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10 More Fairly Recent Conspiracy Theories
Listverse has covered quite a few conspiracy theories over the years, the more impossible to believe, the juicier. And yet they keep cropping up. Whenever there is a momentous occasion, for better or worse, conspiracy theorists swarm all over it looking for the creepy, the subversive, the dishonest. And as you’ll read in some of the following entries, there is no such thing as impossibility. Here are an additional 10 for Listverse’s library, of various levels of believability, in no particular order.
Conspiracy: Islam Is Taking Over Europe
This one is straightforward, and preys on the fear many have of Islam in general. It seems, after all, to be the culprit behind most of the world’s terrorist acts (which is patently untrue and unfair toward Islam). Western Europe, in particular, has long been a haven of Christianity, although the definition of “haven” is tenuous at best. Plenty of horrible acts were perpetrated under the guise of Christianity in centuries past, but with the fairly recent revelations of child molestation and the Popes’ severe rhetoric in regard to it, Christianity finally seems to have put its frailty behind it. The blame does not rest on the religion, but on the self-proclaimed religious.
Islam, however, is currently riding the peak of its violent history. It was founded on peaceful philosophy, just as Christianity, but has been utterly corrupted in the non-Islamic world’s eyes. Thus, any large-scale Muslim movement is watched like a hawk, especially when it seems to strike at the gates of a bastion of Christianity.
At present, about 5 to 10% of France’s population are Muslims, or about 3 to 6 million. Most of this influx took place from the late 1960 to date, due to immigrants looking for jobs. Most of them came from North Africa. So what’s the nasty, underlying motive for Islam’s encroachment into Europe? A militant one, namely to convert the whole world to Islam, even if it has to be achieved by bus and suicide bombings, hijackings, or even open combat. This is, at least, what the conspiracy theorists believe.
Conspiracy: Obama Is Trying to Bankrupt America
The uninitiated questions this with, “Why on Earth would he want to?!” The conspiracy theorist responds with utter incredulity at someone who is unconvinced. The explanations are far and wide but they one common denominator, that President Barack Obama hates the United States, and wants to destroy it however possible.
This cannot be done by force, at least not until the nation decays from within, and the fastest way to effect this is financially. The U. S. has a current total deficit of about $16.4 trillion. At the end of 2013, it should be about $20.5 trillion. If it popularly thought that most of this is owed to China, but actually, China holds about 8% of this deficit. Almost all the rest is held by the U. S. federal government itself because of American investors, future retirees, the Social Security Trust Fund, and pension plans for civil service workers and military personnel.
So if Obama is not allied in any way with the Chinese, why did he campaign on the promise to cut America’s national deficit by half, and then attempt to do so with a pitifully misdirected economic overhaul? This caused monumental protests across the country, as the overhaul’s specific financial points made no sense. If spending digs the hole, spending will not extricate you from the hole.
Theorists do not agree on why Obama is making the American deficit larger, to the tune of $4 trillion since he took office. Bush, Jr.’s second term presided over a $3 trillion increase. So all of Obama’s new ideas for lowering the deficit did nothing at all. It seems he is either incompetent or malicious. Theorists mostly maintain that the latter, based on the principle that he is secretly a Muslim extremist, and Muslim extremists hate America.
Conspiracy: Gus Grissom Was Murdered
Fans of the Space Race and the Moon landings remember Virgil Grissom as the astronaut who died in a fire during 27 January 1967 pre-launch test inside the command module of the Apollo 1 rocket. Ed White and Roger Chaffee, the other two members of the crew, also burned to death. The ignition source was never determined, but there were over a dozen fire hazards in the module, and the module’s design was grossly flawed in terms of safety.
The most notable of these hazards was the inward-opening exit hatch. There was very little room inside, and in the panic of fire, the crew would have been severely hampered in exiting if they opened it. This is a moot point, however, as the hatch would not open with a crowbar after the module was pressurized. The interior was supplied with 100% medical-grade oxygen during the pre-launch, and thus, the air itself instantly burst into solid flame once the fire started, blowing out one of the cabin’s walls within 15 seconds. The three men did not die from smoke inhalation, since they were fully suited with their helmets on, but were killed by the fire itself.
Grissom was, in NASA’s general opinion, the perfect astronaut and the prime choice for the first man to walk on the Moon. The conspiracy theory states that these safety flaws and flammable materials were so grossly negligent that NASA could not possibly have overlooked them all, but instead deliberately provided them, and then sabotaged the equipment in some way as to ensure an electrical spark once the cabin was sealed and pressurized.
Grissom’s son, Scott, suspected that his father had somehow irritated the NASA brass in the past, possibly due to the embarrassment of the Liberty Bell 7 incident, and that they refused to permit Grissom to walk on the Moon. Scott claims that in 1990, he was able to inspect the Apollo 1 command module, and found a
“fabricated metal plate” behind a switch on one of the instrument panels. This panel controlled the source of the capsule’s electrical power, and toggling the switch would almost certainly have triggered a spark.
NASA has denounced the younger Grissom’s conclusion as “the ravings of an understandably angry child,” but has not bothered to refute it. Whether such a metal plate existed in the cabin is not publicly known.
Conspiracy: Childhood Vaccines and Autism Link
You’ve probably heard people, usually conservatives or the elderly, bemoan the state of parenting these days. They say something to effect of, “Back in my day, we didn’t have Ritalin or Prozac. We didn’t suffer from autism. We suffered from whoopings when we acted the fool!” Autism wasn’t very big news before the 1980s. It is true that parents tended much more before then to spank or in some other way scare the oddity out of their children. Whereas these days, parental discipline via positive reinforcement, and corporal punishment is not as popular.
The theorists claim that the prevalence of autism has risen so sharply in a very short amount of time, biologically speaking, because of the vaccines against polio, diphtheria, rabies, and smallpox, among others. There is zero solid evidence of a pathophysiological similarity between any of these vaccines and autism, but as with such counterarguments, theorists fall back on the impregnable fortress of a government cover-up. If they’re right, this means that the government either deliberately “infects” children with autism via vaccines against diseases, or that it is an unavoidable misfortune and yet the government does nothing to correct it.
Why the government would cause or permit autism to exist is not so successfully pondered. Perhaps they want to create an undisciplined, liberal-minded generation which they may more easily bend to their will.
Conspiracy: Bush Lied about the WMDs
This one is believed by about 44% of the American population. In the wake of 11 September 2001, almost every American supported Bush’s war on terror, and had no problem with him invading both Afghanistan, where bin Laden was thought to be hiding, and Iraq, led by the one of the most sadistic leaders in 20th Century history, Saddam Hussein.
Hussein was the man Bush’s father, George H. W., did not remove from power at the end of the First Gulf War. General Schwarzkopf informed Bush that he had a clear path to Baghdad and could present Hussein to an international military tribunal for war crimes within a month. Bush, Sr. decided against this, because he was afraid it would even further destroy Middle Eastern-American relations, and portray America as the same merciless, vengeful brute Hussein was.
Hussein decided to enjoy being alive by trying to save face after he lost the war. He claimed that Iraq won, and rallied what was left of his country behind him yet again. He had an even stronger iron grip on the weakened nation, and issued multiple, globally reported death threats against Bush, Sr.
When Bush, Jr. took office, the theory states that he was always looking for an opportunity to get revenge on Hussein. Anything Iraq did would be considered an excuse for declaring war on Iraq. Unfortunately for Hussein, 9/11 was more than sufficient. Hussein had absolutely nothing to do with it, but the whole world was so enraged (92 countries lost citizens in the World Trade Center) that few people offered objections when Bush included Iraq in his agenda. He did have to give a specific reason for the invasion, and claimed that Iraq possessed chemical weapons of mass destruction, with which he intended to target Israel, and possibly America.
Apparently, no such weapons were ever discovered. A theory persists that Hussein simply shipped them all to friendly Syria in advance of the impending invasion. Regardless of the truth of this, theorists claim that Bush had no idea beforehand if Hussein had WMDs, absently hoped that he did, and didn’t really care one way or the other. Instead, the real casus belli was Bush’s desire to make Hussein pay for threatening his father. He gave direct orders that the first soldier to encounter Hussein tell him in Arabic, “Regards from President Bush.”
Conspiracy: Obama Death Squads Will Target Defenders of the 2nd Amendment
This one is based on the diabolical premise that Barack Obama wants to remain President for life, which the Constitution prohibits. In order to do so, he would first have to be sure the populace is incapable of mounting a full-scale revolution, which necessitates eradicating the 2nd Amendment (the right to keep and bear arms) before confiscating all firearms. The theorists have not kept in mind that such confiscations would also violate the 4th Amendment (unlawful search and seizure).
But to their end, they claim that Obama is organizing small groups of assassins across the country, whose purpose will be to hunt down and kill high-profile defenders of the 2nd Amendment, people like Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association, Ted Nugent, Clint Eastwood, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The theory alleges that information about these death squads was leaked to the Internet by Russian espionage, which states that Obama refers to the squads as VIPER teams, short for Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response, and that VIPER is an organization headed by the Transportation Security Administration, who regularly screen airline passengers via practically sexual pat-downs. The website liberty.com is on record that there are 800 of these VIPER teams across the country and that they may have been assassinating targets since February 2013. Two prime targets have died since the year began. Keith Ratliff was a Youtube personality who uploaded videos of people shooting guns and detonating explosives. His body was found at his own gun range, on a pile of guns, with a single shot to the temple. His death was ruled a homicide. The other suspicious death was that of John Noveske, owner of Noveske Rifleworks, whose car flipped over a boulder into a rock field after it crossed the center line.
Conspiracy: The Chelyabinsk Meteor Was a Video Game Manifestation
This lister’s personal favorite. There are many conspiracy theories of what caused the midmorning flash of light and colossal shockwave that passed and exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia on 15 February 2013. The most plausible explanation is that of a meteor’s airburst at a height between 9 and 16 miles, releasing about 440 thousand tons of kinetic energy, about 12 times the total explosive force of both atomic bombs dropped on Japan. The object traveled so fast that after it blew up in midair, 2 minutes and 57 seconds elapsed before the sound caught up.
The above is listed as “most plausible” because conspiracy theorists refuse to accept it, and have posited alternatives ranging from a missile test gone awry to the physical realization of a scenario in a virtual reality video game. So far, no specific explanations for how this might be possible have yet been proposed on the Internet, but this only adds fuel to the fire, as it allows theorists full creative license to unleash their imaginations.
Videos of the object have permitted calculation of its speed to be in excess of 40,000 mph. The largest fragment yet discovered can fit easily into a human palm, the bulk of the object smashing through the ice of Lake Chebarkul. To release such energy at that speed requires an object of about 55-65 feet in diameter, and if it was made of rock, not metal, then it would have weighed about 11 thousand tons.
Theorists maintain that such a large object would not have been so thoroughly vaporized as it seems to have been, and the absence of large fragments “supports” their theory that a video game developer delving into the possibilities of virtual reality “cracked the ultimate computer code” and allowed a video game experience to manifest itself in reality. There is, of course, nothing more than circumstantial evidence to back this up, and the adherents to this theory are almost all die-hard video game aficionados. The prime suspect is Valve Corporation, due entirely to their long-awaited, much-debated Half Life 3.
Conspiracy: North Korea and the U. S. Are in Cahoots
North Korea is ever more mesmerizing in world news these days, and their relations with South Korea and the United States (along with the rest of the world) have degenerated to “abysmal.” But theorists love to try to undermine the painfully, fearfully obvious with an apparently impossible alternative, in the hope that in the end they will be proven right and can say, “I told you so.” That’s their only reward, and it must be surprisingly pleasing.
So instead of what looks to be an imminent war, North Korea, South Korea, and the U. S. are actually just putting on a show, and Kim Jong Un’s company of generals and advisors doesn’t really have any problem with what it has called “Imperialist aggression.” The evidence in support of this theory is very thin and includes only three specific points, namely American basketball player Dennis Rodman’s bizarre public relations meeting with Kim; North Korea’s pathetic chances if it were to initiate a war with the most powerful, technologically advanced military in Earth’s history; and the 240 thousand-ton shipment of food from America to North Korea in 2012, when relations were already terrible.
The question of why the two nations would be in cahoots poses intriguing answers, and the theory branches here. There are claims that North Korea has dscovered some damning secret about the United States, and the latter is actually helping the former develop its nuclear program, with the single proviso that it never attack the U. S. No theories have been proposed as to the nature of the secret. There is another claim that the two nations are working together because of an imminent threat from a common enemy, China. China is not so dumb as to attack the U. S., but it might conceivably attack North Korea, and the latter knows that the U. S. doesn’t want a war anywhere between anyone. And, of course, 1 in 4 Americans believes Obama is the Antichrist. There is a theory that President Obama is Satan and Kim Jong Un is the Antichrist, or the other way around. These are separate entities in the Bible. The identity of the False Prophet is not yet certain, but could be South Korea’s President, Park Geun-hye.
Conspiracy: Rampage Shootings Are Mind-control Experiments
Recent world news (not just American) has seen an alarming influx of rampage shootings. These are also called spree killings, and are usually the result of one manic depressive’s deterioration into seething anger at nothing in particular. The shootings that take place on school campuses are typically perpetrated by unsociable teens who cannot cope with the stress of being bullied. Since they are too afraid to fight back with their fists, they come back with a gun.
But there is a long journey from basement-dwelling, goth nerd to psychotic, maniacal gunman. Very few teens keep instances of bullying to themselves. In their single-digit years, they tell their parents or teachers immediately, because they don’t like how it feels and want someone to stop it. By the time they’re teens, they know this works quite well.
In addition, a lot of the rampage shootings on record are not retaliations for bullying. Cho Seung-hui murdered 32 people at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2007 despite not knowing any of them personally and not being treated badly by anyone. He had been diagnosed with selective mutism years earlier, and was, in general, anti-social. He wrote pointlessly violent stories, and during his rampage, he shot almost all of his victims at least twice in the head, after they fell, indicating that he had in mind not just to shoot, but to kill.
Whenever news like this hits the Internet, this sort of phrase is thrown around, “He was always real quiet,” or “He was a sweet kid/good student.” The sudden rise in frequency of these crimes has gotten theorists talking about mind-control. The two main branches claim either that some shadow organization, possibly the CIA, is somehow taking control of ordinary, good human beings’ psyches and changing their personalities into that of an intolerably angry, lonely outcast to investigate how likely and how quickly various people will turn to suicidal violence; or that the United States government in general is responsible, and its left-wing radical motive is to effect more universally agreeable ground on which to amend the 2nd Amendment as a first step in the total deprivation of the American populace of its firearms (a la #5).
Conspiracy: The Newtown, CT Shooting Was a Hoax
In a similar vein to #2, theorists have claimed that the most recent, and horrible, rampage shooting in the U. S. didn’t actually happen. They have no real evidence on which to found this theory, but argue that the Newtown shooting was the first time someone deliberately targeted elementary-school students, that is to say, 6 and 7-year-olds. This is not true, as Andrew Kehoe killed 37 children in two bombings at Bath Consolidated School in Michigan in 1927. But the Newtown massacre was the worst involving very young children dying by firearm.
The incident immediately incited a tearful and angry response from President Barack Obama, who swore that he would do everything his office empowered him to do to legislate government control over “assault-type weapons.” He is championed for this by well over 1 million people to date, who have signed a petition to ban high-capacity magazines.
So he is the very easy target of theorists who claim that he orchestrated the entire Newtown massacre for the purpose of disarming the American public, that the massacre did not take place, and that the supposed victims and their families have all been whisked out of the country to undisclosed locations. The fate of Adam Lanza, the alleged murderer, is not agreed on, but because conspiracy theorists always look for the spookiest elements of a story, they have centered on his demise at the government’s hands.
FlameHorse is a writer for Listverse. He does not believe in very many conspiracy theories.