By John Lauritsen

Gay Today May 2000

A hornet's nest of vituperation was stirred up when South African President Thabo Mbeki announced that AIDS-dissident, as well as AIDS-orthodox, voices will be heard at the XIII International AIDS Conference, to be held this July in Durban, South Africa.

From all sides "AIDS experts", journalists, and "treatment activists" joined in a chorus of denunciation directed at those nefarious infidels who blaspheme against the sacred doctrines and commodities of the AIDS Industry.

Normally, open debate and free enquiry are regarded as fundamental components of Science. Not in the AIDS arena. Dr. Mark Wainberg, president of the International AIDS Society, called for jailing AIDS dissidents, whom he called "HIV deniers" (his explicit analogy to "Holocaust deniers").

Said Wainberg: "If we could succeed and lock a couple of these guys up, I guarantee you the HIV-denier movement would die pretty darn quickly."

Wainberg's label was picked up by such flacks as John S. James and Bruce Mirken. To me, the "HIV denier" or "HIV denialists" terminology is not only absurd, but revealing as well. This is religious language!

Those of us who are skeptical of the HIV-AIDS hypothesis (and it has never been more than a hypothesis) are apparently in the same camp as those who deny that the Jews are the chosen people of G-d, or deny the divinity of Jesus, or deny the Trinity or the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.

It is time to defend the men and women who have challenged the prevailing AIDS mythologies. We have been around since the early '80s: critics of the various, frequently changing, and contradictory models and dogmas of the AIDS Establishment.

We call ourselves "AIDS dissidents", and sometimes "AIDS critics" or "AIDS realists". We have also been called heretics, rebels, and a lot of other things. Our ranks have been growing steadily, and include top scientists (including three Nobel Prize winners), journalists, and other professionals.

The impression was given, in recent attacks on us, that AIDS dissidents are bad people, who in some unspecified but sinister way are profiting from the stands we have taken. This is the opposite of the truth.

The AIDS dissidents I know have acted on principle, motivated by a concern for truth and a desire to save lives. All have taken hard knocks; all have suffered losses: socially, professionally, and financially. AIDS dissidents have been ostracized and slandered; fired or had grants canceled; driven into bankruptcy; physically attacked.

Profits of the AIDS Industry run into billions of dollars every year. This is where the money is. People with meager qualifications have become rich as "AIDS experts", heads of AIDS organizations, or "treatment activists".

But there are no financial rewards for attacking the sacred AIDS cash cow. Speaking for myself, I have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in income, and my financial future is uncertain; I make a lot less now, as a full-time politically incorrect writer, than I did as a highly paid market research executive.

Our ideas have been subjected to an intensity of censorship in the mainstream media, which would normally be found in a totalitarian country in the midst of war--especially in the United States, the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic.

The censorship has taken many forms, from voluntary censorship to preserve advertising revenues to the surreptitious activities of public relations firms employed by pharmaceutical companies.

The former kind of censorship, practiced by gay publications over the past two decades, is documented in a recent article of mine, "Queer Advertising: From Poppers to Protease Inhibitors". This article also has many images of perniciously sexy poppers ads of the '70s and early '80s.

Meditel Productions, based in London, made several television documentaries that were critical of the orthodox AIDS paradigm. The most important are: "The AIDS Catch" (1990), "AZT: Cause For Concern" (1992), and "AIDS in Africa" (1993).

These were first broadcast to the UK over Channel Four Television, and were subsequently broadcast in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and several European countries. Although the documentaries have been viewed by tens of millions of people around the world, not one has ever been allowed to air in the US.

In England there have only been about ten thousand "AIDS" deaths in the entire course of the epidemic, as opposed to over a third of a million in the US.

The main reason for this huge disparity may be that, thanks to the Meditel documentaries, far fewer gay men in England took AZT or other nucleoside analogue drugs. (Over 94% of all AIDS deaths in the US occurred after AZT was approved for marketing in 1987.)

Fortunately, the Internet has provided an end-run around censorship. I strongly urge everyone to find out what our ideas are -- and in our own words, not the travesties put forward by our opponents. The best place to begin is the Rethinking AIDS web site.

On the home page click Front News, which has many recent articles on the controversy in South Africa. Or click FIND for listings of subjects and authors. On the Find page click AZT for a lowdown on that drug (labeled as a poison by chemical supply houses, approved for marketing by the FDA on the basis of fraudulent research). Click on HIV Tests for articles debunking the Elisa, Western Blot and Viral Load tests. Click on my name for my major AIDS articles. The Rethinking AIDS web site has links to 51 other AIDS dissident web sites, of which the HEAL Toronto, Duesberg, Sumeria, and Reappraising AIDS are especially important.

AIDS discourse has been unnecessarily technical and abstruse. This is a consequence of the untenable and bizarre hypothesis that a retrovirus is responsible for causing the 29 (at last count) "AIDS-indicator diseases".

If "AIDS" were seen for what it is -- different groups of people, who are sick in different ways and for different reasons -- then much simpler language could be used; the appropriate "experts" would no longer be molecular biologists, virologists, etc., but widely educated people with good common sense.

For the remainder of this essay, I'll try to present AIDS criticism in a nutshell, as simply and directly as possible. For those of you who are enamored of AIDS molecular-biologico-retrovirologico-babble, I suggest you thoroughly explore the AIDS dissident web sites; you'll find enough of it there.

One AIDS dissident, Kary Mullis, who won the Nobel Prize in Science for inventing the Polymerase Chain Reaction, was asked to state which argument most strongly convinced him that HIV was not the cause of AIDS. Mullis replied: "The fact that there's no evidence for it."

When I was on a debate team, our coach told us that we must master the arguments of our opponents -- be able to present them better than they could themselves. Over the years I have thought long and hard about what arguments could be used in favor of the HIV-AIDS hypothesis.

I have been able to come up with only one: "Everyone says that it is." This is a variant of the classic argument: "Eighty million Frenchmen can't be wrong." Certainly, if everyone says that something is true, then there's a possibility that it might be.

But sometimes almost everyone can be wrong. In the case of AIDS, the apparent unanimity is a facade: in 1984 only a very few "experts" asserted that HIV (then known as HTLV-III or LAV) was the cause, and all the other "scientists" followed their lead. Once the AIDS Industry developed, and billions of dollars in profits were at stake, the public relations industry reinforced the consensus monolith.

AIDS does not, and never did, behave like an infectious disease. As Casper Schmidt expressed it in an interview, "Infectious epidemics do not follow fault lines that are cultural or sociological, which is what we find in this epidemic."

Since the very beginning in the early '80s, AIDS has remained tightly compartmentalized, confined almost entirely in the US to gay men and intravenous drug users. (Whatever is happening in Africa is an entirely different matter: different diseases and a different epidemiology.)

"AIDS" has never been defined rationally, and the definition has changed radically several times. Originally, those with an "AIDS" diagnosis were close to death; now one can obtain the diagnosis without even being sick.

To illustrate the flaws in the various definitions of "AIDS", let's consider Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), which for years was the hallmark AIDS disease.

It was believed that an infectious agent, later declared to be HIV (aka HTLV-III/LAV) caused a condition of "immune deficiency" (gauged not by the traditional tests of immune function, but rather by newly developed tests which counted CD4 cells), and that the immune deficiency in turn caused KS. Unfortunately for this model, many gay men with KS tested negative on all the HIV tests, and did not have immune deficiency.

Further, use of the recreational drug poppers (nitrite inhalants) closely fits the epidemiology of KS. And so, in May 1994 the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) convened a meeting in Gaithersburg, Maryland to examine the connection between poppers and KS.

Top "AIDS experts" including Robert Gallo were present. Their conclusions: 1) there may be as many as four different kinds of KS, 2) KS is not a form of cancer, 3) KS is not caused by, or associated with, immune deficiency, 4) HIV is not the cause of KS.

Some of the participants presented data indicating that KS is not infectious, though others believed that it might be caused by a virus other than HIV. All participants, including Gallo, agreed that the nitrites-KS hypothesis is tenable. See my report, "NIDA Meeting Calls For Research Into The Poppers-Kaposi's Sarcoma Connection".

So then, KS is no longer considered "AIDS" by the "experts". During the '80s gay men with KS were given chemotherapy to attack cancer, even though KS is not a form of cancer. Gays with KS were given toxic anti-HIV drugs, even though KS is not caused by HIV. They died, by the tens of thousands, not from HIV or KS, but from the drugs they were prescribed.

If HIV were the cause of "AIDS", or indeed, any other form of illness, then there would be HIV infection in every case of the disease. This is the logic of Koch's First Postulate, a standard test of whether an infectious agent causes a disease.

Not only does HIV flunk Koch's First Postulate, it has never been properly isolated; it has never been seen through the electron microscope. All this leads into a highly technical discussion, on which there are many articles and images on the Rethinking AIDS web site.

To me the most striking thing is that no one has ever demonstrated HIV infection, even in a single case, using "infection" in the ordinary sense of the word. "Infection" implies a large amount of virus or microbe, and a high level of biochemical activity.

If there were HIV infection, there would be what's known as "viremia": the blood would be teeming with whole, cell-free, infectious viruses, hundreds of thousands to millions of them in every milliliter of blood. In fact, attempts to purify HIV and then photograph it, using standard techniques, have been total failures.

Many people believe that the so-called "viral load" tests actually count whole viruses in the blood. This is not true, and the tests have been denounced by Kary Mullis, who invented the technology on which they are based. According to Mullis: "Quantitative PCR is an oxymoron."

Neither of the "HIV-antibody" tests -- the Elisa or the Western Blot -- has ever been properly validated, which means that no one knows exactly what their results mean. The tests are chemical reactions to antigens, which are substances that provoke an immune response. Many dozens of conditions can produce a positive result on these tests, including drug abuse, flu vaccinations, past infection with malaria, pregnancy, and liver disease.

The various AIDS drugs are, without exception, toxic and worthless. It is not true that the protease inhibitor "cocktails" have caused AIDS deaths to drop; on the contrary, they are causing death and deformity in people who would otherwise be healthy.

I'm afraid that I have barely scratched the surface of the AIDS-dissident arguments, but this is not intended to be a long article. There are hundreds of articles and millions of words on the AIDS-dissident web sites. I hope I've motivated at least some of you to learn more.

It's time to wake up, to put an end to the sacrificial ritual of AIDS, the sacrifice of gay men. We didn't deserve this, and we should no longer go along with it.