Liam Scheff Interviewed by Heather Anderson on FM Australia

Heather: I’ll say briefly, which is probably a crazy word to use when talking about this issue, but can you briefly explain what the HIV/AIDS myth is or what the alternative theories about HIV and AIDS are that you have been researching and that you have been writing about?

Liam: Yeah sure, AIDS is a brand name. There was a phenomena in this country, in my country, in the United States in the early 80’s in a very small community, the gay community over here.

The interview covers a great deal of ground in a few mouthfuls. The ICC story, HIV testing, some bird flu propaganda analysis, a little biographical information on yours truly, and some personal philosophy. (See notes at the bottom for further reading in greater detail).

Heather: I’ll say briefly, which is probably a crazy word to use when talking about this issue, but can you briefly explain what the HIV/AIDS myth is or what the alternative theories about HIV and AIDS are that you have been researching and that you have been writing about?

Liam: Yeah sure, AIDS is a brand name. There was a phenomena in this country, in my country, in the United States in the early 80’s in a very small community, the gay community over here.

Heather Anderson: Just to start off with can you give the listeners a bit of a background about yourself?

Liam Scheff: Who am I? I’m an independent journalist. What does that mean? It means I didn’t graduate from graduate school in journalism – I was a writer, I had some success, I got hired at a newspaper, I was good at asking questions, I worked at a little paper in Boston, I did a lot of independent stuff for other things. Mostly it means I’m a very curious person with good research skills. That shouldn’t put me too far above anybody else in the list in the audience.

I did grow up in a family of doctors and medical researchers. I have no particular fear of doctors, no particular love or hatred of them. They’re just people to me like people in your family.

And so it was very easy for me to ask many questions without feeling worried that I was going to be punished because I grew up watching people argue about medicine.

You know when you grow up in a family of doctors something happens to you, you see that the things that you’re told are absolutely true are ideas that can be used in arguments by uncles against each other.

These things that are sacrosanct and, you know, you are told ‘this is absolute’ suddenly becomes just the latest idea that’s there; and one of my uncles could say to the other “well of course that’s wrong, and that’ll be proven wrong in this paper, and this is what I’m saying, and that’s old fashioned.”

You know, just the idea that you’re not supposed to question a doctor – that there’s something religiously profoundly sacred about what comes out of the guys in the white jackets – was lost on me from a very early age because I saw them drunk.

Heather: I’ll say briefly, which is probably a crazy word to use when talking about this issue, but can you briefly explain what the HIV/AIDS myth is or what the alternative theories about HIV and AIDS are that you have been researching and that you have been writing about?

Liam: Yeah sure, AIDS is a brand name. There was a phenomena in this country, in my country, in the United States in the early 80’s in a very small community, the gay community over here.

We still imagine as many people in western countries do that we’re supposed to care about adults… who adults have sex with and that sort of thing. Now this goes beyond me at this point, I don’t really understand it though I have my religious friends and my strong spiritual interests, it’s just beyond me to understand this.

But this is something we’re really concerned about – so if you’re gay or if you’re want to have sex with somebody of the same sex you always have a hard time in this country and in many parts of the world for a long time.

The gay community in my country didn’t really exist until after, well, there was the so-called sexual revolution here in the 60’s, where again a really small part of the population decided to experiment a little bit with flaunting the Judeo- Christian moral structure regarding sex and marriage and this sort of thing.

And the gay people sort of followed along and decided, well, if it’s good for the goose, you know; and what happened was there was this thing called Stonewall.
There was a protest at a bar in New York where, if you can imagine, the police were regularly bothering and beating up the gay guys who were going to their bar in their little neighborhood tavern in Greenwich Village in New York.

And there was a protest, and after that in ’69 there was a sort of a gay community. These guys lived in these little gay ghettoes. The regular culture still doesn’t want to, sort of, acknowledge that people have many types of sexuality.

And what happened was what happens to any culture living in any sort of ghetto – you develop ghetto like behaviors, you have a tiny world that you live in, it’s a few blocks long, you can’t go home, you can’t really talk to the people that you used to know before you came out. People did a lot of drugs, they did a lot of partying, they had a lot of STD’s, they took a lot of antibiotics between and before and after sex partners and going to the baths, and all that kind of stuff.

And, you know, they got sick over the course of a decade for a lot of reasons. I don’t know all of the reasons, but they certainly wore themselves out. By the late 70’s some of them were dying. When they went into the hospital they weren’t treated very well, a lot of them were more or less poisoned, they were given very, very —

— There’s something in the West that I call the “The patient is very sick, let’s drug them mercilessly” medical standard. So you take anybody who’s sick, who has a multiplicity of illnesses and effects going on in their body and then you give them drugs that absolutely decimate their immune system and you hope that they survive.

So this is what happened. These guys went into the hospital, they were injected with Pentamidine which is a fungicide, they were given radiation and they were having effects from these carcinogenic drugs they were doing. It was a mess and a lot of guys died.

And, you know, the original idea was that they died or they were sick because they were doing all this stuff, but that didn’t really make some people happy because they felt it would increase homophobia.

And then some guys at our at out National Cancer Institute essentially, the National Institute of Health, got a hold of it and they decided that they would try to prop up the idea that it was all caused by the sex; you know, that fit well with the idea it was gay people and all the rest of it.

And then they made it a brand name – first it was called GRIDS and then it was called AIDS, and then once it was a name, AIDS, for what happened in a particular community, whatever you think the cause was – I think it’s multi-factorial and I think that’s pretty clear in the medical and historical record.

But whatever the things going on were they took the name AIDS – when I say ‘they’ I mean my government, the American government, the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and a couple of years later in 1985 marched over to Africa, had a meeting there and decided anything going on in anybody who had persistent diarrhea, who was losing weight was also the same disease. The same ‘sex’ disease.

Now in Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, you have a situation where you have a continent which is not necessarily as well structured or livable as New York City or West Hollywood. There’s not as much clean water, there’s not access to food all the time, there’s a persistent Malaria, Cholera, Tuberculosis, Sepsis, other Dysenteries, parasitic problems. There are corrupt governments, there are civil wars, there are people sometimes marching through your village with machetes and cutting you into pieces.

So what you have in Africa is essentially a different terrain. But in 1985 there was a meeting in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, where a CDC official, Joseph McCormick decided, and he records this in his biography, “Level 4 Virus Hunters of the CDC,” that whatever was going on they would be able to ‘start counting the cases however imperfect their way of diagnosing it would be,’ and that diagnosis in Africa would be diarrhea, weight loss, fever etc.

The Orphanage Story
Part 2

Heather: I would especially like to know about the story that you covered about the orphanage in New York, about the forced AIDS experiments in that orphanage. Do you mind talking a little bit about that?

Liam: No, sure. If there’s a purpose or a fate to anything I would say that one of the reasons that I got brought into this or one of the things that brought me into it was this thing that happened in New York.

I was told by some activists in New York of an orphanage in New York, and I was put in touch with a woman who had her kids – they were her niece and nephew – taken away because she wasn’t giving them these AIDS drugs.

Now the reason she wasn’t giving them the drugs was because the drugs, when she gave them, made them, especially the young, boy very, very, very sick, to the point of total lethargy, stunting of growth all sorts of really horrible problems.

The orphanage he was taken into was called The Incarnation Children’s Center, and this was established in the late 80’s early 90’s as essentially an iceberg on a very cold sea. It was a net to grab – to pick up these babies that were abandoned at the hospital from the women who were doing crack, from these crazy crack addict mothers who were ruining their lives and ruining their children’s lives.

So there were all these crack babies, and this Incarnation Children’s Center was really rescuing them. Okay, that’s a good thing from my perspective; but guess what happened? In a couple of years the AIDS establishment sees an opportunity, and they decided these aren’t crack babies anymore – these are now AIDS babies – and all you have to do to convince anybody is to give them one of these tests.

And they decided they can use these kids to experiment with drugs on, and to shove all of these old failed, cancer chemotherapy drugs that they call AIDS drugs on, and that’s what they do, and that’s what they were doing.

And I went there in 2003, and I went in with my source who’s kids were there, and I saw the kids with the tubes shoved into their noses and into their abdomen.

Drugs like AZT, which is a nucleoside analogue, the job of these failed cancer drugs is to stop cell development and growth, and the job is to do it at the genetic level or to stop protein assembly, and the job is to do that right there in the cell.

And these drugs are good at doing that, and they will stop your cells from growing and developing. They’ll stop your bone marrow from producing blood and you’ll get anemia and you’ll die. You’ll have deformations because the proteins won’t assemble correctly. You’ll get lumps on your body. And that’s what these kids exhibited.

And this is what I saw in the orphanage, and this is what I saw in the kids that I knew. And I interviewed a lot of people from there, I interviewed kids from there, I interviewed health care workers from there for about a period of 2 years. I wrote about that in a story called “The House That AIDS Built,” a story called “Inside Incarnation.” You can read these all at my website so I’ll give that to you at the end.

And I got the same story over and over again: “We shoved the drugs in the kids mouths when they were awake, when they were asleep; they throw up all the time, they have diarrhea all the time, they are miserably unhappy with the drugs but we have to give them because they are ‘life saving drugs'” – to which I say are they ‘life saving’ drugs? They die on the drugs.

When the kids didn’t want to take the drugs – this was the story that I got from everybody, including the doctor, Dr. Katherine Painter who ran the place – they’d get them through tubes shoved into their nose, and if they don’t take them that way, they’ll take them in for surgery at Columbia Presbyterian and they’ll put an abdominal gastric tube, and they’ll shove the drugs through the tube.

And this is apparently standard practice in AIDS care for children. You can find the study from University of California, San Diego, I believe. That says that you can reduce the time you can get these kids to take these very poisonous drugs.

I don’t buy it. I read the labels. The labels say that the drugs stop the development of normal cells, of blood; that you can die taking them, that kids throw them up when they take them; that’s good enough for me.

I mean it’s fine with me if an adult wants to take a drug that kills them. I couldn’t care less if they have a chance to read the package material. Who am I to stop you throwing yourself off a bridge if that’s really what you want to do and you feel that it’s in your best interest, or whatever it is, or if the drugs make you feel better for some reason, then they do, then I wouldn’t take that away from you.

But these kids had no choice, and many of them die, and when they die, of course, they call it AIDS.

They used Thalidomide – a very poisonous drug – on one of the kids, because this is a drug now being used in AIDS care because, it’s all… it’s pretty insane stuff… and I, people have lost their way, and they’re pretty crazy; I don’t know, I don’t really understand all of the mentality behind doing this.

But that was the story. We made a movie, we worked with a company, there was a BBC documentary that we worked on called “Guinea Pig Kids” that was seen by a lot of people and then got buried, I think, because it’s just too ugly. I don’t think people want to deal with it.

[end excerpt]

New York’s HIV experiment
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/this_world/4038375.stm

INSIDE INCARNATION
 http://nypress.com/18/30/news&columns/liamscheff.cfm

‘Guinea Pig Kids’ – BBC Video
 http://www.helpforhiv.com/videos.htm


The Tests
Part 3

Liam: So you have a brand name – “AIDS”. And AIDS is the brand name that you put on anybody in the world who falls into a couple of groups: black, aboriginal, brown skin in my country, African-American descendants of the African Diaspora, the slave trade; Hispanic people now; poor people, drug users, gay people.

Whenever they get almost any kind of illness, we have a word for it, and that word is the brand name, the four letter word.

The idea that it’s all the same thing is kind of a science fiction confection. I mean there’s just nothing to it, you can take it apart in a second. But the way that they get the public to buy is to backward validate it.

So, you can have a diagnosis of somebody, you can say, “Well, you fit into this group, you see, oh look, you have the same disease that these guys (who lived essentially in a ghettoized isolated part of the American population had, who were doing tons of drugs and suffering the prejudices of not being welcomed into society for 150 years). Yeah, that’s the disease that you have, and we know it. We know why, because we’ll give you a test.”

Heather: I’d like to ask you about the tests in terms of test validity, can you explain a little bit more about the HIV test?

Liam: There’s no such thing as an HIV test – there’s no test for any particular particle. And the way that you would know that is to open one of them, so I’ll open one of them right now. And here is the package insert to the 2006 Abbott Laboratories so-called HIV test. And you scroll through the pdf, and you find that there’s a section that says “Limitations of the test.” And in that section you find a line that says “at present there is no recognized standard for establishing the presence or absence of antibodies to HIV in human blood.”

I’ll read that again – this is in the test that is used – “at present there is no recognized standard for establishing the presence or absence of antibodies to HIV in human blood.” That means that this test doesn’t test for anything.

Heather: So if someone was to go to the doctors and asked to get tested would they be able to like… can you request can I see the test and see that when they get tested?

Liam: God, I hope so, but I really don’t know. I don’t know what it’s like in Australia. I know here you’d get a really hard time.

There’s another line I want to read from this test. It says “HIV Elisa test.” It’s an enzyme test – “detects antibodies to HIV in blood.”

Now right on the same page it says, “There is no recognized standard for establishing the presence of antibodies.” So you have a lie there. It doesn’t detect antibodies in blood and thus “is useful,” it says “in screening blood and plasma donated for transfusion and further manufacture and in evaluating patients with signs or symptoms of AIDS.”

Now hold on a second, we now have a question. The test doesn’t have any standards, so you can just throw it out, it doesn’t tell you anything. When you read early in the test, it tells you that it’s a protein test. This is the major test – there’s another kind of test that’s equally invalidated, and it also says it can’t be used for diagnosis, and I’ll get into that in a minute, and that’s called the ‘viral load’ test. But again there’s no such thing as an HIV test and that’s not one either.

This test says there’s “no standard” but it “detects antibodies”, which is “useful in screening blood and in evaluating patients with signs or symptoms of AIDS.”

‘Evaluating’ but not diagnosing – what does that mean?

It says “AIDS and AIDS-related conditions,” so what is AIDS? I mean the test doesn’t test for any particular thing, there’s no standard to interpret it, and it’s only useful in evaluating patients “[with] signs or symptoms of AIDS.” That’s awfully legal talk. It really means that you use it after you already diagnose somebody with AIDS.

So, what does it say, what is AIDS? “AIDS and AIDS related conditions are clinical syndromes and their diagnosis can only be established clinically.”

Hold on a second, you mean that the test is used after you diagnose somebody? Yes, that’s what they mean.

They mean that you look at somebody who’s in a particular group, that group that you associate, whatever you think it is, whatever you think has the kind of sex that kills them – there’s an old fashioned idea, right out of the inquisition – and then you give them the test.

Then it says that “Elisa testing cannot be used to diagnose AIDS even if the recommended investigation of reactive specimens” – reactive specimens?

I thought it was a plus or minus? No, it’s not positive or negative, it’s a ‘reactive’ or ‘semi-reactive’ or ‘non-reactive test,’ “suggests,” it says, “that the antibodies to HIV are present.” Well it just said, “there is no standard for establishing whether there are antibodies to HIV.”

So, boy, this looks like a maze to me, like one of those garden mazes from England.

Okay, let’s just finish this line:

“Even if the recommended investigation of reactive specimens suggest that the antibodies to HIV are present, a negative test result at any point in the investigation of individual subjects,” a negative test result, “does not preclude the possibility of exposure to infection with HIV.”

So the test doesn’t mean anything. “The risk of an asymptomatic person” – a healthy person, a non sick person – “with a repeated reactive serum” – that means that they’re just positive over and over again, but they’re not sick – “developing AIDS or an AIDS related condition is not known”.

Okay, look, they go on and on and on through this thing with this sort of language, they talk about the “cut off value.” That is, if it’s a ‘reactive’ test there’s a point at which you draw a line, and if you say that if it’s reactive above this place, we’re going to consider it positive; and if it’s not reactive above this place we’re going to consider it negative.

It says there’s no standard for it. It says that the proteins that you use in the test are synthetic, they’re grown in bacteria, they’re not part of a virus. You then mix it with some proteins from your blood and if there’s an antibody reaction between the bacterially-grown proteins and the proteins in your blood, then you have some sort of reaction.

But that doesn’t matter really, right, because it only matters if your in the group that they say has AIDS. So what is AIDS? AIDS is any condition that occurs in people they consider at high risk.

The last thing I’ll say about the test is, almost anything can make the protein reaction happen. You eat a piece of cheese, you develop antibodies to it; you have a cold, you drink, you have arthritis, you are pregnant – this is listed right in the test – pregnancy, drug abuse. You do any of these things, you’re going to have a higher antibody response that’s going to specifically react with these synthetic proteins and this test, you’re going to have a stronger reaction.

If you’re in that group, your skin is dark, your sexuality is saphic, or Greek, to put it that way, you’re in that ‘risk group’ and they’re going to say, “Aha, this ‘reactive’ specimen, this is probably indicative of a true reaction, and we have to run more tests – and don’t go anywhere, Mr. Davis, we have to do more tests!”

And that’s the way it works.

[end excerpt]

The Church of Reductionism

Liam: Reductionism is the idea, and it’s sort of a religious idea, that anything that happens, no matter how clearly complex, can only have one cause. And that cause is a tiny, tiny thing you can’t see.

And this is sort of the Church of Reductionism. Now we all know, yes, you can say malaria is caused by a very particular organism. Well, it is, but you have to live in an environment that’s conducive to growing that organism, and if you don’t, you’re not going to get malaria.

And then if you look at something like AIDS, which again is any illness, essentially, in these particular groups that are considered to have that kind of dirty sex, and then you look at something like you’re describing [ie chicken pox, measles, etc] which is a normal childhood disease, well, if it occurs when the doctors want you to have it, then it’s ok. But if it occurs normally the way it has always happened, then it’s something you should be ashamed of and essentially you’ve broken your bond with the Church of Reductionism.

You know it’s an incredible thing, and I’m not a reductionist, so I tend to get into trouble. The world is clearly multi-factorial, there’s no problem that occurs in a large situation with many factors – that isn’t caused by many factors. And this goes very much for this brand name AIDS. And it goes for this thing called Bird Flu.

I was enjoying reading the Bird Flu papers because when I was reading them, it was very clear the people that they were describing lived in environments that, they had no clean water, and they were packed together. And then when they went into the hospital they were drugged, sometimes to death – and it even says so in the medical papers.

There was a paper called “10 patients in Vietnam” from the New England Journal of Medicine from 2004, where it’s almost hysterical. They say, I mean it’s morbid, but they… I think 9 of 10 people die or some such thing… they say that they gave all of them just such a bevy of drugs as you couldn’t believe, and then they admit that they gave 7 or so of them Corticosteroids, which are immune-suppressing drugs. Then they say that 6 or so of the 7 patients on the immune-suppressing Corticosteroids died. Then they say ‘maybe we shouldn’t give the Corticosteroids’ but they never say ‘it was our fault.’

They never say, “These people probably could have made it if we hadn’t drugged them mercilessly with drugs that took away their immune system when they were struggling with a bad cold.”

So anyway, I’m not a reductionist. I suppose that’s my great sin.

I’m not trying to convince anybody of anything. I don’t really care if people agree with me, which is a benefit of having done it for a few years. I’m just not worried about it anymore. It’s not a mission for me, I’m not trying to save anybody. I did try, got my heart broken by the situation, by what happened to the kids, what is happening. And you know you get your heart broken a couple of times and you go, well that’s… you know what I mean? I did my duty, I did my penance, I toed that line… you understand what I’m saying?

Heather: Yeah, I know I understand.

Liam: You can only do so much before you give in to the reality. So I guess I talk about it differently probably than I did in the beginning, and I talk about it differently than most people. I’m not really an activist for it, I’m describing a social phenomenon.

[end transcript]

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