MEDIA TRIPWIRE? Ping Pong Pizza Conspiracy Propels Internet Censorship Amid ‘Fake News’ Witch-Hunt
In the days before the US presidential election in November 2016, Wikileaks revealed a new string of emails connected to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman, John Podesta. Online interpretations of the leaked Podesta email exchanges subsequently led to a digital firestorm on social media, producing an intense conspiratorial ‘open source investigation’ still in search of its smoking gun.
However, the phenomenon now known by its hashtag #Pizzagate has since set a number of tertiary events into motion. Is there a real story hidden amongst the debris of this online explosion?
Is it possible that ‘open source investigators’ were being led into a virtual cul-de-sac and thus missing the real story?
More importantly, could people be playing into the hands of the very establishment they seek to depose?
‘SHOCK & AWE’ – Over the past month, the DC-based restaurant Comet Ping Pong, along with Besta Pizza (to a lesser degree Austin’s East Side Pies) has been the subject of a peculiar internet-based conspiracy. (Photo Illustration Shawn Helton of 21WIRE)
CONTEXT: Podesta Emails, False Hacks & Conspiracy
While many of the leaked Podesta emails (including the really important one admitting that US partners Qatar and Saudi Arabia are giving funding and “logistical support” of ISIS) caused a major stir in the run-up to the 2016 Election, few Wikileaks releases have attracted more attention then the Podesta emails associated with the internet-based conspiracy dubbed “Pizzagate.”
In fact, since the release of the so-called ‘pizzagate’ emails, a bundle of leaks and media reports associated with the Clintons political pay-for-play allegations, as well as the shocking admission regarding voter fraud from disgraced Democratic National committee consultant Robert Creamer prior to the 2016 presidential election, have all but disappeared from the mainstream narrative. Very convenient, if you are part of the Democratic Party establishment.
Remember that all of this was taking place right after the mainstream media along with the White House, set the stage for a massive PR push implicating Russia as a disrupting force for evil in the US presidential election – allegedly through Kremlin-sponsored hacking of US democratic institutions and through ‘sophisticated Russian propaganda.’
In August, the western media’s claims against Russia hit overdrive, when the “New York Times’s Moscow bureau was the target of an attempted cyber attack this month. But so far, there is no evidence that the hackers, believed to be Russian, were successful.”
Flash forward to September here and here, as well as early October in the lead up to President Obama’s Russian Hack decree, the Clinton-friendly outlet, the NY Times, had all but solidified the Russian cyber-hack claims – but once again, without any definitive evidence or proof.
Throw in another American ‘October surprise’ in the form distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, renewed calls for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) internet, led to so-called cyber experts blaming the largest ‘hack on America’ because of the inability to pass SOPA – in effect, reigniting the previously stalled SOPA in Washington DC, along with all of its draconian copyright law positions – all perfectly timed as mainstream reports regarding fake news suddenly became all the rage across all forms of media.
The media clips on YouTube below illustrate the kind of duplicitous double speak regarding the ‘election rigging’ that has become a hallmark of the Obama administration and establishment Washington…
Following 2016’s US presidential election cycle, a Russian election-hack-theory gained even more media traction, orbiting the political realm like a low-hanging fruit (propelled by President Obama and now the CIA, both conflicting with the FBI’s assessment in October), dovetailing with the first grumblings that ‘fake news’ had somehow decided the US presidential election in favor of one candidate, Donald Trump. These are serious accusations that have still failed to yield any solid forensic results from the intelligence community.
Is this mere political gamesmanship, or is there more at work?
Could this all be covering up and diverting the public away from some other explosive events?
‘LOLITA EXPRESS’ – In 2008, Jeffery Epstein was convicted of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution (Image Source: miamibeachadvocate.com)
As internet researches battle with mainstream media over allegations in #Pizzagate, another potentially much bigger story became buried under the digital avalanche. If this is indeed the case, then who benefits?
The ‘Lolita Express’ Scandal
Seemingly even more unsettling and disturbing in 2016, was the vastly underreported “Lolita Express” scandal swirling around the Clinton Campaign.
In 2010, Jeffery Epstein, a billionaire hedge fund mogul who is also a member of the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations (as well as playing a role in the formation of the Clinton Global Initiative), effectively walked free even though a 53-page indictment could have landed him in prison for 20 years according to reports. Epstein’s “Gatsbyesque” persona once described by New York magazine, has long since given way to a new profile as a convicted sex-offender – a superstar who was now condemned by a litany of legal troubles due to reports of ghastly serial abuse during the past decade.
However, during this year’s election cycle, coverage concerning new details associated with Epstein’s private island, Little St. James, and allegations of sex slave entertainment enterprise there, was virtually buried by the US corporate media.
The drop in wall-to-wall coverage from the tongue-tied mainstream media was most likely due to Epstein’s close affiliation to former President Bill Clinton, who according flight manifests and other supporting evidence, took “at least 26 trips aboard the “Lolita Express” — even apparently ditching his Secret Service detail for at least five of the flights, according to records obtained by FoxNews.com.”
It doesn’t stop there either. Other high-profile names linked to the Epstein case included former Democratic governor Bill Richardson, Kurt Cobain widow Courtney Love, prominent celebrity lawyer, Israeli advocate and Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, British royal Prince Andrew, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, and even president-elect Donald Trump.
‘THE BLACK BOOK ‘ – Epstein flight records and “a little black book” paint a very intriguing picture. (Image Source: Gawker)
Interestingly, the Epstein case was covered heavily by Gawker – a news outlets which is now facing bankruptcy following a defamation case won by Hulk Hogan (Terrence Gene Bollea) over the controversial publication of the wrestling icon’s sex tape. Hogan’s legal victory ‘took Gawker out’ but could the real reason have been its Epstein coverage? Here’s some of what Gawker said about the Epstein case:
“Donald Trump, Courtney Love, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and uber-lawyer Alan Dershowitz may have been identified by a butler as potential “material witnesses” to pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes against young girls, according to a copy of Epstein’s little black book obtained by Gawker.
An annotated copy of the address book, which also contains entries for Alec Baldwin, Ralph Fiennes, Griffin Dunne, New York Post gossip Richard Johnson, Ted Kennedy, David Koch, filmmaker Andrew Jarecki, and all manner of other people you might expect a billionaire to know, turned up in court proceedings after Epstein’s former house manager Alfredo Rodriguez tried to sell it in 2009. About 50 of the entries, including those of many of Epstein’s suspected victims and accomplices as well as Trump, Love, Barak, Dershowitz, and others, were circled by Rodriguez. (The existence of the book has been previously reported by the Daily Mail. Gawker is publishing it in full here for the first time; we have redacted addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, and the last names of individuals who may have been underage victims.)
According to an FBI affidavit, Rodriguez described the address book and the information contained within it as the “Holy Grail” or “Golden Nugget” to unraveling Epstein’s sprawling child-sex network.”
Epstein reportedly also had additional ties to Trump, with both men having on and off again been implicated in a separate ‘Jane Doe’ sexual assault lawsuit that was recently dropped in the US court system, apparently for a third time since 1994.
The Washington Times discusses how other high-level clients allegedly used Epstein’s services – including a member of the British royal family. The following passage is from a report filed in January of 2015:
“And even post-prison, Mr. Epstein kept up some of these high-profile relationships — leading to his most recent emergence in the news, which involves allegations that he provided Prince Andrew with sexual services from a then-17-year-old American girl, Virginia Roberts.
Ms. Roberts, now 30, has filed a federal lawsuit in Florida against Mr. Epstein, alleging he forced her to serve as a “sex slave” and paid her $15,000 to perform sexual services for the prince, the New York Post reported.”
Another strange turn in the Clinton Email scandal came late in the election, only days before voters went to the polls. Suddenly, it was revealed by media outlets that due to the investigation into the sexting scandal involving disgraced former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner, (husband of chief Clinton aide Huma Abedine) FBI director James Comey would announce that the agency would be reopening the Clinton email probe.
Interestingly, according to a recent interview with Breitbart News, Hillary Clinton herself was alleged to have taken 6 trips to Epstein’s Little Saint James island, according to private security kingpin and Blackwater founder Erik Prince. Prior to the election and right after the FBI reopened its investigation into the Clintons (before promptly being shut down for a second time), the controversial mercenary made the extraordinary claim.
It’s important for readers to note how explosive this revelation truly was, and yet, not one word from either the mainstream media, or ‘alternative media,’ outside of Breitbart and few other blogs, on this potentially devastating allegation.
Prince asserted that the NYPD found “way more stuff” within the 650,000 recently scrutinized emails. The news reportedly sent shock waves into the upper echelon of the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign – as the NYPD was said to have been ‘ready to hand out indictments’ into additional criminal activity, possibly involving money laundering and underage sex, among other illicit activity.
Prince’s commentary on the Democratic Party’s apparent corruption was released around the same time as a batch of Podesta Emails that sent internet sleuths down a pizzagate rabbit hole. Prince’s claim then seem to be grafted onto the pizzagate theory by some YouTube commentators, only without any actual concrete evidence.
In early 2016, the embattled Blackwater (renamed Academi, and then Xe) founder Prince, was the subject of an inquiry that alleged he was involved in a major money laundering scheme with the Bank of China in Libya. In 2014, Prince supposedly setup “Frontier Services Group in 2014 with the help of major Chinese investment firm Citic Group.”
When you factor in how Prince himself became the subject of a major scandal and is now on the offensive, it’s hard to know whether his claims are true or just a political ploy aimed at deflecting his own controversy. However, his claims do offer a dark view into a political party that has been in a downward spiral for several years.
Wheat from the Chaff
With all of that in mind, for any true investigation to take place, the facts still need to be separated from what might only be innuendo and overt speculation.
Other apparent conspiracies were also brought into the fold during the ascendency of #pizzagate, as social media users seemed to make some startling connections, although without a complete story. The lack of coherence of pizzagate allegations opened the door for some of the usual suspects to come in to steer the conversation away from some potentially damaging connections back to the Clintons. Establishment gatekeeper publication The Daily Beast reported the following in the passage:
“Written by user “PleadingtheYiff,” the post attempts to link the Clinton campaign to Laura Silsby, an Idaho missionary who served a six-month prison sentence in Haiti after the organization she founded, New Life Children’s Refuge, attempted to transport 33 Haitian children to the Dominican Republic after the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
The user’s primary proof of links between the Clintons and Silsby: “Huma Abedin was constantly forwarding Hillary articles on this woman’s organization.” The post provides no email sent from Clinton to Abedin regarding the incident.
The theory then includes a major error.
“One of the first things Hillary did when she took over the scene in Haiti was to get Laura off the hook,” PleadingtheYiff writes, then links to a website called “AboveTopSecret.com.”
With even more damning American conspiracies in 2016, such as the DNC fraud, violent protests funded by George Soros, or the Pentagon paying PR firm Bell Pottinger $540 million to produce fake terror videos, in addition to the Lolita Express revelations concerning the Clintons in particular, you have to wonder whether the pizzagate theory was an unintended coincidence or if it was yet another socially engineered agenda that masked other media stories.
What’s most obvious, however, is how the pizzagate story and spin-off controversies appear to have obfuscated other real criminality contained within the Podesta email leaks, while providing a media smoke screen for the conspiracies mentioned directly above.
In the article below we’ll take another look at the pizzagate phenomena (along with Comet Ping Pong’s gunman story, in addition to one of Washington DC’s most notorious scandals) and how the events surrounding the online conspiracy, could be used to shape new censorship protocols in the wake of US media’s witch-hunt for “fake news” sites…
‘LEAKED’ – John Podesta former chairman for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, pictured with Clinton chief aid Huma Abedin on the Clinton campaign jet.
Spirit Cooking & #Pizzagate: A Media-Driven Psy-Op?
Within the contents of the controversial Podesta dispatch by Wikileaks in early November, there appeared to be a distressing email chain between Tony Podesta, a top Democratic lobbyist of the Podesta Group (brother of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman) and a New York City-based Serbian performance artist named Marina Abramovic.
The 2015 email exchange between Tony Podesta and Marina Abramovic (image, left) drew a sharp outcry from users on social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit, after the email conversation revealed a dinner party involving a performance art-based ritual calling for the use of real human blood and bodily fluids, referred to as “spirit cooking.” While Abramovic’s occult-influenced art could be seen as sick and deeply disturbing to many, and even degenerate depravity to some – it’s important to emphasize there was nothing criminal about her email with Tony Podesta or her dark creations captured on video from as early as two decades ago.
The origins of Abramovic’s spirit cooking appeared to some researchers to be linked directly to Aleister Crowley’s, Thelma religion. This prompted some alternative media outlets to link to Everpedia as their primary source to explain the ‘truth’ behind spirit cooking. The internet-based conspiracy ultimately led to increased speculation, turbo-charging even more spurious connections.
Another major magnet for pizzagate researchers was Abramovic’s book published in 1997, the self-proclaimed “grandmother” of performance art released a book entitled “Spirit Cooking with essential aphrodisiac recipes, ” a rare book that contained a sequence of etchings and perverted recipes.
As theories about spirit cooking exploded on social media, a series of Podesta emails were leaked containing what had been thought to be coded language concealing an elite underground child sex ring, according some quasi-investigative online sites and mega forums, citing 4chan and Reddit posts.
In addition, it appears that a series of emails released by Wikileaks, here and here, are partially what led to one man, James Alefantis, owner of Comet Ping Pong, to become the central pizzagate antagonist. The fact that Alefantis is listed as one of DC’s top 50 most influential people – only fuelled speculation that the internet case was “a slam dunk.” Social media inquisitors shared pictures from the Instagram account of Alefantis (now blocked to the public) and other friends and contacts linked with him, in an attempt to conclude a vast conspiracy. While many of these images appeared disturbing in the context of the two conspiracies mentioned above, the images themselves did not prove any actual crime had taken place.
As the conspiracy deepened, symbols from the Washington DC restaurant/venue Comet Ping Pong (derived from its menu and logo, as well as other pizza restaurants), in addition to apparent coded Podesta emails, sparked an outcry on social media as the symbols used appeared to mimic those according to a Wikileaks release supposedly from the FBI. The apparent leaked release from the FBI disclosed certain markers in sex trafficking and abuse cases. While there might be similarities in the graphics observed at Comet Ping Pong and nearby Besta Pizza, the evidence is still purely circumstantial and certainly nothing conclusively linking the DC-based pizzerias to any abuse ring. Internet trawlers also claimed to have unearthed photos of the digging of a secret basement-dungeon underneath Comet Ping Pong – a claim which later turned out to be false.
Note that this one planted detail in the pizzagate story – the evocative image a ‘secret basement’ reserved for child torture and abuse – sent this story into orbit. This is one example of how one or two simple details injected into a storyline can inflame the narrative and motivate forum users beyond what any real forensic investigation could, by creating a virtual crusade.
In fact, it was revealed that “Comet uses a low-slung refrigerator at Buck’s Fishing & Camping, Mr. Alefantis’s other restaurant two doors down on the same block, to store produce, cheese and proofing dough.” (See left photo by Cecilia Kang)
It’s worth noting that 4chan was also behind one of the most speculative claims surrounding MH370, a story that allegedly involved the patent holders of the tech company Freescale Semiconductor which turned turned out to be false. Conversely, 4chan has provided some valuable crowd-sourced information, like in the wake of the 2013 Boston Bombing when 4chan users posted a number of photos indicating the presence of other operatives involved in the event – a point totally blacked-out by US authorities and media.
Interestingly, the 4chan website is said to be ‘struggling to survive‘ financially in part because of increased users driven by viral and clickbait-like material like pizzagate.
Through hyper-speculative and often misleading information spread by social media users, the pizzagate narrative took shape…
As the US media brushed off the perceived content of the Podesta emails mentioned above, a ground swell of speculation, hyperbole and unsubstantiated claims filled the vacuum online, as enthusiasm continued unabated.
It’s also important to recognize that one of the main propellers of the initial Pizzagate story was a popular disinformation website called Your News Wire, who regularly feed the public with completely fake news stories online which get propagated through social media. This website has successfully managed to fool many online readers because it will regularly mix real news articles in with its many invented stories. A viral fake story like this would have netted “Your News Wire” tens of thousands of dollars in ad click revenue.
“On Oct. 30, a white supremacy Twitter account that presents itself as belonging to a Jewish lawyer in New York tweeted that the NYPD was looking into evidence that emails from Anthony Weiner’s laptop contained evidence of Clinton involvement in an “international child enslavement ring.”
“The next day, Oct. 31, Sean Adl-Tabatabai, who used to work with British conspiracy theorist David Icke, took note of the message board post and the tweet. He wrote a post for his site, YourNewsWire.com. His story took another step by claiming an “FBI insider” had confirmed the claims.”
“Where did this this new FBI source come from? Adl-Tabatabai cited a thread on a 4chan message board from back in July.”
That thread started when an anonymous user invited questions after describing themself as “a person with intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the Clinton case.” (Adl-Tabatabai did not respond to questions sent to him by BuzzFeed News.)”
By this point, the story became a viral ball of fire, and there was no stopping it.
You have to wonder if the spirit cooking/pizzagate emails, might have been used as a tripwire by the establishment to initiate increased internet censorship, a story that has gathered a big boost from highly speculative ideas pasted together by various social media personalities on YouTube and then codified by large popular ‘alt-media’ outlets like Infowars.com here and here, who levied unconfirmed allegations at Comet Ping Pong restaurant and other private businesses in an affluent area of Washington DC.
Few conspiracies in recent years have generated as much public outrage, scrutiny and intense speculation. However, we should question the timing of this conspiracy as it relates to the cyber censorship on the table following the ‘fake news’ crisis.
The BBC stated the following after a Podesta email thread leaked in November, mentioned the Alefantis connection:
“In early November, as Wikileaks steadily released piles of emails from Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta, one contact caught the attention of prankster sites and people on the paranoid fringes.
James Alefantis is the owner of Comet Ping Pong, a pizza restaurant in Washington. He’s also a big Democratic Party supporter and raised money for both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He was once in a relationship with David Brock, an influential liberal operative.
Alefantis – who’s never met Clinton – appeared in the Podesta emails in connection with the fundraisers.”
Other claims attached to the pizzagate theory included a link to a tweet from the deceased investigative reporter, Andrew Breitbart. The pizzagate theory seemed to gather steam from this screenshot of an alleged Breitbart tweet below – but is there more to the story?
Upon reviewing the origins of the Breitbart tweet now intertwined with the pizzagate theory, there appears to be some contention about what Breitbart might have been referencing. Here’s the political blog Hot Air on the matter:
“It’s a classic Andrew Tweet. His abbreviations, his invention of words (“cover-upperer”) tells me that this was probably Andrew’s work. I never really knew him to allow anyone to Tweet on his behalf but I suppose it’s possible at some point he did so without my knowledge. So, for our discussion let’s stipulate that it was Andrew who sent this out.
What is he talking about?
Anyone who knew Andrew well and worked closely in his sphere and knew what he would talk and Tweet about with regard to “underage sex slave(s)” and John Podesta, knows exactly what he is referring to: ACORN
If you don’t remember James O’Keefe, Hanna Giles and the ACORN story that broke on Andrew’s Big Government website in 2009, here’s a quick description via Wikipedia, which has a lot of bogus takes on the story, but this brief description is correct:
In July and August 2009, Giles and O’Keefe visited ACORN offices in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Brooklyn, San Bernardino, San Diego, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Miami. Giles dressed as a prostitute, while O’Keefe wore white khakis with a blue dress shirt and/or tie and claimed to be her boyfriend. Giles and O’Keefe recorded the encounters using hidden cameras and pretended to be seeking advice on how to run an illegal business that included the use of underage girls in the sex trade.”
The article goes on to state that the ACORN saga, which had been instrumental in Breitbart’s rise in media, had been in some aspect involved an underage abuse story due to the undercover work of James O’keefe and Hannah Giles.
‘STRANGE DAYS’ – Comet Ping Pong resides in a quiet affluent DC neighborhood. (Image Source: chicago sun-times)
The Comet Ping Pong Gunman
In early December, 28 year-old actor Edgar Maddison Welch was arrested by authorities after reportedly discharging a rifle inside Alefantis’s Comet Ping Pong restaurant. Welch had been apparently “self-investigating” Comet Ping Pong, the pizzeria at the epicenter of a shocking conspiracy asserting that the establishment is somehow allegedly involved in an expansive child trafficking abuse ring.
While Welch’s background may have raised a few eyebrows of those who have chronicled the profiles of various gunman in recent years (such as his acting/film production past documented on IMDB), he was also recently involved in a major traffic accident in October, badly injuring a young teenager, potentially impacting his state of mind, as well as being exposed in a potential criminal case.
While 21WIRE has outlined the possibility of informants being used in shooting events in the past – usually those individuals have had a lengthy criminal past with multiple links to government, military and sometimes the entertainment industry – Welch doesn’t entirely fit this typical mold of a convict turned informant or agent provocateur.
Perhaps there’s another answer…
The online site Heavy.com released the following information regarding Welch’s father and his work preventing child abductions:
“Harry Welch Jr. is a former police officer, firearms instructor and expert witness on firearms, according to his IMDB profile. He also writes that his family has hosted foster children and has worked to prevent child abuse.
He was, “elected President of the North Carolina Crime Stoppers Association (two terms). Served as Executive Director for Protect-A-Child, a national, non-profit organization to prevent abuse and abduction of children. Appointed by Governor Jim Martin to the Governor’s Commission on Child Victimization.”
Was Welch under psychological duress following his recent car accident, feeding into other aspects of his life, such as his father’s work to prevent child abuse, then motivated into action by an online conspiracy?
Although it’s difficult to accurately gauge Welch’s true motivation, some YouTube personalities absolutely contend that his involvement was scripted – to smear the a new burgeoning ‘pizzagate research community’ online. Additionally, some researchers cite Welch’s relief visit to Haiti in 2010, as absolute “proof of a hoax” because alleged Clinton Foundation ties to human trafficking in Haiti – claims that have to this date, have yet to be completely proven.
This part of the pizzagate conspiracy gained steam when Monica Petersen, an activist for sex-worker rights, who over the summer was working for “Claude d’Estree, the executive director of the Human Trafficking Center at the University of Denver,” apparently died of a suicide in mid November while in Haiti. However, at the time the circumstances of her death were not entirely clear, which led to intense speculation not grounded in fact. If there was evidence of foul play, certainly this could be investigated as part of a possible cover-up, especially during such a hotly contested US election involving the Clintons – but until that issue is resolved, any talk of “proof” of a wider conspiracy is still just that, talk.
The Petersen tragedy was then grafted onto the pizzagate story…
The Washington Post reported the following, according to executive director d’Estree:
“…Petersen had gone to Haiti a number of times, but she was not there to research human trafficking and was not investigating the Clinton Foundation. He said she had been a “brilliant” research fellow, working the past two years to produce a still unpublished article that critiqued a controversial book on the business of sex trafficking by Siddharth Kara.”
Unfortunately, Petersen’s story got packaged with allegations of a Clinton trafficking conspiracy that was then interwoven within the pizzagate theory and on the same day Welch walked into Comet Ping Pong, the widely-known site Infowars.com “… posted a YouTube video titled “Haiti PIZZAGATE: Death of Child Trafficking Investigator,” without actually confirming the full details surrounding Petersen’s death. Everpedia, one of the first websites to explain the details of spirit cooking, appeared to also fan the flames of an alleged conspiracy surrounding Petersen’s death.
An ABC News release below disclosed the full details regarding Welch’s apparent criminal activity at Comet Ping Pong:
“At around 3 p.m., he arrived at the restaurant, where witnesses say they saw Welch holding an assault rifle across his chest, according to the complaint. As he moved toward the back of the restaurant, employees and customers fled the building.
As everyone was fleeing, Welch encountered an employee returning from the back freezer, according to court documents. The employee said Welch pointed the AR-15 rifle in his direction, the documents state, but Welch denied raising the firearm at the employee.
After the customers and employees left the restaurant, police created a perimeter around it, and at about 3:24 p.m. Welch exited the building with his hands in the air, complying with officers.”
The story continued, with the following description:
“At one point he said he encountered a locked door and attempted to open it with a butter knife, the complaint says. When that didn’t work, he fired shots at the lock with his AR-15, documents say.”
Here’s a screen shot of Welch’s incident report…
MSM Fake News Witch-Hunt
For the mainstream media, pizzagate was the gift that just kept on giving.
Following Welch’s encounter inside Comet Ping Pong, the conspiracy known as ‘pizzagate’ has fallen into the manipulative hands of the corporate mainstream media, now castigating “speculative alternative media outlets,” which in-turn gave legs to the already convoluted ‘fake news’ witch-hunt being waged by mainstream media – specifically aimed at independent outlets and blogs that regularly produce insightful critical analysis.
Additionally, since the spirit cooking and pizzagate theories were merging, there has been no solid evidence linking the restaurant to anything criminal, yet the theories continue to persist online, implicating private citizens in what is at this point a ‘victimless’ crime. This has made alternative media an easy target for mainstream media and politicians calling for more ‘control’ over social media content to help stop waht mainstream pundits were now describing as pizzagate’s own campaign online abuse and “internet bullying” against Comet Ping Pong’s owner and staff.
From a legal stand point, the pizzagate conspiracy could also potentially lead to a court case against the root cause of certain defamatory allegations and apparent death threats – as Alefantis and other shop owners are private citizens and not public figures. This is something to consider when presenting any possible theory directly implicating an individual in a major felony. Unless there exists a real forensic smoking gun, or a whistleblower willing to come forward then there is no ‘case’ – only speculation which could be construed as libel and defamation without any supporting evidence.
While the internet has zeroed-in on pizzeria-based conspiracies over the past two months, it’s important to remember that Washington has had a long dark history linked to illicit prostitution and sex trafficking – including at least two such expansive cases that reached all the way to the White House…
‘DISGRACED’ – Former US Congressman Barney Frank. Frank did not seek re-lection in 2012 after he was found to have engineered a $12 million TARP bailout for OneUnited Bank. (Image Source: businessinsider.com)
Washington’s Silence: Congressman Frank’s ‘Call Boys’
In 2011, Democratic Congressman Barney Frank, decided not to seek re-election. While much of the mainstream media waxed poetic about his 30-year career, there was virtually no mention of his involvement in one of the most notable DC scandals over the past three decades.
In 1989, it was discovered that Frank’s then boyfriend Stephen Gobie (who the US representative once solicited for an $80 dollar sexual encounter) had been running a prostitution ring out of Congressman Frank’s Capitol Hill apartment – according to Gobie, Barney Frank was fully aware of the operation.
Here’s a passage from a Business Insider article from 2011 that describes one of DC’s darkest scandals that is barely mentioned by media outlets to this day:
In 1989 it was discovered that Barney Frank’s boyfriend, Stephen Gobie, whom Frank had once hired as a male prostitute, was running a male-brothel out of the Congressman’s home. Frank claimed he did not know about the prostitution ring in his home, but he did use the power of his office to “fix” 33 tickets for Gobie. And he knowingly wrote a misleading letter to Gobie’s probation officer in Virginia. Frank received a “reprimand” for fixing the tickets. Gobie maintained that Frank knew about the prostitution ring operation in his home.
Additionally, the Washington Post reported that Gobie “maintained a relationship with Gabriel A. Massaro, the principal of Chevy Chase Elementary School, and used an office at the school in late 1987 to make telephone calls and have one client meet a prostitute.”
While Massaro was placed on administrative leave, the conspiracy deepened as the Washington Post followed up the breaking story providing the following details:
“With Congress in recess, it’s too soon to tell if the Massachusetts Democrat will weather his admission that he paid Gobie for sex, hired him as a personal aide and wrote letters on congressional stationary to the convicted felon’s probation officer.”
Shockingly, the scandal continued to persist as the investigation led to other political inquiries. Frank’s scandal appeared to overlap and dovetail with another disturbing ring that reached all the way to the White House during the Reagan-Bush era.
The Franklin Cover-up
The Barney Frank scandal indeed followed another appalling and chilling scandal dubbed the “Franklin Cover-up.” The shocking case involving Omaha, Nebraska’s Franklin Credit Union employee named Lawrence King, who looted his employer to the tune of $38 million dollars. Here’s a Washington Post article from 1990 on the matter:
“Lawrence E. King Jr., everyone now agrees, had a remarkable knack for stretching a dollar. On a salary of $16,200 a year, the credit union manager drove a $70,000 white Mercedes — and still could afford to spend $10,000 a month on limousines. His credit card charges topped $1 million, he owned a four-story house on 26 acres overlooking the Missouri River, and his floral bill alone came to $146,000 during a fragrant, 13-month period in 1987-88.”
While King’s embezzlement was troublesome, it paled into comparison to a wider charge of trafficking and abuse levied at the credit union manager. The Post continued, outlining the awful truth about the abuse tied to King, in a group called the Franklin Five:
“In June 1988, a social worker at a mental hospital in Omaha reported allegations of possible child abuse to the Nebraska Foster Care Review Board, an agency that monitors the placement of several thousand children in the state.The board subsequently asked Omaha police and the state attorney general to investigate possible “child exploitation,” a “child prostitution ring” and “inappropriate activities by Larry King.”
More evidence in the same report revealed the following:
“…21 hours of videotaped testimony from three new witnesses, all in their early twenties, who said that, as minors, they had been victims of physical and sexual abuse.
The book entitled The Franklin Cover-up, by former Nebraska state Senator and lawyer, John De Camp, chronicled a case that implicated politicians, judges, those in the military, police, as well as members of the intelligence community in the subsequent abduction of numerous children over the course of many years.
Lawrence King was eventually convicted on charges of theft from the Franklin Credit Union and ordered to pay damages to Paul Bonacci for the apparent abuse he suffered during his abduction. Bonacci later told investigators he had participated in the abduction of Johnny Gosch, but according to (Polk County Attorney John Sarcone ) The Des Moines Resgister, “Bonacci has said he took part in Johnny Gosch’s abduction, but Sarcone said investigators concluded any involvement by Bonacci was not credible.”
Here’s a short summary of the disturbing case below:
“On February 5, 1999, in U.S. District Court in Lincoln, Nebraska, an extraordinary hearing occurred in Paul A. Bonacci v. Lawrence E. King, a civil action in which the plaintiff charged that he had been ritualistically abused by the defendant, as part of a nationwide pedophile ring linked to powerful political figures in Washington and to elements of the U.S. military and intelligence establishment. Three weeks later, on February 27, Judge Warren K. Urbom ordered King, who is currently in Federal prison, to pay $1 million in damages to Bonacci, in what Bonacci’s attorney John DeCamp said was a clear signal that “the evidence presented was credible.”
The Frank and Franklin conspiracies outlined above sent shock waves through the establishment in Washington, and while it is possible we are seeing another trafficking cover-up happening again today, one should consider that thus far, there have been no victims found to have been abused regarding Comet Ping Pong or any other business wrapped up within the online pizzagate theory.
A Franklin Cover-up documentary called ‘Conspiracy of Silence’ was made and allegedly pulled from circulation following the fallout from a case that also implicated the Catholic founded non-profit orphanage, Boys Town.
In a related scandal exposed in 2002, The Boston Globe‘s Spotlight Team “first revealed that the leader of the Catholic Church in Boston, Cardinal Bernard Law, allowed one of his priests to continue working even though Law knew that Fr. John Geoghan had spent his career sexually assaulting children.”
The story became so huge, that it led to more than 250 priests being publicly named in abuse allegations, covering some 100 cities in the US and another 100 globally. In 2015, Hollywood released the film Spotlight, which chronicled the tales of abuse.
Similarly in the UK, over the past few years, an investigation into the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal was compounded by BBC’s own cover-up of the serious claims. The Savile scandal and cover-up featured many whistleblowers and victims coming forward, and also showed a high degree of cover-up at the police department level as well.
While observing the connective aspects of various scandals, DC’s political scene has also revealed some telling business and establishment links which raise even more interesting questions…
‘MEDIA MACHINE’ – Democratic political operative David Brock. (Image Source: twitter)
There are some interesting aspects of pizzagate which have been almost untouched by internet sleuths.
Below we’ll take a look at George Soros-funded Media Matters and its director David Brock and examine his past connections and tangential links to both Barney Frank and James Alefantis…
‘Media Matters’ & Political Plots
In 1997, political operative David Brock was once a right-wing media hit-man so to speak, writing conservative op-ed’s taking on college campus ‘marxists’ and was an investigative reporter for the weekly news magazine Insight on the News (published by The Washington Times). Some time later, Brock became a Democratic political operative and Soros righthand man at Media Matters.
Some reports also claim that Brock (seen on the left with Barney Frank) joined on with Sidney Blumenthal and the Clintons simply over money – but others suggest a different tale – one that took place during the course of Brock completing a somewhat strange book entitled “The Seduction of Hillary Clinton,” which deflected controversies aimed at the Clintons and took a softball approach to Hillary’s political evolution.
Over the years, many critics have questioned Brock’s hidden Washington past and his unlikely political evolution…
Blackmail? Brock, Grey & Alefantis
In 2012, FOX NEWS revealed the following, as “Media Matters chief David Brock paid a former domestic partner $850,000 after being threatened with damaging information involving the organization’s donors and the IRS – a deal that Brock later characterized as a blackmail payment, according to legal documents obtained by FoxNews.com.”
Brock’s bitter separation from William Grey led to accusations of blackmail and harassment:
“In an acrimonious lawsuit settled at the end of last year, Brock accused William Grey of making repeated threats to expose him to the “scorn or ridicule of his employees, donors and the press in demanding money and property.” Brock claimed in legal papers that he sold a Rehoboth Beach, Del., home he once shared with Grey in order to meet Grey’s demands, which he called “blackmail” in the lawsuit.”
Brock’s legal trouble with Grey appeared to be the result of a severed relationship after 10 years, with Brock ending the relationship, he began dating“Washington, D.C., restaurant impresario James Alefantis,” according to reports.
Considering how Brock and Grey’s end played out according to court records revealed by the media, one might consider that this latest DC drama unfolding in the form of pizzagate, could also be the result of bad-jacketing (as suggested by the blog auticulture) after a bitter love triangle involving the trio – in the lead up to one of the most contentious US presidential elections in history.
According to Ward Churchill’s, “Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement:
“Snitch-jacketing or bad-jacketing refers to the practice creating suspicion – through the spread of rumors, manufacture of evidence etc…”
Bad-jacketing had been a technique employed by the FBI under their program COINTELPRO.
Domestically in America, the FBI created the counter-intelligence program known as COINTELPRO, to influence, disrupt and coerce political factions from the inside out, infiltrating countless political groups and movements. According to reports these included the following, “The Black Panther Party, The Communist Party of America, the Ku Klux Klan, the Socialist Workers Party, the New Left, the Students for a Democratic Society, the American Indian Movement, the Chicano Movement, the Puerto Rican Liberation Movement, Communist groups, anti-war organizations, Hollywood stars sympathetic to these groups, and civil rights leaders.”
Between 1956 and 1971 the FBI’s controversial program influenced and radicalized hundreds of left-wing and right-wing groups to control and neutralize political dissidents across America. No part of politics was immune to COINTELPRO.
Is it possible that a DC love triangle that once involved Brock, Grey & Alefantis, led to a PR-driven form (as a part of Brock’s Correct the Record or something else) of bad-jacketing which then cascaded through the Democratic Party elite, ultimately taking its triangle shape – through the use of pizzagate and others?
‘MEDIA CONTROL’ – (Photo illustration redesigned by 21WIRE’s Shawn Helton)
Censorship & the ‘Fake News’ Witch-Hunt
In early November, just prior to the US presidential election, CNN published an article stating the following:
“A recent BuzzFeed study of “hyperpartisan Facebook pages” found that these pages “are consistently feeding their millions of followers false or misleading information.”
Three weeks later in a republished article written by Robert Parry from Consortium News, it was disclosed that major media companies had been heavily involved in pushing the fake news meme, citing many election-based posts made online as the culprit:
“In its lead editorial on Sunday, The New York Times decried what it deemed “The Digital Virus Called Fake News” and called for Internet censorship to counter this alleged problem, taking particular aim at Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for letting “liars and con artists hijack his platform.”
Below is a passage from a recent report filed at 21WIRE discussing the fake news witch-hunt, which has now led to new calls for internet censorship:
“Over the past month, The Washington Post published an irresponsible propaganda piece that blamed the 2016 US election results on ‘fake news’ dispensed via sophisticated Russian propaganda. These accusations of course were completely unfounded, deliberately feeding into a paranoid trial by media format that is no doubt echoed by US government sock puppet accounts that act as a digital firing squad by redirecting public perception.
While the US mainstream media contends that ‘fake news’ somehow altered the 2016 presidential election cycle, it’s important to remember that the US government has some pedigree here, having been behind the creation of bogus social media accounts and personalities for years now.
Back in 2011, The UK’s Guardian reported that the US government via CENTCOM, was looking to gain a foothold over information shared on the internet through fake online personal accounts:
“The discovery that the US military is developing false online personalities – known to users of social media as “sock puppets” – could also encourage other governments, private companies and non-government organisations to do the same.
The Centcom contract stipulates that each fake online persona must have a convincing background, history and supporting details, and that up to 50 US-based controllers should be able to operate false identities from their workstations “without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries”.”
This is just one example. Who really knows how widespread this practice is.
You can expect a litany of allegations to continue from the mainstream, along with their faux war on fake news sites which has been used deliberately to discredit and frame genuine investigative analysis in alternative media, its intended target. Western media’s anti-Russian hyperbole has morphed and broadened somewhat, thanks to Facebook, Google and Twitter and the alphabet establishment news agencies, Washington has a new go-to scapegoat joining the tired old Russian ‘hack’ meme – independent media.”
It appears as though there has been a coordinated effort to combine the latest run of conspiracies in America, whether it’s the fake news meme, the ‘Russian election-hack’ meme or pizzagate – they all seem to be have been used to undermine key aspects of internet freedom.
Below is an interview with James Alefantis featured on Megyn Kelly’s Kelly File discussing the highly speculative pizzagate theory. During Kelly’s interview, the focus centered around unsubstantiated claims levied at the business owner and his place of business…
The overtly conspiracy-tinged pizzagate theory, emerged like a hydra out of sub-Reddit and 4chan threads and Twitter posts, while catapulting only the most sensational aspects into the mainstream matrix. The story conjures many Hollywood and government tales of cover-up, murder, abuse and deception throughout history.
The perceived presence of a politically charged Satanic sex-cult intertwined within a paedophilic abuse ring, seemed to have only enhanced the narrative for many internet-sleuths, who in some cases, held steadfast to a biased guilt-by-association meme – even in the absence of any known victims, and without any forensic evidence or any eye-witness testimony of a crime.
This is not to suggest that VIP child sex rings and ritual abuse cases do not exist in America. One such murder spree, known as the ‘Son of Sam’ case, was reopened in part due to evidence of Satanic cult activity and multiple offenders. Although the findings were suspended, the case was never officially closed.
While people should certainly have the ability to express their opinion about pizzagate without shame or ridicule, using biased, misleading or fraudulent information (in some cases dispensing defamatory or threatening remarks) in a rapid-fire echo chamber, could ultimately undermine any legitimate investigation if there truly was a crime committed here, or elsewhere. If that is the ultimate legacy of pizzagate, then it is a devastating self-inflicted wound for the alternative media.
While it’s true that sites like Reddit and Twitter could cite the 1996 Communications Decency Act, as a protection for hosting defamatory information posts by users, there could be real consequences for those deliberately posting defamatory content with no real evidence to substantiate such allegations.
Another risk with a whirlwind like this, is that it would be very easy for an agent provocateur to post a slick YouTube video or craft an article – with the intention of whipping-up a storm that could be used to damage independent media as a whole. It’s very possible that this has already happened at some point over the life of the internet, and it’s certain that the powers that be will use this tactic again in the future.
Above all however, it’s important to separate the fallout from the pizzagate story and other fake news allegations, as those in mainstream media such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and the self-anointed ‘fact checker’ Snopes.com, seem to have propped up this pizzeria conspiracy as a battle cry to introduce the idea of new internet censorship protocols.
It’s anybody’s guess what will be the final outcome of the #Pizzagate phenomenon, but for the moment, it seems to have collapsed under the weight of its own mountain of digital ash.
Maybe that was the idea.
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