Asked during the question-and-answer period following his National Press Club speech on Monday why he charged the U.S. Government with manufacturing the AIDS virus to kill black people, Barack Obama's "former" pastor Jeremiah Wright cited a 1996 book by Leonard Horowitz, Emerging Viruses: AIDS and Ebola. This rang a bell. I had exchanged correspondences with Horowitz several years ago because I caught him promoting an old Soviet disinformation theme that has been disavowed by former Soviet and KGB officials.
Is Wright parroting communist propaganda? If so, he may also have seen it on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather.
The charge that AIDS is a plot against blacks has been used by people like Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan to inflame race relations. Louis Farrakhan's newspaper, The Final Call, ran an article (December 15, 1999) quoting Horowitz as saying that AIDS is a "genocidal plot" against blacks. The paper's on-line version carried a link to the Horowitz website. Horowitz claims a copy of his book was used in the Will Smith movie, "I Am Legend," about a plague that kills most people on earth and transforms some that are left into mutants.
As a skeptic of some of the claims about AIDS, I examined the Horowitz book. Horowitz, who has quite a following and speaks around the country, raises some legitimate questions about AIDS, vaccines, and the medical establishment. The U.S. certainly studied the feasibility of using viruses or germs as weapons. But the claims about AIDS being manufactured by the U.S. Government as a weapon of population control have been debunked. I told him the evidence showed the Soviets had used the AIDS charge against the U.S. to divert attention from their own biological weapons program.
He replied, in part: "I am happy to learn that the Nation of Islam's The Final Call, a newspaper that issues Louis Farrakhan's concerns regarding HIV/AIDS as genocide, has a direct link to our website. I applaud Minister Farrakhan, and a half dozen other Black leaders, who have grasped the truth about HIV/AIDS as a utilitarian population control plot, and have the guts to say it."
Horowitz released another book, Death in the Air, which purports to include information about the "intentional targeting of black Americans and Africans for population control, including depopulation, as is being accomplished by the AIDS epidemic today." The release for the book cited an alleged "secretly dispatched National Security Memorandum 46 to cabinet chiefs only" from Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser in the Carter Administration. The release said, "This document, the most telling, authorized the FBI and CIA to initiate genocidal policies."
This document was reproduced in "Soviet Active Measures: Hearings before the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, House of Representatives, Ninety-Seventh Congress, Second Session, July 13, 14, 1982." These 1982 hearings produced evidence that the document was a forgery, possibly of Soviet origin, designed to hurt U.S. relations with Africa. An analysis showed that one of the individuals involved in its distribution was a former member of the Communist Party USA who became affiliated with the World Peace Council, a Soviet front.
The document, an obvious hoax, included no reference to genocide. Rather, it outlined a bogus government effort to monitor and provoke blacks at home and abroad. There was an authentic Presidential Review Memorandum 46, but it concerned events in Central America. It can be found in a listing of Carter presidential National Security Council documents.
Wright isn't the first public figure to repeat the claim that AIDS is a U.S. weapon to kill people. The claim that AIDS was manufactured by the United States was reported by CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather on a March 30, 1987, broadcast. Rather was widely criticized for playing into a Soviet KGB disinformation campaign. The charge had appeared in a number of Soviet and Third World publications before Rather picked it up.
The Soviet KGB had planted charges in a propaganda operation designed to conceal the hand of the KGB. This is the nature of an "active measures" campaign. A report on this matter is "Soviet Influence Activities: A Report on Active Measures and Propaganda, 1986-87," published in August 1987 by the U.S. Department of State. The published hearings of the House Intelligence Committee are also very useful.
The Horowitz book, on page 364, reproduced a Soviet "Pravda" cartoon depicting the "American origin" of the AIDS virus. He gave "courtesy" credit to Covert Action Information Bulletin. In fact, he cites individuals associated with Covert Action Information Bulletin as legitimate sources of information on this topic. Yet this publication, according to 1980 hearings of the House Intelligence Committee, published a Soviet forgery of a NATO document as if it were authentic. Covert Action Information Bulletin was associated with Philip Agee, the CIA defector who collaborated with the Cuban Communists.
The AIDS charge against the Pentagon was disavowed in late 1987 by then Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who said, "No more lying. No More disinformation," in an effort at a more open foreign policy. (In fact, the Russians have continued these disinformation campaigns since the fall of the old Soviet Union, as the book, Comrade J, documents).
At the time, however, Russian officials were trying to put on a fresh face. In fact, four years before the Horowitz book was published, Yevgeni Primakov, former head of the KGB, admitted that "the KGB planted stories in the late 1980s which alleged that the HIV virus was the result of a Pentagon experiment."
All of this is not to say that questions should not be raised about the science behind and even origin of AIDS.
Journalist Celia Farber wrote a provocative piece, "Out of Control: AIDS and the Corruption of Medical Science." The daughter of famed radio talk-show host, Barry Farber, she will be honored by the Semmelweis Society on May 13 in Washington, D.C., with its Clean Hands Award. The organization is dedicated to ethical conduct in science and medicine.
April 23 was "Rethinking AIDS Day," dedicated to questioning the basic HIV=AIDS connection. There is a growing "HIV Survival" movement of people who have been diagnosed with HIV but avoid AIDS treatments and lead healthy lives.
It would be a tragedy if Wright's wild charges prevent an open and honest debate about the nature of AIDS. After all, 24 years after HIV was declared at an April 23, 1984, Washington news conference, as the probable cause of AIDS, there is still no cure or vaccine. About $200 billion has already been spent by the U.S. Government on HIV/AIDS but investigations have found corruption in the various programs that test and distribute anti-AIDS drugs. The United Nations has been caught red-handed inflating the number of AIDS cases, even while a U.N.-backed international airline tax is being implemented country by country to spend even more money.
But now that Wright has reaffirmed his belief in the outrageous claim that AIDS is a weapon waged by the U.S. against black people, Senator Obama should be asked by the media what he thinks of it.
If the media want an issue in this campaign, they've got it.