Remember how Area 51 never existed at all — until the U.S. government finally bowed to the massive evidence to the contrary and admitted that it does? The government will stand behind their lies even under the pressure of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, but over the years some of these huge lies have been exposed…and at last, admitted to.
Deceiving an entire country’s population is much easier than you want to think, and it’s happened many more times than the U.S. government is ever likely to admit. The items on this list are the horrific scandals, cover-ups and master plots that the government lied about for years, then eventually admitted when they were left with absolutely no other choice.
But don’t fool yourself, too, and plant your own deceptions in your mind. If you think these are the only 15 lies the government has told to its people, you’re thinking wrong. Once you find out what they’re willing to admit they’ve done, you’ll be up at night wondering about all the stuff they won’t ever admit to doing — the stuff they did manage to successfully hide from us all. These things, we know. The list of things the government is still lying about continues to grow every single day.
15. The Existence of Area 51
For decades, Area 51 didn’t exist — at least, not officially. People who had seen it and conspiracy theorists the world over absolutely knew that it was real, but the government categorically denied its existence since Area 51 came to public attention in the 1950s. It took the U.S. Government until 2013, but they finally admitted that yes, Area 51 is real. It was one of their worst-kept secrets that a highly classified government facility was sitting in the middle of the Mojave Desert. It’s about 100 miles north of Las Vegas, and you still can’t go there. It’s heavily guarded and completely secure, so don’t even try to figure out what’s really going on there. The government is willing to acknowledge it exists, but they don’t want us to know what the heck they’re doing out there to this day.
14. The Iran-Contra Scandal
It took several government subpoenas and the forced declassification of several documents to get to the truth of the Iran-Contra Scandal, and all the details of this event are still unclear. It started in the mid-1980s, when 7 Americans were taken hostage by a group with ties to Iran. The country was under embargo in 1985, and the U.S. could not directly sell them arms. So, the government set up a complicated arms deal routing weapons to Iran through Israel — yes, strange but true — in exchange for the hostages. The profits of said deal were later used to fund the Contras, a rebel group in Nicaragua. The whole thing blew up in 1986 after a leak from an Iranian, and Reagan’s Administration was questioned for a gruelling 41 days. The level of the President’s involvement in the scandal remains unknown, because some documents relating to the case were never declassified.
13. NSA Surveillance
Technically, the Fourth Amendment is supposed to protect all Americans from being spied upon. Domestic spying is considered to be surveillance, and that means it’s classified as part of the “search and seizure” language of the Constitution. In other words, a judge-issued warrant should be in place before anyone spies on you as an American citizen. But that’s not what the NSA did. The NSA used a decades-old executive order that enabled this agency to conduct mass surveillance of citizens. Which they did. Eric Snowden revealed that the NSA was actually conducting massive surveillance, and the whole scandal broke. The government hasn’t quite admitted to lying about the whole thing (at least, not yet), but some obvious mistruths were put out there before Snowden blew the whistle.
12. Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction
The American people were told in 2003 that Iraq was trying to acquire and had acquired weapons of mass destruction. This was the main justification of the entire Iraq War, which happened quite recently after America was attacked by terrorists from a totally different country altogether. To this day, Republican voters believe that weapons of mass destruction were found when the U.S. military invaded Iraq. This is absolutely not true. The George W. Bush Administration has been accused of lying about the WMDs to justify the war. And while Bush himself has never admitted to lying, members of the administration have said that certain mistruths were told and exaggerations were made to intentionally mislead the American public. The whole war has since been blamed on bad intelligence. That’s an understatement.
11. Operation Paperclip – Recruiting Nazi Scientists and Researchers
It was the 1940s, and WWII was ending badly for the Nazis. As the Nazi party fell apart, all the top scientists and researchers who worked for Hitler were facing imprisonment and death for their involvement in the war. The United States looked at these people and didn’t see war criminals. The government saw assets. This was the beginning of Operation Paperclip, the top-secret program to bring German scientists into the U.S. where they could work for America’s efforts in the Cold War. Though many of those recruited through Operation Paperclip were Nazis who were heavily involved with war crimes, the American public was told they were “good” Germans. Around 1,6000 scientists were brought from Germany to America through the program. All were questioned by American intelligence, and their various crimes and misdeeds were known when they were admitted into the U.S.
For decades, the truth about these scientists, many of whom went on to high-level jobs within the government and scientific community, was hidden or completely falsified. Declassified military documents finally revealed the truth about this Operation, which the CIA now acknowledges did happen.
10. Testing Chemical Agents on Civilians
One of the first known incidents occurred in 1950, when a Navy ship off the coast of San Francisco sprayed microbes into the city’s fog to see what would happen to the 800,000 civilians living there. They were testing chemical weapons, and they were doing it on American citizens. For 7 days the Navy tested their chemical agents, causing possibly one innocent death. This program of testing on American citizens and service members was in effect from 1949 to 1969, operating on a highly secretive basis. There were 239 known tests conducted during this time. The Church of Scientology began their own investigation in the 1970s that eventually blew open the entire story, and the CIA now acknowledges that these tests did happen after years of denial.
9. The Tonkin Incident – Sponsoring Raids in North Vietnam
It was the event of the Vietnam War, and the issue that galvanized the U.S. to ramp up its involvement in the conflict. The only trouble is, it was a lie. It all began on August 2, 1964, when the U.S. destroyer Maddox and several North Vietnamese torpedo boats got into a firefight. Two days later, the Maddox reported more shots fired. But that second incident next occurred. It was made up, and used as an excuse for President Johnson to strike back from the air and ground. By the end of the next year, 180,000 American soldiers were on the ground in Vietnam and more were on the way. That was the power of the Tonkin Incident…and it didn’t happen.
The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passed unanimously in the House on August 7. Johnson maintained that the Maddox was in the water on a routine patrol. It was not. The Maddox was on a spying mission. Johnson also said the attacks were unprovoked, but they weren’t. The U.S. was sponsoring raids in North Vietnam at the time. The Maddox fired, and was so confused by sonar that it actually nearly fired on another U.S. destroyer rather than the enemy boats.
It was in 2005 that the full scope of the lies was revealed, and the purposeful omissions of the truth were discovered. The Navy now admits that the North Vietnamese didn’t actually attack that night. The U.S. didn’t withdraw from Vietnam until 1973.
8. The Tuskegee Syphilis Study
It began in 1932 when the Public Health Service and the Tuskegee Institute partnered to study syphilis in black men. There were 600 participants, 399 who had syphilis and 201 who did not. None were adequately informed about the study and were lied to about its purpose. They also did not receive treatment for their illness, and the 6-month study actually lasted for 40 years. It wasn’t until the Associated Press reported on the study in 1972 that public outcry led to full disclosure about what really happened. Subjects were never even given the choice to leave the study. They were not offered penicillin to treat their syphilis, though it became the drug of choice to treat the disease in 1947. Researchers, who were aware of this fact, did not offer it. A subsequent study of the study revealed that the Tuskegee Syphilis Study was “ethically unjustified.” In 1974, the U.S. government settled a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of the study’s participants. The last participant of the study died in 2004.
7. Marijuana…and its Effects
Nixon’s Attorney General made marijuana a Schedule I drug in 1972, giving it the exact same legal classification as heroin. Schedule I drugs have no medical use and a high potential for abuse under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. And for decades, the DEA continued to lie about marijuana by saying it has no medical properties whatsoever. Not only is that not true, you’ll be shocked by just how not true it is — and how long the U.S. government has known that it’s not true. Until 1942, cannabis was in use in the U.S. as a medicine. It’s been used as a medicine for thousands of years, actually, and research indicates that’s particularly useful in the treatment of cancer. The American Medical Association lobbied against prohibiting cannabis in the U.S. in the 1940s, but clearly failed.
More recently, under overwhelming pressure and in light of the massive amounts of data that prove marijuana has medicinal uses, the DEA has revised their website to reflect more accurate information about the drug after decades of publishing outright lies and promoting a no-pot agenda that claimed the drug is a dangerously addictive gateway with no good properties. At one point, the DEA website claimed that marijuana smoke can create tumours. In actuality, cannabis has been proven to reduce the size of tumours in the body when used as a medical treatment.
6. 9/11 Toxic Dust “Myth”
There are many theories surrounding the events of 9/11, but this isn’t stuff made up by a conspiracy enthusiast. This is actually true. The EPA administrator at the time, Christine Whitman, issued a statement in 2001 that the public was not being exposed to asbestos or other harmful substances due to the destruction of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. In 2016, Whitman apologized for this lie and admitted that she “was mistaken” about the safety quality of the air. Up to 70 percent of the 9/11 first responders became ill from the events of the day, and tens of thousands of New Yorkers are suffering from ill effects. The dust from the towers was toxic, a fact that the government finally admitted to after many years of lying and cover-ups. Just don’t tell that to the 9/11 Truthers, or you’ll never hear the end of it.
5. The U.S. involvement in the 1953 Iran Coup
It was in 2013 that the CIA finally admitted publicly that the U.S. was heavily involved with the 1953 coup that unseated the democratically-elected Prime Minister of the country, Mohammad Mosaddq. The U.S. took action to overthrow him and reinstate the national monarchy. These events took place in 1953, and the CIA denied having any involvement for decades. They eventually admitted that the mission was carried out by the CIA with approval from the “highest levels of government.” With the aid of Britain, the U.S. engineered a coup, which is pretty serious business. To thank the U.S. for its help, the Shah of Iran signed over 40 percent of the country’s oil fields to America. No wonder the government didn’t want to admit to what they did. The Shah was toppled in 1979 and Iran-U.S. relations fell apart completely. The true U.S. involvement in 1953 was finally made known through the Freedom of Information Act.
4. Global Warming in the Bush Administration
In the early 2000s, President George W. Bush took extreme efforts to distort the truth about global warming. He purposefully tried to undermine the scientific theory that global warming is caused by human interference by instructing the National Academy of Sciences and the EPA to change their reports about global warming. In 2002, he removed a section from the EPA’s annual air pollution report because he didn’t like its findings. In 2003, he made several changes to the EPA’s Report on the Environment. Bush attempted to hide information and knowingly lied about the causes and effects of global warming for years before he shockingly flipped positions at the end of his administration. In 2008, his administration released a report that confirmed that global warming is caused by the burning of fossil fuels.
3. Japanese Internment Camps
It began within 48 hours of the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese citizens in America were quietly taken from their homes and workplaces and put into internment camps. And if you find that shockingly similar to the behaviour of the Nazis of the same era, you aren’t alone. To make matters worse, the FBI had full knowledge that what they were doing was wrong. Intelligence reports of the day said that Japanese-Americans were not a threat, with less than 3 percent of them posing any real risk to national security. FDR signed an executive order empowering the Army to round up Japanese citizens and their children for relocation. The order was not rescinded until 1944, when the Allies began winning the war.
Support for these camps was surprisingly widespread in America, but that’s because the public was largely misinformed. The people were told that alien Japanese residents were being rounded up, when in fact most detainees were American citizens. The public also didn’t know about the overcrowded conditions in the camps, or how many assets were seized from the people who were kept there.
President Ford finally apologized to Japanese Americans in 1976 and admitted that the camps were not in keeping with American principles. In 1988, Congress authorized the payment of reparations to those who were detained.
2. Project Sunshine – Collecting Human Tissue From Dead Babies
The truth about Project Sunshine, a top-secret federal government mission, didn’t come out until 1995. It started in the 1950s, when Dr. Willard Libby spoke at a meeting of the Atomic Energy Commission. He said there were gaps in the data because it is so difficult to get human samples to study. That’s how Project Sunshine was launched, and the U.S. government began collecting human tissue from deceased people — without asking their next of kin. Mainly, the collected the tissue of deceased infants. The Commission was well aware of the nature of these collections and all the ethical implications therein. Libby received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1960 for developing the dating method that uses Carbon-14. Classified documents released under the Clinton Administration revealed the true nature of Project Sunshine decades after it ended.
“I am not a crook,” Richard Nixon famously declared in 1972. Two years later, he was resigning as President of the United States, a complete disgrace. Nixon vehemently denied any involvement with the Watergate break-in after several people were arrested inside the offices of the Democratic National Committee. They were not regular thieves. They had known connections to Nixon’s reelection campaign, and they were stealing documents and tapping phones. Nixon lied about the crime and tried to cover it up in a variety of ways. He even tried to get the CIA to interfere with the FBI investigation into the break-in. Nixon finally had to leave the Oval Office in 1974 rather than face certain impeachment. You can consider that to be an admission of guilt. Everyone else does.
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