|Clark Baker with the late Kari Stockely who|
died of AIDS after falling into AIDS denialism
The cases that Baker targets are tragic -- typically involving HIV positive people who are accused of exposing others to HIV without disclosing their status. Failure to disclose HIV is a complicated and serious issue. No one has the right to knowingly expose another person to a life threatening disease. But we live in a society that has made it enormously difficult to disclose HIV status. AIDS stigma has not gone away. People living with HIV face rejection, discrimination, and even violence when they disclose. They have to deal with disclosure issues every day. When accused of a crime for failing to disclose HIV, they deserve a competent defense.
So it may seem hard to believe that defense attorneys would employ the AIDS Deniers at OMSJ.
In recent cases, Baker and the gang have called into question the reliability of Elisa and Western Blot tests. You know, the package insert says a single test is not diagnostic; the tests cross-react to all sorts of antibodies; clinical algorithms are circular; PCR is not diagnostic; RNA is not the virus; there is no gold standard for testing HIV antibodies; if a lab tech dilutes the specimen wrong everyone tests positive; HIV diagnosis is a sham. Blah, blah, blah. Nothing we have not heard before.
But when unchallenged by real science, the words of a fake expert can confuse a jury and raise reasonable doubt.
When unexposed as crocks, the AIDS Deniers can easily fool people into thinking they are scientists.
Who are the OMSJ experts?
Looks like anyone listed as a member of Rethinking AIDS Society can sign-up. In the case I am most familiar with there were three OMSJ experts:
Rodney Richards -- worked in biotech until around 1992. He has been an AIDS Denier since seeing Peter Duesberg give a talk around that same time. Since then he has been sort of self-employed. He has never published anything in a peer reviewed journal as first author. In fact, it seems he has never written anything at all. Even his Masters Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation were published with his Major Advisor writing the papers and publishing as lead author. He relies on package inserts and technical manuals from the testing kits for his claim that the tests are invalid. For example, that a positive Western Blot result 'presumes' the presence of HIV. This tactic can work well on the witness stand when unchallenged by a true expert.
Nancy Banks -- has never worked anywhere relevant to AIDS. Amazingly, she made it through Harvard medical School and then actually treated patients as a Gynecologist. She has never worked in research and, at least according to her CV, has not worked anywhere since the year 2000. She has no peer reviewed, or even non-peer reviewed papers of any kind. But she has written a book called AIDS, Opium, Diamonds, and Empire: The Deadly Virus of International Greed, in which she exposes the vast conspiracy of Jews who run the pharmaceutical industry and control the media and Federal Government to kill Africans with toxic poisons. She is a rare bird - both an AIDS Denier and Holocaust Denier. Her current whereabouts are unknown.
both found guilty of conducting illegal clinical trials in South Africa. He is most notorious for serving on the infamous AIDS panel of former South African President and AIDS Denialist Thabo Mbeki. Rasnick claims to have been a visiting scholar at University of California Berkley, but the University says otherwise. On Rasnick's CV, he boasts three failed business attempts, no academic appointments and not much else.
OMSJ Experts are paid $400 per hour per 'expert'. The actual cost breakdown looks like this...
Expert Consultation on documents and records $350/hour
Expert dispositions and testimony $400/hour
Travel paid at standard per diem rates
Travel time $350/hour
Keep in mind that in Military cases these are tax dollars.
I was fortunate to have been called as an expert in a recent OMSJ case. I will not write about the case itself out of respect for the US Army, the Court, prosecution team, and victims.
I was not called as an expert on AIDS.
I was asked to consult as an Expert on AIDS Denialism because of OMSJ's involvement.
Richards and Banks were at first going to be called to testify on the questions surrounding HIV as the cause of AIDS, testing reliability etc. I testified at a preliminary hearing regarding their views. association with Rethinking AIDS, scientific backgrounds, and connection to AIDS Denialism.
Subsequently, Richard and Banks were not asked to testify at trial.
Rather, on trial day Clark Baker showed up with David Rasnick. AIDS Denialist blogger and 'freelance journalist' Teri Michaels was also present to take notes and chronicle the events.
Clark may not have been feeling well the two days I was in court. He seemed pretty out of it. His eyes were closed most of the time. At times he was definitely asleep. But at other times his eyes were just closed while he shook his leg and coughed quite a bit. In any case, he seemed pretty out of it. Maybe a combination of jet lag and a bad cold? Or perhaps this was Clark's 'normal' state. Hard to tell.
Rasnick, on the other hand, slept through the afternoon on my first day and the morning of the second day. I mean the man was taking some serious Z's. He did testify, but his expertise was limited to antibody testing. He could not discuss anything else, including PCR, which seemed to sadden him. He was allowed to testify as an expert because he worked at Abbott Labs in 1978.
On the stand Rasnick spoke of how his minority views on AIDS have been silenced by the establishment. He was not sure what journals he had published in that were or were not peer reviewed. He claimed letters and commentaries as peer-reviewed articles. He claimed to be completely unaware of any charges being filed against him in South Africa. He was surprised to find the verdict against him in the case documents - said he had no idea about it. He said he worked with Rath but was uninvolved in any clinical trials.
Rasnick went on to explain how HIV testing is completely unreliable. When asked about statements made by previous real experts on the stand, Rasnick seemed unaware of what they had said. I suppose because he was sleeping during their testimony.
It was remarkable to see OMSJ deliver crocks and cranks who will actually spew their crazy talk under oath.
June 29, Rethinking AIDS Facebook page.
(Click on the image to enlarge)