An Interview with Dr. Robert Strecker
THE next morning, I tried contacting Strecker again. First I dialed what I thought was his published telephone number. Again, it rang continuously unanswered. Then I called the number directory assistance had given me for Dr. William Campbell Douglas, a physician from Clayton, Georgia, who had published an article entitled "WHO Murdered Africa," which supported Strecker's theory.
As in past attempts, a machine instructed me to leave a message.
I then left my 800 number and hung up.
Two days later I received a call from a Mr. William Douglass. I was delighted. He immediately informed me, however, that he was not the person I sought.
Finally! I thought as I quickly dialed the magic numbers, feeling the end of my frustration might be near.
"Hello, this is Dr. Strecker's office," a woman's kindly voice answered. Following a lengthy introduction, the woman informed me that Dr. Strecker was indeed alive, well, and practicing internal medicine in Needles, California. He was busy seeing patients, I was told, but I was assured he would return my call that evening.
I affirmed as I hung up the phone. Then I quickly relayed the good news to Jackie. The information on Strecker's whereabouts immediately helped to ease her concerns.
On the Line
That night, Robert Strecker returned my call with news about his ongoing crusade to bring the "truth to light." We spoke at length about our independent investigations, immediately developing the warm rapport that two black sheep isolated from the establishment's scientific flock might.
Pondering safety, I asked,
Following an illuminating conversation, Robert - as he preferred to be called - and I agreed to mail each other copies of our previous publications. He would send me a copy of 'The Strecker Memorandum,' which I still had not viewed, and I would send him 'Deadly Innocence,' which he had not heard about.
Then we also agreed to exchange interviews.
I set up a time to be a guest on "He Said/She Said," a radio program Strecker co-hosted with Betsy Prior on KGER-AM, Los Angeles, and he agreed to be interviewed for this book.
The Strecker Interview
Several weeks went by before we could coordinate our schedules for my telephone interview with Strecker. By this time, I had watched 'The Strecker Memorandum,' and considered, as Acer had, Strecker's position that AIDS had been "predicted, requested, created, and deployed." Strecker, I now knew, was a stocky, earnest-looking man in his late 40s or early 50s. His dark blond hair glistened as he spoke.
His wire-rimmed glasses and slightly graying temples portrayed a more mature, intelligent, demeanor than what his boyish face disguised. He spoke quickly and easily, accompanied by an unmistakable Midwestern drawl. He appeared to me to be a once all American, football hero type, whose athleticism and idealism was quickly dashed by the nature of medical education and academic politics.
I began the interview by reading from a list of questions I had prepared for Robert to answer:
[I felt the urge to interrupt Strecker at this point since I had questioned this same allegation before when Randy Shilts advanced it in 'The Band.' Instead, I remained silent, heeding my father's recommendation that I could, "learn more from listening than speaking."]
[If that was true, I considered, then Gallo would have also known about the Epstein-Barr virus effects, which I recalled he also published.  So I questioned Strecker:]
[I had not considered the possibility that Gallo and Montagnier had known about each other's work prior to 1978 as Shilts documented.]
[I sat up on the edge of my seat taken by the allegation. 'The Band' presented Francis as somewhat of a hero during his alleged conflict with Gallo and other NCI administrators over withholding support for AIDS research. I suspected he knew about Gallo's early research, and Strecker was now alleging the same.]
[That is interesting, I thought as I reflected on my recent tour of the National Holocaust Museum in Washington. The Nazis, I learned, had done extensive blood and genetics research in an effort to discriminate and exterminate mixed breeds from their racist and white supremacist world. A Russian-educated Polish researcher with Szmuness's credentials could have best survived Nazi-occupied Poland by joining the Nazi's research effort, or post-Nazi Poland by serving Russia.
The Gennan-owned Merck Company, after all, funded the study and produced the experimental and control vaccines] 
Strecker's latter remark took me by surprise. It was the first thing he said which to me made no sense.
[I felt intuitively uncomfortable with Strecker's explanation. I recalled his comments about Walter Nelson Reese which proved the Soviets knew far less about viral biotechnology than American researchers. Moreover, it seemed farfetched to believe the Russians had somehow managed to infiltrate the New York City Blood Center which appeared to be the starting point for the AIDS epidemic in America. This part of Strecker's theory would have required Szmuness, or one of his associates, to have been a secret agent working for Russia.]
[Problems with the 'communist theory' flooded my head. Strecker noted the Russians were way behind us in viral research. How would the Russians have gained access to the viruses in Gallo's or Merck's labs in the first place. Even if Szmuness had been a Russian agent, he would have needed to gain access to the viruses first in order to contaminate the vaccines.
Also, had the Russians created AIDS-like viruses shortly after Gallo surely did, then why had Gallo become the world's preeminent retrovirologist and not some Russian? Also the patents are worth millions. Why would the United States and not Russia hold the patents on the AIDS virus antibodies and cell lines?]
[Again, I thought, it makes more sense to place the source of the experimental AIDS viruses in Bethesda and not Russia given that the WHO had made the NCI, and not a Russian institution, the initial distributor of viral testing reagents [27-29]
And since the initial homosexual outbreak of AIDS was in New York, Szmuness and his New York colleagues along with Merck researchers seemed to be the prime suspects. Then I wondered whether there were any documented links between Gallo's group and Szmuness?]
[I was still a bit fuzzy.]
[Strecker then provided a unique, common sense, metaphor for the emergence of HIV.]
[We both laughed.]
[This sudden reference to the KGB threw me again. Somehow I needed to reconcile why Strecker, who believed the Russians may have brought AIDS to America, also recognized Fort Detrick as the source of the scourge.]
[That doesn't surprise me, I thought, reflecting on the alleged apology Gorbachev offered Reagan according to Covert's 'Cutting Edge.'] 
[Strecker seemed to relish that possibility and his notoriety.]
[I shuttered for a moment considering the fact that I was scheduled to visit Frederick on my way to present an AIDS education seminar in Western Pennsylvania later in the year.]
[Oh, God forbid, I thought. I hadn't heard that theory before. Given Strecker's obvious intelligence and formidable knowledge, his assertion startled me.]