|Virus Mania by Torsten Engelbrecht, Claus Köhnlein
A daily scan through the newspapers and TV news gives the impression that the entire world is constantly invaded by new and horrible virus epidemics. The latest headlines feature the human papillomavirus (HPV) alleged to cause cervical cancer and the avian flu virus, H5N1. The public is also continually terrorized by reports about SARS, BSE, Hepatitis C, AIDS, Ebola, and Polio. However, this virus mayhem ignores very basic scientific facts: the existence, the pathogenicity and the deadly effects of these agents have never been proven. The medical establishment and its loyal media acolytes claim that this evidence has been produced. But these claims are highly suspect because modern medicine has pushed direct virus proof methods aside and uses dubious indirect tools to "prove" the existence of viruses such as antibody tests and the polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
The authors of Virus Mania, journalist Torsten Engelbrecht and doctor of internal medicine Claus Köhnlein, show that these alleged contagious viruses are, in fact, particles produced by the cells themselves as a consequence of certain stress factors such as drugs. These particles are then identified by antibody and PCR tests and interpreted as epidemic-causing viruses by doctors who have been inoculated for over 100 years by the theory that microbes are deadly and only modern medications and vaccines will protect us from virus pandemics.
The central aim of this book is to steer the discussion back to a real scientific debate and put medicine back on the path of an impartial analysis of the facts. It will put medical experiments, clinical trials, statistics and government policies under the microscope, revealing that the people charged with protecting our health and safety have deviated from this path. Along the way, Engelbrecht and Köhnlein will analyze all possible causes of illness such as pharmaceuticals, lifestyle drugs, pesticides, heavy metals, pollution, stress and processed (and sometimes genetically modified) foods. All of these can heavily damage the body of humans and animals and even kill them. And precisely these factors typically prevail where the victims of alleged viruses live and work. To substantiate these claims, the authors cite dozens of highly renowned scientists, among them the Nobel laureates Kary Mullis, Barbara McClintock, Walter Gilbert, Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet and microbiologist and Pulitzer Prize winner René Dubos. The book presents approximately 1,100 pertinent scientific references, the majority of which have been published recently.
The topic of this book is of pivotal significance. The pharmaceutical companies and top scientists rake in enormous sums of money by attacking germs and the media boosts its audience ratings and circulations with sensationalized reporting (the coverage of the New York Times and Der Spiegel are specifically analyzed). Individuals pay the highest price of all, without getting what they deserve and need most to maintain health: enlightenment about the real causes and true necessities for prevention and cure of their illnesses. "The first step is to give up the illusion that the primary purpose of modern medical research is to improve people's health most effectively and efficiently," advises John Abramson of Harvard Medical School. "The primary purpose of commercially-funded clinical research is to maximize financial return on investment, not health."
Virus Mania will inform you on how such an environment took root – and how to empower yourself for a healthy life.
About the Authors
Torsten Engelbrecht works as a freelance journalist in Hamburg. He has written articles for publications such as Medical Hypotheses, British Medical Journal (online), Siiddeutsche Zeitung, Neue Zurcher Zeitung, and The Ecologist. From 2000 to 2004, he worked as business editor of the Financial Times Deutschland.
Claus Köhnlein is a medical specialist of internal diseases. He completed his residency in the Oncology Department at the University of Kiel. Since 1993, he has worked in his own medical practice, treating Hepatitis C and AIDS patients who are skeptical of antiviral medications.
|Posted on 15 Jun 2020
|Table of Contents
By Etienne de Harven, MD
By Joachim Mutter, MD
Society Under the Spell of a One-Dimensional Microbe Theory
Medicine Presents a Distorted Picture of Microbes
■ Microbes: Branded as Scapegoats
■ Fungi: As in the Forest, So in the Human Body
■ Bacteria: At the Beginning of All Life
■ Viruses: Lethal Mini-Monsters?
The Microbe Hunters Seize Power
■ Pasteur and Koch: Two of Many Scientific Cheats
■ Scurvy, Beriberi and Pellagra: The Microbe Hunters' Many Defeats
■ Hippocrates, von Pettenkofer, Bircher-Benner: The Wisdom of the Body
■ Clustering: How To Make an Epidemic Out of One Infected Patient
■ Polio: Pesticides Such as DDT and Heavy Metals Under Suspicion
■ Gajdusek's "Slow Virus": Infinite Leeway for Explanations
■ After World War II: Visible Proof of Viruses? We Don't Need That!
■ The Virus Disaster of the 1970s-and HIV as Salvation in the 1980s
AIDS: From Spare Tire to Multibillion-Dollar Business
■ AIDS: What Exactly Is It?
■ Where Is the Proof of HIV?
■ HIV = AIDS?
■ HIV Antibody Tests, PCR Viral Load Tests, CD4 Counts: As Uninformative as a Toss of a Coin
■ Drugs, Medicines and Malnutrition Lead to AIDS
■ The Early 1980s: Poppers and AIDS Drugs
■ How the "Fast-Lane Lifestyle" Topic Got Out of Sight
■ New York, February 2005: From Super-Drug Consumers to "Super-AIDS-Virus" Patients
■ Gallo, 1994: Not HIV, But Sex Drugs Like Poppers Cause AIDS
■ Der Spiegel: On the Paths of Sensationalistic Journalism
■ AIDS Is Not a Sexually-Transmitted Disease
■ 23 April 1984: Gallo's TV Appearance Carves the Virus Dogma in Stone
■ 1987: Top Experts Take the Stage as Critics of AIDS Orthodoxy
■ 1994: AIDS-Researcher David Ho-as Convincing as a Giraffe with Sunglasses
■ The Media Under the Spell of Celebrity Researchers
■ AIDS Medications: The Fable of Life- Prolonging Effects
■ People as Guinea Pigs
■ AZT Study 1987: A Gigantic Botch-Up
■ The AIDS Therapy Dilemma
■ All on AZT: The Deaths of Freddie Mercury, Rudolph Nureyev and Arthur Ashe
■ Basketball Star "Magic" Johnson: "There Is No Magic in AZT, and No AZT in 'Magic'"
■ Hemophiliacs and AIDS
■ Africa: How Well-Known Diseases are Redefined as AIDS
Hepatitis C: Toxins Such as Alcohol, Heroin, and Prescription Drugs Suffice as Explanations
■ HIV Mania: Detonation for Antiviral Hepatitis C Therapy
■ How To Create a Hepatitis C Virus
■ Hepatitis C Can Also Be Explained Without a Virus
■ Pamela Anderson: The Virus Industry's Grand Marshall
BSE: The Epidemic That Never Was
■ BSE: Prophecies of Horror and Wastes of Money
■ The Dogma of the Infectious Disease BSE
■ Activism Feigned for Safety
■ The Infection Hypothesis Is Founded on Dubious Experiments
■ BSE: A Genetic Defect Due To Inbreeding
■ BSE as an Effect of Chemical Poisoning
■ BSE Is Not an Infectious Disease
SARS: Hysteria on the Heels of AIDS and BSE
■ First 9/11, Next the War in Iraq-and then SARS?
■ Critical Thoughts on SARS Epidemiology: How Did Carlo Urbani Really Die?
■ Antiviral Therapy: More Pain than Gain
■ SARS: Virus Enemy Not Found
■ Cortisone and Other Steroids: Questionable Effects
■ The Therapeutic Dilemma of Our Time
■ Guangdong: The High-Tech Revolution's Dirty Secret
H5N1: Avian Flu and Not a Glimmer of Proof
■ The Media: Big Pharma's Megaphone
■ H5N1: No Evidence of Virus Existence and Pathogenic Effect
■ (Not Only) Factory Farming Makes Birds Sick
■ Guesswork on Rügen
■ The Dutch Bird Flu Panic, 2003: Caught in Virus Tunnel Vision
■ Rat Poisons Carry off Birds
■ On the Duty To Avoid Seeing What's Right Under Our Noses
■ More than 150 Dead People – What Really Caused Their Deaths?
■ No Reason for Pandemic Panic
■ Tamiflu: From Shelf-Warmer to Big Seller – to Death Bringer?
■ Tamiflu Studies and the Problem of Independence
■ Donald Rumsfeld Makes Giant Profits
■ Pandemic 1918: Result of a Virus or the First World War?
■ The Pandemic of 1918: Mysterious Spread
■ Failed Infection Attempts
■ Pandemic 1918: Overmedication and Mass Vaccination Campaigns
■ Doctors Respond to the Catastrophe With Overwhelming Silence
Cervical Cancer and Other Vaccinations: Policy vs. Evidence
■ Flu Vaccines: Do They Make Sense?
■ Deadly Immunity, by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
■ Fraud, Waste, Bribery-Corruption in the Health Service
■ HPV Vaccination Against Cervical Cancer: Not Proven Safe and Effective
■ HPV Vaccine: A Possible Disaster for the Next Generation
Side Effect-Free Alternatives to Medications and Vaccinations
The book Virus Mania by Torsten Engelbrecht and Claus Köhnlein presents a tragic message that will, hopefully, contribute to the re-insertion of ethical values in the conduct of virus research, public health policies, media communications, and activities of the pharmaceutical companies. Obviously, elementary ethical rules have been, to a very dangerous extent, neglected in many of these fields for an alarming number of years.
When American journalist Celia Farber courageously published, in Harper's Magazine (March 2006) the article "Out of control – AIDS and the corruption of medical science," some readers probably attempted to reassure themselves that this "corruption" was an isolated case. This is very far from the truth as documented so well in this book by Engelbrecht and Köhnlein. It is only the tip of the iceberg. Corruption of research is a widespread phenomenon currently found in many major, supposedly contagious health problems, ranging from AIDS to Hepatitis C, Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or "mad cow disease"), SARS, Avian flu and current vaccination practices (human papillomavirus or HPV vaccination).
In research on all of these six distinct public health concerns scientific research on viruses (or prions in the case of BSE) slipped onto the wrong track following basically the same systematic pathway. This pathway always includes several key steps: inventing the risk of a disastrous epidemic, incriminating an elusive pathogen, ignoring alternative toxic causes, manipulating epidemiology with non-verifiable numbers to maximize the false perception of an imminent catastrophe, and promising salvation with vaccines. This guarantees large financial returns. But how is it possible to achieve all of this? Simply by relying on the most powerful activator of human decision making process, i.e. FEAR!
We are not witnessing viral epidemics; we are witnessing epidemics of fear. And both the media and the pharmaceutical industry carry most of the responsibility for amplifying fears, fears that happen, incidentally, to always ignite fantastically profitable business. Research hypotheses covering these areas of virus research are practically never scientifically verified with appropriate controls. Instead, they are established by "consensus." This is then rapidly reshaped into a dogma, efficiently perpetuated in a quasi-religious manner by the media, including ensuring that research funding is restricted to projects supporting the dogma, excluding research into alternative hypotheses. An important tool to keep dissenting voices out of the debate is censorship at various levels ranging from the popular media to scientific publications.
We haven't learnt well from past experiences. There are still many unanswered questions on the causes of the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, and on the role of viruses in post-WWII polio (DDT neurotoxicity?). These modern epidemics should have opened our minds to more critical analyses. Pasteur and Koch had constructed an understanding of infection applicable to several bacterial diseases. But this was before the first viruses were actually discovered. Transposing the principles of bacterial infections to viruses was, of course, very tempting but should not have been done without giving parallel attention to the innumerable risk factors in our toxic environment; to the toxicity of many drugs, and to some nutritional deficiencies.
Cancer research had similar problems. The hypothesis that cancer might be caused by viruses was formulated in 1903, more than one century ago. Even today it has never been convincingly demonstrated. Most of the experimental laboratory studies by virus-hunters have been based on the use of inbred mice, inbred implying a totally unnatural genetic background. Were these mice appropriate models for the study of human cancer? (we are far from being inbred!) True, these mice made possible the isolation and purification of "RNA tumor viruses," later renamed "retroviruses" and well characterized by electron microscopy. But are these viral particles simply associated with the murine tumors, or are they truly the culprit of malignant transformation? Are these particles real exogenous infective particles, or endogenous defective viruses hidden in our chromosomes? The question is still debatable. What is certain is that viral particles similar to those readily recognized in cancerous and leukemic mice have never been seen nor isolated in human cancers. Of mice and men …
However, by the time this became clear, in the late 1960s, viral oncology had achieved a dogmatic, quasi-religious status. If viral particles cannot be seen by electron microscopy in human cancers, the problem was with electron microscopy, not with the dogma of viral oncology! This was the time molecular biology was taking a totally dominant posture in viral research. "Molecular markers" for retroviruses were therefore invented (reverse transcriptase for example) and substituted most conveniently for the absent viral particles, hopefully salvaging the central dogma of viral oncology. This permitted the viral hypothesis to survive for another ten years, until the late 1970s, with the help of increasingly generous support from funding agencies and from pharmaceutical companies. However by 1980 the failure of this line of research was becoming embarrassingly evident, and the closing of some viral oncology laboratories would have been inevitable, except that …
Except what? Virus cancer research would have crashed to a halt except that, in 1981, five cases of severe immune deficiencies were described by a Los Angeles physician, all among homosexual men who were also all sniffing amyl nitrite, were all abusing other drugs, abusing antibiotics, and probably suffering from malnutrition and STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). It would have been logical to hypothesize that these severe cases of immune deficiency had multiple toxic origins. This would have amounted to incrimination of these patients' life-style.
Unfortunately, such discrimination was, politically, totally unacceptable. Therefore, another hypothesis had to be found – these patients were suffering from a contagious disease caused by a new … retrovirus! Scientific data in support of this hypothesis was and, amazingly enough, still is totally missing. That did not matter, and instantaneous and passionate interest of cancer virus researchers and institutions erupted immediately. This was salvation for the viral laboratories where AIDS now became, almost overnight, the main focus of research. It generated huge financial support from Big Pharma, more budget for the CDC and NIH, and nobody had to worry about the life style of the patients who became at once the innocent victims of this horrible virus, soon labeled as HIV.
Twenty-five years later, the HIV/AIDS hypothesis has totally failed to achieve three major goals in spite of the huge research funding exclusively directed to projects based on it. No AIDS cure has ever been found; no verifiable epidemiological predictions have ever been made; and no HIV vaccine has ever been successfully prepared. Instead, highly toxic (but not curative) drugs have been most irresponsibly used, with frequent, lethal side effects. Yet not a single HIV particle has ever been observed by electron microscopy in the blood of patients supposedly having a high viral load! So what? All the most important newspapers and magazine have displayed attractive computerized, colorful images of HIV that all originate from laboratory cell cultures, but never from even a single AIDS patient. Despite this stunning omission the HIV/AIDS dogma is still solidly entrenched. Tens of thousands of researchers, and hundreds of major pharmaceutical companies continue to make huge profits based on the HIV hypothesis. And not one single AIDS patient has ever been cured …
Yes, HIV/AIDS is emblematic of the corruption of virus research that is remarkably and tragically documented in this book. Research programs on Hepatitis C, BSE, SARS, Avian flu and current vaccination policies all developed along the same logic, that of maximizing financial profits. Whenever we try to understand how some highly questionable therapeutic policies have been recommended at the highest levels of public health authorities (WHO, CDC, RKI etc.), we frequently discover either embarrassing conflicts of interests, or the lack of essential control experiments, and always the strict rejection of any open debate with authoritative scientists presenting dissident views of the pathological processes. Manipulations of statistics, falsifications of clinical trials, dodging of drug toxicity tests have all been repeatedly documented. All have been swiftly covered up, and none have been able to, so far, disturb the cynical logic of today's virus research business. The cover-up of the neurotoxicity of the mercury containing preservative thimerosal as a highly probable cause of autism among vaccinated children apparently reached the highest levels of the US govemement … (see article "Deadly Immunity" from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in chapter 8)
Virus Mania is a social disease of our highly developed society. To cure it will require conquering fear, fear being the most deadly contagious virus, most efficiently transmitted by the media.
Errare humanum est sed diabolicum preservare - … (to err is human, but to preserve an error is diabolic).
Etienne de Harven, MD
Professor Emeritus of Pathology at the University of Toronto and
Member of the Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, New York (1956 - 1981)
Member of Thabo Mbeki's AIDS Advisory Panel of South Africa
President of Rethinking AIDS (www.rethinkingaids.com)
The book Virus Mania shows in a simple comprehensible way the diversity of scientific data that proves most of the epidemics presented in the media as horror stories (flu, avian flu, AIDS, BSE, Hepatitis C, etc.) do not actually exist or are harmless. In contrast: Through this scaremongering and through the toxic materials contained in vaccines a vast number of diseases can emerge; diseases that have recently been increasing on a massive scale: allergies, cancer, autism, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficite hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autoimmune diseases and disorders of the nervous systeme. The authors, the journalist Torsten Engelbrecht and doctor of internal medicine Claus Köhnlein, succeed in tracking down the real culprits, including the profiteers in this game. They also identify solutions that everybody can easily implement in their daily lives. This work is one of the most important and enlightening books of our times which will instigate an upheaval of the dogmas and delusions that have held for more than 150 years.
Joachim Mutter, MD
Institute of Environmental Medicine And Hospital Epidemiology
University Medical Center Freiburg, Germany
Freiburg, 19 December 2006
"[Since the second half of the 19th century,] unquestionably the doctrine of specific etiology has been the most constructive force in the medical research. In reality, however, search for the cause may be a hopeless pursuit because most disease states are the indirect outcome of a constellation of circumstances."1 René Dubos Microbiologist and Pulitzer Prize winner
(Have courage to use your own understanding) Kant's motto for the Enlightenment
The founding of The Royal Society in 1660 caused a tectonic shift in Western medicine. A group of British scientists decided that what counts is "the experimental proof" not speculative fantasy, superstition and blind faith.4 5 The Royal Society called this basic research principle "nullius in verba,"6 which essentially means "Don't just trust what someone says." In that era, it was still common to accuse women of witchcraft "in the name of God" and burn them at the stake, or to subjugate entire peoples such as the Aztecs or Mayans to Western ideologies. Setting a standard of scientific proof marked the end of the dark ages and had enormous long-term consequences.
Today, considering ourselves enlightened and in the safe hands of our high-tech scientific culture, we look back with misgivings and great discomfort at the abuses of power that occurred in such draconian times. Indeed, the dream that science promises with its principle of proof – namely to free people from ignorance, superstition, tyranny, and not least from physical and psychological suffering – has, in many cases, particularly in wealthy countries, become a reality.7 Airplanes, tractors, computers, bionic limbs – all these achievements are the product of scientific research. Like our modern legal system, bound by the principle of evidence, science recognizes only one guiding principle: provable fact.
Our enthusiasm for scientific achievements has risen immeasurably. We have granted a godlike status to researchers and doctors, who still had the status of slaves in ancient Rome and even until the early 20th century were mostly poor and powerless.8 Because of this status, we continue to perceive them as selfless truth-seekers.9 The English biologist Thomas Huxley, a powerful supporter of Charles Darwin and grandfather of the author Aldous Huxley (Brave New World, 1932), described this phenomenon as early as the late 19th century, when he compared science's growing authority to the Church's position of power. For this, he coined the term "Church Scientific."10 11
Today's enlightened civilized individual believes so firmly in the omnipotence of scientists that they no longer question the evidence for certain hypotheses or even whether they make sense. Instead, citizens rely on the latest sensationalized media coverage churned out in daily newspapers and TV newscasts about world-threatening viral epidemics (Avian Flu, SARS, AIDS, etc.). For many decades, the media (and scientific reporters above all) have intently cultivated friendly relationships with researchers in the drive to scoop their competitors for provocative headlines. "We scientific reporters all too often serve as living applause for our subject," New York Times reporter Natalie Angier says critically about her profession. "Sometimes we write manuscripts that sound like unedited press releases."12
Journalists usually assume that scientists engage in rigorous studies and disseminate only provable facts – and that rare instances of fraud will quickly be driven out of the hallowed halls of research. It's an ideal picture, but one that has nothing to do with reality.13 14 15 16 17 18 Uncountable billions of dollars are transformed into "scientific" hypotheses, which are ultimately packaged and hawked by pharmaceutical companies, researchers, health advocates and journalists alike as the ultimate conclusions of truth. In actuality, these theories are often mere speculation, proven false and years later, finally discarded.
"The more willing the people are, the more promises must be made," warned Erwin Chargaff as early as 1978. "A quick route to long life, freedom from all diseases, a cure for cancer – soon, perhaps the elimination of death – and what then?" asked the co-founder of biochemical research and gene-technology, and a repeatedly decorated professor at Columbia University's Biochemical Institute in New York. "But no singer would ever have to promise to make me a better person if I would just listen to her trills."19
Since the end of the 1970s, this situation has dramatically worsened.20 Just as in politics and economics, we in research are also "bombarded, saturated, harried by fraud," writes renowned science historian Horace Judson,21 whose analyses are corroborated by a number of relevant studies.22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 "From a global viewpoint, there is corruption at all levels of the public health service, from health ministries to patients – and there are almost no limits to criminal imagination," maintains Transparency International, an institution for protection against corruption, in its annual "Global Corruption Report 2006" (focus on health services).33
Table 1 - Examples for Methods for Pharmaceutical Companies
Conduct a trial of your drug against a treatment known to be inferior
Trial your drugs against too low a dose of a competitor drug
Conduct a trial of your drug against too high a dose of a competitor drug (making your drug seem less toxic)
Use multiple endpoints (survival time, reduction of blood pressure, etc.) in the trial and select for publication those that give favorable results
Conduct trials that are too small to show differences from competitor drugs
Do multicenter trials and select for publication results from centers that are favorable
Source: Smith, Richard, Medical Journals Are an Extension of the Marketing Arm of Pharmaceutical Companies, Plos Medicine, May 2005, p. e138
A close look at this data reveals that our scientific culture is ruled by secretiveness, privilege-granting, lack of accountability, and suffers from a blatant lack of monitoring, as well as from the prospects that these companies and researchers will make exorbitant profits. All of these questionable factors contribute to the potential for researcher bias and fraud, jeopardizing the scientific proof principle introduced in the 17th century.34 "Judson paints a dark picture of [biomedical] science today, but we may see far darker days ahead as proof and profit become inextricably mixed," warns the medical publication Lancet.35
Even when one theoretically assumes ideal researchers and ideal studies, it must be emphasized that medicine remains (is still) a "science of uncertainties,"36 expressed William Osler (1849 - 1919), regarded as the father of modern medicine.37 Nothing has changed. Donald Miller, Professor of Surgery at the University of Washington, warns that with today's medical research, "scientific standards of proof are not uniform and well defined, in contrast to legal standards. Standards of measurement, ways of reporting and evaluating results, and particular types of experimental practices vary. Science prizes objective certainty. But science does not uniformly adhere to this standard. Subjective opinions and consensus among scientists often supersede the stricture of irrefutability."38
To effectively combat this systemic problem, much would be gained if it were compulsory to have certain studies replicated, thus reviewing them for their soundness.39 But, according to Judson, "replication, once an important element in science, is no longer an effective deterrent to fraud because the modern biomedical research system is structured to prevent replication – not to ensure it." Such verification is unattractive, because it doesn't promise gigantic profits, but might only produce similar results to the original research, which is unlikely to be published by a medical journal.40 From time to time, these reviews are carried out, with stunning results.
At the beginning of 2005, an investigation disclosed a severely flawed study leading to the approval of Viramune, a globally-touted AIDS medicine ranked among the top sellers of pharmaceutical giant Boehringer Ingelheim (the drug Viramune brings in approximately $300 million annually).41 The follow-up investigation found that records of severe side effects including deaths were simply swept under the carpet.
At the same time, chief investigator Jonathan Fishbein was greatly hindered, from the highest levels of the National Institutes of Health, in his bid for clarificaltion. The medical system, according to Fishbein, is shaped more by politics of interest, partisanship and intrigue than by sound science. Fishbein called the government's AIDS research agency "a troubled organization," referring to an internal review that found its managers have engaged in unnecessary feuding, sexually explicit language and other inappropriate conduct.42 43
How far this can go becomes apparent when research produced by individual scientists is placed under the microscope. The South Korean veterinarian Hwang Woo Suk, for example, published a paper in Science in May 2005 in which he described how he had extracted human stem cells from cloned embryos for the first time. The work was celebrated as a "global sensation" and Hwang as a "cloning pioneer." But at the end of 2005, it was discovered that Hwang had completely forged his experiments.44 45
The medical field is ultimately about illness, dying and death. Naturally, these experiences involve a complex and nuanced range of emotions for individuals, their loved ones and doctors. The process makes us extremely receptive to a belief in salvation through miracle treatments. In this, researchers and physicians take over the roles of priests; the white smock has merely replaced the black robes and black wigs physicians used to wear.46 These white knights proclaim their healing messages, and of course require "victims" to carry out their research with billions of dollars of government and taxpayer funded dollars. "Indeed, so profound is our belief in the cures of science" that it has become "the new secular theology of the 20th century,"47 according to American media scientist Michael Tracey. "This belief is so inherent within us that we construct any problem, grievance, pain, or fear in conceptual terms that not only allow us to seek the cure, but demand that we do so."48
At the heart of this web of feelings and wishes are the fantasies of almightiness that further prop up the medical-industrial complex, that ever more powerful part of the global economy consisting of pharmaceutical companies worth billions, their lobbyists and spin doctors, and an immense army of highly-paid researchers and doctors. In the process, we've turned our bodies into vehicles of consumerism, internalizing a highly-questionable promise inherent to this industry: Science can conquer terrible and puzzling diseases – just like we conquered the moon – if it is just given enough money.49
To avoid any misunderstandings: medicine has made tremendous achievements. This applies first and foremost to reparative medicine such as accident surgery, organ transplants or laser eye surgery. But, the various perils of modern medicine are all-too evident in the ever-expanding field of so-called preventive and curative treatments, particularly the growing arsenal of pharmaceutical drugs – in other words, medicine that purports to be able to heal.50
Take cancer, for example. In 1971, US President Richard Nixon at the behest of public health officials (and above all, virologists), declared a "War on Cancer." The medical establishment vowed there would be a cure at hand by 1975.51 But we are still waiting. And there is "no evidence of the way cancer comes into being," according to German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum).52 Mainstream cancer theories also show blatant contradictions.53 Despite this, hundreds of billions of dollars have already flowed into a completely one-sided cancer research focused on wonder-drug production. Above all, this set-up grants pharmaceutical companies, researchers and doctors gigantic profits.
In contrast, even plausible alternative theories (which may be less profitable, because they focus on lifestyle and environmental factors and not only on fatefully appearing genes and viruses as causes) remain almost completely disregarded.54 55 For instance, although official cancer theories assume that a third of cancer cases could be prevented through a change of diet (above all more fruit and vegetables and less meat),56 cancer expert Samuel Epstein points out that the American National Cancer Institute spent "just $ 1 million – that is 0.02 percent of its $4.7 billion budget in 2005 – on education, press work and public relations to encourage eating fruit and vegetables to prevent cancer."57
At the same time, the number of people who die from "non-smoking" cancers has noticeably increased since Nixon's call to battle (even, it is worth noting, when one takes into consideration that people on average have become older).58 Today in Germany alone, 220,000 people die from this terrible disease annually; in the USA there are almost 600,000 cancer deaths each year.59 60
The situation doesn't look any better for other widespread illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or rheumatism. In spite of exorbitant research budgets, the development of a cure is unforeseeable. Cortisone, for instance, does help to alleviate acute rheumatic or allergic discomfort – but only during cortisone therapy. If treatment is discontinued, suffering returns. At the same time, cortisone, which also finds plenty of use in the treatment of viruses, is, like most reputed miracle cures (magic bullets), connected with severe side effects.61 Vera Sharav of the New York City-based Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP), an organization that fights for independent and ethically responsible medical science, warns that "often enough, the medications are so toxic that they produce precisely the diseases against which, as the pharmaceutical manufacturers' advertising messages aim to convince us, they are supposed to be so active. And then, new preparation after new preparation is given."62
As relevant studies reveal, drug toxicities are so severe that the American "health" industry's pill craze is responsible for about 800,000 deaths each year, more than any illness (including cancer and heart attack). And in Germany, tens of thousands of people are estimated to die each year due to improper treatment and prescription of incorrect medications (there are no exact figures because certain interest groups have successfully resisted the collection of the relevant information).63
The fact that a society calling itself enlightened is nevertheless dominated by the belief that there is a healing pill for every little ache and pain or serious complaint is substantially due to the persuasive craftiness of Big Pharma. Pharmaceutical companies operating in the US spend approximately a third of their expenses on marketing, which means that $50 billion per year is merely invested in advertising their preparations as miracle cures to doctors, journalists, consumers and politicians.64 With this, they have extended their sphere of influence in a most alarming way to include institutions like the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), the independence and integrity of which is particularly important.65 66 67 68
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in April 2006, showed that "conflicts of interest at the FDA are widespread." It was shown that in 73% of meetings, at least one member of the consulting team in question yielded conflicts of interest: being remunerated by Big Pharma, for instance, through consultation fees, research contracts or grants, or stock ownership or options. In nearly a quarter of contracts and grants, for example, sums of more than $100,000 changed hands. The study found that these conflicts of interest influenced voting behavior. When panel members with conflicts of interest were excluded from voting, the judgment of the product in question was much less favorable. And even though these conflicts of interest were so extensive, panel members with relevant conflicts of interest were disqualified in only 1% of cases.69 70
"Big Pharma money and advertising not only influence the perception of illness, the demand for drugs, and the practice of medicine, but government budgets, including health service and oversight agencies have become dependent on Big Pharma money," says Vera Sharav of the AHRP. "An out of the box analysis opened our eyes to a fundamental conflict of interest that has never been discussed. Public health policies are not merely influenced by Big Pharma; they are formulated so as to increase industry's profits because government budgets are tied to this industry's profits." In this context, a decisive event occurred in 1992 when the US Congress waved through the "Prescription Users Fees Act" (PDUFA), which established the "fast track drug approval service." According to Sharav, "the FDA has received $825 million in industry 'user fees'," and "other government agencies have similarly become financially dependent on Big Pharma."71
The issue stirred up so much controversy that the British Parliament also opened an extensive investigation. Their conclusions: The pharmaceutical industry's corrupt practices and its massive influence upon parliaments, authorities, universities, health professionals and the media were sharply criticized.72
In fact, "if prescription medicines are so good, why do they need to be pushed so hard?" asks Marcia Angell, former Editor in Chief of the well-known New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). "Good drugs don't have to be promoted."73 Her opinions are as simple as they are revealing, but unfortunately they don't register in the consciousness of the modem believer in science. Our society that considers itself particularly enlightened has become senselessly "overmedicated."74
This pill-mania exists because we have a distorted comprehension of what causes diseases – a comprehension that has been able to lodge itself firmly in our thought processes over a period of more than 100 years.75 To understand this, one must look back to the middle of the 19th century, when a true paradigm shift in the way we see disease occurred. There was an about-turn, away from a complex, holistic view concerning how diseases originate, to a monocausal and "one-dimensional" mindset, to use a term from philosopher Herbert Marcuse. Through this, a false awareness arose "which is immune to its falseness" because the dimensions of self-criticism and the ability to look in various alternative directions is missing.76
This paradigm shift is largely due to the fact that from approximately the 16th century, in the course of the Enlightenment, the natural sciences began to develop rapidly, and put the population under their spell with descriptions of very specific phenomena. One need only remember the tremendous achievements of the English physicist Isaac Newton, who described gravitation; or the invention of the steam locomotive or even the printing press. But in the euphoric exuberance of progress, particularly from the middle of the 19th century, this thought pattern of specificity – that very particular chemical or physical phenomena have very specific causes – was simply transferred to the medical sciences. Many researchers and interest groups didn't even consider if this actually made sense.77
The dogma of a single cause for diseases was decisively shaped by microbiology, which became predominant at the end of the 19th century, declaring specific microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, fungi) to be the causes of very definite diseases; including mass epidemics such as cholera and tuberculosis.78 The founders of microbe theory, researchers Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch, ascended in their lifetimes to the heights of medicine's Mount Olympus.
And so with the microbe theory, the "cornerstone was laid for modern biomedicine's basic formula with its monocausal-microbial starting-point and its search for magic bullets: one disease, one cause, one cure," writes American sociology professor, Steven Epstein.79 From the end of the 19th century, the hunt for microbes increasingly provided the thrill, and the same admiration that physicists and chemists had earlier garnered (as in Paris in 1783, when the brothers Montgolfier performed the "miracle" of launching a hot air balloon into the sky).80
But as fascinating as this conception of a single cause is, it has very little to do with the complex workings of the human body. A significant majority of diseases have far more than just one cause, so the search for the single cause of disease, and by extension for the one miracle-pill, will remain for them a hopeless undertaking.81 This is particularly true in microbiology, a "scientific No Man's Land,"82 as the American magazine The New Yorker fittingly described it. The field is becoming ever more complex and incomprehensible, as further research penetrates the seemingly infinite microcosmic mini-worlds of cellular components, molecules and microbes.
Bacteria, fungi and viruses are omnipresent – in the air, in our food, in our mucous membranes – but we aren't permanently sick.83 When a disease generally held to be contagious "breaks out," only some individuals become sick. This is clear evidence that microbes, whatever potential they may have to make you sick, cannot be the lone cause of disease.
Pasteur himself admitted on his deathbed: "The microbe is nothing, the terrain is everything."84 And indeed, even for mainstream medicine, it is becoming increasingly clear that the biological terrain of our intestines – the intestinal flora, teeming with bacteria – is accorded a decisive role, because it is by far the body's biggest and most important immune system.85 A whole range of factors (in particular nutrition, stress, lack of activity, drug use, etc.) influence intestinal flora, so it has a decisive influence on all sorts of severe or less serious illnesses.86 87 88 89
But it is not just this large oversimplification that calls for opposition to the microbe theory.90 Under closer examination, fundamental assumptions of microbe theory also emerge as pure myth. Edward Kass, professor of medicine at Harvard University, made this the subject of his opening address at a conference of the American Society for Infectious Diseases in 1970. US citizens were becoming increasingly critical of the Vietnam War and many people in the USA began to rebel against the establishment. Maybe this zeitgeist spurred Kass to address these issues openly, although they may have stood in glaring opposition to the views of most of his listeners.
Diagram 1 - Pertussis: Death Rates of Children Younger than 15
Source: McKeown, Thomas, Die Bedeutung der Medizin, Suhrkamp, 1979, p. 149
Kass argued that medical scientists and microbe hunters were not the ones to be praised for stemming the flow of mass diseases like tuberculosis, diphtheria, measles, whooping cough or pulmonary infections. The data unquestionably shows that death rates for these so-called infectious diseases had noticeably decreased from the middle of the 19th century; long before microbe hunters and the medical establishment became active (see diagram 1). The monumental accomplishment of pushing back diseases and raising life expectancy is primarily due to an improvement in general standards of living (improved nutrition, construction of water purification plants, etc.), which gained momentum in industrialized countries precisely in the mid-19th century.91
This also explains why deaths from so-called infectious diseases have become a rarity in affluent societies (in wealthy countries, they make up less than 1% of all mortalities).92 Yet, in poor third-world regions like Africa, where every third person is malnourished,93 these same diseases (tuberculosis; leprosy, etc.) that wealthy countries fought during times of recession run rampant.94 The excessive panic-like fear, which so easily consumes members of affluent societies when the media stokes the flames of the viral-epidemic panic, can in this context, only be described as irrational.
Recently, headlines on avian flu and the SARS virus have dominated global reports, but the world is also exposed to horror scenarios about hepatitis C, AIDS, Ebola and BSE. These shocking media reports totally overlook the fact that the existence and pathogenic effects of all these allegedly contagious and even fatal viruses-avian flu, H5N1, HIV etc.) – have never been proven. A glaring paradox is that very few people actually die from these purported large new epidemics. Strictly speaking, these epidemics are not epidemics whatsoever.
No scientists have even seen the avian flu virus H5N1 in full (with its complete genetic material and virus shell); we don't even know if it could be dangerous to humans, or if it could trigger the already widely reported global pandemic; something that mainstream researchers also admit.95 And despite this Jack of proof, Reinhard Kurth, director of Germany's Robert Koch Institute, which is responsible for microbe epidemics, does not shy from warning that H5N1 "potentially threatens all of humanity."96 There is also discrepancy between speculation and existing facts in the BSE "epidemic," which has yet to present us in Germany with a single clinical case of the disease, only animals that have tested positive for the virus.97
With regard to hepatitis C, we are still waiting for the predicted epidemic of liver cirrhosis (serious liver damage).98 Since the 1980s, no more than a few hundred people die in Germany each year from so-called AIDS, according to official statistics. And what about the horrifying figures of x-million "infected with HIV" in Africa and other developing countries? This is primarily due to the redefinition of patients who suffer from conventional diseases like tuberculosis or leprosy as AIDS patients.99 The threat of SARS is similarly over hyped: In the first nine months (November 2002 - July 2003) after the alleged discovery of the SARS virus at the end of 2002, the World Health Organization found only 800 "probable SARS deaths."100
"Years from now, people looking back at us will find our acceptance of the HIV theory of AIDS as silly as we find the leaders who excommunicated Galileo, just because he insisted that the earth was not the center of the universe," predicts Kary Mullis, one of the most significant Nobel laureates of the 20th century. "It has been disappointing that so many scientists have absolutely refused to examine the available evidence in a neutral, dispassionate way, regarding whether HIV causes AIDS."101 This breaking of the fundamental principles in scientific research also applies to other new alleged epidemics like hepatitis C, SARS, avian flu, cervical cancer, Ebola, and BSE.
Mullis' words come from his article titled, "The Medical Establishment vs. the Truth." In it, he discusses how the entire virus-busting industry plies its dogmas, declaring them to be eternal truths, without the support of factual evidence. Of course, this helps to secure the gigantic research budgets and profits of pharmaceutical groups and top scientists.
Between 1981 and 2006, US taxpayers alone shelled out $190 billion for AIDS research focused almost exclusively on the deadly virus hypothesis and the development of treatment drugs.102 Yet the growing list of medications haven't demonstrably extended the life of a single patient, and a "cure" is nowhere in sight.103 The same strategy has been employed with Tamiflu flu medication, which has serious side effects, yet, thanks to skillful public relations work, support of the WHO and the media's avian flu fear mongering, this drug mutated in a short time from shelf warmer to cash cow.104
While pharmaceutical groups and top researchers cash in and the media drive their circulation ratings sky high with sensationalized headlines, citizens must foot a gigantic bill without getting what is necessary: enlightenment over the true causes and true solutions. "So what are dedicated clinicians to do?" asks John Abramson of Harvard Medical School. "The first step is to give up the illusion that the primary purpose of modern medical research is to improve Americans' health most effectively and efficiently. In our opinion, the primary purpose of commercially-funded clinical research is to maximize financial return on investment, not health."105
This book's central focus is to steer this discussion back to where, as a scientific debate, it belongs: on the path to prejudice-free analysis of facts. To clarify one more time, the point is not to show that diseases like cervical cancer, SARS, AIDS or hepatitis C do not exist. No serious critic of reigning virus theories has any doubt that people or animals (as with avian flu) are or could become sick (although many are not really sick at all, but are only defined as sick, and then are made sick or killed). Instead, the central question is: What really causes these diseases known as cervical cancer, avian flu, SARS, AIDS and hepatitis C? Is it a virus? Is it a virus in combination with other causes? Or is it not a virus at all, but rather something very different?
We will embark on a detailed examination of the hypotheses of science, politics and the media elite, looking at all of the available evidence. At the same time, alternative explanations or causes will be described: substances like drugs, medicines, pesticides, heavy metals or insufficient nutrition. All these factors can severely damage or even completely destroy the immune system – and their devastating effects can be encountered in the victims hastily branded with a diagnosis of cervical cancer, avian flu, SARS, AIDS or hepatitis C. Ultimately they are victims of complex, broad socio-economic and political forces and further marginalized and degraded by a profession that pledges to "do no harm."
Chapter 1 explains what microbes (bacteria, fungi, viruses) actually are, and what role they play in the complete cycle of life and the ways in which the medical establishment and the media have turned these microbes into our worst enemies. In Chapter 2, we'll travel from the middle of the 19th century until modern times, in order to separate myth from reality in microbe theory. Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch rose to become medicine's shining lights, but we cannot leave them out of this analysis since they were certainly not immune from lying and deception. Nor will we shy away from the question of whether polio is a viral disease or if poisons like pesticides have not made at least their contribution to the destruction of the spinal nerves that is so typical of this disease.
With this background knowledge, we dive into the past three decades: into the time of modem virus research. Chapter 3 thus begins with the history of HIV/AIDS, which arrived in the early 1980s, triggering an almost unprecedented mass panic that continues to this day. And now the whole world also seems to accept that Hepatitis C, BSE, SARS, avian flu and cervical cancer are also triggered by a causative agent (pathogen). In Chapters 4 through 8, we will see that these statements do not hold up and that other explanations make more sense.
First English Edition, 2007
Original German Tide: Virus-Wahn
Published by emu-Verlag, Lahnstcin
© Torsten Engelbrecht, Claus Kiihnlein
All rights reserved
Translation: Megan Chapelas, Danielle Egan
Editing: Danielle Egan, David Crowe
Layout: Kosel. Krugzell
Cover: Heike Muller
Photos (cover): Giirsoy Dogtas, Getty Images, medicalpicture
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© Copyright 2007 Torsten Engelbrecht and Claus Kiihnlein.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying. recording, or otherwise, without the written prior permission of the author.
Note for Librarians: A cataloguing record for this book is available from Library and Archives Canada at www.collectionscanada.ca/amicus/index-e.html
Printed in Victoria, BC, Canada.
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