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June 02, 2008

Obama and the AIDS Conspiracy [dri]

People often wonder how Barack Obama's "former" Minister, Reverend Jeremiah Wright came to embrace the conspiratorial belief that the US government introduced the AIDS virus into the black community. Most probably assume that this urban legend sprung up as most such legends do: with a crazy notion that happens to fall upon receptive ears and is internalized as fact forevermore. The origin of the AIDS conspiracy contains an interesting twist though, involving Soviet spies and an intentional disinformation campaign.
Throughout the Cold War the Soviet Union engaged in an "Active Measures" campaign of disinformation against its Western rivals most notably the United States.

Active Measures (Russian: "Активные мероприятия") were a form of political warfare conducted by the Soviet security services ... to influence the course of world events, "in addition to collecting intelligence and producing politically correct assessment of it". Active measures ranged "from media manipulations to special actions involving various degree of violence". They were used both abroad and domestically. They included disinformation, propaganda, counterfeiting official documents, assassinations, and political repression, such as penetration of churches, and persecution of political dissidents.

Retired KGB Maj. Gen. Oleg Kalugin described "active measures" as "the heart and soul of Soviet intelligence": "Not intelligence collection, but subversion: active measures to weaken the West, to drive wedges in the Western community alliances of all sorts, particularly NATO, to sow discord among allies, to weaken the United States in the eyes of the people of Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and thus to prepare ground in case the war really occurs."

Knowledge of the Soviet Union's Active Measures campaign first came to light with the release of the VENONA Papers and the Mitrokhin Archive, both of which described in great detail the Russian's massive attempts at subterfuge. Mitrokhin, the First Chief Directorate of the KGB and a senior archivist, wrote of a scheme in the mid eighties to plant the false story that AIDS was created at Fort Detrick, MD by US scientists to infect the black population of the United States.

East German biologist Jakob Segal was directed to publish a pamphlet called "AIDS: USA Home-Made Evil." This pamphlet claimed that HTLV-1, a leukemia retrovirus and Visna, a sheep virus that is harmless to humans, were synthesized to create HIV. The deadly new virus was surreptitiously given to prison inmates with the belief that it would then be carried into the black population and decimate it.

Other conspiracy theories have sprung up describing similar evil exploits by a racist US government bent on keeping blacks under control. Over time these legends became accepted as fact by certain segments of American society (of all races) who after having been fed a non stop diet of lies and disinformation throughout their lives regarding how evil the United States is, accepted it as a reasonable explanation.

One must now ask, if Reverend Wright, an educated and intelligent man, had been conditioned over time to accept such outlandish claims as being not only plausible but even probable, could Obama be similarly tainted?

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posted by xgenghisx at 10:48 PM

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