Welcome to the New AIDS Origins Site
Welcome to the new AIDS Origins site: July 4th, 2013.
Because it is still relevant, I have put a link at the end of this post to my original "Welcome to AIDS Origins" message from 2006, written a couple of years after the site first went live.
First of all, let me sincerely thank the Webmaster for reorganising this site. This has taken a lot 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 design, a simplified and far more accessible layout of articles, a better search mechanism within the site, and (for the first time) 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.
Free subscription to mailings from the site continues, just by signing up with your name and email address. If you like what you find here, please pass it on and tell your friends.
So, seven further years have passed, and with the advent of this new site 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. At the same time certain details need to remain confidential for now, meaning that I shall not be giving too much away about future plans, for instance.
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 or supporting 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 27 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 27 years, during which time I have spent an average of £10,000 a year on this research, although this makes no allowance or wage for what has effectively been a full-time job for 25 of those 27 years. The amounts of money I have received for writing (and for contributions to the "Origins of AIDS" film) come nowhere near to covering this £250,000 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 on several occasions been offered money by presumably well-meaning individuals via this web-site, but up to now I have not accepted any of these offers. Although I am sometimes tempted otherwise, 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.
Let me add that the attempts by Stanley Plotkin and various members of the bushmeat school to discredit me and my work are revealing of their mindsets and values. Their latest assertion is the claim that I will never change my mind about the origins of AIDS because I am "obsessed". A convenient fabrication, and one that could not be further from the truth. What a very shallow and self-serving interpretation of my position! Do these disgracefully lazy scientists have any idea of the will-power it takes to continue to argue a position which (however well-supported it might be) has apparently now been officially rejected by the scientific community? I don't do this for fun. I do this because I know that a substantial number of highly-regarded scientists are talking bollocks in order to protect their reputations and careers. I do this because one of the main anti-OPV spokespersons once said, in front of two witnesses, "Hooper is probably right, but you'll never get me to say it on the record." (One other senior American scientist once said something similar to me, but on an unattributable basis.) I do this because it is important, because millions have suffered grievously from AIDS, and because someone needs to keep fighting for the truth in this important debate.
The reason why I continue to be persuaded that the OPV theory is right and the bushmeat theory wrong in the case of pandemic AIDS is that I believe that I have a wider understanding of this issue (one embracing both its historical and scientific components) than any of the so-called "scientific experts", and that after two decades of independent study of these issues, I know that this is what the overwhelming balance of the evidence indicates. There is now a huge amount of historical and scientific information that supports the OPV theory, and which demonstrates that the basic tenets of the bushmeat theory are inadequate or inherently flawed. Some of this information and these arguments have been released through this site, but there is a great deal more to come.
The reason why I have worked on AIDS for 27 years (and for 21 years on the OPV theory) is clearly not for reasons of fame or fortune....or fun (even if I do enjoy the process of unravelling a mystery). It is because 27 years ago I saw the AIDS epidemic in its early ugly flowering in Uganda, and was deeply shocked and moved. It is because 21 years ago 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 1985-7, 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, masses 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 many more 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 work with that of loonies from 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". The only major area of uncertainty is this: was that iatrogenic event an accident, or was it a crime? I have to say that sadly, recent evidence points towards the latter. Certainly the present-day cover-up is a crime, aided and abetted by various eminent scientists, and by those who have influence in a variety of media including books, newspapers and scientific magazines.
A good example of this trend is a recently-released 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 he had interviewed the vaccine-maker Dr Plotkin and perhaps 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. What a shame that if he is representing such a fine lobby, which undoubtedly has saved many millions of lives, he poisons and compromises his arguments by basing an entire section of his book on sloppy mistakes, falsehoods and calumny.
Actually, Professor Williams' intervention is very revealing. Of course it would be mighty convenient for people like Stanley Plotkin to be able 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 surfaces that an uneasy establishment deems to be housing "loose cannons". 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 require me 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 you, Professor Williams, would appear to be part and parcel of the cover-up. I'm pretty sure that your friend Professor Plotkin must be pleased by your extraordinarily inaccurate contribution to the history of science, just as the late Professor Koprowski must have been.
Over the last seven years, and especially since 2008, I have obtained a constant stream of new information from 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 carried out further interviews, though from a fast-declining group of witnesses, some of which have been very revealing. I have also re-examined much of my original evidence. For instance full transcripts have been prepared of many 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 ever more frequent 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 imporntant. Like all researchers, my hunches about where to look, with whom to follow up, have grown better and 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. For instance:
(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. The geneticists are as confused as ever, though they will not admit it. They now rely on "relaxed molecular clocks"[!!], and 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 28 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 would be mighty easy to falsify the alleged date and/or place of origin of one or some individual tissue samples.
(b) I have recently spent almost 18 months following up more closely on the places of origin of the 500-odd Lindi chimps. All I shall 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 that many Ptt chimps were there, and that some of them are likely to have come from an area just a few miles from the mooted Cameroonian hearth. 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 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 include sections purporting to provide a history of HIV and AIDS have been released in less than 18 months, 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 to these questions. 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 recently 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 discreetly coordinated by experts in manipulation and disinformation, 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.
Even Wikipedia has bitten the bullet: within the last year, 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". Each of these false claims is unsupported by any evidence, other than the oft-repeated assertions of people like Hahn, Korber, Plotkin, Sharp and Worobey. It is very clear that an individual or a small group of people has/have effectively taken charge of "origins of AIDS coverage" on that excellent web-site, and replaced the debate with a version of "truth" that is acceptable to certain influential governments, notably the US government.
It is clear that the OPV theory has been blacklisted, meaning that there is no guarantee that any of the reporting or commentary on the theory that appears from this point on will have been composed in good faith. It is also clear that propaganda campaigns as well-tuned as this one can only be launched 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 nine 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 hours - and are convinced that they have the solution to how it started. "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 seven or eight whistle-blowers in ten years, but their contributions are like gold-dust. Between them, they have provided priceless information and/or clues which have greatly advanced the unraveling of this mystery.
Let me end with an apology. I am aware that perhaps I have devoted too long to trying to track down fine historical points, and that maybe I should have presented my evidence before now. Certainly this is the opinion of one individual, someone who approached me many years ago as a young man, offering to help with the investigation. I felt that his offer was genuine, and invited him to visit me. As days turned into weeks, I was greatly impressed by this man's quick intelligence, but was much less impressed by his apparent lack of perspective and good judgement. He was always eager to be chasing the next issue, jumping the gun, cutting corners if necessary. Before long, I realised that he was more concerned by his own interests than in furthering the investigation, and when he also showed (in several instances) a streak of duplicity, I decided to cut all ties with him. Since he had a fragile ego, being ignored made him furious. None the less, I still get the occasional missive from him, telling me what he thinks I ought to do. This man criticises me for "taking too long", and on this issue alone I have to concede that he may have a point. I work as hard as I feel I can, but I am now 62, and I can no longer put in the 10 to 12 hour working days that I used to invest in this topic.
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 amount of false information about the origins of the AIDS epidemics that has been written by the ignorant and the naive, and by the purveyors of lies, spin and misinformation. More than one government is 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.)
My researches are essentially complete. The true story of how AIDS began WILL appear in the public domain. There is still a lot of work to do, and I am not interested in predicting a deadline, for financing oneself does provide certain freedoms. But a significant piece of work will appear which will reveal the claims of people like Stanley Plotkin, Beatrice Hahn, Paul Sharp, Bette Korber and Michael Worobey in their proper light. Some of these persons are in so deep that their careers might well be affected. So look out for further falsehoods from this camp, or and from others with similar interests. I fully expect that one or more of these people or their associates will suddenly claim that he or she has just discovered an HIV sample that allegedly predates 1959 and the polio trials - something that they have not been able to achieve in 28 years of real time searching. I ask only that if such an article ever appears, its readers should carefully check the credentials of any such claim.
For those who are still reading, 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 nine 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 Africa in the late 1950s.
Ed Hooper, July 5th, 2013