Readers of TCW will be familiar with Neville Hodgkinson’s critical reporting of the ‘Covid crisis’ since December 2020, notably his expert, science-based informed alarm about the mass ‘vaccine’ rollout, so absent from mainstream coverage. What they may be less aware of is the international storm this former Sunday Times medical and science correspondent created in the 1990s by reporting a scientific challenge to the ‘HIV’ theory of Aids, presaging the hostile response to science critics of Covid today. In this series, written exclusively for TCW, he details findings that form the substance of his newly updated and expanded book, How HIV/Aids Set the Stage for the Covid Crisis, on the controversy. It is available here.
THREE years into the Covid crisis, many are now aware of the disastrous advice on which so many governments blindly acted. False predictions of spread, fearmongering propaganda, lockdowns damaging young and old, suppression of cheap treatments to make way for a dangerous, experimental vaccine . . . so much of ‘the science’ turned out to be fiction, hugely profitable for a few but harmful for billions.
These failures have brought back into focus claims that the syndrome known as HIV/Aids was – and still is – being similarly mishandled and exploited by the worlds of medical science, public health and Big Pharma. Robert Kennedy Jr documents this in detail his best-selling 2021 book The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health.
What few people know however is that for almost 40 years a small group of scientists has deconstructed almost every aspect of the theory that Aids is caused by a lethal, sexually transmitted virus known as HIV. Their critique goes beyond questioning HIV as the cause of Aids. They say ‘HIV’ has never even been proved to exist. And the reason you have probably never heard of their work is that, like the doctors and scientists who challenged Covid insanities, they have been silenced at every turn.
With Covid, pressure to conform came through government-directed appeals to our higher nature through slogans such as ‘Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives’ and ‘Every vaccination gives us hope’. The implied claim was that anyone who thought differently was either an idiot or a murderer.
Similarly with Aids, advocates of the deadly virus theory sought to make those who questioned it sound as though they were lacking in compassion, irresponsible or stupid.
I was working as medical correspondent of the London Sunday Times in the 1980s whenAids suddenly became big news after American government scientists claimed to have identified a previously unknown virus as the cause of a mysterious cluster of symptoms related to severely depleted immunity. They included Kaposi’s sarcoma, a cancer affecting the skin and internal organs; severe candidiasis; and pneumonia caused by an out-of-control fungus. The symptoms proved resistant to treatment, and fatal in a number of cases.
The first victims were groups of gay men who were challenging long-standing homophobic attitudes in American society through what came to be known as the ‘fast-track’ gay lifestyle. This involved multiple sex partners and heavy drug use.
The partying was fun, I was later told, but it caused disease microbes to become pooled among participants such that almost every encounter carried a risk of infection. Prophylactic use of antibiotics staved off some illnesses but contributed to an underlying deterioration, and in some cases complete collapse, of the immune system.
The crisis at first met an unsympathetic response from the right-wing Reagan administration. The common histories of the victims led to dismissive descriptions of Aids as a ‘gay plague’. As numbers increased, however, outrage and anger grew. Those involved had often already suffered greatly from discriminatory attitudes and behaviour, and their efforts to end this bigotry through the Gay Lib movement looked to be under threat.
That was the context in which US biomedical researcher Robert Gallo found immediate acceptance when in 1984 he claimed to have identified a deadly virus, new to humanity, as the cause of Aids. The theory took off like wildfire and by the end of 1984 had come to be accepted by virtually everyone. The microbe Gallo said he had found became known as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV.
It brought virologists, drug companies and public health experts to centre stage. Taxpayer dollars, eventually reaching hundreds of billions, were poured into Aids research and treatment through the US National Institutes of Health, in particular the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) under the leadership of Dr Anthony Fauci. Well-funded NGOs and activist groups sprang up with the aim of contributing to the fight against the disease.
Religious leaders warmed to the theory because it discouraged sleeping around. Politicians liked it because it put in place a new ‘enemy within’ against which they could claim to offer protection with advertising campaigns such as the UK’s ‘Aids: Don’t Die of Ignorance’ – a precursor of the intense propaganda inflicted on us with the advent of Covid-19.
Media people – including me, I am ashamed to say – vigorously promulgated warnings that the virus put at risk everyone and anyone who had sex. It felt good to be not just selling newspapers, but helping to sound the alert.
Young people were less readily taken in. James Delingpole has recalled how the ad campaign put a dampener on his sex life, though after the initial shock it became increasingly clear to him that the government had been overstating the case.
In fact, as the late Nobel Prize-winning chemist Kary Mullis and other scientists were to point out, there never was a body of scientific evidence demonstrating the validity of the ‘deadly new virus’ idea. That remains the case today, despite hundreds of thousands of papers having been published over the years predicated on the HIV belief system.
Henry Bauer, a retired professor of science studies who has drawn on numerous sources in documenting The Case Against HIV, says: ‘Anyone open to looking at the actual data . . . can find an enormous amount of evidence that the diagnosis of HIV as cause of AIDS is simply wrong.’
One lasting outcome of the theory was that by ‘democratising’ Aids, with the message that the disease did not discriminate and so everyone was at risk, it prevented the feared setbacks for the Gay Lib movement. Lesbian and gay rights became firmly established in American society, and in some other parts of the world.
In many other ways, however, the global hysteria to which the theory gave rise has had disastrous consequences, some of which continue to this day.
A failed cancer drug called AZT, pulled off the shelf by American government researchers because of an apparent anti-HIV effect, killed and injured thousands. It was administered in high doses not just to people with Aids but to gay men, haemophiliacs and others thought to be HIV-infected, earning hundreds of millions of pounds for the US drug company Burroughs Wellcome and its British parent, the Wellcome Foundation (later taken over by Glaxo). American and British government institutions promoted it vigorously as the ‘gold standard’ of Aids treatment. Doctors who stepped publicly out of line were hounded out of the profession.
Although later generations of drugs can genuinely help to support a failing immune system, 40 years of research has failed to bring either a vaccine or cure for the purported ‘HIV’ infection. Taken over long periods, the drugs themselves can kill, contributing significantly to the 800 or so deaths reported annually of ‘people living with HIV’ in the UK.
The most widespread and long-lasting harm, however, has been to the countless people around the world, especially in Africa and of African descent, terrorised with a false belief that they are victims of a sexually transmitted virus which only Western medicine has the means to hold at bay. The World Health Organization (WHO) claims that more than 80million people have been infected, and that about 40million have died from HIV. Three-fifths of purported new HIV infections are said by WHO to be in the African region. African Americans are eight times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV infection compared with the white population.
American taxpayers in particular have been burdened with the huge expense of maintaining an industry that has grown up around HIV/Aids. The US government spends more than $28billion a year on the domestic response, and expenditure globally between 2000 and 2015 totalled more than half a trillion dollars ($562.6billion), according to a University of Washington study. Yet the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), in a never-ending plea for more money, says the pandemic continues to take a life every minute.
In this series of articles I am going to describe the fruits of years of painstaking work by scientists based in Perth, Western Australia, collating evidence challenging almost every aspect of the ‘HIV’ theory. The essence of their case is that there is no ‘HIV’ epidemic, and there never will be a vaccine or cure, because there is no ‘HIV’.
If you find this hard to believe, I am with you entirely in the sense that it took me years to accept fully how wrong I had been in my early reporting on Aids. I documented this painful journey of discovery in my book AIDS: The Failure of Contemporary Science, published in 1996 by Fourth Estate.
If you ask how it could be possible that for 40 years the scientific and medical worlds have failed to correct a belief in a mythological virus, the answer is more sociological than scientific.
Solidarity with the suffering of the gay community played a part – although genuine kindness, such as Louise Hay demonstrated in her early healing work with people with Aids, strongly and successfully challenged the medical view that they were certain to die. An arrogant, but ill-informed, neocolonial drive by countless NGOs to ‘do good’ in poorer parts of the world also contributed. But probably the most powerful and detrimental element in maintaining the deception was the money and influence involved, as governments went into partnership with the hugely profitable pharmaceutical industry. The resources poured into HIV/Aids created thousands of jobs, buying loyal collaboration and stifling dissent.
Highly experienced scientists who spoke out against the theory were ridiculed, defunded, gaslighted, and accused of killing people by weakening the public health message.
I experienced this pressure myself when I began to examine alternative ways of looking at Aids in the early 1990s, when I was working as Sunday Times science correspondent. Joan Shenton of Meditel, producers of prize-winning but much criticised documentaries on the issue, alerted me to the fact that several distinguished scientists had challenged the idea that HIV could be doing all the damage attributed to it.
Andrew Neil, editor of the Sunday Times, which had serialised Michael Fumento’s 1990 book The Myth of Heterosexual Aids, supported my reports on an ever-deepening scientific challenge to the theory. Over a three-year period, condemnation came from just about every quarter. The deeper the critique went, the shriller the protests became.
In 1993, with the HIV/Aids industry still pointing to Africa as proof of how millions could become infected, Neil told me to go there to find out what was happening. Over six weeks, travelling through Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania, it became increasingly plain to me that the entire pandemic was an illusion arising from diseases of poverty being reclassified as ‘HIV/Aids’.
My reports to this effect proved too much for the scientific establishment, and Nature – supposedly one of the top scientific journals in the world – declared that we must be stopped. Having decided that picketing our offices would be impractical, the magazine mounted a campaign of ridicule. The UK’s Health Education Authority started an Aids journalism award specifically in my dishonour. They said it was to counter the newspaper’s dangerously misleading coverage. There was incomprehension and abuse from all three main political parties, as well as from scientific and medical chiefs.
But we also heard from many doctors, health workers, gay men, and specialists on Africa, thanking the newspaper for its challenging coverage. An ‘HIV’ diagnosis at that time could still have the power of a witch-doctor’s hex, and people who had tested positive wrote to say that our reports were like a breath of fresh air.
Andrew Neil was undeterred by the hostile bluster, while insisting the paper was ready to publish any evidence that countered the dissident case we were presenting. In 1994 he left the paper for New York, and I left too after his successor John Witherow made it plain that he did not want me to continue this line of reporting. The literary agent David Godwin had been in touch, suggesting a book on the controversy, and this took shape over the following year.
When Fourth Estate published it in 1996, however, it became an early victim of ‘cancel culture’. The late American gay activist Larry Kramer, at first a bitter critic of Fauci but later his friend and ally, was in the UK at the time of publication to address a conference on Aids. He picked up a copy at a pre-conference gathering, tore several pages, and spat in it, telling his audience: ‘Do the same if you come across this book. They will soon stop stocking it.’ It quickly disappeared from view, subsequently topping a list of ‘Books You’re Not Supposed to Read’ in a work on political incorrectness in science.
(From The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science, by Tom Bethell, Regnery, 2005)
I am republishing it now, with additional material including a summary of where the science of ‘HIV’ went wrong, because the story is so redolent of the misunderstandings, mishandling and downright lies surrounding Covid-19. As with Aids, huge grants from Big Pharma and ‘philanthropic’ foundations to researchers, medical associations, consumer groups, and civil rights organisations fuelled the Covid illusions.
There is one important difference. At first I thought the Covid fearmongering was as ill-conceived as that over ‘HIV’ and Aids. It soon became clear, however, that unlike ‘HIV’ this was a genuine pathogen. A disgracefully suppressed paper by the UK’s Professor Angus Dalgleish, working with Norwegian colleagues including a biowarfare expert, demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt the genetically-engineered nature of SARS-CoV-2 (see here and here).
Panic measures to try to hide its laboratory origin confirm that view. These were led by the Chinese, from whose Wuhan laboratory the virus almost certainly escaped, and by Fauci, whose NIAID had part-funded the work. Sir Jeremy Farrar, then director of the UK’s Wellcome Trust and now WHO chief scientist, also played a leading role in the cover-up.
Many are now aware of the adverse social, economic and health consequences of the Covid hysteria into which Fauci and others led us. Billions of people meekly accepted and even welcomed unprecedented lockdowns and other fearmongering measures, along with mass administration of the mRNA gene products. TCW Defending Freedom has been one of few voices constantly critical of the mishandling of Covid over the past three years, despite high-level, far-reaching efforts to silence and defund the site.
Much less widely understood is the way Aids became subject to similar mismanagement 40 years ago, with adverse consequences lasting until today.
Next: Relentless censorship of an isolated genius