USUALLY associated with anorak-wearing agoraphobics, conspiracy theories are rarely taken seriously by the general public.
Among the speculation that the world is flat and the moon landing was actually an elaborate studio set are some other more plausible ideas.
So, no longer reserved for paranoid tin-foil hat wearers, here are some of the suspected plots and schemes that turned out to be completely true.
Project MK- Ultra: Mind control tests by the CIA
In the ’50s and ’60s the CIA secretly ran dozens of shocking experiments in an attempt to develop mind control techniques.
Tests involved drugging people with hallucinogens like LSD when they weren’t expecting it.
They also used electroshock therapy, hypnosis, isolation techniques and subliminal persuasion but reserved the most dangerous experiments for terminally ill cancer patients.
Details of the project came to light in the ’70s when the US Senate conducted investigations into the programme – but the CIA had already destroyed most of the evidence for the project.
‘Fruit Machine’: A ‘Gay-dar’ used to detect homosexuals
In the ’60s the Canadian government started a campaign to eliminate all homosexuals from the military, police and civil service.
Initially they hired private investigators to go undercover and follow employees in order to ascertain their sexual preference.
This became too costly so they designed the ‘fruit machine’.
Individuals would be hooked up to the machine while they saw a variety of erotic images.
If their pupils dilated when looking at images of the same sex they were fired or forced to resign. At least 400 lost their jobs.
Poisoned drinks in the Prohibition
From 1920 to 1933 the US banned the sale and production of all alcohol, driving a huge underground movement of hidden speakeasies.
In an attempt to enforce the ban, the American government poisoned alcohol which resulted in the death of around 700 people.
Big Brother state: NSA and GCHQ International surveillance
More recently, ex US National Security Agent Edward Snowden revealed that the government was monitoring the communications of people all over the globe.
Big political leaders such as France’s president François Hollande and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel were affected as well as millions of regular citizens.
The falsified Nayirah testimony
In 1990 a young girl known as “Nayirah” gave evidence in front of Congress which sparked American support for the Gulf War.
She claimed that babies where been taken from incubators and left to die by Iraqi soldiers.
After the war The New York Times uncovered that “Nayirah” was in fact the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador and her appearance had been staged by PR firm Hill + Knowlton.
Tuskegee Study: Injecting impoverished black men with syphilis
Between 1932 and 1972 the United States Public Health Service gave 400 poor African-American men syphilis in order to monitor its progression.
The aim was to see if the fatal disease behaved differently in black and white men.
The men were given wrong and potentially dangerous treatments and medication was sometimes withheld altogether in order to learn more about the STD.
Initially supposed to last just six months, the study continued for 40 years.
Only 74 of the men were still alive by the end and shockingly 40 wives and 19 children had also contracted the disease as a result.
In 1974 astonishing audio recordings were discovered proving that Republican officials were spying on the Democratic National Headquarters in full knowledge of then-President Richard Nixon.
The scandal rocked the whole world and resulted in President Nixon becoming the first US President in history to step down from his office.
CIA smuggling cocaine
In 1996, award-winning journalist Gary Webb published his investigation into drug dealing street gangs and their connection to the CIA.
He alleged that the CIA smuggled cocaine to the CIA-backed Contra in order to profit from the drug sales.
The CIA eventually admitted that they were aware that Contra was dealing cocaine in 1998 at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal so the admission went relatively unnoticed.
In 2004, Gary Webb was found shot in the head twice, the police concluded that his death was suicide.
The great deception of The Gulf of Tonkin
In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson told the public that Vietnamese forces attacked US ships in the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin.
This sparked outrage from the American citizens which escalated the Vietnam War and Congress passed The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution allowing US forces to strike against North Vietnam.
More than three million lives were lost in the conflict.
In 2005 documents were released proving that Johnson had fabricated the Gulf of Tonkin incident in order to justify attacking North Vietnam.
Operation Fast and Furious
In 2011 the Obama administration smuggled weapons to Mexican drug cartels in order to trace them back to criminals and capture drug dealers.
Known as Operation Fast and Furious, the scheme was uncovered when CBS News found documentation that showed agents at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives discussing how these guns were passed to Mexican gun dealers based in the US.