Before we knew the names of the victims, the motive behind the attack, or even how many shooters there were, some conspiracy theorists thought they figured out what had happened at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning.
Alex Jones, the antigovernment broadcaster who reaches millions every day through his syndicated radio show and Infowars Web empire, speculated the shooting may be a “false flag” operation intended to distract Americans from Syria, as well as the anniversary of the Benghazi attack and the simmering IRS scandal.
“You’ve got all the other scandals, so this is a great way to change the subject,” Jones said on his radio show Monday morning, which is broadcast on more than 80 stations across the country. “It’s a way to divert everyone.”
For Jones, the shooting may be the latest in a long line of “false flag” operations, in which the government allegedly stages phony terror attacks to gin up popular support for disarming Americans or taking away their civil liberties. He confidently labeled the Boston Marathon bombing a hoax within hours of the explosion, but was more circumspect Monday.
“It may be real crazies, but look at the timing. Obama rolling out a national campaign against guns yesterday, and then this happens,” he said.
For conspiracy theorists, the “why” for such tragedies is always the same. “We’ve all got to give up our rights because it’s so scary. It’s all about mind control,” Jones explained.
And he’s not alone. On conspiracy message boards and forums, users who see themselves as citizen journalists have cut together YouTube videos that they claim show possible “actors” at the scene. One video shows a near-victim laughing with a local TV reporter when the two didn’t realize they were on air. “One would think at a moment such as this, a reporter and a ‘near victim’ wouldn’t be laughing, especially when they didn’t realize they’d be caught on camera,” the conspiracy website Before It’s News explained.
On the subReddit dedicated to conspiracy theories, one user wrote, “Thought the Navy Yard shooting was just a shooting until I saw this CNN tweet: “CNN: THE ATF HAS SENT SAME SPECIAL RESPONSE TEAM THAT HELPED TAKE DOWN BOSTON BOMBING SUSPECT IN BOAT.” Others murmured in agreement.
After Sandy Hook, Boston, Aurora, and 9/11, it’s hardly surprising that conspiracy theories emerge around such tragic incidents, but the speed is always startling.
What We're Following See More »
"Two chief fundraisers for the Clinton Foundation pressed corporate donors to steer business opportunities to former President Bill Clinton as well, according to a hacked memo published Wednesday by WikiLeaks. The November 2011 memo from Douglas Band, at the time a top aide to Mr. Clinton, outlines extensive fundraising efforts that Mr. Band and a partner deployed on behalf of the Clinton Foundation and how that work sometimes translated into large speaking fees and other paid work for Mr. Clinton."
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz plans to spend "years, come January, probing the record of a President Hillary Clinton." Chaffetz told the Washington Post: “It’s a target-rich environment. Even before we get to Day One, we’ve got two years’ worth of material already lined up. She has four years of history at the State Department, and it ain’t good.”
Priorities USA, the super PAC aligned with the Clinton campaign, which has already gotten involved in two Senate races, is now expanding into House races. The group released a 30 second spot which serves to hit Donald Trump and Iowa Rep. Rod Blum, who is in a tough race to win re-election in Iowa's first congressional district. The super PAC's expansion into House and Senate races shows a high level of confidence in Clinton's standing against Trump.
Republican House leaders are planning on taking up a vote to renew the Iran Sanctions Act as soon as the lame-duck session begins in mid-November. The law, which expires on Dec. 31, permits a host of sanctions against Iran's industries, defense, and government. The renewal will likely pass the House, but its status is unclear once it reaches the Senate, and a spokesman from the White House refused to say whether President Obama would sign it into law.