Classified documents exist because governments and organizations occasionally need to cover up their cloak-and-dagger activities.
In the John F. Kennedy shooting, for example, the documents containing the finer details of the shooting have not been publicized yet because they are still considered classified documents. But that is about to change. According to the JFK Records Act of 1992, all the JFK assassination documents should be declassified and made public by October 26, 2017. The revelation is much awaited, and the world is watching.
But those are not going to be the only declassified documents that will be made public. There are tons of other chilling documents that have been released to the public in the past. Most of them are about conspiracy experiments or operations that no one knew about until they were publicized, mostly by whistleblowers. Sadly, most of them have little or no regard for human life yet they have been going on for decades.
But who plans and coordinates them? Governments are usually the biggest culprits. They organize burglaries, conduct bizarre experiments, develop dangerous weapons, and attempt to mind control the public, all in the name of ‘protecting the people.’
Then when the dust has settled, and their activities come to light, they turn against their people or clear those at the center of the controversies; some of them were even presidents at times. The United States CIA, for example, has a history that looks like something out of science fiction. But they always get away with their sins because they have mastered the art of ‘clearing their name.’ Let’s look at intriguing documents that have gone public in the past.
15. PROJECT PLUTO: AN INSANE DOOMSDAY WEAPON THAT AMERICA ALMOST BUILT
Project Pluto was a program that wanted to develop a destructive and uncontrollable weapon with incredible capacity. Through the program, a one-of-a-kind Cold War era weapon was established.
It looked like a conventional locomotive-size missile, but it had unique nuclear properties with an outstanding ability to fly at low altitude. It was better referred to as SLAM (Supersonic Low Altitude Missile), and its nuclear ramjet engine is what made it horrific.
SLAM had the capability of staying airborne for months and moved three times the speed of sound – producing 150 decibels of sound – while discharging hydrogen bombs and a shockwave that was capable of killing anyone on the ground.
But using it became a challenge because flying it at the near-treetop level would make the places it passed uninhabitable. This meant that it posed a risk to the very people who had built it. It was then decided that it would be used in the ocean where it would cruise in circles and wait until it is directed to a target. But it would be releasing radioactive material the entire time.
14. OPERATION SNOW WHITE: THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY ORGANIZES VARIOUS RAIDS TO PURGE DOCUMENTS THAT ARE DETRIMENTAL TO ITS EXISTENCE
Operation Snow White was a criminal conspiracy coordinated by the Church of Scientology in the 1970s. Back then, the Church felt insecure, and they were already on the FBI’s radar for suspicion of engaging in criminal activities. The motive of Operation Snow White was to purge records that were detrimental to Scientology and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard.
Documents that criticized Scientology were to be cleaned out from consulates, foreign embassies, private organizations, and government agencies. To achieve this goal, there were numerous infiltrations and thefts in 136 organizations in more than 30 countries, and all these raids were coordinated by Church members.
Those responsible were mostly involved in wiretapping and theft of classified documents from government agencies, most notably, the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The IRS had claimed that the Church owned millions in unpaid taxes and they wanted the payment made. But the Church needed to protect its reputation. Besides the IRS, the other casualties included the DEA, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the U.S. Coast Guard Intelligence, among others.
Operation Snow White is considered one of the largest infiltrations in the history of the U.S. and had up to 5,000 secret Scientology operatives. The operation triggered more investigations into the Church of Scientology and revealed their other illegal activities, including Operation Freakout.
The operation was exposed by the FBI in 1977, and it led to the arrest and imprisonment of the Church’s senior leaders in the U.S. and Canada. Mary Sue Hubbard (wife of L. Ron Hubbard) along with ten other high-ranking members of the Guardian Office were arrested. L. Ron Hubbard went into hiding but was listed as a wanted co-conspirator. The eleven members were charged with theft of documents and obstruction of justice amongst other charges.
13. 1961 GOLDSBORO B-52 CRASH: TWO NUCLEAR BOMBS ALMOST DETONATE IN GOLDSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA
On January 23, 1961, an American bomber, the B-52 Stratofortress, was airborne carrying a pair of 3.8-megaton Mark 39 hydrogen bombs; each 260 times stronger than the nuclear weapon used in Hiroshima.
The B-52 was flying normally after taking off from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base when its fuel started leaking. In just two minutes, the plane had lost so much fuel, and the pilot lost control after the right wing sheered, sending the plane into a tailspin.
As it spiraled towards Earth, it broke into pieces, and the bombs plunged to the ground. One bomb had its parachute tangled in tree branches while the other had been entombed after it hit the ground at more than 600 miles per hour.
While it was reported that the B-52 had crashed, the military did not disclose how the accident had almost caused a nuclear catastrophe. Investigative journalist Eric Schlosser later revealed that while the nuclear bombs had been equipped with safety mechanisms, some of these tools had been unlocked during the descend. In fact, it was only a low-voltage switch that had prevented the tragedy.
12. THE TUSKEGEE SYPHILIS EXPERIMENT: DOCTORS INTENTIONALLY WITHHOLD SYPHILIS MEDICATION
The 40-year-long (from 1932-1972) experiment was conducted at a time when there was no known treatment for syphilis, and at the center of the controversy, were doctors from the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS).
The doctors claimed that they were going to treat for bad blood and managed to convince 600 African American men who were mostly sharecroppers from rural Alabama: 399 had latent syphilis while 201 were free of the disease.
The research was conducted at the Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) after USPHS doctors convinced doctors from Macon County not to treat the participants.
The USPHS doctors wanted to monitor the progress of the disease, and that meant they were not going to treat their test group. In fact, they withheld penicillin, which had been identified as a useful drug around the mid-1940s.
The result was saddening. Most men passed away, while others went blind, turned mad, or developed other severe health conditions. The last participant of the infamous experiment, Ernest Hendon, passed away in 2004 at age 96. Apparently, a similar experiment had also been carried out in Guatemala. The information about it was uncovered by Professor Susan Mokotoff Reverby who was researching the Tuskegee Experiment.
11. BABY TRAFFICKING BY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: SPAIN’S CATHOLIC HOSPITALS CONSPIRE TO STEAL AND SELL UP TO 300,000 BABIES
In 2011, an investigation revealed that up to around 300,000 Spanish babies were stolen and sold for adoption in an operation that had been running for five decades, starting during General Franco’s dictatorship and ending in the early nineties. This illegal activity began in 1939 after some families were deemed politically dangerous to the General Franco regime.
But the practice continued even after Franco’s death in 1975. Around that time, the Catholic Church had a significant influence and would rarely be questioned.
The operation was primarily executed by a network of priests, nurses, nuns, and doctors who informed the mothers, mostly young and unmarried, that their young ones had passed away. The mothers who refused to buy this story were labeled hysterical.
In reality, their children were being sold to childless couples who were well off. The adoptive parents were never aware that they were receiving stolen children. The perpetrators convinced them that the babies had been given up by their mothers.
According to journalist Katya Adler, who investigated the scandal, hundreds of men and women across Spain were shocked when they later discovered that they had been bought. In fact, the exercise only stopped in 1987 after the government took up the role – from the church – of regulating adoptions.
10. OPERATION NORTHWOODS: AMERICA ATTEMPTS TO FRAME THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT TO TRIGGER A WAR THAT CAN EJECT FIDEL CASTRO
During the early 1960s, top military personnel in the U.S. government conspired to commit various acts of crime like orchestrating terrorism activities in U.S. cities, hijacking planes, bombing of a U.S. ship, and the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés. The intention was to frame the Cuban government and trigger a war against Cuba.
America wanted to convince its citizens and the international community that war was necessary to oust Cuba’s communist leader, Fidel Castro.
The exercise was code-named Operation Northwoods and had been documented and approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It was then presented to Robert McNamara, President Kennedy’s defense secretary. But the plan was rejected.
In 1963, President Kennedy fired Chief Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This action caused a rift between the president and the U.S. military leaders as these security experts thought Kennedy was becoming ‘soft’ on Cuba. Later that year, JFK was assassinated, but these documents were declassified and made public in the early 1990’s.
9. PROJECT MKULTRA: CIA’s INHUMANE MIND CONTROL PROGRAM
Project MKUltra, which commenced in the early 1950s and officially ended in 1973, was the code name for an illegal program that involved carrying out inhumane experiments on human subjects.
Its motive was to use chemical and biological materials to change human behavior, and the CIA was running it.
To achieve this, it was necessary to identify and develop drugs or procedures that would be used to gain mind control during interrogations. These torture techniques were supposed to weaken an individual and make him or her truthful during confessions.
The victims were unwitting Canadian and U.S. citizens who were mostly terminal cancer patients, drug-addicted prisoners, mental patients, or marginalized sex workers.
During the program, several procedures were used to alter people’s brain functions and mental states. Among them were the secretive use of drugs (mostly LSD) and other chemicals, isolation, sensory deprivation, hypnosis, and verbal abuse.
The research was undertaken in 80 institutions, which included hospitals, colleges, prisons, and drug companies. The CIA skillfully used these organizations to cover up its footsteps. But MKUltra later came to the attention of the public for the first time in 1975.
8. DREYFUS AFFAIR: AN INNOCENT OFFICER IS WRONGFULLY CONVICTED IN A SCANDAL THAT DIVIDED FRANCE INTO TWO
Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish French army officer, was wrongfully convicted for allegedly being a German spy.
The scandal started in 1894 after a French spy came across a torn letter in the German Embassy in Paris. Apparently, the handwriting in the letter resembled that of Dreyfus, who was then found guilty and imprisoned for life on Devil’s Island.
Later, in 1896, George Picquart, who was the head of the intelligence unit, uncovered new evidence that suggested Dreyfus was innocent. According to Picquart’s discovery, another French officer, Major Ferdinand Walsin Esterházy, was the traitor. But Picquart was discouraged from carrying on with his investigations.
On January 13, 1898, a French newspaper published information that suggested Dreyfus was innocent. The author, Émile Zola, was convicted of libel before he managed to escape to England.
By the time of Zola’s discovery, the case had attracted widespread attention and had split France into two. There were those who wanted Dreyfus exonerated, and there were those who did not want the case reopened because it would discredit France’s army and weaken the country. After a tumultuous case, Dreyfus was exonerated in 1906 and reinstated in the army. It then emerged that the accusations against him were baseless.
7. OPERATION MOCKINGBIRD: CIA MANIPULATES BOTH LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL NEWS FOR PROPAGANDA PURPOSES
Operation Mockingbird was a period from the 50s to the 70s when the CIA infiltrated media outlets in America and overseas to spread propaganda. They paid major U.S media houses and their anchors to sell the agency’s views.
The CIA also funded a number of cultural organizations, students, and magazines to help propel its message. While most of Mockingbird operations were conducted abroad, the intention was to have fleshy stories that would be circulated within America. The CIA also managed to create front organizations overseas that appeared as free press though they were secretly operated by the agency. Operation Mockingbird was uncovered during Senate hearings in the mid-1970s. This was a confirmation that the CIA had lied when it claimed that the program had been shut down in 1976. In reality, the operation had been shifted to other parts of the agency.
6. WATERGATE SCANDAL: A BREAK-IN THAT PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON SEEMINGLY KNEW ABOUT
President Richard M. Nixon was running for re-election, and the U.S. was caught in the Vietnam War. The political climate was tense, and the country was deeply divided. Nixon’s team then decided that a vigorous presidential campaign was necessary. In May 1972, the first break-in took place. Burglars managed to access the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate Complex where they stole top-secret documents and bugged the office phones.
But the wiretaps failed to work as desired, and a second break-in was scheduled for June 17. However, this time, the plan did not go as expected and the burglars (a group of five men) were arrested.
They were caught red-handed stealing documents and wiretapping phones, and they had connections to Nixon’s re-election campaign team.
But President Nixon somehow managed to convince America that his team had not been involved in the burglary, and in November 1972, he won the election by a landslide. But the president had been lying to American citizens and using his presidential power to obstruct justice.
On August 8, 1974, Nixon resigned in disgrace after his role in the conspiracy was revealed. While he was pardoned for some of his crimes, some of his aides faced the music. His behavior created long-lasting distrust and cynicism in the American political system.
5. OPERATION GLADIO: A STAY-BEHIND PARAMILITARY ORGANIZATION THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO COUNTER A POTENTIAL SOVIET INVASION
Operation Gladio was the codename for a surreptitious NATO “stay-behind” operation in Italy. It was initiated in many NATO countries – and even some neutral countries – during the Cold War and its purpose was to extend anti-communist actions in case of a Warsaw Pact raid and takeover.
Operatives of Operation Gladio staged false flag terrorism activities that were then blamed on Communists, leftists, and other progressive organizations with the motive of damaging their credibility.
Apparently, the CIA and the UK Secret Service MI6 trained Operation Gladio’s troops. Unfortunately, these forces were involved in major crimes like murder and torture in some countries.
The disadvantage was that members of these “stay behind” armies were very often connected to the terrorist groups that committed or were thought to have committed various terrorist activities during the cold war. This led to widespread government funding of organized crimes and neo-Nazi cells.
When Italian Prime Minister, Giulio Andreotti, discovered the secret army in 1990, similar armed networks were also exposed in Norway, Germany, Spain, France, Portugal, Belgium, Holland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, and Luxemburg.
4. COINTELPRO: SECRET AND ILLEGAL PROJECTS AIMED AT DISCREDITING AND DISRUPTING SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS IN AMERICA
COINTELPRO was an acronym for the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program that ran between 1956 and 1971 and was used to wipe out political dissidents.
It ran in the 1960s, and its intention was to monitor and manipulate social and political organizations in the U.S. Some of the most notable targets were the American Indian Movement, the Black Panthers, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and anti-Vietnam activists.
Other organizations were the Revolutionary Action Movement, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Deacons for Defense and Justice, and the Nation of Islam.
The program was against any organizations considered “subversive,” and if such a body were identified, it would be infiltrated, discredited, and disrupted.
COINTELPRO tactics included planting false evidence, harassment, psychological warfare, wrongful imprisonment, assassination, smearing through forged letters, and extralegal violence. During that time, the U.S. government was against left-leaning movements mainly because of their civil rights and anti-war campaigns.
3. IRAN–CONTRA AFFAIR: SENIOR U.S. OFFICIALS SELL ARMS TO IRAN TO FACILITATE THE RELEASE OF HOSTAGES AND TO FUND CONTRAS IN NICARAGUA
The Iran-Contra Affair is a scandal that rocked the United States in the 1980s and involved secret weapons transactions and other illegal activities by the National Security Council (NSC).
The NSC undertook activities that had been prohibited by the U.S. Congress, and that violated the government’s public policy. President Ronald Reagan, who was in office at the time, found himself at the center of the scandal.
His administration sold arms to Iran, which was at war with Iraq, and in exchange, Iran was to use its influence to release Americans who had been held hostage in Lebanon by Hezbollah terrorists. This terrorist group was loyal to Ayatollah Khomeini, who was the Iranian leader then.
The high profits that were made from the activities were then directed to fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.
In Nicaragua, the Sandinista liberation movement had overthrown Anastasio Somoza Debayle’s regime in 1979, and Reagan became convinced that the presence of a left-leaning administration would cause a revolution and threaten America’s security. Therefore, Reagan’s administration thought it was best to give out substantial amounts of military aid to various governments in Central America that were threatened by war (either guerrilla or civil).
In November 1986, the first press revelations about the activity were made, and investigations followed. In the end, several members of Reagan’s administration were convicted, including his security adviser, John Poindexter and his deputy. However, Reagan was never charged.
2. BANK OF CREDIT AND COMMERCE INTERNATIONAL: A WORLD-CLASS FRAUD
Founded by Agha Hasan in 1972, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) was a major multi-national bank that operated in 78 countries and had more than 400 branches. It was the 7th largest bank in the world with assets exceeding $20 billion in U.S. currency.
The BCCI came under scrutiny during the 1980s because of the way it managed its operations. The bank then faced massive regulatory battles in 1991, with investigators claiming that the bank had been deliberately established to avoid centralized regulation. By then, the BCCI had complex procedures and mostly operated in secrecy.
Even its officers could not be understood as they kept most of the bank’s affairs under the rag. Apparently, their mission was to commit fraud on an enormous scale and avoid any detection. To achieve this, the BCCI set up its diplomatic corps, its intelligence program, and various trading companies.
But after various organizations started becoming suspicious of its operations, lawsuits that involved millions followed. In July 1991, the BCCI’s assets were seized by regulators in seven countries. These regulators had uncovered evidence of widespread fraud and froze more than $20 billion in assets. The loss to investors and depositors was unknown but was believed to be somewhere around $15 billion. Since its operations transcended boundaries, its failure was of great concern as many countries were affected.
1. OPERATION PAPERCLIP: A SECRET OPERATION THAT RECRUITED POST-NAZI TECHNICIANS, ENGINEERS, AND SCIENTISTS
During the final stages of the Second World War, British and American organizations joined hands to carry out scientific, technological, and military research in Germany. The organized groups confiscated war-related documents and questioned scientists.
During the operation, they stumbled upon the Osenberg List. It was recovered from a Bonn University toilet, and it contained the names of scientists and engineers who had been working for the Nazi dictatorship under Hitler. These individuals had developed guided missiles, hardened armor and various other stealth technologies and their achievements had astounded many.
In a secret affair, initially named Operation Overcast before being renamed Operation Paperclip, roughly around 1,600 of these German scientists – together with their families – were moved to the U.S. to work for America during the Cold War.
The motive was to harness Germany’s intellectual resources to improve America’s fighting skills. The U.S. was on a mission to advance its chemical and biological weapons, and it did not want the Soviets to find out. Werner von Braun was one of the well-known recruits. Braun had developed a rocket that frustrated England during the war. Braun and other scientists were enlisted to help the U.S. develop rockets. Some of these scientists have in the past played a vital role in the establishment of NASA.
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