A flying saucer crashed in Roswell in 1947. The U.S. government planned 911. The Aids virus was created in a laboratory. Global warming is a hoax. Elvis Presley faked his own death, as did Jim Morrison. Speaking of forgery -the 1969 moon landing never happened; Stanley Kubrick filmed NASA’s phony “one giant leap for mankind” on a sound stage and then hid a confession in his adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining. Rogue elements of the British secret service murdered Princess Diana, and Lee Harvey Oswald was not the lone gunman in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Conspiracy theorists are always looking for the secret machinations and hidden hands behind the world’s major events. Some theories are absurd and far-fetched, and many are impossible to either prove or disprove. However, as time goes on and whistleblowers blow whistles (Edward Snowden) and more and more government documents are declassified, some conspiracies turn out to be true…or to at least have a grain of truth to them.
7. Operation Northwoods
Conspiracy theorists have long believed that U.S military leaders reportedly planned terrorist attacks in America to drum up a support for a war against Cuba that would oust Communist leader Fidel Castro. Although the covert plans were never carried out, it appears there’s a grain of truth to the conspiratorial chatter.
According to Business Insider, the joint-chiefs-of-staff approved a plan in 1962 called Operation Northwoods. Declassified government documents show that military leaders discussed everything from hosting funerals for “mock” victims to blowing up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blaming it on Cuba. None of these operations ever came to fruition. However, according to journalist James Bandford’s book, Body of Secrets, military advisors presented Operation Northwoods to President Kennedy’s Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara. The details of Operation Northwoods were kept secret for over 40 years.
6. The Testimony of Nayirah
In 1990, a 15-year old Kuwaiti girl named Nayirah testified before U.S. Congress that she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers commit atrocities to infants in Kuwait. Her testimony included horrific stories of soldiers pulling Kuwaiti babies from incubators and leaving them to die. It was later unearthed that the public relations giant Hill & Knowlton organized the congressional testimony to help build U.S. support for the Persian Gulf War. According to The New York Times, a further investigation discovered that Nayirah was actually the daughter of Kuwait’s Ambassador to the U.S. Despite the fact Nayirah’s testimony proved to be a “false flag,” Congress would have likely pursued involvement in the Gulf without her stories of murdered babies.
5. Operation Snow White
The Church of Scientology is no stranger to conspiracy theories, so trying to untangle fact from fiction can be a daunting task. Still, even if you are more like Dana Scully and less like Fox Mulder, when it comes to Operation Snow White: The Truth is Out There.
In the 1970s, members of the Church of Scientology infiltrated 136 government agencies, foreign embassies, consulates, and private organizations in an attempt to purge negative and unfavorable records about the church and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. The covert operation is said to have taken place in more than 30 countries and to have involved 5,000 church members. Operation Snow White is considered the largest infiltration of the U.S. government in history, with wiretapping and the theft of documents being most notable in the offices of the U.S Internal Revenue Service. In the end, however, only eleven high-ranking church executives plead guilty in federal court of obstructing justice and theft of government property, one of which was Mary Sue Hubbard, the wife of L. Ron Hubbard.
4. The Gulf of Tonkin
In August 1964, President Lyndon Johnson went on television and told the nation that North Vietnam had attacked U.S. ships. “Repeated acts of violence against the armed force of the United States must be met not only with alert defense, but with a positive reply,” said the President. Congress was quick to pass the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave Johnson the power to conduct full-scale military operations against North Vietnam. However, the attacks on the USS Maddox were exaggerated and the perfect example of the fog of war. While the USS Maddox “reportedly” engaged with three North Vietnamese boats on August 2 (there were no casualties), the skirmish the Pentagon said took place on August 4, 1964 never actually happened. The alleged “sea battles” in the Gulf of Tonkin are seen as a pretext for escalation of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
President George W. Bush would later take a page from the Johnson playbook and bamboozle Congress and the American people into believing that President Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, an act of political maneuvering that was nothing more than a ruse for the 2003 American led coalition invasion of Iraq.
3. Contaminated Polio Inoculations
According to the American Journal of Cancer, between 1954 and 1961 simian virus 40 (SV40) somehow showed up in polio vaccines. It is estimated that more than 100 million people received a polio vaccine that contained a “possibly” cancer causing virus; while there is no conspiracy concerning whether or not the polio inoculations were contaminated, theorists have long argued whether or not exposure to SV40 translates into the development of cancer.
Barbara Fisher, president of the National Vaccine Information Center, testified in 2003 before the Subcommittee on Human Right and Wellness in the U.S. House of Representatives that Jonas Salk, the creator of the inactivated polio vaccine, used cells from monkeys infected with SV40. Moreover, despite the fact that federal government changed oral vaccine stipulations in 1961, the Albany Law Journal of Science and Technology states that tainted polio vaccines were given until 1963. Is there a definitive link between SV40 and cancer in humans? Opinions vary. Nevertheless, the American Childhood Cancer Organization states there was a 118-percent increase in incidence among 0-19 year olds between 1975 and 2006.
2. The Tuskegee Syphilis Study
In 1932, the Public Health Service, working with the Tuskegee Institute, began a clinical program that studied the natural progression of untreated syphilis in rural African American men. The infamous research project, dubbed the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male, was initially designed to last six months but was carried out for nearly 40 years. It wasn’t until an Associated Press story in 1972 led to a public outcry that an Ad Hoc Advisory Panel was appointed to review the study.
The Tuskegee Syphilis Study was carried out on 600 African American men -399 who had contracted syphilis before the study began and 201 without the disease. Not only was research conducted without patients’ informed consent, but the men were never told they had syphilis nor were they properly treated for it. Participants received free medical exams, free meals, and burial assistance in exchange for taking part in the project. By the end of the study, nearly 200 men had died from syphilis or syphilis related complications. The study’s violation of ethical standards led to a class-action lawsuit, and in 1974 a $10 million out of court settlement was reached.
1. The MKUltra Program
Known as the MKUltra Program, the CIA ran secret mind control experiments on unwitting U.S. and Canadian citizens from the 1950s to the early 1970s. Hypnosis, isolation, brainwashing, sensory deprivation, and the administration of mind-bending psychotropic drugs like LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin were all methodically employed to manipulate and alter people’s mental states. Over 80 different institutions, hospitals, universities and prisons were involved in the CIA project, all of which, according to the Supreme Court, “were concerned with research and development of chemical, biological, and radiological materials capable of employment in clandestine operations to control human behavior.”
In 1977, a Freedom of Information Act exposed 20,000 classified documents involving the MKUltra Program. However, CIA Director Richard Helms had the most damning and controversial MKUltra files destroyed back in 1973, an act that has fueled all sorts of conspiracy theories as to what actually took place during the mind control experiments. In 1995, President Clinton issued a formal apology for the government’s role in the MKUltra program.