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LTS:  A Close Read


Reply To Roberts (jw 1/24/2010)

“...[T]he higher Truth lifts her voice, the louder will Error scream...”
- Mary Baker Eddy, Christian Science


Subject:  "West to Roberts (3): The Letter, Close Read"

Roberts is not expected to respond soon, having suffered a severe stroke on the evening of 2/25/2010.  Critical work must continue, however, without Roberts' help.   Yellow highlights added by Jim West. 


Roberts, 12/4/2009
[blue and black font mix is Roberts']


Jim West, 1/24/2010
[reissued with brackets to clarify mixed quotes, 1/27/2010]

From: janine roberts []
Sent: Friday, December 04, 2009 6:39 AM
To: jw
Cc: [...]
Subject: Re: The Letter To Science: Close Read

Jim states "Roberts quotes ORI, yet omits ORI's focus. ORI's focus does not well serve Roberts' argument (that Popovic contradicts Gallo over virus causation). " He then proceeds to say

"ORI actually,

▫Focused upon plagiarism charges against Gallo.▫Dropped all charges against Gallo.▫Did not challenge virological causation.▫""Promoted virus causation."
and he states

"The Letter is mostly falsehood, innuendo, and drama. It arrogates prior dissident and orthodox work, such as material by Chicago Tribune journalist John Crewdson.

"It requests the retraction of the 1984 Gallo papers, claiming they don't prove HIV causation, yet neither Popovic nor Gallo claim proof of causation. With false evidence, it portrays a deliberately fraudulent Gallo, portrays Popovic contradicting Gallo, and portrays differences between draft and published paper."


why this widespread attack on myself alone - I think you know that I did not write this letter alone - that it was finally the product of a committee of three - with christine and David also very much involved and approving the final wording- so why is this attack solely on myself - particularly when the signatories were sent the supporting documentation and made up their own minds whether to sign or not? It feels very vindictive and personal - and counter productive. It does not exactly encourage people to take such actions when people who should be allies become the most savage critics .

However I did do much of the background research. so p lease read if you have not my detailed analysis of ORI and the other investigations of Gallo - as in my book fear of the invisible and on my website - I went into precisely the issues you raise - the ORI indisputably produced an 'Offer of Proof' that contains the results of its investigation - this condemned the research in the Popovic et al paper - saying among other things that the research in it was impossible to verify - the entire text is in my appendix and on my website - and was sent to all signatories of the letter in advance - and furthermore Crewdson did not to my knowledge ever bring up the issue of whether LAV was proved to cause AIDS in the Popovic paper .

It is evident from the final ORI report that its major charge was not plagerism - for Gallo at no point was accused of copying Montaigne - but that of misappropriating a sample. but here I was looking at what else it concluded - it also stated that the lead paper was 'fraught with false and erroneous statements.' The ORI 'offer of proof' first spoke of "Dr Gallo's failure or refusal to meet his obligation's as Laboratory chief " ..and it went on to say that Popovic's paper "was conspicuously lacking in primary data " and that Gallo's actions relating to this paper and the research reported in it "at a minimum seriously undermined the ability of the scientific community to reproduce and/or verify the efforts of the LTCB in isolating and growing the AIDS virus." In the circumstances, a more serious charge is hard to imagine. - and surely this should have meant that this paper was withdrawn - as the Letter to science has requested.

Indeed it is surprising that this request was not formally made much earlier - at least as far as I know.? In my view it would be excellent if many of those whose research has come to a similar conclusion would individually or collectively repeatedly press the Science journal to withdraw - after all the evidence against this paper is simply massive. If this paper were withdrawn, given its acclaim - the psychological effect of this could be enormous. It could start the process of undermining the foundations of the AIDS industry. but - with it left in good standing - at the moment thousands of young scientists could be taking this paper as gospel - and repeating the same errors.

(So why then Jim are you so devoted to trying to attacking myself for the great deal of work I put into this ? )

to return to your charges... Secondly the ORI did not simply drop its charges as you said it found it could not proceed because the Research Integrity Adjudication Panel changed the rules making it effectively impossible to proceed with evidence gathered under different guidelines

AND - this letter to Science does not does not dispute the earlier findings of Perth and other scientists regarding the non isolation of HIV . their earlier work has never been at issue.

thirdly - I have never said -and the Letter to Science did not say - that the ORI denied viral causation . they said that this paper could not be verified and was highly flawed - . The letter to Science likewise did not argue that a virus did not cause AIDS - contrary to what you state. It focussed on the lack of proof in this paper. Your are simply wrong in so claiming

as to time sequence
it is well established in the literature and not likely to be queried. Popovic returned to his desk on 25th March - found Gallo had massively rewritten his research including his conclusions - and five days later it went to the science journal much modified and with a new title.

finally - the evidence is clear from the documents produced in support of this letter - Gallo did delete from Popovic's paper the statement - in the present tense - that the cause of AIDS had not been found - and it was replaced by a sentence saying something very different - suggesting that the responsible virus might have been found . You dispute whether the wording in the letter was accurate in saying that the replacing words conveyed "practically the opposite" sense .... I would argue that going from an absolute negative to a 'we might have got the virus ' - conveys a very different sense. but with hindsight perhaps 'suggesting the opposite' would have been the better wording - however as the contrasting words cited were given there should be little confusion.

I find the rest of the allegations confusing and ultimately puzzling. Are you trying to defend Gallo or to minimize the seriousness of the ORI's conclusions or saying that the Popoivic et al paper should not be withdrawn?

and a final point - You say that I have 'falsely' (which implies knowingly) claimed to be the first to report many of these deletions - but as I have said in my book and elsewhere , only one of the many deletions was previously reported to the best of my knowledge - that was the deletion that hide their use of the LAV viral sample - so I would be grateful if you would point me to where else you found them reported - and particularly the above deletion as it was in the Letter sent to Science - and then prove that I knew of this other source - or otherwise retract. If you have made this public charge without this evidence then it is calumny - and illegal.


This is my reply to Janine Roberts (12/4/2009).  Apologies for delay due to holidays and other obligations.  Roberts’ message is enclosed for reference.


My Replies To Selected Items


1. Roberts:  “Why this attack on me alone?”


Not an “attack”.  My review is text analysis.  This is a normal, healthy, academic process for such an important and controversial document as The Letter.  Roberts and RA might want to use this review to update books, articles, interview formats, advertisements, and procedures.  See the review at


Re “alone”:  My review is now amended to read, “Roberts is apparently the primary author”.  Four descriptions of authorship are compared at


2. Roberts:  [ORI’s] “major charge was not plagerism - for Gallo at no point was accused of   copying Montaigne - but that of misappropriating a sample.”


Actually, plagiarism is the misappropriation of others’ work (such as Montagnier’s), and, “copying” is not a required element of plagiarism.  See definition at


3. Roberts:  [Popovic's paper] "was conspicuously lacking in primary data..."


Roberts misquotes ORI.  The phrase should read, “conspicuously lacking in significant primary data..." (bolding is mine)  The word “significant” ensures pertinence to ORI’s narrow scope of investigation, which is not virus causation.  See ORI’s page 45, John Crewdson's copy (31 megs), at 


4. Roberts:  “You dispute  whether the wording in the letter was accurate...”


Roberts adds a distracting fourth layer of argument over fundamental gross mischaracterizations of Gallo’s edits.  I had already found fiction piled on fiction at



5. Roberts:  “You   say  that   I have 'falsely' (which implies knowingly)   claimed...”


Roberts mischaracterizes the word “falsely”.  It is the adverb construct of “false”, which means “contrary to fact or truth”.  My review explicitly states that intent, state of mind, etc., are assumed to be unknown.  See



6. Roberts:  [West denies discoveries, therefore,] “point me to where else you found them reported...


Roberts had grossly mischaracterized Gallo’s edits.  These problems are at the core of The Letter.  I unravel this and priority issues at



Jim West



Editorial marks:  Bolding was sent with the message.  Yellow highlight and {brackets} are added here, Jim West's.  {b} means break, parsed.

2. The Letter, A Close Read, by Jim West
3. The Letter To Science;; accessed 10/30/2009 10:59am


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