Most countries now boast of a democratic system of government, at least in name; the number of countries that are openly communist stand at four - North Korea, Laos, Vietnam, and Cuba. Because of democracy and the power the system gives its citizens, there is almost always a transparency when it comes to communication.
Most countries have a Right to Information Act enacted in some capacity that gives the people some idea of what's going on behind closed doors.
However, that hasn't stopped the government from forcibly preventing disclosures and punishing whistleblowers for revealing what it has deemed as 'information critical to national security.'
Most of the time, this is just an excuse; they don't want the public to know the horrors and atrocities that they have committed. But in the end, they end up in the public domain one way or the other, like these 10 disturbing secrets.
#10 Winston Churchill's less than humane plans for Hitler
Winston Churchill has gained infamy on social media for his dry wit and an endless array of quotes, but he was quite possibly the sole reason that Britain came out on the winning side of World War 2. A ruthless general and innate tactician his disdain for Adolf Hitler was well-documented. So intense was this hatred, that Churchill wanted Hitler executed by electric chair if he was ever captured. He strongly opposed the idea of the Allies giving the führer a fair trial and wanted him directly executed for his war crimes.
While we have no doubt many can get behind that particular sentiment, it's a bit more shocking to learn that Churchill also similarly despised Mahatma Gandhi. The leader of India's non-violent freedom struggle during the midst of World War 2, it is said Churchill would have been happy to see Gandhi die over the course of his Hunger Strike in 1943.
#9 CIA's plans to assassinate Fidel Castro
By now, it's common knowledge that the CIA attempted to assassinate Fidel Castro, though, at the time, it was heavily denied by the higher-ups. It is estimated that the organization attempted to kill the Cuban leader 638 times; with every single one ending in eventual failure. Aimed at creating a favorable impression of then-President Kennedy, there was said to be five phases in the assassination attempts.
The various attempts included poisoned cigars, poisoned pills, contaminated air, fungus, with one plan even involving placing thallium in his shoes so that his beard would fall off and he would be publicly humiliated. Another plan was to keep a booby-trapped seashell in an area where Castro usually dived, with the shell supposed to explode on touch and kill the leader.
#8 Spying on John Lennon
Lennon was convinced that the US government was spying on him. Most were convinced he was simply paranoid, but it turns out that the legendary Beatles vocalist was right. Known for his outspoken nature and constant criticism of the government, for a while, Lennon became public enemy number one. In 1967, he wrote and recorded a song I am the Walrus, where the US government signified the walrus. Following this, the FBI began monitoring his phone calls and collected data files on his various activities and associations. They would eventually terminate his Visa and even arrange for his deportation.
A vocal critic of Nixon, all of Lennon's concerts and events were monitored during the lead up to the 1972 presidential elections. The files on Lennon were released following 14 long years of court proceedings under the Right to Information Act.
#7 The case of Edward Snowden
Before Edward Snowden blew the lid on the NSA, anyone claiming that he/she was being spied on by the government was written off as conspiracy nutters. Snowden, a former CIA employee, who worked for the organization as an IT specialist, copied and leaked classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 without authorization. His disclosures revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments and caused widespread outrage at the blatant invasion of privacy.
The documents he revealed suggested that these organizations were accessing upwards of 600 million communications a day and that they worked in tandem with companies such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. For his brave acts, Snowden was charged under the Espionage Act of 1917 and now lives in secrecy in Moscow.
#6 The Mustard Gas incident
It's undeniable that a lot of atrocities were committed by both sides during World War 2. But what's surprising is that the US conducted heinous experiments on its own soldiers; African-American soldiers in particular. According to declassified documents, 60,000 black soldiers were singled out so that chemical weapons could be tested on them and they were told that it was done to check the effects of the weapons on those with black skin in particular.
All the tests were done in secret and weren't recorded on the subjects' official military records and most do not have proof of the ordeals they were put through. They received no follow-up health care or monitoring of any kind and they were sworn to secrecy about the tests under threat of dishonorable discharge and military prison time. Victims described being exposed to mustard gas akin to being set on fire, yet the incidents received very little media attention during the time.
#5 The Tuskegee Syphilis experiment
Also called 'The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male,' it was an infamous clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the US Public Health Service. The purpose of this study was to observe the natural progression of untreated syphilis in rural African-American men in Alabama under the guise of receiving free health care from the United States government. After funding for the treatment was lost, the study was continued without informing participants that they would never be treated.
None of the men infected were ever told they had the disease, and none were treated with penicillin even after the antibiotic was proven to successfully treat syphilis. According to the CDC, the men were told they were being treated for 'bad blood', a local term for various illnesses that include syphilis, anemia, and fatigue, with this leading to major deaths and problems within the African American Community.
#4 The My Lai massacre
The war in Vietnam is one blot on the US's military record that everyone involved would like to purge. The US intervened in the southeast Asian country in the hopes of ousting its communist government but severely underestimated the home nation. It's estimated that the war took the lives of 58,000 Americans, though that pales in comparison to the 3.1 million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians that were killed on both sides.
The worst atrocity to come out of the war is most definitely the My Lai massacre. Around 507 unarmed civilians - including women and children - were gang-raped and killed by US Army soldiers from Company C, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 11th Brigade, 23rd (Americal) Infantry Division on March 16, 1968. Three U.S. servicemen who had tried to halt the massacre and rescue the hiding civilians were shunned and even denounced as traitors by several US Congressmen. Only after thirty long years were they recognized and decorated, one posthumously, by the US Army for shielding non-combatants from harm in a war zone.
#3 Operation Northwoods
Because of rising tensions between the US and Russia during the 50s and 60s and America's general apathy towards communism and its desire to purge the world of it, Cuba was always going to be a problem. Presenting the threat of communism right at its doorstep, the US wanted nothing more than to rid itself of Fidel Castro. Over the years, numerous assassination attempts were funded by the CIA, but all failed, with horribly executed the Bay of Pigs operation ignominiously hanging over the agency to this day. However, one particular operation that caught public attention and drew widespread outrage was Operation Northwoods.
Operation Northwoods originated within the US Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1962 and called for the CIA and other government agencies to commit acts of terrorism against American civilians and military, so it could be blamed on the Cuban government and would justify waging a war against the country. Luckily for the American citizens, the plans were rejected outright by the Kennedy administration.
#2 Operation Paperclip
Let's be honest for a second and admit that the US government is as sanctimonious as they come. While they will constantly lecture other countries on human rights violations, they commit thousands themselves without batting an eye. Following World War 2, then-President Harry Truman saw the potential in the Nazi scientists that Hitler had employed and brought a selected few to the U.S. The same scientists who were responsible for millions of deaths now got the chance to live under a new name and passport.
Every single one of their war crimes were purged from their records and they were given permanent residency in the US Wernher Van Braun, the man behind many of America's successful space visits, was also one of the Nazis' most notorious scientists. All in all, it's estimated that 700 scientists were brought in from Germany following the war.
#1 CIA's mind-control experiment, MK-Ultra
As far as covertly operating organizations go, the CIA undoubtedly takes the proverbial cake. Involved in endless shadow wars that are raging across continents as we speak, the U.S intelligence agency has involved itself in a fair number of controversies. However, none will surpass the notoriety and brazenness of MK-Ultra. In a bid to build a mind-controlled army that would have no recollection of the deeds they had carried out - in theory absolving the CIA of blame - the organization imported LSD into the country and began carrying out trials to see if the drug did indeed allow them complete control over a person.
The declassification of the mind-control experiments began in the Senate in 1977 and continued up till 2001 when some of the survivors' names were made public. The horrific nature of the experiments soon came to light, with people forcibly subjected to various radiological and biological agents. It was then revealed by the New York Times that the then-CIA director had ordered a cover-up of the experiments and had destroyed numerous classified files. Of course, MK-Ultra was a massive failure and quite the opposite effect as originally intended. Instead of creating mindless zombies under control of the government, the introduction of LSD into the country led to the raving 60s and 70s best known for the public openly challenging governance.
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