Document:Alpha and Omega

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Alpha and Omega
excerpt from Oncogenes, Aneuploidy, and AIDS
by Harvey Bialy



In the fall of 1994, when all his grants had become unworthy of funding, students were warned not to seek his mentorship, he was no longer considered qualified to offer graduate-level classes, and he had gone from chairman of the seminar committee to organizer of the yearly departmental picnic, I received a telephone call from Peter I have always remembered as “A Night at the Opera,” even though its humor was as far from the Marx Brothers as imaginable.

In substance, Peter tells me the following: The other afternoon, I hear from my old buddy Steve O’Brien. He is on his way to China on some NIH business and is in the Bay Area for only a brief time. But he has tickets for the SF Opera that night – curiously enough, Susa’s Dangerous Liasons – and wants to invite me to discuss old times and some important matters. The intrigue is irresistible, so I take an old tux from the closet and we meet. Coincidentally, the silver-bearded J. Michael is also in attendance, and waves hello. Afterwards we go out for a quiet drink, and just like in the movies, Steve surreptitiously pulls out a folded manuscript from the inside of his own tuxedo pocket, and sotto voce says, “This has already been accepted at Nature. All you have to do is sign.”

The manuscript is one that we have already encountered – “HIV Causes AIDS: Koch’s Postulates Fulfilled” – except this time the authors were Peter H. Duesberg, Stephen O’Brien, and William Blattner.

Peter told him that he would carefully read the proffered offer at redemption and get back with his response. I said to Peter something like, “Cheer up. It means you are still making big waves and they are so intellectually bankrupt, this is the option of last resort.” It did about as much to cheer him as it did me, although any notions we might have retained about the way AIDS science was supposed to operate were in tatters long before this epiphany. Peter spent more than a few hours rewriting the essay, which was nothing more than a recycling of the well-worn epidemiological arguments we have already examined; his efforts included altering the title to something more appropriate to the facts. And he did this with the urgency that O’Brien had conveyed on his way to the mysterious East. After several international phone calls and faxed revisions between the two, on October 11, Peter received the following:

I want to bring a personal reflection to your attention because it influenced my decision to approach you with the intention to sign the essay. I was outlining to my post-doc in China the other day some more blatant examples of fraud in science. As I was explaining to him how the scientific community had been thoroughly duped by [here a list of prominent names, including some we have encountered in the previous pages, has been deleted on advice of the publisher’s counsel], I realized that there was one striking exception, Peter Duesberg. Your skepticism about oncogenes made skeptics and better scientists of us all, even the 20 plus National Academy Members that oncogenes regalized. But to be honest, Peter, your campaign that HIV does not cause AIDS is not so compelling and I am afraid wrong, just wrong. I am sorry if you think my assessment harsh, but having said that I believe that you should consider signing the article for your own good. (1)

The piece, of course, never appeared in Nature. Minus the Duesberg recantation it was just another restating of the already multiply-asserted but never proved. It did, however, resurface, essentially unaltered from the draft Peter had rejected, in the much more obscure journal Current Opinion in Immunology in 1996. (2) (See previous chapter.) Blattner’s name had also disappeared, yet the published version included a note that Peter had declined joint authorship, which must have completely bewildered anyone who bothered to read the article carefully enough to notice.

Nonetheless, in this disingenuous guise, O’Brien’s publication became a key citation in The Durban Declaration (3) and thus managed to sneak into Nature via the back door in July of 2000. The Durban Declaration is an unprecedented piece of science by consensus that came about because the questions Peter had championed for more than a decade (through all the personal vilification, humiliation, and marginalization) had taken sufficient hold to require the equivalent of a Papal edict to put a stop, once and for all, to a potentially dangerous revival of the anti-HIV/AIDS heresy.

The main reason for the revival, and the timing, was that Thabo Mbeki had convened a Presidential Advisory Panel to examine the credibility of all the claims that had been making headlines about the ravages of HIV and AIDS in South Africa since the democratic reforms of a few years earlier. The panel was comprised of about forty-five invitees, two-thirds from the mainstream AIDS establishment and the other one-third most politely referred to by the media as “dissidents,” of whom Peter was the most prominent. The Advisory Panel’s final formal meeting coincided with the annual AIDS international media and pharmaceutical company circus, scheduled that year for Durban.

Compared to the attacks on Peter, the response to President Mbeki’s daring to question the ultra-authoritative proclamations of the World Health Organization (WHO) was, and continues to be, the equivalent of an all-out thermonuclear strike with as much relative effect as lobbing a large firecracker. (4) Mbeki remains unconvinced that sex not poverty and malnutrition is at the root of his country’s medical woes. (4) The panel, of which I am a member, still exists, and the South African Minister of Health, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, once an HIV/AIDS stalwart, has become Mbeki’s strong ally in the cabinet (4) – an act that has raised numerous calls in the local, white-controlled press for her resignation if not outright suicide.

That Peter survived long enough for the remarkable resurgence of HIV/AIDS criticism sketched immediately above to even occur is due primarily to the support of three people: Siggi Sachs, David Rasnick, and Robert Leppo. After determining in their own ways that a serious miscarriage of science had taken place, each did what they could to rectify it. Without them, I doubt that there would be anything to write of Peter’s scientific life and times other than to depict a noble and tragic fall from fame to obscurity.

Peter and Siggi met in Bonn in 1993, when he was invited to a symposium she had organized on behalf of George Birkmayer, the Secretary General of the International Academy of Tumor Marker Oncology (IATMO) in Vienna. Their relationship began with a characteristically Peter practical joke. Arriving at the symposium’s welcome desk, he saw a number of other invited speakers nearby and joined them briefly before registering. Although the others may have been from a lot to a little taken aback by Birkmayer’s invitation to Peter, none cancelled their own participation as would Robert Gallo – a “medical emergency” in his family while he was only a short distance away in Hamburg compelling the last-minute “I’m sorry, I can’t.” At the moment of Peter’s arrival, however, Gallo was only mysteriously late, and that of course was the subject of their spirited chat.

Siggi was taking the registrations, and when Peter introduced himself as “Dr. Robert Gallo,” she said immediately, “Oh good, we were wondering where you were.” But handing him his alter-ego’s name tag a few seconds later, she asked with coy bemusement, “Are you sure you’re Dr. Gallo? You don’t look like his pictures.” The relationship advanced much more productively and rapidly than HIV/AIDS research. Not long after, she resigned her position with Prof. Birkmayer to join Peter in Berkeley, and began to organize the mountains of paper and multi-megabytes of electronic files that had accumulated in the time he could not afford highly-skilled administrative assistance. One might correctly surmise there was at least one other element, in addition to a similar playful sense of humor, involved in this decision. Their son Max is now eight.

David Rasnick, a biochemist of my generation who retired at a relatively young age from a South San Francisco biotech company (called at the time Khepri), joined the Duesberg lab in June of 1996, prompted by his own independent reading in the field. He initially took over the majority of the AIDS matters that had consumed Peter for almost ten years and left precious little energy and no resources with which to pursue his lifelong scientifically consuming passion of determining the genetic basis of human cancers. Rasnick was to become, as we will see below, a key player in the formation of Mbeki’s panel. He was also to become a true scientific collaborator in the development of a quantitative genetic theory, which as we will also see, has come to rival cellular oncogenes and mutation as an explanation for cancer.

Robert Leppo, a historian and philanthropist, became intrigued by the saga of the once fama now impoverished and despised professor across the bay. After completing his own analysis, Leppo offered sufficient financial support for Peter to restart the laboratory just as the ideas referred to above were beginning to take testable form. Bob has remained a major benefactor of the rejuvenating Duesberg research enterprise, which according to the Institute for Scientific Information produced more papers in the year 2000 that were cited more times than the multimillion-dollar machine of Prof. Gallo.

But for now, let us follow the story that led to The Durban Declaration and the American presidential decree that AIDS in Africa is a matter of U.S. national security. (5)

In 1998, Duesberg and Rasnick published an updated, comprehensive review in Volume 104 of Genetica, entitled "The AIDS Dilemma: drug diseases blamed on a passenger virus." (6) Unlike the tortured history of the 1989 PNAS article, the time between submission and acceptance was the normal few months, perhaps because while highly respected, Genetica is regarded as a specialist journal and does not have the wider circulation of the PNAS, for example. Moreover, John McDonald, then its editor, had invited the paper with the express purpose of ending the silence about the still unproved HIV/AIDS hypothesis. He was to more than accomplish his purpose, only not quite as he anticipated. In fact, a readership of one was all that was necessary to restart the stalled AIDS controversy with a resounding roar. The article was among the first pieces of criticism of the virus-AIDS hypothesis that Mbeki read carefully. Mbeki is an economist, and while some of the “molecular minutiae” was at that time beyond his ken, the epidemiological data were completely transparent. And they simultaneously explained and reinforced his bafflement at the basic anomaly that had led him to question the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the first instance. He expressed this puzzle as follows in his welcoming address to the panel, but it was somehow ignored by the large number of TV and print journalists in attendance.

In the years prior to the end of apartheid, all studies on AIDS in South Africa had shown quite clearly that the condition was restricted to the same risk groups as in the United States and Europe – mostly (in South Africa) white, urban drug-abusing male homosexuals and intravenous drug users. Yet somehow in the few years between the end of the ’80s and early ’90s the demographic profile of the “epidemic” had shifted to predominantly rural, black, heterosexual and impoverished. (7)

That the Western media bought and continues to market this protein-deprived but testosterone-overabundant concoction is hardly surprising considering the “scientific” explanation of the origin of AIDS in Africa provided by Prof. Karpas in the pages of Nature a few years earlier.

The part of the Genetica review that pertains to a rigorous differentiation between a true pathogen and a harmless passenger or associated virus has been examined sufficiently in the previous chapters to not require further detailed elaboration here. But with regard to the anomaly referred to above, it makes this telling point:

The AIDS literature has further shown that HIV is naturally transmitted perinatally (mother to fetus) (Duesberg, 1992a; Connor et al. 1994; Duesberg, 1994; Duesberg, 1996c). Indeed, perinatal transmission of HIV is 25 to 50% efficient (Duesberg, 1988; Duesberg, 1992a; Connor et al., 1994; Hallauer & Kupsch, 1997), but sexual transmission is less than 0.1% efficient (Peterman et al., 1988; Jacquez et al., 1994; Padian et al., 1997). Therefore, HIV depends on perinatal transmission for survival just like all other retroviruses (Duesberg, 1987; Duesberg, 1992a).

Because pathogenicity during perinatal transmission would be incompatible with the survival of the host, all perinatally transmitted viruses or microbes must be harmless (Duesberg, 1992a; Duesberg, 1996d). It is for this reason that antibody against HIV is found in at least 17 million healthy humans, including 1 million healthy Americans and 0.5 million healthy Europeans (Figure I) (Merson, 1993; World Health Organization, 1995; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1997).

This also explains why the U.S. Armed Forces find that, just as in Africa, the distribution of HIV antibody is gender-neutral among the presumably fit adolescents wanting to enlist. (9) Young men and women who wish to join the armed forces do not in general come from the defined AIDS risk groups, and are unlikely to have had the good luck to have the number of sexual contacts required to acquire their infection the way Africans are said to get theirs.

In South Africa, the only sub-Saharan country that uses a positive HIV antibody test before labeling an otherwise common disease or combination of diseases AIDS, the 1 in 1000 chance of a sexual transmission immediately calls into serious question the testosterone hypothesis. All other African countries rely on the clinical, so-called Bangui definition (10), which is so general that had it been in place in 1976 when my daughter was born in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, and developed a bad case of thrush as an infant, she would have been designated an AIDS victim by the University’s health center and duly reported to the WHO. By contrast, Pneumocystis pneumonia – the most common latent pathogen in all of us and whose diagnosis in male homosexuals, along with Kaposi’s sarcoma, were the initial inspiration for the epidemic of HIV and AIDS in the U.S. and Europe – are not even included in the Bangui definition. And thrush, unless accompanied by a positive HIV antibody test, is not by itself considered an AIDS-defining disease in the U.S. or Europe.

As antenatal testing is the most used method by which the WHO obtains the numbers on which to base its estimates that are then, quite incorrectly, linearly extrapolated to entire populations, it is not surprising that HIV/AIDS is said to be evenly distributed between the sexes in Africa.

Yet, as Duesberg and Rasnick extensively document, the clustering of HIV infections and AIDS-defining diseases had remained absolutely non-random in the U.S. and Europe from the first notice anyone took of the “gay plague” in the early 1980s. This stubborn refusal of both the virus and the diseases it is said to indirectly produce to spread into the general population after so many years is a prima faciae reason to consider non-infectious causes, and to rethink the very idea that AIDS is a singular condition. The major part of the forty-plus-page Genetica review is a painstaking demonstration that chemistry, not a chronically dormant virus, more plausibly explains the distribution of the diseases that in the U.S. and Europe are called AIDS, if and only if they are diagnosed in the presence of antibodies to HIV. It also explains why HIV is much more common in certain groups than in the general population, and is therefore in the U.S. and Europe a surrogate marker for AIDS’ risks.

I quote here in full the abstract in which the basic arguments are enumerated, leaving it to the sufficiently interested reader to put the necessary flesh on their logic and contentions by undertaking to read the entire article as critically as the President of South Africa did.

Almost two decades of unprecedented efforts in research costing US taxpayers over $50 billion have failed to defeat Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and have failed to explain the chronology and epidemiology of AIDS in America and Europe. The failure to cure AIDS is so complete that the largest American AIDS foundation is even exploiting it for fundraising: “Latest AIDS statistics 0,000,000 cured. Support a cure, support AMFAR.” The scientific basis of all these unsuccessful efforts has been the hypothesis that AIDS is caused by a sexually transmitted virus, termed Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and that this viral immunodeficiency manifests in 30 previously known microbial and non-microbial AIDS diseases.

In order to develop a hypothesis that explains AIDS we have considered ten relevant facts that American and European AIDS patients have, and do not have, in common:

1. AIDS is not contagious. For example, not even one health care worker has contracted AIDS from over 800,000 AIDS patients in America and Europe.

2. AIDS is highly non-random with regard to sex (86% male); sexual persuasion (over 60% homosexual); and age (85% are 25–49 years old).

3. From its beginning in 1980, the AIDS epidemic progressed non-exponentially, just like lifestyle diseases.

4. The epidemic is fragmented into distinct subepidemics with exclusive AIDS-defining diseases. For example, only homosexual males have Kaposi’s sarcoma.

5. Patients do not have any one of 30 AIDS-defining diseases, nor even immunodeficiency, in common. For example, Kaposi’s sarcoma, dementia, and weight loss may occur without immunodeficiency. Thus, there is no AIDS-specific disease.

6. AIDS patients have antibody against HIV in common only by definition – not by natural coincidence. AIDS-defining diseases of HIV-free patients are called by their old names.

7. Recreational drug use is a common denominator for over 95% of all American and European AIDS patients, including male homosexuals.

8. Lifetime prescriptions of inevitably toxic anti-HIV drugs, such as the DNA chain-terminator AZT, are another common denominator of AIDS patients.

9. HIV proves to be an ideal surrogate marker for recreational and anti-HIV drug use. Since the virus is very rare (< 0.3%) in the US/European population and very hard to transmit sexually, only those who inject street drugs or have over 1,000 typically drug-mediated sexual contacts are likely to become positive.

10. The huge AIDS literature cannot offer even one statistically significant group of drug-free AIDS patients from America and Europe. In view of this, we propose that the long-term consumption of recreational drugs (such as cocaine, heroin, nitrite inhalants, and amphetamines) and prescriptions of DNA chain-terminating and other anti-HIV drugs, cause all AIDS diseases in America and Europe that exceed their long-established, national backgrounds, i.e. > 95%. Chemically distinct drugs cause distinct AIDS-defining diseases; for example, nitrite inhalants cause Kaposi’s sarcoma, cocaine causes weight loss, and AZT causes immunodeficiency, lymphoma, muscle atrophy, and dementia. The drug hypothesis predicts that AIDS:

1. is non-contagious;

2. is non-random, because 85% of AIDS-causing drugs are used by males, particularly sexually active homosexuals between 25 and 49 years of age; and

3. would follow the drug epidemics chronologically.

Indeed, AIDS has increased from negligible numbers in the early 1980s to about 80,000 annual cases in the early ’90s and has since declined to about 50,000 cases (US figures). In the same period, recreational drug users have increased from negligible numbers to millions by the late 1980s, and have since decreased possibly twofold. However, AIDS has declined less because since 1987 increasing numbers of mostly healthy, HIV-positive people, currently about 200,000, use anti-HIV drugs that cause AIDS and other diseases. At least 64 scientific studies, government legislation, and non-scientific reports document that recreational drugs cause AIDS and other diseases. Likewise, the AIDS literature, the drug manufacturers, and non-scientific reports confirm that anti-HIV drugs cause AIDS and other diseases in humans and animals. In sum, the AIDS dilemma could be solved by banning anti-HIV drugs, and by pointing out that drugs cause AIDS – modeled on the successful anti-smoking campaign.

Substitute chronic malnutrition for heroin or AZT as the chemical cause of immunodeficiency and hence increased susceptibility to otherwise common infections, and one can easily see why Mbeki found this analysis to be so relevant to the unprecedented health crisis that was said to be destroying his beloved country, when after so long it could at last be called his.

By the end of 1999, South Africa’s President had read and assimilated as much of the scientific literature on HIV and AIDS as he needed in order to telephone David Rasnick and ask if he and Prof. Duesberg would participate in a panel he was contemplating forming. I was visiting Peter’s laboratory at the time of the telephone call in January of 2000, and remember the way he dismissed David’s and my enthusiasm, if not elation. Peter had become so pessimistic that all he could say was the powers that be would never let this upstart African upset their carefully constructed and very expensive applecart, and we were once more grasping at mirages masquerading as miracles. I said in rebuttal only that Mbeki had fought and won a much harder and seemingly impossible struggle against an apparently insurmountable and powerful foe, and he was not a person whose commitment should be treated so cavalierly.

The official letters from the government of South Africa inviting each of us to participate in the first panel meeting scheduled for May came a few months later. Peter was obviously pleased to have been mistaken, and the repercussions of those letters continue to destabilize the inner circles of the AIDS power-brokers.

The most unexpected immediate result of the foolish president’s decision to flog a dead horse – as non-abusive a summation of the massive media assault that followed the announcement of the panel as I can manage – came from the White House and its outgoing occupant William Clinton, who declared that AIDS in Africa was suddenly of national security concern to the United States. An article from the Washington Post (5) explains the reasoning for this as follows: “Authors of one intelligence report said the consequences of AIDS appear to have ‘a particularly strong correlation with the likelihood of state failure in partial democracies’ and held out the prospect of ‘revolutionary wars, ethnic wars, genocides and disruptive regime transitions.’ Thus, HIV not only causes poverty and malnutrition in Africa, (11) but it also is a cause of political instability and potential wars. These arguments have been put forth as recently as November 2003, by the shameless, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who parroted precisely this nonsense to the BBC. (12) When the panel’s first meeting convened in Pretoria in May 2000, it was attended by a contingent from the CDC and NIH who were not on the original invitation list.

One might speculate that the actual reasons for this unanticipated attention were two-fold. First, the virus-AIDS hypothesis, formulated on essentially epidemiological arguments, having failed to live up to even one of the epidemiological predictions that had terrorized the US and Europe so effectively between 1984 and the late nineties, was no longer so terrifying. Second, Africa – and South Africa in particular, the only sub-Saharan country with a twenty-first-century infrastructure and an independent, viable economy – could be transformed into a battlefield large enough to require keeping every platoon in the enormous army in the war against AIDS combat-ready 24/7, and even adding a few special forces.

The Panel’s formal deliberations consisted of an initial two-day gathering in Pretoria that, a little ironically, was held at the Sheraton Hotel overlooking the South African equivalent of the White House. This was followed by a six-week Internet-based continuation of the “dialog” that was initiated in May 2000. Finally, the Panel reconvened in early July, this time in Johannesburg, and eventually a report of the recommendations was submitted to the President in March of 2001.

Mbeki’s decision produced a number of consequences that include the geopolitical, the scientifically substantial, the scientifically shameful, and relative to the preceding, the trivial effect that this appointment as a presidential advisor had on Peter’s already demolished professional standing. After years of relative media inattention, during which time he had managed to publish several definitive papers on his now widely recognized alternative genetic theory of cancer, Peter acquired an entirely new, large, and remarkably vitriolic band of enemies to join the prominent, but aging, prior retinue.

Other than the pre-emptive manic response from Washington, the actual content of the live debates (which Mbeki had videotaped from four different angles so he did not miss anything, including Luc Montagnier’s afternoon nap) and the written material contained in the Internet exchange served only to reinforce the conviction that he was completely correct in convening the panel and raising exactly the kinds of questions he did. The continuing press coverage in South Africa, almost 100% negative, of this determination and the prominence that government HIV/AIDS policy has taken are well documented and easily available via the Internet.

The scientifically substantial outcome was the clear recommendation that the accuracy of HIV antibody testing in South Africa be rigorously examined. There is an extensive literature demonstrating the lack of specificity of these tests when used on people chronically infected with a variety of pathogens common to Africa. (13) Since South Africa, as we have noted, is the only African country to use HIV antibody status as a diagnostic criterion for AIDS, the entire validity of the epidemic rests on the tests’ accuracy. In May of 2003, the first of these studies was begun at the Medical University of South Africa in Pretoria. To any reader perplexed by the long time intervals, I can only say that they represent the obstinacy and mendacious procrastinations of the South African HIV/AIDS establishment that Mbeki had the temerity to engage. Eventually these studies may produce sufficient data to verify empirically the only explanation, other than deep massage, of the following conundrum. According to the CDC, between 1985 and 2000, the annual incidence of HIV infection in the “sexually conservative” United States remained constant at one million, (14) while according to the WHO, in “sex-obsessed” Africa during this same period it linearly increased to approximately twenty-five million. (15)

The scientifically shameful outcome of Mbeki’s Advisory Panel was the widely known Durban Declaration in which five thousand approved scientists endorsed as the true gospel that there is only one AIDS and it is caused by HIV. The prime mover of this let’s count-hands-and-degrees version of the scientific method was Simon Wain-Hobson, an HIV gene sequencer at the Pasteur Institute. One can only imagine that the poor showing of their colleagues at the first panel meeting, and their almost complete silence during the Internet discussion, set enough alarms sounding to instigate the following bulk email that would divert whatever serious attention the substantive undertakings of the Panel might otherwise have received.

Thu, 22 Jun 2000 04:22:28-0700 (PDT)

Dear —,

You have probably heard about the reappearance of an old myth surrounding the cause of AIDS. Peter Duesberg is back in the columns of Nature and Science. His thesis is that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, that there is no need to screen blood, or treat patients. The situation has taken a serious turn in that President Mbeki of South Africa is consulting him. The consequences are being felt in Africa and Asia. An international group of scientists and doctors has come up with something called the Durban Declaration to be published in Nature on July 6. You will find it at the bottom of this message. As a scientific statement in plain language, it attempts to set the record straight by stating the facts.

The organizing committee of scientists and front-line physicians has 181 members spread over 43 different countries. The list of committee members follows the declaration. Among them you will find David Baltimore, Sir Aaron Klug, President of the Royal Society, Luc Montagnier, Rolf Zinkernagel and many more. The object is to get as many names of scientists and doctors to sign on. Names of signatories will appear on the Nature website. If you would like to sign on we would be delighted. Send me an e-mail confirming this. To economise space on the website we have to name people in a single line:

Name, Major degree, One title if necessary, Hospital/University/Institute,

City, Country. The form of the ideal response would be:

Durban Declaration: Agreed

Robin WEISS, PhD, Professor, University College, London, UK

Please note in CAPITALS your name as found in the index of an English-language scientific paper. This is important as we will be listing everyone in alphabetical order. Many of you will say that HIV/AIDS is not your area. However over the years you have heard enough of the arguments to understand the association. Furthermore many of you know well infectious diseases and understand Koch’s postulates.

If you have colleagues in the laboratory or in the clinic who you feel would like to sign on please ask them. The more the better. However, please note that in order to be authoritative we feel it necessary to restrict the list to those with major university qualifications. Hence please do not ask students. Apologies for this. We would need email replies as soon as possible and before June 27.

Finally please do not talk to reporters about the Durban Declaration until Nature publishes it. If you are asked by a member of the press, just say “I’d be pleased to talk to you about this, but I’m afraid I am not at liberty to do so at the moment.” Please could you point this out to others who wish to sign on.

Many thanks,

Simon Wain-Hobson

on behalf of the organizing committee

The text of the aptly named “declaration” is provided here, along with a refutation from Peter’s very likely final scholarly review article on this subject, entitled “The chemical bases of the various AIDS epidemics: recreational drugs, anti-viral chemotherapy and malnutrition PDFsmallicon.gif” which appeared in June 2003 in the Journal of Biosciences. (16) One piece of quantitative reasoning contained in that review is appropriate to quote here, because it demonstrates the fundamental statistical flaw that underlies all of the WHO-endorsed proclamations about AIDS-related mortality in Africa and the attendant, horrific consequences.

According to the US Bureau of the Census International Database, 2001, the population of Sub-Saharan Africa grew at an annual rate of 2.6% between 1980 and 2000, from 378 million to 652 million. Thus Africa has gained 274 million more people, the equivalent of the entire US. According to the WHO, Africa lost to ‘AIDS’ during this same period a total of “1,093,522” persons. It is statistically impossible to verify this number, unless the African AIDS’ diseases are completely distinctive. (16)

When an in-depth examination of these same points by South African author Rian Malan appeared in the South African investigative monthly Noseweek in December 2003, under the title “Apocalypse When?,” (17) the Mail & Guardian, a major Johannesburg daily, immediately published an editorial, “Author claims Aids figures based on false surveys.” It began: “Rian Malan’s crime is not just saying the unsayable, but saying it so well.” (18)

Finally, I cannot resist pointing out that in addition to the O’Brien paper, another key citation in this sparsely referenced but definitive declaration is the Weiss and Jaffe caricature of Peter we also encountered in the previous chapter. After abrogating completely any semblance of the proper way in which a scientific journal should operate, Nature did allow a brief reply to publication of The Durban Declaration from the propagators of “old myths surrounding the cause of AIDS.” (19)

Objective confirmation the most recent Duesberg review mentioned above does not omit any important new findings regarding the presumed pathogenicity of HIV is contained in the July 2003 issue of Nature Medicine devoted to “20 Years of HIV Science.” In these pages Mario Stevenson from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, in an eerie, persistent echo of the retired John Maddox’s words almost ten years previous, writes: “...the reason why HIV-1 infection is pathogenic is still debated and the goal of eradicating HIV-1 infection remains elusive.” (20) Exactly how elusive is quite wonderfully described in an article from The New York Times of September 23, 2003, entitled “Trying to Kill AIDS Virus by Luring It Out of Hiding.” (21)

Perhaps the alternative explanation for the different consortia of diseases that go under the name of AIDS is not as unreasonable a hypothesis as Fauci pronounced fifteen years ago when he ranted in the pages of Science about the non-existent risks of non-existent, HIV-infected, sixty-year-old wives of hemophiliacs. (22)


  1. Per. comm. from Stephen O’Brien to Peter Duesberg, preserved in the Peter H. Duesberg Archive of the Bancroft Library of the Univ. of California, Berkeley.
  2. O’Brien, S. J., and Goedert J. J. 1996. "HIV causes AIDS: Koch’s postulates fulfilled". Curr. Opin. Immunol. 8:613–618.
  3. The Durban Declaration. 2000. Nature 406:15–16.
  4. A sample of articles in the mainstream print media from early 2000 through February 2004. Many similar can easily be found online.

          HIV-doctors go ballistic; Doubting Peter Scientists call S. Africa’s AIDS policy idiotic. April 19, 2000. By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent, Washington (Reuters)
          In South Africa, AIDS and a Dangerous Denial. The Washington Post Company, April 20, 2000. Op-ed column by Ronald Bayer and Mervyn Susser.
          AIDS skeptic gets boost from South Africa. San Francisco Examiner, April 21, 2000, page A-2 (reprinted from: Salopek, P. “Scientific world frustrated at new attention focused on HIV denial,” Chicago Tribune).
          Wilhelm, P. Puppy Fur Gives You AIDS. Financial Mail (South Africa), May 19, 2000.
          Chicago Tribune, May 23, 2000, p. 16. Headline: South Africa and the AIDS Disaster.
          Peterson, A. Associated Press, May 25, 2000. S. Africa Head Defends AIDS Policies.
          Garrett, L. Newsday, July 8, 2002. Rage Over ‘Poison’ As AIDS Treatment. It begins: Barcelona, Spain &ndash The minister of health for South Africa yesterday called drugs used to prevent transmission of HIV from mother to child poison.
          Colers, D. Independent (Johannesburg), September 26, 2003. This proves Mbeki is an Aids dissident.
          Time Europe, November 3, 2003. “I knew it needed to be done.” Bill Clinton talks to TIME about AIDS, aid and aid budgets.
          News 24, February 8, 2004. Mbeki questions Aids stats. Jan-Jan Joubert and Willem Jordaan, Edited by Wilmer Muller. A transcript of a television interview with Pres. Mbeki that begins: Cape Town – President Thabo Mbeki on Sunday questioned the extent of HIV/Aids deaths, because of the absence of statistics on the causes of death in South Africa. After Mbeki did not focus on HIV/Aids and Zimbabwe in his State of the Nation address on Friday, he was bombarded with questions on these issues in an interview with the SABC on Sunday.
          Wyndham Hartley writing in Business Day (Johannesburg) on February 9, 2004, under the sub-head: Mbeki skirted top three issues. State of the Nation/makes this same point, more pointedly perhaps, but less informatively, when he writes: And he has tried especially hard to avoid talking about HIV/AIDS, perhaps because he still believes it is a eurocentric invention.

  5. US Makes AIDS Security Threat. Washington Post, April 30, 2000.
  6. Duesberg, P. H., and Rasnick, D. 1998. "The AIDS dilemma: drug diseases blamed on a passenger virus". Genetica 104:85–132.
  7. An accurate condensation of Pres. Mbeki’s remarks as digitally recorded on MD-SA1, track 4, and preserved in the Peter H. Duesberg Archive of the Bancroft Library of the Univ. of California, Berkeley. A transcript is available at
  8. Duesberg, P. H. Op. cit. References therein:

          Duesberg, P. H., 1992a. "AIDS acquired by drug consumption and other noncontagious risk factors". Pharmacology & Therapeutics 55:201–277.
          Connor, E. M., R. S. Sperling, R. Gelber et al., 1994. "Reduction of Maternal-Infant Transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type I with Zidovudine Treatment". New Engl. J. Med. 331(18):1173–1180.
          Duesberg, P. H., 1994. "Infectious AIDS – stretching the germ theory beyond its limits". Int. Arch. Allergy Immunol. 103:131–142.
          Duesberg, P. H., 1996c. "How much longer can we afford the AIDS virus monopoly?" pp. 241–270 in AIDS: virus- or drug-induced?, edited by P. Duesberg. Kluwer, Dordrecht, Netherlands.
          Duesberg, P. H., 1988. "HIV is not the cause of AIDS". Science 241:514–516.
          Hallauer, J. F. & S. Kupsch, 1997. "Die HIV/AIDS-Pandemie". p. 132, in AIDS und die Vorstadien, edited by J. L’age-Stehr & E. B. Helm. Springer Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg.
          Peterman, T. A., R. L. Stonebumer, J. R. Allen, H. W. Jaffe & J. W. Curran, 1988. "Risk of human immunodeficiency virus transmission from heterosexual adults with transfusion-associated infections". J. Am. Med. Assoc. 259:55 –58.
          Jacques, J. A., J. S. Koopman, C. P. Simon & I. M. Longini Jr., 1994. "Role of the primary infection in epidemics of HIV infection in gay cohorts". J. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 7 (11):1169–1184.
          Padian, N.S., S. C. Shiboski, S. O. Glass & E. Vittinghoff, 1997. "Heterosexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in Northern California: results from a ten-year study". Am. J. Epidemiol. 146:350–357.
          Duesberg, P. H., 1987. "Retroviruses as carcinogens and pathogens: expectations and reality". Cancer Res. 47:1199–1220.
          Duesberg, P. H., 1996d. Inventing the AIDS Virus. Regnery Publishing Inc., Washington, DC.
          Merson, M. H., 1993. "Slowing the spread of HIV: Agenda for the 1990s". Science 260: 1266–1268.
          World Health Organization, 1995a. The Current Global Situation of the HIV/AIDS Pandemic. WHO.
          Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1997. U.S. HIV and AIDS cases reported through December 1997; Year-end edition. 9(2):1–43.

  9. Burke, D. S., Brundage, J. F., Goldenbaum, M., Gardner, M., Peter-son, M., Visintine, R., Redfield, R., and Walter Reed Retrovirus Research Group. 1990. "Human immunodeficiency virus infections in teenagers: seroprevalence among applicants for the U.S. military service". J. Am. Med. Ass. 263:2074–2077.
  10. WHO. 1986. "Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) WHO/CDC case definition for AIDS". Weekly Epidemiology Record 61:69–76.
  11. de Waal, A., and Whiteside, A. 2003. "New variant famine: AIDS and food crisis in southern Africa". Lancet 362:1234–1237.
  12. Secretary Colin L. Powell – Interview on BBC-TV with Owen Bennett Jones, November 6, 2003. United States Department of State (Washington, DC) Released on November 17, 2003.
  13. Johnson, C. 1997. "Factors known to cause false HIV-antibody test results". Continuum 4:5–26, and extensive references therein.
  14. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2001. US HIV and AIDS cases reported through December 2001. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Rep. 13:1–44.
  15. World Health Organization. 2001. "Global situation of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, end 2001, Part I"; Weekly Epidemiological Records 76:381–384.
  16. Duesberg, P. H., Koehnlein, C., and Rasnick, D. 2003. "The chemical bases of the various AIDS epidemics: recreational drugs, anti-viral chemotherapy and malnutrition". J. Biosci. 28:383–412.
  17. Malan, R. "Apocalypse When?" Noseweek no. 52 (December 2003).
  18. Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg), Dec. 21, 2003. Author claims Aids figures based on false surveys.
  19. "The Durban Declaration is not accepted by all". 2000. Nature 407:286.
  20. Stevenson, M., 2003. "HIV-1 pathogenesis". Nat. Med. 9:853–860.
  21. Mcneil, Jr., D. "Trying to Kill AIDS Virus by Luring It Out of Hiding". The New York Times, September 23, 2003. It begins: Who knows what evil lurks in the lymph nodes of men? The immunologist knows. But the body may not even suspect it. That evil is the AIDS virus, which has the power to hibernate, virtually forever, even in patients taking their triple-therapy cocktails with religious devotion.
  22. Booth, W. 1988. "A rebel without a cause of AIDS". Science 239:1485–1488.

© 2004 by Harvey Bialy