By David Rasnick

August 2000

I have decided to share with you my written contributions to President Thabo Mbeki's expert AIDS Panel. This is in keeping with Mbeki's expressed objective of sharing with the world the deliberations of his panel.

Opening remarks
Minority Statement and Recommendations to the Government of South Africa
Independence Day remarks
In 1992 AIDS peaked in USA
Decline in AIDS deaths
Animal models of AIDS
Dissidents in the ranks of mainstream AIDS researchers
Anti-HIV drugs fail in children
Break the Silence
Dear Dr. Sonnabend
Dear Moderators
Dear Dr. Whiteside
What they're teaching in schools
Mainstream refuses to participate in Mbeki's internet discussions
The Durban Declaration
Is there a role for consensus in science?
Is HIV guilty of the crime of AIDS?: World vs HIV
Dear Dr. Root-Bernstein
The trial continues
Request Summary dismissal of the charge that HIV causes AIDS
Dr. Makgoba criticizes dissidents for not performing experiments
One more experiment revisited
What does all of this mean for South Africa?
Closing remarks

Opening remarks
May 6 & 7, 2000

President Thabo Mbeki has called this meeting of AIDS experts to help his government and people become as broadly informed as possible about the true nature of AIDS in Africa and what to do about it.

This is an extremely important but very difficult job because some or all of the widespread claims about AIDS are not accepted by a significant number of the participants of this meeting. Since these claims bear directly on AIDS in Africa they will be discussed in depth. Evidence for and against will be presented for the following four propositions about AIDS.

The first is that AIDS is a contagious disease.
The second is that AIDS is sexually transmitted.
The third is that HIV causes AIDS.
The fourth is that the anti-HIV drugs prolong the lives of HIV positive people or at least improve the quality of their lives.

Because this discussion should have taken place 15 years ago but didn't, virtually every participant here has strongly, even passionately held views about AIDS that have become entrenched over the years. I admit to holding strong, passionate views that are opposed to those of mainstream AIDS researchers.

It is unlikely that a two-day meeting will change the views of any of the participants. I do not expect that. However, I do expect that a respectful and professional discussion of all of these issues will be extremely useful and important to the officials responsible for dealing with AIDS in Africa and to the people who are suffering and dying and to their loved ones.

I conclude by expressing my profound gratitude to President Mbeki and his staff for taking such a courageous and historic stand to enable free and open discourse on all aspects of AIDS in the face of tremendous pressure not to do so.

AIDS Expert Panel
Pretoria, South Africa
May 6 & 7, 2000

Minority Statement and Recommendations to the Government of South Africa By:
H. Bialy
E. de Harven
P. Duesberg
C. Fiala
R. Giraldo
A. Herxheimer
K. Koehnlein
R. Kothari
S. Mhlongo
D Rasnick

May 7, 2000

Given that the definitions of AIDS in the West and in Africa are so different and have changed over time that in many cases an African diagnosed with AIDS would not be considered an AIDS patient in the USA, Europe and Australia, and that the critical question of whether Africans, clinically diagnosed with AIDS are in fact HIV positive, the following assertions are made:

1. AIDS is not contagious although many of the opportunistic manifestations are,
2. AIDS is not sexually transmitted,
3. AIDS is not caused by HIV,
4. The admittedly toxic anti-HIV drugs are killing people,
5. The drug induced toxic effects are causing AIDS-defining conditions that cannot be distinguished from AIDS.

These considerations lead to the following recommendations for the treatment and prevention approaches to AIDS in South Africa and in other African countries.

1. Devote the bulk of national and international biomedical and other resources to the eradication and treatment of the predominant AIDS-defining diseases in South Africa such as TB, malaria and enteric infections; the improvement of nutrition; the provision of improved sanitation and clean water.

2. Reject completely the use of anti-HIV drugs. These drugs inevitably require significant amounts of compensatory medications and are claimed to produce at best only short term benefits in seriously sick patients.

3. Promote sex education based on the fact that there are many STDs and avoidable unwanted pregnancies.

4. Suspend dissemination of the psychologically destructive and false message that HIV infection is invariably fatal.

5. Suspend HIV testing until its relevance is proved especially in the African context, given the evidence of false positive results in a tropical setting and the fact that most assumptions and predictions about AIDS in Africa are based on HIV-tests.

Mbeki's Expert AIDS Panel
July 3 & 4, 2000

David Rasnick, PhD

Tomorrow in the United States we celebrate our independence. I cannot think of a better place to celebrate that independence than right here, among the newly-free people of South Africa.

But to be truly free requires more than simply declaring that freedom. President Thabo Mbeki and his ministers have shown that it takes courage, leadership, and hard work to exercise the freedom of thought, the freedom of speech, and the freedom of action.

There are many people, some of them are on this panel, who would limit Mbeki's freedom of thought with regards to AIDS. President Mbeki is often chided by people at home and abroad that he should leave scientific and health matters to the scientists and physicians. But given the apocalyptic pronouncements by those very same scientists and physicians, that up to a quarter of South Africans will get AIDS and die, Mbeki, as head of state, is duty-bound to involve himself deeply in all aspects of AIDS in order to know what to do about it.

Mbeki and his ministers have gone to a great deal of trouble and expense to provide the panel with the means and opportunity to lay out the best evidence and arguments for and against the main issues in dispute:

1) Is AIDS contagious?
2) Is AIDS sexually transmitted?
3) Does HIV cause AIDS?
4) Do the anti-HIV drugs do more good than harm?

These questions go to the heart of what to do about AIDS in South Africa because all of the mainstream recommendations assume the answers are yes. But if the answers to the questions are no, as the minority contends, then the mainstream recommendations are of little practical value and may actually be harmful to the people of South Africa.

As these questions continue to go un-addressed and un-debated, the Orwellian transformation of societal ills continues. On June 28, David Briscoe of the Associated Press reported that, "U.S. concern for AIDS abroad has increased with intelligence projections that the depth of the AIDS crisis correlates with the likelihood of revolutionary wars, ethnic conflicts, genocide and failure of partial democracies."

Not so long ago we honestly acknowledged that the bulk of the evils in the world were our own doing. But now we are in the process of shifting the blame to an innocent virus. The United States, it seems, is trying to add "revolutionary wars, ethnic conflicts, genocide and failure of partial democracies" to the already bloated list of AIDS-defining conditions. Before we accept any of this, the first order of business is to quantify the magnitude of AIDS in South Africa. Not HIV! I'm talking about AIDS, the number of people with AIDS and the number who died of AIDS. Are the numbers on the order of hundreds, thousands, or millions?

In 1992 AIDS peaked in USA

The cover of the CDC's HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, Year-end edition, Vol 8, No. 2 (1996) shows a graph of the cumulative number of AIDS cases in the USA by quarter for 1988 to the end of 1996. The curve is sigmoidal with an inflection point in 1992, indicating that AIDS peaked in that year.

The cover of the 1997 edition of the HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report shows an estimated incidence of AIDS and deaths from AIDS by quarter-year in the USA from 1985 to June 1997. This graph is not cumulative. It shows the number of new cases of AIDS over time with a noticeable bump and peak at the end of 1992. AIDS in the USA has been going down steadily ever since. The bump in the graph reflects the CDC's definition change in 1993 of what constitutes AIDS in the USA.

The graph on the cover of the 1997 edition of the HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report shows a smooth distribution of what are meant to be taken as data points that determine the shapes of the AIDS incidence and mortality curves. However, these "data point" are fictitious. For instance, the initial linear AIDS incidence curve gets smoothly steeper in 1991 anticipating the 1993 definition change that the CDC was to incorporate in that year. Figure 6 on page 25 of the 1997 edition of the HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report shows what the real data (that is, real number of AIDS cases) looked like. Again, Figure 6 shows that the number of new AIDS cases leveled off in 1992. Then, dramatically, there was a more than two-fold boost in the number of new AIDS cases in 1993. Overnight we had twice as many new AIDS cases.

But even with the tremendous increase in the number of new AIDS cases due to the 1993 change in the definition of what constitutes AIDS in the USA, the number of new AIDS cases still continued to decline. There were, and still are, fewer and fewer new AIDS cases in the USA. In other words, AIDS peaked in the USA in 1992 and has been going away.

The 1994 edition of the HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report makes this point even more dramatically. Figure 6 on page 25 shows the incidence of new AIDS cases according to three different definitions of AIDS: the pre-1987 definition, the 1987 definition, and the 1993 definition. Using either the pre-1987 or even the 1987 definition of AIDS, Figure 6 shows that AIDS is virtually over in the USA in 1994 (20,000 new cases annually and declining instead of the 70,000 new cases based on the 1993 definition, but still declining).

Unfortunately, it is not possible to track the demise of AIDS in the USA beyond 1997 because the CDC has stopped providing this information. Since 1997, the CDC no longer shows AIDS cases by quarter-year (Figure 6) , or by definition (Figure 6, Table 11), or by AIDS-indicator conditions (Table 12). Now we are only supposed to think about HIV.

Dave Rasnick

Decline in AIDS deaths

From the previous post entitled "1992 AIDS peaked in USA" the CDC's own HIV/AIDS Surveillance Reports show that AIDS peaked in 1992 and has been going down steadily ever since. This fact alone is sufficient to explain the reduction in AIDS deaths since 1993.

I was born during the baby-boom following World War II. It was a fairly easy calculation to determine that 16 years after the peak of the baby-boom there would be a peak in driver's license applications in the USA since age 16 is when most Americans start driving. The federal government could reliably calculate that 65 years after the baby boom there would be a peak in the number of people who retire from work. And 75 years from the peak of the baby-boom - well let's just say that morticians will be doing a booming business.

The point is clear: the mortality rate from AIDS is dropping because AIDS has been declining in the USA since 1992, years before the introduction of the HIV-protease inhibitor cocktails. Nevertheless, the mainstream press and mainstream AIDS researchers have given the credit to the protease inhibitor cocktails (known as HAART) for the decline in AIDS deaths in the USA. This is in spite of the fact that there is no clinical data that shows that these drugs actually prolong life. Indeed, the opposite is true (see other posts for details).

The apparent life-saving benefits of the HIV-protease inhibitor cocktails is a consequence of the simple fact that these drugs have appeared on the scene long after AIDS peaked in the USA, during a period when the mortality due to AIDS was naturally in decline. Grotesquely, these anti-HIV drugs are actually slowing the decline in mortality since they are very toxic and lethal if taken long enough. There would be fewer deaths if the anti-HIV drugs were not used.

Another reason for the decline in AIDS deaths is a direct consequence of the CDC's re-definition of what constitutes AIDS in the USA. Well over half of all new AIDS cases in the USA now represent people who aren't even sick. As of 1993 all you needed to qualify as an AIDS case is the results from two lab tests: be immune to HIV, that is have antibodies to the virus, and have fewer than 200 CD4 cells per microliter of blood or a CD4 percentage less than 14. In 1997, 36,634 people (61% of all new AIDS cases) were classified under this non-disease category. Regrettably, we can no longer follow the trend of including healthy people as AIDS cases because the CDC no longer lists the AIDS-indicator conditions (formerly Table 12) in its HIV/AIDS Surveillance Reports.

I say the 36,634 new AIDS cases in 1997 are healthy people because the CDC has a rule that a person is always classified as an AIDS case based on the earliest definition that he or she qualifies under. Table 12 on page 18 of the 1997 HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report takes up a full page with a host of diseases and conditions that qualify as AIDS-indicating and the number of people reported for each. The 36,634 people (61% of the total of new AIDS cases for 1997) did not have any of those diseases or conditions. Hence, they are disease and condition-free, otherwise known as healthy.

As a consequence of the CDC's 1993 definition of AIDS, over half of the people treated with the anti-HIV drug cocktails in the USA since 1996 (the year the HIV protease inhibitor cocktails became available) are healthy. The mainstream AIDS press and mainstream AIDS researchers are crediting HAART with prolonging the lives of these healthy people. Sadly, these healthy people on HAART don't stay healthy long, and they eventually die from the drugs if they stay on them long enough.

Dave Rasnick

Animal models of AIDS

I've worked in the pharmaceutical industry for many years and have made protease inhibitors for arthritis, cancer, emphysema and parasitic diseases. In each case there is at least one animal model (frequently many) that is used to study the pathology of those diseases. One of the most valuable uses of animal models is that experimental drugs can be tested in animals to see if they show any therapeutic benefit. I personally have used 6 different animal models of arthritis to test my protease inhibitors for that disease.

To my knowledge, none of the anti-HIV drugs has ever been tested in any of the so-called animal models of AIDS. For example, there are at least 150 chimpanzees that have been infected with HIV for nearly 20 years, yet not one of the anti-HIV drugs has been tested in these animals. Why not? Virtually everything we know about the effects of the anti-HIV drugs has been derived from human use. Increasingly, the lessons we learn are from people taking these drugs in Africa, South America, and now creeping towards Asia.

There is no clinical trial in humans that shows whether people who take the anti-HIV drugs live longer or at least better lives than a similar group of HIV positive people who do not take the drugs. All of the clinical trials since AZT have been terminated prematurely, well before it could be determined if the drugs did more good than harm. (The AZT clinical trials, by the way, showed that people taking the drug died at a faster rate than those that did not take the AZT.)

In spite of the lack of evidence that the anti-HIV drugs promote health and well-being, there is tremendous evidence that these drugs are very toxic and even lethal. (See my post entitled "Dissidents in the Mainstream" for evidence supporting the tremendous toxicity of these drugs and lack of efficacy. More extensive evidence can be found in the paper by Duesberg and me entitled: The AIDS Dilemma: drug disease blamed on a passenger virus (1998) Genetica 104: 85-132.)

From my experience in drug development and 19 years studying AIDS, I suspect the reason that the anti-HIV drugs have not been tested in animal models of AIDS (at least no reports of these studies if they exist) is that the animal models are not models of AIDS. (I'm sure this is true for the HIV infected animals since none has gotten AIDS.) If the anti-HIV drugs were tested in these animals I predict that the drug-treated animals would develop AIDS-defining diseases and quickly die.

It is very easy to prove me wrong by simply treating the HIV positive chimps with HAART as prescribed for humans and see what happens. My sympathy goes out to the chimps.

Dave Rasnick

Dissidents in the ranks of mainstream AIDS researchers

Jay Levy, UCSF

AIDS surrogate markers, is there truth in numbers?, JAMA vol 276, pages 161-162 (1996)

Commenting in 1996 on Abbott's report of increased survival in its HIV protease inhibitor clinical trial Levy said:

"can one really report a 50% increase in survival based on only 6 months of treatment and results that reflect 4.8% (treated) vs 8.4% (untreated) of the subjects studied?"

"With all the hoopla about antiviral drugs, and you get any virologist aside and they'll say this is not how we are going to win, it's high time we look at the immune system"

Two years later Levy is still unconvinced that the anti-HIV drugs do more good than harm:

The Lancet 352 (1998): 982-983.

"The clinical state (if the person is without symptoms) is not a major determinant [to administering anti-HIV drugs]: it is the [viral load] numbers that appear to decide the therapeutic course. I take issue with that approach."

"[T]hese drugs can be toxic and can be directly detrimental to a natural immune response to HIV. This effective antiviral immune response is characteristic of long-term survivors who have not been on any therapy. [T]he current antiviral therapies do not bring about the results achieved by a natural host anti-HIV response. This immune response, observed in long-term survivors, maintains control of HIV replication without the need for antiviral treatment."

A. N. Phillips and G. D. Smith, The New England Journal of Medicine 336, no. 13 (1997): 958-959.

"No randomized trials in asymptomatic patients have established that those treated early survive any longer than those for whom treatment is deferred. Extended follow-up of patients in one trial, the Concorde study, has shown a significantly increased risk of death among the patients treated early. The suggestion is that the situation is different for combination therapy. But where is the evidence?"

"There is no more hard evidence now of the benefits of early therapy than there was in 1990. We need new randomized trials to determine whether the notion that was probably not true in the era of [AZT] monotherapy-that early therapy prolongs survival as compared with deferred therapy-is now true."

Don Abrams, SF General Hospital

Tanaka, M. Abrams cautious on use of new AIDS drugs, Synapse vol 4, pages 1 & 5 (1996)

"In contrast with many of my colleagues, I am not necessarily a cheerleader for anti-retroviral therapy. I have been one of the people who's questioned, from the beginning, whether or not we're really making an impact with HIV drugs and, if we are making an impact, if it's going in the right direction."

"I have a large population of people who have chosen not to take any antiretrovirals They've watched all of their friends go on the antiviral bandwagon and die, so they've chose to remain naïve [to therapy]. More and more, however, are now succumbing to pressure that protease inhibitors are 'it' We are in the middle of the honeymoon period, and whether or not this is going to be an enduring marriage is unclear to me at this time"

The Italian Register for HIV Infection in Children

"Rapid disease progression in HIV-1 perinatally infected children born to mothers receiving zidovudine monotherapy during pregnancy" AIDS 13: 927-933 (1999).

"The probability of developing severe disease at 3 years of life was significantly higher in children born to [AZT+] mothers...than in those born to [AZT-] mothers... . The same pattern was observed for severe immune suppression: the probability of developing severe immune suppression was significantly higher in the children born to [AZT+] mothers... than born to [AZT-] mothers... . Finally, survival probability was lower in children born to [AZT+] mothers...compared with children born to [AZT-] mothers..."

In short, if a mother takes AZT during pregnancy, her newborn is much more likely to get severely sick and die by age 3 than a newborn whose mother did not take AZT during pregnancy.

Amanda Mocroft et al.

"Anaemia is an independent predictive marker for clinical prognosis of HIV-infected patients from across Europe" AIDS 13: 943-950 (1999).

These authors looked at 6725 patients from EuroSIDA, a prospective study in 52 centers across Europe.

They "found a strong relationship between haemoglobin, CD4 lymphocyte count and risk of death."

Their results showed that patients with severe anemia had from 30 to 90 times the risk of death compared to patients with a normal hemoglobin level.

There is no mystery to this extraordinarily high risk of mortality since the authors provide the answer themselves:

"Patients with mild or severe anaemia were significantly more likely to have taken zidovudine [AZT] at some stage... . In addition, patients with anaemia, mild or severe, were much more likely to have been diagnosed with AIDS..."

"We found that 78.2% of the patients with mild or severe anaemia at baseline had received zidovudine [AZT]..."

O. A. Olivero et al.

"Incorporation of zidovudine into leukocyte DNA from HIV-1-positive adults and pregnant women, and cord blood from infants exposed in utero" (1999) AIDS 13: 919-925.

"further study of the biological consequences of [AZT]-induced DNA damage in the human population is warranted."

R. van Leeuwen, et al.

"Additive or sequential nucleoside analogue therapy compared with continued zidovudine monotherapy in HIV-infected patients with advanced disease does not prolong survival: an observational study" R. van Leeuwen, et al. (1997) The Journal of Infectious Diseases 175, 1344-1351.

"Additive or sequential treatment was associated with an increased risk of death."

S. Lindbäck, et al.

"Long-term prognosis following zidovudine monotherapy in primary HIV type 1 infections" S. Lindbäck, et al., (1999) The Journal of Infectious Diseases 179, 1549-1552.

"Zidovudine treatment initiated during primary HIV (PHIV) infection did not improve long-term outcome after symptomatic PHIV infection."

K. Brinkman, et al.

"Mitochondrial toxicity induced by nucleoside-analogue reverse-transcriptase inhibitors is a key factor in the pathogenesis of antiretroviral-therapy-related lipodystrophy" K. Brinkman, et al., (1999) The Lancet 354, 1112-1115.

"nearly all side-effects that have been attributed to the use of NRTIs, such as polyneuropathy, myopathy, cardiomyopathy, pancreatitis, bone-marrow suppression, and lactic acidosis, greatly resemble the spectrum of clinical manifestations seen in inherited mitochrondrial diseases."

Anthony Fauci

1997 Year of the Crash New York Times, Friday, August 22, 1997, Page 1.

Despite New AIDS Drugs, Many Still Lose the Battle, By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG

"'There is an increasing percentage of people in whom, after a period of time, the virus breaks through,' said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director [NIAID]. 'People do quite well for six months, eight months or a year, and after a while, in a significant proportion, the virus starts to come back.'"

"No one knows the true extent of the problem, but Fauci estimates that when these cases of 'viral breakthrough' are accounted for, the failure rate of the new drug cocktails may eventually run as high as 50 percent."

Disclaimer attached to Merck's HIV protease inhibitor

"Crixivan is not a cure for HIV or AIDS. People taking Crixivan may still develop infections or other conditions associated with HIV. Because of this, it is very important for you to remain under the care of a doctor. It is not yet known whether taking Crixivan will extend your life or reduce your chances of getting other illnesses associated with HIV. Information about how well the drug works is available from clinical studies up to 24 weeks."

From the 1997 NIH Guidelines to physicians for the Use of Anti-retroviral Agents in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents

"The physician and the patient should be fully aware that therapy of primary HIV infection is based on theoretical considerations, and the potential benefits, should be weighed against the potential risks."

"[N]o long term clinical benefit of treatment has yet been demonstrated."

Theoretical rationale is fourfold:

* to suppress viral replication
* to potentially decrease the severity of acute disease
* to potentially alter the initial viral "set point," which may ultimately affect the rate of disease progression
* to possibly reduce the rate of viral mutation due to the suppression of viral replication.

This theoretical rationale is the only basis on which authorities endorse treatment of HIV infection.


From the front page, third paragraph of Roche's insert for the AMPLICOR viral load PCR test:

"The AMPLICOR HIV-1 MONITOR Test is not intended to be used as a screening test for HIV or as a diagnostic test to confirm the presence of HIV infection."

False positive or false negative? Depends on the answer you want.

Schwartz D. H. et al.

"Extensive evaluation of a seronegative participant in an HIV-1 vaccine trial as a result of false-positive PCR" (1997) The Lancet 350: 256-259.

* Tested positive by PCR, but antibody negative.
* Viral load of 100,000 copies RNA per ml, called false positive.
* $5000 worth of PCR to get the "right" answer-negative.

Christine Defer et al.

"Multicentre quality control of polymerase chain reaction [viral load] for detection of HIV DNA" (1992) AIDS 6: 659-663

"False-positive and false-negative results were observed in all laboratories (concordance with serology ranged from 40 to 100%)."

Michael P. Busch et al.

"Poor sensitivity, specificity, and reproducibility of detection of HIV-1 DNA in serum by polymerase chain reaction" (1992) Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency 5: 872-877.

"The results indicate that current techniques for detecting cell-free HIV-1 DNA in serum lack adequate sensitivity, specificity, and reproducibility for widespread clinical applications."

"In any event, the levels of viral (and cellular) DNA in serum appear to be so low that reproducible detection, even with use of PCR, is not currently possible."

Josiah D. Rich et al.

"Misdiagnosis of HIV infection by HIV-1 plasma viral load testing: a case series" (1999) Annals of Internal Medicine 130: 37-39.

"The availability of sensitive assays for plasma HIV viral load and the trend toward earlier and more aggressive treatment of HIV infection has led to the inappropriate use of these assays as primary tools for the diagnosis of acute HIV infection."

"Physicians should exercise caution when using the plasma viral load assays to detect primary HIV infection"

"Plasma viral load tests for HIV-1 were neither developed nor evaluated for the diagnosis of HIV infection"

M. Piatak et al.

"High levels of HIV-1 in plasma during all stages of infection determined by competitive PCR" (1993) Science 259: 1749-1754.

"Plasma virus levels determined by QC-PCR correlated with, but exceeded by an average of 60,000-fold, virus titers measured by endpoint dilution culture."

In fact, 53% of the viral load positive patients had no culturable HIV. "For HIV-1 propagated in vitro, total virions have been reported to exceed culturable infectious units by factors of 10,000 to 10,000,000, ratios similar to those we observed in plasma."

Haynes W. Sheppard et al.

"Viral burden and HIV disease" (1993) Nature 364: 291. "the high level of plasma virus observed by Piatak et al. [reference above] was about 99.9 per cent non-culturable, suggesting that it was either neutralized or defective. Therefore, rather than supporting a cytopathic model, this observation actually may help explain the relatively slow dissemination of the infected cell burden and thus the relative ineffectiveness of therapy with nucleoside analogues which target this process.

"we question the longitudinal conclusions some of these investigators have drawn from cross-sectional data. The results presented are equally consistent with the conclusion that higher viraemia is a consequence of, rather than the proximate cause of, defective immune responses."

Anti-HIV drugs fail in children

I have scoured the literature for evidence that the anti-HIV drugs actually prolong the lives, or at least improve the quality of the lives, of the children given these drugs. In short: I could not find any support for either possibility. Below are representative examples of the published studies.

To begin with, not one study included any control groups of children, i.e. HIV negative children or mothers from similar backgrounds, or HIV positive children followed over time who were not given the drugs. In fact, the following paper was blunt enough to acknowledge these shortcomings.

From O. A. Olivero et al. in their paper entitled "Incorporation of zidovudine into leukocyte DNA from HIV-1-positive adults and pregnant women, and cord blood from infants exposed in utero" (1999) AIDS 13: 919-925:

"We show here that [AZT] is incorporated into leukocyte DNA of most individuals receiving [AZT] therapy, including infants exposed to the drug in utero. further study of the biological consequences of [AZT]-induced DNA damage in the human population is warranted."

From a recent Italian study entitled "Rapid disease progression in HIV-1 perinatally infected children born to mothers receiving zidovudine monotherapy during pregnancy" AIDS 13: 927-933 (1999):

"The probability of developing severe disease at 3 years of life was significantly higher in children born to [AZT+] mothers than in those born to [AZT-] mothers. The same pattern was observed for severe immune suppression: the probability of developing severe immune suppression was significantly higher in children born to [AZT+] mothers than born to [AZT-] mothers. Finally, survival probability was lower compared with children born to [AZT-] mothers."

In short, if a mother takes AZT during pregnancy, her newborn is much more likely to get severely sick and die by age 3 than a newborn whose mother did not take AZT during pregnancy.

From the paper by R. E. McKinney et al. entitled "A multicenter trial of oral zidovudine in children with advanced human immunodeficiency virus disease" The New England Journal of Medicine 324: 1018-1025 (1991), I quote:

"Although no control group was available for direct comparison, the improvement in the children in this study closely paralleled the observations in controlled studies of adults receiving zidovudine [AZT]." That is, in addition to no control groups, this study showed that AZT has similar effects in children as in adults. We have previously documented that AZT accelerates the deaths of those taking that drug compared to HIV positive people who do not take AZT.

Further on the authors state that, "Children treated with zidovudine continued to have bacterial and opportunistic infections. The effect of the drug on the frequency of these events could not be assessed because of the lack of control groups." In other words, AZT did them no good. The lack of control groups is not exceptional but is actually policy.

There are many other wonderful quotes from this paper but I want to leave it and move on after adding that in the study of 88 children, "One or more episodes of hematologic toxicity occurred in 54 children (61 percent)óanemia (hemoglobin level,<75g per liter) in 23 children (26 percent) and neutropenia (neutrophil count, <0.75X10^9 per liter) in 42 (48 percent)."

Another example from the literature of pediatric anti-HIV drug studies is the paper by L. L. Lewis et al. entitled "Lamivudine in children with human Immunodeficiency virus infection: A phase I/II study" The Journal of Infectious Diseases 174: 16-25 (1996).

Again, no control groups in this study. The authors acknowledge that the nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitors, including the study compound Lamivudine, act as a DNA chain terminators. There is no data in the paper showing that the drug does anything good for the children. On the contrary, among 90 children in the study, "11 children had been withdrawn from study for disease progression [in other words, it didn't work for them] and 10 because of possible lamivudine-related toxicity, and 6 had died."

In short, about 1/3 of the children clearly did not benefit from the drug and there was no report of children who benefited other than the lab reports that p24 and viral load decreased. Those lab tests were the only positive indicators the authors reported that the drug did anything desirable from their perspective.

Another example in the pediatric literature is by M. W. Kline et al., entitled "A randomized comparative trial of Stavudine (d4T) versus zidovudine (ZDV, AZT) in children with human immunodeficiency virus infection" Pediatrics 101: 214-220 (1998).

I quote: "Until recently, zidovudine (ZDV, AZT) was considered the drug of choice for initial therapy of symptomatic HIV-infected children. Unfortunately, therapy with ZDV sometimes is limited by intolerance, toxicity, or HIV disease progression." In other words, AZT doesn't work. The study showed that Stavudine and AZT were comparable. So, Stavudine is no advance over AZT.

Another example is by M. W. Kline et al., entitled "A phase I/II evaluation of Stavudine (d4T) in children with human immunodeficiency virus infection" Pediatrics 96: 247-252 (1995).

"Thirty-five of 37 subjects experienced serious clinical adverse events, including infection (33 subjects), lymphadenopathy (19 subjects), hepatosplenomegaly (15 subjects), chills and fever (12 subjects), and development of an AIDS-defining condition (four subjects).

"Clinical adverse events of lesser severity that were reported by more than 20% of subjects included rhinitis (76%), cough (70%), diarrhea (68%), rash (62%), nausea and vomiting (51%), abdominal pain (43%), anorexia (41%), respiratory disorder (38%), headache (35%), pharyngitis (32%), pruritis (30%), pain (22%), peripheral neurologic symptoms (22%), and nervousness (22%)."

In the last paragraph of the paper, the authors had the temerity to conclude that, "stavudine appears to hold promise for treatment for HIV infection in children. Its pharmacokinetic properties are consistent and predictable, and it appears to be remarkably well-tolerated and safe. Although our study was not designed to assess the drug's efficacy for treatment of HIV infection, preliminary clinical and laboratory evidence of activity was observed."

One can only wonder if the authors were talking about their own results. The last incredible example is by P. A. Pizzo et al., entitled "Effect of continuous intravenous infusion of zidovudine (AZT) in children with symptomatic HIV infection" New England Journal of Medicine 319: 889-896 (1988).

The authors studied 21 children. "Transfusion was required in 14 patients because of low levels of hemoglobin. Dose-limiting neutropenia occurred in most patients who received doses of 1.4 mg per kilogram per hour or more." "The major limitation of the therapy was hematologic toxicity - a decrease in both the hemoglobin concentration and the white-cell count."

"Regardless of the starting dose, nearly all patients had a transient drop in their neutrophil counts within 10 days of the initiation of AZT therapy."

Just when you thought it couldn't get worse there is this incredible statement: "In three of the five children who died, evidence of a response to AZT, particularly neurodevelopmental improvement, was present at the time of death."

That is the ultimate example of "the operation was a success though the patient died" cliché.

Break the Silence

Joseph Sonnabend complains that, "Some of the messages have been confrontational and to me, as a physician treating a very large number of AIDS patients, some comments by people who have no responsibility for the care of sick people have been quite offensive, and thus hardly encouraging of a reply."

This attitude reminds me of another physician in San Francisco who responded to my questions by reciting his resume as an AIDS care-giver. He proudly proclaimed that he had seen 600 of his patients die of AIDS. That somehow was intended to put me in my place since I'm not a physician and donít treat AIDS patients. However, if his statement was proof of anything it was that he didn't know what to do for those 600 patients.

President Mbeki is not a physician; he doesn't treat AIDS patients. Would Joseph Sonnabend take offense and remain silent if Mbeki personally asked him why he believes AIDS is contagious, sexually transmitted and caused by HIV? Or how does Sonnabend know that people taking the anti-HIV drugs live longer or at least better lives than HIV positive people who do not take the drugs?

By including the "dissidents" in a Room-C discussion with mainstream scientists and physicians, Mbeki is asking the majority these very questions. Why else would he and his ministers go to such great personal trouble and expense to bring the mainstream and the dissidents together - so we could split up into rooms A and B and get on with business as usual? I think not.

If Sonnabend and the other members of the majority are put-off by the tone of some of the remarks and questions by members of the minority, that is nothing compared to the outrage the people of the world will express when they find out that everything they have been told over the years about AIDS was based on little more than beliefs and "overwhelming evidence" that no one seems willing or capable of providing. It's not enough for the majority to simply say "take our word for it."

In the spirit of the International AIDS Conference to be held in Durban, I ask the majority to BREAK THE SILENCE.

Dave Rasnick

As a reminder, I am making available only my written contributions to Mbeki's expert AIDS panel. I do not have the time or energy to do this for the entire panel discussions. There must be hundreds of megabytes of stuff on that. The Government of SA is making available the taped discussions via the internet. I have not downloaded that information because each file is about 10 megabytes or larger. I think the information should be put on CDs.


Dear Dr. Sonnabend,

You ask, "what kind of evidence would satisfy [me] that AIDS is sexually transmitted? [You] accept that AIDS is sexually transmitted. An important reason is that HIV is sexually transmissable."

First things first. Let's start with where I have lived for almost 20 years. Warren Winkelstein of UCB told us just last November that AIDS in San Francisco is still 99% male after 19 years of AIDS. Nationwide, the CDC reports that 8 out of 9 AIDS cases are male since 1981. If AIDS is sexually transmitted in the USA then HIV prefers to cause AIDS in men. A very smart virus.

A simpler explanation of these facts is that AIDS in the USA is not sexually transmitted. This simpler explanation is supported by the US Army and Jobs Corps studies (referenced in Exhibit C for the defense) showing that the distribution of antibodies against HIV are equally distributed between men and women yet AIDS in this age group is 85% male? This shows that HIV (if you accept that antibodies to HIV equals HIV infection) behaves as you would expect by being blind to whether or not you are male or female - yet AIDS itself prefers males.

If you have better evidence, I'm all ears.

Second, how do you know that HIV is sexually transmitted. The studies I have referenced on this site by Padian and others refute that outright. What evidence do you have that HIV is sexually transmitted?

Again, I'm all ears.

To summarize. You say that you accept that AIDS is sexually transmitted but you don't offer any reasons why you accept that other than to say because HIV is sexually transmitted. And I have shown you evidence that HIV is not sexually transmitted and AIDS is not sexually transmitted. Since you rely so heavily on HIV, what is your evidence that HIV is sexually transmitted? You say, "I presume that evidence that HIV is sexually transmissable would not do much for you, or would it?" It would be a good start. What is the evidence?

Then you say, "If you accepted this then presumably you would say that HIV is sexually transmissable but that it does not cause AIDS. Then the issue would mainly be about the relationship of HIV to AIDS, and not really that of sexual transmissability."

You still have to explain why this agent that is said to cause AIDS and is sexually transmitted prefers to cause AIDS in men 8 out of 9 times.

"Would you place any significance on my experience treating people with AIDS for 20 years as well as that of others who have not infrequently seen HIV infection, and AIDS appear in previously healthy individuals following sexual contact with patients with AIDS? "

Simple answer. No! That proves nothing. You might as well say that you have frequently seen HIV infection and AIDS appear in previously healthy individuals following a night at the theater or after swimming 50 laps or eating watermelon or the like.

However, if you were to tell me that you have frequently seen HIV infection and AIDS appear in previously healthy individuals following anti-HIV therapy I would be more inclined to accept that because that observation would be consistent with the published literature.

You ask, "would information that condom use has reduced the incidence of AIDS be acceptable?"

Why ask? Just provide the evidence.

"Would information that higher HIV viral loads are associated with a greater probability of infecting a sexual partner mean anything?"

Why ask? Just provide the evidence.

"So would you tell me the kind of evidence you would consider as indicating that AIDS is sexually transmitted, and particularly whether you believe that HIV is sexually transmissable."

Any evidence would be a start. A beginning would be to provide the published evidence that has convinced you that both HIV and AIDS are sexually transmitted.

Dave Rasnick

Dr. Sonnabend you say, "You have at least clarified for me that you do not believe that HIV is sexually transmitted. How is it transmitted in your opinion?"

A world-authority on retroviruses, Peter Duesberg, has published widely on these wee beasties. In this forum he (and I think Bialy as well) has said that HIV, like all other retroviruses, is transmitted from mother to child. That's how all of us acquire retroviruses, from our mothersónot from sex! A recent textbook (sorry for not having the reference at hand, but I can get it for you) estimates that up to 2% of the human genome is made up of retroviral DNA sequences. If that figure is even close it argues strongly against sexual transmission being responsible for the presence all that retroviral DNA.

I will let the virologists continue this line of argument.

"I must have been less clear in my proposal on heterosexual transmission as I did cite evidence that higher HIV viral loads are associated with enhanced heterosexual transmission of HIV. The paper I referred to is by Quinn. It is not the only report of this association."

I see the source of your confusion. You equate HIV-viral load test results with honest-to-God viral load. The only thing HIV-viral load test results have in common with honest-to-God viral load is the name.

When the FDA approved the Roche viral load test for the monitoring of anti-HIV therapy it specifically excluded the use of viral load to diagnose HIV or even AIDS. I refer you to the document that comes with Roche's viral load test. On the first page, 3rd paragraph, it says that the test is not intended for use to diagnose HIV or AIDS. The same is true, by the way, for the ELISA and western blot tests for antibodies to HIV, which you probably use to determine if a person is infected by HIV.

So we have two bogus tests confirming each other.

A good reason for this prohibition on using the viral load test to actually represent infectious virus is the report by Piatak et al., in Science vol 259, 1749-1754 (1993), where 53% of their patients with high viral loads had no detectable infectious virus using the extreme amplification of the co-culture technique. Among all the patients, the authors found that only an average of 1 in 60,000 putative HIV viral particles was infectious. They quoted literature that reported the figure was as low as 1 in 10,000,000. I have posted other references that refute the use of HIV viral load testing as representing viable, infectious HIV. HIV viral load testing is a fraud. It misleads people into thinking that it actually measures honest-to-God HIV viral load.

"The association of HIV infection with sexual exposure is quite different in this respect to the association of infection with a night at the theater or eating watermelon as you suggested."

My point was to show that there are lots of other things going on in peoples' lives other than sex and AIDS. From your statement, you apparently considered antibodies to HIV and sex as the only things that significantly bear on their health. I'm pretty sure that is not true, but it certainly seems like it.

"How many people treated with penicillin, who recovered from previously fatal pneumococcal pneumonia would you need to observe to conclude that a causative link is highly probable?

That is a very confusing question. Let me see if I understand your logic and question. How many people treated with penicillin, who recovered from previously fatal pneumococcal pneumonia would I need to observe to conclude that a causative link is highly probable? Do you mean a causal link between the use of penicillin and people recovering from pneumococcal pneumonia? I would say that this is justification for the use of penicillin to treat pneumonia.

However, to the best of my knowledge, no one has yet shown that viruses in general, HIV in particular, are treatable with penicillin. Therefore, I don't think you are trying to make the connection between penicillin and HIV, are you? You did say pneumococcal pneumonia, not HIV pneumonia, right? Because I've never heard of HIV pneumonia.

"I treat HIV infection with some success in not a few people with the help of anti HIV drugs."

In order to know how to respond to this statement you need to define what you mean by success; how you measure it. Is it prolonging life of seriously ill AIDS patients by 2 months, as you said in Pretoria in early May?

"I do not know of any credible literature that demonstrates that anti HIV drugs can cause AIDS."

That implies that you know of literature that does show that anti-HIV drugs can cause AIDS but that literature is not credible. Is that literature not credible because of what it shows? Perhaps you should let each of us determine for ourselves what is and is not credible literature.

Dave Rasnick

Dear Dr. Sonnabend,

I want you to know that to me your contributions to this internet discussion from the majority's position is almost unique and by far the most useful. Thank you for your efforts.

Back to the anti-retroviral drugs. You say that the reason the anti-HIV drugs are saving the lives of your patients is because they inhibit HIV replication. That's one possibility; however, I think there are simpler reasons.

As Peter Duesberg has said, the nucleoside analog drugs, e.g. AZT, are true Antibiotics - they are anti-life. They will kill anything that requires synthesis of DNA. That's pretty damn near everything living, including people.

Therefore, I have no doubt that these "antibiotics" would reduce the burden of infectious agents in your seriously ill AIDS patients in the short term. Perhaps this is the source of the Lazarus effect you are seeing.

You did not answer my question of before which specifically addresses this point. Do your AIDS patients, who benefit from the anti-HIV drugs, take the drugs only while they are symptomatic? Or do they continue to take the drugs for the rest of their lives, religiously every day, to stave off the dreaded mutants?

This is not a trivial, technical point I'm trying to make. It is crucial. The current publicly promoted use of the anti-HIV drugs is for the religious (in some cases observed and even forced) consumption of these drugs by HIV positive people for life.

If your seriously ill AIDS patients are benefiting from the "antibiotic" properties of the anti-HIV drugs, then perhaps these admittedly very toxic drugs could be replaced with conventional antibiotics. If this strategy worked, it would have profound implications for treating AIDS around the world.

If the conventional antibiotics are less effective than the D-Day assault with the anti-HIV drugs, then drug development should be aimed at the coming up with more effective antibiotics for AIDS patients. Do you know if this is being done?

One last point. I would love to visit your hospital and meet your Lazarus-effect patients. I hear about these folks but I have never met one. I certainly havenít found an authentic example in the scientific, medical literature. I haven't read everything, so perhaps there are documented examples. But if they exist, they are rare.

Dave Rasnick

Dear Moderators,

You ask 3 questions that I hope the mainstream participants will feel comfortable addressing. Here's how I view your questions:

(1) "What is the role of these co-factors in newborn infants who test HIV positive and progress to AIDS in a short period of time without prior significant exposure to oxidants?"

Naturally, it would help if you could provide a reference to the literature that describes these infants to which you refer. That way we have something specific and concrete to analyze instead of your general, hypothetical newborn HIV-positive infants.

If you are able to supply such examples of newborn infants, then you must demonstrate that the HIV-positive infants progress to AIDS (that is, come down with AIDS-defining diseases and which ones) faster than a similar group of HIV-negative infants with the same diseases.

(2) "What is the role of immune suppressants in adults who are not malnourished, are not poor and do not have a significant medical history of repeated infections but who none the less are HIV+ and also later develop AIDS."

Again, you need to provide a reference to the literature that describes these immune suppressed adults to which you refer. Otherwise, your question is little more than hypothetical speculation.

Nevertheless, I will provide a more than hypothetical answer to your hypothetical question. What commonly happens to people once they are labeled as HIV positive? The same thing that happens to anyone given a death sentence. He's scared to death. And since in your scenario our hypothetical HIV+ person is not poor, then he will be given a life-time prescription of the highly toxic and ultimately lethal cocktail of anti-HIV drugs that guarantees that he will come down with AIDS-defining, diarrhea, wasting, dementia, generalized immune suppression, lymphoma and the list goes on. Eventually, our well-nourished, relatively affluent, disease-free adult dies of drug-induced AIDS.

(3) "Recommendations on the management of HIV are not easy to implement in developing countries, the suggestion to perform screening tests to assess nutritional status as well as to evaluate the immune system will be too expensive. Are there any suggestions or recommendations on how these evaluations can be conducted in developing countries."

The management of HIV is not an issue since antibody positive people are by definition immune to HIV. Perhaps you mean recommendations on the management of people who have antibodies to HIV?

If by evaluating the immune system you mean HIV-antibody testing, then I refer you to the extensive discussions on this site regarding the value and reliability of these tests. The evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that these tests are worthless-even worse than that: they are actually lethal because they label a person with the death sentence of AIDS. See question 2 above for what happens next.

Dave Rasnick

Dear Moderators,

Please identify which of you are sending these posts so that we know who to credit.

You ask rhetorically, "Are we not all looking with our microscopes at a part of the elephant and heavily debating whether it white or gray or hairy or smooth"?

The simple answer is no. Not everyone is looking at the "elephant (AIDS??)" with a microscope. In fact your analogy goes to the core of the problem. While focusing on the molecular scale, i.e. HIV, the mainstream believes itself to be investigating the elephant of AIDS. By using our minds and unaided eyes, we critics of the contagious, HIV hypothesis clearly see that the mainstream doesn't even have the species right. What they're looking at is not an elephant at all but rather the common house mouse.

It is true "that there are many very many things we do not know" but there are "many very many things" that we do know. For example, we know that whatever AIDS is it is very different in the USA and Africa. We know that the reigning HIV hypothesis has not made even one true prediction in 16 years. We know that HIV does not kill CD4+ T cells, or any others for that matter. We know that the HIV tests and viral load tests do not detect HIV. We know that the anti-HIV drugs are very toxic and have not saved the first AIDS patient, Dr. Sonnabend's personal observations notwithstanding.

From your statement that, "many aspects of the truth that currently appear to be in conflict can live next to one another quite happily", it is clear that you haven't been paying attention. Since when have the mainstream and dissident "truths" about AIDS lived "next to one another quite happily"? Can you provide references in the scientific literature or popular press and media to support your optimistic statement?

Dave Rasnick

Dear Dr. Whiteside,

Thanks for your contribution. It is greatly appreciated. Naturally, I have a few comments.

You say that, "The last census in Malawi found about two million fewer people than was expected."

The moderators of the panel have requested that we all provide references supporting our statements and claims. We eagerly await your posting of either a reference upon which you base this statement, or if it is based on new, unpublished work, we need you to provide a suitable report of the details to the panel so that we can review it.

About a week ago a South African Journalist told me that the estimates of the number of people living in South Africa range from 26 million to 40 million-a difference of 14 million. This range in the estimate of the number of South Africans would make it very difficult to make any meaningful predictions of or draw any meaningful conclusions from results of a census conducted in South Africa based on these estimates.

I pointed out to the journalist that such uncertainty in the number of South Africans before conducting a census could be used to prove almost anything. For example. If before hand (or even after conducting a census) one chose to accept the 40 million estimate but a future census result turns out to be much closer to the 26 million figure, then an unscrupulous person might interpret this result as evidence that AIDS (or anything else for that matter, including the importation of AZT) had led to a severe depopulation of the country.

Conversely, if one chose the 26 million figure and the census result was much closer to 40 million, another (or the same) unscrupulous person could conclude that the sex education campaigns, the use of condoms or even outlawing the use of AZT had led to profound health benefits resulting in a population boom for South Africa.

My little story is meant to amplify the importance of providing the panel with the sources of material you used so that we can have a basis upon which to judge the significance of the Malawi census data. As it stands, it is meaningless.

There is one other statement that needs clarification and referencing. You say that, "It should also be noted that two of these preliminary data sources are Botswana and South Africa - which means that malaria and malnutrition CAN NOT be held to account for the increase in deaths." You say this with such certainty, but for those of use who are not experts on Africa, I would like you to expand on this and provide suitable references so that we can educate ourselves on the subject. For instance, it is not clear to me why "malaria and malnutrition CAN NOT be held to account for the increase in deaths" just because the "preliminary data sources are Botswana and South Africa"?

Thanks so much,

Dave Rasnick

What they're teaching in schools.

The following quotes are taken from the textbook entitled "AIDS Update 1999" by Gerald J. Stine, published by Prentice Hall, 458 pages, 1st ed. This sort of instruction perhaps explains the reluctance of the mainstream scientists and physicians to participate in discussions with the minority. They have apparently learned their lessons well.

From Stine's book:

"Question for Class Discussion: You have just read some of the evidence for and against HIV being the cause of AIDS. Assuming you agree with the vast majority of HIV/AIDS investigators worldwide, that HIV does cause AIDS, do you think there comes a time at which dissenters forfeit their right to make claims on other people's time and trouble by the poverty of their arguments and by the wasted effort and exasperation they have caused?"

After a leading question like that, my guess is that the average medical student could probably figure out what answer would most likely assure an A plus.

From the very same textbook we find this:


"Neither the United States nor any other country has an accurate count of the number of people infected by HIV. Much of the testing to date compromises small samples of high-risk groups, such as prostitutes and drug addicts, and is therefore unrepresentative of entire populations. Within countries, infection rates vary widely from region to region, further complicating the problem of generalizing from a small sample. Counting the number of AIDS cases and AIDS-related deaths is also difficult, particularly since health care systems in many countries lack the required diagnostic ability. Some developing countries have AIDS rates 100 times higher than reported.

[How does Stine know that AIDS rates are 100 times higher than reported? Maybe the AIDS rates are actually 100 times lower than reported. I could make that claim if I had an equal disregard for data.]

"Moreover, some governments suppress what information they have. Further improvements in data collection may reveal a crisis of even greater magnitude than is portrayed in this text." [Or much less, or no AIDS epidemic at all.]

(Note: Considering the last quoted line, the textbook estimated 51 million HIV infections worldwide in 1999, which is 17 million more than the current estimate of 34 million infections in Newsweek and the New York Times. So it looks like the epidemic may be in decline since the time Stine wrote his book).

I will close with this last quote from Stine's book.

"AIDS is defined primarily by severe immune deficiency, and is distinguished from virtually every other disease in history by the fact that it has no constant, specific symptoms."

How convenient!

Dave Rasnick

Six weeks into Mbeki's internet discussion/debate (which was intended to produce points of agreement and dispute that would determine the agenda of the second meeting of the AIDS panel in Johannesburg in July) the mainstream scientists and physicians had not yet participated. Members of the minority (those of us who dispute the contagious, HIV hypothesis of AIDS), the moderators, and the government organizers repeatedly urged the majority to participate in Mbeki's internet discussions.

To encourage the majority to participate, the government extended the internet discussions a few weeks beyond the scheduled end. The majority obstinately refused to participate until the last 2 or 3 days, and then only through indirect email messages to Ray Mabope who added their postings to the website. There was no opportunity to respond to those quasi anonymous postings in the few days remaining. Instead, the majority published the feeble justifications for their position in the well publicized Durban Declaration. For whatever reason, the majority chose not to present the Durban Declaration arguments to Mbeki's panel, where they were repeatedly asked to do so.

The following contributions were in response to the mainstreams refusal to participate in Mbeki's internet discussions.


Dr. Abdool-Karim
Dr. Duerr
Dr. Lane
Dr. Makgoba
Dr. Montagnier
Dr. Perez
And the rest of the majority

I've been a scientist for a long time but it is only among "AIDS scientists" that I have come across the very curious phenomenon of complete silence.

Up until now, it has been my experience that scientists are a tenacious, combative group of individuals who, at the slightest opportunity, are more than willing and enthusiastic to talk the ears off of anyone within earshot about their work and that of their colleagues. That's why I'm completely mystified by your total lack of participation in this internet discussion.

President Mbeki and his ministers have provided all of us with an exceptional opportunity to behave as scientists. Some of us are trying.

From whatever your perspective, the phenomenon of AIDS is truly one of the most interesting and perplexing in history. How is it then that all of you remain silent when we read in newspapers and anonymous reports that there is overwhelming evidence supporting your assertions that:

1) AIDS is contagious,
2) AIDS is sexually transmitted,
3) HIV causes AIDS, and
4) The anti-HIV drugs promote health and wellbeing?

Among scientists, silence is a tacit admission of surrender. Unless you present your arguments and evidence soon, an observer of this internet discussion is left with little choice except to conclude that there is indeed overwhelming evidence regarding HIV and AIDS. The evidence is overwhelming that:

1) AIDS is not contagious,
2) AIDS is not sexually transmitted,
3) HIV does not causes AIDS,
4) The anti-HIV drugs are killing people.

This overwhelming evidence leads directly to recommendations for public health policies in South Africa and other African countries.

1. Devote the bulk of national and international biomedical and other resources to the eradication and treatment of the predominant AIDS-defining diseases in South Africa such as TB, malaria and enteric I nfections; the improvement of nutrition; the provision of improved sanitation and clean water.

2. Promote sex education based on the fact that there are many STDs and avoidable unwanted pregnancies.

3. Reject completely the use of anti-HIV drugs.

4. End dissemination of the psychologically destructive and false message that HIV infection is invariably fatal.

5. Outlaw HIV testing.

Dave Rasnick

The Durban Declaration

AIDS is not about science and medicine; it is a political and sociological phenomenon. That is why the majority refused to present any scientific or medical evidence during Mbeki's expert AIDS panel internet discussion.

President Mbeki and his ministers have done everything they could to encourage the majority to lay out their evidence and arguments. But the majority has uniformly refused to do that. Instead, some members of the majority have joined the mainstream HIV establishment in a desperate attempt to quash Mbeki's initiative for a free and open airing of the true nature of AIDS in South Africa.

Circumventing President Mbeki's initiative, the mainstream plans to Publish in Nature magazine on July 6 "The evidence that AIDS is caused by HIV-1 or HIV-2." They will claim that "This evidence meets the highest standards of science (3-7)."

If that is true, why in the hell didn't the majority present this evidence to the panel?

Below are the five references to the "exhaustive and unambiguous" evidence that "meets the highest standards of science".

3. Weiss R.A and Jaffe, H.W. (1990). Duesberg, HIV and AIDS. Nature, 345, 659-660.

4. NIAID (1996). HIV as the cause of AIDS.

5. O'Brien, S.J. and Goedert, J.J. (1996). HIV causes AIDS: Koch's postulates fulfilled. Current Opinion in Immunology, 8, 613-618.

6. Darby, S.C. et al., (1995). Mortality before and after HIV infection in the complete UK population of haemophiliacs. Nature, 377, 79-82.

7. Nunn, A.J. et al., (1997). Mortality associated with HIV-1 infection over five years in a rural Ugandan population: cohort study. BMJ, 315, 767-771.

I offer this "evidence" as evidence that this exercise has little to do with AIDS, health and science. As I have said before, this is really a battle for the health of our democracies: the ability to have free and open discourse and debate.

I suggest that the minority draft a statement to submit to Nature for publication in the July 6 issue. History indicates that it is unlikely that Nature will publish a statement from the minority. We should put it to the test, though.

Dave Rasnick

Is there a role for consensus in science?


Apparently, many people assume the answer is Yes. This assumption has led to the absurd argument that because the vast majority of scientists and physicians around the world believe (I emphasize believe) that AIDS is contagious and caused by HIV, it must be true. I am frequently asked: How could they all be wrong?

That question shows a profound ignorance of the history of science and medicine, which is replete with colossal blunders, miscalculations, errors, and monumental hubris. Error is the stuff of science, and it seems even more so of medicine.

Certainly, scientists periodically meet to agree on nomenclature and various other housekeeping chores. And scientists accept unifying theoretical structures, e.g. gravity, electrodynamics etc., when they have exhausted the problems, questions and imaginations of a particular generation of scientists.

But a new generation of scientists may ask new questions or find problems with accepted theories. Their explorations may lead to new discoveries and understanding that eventually exhaust the imaginations of that generation of scientists.

As a practicing scientist for 25 years, I have observed that something that is generally accepted by my colleagues (myself included) is either sufficiently unimportant that it does not attract their attention, or if it is important, it is probably wrong. In fact, it seems that the stronger a view is held by a large number of scientists, the less secure are the foundations for that view. I have no explanation for this phenomenon. But there are celebrated examples of it even in the field of mathematics that support this observation.

Therefore, as a scientist, the weakest argument one can make supporting a particular view is that the vast majority of scientists accept it. Indeed, that is no argument at all. It is frequently considered an anti-argument.

Consensus-majority rule-is an excellent way for people to govern themselves; but it is a demonstrably catastrophic way of determining scientific "truth", which is always only provisional.

It has been my experience that physicians make bad scientists, and scientists make bad physicians. I'm certain there are exceptions. But the glaring difference between physicians and scientists explains, in part, the almost complete inability of discourse between the minority on Mbeki's panel, comprised mostly of scientists, and the majority, comprised mostly of physicians. Scientists and physicians live and work in different worlds.

Scientists deal with ideas and evidence; physicians, with the life and death of their patients. Physicians expect scientists to tell them what's going on; scientists expect physicians to do the right thing.

AIDS has conflated the roles of scientist and physician-a tragic mistake. This explains the failure of the internet discussion. We have scientists, by and large, asking questions of physicians. It's like mixing baseball with ice hockey. It's completely inappropriate and unfair.

The world of scientists is at least as ruthless as that of physicians but in a different way. Our arguments are what's important, not the courtesy and decorum with which they are presented. We scientists are direct and hard in our delivery. That's the way we like it because it limits the bullshit. Lord knows there's enough of that in AIDS discourse. Inevitably, our approach must offend physicians, who go about their professional discourse quite differently from us. But we are thrown together so we must learn to deal with each other.

It will be interesting to see how the discourse progresses between the dissidents and the mainstream-if it does-at the next meeting July 3-5.

Dave Rasnick

Is HIV guilty of the crime of AIDS?

Even though the majority of had not participated in the internet discussions, at one point the moderators insisted that the burden of proof be shifted from those who support the contagious, HIV hypothesis of AIDS to those who criticize that hypothesis. The moderators wanted proof that HIV does not cause AIDS. After a short argument with the moderators about this shift in burden of proof I decided to put HIV on trial for the crime of AIDS. This gave me the opportunity to present the overwhelming evidence of HIV's innocence.

On July 10, 2000, the defendant HIV was represented by the dissidents. The mainstream scientists and physicians should have been the prosecutors. However, the prosecution did not present a case so we went directly to the defense.

World vs HIV

The defense will show that HIV is innocent of the crime of AIDS.

Exhibit A for the defense:

Source is CDC's HIV/AIDS Surveillance Reports.

During the period when the incidence of AIDS in the USA rose gradually to a peak in 1992 and has since been declining steadily the CDC reported a constant prevalence of HIV in the population (1 million Americans) from 1985 to 1995. In 1996, the CDC revised downward the estimate of the prevalence of HIV in the population retrospectively from 1992 to now with yet another constant figure of 650,000.

That is, the prevalence of HIV in the USA has never gone up. It has remained constant for 10 years or was lowered to a new figure that has remained constant for 8 years during a period when AIDS increased, reached a peak, and has since been steadily declining.

Hence, there is no correlation in time between the appearance of AIDS and the prevalence of the supposed culprit.

Exhibit B for the defense:

Source is CDC's National HIV Serosurveillance Summary, update 1993.

AIDS-Zentrum in Robert Koch-Institut, 1997, 125.

The National Serosurveillance Summary shows that using the HIV ELISA test, the presence of antibodies to HIV in 55 million blood donations over a period of years declined asymptotically from 0.025% (about 60,000 Americans if extrapolated to the population) to about a prevalence of 0.002%, which translates to fewer than 10,000 people if extrapolated to the population of the USA. The same decline in the prevalence of antibodies to HIV was reported in Germany in AIDS-Zentrum.

I want to point out that these figures are not the level of HIV-tainted blood in the blood supply after being screened by the HIV antibody test. These figures are for the prevalence of antibodies to HIV in the donated blood before it is thrown out.

Every chart in the Serosurveillance Summary shows the same downward trend over time. There is no evidence that the prevalence of antibodies has every gone up in any report available from the CDC or anywhere else that I know of.

The most likely explanation for the asymptotic decline in the prevalence of antibodies to HIV is that the antibody tests got better over time and began to converge to the background level of antibodies to HIV proteins in a given population.

Exhibit C for the defense:

Source: D. S. Burke et al., JAMA 263: 2074-2077 (1990)

Source: M. E. St Louis et al., JAMA 266: 2378-2391 (1991)

Source: CDC HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, year end edition (1992)

Source: Dr. Robert Da Prato
US Army
Dept. Of Defense
3127 NE Irving
Portland, OR 97232
(503) 233-8065

1) The number of Army recruits with antibodies to HIV is equally distributed between men and women (Burke et al.). This has been shown to be true for Jobs Corps recruits as well (St Louis et al.).

2) The percentage of recruits with antibodies to HIV has remained constant for 15 years (Da Prato).

Points 1 & 2 predict that AIDS should be equally distributed between the sexes in this age group if HIV caused AIDS. However, the CDC documents that 85% of the AIDS cases among 17- to 24-year-olds were male (CDC).

Thus, there is no indication that HIV is spreading in men and women in their late teens and early twenties. If HIV causes AIDS it somehow knows if you are male or female.

3) Blacks have 9-times the likelihood of having antibodies to HIV than whites, and a 33-fold greater likelihood than Asians (Da Prato).

4) These proportions have not changed in 15 years. Again, no sign that HIV is progressing in any of these populations (Da Prato). While HIV likes boys and girls equally, the virus prefers Blacks to Whites and just plain doesn't like Asians.

Witnesses for the defense:

Dr. Mohammed Ali Al-Bayati, PhD, DABT, DABVT
President of Toxi-Health International
150 Bloom Dr.
Dixon, CA 95620

Source: "Get All the Facts: HIV Does Not Cause AIDS," by Mohammed Ali Al-Bayati (1999), published by Toxi-Health International, Dixon, CA

from pages 16-19

Defense: Dr. Al-Bayati, we are repeatedly told by the New York Times, anonymous HIV reports, and by members of this panel that there is overwhelming evidence that HIV causes AIDS. Do you agree there is overwhelming evidence that HIV causes AIDS?

Dr. Al-Bayati: In actuality, the medical literature clearly indicates that HIV does not cause AIDS in the USA, Europe, Africa, and any other place in the world. The HIV-hypothesis is incorrect and the CDC, NIH and the leaders of the HIV-hypothesis overlooked essential medical evidence. My conclusion is based on the medical evidence.

Defense: Dr. Al-Bayati, Anthony Fauci in his book entitled "Principles of Internal Medicine" published by McGraw-Hill in 1998, 14th edition and Robert Gallo in his article entitled "The AIDS Virus" published in Scientific American vol 256, pages 46-56 (1987) have said that most people who are suffering from AIDS have tested positive for antibodies to HIV and that this is sufficient evidence to convict HIV of the crime of AIDS. Do you agree?

Dr. Al-Bayati: I have found that the majority of people who participated in the major four AZT clinical trials were HIV-negative prior to their treatment with AZT and their diagnoses were based on clinical symptoms only without performing a differential diagnosis. The four published clinical trials are (1) Fischl et al., The New England Journal of Medicine 316: 185-191 (1987); (2) Fischl et al., The New England Journal of Medicine 323: 1009-1014 (1990); (3) Volberding et al., The New England Journal of Medicine 322: 941-949 (1990); and (4) Hamilton et al., The New England Journal of Medicine 326: 437-443 (1992).

Briefly, a total of 2,349 patients participated in these studies, and at least 77% of them were HIV-negative prior to their treatment with AZT. The findings of these studies clearly demonstrate that AIDS in 77% of these patients was caused by agent(s) or processes other than HIV.

Furthermore, there are many HIV-negative cases reported to have low CD4+ T cell counts with or without AIDS-defining disease and these cases were diagnosed as having idiopathic CD4+ T cell lymphocytopenia by the CDC and Anthony Fauci in his book above. I found that the abnormalities in the immune systems of these patients are identical to patients with AIDS who are infected with HIV and also HIV-negative patients treated chronically with high therapeutic doses of glucocorticoids.

Defence: Dr. Al-Bayati, if HIV is not necessary for AIDS, will a person who happens to be infected with HIV, nevertheless, come down with AIDS and die? In other words, is HIV sufficient to cause AIDS?

Dr. Al-Bayati: There are thousands of people infected with HIV for more than 10 years and remain perfectly healthy. Anthony Fauci calls them long term nonprogressors. This is very clear evidence that HIV is a harmless virus.

Defense: But Dr. Al-Bayati we are told that HIV causes AIDS by killing CD4+ T cells. Are you saying that this is not true?

Dr. Al-Bayati: Sharpstone et al., published in the European Journal of Gastroentrology and Hepatology vol 8 pages 575-578 (1996) that the CD4+ T cell counts of HIV positive homosexual men increased following the elimination of rectal steroid use. The recovery of CD4+ T cell counts in these patients indicated that the reduction in T cell counts was due to the steroids and not HIV.

Another example is the report by Fawzi et al. in The Lancet vol 351 pages 1447-1482 (1998). The CD4+ T cell counts increased in 270 HIV-positive pregnant women who were suffering from malnutrition during 30 weeks following treatment with multivitamin supplements. The recovery of the T cells in these patients indicated that the reduction in T cells counts was due to malnutrition and not HIV.

And then there is the paper by Hoxie et al., entitled "Persistent noncytopathic infection of normal human T lymphocytes with AIDS-associated retrovirus published in Science vol 229 page 1400 (1985). The authors reported that infected CD4+ T cells remained productively infected with the virus for more than 4 months in culture. They showed no cytopathic effects.

Muro-Cacho, et al. in the Journal of Immunology vol 154 pages 5555-5566 (1995) isolated HIV from lymph nodes that show hyperplasia of CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells and B cell lymphocytes. This is very direct proof that HIV does not cause cell necrosis.

In fact, the same authors showed that the necrosis of T cells and B cells in the lymph nodes of HIV infected patients were found to be independent of viral load and the duration of the infection.

HIV usually infects 1 in 500 to 300 T cells, about 0.1% of the total number of these cells. As Duesberg has pointed out (Duesberg Pharmacology and Therapeutics vol 55 pages 201-277 (1992)), the regeneration rate of T cells is 3% per every two days. This indicates the unlikelihood of serious HIV effects.

Defense: I think Robert Gallo has likened HIV infection to being hit by a truck or something along those lines. If Gallo is right, there should be many documented cases of AIDS and death where HIV was caught in the act, so to speak, without the help of other causes of immune suppression. Do you know of such cases?

Dr. Al-Bayati: I have not found even a single case of an HIV infected patient who developed AIDS outside of the risk groups (homosexual men, drug users, hemophiliacs, malnourished patients, patients receiving blood transfusion or transplanted tissue) and patients with preexisting medical conditions that required the chronic use of immunosuppressive agents.

Defense: Thank you Dr. Al-Bayati. You are excused for now but the defense may call upon you again.

Witness for the defense

Mario Roederer
Beckman Center
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford, California

Source: "Getting to the HAART of T cell dynamics" by Mario Roederer, Nature Medicine vol 4, pages 145-146 (1998)

Defense: Dr. Roederer, the defense recognizes that as a supporter of the contagious, HIV hypothesis of AIDS you may be reluctant to testify. Nevertheless, it has come to our attention that you are an outspoken critic of David Ho's viral dynamics hypothesis. Could you outline for the panel the significance of Ho's model and what led you to reject it?

Dr. Roederer: The discovery that CD4 is the primary receptor that HIV uses to enter T cells provided a neat solution to the question of why CD4+ T cells are progressively lost during HIV disease. According to this theory, HIV infects CD4+ T cells, then lyses them during the productive phase of the viral life cycle. A direct corollary of this hypothesis is that removal of virus from the host should restore CD4+ T cells, leading to immunological recovery of the infected person. In early 1995, two Nature papers purported to show exactly this result. Effective anti-retroviral therapy caused immediate and large increases in the numbers of CD4+ T cells - putatively, by reducing viral-induced cytolysis while maintaining high levels of CD4+ T cell proliferation. These results received enormous publicity in the popular press, with vivid portrayals of a '"massive immunological war" in which billions of CD4+ T cells were produced and destroyed daily.

Defense: Time Magazine made David Ho, one of the Nature authors, the 1996 Man of the Year because of this. Was Ho's results welcomed by his colleagues as lighting a path out of the darkness of AIDS research?

Dr. Roederer: There has been considerable debate about Ho's simple hypothesis. The Nature paper ignited a heated controversy that resulted in publication of several well-designed and informative studies, which raised serious doubts about this "war". In a recent issue of Nature Medicine [ref. above], reports by Pakker et al. and Gorochov et al. provide the final nails in the coffin for models of T cell dynamics in which a major reason for changes in T cell numbers is the death of HIV-infected cells.

Defense: Dr. Roederer can you explain in simple terms what led you to that conclusion?

Dr. Roederer: I'll try. Within an individual with AIDS, naive CD8+ T cells decline at the same rate as naive CD4+ T cells. Because CD8+ T cells cannot be infected by HIV, and naive CD4+ T cells are relatively resistant to productive HIV infection [Roederer gives references], these declines cannot be directly attributed to HIV-mediated cytolysis. In later stages of disease, both memory CD8+ and memory CD4+ T cells decline at similar rates.

Defense: Dr. Roederer I see your point. T cells that are capable of being infected by HIV and T cells that are not disappear at the same rate. Therefore, HIV cannot be killing them all. Something else must be happening. What's the take home lesson, Dr. Roederer?

Dr. Roederer: The facts (1) that HIV uses CD4 as it primary receptor, and (2) that CD4+ T cell numbers decline during AIDS, are only an unfortunate coincidence that have led us astray from understanding the immunopathogenesis of this disease.

Defense: Thank you Dr. Roederer. That will be all.

Witness for the defense

Giuseppe Pantaleo
Department of Internal Medicine
Lausanne, Switzerland

Source: "Unraveling the strands of HIV's web," by Giuseppe Pantaleo, Nature Medicine vol 5, pages 27-28 (1999)

Defense: Dr. Pantaleo, we just heard from Dr. Mario Roederer on the experimental evidence that refutes David Ho's viral dynamics hypothesis of how HIV depletes CD4+ T cells. It has come to our attention that you also reject Ho's model of T cell depletion.

As with Dr. Roederer, we acknowledge that as a supporter of the contagious, HIV hypothesis of AIDS you may be reluctant to answer our questions. Nevertheless, here goes. Could you layout for the panel the pertinent background and your conclusions?

Dr. Pantaleo: The current working hypothesis of HIV infection proposes that: high CD4+ T lymphocyte production and turnover is the result of T cell destruction; a large (10^9) number of CD4+ T cells is infected and destroyed every day; and an equal number of CD4+ T cell is produced to compensate for the loss. However, the report by Hellerstein et al. [in the above issue of Nature Medicine], together with a series of studies by others [gives references], puts an end to four years of exciting (although often harsh) debate about the CD4+ T lymphocyte production/destruction hypothesis.

Defense: So, Dr. Pantaleo, is there destruction of CD4+ T cells?

Dr. Pantaleo: Of course there is, and this may result from direct HIV-mediated cytopathicity as well as from immune destruction.

Defense: But Dr. Pantaleo, Mario Roderer has testified that the reduction of CD4+ and other T cells must be due to mechanisms other than HIV killing them. So how much HIV destruction of T cells is there?

Dr. Pantaleo: Certainly not as much as previously estimated and by no means enough to explain overall CD4+ T cell destruction.

Defense: Then why did David Ho et al. report an increase in CD4+ T lymphocytes in those patients given HAART?

Dr. Pantaleo: The initial rise was mostly the result of redistribution of CD4+ cells from other lymphoid compartments of the blood.

Defense: Thank you Dr. Pantaleo. That will be all.

Harvey Bialy is exactly right with his analysis of Root-Bernstein's position that HIV is necessary but not sufficient to cause AIDS.

Even if Root-Bernstein was right (Which, by the way, he has done nothing to show that HIV is necessary; he hopes we will just take his word for that.), then everything that is currently said about AIDS and everything that is currently done to deal with AIDS must be drastically altered.

For example, being human is a necessary part of the equation of getting AIDS. Yet being human is not sufficient for becoming an AIDS case or the entire population would have AIDS.

Necessary but not sufficient begs the question of what causes AIDS. Root-Bernstein, in his poorly advertised posting of his hypothesis, claims to have the answer to what really causes AIDS.


But Root-Bernstein presents an hypothesis, which I'm all for. But it is nothing more than that. He begins his hypothesis with the axiom that HIV is necessary for AIDS, for it is only an axiom since there has been no evidence presented in the internet discussion that supports that claim.

Dave Rasnick

Dear Dr. Root-Bernstein,

You say that, "The anti-HIV people aren't even in the ballgame yet." Hell-we're the only ones on the field.

With all of your powers of analysis and genius grants, and with your ability, "probably more than anyone else on the panel, [to] understand what it takes to revolutionize science," you failed to grasp the glaring, simple fact that the purpose of this whole exercise is to help President Mbeki and his ministers understand the true nature of AIDS and what to do about it.

I guess it completely escaped your notice that when Mbeki called for this expert AIDS panel he was well aware that most people think, as you do, that:

1) AIDS is contagious,
2) AIDS is sexually transmitted,
3) HIV causes AIDS, and
4) The anti-HIV drugs do more good than harm.

Mbeki has said that he is suspicious of arguments when the primary defenders of those arguments completely and systematically exclude critics from the discussions. The first-line defense of the mainstream position is to ignore critics. If that doesn't work, then the mainstream scientists, physicians and their sycophants denigrate and impugn the characters of the critics.

Mbeki said that one purpose, among others, was to give a voice to the voiceless. Apparently, you have a problem with that.

You have done little to help Mbeki and his ministers see that the mainstream position - that AIDS is contagious and caused by HIV - is correct beyond saying that the majority is basically right. Since the majority, for whatever reasons, has failed to present to Mbeki and his ministers even a single piece of evidence to support their case, why don't you try.

As a result of your very courageous initial posting through Ray Mabope, the Defense will most likely call you as its next witness.

Dave Rasnick

Witness for the Defense

Robert Root-Bernstein
Department of Physiology
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI

Source: Rethinking AIDS: the tragic cost of premature consensus, by Robert Root-Bernstein, published by the Free Press, New York. 512 pages (1993).

From the Preface

Defense: Dr. RB, you recently sent Ray Mabope an email saying that you and your colleagues are not participating in the internet debate "for a very simple reason. The criticisms being offered by the anti-HIV people are not worth responding to."

I wonder how many mainstream AIDS researchers and physicians said the very same thing in 1993 about your well-reasoned criticisms of the contagious, HIV hypothesis of AIDS. I have read your previous work and it just doesn't jibe with your current wholesale writing-off of the dissidents.

Why did you say that to Mr. Mabope?

RB: I say this as the only professionally trained philosopher and historian of science on your panel. I studied with Thomas Kuhn, the man who invented the term "paradigm shift" for explaining how revolutions in science occur. I, probably more than anyone else on the panel, understand what it takes to revolutionize science."

Defense: Dr. RB that may very well be true. But I don't think the purpose of Mbeki's expert AIDS panel was to shift paradigms or revolutionize science.

President Mbeki is not a scientist. But he is a well-informed head of state who wants our help so that he can better understand this thing called AIDS and what to do about it. With that in mind, let's see what we can do to help President Mbeki and his ministers in this regard.

Dr. RB, let's start with a simple question. Do the mainstream scientists and physicians, the CDC, the NIAID and the rest of the alphabet soup of organizations understand what AIDS is?

RB: We do not understand AIDS.

Defense: That is a marvelously succinct answer, which is near and dear to my scientific heart. But I think it would help Mbeki and his ministers if you explain in a bit more detail what you mean when you say that we do not understand AIDS.

RB: Epidemiologists must be able to predict accurately when outbreaks will occur and who is at highest risk. Microbiologists must be able to prove the underlying causes of the disease. Immunologists must be able to explain how the immune system fails and what may be done to protect it. Anthropologists and sociologists must be able to pinpoint behavioral patterns and cultural environments that put people at risk. And public health officials and physicians must be able to implement effective preventative measures and cures. By these criteria, we do not understand AIDS; in fact we are profoundly ignorant.

Defense: Dr. RB, the majority on Mbeki's AIDS panel would most likely take issue with your answer and say that most of the central questions about AIDS have been answered. How would you respond to their assertions?

[from Chapter 1]

RB: Most scientists believe that we understand AIDS and have trumpeted their belief to each other and to the public as well. The consensus is that HIV causes AIDS and that when we learn how to vaccinate against HIV or develop an antibiotic that can treat HIV infection, then AIDS will be cured. This is the public face of AIDS research. Scientists are much more reticent about revealing their other face-the one that displays their ignorance, confusion, and puzzlement over the aspects of this disease that they do not understand.

The best kept secrets of AIDS are the questions unanswered, the puzzles unsolved, the contradictions unrecognized, and the paradoxes unformulated. Yet the degree of our ignorance must be the measure of our understanding. 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.

Such anomalies do not mean that we have the facts of AIDS wrong but rather that we have not figured out how to explain all of the facts coherently and consistently within a single theoretical framework. The failure to explain AIDS accurately, in turn, raises the possibility that we are not addressing its causes and cures appropriately. The tragic cost of this failure is the constantly rising death toll of AIDS.

Defense: Dr. RB, I'm confused. What you just said - raising a red flag pointing out the anomalies, ignorance, confusion and puzzlement about AIDS - sounds a lot like what the dissidents on Mbeki's panel have been saying. Therefore, I don't understand why you treat them so harshly. But that is your business.

You have recently uploaded without fanfare your 52-page hypothesis about AIDS where you state flatly without providing evidence that HIV is necessary but not sufficient for AIDS. That is not what you used to think. In 1993 you challenged the formal position taken by the US government Health and Human Services Department, the NIH, the CDC, and even the World Health Organization that AIDS does not occur in the absence of an HIV infection and that HIV infection, in and of itself, is all that is necessary to result in AIDS.

For simplicity let's take these one at a time. What led you in 1993 to say that HIV is not sufficient to cause AIDS?

RB: If anyone has a stake in proclaiming that HIV is the sole cause of AIDS and that he is the primary discoverer of that cause, it is certainly Montagnier. Yet Montagnier has announced that HIV is not sufficient to cause AIDS.

Defense: As you know, Montagnier is on this panel, but he has chosen to remain completely silent since the meeting in Pretoria, perhaps giving the same reason as yourself. But that's not the issue at hand.

How was Montagnier's discovery that HIV was not sufficient to cause AIDS received by his colleagues in the early 1990s?

RB: The response from most other HIV researchers has been to ignore Montagnier's data. But an American AIDS researcher who, preferring to remain anonymous, has said, "I'd bet my professional reputation that something more than HIV is involved in this disease. But I wouldn't bet my grants, my ability to work." Nor will most of this man's colleagues. They remain silent, or they remain skeptics.

Defense: With good reason too. Peter Duesberg has had 24 research grant proposals in a row turned down since he began criticizing the HIV hypothesis of AIDS in 1987 by the same funding sources that never turned him down before.

Now let's address the other side of the coin. What evidence was there in 1993 that led you and others to question whether HIV was even necessary to cause AIDS?

RB: There were a number of HIV-free AIDS cases documented prior to 1991. Notably, all of the cases known prior to 1991 were ignored by all but a handful of AIDS researchers. Most proclaimed with great assurance that, in the words of James Curran of the CDC, "There is not AIDS without HIV."

Then Luc Montagnier announced in May 1992 that he had three AIDS patients in whom he could find no evidence of HIV. Two months later, not only Montagnier, but clinician after clinician rose to tell the audience at the international AIDS conference in Amsterdam that each had a handful of such HIV-free AIDS patients. 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 AIDS. The question is whether the causes of HIV-free AIDS are also at work in people with HIV, and therefore what role HIV plays in causing AIDS in anyone.

Defense: Let me repeat that for Mbeki, his ministers, and the panel. In 1993 you said that, "There is no longer any doubt that HIV is not necessary to cause AIDS." That is a far cry from your current and unsupported assertion that HIV is necessary for AIDS. Perhaps in the future you will enlighten Mbeki and his ministers about what convinced you to change your mind so dramatically.

Since this panel is supposed to address the issue of AIDS specific to Africa, can you tell the panel what is known about HIV-free AIDS on that continent?

RB: HIV-free AIDS patients have also been reported in African countries. In one Ugandan study, 2% of patients fulfilling the WHO criteria for AIDS was HIV-antibody negative by an ELISA test. These tests are notorious for giving false positives when validated with the more sophisticated tests now employed, so the presence of a negative test is all the more telling. Another study in Tanzania again employed WHO criteria for diagnosing AIDS and, using tests for both HIV antigen and antibody, found that 12% of patients were HIV negative on all tests. A controlled study of 1,328 patients evaluated according to the WHO criteria in Uganda revealed that between 8% and 15% of all clinical diagnoses of AIDS were HIV negative.

In other words, these people had all of the symptoms of AIDS but not the virus that is supposed to be its cause.

How many such HIV-negative AIDS cases exist? Might these be flukes, without significance for understanding AIDS? All that is known for certain is that between 1% and 5% of AIDS patients who are tested for HIV do not demonstrate the presence of antibody to the virus nor can HIV infection be demonstrated directly.

Defense: Dr. RB, the CDC acknowledges these HIV-free AIDS cases but they try to downplay the significance of this fact. Can't we just ignore these HIV-free AIDS cases?

RB: 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 HIV.

Defense: Dr. RB I know this hasn't been easy testifying for the defense knowing your distaste for the members of the minority of this panel. I must say that it is difficult to know just where you stand regarding HIV and AIDS since it seems to depend on the date and forum. Nevertheless, your contribution has been most helpful.

You should know though that the defense may call you in the future. You are excused for now.

Request Summary dismissal of the charge that HIV causes AIDS.

When the Nobel laureate Kary Mullis was asked what was the best evidence that HIV does not cause AIDS he immediately answered that, "The best evidence that HIV does not cause AIDS is that there is no evidence for it."

The Defense requests that HIV be dismissed of all charges that the virus is responsible for the crime of AIDS because in Mullis' words: "there is no evidence for it."

Members of the panel, this has been a most unusual hearing, perhaps even unique. It is a trial without a prosecution. Absolutely no evidence has been presented by the prosecution known as mainstream scientists and physicians.

The moderators have set an unusual, if not dangerous, precedent by declaring that the burden of proof is on the defense to show that its client, HIV, is not guilty of the crime of AIDS.

Fortunately for the defense, we have almost a century of evidence, over 100,000 documents, and hundreds of witnesses to draw upon to provide the overwhelming evidence that HIV is clearly innocent of the crime of AIDS.

The Perth Group goes so far as to say that there is reason to doubt that there is even a defendant called HIV that could be put on trial.

There is some justification for this view since HIV itself has not been placed at the scene of the crime - only non-specific antibodies, and fragments of 3% of HIV's genome, but then only after billions- to trillions-fold amplification.

The defense has presented the mainstreamís own documents that clearly state that the so-called HIV tests (ELISA, western blot, and PCR viral load) do not diagnose either HIV or AIDS. Therefore, these tests do not place HIV at the scene of the crime.

The claimed 100% correlation between HIV and AIDS exists only in the mind. It is a necessary consequence of the mainstream policy that summarily states that HIV is the cause of AIDS. In the words of James Curran of the CDC, "There is not AIDS without HIV."

Following the US government-sponsored press conference in 1984 that declared AIDS to be contagious and caused by HIV, the CDC redefined AIDS in 1985 to include HIV as the cause. This change led to the Orwellian move of redefining AIDS as HIV disease. This new disease - HIV disease - has not yet caught on with the public, but it is prominent in mainstream scientific and medical journals.

However, in South Africa we may be witnessing the evolution towards this new disease via the intermediate syndrome called HIV-AIDS. Once the AIDS part is dropped, the Orwellian transformation will be complete.

Just a few other points in summary.

Even if HIV had been found at the scene of the crime, there is no evidence that the virus is even capable of committing the crime of AIDS. Virologists have known for the better part of the 20th Century that retroviruses do not kill cells that they infect. As Peter Duesberg has pointed out, this is why retroviruses were once seriously thought to cause cancer - specifically because they do not kill cells. It turned out that retroviruses are also innocent of the crime of cancer.

The defense has provided evidence that HIV is nether necessary ("clinician after clinician rose to tell the audience at the international AIDS conference in Amsterdam that each had a handful of HIV-free AIDS patients") nor sufficient (evidence in the mainstream scientific literature as recently as 1998-99 "provide the final nails in the coffin for models of T cell dynamics in which a major reason for changes in T cell numbers is the death of HIV-infected cells.") to cause AIDS.

The defense has provided evidence from the CDC showing that there is no correlation in time between antibodies to HIV and AIDS. During a period when AIDS slowly increased, reached a peak in 1992, and has since been steadily in decline, the CDC's own documents show that the prevalence of HIV in the USA remained constant; it never went up. The same is true for Germany.

Finally, the defense has provided an explanation for why there is no prosecutor presenting evidence that HIV is guilty of the crime of AIDS. The mainstream "Scientists are much more reticent about revealing their other face - the one that displays their ignorance, confusion, and puzzlement over the aspects of this disease that they do not understand."

Unless the prosecution presents its evidence soon, the defense rests. However, if in the short time remaining, the prosecution ventures to make its case, the defense reserves the right of rebuttal.

Dave Rasnick

Dr. Makgoba holds it against the dissidents for not having performed any experiments with regards to AIDS or HIV. The implication is that because of this, we have not earned the right to criticize the mainstream hypothesis that AIDS is contagious and caused by HIV. It is time to address this justification, which is by no means unique to Makgoba, for writing-off those who question the mainstream view of AIDS.

As I have pointed out previously during this internet discussion, the federal government of the US provides funding for AIDS research through the NIH, specifically through the NIAID, and every penny of that money goes only to grant proposals that accept the mainstream view that AIDS is contagious and caused by HIV.

Peter Duesberg has had 24 grant proposals in a row turned down since he publicly challenged the contagious, HIV hypothesis of AIDS in 1987. Five or six of the grant proposals were designed to experimentally test specific aspects of the mainstream hypothesis of AIDS. It's difficult to conduct the experiments that Makgoba wants if you can't get funded. Perhaps the MRC will fund a research grant proposal from Peter Duesberg and other dissidents?

Makoba's criticism of the minority for not conducting experiments shows a lack of understanding of the nature of science and the purpose of experiments. Science is not primarily what scientists do with their hands, but rather what goes on between the ears. Science is about ideas and understanding and questioning. An experiment is simply a question that scientists put to Nature. The answers Nature gives are interpreted in light of the biases - hypothesis, theories - of the various scientists.

We have had 16 years of experiments performed by tens of thousands of scientists and physicians, producing over 100,000 scientific/medical papers on HIV and AIDS. Both the mainstream and the dissidents agree that all of the important questions about AIDS have been asked and answered:

Is AIDS contagious?

Is AIDS sexually transmitted?

Does HIV cause AIDS?

Do the anti-HIV drugs do more good than harm?

The mainstream members of the panel flatly assert without providing supporting evidence that the answer to each question is YES. The dissidents are divided as to the answers to these questions but most argue from voluminous supporting evidence in the scientific and medical literature that the answer to each question is NO. This is very odd since the mainstream claims overwhelming evidence supporting their position but has presented none of it. Whereas, the dissidents, on the other hand, have provided the overwhelming evidence from the same literature that clearly refutes the mainstream position.

Nevertheless, I propose one more experiment that involves me and a volunteer from the mainstream. This experiment has been proposed from time to time by supporters of the mainstream position. I think it's time to do it.

On national or international television, I will be treated with purified, infectious HIV. At the same time, a member of the mainstream, preferably a physician who prescribes anti-HIV drugs, will begin a life-time course of the three-drug cocktail known as HAART. The experiment is simple: we will see who comes down with AIDS-defining diseases and who lives longer. Very simple endpoints.

Every six months both of us will conduct nationally or internationally televised press conferences about our health and about the evidence for and against the contagious, HIV hypothesis of AIDS. The biannual press conferences will continue until we are both dead.

The people who have suggested that Duesberg infect himself with HIV were willing to risk his life to make their point. I am willing to risk the life of a mainstream proponent of the contagious, HIV hypothesis of AIDS who is eager to give AZT to pregnant women and their babies.

Dr. Makgoba, are you willing to volunteer for this experiment? Would the MRC fund this experiment?

Dave Rasnick

One more experiment revisited

Harvey Bialy's comment about my "One more experiment post" indicates that he thinks it was meant to be a rhetorical device. Others may share that impression. Therefore, I want to make it as clear as I know how that I am very serious about doing this experiment. Below is the experiment for ease of reference.

On national or international television, I will be treated with purified, infectious HIV. At the same time, a member of the mainstream, preferably a physician who prescribes anti-HIV drugs, will begin a life-time course of the three-drug cocktail known as HAART. The experiment is simple: we will see who comes down with AIDS-defining diseases and who lives longer. Very simple endpoints.

Every six months both of us will conduct nationally or internationally televised press conferences about our health and about the evidence for and against the contagious, HIV hypothesis of AIDS. The biannual press conferences will continue until we are both dead.

The people who have suggested that Duesberg infect himself with HIV were willing to risk his life to make their point. I am willing to risk the life of a mainstream proponent of the contagious, HIV hypothesis of AIDS who is eager to give AZT to pregnant women and their babies.

Dr. Makgoba, are you willing to volunteer for this experiment? Would the MRC fund this experiment?

The purpose of the experiment is to make the people of the world aware of the catastrophe of the HIV hypothesis of AIDS; the biggest scientific/medical blunder of the 20th Century.

I have absolutely no fear of HIV. Antibodies to HIV is another matter entirely. If a person is given the death sentence of being HIV positive, he is labeled for life, shunned by family and friends which can lead to divorce; he can't get insurance; he can be fired from his job or is not allowed to work; he can't travel to many countries. Since 1990, HIV positive people are not allowed to enter the USA. That's why the International AIDS Conferences are no longer held in the USA. Finally, an HIV-positive person is treated with anti-HIV drugs which cause AIDS-defining diseases and death. In pure Orwellian fashion, his death is listed as AIDS-related.

In addition to the above, an HIV-positive pregnant woman is treated with the DNA-chain terminator AZT and her infants are given AZT. An HIV-positive woman can have her children taken away from her if she refuses to stop breastfeeding or if she refuses to take AZT while pregnant or if she refuses to give AZT to her children. All over the world these women are fleeing the AIDS police to protect their children.

Therefore, antibodies to HIV are quite lethal, while HIV itself is completely harmless as documented extensively on this internet forum.

I am very serious about this experiment. Let's set it up.

Dave Rasnick

PS: I met William Makgoba at the second expert AIDS panel meeting in Johannesburg in July and asked him if the MRC would fund my proposed experiment. I also asked him if he would volunteer for the experiment. He smiled feebly and walked away. Normally he is very talkative.

No one has mentioned a word about my proposed experiment not even to say I'm nuts. Perhaps I should make more of this in the future.

What does all of this mean for South Africa?

That is for South Africans to decide. But since President Mbeki has honored the members of this panel with the opportunity to share with him, his ministers and the people of South Africa what we know and think, and in some cases believe, about AIDS, here is my offering.

South Africans are indeed emerging from a true catastrophe - the catastrophe of apartheid. For 50 years Black South Africans "were placed far from white cities often without electricity or running water, given inferior education and granted little access to resources or rights. The result was that the gap between rich and poor in South Africa grew to immense proportions, virtually unequalled anywhere else on the globe." (from "The life and times of Thabo Mbeki" by A. Hadland & J. Rantao, Zebra Press, page 135 (1999))

No sooner had South Africans freed themselves from the tyranny of a minority from within (Apartheid) than they were subjected to the tyranny of a majority from without (mainstream AIDS establishment). Almost on a daily basis (certainly in the USA and South Africa) we read in newspapers and hear in the media about the pandemic of AIDS, the catastrophe of AIDS - and this pandemic, this catastrophe is happening in Africa, and in particular in South Africa.

In these accounts of the AIDS holocaust, we are confronted with 30 million-and more-HIV positive people, most of whom are African. We are shocked by claims that up to one quarter of the population of South Africa may be infected with HIV. Yet at the expert AIDS panel meeting in Pretoria last May, no one, not a single person, not one government official, not one of the CDC officials, not Dr. Makgoba of the MRC, not one scientist, not one physician - no one - could even give a rough estimate of the size of the catastrophe of AIDS that is said to be crushing South Africa. When Peter Duesberg tried to inject hard WHO data into the discussion it was greeted by a chorus from the panel to take it down.

Since the close of the first meeting in Pretoria, many of us have been trying to come up with the number - even a crude estimate - of how many people are really suffering from the pandemic of AIDS in South Africa. No luck.

Alan Whiteside tried to provide these numbers but Professor Geshekter pointed out that, "The measurable declines in African healthiness and the increased frequency of disease rates cited by Whiteside can be cogently explained by the environmental conditions and non-HIV insults to which many Africans have been exposed and subjected over the past 20-25 years."

Geshekter cited a recent analysis by John Iliffe in "East African Doctors: A History of the Modern Profession" (Cambridge University Press, 1998) that documents how deteriorating political economies (not some rainforest virus) produced the classic symptoms of sickness - fever, persistent cough, diarrhea and weight loss - that American researchers re-defined as a new and distinct illness (AIDS) in 1984, declaring it was caused by a single virus (HIV) which could be transmitted through sexual contact.

Therefore, until we know exactly what is meant by an AIDS catastrophe and its scale, it's very difficult to know how to discuss prevention and treatment. Nevertheless, I think Thabo Mbeki proposed the correct measures for dealing with whatever is going on in South Africa in his speech to the National Assembly on June 10, 1997:

"The process of sustained development and transformation from which our government will not depart remains still the provision of a better life for all and the comprehensive deracialisation of our country, among other things, by facilitating the achievement of high and sustained rates of economic growth, further creating the condition for the integration of our economy into the world economy, promoting the creation of new jobs, providing land, clean water and sanitation, making progress towards the elimination of hunger and poverty, improving the quality of and access to educational, welfare and health services, and ensuring the availability of affordable and sustainable energy and the provision of affordable housing."

In his "Two Nations" speech in 1998, Mbeki correctly characterized the true catastrophe of South Africa that the AIDS establishment has transformed into the catastrophe of AIDS:

"A major component part of the issue of reconciliation and nation-building is defined by and derives from the material conditions in our society which have divided our country into two nations, the one black and the other white. We therefore make bold to say that South Africa is a country of two nations. One of these nations is white, relatively prosperous, regardless of gender or geographical dispersal. It has ready access to a developed economic, physical, educational, communication and other infrastructure. The second and larger nation of South Africa is black and poor, with the worst affected being women in rural areas"

Mbeki's "second and larger nation of South Africa" has been transformed through "carefully calibrated amnesia" into the AIDS catastrophe of South Africa. Just as with apartheid, the AIDS catastrophe was "founded on a lie" and "could only be maintained on the basis of the elaboration and sustenance of even further lies."

Mbeki has said that, "the restoration of the dignity of the peoples of Africa itself demands that we deal as decisively and as quickly as possible with the perception that as a continent we are condemned forever to depend on the merciful charity which those who are kind are ready to put into our begging bowls."

During the 1970s, we Americans were shown "the tragic sight of the emaciated child who dies of hunger or is ravaged by curable diseases because their malnourished bodies do not have the strength to resist any illness." In those days we sent CARE packages to those African children. Nowadays we are shown the same images from Africa, but instead of sending CARE packages, we send condoms and AZT and preach safe sex.

The predictions in the 1980s of an impending AIDS catastrophe in the USA did not come true. The predictions of an AIDS catastrophe in Europe did not come true. I suspect that the claims of an AIDS catastrophe in Africa, specifically South Africa, are also not true. There has certainly been no evidence to show that there is an AIDS catastrophe in South Africa. I could be wrong. All I am asking for is the simple evidence of an AIDS catastrophe in South Africa.

In summary, I want to be as clear as I know how. Whatever is going on in South Africa it is not AIDS. That is:

It is not contagious.

It is not sexually transmitted.

It is not caused by HIV.

And it is not treatable with anti-HIV drugs.

Dave Rasnick

Closing Remarks

These are my personal thoughts that I want to share with everyone before the internet discussions end so that others can respond if they wish.

The internet exercise went pretty much as I expected when it was announced at the first meeting of the panel in early May. I even anticipated that the majority-those that accept the mainstream view that AIDS is contagious and caused by HIV-would attempt to ignore the questions put to them by those of us in the minority who do not accept the mainstream view of AIDS.

However, the almost absolute silence from the majority came as a surprise even to me. I thought the majority would at least quote from the anonymous NIAID document. Another strategy I had envisioned was that the mainstream would conduct a discourse among themselves and ignore the minority. But alas, they didn't.

In spite of the apparent failure of the internet discussion to engage the majority's interest, the exercise was, nevertheless, immensely important.

It demonstrated that while on the surface it appears that this struggle between the dissidents and mainstream authorities is about AIDS, health and science, the battle is really about the health of our democracies; the ability to have free and open discourse and debate. It has been known for over 200 years that an unavoidable characteristic of a vibrant, healthy democracy is that it is intrinsically messy. The same goes for vibrant, healthy science.

The hallmark of totalitarian regimes, on the other hand, is a pronounced lockstep orderliness of thought, discourse and behavior. The measuring stick of messiness is the level and diversity of discourse and debate in both a democracy and science. Using this measuring stick, the internet AIDS panel discussion clearly demonstrates a healthy cacophony of disorder on the part of the minority-and by contrast, a uniform crash of silence from the majority.

George Orwell warned us that powerful institutions will use our very language as a weapon against us. Orwell even got the date right. AIDS-speak was born at a press conference on April 23, 1984. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), AIDS test, HIV test, viral load, are all frauds. From April 1984 until now, the power, resources and prestige of the US Government have created, maintained, and protected the fiction of an AIDS pandemic. It never happened in the USA. It never happened in Europe. And as a result of the first meeting of the panel in Pretoria last May, I'm beginning to think it is not happening in South Africa.

The HIV blunder was not the result of a conspiracy but was an unfortunate consequence of systemic problems inherent in the institutions of the USA. Few people know that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which includes the NIAID that is responsible for AIDS, are military organizations. For example, Anthony Fauci, the Director of NIAID, has a military rank and uniform to boot that comes with the job. The CDC and the NIH both come under the Executive Branch of our Government. Their ultimate boss is President Clinton.

Every penny of AIDS research money goes through the hands of Anthony Fauci who makes sure that only the HIV faithful receive the sacrament of a research grant. This fact alone is sufficient to explain why it is that virtually every one of the more than 100,000 scientific and medical papers on AIDS accepts without question the contagious, HIV hypothesis of AIDS. If they didn't, they wouldn't get funded and they wouldn't get published. It's that simple.

A few weeks ago, President Clinton made AIDS a national security issue. That action allowed at least three additional federal institutions to play a direct role in maintaining and protecting the fiction of a global AIDS pandemic. These institutions are the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the National Security Agency (NSA).

I don't have to point out to the government of South Africa that the involvement of the FBI, CIA, and NSA in AIDS represents a far greater threat to our democracies than to HIV. The most astounding thing to me about all of this is that the greatest threat to our democracies has turned out not to be goose-stepping soldiers in camouflage but rather the chronic fear peddled by white-coated scientists and physicians and their sycophants in the media who have squandered billions of dollars of taxpayers' money annually.

I close realizing that this is the most provocative, disturbing, and no doubt most infuriating of my posts. The HIV/AIDS blunder began with a press conference in 1984. Perhaps it will come to an end at a press conference in South Africa in 2000.

Dave Rasnick