AIDS Dissident Professor Survives Misconduct Investigation

In the Orwellian world of big science, where the facts don’t matter, the story of AIDS has a new unseemly chapter.

Peter Duesberg, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at UC Berkeley, has been exonerated by vice-provost Sheldon Zedeck on the completion of a six month misconduct investigation. The provost wrote: There is “..insufficient evidence … to support a recommendation for disciplinary action, pursuant to the Faculty Code of Conduct.”

Why the investigation?

Duesberg’s crime was to publish a paper, along with four other distinguished authors, in Medical Hypotheses which deconstructed popular allegations about HIV/AIDS death rates in South Africa and the purported death toll of former President Mbeki’s actions. The paper concluded “there is no evidence of a deadly AIDS epidemic in South Africa,” and the paper mentioned that “there is as yet no proof that HIV causes AIDS.” The paper contained extensive evidence based on statistics kept by South Africa’s own government, including the fact that the population of South Africa has doubled during the AIDS era.

To compound this outrage, the journal, Medical Hypotheses, itself was attacked. The journal’s Dutch publisher, Elsevier, a medical information clearing house, succumbed to pressure from “prominent AIDS researchers,” withdrawing the paper and commanding its editor to either implement a peer-review process or hand in his resignation. The editor, Bruce Charlton, resigned along with most members of the editorial board.

Charlton says he has no regrets about publishing the paper. “Duesberg is obviously a competent scientist, he is obviously the victim of an orchestrated campaign of intimidation and exclusion, and I interpret his sacrifice of status to principle as prima facie evidence of his sincerity,” he wrote last week in an article in the Times Higher Education that also listed some of the most influential pieces he has published. “If I had rejected this paper for fear of the consequences, I would have been betraying the basic ethos of the journal,” he wrote.

Medical Hypotheses has existed for 35 years, but Charlton was only its second editor. He took over in 2003, hand-picked by founding editor David Horrobin, an independent-minded scientist and entrepreneur who started the journal because he strongly believed that peer review stands in the way of innovation and creativity in science. A Medical Hypotheses that does practice peer review can only be an “impostor,” says Charlton. Or, as he put it on his blog: “Aside from a few issues still in the pipeline, the real Medical Hypotheses is now dead: killed by Elsevier 11 May 2010. RIP.”

How could this ‘brown shirt’ repression of information and censorship be happening in the western world? Obviously, scientists and professors are fueling this pogrom with their silent consent.

One of Duesberg’s accusers has remained anonymous, and the other is revealed to have been Nathan Geffen, of Treatment Action Group–funded by South African mining interests (who claim occupational injuries of mine workers are caused by AIDS). TAG orchestrated the post 2000 global media assault on former President Thabo Mbeki and his health minister, as well as the attacks on Harper’s Magazine and journalist Celia Farber in 2006, following an article that exposed a deadly drug trial in Uganda. He is quoted as having boasted, about TAG, “We are scientifically illiterate.”

Meanwhile, the researcher assigned to singlehandedly lead the Duesberg investigation, Arthur Reingold, was found to have been in receipt of $37 million in HIV/AIDS funding from NIAID since 1988, while Berkeley had received over $200 million in the same time frame.

The casual observer assumes that our virologists and AIDS doctors know what they are doing. Nothing could be further from the truth. An estimated 300,000 people were poisoned to death at the height of the AIDS scare, 1987-1997. Lethal dosages of AZT have been lowered, but up to 36 newer anti-HIV drugs in various combinations have led to new reports of drug induced deaths, primarily from liver, kidney and heart failure. The original work by former NCI virologist Robert Gallo, purporting to prove that “HIV causes AIDS,” is inconclusive, deeply flawed and quite likely fraudulent.

After 60 trials, 26 years, and tens of billions of dollars spent, there is no vaccine, no cure, and not even an understanding of the etiologic mechanism by which HIV could destroy the immune system.

Now exonerated, the relentlessly persecuted Duesberg said that his detractors will now find it more difficult to thwart him. “Now they will have to find something else … maybe my parking permits,” he suggests.