Military disseminated AIDS to exterminate black population

Red ribbon, symbol of the fight against AIDS

Former members of the group will have acted under Keith Maxwell, the eccentric leader of the shadowy South African Maritime Research Institute, who advocated a white-majority country where "the excesses of the 60s 70s and 80s would have no place in the post-AIDS world".

A South African paramilitary unit that operated during the "apartheid" was conceived to infect the country's black population with AIDS and in Mozambique, according to a documentary whose contents were released by the British newspaper Independent.

The group leader is accused of having introduced himself as a philanthropist doctor to give false injections to black South African citizens.

"A grim paramilitary unit from the apartheid era was planned in order to infect the black population", the paper writes today in the documentary called "Cold Case Hammarskjold".

A former member of the institute (SAIMR) said the group "spread the virus" under the orders of Maxwell.

Speaking to the authors of that documentary, the former secret service officer at the institute Alexandre Jones said that Maxwell, who had few medical qualifications, established himself as a doctor treating poor black people in South Africa.

"What is the easiest way to get a guinea pig when you live in an apartheid regime?", said Jones in the documentary, which premieres this weekend at the Sundance Film Festival.

"Black people had no rights, they needed medical care. There is a white 'philanthropist' coming in and saying 'I'm going to open these clinics and treat you' and yet it's just a wolf in sheep's clothing", he said.

The authors of the documentary found a sign announcing the services of a "Dr. Maxwell" in Putfontein, near Johannesburg, and spoke to local people who remember a man who had a virtual monopoly in health care despite offering weird treatments.

Jones said that SAIMR also worked outside South Africa, referring in the documentary: "We were involved in Mozambique, spreading the AIDS virus through clinical conditions".

It is believed that SAIRM had secret links with the armed forces of the apartheid in South Africa.

He was also accused of working with the British secret services and the American CIA to assassinate the United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold.

The Swedish Secretary-General, a supporter of decolonization, died in mysterious circumstances when his plane exploded before landing in Zambia in 1961.

He tried to mediate peace between the newly independent Congo and the separatist province of Katanga.

In 1998, South Africa's post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission revealed to have found letters on SAIMR letterhead that seemed to suggest that the British secret services and the CIA had agreed that "Hammarskjold should be removed," writes the Independent.