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.)
A 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.