HIV Traced To Cameroon Chimpanzees

It seems like a safe rule to disregard any conspiracy theory that expects the government both to orchestrate prominent events/disasters flawlessly (cough) and to cover them up perfectly. When it comes to which insultingly-stupid theory irritates me the most I confess to going back and forth between the we-blew-up-the-WTC rumors and the idea that a government, apparently ours, somehow manufactured HIV. Thankfully we can finally put the latter, at least, to bed:

RESEARCHERS have traced the origin of HIV — the virus that causes Aids — to chimpanzees in southern Cameroon.

A virus identified in apes living in forests south of the Sanaga River is the closestfound to the human immunodeficiency virus.

The discovery bolsters the standard theory that the Aids epidemic began after an ape version of HIV crossed into people, most likely infecting a bushmeat hunter first.

Some conspiracy theorists have suggested that the virus was created in a bioweapons laboratory.

Another controversial hypothesis, advanced by the journalist Edward Hooper, holds that the epidemic began with a batch of contaminated polio vaccine in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. Neither scenario fits with the latest evidence.

Like many other human epidemics (for example, ebola) the virus persists in its original host without causing any apparent harm:

As well as solving the mystery of the origin of the virus, the findings prepare the way for future work exploring the history and behaviour of the simian form of HIV in its natural host.

SIVcpz does not cause an Aids-like illness among chimpanzees, despite its similarity to the human virus and the very close genetic relationship between chimps and humans. Finding out why this is so could ultimately help scientists to understand the workings of HIV. Professor Sharp said: “We are currently working to understand which genetic differences between SIVcpz and HIV-1 evolved as a response to the species jump.”

The simple reason for this is that the virus has burned its way through chimpanzee populations for thousands of years, a long enough time for the virions which do not kill their host, at least not quickly, to outcompete the most lethal strains. When a virus meets a new species for the first time it will burn through the immunologically-naive animals mercilessly, until a period of coevolution takes place in which resistance alleles spread in the host populations and the fiercest strains of virus lose out to strains which keep the host alive long enough to spread more widely.

Some human diseases have made that transition in the space of recorded history, for example over six hundred years syphillis declined from a horrific short-term death sentence to a treatable long-term nuisance. Populations suffering today can take minimal consolation in knowing that HIV will follow that trajectory as earlier epidemics before it, and further we simply cannot know the time course that the de-virulence process will take if we leave it to evolutionary chance. Now that science can study how exactly the current state of chimp-virus detente was reached at the very least we may have more opportunities to nudge chance along.






114 replies
  1. 1
    demimondian says:

    I don’t actually know of any clear citations to the syphilis story, unfortunately, and it’s always smelled of urban legend to me. Do you have a solid citation for it?

    My skepticism is based on the fact that, in general, syphillis is a fairly difficult disease to diagnose, unless it progresses to the very late stages. Untreated tertiary syphillis is catastrophic, but primary syphillis is next to undetectable in men, and functionally impossible to diagnose in women without a blood test.

  2. 2
    MAX HATS says:

    All right, smart guy, now prove the government didn’t create the chimpanzees.

    And the bushmeat hunter.

    Yeah, I thought so.

  3. 3
    demimondian says:

    Damn it, MAX, you blabbed! We did all that work in the secret lab below Area 51 where we faked the moon rocks.

    Now we’re going to have to kill you, you know.

  4. 4
    Sirkowski says:

    Isn’t that old news? Or have they found more evidence than they already had?

  5. 5
    Zifnab says:

    I always heard AIDS was a punishment by God against people who had gay anal sex, were overly promiscuous, developed black skin, or believed in evolution.

    How do you know God didn’t just put those monkeys with SIV cpz there to confuse us?

  6. 6
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    It’s already known that there are a small number of people who acquire HIV — and then develop absolutely no sign of AIDS symptoms (or only small symptoms) for decades. They’re the equivalent of those resistant chimps. We very badly need to know their secret, since waiting until the virus kills off all the rest of the human race seems a somewhat inadvisable solution.

  7. 7

    I find a lot of people dismiss “conspiracy theories” because they are somehow reassured that they are somewhere within proper boundaries of human thought. I may be suspicous about some things, they seem to think, but I won’t go there!

    I suggest people read Emerging Viruses: AIDS & Ebola, by Leonard Horowitz, 1996. It’s interesting how research on various rare diseases preceded outbreaks in humans. Research on immunodeficiency diseases before AIDS appeared. Research on hemorrhagic fever diseases in Marburg, Germany before Ebola began appearing. Research on that remote tribe of brain-eating cannibals in the highlands of New Guinea before Mad Cow Disease begins showing up in Britain.

    That there is a reservoir of a virus similar to AIDS in chimps doesn’t necessarily prove it was the source, or the natural source of AIDS in a natural transference to humans. Nor does it prove that the disease didn’t spread in central Africa by the innoculation program that was going on there. Nor does it explain the early spread of AIDS in America. The epidemiology of AIDS closely tracked the hepatitis B vaccination program in the gay communities of New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

    I worked in the VA Hospital in San Francisco in the late seventies, right before AIDS broke out. There was a “gay community leader” who encouraged gay men to get the Hepatitis B vaccine. His name was Raymond Broshears. Points to anyone who can connect him to another “conspiracy theory.”

  8. 8
    Jess says:

    The epidemiology of AIDS closely tracked the hepatitis B vaccination program in the gay communities of New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

    Couldn’t this could also be explained by the fact that if you’re at risk for one you’re probably at risk for the other? If you’re getting vaccinated for Hep B because of risky behavior, and then you get HIV, it’s just as likely that you got that from the behavior than from the vaccine.

    Although I have to say that the attitude of the religious right towards the vaccine for HPV (which would help prevent cervical cancer) suggests that there are many people out there that had the will to start an AIDS epidemic–not that it follows that they had the means and opportunity to do so.

  9. 9
    Pb says:

    Let’s check out the degrees of separation here…

    Nutty Conspiracy Theory: US Government:AIDS -> people

    Modified Conspiracy Theory: US Government:AIDS -> chimpanzees -> people

    Scientific Theory: Nature:AIDS -> chimpanzees -> people

    And now, the missing link…

    Unification: Nature:AIDS -> chimpanzees -> George W. Bush (US Government) -> people

  10. 10
    rachel says:

    Are you saying the chimpanzees spreading AIDS have something to do with George Bush. Just because he resembles a chimp doesn’t mean he’s working with them to spread some kind of ape agenda.

    Although, now that I think of it, Planet of the Apes could be a prophetic work…

  11. 11
    rs says:

    Zifnab,AIDS is indeed punishment by God for deviant thought and behaviour-the Falwells and Robertsons are correct on that count.What they didn’t figure on is that God is a southern Cameroon chimpanzee!This could also help to explain the fanatical Bush-love by the religious right-and,come to think of it, the taste for Bushmeat by the Gannons and McClellans.

  12. 12
    noahpoah says:

    Research on immunodeficiency diseases before AIDS appeared.

    AIDS is a subset of immunodeficiencey disease in general. Immune systems can fail in many ways for many reasons. One of those reasons seems to be HIV infection.

    Research on hemorrhagic fever diseases in Marburg, Germany before Ebola began appearing.

    CDC Q&A about marburg here. It’s short and concise, but here’s an even conciser version: Marburg is related to, but distinct from, Ebola. The first Marburg cases were linked to contact with African green monkeys.

    Research on that remote tribe of brain-eating cannibals in the highlands of New Guinea before Mad Cow Disease begins showing up in Britain.

    Again, related, but distinct, diseases. There was a kuru epidemic in New Guinea in the 50s and 60s related to the eating of human brains. Creutzfeldt-Jakob comes, at least some of the time, from mad cows. More here.

  13. 13
    Punchy says:

    which resistance alleles spread in the host populations and the fiercest strains of virus lose out to strains which keep the host alive long enough to spread more widely.

    Bingo. Viruses always develop to be less fatal (and/or their hosts become more resistant) b/c it does no good for the virus to kill the host before it can reinfect.

    In a very OT, I say…WTF??…Lemmie guess. Another “investigation”, and everyone’ll be cleared.

  14. 14
    Brian says:

    Bob in Pacifica,

    I recall vaguely that Broshears has, or had, a connection to the JFK assassination. I don’t recall if he knew the REAL story, or had a friend who did, but he was definitely connected to a conspiracy theory surrounding JFK’s death.

    And now, we go from one theory to another. Are those contrails in the sky, or are they chemtrails, designed to eliminate the population???!!!

  15. 15
    demimondian says:

    Viruses always develop to be less fatal (and/or their hosts become more resistant) b/c it does no good for the virus to kill the host before it can reinfect

    Unfortunately, given the time course of HIV disease in humans, there is essentially zero selective pressure on the virus to evolve to a “slower acting form”. Infected persons are contagious for years before they start displaying any symptoms whatsoever, and so the number of individuals infected/host is quite large.

    Sadly, HIV is very nearly the perfect virus already. The fact that it eventually kills its host is irrelevant to the virus.

  16. 16
    demimondian says:

    Zif, in my opinion, this is a more WTF moment. Forty dead in bombings in Baghdad alone, on a single day.

  17. 17
    Anderson says:

    See? If we’d exterminated the chimps 50 years ago, AIDS would never have happened!

    How many useless species must we tolerate as potential breeding grounds for the next pandemic?

    Anything we don’t eat, wear, or pet—kill it!

  18. 18
    demimondian says:

    If we’d exterminated the chimps 50 years ago, AIDS would never have happened!

    Avoid bird flu — eat more foie gras!

  19. 19
    Punchy says:

    Sadly, HIV is very nearly the perfect virus already. The fact that it eventually kills its host is irrelevant to the virus.

    Damn, you’re dead on. Mutates constantly (vaccine-resistant?), latent time is long enough to spread, symptoms not overly obvious to the infected (at least not for awhile), and it doesn’t directly kill the victim.

    That’s what most people forget–HIV does NOT kill anyone. It cannot (that’s a great misleading talking point of conspiracy theorists).

  20. 20
    Tim F. says:

    Anything we don’t eat, wear, or pet—-kill it!

    Unfortunately most of our epidemics come from the same animals that we can’t afford to lose. The dangerous form of bird flu probably won’t come from birds to humans directly, but will jump from birds to swine and mix around in there for a bit before jumping to people. Pigs are just close enough to people physiologically to prove the perfect stepping-stone for ambitious bugs.

  21. 21
    Punchy says:

    Pigs are just close enough to people physiologically to prove the perfect stepping-stone for ambitious bugs.

    Tim, has there ever been a case of a virus going from pig to human? Ebola and HIV was chimp to human, and I cannot think of another virus (albeit, I am not an immunologist) that went directly from pig (or bird) to human. While the physiology is similar, I wonder how comparative the immune systems specifically are. Rats, for one, have just an incredible immune system, and I would suspect that porcine immunity is also exceptional.

  22. 22
    Tim F. says:

    Tim, has there ever been a case of a virus going from pig to human?

    Flu strains often do it. Many other examples exist which I don’t have time to look up ATM but will later.

  23. 23
    demimondian says:

    The 1918 flu arose in swine, and jumped from pigs to hominids without any other primate intermediary.

    Bird flus infect many avians, and also jump directly.

  24. 24
    Anderson says:

    Pigs are just close enough to people physiologically to prove the perfect stepping-stone for ambitious bugs.

    Well, after Osama & Co. have converted us all to Islam at swordpoint AK-47-point, pork won’t be a problem. Kill all the pigs! God knows His own!

  25. 25
    Anderson says:

    Hm, the “Strike” button produces italics. Oh well. Tim F. was already taking my comment much more seriously than I was.

  26. 26
    tBone says:

    See? If we’d exterminated the chimps 50 years ago, AIDS would never have happened!

    I blame the libruls for being objectively pro-primate. We could have solved this problem years ago if they hadn’t been undermining the War on Chimps.

  27. 27
    Ancient Purple says:

    When, O when will you all realize that AIDS is God’s punishment on those horrible gay people. Every last one of them.

    (Kindly ignore the fact that the group with the lowest incidence of HIV transmission is lesbians, well behind transmission rates of straight people. Just ignore that fact so my rant can have meaning. Thanks so much. kiss, kiss.)

  28. 28
    demimondian says:

    O, thou of the delicately scent and many years, whose color is of sage or lavender…the bible says it shall be anathema for a man to lie with a man as he would a woman. It says NOTHING about women.

    Do you think that wasn’t part of Gawd’s great plan?

  29. 29
    Make7 says:

    Obviously it is only male homosexuality that is evil. I’m sure God, like most normal people, thinks that lesbian sex is hot. But two men? That’s an abomination.

  30. 30
    D. Mason says:

    But two men? That’s an abomination.

    I always thought having to look at another mans hairy ass was punishment enough…

  31. 31

    Brian, collect your star. Broshears was David Ferrie’s roommate (boyfriend) at one point. Ferrie was one of the people investigated by Garrison and pointed to by the HSCA in the late seventies as someone who probably was involved in a conspiracy to kill JFK. There was a book awhile back about the connection between SV40 traces in polio vaccines in the fifties, the surge in certain soft tissue cancers and cancer research done in New Orleans. Ferrie, believe it or not, had cages and cages of mice and claimed to friends he was working on a cure for cancer.

    +++

    Just a reminder. Before the hepatitis B vaccination program in the gay community there was no AIDS epidemic. No AIDS was known in the gay community. The program looked for the most sexually active gays to vaccinate. Those communities where the vaccinations were done were the same communities where AIDS first began appearing (I believe six months to a year later). It was also curious that initially AIDS sufferers also had Kaposi’s Syndrome, a separate disease. It may have been an impurity in the initial hepatitis B/AIDS cocktail.

    +++

    The same epidemiology, AIDS outbreaks this time following the WHO’s smallpox innoculation program, occurred in Central Africa.

    People should recall that ten years ago scientists were sure that the source of AIDS were green monkeys. Today they’re saying chimps. In either case the problem is that the Africans most likely in contact with wild primates would have been rural and jungle dwellers but AIDS initially spread in urban areas, precisely where the vaccination programs were. There was no outbreak of AIDS among pygmies, for example.

    +++

    In 1969, in the Congressional Record a Dr. MacArthur of the U.S. Army was asking Congress for money to research a biological weapon that would have been much like what AIDS turned out to be. I think the term used was “refractory to the immune system.”

    So the army was asking money to make it, ten years later it appears. Not that hard drawing a line between the two.

  32. 32
    CaseyL says:

    Speaking of lesbianism…

    Over at one of the Science blogs, I asked if anyone knew in which mammalian species, besides humans and horses, females had clitorises (clitorii?). The answer is: quite a few, amazingly enough.

    It amazed me, anyway, since advanced sexual technique isn’t something I ascribe to many non-human species – most don’t seem to go in much for foreplay, though among some (primates, particularly) what we consider “sexual foreplay” they consider “grooming behavior, and just plain fun for its own sake.” So there might be quite a bit of orgasmic diddling among other species. There might, in fact, be quite a lot of what humans consider “lesbianism” among other species – if for no other reason than that most mammals live in groups where females vastly outnumber the males.

    Which made me think some more.

    SFAIK, no other mammalian species has anywhere near as many males as it has females. Certainly no socially-organized species; it’s always a bunch of females, with one adult male providing fertilization service and a few subservient or non-adult males, either waiting for their chance to get a little action or waiting to get kicked out of the herd/pride/troup. Even the solitary species, like tigers and bears, tend to have one male per territory serving 4 or 5 females.

    Really, when you get right down to essentials, what do males offer besides sperm? Protection? – yeah, against other males.

    No wonder men invented war. It’s the only objective reason for needing more men than women – and even that depends on keeping women from being able to defend themselves, or from believing they can.

    H’mm. I always thought women invented romance. Maybe that was a male invention, too; another reason to keep men around in large numbers :)

  33. 33

    People always like to paint with wide strokes. THE GOVERNMENT, THE CONSPIRACY THEORISTS.

    People like to attack the concept of a criminal conspiracy by unnecessarily expanding the conspiracy to include as many people as possible to make it look impossible to maintain some kind of secrecy. To say that a unit in the army was researching immune diseases in the hopes of developing a weapon that destroys the immune system doesn’t mean that the whole government was in on it. The mailmen aren’t in on atomic weapons secrets either, you know.

    Many of the posters here believe that Bush lied to get us into Iraq. If one believes much of what’s said in the blogosphere, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and any number of administration officials were involved in a criminal conspiracy, one that’s cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives.

    Some people believe in that particular conspiracy theory (Bush’s illegal war) based on the facts at hand.

    People who don’t believe AIDS could be man-made seldom know much about the theories they attack.

  34. 34
    Maj, Ischemic Event says:

    People who don’t believe AIDS could be man-made seldom know much about the theories they attack.

    You’re not even a moonbat, but a fool. The ones who know things about the technology aren’t the “ooh, looky” bs artists like you, and those men and women have been saying that this “theory” in nonsense for twenty years.

    Hey, I got an idea! Go work with the Discovery Institute, on getting the word out — you should be teaching the controversy, too.

  35. 35
    Punchy says:

    Over at one of the Science blogs, I asked if anyone knew in which mammalian species, besides humans and horses, females had clitorises (clitorii?). The answer is: quite a few, amazingly enough.

    The stuff I learn from this webblog…

  36. 36
    Krista says:

    CaseyL – go read “The Gate to Woman’s Country” by Sheri Teppler (sp?) It expands on your theory, and is really quite an interesting read.

    demi –

    O, thou of the delicately scent and many years, whose color is of sage or lavender…

    If you were referring to Ancient Purple, you should probably know that sage is green. Ancient Green just doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?

  37. 37
    Ancient Purple says:

    If you were referring to Ancient Purple, you should probably know that sage is green. Ancient Green just doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?

    No it doesn’t. Although, I thought my first name would have been stellar, but I was told that it was too wordy:

    Ancient Mauve with Charcoal Highlights.

  38. 38
    demimondian says:

    Actually, sage flowers are purple. You’re thinking of the foliage, which is green and moderately neurotoxic.

  39. 39
    demimondian says:

    [sigh] Just one link, and my post goes into moderation.

    Anyway, what I said was

    Actually, sage flowers are purple. You’re thinking of the foliage, which is green and moderately neurotoxic.

    I linked to a spectacular stock photo of salvia in bloom.

  40. 40
    Ancient Purple says:

    I’m sure God, like most normal people, thinks that lesbian sex is hot.

    Of course. That is why every single adult film directed at straight males has a lesbian scene in it. That is one of the selling points and the movie would not be profitable without it.

    Oddly, the same rural men that can’t wait to see Debbie and Rhonda go at it are the same ones that talk about how horrible homosexuality is… except for their lesbian scene in the DVD they rented.

  41. 41
    Krista says:

    Actually, sage flowers are purple. You’re thinking of the foliage, which is green and moderately neurotoxic.

    I stand corrected. Will check out the link when John lets it out of purgatory.

    No idea about the “gay sex = icky but lesbian sex = hot” phenomenon. I’ve turned it over in my head, and part of me thinks it comes down to gender roles. It’s acceptable for women and girls to have many “masculine” characteristics, whereas it’s only become acceptable in recent years for a male to have “feminine” characteristics. (The quotations are to be inferred as a way of indicating that these characteristics are stereotypical, and not my own personal beliefs.) Thus, it makes men extremely uncomfortable to see another man in what they see as an incontestable “feminine” role — i.e. being penetrated. Gender roles for females have always been a bit more fluid, whereas the male role has only occasionally allowed for deviations towards the “feminine”.

    I could be completely and utterly wrong, of course. It’s probably just something as simple as that men like to look at boobies, and with lesbian sex, there’s that many more boobies to look at, whereas with gay sex, there are none.

  42. 42
    Andrew says:

    Oddly, the same rural men that can’t wait to see Debbie and Rhonda go at it are the same ones that talk about how horrible homosexuality is… except for their lesbian scene in the DVD they rented.

    Well, as long as Deb and Rhonda don’t go and get married, the can have S-E-X in front of the webcam all day long. See, that’s hot. Hospital visitation rights, not so much.

  43. 43
    D. Mason says:

    I could be completely and utterly wrong, of course. It’s probably just something as simple as that men like to look at boobies, and with lesbian sex, there’s that many more boobies to look at, whereas with gay sex, there are none.

    You have come very close to solving the riddle.

  44. 44
    Krista says:

    You have come very close to solving the riddle

    Yeah…I kind of figured.

  45. 45
    demimondian says:

    Yeah…I kind of figured.

    You must have met a man or two along the way.

  46. 46
    Punchy says:

    It’s probably just something as simple as that men like to look at boobies, and with lesbian sex, there’s that many more boobies to look at, whereas with gay sex, there are none

    That about sums it up. I’ve always mused that this world would be without war, without violence, and with a TON of stupified and incredibly happy men if all women were bisexual….

  47. 47

    This whole discussion assumes we all believe in Evolution, and dismisses the volumes of evidence supporting Intelligent Design.

    I think Zifnab might be onto something…

    How do you know God didn’t just put those monkeys with SIV cpz there to confuse us?

    Obviously the Intelligent Designer doesn’t want us to prove that there is an intelligent designer, so the Chimpanzee thing is clearly a diversionary tactic.

    Then again, it could be that the Intelligent Designer is in fact the Government. Not of the United States… But the Government of the Universe. Whoa, what a mind fuck.

  48. 48
    Krista says:

    I’ve learned over the years that it’s really the simple things in life that make most straight men happy. Boobies, booze, meat, a soft place to sit, and something good on TV (preferably with all-female prison shower scenes.)

    I’ve always mused that this world would be without war, without violence, and with a TON of stupified and incredibly happy men if all women were bisexual….

    You’re assuming that the women would let the men watch.

  49. 49

    All this talk of men and women reminds me…

    Last Guy on Earth from Old Spice.

  50. 50
    CaseyL says:

    Then again, it could be that the Intelligent Designer is in fact the Government. Not of the United States… But the Government of the Universe. Whoa, what a mind fuck.

    …and if an uber-Bush is in charge of that, it explains so much!

  51. 51
    demimondian says:

    if an uber-Bush is in charge of that, it explains so much!

    Given how hard the Governor of the Universe makes it to niggle out his secrets, I can easily imagine he’s a Bush.

  52. 52
    Ancient Purple says:

    Since Krista mentioned the all-female prison shower scene, I am going to mention the all-male prison shower scene.

    Just trying to help out here.

  53. 53
    Perry Como says:

    Since Krista mentioned the all-female prison shower scene, I am going to mention the all-male prison shower scene.

    What does a White House press briefing have to do with this?

  54. 54
    fwiffo says:

    SFAIK, no other mammalian species has anywhere near as many males as it has females.

    Must not have looked very far. Just thinking about a few mammals that associate with humans, dogs, cats and rats all have roughly 1:1 sex-ratios.

  55. 55
    Punchy says:

    I think we should find out which monkeys have HIV/SIV, and then enlist the help of Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Division. They seem pretty good at killing small things that screech and run from Americans.

  56. 56
    farmgirl says:

    You people think our government created AIDS? Sheesh. I have it on good authority (ya know, the guy who always hangs out at the corner grocery despite being a 37th-level Mason) that it was the Illuminati. Their grand plan is to depopulate Africa so they can take over its natural resources.

    And if you believe that…

  57. 57

    farmgirl,

    What do you know about AIDS?

    If the army was looking in the late 1960s for a weapon that would attack the human immune system as a means of protecting its soldiers against such a weapon (defensive purposes to create offensive weapons is always the excuse) what happened? Why, when AIDS appeared ten years later (Dr. MacArthur predicted to Congress that the army could have such a weapon in five to ten years during budget hearings in 1969), didn’t the army’s program kick into action to solve that problem?

    People who dismiss things without knowing about them aren’t as clever as they think their jokes are.

  58. 58

    Maj, Ischemic Event calls me a “fool.”

    In what way? That “experts” have said that my theories are bunk? Which experts would that be? What theories would that be? I have no specific theory of AIDS to which I’m wedded. I find the spread of the disease to be suspicious and I have found no official explanation that rationally explains why AIDS would explode in certain communities and not others.

    As for experts, in the early nineties it was the green monkeys that were the source of AIDS. Now it’s chimps in Cameroon. As I’ve written, that there’s a reservoir of an “AIDS-like” virus in Chimpanzees does not explain how hundreds of gays in the Castro District of San Francisco were suddenly infected in the late 1970s. It would be nice to find out who among the hepatitis B volunteers in the gay community got AIDS soon thereafter, but the list of participants is one of those secrets the government won’t give up.

    Maj., I believe in the scientific method, I believe in evolution. Heck, I don’t believe in God. I’m ready to risk eternal damnation because no one’s made a realistic scientific argument for Her. I’m not a scientist but I subscribe to three lay scientific journals and am always reading about scientific research. I wouldn’t pretend to be an expert on AIDS. I’m saying that I have found the official explanations for AIDS to be unconvincing. I find the most logical explanation for the epidemiology of AIDS is that it was connected to certain vaccination programs directed at certain populations which very soon thereafter suffered explosions of AIDS.

    In the Middle Ages armies would lob bodies infected with plague into the cities that they were sieging. Most Native Americans died from exposure to diseases that no longer were so deadly in a more immune European population. That was the natural result of a population being exposed to disease for which they had no resistance. But that didn’t preclude the U.S. Cavalry from trading Indians blankets that were infected with smallpox. Bio warfare, no? By the American military forces, too, we’re not talking about precedent-setting here.

    Did the Japanese do research on bio warfare in WWII? You bet, and when American forces got to those research centers, they didn’t burn the boxes of research papers. They took them. And just like Werner von Braun went from war criminal to American rocket scientist clean enough to be on Walt Disney’s TV show not much longer than a decade after Peenemunde shut down, so too did German bio warfare scientists make the trip over the Big Pond.

    I’ve also mentioned the paradigm of SV40’s transference into the human population via polio vaccines in the late fifties. In essence, a large swath of population has been infected with a virus relatively harmless in chimpanzees but potentially the source of soft tissue cancer in humans because the polio vaccine manufacturing process used laboratory chimpanzees to grow the vaccine.

    Maj likes to throw around words like “fool” because I don’t trust unnamed “experts.” I say we are in the mess we are in over in Iraq because too many Americans trusted experts who lied to us.

  59. 59

    If you’re not familiar with SV40, check out this article:

    http://www.whale.to/m/sv403.html

    Or google “SV40” “soft tissue cancer” and “Carbone”. Dr. Carbone is one of the researchers in this area.

  60. 60

    One correction: The source of SV40 was the rhesus monkey, not chimpanzees.

  61. 61
    Larv says:

    Bob,

    The reason that Green Monkeys were originally thought to be the source of HIV is that they were the first primates found to carry SIV (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus). Since that time, increased research and improved techniques have revealed that many, if not most, African primates carry a form of the virus. SIVcpz, and specifically the Cameroonian strain Tim refers to, are now thought to be more closely related to HIV than the others based on genetic similarities. SIVagm (African Green Monkey) is, however, still thought to be the source of HIV-2, a less deadly form of the virus than the more common HIV-1. The fact that there were apparently at least two distinct episodes of SIV crossing the species barrier to become HIV is further evidence against any theory that HIV was intentionally created.

    The same epidemiology, AIDS outbreaks this time following the WHO’s smallpox innoculation program, occurred in Central Africa.

    I’m not sure just what you’re referring to here. Do you perhaps mean the polio immunization program, rather than smallpox? There has long been a theory that AIDS was accidentally introduced to humans by using infected chimpanzee cells to produce polio vaccine in Africa (the OPV theory). There is very little support for this theory today. The vaccine protocol in use called for (I think) rhesus macaques as the source of the cells used to produce vaccine, not chimpanzees. While it’s not impossible that deviations from the protocol occured, remaining preserved samples of the vaccine contain no trace of SIV or HIV (or, for that matter, any evidence that chimp cells were used for vaccine production). Also, the chimps purportedly used to produce the contaminated vaccine were from the Congo, but current research indicates that HIV is less similar to Congolese strains of SIV than it is to others, such as the Cameroonian strain. If you do mean to refer to the smallpox immunization program, I’m unaware of any meaningful link. Particularly in the third world, it was common to reuse needles in immunization programs before the dangers were fully appreciated, and HIV as well as other diseases were doubtless spread in this way. But you seem to be implying some element of intentionality. If you have links to support this, I’d be interested to see them. Ditto for the hepatitis vaccine-AIDS link, which seems better explained by factors such as those Jess mentions in an earlier comment.

    BTW, you refer to SIV as an “AIDS-like” virus, but that’s not quite correct. SIV isn’t really “AIDS-like”, it’s HIV-like. It doesn’t usually produce in its host the complex of symptoms that constitutes AIDS. It is, however, very similar to HIV on a genetic and proteomic level. The similarities are such that it is simply indisputable that HIV is derived from SIV. I suppose you could argue that HIV was developed in a bioweapons lab somewhere by modifying SIV, but that doesn’t make much sense. As noted above, SIV is not generally fatal to its primate host, and would thus seem to be a poor candidate for weaponization. Also, given that the reasons for the greatly increased deadliness of HIV versus SIV are still not well understood after a couple decades of intensive research, the idea that this effect could have been intentionally produced several decades ago (the earliest known sample of HIV dates from the late ’50s) is simply risible. The immunological research and genetic engineering technology which would have been required for such a feat just did not exist.

  62. 62

    Larv,

    I’m referring to the WHO smallpox program in Africa, beginning in 1977. The hepatitis B vaccination program in the U.S. targeting male homosexuals in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco occurred in 1978. As far as I know, the CDC has refused to release the names of those gay men who participated.

    It’s been pretty well established that SV40 (Simian Virus 40, that is, the fortieth simian virus identified) was introduced into the human population through initial batches of the polio vaccine in the fifties. I’ve given an article you can start with if you are not familiar.

    I do not have a theory about whether AIDS is naturally-occurring or was created in a laboratory. In either case, the epidemiology of the diseases is suspicious.

    Regarding what retroviruses may have been used if AIDS had been man-made, I don’t have enough knowledge to possibly hazard a guess. But if you were curious, you might start with Dr. MacArthur’s comments to Representative Sikes at hearings for the DOD Appropriations for 1970, held on July 1, 1969, where MacArthur said: “Within the next 5 to 10 years, it would probably be possible to make a new infective microorganism which could differ in certain important aspects from any known disease-causing organisms. Most important of these is that it might be refractory to the immunological and therapeutic processes upon which we depend to maintain our relative freedom from infectious disease.”

    By the way, the DOD got their money. Where was the DOD and their research when AIDS started spreading across the world right on MacArthur’s schedule?

    It’s curious that soon after that the Army’s biowarfare center at Fort Detrick was converted to the National Cancer Institute partly funded by DOD money. And Robert Gallo, who in 1982 claimed to “discover” HIV, was working there. And what was he working on? Well, in 1970 he delivered a paper at “the NATO International Symposium on Uptake of Informative Molecules by Living Cells.” And, of course, that is exactly what HIV does.

    In fact, that was what Gallo did. He worked with simian viruses and other animal retroviruses that caused sarcomas, progressive wasting and death. He worked with the “70S RNA retrovirus” found in chickens, and tested to see how it affected human white blood cells. He worked worked with the 70S RNA reverse transcriptase enzyme, pretty much identical to what’s in HIV, using it to to carry cat leukemia and monkey viruses into human white blood cells.

    If you don’t care to go down that road, don’t. I say I don’t believe the government’s version of events here.

  63. 63
    Larv says:

    Bob,

    I’ll try to take this point by point.

    I’m referring to the WHO smallpox program in Africa, beginning in 1977. The hepatitis B vaccination program in the U.S. targeting male homosexuals in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco occurred in 1978. As far as I know, the CDC has refused to release the names of those gay men who participated.

    If you have a theory about a link between the WHO smallpox program or the Hep-B vaccination program and the spread of AIDS, by all means elucidate it. HIV has been around quite a bit longer than the late 70s, so I can’t see how either of these could be involved in it’s origin. If you’re implying that these vaccines were intentionally contaminated with HIV, I’d want to see some supporting evidence for such a claim. In the absence of such, Occam’s razor would seem to favor explanations such as I mentioned in my last comment. As for the CDC’s refusal to identify the participants in a study, it would be highly unethical to release such information without the consent of those participants.

    It’s been pretty well established that SV40 (Simian Virus 40, that is, the fortieth simian virus identified) was introduced into the human population through initial batches of the polio vaccine in the fifties. I’ve given an article you can start with if you are not familiar.

    I don’t dispute this, but I have no idea what the relevance of SV40 to HIV could be. Unlike HIV, the link between polio vaccine and SV40 has been well demonstrated. Analysis of stored vaccine samples have detected SV40, but similar analyses have not found HIV or SIV. Could you explain just what you think the relevance is?

    I do not have a theory about whether AIDS is naturally-occurring or was created in a laboratory. In either case, the epidemiology of the diseases is suspicious.

    Why? What about it is suspicious? (Also, again, AIDS is not an entity, but is rather the complex of symptoms caused by acute HIV infection. And HIV is so similar to SIV that it is statistically impossible that it was independently created, and the technology required for the intentional modification of SIV to HIV didn’t exist at the time of HIV’s origin).

    Regarding what retroviruses may have been used if AIDS had been man-made, I don’t have enough knowledge to possibly hazard a guess.

    As I said above, the derivation of HIV from SIV is really not in question. If HIV was “created”, it would have had to have been through modification of SIV. As SIV was unknown to the scientific community until 1985, this seems unlikely. As to the quote by MacArthur, it’s so generic as to be meaningless. He’s simply stating a worst-case scenario in order to justify increased funding for his research programs, and the “5 to 10 years” bit is laughable in retrospect. Remember, MacArthur wasn’t a laboratory scientist and probably not even a biologist. He was the head of DARPA. It’s somewhat like the current administration claiming that Iraq (or Iran) could be months away from developing a nuclear weapon. Scary, hard to disprove, and maybe at the outer limits of possibility, but hardly probable. And if someone had decided to generate such an agent, it’s extraordinarily unlikely that they would have chosen a retrovirus. Retroviral research was in it’s infancy at the time, and the first human retrovirus wasn’t even identified until 1974, around the time AIDS started to appear. I suppose you could postulate some super-secret and highly advanced government bioweapons program that was miles ahead of the general scientific community, but it’s very unlikely. The amount of basic research necessary before you could even think about creating anything useful is staggering. Also from Dr. MacArthur’s testimony: “It would be very difficult to establish such a program. Molecular biology is a relatively new science. There are not many highly competent scientisis in the field, almost all are in university laboratories, and they are generally adequately supported from sources other than DOD.” Biological agents used in weapons programs are virtually always well-known, well-studied agents which just need some tweaking to make them useful as weapons. Anthrax, smallpox, bubonic plague, etc… It’s not cost-effective to try and develop one from scratch, or in this case from an unknown and unstudied, largely asymptomatic and certainly non-deadly primate virus of a type new to science.

    By the way, the DOD got their money. Where was the DOD and their research when AIDS started spreading across the world right on MacArthur’s schedule?

    MacArthur’s testimony was meant to describe what our enemies might be able to develop and use against us, and to get funding for research into countermeasures. I’m just guessing, but the money probably went to USAMRIID, the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases, also at Ft. Detrick, and similar institutions. You’re welcome to argue that it was actually used for weapon development rather than countermeasures, but again, I’d like to see some support for this.

    It’s curious that soon after that the Army’s biowarfare center at Fort Detrick was converted to the National Cancer Institute partly funded by DOD money.

    Actually, I work at Ft. Detrick, in the AIDS Vaccine Program at NCI (I don’t mention this by way of claiming any special expertise on the subject. I’m not a PhD or an expert on the origin of AIDS, but I work with a lot of people who are and I have some knowledge of the history involved). I don’t see at all why you find it curious that DOD money was used to convert it to the NCI after the biowarfare program was shut down when we ratified the Geneva Protocols during the Nixon administration. It was (and is) a DOD installation, after all, and a lot of work was necessary before it could be repurposed. In fact, the anthrax production building was just finally demolished a year or two ago after sitting empty for decades because of the difficulty and expense of the decontamination.

    And Robert Gallo, who in 1982 claimed to “discover” HIV, was working there.

    Gallo was before my time here, but I’m not sure what you’re trying to imply. Gallo never worked here while it was part of the bioweapons program, and his work with retroviruses is hardly a cause for suspicion. The NCI was at the forefront of retrovirus research, as most of the retroviruses known at the time were implicated as causes of cancer, including Human T cell leukemia/lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1), Gallo’s initial area of research. When AIDS came along, it’s unsurprising that he, or the NCI, should have been involved in identifying HIV, as they were the ones with expertise in working with retroviruses. BTW, the reverse transcriptase enzyme is fairly similar in all of the retroviridae. It’s an essential enzyme and tends to be evolutionarily highly conserved (because it’s so essential to the virus, mutations to RT tend to be deleterious, and so seldom become fixed in the viral population). The similarities of HIV RT to that of other retroviruses is, then, also unsurprising. I’m still unclear as to what you find suspicious about all this.

    Apologies for the long post, but like Tim, this is a pet peeve of mine.

  64. 64

    Larv,

    Really simple. The smallpox vaccine program in Africa in 1977 was followed by the AIDS explosion in the very region where the program operated. The same with the explosion of AIDS in the three gay communities where the Hep B vaccination program occurred.

    +++

    The SV40 contamination reference was a clarification from a couple of posts back. You can go back and refresh yourself on that. Simply, the SV40 infiltration into the human population (and the government’s denial of it) is a paradigm for the vector that probably was used to insinuate HIV into the African and gay American populations.

    +++

    Regarding Gallo, much of his work in the 1960s was funded by various offshoots of Litton Industries, one of the big contractors doing biowarfare research for the DOD. He was doing research about using animal retroviruses to create immunosuppressive viruses in human white blood cells. If you are incurious about why NATO was running a symposium on “informative uptake of molecules by living cells” in 1970 then I probably can’t convince you to go any further. That’s a military alliance looking at the science of HIV a decade before HIV was “discovered.”

    You also seem incurious about the DOD wanting funds to create a biological agent refractory to the human immune system.

    Your brief history of Gallo, he worked on leukemia and then AIDS came along, leaves out the decade and a half of research he did on CREATING HIV-like viruses prior to going to work on the AIDS problem. The research of Gallo and his associates was on work that could have only concluded with the creation of HIV. Except that the official story is that it was “discovered.”

    As far as Fort Detrick switching from biological warfare research to the war on cancer under Richard Nixon, from what I gather the staff investigating viruses and immunosuppressive diseases remained intact and the name was changed to the National Cancer Institute at the entrance gate.

    A pet peeve of mine is the government secrecy around bad things done by it. So here’s an easy way to sink this wacky conspiracy theory about the government deliberately giving HIV to gays: Simply get the government to give up the names of the gay men who were innoculated with the Hep B vaccine in 1978. We can see how many contracted AIDS and how long it took for them to get it.

  65. 65

    By the way, the oldest way to endorse doing something is to claim that the enemy is going to do it. Of course, MacArthur claimed that the U.S. was behind the Soviet biowarfare research (it wasn’t), just like the missile gap and a whole lot of other stories fed to us.

    As Peter Gabriel sang, “Fear, she’s the mother of violence.”

  66. 66
    gswift says:

    It’s already known that there are a small number of people who acquire HIV —and then develop absolutely no sign of AIDS symptoms (or only small symptoms) for decades. They’re the equivalent of those resistant chimps. We very badly need to know their secret,

    No secret at all. They’re double recessive for CCR5, a gene that codes for one of the receptors used by HIV to infect cells. It’s most common in European populations, with increased frequency as you go north and west, ie, higher frequencies in Finland than in the Mediterranean.

  67. 67
    gswift says:

    vector that probably was used to insinuate HIV into the African and gay American populations.

    For christ’s sakes Bob, the virus is not terribly robust. Certain types of sex are more conducive to infection. The virus originated in Africa, a country without widespread condom use, and a lot of uncircumsized males, who are more prone to infection than circumsized males. Male homosexual sex is also much more efficient in terms of transmission.

  68. 68
    farmgirl says:

    Bob — I don’t claim to know anything about AIDS. But my post, despite the tone, was serious. There is a guy in the next town, who hangs out at the grocery store, claims to be a 37th-level Mason, and spouts all sorts of random crap, including AIDS as an Illuminati conspiracy to take over the African continent.

    Back in early 2004, he was ready to bet me a t-shirt that 2 MILLION American soldiers would die in a June invasion of North Korea. Disgusting behavior for someone who claims to be a former marine, wouldn’t you say?

    My (completely obscured) point was, there are a lot of theories out there. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Larv seems to have taken you up on that discussion.

  69. 69
    Krista says:

    gswift – Is there not also a preference in many African countries for “dry sex”, where the woman would use various astringents to…well…dry things out? (Not the females’ first choice, I’m certain.) I think that would also greatly increase the odds of contracting HIV, as this type of sex would be very likely to result in lacerations in the vagina.

  70. 70

    gswift,

    If HIV can be passed from drug user to drug used by needle, of course it can be passed by innoculation.

    To presume that there were several massive shifts in African SVs which produced various AIDS-like diseases in humans when they had been relatively stable and had not crossed over to humans for millions of years is a bit much to swallow for me. To ignore the massive military research into immunosuppressive viruses and the work at constructing them using animal viruses, work paid for by military contract and done by the men who ultimately “discover” HIV, is more than coincidental.

    Wouldn’t you at least agree that if the government surrendered the names of the approximately one thousand gay men who participated in the Hep B vaccine program in 1978 there could be a statistical case run to see how many of these men got AIDS, how soon they got it and how that reflected with the average gay man in the those communities? Wouldn’t that go towards destroying any conspiracy theory?

  71. 71
    Punchy says:

    this type of sex would be very likely to result in lacerations in the vagina.

    There goes my breakfast.

  72. 72
    Krista says:

    Sorry Punchy. It’s true, though. A lot of women have followed this practice, despite the pain, out of fear of their husbands leaving them. The men prefer it that way, out of a belief that vaginal lubrication is unclean and a turnoff. That’s why it’s such an uphill battle in Africa when it comes to reproductive health — there are so many cultural mores and long-held beliefs to try to overcome.

  73. 73

    farmgirl,

    I lived in San Francisco until the early 80s, worked at the Veterans Hospital and a lot of the men who worked there with me were gay. It was an entired generation that was wiped out. A lot of people I knew died in a few short years. I followed the news closely. I got married in 1981, and when my father went back east he was diagnosed with leukemia. When he was dying he too followed the story of AIDS (they called it GRID initially, it was called many things before they settled on AIDS). He commented that many of the same symptoms of leukemia were present in AIDS.

    So I was there when AIDS hit San Francisco. My wife worked in hospital labs. It’s no hallucination what happened. It’s no ha-hah for me. Larv has engaged me in the subject. I’m not a scientist at all, but I do know a few basics, and the most likely spread of AIDS in the gay communities in America was through the Hep B vaccination program.

    I presume you’re willing to admit to the spread of SV40 (and the subsequent soft-tissue cancer increase) in the human population. Of course, that was an accident, then it was a bureaucratic decision not to reveal it to the public so as to avoid a panic about polio vaccinations.

    To believe that HIV was created and then intentionally given to Africans and gay American males would suggest that there were people in the U.S. military hierarchy racist enough to kill Africans and hateful enough to try to wipe out gays.

    I think that’s why most people won’t allow themselves to think of AIDS being man-made.

  74. 74
    gswift says:

    To presume that there were several massive shifts in African SVs which produced various AIDS-like diseases in humans when they had been relatively stable and had not crossed over to humans for millions of years is a bit much to swallow for me.

    Seeing as you say you believe in evolution, I suggest some reading on “punctuated equilibria”. This type of pattern you find hard to swallow is the evolutionary norm. And these viruses aren’t necessarily millions of years old.

    And the shifts aren’t really “massive” Hybrids of SIV and HIV have been created to aid in study. Hell, SIV hadn’t even made the jump to all simians. Macaques are commonly used as a model organism because they’re not resistant to SIV. AIDS can be reproduced in macaques with both SIV, and the SIV/HIV hybrids.

  75. 75
    gswift says:

    That’s why it’s such an uphill battle in Africa when it comes to reproductive health—there are so many cultural mores and long-held beliefs to try to overcome.

    That’s exactly right. There’s rather clear reasons why Africa suffers from high infection rates. But the conspiracy people like to portray all this as a mystery that only makes sense in light of a govt. plot.

  76. 76
    Krista says:

    gswift – is it truly mutually exclusive, however? I haven’t read enough about potential government involvement in order to comment intelligently on it, but I think that there really are multiple factors involved. One being, as I mentioned, cultural mores and myths that make AIDS prevention education a real uphill battle. There is also the funding aspect — do I not recall reading that your government cut funding to any programs in Africa that did not teach based on an abstinence-only model? That’s a factor. The question, of course, is where did it begin? How it spread, and how it’s continuing to spread, is fairly well-known. But when HIV first appeared – who was the first documented case? Was there more than one, who were they, why then, and why those people?

  77. 77
    gswift says:

    and the most likely spread of AIDS in the gay communities in America was through the Hep B vaccination program.

    How about, it’s more likely that HIV spread in Africa due to it originating there along with cultural practices that aid in transmission. And maybe, just maybe, HIV happened to also first show up in significant numbers in male homosexuals because they also engage in sexual practices conducive to transmission.

  78. 78
    gswift says:

    There is also the funding aspect—do I not recall reading that your government cut funding to any programs in Africa that did not teach based on an abstinence-only model?

    Yeah, there’s a couple factors at play here. A. We currently have a bunch of right wingers who like to pander to the Christian fanatics in office. B. Western countries in general have a history of not giving a shit about what’s going on in Africa.

  79. 79
    Larv says:

    Bob,

    Really simple. The smallpox vaccine program in Africa in 1977 was followed by the AIDS explosion in the very region where the program operated. The same with the explosion of AIDS in the three gay communities where the Hep B vaccination program occurred.

    Yes, you’ve said that already. I replied that I thought any increase in HIV infection was adequately explained by factors other than a gigantic conspiracy to infect africans and homosexuals with HIV. Seriously, you believe this? The government spends all this money to develop a state of the art, top-secret biological agent, and decides to use it against American citizens? Exactly who do you think is making these decisions? So far, you’ve given me no reason why you think this to be so, other than a sincere desire to believe in a bizarre conspiracy of virologists and governmental homophobes and racists. Who are the members of this conspiracy?

    The SV40 contamination reference was a clarification from a couple of posts back. You can go back and refresh yourself on that. Simply, the SV40 infiltration into the human population (and the government’s denial of it) is a paradigm for the vector that probably was used to insinuate HIV into the African and gay American populations.

    You do realize that SV40 is an entirely different sort of virus (a polyomavirus), with a different genetic material (DNA rather than RNA) from HIV. As a test of a vector for HIV infection it would be largely useless. Now, what’s your evidence that SV40 was intentionally introduced into the polio vaccine, rather than accidentally?

    Regarding Gallo, much of his work in the 1960s was funded by various offshoots of Litton Industries, one of the big contractors doing biowarfare research for the DOD. He was doing research about using animal retroviruses to create immunosuppressive viruses in human white blood cells.

    Litton was a defense contractor, sure. They probably did some bioweapons work when we were doing such things, but they also do a lot of other things. I work for a giant defense contractor too, but that’s because NCI contracts out the staffing of the labs to defense contractors so that we’re not all on the government payroll. But our work is for NCI, not the contractor. If another contractor outbids them for the contract here, we’ll all become employees of a different giant defense contractor. It’s a strange and somewhat byzantine system, but it’s nothing nefarious. And I’m still puzzled as to why you think a virologist working on viruses is suspicious.

    If you are incurious about why NATO was running a symposium on “informative uptake of molecules by living cells” in 1970 then I probably can’t convince you to go any further. That’s a military alliance looking at the science of HIV a decade before HIV was “discovered.”

    Christ. You should really refrain from commenting on subjects about which you don’t know very much. “Uptake of informative molecules by living cells” is looking at the science of a lot of things , and is only related to HIV in that all viral infections are the result of the uptake of informative molecules (viral DNA or RNA) by living cells. You’re letting your imagination run away with you here.

    Your brief history of Gallo, he worked on leukemia and then AIDS came along, leaves out the decade and a half of research he did on CREATING HIV-like viruses prior to going to work on the AIDS problem. The research of Gallo and his associates was on work that could have only concluded with the creation of HIV. Except that the official story is that it was “discovered.”

    No offense, but you simply lack the expertise to assess whether Gallo’s work “could only have concluded with the creation of HIV”. I don’t know the details of his research, but I’m willing to bet a hundred bucks that you can’t support that claim. And “creating HIV-like viruses”? Only if by “HIV-like” you mean “retroviral”, and by “creating” you mean “experimentally manipulating”. Your insistence that any and all research on retroviruses is cause for suspicion is really quite strange.

    As far as Fort Detrick switching from biological warfare research to the war on cancer under Richard Nixon, from what I gather the staff investigating viruses and immunosuppressive diseases remained intact and the name was changed to the National Cancer Institute at the entrance gate.

    From where have you gathered this? You may want to be a bit more careful about the things you pick up. The majority of the work here is on cancer. Because of the institutional expertise in working with retroviruses (many of which are oncoviruses), we also have some labs working with HIV/SIV and some other viruses. No smallpox, no anthrax, etc…

    Simply get the government to give up the names of the gay men who were innoculated with the Hep B vaccine in 1978.

    I tried to explain before, they can’t. That information is confidential (news flash: gay men might not want their names published) and could only be released with consent. There is simply no reason to do so other than to satisfy the curiosity of a few conspiracy theorists.

    Look, I’m sure a book like Horowitz’ seems convincing to a layman, but you really should broaden your reading on the subject, including something written by an expert in the field (BTW, Horowitz’s doctorate is in dentistry) He’s got you jumping at shadows.

  80. 80
    gswift says:

    But when HIV first appeared – who was the first documented case? Was there more than one, who were they, why then, and why those people?

    This timeline gives a brief rundown.

    Unfortunately, the African origin makes identifying earlier cases difficult. Most of Africa has ridiculously poor access to doctors. Couple this with poor to non existent record keeping, widespread malnutrition and disease, etc., and it’s not hard to see how people could have been dying from AIDS in Africa for a number of years prior to 1978 without notice.

  81. 81

    Larv,

    Since you work for defense contractors and can assure us that they don’t look for things that may hurt us, why were they looking for HIV-like viruses in 1969? And in 1970? And why did the NCI take up their work on it? And why did Gallo and associates create HIV-like viruses to invade human white blood cells? For the hell of it?

    You use the typical techniques to rebut HIV-as-man-made. For example, you conflate it as a “gigantic conspiracy.” How gigantic? I have repeatedly found that when important, powerful people do bad things that their underlings tend not to speak out against them, and when they do their careers tend to end. This would certainly apply to the narrow field of retroviral research.

    I’ll replay an example. Soon after the mass polio vaccines began in the fifties it was discovered that the vaccines were contaminated with the SV40 virus. The people in charge of the polio program made an administrative decision to keep quiet about this lest the public panic about millions of people being injected with a monkey virus. It was decades before it became widely known (and is still not that widely known). Before the polio vaccination program SV40 was unknown in the human population. Now it is being found in various different formerly rare soft tissue cancers. There are many scientists who owe their livings to the government who continue to deny the connection between SV40 and these cancers.

    Was this a secret conspiracy? How many people were involved over a half-century in keeping that away from the public? Or was it that most people knew to keep their mouths shut. You can’t fight city hall, you know.

    +++

    Regarding the retrovirus and immunosuppressive disease research at Ft. Detrick and NCI,

    As far as the history of Fort Detrick and its conversion to NCI, even though Nixon signed the international treaty against CBW, “Nixon assured Fort Detrick its research would continue,” according to CUTTING EDGE, a book written by Fort Detrick’s public relations officer James Covert (I’m not making his name up) on the fiftieth anniversary of its existence. Another quote, from Lt. Col Lucien Winegar: [The Ft. Detrick labs] would continue to work with dangerous organisms used in offensive BW since any defense research program was authorized in the biological warfare convention.”

    So we’ve pretty much established in prior posts that the NCI continued to work on immunosuppressive retroviruses like HIV. We know from published papers by Gallo and others how the processes they developed worked to make new viruses from animal viruses that survived in human white blood cells. There is no large leap on the science end of the debate.

    There are plenty of ways to get around publicly printing the names of those men who participated in the gay men’s Hepatitis B program. This was in 1978. My guess, based only on scuttlebutt from people in the community within a couple years of the program, is that not many, if any, are still alive.

    In the end you rely on the same tired truisms to cut off debate: the average joe is just too stupid to understand, so trust the experts. Get back in line.

    I’m not an “expert” in the field of military intelligence. Most posters here aren’t. Should we not doubt the information fed to us leading up to the war? Are we all conspiracy theorists if we think that the Administration deliberately lied to the American public to get us into supporting an invasion of Iraq?

    Okay, I’ll get back in line.

  82. 82
    Larv says:

    Bob,

    Since you work for defense contractors and can assure us that they don’t look for things that may hurt us, why were they looking for HIV-like viruses in 1969? And in 1970? And why did the NCI take up their work on it? And why did Gallo and associates create HIV-like viruses to invade human white blood cells? For the hell of it?

    It’s called research, Bob. And would you stop it with the “HIV-like viruses” bit? They’re only HIV-like in that they’re retroviruses. They are wholly unlike HIV in the most salient respect, in that they do not cause fatal immune diseases. Many retroviruses cause cancer. The National Cancer Institute does research on cancer. Therefore, NCI does research on retroviruses. I’m not sure what you’re missing here.

    The people in charge of the polio program made an administrative decision to keep quiet about this lest the public panic about millions of people being injected with a monkey virus.

    Surely you see the difference between A)not publicizing the fact that some batches of polio vaccine were contaminated with SV40 (and to my knowledge, the evidence linking SV40 to cancer in humans is still pretty tenuous), and B)covering up that our government intentionally launched the greatest modern plague?

    I don’t for a moment deny that a conspiracy is possible. Lots of things are possible. But there’s just no reason to believe in such a conspiracy, absent some pretty convincing evidence. As someone said upthread, extraordinary claims require extraodinary proof. So far, all you’ve offered is dark insinuations and misreadings of legitimate research.

    As far as the Ft Detrick stuff goes, you’re reading a lot into a couple of quotes. Yes, Nixon assured researchers that their work would continue. As in, he assured them they would still have jobs. Shocking, really. And Ft. Detrick labs do continue to work with dangerous organisms, just not the NCI part. USAMRIID has several BL-4 labs, and they work with some pretty nasty stuff like Ebola and Marburg over there. The fact that your quote is from a Lt. Col. would seem to support that (there’s no military personnel on our side of base). USAMRIID does do research on bioweapons, mainly to develop countermeasures (I took part in a study of a new smallpox vaccine there a few years ago).

    So we’ve pretty much established in prior posts that the NCI continued to work on immunosuppressive retroviruses like HIV. We know from published papers by Gallo and others how the processes they developed worked to make new viruses from animal viruses that survived in human white blood cells. There is no large leap on the science end of the debate.

    Um, yes, actually there is a pretty large leap to HIV. A chasm, in fact. Care to cite a few of those papers? And what’s your evidence that NCI was working with immunosuppressive retroviruses prior to HIV?

    In the end you rely on the same tired truisms to cut off debate: the average joe is just too stupid to understand, so trust the experts. Get back in line.

    Bullshit, Bob. I said you lacked the expertise to properly evaluate the direction of Gallo’s research. Hell, so do I, but I’m closer than you. And while I think you’re certainly ignorant of much of the relevant science, that’s fixable, and by no means implies that you’re stupid or unable to question expertise. But you’re making a lot of claims that you simply can’t support without a better knowledge of the relevant science.

  83. 83
    demimondian says:

    I’m not an “expert” in the field of military intelligence. Most posters here aren’t. Should we not doubt the information fed to us leading up to the war? Are we all conspiracy theorists if we think that the Administration deliberately lied to the American public to get us into supporting an invasion of Iraq?

    The difference is that there are people who *are* experts in military intelligence who’ve come forward with evidence that supports the stove-piping theory. In order for your self-aggandization to stand, you’d need similar evidence.

    (And don’t tell me about keeping secrets. Go back and read _The Progressive_ on the Teller-Ulam device. Scientists are trained to share information, and they just are really bad at keeping secrets.)

  84. 84

    Demi, “Self-aggrandizement”? That doesn’t even make sense. No one here knows who I am, and no one here is going to think any more highly of me for suggesting that HIV is man-made. The only thing I’m going to get for speaking out on the subject here is grief.

    Essentially, the reason I got into this discussion was that I believe that it’s quite possible that HIV was man-made and that it was deliberately given to Africans through the 1977 smallpox vaccine program and through the Hepatitis B program for gays in 1978. And I find it an offensive intellectual position to smugly presume any deviation from the orthodoxy to be unworthy of consideration.

    Actually, you can look at how Joe Wilson and his wife were treated as to how people who speak up against secrets are treated. The difference is that most dissenters don’t get the op-ed page of the NYTimes as a forum or have a large segment of the political spectrum supporting them. Does that mean everyone who speaks out is publicly destroyed? No, a lot of people are ignored.

    In fact, the anger with which dissent is met is a gauge at how threatening the idea is. Am I certain that HIV was man-made? No. I think it’s probable, though.

    I don’t expect anyone here to necessarily change their mind on the subject, or pick up a book (but if you do, pick up Leonard Horowitz’s Emerging Viruses) that might challenge his belief on the subject. In fact, most people have no belief on the subject other than what’s told to them. To suggest otherwise is an unnecessary irritant to a world that is clearly defined and in order. To suggest that people in the U.S. military were researching dangerous viruses and actually unleashed them is make them the moral equivalent of Nazis. Why worry about it? Your world is fine without worrying about it.

  85. 85

    Larv,

    There are about forty research papers listed in Emerging Viruses, cowritten by Gallo, which go to the creation of making HIV-like viruses. Some of it is research, like identifying the enzyme in leukocytes in leukemia patients that causes immune system dysfunction. There’s the aforementioned paper given to NATO about “entry of foreign nucleic acids into cells” to effect immunosuppression. Again, this is what leukemia does, but it’s also what HIV does. There is the paper on his work on reverse trascriptasenzyme responsible for “gene amplification.” This shows how white cells are hijacked and used by invasive RNA to produce cancer and destroy the immunocompetence of the cells. HIV operates with the same mechanism. These last ones were in 1970.

    Here’s an interesting one from 1971: Discovery of reverse transcriptase activity in human type C virus associated with lymphoma. By adding a synthetic RNA and Feline leukemia virus “template” to the human virus the DNA production increased two and thirty times, respectively.

    Here’s another one from 1971: Involving virus-transformed leukemia, using SV40, rat sarcoma virus, and mouse parotid tumor virus to increase the RNA activity in infected cells.

    1972: “A Common Change of Aspartyl-tRNA in Polyoma- and SV Transformed Cells.”

    Here’s another one from 1972 that shows Gallo injected single-stranded RNA from a chicken virus that causes leukemia. HIV is a single-stranded RNA.

    Here’s another one in 1973 where Gallo recovers an HIV-like particle from human acute leukemic white cells. In order to create the particle he must grow a simian sarcoma virus in rat kidney cells, repeated infection of rats with a murine leukemia virus, an avian myeloblastosis (bone marrow cancer), a feline leukemia virus, and other animal viruses.

    Simply, Gallo did research under the general rubric of leukemia which involved the uses animal viruses which cause cancers and immunosuppressive diseases in their natural hosts. He inserted these viruses into human white blood cells.

    HIV is supposed to be a natural occurrence of a relatively benign monkey virus (whether green monkey, chimps, or whatever theory is this year’s flavor) somehow crossing species to create a deadly immunosuppressive illness in humans.

    Gallo’s research took animal viruses causing cancers and leukemias, including simian viruses, to create immunosuppression in human white blood cells, precisely what HIV does. From 1967 to 1973 he wrote papers about his work, funded by biowarfare contractor Litton. By 1973 he had shown how to create a viral agent from animal viruses that do what HIV does. Then he apparently stopped publishing about the research.

    In 1969 the DOD wanted to fund a program to create a weapon refractory to the human immune system. By 1973 they knew how to make it. By 1980 HIV was coursing through the veins of thousands of Africans and gay American men.

  86. 86

    The first sentence in my last post is a little confusing. Horowitz’s book, Emerging Viruses, lists about 40 papers co-written by Gallo and associates, with study conclusions and possible relationship to HIV synthesis.

  87. 87
    gswift says:

    By 1980 HIV was coursing through the veins of thousands of Africans and gay American men.

    And Sweden, and Haiti, and so on. Was Sweden in on this too?

  88. 88
    gswift says:

    Here’s another one from 1972 that shows Gallo injected single-stranded RNA from a chicken virus that causes leukemia. HIV is a single-stranded RNA.

    Specifically Bob, HIV belongs to the virus family Retroviridae
    . Every virus in that family is a single strand RNA. Spend some time reading the list. You might note how quite a few sarcoma and leukemia causing viruses are also in the Retroviridae family.

  89. 89

    gswift, Haiti’s always been curious. I have read that about 75,000 Haitians were working in Africa during the 70s, which would have put them where the smallpox vaccination program was going on. Your explanation is what? That it naturally sprang up in Haiti, without a monkey population to cross over from? Was there a immunization program done by WHO or a related organization in Haiti in that time period? You see how important it is to be able to track people who were participants in vaccination programs at that time?

    For that matter, how many gay men from New York were in Central Africa in the late 70s? From San Francisco? Zaire was not a top vacation spot in the gay community back then. Don’t know what the Stockholm tests show. The paper was written in 1987 about samples taken in 1978 through 1980. Since HIV wasn’t “discovered” for a couple more years after the samples were taken, these tests were done retroactively, which could open them up to contamination. Or maybe a few guys from Stockholm vacationed in New York City in 1978. There were a couple of earlier limited HB trials in the two years before the bigger 1978 test.

    Of course, you remember Patient Zero, the gay airline attendant who allegedly spread it. That was one of the first official explanations of the spread of AIDS in the US. Except that the guy was Canadian, most of his flights were in Canada, and he apparently didn’t infect anyone there. (Maybe he met someone from Stockholm.) There have been other reports of the preexistence of AIDS which have all been found to be false by contamination, etc. One I recall had HIV, but it was identical to the current strain of HIV in a person who’d allegedly died from it decades earlier. HIV mutates too fast for that.

    +++

    I think you missed the point on the chicken leukemia virus. Gallo was working with an animal retrovirus with which he infected human leukocytes in the laboratory. He was working with the same kinds of viruses as HIV is, infecting human white blood cells and causing immunosuppression. Gallo was working with animal viruses of precisely the same structure as HIV and he was inserting them into human tissue cultures. Yes, retroviruses. Get it?

    That is, while being paid by military contractors (Litton’s various entities), Gallo was creating virus hybrids that were immunosuppressive to humans, the exact weapon that Dr. MacArthur said that the DOD wanted funded in 1969 (and which was funded by Congress).

    I certainly don’t pretend to have any expertise in this field. You don’t appear to either. But I do know that the DOD wanted to make an HIV-like virus, they were funded to do it by Congress, Gallo did research which gave the DOD the means to create an immunosuppressive “weapon” and identified the viruses from which such an HIV-like particle could be created.

    Why are you so offended that HIV could have been man-made or that someone would believe it? Do you believe it could have been made, but just not by Americans? Do you believe that Gallo couldn’t have made HIV?

    And why, with that evidence, shouldn’t I believe that the our military developed HIV? They even said that they wanted to.

    The reaction I am getting from gswift and a couple of others is much like one would get in a room of born-agains if you announce you’re an atheist. It gets a lot of fear and loathing going, but nothing disproving the lack of God. It ends up being all about their fear of disbelief and their anger at someone who’s not in the choir who is managing quite well.

    I think some people here are just too afraid to rationally consider some things. And they get angry when someone points it out.

  90. 90
    gswift says:

    I certainly don’t pretend to have any expertise in this field. You don’t appear to either.

    All kinds of people read blogs. Even guys who majored in biochem.

    Larv and I have both tried to get you to understand that you don’t know what you’re talking about. In an AIDS related discussion, only idiots use a source like renowned dentist Leonard Horowitz, author of such gems as Healing Celebrations: Miraculous Recoveries Through Ancient Scriptures, Natural Medicine & Modern Science.

    First, you don’t appear to have the slightest fucking idea how primitive virology, and general genetic research was at the times you cite, 1971, 1973, etc. Restriction enzymes were not isolated until 1970. DNA cloning was not developed until 1973. The first genome was not sequenced until 1975. Sanger sequencing wasn’t developed until 1977. OF COURSE all kinds of crazy shit was tried with crosses, because TRIAL AND ERROR was a major component of the research.

    Second, the reason we see the AIDS trend in multiple locales in the late 70’s is that the virus’s origins are much earlier than that. If you’ll go here you’ll see a couple cites that identify 19 likely AIDS cases from the 50’s and 60’s. Take note of the one from 1968 that had tissue samples frozen. Samples THAT TESTED POSITIVE FOR HIV.

    The theory that HIV was engineered in the 70’s by the DOD is complete bullshit.

    I think some people here are just too afraid to rationally consider some things.

    And some people aren’t fucking smart enough to not spin yarns about subjects about which they know nothing.

  91. 91
    Larv says:

    Bob,

    Okay, I’ll try once more.

    I find it an offensive intellectual position to smugly presume any deviation from the orthodoxy to be unworthy of consideration.

    Sigh. It’s not that it’s unworthy of consideration, it’s that it has been considered and discarded. I’ve engaged you and responded to your points. I can’t say that you’ve done the same.

    Am I certain that HIV was man-made? No. I think it’s probable, though.

    Yeah, I’ve gathered that. What you haven’t done is give any good reasons for your belief. Conspiracy theories are all well and good, but at some point your’e going to have to flesh out the theory with some fairly convincing evidence if you want anyone to believe you.

    There are about forty research papers listed in Emerging Viruses, cowritten by Gallo, which go to the creation of making HIV-like viruses.

    Okay, then you won’t mind looking it up and citing a couple so that I can get some idea what you’re referring to here.

    There’s the aforementioned paper given to NATO about “entry of foreign nucleic acids into cells” to effect immunosuppression.

    Bob, the “entry of foreign nucleic acids into cells” is an entirely legitimate and valuable area of research, because it’s at the heart of all viral diseases. I’ve looked up a few of the papers from that NATO symposium, and couldn’t find any mention of bioweapons. If you have a cite that indicates otherwise, please provide it.

    There is the paper on his work on reverse trascriptasenzyme responsible for “gene amplification.” This shows how white cells are hijacked and used by invasive RNA to produce cancer and destroy the immunocompetence of the cells. HIV operates with the same mechanism.

    All retroviruses use reverse transcriptase. As RNA viruses, they must. Again, why do you find retroviral research inherently suspicious?

    Here’s another one from 1972 that shows Gallo injected single-stranded RNA from a chicken virus that causes leukemia. HIV is a single-stranded RNA.

    As are all retroviruses. So a retrovirus expert was doing research on retroviruses. What’s your point?

    Here’s another one in 1973 where Gallo recovers an HIV-like particle from human acute leukemic white cells.

    Could you cite the actual paper, maybe? You’ve been misusing the term “HIV-like particle” so much that I don’t know what you mean. I suspect, however, that once again it means “a retrovirus.” Yawn.

    Simply, Gallo did research under the general rubric of leukemia which involved the uses animal viruses which cause cancers and immunosuppressive diseases in their natural hosts.

    And the part which would arouse suspicion is….?

    By 1973 he had shown how to create a viral agent from animal viruses that do what HIV does.

    Cite, please? This is a pretty crucial claim, and you keep just tossing it out there unsupported. I mean, if you could show that Gallo had created a virus that causes a fatal immunosuppressive disease in humans by 1973, that’d be a pretty big deal. So put up or shut up. In general, if you want to use Gallo’s research to cast suspicion on him, it would help if you gave some sign of understanding the basic facts underlying it (like what exactly a retrovirus is, and how they function). Evaluation of scientific research requires some degree of expertise and knowledge, which you manifestly lack. You don’t have to trust the experts, but you do have to acknowledge their expertise and your lack of such, and go from there.

    In 1969 the DOD wanted to fund a program to create a weapon refractory to the human immune system.

    Okay, here I’m just going to call bullshit on you. DARPA requested funding for research into the possibility that such agents could be developed, and to develop potential countermeasures. No mention was made of the desire to develop an offensive capability. This is clear from the testimony that you cited, so either you didn’t read it all or you’re just lying now.

    I think I’m done with this. You seem to be refractory to evidence and argumentation, and I don’t see much point in continuing. I’ll note in leaving that a classic trait of conspiracy theorists is that they take denial and even ridicule as evidence in support of their theory. After all, if it’s not true, why are people getting all upset? Sound familiar? This reminds me more than anything of arguments with creationists. You’ve got the argument from personal incredulity – “To presume that there were several massive shifts in African SVs which produced various AIDS-like diseases in humans when they had been relatively stable and had not crossed over to humans for millions of years is a bit much to swallow for me.” Then there’s the gigantic conspiracy of scientists, the refusal to engage with the bulk of the evidence (in favor of a few cherry-picked examples which are claimed in support of the theory), the active misinterpretation of research, etc…

  92. 92

    Larv, here’s you 1973 citations:

    Wu AM, Ting RCY and Gall RC. “RNA-Directed Polymerase and Virus-Induced Leukemia in Mice. From Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 1973; 70;5:1298-1302. “The results of this study suggest that RNA-directed DNA polymerase is essential for induction of leukemia by exogenous virus and correlate with the previous observation that the same [Rifamycin antibiotic] derivatives block viral transformation [in cell cultures]. This was funded by Litton Bionetics. The Rauscher leukemia viruses were suppliedfrom Hazleton primate facility.

    Another:

    Gall RC. “Reverse Transcriptase and Neoplasia. From “Biomedicine 1973;18;446-452. “Reverse trascriptase, the DNA polymerase of type-C RNA tumor viruses, can be distinguished from the DNA polymerase of normal cells by biochemical and immunological approaches. The enzyme is required for formation of the provirus, the RNA tumor viruses, and hence, for infection of cells by these viruses… A reverse transcriptase related to reverse transcriptase of type-C RNA tumor viruses (leukemia-lymphoma-sarcoma complex) has been unequivocally demonstrated in some human acute leukemic cells and its presence has been suggested… in other human cancers… Work on reverse transcriptase has contributed to major progress in tumor virology and to molecular biology in general in a very short period.” This is a description of the mechanism of HIV.

  93. 93

    Here’s another one from 1973, financed by Bionetics Research Labs, another subsidiary of Litton:

    Gallo RC, Miller NR Saxinger WC and Gillespie D. “Primate RNA Tumor Virus-Like DNA Synthesized Endogenously by RNA-Dependent DNA Polymerase in Virus-like Particles from Fresh Human Acute Leukemia Blood Cells.” Proceedings Of The National Academy of Sciences 1973; 70; 11:3219-3224.

    “DNA polymerase activity in human acute leukemia is recovered from a cytoplasmic subcellular fraction having a density (1.161.17g/ml) characteristic of RNA tumor particles in animals… the purified enzyme uses synthetic template-primers with a specificity like RNA-dependent DNA polymerase [reverse transcriptase] of viruses and different from the major DNA polymerases of normal proliferating leukocytes; and… the DNA synthesized [within the cells] by RNA-dependent DNA-polymerase contained among its sequences a high proportion (50%) capable of hybridizing to RNA isolated from a primate type-C sarcoma virus and/or a murine sarcoma [a rat sarcoma-leukemia virus complex]… The DNA-synthesized activity was recovered in a particle not disaggregated [not broken] by physical manipulaton unlike the vast majority of cytoplasmic particulate material, which had a density of 1.16-1.17g/ml… The present results stress the importance of purification of the cytoplasmic particle to obtain a suitable DNA probe.”

    There you go. Happy reading, Larv.

  94. 94

    gswift,

    Which case from 1968 are you referring to? The British seaman or the guy from St. Louis?

    Meanwhile, you write: The theory that HIV was engineered in the 70’s by the DOD is complete bullshit.

    But you admit that Dr. MacArthur of the DOD went in front of Congress on July 1, 1969 asking for the money to create an HIV-like substance. Right? Because that’s part of the Congressional Record. And they got the money. So our only argument isn’t that the DOD wanted to make such a retrovirus, or that they got the money for it. And there is no question that Gallo was investigating with all sorts of animal cancer and leukemia viruses, putting them into human leukocytes, isolating enzymes that hasten the process, and that this research was supported by one of the DOD’s major biological warfare research corporations, Litton. Our only argument is whether or not the DOD succeeded in making it. Right?

  95. 95

    gswift, how do those stupid, damned birds come up with more virulent versions of avian flu? None of them majored in biochem either. How dare they!

    One way that viral mutations can occur in the wild is when more than one virus is present in a host. In a laboratory, in Gallo’s laboratory, if you treat human white blood cells with simian cancer and leukemia viruses, rat viruses, feline viruses, whatever, you eventually get all sorts of nasty creations. You eventually get things that can survive and multiply in humans. Things that can replicate in white blood cells and destroy immunity. And in the following, not only is Gallo talking about making something HIV-like, he’s talking about recovering these particles.

    “Primate RNA Tumor Virus-Like DNA Synthesized Endogenously by RNA-Dependent DNA Polymerase in Virus-like Particles from Fresh Human Acute Leukemia Blood Cells.”

  96. 96

    Larv writes: “Okay, here I’m just going to call bullshit on you. DARPA requested funding for research into the possibility that such agents could be developed, and to develop potential countermeasures. No mention was made of the desire to develop an offensive capability. This is clear from the testimony that you cited, so either you didn’t read it all or you’re just lying now.”

    Okay, let’s play the game. So the DOD got their money on research for countermeasures to an HIV-like weapon. They had a decade head start for just such a weapon, and then HIV, which fit the definition of what they were investigating, just miraculously appeared across the face of the earth.

    Where was DOD’s research? What have they found out about such “infective microorganisms” that damage human immunity? Not word one about any program that was a decade along to fight just this kind of an attack on American citizens, and here were American citizens dying of AIDS.

    Of course, whenever governments do something, they put the best spin on things. We’re going to spy on you to make sure you’re safe. We’re going invent immunosuppressive microorganisms so that we can defend you from them.

    The government investigated immunosuppressive microorganisms. They said that they had to make it in order to figure out ways to stop it. So the only thing missing is their way to stop it. If you admit that Gallo’s research, funded by Litton, was what MacArthur was talking about, then you have to admit that that was what he was looking for: the weapon in order to stop it. If Gallo had no connection with what MacArthur was talking about, then where was the DOD research when AIDS hit? The results were secret? Then where were any practical results of the ten years of research?

    +++

    This is what Dr. MacArthur submitted to Representative Sikes on July 1, 1969:

    The dramatic progress being made in the field of molecular biology led us to investigate the relevance of this field of science to biological warfare. A small group of experts considered this matter and provided the following observations:

    1. All biological agents up to the present time are representatives of naturally occurring disease, and are thus known by scientists for research, either for offensive or defensive purposes.

    2. Within the next 5 to 10 years, it would probably be possible to make a new infective microorganism which could differ in certain important aspects from any known disease-causing organisms. Most important of these is that it might be refractory to the immunological and therapeutic processes upon which we depend to maintain our relative freedom from infectious disease.

    3. A research program to explore the feasibility of this could be completed in approximately 5 years at a total cost of $10 million.

    4. It would be very difficult to establish such a program. Molecular biology is a relatively new science. There are not many highly competent scientists in the field, almost all are in university laboratories, and they are generally adequately supported from sources other than DOD. However, it was considered possible to initiate an adequate program through the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council (NAS-NRC).

    5. The matter was discussed with the NAS-NRC and tentative plans were made to initiate the program. However, decreasing funds in CB, growing criticism of the CB program, and our reluctance to involve the NAS-NRC in such a controversial endeavor have led us to postpone it for the past 2 years.

    It is a highly controversial issue and there are many who believe such research should not be undertaken lest it lead to yet another method of massive killing of large populations. On the other hand, without the sure scientific knowledge that such a weapon is possible, and an understanding of the ways it could be done, there is little that can be done to devise defensive measures. Should an enemy develop it there is little doubt that this is an important area of potential military technological inferiority in which there is no adequate research program.

  97. 97
    Larv says:

    Bob,

    I looked at those 1973 papers. Can you tell me what you find so ominous about them? They were descriptions of research done to elucidate the mechanism of reverse transcriptase activity. As I’ve tried to explain, all retroviruses have RT. Further, RT is a fascinating molecule. Generally, transcription is a one-way street. DNA acts as a template for RNA synthesis (transcription), which in turn acts as a template for protein synthesis (translation). The discovery that certain tumor-causing viruses first used RNA to make DNA was pretty exciting stuff. Lots and lots of people were (and still are) doing research on RT. Your characterization of them as “a description of the mechanism of HIV” is simply incorrect. It’s a description of how retroviruses (of which HIV is one) transcribe their genetic material into cells. The third paper describes research that found presumptive viral particles in human cancer cells, lending supporting to the theory that the cancers were caused by a virus. Further, it found that the these particles used RT to transcribe DNA from RNA, and that they were genetically similar to previously known type-C sarcoma viruses (a retrovirus) in primates.

    But you admit that Dr. MacArthur of the DOD went in front of Congress on July 1, 1969 asking for the money to create an HIV-like substance. Right? Because that’s part of the Congressional Record.

    As I said above, you’re either misreading his testimony or lying. Given that I’ve already pointed this out a couple of times, I’m inclining towards the latter. From his testimony :

    …without the sure scientific knowledge that such a weapon is possible, and an understanding of the ways it
    could be done, there is little that can be done to devise defensive measures.
    Should an enemy develop it, there is little doubt that this is an important area of potential military technological inferiority in which there is no adequate research program.

    As we had at the time just ratified the convention against biological weapons, the notion that the head of DARPA would go before Congress and publically announce his desire to develop a new biological warfare agent is very, very silly. Not only that, we’re expected to believe that they took this funding and developed a deployable agent from a relatively unknown type of virus in less than 6 years? As both gswift and I have tried to explain, this would have been utterly impossible given the state of molecular biological and genetic engineering technology in the early ’70s. You haven’t deigned to acknowledge this point.

    In a laboratory, in Gallo’s laboratory, if you treat human white blood cells with simian cancer and leukemia viruses, rat viruses, feline viruses, whatever, you eventually get all sorts of nasty creations. You eventually get things that can survive and multiply in humans. Things that can replicate in white blood cells and destroy immunity.

    Things which coincidentally happen to be not just extraordinarily similar to a pre-existing (but unknown at the time) primate virus, but even more extraordinarily similar to a specific strain of that primate virus from a specific geographical area (remember the original post)? That kind of thing? Wow, science is cool.

    And in the following, not only is Gallo talking about making something HIV-like, he’s talking about recovering these particles.

    Oh my god, he’s history’s greatest monster! I don’t know if you actually read the paper, but if you did, you didn’t understand it. First, in order to study something, you need to have it first. Thus “recovery”. And they aren’t creating anything, the virus is. That bit about endogenous synthesis of DNA refers to the ability of the particles (virus) to create DNA in the absence of the normal cellular machinery for DNA synthesis. That’s because the particles are retroviruses and possess RT which enables them to synthesize DNA from their RNA.

  98. 98
    gswift says:

    A reverse transcriptase related to reverse transcriptase of type-C RNA tumor viruses (leukemia-lymphoma-sarcoma complex) has been unequivocally demonstrated in some human acute leukemic cells and its presence has been suggested… in other human cancers…

    This is a description of the mechanism of HIV.

    You cut and paste things without knowing what the hell you’re reading.

    This paper is talking about the presence of reverse transcriptase in leukemia and other cancerous cells. You see Bob, a rather crucial step in any organisms reproduction cycle at the cellular level, whether it be mammal or virus, is the replication of genetic material. Every organism must use some kind of polymerase to achieve this. Mammals use DNA polymerase. Retroviruses, however, are single strand RNA, so in order to produce DNA that can be incorporated into the host cells DNA, they must use a reverse transcriptase that will produce DNA from a single strand of RNA.

    As the beginning of your cite notes, reverse transcriptase is chemically distinct from regular old DNA polymerase. So if one could capitalize on that difference and design a reverse transcriptase inhibitor that would not inhibit the host cells DNA polymerase, well than you’d have an effective anti viral agent. And indeed, there are a number of reverse transcriptase inhibitors being produced today like Lamivudine, Abacavir, Didanosine, etc.

    And that concludes todays lesson on regular old cancer research.

  99. 99

    Larv, Absolutely. In order to recover it you have to have it first. In order to invent a defense to an HIV-like substance you have to have an HIV substance. Part of MacArthur you avoid quoting: “It is a highly controversial issue and there are many who believe such research should not be undertaken lest it lead to yet another method of massive killing of large populations.” Even he admits that looking into the creation of microorganisms “refractory to the immunological and therapeutic processes upon which we depend to maintain our relative freedom from infectious disease” in order to defend against such things could be seen as making the weapon for its own sake.

    So who’s playing semantic games here? I’ve given you the benefit of the doubt. I’ve shown you where Gallo has done the research, that the research was paid for by a biowarfare corporation for the DOD. You’ve never offered a suggestion as to why Litton would be using its military appropriations to look into leukemia and all those nasty primate and rat viruses it was doing what MacArthur was asking for in 1969.

    I’ve quoted you the DOD’s desire to make an immunosuppressive “weapon” in order to defend it.

    What have you shown me? Have you shown me any evidence of the DOD doing work during those ten years which would have prevented or could have been used to fight against HIV-like weapons? No. Show me what the DOD when AIDS broke out. Show us what ten years of research did.

    You asked for citations. I gave them to you. Yes, Gallo did research, cutting-edge research, funded by military contractors, into retroviruses that can hijack leukocytes and cause immunosuppression, exactly what the military wanted. He was recovering little monstrosities in 1973 that were made using all sorts of awful animal cancers, and put them into human tissue and recovered the ones that could live in human tissue. He could make them. He could harvest them.

    But when the AIDS epidemic spread across the world, where was the DOD and all its fine research against such a disease? Very, very quiet. Just like you. You can’t seem to point to any DOD research into immunosuppressives from 1970 on unless you’re looking at Gallo’s work.

    I ask you once again: Is Gallo’s work the same work as described by MacArthur when he said the DOD wanted to investigate an immunosuppressive weapon?

    You say you work at Fort Detrick. I would expect you to be averse to the suggestion that AIDS had been man-made. You haven’t disappointed, but your arguments have.

  100. 100

    Tim F. wrote, at the beginning of this: “It seems like a safe rule to disregard any conspiracy theory that expects the government both to orchestrate prominent events/disasters flawlessly (cough) and to cover them up perfectly.”

    What’s covered up perfectly? I’ve pointed out the program in the Congressional Record, I’ve pointed to Gallo’s research. I’ve pointed out the insanity of the epidemiology being from some kind of natural crossover from Cameroonian chimps.

    As Paul Simon sang, “A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.”

    I presume you will continue to disregard what will otherwise disturb your smugness on the subject.

  101. 101

    gswift,

    No need to create strawmen here.

    Yes, Gallo was doing what would certainly be called cancer research, more specifically working with leukemia. He worked with all sorts of animal viruses and retroviruses which caused cancer and leukemia. A lot of his experiments involved putting those animal viruses and retroviruses into human tissue. We aren’t arguing here, are we?

    We also aren’t arguing, I am guessing, that the DOD asked for research into precisely this area of science in 1969, in order to make a defense against an HIV-like weapon in case someone in the world happened one day to invent such a weapon. I don’t think we are in disagreement that Gallo was funded by one of the DOD’s biowarfare contractors (Litton). Right?

    And in one of his 1973 papers, he describes synthesizing and growing one of these immunosuppressive babies in human white blood cells. And harvesting it.

    So where are we in disagreement? That his research COULD have been used to create HIV, or WOULD have been used to create HIV? It’s pretty self-evident that the road was heading in that direction. His work was needed to make an HIV-like organism. He was getting paid by someone who wanted just that.

    So I guess our only disagreement is that you trust the DOD more than I do.

  102. 102
    gswift says:

    So where are we in disagreement? That his research COULD have been used to create HIV, or WOULD have been used to create HIV?

    Seems kind of pointless to speculate seeing as the virus pre dates this research. As I recall, in addition to the St. Louis boy from the late 60’s, there’s also the African sample from 1959.

  103. 103

    If it’s the same one I’m thinking of that was from 1959, it was one sample of 1213, and an independent test confirming it was never done, according to Laura Garrett in The Coming Plague (1994). The little article you sent mentioned how the sample had been degraded. You may hang your hat on one degraded sample not independently tested, but I’ll wait for the next two or three tested samples.

    There have been other claims about early cases of AIDS. “Robert R.” was the black male fifteen year-old in St. Louis who died of some kind of immunodeficiency. The claim was made in 1987 but in 1990 it turned out that upon closer examination there was never HIV in his body. Also in Garrett.

    Just to save you the work, the British seaman who died in 1959 did indeed have HIV in samples. Unfortunately, the HIV was the same strain that had evolved in the late 1980s in the U.S., meaning that it was contaminated with a recently evolved strain. The London Independent called it a fraud. Maybe it was just contaminated.

    I’m sure you understand that once people started questioning the official story of AIDS, that it suddenly blossomed forth infecting Africans, Haitians and American gay males in three cities, that if in fact AIDS was a BW development they would want to cover that up. What better way than to find old samples and fake it?

    +++

    But let’s just pretend for a moment that MacArthur’s DOD project, in working to develop an immunosuppressive weapon, actually did discover something in nature that once inserted into humans did the job. Let’s just suppose that there really was a reservoir of HIV somewhere in nature (I don’t think so, but let’s suppose).

    You still have the DOD looking for this BW weapon. You still have all this research using all sorts of nasty animal viruses and retroviruses. Suppose Gallo or some other researcher financed by Litton finds a particularly nasty retrovirus in macaques or moles. Or even in chimpanzees, either in the wild or in chimps that had been injected with all sorts of things like the chimps at Hazleton’s Reston, VA monkey facility. Let’s imagine HIV all ready to go. Something already deadly to humans. All that needs to be done is to put it into humans. If the DOD were looking for a group or two of people to test it on, where would they aim their cannons, or in this case, needles? What devalued groups of people would be targets? How about people not fit to serve in the military? How poor black people halfway around the world who are having too many babies anyway?

    So I’ll ask you again: We agree that the DOD was looking for something like HIV. We know that they spent money on it. We know that Gallo did research paid for by DOD BW contractors. We know that research looked at immunosuppressive animal viruses and retroviruses. We know that whatever the DOD was doing to find an immunosuppressive “weapon” in order to allegedly find a cure for it, when such a disease suddenly appeared and killed humans, DOD was nowhere to be seen.

    So where do we disagree?

  104. 104
    gswift says:

    The Manchester sample is well known to have never been adequately verified, but I’ve not actually seen any papers refuting the St. Louis sample.

    If it’s the same one I’m thinking of that was from 1959, it was one sample of 1213, and an independent test confirming it was never done, according to Laura Garrett in The Coming Plague (1994). The little article you sent mentioned how the sample had been degraded. You may hang your hat on one degraded sample not independently tested, but I’ll wait for the next two or three tested samples.

    If you were really serious about this stuff, you’d read the actual literature instead of popular books from 12 years ago. Just read the actual abstract. The bold sections are particularly pertinent.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/en.....ds=9468138

    “There is considerable genetic diversity among viruses of different subtypes (designated A to J) in the major group of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), the form of HIV that is dominant in the global epidemic. If available, HIV-1 sequences pre-dating the recognition of AIDS could be crucial in defining the time of origin and the subsequent evolution of these viruses in humans. The oldest known case of HIV-1 infection was reported to be that of a sailor from Manchester who died of an AIDS-like illness in 1959; however, the authenticity of this case has not been confirmed. Genetic analysis of sequences from clinical materials obtained from 1971 to 1976 from members of a Norwegian family infected earlier than 1971 showed that they carried viruses of the HIV-1 outlier group, a variant form that is mainly restricted to West Africa. Here we report the amplification and characterization of viral sequences from a 1959 African plasma sample that was previously found to be HIV-1 seropositive. Multiple phylogenetic analyses not only authenticate this case as the oldest known HIV-1 infection, but also place its viral sequence near the ancestral node of subtypes B and D in the major group, indicating that these HIV-1 subtypes, and perhaps all major-group viruses, may have evolved from a single introduction into the African population not long before 1959.”

    So subsequent genetic analysis on the 1959 sample does in fact show infection with HIV-1. Also note the mention of another set of well known pre 1970 infections of HIV in a Norwegian family. Members of that family began displaying clinical symptoms as early as 1966, well before any real or imagined DOD project.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/en.....ds=9143301

    “Sequence analysis of HIV-1 group O from Norwegian patients infected in the 1960s.”

    Three Norwegians, a couple and their daughter, died from AIDS in 1976 after up to 10 years of clinical manifestations of HIV infection (Lindboe et al., 1986, Acta Pathol. Microbiol, Immunol. Scand. 94, 117-123; Froland et al., 1988, Lancet i, 1344-1345). We here demonstrate the presence of HIV DNA in autopsy materials from the father and the daughter. In phylogenetic analysis, the obtained sequences of the HIV pol and vif genes clustered with the HIV-1 group O clade. The genotyping was confirmed by detection of antibodies against HIV-1 group O in blood samples from the father and the mother. That these and other early isolates of HIV-1 are very similar to the presently circulating viruses and not intermediates between the present subtypes, verifies that the latest common ancestor of HIV-1 existed long before the emergence of the present epidemic. The presence of HIV-1 group O 30 years ago suggests that the limited spread of these viruses, compared to HIV-1 group M viruses, is not due to a later emergence of the group O viruses.”

    Your “let’s pretend” scenarios have more than dealt with by Larv. You’re smearing a lot of people with no evidence.

  105. 105
    Larv says:

    Even he admits that looking into the creation of microorganisms “refractory to the immunological and therapeutic processes upon which we depend to maintain our relative freedom from infectious disease” in order to defend against such things could be seen as making the weapon for its own sake.

    Of course it could be. That’s hardly controversial. But you’re attempting to claim that they were, in fact, making the weapon for it’s own sake. Notice the difference?

    So who’s playing semantic games here? I’ve given you the benefit of the doubt. I’ve shown you where Gallo has done the research, that the research was paid for by a biowarfare corporation for the DOD. You’ve never offered a suggestion as to why Litton would be using its military appropriations to look into leukemia and all those nasty primate and rat viruses it was doing what MacArthur was asking for in 1969.

    Huh? You’ve shown me what research? So far, you’ve proved that noted retrovirologist Robert Gallo was, in fact, doing research on retroviruses. Stop the presses!
    Have you demonstrated the connections between MacArthur’s testimony and Litton’s funding? Or between Litton’s biological work and DOD money at all? Or between Litton and Gallo, for that matter, aside from some coauthorships of papers? I must have missed all that. Without it, all you’re doing is throwing out allegations.

    I’ve quoted you the DOD’s desire to make an immunosuppressive “weapon” in order to defend it.

    No, you’ve asserted that. There is nothing about making such an agent anywhere in anything you’ve cited, but you persist in stating it as fact.

    You asked for citations. I gave them to you.

    And I read them and observed that they don’t say anything like what you think they say. You’re wrong, and I explained why. But you haven’t bothered to address that, preferring instead to just repeat the initial claim.

    What have you shown me? Have you shown me any evidence of the DOD doing work during those ten years which would have prevented or could have been used to fight against HIV-like weapons? No. Show me what the DOD when AIDS broke out. Show us what ten years of research did.

    Why on earth should I? Again, you’re the one asserting that the DOD was funding the creation of HIV. You need to demonstrate those connections, not demand that I account for appropriations from 30 some years ago.

    He was recovering little monstrosities in 1973 that were made using all sorts of awful animal cancers, and put them into human tissue and recovered the ones that could live in human tissue. He could make them. He could harvest them.

    Wow, I guess everyone in my group are monsters of equal stature. Guess what, Bob, that’s what virologists do. It’s called research.

    I ask you once again: Is Gallo’s work the same work as described by MacArthur when he said the DOD wanted to investigate an immunosuppressive weapon?

    Um, isn’t that the sort of question you should be answering, given that you’re the one asserting the connection? You seem somewhat confused about how this debate thing is supposed to work. You make claims, then support them. You don’t get to just throw out unsupported claims and demand that your opponent swat them.

    You can’t seem to point to any DOD research into immunosuppressives from 1970 on unless you’re looking at Gallo’s work.

    You can’t point to anything from before that, either, except for your lonely little MacArthur quote, which you’re relying on to do a lot of work here.

  106. 106
    Larv says:

    As Paul Simon sang, “A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.”

    Mmmmmm-hmmmm. You don’t say. Hold on a sec, I have a kettle I’d like you to meet.

  107. 107
    Larv says:

    Bob,

    We know that they spent money on it. We know that Gallo did research paid for by DOD BW contractors. We know that research looked at immunosuppressive animal viruses and retroviruses. We know that whatever the DOD was doing to find an immunosuppressive “weapon” in order to allegedly find a cure for it, when such a disease suddenly appeared and killed humans, DOD was nowhere to be seen.

    Ah, well that clears things up. The disagreement here seems to simply be about what constitutes knowledge. I regard as known things which have been proved, whereas Bob regards it as things which he wants very much to believe, because it would confirm his belief that the DOD is eeeeviiiiil. Arguments so often come down to simple disagreement on definition of terms.

  108. 108

    Larv wrote, “But you’re attempting to claim that they were, in fact, making the weapon for it’s own sake. Notice the difference?”

    So our difference here is not what they were doing. It’s that when they said that they wanted money to work on an HIV-like immunosuppressive weapon, you take them at their word that they were doing it only for protective reasons and I am suspicious.

    And I asked if that’s what the DOD was doing for a decade, was Gallo part of that research? He was paid by Litton to do his work, but maybe that was a DOD program in order to discover a cure for all those soldiers coming down with leukemia.

    And what did the DOD find out about immunosuppressive microorganisms? And why didn’t they use this decade of knowledge when AIDS was spreading through the gay community?

    You write: “And I read them and observed that they don’t say anything like what you think they say.”

    So when I quote the title of a paper like: “Primate RNA Tumor Virus-Like DNA Synthesized Endogenously by RNA-Dependent DNA Polymerase in Virus-like Particles from Fresh Human Acute Leukemia Blood Cells” it isn’t about growing a primate RNA virus inside a human cell? Well, I’ll be damned!

    By the way, as much as you try to dismiss MacArthur’s request in the Congressional Record, it is still there. You can pretend it has nothing to do with money the DOD was handing out to researchers, but there it is.

  109. 109
    gswift says:

    So our difference here is not what they were doing. It’s that when they said that they wanted money to work on an HIV-like immunosuppressive weapon, you take them at their word that they were doing it only for protective reasons and I am suspicious.

    If this really was a weapons program, doesn’t it seem a bit odd that Gallo and company would be openly publishing results? Granted, I’ve never worked at the DOD, but it seems like the results from a bioweapons program would be, like secret and stuff.

  110. 110
    Larv says:

    Bob,

    So our difference here is not what they were doing. It’s that when they said that they wanted money to work on an HIV-like immunosuppressive weapon, you take them at their word that they were doing it only for protective reasons and I am suspicious.

    It’s fine to be suspicious. But you’re going a bit further and making positive claims of a conspiracy. That requires some proof, which you haven’t provided.

    He was paid by Litton to do his work

    I’m still not sure what your basis for this is. What exactly are the links between Gallo and Litton? To the best of my knowledge, Gallo was employed and and his research funded by NCI at the time, as he was the head of the LTCB here. BTW, your referring to Litton as a “biowarfare contractor” is yet another example of the rhetorical overreach which you constantly engage in. It’s dishonest, as it implies that Litton would have no legitimate interest in such research. Litton was involved it dozens of industries, and Litton Bionetics manufactured and sold viral immunoassays, and would have had as much reason to do and fund research as any other biotech/biomed corporation.

    So when I quote the title of a paper like: “Primate RNA Tumor Virus-Like DNA Synthesized Endogenously by RNA-Dependent DNA Polymerase in Virus-like Particles from Fresh Human Acute Leukemia Blood Cells” it isn’t about growing a primate RNA virus inside a human cell? Well, I’ll be damned!

    Okay, then pack for warm weather. Because no, it doesn’t mean any such thing. It means that virus-like particles were isolated from the blood cells of patients with acute leukemia. These particles were found to be capable of endogenous DNA synthesis (that is, were able to sythesize DNA outside of the cell, given the appropriate precursors), this synthesis being mediated by RNA-Dependent DNA Polymerase (Reverse Transcriptase). The DNA which was synthesized was then found to hybridize with RNA from previously known type-c sarcoma viruses (a retrovirus), indicating that the two were related. They were found to be less similar to other RNA viruses. Hybridization here is not the creation of new viruses, it’s a technique for measuring genetic similarity from the days before PCR. No viruses are created in the process. As I’ve said before, you lack the basic understanding of biological research necessary to interpret the title and abstract of a paper, let alone to determine the implications or directions of someone’s research.

    By the way, as much as you try to dismiss MacArthur’s request in the Congressional Record, it is still there. You can pretend it has nothing to do with money the DOD was handing out to researchers, but there it is.

    I’m not trying to dismiss it, I’ve cited it repeatedly and shown that you insist of cherry-picking from it and actively misrepresenting the content of it. And it’s a very slender reed to be basing the entirety of your theory on. Your theory right now seems to be that someone from the DOD once mentioned that it might be possible to develop biological agents refractory to the immune system, therefore the government created HIV. It’s some pretty weak shit.

  111. 111

    Okay, Larv (& gswift),

    I’ve voiced my suspicions about AIDS being man-made. My main reason is the bizarre way the disease spread, which leaves an opening in my mind for it possibly being natural but that the vector of the disease was man-made. I won’t repeat the DOD’s stated intent anymore, or Gallo’s work for Litton. You certainly don’t address it and you don’t appear to want to address it other than the narrowest, grimmest admission.

    gswift has posted a couple of cases that suggest HIV had been in the human population prior to the mid-70s. We obviously have to rely on the extracts written about them and other people’s sources. Because these cases came from before AIDS was “discovered” or could be tested for, these handful of cases were retroactive. Someone took samples off the shelves years after these people died and ran samples of them for sensitivity to HIV. The Norwegian family had alleged suffered from AIDS for ten years before they succumbed in 1976. I have a lot of questions about it. Was the daughter infected in utero? Ten years was a long time to suffer AIDS-like symptoms and survive without any of the regimens later developed. Why were these Norwegians so hearty in the face of the disease? How did these three Norwegians get infected (no Cameroonian chimps occurring naturally in Scandinavia)? These kinds of questions can only be answered by a closer look at the family’s history, which was not provided. The British Seaman Case was declared a hoax by the London Independent. It is possible this is too, but I have no way, and certainly no expertise, to make a call.

    I’ll go back to the epidemiology. There was a curious report, I think it was by the CDC in 1984, which claimed that AIDS could not have been spread by the HB vaccine. There were concerns because the vaccine had been made from sera of gay men infected with HB prior to the outbreak. Since AIDS was unknown, it couldn’t be screened for in the HP vaccine until years later. That was the fear.

    So if HIV wasn’t in the gay community prior to the HB program, then why did it appear suddenly after the program? The spread of HIV infections in the HB group was markedly higher than in the gay community generally, another indicator that the HB program was the source of HIV in American gay males.

    +++

    You dismiss the importance of MacArthur’s testimony thusly: “…someone from the DOD once mentioned that it might be possible to develop biological agents refractory to the immune system, therefore the government created HIV. It’s some pretty weak shit.”

    MacArthur asked for funding for a program to develop a BW agent precisely like HIV. The DOD got funding. It wasn’t someone whittling on the front porch and saying what if. The DOD got money, BW military contractors paid money to researchers like Gallo to look into immunosuppressive retroviruses. MacArthur’s claim was that this was for defensive purposes in case an enemy developed the same thing and said it was possible to create something in five to ten years.

    But when AIDS came along precisely in that window MacArthur had predicted, the tens of millions of dollars (first ten million was only for 1970) spent by the DOD apparently was on no value because they did not come forward with anything defensive.

    You are incurious as to what the BW researchers were doing in the intervening decade between when they were funded to develop an HIV-like weapon and when HIV suddenly bloomed across the face of the earth.

    You claim I “cherry-picked” Dr. MacArthur’s statements. My June 2, 1:53p.m. entry printed extensively (maybe entirely) the DOD request to Congressman Sikes. No matter how you slice it, MacArthur asked for funds for this kind of research in the decade before AIDS appeared. You choose to believe that the military that covered up My Lai and the Phoenix Program wouldn’t lie to Congress about this.

    Next week in the primaries here in California there’s a candidate for the State Senate from my district whose father died from a Seratia Marscens infection of his heart valve after surgery. The military wanted to test how a disease vector might spread through a population and had secretly pumped this stuff into the SF Bay area. People died from this experiment: people getting heart operations, IV drug users, people with compromised immune systems. I believe that “60 Minutes” did a show on it years ago. Ever since there has been an increase in heart valve infections here in the area because of the seratia testing.

    I have suspicions about AIDS. I don’t take a smug attitude about people who are suspicious about government misbehavior until I have at least looked at it myself. I find people who tell me to shut up and not think a certain way because I’m too stupid to understand not terribly convincing, especially when they don’t answer my questions.

    If anything, this exchange of ideas has certainly shown the absolute vengeance with which defenders of the faith of the dogma of AIDS go after anyone who questions it. None of epidemiological peculiarities have been answered. No one has successfully been able to explain away whatever the DOD was doing in the decade when they were trying to develop an HIV-like weapon. In fact, no one here seems able to dispute that Gallo’s Litton-funded work wasn’t the very same program. Larv claims that I misrepresented Gallo’s work when I basically gave the titles and the report’s conclusions.

    Maybe it’s just that when the government or the powers-that-be hide things that some people will be curious as to why things are hidden and others will believe what they’re told and run into battle.

  112. 112
    Larv says:

    Bob,

    I’ve voiced my suspicions about AIDS being man-made. My main reason is the bizarre way the disease spread, which leaves an opening in my mind for it possibly being natural but that the vector of the disease was man-made.

    Like I said, this is simply the old argument from incredulity so beloved of the creationists. “I can’t imagine it therefore it didn’t happen.” It’s not particularly convincing when they use it either.

    You certainly don’t address it and you don’t appear to want to address it other than the narrowest, grimmest admission.

    Is this another of those disagreements on terms? By “address” do you mean “agree with me”? Otherwise, I have no idea how to square your statement with my participation in this thread.

    The spread of HIV infections in the HB group was markedly higher than in the gay community generally, another indicator that the HB program was the source of HIV in American gay males.

    Someone else pointed out earlier in the thread that the HB vaccine program targeted high-risk individuals, who would also be at a higher risk of HIV infection. You haven’t bothered to address this argument.

    MacArthur asked for funding for a program to develop a BW agent precisely like HIV.

    You’re misrepresenting again. First where you say “develop a BW agent” and again with “precisely like HIV.”

    MacArthur’s claim was that this was for defensive purposes in case an enemy developed the same thing and said it was possible to create something in five to ten years.

    And the Bush administration said that Iraq was close to obtaining nuclear weapons. Bureaucrats routinely exagerrate the urgency of threats in order to justify funding. MacArthur was, to be blunt, talking out his ass on that point.

    You are incurious as to what the BW researchers were doing in the intervening decade between when they were funded to develop an HIV-like weapon and when HIV suddenly bloomed across the face of the earth.

    Jesus F-ing Christ. You haven’t shown that there were any BW researchers. You’re simply assuming their existence because it conforms with your preconceptions of the military-industrial complex.

    No matter how you slice it, MacArthur asked for funds for this kind of research in the decade before AIDS appeared. You choose to believe that the military that covered up My Lai and the Phoenix Program wouldn’t lie to Congress about this.

    No, I choose to believe that if they were to do such research, they wouldn’t announce it in the Congressional record, and they wouldn’t then publish the research for all the world to see. Do you seriously think that if the DOD were funding research into a new biological agent, they would allow it to be published in the PNAS?

    I have suspicions about AIDS. I don’t take a smug attitude about people who are suspicious about government misbehavior until I have at least looked at it myself. I find people who tell me to shut up and not think a certain way because I’m too stupid to understand not terribly convincing, especially when they don’t answer my questions.

    That’s great. And if you should ever meet such people, you’d be within your rights to tell them so. Oh, you mean me? I’m not looking at your evidence or answering your questions and saying you’re stupid? Funny, I must have imagined the past few days and numerous words I’ve wasted on the topic. I’ve responded at length to virtually all your arguments, attempted to show you where you’ve erred in your interpretations of the science, and while I’ve noted your ignorance of the subject at hand, I haven’t called you stupid. You’re just misinformed, and you apparently have little interest in changing that. C’est la vie.

  113. 113

    Larv,

    You turn the creationists’ argument around, but it could as easily be put on you. You are the one who can’t believe that your place of employment may have had something to do with the spread of AIDS. Quite honestly, I don’t believe in God. No evidence. How about you?

    The spread of the disease followed vaccination programs in the US and in Africa. If ten thousand people eat Spam and get sick, Hormel recalls its Spam.

    You have faith in Gallo, apparently, and faith that science cannot be corrupted. But right now the party in power is corrupting the process of science, and actual scientific fact is being distorted, hidden or simply lied about for a political, economic and religious agenda at odds with reality. Science has always been used to create weapons. At the end of WWII the U.S. and the USSR scoured Germany to find the best rocket scientists. The Republican wet dream of Star Wars is based on a Third Reich military idea of building platforms in space to attackk its enemies below. In the sixties CBW scientists worked to develop all sorts of nasties to destroy the jungles and forests of Vietnam to make the enemy easier to shoot. Every year more and more Vietnamese children deformed from our military science are brought into the world. Every field of human knowledge has been used against other humans.

    You say I haven’t shown that there was any BW researchers, but we know the DOD got millions of dollars, we know who their BW contractors were, and we know who they paid for research. And we know that Gallo and his associates were working with animal retroviruses that caused immunosuppression.

    Then you set up an impossibility to prove or disprove anything. You demand proof, but if I point you to the DOD asked for funding for such a program you announce that if they were to really, really do such a thing that they wouldn’t announce it in the Congressional Record.

    Do I think that AIDS was man-made or man-distributed intentionally? Probably. Have you said anything that’s convinced me otherwise? Not really. Did I ever think that you were going to change your mind? No.

    Keep an open mind, though. Something may someday come along and change your opinion on this.

  114. 114
    Larv says:

    Bob,

    Quite honestly, I don’t believe in God. No evidence. How about you?

    Not that it’s particularly relevant, but no, I don’t believe in god either, and for the same reason. I don’t understand why you seem to require evidence for the existence of god but not for the existence of a widespread military/scientific conspiracy to develop and deploy HIV as a biological agent against a strange and disparate group of targets, i.e. American male homosexuals and Africans.

    The spread of the disease followed vaccination programs in the US and in Africa. If ten thousand people eat Spam and get sick, Hormel recalls its Spam.

    If there is a correlation between vaccination programs and the spread of HIV, I’d look for the explanation in the sorts of phenomena discussed above (and which, again, you haven’t confronted) before I’d look to a theory such as you’re proposing. This isn’t a bias in favor of my employer, the scientific community, the government, or Dr. Gallo. It’s simply Occam’s razor in action. From Wikipedia: “the principle recommends selecting those that introduce the fewest assumptions and postulate the fewest hypothetical entities.” Your explanation fails this test, as it assumes a host of mysterious and malevolent entities with shadowy motives. It’s as if you were to claim that the fact that people were getting sick from eating Spam was the result of a conspiracy by Hormel executives to annhilate the world’s consumers of canned pork products, rather than the result of simple spoilage or contamination. Maybe, but you can understand that I’d want some supporting evidence before I conclude that the board of Hormel are genocidal maniacs.

    You have faith in Gallo, apparently, and faith that science cannot be corrupted.

    I do not deny that science can be used to do Very Bad Things. Science is a route to knowledge, and knowledge can be both used and misused. This realization, however, does not therefore imply that science has been the cause of every Bad Thing, or indeed any specific Bad Thing.

    Then you set up an impossibility to prove or disprove anything. You demand proof, but if I point you to the DOD asked for funding for such a program you announce that if they were to really, really do such a thing that they wouldn’t announce it in the Congressional Record.

    How have I “set up an impossibility”? I was pointing out that contra your reliance upon an interpretation of MacArthurs testimony as clear evidence of the DOD’s intent to develop a biological warfare agent, there are strong arguments against such an interpretation. In much the same way, you’re relying on certain interpretations of the research done by Dr. Gallo and others to support your claim that this research was done with the intention of developing a biowarfare agent. I’ve rebutted this by explaining that you are misinterpreting or misrepresenting the research, in some cases based on an obvious ignorance of the relevant terminology. In both cases, you have chosen not to engage with my arguments, opting instead to just keep repeating the same tired, weak assertions.

    Do I think that AIDS was man-made or man-distributed intentionally? Probably. Have you said anything that’s convinced me otherwise? Not really. Did I ever think that you were going to change your mind? No.

    You really don’t seem to understand that the onus is upon you to make your case. You’re proposing a theory of HIV origins that flies in the face of all research done to date, and which requires the acceptance of a great secret military/scientific program of unstated origin and motives. If you can’t convince anyone of your theory, that doesn’t reflect well upon it. You will no doubt argue that I’m too blinkered by self-interest and scientific orthodoxy to see the truth. That’s as may be. I doubt anyone else is still reading this thread, but if you can find someone who is and thinks that your argument is the more convincing one, I’ll eat my keyboard.

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