Recent U.S. history has been full of major conspiracies, many orchestrated by the government. What are some of the biggest ones?
Each week on TestTubePlus, we cover one topic from multiple angles, and this week Trace will be taking on a topic that lots people have been asking for: conspiracy theories. Yesterday Trace talked about why there are so many 9/11 conspiracy theories. Over the course of the week, he’ll be discussing how do conspiracy theories come to be, and why so many of us believe them. Today: Trace will be looking at “conspiracy theories” that actually turned out to be real.
Here’s the recipe for a conspiracy theory: You need an event or supposed “fraud” of some kind, a group of people or alliance that caused this event of fraud, they need to have coordinated ahead of time and to have kept it secret, and you need a motive. There are numerous times in recent history that this happened. Perhaps the two biggest political conspiracies were the Watergate Scandal and President Reagan’s Iran-Contra Affair. A lesser-known U.S. political conspiracy was Operation Paperclip, where President Truman recruited Nazi scientists to work on the U.S. space program after World War II ended.
There have been a bunch of conspiracies related to U.S. Intelligence gathering: MK ULTRA, exposed by The Rockefeller Commission, were a series of government-sponsored LSD experiments (which we discussed in-depth in this episode of TestTubePlus). Operation Mockingbird was the CIA’s campaign to influence the media:
the CIA recruited leading American journalists into a network to help present the CIA’s views to the American Public.
And it hasn’t just been government agencies. There have been business conspiracies like big cigarette companies actively hiding links between smoking and cancer. Asbestos manufacturers tried their hardest to prevent the public from knowing the link between asbestos and respiratory diseases in order to avoid prosecution and payouts on massive class action lawsuits. So, with all these things, you can see why conspiracy theories are so prevalent online and why so many people believe them.
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The Iran-Contra Affair (PBS)
“Ronald Reagan’s efforts to eradicate Communism spanned the globe, but the insurgent Contras’ cause in Nicaragua was particularly dear to him. Battling the Cuban-backed Sandinistas, the Contras were, according to Reagan, “the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers.” Under the so-called Reagan Doctrine, the CIA trained and assisted this and other anti-Communist insurgencies worldwide.”
33 Conspiracy Theories That Turned Out To Be True (Info Wars)
“Most people can’t resist getting the details on the latest conspiracy theories, no matter how far-fetched they may seem. At the same time, many people quickly denounce any conspiracy theory as untrue … and sometimes as unpatriotic or just plain ridiculous. Lets not forget all of the thousands of conspiracies out of Wall Street like Bernie Madoff and many others to commit fraud and extortion, among many crimes of conspiracy.”
Why Rational People Buy Into Conspiracy Theories (NY Times)
“In the days following the bombings at the Boston Marathon, speculation online regarding the identity and motive of the unknown perpetrator or perpetrators was rampant. And once the Tsarnaev brothers were identified and the manhunt came to a close, the speculation didn’t cease.”
Profiting From Disaster? (CBS News)
“Sources tell CBS News that the afternoon before the attack, alarm bells were sounding over unusual trading in the U.S. stock options market. An extraordinary number of trades were betting that American Airlines stock price would fall. The trades are called “puts” and they involved at least 450,000 shares of American. But what raised the red flag is more than 80 percent of the orders were “puts”, far outnumbering “call” options, those betting the stock would rise.”
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