List of conspiracy theories

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There are many unproven conspiracy theories of varying degrees of popularity, frequently related to but not limited to clandestine government plans, elaborate murder plots, suppression of secret technology and knowledge, and other supposed schemes behind certain political, cultural, and historical events. Some theories have dealt with censorship and excoriation from the law such as Holocaust denial. Conspiracy theories usually go against a consensus or cannot be proven using the historical method and are typically not considered similar to verified conspiracies such as Germany's pretense for invading Poland in World War II.

Contents

Ethnicity, race and religion[edit]

Antisemitic conspiracy theories[edit]

Main article: Antisemitic canards

Antisemitism has, from the Middle Ages, frequently taken on characteristics of conspiracy theory. Antisemitic canards continue to circulate. In medieval Europe it was widely believed that Jews poisoned wells, had killed Jesus, and consumed the blood of Christians in their rituals (despite the fact that human and animal blood are not kosher).

In the second half of the 19th century conspiracists claimed that Jews and/or Freemasons were plotting to establish control over the world. The best-known text alleging the existence of this Judeo-Masonic conspiracy theory is The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. A more modern manifestation of such ideas is the theory of a Zionist Occupation Government (ZOG).

Various conspiracy theories have been advanced regarding Jews and banking,[1] including the theory that world banking is dominated by the Rothschild family,[2] that Jews control Wall Street,[2] and that Jews control the U.S. Federal Reserve System.[3] A related theory is that Jews control Hollywood or the news media.[4][5][6]

Most Holocaust denial claims imply, or openly state, that the Holocaust is a hoax arising out of a deliberate Jewish conspiracy to advance the interests of Jews at the expense of other peoples,[7] and to justify the creation of the State of Israel. For this reason, Holocaust denial is considered to be an antisemitic[8] conspiracy theory.[9]

Online the website Jew Watch propagates many different conspiracy theories involving Jews.[10] Other antisemitic websites include Radio Islam and Real Jew News.

Armenian conspiracy[edit]

Conspiracy theories involving Armenians are prevalent in Azerbaijan. Daniel McLaughlin, writing for The Irish Times in 2012, noted that "everywhere from taxi cabs to cabinet offices, conspiracy theories thrive in Azerbaijan [and] most involve Armenia."[11] According to Azerbaijani journalist Arzu Geybulla conspiracy theories involving Armenians are "a commonly used weapon in the hands of the authoritarian leadership of Azerbaijan to crack down on dissent." She explains: "By referring to all of its critics both at home and abroad as Armenian, pro-Armenian, and representing Armenian interests, the authorities have created a quick conspiracy formula for muzzling independent voices by labelling them as traitors."[12] In one notable example, on February 28, 2012 during his speech at a conference on socioeconomic development program, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stated:[13][14][15]

Our main enemies are Armenians of the world and the hypocritical and corrupt politicians under their control. The politicians who don’t wish to see the truth and are engaged in denigrating Azerbaijan in different parts of the world. Members of some parliaments, certain political figures, etc. who live on the money of the Armenian lobby.

In June 2016 Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that the Russian media is run by Armenians, who hold key positions in the press. He stated, "They especially try to poison the Russian nation against the Turkish nation but as can be seen, they haven’t been very successful."[16]

Samuel A. Weems (1936–2003), an American writer and a disbarred lawyer from Arkansas, was allegedly paid by the Turkish lobby in the United States, which is in turn sponsored by the Turkish government.[17] In his book, Armenia: The Secrets of a Christian Terrorist State (2002), he argued in favor of the idea that the Armenian Genocide was a gigantic fraud designed to fleece Christian nations out of billions of dollars. He also claimed that the Armenian Church was a state-owned entity that organizes and funds terrorist (including ASALA) attacks and that Armenians had infiltrated the United States.[18]

Davud Imanov, an Azerbaijani filmmaker, in a series of films called the Echo of Sumgait accused Armenians, Russians and Americans of plotting together against Azerbaijan and claiming that Karabakh movement was a plot by the CIA to destroy the Soviet Union.[19]

"Babylon" and racist oppression[edit]

Some Rastafari maintain that a white racist patriarchy ("Babylon") controls the world in order to oppress the African race.[20] They believe that Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia did not die when it was reported in 1975, and that the racist, white media ("Babylon") propagated that rumour in order to squash the Rastafari movement and its message of overthrowing Babylon.[21] Other Rastafari, however, believe in peace and unity, and interpret Babylon as a metaphor for the established "system" that oppresses (or "downpresses", in Rasta terminology) groups such as Africans and the world's poor.

Baha'i[edit]

Iran's Baha'i minority has been the target of persecution since its inception and has been the subject of various conspiracy theories entailing involvement with foreign or hostile powers. Iranian government officials and others have claimed that Bahá'ís have had ties to foreign powers, and were agents of Russian imperialism, British colonialism, American expansionism, Zionism, as well as being responsible for the policies of the previous Shah of Iran.[22] In Iran, a short book entitled Khatirat-e Kenyaz-e Dolgoruki (The Memoirs of Count Dolgoruki) details a popular conspiracy theory that the Baha'i goal is to destroy Islam. Attributed to the mid-19th century, it was, in fact, written in the 1930s or 1940s and is filled with historical errors, notably mistakes about the real Count Dolgorukov, a Russian diplomat. These accusations against the Bahá'í have been disputed, and described as misconceptions,[23] with no basis in historical fact.[24][25]

Islam[edit]

Eurabia[edit]

Main article: Eurabia

British Jewish writer Bat Ye'or, author of Eurabia: The Euro–Arab Axis, later followed by Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, proposed an anti-Arab conspiracy theory they said was hatched between a cadre of French elites within the European Economic Community and the Arab League in the mid-1970s to form a strategic alliance against the United States and Israel, and to turn Europe into an appendage of the Islamic world.[26]

Love Jihad[edit]

Main article: Love Jihad

Interfaith marriage, especially between Hindus and Muslims, has often been a bone of contention and has resulted in communal riots in India. Love Jihad, also called Romeo Jihad, widely regarded as a conspiracy theory, is an activity under which young Muslim boys and men are said to reportedly target young girls belonging to non-Muslim communities for conversion to Islam by feigning love.[27][28][29][30]

Allah as Moon god[edit]

Main article: Allah as Moon-god

Robert Morey suggests that Muslims do not worship the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible, and that "Allah" is an alternative name for an ancient local moon god Hubal. This idea has gained some traction among evangelicals and has been cited in the short comic strips of Jack Chick. Theorists believe that the use of the lunar calendar and the crescent moon symbolism is related to the Moon-god origins of "Allah". A survey the Council for American-Islamic Relations reports that as many as 10% of Americans believe Muslims are pagans who worship a moon god or goddess. Islamic scholars dismiss this theory as insulting, citing Quran 41:37: "And from among His Signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate not to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate to Allah Who created them, if you (really) worship Him." An alternative theory for inclusion of lunar symbolism is Jewish precedent and influence from the Byzantine Empire.

Anti-Catholic conspiracy theories[edit]

Anti-Catholic conspiracy theories in majority Protestant countries[edit]

Since the Reformation, majority Protestant states (especially Great Britain, The United States, Australia, Canada, and countries in Northwestern Europe and Germanic Europe) made opposition to the Pope, Roman Catholic rituals, and general "popery" a major political theme, often rallying behind anti-Catholic sentiment by flaming fears of alleged Catholic conspiracies plots.

In the 17th century, Titus Oates fabricated a fictitious Catholic conspiracy known as the Popish Plot, alleging that there existed an extensive Catholic conspiracy to assassinate Charles II. The false accusations led to mass anti-Catholic hysteria throughout the United Kingdom, the eventual expulsion of numerous Catholics from Great Britain, and the executions of at least 22 men, including Jesuit priests.[31] An English ballad, "A True Narrative of the Horrid Hellish Popish-Plot," exemplifies the anti-Catholic hysteria and conspiracy theories of the time, blaming Catholics for the Great Fire of London and containing verse such as: "How the Jesuit, Devil, and POPE did agree / Our STATE to destroy, and Religion so old / To murder our KING / A most Horrible Thing!" Throughout the 17th and 18th century, suspicion of Catholics remained strong, with William Blackstone in his Commentaries on the Laws of England suggesting that Catholics constituted an imperium in imperio, or fifth column, which held a greater allegiance to the Pope than the civil government (a charge similar to that repeatedly leveled against Jews.) British laws of the time, such as the Popery Act 1698, collectively known as the Penal Laws, imposed various civil disabilities and legal penalties on recusant Catholics.

Anti-Catholicism and fears of Catholic or Papal takeover of the historically Protestant United States have been particularly virulent and persistent throughout American history, with historian John Highham describing American anti-Catholicism as "the most luxuriant, tenacious tradition of paranoiac agitation in American history"[32] and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Sr. describing American prejudice against the Catholics as "the deepest bias in the history of the American people."[33] British anti-Catholicism was exported to the United States with the arrival of British colonists. Two major types of anti-Catholic rhetoric existed in colonial society: The first, derived from the heritage of the Protestant Reformation, consisted of the "Anti-Christ" and the "Whore of Babylon" variety, claiming the Catholic Church to be these evil entities predicted in the Book of Revelation. The second was a more secular variety which focused on the supposed intrigue of the Catholics, suspecting Catholics of being intent on extending medieval despotism worldwide.[34] Anti-Catholic fears in the U.S. reached a peak in the 19th century when the Protestant population became alarmed by the influx of Catholic immigrants.[35]

Famous 1876 editorial cartoon by Thomas Nast showing bishops as crocodiles attacking public schools, with the connivance of Irish Catholic politicians

The anti-Catholic political group, the Know Nothings, thrived in the 1840s and 1850s United States, claiming that the Irish and other Roman Catholic immigrants to the United States were controlled by the Pope to further an anti-American agenda.[36] Other groups such as the Ku Klux Klan were especially anti-Catholic and fearful of an eventual Catholic takeover of the U.S., basing their beliefs in part on a "religious foundation" in Protestant Christianity and a "return" to "White Protestant values" while also hateful of the influx of poor Catholic immigrants for more secular, nativist reasons.[37] Rising fears sparked a rebirth in the older conspiracy claim that the Catholic Church was the Whore of Babylon in the Book of Revelations, bent on bringing about the end times. The Panic of 1893 was used by American Protestants as "proof" of a Catholic conspiracy to destroy the financial institutions of the US, with a fringe groups alleging that agents of the Catholic Church had assassinated Abraham Lincoln.[38] American fear of Catholic and Papal political control also grew with the establishment of Catholic parochial school. In response, Congress proposed an amendment to the Constitution in 1874 that provided: "No money raised by taxation in any State for the support of public schools, or derived from any public source, nor any public lands devoted thereto, shall ever be under the control of any religious sect, nor shall any money so raised or land so devoted be divided between religious sects or denominations." The amendment was defeated in 1875 but would be used as a model for so-called "Blaine Amendments" incorporated into 34 state constitutions over the next three decades, which prohibited the use of public funds to fund parochial schools.[39]

Rev. Branford Clarke illustration in Heroes of the Fiery Cross 1928 by Bishop Alma White Published by the Pillar of Fire Church in Zarephath, NJ

One of the more popular anti-Catholic tracts of the time was written by Samuel Morse, who, in 1835, published a book called Foreign Conspiracies Against the Liberties of the United States, which alleged the Catholics were part of a larger conspiracy based in Austria to install a member of the House of Habsburg as the imperial ruler of the US.[40]

Rebecca Reed's 1835 novel, the Six Months in a Convent, described her alleged captivity by an Ursuline order near Boston.[41][42] Reed's accusations inspired an angry mob to burn down the convent, and her book famously sold 200,000 copies in one month. Reed's book was soon followed by another bestselling yet fictitious exposé, Awful Disclosures of the Hotel-Dieu Nunnery, (1836) in which Maria Monk claimed that the nun convent served as a harem for Catholic priests, and that any resulting children birthed by the harem were murdered after baptism. Col. William Stone, a New York city newspaper editor, along with a team of Protestant investigators, inquired into Monk's claims, inspecting the convent in the process. Col. Stone's investigation concluded there was no evidence that Maria Monk "had ever been within the walls of the cloister".[43]

Anti-Catholicism and fear of Catholic conspiracies were also a major issue during the presidential campaign of 1928, in which the Irish Catholic New York state governor Al Smith, the first major-party Roman Catholic candidate in a presidential election, ran against the Protestant Herbert Hoover. Smith's opponents created the phrase "Rum and Romanism" in reference to Smith's campaign, as Smith was not only Catholic but, like many Catholic Americans at the time, was against the mostly Protestant teetotaler Prohibition movement.[44] The so-called "Catholic Question," in which Protestant Americans were concerned about Catholic American loyalty to the Pope rather than the United States, once again rose to the forefront in the 1960 campaign of John F. Kennedy. Prominent Protestant ministers, such as Billy Graham, distrusted Kennedy, believing Kennedy to be a potential agent of the Catholic Church, and tried to derail his campaign.[45] The more extreme, paranoid anti-Catholic Protestants employed old anti-Catholic conspiracy theories in response to Kennedy's candidacy and subsequent presidential administration, claiming that Kennedy, as the first Roman Catholic president of the United States, was a pawn of the Catholic Church .[46][47]

During the Troubles in Ireland, anti-Catholic conspiracy theories and anti-Catholicism in general were frequent among Ulster Scot loyalists and Northern Irish unionists, though generally from a more secular standpoint. However, Protestant loyalist extremists such as Ian Paisley notoriously denounced Pope John Paul II as the antichrist at the time.[48] When Pope John XXIII died in June 1963, Paisley announced to a crowd of his followers that "this Romish man of sin is now in Hell!". Paisley subsequently organized protests against the lowering of flags on public buildings to mark the Pope's death.[49]

Anti-Catholic, Vatican, and Jesuit conspiracy theories[edit]

Some conspiracy theories accuse the Catholic Church, Jesuits, or Knights Templar of suppressing important religious documents or evidence incompatible with Church teachings, a theory that gained increased traction with the popularity of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. Other conspiracy theories attack Catholic adherents in general as a cohesive group, claiming that Catholics as a religious demographic, rather than just the Vatican, are actively conspiring or influencing world events. Common extreme conspiracy theories, many of which have persisted for centuries within anti-Catholic circles, include theories positing that either Catholics as a general group, the Church hierarchy in particular, or certain Catholic orders participate in secretive or evil rituals or secret societies, with accusations varying as to the nature of these secret Catholic activities. Such conspiracy theories may feature accusations that Catholics, Catholic groups, or the Church regularly engage in ritual abuse, Satanism, paganism or pagan rituals, orgies, black masses, blood libel-like human sacrifices, or black magic rituals, or that the pope or the Vatican is the Anti-Christ, Satan, The Whore of Babylon, or The Beast. More secular or politically-based but still extreme conspiracy theories include the belief that the Vatican, the Jesuits, or Catholic secret societies are seeking to create a state within a state, a strategy of tension, a shadow government, a concentration of media ownership, or they are cabals or Illuminati-like organizations creating a New World Order.[50] Other more recent secular conspiracy theories may posit the Church or the Pope as part of a secret reptilian takeover conspiracy.

In 1858, Alexander Hislop's pseudohistorical work, The Two Babylons asserted that the Roman Catholic Church originated from a Babylonian mystery religion and proposed that its rituals and ceremonies are a veiled continuation of Babylonian paganism. Around the same time, ex-priest Charles Chiniquy's 50 Years In The Church of Rome and The Priest, the Woman and the Confessional (1885) became popular for depicting Catholicism as secretly pagan.

Avro Manhattan's books Vatican Moscow Alliance (1982), The Vatican Billions (1983) and The Vatican's Holocaust (1986) advanced the view that the Church engineers wars for world domination. Avro Manhattan's work form part of the basis of a series of tracts by the noted modern anti-Catholic and comic book evangelist Jack Chick who also accuses the papacy of supporting Communism, of using the Jesuits to incite revolutions, and of masterminding the Holocaust. According to Chick, the Catholic Church is the "Whore of Babylon" referred to in the Book of Revelation, and will bring about a Satanic New World Order before it is destroyed by Jesus Christ. Chick claims that the Catholic Church infiltrates and attempts to destroy or corrupt all other religions and churches, and that it uses various means including seduction, framing, and murder to silence its critics. Drawing on the ideas of Alberto Rivera, Chick also claims that the Catholic Church helped mould Islam as a tool to lure people away from Christianity in what he calls the Vatican Islam Conspiracy. According to Alberto Rivera, Muhammad was manipulated by the Catholic Church to create Islam and destroy the Jews and other groups of Christians, and Muhammed's first wife, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, was actually a Catholic nun in an Arabian monastery who was told by a bishop to marry him and sow the seeds of what was to become Islam.[51] Rivera also alleged that the Vatican staged an apparition at Fatima (named after Muhammed's daughter) to cozy up to Muslims.[51] He further claimed that the Catholic Church staged the 1981 Pope John Paul II assassination attempt using a Muslim as the marksman "to guilt-induce the Muslim world, bringing them still closer to the Catholic faith..."[51] Rivera also believed that Jesuits are responsible for the creation of Communism and Nazism, are the cause of both World Wars, the Jonestown Massacre, and the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy; that the Catholic Church wants to spread homosexuality and abortion; that the Charismatic Movement is a front for the Catholic Church; that the popes are Anti-Christs; and that the Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon.[51] He has also claimed that the Jesuits were the masterminds behind the Medieval Inquisition in the 13th century, even though the Jesuits were in fact founded in 1534.[52][53]

Author David Yallop followed up his best-selling book, In God's Name (1984), which claimed that Pope John Paul I was killed by corrupt Vatican schemers (see Pope John Paul I conspiracy theories) with another conspiracy novel, The Power and the Glory: Inside the Dark Heart of John Paul II's Vatican (2007), which claimed that Pope John Paul II was in league with the Soviet powers. Yallop enlarges on claims of priestly sexual abuse and repeats the other standard anti-Catholic tropes listed above together with a new one that St Maximilian Kolbe, the Polish priest who died in place of a young married man at Auschwitz, had previously endorsed the anti-Jewish Protocols of the Elders of Zion. There is no reference for this claim and just thirteen footnotes in the entire 530 pages.[54]

Exsultet conspiracy theories[edit]

The Exsultet has been the subject of numerous online conspiracy theory videos attempting to show that Catholic practice is actually devil-worship. These conspiracy theories usually show a recording of a deacon chanting the final portions of the Exsultet in Latin, captioned with a purported "translation" of the text into English with these or similar words, selectively translating (very poorly and ungrammatically) everything but the word lucifer ("light-bearer" or "Morning Star"), which is used in 2 Peter 1 and Revelation 2 and 22 as a title for Christ, attempting to inappropriately use the term as a name for Satan.

Pope John Paul I conspiracy theories[edit]

Pope John Paul I died in September 1978, only a month after his election to the papacy. The timing of his death and the Vatican's alleged difficulties with ceremonial and legal death procedures fostered several conspiracy theories. In his 1984 book, In God's Name, British author David Yallop suggested that John Paul I died because he was about to uncover financial scandals allegedly involving the Vatican.[56] John Cornwell responded to Yallop's charges in 1987 with A Thief In The Night, in which he analyzed the various allegations and denied the conspiracy.[57]

Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI[edit]

On 12 February 2013, Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation in a speech in Latin before the cardinals, citing a "lack of strength of mind and body" due to his advanced age.[58] His resignation became effective on 28 February 2013. Two Italian publications, the major Italian newspaper La Repubblica and Panorama, an Italian magazine weekly, have proposed the conspiracy theory that Pope Benedict XVI resigned to avoid a scandal involving an underground gay Catholic network.[59][60] He is the first pope to resign since Pope Gregory XII in 1415, and the first to do so on his own initiative since Pope Celestine V in 1294.[61]

New World Order[edit]

The reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States (1776). The Latin phrase "novus ordo seclorum", appearing on the reverse side of the Great Seal since 1782 and on the back of the U.S. one-dollar bill since 1935, translates to "New Order of the Ages"[62] and alludes to the beginning of an era where the United States of America is an independent nation-state; conspiracy theorists claim this is an allusion to the "New World Order".

This conspiracy theory states that a group of international elites controls and manipulates governments, industry, and media organizations worldwide. The primary tool they use to dominate nations is the system of central banking. They are said to have funded and in some cases caused most of the major wars of the last 200 years, to carry out false flag attacks to manipulate populations into supporting them, and to have a grip on the world economy, deliberately causing inflation and depressions at will. Operatives working for the New World Order are said to be placed in high positions in government and industry. The people behind the New World Order are thought to be international bankers, in particular the owners of the private banks in the Federal Reserve System and other central banks, and members of the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission and Bilderberg Group.[63] The New World Order is also said to control supranational and global organizations such as the European Union, United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the proposed North American Union. The term gained popularity following its use in the early 1990s by President George H. W. Bush when he referred to his "dream of a New World Order" in his speech to the United States Congress on September 11, 1990. Claimed motivations behind the New World Order conspiracy vary but a commonly suggested end goal for the conspiracy is the creation of a one-world government through which the conspirators would exert absolute dominance over the Earth and eliminate all sources of dissent through microchip control.

The concept of this shadow government predates 1990; it is accused of being the same group of people who, among other things, created the Federal Reserve Act (1913), supported the Bolshevik Revolution (1917), and supported the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany, all for their own agenda.[citation needed] The World Bank and national central banks are said to be the tools of the New World Order; war generates massive profits for central banks because government spending (hence borrowing at interest from the central banks) increases dramatically in times of war and distress.[64] Many conspiracy theorists believe that Denver International Airport is the western U.S. headquarters of the New World Order, and a massive underground base and city is believed to exist underneath the airport. Reasons for this include the airport's unusually large size (larger than some major cities), distance from the Denver, Colorado city center, the set of environmentally themed murals by artist Leo Tanguma depicting burning cities, gas-mask wearing soldiers and girls in coffins, and the capstone of the Great Hall which includes Masonic symbols and strange writing.[65]

Federal Reserve System[edit]

The New World Order is said to control the wealth of nations through central banks, via the issuance of currency. The Federal Reserve System is the central bank of the United States, though not a part of the government (with a significant share of private control and interests[66]), created in 1913. There is a theory that the Federal Reserve System is designed to transfer wealth from the poor and middle classes of the United States to the international bankers of the New World Order.[67]

False flag operations[edit]

The collapse of the two World Trade Center towers and the nearby WTC7 (in this photo, the brown building to the left of the towers) is a major focus of 9/11 conspiracy theories.

False flag operations are covert operations conducted by governments, corporations, or other organizations, which are designed to appear as if they are being carried out by other entities. Some allegations of false flag operations are verified or at least credible and some are still subjects of historical dispute. The 1933 arson attack of the German parliament building is such an example where in 2001 four German historians argued that the fire had been a Nazi false-flag operation blamed on a communist.

Other leading academics disagree and Der Spiegel published a 10-page rebuttal of the four historians' conclusions.[68] "Along with Communist propagandists, serious scholars have been ranged on the side of the proponents of the Nazi conspiracy theory".[69] More controversially, former GRU officer Aleksey Galkin,[70] former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko[71] and other defectors from the Russian government and security services have asserted that the 1999 Russian apartment bombings, which precipitated the Second Chechen War, were false flag operations perpetrated by the FSB, the successor organization to the KGB.

Other accusations of false flag operations conspiracy theories include:

Wars[edit]

The motivations for nations starting, entering, or ending wars are often brought into question by conspiracy theorists. Munitions suppliers are often blamed[78] for devising, coordinating and precipitating the events that lead nations into war, either in part or in toto. According to this view, there is always a party within a nation that benefits from war, on whatever pretext: the suppliers of weapons and other military material. President Dwight Eisenhower referred to this source of potential conflict of interest as the military-industrial complex. President Abraham Lincoln is known to have made a similar observation near the close of the American Civil War. In 1865, I. Windslow Ayer alludes to the 1864 'Camp Douglas Conspiracy' to break out prisoners, describing it as a conspiracy of Copperheads and of the Sons of Liberty in his historical work, The Great North-Western Conspiracy in All Its Startling Details.[79] Ayer alleges that, at an August meeting of the Sons of Liberty, Judge Morris said: "Thousands of our best men were prisoners in Camp Douglas, and if once at liberty would ‘send abolitionists to hell in a hand basket.’"[80] This is the oldest recorded use of the phrase according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Related is the allegation that certain wars which are claimed by politicians to be in the national interest, or for humanitarian purposes, are in fact motivated by the conquest and control of natural resources for commercial interest. In the Spanish–American War, the explosion of the USS Maine prompted the United States annexation of Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam. Opponents of the war, such as Mark Twain and Andrew Carnegie, claimed that it was being fought for imperialist motives.

A war planned for economic gain can be seen as a conspiracy in the conventional sense of a secret plot—particularly when the public is presented with false pretexts for war. It has also been suggested that war is a perfect way of distracting citizens, as an electoral tactic, from difficulties facing the current government. This premise is the basis of the films Wag the Dog, Canadian Bacon, and the George Orwell novel 1984.

Some have claimed[who?] that this was the motivation behind the Falklands War. At that time the National Reorganization Process, the right-wing dictatorship that ruled Argentina between 1976 and 1983, was facing increasing discontent among the population over its Dirty War and this may have contributed to the decision to invade the Falkland Islands.

In many cases, critics have accused the U.S. of engaging in realpolitik in the cynical sense of political action without regard for principle or morals. In recent times, wars in the Middle East such as the Gulf War and the invasion of Iraq have been described as wars for oil, as well as power, money and land.

Assassinations and other deaths[edit]

Conspiracy theories exist around the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963

Conspiracy theories sometimes emerge following assassinations of prominent people. The best known of these is the assassination of John F. Kennedy (1963), which has caused a number of conspiracy theories to develop. Central to this theory is the claim that the injuries received by Kennedy and Governor John Connally could not have been caused by a lone gunman behind the motorcade and to the right. This theory was popularized by the Oliver Stone movie, JFK, which centered on Jim Garrison's conduct of the only criminal prosecution (ultimately an unsuccessful one) related directly to Kennedy's assassination. Three polls conducted in 2003 suggest that there is widespread disbelief (between 68% and 83% of respondents) among the U.S. public about the original 1964 Warren Commission story of a lone gunman. An ABC News random telephone poll found that just 32% (plus or minus 3%) of Americans believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, while 68% do not believe Oswald acted alone.[81] The "Discovery Channel" poll (sampling method not given) reveals that only 21% believe Oswald acted alone, while 79% do not believe Oswald acted alone,[82] (self-selected responses) details that only 17% of respondents believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, while 83% do not believe Oswald acted alone.[83] Since the Warren Commission report, the official U.S. governmental narrative from the 1976–78 House Select Commission on Assassinations is that JFK was murdered by multiple gunmen in a conspiracy. The United States House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) was established in 1976 to investigate the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. The Committee investigated until 1978 and issued its final report, and concluded that Kennedy was very likely assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.

The assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X are also the subject of conspiracy theories. In many cases, it is asserted that a "Manchurian candidate" may have been used. The question of "Who benefits?" ("Cui bono?") is also often asked, with conspiracy theorists asserting that insiders often have far more powerful motives than those to whom the assassination is attributed by mainstream society. The assassinations of historical figures, such as Eric V of Denmark and Tsarevich Dmitry Ivanovich of Russia remain subject to conspiracy theories. More recent examples include those of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Carrero Blanco, Benigno Aquino, Jr., Olof Palme[84] and Yitzhak Rabin.[85]

Some deaths that are officially recorded as having resulted from accidents, suicides, or natural causes are also the subject of some conspiracy theories. Examples include Patton in 1945,[86] the car crash that killed Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed in 1997,[87] the death of John F. Kennedy Jr. in a plane crash in 1999,[88] and the death of Senator Paul Wellstone in a plane crash in 2002. Often, unusual circumstances in a suicide or accident are cited as evidence of a conspiracy such as the case of Gary Webb who suffered 2 gunshots to the head. Sometimes, deaths initially considered to be accidents gain such strong conspiracy theories due to new evidence that murder investigations are opened and arrests made, as in the case of journalist Cats Falck.

Other examples of deaths that are not considered to be murders that later receive conspiracy theories include: the suicide of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster; the plane crash that killed United States Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown;[89] the death of Dag Hammarskjöld;[90] the Mayerling Incident; and the deaths of U.S. Presidents Zachary Taylor and Lyndon B. Johnson, Władysław Sikorski, James Forrestal, British political leader Hugh Gaitskell,[91] Australian prime minister Harold Holt, James P. Brady, New Zealand prime minister Norman Kirk, French prime minister Pierre Bérégovoy, Jimmy Hoffa and British weapons expert David Kelly.[92] In the case of Salvador Allende, the former President of Chile, conspiracy theories regarding his suicide were so prominent in the public arena official investigations were opened into the matter. There are also theories about untimely deaths of celebrities, the number one example arguably being the death of Marilyn Monroe, but also those of Sam Cooke, Salvador Sanchez, Brian Jones, Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., Jimi Hendrix,[93] Kurt Cobain, Jeff Buckley, Nancy Spungen, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Bruce Lee, Elvis Presley, Bob Marley, John Lennon,[94] Alexis Arguello, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, and Paul Walker.

There are also theories that some assassination attempts have been carried out by secret conspiracies, in some cases failures but in other cases entirely staged events. The motive for staging an unsuccessful assassination attempt can be to augment the popularity of the person involved; public opinion polls tend to be boosted by unsuccessful attempts on the life of a prominent politician. There have been numerous unsuccessful attempts to assassinate U.S. Presidents. Some of them, such as the attempted assassinations of Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush have aroused suspicion from conspiracy theorists that the events might have been staged. Former Presidents of Taiwan and Ukraine are cited in similar conspiracy theories as well.

In other cases the perpetrators of murders and assassinations are not found and conspiracy theories even become part of official police investigations, as in the case of the Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme or in the case of Diana, Princess of Wales. In cases like this, further public conspiracy theories can exist about why the cases are not closed. In the case of another prominent Swede, Bernt Carlsson, who died in the Lockerbie bombing, theories exist that contend that the larger crime was committed to hide a more targeted assassination, which therefore has also not been solved. In the case of Aldo Moro, an assassinated Italian former Prime Minister, a conspiracy to encourage his kidnappers to kill him has been admitted to and is largely accepted as fact, yet theories exist as to the nature of the secrets he was killed to protect. In more extreme cases it has been alleged that some people have been assassinated without acknowledgement of their deaths, assuming that they were replaced by a double or alternatively that their deaths never occurred when it has been claimed that they did.

In India there are several conspiracy theories circulating about the 1945 death of pro-Axis Indian nationalist leader Subhas Chandra Bose. These allege one of two possibilities: either he did not die in an accident, as officially claimed, but was assassinated; or he did not die at that time, but was still alive and hidden somewhere.

US Presidency[edit]

Some conspiracy theories have been directed at American Presidents.

Lyndon B. Johnson conspiracy[edit]

Clinton Body Count[edit]

The Clinton Body Count, as it is popularly known, is a conspiracy theory that Bill Clinton, while he was president and before, was quietly assassinating his associates. It was started as a retaliation to the Bush Body Count (which ostensibly had various members of the Bush family responsible for events like JFK assassination and the October surprise killing lesser co-conspirators on their way).[95] The Clinton Body Count is a list of about 50–60 associates of Clinton who have died "under mysterious circumstance".[96] The individuals named originated from a list of 34 suicides, accidental deaths, and unsolved murders[97] prepared in 1993 by the pro second amendment group American Justice Federation[98] which was led by Linda Thompson. Most recently, The list was posted to the group's Bulletin board system.[96]

Snopes.com came out against the site's findings, arguing that many deaths had detailed records, and that assassination was unlikely. The site argued a political leader can have a loosely defined circle of associates, some who are at greater risk for death either in the military or a high-stress job that can lead to suicide.[99]

Barack Obama conspiracy theories[edit]

A closely related cluster of conspiracy theories are associated with Barack Obama. The essence of all such theories is an allegation that his claim to the Presidency is illegitimate due to the circumstances of his birth. It is alleged that either his birth certificate was faked or that he holds dual citizenship and this disqualifies him as President. The conspiracy theories have been tenacious despite the early release of Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate by his election campaign and the April 2011 release of a certified copy of Obama's original Certificate of Live Birth (so-called "long form birth certificate").

In 2016, Donald Trump - finally acknowledging that President Obama was born in the US - blamed Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for starting the so-called "birther" movement that questioned Obama's place of birth.[100] In partial confirmation, former bureau chief of McClatchy, James Asher, reported that Hillary Clinton confidant, Sid Blumenthal, communicated the birther rumor to him in 2008 during the Democratic nomination campaign, and encouraged him to publish stories relating Obama to Kenya.[101]

Related rumors involve questioning the President's Social Security Number, the President's religion, and suggesting that he is or was at one time a Muslim.

A false rumor started circulating on the Internet around the time of the 2008 presidential election that Barack and Michelle Obama had inactivated their law licenses to avoid ethics charges, but no such charges were ever made; apparently, it is typical to do so when not intending to practice law because active status requires continuing education and payment of fees.[102][103]

Trump plant theory[edit]

According to the Trump plant theory, Donald Trump is running for president of the United States in 2016 to secretly aid Hillary Clinton's chances of being elected to the same office.

Apocalyptic prophecies[edit]

Apocalyptic prophecies, particularly Christian apocalyptic and eschatalogical claims about the end times, the Last Judgment, and the end of the world have inspired a range of conspiracy theories. Many of these deal with the Antichrist (Arabic: المسيح الدجّال/ Masih ad-Dajjal). The Antichrist, also known as The Beast 666, is supposed to be a leader who will create a world empire and oppress Christians (and in some conspiracies, Jews as well). Countless historical figures have been called "Antichrist" in their times, from the Roman emperor Nero to Napoleon Bonaparte to Adolf Hitler to Ronald Reagan to Javier Solana to Barack Obama to Prince William. At times, apocalyptic speculation has mixed with anti-Catholicism, believing that the reigning Pope is the Antichrist or the False Prophet. Another interpretation sees the Antichrist as a world leader involved with the United Nations, who will create a one world government (New World Order) and establish a single monetary system. The latter is identified with the Mark of the Beast, which some believe that people in the end times will need in order to conduct trade.[104][not in citation given]

Two nations often involved in apocalyptic conspiracy theories are Israel and Iraq. The former is the location of both the Temple Mount and Armageddon (Megiddo), places seen as important in prophecy. The latter is the ancient location of Babylon, which also figures in the Book of Revelation. During the Gulf War, some suggested that Saddam Hussein had ordered the excavation and re-population of the city of Babylon, thus casting Saddam as an Antichrist figure. Other interpretations have held that "Babylon" in the Book of Revelation refers to another mighty nation, such as the Roman Empire, the Vatican (Rome) and the Catholic Church, or more recently the Soviet Union or the United States of America.[104]

Bible conspiracy theory[edit]

Bible conspiracy theories posit that much of what is known about the Bible, in particular the New Testament, is a deception. These theories variously claim that Jesus had a wife, Mary Magdalene, and children, that a group such as the Priory of Sion has secret information about the bloodline of Jesus, that Jesus did not die on the cross and that the carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin was part of a conspiracy by the Vatican to suppress this knowledge, that there was a secret movement to censor books that belonged in the Bible, or the Christ myth theory, proposed for example in Zeitgeist, the Movie as a means of social control by the Roman Empire. Originally popularised through the book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, a fictionalized contrivance of this was later portrayed in the novel The Da Vinci Code.

Contrary to this theory is the belief that those who put forth such information against the Bible are themselves part of a grand conspiracy to suppress Biblical prophetic knowledge to keep people ignorant about Christ's supposed imminent return to earth. Associated with this belief is the conspiracy of the Antichrist, who is to lead the New World Order against Christ. This same theory also proposes that current events, such as global changes resulting from global warming, are fulfillment of Bible prophecies and signs of the Tribulation and the end of days.[citation needed]

Catholicism as a veiled continuation of Babylonian paganism[edit]

The Two Babylons was an anti-Catholic religious pamphlet produced initially by the Scottish theologian and Presbyterian Alexander Hislop in 1853. It was later published as a book in 1919. Its central theme is the allegation that the Catholic Church is a veiled continuation of the ancient pagan religion of Babylon, the veiled paganism being the product of a millennia old conspiracy.[105][106] It has been recognized by scholars as discredited and has been called a "tribute to historical inaccuracy and know-nothing religious bigotry" with "shoddy scholarship, blatant dishonesty" and a "nonsensical thesis".[107][108]

Although scholarship has shown the picture presented by Hislop to be absurd and based on an exceedingly poor understanding of historical Babylon and its religion, his book remains popular among some fundamentalist Christians.[105] The book's thesis has also featured prominently in the conspiracy theories of groups such as The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord[109] and other conspiracy theorists.[110]

Although extensively footnoted, giving the impression of reliability, commentators (in particular Ralph Woodrow) have stated that there are numerous misconceptions, fabrications, and grave factual errors in the document, and that this book follows the line of thought of works like: Martin Luther – On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church (1520), Titus Oates – An Exact Discovery of the Mystery of Iniquity as it is now in Practice amongst the Jesuits (1679), Conyers MiddletonLetter from Rome (1729).[111]

Technology and weapons[edit]

Suppression of technologies[edit]

  • Vril Society Conspiracy which suggests that a secret form of energy, called "Vril", is used and controlled by a secret subterranean society of matriarchal socialist utopian superior beings.[citation needed]
  • A typical suppressed invention story is that of the incredibly efficient automobile carburetor, whose inventor was supposedly killed or hounded into obscurity by petroleum companies desirous to protect their business from an engine that would make their product obsolete.[citation needed]
  • The documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? alleged that electric car technology has been largely suppressed by big oil and gas firms; it is true that electric cars were more abundant than internal combustion cars at the end of the 19th century.
  • The Phoebus cartel set up in 1924 has been accused of preventing technological advances that would have produced longer-lasting light bulbs.[112] The document Light Bulb Conspiracy[113] claimed that the Phoebus cartel deliberately limited the expected lifetime of a light bulb to 1000 hours. However, 1000 hours was a reasonable optimum life expectancy for most bulbs.[114] A longer lifetime can be obtained only at the expense of efficiency: more electricity is wasted as heat and less light is obtained.[114]
  • In alternating current power, the voltage and current can be manipulated to be 'wattless' (recording no consumption). While early utility supply meters may have been fooled by phase-changing devices, this ruse was discovered and remedied in the mid-20th century. The devices still appear from time to time, but suppliers or users may risk prosecution by regulation agencies.[115]
  • Some free energy devices imply it is possible to harness perpetual motion which conflicts with the universally accepted physical laws of conservation of energy which allow energy to change form, but not to be either created or destroyed. Others claim to access novel or occulted power sources such as the actual source hypothesis by Nikola Tesla based on naturally occurring potential differences caused by photon interaction with Earth's atmosphere at different altitudes. His Wardenclyffe Tower demonstrated that a structure of sufficient dimensions, or alternatively a machine to electrically vibrate the Earth enough to harness useful power would be extraordinarily uneconomic. Photons are however a genuine power source and are exploited by photovoltaics.
Similarly, cold fusion while not fundamentally proven impossible, is not accepted as established or even regarded as potentially viable by the scientific community at large. The scientific community usually regard all claims of and research into free energy technology as pseudo-scientific.[116]
The alleged suppression (or weakening) is claimed to be going on for a long time[117] and perpetrated by government agencies, special interest groups, fraudulent inventors and/or a non-demanding public. The special interest groups are usually claimed to be associated with the fossil fuel or nuclear industry,[118][119] whose industry would be threatened.[120][121]
The suppression claims are:
Some examples of individuals that allegedly fell victim to suppression, harassment or death, are: Thomas Henry Moray,[130] Stanley Meyer's water fuel cell[131][132][133][134] and Eugene Mallove.[135]

Development of weapons technology[edit]

  • Philadelphia Experiment, a supposed attempt to turn a U.S. Navy warship invisible, which allegedly caused severe harm to on-board crew members. According to Jacques F. Vallée, the experiment was based on the effort to make the USS Eldridge invisible to torpedoes, through degaussing technology and other methods.[136]
  • Montauk Project, a continuation of the Philadelphia Experiment, to put government-trained psychics (Duncan Cameron) into a program with the intent of mind control, time travel, and even mental manifestation.
  • High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program theory claims that HAARP could be used as directed-energy weapon, weather control, earthquake induction device and/or for mind control.[137]
  • Tsunami bomb. It has been alleged that the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was intentionally caused by a nuclear weapon detonated in a strategic position under the ocean;[138] research into such technology was conducted by the military as far back as World War II.[139] Likewise, similar studies were conducted in the early 1970s.[140] The U.S. Defense Department had even expressed concern about earthquake-inducing technology in warfare well before the 2004 disaster. In 1997 Defense Secretary William S. Cohen stated: "Others are engaging even in an eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves." However, this was in the context of discussing concerns raised by a futurist writer, and providing examples of false threats that might distract the intelligence community; Cohen also indicated other countries might just claim such capabilities as a "false scare of a threat."[141]
  • Chemtrail theory. Cloud-like trails behind aircraft, having the general appearance of contrails, but alleged to be chemical spraying.
  • Boeing Honeywell Uninterruptible Autopilot. The theory that most commercial airliners have been "secretly" fitted with technology that enables agencies such as the CIA to remotely take control of the aircraft, without any input from the flight crew. This theory is used as explanation in relation to incidents of hijacking such as the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, or unexplained aircraft disappearances such as Malaysia Airlines MH370.

Weapons testing[edit]

Surveillance, espionage and intelligence agencies[edit]

Throughout history, governments have used intelligence agencies to promote national policies in secretive ways. Consequently, conspiracy theories related to intelligence agencies abound, including theories on incidents of sabotage, propaganda, and assassination.

The 2013 global surveillance disclosures, particularly by Edward Snowden, revealed the extent of government surveillance projects that until then had been viewed by mainstream media as merely conspiracy theories. This disclosures indicated that government mass surveillance/computer surveillance systems track a significant percent of the world's telephone and internet traffic, using agencies that employ large numbers of agents. For example, according to The Guardian report on the Snowden leaks, 850,000 people have access to the Internet communications tracked by the Tempora system operated by the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).[147] Prism and XKeyscore are related systems that are operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) to track enormous volumes of communications.

Media[edit]

DTV transition[edit]

Some theorists claim that forced transition to digital television broadcasting is a practical realization of the "Big Brother" concept. They claim that miniature cameras and microphones are built into set-top boxes and newer TV sets to spy on people. Another claim describes the use of mind control technology that would be hidden in the digital signal and used to subvert the mind and feelings of the people and for subliminal advertising.[148]

Predictive programming[edit]

This theory posits that media outlets produce media (generally fictional media such as popular films, television shows, novels, etc.) that include images of events such as terrorist attacks, epidemics, or other natural or man-made disasters with the intent of programming the general population to accept such events as plausible, so that when the government undertakes such operations in the future, the public will be predisposed to believe the operations are actually terrorist actions and not government actions. (See False flag operations above.)

HAARP[edit]

HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) is an ionospheric research program funded by the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the University of Alaska, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Many conspiracy theories surround HAARP. Some theorists believe that it is being used as a weather-controlling device that can trigger catastrophic events, such as floods, hurricanes, etc. Others believe that the government uses HAARP to send mind-controlling radio waves to humans.

Medicine[edit]

The subject of suppressed-invention conspiracy also touches on the medical realm: proponents of more unlikely forms of alternative medicine are known to allege conspiracy by mainstream doctors to suppress their cures. Such conspiracies are often said to include government regulators, to the extent that a legal decision may be relevant. Some medical conspiracy theorists argue that the medical community could actually cure supposedly "incurable" diseases such as cancer (like the noted Luigi di Bella's medicines) and AIDS if it really wanted to, but instead prefers to suppress the cures as a way of maintaining the multi-trillion dollar "cancer industry". The costs for long-term treatment are generally higher than for a one-time cure. Other medical conspiracies charge that pharmaceutical companies are in league with some medical practitioners to "invent" new diseases, such as ADD, ADHD, HSV, HPV and even HIV )see HIV/AIDS denialism).

Drug legalization[edit]

Some activists and spokespersons for legalization of drugs (especially marijuana) have long espoused a theory that government and private industry conspired during the first half of the 20th century to outlaw hemp, allegedly so that it would no longer provide inexpensive competition to pulp paper and synthetic materials.[149] William Randolph Hearst is often pointed to as one of the businessmen responsible due to his involvement in the printing industry and his eminence in the public eye.[149] An extensive study on the subject has been done by Jack Herer in his book The Emperor Wears No Clothes.

In his 1996 journalistic series and 1998 book, both titled Dark Alliance, Gary Webb asserted that the CIA had allowed Nicaraguan drug traffickers to smuggle cocaine into the USA and had allowed the subsequent crack epidemic in Los Angeles to help garner funds for the Contras efforts.[150]

Creation of diseases[edit]

There are claims that AIDS is a human-made disease (i.e., created by scientists in a laboratory). Some of these theories allege that HIV was created by a conspiratorial group or by a secretive agency such as the CIA.[151][152] It is thought to have been created as a tool of genocide and/or population control. Other theories suggest that the virus was created as an experiment in biological and/or psychological warfare, and then escaped into the population at large by accident. Some who believe that HIV was a government creation see a precedent for it in the Tuskegee syphilis study, in which government-funded researchers deceptively denied treatment to black patients infected with a sexually transmitted disease.[152]

It has been claimed that the CIA deliberately administered HIV to African Americans and homosexuals in the 1970s, via tainted hepatitis vaccinations.[153] Groups such as Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam assert that this was part of a plan to destroy the black race.[154] Others claim that it was administered in Africa as a way of crippling the development of the continent.[155]

There have been suggestions that either HIV or a sterilizing agent has been added to polio vaccines being distributed by the World Health Organization in Nigeria. Since these claims have been in existence, there has been a marked increase in the number of polio cases in the country, because Muslim clerics have urged parents not to have their children vaccinated.[156]

Water fluoridation[edit]

Water fluoridation is the controlled addition of fluoride to a public water supply to reduce tooth decay.[157] Although many influential health and dental organizations in the U.S. support public water fluoridation, or have found no association with adverse effects, efforts to introduce water fluoridation meet considerable opposition whenever it is proposed.[158] Since fluoridation's inception in the 1950s, opponents have drawn on distrust of paid-for experts and unease about double-blind study findings.[159] Conspiracy theories involving fluoridation are common, and include the following claims that:[158]

  • Fluoridation is part of a Communitarian, Fascist or New World Order or Illuminati plot to pacify people so that they more easily trust authority and central banker pervasive propaganda. This notion is mentioned in Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove.[158]
  • Fluoridation was designed by the military–industrial complex to protect the U.S. atomic weapons program from litigation.[160][161]
  • Fluoridation was pioneered by a German chemical company to make people submissive to those in power.[161]
  • Fluoridation was used in Russian prison camps and produces schizophrenia.[158]
  • Fluoridation is backed by the aluminium or phosphate industries as a means of disposing of some of their industrial waste.[161][162]
  • Fluoridation is a smokescreen to cover failure to provide dental care to the poor.[158]

Fluoridation researchers are accused to be in the pay of corporate or political interests as part of the plot.[158] Specific anti-fluoridation arguments change to match the spirit of the time.[163]

RFID chips[edit]

Privacy concerns have surfaced regarding the use of RFID chips, which many states require to be implanted into pets as a means of tracking, will ultimately be used to track, spy on, or otherwise harass ordinary citizens; these devices' small size enable them to be discreetly installed into a variety of items someone may carry on their person.[164]

Traditional, natural and alternative medicines[edit]

Many proponents of traditional, natural and alternative medicines claim that pharmaceutical companies and various governments and government agencies conspire to maintain profits by ensuring that the general public uses only modern medicines. For example, many countries have laws that prevent unproven medicinal claims from being printed on packaging, advertisements, etc., for medicines. Any substance for which medicinal claims are made are deemed "drugs". (See Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.) Proponents of traditional, natural and alternative medicines often claim that since herbs, etc., are of natural origin, they are not drugs and that such laws fallaciously define them as drugs in order to control and ultimately limit or prevent their distribution thus ensuring profits for the pharmaceutical industry.

A variation on this conspiracy is claimed by Kevin Trudeau, author of Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You to Know About. He claims that in the USA, "they" (pharmaceutical companies, the FDA and FTC) conspire to withhold natural cures because "they" can make more profit selling long-term treatments, that do not cure, in perpetuity.

Real groups said to be involved in conspiracies[edit]

Adam Weishaupt founded the Illuminati, who some conspiracy theorists believe control the world

The past or present existence of these groups is not disputed, and a variety of theories regarding hidden plots and/or agendas actively guarded from the general public have been proposed. There is dispute as to whether any of these theories are true.

Extraterrestrial[edit]

Extraterrestrials[edit]

Main article: UFO conspiracy theory

A sector of conspiracy theory with a particularly detailed mythology is the extraterrestrial phenomenon, which has become the basis for numerous pieces of popular entertainment, conspiracies alleging a government cover-up of the supposed Roswell UFO incident, the Area 51/Grey Aliens conspiracy, and allegations surrounding the Dulce Base. It is alleged that the United States government conspires with extraterrestrials involved in the abduction and manipulation of citizens. A variant tells that particular technologies, notably the transistor—were given to American industry in exchange for alien dominance. The enforcers of the clandestine association of human leaders and aliens are the Men in Black, who silence those who speak out on UFO sightings. This conspiracy theory has been the basis of numerous books, as well as the popular television show The X-Files and the Men in Black film series. The X-Files based the plots of many of its episodes around urban legends and conspiracy theories, and had a framing plot which postulated a set of interlocking conspiracies controlling all recent human history.

There are claims about secret experiments known as the Montauk Project conducted at Camp Hero, Montauk, New York. Allegedly, the project was developing a powerful psychological war weapon. The project is often connected to other alleged government projects such as the Philadelphia Experiment and Project Rainbow, both of which involved the use of unified field theory to cloak vessels. Experiments involving teleportation, time travel, contact with extraterrestrials, and mind control are frequently alleged to have been conducted in the camp. Preston B. Nichols has written five books on the subject, including Montauk Project: Experiments in time.

Evil aliens[edit]

See also: Alien invasion

A somewhat different version of this theory maintains that humanity is actually under the control of shape-shifting alien reptiles, who require periodic ingestion of human blood to maintain their human appearance. David Icke has been a devoted proponent of this theory.[177] According to Icke, the Bush family and the British Royal Family are actually such creatures, and Diana, Princess of Wales was aware of this, presumably relating to her death. Margaret Thatcher is also believed to have been an important figure in the reptilian secret army.[177] David Icke's theory, which encompasses many other conspiracy theories, is that humanity is actually under the reptilians; with evidence ranging from Sumerian tablets describing the "Anunnaki" (which he translates as "those who from heaven to earth came"), to the serpent in the Biblical Garden of Eden, to child abuse and water fluoridation.

Another well-known alien conspiracy is known as Project Blue beam, supposedly a NASA and government psychological operation involving a fake alien invasion, along with light and laser shows in the sky, and false reports of UFO landings, to fake the second coming of Christ, as depicted in the Bible's Rapture, in order to bring about a global New Age religion with the Antichrist as the head.

Space[edit]

Conspiracy theorists claim the Apollo moon landings were staged in a film studio, similar to the training mockup in this photograph.
  • Conspiracy theorists claim that the Apollo moon landings were "staged" in a Hollywood movie or other studio either because they never happened or to conceal some aspect of the truth of the circumstances of the actual landing. (This led to the falsified Martian landing plot of Peter Hyams's film Capricorn One and is also part of the plot of the 2011 film Transformers: Dark of the Moon.)
  • Another theory claims that the Apollo astronauts found a human skeleton and footprints on the Moon. (This was circulated despite the fact that there is no way for anything to decompose on the moon, because its lack of atmosphere would prevent this.) The theory received more widespread attention when the satirical Weekly World News twice published stories about a human skeleton on the moon, first on Nov 28, 1989,[178] and then again on Jul 15, 1997.[179] This same story had been told before in a 1977 novel, Inherit the Stars, by James P. Hogan.
  • Soviet space program conspiracy accusations suppose that some failed human spaceflights in the USSR occurred but were concealed by the government.
  • Project Solar Warden is an alleged DoD (Dept. of Defense) program of manned space fleets operating outside the boundaries of Earth orbit, supposedly under UN authority.[180] At least one organization, FreeGary.org, has been lobbying for the release from prison of the individual who "uncovered" the clandestine project, Gary McKinnon.[181]

Miscellaneous[edit]

Nature[edit]

  • Rumours persist that the 1952 Lynmouth Flood in Devon, England was caused by British government scientists and the British military experimenting with artificial rainmaking or cloud seeding as part of research programme known as Project Cumulus. The floods caused the deaths of 35 people and extensive damage to buildings and the natural landscape. Declassified official documents uncovered by the BBC appeared to lend some credence to the theory and the incident was the subject of a BBC documentary.[182]
  • Several theories are advanced regarding the cause and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.[183]
  • Conspiracy theories related to the causes of the devastating 2010 Pakistan floods abound, with even mainstream newspapers repeating allegations that India and/or the U.S. are responsible.[184][185]

Advertising[edit]

  • There is a theory that the "computer vs. human" chess game between Russian grandmaster Garry Kasparov and IBM's Deep Blue computer had involved cheating by IBM, to ensure they would achieve a victory that would be widely publicized. This theory is argued by the documentary Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine.
  • A theory claims that The Coca-Cola Company intentionally changed to an inferior formula with New Coke with the intent of driving up demand for their classic product, later reintroducing it for their financial gain. Alternatively, people believe the switch was made to allow Coca-Cola to reintroduce "classic" Coke with a new formulation using less expensive corn syrup.[186] Donald Keough, president of Coca-Cola, replied to this charge: "The truth is, we're not that dumb, and we're not that smart."[187]
  • A number of people believe that Coca-Cola intentionally developed Santa Claus's traditional red suit to match the color closely associated with Coca-Cola's product.[188]

Global warming[edit]

  • Global warming conspiracy theorists typically allege that, through worldwide acts of professional and criminal misconduct, the science behind global warming has been invented or distorted for ideological and/or financial reasons.

Genetically modified crops[edit]

  • The GMO conspiracy theory asserts that the global community of agricultural and biological scientists has conspired to fabricate evidence supporting the safety and benefit of genetically modified food crops, while also suppressing evidence suggesting the dangers of these crops. Supporters of this conspiracy theory typically argue for organic superiority and against the use of genetically modified food crop. Supporters of this conspiracy theory often associate the private company Monsanto with this conspiracy theory.[189][190]

History[edit]

  • Some New Chronology theories, such as the phantom time hypothesis of Heribert Illig and the Fomenko-Nosovsky chronology, claim that the conventional dating of historical events is incorrect, and that the historical timeline has been purposely distorted by powerful interests.

Sports[edit]

  • The "Frozen Envelope Theory" suggests that the NBA rigged its 1985 Draft Lottery so that Georgetown University standout Patrick Ewing would land with the New York Knicks, who had the first pick in that year's draft. Conspiracy theorists argue that the Knicks' envelope was placed in the freezer so that when NBA commissioner David Stern reached into a bowl containing the envelopes of all the teams participating in the draft lottery, he would be able to identify that particular envelope by its being colder than the others.[191]
  • Similar to the "Frozen Envelope Theory" is the football "Hot Balls Theory" which suggests that certain balls used in draws for FIFA competitions have been raised in temperature in order to achieve a certain specific outcome for the draw (e.g. to draw rivals together in order to generate more interest and revenue, or to give a certain team an "easier" draw).[192]
  • Boxing is a sport that has been particularly linked with conspiracy theories, such as the theory that the second Ali-Liston fight was fixed,[193] and that the first Bradley-Pacquiao encounter was fixed by promoter Bob Arum.[194]
  • The "juiced ball" theory attributes an increase in baseball scores during the 1990s and 2000s to the use of balls that had been adulterated by illicit changes in the manufacturing process.

Electronic banking conspiracy[edit]

  • The Theory of Electronic Conspiracy is said to be a variant of modern New World Order conspiracy theories. The theory consists of the belief that a secret group has attempted for centuries to reach world domination, even if the result by design would be world destruction. According to this theory, the worldwide dominion has been planned from antiquity and follows the following phases:[195]
  1. The substitution of precious metal-based coin currency by paper currency. This process began in the Renaissance, with the beginning of the use of tickets which allowed for people to have a tangible good (such as silver or gold pieces) by paper—a more virtual, but comfortable, medium which the state was committed to provide the equivalent amount of precious metal if such was required.
  2. The appearance of virtual money, with credit cards: money approaches wholly virtual status. Money is no longer a tangible paper- or metal-based object but rather a series of numbers recorded in magnetic stripes.
  3. The proliferation of Internet and Electronic commerce: credit cards are no longer required in order to purchase or sell goods and services from an Internet-connected computer.
  4. The concentration of the worldwide bank into few hands, by means of continuous international banking fusions.
  5. The worldwide implementation of an electronic identity card.
  6. The great worldwide blackout: A tremendous disaster will take place when, after a great electrical blackout on a planetary scale, the data of all electronic accounts are erased simultaneously. After this event, chaos and poverty will immediately ensue throughout the planet; and civilization will revert to its primitive forms of slavery to survive. This is the last aim of the "secret organization" which has spent centuries guiding this process. The worldwide blackout will be preceded by partial blackouts that would only be tests and "signals" to communicate that different phases of the process are being fulfilled. An example of these partial blackouts would be those that have been produced almost simultaneously in different parts around the world; and, at the beginning of the 21st century, shortly after the September 11, 2001, attacks: the blackouts in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. This theory is used as the central plot of the 2013 TV series Revolution.

The Plan[edit]

In some U.S. cities, such as Washington, D.C., that are governed by African American majorities, a persistent conspiracy theory holds that Caucasians are plotting to take over those cities.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "ADL Report "Blaming the Jews: The Financial Crisis and Anti-Semitism"". 
  2. ^ a b Levy, Richard (2005). Antisemitism: a historical encyclopedia of prejudice. p. 55. ISBN 1-85109-439-3. 
  3. ^ "ADL report "Jewish "Control" of the Federal Reserve: A Classic Anti-Semitic Myth"". 
  4. ^ Baker, Lee D. (2010). Anthropology and the Racial Politics of Culture. Duke University Press. p. 158. ISBN 978-0822346982. 
  5. ^ Waltman, Michael; John Haas (2010). The Communication of Hate. Peter Lang. p. 52. ISBN 978-1433104473. 
  6. ^ "Who runs Hollywood? C'mon". LA Times. 
  7. ^ A hoax designed to advance the interests of Jews:
    • "The title of App's major work on the Holocaust, The Six Million Swindle, is informative because it implies on its very own the existence of a conspiracy of Jews to perpetrate a hoax against non-Jews for monetary gain." Mathis, Andrew E. Holocaust Denial, a Definition, The Holocaust History Project, July 2, 2004. Retrieved May 16, 2007.
    • "Jews are thus depicted as manipulative and powerful conspirators who have fabricated myths of their own suffering for their own ends. According to the Holocaust deniers, by forging evidence and mounting a massive propaganda effort, the Jews have established their lies as ‘truth’ and reaped enormous rewards from doing so: for example, in making financial claims on Germany and acquiring international support for Israel." The nature of Holocaust denial: What is Holocaust denial? Archived July 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., JPR report #3, 2000. Retrieved May 16, 2007.
    • "Why, we might ask the deniers, if the Holocaust did not happen would any group concoct such a horrific story? Because, some deniers claim, there was a conspiracy by Zionists to exaggerate the plight of Jews during the war in order to finance the state of Israel through war reparations." Michael Shermer & Alex Grobman. Denying History: : who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and why Do They Say It?, University of California Press, 2000, ISBN 0-520-23469-3, p. 106.
    • "Since its inception... the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), a California-based Holocaust denial organization founded by Willis Carto of Liberty Lobby, has promoted the antisemitic conspiracy theory that Jews fabricated tales of their own genocide to manipulate the sympathies of the non-Jewish world." Antisemitism and Racism Country Reports: United States Archived June 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., Stephen Roth Institute, 2000. Retrieved May 17, 2007.
    • "The central assertion for the deniers is that Jews are not victims but victimizers. They 'stole' billions in reparations, destroyed Germany's good name by spreading the 'myth' of the Holocaust, and won international sympathy because of what they claimed had been done to them. In the paramount miscarriage of injustice, they used the world's sympathy to 'displace' another people so that the state of Israel could be established. This contention relating to the establishment of Israel is a linchpin of their argument." Deborah Lipstadt. Denying the Holocaust – The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, Penguin, 1993, ISBN 0-452-27274-2, p. 27.
    • "They [Holocaust deniers] picture a vast shadowy conspiracy that controls and manipulates the institutions of education, culture, the media and government in order to disseminate a pernicious mythology. The purpose of this Holocaust mythology, they assert, is the inculcation of a sense of guilt in the white, Western Christian world. Those who can make others feel guilty have power over them and can make them do their bidding. This power is used to advance an international Jewish agenda centered in the Zionist enterprise of the State of Israel." Introduction: Denial as Anti-Semitism, "Holocaust Denial: An Online Guide to Exposing and Combating Anti-Semitic Propaganda", Anti-Defamation League, 2001. Retrieved June 12, 2007.
    • "Deniers argue that the manufactured guilt and shame over a mythological Holocaust led to Western, specifically United States, support for the establishment and sustenance of the Israeli state—a sustenance that costs the American taxpayer over three billion dollars per year. They assert that American taxpayers have been and continue to be swindled..." Introduction: Denial as Anti-Semitism, "Holocaust Denial: An Online Guide to Exposing and Combating Anti-Semitic Propaganda", Anti-Defamation League, 2001. Retrieved June 12, 2007.
    • "The stress on Holocaust revisionism underscored the new anti-Semitic agenda gaining ground within the Klan movement. Holocaust denial refurbished conspiratorial anti-Semitism. Who else but the Jews had the media power to hoodwink unsuspecting masses with one of the greatest hoaxes in history? And for what motive? To promote the claims of the illegitimate state of Israel by making non-Jews feel guilty, of course." Lawrence N. Powell, Troubled Memory: Anne Levy, the Holocaust, and David Duke's Louisiana, University of North Carolina Press, 2000, ISBN 0-8078-5374-7, p. 445.
  8. ^ Antisemitic:
    • "Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include ... denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust)." Working Definition of Antisemitism Archived January 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. PDF (33.8 KB), Fundamental Rights Agency
    • "It would elevate their antisemitic ideology—which is what Holocaust denial is—to the level of responsible historiography—which it is not." Deborah Lipstadt, Denying the Holocaust, ISBN 0-14-024157-4, p. 11.
    • "The denial of the Holocaust is among the most insidious forms of anti-Semitism..." Roth, Stephen J. "Denial of the Holocaust as an Issue of Law" in the Israel Yearbook on Human Rights, Volume 23, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1993, ISBN 0-7923-2581-8, p. 215.
    • "Contemporary Holocaust deniers are not revisionists—not even neo-revisionists. They are Deniers. Their motivations stem from their neo-nazi political goals and their rampant antisemitism." Austin, Ben S. "Deniers in Revisionists Clothing" Archived November 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine., The Holocaust\Shoah Page, Middle Tennessee State University. Retrieved March 29, 2007.[dead link]
    • "Holocaust denial can be a particularly insidious form of antisemitism precisely because it often tries to disguise itself as something quite different: as genuine scholarly debate (in the pages, for example, of the innocuous-sounding Journal for Historical Review)." The nature of Holocaust denial: What is Holocaust denial? Archived July 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., JPR report #3, 2000. Retrieved May 16, 2007.
    • "This books treats several of the myths that have made antisemitism so lethal... In addition to these historic myths, we also treat the new, maliciously manufactured myth of Holocaust denial, another groundless belief that is used to stir up Jew-hatred." Schweitzer, Frederick M. & Perry, Marvin. Anti-Semitism: myth and hate from antiquity to the present, Palgrave Macmillan, 2002, ISBN 0-312-16561-7, p. 3.
    • "One predictable strand of Arab Islamic antisemitism is Holocaust denial..." Schweitzer, Frederick M. & Perry, Marvin. Anti-Semitism: myth and hate from antiquity to the present, Palgrave Macmillan, 2002, ISBN 0-312-16561-7, p. 10.
    • "Anti-Semitism, in the form of Holocaust denial, had been experienced by just one teacher when working in a Catholic school with large numbers of Polish and Croatian students." Geoffrey Short, Carole Ann Reed. Issues in Holocaust Education, Ashgate Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0-7546-4211-9, p. 71.
    • "Indeed, the task of organized antisemitism in the last decade of the century has been the establishment of Holocaust Revisionism – the denial that the Holocaust occurred." Stephen Trombley, "antisemitism", The Norton Dictionary of Modern Thought, W. W. Norton & Company, 1999, ISBN 0-393-04696-6, p. 40.
    • "After the Yom Kippur War an apparent reappearance of antisemitism in France troubled the tranquility of the community; there were several notorious terrorist attacks on synagogues, Holocaust revisionism appeared, and a new antisemitic political right tried to achieve respectability." Howard K. Wettstein, Diasporas and Exiles: Varieties of Jewish Identity, University of California Press, 2002, ISBN 0-520-22864-2, p. 169.
    • "Holocaust denial is a convenient polemical substitute for anti-semitism." Igounet, Valérie. "Holocaust denial is part of a strategy", Le Monde diplomatique, May, 1998.
    • "Holocaust denial is a contemporary form of the classic anti-Semitic doctrine of the evil, manipulative and threatening world Jewish conspiracy." Introduction: Denial as Anti-Semitism, "Holocaust Denial: An Online Guide to Exposing and Combating Anti-Semitic Propaganda", Anti-Defamation League, 2001. Retrieved June 12, 2007.
    • "In a number of countries, in Europe as well as in the United States, the negation or gross minimization of the Nazi genocide of Jews has been the subject of books, essay and articles. Should their authors be protected by freedom of speech? The European answer has been in the negative: such writings are not only a perverse form of anti-semitism but also an aggression against the dead, their families, the survivors and society at large." Roger Errera, "Freedom of speech in Europe", in Georg Nolte, European and US Constitutionalism, Cambridge University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-521-85401-6, pp. 39–40.
    • "Particularly popular in Syria is Holocaust denial, another staple of Arab anti-Semitism that is sometimes coupled with overt sympathy for Nazi Germany." Efraim Karsh, Rethinking the Middle East, Routledge, 2003, ISBN 0-7146-5418-3, p. 104.
    • "Holocaust denial is a new form of anti-Semitism, but one that hinges on age-old motifs." Dinah Shelton, Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, Macmillan Reference, 2005, p. 45.
    • "The stress on Holocaust revisionism underscored the new anti-Semitic agenda gaining ground within the Klan movement. Holocaust denial refurbished conspiratorial anti-Semitism. Who else but the Jews had the media power to hoodwink unsuspecting masses with one of the greatest hoaxes in history? And for what motive? To promote the claims of the illegitimate state of Israel by making non-Jews feel guilty, of course." Lawrence N. Powell, Troubled Memory: Anne Levy, the Holocaust, and David Duke's Louisiana, University of North Carolina Press, 2000, ISBN 0-8078-5374-7, p. 445.
    • "Since its inception... the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), a California-based Holocaust denial organization founded by Willis Carto of Liberty Lobby, has promoted the antisemitic conspiracy theory that Jews fabricated tales of their own genocide to manipulate the sympathies of the non-Jewish world." Antisemitism and Racism Country Reports: United States Archived June 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., Stephen Roth Institute, 2000. Retrieved May 17, 2007.
    • "The primary motivation for most deniers is anti-Semitism, and for them the Holocaust is an infuriatingly inconvenient fact of history. After all, the Holocaust has generally been recognized as one of the most terrible crimes that ever took place, and surely the very emblem of evil in the modern age. If that crime was a direct result of anti-Semitism taken to its logical end, then anti-Semitism itself, even when expressed in private conversation, is inevitably discredited among most people. What better way to rehabilitate anti-Semitism, make anti-Semitic arguments seem once again respectable in civilized discourse and even make it acceptable for governments to pursue anti-Semitic policies than by convincing the world that the great crime for which anti-Semitism was blamed simply never happened – indeed, that it was nothing more than a frame-up invented by the Jews, and propagated by them through their control of the media? What better way, in short, to make the world safe again for anti-Semitism than by denying the Holocaust?" Reich, Walter. "Erasing the Holocaust", The New York Times, July 11, 1993.
    • "There is now a creeping, nasty wave of anti-Semitism ... insinuating itself into our political thought and rhetoric ... The history of the Arab world ... is disfigured ... by a whole series of outmoded and discredited ideas, of which the notion that the Jews never suffered and that the Holocaust is an obfuscatory confection created by the elders of Zion is one that is acquiring too much, far too much, currency." Edward Said, "A Desolation, and They Called it Peace" in Those who forget the past, Ron Rosenbaum (ed), Random House 2004, p. 518.
  9. ^ Conspiracy theory:
    • "While appearing on the surface as a rather arcane pseudo-scholarly challenge to the well-established record of Nazi genocide during the Second World War, Holocaust denial serves as a powerful conspiracy theory uniting otherwise disparate fringe groups..." Introduction: Denial as Anti-Semitism, "Holocaust Denial: An Online Guide to Exposing and Combating Anti-Semitic Propaganda", Anti-Defamation League, 2001. Retrieved June 12, 2007.
    • "Before discussing how Holocaust denial constitutes a conspiracy theory, and how the theory is distinctly American, it is important to understand what is meant by the term 'Holocaust denial.'" Mathis, Andrew E. Holocaust Denial, a Definition, The Holocaust History Project, July 2, 2004. Retrieved December 18, 2006.
    • "Since its inception... the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), a California-based Holocaust denial organization founded by Willis Carto of Liberty Lobby, has promoted the antisemitic conspiracy theory that Jews fabricated tales of their own genocide to manipulate the sympathies of the non-Jewish world." Antisemitism and Racism Country Reports: United States, Stephen Roth Institute, 2000. Retrieved May 17, 2007.
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Otha

Further reading[edit]