The AIDS Conspiracy: KGB and Stasi Disinformation | Wilson Center
5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

The AIDS Conspiracy: KGB and Stasi Disinformation

The Woodrow Wilson Center’s History and Public Policy Program, in cooperation with the Office of the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records, presents

The AIDS Conspiracy: KGB and Stasi Disinformation

Tuesday, 28 October, 2014, 3:00pm-5:00pm
Woodrow Wilson Center, 5th Floor Conference Room

Event description: In the second half of the 1980s, the KGB conducted an international disinformation campaign accusing the US of having artificially constructed the virus that causes AIDS at the Pentagon’s laboratory for biological warfare in Fort Detrick, Maryland. On the basis of his research with scholar Christopher Nehring in the archives of the former communist secret police in Bulgaria, Germany, and the Czech Republic, Douglas Selvage will present new details about the disinformation campaign and the key supporting role played by the KGB’s “fraternal organ,” the East German Ministry of State Security, or Stasi.  Among the findings: The free media in West Germany played a central, if unwitting role, as multipliers of the KGB’s disinformation thesis; a cycle of misinformation and disinformation arose between conspiracy theorists in the US and the Soviet bloc’s secret police; and the Fort Detrick-thesis continues to circulate around the globe yet today with dire political and medical consequences.  


  • Christian F. Ostermann

    Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
    Woodrow Wilson Center
  • Thomas Boghardt

    Senior Historian, US Army Center for Military History