Whatever Happened to the AIDS Conspiracy?

by Mark Sanborne, WW4 REPORT

“Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone.”

In the last installment in this series we discussed Biopreparat, the Soviet Union’s massive yet surprisingly covert biological warfare program, the frightening details of which only emerged in the West in the early 1990s. It didn’t become a huge public issue at the time because with the Cold War over and Russia our “friend,” Soviet-era misbehavior no longer had the same propaganda value. But a number of US scientists, security experts, and pundits did express shock and legitimate outrage over the extent of Soviet violations of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC): “weaponizing” vast amounts and varieties of deadly bioagents, designing bioweapon warheads for their intercontinental MIRV missiles, and using the emerging science of gene-splicing to engineer ever-more deadly hybrid and “chimera” versions of existing pathogens.

Terrible stuff. So the question naturally arises: what, if anything, were US biowarriors up to during the heyday of Biopreparat in the 1970s and ’80s? Except, of course, the question is virtually never asked in official discourse and mainstream accounts. So let’s try to begin to answer it.

Both Washington and Moscow used the “defensive research” exception in the BWC to justify designing new varieties of bioagents, the argument being you had to create a threat (a new version of a virus or bacteria) so you could devise vaccines or other countermeasures against it before a potential enemy did. Specifically, the treaty only allows the possession of limited amounts of bioagents or toxins “for prophylactic, protective, and other peaceful purposes.” Both sides found ways to stretch that language considerably—except while the Soviets drove a tank through the loophole, the Americans used a sports car, leaving a much lighter footprint.

There’s no evidence that after signing the BWC the US developed new stockpiles of “classic” bioagents (such as anthrax, tularemia, brucellosis, bubonic plague, and smallpox), at least not on anything near the enormous scale the Soviets did. Nor has evidence emerged that the US ever put biowarheads on its ICBMs, though that could be one top secret that’s stayed buried. But, as with most technical fields, the US was ahead of the Soviets in the emerging science of molecular biology, and the record indicates that US military scientists played an important role in the development of that field in the 1970s.

Interestingly, as Washington was preparing to sign the BWC, President Nixon, as part of his “War on Cancer,” in 1971 shifted much of the Army’s biowar research facilities at Fort Detrick, Md., to the ostensible control of the National Cancer Institute. This allowed military scientists (or civilian scientists working for the military) to conduct cutting-edge genetic engineering experiments with biowar applications under the cover of legitimate cancer research. Much of the work was done as part of the somewhat sinisterly named Special Virus Cancer Program, which had been in existence since 1964—and about which more later.

And so the US bio-military-industrial complex continued to quietly thrive, spread out in an archipelago of government and private labs around the country, with much of the work being farmed out to drug giants like Merck and spookier outfits like Litton Bionetics. In a sense, it was a more under-the-radar version of Biopreparat, lacking its mass industrial-production facilities and toxic outdoor testing grounds, but surpassing it in developing the technical skills needed to devise a new generation of deadly bioagents.


Where did that path lead? When conspiracy-minded critics raise questions about the origins of the variety of new diseases and medical syndromes that “emerged” in the 1970s and ’80s, they often point to the so-called MacArthur testimony as a putative smoking gun. For those uninitiated into the mysteries, that would be one Dr. Donald MacArthur, then-director of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, who on July 1, 1969, testified before the defense subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee on the “research, development, testing, and evaluation of synthetic biological agents,” among other things. A portion of his testimony was cited in Part 3 of this series, and referred to as a potential Rosetta Stone of bionia. Here is a more complete version, beginning with the good doctor’s exchange with Representatives Robert Sikes of Florida and Daniel Flood of Pennsylvania:

REP. SIKES: Tell us something about the biological weapons, both lethal and incapacitants. Tell us what we are doing and what the Russians are doing.

DR. MACARTHUR: I am sure all of you know biologicals are microorganisms. We have had a policy that the biological agents that we would try to develop would be noncontagious; that is, that it could not be passed on directly from individual to individual.

REP. FLOOD: Would they be effective if not contagious?

DR. MACARTHUR: They could be infectious from the standpoint that they would be used as a primary aerosol and infect people inhaling it. After that they could be carried from me to you, say by an insect vector—a mosquito, for example.

REP. FLOOD: Could they be effective and contagious?


REP. FLOOD: I doubt that. I doubt that.

DR. MACARTHUR: A contagious disease would not be effective as a biological warfare agent, although it might have devastating effects. It lacks the essential element of control which I alluded to earlier since there would be no way to predict or control the course of the epidemic that might result. [Emphasis added, here and below.]

REP. SIKES: Tell us the story of our progress and our capability.

DR. MACARTHUR: I want to reemphasize that our policy has been not to develop any contagious agents so that we could control the effects so that they would not “boomerang” on our own people if ever we were forced to use them. Typical examples of diseases caused by agents we have worked on are tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, “Q” fever, Venezuelan equine encephalitis. These agents are different from the chemicals in that they are naturally occurring diseases.

Talking about potential offensive agents, I will first restate the constraints I mentioned earlier that we have put on ourselves as a matter of policy to prevent exactly what people have been saying—that there will be a worldwide scourge, or a black death type disease that will envelop the world or major geographical areas if some of these materials were to accidentally escape. That could not possibly happen with the biological agents that we have. That is a constraint that we have put on ourselves.

However, to keep the record straight, we have done a small amount of research on a few agents that do not satisfy this constraint. [This is presumably a reference to US work with smallpox and bubonic plague.] The reason for this is that a potential enemy might use them against us and we have to be prepared to defend ourselves, so we try to develop vaccines and rapid identification systems, for example, for defensive purposes… Also, for most of these agents there is natural immunity. Some people will not be affected because of natural immunity. Second, you cannot use the same agent twice against the same population because after the first attack, the people build up immunity to that agent…

There are two things about the biological agent field I would like to mention. One is the possibility of technology surprise. Molecular biology is a field that is advancing very rapidly and eminent biologists believe that within a period of five to 10 years it would be possible to produce a synthetic biological agent, an agent that does not naturally exist and for which no natural immunity could have been acquired.

REP. SIKES: Are we doing any work in that field?

DR. MACARTHUR: We are not.

REP. SIKES: Why not? Lack of money or lack of interest?

DR. MACARTHUR: Certainly not lack of interest.

REP. SIKES. Would you provide for our records information on what would be required, what the advantages of such a program would be, the time and the cost involved?

MACARTHUR. We will be very happy to.

[The information follows:]

“The dramatic progress being made in the field of molecular biology led us to investigate the relevance of this field of science to biological warfare. A small group of experts considered this matter and provided the following observations:

1. All biological agents up the present time are representatives of naturally occurring disease, and are thus known by scientists throughout the world. They are easily available to qualified scientists for research, either for offensive or defensive purposes.

2. Within the next 5 to 10 years, it would probably be possible to make a new infective microorganism which could differ in certain important aspects from any known disease-causing organisms. Most important of these is that it might be refractory to the immunological and therapeutic processes upon which we depend to maintain our relative freedom from infectious disease.

3. A research program to explore the feasibility of this could be completed in approximately 5 years at a total cost of $10 million.

4. It would be very difficult to establish such a program. Molecular biology is a relatively new science. There are not many highly competent scientists in the field. Almost all are in university laboratories, and they are generally adequately supported from sources other than DOD. However, it was considered possible to initiate an adequate program through the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council (NAS-NRC).

The matter was discussed with the NAS-NRC, and tentative plans were plans were made to initiate the program. However decreasing funds in CB [chemical and biological warfare], growing criticism of the CB program, and our reluctance to involve the NAS-NRC in such a controversial endeavor have led us to postpone it for the past 2 years. It is a highly controversial issue and there are many who believe such research should not be undertaken lest it lead to yet another method of massive killing of large populations. On the other hand, without the sure scientific knowledge that such a weapon is possible, and an understanding of the ways it could be done, there is little that can be done to devise defensive measures. Should an enemy develop it, there is little doubt that this is an important area of potential military technological inferiority in which there is no adequate research program.”

Postscript: The Pentagon got the requested $10 million for its research program, though it never officially announced what conclusions, recommendations, or “practical” results ultimately emerged from the effort. But here’s the key for those suspicious of the official story: MacArthur said the research could be completed in five years and that a synthetic biological agent “for which no natural immunity could have been acquired” could be produced “within the next five to 10 years.” A decade later, people—initially gay American men and shortly thereafter Africans and other populations around the world—suddenly began dying of what subsequently came to be called Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome: AIDS.

Technically speaking, despite some overlap in words, it’s clear that MacArthur was referring to a bioagent that, because of its laboratory origins, would be “refractory” (resistant) to the human immune system, not one that would damage or destroy it, as AIDS does by attacking crucial T-cells. However, that is a distinction without much difference, because suppressing immune function has the same effect as being resistant to it. Also, since MacArthur was speaking before the invention of such bioagents, he obviously couldn’t know what form their immunity resistance would ultimately take. But when all is said and done, the simple fact is that the man’s testimony is pretty damn spooky.


So what ever did happen to the purported AIDS “conspiracy”? We don’t hear much about it anymore—not that we ever really did, at least in the mainstream press. Interestingly, despite the lack of coverage, opinion polls over the years have consistently shown that many African Americans (though not a majority) believe AIDS is man-made and was deliberately targeted at black people, just as many believe that the CIA deliberately allowed crack cocaine to enter their communities during the Contra war in the 1980s. Such polls are sometimes cited by the press to show that blacks have a tendency to believe in such presumably false conspiracy theories due to their memory of real ones, like the Tuskegee syphilis experiments. (As in the case of Tuskegee, radiation experiments, Agent Orange, and Gulf War Syndrome, it’s generally a long time after the fact before the government fesses up to its role in any such terrible doings, and sometimes it never does.)

Some public figures have spoken out, though black politicians have generally shied away from the subject. In the early 1990s, comedian Bill Cosby said AIDS was “started by human beings to get after certain people they don’t like,” and director Spike Lee said, “AIDS is a government-engineered disease.” More recently, Kenyan ecologist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai in 2004 declared that HIV was created in a biological warfare lab, though she didn’t specify the country. “Us black people are dying more than any other people in this planet,” she said. “Why has there been so much secrecy about AIDS? When you ask where did the virus come from, it raises a lot of flags. That makes me suspicious.”

But way back, there were the initial stories that emerged out of East Germany in the 1980s that AIDS had been created in a US biowar lab. The fact that the accounts were widely disseminated at the time by the Soviets, particularly in the Third World, made them easy to dismiss as crude disinformation. But the original source for the charges, Jakob Segal, an emeritus biology professor at Humboldt University in East Berlin who died in 1995, was a Russian-Lithuanian Jew who adamantly denied being a state propaganda tool, saying he couldn’t convince his East German academic colleagues to even consider his AIDS claims.

“Nobody in the Stasi [East German intelligence] had the technical expertise to have produced such a theory,” he said in 1992. “It was my work and mine along, and I refuse to allow a few sensation-hungry journalists to deprive me of the credit for it.”

In brief, Segal asserted that HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), believed to be the cause of AIDS, was actually Visna, a fatal sheep virus, that had been combined in a lab—he pointed to Fort Detrick—with a small percentage of HTLV-1 (Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus). The more detailed genomic analysis of HIV that has since become possible reportedly rules out Segal’s hypothesis, and the current establishment view is that HIV is most closely related to the variety of SIV (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus) found in West African chimpanzees, and which somehow “jumped species” into humans sometime in the relatively recent past.

One of the more detailed and fascinating (if rambling) accounts of the Segal saga is a 30-page article titled “Was There an AIDS Contract?” posted on the Internet in 1994 by layman Michael Morrissey, who cites his numerous written exchanges with Segal and other scientists about the possibility of an AIDS conspiracy. Morrissey apparently likes writing about his back-and-forths with controversial figures, having penned another discursive online narrative called “My Beef With Chomsky,” which involved both AIDS and the JFK assassination.


In fact, along with such non-experts, there are a number of interesting characters with MDs attached to their names who regularly crop up when you type AIDS conspiracy queries into your search engine. Here are some of those who appear most often, either in their own writings (some of them quite dated) or cited by others for their supposed expertise:

Dr. Robert B. Strecker: Author of the “Strecker Memorandum,” a video peddled online that cited government documents and medical literature to connect AIDS to infected smallpox and hepatitis vaccines administered in Africa and the US in the 1970s. The tale of the Los Angeles internist and pathologist comes complete with two possibly suspicious deaths: his brother and research assistant, Ted, an attorney who supposedly shot himself but left no note, and Illinois state Rep. Douglas Huff, a vocal proponent of Strecker’s theories in the Chicago area who died of an overdose of cocaine and heroin. Both deaths took place within weeks of each other in 1988.

Dr. Boyd E. Graves: Links AIDS to biowar research by both the US and Soviet governments. In 1999 he claimed to have discovered a “flow chart” of the Special Virus Cancer Program from 1971 that demonstrated the incremental development of a lab-produced virus designed to undermine the immune systems of people of African descent. He also claims to have been infected by AIDS and then cured by a single injection of tetrasilver teotroxide, which he said was a US patented cure to the disease that’s been suppressed by the government, though he also points the finger at an Israeli medical institute and pharmaceutical company.

Dr. William C. Douglas: Includes elements similar to both Strecker and Graves, and like Graves he seems to believe there was some kind of communist role in fostering AIDS, whether in conjunction with the US or by infiltrating agents into Fort Detrick. Douglas also believes that the UN’s World Health Organization essentially created the AIDS epidemic via contaminated smallpox vaccines administered around the world, particularly in African locations, between 1966 and 1977. (See his online article “WHO Murdered Africa.”)

Dr. Leonard Horowitz: A doctor of dental medicine with a masters in public health from Harvard, “Len” is a motivational speaker who’s been dubbed (or dubs himself) “The King David of Natural Healing vs. the Goliath of Slash, Burn and Poison Medicine.” He’s published Emerging Viruses: AIDS & Ebola: Nature, Accident or Intentional? and Death in the Air: Globalism, Terrorism and Toxic Warfare under his own Tetrahedon imprint. A self-described Messianic Jew, he claims to have discovered codes in the Bible relating to electromagnetic, tone, and sound frequencies that can be used for healing. He was invited to testify before Congress about the dangers of vaccines and their reputed role in causing autism among children. And according to the Quackerywatch website, while waiting for Armageddon Horowitz lives on an isolated lake in northern Idaho not far from Ruby Ridge, an area famous for its white supremacists and end-timers. Nevertheless, he is a source of interesting information.

Dr. Alan Cantwell: A retired dermatologist and researcher who published dozens of scientific papers through the mid-1980s, many on Kaposi’s sarcoma, the “gay cancer.” He is the author of AIDS and the Doctors of Death: An Inquiry into the Origins of the AIDS Epidemic and Queer Blood: The Secret AIDS Genocide Plot, which like Horowitz he had to publish under his own imprint. Despite such dramatic titles, by the evidence of his numerous online articles Cantwell is actually one of the more careful writers of his ilk, generally not getting too far ahead of the evidence he cites or uncovers. He believes AIDS grew out of the Special Virus Cancer Program and was most likely deliberately tested on gay men with infected Hepatitis B vaccines in major American cities from 1978 to 1981, as well as in the WHO smallpox vaccination campaigns in Central Africa in the 1970s.


Leaving the “fringe” for the moment, it’s also interesting to note the amount of uncertainty that exists about the origins of AIDS even among some of the field’s top scientists:

Robert Gallo—the disputed co-discoverer of the HIV retrovirus along with French scientist Luc Montagnier—stated in 1987 that the proposed link between the WHO smallpox vaccination campaign and AIDS was “interesting and important,” adding that “live vaccines such as that used for smallpox can activate a dormant infection such as HIV.”

Matilde Krim, a top cancer virologist and co-chair of the American Foundation for AIDS Research, has raised the possibility that AIDS was caused by the experimental hepatitis-B vaccine, though unlike Cantwell she believes it was due to accidental contamination.

Harvard virologist Max Essex performed experiments that he says showed that the American strain of HIV spreads more easily via anal tissue, whereas the African strains spread more readily via vaginal tissue. This could explain the higher percentage of African women who become infected, while also raising further questions about the virus’ possibly “customized” origins.

Montagnier himself became less of a darling of the official AIDS establishment when in 1990 he declared that HIV by itself was “a peaceful virus” that only became dangerous in the presence of another co-factor: a hard-to-detect, super-tiny, bacteria-like bug called a mycoplasma, which in its normal form is mostly harmless to humans. Similar conclusions were arrived at in separate studies by Shyh-Ching Lo, director of AIDS pathology at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, and Robert Root-Bernstein, winner of a MacArthur “genius grant.” (No, not that MacArthur.) The work of all three men was ultimately either dismissed or ignored by the AIDS establishment. Gallo, who had also raised the idea of an AIDS co-factor, stopped discussing the subject.

Another of the country’s top virologists, Peter Duesberg of UC Berkeley, who isolated the first oncogene (cancer gene) through his work on retroviruses in 1970, has also been cast out as a heretic for saying HIV does not cause AIDS but is merely a coincidental marker for some people in high-risk AIDS populations. He became even more of a pariah when his theory that AIDS infections result from a complex combination of poverty, malnutrition, chronic disease, and other environmental factors was embraced by South African President Thabo Mbeki and other top African National Congress officials. Duesberg maintains that the many conditions lumped together under the rubric of “AIDS” are not sexually transmissible or otherwise infectious, and that AIDS is not viral in nature. He says AIDS (as opposed to HIV) cases in the US and Europe occur almost entirely among long-term intravenous and recreational drug users—primarily gay men. Most shockingly, he contends that when people test positive for the “harmless” HIV retrovirus and are then treated with toxic antiviral drugs like AZT, eventually it actually causes AIDS-like symptoms by compromising otherwise healthy immune systems.


Smallpox and hepatitis-B vaccines aren’t the only possible alternative culprits for the spread of AIDS. In his 1999 book The River: A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS, author Edward Hooper marshals much evidence to support his hypothesis that the origin of HIV could be traced to the testing of an oral polio vaccine called Chat, which in the late 1950s was given to an estimated one million people in what was then the Belgian Congo. The theory is that vaccine may been cultivated in kidney cells harvested from local chimpanzees who were infected with SIV, ultimately causing the virus to jump species. However, one of the original manufacturers of Chat announced in 2000 that it had discovered a single leftover phial of the virus that had been used in the program, analyzed it, and found that it had been made from monkeys and did include HIV or chimp SIV.

Whether or not or not that finding is the death-knell of Hooper’s theory, it’s certainly not the end of controversy for the polio vaccine. It turns out AIDS was not the only primate virus to make the jump to humans. In a shocking and virtually unknown yet true story, it turns out that virtually every dose of Jonas Salk’s oral polio vaccine that was given to 98 million Americans in the baby-boom years between 1954 and 1963 was contaminated with a monkey virus known as Simian Virus #40. Numerous independent studies have shown that SV40 can cause cancer in humans, including rapidly fatal lung cancer (mesothelioma), bone marrow cancer (multiple myeloma), and brain tumors in children. Yet the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control down through the years have continued to deny or ignore any such links.

The details of this horrifying story are laid out in a 2004 book, The Virus and the Vaccine: The True Story of a Cancer-Causing Monkey Virus, Contaminated Polio Vaccine, and the Millions of Americans Exposed, by Debbie Bookchin and Jim Schumacher. As if the story couldn’t get any worse, the authors report that Lederle Laboratories, the government’s sole supplier of oral vaccines from 1977 onward, continued to use monkey kidneys possibly infected with SV40 in its production process until oral polio vaccine was removed from the market as late as January 2000.


Getting back to the “fringe,” it should be noted that most if not all of the non-establishment AIDS conspiracy theorists cited earlier agree that a primary reason that Western elites would choose to design and loose something like the AIDS pandemic upon the world would be as a radical method of population control. In this context, two more of the “usual suspects” pop up: the Rockefeller family and one of their most loyal servants, Henry Kissinger.

Many conspiracist accounts (at least those that don’t go all the way back to the Illuminati or some other such uber-group) start with the Third International Conference of Eugenics held in 1932, coincidentally the same year the Tuskegee experiments began. The sponsors included members of leading families like the Rockefellers, Duponts, Harrimans, Morgans, Kellogs, and even Leonard Darwin, the son of Charles Darwin. The conference unanimously elected as president of the International Federation of Eugenics Organizations one Dr. Ernst Rudin, who later became the architect of Hitler’s “racial hygiene” program. Around the same time, as discussed in Part 3 of this series, Dr. Erich Traub was studying bacteriology and virology at the Rockefeller Institute in Princeton, N.J. He would subsequently head Hitler’s secret biological warfare laboratory during World War II before returning to the US and helping establish the Plum Island, N.Y., animal disease research lab, which played a shadowy role in the US biowar effort.

Critics then trace the transformation of eugenics—which thanks to the Nazis became taboo in the post-war period—into the more palatable modern concept of population control, as exemplified by the formation of the Population Council by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1952 and the establishment of State Department’s Office of Population Affairs in 1966. Finally, along the with the MacArthur testimony, the conspiracists like to point to a slightly less smoking gun: “National Security Study Memorandum 200: Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for US Security and Overseas Interests,” released in 1974 under the auspices of Kissinger, then serving as both national security adviser and secretary of state. The document remained classified until 1990. However, while it makes clear that aggressive Third World population-control measures would be necessary to ensure US “national security” in the decades ahead, and points to the likelihood of future famines and disease outbreaks as putting some brakes on population growth, it doesn’t hint at any covert strategies to help the process along. Then again, you wouldn’t really expect such evidence in an official government document.


Alan Cantwell has written at length about the experimental hepatitis-B vaccine that was given to healthy gay men beginning in 1978 in New York City and shortly thereafter in other major cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, and St. Louis. In 1979, the first cases of what would become known as AIDS began appearing in Manhattan and subsequently in the other cities as well. Cantwell obviously doesn’t think that’s a coincidence. He writes in his “The Secret Origin of AIDS in America”:

The exclusive introduction of HIV into the homosexual population of New York City is an unprecedented event in the history of medicine. This biologic phenomenon has never been explained scientifically. There is certainly no evidence to indicate white gay men were the only people exposed to sexual contact with Africans, particularly at a time when the epidemic did not even exist in Africa. [Or at least was not recognized—MS] Furthermore, it is biologically impossible for a purported sexually-transmitted and blood borne “virus out of Africa” to infect only young, white, healthy men in Manhattan! Yet the impossible did happen. Despite these facts, we are repeatedly told that AIDS began in Africa, even though the American epidemic began before the African epidemic.

Cantwell also details how the New York Blood Center, which conducted the hepatitis-B campaign, used vaccines developed from chimpanzees—theoretically the source of the SIV strain that mutated into HIV. In 1974, the center switched the chimp hepatitis research from a local New York animal lab to a new primate center called VILAB II in Liberia. “Chimps were captured from various parts of West Africa and brought to VILAB,” according to Cantwell. “The lab also prides itself on releasing ‘rehabilitated’ chimps back into the wild. One cannot help but wonder if some of the purported ‘ancestors’ of HIV in the African bush have their origin in chimpanzees held in African primate labs for vaccine and medical experimentation.”

Yet another disturbing wrinkle involves Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), the cancer associated with AIDS. “In 1994 it was reported that KS is actually caused by a new ‘herpes-8’ virus,” Cantwell writes. “KS cases were first discovered in the late 19th century, and before AIDS it was a rare form of cancer. Before AIDS, KS was a non-transmissible disease that was never seen in young American men. The finding of a new KS virus indicates that two different viruses were simultaneously introduced into gay men when AIDS began in the late 1970s. No rational explanation has been put forth for this bizarre occurrence.”


Under the category of leaving the scariest bit for last, we conclude with a look at the aforementioned Special Virus Cancer Program, or SVCP. Started in 1964, its name was shortened to the Cancer Virus Program (CVP) in 1973 “to integrate the program’s research activities into the framework of the new National Cancer Plan.” It brought together many of the nation’s top virologists, biochemists, molecular biologists, and related specialists, including some familiar names: Robert Gallo, Peter Duesberg, and Max Essex. Much of the work was contracted out to private companies like the military-linked Litton Bionetics. The aim was to discover if viruses caused some kinds of human cancer so that vaccines could be derived to prevent them. Eventually, studies focused on two classes of theoretically carcinogenic viruses: RNA-type tumor retroviruses and DNA herpes-type viruses. Officially, however, the program did not succeed in finding any human cancer-causing viruses before it closed up shop in 1980. But shortly thereafter AIDS exploded and the HIV retrovirus was discovered, and a decade later the “herpes-8” virus was found to be the cause of the now transmissible Kaposi’s sarcoma.

For most of the “usual suspect” critics cited above, the SVCP/CVP is the holy grail of the whole AIDS conundrum because, while little known and supposedly unsuccessful in its key aim, the program spawned much of the cutting-edge research that would have been necessary to design a new class of contagious cancer-causing agents. While many of the critics have written about its importance (such as Boyd Graves and his famous “flow chart”), to explain the program in more detail we will again turn to the work of Cantwell because unlike others he appears to have done significant original research on the subject. Specifically, he has studied the CVP’s annual reports (published by the NIH but hard to find) from the years 1971-74 and 1976-78. As he notes: “Each report is 300-400 pages, and the cumulative volumes refer to thousands of animal cancer virus and genetic engineering experiments.”

“The annual CVP Reports must be studied with an awareness that the program became wedded to secret biological warfare research in the early 1970s,” Cantwell notes. Officially, the SVCP/CVP became part of the Frederick Cancer Center at Fort Detrick when the Army joined much of its biowar facilities to the National Cancer Institute in 1971. According to the 1970s documents, the new center’s main task was “the large-scale production of oncogenic [cancer-causing] viruses and suspected oncogenic viruses to meet research needs on a continuing basis,” with a special focus on primate viruses and the successful propagation of “human candidate viruses,” defined as animal or human viruses that might cause human cancers. Scientists also studied the role human and non-human primate viruses as “helper viruses” in the production of cancer.

“By the early 1970s, experimenters had transferred cancer-causing viruses into several species of monkeys,” Cantwell writes. “Herpesvirus saimiri, a monkey virus discovered in 1967 in the squirrel monkey, has a close genetic relationship with the new KS herpes virus. H. saimiri virus is harmless in the squirrel monkey, but when the virus was forced in the lab to ‘jump species’ into different animal species, such as the owl monkey, marmosets, and rabbits, it produces cancer in the form of fatal malignant lymphoma. By 1971 Dharam V. Ablahsi of the NCI succeeded in transferring H. saimiri into various cell lines of human origin. Cancer-causing cat and hamster viruses were also engineered into macaques and other monkey species.”

There’s lots more where that came from, though it’s pretty gruesome stuff to read, never mind to contemplate it actually happening. Here are some other “highlights” of the program’s work:

* The 1978 report from the Offices of Biohazard Safety of the CVP states: “The inadequate care and handling of animals during the past several years have created a potential for the occurrence of infection of humans with simian microorganisms and cross-infection between species. Such interspecies disease transmission may seriously compromise the integrity of the experiment as well as the health of the experimenter.” Really?

* “By the late 1970s the mixing of animal cancer viruses with human cells to produce new ‘xenotropic’ viruses was commonplace,” Cantwell writes. “The human cells in question were placenta cells from patients with immune disease and cells from leukemia. Xenotropic viruses are viruses taken from one species and transplanted into another species. All these experiments represent ‘species jumping’ performed in the laboratory.” (Shades of The Island of Dr. Moreau.)

* By 1977 the program was producing “approximately 60,000 liters [15,840 gallons] of tissue culture-grown viruses, propagated in over 40 different cell lines, and distributed in over 1,250 shipments to over 250 participating laboratories throughout the world.” (This recalls the US Centers for Disease Control’s “foreign exchange program” that shipped disease-causing bacteria and viruses to scores of countries, including Iraq in the 1980s.)

* A CVP report stated that: “Attempts are being made to chronically infect cell cultures of human epithelial and fibroblast cells and similar cell cultures from non-human primates (marmosets) with simian sarcoma virus, gibbon ape leukemia, and baboon endogenous virus.” Cantwell adds: “A few years later primates in the Africa bush would be blamed for starting AIDS and the KS epidemics.”

* The CVP was interested in acquiring “information and materials from carefully selected patients suffering from immunodeficiency diseases.” This is made clear in a progress report from the University of Minnesota entitled, “The search for tumor virus related information in human immunodeficiency patients with cancer.” The researchers proposed “continuation of studies linking immunodeficiency, cancer, and oncogenic viruses.”

* Citing an experiment from a 1973 report, Cantwell writes: “Newborn chimps were taken away from their mothers at birth and weaned on milk from cancer virus-infected cows. Some of the chimps sickened and died with two diseases that had never been observed in chimpanzees. The first was Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (later known as the “gay pneumonia” associated with AIDS); the second was leukemia, a cancer of the blood.”

* “By 1977,” Cantwell writes, “the year the experimental hepatitis-B vaccine was being made, scientists in the CVP aimed ‘to determine the oncogenic potential of putative human viruses’ and ‘to begin viral vaccine (conventional or other) testing and immunization programs.’ The exact methods by which this was to be accomplished was not stated.”

That’s not a smoking gun, it’s an arsenal of smokestacks.

From a scientifically informed layman’s perspective, here’s what sticks out from that litany of horrors: If the whole point of the program was to determine if viruses caused some human cancers, why, when no evidence of that emerged, did researchers nevertheless obsessively continue to seek ways to introduce exotic animal viruses into human cell lines, including some with immodeficiency disease? If it didn’t occur naturally, why make it occur unnaturally? What’s that all about?

“By 1980 the CVP came to an inglorious end with the inability to prove that viruses were involved in human cancer,” Cantwell concludes. “More than any other program it built up the field of animal retrovirology, which led to a more complete understanding of how cancer and immunosupressive retroviruses caused disease in humans. The CVP was the birthplace of genetic engineering, molecular biology, and the human genome project. I am convinced the CVP (and not Africa) is the birthplace of HIV/AIDS as well.”


Whither the AIDS conspiracy? The evidence seems way more than suggestive. Coincidently or not, the CVP’s work kicked into high gear in the years after DARPA’s Dr. MacArthur got his go-ahead to proceed with a research program into the prospects for designing synthetic bioagents for which humans would have no natural immunity. AIDS appeared suddenly less than a decade later—and strangely, more than two decades after that, despite billions of dollars of research, we still have no vaccine. So was there an operational relationship between the CVP and the US military’s ongoing biowar “research” program? As noted earlier, the CVP was folded into the Frederick Cancer Center at Fort Detrick, which continues to be the home of the US biowar establishment. Though the main CVP scientists were civilians, it’s hard to believe they had no interaction with their military counterparts, who included civilians under contract with the Army.

But the devil in any conspiracy theory is in the hard-to-swallow details. Easier to digest is the idea of an accident. (As noted above, this is what leading virologists Robert Gallo and Matilde Krim have acknowledged as a possibility.) Or more precisely, a number of distinct, widely separated accidents that achieved the same effect. This would involve both the hepatitis-B vaccine given to gay American men and the smallpox vaccine administered to Central Africans (both in the mid- to late-1970s) having been inadvertently contaminated with chimp SIV. Then in both cases the simian virus, which is mostly harmless to chimps, somehow mutated into HIV, which, if we are to accept the current paradigm, is far from harmless to its human hosts.

On second thought, maybe that’s not so easy to swallow. In fact, it’s much closer to the official story, in that it posits that HIV/AIDS was not bioengineered but was instead a mishandled product of nature. (A related scenario is that some of the frankenstein viruses concocted by CVP researchers and shipped around the world accidentally escaped into the environment, and then somehow initially infected only gay American men and Africans.)

So let’s return to the official story. The question then arises: What are the odds that an unprecedentedly deadly disease would “naturally” jump genus from ape to human at the precise moment—the precise decade—in history when man first gained the ability to play god and fiddle with his own genetic code? More specifically, at that exact moment when American (mad?) scientists were mixing exotic viral cocktails that infected immune-compromised human cell lines with simian and feline leukemia and a host of other cancers. (Note to cat-lovers: FIV, or feline immunodeficiency virus, made its first appearance in the 1980s, possibly due to the “inadequate care and handling” of infected lab animals, including cats, cited in the CVP documents above.) Whatever the odds, that remains the official story. A similar long-shot logic is entertained by those who assert that the earth “just happens” to be warming up by natural processes at the exact point in history when our species achieved the dubious ability to alter our planet’s temperature.


Now for the hard-to-swallow: Let us postulate what is almost unthinkable, at least for most of us. That is, that HIV/AIDS (leaving aside whether AIDS is actually caused by HIV or some other hidden co-factor, like mycoplasmas) was deliberately engineered in a lab and loosed upon the world for nefarious, eugenics-inspired Kissingerian purposes. One was to target a hated minority: homosexuals. The other was to put a dent in the so-called Third World’s burgeoning population, starting with the birthplace of humanity: Africa.

But a cognitive problem now arises, which can be summarized as TMEP: Too Many Evil People. Many people find it hard to believe that such a vast and history-altering conspiracy could occur without at least one confirmed insider having gone public by now. Common sense tells us that too many evil people (many of them doctors) would be necessary to carry out the AIDS plot, and that over the years somebody would have had a crisis of conscience and spilled his guts to a reporter. The average person (indeed, the majority of Americans) can buy a JFK assassination conspiracy because it’s simpler and could involve a limited number of plotters, and so would be easier to cover up. But the case for much wider and elaborate conspiracies like AIDS and 9-11 is, well, harder to swallow.

But these are subjective judgments about human nature, and don’t prove or disprove anything. We can only try to deal with the facts. It’s hard to believe that key CVP scientists like Gallo and Duesberg could have been knowing actors in an AIDS plot (though they may have had their suspicions later), but it’s not so difficult to conceive that their work could have been hijacked by those working on the Dark Side of Fort Detrick. Earlier installments in this series dealt with evidence of illegal US biological warfare against North Korea in the 1950s and broad-spectrum biowar attacks on Cuba from the 1960s onward, including the introduction of a virulent form of dengue fever that then spread through the Western Hemisphere. We also explored the possibility that US biowarriors may have had a hand in introducing Lyme disease and West Nile virus into their own country. Despite significant evidence dating back half a century, no whistle-blowers have emerged to confirm any of these “conspiracy theories.” This either means that there were no such plots (though the long-standing US biowar attacks on Cuba are a matter of historical record), or that US covert operators—with the assistance of a compliant media, intellegentsia, and government—are better at keeping secrets than we might think.

A similar situation pertains at the international level. Could the UN World Health Organization’s smallpox vaccine campaign have been infiltrated by US agents in order to induce an AIDS epidemic in Africa in the 1970s? Though the idea seems outlandish, US intelligence operatives have a long history of infiltrating and co-opting UN agencies and other international bodies. One example, examined in Part 4 of this series, involved the WHO being used as a cover to conduct a massive mosquito-release program in Sonepat, India, in 1975. Though the operation was aborted by bad publicity, it appears likely to have been part of a US biological warfare program designed to lay the groundwork for the subsequent introduction of mosquito-borne dengue fever into Cuba.


Oddly, for all the charges thrown around by AIDS conspiracists, hardly anyone seems to have pointed a finger at apartheid South Africa and suggested it may have played a role in propagating the pandemic. The deeply racist ruling Afrikaner elite certainly had an interest in killing as many black Africans as possible. (Remember their nuclear weapons program?) There was also a decades-long history of under-the-table intelligence cooperation between Washington and Pretoria. And it’s fairly certain that out of the 250 laboratories that received bioengineered interspecies viruses from the CVP in the 1970s, at least one was in South Africa.

The early 1980s, when the spread of AIDS in Africa first began to be noticed, was a time of particularly warm relations between the Reagan administration and the P.W. Botha regime. It was also a time when the black townships were in full revolt and the security forces responded with every criminal and terrorist tactic at their disposal, including an elaborate biological warfare program that targeted black activists with various diseases, toxins, and poisons.

If AIDS was indeed created in an American lab and introduced into Africa via vaccine programs, one would think the Afrikaner securocrats would have been thrilled to be junior partners in such a genocidal enterprise, particularly in their own backyard. While this is a completely speculative hypothesis, it’s interesting to note that although HIV/AIDS is supposed to have emerged in Africa’s equatorial rain forest belt, and hence that region should have the highest rate of infection, today South Africa’s AIDS epidemic is widely considered the worst on the continent. Almost one in five adults are infected with HIV and an estimated 1,000 deaths blamed on AIDS occur every day. Perhaps the ghost of the white regime is still reaching out from beyond the grave to strangle South Africa’s future. Many critics, however, blame this state of affairs on the ANC government’s embrace of Duesberg’s heretical theories and the shortage of antiretroviral drug treatments.

As the decades pass, the full truth about the origins of this post-modern plague continues to elude us. In the end, after looking at all the evidence, the hypothesis that AIDS is a man-made catastrophe—whether by horrible accident or genocidal design—remains almost too shattering to contemplate, and yet too compelling not to at least consider. So let’s end by considering some stark, simple numbers.

According to UN figures, as many as 25 million people have died worldwide from AIDS since 1981, with nearly three million deaths in 2006. There are an estimated one million people living with HIV in the US and roughly half a million Americans are thought to have died of AIDS. Over 42 million people are living with HIV/AIDS around the world, and 74% of those infected are in sub-Saharan Africa. Young people under 25 now account for over half of all new HIV infections, around 6,000 every day. There are currently 14 million AIDS orphans, most of them African, and by 2010 there will be 25 million…

And we thought 9-11 was bad.



“The Secret Origin of AIDS in America,” by Alan Cantwell, Paranoia Magazine, 2005

“Is HIV Guilty?” Miami Herald, Dec. 23, 1990, online at

“Was There an AIDS Contract?” by Michael Morrissey

“My Beef With Chomsky” by Michael Morrissey

“WHO Murdered Africa” by Dr. William C. Douglas

QuackeryWatch on Dr. Leonard Horowitz

“National Security Study Memorandum 200:
Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for US Security and Overseas Interests,” April 1974

See also:

Biopreparat: Biowar on Steroids, Soviet-Style
WW4 REPORT #125, September 2006


Special to WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, April 1, 2007
Reprinting permissible with attribution