Category Archives: Conspiracies

Pizzagate: Anatomy of a Fake News Scandal

Amanda Robb reports for Rolling Stone:

Carmen Kat'z Facebook post likely set Pizzagate in motion. The revelations overcame Edgar Maddison Welch like a hallucinatory fever. On December 1st, 2016, the father of two from Salisbury, North Carolina, a man whose pastimes included playing Pictionary with his family, tried to persuade two friends to join a rescue mission. Alex Jones, the Info-Wars host, was reporting that Hillary Clinton was sexually abusing children in satanic rituals a few hundred miles north, in the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant. Welch told his friends the “raid” on a “pedo ring” might require them to “sacrifice the lives of a few for the lives of many.” A friend texted, “Sounds like we r freeing some oppressed pizza from the hands of an evil pizza joint.” Welch was undeterred. Three days later, armed with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, a .38 handgun and a folding knife, he strolled into the restaurant and headed toward the back, where children were playing ping-pong. As waitstaff went table to table, whispering to customers to get out, Welch maneuvered into the restaurant’s kitchen. He shot open a lock and found cooking supplies. He whipped open another door and found an employee bringing in fresh pizza dough. Welch did not find any captive children – Comet Ping Pong does not even have a basement – but he did prove, if there were any lingering doubts after the election, that fake news has real consequences.

Welch’s arrest was the culmination of an election cycle dominated by fake news – and by attacks on the legitimate press. Several media outlets quickly traced the contours of what became known as Pizzagate: The claim that Hillary Clintonwas a pedophile started in a Facebook post, spread to Twitter and then went viral with the help of far-right platforms like Breitbart and Info-Wars. But it was unclear whether Pizzagate was mass hysteria or the work of politicos with real resources and agendas. It took the better part of a year (and two teams of researchers) to sift through the digital trail. We found ordinary people, online activists, bots, foreign agents and domestic political operatives. Many of them were associates of the Trump campaign. Others had ties with Russia. Working together – though often unwittingly – they flourished in a new “post-truth” information ecosystem, a space where false claims are defended as absolute facts. What’s different about Pizzagate, says Samuel Woolley, a leading expert in computational propaganda, is it was “retweeted and picked up by some of the most powerful faces of American politics.”



Alex Jones’ Ex-Wife Wins Ugly Custody Battle

Alberto Luperon reports for Law Newz:

A bitter trial ended in victory on Thursday for Kelly Jones, ex-wife to Infowars founder Alex Jones. Now she has joint custody of their three children, and the right to have their primary residence with her instead of their dad, The Austin American-Statesman reports. That means the kids will live with their mother for the time being, and then they’ll transition back into having more visitation with their father.

Mr. Jones had had primary custody of the children since the 2015 divorce. Meanwhile, this limited Ms. Jones to supervised visits.

The nine-day trial was a bit of a side-show. Most family issues like this evade media attention, but this one was different. His attorney said in a pre-trial hearing that he’s “playing a character” on his radio show, and is “a performance artist.” That’s quite the thing to say about the boisterous, over-the top Mr. Jones, who says the United States government implemented the 9/11 attacks. However, Mr. Jones maintained that he is completely sincere in what he says, but that he likes to leave his work at work, away from his children.

But Ms. Jones’s attorney Robert Hoffman said the Infowars host is like a “cult leader” who turned their kids against her, according to the Statesman. He claimed Mr. Jones was “emotionally, sexually, physically abusive” during their marriage, and used wealth to “escape detection.”


The Alex Jones Deception

The following documentary examines far-right radio host Alex Jones, and the affect his fear-mongering and conspiracy theories have had on the American public. Also explored is the relationship between him and Donald Trump, and the numerous contradictions of Alex Jones. (Reich Wing Watch)


Khan Sheikhoun Gas Attack: We Don’t Need Conspiracies to Oppose U.S. War in Syria

Joshua Frank writes for CounterPunch:

Photo by Beshr Abdulhadi | CC BY 2.0It was a false flag! Al Qaeda did it! Why would Assad use chemical weapons when he’s winning the war? It had to be those evil terrorists.

These are the petty cries by some on the conspiracy-minded left with regard to this week’s barbaric chemical attack in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun, which took the lives of at least 74 and injured another 350.

Of course the United States lays all the blame for the attack at the feet of President Bashar al-Assad, who has been implicated in many war crimes over the years. And unsurprisingly, the Russians, Assad’s chief allies, have countered, claiming the Syrians bombed a toxic weapons depot that unleashed the deadly nerve agent. So, in the end, according to Russia, these civilians were simply collateral damage in the War on Terror™ – an endless war, mind you, that the left once opposed.


Why More Highly Educated People Are Less Into Conspiracy Theories

Christian Jarrett writes for The BPS Digest:

Moon Landing Conspiracy Concept[…] Van Prooijen said the results suggest that “the relationship between education and belief in conspiracy theories cannot be reduced to a single psychological mechanism but is the product of the complex interplay of multiple psychological processes.”

The nature of his study means we can’t infer that education or the related factors he measured actually cause less belief in conspiracies. But it makes theoretical sense that they might be involved: for example, more education usually increases people’s sense of control over their lives (though there are exceptions, for instance among people from marginalized groups), while it is feelings of powerlessness that is one of the things that often attracts people to conspiracy theories.

Importantly, Van Prooijen said his findings help make sense of why education can contribute to “a less paranoid society” even when conspiracy theories are not explicitly challenged. “By teaching children analytic thinking skills along with the insight that societal problems often have no simple solutions, by stimulating a sense of control, and by promoting a sense that one is a valued member of society, education is likely to install the mental tools that are needed to approach far-fetched conspiracy theories with a healthy dose of skepticism.”


Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones Backs Off ‘Pizzagate’ Claims

Paul Farhi reports for The Washington Post:

Image result for Alex Jones Backs Off ‘Pizzagate’ ClaimsAlex Jones, the conspiracy-loving media personality, apologized Friday for his role in promoting “Pizzagate,” the baseless viral story that a Washington pizza restaurant was the locale of a child sex-abuse ring run by Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman, John Podesta.

In a surprising and rare bit of backtracking, Jones posted a six-minute video on his website, “InfoWars,” in which he read a prepared statement formally distancing himself and his site from what became a textbook story of fake news run amok. He addressed his apology to James Alefantis, the owner of Comet Ping Pong, the restaurant that was the supposed locale of the alleged conspiracy last year.

“I made comments about Mr. Alefantis that in hindsight I regret, and for which I apologize to him,” Jones said. “We relied on third-party accounts of alleged activities and conduct at the restaurant. We also relied on accounts of [two] reporters who are no longer with us.”

He added, “To my knowledge today, neither Mr. Alefantis nor his restaurant Comet Ping Pong, were involved in any human trafficking as was part of the theories about Pizzagate.” The story, he said, “was based upon what we now believe was an incorrect narrative.”


Inside the Illuminati with Rosie Kay and Adam Curtis

Judith Mackrell reports for The Guardian:

“I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole,” admits Rosie Kay with a slightly wild giggle, as she describes the world of conspiracies, cults and celebrities that she has been exploring for her latest work. The choreographer has long been known for her brave and sometimes surprising choices, and for the depth of research she undertakes. She and her dancers spent weeks in training with the British army for 5 Soldiers, while for Sluts of Possession she worked with the School of Anthropology at Oxford, investigating tribal and spiritual ritual. None of her projects, though, have taken her into such alien territory as MK Ultra.

Named after the experiments in mind control that the CIA developed during the last century, Kay’s new show explores the phenomenon of the Illuminati, a shadowy cult believed to be on an elaborate mission of global domination, spreading its agenda through the brainwashing of prominent individuals in politics and the media.

Belief in the cult is particularly strong among young people, and when Kay first began hearing about it from the teenagers who came to her dance workshops, she discovered that pop stars are considered to be the Illuminati’s most targeted “recruits”. Groomed from a young age, singers like Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Lindsay Lohan and Kanye West have supposedly been made agents of the Illuminati’s New World Order, their songs and videos carrying messages designed to subtly alter the public’s consciousness. According to Kay, “the under-25s now have a whole system for decoding the imagery of music videos, looking for symbols like thrones, butterflies, checkered floors and bird cages, to see if they’re carrying the cult’s message and to see which celebrities have been programmed”.


Paul Joseph Watson Is A Pop Culture Pleb

Anthony Fantano responds to Paul Joseph Watson’s latest video The Truth About Popular Culture, saying that he makes some of the dumbest assertions about pop culture and contemporary music. Watson has since posted a video titled: Conservatism is the NEW Counter-Culture(The Needle Drop)

Joe Rogan Experience with Alex Jones and Eddie Bravo

Joe Rogan sits down with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and jiujitsu instructor Eddie Bravo for a lengthy chat about all manner of crazy shit. (Joe Rogan Experience)

PizzaGate Shooter Read Alex Jones’s Infowars: Some Other Fans Who Perpetrated Violent Acts

Stephanie Mencimer writes for Mother Jones:

When Edgar Maddison Welch stepped into the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria Sunday armed with an AR-15, he told police he was there to rescue children from a child sex ring run by Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief, John Podesta. Fortunately, when he found no such children, Welch surrendered to the police without shooting anything but a locked door, and no one was injured. But that particular fake-news conspiracy theory, which began on 4chan shortly before the election, was widely promoted by Alex Jones, the controversial radio host and founder of Infowars, his conspiratorial website that often publishes fake news. Jones and Infowars also heavily promoted the candidacy of President-elect Donald Trump, who has appeared on Jones’s internet TV show and promoted some of his site’s content. At the end of an interview with Jones in 2015, Trump told him, “Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down.”

Welch was also a fan: He “liked” both Jones and Infowars on his Facebook page, and he told the New York Times after he was arrested that he also listened to Jones’ radio show. “He’s a bit eccentric,” Welch said. “He touches on some issues that are viable but goes off the deep end on some things.” He also told the Times that the 9/11 terror attacks called for further investigation—a common refrain from Jones. And while Welch joins more than 2 million people who “like” Jones and Infowars, he also is part of a much smaller number of Jones’ fans who have committed acts of violence in the pursuit of a kooky political theory given currency by Jones. Among other things, Jones believes the US government was behind the 9/11 terror attacks. He has called the mass shooting of children at Sandy Hook elementary school “a giant hoax“; believes the government has set up hundreds of FEMA concentration camps and is deploying juice boxes to “encourage homosexuality with chemicals so that people don’t have children.” A number of high-profile shooters are known to have had a fondness for Jones’ work and some of his favorite conspiracy theories. At least three were active commenters on Infowars. That’s not to say Jones caused the violence or even encouraged it. (He did not respond to requests for comment.) But the shooters do appear to share similar tastes in political news and opinions.


The Saga of ‘Pizzagate’: The Fake Story That Shows How Conspiracy Theories Spread

BBC Trending reports:

a picture of pizzaNo victim has come forward. There’s no investigation. And physical evidence? That doesn’t exist either.

But thousands of people are convinced that a paedophilia ring involving people at the highest levels of the Democratic Party is operating out of a Washington pizza restaurant.

The story riveted fringes of Twitter – nearly a million messages were sent last month using the term “pizzagate”.

So how did this fake story take hold amongst alt-right Trump supporters and other Hillary Clinton opponents?


Alex Jones: The Voice In Donald Trump’s Head

Jonathan Tilove writes for the Austin American-Statesman:

It sounds like the stuff of a paranoid conspiracy theory: A man operating from a state-of-the art studio in an undisclosed location in South Austin is exercising a kind of mind control over the Republican presidential candidate.

And that this gravel-throated prophet of doom — who has been preaching against the New World Order at the very top of his barrel-chested lungs nonstop for more than two decades to what has grown into a vast, subterranean national audience — might be playing a leading role in making this the weirdest presidential race ever.

But, as the 2016 campaign draws to a close, it’s becoming plain that Austin’s Alex Jones — a right-wing broadcast personality and conspiracy theorist extraordinaire who until recently flew under the mainstream radar — might as well be the voice in Donald Trump’s head.

Trump might have heeded little of what he was told by a succession of campaign advisers, but, if you want to know what Trump is going to do or say tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, just tune into what Alex Jones is saying on the radio and online today.


The Invisible Empire of Alex Jones

Andy Cush writes for Spin:

The Invisible Empire of Alex JonesIn 1972, the soft-spoken psychedelic evangelist Terence McKenna emerged from the Colombian Amazon, where he and his brother had spent months trekking through the woods, ingesting heroic amounts of psilocybin mushrooms and pondering the secrets of the cosmos. Three years later, the McKenna brothers published Invisible Landscape, an esoteric tome that applied their shroom-gleaned jungle wisdom to the ancient Mayan calendar and the Chinese book of I Ching. “We believe that by using such ideas as a compass for the collectivity, we may find our way back to a new model in time to reverse the progressive worldwide alienation that is fast turning into an eco-cidal planetary crisis,” McKenna wrote. “The stupendous idea of an end of time is an attempt to negate the eternal stasis, to break the circle.”

McKenna claimed that the end of time would come in 2012, igniting a belief in the transformative powers of that date that still burned at the fringes of American thought 37 years later, when Alex Jones donned a black western shirt and sat down in front of a video camera to set the record straight. Jones, a rougher sort of prophet than McKenna, denounced the “doomsday hubbub” in a YouTube video published December 14, 2012, one week before the supposed apocalypse. The theory didn’t originate with the Mayans, he growled as an eerie synthesizer melody descended behind him. It came from “new age thinkers” like McKenna who sought to defraud and mislead the American people.

Alex Jones is a proud paranoiac, one whom might be expected to sympathize with McKenna’s message of worldwide alienation and planetary crisis. But the radio host, as he often does, sensed something even deeper afoot. He explained that a sense of futility encouraged by the 2012 theories might keep downtrodden people from standing up to their oppressors. “That is what the 2012 hoax is all about,” he said. “An artificial superstition to make people turn over control of their lives to the globalist technocrats.” To America’s greatest conspiracy theorist, even a conspiracy theory can start to look like evidence of a conspiracy.


Disinfo Wars: Alex Jones’ War on Your Mind

Nolan Higdon wrote for Project Censored in 2013:

In 1833, William Miller predicted the second coming of Jesus Christ in the year 1843. Only after his fourth failed prediction, each of which saw hundreds of thousands of followers turn out, did his followers abandon him. By this time, Miller had already absconded with copious amounts of their money, spent on his publications and for ascension robes that were supposed to prepare them for Jesus Christ’s arrival. A profiteer relying on distortion and unfulfilled predictions, contemporary radio personality and activist Alex Jones operates in the same mode as Miller. Instead of ascension robes, Jones profits from the fear and uncertainty he relentlessly peddles via DVDs, publications, books, a TV show, a radio show, and websites.

Jones is recognized as a spearheading figure of anti-establishment reporting for many Google-searching-truth-seekers. Jones’s work includes an abundance of unfulfilled predictions that often rely on distorted and unproven claims. Despite his many predictions going unfulfilled, Jones and his claims increasingly appear in the corporate press as major media outlets rely on Internet sources for news content. As a result, the works of Alex Jones have broken into the so-called mainstream. This creates a serious problem for investigative journalists and scholars who focus on controversial subjects. Jones’ self-promotional, unfulfilled predictions and his speculative writings and reports can take away from other legitimate, fact-based researchers who investigate similar topics by shifting the focus from the relevant facts of the particular topic to his unverified and often sensational claims. The result is that those inclined to believe the so-called mainstream media disassociate themselves with some political movements and topics because Jones’ and his speculative reports become the face of said particular movements and topics. Jones’ ability and pattern of delegitimizing controversial, yet evidence-based contingents of so-called truth movements through radicalization and guilt by association, is eerily analogous to the blueprints of various US Government programs– most notably COINTELPRO from the 1960s and ‘70s. More recently, this has also been the case regarding establishment efforts to discredit the Occupy Wall St. Movement. This article will explore the work of Alex Jones’ and the effects he has had on others who research similar controversial subjects, and how research into those very subjects comes to be viewed in the public once Jones is perceived as a spokesperson or figurehead.


Why We Shouldn’t Dismiss Bilderberg Conspiracies So Lightly

Martin Parker, Professor of Organisation and Culture at the University of Leicester, writes for The Conversation:

[…] Some conspiracy theorists do have a point. These politicians and businessmen (because they are, mostly, men) do have common interests after all. These are the success stories of transatlantic post-war capitalism. What do they know of the “precariat” they’re supposed to be discussing?

If you spend much of your life occupying the first class compartment on aeroplanes, it doubtless becomes logical to assume that there is some virtue to the system that put you there. Your fillet steak always tastes better if it has been accompanied by a small side-helping of self-congratulation. So the 120-150 members of the elite who get together every year – two thirds of the participants from Europe and the rest from North America – are undoubtedly not terribly motivated to change much.

That is doubtless why most of the invitees tend to be from a narrow spectrum of occupations and positions – CEOs, finance ministers and heads of state. Some critics have attended in the past – journalists Will Hutton in 1997, Jonathan Porritt in 1999 – but they are few and far between. The conversations are therefore unlikely to explore radical reforms which might endanger the power and privileges of those who already have seats at the table.


12 Conspiracy Theories Embraced By Donald Trump

Judd Legum writes for Think Progress:

You can find conspiracy theorists on street corners, call-in radio shows and social media.

Soon, you might be able to find one in the Oval Office.

Generally, presidential candidates tend to shy away from conspiracy theories. They involve a mixture of paranoia and gullibility that seems ill-suited for someone seeking access to America’s nuclear codes.

But Donald Trump is a different kind of candidate. He has embraced a wide range of fringe conspiracy theories.

Nevertheless, Republicans are rallying to his side and polls show him reasonably competitive with likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Here are the views of a man who might be the next president.


George W. Bush White House’s ‘Skull and Bones’ Files Set For Release This Summer

Josh Gerstein reports for Politico:

Hundreds of Skull and Bones Secret Society Docs Set to be ReleasedOne of America’s most prestigious and storied secret societies, Yale University’s Skull and Bones, may be a little less secret if archivists at President George W. Bush’s presidential library in Dallas get their way.

More than 1,000 pages of letters, memos, a draft speech and other materials relating to Skull and Bones are set for release in July, unless Bush or President Barack Obama move to block the disclosure, according to the National Archives.

[…] The secretive group of well-connected Yale seniors meets in a foreboding campus building called “the tomb” and is rumored to conduct macabre rituals (one persistent rumor holds that the Bones tomb contains the skull of Geronimo, among other occult objects). Over the years, the society has been the subject of several books as well as a “60 Minutes” segment.

The group drew particular attention in the early 1990s, when William F. Buckley and others went to court in an ultimately unsuccessful bid to keep the society from going co-ed, and in the 2004 election when Bush and Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry were both drawn from its ranks.


Conspiracy Theories Surround Justice Antonin Scalia’s Death

The truth is rushing out there: Why conspiracy theories spread faster than ever

David Shariatmadari writes for The Guardian:

[…] It’s not that belief in conspiracy theories is becoming more widespread, says Viren Swami, professor of social psychology at Anglia Ruskin university: while the research hasn’t been done yet, he tells me, there’s lots of anecdotal evidence to suggest that belief in conspiracies has remained fairly stable for the last half-century or so. What has changed, however, is the speed with which new theories are formed. “It’s a symptom of a much more integrated world,” he says. The internet speeds everything up, allowing conspiracy-minded individuals to connect and formulate their ideas. In contrast, it took months for theories about Pearl Harbor to develop.

Karen Douglas, another social psychologist, echoes this point. “People’s communication patterns have changed quite a lot over the last few years. It’s just so much easier for people to get access to conspiracy information even if they have a little seed of doubt about an official story. It’s very easy to go online and find other people who feel the same way as you.”

Is everyone prone to this kind of thinking, or is it the preserve of an extreme fringe? Douglas reckons it’s more common than most of us realise. “Recent research has shown that about half of Americans believe at least one conspiracy theory,” she says. “You’re looking at average people; people you might come across on the street.”

That’s also the view of Rob Brotherton, whose new book, Suspicious Minds,explores the traits that predispose us to belief in conspiracies. He cautions against sitting in judgment, since all of us have suspicious minds – and for good reason. Identifying patterns and being sensitive to possible threats is what has helped us survive in a world where nature often is out to get you. “Conspiracy theory books tend to come at it from the point of view of debunking them. I wanted to take a different approach, to sidestep the whole issue of whether the theories are true or false and come at it from the perspective of psychology,” he says. “The intentionality bias, the proportionality bias, confirmation bias. We have these quirks built into our minds that can lead us to believe weird things without realising that’s why we believe them.”


British ambassador on the US: ‘I don’t think this is a country in decline at all’

David Smith reports for The Guardian:

Pride of place in the cube-shaped library at the British ambassador’s residence in Washington goes to a bust of Winston Churchill. Ever since it departed the Oval Office at the White House, Jacob Epstein’s sculpture has been cast as a symbol of Barack Obama’s antipathy towards Britain, the UK’s declining influence in the world, or Obama’s own lack of Churchillian leadership against the Islamic State.

Not surprisingly, the man who currently sits with Churchill looking over his shoulder every day rejects all three narratives. Sir Peter Westmacott, who next month finishes his stint as British ambassador to “the single most important country in the world”, says the bust was only ever on loan as a personal gift from Tony Blair to George W Bush for the duration of his presidency.

That has not stopped Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, in particular, from repeatedly referencing the Churchill sculpture’s ejection shortly after Obama came to office as the first sign of his weak leadership. Others regarded it as a death blow to Churchill’s timeworn “special relationship”. Westmacott, who turns 65 on Wednesday, mused: “It does pop up in conversation quite often as an ‘indication’ of how President Obama turned his back on the UK. It doesn’t really ring true.


Italy’s Puppet Master: Licio Gelli Dies Aged 96

Eric Margolis writes:

The French, who know much about intrigue, have a very useful expression, “an Italian scandal.” This means a scandal or plot that is so complex or tangled it defies understanding, and never gets solved.

The death of 96-year old Masonic Grand Master Licio Gelli this week reopened the mystery of Italy’s greatest and most murky political scandals. I’ve been following this wonderful case since the 1980’s. Gelli, a lifelong Fascist, was what was known in the US as “one of our SOB’s.”

As US Republicans hysterically warn of “terrorism,” it’s useful to look back to the Cold War years and see who really had – and has – clean hands.

Gelli first appeared as an 18-year old volunteer Black Shirt fascist sent by Mussolini to Spain to fight the Communists.

Soon after World War II, Gelli was recruited by CIA to help build “Gladio,” a top secret underground organized in 14 Western European nations of former fascists and other right-wingers designed to combat an expected Soviet invasion.

The Soviet threat eventually subsided, but Gladio, its far right members and its arms caches remained. In the 1980’s and early 90’s, Gladio and Gelli would be involved in numerous plots and intrigues known as “the years of lead” aimed at blocking Communists from power and paving the way for fascist coups. CIA and Britain’s MI6 were implicated.


Donald Trump and Alex Jones: A match made in wing-nut hell

Bob Cesca reports for Salon:

Donald Trump & Alex Jones: A match made in wing-nut hellIf one thing is clear from the first several months of the GOP primary, it’s that Donald Trump can do just about anything and not take a hit in the polls. But he tested the limits of that rule on Wednesday when he appeared on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ radio show.

For those of you just joining us, Alex Jones’ InfoWars universe is ground zero for every loony conspiracy in circulation these days — from chemtrails and gay juice boxes to this past summer’s thoroughly ludicrous Jade Helm 15 uproar. And that’s before we mention the lizard people. More politically toxic than any of those fringe beliefs, however, is his insistence that the Boston bombing was a false-flag operation and the Sandy Hook massacre never happened at all.

Throughout the interview, Jones could barely contain his enthusiasm for Trump. But considering his resume, it’s not quite clear why Trump would ever want such an endorsement. Yet there he was — perhaps because , when push comes to shove, he himself is nothing more than a wealthier and more popular version of Alex Jones. They’re both sideshow barkers, suckering gullible people into accepting make-believe stories.


David Talbot on Allen Dulles’ Reign as CIA Director: From Guatemala to Cuba to JFK’s Assassination

Amy Goodman recently spoke to author David Talbot about his new book on former CIA director Allen Dulles: The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government. (Democracy Now!)

What is the Turkish ‘deep state’ and why is it in the frame for the Ankara bombings?

Simon Waldman writes for The Conversation:

Turkey is reeling from the worst terrorist attack in its history – the twin bombings in Ankara on October 10 that claimed the lives of up to 128 people attending a peace rally. Much rests on the investigation into who carried out what appears to have been a suicide attack.

While the government has named Islamic State as one of the main suspects, some activists have suggested that Turkey’s deep state could be involved. This has stirred up decades-old wounds.

The victims of the Ankara attack were largely supporters of the Kurdish oriented and liberal-left People’s Democratic Party (HDP). They had gathered in the capital to march for peace ahead of a national election on November 1.

Those who think IS sent two suicide bombers to the scene suggest the terrorist group was seeking to punish the Kurds for fighting alongside their brethren in Syria. Indeed, this would not be the first time IS has attacked the Kurds.

But the HDP leader, Selahattin Dermirtas, has also accused the Turkish government of having blood on its hands after the Ankara bombings. He says the government did not properly investigate previous IS attacks on the HDP either.

Similar sentiments have been expressed on social media and by attendees at anti-government protests. Why, some people are asking, does the HDP get attacked and not the hundreds of other public rallies organised by other parties? Has there been state collusion in any of the attacks, or at best negligence on the part of the security and intelligence services?


Did Turkish Security Forces Know About Deadly Ankara Attack? Interview with Baris Karaagac

Sharmini Peries interviews Baris Karaagac, a lecturer in International Development Studies at Trent University and editor of Accumulations, Crises, Struggles: Capital and Labour in Contemporary Capitalism. Karaagac explains what forces are at play behind the Ankara bombing and what role Turkey’s key ally the United States could play in helping to obtain justice for its victims. (The Real News)

CIA Director John McCone Was Part of the JFK Assassination Cover-Up

Philip Shenon, author of A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination, writes for Politico:

John McCone came to the CIA as an outsider. An industrialist and an engineer by training, he replaced veteran spymaster Allen Dulles as director of central intelligence in November 1961, after John F. Kennedy had forced out Dulles following the CIA’s bungled operation to oust Fidel Castro by invading Cuba’s Bay of Pigs. McCone had one overriding mission: restore order at the besieged CIA. Kennedy hoped his management skills might prevent a future debacle, even if the Californian—mostly a stranger to the clubby, blue-blooded world of the men like Dulles who had always run the spy agency—faced a steep learning curve.

After JFK’s assassination in Dallas in November 1963, President Lyndon Johnson kept McCone in place at the CIA, and the CIA director became an important witness before the Warren Commission, the panel Johnson created to investigate Kennedy’s murder. McCone pledged full cooperation with the commission, which was led by Chief Justice Earl Warren, and testified that the CIA had no evidence to suggest that Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin, was part of any conspiracy, foreign or domestic. In its final report, the commission came to agree with McCone’s depiction of Oswald, a former Marine and self-proclaimed Marxist, as a delusional lone wolf.

But did McCone come close to perjury all those decades ago? Did the onetime Washington outsider in fact hide agency secrets that might still rewrite the history of the assassination? Even the CIA is now willing to raise these questions. Half a century after JFK’s death, in a once-secret report written in 2013 by the CIA’s top in-house historian and quietly declassified last fall, the spy agency acknowledges what others were convinced of long ago: that McCone and other senior CIA officials were “complicit” in keeping “incendiary” information from the Warren Commission.


Tupac Shakur: Unraveling the Politics of His Life and Assassination with John Potash

John Potash is an investigative journalist and the author of The FBI War on Tupac Shakur and Black Leaders. In this interview he summarizes his research into the life, politics and what he believes was the assassination of rapper Tupac Shakur. (The Real News)

ISIS magazine Dabiq attacks ‘conspiracy theories’ causing jihadists to flee

Umberto Bacchi reports for International Business Times:

Dabiq Isis Magazine The Islamic State (Isis) group has released a new issue of its slick propaganda magazine Dabiq, featuring articles justifying the enslavement of Yazidi girls and condemning conspiracy theorists, as well as a report by British hostage John Cantlie.

[…] The publication features an article suggesting that the terror group is losing militants to conspiracy theories.

Titled Conspiracy Theory Shirk (Sin) the piece implies that some fighters have grown delusional because of conjectures saying that IS is a puppet in the hands of western intelligence agencies.

“If the mujahedeen liberated territory occupied by the kuffar [infidels], they would say that the kuffar allowed them to do so because kafir [disbelievers] interests’ necessitated a prolonged war,” the article reads.

“According to these theorists, almost all the events of the world were somehow linked back to the kuffar, their intelligence agencies, research, technology, and co-conspirators! Conspiracy theories have thereby become an excuse to abandon jihad.”‘


Jade Helm 15 Is Not a Federal Takeover: It’s Domestic Military Expansion

Candice Bernd writes for Truthout:

8 December, 2007: U.S. Army paratroopers prepare to board a C-130 Hercules during Operation Toy Drop, Ft. Bragg, N.C. (Photo: The U.S Army)[…] The mainstream media and much of the independent media have been right to publicly call out (and poke fun at) Gov. Abbott and some Republican presidential candidates for giving Texas’ conspiracy culture far too much credence. However, the exclusive emphasis on some of the more bizarre theories emerging out of rural Texas counties has overshadowed valid concerns from activists about a much larger ongoing domestic military expansion, of which Jade Helm 15 plays a significant part.

Truthout’s Dahr Jamail has reported extensively on the Navy’s ongoing use of nearly every US coastal state’s land and air for its realistic training exercises and war games. In recent years, these exercises have included electromagnetic warfare training and the testing of sonar devices, despite evidence of the exercises’ harmful effects on marine animals and pushback from concerned environmentalists.

“According to the Pentagon, between 1985 and 2012, the US military had completed at least 92 joint land use studies in preparation for expanding its domestic training, which proposed expansions in all but 16 US states,” Jamail writes.

Several branches of the US military, including the Air Force, Army and most prominently, the Navy, are encroaching on public and private lands to expand “realistic” warfare-training exercises domestically. Despite some of the more cockeyed theories to emerge about Jade Helm 15 recently, the realistic training exercise fits into this quiet military expansion in an unprecedented way.’


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