Professor J. P. de V. van Niekerk
South African Medical Journal
Dear Professor van Niekerk:
Thank you very much for the comments concerning my AIDS dissident views in your editorial in the July 2003 SAMJ (1).
Never in the history of medicine has a disease been subject to such intense public scrutiny as AIDS is today. Most people feel certain that everything that they have been told about AIDS is true. Unfortunately, none of the mainstream medical views regarding Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and its purported cause, HIV, have been scientifically validated (2-5).
Investigative methodologies define in detail the steps that must be followed in order to establish the causes or etiologies of diseases (6-33). However, the majority of AIDS researchers have violated and continue to violate these basic requirements of the scientific method (2-5,34-48). Currently, many researchers do not validate the methodologies employed in scientific investigations, and it is precisely at this level that the preponderance of scientific errors is occurring (35,36,42,48,49). Researchers are content in reading the abstracts of research papers, or are satisfied by the reports of investigations in the general media (50). Nor are peer-review journals today concerned with detecting methodological errors (35,36,42,48,49). Those who defend HIV as the cause of AIDS, rather than validating their investigative methods or countering our criticisms with responsible scientific arguments, prefer to respond with authoritarian declarations (51-53), malign us with epithets, or derisively dismiss those of us like Peter Duesberg who have the courage to challenge the HIV/AIDS paradigm (54,55).
The mainstream medical view of AIDS accepts that AIDS is an infectious disease caused by a virus called HIV; that HIV belongs to the family of retroviruses; that AIDS is a contagious disease that is transmitted through body fluids including blood, genital secretions, and breast milk; that a positive result on the so-called “AIDS test” is indicative of infection with HIV; that once positive on the “AIDS test” the individual will develop AIDS; that a person who reacts positive on the “AIDS test” can prevent the development of AIDS by using several antiretroviral drugs; that the consumption of antiretroviral drugs will prevent the transmission of HIV from HIV-positive pregnant women to their babies; that the use of antiretroviral drugs is safe and free of harmful effects; and that, therefore, it is rational to treat and prevent AIDS with antiretroviral medications.
However, not a single one of the above statements can be scientifically substantiated (2-5,34-48). They are merely hypotheses, assumptions, beliefs, and rumors created and disseminated by those who defend HIV as the cause of AIDS. When one carefully examines HIV/AIDS research, it is both sorrowful and frustrating to find that nothing, absolutely nothing, that we have been told about HIV/AIDS has been scientifically validated. Most AIDS researchers and health care professionals do not know this; they simply accept the mainstream medical view of AIDS without either asking or searching for necessary proofs. Nor do most journalists or lay people request the necessary proofs. We are, in reality, facing a collapse of the scientific establishment!
My criticisms of the HIV/AIDS model, as well as my alternative proposals for the causes of AIDS, and for the treatment, prevention and eradication of AIDS, can be seen on my website (www.robertogiraldo.com ).
Professor van Niekerk, you stated in the July editorial of the SAMJ that: “The conclusion that the HIV virus does not exist, despite medical scientists having isolated it and its varieties, defined its characteristics and its markers in the blood, and detailed its clinical effects, is beyond comprehension” (1). However, the phenomenon known as HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, has never been scientifically proven to be a genuine virus (3-5,40,41,56-59). None of the researchers who claim to have isolated HIV have shown the presence of particles with the morphological characteristics of retroviruses, banding at 1.16 gm/ml of sucrose density gradients, the accepted standard for retrovirus isolation (3,60-62). Even the word “isolation” as used by most noted researchers (63-65) is incorrect and misleading, since neither Montagnier, Gallo, nor Levy isolated HIV particles, particles of any other human retrovirus, or any virus-like particles at all (3,5,56).
Since no “retroviral particles” (retroviruses) have ever been isolated from any culture, the existence of HIV has been established indirectly: by the presence in blood cultures of AIDS patients and “HIV-positive” individuals of proteins/glycoproteins such as gp160/150, gp120, gp41/45, p34/32, p24, and p18/17, each claimed to belong to HIV; by the presence of enzymes such as reverse transcriptase, purportedly unique to HIV; and by the presence of RNA or DNA fragments that supposedly belong to HIV (3,5,56). However, none of these substances have been proven to be components of HIV. How could anyone prove that the substances found in those cultures belong to a retroviral particle that has never been found at 1.16 gm/ml? To prove that those substances are components of a retrovirus named HIV, it is absolutely necessary that the retroviral particles have been previously separated — isolated — from everything else. This has never been the case with HIV (3,5,56).
It is interesting to note that all of the above substances have appeared exclusively in co-cultures of supposedly infected blood with abnormal cells either from leukemia patients or from umbilical cord lymphocytes (3,57-59). The difficulty is that identical substances can be obtained from similar cultures in the absence of the supposedly HIV-infected blood (3,57-59). In like manner, cultures wherein the above substances have been found are cultures that have been heavily stimulated with substances such as phytohemagglutinin, IL-2, antiserum to human interferon, and other agents (3,57-59). These culture stimulants are oxidizing agents (3,40,41,57-59). Again, the difficulty is that similar material can be observed in stimulated cultures of lymphocytes from healthy individuals (3,40,41,66). Interestingly, in the presence of antioxidants, no HIV phenomena are observed in cultures, nor are HIV substances found (3,40,41,66).
Additionally, none of the above substances are at all specific to HIV (3,5,56). For example, it is currently known that reverse transcriptase can be found associated with entities other than retroviruses, including eukaryotic cells, some animal and plant DNA viruses, and even some introns (67). There is also ample evidence that the RNA or DNA present in the supernatant of theses cultures is there as a result of stimulation by polycations and oxidizing agents, rather than resulting from the presence of a retrovirus (3,5). To date no one has presented evidence that the so-called HIV proteins ─ gp160/150, gp120, gp41/45, p34/32, p24, p18/17 ─ are either constituents of a retrovirus particle or a retrovirus-like particle, let alone a unique retrovirus, HIV (3,5).
“HIV cloning” is likewise misleading. Without having isolated a retroviral particle containing RNA within its core, the cloning of that “specific HIV-RNA” is not possible (3,5).
The proteins or antigens derived from stimulated cultures form the basis for the ELISA and Western blot HIV antibody tests (3,5,57-59). Fragments of RNA from stimulated cultures form the basis of the HIV Viral Load test (3,5,57-59). These are the primary reasons why current tests used for the diagnosis of HIV are not specific to HIV (3,5,57-59).
In the January 1997 issue of the journal Virology, two independent groups of researchers published experiments claiming to have isolated HIV (68,69). For the first time in the history of HIV, researchers followed the internationally accepted procedures for the isolation of retroviral particles (60-62). Not surprisingly, in the sediment bands at 1.16 gm/ml of sucrose, where retroviruses are known to be located, nothing was found but cellular debris. At 1.16 gm/ml there was nothing that even resembled a retroviral particle (68,69). They were unable to isolate HIV simply because HIV was not there to be isolated.
It has been proposed that all those substances that indicate the existence of HIV are nothing more than non-viral material induced by the agents to which AIDS patients and cultures are exposed (3,40,41,57-59). When found in individuals, these substances could be seen as stress proteins (70-74), regular products of the stress response, secondary to exposure to chemical, physical, biological, mental, and nutritional stressor agents, agents which are in fact the true causes of AIDS (5,44-47).
It is therefore possible to conclude that the entire model of AIDS as an infectious and transmissible viral disease has as its basis a non-existent organism.
However, even in the event that HIV were a genuine virus, how might it cause AIDS? Since early 1987, retrovirologist Peter Duesberg (34) has argued that HIV cannot be the cause of AIDS simply because, by definition, retroviruses do not kill cells as is proposed to be the case in HIV pathogenesis (75,76). Amazingly, after more than two decades and billions of dollars spent on HIV/AIDS research, HIV/AIDS scientists still do not know how it is that HIV destroys the immune system and causes AIDS: “Despite considerable advances in HIV science in the past 20 years, the reason why HIV-1 infection is pathogenic is still debated and the goal of eradicating HIV-1 infection remains elusive” (77).
Moreover, after billions of public dollars spent, the HIV/AIDS paradigm has yet to save a single life. Alternatively, the toxic/nutritional model of AIDS is saving thousands of lives around the planet. As a result of mainstream censorship of our publications, these achievements can be examined only on the Internet (www.aliveandwell.org, www.amcmh.org, www.vivoysano.com, www.virusmyth.com). Regretfully, erroneous views about HIV/AIDS are costing people's lives. The belief that HIV is the cause of AIDS does not permit our officials to take proper measures for the treatment and prevention of what is genuinely a pandemic syndrome. The health of populations worldwide is at risk!
Thus the HIV/AIDS paradigm contains too many anomalies and therefore needs to be replaced. However, as has happened many times throughout the history of scientific discovery, the defenders of the accepted theories will oppose with all the force at their disposal any change of paradigm (78,79). Nothing here should surprise us.
According to Thomas Kuhn: “A paradigm is what the members of a scientific community share, and conversely, a scientific community consists of men who share a paradigm” (80). Furthermore, as with any other social group, members of a scientific community share principles, beliefs, and values; they have similar attitudes (81-84), resulting from social influences rather than from biological determinants (85,86).
Professor van Niekerk, we should all keep in mind Karl Popper's words (88):
“Knowledge can grow, and science can progress, just because we can learn from our mistakes...The way in which knowledge progresses, and especially our scientific knowledge, is by unjustified (and unjustifiable) anticipations, by guesses, by tentative solutions to our problems, by conjectures. These conjectures are controlled by criticism; that is, by attempted refutations, which include severely critical tests. They may survive these tests; but they can never be positively justified: they can never be established as certainly true nor even as 'probable'. Criticism of our conjectures is of decisive importance: by bringing out our mistakes it makes us understand the difficulties of the problem which we are trying to solve. This is how we become better acquainted with our problem, and able to propose more mature solutions: the very refutation of a theory — that is, of any serious tentative solution to our problem — is always a step forward that takes us nearer to the truth. And this is how we can learn from our mistakes.”
“As we learn from our mistakes our knowledge grows, even though we may never know — that is, know for certain. Since our knowledge can grow, there can be no reason here for despair of reason. And since we can never know for certain, there can be no authority here for any claim to authority, for conceit over our knowledge, or for smugness. Those among our theories which turn out to be highly resistant to criticism, and which appear to us at a certain moment of time to be better approximations to truth than other known theories, may be described, together with the reports of their tests, as 'the science' of that time. Since none of them can be positively justified, it is essentially their critical and progressive character — the fact that we argue about their claim to solve our problems better than their competitors — which constitute the rationality of science.”
“At the heart of a new optimistic view of the possibility of knowledge lies the doctrine that truth is manifest. Truth may perhaps be veiled. But it may reveal itself. And if it does not reveal itself, it may be revealed by us. Removing the veil may not be easy. But once the naked truth stands revealed before our eyes, we have the power to see it, to distinguish it from falsehood, and to know what is truth...The birth of modern science and modern technology was inspired by this optimistic epistemology whose main spokesmen were Bacon and Descartes. They taught that there was no need for any man to appeal to authority in matters of truth because each man carried the sources of knowledge in himself; either in his power of sense-perception which he may use for the careful observation of nature, or in his power of intellectual intuition which he may use to distinguish truth from falsehood by refusing to accept any idea which is not clearly distinctly perceived by the intellect...Our dreams and our hopes need not necessarily control our results, and that, in searching for the truth, it may be our best plan to start by criticizing our most cherished beliefs. This may seem to some a perverse plan. But it will not seem so to those who want to find the truth and are not afraid of it.”
Professor van Niekerk, the growth of scientific knowledge requires the repeated overthrow of scientific theories or paradigms and their replacement by better or more satisfactory ones. The better ones are more objective, closer to the facts of reality, contrary to subjective beliefs, contrary to conceptions of knowledge as a received kind of mental state, as a respected disposition, or as sanctioned opinion. In the beginning, truths are always confined to minorities. In time the facts of reality drive the minority theory to become the prevailing one (78,80). Unfortunately the HIV/AIDS paradigm continues to prevail and will no doubt do so for some time. However, to the benefit of people everywhere, the facts of reality are gathering to assist our toxic/nutritional theory of AIDS.
AIDS dissidents understand the feeling of mainstream medical believers: “The emergence of new theories is generally preceded by a period of pronounced professional insecurity...Part of the answer, as obvious as it is important, can be discovered by noting first what scientists never do when confronted by even severe and prolonged anomalies. Though they may begin to lose faith and then consider alternatives, they do not renounce the paradigm that has led them into crisis. They do not, that is, treat anomalies as counter-instances, though in the vocabulary of philosophy of science that is what they are” (78). Among themselves the mainstream cannot and will not falsify a theory: “its defenders will do what we have already seen scientists doing when confronted by anomaly. They will devise numerous articulations and ad hoc modifications of their theory in order to eliminate any apparent conflict” (78).
“Often a new paradigm emerges, at least in embryo, before a crisis has developed far or been explicitly recognized” (80). In the AIDS controversy there are two well defined groups, the HIV/AIDS mainstream paradigm and the dissident toxic/nutritional alternative: “Each group uses its own paradigm to argue in the paradigm's defense. The resulting circulatory (sic) does not, of course, make the arguments wrong or even ineffectual...Let us, therefore, now take it for granted that the differences between successive paradigms are both necessary and irreconcilable” (80).
“To reject a paradigm without simultaneously substituting another is to reject science itself” (80). The toxic/nutritional theory of AIDS is our alternative proposal to replace the obsolete HIV/AIDS paradigm. With time, “a scientific theory is declared invalid only if an alternate candidate is available to take its place” (80). Thus, AIDS dissidents feel no desperation; this is not a personal issue but rather a matter for people everywhere. The toxic and nutritional theory of AIDS patiently waits for its time to come.
Furthermore, we should all recall: “Paradigms are not corrigible by normal science at all. Instead, normal science ultimately leads only to the recognition of anomalies and to crisis. And these are terminated, not by deliberation and interpretation, but by relatively sudden and unstructured event” (80).
Additionally, the practical problems that often impede the growth of scientific knowledge are censorship and the monopolies of publicity (89,90). Professor van Niekerk, you state in the March editorial of the SAMJ: “With the medical and scientific facts so clearly demonstrated, printing their [dissident] repetitive arguments detracts from the main task of dealing with the pandemic. It also takes time and effort repeatedly to have to refute outlandish claims. The SAMJ therefore does not accept such material” (91); and in the July editorial you state again that “it is not possible for mainstream medicine to engage in any meaningful dialogue with the dissidents” (1). Why do you fear that the medical community of South Africa might read our arguments? Do you not think that they are sufficiently intelligent, cleaver, and mature to decide for themselves which arguments are closer to the facts of reality and which are not? The SAMJ's systematic rejection of publication of AIDS dissident alternative theories for the causation and solutions of AIDS is an obstacle to the growth of scientific knowledge and thus is detrimental to the well being of South Africans and of all the Earth's people.
The attitude of the SAMJ should surprise no one. It is in keeping with the profound crisis that is affecting the peer-review system (92-94). “Peer-review is one of the sacred pillars of the scientific edifice” (95). However, all indications are that: “Far from filtering out junk science, peer-review may be blocking the flow of innovation and corrupting public support of science...Those who disagree are almost always dismissed in pejorative terms such as 'maverick,' 'failure,' and 'driven by bitterness'...The peer-review processes in both academia and industry have destroyed rather than promoted innovation” (94).
Furthermore: “Peer-review is also the process that controls access to funding, and here the situation becomes much more serious: Failure to pass the peer-review process might well mean that a project is never funded” (94). Fully two decades of the AIDS dissident story are replete with examples of the rejection of funds for non-HIV research.
Interestingly, the scientific establishment, its journals, and its grant-giving bodies “consistently refuses open scrutiny” (94). Rothwell and his group “have provided solid evidence of something truly rotten at the core of science” (96). They report: “it is not surprising that the public is increasingly skeptical about the agenda and the conclusions of science...Public support can only erode further if science does not put its house in order and begin a real attempt to develop validated processes for the distribution of publication rights, credit for completed work, and funds for new work...If science is to have any credibility — and also if it is to be successful — the peer-review process must be put on a much sounder and properly validated basis or scrapped altogether” (94).
An additional obstacle to the growth of scientific knowledge is that currently most researchers of biological and medical problems are content to explain their work using subjective terms rather than rigorous realistic ones (85-88,97-99). In this vein, medical issues are analyzed in a unidirectional, linear, mono-causal, deterministic, and reductionistic manner (85-88,97-99). This way of analyzing the exploration of nature also prevails among economists, social scientists, political researchers, and among journalists. This is a consequence of a profound crisis in the scientific arena (42,48), one which permits researchers to determine and decide scientific matters at press conferences (100,101), prior to confirmatory tests of any given hypothesis. We should never forget that HIV was in fact born at a press conference in Washington DC on April 23, 1984 (102). Truly the worst epidemic that we suffer today is an epidemic of deep crises within the scientific establishment (42,48,78-80).
As with so many other institutions in today's society, the scientific establishment has been corrupted. Many of the researchers who hold the highest decision making powers at international policy-making institutions belong to an egocentric, arrogant group who defend their own individual goals rather than people's needs (103-105). People feel that: “bioscientists are arrogant, i.e., that they are presumptuous and overweening in their attitudes, decisions, and goals; that they exhibit, in the fashionable noun of the day, hubris...It is the scientist, whether in physics or in molecular biology, or even the parascientist in medicine, who is seen as making policy decisions motivated by self-interest and acting with a total disregard for broad human needs” (103). In this manner, scientists' elitist feelings drive them to ascend the rungs of power, not for the benefit of people, but merely to aggrandize themselves. They seek recognition, awards, and prizes to satisfy their goals (104,105). This is an irresponsible group, capable of dishonest acts to achieve their ends, giving no matter to the consequences or damages to others (104,105). From their positions of political power, conjoined with similar individuals in the media, they prevent the flow of funds to support the pursuit of alternative views. They also prevent the publication in scientific journals and in the media of results and views different from their own (49,94,106). These are the reasons why many continue to feel that “causal inference is not a matter of science” (107).
Since the very beginning of the AIDS epidemic, its research has been embedded in a corrupted ambience. Many still do not know or have forgotten that the infectious view of AIDS had its origin in an act of scientific misconduct perpetrated at the laboratory of molecular biology and virology of the National Institute of Cancer in the United States (108,109). Throughout the world, this misconduct was veiled as a “breakthrough” by means of the popular media.
On the other hand, the HIV/AIDS paradigm has created a very profitable industry (43,110). It has built condom factories, tools for “safe sex,” syringes for drug-addicted individuals. Every day, pharmaceutical companies invent new tests that supposedly provide better detection of “the AIDS virus”. Every day they generate new toxic medicaments to impede the replication of a virus that has never been seen (43,110). Many thousands of individuals derive their living from the multiple HIV educational, governmental, and non-governmental organizations, from the centers for “voluntary” HIV testing and counseling, from the clinics for practicing circumcision (110). All of the machinery of the HIV/AIDS industry helps to perpetuate the HIV/AIDS paradigm, and opposes with all its force any alternative, no matter how scientifically validated the alternative may be.
Furthermore, the world's wealthiest have created private organizations to fund the HIV/AIDS paradigm: “The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced yesterday that it would give $60 million to the International Partnership for Microbicides, a nonprofit organization dedicated to speeding the development and distribution of topical means of preventing HIV transmission like foams or gels” (111). In like manner, the “Clinton Foundation targets health systems in combating AIDS pandemic” (112). Additionally, the World Bank and the International Monetary Found, with apparent generosity, extend expensive loans to so-called “third world countries” to enable them to purchase antiretroviral drugs from pharmaceutical corporations (113,114). Currently, the government of the United States is the first in line for “giving” money to the poor so that they can buy more toxic medications from the USA pharmaceutical industry: “Anti-retroviral drugs can extend life for many years. And the cost of those drugs has dropped from $12,000 a year to under $300 a year, which places a tremendous possibility within our grasp” (115); “On the eve of a presidential visit to Africa, President Bush today nominated Randall Tobias, a former chairman and chief executive of Eli Lilly & company, to run a $15 billion program to fight AIDS” (116). Intoxicating the poorest of the world is presented as a means to reinvigorate unstable economies.
Genuine science uncovers truths, which the institutions of our contemporary corrupted society — including its scientific establishment - manipulate to achieve their goals, no matter how grave the consequences might be for the people of the world (105,117-120). The HIV/AIDS paradigm is an example of this kind of manipulation.
Undoubtedly, the worse epidemic that we face today is the collapse of the scientific establishment; it is pandemic. Fortunately the people of the world are standing up to defend human kind by cleaning up and rebuilding its social institutions.
In the July SAMJ editorial, in attempting to discredit my views on AIDS, you pronounce them “pseudoscientific.” Perhaps you do not remember that the history of science is replete with examples of issues, demeaned at one time as pseudoscience, which became the truths of the future (121). The growth of scientific knowledge is quite a dynamic matter; what was once alternative now seems mainstream.
Professor van Niekerk, undoubtedly, President Thabo Mbeki of the Republic of South Africa will be remembered by historians as the first head of state who had the courage to facilitate the discussion of both paradigms on AIDS; the HIV/infectious and the toxic/nutritional. Merely for helping the people of Africa and elsewhere to solve the AIDS pandemic, President Mbeki and the AIDS dissidents have suffered all manner of insult, blame, and censorship from the mainstream medical defenders. However, it is necessary and worthwhile to continue, for the well being of all human kind. Nevertheless, we must be prepared for much worse reactions.
People have a right to know that corruption is rampant at all levels of the scientific establishment (105). We must act with resolve (119). The HIV/AIDS paradigm is drawing aside the veil. The debate about the causes and solutions of AIDS will shake all the pillars of current society. The human spirit will gloriously overcome!
You may understand that in writing this it is my desire that people analyze facts, make judgments, and come to conclusions according to their own criteria. Pursuing the references below will assist them in discerning the basis of my arguments. This exercise would help us all to come nearer the truth. Since the SAMJ does not publish AIDS dissident views, this open letter, as well as your editorial, will be available on my website.
Roberto Giraldo, MD
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