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Top five political conspiracy theories

The 'birther' allegation that President Obama wasn't born in the US is nothing new. America has a long tradition of political accusations gaining traction.

By Tracey D. SamuelsonContributor / August 4, 2009

In this July 20,1969 file photo, Astronaut Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. poses for a photograph beside the US flag deployed on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission.

Neil Armstrong/NASA/AP/File

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The recent chatter over the Birther’s Movement and President Obama's birthplace has a long way to go before it can be considered one of the top political conspiracy theories out there. Here are several that endure year after year, often despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

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1. JFK’s assassination: Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone

Many people still question the death of the 35th president on a sunny afternoon in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Was it really Lee Harvey Oswald? If so, did he act alone? Under whose direction? Were the FBI or CIA involved? There are endless questions posed about that day, and as many different theories about how to answer them.

2. The American government was behind 9/11

According to 911Truth.org, the collapse of the Twin Towers wasn’t caused by Al Qaeda or foreign terrorists, but rather “elements within the US government and covert policy apparatus must have orchestrated or participated in the execution of the attacks for these to have happened in the way that they did.”

3. The government hushed up what really crashed in Roswell, N.M.

Something crashed in the desert outside Roswell, New Mexico in July of 1947. But what? Some conspiracy theorists maintain it was an alien space ship and that the US military covered up the discovery of the crash site and alien bodies. The enduring theory has turned the small town of Roswell into a circus of alien paraphernalia shops and a tourist destination for seekers of the paranormal.

4. The CIA created AIDS

Most people and scientists believe that the AIDS virus was transferred from monkeys to humans in the 1930s. But a small group maintains that the virus was man-made, manufactured by the US government or the CIA and specifically used to target African-Americans and homosexuals. Others believe the US created AIDS as a bioweapon, but that it spiraled out of control.

5. The moon landing was a hoax

We’ve all seen the grainy video of Neil Armstrong taking his historic steps on the moon, planting the American flag, and declaring, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” But some say it was all staged so that the US could beat Cold-War-Rival Russia in the Space Race.

Ye Olde Conspiracy Theories

For conspiracy theories that date back to the founding of the Republic, including His Royal Highness King John Adams and Confederate turncoat Mary Todd Lincoln, check out this essay on The Daily Beast.