There are heaps of conspiracy theories out there. The moon landing didn’t happen; MI5 killed Princess Diana; Elvis is still alive and Shakespeare didn’t write Shakespeare. Take your pick.
But just because some conspiracy theories seem bizarre, if doesn’t mean they’re untrue. Here are five loony-tune conspiracy theories that turned out to be REAL.
1. Operation Northwoods:
Here’s one to set you back on your heels.
In 1962 American military leaders were trying to think of ways to bolster public support for a war they wanted to start with Cuba.
The plans – get this – included committing acts of terrorism in U.S. cities, killing innocent US civilians and U.S. soldiers, blowing up a U.S. ship, sinking boats of Cuban refugees, and hijacking planes.
(Does this remind you of anything?)
“The desired resultant from the execution of this plan would be to place the United States in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government …”
Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer formulated a plan to fabricate evidence that would implicate Fidel Castro and Cuban refugees in the attacks. The plans were approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but were rejected outright by President Kennedy and kept secret for nearly 40 years. (In fact not only did he reject the proposal, he sacked Lemnitzer. )
Don’t believe me? Go here.
2. The Gulf of Tonkin Incident
We were told there were two separate incidents involving the Vietnam and the US in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964. On August 2, 1964 three Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked the USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin.
Only they didn’t. The Maddox fired first. In tandem with strikes from four Crusader jets launched from the USS Ticonderoga one torpedo boat was sunk and two others damaged. Ten Vietnamese sailors died. There were no American casualties.
So he sent the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution to Congress, who then granted him the authority to assist any Southeast Asian country whose government was considered to be jeopardized by “communist aggression”. It was this resolution that led to the massive escalation that became the Vietnam War.
In 2005, an internal National Security Agency historical study was declassified; it concluded that the August 4 incident actually didn’t happen: “It is not simply that there is a different story as to what happened; it is that no attack happened that night…”
In fact Johnson actually suspected that. In 1965 he commented to an aide: “For all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales out there.”
Robert J. Hanyok, a historian for the U.S. National Security Agency, admitted that the NSA deliberately distorted intelligence reports – but that the motive was not political but to cover up honest intelligence errors.
Of course, I am sure there are no parallels between the Gulf of Tonkin and the same wonky intelligence used to justify the Iraq War. They were both just honest intelligence errors, right?
No conspiracy theories there. As 58,000 dead US Servicemen will attest.
3. Bohemian Grove
Only the thing is – they would be right.
4. The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment
How’s this for a loony conspiracy theory?
For forty years the US Public Health Service conducted a clinical study on dirt-poor African American sharecroppers in Macon County, Alabama who had contracted syphilis. Only they didn’t tell them they had a venereal disease and instead led them to believe they were receiving free health care.
In fact they continued the experiment for thirty more years in order to study the untreated progression of the disease.
It did, between 1932 and 1972. By the time a whistleblower called time on the progam, 128 of the original 399 men had died of syphilis, forty of their wives had the disease and 19 of their children were born with congenital syphilis.
Don’t believe me? Check it out here.
5. There is a shadow government, ready to take over from your elected administration
It is also known as “Deep State”, but its official name is Continuity of Government and it’s a very reasonable idea, first developed by the British before and during World War Two to counter the threat of Luftwaffe bombing during the Battle of Britain.
It is essentially a shadow government that remains in waiting with the intention of taking control in response to some catastrophic event. Many countries, including Russia, China and those mavericks in Canada, have COG protocols.
In the US, provisions of the plans include executive orders that designate certain government officials to assume Cabinet positions and carry out primary office holder responsibilities in the event of an emergency.
But will this shadow government accurately reflect the government you elected, or that the US Constitution envisaged?
“One of the awkward questions we faced was whether to reconstitute Congress after a nuclear attack. It was decided that no, it would be easier to operate without them,” said one of the COG planners in the 1980s.
The shadow government protocols were enacted on the 9th September, 2001.
They are yet to be reversed.
Just responsible government?
Well, here is the kicker. In 2007, Republican Peter de Fazio, a member of the US House Committee on Homeland Security, requested the classified and more detailed version of the government’s COG plan, to assist with the committee’s work.
The president refused to provide it despite repeated requests.
“Maybe the people who think there’s a conspiracy out there are right,” DeFazio concluded at the time.
When a member of the US House Committee on Homeland Security says he thinks there’s a conspiracy, that’s pretty frightening.
Think I’m just trying to scare you?