UPDATE: I’m not sure what’s going on, but some of the threads and posts that appeared to be deleted are once again visible in the Rethinking AIDS Facebook group as of about 10:30 am CST. I have not reviewed them to see if they are complete.
I’m really not in the mood to blog these days. My health is mostly stable, with exceptions for the now-usual Fatigue and some new joint and muscle pains. What I am more concerned about is the effect I’m feeling from the stress of watching the arguably premier AIDS dissident organization falter, and now flounder publicly. The story deserves more attention than I’m willing to give it right now, but I do feel I need to post some information that Rethinking AIDS is trying to shove under a rug while it’s still fresh.
Elizabeth Ely (pronounced ē-lē) has served in the past as Rethinking AIDS’ “Public Relations” coordinator, and is co-host with RA President David Crowe on the How Positive Are You? podcasts. Ely has frequently spoken out as a representative of Rethinking AIDS and its policies on the group’s Facebook page.
The long time member and administrator of Rethinking AIDS’ Facebook group manifested some sort of bizarre public mental or psychological meltdown yesterday. I don’t know how else to describe it. She started the day by posting vague and mysterious messages, warning of impending doom so dire that she was considering “leaving the movement.”
To my friends here: I am absolutely inconsolable. I cannot tell you what has happened, but please send your prayers. I am considering leaving the movement. -xoBeth
As other members start to ask what she is referring to, Ely piles on with yet more vague assertions.
I have a lot of things to consider. I want never again to be even close to the reckless, careless ending of a young life. Ever. This is against my values and the very reasons I got involved in this. . . . I am determined not to shed A SINGLE TEAR for what you are about to hear is happening in the next few months. I will be just as cold and heartless as the e-mails and posts will tell you I am. And I will not discuss it….
Most of all, I want to make VERY CLEAR that I am not involved in these doings. I have refused to be involved in it, and I will continue to refuse. Without guilt.
The tension builds in the group. “Wouldn’t it be better to shine a little light on the trouble? …this feels like a Grey area nobody has a clue about?” asked member Jildou Slofstra.
Like some sort of high priest, struggling with the devil himself, Ely continues her lament; and lest anyone misunderstand, she makes it clear that whatever tortuous burden she is bearing is apparently all about her.
I will not be the person to break the news. I will only tell you how I feel, and ask for your prayers, for me. For me, Goddammit. Just pray for me. I’ve given what I can. . . . Just remember: The ONLY lesson I wish to teach here is to move into the light, from the darkness. Do not fight the darkness, teach the light.
Once I stop wrestling with all this mess, I will have time to write my book and truly bring light to the world. I regret that some have chosen to descend to Hades to fight the devil. They won’t win.
While this embarrassing nonsense is spilling from Ely’s hand, I am watching and sharing a video posted by John Strangis, about his ordeal of dealing with his wife going into early labor and giving birth to a new son, Dominic. Strangis is no stranger to the members of the RA group. He has been a prolific writer and youtube vlogger about the various problems with the mainstream HIV=AIDS theory. He has been outspoken about his distrust of the orthodox point of view, especially the use of antiretroviral drugs.
Despite all of his own research and concerns, when his wife tested positive for HIV while being admitted to a hospital for a premature delivery, the young couple had some hard choices to make. The doctors were recommending a short-term course of zidovudine (AZT), and later nevirapine to prevent mother-to-child transmission. As good AIDS dissidents, Strangis and his wife doubted the wisdom of the medical advice they were being given.
At the same time, they were aware of the possible consequences for not agreeing to comply with the doctors’ recommendations. In similar cases, parents who refuse treatment recommendations have been separated from their child by courts and child protection enforcers.
Please watch Strangis’ video to get a more complete picture of what happened, and how it happened. It is obvious that the guy is exhausted and tormented by what he and his wife went through in reaching their decision to allow the treatment.
Shortly after I shared the video on my own Facebook feed, Ely started her third bombastic thread of the day in the RA group. She shared my link to Strangis’ video with this opening comment:
Now it’s public. This is bullshit. I offered help, gave options, made him understand, hopefully, that this was not something to be messed with. And in the end, I get that he lied about far along his wife was in her pregnancy, kept messing with the wrong people, and was, of course, spied on the whole time. . . . I will NOT go down with this assault.
Some members of the group tried to calm Ely down, and spoke out in support of John’s unenviable predicament, only to be dismissed by Ely. Manny El Dino, another one of the group’s admins, wrote:
Elizabeth we are a lion cub fighting in a world of savage beasts! I would hate to be in a situation like his but we don’t want another Baby Rico situation here where the law gets involved and still gives the baby that poison under a monitor watch!!! Either way it’s a lose/lose situation! You can spill your knowledge and cause to these people but their medical school brains are just going to see you as a nut case. John is a smart man, if his son is in any medical danger he knows how heal the body. The Nigels little girl was given heavy doses of AZT and turned out well once going off of it after a few years. I know John isn’t going to sit back and watch his son be poisoned!
Ely just grows more hostile and belligerent, and… well, I have to say: bat-shit crazy.
I’m not judging. I’m saying, Gosh almighty, what the heck are we going to do, when such people don’t give us half a chance to help at all? And then they go and consort with our enemies, just to get back at us? Good luck with that!
Finally, Ely admits to what is really bothering her: ME!
He let Barnett post his video on his Facebook page, as an object lesson in the importance of “common ground.” How naive! If we just invite these guys with blogs over for tea and potato chips, we’ll call off the hounds! . . . Y’all go join Barnett. I’m done with ya. Seriously: Go count your T-cells to death, and get all cozy with the other side, and make passive-aggressive attacks on the movement. Then complain that we’re all too “dogmatic” for your taste. Either way, it doesn’t matter. The state will come after your kids.
I can’t make this shit up, folks, and some long-time observers of AIDS dissidence and Rethinking AIDS have indicated to me that the meltdown should not come as a big surprise. Ely’s temperament and mental stability have been subject to speculation for some time.
Ely spent the better part of the day yesterday weeping and gnashing her teeth because Strangis and his wife made an informed medical decision that she disagreed with. The nerve. The audacity of these people to defy her (and by association, Rethinking AIDS’) position on a controversial medical treatment. Who in the world do they think they are?
I can think of no better example of how far Rethinking AIDS has sunk into a dogmatic and indefensible position regarding HIV and AIDS. They have merely substituted one rigid ideology with another one, and if anyone dares to venture from the path of righteousness, as the leadership of the organization—apparently with full backing of the board of directors—define it, they are publicly demeaned and excommunicated.
Someone finally came to their senses (for all I know, if could have been Ely herself), and tried to perform damage control last night. As best I can tell, Ely is no longer a member of the group, let alone an administrator. Her posts have been “unpublished” and the most recent threads in the group this morning were basically spam and filler.
I managed to make copies of most of the threads and comments that were posted yesterday, and I am posting them below for posterity.
Rethinking AIDS owes its membership and the rest of us some explanation for its recent decline to this point, but I’m not holding my breath to see one. I have tried to communicate with officers and board members about the problem posed by an unmoderated Facebook group that has been deteriorating to the basest and lowest common denominators of the Facebook/Internet mentality.
Rethinking AIDS president David Crowe and board member Henry Bauer have dismissed concerns I have tried to raise with them privately. They continue to insist that RA is an organization with a “scientific” mission. That has not been the case for some time now, and yesterday’s uncontrolled meltdown will just be another chapter in the next book written to marginalize and discredit them. They have no one to blame but themselves. Their own members and leaders are writing the book.
Booting Ely—if that is indeed what has happened—is one small step in what should be a major strategic initiative to repair and rebuild the group’s dismal public identity. Expect little, if any further progress to be made as long as Crowe remains in charge of the group and the board.
Links to threads deleted from the Rethinking AIDS Facebook group: