Deception, lying, and hiding the truth are nothing new. Whenever there was a struggle for power, influence, money, or dominance, there was a conspiracy… Countless conspiracies turnout out to be true and today we will explore some examples.
As it turns out many of them hail from the United States, the land of “the brave and the free” (just kidding…). So, let’s check out some of the theories peddled across multiple sites over the last couple of decades.
TUSKEGEE SYPHILIS STUDY
According to Buzzworthy, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study has been one of the most talked about conspiracy theories in recent times. This was a series of extremely infamous clinical studies that cemented its place in American history. The studies were conducted between the years 1932 and 1972. The studies are a big indicator of the racism that was rampant in rural America. The tests observed the natural growth of syphilis in black men in rural Alabama. What makes this even more deplorable is that the people who were involved in the study were actually not aware of the tests done on them- they simply thought they were receiving free health care from the American government.
This conspiracy theory- which was later proven to be correct- was done at the height of the Cold War. During this tumultuous period in world history, Fidel Castro- the leader of Cuba was quite a thorn in the American side. After failing to oust the Communist leader of the country during the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961, the US government drew up Operation Northwoods. The plan was to lob mortars in Guantanamo Bay initially, but it took a far more deadly turn as they then decided to bomb boats that carried Cubans to Florida and other cities in the south of the USA. The proposals called for CIA operatives to both stage and actually commit acts of violent terrorism against American military and civilian targets, blaming them on the Cuban government. You can see the official report here.
DURING THE PROHIBITION PERIOD, THE US GOVERNMENT ROUTINELY POISONED ALCOHOL
There have been several claims that the government once poisoned alcohol to stop people from drinking during Prohibition. While we would never be able to judge the verisimilitude behind this statement, it goes without saying that the federal government did take quite a few steps to ensure that the citizens didn’t drink. Now- although the government might not have gone so far as to poison the alcohol, they certainly ensured that toxic chemicals were involved in industrial alcohols. USAToday claims that it was absolutely true that the government had been adding toxic chemicals to industrial alcohol which effectively polluted most of the future supplies of bootleg liquor.
MK ULTRA – CIA’S MIND CONTROL EXPERIMENTS
One of the most famous conspiracy theories that actually turned out to be true is MK Ultra. During the early part of the Cold War, the American government was convinced that their enemies had possession of a drug that led to mind control. As a response to that, the CIA started developing its own program called MK-Ultra. This was said to be a drug for mind control that could potentially be weaponized against the enemies of the nation. One such journalist that captured the entire program, Stephen Kinzer, called this operation the most sustained search in history for mind control techniques. Further, the journalist mentioned that the process to control the mind was two-fold. Firstly, one had to blast the existing mind. When this created a void- the program would be inserting a new mind. Sadly, Sidney Gottlieb- the main chemist for the program- couldn’t really add a new mind to a patient. But he had fun removing shreds of one’s existing memory.
Another conspiracy theory that grew amidst the turmoil of the Cold War was Operation Mockingbird. In this program, the CIA approached quite a few leading journalists in the country in an attempt to sway public opinion while gathering information. This program apparently went on for three decades. Carl Bernstein, a journalist who wrote for Rolling Stone in 1977, stated that the relationship of journalists with the Agency wasn’t straightforward. Some journalists had a tacit relationship with the Agency– while others had something explicit. These journalists did provide a whole range of services for the CIA- sometimes they gathered intelligence, while on other occasions they served as a mediator between the CIA and the spies in Communist countries.
So, which of the conspiracy theories made you think? Write in the comments below.
Image credits: Archives of Ontario, C.H.J. Snider fonds, Reference Code F 1194 S 15000, I0015265., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons, 123RF