Friday, February 21, 2003
"WE HAD TO DISCREDIT PETER DUESBERG"
FEBRUARY 21. Part three of the AIDS hoax: the secret campaign to
maintain HIV as the cause of AIDS.
In the spring of 1987, propaganda consultant Ellis Medavoy became
aware that his objectives were being threatened by a University of
Berkeley virologist named Peter Duesberg.
Duesberg had just published a long paper in the journal Cancer
Research. That paper made a case against HIV as the cause of AIDS.
Duesberg was far from being a nobody. He was a star in his field. He
had grant monies to do research. He had a lab at Berkeley and graduate
students lining up to be part of his team. Duesberg was, in addition,
a recognized expert in the emerging field of retrovriruses.
He was, in his own way, the equal, in terms of prestige, of Robert
Gallo. In fact, Duesberg had worked with Gallo and Montagnier and
others in the doomed Viral Cancer Project, an effort to show that
cancers were caused by retroviruses.
Duesberg had bailed out of that project. "I could see that we weren?t
getting anywhere," he told me. "These viruses were interesting, but I
discovered that they weren?t very important as far as cancer research
was concerned. But Gallo and others stayed on. They had their reasons.
I was glad to leave. Disappointed, to a degree, but satisfied. I had
seen what there was to see."
Medavoy told me, "Duesberg was a wild card. We knew we could come
across one, and he was it. He saw through the propaganda we were
spreading in the guise of science. He attacked HIV from a researcher's
point of view and he said all the right things. That is, he didn't
know there was an intense propaganda campaign coordinated at high
levels to 'protect' HIV as the cause of AIDS. But he knew the science.
He knew the difference between real research and badly done or fake
research. And HIV was, make no mistake about it, a fake from day one."
In his Cancer Research paper, Duesberg had said several things. Among
the most important was, HIV was, at best, infecting only a tiny
percentage of (immune-system) T-cells. This made no sense. If HIV was
killing immune systems, it had to be doing much more than that.
Duesberg also began to comment on the wild contradiction implicit in
HIV testing. He noticed that the blood test was looking for antibodies
which had formed as part of the body?s defense against HIV. The
presence of such antibodies was taken as a sign that a person was
going to develop full-blown AIDS and die. But, on the other hand, a
vaccine against AIDS would produce the exact same antibodies, in which
case people would be said to be immune from AIDS.
Medavoy told me, "Duesberg got that one right too. He saw that the HIV
test was completely insane. He was telling the research community they
had been roped in by a bunch of fakers---and so we had to do some
heavy damage control."
Duesberg was not the only problem. At Berkeley, a few other people
were waking up. Harry Rubin, one of the grand old men of virology, was
willing to go public and say he thought HIV research needed a "second
opinion." Richard Strohman, a cell biologist at the school, was also
dissatisfied with the glib crowning of Gallo as the discoverer of the
cause of AIDS. And then, there was a maverick professor of law at
Berkeley, Phillip Johnson, who was more than willing to join in the
fray. He not only agreed with Duesberg, he was able to organize the
arguments against HIV in a more structured way than Duesberg, in
speaking forums, usually bothered to. (Eventually, this burgeoning
little group would expand to include more than 300 scientists and
journalists who signed on to a short letter asserting that HIV science
was deficient and needed a complete review by impartial people. One
signer was Kary Mullis, a Nobel laureate who had discovered the PCR
test for DNA. Mullis was like the grim reaper when it came to HIV. He
was willing to take on anyone anywhere.)
But in 1987, it was mainly Duesberg who was carrying the banner
against false science. Duesberg's principal ally at the time was
Harvey Bialy, the research editor of Bio/Technology, a sister
publication of Nature, the revered medical journal. Bialy was
completely disgusted with the rush to judgement that had accompanied
Gallo's unsubstantiated claims for HIV as the cause of AIDS.
Bialy was definitely not a man to tangle with in print. He was quite
willing to do the one thing most career-minded researchers were loathe
to engage in. Bialy would read a key paper on the subject of HIV all
the way through and in detail, and then blast the arguments to
smithereens. Point by point. Like Duesberg, he read the fine print and
the methods sections, and he was brutal in his criticism. Bialy saw
that, in a field (virology) that once rippled with extensive debate,
AIDS was taking over as mush-science. Press-conference science.
Bubble-head science. Science on behalf of gaining money grants to
spout the favored line.
In 1987, Ellis Medavoy, whose job it was to protect HIV against all
detractors, told me he was getting fed up with his own profession. He
wanted out. He was ready to end his long career as one of the bad
guys---mostly because he saw where things were headed---into a vast
depopulation effort that would take decades and decades. This was a
bit more than he had bargained for. Medavoy was somewhat unstable, you
could say. Depending on what day you talked with him, he could be
ready to throw in the towel---or he might display a completely
arrogant attitude toward the rest of the human race. At any rate,
before he did actually drop out and quit, he began to tell me about
what he was doing---and in some cases, how he was doing it.
Ellis Medavoy and his colleagues had, besides Peter Duesberg, another
problem on their hands. Through the efforts of certain "subversive
reporters"---and guess who was in that crowd?--- connections were
being forged with the alternative health community. Some of these
activists had never been much for blaming human disease on germs, and
the revelations about fake HIV science were quite exciting to them.
Furthermore, there were people who had been diagnosed as HIV positive
or "full-blown AIDS" who were surviving quite well because they were
taking care of their health. They were rejecting the whole HIV premise
and they were exercising and changing their diets and not taking any
more drugs and taking nutrients and so on. And staying away from AZT.
These people were living testimonials to a sensational kind of
healing---and if THAT got out far and wide, the whole sordid game
could be blown off its hinges.
Medavoy said, "A lot of what we did at this point was stop things from
getting into print. That's often more important than planting lies. As
far as Duesberg was concerned, I can tell you there were many
newspapers and magazines who were ready to give his views some space.
You know, maverick scientist rejects HIV as cause of AIDS. So we began
a coordinated effort to keep that from happening. We let the
scientists at NIH [National Institutes of Health], who had the most to
lose if Duesberg could establish a credible beachhead, handle the PR
on rejecting Duesberg's science. They engaged in some character
assassination as well, which was fine. We, on the other side, got
'reliable sources' to go to those newspapers and magazines and tell
them that to print anything good about Duesberg was DANGEROUS and
IRRESPONSIBLE. That was our tack. We had our people say that thousands
of people could die if they stopped believing that HIV was the cause
of AIDS. Promiscuous sex would become more rampant than ever, people
would get infected, get sick, and spread the virus even further. We
hammered on all this, and we cowed most of those media outlets. It
worked, for the most part.
"As far as the very embarrassing and growing list of AIDS survivors
was concerned---the people who had rejected the idea of HIV and were
rebuilding their health successfully without medical drugs---we tried
to keep track of pending stories on these people, and we went to those
media outlets and told them these people were 'vegetarian kooks' and
'anecdotal examples who had not been studied by real scientists' and
'publicity seekers' and so on. We said some of them had never really
been HIV positive to begin with. It was like shooting pigeons. We did
pretty well. Some stories did appear on these survivors, but the
general tone was, 'so and so is a strange curiosity and scientists are
studying why he has managed to live for so long without getting sick,
and this may hold promise for future research.' You know, all that
Here is another choice quote from Medavoy on the AIDS scam. He told me
this in 1996:
"Some other operatives I was aware of played a role in getting
mainstream researchers to lobby for, and win, a new standard for HIV
illness, based purely on numbers of T-cells. [Note: this 'innovation'
came later, long after 1987.] Tests would determine if a person was
'getting sick,' or if he was 'getting better' after taking his
AZT---all measured by how many T- cells [part of the immune system
defense] showed up on the tests. These operatives knew, and had been
briefed on this, that T-cells could actually vary all over the place,
up and down, depending on factors like the time of day a person was
given the test. It was another area of shoddy science, and they took
advantage of it. I'll give you an example. You've got some guy who has
been told he's HIV positive, and so, even though he?s not sick at all,
he gets tested every few months for numbers of T-cells. Sooner or
later, those numbers will go down on a test. If the doctor isn?t
really attentive, he?ll tell the patient he is now officially
diagnosed with full-blown AIDS, because those numbers are too low. If
the patient hasn't been taking AZT yet, he will go for it now."
By the mid-1990s, Peter Duesberg no longer got grant money from the
government. His major lab at Berkeley was gone. Graduate students were
told they'd be risking their futures if they associated their names
Years before, Robert Gallo had told me, "The thing about Peter is,
he's different. He's very bright, and he goes his own way. Sometimes
that way turns out to be... unusual, strange. He can be difficult on
purpose, you know. As if he's trying to adopt a position that
challenges everybody else. He's a different kind of man."
Ironic, coming from the tyrannical and arbitrary Gallo, the man who
had laid claim to the virus that doesn't cause anything.
JON RAPPOPORT www.stratiawire.com