Stories that the Pentagon manufactured Ebola in a laboratory have been surfacing in a number of U.S. and foreign media outlets, helping to create even more of a panic over the spreading disease.
A new variation of an old Soviet charge, it is designed to besmirch the reputation of the United States in black Africa. In the hands of Russian disinformation specialists, it could spark protests against the stationing of U.S troops in Africa to restrict the Ebola outbreak.
It turns out the charges are based on a book written by one Leonard Horowitz, who cited Soviet and pro-Cuban sources for his sensational allegations, and also claims tuning forks can be used as “healing instruments” to confront a looming “biological apocalypse.” He sells them for $26 each.
Horowitz thinks the media are covering up his book, Emerging Viruses: AIDS & Ebola, Nature, Accident or Intentional?, as the source of the “headline news in Liberia” about “the man-made origin of Ebola and AIDS.”
But if the panic over AIDS was any indication, the Russian disinformation apparatus will make sure the bogus charges about Ebola get even more attention.
Before he lost his job over broadcasting false charges about George W. Bush’s National Guard record, CBS Evening News anchorman Dan Rather had reported in 1987 that an American military laboratory had developed the virus that caused the AIDS epidemic. Without batting an eye, he cited a Soviet publication as a legitimate source. Rather offered no rebuttal to the sensational allegation.
The liberal anchorman, who will be played by Robert Redford in a film about Rather’s disputed report on Bush’s National Guard service, had fallen for a Soviet ploy to use the AIDS charge against the U.S. as a way to divert attention from the Soviet program to develop Ebola and other viruses as weapons.
It is significant that the Ebola charge has emerged in a Russian publication, Pravda.
It doesn’t seem to matter that the Pravda story, “USA created Ebola virus as biological weapon?,” was put in the form of a question, and even quoted Russian scientists as doubting a U.S. role. The point is to get the information into the public domain, in order to create the impression that the U.S. is engaged in secret and subversive activities. That has always been the purpose of Soviet-style disinformation.
The Ebola disinformation surfaced in a Liberian newspaper on September 9, 2014, in a letter by an American professor.
The “Dear World citizens” column, by Dr. Cyril Broderick, has since been picked up by various Internet sites and “news” organizations, including Alex Jones’ Infowars, Global Research, Iranian Press TV, Information Clearing House, and something called 21st Century Wire.
Labeled by some critics as the “nutty professor” and a crackpot, the professor’s “research profile” claims he is president of the International Society of African Scientists.
Other local and regional sources, such as “Face 2 Face Africa,” described as “The Premier Pan-African Voice,” have picked up the story. One quoted Broderick as authoritatively explaining “how the deadly disease made its reappearance” through the work of the U.S. Department of Defense.
In fact, however, the U.S. has led the effort to contain the Ebola outbreak, even deploying as many as 4,000 soldiers and spending $500 million to fight Ebola in West Africa.
Broderick, a faculty member associated with Delaware State University, claims his sources are “legitimate.” But his main source, the 1996 book by Leonard Horowitz, Emerging Viruses: AIDS and Ebola, uses pro-communist sources that were part of the worldwide Soviet disinformation network.
After Dan Rather bought into it, the phony charge surfaced again in 2008, when President Obama’s anti-American pastor, Jeremiah Wright, cited the claim during a National Press Club appearance.
The charge that AIDS is a plot against blacks has been used by people like Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan to inflame race relations.
Jeremiah Wright had specifically cited the Horowitz book, telling the National Press Club audience, “Have you read Horowitz’ book—Emerging Viruses—AIDS and Ebola?”
Reading the book is helpful and enlightening. On page 363, it says, “For years preceding the end of the Cold War, the KGB gathered evidence, that Russian officials ultimately reported, suggesting an American origin of AIDS. Officials alleged that the AIDS virus had been a Pentagon invention—a germ unleashed for political purposes in Zaire.”
So Horowitz cited the KGB as a source.
As I also previously noted, 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, and cited individuals associated with the publication as legitimate sources of information on this topic.
Covert Action Information Bulletin was associated with Philip Agee, the CIA defector who collaborated with the Cuban Communists.
Former KGB officer Oleg Gordievsky admitted the Soviet KGB role in spreading the AIDS charge against the U.S. in his 1990 book, The KGB—The Inside Story. Gordievsky called the charge a “fabrication” that “also took in some of the Western media.”
In 2001, when I challenged Horowitz on his sources, he accused me of being a “McCarthyist.”
On October 28, the Wilson Center is featuring a discussion, “The AIDS Conspiracy: KGB and Stasi Disinformation,” looking back to the 1980s when the disinformation campaign was running at full-speed and how even the “free media in West Germany played a central, if unwitting role, as multipliers of the KGB’s disinformation thesis” on the Pentagon manufacturing AIDS.
Hopefully, the role of the “free media” in the U.S. will also be covered.
However, all of the mechanisms that were used by the Reagan administration to rebut the Soviet AIDS disinformation have been dismantled.
As a result, the U.S. will continue to get a black eye internationally for trying to save the lives of black Africans.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.