HIV/AIDS Skepticism

Pointing to evidence that HIV is not the necessary and sufficient cause of AIDS

A “complicated arrangement” — Chapter 3 of Jekyll-Kalichman-Hyde-Newton

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/04/16

“Kalichman’s” book describes his interactions with “denialists” as involving “complicated arrangements” (p. xiv), the nature of which he failed to explain to his readers (How not to create a persona: Kalichman’s Komical Kaper #4, 29 March 2009). Once one knows that the interactions were with “Newton” and not with Kalichman, it becomes clear why things were complicated: Kalichman-Newton had to bear in mind what they had said to whom, and in which persona (Newton was sometimes “HIV-positive”, sometimes negative but with an “HIV-positive” “friend”, sometimes “just wanting to understand”, other times an enthusiastic supporter of Rethinking). Kalichman appeared never to suspect that the “Newton” personas were skating on implausibly thin ice because “Newton” was so untrue to life. One thing that made him so unnatural was an odd mixture of specialized knowledge and feigned ignorance; while he generally tried to appear naïve and gullible, at other times he revealed some of his anti-denialist prejudices:

“I am concered that the dissidents are discrediting Rethinking with such confused and mixed messages. It looks amateur. Very internally inconsistent.
Maybe you should form a task force to get the Rethinking act together, on the same page. Maybe a blue ribbon (not red ribbon) panel??
Maybe Dr. Bauer should head it up…. I would not have the meeting in Germany, maybe hold a meeting in Loch Ness??
ha ha.
I dont know Mr. Crowe…seems like Rethinking needs to do some Re-Rethinking” (June 2008).

Did Kalichman-as-Newton imagine that we “denialists” were not in touch with one another? At the same time as he was sneering to Crowe about my interest in Nessies, he was writing to me:

“On Thu, 03 Jul 2008 08:29:54 -0400, Joseph Newton <> wrote:
…….I suggested to Mr. Crowe that you lead a Blue Ribbon Panel to get the confusion out of Rethinking AIDS…like maybe Re-thinking Straight about AIDS. I suggested a meeting, perhaps in the lovely setting of Loch Ness, which I know you know so well.”

“Thursday, July 03, 2008 10:36:23 PM
By the way, I have attached a picture of a Nessie. I think it is a classic picture. Are you familiar with this specific image and who is credited taking the picture?”

The attached picture was the one most commonly reproduced in the media, significant enough to “AIDS denialism” to warrant inclusion in Kalichman’s book at p. 72. Again this ridiculous mixture of feigned naivety and inside knowledge: He knew of my interest in Loch Ness, yet asked me about something that I’ve answered publicly on my website. I remain uncomprehending as to how he could think he was fooling me into treating him as someone making genuine inquiries.

This was around the time that “Newton’s” e-mails had been traced to the University of Connecticut, and Crowe couldn’t resist needling Kalichman-Newton:
“To: “Joseph Newton” <>
From: David Crowe <>

Perhaps you could investigate whether Seth C. Kalichman has any conflicts of interest. He has published a lot of papers recently, he must be well-funded, and stands to lose all that.
Nice picture of him with Treatment Activist Nicoli Nattrass at:
Seth Kalichman and Nicoli Nattrass
For example, Kalichman is on the paid staff of the ‘AIDS Survival Project’ which lists among its sponsors Boehringer-Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Gilead, Abbott, Roche, Pfizer, even the CDC. Of course, they don’t say if the drug companies contributed more than perhaps Best Cleaners.
– David”

We also gave “Newton” the opportunity to come clean, on more than one occasion:
“Sat, Jul 19, 2008 at 8:00 PM
From: David Crowe <>
Subject: verification…
Bcc: Henry Bauer <>
I know this is going to sound weird, but we have been having a problem recently with infiltration, people posing as dissidents who are actually gathering information for groups like “The Body” and aidstruth.
I would like you to provide me with some proof of your existence. A scan of a utility bill, school registration, or other official forms with your name and address. Also tell me whether you’ve ever been HIV tested, and what kinds of tests, I have some information on this that I can verify.
This is all voluntary of course, but it would help raise my level of confidence that you’re being straight with me.
David Crowe”

But lying was “Newton’s” life blood, so it seems:
“Date: Sun, 20 Jul 2008 01:29:22 -0400
From: “Joseph Newton” <>
To: “David Crowe” <>
Subject: Re: verification…
Geeeze Mr. Crowe. You are right, that does sound weird. Sort or paranoid actually. But I think I understand.
I can assure that I have always been straight with you. As I told you from the start, I am a student of public health interested in alternative views on AIDS. I am not from The Body and I am not with
You make it sound like a war between the dissidents and the orthodoxy. I can understand that too given some of the nasty exchanges on the blogosphere that I have observed.
But still, verifying me? I mean, is there anything that you have emailed me that you would not have if I were not a dissident? It seems that you have only told me the way you see it. I cannot think of anything you have said that I have not seen on the Rethinking AIDS. Or do I have that wrong? Have you indeed disclosed secrets to me?
I suppose if you have disclosed things to me that you would not have if I were not a dissident then I should do the verification. But I would be interested to know what I have been privy to that you would not have shared with me otherwise.
Best regards and will be back in touch soon.

[Absolutely no doubt, of course, that “Newton” was interested in finding out whether he had actually gleaned some secret information without realizing it. In point of fact, an e-mail marked as confidential had been distributed among some Rethinkers in order to be “shared” with suspected “moles”, of whom “Newton” was one.]

As it happens, Professor Seth C Kalichman had sometimes been openly in touch with David Crowe, President of Rethinking AIDS, as well as surreptitiously as “Newton”, and he renewed this correspondence at almost this time:
“Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2008 09:34:31 -0400
From: “Kalichman, Seth” <>
To: <>
Hello David Crowe. We have corresponded in the past and you were really quite helpful.
I am writing to see if you can help me identify whether a couple images on the Rethinking AIDS website (for which I know you are President) are copyrighted? The images concern AZT, the ‘deadguy’ and ‘deadgal’ images. If they in the public domain or if whoever holds copyright gives permission, I am interested in using them in some of my work on HIV treatment beliefs and treatment perceptions.
Can you help me with this infromation?
Thank you.
Seth C. Kalichman

Perhaps he was checking to see whether “Newton’s” protestations of innocence had been accepted. But if he wanted to disavow a connection, he should have deployed better syntax and fewer typos. Indeed, this e-mail from Prof Seth C Kalichman makes me wonder whether I was wrong in inferring that he deliberately had “Newton” commit typos and non-syntactical language to induce a lowering of guards; perhaps these infelicities are inherently characteristic of Kalichman himself?!?!

At any rate, Kalichman and “Newton” were apparently reassured that the secret of their identity was safe, for some months later Bauer heard from — ?him ?them — again. This time he was —they were? — shedding crocodile tears:
“From: “Joseph Newton” <>

Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2008 12:40:03 -0400
Hello Dr. Bauer
I hope you are well
I just learned that Rebecca Culshaw has lost her job. I saw a web posting saying something about how she has terminated.
This makes me so sad I cannot believe it! What is happening, with her being fired, Andew Maniotis being fired, President Mbeki being fired…I mean you and Dr. Duesberg are so lucky be professors with tenure, I guess.
Anyway, was not sure you knew about this I am sure you would want to know because she has been so supportive of your wor.
Fired! I just cannot believe it is true!
Best regards


4 Responses to “A “complicated arrangement” — Chapter 3 of Jekyll-Kalichman-Hyde-Newton”

  1. Sadun Kal said

    Interesting again. Kalichman seems to be really bad at deceiving. One wonders how much he really knows about psychology and the human intellect…

    And RA stole the idea for the rethinkers’ conference from “Newton” apparently. Germany would’ve been better though. 🙂

    Other than that, I wasn’t aware that Culshaw had gotten into trouble like that, where can I find more information about that incident? On the other hand, I thought that she had already “quit HIV”. So it’s a bit confusing.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Sadun Kal:

      Culshaw “quit HIV” in the sense of rejecting the mainstream view. Wainberg and Moore boasted about their attempts to have Rethinkers fired, in a letter or op-ed piece in the Boston Globe. I’m away from home, can’t find the link to that Wainberg-Moore piece at the moment.

  2. Joe said

    I hadn’t heard anything about Rebecca Culshaw being fired. If true, it’s appalling. It makes Rebecca’s stand even more brave, considering that she could easily have taken the safe path and agreed with the mainstream.

    Tenure has historically been justified precisely to enable academics the freedom from such political, social and economic pressures. I never used to take that defense of tenure seriously, but if this is true, then it is clearly something that is needed when push comes to shove.

    • Henry Bauer said


      I’ve never found documented confirmation of Joe Newton’s claim. I do know Culshaw has two young children and she may well have decided to mother first before continuing her career. When the first rumors were circulating some years ago, I seem to recall that the top administrators at her university ignored or rejected the Moore-Wainberg approaches.

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