Musical influence of Art Bell

I’m going to do my best to post a lot before Halloween because indulging in creepiness is one of the things I do best. I have so many creepy books, favorite creepy movies, and creepy sites to share that it would be a shame not to take advantage of this time of the year and write about all the eerie weirdness rattling around in my head.

This entry came about in my typical circuitous “getting lost on the Internet” method of gathering information. I wanted to discuss some really disturbing, dark songs about child predators, and had a specific song in mind, two songs, actually, about a predator assaulting a child and the child seeking revenge, but couldn’t remember the name of the songs or the band that performed them. In my attempts to run the song to ground, I fell into a YouTube hole that completely distracted me from my original goal. I’ll eventually discuss songs about child predation but not today because I found mystery wondering how many songs there are that are inspired by Art Bell’s Coast to Coast AM. (By the way, the band I was originally searching for is G.G.F.H. and the songs are “Little Missy” and “Missy’s Revenge” and while the songs are still outre and upsetting, they aren’t as viscerally disgusting as they were to me when I heard them years ago. I fear I am becoming jaded…)

Discussing Art Bell’s influence on music is really apropos for me this time of year because I always listen to his Ghost to Ghost episodes right before Halloween. I was putting together a playlist earlier this month but when I was searching for G.G.F.H.’s body of work, I found a title that piqued my interest and it turned out to have an Art Bell sample (the Venetian Snares song I discuss below – that is the song that linked me from child exploitation to Art Bell). After listening to the song with the Coast to Coast AM sample, I decided to see how many songs I could find that were influenced by Art Bell in some manner. Art Bell is interesting and somewhat weird in his own right, a man whose life has taken several unexpected turns, and he has been a personal hero of mine ever since he sued Ted Gunderson (who is hopefully right this very minute encountering the Satan he insisted was lurking in every daycare and influencing every politician since Washington) for slandering him as a pedophile.

Art no longer hosts Coast to Coast AM (and while George Noory is okay enough, he lacks a certain edge, I think, that Art brought to the table) but his long tenure on the AM and online radio program featured many bizarre and memorable shows. One of the most memorable was the night a man who claimed he was a former Area 51 employee called into the show in a panic, revealing that the US government was being duped by inhuman creatures posing as aliens from outer space, and that these creatures meant mankind harm. He claimed to be on the run from the federal government and sounded to be completely unhinged by the gravity of his discovery. In the middle of the phone call, something happened to the satellite and at least 50 separate radio stations went dead for around half an hour. Understandably, this caused Art and his listeners to freak out, assuming that indeed the feds were tracking the frightened caller and had interfered with his attempt to share his story. The man behind the Area 51 call eventually called back to Coast to Coast and explained it was indeed a hoax but that he had no idea what had happened in regards to the satellite failure. That, evidently, was just a coincidence. There are some who still believe the Area 51 caller was real and that the later call revealing the hoax is the real hoax, but that is the nature of conspiracy. This episode is called either the “Area 51 Caller” or “The Frantic Caller.”

However real or fake the Area 51 call may have been, it’s now a part of Area 51 lore and anyone who has much interest in fringe or conspiracy culture has likely heard of it. It’s definitely influenced some musicians, famous and obscure. One of the more famous bands to sample the Area 51 call is Tool, in the song “Faaip de Oiad” from the album, Lateralus Faaip de Oiad means “the voice of God” in “Enochian” (the supposed angelic language recorded and likely invented by John Dee and Edward Kelley) – Maynard Keenan is a sort of Renaissance man of the weird and I think he runs a winery now, of all things.


“Faaip de Oiad” doesn’t freak me out the way it does many Tool fans. I think that’s because I’ve heard the source material too many times, and had heard it many times before ever hearing this song. But I can see how this would be jarring or alarming to someone who might not know the source of the jangled, frightened man talking in the middle of the song. I link to this particular video because it has the “lyrics” in the upload notes section.

This Is Not an Odd Book Review – What the Hell Is Going on in France?

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Last year on Houdini’s Revenge, I wrote about how the media worldwide completely mishandled the details of the arrest of Varg Vikernes in the summer of 2013.  Seriously, it was a complete mess, and the hearing that occurred on June 3rd of this year was chilling in what it revealed and the implications for anyone in France who may espouse ideas that are contrary to a particular party line.

Before I begin to discuss the situation with Varg, I need to make a couple of statements, one for clarity and the other just because it always comes up and it’s tiresome.  First, let me tell you how I know Varg.  I met him when I was working on a project I started before 9/11 that eventually fell apart because I am sort of chaotic and was even more so back then.  I consider him a friend, and I assume he considers me one, too, though we frequently butt heads.  Second, despite considering Varg a friend, I don’t share all of his beliefs.  I mention this because I get shade from both sides of the fence and it’s annoying, when it isn’t amusing.  Some people assume I am an anti-Semite because I like Varg and that makes them angry.  Interestingly, some remain angry when I explain I don’t hate Jews because they think I should revile Varg for being an anti-Semite.  But then some people who agree with antisemitic ideas find out that I like Varg and that I am not an anti-Semite, and they get angry.  Not long ago some dude who thinks he’s like Charles Martel because being anonymous on the Internet is evidently pretty empowering was so annoyed by me that he social media snarked me with, “Oh, you are a multicultural white genocide supporter?”

Isn’t that how journalists used to know they were on to something – when everyone was pissed off at them?  That’s what I tell myself these days.  So please know I don’t want to hear your opinion about my beliefs, unless you feel that freedom of speech is a bad thing and then I will totally be willing to throw down with you in comments. 

Harry Houdini Will Have His Revenge on Michael and Debi Pearl

This post originally appeared on Houdini's Revenge

Book:  To Train Up a Child

Authors:  Michael and Debi Pearl of No Greater Joy Ministries

Type of Book:  Instruction manual for beating children

Availability:  Not linking to it.  You don’t want to buy it.  If you do want to buy it, I will not abet such a bad decision.

Comments:  This is one of the wickedest books I have ever read and, given who I am and what I read, that is saying a lot.  This is a book so vile, written by a man so degenerate, that there is literally no way for a moral person to discuss it with anything approaching neutrality.  It is a book written solely with the intent of breaking the wills of small children, beating them into submission, and it has become a text used by witless Christian parents to beat their “willful” children to death.  And Michael Pearl is okay with that because he says those parents didn’t beat their children with love in their hearts or they wouldn’t have struck their children repeatedly with plumbing line until their muscles broke down and clogged their kidneys with biological debris, killing them.

This book is deeply problematic beyond just the content, which we will get to in a moment.  This book upsets me so much because though I am an atheist, I know excellent and fine Christians.  My grandfather was one.  He would have rebuked a man like Michael Pearl and if Pearl beat a child or a dog with a piece of wood, a belt, or plumbing line in front of him, Pearl would have found out what it is like to be at the mercy of a larger, angry man.  That is not because my grandfather was some sort of vengeance seeker.  Far from it.  He was not a man who looked for fights.  He would have rebuked Pearl because genuine believers cannot stomach the harms done by True Believers.  Many Christians today have the same reactions to the Westboro Baptist Church.  This book is so deeply problematic because in fundamentalist, legalistic circles, people use this book in the place of their own judgement as Christians, parents and decent human beings.

This is not a condemnation of Christianity.  It is a condemnation of Christians who use Michael and Debi Pearl’s disgusting book of abuse, a book so profoundly horrible that if it was used against prisoners it would be illegal and if it was used on POWs it would be considered war crimes.   So if you want to defend Christianity, don’t do it here.  Christianity is not what is being discussed here.  What is being discussed here is child abuse in the name of Michael Pearl, not God or Jesus, and the way that unthinking faith leads people to do terrible things.

The purpose of To Train Up a Child is to use Amish horse training methods on children, and even then the Amish would likely turn their backs on Pearl if they knew how their methods of taming wild animals were used on children.

Don’t get lost in the details.  Pearl in Chapter One lays out a bunch of explanations of how it is that he is not disciplining children, but rather continually training them so he does not have to discipline them.  He uses Proverbs 22:6 as his rationale:

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Fair enough, but when “training” consists of pulling a nursing infant’s hair, hitting them continually, deliberately putting them in harm’s way to show them they must obey all commands, even those that make zero sense on any rational level, hitting them if they do not obey quickly enough for your satisfaction, what you are doing is brainwashing your child to follow your demented ideas, not any sort of Godly path.  Mindless, shattered, fearful automatons will never depart from the path you put them on.

Michael Pearl (and I refer to him mostly because even though his wife is a co-author, the book is written by him in first person, his wife referred to in the third person) gives a lot of lip service about how one must be calm when beating one’s children.  But as he says that a parent must be calm when training their children, he also goes on to say many times that a child must be trained until they are submissive or broken (he actually uses that word).  He recommends a course of whippings wherein the whippings continue until the child submits.  So as he gives lip service to the notion that a parent must have their head clear when engaging in his training methods, he also insists that training continue – sessions of whippings – until the adult feels the child is broken. The child’s physical welfare is never a part of the parent’s clear mind.  In a way, a clear and “Godly” minded person doing this to a child reeks of sheer sadism.

Why should you “train” your children?  To make them blindly obedient in all situations, of course.

Training is the conditioning of the child’s mind before the crisis arises.  It is preparation for future, instant, unquestioning obedience.

The last quality I would want in any human being is unquestioning obedience but Pearl insists this is to make a child happy because obedient children who have limits are happier.   There is truth in this – children with boundaries live happier lives, but Pearl does not teach boundaries.  In fact, as I will discuss, he doesn’t even permit them in his home.  He insists his children are the best examples of his methods being sound, but when we are finished discussing this book, I will discuss Pearl’s children, one of whom is living a hardscrabble life, engaging in bizarre prophetic visions, barely able to feed her children because her shattered mind and blind obedience made her prey to a man like her father.

People may find this hard to believe, but Pearl advocates beating children when they are infants. Here’s what Pearl did when his babies were able to crawl:

Place an appealing object where they can reach it, maybe in a “No-No” corner or on the apple juice table (another name for the coffee table).  When they spy it and make a dive for it, in a calm voice say, “No, don’t touch that.”  Since they are already familiar with the word “No,” they will likely pause, look at you in wonder, and then turn around and grab it.  Switch their hand once and simultaneously say, “No.”

Pearl says to switch lightly but when you have an implement in your hand to strike an infant, I posit you, the adult, may have little idea what it feels like to have your hand “switched.”  On his site Pearl says to test the implement on yourself but given that he recommends repeated whipping sessions, the adult can easily lose track of how hard he or she is hitting.

Media Criticism: The Arrest of Varg Vikernes

This post originally appeared on Houdini's Revenge

One of the goals of Houdini’s Revenge is to look critically at how we receive information and come to believe what it is we believe.  Because of the way information is disseminated these days, we can no longer expect to read the news and know that we are reading the truth.  But it’s worse than that because these days we can’t even be sure that media outlets are even making an attempt to investigate what they are reporting to the public.  When dozens of websites republish the same initial report, if that initial report is completely wrong, by the time any errors are noted, the story is already all over the world and repeated without reflection.

On July 16, a friend on my Facebook left me a comment telling me that he had thought of me when he read Boing Boing!  I have a lot of strange irons in busy fires, so I had to go comb the site to see what he meant.  Within a minute, all was explained.  Xeni Jardin had posted a blurb that referred to an AFP article about the French police arresting Varg Vikernes.   This is the entire news blurb from Jacques Clement’s AFP article, link to article in quote:

Kristian Vikernes, a Norwegian neo-Nazi black metal musician and convicted killer who goes by the name of “Varg,” has been arrested in France over suspicions that he was planning a “major terrorist act.” He is reported to be linked to Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik, and he once stabbed a fellow musician to death, and set fire to several churches in the early 1990s.

Regardless of what anyone thinks of Vikernes’ politics, social beliefs or his past, we should all be extremely concerned that this news blurb from AFP that became the backbone of dozens and dozens of articles that reported this story has two major problems in just two sentences.  The first is that Varg Vikernes has not been known as “Kristian” in almost two decades.  Calling him “Kristian Vikernes” and mentioning he goes by “Varg” is like writing an article about “Thomas Mapother IV” and mentioning he goes by Tom Cruise.  I have no idea why AFP made the decision to make that strange distinction, but it set the tone for what was to come in the second sentence.

The second sentence is a hoot.  Varg Vikernes was “reported to be linked to” Anders Behring Breivik?  Ten minutes on Google would have made it impossible for any reporter worth a tinker’s damn to support such an accusation.  If nothing else, it would have made for far better reporting to have at least investigated what Varg had said about Breivik before they had run articles about his arrest.  Perhaps they could have added Varg’s own words from his websites as a counterpoint to the charges against him.  Perhaps Clement could have, you know, reported instead of vomiting up the vomiting up some official reports and adding some sly insinuations to spice up his article. 

Boston Marathon Conspiracy Theories: The Shooting of Sean Collier

This post originally appeared on Houdini's Revenge

The post-bombing activities of April 18-19 were strange. Deeply weird. The actions of the Tsarnaev brothers, when verifiable, made no sense and the shooting of MIT police officer Sean Collier made so little sense that is has fueled a lot of speculation that the Tsarnaev brothers were not responsible for his murder at all.  The narrative of the murder of Sean Collier feeds a lot of “Dzhokhar Was Framed” theories and is almost a wholly separate conspiracy theory unto itself.

Increasingly, with the exception of the usual conspiracy theory suspects, I really do think the cause of all of the conspiracies created about the Boston bombings and the subsequent mayhem can be summed up in two statements:

1)  The FBI has yet again permitted an act of terrorism to occur in the USA due to another complete breakdown in intelligence gathering and sharing, and their investigative choices after the Boston bombing have raised more questions than they have answered.  I suspect the FBI has always been this much a mess but before the Internet it was harder for the average citizen to analyze their various errors.

2)  The mainstream media in the English-speaking world is mostly a disgrace.  I suspect that mainstream journalism has always been this much a mess but before the Internet it was harder for the average citizen to analyze their various errors.

Any analysis of how Sean Collier was shot to death can only come about by exploring the story with those two statements in mind.  Worse, given that this is yet another instance wherein the American public has to take the FBI’s word for it that there is proof the Tsarnaev brothers were involved in an atrocious activity, the discussion of Sean Collier has an unfortunate “second verse, same as the first” ring to it.   The FBI says they have proof, and more on that in a bit, but even if they have proof, the path to such proof is filled with detours that make it hard to put much faith in the idea that we will ever see anything about this case clearly.  As much as I urge everyone to have patience, to wait to see what the prosecution has in store for Dzhokhar, to wait to see what the FBI or the US Attorney General’s Office may eventually choose to share with us, I can see all too clearly why it is so many people are unwilling to wait.  Just the media idiocy with the Collier case alone is conspiracy fodder.

Boston Marathon Bombing Conspiracies: “Pretty Chilling”

This post originally appeared on Houdini's Revenge

I have stated many times throughout my discussions of the Boston bombings that I believe the mainstream media and the details from the official investigation itself have fueled as much conspiracy theory as the “usual suspects” have created.  Boston has been notable in the realm of conspiracy theory in how so many people who are not conspiracy theorists have begun to think something is being hidden and that we are being manipulated, or at the very least that everyone involved in the case is incompetent.

They have very good reasons for thinking this way because the media handling of the case and the investigative decisions have been a complete mess. My article on the “Alex Jones-ification of the Mainstream Media” showed dismay at the original reporting in the case and, when I wrote it, I thought we had seen the nadir of the misreporting but I was wrong. Even worse, I was completely unprepared for the official investigative statements that seem to be making everything worse. At this point, anyone paying close attention to the details of the case should be having a hard time believing much of any official narrative about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s role in the Boston bombing, his role in the various shootouts in Watertown and the confession he allegedly gave federal interrogators.

This is worth paying close attention to.  The low standards of reporting and the continually changing stories from the investigators as they engage in activities that ten years ago would have been unconstitutional and grounds for prosecution are actual, provable harms.  While people are agitating about staged scenes and casting aspersions on bomb victims, while people are making disgusting anti-semitic accusations, the press and the government are legitimately doing terrible things that are less exciting than creating fantastic theories that would be too outrageous even for movies.  Were I a conspiracy theorist, I might wonder about the motivations of those who are engaging in such insulting flights of fancy.  But mostly I think theories are created for mundane reasons that have nothing to do with being government plants or purveyors of disinformation.  But the end result is the same.  But while people are contemplating a staged attack that five minutes on Google proves couldn’t have happened, the press are merrily reporting garbage and the investigation is changing their official story whenever it suits them and the waters have been so muddied by the usual conspiracy theory suspects that people are afraid of being tarred with the same irrational brush if they speak out and say, “There are so many problems with the case against the Tsarnaev brothers that I do not know if they were even involved.”

One of the reasons I cannot throw my hat emphatically behind Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as a bomber is because none of the evidence that the government claims to have proving he planted a bomb has been seen by anyone who spoke to the press and because the eyewitness identification that led the FBI to identify the Tsarnaev brothers is shaky at best.  There are some who think that the FBI doesn’t have a tape that shows Dzhokhar planting a bomb and their suspicions are very much an element of the “Dzhokhar Was Framed” theory.

Let’s begin discussing the whole mess with Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts. 

Boston Marathon Conspiracy Theories: Dzhokhar Is Dead

This post originally appeared on Houdini's Revenge

In several places online I have seen people postulate that they think that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is dead.  With one sickening exception, the Dzhokhar Is Dead rumors are benign and based on assumptions that are easy to understand.  But even as they are easy to understand, there’s not much to back the theories because they are all fueled by the fact that we haven’t seen Dzhokhar moving since he stepped out of the boat in Watertown on April 19.  An uncredited and unverified picture of him, presumably after surgery, was leaked, and in it he looks pretty bad.  Since then, the public has not seen him.  He was taken from Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, where he was rushed on April 19, and transferred to a federal prison hospital, Federal Medical Center Devens and at no time did anyone in the public witness the transfer.

Though no one in the public has seen Dzhokhar, there are pretty clear signs that he is alive.  He recently was permitted to speak to his mother on the telephone, and told her he was recovering, among other things. There is always the possibility that Zubeidat Tsarnaeva was listening to someone else on the phone, as Zubeidat reports that the call was very quiet and it was hard for them to hear each other.  However, this situation is different from Maret Tsarnaeva insisting the man in the Naked Guy video is her nephew despite not having seen him in over five years.  One presumes a mother will know her son’s voice, even if she has been away from him for a while.  Given how vocal Zubeidat has been about her suspicions about staging and false flags, and that the police killed Tamerlan after taking him into custody peacefully, had she any suspicion that the boy on the phone was not her son, she would have shouted it from the rooftops.

Some people find Zubeidat Tsarnaeva a bit odd but there are other people who have had access to  Dzhokhar.  He has a defense team that has seen him and fought for and won permission to photograph him. Evidently Dzhokhar is in such bad shape that his physical state could be used in his favor in court (and if he is so debilitated weeks after the shootout that it is remarkable enough that it needs to be introduced in court, it points to the notion that perhaps he was in no state to have been interrogated after surgery, but more on that in another entry).  That a defense team is going to photograph him should give lie to the idea he is dead.  Moreover, from a place of anecdote, the presence of Judy Clarke on Dzhokhar’s defense team should calm suspicions about Dzhokhar’s death.  An independent thinker, Clarke is one of the last people I can think of who would participate in a conspiracy wherein she would have to cover up the death of a client or defend a doppelganger.  Raised by John Birchers, she became rabidly anti-death penalty and has long been an advocate for people the government and private citizens would genuinely like to see dead, like child murderer Susan Smith. Judy Clarke’s presence on Dzhokhar’s defense team should comfort those who think him dead or fear for his long-term safety pre-trial.

I am of the opinion that much is odd about the accusations against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and I worry that he is being treated harshly or that the we have been misled about the state of his injuries after the shootout.  I am not the only one. A rumor that I have not been able to prove through any legitimate source insists that Dzhokhar also has a broken arm that he received either during prison mistreatment or as the result of the shootout at the boat.  That such a rumor didn’t immediate strike me as unlikely says something about the quality of reporting that has accompanied Tsarnaev throughout this case (it appears to have originated from a faked transcription of the phone call Zubiedat had with Dzhokhar, since removed from the VK account where I first saw it).  We were told weeks after the boat in Watertown was searched that a note had been found so it’s not unlikely Dzhokhar could have broken his arm before or in custody and the news not have filtered out. I would not be surprised if Dzhokhar’s physical state is far worse than the public has been led to believe but the call with his mother and the defense team’s presence, especially now that they can photograph him, should dispel most of the rumors.  Hardline conspiracy theorists who believe the whole world is in on the conspiracy cannot be swayed but for the rest of us, I think we can rest assured he is at least alive.

But even as most of the “he’s dead” theories about Dzhokhar are largely benign, there is a theory that verges into the malignant.  I am not sure if the video in question was created by StillSpeakingOut but his or her YouTube channel is the first place I have seen this video and every single share of it I have seen originated from that channel.  There are other channels that have uploaded this video but they don’t come close to the view numbers that StillSpeakingOut has.  Therefore I will, for rhetorical purposes, attribute the video to StillSpeakingOut and will be only too happy to edit this text if another creator is revealed.  The “Free Jahar” fandom of young women who have no idea what “Zionist” may mean in this context have been a boon to this video, sharing it without much thought as they scare each other with vapid rumor.  For them this video is like a campfire story that ends with a car door and a hook except this time the hook is anti-semitism.

Boston Marathon Bombing Conspiracies: Dzhokhar Was Framed/Is a Patsy

This post originally appeared on Houdini's Revenge

Much of the conspiracy theory that has sprung up around the Boston Marathon bombing is spun from whole cloth, caused by misinterpretation of basic facts or is the result of complete cognitive failures on the parts of the theorists.  95% of the conspiracy theories can be debunked pretty easily, though I still put in the time because I think objective truth is worth working for.

But I have to say that there is so much strangeness surrounding Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that while I do not think he has been made a patsy by The Forces That Be, I can also say that  the media and governmental failures in this case are responsible directly for a lot of the conspiracy theory that has been formed around the idea that Dzhokhar is innocent.  When the mainstream media and the actual investigative agencies screw up this much, we have to expect conspiracies to crop up.  The regular conspiracy theory suspects are going to create theories but this time lots of regular people have been sucked into conspiracy theory because they find it difficult to believe what any agency or news source has to say about the case.  Some of what I write here will also be found in my article about the media failures and what may seem like odd governmental actions in the Boston bombing case, but I think they are worth repeating.  And frankly some repetition is inevitable.  And impossible.  It’s all been horked up in some sort of conspiracy theory hairball.  It’s just one big, interconnected mess.

There are so many conspiracies and so many rumors about Dzhokhar that again I find myself forced to break them out into separate entries.  Some may not be “theories” as such but rather examinations of evidence that play a role in the “Dzhokhar Was Framed” theories.  I feel I need to break them up into single entries because otherwise I will have a 20,000 word document, if that short, for all of the theories.  And a new one seems to pop up every day.   If you have a particular Dzhokhar conspiracy theory you would like to see explored here, let me know.  As many as I have found, I bet there are a lot more I haven’t read yet.  Stay tuned for some debunking and, and I have to be blunt here, lots of complaining about how information is disseminated by online sources and mainstream media.

While you are waiting for my first Dzhokhar debunk, be sure to have a look at my discussion of the “Free Jahar” fandom and be sure to check back later as I add to the Dzhokhar theory discussions.

Boston Marathon Bombing Conspiracies: The Jahart Throb

This post originally appeared on Houdini's Revenge

I initially wanted to discuss the fandom that has sprung up around Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the conspiracy theories about Dzhokhar, mostly scenarios that involve him having been framed.  As I wrote, it became clear to me this needed to be a section on its own.  The fandom is important to any discussion of conspiracy theory in the Boston bombings, but the girls in the fandom are not actual creators of theory. They just share what is already out there. I want to discuss them because I think that they are a subset of conspiracy theory in general – a mini moral panic, and a misrepresented one at that.  Also I initially thought these girls were a bellwether of sorts, a case study of what happens when we don’t teach our young people how to tell a good source from bad, how to research claims people make, and how to engage in independent thought without leaving the realm of reason.

While I still think we can see some failures in how we teach young people to process data, I also think this particular fandom has been blown up by the media into just another excuse to clutch pearls, declaiming These Kids Today.  A few articles about the Free Jahar fandom are even-handed but the bulk focus on the teen crush angle, insinuating that all the people online who are concerned about the “evidence” against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are just angst-filled teeny-boppers.  I also think a lot of the discussion about this topic is click bait, an easy way to draw people who want to gawk at the salaciousness of young women lusting after a suspected killer, dun dun DUN!  (Please note that Jahar is an anglicized spelling of Dzhokhar.)

However, before I talk about the girls who make up the group/fandom that so many media venues have mocked, I want to make a distinction.  There are “Free Jahar” groups that do not focus on the relative attractiveness of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and it is my belief that many articles bashing the “Free Jaharists” as silly, love-struck girls have mixed the more serious groups in to make the fandom group seem larger.  A few hundred girls on Tumblr acting like teenage girls often do isn’t newsworthy.  Fifteen thousand girls mooning over a suspected bomber and spreading wretched conspiracy theory is marginally more newsworthy.  But from all the reading I have done (and thank me later for taking that hit – I should subtitle this blog “I read this crap so you don’t have to!”), the girls who spawned the Gawker article that got this ball rolling are entirely different from the larger groups they have been lumped into.

Early articles discussing the “Jihotties” reference a large Facebook group that was later shut down.  There is a current, private Free Jahar Facebook  that has almost 15,000 members, and from what I have gathered, this is a continuation of the Facebook community that got shut down, reforming after the dust settled.  I joined this community and read a lot of the status updates there and this community is definitely not a fandom, nor is it steeped in conspiracy theory, though potential conspiracy is discussed.  There are no sighs about how cute Dzhohkar is and the bulk of the community maintain a reasonably intelligent discussion level, though there are a few odd drawings of Dzhokhar and someone posted an article about psychic predictions of the Boston bombing.  A few people post new pictures they find of Dzhokhar, but none of the sillier elements to this Facebook group are the focus of the group. Yet I think that this group is used to plump up the numbers in reports of the infinitely more interesting, media-wise, fandom.  A fandom is far easier to mock and to dismiss than collectives of mostly young people who think there are serious problems with the case against Dzhokhar.  (ETA: And an hour after I posted this entry I see a post wherein someone touts a paranoid and lunatic video wherein some gubernatorial candidate in Nevada is convinced DHS staged the Boston Marathon bombing.  I have no idea what I was thinking, assuming that any place was safe from the gut punch of bad conspiracy theory.  I’m sure within minutes someone will post a cuddly picture of Jahar, but for a brief few days, there was a place wherein people were discussing problems in the case against Dzhokhar intelligently.  I take some comfort in that very few people have responded to it, either by comments or by likes – some very small comfort.  But they aren’t behaving like a fandom so my original analysis still stands in that regard. )

From what I have read, I would be very surprised if there are more than a thousand girls in the Free Jahar fandom.  The largest open group of the sorts of “Free Jaharists” sensationalized on Gawker I can find is a Facebook group with around 600 members.  FreeJahar on Twitter has around 1,800 followers.  The other names on Twitter associated with the Justice for Dzhokhar “movement” have substantially fewer followers.  Troy Crossley, an aspiring rapper, who was once friends with Dzhokhar and who is vocal in his support for his friend, has over 15,000 followers.  Troy’s account, however, pre-dates the Boston bombing attack and I have no way of knowing how many followers he had before April 19.  None of the actual “Justice for Jahar” Twitter accounts even come close to having the number of followers Troy has.  But for the sake of argument, let’s lump all the serious groups in with the fandoms.  Even if every single Troy Crossley follower, lurid Dzhokhar Tumblr user and member of the largest Free Jahar Facebook account are unique users and are representative of the love-sick fandom mocked in the mainstream press, the Free Jahar movement is still very, very small.  All combined, they would represent .01% of Americans and it must be stated that these groups are international.  There may very well be more people in the world who think the Earth is flat and think that the Cottingley Fairies were real.

Boston Marathon Bombing Conspiracy: Craft International, False Flag – UPDATED

This post originally appeared on Houdini's Revenge

I can’t determine what site or what commentator initially brought up Craft/Blackwater but there’s a lot of information about it out on the web. Craft International started being mentioned on April 17, two days after the bombings.  Pontifications about the possible presence of Craft International at the Boston Marathon blossomed into full force false flag paranoia on April 18. Alex Jones, the ruddy huckster, was a force behind accusations against Craft International as being part of a false flag, which makes sense because he was literally the first conspiracy theorist to declare false flag as the cause behind the Boston bombings.  He waited a cool 41 minutes after the bombings before he invoked false flag, and I have to commend him for his restraint.  It had to have hurt him to wait that long.  But he had to have sighed with relief when people began to notice the men in the black caps with the black backpacks because then he had something upon which to pin his false flag allegations.

I suspect I will mention this again when I discuss all of the false flag accusations that happened before 4/18, but it is logically impossible to declare any violent event a government-inspired false flag before the government has even had a chance to declare a suspect.  How can it be a false flag before the government has even told us an official story?  It can’t, unless you are convinced that every horrible thing that ever happens is obviously planned by the government against innocent Americans in order to strip us of our rights in some sort of eventual Constitutional rights denigration in the name of… whatever it those who invoke false flag during a stiff wind fear.  At that point, all evidence is just confirmation bias.  They knew a false flag was going to happen.  They had to wait for one.  And that’s crappy logic and evidence analysis.

agentsStill, the Craft International rumors had some steam.  The discussion and accusations were provoked by the number of men on the ground at the scene of the bombing, before and after, dressed identically. The men were wearing khaki pants, khaki boots, black zip-up jackets, black caps with what appear to be skulls on them, and black backpacks.