From the 1993 Archives
What do we really know about AIDS? News Weekly, September 11, 1993
Is AIDS caused by a virus known as HIV? The early and continuing consensus among medical scientists is that indeed it is. However, a small but growing group of specialists believes that this consensus was premature, and that the HIV-AIDS link is not as clear cut as first believed. These dissenters count among their numbers some of America's leading scientists. They are not unanimous in anything except the belief that the HIV-AIDS link has as yet to be properly established. In fact, their opinions on what causes AIDS vary widely. Some believe that HIV is implicated but does not act on its own; others such as Dr Peter Duisberg, the Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of California — and the most well-known of the dissenters —believes that HIV is simply a marker of high-risk behaviour, that it is basically harmless, that it has been present in human populations for eons, and that AIDS is probably the result of the frenzied sexual activity and accompanying drug-taking which characterised the homosexual 'bathhouse scene' over the past two decades.
He argues that anal intercourse, rampant veneral disease (and consequent taking of huge and continued doses of antibiotics), the use of carcinogenic and mutagenic drugs to improve sexual performance, and the widespread abuse of narcotics all will lead to a suppression of the immune-system.
Moreover, the powerful drug AZT provides to assist sufferers, is actually 'AIDS by prescription'. News Weekly is not endorsing the views of these dissenters because it is not a specialist scientific magazine with the biomedical expertise to weigh the evidence. However, it is familiar with what has happened to anyone who has deviated from the 'orthodox' view of AIDS enunciated by governments in thrall to the AIDS lobby.
As FREDRICK TÖBEN Ph D, here argues, if AIDS is to be beaten, then a return to objective scientific methods is indispensable.
The Media assumes that HIV causes AIDS. There's no reason for them to accept this hypothesis because scientific research as early as 1983 'established' this link. French scientist Luc Montagnier reported his discoveries during 1983, and in early 1984, US scientist Robert Gallo reached the same conclusion. In March 1985, the first test to detect the 'AIDS virus' in human blood became available.
Besides screening blood for HIV, authorities all over the world began to launch massive sex-health campaigns. Safe sex, in the form of a condom, and needles sterilisation programs began to consume millions of dollars. Predictions based on the HIV-AIDS theory were also made. By the end of the century — so the experts said —AIDS would not only decimate the homosexual communities but also devastate mainstream heterosexual societies. These wild predictions have so far not come to pass.
While governments, under the sway of the vociferous AIDS lobby, spent millions on AIDS prevention programs, a number of scientists — in truly scientific enquiry style — began to question the validity of the prevailing HIV-AIDS hypothesis. In 1992, this small group of scientists wished to have the following four-sentence letter published in a number of prominent scientific journals:
>>It is widely believed by the general public that a retrovirus called HIV causes the group of diseases called AIDS. Many biomedical scientists now question this hypothesis. We propose that a thorough reappraisal of the existing evidence for an against this hypothesis be conducted by a suitable independent group. We further propose that critical epidemiological studies be devised and undertaken.<<
Not a single reputable journal accepted this letter for publication. And so was born 'The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis', now consisting of over 100 scientists and activists and writers around the world.
When in May 1992, ABC-TV's Lateline informed Australia of this group's activities, it was ironic that its spokesperson, Dr Charles Thomas, appeared in voice only. The satellite link-up could not be made to Keystone studio because a door key had been lost. Dr Thomas, a member of the executive committee of The Group, is a molecular biologist and virologist who heads the Helicon Foundation at San Diego, California. he is also a former professor at Harvard and Johns Hopkins universities.
In an interview with the editors of Heterodoxy, Dr Thomas claimed that the anti-AIDS drug, AZT, actually causes AIDS because "DNA synthesis and cell division are essential to mount an immune response. AZT kills replicating cells. AZT in a sense can be a cause of AIDS diseases. The patient loses hair and the proliferating intestinal epithelia are destroyed."
As early as March 1987, AZT was approved by both US and Australian health authorities as an effective anti-AIDS drug. As there are over 20 illnesses covered by the acronym AIDS, it is understandable that AZT was hailed as a major break-through in treating AIDS sufferers.
To this claim that AZT kills HIV, Dr Thomas says: "AZT kills any bit of DNA that tries to replicate. it is a crazy way to try to kill the HIV virus ... Besides, where is the evidence that the incorporated virus is doing any harm at all? Yet Burroughs-Wellcome's figures [the manufacturers of AZT] indicate that 200,000 people world-wide receive AZT every day at a cost of US$2300 [per person per years]".
Popular press reports continue to refer to HIV as the AIDS-causing virus, despite the well-known fact that there are AIDS-sufferers with no HIV in their bodies.
Proponents of anal sex remain silent about the fact that semen in the rectum, often accompanied by tissue tearing, is an ideal breeding ground for infections. Therefore a person whose body already suffers from drug toxicity will have difficulty fighting additional infections within the anal passage. The normal immune system begins to suffer from overload leading to its total shut-down.
Dr Peter Duesberg, Professor of Molecular Biology, University of California, is a member of the National Academy of Science and an executive, member of The Group. He has been questioning the validity of the HIV-AIDS hypothesis since early 1987. Duesberg finds it "surprising that AIDS epidemiologists prefer the 'enigmatic mechanism of HIV pathogenesis to AIDS' over the straightforward chemical drug toxicity". He claims that "the 10 years of recreational drug use that is necessary to cause AIDS is a rational explanation for what is claimed to be the 10 year latent period of HIV by the proponents of the HIV-AIDS hypothesis".
Duesberg has been severely criticised for holding the drugs-AIDS hypothesis. The 'true believers' see Duesberg as a dangerous man whose views are undermining the safe-sex and clean needles campaigns.
In a recent issue of Nature there appears an article by Michael Ascher, et al., which specifically refutes Duesberg's claims about recreational use of drugs causing AIDS. Although the article mentions Duesberg by name 19 times, Nature has to date refused to give him right of reply. Worse still, its editorial of May 13, written by its editor Sir John Maddox, is titled 'Has Duesberg the right of reply?" The editorial then goes on to justify its censorship of Duesberg's view. Here are the first two paragraphs of Duesberg's response which Nature refuses to publish:
>>Asher, et al., challenge my hypothesis that injected and orally consumed recreational drugs and AZT cause AIDS. Based on a one-time enquiry about the use of marijuana, nitrate inhalants, cocaine and amphetamines 'for the 24 month period before entry into the study' of mostly homosexual men from San Francisco, they claim the incidence of AIDS diseases over 8 years is independent of drugs.
However, their study is worthless for a scientific appraisal of the drug-AIDS hypothesis, because it fails i) to study the AIDS risk of HIV-positive, drug-free controls; ii) to quantify recreational drug use; iii) to observe drug use long enough to detect toxicity; and iv) to report AZT use altogether.<<
It seems that Duesberg's claims deserve airing. I view such censorship of scientific debate with trepidation. But then 'politically correct' forces aiming to stifle open debate on numerous topics are alive and well.
Soon light will be shed on the truth content of the 'politically incorrect' Duesberg drug-AIDS hypothesis. In England, a woman is suing the British manufacturer of AZT in the belief that the drug killed her haemophiliac husband.
How sad, though, for the scientific ideal of open enquiry, when the legal system has to make scientific decisions.
Fredrick Töben Commens, 28 February 2007: Amazingly, Dr Peter Duesberg was not called as a witness. He could have assisted the imprisoned Andre Parenzee with the argument that HIV is not the only factor influencing the development of AIDS. According to his mother, Andre Parenzee has been off AZT for a year and is feeling much better, much like US basketball star Magic Johnson who cracked the code when he went off AZT and recovered – leading to AIDs proponents concluding that HIV is so cleaver that it wards off any attack by changing its substantive nature. This caused the admission by HIV believers that a person may have HIV and be quite fine – without treatment! Parenzee also refused to have a blood test and, according to David Brockschmidt, public court records of the day did not list the matter for a hearing. Something does not quite add up here – but we are not able to follow this any further because of our own matter in the Federal Court of Australia.
Does AIDS exist? Is HIV a virus? Incredibly, not everyone says yes. But never before has a scientific theory on HIV been tested like this in a court of law. In this landmark SA case, the verdict will decide if a man convicted of infectinghis girlfriend with he virus can walk free. Hendrik Gout has the story.
Twenty years ago Andre Chad Parenzee arrived in South Australia from Cape Town, South Africa. He was just 15 years old as he settled into his strange new country. He went to school. He grew up. He became a chef and settled in Port Pirie, the state’s fourth-largest city, known less for tis fine restaurants than its lead smelters and industrial plants. The future looked good – until he had a blood test.
He was told he carried the human immunodeficiency virus, commonly called HIV.
He told his fiancée he had cancer, and she believed him. They married. He often had sex with her, unprotected sex, knowing he had been diagnosed with the virus. And then he had sex with two other women.
Of course, he had a reason, which was good enough for him. “It was just the fact that I didn’t know how she would react to me telling her. I thought she would leave me like everyone else,” he said.
And leave him she eventually did, because Parenzee’s secret stayed secret no more. It happened after one of the three women had her blood tested as well. To her horror, she found she now also carried signs of the virus. In came the Director of Public Prosecutions. In came the Supreme Court. And in came the jury’s verdict: “Guilty, guilty, guilty!” to three counts of endangering lives. Fifteen years, went the judge’s gavel.
That was last year. This year, Parenzee, 35, is arguing for leave to appeal on the grounds that AIDS doesn’t exist, and that neither does HIV. So if it doesn’t exist he should be free to walk and continue to have sex – without warning his partners.
Parenzees sits impassively in the dock, staring into the middle distance, stroking his goatee. If the chef understands the scientific arguments raging around him – and because of him – about retroviruses, blots, mathematical deviations, and statistics, then his face doesn’t show it.
This is believed to be the first case in any jurisdiction, in any court, in any country, where AIDS itself is on trial.
That’s why the eyes of the world are now on the handsome sandstone Court of Criminal Appeal in central Adelaide, where a red-robed, horse-hair wigged-judge, His Honour John Sulan, is deciding whether there is enough scientific controversy about the existence of HIV and AIDS to give Parenzee another shot at freedom.
Now it may seem that 25 million dead are some sort of proof. That’s how many people are alleged to have died of AIDS-related causes in the past 25 years. And the toll keeps rising exponentially. It’s now three million a year, victims of what could be the greatest mass epidemic of all time. Could all these corpses really be lying?
Yes, say experts. Not all experts, of course, but enough to occupy the witness box at District Court for the past week. That’s right – experts arguing in a court of law that unprotected vaginal intercourse with a suspected HIV carrier is safe. In fact, the climax of Tuesday’s testimony was an exchange between prosecutor Sandi McDonald and defenc3e witness Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos. “Would you have unprotected vaginal sex with a HIV-positive man?” asked McDonald. “Any time,” replied Papadopulos-Eleopulos.
Papadopulos-Eleopulos, a slight, middle-aged bachelor of science and medical physicist at Royal Perth Hospital, knows the importance of her evidence. Another witness for the defence is emergency doctor Val Turner from the same hospital.
The first the world knew of HIV was when a virologist at the world-renowned Pasteur Institute in Paris was trying to find the cause of a new disease then sweeping the western world. No-one knew what the disease actually did, and at that stage it did not even have a name. But its name was death. It was AIDS, a syndrome rather than a specific disease.
American doctors noticed it among gay men around San Francisco area, and even then it seemed to be a collection of other diseases and infections. Healthy people have a healthy immune system so when a virus or bacteria invades, the body throws its formidable defenses at the intruder. But with AIDS, the body’s natural defenses seem terminally, hopelessly damaged. People with AIDS can die of any number of diseases which most people would shake off. Many, in fact, die of candida, which everyone knows as the common fungal irritant thrush.
So what caused AIDS? No-one knew, but one Parisian researcher, Dr Willy Rozenbaum, thought it might be caused by a virus. He asked virologist Luc Montagnier for help. In 1983, Montagnier announced he had discovered the signature of a new virus. And he said it was the AIDS culprit.
But incredibly, even to this day, neither Montagnier or anyone else has ever seen the virus even under the most powerful electron microscope, or isolated it in a petri dish. And there is as yet no “gold standard” test for HIV. Different countries interpret test results differently. It’s possible to be diagnosed with HIV in Australia, and have the same test show you free of it in the United States.
Viruses, like humans, have protein in their DNA. Tests for HIV look not for the virus itself, but for evidence of its proteins. It’s like identifying a tiger by its footprints or a dog by its fleas. And how to test if someone had ‘full-blown AIDS’? Well, HIV is thought to attack the body’s T-cells – the ones which fight infection. The test for AIDS essentially counts your T-cells.
But Papadopulos-Eleopulos says that’s not good enough. “I am a scientist, I look for science – I do not look for consensus,” she said in evidence.
In that she is right – the number of people who believe something is no indication of its truth. After all, there was a time when most people believed the world was flat. So why isn’t her minority scientific opinion more widely debated? Papadopulos-Eleopulos and her colleagues believe it’s partly because of money.
American researcher Robert Gallo also claimed to have found evidence of the virus around the same time as th4e French team. The dispute about who “discovered” it was eventually settled at a meeting between, of all people, US President Ronald Reagan and French Prime Minister Jaques Chirac. At stake was not just honour. It was hundreds of billions of dollars.
The fight against HIV and AIDS is wallowing in money, brimming with it. Researchers might still be labouring in the scientific salt-mine were it not for AIDS money – some are now fabulously rich and famously famous. The money available in the field is unimaginable. Australia shares some of the $1.4 billion which Bill Gates gave away for AIDS research.
And that’s just one donation. After the historic Reagan-Chirac handshake, the US and France shared patent rights to mass-marketed blood screening tests for HIV, tests worth billions. Royalties fund the world’s richest private research centres. Then there are the drug companies. Plus reputations, probably the most valuable of all.
Which is why it’s not just the ordinary public in the gallery at the District Court. State, Federal, and international government health authorities as well as tens of thousands of medical researchers will be pouring over the transcripts. For the defence is Kevin Borick, one of South Australia’s best-known and most expensive QCs (working pro bono on the appeal application). On the other side of the table is experienced Adelaide-educated prosecutor Sandi McDonald.
Seldom did Parenzee look at Papadopulos-Eleopulos as she was giving evidence which he hopes will save him. He continued to stare at the opposite wall, and slowly stroke his beard.
And now the big guns have been brought in to fire for the Crown – among them the director of the Australian National Centre for HIV, professor David Cooper, AO, his deputy Professor John Kaldor, Emeritus Professor Peter McDonald from Flinders University, the eminent medical virologist and infectious diseases physician at Westmead Hospital, Dominic Dwyer, and the biggest gun of all, Sir Gustav Nossal himself, who said outside the court this week that in his opinion people who claim HIV does not exist are “a considerable embarrassment to the scientific community”.
People are in jails the world over because their fingerprints have been found at the scene of the crime. Courts regard fingerprints as incontrovertible proof. They are no longer in debate. As long as Parenzee’s witnesses convince the court that there is legitimate scientific debate about the existence of HIV, he may be back on the streets.
There is still no cure for HIV, no magic inoculation as there is for polio or small pox. And there is still no way of giving the body back its ability to fight common infections which most people shake off with a few days in bed, and which are fatal to AIDS sufferers. But if AIDS doesn’t exist, what’s killing them?
Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos says AIDS is a disease caused by the inside of the body becoming oxidised following repeated exposure to semen through passive anal intercourse. It cannot be transmitted from one person to another during vaginal sex.
And yet thousands of people have shown signs of the virus after receiving contaminated blood. So are the HIV doubters visionaries like Galileo or lunatics like the Flat Earthers?
Doubters of HIV and AIDS are distained by their opponents. Experts called by the Crown were emphatic – HIV is a specific virus, and vaginal sex passes it on. From the public gallery, though, Parenzee’s supporters – his mother has reportedly spent $250,000 on the defence – saw even professors make some concessions under Borick’s penetrating cross-examination.
At least a few scientists are in the anti-HIV camp. “If there is evidence that HIV causes AIDS, there should be scientific documents which either singly or collectively demonstrate that fact, at least with a high probability. There is no such document,” Nobel prize-winning chemist Dr Kary Mullis said in 1993.
Even University of California’s Dr Harry Rubin, professor of Molecular and Cell Biology, has expressed doubts. “It is not proven that AIDS is caused by HIV infection, nor is it proven that it plays no role whatever in the syndrome,” he said in 1994.
The judge can decide this case only on the evidence before him. The court cannot call William of Ockham, the 14th century philosopher who said that in any question, the simplest supposition is probably the correct one. That principle is now known as Ockham’s razor, and in this case Ockham’s razor suggests HIV will lead to AIDS.
Malaria was once thought to be caused by “bad air”. Leeches were once the preferred treatment for a dozen ailments – in the 1800s French and English hospitals used 13 million a year. Ulcers were believed even a few years ago to have been caused by stress or spicy foods. Will a virus-caused immune deficiency go the same way? Or will Ockham’s razor slice through the dissenters. The case continues.
Much has been said about David Hicks being speedily brought to trial under a US military timetable that sets a clock ticking the minute he has a charge sheet in his hand. As soon as the charges against Hicks are approved, his trial must begin within 120 days. If not, the charges will lapse.
But this sense of efficiency ignores the messy reality of what will gradually unfold and disguises the dimension of the Hicks problem that Canberra is wrestling with – because there is no clock ticking over when the trial will finish, or when it will reach a point beyond procedural motions and arguments about evidence. The Australian Government can press the United States on the matter but it has no control – or it least should have no control, as this is an independent process – over the trial that would test the allegations against Hicks and decide his guilt or innocence.
There is nothing in place with the new military commission that will prevent a repeat of what happened before.
The first time around Hicks made an appearance in a Cuban courtroom in August 2004, but the commissions were challenged and abandoned.
The process is likely to be repeated. There are already two issues of habeas corpus – protection from unlawful imprisonment – in play, wither of which could stall or shut down the commission.
About 775 people have been held at Guantanamo Bay since it opened in 2002. Of the remaining 325, about 70 will be tried, leaving as many as 250 “enemy combatants” held indefinitely without sentence or trial. Hicks’ Adelaide lawyer, David McLeod, said last week it was inevitable that if not Hicks then someone else would sue and grind the commission to a halt while legal issues are decided on the American mainland. Last time, the process took about two years. And the clock has not even started ticking. Earlier this year a US State Department briefing pushed the time-line for a trial out to more than a year without factoring in the challenges.
The fifth anniversary of Hicks’ detention has proved a powerful thing. With prime Minister John Howard facing a backbench revolt, six years is unthinkable. At some point the Federal Government will act. Forcing the commission to give Hicks a speedy trial and a small additional sentence has appeal but it is not something Howard can ask the US President George Bush to deliver without the independence of the commission being exposed as a charade.
The palatable political opinions for Howard are to blame US incompetence and bring Hicks home, placing him under a control order so he can be monitored, or wait a few weeks to see if Hicks is so worn down by his time in detention that he will succumb to the lure of a plea bargain. If so, he could return to Australia to serve a small additional sentence, but he would be coming home as a convicted terrorist. That way, Howard could still have it all.
>>Online: Read Hicks’ charge sheet and view multimedia on the case at http://www.theage.com.au
>>Ha·be·as cor·pus (háybi- əss kórp-əss) n. Law. 1. Any of a variety of writs that may be issued to bring a party before a court or judge, having as its function the release of a party from unlawful restraint. 2. The right to demand such a writ. [Latin, “you shall have the body”.]
He is unbowed. He’s staying the course. The president is admitting few mistakes and paying little heed to the critics, instead hitting the hustings to repeat his message, confident history will prove him right.
Jimmy Carter, the former US president who brokered the Egyptian-Israeli Camp David peace accords in 1978 finds himself, like George W Bush, in a fight for his legacy. “As you know,” says Carter, “I’ve been called an anti-Semite, I’ve been called a bigot, I’ve been called senile, I’ve been called a liar, I’ve been called a plagiarist. This is hurting me.”
A Nobel peace prize winner and deeply religious man, Carter has done what no US president has: throw in his lot with the Palestinian cause and overtly attacked Israel’s policies. In a country settled by puritans and disaffected Protestants who identified with the Jewish narrative – that a divine destiny had taken them to the Promised Land – support for Israel runs deeply; religiously, culturally, financially.
Which is why Carter’s new best-selling book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid is creating such deep ructions in the US and abroad. It was released in November and ever since Carter has been in the headlines. The use of the word apartheid particularly has angered many. The Afrikaans word translated as “apartness” is a loaded term, referring to South Africa’s infamous era spanning the 1950s to the early ‘90s when racial segregation was institutionalised.
This week Carter made his first major public appearance since the book’s launch to speak at Brandeis University, near Boston, where about half the students are Jewish. He said he did regret his book had upset the Jewish community but stood by the contents. And there was regret too for the use of “apartheid” in the book’s title, saying he used the word deliberately to be provocative. He insisted he never meant to “equate Zionism with racism”, and apologised to anyone he had offended.
But in various interviews, and depending on the audience, Carter’s tone shifts. Asked in a radio interview to make the case for the use of the word, he offered no apology. “Apartheid is a word that is an accurate description of what has been going on in the West Bank; [the use of the word is] based on the desire or avarice of a minority of Israelis for Palestinian land, it is not based on racism. Those caveats are clearly made in the book,” Carter said.
“This is a word that is a very accurate description of the forced separation within the West Bank of Israelis from Palestinians and the total domination and oppression of Palestinians by the Israeli military.”
Spearheading the critics of Carter has been Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor. He was at Brandeis University this week to listen to Carter’s speech – the former Democratic president received a number of standing ovations – and delivered a rebuttal address. Carter did not take up Dershowitz’s offer to debate him and he did not stay to listen.
Dershowitz said Carter’s address offered conciliatory and sensible-sounding remarks in contrast to other interviews he had conducted. “There are two different Jimmy Carters,” Dershowitz said. “You heard the Brandeis Jimmy Carter today and he was terrific. I support almost everything he said. But if you listen to the al-Jazeera Jimmy Carter, you’ll hear a very different perspective.”
Also criticising Carter are 14 former members of a 200-strong advisory group to the Carter Centre, the former president’s human rights-focused institution based in Atlanta, Georgia.
“Even former president of the United States don’t have the right to rewrite history,” says Kenneth Stein, a leading Jewish academic.
Stein is one of the 14 – all Jewish – who have dissociated themselves from Carter, Stein resigning as Middle East fellow at the Carter Centre. He has been giving lectures across the country protesting that the book is “replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions and simply invented segments”.
“He scrubs Hamas’ reputation,” he says of the Palestinian terrorist group that won power in elections in the Palestine territories last year. “He cleanses it – to a degree that is very questionable.”
What Carter does portray in the book is the political smarts of Hamas in outflanking the rival Fatah party in the 2006 elections. He said Hamas officials held many local posts and “had been free of any allegations of corruption and for 16 months had meticulously observed a cease-fire commitment”. But he also indicates that he urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah leader, to accept Hamas’ call for a unity government. Most controversial is Carter’s scant reference to the Holocaust as part of the historical narrative critical to a discussion on Israel.
Deborah Lipstadt, a professor of modern Jewish and Holocaust studies at Emory University which is in partnership with the Carter Centre, wrote this week that the book trivialises the Israeli experience. “It is hard to criticise an icon,” she says. Jimmy Carter’s humanitarian work has saved countless lives. Yet his life has also been shaped by the Bible, where the Hebrew prophets taught us to speak truth to power. So I write. “Carter’s book, while exceptionally sensitive to Palestinian suffering, ignores a legacy of mistreatment, expulsion and murder committed against Jews. His book, which dwells on the Palestinian refugee experience, makes two fleeting references to the Holocaust. The book contains a detailed chronology of major developments necessary for the reader to understand the current situation in the Middle East. Remarkably, there is nothing listed between 1939 and 1947.”
While Carter has not cited that passage for change, he did apologise for one extraordinary sentence that appeared to condone terrorism. On page 213 Carter wrote: “It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the road map for peace are accepted by Israel.”
Jewish groups seized upon the conditional “when”, sending Carter scrambling back to the editors for a correction in the reprints.
“That was a terrible worded sentence which implied, obviously in a ridiculous way, that I approved terrorism and terrorist acts against Israeli citizens,” Carter says. “My publishers have been informed about that and the sentence has been changed in all future editions of the book.”
He says he had two hopes for the book. “One that it would stimulate peace talks and second that it would reveal to the American public for the first time the horrible oppression and persecution of the Palestinian people and it would precipitate any substantive debate on these issues.”
Carter, 82, is certainly not shy on professing the role of storyteller. “I doubt that any other prominent human being has been blessed with such a great opportunity as I have to actually know what is going on there,” he says.
Clearly, there are plenty of people who disagree.
(Order 14, rule 2)
IN THE FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA
NEW SOUTH WALES DISTRICT REGISTRY No. NSD327 of 2001
AFFIDAVIT OF FREDRICK TÖBEN
On 5 March 2007 I, Fredrick Töben, of 23 Caloroga Street, Wattle Park, in the State of South Australia, retired teacher, say on oath and without prejudice:
1. That the letter from Samantha Edwards, Associate to the Hon Justice M F Moore, of 26 February 2007, advising me of the 8 March 2007 directions hearing, did not contain a videoconference request form. However, I obtained same at the FCA, Adelaide Registry, and on 27 February 2007 I posted same to Romina Mohan at the FCA, Sydney Registry.
2. I make reference to my Affidavit of 17 January 2007, and add thereto that this matter before the court is not only a legal matter but also a political and religious-cultural matter. I refer specifically to the 10-12 December Teheran Holocaust Conference. Annexed hereto and marked “A” is a copy of Adelaide Institute’s Newsletter No. 309. My colleague, electrical engineer and public servant, Richard Krege, who attended the conference was upon his return to Canberra, and without the customary three warnings, instantly dismissed from his almost ten-year employment with Air Services Australia, a government instrumentality. Upon my return from the conference I received warnings that dire consequences, in the form of a to-be published Adelaide Advertiser human interest story on the Toben family, would be run if I did not recant and write an apology, then read it out to the court at the first directions hearing. It was stated that my 84-year-old mother would not survive this expose. The person informing me of this is, according to his own words, closely associated with Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock. I was also advised that I would not survive, without a doubt, the definite six months prison in Long Bay Jail. Annexed hereto and marked “B” is a copy of Adelaide Institute Newsletter No. 310 and No 311.
3. That in 1999 I spent seven months in a German prison, specifically for writing a letter of support to a German Revisionist, then sending copies to German judges and public prosecutors with a request for their comments. The matter was heard in court and I received a ten months prison sentence but was released immediately afterwards on posting DM 6,000. The judge had accepted the ‘push-pull’ argument, i.e. that Internet material is not pushed into the German homes but that a person must pull it down. The matter was reviewed by a superior court, which ordered a re-trial because it found that German law applies anywhere in the world. The re-trial has as yet not occurred on account of my being banned from entering Germany. At no stage did I, as claimed by a number of mainstream media outlets, distribute Revisionist material in Germany itself. Justice Klaus Kern had not censored me for posting material on our Adelaide Institute website, this being the review ground granted to the prosecution. Annexed hereto and marked “C” is a copy of Adelaide Institute Newsletter No. 312, 313 and 314, at p.12 with reference to the article, ‘The pope and the Holocaust deniers’.
4. As those who refuse to believe in the prevailing ‘Holocaust’ narrative are treated as criminals in Germany, I state that I have as yet not been convicted of having committed a crime in Germany. This is important for me, especially since I enrolled myself in 2006 as a student at The University of Adelaide, with the intention of pursuing a law degree.
5. It must be noted that absolute privilege does not attach to court proceedings in Germany, as it does in Common Law countries such as Australia. In Germany my 1999 defence counsel had just been heavily fined for defending a Revisionist because the defence counsel had ‘too vigorously’ defended his client. Further, in the current trials at Mannheim of Revisionists Germar Rudolf and Ernst Zündel, all supporting evidence has become irrelevant because of the legal principle of ‘judicial notice’. That a defendant is in court is proof of his guilt, and what the judge has to determine is whether the defendant shows remorse or not. This is the classic case of a witch-trial where matters of fact are uncontestable, and if a defence is offered this merely further proves the guilt of the accused. There is also no objective written record kept of court proceedings, and the judge writes his notes from his perspective only.
6. It is my view that my matter before the FCA is very close to becoming a case where my thoughts and beliefs are being criminalized, as is already the case in Germany. This view is supported by the fact that anyone labelled by the concepts, such as hate speech, Holocaust denial, antisemitism, racist, neo-Nazi, xenophobia, is criminalized in a number of European countries where Common Law free expression does not operate. It must be remembered that when the Bolsheviks took over Russia and formed the Soviet Union in 1917, one of the first laws passed was to criminalize the concept antisemitism. Thus anyone who questioned the origin of most of the Bolshevik Revolutionaries’ ethnic background and rightly concluded the large majority were of Jewish origin, and state such in public would be sentenced to death on account of his antisemitism. Annexed hereto and marked “D” is a copy of Adelaide Institute Newsletter No 315, 316, 317.
7. The fact that pressure for me to ‘re-cant’ informally came from the Attorney General’s circle of close associates has me worried. I, and my family, were subjected to considerable pressure for me to ‘re-cant and to write an apology’, then read it out in court at the first directions hearing of 6 February 2007. Upon reflection I regard this matter before the court as becoming quite specifically political.
8. An item from Weekend Australian, January 27-28, 2007, contextualises this matter before the FCA within a global perspective, which is headed, ‘Outrage remains, but Carter is sticking to his story. Attached hereto and marked “E” is a copy of Newsletter No. 320.
9. My own work since returning from the December 2006 Teheran Holocaust Conference is reflected in the enclosed Exhibits, and Annexed hereto and marked “F” is a DVD copy of a 12 December 2006 live television discussion, about the Teheran Holocaust conference that I participated in while in Iran.
10. A report of this pending second directions hearing was mentioned in the Australian Jewish News on 16 February 2007 under the heading: ‘Toben’s lawyer suspended from practice until May’; see Newsletter No. 320. In view of the nature of these proceedings as partially reflected in the impertinent tone expressed in the 16 November 2006 Notice of Motion – the threat made to me, arbitrarily, for not attending a court hearing by Jeremy Jones’ legal representative when I was legally abroad without knowledge of the pending case against me before the FCA – wherein it is requested that I be arrested and sent to prison, I resist any attempt, if orders are sought to interfere with the proposed May commencement of the matter.
11. If, as is usually the case in such matters that Mr Jones brings into court, there is always and urgency-of-hearing argument expressed, then I counter that by stating that the material on Adelaide Institute’s website remains harmless and will certainly not cause a civil disturbance. Nothing of the sort has been experienced since we began operations in 1994, and a comparison of our work with what is available on the Internet will indicate to the court that we have a modest and balanced approach to matters.
12. The expressed ‘hurt’ that our published Internet material allegedly causes Mr Jones has never been substantiated or clinically measured by anyone. Mr Jones did not have to prove his case, as is usual in matters of personal injury or defamation actions, by bringing along medical reports of his having suffered psychological harm. Annexed hereto and marked “G” is a copy of an AJN newspaper article listing the matters that Mr Jones has brought into the FCA.
13. If during this second directions hearing the court so finds that grave danger to Mr Jones’ mental balance exists by Adelaide Institute’s material still being available on the website, then I am quite prepared to switch-off/delete the various URLs that allegedly contain offensive material until the trial in May 2007. I remind the court that after the HREOC decision ordered the ‘offensive’ material to be deleted from Adelaide Institute’s website, I deleted the whole content on our website, and began again. When the FCA ordered the ‘offensive’ material to be removed, it had already ceased to exist – but I again deleted all material on our website, and began again. In each new beginning I attempted to comply with the orders without compromising my moral and intellectual integrity and my quest to use my self-reflective intelligence and to make sense of the world around me. Annexed hereto and marked “H” is a copy of Adelaide Institute’s Homepage, Contents page and Newsletters 318, 319.
Sworn by Deponent
on the 5th day of March 2007 …………………………..
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