For reasons well beyond Tuskegee, Black people are rightly suspicious of the COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out in “warp speed.” The Pfizer pharmaceutical company beat everyone to the punch by being the first COVID-19 vaccine to be granted Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA. There is an aggressive media and government campaign to “[push] Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans to the front of the [vaccine] line, ahead of whites.” The Department of Veterans Affairs has apparently determined that these groups will be given priority for receiving the vaccine once it is available, despite the fact that 60% of the COVID-19 cases and 61% of the deaths among veterans are white (16% and 22% are Black, respectively).
But Black people have every reason to be profoundly suspicious of Pfizer, as Pfizer has a history of doing horrendous medical experiments on Black people for profit. American drug companies routinely hop across borders in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America conducting risky drug experiments with little oversight. This is a legacy of the colonial view of “The Colony as Laboratory” for the Western powers. Foreign drug trials in the Third World are cheaper, faster, and provide huge pools of human guinea pigs for experimentation with minimal red tape or regulation. In 2006 Rep. Tom Lantos of California, the senior Democrat on the International Relations committee, cited an unconscionable Pfizer case as an example of “large pharmaceutical companies, both here and in Europe…using these poor, illiterate and uniformed people as guinea pigs.”
At the beginning of 1996 Pfizer was sitting on a new, potentially billion-dollar blockbuster drug, according to Wall Street analysts. The antibiotic Trovan was not yet approved by the FDA. Pfizer had enrolled thousands of adults in Trovan clinical trials and they wanted to debut the drug as a therapy for bacterial meningitis, but there were a number of problems. There was already an effective treatment for meningitis available, the antibiotic ceftriaxone. But Pfizer’s biggest problem was children. In order to gain maximum market share and achieve the predicted $1 billion per year from this drug, Pfizer needed to develop an oral form that proved safe for pediatric use. But Trovan had never been tested on children, and in animal models it caused liver toxicity and joint damage. In addition, bacterial meningitis was rare in the U.S. There were thus not enough children suffering from it for a convincing clinical trial. However, as luck would have it, a ready pool of children suffering from the disease had suddenly, coincidentally, and inexplicably become available—in Africa!
In 1996 an unprecedented epidemic of cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) erupted oddly in the Muslim half (the north) of Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa. This was Africa’s worst ever CSM outbreak. Hardest hit was Nigeria’s largest northern state, Kano. “For Pfizer, the timing was oddly fortuitous.” Together with the World Health Organization (WHO), Pfizer “volunteered” to help. Vaccines and effective antibiotics were already long in use and could have tamed this epidemic, but curiously these were not made adequately available. It is believed that local health officials were paid off in order to obstruct efforts to halt the epidemic.
The successful operation of Pfizer’s Kano Experiment relied on the corruption of the local healthcare system. Nigerian healthcare professionals were paid almost double their normal salary to participate in the study. Pfizer hired Nigerian doctor Abdulhamid Isa Dutse to run the Kano Experiment. However, Dutse was chief “only in name.” Actually, the experiment was directed totally from Pfizer’s U.S. office. Publications on Trovan inaccurately listed Dutse as the lead author, when in fact he was kept in the dark about experiment results; data that appeared in papers with his name on them was actually withheld from him. Later Dutse lamented: “I have trusted people and am disappointed. I regret the whole exercise, I wonder why on earth I did this.” However, after the Kano Experiment, Dutse ascended to the position of dean of the Kano medical school. Dutse’s role in the Kano Experiment seems analogous to the roles of Nurse Eunice Rivers, scapegoat for the U.S Public Service’s infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study, and of Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, made the face of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease COVID-19 vaccine today. On Oct. 5, 2020 Dr. Dutse walked into Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, suffered a cardiac arrest and died.
During a 1997 FDA audit of the Nigerian Trovan trial or “Kano Experiment,” Pfizer produced as proof of authorization a fraudulent letterhead document granting clearance for the trial by a Nigerian ethics committee that did not exist at the time. Dutse revealed later that Pfizer instructed him to concoct and backdate the fraudulent ethics committee letter.
In 2007 the state of Kano sued Pfizer for US $2.75 billion, while the Nigerian federal government sued for US $8.5 billion in damages, alleging that the pharmaceutical giant “pretended it came [to Nigeria] to render humanitarian service” but in actuality, “Pfizer devised a scheme under which it misrepresented and failed to disclose its primary motive in seeking to participate in giving care to the victims of the epidemic.” Nigeria even sought criminal charges against Pfizer officials, including the CEO at the time of the experiment, William Steer. To squash the case Pfizer continued to engage in unethical behavior. In 2010 a U.S. diplomatic cable uncovered by WikiLeaks revealed that Pfizer hired investigators to look for evidence of corruption against the Nigerian attorney general Michael Aondoakaa in an effort to persuade him to drop the legal action. The cable reported a meeting between Pfizer’s country manager, Enrico Liggeri, and U.S. officials at the Abuja embassy on April 9, 2009, discussing using leaks to the local media to pressure the Nigerian attorney general to drop the cases against Pfizer. This effort failed. In 2011 Pfizer began making payments to the victims involved in the suit as part of a $75 million settlement. In the end, an incredible and unprecedented 12,000 Nigerians died from meningitis in the curious 1996 epidemic, despite the “help” pledged by the WHO and by Pfizer.
Now, that same Pfizer is trialing a brand new, never-before seen experimental vaccine platform—the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine—and Black people are to be “prioritized” in this grand experiment! The innovative and terrifying mRNA vaccine is the brainchild of a secretive Pentagon agency, a military technology R&D named the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. DARPA, as it is commonly known, “specializes in turning science fantasies into realities” but for military purposes. DARPA doesn’t actually invent things itself. Instead, it outsources its scientific tasks to universities, military labs and defense contractors, such as Pfizer and Moderna. Pfizer has been an important military contractor for decades, receiving hundreds of millions of dollars to do research and development for the Pentagon, including biodefense contracts as far back as 2013. In that year DARPA awarded Pfizer a $7.7 million contract to innovate the type of mRNA vaccine platform that is now being rolled out in “warp speed.” DARPA awarded Moderna a similar contract of up to $25 million in 2013 as well. Thus, behind both Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine BNT162b2 and Moderna’s mRNA vaccine mRNA-1273 is DARPA. This COVID-19 vaccine is thus a piece of military technology. And Black people are being invited to cut to the front of the line.
Yeah, we should be deeply suspicious.
This would not be the first time the government would have operationalized mass vaccinations for covert military purposes. In 2012 Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta confirmed the CIA’s unethical use of the cloak of public health and medicine to advance a military-intelligence objective by making operational use of vaccination programs. For example, the Taliban of Afghanistan and Pakistan have vigorously opposed polio vaccination campaigns in their lands, charging that the U.S runs a spy network under the guise of these vaccine programs and also sterilizes Muslim children. Neither of these charges are mere “conspiracy theory” as they have been proven true.
In 2010 the CIA initiated a clandestine mission to locate (and then kill) Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan through the use of a fake “free vaccination” program targeting Pakistani women and children in areas surrounding Bin Laden’s presumed hideout. CIA agents recruited senior Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi to organize a sham hepatitis B vaccination operation and paid generous sums to health workers used in the plot. Nurses would travel from house to house looking for women ages 15 to 45 to cajole into taking their needle. Mothers were paid to vaccinate their children. But none were given an actual Hep B vaccine. Rather, blood was drawn and then some concoction was injected into them. The aim of this vaccine ruse was allegedly the extraction of DNA from children of Bin Laden to confirm that he was in the area. Spies posing as polio vaccinators got close to Bin Laden’s home. The clandestine mission was apparently successful and on May 2, 2011 the U.S. Navy Seals raided the three-story compound in the suburb of Abbottabad and killed Osama Bin Laden. The Taliban was proved correct to reject the free vaccinations of Western-affiliated campaigns, as these campaigns were indeed cover for military/intelligence operations.
Thus, for reasons well beyond Tuskegee, Black people are rightly suspicious of the COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out in “warp speed.”