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The Case of HIV and AIDS - Part 4    Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 5

Part 4 - Contents
Journalistic Suppression And Manipulation  pp 679-697
Books Chosen For Review By The New York Review Of Books  p 698


Part 4 - Contents pg. 679

Journalistic Suppression And Manipulation

I document the way editors have skewed and prejudiced scientific discourse and obstructed the usual self-correcting mechanisms of science. In 1995 and 1996 I gathered systematic evidence of suppression and manipulation of letters to the editors in some of the major international scientific journals such as Science, Nature, Chemical and Engineering News, the Lancet, and the New York Times.

The "right" of reply. One issue arising from these rejections is the so-called "right" of reply. For example, the editor of C&EN wrote to Duesberg: "You do not have a right to publish a letter in C&EN." What does "right" mean? Of course, the editors of C&EN have the statutory power to determine what goes into their publication, so if "have a right" means to have a statutory (legal) entitlement, she is correct, but tautologically so. No one that I know has raised any doubts about the statutory power of the editors. On the other hand to "have a right" may also refer ambiguously to an unspecified ethical system, but that is not what I wish to deal with.

Questions of journalistic responsibility. However, several questions arise concerning journalistic responsibility.

One of them is to what extent readers of these standard journals or newspapers are correctly informed of various points of view and scientific results or purported results.

Another is how the editors manipulate letters to the editors. It is valuable to document the extent to which editors of major scientific journals control the terms of discourse in their journals.

Thirdly, although the scientific community does not have statutory power over a scientific magazine, it does have influence--which is something else. Will the scientific community exert its influence? The editors of a scientific magazine are accountable in some sense to the scientific constituency; conversely the scientific grass roots can let the editors know their evaluations of the editors' journalism (examples will be given below). The editors


pg 680

may be able to operate in darkness almost all the time, but I am now throwing the klieg lights on the way they are currently handling the HIV/AIDS/Duesberg situation. It is for the grass roots to choose whether to speak out, once they are provided with appropriate documentation which they are not getting from the mainstream media, scientific or otherwise.

I shall now give a concrete list of some rejected letters which came to my direct attention.

Nature: The Ho and Shaw articles.1 In my previous articles, I have documented the way Nature's editor Maddox has censored information, and proudly advertised this censorship. Nature has been in a class of its own in its aggressivity against the dissenters in general and Duesberg in particular. Nature has published articles supporting the orthodoxy in HIV causality. These articles are often invoked by some people who claim that criticisms of the established view on HIV and AIDS have thus been answered scientifically. On the other hand, Nature has refused to publish articles which raised scientific objections to what they did publish.

The Ho and Shaw articles were analyzed in a careful article by Mark Craddock (School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Sydney, Australia), published in the "Kluwer collection" AIDS: Virus-or Drug Induced.?2 Nature did not publish his letter to the editors (see p. 128 of his article), although a "selection" of letters were published, Nature 375 (18 May 1995) pp. 193-198.

Craddock also mentions that "other people have made powerful objections to these papers based upon biochemical considerations. Duesberg and Bialy have written a superb critique, as have Eleni Eleopulos-Papadopulos, Val Turner and John Papadimitriou (although astonishingly their letter to Nature was rejected. What a shock!)." Which reminds me of Claude Rains in Casablanca, stepping into a gambling den, and saying: "What, gambling going on here? I am shocked, I am shocked!"

Like Craddock, the other scientists he mentions published critical articles in the Kluwer collection.3


Foototes for page 680
1Wei et al. "Viral dynamics in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection," Nature 373 (1995) pp. 117-122; and Ho et al. "Rapid Tumover of Plasma Virions and CD 4 Lymphocytes in HIV-1 infection," Nature 373 (1995) pp. 123-126.

2M. Craddock, "HIV: Science by press conference," AIDS: VIrus- or Drug Induced?, Kluwer Academic Publishers (1996) pp. 127-130.

3E. Papadopulos-Eleopulos et al, "A critical analysis of the HIV-T4-cell-AIDS hypothesis," Kluwer collection pp. 3-22; and another article by Papadopulos-Eleopulos et al, "Factor VIII, HIV and AIDS in haemophiliacs: an analysis of their relationship," Kluwer collection pp. 23-46.


pg 681

I shall now deal more extensively with Craddock's article. Craddock made detailed methodological criticisms. He pointed out contradictions in press conferences held about various purported scientific results, including those of Ho and Shaw, and stated: "As a mathematician, I was intrigued by the claim of John Maddox, editor of Nature, that the new results provide a new mathematical understanding of the immune system." He began with his general conclusion:

We have to ask fundamental questions here. Does what Ho and Shaw say actually make any sense? Are their experimental techniques sound? Do their conclusions follow from their results? Is their mathematical analysis sound? If we are to evaluate the worth of this work we have to answer these questions. In fact we have to answer these questions for just about any scientific paper ever written, so we should certainly not spare HIV researchers. Particularly as we can be certain they will not ask themselves these questions. These are the issues that I will address now. My conclusion will be that this new work is about as convincing as a giraffe trying to sneak into a polar bears only picnic by wearing sunglasses (as Ben Elton might say).

Craddock went on criticizing the mathematical modeling on various counts. He documents some unjustified assumptions not based on the empirical data. (Be it said in passing that in one instance he calls "an appalling mathematical error" something subject more precisely to the above criticism, and so his expression is misleading. A more detailed analysis of his objections is available directly from him.) He raises questions about the meaning of the data, partly because "the system they are trying to study, namely the interactions of HIV with T4 cells, might behave substantially differently in people who are not being pumped full of new drugs, in addition to "anti-retrovirals' like Zidovudine." He raises questions about using a certain "invalidated technique" as a basis for measurement. He goes on to say:

Ho et al. have a few equations that are supposed to describe the changes in virus levels and CD4 cells over time. What do these equations actually predict, as opposed to what Ho et al. say they predict? In order to make them work you have to correctly formulate them, which Ho et al. do



pg 682

not. When correctly formulated (Craddock, Ibid) what emerges is stunning. Ho et al.'s observations combined with their simple model for T cells and virus predict that the T cell count should reach an equilibrium state quickly ... There is no possible way it can take ten years. This emerges from Ho et al.'s own model. They seem blissfully unaware of the prediction that their own results give. They probably have not bothered to look at tedious questions like "do our results correspond with what we observe in patients?"

Here is another example of Craddock's specific conclusions:

So we have an extraordinary problem already. We do not know whether or not the data that Shaw and Ho's groups obtained is actually meaningful... But these groups actually manage to do a lot worse than this. Neither group compared the rate of T4 cells generated in the HIV positive patients with HIV negative controls!

This lack of control groups in many epidemiological studies published in scientific journals is one of the major and systematic objections made by Duesberg and others questioning the conclusions drawn from those studies. One of the letters to the editor (Bukrinsky et al., Nature 18 May 1995, pp. 195-196) makes a similar objection (need for control groups with "healthy individuals"). Ho and Shaw answer (p. 198): "we do not understand their logic .... " But the lack of control groups partly causes a systematic bias for the interpretation of the data in favor of HIV pathogeny.

Craddock concluded with the following more general evaluation:

Yet HIV "science" has declined so far that these elementary questions are addressed neither by the research groups themselves, nor the referees at Nature whose job it is to critique the papers before publication. Is nobody at Nature bothered by the fact that neither paper contains any hard data which can be independently analysed? And Wei et al. use a technique for measuring viral load known as branched DNA (bDNA), yet their data for bDNA does not appear in the paper. The reader is given absolutely no explanation of how this assay of viral load is supposed to be carried out and no indication of how reliable it is... But nobody in the HIV research community is at all bothered by this. They seem to have learned like the mad hatter to believe 6 impossible things before breakfast and so one more makes no difference. One gets a remarkable sense of being disassociated from the real world when entering the realm of AIDS research. Am I mad or are they?.


pg 683

Science. On 25 August 1995, Jon Cohen published a Science article "Researchers Air Alternative Views on How HIV Kills Cells" (pp. 1044-1045). The article started:

Like a group of radicals from the '60's, two dozen AIDS researchers congregated in Berkeley, California, last month to challenge the establishment, swap copies of their own manifestos, and enjoy the bonhomie of hanging out for 23 days with fellow "alternative" thinkers. The topic wasn't politics, however. Rather, the meeting focused on what has been one of the most puzzling and controversial scientific questions raised by HIV: How does it destroy the immune system and cause AIDS? "We have to subvert the dominant paradigm," said immunologist Michael Ascher of the California Department of Health Services at the opening of the colloquium ....

The paradigm Ascher and his Berkeley colleagues hope to push over is the so-called cytopathic model of HIV patho-genesis. This popular theory holds that HIV cripples the immune system by directly destroying T lymphocytes bearing CD4 receptors, key white blood cells that the body relies on to defeat invading pathogens ....

But to Ascher and the others at the Berkeley gathering he co-organized, the model is too simplistic... As immunologist John Krowka of Ascher's group put it, "There are more bodies than bullets." The implication: HIV must somehow be killing uninfected CD4 cells indirectly.

Although the participants in the Berkeley meeting put forward a variety of hypotheses to explain how this occurs, the gathering revealed an esprit de corps rarely seen in the past. The newfound solidarity stems from their misgivings about widespread interpretations of two papers that have been the talk of the AIDS research world since they were published in the 12 January issue of Nature (Science, 13 January p. 179). These two independent studies--one led by David Ho, head of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, and the other by George Shaw of the University of Alabama, Birmingham--analyzed the kinetics of HIV production and its clearance from the body and fluctuations in CD4 counts. Both papers reported that when anti-HIV drugs brought virus production to a grinding halt, CD4 counts skyrocketed.4


Footnote for page 683
4 Cf. the article by Mark Craddock, mentioned above.


pg 684

On 5 September 1995, Russell Schoch sent a letter to the editors of Science, as follows:

As a long-time Berkeley resident and observer of its scientific scene, I was startled to read the opening lines of Jon Cohen's report on an AIDS conference this summer (25 August 1995): [Quote of the first sentence in Cohen' s article.] Wow! I was out of town only one week this summer, and look at the extraordinary event I missed!

The quote around "alternative" should have tipped me off. What Cohen and the "radicals" were up to was a tortuous attempt to coopt Berkeley scientist Peter Duesberg's succinct, eight-year challenge to the AIDS establishment: HIV is incapable of causing AIDS. It is amusing to watch Cohen transform his "radicals" into chic subverters of this "dominant paradigm," but depressing to read their conclusion: "HIV must somehow be killing uninfected CD4 cells indirectly."

That conclusion is the dominant paradigm and has been for years and years of unproductive, although highly funded and well-publicized research. The "newfound solidarity" of the newfound radicals in their criticisms of the Ho and Shaw papers in last January's Nature--papers which were said in press releases at the time to "destroy" Duesberg's position--is another example of Cohen's and therefore Science's misuse of language and thinking. These researchers are said to be "vigorously attacking what they perceive as a misguided establishment," but all they can come up with are ever-more Ptolemaic versions "of how HIV unravels the body's immune tapestry."

If both the "dominant paradigm" of the cytopathic model of HIV pathogenesis and the Ho and Shaw papers which were said to finish off the Duesberg challenge are unable to stand up to these "'alternative" thinkers'" scrutiny, perhaps it is time for some really altemative--without the quotes---thinking. Perhaps such thinking would lead to genuinely new ways of examining the causes of AIDS. Perhaps such thinking at the least would lead researchers to deplore, rather than encourage, the use of chemotherapy (AZT) for pregnant women and their developing fetuses.

In any event, please stop misusing metaphors of place (Berkeley) and time (the 1960s). You're fiddling while Rome burns.


pg 685

Schoch's letter to the editors was not published.

Russell Schoch is editor of the California Monthly, and published the interview of Kari Mullis mentioned in my own article on HIV/AIDS.5 I endorse his letter to the editors, with the sole exception of his expression "you are fiddling while Rome burns." Science is not fiddling. It is engaging (and has systematically engaged) in tendentious, inaccurate, and otherwise improper journalism for a decade. I remind readers that in Summer 1994, Science did not cover the NIDA meeting on nitrite inhalants and the AAAS meeting on HIV/AIDS dissenters. Science (Jon Cohen) has systematically disregarded a large part of the dissent movement against the establishment view on HIV/AIDS, and has systematically engaged in tendentious journalism about this dissent movement. It was just as improper for Science (Jon Cohen) to title a previous article "The Duesberg Phenomenon" as it is for Science to leave Duesberg (and some others) completely out of what Science defmes as "alternative views" on how HIV kills cells.

The New York Times. On 21 October 1995, the New York Times published a review by Jon Cohen of Elinor Burkett's book The Gravest Show on Earth Cohen was identified as "a reporter for Science magazine who covers health issues." The book, and the review, dealt parly with the Gallo case. In connection with this case, Cohen stated:


Footnotes for page 685
5 Warning: My endorsing a letter from Schoch in no way implies endorsement of everything he puts out as a joumalist. In summer 1995, I had a direct confrontation with him about a selectively tendentious article he published in the California Monthly. I provided extensive documentation, and I pointed out that it was his responsibility to make a selection to be communicated to his readers. He refused to accept this responsibility. In a letter dated 14 August 1995, he threw the responsibility back on me to write a letter to the editors. I did so, and did not even receive an acknowledgement of receipt. My letter was not published. In a letter dated 4 September 1995, I informed and appealed to the President and the Board of Directors of the California Alumni Association, but I did not get any reply from them either.

It is relevant here to mention that at a symposium on the Presidency and the Press in 1976, Hugh Sidey of Time agreed with the criticism that "newspapers, like doctors, bury their mistakes." Sidey also singled out the "sneaky practice" of news magazines, including his own, in refusing to correct errors except in letters-to-the-editor columns. Cf. the article "Press Secretaries Acknowledge Lies," Washington Post 24 April 1976, p. /12. As we are seeing in the present context, even if a letter is sent, it may still not get printed. One is facing double talk, suppression and inconsistencies, in addition to evasions of responsibility by the editors.


pg 686

Ms Burkett is also fast and loose with the facts when she blasts two of the most famous AIDS researchers, Robert Gallo and Jonas Salk. She accuses Dr. Gallo, the National Cancer Institute retrovirologist who won wide acclaim when his lab first proved that H.I.V. causes AIDS and then was investigated for having possibly stolen the virus from French researchers, of committing "viral plagiarism of the most egregious sort." Other than one interview with Dr. Gallo, her rehash of the scientist and his misdeeds relies far too heavily on the work of John Crewdson, an investigative reporter with The Chicago Tribune... Yet she fails to explain that a formal inquiry conducted by the Office of Scientific integrity of the National Institutes of Health revealed more than four years ago that Dr. Gallo indeed had "at least" 10 isolates and 18 other "detections"during the time period in question.

Cohen's statement that Gallo's "lab first proved that H.I.V. causes AIDS" is false. Gallo's lab claimed to have isolated a certain virus, which is something completely different from proving causality of a disease by this virus.

Suzanne Hadley, who was chief investigator of the NIH inquiry, and played a significant, I would say major, role in the investigation by the House Subcommittee on Investigation and Oversight, wrote a letter to the editors of the New York Times, in which she documented the extent to which Cohen himself played fast and loose with the facts. She stated that Cohen's review "is not merely loose with the facts, it manages to miss the facts and their significance altogether." She drew a list of three major items which Cohen failed to mention, and which would show Cohen's conclusions to be invalid. She herself stated in addition: "One other fact, not disclosed in Cohen's review, must be noted. The joumal Science, for which Jon Cohen is a staff writer, is the same journal in which Dr. Gallo's "48 isolates" and similar claims were published, a journal in which no correction regarding these claims was ever made. In light of these circumstances, there is reason to question Cohen's ability to provide an objective review of Burkett's book, a book that renews the challenge to those claims."

Hadley's letter to the editors was not published.

I communicated Hadley's letter to a cc list of about 100 people. As a result, Arthur Gotflieb, Professor and Chairman of the Tulane University Medical Center, wrote me to inform me of his own letter to the editors of the New York Times concerning Cohen's review. Gottlieb's letter was dated 31 October 1995, and stated:


pg 687

Arthur Gottlieb's letter to the New York Times. In his critique (October 22) of Elinor Burkett's The Gravest Show on Earth, Jon Cohen appears to have missed a key message of the book, namely that a polity of thinking has strongly influenced the response of the medical/scientific community to the daunting problem that HIV/AIDS represents. Notwithstanding some inaccuracies of detail, the critical questions raised by so-called HIV dissidents which Burkett describes have not been answered. These questions deserve thoughtful and objective consideration by the medical-scientific community, not Cohen's glib statement that he looked into "these studies" (further unspecified) and on his authority found them "utterly uncompelling." A further message from Burkett's book is that conventional mindset in the HIV/AIDS medical-scientific community has given us drugs of limited value, while impeding the progress of other therapeutic agents. The author also notes that the behavior of some scientists, who appear to have been motivated by other than the noble, objective search for truth, has been a corrosive influence on research into the pathogenesis and treatment of this disease. Burkett properly asks whether this has served the public interest. Jon Cohen would do better to concentrate less on the odd notes he hears in the message Burkett has composed and more on her theme.

Arthur Gottlieb's letter to the editors was not published.

Nature: The Darby article. In September 1995, Nature published an article by Sarah Darby6 concerning the epidemiology of HIV and AIDS in hemophiliac patients. An extensive critique of the Darby paper was submitted by Mark Craddock to Nature, but was rejected. So was a letter from Duesberg, concerning theDarby paper and others published by Nature.

Chemical and Engineering News. On 25 December 1995, C&EN published an editorial by its managing editor, Rudy Baum, attacking Duesberg. Rudy Baum invoked the Darby paper, and stated in part:


Footnote for page 687
6 S. Darby et al., "Mortality before and after HIV infection in the complete UK population of haemophiliacs," Nature 377 (7 September 1995) pp. 79-82.


pg 688

Earlier this month, Nature published a paper titled "Mortality Before and After H1V Infection in the Complete U.K. Population of Haemophiliacs" [377, 79, (1995)]. The paper should, but almost certainly won't lay to rest the irresponsible argument that HIV does not cause AIDS, an idea that has been championed by Peter H. Duesberg, a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of Califomia, Berkeley...

His arguments undermine the rationale behind and support for desperately needed research...

Duesberg maintains that AIDS researchers must prove him wrong. They have.

Duesberg contacted Baum, who replied (fax) 11 October 1995: "...If you would like to respond to my essay, we would be happy to entertain publication of a concise letter to the editor. Please address it to C&EN's Editor, Madeleine Jacobs." Duesberg did send a letter to the editor on 15 November 1995. In this letter, he raised 10 scientific questions, of which I cite the first and the last:

1) Why was my hypothesis that HIV does not cause AIDS "irresponsible," before the study was published that, according to Baum, had layed it to rest? Are scientific hypotheses "irresponsible" before they are disproven? Or are they ever irresponsible?

10) Why do the T-cells of HIV-positive hemophiliacs increase up to 30% over 2-3 years, if they are treated with purified factor VIII and not with AZT--despite the presence of the hypothetical T-cell killer HIV? 5,6

Duesberg concluded his letter to the editor with two predictions:

To demonstrate that "HIV infection is associated with a dramatic increase in death," the following two studies need to be done:

1) Compare two groups of hemophiliacs, that differ only in antibody to HIV, but are matched for the lifetime consumption of factor VIII and all medications. Predicted outcome: identical AIDS risk.

2) Compare two groups of HIV-positive hemophiliacs matched for lifetime dosage of factor VII, one treated with AZT and other anti-AIDS drugs, the other untreated. Predicted



pg 689

outcome: the AZT group will have 10-fold higher mortality than the untreated group.

The editor Madeleine Jacobs did not explicitly acknowledge receipt of Duesberg's letter. She wrote him on 15 January 1996 as follows:

Excerpt from Madeleine Jacobs's letter to Duesberg. I am willing to consider for publication in C&EN a concise (four to six paragraph) letter from you responding to Rudy's essay. The letter must conform to the following criteria:

1. It must be confined to a response to the points raised in Rudy's essay. It must not raise extraneous issues related to your ideas about HIV and AIDS but not addressed in Rudy's essay.

2. It cannot contain footnotes. It may contain a limited (two to three) number of relevant literature references to support specific points made in your letter.

3. It cannot consist of a series of open questions. If you have a point to make, please make it. Do not simply pose provocative questions for readers to ponder.

As I have stated before, you do not have a right to publish a letter in C&EN. If you provide a letter that conforms to the above criteria, I will give it serious and prompt consideration for publication.

Duesberg answered on 18 January, noting that he was invited to reply by the managing editor Rudy Baum himself, and that now Madeleine Jacobs was setting ex post facto criteria for a reply. He also addressed her three points as follows:

Excerpt from Duesberg's reply to Madeleine Jacobs.

1. My letter of November 15 was in accordance with your criterion No. 1...

2 .... Actually, my letter of November 15 contains six such references. However, unlike Rudy Baum who made sweeping statements without references in his editorial essay, I do not want to take responsibility vis-a-vis the scientific community for a piece which does not provide appropriate documentation for my statements. Therefore I stand by my list of six references.

3 .... Actually, I made several points in my letter of November 15. In making these points, I chose to ask questions deliberately in order to avoid the controversial style of disagreeing



pg 690

with some of Baum's points on HIV and AIDS, and in order to revert to a more scientific framework, by asking scientific questions which deserve to be tested by scientific experiments and studies. Furthermore, I do not only ask questions. After suggesting such experiments and studies, I also do what scientists ordinarily do, namely I make two predictive hypotheses which are to be tested. Thus unlike you, I want "readers to ponder."

Quite generally, I want an analysis and solution of the HIV/AIDS situation to be carried out according to ordinary scientific standards and scientific norms of discourse, which involve asking questions, making hypotheses, and testing these by experiments or studies. As Einstein used to say, "The important thing is to keep questioning."

The mathematician Hung-Hsi Wu (Berkeley, he was on my cc list) wrote to Madeleine Jacobs on 5 February 1996, noting the "peremptory tone" of her letter to Duesberg, and stating: "May I remind you that C&EN is responsible to its readers for correct scientific information?...You ignored the existence of the aforementioned letter of Duesberg. To this day, the damage done to basic journalistic integrity by the Baum editorial has yet to be redressed. I strongly urge you to put aside your own letter of January 15 and, instead, rush to publish the Duesberg letter of November 15 in C&EN. You owe it to your readers to meet this primary joumalistic obligation."

The chemist Jerome Berson (Yale, he was on my cc list) wrote to Madeleine Jacobs on 15 January 1996 to urge "the swift publication of Duesberg's letter of response" to the Baum article. Not having an answer a month letter, Berson communicated the text of his letter to me on 19 February 1996, and I distributed copies to the cc list of about 100 people. I quote from Berson's letter to Madeleine Jacobs:

Excerpt from Jerome Berson's letter to Madeleine Jacobs .... What struck me about the article was the degree to which Rudy Baum inserted his own opinions, for example:

...as surely as epidemiology can demonstrate causality, the work on hemophiliacs in the UK demonstrates that HIV-1 causes AIDS.

His (Duesberg's) arguments undermine the rationale behind and support for desperately needed research.

I spent an hour and a half interviewing him (Duesberg) about it... It was a deeply unsatisfactory interview.



pg 691

Duesberg maintains that AIDS researchers must prove him wrong. They have.

I do not know either Baum or Duesberg. Moreover, although I have no expertise in virology or the other disciplines needed to offer an informed opinion on the scientific merits of the AIDS debate, I am a scientist, and I do feel qualified to comment on the process of scientific discussion. I also feel it is proper for me to offer opinions on the minimum standards the press should impose upon itself in order to inform its readership with some degree of objectivity.

It has been called to my attention that this article was published without a prior option of comment being offered to Duesberg, and that Duesberg's subsequent letter of response (mentioned above), which was invited by Baum, has not been published by C&EN. In the popular press, even an accused embezzler, inside stock manipulator, or suborner of arson gets a chance to respond in print to damaging allegations...

C&EN provides a valuable service as a medium in which scientific advances and even controversies can be aired. However, along with the privilege of choosing what subjects to cover and how to treat the issues goes a large capacity to do harm by irresponsible journalism...

In the scientific literature, the goal of fairness is supposed to be achieved by the process of peer review. The process may fail from time to time because of human frailty, but at least the ideal and the machinery are there for all of us to use. In science journalism, the journalist is rarely a "peer" in the sense of having expert knowledge on the subject at issue. Perhaps Rudy Baum has such special qualifications, but if that is true, the proper forum for his opinions of the science involved in the controversy is a scientific journal, rather than C&EN, a magazine to whose columns he has privileged (that is, not peer reviewed) access. A rough-and-ready equivalent in science journalism of the fairness component of the peer review process is the resolve of the press to offer the opportunity of rebuttal, preferably before publication, but if that is missed for some reason, then surely after publication.

I hope that C&EN really does strive to adhere to these criteria. A way of demonstrating such adherence would be to publish Duesberg's letter of response as quickly as possible.


pg 692

Following the grass roots activism of the file and the cc list, Duesberg's letter was published (date deleted) on 25 March 1996.

Duesberg's letter was followed by a brief commentary from Rudy Baum, stating that "answers to all of the questions raised by Peter Duesberg over the past 10 years about HIV as the cause of AIDS can be found in" a 62 page booklet published by the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (Office of Communications, Bldg 31, Room 7A50, Bethesda Md 20892). Baum calls it an "excellent publication ... with more than 400 literature references."

To what extent is Baum engaging in rhetorical hype? How does he know "all the questions raised" by Duesberg over a decade, including specific questions about specific publications whose defects Duesberg analyzed in a specific way?. For example, does Baum know the eight questions raised by Duesberg in his letter to Harold Jaffe (Director of HIV/AIDS Division, CDC) dated 11 February 1993? Are these answered in the NIAID booklet? Does Baum know Jaffe's answer dated 5 March 1993?7

The NIAID booklet is becoming increasingly invoked. Science already drew attention to it (270, 10 November 1995, "RANDOM SAMPLES--All About AIDS"). Even if some "answers ... can be found" in the NIAID booklet, how valid or significant are these answers? Truth squads are required to determine which of many questions about HIV/AIDS it really answers properly. Are the answers in the NIAID booklet similar to those given by Harold Jaffe (see footnote 7)? Can one do a job on the NIAID booklet's answers as I (and others) have done a job on some other answers in the past?


Footnote for page 692
7 For example, Question 6: Are there any known documented cases of persons having irreversible immunodeficiency symptoms or a disease in the second category who have not also: (a) subjected themselves to recreational drugs... (b) been subjected to intravenous and other recreational drugs prior to their birth; (c) depended for years on transfusions with factor VIII contaminated by many other immunosuppressive foreign proteins; (d) previously developed life threatening illnesses that necessitated treatment with transfusions; (e) been treated with the cytotoxic DNA chain terminator AZT for months or years? If there are such cases, how many are there (both in totality and as percentage of all Americans), and what is the documentation? Does their number exceed the normal, low incidence of these diseases in the general population?

Jaffe does not deal specifically with Question 6. The closest Jaffe comes to answering Question 6 is: "As part of its surveillance activities, CDC does not routinely collect behavioral or medical data on persons with AIDS beyond what is necessary to classify them into HIV transmission categories." This answer leads the reader to conclude that the CDC doesn't have the data Duesberg asks for. Are answers in the NIAID booklet similar to Jaffe's answer?


pg 693

Indeed, I have documented previously defects in official or scientific answers to questions about HIV, especially in my Yale Scientific article on HIV/AIDS.8 In the present piece on journalistic manipulation, I am providing further documentation.

On the other hand, specific documented criticisms of the type I (and others) have provided are not reported in the official mass scientific media such as C&EN, Science, Nature, or The Lancet. When someone follows up one article and documents its defects, editors such as Baum ignore the critique and refer to new material, in this instance, "a 62-page booklet ... with more than 400 literature references." For another instance, see Lancers editor Richard Horton's reply to Duesberg in New York Review, 8 August 1996, discussed later.

We are at an impasse.

The Lancet, the Darby article, and Gordon Stewart's letter. On the basis of the Darby article and others concerning data about hemophiliacs, The Lancet's editor Richard Horton published an editorial: "Will Duesberg now concede defeat?" Unlike Nature, The Lancet did publish a subsequent letter by Duesberg, although there were hassles about length and other items.9 In that letter, Duesberg commented: "However, Darby et al. do not describe the 'specificity' of death that sets apart haemophiliacs with antibodies to HIV from those without." Duesberg then raised ten specific questions about the Darby article and other artlcles on hemophiliacs. Duesberg concluded with two predictions, similar to those he wrote to Chemical & Engineering News, as follows:

I am ready to concede if Horton proves me wrong in two predictions. First two groups of haemophiliacs, who differ


Footnotes for page 693
8 In my Yale Scientific article, I also referred to the Ascher, Sheppard, Vittinghoff, and Winkelstein paper (Nature, 11 March 1993), as well as an analysis by Ellison, Duesberg and Downey. This analysis finally appeared in Genetica 95 (1995) pp. 135-143, and was reprinted in a collection edited by Duesberg: AIDS: Virus- or Drug Induced?, K1uwer Academic Publishers (1996) pp. 97-104. In 8 of my "HIV and AIDS" article, I also analyzed in detail the defectiveness of a specific answer by Shalala to one of Gutknecht's questions.

9 P. Duesberg, "Is HIV the cause of AIDS?," letter in The Lancet 346 (18 November 1995) pp. 1371-1372. This letter will be reproduced as an appendix.


pg 694
only in antibody to HIV but are matched for the lifetime consumption of factor VIII and all medications, will prove to have identical AIDS risks. Second, in two groups of HIV-positive haemophiliacs matched for lifetime dosage of factor VIII, one treated with zidovudine and other anti-AIDS drugs, the other untreated, the zidovudine group will prove to have a ten-fold higher mortality than the untreated group.

On 3 January 1996, Gordon Stewart, M.D., Emeritus professor of Public Health, University of Glasgow, sent a letter to the editors of The Lancet, referring to past pieces published by this journal and by Nature. He referred especially to the Darby article, Horton's editorial, and Duesberg's letter with the two predictions. For the reader's information, I reproduce Gordon Stewart's letter in full.

Gordon Stewart's letter to The Lancet 3 January 1996

In an issue endorsed editorially by the Lancet (1) and Nature (2) as critical, I am amazed that some of Duesberg's ubiquitous critics have not yet rushed into your columns to respond to if not negate the challenge of the ten questions and two predictions raised in his letter of November 18 (3). His ten questions are highly relevant to the claims made by Darby et al, and Goedert et al in references 3 and 4 of his letter, and should be easily answerable from the "Complete cohort" and other experiences in the comprehensive national data on haemophilia available exclusively to them. His two predictions are widely and, may I say, courageously open to falsification by any who care to dare.

As you know, I differ amicably from Duesberg on several points, one of which is that I do not reject a role for HIV in the complex and variable pathogenesis of some of the diseases loosely classified as AIDS in conventional surveillance (4).

So I have two further questions which he might deem redundant: I--from how many pre-1992 concentrates and samples of donor and recipient seropositive blood did Darby et al culture and directly identify HIV itself?, and II--what were the AIDS-related and opportunistic diseases in the haemophiliacs? Answers to these questions and to Duesberg's ten are essential for understanding not only the transmission and management of AIDS but also the status



pg 695

and peace of mind of spouses or partners, and children. If the AIDS orthodoxy cannot answer these basic questions after twelve years of intensive research, it is they who should now concede defeat.

(1) Horton R. "Will Duesberg now concede defeat?," Lancet 1995; 346, 656

(2) Editorial: More conviction on HIV and AIDS, Nature 1995; 377; 1.

(3) Duesberg P.H. "Is HIV the cause of AIDS?" Lancet 1995; 346; 1371-2

(4) Stewart G.T. "The epidemiology and transmission of AIDS: a hypothesis linking behavioural and biological determinants to time, person and place," Genetica 1995; 95; 173-193

The Lancet rejected Gordon Stewart's letter. Lancet's Senior Editor Stephanie Clark wrote back to Gordon Stewart on 15 January 1996: "We have received many letters on this topic and after an initial round have decided to close this debate in the pages of The Lancet for now. No doubt in time Duesberg will be proved wrong." The "initial round" consisted of one letter from Duesberg and a letter representing an opposing point of view. By not printing other letters, such as Gordon Stewart's, The Lancet makes it appear as if Duesberg is more isolated than he actually is.

Furthermore, how does a senior editor of The Lancet know what will be proved before appropriate scientific experiments are made? The phrase "no doubt...will be proved" implies that according to The Lancet's Senior Editor, Duesberg hasn't been "proved wrong" yet. C&EN-Rudy Baum take note. Baum's editorial of 25 September 1995 ended: "Duesberg maintains that AIDS researchers must prove him wrong. They have." Rudy Baum and Stephanie Clark ought to get together to get their stories straight.

Clark's reply to Stewart gave one more example of unscientific dealings by one of those who control the flow of information in top scientific publications throughout the world. As Gordon Stewart subsequently wrote to The Lancet's editor Richard Horton on 18 January 1996: "If the Lancet is so keen to prove Duesberg wrong, surely the best way to do so would be to publish some of the many letters to which she refers instead of leaving Duesberg's legitimate questions unanswered... I realize that this subject is making disproportionate demands upon your space as indeed it is upon almost everything. Even so how can you close a debate which you have never opened?"


pg 696

Appendix

Duesberg's Letter to The Lancet
18 November 1995
Is HIV the cause of AIDS?

SIR--I have argued for several years that AIDS in America and Europe is caused by the long-term consumption of recreational drugs, zidovudine, and the immunosuppressive foreign proteins that contaminate commercial factor VIII.1,2 On the basis of yet another correlation between HIV, years, and death, Horton, in his Sept 9 commentary, now asks me to "concede defeat." The defeating study authors claim to "demonstrate particularly clearly the enormity and the specificity of the effect of HIV-1 infection on mortality," because the mortality of HIV-antibody positive haemophiliacs has increased ten-fold since 1987.3 However, Darby et al do not describe the "specificity" of death that sets apart haemophiliacs with antibodies to HIV from those without.3 In view of this study Horton expects me to stop questioning the following ten points.

(1) Why immunodeficiency in haemophiliacs is directly proportional to the lifetime dosage of commercial factor VIII (over 99% foreign proteins) received--irrespective of antibodies against HIV?2

(2) Why only antibodies against HIV, rather than HIV, are found in haemophfliac AIDS patients?2,3

(3) Why a virus that, like HIV, replicates in 2 days would take 10 years to cause AIDS?2

(4) Why the wives of 15,000 HIV-positive American haemophiliacs have not contracted sexually transmitted, viral AIDS in over 10 years?2

(5) Why the median life of American haemophiliacs has increased from 11 years in 1972 to 276 years in 1987, a period during which 75% (15,000) became infected by HIV?3

(6) Why mortality in American and now British3 HIV-positive haemophiliacs started to increase ten-fold right after cytotoxic DNBA chain terminators such as zidovudine and other toxic anti-HIV drugs became standard treatment in the USA and the UK, in 1987?2,3 According to Darby et al3 "treatment, by prophylaxis against Pneumocystis carinti pneumonia or with zidovudine, has been widespread for HIV-infected haemophiliacs since about 1989."

(7) Why the mortality of zidovudine-treated, HIV-positive American haemophiliacs is 2-4 times higher and their risk of AIDS 4-5 times higher than that of untreated HIV-positive controls, according to a Lancet report?4


pg 697

(8) Why the mortality of Darby's UK HIV-positive haemophiliacs was only 0.8% before 1987--the equivalent of a biblical lifetime of 125 (100/0.8) years?

(9) Why haemophiliacs almost only develop pneumonia and candidosis from a virus said to cause Kaposi's sarcoma and dementia in homosexuals?2 and

(10) Why the T-cells of HIV-positive haemophiliacs increase up to 30% in 2-3 years, if they are treated with purified factor VIII, and not with zidovudine--despite the presence of the hypothetical T-cell killer HIV?3,5

I am ready to concede if Horton proves me wrong in two predictions. First, two groups of haemophiliacs, who differ only in antibody to HIV but are matched for the lifetime consumption of factor VIII and all medications, will prove to have identical AIDS risks. Second, in two groups of HIV positive haemophiliacs matched for lifetime dosage of factor VIII, one treated with zidovudine and other anti-AIDS drugs, the other untreated, the zidovudine group will prove to have ten-fold higher mortality than the untreated group.

PETER H. DUESBERG
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology
UC Berkeley, Berkeley CA 94720. USA


Footnotes for pages 696-697
1. Duesberg PH. AIDS acquired by drug consumption and other noncontagious risk factors. Pharmacol Ther 1992; 55:201-77

2. Duesberg P. Foreign-protein-mediated immunodeficiency in hemophiliacs with and without HIV. Genetica 1995; 95:51-70

3. Darby SC, Ewart DW, Giangrande PLF, Dolin PJH, Spooner RJD, Rizza CR. Mortality before and after HIV infection in the complete UK population of haemophiliacs. Nature 1995; 377:79-82

4. Goedert JJ, Cohen AR, Kessler CM, et al. Risks of immunodeflciency, AIDS, and death related to purity of factor VIII concentrate. Lancet 1994; 344:791-92

5. Seremetis SV, Aledort LM, Bergman GE, et al. Three-year randomised study of high-purity of intermediate-purity factor VIII concentrates in symptom-free-HIV-seropositive haemophiliacs; effects on immune status. Lancet 1993; 342:700-03


 

The Following Three Books Were Chosen For Review By
The New York Review Of Books
23 May 1996

Infectious AIDS: Have We Been Misled?
A collection of 13 articles by Duesberg, published in scientific journals between 1987 and 1996 Foreword by Prof. Richard Strohman, UC Berkeley
582 pages, $18.95, ISBN 1-55643-195-3
1995, North Atlantic Books
1456 4th Street
Berkeley CA.
Phone: 510-559-8277

AIDS: Virus--or Drug Induced?
A collection of 27 articles by scientists, independent scholars, and investigative journalists from Australia, Europe and the US;
edited by Duesberg
358 pages, paper back $49.50, ISBN 0-7923-3961-4
1996, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht/Boston/London Dordrecht, Netherlands, 50 Spuiboulevard, PO Box 17
Phone: 31-78-639-2392 Fax 31-78-639-2254

Inventing the AIDS Virus
by Duesberg
Foreword by Nobel Prize winner Kary Mullis Over 500 pages, near $30
1996, Regnery Publishing Inc.
422 First St SE Suite 300
Washington DC
Phone: 202-546-5005

 

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