Vol IX, Issue 1 (Winter 2002): Conversations on AIDS (Part 2)
Peter K. LeMaire
Bernice A. LeMaire
For more information
Editorial: Conversations on AIDS (Part 2)
Dr Alan Cantwell, however, offers
an opposing view and focuses on the multifaceted dimension of biological
warfare and genetically engineered germs to provide an explanation for
the wildfire spread of AIDS in Africa. Cantwell's work is useful be-cause
he links together a series of well publicized incidents and developments
surrounding AIDS re-search. Cantwell also identifies some of the various
episodes of misinformation related to AIDS in Africa in the course of
Return to: Table of Contents
Dr. Brian Martin, University of Wollongong, Australia
One theory of the origin of AIDS is that it developed from contaminated vaccines used in the world's first mass immunization for polio. There are a number of reasons why this theory is plausible enough to be worthy of further investigation.
Some key publications about the theory
(in reverse chronological order)
Edward Hooper, The River: A Journey Back to the Source of HIV and AIDS
Omar Bagasra, HIV and Molecular Immunity:
Kiley R. Prilliman reviews the book
Julian Cribb, The White Death <Cribb96.html>
Stanley A. Plotkin, "CHAT oral polio vaccine was not the source of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Group M for humans" <http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/CID/journal/issues/v32n7/001306/001306.html>, Clinical Infectious Diseases, Vol. 32, 2001, pp. 1068-1984. A detailed rebuttal of the claims in Edward Hooper's The River.
Royal Society Discussion Meeting <rs> Origins of HIV and the AIDS Epidemic, London, 11-12 September 2000. Papers, press releases, media stories and responses
Billi Goldberg and Raphael B. Stricker, "Bridging the gap: human diploid cell strains and the origin of AIDS" <Goldberg.pdf>, Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 204, 2000, pp. 497-503. The hypothesis that polio vaccine produced using human cells was responsible for AIDS.
Brian Martin, "Political refutation of a scientific theory: the case of polio vaccines and the origin of AIDS" <Martin98.html>, Health Care Analysis, Vol. 6, 1998, pp. 175-179. How legal action and editorial decisions mean that the published record gives the misleading impression that the polio-vaccine- AIDS theory has been refuted.
Brian Martin, "Sticking a needle into science: the case of polio vaccines and the origin of AIDS" <Martin96.html>, Social Studies of Science, Vol. 26, No. 2, May 1996, pp. 245-276. A personal account of how the author as a social scientist intervened in the debate over the polio-vaccine-AIDS theory.
Blaine F. Elswood and Raphael B. Stricker, "Polio vaccines and the origins of AIDS" <Elswood94.html>, Medical Hypotheses, vol. 42, 1994, pp. 347-354;
Correspondence <Elswood95.html>, vol. 44, 1995, p. 226. This is the first major paper in the scientific literature presenting the theory. Blaine Elswood can be contacted at Blaine.Elswood@snow.edu <mailto:Blaine.Elswood@snow.edu>.
W. D. Hamilton, unpublished letter to Science <Hamilton94>, 27 January 1994. Hamilton attempted to publish a letter in Science responding to Koprowski's 1992 letter. Included here is both the letter itself and Hamilton's correspondence with Science.
Brian Martin, "Polio vaccines and the origin of AIDS: the career of a threatening idea" <Martin94.html>, Townsend Letter for Doctors, #126, January 1994, pp. 97-100. An account of the theory and its implications.
Rolling Stone, "'Origin of AIDS' update" <rs93.html>, 9 December 1993, p. 39. Publication of this "clarification" was part of the settlement of Koprowski's defamation action against Rolling Stone and Tom Curtis.
Brian Martin, "Peer review and the origin of AIDS -- a case study in rejected ideas" <Martin93.html>, BioScience, vol. 43, no. 9, October 1993, pp. 624-627. An account of the theory and the response to it.
B. F. Elswood and R. B. Stricker, "Polio vaccines and the origin of AIDS" <Elswood93.html>, Research in Virology, vol. 144, 1993, pp. 175-177. A letter to the editor presenting the theory plus a critical reply from the editorial board. Blaine Elswood can be contacted at Blaine.Elswood@snow.edu <mailto:Blaine.Elswood@snow.edu>.
Louis Pascal, "Preliminary notes concerning shortcomings of a correspondence by Y. Ohta, et al." <Pascal93.html>, 8 May 1993 (previously unpublished). A critique of a scientific paper cited by Koprowski and by Basilico et al. in the case against the polio-vaccine theory. Tom Curtis, unpublished letter to Science <Curtis92ul.html>, 30 September 1992. This letter rejected by Science was a response to Koprowski's letter in Science attacking the polio-vaccine theory.
Claudio Basilico et al., Report from the AIDS/Poliovirus Advisory Committee <Wistar92.html>, 18 September 1992. Stimulated by Curtis's article in Rolling Stone, the Wistar Institute set up an independent committee to examine the theory. This is its report, which was never formally published.
Hilary Koprowski, "AIDS and the polio vaccine" <Koprowski92.html> (letter), Science, vol. 257, 21 August 1992, pp. 1024, 1026-1027; correction, 11 September 1992, p. 1463. This is a reply to Tom Curtis's article in Rolling Stone and is one of the few published critiques of the theory.
Raanan Gillon, "A startling 19,000-word thesis on the origin of AIDS: should the JME have published it?" <JME92.html>, Journal of Medical Ethics, vol. 18, 1992, pp. 3-4. The editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics summarises Pascal's argument, explains why JME rejected it, and notes its importance and availability.
Tom Curtis, "The origin of AIDS" <Curtis92.html>, Rolling Stone, Issue 626, 19 March 1992, pp. 54-59, 61, 106, 108. This article gave the theory its first wide visibility. Based on a version of the theory developed independently by Blaine Elswood, it was investigated and reported on by Tom Curtis. Tom Curtis can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>.
Louis Pascal, "What happens when science goes bad," <Pascal91.html>, Science and Technology Analysis Working Paper #9, University of Wollongong, December 1991. This was the first major published account of the theory. Hard copies are available free from Brian Martin.
Return to: Table of Contents
Doctors try to clear up bizarre HIV rumour
By Zanele Mngadi, The Star - http://www.iol.co.za, April 24 2001 at 09:25PM
A boycott of East Rand doctors, whom residents believe are intentionally infecting people with HIV, is spreading, with at least seven doctors facing threats to their practices and lives.
The rumours, affecting doctors from Kathor-us (Katlehong, Thokoza and Vosloorus), began in March.
Hope Huma, spokesperson for Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa, said the MEC would schedule a meeting with the doctors aimed at formulating a strategy that would put an end to the rumours.
Many said they believed the rumours when The Star visited the area, many people said that, although they did not know the origins of the rumours, they believed them. A resident from Twala in Katlehong said: "My boyfriend and I used to consult a doctor, and the other day my boyfriend told his friends that he was going to see this doctor." They warned him about the injection, and he decided to go to another doctor. We were lucky."
When a taxi driver was asked directions to the rooms of one of these doctors, he said this doctor committed suicide after a court had found him guilty of infecting his patients.
Community members said some of the doctors had been arrested, had closed down or were out on bail.
Some of the doctors said they had stopped giving injections.
"Allegations not true and doctors will continue to treat them with respect." Dr Kelello Lengane, chairperson of the East Rand Independent Providers Association, said some of the organisation's members had been accused of infecting people with HIV in order to give drug companies business. Lengane dismissed all the allegations. "We would like to reassure the community that the allegations are not true and that our doctors will continue to treat them with respect."
Return to: Table of Contents
Commentary on Harden
John Bailar, University of Chicago, firstname.lastname@example.org
Harden has the story exactly right. I was on the staff of the National Cancer Institute 1956- 1980, in the Office of the Director 1972-1980, and knew the programs and nearly all of the people Harden mentions. The notion that either Shimken or Rauscher would knowingly do anything to allow the development of a dangerous virus is ludicrous.)
I watched the whole Fort Detrick thing unfold. One sidelight: Fort Detrick was a surprise "gift" that the NCI definitely didn't want. They had a strong ongoing virus program in Bethesda, hopes that virology would solve the big problems of cancer were already fading, and here was a sudden demand for a lot of money and administrative attention to build a new research program from scratch almost 100 miles away. (It was discovered almost instantly that the equipment and facilities for whatever the DoD had been doing there were not at all suitable for what NCI might need to do, though both involved viruses.) The matter was 100% political - Nixon wanted to develop some swords-to- plowshares credentials by a highly visible gift of what had been a military facility for biological research to an agency that was dedicated to health and was at that time high in the hopes and esteem of the public. Once Nixon had the headlines he wanted, he forgot the whole matter and left others to figure out what to do with it.
The program of research to identify cancer viruses was slow in starting there, and never produced much, but the notion that it was subverted to develop dangerous agents is so contrary to this history that any such claim would require unusually strong support. I know of no such evidence.
Return to: Table of Contents
By Alan Cantwell, M.D
When AIDS officially began in 1981 the public was told that anal sex, drugs, and homosexuality were at the root of the new "gay plague." The first cases were all young, predominantly white, and previously healthy homosexual men from Manhattan who were dying mysteriously from "gay pneumonia" and "gay cancer" in the form of Kaposi's sarcoma. The association with homosexuality was so remarkable that the disease was initially termed GRID ("gay-related immune deficiency"). To this day, gays are still blamed for the spread of AIDS into the U.S. population.
When the disease first broke out, a new virus was suspected, but officials reassured "the general public" there was nothing to worry about. Of course, the health experts were wrong. Now most of the world's AIDS cases are heterosexuals. The AIDS virus (HIV) can also be transmitted vaginally; and one does not need to be a drug abuser, a promiscuous person or a homosexual to contract AIDS.
The African Origin of AIDS
Was HIV introduced into millions of Africans in the late 1970s during the smallpox vaccine eradication programs sponsored by the World Health Organization? It is known that animal and human cells harbor all sorts of viruses including viruses not yet discovered, and animal tissue cell cultures are often used in the manufacture of viral vaccines. Therefore, the possibility of vaccine contamination with an animal virus is a constant danger in the manufacture of vaccines.
Despite the most meticulous precautions in production, contaminating animal viruses are known to survive the vaccine process. For example, during the 1950s, millions of people were injected with polio vaccines contaminated with "SV-40," a cancer-causing green monkey virus. Such vaccine contamination problems are largely kept hidden from the public. Yet in spite of the known danger, drug companies and physicians always pooh-poohed any suggestion that AIDS could have arisen from animal virus-contaminated vaccines. Viruses in calf serum can be carried over as contaminants into the final vaccine product.
The problem of vaccine contamination by fetal calf serum and its relationship to AIDS is the subject of a letter by J. Grote ("Bovine visna virus and the origin of the AIDS epidemic") published in the Journal of the Royal (London) Society of Medicine in October 1988. Grote discounts the green monkey theory and questions whether bovine visna contamination of laboratory-used fetal bovine serum could cause AIDS. Bovine visna virus is similar in appearance to HIV.
Millions of African blacks are reportedly infected with HIV. This large number could never have been infected by the simple act of a monkey virus "jumping" over to infect one African in the late 1970s. If that were the case, why don't we now have millions of AIDS cases in the U.S.? One logical explanation for the millions of Africans infected is that the vaccines used in the World Health Organization's mass inoculation programs were contaminated. Was the contamination accidental or deliberate? It is well known in vaccine circles that the vaccinia (cowpox) virus used in the manufacture of the smallpox vaccine works well in genetic engineering. Charles Pillar and Keith Yamamoto, authors of Gene Wars: Military Control Over the New Genetic Technology, state: "Researchers have been able to splice genes coding for the surface coats of other viruses, such as influenza, hepatitis, and rabies into vaccinia virus DNA. The result: a 'broad spectrum' vaccine with a coat of many colors.
In 1985, the Russians caused an international furor by claiming that AIDS was caused by experiments carried out in the USA as part of the development of new biological weapons. Responding to this Soviet accusation, Pillar and Yamamoto admit that "although no evidence has been presented to support this claim, manipulating genes to defeat the body's immune system is quite feasible." 
In Magic Shots, Allan Chase claims that during the years 1966-1977, the WHO utilized "200,000 people in forty countries-most of them non-doctors trained by seven hundred doctors and health professionals from over seventy participating countries-spent $300 million, and used forty million bifurcated vaccinating needles to administer 24,000 million (2.4 billion) doses of smallpox vaccine." 
On May 11, 1987, The London Times, one of the world's most respected newspapers, published a front-page story entitled "Smallpox vaccine triggered AIDS virus." The story suggests that African AIDS is a direct outgrowth of the WHO smallpox eradication program. The smallpox vaccine allegedly awakened a "dormant" AIDS virus infection in the black population. Robert Gallo, the co-discoverer of HIV, was quoted as saying, "The link between the WHO program and the epidemic is an interesting and important hypothesis. I cannot say that it actually happened, but I have been saying for some years that the use of live vaccines such as that used for smallpox can activate a dormant infection such as HIV (the AIDS virus)." The Times story is one of the most important stories ever printed on the AIDS epidemic; yet the story was killed and never appeared in any major U.S. newspaper or magazine.
Despite covert human experimentation, vaccine contamination problems, and the genetic engineering of new and highly dangerous viruses, the medical establishment ignores the AIDS bio-warfare issue. Most physicians and microbiologists steadfastly hold on to the illogical and improbable green monkey theory of AIDS. And the major media remain silent, often dismissing the bio-warfare theory as communist propaganda of the most malicious sort. Forgotten is the connection between the National Academy of Sciences and the military bio-warfare establishment in the development of biological weapons for mass killings.
Creation of a Super Germ
A decade before the first cases of AIDS, Dr. Donald M. MacArthur, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense, told a Congress-ional Hearing that a "super germ" could be developed as part of our experimental bio- warfare program. This genetically engineered germ would be very different from any previous microbe known to mankind. The agent would be a highly effective killing agent because the immune system would be powerless against this super-microbe (Testimony before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives, Department of Defense Appropriations for 1970, dated July 1, 1969). A transcript of this meeting on "Synthetic Biological Agents" records the following comments of Dr. MacArthur:
Was the AIDS virus, or other so-called "emerging viruses" such as Ebola and Marburg viruses, created in bio-warfare laboratories during the 1970s? During the 1970s, the U.S. Army's bio-warfare program intensified, particularly in the area of DNA and gene splicing research. Renouncing germ warfare except for "medical defensive research," President Richard Nixon in 1971 ordered that a major part of the Army's bio-warfare research be transferred over to the National Cancer Institute (where HIV would be discovered a decade later by Gallo). That same year, Nixon also initiated his famous "War on Cancer," and offensive bio-warfare research (particularly genetic engineering of viruses) continued under the umbrella of orthodox cancer research. Cancer virologists learned "to jump" animal cancer viruses from one species of animal to another. Chicken viruses were put into lamb kidney cells; baboon viruses were spliced into human cancer cells; the combinations were endless.As predicted by the bio-warfare experts, new cancer-causing monster viruses were created that had a deadly effect on the immune system. In one government-sponsored experiment reported in 1974, newborn chimpanzees were taken away from their mothers at birth and weaned on milk obtained from virus-infected cows. Some of the chimps sickened and died with two new diseases that had never been observed in chimps.The first was a parasitic pneumonia known as Pneumocystis Carinii pneumonia (later known as AIDS); the second was leukemia.  Monkey Busines Almost two decades after the first U.S. AIDS cases were diagnosed, most people still believe the government's green monkey story; and AIDS educators teach that HIV originated in Africa. However, a few cracks in the monkey theory have appeared in print.A story entitled "Research refutes idea that human AIDS virus originated in monkey," appeared in the Los Angeles Times (June 2, 1988). In the process of decoding the genetic structure of the monkey virus and the human AIDS virus, Japanese molecular biologists discovered that the gene sequences of the two viruses differed by more than 50%-indicating absolutely no genetic relationship between the green monkey virus and HIV. The Japanese investigators specifically criticized Myron Essex and Phyllis Kanki of Harvard Medical School, who "discovered" a second AIDS virus in African green monkeys that was widely heralded in the media. Essex and Kanki's "second" AIDS virus was later proven to be a contaminant monkey virus traced back to the Harvard researchers own laboratory.If HIV is not related to a green monkey virus, what is its origin? On November 13, 1988, The Orange County Register devoted an entire section of the newspaper to AIDS in Africa. Several African officials were interviewed; all were adamant that AIDS did not originate in Africa. The theory "is false and has never been scientifically proved, so why should Africa be the scapegoat?" declared Dr. Didace Nzaramba, director of the AIDS prevention program in Rwanda. The Register commented: From early on, scientists have speculated that the disease might have begun in Africa. Researchers in Africa tested old blood samples and said they found HIV-infected serum that went back years. In 1985, Harvard researchers, Phyllis Kanki and Myron Essex, announced the discovery of a new virus isolated in green monkeys that seemed similar to HIV. Eventually, researchers concluded that early blood tests used in Africa were not reliable, and Kanki and Essex said their blood tests probably had been contaminated and that their results were invalid. But the perception of an African link was established. Media Disinformation With the publication of And the Band Played On in 1987, the media became obsessed with author Randy Shilts' "Patient Zero" story. In the popular, award-winning book, a young Canadian airline steward named Gaeton Dugas is portrayed as the promiscuous gay man "who brought the AIDS virus from Paris and ignited the epidemic in North America." Shilts, who later died of AIDS, never explained where or how Dugas got his infection.After a year of swollen lymph nodes and a rash, Dugas was finally diagnosed with AIDS-associated "gay cancer" in June 1980 in New York City. What Shilts probably did not know is that when Dugas was diagnosed in 1980, over twenty percent of the Manhattan gays in the Hepatitis-B experiment were HIV- positive. This 20% infection rate was discovered after the HIV blood test became available in 1985, and after the stored blood at the New York Blood Center was retested for HIV antibodies (JAMA, Vol. 255, pp. 2167-2172, 1986). Remarkably, these gay men had the highest recorded incidence of HIV anywhere in the world for that time! Even in African populations, where AIDS has been theorized to exist for decades, or even millennia, there were never reports of such a high incidence of HIV in 1980.Shilts' sensational Patient Zero story quickly became "fact." Even the AMA-sponsored American Medical News (October 23, 1987) fell for the ludicrous story, claiming that Dugas "may have brought AIDS to the United States." The media continue to promote unlikely stories about the origin of AIDS, always avoiding discussion of the idea that HIV came out of a laboratory, and always pointing the finger to black Africa.In late 1987, the media widely reported an "old AIDS case" dating back to 1968. DNA testing of the blood and tissue was reported as HIV- positive.  For the last year of his life, "Robert," a 15-year-old black boy from St. Louis, wasted away with a bizarre disease that severely bloated his legs and genitalia. His sexual preference was unknown, but his doctors tried hard to insinuate the dying boy was gay. At autopsy, internal Kaposi's sarcoma of the rectum was discovered, along with anal warts and lacerations. And after fingering the dead boy's rectum, the pathologist noted "a lax anal sphincter." When newer viral identification techniques were reapplied to Robert's blood in 1990, his blood retested HIV-negative, proving that Robert never had AIDS.Despite the denial of the Times regarding the laboratory creation of new AIDS-like viruses, it was common practice during the early 1970s for virologists to alter animal viruses by inserting them into other animal species and into human tissue cells in culture. Experiments performed at Harvard in the mid-1970s by Max Essex and Donald Francis (two of the best- known AIDS experts) produced AIDS in cats with the feline leukemia retrovirus. In addition, a decade before the outbreak of AIDS in the U.S., Robert Gallo was engineering cancer- causing retroviruses and studying the effects of viral mutants and their ability to suppress the immune system. A full description of Gallo's animal retrovirus research activities dating back to 1967 is chronicled in Emerging Viruses, AIDS and Ebola: Nature, Accident or Genocide? by Dr. Leonard Horowitz.  Secret and Covert Biological Warfare Research It is difficult, if not impossible, to determine the truth about global biological warfare capabilities and their possible effects on world health. The American taxpayer is kept ignorant about U.S. chemical and bio-warfare programs. Scientists involved in bio-warfare research are sworn to secrecy and silence. Thus, "classified" and "top secret" medical experimentation continues to be promoted by powerful government agencies, such as the CIA, the CDC, the Department of Defense, the military, and other institutions.Recent revelations of horrific radiation experiments conducted on unsuspecting U.S. citizens during the Cold War years up until the 1980s have shocked the nation. Some of this research was conducted at the most prestigious medical institutions in our country. None of the perpetrators have been brought to trial. In light of these revelations, it is inconceivable to think that leading AIDS scientists would be unaware of the connections between their institutional research and the bio-warfare establishment.There is an ominous link between cancer and AIDS, between animal experimentation and the genetic engineering of viruses, between biological warfare technology and drug companies, between gay experiments and AIDS, between vaccine programs and the contamination of the nation's blood supply. Why else would all these people from diverse areas of science be attending this high-level government conference?Dr. Alan Cantwell is a physician and AIDS and cancer researcher. He is the author of AIDS & the Doctors of Death and Queer Blood, published by Aries Rising Press. He can be reached at PO Box 29532, Los Angeles, CA 90029, USA. Phone/Fax +1 213-462-6458, Email: email@example.com. This article originally appeared in Paranoia magazine.
Return to: Table of Contents