Bericht in "The Star" (Südafrika) vom 15. Dezember 2000.
(Die Presseschlacht vom Sommmer 2000 folgt im Anschluß daran, zur AIDS-Kommission und -konferenz hier.)
Empörung - Mbeki setzt die AIDS-Debatte fort
Präsident Thabo Mbekis Aussage während seines laufenden Besuchs in Brasilien, daß Wissenschaftler nicht wissen, wonach sie beim HIV-Test suchen, "wirft uns auf Stufe 1 zurück", sagte die Demokratische Allianz [DA, Oppositionspartei] am Freitag. Mit jeder Aussage, die Mbeki zu diesem Thema mache, erklärt DA-Sprecher Dr. Kobus Gous, verbrenne er sich mehr den Mund.
Der Präsident wäre gut beraten, medizinische Angelegenheiten den medizinischen Experten zu überlassen, und davon Abstand zu nehmen, weitere Kommentare zu HIV und AIDS abzugeben, welche die Reputation Südafrikas - ebenso wie seine eigene - weiter beschädigen würden. Mbekis "fortwährendes Flirten" mit AIDS-Dissidenten führe dazu, daß er sich zunehmend vom Rest der Welt isoliere.
"Uns war versprochen worden, daß die Kommission Mbekis mit wissenschaftlichen Experten ihren Bericht bis zum Ende dieses Jahres vorlegen würden."
"Aber dieser Termin ist nun auf den Anfang des kommenden Jahres verschoben worden," sagte Gous. Die DA würde keine überraschenden Entdeckungen oder Enthüllungen im Bericht erwarten. "Wir erwarten, daß die Kommission den Südafrikanern nur mitteilen wird, was wir bereits wissen. "In der Zwischenzeit sterben Tausende von Südafrikanern an AIDS, Tag für Tag. Und rein zufällig, Herr Präsident, waren sie alle HIV-positiv," fügte er hinzu.
Original (laut Dr. Rasnick):
Fury as Mbeki re-opens Aids debate
President Thabo Mbeki's statement during his current visit to Brazil that scientists don't know what they are looking for when testing for HIV, "puts us right back to square one", the Democratic Alliance said on Friday. Every time Mbeki made a statement on this topic he put his foot deeper in his mouth, DA spokesperson Dr Kobus Gous said.
The president would be well advised to leave medical matters to the medical experts, and to refrain from making any more statements on HIV and Aids, which could damage South Africa's reputation - and his own - even further. Mbeki's "continuous flirting" with Aids dissidents puts him increasingly out of touch with the rest of the world.
"We were promised that the president's panel of scientific experts would release their report by the end of this year.
"But that date has now been shifted to early in the new year," Gous said. The DA did not expect any surprise findings or revelations in the report. "We expect that the panel will only tell South Africans what we know already." In the meantime, thousands of South Africans are dying from Aids every day. "And coincidentally, Mr President, they were all HIV-positive," he said.
|Mbeki´s Kampf|| |
Der Präsident Südafrikas, Thabo Mbeki, hat in den letzten Wochen [Sommer 2000] für viel Aufregung auf beiden Seiten der HIV/AIDS-Auseinandersetzung gesorgt.
Er hat sich zwar nie auf die Seite der AIDS-Kritiker gestellt, also nie behauptet, daß HIV kein AIDS erzeuge oder gar nicht existiere. Vielmehr fordert er eine neue, unvoreingenommene Überprüfung der Ursachen für AIDS.
Diese Forderung hat ausgereicht, um bei den Vertretern des internationalen AIDS-Establishments, einschließlich der am virtuellen HIV gut verdienenden Pharma-Unternehmen, helle Panik auszulösen.
Konkreter Anlaß für Mbekis Überlegungen, bei der er auch auf "böse" Außenseiterliteratur über das Internet zugriff, war die Frage, ob schwangere Frauen weiterhin obligatorisch mit (dem hochgiftigen) AZT "behandelt" werden sollten, um eine HIV-Übertragung auf das Kind möglichst auszuschließen.
Die unmittelbare und konkrete Folge von Mbekis Überlegungen besteht darin, daß zur AIDS-Konferenz, welche die Regierung Südafrikas im Vorfeld des AIDS-Konferenz in Durban (Südafrika) im Juli stattfinden soll, auch AIDS-Kritiker eingeladen werden sollen. Damit können sich die Vertreter des Establishments natürlich nicht anfreunden, bedeutet eine solche Einladung doch, daß bestimmte sog. Fakten plötzlich wieder in Frage gestellt werden, und das Vertrauen in die Zuverlässigkeit der offiziellen Wissenschaft schwer erschüttert würde. Freilich ist genau das notwendig, um den Sumpf trockenzulegen!
AIDS-Kommission - Teilnehmer und Entwicklungen, die am 6.5.00 die Arbeit aufgenommen hat!
|Zunächst jedoch ein Brief, den Thabo Mbeki, an US-Präsident Clinton sowie weitere "World Leaders" schrieb. (siehe im Anschluß daran seine Beschuldigungen an den CIA vom 6. Okt. 2000!)|
April 3, 2000
I am honoured to convey to you the compliments of our government as well as my own, and to inform you about some work we are doing to respond to the HIV-AIDS epidemic.
As you are aware, international organizations such as UNAIDS have been reporting that Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for two-thirds of the world incidence of HIV-AIDS. These reports indicate that our own country is among the worst affected.
Responding to these reports, in 1998, our government decided radically to step up its own efforts to combat AIDS, this fight having, up to this point, been left largely to our Ministry and Department of Health.
Among other things, we set up a Ministerial Task Force against HIV-AIDS chaired by the Deputy President of the Republic, which position I was privileged to occupy at the time.
Our current Deputy President, the Hon. Jacob Zuma, now leads this Task Force.
We also established Partnerships against AIDS, with many major sectors of our society including the youth, women, business, labour unions and the religious communities.
We have now also established a National AIDS Council, again chaired by the Deputy President and bringing together the government and civil society.
An important part of the campaign that we are conducting seeks to encourage safe sex and the use of condoms.
At the same time, as an essential part of our campaign against HIV AIDS, we are working to ensure that we focus properly and urgently on the elimination of poverty among the millions of our people.
Similarly, we are doing everything we can, within our very limited possibilities, to provide the necessary medicaments and care to deal with what are described as 'opportunistic diseases' that attach to acquired immune deficiency.
As a government and a people, we are trying to organize ourselves to ensure that we take care of the children affected and orphaned to AIDS.
We work also to ensure that no section of our society, whether public or private discriminates against people suffering from HIV-AIDS.
In our current budget, we have included a dedicated fund to finance our activities against HIV-AIDS. This is in addition to funds that the central government departments as well as the provincial and local administrations will spend on this campaign.
We have also contributed to our Medical Research Council such funds as we can, for the development of an AIDS vaccine.
Demands are being made within the country for the public health system to provide anti-retroviral drugs for various indications, including mother-to-child transmission.
We are discussing this matter, among others with our statutory licensing authority for medicines and drugs, the Medicines Control Council (MCC).
Toward the end of last year, speaking in our national parliament, I said that I had asked our Minister of Health to look into various controversies taking place among scientists on HIV AIDS and the toxicity of a particular anti-retroviral drug. In response to this, among other things, the Minister is working to put together an international panel of scientists to discuss all these issues in as transparent a setting as possible.
As you know, AIDS in the United States and other developed Western countries has remained largely confined to a section of the male homosexual population.
For example, the cumulative heterosexual contact, US percentage for AIDS cases among adults/adolescents, through June 1999 is given as 10 percent. (HIV-AIDS Surveillance Report: Midyear edition. Vol 11, No 1, 1999. US Department of Health and Human Services). The cumulative absolute total for this age group is reported as being 702,748.
US AIDS deaths for the period January 1996 to June 1997 were stated by the US CDC as amounting to 32,750. (Trends in the HIV and AIDS Epidemic: 1998. CDC).
On May 13, 1999, a SAFA-AFP report datelined Paris stated that 1998 UNAIDS and WHO reports had said that AIDS was responsible for one death in five in Africa, or about two million people.
It quoted a Dr. Awa Coll Seck of UNAIDS as saying that there are 23 million carriers in Africa of HIV.
This SAFA-AFP report quotes Dr. Coll Seck as saying: 'In Southern Africa, the prevalence of the (HIV) infection has increased so much in five years that this region could, if the epidemic continues to spread at this rate, see its life expectancy decline to 47 by 2005.'
The report went on to say that almost 1,500 people are infected in South Africa every day and that, at that point, the equivalent of 3.8 million people in our country carried the virus.
Again as you are aware, whereas in the West HIV-AIDS is said to be largely homosexually transmitted, it is reported that in Africa, including our country, it is transmitted heterosexually.
Accordingly, as Africans, we have to deal with this uniquely African catastrophe that:
* contrary to the West, HIV AIDS in Africa is heterosexually transmitted;
* contrary to the West, where relatively few people have died from AIDS, itself a matter of serious concern, millions are said to have died in Africa; and,
* contrary to the West, where AIDS deaths are declining, even greater numbers of Africans are destined to die.
It is obvious that whatever lessons we have to and may draw from the West about the grave issue of HIV-AIDS, a simple superimposition of Western experience on African reality would be absurd and illogical.
Such proceeding would constitute a criminal betrayal of our responsibility to our own people. It was for this reason that I spoke as I did in our parliament, in the manner in which I have indicated.
I am convinced that our urgent task is to respond to the specific threat that faces us as Africans. We will not eschew this obligation in favour of the comfort of the recitation of a catechism that may very well be a correst response to the specific manifestation of AIDS in the West.
We will not, ourselves, condemn our own people to death by giving up the search for specific and targeted responses to the specifically African incidence of HIV-AIDS.
I make these comments because our search for these specific and targeted responses is being stridently condemned by some in our country and the rest of the world as constituting a criminal abandonment of the fight against HIV-AIDS.
Some elements of this orchestrated campaign of condemnation worry me very deeply.
It is suggested, for instance, that there are some scientists who are 'dangerous and discredited' with whom nobody, including ourselves, should communicate or interact.
In an earlier period in human history, these would be heretics that would be burnt at the stake!
Not long ago, in our own country, people were killed, tortured, imprisoned and prohibited from being quoted in private and in public because the established authority believed that their views were dangerous and discredited.
We are now being asked to do precisely the same thing that the racist apartheid tyranny we opposed did, because, it is said, there exists a scientific view that is supported by the majority, against which dissent is prohibited.
The scientists we are supposed to put into scientific quarantine include Nobel Prize Winners, Members of Academies of Science and Emeritus Professors of various disciplines of medicine!
Scientists, in the name of science, are demanding that we should cooperate with them to freeze scientific discourse on HIV-AIDS at the specific point this discourse had reached in the West in 1984.
People who otherwise would fight very hard to defend the critically important rights of freedom of thought and speech occupy, with regard to the HIV-AIDS issue, the frontline in the campaign of intellectual intimidation and terrorism which argues that the only freedom we have is to agree with what they decree to be established scientific truths.
Some agitate for these extraordinary propositions with a religious fervour born by a degree of fanaticism, which is truly frightening.
The day may not be far off when we will, once again, see books burnt and their authors immolated by fire by those who believe that they have a duty to conduct a holy crusade against the infidels.
It is most strange that all of us seem ready to serve the cause of the fanatics by deciding to stand and wait.
It may be that these comments are extravagant. If they are, it is because in the very recent past, we had to fix our own eyes on the very face of tyranny.
I am greatly encouraged that all of us, as Africans, can count on your unwavering support in the common fight to save our continent and its peoples from death from AIDS.
Please accept, Your Excellency, the assurance of my response.
Nachtrag vom 06.10.2000: Mbeki beschuldigt angeblich den CIA der Verschwörung!
Nachtrag vom 16.08.2001: Mbeki behauptet, der untenstehende Artikel und alle anderen Meldungen, wonach er den CIA der Verschwörung bezichtigt, seien frei erfunden! Ich lasse den Artikel dennoch so stehen.
WHAT THE PRESIDENT SAID ABOUT THE CIA...
President Thabo Mbeki told the parliamentary caucus of the African National Congress that he and his government were the target of hostile forces
By Howard Barrell
Addressing about 200 ANC members of the National Assembly and some Cabinet ministers (MPs from the National Council of Provinces could not attend), President Thabo Mbeki started out by talking about attempts to transform the country from its apartheid past; he focused on the civil service, saying there had been positive changes. He then:
* Praised Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel's contribution to the recent International Monetary Fund meeting in Prague (Manuel chaired the Prague proceedings); accused United States Treasury Secretary Larry Summers of not paying sufficient heed to Manuel's speech advocating that developing countries get greater voting powers in the international financial institutions (a view contradicted by some who attended the proceedings); and he went on to say that the world economic order operated in accordance to the US's every whim and that was the way the US wanted it.
* Said South Africa's challenging of the world financial and trading systems constituted a threat to what had existed for many years and so was a threat to the US and other major Western powers.
* Said his capacity was being strained by the demands of trying to put forward a development plan for Africa; he was having to do a lot of foreign travel, trying to put this plan together (with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria and President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria); although the major Western powers were making supportive noises about a development programme, he expected them to be less forthcoming when they realised the extent of the resources that would have to be transferred to the developing world; and those who wanted to safeguard the established order in the world economy would try to undermine South Africa because of its leadership of these efforts.
* Said propaganda was being made against him because of his stance on HIV/Aids; this was a foretaste of attempts to undermine him and South Africa that were being mounted by those determined to defend the established world economic order.
* Spoke approvingly of a conference of about 60 dissident scientists held in Uganda in September (the conference said there was no scientific proof that HIV causes Aids and that HIV was merely a passenger virus caused by other factors); quoted from a document from that conference challenging the view that HIV causes Aids; said (again) that the HI virus had never been isolated; and said reports suggesting that Uganda had scored significant successes in the fight against Aids were untrue (Uganda's anti-Aids campaign, which involved a massive publicity drive spearheaded by the country's president, has been hailed internationally as a success for reducing HIV infection rates between 1992 and 1996).
* Told ANC MPs it was their duty to inform themselves so that they could counter the huge propaganda offensive that was being mounted to say that HIV caused Aids.
* Repeated his view that if one agrees that HIV causes Aids, then it follows that the condition must be treated with drugs, and those drugs are produced by the big Western drug companies; these drug companies therefore need HIV to cause Aids, so they promote the thesis that HIV causes Aids; he said one of the big drug companies (which he did not name) had confessed to him that it had wasted vast amounts of money trying to produce an anti-Aids vaccine but had given up after it had failed to isolate the HI virus; but this company was hiding this fact in order to prevent its share price falling through the floor; drug companies were only interested in developing medicines to combat a disease if they could make a profit out of that disease.
* Said the CIA had become involved in covertly promoting the view that HIV causes Aids; as part of the same effort, the US government was ignoring what the dissidents' conference in Uganda had demonstrated and was giving loans to African governments so that the latter could buy drugs from US drug companies.
* Repeated (challenged) statistics which, he said, showed that only 10% of Africans died of Aids; said it made no sense to focus all one's energies on this 10%, ignoring the other 90%; said an example of this absurd focus, promoted by the big drug companies, was the call to concentrate on Aids orphans; how could the government distinguish between the needs of Aids and non-Aids orphans?
* Said his advisers were finding out who was spreading the idea that he was "deranged"; it was clearly part of a campaign against him and the government.
* Accused the Treatment Action Campaign (an Aids NGO) of being a leading agent in the campaign against him; the campaign was funded by US drug companies.
* Said he had gained support from The Citizen in a column by its former editor, Martin Williams; but he said it was less clear that members of his Cabinet supported him on the HIV/Aids issue; he wanted to know where they stood (at this point there was muttering in the caucus from some MPs who pointed accusingly at, among others, Membathisi Mdladlana, the Minister of Labour, who was one of a couple of Cabinet members to contradict the president's views in late September and to say forthrightly that HIV causes Aids).
* Said MPs should join him in meeting these challenges and fighting off attempts to undermine him and the government; MPs should not be afraid to take on the powerful international forces trying to undermine him and, therefore, the government's agenda; the struggles he and the government were waging in the international economic institutions and the World Trade Organisation, and against the propaganda put out by the drug companies and, covertly, the CIA were all linked.
At the end of Mbeki's address, caucus chair Thabang Makwetla did not offer MPs a chance to ask questions or debate the issues raised by Mbeki. The same was the case when Mbeki addressed the caucus after the invasion of Lesotho and when the ANC objected to the release of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
|Im nachfolgenden Artikel in "The Mail & Guardian" werden Duesbergs Ansichten relativ detailliert dargestellt, was den Autor aber nicht hindert, Duesberg zum Moralisten (statt Wissenschaftler) zu stempeln|
The Mail & Guardian
April 3 2000.
Johannesburg, South Africa
IVOR POWELL reports
Peter Duesberg: Aggressively questions the orthodox linkage between HIV and Aids
The self-styled Galileo of the modern age
The man at the centre of the HIV/Aids controversy in South Africa, Peter Duesberg, aggressively questions the link between HIV and Aids.
QUESTION: If you were told tomorrow that you were HIV-positive, what would you do?
Answer: I wouldn't get worried about this, not the least bit.
The speaker here is German-American scientist Peter Duesberg, professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and doyen of the Aids dissidents.
He is also a man at the centre of a controversy in South Africa after it was reported that President Thabo Mbeki reportedly wants to approach him to serve on a scientific panel to review existing research on HIV and Aids.
Recipient of the 1971 California Scientist of the Year Award, as well as the United States National Health Institute's Outstanding Investigator Award in 1986, and a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, Duesberg might have appeared the ideal candidate. After groundbreaking work on influenza and isolating, for the first time, the cancer gene, he was even rumoured to be in line for a Nobel Prize.
That was before the self-styled Galileo of the modern age chose to go off on a scientific tangent, aggressively questioning the orthodox linkage between HIV and Aids. After that time, his federal funding was cut off, his post-graduate students drifted off, the invitations for foreign fellowships dried up, to the extent that his own Internet curriculum vitae lists no honours after 1992.
But, unrepentant, Duesberg claims he would go even further than just measured unconcern if diagnosed with HIV. He claims he is willing to inject himself with the virus in order to prove his heretical hypothesis that it does not cause Aids.
There are usually restrained scientists who have, somewhat ghoulishly, gone on record to say they wish he would -- "if I could get a grant for it. I will write down the way I am going to do it, I want it to be reviewed and then the bet is on. If I am wrong, and I am dead five years later or have Aids, then I have done my contribution to science," says Duesberg.
But of course he holds he will not be wrong, believing as he does that the orthodox connection between HIV and Aids is nothing but a gross, overblown and dangerously unrigorous myth.
To Duesberg's mind:
a.. HIV is not the cause of Aids, but a harmless retrovirus;
b.. HIV and Aids are not infectious;
c.. Aids cannot be thought of as a single disease and different causes need to be isolated in relations to different affected groups;
d.. in the developed world at least, long-term drug use and drugs used in
the treatment of HIV are the primary causes of Aids; and
e.. existing theories on HIV and Aids are based on unproven circumstantial evidence, and cynically sustained by a conspiracy between the medical establishment and drug companies with a vested interest in the hypothesis.
That was the theory in its original form, as adumbrated in the late 1980s. Subsequently, however, Duesberg has been forced to revise it -- especially in view of Aids statistics in Africa, where the recreational use of hard drugs (in interviews Duesberg specifically excludes marijuana) would hardly provide a plausible explanation.
"African Aids and American and European Aids," he asserts, "are totally different things. They have the same name but that is all they have in common."
As opposed to the form of Aids prevalent in the developed world, Duesberg blames the African epidemic on "malnutrition, parasitic infection and poor sanitation".
For other risk groups, like haemophiliacs -- who equally fail to fit his First World Aids profile -- Duesberg has, similarly, to postulate other causes again in a seemingly descending spiral of justification.
Despite his fine rhetoric, however, it is still possible to question Duesberg's real commitment. In recent years, largely as a result of the conversion of millionaire San Francisco financier Bob Leppo to the dissident position and, latterly, the adoption of the cause by a right-wing lobby in the United States Congress, money is not the problem it once was. If Duesberg were serious about the challenge, it is at least arguable that the requisite funding could be found.
Instead, the Duesberg position on HIV/Aids has tended to play more as a propaganda war than as any positive or scientifically based contribution to scientific knowledge. In July last year it culminated in a blitz on the US Congress, where a white bag emblazoned with a red cross was distributed to every member of Congress. Inside was Duesberg's book, Inventing the Aids Virus, with an excerpt from fellow sceptic and Nobel Prize winner Kary Mullis's Dancing Naked in the Mind Field along with assorted other documents calling for a reappraisal of the HIV-Aids hypothesis and an audit of government research spending.
Dramatic as it might have been -- one imagines the late German conceptual artist, Joseph Beuys might have eaten his heart out -- the gesture does not appear to have had much effect. Duesberg's support group in the US, the Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/Aids Hypothesis, numbers only around 600 members, a little more than half of them practicing scientists. Not a single statutory scientific research body in the world -- though several, including South Africa's own, have considered the dissident theory -- has given it any credence whatsoever.
And at least until President Thabo Mbeki announced his intention to revisit Aids research, support for the Duesberg position was limited among politicians to the right wing, apparently seduced by Duesberg's essentially moralistic counter-hypothesis.
|Ein "relativ" fairer Artikel in Newsweek, in dem berichtet wird, wie AIDS-"Dissident" Dr. David Rasnick, ein enger Vertrauer Duesbergs, direkt von Mbeki telefonisch kontaktiert wurde.|
SOUTH AFRICA Flirting With Strange Ideas
Mbeki reaches out to a controversial AIDS researcher
By Tom Masland and Patricia King
It was the first phone call David Rasnick ever received from a head of state. When the San Francisco biochemist's telephone rang last Jan. 21, South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, was on the line. Mbeki, Rasnick says, was eager to discuss Rasnick's controversial theories about AIDS: that the disease now ravaging sub-Saharan Africa is not caused by a virus, and that drug cocktails used in rich countries to defer the onset of AIDS are toxic. During the 10-minute call, Rasnick says, it was clear Mbeki is determined not to blindly follow the conventional scientific wisdom on AIDS and its treatment. "If he can stick it outóand he has told me he willóhe deserves a Nobel Prize," Rasnick says.
What has come over Thabo Mbeki? He is Washington's favorite African leaderóurbane and brainy, the West's best hope for a continent mired in poverty, corruption and disease. No one doubts he is committed to fighting AIDS; Mbeki has put together a vigorous AIDS-awareness program and has also long tried to force Western drug companies into providing low-cost AIDS medicines to poor countries. But his flirtation with an obscure, discredited theory disheartens many AIDS researchersóand flabbergasts administration officials preparing for Mbeki's state visit in late May. According to one senior U.S. official, Mbeki's contacts with the dissenters on HIV were discussed at the White House last week. Mbeki's "made a huge mistake," says this official, "but we don't know whether it was a cynical mistakeóif there was pressure on him [to downplay HIV]óor a genuine error. Either way, the consequences are serious."
Mbeki has done little to clear up the mystery. His office won't even confirm or deny that the phone call to Rasnick took place. Yet Mbeki has publicly insisted on revisiting the basis of AIDS science. Some critics suggest he's motivated by intellectual prideóthe determination not to be dictated to by the West and by South Africa's mainly white and Indian medical establishment. "The president is saying there are a number of questions regarding the prevalence of AIDS in South Africa that need to be answered," says Joel Netshitenzhe, an Mbeki spokesman.
Mbeki must be wary of getting burned on AIDS policy. As vice president, he backed development of a locally produced AIDS treatment called Virodene, which contained a dry-cleaning solvent and proved ineffective. Now he's under pressure to make costly decisions. The main sticking point is whether to commit to a program involving symptom-fighting retrovirals, of the type used by AIDS victims in the West. A large-scale program could bust his budget, but activists demand that the government provide the drug AZT free to pregnant women and rape victims. Here, the dissident AIDS theory was a useful argument for caution. In Parliament last November, Mbeki said that "there exists a large volume of scientific literature alleging... that the toxicity of this drug is such that it is a danger to health."
A new skirmish in the AIDS war erupted last week. Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang told Parliament that five South African women had died during an American clinical trial involving the AIDS drug Nevirapine, a low-cost alternative to AZT. Doctors involved in the research said the minister had misleadingly conflated two studies. Meanwhile, Mbeki questioned the motives of those who continue to urge him to set up an AZT program. In a letter obtained by the press, he said the activists seem determined to "sacrifice all intellectual integrity to act as salespersons of the product of one pharmaceutical company." Some foreign experts are threatening to boycott the 13th International AIDS Conference, planned for Durban in July, if it appears the spat will dominate the proceedings. In San Francisco, Rasnick said he views the controversy as one more proof of his theory: AIDS is a "sociological and political phenomenonóthat's why you get all these shrill attacks." But Mbeki, whose country has more than 4 million HIV-positive people, can't afford to be glib.
|Es folgt ein wirklich widerlicher Artikel der "Washington Post", mit einer kurzen Anmerkung von Prof. Phillip Johnson sowie einem Leserbrief von Jason Nusbaum.|
The Washington Post, April 20, 2000, Thursday,OPED; Pg. A33
HEADLINE: In South Africa, AIDS and a Dangerous Denial
BYLINE: Ronald Bayer; Mervyn Susser
Two tragedies are unfolding simultaneously in South Africa. The first is epidemiological, with millions of men, women and children infected with HIV destined to develop AIDS. The second is political, with President Thabo Mbeki seriously entertaining a discredited view that challenges the role of HIV as the cause of AIDS. Together, the tragedies may well exacerbate the epidemic in South Africa, an outcome that will be measured in untold suffering and death.
The spread of AIDS in southern Africa, almost entirely the consequence of heterosexual transmission, follows a pattern profoundly affected by apartheid. The mining industry, from its outset in the 19th century, had a legally enforced migratory black labor system. Because African men were denied the right to settle with their families, a large sex imbalance resulted, with an excess of males in urban areas and of females in rural areas. At any one time, most men in their reproductive years were separated from their homes and from the sexual norms of settled rural societies.
Under a racist regime, black South Africans were deprived of education, access to adequate health care, housing and employment. Confined in squalid conditions, rural or urban, men and their female partners were made vulnerable to the HIV epidemic being carried southward from Central Africa. By 1989, one percent of black women in the well-attended prenatal clinics across the country were infected with HIV, a good indicator of epidemic spread.
In the years since the fall of the apartheid regime in 1994, the epidemic has continued its rise unabated. In some rural areas of the country, the level of HIV infection among black pregnant women has reached 40 percent, and the rest of the country will not be far behind. With the onset of AIDS in the infected and the slew of other AIDS-related infections, already millions are destined to crowd the hospitals and die.
In wealthy nations, remarkable advances have altered the face of AIDS. Powerful antiretroviral therapies have delayed the onset of AIDS symptoms and prolonged the lives of those who have fallen ill. The drug AZT can reduce transmission from infected women to their babies during pregnancy by up to two-thirds. In the United States, pediatric AIDS is on the verge of disappearing.
But for poor nations, and even nations such as South Africawhich, within the context of Africa, is relatively well offthese achievements remain cruelly beyond reach. True, a shortened and cheaper course of AZT during pregnancy might reduce the risk of maternal transmission by half. An even cheaper therapy involving the drug nevirapine has been shown in one trial to reduce maternalfetal transmission by at least as much. But for the most part, lifeextending drugs are too costly to make them usable.
Even were drug prices to fall, the infrastructure for distribution does not exist. Drug companies' desire for profitsand a limited commitment by industrialized nations to provide access to AIDS therapy for the poorhas produced a morally deplorable situation.
This is the context within which the recent pronouncements of the leadership of South Africa must be viewed. The Ministry of Health under President Nelson Mandela courageously challenged the inequities of pricing policies of the international pharmaceutical industry. But Mbeki and his political allies have chosen to align themselves with Peter Duesberg, who argues, despite vast epidemiological, clinical and laboratory evidence, that HIV does not cause AIDS. They belittle prevention and safe-sex programs and promote the discredited view that AZT is a poison that kills.
Such nonsensical claims will weaken already weak prevention campaigns and diminish the reach and use of vaccines now under consideration. More men, women and adolescents will find justification for reckless exposure to a deadly infection. The moral claim to make antiHIV drugs affordable so that those who are infected may live longer, symptom-free lives will be blunted.
The world's scientific community must support South Africa's scientists in their effort to persuade Mbeki not to give credence to the disruptive claims of dangerous scientific cranks. To pursue such a path in the face of worldwide scientific consensus would doom the people of South Africa to immense suffering.
Ronald Bayer is a professor in Columbia University's school of public health. Mervyn Susser is professor of epidemiology emeritus there. He was long engaged in the antiapartheid struggle from outside South Africa and founded the Committee on Health in Southern Africa.
[Lots of political hype to cover up a glaring anomaly: the same virus supposedly sticks mainly to males in North America and is freely transmitted heterosexually in Africa. - Prof. Phillip Johnson]
Zu diesem schlimmen Machwerk schrieb Jason Nusbaum folgenden Leserbrief an die Washington Post:
AIDS and HIV: More Than One Scientific View
Saturday , April 29, 2000
We read with disappointment the April 20 op-ed column by Ronald Bayer and Mervyn Susser ["In South Africa, AIDS and a Dangerous Denial"].
A growing number of scientists, health care workers and AIDS activists question the notion that a single virus, HIV, is the cause of the complex tragedy of AIDS. After 18 years of failed research, it's time to take a second look at the causes and treatments of AIDS. Those who have been maimed and killed by AIDS drugs, or been told that they will die because they test "HIV positive," deserve more than the usual propaganda.
Bayer and Susser repeat the tired lines of the AIDS pharmaceutical and medical establishment: AIDS drugs are wonderful, HIV is the sole cause of AIDS and is universally fatal, and open debate of these issues is "dangerous."
Most absurd is their dismissal as a "nonsensical claim" the statement that "AZT is a poison which kills." On behalf of the thousands of HIV-positives who have suffered and died from the adverse effects of AZT, we advise Bayer and Susser to enroll in basic biology and pharmacology courses.
AZT is one of the most toxic drugs ever prescribed to human beings. It works by randomly terminating DNA synthesis in the body. It kills the T-cells of the immune system, the very cells researchers say AIDS patients are missing. In addition to causing lymphoma, muscle wasting and other conditions listed as AIDS-defining illnesses, the commercial label on AZT features a skull and crossbones, the international symbol for poison, and the statement: "TOXIC. Toxic by inhalation, in contact with skin and if swallowed. Target organ(s): Blood bone marrow. If you feel unwell, seek medical advice. Wear suitable protective clothing."
South African President Thabo Mbeki is a hero, calling for inclusion of all scientific points of view on these issues at the coming International AIDS Conference, despite coordinated pressure from the multibillion-dollar AIDS pharmaceutical and research machine to "discredit" those who do not fall in line with popular AIDS ideology.
The writer is director of Alive and Well AIDS Alternatives in New York City.
|Mbeki - Teil 2|