Document:Soul of the Fire

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Soul of the Fire
by Celia Farber

Impression magazine
May 1999


The Tyson family loses its breast-feeding court battle in Oregon. Plus, federal AIDS funds are being challenged from within, and ACT UP San Francisco shows its teeth with full-page ads.

The case of the Tyson family in Eugene, Oregon, casts a continuing ray of full media light on the teeming underworld of AIDS dissent. The New York Times even managed to choke out the words "Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV-AIDS Hypothesis" and to admit that there are, on this planet, scientists who don't think HIV is the cause of AIDS. (These words came almost 13 years after the HIV debate began.)

As reported in this column, Kathleen Tyson, a longtime monogamous Oregon mother and wife, tested HIV-antibody positive while pregnant with her second child, Felix. The nicely worded AIDS literature says that a woman in this situation is to be "offered" AZT. But this is no bowl of peanuts; saying "no thank you" tends to bring out the worst in the AIDS caregivers. In the case of the Tysons, armed guards came barreling down the corridors of the maternity ward where Kathleen gave birth, followed by a team of social workers and doctors who threatened to seize the infant boy if Kathleen persisted in her "choice" to refuse AZT and to breast-feed him.

Kathleen broke down and swore she would do anything they asked, if only they wouldn't take her child away.

It sounds like some terrible nightmare on an L.A. freeway, but instead it is standard drama, being played out on maternity wards all around the world, in an atmosphere of creeping HIV totalitarianism.

The state of Oregon took legal custody of Felix but allowed the Tysons to keep physical custody. The Tysons were closely watched and supervised by social workers, who came to the house to administer AZT to the baby.

What brought the Tyson case into the media spotlight was the fact that they fought back. On April 16, the case went to court in Eugene – Kathleen and her husband David hoped to establish a legal precedent and win Kathleen the right to breast-feed her child, despite being HIV-positive. They were financially backed by the newly formed International Coalition For Medical Justice (ICMJ), which paid for the services of attorney Hillary Billings, who previously defended Valerie Emerson in Maine. As in the Emerson case, two AIDS dissident scientists, Dr. David Rasnick and Dr. Roberto Giraldo, flew out to testify, courtesy of ICMJ. Rasnick and Giraldo testified that the HIV test is wildly overreactive and inaccurate, that HIV cannot be transmitted via breast milk, that AZT is deadly and that even if HIV could transmit via breast milk, it doesn't cause AIDS.

Well, you can imagine how that went over.

After only two days of testimony, the verdict was handed down: The Tysons lost.

Kathleen is forbidden to breast-feed Felix, and if she does she will lose custody of him to the state. The AZT issue is moot because Felix is HIV-negative, already completed his 12-week treatment with the drug and thankfully survived.

The paradox of the breast-feeding question is that breast milk – all sides would agree – is an infant's primary way of developing a strong immune system.

Amidst all the hot air, smoke and save-the-babies pomposity, a crucial fact was overlooked and never reported. Before the trial began, Kathleen's breast milk was extracted and sent off to a lab for testing. Using the most thorough HIV-testing methods available, including PCR, the results ought to have given some of the HIV zealots pause.

The milk was negative. There was no trace whatsoever of HIV in Kathleen's milk. This is precisely what the dissidents have argued, to no avail – that proviral, infectious HIV has never been isolated from breast milk. Hence breast-feeding cannot possibly transmit HIV.

In Kathleen's case, there was a "control," an HIV-negative mother whose milk was also tested and was of course also negative. None of this was allowed in as evidence because the judge said he could not know with utter certainty that it was Kathleen's milk that was being tested because the state had positioned no witnesses around the Tysons when they extracted the sample.

You didn't hear a peep, by the way, out of the American Civil Liberties Union or any of the political factions in this country that claim to concern themselves with civil rights.

Does the population of the world have the right to ask how long they must continue to be harassed, controlled, poisoned, and killed in the name of a hypothesis that was never proven?

Call the ACLU and ask. After the beep.

Follow The Money

In other news, abuses and misuses of federal AIDS funds are at long last being challenged from within as the AIDS establishment's edifice continues to corrode. On April 20, U.S. Representative Tom Coburn (R-OK), Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) and Commerce Committee Chairman Tom Bliley (R-VA) sent a letter to the U.S. General Accounting Office requesting an evaluation and audit of all federal AIDS/HIV programs and services.

Their complaints – AIDS money being used for political campaigns, programs that fail to distribute fairly to women and minorities and programs that condone illegal drug use – seem almost minor when compared to the true crimes against humanity being committed by these organizations.

The ICMJ has contacted Coburn's office in hopes of opening up a true and thorough investigation of the entire stinking mess.

"They want to meet with us," ICMJ executive director Deane Collie said. "They are very interested."

ACT UP Gets Radical

San Francisco's ruling AIDS elite will not be happy on the morning of May 13 when they open the San Francisco Bay Guardian and find full-page ads that scream in bold type: "Who Says AIDS Is An Epidemic?"

But that's only the beginning. The rogue activist group ACT UP San Francisco will be running a series of five ads over a period of seven weeks that will call into question virtually every facet of AIDS establishment dogma. The first ad will, in the words of ACT UP SF member Dave Pasquerelli, "deconstruct the notion that there is a contagious epidemic of immune deficiency going on"; the second one will urge people not to take the HIV test; the third will urge people not to take the toxic drugs pushed by the AIDS industry; the fourth will address the future of AIDS, with mandatory names reporting, mandatory vaccine programs, the assault on pregnant women and other civil rights questions; and the fifth will address "what really causes AIDS, and why people don't have to die."

The ads will run in publications that have staunchly resisted exploring any of these questions, such as the Bay Guardian and the Bay Area Reporter. The group found funding for the campaign – $25,000 – from a single individual.

"It's really incredible," Pasquerelli said. "It's all leading up to (a) gay pride (parade), and the day before the parade we're having a big public event with a panel discussion about the cause of AIDS, which will include (Nobel laureate and PCR inventor) Kary Mullis, as well as Alive and Well director Christine Maggiore and Zenger's editor Mark Conlan."

If you go to rival faction ACT UP Golden Gate's Web site, you'll see in red letters along the bottom the of the site a disclaimer saying that none of the other ACT UP factions are in any way affiliated with "the group that calls itself ACT UP San Francisco."

It was in 1995 that a few members of ACT UP splintered off from the drugs-into-bodies philosophy of the organization and began to rage not – as they had previously done – against the price of the drugs but against the drugs themselves, beginning with AZT, which they'd watched their friends and lovers die from. After several violent clashes that culminated in symbolic buckets of fake blood being thrown in the faces of AIDS figureheads at the 1996 AIDS conference in Vancouver, ACT UP SF became the enfant terrible of AIDS activism, and many other ACT UP leaders insisted the San Francisco group was not "really" ACT UP at all. This is true to the extent that ACT UP previously embodied a spirit of pharmaceutical worship and considered open scientific debate on HIV causation to be morally repugnant and homophobic.

But one thing the new rebels do share with their predecessors is an in-your-face fighting style. This fist-clench radicalism began to lose its edge right around the time ACT UP started taking money from pharmaceutical companies. That was the point at which ACT UP SF could stomach it no longer and decided to do what it could to return the organization to its righteous beginnings. "AIDS activism took a nosedive," said ACT UP SF member Michael Bellafountaine in 1995, "when [ACT UP founder] Larry Kramer stopped calling [director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases] Anthony Fauci a murderer and started calling him 'Tony.'"

"I am ashamed," retorted Kramer, "that anything I started has somehow been perverted to include psychopaths."

But in these times of AIDS drug disillusionment, ACT UP SF is growing fast while virtually every other ACT UP faction has dwindled down to a few people or a Web site.

"The activist community in San Francisco is a small handful that are taking the drugs and are dying at an alarming rate," Pasquerelli said. "That's why their movement, or whatever is left of it, is collapsing. ACT UP Golden Gate is on the verge of shutting its doors. It's just a facade at this point."

Responding to the oft-repeated notion that the AIDS drug cocktails have lowered the incidence of AIDS deaths dramatically, Pasquerelli points out that AIDS deaths began dropping at the end of 1994, two years before the cocktails were on the market.

"Deaths are dramatically down, yes, because people have wised up and have stopped taking the poison," he said. "We're seeing people come into our community space here that do take the drugs that are being deformed, that are having strokes and that are simply dying of organ failure at an alarming rate. We have to sit down with these people for a few hours to deprogram them, to get them off the drugs, and finally when they get off the drugs, they take us aside and they thank us with tears in their eyes. They say 'You've saved my life.'"

Meanwhile, if you skim the orthodox Web sites and discussion groups, you'll see outrage and disgust over the fact that such "dangerous" information is allowed to proliferate freely.

Let's consider that for a moment. We're talking about a hail of drugs that cause heart attacks, strokes, grotesque physical disfigurement, soaring cholesterol levels, diarrhea, bone atrophy and general organ failure, to name just a few effects. Even HIV doctors are throwing up their hands and admitting that they can't tell whether patients are dying of the disease or the drugs anymore. Isn't it time for a group like ACT UP San Francisco to take back the streets?

Sign me up with the psychopaths. It is only the madness of the world itself that makes their primal scream seem so politically incorrect.

I find faith in the simple notion that the truth will find its way, through the millions of human bodies in which the HIV paradigm has been implanted. For every person that goes off the drugs and lives happily ever after, the leaders of the AIDS industry lose power, little by little. There will come a day when the balance of power shifts. Like that moment when Nicolae Ceausescu stood on the balcony of his palace and suddenly saw that the crowds were not cheering; they were booing. Normally, he would just have them killed. But look how many of them there were. Was he going to kill the entire population of Romania? No – he chose the helicopter. In an instant, decades of totalitarian rule collapsed, the switch of power thrown by virtue of sheer mass awakening.

The AIDS establishment has stifled, abused, ridiculed and intimidated the voices of AIDS dissent in the false hope that truth can be utterly devalued. It was easy when there were only a handful of dissenters, but as the legions grow, it gets a lot more interesting. They're going to need a lot of helicopters and a lot of sky.

© 1999 by Celia Farber
Originally published in Impression magazine