Censorship and Show Trials on Vaccines and AIDS

Two tenets of today’s health care are that a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes AIDS and vaccines are effective and safe. Investigators who have the temerity to question this official dogma see their work blocked from publication, grant requests rejected, and in one signal case can even find themselves being subjected to a Soviet-style show trial.

Andrew Wakefield (b. 1957) recently underwent such a trial in the UK held by its General Medical Council (GMC) Fitness to Practice Panel. Along with two other well-respected gastroenterologists, he was subjected to the longest, most expensive trial in that council’s 148-year history.

In 1998, Dr. Wakefield and twelve colleagues at the Royal Free Hospital in London identified a new kind of bowel disorder in twelve children with autism. This case series of "autistic enterocolitis" was published in the Lancet. The parents of eight of these children reported that their child became autistic and developed disabling intestinal symptoms shortly after receiving the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. Noting this, Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues raised the possibility that the MMR vaccine might have something to do with this syndrome. They concluded the Lancet paper with this statement: "Further investigations are needed to examine this syndrome [autistic enterocolitis] and its possible relation to this [MMR] vaccine."

A UK journalist, Brian Deer, “investigated” Dr. Wakefield and wrote an expose about him in 2004 that was published in the Sunday Times. Acting on the allegations this journalist made, the GMC charged Dr. Wakefield with unethical conduct, various conflicts of interest, and "callous disregard" for children. Last month, the GMC Fitness to Practice Panel, after a 2-year trial, found him guilty of all charges. One observer who has followed this case notes that the head of the Panel, Dr. Kumar, holds shares in GlaxoSmithKline, the UK’s largest vaccine maker.

The charges the GMC and this journalist have made against Andrew Wakefield are all without foundation, as Melanie Phillips shows in "The Witch-Hunt Against Andrew Wakefield" in the Spectator, and Mark Blaxill, in "Naked Intimidation: The Wakefield Inquisition is Only the Tip of the Autism Iceberg," on the AgeofAutism.com website. Dr. Wakefield rebuts the charges made against him HERE and HERE.

Parents of autistic children support Dr. Wakefield. After the verdict parents held street demonstrations in protest, carrying signs reading "Scape-goat," "With Wakefield," and "Guilty of helping our damaged kids." One parent said, "I firmly believe these doctors are going to be hung out to dry because they dared to question MMR." Another, "Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues are the only doctors who ever really listened to us. I fear now that no doctor will want to have anything to do with helping any child that is harmed by any vaccine in the future."

Dr. Wakefield helped found the Thoughtful House Center for Children in Austin, Texas in 2005 and was its Executive Director until recently when he stepped down from this position in the wake of the GMC trial.

Shortly after the verdict the editor of the Lancet, Richard Horton, announced that the journal was retracting Wakefield et al.’s 1998 paper. If you have access to the electronic archive of past issues of the Lancet, you will see the word "RETRACTED" stamped across each page of the paper, which makes it hard to read. A clean copy of this study can be found HERE. Elsevier owns the Lancet.

None of Dr. Wakefield’s subsequent 32 published, peer-reviewed papers have been retracted, which include his finding vaccine-strain measles virus in the gut of autistic children, a finding that has been corroborated by other investigators. Until now.

Perhaps the principle reason the medical-government-pharmaceutical establishment has worked so hard to trash Dr. Wakefield is this: Along with researchers at the University of Pittsburg, University of Kentucky, and the University of Washington, Dr. Wakefield is a coauthor of a signal semi-randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the effect of Hepatitis B vaccine on newborn monkeys.

Hepatitis B vaccine was given to 13 male macaque infants; 7 more served as controls (receiving a saline placebo or no injection). The vaccinated ones exhibited a significant delay in the acquisition of three important survival reflexes — the root reflex, where the animal turns its head in response to a brush on the cheek; snout, opening his mouth in response to a brush on the forehead; and the suck reflex, sucking on a nipple placed in the mouth. This study shows that one mercury-containing birth dose of the Hepatitis B vaccine can cause significant harm. This carefully done study carried out by highly respected, NIH-approved primatologists has explosive implications.

The editor of Neurotoxicology accepted the paper and published it online on October 2, 2009, "epub ahead of print," as most medical journals now do with important studies before they appear in a printed issue of the journal months later. But soon after Andrew Wakefield was found guilty in the GMC show trial Elsevier, the owner of Neurotoxicology, instructed its editor, Joan Carnmer, to delete the online edition of the paper and not publish it. Reluctantly, see HERE, she did what she was told and sent the paper down the Orwellian memory hole, without any explanation given from Elsevier or the journal’s editors. Fortunately, 2010 has not (yet, anyway) become Orwell’s 1984, and you can access the complete study online HERE.

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This same team of researchers recently completed another primate study that followed 14 monkeys through the U.S. childhood vaccine schedule over a multi-year period. The difference in outcome for the vaccinated monkeys versus the unvaccinated controls is said to be "both stark and devastating." In the statement that Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey made after Dr. Wakefield’s show trial, "Andrew Wakefield, Scientific Censorship, and Fourteen Monkeys," they say: "There is no question that the publication of the [new fourteen] monkey study will lend substantial credibility to the theory that over-vaccination of young children is leading to neurological damage, including autism. The fallout from the study for vaccine makers and public health officials could be severe." The authors of this second primate vaccine study will have a hard time getting it published.

In "On Evidence, Medical and Legal," Clifford Miller, an attorney in the UK (no relation) and I show that there is good evidence, from a legal standpoint at least, that the MMR vaccine causes autism in susceptible children (J Am Phys Surg 2005;10(2):70—75, available HERE)

Courts resolve disputes in civil matters with a standard of proof that is "more likely than not," or in some cases in the U.S., "clear and convincing." In criminal cases, the level of evidence required to render a guilty verdict has to be "beyond a reasonable doubt."

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Evidence-based medicine seeks to attain a scientific level of proof and considers randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and systematic reviews ("meta-analyses") of multiple RCTs to be the highest level of evidence in medicine. A scientific level of proof requires evidence that is "irrefutable." Randomized controlled trials and meta-analyses of those trials, however, are subject to sufficient bias that their level of evidence rarely is irrefutable, and sometimes does not even reach the level of "more likely than not" (JAMA 1999;28:1054—1060; BMJ 2005;330(7497):753).

The only kind of medical evidence that approaches a scientific level of irrefutability is a single, well-documented case report of a challenge/de-challenge/re-challenge response to a drug or vaccine. The pharmaceutical literature recognizes that such a response is strong evidence of causation and label it an "adverse drug reaction."

In heart surgery we give heparin to thin the blood to reroute the patient’s circulation through a heart-lung machine (and not have it clot) so oxygenated blood can keep flowing through the body when we stop the heart to repair it. In some people this drug will destroy platelets (specialized cells that assist in blood clotting). When heparin is given to such a person ("challenge") she will drop her platelet count from a normal level of 240,000 to a dangerously low 40,000. Over a several week period without any heparin ("de-challenge") the count will recover and go back up to 200,000. When given another dose of heparin ("re-challenge"), the platelet count promptly drops back down to 30,000. This single case of challenge/de-challenge/re-challenge evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt, if not irrefutably, that heparin can cause a low platelet count (thrombocytopenia) in susceptible individuals. The medical acronym for it is "HIT" — heparin-induced thrombocytopenia.

The same thing happens with the MMR vaccine and autism/autistic enterocolitis. At age 14—16 months, following the CDC immunization schedule, a health practitioner challenges a normally developing child with the MMR vaccine/drug, and he quickly regresses into a state of autism with bowel dysfunction. Over the next several years, with applied behavioral analysis and biomedical treatment, during a period of de-challenge, the boy recovers neurologically and regains normal bowel function. Then, between the age of 4 and 6, as per the CDC’s schedule, he is re-challenged with a booster shot of MMR vaccine/drug and regresses, once again, into a state of autism with bowel dysfunction.

No randomized, placebo-controlled trials have ever been done to prove that vaccines, given singly or together, are safe. Epidemiologic studies, funded mainly by vaccine makers, show that vaccines are safe. But epidemiologic evidence, with its statistical foundation, are open to manipulation and bias. Such evidence touting the safety of vaccines is like that obtained by tobacco companies in the epidemiologic studies they conducted in the 1940s and 1950s that showed cigarettes do not cause lung cancer. The evidence provided by even a single MMR challenge/de-challenge/re-challenge (CDR) case report overshadows that provided by epidemiologic studies — and RCTs on vaccine safety, if there were any. CDR case reports of MMR vaccine causing the adverse drug (vaccine) reaction of autism and autistic enterocolitis can be found HERE and HERE.

(For more on vaccines see "Vaccines: Get the Full Story: Protect your child and yourself," available HERE.)

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An international conference questioning HIV/AIDS dogma was held in Oakland, CA last November. Speakers included Joan Shenton, from London, UK, speaking on "Censorship in the AIDS Debate — the Success of Stifling, Muzzling and a Strategy of Silence"; David Rasnick on "HIV Drugs Causing AIDS"; Marco Ruggiero, from Florence, Italy, on "Religion, Politics, and AIDS in Italy"; and Christian Fiala, from Vienna, Austria, on "AIDS in Africa — a Call for Sense not Hysteria." (For the full list of speakers at this conference see HERE.) Henry Bauer, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and Science Studies and former Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Virginia Tech, spoke on "[The] HIV/AIDS Blunder is Far from Unique in the Annals of Science and Medicine." Dr. Bauer has written what is perhaps the best book on this subject, titled The Origin, Persistence, and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory (2007). In a clear, well-written fashion he thoroughly and convincingly refutes the HIV/AIDS theory.

Peter Duesberg (b. 1936), the leading HIV skeptic, presented a paper at this meeting titled "HIV-AIDS Hypothesis out of Touch with South African AIDS — a New Perspective." As a Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Duesberg rose to fame in 1970 when he (and co-worker Peter Vogt) biochemically defined the first retroviral oncogene (a gene associated with cancer) in birds. The NIH (National Institutes of Health) awarded him a long-term Outstanding Investigator Grant. He was a candidate for the Nobel Prize and was invited to join the prestigious U.S. National Academy of Science in 1985 at the young age, for its members, of 49. But in 1988 Dr. Duesberg published a paper in Science titled "HIV is Not the Cause of AIDS." Since then he has been subjected to the punishment accorded modern-day heretics. Among other things, the NIH and other funding agencies stopped awarding him grants. Since 1988, all of his grant applications have been rejected — 24 of them. (For more on Peter Duesberg see HERE.)

This is one form of censorship investigators with new ideas confront. In addition to vaccines and AIDS, scientists who question state-sanctioned paradigms such as cholesterol and saturated fats cause coronary artery disease, mutations in genes cause cancer, and human activity causes global warming are denied grants and silenced. This form of censorship is widespread throughout the biomedical and climate sciences. (See "The Government Grant System: Inhibitor of Truth and Innovation?" in the Spring 2007 Journal of Information Ethics, available here.)

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As with Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues’ primate (Hep B) vaccine study, another journal, Medical Hypotheses, did the same thing with a paper that Peter Duesberg, et al. wrote on African AIDS. The journal accepted the paper and put it online prior to print publication. Elsevier also owns Medical Hypotheses. It made this journal, over its editor’s protests, permanently withdraw the study and send this one also down the memory hole, along with another AIDS paper that the journal had accepted and was awaiting print by Ruggiero, et al. titled “AIDS Denialism at the Ministry of Health [in Italy].” Bruce Charlton is the editor of Medical Hypotheses.

The practice of placing studies online ahead of print now adds a second level of censorship. The first is peer review. The peer-review process works primarily to enforce orthodoxy. Experts who review and referee papers submitted to medical and scientific journals will look disapprovingly on ones that question state-sanctioned paradigms or promote new ideas of a contrarian nature. Controversial studies that make it over this hurdle and are accepted for publication are now put online for all to see before they appear in print. If certain factions in the medical-government-pharmaceutical establishment don’t like what they see, they can put pressure on the owners of the journal in question and have them make its editor delete the offending study and not publish it. Before there was "epub before print," groundbreaking papers that made it past peer review would get into print before the establishment would know about them, as happened with Wakefield et al.’s Lancet paper in1998. Not now.

The Duesberg et al. African AIDS study is important because it discredits a widely quoted one published by Harvard researchers Chigwedere, et al. in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (2008;49:410—5). In line with the politically correct view of African AIDS, these researchers estimate that 300,000 South African deaths occurred from AIDS each year from 2000—2005; and they believe that taking anti-HIV drugs could have prevented these deaths. These Harvard professors blame those who question the hypothesis that HIV causes AIDS, particularly South African President Thabo Mbeki and Peter Duesberg for those deaths because they did not support giving Africans anti-retroviral drugs to prevent them.

In their study, Duesberg and his coauthors show that vital statistics in South Africa report only 12,000 HIV-positive deaths occurring each year during that period — a figure 25-times lower than that estimated by Chigwedere, et al. The population in South Africa increased by 3 million during 2000—2005, from 44.5 to 47.4 million, even though 25—30% of population is HIV positive. Likewise, before the "African HIV/AIDS epidemic" began in 1984 (according to HIV/AIDS researchers), the total Sub-Saharan population doubled from 400 million in 1980 to 800 million in 2007. Despite the journal having erased it, you can still access this paper online HERE.

(The real cause of AIDS is four-fold: heavy-duty recreational drug use, anti-retroviral drugs, receptive anal intercourse, and malnutrition. See HERE. Outside of Africa, where the main cause of AIDS is malnutrition, 98% of all AIDS cases still occur in just two groups: gay males, accounting for about two-thirds of the cases, and IV drug users, male and female, one-third.)

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Anyone thinking about getting an HIV test should first read the brochure "The AIDS Trap" with illustrations by R. Crumb. Rethinkingaids.com published it, available HERE. Its opening statement reads:

A positive result on an HIV test will change your life forever. You could lose friends, your relationships, your health insurance, your job, the custody of your kids. Even your sanity. We want you to know a few facts before you agree to take what’s called an HIV test. Facts that doctors and medical staff probably won’t tell you. A positive result does not mean you are infected with a deadly virus. It can be caused by non-health-threatening factors, although it also may be a warning that your immune system is damaged. If you are sick you may not need medications to get well, especially not dangerous AIDS medications.

The Hepatitis B vaccine (Lancet 2002;339:1060) and Flu shots (Am J Epid 1995;141:1089—96) are two of 70 things that can cause false positive HIV test results.

C. Walton Lillihei, a pioneer in heart surgery, put it this way: "For centuries there has been a fascinating yet perplexing paradox between the search for truth and new information on the one hand, and on the other, the often vigorous, sometimes ruthless opposition to the acceptance of that new information." He adds, "Acceptance of new ideas, new concepts, new theories, has virtually always been surrounded by opposition and controversy."

The same thing is happening with vaccines and AIDS, as has happened throughout history, notably when Galileo said the earth rotates around the sun, in the 17th century, and Ignaz Semmelwiess, in the 19th century, showed that doctors could reduce the mortality from maternal childbirth (puerperal) sepsis from 20% to less than 2% simply by washing their hands.

Regarding Arthur Schopenhauer’s three stages that new truths pass through, the truth HIV does not cause AIDS is ridiculed. The truth vaccines cause autism is no longer simply being ridiculed. This truth has moved on to the next stage. It is being violently opposed, with character assassination, censorship, and show trials. Withstanding such attacks, these truths then will pass into the third and final stage. They will become accepted as self-evident.

Peter Duesberg and Andrew Wakefield are two tenacious, brave men. They struggle against the medical-government-pharmaceutical complex’s efforts to disenfranchise them, and they have to endure a withering barrage of ad hominem attacks. But they do not flinch in their efforts to see truth reign, Duesberg with AIDS and Wakefield with vaccines.

One hopes that in the not too distant future both of these truths will pass through Schopenhauer’s third stage and become accepted as self-evident. Once fully accepted the pandemic of autism spectrum disorders and the chronic diseases that now afflict so many children — asthma, allergies, arthritis, enterocolitis, and diabetes — will abate; and AIDS by prescription, AIDS caused by taking anti-retroviral drugs that doctors prescribe to HIV-positive people — DNA chain terminators, like AZT, and protease inhibitors — will cease. The day will come when the CDC withdraws its childhood immunization schedule and stops recommending that vaccines be given to children under two years of age. HIV tests will no longer be done and anti-retroviral drugs will be outlawed.

This will be real health care reform.

March 3, 2010

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