We live in a world full of beauty and hope. You can find people who help each other, smile at each other, inspire each other, and most importantly, they do this without expecting something in return. We wouldn’t know how the world would be if there were only beauty and goodness because we have never lived in such a time. Unfortunately, this world is also full of hideousness. People kill each other without batting an eye, steal from others, and harm other people in a variety of ways. While some crimes come to light immediately, some crimes remain hidden for a long time. In this article, we have gathered 10 unsettling, declassified information now available to the public.
1. From 1939 to 1989, a secret network of doctors, nurses, nuns, and priests in Spain stole about 300,000 newly born babies from their parents and sold them as adoptions. They told the parents that their babies died during or shortly after the birth.
After a bloody civil war, General Francisco Franco came to power in 1939. Until the death of Franco in 1975, Spain remained mostly closed to the world which impeded its industrial progress. However, a scandal that has been revealed recently overshadowed the other activities of the Franco dictatorship. According to the BBC documentary, up to 300,000 children were stolen from their parents between 1939 and 1989. This was done by a secret organization which included the Catholic church, doctors, nurses, nuns, and priests that conducted wholesale baby trafficking. The organization sold the babies to couples who wanted to adopt. The Spanish Catholic church had a lot of influence on the social services and hospitals thanks to Franco.
After the requests of couples who couldn’t have babies, this organization would kidnap newly born babies from the hospitals under their control and give them to the couples. Some of the mothers who gave birth left their babies voluntarily because they were either single or poor. But for the rest, it was a tragedy because the hospitals told them that their babies had died. Moreover, they couldn’t see them because the hospitals were taking care of the burial issues. According to the records, the corrupt organization mostly stole the babies of the communist and Republican families who were against the Franco regime. Although the families of 261 babies put in an effort to find and reunite with their children, except for just a few of them, they couldn’t be found. (1,2,3)
2. The CIA, the US Intelligence Agency, executed a program called the Phoenix Program between 1965 and 1972 during the Vietnam War. This program involved infiltration, capture, interrogation, assassination, and counter-terrorism activities causing the death of between 26,000 and 41,000 people.
The CIA created the Phoenix Program in order to disrupt and neutralize the structure of Viet Cong, aka National Liberation Front, during the Vietnam War. As part of this program, the CIA conducted a series of illegal activities like torturing prisoners and hostages, assassinating certain targets, and the killing of innocent civilians. However, the CIA was not alone while doing all these operations. Among the CIA’s partners, there were the US special operations forces and special forces operatives from the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) and the Republic of Vietnam’s (South Vietnam).
According to the author Douglas Valentine who wrote a book about the Phoenix Program, some of the torture methods the CIA often used included rape, gang rape, rape using hard objects, murder, electric shock, beating until coma, use of dogs, and use of water. Also, a military official confirmed the stories of Douglas Valentine and admitted that he had witnessed such torture scenes during the war. All these activities of the CIA caused the death of between 26,000 and 41,000 people. In 1971, the program started receiving negative publicity, and after a while, the CIA officially shut down the Phoenix Program. (1, 2)
3. Between 1956 and 1971, the FBI practiced a program called COINTELPRO during which they carried out a series of illegal and covert activities like surveilling, infiltrating, assassinating, and discrediting domestic political organizations like the Communists, Socialists, Black Nationalists, and Civil Rights Movements.
COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) targeted domestic political groups, organizations, and members that were dissidents according to the FBI. Among those organizations, there were activists of the Civil Rights Movement, anti-Vietnam War activists, the Black Power movement, the Communist Party, the Socialist Workers Party, feminist organizations, and various organizations and independence movements like the Puerto Rican independence groups and the Young Lords. However, then-director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, thought the Black nationalists as the most dangerous group of all. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were also targets of the FBI as part of the program.
The program involved surveilling, infiltration, and discrediting the target organization via undercover agents. Those agents would commit crimes so that the organizations they infiltrated into could receive negative publicity. Also, the agents and the police in the program killed 28 members of the Black Panther Party and arrested another 750 members in order to destroy the group. There were similar acts towards other movements and organizations too. The FBI also carried out psychological warfare against these groups by distributing pamphlets containing false stories and information about them. The FBI officially shut down COINTELPRO in 1971, but some people claim that the Bureau is still using the same tactics. (1, 2)