Conspiracy vultures descend on Boston —already

OK, so twin bombs go off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three—including an 8-year-old child—and injuring over 100. And the Internet conspiranoia crowd, led by the indefatigable Alex Jones, jump on the attack in record time, even faster than they did with the Newtown massacre. Salon notes that on his radio show, Jones speculated the Boston blasts are linked to the price of gold: “With gold plunging, what could this signify?” He also noted that one of the 9-11 planes took off from Boston, and claimed to have predicted the attack: “I said on air that they’re getting ready to blow something up. To fire a shot heard round the world like at Lexington and Concord, and then they do it at this same place on the same day!” Well, if you always predict attacks, sooner or later you’re going to be right…

Jones also notes that the attack happened on Patriot’s Day, which commemorates the 1775 battles of Lexington and Concord, and happens to coinicide with Tax Day this year. So Jones predicts that while “they might blame it on the Muslims, they’re going to blame it on the Tea Party.” Similar glop is issuing forth from like sources. Notes Salon: “Conspiracy-themed message boards didn’t need to be asked twice to take the bait. ‘FALSE FLAG ALERT !!! Explosions at Boston Marathon!’ one post said, ‘Boston False Flag Attack Right Now… Next 911,’ another read.”

We’ve noted ourselves the resonance of the date, also associated with Waco and Oklahoma City—which fits into the zeitgeist of Alex Jones and his radical-right buds rather than international jihadis. So if the date is siginificant (which it may not be), it points to domestic militia types, not Islamists. (John Avalon wrote for the Daily Beast in 2010 that the day has “emerged as a ‘Hatriot’ holiday for some anti-government activists and militia groups.”) But, hang on. The actual date of Lexington and Concord, Waco and Oklahoma City was April 19—not 15, which just happens to be the date that Patriot’s Day falls on this year (the Monday closest to the authentic date). And Wikipedia informs us Patriot’s Day is not celebrated in Oklahoma—just Massachusetts and Maine. (One of the few rational sources to make note of the possible significance of the date is Slate, which also reminds us that Patriot’s Day shouldn’t be confused with Patriot Day, established to commemorate 9-11.)

favorite trope of the conspiranoia set is the notion that some kind of emergency drill was being held simultaneous with the latest “false flag” attack, to provide a cover for the subterfuge. Right away, we see such claims. A piece on Alex Jones’ InfoWars website gloats:

University of Mobile’s Cross Country Coach Ali Stevenson told Local 15 News, “They kept making announcements on the loud speaker that it was just a drill and there was nothing to worry about. “It seemed like there was some sort of threat, but they kept telling us it was just a drill.” [Sic]

The news station also reports that Stevenson “thought it was odd there were bomb sniffing dogs at the start and finish lines.”

Incorrect use of quotation marks in original. Stevenson’s “drill” claim was seemingly reported nowhere else. Note how sniffer dogs and a perceived surfeit of security measures are taken as evidence of the “inside job” theory. If there had been no sniffer dogs, and a perceived deficit of security measures, then they’d be squawking about how the police had been ordered to “stand down”! When you’re already convinced, anything vinidcates your theory!

Yet after cynically exploiting the Boston attacks for his ego and propaganda, Jones whines on his wesbite: “Establishment Media Exploits Boston Marathon Terror to Demonize Alex Jones.” Un-freaking-believable.

The radical-right Jones is not surpsingly finding common ground in this conspiranoia with the idiot-left Cynthia McKinney (who last time we checked in on her was shilling for Qaddafi). PolicyMic notes that she tweeted: “The pattern is becoming too, too familiar. So, Boston cops were having a ‘bomb squad drill’ on the same day as…” No, they weren’t, Cynthia. That’s just some bullshit you picked up from the poorly named Global Research, “left”-wing equivalent of Jones’ wack-o-sphere. This is similarly based on distorting an account from the mainstream media—in this case, a Boston Globe tweet from an hour after the attacks, that reported an imminent “controlled explosion opposite the library…as part of bomb squad activities.” But as Gather notes, this wasn’t a “drill” (a word not used by the tweet), but police action in response to reports of a bomb at the library. AP and Business Insider made note of a third bomb at the JFK Library, which may have been detonated by police in a controlled blast. But the Boston Globe later downgraded the library incident to a mere fire, not an explosion. Typical “fog of war” anomalies (like the non-existent Supreme Court attack reported on 9-11), but whatever happened at the library, nothing indicates it was a pre-planned “drill.”

Note that while Jones and McKinney rush to judgement, the authorities have been slow to even call this terrorism. Obama’s statement didn’t invoke the word. We’ve noted before how Islamist or left-wing armed militancy is seen as an existential threat and ultra-toxic contagion (and is always labeled with the T-word)—while that of the radical right is seen as just good ol’ boys having fun (or even as a defense of freedom against Big Government). The 2010 attack on the Austin IRS building is hardly even remembered now. 

Then of course there is the unseemly rush to drag the Muslims into it. Right Wing Watch and Huffington Post note that frequent Fox News contributor Erik Rush tweeted: “Everybody do the National Security Ankle Grab! Let’s bring more Saudis in without screening them! C’mon! #bostonmarathon.” When one person tweeted back, “Are you ALREADY BLAMING MUSLIMS??” Rush responded, “Yes, they’re evil. Let’s kill them all.” He later tweeted that he was being sarcastic. Uh-huh. Meanwhile, Jihad Watch and the vile Pam Geller‘s Atlas Shrugs eagerly go fishing for tweets from Muslim extremoids cheering on the Boston attacks.

Matthew Rothschild in The Progressive has a brief, sensible commentary, urging, “There is no good purpose served by speculation.” A sentiment we heartily endorse.  But he only takes aim at those who are looking for the usual terrorist suspects, not the conspiranoids (smaller in number, perhaps, but just as insalubrious for the political and intellectual climate). And even Rothschild makes the error of calling the attack a “tragedy”—a word better reserved for acts of God. Would we call the carnage of US drone attacks in Yemen or Pakistan a “tragedy”? No, it is a crime. And, wheoever was behind it, what happened in Boston was a crime. Let’s stop using the dead as propaganda ammo, everyone. Such premature finger-pointing and double standards only contribute to the objectification of victims, the logic of criminal attacks on civilians.

Get it?


  1. Yeah, yeah. We know.

    In condemnation of the Boston Marathon bombings today, Obama said, “any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror.”

    Embarrassingly, Obama inadvertently described his own drone war as terrorism, given that he “counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials,” and has rejected the stipulation of disrupting an imminent threat of attack as a prerequisite to dropping bombs on large groups of unidentified individuals.

    In fact, on the very of the Boston attacks, Pakistan’s government lodged a formal complaint over a deadly US drone strike on its territory over the weekend. The US quickly followed up with another deadly drone strike. We may assume that at least three of the nine killed in the two strikes were noncombatants…

  2. Deval Patrick denies it
    Amazing. This crap is so widespread that someone actually asked Gov. Deval Patrick at a press conference if police had been using loud speakers to appeal for calm before the blasts, and if they were a “false flag” attack. (He said “no,” of course.) Unreal. Read about it on Atlantic Wire.

  3. Racist pile-on in Boston
    Amy Davidson, blogging for The New Yorker (of all places), makes note of the case of a 20-year-old student of Saudi Arabian origin who was wounded in the attack and, seemingly based on nothing more than the prejudice of police and witnesses at the scene, treated as a suspect, his home searched by police with K9 units, and pilloried on Fox News, where Andrew Napolitano said “there must be enough evidence to keep him there” (meaning the hospital) and specualted, “Was he a real student, or was that a front?”

    Authorities finally said he had just been “in the wroing place at the wrong time.” As scores of people were—but he was the only one baselessly treated as a suspect.

    Oh, and if you want the young man’s name, just go to the right-wing idiot press, which also reports that he is being deported back to Saudi Arabia.

  4. Boston: racist pile-on continues
    The right-wing blogosphere just won’t let go of the young Saudi man who was wounded in Boston, baselessly named as a “person of interest,” and is now to be deported. The Blaze is aghast that they are sending him home instead of holding him as a suspect. The professional ex-Muslim Walid Shoebat has a truly repugnant piece trying to impugn the young man on the basis of his last name, asserting that Saudi intelligence has identified many members of his “clan” as al-Qaeda collaborators. 

    The New York Post meanwhile reports that a “Bangladeshi man out for dinner at a Bronx restaurant was viciously beaten hours after the Boston Marathon bombing by thugs who called him ‘a f–king Arab’ before pummeling him to the ground.” Wonderful. As if random attacks on Arabs isn’t bad enough, these morons don’t know the difference between an Arab and a Bengali, just like their ilk can’t tell Muslims from Sikhs.

    The Post also splashed on its cover a shot of two kids “identified” (presumably as suspects) by self-appointed “Internet sleuths,” prompting one, Salah Barhoun, 17, to go to the police to “clear his name,” Business Insider reports. We hope Barhoun sues them for everything they’re worth. The Post later issued a statement standing by the cover and asserting, “We did not identify them as suspects.” Gawker correctly calls this out as “legalistic horseshit.”

    Then there was yesterday’s devastating explosion at a fertilizer plant in, um… Waco, Texas. The Daily News tells us the death toll may be 15, with over 150 wounded and many nearby homes destroyed. Now, nobody has yet said this is terrorism, and until evidence to that effect emerges, we must assume it was an industrial accident. But if it was an industrial accident, it is certainly a remarkable coinicidence.

    Finally, there is the surgence of bionoia right after the Boston attacks, inevitablty recalling the anthrax attacks that immediately followed 9-11, which were ultimately linked to the neo-Nazi right. AP informs us that a Mississippi man has been arrested, accused of mailing letters with suspected ricin poison to Obama and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), and he appears to be an anti-government conspiranoid, although no ties to the organized radical right are stipulated.

    So… while we emphasize that we make no claims to any knowledge as to who was behind the Boston attacks, if it was the homegrown radical right, the perpetrators can only be laughing at all the kneejerk Islamophobia…

    1. Charges against ricin suspect dropped
      Charges against the Mississippi man accused of sending ricin-tainted letters to President Barack Obama and other officials were dropped April 23, US Attorney Felicia Adams said, citing “new information” that has been uncovered. Authorities now are investigating whether someone may have tried to falsely implicate Paul Kevin Curtis, according to a law enforcement source, speaking to CNN on condition of anonymity.

    2. Boston non-suspect found dead?
      My God, this horror-show just won’t end. Reddit has apologized for what it called an “online witch-hunt” against Sunil Tripathi and Salah Barhoun, the two youths falsely identified as suspects in the Boston bombings—but not before Sunil went missing. Now authorities in Rhode Island say they may have just fished his body out of Providence Harbor. Details at The Guardian,  Belle News, BBC News, The Village Voice, Salon, Daily Mail.

      So all you jerks who think it is so cool and cutting-edge and subversive to endlessly parse news (and now surveillance) images on the Internet and spin endless roll-your-own theories about them… Yeah, I’m talking to you. What do you have to say for yourselves now?


  5. Glen Beck issues three-day ultimatum to Obama re. Boston
    This arrogant racist bully just can’t let go of the poor Saudi kid, claiming to have inside info about him and calling him “a very bad, bad, bad man”—and giving Obama until Monday to come clean about the cover-up. We really don’t get this. If the government was going to let some Islamist freak walk, why would they set up some other guys who appear to be Islamist freaks to take the hit? Or maybe Glen hasn’t heard that Chechens are Muslims…

    1. Beck’s big news
      The Saudi kid was here on a student visa and was “supposed to” be in Michigan, but had an apartment in Boston. Heavens to Murgatroid! But the “media” refuse to look at it, afriad of being called “racist.” (What, Beck isn’t part of the “media”?)

      (But more to the point… What is this, some police state where the government keeps track of the whereabouts of the populace at all times? I thought Beck and his pals were against “big government.” Whatever. Watch it on YouTube if you want.)

      1. Boston: racist pile-on won’t quit
        More fodder for Beck and his vile ilk is provided by a story apparently pulled by Fox News because it was too full of bogus assertions even for them, claiming that the deported Saudi had been on a “Terror Watch” list—based entirely on vague anonymous sources. Fox apparently ran it April 22, and promptly pulled it, with no explanation, in cowardly manner. But it was first saved by various exponents of the right-wing echo chamber (The Blaze, Atlas Shrugs, Free Republic, Creeping Sharia) , who are all (natch) appalled not that Fox ran a baseless story but that they capitulated to pressure (from who, exactly?) to pull it…

  6. Waco blast again demonstrates: capitalism worse than terrorism
    This past week’s events demonstrate that, contrary to the assumptions of the conspiracy theorists, there really is such as thing as coincidence. If the Tsarnaev brothers really were behind the Boston attacks, they seem to have chosen April 15 only because it was the day of the Marathon—not because of its historical resonances. And authorities are saying there is no evidence of terrorism in the blast at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas—despite its proximity to Waco and falling almost on the anniversary of the 1993 violence there.

    However, the Sunlight Foundation notes that OSHA had not inspected Adair Grain‘s West Fertilizer Company facility since 1985. The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency did find violations in that period, and issued thousands of dollars in fines. But the plant went on happily functioning anyway. The piece calls out the Agricultural Retailers Association for lobbying against federal oversight of such plants. 

    This demonstrates once again the simple statistical reality we have repeatedly pointed out: capitalism is worse than terrorism. We have expended a lot of energy calling out idiot-left knuckle-heads who minimize or apologize for terrorism. So we can’t be accused of that. But do the math. In 2005, the last year for which the State Department issued its annual “Patterns of Global Terrorism” report, there were 14,602 recorded deaths due to terror attacks worldwide—and that was a peak year. This is compared to an estimated 2 million dead each year in on-the-job accidents and illnesses caused by workplace-related hazards. Approximately 2,500 are killed in traffic “accidents” (a loaded word) every daybecause our public spaces and transportation systems are designed for the greater glory of Big Oil and Detroit, not human need. There are some times when Facebook memes get it just right, and this is one of those times…

  7. Capitalism worse than terrorism redux
    From ThinkProgress, June 14:

    A petrochemical plant in Geismar, Louisiana that exploded on Thursday, killing one person and injuring 73, has not been inspected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the past two decades, according to an analysis by ThinkProgress. The Williams Olefins plant, which produces about 1.3 billion pounds of ethylene and 90 million pounds of polymer grade propylene, according to the company’s website, does not have any recorded inspections for plants producing either substance in OSHA’s database since 1993.

    The explosion, fueled by propylene, started at 8:37 a.m. and burned for more than three hours. Three hundred workers were evacuated and residents within a two-mile radius were told by authorities to remain in their homes.

    The same plant also had an accident in 2009, according to Reuters. At that time, 60 pounds of flammable mixture was released, causing a fire that did not lead to injuries. Louisiana has experienced at least two other explosions in petrochemical facilities in the last two years: an explosion at the Westlake Chemicals vinyl plant in Geismar that “sent a cloud of toxic vinyl chloride and hydrochloric acid over the town” in 2012 and another at a Multi-Chem Group plan in New Iberia in 2011. Neither resulted in injuries, Reuters reports.