirals would suffice to eradicate HIV infection. In their commentary to a Montagnier interview in Nexus magazine, the Perth Group state:

According to all the HIV experts, once infected with a retrovirus, always infected. This is because the retroviral RNA is reverse transcribed into DNA which is then incorporated into the host genome (DNA). Once in the host DNA it cannot be removed by any means. This is why HIV infection is incurable. As retrovirologist Harold Varmus said in 1998, “Trying to rid the body of a virus whose genome is incorporated into the host genome may be impossible”. So Montagnier has to explain how “general health measures”, which we assume equate to clean water, sanitation, a good diet and medical services, are able to excise approximately 9 thousand specific bases from the human genome while managing to leave all the rest intact.

We would like to repeat  that request only exchanging “general health measures” for “specific inhibitors”.

Montagnier hypothesises that ART treatment has pushed HIV to this alternate existence, but perhaps it is rather the bottomless mysteries of HIV that have pushed its Nobel-recognised inventor to propose a new distinct HIV phenotype. And he is far from the only one. In 2008, a couple of years earlier than the Montagnier paper, Gelderblom et al. had already announced that Viral complementation allows HIV replication without integration. The stage is set elegantly:

Background: The integration of HIV-1 DNA into cellular chromatin is required for high levels of viral gene expression and for the production of new virions. However, the majority of HIV-1 DNA remains unintegrated and is generally considered a replicative dead-end.

But HIV-ologists, and consequently their subject-matter, are not fond of dead ends, so Gelderblom et al. set out to demonstrate experimentally the purposefulness of unintegrated HIV DNA (uDNA):

Most cells which contained only uDNA displayed no detected expression from fluorescent reporter genes inserted into early (Rev-independent) and late (Rev-dependent) locations in the HIV-1 genome. Coinfection with an integrated provirus resulted in a several fold increase in the number of cells displaying uDNA early gene expression and efficiently drove uDNA into late gene expression. We found that coinfection generates virions which package and deliver uDNA-derived genomes into cells; in this way uDNA completes its replication cycle by viral complementation. uDNA-derived genomes undergo recombination with the integrated provirus-derived genomes during second round infection.

Conclusion: This novel mode of retroviral replication allows survival of viruses which would otherwise be lost because of a failure to integrate, amplifies the effective amount of cellular coinfection, increases the replicating HIV-1 gene pool, and enhances the opportunity for diversification through errors of polymerization and recombination.

Gelderblom et al. account for unintegrated intracellular HIV DNA in teleological terms by suggesting a novel method of HIV replication, a novel HIV power and a novel phenotype. “Dead-end” HIV DNA is sublimated, transformed into virions and finally reunified at a higher level of fitness for survival with its already integrated kin.

Gelderblom’s uDNA redemption tale stops short, barely, at concluding that HIV does not need to integrate at all (genomic integration being another defining characteristic of retroviruses) to replicate. But since an external factor, such as previous  integration of another HI-virus in the same cell, is sufficient to complete the last step, late gene expression, the door has been opened to further possibilities, including integration-free HIV replication.

Enter Montagnier, whose errand is extracellular as opposed to intracellular unintegrated HIV DNA. The mystery Montagnier seeks to solve is why one marker of productive infection, the “viral load” (HIV RNA), indicates that HIV activity has all but ceased, while another marker, circulating HIV DNA, is still present and indicates ongoing activity. The currently popular explanations of how HIV can continue to stress the immune system and deplete CD4+ cells after it has been effectively put to chromatin sleep usually involve “hidden reservoirs” of HIV where replication can continue to some extent. Circulating viral RNA picked up by the viral load tests seems to confirm this hypothesis,  but if the drugs make the viral RNA disappear, why not the circulating DNA? Montagnier’s ingenious answer is that HIV transforms from a retrovirus into an infectious (or rather “transfectious”) DNA being, yet another HIV phenotype.

The idea of infectious DNA carrying all essential viral information is not new, however, and it begs the question why a traditional virus is needed at all. This question has even occurred to virologists, and the answer is that a properly packaged virion is many times more infectious than naked DNA, thus selected for by evolution. Montagnier dutifully includes a version of this virion saver by suggesting that his alternate replication mode is “probably minor”.

But the idea that this alternate mode is what saves the virus from eradication by ARVs is anything but minor. Viral DNA programmed to seek out “unidentified cells and tissues”, borrow their polymerases to replicate as  “pieces of a definite size” that can be released and travel intercellularly, while dodging the immune system as well as the drugs, infect and recombine in “appropriate target cells”,  finally to regenerate functional virions is hardly what one would call an accidental mechanism in teleological terms. It is a complete and autonomous para-viral operation that could rekindle HIV infection like a phoenix rising from the ashes even after the last virion and the last integrated provirus  have been eradicated. It is thus quite possible that the evolution of HIV science at some point in the not so distant future will select for unintegrated viral DNA over virions as the dominant phenotype of HIV generation X.



Bauer’s Continuing War

Since Bauer’s War was published, Prof Bauer has delivered yet another blow, from the safety of his heavily moderated blog, in the disinformation campaign he and Rethinking AIDS president, David Crowe, are waging against the Perth Group and their sympathizers. It is symptomatic of the corruption wrought by the infection of politics and ambition on a mind still capable occasionally of cool analysis, and so deserves a notice here. Please keep in mind when reading the following that Prof Bauer is a highly credentialed Professor Emeritus of Science Studies at the prestigious Virginia Tech. It is easy to forget.

In a reply from Bauer to (retired biochemist) chemical engineer, Eugene Semon, we find following remarkable passage (we have numbered the arguments and our comments for easy reference):

1)      What is really simple, clear and direct, as to “the existence issue”, is this:
One cannot prove a negative.

2)      How do you imagine the general public reacts to an insistence that the existence of “HIV” has never been proven? With a great big yawn. So what?

3)      The experts respond that their drugs work, QED.

4)      On the other hand, that even a mainstream monograph (Wormser) states — in the chapter by Weiss and Cowan — that there is no gold standard HIV test, that no such test can diagnose or confirm the presence of HIV,

5)      and that false positives are common in low-prevalence populations — that’s simple, direct, clear, and meaningful, consequential, suitable for winning court cases.

We’ll take it point for point:

1)      Bauer is now summarizing the Perth Group’s entire enterprise as an attempt to prove the non-existence of HIV, which constitutes an elementary error, as he correctly points out. As one can see in point 5, Bauer even pretends that the Perth Group’s (in consultation with Anthony Brink) legal strategy consists in attempting to deliver final proof of the non-existence of HIV, rather than demonstrating that it has not been isolated (which is of course by no means final proof that it doesn’t exist). We have pointed out many times that these increasingly caricatured presentations of the Perth Group’s work is one of the cornerstones in RA’s anti-Perth propaganda, as well as the clearest proof one could ask for that this campaign is in progress. Bauer is a professor of Science Studies, he is able to read and understand nuanced arguments, and he knows very well that the Perth Group is not committing the basic “fallacy” he falsely attributes to them.

2)      RA president David Crowe has summarised the rationale for RA’s passenger virus strategy by comparing the news that HIV has not been shown to exist with parachuting into a medieval French village and telling people that God doesn’t exist, the implication being that the message is so advanced and so offensive that the messenger would be burned at the stake before he could change a single mind. But Prof. Bauer apparently has reliable information that disproof of the existence of God in David Crowe’s medieval French village would have provoked a yawn at best (or worst). This is news, but of course not in terms of the general incoherence of RA’s position.

3) The experts (the clergy in Crowe’s analogy) would simply respond that the HIV drugs (Confession and prayer in the analogy) work, according to Bauer. If this counter-argument is as effective as Bauer claims, what makes him think it would be less effective if one tried to convince the public that they’re infected with a passenger virus which is not reliably detected by the HIV tests? Would the drugs cease to work of a sudden?

4) As demonstrated in Bauer’s War, once he has misrepresented the Perth Group’s position, Bauer rarely fails to assume the identical position and pretend it’s his own. That is also the case here. Using mainstream references to demonstrate that there is no gold standard for the HIV tests, and consequently no way of telling if someone is infected with HIV, is a perfect summary of the Perth Group’s work and legal strategy.

5) Bauer admittedly has introduced an original twist. Once he has shared what is apparently no longer the Perth Group’s discovery, that the mainstream admits there is no way of telling if a person is infected with HIV, he shares another unique insight: In low prevalence-populations false positive HIV test results are common. A judge will no doubt be interested in learning how  Bauer distinguishes a false positive from a true positive test right after he has argued convincingly that this is not possible.

Assuming we and the judge were to accept Bauer’s claim that false positives occurring at high(er) rate in low prevalence populations is a knock-out argument against the HIV tests, he has at the same time knocked out just about every other test for every other condition, since the truth of the statement is based on calculations that apply equally to every diagnostic test.

Perhaps Bauer’s point is that the HIV tests are unusually prone to false positives, though why that would be the case only in low-prevalence populations is one of the great RA mysteries.  But how do we know about these false positives, assuming with Bauer that we do know about them? Because the test algorithms, combinations of tests, are excellent at catching them. Any HIV professional, including Duesberg, would testify under oath, and with great conviction that current HIV testing is state of the art.

The same applies to the impressive-sounding ”70 conditions  known to produce a positive test result”. We know they are false positives because the extensive, state-of-the-art HIV research has identified them as false positives.

Still 70 conditions sounds like a whole lot, maybe there is something funny about HIV tests after all.  Let us compare with Treponema pallidum, a bacterium and therefore easily visualisable, much easier to deal with than HIV.  A single randomly chosen source gives us about 20 conditions (and there are undoubtedly more) many of them similar to those causing  positive HIV tests:

{short description of image}
Causes of False-Positive Serologic Tests for Syphilis

Nontreponemal causes
Acute condition (<6 months)  

Chronic condition (>6 months) 

Human immunodeficiency virus infection
Laboratory error
Liver disease
Intravenous drug use
Connective tissue disorders
Multiple blood transfusions
Treponemal causes
Acute condition (<6 months)  

Chronic condition (>6 months)  

Lyme disease
Systemic lupus erythematosus

Information from references 5 and 8.

{short description of image}

The results in the table are for a so-called non-treponemal test, i.e a non-specific antibody test, which is why a confirmatory Treponema  pallidum-specific test is needed, much like the HIV screening tests are confirmed by a Western Blot. However, false positives can occur on the confirmatory test for the same reason they occur on HIV tests: cross-reacting antibodies. False positive results can also come about as a result of past infection with Treponema pallidum, but the ratio of false positive tests due to cross reaction vs past infection is difficult to determine, as one might imagine. The result of these various difficulties is the familiar array of complex test algorithms, multiple-antigen Western Blot confirmatory testing, professional interpretation, clinical case story investigations etc.  to arrive at sensitivities and specificities similar to those claimed for HIV tests.

Keep in mind this is for a test, one single, randomly chosen test, that does have a gold standard, namely the Treponema pallidum organism itself (what role Treponema pallidum actually plays in tertiary syphilis is a different issue).  So what could one possibly achieve by pointing out that the HIV test, lacking a gold standard, is fraught with the same difficulties as most other tests for microorganisms that can be visualised and do have a gold standard? The answer should be obvious: the comparison will lend much needed credibility to the HIV test in the eyes of any competent judge. And as Bauer says, what could possibly be  more ”simple, direct, clear, and meaningful, consequential, suitable for winning court cases”?



Bauer’s War

Prof. Henry Bauer has been the most consistent and most prolific opponent of the Perth Group’s position that healthy scientific debate of the missing virus problem should be a top priority for Rethinking AIDS. Ever since he published his book and joined the RA Board, his attacks on the Perth Group have been relentless. Amid hypocritical calls for a civil tone in the debate, he refuses to facilitate debate of the issue himself, calls the Perth Group’s request for participation unreasonable if not impolite, and refers to those who are vocally defending the Perth Group from discrimination, misrepresentation, and outright plagiarism perpetrated and/or supported by RA as  “camp followers and groupies” – the same language he reserves for low level AIDStruth operatives.

In a move that has become more significant in hindsight, Bauer was the first and so far only RA board member to publish a critique of the Perth Group’s strategy in the Parenzee case on RA president David Crowe’s ARAS website. This was long before anybody had all the facts about the case, but Bauer has never felt the need to revisit his original assessment, and since then he has not been a single step out of line with Crowe, whose lies and distortions he faithfully parrots whenever the occasion arises.

Needless to say, all Bauer’s criticism and all his calls for “reconciliation” have been unidirectional. He has presumably been unable to discover a single instance worth admitting to of unfair, dishonest or reprehensible words or actions by anyone inside RA directed at the Perth Group and their supporters. Even when Bauer’s fellow RA board member, Prof. Etienne de Harven, in effect called the Perth Group plagiarists on grounds that were immediately exposed as a cheap lie, Bauer did not discover any need to call for decency from those within his own party. Instead he found himself backing Crowe’s position as always, namely that questions of primacy are merely a diversion from the real issues. In other words, objections to endless plagiarism, misrepresentations and self-serving lies are considered an infantile pastime fit only for uncouth “camp followers” and their self-promoting idols.

It remains to be seen if Bauer would be equally cavalier about plagiarism and misrepresentation of his own work (no one has found such an undertaking worthwhile yet), but his actions have been true to his words. He repeatedly cites secondary sources for the Perth Group’s discoveries in his own published books and papers; and he has voiced no objections as he himself has become an oft-cited secondary source of the Perth Group’s original insights – an entirely predictable consequence of his own efforts to marginalise them.

Bauer has produced too many thinly veiled anti-Perth writings to discuss them all here. His latest blog post serves as a typical example of how RA’s self-appointed arbiter of academic good manners operates, so we will analyse it in some detail.

On a quick reading the new blog post might seem to Bauer’s audience a fairly even-handed lament, earnestly agonizing over the best way forward for dissidents as a whole, and deploring unnecessary rifts caused by differing opinions and flaring tempers. He mentions various approaches, commends some, expresses mild personal doubts about others, finds “real hope”, not surprisingly, in the “infiltration tactics” (the so-called Trojan Horse approach) he participates in with fellow board member Marco Ruggiero.

But then he offers us his final insight in a long, rambling passage. I quote from somewhere near the beginning and somewhere near the end:

. . . the necessary initial steps include making people understand that “HIV” and “AIDS” are two separate things, entirely separate things. Crucial to that first step is that “HIV” tests are highly non-specific tests, reacting “positive” to a range of physiological conditions that are not necessarily even health-threatening. … What I want to stress now is that the lack of validity of “HIV” tests suffices to make the Rethinking case, irrespective of the “existence” question, namely, whether such a virus as HIV even exists. Therefore I find it most regrettable that some number of Rethinkers insists that the existence question is central to Rethinking.

Bauer is no longer meekly offering his opinion; he is pronouncing it from a position of high authority. As the reader can discover for him/herself by Bauer’s numerous references to his own work, in particular his book, he has not come to new insights. His final conclusion is exactly the same as it has always been. There is nothing newsworthy here, nothing worth yet another blog post delivering the same message. The blog functions almost exclusively as another attack in the continuing war on the Perth Group for the hearts and minds of dissidents that began at least as far back as Bauer’s above-mentioned premature analysis of the Parenzee case.

Bauer’s position is this: In his book he has already delivered the ultimate, the final proof that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. All that remains is for his fellow dissidents to help him promote its insights and sweep up the remnants of the shattered paradigm as they fall in line behind him. To wit his own words dating back to a mass mail from March 12 2008, where he magnanimously divides what’s left of the glory in suitable portions between those select few who went before him:

If it is a pre-condition to settle the question of the existence of HIV, then there will be no unification of rethinkers. I’m suggesting that the question doesn’t need to be settled, if the aim is just to prove that “HIV” doesn’t cause “AIDS”.

Once that has been accomplished [and it has, we all know, by Bauer himself], and also in response to the inevitable red herrings, etc., from the likes of Wainberg, it becomes necessary to answer the questions, “So what exactly is ‘HIV’?”; “What exactly caused AIDS?”

The first question can be answered most effectively by the Perth Group’s work, the second by Tony Lance’s intestinal dysbiosis theory plus Peter Duesberg’s and John Lauritsen’s drug-AIDS explanations, including poppers for KS.
Under the above, due credit goes to everyone, so my hope would be that everyone would recognize that and let bygones be bygones.

As Bauer has forged new allegiances with board members de Harven and Ruggiero, and as his war on the Perth Group has intensified, he no longer thinks the Perth Group has the most effective answer to what HIV is, and he increasingly avoids any direct reference to them. But otherwise this sums up his current position.

Bauer does not disagree with the Perth Group’s science. He disagrees with the importance of it. As he assures us again and again, the existence of HIV is irrelevant to his own thesis that the HIV tests do not measure an infectious or pathological agent, but he disagrees strongly with the Perth Group’s insistence that the issue of HIV isolation is paramount. The reason for this is obvious; if the Perth Group’s position were accepted it would delegate his own work to the position of secondary importance to which he has currently delegated the work of everybody else.

Since the Perth Group is the only competing faction presenting a direct challenge to Bauer, he finds perfect convergence of interest with the Crowe/Duesberg-controlled RA, which is why he was able to go from relative obscurity to powerful board member in the wink of an eye. Regardless of personal differences of opinion between Bauer, Duesberg and de Harven, the Perth Group presents a direct challenge to the interests of each, so they naturally form a united front against the Perth Group in the battle for scientific and historical recognition.

In war, propaganda is important, and the first task of the propagandist is to simplify, misrepresent and caricature the position of the opposition in factual and moral terms. Nobody does this better or more consistently than Bauer. Here is how he defines the “central issue” for “some number of (always unnamed, as strawmen often are) rethinkers” in his answer to Jim Wolfe in the Comment thread to his latest blog:

. . . a strong little cadre of non-believers in HIV/AIDS also insists that the central issue is the question of the physical existence of this entity

The phrase “some number” from the main post has now become “a strong little cadre”, which, incidentally, is a perfect paraphrase of AIDStruth’s characterisation of dissidents as a whole: “a small but vocal group (of denialists)”. But whereas the latter actually have a point, the core group of “denialists” is rather small in relative terms, it is absurd to call the “cadre” supporting the Perth Group’s position small in terms of the total number of rethinkers. This is exemplary of Bauer’s inside-the-Beltway mindset; when you’re at the established centre of power, RA in this case, you create and come to believe in a worldview, where everybody who is outside your cozy circle of privilege is fringe, extremist etc., regardless what their actual numbers might be.

More importantly, the “central issue” is a relative concept. For such an expression to have meaning one must ask “the central issue relative to what?” Bauer does not bother doing that. He is attributing a narrowly fixed, highly simplified idea to the Perth Group (and their “camp followers”) across changing, fluid, complex contexts to depict them as self-absorbed fanatics. This is classic propaganda technique, and the way it is done here is revealing. At the beginning of the blog, Bauer describes the sensible mainstream position, personified by himself, using the exact same phrase. According to Bauer, the disinterested, socially conscious, politically savvy rethinker understands that:

the central issue for Rethinkers: How might the general public, the media, the policy makers be awakened to the actual facts about “HIV” and about “AIDS”?

This is then opposed to the little, self-absorbed cadre which,

insists that the central issue is the question of the physical existence of this entity

The phrase is the same but the juxtaposition is false. One is a question, the other is an answer. By manipulating the contexts of the comparison, Bauer has further caricatured the Perth Group to claim moral superiority, because he shares their scientific insight (in fact he is regarded as an authority on it due in part to his effective anti-Perth campaign) but his perspective also includes practical social and political dimensions, i.e. it is not self-absorbed.

To discover the false premise one only has to consider this: Does anybody, other than Bauer, doubt for a minute that, presented with the right question in the right context, the Perth Group would agree that the central issue is to awaken people to the actual facts about HIV and AIDS? This goes without saying; the issue is how best to accomplish that aim, and even here the answer will vary according to the situation. Even the Perth Group would agree with that.

What about Bauer’s central insight, directed against the Perth Group:

it is not necessary to settle the existence issue in order to demonstrate that “HIV” tests do not diagnose “HIV infection” and do not presage AIDS.

Where is the disagreement? The Perth Group’s position is precisely that as long as the “existence issue” (meaning isolation, but that doesn’t serve  RA’s propaganda purposes, so the correct formulation of the issue has all but disappeared) has not been “settled”, it has not been demonstrated that the tests diagnose HIV infection. That is the case even if HIV exists. In Bauer’s words:

If someone can become persuaded that “HIV” tests do not detect a fatal virus, then the essential mission has been accomplished, because obviously then “HIV”, which can only be defined by means for detecting it, could never have become known to be the cause of “AIDS”. Even under the assumption that “HIV” exists, but that the tests detect many other things as well, any apparent correlation between positive “HIV” tests and AIDS would be spurious.

The only quibble one could have is that “if HIV cannot be defined by the means of detecting it”, one cannot logically make the assumption that the tests do detect it even in a single instance. But the proposition as an alternative to the Perth Group is still meaningless because Bauer conflates the Perth Group’s call for a resolution to the existence (isolation) issue within RA, so the organisation can act more efficiently and consistently, with a logically necessary requirement for persuading the general public that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. Of course the Perth Group has never claimed their approach is the only thinkable way this could come about.

The other hypothetical suggested by Bauer is equally meaningless. If you can persuade people, by whatever means, that the HIV tests do not detect a fatal virus, of course the mission has been accomplished. That IS the mission.

Moreover, it is quite arbitrary. Bauer is all about, as he puts it in his Parenzee case analysis, “exactly what is necessary to establish sufficient doubt about the HIV = AIDS dogma.” If that is the case why stop there? Why not go for an even lower bar? If, for instance, you can persuade people that they are infected with a harmless passenger virus, the mission would be accomplished even without having to demonstrate that the HIV tests are unreliable. Or if you can persuade them that they carry a genetic CCR5 mutation that makes them immune to infection, you don’t even need to demonstrate that the virus is inherently harmless.

Bauer knows that at some point he has to get into practicalities. Here the main problem is, how are we going to persuade people in practice that the tests do not detect a deadly virus, crucially without mentioning the Perth Group? Bauer links to another blog post, where we find:

What (people) need to grasp is:

“HIV” tests actually detect not a virus but one or more of a number of substances — a dozen proteins, or various bits of DNA or RNA — that were frequently present in 1980s AIDS patients. That simple fact in itself is very hard for people to swallow who have been indoctrinated by the pervasive sound-bites of the conventional wisdom. One might do well always to have close at hand a copy of the Weiss & Cowan article* with certain sections highlighted: there is no gold standard “HIV” test ….

Bauer’s solution is to recommend a debriefing strategy based 100% on the Perth Group, but omitting to mention where his unique knowledge of what the “HIV tests actually detect” comes from, then digging through the literature to find a reference to the missing gold standard that no other dissident has used yet, so he can present it as his own research.

Bauer’s war is a propaganda war, and as such one can quite easily occupy the opponent’s actual position as long as one can simultaneously project a distorted image of that position onto the opponent. In propaganda wars, it is the latter that counts not the former, and as Bauer demonstrates in spite of himself, when one looks deep enough all roads lead to Perth.


No Comments »

Professor Marco Ruggiero’s Existential Virology

Ecce l’articolo tradotto in Italiano

In a press release on December 20, 2010, Rethinking AIDS (RA) president David Crowe announced the latest and perhaps most prominent recent addition to his Board of Directors:

In other news Rethinking AIDS has added a new member to their board of directors, Dr. Marco Ruggiero, a board-certified medical doctor and clinical radiologist. He is a full professor of molecular biology and genetics at the University of Firenze, Italy where he teaches in the Faculties of Medicine, Sciences (chemistry, biology and biotechnology) and Engineering. He spent two years as post-doctoral fellow at Burroughs Wellcome Co. (Research Triangle Park, NC, USA) in 1984-86, where he had the opportunity to collaborate and publish with Nobel Laureate Sir John Vane.

Dr. Ruggiero subsequently spent three years as post-doctoral fellow at the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD, USA, sharing the office with Professor Duesberg as he was visiting the Laboratory. Afterwards, he spent two years as Lab Chief at the Sigma-Tau pharmaceutical company in Milan, Italy.

Dr. Ruggiero became associate professor of molecular biology at the University of Firenze in 1992, and full professor in 2002. The research of Professor Ruggiero deals with the study of the molecular mechanisms responsible for cell transformation, signaling and death in different human pathologies from cancer to AIDS. The results of his research have been published in peer-reviewed, PubMed-indexed, scientific journals and in book chapters.

Although it was not evident then, RA was at the same time announcing its new official view of HIV and AIDS, based on Prof. Ruggiero’s authority and strategies for introducing dissent into mainstream HIV/AIDS debate: “HIV is not the sole cause of AIDS”. This statement implies that HIV exists more or less as claimed by the mainstream, and has a causal relationship with AIDS.

RA court stenographer Celia Farber recently conducted an interview with RA’s new scientific luminary and published it on her website thetruthbarrier.com, which RA president David Crowe immediately linked prominently on his RA site. In the interview Ms Farber set out to get Prof. Ruggiero’s opinion on the existence and nature of HIV:

Q: Do you think HIV exists as a unique and exogenous retrovirus?

A: Yes I do. However, as a scientist I rely upon data. If there are data demonstrating that the nucleotide sequence attributed to HIV is homologous to sequences present in the diploid human genome, then I shall have no difficulty in defining HIV as a human endogenous retrovirus. The entire human diploid sequence (at least the sequence of one individual) is freely accessible here: NEW INDIVIDUAL HUMAN DIPLOID GENOME. It will not be difficult for anyone who doubts of the existence of HIV to compare HIV and human sequences in order to find homologies. Such homologies have not been found so far, to my knowledge.

This prompted the Perth Group to ask Prof. Ruggiero a few simple questions:

Dear Professor Ruggiero,

We greatly enjoyed reading your interview with Celia Farber and, having slept on it for a few days, we would like to ask you for some assistance.

Could you please provide us with one or more citations, which contain evidence to prove each of the following:

1.      The existence of the HIV genome in retroviral particles.
2.      The existence of the HIV genome in AIDS patients.
3.      The existence of endogenous retroviruses.

We look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Kind regards,
Eleni and Val and John.

In a follow-up mail the Perth Group elaborated:

1.  The absolutely necessary but not sufficient conditions to prove the existence of HIV is to obtain the HIV genome from retrovirus-like particles and then find the same genome in vivo.

Like Robin Weiss before him, Prof Ruggiero replied by appealing to the general rulelessness of virology:

(…) your statement that “The absolutely necessary but not sufficient conditions to prove the existence of HIV is to obtain the HIV genome from retrovirus-like particles and then find the same genome in vivo.” in my humble opinion contains an error. Id est, to make a statement without providing a rationale for this absolutistic statement. In other words, where and by whom is written such a statement, or, as you like to ask, could you please provide a quotation backing this affirmation of yours? Or, even more precisely, where is the evidence for claiming that “The absolutely necessary but not sufficient conditions to prove the existence of HIV is to obtain the HIV genome from retrovirus-like particles and then find the same genome in vivo”? … Here I pose my question for you: what are the absolutely necessary but not sufficient conditions to prove the existence of Marco Ruggiero at the light of the recent discovery of the human microbiome? Please consider that in my (?) body there are 25.000 billion clonal (hopefully al clonal!) eukaryotic cells and ten times more bacterial cells, each with a different DNA, all contributing to my individual (?) existence. If you can provide me with your definition for existence of such a composite being, then I shall try to answer your question about HIV.

The advantage of an appeal to rulelessness is readily understood. If no terra firma is found on which the discussion can take place, the positive statement, “HIV is an exogenous retrovirus”, cannot be challenged, even on its own terms. Regardless of which authority, quotation or evidence one delivers for a specific rule, it can be countered by the same appeal to rulelessness, invoking infinite regress (“on whose authority rests your authority’s authority?” etc) and relativism (“I have another equally good authority saying something different), a tactic familiar to most trial lawyers.

Or it can be countered by shifting the ground to a discussion of parts, wholes and composites in a philosophical nowhereland.

But we can get around all of this quite easily if Prof. Ruggiero could be persuaded to simply abide by the common rules of logic and scientific reasoning. In the interview with Celia Farber, he already implicitly established his criteria for proving the existence of an exogenous retrovirus. The argument can be summarised in this manner:

First part: X (a nucleotide sequence) exists

X is attributed to Y (HIV defined as a retrovirus)


Y exists.

Second part: X is non-homologous with Z (the Sanger human genome)


Y is exogenous.

The second part of Ruggiero’s argument rests on the first part, but the first part begs the question. As all arguments for the existence of HIV, it assumes the existence of that whose existence we want to prove. It also assumes that there is a defined whole of which the nucleotide sequence is a part. Even if, for the sake of argument, we allow the question-begging, this is fallacious as the following example makes clear:

Where there is a fire there is smoke


Where there is smoke there is a fire

It is easy to conceive of instances of smoke without a fire without rejecting the premise that where there is a fire there is smoke. The whole, a fire, does not follow logically from the part, smoke, even allowing that fires do exist.

So how about this:

Where there is a retrovirus there is a nucleotide sequence


Where there is a nucleotide sequence there is a retrovirus

Even if we grant the existence of HIV, the argument is plainly fallacious. It is thus according to the simplest rules of logic when the Perth Group asks that X (the HIV genome) be obtained from Y (a retroviral particle) in order to prove that X is a part of which Y is the whole. Before this is achieved, it is quite irrelevant whether it follows from the second part of Ruggiero’s argument that HIV is exogenous.

To sum up, if one understands that the existence of Y does not follow from the existence of X, unless it is already established that Y is a part of X , one need look no further for the authority on which rests the claim that:

The absolutely necessary but not sufficient conditions to prove the existence of HIV is to obtain the HIV genome from retrovirus-like particles and then find the same genome in vivo.

At this point one might appeal to induction. We might say: “So far, for every instance of X there has turned out to be a Y” – for every instance of a nucleotide sequence possessing certain defining characteristics there has turned out to be a corresponding retrovirus.

This argument is empirical, as science should be. But would it be true?

Rethinking AIDS has grown very fond of human endogenous retroviruses (HERV) lately and boasts at least a couple of board members who claim unique insight into their nature and whereabouts, so the Perth Group’s request should be easy to meet. If in every instance (other than HIV) there is a retrovirus corresponding to a nucleotide sequence possessing certain defining characteristics, it should be easy to provide evidence for the existence of at least one such HERV.

If Prof Ruggiero can provide evidence for the existence at any point in time and space for these several microorganisms he tells us now contribute their parts to his whole, perhaps the mystery of the existence of a being as composite as him would no longer be an obstacle to presenting the evidence for an entity as simple as HIV.

We are looking forward to seeing this evidence.

CLAUS JENSEN  –  with special thanks to Dr. Fabio Franchi


The Perth Group ask: ‘Is the dissident science “highly questionable”, “embarrassing” and “damaging”?’

Dear All

The Perth Group have just published a new article: ‘Is the dissident science “highly questionable”, “embarrassing” and “damaging”?’

It’s online at http://www.tig.org.za/EPE_SEP14.pdf.

It includes a close look at the science and the ethics of Etienne de Harven and Henry Bauer.

Concerning Bauer’s science and ethics, two other pieces just published at http://www.tig.org.za/RA.htm may also be of interest:

1. A letter to Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons editor Lawrence Huntoon about Bauer’s articles ‘Incongruous Age Distributions of HIV Infections and Deaths from HIV Disease: Where Is the Latent Period Between HIV Infection and AIDS?’ and ‘HIV Tests Are Not HIV Tests’, published in 2008 and 2010 (too long for publication as a letter, Huntoon responded). It’s posted at http://www.tig.org.za/Bauer_letter_to_JPandS.pdf.

2. Perth Group founder Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos’s comments on the draft of Bauer’s article ‘Iatrogenic Harm following “HIV” Testing’, sent to her for peer review by JPandS editor Huntoon. As with his previous article that he got Huntoon to send her to review (see her ‘P.S.’), Bauer ignored her comments concerning both his science and his ethics, and Huntoon proceeded to publish Bauer’s article as is, without heeding them either. Her comments are posted at http://www.tig.org.za/Bauer_Iatrogenic_Harm__EPE_peer_review_comments.pdf.

Yours sincerely

Chairman, Treatment Information Group

16 September 2010

1 Comment »

Introducing Anthony Brink’s ‘History of Rethinking AIDS’

The “HIV” Symposium was conceived and born partly as an answer to the politics of the Rethinking AIDS organization (RA). We will therefore begin by recommending Anthony Brink’s newly published six-part series about RA, its history, its Board of Directors and its  politics. In the first three parts Brink gives us new insight into one of the biggest scams perpetrated on the AIDS dissident community. The revelations presented would be enough to end careers in the real world, but HIV/AIDS dissidents are by and large a meek, politically naïve lot, who are at heart uncomfortable with challenging authority. The wolves among them, like Stefan Lanka, have long since turned away in disgust from what has become “mainstream dissidence”, represented by RA, and now the Perth Group, led by Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos, have officially done the same.

In these circumstances a power grab by those in a position to and with an interest in doing so is almost guaranteed to go unchallenged, and the current RA is just such a power grab by David Crowe, an ambitious businessman and politician, who has thrown in his lot with venture capitalist Bob Leppo, Peter Duesberg’s financial backer. This ensured from the outset that RA was heavily invested in Duesberg’s “Harmless Passenger Virus” theory, even as it claims to represent all dissident scientific opinions.

The result is that RA has become in many ways a scientific gatekeeper. In Part 6 of the History of Rethinking AIDS, Brink documents how several of RA’s Board members, notably Peter Duesberg himself, David Crowe, David Rasnick, Henry Bauer, Christian Fiala and Helen Lauer, have expressly, by word or deed, opposed themselves to scientific progress in blocking the resolution of the central issue in the scientific controversy about the HIV theory of AIDS: whether “HIV” has been proved to exist or not.

Suppressing the “HIV” isolation/existence question was from the beginning synonymous with suppressing the Perth Group and their extensive original work on the subject. In his History Brink shows how RA has defined itself by its opposition to the Perth Group and their central observation that “HIV” has never been purified and thereby shown to exist, as evidenced by the lack of a gold standard for the “HIV” tests and the impossibility of defining “HIV” infection in molecular terms.

In Part 1 Brink describes the rise and fall of RA’s predecessor, The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis, and various events up until the South African Presidential Panel in 2001. The summary of events documents the tensions between the Duesberg partisans and the Perth Group, which was later to result in the Perth Group’s formal disassociation from RA and its president David Crowe  ”due to irreconcilable scientific and ethical differences”.

In Part 2, Brink explains the radical differences between the original Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis formed in 1991 and the present Rethinking AIDS Group created in 2005. He recalls how Crowe came to be chosen by Duesberg associate David Rasnick to organize the new group, and he reveals the exclusive, non-transparent and non-democratic nature of the group that poses as  an “umbrella organization” for all AIDS dissidents.

The (dys)functionality, which is to say the intended function, of the RA Board is exposed and amply documented, for example in the words of then president, Prof. Etienne de Harven: ‘the problem with our Board members is that they just don’t respond or react. They just stay put! I barely hear from them!’

But the current President and prime organizer of the group does not consider “staying put” to be the real danger to the internal democracy of his group. When the Perth Group requested representation on the RA Board, his forthright reply was that it “can’t happen until the existing Board members can conclude your participation will be cooperative. I certainly don’t want to see your participation come at the price of Duesberg’s.”

That is to say, the Perth Group could not be counted on to be as unresponsive and passive as those Board members described by de Harven, and whom Crowe alleges were able to summon just enough energy and interest to vote that the Perth Group lack sufficient understanding of the intricacies of party politics and hierarchy.

Brink’s case comes together in Part 3, where he gives us an almost unbelievable account of how Crowe, presumably with the blessing of Duesberg, Rasnick and Leppo, manoeuvered to shape RA and fortify his own position, beginning with the 2006 meeting of what had now become the RA “Board of Directors”.

At this meeting, Bob Leppo, Duesberg’s as well as RA’s main financial backer ( “sole financial backer as far as the IRS is concerned”, according to Brink), was made a “director” along with Duesberg and Rasnick (who has also enjoyed Leppo’s financial backing), while Duesberg’s wife, Siggi, was put in charge of the funds. With this incestuous arrangement, Crowe had accomplished without a peep of protest the complete merger of faux public representation, corporate financing and the ambition of scientific elites represented by Duesberg. In other words, RA had successfully duplicated in miniature the political structure it claims to be fighting.

After their request for representation on the RA Board was rebuffed, the Perth Group asked that at least a notice summarizing their scientific work be posted on the RA website. But Crowe and his Board refused because it would have forced RA to recognize the Perth Group’s undisputed scientific priority in most areas of dissident science. A presentation by Duesberg comparing the infectious and chemical theories of AIDS was posted on the RA website instead. There was no  mention of the Perth Group’s prior scientifically comprehensive theory of AIDS, their oxidative stress theory, or the fact that it subsumed Duesberg’s chemical AIDS theory.

This was a sign of things to come, since by sidelining the Perth Group, RA had created a space soon to be filled by a seemingly endless cast of opportunists and plagiarists, several within its own rank and file. Among the latest to take advantage of the Perth Group’s lack of representation in RA to claim original work, new theories or independent discoveries, which are all dumbed-down versions of various parts of the Perth Group’s scientific corpus, are journalist Janine Roberts, Prof. Etienne de Harven, Prof. Henry Bauer and Prof. Andrew Maniotis.

One of the most compelling parts of Brink’s account of the 2006 RA meeting is how, with a stroke of a pen, Crowe made the signatories of the original 1991 Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis, along with those who had subsequently signified their support for it, members of his new Rethinking AIDS Group by simply writing a “bylaw” stating: “Signatories, past and future, of the initial 1991 RA statement shall automatically be considered as ‘Members of the RA Group.’”

By this imperial decree, pretending that the original Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis is identical with the Rethinking AIDS group, Crowe swelled the ranks of his group of a dozen or so self-selected Board members by some 2 500 AIDS dissidents, including the otherwise excluded Perth Group. And it was not only on paper: Crowe takes his self-invested powers over his involuntary RA members so literally that in 2009 he wielded them to deny a request from the Perth Group that he announce their dissociation from RA.

But David Crowe had more innovative “bylaws” still. In Brink’s words: “Seeing as Leppo had been funding Duesberg’s and Rasnick’s cancer research, Crowe figured he’d make a grab for some of his cash for himself too. It was as easy as writing a new ‘bylaw’ requiring the treasurer to divert some of the organization’s operating funds provided by Leppo into Crowe’s personal bank account – for which favour, and to still any objection, Crowe also stipulated in his new ‘bylaw’ that the treasurer could help himself to some too. With a slice of the cash also paid to the webmaster. Since why should they spend their valuable time working on the problem of AIDS for nothing? Like the rest of us do.”

As if the close relationship between RA’s scientists and financial backer, all fellow board members, wasn’t enough, Crowe tied the strings of the RA presidency, purse and official website to Leppo’s generous hand, ensuring that the only way to challenge Leppo’s (and thereby Duesberg’s) influence in the short run would be to outspend him. Thus Crowe was being quite literal when he wrote that “I certainly don’t want to see [the Perth Group’s] participation come at the price of Duesberg’s.”

These are some of the defining events leading up to the current controversy, which is the topic of Parts 4, 5 and 6 of Brink’s History. Here he increasingly focuses on Crowe’s well documented interference in the Parenzee court case and on the 2009 RA Conference in Oakland, from which he excluded the Perth Group and their supporters.

The three chapters are full of examples and quotations documenting Crowe’s continued machinations, as well as the RA Board’s herd behavior. Underlying it all is the recent metamorphosis of Duesberg’s untenable Passenger Virus theory from a scientific proposition to political wisdom: Nobody on the RA Board will defend the theory on its scientific merits, but all agree that it is eminently practical as official policy and public relation strategy.

The practicality of the Passenger Virus approach has already been tested twice. First  in the Parenzee case, although Crowe and his RA Board have been trying to spin it to their advantage by pretending that it was the Missing Virus strategy that failed on that occasion, and second in Duesberg’s latest paper, HIV-AIDS hypothesis out of touch with South African AIDS – A new perspective. But the wisdom of the  Passenger Virus theory and how it fared on these and other occasions will be the subject of future discussions. For now, please go read Anthony Brink’s  History of Rethinking AIDS.



« Newer Entries