KGB, US, & the AIDS virus

Recent reports about Rev. Jeremiah Wright's (presidential candidate Barack Obama's pastor) contention that the U.S. government created the AIDS virus in order to spark a "genocide against people of color," call to mind the revelation that the KGB planted such stories in the 1980's as part of their "active measures." This was detailed in the book "The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB" by Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin.

"Probably the most successful anti-American active measure of the Gorbachev era, promoted by a mixture of overt propaganda and covert action by Service A, was the story that the AIDS virus had been 'manufactured' by American biological warfare specialists at Ft. Dietrick in Maryland. An East German, Russian-born physicist, Professor Jacob Segal, claimed on the basis of 'circumstantial evidence' (later wholly discredited) that AIDS had been artificially synthesized at Ft. Dietrick from two natural viruses, VISNA and HTLV-1. Thus fortified by spurious scientific jargon, the AIDS fabrication not merely swept through the Third World, but took in some of the Western media as well. In October 1986 the conservative British Sunday Express made it its front-page story. During the first six months of 1987 alone, the story received major news coverage in over forty Third World countries.

At the very height of its success, however, the AIDS fabrication was compromised by a combination of Western protests and 'new thinking' in Soviet foreign policy. 'We tell the truth and nothing but the truth,' Gorbachev proudly proclaimed at a Moscow press conference in July 1987. Faced with official American protests and the repudiation of the AIDS story by the international scientific community, the Kremlin for the first time showed signs of embarrassment at a successful active measures campaign. In August 1987 US officials in Moscow were informed that the story was officially disowned and Soviet media coverage of it came to an abrupt halt.

The AIDS fabrication, however, was swiftly followed by other, equally scurrilous anti-American active measures in the Thirld World, some of which also seduced sections of Western media. Among the most successful was the 'baby parts' story, alleging that rich Americans were butchering Thirld World children in order to use their bodies for organ transplants in the United States..."

...The book then describes a former Soviet agent as "wont to speak 'nostalgically about the old days, about disinformation -forging documents, creating sensations for the press.'" [page 245]

"As late as 1986, the conservative Sunday Express based its main front page story on reports (also concocted by Service A) that the AIDS virus had originally been developed as part of an American biological warfare program. Claims that KGB active measures had succeeded in producing significant shifts in British opinion, however, were based on little more tan wishful thinking. " [pg. 428]

"By 1987 Gorbachev and his advisers were visibly concerned that Western exposure of KGB disinformation might take the gloss off the new Soviet image in the West. The claim that the AIDS virus had been 'manufactured' by American biological warfare specialists -one of the most successful active measures of the mid-1980's-was officially disowned by Moscow, though it continued to circulate for several years in the Third World and the more gullible sections of the Western media." [page 484]
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