Edited by Alex Constantine
Also see: Cancer the Secret Weapon?
SV-40, the monkey virus Dr Mary Sherman, David Ferrie and a woman named Judyth Vary Baker (who describes her romantic involvement with Lee Harvey Oswald in her 2010 memoir Lee and Me) were experimenting with (see last blog), was first discovered in 1957. Originally known as “polyoma virus” (referring to its ability to cause several types of tumors in small mice), it was first identified by Drs Bernice Eddy and Sarah Stuart at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 1960 Eddy discovered that the monkey kidney cells used to prepare the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines were contaminated with SV-40 (see * below). Instead of withdrawing the vaccine, the NIH (as they often do with whistle blowing scientists), chose to destroy her career. A year later two other virologists replicated Eddy’s findings, and two polio vaccine manufacturers voluntarily withdrew their vaccine. Although NIH allegedly took steps to ensure that batches that came to market after 1963 were free of SV040, they continued to inoculate millions of children with the contaminated vaccine. To avoid “public hysteria,” they chose not to alert parents of the cancer risk.
The top secret experiments Sherman, Ferrie and Baker conducted in 1963 involved irradiation of SV-40 virus in the hope a creating a biological warfare agent – a mutated virus that could cause “galloping” cancer, which kills its victims within weeks rather than months. Following irradiation, Sherman injected the mutated viruses into thousands of mice. It was Ferrie’s and Baker’s job to sacrifice the mice, dissect the tumors and identify and extract viruses that seemed the most virulent. ...
Alton Ochsner, the son of German immigrants, was born Kimball, South Dakota, on 4th May, 1896. His uncle, A. J. Ochsner, was founder and president of the American College of Surgeons.
Ochsner studied at Washington University, St. Louis before moving to the University of Wisconsin Medical School. He then went to work with A. J. Ochsner in Chicago where he helped develop techniques for blood typing.
In 1927 Ochsner, with the help of his uncle, was appointed as Head of Surgery at Tulane Medical School in New Orleans.
In 1939 Alton Ochsner and Michael De Bakey published an article suggesting that there was a link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. Along with William Donovan Ochsner was on the board of the American Cancer Society. Later he became president of the organization.
As a result of his research he established the Ochsner Clinic in 1942 and pioneered the "war against smoking." In 1952 Ochsner appointed Mary Sherman to take control of the cancer laboratory.In 1955 he published Smoking and Cancer: A Doctor's Report.
Ochsner was a passionate anti-communist and after becoming friends with Cordell Hull, was invited to look after Tomas Gabriel Duque, the former dictator of Panama. He also become friends with Anastasio Somoza, the dictator of Nicaragua. Ochsner also treated Juan Peron, the dictator of Argentina.
The FBI maintained a file on Ochsner. This file was recently released under the Freedom of Information Act. It shows that Ochsner had a long relationship with various U.S. government agencies.
Ochsner also developed a close friendship with Clint Murchison who helped fund various right-wing organizations. Ochsner was also connected to Warren Commission member, Hale Boggs. According to one Louisiana State Representative, Ochsner was "the most aggressive seeker and recipient of so-called federal handouts in the Second District (Hale Boggs' district).
In 1961 Ochsner, with the financial help of Clint Murchison, established the Information Council of the Americas (INCA). Ed Butler was appointed as Executive Director of INCA. The main objective of the organization was to prevent communist revolutions in Latin America. Ochsner told the New Orleans States Item:
Edgar and Edith Stern, owners of WDSU radio and television, were members of INCA. Eustis Reily of the Reily Coffee Company personally donated thousands of dollars to INCA. However, it was Patrick J. Frawley, a Californian industrialist and close friend of Richard Nixon, who was INCA's largest financial contributor. The organization used some of this money to make a film about Fidel Castro entitled, Hitler in Havana. The New York Times reviewed the film calling it a "tasteless affront to minimum journalistic standards."
One of Ochsner's friends described him as being
Edward Haslam argues in Dr. Mary's Monkey that
Ochsner was strongly opposed to the domestic and foreign policy of President John F. Kennedy. He wrote to Senator Allen Ellender:
Ochsner was also friends with Clay Shaw. Ochsner was president of the International House, whereas Shaw was director of the organization. Both men were also directors of the Foreign Policy Association of New Orleans and arranged for CIA Deputy Director to New Orleans to discuss the communist threat.
Ochsner sat on the National Institute of Health Board of Directors. A fellow director in the early 1960s was Jose Rivera. In 1963 Rivera was in New Orleans handing out research grants from NIH to the Tulane Medical School.
The records of the Mexican consulate office in New Orleans show that when Lee Harvey Oswald obtained his visa for his trip to Mexico, he did so at the same time as William Gaudet. As Edward Haslam points out in Dr. Mary's Monkey :
Adele Edisen has revealed that in April 1963, Jose Rivera, gave her the name of Lee Harvey Oswald and his New Orleans phone number three weeks before he moved to the city.
On 21st July, 1964, Mary Sherman was murdered. The following day, Ochsner wrote a letter to R. H. Crosby, his largest financial contributor saying
In 1967 Jim Garrison began investigating the activities of Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans. Ochsner told a friend that he feared Garrison would order his arrest and the seizure of INCA's corporate records. Ed Butler took these records to California where Patrick J. Frawley arranged for them to be hidden. Ronald Reagan, the governor of California refused all of Garrison's extradition requests. Frawley had previously helped fund Reagan's political campaigns in California.
Ochsner attacked the Garrison investigation as being unpatriotic because it eroded public confidence and threatened the stability of the American government. In his article, Social Origins of Anticommunism: The Information Council of the Americas (Louisiana History, Spring 1989) Arthur Carpenter claimed that Ochsner launched a propaganda campaign against Garrison. This included sending information to a friend who was the publisher of the Nashville Banner.
According to Carpenter, Ochsner also attempted to discredit Mark Lane, who was assisting the Garrison investigation. He told Felix Edward Hebert that Lane was "a professional propagandist of the lunatic left". Ochsner also instructed Herbert to tell Edwin E. Willis (Chairman of the House Committee) to dig up "whatever information you can" on Lane.
Felix Edward Hebert later sent Ochsner a report on Mark Lane extracted from confidential government files. This included
Alton Ochsner died on 6th September, 1981.
Introduction: ... A New Orleans Native, Ed Haslam’s lifelong investigative pathway into events overlapping the milieu of the assassination of President Kennedy and apparently iatrogenic (man-made) epidemics constitutes a narrative that is both thrilling and terrifying. Supplementing and expanding an investigation first published in Ed’s 1996 title Mary, Ferrie and the Monkey Virus, this volume introduces the remarkable story of Judyth Vary Baker, a brilliant cancer researcher recruited to work on a clandestine project in which viruses were irradiated. Apparently inaugurated in order to create an anti-cancer vaccine, the project morphed into an effort to create biological weaponry, initially to assassinate Fidel Castro and, perhaps, to create genocidal weapons. Among Ms. Baker’s co-workers in the project were (allegedly) Lee Harvey Oswald. After a rupture with Dr. Arnold Ochsner, the medical luminary who presided over the project, Lee allegedly traveled to Dallas to attempt to prevent the assassination of President Kennedyby elements of U.S. intelligence. Unsuccessful, he was framed for the crime and murdered before he had a chance to defend himself. After the 1964 murder of Dr. Mary Sherman, the Ochsner associate who was a pivotal member of the project’s staff, the deadly mutated viruses appear to have fallen into the hands of murderous right-wing extremists connected to the intelligence community.
Program Highlights Include: Synopsis of the importance of the city of New Orleans to American political and economic infrastructure; discussion of the significance of New Orleans as a center for research into tropical diseases; overview of the importance of Tulane University for research into tropical diseases; the medical and political career of Dr. Alton Ochsner; discussion of the careers of three remarkable female medical researchers (Mary Sherman, Sarah Stewart, Bernice Eddy); review of the fundamentals of the New Orleans component of the assassination of JFK; discussion of a soft-tissue cancer epidemic currently manifesting itself in the United States as a result of the contamination of the polio vaccine with a cancer causing monkey virus–SV-40; discussion of the possibility that the AIDS epidemic may be man made (FTR#16 may prove particularly useful in researching this subject.) The Virus and the Vaccine by Debbie Bookchin and Jim Schumacher fleshes out the story of the SV-40 contamination of the polio vaccine.
1. The program begins with analysis of the Crescent City as a vital economic and political engine. The Northernmost port of the Caribbean and the gateway to the Mississippi River–the largest commercial waterway in the United States–New Orleans has long occupied a pivotally important position in American economic infrastructure. With agricultural products such as coffee, sugar and bananas coming up from Latin America and U.S. farm products such as corn and wheat, as well as finished industrial tools and goods going down to Latin America, New Orleans has been a commercial epicenter.
The economic power centered in the Crescent City produced derivative political and national security influence. The profound strategic significance of the port of New Orleans elevated that city and–to an extent, the state of Louisiana–to disproportionate influence in both Congress and the national security establishment. Among the legislative luminaries from Louisiana:
” . . . F. Edward Hebert, Chairman of Armed Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. Taxes start in the House, and budgets start in Committee. As Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, the entire U.S. military budget and the vast majority of the CIA budget started on Hebert’s desk. One of his jobs was to hide most of the CIA budget in the U.S. military budget. He was known as ‘the military’s best friend.’
Allen Elender, had been in the U.S. Senate for over 40 years. He was the senior senator when [former Louisiana Governor] Huey Long was the junior senator in the 1930’s. Ellender sat on the Armed Services Committee of the U.S. Senate and got Hebert’s budget through the Senate. Between the two, they made sure that Louisiana received its fair share of military and space contracts.
Russell Long, the son of Huey Long, was Majority Whip of the U.S. Senate, Chairman of the Senate’s powerful Ways and Means Committee, and member of the Senate Banking Committee.
Hale Boggs, Majority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives, was the 3rd most powerful man in that body, and was considered by many to be LBJ’s ‘man-in-the house.’ . . .”
Dr. Mary’s Monkey by Ed Haslam; Trine Day [SC]; Copyright 2007 by Ed Haslam; ISBN 978–0-9777953–0-6; p. 30.
2. The location of New Orleans and the resultant tropical disease problem it has encountered has made the city a focal point of medical research into afflictions such as malaria and yellow fever. Although not as well known as some US institutions of higher learning, Tulane University has assumed great significance in tropical disease research. Much of that research has involved using primates as experimental subjects.
“ . . . In Louisiana, the Delta Regional Primate Center opened its doors in November 1964 with Tulane University serving as the host institution. This took the monkey virus research out of downtown New Orleans and put it in 500 wooded acres near Covington, Louisiana across Lake Pontchartrain. Today, that laboratory has over 4,000 primates, thirty scientists, and 130 support workers, plus a public relations director whose job it is to boast of the center’s virus research especially on AIDS, and to point to the improvements in lab security, such as the high-security zone, where researchers and staff shower and change clothes before approaching or leaving the 500 monkeys infected with simian AIDS. . . .”
3. Next, Ed synopsizes the career and activities of Dr. Alton Ochsner and his lofty standing in the medical community. A famous surgeon who helped to pioneer blood transfusion procedures, Ochsner became a dominant influence at Tulane University and in New Orleans. Of particular note was his relationship with Latin American elite infrastructure.
“ . . . The Latin American angle was a natural for a medical clinic in New Orleans. And as we noted earlier, New Orleans was America’s commercial pipeline to Latin America, and Tulane’s reputation was golden in the region. For a group of Tulane doctors to form a medical clinic to serve the needs of the Latin elite was great news for those who could step on a plane in their capital city and be in New Orleans quicker than most Americans. To promote his clinic, Ochsner made over a hundred trips to Latin America during his career, and became friends with its rulers. . . . Among his friends, Ochsner counted Anastasio Somoza, Nicaragua’s former President (and dictator), who was run out his country by revolutionaries in 1979. Thos relationship is what one might call a personal one, based on the letters in Ochsner’s personal papers. . . Ochsner and Somoza shared mutual anti-Communist objectives. Somoza’s personal physician, Dr. Henri DeBayle, sat on the Board of Directors of Guy Banister’s infamous Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean. Another patient was Juan Peron the president (and dictator) of Argentina. Following the lead of these dictators came the oligarchies of Latin American countries, which had not developed their own health care systems. . . .”
4. Ed outlined Ochsner’s reactionary political orientation, including his opposition to the civil rights movement and, above all, his militant anti-Communism, which led him to found INCA—the Information Council of the Americas. An apparent intelligence front, INCA recorded an interview on New Orleans radio station WDSU featuring Lee Harvey Oswald proclaiming his supposed Marxist sympathies. (To hear this interview and background information about INCA, see FTR#621.) Ochsner developed numerous links to the intelligence community as the Cold War progressed.
“ . . . In October 1959, after two years of working in a ‘Sensitive Position,’ presumably with the FBI, the FBI conducted yet another ‘Sensitive Position’ investigation on Ochsner and forwarded their findings to an unnamed U.S. government agency. Several days later, on October 21, 1959, the FBI, freeing him up to accept an assignment from the other undisclosed agency. So what was happening in 1957 and 1959? Why would they have needed the services of a doctor? And what did they need from this doctor that they could not get from the legions of other doctors already working for the U.S. government in one capacity or another? These are important questions. . . .”
5. The “important questions” noted above receive a two-track answer in Ed’s book. In New Orleans, we view the confluence of the covert operations being conducted against the regime of Fidel Castro in Cuba with attempts at deriving a vaccine to neutralize a deadly, cancer-causing viral contaminant in the polio vaccine administered to millions of Americans. One of the major focal points of Dr. Mary’s Monkey concerns the SV-40, a simian version of the deadly polyoma virus which causes multiple cancers in multiple species. Because the polio vaccine’s virus was grown on monkey kidneys, SV-40 found its way into the vaccine when the polio viruses were harvested for vaccine production. Outlining the story of the contamination of the polio vaccine with SV-40, Ed presents that account in conjunction with the story of three remarkable female physicians–Dr.‘s Sarah Stewart, Bernice Eddy and Mary Sherman. After discussing the failure of the initial polio vaccine, Ed writes:
. . . In the aftermath of the debacle, Bernice Eddy was taken off polio research and transferred to the influenza section by the thankless NIH management. She shared her frustrations with a small group of women scientists who ate brown-bag lunches on the steps of one of the laboratories. There Eddy met a tenacious scientist named Stewart, M.D., PhD., who was waging her own battle against the official paradigms of bureaucratic medicine. Bernice Eddy and Sarah Stewart became close friends.
Sarah Stewart’s name remains virtually unknown today, despite her huge contribution to modern medicine. Not only did she prove that some cancers were caused by viruses, but subsequent research on the virus she discovered led to the discovery of DNA recombination, which is one of the most powerful tools in medical research today. . . .”
6. More about Dr.‘s Eddy, Stewart and their discovery of Polyoma and the SV-40 contamination of the polio vaccine:
” . . . In 1957, Stewart and Eddy discovered the polyoma virus, which produced several types of cancer in a variety of small mammals. Polyoma proved that some cancers were indeed caused by viruses. Her discovery officially threw open the doors of cancer virology. . . . But it raised some dark questions about earlier deeds. Before long, Yale’s laboratory discovered that the polyoma virus that had produced the cancer in Stewart’s mice and hamsters turned out to act like Simian Virus #40 (SV-40), a monkey virus that caused cancer.
In June 1959, Bernice Eddy, who was still officially to the flu vaccine project, began thinking about the polio vaccine again. This time she was worried about something much deeper than polio. The vaccine’s manufacturers had grown their polio viruses on the kidneys of monkeys. And when they removed the polio virus from the monkeys’ kidneys, they also removed an unknown number of other monkey viruses. . . . Eddy grew suspicious of the polio vaccine and asked an excruciating question: Had they inoculated an entire generation of Americans with cancer-causing monkey viruses? She conducted her research quietly, without alerting her NIH supervisors. . . .Her implication was clear: There were cancer-causing monkey viruses in the polio vaccine! . . .”
7. Like Dr.‘s Eddy and Stewart, Dr. Mary Sherman should be a focal point of serious feminist research. These women achieved profoundly significant gains in the field of medical research at a time when professional advancement for women was difficult. Dr. Sherman eventually landed in New Orleans as a protege of Dr. Alton Ochsner. Ed theorizes that her networking with NIH members, including Sarah Stewart, may have resulted in her participation in a project to irradiate viruses in hope of developing a vaccine to prevent the projected HIV-generated cancer epidemic:
” . . . [Intelligence agent and Garrison investigative target David] Ferrie and the angry Cuban exiles may have been willing to develop a biological weapon to kill Castro, but I personally had not thought that Dr. Mary Sherman (or the other doctors) would have knowingly been party to the secret development of a biological weapon. I did, however, think that she might have been willing to be part of a covert effort to prevent an epidemic of cancer! Especially, if competent cancer researchers whom she personally knew and trusted thought it was possible, and if she believed that bureaucratic politics or procedures were hampering the process at the national level. They Key Words are ‘knew and trusted.’ . . . Mary Sherman and Sarah Stewart were friends and classmates in Chicago for three years. . . . .”
8. In New Orleans largely as a result of her professional relationship with Dr. Ochsner, Sherman crossed into the world of covert operations because of that same relationship. As seen above, Ochsner was very politically active and well connected with the national security establishment. Part of the anti-Castro covert operations milieu in New Orleans, Ochsner appears to have been involved with–among other activities–an attempt at irradiating viruses in order to create a biological weapon with which to kill Fidel Castro. This allegation comes from yet another brilliant female cancer researcher, Judyth Vary Baker. A scientific prodigy, Judyth’s cancer research drew the attention of top medical authorities while she was still in high school. Judyth Vary Baker contends that she, Dr. Sherman, Lee Harvey Oswald, Dr. Alton Oschner and David Ferrie were working on a project to use irradiated viruses to develop a biological warfare agent to kill Castro. The operation was piggybacked on the project to produce the cancer vaccine.
” . . . Was Judyth the technician in David Ferrie’s underground medical laboratory? She admits that she was, despite the obvious legal, ethical and security consequences of doing so. Were they irradiating cancer-causing viruses to develop a biological weapon? Judyth participated in that operation, and has said that their use of radiation was both deliberate and central to the design of the project. Was the operation in David Ferrie’s apartment connected to an operation at the U.S. Public Health Hospital? Judyth says it was. . . .”
9. With political extremists of Ferrie’s ilk in charge of the deadly viruses being made under the auspices of the project, the organisms may have been used in a genocidal, ethnic-cleansing application.
” . . . The Ferrie-Sherman underground medical laboratory may have started with the noble and patriotic mission of preventing an epidemic of cancer in America; but once the work started, once the power to move cancer from animal to animal was established, once the ability to change viruses genetically was demonstrated, once the more virulent viral strains were isolated, once the means of transmission was established, once Mary Sherman died, and once [intelligence agent and anti-Castro operative] Guy Banister died, then the laboratory, the animals and the viruses were left in the hands of David Ferrie. He could easily have perverted the lab’s resources into a biological weapon if he wished to do so, picking the most virulent strains and delivering them to a target. . . Given his history of violent political acgtivigties and his record of mental instability, the question is disturbing: What would David Ferrie do if he realized he held the power to change history in his hands? . . .”
10. Throughout the program, Ed fills in the picture of David Ferrie, his longstanding work for elements of U.S. intelligence, his work for New Orleans crime boss Carlos Marcello, as well as his relationship to the milieu of the JFK assassination.
11. Ed theorizes that AIDS may have stemmed from the irradiation of viruses under the janus-faced cancer research/biological warfare project:
” . . . SIV is the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus, one of several monkey Viruses known to have contaminated the polio vaccine. The more carcinogenic SV-40 has received most of the press. SIV, a single-strand RNA retrovirus, is considerably smaller than SV-40 (a double-strand DNA virus). The technology of the 1950’s was not able to filter SIV from the viral extracts. Further, researchers of the day did not consider retroviruses to be dangerous, so they basically ignored them. AIDS has taught us how dangerous retroviruses can be. If ‘the project’ in New Orleans was intentionally exposing SV-40 to radiation they have exposed SIV to radiation at the same time. Simply stated, HIV-1 is a mutated form of SIV. Did the mutation which changed SIV into HIV-1 occur when SV-40 was exposed to radiation? Was this the moment of conception of AIDS? Could this artificially-induced mutation explain why HIV-1 is mutating so rapidly? Why it is behaving so ‘unnaturally’? . . . .”
12. Using the National Cancer Institute’s own statistics for the incidence of cancer from 1973 to 1988, Ed came to some very disturbing conclusions:
” . . . Was [Dr. Bernice] Eddy’s prediction of a cancer epidemic accurate? Did the epidemic ever happen? If it did, wouldn’t it show up in the cancer statistics? . . . A real epidemic should be easy to spot due to its size. So I dug out the cancer statistics published by the National Cancer Institute in 1989 and started related literature. Two things became clear: 1. We were losing the War on Cancer, and 2. We were in the midst of an ongoing cancer epidemic. . .”
13. One of the most intriguing aspects of the book is Ed’s search for the linear particle accelerator used to mutate the viruses. It was located at the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital in New Orleans. It was a defect in this particle accelerator–deliberate sabotage in Ed’s opinion–that killed Dr. Mary Sherman. The official story of Dr. Sherman’s murder has it that she was murdered by a sexual predator and her body set afire. As Ed notes, that could not account for the severe burns on the body, that could only have been generated by tremendous heat. For a more complete understanding of the forensic evidence in Dr. Sherman’s murder and the story of Ed’s hunt for the location of the linear particle accelerator, read the book!
” . . . If Mary Sherman was killed by a linear particle accelerator, then the central question was clear: Where was the linear particle accelerator located? and then a series of related questions: Upon whose property did Mary Sherman die? Whose reputation was her masquerade-murder intended to protect? Upon whose authority was the investigation into her murder shut down? I thought about these questions each time I looked at the book, and I wondered if I would ever find the answers. . . .”
14. It appears that some of the viruses mutated in the project were successfully tested on a prison inmate “volunteer.” Judyth’s objections to the test led to a break between Ochsner on the one hand and Baker and associate (and lover) Oswald on the other.
” . . . The Sherman-Ferrie-Vary experiments successfully created aggressive cancers in mice and (at Judyth’s suggestion) these new cancers were tested on monkeys. They worked, killing the monkeys quickly. But there was a missing link–they needed to know if their cancer cocktail would actually kill a human. It was decided to test their concoction on a prisoner from Louisiana’s Angola State Penitentiary who had ‘volunteered’ for the experiment . They brought him to the Jackson State Mental Hospital (near Clinton, Lousiana) where he was injected with their new bio-weapon, and died. . . It was a serious tactical error on her part, but Judyth has always been very strong-willed and uncompromising on certain issues. Dr. Ochsner was equally strong-willed and uncompromising in his response, before slamming the telephone down: ‘You and Lee are expendable!’ . . .”
15. Having originally assumed his “pro-Castro/communist” cover in order to deliver the biological weapon to Cuba in order to kill Castro [according to Baker], Oswald then attempted to interdict an attempt to kill Kennedy in Dallas. Instead he was killed and framed for the crime. The pro-Castro cover, arranged by Ochsner, INCA et al. provided a perfect ruse for covering up the crime by making it look as though a communist had done it.
” . . . Judyth’s phone conversations with Lee Oswald continued until Wednesday, Nov. 20, 1963. During the final emotional phone call, Lee made it clear to Judyth that there would be a real attempt to kill President Kennedy on Friday at one of three locations in Dallas. Lee told Judyth that he believed a man named David Atlee Phillips was organizing it. He told Judyth to remember the name. However he got there, Lee was now inside the assassination plot trying to kill President Kennedy, and considered it his duty to stay in position and undercover until it was over, telling Judyth, ‘If I stay, there will be one less bullet fired at Kennedy.’ . . .”