HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Caveat lector! — Kalichman’s less-than-Komical Kaper #7

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/05/03

Let the reader beware! What’s inside Kalichman’s quotation marks may not be there in the original source.

A book from a leading publisher like Springer, with laudatory blurbs from prominent scientists, and that claims to demonstrate how mistaken are people and works under discussion, by implication asserts that the material in it can be relied upon to be at least factually accurate. But “Denying AIDS”, by a tenured full professor at the University of Connecticut and published by Copernicus/Springer, cannot be relied upon to be factually accurate.

Perhaps the first glitch that left me openmouthed was an alleged quote (p. 70) from the website for my book, The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory :

“In his [Bauer’s] own words:
HIV is neither sexually transmitted nor increasingly prevalent. HIV and AIDS are not correlated geographically. HIV and AIDS are not correlated chronologically. HIV and AIDS are not correlated in their relative impact on women and men. Nor are HIV and AIDS correlated in their relative impact on white and black people. HIV is necessary but insufficient to cause AIDS. 17” [emphasis added]

Obviously I never spoke or wrote that last, high-lighted, sentence. The preceding sentences make plain that I am denying any connection between HIV and AIDS. Where am I supposed to have added that last part which contradicts what goes before it?

Note 17 in Kalichman’s book  is “H. Bauer referring to his 2007 book The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory, published by MacFarland [sic] on [sic] his website http://hivnotaids.homestead.com/.”
As a matter of syntax, “MacFarland” didn’t publish this book on that website. As a matter of fact, “MacFarland” didn’t publish my book at all, nor to my knowledge any other books. My publisher is McFarland. As another matter of fact, that website was set up before my book was ever written, and contains material about 3 articles that I had published. Nowhere on that website is there to be found, or was there ever to be found, what is attributed to me in the “quotation” above.
However, the first 5 sentences do appear on the website established for my book. The last sentence, though, as I’ve already pointed out, is not anything I’ve ever asserted, and it isn’t on that website and never was nor could have been — I never said that HIV is necessary to cause AIDS, I’ve been saying the very opposite; which is, after all, why Kalichman is so angry with me, why he is so — in Kalichman’s own words (p. xiii) — “seemingly [sic] irrational”.

Put yourself in the place of an innocent reader who feels able to rely on the factual accuracy of this Kalichman/Springer production. Throughout the book, Bauer is castigated for denying that HIV causes AIDS. Yet here, Bauer is quoted as saying that HIV is necessary to cause AIDS! What is this Kalichman doing, attacking a person for denying something that he isn’t denying?

The puzzled reader rushes to his computer and goes to the cited website to check the quotation. Nothing even approaching it is to be found there!

Fortunately for the poor reader, that website does have the heading,
“These web pages and the mentioned articles have now been superseded by this book:
The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory
McFarland,  April 2007, ISBN 978-0-7864-3048-2”
and by following the link in the book’s title, one is directed to the book’s website, where, sure enough, the first 5 sentences of the above “quotation” can be found. But there’s no help for the reader who seeks resolution of the conundrum of that concluding sentence. Was it once there? But how could it have been since it contradicts directly the other 5 statements?

Oh my gosh! Could Kalichman have inserted so ridiculous a mis-statement? How could such a thing happen? Was not this manuscript copy-edited? Was it not read by the prominent AIDS scientists who wrote gushing blurbs for it?

As I said in my first installment comment on Kalichman’s opus, it is the veritable answer to Job’s prayer. If any single book could discredit the AIDStruthers and their hangers-on, this is demonstrably it.

———————-

Of course, one swallow doesn’t make a summer. But the book is like a whole swarm of such swallows [Kalichman and Copernicus/Springer would say “swam”, not “swarm”, see p. 149].
Here’s another such instance, with places highlighted where Kalichman altered or omitted without ellipses what I actually wrote:

In Kalichman’s book:
“In his own words Bauer states:
Humans evolved in Africa with dark skin for the optimum degree of sunshine filtering. As humans migrated out of Africa into northern and temperate regions, more  of  the  incident  sunshine  was  needed in  order  to  manufacture  sufficient vitamin D, and so skin tones became lighter. As well as much sunshine, tropical regions  also harbor  a  great  variety  of  bacterial,  microbial,  parasitic,  and  viral diseases.  It  would  therefore  be  curious  if  humans,  evolving  in  Africa,  had  not acquired strong immune responses against a wide range of those challenges to health.  As  humans  migrated  to  other,  non tropical  parts  of  the  world  where challenges to the immune system were less frequent, it seems reasonable that the responses  generated  by  the  immune  system  might have  become  somewhat weakened. 9”

The original source, note 9, is an article of mine that actually states
“Humans evolved in Africa with (presumably) the optimum degree of sunshine-filtering by the skin. As humans migrated out of Africa into northern and temperate regions, it became necessary to absorb more of the incident sunshine in order to manufacture sufficient vitamin D, and the average skin color lightened. As a corollary, dark-skinned people who now live in temperate regions may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency: ‘‘black race had a strong association with vitamin D deficiency . . . black women are at higher risk than are white women’’ [61]. An analogous albeit speculative chain of reasoning can be constructed relating to immune function. Tropical regions harbor a great variety of endemic bacterial, fungal, parasitic, and viral diseases—great enough to warrant special Departments of Tropical Medicine in many places, as well as a Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. It would therefore be curious if humans, evolving in Africa, had not acquired very strong immune responses against that wide range of challenges to health. As humans migrated to other, nontropical parts of the world where the immune system is less fiercely challenged, it seems reasonable that the responses generated by the immune system would have become modified, less wide-ranging or somewhat weaker.”

Kalichman’s version is not a bad paraphrase, but it’s certainly not “in his [Bauer’s] own words”. His omission of “(presumably)” makes me seem more dogmatic, as even more seriously does his omission of “An analogous albeit speculative chain of reasoning”. His insertion of “also” after “as well as” does not do justice to my writing style as aided by an excellent editor at McFarland. His omissions, not indicated by ellipsis marks, drop out an important piece of evidence pertaining to the evolutionary function of dark skin. His changing of “fungal” to “microbial” is substantively important, both because fungal diseases are pertinent in “AIDS” as well as in Africa and because readers might think that I regard “bacterial” and “microbial” as worth mentioning separately.

I really don’t know what to make of Kalichman’s “quotations”. They are sufficiently like the original as not to be outright paraphrases, yet they’ve been copied with the most cavalier disregard for accuracy. Did someone read the originals out to him too carelessly, or vice versa?

No matter how it happened, what’s blatantly obvious is that the quality of fact-checking in this book is abysmally low, stunningly low from so prominent a publisher as Springer. I don’t claim to have found every mis-stated fact or mis-quoted statement (let alone misinterpretation) in Kalichman’s book, but here are a few more that hit me in the eye:

Reference 18 on p. 71 should cite p. 56 of Culshaw’s book, not p. 25.

On the same p. 71, the article of mine from which he quoted is in the wildlife magazine Snowy Egret, not the Journal of Scientific Exploration. This time his quote is accurate, and I’m delighted that he saw fit to include it, since it speaks to the fact that my opinion that Nessies exist grew out of an examination of the evidence.

On p. 74, what is presented as my words is once again distorted to a remarkable degree — highlighting indicates the differences. Kalichman cites me as writing (on p. 238 of my book):
“Poor Ryan White had indeed been born in very ill health for a long time on account of his severe hemophilia. Testing for HIV just introduced in 1984  perhaps he might have been HIV positive at birth? It is possible that his death was hastened by HIV medications?
but what actually appears in my book is:
“Poor Ryan White had indeed been in very poor health for a long time on account of his severe hemophilia. Testing for HIV had just been introduced in 1984; perhaps he might have tested HIV-positive from birth? Recognizing from Part I that HIV-positive is often a marker for ill health, it is no surprise that Ryan White tested positive. It is also possible that his death was hastened rather than delayed by antiretroviral medications.”
I do hope I would never have written — or have allowed to remain written in proof — “born in very ill health for a long time”; “born . . . for a long time” is truly baffling.

Enough already, this post is getting too long as well as wearisome. As electrochemist David Grahame remarked long ago, looking for mistakes in someone else’s work is not a rewarding way to spend one’s time.

6 Responses to “Caveat lector! — Kalichman’s less-than-Komical Kaper #7”

  1. MacDonald said

    I agree it’s probably fruitless, as well as an endless task, to continue digging up inaccuracies in “Denying AIDS”. However, I do want to give a few other examples where Kalichman does not misquote as much as misrepresenting quotes and references. On p. 83 there’s this grave misrepresentation of the Perth Group’s views:

    The Perth Group has repeatedly misused the Padian study, typically saying that there is no evidence that heterosexual sex could transmit the virus even if it does exist, which they say it surely does not.

    The reference in note 38 of course does not contain anything remotely resembling this childish formulation.

    http://rethinking.org/bmj/response_30348.html

    The Perth Group has never said anywhere that HIV surely does not exist; to the contrary, they have been careful to avoid such a formulation whenever they have been required to define their position, because they consider it an unscientific statement. Kalichman just makes it up and throws it in there to make Perth look ridiculous.

    On p. 80 Kalichman introduces a Matthias Rath quote thusly:

    Matthias Rath, the German entrepreneur who sells vitamins to treat AIDS, also sees a global conspiracy to promote HIV medications and he says that Bill Gates is personally monitoring his
    activities:

    Mattias Rath might have said somewhere that Bill Gates personally monitors his activities, who knows? But he certainly doesn’t say it in the passage Kalichman has just introduced:

    The equation is simple: the end of the AIDS business with disease will destroy the entire credibility of the pharmaceutical industry and will terminate the drug investment business worldwide. The collapse of this multi billion dollar investment business, in turn, will lead to a major crisis in the whole investment industry. In other words, the ‘Mother Theresa’ PR stunt of Bill Gates is a desperate, self serving activity trying to stop this meltdown. If Gates is not successful, and the AIDS genocide by the drug cartel is ended, then the whole paper wealth of Billy Gates is worthless.32

    Again, Kalichman has added the thing about Gates personally monitoring Rath to make him look doubly paranoid. It is simply not in the quote.

    Likewise, in the quote Rath questions the motives of Bill Gates, rightly or wrongly, but does it amount to a conspiracy theory? It is important to understand for all Rethinkers how in this derivative sense any attribution of intent or questioning of motives is automatically labelled a conspiracy theory and a sure sign of serious psychopathology, in Lisa E’s words — but only if you are a dissident.

    Ironically, Kalichman attributes the exact same motives and methods to Rath in the next section called “Cashing In”, which Rath attributes to Bill Gates. On p. 87, Kalichman also implies that his quote has shown that Rath believes there is a global conspiracy to commit genocide on Africans. Rath talks about genocide by drug cartels, but does he believe it is a deliberate, coordinated cleansing operation? We don’t know, because the quote selected by Kalichman doesn’t tell us.

    With regard to theories about global conspiracies, what should we call Kalichman’s discussion of the right-wing ideology of denialists? Here is a sample:

    The racism, sexism, and homophobia espoused by such [denialist] rhetoric is quite telling about the political agendas of some denialists. A blatant effort exists to pit Africans and African-Americans against the white establishment, perhaps to fulfill self-proclaimed conspiracies. Homophobia thrives in denialism. . . p. 80

    There are undoubtedly HIV/AIDS skeptics who are conspiracy theorists as well, but Kalichman’s efforts to tar all with the same brush are dishonest and disingenuous. Here’s a last example. Can anyone spot the conspiracy theory?

    In 2000, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa expressed his own conspiracy concerns to the African National Congress members of parliament saying,

    If we say HIV equals AIDS then we must say equals drugs. Pharmaceutical companies want to sell drugs which they can’t do unless HIV causes AIDS, so they don’t want this thesis to be attacked. That’s one problem. The other one is the international political environment where the CIA has got involved. So, the US says we will give loans to Africa to pay for US drugs.33

    Kalichman seems to have an issue with right-wing ideology. If that places him anywhere around centre/left of centre on the political spectrum, there should be absolutely nothing controversial in these words from Mbeki, never mind the expression of a conspiracy theory.

    I cannot tire of repeating the fact that, while most AIDS activists consider themselves liberals, or at least democrats, opposed to Republicans and Conservatives (Kalichman calls Ronald Reagan an AIDS denialist), they are perfectly aligned with the Fox News/National Review/Charles Krauthammer extreme Right when it comes to issues of subjection to always Benevolent Authority, any and all capitalist enterprises (involving pharmaceuticals at least) and free speech.

  2. David said

    Is there a legal case for a lawsuit over his false quotes, etc.?

    • Henry Bauer said

      David:
      What would be the point of a lawsuit? Surely it’s enough to bring his misdeeds to public attention among those people who are interested in these things. A lawsuit would be awfully distracting and time-consuming.

  3. MacDonald said

    Dave, I am afraid you won’t get to see Kalichman and Bauer in court. But here’s how his defence looks when he pleads his own case. I don’t think it takes a genius to spot the unsubstantiated claims, contradictions and outright lies, but you know I take pleasure in pointing them out, so I have added a few comments in bold:

    “Thanks for commenting and asking about me versus Leung. I suspect that you are actually referring to this whole Joe Newton thing. It is an important question to those who have become obsessed with Joe Newton, and probably to no one else. I have been working on a post ‘The Joe Newton Files’, but never seem to finish it. I fear it is so trivial it is not worth posting.”

    Kalichman has previously told us that he was preparing a separate Joe Newton book. Then he said he should have added a whole chapter on the dark side of denialim he had uncovered when researching (as Newton) “Denying AIDS”. Just below he claims that it was through Newton he got the unique access to the closed brotherhood of AIDS denialists. But here the material is all of a sudden so trivial that he doubts it is of interest to anybody. . . Do we sense a creeping fear in Kalichman of exposing himself too much? Let’s take a look at his revisionist account of Hyde/Newton’s kapers.

    “On the other hand, Henry Bauer is certainly interested in Joe and how he gained access to the AIDS Denialists. If people who comment here express interest, I will probably post it in some form at some point.”

    Maybe you could post it here, Prof K; I am interested too.

    “To answer your specific question that is actually pertinent to this post, on the surface it may seem that what Joe did and Leung did are similar.

    ++ Joe never misrepresented himself, he is a student of public health /Brent did not misrepresent himself, he is a filmmaker”

    To refresh your memory, Joe, you can start here: “Joseph C Newton”: liar & agent provocateur — Chapter 2 of Jekyll-Kalichman-Hyde-Newton.

    “++ Joe had observed that Denialists would not be authentic if they knew he was tied to NIH funding/ Scientists would not have talked to Leung if he told them he was doing an ‘AIDS debate’ film.”

    We all know that Kalichman and Joe have merged irreversibly, but come on, Joe was supposed to have been created after his alter ego had discovered denialists wouldn’t be “authentic” with him (whatever that means), so how can the denialist inauthenticity be Joe’s discovery? If Kalichman can’t even get that right, I’d advise him to go for the plea bargain.

    “So there you have a couple of similarities. Now some differences.

    ++ Joe never lied about what he was doing or why he was doing it. He stated that he was a curious student of public health interested in alternative theories of AIDS / Brent lied and said that he was doing a film on scientific accomplishments of AIDS research.”

    Nope, Joe, sure as HIV causes AIDS never lies. All of Kalichman’s claims about Leung are unsubstantiated, by the way.

    “++ Joe infiltrated a closed network to understand what they were doing and why they were doing it. What he observed was not accessible in any other way / Leung manipulated the context in which public statements were made. The statements could have been taken from any past interviews, but the context of being interviewed by Leung was used against the scientists.”

    More or less nonsensical. Firstly, the two examples are not parallels but random juxtapositions. Secondly, how was the context of being interviewed by Leung manipulated? If Kalichman doesn’t actually know what it means to manipulate contexts, he can read the “agent provocateur” part again.

    “++ Joe did not use the denialists’ own words against them / Leung cherry picked segments to misrepresent what scientists are saying.”

    At a loss for words.

    “++ AIDS denialist Beth Ely has said that Rethinkers have nothing to hide and would not change what they said depending on who Joe was. So from their perspective, no harm done / AIDS scientists would not have talked with Leung and feel there has been harm done by their being deceived.”

    Even if we pretend for a moment that anybody but Joe can follow Kalichman’s logic here, what gives him the idea that Beth Ely can speak for Crowe, Bauer, Duesberg and the other actual victims of the deceit?

    “++ Joe used strategies that are common among journalists and book authors to naturalistically observe extremist groups. A favorite example is Matt Tabibi’s infiltration of an extreme rightwing religious group for his book The Great Derangement [a MUST read] / Leung used strategies that are unacceptable to legitimate producers of documentary and historical works. Name one example of a legitimate documentary that did what Leung has done? And please do not say ‘Judea Declares War on Germany: A Critical Look at World War II’.”

    Methinks Kalichman has read what good old MacDonald wrote earlier about journalistic practice, so now he is a journalist and an author all of a sudden — not a scientist. Although we appreciate the rare glimpse of honesty, Kalichman is being no less offensive to an entire profession by pretending he is a writer.

    “++ Joe’s observations have been used to help expose frauds, quacks, and pseudoscientists who are doing considerable harm / Leung used his footage to propagate a senseless movement that resulted in hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths.”

    Exposing frauds and quacks without using their own words against them? Truly remarkable!

    “How is that for starters?”

    Very persuasive, Prof K. Flawless argumentation.

  4. From the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists (one of the oldest journalism organizations in the US):

    “[Journalists should] avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public. Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story.”

    Therefore, according to this code of ethics, Kalichman is under an obligation to do two things:

    1. Demonstrate that “traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public”.

    In other words, Kalichman must provide a persuasive case that the “information” (as it were) obtained by Kalichman is both (a) vital to the public, and (b) could not be obtained without undercover or surreptitious methods.

    Let’s assume the “information” Kalichman obtained is vital.

    Part (b) is directly contradicted by Kalichman’s own words, in that he stated that “Joe [sic] had observed that Denialists would not be authentic if…” The implication is that Kalichman, prior to creating the Joe persona, did not have evidence that “Denialists would not be authentic”. Even if, as MacDonald alluded to, this was a Freudian slip of sorts, and Kalichman meant Kalichman, not Joe, what evidence has Kalichman ever offered to substantiate this claim? Part (b) is also contradicted by Beth Ely’s remark that Rethinkers “have nothing to hide and would not change what they said”. If Kalichman (erroneously) presumes that Beth speaks for all Rethinkers, this directly contradicts part (b).

    2. This use of undercover or surreptitious methods should be “explained as part of the story”.

    Kalichman clearly never explained his undercover and surreptitious methods in his book; instead, he referred to them merely as “complicated arrangements” with no further clarification.

    Kalichman fulfilled neither of the two obligations. He violated the Code of Ethics.

    I also note, my prediction was confirmed!

    PREDICTION: “I suspect Kalichman’s response to your charges would be very similar to the response the US government, intelligence community, and Establishment pundits have given to the claim that high-level officials should be held accountable for acts of torture — but, it’s okay when we do it… after all, we’re the “good” guys, we have good “intentions”…, etc., etc.

    KALICHMAN RESPONSE: “Joe’s observations have been used to help expose frauds, quacks, and pseudoscientists who are doing considerable harm / Leung used his footage to propagate a senseless movement that resulted in hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths.”

    I also want to note two more egregious errors of fact in Kalichman’s book:

    1. “The Perth Group had gone so far as to offer a $20,000 prize to anyone who can prove that HIV does exist, challenging: ‘So confident am I that no such electron micrograph evidence for the existence of ’HIV’ can be produced…'”

    This repeats a mis-statement of John Moore. It is especially telling because it demonstrates a lack of knowledge of basic historical facts concerning dissidents. Of course, Perth never offered such a prize, Continuum magazine did. Perth corrects John Moore in 2006: “We have never “put out a competition on” our website offering “a cash prize for anyone who could prove that HIV exists”. In fact, at that time (1996) we did not even have a website. The prize was offered by Continuum magazine, not by the Perth Group. When Peter Duesberg claimed it, we challenged his claim.”, and from 1999, “In 1996, when Peter Duesberg wrote a paper claiming the Continuum prize, he directly challenged the Perth group. We then had no choice but to openly defend our position, and we repeated the reasons in our lecture given at the 1998 Geneva International AIDS Conference.”

    2. “Another close colleague and biographer of Duesberg, Harvey Bialy, views peer review as a corrupt and conspiring entity. For example, in 2006 he stated in an article posted at the Lew Rockwell social libertarian web site: Today’s scientists are almost wholly dependent upon the goodwill of government researchers and powerful peer review boards, who control a financial network binding together the National Institutes of Health, academia, and the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. Many scientists live in fear of losing their funding.”

    I immediately recognized this quote from Celia Farber’s 2006 Harper’s article. I was curious to check the reference. The quote itself appears — physically, in ink! — in the reference, but the quote is not the words of Bialy. Kalichman seems to be under the mistaken impression that whatever string of words or symbols appear in something written by author X, then author X must be the author of the words. In other words, Kalichman is unfamiliar with the convention of one author quoting another author. This is further confirmed by his sloppy use of quotation marks in his writing.

    In this case, Bialy quoted the US government, who in turn quoted Farber. A nesting of 2 quotes, if you will. Apparently, a high level of abstraction for Kalichman to process.

  5. MacDonald said

    Kalichman will not be able to substantiate his claim that he had to go undercover to get information. There is, as he boldly admits, nothing but trivia in his book and the mysterious Newton Files.

    It is a perfect Catch-22: If Kalichman claims he has uncovered something dark and hidden, he has to publish it and risk exposing his unethical methods in the process. That is why he has such great trouble deciding in which form they should be published.

    But if he doesn’t publish something revolutionary, he cannot even dress his underkover kapers in the fig leaf he is now desperately trying to grow, that he achieved privileged insight into a closed world.

    As has been pointed out in the review of “Denying AIDS” on Celia Farber’s
    thetruthbarrier.com, there are almost no traces in the book of the standard methodology applied in the field by psychologists. And Kalichman has already confirmed on his blog that the “research” was a mission to trap and expose frauds and quacks, not mere “observation” as he unctuously claims in the quote above.

    It is this dilemma that creates the amusing spectacle of Kalichman alternately calling the Newton Files not worthy of publishing, only to hint in the next sentence at the psychological revelations contained in them.

    Darin remarks:

    This repeats a mis-statement of John Moore. It is especially telling because it demonstrates a lack of knowledge of basic historical facts concerning dissidents

    This reflects a deeper problem with the book’s composition. Kalichman is basically not very well versed in anything, he therefore relies on different collaborators for different sections and aspects of the book. This has resulted in the book being all over the place, with the initial feeble attempts at psychologising getting lost through large parts of it in favour of the personal preoccupations of Kalichman’s go-to AIDStruth sources. This is especially obvious in the eminently irrelevant chapter on Peter Duesberg.

    Since these sources are also the same people Kalichman has relied on to “fact”-check, it is unavoidable that he should repeat their mistakes more or less verbatim on several occasions.

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