They call them 'conspiracy theories.' It's a pejorative term. It's a put-down.
But just because things are called 'conspiracy theories' doesn't mean there aren't conspiracies behind them.
So where are the conspiracies then?
1. JOHN F KENNEDY. Very, very few people believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing John F Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Indeed many believe he had nothing to do with it at all and was the ultimate patsy. The Warren Commission which investigated the assassination failed to interview those who opposed the view that the fatal shots had all come from the book depository building. That farcical investigation is the subject of a wonderful book called “Rush to Judgement” by Mark Lane. Read it and you will realise that, yes, this one is a conspiracy. CONSPIRACY RATING. 10/10
2. .MARILYN MONROE. Marilyn’s death on August 4, 1962 is, of course, linked to the Kennedy’s. The death was ruled suicide though the actress had been upbeat and optimistic at the time, according to friends. Neighbours and, indeed, a policeman on surveillance outside her home, all say they saw Bobby Kennedy and the Kennedy brother-in-law, actor Peter Lawford at her home the night she died. She conducted affairs with Robert and John F Kennedy. Some in the FBI believed her to be communist. CONSPIRACY RATING: 8/10
3. POPE JOHN PAUL I. Born Albino Luciani, Pope John Paul I, reigned for just 33 days before his death on September 28 1978. The cause of death was given as a heart attack, though there will always be uncertainty because of the tradition of not carrying out autopsies on Popes. This, of course, led the a rash of conspiracy and cover-up theories, not least because Pope John Paul I was perceived to be a liberal. CONSPIRACY RATING: 1/10
4. ROSWELL. On July 8, 1947, the Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) issued a press release stating that personnel from the field's 509th Bomb Group had recovered a crashed "flying disc" from a ranch near Roswell. The Army later said that what had been found was, in fact, a weather balloon. Witnesses claimed, however, that the military had been acting suspiciously, that debris had been switched, that the body of an alien had been found and so on. There is every likelihood that there was a cover-up at Roswell. But not of the finding of an alien craft. CONSPIRACY RATING: 2/10
5. JOHN STALKER: As Deputy Chief Constable of Manchester, John Stalker was asked, on May 24, 1984, to investigate a shoot-to-kill policy being operated by the RUC against the Provisional IRA in Northern Ireland. On June 5, 1986, just as he was about to submit his final report, he was suspended from duty over false allegations that he associated with criminals. The main allegation was that Kevin Taylor, a friend of Stalker’s was a professional criminal. He wasn’t. The shoot-to-kill investigation was taken over by Colin Sampson and his findings never made public. CONSPIRACY RATING: 9/10
6. THE MOON LANDING: The world watched, on June 20, 1969, as Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon. Is that what they really saw? Websites will spell out all the ‘errors’ in the moon footage. Shadows going the wrong way, dodgy reflections in the astronauts visors and so on. Others will claim that, if man could travel to the moon almost 40 years ago, the place should be colonised by now, or at least, revisited on a regular basis. However, it is now claimed that anyone on earth with a powerful telescope, can see three retroreflector arrays, left on the moon by US missions. It is, however, much more fun to believe that it’s all a hoax. CONSPIRACY RATING: 5/10
7. PRINCESS DIANA: Muhammad al Fayed, for one, is 100 per cent convinced that his son Dodi, Diana and the driver Henri Paul, were murdered. And there is no doubt whatever, that Diana had become a thorn in the side of the British establishment. Furthermore, the idea of someone who was once royal traipsing around with a Muslim. Well. That was just too much. There is of course the mysterious white car which has never been found. The allegation that Henri Paul wasn’t drunk at all. There were suspicious ambulances and the like. But you’d have to say, it’s hard to imagine the British being quite so efficient in bumping Diana off. Good theories though. CONSPIRACY RATING: 5/10
8. THE TARA MOTORWAY: The Irish government blathers on about climate change and global warming and what it’s doing to reduce carbon emissions. And yet when presented with the opportunity to build an efficient railway (mostly using the old, abandoned line) from Dublin to the town of Navan in County Meath, it decided to build a motorway. The route chosen is destroying 5,000 years of history, yet, the government remains implacable. They talk about building the railway, but the route of the motorway, crosses the line of any proposed railway twice, making it vastly more expensive to ever go for the rail option. And still, no explanation as to why they flew in the face of logic. CONSPIRACY RATING: 10/10
9. WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION: Strange, isn’t it, how the leaders of two of the world’s most powerful country, simultaneously, found evidence of something that never existed? Yet, that’s what happened as George W Bush and Tony Blaire lied over and over and over again about Saddam’s alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction. So what were the motives for war? Oil, for one. And ask Dick Cheney about the others. CONSPIRACY RATING: 10/10
10. PAUL IS DEAD. It all began on October 12 1969 with a call to a US radio station claiming Paul McCartney was dead. The theory was, that on November 9, 1966, Paul stormed out of a recording session after a row with the other Beatles, and drove off, subsequently crashing his car. He was replaced, the story goes, with a lookalike and soundalike. Proof of the death? Paul’s bare feet on the cover of Abbey Road. Paul facing backwards in the photo on the Sgt Pepper album (it was actually Mal Evans. Paul wasn’t available for the shoot.) A hand over Paul’s head on the front cover of Pepper. Personally, the only real question is this. Would the real Paul have married Heather Mills? CONSPIRACY RATING: 1/10
Briefly, here are the ratings for another few.
ELVIS: Good fun and worth listening to all the nonsense 5/10
TWA FLIGHT 800; It crashed on July 17, 1996, off Long Island killing 230 people. Official verdict: Accident. But questions remain as there is some evidence it was struck by a missile. CONSPIRACY THEORY: 7/10
DUBLIN AND MONAGHAN BOMBINGS: Ii was May 17 1974 when Dublin and Monaghan were struck by no-warning bombs. Thirty-three people died. Nobody has ever been prosecuted. Conspiracy? Maybe. Ineptitude? More likely. Still, if there had been collusion and someone didn’t want it to come out... CONSPIRACY RATING: &/10
THE TUSKAR ROCK CRASH: Aer Lingus flight 712 from Cork to London went down on March 24, 1968 killing 61. Some suggested the plane had been hit by an RAF drone, or something similar. But it seems unlikely. CONSPIRACY RATING: 2/10
THE LUSITANIA: The ship was sunk off Cork on May 7, 1915, by a German U boat. Almost 1,200 died. One torpedo struck the ship and it is believed the second, larger, explosion heard, was munitions, which were being transported illegally, blowing up. CONSPIRACY RATING: 9/10
FLIGHT 93, 9/11: Did it crash? Or was it shot down? Well, who do George Bush and his cronies think more important? Themselves, or ordinary Joes? CONSPIRACY RATING: 8/10
THE DA VINCI CODE: God, the movie was awful. The book is based almost entirely on the premise, that if something isn’t A or B, well then it definitely must be C. Or G. Or K. Or Z. CONSPIRACY THEORY: 0/10
BRITAIN’S BRIBERY OF SAUDI ARABIAN OFFICIALS TO WIN ARMS CONTRACTS: Well. They admitted it. And they said it wouldn’t be in the ‘national interest’ to pursue those involved. So...CONSPIRACY THEORY: 0/10 or 10/10, whatever.
SHOWBIZ: How many scandals, rapes, drug overdoses, bouts of the clap, sexual preferences, sexual encounters, deaths accidental or otherwise have been covered up over the years? CONSPIRACY RATING: 10/10
IRISH POLITICS: Perhaps, after North Korea, Zimbabwe and Turkmenistan, Ireland is the most corrupt country on the planet. They’ve been getting away with it since the foundation of the state. And they’re still at it. CONSPIRACY RATING: 15/10