Project Sunshine: Steal corpses
In the 1950s, in an effort to study the effects of nuclear weapons tests, the Federal Government established a worldwide network to secretly collect tissue samples from more than 900 human cadavers. The “body snatching” took place in secret, without notification or permission of the next of kin. In 1994, President Bill Clinton formed an advisory committee to investigate so that these government secrets didn’t stay secret. The result was a 900-page report acknowledging the unethical and illegal actions taken during Project Sunshine. We bet you didn’t know about these conspiracy theories that actually turned out to be true.
Operation Northwoods: Plan fake terrorist attacks
In response to Fidel Castro’s burgeoning dictatorship and the failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion in Cuba, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) circulated a memo on March 13, 1962, with the subject line “Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba.” In the missive, the JCS outlined suggestions to provoke Cuba such as “Start rumors (many),” “Sink ship near harbor entrance. Conduct funerals for mock-victims,” and “…blow up a US ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba.” Days later, President John F. Kennedy rejected Operation Northwoods, and JCS chairman Lyman Lemnitzer was denied a second term of office. This essay demonstrates what “freedom” meant to Americans in the ’50s.
Operation Paperclip: Hire Nazi scientists
A bloody conflict like World War II is bound to result in some government secrets, but this one is especially cringe-worthy. In August 1945, with the smoke of World War II still clearing, President Harry Truman approved the hiring of more than 1,500 German scientists, technicians, and engineers. One of them was Wernher von Braun, the chief rocket engineer of the Third Reich and Walter Schreiber, the German Army’s wartime chief of medical science who authorized dangerous experiments on humans. To assure security clearance in the United States, the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency created false records for the scientists, many of whom were considered wartime criminals. Did you know that these 12 “famous quotes” from presidents are actually totally misquoted?