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Finding aid of the Alan Cantwell Papers

Finding aid prepared by Mor Fleisher-Leach, © 2009

Summary Information

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
Cantwell, Alan, 1934-
Alan Cantwell papers
Collection no.
Date [inclusive]
4.0 linear feet.
General Physical Description note
2 records boxes + 3 archive cartons + 1 archive half-carton , (4.0 linear feet).
Correspondence, articles, books, clippings, ephemera and audiovisual materials collected and created by Alan Cantwell during the course of his research relating to the theory that the AIDS epidemic is a man-made creation, its link to cancer bacteria, and the Hepatitis B experiments conducted on gay men from 1978-1981. The materials also discuss biological warfare, radiation, genocidal issues, and HIV. Included are a number of articles and books written by Cantwell as well as research material he used for his body of work. The authors of the research material include Robert Gallo, Virginia Livingston and Robert Strecker.

Preferred Citation

Alan Cantwell papers, Coll2009-008, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.

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Alan Cantwell was born in the Bronx, New York City, on January 4, 1934. His father was an orthopedic surgeon and his mother a nurse. He attended Cornell University and graduated in 1955, followed by medical school at New York Medical College. After graduating in 1959, he served an internship at Mercy Hospital in San Diego, CA.

Cantwell was inducted into the Army in September 1960 and served as a Captain in the Medical Corps until his discharge in 1962. Immediately afterward he started a dermatology residency at the Long Beach Veteran's Hospital in Long Beach, CA. Upon completion of the residency in 1965, Cantwell joined the Dermatology department of the Southern California Permanente Medical Group at the Kaiser Hospital in Hollywood, CA, where he remained his entire medical career. He retired from the hospital in 1994 at the age of 60.

During his dermatology training Cantwell discovered and later reported on tuberculosis-like bacteria in scleroderma, a disease of unknown etiology. Soon thereafter, he learned of the prior scleroderma research of Virginia Livingston, M.D., who practiced in San Diego. She first discovered "acid-fast TB-like bacteria" in scleroderma in 1974, and went on to discover similar bacteria in various forms of cancer. Livingston and her colleagues Eleanor Alexander-Jackson, Irene Diller and Florence Seibert became Cantwell's mentors during his many years of investigation into unrecognized bacteria in lupus, various forms of cancer, and AIDS. This "cancer microbe" research is considered highly controversial, and is generally ignored by the mainstream medical community.

In the summer of 1986, Livingston invited Cantwell to her home to meet Robert Strecker, M.D., a Los Angeles internist who claimed that the AIDS epidemic was man-made. Initially Cantwell was skeptical of his claims that the origin of the so-called "gay-disease" resulted from contaminated vaccines stemming from the hepatitis B experiments, which used gay men as research subjects in various U.S. cities during the years 1978-1981. Strecker achieved notoriety with his controversial video The Strecker Memorandum (1988), currently available on

Very early in the AIDS epidemic, when the causative agent (HIV) was unknown, Cantwell reported on acid-fast bacteria in "classic" pre-AIDS cases of Kaposi's sarcoma. Later Cantwell showed similar bacteria in the AIDS-related KS lesions of AIDS, as well as in AIDS-damaged tissue at autopsy. Thus, from the very beginning of the epidemic, it was Cantwell's belief that AIDS was a disease closely allied to cancer. None of this published research was accepted, and by 1984 HIV was discovered and declared the sole cause of AIDS.

In 1983 Cantwell wrote the first book by a physician on the subject of the AIDS epidemic. Unable to find an interested publisher, he established Aries Rising Press, and published AIDS: The Mystery And The Solution himself. The theme of the book was that "cancer bacteria" were heavily implicated in the new and mysterious disease. The book was published in April, 1984, the same month that the public was informed that AIDS was caused by HIV, a new and novel virus discovered by Robert Gallo, M.D., at the National Cancer Institute.

Because of his personal AIDS scientific research, Cantwell took an avid interest in determining if there was scientific evidence to support Strecker's claim. After months of research, he became convinced that Strecker's claim that AIDS was a man-made disease had merit. This research took Cantwell into dark areas of science, such as biological warfare, human radiation experimentation by the US government, genocidal issues, and ultimately into various aspects of conspiracy theories and questionable media manipulation surrounding the origin of AIDS.

In 1988, Cantwell published AIDS And The Doctors of Death: An Inquiry Into the Origin of the AIDS Epidemic, his first book detailing the theory of the man-made origins of the AIDS epidemic. In 1993, he published additional evidence in  Queer Blood: The Secret AIDS Genocide Plot. These books delve deeply in the cancer research of Livingston, Alexander-Jackson, Diller, Seibert, and dozens of other cancer microbe researchers dating back to the nineteenth century.

Although the scientific community expresses minimal or no interest in the bacteriology of cancer and the man-made origin of AIDS, Cantwell's work has drawn the interest of editors of alternative health and conspiracy theory periodicals, and he has written for magazines such as New Dawn (out of Australia),  Paranoia Magazine,  Nexus,  The New African, and others. Various personal articles can be found online, particularly on the controversial, and various scientific articles can be found on the website of the  Journal of Independent Medicalk Research (

Cantwell's research on the man-made origins of AIDS research has inspired two fictional plays: Mixed Blood (1990), by Aubrey Hampton; and  The Man Who Created AIDS (1992), by Christian Anders.

Cantwell has lived in the Hollywood area since 1962. He met his life partner, Frank A. Sinatra, in 1974. On October 19, 2008, the two were married in West Hollywood.

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Scope and Content of Collection

The Alan Cantwell Papers are comprised of materials received, created and collected by Alan Cantwell concerning the theory that the AIDS epidemic is a man-made creation targeted at homosexual males. The bulk of this collection is composed of original and photocopied articles as well as books; and there is one small box of audiovisual materials. Materials created by Cantwell include articles, books written and published by Cantwell on Aries Rising Press-his own publishing company-and one DVD of lectures given at the 2006 Autoimmunity Conference in Los Angeles. Materials by others that relate to Cantwell's work include articles, books and audiovisual materials about: the origin of AIDS; animal experimentation; biological warfare; bacteria; cancer; HIV; Kaposi's sarcoma; Hepatitis B experimentations conducted on homosexual males starting in 1978 and their aftermath; gay rights; tuberculosis; vaccination; the medical community; and radiation. Authors of these materials include Robert Gallo, Robert Biggar, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Virginia Livingston, and Robert Strecker. The collection contains four Virus Cancer Annual Reports from 1973, 1974, 1976 and 1977 that Cantwell studied extensively while conducting his research. The collection also includes ephemera, publications, and audiovisual materials relating to two plays-- Mixed Blood (1990) and  The Man Who Created AIDS (1992)--inspired by Cantwell's research.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
© 2009
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, California, 90007
(213) 821-2771


The collection is open to researchers with exception of folder 1:49, which is confidential.

Publication Rights

Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in writing from ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives as the physical owner. Researchers must also obtain clearance from the holder(s) of any copyrights in the materials. Note that ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives can grant copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold the copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for all other materials directly from the copyright holder(s).

Acquisition Information

Gift of Alan Cantwell, M.D., February 20, 2009.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Mor Fleisher-Leach, August 31, 2009.

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Controlled Access Headings


  • AIDS (Disease)--Epidemiology
  • AIDS (Disease)--Etiology
  • AIDS (Disease)--Popular works
  • Cancer--Microbiology--Research--History

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Collection Inventory

Series 1:  Series 1: Origin of AIDS -- Research Files 1967-2008   49.0 folders.

Series Scope and Content Summary

Series one contains materials by Cantwell and others that relate to Cantwell's theoretical work. Subjects discussed include: the origin of AIDS; animal experimentation; biological warfare; bacteria; cancer; HIV; Hepatitis B; gay rights; tuberculosis; vaccination; the medical community; and radiation.

Box Folder

 AIDS autopsy studies 1985 

1 1

 AIDS -- CDC 1983 -- first 1000 cases 1983 

1 2

 AIDS -- celebrity deaths 1992 - 1995 

1 3

 AIDS -- man-made conspiracy 1986 - 1996 

1 4

 AIDS -- media articles 1982 - 1993 

1 5

 AIDS -- origin -- general articles 1979 - 1998 

1 6

 AIDS -- origin -- "old cases" -- pre-AIDS 1983 - 1995 

1 7

 AIDS -- origin -- London Times story 1987 - 1988 

1 8

 AIDS -- origin 1981, 2001 

1 9

 AIDS -- origin in chimps 1998 - 2001 

1 10

 AIDS is man-made -- black celebrities 1991 - 1998 

1 11

 Animal experimentation -- pre-AIDS 1972 - 1989 

1 12

 Biggar, Robert -- Danish AIDS researcher in Africa/AIDS origin 1981 - 1998 

1 13

 Biohazard Conference -- Cold Spring Harbor 1973/meeting at Asilomar, CA 1973 

1 14

 Biowarfare -- human experiments 50s-70s -- Los Angeles Times 1976 - 2000 

1 15

 Biowarfare Congressional Hearings -- 1969 -- prediction of "AIDS" 1969, 1987 

1 16

 Cantwell, Alan -- Do TB-type bacteria cause AIDS? Nexus September 2008 

1 17

 Cantwell, Alan -- Media publications (selected reprints) 1982 - 2008 

1 18

 Cantwell, Alan -- Rev. Wright was right about man-made AIDS, Paranoia Fall 2008 

1 19

 Cantwell, Alan -- Scientific publications (selected reprints) 1979 - 1998 

1 20

 Clemmesen, J. -- predicts "AIDS" 1973 

1 21

 Friedman-Kien, A., M.D. -- detected first NYC KS cases/AIDS researcher 1981 - 1994 

1 22

 Gallo, Robert, M.D. -- co-discoverer of HIV in 1984 1983 - 2000 

1 23

 Gay Men's Health Crisis/New York City 1982 

1 24

 Gay Rights struggle 1970s -- pre-AIDS 1977 - 1993 

1 25

 Genetic engineering 1967, 1991 

1 26

 Haitians -- AIDS, tuberculosis 1983 

1 27

 Hampton, Aubrey -- playwright produced Mixed Blood (m-mAIDS) 1990, Tampa FL 1990 - 1999 

1 28

 HIV -- "ancient origin" -- computer molecular analysis to determine time of origin 2000 

1 29

 HIV -- false-positive HIV test from flu shots 1991 

1 30

 Ho, David, M.D. -- Time Man of the Year 1997 AIDS researcher 1996 - 1999 

1 31

 Kaiser-Permanente -- unethical vaccine experiments on children (1989-1991) 1992 - 1997 

1 32

 Keske, Tom -- engineer, AIDS activist -- statistical analysis hep B gay expert SF, CA 2000 

1 33

 Kramer, Larry -- AIDS activist -- ACT-UP -- writer, playwright 1991 - 2001 

1 34

 Krim, Matilde -- Head, AMFAR, NYC 1987 - 1990 

1 35

 Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth -- author Death and Dying -- hospice developer 1990 - 1997 

1 36

 LEMSIP -- primate lab, NY, closed 1997 -- connections with NY Bd Ctr/hep B experiments 1996 - 2001 

1 37

 Luria, Sal -- microbiologist, Nobel Laureate -- warned dangers biowarfare 1968 

1 38

 Montagnier, Luc -- Discoverer of HIV at Pasteur/Origin of AIDS 1986 - 1992 

1 39

 New York Blood Center -- site of Hepatitis B gay vaccine experiments, NYC, 1978-1981 1996 - 1997 

1 40

 New York Native -- gay weekly published extensively on AIDS, now defunct 1984 - 1991 

1 41

 Radiation -- unethical, secret human radiation experiments on US population Cold War 1993 - 2001 

1 42

 Shilts, Randy -- author, promoted myth of "patient zero" -- man who brought AIDS to US 1987 - 1994 

1 43

 Strecker, Robert, M.D. -- CA internist -- first physician to go public with man-made AIDS 1972 - 1992 

1 44

 Vancouver AIDS study -- attempts to prove that HIV is the sole cause of AIDS 1993 

1 45

 Vilab -- Liberia, Africa primate center established 1975 pre-AIDS 2000 - 2001 

1 46

 Virus Cancer Program, 1968-1980 -- the animal virus transfer that spawned the epidemic 1972 - 1994 

1 47

 WHO-World Health Organization -- vaccine programs in Africa produced AIDS? 1987 - 1992 

1 48

 Toungstein, Kenneth -- insider on pre-AIDS primate lab in Africa 2000 

1 49

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Series 2:  Series 2: Origin of AIDS -- Hepatitis B Experiment Files 1973-2003   14.0 folders.

Series Scope and Content Summary

Series two contains materials about the Hepatitis B vaccine experimentation conducted on homosexual males starting in 1978 and their aftermath.

Box Folder

 AIDS -- European gay men's studies 1982 - 1996 

1 50

 Francis, Donald, M.D. -- conducted some hep B vaccine trails in gay men 1977 - 1996, nd 

1 51

 Hepatitis B -- general information 1963 - 1994 

1 52

 Hepatitis B vaccine -- Africa 1973 - 1984 

1 53

 Hepatitis B vaccine -- development 1976 - 1992 

1 54

 Hepatitis B vaccine -- Pasteur, Paris, France 1981 

1 55

 Hepatitis B vaccine -- safety 1982 - 2000 

1 56

 Hepatitis B vaccine experiment -- Holland 1983 - 1999 

1 57

 Hepatitis B vaccine experiment -- NY Aftermath -- File #1 1975 - 2002 

1 58

 Hepatitis B vaccine experiment -- NY Aftermath -- File #2 1979 - 2003 

1 59

 Hepatitis B vaccine experiment -- NY Blood Center (1978-1981) 1979 - 1982 

1 60

 Hepatitis B vaccine experiment -- San Francisco, CA 1982 - 1993 

1 61

 Szmuness, Wolf, M.D. -- headed the hep B vaccine experiment 1978, NYC, died 1982 1976 - 1990 

1 62

 Miscellaneous items found in books 1978-2002 


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Series 3:  Series 3: Virus Cancer Annual Reports 1973-1977   4.0 folders.

Series Scope and Content Summary

Series three contains four Virus Cancer Annual Reports from 1973, 1974, 1976 and 1977. Cantwell studied these reports extensively while conducting his research.

Box Folder

 National Cancer Institute. The Virus Cancer Program Annual Report. Washington, D.C. August 1973 

1 64

 National Cancer Institute. The Virus Cancer Program Annual Report. Washington, D.C. August 1974 

2 1

 National Cancer Institute. The Virus Cancer Program Annual Report. Washington, D.C. August 1976 

2 2

 National Cancer Institute. The Virus Cancer Program Annual Report. Washington, D.C. August 1977 

2 3

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Series 4:  Series 4: Books 1957-2007   38.0 items.

Series Scope and Content Summary

Series four contains books written by Cantwell and others. The books relate to the theory of man-made AIDS and its origin; the history of the AIDS epidemic; vaccines and cell contamination; microbiology of AIDS, cancer and Kaposi's sarcoma; and biological warfare and human experimentation.

Box Folder

 Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments. Final Report. New York: Oxford University Press 1996 

5 1

 Bluefarb, Samuel M. Kaposi's Sarcoma: Multiple Idiopathic Hemorhagic Sarcoma. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publishers c1957 

3 1

 Brown, Raymond Keith. AIDS, Cancer and the Medical Establishment. Revised. New York: Trizoid Press c1993 

3 2

 Broxmeyer, Lawrence. AIDS: What the Discoverers of HIV Never Admitted: Is AIDS Really Caused by a Virus?. 3rd edition. Chula Vista, CA: New Century Press c2003 

3 3

 Cantwell, Alan R. "AIDS, A Doctor's Note on the Man-Made Theory," in Hindell, Al, and D'Arc, Joan. The Conspiracy Reader. Citadel Press. Secaucus, NJ: Carol Publishing Group c1999   Pages 275-288.

3 4

 Cantwell, Alan R. AIDS and the Doctors of Death: An Inquiry into the Origin of the AIDS Epidemic. Los Angeles: Aries Rising Press c1988 

3 5

 Cantwell, Alan R. AIDS: The Mystery and the Solution. 2nd edition, revised. Los Angeles: Aries Rising Press 1986 

3 6

 Cantwell, Alan R. "Biological and Chemical Warfare," in Hindell, Al, and D'Arc, Joan. The New Conspiracy Reader. Citadel Press. New York: Kensington Publishing Corp 2004   Pages 253-289.

3 7

 Cantwell, Alan R. "Bionous Breakdown in Degenerative Disease," Journal of Orgonomy, Vol. 25, No. 2 November 1991   Pages 191-202.

3 8

 Cantwell, Alan R. The Cancer Microbe: The Hidden Killer in Cancer, AIDS, and other Immunologic Diseases. Los Angeles: Aries Rising Press 1990 

3 9

 Cantwell, Alan R. Four Women Against Cancer: Bacteria, Cancer and the Origin of Life. Los Angeles: Aries Rising Press 2005 

3 10

 Cantwell, Alan R. Queer Blood: The Secret AIDS Genocide Plot. Los Angeles: Aries Rising Press 1993 

3 11

 Cantwell, Alan R., and Blasband, Richard A. "Bionous Tissue Disintegration in AIDS," Journal of Orgonomy, Vol. 22, No. 2 November 1988   Pages 220-226.

3 12

 Chirimuuta, Richard C., and Chirimuuta, Rosalind J. AIDS, Africa and Racism. Stanhope, Derbyshire, UK: R. Chirimuuta 1987 

3 13

 Crewdson, John. Science Fictions: A Scientific Mystery, A Massive Cover-Up, and the Dark Legacy of Robert Gallo. Boston: Little, Brown and Co 2002 

3 14

 Douglass, William Campbell. AIDS: The End of Civilization. Brooklyn, NY: A&B Books Publishers 1992 

3 15

 Fettner, Ann Giudici. The Science of Viruses: What They Are, Why They Make Us Sick, How They Will Change the Future. New York: Quill/William Morrow and Co c1990 

3 16

 Fettner, Ann Giudici, and Check, William A. The Truth About AIDS: Evolution of an Epidemic. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston c1984 

3 17

 Gallagher, Carole. American Ground Zero: The Secret Nuclear War c1993 

4 1

 Gallo, Robert. Virus Hunting: AIDS, Cancer and the Human Retrovirus. New York: Basic Books c1991 

3 18

 Gold, Michael. Conspiracy of Cells: One Woman's Immortal Legacy and the Medical Scandal it Caused. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press c1986 

3 19

 Goliszek, Andrew. In the Name of Science: A History of Secret Programs, Medical Research, and Human Experimentation. New York: St. Martin's Press 2003 

4 2

 Gottlieb, Geoffrey J., and Ackerman, A. Bernard, eds. Kaposi's Sarcoma: A Text and Atlas. Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger 1988 

4 3

 Greene, Gayle. The Woman Who Knew Too Much: Alice Stewart and the Secrets of Radiation. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press c1999 

3 20

 Harris, Robert, and Paxman, Jeremy. A Higher Form of Killing: The Secret Story of Chemical and Biological Warfare. New York: Hill and Wang 1982 

3 21

 Haslam, Edward T. Mary's Monkey. Waterville, OR: TrineDay c2007 

3 22

 Hess, David J. Can Bacteria Cause Cancer? Alternative Medicine Confronts Big Science. New York: New York University Press c1997 

3 23

 Horowitz, Leonard G. Emerging Viruses: AIDS and Ebola, Nature, Accident or International?. Rockport, MA: Tetrahedron c1996 

3 24

 Jones, James H. Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment. New and expanded edition. New York: Free Press c1993 

3 25

 Kübler-Ross, Elisabeth. AIDS: The Ultimate Challenge. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co c1987 

3 26

 Lee, Robert E. AIDS: An Explosion of the Biological Time Bomb?. Prospect, CT: Biographical Publishing Co 2000 

3 27

 Livingston, Virginia Wuerthele-Caspe. Cancer: A New Breakthrough c1972 

3 28

 Livingston-Wheeler, Virginia, with Addeo, Edmond G. The Conquest of Cancer: Vaccines and Diet. San Diego, CA: Livingston Foundation Medical Center c1984 

3 29

 Livingston-Wheeler, Virginia, and Wheeler, Owen Webster. The Microbiology of Cancer: 1. Compendium. San Diego, CA: Livingston Wheeler Medical Clinic c1977 

3 30

 McCormick, Joseph B., and Fisher-Hoch, Susan, with Horvitz, Leslie Alan. Level 4: Virus Hunters of the CDC. Atlanta, GA: Turner Publishing c1996 

3 31

 Miller, Neil Z. Vaccine Safety Manual for Concerned Families and Health Professionals. Santa Fe, NM: New Atlantean Press c2008 

3 32

 Montagnier, Luc. Virus: The Co-Discoverer of HIV Tracks its Rampage and Charts the Future. New York: WW Norton and Co c2000 

3 33

 Piller, Charles, and Yamamoto, Keith R. Gene Wars: Military Control over the New Genetic Technologies. New York: Beech Tree Books / William Morrow c1988 

4 4

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Series 5:  Series 5: Audiovisual Materials 1988-2006   7.0 items.

Series Scope and Content Summary

Series five contains audiovisual materials, including one DVD of lectures given at the 2006 Autoimmunity Conference in Los Angeles; a taped performance of The Man Who Created AIDS (a play written about Cantwell's work); and other materials relating to AIDS.

Box Folder

 Cantwell, Alan R. Dr. Alan Cantwell Lectures, Presented at the Autoimmunity Conference, Los Angeles 2006   1 videodisc (DVD) : 4 3/4 in. ; 75:08 min.

Scope and Contents note

1. The Cancer Microbe and the Russell Body (35:08 min.); 2. The Cancer Microbe in AIDS and Kaposi's Sarcoma (40:00 min.).

6 1

 Cantwell, Alan R.; Horowitz, Len; Haslam, Edward T.; and Nicholson, Garth L. Biowar Forum -- Virus Makers of the CIA, moderated by Dave Emory. Produced in cooperation with KFJC-FM Los Altos Hills, CA, and Dave Emory's  One Step Beyond. Rockport, MA: Tetrahedron Inc c1997   2 audiotapes ; 1/4 in. ; 180 min.

6 2

 History Channel, Declassified Human Experimentation. A&E Television Networks c1999   1 videocassette (VHS) : 1/2 in. ; 50:00 min.

6 3

 Horowitz, Leonard G. Emerging Viruses: AIDS, Ebola & Vaccinations. Rockport, MA: Tetrahedron c1997   1 videocassette (VHS) : 1/2 in.

6 4

 Lanoo (Christian Anders). The Man Who Created AIDS. Stoneman Production c1992   2 videocassettes (VHS) : 1/2 in. ; 240:00 min.

Scope and Contents note

Tape 1: Dr. Wolf Szmuness, "The Truth About AIDS" (120 min.); Tape 2: Wolf Szmuness, "Childhhod, Siberia, Homosexuals" (120:00 min.).

6 5

 Snead, Eve Lee. AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome) Or IRS (Immunization Related Syndrome). San Antonio, TX: Wellness Council [1988]   1 videocassette (VHS) : 1/2 in. ; 150:00 min.

6 6

 Strecker, Robert B. The Strecker Memorandum. Los Angeles: Strecker Group c1988   1 videocassette (VHS) : 1/2 in. ; 96:48 min.

6 7

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