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Not all conspiracy theories are fake news. These 6 actually turned out to be true

Almost too outlandish to believe. Almost.

conspiracy theories, fake news, sociology

What's real and what isn't?

It’s feeling harder and harder to separate truth from fiction in the age of fake news.

But conspiracy theories and propaganda are as old as society itself. Perhaps most disturbing of all is the growing wealth of scientific evidence suggesting that we’re influenced even by news we know to be fake.

How many disproven JFK assassination theories are floating around in your brain thanks to Oliver Stone? Do you sometimes wonder if anyone has ever really landed on the Moon? And do you think just maybe it’s possible that Adolf Hitler actually survived World War II and lived out his days in Brazil? If so, you’re not alone.



And that’s to say nothing of more modern conspiracy theories driven by social media, making unfounded claims about everything from diets to money to the state of reality itself.

But sometimes the wildest conspiracies are true. Like these six seemingly insane conspiracy theories that are quite real:

A radar lit in rainbow colorsmulticolored neon-lighted satellitePhoto by James Sloan on Unsplash


1. "Gaydar"

Who doesn’t love Canada? Well, 1960’s Canada wasn’t quite the squishy utopia it seems to be today. The Canadian government hired Carleton University professor Frank Robert Wake to create something it maliciously called the “fruit machine,” which they believed could detect and identify gay men. It wasn’t part of some benign effort to understand human sexuality.

It was part of a sick bit of McCarthyism with the stated goal of getting all gay men out of the country’s government.

More than 400 people lost their jobs, and 9,000 more were kept on a file of “suspects.” The device claimed to work by measuring how much a subject’s pupils dilated after being forced to look at same-sex erotic imagery.


Harry Truman and MK Ultra

Declassified documents on the MK Ultra program and President Harry Truman

Images via Wikipedia

2. MKUltra

Back in the 1950s the CIA secretly dosed individuals with LSD in order to test the potential effects of mind control. Although the practice reportedly continued for two decades, it was launched before the drug movement of the 1960s made LSD into a popular counterculture symbol. And while being given some free acid might sound like a great time to some, or at least the plot to a bad hipster action movie, dozens of people were reportedly left with permanent disabilities after secretly being subjected to massive amounts of LSD and electroshock therapy after seeking treatment for “minor psychiatric complaints.”

Gulf of Tonkin

The U.S.S. Maddox

Wikicommons

3. The Gulf of Tonkin incident

On August 2, 1964, the USS. Maddox opened fire on what it later claimed were several North Vietnamese targets. The skirmish deepened America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, leading to the death of thousands of U.S. soldiers and many more Vietnamese, including hundreds of thousands of civilians. Except, it turned out the “targets” the Maddox fired upon didn’t actually exist. It’s still debated today whether the incident was an intentional misdirection by the military. But one thing is certain: President Johnson’s original claim that the North Vietnamese fired first has been debunked. Even former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara admitted as much in an interview before his death. After all, it’s kind of hard to start a fight when you’re not even there.

Bohemian Grove

Harvey Hancock speaking to a group of Bohemian Grove members

Wikicommons

4. Bohemian Grove: A secretive gathering of world elites

A secretive organization of people that control the world? Well, it turns out it does exist and many of its members are powerful world leaders and titans of industry. The real action happens at Bohemian Grove, which appears to primarily exist as a place “where the rich and powerful go to misbehave” according to The Washington Post.

Or, alternatively, to hear it from the group directly, where members, “share a passion for the outdoors, music, and theater.” However, along with more traditional fare such as drinking and big dinners, the regular activities also reportedly include performing rituals before a giant wooden owl, according to The Post.

Owners of the property host a two-week retreat in California each year for some of the wealthiest and most influential Americans. Past attendees include Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, both of whom attended before entering the White House. Oh, and it’s where the idea for the atomic bomb was first sketched out.

No big deal.

Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama giving teachings at Sissu, Lahaul

Wikicommons

5. The CIA helped fund the Dalai Lama

Who doesn’t love the Dalai Lama?

Other than the Chinese government.

Even the CIA can’t get enough of His Holiness and his band of Tibetan resistance fighters. That’s because during the 1960s, the CIA allegedly funneled millions of dollars to the Tibetan Resistance, including what some claim was a six-figure annual “salary” that went directly to the Dalai Lama himself (which he denied). This wasn’t some remnant from the agency’s flirtation with LSD. Rather, it was a pretty obvious attempt to undermine the Chinese government, something the Chinese have complained about for decades. In declassified State Department memos, the organization says: “The purpose of the program … is to keep the political concept of an autonomous Tibet alive within Tibet and among foreign nations, principally India, and to build a capability for resistance against possible political developments inside Communist China.”

Abraham LincolnPresident Abraham LincolnPhoto by Library of Congress on Unsplash

6. The conspiracy to kill Abraham Lincoln

The most commonly held version of events is that actor John Wilkes Booth acted alone when he assassinated President Lincoln inside Ford’s Theater. But it turns out Booth collaborated with no less than 9 other co-conspirators, including Mary Surratt, the first woman executed by the U.S. government. First, there was David Herold, who helped Booth escape after leaving Ford’s Theater. Then, there was George Azterodt, who unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate Vice President Andrew Johnson. Even though Azterodt never actually attempted the act, he was, nonetheless, executed for plotting against the president. Meanwhile, coconspirator Lewis Powell did attempt to assassinate Secretary of State William Seward, severely injuring him. If you ever want to learn the full story of Booth’s traitorous act, and the desperate attempt to capture him and his team, you can’t do better than James L. Swanson’s Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase For Lincoln’s Killer.

This article originally appeared on 08.31.18

Identity

Celebrate International Women's Day with these stunning photos of female leaders changing the world

The portraits, taken by acclaimed photographer Nigel Barker, are part of CARE's "She Leads the World" campaign.

Images provided by CARE

Kadiatu (left), Zainab (right)

True

Women are breaking down barriers every day. They are transforming the world into a more equitable place with every scientific discovery, athletic feat, social justice reform, artistic endeavor, leadership role, and community outreach project.

And while these breakthroughs are happening all the time, International Women’s Day (Mar 8) is when we can all take time to acknowledge the collective progress, and celebrate how “She Leads the World.

This year, CARE, a leading global humanitarian organization dedicated to empowering women and girls, is celebrating International Women’s Day through the power of portraiture. CARE partnered with high-profile photographer Nigel Barker, best known for his work on “America’s Next Top Model,” to capture breathtaking images of seven remarkable women who have prevailed over countless obstacles to become leaders within their communities.

“Mabinty, Isatu, Adama, and Kadiatu represent so many women around the world overcoming incredible obstacles to lead their communities,” said Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE USA.

Barker’s bold portraits, as part of CARE’s “She Leads The World” campaign, not only elevate each woman’s story, but also shine a spotlight on how CARE programs helped them get to where they are today.

About the women:

Mabinty

international womens day, care.org

Mabinty is a businesswoman and a member of a CARE savings circle along with a group of other women. She buys and sells groundnuts, rice, and fuel. She and her husband have created such a successful enterprise that Mabinty volunteers her time as a teacher in the local school. She was the first woman to teach there, prompting a second woman to do so. Her fellow teachers and students look up to Mabinty as the leader and educator she is.

Kadiatu

international womens day, care.org

Kadiatu supports herself through a small business selling food. She also volunteers at a health clinic in the neighboring village where she is a nursing student. She tests for malaria, works with infants, and joins her fellow staff in dancing and singing with the women who visit the clinic. She aspires to become a full-time nurse so she can treat and cure people. Today, she leads by example and with ambition.

Isatu

international womens day, care.org

When Isatu was three months pregnant, her husband left her, seeking his fortune in the gold mines. Now Isatu makes her own way, buying and selling food to support her four children. It is a struggle, but Isatu is determined to be a part of her community and a provider for her kids. A single mother of four is nothing if not a leader.

Zainab

international womens day, care.org

Zainab is the Nurse in Charge at the Maternal Child Health Outpost in her community. She is the only nurse in the surrounding area, and so she is responsible for the pre-natal health of the community’s mothers-to-be and for the safe delivery of their babies. In a country with one of the world’s worst maternal death rates, Zainab has not lost a single mother. The community rallies around Zainab and the work she does. She describes the women who visit the clinic as sisters. That feeling is clearly mutual.

Adama

international womens day, care.org

Adama is something few women are - a kehkeh driver. A kehkeh is a three-wheeled motorcycle taxi, known elsewhere as a tuktuk. Working in the Kissy neighborhood of Freetown, Adama is the primary breadwinner for her family, including her son. She keeps her riders safe in other ways, too, by selling condoms. With HIV threatening to increase its spread, this is a vital service to the community.

Ya Yaebo

international womens day, care.org

“Ya” is a term of respect for older, accomplished women. Ya Yaebo has earned that title as head of her local farmers group. But there is much more than that. She started as a Village Savings and Loan Association member and began putting money into her business. There is the groundnut farm, her team buys and sells rice, and own their own oil processing machine. They even supply seeds to the Ministry of Agriculture. She has used her success to the benefit of people in need in her community and is a vocal advocate for educating girls, not having gone beyond grade seven herself.

On Monday, March 4, CARE will host an exhibition of photography in New York City featuring these portraits, kicking off the multi-day “She Leads the World Campaign.

Learn more, view the portraits, and join CARE’s International Women's Day "She Leads the World" celebration at CARE.org/sheleads.


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