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Alan Keyes Is Helping Sell a Toxic Bleach ‘Cure’ to the Vulnerable and Desperate

SNAKE OIL
The politician fronts a conservative web-based TV channel and appears in broadcasts with bottles of “Miracle Mineral Solution” on his desk.

Kelly WeillDec. 07, 2019 4:58 AM ET

They promote bleach as a miracle cure and distribute it to children in developing countries. And now they have a prominent conservative pundit propping up their network.

The “Miracle Mineral Solution” (“MMS”) movement falsely claims a dangerous chlorine dioxide cocktail can cure almost any illness, from autism to infertility. A new addition to the Facebook-fueled movement is IAMtv, a conservative web-based channel fronted by Alan Keyes, former diplomat and adviser to President Ronald Reagan who appears in pro-MMS broadcasts with bottles of MMS from a dubious bleach “church” featured prominently on his desk. IAMtv figures even claim Keyes is helping the network spread its mission from Uganda to the halls of power in the U.S..

On a broadcast in August, IAMtv host Bob Sisson invoked Keyes’ name while discussing MMS.

“I get to use my ‘I work with Alan Keyes,’” Sisson said, miming a fishing rod as he pretended to reel someone in with Keyes’ name.

“Which is sorta cool because I met [Christian personality] Ken Ham a week ago; I met the governor of Kentucky, Matt Bevin, a super guy; met Governor Bill Lee here in Tennessee. 

“Gonna meet Trump, it’s only a matter of time. President Trump’s gonna invite us up there, when he finds out about this stuff,” Sisson added.

He held up green and blue bottles stamped with the logo for the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing that apparently contained the chemicals that create the dangerous cocktail chlorine dioxide, or “MMS” when combined.

MMS has found a growing fanbase, often among people skeptical of modern medicine or desperate for miracle cures. Meanwhile, its champions are trying to make the concoction mainstream. 

There is nothing miraculous about Miracle Mineral Solution. It’s poison. As the Food and Drug Administration warned in an August statement, the solution is “a powerful bleaching agent.”

“Miracle Mineral Solution has not been approved by the FDA for any use, but these products continue to be promoted on social media as a remedy for treating autism, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and flu, among other conditions,” the FDA noted. “However, the solution, when mixed, develops into a dangerous bleach which has caused serious and potentially life-threatening side effects.”

Those can include damage to red blood cells and critical organ failure. An NBC News investigation found at least 2,123 cases of chlorine dioxide poisoning resulting in serious side effects in the U.S. since 2014. Of the 50 cases that were deemed “life-threatening,” eight people died. Doug Nash, a former mayor of San Juan Capistrano, California became a vocal opponent of MMS after he claimed the potion caused his wife’s immediate sickness and her death later that day in 2009.

“She tried it one time,” Nash told ABC Los Angeles. “And it caused her death in 12 hours.”

Many MMS recipients are children. A popular health hoax claims MMS can cure autism, leading to a disturbing phenomenon of parents attempting to feed kids chlorine dioxide, or give them MMS enemas or baths. The NBC investigation revealed that chlorine dioxide poisoning sent an autistic 6-year-old to the hospital with liver poisoning in 2017.

The term MMS first appeared in 2006 in a self-published book by Jim Humble. A former Scientologist who claims to be an alien god who arrived on Earth via “the space navy,” Humble said he used MMS to cure thousands of cases of malaria and HIV in South America and Africa. He went on to found the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, where MMS is the center of worship. Although a small industry of MMS peddlers have since appeared, Genesis II remains at the movement’s forefront, and its products and leaders are common in IAMtv videos.

Journalists who attended a Genesis II seminar at a California hotel in 2016 reported that “Archbishop” Mark Grenon preached the wonders of MMS to audience members who’d paid $450 per ticket.

“Everybody start a church and do it from there. You can sell them anything! Tell them Jesus heals you while you drink this,” Grenon said.

Though it claims to be “non-religious but spiritual,” Genesis II and the MMS movement have attracted a number of conservative Christians. Keyes—a conservative Catholic who has argued for prayer in public schools and a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage—met with Mark Grenon and his son Jonathan in August 2018.

“Dad and I met Dr. Alan Keyes,” Jonathan Grenon, a church “bishop,” wrote on Facebook. “God bless you brother. Great dinner, the conversations were better than the food.”

Keyes appears to have got onboard with MMS around the time of that meeting.

“Dr. Alan got introduced to it a little over a year ago,” Sisson said in a broadcast this past August, during which he also compared Mark Grenon’s preaching to Jesus curing the sick.

Keyes, Genesis II, IAMtv and Sisson did not respond to multiple requests for comment on this story. David Tyson, who said he represents Keyes, said he’d reached out to Keyes but had no comment on his behalf. 

MMS wouldn’t be Keyes’ first brush with the outlandish. “Alan L. Keyes is outrageous. And he loves it,” the Washington Post wrote of him in 1987, when he was “a maverick in the State Department, a hard-line Reaganaut amid bland striped-pants diplomats.”

After leaving the Reagan administration, Keyes embarked on what would become a long and uniformly doomed series of electoral campaigns. He first ran for Senate in 1988 (with Reagan’s backing), only to lose that race and two more Senate races in 1992 and 2004, as well as presidential races in 1996, 2000, and 2008. 

In 2004, he made headlines for abruptly moving to Chicago to run against Barack Obama, then a state senator. On the campaign trail, Keyes was vocally anti-abortion and anti-gay, infamously calling Vice President Dick Cheney’s lesbian daughter a “selfish hedonist.” After the 2008 presidential election, Keyes became a member of the “birther” movement, which falsely charged Obama was not born in the United States. He has since traveled in a paranoid wing of the GOP, authoring articles for the conspiracy-heavy site WorldNetDaily.

Nevertheless, Keyes has more mainstream clout than some of his fellow travelers. He hosted a short-lived MSNBC show (“Alan Keyes Is Making Sense”) in 2002, and spoke at CPAC this year. His name stands out on the otherwise-obscure IAMtv, which features Keyes’ pictures across its homepage and describes itself as “Independent American Media TV with Dr. Alan Keyes.”

IAMtv registered its website and YouTube pages in October 2018, and Keyes appears to have been involved from the channel’s early days. The oldest video on IAMtv’s YouTube page is a Keyes video from April.

Keyes’ show, “Let’s Talk America” is the channel’s flagship program, although it hosts others like Sisson’s “Bob the Plumber,” “The Reality Camp,” and “Jesus Talk Live.”

Figures from the right-wing conspiratorial scene, particularly MMS promoters, are frequent guests. Last week, Sisson and Keyes hosted Mike Adams, founder of the fringe site “Natural News,” which promotes anti-vaccine content. Sisson has also hosted Mark Grennon and other MMS advocates.

It’s not clear whether IAMtv is profitable. The channel streams on Roku, and on YouTube where it has just over 300 followers. It has no paid subscriptions, but hosts an online store where it exclusively sells Keyes’ products, ranging from a $9.95 Keyes audiobook to an $85 video of Keyes’ appearances at the 2019 “Red Pill Expo.”

IAMtv describes itself as a “news channel backed by Dr. Alan Keyes,” although that support might not necessarily be financial; Sisson has also described another kind of “backing”: spiritual support from Uganda.

IAMtv operates a news studio out of Uganda, and has released multiple videos showing Sisson and Keyes in the country together. Although those videos primarily show the pair engaged in church ministry, Sisson has said they distributed chlorine dioxide to locals.

“We’ve been using this for years in Africa and treating literally thousands and thousands and thousands of people with all kinds of remarkable stories, from people who were left to die because they’d been poisoned and it cures that in just a few hours,” he said in an August video titled “Chlorine Dioxide update.”

Although IAMtv does not appear to have uploaded footage of its affiliates distributing MMS in Uganda, other chlorine dioxide distributors in Uganda have posted pictures of themselves feeding the mixture to children. 

Samula Taedop promoted a Uganda-based Facebook page showing children holding cups of chlorine dioxide and babies being fed the mixture through syringes. Featured prominently were Genesis II’s blue and green MMS bottles.

Taedop was one of three men arrested by Ugandan authorities in March for an alleged conspiracy to feed bleach to children in three villages under the guise of Christian charity, claiming it could cure everything from HIV/AIDS to Malaria.

When The Daily Beast contacted a WhatsApp number listed on the Facebook page “Genesis II Church Uganda,” a man claiming to be Taedop answered but declined to comment.

IAMtv’s MMS promoters claim the pharmaceutical industry is behind a crackdown on MMS.

“I'm convinced that chlorine dioxide is going to be what God uses to bring down Big Pharma,” Sisson said in an October episode of Keyes’ show titled “Big Pharma: The Truth of MMS.” Sisson directed viewers to Genesis II’s website and encouraging them to buy MMS. “But I do know that that it will detox your body and then God himself will heal you. And we're finding in like in Uganda, curing malaria and poisoning and diabetes and AIDS by the way. It's amazing."

Keyes listened approvingly, then said those claims were “why I was so interested in MMS and going to Uganda so far [...] There will be no excuse for pretending that you should price it at hundreds of dollars a dose so that people can make billions off of it.”

Sitting on Keyes’ desk for the entire episode: two bottles of Genesis II bleach.

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