“Our friends in Moscow call it ‘dezinformatsiya.’ Our enemies in America call it ‘active measures,’ and I, dear friends, call it ‘ my favorite pastime.” – Col. Rolf Wagenbreth, director of Department X (disinformation) of East German foreign intelligence.
Operation INFEKTION was KGB propaganda about the HIV/AIDS virus being biological weapon created by the U.S.
This propaganda was just one of the many “active measures” (aktivinyye meropriatia, as the Soviets called them) as it was manipulation and media control, written and oral disinformation, use of foreign communist parties and front organizations, clandestine radio broadcasting, manipulation of the economy, kidnappings, paramilitary operations, and support of guerilla groups and terrorist organizations…pretty much as many other powerful nations.
Anyway, the main goal of Operation INFEKTION was to inspire sympathies among the world population for the Soviet Union while denigrating their opponents, foremost “the antagonist” in their own story – the United States.
In his article “Soviet Bloc Intelligence and Its AIDS disinformation campaign”, the senior historian at the US Army Center for Military History – Thomas Boghart writes that the whole AIDS disinformation campaign begun back in 1983 when on the 17th of July an obscure Indian newspaper “The Patriot” printed an anonymous letter headlined “AIDS may invade India: Mystery disease caused by US experiments”.
Written by a “well-known American scientist and anthropologist” in New York, the letter claimed that “AIDS…is believed to be the result of the Pentagon’s experiments to develop new and dangerous biological weapons.” It went on to state that the United States was about to transfer these experiments to sites in Pakistan, where they would pose a grave threat to neighboring India.
The ‘scientist’ also claimed that even though President Richard Nixon had banned US offensive bacteriological weapons research by executive order in 1969, implicated CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) scientists were sent to Africa and Latin America in order to discover dangerous viruses alien to Asia and Europe. Apparently, these ‘findings’ were first analyzed in Atlanta and Fort Detrick and thus the “most likely course of events” leading to the development of AIDS.
In the letter, the writer basically abused well-known facts for the virus in order to create paranoia among the people in India who were targeted as first for elimination by the U.S. or as the most important for the Soviets to conciliate with. It is stated in the letter that there was a great concern about contaminated blood donations; that AIDS was probably caused by a virus and that its first outbreaks were registered in the States.
These statements were empowered by reminding the public of the already known US biological warfare program – the government records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the Church of Scientology, which had documented biological agent experiments in the 1950s; CIA-sponsored testing of drugs on humans during the same time period; and the development of biological weapons until the late 1960s at Fort Detrick.
This was a serious conviction for the U.S. especially if one considers the sensitivity of the Soviets when they had been accused that the ‘yellow rain’ was developed in Moscow as biological weapon used in Viet Nam and Thailand.
However, the letter published in the “Patriot” didn’t inspire much of the expected fear among people it was ignored until the 1985 when three events might have contributed to a Soviet decision to reactivate the AIDS campaign.
Firstly, there was the US government report released in February 1985 in which it was claimed that the Soviets had broken the Geneva Convention by producing biological weapons.
Another thing was an article in Lyndon H. La Rouche Jr.’s Executive Intelligence Review where he accused the USSR for blocking the battle against AIDS.
The last thing was spread of AIDS within the USSR. The US saw a possibility of redirecting domestic concerns to another continent.