AIDS and genes – Part 1 of 3

by Charley Shively

The Centers for Disease Control would have us believe that
AIDS was first spread in this country by homosexual and junkie
behaviors. Yet, while these groups are disproportionately
stricken by the disease, their “behaviors” haven’t changed appre-
ciably in the last half century. One would therefore expect
the CDC to look for some new factors common among members of
these groups. Similarly, the presence and spread of AIDS in
Africa and Haiti have been explained by factors which are not
new, but which indicate the racism of scientists posing the
theories. Evidence is mounting that the skewed spread of AIDS in
both the Third World and U.S. originated not in “behaviors” or
“cultural” factors, but in new vaccination programs of the
drug/hospital establishment.

In Africa, the one new factor is the recent smallpox immuni-
zation program. The London Times ran a front page story (May
11, 1987) linking the spread of AIDS to the World Health
Organization’s thirteen-year campaign to eradicate smallpox.
WHO’s recent vaccinations parallel reported AIDS cases. In Zaire
36 million people have received smallpox vaccinations; that coun-
try has the highest reported rate of AIDS in Africa. And in
Latin America, Brazil, “the only South American country covered
in the [smallpox] eradication campaign, has the highest incidence
of AIDS in that region.” (NY Native, #219).

Among gay men, the Hepatitis-B vaccination program almost
exactly parallels the spread of AIDS. New York City and San
Francisco (with 38 percent of all AIDS cases) were two centers of
the Hepatitis-B experiments. The experiments ended in 1980;
AIDS began in the gay community; mass vaccinations were begun;
AIDS cases ballooned.

The experiment included IV drug users and homosexuals, both
groups who had high rates of Hepatitis-B. Paul O’Malley at the
San Francisco City Clinic explained, “Basically what the Hepa-
titis study was about, was the screening of nearly 7,000 gay men
between January 1978 and January 1980 for Hepatitis-B (Bay Area
Reporter, September 5, 1985).” Experimenters distinguished three
sub-groups: those who had Hepatitis-B but had not developed
immunity; and those who had no evidence of either the virus or
antibodies. Those with antibodies were eliminated from the
test group since they were already immune. Those who had active
Hepatitis-B virus had their blood drawn and the virus was then
isolated and used to manufacture a vaccine. That vaccine was
then injected into those who had neither the virus nor antibo-
dies.

One thousand and eighty-three male homosexuals who had no
evidence of Hepatitis-B were chosen to test the new vaccine.
They were chosen from Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, St. Louis,
San Francisco and New York City. Half were given placeboes and
half were given the experimental vaccine. When it was deter-
mined that the vaccine was nearly 100 percent effective, the
results were announced and a rapid campaign was launched pushing
homosexuals and other at-risk groups to obtain Hepatitis-B
immunizations. (NE Journal of Medicine, 9 Oct 1980)

Elaborate reassurances have been given that the vaccine was
not contaminated with AIDS material; however, when the experi-
ment began in 1978, researchers were unaware of AIDS. Raw
plasma was taken from IV drug users and homosexuals with active
Hepatitis-B infections, often in massive amounts; one man made
$7,000 selling his Hepatitis-B active blood plasma. The plasma
was taken to a New Jersey drug company, where the vaccine was
manufactured and then injected into the Hepatitis-B free sub-
jects. In San Francisco, of the 24 cases of AIDS reported in
1981, 11 had been involved in the Hepatitis experiment (NY
Native, June 22, 1987). There is no report of a follow-up in New
York City, the epicenter of the epidemic.

The medico/hospital/government complex first spread AIDS,
but where did the disease itself originate? Today there is great
uncertainty about its cause. That AIDS is blood borne seems to
be the only incontrovertible fact; everything else is specula-
tive. AIDS becomes manifest when the immune system breaks down
and the ratio between the T-cells goes awry. Perhaps the most
remarkable fact is that the T-cell test kit came on the market
before the disease itself was identified. In the entire his-
tory of disease, this may be the first instance where the
specific test for the disease preceded the outbreak of the
disease. Many have speculated that the disease was manufactured.
What was new was the knowledge of the T-cell immunity system.
With that knowledge, targeted genocide was possible. The argu-
ments of the counter-establishment are currently split over
whether the AIDS agent is biological or chemical.

Currently there is a medical dogma that AIDS is caused by a
virus (now called the Human Immunodeficiency Virus — “HIV”).
While HIV may be the cause or at least a marker of the disease,
alternative explanations have not only been examined but they
have been ridiculed. Liberals even within the gay community
have denounced and lumped alternative explanations (“those
ultra-leftists”) with Moral Majority theories. Between the far
right and the far left theories — “the wrath of God or the work-
ings of the CIA” — stands the reasonable centrist explanation,
the human immunodeficiency virus (Dennis Altman, AIDS in the Mind
of America, 1986, 10-11).

The HIV virus was first identified by a group of French
scientists at the Louis Pasteur Institute, who published their
findings in Science and supplied samples of the virus to Dr.
Robert Gallo in the United States. Gallo was booed at a meeting
of cancer researchers when he refused to give any details of his
own research. In April 1984, he appeared with the United States
Secretary of Health and Human Services, who was sadly drunken
and nearly fell from the podium. The Secretary announced that
the doctor had discovered the AIDS virus. She said, “Today we
add another miracle to the long honor roll of American medicine
and science.”

Peter H. Duesberg has challenged the HIV theory. In Cancer
Research (March 1, 1987) and in an interview by John Lauritsen
(NY Native, #219) Duesberg explains that the virus itself can-
not cause AIDS. (Indeed, he argues that no retrovirus can cause
cancer). Many people who have AIDS do not have the HIV virus.
If HIV causes AIDS, then everyone who has AIDS must have the
virus. At first this deficiency in the HIV explanation was
answered by saying that the tests were inadequate. This argument
is embarrassing to the test manufacturers and others who want
to believe in the test as much as they want to believe in HIV.
As tests have become more and more sophisticated, HIV apolo-
gists have claimed that the virus hits and runs. But that argu-
ment is so patently absurd that few try to use it except for
public relations propaganda. As the HIV dogma disintegrates, the
biological and chemical warfare theories become more important.
They have been combined with Psychological Warfare.

During the uprisings of the 1960s, the lid of secrecy was
lifted from some of the government crimes against humanity. Many
agents like Philip Agee or Daniel Ellsburg simply defected and
told everything they knew. And researchers have since found
that great chunks of material are constantly leaking to the
public from unexpected sources. Thus magazines such as Covert
Action, Information Bulletin serve a great public need by gath-
ering up and remembering. The current issue (#28, Summer 1987)
contains three thorough articles on AIDS; two by Robert
Lederer, an activist in the gay and Puerto Rico solidarity move-
ments.

The earliest links to AIDS were implicitly suggested in
Robert Harris and Jeremy Paxman, A Higher Form of Killing, The
Secret Story of Chemical and Biological Warfare (1982). They
quote 1969 military testimony before the House Committee on
Appropriations:

“Within the next 5 or 10 years, it would probably be
possible to make a new infective micro-organism 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.”

And a 1975 military manual promises forthcoming

“ethnic chemical weapons … designed to exploit naturally
occurring differences in vulnerability among specific
population groups.”
(240-41)

Requests for more details on these efforts under the Freedom
of Information Act have all been denied to the Gay Community News.

Jane Teas provided an early hypothesis on the origin of
AIDS. She observed that pigs with African Swine Fever
displayed symptoms similar to those of humans with AIDS (Lancet,
April 23, 1983). Since smallpox has been controlled by vac-
cinating (vaccinus = Latin for cow) humans with live cowpox vi-
rus, scientists should have rushed to their labs to examine the
Swine Fever Virus. Instead HIV virus was purportedly tested in
Belgium against a twenty-year-old Swine Fever Virus sample from
Spain and found to be distinct. Teas wonders, “How had the Bel-
gians managed to set up a new experiment with an animal virus,
perform the test, write the results, and get them all published
in just three weeks.” (NY Native, December 17-30, 1984)

Dr. Gallo controls all work with the human immunodeficiency
virus and the Department of Agriculture controls all research
with the African Swine Fever Virus. Both sources have sabotaged
research (either dependent or independent) on the African Swine
Fever Virus. In Haiti the United States government provided
millions of dollars to exterminate all the pigs on the island;
Teas speculates that the US Department of Agriculture had
spread the pig virus with contaminated vaccine.

Parts of the secrecy surrounding African Swine Fever Virus
arises from the CIA’s use of animal diseases against Cuba,
Nicaragua and elsewhere. Viruses for use in biological warfare
have been manufactured at Fort Detrick (located near Frederick,
Maryland). A Newsday article reprinted in the Boston Globe
(1/9/77) reports that CIA operatives received the virus at a CIA
biological warfare training station in Panama and traveled to
Navassa (a U.S. controlled island just off the coast of Cuba)
— where the virus was spread to Cuban pigs. (The United States
maintains a naval base on Cuba itself; Guantanamo was origi-
nally founded by French slaveowners fleeing the revolution in
Haiti). From Cuba the disease spread to the Dominican Republic
(1978), to Haiti (1979) and reappeared in Cuba in 1980. In July
1981, Fidel Castro reported that the CIA had spread dengue — a
tropical disease — killing 113 and infecting 270,000 Cubans; the
United States denied the charge but admitted that they had
prepared special poisons for Castro himself.

Doctors Lilli and Jacob Segal argue that the HIV virus is
genetically engineered, AIDS: USA — home made evil; NOT
imported from Africa (Zimbabwe, 1986, 2nd ed.) The Segals con-
tend that the human immunodeficiency virus originated from a
splice between a recently identified human leukemia virus and a
sheep maedi-visna virus. The Human T-Cell lymphotropic virus
type I (HTLV-1) was first identified in 1980 as the cause of
leukemia among groups in Japan and the Caribbean. Gallo led the
effort to isolate and identify this virus; his research exactly
corresponds with the appearance of the AIDS virus. The Segals’
pamphlet would lead one to ask whether he had first manufactured
the virus he later claimed to have discovered.

The maedi-visna virus is a retrovirus of the subfamily len-
tivirinae, which includes infectious anaemia in horses and
encephalitis-arthritis in goats. These viruses are lens-shaped
(lenti); and ordinarily they develop slowly over a number of
years. John Seale in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medi-
cine (August 1985) lists many of the similarities between AIDS
and lentivirus infections in animals. The Segals summarize
their findings:

“we can exclude the possibility that the AIDS virus had
naturally evolved from a HTLV virus — of man or monkeys.
Nor could the AIDS virus have naturally evolved from the
Visna virus by way of a series of mutations. The AIDS
virus contains a proportion of HTLV and a proportion of
lentivirus, which, according to our present standards of
knowledge, could only have been combined by means of gene
surgery.”

Dr. Robert Strecker, in the British newspaper Sunday
Express, Oct. 26, 1986, suggested yet another splice: “There is
no known animal virus with all the symptoms of AIDS. It must
have been genetically engineered from different viruses. The two
viruses which were used, according to all my research and
studies, are Maedi-visna and Bovine Leukemia. It almost cer-
tainly happened in a research laboratory in the United States.”

While the argument for genetic engineering is very strong
indeed, important links are quite speculative. Microbiology
has made many discoveries and perfected many techniques in the
last decade; however, their forms of identification are still
quite primitive. Thus two teams argue that HIV is a splice
between visna and either a human or a cow leukemia virus. The
Segals speculate that the virus was manufactured at Ft.
Detrick; Dr. Seale argues that the splice was inadvertent. He
thinks “a scientist in a laboratory somewhere in the United
States and doing cancer research with the two viruses, acciden-
tally spliced elements of both together — and created AIDS…the
scientist would be totally unaware that anything was wrong.” Dr.
Seale had first hand knowledge of the British Porton Down Micro-
biological Research Establishment (which works in tandem with
Fort Detrick).

Gene splicing itself is now almost routine. Paul Berg in
1971 linked a simian (or monkey) virus (SV40) with a part of a
bacteria common in the human colon (Escherichia coli). In 1978,
his team made headlines when they linked rabbit genes for hemo-
globin with SV40, which they then used to infect an African
green monkey. (Berg received the Nobel prize for his work in
1980). Berg himself joined a voluntary moratorium on recombinant
DNA experiments. He found that “in his own P3 facility…almost
everyone who entered that lab acquired substantial antibody
titres to SV40 (a sign of infection) after one half to a full
year (Science for the People, 17:3, 40).” A P3 facility is the
most secure outside the P4 facilities at Fort Detrick and the
army’s Dugway lab near Salt Lake City.

After a few years debate on the dangers of genetic engineer-
ing, scientists have returned to their splicing. Richard Mul-
ligan at MIT’s Whitehead Institute has inserted a bacterial gene
into the germ line of mice by retroviral infection with thymus
tumor cells. The human thymus generates T-cells, whose collapse
signals AIDS. Monkey kidney cells were implicated in a 1967
experiment in Marburg, West Germany. Twenty-five workers who had
handled green-monkey kidney cells came down with a mysterious
disease, of which six died. “Virologists identified a new agent
now known as the Marburg virus among the human victims and the
monkeys.”

Further questions can be raised about genetic engineering
and AIDS. Some children are born without any immune capacities
(the Bubble kid) and organ transplant patients are given drugs
which suppress their usual immune responses and make them sus-
ceptible to the opportunistic diseases common to AIDS. The
Chemical/Biological Warfare scientists haves studied such
responses carefully. Genetic researchers postulate that each
individual mammal has specific human leukocyte antigens (HLA).
“The HLA markers are products of a cluster of genes on chromosome
6 known as the major histocompatibility complex (histo means tis-
sue).” MHC (Major HistoCompatibility) “is the master control
region for the immune system, our internal security agency that
recognizes and defends us against viruses, bacteria, and other
disease-causing agents.” (Baskin, The Gene Doctors, 49)
English researchers have found that people with AIDS all share a
protein in common and they argue that the difference between
responses to the virus are genetic (Nature, 16 July 1987).

Robert Lederer suggests that the CBW people are less com-
petent than many theories would suggest. In the most comprehen-
sive and thorough review of current theories, Lederer has
tracked down a Fort Detrick official reference to AIDS research.
The Philadelphia Daily News (February 18, 1987) quoted a colo-
nel who said that “studies at the Army laboratories have shown
that the AIDS virus would be an extremely poor biological warfare
agent.” (Covert Action, Summer 87) (See also Lederer in GCN,
Vol. 14, No. 40). The colonel later repudiated the quotation;
however, his words demonstrate that the Army if it did not invent
AIDS has contemplated using it as an agent of war.

—————————————————————
End of Part I, which is from Vol. 15, No. 12. Parts II And III
will discuss chemical and psychological warfare.

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