Get Up, Stand Up ... for the CIA: Dr. Lowell Taubman's Counterfeit Analysis of the Origins of Bob Marley's Cancer
By Alex Constantine
In January, I was a guest on James Whale's Sports Talk, an AM radio show that
airs in London, to discuss my latest book, The Covert War Against Rock (Feral
House, 2000), a study of a dozen or so rock star deaths as political
assassinations. Whale mentioned that he is a huge fan of the late Bob Marley. He
was generally receptive to the evidence I presented but adopted the usual
"devil's advocate" role when I responded to his question regarding Marley's
prolonged, agonizing death by cancer. I explained that it was my belief, after
examining events leading to the diagnosis, that Marley had been injected with a
This statement evidently alarmed Jahlight, the proprietor of the official Wailers UK Web site ( http://www.wailers.co.uk ). "While the James Whale show was on air," an anonymous spokesman for Jahlight later reported, "we e-mailed the station to point out some of the facts behind Bob's death. Unfortunately, by the time we made contact, the phone link with Constantine had ended but Mr. Whale was kind enough to read our message as the debate continued."
So the interview ended politely but statements were made about Marley's death and myself after the fact and I was not given an opportunity to respond. "Constantine seems to suggest that somehow the CIA gave Bob cancer," Jahlight reported in its newsletter, "an often told fairy tale that has sadly passed into Marley folklore."
Fairy tale? "The truth is that Bob died of a Melanoma - skin cancer, which
cannot be caused by smoking, neither can it be injected into the victim.
Constantine suggests that Marley was visited six months before by CIA officers,
and then fell seriously ill with cancer, forgetting the fact that cancer had
already been discovered in Bob three years earlier in 1977."
Was this the "truth?" Actually, I have never stated or written that Marley was injected with the unknown carcinogen six months before his death. This particular "truth" is fatuous. I DID say that the injection took place six months before he CONTRACTED cancer, IN LATE 1976, a week after a death squad hit on his home on Hope Road in Jamaica (The Covert War Against Rock, p. 153-54, has the details.).
Jahlight's "truth" was not exactly heaven-sent. If anyone was indulging in "fairy tales," it was Jahlight. "Somehow the CIA gave Bob cancer..." CIA experiments in the induction of cancer are well-known (see below) and not difficult to ascertain.
My Jahlight critic went on to imply that money was my motive for writing the book: "Also on the show he told stories of Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones, the latter in which he claims to have four eye-witness accounts to the late Rolling Stones murder. During the discussion, a telephone caller asked why some other artists had not been featured in the book, and tellingly Constantine revealed that if this book does well, he will feature them in a follow up."
I "told stories" about the deaths of Jones and Hendrix? Famed historian A.E. Hotchner, in Blown Away (Fireside, 1990), a book about the Rolling Stones, published interviews with the four eye-witnesses, all close friends of Brian Jones who had observed the forced drowning of the rock star at Cotchford Farms. The accused killer of Brian Jones even confessed on his deathbed - testimony acceptable in most courts of law (See, Murder Claims Raise Doubts over Rolling Stone's Death," Independent, April 4, 1994, p. 2). Anna Wohlin, one of the eye-witnesses, published The Murder of Brian Jones (1999), complementing Hotchner's conclusion that Jones had been murdered.
By this same token, I hadn't "told stories" about the death of Jimi Hendrix, either. Many of Hendrix's friends and associates have stated publicly that they believed the virtuoso was a victim of foul-play. The Covert War Against Rock contains a fairly thorough examination of the facts surrounding his death, and concludes that Jimi had, in fact, been murdered. (The Hendrix chapter is posted in full at http://alexconstantine.50megs.com/, in the Covert War section).
I do not apologize for my motives in writing the book. It was not written for
money. I have written about political assassinations for 14 years and profit has
never been a factor.
I responded to Jahlight's critique by e-mail. It was graciously published at the Wailers UK Web site with little comment. However, the site noted that anyone curious about Marley's cancer read an interview with Dr. Lowell Taubman (posted on the Net at file:///Macintosh%20HD/Desktop%20Folder/Dr.%20Taubman%20on%20Marley's%20Cancer). The interview aired on a Fox affiliate (a network on intimate terms with the CIA). This is the source of Jahlight's flat assertion that the Agency could not possibly have killed Bob Marley - a doctor who couldn't be bothered to review the medical records or speak to Marley's physician ... and has obviously has done no research on the CIA's experiments with toxic substances:
Lowell B. Taubman, MD
Q: What is your knowledge about Cancer?
A: I do not claim to be an expert in Dermatology or
Cancer, but I am a Board Certified Internist which is
a specialist in Internal Medicine, and I also completed
an extra 2 years of training in Geriatric Medicine.
Q: You are also a big Reggae fan. Did you follow the
Bob Marley Story? Please tell me about your knowledge.
A: I first heard Bob Marley in college, and I was asked to
write an article about Bob Marley's Cancer/Malignant
Melanoma. Some of the issues I addressed were genetic
transmission, black vs. white incidence, could the CIA
have given or transmitted the Cancer, could the Melanoma
have been injected into Bob, and finally could trauma
(hurting your toe) cause Melanoma....
Q: What is the treatment for this sort of thing, and did he
follow the treatment?
A: I should say that I have not seen the medical records,
nor have spoken to the physician.... I cannot say whether
the Melanoma was diagnosed or misdiagnosed appropriately....
Q: So you cannot speak with any authority on what the
treatment was or how he should have been treated.
A: Well, in the later stages I could. Most likely ...
Q: What do you think about this? Can someone inject
Melanoma into someone?
A: Well, to the best of my knowledge, it is NOT POSSIBLE.
I will try to simplify this. If I give you a piece of my
tissue to you, your body will reject it. So you cannot
take cancer from one person and inject it into another
person. Let me clarify that. It's sort of like a heart
transplant. For immunological reasons, the body would
reject the implanted tissue/heart. Science has now
figured out a way to block the tissue rejection with
Is it true that injecting a cancer-causing substance into a human body is "not possible?"
Edward T. Haslam, a political-medical researcher in northern California, is the author of Mary, Ferrie & the Monkey Virus: The Story of an Underground Medical Laboratory (Wordsworth Communications, 1995), one of the most penetrating books on CIA experimentation in recent years. The book details the history of one of many paths of federal experiments with carcinogenic viruses. Haslam: "In the 1950s and 1960s, Soviet scientists were ahead of U.S. scientists in certain areas of medical research, one of which was cancer-causing monkey viruses.... Whatever the motive, the U.S. government wanted the work done. The money was provided for researching monkey viruses through convenient channels, but the doctors were not supposed to talk about it. In the process, New Orleans became one of the leading centers of knowledge about immunology and retro-viruses. The doctors who specialized in pathology had access to this knowledge, to these monkeys and to their viruses."
"A History of Secret U.S. Government Programs," posted on a number of Internet sites, notes that as early as 1931, there has been documented federal interest in the creation of a cancer-causing agents: "Dr. Cornelius Rhoads, under the auspices of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Investigations, infects human subjects with cancer cells. He later goes on to establish the U.S. Army Biological Warfare facilities in Maryland, Utah, and Panama, and is named to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission." In 1975, "the virus section of Fort Detrick's Center for Biological Warfare Research is renamed the Fredrick Cancer Research Facilities and placed under the supervision of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) . It is here that a special virus cancer program is initiated by the U.S. Navy, purportedly to develop cancer-causing viruses."
Ironically enough, one site on the Net devoted to Bob Marley ( http://www.7mac.com/home/academy/CIA_reggae4.htm ), disagrees with Dr. Taubman, and asks: "DID THE CIA CAUSE MARLEY'S DEATH IN 1981 FROM CANCER?" The discussion concludes: "At least 9 years before Bob Marley's death to melanoma cancer, the capability of induced cancer in laboratory animals is reported to have been a fait accompli."
Perhaps Dr. Taubman is mistaken:
"Among our favorite research journals is Covert Action Quarterly. The Winter 1991-92 issue featured an exposť written by Richard Hatch entitled "Cancer Warfare." In the article, Hatch examines the history of research into possibly cancer-causing agents during the years immediately after then-President Richard Nixon's 1969 order to halt U.S. offensive weapons research and stockpiling of biological warfare (BW) agents. The government extracted big propaganda over the destruction of the Army's BW stocks of toxins, viruses and bacteria that had been developed as weapons of mass destruction. Less-known at the time was that certain of the stored materials, along with a number of BW researchers, went to work for other branches of the government, including the CIA and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The NCI, a wing of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), subsequently embarked upon "a highly politicized public relations effort" as part of Nixon's "War on Cancer."
According to Hatch's article, the "stated aim of the program was to organize experiments aimed at finding cancer-causing viruses." Hatch described the program as such: Potentially cancer-causing viruses were collected, grown in huge amounts, and distributed through the VCP; thousands of animals were infected experimentally, and the aerosol distribution of carcinogenic viruses was studied. As a key component of the NCI's Viral Cancer Program (VCP), the government enlisted the assistance of what Hatch calls "The Military-University Complex."
Chief among the numerous universities which became a part of this vast pseudo-biowarfare network are some of this country's most prestigious research colleges including Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland, University of Minnesota, Ohio State University and UC Berkeley (which helps manage the U.S. Naval Biosciences Laboratory). Some of this university-based research is quite alarming in its broad implications. Hatch continues: While UC Berkeley appears to have been at the heart of aerosol BW research, it was by no means alone. Other Universities collaborated with the BW effort while working on the VCP in parallel. From 1955 to 1965, the Ohio State University College of Medicine conducted research for Fort Detrick into the aerosol transmission of BW agents including tularemia and Q fever. In some of these studies, prisoners from the Ohio State Penitentiary were used as guinea pigs. Between 1952 and 1969, the affiliated Ohio State University Research Foundation had eight contracts with the U.S. Army for BW research. [Tularemia ("rabbit fever") and Q fever were ultimately stockpiled by the U.S. Army.]
Before he worked with UC, Dr. [Alfred] Hellman supervised an NCI contract for Ohio State University. Designed to study the aerosol transmission of cancer-causing viruses, this research started in 1965 and continued at least until 1972. The principal investigator for this work, Dr. Richard Griesemer, would eventually succeed in giving tumors to mice and monkeys. If the reported success of Richard Griesemer is accurate, we [can] determine that at least nine years before Bob Marley's death to cancer, the capability of induced cancer in laboratory animals is reported to have been a "fait accompli."
In addition, there was cooperation between the military research community and numerous corporations, including two major defense biosciences contractors: Charles Pfizer & Co. and Litton-Bionics. A number of notable researchers evolved from this network, some of which are associated with some of America's more sinister and secretive research. These include: Robert Gallo (NCI), Jack Gruber (NIH), Alfred Hellman (US Air Force), James Duff (US Army), Richard Griesemer (Department Of Energy-the agency exposed in 1993 for its involvement in widespread human radiation experiments) and Seymour Kalter (NCI). Throughout my extensive research into some of the greatest conspiracies of our time, certain of these names appear in the midst of some disturbing activities.
It serves us well to remember the names of such individuals and to remain vigilant to their activities In addition, this secret research into cancer-causing agents partially overlapped with the CIA's projects MK-ULTRA (covert human experimentation with psychedelic drugs and "other chemical agents") and MK-NAOMI (the agency's managing of biological toxins and diseases, some of which, as revealed in congressional hearings, were utilized in attempted assassinations of foreign leaders).
This becomes highly relevant when we consider that it is the CIA that is most suspected as having a clandestine influence in the lives and deaths of Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.
Yet Dr. Taubman's professional opinion comes to the opposite conclusion: "To
summarize ... it was highly unlikely that Bob was injected with Melanoma that
caused his cancer."
How "unlikely" is it when 40 years ago, a CIA experimenter could write in his journal: "... It was noted in the tests that the application of carcinogens does NOT always produce a malignancy.... It is noted that the methylcholanthrene failed to give a 100% result" (Mary, Ferrie & the Monkey virus, p. 193). The researcher, Haslem reports, "had better results with merasptopterin, aminopterin, anyivin, magnesium tracinate" (p. 194).
If cancer could be induced by the CIA in the early 1960s, why is it "not possible" in 1976?
Perhaps it was not so "unlikely" after all. The CIA had threatened to kill Bob Marely (see Catch a Fire, by Timothy White, for the full text of the threat and the reggae artists' CIA problems in general). He was the heart of the Rastafarian movement and its voice. Dr. Taubman offers no evidence of weight to refute the charge that the CIA DID kill Bob Marely. His statements to the contrary are, in fact, wrong-headed, even vaguely amusing to researchers of CIA subterfuge. But Taubman's (and Jahlight's) massive irresponsiblity in publicly exonerating the Agency is not amusing in the least.
Alex Constantine's Political Conspiracy Research Bin: