Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six


Anthony Brink

Part One

The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis, and the Rethinking AIDS Group: 1991 – 2002

The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis is formed in 1991 at the initiative of Charles Thomas, former professor of molecular biology at Harvard. The Group comprises thirty-two signatories to an open letter to the scientific community:

It is widely believed by the general public that a retrovirus called HIV causes the group of diseases called AIDS. Many biomedical scientists now question this hypothesis. We propose that a thorough reappraisal of the existing evidence for and against this hypothesis be conducted by a suitable independent group. We further propose that critical epidemiological studies be devised and undertaken.

Most important among the signatories is Royal Perth Hospital biophysicist Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos, who has identified the fundamental problem with the ‘HIV’ theory of AIDS missed by fellow signatory Dr Peter Duesberg, professor of cell and molecular biology at the University of California at Berkeley: she shows that contrary to his mistaken concession on this critical point, Luc Montagnier hadn’t isolated any retrovirus as he’d claimed in 1983, and nor had Robert Gallo or anyone else thereafter.

Despite this fundamental contradiction between Papadopulos-Eleopulos and Duesberg in their radically different and antagonistic critiques of the HIV-AIDS hypothesis, the letter is sufficiently broadly framed to accommodate them both.

In June 1992 the first issue of a newsletter called Rethinking AIDS explains:

RETHINKING AIDS is an occasional publication of the Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis

The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis came into existence as a result of our efforts to get the following four sentence letter published in a number of prominent scientific journals. All have refused to do so. [text of the letter above]

The ‘Editorial Board’ of Rethinking AIDS is gathered and constituted informally. It is not elected by the thirty-two founder members of the Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis, or by subsequent signatories supporting the Group’s statement. Papadopulos-Eleopulos is not invited to join it.

Harvey Bialy, a proponent of Duesberg’s claim that ‘HIV’ is a harmless passenger virus, is editor. James Trabulse, a businessman, is publisher. Duesberg is on the ‘Editorial Board’.

Unsurprisingly, the debut article in Rethinking AIDS entitled ‘It’s time to re-evaluate the HIV-AIDS hypothesis’ is straight out of Duesberg’s book and is solidly premised on his uncritical acceptance of Montagnier’s claim to have isolated ‘HIV’, and that it exists and can infect cells, only it’s harmless.

In the second half of 1994, around the time Duesberg and Brian Ellison broke up over their co-authored book dispute, Trabulse sides with Ellison, falls out with the ‘Editorial Board’, and uses the RA mailing list to advertise Ellison’s edition of the book and mail out unauthorized Rethinking AIDS newsletters.

In October 1994 UC Berkeley law professor Phillip Johnson issues a disclaimer dissociating from Trabulse, Ellison and Rethinking AIDS, and announces the intention to recommence publication of the newsletter under the title Reappraising AIDS.

In November 1994 Issue ‘Number 1’ of ‘Volume 2’ of the newsletter is published under the new name.

In January 1995, without the authority of the ‘Editorial Board’, Trabulse uses the Rethinking AIDS newsletter to publish ‘PHILLIP JOHNSON ON TRIAL: The Attempt to Censor the Ellison/Duesberg Book by Joel A. Schwartz and Bryan J. Ellison’.

The January 1995 issue of Reappraising AIDS publishes ‘AIDS in Africa?’ by Papadopulos-Eleopulos and her Perth Group.

On 17 February 1995 the ‘Editorial Board’ gets a letter published in Science. It’s coarsely drafted – from the style and content apparently by Bialy. The Perth Group are not consulted about the letter, nor are the other original founding members of the Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis.

The letter is undersigned by the members of the Reappraising AIDS newsletter ‘Editorial Board’, all named, purporting to represent the Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis.

But this letter differs radically from the original four sentence letter to which Papadopulos-Eleopulos and the other AIDS dissident scientists subscribed under the collective name for the particular purpose – and no other – The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis.

The letter in Science is premised on Duesberg’s mistaken concession in his 1987 Cancer Research paper that Montagnier achieved the ’isolation of ... HIV’, and it implicitly contradicts Papadopulos-Eleopulos’s observation to the contrary. The letter stabilizes the orthodox HIV-AIDS model to the extent that it affirms that ’HIV’ does exist, questioning only whether it lives up to its name as the cause of AIDS:

In 1991, we, the Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis, became dissatisfied with the state of the evidence that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) did, in fact, cause AIDS.

Specifically, we have proposed that researchers independent of the HIV establishment should audit the Centers for Disease Control’s records of AIDS cases, bearing in mind that the correlation of HIV with AIDS, upon which the case for HIV causation rests, is itself an artefact of the definition of AIDS. Since 1985, exactly the same diseases or conditions have been defined as ‘AIDS’ when antibodies are present, and as ‘non-AIDS’ when HIV and antibodies are absent. Independent professional groups such as the Society of Actuaries should be invited to nominate members for an independent commission to investigate the following question: How frequently do AIDS-defining diseases (or low T cell counts) occur in the absence of HIV? Until we have a definition of AIDS that is independent of HIV, the supposed correlation of HIV and AIDS is mere tautology.

Other independent researchers should examine the validity of the so-called ‘AIDS tests,’ especially when these tests are used in Africa and Southern Asia, to see if they reliably record the presence of antibodies, let alone live and replicating virus.

The bottom line is this: the skeptics are eager to see the results of independent scientific testing. Those who uphold the HIV ‘party line’ have so far refused. We object.

Eleen Baumann, Tom Bethell, Harvey Bialy, Peter H. Duesberg, Celia Farber, Charles L. Geshekter, Phillip E. Johnson, Robert W. Maver, Russell Schoch, Gordon T. Stewart, Richard C. Strohman, Charles A. Thomas Jr.

For the Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis.

The first issue of Reappraising AIDS soliciting tax-deductible donations is in July 1996. This means that what commenced as a group of signatories has been registered with the IRS as a tax exempt organization: a private foundation or a public charity. Papadopulos-Eleopulos is not consulted, nor are the other original Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis members, other than those on the ‘Editorial Board’.

In the February 1997 issue of Continuum Duesberg deplores as ‘tragic’ that AIDS dissidents should be debating whether ‘HIV’ exists or not:

‘I hope to liberate the minds of HIV dissidents from HIV for the cause that unites us all – the solution of AIDS. It seems tragic that over 99% of AIDS researchers study a virus that does not cause AIDS and that the few who don’t are now engaged in a debate over the existence of a virus that doesn’t cause AIDS.’

In January 1997 David Rasnick, a chemist, is listed as a member of the ‘Editorial Board’.

The June 1997 issue of Reappraising AIDS includes ‘About the Australians’ and the Perth Group’s article ‘The Isolation Question’.

In September 1997 the ‘New! Reappraising Web Site’ is announced.

In July 1998 the ‘Editorial Board’ is renamed the ‘Board of Directors’.

In August 1998 Rasnick is cited as ‘President’ of the ‘Board of Directors’.

In April 1999 the ‘Board of Directors’ is cited as the ‘Reappraising AIDS Board of Directors’.

In May 1999 the ‘Group’s Board of Directors’ is cited, plus a statement ‘About the Group’, asserting:

We have found solid scientific reasons to conclude that: HIV may be entirely harmless’ [etc].

Several further points talk about ‘HIV infections’. The statement represents Duesberg’s harmless virus line as the sort and as the quality of science propounded by the original Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis of which Papadopulos-Eleopulos was a founding member in 1991 – contradicting her observation that the virus Duesberg and his allies believe in hasn’t been shown to exist, as elucidated in the Perth Group’s article ‘The Isolation Question’ in the June 1997 newsletter.

In the second half of 1999 goes online, changing a few months later to

The December 1999 issue of Reappraising AIDS publishes ‘About the Perth Group’ and their article ‘THE FINAL ACT: Should HIV-AIDS Critics Question the Existence of HIV?’ under cover of then editor Paul Philpott’s introduction:

The Australian HIV-AIDS research team led by biophysicist Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos answer their fellow AIDS reappraisers who wish to ignore their doubts about HIV’s very existence. They have scoured the scientific data in search of reasons to believe that HIV exists.

Nonetheless, when in January 2000 South African President Thabo Mbeki telephones Rasnick as ‘President’ of the ‘Reappraising AIDS Board of Directors’ to discuss AIDS and then sends him a list of questions, Rasnick doesn’t consult the Perth Group before answering; he turns for help to fellow ‘board’ member Charles Geshekter, a historian, instead. The answers they return to the South African government assume and affirm the existence of ‘HIV’ and are riddled with errors. In mid-March the Perth Group fix Rasnick’s and Geshekter’s mess in a submission of their own.

In February 2000 Giraldo succeeds Rasnick as ‘President’. The newsletter of that month announces:

THE RA GROUP has elected to modify its name and the name of this publication. Effective May, 2000, the RA Group will be known as ‘The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of AIDS,’ and the name of this publication will return to its original title, ‘Rethinking AIDS.’ Board members decided that the new names are less unwieldy than the current ones.

A statement ‘About the Rethinking AIDS Group’ again lays down the Duesberg line:

We have identified solid scientific reasons to conclude that: 1 HIV may be entirely harmless [etc].

In the internet archive, ‘Rethinking AIDS’ and not ‘Reappraising AIDS’ appears on the masthead of PDF copies of the newsletter even before May 2000 – such as the February 2000 issue itself. The PDF version of the hardcopy February 2000 newsletter also omits the new ‘President’ announcement and the scientific statement under ‘About the Rethinking AIDS Group’, which the PDF version explains is ‘the Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of AIDS, also known as the Rethinking AIDS Group’.

The newsletter name change back to Rethinking AIDS actually occurs in April 2000.

In conformity with the objective of the 32-member Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis, set out in their open letter in 1991 that ‘a thorough reappraisal of the existing evidence for and against this hypothesis be conducted’, Mbeki convenes a two-meeting colloquium of orthodox and dissident AIDS expert scientists, clinicians and others in May and July 2000.

Effect is given to the Group’s suggestion, ‘We further propose that critical … studies be devised and undertaken’, in that the conduct of pre-absorption and purification experiments is agreed to test the HIV theory of AIDS at its fundamentals.

Bialy, a member of Mbeki’s AIDS Advisory Panel and the Rethinking AIDS Group ‘Board of Directors’, hijacks and buggers the pre-absorption experiment, turning in worthless results; and he collaborates (in the betrayal sense) with AIDS orthodox South African scientist Professor William Makgoba and South African officials to make sure that the second experiment proposed by the Perth Group, that an attempt be made to isolate ‘HIV’ by purification, is never performed.

Rasnick, a fellow member of both the AIDS Advisory Panel and the Rethinking AIDS Group ‘Board of Directors’, and like Bialy a close ally of Duesberg’s, involves himself in Bialy’s scheming to wreck the most important upshot of the AIDS Panel meetings, the ‘critical … studies’, to the extent that he flies in to discuss the pre-adsorption experiment with Bialy and his collaborator Dr Roberto Stock at a meeting in Johannesburg on 28 October 2001 behind the Perth Group’s backs.

In July 2001 the Rethinking AIDS Group publishes its final Rethinking AIDS newsletter.

The last time any content is uploaded to the Rethinking AIDS Group’s website is November 2002.

In about August 2003 the Rethinking AIDS Group loses it website domain to a commercial domain name reseller, who puts up a page with links to orthodox AIDS sites.

The Rethinking AIDS Group is finished.

Next: Part Two