The largest newspaper in Liberia published a conspiracy theory accusing the United States of intentionally engineering the Ebola and AIDS viruses in bioterrorism research labs and infecting Africans with the virus through vaccinations.
The news article, “Ebola, AIDS Manufactured By Western Pharmaceuticals, US DoD?” was published by the Liberian Daily Observer on Tuesday. It specifically implicates the U.S government, Department of Defense, American research universities in participating in an “American Military-Medical-Industry” Cold War scheme to test bioweapons in African nations.
Dr. Cyril E. Broderick Sr. References several “reports” and the 1994 science fiction novel “The Hot Zone” to accuse the U.S. Department of Defense of testing biological weapons under the rouse of administering vaccination to improve health concerns of “black Africans overseas” and secretly attack the Soviet Union. One report links 1970s research that “made it obvious that the war was between countries that hosted the KGB and the CIA, and the ‘manufacture’ of AIDS-Like Viruses’ was clearly directed at the other.”
The article is penned by Broderick, a former professor of Plant Pathology at the University of Liberia’s College of Agriculture and Forestry and a former Observer Farmer in the 1980s. He has also taught at the Agricultural College of the University of Delaware.
With a circulation of 30,000 – primarily in the Liberian capital of Monrovia – the Daily Observer is featuring the article on its front page and is being criticized for fueling an already rampant distrust of Western vaccination programs in African communities.
Broderick cites several prominent Western health organization for “selecting and enticing African countries to participate in testing events, promoting vaccinations” and setting up test spots for “emerging diseases, especially Ebola.”
Among those connected to the international scheme to test the Ebola and AIDS virus in Africa: The US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Fort Detrick, Md.; Tulane University, including a grant of more than $7 million the National Institute of Health; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Doctors Without Borders (also known by its French name, Medicins Sans Frontiers); Tekmira, a Canadian pharmaceutical company; and GlaxoSmithKline in the U.K.
Broderick said that African leaders need to protect their own people from becoming Western “guinea pigs.”
“There is urgent need for affirmative action in protecting the less affluent of poorer countries, especially African citizens, whose countries are not as scientifically and industrially endowed as the United States and most Western countries, sources of most viral or bacterial GMOs that are strategically designed as biological weapons,” Broderick continued. “It is most disturbing that the U. S. Government has been operating a viral hemorrhagic fever bioterrorism research laboratory in Sierra Leone. Are there others?”
Operation INFEKTION was a KGB disinformation campaign to spread information that the United States invented HIV/AIDS as part of a biological weapons research project at Fort Detrick, Maryland. The Soviet Union used it to undermine the United States’ credibility, foster anti-Americanism, isolate America abroad, and create tensions between host countries and the U.S. over the presence of American military bases (which were often portrayed as the cause of AIDS outbreaks in local populations).
The groundwork appeared in the pro-Soviet Indian newspaper Patriot which, according to a KGB defector named Ilya Dzerkvelov, was set up by the KGB in 1962 “in order to publish disinformation”. An anonymous letter was sent to the editor in July 1983 from a ‘well-known American scientist and anthropologist’, stating that AIDS was manufactured at Fort Detrick by genetic engineers. The ‘scientist’ claimed that “that deadly mysterious disease was believed to be the results of the Pentagon’s experiments to develop new and dangerous biological weapons,” and implicated CDC scientists with being sent to Africa and Latin America to find dangerous viruses alien to Asia and Europe. These results were purportedly analyzed in Atlanta and Fort Detrick and thus the “most likely course of events” leading to the development of AIDS.
The campaign started in earnest in October 1985 after the story was ignored for two years, with the original article being published again by Literaturnaya Gazeta. To lend credence, the Soviet Union used a pseudo-scientific paper written in 1986 by a retired East German biophysicist named Dr. Jakob Segal, co-authored by his wife Dr. Lilli Segal and Dr. Ronald Dehmlow, at Humboldt University. The report was quoted heavily by Soviet propagandists, and the Segals were often said to be French researchers in order to hide their connections with communism. Dr. Segal postulated that the AIDS virus was synthesized by combining parts of two distantly related retroviruses: VISNA and HTLV-1.
The AIDS story exploded across the world, and was repeated by Soviet newspapers, magazines, wire services, radio broadcasts, and T.V. It appeared forty times in Soviet media in 1987 alone. It received coverage in over eighty countries in more than thirty languages, primarily in leftist and communist media publications, and was found in countries as widespread as Bolivia, Grenada, Pakistan, New Zealand, Nigeria, and Malta. A few versions made their way into non-communist press in Indonesian and Philippine press.
The Mitrokhin Archives reveal that faced with American protests and the denunciation of the story by the international scientific community, however, Gorbachev and his advisors were clearly concerned that exposure of Soviet disinformation might damage the new Soviet image in the West. In 1987, US officials were told in Moscow that the AIDS story was officially disowned, Soviet press coverage of the story came to an almost complete halt.