New documentary says SA group tried spreading AIDS to “cement white rule”

Cold Case Hammarskjöld premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this weekend, and it's packed with shocking revelations about the spread of AIDS.

It’s an allegation so heinous, it’s almost impossible to fathom. But Alexander Jones – an informant for the new Cold Case Hammarskjöld documentary – has brought the concept to cinema screens, explaining that a group called the South African Institute for Maritime Research (SAIMR) wanted to weaponise the spread of AIDS in the continent.

Jones, a former intelligence member for the outfit, claims that their motivations were to “cement white rule” in Southern Africa, by making plans to facilitate the spread of the disease throughout the 1980s and 90s. As The Guardian summarise, it was hoped that Mzansi could eventually become a “white majority” country.

AIDS as a weapon: Who is Keith Maxwell?

Keith Maxwell is identified as the brains behind this alleged operation. The former “commodore” of SAIMR posed as a philanthropist who wanted to help find a cure for AIDS – despite no medical training, he even opened up his own clinics in Johannesburg. But his methods have been severely probed by investigators.

One contributor to the documentary says that he administered “false injections”, pretending that he was helping when he was actually trying to use his patients as “guinea pigs” in his sick experiments. Later on in the film, Jones makes some gut-wrenching confessions.

What Alexander Jones accused Maxwell, SAIMR of:

  • Claims the group spread AIDS in Mozambique through their “medical conditions”.
  • Jones believes Maxwell’s clinics were purely used “for sinister experimentation”.
  • States that Maxwell was hellbent on “decimating” the black population
  • One of his inspirations was, apparently, to restore conservative Christian values in a liberal world.
  • Jones says Dagmar Feil – a SAIMR member concerned by their research – was murdered “because she was going to testify”. The family even approached the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but they didn’t investigate the matter.

There is something so transcendentally appalling about the thought of human experimentation being allowed to happen in South Africa. But during the reign of apartheid, no depth was too low to plunder.

Cold Case Hammarskjöld: Release date and information

Cold Case Hammarskjöld has been years in the making, but following a warm reception from the Sundance crowd, it’s full release is likely to accelerate to a nearer date. We know it will get a Scandinavian release date of 7 February, but the rest of the world must wait.

Andreas Rocksen co-produced and Mads Brügger directed Cold Case Hammarskjöld. It was supported by DocSoc.