The new film House Of Numbers (reviewed by me here) contains excerpts of interviews with almost everyone of significance in the debate about whether or not HIV causes severe immune deficiency (aka AIDS). In a true scientific debate, the defenders of AIDS orthodoxy would jump at every chance to engage in debate with HIV skeptics, in the hope of either clearly refuting their arguments, or else learning something from them. But instead their mantra is:
“We will not engage in any public or private debate with AIDS denialists or respond to requests from journalists who overtly support AIDS denialist causes.”
Some of the people interviewed by filmmaker Brent Leung didn't realize that his final product was not going to be a one-sided rehash of the nonsense that has been fed to us for the last 25 years by the AIDS establishment, but rather would feature both sides of the story. They therefore regret their participation in the film, and are trying to explain away the comments they made and to portray Mr. Leung as being deceptive. But, had he stormed into their offices telling them that he had doubts about HIV, by their own admission, they wouldn't have given him the time of day. In any event, is there one question they would have answered differently had they then granted an interview? The answer, one must presume, must be "No." So what difference does it make?
Cheryl Nagel at the Rethinking AIDS conference in Oakland, California, November 2009. Cheryl, who appears in the movie House Of Numbers, carries a copy of my recent review of the film with her in her purse wherever she goes, so she is always ready to show it to people. Without the intervention of Peter Duesberg her daughter Lindsey would not be alive today, but instead would be dead of AZT poisoning.
Particularly problematical for the orthodoxy is the interview with Luc Montagnier, the French scientist who discovered HIV (if you accept that he discovered something). You can watch this interview today on YouTube. The most interesting part of the exchange goes like this:
Montagnier "We can be exposed to HIV many times without being chronically infected. Our immune system will get rid of the virus in a few weeks, if you have a good immune system."
Leung "If you have a good immune system, then your body can naturally get rid of HIV?"
Montagnier goes on to say that a neglected point in battling sickness in Africa is that nutrition and hygiene are very important, and people are only thinking of drugs and vaccines.
The significance of such comments coming from, of all people, the man who supposedly discovered the HIV virus, cannot be overstated. To understand why, you must understand that the whole problem of HIV boils down to one very simple concept: people get sick — why? If five gay men in California get sick enough to die, then what made them sick? Did they destroy their immune systems with a decade of hard drug use and nightly visits to the bathhouses? Or, was it an exotic new deadly retrovirus, something not previously known to exist among humans?
In sub-Saharan Africa, a land where malaria, malnutrition, tuberculosis, and diarrhea (due to unsanitary water) are not uncommon, and in many places modern health care is not available, why do people get sick? Is it the retrovirus?
In North America why did so many people get sick and die in the years following 1987 when AZT was approved? Was it because AZT inhibits DNA synthesis and in high dosages inevitably leads to death? Or was it the retrovirus?
The simplest answer is the best answer; where there are obvious explanations for why people get sick, we don't need to invent a new one. But the simple and the obvious can't be patented. You can't build a multi-hundred-billion dollar taxpayer-funded industry on it. So the retrovirus it is.
Professor Luc Montagnier being interviewed by Brent Leung for House Of Numbers.
Montagnier's comments call for some damage control, and over at Inside House of Numbers, a website devoted to debunking Leung's movie, we get some. Let's look at the page entitled Montagnier: No Denial. (Though this particular page is anonymous, the site is affiliated with AIDSTruth.org, so presumably it was written by one of their regular contributors.) In response to this criticism, Brent Leung has released an extended, unedited version of this portion of the interview. Whereas the original clip (linked to above) is about one minute, this one is four minutes. You can now view this longer clip here.
Having just watched the new clip myself, I would like to go through several points made in the "rebuttal":
"Unedited footage of Luc Montagnier’s interview with Brent Leung is not available, so there is as yet no way to identify the context for his short clips. He speaks a total of 212 words in the film, on several different subjects, and is led by Leung on the question of whether nutrition can prevent HIV seroconversion."
In the longer clip, Montagnier speaks at greater length about his central point, that there should be less focus on drugs and vaccines in Africa, and more on nutrition, hygiene, and clean water. It is clear that nothing he is saying is being taken out of context, and Leung is not "leading" him in any way. And why would someone of Montagnier's experience allow himself to be led by an interviewer anyway? He's not some sixteen-year-old kid in a room full of bad cops trying to get him to confess to a bogus shoplifting rap. He can handle himself just fine.
"It is likely that Montagnier was discussing the ways that people with relatively strong immune systems might also be relatively resistant to becoming infected with the virus."
True, because he still believes HIV is transmissible and causes AIDS. See my comments below. But that's not all he says!
"This is an important scientific question because, as is well known, the sexual transmission of HIV is inefficient…"
That is the understatement of the century.
" …and some people are known to be particularly resistant to acquiring the virus (cohorts of exposed-uninfected sex workers are the subject of several research programs)."
Yes, we must make some adjustments to our Ptolemaic theory of HIV to hold us until Copernicus gets here. How can we explain uninfected sex workers? It can't be the obvious, that HIV is not sexually transmitted. New studies will be necessary. They will be filed alongside the old ones.
"But it is clear that in November 2009, well after he was sucker-punched by Leung, Montagnier still states clearly that AIDS is caused by HIV, which damages T-cells, a key element of the immune system, although he again states that co-factors play a role in infection and disease progression."
He wasn't sucker-punched. And there's no doubt that Montagnier still believes HIV causes AIDS; as the discoverer of HIV, he's pretty much married to that proposition. But that doesn't stop him from seeing something that should be more obvious to everyone else, that nutrition and hygiene play an important role in not getting sick. Since he still believes in HIV, he is attempting to reconcile the two — staying healthy must somehow ward off HIV.
"Montagnier does not spontaneously say in the film that a healthy diet will clear the virus."
Yes, he does, though he doesn't phrase it exactly like that. And in fact, he says it three times. Check out 0:36–0:51, 1:34–1:38, and 3:10–3:18 of the new clip.
"It is also well known that Montagnier’s command of English is imperfect, and that he sometimes does not explain his thinking very clearly in this language."
This is utter nonsense. At no time in the new clip does he ask Leung to repeat himself or clarify a question. He uses words like "oxidative, "equilibrated," "antioxidants," and "occidental" (which he then follows with "western," realizing some viewers might not know what "occidental" means!) His grammar is nearly perfect; I noticed only one or two minor mistakes. He knows exactly what he is saying. He even says at the end of the clip that "…this is a message which may be different from what you've heard before, no?" He knows full well that what he is saying does not follow the party line.
It's very important for the high priests of HIV to prevent any doubt from entering the temple. If one tenet of their religion is debunked, that opens the door to questioning the others. The religion of HIV maintains that HIV and HIV alone causes AIDS. If other things make people sick, sick enough to die, then it begs the question, why do we need HIV at all? Montagnier is becoming like the heretic who still believes in the deity, but refuses to precisely follow the canonical script. It may be necessary to kick him out of the church:
"But perhaps Montagnier does believe what Leung made him out to say. In that case, he would be wrong. Montagnier entertains other ideas that most scientists consider to be eccentric and with a dubious basis, as for example the experiments on “resonance emission of low-frequency electromagnetic waves through high-water dilutions of DNA” mentioned here. For an excellent dissection of this idea, please see Andy Lewis’ October 20, 2009, blog post on Quackometer: “Why I Am Nominating Luc Montagnier for an IgNobel Prize” for research “that could not and should not be replicated.”
Think of it — the very man who discovered HIV, kicked out of the temple!
On this World AIDS Day, my hope is that both sides, HIV believers and HIV skeptics, can suspend their personal judgment of Luc Montagnier for a moment and instead take his words about the importance of nutrition and hygiene to heart. If we can help Africans to focus on those issues, rather than feed them toxic drugs, we may be able to save some lives. And that's what really matters.
House of Numbers should be in theaters in January of 2010. Be sure and check out the film's website for updates.
James Foye [send him mail] is an independent software developer living in Austin, Texas.