Generally speaking, conspiracy theories form where there is a vacuum of verifiable facts associated with a controversial, usually tragic event. The concept has evolved over the years and is a part of our popular culture. There are legions of conspiracy theorists and “truthers” who have devoted their lives to certain theories, and there are legions of skeptics who have devoted their lives to debunking those theories.
All the while, conspiracy theories of every stripe and variety festoon the footnotes of history. Even the origin of the phrase itself is subject to conspiracy theory, as some researchers have argued that the CIA invented and promulgated the term in order to marginalize fringe thinkers and neutralize investigations.
The internet has obviously had a profound effect on conspiracy theories, simultaneously helping and hurting the cause. While a world of information is at people’s fingertips, so too are alternate worlds of manufactured propaganda. While the Internet may appear to be a democratized, unfiltered path toward facts and truth, it is easily manipulated. Powerful corporations pay a lot of money to have their dirty laundry buried in the search results underneath contrived puff pieces.
With nearly the entire mainstream media apparatus at their disposal, the government is a maestro at this practice. As we learned from so-called Operation Mockingbird — a conspiracy theory fact discussed in my first post on the subject, “Conspiracy Theories That Turned Out to Be True,” — hundreds, if not thousands of news organizations have been conscripted into working with the CIA to support pro-government narratives. That was in the 1960s. One can only imagine how vast the network is now. Not to mention the fact that a single proprietary algorithm owned by Google dictates the vast majority of the population’s exposure to a subject.
In Part 1, I noted that the list had been meticulously whittled down to focus only on conspiracies that have been irrefutably proven to be fact. There are hundreds of conspiracy theories I think are likely to be true that are not on this list because there simply isn’t enough hard evidence yet to confirm it 100%. I also aimed for a good mixture of old conspiracies and new conspiracies. With groups like Wikileaks and Anonymous out there, the last decade has witnessed a dam burst of new data and documents. Thanks to intrepid journalists, whistleblowers, hacktivists, and leakers, the human race continues to tear down the wall of lies erected by the corporatocracy.
Without further ado, let’s get to it….ten more conspiracy theories we can start calling conspiracy facts.
1. Operation Ajax, the CIA’s Iranian Coup
In Iran it was called 28 Mordad coup; the United Kingdom contributed under the name Operation Boot. However you refer to it, Operation Ajax was an Iranian coup that in 1953 deposed the democratically elected Muhammad Mossadeq and reinstalled the monarchical power of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. The primary cause of the coup was Mossadeq’s attempt to nationalize the Iran’s oil fields, which threatened the oil profits of Britain’s Anglo-Persian Oil Company (AIOC).
The U.S. — in addition to protecting its ally’s petroleum monopoly — viewed Mossadeq’s move as communist aggression and therefore helped plan the return to power of one the world’s more insidious dictators, the shah. Operation Ajax resulted almost directly in 1979 Iranian revolution that created an anti-West Islamic republic led by the Ayatollah Khomeini.
Though it was long considered an open secret, the U.S. government kept the truth behind Operation Ajax concealed from the American people until very recently. The CIA declassified various documents on the 60th anniversary of the coup.
Because of the recent declassification, much information relevant to this CIA-sponsored coup is now available in the CIA’s archives.
In describing Operation Ajax, the CIA itself has become rather oddly self-reflective:
“The world has paid a heavy price for the lack of democracy in most of the Middle East. Operation Ajax taught tyrants and aspiring tyrants that the world’s most powerful governments were willing to tolerate limitless oppression as long as oppressive regimes were friendly to the West and to Western oil companies. That helped tilt the political balance in a vast region away from freedom and toward dictatorship.”
In a recent interview on Democracy Now, Bernie Sanders remarked to Amy Goodman that this seminal chapter in the history of U.S./Middle East relations is almost entirely ignored by mainstream media. “Have you seen many shows about that on NBC?” he asked the crowd.