Conspiracy: The government is watching me and ruining my reputation.
The Truth: The FBI’s COINTELPRO did it for 15 years.
The FBI has never been a fan of critics. During the second Red Scare, the Bureau fought dissenters, launching a covert program called COINTELPRO. Its mission? To “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” rebellious people and groups.
Under COINTELPRO, the FBI oversaw 2000 subversive smear operations. Agents bugged phones, forged documents, and planted false reports to create a negative public image of dissenters. COINTELPRO targeted hate groups like the KKK, but it also kept close watch on the “New Left,” like civil rights marchers and women’s rights activists. It tracked Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, John Lennon, and Ernest Hemingway.
COINTELPRO (Allegedly)shut down in 1971, although the FBI continued to monitor certain groups. In the 1990s, it tracked PETA and put members of Greenpeace on its terror watch list.
Conspiracy: The government is trying to control my mind.
The Truth: The government has invested millions in mind control technologies.
Who doesn’t want a telepathic ray gun? The U.S. Army sure does. It’s already researched a device that could beam words into your skull, according to the 1998 report “Bioeffects of Selected Nonlethal Weapons.” The report says that, with the help of special microwaves, “this technology could be developed to the point where words could be transmitted to be heard like the spoken word, except that it could only be heard within a person’s head.” The device could “communicate with hostages” and could “facilitate a private message transmission.
The mind games don’t stop there. The CIA’s massive mind control experiment, Project MKUltra, Beginning in the early 1950s, the CIA started asking strange questions in memos, like:
“Can we get control of an individual to the point where he will do our bidding against his will and even against fundamental laws of nature, such as self-preservation?”
In April 1953, the CIA decided to find out. The Agency wanted to develop drugs that could manipulate Soviet spies and foreign leaders—essentially, a truth serum. The CIA brimmed with other ideas, too, but Director Allen Dulles complained that there weren’t enough “human guinea pigs to try these extraordinary techniques.”
That lack of test subjects drove the CIA to wander off the ethical deep-end, leading the Agency to experiment on unwitting Americans. In the wake of the Watergate scandal, the CIA destroyed hundreds of thousands of MKUltra documents. Only 20,000 escaped the shredder.
Conspiracy: The government is manipulating the media.
The Truth: From 1948 to 1972, over 400 journalists secretly carried out assignments for the CIA.
If you think the spinning on news channels today is bad, imagine what it’d be like if the CIA still steered the ship. Under Operation Mockingbird, the CIA’s sticky fingers touched over 300 newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Newsweek, and the Washington Post. (where’s the proof that it ever stopped?)
Over 400 journalists were in collusion with the CIA. They promoted the Agency’s views and provided services: spying in foreign countries, gathering intelligence, and publishing reports written by the Agency. Sometimes, CIA Head Frank Wisner commissioned journalists to write pro-government articles at home and abroad. And, as if a CIA spin weren’t enough, the Agency also paid editors to keep anti-government pieces off the presses. Journalists with ties to the CIA also planted false intelligence in newsrooms so that unconnected reporters would pick it up and write about it.
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