HIV VooDoo From Burroughs-Wellcome
By John Lauritsen
New York Native
7 Jan. 1991
[revised 16 Jan. 1991]
Those who have
eyes to see are witnessing genocide-the genocide of gay men. Millions
of dollars are now being spent on an international advertising campaign,
"Living With HIV", in which gay men and other members
of "risk groups" are being told:
for antibodies to HIV [the alleged "AIDS virus"] -- if
you "test positive" you need "medical intervention"
which could "put time on your side". The "medical
intervention" is AZT (also known as Retrovir and zidovudine),
and the campaign is paid for, directly and indirectly, by Burroughs-Wellcome,
the manufacturer of AZT.
consists of a phoney diagnosis followed by a lethal treatment. Already
tens of thousands of objectively healthy gay men have been scared
and bullied and bamboozled into taking AZT, allegedly in order to
"slow the progression to AIDS". Optimism regarding their
prognosis would be foolish. Except for the lucky few who stop "treatment"
in time, they will die. Death is the expected biochemical consequence
of taking AZT, for the fundamental action of the drug is to terminate
DNA synthesis, the very life process itself. As Joseph Sonnabend
has stated, "AZT is incompatible with life". Without a
single benefit demonstrated by honest and competent research, AZT
can do nothing but kill.(1)
It is odd,
the power of words to cloud reality or discredit a line of reasoning.
A British journalist once told me that no one would ever believe
what I wrote if I persisted in using words like "genocide".
My response is that, while I want my arguments to be convincing,
I write what I consider to be true, not necessarily what people
will find believable. Genocide has occurred at other times and in
other places, and it is happening here and now, whether or not anyone
wishes to believe it.
the founder of Homosexuals Intransigent, has suggested the word
"autogenocide", to emphasize the role of low self-esteem
and self-hatred in motivating gay men to acquiesce in their own
destruction. Casper Schmidt, a New York City psychiatrist, has proposed
"pharmacogenocide"-genocide through drugs. The late Robert
S. Mendelsohn put forward the word "iatrogenocide" in
his best seller, Confessions of a Medical Heretic: A new
word was recently coined by Dr. Quentin Young to describe one activity
of Modern Medicine: iatrogenocide. Iatrogenocide (iatros
in the greek for doctors) is the systematic destruction of a large
group of people by doctors.(2)
This new form
of genocide, directed against gay men, rests on two pillars: Homophobia
and Profit. The ancient taboo from the Holiness Code of Leviticus,
which prescribed the death penalty for males who had sex with each
other, is now being carried out, profitably, by the pharmaceutical
industry: "If a man lie with mankind as with a woman, both
of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put
to death; their blood shall be upon them." (Leviticus
2500 years ago ordained death by stoning for the "abomination"
of sex between males. Modern priests, the doctors, prescribe AZT,
and they do so with the extraordinarily hypocritical dogma that
by giving a life-terminating drug they are really "extending
life". Considering the agonizing side effects of AZT "treatment",
it might be argued that death by stoning were preferable.
+ Lethal Treatment = Genocide
of the HIV-AIDS hypothesis have been discussed elsewhere.(3) Behind
the scenes a growing number of important scientists are now convinced
that HIV is not the cause of "AIDS". The two "discoverers"
of HIV, Luc Montagnier of the Pasteur Institute and Robert Gallo
on the National Cancer Institute, have both reneged on promises
to defend the HIV-AIDS hypothesis against the criticisms of Peter
Duesberg, and have therefore lost the debate by default.
What does it
mean to be diagnosed as "HIV positive"? Objectively it
means nothing, other than having antibodies to a harmless passenger
virus. In the absence of "medical treatment" or other
specific health risks, there is no reason why someone who is "HIV
positive" should not live to a ripe old age.
positive" diagnosis itself, however, can be deadly. It has
led to suicides, has destroyed marriages and careers, and is used
to justify AZT treatment. An East Berlin writer recently summed
it up with the phrase, "Nicht das Virus, sondern die Diagnose
totet". ("The virus doesn't kill, the diagnosis does.")(4)
of AZT have also been described elsewhere.(5) The short-term (acute)
toxicities of AZT are serious, and many patients die of them. These
toxicities include severe anemia, muscle disease, and damage to
the kidneys, liver, and nerves. However, it is the long-term (chronic)
toxicities that are of most concern when AZT is being prescribed
for healthy people to take for the rest of their lives. The cumulative,
long-term effects of AZT are unknown, since no one has lived for
more than three years on AZT treatment. However, the evidence we
have-including biochemical analyses, test tube studies, rodent studies,
and correlations between cancer of the lymph system and AZT therapy-strongly
indicates that AZT will cause cancer in the long run.
So then, perfectly
healthy members of a group, which is hated for theological reasons,
are persuaded through lies to take a drug that will kill them. If
there's a better word than "genocide" to describe this,
I'd like to know what it is.
full-page "Living With HIV" advertisements have appeared
in The New York Times and in lesser publications all over
the world. In a typical ad, a man is shown in silhouette by a grand
piano, his head bowed in dejection, and above his head the statement,
"I learned I was HIV positive 5 years ago. I felt angry, deserted,
and victimized." At the bottom of the ad is an insert photograph
of the same man, now smiling and confident: "Today I'm back
in control." The theme of "control" is echoed in
the ad slogan, "The sooner you take control the better."
In all of the "Living With HIV" ads, the body copy is
the same: Every day, more and more people are learning to live with
HIV. People are finding ways to stay healthier, strengthen their
immune systems, develop positive attitudes. They've found that proper
diet, moderate exercise, even stress management can help. And now,
early medical intervention could put time on your side.
positive doesn't mean you have to give up. So, the sooner you take
control, the better.
For more information
on living with HIV, we urge you to call the number below ...anonymously,
if you wish.
as "stay healthier" and "put time on your side"
are insidious, as they suggest that someone with HIV antibodies
is already sick and doomed. The references to diet, exercise, and
so on are merely window dressing. Any HIV positive who calls the
number will find out soon enough that "taking control"
means "early medical intervention" means AZT.
In their nauseating
hypocrisy, the Burroughs-Wellcome ads are reminiscent of a series
of ads which in 1983 were run in gay publications for Great Lakes
Products, the world's largest manufacturer of poppers (nitrite inhalants).
Entitled "Blueprint for Health", the Great Lakes ads gave
advice to gay men on how to stay healthy through exercise, nutrition,
stress reduction, and so on. And this "message of good health
and wellness" was sponsored by the manufacturer of poppers,
a drug which, among other things, damages chromosomes; causes anemia,
immune suppression, and cardio-vascular collapse; and forms carcinogenic
compounds in the body.(6)
with the Burroughs-Wellcome ads, The New York City Department of
Health put up posters with the theme, "Living Longer, Staying
Strong", conveying essentially the same message, that "people
with HIV" are sick and doomed, but might "stay healthy
longer" with the help of "early health care and new medicines".
take holidays. On Christmas day I was listening to WINS radio, and
heard a "Message on HIV" from the Centers for Disease
Control (CDC). It was a virtual clone of the "Living with HIV"
series. I called the number, and the woman who answered gave me
the now-familiar pitch about the importance of getting tested, early
medical intervention, and the rest of it.
Press Promotes Autogenocide
all over the world, from local bar rags to those with international
circulations, are now carrying the "Living with HIV" ads.
The New York Native and the west coast magazine Outlook
are the only exceptions I know of. According to an article by Chris
Bull in The Advocate, Burroughs-Wellcome marketing representative
Joe DiSabato found "little opposition to the ads from the gay
press." DiSabato richly deserves the 1990 gay Pollyanna prize
for his statement, "In a way Burroughs Wellcome is giving money
back to the community through the campaign. Economically, this will
be great for the gay press."
magazine Magnus received 20,000 DM to run a Burroughs-Wellcome
ad, and a prominent gay activist with "AIDS" was recruited
to assist in the campaign. A Burroughs-Wellcome ad appeared in the
latest issue of Babilonia, from Milan.
the Body Positive group received $85,000 plus donations of computers
and other equipment from Burroughs-Wellcome. In return, Body Positive
ran under its own name a series of television, radio, billboard,
and press advertisements with the theme, "We can't get results
until you do." For those who would test positive, the ads offered
the bleak hope, "There's a chance for a longer and healthier
life with early medical intervention." Houston's mayor, Kathy
Whitmire, proclaimed September the "Get Tested Now" month,
stating that, "prompt medical and psychological intervention
can slow down the progress of the [HIV] disease and ameliorate some
of its effects."
Some of the
ads in the gay press were sponsored by branches of the Public Health
Service, paid for with our tax money. One such ad, which ran in
Au Courant (Philadelphia), contained the following copy:
Today, people with HIV are doing something most of us didn't think
possible. Living longer. Today, a person who is infected
with HIV and receives prompt treatment can live longer. If you are
at risk [read: if you are gay], now's the time to seek counseling
and testing. If you are infected with HIV, work with a doctor to
understand medical options that may prolong your life.
hypotheses on what might be the real causes of "AIDS",
multifactorialists who reject the HIV-AIDS hypothesis have concentrated
on such probable etiological factors as "recreational"
drug use, known and yet-to-be-identified infectious agents, and
excessive medical treatment with antibiotics and other drugs. We
have, regrettably, tended to slight psychological factors. This
is unfortunate, as the concept of psychosomatic illness is well
established. There can be no doubt that extreme and chronic fear,
depression, stress, and grief are capable of causing illness and
In 1983 the
Journal of Psychohistory published a paper by Casper Schmidt,
which was perhaps the first to challenge the "AIDS virus"
hypothesis.(7) Entitled "The Group-Fantasy Origins of AIDS",
this brilliantly original essay advances the thesis that epidemic
AIDS has a psychosocial origin-that AIDS is psychologically contagious,
being spread through suggestion rather than through microbes. In
Schmidt's view, we are witnessing a mass sacrificial ritual, with
sadistic persecutors on one side and willing (masochistic) sacrificial
victims on the other. The extraordinary irrationality that characterizes
the AIDS epidemic can be explained through the concept of group
fantasy-people are collectively in a trance.
somewhat more tentative in trying to explain why gay men and other
members of "risk groups" are getting sick in ways that
qualify for a diagnosis of "AIDS". He proposes that chronic
and inescapable fear can elicit a biochemical reaction in the body,
which in time causes "psychogenically-reduced cell-mediated
immunity". He maintains that this hypothesis has fulfilled
the animal model for "AIDS", inasmuch as laboratory animals
subjected to inescapable threats have developed immune deficiency.
While I withhold judgment on this aspect of Schmidt's thesis, I
wholeheartedly agree that a sacrificial ritual is taking place.
Especially noteworthy, in my opinion, is the role of the facilitators-those
gay men (and lesbians) who are leading the victims to the sacrificial
altar, without necessarily allowing themselves to be sacrificed.
In this second
wave of sacrifices, in which perfectly healthy people are being
targeted for genocide, a crucial role is played by psychological
suggestion. Highly sophisticated psychological techniques are being
used to make gay men perceive themselves as sick, and become sick,
in order to qualify as consumers of AZT. The "Living With HIV"
campaign is, quite literally, a form of voodoo.
the president of the Health Education AIDS Liaison (HEAL), recently
posed the question of whether un-recognized hypnosis might not be
a risk factor in the development of "AIDS". A certified
master hypnotherapist himself, Ellner believes that classic elements
of hypnosis are present in the "Living With HIV" campaign,
in innumerable pronouncements from AIDS groups and public health
agencies, and in a recent video from Burroughs-Wellcome (about which
more below). Ellner cited the elements of hypnotism as being, in
no particular order: perceived authority, fixation, suggestion,
repetition, confusion, relaxation, imagination, and post-hypnotic
In a recent
paper by Michael Ellner and Andrew Cort, "Programmed to Die:
Cultural Hypnosis and AIDS", the following points are made:
Bone pointing, or voodoo death, is a well-documented hypnotic phenomenon
that clearly demonstrates the awesome power of belief. There are
people in Africa, Haiti and Australia with the belief that the shaman
(or witch doctor) has power over life and death. For them, being
the target of a bone pointed by such an authority can be fatal.
The hex is harmless to a non-believer; but to a believer it is deadly.
After having a bone pointed at them, healthy people go home and
video: Brainwashing the doctors
A few months
ago, doctors who treat AIDS patients received a video cassette from
Burroughs-Wellcome, "The Psychology of Treating Patients With
HIV Disease". The basic premises of the video are the same
as those of the "Living With HIV" campaign, that "HIV
infection" and "AIDS" are more or less equivalent,
and that early medical intervention (with AZT/Retrovir) is called
for. Beyond this, doctors are told to "ally with the treatment",
by knocking down any hesitation or objections their "HIV-infected"
patients might have to going and staying on AZT therapy.
The video is
narrated by Leon McKusick, Ph.D., a gay psychologist in San Francisco.
In the beginning his voice is heard saying: HIV disease is coming
to be seen as a chronic infection. And for many individuals this
is the first intimate realization of death and disease, particularly
among those who are relatively young.
introduces himself, he quickly gets to the point: The decisions
surrounding the initiation of Retrovir therapy force you, the physician,
to evaluate the patient's support network.... This video will share
with you the psychological reactions we've seen from patients who
are diagnosed positive for the HIV antibodies, and then alert you
to the emotions that follow as they encounter the progression of
the disease and then are motivated towards treatment with Retrovir.
"HIV-related depression", emphasizing that the symptoms
mimic those of HIV infection itself, as well as "some of the
early side effects of AZT". In other words, if a patient on
AZT should experience sleep disturbance, eating problems, fatigue,
or weight loss, these might be merely short-term "HIV-related
depression", rather than side effects of AZT.
to "assist individuals going through emotional depression reacting
to HIV or going on treatment", McKusick offers the following
guidelines: enlightened reassurance, cognitive reframing, social
support, reinforce structure, plan of action. In commenting on the
video, Michael Ellner has expressed the opinion that "cognitive
reframing" means hypnotizing or brainwashing the patient.
The video features
a panel discussion, with two doctors and a number of people with
AIDS (PWAs). Like McKusick, the other two authority figures are
gay and are identified with title: Marcus Conant, M. D., and Ron
Grossman, M. D., whereas the PWAs are identified simply as "Bob",
"Steve", "Tom", and "Bill". Drs. McKusick,
Conant and Grossman are understanding facilitators. Bob, Steve,
Tom, and Bill are willing victims.
that "AIDS" ought to renamed as "HIV spectrum".
His words are regarded by his colleagues as profound and original.
"Sometimes it's best to combat feelings of stigmatization with
a sense of humor." He smiles. The camera shifts to Conant,
who tries to smile-but his face is heavy and his eyes are dead tired.
And then Bob tells an anecdote. It seems he was in a play writing
workshop when the timer of his AZT pill box went off: Twenty pairs
of eyes zeroed in on me. The only thing I could do, I took out the
pill box and turned it off-and they were still looking-so obviously
I had to respond to it-so I made a joke out of it. I said, "It's
a phenomenon of the latter part of the 20th century in
the United States. Every four hours, gay men start to beep."
Bob stops speaking.
It becomes apparent that the point of his joke has been made, and
that people are expected to laugh. They begin laughing. The camera
goes from one person to another to show them laughing. They applaud
is intended to be a role model. He states, "As soon as I started
taking action, I started feeling better.... Action is the key to
topic of AZT's side effects is raised. McKusick asserts that the
physicians role ought to be "helping the patient realize that
their fears were unfounded." Robert makes a joke about "horror
stories" of side effects. Everyone laughs.
declares that anxiety symptoms are very much like both HIV symptoms
and early symptoms of AZT side effects. He artfully sows confusion
person could benefit medically from the drug, but could reject the
drug for psychological reasons. Some patients, who have just begun
AZT, have complained about side effects which, once they've talked
about it with their counsellors, were determined to be more related
to their anxiety about being on the drug, than to the drug itself....
Sometimes a person could benefit medically from the treatment, but
rejects the drug for psychological reasons, after being on it for
just a brief period. Therefore, it's important to recognize that
some of your patients' early reactions may be psychological.
Bob makes his
contribution: "I have to say-Thank God! -- that I have had
no side effects whatsoever." Bob clearly is not well. His skin
is stretched taut over a death's head, and his facial expressiveness
is limited to rolling his eyes. He mentions a few symptoms, which
he attributes to HIV, and says, "I can handle that". He
Bob on the way he "handles attribution". It's very important",
says McKusick, "to ally with the drug against the disease."
The single most stomach-turning episode in the video is provided
by the New York physician, Ron Grossman, who smiles as he delivers
the following little speech:
That pill should
be an absolute symbol of life, and not a symbol of "Oh, I've
got this...." (Marcus Conant nods in agreement) The whole issue
of empowerment here, of people taking charge of their own lives,
is involved with this decision making, to take this drug.
The whole thrust of the video is to downplay AZT's side effects.
Doctors are to dismiss their patients' objections to AZT therapy
as "psychological", as short-term depression or anxiety.
The loyalty of the doctor should be to Retrovir ("the treatment")
rather than to the patient ("the disease"). The hidden
message to doctors is that they should not hesitate to kill their
message to gay men is this: "You are doomed. Be brave, willing
sacrificial victims. People will applaud you, and laugh at your
jokes. Do not listen to the messages of your body."
Who is responsible?
pharmaceutical companies, corrupt government officials, venal physicians,
stupid and cowardly media people, incompetent and dishonest researchers-none
of these things are new. They are business as usual. Where, then,
does the buck stop? Who is responsible for pharmacogenocide?
on this question was altered recently when I read Confessions
of a Medical Heretic by Robert Mendelsohn, who uncompromisingly
places the blame on the members of his own profession: Despite the
obvious corruption of the drug company/doctor marketing connection,
I don't blame the drug companies, the detail men, the government
agencies which are supposed to police these activities, or the patients
who badger their doctors for drugs. Doctors have enough facts in
their possession to know what's going on. Even where the drug is
fully tested and the side effects and limitations of the drug are
well known, most of the harm is done by doctors indiscriminately
prescribing the drug. Doctors, after all, are the ones who claim
the sacred power and the ethical superiority that goes with it.
The drug companies are in business to make money, and they do that
by selling as much of their product as they can at as high a price
as they can. And although the drug companies subvert the scientific
process through which drugs are tested, certified, and made available
to doctors, once the drugs are available, they do let doctors know-albeit
subtly-just what these drugs can and cannot do.
All of us who
know the truth about AZT will have to do what we can. Friends who
are on AZT must be told directly and forcefully that they must get
off the drug if they want to live. Public health officials, representatives
of AIDS organizations, and various and sundry other "AIDS experts"
must be confronted with their lies. Above all, doctors must be told
that they have no right to prescribe a drug that can only lead to
the deaths of their patients. The buck stops with the AZT-pushing
doctors. They are responsible. *
1. John Lauritsen,
Poison By Prescription: The AZT Story, New York 1990.
2. Robert S.
Mendelsohn, Confessions of a Medical Heretic, Chicago 1979.
3. The most
cogent and comprehensive arguments against the HIV-AIDS hypothesis
are found in Peter H. Duesberg, "Human Immunodeficiency Virus
And Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome:
But Not Causation", Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences, Vol. 86 (February 1989) pp. 755-764.
Peter H. Duesberg
and Bryan J. Ellison, "Is the AIDS Virus a Science Fiction?",
Policy Review, Summer 1990, pp. 40-51.
4. Erhard Neubert,
"Kunstprodukt 'AIDS' in Schwierigkeiten" ("The Phony
AIDS Construct in Trouble"), Raum & Zeit (Space & Time),
Special 4, Sauerlach, Germany, October 1990, pages 98-102. (The
entire 115-page special issue of Raum & Zeit is devoted to German,
Swiss, and American AIDS dissidents, who attack the AIDS orthodoxies
with much intelligence and militancy. My favorite phrase, "Nur
tote Fische schwimmen mit dem Strom!" ["Only dead fish
swim with the stream!"])
5. Poison By
6. The toxicities
of poppers and the shady dealings of the poppers industry are described
in Death Rush: Poppers & AIDS, by John Lauritsen and Hank Wilson,
New York 1986.
7. Casper G.
Schmidt, "The Group-Fantasy Origins of AIDS", The Journal
of Psychohistory, Summer 1983.
Ellner and Andrew Cort, "Programmed to Die: Cultural Hypnosis
and AIDS", manuscript 1990.