A tenured professor at a taxpayer-funded American university has written a screed published in a major Liberian newspaper, the Daily Observer, which suggests that U.S. Department of Defense bioterrorism experiments unleashed the Ebola virus epidemic currently sweeping West Africa.
The Liberian-born professor is Cyril Broderick. He is an associate professor in the Agriculture and Natural Resources department at Delaware State University, a historically black public school in Dover. Previously, he was a member of the faculty of the University of Liberia.
Broderick’s conspiracy-laden Sept. 9 article is entitled “Ebola, AIDS Manufactured By Western Pharmaceuticals, US DoD?”
“Reports narrate stories of the US Department of Defense (DoD) funding Ebola trials on humans, trials which started just weeks before the Ebola outbreak in Guinea and Sierra Leone,” Broderick claims. “The reports continue and state that the DoD gave a contract worth $140 million dollars to Tekmira, a Canadian pharmaceutical company, to conduct Ebola research. This research work involved injecting and infusing healthy humans with the deadly Ebola virus.”
In addition to the American military and the Canadian pharmaceutical industry, the nutty professor also implicates the United Kingdom, France, Tulane University, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders.
Richard Preston’s epidemiological thriller “The Hot Zone” rates a mention in Broderick’s rant as well.
The Washington Post describes the professor’s potboiler of an article as “semi-intelligible” and interviewed Broderick.
“There are many references to what was contained in my letter,” Broderick told the Post. “You may read the letter and double-check the sources listed. They are available and legitimate.”
But actually the sources are questionable. They include several conspiracy websites such as Global Research, which seeks to counter “media disinformation” with “unspoken truth.”
As the Post also notes, Western government leaders, philanthropic givers and medical professionals who seek to fight against Ebola face a massive obstacle in the pervasive amount of misinformation that continues to spread in West African communities ravaged by (and soon-to-be ravaged by) the virus.
Bizarro rumors “become strengthened through mass dissemination and the credibility gained through publication,” explained international affairs blog Ramen IR, according to the Post.
Many conspiracy-loving readers who have found Broderick’s article believe the nonsense, at least to judge from the over 500 comments below it.
A fairly representative commenter charges that AIDS and Ebola are “biological weapons designed to ‘cull’ Africa’s populations.”
Meanwhile, the Post also notes that administrators at Delaware State have no plans to restrict Broderick’s ability to spew crackpot theories using his job as a credential.
“The university is not going to abridge his First Amendment rights to give his opinion about the issues of the day,” Carlos Holmes, a spokesman for the school, told the paper.
“Dr. Broderick’s comments have nothing to do with any research that is taking place at Delaware State University,” Holmes added. “I’m not sure Dr. Broderick is doing research in this area. He’s a plant scientist and there’s no research like that relating with pathogens and viruses taking place in Delaware State University.”
Earlier this month, President Barack Obama announced that the United States will send 3,000 U.S. soldiers into countries in Africa where the deadly Ebola disease is spreading, at an initial cost of $500 million. (RELATED: Obama Sends Army Into Africa To Combat Ebola)
Last week, in Guinea, villagers murdered eight workers trying to raise awareness about Ebola by using machetes and clubs. (RELATED: Guinea Villagers Murder Eight Ebola Aid Workers With Machetes, Clubs)
According to a set of Stanford University webpages entitled “Africa South of the Sahara,” the the website of the Daily Observer, the Liberian newspaper, is published out of Silver Spring, Md.