The Gay Hepatitis-B Vaccine Experiment
” A “cohort” of over a thousand young gays was injected with the vaccine at the New York Blood Center in Manhattan during the period November 1978 to October 1979.1 Similar gay experiments were conducted in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, St. Louis, and Chicago, beginning in 1980.2 The AIDS epidemic broke out shortly thereafter.
The experiment was run by Wolf Szmuness, a Polish Jew born in 1919. He was a young medical student in eastern Poland when the Nazis invaded the country in 1939. His entire family perished in the Holocaust. When Poland was partitioned, Szmuness was taken prisoner and sent to Siberia.
After the war, he was allowed to finish medical school in Tomsk in central Russia. He married a Russian woman, had a daughter, and in 1959 was allowed to return to Poland where he became an expert in hepatitis.
According to June Goodfield’s account of his life in Quest for the Killers, Szmuness defected from Poland with his family in 1969, arriving penniless in New York with $15 in his pocket.3 Through scientific connections he found work as a laboratory technician at the New York Blood Center. Within a few years he was given his own lab at the center and was also appointed Professor of Public Health at Columbia University. By the mid-1970s, Szmuness was a world authority on hepatitis, and was invited back to Moscow in 1975 to give a scientific presentation. As a defector he was terrified to set foot back in the Soviet Union, but his colleagues assured him he would have the full protection of the U.S. State Department. His return to Russia was a scientific triumph.
In the late 1970s, Wolf Szmuness was awarded millions of dollars to undertake the most important mission of his life: the Hepatitis-B vaccine experiment. Szmuness specifically wanted to use gay men to avoid “serious legal and logistical problems.”4 For his study he did not want monogamous men, nor men with lovers. He chose only healthy, young, responsible, intelligent, and primarily white homosexuals. The experiment was costly and he didn’t want any uncooperative or hard-to-find gays messing up his experiment. Involved in the experiment were the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Abbott Laboratories, and Merck, Sharp & Dohme. Szmuness’ experiment was hugely successful, and his vaccine was hailed as having tremendous global implications.
The Gay Plague
The links of the gay experiment to the outbreak of AIDS are obvious to anyone who wants to see the connection. Three months after the experiment began, the first cases of AIDS reported to the CDC appeared in young gay men in Manhattan in 1979. The first San Francisco AIDS case appeared in that city in September 1980, six months after the Hepatitis-B experiment started there.5 In June 1981 the AIDS epidemic became “official.”
Were gay men given experimental vaccines contaminated with the AIDS virus? The government says no, but government agencies have a long history of covert and unethical medical experimentation, particularly with minorities. Was it simply a quirk of nature that a virus “out of Africa” would suddenly decimate the most hated minority in America?
Why did the U.S. government choose Wolf Szmuness, a Soviet-trained doctor and a recent American immigrant to head this dangerous experiment? Goodfield, who has written the definitive account of the Hepatitis-B experiment, claims Szmuness has a painful life. Confined as a political prisoner in Siberia during World War II, he was repeatedly interrogated and beaten by the Russian KGB for refusing to cooperate in spy activities. When he could not be broken, they warned him: “Say nothing of this to anyone, but remember. We will reach you anywhere in the world. No matter where you go, no matter where you try to hide, you will never be out of our grasp.”6
The experimental Hepatitis-B vaccine was primarily manufactured by Merck. However, during the experiment Szmuness was concerned about possible vaccine contamination. Goodfield writes, “This was no theoretical fear, contamination having been suspected in one vaccine batch made by the National Institutes of Health, though never in Merck’s.”7
After the Hepatitis-B experiment ended, Szmuness insisted that all thirteen thousand blood specimens donated by gay men be retained at the Blood Center for future use. Due to space requirements, it is highly unusual for any laboratory to retain so many old blood specimens. However, several years later when this blood was retested for the presence of HIV antibodies, government epidemiologists were able to detect the “introduction” and the spread of HIV into the gay community.
When asked why he was keeping so many vials of blood, Szmuness replied, “Because one day another disease may erupt and we’ll need this material.“8 A few months after the Hepatitis-B experiment began at the Center, the first AIDS cases began to appear in gay men living in Manhattan. And the retesting of gay blood at the Blood Center proved that HIV was first introduced into the gay population of New York City sometime around 1978-1979, the same year Szmuness’ gay Hepatitis-B experiment began.9
Was Szmuness psychic in his prediction that a new disease would appear in the gay community? Or did he actually know or suspect that a new, deadly virus was being introduced into the gay volunteers? Unfortunately, the answers to these questions can only be surmised. In June 1982 Szmuness died of lung cancer. In his eulogy, Aaron Kellner of the Blood Center wrote: “It is the rare physician who, like Wolf Szmuness, is given the grace to touch the lives of billions of people; those living on this planet and generations yet unborn.”10
The African Origin of AIDS
Was HIV introduced into millions of Africans in the late 1970s during the smallpox vaccine eradication programs sponsored by the World Health Organisation? It is known that animal and human cells harbor all sorts of viruses, including viruses not yet discovered, and animal tissue cell cultures are often used in the manufacture of viral vaccines. Therefore, the possibility of vaccine contamination with an animal virus is a constant danger in the manufacture of vaccines.
Despite the most meticulous precautions in production, contaminating animal viruses are known to survive the vaccine process. For example, during the 1950s, millions of people were injected with polio vaccines contaminated with “SV-40”, a cancer-causing green monkey virus. Such vaccine contamination problems are largely kept hidden from the public. Yet in spite of the known danger, drug companies and physicians always pooh-pooh any suggestion that AIDS could have arisen from animal virus-contaminated vaccines. Animal cancer viruses are also contained in fetal calf serum, a serum commonly used as a laboratory nutrient to feed animal and human tissue cell cultures. Viruses in calf serum can be carried over as contaminants into the final vaccine product.
The problem of vaccine contamination by fetal calf serum and its relationship to AIDS is the subject of a letter by J. Grote (“Bovine visna virus and the origin of the AIDS epidemic”) published in the Journal of the Royal (London) Society of Medicine in October 1988. Grote discounts the green monkey theory and questions whether bovine visna contamination of laboratory-used fetal bovine serum could cause AIDS. Bovine visna virus is similar in appearance to HIV. Grote, a London-based AIDS researcher, writes:
The seriousness of this becomes apparent when we consider the manufacture of vaccines requires the growth of virus in cell cultures using fetal calf serum in the growth medium. The contamination of vaccines with adventitious viruses has been of concern for many years and the presence of virus-like structures in ‘virus-screened’ bovine serum has been reported. It seems absolutely vital that all vaccines are screened for HIV prior to use and that bovine visna virus is further investigated as to its relationship to HIV and its possible causal role in progression towards AIDS.
Millions of African blacks are reportedly infected with HIV. This large number could never have been infected by the simple act of a monkey virus “jumping” over to infect one African in the late 1970s. If that were the case, why don’t we now have millions of AIDS cases in the U.S.? One logical explanation for the millions of Africans infected is that the vaccines used in the World Health Organisation’s mass inoculation programs were contaminated. Was the contamination accidental or deliberate? It is well-known in vaccine circles that the vaccinia (cowpox) virus used in the manufacture of the smallpox vaccine works well in genetic engineering. Charles Pillar and Keith Yamamoto, authors of Gene Wars: Military Control Over the New Genetic Technology, state: “Researchers have been able to splice genes coding for the surface coats of other viruses, such as influenza, hepatitis, and rabies into vaccinia virus DNA. The result: a ‘broad spectrum’ vaccine with a coat of many colors.”11
In 1985, the Russians caused an international furore by claiming that AIDS was caused by experiments carried out in the USA as part of the development of new biological weapons. Responding to this Soviet accusation, Pillar and Yamamoto admit that “although no evidence has been presented to support this claim, manipulating genes to defeat the body’s immune system is quite feasible.”12
In Magic Shots, Allan Chase claims that during the years 1966-1977, the WHO utilised “200,000 people in forty countries — most of them nondoctors trained by seven hundred doctors and health professionals from over seventy participating countries — spent $300 million, and used forty million bifurcated vaccinating needles to administer 24,000 million (2.4 billion) doses of smallpox vaccine.”13
On May 11, 1987, The London Times, one of the world’s most respected newspapers, published a front-page story entitled “Smallpox vaccine triggered AIDS virus.” The story suggests that African AIDS is a direct outgrowth of the WHO smallpox eradication program. The smallpox vaccine allegedly awakened a “dormant” AIDS virus infection in the black population. Robert Gallo, the co-discoverer of HIV, was quoted as saying, “The link between the WHO program and the epidemic is an interesting and important hypothesis. I cannot say that it actually happened, but I have been saying for some years that the use of live vaccines such as that used for smallpox can activate a dormant infection such as HIV (the AIDS virus).” The Times story is one of the most important stories ever printed on the AIDS epidemic; yet the story was killed and never appeared in any major U.S. newspaper or magazine.
Despite covert human experimentation, vaccine contamination problems, and the genetic engineering of new and highly dangerous viruses, the medical establishment ignores the AIDS bio-warfare issue. For example, in the prestigious British Medical Journal (May 13, 1989), Myra McClure and Thomas Schultz wrote a paper on the “Origin of HIV” and quickly disposed of the idea that AIDS is connected to germ warfare. They simply state: “Lack of supporting evidence precludes serious discussion of such a bizarre hypothesis. This review deals with the theories on the origin of HIV that are scientifically plausible.”
Thus, medical science ignores evidence suggesting AIDS originated as a secret experiment. Most physicians and microbiologists steadfastly hold on to the illogical and improbable green monkey theory of AIDS. And the major media remain silent, often dismissing the bio-warfare theory as communist propaganda of the most malicious sort. Forgotten is the connection between the National Academy of Sciences and the military bio-warfare establishment in the development of biological weapons for mass killings.”