Conspiracy Theories is one of those phrases I really don’t like. It’s one that stops us thinking, one that condemns people with alternate ideas without even listening to what is being said. Here are four historical events, all of which have been questioned by various groups and individuals and may, or may not have happened in the way we think they did.
1969: The Moon landing
A conspiracy theory regarding the moon landing? It’s hard to believe I know but there are some that believe the moon landing was faked. Faked? How? Well back in the 80s there was a film called Capricorn 1 about a manned mission to Mars. In the film Nasa were worried about funding for the Space Programme and knew the oxygen breathing system on the mission was a failure so they sorted out a film studio, filmed the Mars landing; a fake Mars landing, and broadcast it as if it were real. On its return to earth the capsule lost its heat shield and the astronauts were burned up in the atmosphere. The thing is, the astronauts weren’t in the space ship so NASA were stuck with live astronauts who should have been dead.
OK, that was fiction but did Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin really walk on the moon? After all, they took thousands of photographs on the moon as well as cine footage. NASA also have 382kg of moon rock brought back from the Apollo missions and NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has taken many recent photos of the landing sites. Well, of course they did but many experts will call attention to some of those pictures and explain that they were fakes because of various anomalies. On TikTok I recently watched a video in which a man swears his father was a security guard at a secret base where the moon landing was filmed. On YouTube there is a video where someone tries to get Armstrong to swear on the bible that he went to the moon. Neil Armstrong declined. Why? Because he didn’t go to the moon! Why did he retire from NASA so early? Was he ashamed about his continuing lies?
My personal verdict: Baloney. Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon in July 1969, an incredible feat of exploration and bravery.
1991: The World Trade Centre Attack
On 11th September 1991 terrorists crashed two hi jacked aircraft into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York. I remember watching it live on TV and being horrified at what was happening right before my eyes. Within hours, according to a BBC report I read as part of my research, conspiracy theories were spreading across the internet: The US government was behind the attacks, George Bush knew in advance but needed a reason to invade Iraq. The twin towers were demolished by explosives placed at an earlier date and detonated.
Building 7 was the cause of many conspiracy claims because of a BBC report announcing the collapse of the building when the building itself could be seen intact in the background behind the reporter.
At the time George W Bush didn’t really look that good as he was given the news of the attacks while on stage at a school event in Florida and didn’t look as though he knew what to do. In recent years I’ve seen a few interviews with Bush and found myself really quite liking the guy. His security staff were telling him to hide away but he insisted on flying back to Washington.
Personal verdict: Was Bush behind the attacks himself? Of course not. Did someone arrange for the twin towers to be detonated? No!
1997: The Death of Princess Diana
The recent death of the Queen was sad but it was expected. After all the Queen was 96 years old. The death of Princess Diana in 1992 was all the more shocking because it was unexpected. She was a young woman in the prime of her life. I remember getting up early one Sunday morning and after making a cup of tea, switching on the TV to hear the terrible news of her death.
Diana and her new man Dodi Fayed, the son of Harrods owner Mohamed Al-Fayed had left the George V hotel in Paris and had been driven away at speed in an effort to get away from the paparazzi. In the vehicle were Diana and Dodi, their driver Henri Paul and Diana’s bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones. When her car accelerated through the Pont de L’Alma tunnel in the French capital, the driver lost control and crashed at high speed. All the occupants were killed except for Rees-Jones. He was the only one wearing a seat belt.
Soon afterwards the first conspiracy theories began to arise; had Diana been murdered? The thing is, why would anyone want to murder the princess? What was the point? She was hardly a controversial figure, she was well liked, even loved by the public. She had of course just divorced Prince Charles who was then heir to the throne. Would the royal family have really wanted her dead just because she was considering marrying a Muslim?
There were reports of a white Fiat Uno ahead of the Princess’s car and there were white paint marks found on the wreckage of the crashed car. There were also reports of a flash of white light before the fatal impact which could have blinded the driver causing him to crash. Not only that but an ex-MI6 officer revealed that MI6 officers were in Paris that day and there was a plan in the MI6 files detailing how to commit a murder and make it look like a car accident. The plan involved flashing a bright light and blinding the driver.
My personal verdict. There are a lot of things that have come to light that don’t make sense but at the end of the day I’d have to say Diana was probably sadly killed as a result of a traffic accident
1963: The JFK Assassination
OK, this is the big one, the conspiracy theory that’s the daddy of them all. I think it’s only fair to tell you I’ve been interested in the Kennedy assassination ever since I was a schoolboy. I’ve read many books, seen many documentaries and I’m even a follower of the JFK Lancer group that have organised research and debate on the subject for a very long time.
Did Lee Harvey Oswald shoot the president from the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas in 1963? Did he shoot officer JD Tippet while trying to get away? Personally, I’m not convinced he did. The report by the Warren Commission set up by President Johnson concluded that Oswald acted alone but the House Select Commission on Assassinations in 1978 decided that there were other shots fired at Kennedy from the grassy knoll. That was based on a recording from a motorcycle outrider whose transmit radio button was jammed on. Audio experts concluded that shots other than those from the Book Depository were fired.
Since then, many other experts have decided the audio evidence doesn’t add up but that’s the thing about this entire story, for every piece of evidence held up by experts that proves the conspiracy one way or another, other experts will refute that same evidence or interpret it in another way. How many shots were there? From which direction? If Oswald shot the president, how did he get from the 6th floor of the Book Depository to the 2nd floor lunch room where he was seen by police officer Marion Baker? Who were the people on the grassy knoll with secret service ID when no secret service agents were at that location?
There are a thousand questions like that which need to be answered. The Oliver Stone movie JFK led to the Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, passed by congress, which ordered the review and release of all remaining assassination records and files. I’m sure some people think that buried in the CIA archives is a memo ordering the assassination of JFK but sorry, that is never going to happen.
So, who was responsible for the murder of the president? The CIA? The Mafia? The military-industrial complex mentioned in the film JFK?
I’ve even read a theory that Kennedy was killed because he had been to area 51, seen captured alien space craft and alien creatures and wanted to reveal this to the world.
My personal verdict; Did Oswald shoot the president? I’m not convinced. Was the CIA or elements of the intelligence community involved? Absolutely.
What do you think?