The following year, Mbeki ordered the formation of an international AIDS advisory panel comprising thirty-three scientists, one-third of whom claimed that the standard HIV model of AIDS transmission was wrong. World-renowned virologists and rebel scientists were given equal time.
The panel was panned by news services around the world. Dr. Jerry Coovadia, a physician at the University of Natal, wrote an op-ed in South Africa's Sunday Independent entitled "Leave Science to the Scientists, Mr. President." Another op-ed in Newsday was more scathing still: "A person can be so open-minded," it said of Mbeki, "that his brains fall out!"
[In August 2000, the health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, forwarded an anonymous memo to various officials, addressed to all African health ministers, claiming that AIDS was intentionally spread among Africans by Western nations through smallpox vaccines. She also attached a chapter from William Cooper's book Behold a Pale Horse alleging involvement in the conspiracy by extraterrestrials and the Illuminati.]