Do you want the good news first, or the bad news?
I like to get the bad news first, usually, because then the good news can cheer me up. So, the bad news:
HIV-1 Denial claimed another life. It was reported that (HIV-1 positive) HIV-1 Denier Kim Bannon was doing very poorly last year, but she apparently hung on until now. She died last week. Her life did so much harm to HIV/AIDS education and awareness... I hope her death can reverse some of the damage...
Now the good news!
HIV/AIDS activist and frequent commentor here at ERV, Richard Jeffreys, just had the defamation claim against him dismissed. What did Jeffreys do? Call out HIV Denier Celia Farber. I am so happy for him, and I am so happy for *us* (anyone who publicly comments about this sort of thing). The judge in this case was ruthless and totally en pointe on everything:
He said the e-mail was true, and that Ms. Farber was a public figure, making her defamation claims subject to a heightened standard of scrutiny.
Justice York agreed.
Furthermore, Justice York said, even if Ms. Farber were not a public figure, Mr. Jefferys' e-mail would be subject to a heightened standard because it involved a matter of public concern. Allowing the defamation claims to go forward would have a chilling effect on the public discourse on an important subject, he wrote.
The judge also rejected Ms. Farber's argument that the suit should go forward even under a heightened standard because Mr. Jefferys' e-mail showed gross negligence.
"Here, Jefferys relied on numerous reliable sources," the judge wrote. "Thus, Jefferys did not exhibit constitutional malice or gross irresponsibility when he relied on them and on his own prior professional research to reach his conclusions about Farber's work as a journalist in 'Out of Control' and her other writings."
Ms. Farber had focused on the word "liar" as an example of gross negligence. But Justice York said that "liar" was just an example of the heated rhetoric around the dispute, noting that Ms. Farber had used similar rhetoric herself.
"Through the various references to him and other 'so-called activists' in the Harper's piece, she strongly suggests that Jefferys and others lie, twist facts or hide data in order to remain in the good graces of the pharmaceutical companies which support them financially," he wrote. "She also accuses him of lying about whether there is a debate as to the cause of AIDS. ...Indeed, in her affidavit in support of her opposition, Farber hurls accusations at Jefferys which are strikingly similar to those he has hurled at her."
Justice York's opinion summarizes the controversy over HIV as the cause of AIDS, showing that the medical literature overwhelmingly supports Jefferys' position on this. Whether the "HIV establishment" or the "HIV denialists" are correct is not the issue. Since it is a matter of public concern and debate, the issue is whether anything Farber alleged goes to show that Jefferys made deliberately false statements or statements for which there is not support in public statements by leading scientists in peer-reviewed journals.
In effect, Farber was contending that defamation law can be used to stifle criticism of a controversial position on a matter of great public importance. In light of the 1st Amendment standard of freedom of speech as applied to defamation law by the U.S. Supreme Court, such a contention cannot stand.
This is good news for all of us who write about 'controversial' topics-- whether its HIV Denial or anti-vaxers or XMRV True Believers or climate science.
> This is a scientific source, so could you perhaps weigh
> in your knowledgeable views on this quotation and put it
> back into context?
No, she can't. The right context is this:
"...Slight ambiguities exist in the designation of the molecular weights of the HIV-1 antigens..."
Which translates: We have no idea whether such antigens belong to HIV or not.
"...blood specimens were collected from 168 healthy adult volunteers at minimal or no risk for becoming infected with human immunodeficiency virus... 32% had indeterminate Western blot testsThe most common bands were p24 (47%), p55 (34%), and p66 (36%); envelope bands were unusual (gp41, 2%; gp120, 2%). ..."
In particular p24 - the marker used in "hiv isolation" to decide hiv is presen in the culture, is the MOST UBIQUITOUS and appears in the serum of 15% of people at low-risk!
In hiv speak, "virus isolation" doesn't mean isolation at all. These "scientists" look for RT and p24 during their so-called "isolation", but it is known that these markers are not exclusive of hiv.
Here are some interesting statistics.
The international AIDS society publishes at http://iasociety.org/Default.aspx?pageId=5&elementId=14377 the following findings regarding infant mortality in Rwanda for HIV+ mothers:
- 91.9% of infants born of HIV+ who did not receive ARV treatment remain HIV free after 24 months
- Of 1446 infants monitored 44 died
- 53 tested HIV+
Let's compare these figures to the general Rwandan population for pregnant mothers, most of which are HIV- :
64 infants out of 1000 infants died which is a HIGHER mortality rate when compared to the 44 infants who died in the 1446 group of HIV+ women investigated. (http://www.indexmundi.com/rwanda/infant_mortality_rate.html)
The study also claims a 40% higher survival rate for infants if their HIV+ mothers were on ARV treatment and at the same time admits that those results are statistically insignificant.
My interpretation of these figures is that HIV+ mothers who are being monitored in this way receive better health care than the general population. Hence the lower infant mortality rate. If that was not case I assert that infant mortality for HIV+ mothers when compared to HIV- mothers is about the same, any difference being statistically inisignificant.
The fact that HIV does no cause an increase in infant mortality strongly suggest that HIV -if it exists- is not causing anything.
Call me heartless, but I failed to spot the bad news.
I only write en pointe to be average height.
I find it amazing (and hilarious) that Farber and her legal team would be downright hypocritical in her lawsuit as the judge pointed out:
"...Indeed, in her affidavit in support of her opposition, Farber hurls accusations at Jefferys which are strikingly similar to those he has hurled at her."
But for me, the absolute best is the complete dressing down the judge gives Clark Baker of OMSJ:
âNone of these qualifications makes him particularly suited to evaluate the issues at hand.â
Included in those qualifications are that Baker is a pilot and can scuba dive! Why on earth Baker included that in his affidavit can only be answered by the fact that Baker is not in touch with reality, nor does he understand the court system and the purpose of an affidavit.
In just one paragraph the judge underscores how useless Baker's affidavit was:
(Bakerâs) commentsâ¦are not directly pertinentâ¦
(Baker)presents no evidenceâ¦
His observationâ¦has no bearingâ¦
His commentsâ¦are not pertinentâ¦
Gotta love those denialists!
Complete serendipity here on Lynn margulis. Stemming from a few things I've written on the MASSIVE WTC building 7 conspiracy by George Bush's third cousin's, sister's, friend's, dogwalker's acquaintance, I get the occasional flyby nitwit. And, of course these people are always spinning new variants of what happened.
In that process, I've been today recommended to watch a video by hundreds of architects and engineers (none of whom so far has actually worked on WTC 7, but watched a video in which it is depicted collapsing). Anyway, imagine my shock to find a geneticist, Lynn, being interviewed as an expect on structural design.
She's at about 18:10 minutes in, or so.
Is there any woo she wouldn't latch onto? Shit, at least with HIV/AIDS denialism on her part, it's fairly in her lane, and thus has to be taken as the opinion of someone who is situated to understand the material. What the hell does a geneticist's thoughts on structural design and collapse have to do with anything?
But I guess if one has 'phd' in one's name somewhere, well, a geneticist is as good an architect is as good as anything else.
Despite her degree in genetics, Margulis was a bit of a genetics denialist as well.
Still, she's being interviewed as an 'expert' on structures and how they collapse? Shit, I do the occasional youtube video, or blog article on these things with the caveat that my expertise in mathematics is not a qualification of any significance as it pertains to something I have no training or qualifications in. If I were asked to be interviewed, I'd decline for those reasons.
Apparently, not everyone is equally as hesitant to fling themselves headlong into topics far afield from their expertise.
Don't forget this bastard: ID-bullshit artist Phillip Johnson. Note the date.
Let's see: Who do I trust? A known bullshit artist and non-scientist to boot like Johnson, or a person who actually WORKS with the actual viruses like Abbie and all those other real scientists?
"Correlation is not causation" they say on their homepage. True, but what they don't say is that when every other cause has been ruled out, and all other factors have been taken into account, then you can start saying with greater confidence that the cause is becoming known.
When the suspected virus itself is tracked, examined and it's mechanisms have found to be seen working in causing the disease, then one must realize that the cause is probably found.
Wow. Get a load of this misogynist "tribute" to Margulis from the Discovery Institute.
Is it ok to say that I hate these fuckers?
Thanks for the mention and support ERV, the whole thing was even sillier than the articles convey as the correspondence I was sued over was submitted via a website comment form for the "whistleblower" conference and the space limitation of the form was the only reason I didn't include specific examples of the duplicity I was describing. I did also send a few emails, including one to the president of the Semmelweis Society, but they all included referenced examples with URLs etc and - surprise, surprise - none of those emails were even mentioned in the suit. The win is thanks to generous representation by lawyer Joe Evall of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, I hope it does prove useful to other people. Farber's lawyers are quoted as saying they're going to appeal so it may not be entirely over yet. One of those lawyers, Phil Byler, appears to be an ID proponent, e.g. see http://townhall.com/social/philbyler-3393/comments/ (starting down the page a bit).
Wonderful information Abbie; I am glad that there are well-informed people around who are willing to counter the nonsense that pervades the HIV-denial camp. These people cannot even get their stories straight: the bulk of them blatantly deny that HIV even exists, but yet professor Duesberg is the hero and backbone of that movement and he passionately argues that HIV has been isolated by the most vigorous methods possible. So they are forced to cherry pick a handful of dissidents to support their viewsâan awful, embarrassing situation for them indeed.
Also, I notice a key tactic they employ to enhance their argument typically involves scouring the scientific literature for any shred of references, no matter how small, to give them a glimpse of legitimacy; however, it requires cherry picking and out-of-context quotations. For instance, HIV-deniers are quite fond of this following quotation: âAt present, there is no recognized standard for establishing the presence or absence of antibodies to HIV-1 and HIV-2 in human blood.â www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/.../ucm095983.pdf
This is a scientific source, so could you perhaps weigh in your knowledgeable views on this quotation and put it back into context? Many thanksâ¦
As a mark of the bewildering status of the HIV theory, while HIV proteins could not be found in the placentas of 75 HIV positive pregnant women (1), they could be found in the placentas of 25 healthy, HIV negative women! (2)
1. Peuchmaur M, Delfraissy JF, Pons JC, et al. (1991). HIV proteins absent from placentas of 75 HIV-1-positive women studied by immunohistochemistry. AIDS 5:741-5.
2. Faulk WP, Labarrere CA. (1991). HIV proteins in normal human placentae. American Journal of Reproductive Immunology 25:99-104.