--Hillary Johnson, author of Osler's Web, Inside the Labyrinth of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Epidemic
"Charles Ortleb and the New York Native which he so brilliantly led was the absolutely indispensable source for all information--medical, political, personal--in the first five years of the AIDS epidemic when the major media in this country as well as the medical establishment tried so hard to avoid the topic. Not since I.F. Stone have we seen how important individual investigative journalism could be in breaking through society's silence, when silence indeed equaled death. It is good to finally have the Native's heroic work put on the historical record for all to see."
--Michael Denneny, author of Decent Passions and Lovers: The Story of Two Men
From the Author
How would you describe your book, The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Epidemic Cover-up?
The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Epidemic Cover-up is the definitive history of what people call "the AIDS and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome epidemics." But it is about a lot more than that. It is the history of a political and scientific disaster that revolves around the HHV-6 pandemic. The virus, originally found in AIDS patients, has now been linked to dozens of supposedly "mysterious" medical problems that include Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, cancer, multiple sclerosis and autism. The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Epidemic Cover-up is about an out-of-control epidemic that now threatens everybody. Anyone reading this interview could already be infected with HHV-6 or know someone who is. And it is transmissible. It doesn't matter if you are white or black, straight or gay. HHV-6 is now everyone's problem. It is the biggest story that the media is not covering. It should be on the front page of The New York Times every single day.
You have described AIDS/CFS science and the HHV-6 cover-up as a giant Bernie Madoff type of scientific Ponzi scheme. What do you mean by that?
A scientific Ponzi scheme begins with a central seminal or foundational scientific fraud and is sometimes built on an infrastructure of smaller scientific frauds. Like the fake dividends issued in a strictly financial Ponzi scheme, a scientific Ponzi scheme issues fake dividends in the form of ongoing fraud-based research often framed as "breakthroughs" and bogus extrapolations which make it look like everything is above board and that what, in reality, is scientific fraud, appears to the rest of the scientific community and the public as good faith progress. Everything always looks like it is working perfectly in a scientific Ponzi scheme, until the moment comes when someone look at the books and blows the whistle. Hopefully, that game-changing moment for the HIV Fraud Ponzi scheme and HHV-6 cover-up is coming soon.
Why is The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Epidemic Cover-up so controversial?
A lot of powerful interests who are responsible for this mess are threatened by the real story of HHV-6, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, autism and AIDS. If enough people read my book, there will be calls for a congressional investigation into everything we've been told about AIDS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, HHV-6, and autism. Just for starters. All kinds of class action lawsuits could be launched against the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health.
It's called AIDS. That's the dirty little game the CDC is playing. That's why they can't tell the public the truth about AIDS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or the dozens of illnesses that are the product of the cover-up involving HHV-6.
Did you know Robert Gallo, the scientist who stole credit for discovering HHV-6?
I spoke with him several times. We reported in my newspaper that he referred to gays as "faggots" at a scientific conference. So he is not my biggest fan. The world still doesn't know the extent of Gallo's scientific fraud. It involves the cover-up of the HHV-6 pandemic which now threatens everyone on the planet. Gallo is the Richard Nixon of science. Actually, he is worse.
Why don't Chronic Fatigue Syndrome researchers see the relationship between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, HHV-6, and AIDS?
They either don't want to see the obvious or they are afraid to.
Why are they afraid?
They are afraid of the AIDS mafia which would have a fit if CFS is shown to be an overlooked part of the AIDS epidemic. A great deal of power in public health science is held by Anthony Fauci and other people involved with AIDS. I call it the Fauci Gallo Crime Syndicate. They have long arms. They want all scientists to think the way they think. They don't want their work on AIDS to have the rug pulled out from under it. Which is exactly what will happen when people realize that CFS is just another manifestation of AIDS.
Actually, I published an article on Harvey Milk in my magazine Christopher Street and that grew into his book on Milk, The Mayor of Castro Street.
What did you think of the Shilts history of AIDS?
Randy got many of the important facts right, but he was kind of taken for a ride by people at the CDC. He wasn't skeptical like a good reporter is supposed to be. He got a lot of the trees right but he totally failed to see the forest. He was a trusting local reporter who was easily browbeaten by authority. He wasn't much of a thinker and his judgement was third-rate. The person he thought was a hero at the CDC, Don Francis, was actually quite arrogant and incompetent. Francis is responsible for a lot of the mess we call "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome." For starters.
How did you get the idea that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is part of the AIDS epidemic?
If you read my book and learn what I witnessed first-hand, it couldn't be more obvious. It's not rocket science.
Do you think Chronic Fatigue Syndrome should be called myalgic encephalomyelitis?
No. God no! That's just another attempt to cover up the obvious fact that CFS is part of the AIDS epidemic. It is counterproductive to push that term. It makes the patients look goofy which must amuse the medical establishment to no end. The patients seem to think that if they say that name over and over they can make it stick. Good luck with that.
Isn't Chronic Fatigue Syndrome a brain disease?
CFS is an "everything disease." Focusing on that hides the rest of the disease. It is multisystemic, just like AIDS. We now know it affects every cell in the body. Calling it a brain disease is another way of distracting attention away from the connection to the AIDS epidemic and the virus they have in common, HHV-6.
What do you think about the state of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome research?
Most of it is what I call "Denialist Research." A number of scientists are creating the false image that there is no unified epidemic and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is not transmissible and contagious. That is utter nonsense. They're using things like the microbiome, autoimmunity and genetics to create a smokescreen. It's all about not admitting that CFS should have been considered a part of the HHV-6 or AIDS spectrum of illnesses. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients are trapped in one of the most dangerous episodes of denialist epidemiology and science in human history.
Absolutely. And that's just the beginning. It can also cause cancer and infect your brain. It also infects your circulatory system and can cause serious damage to your heart. HHV-6 is like a quiet epidemic of the Andromeda Strain that nobody wants to talk about.