It is unclear whether or not a Delaware State University professor will be disciplined for alleging in a Liberian newspaper that the U.S. government contributed to the Ebola outbreak by using citizens in some African countries as guinea pigs for secret human trials.
According to the Daily Observer, a newspaper based in Monrovia Liberia, Dr. Cyril Broderick, an associate professor with DSU’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Department, said that he decided to publish the letter in response to various Internet reports that implied that the African people are gullible and ignorant.
“I think I have the right to express my opinion especially if I speak the truth and I think it’s best for the truth to be spoken or else we will have worse things around then,” Broderick, born and bred in Liberia, said Friday when reached at his home in Dover.
He added, “I was trying to make sure that people are aware of this and can get some help.
Carlos Holmes, spokesman for Delaware State University, said that the issue is an ongoing personnel matter and could not comment on whether or not action would be taken against Broderick.
“I don’t know the source of his thoughts on the matter here as expressed in the Daily Observer article, but they do not come from any research going on at Delaware State University,” Holmes said.
“Dr. Broderick enjoys the same First Amendment rights as anyone else in this country.”
Broderick alleges that reports, which he does not cite, assert that the U.S. Department of Defense has been funding such human trials through a $140 million contract with Tekmira, a Canadian pharmaceutical company, just weeks before the Ebola epidemic ravaged West Africa.
He thinks the Ebola trials were designed as “biological weapons.”
People he personally knows have died from the horrific virus. As of Sept. 21 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported there have been 6,263 cases and 2,917 deaths from Ebola in Senegal, Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
“It’s just completely turned my whole inside out,” Broderick said.
A Washington Post article Thursday looked into Broderick’s claims and published comments from readers that suggest Broderick has promulgated misinformation about the deadly disease. The claims could contradict efforts by President Barrack Obama to deploy up to 3,000 troops to West Africa and commit over $700 million to fight the outbreak, the Post said.
Regardless, Broderick said that he is not concerned that his words will be misinterpreted by the people of Liberia and surrounding countries and cause mistrust of the aid workers in the area. In fact, he supports the military efforts.
“It was never the intent, I don’t think it [the letter] would be harmful,” he said.
Jen Rini can be reached at (302) 324-2386 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @JenRini on Twitter.