Conspiracy Theories: Other
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- A common one in recent years is that the Democrats are deliberately sabotaging the economy in order to make a majority of voters dependent on government assistance. The logic goes that the people would then vote only for candidates that would maintain or expand government programs while presumably locking Republicans out of office and creating a permanent Democratic majority.
- People often also claim that Democrats are specifically trying to get African-Americans dependent on them and are brainwashing them to vote Democratic in every election.
- New Coke: a near-catastrophic marketing disaster by the Coca-Cola Company, or a plan designed to increase the sales of Coke by replacing it with a new blend, then bringing back the original formula? The consumer either likes the new stuff or rejoices when the old stuff comes back; they win either way. Sergio Zyman said that the New Coke debacle ultimately reaffirmed the relationship with the brand and helped them outmaneuver Pepsi who had gotten ahead in the taste wars but were always behind in the nostalgia wars.
- A subplot of this is the whole thing was to cover the change from sugar to high fructose corn syrup as the primary sweetener within Coke.
- There's also the conspiracy theory about the recipe for Coca-Cola itself, and it happens to be true, sort of. The theory goes that the recipe is divided into two documents, neither one containing the whole recipe (meaning you have to have both documents in order to recreate it). These documents are themselves kept in two secret locations, with draconian entry methods and guards, and each location/document can only be accessed by one (different) person in the company. This is all done to hide the horrible secret ingredient of Coca-Cola, which is so terrible we can't even talk about it here. This is entirely accurate. Except for the horrible secret ingredient — the real reason is much less glamorous, namely making things that much harder on any other companies trying to steal or reproduce the formula for themselves.
- There's also the old one that Kentucky Fried Chicken started to secretly use vat grown meat and changed its name to KFC in-order to stop people suing or the goverment from cracking down by removing the word chicken. It was actually because fried foods had been increasingly considered unhealthy and the company wanted to distance itself from the stigma around the word "fried"; indeed, the menus use the word "chicken" multiple times.
- A lot of people believe that there was a conspiracy behind Gary Webb being discredited (See Iran-Contra below). In relation, there's quite a few who believe that the crack epidemic in the inner cities are related to the Contras. And not just nutjobs either, but credible people like law enforcement officials and some politicians. Sometimes the CIA itself is alleged to have done so, although the theory by these more credible sources is usually that they just looked away as Nicaraguans connected with them dealt cocaine to fund the movement, and in some cases shielded them from police.
- Some people believe that anti-virus software companies create and disseminate computer viruses for the explicit purpose of generating revenue for their products. It doesn't help that one of the most common pieces of criminal scumware is the fake virus checker, which essentially acts as a cyber protection racket — a download that dumps several viruses on you, then pops up a window telling you how many viruses you are infected with and then claiming that only our AV can cleanse your computer (for $50).
- Or that a scan will generate a false virus report.
- This conspiracy has been used by internet trolls to trick less computer-savvy users to delete System 32 on their Windows computers. Doing so will actually cause Windows to delete itself.
- In Utah, there is a minority but bitterly vocal theory that democracy — all democracy — is the work of Dirty Commies trying to establish Marxist regimes. The solution? Oppose democracy and promote a republicnote . This is believed to be rooted in Utah being so staunchly hard-conservative in culture and politics, and any word starting with "democra"- is anathema, and words beginning with "republic-" are preferred. The irony is that the majority Mormon culture had traditionally practiced a form of Christian socialism called the United Order, which is still manifested in institutions like LDS Family Services (formerly called LDS Social Services), the Bishop's storehouse, etc. There was a tectonic cultural shift during the Cold War / Red Scare when Mormons were suspected of being socialist sympathizers, so Mormon culture came to retroactively deny all socialism or the association of the United Order as socialist in nature. (In fairness, the United Order had no direct relation to Marxism under the common umbrella of socialism, and the United Order actually predated Marxism.) With the continual rightward shift since Utah became a predominantly Republican state in the Civil Rights Movement (and now one of the most solidly red states in the United States), democracy itself has also increasingly been seen as a conspiracy by Dirty Commies to spread Marxism. While still a minority view, it has become notable enough to make repeat news reports in local publications like the Salt Lake Tribune, and even a national mention or two in publications like The Week (in their "Only in America" section).
- Pretty much every election in history has had claims of rigging thrown at it, more so if it was a very close one. We're not going to list them all, because then we'd be here until the Whigs controlled Congress again.
- One interesting variation: after the 2004 US Presidential election, there was a rumor that Karl Rove, one of George W. Bush's senior advisors, owned stock in the company that made the polling machines for the election, implying he'd somehow used his influence with them to get his boss re-elected.
- The principle of population control has numerous conspiracy theories attached to it; most people feel that it simply revolves around increased use of contraception and sexual education, and that it has numerous environmental and economic benefits. Some theorists, however, argue that these "benefits" are being pushed by The Man to make the idea seem acceptable to the public, whereupon forced sterilizations, eugenics programs, and finally genocide will commence. The Rothschild family, the Rockefeller family, Ted Turner, and various other wealthy people are variously claimed to be the masterminds behind these programs, and they are often included in New World Order theories, usually with the end goal of reducing population to the five-hundred-million or so richest and most powerful people on the planet.
- Some believe that the exposure of Valerie Plame as a CIA operative in the Plame affair was ordered by higher-ups in the Bush administration up to and including Bush himself in retribution for her husband disagreeing with the claims that Saddam Hussein was trying to get "yellowcake" uranium.
- Well, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with the special prosecutor's investigation of the Plame outing, so there's some smoke there. It doesn't help that Bush commuted Libby's prison sentence before he ever served a day in jail.
- It's generally agreed among pundits and political observers that someone in the Administration did something, but the details are likely known only to a select few, who aren't talking and probably never will.
- A very common theory was that the Plame Outing was all orchestrated and executed by former White House adviser Karl Rove.
- The vague and mysterious nature of the events surrounding the hijacking, disappearance and reappearance of the MV Arctic Sea have lead to numerous conspiracy theories surrounding the crew, what they were doing and the ship's cargo. The most popular being that they or their hijackers were smuggling weapons, possibly Russian cruise missiles.
- TV Tropes was created by the government for the purpose of keeping people in a mindless stupor so they could take more power and control for whatever reason without us noticing.
- The Bielefeld Conspiracy is one of the most famous satirical conspiracy theories (also listed under German Humour), making fun of the ways a Conspiracy Theorist's mind works. In short, it postulates that the German city of Bielefeld doesn't exist, and that They are hiding the fact. As proof of the idea, it employs a whole plethora of logical fallacies by asking three questions: Do you know anybody from Bielefeld? Have you ever been to Bielefeld? Do you know anybody who has ever been to Bielefeld? If you answer "no" to all three, it is concluded that Bielefeld doesn't exist. If you said "yes" to any of them, it's concluded that you work for Them. As for why They are doing this, various explanations have been proposed.
- "Did Glenn Beck rape and murder a young girl in 1990?"note Similarly to the Bielefeld conspiracy above, this is a parody of conspiracy theories, specifically spoofing the style of talk radio host (and former Fox News pundit) Glenn Beck, who is known for making outrageous, highly speculative allegations and asking his guests to disprove them.
- There Is No Cabal.explanation
- The Lumber Cartel is a fictitious group that sponsors anti-spam. The reasoning is that internet spam doesn't use any paper and thereby wood so any one who is against spam must be an agent of the lumber companies.
- Illuminatus! by R.A.Wilson. Like, uhm, R.F.Kennedy shot by five unrelated assassins at the same time. Was it five? You easily lose count.
- The Focault Pendulum by Eco.
- Fama o Biciklistima ("The Cyclist Conspiracy") by Svetislav Basara. Written in 1988. When Yugoslavia went down the drain in 1991, real life easily surpassed even his wackiest forecasts.
Because for every ten nutball conspiracy theories, there are a couple that actually have something behind them
. Most of these are not Conspiracy Theories, or fringe theories about a secret cabal running the world. They are actually just theories behind conspiracies, or criminal acts that were planned by more than one person. The following are conspiracy theories that are at least taken seriously by professional historians.
- The most horrific example, and the most infamous one, would likely be The Holocaust, the massive genocide committed in secret by Nazi Germany against six million Jews and at least five million other people considered "undesirable" (Romani, homosexuals, political prisoners, people with various disabilities, etc.). Unlike other conspiracy theories, whose believers are considered crazy, people who deny the Holocaust are almost universally agreed to be on the crazy side of this issue, and with good reason. The evidence that it happened is absolutely overwhelming, the evidence that it didn't happen is bogus, virtually all historians and other sane people acknowledge that it happened, and the people who don't are usually anti-Semites.
- The assassination of Julius Caesar is universally agreed to have been the result of a conspiracy among a number of Roman senators.
- Likewise, there have been many, many conspiracies since the Middle Ages between the nobles aiming to overthrow kings and install their own candidates (e.g. the conspiracy that assassinated Peter III of Russia and put his wife, who later became known as Catherine the Great, onto the throne). Interestingly, such conspiracies rarely attract attention outside Historical Fiction or court intrigue stories, despite them being by far the most historically plausible ones. (Or maybe it's because they are so plausible and, therefore, boring.)
- Many people know that John Wilkes Booth was the man who assassinated Abraham Lincoln. What few realize is that the assassination was intended to be one of a number targeting the upper echelons of the U.S. Government, specifically those in line for succession to the president, by a number of Confederate sympathizers allied with Booth. Secretary of State William H. Seward was injured, but not fatally in a stabbing by Lewis Powell. George Atzerodt, who was to assassinate the Vice President, chickened out and got the hell out of Washington. The assassination was in fact preceded by a plot to kidnap Lincoln during the war by Booth, but by the time they got around to organizing it, the Confederacy failed and Booth, angered by the prospect of "nigger citizenship" decided instead to kill him.
- The August Coup in the Soviet Union, which occurred when communist hardliners attempted to overthrow Mikhail Gorbachev in order to reverse his democratization reforms. All the conspirators were high-ranking members of the Soviet government, including Gorbachev's own vice-president. Not only did the coup fail, its failure precipitated the break-up of the U.S.S.R.
- The Business Plot in 1933 was a plan by several business leaders (rumored to have included Prescott Bush, father of Bush 41 and grandfather of Bush 43) to overthrow President Franklin D. Roosevelt and install a fascist government, conceived out of the fear that he would turn America into a socialist nation. The whole thing fell apart when they asked General Smedley Butler to act as the leader of the coup. Butler, who, although a registered Republican, was very disillusioned regarding US interventionism to support business interests, responded by revealing the whole plot to the government. It's pretty likely that the conspiracy was nowhere near as wide-spread as Butler assumed, and indeed may have only included a very few rabidly anti-Roosevelt individuals (Butler himself only met two, a contact man, and an eccentric heir to the Singer sewing machine company who he only met before the plot was finalized) who probably didn't have a real chance of success in their coup. The thing that stokes the conspiracy flames, though, is how limited the investigation was (even when it was clear that someone was planning what could only be described as a domestic terrorist plot; the "contact man," Gerald MacGuire had passed away at this point, and since he was the only one who had discussed the plot with Butler, most of the testimony was dismissed as hearsay), meaning that there are elements of the Plot that we will never know. Much modern speculation falls on MacGuire, who may have been acting in the business leader's perceived interests without going to the trouble of actually telling them anything (with the idea they'd come around to it later), or may have been stringing Singer heir (and former Marine under Butler) Robert Clark along in order to line his own pockets.
- Also said to have been involved were a group of disgruntled World War I veterans who feared (albeit correctly) that Roosevelt would bring the United States into another war, and who would have served as the ground troops of the coup.
- Project MKULTRA was a covert CIA program in the '50s and '60s designed to research Mind Control through the use of drugs (especially LSD), using unknowing Americans as test subjects. All indications are that the research was stopped, not because of any moral compunction, but because dosing people with LSD without telling them just made them crazy, sometimes suicidally so. Given its heinous nature and the amount of documents related to it that have been destroyed, the program has been the basis of numerous sub-theories, including one that suggests the Unabomber turned out the way he was because of his involvement in the experiments. Some (admittedly credible, if circumstantial) evidence does indeed suggest Ted Kaczynski participated in some kind of MKULTRA experiment during his time at Harvard, but again, we'll never know the full truth.
- The Great American Streetcar Scandal (also known as the General Motors Streetcar Conspiracy) was a plan running from 1936 to 1950 in which National City Lines and other bus companies, all of them run by oil companies and automakers, bought up the many streetcar lines in America's cities and replaced them with bus lines. It's debated how much influence the conspiracy had in the decline of streetcars, as personal automobiles were also becoming popular around this time, cutting deeply into the profits of the streetcar lines.
- The rate of streetcar removal in cities GM never looked at was essentially the same as cities where GM had a presence. GM didn't make the streetcars sell out; they just snapped them up as they did, albeit in an underhanded manner. At the time, it was conceded that streetcars were old-fashioned, dirty, rickety things that couldn't raise money for repairs or upgrades, while buses were new, shiny, comfortable, modern, quiet things that didn't have to raise money for their tracks, being as how they ran on existing taxpayer-subsidized roads. Their disadvantages would not be understood until much later, and in fact still are not understood by most people, even including many streetcar and rail advocates.
- However, the most attention-grabbing thing involving this conspiracy is that the US Government did find GM (among other auto companies) guilty of forming a monopoly, slapping them with a ridiculously tiny fine. The reaction from Bradford C. Snell, an anti-trust attorney who testified in the case, sums it up best.
: The court imposed a sanction of $5,000 on GM. In addition, the jury convicted H.C. Grossman, who was then treasurer of GM. Grossman had played a key role in the motorization campaigns and had served as a director of Pacific City Lines when that company undertook the dismantlement of the $100 million Pacific Electric system. The court fined Grossman the magnanimous sum of $1
- The scandal was made light of in Who Framed Roger Rabbit when Judge Doom buys the "Red Cars" in Los Angeles solely for the purpose of destroying them and promoting car travel.
- The COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) was a series of covert, often illegal operations in which suspected "radical" organizations in the US were infiltrated, monitored, and subverted by the FBI. (Basically, this means that the FBI snuck into these groups, watched their activities, and then undermined them.) It officially ran from 1956 to 1971, targeting all elements of the "New Left", including feminist groups, the American Indian Movement, the Weather Underground, and black civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and the NAACP (though arguably the Black Panther party was hit the hardest). FBI records are at pains to point out that they also devoted 15% of their resources to monitoring "white hate groups" such as the KKK.
- The Reichstag Fire on February 27, 1933 was claimed by the Nazi party to be a Communist attack on Germany. Some modern historians, however, feel that the fire was a False Flag Operation, carried out by the Nazis themselves to provide a rationale for the ensuing restriction of civil liberties. This explanation is disputed among professional historians. The Nazis arrested mentally ill Dutch commie Van Der Lube for the crime; many historians believe he was indeed the perpetrator, but of course, the Nazis used him as an excuse to outlaw the entire Communist party and other far-left groups regardless of whether or not they had a role in the arson.
- For most of its history, the De Beers diamond company acted as a cartel. They artificially inflated the price of diamonds by a) forcing mines to sell their diamonds to them and b) sitting on vast reserves of the precious gem, threatening to release them and crash the market if anybody were to threaten their control. They also ran a brilliant advertising campaign to keep market demand for diamonds high. The De Beers diamond monopoly fell apart in The Nineties and at the Turn of the Millennium, when the company realized that its business model was unsustainable, the price of diamonds began to fall, the technology for making synthetic diamonds improved, and mines outside of De Beers' African base (such as those in Russia, Canada and Australia) started doing their business elsewhere.
- The advertising campaign was for decades largely centered on the classic slogan, "A Diamond Is Forever" — which was coined in 1947 with the specific intent of undermining the very concept of a diamond aftermarket. (You wouldn't want to give your fiancée someone else's used "forever", would you?)
- The Tuskegee syphilis experiment was a study run from 1932 to 1972 in which the US government recruited 399 poor black sharecroppers infected with syphilis to study how the disease progresses in black people. The study would eventually become notorious for its gross violation of scientific ethics, not the least of which was that the test subjects were left untreated even after it had been proven that penicillin cures syphilis (the subjects weren't even told about penicillin). The victims of the study included not only the test subjects, but also their wives who contracted the disease and their children who were born with it. The disaster caused by the study led to a massive overhaul in ethical standards regarding human testing. To this day, the Tuskegee Study is a major reason why so many black people do not trust doctors, and are inclined to believe that there is something similarly fishy going on with HIV research.
- And the greatest irony? The Tuskegee Study was originally intended to justify the treatment of syphilis in black people by proving that it doesn't affect them any differently than it does white people — which is exactly what it proved! Unfortunately, this aim soon devolved into "For Science!" with a touch of racism thrown in.
- The Iran-Contra affair in The Eighties, which involved the sale of arms to Iran (which was under an arms embargo at the time) to secure the release of hostages and fund the Contra rebel groups in Nicaragua (not to be confused with a certain other "Contra").
- The Church of Scientology has been involved in a surprisingly large number (22) of real-world conspiracies. Most notably "Operation Snow White" (The (accomplished!) goal was the theft, destruction, or "correction" of Federal documents about Scientology in 30 different countries, utilizing 5,000 members in the US alone, making it the largest-scale infiltration of the US government in history), "Operation Freakout" (in which Scientologists tried to drive a critic insane, ruin her life, and/or get her jailed), and the general practice of "Fair Game" (which says that any enemy of Scientology can be 'tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed').
- The quiz show scandals of The Fifties, in which it was revealed that many of the hit game shows on American television (most notably 21) were being rigged by the networks in order to increase tension for viewing audiences. Game shows wound up being Deader Than Disco for nearly twenty years as a result of these scandals. It's also the reason some American Idol viewers think there's something fishy going on with the voting.
- One wonders why religious fanatics go through so much trouble to make up conspiracy theories about the Catholic Church being Satanic/funding The Mafia/running the world, when a much more real conspiracy has made itself known over the past several years. To make a long story short (and it is a long story): over the past several decades, the Catholic Church has had a problem with priests molesting children, and has feverishly worked to hush up the allegations and prevent their image from being tarnished. Oftentimes, pedophile priests would simply be moved to another diocese, where they would molest again, rather than defrocked or otherwise reprimanded. There was even a special kind of priest called a "cleaner" sent in to deal with the fallout whenever a priest was caught and transferred. While it's argued how far the conspiracy goes (local bishops certainly were involved in multiple locations, and questionable actions at higher levels), the scandal that ensued has already tarnished the Church's image in America and Europe, and has led to calls for major reforms, not least making it automatic to turn all abuse cases over to secular authorities. There are also calls (with little to no chance of success) for radical changes such as the end of celibacy and the ordination of women. Of course, given the nature of pedophilia, those measures probably wouldn't actually do that much. Pedophiles become priests (or whatever job gets them close to children) far more often than priests become pedophiles, though opening priesthood to married men and women would still reduce the opportunity of a pedophile to assume a clergy postion. More relevant is the inordinate amount of authority that priests are accorded, and assumption of their moral superiority, which allows them to get away with abuse unquestioned and have people even make excuses for them.
- Terrorist plots are almost always conspiracies, particularly large-scale ones like the 2005 bombings of the London transit system or the 1998 suicide bombings of American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.
- April Fools: a worldwide united effort to spread disinformation and propaganda for a single day, thus bringing mass confusion and embarrassment upon the populace.
- If it weren't for the fact that April Fools is not celebrated in all the world. Spanish speaking countries celebrate their pranking holiday December 28, as an example.
- The IB affair. IB was a military intelligence agency in Sweden whose mission involved gathering information on communists and other persons who where considered threats to national security. It was similar to the COINTELPRO mentioned above, only there were no rules on what it was allowed to do or not do. It is not entirely clear what "IB" even stands for, either ''Informationsbyrån" (The Informations Bureau) or "Insamling Birger" ([Information] Gathering Birger) after the director, Birger Elmér. The organization was exposed by journalists Jan Guillou and Peter Bratt in 1973, leading to the two being imprisoned for espionage and causing a political scandal.
- The Watergate scandal.
- Interestingly, the Watergate scandal actually serves to discredit most government-orchestrated conspiracy theories (that is, theories about conspiracies orchestrated by the government, not conspiracy theories created by the government). If the federal government was unable to keep a simple scheme to wiretap an office secret, how could they possibly orchestrate something as huge as the 9/11 attacks without anyone finding out and blowing the whistle? Conspiracy Theorists get around this by claiming that Nixon had betrayed Them, and was thus set up in Watergate to get rid of him, or that Watergate itself was orchestrated for exactly this purpose.
- There is actually something else that needs to be understood about Watergate. The popular perception of Watergate is that a pair of young plucky journalists found out about a corrupt government conspiracy, investigated it and brought the President down. While Woodward in particular was already investigating the break-in, this wouldn't have gotten him nearly so far without the intervention of the mysterious "Deep Throat", who fed Woodward and Bernstein information that allowed them to pursue it much further than they would otherwise have been able to. In 2005, "Deep Throat" was revealed to be Mark Felt, the man in charge of the government's internal investigation into the break-in. Mark Felt had it in against Nixon, who promoted someone else as the head of the FBI instead of himself. Felt had the investigative resources to catch Nixon in the act, and leaked his findings to the media. What is commonly understood to be a cool morality play of young journalists speaking truth to power has an element of truth to it, but it's often overlooked that they were enabled and assisted by a rogue employee striking against his boss. Or said government conspiracy being blown open by a man who realized things had gone too far, if you support a more altruistic view of Felt. In fact Felt was under investigation himself for illegal FBI actions of the time, such as searching residences without warrants and dangling people out of windows by their ankles to get information on the Weather Underground, which he was convicted of, but pardoned by Ronald Reagan as his appeal was pending. Either way, this actually serves to undercut the idea of the 'omnipotent all-controlling government' even further; an entire shadowy conspiracy was undercut and brought down by something as simple as a disgruntled employee.
- Another thing not widely understood about Watergate was just what it was all about. Most people seem to remember that operatives of the Committee To Re-Elect the President broke into a Democratic Party office to spy on the enemy. True enough, but this was merely the tail end of a CREEP conspiracy that started not long after Nixon took office, the goal of which was to undermine the nomination campaign of every Democratic presidential contender but George McGovern, who was judged the easiest to beat in 1972. They even had a backup plan, in case McGovern did too well: they'd managed to find and hide the psychiatric treatment records of McGovern's VP nominee, Eagleton, which they then leaked in order to damage the McGovern campaign. The damage was enough to just about sink it. The story is told in depth in Nixonland, by Mark Perlstein.
- One more thing that is often forgotten is the fact that Watergate wasn't an isolated incident. "The Plumbers", which was effectively a secret police Nixon compiled out of ex-CIA and FBI members, were active throughout Nixon's first term. Nixon, a very paranoid man who falsely believed in many non-existent conspiracies against him, assembled "The Plumbers" to undermine and/or discredit those who Nixon believed were behind conspiracies against him, who ranged from major political figures, members of his staff to celebrities on his infamous "enemies list". The mere existence of "The Plumbers" was extremely unconstitutional and grounds for impeachment, and everything they did throughout Nixon's first term were abuses of power on his part. The Watergate break-in was simply when Nixon got caught. Even then, there wasn't enough evidence to implement Nixon; he only got tied into it when he tried to thwart the FBI's investigation into the break-in and cover it up, and he did that because he (correctly) predicted that the investigation of the break-in would reveal all the other abuses of power he was engaging in. And that is why Watergate became as huge as it did - it snowballed into the revelation that President Nixon had his own secret police running around ending the careers of everyone he distrusted and that he had basically rigged the 1972 election in his favor. And that is also why the American people were hungry for Nixon's head on a platter after the scandal broke, and became so outraged at Gerald Ford's pardon of him.
- Project 112: Ironically, perhaps one conspiracy (sorta) that matches closest to traditional theories is little known Project 112 (and sub Project SHAD) which were conducted in the late 1960s/early 1970s by the US government. Their intent was to study the effects of biological and chemical weapons on military personnel and the vulnerability of service ships and harbor cities to the same. To the point of actually exposing unwitting and unknowing military personnel to said biological and chemical weapons.
- There were also earlier instances of US personnel exposed to nuclear fallout (some infamous photos depict them actually walking under mushroom clouds) with it being deemed "harmless." In experiments designed to create "super soldiers" some were also given PCP without their knowledge, similar to the CIA doping people with LSD.
- The Lockheed bribery scandals came about when U.S. Senator Frank Church began a subcommittee investigation into the possible misappropriation of bailout money. What they uncovered was a bribery scandal implicating key political leaders of The Netherlands, Japan, West Germany, Italy and Saudi Arabia. It included such varied characters as Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka and right-wing underworld figure Yoshio Kodama, Prince-consort Bernhard of the Netherlands, then-Italian President Giovanni Leone and West German Minister of Defense Franz Josef Strauss. The goal of the bribing was to persuade these nations to purchase Lockheed aircraft, especially the F-104 Starfighter, which had gained a reputation as unsafe. The aftermath resulted in many of the political figures resigning from their posts, Tanaka ended up jailed and Lockheed nearly went out of business. The weirdest part of this whole scandal was when Mitsuyasu Maeno, a roman porno actor rammed his plane into Kodama's home in an attempted Suicide Attack. Maeno died, but the attack failed.
- Carnivore was a system implemented by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that was designed to monitor email and electronic communications. It used a customizable packet sniffer that can monitor all of a target user's Internet traffic. Carnivore was implemented in October 1997. After prolonged negative coverage in the press, the FBI changed the name of its system from "Carnivore" to the more benign-sounding "DCS1000." DCS is reported to stand for "Digital Collection System"; the system has the same functions as before. The Associated Press reported in mid-January 2005 that the FBI essentially abandoned the use of Carnivore in 2001, in favor of commercially available software, such as NarusInsight (a mass surveillance system). Yes, it's real.
- Operation Northwoods was a plan created by the Joint Chiefs of Staff which called for the CIA to create a series of false-flag operations with the intent on generating public support for going to war against Cuba. They ranged from mock Cuban military attacks on Guantanamo Bay to staged terrorist attacks in Miami. It was ultimately rejected by Kennedy. Probably (hopefully) because it was bugfuck crazy. CTs like to use this as an example of a False Flag, conveniently ignoring the part about how it was not implemented.
- Operation Gladio was the Italian section of NATO's back-up plan in case of a Communist coup or losing WWIII.
- Related to the above, some of the Italian "stay-behind" forces committed bombings that were blamed on the anarchists and communists to help discredit them and prop up the right wing.
- The July 20 Plot was a conspiracy by German officers to remove Adolf Hitler from power and attempt to negotiate peace with the Allies. Of all the attempts on Hitler's life, this came the closest to killing him (only a very thick table leg saved his life).
- Similar to De Beers, there is the case of United Fruit, a Cold War-era American corporation in the business of, well, fruit that may very well have been the closest thing to a Mega Corp. Real Life has seen yet. Far more powerful than most entire countries, it actually made a business out of inciting revolutions in developing nations to install leaders who were both friendly to fruit production and unfriendly to Dirty Commies. Without giving half a damn how these leaders treated their people, of course. This is where the term Banana Republic comes from, and may be a factor in why many people in such countries believe something fishy is up with US interests in their nation. Most infamously, they got the US to overthrow President Arbenz of Guatemala when he attempted to redistribute land they owned to the peasants (saying he was in bed with the Dirty Communists, naturally), setting up a military dictatorship that committed numerous brutal atrocities and caused more than thirty years of civil war.
- The cover-up surrounding the Hillsborough disaster, the largest stadium-related disaster in British history in which a series of safety failures led to 96 Liverpool fans being crushed to death. An independent panel in 2012 concluded that there had been a "strenuous attempt" to deflect blame for the disaster away from the emergency services and onto Liverpool supporters, including editing 164 eyewitness statements to remove references to the police's failures and the fabrication of stories about fans rushing the gates and attacking police.
- The LIBOR scandal was an international finance conspiracy that lasted for years among the banking community. The London InterBank Offered Rate is calculated by asking the major banks of London what rates they would expect to pay were they to borrow money from other banksnote . Several banks, most notably Barclays, had trading divisions which made very large and career-defining moves on the outcome of the LIBOR rate, and so would apply behind the scenes pressure on the other parts of their institution or on personal friends at other banks to manipulate the rate. Over 300 trillion dollars in investments were influenced by this scheming, and many cities around the world lost substantial sums of money when their purchased investments did not properly cover their bond sales.
- The suspicious death of ex-X Japan bassist Taiji Sawada in Saipan is, in light of further information, deserving of inclusion in this section. Information revealed by at least one investigating journalist and sources who knew him before his death (and his fiancee and mother who saw his body before it was cremated) have established that the people around him near the end of his life — including his manager and his religious adviser, both of whom were friends with each other — were stealing money from him and yet demanding him to stay with them. The manager, Kitami Terumi, had contacts in high places in Saipan. While it is not in doubt that Taiji got into a fight with her on the airplane, there is no video or audio evidence of the fight (on a flight headed to a tourist destination, at that) or other witness testimony of how he acted on the plane, and the only documentation of the incident is the FBI arrest report. Post arrest, his treatment seemed even more unreasonable and suspicious: he was detained (rather than released on own recognizance, medically evacuated to a far more competent neurological/psychiatric treatment hospital than Saipan's Community Health Center, or bailed out, despite having someone willing to pay his bail and let him live with him), and within two days (during which, someone had made a call to his fiancee from his phone extorting money) he allegedly committed suicide by hanging with a bedsheet. Except, according to his mother and fiancee, who saw his body, there was no damage to his neck despite his suffering a condition that would have made his bones very easily breakable. Instead, he was braindead, with a red slash mark to the chest. The religious adviser, Shinsho, who had been working to steal money from him with Ms. Terumi, did an end-run around the family to demand the cremation of the body in six days, despite no autopsy having been done to confirm actual cause of death. While the "why" and even the "who" of his death are still unknown, and the official story is still "hanging by bedsheet," so much of the story even before his actual death and whatever may have caused it is so absolutely unusual and suspicious that something definitely improper happened at some point.
- ODESSA was a group of S.S officers who created a network of contacts for former members of the organization to utilize towards the end of the war in order to avoid trail for war crimes and to re-organize them to create a Fourth Reich. This organization may have helped as many as 10,000 members of the former Nazi government escape prosecution, most notable among them Josef Mengele, by sending them to safe havens in South America and the Middle East.
- In what has to be a Crowning Moment of Meta, we have a real conspiracy promoting a fake one. Operation INFEKTION was a KGB disinformation campaign to spread the aforementioned claim that HIV/AIDS was created by the US government, supposedly for biological warfare purposes.
- A fairly obscure one: the Zinoviev letter, allegedly sent from the Comintern to the Communist Party of Great Britain calling on them to inflitrate the Labour government, is believed by historians to have been forged by Russian monarchist groups in exile.
- At the start of The Cold War, the US intelligence bureaus ran "Operation Paperclip", where former Nazi scientists were recruited by the US to keep their knowledge from falling into the hands of the Soviet Union. At the same time, the other side was running Operation Osoaviakhim, the Soviet version of Operation Paperclip.
- The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary, which occurred in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on June 28, 1914, was committed by a conspiracy composed of young Serbian radicals connected with the "Black Hand" Serbian nationalist movement (which wanted to expel Austria-Hungary from Bosnia-Herzegovina, which had been annexed by Vienna just a few years previously) and directed by members of Serbian military intelligence, most prominently Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijević (nicknamed "Apis"), who was no stranger to assassination plots, having been involved in the 1903 murders of Serbian King Alexander I Obrenovic and his wife Queen Draga. note . Notwithstanding the involvement of Dimitrijević and other experienced plotters, the actual attack was carried out in an exceptionally amateurish fashion; of the would-be assassins, only Nedeljko Čabrinović actually did anything; he threw a bomb at the archducal car, which Franz Ferdinand deflected by batting it away into the street, and then jumped into the nearby Miljacka river and attempted (unsuccessfully) to commit suicide by swallowing cyanide. Most of the others simply stood in place as the archduke's motorcade passed by. Gavrilo Princip himself, thinking the plot had failed, was standing in front of a local tavern preparing to go into hiding when he saw Franz Ferdinand's car stop literally in front of him - the chauffeur had made a wrong turn and was trying to back up to get back onto the correct route. Even the actual murder of the Archduke was bungled; one of Princip's gunshots struck the Archduke's wife, Duchess Sophie, and killed her. Princip testified at his trial that he had actually been trying to aim at General Oskar Potoriek, the military governor of Bosnia.
- One reason the Islamic world is often credulous towards conspiracy theories is that they've been the targets of many real conspiracies. The Sykes-Picot Agreement during World War I, where Britain, France and Russia divided up the Ottoman Empire while promising independence to the Arabs and a homeland for the Jews, is the most famous example. There's also Operation Ajax, the Anglo-American plot to overthrow Iran's President Mossadegh in 1953, and an alliance between Britain, France and Israel to prevent Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser from nationalizing the Suez Canal in 1956.
- JFK conspiracy theories were spread by a KGB disinformation campaign, which sought to blame the assassination on a right-wing conspiracy and not on communist sympathizer Lee Harvey Oswald. While it's probably too much to blame the Soviets for inventing JFK conspiracy theories — they were almost certainly going to happen anyway — it is true that the KGB did everything they could to encourage them.