Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy

Seeking Stories of AIDS Denialism

Have you or someone you know been harmed by AIDS Denialism? If you, or someone you care about, have been advised to stop taking HIV meds, ignore HIV test results, purchase a 'natural' cure etc., please email me.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hey Professor, ignoring the nut next door is not helping

Are academics complicit in the proliferation of conspiracy theories, not least through reluctance to tackle 'truthers' head on?

Times Higher Education, 4 June 2009
By Matthew Reisz

Nothing is ever just an accident. Could the European Union be a front to restore the Merovingian dynasty and the bloodline of Jesus? Did George W. Bush stand aside and allow 9/11 to happen - or even, as the more extreme "truthers" argue, make it happen? Did a dastardly Duke of Edinburgh spearhead a plot to kill the lovely Diana, Princess of Wales? And were the Apollo moon landings all faked by Nasa - as 6 per cent of the US population believe?

We live, it is often argued, in an era of conspiracy theories - many of them as daft as those just related. "Sometimes it appears as if Western societies have regressed," suggests Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Kent, "and we are now adopting a medieval attitude towards calamitous acts." Whenever something goes wrong, "a simplistic, conspiratorial world view emerges to blame small cliques of evil people". Sarah Churchwell, senior lecturer in American literature and culture at the University of East Anglia, agrees. Conspiracy theories provide "a belief system in an age of uncertainty and unfiltered information that destabilises knowledge with so many 'facts' and possible interpretations. Conspiracies attempt to make order out of chaos."Churchwell is the author of The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe (2004), which examines - and explodes - the myths that have grown up around the film star's life and death. "The conspiracies are completely ongoing; they build and build and keep on proliferating. There's never a story to which Marilyn can't be attached," she says.

There are also a number of prominent revisionist claims about significant issues - that climate change is a fiction, that HIV has no connection with Aids, that the scale of the Holocaust has been greatly exaggerated - that are almost invariably linked to the suggestion that mainstream scholarship is inherently suspect and corrupted by political or material interests. Self-styled maverick researchers portray themselves as victims, sidelined or silenced by the powers that be. Even the process of peer review can be presented as part of a conspiracy to shut out critical voices, to police knowledge and to protect received wisdom.

Perhaps it hardly matters if a Dan Brown fan laps up every word of The Da Vinci Code and then proclaims on television that it had made him realise there had long been a cover-up of the fact that Mary Magdalen could have been one of the Spice Girls. Yet many conspiracy theories are libellous, dangerous and ultimately corrosive of serious intellectual debate.

Fortunately, help is at hand - from the academy. Who better than a sober historian to pour the cold water of reason and evidence on overheated conspiracy claims? If we really want to know whether there's been a plot to conceal who discovered America, or if the Ancient Greeks stole their best ideas from Africa, there are people in universities who can tell us.

Kathryn Olmsted, professor of history at the University of California, Davis, recently published Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11. She believes that if conspiracy theories are the problem, most academics are part of the solution. "Almost by definition, conspiracy theories are simple ways of telling complicated stories, and academics are averse to oversimplifications. Historians have been especially active in knocking down conspiracy theories about the distant or relatively distant past" - such as the idea that President Franklin D. Roosevelt knew about or provoked the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

So far, so good. Academics undoubtedly can and do play such a salutary role. But is this the whole story? Are academics always on the side of the angels, rallying to the cause of truth - or can they sometimes be part of the problem?

Definitely the latter, says journalist David Aaronovitch, who has recently published Voodoo Histories, a book on conspiracy theories, as part of what he sees as a wider "war against stupidity, designed to establish evidence-based foundations for thinking". He also hopes to help people "distinguish between the scholarly and the slapdash, the committed researcher and the careless loudmouth, the scrupulous and the demagogic".

When it comes to gullibility, Aaronovitch suggests, neither the academy nor his own profession should feel too complacent. "We are used to seeing gross prejudices as the product of peasant credulity, lumpen ignorance or provincial small-mindedness. People like us, this implies, would not be fooled." But it just ain't so.

We may not be surprised that in Nazi Germany, academics, journalists and other educated professionals queued up to heap praise on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the ridiculous but lethal forgery said to demonstrate the existence of a global Jewish conspiracy. But there has also been an eloquent and highly visible, though obviously small, minority of British and American academics who have played a major role in promoting conspiracies about Roosevelt, President John F. Kennedy and the events of 9/11, not to mention the idea that Jesus made a botched attempt to fake his own crucifixion.

When it comes to spinning conspiracy theories, Aaronovitch claims provocatively: "Academics, students and journalists are the most innovative sector. You need a pretension to knowledge without real knowledge. What better than academics talking outside their field?"

People working in disciplines such as theology and peace studies are said to be particularly susceptible, whereas "historians have to have a sense of how things don't happen - which makes conspiratorial thinking implausible. Few experts on structural physics and engineering have signed up for 9/11 theories," he notes, referring to claims such as the one that the World Trade Centre's Tower Seven was destroyed by a controlled explosion.

Ronald Fritze, professor of history at Athens State University, Alabama, who recently published Invented Knowledge: False History, Fake Science and Pseudo-religions, is also concerned about academics who stray off their home turf.

"Some are prominent Holocaust deniers," he says, "but they tend to have posts in engineering and business faculties that have nothing to do with their ideas about the Holocaust. Barry Fell (1917-94) believed that Europeans reached North America during the megalithic era. He is put forward as a Harvard professor to bolster his credibility, but the problem is that his expertise was in marine biology, not archaeology, prehistory or ancient Celtic languages."

In other areas of conspiracy theory, however, it is only experts who are likely to be listened to. Any pub bore can acquire the basic knowledge of ballistics and grassy knolls needed to "prove" that Lee Harvey Oswald could not have shot Kennedy. But there is no such thing as robust common sense about retroviruses. Here too, alas, it is often argued that the academic record is far from perfect.

Seth Kalichman is author of the recently published Denying Aids: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy. He is also professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut, which makes him, as he notes in an amusing introductory declaimer, "an employee of The State". He has never, he assures us, "taken financial support from any pharmaceutical company, although he has accepted pens and key chains from Pfizer sales reps at conventions".

Despite his jokey tone, the stakes could hardly be higher. Kalichman carries out Aids research in South Africa, where denialism - the claims that "the HIV = Aids myth is the product of a government conspiracy in cahoots with a multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical scam" and that antiretroviral medicines are toxic - has had a huge and disastrous impact on government policy. A prominent biologist, Kalichman argues, must take a significant share of the blame for this disaster.

"There are only a handful of academics who are involved in spreading conspiracy theories," says Kalichman, "but they are quite destructive. I am not one for placing any limits on free speech or academic freedom, but these characters help to make the case.

"Those who are tenured are unstoppable. Tenure committees have to be more critical than ever in their scrutinising of journals, because pseudoscience now has outlets that would typically appear legitimate.

"The most destructive people linked to conspiracy theories and denialism are those with academic appointments - and those who can manipulate their backgrounds to appear as if they have had academic appointments."

Because many conspiracy theories are pernicious as well as absurd, their promotion by fringe groups of academics claiming the prestige of their universities is a source of concern. But what can others do to fight back?

It isn't always easy. Genuine scholars can be at a disadvantage in formats such as television's battle of the soundbites. Conspiracy theorists can put forward a simple, sensationalist and emotionally satisfying thesis that can be demolished only painstakingly, brick by brick. Unless academics are exceptionally skilled and quick-witted debaters, they can easily come across as pedantic killjoys as they labour to unpick conspiratorial ideas while also countering attempts to impugn their motives.

Such hazards, Kalichman suggests, explain why "scientists and other genuine academics are reluctant to enter into a 'debate' with conspiracy theorists and denialists. It is easy to get caught in a trap. The denialists will often walk away looking like righteous heroes standing up against the corruption of government, industry and the Establishment."

Fritze takes a similar line. "Academics tend to avoid controversies concerning pseudohistory and pseudoscience because they can get roughed up and dragged into quagmires of circular debate."
Churchwell has no doubt where the more conspiratorial biographers of Marilyn go wrong. "The more you read about her, the more you realise how little we know. There are all sorts of legitimate questions that we don't know the answers to. But there are some things we do know. I can unpick the lies. I can demonstrate falsity.

"You need to think sceptically about the role of evidence. Lots of stuff one can point to has its origins in gossip or hearsay but is taken seriously because it's 'in the record'. A mix of commerce and laziness drives most of the theories."

But although Churchwell has taken part in myth-busting documentaries and hopes her book "has convinced some who were willing to be convinced", she also knows that "getting involved in public debates would be an exercise in futility, because conspiracy theorists are unscrupulous and abusive and come with their minds made up".

Fortunately, however, conspiracy theorists don't always get things their own way. Popular Mechanics magazine and a number of websites have systematically addressed the "suspicious anomalies" noted by the self-styled "9/11 truthers". Mohamed Al Fayed's determination to have his day in court led to a public discrediting of his claims about Prince Philip's role in Diana's death.

Something similar occurred when David Irving unsuccessfully sued the academic Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher Penguin Books for libel in a UK court after she described him as "one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial". This gave Richard Evans, now Regius professor of modern history at the University of Cambridge, the opportunity to submit a 700-page report that spelt out in detail the "knotted web of distortions, suppressions and manipulations ... the sheer depth of duplicity encountered in Irving's treatment of the historical sources".

Under cross-examination, Evans proved highly effective in dodging Irving's debating tricks and doggedly answering him point by minute factual point.

There was a moment when Irving asked Evans to clarify a comment in his report.

"Would you like to point me to the page?" Evans responded. "You see, I have a problem, Mr Irving, which is that, having been through your work, I cannot really accept your version of any document, including passages in my own report, without actually having it in front of me."

Perhaps a similarly robust approach is the best way of dealing with conspiracy theorists trying to prove that black is white.


  1. So sad. No mention of Henry Bauer… the undisputed Queen of Pseudoscience!! Believing in the Monsters of Loch Ness may even be too crazy for an article on conspiracy theories… It is also a good thing no one has ever heard of Bauer!

  2. Hi Seth and Lisa,

    Just listened to your interview on Little Atom. Nice job, and you speak very well, but I am concerned that in your re-iteration of what dissidents believe are the causal factors behind the AIDS phenomenon, I am very concerned that you very likely convinced even more people that the dissidents are correct. Even the interviewer said to you "So why should we believe you that HIV causes AIDS?"

    I have to admit, it gave me a great laugh. Thanks.

    But that is not the reason for this note to you. I am just wondering if it has ever crossed your mind that in diagnosing other people as "denialists", that you could possibly be unconsciously diagnosing your own self as a denialist but are simply disowning it and projecting it upon others.

    Interesting thought, I think, that you may subconsciously be diagnosing your own self. After all, a denialist certainly would be the last to know they were in denial. Is that not correct?

    Even Caspar Schmidt, the very early aids sceptic/dissident who after writing his theory on aids being the result of group-think hysteria, eventually got himself also diagnosed as hiv positive. However, before he died in 1994, (probably due to high dose AZT monotherapy toxicity, as azt was the only drug used at the time,) he confessed to an interviewer that Caspar himself at that point believed that in writing about others who had fallen under the spell of group hysteria, that he had unfortunately been unknowingly diagnosing his own self. That is quite a revelation for him to have had just prior to his own death.

    So, therefore, I do at times wonder about you Seth. As you, just like Caspar Schmidt, are also a very intelligent person. But it does come to my own mind that if you are, as I suspect, unknowingly diagnosing the denialist of your own self.

    Well enough of that, and hopefully I will see you at Rethinking AIDS 2009 in November, and we can discuss it and sort it all out from there.

    Be well,

    Love and Kisses,

    Michael Geiger!

  3. Here we go again with Michael Geiger! Geiger shows his true stupidity when he says that "AZT was the only monotherapy used in 1994" makes no sense for two reasons.
    A) In 1994 there were many more medications being used than AZT. I for one, was on DDI and Epivir (3TC) and d4T.
    HINT to Geiger: Mono means ONE!!
    B) Monotherapy itself had not been used even before 1994.
    That statement by Geiger is almost as stupid as Brian Carter's youtube video in which Carter states that HIV has never been isolated without using if that is a Super Natant much like SuperMan is a SUPER Man!!
    Here's the video link again. The views are only at 417...let's get that number up, shall we?

  4. JTD
    It does beg the question.

    What are dealing with here in Michael Geiger and others. Is it denialism or ignorance?

    Denialism is surely related to ignorance for some, but not all denialists. Duesberg, Rasnick, Crowe, Mullis, Maggiore cannot be ignorant of HIV/AIDS. In those cases psychpathology seems to drive the denialism. But maybe not Michael Geiger?

    In Denying AIDS I do not spend as much time as I may have to discuss the distinction and relationship between denialism and ignorance.

    Is it similar to racism, where some cases are clearly pathological hatred and others are ignorance? This will likely be a chapter in my next book.

    You are very helpful in pointing out the ignorance when you see it. Maybe if Michael understood antiretroviral therapy he would not be so resistant.

  5. Todd, you say you were on DDI and Epivir (3TC) and d4T in 1994?

    Casper Schmidt died in the spring of 1994.

    d4T did not reach any pharmacies until July of 94, after Casper had already died. And when D4T was first approved, it was only approved to be added to AZT.

    Epivir (3TC) was not even approved by the FDA until November of 95, and Schmidt was also long dead by then.

    DDI, though it was approved in 1991 (without even having had any placebo trial) could have been taken by Schmidt, but would have been taken only in combination with AZT. And if so, both AZT and DDI likely would have been given at higher dosages such as 600 to 750mg daily each.

    Those taking such regimens of either AZT monotherapy and those taking AZT and DDI had very low survival rates, as adding DDI to AZT showed very very little benefit.

    Therefore, your assumption that Schmidt could have taken the combos that you claim you were on are not possible.

    Furthermore you were not even yet diagnosed as hiv nor taking any hiv drugs when Casper Schmidt was diagnosed as aids nor when he had died in the spring of 1994 of "aids related illness", whatever that means.

    And lastly, Todd, Casper Schmidt was then in his late 40's and he therefore would have tolerated the early aids drug toxicities far less than someone much younger such as yourself.

    And by the way, Todd, if the drug regimen you were on in 95 of ddi/3tc/d4t was so wonderful, then why are you not still taking it? No need to answer, as I already know why. That regimen was also severely toxic.

    And back to you, my dear, dear, Dr. Seth! Have you yet pondered my question?

    Could it be that you have successfully, even though subconsciously, have diagnosed your own self?


  6. Michael Geiger, I am sure you will run from this, as you always do when I directly reply to your loose cannon bull~shit! You know, the way you ran from my reply to your sanctimonious, egotistical, self~serving projectionism at Snout's site? When I pointed out how you LOVE to diagnose EVERY homo~faggot, yes, such as myself, as being HIV+ due to drugs and stress.
    Go back and read it, as I have new words for you here.
    I am re-posting your EXACT words from above, to demonstrate a perfect example of "moving goal posts", something you loser DENIALISTS love to do. Geiger's words:
    "However, before he died in 1994, (probably due to high dose AZT monotherapy toxicity, as azt was the only drug used at the time,)"
    As I pointed out, and you verified in your response, AZT was NOT the only therapy in 1994. No matter how badly you want to "re~state" what you already stated. I was on three medications taht you claim did not even exist in any part of 1994 whether it be in January or December. I was diagnosed in November 1994, and went on meds immediately.
    Now, per my own words here and at my own site, I have stated I went off DDI within two weeks because I chose to do what you whining DENIALISTS like Karri Stokely do not do, and that is I took control of my life and my health. I told my doctor that eventhough DDI had no taste and no smell (back then, it was a powder that had to be dissolved in water or juice or whatever) I just could not get the shit down. So I discussed it with my doc and he changed my meds!! Unlike lying Karri Stokely, who by her very own words stated that she tolerated her meds well and had almost zero side effects, then changed her words and said she had nauseau, vomitting, diarrhea, neuropathy for 11 years! IF that is true, and that is a big, fat IF, then she should have taken control and talked to her doctors. She had a doctor, who by the way, must have understood these meds and their potential, since as soon as Karri Jokely's liver enzymes went whacky, her doctor changed her meds. Therefore, I believe that IF she had bad side effects (as she did not claim, and then did claim and God knows what the real story is), then I believe her doctor would have tried different meds to find what worked for her!
    However, if you read Clark Bakers blog about Sustiva, Baker tries to say that Jokely/Stokely was physically addicted to Sustiva, but if you read the links he provides, you will see that Baker, who barely has a high school education, was just making up shit to fit his agenda, (much like Celia Farber and Liam Scheff do).
    Please check out my site here, where I completely deconstruct the lies Clark Baker writes about Sustiva being addictive:
    Now, Geiger, will you please get a life and stop lying about a subject you know SHIT about?
    One last thing, you are 61 years old if you are a day!
    J. Todd DeShong

  7. Dear J. Todd DeShong,
    Unless you can back up your claims written here that Celia Farber makes "shit up to fit" her agenda with hard evidence, I would advise you to stop that libelous behaviour. Keep in mind that this site, as well as your blog, and Snout's blog, is a public forum where anyone can witness the damage you are attempting to do to the career and livelihood of a true investigative journalist.

  8. Onecleverkid,
    I am concerned about Ms. Farber. Suing a charitable organization for libel? Does she have brain damage? I mean all of that blonde hair colouring that is obvious in the Nashville Film Fest photos linked below makes you wonder. What's more toxic than hair colouring? And don’t say AZT, at least not if you really are clever.

  9. HAHAHAHAHAAHA, Oh, oneDUMBASSkid, (who, from what I have heard, is 58 years old...hardly a kid) Oh, wait, maybe that was his IQ...anyway, I digress.
    I do not have to back up anything. All one has to do is read Celia Farber's "articles" and any INTELLIGENT person can see for themselves that her writing is slanted to her Denialist Agenda via her sensationalistic "style". Would you call how she strings together utter nonesense as a style?
    Also, further proof of her lack of integrity in ANY work place, especially journalism, one need only look at the fact, which she admitted, that she was sleeping with her boss at SPIN! Anyone with half a brain knows that even the perception of impropriety is reason enough to not engage in behavior which would put ones morals and integrity into question. However, it would seem that Ms. Farber does not give a hoot about seeming to have integrity, when it is quite plain that she does not have integrity, morals nor scruples as a journalist nor as a human being. Please read the link below. They are quotes I found on the web from her co~workers and Exfriends at SPIN, Adam Greenfield and Nancy Leopardi.
    When will you people learn not to ask me for back up and proof? I always come thru...and ALWAYS before you have to ask for it. You just have to read my blog.

  10. Dear Anonymous and JT,
    If a man who works for a non-profit organization is doing something wrong, is it your opinion that he should never be stopped? Why should it matter where he works? Where is your logic? It seems especially ridiculous to refer to a great journalist as a liar when commenting on a libel case which is being brought before the courts for saying exactly that. Some might think this behaviour crazy.

    I did not ask for "proof of her lack of integrity in ANY work place." I suggested that if you are going to claim that she makes "shit up" that you had better have hard evidence to prove it or you are committing an act of libel. This is good advice that you perhaps don't deserve. I would love to see your evidence, especially as it pertains to the article "Out Of Control" in Harper's, which was fact-checked for months to the point where the publishers of Harper's have not felt the need to retract a single word of it in the years since.

    JT, You are so much more reserved and respectful and polite on a certain other blog where the guardians of science have been helping you along on your journey of self-discovery. Maybe it's because you have respect for the host or the regular readers of that blog. I'm not sure, but when you enter this sandbox, your tone changes so dramatically that frankly, it freaks me out.

  11. Is there anyone else here who thinks that responding to criticism by threatening libel actions is a perverse and pathetically stupid way of defending freedom of speech?

    Kid, your veiled threats are transparent and contemptible. Part of me was kind of prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt up till now. Not any more.

    Farber complains that the "libel" she alleges in her suit has "deprived her of friendly intercourse". It's pretty obvious to any outside observer that her insightlessness and an insufficiently critical approach to "friendly intercourse" is what got her into this mess in the first place. (Not that there's anything inherently wrong with "friendly intercourse" - I'm all for it, provided you're sensible about it.)

    If Farber wants to publicly blame the world for her plight from the witness stand, I say: well, go ahead. Knock yourself out.

    When do the tickets go on sale?

  12. Dear Snout,
    I was not making threats of any kind, since I have no connection to that lawsuit at all. I was merely pointing out the irony of libeling someone while talking about their libel case.

    Your characterization of the lawsuit seems wrong to me. She isn't "responding to criticism by threatening libel actions," she is responding to vicious attacks planned carefully to stop her from being able to write for other publications. For you to refer to what happened as "criticism" of her is ridiculous and shows your own level of denial, since you won't even look at the facts objectively.

    If all of the insults and condescension you have hurled at me on every corner of the internet was your version of giving me "the benefit of the doubt" than I can't wait to see how you treat people you actually don't like. When do the tickets go on sale, indeed.


  13. Don't play dumb with me, kid.

    Threatening legal action for "libel" is a favorite tactic of corporations and other thugs and phonies when they want to try to silence legitimate criticism. And that is exactly the purpose of Farber's suit. Not even her most ardent supporters think her action has a snowflake's of success in the courts, but that's not the point of it. The point is to try to threaten and intimidate critics of AIDS denialists.

    Such tactics deserve to be treated with the utmost contempt.

    You said:

    "It seems especially ridiculous to refer to a great journalist [sic] as a liar when commenting on a libel case which is being brought before the courts for saying exactly that. Some might think this behaviour crazy."

    The threat implied in that is very clear. If denialists such as yourself want to try to play those games with me I will call you out on it in no uncertain terms. I do not tolerate thugs. You crossed a line there.

  14. onecleverkid wrote:

    "I would love to see your evidence, especially as it pertains to the article "Out Of Control" in Harper's, which was fact-checked for months to the point where the publishers of Harper's have not felt the need to retract a single word of it in the years since."

    Shall we do them one by one?

    “A 1994 study, for example, that gave vitamin A to pregnant HIV-positive mothers in Malawi reported that those with the highest levels of Vitamin A transmitted HIV at a rate of only 7.2 percent.”

    Can you give us the citation for this study and confirm that it "gave vitamin A to pregnant HIV-positive mothers in Malawi"?

    I'm thinking that it's this study, which doesn't make reference to giving vitamin A to anybody:

    Lancet. 1994 Jun 25;343(8913):1593-7.

    Comment in:
    Lancet. 1994 Jun 25;343(8913):1585-6.

    Maternal vitamin A deficiency and mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1.

    Semba RD, Miotti PG, Chiphangwi JD, Saah AJ, Canner JK, Dallabetta GA, Hoover DR.

    Dana Center, Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Baltimore, MD 21287-9019.

    Studies show that around 10-40% HIV-positive women will give birth to children who are also infected. However, the risk factors for transmission from mother to child are not well understood and the effects of maternal nutritional status are unknown. We conducted a study of vitamin A status in pregnant women as a risk factor for mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Malawi. Serum vitamin A, height, weight, CD4 T-cell counts, and duration of breastfeeding were measured in 338 HIV-positive mothers whose infant's HIV serostatus was known. Mother-to-child transmission of HIV was 21.9% among mothers whose infants survived to 12 months of age. Mean vitamin A concentration in 74 mothers who transmitted HIV to their infants was lower than that in 264 mothers who did not transmit HIV to their infants (0.86 [0.03] vs 1.07 [0.02], p < 0.0001). We divided HIV positive mothers to 4 groups, those with vitamin A concentrations of less than 0.70, between 0.70 and 1.05, between 1.05 and 1.40, and greater than or equal to 1.40 mumol/L. The mother-to-child transmission rates for each group were 32.4%, 26.2%, 16.0%, and 7.2%, respectively (p < 0.0001). Maternal CD4 cell counts, CD4%, and CD4/CD8 ratio were also associated with increased mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Maternal age, body-mass index, and breastfeeding practices were not significantly associated with higher mother-to-child transmission. Our study suggests that maternal vitamin A deficiency contributes to mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

  15. Onecleverkid,
    You are just trolling. Here is the complete list of errors and subsequent corrections,
    And here is the specific Vit A question you are fishing for:
    FALSE VIT A Farber states that the fact that some of the HIVNET 012
    participants were on a vitamin A trial negates data associated
    with them.
    If vitamin A supplements were actually effective at reducing MTCT,
    Farber's statement would be true. However several studies of whether
    vitamin A supplements reduces MTCT have been conducted. They all
    found that vitamin A supplementation does not differ from placebo.
    See the Cochrane review (2006)52 on this. It is possible that vitamin A
    supplementation confers other benefits, but even this is unclear as a
    recent Zimbabwean study demonstrates.53

  16. "Threatening legal action for "libel" is a favorite tactic of corporations and other thugs and phonies when they want to try to silence legitimate criticism."

    sounds familiar...mmm