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Latest from the Fever Swamps: U.S. Defense Department Responsible for Ebola Outbreak

An article appearing in a Liberian newspaper by an American professor teaching at a taxpayer-funded university accuses the U.S. Department of Defense of deliberately infecting Africans with the Ebola virus.

Cyril Broderick, a Liberian-born professor teaching at Delaware State University, believes that the Ebola outbreak was an international plot that included the injection of the Ebola virus into human test subjects just weeks before the outbreak began in Africa.

The Daily Caller reports:

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.”

ut 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.

Broderick could be dismissed as a kook -- except he won't be by far too many people in Africa and here at home. For Africans, it's much easier to accept the "hidden hand" theory of history that takes away their free will and mysteriously controls their lives. This way, nothing is ever their fault. They can blame anything and everything from natural disasters to political oppression on forces they can't control.

There are plenty of Americans who suffer from the same paranoia. The black community seems particularly susceptible to these wild conspiracy theories, largely because there have been real conspiracies carried out against them over the centuries. The government really did carry out experiments with syphilis on poor blacks in Mississippi, deliberately not treating infected patients to measure the progress of the disease over 40 years. There really was a conspiracy by the FBI to not only monitor civil rights leaders, but place them in compromising positions to discredit them.

Perhaps the most pervasive conspiracy -- supported by notable blacks like Dick Gregory and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- is that the U.S. government created the AIDS virus to kill black people. Given the impossibility of any lab in the world creating a retrovirus -- especially in the late 1970s when the disease first presented --i t's amazing that this theory is still being touted.

Sadly, Broderick is only contributing to the spread of the disease in Africa. And the fact that his university won't shut him up in the interest of saving lives makes his transgressions against rationality all the more tragic.