The pharmaceutical industry has been accused of so much wrongdoing, one would think that Resident Evil was based on a true story.
Supporters of "natural" cures and alternative medicine (the most famous being Kevin Trudeau) allege that Big Pharma is suppressing knowledge of these treatments in order to protect their profits, which are built on making people sick, keeping them sick, and selling them drugs and surgery that do nothing more than suppress the symptoms. An excellent example of the Consumer Conspiracy. Also falls under "Suppressed Science and Technologies" below.
The AIDS dissident movement claims that HIV does not cause AIDS, and that it is instead a result of (depending on who you ask) poverty, malnutrition, the "gay lifestyle," and other environmental factors. It is claimed that the HIV-AIDS link was fabricated by Big Pharma in order to allow them to make money off of their "treatments" for the disease. Unlike most conspiracy theories, this one has had serious repercussions in many parts of the world. The prevalence of AIDS dissidence at the highest levels of the South African government (including former President Thabo Mbeki) has been widely blamed for the spread of the disease in South Africa and the rest of the continent, and it's only recently that South Africa is showing hope of getting the pandemic under control.
Alternatively, it is claimed that AIDS is a man-made, genetically-modified disease that was made to wipe out black people, homosexuals, drug addicts, and other "undesirable" groups. Dr. Alan Cantwell is one of the main proponents of this idea, with his version claiming that it was deliberately spread into the gay community in the late '70s through Hepatitis B experiments. Variations on this theory are especially prevalent in minority communities, thanks in no small part to the Tuskegee Study (see "Real Conspiracies" below).
Matilde Krim, a cancer virologist, AIDS expert, and the co-chairperson of the American Foundation for AIDS Research, has also suggested that Dr. Wolf Szmuness' hepatitis B vaccination experiments of the late '70s caused the AIDS epidemic. Unlike Cantwell, however, she attributes this to accident rather than conspiracy. Although to the fair to Dr. Krim, she formulated that theory during the early days of the AIDS epidemic, when no one knew where this disease came from. She later repudiated this hypothesis when evidence proved it wrong.
Keep in mind though, the KGB was more than happy to create an actual conspiracy to spread disinformation about fake AIDS conspiracies. For more info, Operation INFEKTION is a good place to start.
The alleged link between vaccines and autism. Like the AIDS dissident theories, this is another one that has had serious repercussions for public health. Scientists have never been able to come anywhere close to finding any conclusive evidence for the existence of any link between vaccination and autism. In addition, the only medical study to suggest such a link, out of the countless done on the subject, was later found to contain so much faked data, unethical practices, and conflicts of interest that its lead author, Andrew Wakefield, had his medical license revoked - which would, naturally, fit quite well with a Conspiracy Theorist's perspective of Big Pharma trying to "suppress the truth". Likewise, the pharmaceutical companies have naturally worked overtime to eliminate potentially toxic preservatives from vaccines after a scare several years ago.
Still, millions of parents, thanks to such noted non-experts as Jenny McCarthy, have been led to believe that Big Pharma is conspiring to suppress this link in order to prevent a tidal wave of class-action lawsuits. The effects of this vaccine boycott have manifested themselves in increased incidence of childhood diseases like mumps and rubella that, ten years ago, were nearly eradicated, thanks partly to the breakdown of so-called "herd immunity"short version nearly everybody being vaccinated means a lack of vectors for disease to spread, protecting the few people who aren't or can't be (due to allergies, autoimmune diseases, simply being too young to be vaccinated, and a few who have religious as opposed to "health"-based objections to the practice) vaccinated. in places where anti-vaccine propaganda has proliferated (most notably in Britain and California). Hundreds of children have died from preventable diseases because parents were convinced that the vaccines were harmful.
This one is not helped in the slightest by a coincidence of timing and the False Causefallacy. The MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine is typically first administered when a child is about a year old. Autism symptoms aren't visible before about 12-18 months of age. So, to somebody who doesn't know much about autism, this can turn into "Most autistic children start showing symptoms shortly after receiving the MMR vaccine, so the vaccine must be responsible." This is akin to arguing that since in the spring birds fly north and daffodils come up, the daffodils must be getting up to go birdwatching.
A side effect of this theory is a cottage industry of people using chelation therapy in an attempt to cure various aliments especially autism. Chelation is a legimate treatment in cases of heavy metal poisoning, though the conditions attributed to vaccines don't show any other symptoms associated with such poisonings such as hair loss or rashes.
The worst part about this trope is the Unfortunate Implications that these parents would rather their children die than risk living with autism.
It's been suggested that the goverment impants Tracking/mindcontrol Chips into the general populus or just people who know too much aka conspiracy theorists. "They" are supposed to insert via vaccination injections, blood donation or during surgeries. This has led people using a metal detector/stud finder to check themselves for the chips and even digging parts of their flesh out with random tools in fits of paranoia.
There is a whole lot of things that are supposed track people.
Some of the mud slung during the debate on health care in the US belongs here. Beyond the usual accusations of"socialism", some people felt that the health care plan being put forth by the Obama administration would have created "death panels" that would consign millions of old and infirm Americans to die in order to save money on their treatment. Of course, it would be disingenuous not to mention that such considerations are necessarily a part of any hospital service or insurance company, public or private, that deals with limited resources, as demonstrated by the concepts of triage and pre-existing conditions (the latter of which was banned under Obama's health care law).
Or, in other words: there are already "death panels" that consign millions of old and infirm Americans to die in order to save money on their treatment. They're called insurance companies.
Then, tying into some Religious conspiracy theories, one idea is that the "Mark of the Beast" would come in the form of a tattoo (either standard or infrared) or sub-dermal RFID chip implanted in the back of the hand or on the forehead, ostensibly as a way to keep patient records with the patient in case of an emergency. This is categorically false, as the registry would have (it didn't make the final cut) simply kept tabs on other devices already implanted in patients (pacemakers, hip replacements, etc.) to gauge effectiveness of treatment and materials, as well as provide possible recall information.
When the 2014 West Africa Ebola Outbreak became news, there were tons of conspiracy theories about the U.S. government having manufactured the Ebola strain in order to kill off Africans. Worse still are the people who think the New World Order are trying to "de-populate" the U.S. using the disease. Then there are the people who think the government is intentionally telling people that the virus is not airborne, often using a single BBC study from 2012 that proved that only under specific circumstances that the virus is airborne. These people will twist the logic of the study, using fearmongering techniques to get others to believe in it.
Some people believe that the H1N1 or "swine flu" epidemic is entirely artificial, whether from genetic engineering of a virus, to deliberate spreading of a minor virus, to government/big pharma exerting pressure for intentionally over-blown media coverage.
The Church of Scientology maintains that psychiatry is a corrupt, criminal profession based on false science that is out to destroy them, torture people, suppress human spirituality, and Take Over the World. They run a museum called Psychiatry: An Industry of Death which expounds upon these claims, and have produced an accompanying Documentary Of Lies. We are of course expected to ignore the fact that the core of Scientology's "belief system" is an alternative to psychiatry that incidentally involves "treatments" at least as pricey as any shrink's bill.
Interestingly, there are many more plausible conspiracy theories that can be made about Scientology itself than about its enemies. And quite a few of them are true...
Would you believe that there's a conspiracy theory about corn, of all things? An increasing number of medical experts think that the use of cheap and abundant high-fructose corn syrup in foods contributes to the obesity epidemic, to the point where a number of food and drink makers (such as Snapple) have switched back to real sugar due to HFCS's bad publicity. The government has refused to sponsor any studies about the usage of HFCS. At the same time, corn is so heavily subsidized by the government and sells for such a low price that it costs more to raise an acre than a farmer can get for selling it. Tie all these factors together, mix in some paranoia, and there are some crazy conspiracy theories out there.
A simpler and more rational explanation for this is that all presidential candidates put a lot of effort into winning the Iowa caucus, the first state primary election, and none of them want to become less popular in Iowa, a major corn-producing state.
Admittedly, the conspiracy theorists do have one point in their favor. The price of cane sugar in the United States is kept artificially high due to a system of tariffs and quotas on sugar passed during the 1970s and, as stated above, the price of corn is kept artificially low due to government subsidies. But that's a far cry from proving an organized conspiracy between corn growers and the federal government. More likely it started as a temporary vote-buying scheme that no one bothered to fix afterward.
Though some just prefer the taste of cane sugar in their soda over corn syrup.
There are similar theories about aspartame, the artificial sweetener used in diet sodas, claiming that is causes cancer and brain damage (this is even referenced in a song by Lupe Fiasco) and the government is covering it up to protect the corporations or something like that.
The fluoridation of public water supplies. The usual justification for it is that it helps improve dental health, this theory originating from observations that people living in places where the drinking water was filled with natural flouride had very clean and healthy (though slightly discolored) teeth. Many criticisms are along the lines that it's not as effective or cheap as claimed, can have adverse health effects, or is slightly unethical in that it assumes consent which might not have been given. These are reasonable objections, if perhaps contentious. Then there are the people who believe it's a communist mind-control plot designed to brainwash people into being subservient slaves. This was particularly prominent during the Red Scare of the 1950s and 1960s, and was parodied in Dr. Strangelove with the character of General Ripper.
"It's incredibly obvious, isn't it? Foreign substances introduced into our precious bodily fluids, without the knowledge of the individual, and certainly without any choice? That's the way a hardcore Commie works."
Cell phones supposedly cause cancer, which is being suppressed by the cell phone providers. This is believed due to the fact that cell phones, like all electronic devices, give off radiation - holding a radioactive device next to your head doesn't sound very healthy. However, cell phones give off non-ionizing radiation, which means it lacks the energy to displace electrons, and thus does not cause damage (if it did, half the developed world would have cancer of the ear by now).
Some claim that the exposure to electromagnetic fields forming around high-voltage electric wires may cause cancer. Such possibility has been taken relatively seriously by the scientific community, but so far it remains unproven. Roughly the same reason as above is a factor here.
Some anti-abortion activists claim that legal abortion is a plot to drive down the birth rates of poor people and minorities. Many of these theories go by the allegedly disproportionate citing of abortion clinics in low-income neighborhoods, as well as Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger's enthusiastic support for eugenics in the early 20th century — something that the modern organization has long since disowned. And on top of this there are those who claim the inverse that it's focused on eliminating white people.
Note, most Planned Parenthood clinics are found in poorer areas because PP offers free/cheap cancer screenings, gynecological services and contraception, also, poor people may not have cars.
Of course, there's an interesting point here: most economists agree that availability and acceptability of family planning (including contraception and, yes, abortion) are a major factor in lifting families and especially women out of poverty by giving them the opportunity to pursue education and career advancement without having as many children to support. A single woman earning $20,000 a year is obviously not doing so well, but if she has no children she's actually at just under 200% of poverty and can potentially get on in the world, saving a little and having some left over to invest in her skills and get better work so that if she does start a family, she can give the children a good home. The same woman on the same income with two or three children will barely be able to get by and probably won't be able to supervise them very well. Family planning—including abortion—increases the number of women in the former category. So eugenics? No. Abortion as a means to drive down the birthrates of the poor? To some degree yes, but in conjunction with better alternatives, so they won't have to be poor anymore. And a conspiracy? Most advocates of contraception and abortion rights point out the poverty-fighting power of family planning openly!
This can extend to any birth control such as condoms and the pill mostly fuelled by the conservative religious distrust in these products.
The popularity of gluten-free diets has lead to various conspiracy theories about bread, of all things.
One conspiracy theory holds that the medical/pharmaceutical establishment discovered a cure for cancer a long time ago, but have been withholding it from the public so they can continue making money from surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Underlying this theory is the argument that with all the money, and decades of effort, poured into cancer research around the world, it's inconceivable that someone wouldn't have found a cure by now. Proponents of the theory fail to understand two things:
First, cancer is not a single disease with a single, simple cause such as a bacterium or virus. Rather, it's an umbrella term for a variety of disorders, with complex and multiple causes, all having in common the failure of cells, in a given part of the body, to die a natural death, instead growing into malignant tumours. Therefore, the focus of research has been on prevention and treatment of specific cancers, rather than a universal cure-all which simply isn't possible with medical science as we know it.
Second, if researchers did discover "a" cancer cure—or even a cure for a specific cancer—elementary logic suggests their employer would earn far more money by mass-producing and marketing it than they would by concealing it and having patients resort to invasive operations or unpleasant chemo or radiation therapy, which may or may not work, or work for very long.
The phantom time hypothesis states that the early Middle Ages (roughly AD 614-911), particularly the Carolingian period (including Charlemagne), did not exist. Therefore, according to this theory, we are technically living in the early 18th century, not the 21st. The theory is based in the lack of archaeological evidence dating from the era (understandable, as it was, well, the Dark Ages), the presence of various styles of architecture a few hundred years before they were supposed to have been developed, errors in the correlation of the Julian (i.e. Roman) and Gregorian (modern) calendars, and massive gaps in history from Europe all the way to the Middle East and India. The alleged culprit of the conspiracy was Holy Roman Emperor Otto III (with help from Pope Sylvester II), who wanted to rule around the year 1000 (the millennium), and invented Charlemagne as the model hero that he wanted to be.
A similar theory, the Hungarian Calendar hypothesis, claims that the era from AD 960-1160 never occurred.
The "New Chronology" theory claims that human history began around AD 800, that the histories of the world's ancient civilizations (Rome, Greece, Egypt, Persia, ancient China, the events of The Bible) all took place during the time of AD 1000-1500, and that the "official" history was codified around 1600.
Similarly, Young Earth Creationists believe that the universe and world were created 6,000 years ago. See "Suppressed Science and Technologies" for details.
Atlantis theories are pretty weird; regardless of whether the island existed, the earliest source (Plato) describes Atlanteans merely as military aggressors against Athens; they are not particularly enlightened or advanced, and in fact are brought up as a contrast with the ideal society. This was well understood by everyone in the following centuries who spoke of the legend — until the 19th, when the Crystal Spires and Togas stuff was suddenly pulled straight from someone's ass.
The search for Atlantis and other "lost" civilizations has also been filled with Unfortunate Implications over the years. One of the first proposed sites for Atlantis outside of the Mediterranean was Africa. Why? Because, when the Europeans started heavily colonizing the continent in the 19th century, they found evidence of civilizations both long dead and still alive. Cultural chauvinism made it impossible for them to believe that these civilizations had been built solely by black Africans, so they theorized that there must have been a white "precursor" civilization that passed down its cultural achievements to the Africans. Before long, somebody conflated this hypothetical civilization with Atlantis.
The Nazis also left a huge stain on the search for Atlantis, which they felt was the original homeland of the Aryan race. This is why so many pop-culture depictions of Atlantis show wreckage of Nazi U-boats or the remains of a Nazi expedition. It's only been in the last couple of decades that the search for mythical civilizations has managed to distance itself from the racist aims of the Nazis.
As for the reality of Atlantis, the same book that generated the idea (Plato's Timaeus) contains the line: "[Atlantis] which you yesterday described to us in fiction." It should never have been more mysterious than the fate of Middle Earth.
Lemuria is equally weird if you know its history. Scientists found lemur fossils in both India and Madagascar, but not in Africa. This lead to some great bafflement as to how these creatures were found in two locations that were separated by water, but nowhere in between on land. To explain this, the lost continent of Lemuria — located between India and Madagascar — was proposed. In time, the real answer to the mystery was discovered—plate tectonics. That is to say, both India and Madagascar were once firmly attached to Africa; about 135 million years ago, India split off; and about 88 million years ago, a chunk of India (still en route to Asia) split off India and stayed put. That chunk was Madagascar. Since the Indian continent that broke off Africa was the ancestral lemur homeland, the lemurs naturally show up in India and Madagascar. To wit: there was never any evidence for Lemuria. It was a scientific hypothesis, and one that didn't work out. So naturally, the woowoos decided that it MUST have existed and that there MUST have been advanced people living on it. Really, if you want to leave an indelible mark in the woowoo scene, just propose that there was a missing continent. They'll have it full of Crystal Spires and Togas and visited by Ancient Astronauts in no time.
Some believe that Operation Highjump — a scientific expedition to Antarctica in 1946 with a suspiciously-large military component — was actually the last shots of World War II as the allies flushed out the secret Antarctic Nazi military bases and superweapons.
Or to do something with aliens or a entrance to the Hollow World.
There exist various theories about how and why the Pyramids of Egypt were built. One of the more popular ones claims that they were built by Ancient Astronauts. Another claims that they were nuclear power plants. All of them claim that the widely-accepted explanation for how they were built is physically impossible.
Never mind that continual research has expanded upon the construction techniques that might have been used. One researcher, for instance, made the rather (in hindsight) obvious jump that the Egyptians might have used some of the technology they used in boats and such to aid in building the pyramids.
Related to the above is the so-called "Orion Correlation Theory," which puts forth the idea that the Pyramids were not built by the Ancient Egyptians, but by some older, unknown Precursor civilization, and the Egyptians just moved in after they died out. Proponents of this theory claim that the structures making up the Giza Complex are arranged to correspond to the positions of the major stars in the Orion constellation as it would have been around 10,000 BC. The movie 10,000 BC actually ran with this theory, making it a major plot point.
The Iranian hostage crisis in 1979 has some conspiracy theories surrounding it, most of them surrounding Ronald Reagan. According to the most popular theory, the Reagan campaign had cut a deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran to hold off on releasing the hostages until after Reagan had won the election, thus denying Jimmy Carter an "October surprise" and allowing Reagan to take credit for ending the crisis.
Similar to the Pyramids of Egypt, theories abound as to the construction and purpose of Stonehenge. Various scholarly explanations claim that it was an astronomical calendar, a pagan shrine/sacred site, or a place of healing, and that the massive stones had been brought to the site either by water or over land using ball bearing-like "wheels" and then raised up using A-frames. Somewhat... less scholarly theories involve extrapolations on all of the above, as well as claims about ley lines or aliens being involved.
The Georgia Guidestones are a large granite monument in Elberton, Georgia that had been built in 1979-1980 under the commission of a man using the pseudonym "R. C. Christian" who was claiming to represent "a small group of Americans who seek the age of reason". The entire structure is astronomically aligned, and carved into it are ten "guiding thoughts" in eight languages describing how an ideal society is to be managed. Speculation has abounded for decades as to the identity of "R. C. Christian" and the purpose of the Guidestones, and some are convinced that the inscriptions are a blueprint for the New World Order or The Antichrist and that the Guidestones should be destroyed. In 2008, the Guidestones were vandalized with a number of anti-NWO messages.
The prevalent theory is they were made by Ted Turner (possibly with a small cabal of other like-minded people), given that he had the money to fund such a project, he's based in Georgia, and the messages on the stones are in line with ideas that Turner has espoused.
Genocide denial in general often falls into this. As a general rule, whenever Nation A is found to have committed attempted genocide against Ethnic Group B, Religious Group C, and/or Dissident Group D, the die-hard supporters of Nation A will claim that such allegations were made up or exaggerated by Groups B/C/D and/or Enemy Nation E in order to smear them, and that any killings or internment that Nation A committed against Group B/C/D were justified in order to put down a rebellion or stop them from collaborating with Enemy Nation E.
Holocaust denial. See "Jews/Israel".
The arguments on both sides over the events of the Armenian Genocide. On one side, the Turkish government and scholars claim that the Armenians are exaggerating Ottoman behavior against them during World War I while whitewashing their own anti-Ottoman resistance campaign and collaboration with the Russians, and that special interest groups linked to the Armenian diaspora are paying off and bullying historians and foreign governments to recognize the events as a genocide. On the other side, the Armenian government and scholars claim that modern Turkey is suppressing evidence that would prove Ottoman complicity in an organized campaign of what we would now call, at the very least, ethnic cleansing in eastern Anatolia, and that it is abusing its position as a key NATO ally to bully the US and, by extension, Israel into not recognizing the genocide. This tends to lead to a lot of embarrassing Misplaced Nationalism on the part of both Turks and Armenians.
A persistent myth among Japanese ultra-nationalists claims that tales of Imperial Japanese atrocities before and during World War II (such as the Nanking Massacre and Unit 731) are lies, or at least exaggerations, pushed by the Chinese and Koreans (bothparts) out of spite for Japan and as a form of "victor's justice", and that those convicted of war crimes were "martyrs of Showa". Given that China is now a growing world power, this has grown into a very touchy live-wire in East Asian politics, especially as far as Japanese school textbooks are concerned.
Until the 1980s, the Soviet Union maintained that the Holodomor, the starvation of millions of Ukrainians in the early 1930s as a result of a Soviet campaign to seize grain from them, was a myth pushed by capitalists and fascists in the West in order to smear the communist system. Today, this position is maintained by a number of apologists for the Soviet Union.
Conversely, the unsupported assertion that the Holodmor was a deliberately-targeted genocide perpetrated by Soviet authorities is more-or-less a mainstream belief in modern, nationalist-dominated Ukraine.
The Srebrenica massacre in 1995, in which members of a Serbian paramilitary called the Scorpions killed over 8,000 Bosniaks during The Yugoslav Wars. Some Serbian nationalists and others claim that the figure of dead is an exaggeration by the West done to punish and embarrass Serbia, and that many of the dead were combatants.
Similar to the Soviet Union's denial of the Holodomor, Maoists in the present day claim that the death toll of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution has been exaggerated by both the post-Mao "revisionist" governments of the People's Republic of China and by the capitalist powers in order to smear the legacy of Mao Zedong.
The infamous "stab in the back" myth claimed that Germany was on the verge of winning World War I in 1918, and that its surrender came not because of a crumbling situation on the battlefield, the imminent arrival of millions of fresh American soldiers to the Allied ranks, and the Italians having opened a way to their undefended southern border, but because it had been betrayed by leftists, the labor unions, republicans, and Jews, who were working together to slow the supply lines, sow dissent, and cut backroom deals with the Allies. After all, very little of the fighting had taken place on German soil, so didn't that mean that the Germans were winning? The Nazis wound up riding this myth all the way to Berlin in 1933, and it remains a powerful example of how conspiracy theories can be abused for evil. It also ended up very definitively biting Germany in the ass in World War II — the entire reason that the Allies would not accept anything less than total, complete, and unconditional surrender from Germany and the other Axis powers was to make sure that there could be no room for this theory to raise its ugly head again. Melded with Hitler's complete denial of military reality, the "Stab in the Back" theory ended up causing vast misery for the entire German people.
Much like the Pyramids, Stonehenge or any other monument not built by the Roman Empire or the Ancient Greeks, the moai of Easter Island have Ancient Astronauts theories stapled to them, too. While most archeologists think the moai were erected to worship ancestors and to monument great tribal leaders, a small group of theorists believe that the moai were built for or by alien visitors.
The Nazca lines also get this somewhat dubious honor of supposedly being created by Ancient Astronauts as some-sort of landing pad or signs for spaceships.
The "lost" island of Bermeja is supposedly located in the Gulf of Mexico, north of the Yucatán Peninsula. It had been reported on maps since the 17th century, but it has not been sighted since the 19th century. Bermeja's "disappearance" is the subject of a conspiracy theory in Mexico, claiming that the CIA dynamited the island in The Seventies in order to rob Mexico of some of its offshore oil reserves — if the island existed, it would move the maritime border between Mexico and the United States in the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico about a hundred nautical miles north. Officially, the Mexican government's stance is that, if the island ever existed, it was likely destroyed by tectonic activity in the 19th century.
Due to the participation of freemasons in its creation, the Statue of Liberty is claimed by some religious minded anti-masons to be a represention of a being that they worship such as Ishtar or Lucifer.
In some right-wing circles, there exists the theory that the Soviet Union faked its collapse (somehow) in order to trick the West into ceasing its suppression of communist subversion. The centerpieces for this theory are KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn's 1984 book New Lies for Old (which claims, among other things, that the Sino-Soviet split was faked) and its 1995 followup The Perestroika Deception.
Another theory about the Cold War is that the United States and the Soviet Union were controlled by the same shadowy forces, who were Running Both Sides in order to conquer the world. Said shadowy forces are usually the Jews, of course. In fact, an earlier version of this theory was used by Nazi propaganda to explain why Germany was at war with the western capitalist powers and the Russian communists at the same time. It's also sometimes called upon to explain why the Soviets didn't cry foul over the faked moon landing.
The "Homintern" (Homosexual Comintern), or the "Gay Mafia," was an alleged conspiracy of gay elites who supposedly controlled the world of art and culture, including Hollywood. They used their control to slip tons of Ho Yay into the media (the Batman series was often cited as an example) in an effort to turn people gay, and used the Casting Couch to have sex with studly young actors and other people looking to make it in the arts. As funny as this theory is now, lots of people took it seriously in the mid-20th century, including many liberals and even some gay people. The Homintern theory broke down with the rise of the gay rights movement — like any good conspiracy theory, a key component was the secrecy and speculation as to who in Hollywood was a part of it, and once gay people started coming out en masse, the whole thing fell apart, to be replaced by...
The "Gay Agenda." Since homosexuals cannot reproduce with each other, the theory goes that they must "recruit" new homosexuals by infiltrating schools and the media to promote the gay lifestyle. Any depiction of a homosexual in media in which they are not evil and depraved, or which does not show their life devolving into pure hell, will inevitably be accused of this.
Betty Bowers claims to have uncovered the Gay Agenda here. Of course, Betty Bowers is part of the fictional parody churchLandover Baptist. She isn't a real person. more information Assume complete control of the U.S., state, and local governments (in addition to other nations' governments); destroy all healthy Christian marriages; recruit all children grades Kindergarten through 12 into your amoral, filthy lifestyle; secure complete control of the media, starting with sitcoms; molest innocent children; give AIDS to as many people as you can; host a pornographic "art" exhibit at your local art museum; and turn people away from Jesus, causing them to burn forever in Hell.
Stephen Colbert claims that the gay agenda (e.g. baby carrots) is to turn him, specifically, gay.
Russia apparently taken this seriously enough to pass laws against "homosexual propaganda". Unfortunately, one Russian prosecutor's attempt to bring a lawsuit against Madonna in 2012 for "propagandizing homosexual behavior" during a concert bordered on the absurd. (During the hearing, he attempted to present Wikipedia entries as evidence, claiming he couldn't find the needed evidence for his claims in real encyclopedias. The judge almost had to tell court reporters to leave because they were laughing so much, and he eventually threw the case out. As you might expect, Madonna neither attended the hearing or commented on the result.) This is more than likely why the Russian government official who made similar threats of arrest and lawsuits against Lady Gaga for similar reasons never had the backbone to make good on them.
The "Gay Lifestyle" is itself another one, the belief that all gays—when they're not busy carrying out the "Gay Agenda"—live a secret existence where they do nothing but party, take illegal drugs, and have copious amounts of sex...often for money so that they can afford to party and do drugs.
The fact that Pope Benedict XVI resigned (something no Pope has done in centuries) combined with the Vatican's tough anti-gay stance, led many to believe he was "pressured" into resigning by a "pro-gay lobby". (These people never consider that if gay rights groups had that much power, Vladimir Putin would likely be on trial at the Hague by now.)
As more and more legal rulings are made against them, anti-gay rights politicians in the United States are making claims that are pretty dumb, as the slideshow in this article shows.
The quintessential anti-Semitic screed (and perhaps the original conspiracy theory!) is the Blood Libel, the Older Than Print accusation that Jews made a hobby of kidnapping, ritually murdering, and drinking the blood of Christian children. This despite one of the biggest kosher prohibitions being blood — so much so that it is mentioned two separate times in Leviticus (Lev 7:25-27; Lev 17:10-15) as well as Deuteronomy 12:23-25.
Apart from just regular rabble-rousing, Blood Libels were often instigated so that the accusers could ride into town and take everything the Jews had, or to just outright steal their land. Many pogroms were started by a Blood Libel.
Repetition of this sort of thing is still being used in recent times.
The modernized version of this theory claims that the Jews are heavily involved in the black market organ trade. Unfortunately, a few Jewish people—including a few rabbis—actually were arrested for crimes including organ-trading (not organ-stealing: rather, smuggling legitimately-donated American organs to Israel, where the supply is low for various reasons and some will pay top dollar for a kidney or what have you) in New Jersey in 2009, which has come as a huge surprise and tremendous hurdle to those trying to fight the wild "all-the-Jews-are-trying-to-steal-your-organs" smear.
And the biggest irony is that the Blood Libel was originally aimed at Christians; Roman paganism heard about the Last Supper and the Mass and thought there was something warped about a religion that encouraged its followers to eat the body and consume the blood of their God as the centrepiece of its religious rite. They then leapt from this to the belief that Christian worship involved real, rather than symbolic, human sacrifice to provide the blood and flesh or the cannibal feast. And from there to the assertion that Christians abducted good Roman children to provide the human sacrifice. And when the Christians asserted power in Rome and the Empire and set about eradicating rival religions, such a useful and effective propaganda tool was considered too good not to use and was promptly revived for use against the Jews.
Around the same time, the Black Death was killing a third of Europe's population — with one notable exception. The culture of Jewish minority populations tended to be unusually encouraging of bathing and good hygiene, and they kept cats and small dogs that made their ghettos the cleanest, most vermin-free places on the continent. Consequently, they experienced remarkably few plague deaths. Suspiciously few, to some people. The notion that they had somehow poisoned Christendom's water supplies spread faster than the plague did. Obviously, the idea that just MAYBE the Jews were on to something by actually bathing and doing something about the rats was not picked up on by the rest of Europe.
Not that this excuses the accusations, but it must be remembered that it was a long time before anyone realized that rats were the ones spreading the disease. Bear in mind this all happened hundreds of years before the concept of germs was even presented (and even then, it was a while before anyone believed that germs were real). Ironically, there have been accounts of villages exterminating the cat population, for their traditional link with witchcraft, an action that certainly couldn't have helped keep the number of rats down.
Conspiracy theories about Jews are unfortunately still common. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a particularly famous (and fiction-based) 19th-century book detailing the supposed Evil Plan of the Jews and the Freemasons to conquer the world using such evils as Darwinism, socialism, liberalism, Nietzscheism, universal suffrage, and porn. To the conspiracy theorists' credit, many are now blaming other groups, such as space lizards and Atheists. The groups that still blame Jews are almost universally white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and Islamic extremists (and the last group has some very pragmatic reasons for wanting to eradicate the Jews, rather than reasons based on superstition and prejudice.)
And even they apparently haven't read The Protocols, as it's a transparent propaganda-piece that hails a return to monarchy as the only force capable of opposing the Strawman Political caricatures behind this Evil Plan.
More to the point, anyone who knows anything of Russian history would know to immediately be able to tell the work of the Okhrana, the Tsarist RussianSecret Police, from about eleven time zones away. The Times (of London) newspaper was able to conclusively prove (a year after the book's publication) that the book was plagiarized wholesale from a satirical tract by Maurice Joly mocking the regime of Napoleon III (which is why the Protocols spends an inane amount of time talking about economics).
Some modern conspiracy theorists claim that, while the conspiracy presented in The Protocols is real, the stuff about it being Jewish-led was put in by Them in order to discredit it and cause it to become associated with outdated, bigoted ideas. It's... kind of strange.
Others believe that Jews control Hollywood and the American media, and that they use this to spread their propaganda. This includes spreading ethnic stereotypes to undermine nonwhites and generally being evil, which is apparently just what Jewish people do.
Jews also control all banks, and are therefore responsible for all recessions and depressions in history. You know, for funzies.
Of course, Bernie Madoff has, unfortunately, thrown a good deal of gas on that particular fire... despite the fact that he was primarily ripping off Jews. Including Henry Kaufman, Steven Spielberg, and Elie Wiesel. The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity lost $15.2 million, and Wiesel and his wife, Marion, lost their life savings; this is why Wiesel, long semi-retired, has been notably more active on the lecture circuit since the Madoff debacle.
Note that beliefs like this also caused things like a brief interest in the government of Japan in recruiting massive numbers of Jews to immigrate because it was believed that Jews in essence had magical money powers. Possibly one of the few times stereotypes about Jews were used to their benefit.
Since World War II, a major component of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories has been the claim that the Holocaust never happened. Most examples of Holocaust denial have it that the Holocaust was a hoax designed by the Jews in order to elicit enough sympathy to let them build the state of Israel. Some racists claim that it was also meant to ferment white guilt and destroy the white race. Obviously, this theory is regarded as a joke among serious historians, due to both its racist overtones and the fact that even a cursory examination of the events of World War II will quickly debunk it. After all, millions of people can't just disappear into thin air.
The biggest problem with this theory is that the reasoning of a lot of its believers seems to be "the Holocaust never happened, but it would be nice if it did!" Note, for example, how Holocaust deniers always seem to focus on mitigating the number of Jewish deaths, without ever mentioning the roughly five million non-Jews (Poles, Romani, homosexuals, dissidents) who also died in the camps. To claim that there was no organized campaign of genocide, and that the figure of six million dead Jews is a hoax, would require that one also explain what happened to those other five million — something that they never do, exposing their ulterior motives.
Since much of what is known about the Holocaust comes from the Nuremberg Trials, Holocaust denial requires assuming that the Soviet, British, French and American judges presiding were either (1) in on the hoax, or (2) somehow taken in by it, by persons who also somehow arranged for many SS officers to give false self-incriminating testimony.
Worse, Holocaust deniers even try to parse Himmler's Posen speech, where he openly and literally speaks about the extermination of the Jews, as Himmler advocating 'relocation'. That those idiots are usually people not capable of reading any German at all doesn't help.
Actually, more often that not these people are perfectly capable of reading German. They just choose not to.
To clarify a point: the "six million" figure for the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust is merely a rough estimate, rather than an exact figure. Most scholarly estimates range from 5.1 million (the lowest figure that won't get you funny looks) to as high as 7.5 million, with the "average" being 5.7 mil — which is often rounded up to six million. Naturally, Holocaust deniers latch on to even the slightest disagreement and try to present it as proof that there is "serious dispute" over the reality of the Nazis' Final Solution.
They're not deniers. They're revisionists. Some will even go so far as insisting that they're not actually denying the Holocaust happened as commonly understood, they're just saying that all the evidence toward it isn't really evidence, is all.
Anyone who ever feels the least bit unsure about the Holocaust (or who just wants to watch deniers getting owned) should read Telling Lies About Hitler by British historian Richard J. Evans.
Note that Holocaust denial is actually illegal in modern-day Germany.
A little known fact is that, when an army led by Dwight Eisenhower was liberating a concentration camp in Germany, he brought a camera crew into the camp to record everything that was being discovered because he knew people would say the Holocaust was a hoax.
Now that there's a state of Israel and widespread political opposition to its actions, nearly all of these theories have resurfaced with "Jews" crossed out and "Zionists" or "Israelis" hastily scrawled in. This frustrates Jews, Zionists, and sane people of all stripes because these theories are still obviously anti-Semitic, but any effort to call them such will bring protests along the lines of "I don't hate Jews; I'm just criticizing Israel/Zionism". On the same token, it also angers people that have genuine grievances with Israeli policy, as the racists have drowned out the debate and made it nearly impossible for anybody to voice a critical opinion on Israel without being viewed as anti-Semites, even if they're Jewish themselves (at least one Jewish commentator has been called anti-Semitic by the Jerusalem Post for doing this). Everyone reasonable can see that these conspiracy theories remain equally wrong and equally hateful no matter whose name you write in.
That's a problem (or good thing, depending how you look at it) with conspiracy theories in general: Conspiracy theorists mix up genuine criticism of immoral or inconsistent events with insane nonsense and/or blatant racism, to the point that nobody takes the legitimate critics seriously anymore.
It also allows for the ironic Jewish conspiracy (that is, a conspiracy believed by Jews) that any and all criticism of Israel is done by people who have a natural hatred of Jews whose Anti-Semitism takes the form of hatred of Israel.
The "Holocaust Industry" theory is another one built upon the pattern of Jews using the accusations of anti-Semitism to bash people they don't like, while also re-using the Greedy Jew trope. This theory posits that the various Jewish organisations use mix of guilt and threat of branding as anti-Semitic to extort money (inflating the numbers of people they represent and value of their lost possessions) from countries and organisations involved — no matter how indirectly — in Holocaust.
Oh, and Israel seemed to have deliberately caused the 2004 tsunami, for whatever reason one can think of, using a nuclear bomb. Of course, any serious physicist knows that no nuke has been made with anywhere near enough power to do this, and it would be immediately recognizable as such.
One of the stupider tendencies in the Arab and Muslim world—one futilely recognized by most Arab and Muslim intellectuals—is a tendency to blame everything on some Israeli plot. An Egyptian official once blamed the shark attacks in the Red Sea in late 2010 on Israeli action; to his people's credit, most Egyptians thought that this was batshit.
Crying Shark is an excellent way to destroy your credibility. If he ever decides to raise objections to something Israel actually does, who's going to believe him without corroboration?
Along similar lines, there is a theory floating around in the Arab world that Monica Lewinsky (latching on to the fact that she is Jewish) was in fact an Israeli spy, who did that dirty deed under the Oval Office desk for the sole reason of getting Bill Clinton impeached. Why? Because Bill had intended to make concessions to Palestine, so the Jews derailed his plans and his presidency.
A Jordanian op-ed once accused the Pokemon games of being a Zionist attempt to distract people from their real problems, namely the Jews.
The theory that Ashkenazi Jews are descended from the Khazars, an empire in what is now the Caucasus whose aristocracy and nobility (and apparently some of the populace) converted to Judaism in the 8th century AD. This theory is often trotted out by anti-Semites to claim that modern Jews don't have a right to Israel, as they aren't properly descended from the ancient Israelites. Not only does genetic evidence go against this theory, but even if it were true, a) Jewish tradition accepts all converts and their descendants as being full-blooded Jews on the same level as any other, meaning that the theoretical Khazari Jews would be treated as having the same claim to Israel as any other, and b) it makes the classic assumption that All Jews Are Ashkenazi. In reality, the majority of the Jewish population currently living in Israel is not Ashkenazi, but Sephardi, Mizrahi and Yemenite. Their ancestors didn't speak Yiddish — the Sephardim spoke a flavor of Spanish called Ladino, and most of the rest spoke Arabic or Persian.
Ironically, the man who popularized the Khazar theory in The Seventies, Arthur Koestler, was an Ashkenazi Jew who was trying to challenge religious anti-Semitism, thinking that it would lose its basis if it were to be proven that the Ashkenazim weren't descended from the "Christ-killers". He had a huge Oh Crap moment when he saw his theories hijacked by neo-Nazis and radical Islamists to use for ethnic anti-Semitism.
Allegedly, the kosher labeling on various foods is to show that the producer had paid a "secret tax" to the Jews in order to support Israel — and of course, this "tax" gets passed on to the goyim (non-Jews). In reality, the labels simply do exactly what they say: show that the food was made in accordance with Jewish dietary regulations so that observant Jews can eat it without breaking kashrut. Snopes took this one on here.
This stems from the fact that food labels can't use the hechsher (the symbol denoting kosher certification) without being certified by an official Rabbinical authority. Such authorities will often charge for their services. This is, of course, not a tax, as it is voluntary.
Interestingly, unlike other conspiracy theories about Jews and Israel—where you will find hyper-partisan Muslims grasping at straws to agree with them (for the extra anti-Israel ammunition) while level-headed ones try to argue back—virtually no Muslims give this one any credence. Muslims often use kashrut as a substitute for halal, as most Muslim authorities agree that anything kosher that isn't alcoholic is also halal, as the standards for kashrut are substantially stricter.note Some Muslims—particularly those from South Asia—don't accept this line of reasoning with regard to meat, as they insist that Muslims can only eat halal meat slaughtered by a Muslim, but this is a minority opinion and even many South Asian Muslims don't bother with it. Moreover, kashrut markers are still useful to Muslims who won't eat kosher meat; if something is marked kosher and pareve or dairy, this is a guarantee of no pork and no pork products, and therefore halal (again, if not alcoholic).
Oddly enough there's similar claims that Halal labels on food shows that it is taxed to support Muslims. You find that the kinds of people (viz., right-wing xenophobes) who buy into this theory also believe in the kashrut "secret tax", and they often try to attack the whole system of kosher and halal slaughter. In doing so, they often make common cause withhippy-dippy animal rights activists by accusing it of being inhumanenote Both systems require that (1) the animal be comfortable but fully conscious, not stunned, when slaughtered, and (2) that slaughter take place with a single cut to the throat with a sharp knife, causing death by blood loss to the brain. Both sides point to various studies on whether or not this causes more pain than conventional methods, the merits of which we will not enter here. which in turn leads to Muslims and Jews—particularly the devout, and especially particularly the ones who spout the most venom at each other over Israel—to make common cause to fight off a threat to something common to their ways of life.
There is one claim that Pepsi is pro-Israel. Why? Because Pepsi is an acronym for Pay Every Penny to Save Israel. Ironically, Pepsi is less involved in Israel than Coca-Cola is, and neither one can be accused of conspiracy, just of doing business there or not (it is hard to do business in both muslim countries and Israel for obvious reasons). In reality, the beverage "Pepsi" got its name the same way Pepto-Bismal did: when first introduced, the soft drink had been marketed as a remedy for stomach problems, such as peptic ulcers.
On the other side of the cola wars, Coca Cola's logo is said to be read as Arabic if it's inverted, and it says "No God, no Mecca." Although you have to squint a lot and do some seriously creative interpretation of the patterns, it resembles more closely the words: "For God, for Mecca." Which means that some fundamentalist Christian out there believes that, but fortunately, few of them can read Arabic.
There is a community of African Americans who believe they are the true 12 tribes of Israel. The story goes that Africans and Muslims captured Israel, took them out of their homeland, and sold them to Europeans who used them as slaves (those who were not captured escaped to Asia, the South Pacific Islands, and the Americas, creating modern Latinos, Native Americans and other minority groups). Satan-worshipping Europeans took Christianity and perverted into the Catholic Church while others went around the world pretending to be Jewish people in order to gain sympathy and eventually claim Israel. As expected, this would also mean that the Holocaust never happened, turning this into even more of a headscratcher since you end up with minorities standing up for the Nazis. African American leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. are considered patsies for the Catholic Church and not true Hebrews, which pains Africans in a negative light, making this conspiracy even weirder. Usually, this theory extends into belief in other conspiracy theories involving Freemasons, the Illuminati, NWO, and 9/11 being an inside job.
On a more individual lever there was the proposal made by former Foreign Minister of Israel Avigdor Lieberman that all Israeli citizens should be required to swear loyalty to the country before registering to vote, which some argued was an attempt to stealthily disenfranchise the country's Muslim citizens, who would be much less likely to do such a thing than the Jewish citizens. Ultimately Lieberman was forced to resign over a completely-different scandal.
Law and Enforcement
See also Tax Protestor Arguments
The Sovereign citizen movement and related Freemen on the land believe that there is a simple way to opt out of the local legal system (while they mostly focus on the Americansystem it has been also used in countries like UnitedKingdom). It also holds that lawyers, judges and other elements of the legal system are conspiring to hide this from the general public. Unsurprisingly the arguements have no legal standing and have been laughed out of court time and time again. Elements of the movements includenote there is some variation amongst the different people who make this claim for instance British people are unlikely to make claims about the constitution whilst Americans are unlikely to make claims about the Magna Carta for obvious reasons:
That the gold fringe on a courtroom flag means that the court is under maritime law or martial law or a different country all together (this is something the writers didn't make up). As proof of this they may invoke Executive Order 10834 (which say nothing about flag fringes), USC Title 4 Chapter 1 (nothing saying that a civilian court cannot have a gold fringe on their flag) or US Army Orders (840-10) (supposed to say that the fringe can only be used in military courtrooms but it doesn't). Bear in mind that none of this is constitutional in nature: under the Constitution, it does not matter whether the court has an American flag with a fringe, or an American flag without a fringe, or indeed any flag at all; the Constitution doesn't mention flags. Not once. Constitutionally, the court could even have a Canadian flag or a British flag or a Ghanaian flag or the flag of Tarissia (a country we made up five minutes ago), and there would be nothing constitutionally wrong: the court would only be violating statutes and judicial regulations (admittedly, putting the flag of a foreign country could confuse the people in court, so that's likely to get the court in serious trouble on appeal). Moreover, the courts recognize something called "harmless error": that is, something was wrong with your proceeding, but it had no substantive effect on the outcome of your case. Whether or not the flag had a fringe is most definitely harmless error; even if it was forbidden for the flag to have a fringe (which it isn't), the result would be "You still lose, but we'll send a letter to the trial court telling them to replace the flag."
Dale: I do not recognize the authority of a court that hangs the gold-fringed flag. A flag with gilded edges is the flag of an admirality court. An admirality court signifies a naval court-martial. I cannot be court-martialled twice. That is all! Furthermore... (bailiff gags him)
FOR THE FORMS OF OUR PUNCTUATIONS ARE WITH THE CLAIM OF THE USE: FULL-COLON=POSITION-LODIO-FACTS, HYPHEN=COMPOUND-FACTS =KNOWN, PERIOD=END-THOUGHT, COMMA-PAUSE, AND LOCATION-TILDES WITH THE MEANINGS AND USES OF THE COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE FULL-COLON OF THE POSITION-LODIAL-FACT-PHRASE WITH THE FACT/KNOWN-TERM OF THE POSITIONAL-LODIO-FACT-PHRASE AND WITH THE VOID OF THE NOM-DE-GUERRE = DEAD-PERSON.
Then there's the Lost 13th Amendment theory: the notion that the actual 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibited any U.S. citizen from accepting any "title of nobility or honour", or from receiving "any present, pension, office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince or foreign power". This amendment was never ratified by the necessary number of states, and so never became part of the Constitution; the theory claims that it was ratified, that it became part of the Constitution, and that then it was covered up — because (so says the theory) the suffix "Esquire", which attorneys in the United States traditionally append to their names, is (... so says the theory!) a "title of nobility", and thus under this amendment lawyers cannot hold public office in the United States. (This theory implodes when you realize that this means lawyers couldn't become judges. No matter how much you hate lawyers, who other than a lawyer would know the law well enough to interpret it? Had this amendment actually passed, it would've been child's play for the federal courts to say "Nope, 'Esquire' doesn't count" on various grounds,note Among which were (1) that in the 19th century it was considered the postnomial equivalent of "Mr."—anyone could use it, and at the time many did, it's just that by the beginning of the 20th century the lawyers are the only ones who had kept using it—and (2) "Esquire" derives from "squire", which was never a title of nobility or honor at all: it was at first merely an indication that one had ancestors who had some title of nobility or honor, and then devolved into general use. and that would've been the end of that.)
Some people believe that the adoption of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the US Constitution created a second class of citizenship (literally) because the C in citizen is lower-cased and not upper-cased. And this second class has lesser rights, and the government needs to trick you into accepting it by getting you to sign paperwork. Therefore, these people won't get driver's licenses or anything "government" issued. Never mind that the real reason is that the rules for capitalization in 1787 (i.e. putting Them in the Oddest of Places) were different from the ones in the 1860s (i.e. the ones we have today, more or less).
This has a variation among some racist groups. White supremacists will sometimes use this theory to claim that non-whites hold a second class of "14th Amendment" citizenship, and that "true" citizenship, with all the unique and special rights that it entails, is exclusive to white people. Some black supremacist groups, meanwhile, have used it to claim that, since they don't hold "true" US citizenship, the US government holds no legal jurisdiction over them, and therefore, they constitute a separate nation.
Executive Directive 51 was a resolution passed in the wake of 9/11 that called for a radical restructuring of the US government should it in its present form be thrown into chaos by a hypothetical even-worse attack. There are some arguably valid concerns that a sufficiently megalomaniacal president could use ambiguous wording in the document to institute a military dictatorship, as well as more fringe theories that claim the president who signed it, George W. Bush, intended to do so himself (which, since he ended up leaving office after two terms like any normal president, seems rather unlikely now). This document's name comes up in a lot of theories about False Flag Operations; that is, said sufficiently megalomaniacal president would make such a disaster happen in order to seize power.
The Franklin child prostitution ring allegations; a series of high-profile accusations and legal actions surrounding an alleged child sex ring serving prominent citizens of Omaha, Nebraska, as well as high-level U.S. politicians. The scandal centered around the actions of Lawrence E. King, a prominent member of the Republican Party and former official at the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union in Omaha. King was eventually arrested and convicted of embezzlement charges. Nebraska state legislature convened a special committee to look into the allegations. After hearing many hours of testimony, the county grand jury threw out all of the allegations concerning sexual child abuse, labeling the charges a "carefully crafted hoax [...] scripted by a person or persons with considerable knowledge of the people and institutions of Omaha," but without identifying who perpetrated the hoax. Members of the special Nebraska legislative committee assigned to investigate the allegations would eventually criticize the grand jury findings. To wit:
To assume that the 'hoax' was crafted assumed the existence of a craftsman. Who was it? To state that it was 'carefully crafted' assumes someone with intelligence and enough knowledge of accurate facts to make the 'hoax' credible.... We can find no clear evidence which conclusively establishes what was the truth and what was a "hoax".
Due to some bizarre leap of logic, police officials on the West Coast of the United States and even the Attorney General of New Mexico came to the conclusion that Pedobear was some kind of a rallying mascot for pedophiles. Officers were told to look out for Pedobear symbols or paraphernalia as the mark of pedophile activity and distributed flyers warning parents of the "menace". The internethad afield day.
The Department of Justice supposedly sent agents to forment unrest and organise the protests about the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case.
There are a lot of conspiracies that the case has been deliberately hyped up to inflame racial tensions such as the supposed use of a photo of a much younger Trayvon compared to a modern "thugish" photo (not actually him but why quibble with the facts and reality) or that Travyon's father was a Freemason (and therefore must set his son up to be killed somehow even if it were true) or even that Trayvon doesn't exist (yes, there are really people pushing that).
What doesn't help is NBC editing the 911 call to provide a Smoking Gun on the issue of racism in the shooting.
The rape charge brought against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is believed by a number of supporters of the website to be a frame-up or at least a baseless accusation on the part of The Man in an attempt to silence his activism.
The "Perpetual Prisoner Machine" theory states that there is a conspiracy amongst politicians and businesses with stakes in the privatized prison system to keep as many people in jail as possible. The theory is a favorite of some libertarian activists, who allege that the illegalization of prostitution and especially drugs are the tools They use to accomplish this, with some even going as far as insinuating that the reason these laws were made in the first place was becausetheir imposition would result in a massive black market for the drug and sex trades - thus, all the more people to arrest. Some aspects of this theory are at least somewhat believable, and while nothing has been proven on a national or international level, localized incidents have been reported, most famously the "Kids for Cash scandal," wherein a Pennsylvania juvenile hall was found to have bribed two prominent judges to impose unfair sentences on juvenile offenders, thus keeping the beds in the center full at all times. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Cold Case both did episodes based on this concept.
The Strawman News Media in all of its various forms. The way that the news focuses on some things at the expense of others, mis-reports other things, and otherwise skews the truth is often cited as proof that it either has a political bias, is in the pocket of the government or big business, or is being manipulated by a more insidious conspiracy.
The alleged use of Subliminal Advertising to sell products. In 1957, a market researcher named James Vicary (who later coined the term "subliminal advertising") performed an experiment at a movie theater in New Jersey. The words "Drink Coca-Cola" and "Hungry? Eat popcorn" would be flashed on the screen for 1/3000 of a second at five second intervals. Vicary alleged that sales of Coca-Cola and popcorn increased at that theater by 57.8% and 18.1%, respectively. Although the results have never been replicated, and Vicary himself later admitted to faking his results, conspiracy theories pertaining to subliminal messages persist to this day, and have inspired countless writers and filmmakers.
One form of subliminal message used in music is "backmasking," or recording a sound or message backwards so that it is audible only when played backwards. Many bands, most notably The Beatles and Pink Floyd, used backmasking for effect and as a way of putting easter eggs into their musicnote The former's use of backmasking, incidentally, led to the "Paul is Dead" conspiracy theory., and it is also used by radio stations as a crude way of censoring explicit lyrics. Conspiracy theories surrounding backmasking are often religious in nature, the idea being that rock bands and other popular musicians are using it to, among other things, encourage devil worship, sex, drug use, and suicide. Much of the religious angle was started by rumors that there was a backmasked homage to Satan in Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven". Psychologists have pointed out that listeners can't understand words heard backward, let alone be subliminally influenced by them, and Rob Halford has pointed out how bad a business model it is to brainwash your fans into killing themselves. This theory was at its height in The Eighties, as a part of the general hysteria over Satanic ritual abuse.
Rather more-plausible theories contend that backmasking was a record-company scam, intended to trick fans into ruining their records so they'd have to buy replacements.
A YouTube series called The Industry Exposed (or simply The Industry) alleges that the music industry is controlled by occult/Satanic groups, including the Freemasons, and that they put subliminal messages and esoteric imagery into songs and music videos in order to seduce young people to The Dark Side.
It has been claimed that the X-FilesspinoffThe Lone Gunmen predicted not only the 9/11 attacks, but the alleged Government Conspiracy behind them, and that this is why it was canceled. This one actually starts out from an almost-truth—the pilot episode did depict a hijacked airliner almost being rammed into the World Trade Center in order to start a war—before veering off into Insanityland.
Likewise the short lived TV series Traveler, which focused on two college students being framed as terrorists by a classmate whom they can't even prove exists. The never made seasons would reveal that it was orchestrated by the "Fourth Branch", an Illuminati-eque group of the oldest and most powerful families in America that has been secretly running the country since the American Revolution and whose current heir apparent is the US President (a clear Bush analogue) who plans to use the attacks as a means to gain sympathy and eventually amend the Constitution to make himself President for Life.
Conversely some people believe that secret messages about upcoming disasters are deliberately hidden in media sometimes called "predictive programming". Some of it (specifically things that show disasters) is supposedly to get the viewing public used to the idea for when it happens to make it more believable to them. For example the words Sandy Hooknote is another name for South Hinkley borough in Gotham and Auroranote Aurora Plaza is a hotel in Shanghai in the The Dark Knight Rises.
Or that Neo's Thomas A. Anderson passport expires on 9/11/01.
In the opening levels of Deus Ex, set in NYC, the WTC towers cannot be seen in the distance due to an engine limitationnote basically, the skybox for any given level, rather than showing the full 360 degrees of art, only show 180 degrees of it and then mirror that for the other half; the half that is shown for the NYC levels just so happens to be the half that doesn't include the towers. The in-game explanation? Terrorists. Also the fact that one of the main plots portrays a government orchestrating terrorists acts to get pretense for freedoms-curbing legislation doesn't help either. Since the game is a Conspiracy Kitchen Sink, conspiracy nuts take it as "proof" that any other conspiracies presented in the game are true like the evil FEMA or artificial diseases (the Gray Death).
Some UFO chasers believe that films (like Close Encounters or ET) and other media featuring friendly aliens are secretly meant to acclimate the public with extraterrestrials to ensure they will be welcomed enthusiastically when the government reveals their existence or they invade.
Conversely others say that the Alien Invasion plots are to keep us of scared of aliens and stopping people looking for more information (for the usual reasons that the goverment hides aliens). Or to make the public accept the idea of an Alien Invasion when the NWO fake one to take over the world.
There's a prevailing theory that Top 10 music video countdown shows with viewer participation, like MTV's TRL and BET's 106 & Park, are rigged by the record companies (or the network themselves) in order to promote their music, or the music the network is more comfortable playing. Rumors surrounding the latter started when a song by Beyonce from the Goldmember soundtrack reached the Top 10 within a day of its debut, then disappeared after the film had run its course — which was no longer than a week.
This has been confirmed to a certain extent by Tom Green, who revealed in his biography how MTV had pressured him to retire his "Bum Song" from TRL before a week of pre-taped episodes, in order to maintain the fiction that it was still a live request show.
Another example: Bone Thugs-n-Harmony debuted a song on 106 & Park that never broke through despite fans organizing a small army of internet posters to vote. Ironically, that group of fans had no problem getting the vid onto TRL.
This theory may have been inspired by various payola scandals that occurred over the years, in which record companies were caught paying radio stations and DJs extra money to play their songs. It was naturally assumed that the record companies were continuing this practice into the music video era.
It has been claimed that hip-hop and rap are intentionally being watered down by the Powers That Be and the rap labels for varying reasons, most commonly mass appeal and profit. This belief is mostly borne out of the fact that it's much easier to get airplay for ringtone jams and club anthems about champagne-sipping pimps and players, than it is to get it for rap songs that criticize the establishment for whatever reason (see the BET entry in the Network Decay article). Another explanation is that racism is a factor, and that the watering down is taking place in order to dumb down black people, who are stereotypically the largest audience for rap music. The death of Political Rap and Conscious Hip Hop, which BET and many rap stations outright refuse to play, has been blamed on this conspiracy.
There was a "blacklist" of certain rap artists circulating on the web that was allegedly given to radio and video programmers (it originally centered around BET programmers though circa mid 2000's), telling them to keep these artists off the air. Most on the list was comprised of old school rappers, hardcore/gangsta rappers, and alternative rappers. Those on the list were of people who can't just disappear into thin air.
The biggest problem with this theory is that the reasoning of a lot of its believers seems to be deemed either irrelevant or "too intelligent" for their audience.
Voting on the singing competition American Idol is allegedly being rigged by 19 Entertainment in order to favor contestants that it considers to be more marketable or less controversial. Not helping matters is the fact that the Fox network has consistently refused to detail exactly how the votes are counted. One of the most commonly cited instances by those who believe this to be happening came during the season 8 finale, when AT&T (one of AI's sponsors) provided free cell phones, texting services and, allegedly, lessons in "power-texting" (sending ten or more votes at once) to people at the AI finale parties held in Jacksonville, Arkansas, the hometown of season 8 finalist Kris Allen. This may have been enough to cost Allen's rival, Adam Lambert, the victory. The Real Life rigging of game shows in The Fifties makes this one plausible.
In what seems to be something of a hybrid of the "Writers hate me personally" theory mentioned above and the New Coke theory listed below in 'Other,' there is belief by a Vocal Minority of X-Men fans in a conspiracy among the higher-ups at Marvel Comics to intentionally sink the sales of the X-Men titles, allegedly through a combination of phasing out the more interesting characters, making the characters look bad in high-profile storylines, and deliberately sending their worst writers and artists to the X-Men books in hope fans will lose interest (the infamous Matt Fraction/Greg Land run is often cited as evidence of this, as is taking Fraction's much better-received successor Kieron Gillen off the book after slightly more than a year). Their (alleged) motive? Essentially the fact that they got screwed in the X-Men film deal with Fox (Marvel takes only about 10% of the profits from the films), which they made while they were in bankruptcy and needed any money they could get, and they want to focus on marketing The Avengers characters, whose films are produced in-house. While the theory that Marvel favors the Avengers books for this reason is arguably valid, the evidence cited for a malicious conspiracy against the X-Men seems to boil down to a single anecdote related by Rob Liefeld from the time he left Marvel; he pitched a big X-Men story, and the bosses (allegedly) killed it so as not to give Fox free publicity. What the theorists claim will be the ultimate endpoint of this conspiracy varies, the most common version seemingly being that Marvel will quietly cancel all the X-Men titles and fold the characters into the Avengers. Which, of course, ignores the fact that Fox owns the rights to the characters, not just the team name, and thus they'd arguably come out ahead in this situation since they'd then be the only ones producing X-Men media.
The accusations leveled at the Stop Online Piracy Act, a bill debated before the United States Congress in early 2012, probably belong here. While the bill's stated purpose was to stop copyright infringement, the extremely radical provisions it would allow for doing so - essentially, it would have given the FBI a carte blanche to shut down any website even accused of infringement by a copyright-holder, with no compensation made to the site's owner if the accuation was found to be false - led many, many people to believe the bill was essentially a shill for big media companies in order to allow them to effectively censor any site they didn't like. Some even believed it could be used to silence political dissent via targeting social networking sites, which had proved instrumental in the success of the massive protests of the preceding year such as the Arab Spring and 99% Movement. Among conspiracy theories this one is fairly unique in that the "alternative" theories about the bill were if anything the majority opinion, and following a truly massive outcry that included such large and powerful websites as Google and Wikipedia (not to mention This Very Wiki), the bill was consigned to oblivion.
Some vinyl fans believe that the music industry foisted CDs upon the public to drum up sagging music sales. Some even believe that the industry deliberately released poor-sounding CDs in order to create a market for "remastered" discs.
New World Order (NWO)/Secret Societies
The New World Order (NWO) theorynote Not to be confused with the pro wrestling stable. posits the existence of a shadowy group of businessmen, politicians, and other elites who are secretly plotting to Take Over the World in order to advance their own interests at the expense of everyone else. The theory was created by the John Birch Society in The Seventies, and remained largely obscure until Bush Senior used the phrase "new world order" in a poorly-timed New Era Speech following The Great Politics Mess-Up (you can see how the words were used in context here), causing nearly every Conspiracy Theorist on the planet to latch onto it as a catch-all term for Them. Most broad-reaching conspiracy theories will typically link back to or reference the NWO, to the point where it's less a conspiracy theory than it is a framework into which nearly any conspiracy theory or secret cabal can be shoehorned in. Variants include...
Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura posited that a smaller human population would be easier for the NWO to control.
The construction of massive concentration camps for the detention of dissidents. May be inspired by the detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
Especially funny are plans to kill American children by using poisonous vaccines for purpose of reducing world population while, at the same time, promoting child births with tax exemptions and bonuses.
The NAU Theory: A dastardly cabal will cause the formation of a "North American Union" which will merge Canada, the US, and Mexico, which will abandon their existing currencies in favor of something called the "Amero" (presumably similar to the Euro). The first step for this is the building of a "NAFTA Superhighway" which is a giant highway that connects the three countries despite already being connected by the I-5/I-15 and I-29/I-35 interstates. Why? Who knows, it's an Evil Plan.
This has reached the level thatnote as of 2008 13 states have passed anti-NAU and related resolutions, and seven are considering them.
Skull and Bones, the secret society at Yale University that has given rise to a large number of political and business leaders. In 2004, Alex Jones got a lot of mileage out of exploiting the fact that both George W. Bush and John Kerry were connected to them.
Bohemian Grove, a men's club in northern California that counts many influential political and business leaders among its ranks. Sometimes alleged to be a front for the NWO. In 2000, Alex Jones garnered lots of attention by sneaking into the Grove and filming their fraternity-esque Cremation of Care ritual, which he alleged to be a pagan sacrifice.
The Bavarian Illuminati was a short-lived secret society that was formed in 1776 and was devoted to freethought and the ideals of the Enlightenment, claiming over 2000 members across Europe. They fell apart in the mid-1780s, after Bavaria, where they were based, outlawed all secret societies. However, this hasn't stopped people from claiming that they somehow managed to not only survive, but complete their alleged goal of world domination. They are often alleged to be the masterminds of the New World Order.
Well, Freethought and Enlightenment ideals are fairly mainstream in the western world now...
Amongst the evangelical Christians the Illuminati are thought to be the highest level of Satanism due to the writings of people like Mike Warnke and John Todd who also started most of the "Satanic ritual abuse" nonsense (see Religion and Apocalyptica).
If you go to to www.itanimulli.com it redirects to the NSA website dun dun DAHHHHHHH!.note This is merely someone purchasing that domain and redirecting it to a government website as "inconclusive proof" even though anyone can do so. See the whois here.
The Eye of Providence (also known as the All Seeing Eye) is a symbol used in variety of places that is said to trace its origin back to Egyptian Mythology. It is either a pyramid with an eye in the peak or a triangle with an eye taking up most of the surface. Its use by the Freemasons and appearence on the Great Seal of the United States amongst other things (the Information Awareness Office might win for the creepiest looking use) has had many a conspiracy theorist claim that it is conspiracy placement by the secret organization taking over the world, usuallytheIlluminati. As a result anything that depicts an eyeball or triangle/pyramid is deemed to be some sort of evil conspiracy work regardless of the depiction's prominence, time shown or even if it could actually been intentional. Never mind that the Eye of Providence was a common symbol in the 18th century and wasn't used by the Illuminati or the Freemasons until after the American Great Seal was adopted.
The conspiracy version of the Illuminati has its roots in eighteenth-century conspiracy theories about The French Revolution. Since the Illuminati had been dissolved shortly before the revolution and the revolutionaries had espoused the same Enlightenment ideals, it's easy to see the connection. Soon, the era's conspiracy theorists became convinced that the Illuminati had survived and was secretly plotting to do to the rest of Europe's monarchies what it had supposedly done to the French one. This idea, after two hundred years of mutation, became the modern Illuminati conspiracy theory.
The Freemasons. Fears regarding their influence over America (many of America's Founding Fathers, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Andrew Jackson, were Masons) were strong enough to lead to the creation of the Anti-Masonic Party in the early 19th century, which managed to get nearly eight percent of the vote at its peak. Today, they are sometimes alleged to be a part of the aforementioned NWO or Illuminati. This group was an important element in Dan Brown's novel The Lost Symbol, where he played with the idea.
In Imperial Russia, the Freemasons were widely associated with pretty much all the views and creeds coming from the West that the ruling elite despised: republicanism, Napoleonism, Anglophilia, Catholicismnote ironically, Catholics are forbidden from becoming Masons, atheism, you name it. The image of the Evil Scheming Freemasons has made a bit of a comeback in recent years, giving the ultra-nationalists not only a convenient explanation as to why Russia's history for most of the 20th century suckedsobadly, but another convenient excuse to keep hating Americans long after the end of the Cold War — "their country was founded by a bunch of Freemasons, that obviously proves that they have meant to screw us over all along!"
In the Catholic countries, the Freemasons are supposed to be the shadowy cabal dedicated to the destruction of the Catholic Church, bringing forth Communism, and/or various nefarious kinds of social engineering. It is, again, true that Catholics are today forbidden from becoming Masons, but this is more because the Masons were—openly—associated with freethought, deism, and anticlericalism in the 18th and 19th centuries; the penalty of automatic excommunication for a Catholic who joins the Masons only goes back to the 1910 Code of Canon Law. Basically, yes, the Masons don't like the Church, but then they originally didn't much like any organized religion, either.
It doesn't help that freemasonry claims a lot of its elements are descended from The Knights Templar so that any conspiracy that applies to the templars can be applied to the Freemasons.
The first National Treasure movie portrays the Freemasons as a Benevolent Conspiracy which founded the United States and hid (for noble reasons, of course) the treasure which the protagonists are searching for.
The Council on Foreign Relationsnote The council is one of America's oldest and most influential think tanks, founded in 1921. Its focus is on, unsurprisingly, foreign relations., the Trilateral Commissionnote Founded in 1973 by David Rockefeller and Zbigniew Brzezinski, the commission is a private organization consisting of about 300 members from the United States, Europe, and Asia. They discuss public policy and work toward greater economic cooperation among the three regions. The Trilateral Commission became a campaign issue in the 1980 elections because Jimmy Carter, independent candidate John Anderson, and presumed Republican frontrunner George H.W. Bush (who was later defeated by Ronald Reagan in the primaries), were all members., and the Bilderberg Groupnote The group hosts an annual private conference of approximately 120 to 140 invited guests from North America and Europe. The first meeting was held in 1954 and created by Joseph Retinger, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, Belgium prime minister Paul van Zeeland, and Dutch industrialist Paul Rijkens. The orginial purpose was to counter Soviet influence and confront anti-Americanism in Europe. Now it would focus more on the latter for obvious reasons. Two things that set theorists off was that Bill Clinton attended in 1991, one year before being elected President of the United States, and Tony Blair attended in 1993, one year before becoming Labour Party leader. When Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama attended in 2004, it was theorized that the group invited them to decide which would run for President., three policy institutes dedicated to promote greater global cooperation, are all alleged to be fronts for the NWO, and are often mentioned in the same breath. In 2006, Alex Jones led a protest of a Bilderberg meeting in Ottawa.
You can expect to hear the term "Military-Industrial Complex" a lot with these sort of theories. The phrase came from President Dwight D. Eisenhower's farewell address and was a warning about the increasing closeness between the military, defense contractors, and the Congressional committees that controlled defense spending. Conspiracy theorists took the phrase and ran with it claiming that just about every war was started as an excuse to sell weapons and other miltary equipment.
The European Union is thought of by some European conspiracy theorists to be up to no good, like a trans-Atlantic version of the North American Union. Exactly what it's doing is up for debate — from a non-lunatic perspective, it doesn't really seem to be doing anything, above board or below.
Once in a while, the EU issues market or anti-discriminatory regulations, which the theorists (mostly the right-wing ones) tend to take as social engineering projects meant to be the preparation for the European branch of NWO. Mix with Freemasons, Illuminati, Satanists, or all at once for flavour.
Also overlapping, part of the Rapture theory is that either in the days before or days following the Rapture, a One World Government will form under the leadership of the Antichrist. The EU, UN, and pretty much every other international government are simply the buildup.
Conspiracists often make a great deal that the land for the United Nations building was donated by John D. Rockefeller Jr (see Famous People) and that the land was previously used as a animal slaughterhouse as if the animals killed theremagically affect the organization.
Agenda 21, a non-binding United Nations plan for sustainable development written in 1992, is often claimed (particularly on the right wing of American politics) to be a blueprint for imposing socialism, radical environmentalism and, in some versions, population reduction onto the world.
Some believe that the UN Arms Trade Treaty is an attempt to circumnavigate the second amendment and disarm Americans. Only four member nations haven't signed it - the USA, Syria, Iran, and North Korea.
The John Birch Society was very adamant that the UN was trying to take over America.
If you want a good metric of just how expansive this level of paranoia goes - in 2012, the US Senate failed to reach a 2/3 vote to ratify a Disabilites Rights treaty (38 against, 61 for). While one rationale for voting "No" was arguably soundnote Jon Kyl (the "Not intended to be a factual statement" guy) expressed concern that some signatories could point to their signature as "proof" that they were addressing the situation without actually doing anything, most of the No votes came from Senators who thought it was a step toward relinquishing US sovereignty. The kicker? The Treaty was modeled on legislation enacted within the United States.
In Turkey there's the deep state, alleged to be an alliance of anti-democratic groups, particularly in the intelligence agencies and military, working behind the scenes for some nefarious goal. What this nefarious goal is, on the other hand, isn't clear, but the group is considered to be highly Kemalist/Nationalist, and has been alleged to stand behind things like assassinations of Kurdish activists.
This terminology is also used in other Middle Eastern countries, particularly the authoritarian republics of the Arab world, by analogy with the Turkish. It generally refers to an alleged group of high-ranking officials in the military-police-intelligence complex, and are generally identified with authoritarian secular nationalism. The goal is generally less nefarious, however: since these countries are/were run by the military-police-intelligence complex, the "deep state" is simply trying to stay in control of the "surface state". An excellent example here is Egypt: the Egyptian "deep state" is supposedly the senior officers of the military and Interior Ministry (police), who supposedly directed the affairs of the old regime (i.e. they told Mubarak and his ministries what to do). When the Arab Spring hit Egypt, the story goes that they tried to maintain control by surfacing and having the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces take power, and when President Morsi tried to assert their authority, they made a bargain with him—thus the situation where the Brotherhood and military work together to put down persistent liberal and leftist protests.
Ted Turner's name tends to come up in this sort of theory, both because he is very wealthy and powerful and because he is an advocate for radical population control, having expressed more than once that he feels the ideal world population to be less than ten percent of what it is now. Most people feel he is simply referring to extensive birth control use spanning many centuries, but there are holdouts who claim he is in fact advocating, and possibly even actively planning, the greatest and most terrible Final Solution the world has ever seen. At least one conspiracy blog considers him the most likely suspect for the identity of R.C. Christian (see History, Monuments and Ancient Civilizations).
The Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA has been considered the main part of whoever your boogyman'sEvil Plan ever since the 80s. The Southern Poverty Law Center traces it as far back as a 1982 issue of "Posse Comitatus" newsletter; as part of its extreme-right and anti-Semitic content it warned that “hardcore Patriots” would be imprisoned in FEMA detention camps. In turn, this conspiracy has been depicted in media such as the Deus Ex games and the X-Files film.The main claim is that FEMA will over-throw the legitimate goverment with broad powers given by old emergency excutive ordersnote including # 10990, 10995, 10997, 10998, 10999, 11000, 11001, 11002, 11003, 11004, 11005, 11049, 11051, 11310, 11921 and others. Several of these were signed into law by John F. Kennedy because he was worried about a war with the soviets, makes you wonder why "they" shot him and acts to enforce a policestate even though several of those have been superseded by other measures such as Executive Order 12656, but since it has stated safeguards to protect the rights of American citizens it is generally ignored by conspiracy theorists.
Another part of the theory is the secret establishment of FEMA camps which would serve as re-education centres/slave-labor centres/Nazi-esque concentration camps for the detention and execution of some-combination (depending on who's telling the tale) of political dissidents, "genetic undesirables" (ie. minorities and the mentally-disabled), gun-owners (they are the only ones who can resist), Christians (particually of the Jack Chick type), poor people, white people, intellectuals, right-wingers, left wingers, homosexuals and any other group you can think of once the NWO takes power.
Kurtzweil: According to the newspaper, FEMA was called out to manage an outbreak of the Hanta virus. Are you familiar with what the Federal Emergency Management Agency's real power is? FEMA allows the White House to suspend constitutional government upon declaration of a national emergency. Think about that. What's an agency with such broad, sweeping power doing managing a small viral outbreak in suburban Texas?
Kurtzweil: I think you know. The timetable has been set. It will happen on a holiday, when people are away from their homes. The president will declare a state of emergency, at which time all government, all federal agencies, will come under the power of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA, the secret government.
This may be inspired by the theoretical Rex 84 and the internment of Americans of Japanese, German and Italian descent during the world wars. Inspiration taken from further aboard includes the use of Gulags and concentration camps by other more authoritative governments.
Any list of places that are supposed to be FEMA camps is extensive to say the least, mainly because of the very little "evidence" needed to "prove" that it is a camp. Basically all that's needed is a fence around the site with some basic security measures such as concertina wire and a security camera or two. Also suspicious are empty buildings (to house prisoners), access to the rail network (invoking images of the box cars used to transport the Jews and others during the Holocaust - naturally this has led to a few sites really being train service yards), chimney stacks/pipes (for supposed gas chambers and crematoriums) and any sort of military activity ('cause Armies Are Evil and therefore will immediately turn on their neighbors, friends and family at the drop of a hat). On top of that existing prisons, military bases and old internment camps are supposed to be converted into FEMA camps. It doesn't end even at the border with sites in Canada and Cuba being included (presumably after the countries merge into the North American Union mentioned above).
Don't forget the images of "FEMA trains" that pop up that are supposed to transport prisoners around (actually auto-max train cars that are used to transport automobiles).
Mount Weather which serves as FEMA headquarters and a bunker (most of the congressional leadership was evacuated there after 9/11) is often stated to be the location where the new evil goverment will be based.
A common claim is that United Nations peacekeeping soldiers would move in and round up people for the camps/eliminate the resistance, presumably as a way of explaining where the manpower to undergo this massive undertaking would come from. This is usually followed by claims that they are amassing at the borders and nearby countries, ready to invade... any day now.
During The Nineties it was claimed that the Crips and the Bloods were being trained and armed to instigate the round-up and enforce the new goverment.
A recent one is the that the creation of the FEMA Corps organization is some sort of modern American Hitler youth. The truth is somewhat more banal.
Alex Jones got a lot of mileage out of a photograph depicting a large amount of plastic containers, which he alleged to be coffins for the victims of the mass killings. You have to wonder why they would half-respect funerary rites when performing mass murder, instead of using mass graves and cremation like the Nazis did (espically with the possibility of disease from handling huge numbers of corpses - doubly so since Alex thinks that an Synthetic Plague will be used) and having thousands of individually separated corpses makes it hard to hide the crimes (kind of hard to get the general population to co-operate when they know you're killing them anyway), maybe they are humanitarian lunch boxes.
A theory circulated in chain emails and the like states that FEMA has been marking houses with colored stickers, the different colors of which correspond to the planned fates of the inhabitants of the house upon the Day of the Jackboot: Red, executed immediately; Blue, sent to the camps for "re-education;" Pink, placed under house arrest; and Yellow, deemed enough of a sheeple to keep on with their normal lives.
There are claims that Denver International Airport was intentionally designed in the shape of a swastika, that its decorative murals are somehow full of Nazi symbolism, alien languages (actually Navajo and the artists' names) and so on. It's usually supposed to mean it's some sort of future NWO headquarters using the extensive tunnels below the airport (actually, a underground train transport system and a automated baggage system that was Dummied Out and now used for more conventional baggage handling).
One variation on the implementation of the NWO posits that They are plotting to get humanity completely dependent upon technology, especially electronic storage of money. Why? Because, apparently, They have some sort of universal kill-switch for all electricity on the planet, which They'll flip to, in one fell swoop, regress society to the Dark Ages and leave it completely dependent on Them. A more localized version of this is the plot of the film GoldenEye, where the Big Bad plans to hack into the Bank of England to transfer its entire coffers into his account, then offline all Britain's power with his titular orbital weapon, effectively destroying the country and leaving himself with, in his own words, "More money than God."
In the lead up to the 2012 LondonOlympic Games some conspiracy theorists predicted that there would be a fake Alien Invasion (the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics closing ceremony was a dry run), which the Powers That Be would lead a coup and take over Briton. Their "proof" - the mascots look kinda like aliens, the logo kinda looks like it could spell Zion (to add that anti-semitic touch, though most people saw it as a Simpsons' sex act), biblical-sounding street names, some numerology and other less then convincing things. Hey, they can't all be winners.
"Brotherhood of the Snake" is supposed to an ancient secret society that does... something, the theorists can't agree on exactly what.
Interestingly, the US Navy SEALs who took out Osama bin Laden apparently operated helicopters that, while not exactly black, were designed with stealth capability, the tail section of one being shown ad nauseam on international news when the chopper crashed and the SEALs had to blow the rest of it up to keep it secret. The helicopter was apparently a heavily modified version of the UH-60 Blackhawk that was not known to exist outside of high-level military and government circles.
The Order/Society of the Cincinnati was a society of both American and French officers who had served in The American Revolution. Its members had power and influence, including theGeorge Washington who served as the first president general. It was criticized by many people, including Benjamin Franklin, on the grounds that, due to membership to the group being made up of the higher levels of society (as officers often were); using insignia that reminded people too much of heraldry and the membership being inherited to the firstborn son, the group was trying to create an American nobility. It would later make some reforms for things like the importance of heredity and wearing of the insignia but the society still exists today. Some theorists believe that they did make an aristocracy from its members that secretly controls the American goverment.
I only wonder that, when the united Wisdom of our Nation had, in the Articles of Confederation, manifested their Dislike of establishing Ranks of Nobility, by Authority either of the Congress or of any particular State, a Number of private persons should think proper to distinguish themselves and their Posterity, from their fellow Citizens, and form an Order of hereditary Knights, in direct Opposition to the solemnly declared Sense of their Country.
Some believe that the Cincinnatus part was a meaningful name - the organisation was founded in order to take control if the then-fledgling democracy failed.
Common Purpose is an organisation in the UK that focuses on providing training and networking for potential future leaders. For conspiracists it is a shadowy cabal that seeks to control leaders that they train.
As one of, if not the, most iconic and repressive dictatorships in history, Nazi Germany frequently figures into NWO conspiracy theories, often as some sort of "test run" of the government They plan to foist on the entire planet in the future. Ironically, the Nazis were extremely paranoid, and major Conspiracy Theorists themselves.