2009 08:45 PM
Dear RA and Rethinking Activists,
days ago David Crowe put up a public webpage distorting my words,
removing their context and saying that I was misleading people –
attacking Val Turner and Anthony Brink as well. He particularly
criticized my attempt to bring RA closer to the Perth Group. I asked for
the webpage’s removal but this has not happened. Now I need to defend
myself by explaining just why David may have selected me out. See
already sent this to David and a senior RA board member. I have told
David that I have no intention of attacking him on my public websites,
as he has done to three of us. This posting is for RA members and
activists and is sent in the hope that factual information might allow
us to address some of the issues now facing us – including whether we
can manage to bring RA closer to Perth.
and I had a horrible battle last year during which his actions and
threats dismayed and shocked both myself and Christine Maggiore. She was
horrified when he threatened to defy a RA Board’s resolution that she
had secured. For me the battle lasted nearly three months. It left me
depressed and without energy. The fight was so totally unexpected. The
only reason that all of you may not know about this is that we tried to
protect him afterwards.
this is now germane to another case. As you all know, barrister Anthony
Brink has accused David Crowe, RA President, of subverting the RA Board
decision in the matter of the Parenzee trial, charging that contrary to
his Board’s decision, David went ahead regardless as “Citizen Crowe”,
claiming as such he had no obligations to follow his Board’s
is this similar to what happened with us? In the Fall of 2008 I asked
David for help in carrying out a project I had put to Gary Null on a
visit to the States. I proposed what has since happened: a letter signed
by heavyweight scientists calling for the withdrawal of the Gallo and
Popovic papers on the grounds of major scientific fraud (the evidence in
these papers and associated documents did not establish that a virus did
or did not cause AIDS, but it did reveal that the papers contained major
scientific deceit and fraud).
agreed to find scientists and we co-drafted the proposed letter. As it
happened, I rewrote much of it as we worked on. David more or less
accepted my version.
October 20th David announced he “was only interested in noted
rethinkers as signatories.”
drafted a letter to Science that can be signed by any scientist, whether
or not they had come to a final view on HIV.”
on 1st November David demanded control. He wrote:
thought that it was clear that this letter was under my signature and
therefore it’s my responsibility and I have the final say.”
declared it would be presented to the Science journal as a RA
am speaking of a cover note to the journal “Science” that I believe
should be signed by a representative of RA.”
replied in my view this would ensure the immediate rejection of the
letter as a “denialist” propaganda piece.
knowing what else to do, I now went for advice to Peter Duesberg,
putting to him my fear that David’s approach would jeopardize our
eventual chance of success and proposing an alternative.
replied on 8th November:
“Dear J, 100% d’accord. More later, Cordially, Peter.”
this to David, but to my great surprise he rejected Peter’s advice. When
I told Peter, he then suggested asking Professor Gordon Stewart for
wrote to us and to David Crowe on 2nd November to say:
“Dear Ms Roberts, Thank you for sending me a copy of your letter to
Peter Duesberg. I agree with you and Peter that it will be
counter-productive to the main issue of deception in the publications
about LAV/HTLV III etc in Science in 1983-84 if RA figures in the first
letter to Science. I am sure that David Crowe will see the sense in
this, especially since – whether or not the letter is published – the
interest of RA can be expressed later.” (emphasis added)
David ignored the advice of these senior RA Board members. He wrote to
me on 13th November:
involvement was in the original agreement [between him and me]....My
[David’s] choices are 1. RA letter signed by Crowe 2. RA letter
signed by Crowe and Roberts (I don’t think this is in Janine’s best
interest as an ‘unbiased’ journalist, but it’s her choice).”
did not want to sign – I wanted a letter that Science might find hard to
ignore. What to do? I spoke to Beth and then Christine.
Christine got David on the phone with me. She had a blunt proposal. She
asked, would we both agree to follow the RA Board’s decision if I get it
to vote on this? We agreed to write up our alternative proposals in a
few paragraphs that would be submitted to the vote anonymously. It
seemed the only way to resolve this.
days later the RA board voted unanimously for my proposal and rejected
that was not the end of it.
November, a week before the letter was to be released, I asked David for
the email addresses of the letter’s signatories, so I could keep them up
to date with progress afterwards. David’s reply was:
“We’ve already had an experience where your communications were at cross
purposes to mine. (i.e. with Peter) If you wish to send them an
email, I’ll need to know what it is first” (thus it is still
impossible for me to contact everyone).
the 28th David wrote suggesting “what is your thought about the two
of us signing?” This was contrary to the Board resolution for only
having senior signatories and I said so. Next day David wrote “What
about me signing as president of ARAS?”
the 30th, a day before the letter was due to be released, David sent the
“Janine, I made a big mistake by allowing this issue to be directed to
the board. You have realized that we need a central point of contact.
Unless you can come up with a solution in the next few hours, I will be
reverting to my original plan and sending a cover letter under my
signature as President of RA requesting correspondence be sent to me.
You can co-sign if you want. The only way to avoid this is to come up
with a practical plan in the next few hours. And asking one of our
scientists to be the point person is not satisfactory. If I decide to
change direction I will send a note to the board indicating why their
first choice was not practicable.”
was swiftly followed by another email:
“Janine: Your proposal requires one of the senior scientists to submit
this so it is your responsibility to find a coordinator who is on the
list of signatories. I will be sending the letter in Monday morning. I
will need one of the scientists to agree to do this by then or I’m
sending it in with a cover letter under my signature, solely as a
coordinator. I will even agree not to list my affiliation with RA if
that makes it better.”
had been ages for David to find this coordinator – and now he making it
into a last minute hoop I had to jump through.
to Gordon, Peter, Christine and Etienne to say:
“Friends - how do we deal with this? It was not just me but the Board
that rejected an RA cover note. This is why our earlier very painful
dispute had to be sent to the board for a decision. I had so much hoped
it was now all over. (David and my names should not have been on the
letter either – not something I ever wanted). Allies should not be
fighting – so where is the angel of peace? Janine”
Gordon Stewart answered the same day (11/30/08):
“Etienne, This is very disappointing, and calls for urgent action by the
Board. I voted for proposal A and so, I think, did the other medical
scientists on the Board. A letter from a nondescript group will be 100%
non-productive and a letter from RA supporting it will discredit RA as
well. I asked David for a copy of the final draft but he did not reply.
I think that you as past-president are the best person to approach David
immediately to ask him to delay sending both letters until the Board
considers the difficulty. Gordon.”
now wrote to me:
no signatory is identified to me by the end of the day as being willing
to coordinate communications with “Science” I will be attaching a
cover letter under my name and signature, indicating that I will
coordinate communications with the signatories. I will not identify
myself with any organization and will include my corporate email
address, if it comes to this.” (emphasis added)
“David, Whether or not you now wish you did not go to the board, we did
agree to stick to their decision. I think you are honour bound to do
that day I found one of signatories who was willing to be the point
person. I had met David’s imposed deadline. The letter now was only one
day from its scheduled release.
was to get worse. David replied the day the letter was to come out (1st
“It’s okay, I have a solution that doesn’t involve RA.”
later that day from David:
think we’re done talking. You went behind my back [to Peter and
Gordon] ... You will get a copy of the letter when it’s done. My
offer to give you email addresses has been withdrawn.”
have come up with a solution that meets the requirements of the board
decision. RA will in no way be associated with the letter, except
through the inclusion of board members like Gordon and Etienne [as
plan was to present it himself as a private citizen – and include
signatories who were not senior scientists.
Christine Maggiore wrote (9:46 AM - 12/1/08):
agreed that the first round signers would be senior scientists. The Null
and Bell inclusions do not reflect the original, agreed-to plan. I know
that David has stated these people are important allies and have
contributed much to the efforts which is very true, but that does not
change what we agreed to which is that the first round of signers would
be senior scientists. Let’s stick to the original plan.”
replied later on the First December.
“Christine; I am not going to disinvite people. Null claims to have a
PhD. That’s good enough for me. I just don’t understand why two somewhat
lightweight signatures out of about 40 are a problem. Anyway, the RA
board disavowed this as an RA action, so I am finishing this off on
my own, as David Crowe, private citizen now.” (emphasis added)
Christine Maggiore immediately replied (12/1/08):
“This “angel of peace” is about ready to slam some heads together! The
agreement was for Proposal A which states that senior scientists sign
the letter going to Science and that the letter is NOT accompanied by an
introduction from RA. This is what was agreed to by board vote and this
quibbling is annoying, embarrassing and utterly unproductive. STOP!
Christine, outraged, at the very last moment, just hours before the
letter was to be released, got David to refrain from issuing the letter
under his own name, from defying the board and damaging the letter’s
chance of success. Then Clark Baker stepped in and managed to persuade
David that it was okay to remove less senior signatories from the
initial letter if they agreed. I phoned Gary Null and he did so.
probably one of the last contributions Christine made to RA. For me and
probably for her it was horrible and totally unexpected. It was also
shattering and exhausting for me for I had to fight from October to
December for the letter’s survival and best chance of success. Until
this I had totally assumed that David would be a great ally. And I kept
quiet about most of it.
worth it? Only if we still keep on trying to use this hard won letter as
a weapon, only if it is sent to scientific ethical bodies – something I
am now discussing again with various scientists.
what David announced he would do in our case is, I discover, exactly
what Eleni and Anthony accuse him of doing in the Parenzee case. It
brings up the issue of whether a RA president can thus evade Board
resolutions he does not like and take control over other people’s
projects as he tried to do with myself.
get back to much more positive work.