The tokoloshe letter

Dear Onnie

Thanks for your email.

Very nice hearing from you.

We see things in much the same way.

As a fellow African, a pale African in my case, you need to know a few things about 'Rethinking AIDS', and you might want to share this information with your friends and family in Botswana so that they are not also misled about what this organization is.

'Rethinking AIDS' is basically a support group for Professor Peter Duesberg at the University of California, Berkeley, in America, to promote and defend his scientific views on AIDS. 

To see this you only have to go to About RA. [The About page has been revised since 'the tokoloshe letter' was written.]

Apart from reading about him there, and even finding a link to his website, you'll also read there an account of how and why 'The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis' was originally formed and its past activities.

Nowhere in the 'About RA' page is there any mention of the generally recognized scientific leaders of the AIDS dissident movement: the Australian physicist Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos and her colleagues (the Perth Group), who even before the publication of Duesberg's critique of the HIV theory of AIDS in 1987, on the basis that 'retroviruses' are always harmless, were already onto the real, more basic reason why the theory is wrong: 'HIV' has never been proven to exist. [Page revised.]

You ask in your email, 'how can we trust scientists and their discoveries? I know what genuine research looks like.'

What you need to do is satisfy yourself about this by reading into the matter yourself.

You mustn't take things on authority. Like one of the Rethinking AIDS board members, a very senior member of the board, who says more or less: 'Duesberg's clever and experienced so I just go with what he says.'

It may interest you to know that to the best of my knowledge nobody who has read Duesberg's and the Perth Group's respective papers, and particularly their debate on whether 'HIV' exists, has come away with the conclusion that Duesberg is right that 'HIV' has been proved to exist, and that the Perth Group is wrong to claim that in truth and in fact 'HIV' has never been proved to exist.

Everyone who has studied the scientific disagreement between them has concluded that Duesberg is wrong.

This includes former South African Presidents Mbeki and Motlanthe (the latter currently Deputy President under President Zuma).

All of us feel rather embarrassed about this.

But it's awkward to say something like: 'My father, you need to take a bath, you really do. Everyone around you is noticing and saying so.'

It's so much easier just to pinch our noses and say nothing.

By the early years of our new century, 'The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis' had disintegrated.

It was dead.

In 2006 a Canadian businessman called David Crowe decided to form a new organization under his control. [See correction footnoted.]

He collected around him a handful of AIDS dissidents that he knew wouldn't give him any problems, and he formed a 'board of directors', most of whom are either active Duesberg partisans or 'sleepers' in the sense that they don't actively conduct themselves as directors should and do not express any disagreement with Mr Crowe (when one tries, we'll read below, Mr Crowe fixes him.)

This makes it easy for Mr Crowe to run things pretty much on his own along American lines.

It's a bit like the Treatment Action Campaign here in South Africa, which although it has many formal office bearers, is completely dominated and controlled by Zackie Achmat. Everyone knows this.

Now Mr Crowe needs to keep things running on American lines, because as usual that's where the money is.

Isn't it always so, Onnie? Don't we feel it over here in Africa all the time?!

Rethinking AIDS is funded by the same rich person who funds Duesberg, and do you know this same person even sits on the board of Rethinking AIDS, meaning he has the clout to govern its scientific policy? Can you believe such a thing, Onnie?

When one of the Rethinking AIDS board members tries breaking ranks and privately challenges Mr Crowe recently in a small closed internet forum about the things he says and does, whether in his opinion they're right or wrong, true or false, do you know that Mr Crowe sends him a demand by email that he should shut his mouth and in future submit any communications to that forum for him for prior censorship, just to make sure that the disobedient board member doesn't challenge Mr Crowe ever again? Can you believe your ears, Onnie?!

All of this makes it possible for Mr Crowe to run his show the way he wants it unaccountably to the international AIDS dissident community, and to pretend to the outside world that the little organization he formed in 2006 speaks for us all.

Obviously Mr Crowe made his move to form Rethinking AIDS in 2006 behind the scenes without telling the rest of us.

He did not contact every dissident on the list of those who'd signed their support for our basic cause that the HIV-AIDS hypothesis should be re-examined (see About RA page) and announce, 'I reckon it's a good idea to form a new AIDS dissident organization, what do you think? Please nominate yourself if you like and/or some other dissidents for election to a provisional representative body to discuss purpose and direction, scientific policy and operating strategy.'

That's not the way Mr Crowe works!

Behind the scenes is the way he works!

He wanted to make sure that Rethinking AIDS doesn't do any rethinking about anything important, anything really important such as whether 'HIV', which is at the core of the 'HIV-AIDS' construct, even exists.

No, we can't have that, Onnie!

We must stay off that matter!

This is why Mr Crowe made a point of snubbing the Perth Group and rejecting their request for representation on the board when they got to hear what he was up to behind the scenes.

Appropriating the name of the Group's former bulletin, Mr Crowe called his new organization Rethinking AIDS.

From this name and to read 'About RA' on his website, you get the impression that Rethinking AIDS is much the same scientific initiative as the Group.

People who don't know the real history will be deceived by this, but that's the whole idea!

In fact Rethinking AIDS is in no sense a representative organization, and it doesn't speak for the vast majority of AIDS dissidents who reject Duesberg's claim it promotes that 'HIV' has been shown to exist as childish scientific nonsense.

These structural, organizational and legitimacy issues aside, the main problem with Mr Crowe's Rethinking AIDS organization is that it promotes the lie that 'HIV' exists, just as the drug-pushing AIDS doctors, activists, journalists and academics say, only Rethinking AIDS says it's harmless.

This is like telling a child terrified by a noise outside his or her bedroom at night:

'Don't worry, my child, it's only a tokoloshe, it's definitely a tokoloshe. Never mind what everyone believes and tells you, the tokoloshe lurking outside your window won't come in and harm you. Just go back to sleep.'

You say this to the child knowing it's a lie, but you tell the lie to the child anyway because you think it's best to tell lies, maybe because telling lies comes naturally to you in your daily life and in your business dealings and you have a habit of telling lies and responding to what people say with emotive and disingenuous half-truths, and so you're comfortable with lies and half-truths, and/or because you think the child can't cope with the simple truth that tokoloshes exist only in the human imagination.

So it's better to tell the child a lie. The lie that tokoloshes really do exist. Even though it's quite easy to show they haven't ever been proven to exist by the generally accepted procedure for proving things like this. And if anyone else comes into the room who has heard the child's cries, and says, 'There's no need to worry, my child, there's no tokoloshe outside, there are no tokoloshes', you say: 'Get out! Be quiet! You mustn't say this. It's too complicated for children to be told things like this. It will only confuse them.'

That's the approach to the problem of 'HIV-AIDS' taken by Mr Crowe's Rethinking AIDS organization.

This is how Mr Crowe thinks the myth of HIV-AIDS will be resolved.

He thinks the myth of HIV-AIDS will be resolved with lies.

But when you raise this matter with him, he says, 'But I have been questioning the existence of tokoloshes for many years.'

He doesn't say, 'I agree there are no tokoloshes in the real world.'

He says, 'I have been questioning the existence of tokoloshes for many years.'

Of course this is the kind of thing successful scheming politicians say, because it's evasive, self-serving, convenient and basically dishonest.

I mean successful in getting to be where they want to be for themselves.

I don't mean successful in serving the constituency they claim to represent.

Mr Crowe never says anything as directly truthful as 'There are no tokoloshes in the real world', because that would make it difficult for him as the self-appointed king of the tiny little country he's formed that's cut off from the rest of the world, which no one in the rest of the world recognizes, like Transkei and Bophuthatswana in apartheid South Africa, advised by a witchdoctor who says tokoloshes are very, very real, but are harmless.

What he worries about most is being king of his little country.

Like Ian Smith and his Rhodesian Front, claiming in 1965 to be the Prime Minister of all of Zimbabwe (then named Rhodesia after the businessman who stole the country). When actually he was representing only the tiniest minority of very foolish people.

We know all about people like this over here in Africa, don't we Onnie?

But Mr Crowe likes the feeling of being the king; it's almost as nice as the feeling one gets from being the president of a Rotary Club in a little town in the middle of nowhere that no one wants to go to.

Sorry, I should have said President, President with a capital P, because Mr Crowe always announces himself with a capital P.

He realizes that to deal with the underlying problems caused by his witchdoctor whose views about tokoloshes he promotes, even though deep inside he knows that they're lies, and the problems he causes us by the way he runs things in doing everything possible to prevent a proper ventilation of these lies, would mean the end of his reign as king with the crown he put on his own head, or asked a couple of his friends to put on his head. And he'd have to give up being the king, the king he likes being so much, either by abdicating in disgrace or being kicked out in disgrace with a hard boot up his arse for the tremendous harm he's caused our AIDS dissident movement, and remembered forever for the tremendous harm he's caused our AIDS dissident movement.

Particularly in the big case held by the elders in the shade of the big tree in the centre of the village concerning whether a certain man was causing the tokoloshe to come riding in on a hyena in the middle of the night when everyone was asleep to visit his neighbour and cause his cow to die and his mother to hurt her leg in a fall and his cousin to fail his exams.

In that case, the man accused had expert witnesses to explain to the court that he couldn't have done what he was being accused of having done because tokoloshes have never been proved to exist. And right in the middle of the case when it was going very well for the accused man and his expert witnesses, and everyone was noticing and commenting on how impressed the court was by the scientific evidence and arguments being presented, the President comes along, and behind the scenes he furtively tells the lawyer 'You're going to lose the case doing it this way, it's much better to tell the court that tokoloshes do exist, only they're harmless.' And not being a very bright lawyer, who also hasn't really had enough time to appreciate what's wrong with this kind of defence, and why the first and second defences are not complementary or alternative but must necessarily be mutually destructive, the lawyer thinks the President is right, why, he's the President of all the AIDS dissidents in the world, and he changes the defence strategy right in the middle of the case, when it was going very well as I said, and with that the case is on its way to hell, so that the unfortunate accused man ends up severely punished for calling out tokoloshes to visit and cause his neighbour's cow to die and his mother to hurt her leg in a fall and his cousin to fail his exams, and the historical opportunity is lost, the historical opportunity to show in court that despite what nearly everyone thinks and all the witchdoctors claim, actually tokoloshes have never been shown to exist.

And when it's all over the President doesn't even say I'm very sorry about the calamity I caused, I'm terribly sorry, I was only trying to help. I realize now that it's been pointed out to me that I made the most horrendous mistake. I feel sick to my stomach over what I have done.

No, he says, What are you complaining about? I did exactly the right thing going behind your backs and telling the lawyer to change his fundamental defence strategy right in the middle of the case and introduce a new defence that contradicts the original one.

He says, Go and jump in the lake, you and your complaints against me and what I did. You were going to lose the case anyway. I'd do it again!

So you see, Onnie, it would be better to avoid Rethinking AIDS for information about so-called HIV-AIDS.

It's always best to avoid taking advice from people who tell lies and behave in the way I've told you about.

You can get honest, reliable information about the basic trouble with the HIV theory of AIDS from the The Perth Group website.

My TIG Position Statement on 'HIV' will put you fully in the picture.

All the best


Cape Town

Read 'Divorcing "The Man in the Bottle"' by Onnie Mary Phuthe.



According to Crowe, per email sent after this piece was published, the initial impetus for starting another Rethinking AIDS organization came from David Rasnick, who telephoned him in 2005 and asked him to handle it. Crowe was not yet formal president of Rethinking AIDS when he sabotaged the Parenzee case; but in practical effect he completely controlled it as his project and still does.