Welcome to the new AIDS Origins site: May 18th, 2020
First of all, let me offer my sincere thanks to the Webmaster for yet again reorganising this site. This has taken a great deal of work, all of which has been done in his own time, and without any financial recompense. The reorganisation has necessitated the site being down for a short time, and we apologise to those readers who may have been inconvenienced. The benefits of the new system include a new, clear design, a simplified and far more accessible layout of articles, a better search mechanism within the site, and a direct link to the full-length (91 minute) YouTube version of the documentary film “The Origins of AIDS”, which was originally released in 2003.
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So, seven further years have passed, and I think it is time for me to add a few words about my own position, in response to questions that I have been asked hundreds of times by readers of this site.
Let me start by dispelling some myths. Certain commentators, including members of the bushmeat school, have recently asked rhetorically who funds me, or (in a bid to disparage or discredit) have proposed that I must be receiving some secret financial backing from somewhere. The simple answer is that nobody is funding me, other than myself.
Although I am under no obligation to provide such information, I am happy to volunteer the following, in order to underline this point. In the last 34 years of working on AIDS I have received two small grants, both from private individuals who support my work. One was in 1990, and came from a personal friend who wishes to remain anonymous; this was for $1,000, or roughly £600. The second was a a grant of £2,000 made in 1993 by my late mentor, Professor Bill Hamilton, in response to my request for a short-term loan to help me (as I thought) “complete my work”. Otherwise I have been entirely self-financing for the last 34 years, during which time I have spent an average of £10,000 a year on this research, although this makes no allowance for a wage of any sort. The amounts of money I have received for writing (and for contributions to the “Origins of AIDS” film) come nowhere near to covering this total, but in the mid-1990s I was the sole inheritor from my parents (both of whom had been school-teachers), and between 2004 and 2008, in order to be able to continue my research and writing on this subject, I bought, developed and sold two barns. I reckon that this took half of my working time during those four years. I have sometimes been offered money by (I presume) well-meaning individuals via this web-site, but up to now I have not accepted any of these offers. Although I am sometimes tempted, I think it is vital for me to be able to prove that my research is not driven by any private or ulterior agenda, and the easiest way for me to do this is to demonstrate that my work is free of financial input from any external source. I have income tax returns to verify all of the above.
The reason why I have worked on AIDS for 34 years (and for 28 years on the OPV theory) is clearly not for reasons of fame or fortune. However, I have got enormous satisfaction from the investigation, and from the gradual unraveling of a medical mystery. In 1986 I saw the AIDS epidemic in its early ugly flowering in Uganda, and was deeply shocked and moved. In 1992 I realised that there was strong suggestive evidence to indicate that an iatrogenic (physician-linked) disaster might have been responsible, and that I was in a unique position to investigate further, and (if appropriate) to cast light on that terrible event. (My unique position was the result of historical accident: I had been based in Uganda as a reporter in 1986-7, and by 1992 I had already spent 5 years researching the origins of the pandemic, a study which, at that stage, nobody else seemed to have attempted.) Since 1992, a great deal of new evidence has come to light, and the vast majority of that evidence is supportive of the same historical scenario, that of the oral polio vaccine (OPV) origin of AIDS.Slowly by slowly I have come to realise that a large number of people, mainly scientists, are involved (some knowingly and some unknowingly) in a huge and self-serving cover-up that began back in the 1950s. The bushmeat people speak vaguely of “conspiracy theories”, which desperately attempts to bracket my wotk with some of the more preposterous ideas on the Web. But this is no “conspiracy theory”. What this is, rather, is a whacking great conspiracy, and many individual scientists and politicians, and a few governments are knowingly involved.
The cover-up is as big a story as the original catastrophic “iatrogenic event”. Let me leave aside the motives of those who carried out the vaccinations in the Belgian Congo and Ruanda-Urundi in the late fifties, and instead focus on the cover-up, which began in the fifties and has intensified in the present day. It is now clear that the cover-up of this history is a crime which has been committed by various eminent scientists, aided and abetted by several of those who have added to the obfuscation in latter-day books, newspapers and scientific journals.
A good example of this secondary cover-up is the 2013 book by Gareth Williams, called “Paralysed with Fear: The Story of Polio”. Three or four months before publication date, Professor Williams (who had not attempted to contact me for an interview) e-mailed to ask for a photo to include in his book. In his email he wrote that The River was “clearly an important and interesting ingredient” in the history of polio, and that I was “a key part of the history of the disease and [that he would] like, if possible, to recognise that contribution” by including my photograph in his book. I asked him to show me a copy of the pages that referred to me, and he sent me a chapter of text which included what he apparently believed to be balanced commentary about the origins of AIDS. “I appreciate that this is an area in which opinion is still very much divided and hope that I’ve done a fair job in describing a lively and important debate”, he wrote.
To give some idea of the context, the chapter was entitled “Conspiracy theory”, with the section about the OPV theory being entitled “The big one”. Professor Williams, who turned out to be a recent Dean of the Medical School at the University of Bristol, and a career scientist working in the philosophy group at that school, was approaching retirement, and had clearly taken to writing “general reader” histories of different diseases for the publisher, Palgrave Macmillan. During the email exchange that took place between us over the next two months, Williams showed that he was a good handler of the English language, but also that he was the sort of superficially charming and comfy scientist who never ever rocks the boat, and who believes that scientists are right precisely because they are scientists.
It appears that Dr Williams had interviewed the vaccine-maker Dr Plotkin and probably Dr Koprowski, and he reported their words (most of which were false, and some of which were libellous) as if they were tablets of stone from Mount Ararat. He had also made 11 clumsy factual errors in the space of six pages of text. I wrote back robustly, explaining some of the errors and falsehoods in his text and inviting him to rewrite; he offered the change of a single word. At this point I contacted his editor at Palgrave, and pointed out that Professor Williams had been warned that he was writing falsehoods about me and the OPV theory, but was apparently unwilling to withdraw or correct them. After a couple of weeks I was sent a rewritten version that dropped the odious chapter and section titles, and toned down some of the language. The text that remains is extremely poor and largely biased, but is just about acceptable.
Although I suspected it, I was not sure if Professor Williams was a man with an agenda, so I delved a bit further on line and eventually found the answer. In October 2012, he delivered the Milroy Lecture at the Royal College of Physicians in London, about “the anti-vaccination movement”. The flier about the lecture explained his position. “The fact the anti-vaccination lobby has survived into the 21st century is, said Professor Williams, evidence of a catastrophic failure of public confidence in science, and he argued this is largely the result of the medical profession’s inability to communicate important public-health messages.” So, Williams is a shining knight crusading for the cause of vaccination. If he is representing such a fine lobby, which undoubtedly has saved many millions of lives, what a shame it is that he poisons and compromises his arguments by basing an entire section of his book on sloppy mistakes, falsehoods and calumny.
I have since learned from someone who knows Williams personally that my analysis of him was fairly accurate. It seems that he is a man with a high opinion of himself, who is not in the habit of acknowledging mistakes.
Actually, Professor Williams’ intervention is very revealing. Of course it would be mighty convenient for people like Stanley Plotkin to be able to point to what they could claim was “an independent book” that presented my work as if it were a key part of a “conspiracy theory”, which is a useful all-purpose tar-brush term (a bit like “racially prejudiced” or “holocaust-denier”) that is often used in an attempt to blacken the reputations of people who challenge establishment positions. If such terms are correctly used then they have powerful meanings; if they are incorrectly or gratuitously used, then they are libellous. I believe that most vaccines are of enormous benefit to the human race, but that does not mean that I have to defend or overlook bad vaccines. I am not proposing a “conspiracy theory” in the sense in which this phrase is normally understood, that of a far-fetched flight of fancy. I am revealing what overwhelming evidence indicates to be a conspiracy about one particular experimental vaccine that was made in the 1950s and which was catastrophic for humans (and especially for African humans). And Professor Gareth Williams would appear to be part and parcel of the cover-up.
In the years since The River was published, I have obtained a constant stream of fresh information from further eye-witnesses (though these days this is a fast-declining group), ancient books (mainly from the 1940s and 1950s) and from various archives, for although paper trails can be hoovered up partially, they are hard to destroy completely. I have also re-examined much of my original evidence. For instance full transcripts have been prepared of several of the more important 1990s interviews. Through a process of re-checking, serendipity and the compiling of open-ended notes files on different subjects, I have made a series of breakthroughs, as new evidence in one file casts light (for instance) on old evidence from another. More and more links have been established, and as this happens, ever more pieces of the giant jigsaw have slotted into place. New jigsaw pieces have continued to come to light and take their proper places in the big picture. Certain themes have become increasingly obvious and important. Like most researchers, my hunches about where to look, with whom to follow up, have grown better down the years.
In reality, the much-trumpeted “scientific refutations” of the OPV theory put forward by the bushmeat theorists are falsehoods. Put simply, not one of them stands up to scrutiny.
(a) The phylogenetic dating of pandemic HIV-1 to 1931, 1921 or 1908 is a complete nonsense, based on a model that is all but useless when applied to retroviruses, which predominantly evolve not through mutation, but by recombination. The geneticists are as confused as ever, though they will not admit it. They attempt to measure the mutation rates of HIVs, and to do this they now rely on “relaxed molecular clocks” (picture the melting timepieces in any good Salvador Dali painting from the 1930s). There is a discrepancy of two or three orders of magnitude between their phylogenetic dating of the primate immunodeficiency viruses and of the primate hosts to those viruses. All this reveals that there is a false trail lying at the very heart of the bushmeat hypothesis. Notably, in the 35 years since 1985 (when the HIV-positive 1959 blood sample was discovered), no earlier sample of pandemic HIV-1 has come to light, though not for want of trying, because finding a sample of HIV-1 from before the time of the polio vaccine trials of the 1950s is surely the foremost (though unspoken) goal of all members of the bushmeat alliance. If an earlier sample ever does come to light in the future, it will almost certainly be a fake, “discovered” in order to save the bushmeat theory from ridicule and self-destruction. As I have pointed out many times in the last few years, it might not be that difficult to falsify the alleged date and/or place of origin of an ancient tissue sample.
(b) I have recently spent several months following up more closely on the places of origin of the 500-odd Lindi chimps. All I want to say for now is that the fact that the closest known primate simian immunodeficiency virus to pandemic HIV-1 comes from a Pan troglodytes troglodytes (Ptt) chimp (perhaps from south-eastern Cameroon) is no barrier to the OPV theory; in fact it is more like supporting evidence. Beatrice Hahn says that she sees no easy way for Cameroonian Ptt chimpanzees to have been present at Lindi, but I have several strands of historical evidence which show the opposite. More will be revealed when the time is right.
(c) The assertion that there is no linkage between OPV administration in the 1950s and the emergence of HIV and AIDS is also false, based on a spurious analysis which (without explanation) ignored two thirds of my data. The more I discover about where CHAT vaccine (Koprowski’s Type 1 OPV) was tested in central Africa in the late 1950s, the more obvious it becomes that there is a glaring correspondence with vaccinations and the first appearances of HIV-1 and AIDS. Already the evidence shows that there is a “highly significant” statistical correspondence between venues of CHAT testing in Africa and the first traces of pandemic HIV-1 on the planet. This means that the odds are roughly 1000:1 against this being a mere coincidence. No sample of CHAT vaccine as prepared in Africa has ever come to light, even though some samples were recorded as having been flown back to the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, where Koprowski and Plotkin ran the show in the late 1950s. We can safely assume that such samples have now either been destroyed or have become “unavailable”.
Meanwhile, the evidence of a coordinated cover-up is now massive. Five new books which included sections purporting to provide a history of HIV and AIDS have been released in the last ten years, each of which casually (and without evidence) claims that the OPV theory has been disproved. Not one of the authors approached me to seek my perspective on these issues. Even more significantly, at least three of these authors have been approached by OPV supporters, asking simple questions, or enquiring why they so blithely dismiss the OPV theory, and not one of them has bothered to respond. Meanwhile, organs like Nature, Science and the New York Times further promote the fiction that the OPV theory has been disproved, and refuse to publish any alternative account. [I wrote two brief letters to the New York Times, disputing their latest falsehoods on this issue, but once again (for the fourth and fifth times, I believe) they were ignored. Link to the first and second letter.] This sort of coverage is not balanced reporting or fair-minded commentary. It is an organised propaganda exercise conducted by persons for whom the principle of “plausible denial” is the only one that holds sway. This is how a cover-up is effected in real time.
Within the last few years, the Wikipedia pages that previously retained some degree of balance about the origins of AIDS have been swept away, and routinely replaced with pages which claim that iatrogenic theories of AIDS origin have been “refuted”, “invalidated” or “discredited”. In January 2020 the page on the OPV origin of AIDS theory was replaced with a page entitled “OPV/AIDS conspiracy theory”. In April this new title was dropped, and replaced with a page titled “Oral polio vaccine AIDS hypothesis”, but the standard of analysis on the page is still embarrassingly poor. It features many historical inaccuracies and misrepresentations of what I wrote in The River, and shows only the ignorance of the Wikipedia editors who presume to pronounce on this topic. The various claims in Nature and Science that the theory has been refuted are taken at face value, as are the denials of involvement by scientists such as Paul Osterrieth and Gaston Ninane, who took an active role in the Stanleyville experiments. All the careful material that I have recorded on this site and elsewhere that contradicts or disproves these denials is ignored.
It would appear that an individual or a small group of people has/have effectively taken charge of “origins of AIDS coverage” on the Wikipedia web-site, and replaced the debate with a version of “truth” that is acceptable to certain influential governments, notably the US government. Many now believe that the OPV theory has been blacklisted, which can only be effected from an elevated and covert level of government.
So after that depiction of doom and gloom, what’s the good news? Well, I have experienced huge support from the readers of this site, for which I heartily thank you. Apart from three or four vitriolic messages of abuse from known opponents, I believe that I have had only two negative emails from unknown members of the public in 16 years, in comparison to several thousand that (if they state a view) are strongly positive. This alone gives me heart, during the long dark nights of the soul that everyone at times experiences. Most of the communications I receive are words of encouragement, or else personal stories that relate to the subject of my work. Many people email to update me on new articles in the press or the medical literature. Although I have a few volunteer helpers, this is much appreciated, for there is no way that one man alone can keep up with all new developments. Hundreds of people have got in touch asking how to access a copy of the film documentary, “The Origins of AIDS”. (See separate post: “The Origins of AIDS” documentary, 2003.) Apart from that, I get a small number of communications from people who have thought about AIDS for a couple of months, or weeks, or less – and are convinced that they have the solution to how the pandemic began. “Have you looked at SV40?”, they ask. Or “It’s all about the freemasons/Tripartite Commission etc”. Although sometimes there is a sentence or two of relevance or significance in such communications, they are mostly misguided, and normally end up in a big black file kept specially for the purpose (even if I always try to reply civilly, even to these). Most valuable of all are the thoughtful, helpful communications (usually from scientists, lawyers, historians or government officials) which offer some genuinely new idea or piece of information; (“Have you thought about this…?”; “Did you know that…?”) These include about a dozen correspondents who write every month or so with their latest thoughts, and whose input I greatly value.
And last of all, there is the occasional whistle-blower. I have been approached by perhaps ten whistle-blowers in sixteen years, but the contributions of several of these brave people have been like gold-dust. Between them, they have provided priceless information and/or clues which have greatly advanced the unraveling of the history.
So, what of the future? I do not want to be too specific, but none the less, let me offer this. I am engaged in producing a significant piece of work that will represent a major contribution on this subject. Not only will it reveal a great deal of new historical information, but it also has a much wider remit, by placing this event in context, and seeing it for what it is – not a single catastrophe, but part of a catastrophic continuum. Moreover, it will reveal some of the massive quantity of false information about the origins of the AIDS epidemics that has been written by the frightened, the ignorant and the naive, and by over-ambitious scientists who are unwilling to admit that their theories (for instance on placing a date of origin on HIV-1) are essentially circular arguments, guaranteed to confirm whatever hypotheses they put forward. What such pseudo-scientific postulations ignore are simple empirical facts, such as the fact that the three earliest samples of HIV-1 (the pandemic AIDS virus) in existence date from 1959, 1960 and 1966, and all come from the same city (Leopoldville, now Kinshasa), where there was a general OPV vaccination of all under-fives in the years 1958 to 1960. Molecular biologists like Michael Worobey don’t even mention this detail in their pieces, because it would immediately raise questions about their analysis.
In short, a cover-up is taking place, and many scientists and at least two governments are implicated. Vaccination (and particularly polio vaccination) is such a holy cow that these governments are unwilling to consider making a clean breast of what happened until they are forced to do so. (Indeed, this is something that we have seen often in recent times: from “there is no health risk from cigarettes” to the infamous “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq.)I must apologise for the time it is taking me to produce my response. However, the writing up of some 20 years of research is not an easy task, and the process has been delayed further by a bout of ill health that I experienced in 2016, happily now resolved. But rest assured, I have been working hard, and the true story of how AIDS began will appear sooner or later in the public domain. It will reveal the claims of people like Stanley Plotkin, Beatrice Hahn, Paul Sharp, Bette Korber and Michael Worobey in their proper light.
So welcome (or welcome back) to this web-site. Please take a look at the introductory essay (“The Origins of the AIDS Pandemic: A Quick Guide to the Principal Theories and the Alleged Refutations”), and at the film documentary, “The Origins of AIDS”. After that, I hope you will take a further look inside, at some of the other articles that have been posted in the last 16 years. They represent a small sample, a cross-section of the material I have acquired which shows that (whatever the cabal of “experts” may pronounce) AIDS did not begin as a chance viral crossover in Cameroon a hundred years ago. It began as a direct result of careless and unprincipled medical experimentation in the Belgian territories of central Africa in the late 1950s.
Ed Hooper, May 18th, 2020