There are a remarkable number of conspiracy theories that are now widely recognized as fact. This list of 20 — some widely known, some lesser-known — merely scratches the surface. Nonetheless, we are providing it as a useful rebuttal to those who use the term “conspiracy theorist” as a disparaging label synonymous with “crazy.”
Keep in mind though that — given the disappearance of independent and ethical journalism, the increasing censorship of social media and the growing star chamber justice system — proven criminal conspiracies such as these will be increasingly relegated to rabbit holes. Although not all conspiracy theories are valid or should be treated equally, we hold that there are many truth bombs that are widely discounted and ignored by the public.
1. Project MKUltra / LSD Conspiracy
Theory: The CIA tested LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs on Americans in a top-secret experiments on behavior modification.
Fact: FOIA documents have revealed that indeed the government did conduct such experiments for a special program known as MKUltra. It was very real. The CIA started the program with volunteers, and the novelist Ken Kesey was one notable subject. But program heads soon began dosing people without their knowledge. MKUltra ultimately left many victims permanently mentally disabled.
From 1953 to 1964, the CIA secretly dosed individuals with LSD to test the potential effects of mind control. The MKUltra project involved thousands of U.S. citizens, who were given LSD without their knowledge or consent. The CIA resorted to fessing up to the program, and President Clinton offered an apology. The truth however is that this program today is as advanced as ever.
2. Big Brother Conspiracy
Theory: With the advances in technology, the government is using its vast resources to perform unwarranted tracking and spying on citizens.
Fact: In 2016, government agencies sent 49,868 requests for user data to Facebook, 27,850 to Google and 9,076 to Apple, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (the EFF), a major nonprofit organization that defends civil liberties in the digital world and advises the public on matters of internet privacy. You’ve probably also heard that your computer camera could be used to spy on you. Here’s the real likelihood someone is watching you through that camera.
3. CIA Embedded in the Media
Theory: The CIA spy on, conspire with and control American media.
Fact: The CIA project known as Operation Mockingbird spied on members of the Washington press corps, starting in the early 1950s. As part of this operation, they paid journalists to publish CIA propaganda, wiretapped their phones and monitored their offices to keep tabs on their activities and visitors. The CIA paid student and cultural organizations as well as magazines to serve as front organizations. The covert operation was finally uncovered in Senate hearings in the mid-1970s.
Read “Spielberg Movie ‘The Post’ Omits Newspaper’s Deep State Connections to The Georgetown Cesspool”
4. Cointelpro Conspiracy
Theory: Cointelpro (short for “Counterintelligence Program”) was a systematic and organized effort by the federal government to investigate, infiltrate, discredit and sometimes destroy political groups deemed hostile to the U.S. Among the groups illegally infiltrated and damaged by Cointelpro were communist organizations, the Civil Rights Movement, the Rainbow Coalition, the anti-war left and women’s rights organizations.
Fact: The 1971 burglary of an FBI field office exposed the conspiracy. It hasn’t gone away.
5. Operation North Woods False Flag Conspiracy
Theory: The U.S. government planned to commit false flag domestic terrorism and blame Cuba.
Fact: Approved by the Pentagon chiefs, the Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA, Operation Northwoods was a proposed plan to fabricate acts of terrorism on U.S. soil. If carried out, it would’ve killed innocent citizens to trick the public into supporting a war against Cuba in the early 1960s. The operation even proposed blowing up a U.S. ship and hijacking planes as a false pretense for war.
6. Iran-Contra Conspiracy
Theory: As part of a complicated scheme involving the highest levels of government, the U.S. sold weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of seven hostages being held in Lebanon and used the money to support Nicaraguan militants. An offshoot of this was drug and arms running.
Fact: It was revealed and collapsed into a flurry of hearings and jail sentences.
7. Nayirah Conspiracy
Theory: Leading up to the Gulf War, a young girl identified simply as “Nayirah” testified before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus in 1990. She told fake stories about the treatment of the Kuwaitis by the invading Iraqis, which horrified members of Congress and many Americans.
Fact: Although many people did die following Iraq’s invasion, it was later revealed that Nayirah’s testimony was made up. She was actually the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S., and her testimony was set up as part of a public relations campaign called “Citizens for a Free Kuwait” that was run by Hill & Knowlton, a public relations firm.
8. Big Tobacco Conspiracy
Theory: For decades, tobacco companies buried evidence that smoking is deadly.
Fact: At the beginning of the 1950s, research was showing an indisputable statistical link between smoking and lung cancer, but it wasn’t until the late 1990s that Philip Morris, the nation’s largest cigarette maker at the time, even admitted that smoking could causes cancer.
9. Lysine Price Fixing Conspiracy
Theory: In the mid ’90s, multiple conglomerates, including American industrial giant Archer Daniels Midland, conspired to fix prices of the animal feed additive lysine.
Fact: The plot was uncovered by a whistleblower and the FBI prosecuted the companies as an international cartel. ADM was fined $100 million for this and another conspiracy to fix the price of the chemical citric acid. The entire affair was dramatized in the 2011 Matt Damon film “The Informant!”
10. Alcohol Poisoning Conspiracy
Theory: During the prohibition years, the government poisoned alcohol to discourage people from drinking it.
Fact: Manufacturers of industrial alcohol had been mixing their product with dangerous chemicals for years prior to prohibition. But between 1926 and 1933, the federal government pushed manufacturers to use stronger poisons to discourage bootleggers from turning the alcohol into moonshine. That didn’t stop the bootleggers, however, or their customers. By the end of prohibition, more than 10,000 Americans had been killed by tainted booze.
11. Contaminated Vaccines Conspiracy
Theory: Contaminated polio vaccines spread a cancer-causing virus.
Fact: In 1960, it was discovered that monkey kidney cells used to make the Salk polio vaccine could cause cancer. Americans were not told about this. Between 1955 and 1963, nearly 100 million children were given this contaminated vaccine. Although the cells were removed from polio vaccines in 1963, scientists around the world continue to identify them in human brain, bone and lung cancers of children and adults.
12. Tuskegee Syphilis Conspiracy
Theory: The U.S. government knowingly, deliberately and secretly performed syphilis experiments on the public.
Fact: In what was later revealed as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, the CDC withheld potentially lifesaving treatments from black men with syphilis under the guise of a medical experiment. Once the conspiracy became public, hearings were held and a $10 million settlement was reached for its victims along with lifetime medical care for their families and no-cost burials.
13. Gulf of Tonkin Conspiracy
Theory: The Gulf of Tonkin incident on August 2, 1964, was faked false flag to provoke American support for the Vietnam War.
Fact: Declassified intelligence documents have since revealed that the Maddox had provided support for South Vietnamese attacks on a nearby island and that the North Vietnamese were responding in kind, according to the U.S. Naval Institute.
14. Conspiracy to Hide the Effects of Radiation Exposure
Theory: Government deliberately hides from the public the dangers of radiation exposure.
Fact: Research linking X-rays to leukemia and other cancers was published in 1911, but X-rays — used everywhere from doctors’ offices to shoe stores — were generally considered safe until the National Academy of Sciences issued a report condemning these practices (including use in pregnant women) in 1956.
15. FBI Conspired with White House to Oust John Lennon
Theory : The FBI was spying on former Beatle John Lennon.
Fact: Like many counter-culture heroes, Lennon was considered a threat to the status quo.
“Anti-war songs, like ‘Give Peace a Chance,’ didn’t exactly endear former Beatle John Lennon to the Nixon administration,” NPR reported in 2010. “In 1971, the FBI put Lennon under surveillance, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service tried to deport him a year later.”
16. Weather Conspiracies
Theory: The U.S. government can manipulate the weather.
Fact: Operation Popeye was a five-year project in which the U.S. government used a technique called “cloud seeding” to increase precipitation during the rainy seasons over the North Vietnam Army’s moving of vehicles, weapons, and rations across the trail. The general idea of cloud seeding is to send an airborne object, typically an airplane, flying through a cloud while releasing small particulates that give water vapor something to cling to so that it can condense and become rain.
Read “‘Tinfoil Hat’ Folks Get the Last Laugh: Former CIA Chief Brennan Lauded Chemtrails in CFR Speech”
17. 19th Century Trust Monopoly Conspiracies
Theory: A small group of powerful and wealthy business owners conspired to monopolize their various interests. This was done through price-fixing, bribery, intimidation, union busting and running small business into the ground through unfair competition. An enormous amount of wealth was eventually concentrated in a few giant combinations, called trusts, which were almost as powerful as the government.
Fact: These trusts were eventually broken up through lawsuits and legislation, but many of their successor companies still corner the market today in oil, mining, manufacturing and food production.
18. Black Hand Conspiracy
Theory: A secret society existed called the “Black Hand” that was made up of Serbian nationals seeking to unify various Serbian enclaves. Members of this group conspired to assassinate the Austrian archduke. Their goal was to break off the southern Slavic provinces of Austria-Hungary and create a unified Slavic nation.
Fact: Six members traveled to Sarajevo to carry out the deed, having been trained and equipped by additional conspirators in the Serbian military. One of them, Serbian student Gavrilo Princip, succeeded. Austria’s response led to The Great War (WWI).
19. Steroid Conspiracy in Baseball
Theory: Dozens of “edge gamer” baseball players and their clinicians concocted a conspiracy to take steroids, obtain fraudulent prescriptions and hide the effects of the drugs they were taking. Major League Baseball, at least to some extent, knew what was going on and looked the other way — as long as the players involved kept making money for the game and the league.
Fact: The racket finally fell apart when a 20-month Congressional investigation led to a long list of players who had taken illegal substances, and baseball instituted a new drug testing policy under enormous fan and government pressure.
20. Big Pharma Conspires with Prescribing Physicians
Theory: Pharma executives conspire to, among other things, illegally promote certain products to treat diseases off label, hide incriminating safety data that questions the efficacy of drugs, fix prices and provide kickbacks to doctors in exchange for promoting their drugs.
Fact: GlaxoSmithKline was the subject of a massive criminal investigation for the aforementioned activities and was fined $3 billion — the largest fine ever levied against any pharma company by any government.