While most conspiracy theories are – basically – just nonsense, imagine the satisfaction of having one you believe turn out to be right…
If you think that the moon landings were staged, or that dinosaurs built the pyramids, or that Obama can control the weather, well then this is unlikely to happen to you.
But then government documents are declassified every day, and every so often, something we thought was an outlandish theory turns out to be true…
Here’s three examples:
1. The CIA Did Try To Develop Mind Control
Throughout the 1950s and 60s, the CIA ran ‘Project MK Ultra’ – a highly illegal experimentation on human subjects, designed to develop mind control techniques.
They most famously administered LSD to the more vulnerable members of society – mental patients, prisoners, drug addicts and prostitutes – often without their knowledge. CIA employees were also frequently dosed, to such an extent that surprise acid trips became part of the job.
And why? This was all during the Cold War, and the CIA were always looking for new ways to force information out of Soviet operatives. They thought that LSD would force confessions out of people, or – if not that, then wipe their brains clean.
The US government spent $10 million (approximately $87.5 million on today’s money) on MK Ultra before shutting it down, and trying to destroy any evidence it ever existed, in 1973.
We only know about MK Ultra today because one set of files had been wrongly stored, and so was not destroyed along with the others.
2. The FBI Poisoned Alcohol During Prohibition
While alcohol was banned in 1920s USA, crime rates rocketed. Bootlegging gave organised crime a boost, while black market violence led to a huge increase in homicide, assault and battery.
Frustrated that people were still trying – and still finding ways – to get their hands on alcohol (despite the fact that it was banned), the FBI took radical steps to dissuade US citizens from drinking.
They poisoned the industrial alcohols frequently stolen by bootleggers and sold on as consumable spirits, hoping to scare people out of buying black market booze.
It is believed that by the end of prohibition, 10,000 people had died as a result of the federal poisoning programme.
3. The USA Recruited Nazi Scientists
At the end of WW2, President Harry Truman approved an order for German scientists to be brought to the USA. The Cold War was brewing, and he didn’t want advanced German technology to fall into the hands of the Soviet Union.
This order – or ‘Operation Paperclip’ – excluded any scientist found “to have been a member of the Nazi Party and more than a nominal participant in its activities, or an active supporter of Nazi militarism”. And this was the official story.
What was really going on? The Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency was busy wiping clean the records of Nazi scientists, expunging their party membership and creating false employment and political records for them. Then, they would give them security clearance to come to the US.
As journalist Annie Jacobsen wrote in her book on this operation, former Nazis ended up contributing to the USA’s cold war effort. The same men who had developed weapons such as Sarin gas and weaponized Bubonic Plague for Adlof Hitler ended up creating rockets and chemical and biological weapons for the USA. One even had a building named after him.