Conspiracy Nut? The Real Truth Is Much Stranger Than Fiction

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    “Why of course the people don’t want war … But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship … Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

    – Hermann Goering, Nazi leader.

    Conspiracy theories have grown exponentially as a result of the information age. Many are wrong and harmful pieces of misinformation. But alongside them are the true conspiracies. Governments and intelligence agencies colluding to enact some secretive agenda. We know this because many such schemes have now been declassified.

    These include coups, false flags, secret medical experiments and psychological operations. Often the plotters are convinced that the ends justify the means. More often than not this leads to shocking abuses and unintended consequences.

    In a sense, this is nothing new. Governments throughout history have always taken steps to conceal their actions form those they rule. This is often justified on grounds of national security. However, in an age where government grows ever larger and more complex, there is a legitimate debate to be have over just how much secrecy can be tolerated in an open democratic society.

    So let’s take a quick trip down conspiracy lane and learn about the several “spooky conspiracies” that actually turned out to be true – and in fact, we don’t even know the FULL story behind most of these “conspiracies”….BUT…

    The truth we know is in many cases, absolutely disturbing.

    Mukden Incident

     

    In the run-up to WWII, Japan engineered it’s own conflict in China. This was the so-called Mukden incident of 1931. The incident occurred in modern day Shenyang province, then known as Mukden.

    Japanese soldiers detonated explosives close to a railway line owned by Japan’s owned South Manchuria Railway Company as part of a false flag attack. The sabotage was then blamed on Chinese military aggression. The Imperial Japanese army reacted swiftly, invading and occupying Manchuria. Around six months after, Japan established a puppet state in the region – Manchukuo. The deposed head of the Qing dynasty, Puyi was installed as titular ruler.

    International outrage over the incident led to Japan’s withdrawal from the League of Nations.

    In 1937, an exchange of gunfire between Japanese occupation forces and the Chinese army at the Marco Polo Bridge near Beijing became the pretext for a full scale Japanese invasion of China. The Imperial military’s atrocities culminated in the Nanjing massacre in December of that year. Chinese civilians, including babies, women, and the aged were massacred in a most brutal fashion. During the massacre Imperial commanders competed over who could annihilate one hundred Chinese using swords within the shortest duration of time. It was the false flag Mukden incident that provided the spark that would go on to ignite one of the most disastrous periods of Chinese history.

    The Tuskegee Experiment

    In 1932 public health experts at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama embarked on a chilling experiment. The plan was to observe the effects of syphilis on the African American population.

    A group of 600 black men – some with syphilis, some without – were persuaded to participate in the study by offers of free healthcare. In reality, they were only given placebos. None of them were told that they had syphilis.

    Even after treatments such as penicillin emerged, the Tuskegee men were not prescribed them so as to observe the progress of the disease. Symptoms suffered by the test subjects included blindness, insanity and death.

    Ethical concerns were raised about the program in the 1960s, but researchers ultimately opted to continue with the study. They wished to allow the disease to take its course conclude the study with the autopsies of its unwitting participants.

    The media got hold of the story in 1972 and only then was the experiment wound down. By this time many of the men had perished. Some had unknowingly infected their wives. Nineteen children were subsequently born with the disease.

    The Tuskegee experiment was later the subject of a congressional investigation. The survivors and their families would go on to receive damages following a lawsuit.

    In 2003 an eerily similar experiment was unearthed. In Guatemala in the 1940s, US medical experts conducted a study in which participants were deliberately infected with syphilis without their knowledge. One of the experts, Dr John Cutler, would go on to head up the Tuskegee experiments.

     

     

     

    Alcohol Poisoning

     

    On Christmas Eve 1926, 60 people were admitted to hospital in New York City with the symptoms of severe alcohol poisoning, including lurid hallucinations. Eight lost their lives. Another 23 dropped dead over the next few days.

    Alcohol poisoning was by no means unusual in these times. This was the height of Prohibition. With the sale of alcohol banned, people often turned to illicit concoctions formulated by unscrupulous bootleggers. The difference with the New York poisonings, it would later emerge, was that the US government itself had been behind the poisonings.

    Prohibition had failed to cut down on alcohol consumption in the United States. Therefore the administration of President Calvin Coolidge adopted an extreme strategy, intended to terrify people into giving up illicit booze.

    This involved deliberately poisoning industrial alcohol. Chemicals added included kerosene, gasoline, benzene, cadmium, iodine, zinc, mercury salts, nicotine, ether, formaldehyde, chloroform, camphor, carbolic acid, quinine, and acetone. The authorities knew that this alcohol was often diverted and used for human consumption.

    By the end of Prohibition in 1933, it is estimated that such poisonings had caused 10,000 deaths. The authorities were well aware of the fatal consequences of their actions. Charles Norris, Chief Medical Examiner of New York City described the program as;

    “our national experiment in extermination”

    As far as the government was concerned, the end justified the means. Those who died were considered to have brought it upon themselves through their immoderate behaviour. This was underpinned by the feeling that the country was embraced in a moral crusade against the evils of excessive alcohol consumption.

    Ultimately Prohibition was a failure. Alcohol consumption increased unabated. Driving the liquor trade underground only created opportunities for organised gangs of criminals. Prohibition was repealed, and the memory of the US government deliberately poisoning its own citizens faded into obscurity.

     

     

     

    Operation Paperclip

     

    One of many peculiar events in US history was an obscure operation that recruited Nazi scientists at the end of WWII.

    Operation Paperclip was initiated by the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA). The mission was to procure the finest scientists, medical doctors, and engineers from the collapsing Third Reich. That this came about through Allied admiration of Germany’s sophisticated weapons programs.

    Following the Normandy landings of 1944, intelligence officers were embedded with Allied units. Their mission was to assess the threats of Germany’s advanced weapons and ultimately to locate the scientists behind them.

    Britain, France, and the USSR had their own rival programs to spirit away the German scientists. The US-Soviet rivalry apparent, which eventually would lead to the Cold War provided additional impetus to Operation Paperclip.

    Many of the men recruited were top Nazi party members and SS officers who had worked closely with Hitler and his associates.

    Wernher von Braun, a rocket engineer, was instrumental in setting up the original US ballistic missile, the Redstone. Later he worked with NASA on the Saturn V rocket. In his previous life as a Nazi ideologue and member of the SS, von Braun had attended Buchenwald concentration camp, picking out prisoners to serve as slaves on his projects.

    Medical expert Hubertus Strughold experimented on concentration camp victims during the war. Strughold denied such activities after the war and went on to pioneer aerospace medicine at Brooks Air Force base.

    Walter Schreiber committed similar heinous crimes against humanity. He was initially picked up by the Soviets but made his way to the US, also to work in the aviation medecine field.

    While top Nazi officials were being sentenced to death for similar crimes at the Nuremburg trials, these scientists were able to evade justice. This was made possible by the strict secrecy under which Operation Paperclip was carried out.

     

     

     

    The Iran Coup

     

    In 1952 Mohammad Mosaddegh won election as Iranian Prime Minister. Mosaddegh enjoyed considerable domestic support. One of his policies concerned the nationalisation of Iranian oilfields. These assets had previously been under British ownership. The UK government duly took exception to this turn of events.

    At the time, the largest oil refinery in the country was located at Abadan. The Abadan Refinery had originally been constructed by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now known as British Petroleum). When the Mosaddegh administration announced its nationalisation plans, Britain retaliated by sending naval forces to blockade the facility. In tandem with this act, UK intelligence assets within the country were mobilised against the Mosaddegh administration

    British intelligence collaborated with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The Americans were persuaded to intervene through concerns that the loosening of Britain’s grip on the country would benefit the Soviet Union. The program to oust Mosaddegh was code-named Operation Ajax. Leading gangsters in Tehran were paid to assemble large mobs of protestors. Eventually, Mosaddegh was driven from office. The exiled Shah was later installed as ruler. Mosaddegh languished under house arrest for years until his death.

    The Shah went on to institute a brutal and repressive regime. Discontent over his rule eventually erupted during the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Documents concerning Operation Ajax were eventually declassified in 2013. The incident created a deep resentment and suspicion towards Western powers among the Iranians. Ultimately, the conspiracy to remove a democratic ruler and replace him with a friendly puppet led to the creation of the hostile regime of the Ayatollahs, which stands to this day.

     

     

     

    The Guatemala Coup

     

    Most historians now accede that the CIA-subsidized coup in 1954 was instrumental in smothering Guatemala’s young democracy. The operation was titled PBSUCCESS. Its target was the left-leaning, democratically elected President, Jacobo Arbenz Guzman.

    Following this usurpation, a succession of tyrants would inflict further damage on the nation and people. This brought about the deaths and disappearances of an estimated 200,000 Guatemalans.

    The CIA has released limited classified information relating to the operation.

    The documents shed essential light on the CIA’s first illicit operation in Central America. They reveal assassination plots, paramilitary and economic struggle, black ops, and demolition. PBSUCCESS was judged so effective that became the template for further CIA covert operations. These operations would ultimately leave permanent scars in many nations.

    PBSUCCESS was given the go-ahead as the U.S administration formed the opinion that Arbenz was a threat to American interests in the region. Arbenz’s policies threatened the country’s rigid oligarchy and threatened U.S. commercial pursuits, in particular these of the United Fruit Company.

    The Arbenz administration faced clandestine sabotage by US intelligence. Two years into the Arbenz administration, the CIA was actively plotting his overthrow. The CIA looked to the Guatemalan military for support. The CIA viewed the armed forces as the most potent actor in Guatemala, capable of abruptly and decisively altering the political ecosystem. The CIA found an ally in Carlos Castillo Armas, a military officer opposed to Arbenz. The CIA was now ready to do away with Arbenz by any means necessary.

    Proposals to assassinate the main participants of the Arbenz cabinet and its armed forces supporters permeated the CIA s planning. The CIA laid out its options for murder including accidents, medication, side weapons, blunt weapons, and firearms. Assassins were counselled which poisons to make use of and how to choose locations to stage accidents.

    Furthermore, the CIA produced a list of targets for elimination. In advance of the paramilitary operation, the CIA’s Directorate of Operations produced an elimination checklist, with the help of Guatemalan officers.

    The CIA later argued that the assassination proposals had been neither authorised nor applied and had been simply contingency planning. Nonetheless the documents pertaining to the proposed hit list was redacted. Therefore, it is not possible to conclusively determine whether the targets on the list were assassinated in the operation.

    Declassified documents reveal that the CIA used a range of tactics to destabilise the Guatemalan government. Those tactics included false flags, propaganda and intimidation.

    Despite the generous resource allocated to PBSUCCESS, it barely succeeded. The CIA records describe adverse conditions and faulty execution. They conclude that the Guatemalan military deposed Arbenz as they feared that the US was preparing to formally annex the nation.

    In June, having lost the confidence of the military, Arbenz resigned. In Washington, there was jubilation. The CIA touted their victory to the US administration. They glossed over the problems encountered by the operation and stressed that US objectives had been met with minimal losses. Some agents even lied directly to President Eisenhower that only one operative had been killed, when in fact more than forty had perished.

    The apparently unblemished triumph gave boasting rights to the CIA for running artful operations that had been protected, clean, and productive. The Guatemalan coup foreshadowed future CIA moves in the region, such as the Bay of Pigs debacle.

    In Guatemala, there were other lethal consequences. in keeping with the CIA s historical account, the meticulous CIA coup-plotters had no plan for what would happen subsequently. As democracy had delivered the ‘wrong result’, a preferable course of action was to support a traditional reactionary autocracy that could operate as a US dependancy.

    However, this could not prevent decades of instability. The turmoil caught up with most of the coup-makers. The CIA ally who had helped overthrow Arbenz, Castillo Armas was ultimately assassinated. This precipitated a series of brutish military governments.

    These developments eventually led to civil war. Guatemala’s armed forces used U.S. weapons and money to enact a savage wave of repression. The killing endured until 1996. In 1999 President Clinton apologised for the US role in destabilising the nation.

    Pont-Saint-Esprit

     

    In 1951, the unsuspecting individuals of the small town of Pont-Saint-Esprit in France, came down with surprising cases of consciousness-expanding hallucinations.

    The culprit was LSD – an unintentional creation by chemist Albert Hofmann in 1943. The US government became interested in employing the drug as a truth serum. Later, after determining this was not feasible, the CIA regarded LSD as a possible biological weapon. This shift in policy influenced the development of the MKUltra program.

    The CIA’s interest in hallucinogens coincided with the bizarre happenings in Pont-Saint-Esprit. Until recently, medical professionals attributed the incident to fungus poisoning. Fifty people went insane in the incident and seven individuals lost their lives.

    In 2009 a dossier was uncovered entitled “Re: Pont-Saint-Esprit and F.Olson Files. SO Span/France Operation file, inclusive Olson. Intel files. Hand carry to Belin – tell him to see to it that these are buried.”.

    F.Olson refers to a CIA scientist who was supervising LSD research at the time of the poisoning. A declassified CIA report from 1949 speaks of the importance of testing LSD in ‘field operations’.

    In another document it was revealed that an employee at Sandoz Chemical, a Swiss business which originally owned the patent to LSD, drunkenly admitted that fungal poisoning had nothing to do with the hallucinations. Sandoz Chemical was based only a few hundred kilometres from Point-Saint-Esprit.

    The CIA ordered a large quantity of LSF from Sandoz. Years later defense force scientist Dr. Jim Ketchum discovered a steel container filled with LSD in his workplace. The container’s purpose was unexplained and it later vanished.

    MK Ultra

     

    In April 1953, Allen Dulles, the newly appointed director of the CIA, delivered a speech to a gathering of Princeton alumni. Though the experience was mundane, global tensions were simmering. The Korean conflict had recently ended. and past that anniversary.

    Some GI’s had been confessing to war crimes, like conducting germ warfare – a claim the US categorically denied. As if that weren’t enough, the CIA was in the thick of secret conspiracy to overthrow the democratically elected leader in Iran.

    Dulles was the first noncombatant administrator of an agency growing in power. The Princeton speech provided an early glimpse into his priorities for the CIA. Dulles highlighted the effectiveness of Soviet mind control techniques. In this respect the US was trailing its rival. However, this kind of non-consensual experiment was, he stressed, antithetical to American values.

    The struggle against Communism preoccupied the American public throughout the fifties, This was further fuelled by stories of “brainwashed” GIs getting back from captivity in Korea. The paranoia started to glide into the American consciousness, with books like
    The Manchurian Candidate
    and playing on subject matters of unhinged scientists and colossal political conspiracies.

    The idea of brainwashing also offered Americans an explanation for Communism’s disturbing success. Three days after publicly decrying Soviet tactics, Dulles accepted the beginning of MKUltra.

    MKUltra involved pioneering mind control techniques such as the use of electro-shock therapy, hypnosis, polygraphs, radiation, medication, toxins, and chemical compounds. Some test subjects freely volunteered. Some volunteered through browbeating, and some were unaware of the true nature of the program.

    American soldiers, disabled people and mental patients were all involved. MKUltra often preyed on the marginalised in society. The CIA regarded prisoners in particular as good subjects, because they would consent for additional perks or commuted sentences.

    Whitey Bulger, a crime boss, claimed he had been injected with LSD. Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, or acid, had developed into one of the CIA’s key assets for MKUltra because they theorized it could be constructive in interrogations.

    In the late forties, the CIA obtained stories that the USSR was carrying out intensive efforts to procure large quantities of LSD. Some in the CIA were envious of the lack of restraints on their rival’s research program.

    With the introduction of MKUltra, the CIA’s approach LSD shifted from a protective strategies to offensive applications. Agents concluded that LSD could be constructive in controlling individuals. The CIA explored methods that ranged from using the drug in Europe in a Soviet attack scenario to enabling assassinations of enemy leaders.

    In November, a gaggle of ten scientists met at a hideout in the forests of Maryland. after prolonged discussions, they agreed to explore the effects of the drug without the awareness of the test subjects.

    The CIA understood how the public would react to MKUltra. Although they believed the operation was vital to US interests, it would havre to be kept secret.

    The CIA’s initial experiments with LSD were unsophisticated. They typically targeted lone individuals, who sometimes included even CIA personnel. Over time these experiments grew more sophisticated. Perhaps the most notable was Operation Midnight Climax.

    In San Francisco, the CIA established a fake brothel where clients were dosed with LSD in order to observe the effects. The operative in charge, George White, said of this operation:

    “I toiled wholeheartedly in the vineyards because it was fun, fun, fun. Where else could a red-blooded American boy lie, kill, cheat, steal, rape, and pillage with the sanction and blessing of the All-Highest?”

    MKULtra was eventually wound down in 1973 due to ethical concerns.

    Senator Edward Kennedy oversaw congressional hearings investigating the results of MKUltra. The Hearings covered a couple of traumatic particulars, in particular concerning the suicide of Dr. Frank Olson, a military scientist who jumped out of a window after unwittingly ingesting LSD. Olson was also implicated in the Point-Saint-Esprit LSD poisoning.

    Many of the witnesses stone-walled the enquiry and a great many documents regarding the MKUltra program were intentionally destroyed, such that even today we do not have the full picture of the shocking and illegal abuses that it involved.

     

     

     

    The Assassination of Patrice Lumumba

     

    In 1960 Patrice Lumumba, a former postal employee gained election as premier of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following independence in June. In his victory oration he denounced the colonisation of the DRC by Belgium which had resulted in atrocities.

    The departing Belgian colonialists viewed the speech as an insult and determined that Lumumba must die. The British and American administrations believed Lumumba was a communist sympathiser and should hence be eradicated. American president Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered Lumumba’s assassination.

    The Belgians set the ball rolling by sending in troops to bolster separatists in the Katanga region. US intelligence procured the loyalty of DRC army chief, Mobutu Sese Seko, to foment unrest. Within weeks of independence, the country was in agitation.

    Lumumba faced a quandary. He could seek Soviet aid. However he would be branded an enemy by the USA if he did so. Therefore he turned to the UN, seen as an impartial body. On Lumumba’s invitation, UN troops came to the DRC. They comprised troops from some African countries, especially Nigeria. The UN troops subsequently placed Lumumba under house arrest. The prime minister managed to escape and headed for his bastion of Stanleyville to establish a new administration.

    Along the way Lumumba paused to gather support in the countryside. Unfortunately, this left a trail for Western-backed rebel fighters. He was at last run to ground and detained. The Western intelligence agencies wanted to dispose of Lumumba indirectly. They flew him into the breakaway enclave of Katanga and handed them to the militia headed by Moise Tshombe.

    Lumumba was tortured and taken to a wooded area. The executioners were led by Belgian Belgian agent Gerard Soete. Following Lumumba’s murder his captor chopped up his body, and then dissolved him in acid. Soete took two teeth of the noted African leader as a souvenir.

    Operation Mockingbird

     

    The notion of secret mind control programs by shadowy organisations sounds like the imaginings of a paranoid fiction-writer. This does not, however, mean that such programs do not exist. In the 1970s, it was in fact revealed that the CIA was operating just such a program.

    In the aftermath of WWII the agency had an astonishing level of control over US and even international media. This large scale infiltration of the media was known as Operation Mockingbird

    Beginning in the 1950s the CIA employed newspaper editors and journalist to write propaganda and misinformation in return for lucrative sums of money. Even student publications were targeted in this manner.

    In the 1970s these activities began to face greater public scrutiny. However, the CIA refused to identify which publications and individuals had been employed by Operation Mockingbird.

    In 1975 Senator Frank Church established a commission to investigate the CIA’s illicit activities. The agency was forced to acknowledge their secret program to influence the media. It emerged that they had routinely disseminated misinformation in order to manipulate public opinion.

    A congressional report in 1976 revealed that CIA also had a network of operatives carrying out similar clandestine activities internationally.

    CIA interference in the media nominally ended following these revelations. In practice, the CIA was still involved in trying to recruit journalists after this time.

    Media organisations that were exposed to CIA influence by Operation Mockingbird included CBS, Time, the New York Times, ABC, NBC and Reuters. Furthermore, CIA agents were trained to act as journalists before joining such outlets.

    Operation Mockingbird was ostensibly wound down following the Church Committee hearings. However, it would be highly naive to believe that similar manipulation of the media does not occur in our modern society.

    COINTELPRO

     

     

    COINTELPRO refers to an extensive covert operation carried out by the FBI from the 1950s to the 1970s. This program’s aim was the suppression of domestic political groups seen as threatening to the state. These included the Communist Party USA, anti-Vietnam war groups and the Black Panthers. Surveillance, infiltration and propaganda were employed and even, in extreme cases, assassination.

    The program was established in 1956, initially intended to suppress communist sympathisers amidst the backdrop of the Cold War. The architects of the scheme were frustrated by Supreme Court rulings preventing the government from suppressing dissident speech. Before long COINTELPRO had begun to target the burgeoning civil rights movement. Martin Luther King Lr was singled out as a dangerous subversive, bugged, and subjected to malicious communications.

    Another target was Malcolm X. The Bureau played an active role into fomenting rifts between him and his fellow activists. Ultimately this discord led to Malcolm X’s assasination in 1965. The full extent of FBI involvement in planning his death has never been ascertained.

    From 1969 onwards, the Black Panther Party fell under the gaze of COINTELPRO. The program. In December 1969 Fred Hampton, a Black Panther leader was eliminated as part of the program. Hampton was first rendered unconscious after being drugged by FBI informant William O’Neal. He was then fatally shot by Chicago police during a raid.

    COINTELPRO was unmasked in 1971 when files relating to the program were stolen and leaked to the media. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover later declared that the operation had been wound up. Further revelations followed in 1976 during the Church Committee hearings. However, many documents released were redacted. The committee found that COINTELPRO had broken the law and violated the US Constitution.

    Operation Condor

     

    In the 1970s an extensive covert operation terrorised Latin America. It became known as Operation Condor, after the vulture that soars above the Andes. The program joined eight South American military dictatorships – Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador – into a single network.

    It has taken decades to wholly excavate the details.The governments involved sent death squads to each other’s jurisdictions to kidnap, murder and torture enemies amongst their emigrant and exile communities.

    Condor operated against the backdrop of Cold War-era South America – an area largely controlled by US-backed authoritarian governments. Condor was the most complex element of a vast phenomenon in which tens of thousands of individuals across the region were murdered by state actors.

    Most Condor victims simply disappeared. Hundreds were secretly disposed of – some were tossed into the sea from planes or helicopters either tied up, shackled to weight or incapacitated by drugs.

    In July 2019, a Roman court case indicted former officials from Peru, Uruguay and Chile for their role in the coordinated crusade of annihilation. Much of what we now know about Condor has been unearthed piecemeal across Rome, Buenos Aires and in other courts in different nations.

    Further facts come from declassified US intelligence affidavits. These documents demonstrate that the US and European governments were aware of the occurrences across Latin America but chose not to intervene.

    The crimes of the Latin American juntas continue to haunt the continent. Only a perverse combination of vigour and paranoia can explain why these regimes came together to covertly murder and torture their own people.

    Iran-Contra

     

    In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan’s administration was facing off against Communist regimes in multiple theatres. However, the Contra rebels of Nicaragua were of particular importance to him. Combating the Cuban-backed Sandinistas, the Contras were likened to the US Founding Fathers by Reagan. The CIA duly assisted the Contras under Reagan’s instruction.

    To counter this the Democrat controlled congress passed the Boland Amendment, which constrained CIA operations in Nicaragua by restricting funding for their activites. Undeterred, Reagan instructed his National Security Advisor to continue supplying aid to the Contras by any means necessary.

    Meanwhile, Iran and Iraq were at war. Iran made an appeal to purchase weapons from the USA. This provided Reagan with an opportunity to score a major political victory. By improving relations with the mullahs, he might be able to secure the release of American hostages held captive in Iran. Against the objections of some within the administration, the US began to ship arms to Iran.

    A Lebanese newspaper, Al-Shiraa published allegations of the sales. Reagan publicly denied the operation, only to retract that statement a week later. Reagan defended the deal on the grounds that it was for the greater good.

    A subsequent investigation by the Attorney General uncovered that a significant portion of proceeds from the arms sales was unaccounted for. Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North revealed that the missing funds had found their way to the Contras with the acquiescence of Admiral John Poindexter and the White House.

    The incident cost North and Poindexter their jobs. Questions continued to dog the President regarding the extent of his knowledge of the illegal operation. Ultimately there was no hard evidence to tie him to the conspiracy. Ultimately Reagan was able to weather the storm and went on to become one of America’s most popular leaders.

    The Nayirah Testimony

     

    A key factor in engineering US support for the First Gulf War was the ugly testimony of a young Kuwaiti woman called Nayirah, who described how Iraqi troops killed infants.

    Two months after Iraqi troops marched into Kuwait in August 1990 Nayirah addressed the Human Rights Caucus on Capitol Hill regarding Iraqi atrocities.

    The Caucus withheld her surname so as not to endanger her family in Kuwait. Nayirah recalled the trauma of witnessing Iraqi troops storm into Al Adan health facility in Kuwait City, the place she volunteered as a nurse. Live on air, she spoke of howthe Iraqis had torm little ones from incubators and left them to die.

    Nayirah’s testimony was widely circulated in the US media. American public opinion in favour of armed intervention surged as a result.

    In January 1991 the Senate voted fifty-two to forty-seven to enable US military intervention, with seven senators citing Nayirah’s affidavit in support. The vote gave George H W Bush the political backing he required to enter Kuwait, and its lucrative oil fields.

    Only a decade prior, the USA, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia had financed Iraq as it battled the newly dependent Islamic Republic of Iran for eight years. Following the conflict, Kuwait called in Saddam Hussein’s resulting debts from the invasion. Hussein refused and invaded the nation as a substitute.

    The Iraqi leader became now a villain to his former allies — and many Americans, despite their ambivalence over sending in US. troops. Americans could have been less conflicted had they been made aware that the child incubator legend turned out to be a hoax.

    The lie began as a rumour, first picked up and propagated through the American PR company Hill+Knowlton. Just days after the Iraqi invasion, US based Kuwaiti expats paid the Hill+Knowlton to galvanize U.S. public assessment in choice of intervention.

    Craig Fuller, a White House advisor, supervised the Kuwait myth from Hill+Knowlton’s workplace in Washington, D.C. The PR crusade consisted of interviews with Kuwaitis, rallies, and making letters to the media. Hill & Knowlton also lobbied American lawmakers. Despite the multimillion-dollar efforts, the American public were still reticent about foreign military adventures.

    Enter Nayirah — who it later emerged was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S. There is no record that she ever worked as a nurse. Her testimony was convincing, thanks to coaching from Hill+Knowlton before she testified.

    Once the war began, the lie began to unravel. William Thatcher Dowell, Middle East correspondent for Time, entered Kuwait City ahead of the U.S. army. He drove into the capital with two colleagues and discovered that Iraqi troops had committed many crimes. But they couldn’t find any evidence to substantiate Nayriah’s testimony. Subsequent investigations found that the incidents described by Nayirah did not happen.

    Nayirah, for her part, did not comment further on her allegations. She was never punished for lying, since the Human Rights Caucus is not a court of law. Little is heard of her today.

    Many American citizens were nonetheless affronted after they discovered the deception. But the propaganda exercise had already shaped US policy with profound consequences for the Middle East.

    Gary Webb

     

    Gary Webb spent much of his youth on the move, from California to Indiana to Kentucky to Ohio. He wound up marrying his high school sweetheart, with whom he had three kids. Eventually he pursued a career in journalism, going on to win a Pulitzer prize in for reporting on the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

    In 1995 he began publishing his “Dark Alliance” series. This series of articles revealed how the CIA had knowingly allowed Contra rebels in Nicaragua to import cocaine into the USA. This in turn had greatly exacerbated the growing crack-cocaine problems, especially in South Central Los Angeles.

    When “Dark Alliance” was published Webb and his editors were inundated with letters and emails. Interview requests flooded in from the television networks. The story become one of the earliest viral internet sensations

    African American communities across the country were shocked. At the time, crack cocaine had destroyed their neighbourhoods, causing poverty and crime to rocket. Maxine Waters, congresswoman for Los Angeles, called for an investigation.

    However, other media organisations including the Washington Post, New York Times and LA Times began to attack Webb’s credibility. The papers uncritically repeated the official CIA rebuttal of the story. This program of character assassination eventually forced Webb to resign in 1997.

    The following year, his story was vindicated when Frederick Hitz of the CIA admitted that the agency had in fact acquiesced to the Contra drug trafficking. The mainstream media brushed over the story.

    In 2004, Gary Webb was found dead at his home. His demise was ruled as a suicide. This was peculiar, as he had been killed by two separate gunshot wounds to the head.

     

     

    The NSA Is Actively Spying On You

     

    In 2013 an appeals court ruled that an NSA (National Security Agency” cellphone dragnet application designed to compile facts on tens of millions of Americans violated a law principally designed to steer clear of abuse of the agency’s spying capabilities.

    The U.S. Courtroom of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that the NSA software may additionally have violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

    The rulings concentrated on the conviction of four individuals who declared facts used against them in their case were gathered by the software. The Ninth Circuit court revealed that the federal authorities had illegally obtained the information but rejected the acquittal of the four defendants.

    Many of the disclosures in the case related to the leaks of Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor who became a whistleblower. Prior to Snowden’s leaks to The Guardian newspaper, the NSA had vociferously denied the use of software to collect data on US residents.

    One of the programs Snowden exposed was PRISM, which involved monitoring electronic communications. The NSA’s British counterpart, GCHQ was revealed to be running a surveillance program on American citizens known as Tempora. Furthermore, the NSA had secretly procured a court order to access American cell phone data.

    Snowden’s revelations ignited debate over the appropriate limits of executive surveillance. Snowden fled to Russia to evade federal prosecution for revealing the controversial program. He continues to face espionage expenses in the US, however has expressed a desire to someday return to his home country.