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Majestic 12, UFOs, AIDS, HIV, and Russian Psychological Warfare

As we saw in my previous articles on Russia and Majestic 12, there is strong, available evidence that suggests the Russians were behind the notorious Majestic 12 documents of the 1980s and of 2017.  At the same time that ufologists were salivating over the Majestic 12 papers in the eighties, the Russians were working to convince Americans that the U.S. government had secretly created the AIDS virus, Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Or, HIV. The purpose? To use the virus as the definitive doomsday weapon. In reality, the whole thing was nothing but extremely tacky Russian propaganda and disinformation. It’s a strange and controversy-filled story that, in a very odd way, has a link to a second set of Majestic 12 documents; they surfaced in the 1990s. This second set would provoke even more controversy than the original ones ever could. The U.S. Department of State provides the following on the Russian AIDS plot:

“When the AIDS disease was first recognized in the early 1980s, its origins were a mystery. A deadly new disease had suddenly appeared, with no obvious explanation of what had caused it. In such a situation, false rumors and misinformation naturally arose, and Soviet disinformation specialists exploited this situation as well as the musings of conspiracy theorists to help shape their brief but highly effective disinformation campaign on this issue. In March 1992, then-Russian intelligence chief and later Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov admitted that the disinformation service of the Soviet KGB had concocted the false story that the AIDS virus had been created in a U.S. military laboratory as a biological weapon.”

All of which brings us to those 1990s-era Majestic 12 files. They too were almost certainly created by the Russians. They started as a trickle in the early 1990s and by the mid-1990s had turned into a veritable tidal wave. The number of Majestic 12 papers provided to Bill Moore and Jaime Shandera in the 1980s amounted to a handful or two. The ones revealed by Heather Wade in 2017 were not much more in number. The material that a man named Timothy Cooper – of Big Bear Lake, California – obtained from shady sources in the 1990s ran to not just dozens of pages, but hundreds of pages. Although Cooper quit Ufology years ago, the files sent to him are still talked about in Ufology. Cooper soon hooked up with the father-son UFO research team of Dr. Robert Wood and Ryan Wood. In the early 2000s, I was hired by the Woods to research the Cooper files, to the extent that in 2002 I spent a week going through all of Cooper’s files, which Cooper had then recently sold to Bob Wood. I have used the following quote before,  but it helps to explain how I came to know so much about not just Cooper’s Majestic 12 files, but also the means by which he got the documents, the circumstances, and much more – including certain things that are still not in the public domain. Okay, back to the quote; here it is:

“…in the early days of 2002, Bob [Wood] hired me to spend a week in an Orange County, California-based motel-room, surrounded by all of the thousands upon thousands of pages of Cooper’s voluminous collection of the cosmic sort. The plan was for me to catalog all of the material, to compile each and every piece of it into chronological order, and to summarize the content of each document, every letter, and every Freedom of Information request that Cooper had submitted to government agencies – which is precisely what I did. It was a week in which I most definitely earned my loot. It was also a week that paralleled the infamous story told by Hunter S. Thompson in his classic gonzo saga, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Whereas Thompson was hunkered down with his whisky, margaritas and shrimp cocktails, for me it was cases of cold beer and club sandwiches.”

According to Cooper, he had several old-timer sources who had spent their careers working in the fields of counter-intelligence, psychological warfare, and disinformation. The most prominent ones were Thomas Cantwheel and Cantwheel’s daughter, Salina. Allegedly, of course. The reality is that they may not even have been Americans. By now, you can surely guess where they really came from. It was as a result of having pretty much unique access to all (and I do mean all) of Cooper’s files during that week in 2002 that I began to make a Russian connection to all of this. Without a doubt, the most controversial of all of the documents that were fed to Cooper by Cantwheel and Salina, is one titled Majestic Twelve Project, 1st Annual Report. Its subtitle makes the subject of the document clear: A Review of the President’s Special Panel to Investigate the Capture of Unidentified Planform Space Vehicles by U.S. Armed Forces and Agencies.

Oddly, the document lacks a date; however, it does not refer to any events or incidents that post-date 1951, which suggests it was written in that year. Or, it was written to make us think it was created in 1951. Cooper’s notes – the ones that I had access to in 2002 – show that he received the Report in three sections, rather than as one unified document. The cover-page turned up in Cooper’s Big Bear Lake mailbox on January 19, 1994. It was almost a year later – specifically on December 30, 1994 – when Cooper obtained the Table of Contents. And, the rest of the document was provided to him on February 22, 1995. The writer of the 1st Annual Report stated:

“BW [Biological Warfare] programs in U.S. and U.K. are in field test stages. Discovery of new virus and bacteria agents so lethal, that serums derived by genetic research, can launch medical science into unheard of fields of biology. The samples extracted from bodies found in New Mexico, have yielded new strains of a retro-virus not totally understood, but, give promise of the ultimate BW weapon. The danger lies in the spread of airborne and bloodborne outbreaks of diseases in large populations, with no medical cures available. Current research in U.S. and U.K., can be accelerated when studies are complete. Understanding the human makeup through EBE [“Extraterrestrial Biological Entity,” allegedly a term used by MJ12 to describe aliens] research will bring a varied wealth of information in how cells replicate themselves and may help in developing new drugs and markets. Healthcare industries are considered the best source of R&D for DoD programs.”

In “Annex A” of the report there’s this, which is equally controversial: “The Panel was concerned over the contamination of several SED personnel upon coming in contact with debris near the power plant. One technician was overcome and collapsed when he attempted the removal of a body. Another medical technician went into a coma four hours after placing a body in a rubber body-bag. All four were rushed to Los Alamos for observation. All four later died of seizures and profuse bleeding. All four were wearing protective suits when they came into contact with body fluids from the occupants. Autopsies on the four dead SED technicians are not conclusive. It is believed that the four may have suffered from some form of toxin or a highly contagious disease. Tissue samples are currently being kept at Fort Detrick, Md. In the opinion of the senior AEC medical officer, current medical equipment and supplies are wholly inadequate in dealing with a large scale outbreak of the alien virus.”

Now, let us take another look at certain, important threads that are contained in the 1st Annual Report. The Majestic 12 papers refer to a “new virus,” “a retro-virus not totally understood,” “bloodborne outbreaks of diseases,” “the ultimate BW [Biological Warfare] weapon,” “a highly contagious disease,” and the connection between “Healthcare industries” and “DoD [Department of Defense] programs.” Mirroring the above, it’s a fact that HIV is a retro-virus. It’s also a blood-borne virus. And, as the Department of State reported, the Russians were spreading a rumor that, “…the AIDS virus had been created in a U.S. military laboratory as a biological weapon.” The additional rumor was that shadowy elements of the U.S. pharmaceutical industry were in on the conspiracy. For those who hang onto this document as being real, it should be noted that (A) Fort Detrick was actually still named Camp Detrick when the document was supposedly written; and (B) the term “retro-virus” was not in use until the 1970s, which was decades after the report is alleged to have been put together.

In light of all these unsavory and undeniable parallels, it’s very easy to see how some people – of an extremely conspiratorial and deranged mind – might come to believe that the discovery of such a dangerous alien virus, in 1947, and the recovery of a crashed UFO in New Mexico, led to the creation of HIV. It’s a fact that of all the Majestic 12-themed papers that were provided to Cooper, it’s this one – more than any other – that provoked so much controversy. And, admittedly, the document is filled with suggestive threads that fit neatly within the parameters of the bogus AIDS conspiracy theory. I have concluded that this was the goal of the creators of the 1st Annual Report.

Now, we come to the matter of that curious name of Timothy Cooper’s primary informant, “Thomas Cantwheel.” It’s important to note that “Cantwheel” is not a real name. And it never has been a real name, either. It is, however, very similar to a genuine name. That of “Cantwell.” There may have been a very specific reason as to why “Cantwheel” chose that particular name when dealing with Cooper and with regards to a deadly virus with AIDS-like aspects attached to it. It might have been designed – as a less than subtle pointer – to have Cooper come to the conclusion that AIDS had been created by the U.S. Government. It just so happens that there is a Dr. Alan Cantwell. His AIDS-themed books include Queer Blood and AIDS and the Doctors of Death.

So, what do we have here? Well, we have tales of a highly dangerous retrovirus, of a Cantwell vs. a Cantwheel, of tainted blood, of big business in cahoots with the Pentagon. And, of a mysterious couple of informants who were never really identified and who vanished into the ether (or who went back to Moscow…) after handing over controversial files to a UFO researcher – Cooper – who thought he was getting the real deal. Put all of that together and what we have is a heady brew of controversial proportions. Not only that, Dr. Alan Cantwell concluded that Fort Detrick played a role in all of this – a facility that appears in Timothy Cooper’s Majestic 12/Cantwheel papers, too, in relation to research into a deadly alien virus, as you will recall.

So, what do we have here? I suggest that we have a very strange and highly alternative attempt, in the 1990s, to resurrect Russia’s “America created AIDS” disinformation program of the previous decade. But, this time (when The X-Files was extremely popular and the adventures of Mulder and Scully were reigniting U.S. public interest in UFOs) by carefully using crashed UFOs, dead aliens, and an extraterrestrial virus as the key components to the plot. All fabricated and completely bogus. Indeed, no-one should believe or conclude there is a real connection between HIV and extraterrestrials. It’s as ridiculous as it is offensive. For those who created the document, the problem was that Cooper chose to quit Ufology and sold all of his files to Bob Wood. And, when it came to the “viral” angle of all this, Cooper chose not to bite anyway. At least, as far as I could tell from his files, that is. Cooper may not even have appreciated the significance of the various, glaring threads, as well as that Cantwheel-Cantwell issue, which was strategically placed right in front of his eyes. Also, most of the UFO research community didn’t buy into the Cooper material. Thus, the result was that the UFOs-Aliens-U.S. Government-AIDS operation stalled and finally died. Let’s hope that it stays that way.

As I see it, all of this provides us with even more clues that suggest Russia created Majestic 12 – both the fictional group and the equally fictional documents.

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Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.
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