This Is Not an Odd Books Discussion: Stop talking about Libor shooter conspiracies

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

I run a site devoted to bizarre books and ideas. I am about to launch a site devoted to debunking bad ideas, mostly focusing on books about conspiracy theory. While I would not consider myself an expert on conspiracy theory, I think it can be accepted that I know a thing or two about a thing or two.

Let me state very clearly: There is no link between the Libor bank scandal and the Aurora and Newtown shootings. Fabian4Liberty, one of the main sources for this theory, made a video explaining the conspiracy. Far be it from me to suggest he should crawl under a rock from the shame of manipulating the deaths of many to fuel the vainglorious arrogance that stokes conspiracy theory (he knows the real truth, dontcha know, and the rest of us are sheep if we disagree and rely on fact rather than half-baked and scurrilous speculation).

It is all nonsense. There are no Senate Banking Committee hearings scheduled on the Libor scandal and even if there were, neither Holmes nor Lanza would have been called to testify. There is no witness list because there are no hearings scheduled. I repeat: Robert Holmes and Peter Lanza are on no Libor hearings witness list because the Senate Banking Committee has no Libor hearings scheduled.  You will note that none of the proponents of this conspiracy theory have produced a list of people who were scheduled to testify at this non-existent hearing.  There is not a lick of actual evidence that proves anything Fabian4Justice asserts.

That should be the end of it, but most conspiracy theory True Believers won’t let that deter them, and they are spreading this garbage all over the Internet.  So let’s discuss it in a bit more depth.

Robert Holmes, father of the Aurora shooter, was an anti-fraud engineer for FICO. In a way, there is a certain demented logic in linking Holmes to the Libor scandal because FICO assigns credit scores in the USA . But it is a stretch to extrapolate an anti-fraud engineer for FICO into having the expertise necessary to be an expert witness on British banks falsely reporting interest rates and how that affected US derivative markets. A large stretch. There is no link between FICO and the Libor scandal and Holmes’ anti-fraud work with FICO. None.

The situation with Peter Lanza is even more tenuous and, frankly, stupid as hell. Lanza worked for GE as the vice-president of the tax division. GE has no link to the Libor scandal at all and one wonders how a man who worked in a tax division of a large corporation would have the expertise needed to help unravel interest rate misreporting in the UK and how it affected US  financial products like student loans and mortgage rates.

So there are no Libor hearings scheduled by the Senate Banking Committee. There is no witness list.  Neither Holmes nor Lanza had the expertise needed to testify in such matters.  Those simple facts slay this bizarre theory, and there is no need to discuss the fact that Suzanne Collins is from Newtown and that The Dark Knight Rises had financial shenanigans in the plot. Moreover, if the fact that the theory has descended into such minutia wherein it is important to note that an author of a Young Adult dystopian novel series hailed from a place where a disturbed young man killed children does not give you pause, then likely nothing anyone says can dissuade you from this strange and demented course of anti-logic.

But let me throw this your way, just to be another voice in the wilderness asking for sanity: Say Holmes and Lanza had been on a witness list for non-existent Libor hearings.  How on earth did “the forces that be” gain access to their sons, engage them in intense brainwashing so that they would commit horrific mass killings and do so without anyone noticing. Lanza lived with his mother – it beggars belief that a group of covert bank apologists working for some shadowy New World Order organization could have taken him from his mother and engaged him in the sort of brainwashing that would have led him to go on a rampage.

People unfamiliar with psychopharmacology may think that anyone who takes certain drugs can become a Manchurian Candidate. Possibly, but the sort of drug reaction that can make one psychotic enough to snap and engage in a mass murder will make it impossible to engage in the sort of planning both Holmes and Lanza exhibited before their rampages. The sorts of drugs that can make one susceptible to rampage training do exist but it still takes time to train such people and, if MK-ULTRA is anything to go by, mass murder assassination training is dicey at best.

But all of this asks the question: If there was indeed a list of people meant to testify before the Senate Banking Committee, what would training the unstable sons of two of the witnesses to perform mass murder ultimately do to the hearing process? Was this shadowy agency planning on manipulating mentally shaky family members of each person on the list? And if so, how does doing so manipulate those called to testify into withdrawing as witnesses? The government could compel them to testify even if they withdrew. Also, if I knew my child had been coerced into mass murder on behalf of a strange government organization to prevent me from testifying, I would redouble my efforts to make sure my voice was heard. Many would. Especially if they were already against the wall, known as parents as some of the worst mass murderers in history. What more can happen to their reputations and family?

And if this was an attempt to discredit the witnesses by painting them as untrustworthy because they raised mass murderers, it brings us back to the idea that this shadowy agency would have to engage in a lot of covert brainwashing in order to discredit all the people on that imaginary witness list.

Guys, there are unstable people in this world who do terrible things. While the motives behind those who create these theories are often unclear to me aside from the self-aggrandizement that comes from being separate from the “sheeple,” I understand all too well why people believe this crap. But it makes them defensive when I state the reasons, so I won’t.

Instead, I will just ask that any True Believer demand to see the witness lists that Holmes and Lanza supposedly appeared on.  Withhold judgement until you see those lists.  Do not take anyone at their word – not even me.  Demand solid, clear proof before buying into any of this.  Demand actual, accountable proof before you forward a single e-mail, share a Facebook status or retweet anything.

Conspiracy theory preys on the modern lack of perspicacity, as we see words on a screen and assume they have legitimacy.  The purveyors of lies rely on people believing them without question, which is the same reasoning they use against non-believers.  They accuse us of being mindless robots who refuse to see reason, but  refusing to believe without proof is a sign of mental strength. Don’t be weak. Don’t fall for this garbage.  Children were killed because an unstable young man shot them to death.  Not because the government wants to control your access to guns.  Not because an unnamed shadow organization wanted to stop testimony.  The children are dead because a mentally ill man shot them.  In this case, the truth really is harder to accept than the all the various lies.

One last thing: May those who have exploited the Aurora and Newton shootings to fit their pet paranoias eventually feel the hot blast of shame and condemnation deserved by charlatans.

36 thoughts on “This Is Not an Odd Books Discussion: Stop talking about Libor shooter conspiracies

  1. I had to Google this to make sure you weren’t posting an early April Fool’s gag. This is the first I’m hearing about this and it’s ridiculous on the face of it. What the hell is wrong with people?

    1. I tend to be very kind to most conspiracy believers so I get e-mails. Lots of e-mails.

      Also don’t forget to leave a comment in my contest, which I describe in my entry before this. You’ve been such a great supporter of this site so I don’t want you to potentially miss out on the one contest I hosted this year!

      1. Honestly, it’s difficult to post a proper entry to your contest, because it’s been kind of a lame year for me, for books at least. I just didn’t care for most of what I read! And I hate to just be negative, so it’s taking some digging to think of something I actually liked. A sad story, I know….

    2. The author is very cool. Nice irony and double play. And how to get hits. Impressed. Oh and on the libor thing. Yes a credit agency worker, high up, and a tax advisor particularly for GE in 2007 would have a lot to say about the impact of fudging base indicator rates. GE was the first to close their mortgage division in Australia and had massive exposure to spongy (crap) debt.

      1. DJC, when you yourself run a website that you presumably want people to read, it takes a special kind of cognitive dissonance or utter delusion to dismiss anyone else’s online effort as being just a means of getting hits. Nice irony and double play? I have no idea what earth you mean. There is literally zero irony in this entry. Glib and puzzling dismissals that have no basis in truth, offered when there is nothing else to defend their bizarre ideas, are the hallmarks of True Believers.

        But more to the point, you are wrong. I can see that Robert Holmes has a high level of expertise writing algorithms to detect fraud (though the original theory had him testifying in his role as a FICO employee and not reliant on his status as a mathematical genius). But it’s hard to see how simply having expertise means he is a de facto witness. Until there is a witness list produced that shows that he was key in unraveling the Libor scandal or that he is needed now that the conspiracy is uncovered, all of this is a moot point. I know a moot point has never stopped proponents of conspiracy theory from speculation, but a girl can dream…

        As for Lanza, only a True Believer would think that a vice-president for the tax division in a company that was in no way implicated in the Libor scandal would have the expertise necessary to testify in regards to British banks manipulating interest rates and how that manipulation affected American financial commodities. Taxes and interest rates and commodity sales are all quite different in the expertise needed to be a expert on them.

        Furthermore, GE shut down their presence in Australia because they were taking a bath in subprime mortgages, not because they were involved in criminal activity. The bank’s craven desire to make money in subprime loans perhaps should be a crime but GE left Australia via selling their mortgage liabilities to Pepper Loans, not because they were in any way involved in Libor manipulation. Again, only a conspiracy theorist could link GE selling off subprime loans because they ineptly loaned money as being a key player in the Libor scandal.

        But you and all those who are pushing this nonsense can stop the debunkers like me in our tracks: Produce the witness lists. Easy enough. Of course you can’t produce the ones that supposedly came from the Senate Banking Committee because there is no Senate Banking Committee hearings pending concerning the Libor scandal. I guess that means you would have to turn to the New York and Connecticut state investigators but those witness lists are evidently not public, which of course asks the question how anyone could have known that Lanza and Holmes were on the lists since at no point did anyone mention an internal leak (I’m sure that will come later as more yarn is spun).

        Thanks for the comment but if you can’t produce “proof” stronger than what you coughed up just now, you’re not really adding much to the discussion.

        1. Ha!

          The obvious answer is that it’s easy to say I have some sort of financial motive behind writing this, and therefore my opinion can be dismissed as being the sort of dross created by one who only is looking for financial gain.

          Though perhaps I should put up ads. If I am going to subject myself to this sort of traffic, perhaps I should get some small reward for it. I’m sure this entry and the traffic it generated would be worth a cool 20 cents on AdSense. BRB, rolling on a bed covered in loose change.

  2. Interesting.

    I find it fascinating that people feel the need to place blame and try to figure out “why” things like this happened.

    I know why. Freaky people do freaky things. They always have and they always will.

    Guns or no guns, meds or no meds. Freaks will be freaks.

    1. Unless you have research what SSRI’s can do to the mind please refrain from passing off the antidepressants influence on society

      1. Mary, what on earth are you talking about? Brian said nothing about antidepressants and neither did I. The word meds covers a lot of bases and generally when MK-Ultra is invoked, Prozac and Celexa are not what people are talking about when they talk about the sort of psychopharmacology that could be used to create a Manchurian Candidate. If you have some axe to grind about antidepressants, how about you engage in some specificity? Otherwise this bizarre one-liner adds nothing to the discussion about this particular conspiracy theory.

  3. GE certainly does have direct links to LIBOR. They are one of the defendants. This fact is easily verifiable. Why would you claim otherwise?

    I agree with most of what you are saying about conspiracy theories, but you do nothing to absolve yourself or promote your credibility by printing blatant falsehoods.

    We wouldn’t have these disinformation conspiracies if people could just stick to the verifiable facts rather than just saying what fits their version of events. I agree that the Lanza Holmes link is loose and unsubstantiated. But saying that GE has no involvement in LIBOR, just to support your story makes you just another person to be ignored.

    And for the record there ARE LIBOR hearings scheduled. They have been going on since July. HSBC is already settling damages from the outcome of this hearing. This is another verifiable fact that you flatly contradict. WTF is wrong with you? Regardless of what lies have been spread about this story, you are not helping or clearing the air by spreading more. Your lies are the most blatant of any presented so far. Sad…

    1. Stoppit, thanks for your comment.

      Aside from people asserting it in paranoid blog entries, where is your proof that GE is a “defendant” in the Libor scandal? If you want to make the claim that GE is in fact a defendant in a US court case or asked to appear in US hearings, please provide evidence. I would be only too happy to revise this entry if GE is proven to be involved in a court case or hearing in the USA as it pertains to Libor (or even the UK for that matter).

      If I may be so bold, I think that, for many, the misconception that GE is a “defendant” stems from comment caches that appear at the bottom of Google search entries. People search for GE and Libor and see GE mentioned in some capacity in a CNN or WSJ article about the Libor scandal and in haste do not realize that the company is mentioned by people in comments who are angry about bank bailouts and corporate greed and that GE was not mentioned in the actual article as having involvement in the scandal. GE was also involved in some municipal bond shenanigans and given how complex Libor is, it makes sense that people would see the muni scandal mentioned and think it is part of the Libor scandal. No idea if either of these are how you came to your conclusions but it is an explanation of how otherwise honest people may have concluded that Fabian4Liberty has a leg to stand on.

      I was very clear in this entry that I was discussing the rumor that the Senate Banking Committee has upcoming hearings on the Libor scandal and that Holmes and Lanza were on the witness list. I wasn’t discussing hearings in the UK or civil court cases in the UK. The rumor was specific – Senate Banking Committee hearings and Lanza and Holmes as witnesses. Provide proof that the Senate Banking Committee is holding hearings because that is at the heart of the conspiracy theory.

      HSBC indeed received over $1 billion in fines for their role in the Libor scandal. What does that have to do with GE supposedly being involved in Libor and anyone from the company being on a list to testify before the Senate Banking Committee? Please clarify if there was indeed a purpose in invoking HSBC. I sense that you wanted to indicate that there are hearings, but I didn’t deny that the US is investigating the Libor scandal. It affected mortgage rates and other financial products. Of course the US is investigating. But the issue here is whether or not the Senate Banking Committee has GE and FICO in their sights as defendants or witnesses in an upcoming hearing. Until you show that there is such a hearing, nothing you say here about banks being fined has anything to do with my original complaint about the rumors flying about on the Internet.

      To be blunt, unless you can provide actual evidence that GE is a defendant in any capacity in any US court case or hearing regarding the Libor scandal and that the Senate Banking Committee is holding or about to hold hearings on the Libor scandal, there is no sense in even replying because I have no time for responding to blanket obfuscations that don’t have a lick of proof to them or have nothing to do with the matter at hand. However, as I said above, if you can provide any evidence, I’ll be only too happy to revise this entry.

    1. Hi, Trevor. Thanks for the comment.

      I read through the Financial Post article you linked to and unfortunately it doesn’t show any links between Libor and GE. What this article is discussing are the number of financial scandals banks have been involved in recently. As I mentioned in my comment above to Stoppit, GE was indeed involved in a municipal bond scandal for which they were heavily fined. That municipal bond scandal does not have anything to do with the Libor scandal.

      Here are are some important passages to pay attention to in the article:
      Banksters are being exposed one after another for indulging in widespread interest rate manipulation, power market collusion and municipal bond bid rigging.
      The article is discussing three separate wrong doings and one of them is municipal bond rigging, which is where GE entered the picture.

      After that, article first talks about the Libor interest rate manipulation. Then it discusses power market bidding manipulation by JP Morgan Chase & Co., Barclays Bank PLC and Deutsche Bank AG, plus intermediaries.

      Then the article discusses GE’s municipal bond manipulation. Here’s the most pertinent section:
      A third case grinds away in courts, without much fanfare, but involves some of the same banks. This concerns allegations about manipulation of municipal bond rates that cost local and state governments millions over a number of years.

      So far, the Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., UBS AG, Wells Fargo & Co. and GE’s former trading unit called GE Funding have paid $743 million to settle a criminal probe and civil claims for conspiring to rig bids on U.S. municipal-bond deals. Some money has been returned to victims.

      The case involving GE went to court and revealed how the scams were done. The Securities and Exchange Commission said GE Funding made millions by rigging 328 transactions in 44 states. GE operatives would get information about competing bids then adjust theirs accordingly. Sometimes they would take turns, with other intermediaries, putting in bids that were guaranteed to lose. Three individuals have been convicted of anti-trust violations.

      GE’s municipal bond scandal is wholly and entirely different from the Libor scandal. The only link is that large corporations often feel above the law. I’m glad you linked to this article because, as I said before, I am sure many people read an article about the Libor scandal, a very complicated subject, and when they see GE mentioned in a different capacity for wrong doing, or even in comments as an example of corporate fraud, it’s hard to see the distinctions. But this article is discussing GE’s muni scandal, not showing their role in the Libor scandal.

      Here’s what I know about Robert Holmes: Holmes has a doctorate and helped create a system to detect fraud in telecommunications. In his capacity at FICO he wrote models to predict various forms of financial fraud. He may well be a leading scientist in his field of work – he’s certainly been called a mathematical genius. Anything beyond that is speculation because if you trace this back to the original bloggers who were spitting at the wall to see what would stick, they stated Holmes’ expertise and then said it was “rumored” that he could have the skill to determine fraud in the Libor scandal (interestingly some of the original rumors centered around him finding “trillions” siphoned out of the TARP fund – how it twisted into the Libor scandal would be worth a look were I not so tired of it all). The “rumor” part got dropped when conspiracy theorists began to flog this unlikely story.

      I know you didn’t intend to flog a link that didn’t say what you thought it said, but really it’s good that you did. It’s a very good example of how people who are putting effort into finding truth can get sidelined in a lot of details about complicated financial scandals.

  4. You might want to tell Geithner and Bernanke that they weren’t in front of the Senate earlier testifying about the LIBOR scandal.

    1. Jenna, you might want to go back and read what I wrote. The conspiracy theory is that the Senate Banking Committee has upcoming hearings about the Libor scandal and that Holmes and Lanza were on a witness list to testify. There are no upcoming Senate Banking Committee hearings on the Libor scandal, which means there is no witness list wherein Holmes and Lanza were slated to appear before the Senate Banking Committee, and Geithner and Bernanke appearing before the Senate has zero to do with the conspiracy theory I am refuting. I appreciate that you took the time to leave a comment but it doesn’t add anything useful to the conversation.

    2. Oh, and by the way, your comment was utterly misleading, though I seldom expect much from drive-bys like this. When Bernanke discussed Libor before the Senate Banking Committee, he was there delivering the Federal Reserves’s semi-annual monetary policy report. It was not a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Libor, nor was it even a Senate hearing on Libor. It was the Fed delivering an expected speech and being questioned by the Senate Banking Committee and Libor was just one of the topics discussed.

      Geithner also appeared before the Senate panel to specifically discuss Libor, but, again, it was not a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Libor. A Senate panel is not a subcommittee hearing.

      Neither man has appeared before the Senate Banking Committee as witnesses called for a hearing on the Libor Scandal. And that would be because there have been no Senate Banking Committee hearings on the Libor scandal nor are any slated as of this writing.

      All of that, just so you know, is meaningless as I said in my initial response. Even if either man had been called as witnesses before the Senate Banking Committee and both gave testimony exclusive to the Libor scandal, it still would not prove that Holmes and Lanza were due to testify but were scared off when their sons were turned into Manchurian Candidates.

      ETA: I didn’t realize I was not logged in when I posted this comment, so I edited it to show it came from me. Sorry about that!

  5. There is one connection I haven’t seen anyone mention: both of these shooters likely felt a need to “be somebody” afterm years of neglect by fathers who care more about worshipping at the altar of The Almighty Dollar than being a good dad. Add to this the fact that essentially every corporate money-monger is a Republican, and you have a situation wherein the family was likely to surround themselves with political bias that included pro-gun propaganda and bravado.

    1. I need to read more about both shootings to get a grip on the family structures for Holmes and Lanza, so I can’t comment about the political biases about either family. But Lanza’s case, I do have to admit that as a pro-2A liberal, I was shocked that he had access to guns. His mother knew he was unstable and she permitted her son to live in a place where her guns were evidently unsecured, including her assault weapon. If people are going to support gun rights and exercise those rights, responsibility is key. There was something very wrong with the Lanza family’s approach to guns at the very least.

      It is all very sad and maddening.

  6. You are correct. The Senate Banking Committee does not have a case scheduled. It’s because these cases are being brought in the States of New York and Connecticut.

    As far as the Lanza/Holmes connection goes, I don’t think all the results are in on that one. IMO, too early to debunk it.

    What causes people to pursue these stories is because many of us have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars due to these kinds of things and TARP was also one big huge scam. You are right when you say this is VERY complicated and it does boggle the minds of those of us who have merely a rudimentary understanding of economics and politics. However, since we do not get satisfaction from the usual sources, we are forced to try and ferret out the information for ourselves. The witness list, for example, is not public. That does NOT mean it doesn’t exist. Time will tell.

    1. Emma, thanks for the comment. Though I disagree completely with your perspective, I do appreciate the chance to discuss the points you bring up.

      Let’s assume that the people who initially flogged this theory simply made a mistake and substituted the New York and Connecticut attorneys general issuing subpoenas to seven banks for the Senate Banking Committee (and note that FICO, GE, nor experts in any field are not mentioned in the article you linked to). The witness list would have have to have been public for anyone to know that Lanza and Holmes were on the list. How do you or anyone else know that New York and Connecticut have a witness list not released to the public? If the list is not public, how was information obtained? Mark my words – expect that the theory will mutate to solve the problem of how a private list was made public enough to place Holmes and Lanza on the witness list (at some point this information will likely be laid at the foot of a shadowy insider who leaked it, which will ask the question of why this was not explained in the first place)?

      And if there is a non-public list that somehow got leaked to conspiracy theorists, we still have to ask the question of why it is a man who was in the tax division of GE would be called to testify when Libor concerns interest rate manipulation and GE is in no way involved in the Libor scandal in any way, shape or form.

      And if there is a private list of people to testify in New York and Connecticut, we still must ask the question of how turning the children of potential witnesses into Manchurian Candidates would derail the witness testimony of Holmes and Lanza and anyone else on the list?

      The notion that the witness list not being public does not mean it does not exist borders on being an onus probandi argument, because if the witness list is not public, then that means I cannot prove Lanza and Holmes are not on the list. It is the hallmark of conspiracy theory to create an entire theory from information that they cannot share because it means we have to take them at their word AND it strips us of the capacity to look at their information and disprove it.

      But it is certainly argumentum ad ignorantiam. Any time anyone says words to the effect that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, they are engaging in the action of pushing the burden of proof away from their claim onto those who question it. If there is a witness list it needs to be produced and available to prove the claims of those insisting a link between the Aurora and Newtown shootings and Libor. I cannot see how engaging in logical fallacies to support this conspiracy bolsters a “time will tell” attitude.

      The worst part about conspiracy theories like this shooter-Libor link, aside from the fact that the Lanza and Holmes families are being dragged into yet another horrible drama, is that theories like this distract the focus from the real problems. There is massive fraud committed by international corporations every single minute. Why are we even discussing something as nonsensical as a shadow conspiracy to turn into killers the children of people on a witness list no one can produce to support a conspiracy theory that is so flawed that it stated outright lie as fact and included two men whose jobs and companies were not involved in the Libor scandal so as to… what? Make the men not testify? None of it makes any logical sense and every time we engage in this sort of conspiracy, we focus on false minutia that distracts us – rather than demand real accountability in how our government handles corporate fraud we are discussing how mass murders were committed by Manchurian candidates.

      People who engage in conspiracy theory love to think that there is a stratified media that forbids speaking of such matters, but there are literally thousands of non-traditional bloggers out there who discuss politics and fraud. The mainstream financial media have, in fact, covered the Libor scandal in depth, naming companies and damning the consequence, so I am unsure why anyone thinks there has not been sufficient coverage of the wrong-doings (other than that it is indeed complicated and often complicated news reports go unread and unacknowledged). But even if one believes that the media has not been handling the Libor scandal to their satisfaction, there are avenues of obtaining information that do not rely on “the usual sources” yet do not require belief in the fantastic.

      The link between the Libor scandal and the Aurora and Newtown shootings does not exist and since time, as far as we know, is infinite, we can wait forever for someone to prove a link or we can look at the evidence the conspiratologist presented and the implications of the “evidence” and know now that a conspiracy theory was created from whole cloth for reasons known only to the creator and that GE, FICO, Holmes and Lanza have nothing to do with the Libor scandal. If it is too early to debunk a conspiracy theory, then it is too early for the theory to exist.

  7. not MKULTRA killers…….MKULTRA patsies

    Again, you are assuming that everyone’s mother, father, local policeman, or Phoenix operative/state senator are on the up and up

    1. Hey, Dave! Hope you had a good holiday!

      I don’t know if I so much assume everyone’s mother, father, local policeman, etc is on the up and up so much as I reserve judgement until someone can show me exactly how such people are not on the up and up. As of now, the only person I would think about blaming in any manner is the late Mrs. Lanza for not securing her guns since she knew her son was unbalanced. Beyond that, I have seen no evidence that anyone associated with this is somehow corrupt because if they were, the usual suspects would have something more to go on than basic “the powers that be planned it all” sort of stuff. A couple of people tried to turn it into a “JEWS, IT’S ALL THE JEWS” but outside of anti-semite lunacy, I haven’t seen anything showing anyone in either shooting was somehow involved in a larger conspiracy. This is definitely a “powers that be” conspiracy. Sadly…

    1. No, I haven’t and that’s not from a lack of desire to read it. As I type this, I am planning a full-bore assault of my own to get through the odd literature people have sent me to discuss and review because I have a serious backlog.

      However, I will be launching a site that does nothing but discuss conspiracy literature and current conspiracy events, hopefully in the next couple of months, if not sooner. I think separating out conspiracy non-fiction from the rest of the books I discuss on this site will leave me able to discuss interesting books like Programmed to Kill sooner than if I just keep them all on this site. Once I have the site ready, I’ll link to it here. I bet you’d have a lot to talk about on such a site.:)

      1. hope you had a happy holiday as well! I don’t have the time to comment on the Aurora or Connecticut shootings……and really I’d rather stay out of it. That being said, if I did have time, I can lay out some very interesting facts which tie the Aurora thing to the Sikh temple, Columbine, and the first Bush administration (and even Michael Aquino! (indirectly)). Unfortunately I’ll have to wait until I do have more time so I can record it as a written piece, so I’m sorry I brought it up, lol.

        Oddly enough, I happen to be in Littleton, Colorado right now for a month of job training and the place I work is within 5 minutes of the high school. Leaving Omaha and traveling to Littleton is like going from the conspiracy frying pan to the conspiracy fire!

        Anyways, whenever you do read Programmed to Kill, follow it up with his Laurel Canyon series on his Center for an Informed America website. It is 20 or so articles relating to Laurel Canyon in the LA hills and (primarily) the 60’s music scene. I think you’d dig it.

        1. I think I will dig it, too.

          I have to say Programmed to Kill is proving interesting but ultimately, I am seeing all the signs of poorly considered conspiracy theory. I have yet to understand what it is he is trying to call “Satanism” because he, like all the others who write about such matters, never bother to define what “Satanism” is. I’m also seeing a lot of the usual crappy attribution saying things like, “The BBC said Joe Blow was killing kittens for the devil,” but when I run to ground the source, it’s the BBC quoting some random asshole who said that Joe Blow is such a fiend.

          I also note that he left out of his analysis of the Mcmartin case all the evidence that showed those children were grilled relentlessly by therapists and court officials until they began to understand what was wanted of them and gave similar stories, then later impossible stories, like being killed and brought back to life and being take up in hot air balloons.

          I also used to be a near-expect on the subject of serial killers and I’m seeing all kinds of problems with David’s analyses. He got so much wrong on Henry Lee Lucas that I had to stop highlighting the errors (in fact, I just stopped highlighting in general). He honestly made a link between Lucas and the People’s Temple Suicides, using the line that Lucas claimed he was flown there to kill people. AND he makes the assertion that most of the suicides were “murders.” Problematically, Lucas was set up with the People’s Temple suicides by cops who wanted proof positive he was lying about all the murders he committed. Lucas initially said he drove to Guyana in a car. He said he shot all those people and strangled a few. Well, some were shot, and some were murdered because they were forced to commit suicide by cyanide on pain of being shot, but the bulk of people died from forced suicide. In all honesty, I can’t believe he went there. Oh, and Bush pardoned Lucas because it was clear he didn’t kill the woman known as “Orange Socks,” the case for which he got the death penalty. Texas could not have screwed up the case worse had they actually made that their goal.

          He applied a simple definition of what makes a serial killer to all serial killers and outright did not discuss the very well-understood motivations among serial killing pairs, like the Hillside Stranglers (or at least he hasn’t so far). He claims no victim similarities among killers like Doug Clark and Carol Bundy because they were of different races and ages, ignoring completely that many serial killers prey on victims of opportunity and that prostitutes offer some of the best opportunity to kill. All of Clark and Bundy’s female victims were addicts or prostitutes and therefore had something very much in common. Same with his initial analysis of Speck. I cannot believe he actually said that Speck’s victims, “if he killed them,” had nothing in common as a profile group. Seriously? They were all in one place, at one time, training for one profession and Speck was nothing if not a disorganized killer who relied on chance. Killing a dorm of nurses was chance and killing all student nurses means they very definitely had something in common even if it was by default and not plan. The author also refuses to apply disorganized and organized killing methods, as he shows in his discussions of Mullen and Chase, both of whom were severe schizophrenics at the times of their murders.

          It goes on and on in that vein, and to be perfectly frank, few know as much about killers as I do, though my knowledge was mostly about American serial murderers until 2000, and a handful of British crimes. In the early days of the Internet I used to get e-mails from a man who had the first serious serial killer site, asking me questions about Jesse Pomeroy and Lorenzo Gilyard and similarly obscure killers. I was for a time the fringe go-to girl for information about serial killers, but eventually I lost interest in all death, all the time. So I am in an unusual position. I have just in my head more info about American serial killers than anyone who is not a subject matter expert, like a profiler. So that, in a sense, makes me very hard to please in such discussions and I cop to being impossible in some respects.

          But still, there is some interesting info in this book. I cannot recall the name of the group (just remembered it – The Finders), but I had not heard of those two men who had the truck of dirty, nearly naked and nearly feral children whom they were taking to a school for special children in Mexico. That is definitely something I plan to look up, as well as his information about the Dutroux killings. I also know next to nothing about the Yosemite murders Cary Staynor committed, and I find that all the more interesting because I ordered two books on the coverup of widespread murders in the US National Parks system. The books are by a Bigfoot researcher, of all things, named David Paulides, and they are called 411 Missing. He doesn’t posit any theories but rather shows a pattern of bizarre disappearances. I’ve been absent-mindedly reading his books off and on and may pick them up again, with Staynor’s activities in mind.

          At any rate, even as I lipfart at large sections of Programmed to Kill, it’s forcing me to look into my own evidence and it’s showing new horrible things I didn’t know about, so all in all I’m still happy I am reading it.

          1. interesting……..let me know as soon as you read the Jonbenet Ramsey chapter, i’d be very interested in your take on it!…….you are right in a sense about some of what he uses as sources, although much of his work generally holds up very well to cross referencing…..I would say that if you finish the book and then read his Laurel Canyon series, you may start to see things in a different light – facts and occurrences repeat themselves to the point where coincidence becomes more than highly improbable

          2. I will. I am now in the chapter on collectors, having finished the part on Lake and Ng. I have always been uneasy about that case, top. Lake’s ex-wife Cricket always struck me as a Karla Bernardo who managed to destroy the tapes.

  8. BTW… you know anything about Jake Bird? Tacoma axe murderer? I know the general story (it sort of began here in Omaha!) but I need some more info about his time in Tacoma and “crime doctor” Charles Larson, as well as info about his other henry lee lucas – like “confessions”

    If you have any info I would be thrilled! Thanks

    1. Ha! Trust you to bring up someone I know zero about. Will now have to look into Charles Larson.

      I do know a bit about Jake Bird but I know about him because of another case. In 1884-1885, there was a series of axe murders and ice-pick assaults of servant girls in Austin, Texas, culminating in a bizarre attack on Christmas Eve wherein two white, “respectable” women were killed, and the murders stopped cold after that attack. Though many young Swedish girls worked in the areas where the servant girl attacks happened, only black women were assaulted and killed.

      The SGA case flies in the face of contemporary profiling because one would expect racially mixed murders of this sort with a disorganized killer. The SGA killer is seen to be an organized killer, which can be argued, definitely. But it was assumed the killer was a black man, or a minority of some sort (a suspect called The Malay Cook surfaced) preying on black women, killing men only to get to the women. But then he killed two white women. It created a lot of argument as to whether or not a black man would cross over into victims who are not of his race because the prevailing wisdom is that organized killers stay within their race pool when selecting victims. Jake Bird was used as an example of a black man who supposedly killed white women. So what I know about him is that he supposedly killed white women, many white women, and that many think it unlikely and that he was a patsy. Beyond that I am of no help. 🙁

  9. intersting, to say the least! I will have to look into the Austin case. There were three axe murders and an attack on three consecutive nights in Omaha in November of 1928. Bird was convicted of the third and only unsuccessful attack which happened in Carter Lake, which was technically Iowa. He served 12 years and disappeared (for the most part) before turning up in Tacoma on Halloween of 1947 with some womens brains all over his shirt. He then confessed to murders all over the country in Henry Lee Lucas fashion, seemingly to delay his execution. He also, like Ted Bundy, represented himself.

    There are some things very wrong with the fact that Omaha did not even attempt to try him (the outrage was so high over two white female victims that random “Negroes” were being shot at in other parts of the Midwest!), and there are many many strange aspects to the tale. For instance, an Omaha man axed his wife to death while vacationing in Wisconsin, I believe, shortly after Bird’s capture in Tacoma. He claimed they had discussed the Bird case earlier that night, and he woke up to find he had axed her to death in her sleep! (Forgive my use of “axed” – it just seems appropriate! “Chopped” would be better, Bird is remembered as the Omaha Chopper, and a house on south 41st Avenue is considered haunted by the young mother and her sister murdered by (allegedly) Bird).

    A more interesting fact is that Bird placed a hex on those who convicted him, and a number of them actually died before he was executed! Look up the “Jake Bird Hex” and you will find a bit about it. The deaths, however, seem quite suspicious to me…….for example, an officer who filed many of Birds Lucas-esque confessions just up and dropped dead several hours after filing the final one. If I remember correctly, a judge, a prison guard, and a lawyer were also among the seven or so deaths. I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe in curses, even those placed by an axe murderer from deep in the Louisiana bayous.

    As far as Larson, I visited a very cool rotary jail museum in council bluffs where Bird was held before his trial, and I came across the name of Charles Larson. He was a former military forensic pathologist who was assigned to Bird until his execution. Larson and his assistant seem to be the only ones who survived the “curse”. Apparently there is a book about him called “Crime Doctor” which contains a chapter about Bird. Sounds like something you might enjoy.

    I started to dig on Larson, but the only thing I really found was the VERY interesting fact that he was pretty much the only forensic pathologist sent into the death camps following WWII. He claims that the holocaust was complete fiction. This of course makes me all the more interested in the bizarre saga of Jake Bird.

    (I’ve begun a very in depth research of Bird. I’ve pored through old newspapers and such, and I could easily put up a much better and more accurate bio than anything that’s on the internet, but I’m not ready yet)

    I will tell you the whole story in the near future, however, and I would love to hear your input

    BTW, you are a very intriguing person, I completely stumbled across this page by accident while googling something else altogether…..I’m so glad I did!

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