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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Day 3: Six Harvard Teach-ins of the International HHV-6 Protest at Harvard

Teach-in #1 

The Story about AIDS and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Student Should Know by Heart

Teach-in #2

How Peter Duesberg Tried to Fix the Corrupted Hard Drive of AIDS Research


Teach-in #3
  
How Kary Mullis Tried to Fix the Corrupted Hard Drive of AIDS Research

Teach-in #4

How Robert Root-Bernstein Tried to Fix the Corrupted Hard Drive of AIDS Research
Teach-in #5

How Serge Lang Tried to Fix the Corrupted Hard Drive of AIDS Research  

Teach-in #6

How Rebecca Culshaw Tried to Fix the Corrupted Hard Drive of AIDS Research



Teach-in #1 

The Story about AIDS and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Student Should Know by Heart

A story that Hans Christin Andersen wrote was recently unearthed and it totally clarifies the relationship between AIDS and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. 


The Emperor's New Diagnosis


      Once upon a time there lived a very vain Emperor whose only worry in life was his health and his desire to live forever. He ate fresh fruits and vegetables and herbs all day long and loved to brag about his vim and vigor and body fat percentages to everyone in his court and to show off his masculine robustness to his people.
     Word of the Emperor's excellent health and desire to live forever spread over his kingdom and beyond. Two scoundrel physicians who had heard of the Emperor's obsession with his own precious health and longevity decided to take advantage of it. They introduced themselves at the gates of the palace as cutting-edge physicians with a specialty in making healthy people even healthier so that they could live forever—with a scheme in mind.
     "We are two very good doctors and after many years of clinical research we have invented an extraordinary medical procedure to make healthy people even healthier, so healthy that they will never die. As a matter of fact, it is a medical secret unknown to anyone, and people are probably too ignorant and incompetent to appreciate its quality."
     The chief of the guards heard the scoundrel doctors’ story and sent for the court chamberlain. The chamberlain notified the prime minister, who ran to the Emperor and disclosed the incredible news. The Emperor's curiosity got the better of him and he decided to summon the two scoundrel doctors.
     "Your Highness, if you wish, this special medical treatment will be created in your kitchen by us especially for you," declared one of the scoundrel doctors. The Emperor gave the two men a bag of gold coins in exchange for their promise to begin preparing the medical treatment that would make him even healthier than he already was and enable him to escape death.
     "Just tell us what you need to get started and we'll give it to you," said the Emperor.   
     The two scoundrel doctors asked for carrots, spinach, garlic, an enema device and then they pretended to begin working. The Emperor thought he had spent his money quite well: in addition to getting a new extraordinary cutting-edge medical treatment, he would discover which of his subjects were ignorant and incompetent. A few days later, he called the old and wise prime minister, who was considered by everyone to be a man with great common sense.
     "Go and see how the work is proceeding," the Emperor told him, "and come back to let me know."
     The prime minister was welcomed by the two scoundrel physicians.
     "We're almost finished, but we need a lot more carrots. Here, Excellency! Admire the unique colors, smell the power of the medicine!" The old man bent over the concoction and tried to see what was so special about the brew. He suddenly felt cold sweat on his forehead.
     "I can't detect anything special or powerful," he thought. "If I observe nothing, that means I'm stupid! Or, worse, incompetent!" If the prime minister admitted that he didn't perceive anything special about the medicine, he would be discharged from his office for stupidity and incompetence.
     "What a marvelous medicine,” he then said. "I'll certainly tell the Emperor." The two scoundrel doctors rubbed their hands gleefully. They had almost achieved their goal. More spinach and garlic were requested to finish their work.
     Finally, the Emperor received the announcement that the two doctors had come to give the Emperor a complete physical before he received his medicine.
     "Come in," the Emperor ordered. As they bowed, the two scoundrel doctors winked at each other.
     "Here it is your Highness, the result of our intense scientific labors," one of the scoundrel doctors said. "We have worked night and day but, at last, the most amazing health-enhancing medical treatment in the world is ready for you. Look at the colors of the liquid and smell how powerful the miraculous life-enhancing, liver-renewing medicine is." Of course the Emperor did not see any special color in the orangey brew with green spinach highlights and chunks of garlic and could not smell anything all that different from his evening stew or the palace’s vegetable garden. He panicked and felt like fainting. But luckily the throne was right behind him and he sat down. But when he realized that no one could know that he did not sense the miraculous cutting-edge life-enhancing power of the brew, he felt better. Nobody would find out that he was ignorant and incompetent. And the Emperor didn't know that everybody else around him thought the very same thing.
     The farce continued as the two scoundrel doctors had foreseen it. Once they had pretended to thoroughly examine the Emperor, the two began preparing the Emperor for his health-enhancing liver-renewing enema.
     "Your Highness, you'll have to take off your clothes for your secret life-enhancing medical treatment." The two scoundrels then gave the Emperor his enema. They had to bite their tongues to keep from laughing. The Emperor was slightly embarrassed but he had high hopes for the treatment.
     "Yes, this is an amazing medical breakthrough and it feels like it is having a powerful effect on me. My liver feels twenty years younger," the Emperor said, trying to look comfortable. "You've done a fine job."
     When they saw him, everyone in the Emperor’s entourage applauded and insisted that the Emperor looked healthier than he ever had.
     For the next few days the Emperor felt so good that he declared the two doctors would be his private physicians for life and ordered them to give themselves the life-enhancing enemas so they would always be there to take care of him. And he gave them each three additional bags of gold.
     Wherever the Emperor went in the days after the enema, all the members of his court told him he had never looked as fabulous and that they were sure now that he would live forever. The Emperor was very happy so everyone in his kingdom was, if not very happy, at least relieved that the Emperor was.
     This did not last very long however, because an event occurred that brought great anxiety to the kingdom. One morning one of the kingdom’s constables rushed to give the Emperor some very frightening news. People were dying in the kingdom’s prison and nobody knew why. There was a rather large prison because there were very many bad people in the kingdom and the Emperor had many enemies who usually ended up there.
     “I will send my personal physicians to determine what is going on,” said the Emperor.
     When they were summoned, the two scoundrel physicians pretended to be quite pleased with their assignment. “We are honored to be put in charge of this medical investigation, your Highness,” one of them said. Privately, they were terrified of what was expected of them. They were not the kind of doctors who really liked to be around sick and dying people all that much. But they nervously headed off to the prison.
     Inside the prison they were horrified by what they saw. People were sick with all kinds of different symptoms. There seemed to be degrees of illness, from slightly sick to very sick to dying. They knew they were completely out of their depth but they would have to tell the Emperor something that would make him think they were not ignorant and incompetent. They had a feeling that if the Emperor ever thought that they were ignorant and incompetent they would promptly be two dead scoundrel physicians.
     “We’d better come up with something,” said one of the doctors. “I have it,” said the other. “These prisoners all seem to be suffering from the collapse of their immune systems. They have all kinds of illnesses. Let’s give it a name. Let me think. Okay, I have it. We’ll say its acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Yes, and we’ll call it ‘AIDS’ so it’s easier for people to say.”
     “Yes, sounds good,” said the other. “But what should we tell the Emperor is the cause of AIDS?”
     “It’s a virus. A virus that only infects bad people who deserve it. The amazing virus has special powers of distinction that no other virus has. It sees bad people and then bad people who are infected give it to other bad people. Only bad people can get it and only bad people can transmit it. End of story.”
     “That’s brilliant,” said the other scoundrel physician.
     The two scoundrel doctors returned to the castle where they told the Emperor about the epidemic of AIDS that had broken out at the prison. The Emperor got quite agitated and said, “But if it is a virus, will I catch it and get sick and die?”
     “It isn’t possible said one of the physicians. We did the epidemiology—which is the most advanced form of science that there is—and we determined that only bad people can contract this virus.”
     “Well, that is a relief!” said the Emperor. For their efforts the scoundrel physicians received several more bags of gold.
     When the townspeople learned that prisoners were dying in the kingdom’s dungeons, they grew concerned. The emperor had a proclamation read on every street in the kingdom, declaring that the people had nothing to worry about. As long as they were good, they could not contract the virus that caused AIDS. It was only transmitted from bad people to other bad people.
     The people all pretended to feel safe but privately they were quite concerned. And they had reason to be. In a matter of days several people around the kingdom started to get sick with what looked a lot like the same AIDS that the prisoners were coming down with. It didn’t take long for word to reach the Emperor who immediately summoned his personal physicians.
     “What is going on, doctors?” he asked, with a threatening tone in his voice. “Why are some of the townspeople getting sick. Did you make a mistake? Are you ignorant and incompetent?”
     “But Sire, don’t you see?” said one of the trembling physicians. “Nature has created a virus to assist you in ruling your kingdom. The people who are getting sick people who are secretly doing bad things. They’re closet bad people. You wouldn’t have known that fact otherwise.”
     “Of course, why didn’t I realize that?” The Emperor immediately ordered that all people who were getting sick with AIDS should be officially declared bad people who were no doubt guilty of secret crimes and taken immediately to the prison with all the other victims of AIDS.
     Soon everyone in the kingdom was afraid to even appear to have a cold or a sniffle. If they coughed they said it was just allergies to the flowers that grew around the kingdom. Many hid in their homes when they were unwell.
     Soon the prison was so packed with sick people who had officially been declared bad that several people had to sleep in every bed. And then something very troubling started happening. Some of the Emperor’s best friends and favorite servants started getting sick with symptoms that resembled the ones the prisoners had. And then worst of all, his beloved daughter, the Princess, suddenly became so ill that she could not get out of her royal bed. The Emperor had no intention of sending his daughter or his friends and servants to prison, so he angrily summoned the scoundrel physicians to demand some answers.
     The two doctors were so frightened by what was going on that some of their hair started turning white. They had to do some fast thinking. When they appeared before the Emperor they were ready.
     “Your Highness, not to worry,” said the first physician. “We’ve done the epidemiology. We’ve even used a special new kind of statistical modeling and the latest chi squares. These friends of yours and your daughter are not sick. They are not bad people. They are good people. This is caused by the stress of being too good. They are just tired because they spend so much time every day being kind and just. That gives them fatigue. We call it chronic fatigue syndrome. They worry about others too much. They are too generous and selfless. They work too hard. They try and do too much for you and your kingdom. If your Highness will only encourage them to do a little less for others the chronic fatigue syndrome eventually will go away. Chronic fatigue syndrome is not a transmissible disease. There is no AIDS virus involved. Not even a virus like AIDS. It is something that happens spontaneously because of too much goodness within a person.”
     “What a relief,” said the Emperor. He was glad he didn’t have to send his friends and his daughter off to prison where he had been hearing that conditions were becoming more and more abominable. The Emperor ordered that a special feast be given in honor of the physicians at which he planned to award them the kingdom’s highest medal of honor, and he also planned to make a speech urging his friends and his daughter to be a little less selfless and generous so that their chronic fatigue syndrome would go away.
     And so for weeks after that, anyone who was in the Emperor’s good graces or worked in the palace who showed any strange signs of illness or fatigue was given the official court diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome by the Emperor’s physicians. They were ordered by the Emperor’s physicians to stop being so good and working so hard for the kingdom. And unwell people that the Emperor didn’t know—or wasn’t particularly fond of—were carted off to prison if they as much as sneezed.
     But, unfortunately, that was not the end of the story. Even though the Emperor had his weekly health-enhancing liver-renewing carrot and spinach enemas, he started to feel feverish one day and then was so tired he slept past noon. His balance was off and he had trouble organizing his thoughts. And his stomach was doing all kinds of unmentionable things. He immediately summoned his personal scoundrel physicians who, upon hearing about the Emperor’s condition, at first thought that they should immediately start making out their wills. But then they decided to be diagnostically proactive.
     As they rushed into the Emperor’s bedroom, one of them cried, “Oh, Emperor, Emperor, Emperor! We knew this would happen. You have been working too hard for your people and you have been too good! Your supreme internal goodness has caused you to develop spontaneous chronic fatigue syndrome.”
     “What should I do about this, doctors?” responded the Emperor.
     The second physician said, “You simply have to be a little less good, a little less fair, a little less generous and pretty soon there will be no more chronic fatigue syndrome. You’ll be good as new. And just for good measure we also suggest a second weekly enema. It can’t hurt.”
     And so, the Emperor took their advice. In order to be less good, less fair and less generous, he raised the kingdom’s taxes and he stopped commuting death sentences.
     But still the chronic fatigue syndrome did not go away. However, everyone in the kingdom was so afraid of both the Emperor and the uncanny power of the two scoundrel physicians, that they kept telling the Emperor how unusually healthy he looked. He pretended to believe them, even though he knew he didn’t feel good at all. He was too embarrassed to tell them how he really felt, he didn’t want to appear ignorant and incompetent about his own health to his subjects.
     But there were rumors circulating that the Emperor was not well, and that many of the people around him were also not well, so he summoned the wise prime minister and his public relations minister and asked what they could do to reassure the people that the Emperor was in good health and that the chronic fatigue syndrome that was affecting him and his daughter and many of the people in his court was nothing to worry about, that it was just something that could be dealt with by being less good.
     The public relations minister immediately responded, “A procession. A procession to celebrate the fact that you and all the others who have chronic fatigue syndrome. Your chronic fatigue syndrome is a sign from heaven that you are all incredibly good people and the people of your kingdom should celebrate and honor you and your goodness, as well as your incredible hard work and your generosity.”
     “Excellent,” said the Emperor. He ordered that a procession in honor of all the good people with chronic fatigue syndrome be conducted the next day with him at the lead. When all those in the kingdom who had chronic fatigue syndrome were told that they had to get up before noon and be in a parade in which they had to walk more than a block, they were not thrilled, but they had no choice but to attend because nobody dared to defy the Emperor.
     As they prepared to leave the castle and travel the mile of so of the procession route, the Emperor and his entourage of friends and family who had chronic fatigue syndrome were quite a sight to behold. None of them were standing up straight. Some of them looked like they were half asleep. Some seemed kind of dizzy. Some had chronic coughs. Some looked feverish. Some looked like they had recently gained a lot of weight and other had recently lost a great deal of weight. And worst of all, as he got into his carriage to lead the procession, the Emperor looked a little green or a little yellow, depending on the way the sunlight was hitting him. It may not have exactly been the image his public relations minister was aiming for, but nevertheless, they were off.
     A group of dignitaries walked at the very front of the chronic fatigue syndrome procession and anxiously scrutinized the anxious faces of the people in the street. All the people had gathered in the main square, pushing and shoving to get a better look. Vigorous applause welcomed the regal procession
     Even though it was obvious that there was something terribly wrong with every member of the Emperor’s chronic fatigue syndrome procession, the townspeople were afraid to say anything that wasn’t celebratory and positive.
     “You look marvelous!” cried one woman—loudly so everyone would hear her and know she was a good person.
      “You haven’t aged a day,” another one said
     “Handsome as ever, Your Highness!” cried one nervous man.
     “And your complexion!” cried another. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
     A child, however, who had no important job in the kingdom, and who didn’t understand the politics of the kingdom, (but who did know about the epidemic in the prison) could only see things as his eyes showed them to him. The child went up to the Emperor‘s carriage—close enough so everyone in the carriage and the entourage behind could hear him when he screamed, “Chronic fatigue syndrome? Fuck that shit. The Emperor has AIDS,” he cried. (The child, though basically very nice, had a foul mouth.”)
     "Fool!" his father reprimanded, running after him. "Don't talk nonsense!" He grabbed his child and took him away. But the boy's remark, which had been heard by the bystanders, was repeated over and over again until everyone who had heard the child cried: "The boy is right! The Emperor has AIDS! The Emperor has AIDS! The Emperor has AIDS! It's true!"
     And then anyone who knows the history of mankind knows what happened next. All the people who had screamed the word “AIDS” at the Emperor were arrested along with the child and his father. The next morning, after a miserable night in the dungeon, they were all—even the child—taken outside the walls of the kingdom and hung without mercy from the tallest trees.
     And no one in that kingdom was heard to even mutter the words “AIDS” and “chronic fatigue syndrome” in the same breath ever again.
     And while it would be going too far to say that everyone subsequently lived happily ever after, that was that.


Teach-in #2

How Peter Duesberg Tried to Fix the Corrupted Hard Drive of AIDS Research


  To say that the achievement of Peter Duesberg is a glass half full, should never be seen as damning with faint praise. Unflappable, imperfect Peter Duesberg heroically changed the course of the AIDS epidemic and history itself by his actions and part of his personal tragedy is that he could have changed it even more if he had looked deeper and been more critically attentive to the politics of the Centers for Disease Control’s heterosexist epidemiology.
     In the introduction to his 1987 interview with Duesberg, John Lauritsen wrote, “Peter Duesberg came to the United States about 20 years ago from Germany. He is professor of Molecular Biology at the University of California in Berkeley. It is because of his interest in retroviruses, on which he is an authority, that he became involved in questioning the ‘AIDS virus etiology.’” (The AIDS War p.47)
     In that interview Duesberg argued that HIV could not be the cause of AIDS because of “the consistent biochemical inactivity of the virus.” (AW p.47) He told Lauritsen that “Even in patients who were dying from disease, the virus is almost undetectable, while RNA synthesis is essentially not detectable, (AW p.47) And Duesberg said, “So that is one of the key arguments, and there is no exception to the rule that pathogens in order to be pathogenic have to be active.” (AW p.48) He also insisted that “very few potentially susceptible cells are ever infected, and those that are infected don’t do anything. The virus just sits here.” (AW p.48)
     Duesberg also argued that the long latency period of the disease was “a very suspicious signal that the virus is unlikely to be solely the direct cause as they claim.” (AW p.48) He insisted that retroviruses “are the most benign viruses that we know” and “they can remain in the cell in latent form.” (AW p.49) And most damning of all to the HIV hypothesis, according to Duesberg, was the fact that “When AIDS is diagnosed, they say that now it’s possible for the disease—but the virus is not doing any more than it had done before when there were no symptoms of the disease.” (AW p.49) Duesberg concluded that the presence of antibodies to HIV was proof that the virus had been neutralized and asserted that it was “a gross injustice to discriminate against anyone on the basis of having antibodies.” (AW p.50)
     One of the most noble aspects of Duesberg’s AIDS criticism and whistleblowing on the HIV mistake (or fraud) issue was his extraordinary—almost visionary—sensitivity to the damage it was going to do to the health and liberties of those who were victimized by it. In general, the people he argued with, those who benefited financially and professionally from the HIV hypothesis, had a rather cold and cavalier attitude toward the effect their brilliant ideas often had on the minorities who were affected. (They certainly never seemed to ask themselves what the consequences would be if they were wrong.)
     Duesberg deserves credit for being one of the first people to realize (without saying as much) that the HIV/AIDS theory was an instance of what should be called “abnormal science.” One of the wittiest men engaged in the AIDS issue, he could often find the humorous absurdities implicit in the HIV theory. When HIV was called a “slow virus,” he said, “There are no slow viruses, only slow scientists.” In public forums he always presented his opinions in a collegial manner, but he was also always capable of leaving his opponents hemorrhaging from a cutting sarcasm presented with deadly charm. It may have been the fact that he verbally earned the role of the alpha intellect in any professional gathering that inspired both envy and vengeance from his HIV establishment opponents. They were often simply intellectually outclassed, even if they held all the money and the political cards. Nothing rattles totalitarian or abnormal science more than a clever and steadfast nontotalitarian scientist.
     If Duesberg suffered from any deficits in the area of judgment, it may have been an inability to imagine a different AIDS epidemic caused by a dynamic, multisystemic virus like HHV-6 (and its family) which could manifest itself in a variety of surprising ways (like AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, autism etc.) depending on a variety of factors. Duesberg told Lauritsen “AIDS is a condition which includes so many parameters that it’s almost inconceivable to define a simple pathogen as the cause, considering the diverse patterns of the disease.” (AW p.52) Duesberg didn’t think outside the box of the CDC’s epidemiology. He never considered the possibility that the CDC had missed a whole world of undetected epidemiological data (like the data from the chronic fatigue syndrome epidemic) that would have completely changed the picture of the disease’s patterns. And, unfortunately, the idea that there might be something in the world that could be called a multisystemic virus like HHV-6 which could cause many different patterns of disease, was simply not on his radar.
     At the time that Lauritsen first interviewed Duesberg—in 1987—Duesberg remained a bit of an agnostic on what was actually causing AIDS, saying, “We haven’t excluded anything” and “I really wonder what it could be.” (AW p.53) Compared to where he would end up, he was a demure etiological virgin at that point. He was only beginning to consider the role of recreational drugs as a possible cause saying, “I’m really just guessing here, but I think this is where more research should be done.” (AW p.53)
     Unfortunately, as time went on Duesberg seems to have been encouraged or even pressured by some of his colleagues to take a stronger public stand on what he thought actually was the cause of AIDS and he became far less tentative and open-minded, passionately adding to his anti-HIV gospel a seemingly unshakable conviction that recreational drugs explained AIDS in gay men. Regardless of its merits, such a position immediately lost him the ready-made constituency of the gay community who seemed to have been invited by Duesberg and his followers to be exonerated for a transmissible infection only to be convicted as a group in an alternative heterosexist fashion for having a unique gay (and—let’s not forget— criminal) drug-taking lifestyle. With some notable exceptions, Duesberg walked into a big gay "thanks but no thanks"; he had jumped the gay shark. It was a tragic development for both parties, because politically Duesberg really needed an activist gay community to help him challenge the mistaken HIV hypothesis, which he felt was unfairly threatening the liberties and health of the gay community. He was the enemy of the gay community’s determined CDC/NIH enemy but he wasn’t perceived as its friend. By rejecting Duesberg’s half a glass of truth about the virus, the gay community ended up in the open arms of the AIDS establishment and crusading public health authorities complete with all the goodies they had in store for their willing, eager and all too compliant patient population.
     Peter Duesberg detailed his argument about the nature of the AIDS epidemic and his struggle with the AIDS establishment in his book, Inventing the AIDS Virus, which was published by Regnery Publishing in 1996. In the publisher’s Preface, Alfred Regnery notes that “AIDS is the first political disease.” In his acknowledgments, Duesberg wrote, “I extend my gratitude to my most critical opponents in the AIDS debate, who have unwittingly provided me the great volume of evidence by which I have disproved the virus-AIDS hypothesis and exposed the political maneuverings behind the war on AIDS.” (IAV p.x)
     Duesberg’s book could be used as a primary text if college courses are ever given on the politics, sociology and psychology of abnormal science. He fleshes out many parts of his argument against the HIV theory of AIDS causation already mentioned in his 1987 interview with Lauritsen. While Duesberg is often thought to be someone who encouraged the rethinking of the AIDS issue, the book supports the notion already mentioned that in reality he actually never went far enough, never really did a true radical rethinking of AIDS because he works with a tacit acceptance of the basic epidemiological premises and “facts” provided by the CDC and the HIV/AIDS establishment. By leaving their paradigm’s “factual” assumptions standing, he ultimately jeopardized his own analysis. Duesberg’s critical tact was to take the “facts” as they were provided by the CDC and to try and poke holes in their etiological logic by showing how they failed to successfully make predictions about the course of the epidemic or by arguing that the facts as given by the CDC contradicted other formally known (hence, published) facts. The problem was that AIDS involved ground zero epidemiological definitions of what an AIDS case actually was, and if that definition had, at the very beginning of the epidemic, been distorted by evidence that had been cherry-picked, or had been ignored because of political blinders, then there was a good chance that Duesberg—even with his superb skills of logic and reason—was trapped in an epidemiological funhouse of “garbage in garbage out.” Saying the CDC mistakenly linked the wrong virus to cases of AIDS begs a question: And what if the CDC completely got the definition of AIDS cases wrong to begin with? What if they were correlating apples with oranges? Or, more troubling, that what the CDC thought were epidemiological apples and oranges were really all apples or all oranges? Duesberg never illuminated all of the fundamental possibilities of what could have gone wrong epidemiologically. Duesberg was in a Donald Rumsfeld situation where he didn’t know what he didn’t know.
     Duesberg worked with the epidemiological predictions the AIDS authorities were giving him and tried to show that when the predictions based on them did not work out, they reflected poorly on the credibility of the HIV theory. He argued, “Officials have continually predicted the explosion of AIDS into the general population through sexual transmission of HIV, striking males and females equally, as well as homosexuals and heterosexuals, to be followed by a corresponding increase in the rate of death. . . . In short, the alleged viral disease does not seem to be spreading from the 1 million HIV-positive Americans to the remaining 250 million.” (IAV p.5)
     Duesberg’s logic brilliantly skewered the CDC’s notion that AIDS was an equal opportunity disease. But again one has to note that the one caveat he didn’t acknowledge was that if the CDC’s definition of what an AIDS case was turned out to be dead wrong, then all bets were off about correlated and potentially causative factors. Just debunking the logic behind the weak correlation of putative AIDS cases with HIV was not the same as debunking the notion of some fundamentally different kind of AIDS epidemic still occurring, not only in the gay community, but also in some form in the general population. If, at the very basic level of defining what a case is and what a case isn’t, profound mistakes had been made, then one couldn’t really know where the disease was and where it wasn’t. And then the issue of HIV not being the cause of what was being called AIDS would in that case be totally beside the point. If anything, the HIV mistake should have made people wonder if those in charge at the CDC had gotten something even more profoundly wrong in the initial working definition of AIDS which subsequently was carved in stone thanks to the abnormal, totalitarian scientific culture that protected it.
     Insofar as Duesberg recognized that it all just didn’t add up, he graciously  performed a great humanitarian service over and over again by telling the world that as long as the HIV establishment was in charge of AIDS we were essentially trapped in a realm of unreliable and untrustworthy pseudoscience where people were going to get hurt. And luckily, for three decades, at great personal expense, Duesberg valiantly refused to shut up. Perplexed, Duesberg wrote, “Something is wrong with this picture. How could the largest and most sophisticated scientific establishment in history have failed so miserably in saving lives and even in forecasting the epidemic’s toll?” (IAV p.5)  Ironically, given that Duesberg himself was blind to what turned out to be the CFS epidemic and HHV-6 spectrum catastrophe, the premise of his rhetorical question turned out to be a tragic understatement.
     Duesberg’s suggestion about what should be done reinforces the notion that his call to a reassessment of AIDS and HIV just wasn’t intellectually radical or fundamental enough. Duesberg’s prescription for the problem was that “Faced with this medical debacle, scientists should re-open a simple but most essential question: What causes AIDS?” (IAV p.6) Again, it was not really a radical return to nosological and epidemiological ground zero. A return to ground zero would have involved asking if the epidemiological common immunological denominator that determined what a case actually was itself needed to be audited by looking closely and in an immunologically sophisticated manner at the entire population. Duesberg was like an accountant who looks at the books for discrepancies, but never goes into the warehouse to see if what’s there matches the inventory numbers. His due diligence only went so far. Quasi-due-diligence is ultimately not helpful. The definition of AIDS was on the books and unfortunately, taken at face value by Duesberg. It didn’t necessarily match what was actually going on in doctor’s offices all over America and it didn’t necessarily reflect the actual disaster that was occurring in the immune systems of the entire American population. There was a whole immunologically challenged world beyond the CDC’s published data and the peer-reviewed papers Duesberg used to play “gotcha” with the CDC’s facts, logic and conclusions.
     There was an interesting groupthink bias in Duesberg and many of his followers, most of whom were heterosexual—some emphatically so. Not surprisingly, their notion about what was wrong with AIDS etiology was always biased in the direction of heterosexuals being less (or not at all) at risk for AIDS as a result of the CDC’s scientific errors. Sometimes one got the uncanny notion that Duesberg and his followers were whistling heterosexually in the dark, engaged in trying to convince themselves that they as a group were safe from the “gay lifestyle” epidemic. Ironically, considering their apparent need for personal immunological safety, though, is the fact that if the CDC was wrong then all bets about their safely could have been off and the actual level of risk could have gone the other way. They could have been in more, not less danger. But that possibility never seemed to dawn on them, and their AIDS dissident movement in all its forms seemed bent on making sure that it never did. They created a kind of dissident groupthink that made them odd bedfellows with the mostly heterosexual HIV establishment who also could absolutely not let themselves see the connection between AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, HHV-6, and ultimately the simmering autism disaster. (The fact that some "Duesbergians" themselves are rumored to have chronic fatigue syndrome is a kind of Big Bird of irony, but that is another story.)
     Duesberg got a lot of things right and a lot of things sort of right. He was right when he wrote that “Without going back to check its underlying assumptions, the AIDS establishment will never make sense of its mountain of data.” (IAV p.6) He didn’t quite get it right when he concluded that “The single flaw that determined the destiny of AIDS research since 1984 was the assumption that AIDS is infectious. After taking this wrong turn scientists had to make bad assumptions upon which they have built a huge artifice of mistaken ideas.” (IAV p.6) Duesberg very simply failed to notice the fundamental wrong turn that was made before that wrong turn. He never considered the possibility that if the nosological definition of AIDS itself was wrong, and that the corrected definition just might support the notion of an infectious epidemic and a virus-AIDS hypothesis, just not the mistaken HIV one.
     The great thing about Duesberg—for students of what could be called called "homodemiology" or heterosexist epidemiology—is that he criticized the logical absurdity of what I call GRID-think, (i.e. heterosexist groupthink) which is in part the rather superstitious and bigoted notion implicit in HIV epidemiology that viruses know intuitively who gays are so they can choose to infect them and only them. Unfortunately, Duesberg built his own quasi-GRID-think drug-and-lifestyle-paradigm on a similar reality-challenged premise by saying that something non-infectious must explain an epidemic confining itself mainly to a risk group. By pointing out the logical absurdity of a virus limiting itself to one group of people, he opened the way for a more radical critical political rethinking about what was going on in the CDC’s epidemiology than he seemed prepared to do himself. He started the job, but "homodemiological" and sociological analysis had to finish it. Blaming lifestyle factors of gays was just another not-very-great correlation fingered as causation, generating an alternative scapegoating epidemiology of blaming the victims for what turned out to be the HHV-6 spectrum catastrophe. Unfortunately, Duesberg exposed one wild goose chase and started another one when he wrote, “The only solution is to rethink the basic assumption that AIDS is infectious and is caused by HIV.” (IAV p.7) The only solution? Well, not exactly.
     Duesberg’s book will always be an important source for anyone who wants to understand the evolution of the AIDS mistake, even if Duesberg’s own theory turned out to be wrong. Most importantly, Duesberg details just how abnormal and nearly psychotic the whole scientific process of AIDS was and his work supports the argument that something with a totalitarian je ne sais quoi was unfolding in the name of AIDS science.
     The very manner in which the HIV was announced in 1984 as the probable cause of AIDS, according to Duesberg’s account, was scientifically deviant: “This announcement was made prior to the publication of any scientific evidence confirming the virus theory. With this unprecedented maneuver, Gallo’s discovery bypassed review by the scientific community. Science by press conference was substituted for the unconventional process of scientific validation, which is based on publications in the professional literature. The ‘AIDS virus’ became instant national dogma, and the tremendous weight of federal resources were diverted into just one race—the race to study the AIDS virus . . . . The only questions to be studied from 1984 on were how HIV causes AIDS and what could be done about it.” (IAV p.8)
     At that point in time, Duesberg noted that “serious doubts are now surfacing about HIV, the so-called AIDS virus . . . . The consensus on the virus hypothesis of AIDS is falling apart, as its opponents grow in number.” (IAV p.8) At that moment Duesberg still seemed optimistic, as AIDS seemed to be taking place in the good faith universe of normal science which was open to change and paradigm shift. Unfortunately, because he was blind to the heterosexist sociological issues underpinning AIDS, he was incapable of perceiving the unmovable backstage anti-gay epidemiological values that were controlling the public health agenda and infecting the science. He couldn’t see that it wasn’t just a matter of the practitioners of this deviant science were digging in professionally; the whole "homodemiological" culture was dug in, which was far more formidable than anything Duesberg could have imagined. The political consensus about the etiological nature of “AIDS” was not a just stone in the road of scientific process. Peter Duesberg had found his way into normal science’s opposite world of abnormal and totalitarian "scientific" shenanigans.
     As a paradigm that was supposed to capture people’s imagination and cause a major shift or Thomas Kuhn type of conversion—or visual gestalt-shift—from one consensus to another, Duesberg’s paradigm was nearly dead on arrival. If he had simply taken his stand as a Nobel-worthy dean of retrovirology and just left the cause of AIDS up in the air and concentrated on demolishing the HIV hypothesis once and for all, the HHV-6 catastrophe and the Holocaust II might have been stopped in their tracks.
     Duesberg charged that the CDC’s paradigm was “ineffective” and that “public fear was being exploited.” (IAV p. 9) From his perspective, the public was being told the problem was bigger than it actually was. True, public fear was being shamelessly exploited, but not in the way Duesberg and his ardent followers thought. By framing the epidemic in an anti-gay manner, public fear of gays, society’s sexual outsiders, was being manipulated to hide the painful truth about the public’s risk of developing a complex form of immunodeficiency or dysfunction. The public was being provided with what Daniel Goleman called “a vital lie.” A terrified public, to the great detriment of its future health was getting the reassuring heterosexist pseudo-facts about “AIDS” it wanted to hear with the gay community losing its epidemiological human rights in the process. And again, ironically, Duesberg and the Duesbergians had their own set of heterosexist concoctions that were even more reassuring to the heterosexual general population. And wrong. Both the CDC paradigm and the cockamamie Duesberg paradigm misled a clueless and anxious public.
     Duesberg’s shock at the nature of what was going on is exactly why a formal theory of abnormal, totalitarian science is required to comprehend and illuminate the AIDS era, just as the concept of totalitarianism was required to understand the Hitler and Stalin eras. Duesberg asks a big, ugly, rhetorical question: “How could a whole new generation of more than a hundred thousand AIDS experts, including medical doctors, virologists, immunologists, cancer researchers, pharmacologists, and epidemiologists—including more than half a dozen Nobel Laureates—be wrong? How could a scientific world that so freely exchanged all information from every corner of this planet have missed an alternative explanation for AIDS?” (IAV p.9) Too bad he didn’t ask how the exact same crowd could not see the chronic fatigue syndrome epidemic for what it was. Ditto for HHV-6 and its insidious spectrum.
     Again, Duesberg’s answer to his own question was that AIDS had been misclassified as an infectious illness and his theory rested on the notion that “the premature assumption of contagiousness has many times in the past obstructed free investigation for the treatment and prevention of a non-infectious disease—sometimes for years, at the cost of may thousand of lives.” (IAV p.10) Duesberg was setting the terms of the twenty-five year debate between the mainstream AIDS establishment and what became popularly known as the AIDS dissidents, or the Duesbergians. This unfortunate dichotomy set the course for the wrong kind of debate, a contest between HIV and Duesberg’s non-infectious drug lifestyle hypothesis, leaving out the possibility that there might be a dynamic infectious agent other than HIV that did indeed fit the causation criteria of a redefined AIDS epidemic. No space was left in the debate for something like a new multisystemic virus such as HHV-6, which was capable of causing an epidemic of a more broadly defined variable disease state. Dueberg asserted that HIV “could be the most harmful of . . . fatal errors in the history of medicine if AIDS proves to be not infectious. “ (IAV p.10) Of course, if AIDS was mis-defined and a dynamic viral agent other than HIV was spreading silently and exponentially while the false Duesbergian debate sucked up all of intellectual and scientific oxygen in the debate on AIDS, the harm could have been exponentially worse. And it was.
     In order for abnormal, totalitarian science to hold sway over a society for a long period of time, it must have ample cooperation from both the scientific and media communities and the Duesberg story provides evidence that such was the case in AIDS. To explain how the media was continuously kept in its subservient place during the AIDS debacle, he quotes reporter Elinor Burkett of The Miami Herald: “If you have an AIDS beat, you’re a beat reporter, your job is every day to go out there, fill your newspaper with what’s new about AIDS. You write a story that questions the truth of the central AIDS hypothesis and what happened to me will happen to you. Nobody’s going to talk to you. Now if nobody will talk to you, if nobody at the CDC will ever return your phone call, you lose your competitive edge as an AIDS reporter. So it always keeps you in the mainstream, because you need those guys to be your buddies . . . .” (IAV p.388) 
     Duesberg insists that the very defensive and insular AIDS scientific establishment was determined to “confine the debate to scientific circles.” (IAV p.389) He quotes that rather shocking threat  from the de facto AIDS Czar, Anthony Fauci, who said, “Journalists who make too many mistakes, or who are sloppy are going to find that their access to scientists may diminish.”(IAV p.384) In a totalitarian world of "homodemiology" and abnormal, totalitarin science the definition of “sloppy” will be that which contradicts the powers that be. Question AIDS and you will need to look for a new career. (Given the degree to which AIDS science often looks like a big unmade bed, it’s amusing to hear Fauci say the word “sloppy” with a straight face.)
     Duesberg also quotes two of the powerful, public-relations-savvy virologists who suggested another tactic for dealing with Duesberg and the critics of the HIV establishment: “One approach would be to refuse television confrontations with Duesberg, as Tony Fauci and one of us managed to do at the opening of the VIIth International conference on AIDS in Florence. One can’t spread misinformation without an audience.” (IAV p.39) There’s nothing in Thomas Kuhn’s theories about the process of normal science about deliberately denying one’s critics an audience, or denying the public exposure to scientific second and third opinions. It was a new world.
     One of the more outrageous moments in his book occurs when Duesberg reports that “Based on an anonymous source, key officials of the United States government specifically engineered a strategy for suppressing the HIV debate in 1987 while Duesberg was still on leave at the N.I.H. The operation began on April 28, less than a month after Duesberg’s first paper on the HIV question appeared in Cancer Research, apparently because several journalists and homosexual activists began raising questions.” (IAV p.32) A memo about Duesberg’s critique of the HIV theory was sent out from a staffer in the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services: “This obviously has the potential to raise a lot of controversy (If this isn’t the virus, how do we know the blood supply is safe? How do we know anything about transmission? How could you all be so stupid, and why should we ever believe you again?) And we need to be prepared to respond. I have already asked N.I.H. public affairs to start digging into this.” (IAV p.390) This is an extremely important memo from the point of view of future what-did-they-know-and-when-did-they-know-it histories that try to fathom all the government‘s motivations throughout this scientific and political disaster. It shows how clearly at least one person in the government could see the potential dire consequences for the government of being wrong about HIV. Somebody knew exactly what was stake.
     In his book, Duesberg gives a number of examples of the media seeming to have been pressured by the HIV establishment not to cover the story of the controversy. According to Duesberg, “The MacNeil Lehrer News hour sent camera crews to do a major segment on the controversy. But when the . . . broadcast date arrived, the feature had been pulled. Apparently AIDS officials had heard of its imminent airing and had intercepted it.” (IAV p.392) Television shows on Duesberg involving Good Morning America on ABC, CNN, Italian television, and Larry King Live met with a similar fate.
     According to Duesberg’s book, he “appeared on major national television only twice. The first time was on March 28, 1993 on the ABC magazine program Day One. Even in this case, according to the producer, Fauci tried to get the show canceled days before broadcast.’ (IAV p.393) When Duesberg was interviewed for Nightline, he ended up only being given a small amount of air time and Fauci showed up and was given the lion’s share of the show to make the HIV establishment’s case. And Duesberg fared no better overseas. The British medical and public health establishment greeted a pro-Duesberg program with “stern condemnations” and subsequently the British press “turned around and began criticizing the program.” (IAV p.323)
     One of the most interesting moments of censorship occurred at the highest level of government when “Jim Warner, a Reagan White House advisor critical of AIDS alarmism, heard about Duesberg and arranged a White House debate in January 1988.” (IAV p.394) Duesberg writes, “This would have forced the HIV issue into the public spotlight, but it was abruptly canceled days ahead of time, on orders from above.” (IAV p.394)
     Duesberg didn’t fare much better with the print media. He notes that The New York Times had written about him only three times in the first seven years of the controversy and all of it was negative. The same kind of treatment was doled out by The Washington Post and “the San Francisco Chronicle intended to cover the story, until it encountered opposition from scientists in the local AIDS establishment.” (IAV p.394 ) Even the countercultural or alternative press could not be counted on to give the controversy balanced or independent-minded coverage. Duesberg reports that “In 1989 Rolling Stone had commissioned a freelance writer from New York to write a Duesberg article, but then canceled it during the interview with Duesberg in his lab.” (IAV p.395) Both Harper’s and Esquire killed articles that had been commissioned on Duesberg during the same period. The media was essentially acting as an enabler of the culture of abnormal, totalitarian science.
     Even more evidence that AIDS was a manifestation of abnormal, totalitarian science can be found in the way that Duesberg experienced censorship and blacklisting from formerly adoring scientific circles and experienced roadblocks to having his ideas and criticisms presented in the professional scientific literature. Duesberg writes that “Robert Gallo and some other scientists began refusing . . . to attend scientific conferences if Duesberg would be allowed to make a presentation.” (IAV p.396) During the same period Duesberg rarely was “invited to retrovirus meetings and virtually never to AIDS conferences, despite seminal contributions to the field, including the isolation of the retroviral genome, the first analysis of the order of retroviral genes, and the discovery of the first retroviral cancer gene.” (IAV p.396)
     Dueberg reports that his scientific papers on AIDS “would constantly run into obstacles at every turn, from hostile peer reviews to reluctant editors.”(IAV p.393) The rules mysteriously changed for “the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, where Academy members such as Duesberg have an automatic right to publish papers without standard peer review.” (IAV p.397) An editor rejected Duesberg’s unique and provocative submission by bizarrely saying that it was not “original.” And, supporting the case for AIDS research representing the arbitrary make-it-up-as-you-go-along nature of abnormal, totalitarian science, a subsequent replacement editor decided tradition had to be completely ignored for this special case and the Duesberg paper had to be peer-reviewed because it was “controversial.” (IAV p.397) It took several months of hostile reviewers negotiating with Duesberg before the paper was finally published. According to Duesberg, “Robert Gallo was asked to write a rebuttal, but never did.” (IAV p.357) The strategic silent treatment is part of the arsenal of abnormal, totalitarian science.
     The punishments for anyone standing up to totalitarian, abnormal science can be severe. Duesberg reports that “the AIDS establishment made its most effective counterattack by going after Duesberg’s funding, the lifeblood of any scientist’s laboratory. After coming out against the HIV theory, Duesberg was denied continuation of an "N.I.H. Outstanding Grant" by a group of scientists which included two who were proponents of the HIV paradigm and three scientists who never even reviewed the grant. When a review committee considered Duesberg’s grant proposal a few months later, “they did . . . complain about Duesberg’s questioning attitude as the major obstacle to funding him and singled out AIDS.” (IAV p.402) Subsequently, “every one of his seventeen peer-reviewed grant applications to other federal state or private agencies—whether for AIDS research, on AZT and other drugs, or for cancer research—has been turned down.” (IAV p.403) Thus did Duesberg come face to face with one of the telltale signs of abnormal and totalitarian science: blacklisting. The long arms of HIV/AIDS politics reached into his life at his university where “Several fellow professors” maneuvered “against Duesberg in various ways. His promotions in pay were “blocked” and he was denied “coveted graduate lecture courses.” (IAV p.404)
     One of the most dramatic and creepiest abnormal science moments in the Duesberg saga occurred in 1994 when a high-ranking geneticist from the N.I.H. flew to California to present Duesberg with an unpublished paper titled “HIV Causes AIDS: Koch’s Postulates Fulfilled.” Duesberg was asked to be a third author on a paper he hadn‘t even collaborated on. The paper had been commissioned by Nature editor and HIV theory proponent, John Maddox. Duesberg was warned by his high-ranking visitor that by continuing his opposition to the HIV theory he “would even risk his credentials for having discovered cancer genes.” (IAV p.406) (The willingness to “disappear” the past is another one of the telltale signs of totalitarianism.) The geneticist told Duesberg that if he agreed to be an author on the paper it would “open the doors for Duesberg’s reentry into the establishment.” (IAV p 406) Duesberg made his polite "no thank you" in the form of an offer to write something for Nature that said the direct opposite of what that proposed unsigned paper posited.
     A very thoughtful and philosophical man in many ways, Duesberg sought to understand the recalcitrant system that was making it so difficult for his ideas to be heard and tested, let alone prevail. He blamed it on “command science” which by his analysis, derived its power from three sources in the medical establishment: “(1) enforced consensus through peer review, (2) enforced consensus through commercialization and (3) the fear of disease, particularly infectious disease.” (IAV p.452)
     Because all serious medical scientists in America need grants from the NIH to survive, they often need to conform to the establishment viewpoint. While the “peer-review system” is supposed to be like an independent jury system, in reality, according to Duesberg, “a truly independent jury system would be fatal to the establishment.” (IAV p.452) The result is “the peers serve the orthodoxy by serving their own vested interests.” (IAV p.452) Duesberg warned that “as long as a scientist’s work is reviewed only by competitors within his own field, peer review will crush genuine science.” (IAV p.454)
     Ominously for AIDS patients and the myriad victims of the HHV-6 catastrophe, Duesberg concluded that “Through peer review the federal government has attained a near-monopoly on science.” (IAV p.454) Abnormal, totalitarian science loves the absolute power of monopolies. HIV became hegemonic because “a handful of federal agencies, primarily the NIH, dominate research policies and effectively dictate the official dogma . . . . By declaring the virus the cause of AIDS at a press conference sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services, NIH researcher Robert Gallo swung the entire medical establishment and even the rest of the world, behind his hypothesis. Once such a definitive statement is made, the difficulty of retracting it only increases with time.”(IAV p.454)
     Duesberg criticized the huge conflict of interest in science that is caused by its commercialization. He argued that the FDA, by essentially banning competing therapies, often helps the pharmaceutical industry develop monopolies. Profits from products approved by the FDA often find their way back to scientists who sat in judgment on fellow scientists “in the form of patent royalties, consultantships, paid board positions, and stock ownership.” (IAV p.455) In addition, “in order for a research product to find a market, the underlying hypothesis for the product must be accepted by a majority of the practitioners in the field.” (IAV p.455) In the case of AIDS “commercial success can be achieved only by consensus. For example, an AIDS hypothesis would not be approved unless it miraculously cured AIDS overnight.” (IAV p.455) Thus Gallo’s royalties from an HIV patent as well as William Haseltine and Myron Essex’s financial interest in HIV tests indicate that they may not be the most disinterested parties to make important decisions about the direction of AIDS research. And yet they were among the powerful inner circle of AIDS research. No wonder Duesberg often experienced forms of petulance and hostility from such characters rather than open-minded collegiality. In essence, by telling an inconvenient truth he was a threat to their lifestyles.
     The third arm of the “command science” which Duesberg discusses goes in the opposite direction of of what was really happening in the HHV-6 catastrophe which Duesberg was tragically blind to. Duesberg writes, “Traditionally, the power of medical science has been based on the fear of disease, particularly infectious disease. The HIV-AIDS establishment has exploited this instrument of power to its limit.” (IAV p.456) Once again, Duesberg assumes that an infectious epidemic has essentially been invented out of whole cloth by incompetent epidemiology. His book would have been more accurately titled “Inventing the AIDS Epidemic.” Duesberg accuses the CDC of delusional epidemiology driven by opportunism and hysteria. The manipulated paradigm of an infectious AIDS epidemic was used to create a “stampede,” to create “irrational” fear in the public, to cynically manipulate, to mislead. And most importantly, from the Duesberg perspective, to build a lucrative new empire for the CDC.
     The truth about HHV-6 pandemic turns the Duesbergian thesis on its head. Duesberg sees a devastating, apocalyptic epidemic being cynically and opportunistically imagined, while in reality, it existed big time. Other than HIV not being the cause of AIDS, the other major thing Duesberg fundamentally got right is the undeniable fact that the AIDS establishment was not really doing science as we expect it to be done. Duesberg might even agree with the premise that the science of AIDS was abnormal, totalitarian and even psychotic.
     There is one other thing that Duesberg got very right that deserves special mention. Duesberg performed an heroic whistle-blowing act during dark hours of the epidemic: his fearless adoption of a principled stand against the administration of AZT to AIDS patients. In a chapter of his book aptly titled, “With Therapies Like this, Who Needs Disease?”, he discussed Azidothymidine, or AZT. About this very toxic drug that was being given to AIDS patients, Duesberg writes, “AZT kills dividing cells anywhere in the body—causing ulcerations and hemorrhaging; damage to hair follicles and skin; killing mitochondria, the energy cells of the brain; wasting away of muscles; and the destruction of the immune system and other cells. . . . Amazingly, AZT was first approved for treatment of AIDS in 1987 and then for prevention of AIDS in 1990.” (IAV p.301) Duesberg didn’t say it, but he didn’t have to. AZT was more of a cruel, sadistic, toxic punishment than a medical treatment for AIDS patients.
     AZT beautifully expressed the AIDS zeitgeist. AZT was invented in 1964 to kill cancer tumors, but the drug also effectively killed healthy growing tissues and was shelved without a patent because it was too toxic. Twenty years later scientists reported that it was capable of stopping HIV from replicating. Duesberg had serious doubts about even the basic AIDS research that was done with AZT which suggested that it could be given in small enough doses so that it would kill the virus without also killing the t-cells and other cells in the body. Not surprisingly, given the nature of AIDS science, the research that supported the safety of using AZT could not be subsequently replicated and showed that “the same low concentration [of AZT] that stops HIV also kills cells.” (IAV p.313) Like much of the abnormal science of AIDS, if you looked diligently beneath one fraud, you could find yet another.
     The person most responsible for foisting this quasi-genocidal toxic drug on AIDS patients was Sam Broder, the man who was Gallo’s boss at the National Cancer Institute. He was the man responsible for the original questionable research suggesting that AZT could be given in doses that wouldn’t harm patients. AIDS patients would pay a horrifying price for his scientific slovenliness. Duesberg notes, “Broder and his collaborators have never corrected their original reports, nor have they explained the huge discrepancies between their data and other reports.” (IAV p.313)
     Duesberg’s critique of AZT gets even more devastating when he points out that the virus is dormant and therefore the virus “can only attack growing cells” and “like all other chemotherapeutic drugs, is unable to distinguish an HIV-infected cell from one that is uninfected. This has disastrous consequences on AZT-treated people; since only 1 in about 500 t-cells of HIV anti-body positive persons is ever infected, AZT must kill 499 good t-cells to kill just one that is infected by the hypothetical AIDS virus.” (IAV p.313) In a sardonic understatement, Duesberg concluded “It is a tragedy for people who already suffer from a t-cell deficiency.” (IAV p.314) Needless to say, as time passes, giving people AZT sounds more and more unquestionably like a form of genocidal insanity. Pure "homodemiology" in pill form. For a few who watched in horror as this transpired, it did then, too. Duesberg wrote “A toxic chemotherapy was about to be unleashed on AIDS victims, but no one had the time to think twice about its potential to destroy the immune systems of people who might otherwise survive.” (IAV p.314) AZT belonged more in a court room as Exhibit A of a crimes against humanity trial than in the bodies of AIDS patients.
     Unfortunately, given the all the surreal terror and hysteria of the time and the prevalent abject mentality of the patients, the gay community and its doctors wanted something—virtually anything—that could (or seemed to) address the problem. But make no mistake about it. There were also financial considerations that helped create the AZT disaster. Burroughs Welcome, the company that owned the patent on the drug, was eager to win approval for the treatment of AIDS by the FDA. Unfortunately for the AIDS patients, Burroughs Welcome’s head researcher worked closely and effectively with Sam Broder to get FDA approval.
     The process of testing the effectiveness of the drug was also highly questionable. The double blind, placebo controlled studies of AZT on AIDS patients were not exactly double blind and placebo controlled. They were as abnormal as just about everything else in the Kafkaesque world of AIDS science. The list of things that went off the rails in the study was long. The study was stopped prematurely because the positive “results seemed stupendous.” (IAV p.316) But as scientists looked more closely at the details of the study it turned out that the AZT trial was just as unreliable as much of the basic laboratory science that had launched AZT in the first place. More placebo patients had died than seemed reasonable. A close look at the study revealed that many of the AZT users had suffered horrific side effects which were downplayed even though they “more than abolished its presumed benefit.” (IAV p.317)
     When more information surfaced about the AZT trial, it turned out that the controls for the study were a complete mess. It was virtually impossible to conceal which patients were on AZT because in patients on AZT the drug killed bone marrow cells so quickly, that patients would come down with aplastic anemia, a not-hard-to-detect dreadful disease. According to Duesberg, “the patients, needless to say, often found out what they were taking” (IAV p.318) from clues like throwing up blood or changes in their blood counts. That had a grimly ironic effect on the study because those who discovered they were on the placebo, by comparing the tastes of their pills with the pills of those who were actually taking AZT, wanted to take what they had been told was the life saving AZT. It was a heartbreaking sign of the desperation and helplessness of their situation. According to Duesberg, “the patients had bought the early rumors of AZT’s incredible healing powers, and they really did not want to take a placebo. Some of the placebo group secretly did use AZT, explaining the presence of its toxic side effects among those patients.” (IAV p.318)
     Because doctors easily noticed in the so-called “blinded” study that the AZT patients seemed to be doing better than the non-AZT patients, the study was ended early. The study’s credibility was in shambles when it turned out that some of the patients on AZT had to be taken off of it because it was so toxic. According to Duesberg, “many of the patients simply could not tolerate AZT, and the physicians had to do something to save their lives.” (IAV p.319) And “15 percent of the AZT group disappeared, possibly including patients with the most severe side effects.” (IAV p.319) An inspection of documents pertaining to the study obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed a wide array of abnormalities in the study that suggested the study was one of the more notable frauds of the AIDS Era and "Holocaust II."
     While the initial results of the AZT study indicated an improvement of t-cells, it turned out that a temporary increase of t-cells did not really indicate that the patients were getting better. And there might have been some improvement of the patients from a broad spectrum antibiotic effect. The only problem was that the drug was also toxically undermining the immune system. It was opposite world science at its best. AZT was in essence becoming another cause of AIDS.
     Tragically, even though the study was a scientific train wreck, the FDA approved AZT. The FDA panel that approved AZT included two paid consultants from Burroughs Wellcome. Duesberg notes “the FDA endorsement could seem a cruel joke perpetrated by heartless AIDS scientists. Patients on AZT receive little more than white capsules surrounded by a blue band. But ever time lab researchers order another batch for experimentation they receive a special label . . . A skull-and-crossbones symbol appears on background of bright orange, signifying an unusual chemical hazard.” (IAV p.324)

Teach-in #3
  
How Kary Mullis Tried to Fix the Corrupted Hard Drive of AIDS Research

     Kary Mullis is a biochemist who won the 1993 Nobel Prize for the Polymerase Chain Reaction. He, like Duesberg, was eventually troubled by the lack of evidence that HIV is the cause of AIDS. In the foreword he wrote for Duesberg’s Inventing the AIDS Virus, he reported on the events that led to his criticism and ultimate confrontation with the AIDS establishment. Mullis had been hired by a firm called Specialty Labs to set up “analytic routines” for HIV. In the process of writing a report on the progress of his project, he went in search of support for this statement that was going to appear in the report: “HIV is the probable cause of AIDS.” (IAV p.xi) He was puzzled that there was no paper containing definitive proof of the statement and one that was “continually referenced in the scientific papers” about the epidemic. (IAV p.xi) He was puzzled that such a large enterprise involving so many scientists and growing numbers of sick and dying people did not rest on a solid foundation of a published paper that established with great certainty that HIV was the probable cause. A computer search came up with nothing. He started asking for the definitive reference at scientific meetings, but after attending ten or fifteen meetings over a period of a couple of years he “was getting pretty upset when no one could cite the reference.” (IAV p.xi)
     Mullis, without realizing it, had stumbled into the world of the abnormal, totalitarian science of AIDS. He wrote, “I didn’t like the ugly conclusion that was forming in my mind. The entire campaign against a disease increasingly regarded as a twentieth century Black Plague was based on a hypothesis whose origins no one could recall. That defied scientific and common sense.” (IAV p.xii) It did however, make the opposite world kind of sense that is associated with abnormal science. Like the protagonist in Kafka’s novel, Mullis had arrived at the Castle of HIV research. Science, logic and common sense would be utterly beside the point. And pungent "homodemiology" was in the air, but Mullis, famous for his flamboyant, unapologetic heterosexuality, couldn’t smell it.
     When Mullis approached one of the founding fathers of the HIV/AIDS paradigm, the French discoverer of HIV himself, Luc Montagnier, he got the pass-the-buck, run-and-hide treatment that characterized the behavior of many of the top HIV authorities. When Mullis approached Montagnier at a San Diego scientific conference with his question Montagnier said, condescendingly, “Why don’t you quote the report from the Centers for Disease Control?” (IAV p.xii) This from the future winner of a Nobel Prize for the discovery of HIV and one of the two people most responsible for an empire of HIV testing, stigmatization and toxic treatments that has entrapped millions of trusting people in its draconian public health agenda. When Mullis pointed out the weakness of the answer, that it didn’t address the question, Montagnier suggested that Mullis look at the work on Simian Immunodeficiency Virus. Mullis responded that the research on that virus didn’t remind him of AIDS at all, and didn’t answer the more basic question about the whereabouts of “the original paper where somebody showed that HIV caused AIDS.” (IAV p. xiii) At that point, Montagnier just abruptly walked away from Mullis. One could say that it was a typical interaction between the two different cultures of normal and abnormal science.
     Mullis finally got his answer to the question when he happened to be listening to the radio in his car and heard an interview with Peter Duesberg. Mullis writes that Duesberg “explained exactly why I was having so much trouble finding the references that linked HIV to AIDS. There weren’t any. No one had proved that HIV causes AIDS.” (IAV p.xiii)
     Interestingly, although Mullis is often considered a “Duesbergian,” in the foreword to the Duesberg book, he writes, “I like and respect Peter Duesberg. I don’t think he knows necessarily what causes AIDS; we have disagreements about that. But we’re both certain about what doesn’t cause AIDS.” (IAV p.xiii)
     Mullis also acknowledged in the foreword the outrageous iatrogenic tragedy that was occurring in the name of the HIV theory: “We have also not been able to discover why doctors prescribe a toxic drug called AZT (Zidovudine) to people who have no other complaint than the presence of antibodies to HIV in their blood. In fact, we cannot understand why humans would take that drug for any reason.’ (IAV p.xiv)
     Without formally calling HIV science anything like a totalitarian opposite world of abnormal science, he came very close when he wrote, “We cannot understand how all this madness came about, and having lived in Berkley, we’ve seen some strange things indeed. We know that to err is human, but the HIV/AIDS hypothesis is one hell of a mistake.” (IAV p.xiv) It’s fair to say that he seemed to sense that we were in a period of scientific psychosis.
     When reporter Celia Farber asked Mullis about “the guardians of the HIV establishment, such as Gallo and [Anthony] Fauci,” in an interview in Spin in July, 1994, Mullis said “I feel sorry for ‘em” and “I want to have the story unveiled, but you know what? I’m just not the kick-’em-in-the-balls kind of guy. I’m a moral person, but I’m not a crusader. I think it’s a terrible tragedy that it’s happened. There are some terrible motivations of humans involved in this, and Gallo and Fauci have got to be some of the worst. . . . Personally I want to see those fuckers pay for it a little bit. I want to see them lose their position. I want to see their goddamn children have to go to junior college. I mean who do we care about? Do we care about those people who are HIV-positive whose lives have been ruined? Those are the people I’m the most concerned about. Every night I think about this. I think, what is my interest in this? Why do I care? I don’t know anybody dying of it. They’re right about that, well except one of my girlfriend’s brothers died of it, and I think he died of AZT.”
     In a chapter on AIDS in his own book, Dancing Naked in the Mindfield, Mullis angrily described the world of AIDS research: “In 1634 Galileo was sentenced to house arrest for the last eight years of his life for writing that the Earth is not the center of the universe but rather moves around the sun. Because he insisted that scientific statements should not be a matter of religious faith, he is accused of heresy. Years from now, people looking back at us will find our acceptance of the HIV theory of AIDS is largely not science at all. What people call science is probably very similar to what was called science in 1634. Galileo was told to recant his beliefs or be excommunicated. People who refuse to accept the commandments of the AIDS establishment are basically told the same thing; if you don’t accept what we say, you’re out.” (DNITMF)
     Mullis got the same kind of hostile and dismissive treatment from the scientific profession that Duesberg did: “The responses I received from my colleagues ranged from moderate acceptance to outright venom. When I was invited to speak about P.C.R. at the European Federation of Clinical Investigation in Toledo, Spain, I told them that I would like to speak about HIV and AIDS instead. I don’t think they understood exactly what they were getting into when they agreed. Halfway through my speech, the president of the society cut me off. He suggested I answer some questions from the audience.” (DNITMF) Playing the all too predictable emotional blackmail card of AIDS orthodoxy, the president of the society then asked the first question himself—whether Mullis was being irresponsible and possibly causing people to not use condoms. The same game of AIDS emotional blackmail was played by virtually every institution of public health and science for three decades.
     Unfortunately, in his book Mullis joined in the same kind of speculative, homodemiological free-for-all that many of the Duesbergians succumbed to, in which they concocted their own, usually heterosexist-flavored paradigms. Mullis’s seat-of-the-pants paradigm was based on “highly mobile, promiscuous men sharing bodily fluids and fast lifestyles and drugs.” (DNITMF) Mullis accepted the basics of the CDC’s deficient epidemiology without asking whether that too was more like the science of 1634. His encounter with abnormal, totalitarian science never got him close to lifting the veil on Holocaust II and the HHV-6 spectrum catastrophe and the viral and epidemiological passageways between AIDS, CFS, autism etc. But his challenge to the orthodoxy was certainly better than nothing and his notoriety got his views broadcast widely. Even The New York Times was forced to deal with Mullis, which they did in the characteristic arrogant and dismissive way that they dealt with all important challenges to the HIV hegemony. History will hopefully honor Mullis for using the leverage of his Nobel Prize for a humanitarian purpose.
     Without trying to be, Mullis was briefly one of the more articulate voices of what could be called “the sorrow and the pity of Holocaust II.” In his book, like Duesberg, he protested the use of AZT on AIDS patients. Mullis wrote, “About half a million people went for it. No one has been cured. Most of them are dead.” (DNITMF) And “I was thinking that this technique of killing people with a drug that was going to kill them in a way hardly distinguishable from the disease they were dying from, just faster, was really out there on the edge of the frontier of medicine. (DNITMF) It was also, unbeknownst to Mullis, on the frontier of "homodemiological" and ultimately racist medicine.


Teach-in #4

How Robert Root-Bernstein Tried to Fix the Corrupted Hard Drive of AIDS Research
  One of the most celebrated intellectuals who joined Duesberg and Mullis in their skepticism about the HIV theory of AIDS was Robert Root-Bernstein. Duesberg described him in Inventing the AIDSVirus: “Barely out of graduate school with a degree in the history of science, Root-Bernstein was awarded the MacArthur Prize fellowship—a five-year “genius grant—in 1981. This afforded him the opportunity to work alongside polio vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk, followed by a professorship at Michigan State University in physiology.” (IAV p.245) Because of his background in the history of science, Root-Bernstein brought an academically analytical and philosophical perspective to the problems with the HIV theory. His book outlining his doubts about HIV, Rethinking AIDS, was published in 1993.
     According to Duesberg, sometime in “early 1989 he had begun corresponding with Duesberg and other critics of the HIV hypothesis. Scouring the scientific literature, Root-Bernstein found hundreds of cases of AIDS-like diseases dating back throughout the twentieth century. These data he extracted into a letter published in The Lancet in April 1990, showing that Kaposi’s sarcoma had not been as rare as supposed before the 1980s. The next month he fired off in rapid succession several more papers on the history of other AIDS diseases, all of which the same journal now rejected.” (IAV p. 246) (The Lancet, especially under the guidance of Richard Horton, would play a major role in the maintenance of the HIV/AIDS paradigm throughout what should be called "Holocaust II.")
     In what Duesberg calls Root-Bernstein’s major 1990 paper, “Do We Know the Cause(s) of AIDS?” he posited that “It is worth taking a skeptical look at the HIV theory. We cannot afford—literally, in terms of human lives, research dollars, and manpower investment—to be wrong . . . the premature closure leaves us open to the risk of making a colossal blunder.” (IAV p. 246) Oh, yes we could.
     Root-Bernstrein’s own book was not as Duesbergian as Duesberg probably would have liked because he found a place for HIV in AIDS by theorizing that it might be a part of some sort of multifactorial assault on the immune system that resulted in an autoimmune process. Duesberg had no patience with the autoimmune theories of AIDS for a number of reasons, including that fact that “if AIDS did result from autoimmunity, it would have spread out in its original risk group into the general population years ago, rather than striking men nine times out of ten." (IAV p.248)
     Regardless of the fact that, like Duesberg, Root-Bernstein seems blissfully unaware of the presence of the heterosexism in the manner in which the ground-zero definition of AIDS was cooked up and despite his blind spot towards the existence of the chronic fatigue syndrome epidemic which resulted from the CDC habit of cherry-picking data, Root-Bernstein’s book was a strong scientific wake-up call that urged a greater due diligence about the logic of AIDS and the emerging anomalous data that contradicted and challenged the prevailing paradigm. Root-Bernstein brought a distinctly Kuhnian sense of the nature of scientific process to his critique of HIV/AIDS and he seemed to be very aware (without exactly naming it) that it was engendering a culture of abnormal or totalitarian science. The epigrams in his books are like shots across the bow of the conventional view of AIDS. He quotes John Stuart Mill: “The fatal tendency of mankind to leave off thinking about a thing which is no longer doubtful is the cause of half their error.” And Rollo May: “People who claim to be absolutely convinced that their stand is the only right one are dangerous. Such conviction is the essence not only of dogmatism but of its most destructive cousin, fanaticism. It blocks off the user from learning new truth and it is a dead giveaway of unconscious doubt.” His quote from William Trotter M.D. may be been even more appropriate for a book on AIDS than even Root-Bernstein realized: “When we find ourselves entertaining an opinion about which there is a feeling that even to inquire into it would be absurd, unnecessary, undesirable, or wicked—we may know that the opinion is a nonrational one.” (All quotes are from the frontispiece of Rethinking AIDS)
     Root-Bernstein subsequently backed off of his position challenging HIV, but his book is so powerfully written that the damage it did to the credibility of the HIV paradigm could not be undone. Without flinching, in the preface he seems to have detected the bizarre nature of AIDS research: “I have read the medical literature assiduously, looking for studies that test our current theory of AIDS. I have analyzed and synthesized this information and found that our theory of AIDS is full of glaring holes, confusing contradictions, and outright discrepancies. I am saying nothing more than what the medical literature itself says about AIDS. The only difference is that I am willing to say this in public, whereas most practitioners are not." (RA p.xiii) (The bit about the practitioners deserves a little attention from future historians of the epidemic. What does that tell us about the character and ethics of the people who did the hands-on management of AIDS patients?)
     Root-Bernstein says that he wants to identify “the extent and nature of our ignorance” and that by doing so “we will be able to do something about it. In science, to define the problem correctly takes one more than halfway to its solution.” (RA p.xiii) Very Kuhnian of him, but Root-Bernstein’s biggest mistake may be that he was prepared to take the research he was studying at face value. In a kind of Kuhnian overabundance of optimism about science and scientists, he writes “my critique of AIDS theory assumes that most of the published experiments and clinical observations are accurate” having been conduced by “many dedicated and hard-working scientists.” (RA p.xii) That generous trust kind of contradicts the radical statement he makes near the end of the book: “I have put my scientific reputation on the line in this book in order to make certain that we accept nothing about AIDS uncritically.” (RA p.373) Well, not exactly  “nothing,” if one critiques his critique.
     Root-Bernstein is basically saying that, even giving the basic researchers and their “facts” the benefit of the doubt, the interpretations and theories about the facts just don’t compute. He begins his critical journey by pointing out that facts require theories and are not facts until they are “interpreted in light of a theory.” (RA p.xiv) Where the “facts” about AIDS are concerned he notes that “the data are all easily validated by repeated observations and measurements, and yet may still be misunderstood. A great deal of evidence suggests, for example that we have attributed much too much to HIV . . . and too little to other causative agents.” (RA p.xiv) He concluded that “it is imperative to rethink and research AIDS.” (RA p.xv)
     Like Thomas Kuhn, Root-Bernstein seems inadvertently to be conveying an image of science with more of a sinister potential than he realizes. He points out that “Most scientists believe that we understand AIDS and have trumpeted their belief to each other and the public as well . . . . This is the public face of AIDS—the face that is meant to exude confidence, to reassure.” (RA p.1) But this public face was false and makes one wonder to what degree the whole AIDS effort was an episode of misbegotten groupthink from the beginning. He points out that “Scientists are much more reticent about revealing their other face—the one that displays their ignorance, confusion, and puzzlement over the aspects of the disease that they do not understand. The best kept secrets about AIDS are the questions unanswered, the puzzles unsolved, the contradictions unrecognized, and the paradoxes unformulated.” (RA p.1) One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry over the casual way Root-Bernstein is basically telling us that the powerful AIDS establishment, almost a decade into the epidemic, was keeping two sets of books—an essential ingredient of abnormal science and "homodemiology." Once again, like Kuhn, he may have been telling us far more about the real nature of science than he realized.
     By calling his first chapter, “Anomalies,” Root-Bernstein is signaling a belief in the power of unexpected findings and contradictions to force a critical reconsideration of paradigms, a distinctly Kuhnian notion of the way the process of normal science and scientific revolutions work, or are supposed to work. By doing so he is also in a way reassuring us that he was operating in a world of normal science which turned out—without him recognizing it—not to be the case at all. He asserts that “the existence of significant anomalies or departures from the regular expectations of the current theory must raise a red flag warning that our understanding of AIDS is not as profound as we might wish.” (RA. p.1) Like any scientist in the collegial, reasonable world of normal science, he thought that the anomalies “are important enough to warrant serious rethinking of the causes and nature of AIDS.” (RA p.2) We should note that, like Duesberg and many of the Duesbergians, he was not going all the way and calling for a rethinking of the ground zero epidemiology and early definition of AIDS.
     The first anomaly he deals with is the fact that “there were a large number of pre-1979 AIDS-like cases that have not been accounted for in our current theories of AIDS.” (RA p.21) He asked, “If HIV is a new and necessary cause of AIDS, as most AIDS researchers argue, what was the cause of these pre-1979 AIDS-like cases? Are there causes of acquired immune suppression other than HIV that may explain AIDS?” (RA p.21)
     Root-Bernstein’s second major anomaly focused on his contention that “HIV is neither necessary nor sufficient to cause AIDS.” (RA p.21) He notes that the prevailing notion was that “infection with HIV is supposed to cause destruction of a specific type of immune system cell known as the t-helper or T4 cell.” (RA p.22) Like more than a few others he noted the odd manner in which the government stepped in and basically established by fiat that the retrovirus HIV (or HTLV-III as it was then called) was the cause of AIDS. He also notes the troubling fact that the government announcement about the retrovirus happened “even before Gallo’s paper [on HTLV-III] had undergone peer review and publication.” (RA p.24) He also points out that the announcement was followed by a commitment to HIV research that made AIDS research “virtually synonymous with HIV research.” (RA p.24) In effect, all other avenues of research were closed off from financial assistance or intellectual support from the HIV-obsessed AIDS establishment.
     One curious and important point that Root-Bernstein acknowledges and historians won’t want to let go of in reconstructions of that period is the fact that subsequently Gallo’s so-called French co-discoverer, Luc Montagnier, had surprisingly indicated that HIV was actually not sufficient to cause AIDS. Montagnier had uncovered evidence that mycoplasmas are necessary to stimulate HIV, making mycoplasmas at least a co-factor of AIDS, and possibly even more important than HIV, raising the scandalous question of whether HIV was even the cause of AIDS. Root-Bernstein also notes that, ironically, Gallo eventually also discovered his own co-factor, Human Herpes Virus Six (HHV-6) in AIDS patients, also potentially pulling the rug out from under Gallo’s own HIV-alone-causes-AIDS theory. (RA p.26)  The two so-called discoverers of the cause of AIDS laid the groundwork for their own eventual fall from grace.
     It’s a tragedy for all the ultimate victims of HHV-6 and its family of viruses that Root-Bernstein didn’t look harder at the virus because he might have helped make the public aware of the blossoming HHV-6 pandemic. He did recognize the chicken-or-egg threat that cofactors posed to the credibility of the HIV theory: “The only problem with the scenario is that it raises the question of which came first—the HIV or the cofactor.” (RA p.26) Like a number of critics, Root-Bernstein recounts the shocking paradigm-challenging moment at the 1992 International AIDS Conference at which it was announced that there were AIDS patients without detectable HIV: “Suddenly AIDS without HIV became big news because too many cases had surfaced to be ignored. There is no longer any doubt that HIV is not necessary to cause acquired immunodeficiency.” (RA. p.29) Although at the time there were those who argued that there were not a large number of such cases, Root-Bernstein stood his ground, noting that “The actual number of HIV-negative AIDS cases is irrelevant. The existence of even a handful of HIV-negative AIDS cases is sufficient logically to raise doubts concerning the necessity of HIV as a cause of AIDS.” (RA p.30)
     Root-Bernstein came as close as he could to stumbling into the raw truth about the pandemic of HHV-6 when he hypothesized that one possibility implied by the HIV-negative cases was “that there is a second epidemic masquerading under the guises of AIDS, which has yet to have been detected and separated out from AIDS.” (RA p.30) We now know that there was that other HIV-negative AIDS epidemic and it was, to the detriment of the health and human rights of all the patients involved, separated politically from the so-called AIDS epidemic. He was a witness to a growing state of medical apartheid that was concealing the HHV-6 catastrophe without realizing it.
     His third anomaly focused on the mystery of where HIV was in the body and how it was transmitted. He pointed out that HIV was “anything but typical of sexually transmitted diseases. It can take hundreds of exposures for HIV for transmission to occur at all.” (RA p. 31) It was rare to find HIV in semen. The way that HIV was actually transmitted was complex and didn’t fit the STD picture the AIDS public health establishment was promoting—another stroke against the consistency and trustworthiness of those guiding the AIDS effort. The data about HIV suggested “it is probable that those who become infected must be exposed repeatedly to many HIV carriers or have some unusual susceptibility for the virus.” (RA p.38)
     His fourth anomaly focused on the fact that people could be exposed to HIV without seroconverting. Given the numbers of sexual partners of HIV positives who did not seroconvert and oddities like the fact that prostitutes who did not use intravenous drugs rarely became HIV positive, he concluded that “HIV cannot be a sexually transmitted disease, in the usual sense of the term.” (RA p.41) Other studies suggested that people had to be immune suppressed before they became HIV positive. He concluded that “Individuals with normal immune function should therefore be resistant to HIV.” (RA p.42) And that comes very close to saying flat out that HIV is an effect rather than a cause.
     Like most (but not all) of the heterosexuals in the Duesberg camp, he concluded that “one clear implication of these studies is that the non-drug abusing heterosexual community should have little or no risk of HIV or AIDS.” (RA p.43) Root-Bernstein was blissfully unaware, like all the rest of the Duesbergians, that a highly variable epidemic of HHV-6 was raging all around him while being hidden epidemiologically behind the euphemism of “chronic fatigue syndrome.” Like most Duesbergians, his main agenda often appears to debunk the myth of heterosexual AIDS.
     Given that HHV-6 would ultimately be seen as a trigger for some cases of multiple sclerosis, it is interesting to note in passing that Root-Bernstein writes about one unlucky heterosexual woman who did seroconvert to HIV “suffered from multiple sclerosis, which had been repeatedly treated with immunosuppressive drugs.” (RA p.44) Again in a French Farce moment of the tragic AIDS story, he may have been an unopened door away from the smoking gun.
     The entire Duesberg camp seemed determined to provide themselves a margin of safety that separated them and their fellow heterosexuals from the possibility of the scarlet letter diagnosis of AIDS. Root-Bernstein gave his fellow heterosexual Duesbergians the ultimate reassurance when he wrote that “the transmission of HIV through heterosexual intercourse is so rare that two heterosexuals without identified risks for AIDS have an equal probability of being struck by lightning, dying in a commercial airplane crash, or developing AIDS.” (RA p.44) Unfortunately, he could not provide the same reassurance for the heterosexual Duesbergians about chronic fatigue syndrome, autism or any of the other medical problems related to the unrecognized immune-system-challenging epidemic of HHV-6.
     One of the most damaging facts for the credibility of the HIV theory was the matter of transmission (or non-transmission) to health care workers. He writes that “there have however, been more than 6,000 verified cases of health care workers reporting subcutaneous exposure to HIV-infected blood or tissue as a result of needle-stick injuries, surgical cuts, broken glass and so forth. . . . And yet only a few dozen health care workers are known to have become HIV seropositive during the entire decade of the 1980s in the United States. (RA p.44) He was all too unaware that health care workers were, however, coming down with illnesses associated with the so-called AIDS cofactor, HHV-6, and being diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and other diagnoses on the HHV-6 spectrum. Being in the health care field was actually one of the biggest risks for developing chronic fatigue syndrome. Root-Bernstein, again relying on the CDC’s questionable ground zero epidemiology, notes that AIDS was not being transmitted to patients by health care workers. (The same could not necessarily be said for HHV-6 and chronic fatigue syndrome.) He accuses the HIV establishment of not being sufficiently skeptical but the truth is that his own skepticism never really went deep enough. But in his favor is the undeniable fact that he did ask the kind of provocative questions that should have helped alert the scientific profession that something was terribly amiss in the world of AIDS research. The fact that most of his colleagues, throughout the three decades of Holocaust II, didn’t listen to warnings like his and put their heads in the sand will be puzzled over by historians for a long time to come.
     Root-Bernstein, on some level, was not-so-quietly outraged by what he was seeing and brought a much needed dose of sarcasm to the field when he asked if “HIV is so radically different from all other viruses that we cannot compare it to them?” (RA p.42) Actually, he should have asked if there was something so radically different about the science and epidemiology of AIDS that no educated and decent person in their right mind could possibly understand it. He certainly seemed to be onto the fact that whatever the cause of AIDS was, if it was a virus, it had to be unique. Which is exactly what the multisystemic virus HHV-6 turned out to be.
     Root-Bernstein’s fifth anomaly concerned the ability of some people to fight off an infection of HIV. Some people never even developed antibodies to the retrovirus. Some tested negative for the virus years after testing positive. Some tested positive and remained perfectly healthy with intact immune systems. He caught a whiff of the Kafkaesque politics that controlled the developing AIDS empire (and its "homodemiological" reign of abnormal and totalitarian science) when he wrote “Oddly, the ability of adults and infants to control or eliminate HIV infection in the absence of medical treatment is not seen by researchers as a source of hope for those at risk for AIDS but rather as a new public health threat.” (RA p.54) In that lucid statement he inadvertently comes face to face with the looniness of HIV/AIDS “science” and kind of shrugs his shoulders in puzzlement.
     Because Root-Bernstein, like nearly all the Duesbergians, didn’t seem to grasp the sexual politics driving the psychology of the establishment he was challenging, he didn’t understand why his statement “that even people in high risk groups who may have initially had multiple contacts with HIV may successfully combat the viral infection” (RA p.54) would not comfort a heterosexist scientific establishment that was determined not to look back at its possible epidemiological and virological mistakes. No “source of hope” that didn’t involve social control, stigmatization and the administration of toxic drugs could be given to gays (or blacks) in AIDS epidemiology and virology. The AIDS agenda was inexorable and unforgiving. The fix was in. Public health had adopted a scorched earth policy against those it was supposedly helping.
     When Root-Bernstein brings up the evolving latency period of AIDS, he may have touched on the most important anomaly of all. He writes that “one of the oddest observations that strikes a historian of the epidemic is that the latency period—the estimated time lag between HIV infection and the development of clinical AIDS—has expanded almost yearly. In 1986, the figure was less than two years; in 1987, it was raised to three; in 1988, it became five; in 1989, ten; and as of the beginning of 1992, the latency period was calculated to be between ten and fifteen years (RA p.55) He wondered whether it was because the virus had become less virulent, or had killed people with the highest risk lifestyles—in terms of drugs and multiple sex partners—first. He concluded that “attributing AIDS to nothing more than an infection by HIV is too simplistic. It leaves too much unexplained and creates too many anomalies to be a satisfying scientific explanation. HIV is not sufficient to explain the anomalies of AIDS. These anomalies represent the challenge of understanding AIDS. A more thorough and skeptical analysis of the data is needed.” (RA p.56) Blind to the heterosexism hardwired into the “science” and epidemiology he was confronting, he didn’t understand that an anomaly-riddled HIV theory was a very adequate and politically useful scientific explanation in the opposite world of totalitarian, abnormal science that AIDS represented. Something far more politically and emotionally satisfying than reason and logic was at work here.
     A rather democratic, collegial attitude about science and scientists comes across in Root-Bernstein’s book. He was not one to put people he disagreed with on the rack. (One doubts that the totalitarian  HIVists would ever return the compliment.) He asserted optimistically that, “anomalies, problems, paradoxes, and contradictions are only the incentives for research. If no one pays attention to them, they are fruitless. Even when they are identified and scrutinized, they are only a beginning; they define the areas of our ignorance.” (RA. p.57) Unbeknownst to him, the gang he was dealing with was not interested in “our ignorance.” They had a commitment to not paying attention to “anomalies, problems, paradoxes, and contradictions.”
     Having accepted the basic correlation of the ground zero definition of AIDS with its related ground zero epidemiology—a big mistake with horrific consequences—he is left praising HIV with faint damning: “The upshot of the discussion will be that HIV has not satisfied any established criteria for demonstrating disease causation. Thus, although, there is no doubt that HIV is an integral player in the drama of AIDS, we cannot say, for certain that it is beyond a doubt, a solo actor doing a monologue.” (RA p.58)
     Like others who concocted their own theories of AIDS causation before him, Root-Bernstein heads off into the wild goose chase of multifactorial causation where HIV has “a whole cast of supporting characters that foster its villainous work.” (RA p.58)
     Root-Bernstein does at least give some lip service to the importance of digging under the surface of the early epidemiology of AIDS in his chapter on the role of HIV in AIDS. He notes the disturbing history of the unstable definition of AIDS that always seemed to be changing. He was troubled by the notion that there were people in the high risk group with AIDS indicator diseases like Kaposi’s sarcoma who were HIV-negative." Root-Bernstein noted that “AIDS, in short, has become a schizophrenic disease . . . Some people are AIDS patients if they develop opportunistic infections even in the absence of evidence of HIV, and in the presence of HIV, almost any rare disease is diagnostic for AIDS regardless of whether the person has other, more fundamental causes of immune suppression.” (RA p.63) And, at the time his book was written in the early 90s, the CDC was proposing a change in the definition of AIDS that meant “People may be diagnosed as having AIDS even if they have no infections typical of AIDS, as long as they have a significantly low number of T-helper cells and antibody to HIV.” (RA p.63) What Root-Bernstein had to say about the proposed change came into close proximity of this book’s thesis: “The reason for this latest definitional alteration is social and economic, not scientific. AIDS activists are now dictating how AIDS is to be diagnosed and who is to be included in the count. For them, the issue is not one of correct diagnosis or elucidating the cause of AIDS; it is the understandable desire to increase access to health care.” (RA p.64) And what great humanitarians those activists were, and what wonderful health care AZT and its toxic siblings turned out to be. What Root-Bernstein failed to perceive was that the definition of AIDS, drawn from the wrong first impressions of the real HHV-6 pandemic, was a groupthink-biased epidemiological product developed by scientists who looked at the epidemic through heterosexist and retroviral glasses.
     Those who define the terms of an epidemic can control how large or small it appears at any point, which gives them de facto political power not only over the epidemic but potentially—with the broad and invasive powers of public health sanctions—a whole country. The chief definers would also be the chief deciders of the AIDS public health agenda. One of the great ironies of Root-Bernstein’s often cogent criticisms of AIDS is that he understands the political nature of this phenomena but comes to a conclusion about the politics of the AIDS epidemic which is actually the direct opposite of the inconvenient truth. And it is tragically typical of most of the Duesbergians. Root-Bernstein points out that the CDC could say that AIDS cases doubled by just changing the definition, or what he called “definitional fiat.” (RA p.64) He is on the money that the epidemiological appearance of AIDS was controlled by “definitional fiat” but not in the statistically upward direction he and the Duesbergians imagined. In truth it was the CDC’s heterosexist “definitional fiat” that was keeping the public from seeing the connection of AIDS and CFS (and ultimately autism) in an exponentially larger unified epidemic via the pathogen HHV-6. The difference between Root-Bernstein vision of the epidemic and the truth was the difference between using public relations to overstate an epidemic and using public relations to conceal one in plain sight.
     Like the point in a movie when the audience sees a protagonist come within inches of a culprit without the protagonist realizing it, Root-Bernstein came tantalizingly close to the truth about the HHV-6 catastrophe when he notes, “We must be absolutely certain that HIV is not an epiphenomenon of AIDS before we assert that it is a primary cause. The fact that it is an extremely frequent finding in AIDS patients is not logically compelling. It is only suggestive. Other active infections, such as cytomegalovirus, are nearly universal among AIDS patients. If both are correlated with AIDS, which is the cause?” (RA p.66) He was so very close to the real issue of HHV-6 at that point and yet ultimately so far away.
     He zeroed in on the tragic truth about HIV when he wrote “HIV may be an epiphenomenon of immune suppression rather than a necessary cause.”(RA p.66) This very bright history-aware thinker was also on the money when he wrote “one gaping lacuna in the AIDS definition” was that “There are no criteria listed in any definition of AIDS that allowed for a person to fight off AIDS or to be cured of it.” (RA p.67) He noted that such a definition was “a medical novelty.” (RA p.67) Actually, the whole field of AIDS research was one big medical novelty. He thoughtfully notes that “this makes AIDS the first disease that no one can survive, by definition. Not only is this description of AIDS logically bankrupt, it sends the demoralizing and inaccurate message to people with HIV or AIDS that they have a disease that is not worth fighting.” (RA p.68) Such a logically bankrupt demoralizing definition is of course, the work of the abnormal science of "homodemiology" on a productive day. But how could Root-Bernstein know that something like "homodemiology" was in play if it was a construct completely absent from his conceptual universe?
     Like Thomas Kuhn, he seems keenly aware that the psychology of scientists affects the decision-making process. In frustration, he asks questions like “Why is it so difficult for them to admit . . . that AIDS may have more than one cause?” (RA p.84) He knows he is dealing with “dogma” but he doesn’t consider the possibility that the confounding issues like the threat to institutional pride and credibility as well as serious potential financial losses would follow upon the admission that HIV was not the one and only cause of AIDS. Those pedestrian kinds of conflict of interest could have done the trick even if the more esoteric underlying issues of heterosexism and racism were not involved. But, unfortunately, they were.
     Again, Root-Bernstein asserted the point that most of the other Duesbergians believed as an article of faith about the risk of AIDS to heterosexuals: “If AIDS is a simple, sexually transmitted virus then it should be running rampant in the heterosexual community by now.” (RA. p.87) Cut to the real epidemic: HIV may have not been running rampant in the heterosexual community, but HHV-6 (and its spectrum of related viruses) certainly was and if the Duesbergians could have just looked behind the euphemism of “chronic fatigue syndrome,” they would have had a ring side seat from which to watch the real heterosexual epidemic of variable immune dysfunction unfold.
     Root-Bernstein insists that “Evidence of the necessity of co-factors for HIV was found at the outset. (RA p.92). What he didn’t realize is that co-factors were a political and economic threat to those seeking Nobel prizes for HIV and those members of the public health (and pharmaceutical) establishment who were rolling out a draconian heterosexist (and eventually racist) toxic agenda around the seeming inexorable public health logic of HIV control. One can’t assign medical Pink Triangles based on a salad bar of co-factors.
     Like the brightest Duesbergians, Root-Bernstein notes that an unprecedented scientific logic was afoot, one that cavalierly discarded Koch’s postulates. He describes the issue succinctly when he writes, “The logic of Koch’s postulates is straight forward: Demonstrate that one, and only one, organism is associated both with the occurrence of a specific disease and with its onset by isolating and controlling its transmission independent of other factors.” (RA p.95) He emphasizes that “Every controllable infectious disease known to medical science . . . has been solved by following Koch’s postulates.” (RA p.95) The abnormal, totalitarian, Kafkaesque quality of AIDS research is inadvertently but beautifully captured in Root-Bernstein’s statement that “the fact that HIV does not satisfy Koch’s postulates does not convince HIV proponents that it is not the cause of AIDS. On the contrary, ‘knowing’ that HIV causes AIDS most researchers reject Koch’s postulates.” (RA p.99) The Madhatters of AIDS research generally hated to be confused by the facts or standards of proof and logic. Root-Bernstein underlines the outrageousness of this new form of “scientific reasoning” when he writes that “AIDS researchers have ignored previous criteria for establishing disease causation in favor of ad hoc inventions of their own.” (RA p.100) Ad hoc inventions by AIDS researchers? Hello!
       Root-Bernstein points out how flimsy the original evidence for HIV was: “What is somewhat astonishing is that in 1984, when Gallo first championed HIV as the cause of AIDS, the correlation between HIV and AIDS was not even particularly convincing.”(RA p.101) (It was somewhat astonishing if you didn’t know how Gallo and his homies and toadies rolled.)
     Gymnastic attempts were made by scientists to concoct criteria to replace Koch’s postulates in such a way that they could be conveniently used to prove HIV was the cause of AIDS. You could say that gays were such very special people that the HIV/AIDS scientists wanted to come up with very special rules that a proved that this very special virus was infecting them in a very special way, and mostly only them. In a Procrustean manner, the rules would be shaped in a heterosexist and illogical manner to fit the evidence and support a preordained biased conclusion. This is how the intellectual origami of abnormal science and homodemiology is performed.
     Root-Bernstein sums up the infernal game being played in this scientific madhouse: “In short, HIV does not satisfy any of the etiological criteria that existed prior to its discovery, and the etiological criteria that have been developed since are all logically flawed.” (RA p.103) Calling this kind of science abnormal or psychotic almost seems like an understatement.
     In a rather gentlemanly tone, Root-Bernstein does indict a whole generation of doctors and scientists who stood by as collaborators, enablers and useful idiots of this scientific debacle when he writes that “Given this state of affairs, attempts to modify Koch’s postulates after the assertion that the causative agent has been identified smack of a posteriori reasoning. Such reasoning is always suspect to logicians and should be equally suspect to physicians and scientists as well.” (RA p.104). In the world of normal science maybe, but not in the heterosexist world of abnormal, totalitarian science and "homodemiology."
     Knowing that scientific change only occurs when a new paradigm is offered that is more logical and attractive than the prevailing one, Root-Bernstein takes his own out for a spin. He plays around with the notion that AIDS may be “a synergistic or stepwise multifactor disease.” (RA p.108) He tosses into his speculative multifactor salad of immunosuppressive elements things like semen and addictive or recreational drugs. He spends much of the rest of his book backing up his contention that “there is a well-established set of diseases that have many of the characteristics of AIDS—multiple disease causing-agents—that may provide an as yet untested model for AIDS.” (RA p.109) One thing that strikes one as refreshing about Root-Bernstein throughout his book is that, unlike many of the people in the Duesberg camp, he doesn’t seem to be faithfully married to his own dogma. In the spirit of keeping an open mind, he felt that “The case that HIV causes AIDS is still open, and surprises are still possible.” (RA p.109) By exploring a number of possible non-infectious causes of immunosuppression like semen, recreational drugs, anesthesia, surgery, pharmaceutical agents like antibiotics, blood transfusions, clotting factors, and aging itself, he tries to build a case that any combination of these factors might lead to immunosuppression and that the assumption that HIV “is the only immunosuppressive agent in those at risk for AIDS and the only agent necessary to explain the immune suppression that characterizes the syndrome.” (RA p.111) He was saying that many different combinations of elements might be creating a perfect immunological storm.
     He also explored the possibility that AIDS was the result of multiple, concurrent infections, arguing, with a somewhat overzealous heterosexist bias, that “Perhaps no other group in history has ever sustained anything like the disease overload experienced by highly promiscuous homosexual men and intravenous drug abusers, with the sole exception of people who live in Third World nations. . .” (RA p.149) While he explores a laundry list of infections that he thinks may synergize into AIDS (CMV, EBV, HBV, mycoplasma and others), he once again comes painfully close to the smoking gun of the HHV-6 catastrophe at the core of Holocaust II when he writes about HHV-6 that it “may be of particular importance in AIDS because Robert Gallo’s laboratory has demonstrated  that it is common among people at risk for AIDS and acts as a cofactor to increase infectivity and cell-killing by HIV under test tube conditions.” (RA p.152) (Not to mention that it was also found in HIV-negative patients with the heterosexual not-so-distant cousin of AIDS—chronic fatigue syndrome—but that was something he seemed destined to not know anything about.)
     Root-Bernstein devotes an interesting chapter to the notion that AIDS may be a disease of autoimmunity, noting that “autoimmunity has a wide range of manifestations in AIDS patients and people at risk for AIDS.” (RA p.185) He argued that “autoimmunity directed at lymphocytes is only one of the many forms of autoimmunity that manifest themselves during the process of AIDS.” (RA p.190) He certainly had a much more complex vision of what was going on in AIDS than the rather simplistic HIV-infecting T-4 cell disease image that the patients and the public were indoctrinated with. When historians go back and try to determine why scientists and epidemiologists didn’t recognize that AIDS and chronic fatigue syndrome were actually part of the same variable but unified epidemic, they will wonder why Root-Bernstein’s description of the complexities of AIDS didn’t have an eye-opening impact on anyone who was watching the emergence of chronic fatigue syndrome in the general population at that point in the late 80s and early 90s. The honest, open-minded critics of the HIV theory of AIDS and those concerned about CFS were just ships passing in the night.
     Root-Bernstein wrote that “Many AIDS patients develop an autoimmune form of arthritis; autoantibodies directed at muscle proteins; and symptoms similar to both Sjorgren’s syndrome and systemic lupus erythmatosus, including skin rashes, kidney damage, and antibodies against DNA, thyroglobulin, and adrenocorticosteroids.” (RA p.191) He was not ready to just glibly attribute all these complications to HIV. The patients back then would have probably been better served if the people attending to their health hadn’t been forced by the establishment to adopt the simplistic “HIV-only” and “T-4 cells-mainly” way of looking at the disease
     Root-Bernstein was concerned that “HIV is only one of a multitudinous cast that cooperate to produce autoimmunity.” (RA p.203) He felt that scientists were making a major mistake in ignoring “the huge number of other infectious agents that are also present in AIDS patients, often concurrently.” (RA p.203) Among those concurrent infections was of course, one very special one, the star of the multi-systemic biomedical catastrophe, being mostly ignored and hiding behind the alibi that it was just another not-so-interesting infection that AIDS patients supposedly got secondarily: HHV-6.
     Root-Bernstein was particularly interested in CMV which was a major viral problem in AIDS and which he thought could cause autoimmunity when it combined with other infections. He was especially intrigued by the possibility that CMV or some other herpes virus (he didn’t bring up the then recently discovered HHV-6 here) was causing encephalitis or demyelization in a significant number of AIDS patients. The AIDS establishment of course, was determined to blame this, like everything else in AIDS, on HIV alone, to which he replied, “My opinion is that we have asked HIV to be responsible for too much of AIDS.” (RA p.209) This statement from Root Bernstein captures how potentially damaging this over-simplification of AIDS into “HIV T-4 cell disease” was: “ . . . autoimmunity has many manifestations in AIDS besides that directed at lymphocytes. The causes of lymphocyte depletion may be entirely unrelated to causes of specific autoimmune symptoms, such as demyelization and thrombocytopenia, that are frequent concomitants of AIDS. It is possible that HIV may play the major role in one form of autoimmunity, and none in others. A concerted effort is needed to disentangle the many different forms of autoimmunity. As these various manifestations become distinct, they will inevitably call for new treatments unrelated to retroviruses.” (RA p.218) Unfortunately, Root-Bernstein didn’t realize just how much control the vicious HIV mafia would continue to have for decades over the AIDS public health agenda—control that AIDS patients would pay an unprecedented medical and social price for. And they would hardly be alone.
     Root-Bernstein seems to have been operating under the belief that the genteel Thomas Kuhn universe of normal science was the one he was living in when he wrote, “The purpose of theorizing is to cause us to rethink things we thought we understood in order to go out and ask new questions.” (RA p.219) To which the AIDS establishment snarkily could probably have replied, “And who said anything about asking questions?” Given the relationship of AIDS to chronic fatigue syndrome and all the other manifestations of HHV-6 it is quite ironic to hear Root-Bernstein state ever so innocently and plaintively, “There may be major discoveries still left to be made not only concerning AIDS but the entire field of immunology—discoveries that may illuminate many diseases besides AIDS. With these discoveries will come new possibilities for treatment.” (RA p.219) Unfortunately, in the nasty Realpolitik of Holocaust II, it was simply not meant to be.
     The whole Duesbergian critical-thinking and re-thinking movement seemed to revolve around whistling-past-the graveyard attempts to prove that heterosexuals were essentially not at risk for what the CDC called AIDS. They were on thin ice because they depended upon the CDC’s ground zero epidemiological judgment calls. In a chapter titled “Who is at Risk for AIDS and Why,” Root-Bernstein throws down the gauntlet; “If exposure to HIV is sufficient to cause AIDS, then everyone should be at equal risk, and AIDS should develop at an equal rate among different risk groups once infection has become established. Clearly that is not the case.” (RA p.220) Earth to Root Bernstein: HHV-6 and chronic fatigue syndrome.
     Root-Bernstein, like all the rest of the Duesbergians, confused the threat of AIDS with the threat of being diagnosed HIV positive. Just because heterosexuals were not being labeled as HIV-positive or as having AIDS, didn’t mean that a large number of heterosexual Americans were not starting to develop a broad range of immunological dysfunctions and other problems that resembled the AIDS spectrum of pathologies. The Duesbergians, keenly unaware of the wildfire of HHV-6 and CFS, loved to make statements similar to Root-Bernstein’s that “Some calculations place the figure of contracting AIDS from a heterosexual without risk factors as low as 2 in 1 million or the same risk as being struck by lightning.” (RA p.220) About as close to never as you can get.
     Working with the CDC’s flawed, heterosexist data on what was AIDS and what wasn’t, Root-Bernstein goes to town on the gay community and writes that “Until we understand exactly what these predisposing factors are for each separate risk group, we will not be able to identify, treat, control, or eliminate the risks of AIDS.” (RA p.222)  Never in the history of mankind has there been such a showboating of intense benevolent interest in understanding the gay community, and with understanding like this the gay community didn’t need enemies. As could be predicted by this heterosexual noblesse-oblige-driven journey into the sex and drug habits of the gay community, the blame for AIDS is laid, more or less, on “promiscuous, drug-abusing, multiple-infected gay men.” (RA p.232) You know, people who like to party. Coincidentally, since the general heterosexual population was not “promiscuous, drug-abusing, multiple-infected,” they had no worry about contracting what the CDC had branded as “AIDS.” Unless, of course—and this was not on Root-Bernstein’s radar—they came in contact with the immune-system-compromising party-pooper of a casually transmitted virus, HHV-6.
     While Root-Bernstein also points to the multiple-infection lifestyle of drug users and the multiple-immunosuppressive risks of transfusion patients and hemophiliacs,—and some infants born to parents with immunosuppressive drug-using lifestyles—they do little to take away from the notion that the driving force of his theorizing about AIDS was the same kind of Gay-Related-Immune-Deficiency-think, (GRID-think) or Got-AIDS-Yet?-think, that dominated the AIDS establishment’s ground zero epidemiology. GRID-think was the heterosexist gift that just kept on giving for three decades. Root-Bernstein looked at AIDS as the inexorable price that some gays paid for an overindulgent lifestyle. That kind of thinking, which made heterosexuals feel comfy cozy inside the Schadenfreude of their invulnerable biomedical cacoon, blinded society to the catastrophe of CFS, autism and everything else on the HHV-6 spectrum.
     While his critical mission in his chapter on immunosuppression in AIDS was to expose the power of co-factors in the so-called AIDS risk groups, he may have inadvertently discovered that a broader definition of AIDS that focused on a wide range of indicators of immunosuppression (or more appropriately, immune dysfunction) would have shown that there was a far bigger and more variable AIDS or AIDS-like epidemic happening even in the gay community itself. In his chapter on the matter he promises to “show . . . that significant immune suppression is present in large numbers of people in high-risk groups for AIDS in the absence of HIV infections. Sometimes the degree of immune suppression is equal to, or even greater than, that experienced by HIV-positive, matched patients.” (RA p.259) In the world of normal, nontotalitarin science this should have been all you needed to know to have an anomaly-driven epiphany that HIV was probably not the cause of AIDS. But not in the opposite world of abnormal science that Root-Bernstein was unknowingly adrift in. If that wasn’t enough, he points out that “many people in the high-risk groups for AIDS have significant immune impairment prior to contracting an HIV infection and are thus susceptible to both infection and the effects of infection than are immunologically healthy individuals.” (RA. p.259) It’s almost like he’s saying that people have HIV-negative AIDS (something CFS turned out to be) before they have HIV-positive AIDS. He strengthened his case by noting that “it is clear that acquired immune deficiencies do not require the presence of HIV infection.” (RA. p.259) The chronic fatigue syndrome epidemic that he, for whatever reason, didn’t know about was certainly a neon sign for that notion.
     Rather than suggest that there may be some other agent responsible for both HIV-positive AIDS and what looked like HIV-negative AIDS in the gay community, (while also not considering that there might be an unseen HIV-negative immunological event going on in the general population—which there was), he instead went on a fishing expedition for infections associated with gays that could support a multi-factorial HIV-plus-something-else theory of AIDS. It’s a shame that he didn’t take the HIV-negative AIDS issue and run with it, launching an all out assault on the HIV theory. As they say, he who would wound the lion must kill him. He was merely wounding the paradigm. If HIV-negative AIDS was nature’s way of saying flat out that HIV couldn’t be the cause of AIDS, then Root-Bernstein wasn’t listening closely enough. It’s amazing that Root-Bernstein didn’t see more red flags considering that he wrote, “In fact, a large body of evidence demonstrates that significant immune suppression occurs in the absence of HIV infection in groups at high risk for AIDS but not among low-risk groups. HIV seropositive individuals within each identified risk group are no more immune suppressed than those who are HIV seronegative, as long as they do not contract other active infections.” (RA p.261) He also reports that “the laboratories of Jerome Groopman and Robert Gallo [of all people] found that as many as 50 to 80 percent of HIV-seronegative homosexual men and hemophiliacs had significantly reduced T-helper/T-suppressor ratios during 1984.” (RA p.262) Again, it was as though they had found a big gay HIV-negative epidemic of immunosuppression that might have pulled the rug out from under the HIV positive paradigm that was about to trap the gay community in a draconian and toxic public health agenda.
     While Root-Bernstein points to studies that suggest that Cytomegalovirus (CMV), the under-appreciated virus that the CDC initially suspected was the cause of AIDS, was responsible for the immunosuppression in HIV-negative men who were immune-suppressed, it was the HIV-negativity itself rather than the CMV that should have sent everyone back to the epidemiological drawing board to see if they had overlooked some other new infection—like the recently (at that point) discovered HHV-6. It was a huge missed opportunity, to say the least..
     One of the most damning studies for the HIV theory of AIDS “consisted of an immunological and infectious disease evaluation of 100 ‘healthy’ homosexual men in Trinidad in 1987 carried out by Robert Gallo, William Blattner, and their colleagues. Nearly all of the men in the study, whether they were HIV seropositive or not, had a significant depletion of T-helper cells.” (RA p.265) On top of that they also discovered “that some HIV-infected men had normal T-helper cells. Thus HIV alone did not uniquely signify concomitant immune suppression.” (RA p.265) Once again, that might have finished HIV off if research was occurring in the world of normal science rather than in one guided by the heterosexist Ouija Board of  "homodemiology."
     Given the confusion between CMV and HHV-6 in AIDS, Root-Bernstein again came close to peering into the HHV-6 catastrophe when he wrote, “In fact, although very few studies have been performed, cytomegalovirus appears to be as good a marker for increasing immune incompetence as HIV. R.J. Biggar and his colleagues reported in 1983 (prior to the isolation of HIV) that a very good correlation existed between the excretion of CMV in the semen of homosexual men and the degree of the immune suppression.” (RA. p.279) CMV was good. But the HHV-6 family, as it turns out, was better.
     And similarly, given the role of EBV in CFS (sometimes considered to be HIV-negative AIDS), which some people had called “chronic mono” because of the EBV reactivation or infection that it was associated with, Root-Bernstein also came tantalizingly close to inadvertently letting the cat out of the bag about the link between AIDS and CFS when he noted that “In 1986, Charles R. Rinaldo, Jr., and his co-workers demonstrated that homosexual men who seroconvert to HIV simultaneously experienced a fourfold increase in antibody titers to EBV VCA antigen (virus capsid antigen). Furthermore, they documented a direct correlation between HIV antibody titer and EBV antibody titer. The higher the one, the higher the other.” (RA p.280) Again, inadvertently, Root-Bernstein may have uncovered the fact that AIDS was just a serious development in gay men who essentially had all the signs of “chronic mono” or “chronic fatigue syndrome.” Root-Bernstein appropriately chided his fellow scientists: “Whether other viruses associated with AIDS . . . are similarly predictive of disease progression remains to be seen, since no one, as far as I can tell, has even bothered to look. This failure to look has left us in the position of assuming that HIV is the only valid measure of disease progression in AIDS, without the scientific benefit of having checked the assumption.” (RA p.280) Checking assumptions was something that was only done on the alien "non-homodemiological" world of normal, non-tolitarian science.
     In his chapter, “Why AIDS is Epidemic Now,” Root-Bernstein may have jumped  the heterosexist shark as he entered the dangerous area of speculation about the sociological underpinnings of AIDS, asserting that “To understand AIDS, we must document and understand the sociological changes in homosexuality, drug use and medical practice that have created the conditions that allowed the syndrome to explode into prominence during the past decade.” (RA p.282) The chapter gets everything backwards. It’s not that anything he says is flat out factually wrong. It’s just that he misses the heterosexist context in which everything he asserts actually takes place. Every negative statement he makes about gays could be matched with a critical or negative statement about a biased heterosexual society and the scientists who eventually entrapped gays in the bogus HIV/AIDS and “chronic fatigue syndrome is not AIDS” paradigms. Changes in homosexuality were not the only thing that needed to be discussed in order to understand the true nature of the epidemic. Changes—not good ones—in the application of society and science’s heterosexism kept up with them.
     Root-Bernstein confidently notes that the “sociological manifestations of homosexuality have changed in the recent past. . . . New expressions of homosexuality concomitant with the gay liberation movement have created an unusual and new disease profile for gay men.” (RA p.282) Root-Bernstein was clearly not applying for the position of Grand Marshal of any Gay Pride parade. While he notes that “The medical literature is quite explicit about some of these new manifestations of gay male life” (RA p.282)—promiscuity-related infections—he misses the sociological fact that for every gay action there can be a heterosexist reaction and in this case “new manifestations of gay male life” were accompanied by new manifestations of heterosexist bias in science, medicine and epidemiology. Root-Bernstein certainly had a “Got-AIDS-Yet” eye for the gay guy, that focused on various aspects of gay sex that he thought were potentially linked to “AIDS.” He found his smoking gun in the studies that showed “an increase in risky behavior among gay men immediately preceding the exploding in AIDS.” (RA p.286) He also pointed to the enablers of the new “way of sex as recreation and pleasure,” (RA p.286) namely “bath houses, backroom bars and public cruising areas.” (RA p.286)
     AIDS was—in his own epidemiological vision— the result of the sexual and recreational drug revolution. Whether it was the increase of CMV or amebiasis in gay men, the tipping point for AIDS was gay liberation: “AIDS became a problem for homosexual men only when rampant promiscuity, frequent anal forms of intercourse, new and sometimes physically traumatic forms of sex, and the frequent concomitants of drug use and multiple concurrent infections paved the way. As Mirko Grmek has concluded, ‘American homosexuals created the conditions which, by exceeding a critical threshold, made the epidemic possible.’” (RA p.292) Basically this was as good as GRID-think gets. AIDS was a gay disease, so its cause ipso facto had to be intimately related to gay behavior and gay culture. It was this kind of tragic myopic epidemiological obsession that would allow the HHV-6 catastrophe to quietly simmer all over the world in all kinds of people who had never marched in a single gay liberation parade or enjoyed the diverse hedonistic pleasures that Root-Bernstein saw as the sine qua non of AIDS. Root-Bernstein doesn’t say it, but it’s hard not to connect the dots and conclude that the implications of his sociologically biased epidemiology that AIDS could only be stopped with a political or sociological intervention. One can only assume that in one form or another such an intervention might mean rescinding the whole gay liberation movement—or at least its sexual side.
     What would never occur to Root-Bernstein was the possibility that the uneven distribution of AIDS and the apparent total safety of the heterosexual general population was a actually a mirage of groupthink, a byproduct of the political use of a heterosexist definition of AIDS that the CDC had put into play. A far more radical political and sociological analysis actually needed to be conducted on the epidemiologists themselves who were blind to the emerging CFS form of AIDS and the pandemic of HHV-6 that was all around while they were doing their thinking in heterosexist boxes.
     Given Root-Bernstein’s GRID-think approach to AIDS and his acceptance of the CDC’s ground zero epidemiology, it is not surprising that he took issue with Stephen Jay Gould who wrote an alarming piece in 1987 in The New York Times Magazine “proclaiming heterosexual AIDS a ‘natural’ and therefore inevitable phenomenon.” (RA p.299) This was like waving a red flag at everyone in the Duesbergian heterosexual-AIDS-is-a-myth camp. Root-Bernstein disapprovingly quotes Gould proclaiming that “the AIDS pandemic . . . may rank with nuclear weaponry as the greatest danger of our era. . . . Eventually, given the power and lability of human sexuality, it spreads outside the initial group into the general population, and now AIDS has begun its march through our own heterosexual community.” (RA p.299) Gould went on to say that those infected would be “our neighbors, our lovers, our children and ourselves. AIDS is both a natural phenomenon and potentially, the greatest natural tragedy in human history.” (RA p.299) Inadvertently sounding like “The Great Prophet of the chronic fatigue syndrome and Autism Epidemic,” Gould was uncannily and inadvertently prescient about what was actually going on behind the CDC’s biased epidemiological concoctions and sexual balkanization. He was spectacularly on the money if he had been referring to the HHV-6 pandemic. But HIV—not exactly.
     Root-Bernstein took issue with Gould and others who in any way tried to extrapolate a picture of the future of the AIDS epidemic from what was going on in Africa. He insisted “AIDS in Africa cannot used as a model for AIDS in Western nationals because typical sub-Saharan Africans are not comparable to Western heterosexuals in their disease load, their nutritional status, or their immunological functions.” (RA p.301) This was an example of heterosexist presumptions morphing into racist presumptions. "Homodemiology" was becoming "Afrodemiology." Just as he blamed the gay revolution for AIDS in America, he noted that “Social and political revolutions are also taking their tolls on African health.” (RA p.308) He pointed to Daniel B. Hrdy’s notion that population movements and what Hrdy called the “sexual mixing“ “of various African groups may be related to the spread of AIDS.” (RA p.308) He also blamed wars in Africa which could lead to the kind of breakdown of public health infrastructure as a possible foundation for AIDS. He insisted that as far as heterosexual AIDS was concerned, “Europe and America were not Africa,” (RA p.310) and “Far from presenting us with a look at the future of AIDS in North America and Europe, African heterosexuals simply confirm the fact that AIDS is a problem only for individuals who have multiple causes of immune suppression prior to, concomitant with, or independent of HIV exposure. AIDS will never become a major health threat to Americans and Western Europeans that it has become for Africans. AIDS will be a continuing problem only for individuals whose life-style, medical histories, or socioeconomic conditions predispose them to immune suppression in general.” (RA p.311) This Root-Bernstein conclusion was on target only because he was blissfully unaware that whenever his fellow white American heterosexuals saw their immune systems go either south or haywire, it would be deceptively called chronic fatigue syndrome. And those unfortunate white American heterosexuals would be called crazy if they happened to notice in any way that their illness, which would be trivialized as “Yuppie Flu,” was even real, significant or transmissible.
     Once again, like most of the Duesberg camp, Root-Bernstein was incredulous about the notion that healthy heterosexuals could ever in a million years get AIDS: “In fact, the chances that a healthy, drug free heterosexual will contract AIDS from another heterosexual are so small they were hardly worth worrying about.” (RA p.313) One gets the feeling that he actually thinks it was almost literally impossible. He even doubted that cases of heterosexual cases of AIDS (as identified by the CDC) were really what they were cracked up to be. He went so far as to question the credibility of the world’s most famous case of heterosexual AIDS, basketball player Magic Johnson: “ . . . no one knows what risk factors Johnson did or did not have for contracting HIV other than extraordinary promiscuity. We have only his world that he contracted HIV from a woman. He has never directly stated that he never engaged in homosexual activity or used intravenous drugs.” (RA p.313) In other words, he had never gotten the GRID third degree or the Got-AIDS-Yet? enhanced interrogation. Root-Bernstein was skeptical and asserted that “a variety of other cases touted by the government and media as heterosexually acquired AIDS cases are similarly suspect.” (RA p.314)
     Root-Bernstein applies the "homodemiological" way of sorting things out by also bringing up the possibility that the unmentionable practice of heterosexual anal sex may be a stealth factor for heterosexual AIDS in America. He argues that the female inhibition towards discussing anal sex was concealing the real reason for any supposed heterosexual AIDS. He also points out that many woman “are reticent to discuss the sharing of sexual toys such as dildos and butt plugs that may also represent modes of transmitting sexual diseases.” (RA p.322) In an uncanny way, it is not too much of a stretch to suggest he was coming very close to saying that heterosexuals contracted AIDS because, although they were straight, they had done something gay.
     One doesn’t want to go too negative on Root-Bernstein, however, even if his thinking did somewhat reflect the hegemonic heterosexist culture he was part of, because at a critical time during "Holocaust II," along with several others, he did play a significant part in keeping minds open enough to prevent the HIV/AIDS research elite from going completely unchallenged. He put his own reputation on the line in doing so. He also kept the door open for additional critical scientific thinking that could pick up where he left off. For those bravely standing up to a very hostile and powerful HIV/AIDS empire, his call for better science and creative scientific thinking was manna from heaven: “We must elaborate possibilities. In science as in theater or fiction, the tension of the plot is produced by the alternative resolutions we can imagine. A plot that unfolds without suspense is boring. Similarly, in science research that can only reach one conclusion is hardly worth performing; it has no potential to yield discoveries. We want a plot that proffers alternatives. HIV has been set up as the villain of this piece, but it is still possible that we have been led [on] a merry chase away from the real culprits?” (RA p.327) He didn’t realize the degree to which he was trapped in an opposite world of abnormal, totalitarian science that was driven by an agenda and a mindset that had no real interest in surprises and plot twists, discoveries and anomalies. Channeling Thomas Kuhn, he wrote, “I have previously defined scientific discovering as a process of elaborating all imaginable explanations for a phenomena, constrained by an ever-increasing body of observation and experiment. The resulting recursive interplay of imagination and reality assures us that we have reached the correct answer.” (RA p.328) That kind of freedom-to-imagine was not permissible in an abnormal, totalitarian world in which scientists were expected to follow HIV dogma.
     When historians try to assign culpability to all the scientists who stood passively and silently on the sidelines while the medical and scientific atrocities of "Holocaust II" occurred, they will want to investigate the trails suggested by this statement by Root-Bernstein: “Thus, despite repeated statements by government officials that the cause of AIDS is known and that it is HIV, I can no longer find any major investigators in the field of AIDS who will defend the proposition that HIV is the only immunosuppressive agent involved in AIDS.” (RA p.330) Whoever these scientists were, they will have to face the judgment of history when it asks why they sat on their hands and allowed the HIV mafia of "Holocaust II" to build a hellish public health empire for AIDS patients and the gay community around the notion that “HIV is the only suppressive agent involved in AIDS.”
     It is only fair to pay special tribute to the fact that Root-Bernstein gave some rather astute, prescient attention to HHV-6 in his penultimate chapter. In discussing co-factors, he notes that even Robert Gallo had one, namely HHV-6: He quotes Gallo himself saying, “Another candidate [for an AIDS cofactor] is human herpes virus 6 (HHV-6, originally designated human B-lymphotropic virus), which has not only been identified in most patients AIDS by virus isolation, DNA amplification techniques and serological analysis, but is also predominantly tropic and cytopathic in vitro for CD4+ T lymphocytes . . . These observations indicate that HHV-6 might contribute directly or indirectly to the depletion of CD4+ cells in AIDS.” (RA p.330) Root-Bernstein was far too optimistic about the flexibility and good faith of the AIDS establishment in general and Gallo in particular when he concludes, “Statements such as this one [about HHV-6] suggest that even mainstream HIV researchers are beginning to consider the possibility that HIV may not be sufficient to cause AIDS. They do not doubt that it is necessary.” (RA p.330) To Gallo, HIV never really stopped being the “truck” that killed patients. (Gallo and his gang themselves turned out to be that truck.)
     History might have been different if at this point in his rethinking Root-Bernstein had looked more critically at the psychology, sociology and politics of the world of AIDS science and epidemiology. Absent an ability to detect the presence of heterosexism and the negative effects of its cognitive bias, he was left clueless a little like Kafka’s K trying to understand what was going on up in the Castle. He was sensitive to the bullheadedness of those in power but couldn’t peer into the thick skulls or twisted souls of those in charge. He quotes the imperious Anthony Fauci, the Director of NIAID, as saying that “critiquing a dubious theory would take time away from more productive efforts.” (RA p.331) And he quotes James Curran as stating unequivocally at the Amsterdam AIDS Conference in 1992 (at which it was announced that there were cases of HIV-negative AIDS), “There is not AIDS without HIV.” (RA p.331) What Curran was really stubbornly saying was, “We’re the Centers for Disease Control. We have the power to define disease and epidemics, and if there is HIV then we say there has to be AIDS, and if there is no HIV we won’t call it AIDS. Period. End of discussion. And if you call that circular reasoning, you can just suck it up.” Fauci and Curran weren’t exactly stupid. They must have known where the cofactor argument might lead—to the conclusion that they had both made major contributions to the biggest scientific mistake in history. That they themselves were the final arbiters of the legitimacy of their own work is just one more factor that made AIDS a period of accountability-free abnormal and totalitarian science.
     Again, Root-Bernstein seemed like he was making his own pact with the devil in giving HIV too much credibility by shaping his critique around finding cofactors for HIV rather than going all the way by asking a far more radical question of whether HIV was a total disaster-inducing red herring, the biggest scientific mistake in history. In a way, he was inadvertently helping to keep the HIV agenda alive through faint (sometimes slightly fawning) criticism. He goes out of his way to give HIV sufficient deference: “There is no doubt that HIV is highly correlated with AIDS. Correlation is not, however, proof of causation.” (RA p.329) He chose to enter his own dog in the race in the form of an “HIV-plus-cofactors theory.” (RA p.337) But even his theory that AIDS might be “a multifactorial, synergistic disease” kept a place for HIV as an important but not necessary opportunistic part of the disease process. He didn’t fully seem to grasp that it would be game over for the HIV establishment if it became known that they had built their scapegoating, dystopian antigay empire around a virus that was not even necessary for AIDS. People were not jumping out of skyscrapers because they tested positive for an AIDS cofactor. People were not be arrested for transmitting an AIDS cofactor to others. People were not being turned into AZT toxic dumps because they were infected with an AIDS cofactor.
     Root-Bernstein tries to have his cake and eat it too by sticking it to Duesberg: “I believe that Duesberg is wrong in ignoring the role of HIV in AIDS. It is certainly highly correlated with the syndrome (even given the methodological sleight of hand involved in defining the syndrome by the presence of the putative causative agent prior to definitive demonstration of causation) . . . . It is just as big a mistake to ignore the potential role of HIV in AIDS as it is to ignore the roles of all other immunosuppressive agents that affect AIDS patients.” (RA p.343) The AIDS establishment was not shaking in its boots about the latter charge. The AIDS empire was not being built on the premise that HIV contributed to AIDS like a wide array of other immunosuppressive agents. HIV was being packaged as the Gay Andromeda Strain. It was an evil and inexorable agent. Those infected with it carried an evil germ and were capable of doing a great deal of damage to society with the venereally transmitted agent, meaning that those people’s very sexual identities were tied up with the single evil virus.
     In many ways, the notions that Peter Duesberg concocted about AIDS were not any less heterosexist than Root-Bernstein’s, but with far more political sensitivity than Root Bernstein, Duesberg grasped the personal implications for anyone who got caught in the labyrinth of epidemiological fraud and ended up labeled HIV positive, the virtual medical Yellow Star (or more accurately a pink triangle) with all the perks that went with it. They weren’t just being labeled “cofactor positive.” Peter Duesberg had the kind of empathetic x-ray vision that could see the human toll the scientific mistake (or fraud) of HIV was taking.
     For all we know, Root-Bernstein may have thought that his was a kind of big tent compromise position that could bring the anti-HIV camp back to the scientific table with the growing HIV establishment so as to develop a new synthesis of both positions, but it was all for naught regardless of his good intentions. The AIDS establishment had bet their professional and financial lives on HIV and Duesberg thought HIV was a non-negotiable crock and that was that. And while all of these scientists fiddled with arguments about HIV, Rome was burning with HHV-6 and its family of "strains" and diseases .
     Root-Bernstein ends his important book by asking how so many scientists could be so wrong about something and reminds his readers that “Science, despite its elusive goal of objective truth, is just as human and just as fallible as any other human activity.” (RA p.350) It is his belief that oversimplification and gullibility have contributed to the mistake of thinking HIV is the cause of AIDS. He asserts that “authority—even wishful thinking—is just as powerful and prevalent in science and medicine as it is in any other sphere of human endeavor.” (RA p.353) He also points out the scandalous and unbelievable fact that studies have shown that “physicians are perhaps the most authority oriented of all professionals. They are evaluated in medical school not on the basis of their critical thinking skills, their creativity, or their independence but their ability to learn quickly, to memorize well, to act prudently, and to be able to quote authority extensively.” (RA p.353) They would clearly also make good priests—which is what some of them seemed like during Holocaust II. He goes to the tragic heart of the matter when he writes, “There can be no breakthroughs without research, but breakthrough research is not possible when conformity is rewarded and skeptical inquiry punished. AIDS may continue to plague modern society, just as other preventable infections such a puerperal fever plagued our forebears, because of the closemindedness of the very physicians whose job it is to diagnose, treat, and prevent these diseases.” (RA p.354) He didn’t know the half of it. In the solace of his certainty that these mistakes didn’t put the heterosexual general population at risk, he thought he was throwing life rafts at pathetic, drowning risk groups from a boat that couldn’t sink. He didn’t know he himself was standing on the heterosexual HHV-6 Titanic.
     As with Duesberg and Kary Mullis, one must express gratitude that he joined those who spoke out against AZT and similar treatments: “One caveat concerning long-term prophylaxis for AIDS is in order. As I have pointed out repeatedly, chronic use of antibiotics can lead to immune suppression. . . . There are, however, almost no long-term studies of the effects of chronic exposure to the vast majority of drugs that might be used prophylactically in AIDS. . . . We do not want to be in the position of saying that we cured the patient but the treatment killed him.” (RA p.337) We don’t? We didn’t? Could have fooled us. He caught the real tragedy of blaming the wrong agent for AIDS when he pointed out that “It may prove easier to stop a mycoplasmal or cytomegalovirus infection [or any infection that be part of the mutifactorial mix in AIDS] than to stop HIV.” (RA p.357)
     It is once again disquieting to note how close to the truth of the HHV-6 catastrophe Root-Bernstein actually got and how much help he could have been if he had stayed with the issue—as focused and critical as he was in his book—for another decade. Thinking way outside the AIDS box, he even theorized that scientists could have gotten the whole orthodox paradigm of immunosuppression in AIDS backwards when he speculated that “One very odd possibility is also raised by alternative theories of AIDS, particularly by the theories that incorporate autoimmunity as a major event in the prognosis of the disease. Immunosuppressive drugs may actually benefit AIDS patients.” (RA p.358) Such a radical change in the AIDS paradigm would have caused what Kuhn refers to as a “visual gestalt shift” and that was simply not allowed in the totalitarian, abnormal, paralyzed world of AIDS science. Without fully realizing it, Root-Bernstein was tilting at political windmills when he wrote “In the meantime, various aspects of medical practice must change to accommodate the possibility that HIV is not the sole agent responsible for AIDS.” (RA p.358) To which one could hear every member of the HIV establishment thinking, “Over our dead bodies.” There would absolutely be no dialing back on the AIDS paradigm or agenda. Rethinking was for “denialists.” HIV would never ever be considered “no more than a serious warning that a patient has multiple risks that need to be ferreted out and controlled and corrected.” (RA p.358.) He might just as well have proposed that homeopathy or liver cleanses be applied to AIDS. There was no way that the crown jewel of "homodemiology" (and "Afrodemiology") was going to be abandoned. Its totalitarian power to stigmatize, control and for some to make a lot of money and advance careers was not something to be given up without a vicious fight to the death using all the establishment and governmental powers at hand.
     Like a good Kuhnian, Root-Bernstein thought that the answers to AIDS might come from unexpected sources, from people not at the center of the reigning establishment that controlled the shape of the official paradigm: “I would not be surprised if the most important innovators in AIDS research and treatment turn out to be peripheral members of the research and treatment communities.” (RA p.363) Following the rules of abnormal, totalitarian science, AIDS research was the enemy of true innovation. AIDS was dogmatic and innovation was heresy and worthy of inquisition. To cross the AIDS leadership was to become a peripheral member of the research and treatment communities.
     Near the end of his book the very earnest Root-Bernstein makes a statement full of laugh-out-loud irony for any student of "Holocaust II": “We need to solve the social, economic, health education, and medical care problems that create the conditions that permit AIDS to develop in the first place.” (RA p.368) Fair enough, but the number one problem hidden in that politically correct smorgasbord is something that Root-Bernstein was himself an (albeit relatively decent) ambassador of: heterosexism. Heterosexism may have had social and economic cofactors in the creation of Holocaust II, but it still was the sine qua non. Heterosexism is what held the AIDS quilt—so to speak—together. And ultimately it would also blindly hold the CFS and autism quilts together.
     Root Bernstein closes his book by asserting that “The only path to the truth is to continue questioning—even things that are taken to be undeniable facts.” (RA p.373) Given that we are now in the middle of an HHV-6 spectrum catastrophe which is potentially affecting everyone immunologically, neurologically and in a variety of other ways and manifesting itself as an alphabet soup of AIDS, CFS, MS, autism, Morgellons and God knows what else, he may want to question some of the ground zero data and epidemiology that led to his belief that the general population had nothing to worry about where the virtually impossible lightning strike of AIDS was concerned. One day he just might want to write a sequel to Rethinking AIDS called “Rethinking My Rethinking of AIDS.”


Teach-in #5

How Serge Lang Tried to Fix the Corrupted Hard Drive of AIDS Research

Serge Lang (1927-2005) was one of the most distinguished elder academic statesman in the group intellectuals and scientists that challenged the science of HIV. A mathematician known for his accomplishments in number theory and as the author of numerous graduate level mathematics text books, he taught at the University of Chicago and Columbia University. He was Professor Emeritus at Yale University at the time of his death. He was very active in the Vietnam anti-war movement and spent a great deal of time challenging the misuse of science and mathematics and identifying the spread of misinformation on a number of issues. Lang was rewarded for his interest in the Duesbergian criticism of HIV and for speaking out on the questionable scientific procedures of the HIV establishment, by having his distinguished career in mathematics framed by the same dirty little Orwellian trick used on other HIV critics: he was labeled an “AIDS denialist,” by that paragon of sober objectivity, Wikipedia.
     As Lang surveyed the manner in which AIDS research was being conducted and the outrageous way that Duesberg was being treated, he was appalled and feared for the integrity of science itself. In 1984, his long critique of the HIV/AIDS theory was published in the Fall issue of Yale Scientific. He opened his piece by pointing out the sleight of hand involved in the naming of the virus only associated with AIDS which was called “Human Immunodeficiency Virus” before adequate evidence had been gathered to show that it actually deserved that title. Which, of course it didn’t. Lang’s critical vision of what was transpiring in AIDS was quite damming: “ . . . to an extent that undermines classical standards of science, some purported scientific results concerning ‘HIV’ and ‘AIDS’ have been handled by press releases, by misinformation, manipulating the media and people at large.” Much of Lang’s analysis of AIDS science supports this book’s contention that AIDS could best be described as science at its most abnormal. But he stayed away from the matter of the motivation behind the breakdown of science, asserting “I am not here concerned with intent but with scientific standards, especially the ability to tell the difference between a fact, an opinion, a hypothesis, and a hole in the ground.” Even though Lang steered clear of digging into the bigotry that motivated and unified the whole pseudoscientific enterprise, he did make it abundantly clear that there was something not kosher about the field of HIV/AIDS research. He argued that there wasn’t even a proper definition of “AIDS” and “thus a morass about HIV and AIDS has been created.” Lang called the established view of AIDS “dogma” and he was horrified by the way people who dared to challenge the “dogma” were being treated, noting that critics were unfairly being maligned by being called “flatearthers” or told that by just asking questions or being skeptical they were themselves threats to the public health. He was very sensitive to the emotional blackmail that was a staple in the AIDS establishment’s psychological armamentarium.
     In the Yale Scientific piece Lang argued that “the public at large are not properly informed” and in order for them to know what was really happening, people had to turn to sources outside of the official scientific media. He thought that the way AIDS misinformation was being spread was itself an important issue that needed a focused study. He charged that the official scientific press had failed miserably by obstructing legitimate dissent and that not only would the public lose “trust in the scientific establishment,” but people would not be “warned of practices which may be dangerous to their health.” As we now know, he was only seeing the tip of the pseudoscientific iceberg.
     Lang reiterated the Mullis contention that there were no papers that provided proof that HIV is the cause of AIDS, and no serious HIV animal model for the disease. He was very concerned about the unreliable tests for HIV: “The blood test for HIV does not determine directly the presence of the virus.” The test cross-reacted with numerous other diseases. He argued that the AIDS numbers coming out of Africa were based on faulty testing. In terms of the HHV-6 catastrophe that everyone was willfully blind to at the time, it is interesting to note Lang’s argument that “there exist thousands of Americans who have AIDS-defining diseases but are HIV negative.” Had he said millions, we might be calling him a prophet of the HHV-6 spectrum catastrophe. The argument for HIV was made even worse by the fact that there were “hundreds of thousands who test HIV positive but have not developed AIDS-defining diseases.” He accused the CDC of playing games with numbers to support their official image of the epidemic. He was also critical of the CDC’s circular definition of AIDS that made it look like there was a 100% correlation between HIV and AIDS in the public’s mind. He argued that HIV positivity might “be merely a marker rather than a cause for whatever disease is involved.” He was intrigued by the Duesbergian recreational drug hypothesis, but remained open-minded. He wrote, “I have no definitive answer. I merely question the line upheld up to now by the biomedical establishment, and repeated uncritically in the press, that ‘HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.’” He felt that because most scientists treated HIV=AIDS as a given, “some scientists try to fit experimental data into this postulate, actually without success.” They succeed even when they fail: when the so-called AIDS virus doesn’t meet expectations, Lang notes that it is then called “enigmatic” without anyone going back to basics and questioning the science and logic that form its foundation upon which it stands.
     Lang was troubled by the unwillingness of the establishment to fund research into alternative hypotheses about AIDS causation—particularly Duesberg’s recreational drug hypothesis. He felt that the evidence that the recreational inhalant, “poppers” (amyl nitrite), played a role in AIDS via the development of Kaposi’s sarcoma, was compelling enough that it didn’t deserve the cold financial shoulder it was consistently getting from those in charge of the governmental funding of AIDS research
     In the Yale Scientific piece Lang also criticized “establishment scientists who have tried, so far mostly successfully, to keep reports questioning the establishment dogma about HIV out of the mainstream press.” The Pacific Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science organized a symposium for June 21, 1994 called “The Role of HIV in AIDS: Why There is Still a Controversy.”  Lang reported that the AAAS “has come under fire from U.S. AIDS researchers and public health officials” and the symposium was almost cancelled. An article about the symposium in the journal, Nature, quoted a professor from Harvard as saying that the people involved were “fringe” people. David Baltimore was quoted as saying, “This is a group of people who have denied the scientific facts. There is no question at all that HIV is the cause of AIDS. Anyone who gets up publicly and says the opposite is encouraging people to risk their lives.” Again the emotional blackmail of what today would be called the “concern trolls of HIV/AIDS.”
     Lang reported that while the symposium was finally held, Nature made a point of not covering it. Lang sharply noted that “Nature’s readers are not given evidence on which to base an informed or independent judgment. Thus does Nature manipulate its readers.” And thus did that esteemed journal help enable the abnormal science of Holocaust II.
     Lang captures the manner in which the media was manipulated during the AIDS era in his description of a study meant to demolish Duesberg’s drug hypothesis: “A piece ‘Does drug use cause AIDS?’ by M.S. Ascher, H.W. Shepherd., W. Winkelstein Jr. and E. Vittinghoff was published in the Nature issue of 11 March 1993. This piece was published as a ‘Commentary.’ About a week before publication, nature issued a press release concerning this piece headlined: ‘DRUG USE DOES NOT CAUSE AIDS.’ The press release concluded: ‘These findings seriously undermine the argument put forward by Dr. Peter Duesberg, of the University of California at Berkley, that drug consumption causes AIDS. . . .’” Lang noted that Duesberg was blind-sided because the press was notified and was asking him for a response even before he had even had a chance to see the forthcoming piece. Lang wrote bitterly, “Thus Nature and the authors of the article use the media to manipulate public opinion before their article had been submitted to scientific scrutiny by other scientists (other than possible referees), and especially by Duesberg who is principally concerned.”
     Lang attacked the press release, writing that it made several misrepresentations including the manner in which the sample of men studied was gathered: “ . . . the press release suppressed the additional information that the sampling came from a definite segment of San Francisco households.” Lang’s analysis of what the Ascher group called “a rigorously controlled epidemiological model for the evaluation of aetiological hypotheses” pointed to numerous flaws that made the study look like a bad joke—which was par for the course in the world of AIDS science. He notes that predictably, The New York Times which, with the help of Lawrence Altman, a reporter who was a former CDC employee, was the world’s most prestigious echo chamber for the government’s AIDS research, ran with the ball. In an article by Gina Kolata called “Debunking doubts that H.I.V. causes AIDS,” propagated “the misinformation of the [Nature] press release and of the ‘Commentary.’”
     Lang’s sense of scientific standards was offended by the whole picture of AIDS science that he saw: “I take no position here on the relative merits of the AIDS virus hypothesis or the AIDS drug hypothesis (in whatever form they may be formulated). I do take a position against the announcement of purported scientific results via superficial and defective press releases, and before scientists at large have had a chance to evaluate the scientific merits of such results are purportedly based.” What Lang didn’t fully understand was that this kind of propagandistic manipulation of truth was actually business as usual in the abnormal, totalitarian science of "Holocaust II."
     One of the more amusingly outrageous aspects of Ascher’s ‘Commentary’ in Nature, appears at the end of the piece: “The energies of Duesberg and his followers could be better applied to unraveling the enigmatic mechanism of the HIV pathogenesis of AIDS.” To this patronizing bum's rush, Lang responded, “I find it presumptuous and objectionable for scientists to tell others where energies ‘could better be applied.’ Scientific standards as I have known them since I was a freshman at Caltech require that some energies be applied to scrutinize data on which experiments are based, in documenting the accuracy of the data, its significance, its completeness, and to determine whether conclusions allegedly based on these data are legitimate or not.” Lang didn’t realize that Ascher was part of a political bandwagon driven by social forces which Lang, as brilliant as he was, was not interested in or perhaps even capable of fully fathoming.
     In his piece in Yale Scientific, Lang also raised the issue of the role of other viruses in AIDS, stating that “No hypothesis can be dismissed a priori. It is still a possibility that some viruses other than HIV sometimes cause some of the diseases listed under the “AIDS” umbrella by the CDC.” One of those he mentions in the piece is HHV-6. He clearly was intrigued by the paradox of a supposedly ubiquitous and usually (or also supposedly) harmless virus also being associated with pneumonitis in compromised hosts. He inadvertently went right to the heart of the political and scientific problems that HHV-6 would be entangled with in the years ahead when he wrote, “Here we meet typical examples of rising questions: whether there is merely an ‘association’ between a virus and some disease, or whether a virus is a cause, and if so how. It is then a problem to make experiments to determine whether a given virus is merely a passenger virus, whether it lies dormant, and if it is awakened (how?). Whether it merely shows its presence by testing positive in various ways (antibodies?), or whether it is or becomes harmful (how?), under certain circumstances (which?).” He had unknowingly stumbled into the tragic intellectual fog of the HHV-6 catastrophe, the biomedical tragedy that the Orwellian propaganda about HIV was obscuring.
     One of the more curious episodes in the struggles of the Duesbergian camp concerns Serge Lang’s encounter with Richard Horton, the then youngish editor of The Lancet who was pretty much in the bag for the HIV establishment. It is described in Challenges, Lang’s book of essays. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the slovenliness of the intellectual community during Holocaust II. Horton had written a 9,000 word review article, “Truth and Heresy about AIDS” which was critical of Duesberg and published in the New York Review of Books (May 23, 1996). In response, Lang submitted a letter as long as Horton’s book review itself to NYBR but it was rejected. Lang’s unpublished letter charged that Horton’s review gave “a false impression of scientific scholarship” and did not convey to the readers the complexity of the debate about HIV and AIDS. Horton had reviewed two books by Duesberg and one book which was a collection of 27 articles called AIDS: Virus—or Drug Induced?, which included two articles by Lang. Horton completely ignored the more important of Lang’s two articles—the one we just discussed that was reprinted from Yale Scientific. Not only did Horton ignore Lang’s detailed critique of HIV, but he also ignored everyone published in the collection except Duesberg, contributing to the image of Duesberg that the HIV establishment had cleverly manufactured and marketed, namely the fringy lone gunman: Lang wrote, “Horton mentioned Duesberg repeatedly as a critic of the established view, but by not referring to the multiple articles in the . . . collection he made it appear as if Duesberg is more isolated than he actually is in raising objections.” In addition to criticizing Horton for personalizing the issue rather than engaging in scientific discussion, Lang criticized Horton for not informing his readers about misinformation the government had put out about AIDS and for ignoring legitimate questions about the reliability or credibility of the HIV test. He suggested that Horton had fudged “the issue about relationships between AIDS (whatever it is), HIV and other viruses such as a persistent herpes virus.” (The truth about the looming HHV-6 catastrophe was so close to Lang that it could have bitten him.)
     Lang pointed out that Duesberg was getting the silent treatment from Horton’s own publication, The Lancet, where he “has not been allowed to publish longer pieces, [other than letters] either as a scientific article, or as a ‘Viewpoint.’” Lang also attacked Horton for resorting to what we have called emotional public health blackmail when he pointed to the fact that Horton wrote in his review that “Duesberg’s arguments take him into dangerous territory. For if HIV is not the cause of AIDS, then every public health injunction about the need for safe sex becomes meaningless. . . .” Dangerous territory? (Certainly dangerous territory for those behind the Potemkin HIV paradigm.) Lang held that Horton’s warning “bypasses the specific objections and questions, and draws an invalid extreme conclusion.” As was typical throughout Holocaust II, every time anyone asked a critical question about HIV it was as though they had taken a bullhorn and were shouting out encouragements to the public to run wild and naked in the street without condoms. It often came across as a veiled, patronizing, heterosexist assault against the dignity and intelligence of the gay community. Remarks like those made AIDS look like a public health campaign that was more concerned about behavioral control than truth—which in many ways it was.
     New York Review of Books published an exchange of letters between Duesberg and Horton on August 8, 1996. Among a number of things Lang was critical of in Horton’s letter, he was especially incensed by Horton’s challenge that “If Duesberg seriously believes there is nothing to fear from HIV, he can easily prove it. If Duesberg seriously believes that HIV is harmless, let him inject himself with a suspension of the virus.” Lang asserted, “Horton’s logic is deficient on several counts. First, self-experimentation by Duesberg would not ‘prove’ (let alone ‘easily prove’) anything about a virus which is supposed to take ten years to achieve is pathogenic effects. Second, the negation of one extreme is not the extreme of opposite type. Here may be something to fear from poppers (amyl nitrites) or AZT, as well as HIV.” Lang honed in on the very peculiar debating style that characterized Holocaust II when he wrote, “Horton’s reply with the above challenge to Duesberg pushed the discussion to extremes in an unscientific and ad hominem manner. He turns the discussion to considerations of beliefs, rather than facts (‘If Duesberg seriously believes . . .’). But it is not a question what ‘Duesberg believes.’ What’s involved scientifically are, among other things: the possibility of making certain experiments (some of them on animals); whether certain data (epidemiological or laboratory) are valid (e.g. properly gathered and reported); whether interpretations of the data are valid; the extent to which certain hypotheses are compatible with the data; and whether scientific objections to specific scientific articles are legitimately or substantially answered, if answered at all.”
     Lang pointed out in his letter that “On 2 August 1996, I submitted a letter to the editors of the New York Review, about 500 words long.” The letter was rejected. There was a second exchange between Horton and Duesberg in NYRB. According to Lang, “Horton devoted the greater part of his second reply to the ad hominem challenge, and some history of self-experimentation. Thus Horton compounded the problems raised by his ad hominem attack. Self-experimentation is something which a scientist may offer unprompted, as has sometimes been done in the past. Whether to do so or not is for each scientist to decide individually. I object to other scientists putting pressure for self-experimentation especially in a journalistic context.” Lang was so disturbed by Horton’s unprofessional suggestion of self-experimentation that he submitted his rejected letter as a half-page advertisement to New York Review with a check for $3,500 to cover the cost. The editor returned the check and agreed to publish the letter.
     Lang was incensed that NYRB had not published several other letters from scientists defending Duesberg. The New York Review’s behavior shocked Lang who had been both a contributor and an admirer of the publication’s integrity and intellectual legacy. He summarized its importance: “With its world-wide circulation of 120,000, it is very influential in the academic and intellectual community. Members of these communities rely on the New York Review for information they cannot get easily elsewhere. Flaws in the New York Review editorial judgment are therefore very serious.” (Lang would live to see the New York Review betray its ideal even more egregiously years later when they attacked South Africa’s brave HIV critic, Thabo Mbeki.)
     Lang wrote about the pseudoscience of HIV/AIDS like someone whose scientific heart was breaking. In the Horton/NYRB piece he wistfully quotes Richard Feynman who called for scientists to have “a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty—a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, it you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid—not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked—to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated. Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong—to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. In summary, the idea is to try to give all the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.” 
  Feynman’s good faith vision of science operating at its best was like the opposite world of the HHV-6/AIDS/CFS/autism era and "Holocaust II." Richard Horton was one of the powerful little princes of that opposite world and the very principled Serge Lang’s unflappable, stubborn and inspiring confrontation with Richard Horton on the intellectual world stage during the depressing days of  "Holocaust II" reminds one of what Hannah Arendt wrote about Karl Jaspers in Men in Dark Times: “It was self-evident that he would remain firm in the midst of catastrophe. . . . There is something fascinating about a man’s being inviolable, untemptable, unswayable.” (Men in Dark Times p.76) But even the inviolable, untemptable, and unswayable Serge Lang could not stop the catastrophe of "Holocaust II."

Teach-in #6

How Rebecca Culshaw Tried to Fix the Corrupted Hard Drive of AIDS Research

    Hopefully, when filmmakers finally start to realize how many rich narrative possibilities there are in the real history of "Holocaust II," Rebecca’s Culshaw’s dramatic awakening to the dark nature of HIV/AIDS science or pseudoscience will be recognized as a compelling story that deserves to be a movie by itself. Culshaw received her Ph.D. in 2002 for work constructing mathematical models of HIV infection, a field of study she had entered in 1996. In an essay, “Why I Quite HIV,” (published online) she said that her entire adolescence and adult life “has been overshadowed by the belief in a deadly, sexually transmittable pathogen and the attendant fear of intimacy and lack of trust that belief engenders.” During her work on AIDS she came to realize “that there is good evidence that the entire basis for this theory is wrong. AIDS, it seems is not a disease so much as a sociopolitical construct that few people understand and even fewer question.”
     At one point earlier in her life she was led to believe that she herself had contracted “AIDS” and she took an HIV test. She spent two weeks waiting for the results, convinced she was going to die and blaming herself for whatever she might have done to cause the development. She tested negative and “vowed not to take more risks.”
     Ten years later when she was a graduate student analyzing models of HIV and the immune system, she was surprised to discover that virtually every mathematical model of HIV infection she studied was unrealistic. She concluded that the “biological assumptions on which the models were based varied from author to author.” She was also puzzled by the stories of long-term survivors of AIDS and the fact that all of them seemed to have one thing in common—very healthy life styles. It made her suspect that “being HIV-positive didn’t necessarily mean you would ever get AIDS.”
     When she ran across the writing of one of Peter Duesberg’s supporters, David Rasnick, it all began to make more sense to her. Rasnick had written an article on AIDS and the corruption of modern science which resonated with her own troubling academic experience. She found a soul mate when she read Rasnick’s assertion that the more he “examined HIV, the less it made sense that this largely inactive, barely detectable virus could cause such devastation.” Culshaw continued to work on HIV, however, and published four papers on HIV from a mathematical modeling perspective. She wrote that “I justified my contributions to a theory I wasn’t convinced of by telling myself these were purely theoretical, mathematical constructs, never to be applied to the real world. I supposed, in some sense also, I wanted to keep an open mind.” But eventually she reached a breaking point on HIV.
     She had been taught early in her career that clear definitions were important and as far as she could tell, the definition of AIDS was anything but. AIDS was not “even a consistent entity.” She was concerned that the definition of AIDS in the early 1980s was a surveillance tool that bore no resemblance to the AIDS of the current time. She was troubled by the fact that the CDC constantly changed the definition, that people could be diagnosed when there was no evidence of clinical disease and the fact that the leading cause of death of HIV positives was from liver failure caused by the AIDS treatments (protease inhibitors) themselves.
     The epidemiology completely puzzled her. The fact that the number of HIV positives in the U.S. “has remained constant at one million” seemed to make no sense. She wrote that “It is deeply confusing that a virus thought to have been brought to the AIDS epicenters of New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles in the early 1970s could possibly have spread so rapidly at first, yet have stopped spreading as soon as testing began.” She had entered the gates of the opposite world of totalitarian, Orwellian abnormal science where the numbers of positives could remain constant because their origins were political and not based on factuality.
     She also thought that the theories about how HIV destroyed t-cells didn’t add up and was disturbed that after so many years of study there was still no “biological consensus” about the manner in which HIV did its dirty work. Culshaw was frustrated by the fact that “there are no data to support the hypothesis that HIV kills cells. It doesn’t in the test tube. It mostly just sits there, as it does in people—if it can be found at all.” The shocking fact that Gallo had originally only found the virus in 26 of 72 AIDS patients was also a dramatic strike against the notion that it was the cause of AIDS.
     Culshaw found further support for her growing skepticism in the testing for HIV which relies on antibody tests rather than searching for the virus itself because “there exists no test for the actual virus.” The fact that so-called viral load tests relied on sophisticated PCR techniques that had never actually been tested against a gold standard of HIV itself made the whole enterprise of HIV testing look like a cruel and dangerous farce. The fact that the criteria for a positive result for the antibody varied from country to country also undermined the credibility of the HIV tests. Culshaw concluded, “I have come to sincerely believe that the HIV tests do immeasurably more harm than good, due to their astounding lack of specificity and standardization. . . . A negative test may not be accurate (whatever that means), but a positive one can create utter havoc and destruction in a person’s life—all for a virus that most likely does absolutely nothing. I do not feel it is going too far to say that these tests ought to be banned for diagnostic purposes.”
     She indicted thousands of her intellectual and professional colleagues when she wrote “After ten years involved in the academic side of HIV research, as well as in the academic world at large, I truly believe that the blame for the universal, unconditional, faith-based acceptance of such a flawed theory fall on those among us who have actively endorsed a completely unproven hypothesis in the interests of furthering our careers.”
     Culshaw summed up her thoughts on AIDS in a brief but brilliant book, Science Sold Out, which was published two years later by North Atlantic Books. The book is so tautly written and sizzles with so much moral outrage that one could say that she was the Thomas Paine (or one of them) of "Holocaust II." She opens the book with an anecdotal challenge to HIV from her personal life: “The boyfriend of a woman I work with died suddenly this year from a raging infection. He became very ill, and his immune system collapsed, unable to handle the infection, and he died. He was not HIV-positive, but if he had been he would have been an AIDS case.” (SSO p.viii) While most of the Duesbergians focused mainly on what was diagnosed mistakenly as AIDS—diagnoses they disagreed with, it is interesting that she begins her little masterpiece with a case that might inadvertently have pointed to a far darker implication of the CDC and the AIDS establishment’s misguided epidemiology: that they were missing the real epidemic and as a result an unknown number of people were dying mysteriously.
     None of the arguments in her book were completely new, but her presentation was a tour de force. It was full of the most righteous indignation of any of the critical books on HIV and AIDS, with the possible exception of the work of John Lauritsen. She also brought an astute political and sociological analysis to the table that helped make what we’ve called Holocaust II more understandable as a historic event: “AIDS has become so mired in emotion, hysteria and politics that it is no longer primarily a health issue. AIDS has been transported out of the realm of public and personal health and into a strange new world in which pronouncements by powerful governmental officials are taken as gospel, and no one remembers when, a few years later, these pronouncements turn out to be false.” (SSO p.4) That the scientific establishment had been so quick to accept the HIV theory was shocking. The willingness of the public to trust proclamations from the government on the issue was also unsettling. She made it her job to try and sort out the sociological reasons for the rush to judgment and the bizarre and stubborn anti-scientific refusal to entertain second and third opinions on the matter.
     As Culshaw looked back at the history of AIDS, she saw a disturbing pattern that made it appear as if scientists were making everything up haphazardly and illogically as they went along: “Science, of course, is meant to be self-correcting, but it seems to be endemic in HIV research that, rather than continuously building an accumulating body of secure knowledge with only occasional missteps, the bulk of the structure gets knocked down every three to four years, replaced by yet another hypothesis, standard of care, or definition of what exactly, AIDS really is. This new structure eventually gets knocked down in the same fashion.” (SSO p.11) Inadvertently, she was actually sensing the totalitarian, abnormal, deviant, ad hoc, a posteriori nature of criminal, scientific opposite world she had stumbled into. She could grasp the hypocritical and dishonest nature of the infernal game that was being played in the name of science when she wrote, “Even more disturbing is the fact that HIV researchers continuously claim that certain papers’ results are out of date, yet have absolutely no hesitation in citing the entire body of scientific research on HIV as massive overwhelming evidence in favor of HIV. They can’t have it both ways, yet this is what they try to do.” (SSO p.12) In the opposite world of AIDS science meant having everything every-which-way all the time.
     As Culshaw wrestles with the question of why so many scientists could be so wrong for so long, she points out that, contrary to the HIV establishment’s propaganda, a significant number of scientists actually did join Duesberg in his skepticism and dissent. One of the more interesting scientists she mentions is Rodney Richards, “a chemist who worked for the company Amgen developing the first HIV antibody tests [who] contends that the antibody tests are at best measuring a condition called hypergammaglobulinemia . . . a word that simply means too many antibodies to too many things.” (SSO p.13) (This—unknown to Culshaw—may have been the major clue that CFS and AIDS were manifestations of the same hypergammaglobulinemia epidemic, and explain why both groups, in addition to testing positive for HHV-6 also tested positive for retroviral activity due to the hypergammaglobulinemia.)
     Culsaw agreed with the HIV/AIDS critic David Rasnick, that a contributing factor in the reign of scientific error was an “epidemic of low standards that is infecting all of academic scientific research.” (SSO p.13) She argued that “it was almost inevitable that a very significant scientific mistake was going to be made.” (SSO p.15) Culshaw was very critical of the AIDS establishment’s refusal to publicly discuss and defend its science: “If the AIDS establishment is so convinced of the validity of what they say, they should have no fear of a public, adjudicated debate between the major orthodox and dissenting scientists, and the scrutiny of such a debate by the scientific community.” (SSO p.17) Scrutiny to AIDS researchers was like sunlight to vampires.
     Culshaw was just as flabbergasted at the very strange moment that HTLV-III was transformed politically into the “AIDS virus” as the rest of the Duesbergians: “It was sometime in 1985 that HIV conspicuously went from ‘the virus associated with AIDS’ to the ‘virus that causes AIDS,’ squelching debate in the scientific arena. What changed? What happened to make scientists come to such certainty? If you look at the actual papers you’ll see quite clearly that the answer is nothing.” (SSO p.19) In other words, this life-and-death matter was settled by politics and public relations rather than anything resembling Kuhnian normal science. HIV/AIDS, according to Culshaw, then became a “machine” that kept moving despite all efforts at dissent. It had a pernicious life of its own.
     Culshaw focuses on the protease inhibitor part of the tragedy of Holocaust II by walking her readers through the chronology of the questionable science that the so-called “cocktails” were based on. Papers by David Ho (Time’s Man of the Year) and Xiping Wei that were published in Nature inspired an approach to treating AIDS of “Hit hard, hit early,” that was to turn the hoodwinked and cheering gay community into one big deadly iatrogenic AIDS cocktail party. The only problem with the cocktails, according to Culshaw, was that “few people are aware that the conclusions” that supported the approach “were based on very poorly constructed mathematical models,” and “to make matters worse, the statistical analysis were poorly done and the graphs were presented in such a way as to lead the reader to believe something different from what the data supported.” (SSO p.20) Deceptive, abnormal science was alive and well during the David Ho HIV/AIDS cocktail era. Ho’s slovenly work was called “groundbreaking” by Sir John Maddox of Nature who said that it provided a compelling reason that the critics of HIV (especially Peter Duesberg) should “recant.” (SSO p.20) A perfect word for the AIDS Inquisition.
     Culshaw saw the circular logic game of molding data to fit the theory being played out in AIDS in the mathematics-based papers that were used to justify the protease inhibitor era, noting that “such tactics by definition, are excellent at maintaining a fa├žade of near-perfect correlation between HIV and AIDS and of providing seeming convincing explanations of HIV pathogenesis.” (SSO p.21) Once again the public relations needs of the HIV/AIDS paradigm were being serviced by the fancy footwork of abnormal science. The inexorable evil of Holocaust II is captured in the fact that even though “the Ho/Wei papers have been debunked by both establishment and dissenting researchers on biological as well as mathematical grounds,” the therapies that were concoctions based on that discredited science “are used to this day.” (SSO p.21) The reader stares in helpless horror at the atrocities of the HIV/AIDS era as Culshaw reiterates that  “ . . . a large population of people have been, and continue to be, treated on the basis of a theory that is unsupportable.” (SSO p.21) Culshaw’s moral outrage is riveting: “You might imagine that people might feel an urge to discuss the manner in which the papers got published and whether other such mistakes have happened since that time. You might imagine that the failure of the peer-review process to detect such patently inept research would send off alarm bells within the HIV-research community. You would be wrong.” (SSO p.21) Standard operating procedure in "Holocaust II."
     Without calling it virtual iatrogenic genocide (iatrogenocide), she indicts a whole generation of clinicians who continued to base their treatment of patients on Ho and Wei: “HIV researchers know the Ho/Wei papers are wrong, yet they continue along the clinical path charted by the papers. They know that the quantitative use of PCR has never been validated, yet they continue to use viral load to make clinical decisions.” (SSO p.21) As we have said, it took a village of professionals to create Holocaust II.
     One thinks about the proverbial story of the drunk looking for his car keys in the parking lot under a light far from his actual car because that’s the only place there is light—when one reads this analysis from Culshaw about a scientist’s discovery in the first so-called AIDS patients: “Upon measuring their t-cells, a subset of the immune system, he found that in all five men they were depleted. What is quite curious about this discovery is that the technology to count t-cells had only just been perfected.”(SSO p.23)  This is yet another way of saying that epidemics never get a second chance to make a first impression.
     Culshaw gets to the crux of the AIDS establishment’s mistake by noting that they rushed to judgment on HIV and then were then trapped and had to trim data and cook the books (like the frantic maintainers of a threatened Ponzi scheme) in order to fit their stubborn theories to match disparities in the growing number of people they were designating as having AIDS: “As the definition expanded and as it became more and more clear that HIV did not do at all what it was purported to do—that is, kill CD4 t-cells by any detectable method—researchers began to invent more and more convoluted explanations for why their theory was correct.” (SSO p.24) Good money was constantly thrown after bad. Of course, had they also expanded the definition so much as to include the chronic fatigue syndrome epidemic, things might have miraculously straightened themselves out and HHV-6’s role in the hypergammaglobinemia epidemic might have become painfully obvious.
     Channeling Thomas Kuhn, Culshaw is all too old fashioned and normal-science-ish when she so reasonably writes, “The logical scientific thing to have done would have been to notice their original disease designation did not accurately identify the causative agent or agents, rather than changing the syndrome, throw out the supposed causative agents and find one that explained the observations better. As we know, this has not happened.” (SSO p.24)
     Culshaw decried the bogus logic behind the universal celebration of protease inhibitors, noting that “ . . . the proportion of AIDS cases that resulted in death experienced a large drop in 1993-1994, which orthodoxy and the mass media were more than happy to portray as decreased mortality thanks to protease inhibitors. However, protease inhibitors were not even generally available to AIDS patients until 1996, over two years after the decline in the death rate began.” (SSO p.27) She challenged the notion that they had been proved to extend life and argued that one only had to look at the packet inserts to see that they could “cause debilitating side effects, some of which are indistinguishable from the symptoms of AIDS itself.” (SSO p.27)
     She was horrified by the insane logic of HIV drug manufacturers who would insist “that since someone who was healthy when they started therapy happened to stay healthy for some time on the drugs, that is some sort of credit to the medications.” (SSO p.28)  She warned that “there is no evidence to say that they would not have remained healthy even if they never took any medication at all.” (SSO p.28) She noted that the HIV establishment had basically gamed the system by never using placebo-controls so that it could not be determined if nothing was actually better than the AIDS drugs. “Do no harm” was a quaint joke from the distant past. As far as the reports of the supposedly positive effects upon very sick people who took the drugs, she pointed out, as others had, that reverse transcriptase inhibitors are non-specific cell-killers an in addition to harming healthy cells, could be attacking “those cells that are dividing fastest,” (SSO p.28) such as the opportunistic bacteria and fungi that were the cause of acute illnesses in AIDS patients. In other words, their reputation was based on the mistaken impression that it was their effect on HIV rather than the other infections involved in the syndrome. She noted that protease inhibitors had been shown to control two of the more important infections associated with AIDS: candida and pneumocystis. (SSO p.28)
     Culshaw came down hard on the absurd Orwellian invention of the term “Immune Restitution Syndrome” which was used to explain away the development of opportunistic infections that occurred when people were taking the miraculous protease inhibitors. The convenient ad hoc explanation was that the immune system of AIDS patients was getting “confused” as it was getting stronger. She slapped that one down, writing that “In reality, it seems to be just another attempt to explain away the fact that clearly the medications are nor working as they were intended. . . .” (SSO p.29) She zeroed in on one of the disturbing consequences of all this, one that supports our notion that the whole era should be called "Holocaust II": “Consider also that the leading cause of death among medicated HIV-positives is no longer even an AIDS-defining disease at all, but liver failure, a well-documented effect of protease inhibitors.” (SSO p.30) 
     Throughout Holocaust II, where there was AIDS there was also state coercion (the social and political face of totalitarian science) sponsored by the inexorable public health logic of the HIV/AIDS establishment. Culshaw noted that “Infants born to HIV-positive mothers are in many states forced to undergo anti-retroviral therapy and since only a few drugs have been approved for children, the drugs administered are the most toxic, AZT and nevirapine being foremost. Oftentimes this drug regimen begins before the baby is born, in certain cases against the wishes of the mother, and continues throughout childhood.” (SSO p.30) And the tragedy was cruelly compounded by the fact that half of HIV-positive babies revert to negative in any case. Unforgivable iatrogenic scars from this age of medical atrocities were everywhere. (Hopefully historians will do a good job one day of documenting them all for posterity.)
     In terms of the real underlying pandemic of HHV-6, it is interesting that Culshaw zeroed in on the politically motivated nature of concocting a definition of AIDS as a disease characterized mainly by the decline in CD4+ cells: “But what was known from the beginning of AIDS—though bizarrely, not investigated to nearly the extent that CD4+ cells have been investigated—was that AIDS patients suffered disruptions in many subsets of their blood cells. Virtually all of these patients had elevated levels of many different types of antibodies, indicating that something had gone wrong with the “anti-body-arm of the immune system.” (SSO p.33) (God forbid that they had looked at what was going on in the “anti-body arm of the immune system” of the CFS patients and the rest of the general population.)
     In her book, as she had done in her previous essay, she emphasized that the HIV tests themselves were an unreliable technical mess and was horrified at how diagnostics that were “some of the worst tests ever manufactured in terms of standardization, specificity, and reproducibility” (SSO p.35) were being used “as a weapon of discrimination ever since testing began.” (SSO p.35) Everything about the way viral proteins were identified as belonging to HIV she found questionable. She described one of the common tests (the ELISA): “ . . . the proteins are present in a mixture and the serum reacts with the proteins in such a way as to cause a color change. The color change is not discrete—meaning that everyone has varying degrees of reaction.” (SSO p.39) It gets totally Alice-in-Wonderlandish as she notes that “there are varying degrees of the color change, and a cutoff value has been established, above which the sample is considered reactive or ‘positive’ and below which it is considered ‘negative.’ Clearly, this language is absurd, since positive and negative are polarities and not positions on a sliding scale.” (SSO p.39) Such was the crazy way medical tests were conducted in the reign of abnormal, totalitrian science that was "Holocaust II."
     Culshaw also noted that everyone could test positive for HIV, depending on how the serum was diluted when the tests were run. She was inadvertently saying more about the catastrophic effects of HHV-6 on the body when she pointed out that the tests were actually detecting the previously mentioned condition of hypergammaglobinemia, or “having too many antibodies to too many things.” (SSO p.44) Again it must be pointed out that, unknown to her and her colleagues in AIDS dissent, the biomedical face of the complex HHV-6 catastrophe was simultaneously revealing itself in the widespread chronic fatigue syndrome epidemic in the form of people “having too many antibodies to too many things.”
     The other thing which she pointed out that connected with the oft-detected evidence of retroviral activity in CFS was the possibility that the HIV test was simply detecting endogenous retroviral activity, hence just an artifact (or epiphenomenon) of the biological chaos that was going on in the bodies of AIDS patients. The retroviral activity could be “Simply a marker for cell decay and/or division.” (SSO p.44) (And, in the case of HHV-6’s devastation, we know there was and is a lot of that going on.) And the fact that the HIV tests had never been “validated against the gold standard of HIV isolation” (SSO p.45) decimated their credibility. Or should have
     Culshaw could see that the slovenly and shady science of HIV had led America and the rest of the world intro a sinister ethical quagmire: “Since the diagnosis HIV-positive carries with it such a stigma and the potential for outrageous denial of human rights, it is only humane that doctors, AIDS researchers, and test manufacturers would want to make absolutely certain that the tests they are promoting are completely verifiable in the best possible way. This is not happening.” (SSO p.45) Like some of the other HIV critics, she pointed out that the retrovirus had never been unquestionably isolated in an irrefutable way in the first place—and still hadn’t been, potentially making AIDS one of the biggest scientific mistakes and scandals in history. She reinforced the point, writing, “You might think that with hundreds of billions of dollars spent so far on HIV, there would have been by now a scientific attempt to demonstrate HIV isolation by publication of proper electron micrographs. The fact that there has not indicates quite strongly that no one has been able to do it.” (SSO p.46)
     In addition to the HIV test not working reliably, she also questioned the viral load test, which is used “to estimate the health status of those already diagnosed HIV-positive” because “there is good reason to believe it does not work at all.” (SSO p.46) She pointed to a paper that indicated “fully one-half of . . . patients with detectable viral loads had no evidence of virus by culture.” (SSO p.47) It was as if the Three Stooges were in charge of every aspect of HIV testing. Culshaw was uniquely sensitive to the ugly political nature of all this and perceptively saw how the HIV tests “are used essentially as weapons of terror.” (SSO p.48) She writes, “This medical terrorism reached new heights in June, 2006 with the CDC’s new HIV testing guidelines, which recommended that everyone between the ages of thirteen and sixty-five be tested for antibodies to HIV.” (SSO p.48)
     Culshaw was outraged that the faulty test for a virus not proven to cause AIDS could force perfectly healthy people “into undergoing a regimen that will inevitably cause long-term toxic effects (and even death), a more sinister complication is the violation in human rights that occurs following a positive HIV test. Every state in the U.S. and every province in Canada maintain a list of ‘HIV carriers’ in that region.”(SSO p.49) That was just one more aspect of "Holocaust II" that made it seem a little like Holocaust I.
     Culshaw could see the heavy political hands that were keeping the hellish paradigm and draconian public health agenda in place. When they were confronted by criticism grounded in logic and reason, “The AIDS orthodoxy’s only counters to the points made and the questions raised consist of ad hominem attacks including use of the term ‘denialist’ as well as stating that dissenting views have ‘long since been discredited’ without any reference to exactly where these views have been discredited. Unfortunately, words are powerful and personal attacks are very effective at silencing people.” (SSO p.60) She felt that it was a campaign of “fear, discrimination, and terror that has been waged aggressively by a powerful group of people whose sole motivation was and is behavior control.” (SSO p.60) Of course, those would be the lucky ones. The dead ones would have no behavioral issues.
     More than any other AIDS dissident or critic, she came the closest to seeing the heterosexist and racist underpinnings of the whole sinister game: “To understand the sociological motivations behind the HIV/AIDS paradigm, one must understand the racism and homophobia that has persisted in society for centuries. It is only very recently in the timeline of history that gays and blacks have been accorded equal rights under the law. . . .” (SSO p.61) Her thinking supported this book’s contention that what the law can give gays and blacks with one hand, epidemiology in the form of "homodemiology" and "Afrodemiology" can take away with the other.
     Culshaw came breathtakingly close to seeing both the forest and the trees insofar as she called it a rush to judgment at the beginning of the epidemic when the first cases of AIDS were assumed to be sexually transmitted even though the original gay men with it had no contact with each other. She was onto the heterosexist or "homodemiological" lens through which the original ground zero data was being observed by the VD and gay-obsessed pioneers of the HIV/AIDS paradigm. And she recognized that the assumption of sexual transmission was not easily dialed back or reconsidered. In terms of the HHV-6 catastrophe it is of interest that she recognized that “Despite the fact the other viruses (cytomegalovirus and herpes virus, to give two examples) were far more prevalent in AIDS patients than HIV ever was, the HIV train started rolling and hasn’t lost momentum since. Would this have happened if the first AIDS patients had been heterosexuals in the prime of their lives?” (SSO p.62)
     One of the most admirable things about Rebecca Culshaw is the fact that she was not afraid to use the fierce polemical language of moral indignation when confronting the reign of pseudoscientific evil: “Many of the biggest crimes committed by the AIDS orthodoxy are psychosocial and not medical at all.” (SSO p.62) What the charlatans of AIDS in their white coats were doing to humanity was not something she—unlike most of her fellow scientists and intellectuals—could look away from: “The discrimination leveled against those given the HIV-positive diagnosis has reached a level not seen since leprosy was common . . . HIV-positives are the modern equivalent of lepers (and in Cuba, where they are quarantined, are even treated as such) . . .” (SSO p.63) The enforcers of the paradigm were “vultures who will stop at nothing to prop up their paradigm.” (SSO p.65) While Culshaw, unfortunately, didn’t see the full nature of "Holocaust II" as clearly as she might have, she came closer than many, and what she did see she translated into an historically important outcry: “The HIV theory has never been about science but rather about behavioral modification primarily, and to a lesser extent, about money, power and prestige. Language surrounding HIV and AIDS is infected with a sort of pious moralism that is completely inappropriate in science. . . .”(SSO p.69) Maybe inappropriate for normal science, but it is the theme song constantly playing in the background of the abnormal, totalitarian science of "Holocaust II."
     Culshaw could see that, tragically, there was no turning back, because “First of all, there are tremendous financial and social interests involved. Billions of dollars in research funding, stock options, and activist budgets are predicated on the assumptions that HIV causes AIDS. Entire industries of pharmaceutical drugs, diagnostic testing and activist causes would have no reason to exist.” (SSO p.70) If that doesn’t sound like an empire of evil worthy of being called "Holocaust II," what does?
     Few saw the costs and consequences of the HIV theory being wrong and articulated them as dramatically as Culshaw. It wasn’t a small inconsequential scientific matter, a minor wrong turn that could be easily forgiven or forgotten: “. . . the scientific and medical communities have a great deal of face to lose. It is not much of an exaggeration to state that when the HIV/AIDS hypothesis is finally recognized as wrong, the entire institution of science will lose the public’s trust, and science itself will experience fundamental, profound and long-lasting changes. The ‘scientific community’ has risked its credibility by standing by the HIV theory so long. This is why doubting the HIV hypothesis is now tantamount to doubting science itself, and this is why dissidents face excommunication.” (SSO p.70) And she wasn’t even aware that the fiasco included among it’s consequences, HHV-6 related chronic fatigue syndrome, autism and Morgellons, just to name a few.
     Culshaw is fairly unique among the Duesbergians and other HIV critics, dissidents, resistance intellectuals, whatever one wants to call them. Not only was she patently not heterosexist, not only did she not spin her own alternative alternative gay lifestyle theory of AIDS, but she actually went in the opposite direction and argued that heterosexism, side-by-side with racism, was the driving force for the biomedical dystopia that was created by the pseudoscientific HIV/AIDS paradigm. And, in a near miss, Rebecca Culshaw almost got it right when she wrote that “powerful psychological forces are at work. It is simply easier for most people to project our neglect of disenfranchised groups—gay men, drug users, blacks, the poor and so on—onto a virus and accept those “infected” as sacrificial victims, than to recognize that there is no bug. For society, the latter would require acceptance of those disenfranchised groups as equal participants in mainstream society and culture.” (SSO p.70) She would have won the “understanding Holocaust II lottery” if only she had written, “It is simply easier for most people to project our neglect of disenfranchised groups—gay men, drugs users, blacks, the poor and so on (and ignore the threat to our own health)—onto the wrong, politically and fraudulently framed virus and accept those labeled and scapegoated as “AIDS infected” and as sacrificial victims, than to recognize that we are all at risk for the real cause of this epidemic.” But it was not to be. She certainly got the business about the bigoted politics right, but there was a virus, a very serious and deadly virus, but not a retrovirus. It was a DNA virus, one that was, even as she wrote her wonderful book, having its pathological way with both franchised and disenfranchised groups all over the world.
     If one were to ask all the Duesbergian critics—including Culshaw—if the egregious errors of the AIDS medical establishment had put the heterosexual general population in more danger of becoming immune-compromised, they all would probably have said a resounding “No!” The fact that they would have been absolutely wrong (considering the HHV-6 spectrum catastrophe in the general population that was masked by the HIV mistake) shows that their critical brilliance and their unique ethical bravery went only so far in the search for the ultimate truth about the epidemic. They failed to stop the forces of heterosexism and racism that crystallized into Holocaust II, but without all of them, a very dark time would have been even darker.




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