After his speech today at the National Press Club, Jeremiah Wright was asked by the moderator whether he honestly believes, as he said in one of his sermons, that "the government lied about inventing the AIDS virus as a means of genocide against people of color." That claim (which Bill Moyers inexplicably failed to ask Wright about in his April 25 interview ) has been the weirdest of his various inflammatory claims.
Rather than address the substance of the question, Wright said, "Have you read [Leonard G.] Horowitz's book Emerging Viruses: AIDS and Ebola "?
The Horowitz book, published in 1996, argues that the U.S. government created the AIDS and Ebola viruses in the course of performing cancer research on monkeys. Its author also wrote Healing Codes for the Biological Apocalypse , a book that purports to reveal "Bible codes hidden for 3,000 years that have major implications for personal and world healing," according to his Web site. Horowitz doesn’t believe in Darwinian evolution, either, and he claims to be descended from Moses and King David.
Wright’s allegation about AIDS has no factual basis, of course, but medical experimentation on black Americans is well-documented. Wright today cited the Tuskegee experiment —a syphilis study in which the U.S. Public Health Service failed to treat 400 syphilitic black men in Alabama for 40 years—as an example. From there, he leapt to the conclusion that "our government is capable of doing anything." Juliet Lapidos noted in a March 19 " Explainer " that nearly 27 percent of African-Americans believe that the AIDS virus was produced in a government lab, and 16 percent think it was created to control the black population.