For those who may not fully understand the concept, a conspiracy theory is a speculative hypothesis that seeks to explain the relationship and/or correlation between two or more people or organizations, who have secretly conspired to commit an action that is illegal and/or harmful to society as a whole (while either outright denying the action occurred or placing the blame on another person, group, entity, or organization, in order to advance a hidden agenda). As complex as this sounds, the main idea of a conspiracy theory is that a disastrous or tragic event was orchestrated by one's own government or other any other organization seemingly for the greater good.
Made popular in recent years by a 1997 political action thriller film starring, Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts called Conspiracy Theory, one of the main reasons so many view the terms "conspiracy theorist" as a derogatory term is due to the anxious, paranoid spaz of a character played by Gibson in the film. Nevertheless, even in the movie, one of his harebrained conspiracies actually turns out to be true. Speaking of which, throughout history, many people have tried to warn us of the existence of an array of conspiracies. Each instance of which, they were largely ridiculed and often accused of being downright insane. However, would people be so quick to disregard conspiracy theorists if they realized that sometimes they're telling the truth? You be the judge. The following is a closer look at 15 conspiracy theories that are more than likely true.
15 Mafia Matters
No, this isn't about the latest app or reality show. Believe it or not, there was a time in which many people believed the concept of the mafia to be made up or exaggerated. In fact, while many believed that organized crime existed, they believed (much like many feel about groups such as the Illuminati today) that the organization was a made up scapegoat to deflect from actual organized crime. However, as the world would soon come to find out, thank to ex-member and well-known whistle blower, Joe Valachi, the Mafia not only existed, but they even had dealings with the CIA, various politicians, and even some of the largest corporations in the world.
14 Men Who Play With MK Ultra
Another concept that was made popular by movies and various published writings, MK Ultra is actually a CIA operated program in which they sought to create a form of "truth serum" to be used on communist spies. Conducted during the height of the Cold War, this covert, illegal scientific experiment used humans as test subjects and treated them with a trifecta of hallucinogenic drugs, hypnosis, and biological/radiological agents. While there had been rumors of the program's existence, many dismissed them as outlandish propaganda. Nevertheless, it was later discovered that by the Church Committee as well as a commission headed by Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, that the CIA spent nearly $20 million dollars over a period of two decades on the secret program. They even enlisted the assistance of researchers at over 30 accredited universities and conducted these experiments on subjects without their knowledge or consent. Moreover, although the stated intent was to create a "truth serum" many believed that the true purpose of the program was to create mind-controlled assassins. This theory that was explored in the 2009 film, Men Who Stare at Goats, starring George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey, and others.
13 The Truth About Asbestos
While it is now a well-known fact that the substance causes cancer, there was a time in which the correlation between asbestos and cancer was considered a myth or conspiracy. However, as it turned out, manufacturers were aware of the deadly side effects seemingly from the very beginning. In fact, manufacturers actually went above and beyond to keep the link from being discovered. Going as far to ignore lawsuits and suppress information in relation to complaints, the Johns Manville Company kept their shady operation going for three decades. Nevertheless, in 1962, epidemiologists finally determined that the company was well aware of the fact that asbestos causes cancer.
12 The Tuskegee Experiments
An infamously egregious experiment conducted over the course of 40 years, the Tuskegee experiments remains one of the most troubling conspiracies in American history. Conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service in collaboration with Tuskegee University, the program specifically targeted a total of 600 underprivileged African American sharecroppers from Alabama. In exchange for food, free health care, and, of course, free burial insurance, the men were injected with syphilis and essentially left to spread it to others and die. Even more infuriating, the subjects were given dangerous treatments while the real antidotes were withheld and the study was supposed to last six months, as opposed to 40 years. Although many argue that this was not exactly a conspiracy, one must wonder what the motivation was to target this particular race and demographic of men and how many other lives were ruined in the process.
For those who are yet unfamiliar, COINTELPRO is an acronym for Counter Intelligence Program. Although the stated purpose of this group was to target so-called domestic political organizations, the stated versus intended purpose was contradictory to say the least. Using a series of covert, and often illegal operations, the program managed to infiltrate and thwart the efforts of many Black civil rights groups as well as the Black Panther Party. A disproportionate amount of energy was focused on White civil groups as notorious hate groups such as the KKK were never disbanded and still exist today.
10 The MLK Assassination
Moreover, while many have long since suspected foul play in regards to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., many are unaware of the fact that the U.S. Government was essentially found guilty of conspiring to murder the activist. The family was awarded a mere $100 as a part of the judgment. Nevertheless, after the testimony of Loyd Jowers, the former owner of a restaurant located in close proximity to the hotel King in which King was murdered, a jury found that the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was indeed a conspiracy that involved police, the government, as well as the Mafia. Jowers asserted that he was paid $100,000 to hire an assassin and ensure that no law enforcement was on the scene at the time of the shooting. Moreover, Jowers also asserted that James Earl Ray was a scapegoat who he did not believe had any actual involvement in the conspiracy.
9 Big Brother and the Bohemian Grove
Although the true details of this matter are still being uncovered, the Bohemian Grove conspiracy has been very much validated in recent years. While there is still no proof of the true or purpose of the intent of the campground, it has been confirmed by stations such as NBC, CBS, and ABC that rich and powerful leaders do indeed meet on the campgrounds to worship a huge owl statue and participate in other unconventional rituals. In existence since 1872, while these antics have been written off as mere fraternal camaraderie, conspiracy theories suspect much more sinister motives. Either way, it seems it may be a bit too early for the truth to come out.
8 CIA Drug Trafficking
Although this anchor who initially broke this story two decades ago was literally humiliated into oblivion, in 1996, Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury News reported that the Nicaraguan Contras (which was notoriously supported by the US government) were not only involved in the American crack epidemic, but that the CIA was well aware of these details and turned a blind eye to it. This caused Webb to assert that the CIA and other government agencies were benefiting from this new escalated level of crime and had no intentions on actually helping the majorly African American communities it was affecting.
7 Operation Snow White
A conspiracy that sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, Operation Snow White is the name that was given to a massive conspiracy that began in the 70s. In an attempt to preserve the record and reputation of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, members of the Church of Scientology infiltrated various areas of the government, in order to steal various documents and materials. The operation took place in over 30 countries and included over 5,000 agents making it one of the biggest known infiltrations in history. Perhaps, even more unnerving is the fact that there is no evidence that the operation has truly ended nor is it impossible that they may have had another set of goals or hidden motives.
6 The Nayirah Testimony Scandal
Proof that the trickery of the governments of the world knows no bounds, the testimony of a 15-year-old girl who went by her first name, Nayirah, served as the catalyst for the 1991 Gulf War. Although the story of Iraqi soldiers removing Kuwaiti babies from incubators and leaving them to die was printed in a wide variety of publications following her testimony, it was later discovered that little Nayirah was actually the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US, Saud bin Nasir Al-Sabah. While the validity of her testimony has never officially been refuted, the Senior Republican of the Human Rights Caucus later stated that he would have never allowed her to testify had he known her relation to Al-Sabah.
5 Weapons of Mass Distraction
Although the culprits and causes of the September 11 attacks will likely continue to be argued for many years to come, the subsequent actions of the American government have all but been proven to be fraudulent. In fact, well over a decade since the claims have been made and the so-called "weapons of mass destruction" have never been found. However, what has become more than apparent is the likelihood that Bush intended to settle the score for his father by taking out Saddam Hussein. Either way, a move that has certainly done more harm than good, we are still fighting a war that definitely began under false pretenses.
4 Operation Paperclip
The code name for an operation conducted in 1945 by the Office of Strategic Services, the US government essentially recruited scientists from Nazi Germany and employed them in the United States. Authorized by President Truman, although the details of the operation remain a secret, many speculate on the reasons in which the government would want to employ this selection of shady scientists. Either way, each of the scientists were purportedly given falsified documents detailing a bogus work history which is how the operation is said to have gotten its name.
3 NSA Wiretapping
A massive conspiracy that was brought to light by former employee of an NSA vendor, Edward Snowden, the NSA wiretapping scandal is proof that the government is still up to its old tricks. Risking his job and very life, Snowden revealed to details of a program in which a variety of officials participated in the illegal wiretapping of US citizens. Although it has been argued that this program was for the greater good, it was also pointed out that the operation was very illegal and yet, the wiretapping is still said to continue to this very day. Moreover, it has also been asserted that the program has since been expanded to include to FBI.
2 Operation Fast and Furious
No, this has nothing to do with the death of late Paul Walker (we don't think). Yet another operation that is said to have begun under the Bush administration, Operation Fast and Furious is one of the most massive conspiracies in recent US history that most haven't heard about. In an attempt to justify tougher gun laws, the ATF is said to have allowed or even orchestrated the sale of at least 1,400 weapons to illegal drug cartels in Mexico. Lasting approximately 15 months, the after affects remain yet unknown. However, we can tell you that so far, 34 suspects have already been indicted.
1 The Flint Water Crisis
Lastly, one of the newest conspiracies being explored, the Flint Water Crisis is said to be much more than the mistake it is being portrayed as. With essentially a whole town being poisoned via their water supply, and no real remedies in sight, many are speculating that this couldn't be happening by coincidence. In fact, it has since been pointed out that Governor Snyder could have avoided the crisis altogether for just $100 per day. In addition to that, it has come out that companies such as General Motors were given a special water hookup well before any other Flint residents were notified. Moreover, the water is contaminated with far more than lead as the cases of Legionnaires Disease has increased at least tenfold since the crisis began. To top it all off, the wife of the Governor's chief of staff, Deb Muchmore, just so happens to be a spokesperson for Nestle, which is the largest private water source in the state of Michigan. If this isn't damning enough, two people who were heavily involved in exposing the conspiracy have since popped up dead. Sasha Bell, one of the first to file a lawsuit in regards to the contaminated water and a water treatment plant foreman, Matthew McFarland, were both found dead after the news broke. While the story is still developing and will likely take years to unfold, it is clear that many officials were well aware that the city's water was contaminated. In the case of Governor Snyder, it seems he was just interested in making a quick buck over the lives of thousands of innocent victims.