Whilst the various screaming heads do their best to make political hay from the shootings carried out by 22-year-old gunman Jared Lee Loughner, others have focused on Loughner's online life - notably his interest in the world of conspiracy theory.
I'll be using this thread to post links to stories about Loughner's online output, looking specifically for the tropes, tricks and syllogisms typical of some recent conspiracist thinking. Check back for updates over the next few days.
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The following videos are from Loughner's Youtube channel. Keep an eye out for the references to currency, a noted topic of libertarian conspiracy. There's some references to 'brainwashing':
It didn't take long for most of Loughner's alleged online web presence to come to light. A particular amount of attention has been pointed towards the Above Top Secret website where, apparently, Loughner was a regular poster under the handle of 'erad3'. ATS said Monday:
"We here at AboveTopSecret.com, our owners, staff and membership, find ourselves in the unfortunate position of apparently being one of the largest (if not the largest) repositories of online postings by someone who has been classified as a 'monster'"
Arthur Goldwag has been blogging about Loughner these last few days. From a post from today:
What's truly scary about the Tea Party is that it borrows so many of its New World Order tropes from Protocols of the Order of Zion-type extremism of the sort that has historically been disseminated from the John Birch Society, the Liberty Lobby, Christian Identity churches, and neo-Nazi outfits like William Luther Pierce's National Alliance-groups whose rhetoric was virulently racist and unambiguously eliminationist, and whose foundational ideology is based on clinically paranoid premises. No, I'm not calling Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck neo-Nazis-but their playbooks are filled with many of their old tricks.
In case you were curious about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, this is a project I did on the subject last year. Click the link for the larger map to see properly.
Wow. Sarah Palin, the subject of much ire these last few days, has posted a video responding to the Arizona shootings. In it she refers to a media-created 'blood libel'. Whoa. Nice choice of phrase there Sarah. From Wikipedia:
Blood libel (also blood accusation) refers to a false accusation or claim that religious minorities, almost always Jews, murder children to use their blood in certain aspects of their religious rituals and holidays. Historically, these claims have-alongside those of well poisoning and host desecration-been a major theme in European persecution of Jews.
Sorcha Faal is the nom-de-plume of a well-known conspiracy theorist who has been posting various messianic conspiracy missals for the last few years. Arthur Goldwag has profiled her (we're going with the notion that this is a woman for now) in the past:
'Literally dozens of equally probable alarmist stories, often of an apocalyptic bent, have been dispatched under Sorcha Faal's name since 2004; they are archived here. For just a few examples, "All Private Guns Will Be Confiscated By September 2009, US Tells Russia" was issued in March of 2009; "Catastrophic Atmospheric Blast in Southern Hemisphere Continues Global Weather Chaos as North American Plate Instability Increases and US President Orders Massive Troop Withdrawal from New Madrid Fault Zone Region" in September 2005.
There has been frantic speculation in the world of conspiratorial websites over the years as to Sorcha Faal's real identity. Most suspect she is the creation of David Booth, a computer programmer, self-proclaimed psychic, and apocalyptic conspiracy theorist who is the author of Code Red: The Coming Destruction of America 2004. '
I mention all of this due to the heavy traffic to the most recent Sorcha Faal post around the Arizona shootings, which maintains that Loughner's real target was not Congresswoman Giffords but Arizona Federal District Judge John Roll:
A Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) report circulating in the Kremlin today states that the top US Federal Judge for the State of Arizona was assassinated barely 72-hours after he made a critical ruling against the Obama administrations plan to begin the confiscation of their citizen's private retirement and banking accounts in order to stave off their nations imminent economic collapse, and after having the US Marshals protecting him removed.
It may be worth noting that this post appeared on Alex Jones' Infowars site, but now seems to have been removed. It's also worth mentioning that no link to the Kremlin report mentioned at the top of Faal's post has been located.
Loughner's ingame chats
The WSJ has posted about Loughner's ingame text chats:
Last May 9, at two in the morning, Jared Lee Loughner typed a question to a group of about 50 online gamers located around the world: "Does anyone have aggression 24/7?"
He was back at his keyboard the following night. "If you went to prison right now...What would you be thinking?" he asked.
A trove of 131 online-forum postings written between April and June 2010, which were viewed by The Wall Street Journal, provides insight into Mr. Loughner's mind-set in the year leading up to Saturday's shootings in Tucson, Ariz. He stands accused of killing six people, gravely wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D., Ariz.) and injuring 13 others.
It wouldn't be a three-ring circus media frenzy if the Westboro Baptist Church didn't show up these days. With Tucson, they duly obliged. First Fred Phelps announced that they would be picketing the funeral services.
Palin is having a nightmare. The use of the phrase 'blood libel' has really backfired. She either knew what it meant, in which case she comes off as extremely insensitive, or she didn't know, in which case she comes off as rather stupid. This is what happens when you shop around in the world of right-wing rhetoric without checking where the stories come from. You're eventually going to say something that makes you look like an idiot.