Click-Sick: Part 2 The hidden political forces pushing pandemic conspiracies


To a time when the cold war shaped so much including the facts surrounding another new deadly disease. Dr Douglas Vars is a historian at Humboldt University in early, and he's painstakingly reconstructed an astonishing Cold War campaign that was run in pod by the East German secret police Stasi and the Soviet compatriots the KGB. The goal to pin blame the emerging HIV AIDS epidemic on the US government. For, the first case where it was apparently the KGB was behind, it was the Patriot newspaper Indian one, thousand, nine, hundred, eighty, three published an article titled Aids May Invade India and it's suggested that you know the US was medically experimenting with this new biological weapon in neighboring Pakistan and it could come over the border into India you know just did not know that. Ariel but. Some of the seeds of a Cold War lie about issue were originally. So an Indian yeah in her and the priest social media era, it seems news outlets like this work to this strategy, and then they started in a servant newspaper the threat to Niagara Zeltser October one, thousand, nine, hundred, five, published an article but they basically took the same thesis over and then they started basically. States of developing issue as a bioweapon at Fort Detrick Maryland came next was the worldwide disinformation campaign claiming this US military base Fort Detrick was the source of the virus. They would seek to try to put articles in the foreign press or to get articles published based on their disinformation thesis and East German Secret Police. The Stasi they were involved to operation. Denver was basically the Stasi that was their code name for the the their contribution to the KGB's aides to suffer mation campaign. But what was the goal was basically to discredit the United States internationally I this from the cable that the KGB sent to their Bulgarian. Comrades Nine, hundred, eighty five, and also to create tensions even within the United States and what do you think they chose HIV AIDS what about that disease made it potentially fertile theme for misinformation there's already conspiracy theory spreading United States by nine hundred, ninety three if not earlier especially in the gay community. Basically accusing the US governments that of having developed AIDS as a bioweapon. The scientists suspected the virus called HD is the cause of the deadly disease at the time. The Reagan administration was openly hostile towards the gay community, and as we heard earlier among Catherine's friends, disinformation can resonate because it exploits builds off existing emotions or tensions. All as it happens entirely legitimate feelings of distrust and disenfranchisement. spiracy theories arise often amongst marginalized groups in society who have been historically victims of repression or victims of real conspiracies. So that's sort of where the conspiracy theory originated, and basically the KGB they added their own little twist to it by saying specifically Fort Detrick. which is something you can see this almost a trace wherever you went to know the KGB was involved soon after it appeared in male homosexuals, age was founded other groups in drug addicts in. Hey later on nine, hundred, eighty, five, the conspiracy theory also the gun to spread to the African American community United States especially as it became clear that a higher percentage of African Americans were being infected by HIV as. And possibly the African American community had good reason to be hyper vigilant. They'd been horrifically abused by America's medical authorities before they knew what governments were capable of the study that most often comes up is the Tuskegee syphilis study which was run by the US public health service that needs by the US government basically impoverished. African. Americans in the American south who had contracted syphilis their health was examined from nineteen, thirty, two to nineteen seventy-one. without any effective treatment although listen to the nineteen forties, they found that penicillin was effective treatment for syphilis. These individuals were not treated and some of them just basically died the conspiracy theorists mentioned the Tuskegee all over again given this recent history the KGB and stacy were able to leverage off some of this distrust in US authorities for their own information campaign. But didn't work. Well, I think Operation Denver was successful. If you Google Fort Detrick an AIDS you'll find all of these different conspiracy serious. The Web you know who started their works in some cases long after the end of the Soviet Union. And they still referred afford detrick and this was sort of the element that the Soviets were trying to spread. Sorry, fast fast-flowing. Now to twenty twenty, where we in the thick of new infectious disease crisis, Douglas Silva's reckons what were thin mice to work today. Well, I would say in the case of Kobe nineteen disinformation a certainly Russian news outlets are propaganda outlets like rt formerly Russia today or sputnik news tend to report on various conspiracy theorists the or in other countries spreading these various theories about. The United States are actors, the United States being behind covid nineteen. The Chinese government was, of course, promoting the conspiracy theory that the United States have brought the virus to Wuhan and certainly in the United States, we see certain figures. And Very High Office. Promoting the theory that he was developed in a biological weapons laboratory and Wuhan, which seems to echo this old conspiracy theory. And this information will actually winning hearts and minds is hard to say because all sorts of people and motivations are at work in the conspiracy, sandbox? Oh we definitely see today that they're sort of this cycle of misinformation and disinformation. You could say that they're conspiracy entrepreneurs. Individuals who for whatever reason? Given conspiracy theory either to win support for their political movement. Usually it's right wing or left wing extremist movements or in some cases people who just trying to. Self example if you eat this particular natural remedy that we offer, it will actually cure the disease and

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