Dr. Mary’s Monkey
Edward T. Haslam (2007 TrineDay)
How the unsolved murder of a doctor, a secret laboratory in New Orleans and cancer-causing monkey viruses are linked to Lee Harvey Oswald, the JFK assassination and an emerging cancer epidemic
Dr Mary’s Monkey provides a detailed history of how the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines administered to three million baby boomers were accidentally contaminated with a cancer causing monkey virus known as Simian Virus 40 (SV-40). It also describes the massive cover-up initiated by the American Cancer Society and National Institutes of Health (NIH), which encouraged doctors to continue administering the contaminated vaccine.
The book skillfully interweaves the history of SV-40 with new information about Lee Harvey Oswald’s intelligence career released under the 1992 JFK Records Collection Act. Haslam focuses considerable attention on David Ferrie, a CIA pilot and Oswald’s long time friend and mentor. It’s believed that Ferrie first recruited Oswald to the CIA when he joined Ferrie’s Civil Air Patrol troop as a high school student.
Why Did Ferrie Keep Hundreds of Mice?
Haslam’s memoir clears up a mystery that has troubled assassination researchers for nearly 40 years – namely the discovery, by New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison, that Ferrie was performing medical research on hundreds of mice in his apartment
Dr Mary’s Monkey also relies on police reports, Freedom of Information Act records and the secret files of ex-FBI agent Guy Bannister (who played a key role with Oswald and Ferrie in a secret CIA program involving anti-Castro emigres), as well interviews with scientific and medical experts and acquaintances of orthopedist Dr Mary Sherman*, who was conducting secret SV-40 research at Tulane at the time of her apparent murder.
SV-40** and the Current Cancer Epidemic
SV-40, the monkey virus Dr. Mary Sherman and Ferrie were experimenting with, was first discovered in 1957. Originally known as “polyoma virus” (referring to its ability to cause multiple of tumors in mice), it was first identified by Drs Bernice Eddy and Sarah Stuart at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 1960 Eddy discovered that the monkey kidney cells used to prepare the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines were contaminated with SV-40.
Instead of withdrawing the vaccine, the NIH destroyed Eddy’s career. A year later two other virologists replicated Eddy’s findings, and two polio vaccine manufacturers voluntarily withdrew their vaccine. Although NIH reportedly took steps to ensure that batches coming to market after 1963 were SV-40-free, they allowed doctors to inoculate a million more children (worldwide) with contaminated vaccine.
The New Orleans Medical “Manhattan Project”
Haslam believes the top secret experiments Sherman, Ferrie and Baker conducted in 1963 involved irradiating SV-40 virus with a linear accelerator, with the intention of a creating a biological warfare agent. Their hope was to create a mutated virus that would cause a “galloping cancer” that would kill its victim within weeks. It was Ferrie’s job to sacrifice the mice, dissect the tumors and identify and extract viruses that seemed the most virulent.
Sherman was working under the direction of Dr Alton Ochsner, a staunch anticommunist and known FBI and CIA asset. Freedom of Information act records reveal the FBI released him in 1959 to take a “sensitive position” at Tulane. The position, Haslam believes, involved running a kind of medical Manhattan Project to create cancer causing viruses. Ochsner’s stated mission was to find a vaccine against SV-40, presumably to prevent an epidemic of soft tissue cancers in children exposed to SV-40 via the polio vaccine. Numerous documents and witness statements suggest the true intention was to create a cancer causing virus for use in the assassination of Fidel Castro.
Oswald (on both the CIA and FBI payroll in 1963) comes into the story as a chaperone for Judyth Baker, a 19 year old girl genius who was assisting Sherman and Ferrie in their experiments. According to Haslam, Oswald was also the courier assigned to smuggle the fatal virus into Cuba. This meant Baker had to train him to look after the special culture medium that kept it alive.
Although Haslam’s original intention was to identify Dr Mary Sherman’s killer, in the end he concludes she most likely died from accidental electrocution while operating the high voltage linear accelerator. The top secret nature of her biological warfare research made it essential to conceal the circumstances of her death. Thus her body was massively mutilated (to make it look like a sex crime) secretly removed to her apartment.
*A Farewell to Justice by Joan Mellen confirms Sherman’s role in secretive experiments at Tulane, in which viruses were bombarded with a linear accelerator.
**Haslam devotes an entire chapter to the likely role SV-40 exposure, via the polio vaccine, has likely played in the current epidemic of soft tissue cancers. He cites National Cancer Institute Data showing a 50% increase between 1973 and 1988 in skin, lymphoma, prostate and breast cancer.
The SV-49 Foundation maintains a website devoted to the collation of SV-40 research. Except for a rare cancer known mesothelioma and a type of brain cancer, the official position of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is “more research is needed” to establish a definitive link between SV-40 and human cancers.