Stop Dr. Bob

U27111 at uicvm.uic.edu U27111 at uicvm.uic.edu
Sun Jan 7 22:50:10 EST 1996



And now my personal email repsonse to these notes: [also edited]
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>Kathy,

>Bob Gallo is far from a perfect being, and perhaps he has asked
>too much from Maryland, and it is reasonably likely that he and
>Popovick did do something shady with Luc Montaigner's virus,
>but for god's sake: The guy has ACTUALLY DONE SOME GOOD WORK!!!

There's a lot more to this than "doing something shady with the
virus"...

Does his benefits to the scientific community outweigh the risks?

I (and many others) think not.

>READ HIS BOOK, "VIRUS HUNTING" if you don't believe me!!

I skimmed through it.

Actually, I had the good(?) fortune of seeing it at UIC's Health
Science Library... and someone previously had read through and
marked it up.

Entire sections bracketed and notes written on the side of various
pages... "wrong," "not quite right," and "LIES!".  Some references
as well here and there. [And don't ask me for specifics... that was
a few years back]

No... someone had a real fun time dissecting it.

And of course there's Grmek's book... he makes a few comments on
sections of Gallo's book in the one chapter... you know, on the
mis-information and the inconsistencies.

Sorry... this is a *very* poor example for you to use in your
defense argument.

>Honest to god, I have nothing to gain by defending Bob Gallo,
>but he is TRYING TO BE A GOOD SCIENTIST...  In fact, I would
>suggest to you that he always has... Though, he has made
>some significant, I am reasonably certain that Dr. Gallo
>serves society better in Maryland than in Attica.

>Get some perspective!!!!

>Look, we're trying to fix a broken system here;
>not burn down the bastille.

You know... I really didn't know how to respond to this.  I've
slept on it and thought about... but I'm still not sure how to
respond?

For on one hand I feel very sorry for you... for how blind and like
totally clueless you are and how you can sit there and "defend what
is indefensible" without so much as even a blink of an eye.

On the other hand... I'm very envious of you.  For it was really
nice being so naive and thinking such great and nobel thoughts
about our field and the people in it.  A fine dream world to sit
and live and work in.

Thus... what can one say to all this?

Either you have chosen to ignore the entire issue (and not bother
to have read the HHS Inspector's General Report or the Dingel staff
committee's draft report, etc. etc.)... and just believe the lies
which comes out of his mouth so easily?

Or... you have read all of the material and still refuse to believe
(much like being an OJ juror)?

You fail to realize just how much harm supporting such a character
in our field is doing to decrease the credibility of our ENTIRE
field... in the eyes of the public and especially in the eyes if
those afflicted with this disease.

There is an overwhelming lost of confidence and support in our
system when we fail to police our own and actually, instead,
*reward* him for his wrong-doings.

Have you even taken a peek outside and see what has been going on
there?

How there are certain activist groups who not only lost complete
faith and belief in us (scientists,) that they don't even believe
HIV is the cause of AIDS.

Or that there are even some who go around claiming the entire
HIV/AIDS theory is actually a conspiracy of some sort. ???

You and I both know this is madness... but why do you think people
are willing to believe such a thing?

Sure... some of it is denial of those who can't accept being given
such a death sentence... but ENTIRE, 'logical sounding' arguments
are out there supporting this view.

Why?

Because of our failure to police ourselves and assure only the
*truth* is accepted as the scientific standard.

Today, some of the lies are *so* apparent even laymen can see them.

And when us, the scientific community, support the lies and the
people who propagate such lies... it makes matters even worse and
*everything* we put out as being highly questionable.

Can you even *see* what I am talking about here?

It's one thing for someone to be a fraud... it's another thing when
that fraud is supported by his entire community - that then
questions the faith and belief in the *entire community*.

And don't you dare think "oh well, what's the harm" - who cares
what these people think anyway.  Doesn't effect what I am doing...

The harm is... that when HIV+ people fail to believe HIV is indeed
the cause of aids... then they tend to go around having unprotected
sex!

And this *is* going on as I write this.

And even more harm is on its way...

The handwriting is upon the wall for any who is willing to read
it... if *we* don't, internally, change the system - it will be
forcefully changed for us, externally, whether we like it or not.

And this isn't going to be happening tomorrow or the next day...
maybe in 5-10 years from now?

But that day is coming.

The actual day will be when one too many a person dies from this
disease and society has had enough.

As more and more failures stack up and more and more people die (as
more and more 'other' people get rich from the failures)... the
support and belief in science will eventually crumble to nothing.

And I'll tell you another thing... a couple hundred years from now
(well after the year 2000 and the projected 40 million people are
dead and buried from this disease)... history will not be too kind
to us within the community.  For to ignore what is going on is to
actually support and accept it.

We are at a cross-roads within our community right now... we either
are going to change the system to promote truth and ethics and
reward the *best* in our field... or, we are going to continue to
play the political game promoting *political* truths and rewarding
those best at the lies and fraud.

And this is where Gallo fits in... to *not* make an example of him
and to reward him for his wrong-doings is promoting a continuance
in this type of research - which is the pursuit of greed and glory
above scientific truths.

And on Jan 10th, when he gets funding for his new building... it
will be the climax of this new era... and the launch vehicle for
sending this era into the next century... and I highly doubt there
will be any going back after that.

No... I really think history will not be too kind to us in the end.

Call this all a vision from a mad women... but I can see this path
we are upon very clearly.  All too clearly.

And only the hope of a great accident occurring which actually
leads to a cure will send us off this path.  But I really think
that is a sucker bet at this point.

No... I am not trying to 'burn down the bastille'.  But one day, in
the not so distant future... other's, very well may?

-Kathy

***********************************************

>Kathy,

>There are some good things about Bob Gallo:  There are also some
>bad things about him.
>
>This is true for almost all of us in 1996.

Now here, for the first time do you make an 'honest' argument in
this case.

Yes, I agree... it's hard for a community in which somewhere
between 93-98% of it's members pretty much have, and continue, to
practice science just like Gallo.  It's a bit like the pot calling
the kettle black.

Thus, who is to cast the first stone mentality?

I really think this is indeed the heart of the matter.

However, you see the animosity I write towards Gallo?  Well, go
into an AIDS ng and you can multiple this animosity about 100 fold.
(especially coming from HIV+, dying people).

If we toss this guy out of our field (or at the very least let the
dirty laundry hang out to dry)... we then can: Increase confidence
towards our community again and thus would be a good PR move... at
the very least.

Second, set an example for others NOT TO follow.

And Third, give me more confidence back into my own career.  ie.
boost moral.

>It is probably inappropriate for him to have 100 people working
>for him ever again, CERTAINLY ON FEDERAL FUNDS, however, is it a
>sin for him to have a lab with 5-10 members?
>
>I think not.

Well, how about an entire institute with a side company profiting
from the patents generated?

I think not!
-------------

Finally, one last word on Gallo... and that's it.  I don't care to
debate it anymore.

What is truth and how does one find it?

I see the truth of a particular unknown as a large tapestry sitting
right in front of your face... so close to your face that you can
not see the entire picture all at once.

Some very rare individuals have the ability to take a step back and
see what the picture of truth actually looks like without going
through the argentous task of discovering it.... maybe because they
are occupied with discovering the truths of an even larger
tapestry, on which this may just be a small part of their yet
undiscovered truths.

Those of us who can not do this, have to find the first thread of
truth and follow it through the many weaves of the fabric of this
particular tapestry... like the blind reads braille, you have to
feel the various parts of the picture to read it.  Until one day,
behold... you can now picture the entire tapestry in your head.
Suddenly... you are able to take a step back and see the entire
tapestry as a whole and the picture it shows as the truth.

Then there are those who are blind to the touch... they either
never had it or have lost it.  They think they already know what
the picture is suppose to look like and instead of following the
threads, they take short cuts tying various pieces together,
cutting and pasting here and there... sometimes totally ignoring
entire paths of the thread (because it does not fit their picture).

In the end they sit back and see the picture they have made... but
in actuality its just a distortion of the true picture and thus a
distortion of the truth.

These type of people are so blinded by what they think they will
find (or want to find) that you can not talk to them... you can not
even argue with them... their truths are their own and they will
hold on to them forever... even when the actual truth may one day
be discovered by someone else, somewhere else - they will be so
blind by then - that even when it hits them in the face... they
will not be able to recognize it.

Many others still, have learned the secrets of the thread and have
learned to weave their own patterns and represent these as the
truth.  These are people who mostly do this out of greed or ego...
and these are actually the worst kind, for they sell their
pictures. And in the end, everybody else has to pay for this
distortion of the truth.
---------------

Thus... Gallo at his very best is a master weaver and at his
worst, is nothing more than a researcher of the cut and paste
variety.

Thank you for your time...

-Kathy
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