Michael Baumgartner, Acting Editor

About the author:

Secretary General of the
International Forum for Accessible Science (IFAS), an educational Human Rights organisation in the field of science and health.

He is Acting Editor of Continuum Magazine.

Dear Reader

Many of you will wonder what happened to CONTINUUM Magazine? It last appeared in print in 1998 and then surfaced again in February 2001 on the Internet.

I am sad to inform you, that its Editor-in-Chief Huw Christie passed away in August (link to obituary). He asked me to help out as acting-editor prior to his death with what has now become the last issue of CONTINUUM Magazine.

The organisation CONTINUUM ceased to exist after Huw Christie returned to Australia late last year, leaving behind unfinished business and debts of over £14,000. The International Forum for Accessible Science (IFAS) an educational human rights organisation in the fields of science and health, which Huw Christie helped to found in 1997 has agreed to step in and bring the magazine to a dignified closure. We are deeply grateful to its Webmaster and Secretary, Sara Ayech, and to its News Editor, Nigel Edwards. Both stayed with Huw and the magazine till the end, and agreed to help us with the final issue.

They have been joined by Christine Johnson, former editor of "Rethinking AIDS". Other contributing writers to this issue are: Etienne de Harven, France; Claus Kohnlein, Germany; Michael Tracey, US; Klazien Matter-Walstra, Switzerland; Clair Walton, UK; Anju Singh, India; Alistair McConnachie, UK, and Olivier Clerc, France. As acting editor, I sign for the content of this issue.

We have decided to dedicate this final issue to Huw Christie and carry it forward as yet another late issue.

We would like to apologise to all those subscribers, who do not get the full subscription. Those who registered only this year will not have been charged the registration. All money sent to CONTINUUM has been going towards paying off the debts of the organisation, which IFAS has no control over and cannot be held responsible for. It is simply our task to bring the magazine to a dignified end and inform as many readers as possible.

Let me now talk about the content of the last issue, which was being prepared while Huw Christie was still alive.

Much has happened in this world since! In the last two decades, diseases allegedly causing micro-organisms in the form of deadly viruses ("HIV", HCV and Ebola) or "killer-proteins" (Prions) were introduced to the public. They replaced the USSR as the leading public enemy. After the appalling attacks in the US on September 11th, terrorists too are declared the enemy of the people. Alleged micro-organisms and suggested terrorists both raise some important similar questions. Firstly, how do we know they are real? Secondly, even if they exist, did they really cause the damage and destruction, they are claimed to have caused? And thirdly, even if they do exist and did cause destruction, what is the best way to deal with them responsibly?

Much like in AIDS, where an alleged virus ("HIV") has been declared the cause, despite lack of scientific proof, the US has declared so-called Islamists around Osama Bin Laden the perpetrators of the horrible attacks in the US. We are made to believe, they have the justified proof for both claims. Yet, the evidence for neither case has been laid open. We leave the Bin Laden question to others but do take another close look at alleged micro-organisms currently accused of causing disease, including "HIV".

The former retrovirologist and professor of pathology, and Scientific Advisor of IFAS, Etienne deHarven, summarises what has changed in the process of identifying retroviruses over the years, a process called isolation (Of Mice And Men). Do we really still look for the micro-organism itself when we talk about "isolation" today? Or are we misleading ourselves (and the public), when we search for indirect markers instead?

Claus Kohnlein, medical practitioner and cancer specialist with an AIDS practice in Germany, compares such indirect markers in the making of the new plagues AIDS, Hepatitis C and BSE (AIDS, Hepatitis C, BSE; Infectious or Intoxication Diseases?). Have we found the true causes, or have we been misled?

Christine Johnson, presents an excellent article about the most prominent new marker used in AIDS and HCV, called PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) (Viral Load And PCR; why they canít be used to proof HIV-infection). First published in 1996 (issue 4/volume 4), this incisive analysis has proved to be of crucial importance in understanding the purpose and the limits of this technique.
If science is failing because the ìproofsî could very well turn out to be nonexistent, how come the "AIDS-virus" is so much part of our lives? Understanding the role of the media in the making of these alleged ìplaguesî helps us to see the public distortion of facts, and why voices of dissent - such as ours - are hated rather than embraced. Nigel Edwards has condensed an excellent lecture by Professor Michael Tracy, Director of the Centre for Mass Media Research at the University of Colorado at Boulder, US into an article for the magazine (Mere Smoke Of Opinion; AIDS and the making of the public mind). This provides a critical insight into the manner in which the media has reported the split of opinion seen in AIDS! It is of particular value because it is not written by an AIDS-dissident, but by a media insider who understands that big media is no guarantee to the public of facts or truth.

Can an interested public learn to separate fact from fiction? Can we check on the bias underlying any scientific publication? CONTINUUM Magazine introduces a tool to critically appraise medical science. It is called Evidence Based Medicine (EBM). EBM can teach us the right questions to ask doctors, or what to look out for when reading scientific or medical literature. Klazine Matter-Walstra introduces the concept of EBM in AIDS (How To Interpret Diagnostic Text Results; an evidence based medicine approach).

If common beliefs become law, how can we protect our right to make informed choices? Where do we go when this right is violated by corporate medicine? It was always CONTINUUM Magazineís intention to empower affected individuals by distributing information. For only if we are aware of the facts, we can make informed choices! Stay informed!

Clair Walton's short essay looks at the current situation of women affected by ìHIVî, the alleged virus suggested to cause AIDS (Women and "HIV" - What Rights?).

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world! Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has!"

I dedicate these words of anthropologist Margaret Mead to all the grass-root activists out there. Never doubt that you can achieve something, that you can make a difference, that you do have an impact!

We use this last issue of CONTINUUM Magazine to show a successful example of how AIDS-dissenters have made a difference!

The group that has succeeded in changing the way AIDS is talked about in the national media of one of the most populous nations on earth, and more, is Joint Action Council Kannur (JACK) in India (Making Waves, Changing Tides).

AIDS is by far not the only newly created medical disaster based on what might be seen someday as having been based on scientific plunder. English insider and farmer Alistair McConnachie reports on foot-and-mouth disease and shows how in the UK policies get out of hand and far from being reasonable (Foot-and-Mouth "Endlosung", not supported by science).

Our final issue comes to a powerful closure with an article by Olivier Clerc, a France-based Swiss journalist and author of the book "Medicine, Religion & Fear". Because his important contribution to understanding some fundamental driving forces behind western medicine remains as yet untranslated from French, we asked him to summarise his thesis for our English-speaking readers (Modern Medicine: A Neo-Christian Religion; the hidden influence of beliefs and fears).

We hope you will find plenty of interest in this last issue! Please, check our web-site for links to other relevant web-sites.

All the back-issues of CONTINUUM Magazine can be accessed through the website of the UK based charity Immunity Resource Foundation (IRF) as from spring of next year at <www.immunity.org.uk>
This website, however, will be closed as of December 31st, 2001. Until then, feel free to contact me at <editor@continuummagazine.org>

All that is left for me to do is to thank all of you for your interest and your patience! I wish us all a future without AIDS, and with medical dignity and scientific accuracy instead!

Yours respectfully,Michael Baumgartner
Acting Editor
Bern, Switzerland, October 2001