The HeLa affair was an extraordinary, worldwide scientific debacle with much greater impact on human welfare than, for instance, such well-known scientific achievements as putting a man on the moon. It is one of the major episodes of twentieth-century science, yet it has been hushed up so thoroughly that few even know of its existence. The fight against cancer, and much other scientific research, was greatly compromised, and an unknown, but surely large, number of lives will be lost as a result.In this day and age, with biological scientists creating novel life forms, studying exotic and deadly viruses, and engaging in new and untested technologies all over the world, any tiny slip-up resulting in the escape of one of these organisms, might spark off a deadly epidemic of a new disease against which science was helpless. This could quite literally be a worldwide disaster. If scientists of the sort Gold describes had made such a slip-up, what are the chances they would immediately come forward to explain what went wrong and to warn the world so that a maximum effort could be made to contain the disaster and so that similar errors could be avoided in the future? How much greater are the chances they would fail to see the error, would ignore or attack anyone daring to point it out, would enlist the journal editors on their side, and would bury their mistake as deeply and thoroughly as they possibly could? That is what they did this time.
If a man will begin with certainties,
he shall end in doubts;
But if he will be content to begin with doubts,
he shall end in certainties.
— Wiki_Ballot (@wiki_ballot) September 12, 2021
the closing of ranks against inquiry may, in this
case, be preventing proper discussion of an accident that is bidding to prove
itself more expensive in lives than all the human attritions put in motion by
Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot. Furthermore, essentially unwarned by what we have
recently done, we may be moving rapidly toward further and perhaps even
worse disasters o f the same kind. Some aspects of genetic engineering may
indeed be dangerous, but a situation in which the general public has greater
concerns about mystical subversion of the chemicals in soy sauce than about the
risk of viruses in live animal products that are already administered, almost
compulsorily, to our bodies, is near to absurd. In parallel to this, our doctors’
Hippocratic Oath warns them o f various temptations and dangers, but it says
nothing o f how they need to guard themselves, and their profession, against the
effects of the millions of profit that dangle before the nascent industry proposing to transplant organs into humans from other species.
Without question it is science that will shape the human world of the Third
Millennium. Even if science can only direct us back to a dark age it will still be
our cause and our guide. But it could be made to do better or worse. There is a
risk that science is going to lose its fertility and change radically away from that
spirit of free inquiry and exchange that first inspired the Greek and then later
the Renaissance experimenters and philosophers. Indeed, this process seems to
be starting already; patenting and secrecy about gene sequences are perhaps
one symptom. Science may bring on us not so much a dark age in the old sense,
via some spectacular collapse, but rather a super-technological state whose
monstrous futures — if they could be shown to us clearly through the present
smoke of excitement about more and ever more technology — would only
arouse our dread. While still working its miracles on the outskirts, science may
already, at its center, like a great city, be slowly dying o f its very success. Dictators
and businessmen everywhere want to use all the technical products o f science
and, if possible, to control the rights and the how-tos for creating more. They
would also like to be free to hide the results o f their unsuccessful or disastrous
What Happens When Science Goes Bad.
The Corruption of Science and the Origin of AIDS: A Study in Spontaneous Generation
In this day and age, with science tackling problems of vast import such as AIDS, and building unknown life forms through recombinant DNA research, and even in the physical arena making basic changes to the world itself, such as the artificial compound freon’s destruction of the ozone layer, such qualities among the scientific establishment as integrity, good judgment, competence, keeping errors to a minimum, and prompt correction of errors once made are matters of life and death, not only for millions of people but quite possibly for our modern civilization itself. Science has come up short in all these regards. Some important examples are discussed in detail.
Key Words: Science — ethical aspects; Infectious diseases — new; AIDS — origin; AIDS — transmissibility; Vaccines — contamination; Tissue culture — contamination; Africa — AIDS; Colonialism; Human nature.
Mr Pascal’s paper argues, in a nutshell, that AIDS isan iatrogenic disease, ie caused by doctors. The HumanImmunodeficiency Virus, HIV, he believes, wastransmitted into the human race from monkeys as aresult of oral ‘vaccination’ programmes againstpoliomyelitis carried out in Africa at the end ofthe 1950s.The live polio virus used in the vaccine was grown inmonkey kidney tissue cultures and it is Louis Pascal’sthesis that the monkey kidneys used were infected withSimian Immunodeficiency Virus, SIV, a retrovirus verysimilar to HIV, and that the SIV thus contaminated theoral polio virus vaccine. As a result of mass vaccination,and perhaps especially importantly, vaccination ofinfants with their relatively immature immune systems,some of the humans vaccinated became infected with theSIV, and thus the first human hosts of HIV.
Hilary Koprowski, the man who had made the batch of vaccine used in these two African campaigns, wrote that “If, indeed, somebody were to poke his nose into the live virus vaccine, he might find a non-polio virus in all the preparations currently available.” He argued that this presented no real problem, however, because people were orally exposed to many viruses every day in their food .
Koprowski’s response was inadequate on three counts:
1) The vaccine as manufactured could not be made free of contaminating viruses. Therefore he either had to abandon his vaccine and renounce years of labor or else pronounce these contaminants harmless. He was hardly a disinterested party.
2) The expected contaminating viruses were monkey viruses, from the monkey kidneys used to grow the special strains of polio virus that constituted the vaccine. And humans are not daily exposed to monkey viruses. Even in those countries where monkeys are eaten, they are (I presume) cooked first. And never would raw monkey meat be fed to infants less than 30 days old, as occurred with this first batch of vaccine, while other batches were fed even to 48-hour-old infants . It is often difficult to transfer a virus from one species to another, and when scientists attempt to do so in the laboratory they employ a number of means to help the virus survive in its new host, such as using drugs or radiation to suppress the animal’s immune system. One of the most important of these means is the use of infant animals, because their immature immune systems already present much less of an obstacle to a foreign virus. Even so, the first try, or the first several tries, often does not work, so that many animals are used in hopes one will prove susceptible. Once this first infection is accomplished the virus rapidly adapts to its new environment, and subsequent baby animals can be infected much more easily. Indeed, it may then be possible to infect adult animals with the adapted virus . If one were attempting to start a human epidemic of an animal disease, one could scarcely do any better than feeding multiple unknown viruses from our closest biological relatives to many millions of infants around the world.
3) New viruses starting in “virgin” populations never before exposed to them are often particularly virulent and may also be particularly contagious. Simian hemorrhagic fever infects one of the monkeys used in making polio vaccine without causing any illness. But when it is accidentally transferred into a single member of a rhesus monkey colony, it quickly infects and kills every monkey in the colony . Fortunately, humans seem not to be susceptible to this particular virus. But a disease much less deadly and much less contagious than this one could still easily kill hundreds of millions of human beings. Thus the biggest objection to Koprowski’s defense of his vaccine was that it did not include the statement, “I realize that if I am wrong, hundreds of millions may die as a result of my error, but I have taken this into account and I still believe the risk is too slight to justify abandonment of the vaccine.” He did not take the potential consequences of his being wrong into account. On arguments that a mere schoolchild could see were no more than wishful thinking he risked hundreds of millions of lives, and was never even aware of it.
But his arguments were wrong. It was completely predictable that monkey viruses would get started in a new species never exposed to them before. And it was almost completely predictable that not all of them would be harmless. And now this almost completely predictable disaster has occurred. In fact it occurred right off the bat. This very first batch of vaccine gave us AIDS.
AIDS accusationMain article: Oral polio vaccine AIDS hypothesisBritish journalist Edward Hooper publicized a hypothesis that Koprowski’s research into a polio vaccine in the Belgian Congo in the late 1950s might have caused AIDS.The OPV AIDS hypothesis has, however, been rejected within much of the medical community and is contradicted by at least one article in the journal Nature, which claims the HIV-1 group M virus originated in Africa 30 years before the OPV trials were conducted. The journal Science refuted Hooper’s claims, writing: “[I]t can be stated with almost complete certainty that the large polio vaccine trial… was not the origin of AIDS.”Koprowski rejected the claim, based on his own analysis. In a separate court case, he won a regretful clarification, and a symbolic award of $1 in damages, in a defamation suit against Rolling Stone, which had published an article repeating similar unproven allegations. A concurrent defamation lawsuit that Koprowski brought against the Associated Press was settled several years later; the settlement’s terms were not publicly disclosed.Koprowski’s original reports from 1960 to 1961 detailing part of his vaccination campaign in the Belgian Congo are available online from the World Health Organization.
I will leave it to others to discuss the ethics of using a subject people as guinea pigs when testing a vaccine whose safety is in question, and what should and could be done to redress an error now made that will almost certainly destroy a number of countries and kill more Africans than died in 300 years of Western slavery. I will leave it to others to discuss the ethics of the early vaccine researchers in ignoring commonsense safety precautions and dismissing obvious objections in their zeal to combat polio and earn their place in history. It is hard to know, looking back on it now, and in full knowledge of what did happen, how harshly they should be judged. But a great error was made, and if these people are even in part excused on the ground that they could not have been expected to see with the clarity of hindsight, then blame must instead attach to the obscurity and unforeseeableness of the dangers of twentieth-century science itself, and the advisability of any further travel along a road so irredeemably hazardous should be seriously questioned. I will leave it to others to discuss the, in my view, completely inexcusable actions of these same polio researchers in not coming forward six years ago when they first began to worry — they would have had to begin to worry — that their vaccine might have been responsible for AIDS. It would have been an easy enough thing for any one of them to prove what had happened, but every one of them failed to investigate the question. What possible reason could there be for not looking into so important a matter so close to their central concerns, except that they were afraid of what they would find? I will leave it to others to discuss the ethics of the various AIDS researchers and other scientists who ignored the information I sent them and risked millions of lives on their unexamined opinion that I was wrong, when I was not. Any one of them could have brought this information to public attention long ago. Every one of them failed to do so. I will concentrate here specifically on the ethics of the various editors who used their positions to withhold this information from the world.
After Horrobin’s death, Bruce G. Charlton, a professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and theoretical medicine at the University of Buckingham, became the editor, making publication decisions with the informal assistance of an advisory board. Horrobin had described Charlton as “the only person I really trust to take it over and run it in an open-minded fashion”. Notable members of the advisory board included behavioral neurologist António Damásio, cognitive neuroscientist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, surgical pioneer Roy Calne, psychiatrist David Healy, philosopher David Pearce, and the Nobel laureate Arvid Carlsson. Mehar Manku became the editor of Medical Hypotheses after Charlton was fired in 2010.
Medical Hypotheses was initially published by Eden Press. Elsevier has been its publisher since 2002.
AIDS denialism papers and fallout
In 2009, the journal’s publisher, Elsevier, withdrew two articles written by AIDS denialists that had been accepted for publication. One of the withdrawn articles, written by Peter Duesberg and David Rasnick, claimed that there is “yet no proof that HIV causes AIDS” and was not responsible for deaths in South Africa that another paper had attributed to it and misrepresented the results of medical research on antiretroviral drugs. This paper had originally been submitted to the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS), but it was rejected after peer review. One of the editors of JAIDS later cited problems with the paper, alleging that it had contained cherry-picking and other dishonest claims. The publisher stated that the articles “could potentially be damaging to global public health. Concern has also been expressed that the article contains potentially libelous material. Given these important signals of concern, we judge it correct to investigate the circumstances in which this article came to be published online.”
The withdrawal followed a campaign by scientists who criticised the articles’ factual accuracy and the process behind their acceptance. A group of 20 HIV scientists and advocates contacted the National Library of Medicine to request that the journal be removed from the MEDLINE database alleging that the journal lacked scientific rigor and had become a “tool for the legitimization of at least one pseudoscientific movement: AIDS denialism.” Economist Nicoli Nattrass wrote in an article in AIDS and Behavior that “Medical Hypotheses has long been a source of concern in the scientific community because the articles are not peer-reviewed,” and that the National Library of Medicine had been requested to review the journal “for de-selection from PubMed on the grounds that it was not peer-reviewed and had a disturbing track record of publishing pseudo-science.” Nattrass later wrote that as a result of the controversy, Science reported that Elsevier had asked that the journal’s editor either raise the standards of review or resign. A review panel convened by Elsevier recommended that Medical Hypotheses adopt some form of peer review to avoid publication of “baseless, speculative, non-testable and potentially harmful ideas”. Editor Bruce Charlton said that peer review went against the journal’s 30-year history and is not supported by either him or the journal’s editorial board. Elsevier reportedly told Charlton that his position would not be renewed at the end of the year, and Charlton said he would not resign. On May 11, 2010 Bruce Charlton announced on his blog that he “was sacked” by Elsevier.
Of the journal’s 19 editorial board members, 13 wrote to Elsevier to protest the decision to change the journal’s editorial policies. The group of scientists wrote that not having peer review “is an integral part of our identity, indeed our very raison d’être,” and they would resign their positions if it was instituted. One of the members, David Healy of the University of Cardiff School of Medicine, said that the review board members’ letter was “a defense of Bruce, not of the Duesberg paper.” In contrast, board member António Damásio said that the paper should not have been published on the journal’s website.
In June 2010, Elsevier announced the appointment of Mehar Manku as the new editor, and stated that “submitted manuscripts will be reviewed by the Editor and external reviewers to ensure their scientific merit. All reviewers will be fully aware of the Aims and Scope of the journal and will be judging the premise, originality and plausibility of the hypotheses submitted.” Manku was previously the Editor of Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, another journal founded by Horrobin.
What is HIV? What is AIDS? What is being done to cure it? These questions sent Canadian filmmaker Brent Leung on a worldwide journey, from the highest echelons of the medical research establishment to the slums of South Africa, where death and disease are the order of the day. In this up-to-the-minute documentary, he observes that although AIDS has been front-page news for over 29 years, it is barely understood. Despite the great effort, time, and money spent, no cure is in sight.Born in 1980 (on the cusp of the epidemic), Leung reveals a research establishment in disarray, and health policy gone tragically off course. Gaining access to a remarkable array of the most prominent and influential figures in the field — among them the co-discoverers of HIV, presidential advisors, Nobel laureates, and the Executive Director of UNAIDS, as well as survivors and activists — his restrained approach yields surprising revelations and stunning contradictions.The HIV/AIDS story is being rewritten, and this is the first film to present the uncensored POVs of virtually all the major players — in their own settings, in their own words. It rocks the foundation upon which all conventional wisdom regarding HIV/AIDS is based. If, as South African health advocate Pephsile Maseko remarks, “this is the beginning of a war…a war to reclaim our health,” then House of Numbers could well be the opening salvo in the battle to bring sanity and clarity to an epidemic clearly gone awry.
The film examines the taboo that shields the American government’s 9/11 narrative from scholarly examination, and features interviews with several academics to examine scholars’ critical perspectives on the events of September 11, 2001. The film reveals that university faculty and administrators are often indifferent, if not hostile toward colleagues that study or take public stances on controversial topics.
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warmingool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming is a book by the Danish statistician and political scientist Bjørn Lomborg. The book is a sequel to The Skeptical Environmentalist (first published in Danish in 1998), which in English translation brought the author to world attention. Lomborg argues that many of the elaborate and expensive actions being considered to stop global warming will cost hundreds of billions of dollars without the same return on investment, often are based on emotional rather than strictly scientific assumptions, and may have very little impact on the world’s temperature for centuries. Lomborg concludes that a limited carbon tax is needed in the First World as well as subsidies from the First World to the Third World to help fight ongoing humanitarian crises.
This May 10, 2011 interview of Dr. Niels Harrit, Associate Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen, was conducted by Michael Rudin of the BBC.The occasion was the making of a new BBC production in the Conspiracy Files series for the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
COVID19/11: Narratives Intertwined is OffG’s new series of short interviews with prominent voices in the alternate media, vocal Covid sceptics and leading figures in the 9/11 truth movement.The series is intended to both mark the 20th anniversary of the World Trade Center collapse, and discuss how that event helped shape the modern world and, in turn, set the stage for the Covid “pandemic”.*Episode Three of Narratives Intertwined features Graeme MacQueen PhD, former professor of religious studies at McMaster University, founding director of Centre for Peace Studies at McMaster, former editor of the Journal for 9/11 Studies and author of the books “The 2001 Anthrax Deception” and “Globalizing God: Religion, Spirituality and Peace”.Graeme discusses how he woke up the truth of 9/11, how he sees the Covid19 pandemic, and what we can do to combat the “new normal”.
The tendency to believe whatever is most comfortable is of course not limited to AIDS research or to science. There are many other examples from many different fields of endeavor. And by the very nature of the problem, they disproportionately involve matters of grave concern. I do not have time to give examples here. Again, by the very nature of the problem, extensive arguments are required in order to force people to accept such unpleasant conclusions as this one against their will. I will merely quote two more brief passages, from letters to two correspondents, written not long after I began my AIDS research. From a 15 February 1987 letter to Peter Singer: “There are great obvious holes in many disciplines where all the terrible things have been dumped together and ignored.” From a 24 May 1987 letter to Robert M. May referring to the same paper from which I took the cigarette quotation: “My long unpublished paper took the position that societal failure was more important in making this such a terrible disease than the admittedly frightening properties of the disease itself. The new information I have . . . makes the disease even worse than I had realized, so I am not sure I would still hold to that position. On the other hand, society appears to be failing even more thoroughly than I predicted there.”
I suspect the recipients of these letters thought the views were too extreme. However, the first comment was made three months, and the second, seven days, before I heard Eva Lee Snead’s broadcast of 31 May 1987, and learned of the greatest, most obvious dumphole and largest societal failure of them all.
DECEMBER 7, 1999
The River: A Journey to the Source of HIV
Mr. Hooper talked about his book, [The River: A Journey to the Source
of HIV and AIDS], published by Little Brown. In his theory about the origin of AIDS, the author proposes
that HIV made the jump from simians to humans via the administration
of oral polio vaccine in Africa in the 1950s. After his presentation he answered audience members’ questions.