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Tinfoil on trial

From conspiracy theory to conspirifact



The general public loves to deride preppers, but not nearly as much as they enjoy belittling conspiracy theorists. The prepper and conspiracy communities share a rather large midsection of their Venn diagram, making the labels more like half-siblings than distant cousins. Much as there is a material basis for preppers’ worries (as in crisis cases like in Flint, Mich. and Venezuela), conspiracies and evidence of them have existed for time immemorial. Here are a few conspiracy theories that have proved to be conspirifact.

Phoebus Cartel
The Phoebus Cartel was a global and clandestine coalition of lightbulb manufactures founded in 1924. Their goal was simple: fix the life of their lightbulbs and ensure widespread planned obsolescence of their products to make sure the public was constantly in the dark without their services. Among the conspirators were GE and Philips. Ever feel like your iPhone bites it right when the shiny new model rolls out? It’s not that crazy.

South Korean Illuminati
In 2016, the South Korean press exposed what the South Korean public had long suspected: Their president was a puppet for a shadow cabal led by a “shamanistic cult leader.” The cabal was known as The Eight Heavenly Fairies. Seriously. The president was initially attracted to the cult leader because she claimed to speak on behalf of her deceased father. The cult received daily briefings, known as Presidential Report Packets, and routinely edited the president’s speeches. Dressage, i.e. dancing horses, were also involved.

Gulf of Tonkin Incident
On August 2, 1964, the USS Maddox exchanged fire with three North Vietnamese ships. This event, known as the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, became the clarion call for the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War. The only problem (besides the Vietnam War’s enduring trauma to the American psyche) is that the incident most likely didn’t happen. Most investigators and historians maintain that if it did happen, it was grossly misrepresented by our government as a pure provocation of war. The missing WMDs in Iraq, the 2014 Syrian “chemical attack,” and the 2018 Syrian “chemical attack” are viewed through the Gulf of Tonkin lens by tinfoilers.

Bonus tinfoil points for this one: Jim Morrison’s (The Doors) father, George Stephen Morrison, was the commander of the U.S. naval forces involved in the Gulf of Tonkin incident—and the man who helped kick off the Vietnam War. Jim was a luminary of the Laurel Canyon hippie scene, as well as Frank Zappa, whose father worked at the Edgewood Arsenal chemical warfare facility. This is interesting because the Laurel Canyon hippie scene has many military and intelligence agency ties, and the Edgewood facility conducting human poison and drug testing can be seen as a frontrunner to …

Project MKULTRA
MKULTRA is the holy grail of declassified, CIA, tinfoil, smoking-gun goodness. From the 1950s through the ‘70s, the CIA ran multiple programs centered on the study of psychic warfare. The elements of the PSYWAR in question were the effects of hallucinogens, hypnotism, isolation, and torture, on mostly unwitting Canadian and U.S. citizens. This was highly illegal. One famous tactic was the utilization of brothels. Unsuspecting Johns would visit these CIA-owned brothels, be kidnapped by agents, and dosed with LSD. They would then be held in a dark room where they were told that the Russians had finally dropped the bomb and all their family and friends were dead. They would then be studied through one-way mirrors. People died.

The Netflix series “Stranger Things” popularized the term MKULTRA for the modern general public when it claimed the source of Eleven’s powers and the nefarious portal alike were from the real-life program. Though this made for good TV, it was fiction. MKULTRA had nothing to do with ESP and portals to alien dimensions. That was Project Stargate.

Project Stargate
Stargate was an official U.S. program used to study extrasensory perception, remote viewing, out-of-body experiences, communication with interdimensional beings, and, presumably, other badass spooky stuff. The CIA officially pulled the plug on the project in the ‘90s, saying the findings weren’t useful. The program lasted from the early ‘70s to the mid-‘90s and cost at least $20 million. Either it was an insane misappropriation of tax dollars or one of the coolest things ever. Either way, the project is a favorite topic among conspiracy theorists.

The “Conspiracy Theory” Conspiracy Theory
It would be irresponsible to discuss all these conspiracy theories without mentioning the origin of the term in popular culture. In 1977, the CIA declassified an internal 1967 cable that sought to counter criticism of the Warren Commission report. The cable instructed agents to never engage with people who offered different explanations for the assassination of JFK. If they said Oswald didn’t act alone, the agents were to simply label them “conspiracy theorists” and disregard any of their arguments. Simple vilification was key.

Half of Americans now believe in conspiracy theories, so the term seems to have lost some of its stigma. Just don’t get caught up in “Fake News,” as that is sure to be most embarrassing—until the next scarlet letter is rolled out.

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