Conspiracy Theory – Sekt Info Thu, 22 Sep 2022 15:23:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Conspiracy Theory – Sekt Info 32 32 Green Bay Packers’ Jon Runyan Jr. shoots down conspiracy theories that his father suspended Mike Evans from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wed, 21 Sep 2022 14:37:04 +0000

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Jon Runyan Jr. has heard the theories – or the conspiracy theories, so to speak. Because it was the father of the left guard of the Green Bay Packers who this week imposed the one-game suspension on receiver Mike Evans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who faced his son’s team on Sunday.

That’s the job of Jon Runyan Sr. as the NFL’s Vice President of Rules and Policy Administration. It’s a position the former player has held since 2016.

“He was just doing his job,” Runyan Jr. said Wednesday. “He’s been doing this job for over half a decade now. We happen to be playing the Buccaneers this week. Everyone’s trying to make this conspiracy theory out of it, which it’s not.”

Runyan Sr. ruled on Evans’ suspension Monday for the catcher’s role in Sunday’s altercation with New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Evans’ appeal was then heard by Appeals Officer James Thrash, who upheld the suspension on Wednesday.

“My dad is doing his job,” Runyan Jr said.[It was a] misjudgment on the ground. Sometimes this stuff happens. There’s a whole conspiracy theory going on, and it’s not true. That’s how it goes. You cannot run 15 meters trying to chase someone when the game is over. It’s funny, though, how things work out sometimes.”

Runyan Sr. played 14 seasons in the NFL (1996-2009). Runyan Jr. was a 2020 Packers sixth-round pick. He became the Packers’ starting left guard in 2021 and started each of the first two games there that season.

Mark Finchem hosted a fundraiser with 9/11 truthers and QAnon influencers Tue, 20 Sep 2022 14:15:53 +0000

Republican nominee for Secretary of State Mark Finchem held a fundraiser in California on Sunday, organized by a conspiracy theorist who believes 9/11 was orchestrated by the US government and attended by an influential influencer from QAnon.

Nicole Nogrady, who hosted the event, shared a litany of debunked stories and messages regarding COVID-19, abortion and other lies on her Instagram account.

“They have the public addicted to fetal tissue,” Nogrady said in a post, citing a debunked conspiracy theory that certain foods and drinks are made with aborted fetal tissue. “Cannibalism is addictive, which is why people are getting addicted to these mainstream company products.”

Get morning headlines delivered to your inbox

Nogrady also believes that planes spray chemicals to geoengineer the world, a long-debunked conspiracy called “chemtrails.”

On September 11, Nogrady also posted on Trump’s Truth Social Twitter account his beliefs that the attack that claimed the lives of 2,977 people 21 years prior was carried out by the “deep state.”

“On the day (9/11) the Deep State took the lives of thousands and changed the course of American history,” Nogrady said. “Since that day, the same people who orchestrated the event have worked hard behind the scenes to create their ‘One World Gov’t’ and have divided us more than EVER before.”

On its website, Nogrady republished the Zeitgeist conspiracy theory moviewhich also claims that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated by the United States government, among a litany of other claims.

But Nogrady was far from the only conspiratorial participant on Sunday.

Video of the event shows that conspiracy theory language and rhetoric were front and center. A song called “WWG1WGA,” Which one is the QAnon Sloganwas sung live by the artist who wrote it.

Also in attendance was Jordan Sather, an influential QAnon influencer. Sather posted photos from the event on social media that showed “let’s go Brandon” themed red wine at the tables, as well as photos of him with disgraced former Army General Mike Flynn and Steve Bannon, who was a top adviser to Donald Trump in 2016.

Sather has long been active in conspiracy theory circles, including appearing in a film called “above majesticin which he claims aliens were behind 9/11, among many other false and dubious claims. In an interview with comedian Jim Jefferies, Sather also alleged that Democratic politicians use “adrenochrome», a suspected drug harvested from the blood of children. There is no evidence to support the claim.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sather also encouraged his supporters to drink a solution he called the “miracle mineral solution” which was basically bleach, to ward off COVID-19. Sather was responsible for much of the trending posts regarding the solution and misinformation, according to report by rolling stone.

Ingestion of MMS can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and researchers have also found that it can be fatal. The The FDA has warned against its use and the the makers of it have been criminally charged to market it as a COVID-19 cure.

Flynn is also a QAnon and conspiracy theorist. He is one of main purveyors of electoral negationismfrom QAnon communities, and wore a “WWG1WGA” wristband in the movie “The Deep Rig”.

Flynn got rich playing in the QAnon conspiracyselling “digital soldier” merchandise that resonates with the QAnon crowd, who often refer to themselves as such. Flynn also took the “Digital Soldier’s Oathand he often helps fund “citizen journalists” in the QAnon world. He also contributed to funding Arizona’s “audit” effort.

Bannon, Trump’s former adviser, also often pushes unfounded conspiracy theories and invite other conspiracy theorists and extremists on his podcast. Finchem is a regular guest on Bannon’s show.

Finchem did not respond to multiple requests for comment asking if he was aware of the beliefs of any of his fundraiser’s speakers or hosts and whether he held similar beliefs.

Finchem held a similar fundraiser earlier this year for its non-profit which featured an election conspiracy theorist Seth Kesselcriminally charged Tina Peters, Mesa County Clerk and a disgraced former FBI agent who leads an anti-Muslim group who asserted that “Communists and Islamists” “are working together to destroy America”.

Finchem had originally planned to hold his fundraiser in Newport, Calif., but the venue was changed, with conflicting reports on the reason for the change. Sather said the venue change was due to alleged death threats. In a video posted by Nogrady, Flynn said the venue was canceled the event, but he made no mention of death threats.

A website set up by the campaign for the event said the event had not been canceled, but the location would not be revealed until tickets were purchased. Tickets cost between $300 and $5,300 for the event.

Witness asked about Jones’ criticism of Sandy Hook trial Fri, 16 Sep 2022 19:31:00 +0000

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who is on trial in Connecticut for calling the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre a hoax, continued Friday to describe the proceedings as “kangaroo court” from his Infowars studio in Texas.

Jones’ comment became the focus of testimony on the fourth day of the trial, with an attorney for the Sandy Hook families questioning a representative of Jones’ Infowars brand about how seriously the company was taking the lawsuit.

The attorney, Christopher Mattei, showed the jury a photo he said was from an Infowars webpage, depicting the trial judge with lasers shooting out of her eyes.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, how seriously Infowars takes this lawsuit,” Mattei asked company representative Brittany Paz.

“Ten. This is serious to me,” Paz replied.

The exchange took place as Jones prepares to attend the trial in Waterbury next week and the judge, Barbara Bellis, is considering a request from the families’ lawyers to limit what Jones and his lawyer can say and argue in court. . Jones is expected to testify, but it’s unclear when.

“They’re telling the world this is a real trial, but I’m guilty when I get to it and I can’t say I’m innocent,” Jones said on his Infowars webcast on Friday. “Everyone basically knows it’s a fraud.”

He has previously said judges’ default rulings against him – finding him liable without a trial – were unfair and suggested they were part of a plot to bankrupt and silence him.

Jones and his company Free Speech Systems are on trial in a lawsuit brought by an FBI agent who responded to the shooting and relatives of eight of the 20 first graders and six educators killed in the December 2012 massacre in Newtown. They say Jones inflicted emotional and psychological damage on them and they were threatened and harassed by Jones supporters.

Jones has already been convicted of spreading the myth that the shooting never happened, and the six-member jury will decide how much he and his company should pay the plaintiffs in damages.

In a motion filed Thursday, attorneys for the families asked Bellis for several limitations on what Jones and his attorney, Norman Pattis, can say and argue at trial, including barring them from alleging that holding Jones and Free Speech Systems accountable of their actions offends the First Amendment.

Pattis outlined Jones’ defense in a motion filed Friday in response to the families’ motion.

“Defendants have argued, and intend to argue, that Plaintiffs have motives, biases and an interest in exaggerating their claims against Defendants, namely: their interest in gun control regulation and their hostility to Mr. Jones,” Pattis wrote.

Pattis also said Jones disputes the amount of damages to be awarded and focuses on the families’ motives for “overstating their damages: namely: their desire to silence Alex Jones not just because he hurt them , but because they find his politics and political affiliations repugnant.

Pattis added: “Mr. Jones’ conspiracy theory may be offensive to some and ridiculous to others, but he didn’t gain millions of listeners by forcing people to tune in. He speaks a language that many Americans seem ready to accept.

Mattei showed the jury that viewership and sales of products such as nutritional supplements and clothing on his website skyrocketed around the time he was reporting on the Sandy Hook shooting, suggesting that Jones was taking advantage of shooting.

Pattis countered in court Friday that the jury should be allowed to hear that Jones believes there is a conspiracy to take the guns away and enslave people.

“They presented to this jury the theory that Jones is marketing fear to make money,” Pattis said. “Our contention is that he recognizes the fear of the people and earns a dollar to support that premise.”

Last month, a jury in Texas awarded the parents of one of the slain Sandy Hook children nearly $50 million in a similar lawsuit against Jones and his company over the hoax allegations. Jones also faces a third lawsuit in Texas later this year over how much he should pay the parents of another child killed in the shooting.

The Connecticut trial is set to resume on Tuesday, with the judge indicating that she will then decide to further limit what the defense can argue regarding the value of Jones’ assets.


Associated Press writer Pat Eaton-Robb contributed to this story from Connecticut

The Michigan father shot his family, police say. His daughter blames QAnon. Tue, 13 Sep 2022 00:17:00 +0000

A Michigan man who allegedly believed in the QAnon conspiracy theory was killed in a police shootout on Sunday after fatally shooting his wife and critically injuring their daughter in their suburban Detroit home.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office identified the man as Igor Lanis, 53, of Walled Lake, a small community 30 miles northwest of Detroit. Lanis had no history of violence or protective orders against him, officials said, but according to his youngest daughter, who was not home during the attack, Lanis had become increasingly moreover under the influence of the movement of conspiracy sprawling and without known basis. like QAnon.

Rebecca Lanis, 21, told the Detroit News on Sunday that after Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election, her father began consuming “crazy ideas” online, including conspiracy theories about vaccines and Trump.

“No one could talk him out of them,” she told the outlet.

An epidemic of conspiracy theories, stoked by social media and self-serving politicians, is tearing families apart.

Police received a 911 call just after 4 a.m. on Sunday from a young woman who said she had just been shot by her father, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said in a communicated. statement. When officers arrived at the scene and headed for the house after hearing a gunshot, Lanis came out the front door armed with a shotgun and began shooting at the officers.

The police returned fire, killing Lanis.

Officers then saw Lanis’ 25-year-old daughter, Rachel, attempt to crawl out the front door before dragging her to safety. She was later hospitalized and listed in stable condition. Rachel Lanis, who made the initial 911 call, told police her father shot her and killed her mother.

Tina Lanis, 56, was found dead inside the home with multiple gunshot wounds to her back following an apparent attempt to flee through the front door, according to the sheriff’s office. The family dog ​​was also found dead with multiple gunshot wounds.

Rebecca Lanis, who was staying with a friend for a birthday and was not home during filming, did not immediately respond to a request for an interview on Monday. But in a Reddit forum for people who have lost touch with loved ones because of QAnon, she firmly blamed the conspiracy theory movement for her family’s tragedy.

“I want the media to call Q because it’s all their fault,” she wrote. She lamented how her father’s fall down QAnon’s “rabbit hole” turned him from a loving, fun, carefree man into someone who would “get really pissed off over the smallest things” and warn imagined dangers posed by modern medicine or 5G towers.

“It’s like he was possessed by a demon,” she wrote.

The sheriff’s office said there was an active investigation into the incident and did not give a reason.

QAnon gained momentum as a viral online movement towards the end of 2017. Its followers awaited posts from an anonymous figure known as “Q” who claimed to be a high-level government insider with knowledge of secrets of the “deep state”.

The movement has shifted focus and evolved over the years, but has been linked to a growing number of criminal incidents, including the January 6, 2021 siege at the United States Capitol, where several QAnon adherents were arrested.

QAnon reshaped Trump’s party and radicalized believers. The Capitol siege may be just the beginning.

In a 2019 intelligence bulletin, the FBI listed QAnon among “anti-government, identity-based, fringe political conspiracy theories” that “most likely motivate some domestic extremists to engage in criminal, sometimes violent, activity.”

Last year, a California man who became obsessed with QAnon confessed to killing his 2-year-old son and 10-month-old daughter with an underwater shotgun after being “lit up” by the group. Matthew Taylor Coleman told FBI investigators he received signs that this woman “possessed snake DNA” and passed it on to their children.

Jack Bratich, an associate professor of journalism and media studies at Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information who researches QAnon, said the group can be particularly appealing to people who have been unsettled by trauma. mass – like the coronavirus pandemic – or who more generally cling to QAnon as a way to cope with a changing world where they feel less comfortable.

“QAnon gave some people a sense of purpose and a narrative that almost secured a certain type of future,” Bratich said. To preserve this, adherents may act and behave in an almost paranoid manner.

“They can act like they’re protecting a bunker and treat other people – even family – as an enemy,” he said.

]]> How Donald Trump is following in the footsteps of a notorious con artist Fri, 09 Sep 2022 10:00:46 +0000

In northern Arkansas, there is a town called Eureka Springs, where no streets intersect at right angles. The city is built into rock, captive to ancient geology, its buildings carved into curving cliffs and its trees sprouting through layers of sloping sidewalks. There are no traffic lights in Eureka Springs because there is no clear lane to turn, no landmarks to take, no center to hold. You can enter the ground floor of a building and walk in a straight line through the back door to find that you just left the fifth floor on that side. The topography dictates your route: renames it, replaces it. It’s reassuring these days, such reliable disorientation. No one comes to Eureka Springs for sure anyway. They come for magic and ghosts.

Before the pandemic hit, every December my family would drive from St. Louis, Missouri to Dallas, Texas to celebrate Christmas with my sister and her family. Every year we would stop in Arkansas and spend a night in Eureka Springs. The official reason was to break the ten hour drive, but the real reason was to stay at the Crescent Hotel, and the reason we wanted to stay at the Crescent Hotel was that it is haunted. This is not our opinion, but the business card of the hotel. Since 1886, the Crescent has towered above the springs of Eureka, luring travelers seeking miracle cures to the city’s waters, which are said to possess magical healing powers. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the famous and the infamous passed as the Ozarks became a paradise for gangsters and a retreat for politicians. The hotel has changed hands and identities: a luxury resort, a women’s conservatory, a junior college. Then the Great Depression hit and it became a place where people literally died of false hope.

In 1937, a con artist named Norman Baker arrived in Eureka Springs with a new brand in mind. Born in the trading town of Muscatine, Iowa, on the Mississippi River, in 1882, Baker grew up wealthy and spent his formative years enriching himself through fraud. In the 1920s, he traveled through a shell-shocked America still reeling from the Spanish Flu, roaming the landscape like a vulture feeding on pain. An aspiring politician, former carnival barker and trained demagogue, Baker has gained a massive following by pouring out conspiracy theories through the popular new medium of radio. He operated a station in Muscatine which he called “KTNT”, which stood for “Knowing the Naked Truth”. Muscatine was at that time a nascent media mecca in the Midwest. Mark Twain had worked at his newspaper, before being accosted by a local with a knife who insisted he call him the devil’s son or be killed, in which case Twain decided to leave town.

Throughout the late 1920s, Baker warned his audience that evil cabals ruled the United States. He assured his listeners that he could expose the wrongdoers, as long as they continued to listen. Its 10,000 watt broadcasts have spread far beyond Muscatine, reaching over a million homes. Off the air, Baker consulted with a team of vicious lawyers he had hired to threaten officials and reporters investigating his many criminal offenses, which ranged from obscenity to libel to theft.

But Baker’s cruellest crime was making ordinary people believe he could save them. In 1929, as the stock market crashed and America sank deeper into despair, Baker proclaimed himself a medical genius. In December, he launches a printed magazine, The naked truth, and put a photo of him on the cover next to the proclamation that cancer is cured. In 1930 he established a hospital in Muscatine, called it the Baker Institute, and staffed it with people with minimal medical expertise. He peddled a cancer cure that consisted of little more than seeds, corn silk, carbolic acid, and water, though he didn’t tell his audience. He called this tonic “Secret Remedy #5”. Baker’s secrets earned him $444,000 in 1930 alone, the equivalent of $7.2 million in 2021.

Baker was an opponent of vaccines. He told his followers that doctors recommending vaccines were part of a nefarious government plot. He claimed that doctors knew how to cure cancer, but refused to do so because it brought them no financial gain, unlike his own selfless actions. Baker was vicious in his denunciations, but his audience loved him. In a time of economic misery and political instability, it felt good to have an enemy, and Baker’s confidence was its own decoy. In the early 1930s, tens of thousands of desperate Americans gathered at rallies to hear him speak. Baker assured them that one day the cancer would disappear, like a miracle. They drank his treatment like Kool-Aid flavored hydroxychloroquine, and thus sealed their own demise.

Within a year, the American Medical Association had figured out Baker and sought to end his operation, viewing him as a dealer in death. “The wickedness of Mr. Baker’s broadcast lies not in what he says about the American Medical Association, but in the fact that he incites people with cancer who might have a chance for their life, if seen early and properly treated, to resort to his nostrum,” they wrote in 1931. Baker responded by claiming that the American Medical Association had sent armed assassins to kill him. He then sued to no avail the AMA for defamation.

These were classic Baker tactics: frame your opponents with an outrageous crime and pursue them quickly and aggressively. But this time he failed. He lost his radio license and his institute and got a warrant for his arrest. He fled to Mexico, where he bought a border radio station and announced to his audience that he would continue to live above the law. After a few years of relatively low lying, he returned to the United States in 1937. He served a day in prison in Iowa, for practicing medicine without a license, and left for Eureka Springs.

Alex Jones’ retrial set to probe his empire’s finances Thu, 08 Sep 2022 11:00:59 +0000

The next question facing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in the face of the lawsuit from the families of the Sandy Hook victims: How much is Alex Jones really worth?

Jones and his media operation, Infowars, have for years falsely claimed that the Sandy Hook shooting was staged and that the victims and their families were actors. In a recent Texas case, a jury awarded nearly $50 million in damages to the parents of a Sandy Hook shooting victim. Now a The Connecticut jury will decide how much damages to award to several other parents of children who were killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting.

The previous trial in Texas has already revealed new details about Jones’ empire, including what the families call a scheme to hide his wealth. An expert witness in that lawsuit says Jones’ empire was likely worth up to $270 million, but he began shifting funds out of his businesses and eventually declared bankruptcy after the families sued. defamation against him.

Observers told Grid there is a good chance the Connecticut case will result in larger damages for the plaintiffs than were awarded by the Texas jury in August.

While Connecticut has limits on punitive damages, experts say the state is generally more sympathetic to plaintiffs, and the Connecticut case includes more than a dozen plaintiffs claiming harm from the Infowars campaign, compared to the two Texas plaintiffs, perhaps justifying a higher award.

Jones claims that he and Infowars’ parent company, Free Speech Systems, cannot afford the rewards. Family lawyers and a court-appointed trustee have questioned this.

What to expect

Next week’s trial is scheduled to begin on Tuesday and consolidates three lawsuits against Jones and his companies. The lawsuit will determine how much Free Speech Systems owes nine families of Sandy Hook, the school principal’s daughter and a first responder to the shooting.

It is likely to shed light on the inner workings of Free Speech Systems, as well as a network of front companies controlled by Jones and his family members.

A Connecticut judge granted default judgment against Jones in November 2021 in part because Jones’ attorneys failed to comply with discovery requests. This means that next week’s trial will focus solely on damages to be awarded.

For years, Jones has used his radio and internet shows to promote a conspiracy theory that the 2012 mass shooting was a government-orchestrated “false flag” operation intended to be used as a pretext to confiscate guns from Americans. “Don’t ever think that the globalists who hijacked this country wouldn’t stage something like this,” Jones said on his show on the day of filming. “They kill little children all day, every day.”

Jones’ lies led to years of harassment and threats against parents of school-aged victims. A family has been forced to move nearly 10 times since the shooting.

Jones, who has since admitted the Sandy Hook shooting was real, made money from his operations throughout the period. Although his shows generated revenue, court filings indicate that much of his income came from a profitable supplement and doomsday prep business that he frequently advertises on his shows. It’s not uncommon for Jones to follow a segment about likely societal collapse or nuclear war with an ad for buckets of shelf-stable food or iodine pills to prevent radiation sickness. At one point in 2018, Infowars was grossing over $800,000 a day.

“Preparing for the End of the World” for Default Judgments

Sandy Hook’s parents allege that when judges began ruling against Jones and his companies, he devised a plan to protect his assets by transferring millions from his companies’ coffers and falsely claiming that several companies, including Free Speech Systems, had gone bankrupt.

“During the libel cases, debtors’ apocalypse Jones prepared for these eventual judgments by misappropriating assets,” the plaintiffs claimed in a filing. Jones’ attorneys disputed this characterization. None responded to Grid’s requests for comment.

About $70 million was transferred from Free Speech Systems to Jones’ own accounts, according to forensic economist Bernard Pettingill Jr., an expert witness called to stand in the Texas trial on behalf of the plaintiffs. Millions more have moved to separate companies with names such as PQPR Holdings Limited controlled by Jones and his parents, Pettingill said last month.

In a court filing, lawyers for PQPR argue that this conclusion is false, the result of a “misunderstanding of the difference between a balance sheet and an income statement”.

Separately, Free Speech Systems pointed to a massive debt to PQPR in the bankruptcy filings, which Jones’ lawyers said related to surcharges they allege PQPR had provided over the years and had never been paid. The debt was reported just three weeks after the Connecticut Supreme Court upheld sanctions against Jones in the case, prompting a default judgment, a time Sandy Hook’s attorneys say is suspicious. Pettingill called the debt a ruse.

“On the books, Alex Jones is carrying this gigantic $53 million note, when in reality he’s using that note as clawback to pay himself off,” Pettingill told the Texas jury. Pettingill was limited in the documents he was able to gather because Jones’ attorneys did not comply with the discovery, he testified. This testimony echoed that of another lawyer in the bankruptcy case.

Jones and company claimed after the first jury award that Infowars was running on empty. “We are so broke… I am worried about our bankruptcy to urgently stabilize Infowars, and we have a plan. But to do that, we need support,” Jones told his viewers the day before the jury awarded the parents an additional $45.2 million.

Outside experts contacted by Grid generally agreed with Pettingill. “Circumstances suggest that this claim was dreamed up relatively recently,” said Minor Myers, a law professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law, “as a way to divert more value from the estate into friendly hands. “.

The Sandy Hook families argue in multiple lawsuits that Jones works to protect Free Speech Systems’ assets from damages by transferring money out of the company to family members. Grid reviewed financial documents made public in the case and found recent payments of $240,000 to a Nevada LLC controlled by Jones’ sister, Marleigh Jones Rivera. The payments occurred after the default judgments were entered. Jones’ sister was once an Infowars employee, but it’s unclear if she remains on the payroll. Rivera did not respond to requests for comment.

why is it important

The impact of these cases on Jones’ operations appears negligible, at least for now. He continues to produce shows promoting conspiracy theories, although he has acknowledged that Sandy Hook was not a false flag operation.

“Infowars hasn’t changed much” in recent weeks, even as libel suits have advanced, according to Michael Edison Hayden, senior investigative reporter at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Hayden followed Jones and Infowars closely and investigated the inner workings of the company. “He still does a lot of the things he used to do.”

After the mass shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas, Jones “was about halfway there to suggest it was staged or part of an operation”, Hayden recounted. “[Jones] tries to dip his feet in the same kind of pool that made him so much money.

But the significance of Jones’ libel lawsuits goes beyond Sandy Hook and Jones himself, said Amanda J. Crawford, an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut.

“[These cases] are the first really big, high-profile test of how we can hold people accountable for conspiracy theories in this moment of misinformation we find ourselves in,” said Crawford, who is writing a book about the links between the shootings of mass and misinformation. “The misinformation that followed Sandy Hook ushered in a new era of conspiracy theories. The year of the shoot was the first year that more than half of American adults were on social media.

Thanks to Lillian Barkley for writing this article.

‘It’s really sleazy and low’: Netflix’s John McAfee documentary attacked by people who appeared in it Fri, 02 Sep 2022 11:41:00 +0000

By Jon Swartz

The tech mogul’s ex-girlfriend is shown suggesting he’s still alive, but tells MarketWatch his words were twisted out of context, just one of many complaints from family members and friends. others who were close to the cybersecurity pioneer about the popular new film and how it was made

In the chilling climax of “Running With the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee,” a documentary that has become one of the most popular films on Netflix since its premiere last week, a former girlfriend of the tech reportedly said she got a call from him after he died.

The quote intrigues and teases with supposed evidence that McAfee – a shadowy figure whose savage life has garnered a global cult following – did not die by suicide in a Spanish prison more than a year ago, a conspiracy theory that followers began moving forward almost as soon as news of his death broke.

The woman who said that now insists her comments have been twisted out of context.

“What I said was I got a call from Texas from someone saying it was John, who said he was still alive in Spain. I told the directors from the movie that I didn’t know if it was him or someone impersonating him. I said that on the movie, but it wasn’t used,” Samantha Herrera told MarketWatch last week. .

In his only interview since the documentary’s premiere, Herrera shared with MarketWatch, during a lengthy phone conversation, his frustration and anger. Speaking about this phone call claiming to be from McAfee, she said she questioned the mysterious voice on the phone to assess if it could be McAfee’s, but doubt set in as the voice struggled to answer. to most of his questions.

“I’m so upset. They’re making a lot of money off my name, and I asked them to blur my face. It’s really dodgy and low,” said Herrera, a mother of two young children who said that she had recently lost her job because of the notoriety stemming from the documentary. “They trashed my name. People are harassing me on social media.”

Much like its subject, “Running With the Devil” is a spooky tale of death, sex, drugs, guns and cryptocurrency, but also a dark descent into deception, media manipulation, falsehoods and self-glorification. And, as with everything about the late cybersecurity pioneer, it quickly turned into wild hearsay that sparked debate, controversy, and the threat of legal action.

In-depth reporting: John McAfee’s body is stuck in a Spanish prison morgue as a fight rages over his inheritance

“This monster Frankenstein movie is a cautionary tale about fabricated reality and lateral truth,” said former vice editor Rocco Castoro, who is featured in the film and said he is now considering action in justice. “This is the only truth about John McAfee. He was a bad faith actor before fake news, a protoplasm of Trump and his team.”

Castoro traveled to Belize in late 2012 to meet and film McAfee after he was named a person of interest in the homicide of American businessman Gregory Faull, and this footage forms the backbone of the film. Castoro says he owns the main footage used in the film and claims that the director and producers of “Running With the Devil” were not allowed to use the footage, but stole the pitch deck for his own documentary – titled “Running With John McAfee” – – and denied him a producer credit and payment.

“Curious Films’ repeated requests for me to sign a release and my repeated refusals warrant further investigation into why they felt they needed a release in the first place,” Castoro told MarketWatch.

Krista Worby, Castoro’s manager and documentary filmmaker, said Curious Films – the creators of “Running With the Devil” – used her client’s footage without proper credit and lifted her pitch deck. “My question is how [did] Is Netflix legal to accept the publication of the document? He’s our doc. They literally ripped it off,” she said.

Castoro said Curious Films also failed to mention that the doc would be distributed by Netflix, a claim echoed by Herrera and John McAfee’s daughter Jen, who expressed disbelief that the documentary gave credence to a theory debunked according to which John McAfee was implicated in the death of his own father.

“They didn’t do a documentary,” Jen McAfee told MarketWatch. “It looks a lot more like a James Bond movie.”

More from Jon Swartz: The Brilliant (and Very Dark) John McAfee I Got to Know

Netflix Inc. (NFLX) did not respond to emails seeking comment on McAfee’s documentary, which is getting mixed reviews but ranked No. 7 in Netflix’s Top 10 Movies last week despite its debut midweek; the streaming service called it the weekend’s second most popular movie. Netflix’s documentary division has distributed three of the last five Oscar-winning documentaries, while adding voluminous amounts of real films about characters such as Marilyn Monroe, serial killers John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Epstein and the infamous DB Cooper hijacker.

Representatives for Curious Films, including founder Dov Freedman, McAfee documentary filmmaker Charlie Russell and producer Faye Planner, as well as the production company’s US attorney, Kathleen Conkey, did not return emails. or calls asking for comment for several days. In an interview with Esquire published this month, Russell explained Herrera’s latest supercharged quote: “I don’t know what I’m thinking, and I don’t think she does. She says it, then she looks at the camera, and I can ‘I don’t know if she thinks it’s real or not.”

The production company also dodged repeated pleas from critics who participated, including Castoro, Herrera and Jen McAfee.

“I’m not trying to be contentious about it,” Castoro told MarketWatch. “His family deserves to have their story told.”

Controversy follows McAfee, even in death

The controversy surrounding the mysterious McAfee is no surprise. Conspiracy theories and unfounded myths about McAfee’s life were often propagated and propagated by the man himself, a great storyteller who had a slippery grasp of the truth. Exacerbating McAfee’s big stories were a bunch of hangers, an arsenal of guns, and a seemingly endless supply of drugs and alcohol.

“The drugs reinforced his psychosis, his paranoia,” cameraman Robert King, who teamed up with Castoro on the Belize trip and shot footage used throughout the documentary, told MarketWatch. “John had quite a bit of it.”

After traveling with McAfee in the United States and abroad, “Syria felt like a vacation,” said King, who risked his life shooting video in war-torn countries before filming the theft of McAfee from Belize to Guatemala and the United States in late 2012. King also recorded video of McAfee later traveling through the United States, the Bahamas, and the Dominican Republic, and said he authorized the documentary to use these images.

“He was a narcissist who was emotionally upset and hid it well,” said Alex Cody Foster, author of the forthcoming book The Man Who Hacked the World: A Ghostwriter’s Descent Into Madness with John McAfee.

“I’ve seen violent outbursts. He once gave a guy $400,000 in cryptocurrency to buy cars, but the guy wasted it, and John ended up threatening to kill him. and his family,” said Foster, who traveled for five weeks. with McAfee in 2018 and is featured in “Running With the Devil”.

It’s Foster who mentions speculation about McAfee’s role in the death of her abusive father. Some suggest John McAfee killed his father, Don McAfee, and staged a suicide, a claim categorically denied by McAfee associates, who claim John McAfee was in school when his father died.

In 2016’s “Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee,” Oscar-nominated director Nanette Burstein (“American Teen,” “The Kid Stays in the Picture”) accused the cybersecurity pioneer of two murders and a rape. She said he was leading a small army of armed goons in Belize and had singled one out as the shooter in Faull’s murder.

John McAfee vehemently denied the charges in a 2016 interview with this reporter, but members of the McAfee family are convinced he was present during Faull’s shooting death in Belize. And nearly everyone interviewed on camera in “Running With the Devil” told MarketWatch they thought he was capable of violence, citing personal interactions with McAfee.

But many of these narratives are missing from the finished documentary. An underlying theme of the review is that the filmmakers shot hours of interviews that boiled down to a single sensational quote – as seems to be the case with Herrera. McAfee’s first wife, Jen McAfee’s mother, was interviewed for hours, but she does not appear in the film at all, according to the family.

Foster said he and other filmed subjects signed waivers knowing that the final say on the footage belonged to the director and that it was unclear what form the project would take. Foster and Castoro said they believe Netflix decided to go with a documentary rather than a multi-episode miniseries, which they say led to a potentially rushed last-minute edit of the film.

More:John McAfee died by suicide, Spanish court rules after prolonged delay

The film ends abruptly with the suggestion that McAfee is alive, glossing over much of the last years of his life: his failed bids in 2016 and 2020 to become the Libertarian Party’s nominee for President, his emergence into the world of cryptocurrency, his October 2020 arrest in Spain for tax evasion in the United States and his suicide in a prison outside Barcelona on June 23, 2021. McAfee’s body remains in Spain amid legal wrangling, more than a year after his death.

“I wanted the movie out. I didn’t feel like I was misled,” cameraman King told MarketWatch. “I’m glad viral eyes are on the Spanish justice system. The film puts pressure on the Spanish authorities to close this case so it doesn’t fester in their system. People deserve the right to ‘to be buried after their death.’

-Jon Swartz


(END) Dow Jones Newswire

09-02-22 0741ET

Copyright (c) 2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters erased language on the campaign website saying the 2020 election was stolen from Trump Tue, 30 Aug 2022 02:29:00 +0000 A review of Masters’ website by CNN’s KFile showed he also removed controversial language saying Democrats were trying to “import” a new electorate – language that has drawn fire for reflecting conspiracies of extreme right that Democrats are trying to weaken the power of Native Americans of European descent through the mass immigration of non-white immigrants.
Both positions were on the Masters website on August 1, the day before he won the Republican primary to face Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in the closely watched Senate race. The sections were gone by August 26, according to screenshots from the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.
Masters’ new campaign posture comes as a wave of Republican candidates nationwide attempt to distance themselves from unpopular or divisive policy positions, particularly on abortion and the legitimacy of the 2020 election, ahead of the election November mid-term.
NBC News first reported last week that Masters tried to water down his stance on abortion by removing his support for a “federal personality law” and several other tough anti-abortion stances from his website. while posting a video in which the Republican nominee took a softer stance on the issue.
A person close to Masters told CNN last week that the Republican candidate designs, codes and updates his website himself – and that his recent updates to the abortion section reflect his desire to use its political section as a “living document” rather than immutable. statement of his positions.

It’s unusual for candidates to update their major issues pages, and CNN has reached out to the Masters campaign about the changed language regarding the 2020 election.

Removed sections on immigration and 2020 elections

In early August, ‘The Masters Plan’ page, read, “We must take election integrity seriously. The 2020 election was a rotten mess – if we had had a free and fair election, President Trump would be sitting in the Oval Office today and America would be so much better for it.”

The page now only says, “We need to take election integrity seriously.”

In another section of the Masters website regarding immigration, Masters wrote, “Joe Biden and Mark Kelly caused this crisis. They canceled the construction of the border wall. They invite illegal immigrants to come here and give them housing and money. The Democrats dream of a massive amnesty, because they want to import a new electorate.”

The masters deleted the last line, which nods to the replacement conspiracy theory.

Site removed from archiving in 2018

The Masters website was temporarily removed from the Web Archive at his request, according to a spokesperson for the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

Anyone can request that their content be removed from the Wayback Machine and netizens reported it being removed on Friday after NBC’s report. Although the removal sparked cries that Masters was trying to hide changes to his campaign website, his page was actually requested for exclusion in 2018 before he was a candidate.

“Blake Masters sent us a request to remove from the Wayback Machine in 2018, long before his campaign,” the spokesperson said. “We had no idea he would become a candidate for public office and have banned the site. We have currently reactivated access to the site’s archives for the period following the posting of the Masters campaign.”

CNN’s Alex Rogers contributed to this report.

QAnon Conspiracy Theorists Go Crazy After Anne Heche’s Death – Rolling Stone Fri, 26 Aug 2022 14:05:46 +0000

Don’t let this Flop is released Wednesdays on all audio streaming platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Stitcher and more.

Last week, actress Anne Heche died at the age of 53 after a devastating car accident in her Los Angeles neighborhood. Heche was a famous actor with movie credits like Six days, seven nights and Donnie Brasco under his belt, and had also had acclaimed performances on shows like Men in the trees and Suspended. Yet his accomplishments had always been overshadowed by two things: his three-year relationship with Ellen DeGeneres in the late 1990s; his struggles with addiction and mental illness; and her erratic behavior, such as an interview she gave to Barbra Walters about the incarnation of an alien named Celestia, often making headlines.

From what we know so far of Heche’s death, it seems that she continued to struggle until the last moments of her life. Footage from the accident shows she was driving at high speed at the time of the accident, and a blood test taken shortly after revealed the presence of drugs in her system. The story of his life and death resembles a tragic but clear case of an explosive talent struggling with drug addiction and mental illness, who ultimately succumbed to his demons.

Yet internet conspiracy theorists didn’t see it that way. Instead, they saw Anne Heche’s death as proof of something else: that she was murdered to cover up the crimes of Hollywood’s powerful and “elites” like Jeffrey Epstein and Amber Heard.

Shortly after Heche’s death, a post began circulating on Twitter which garnered around 4,000 shares before being deleted. The message read: “So actress Anne Heche, who died in a fiery car accident, was working on a film called The girl in room 13 about the Jeffrey Epstein ring. The claim also circulated on Facebook, where many speculated that Heche was murdered to cover up the truth about the disgraced billionaire financier, whose 2020 death by hanging in a New York prison has been ruled a suicide. .

There was a problem with the claim: The girl in room 13, which is slated to air on Lifetime in October, is not about Epstein, as a network spokesperson later confirmed. According to an IMDB synopsis, the film deals with sex trafficking in general, as it tells the story of a woman (Heche’s daughter in the film) held captive in a hotel room with the intention of being sold for the sex. But it’s not at all clear that the story is based on him (there’s no evidence, for example, that Epstein ever held a woman in a motel room against her will).

The Epstein rumor isn’t the only one surrounding Heche’s passing. QAnon influencer Liz Crokin, who promoted the claim that Chrissy Teigen is connected to Pizzagate as well as the ridiculous idea that John F. Kennedy, Jr. faked his own death, recently posted that at the time of his dead, Heche was working on the HBO show The idol, which is produced by the Weeknd and is said to be inspired by Britney Spears (a prominent figure in the QAnon ecosystem). Crokin then groundless speculated that Heche – who had publicly spoken out on behalf of Heard’s ex and former bandmate Johnny Depp earlier this year – was killed days after online rumors began circulating that Heard used to date. organizing satanic sex parties in the apartment she shared with Depp. “What did Anne know?” Crokin’s post ended ominously.

Confusing Crokin’s specific conspiracy theory about Heche’s death aside – does it imply that Heche had insider knowledge of Britney Spears or Amber Heard, two Hollywood celebrities with no apparent connection to either? other ? — it’s not uncommon for online misinformation purveyors to project their own ideas about celebrity deaths. In recent years, many of these conspiracy theories have focused on the Covid-19 vaccine, with some on the far right suggesting that DMX and Bob Saget died of complications from the vaccine (which was untrue in the case of the two men). But such theories are not specific to the right, or even to young and seemingly healthy people who die in unclear circumstances. Last month, for example, similar speculation arose on the left after Ivana Trump, Trump’s ex-wife, died after falling down the stairs of her Manhattan brownstone – with accidental falls being the leading cause of injury-related death among people aged 65 or older. older (Ivana was 73 at the time of her death).

In this specific case, Anne Heche has been young – but emerging evidence suggests she was unfortunately not in very good health. She openly struggled with substance abuse and mental illness throughout her life, and while we are still learning about the circumstances of her death, all available evidence indicates that she was still struggling with these issues at the time of her death. Unfortunately, there seems to be little mystery surrounding Heche’s death. It makes no sense to focus the conversation on who “killed” her, or why, when there is another interesting discussion to be had: what we as a culture could have done better for the support while she lived.

This week on Don’t let this flop, rolling stoneof the Internet News and Culture podcast, co-hosts Brittany Spanos and Ej Dickson discuss Heche’s underrated career and the outrageous conspiracy theories surrounding his death, as well as the cancellation of William Shakespeare, Demi Lovato’s “29” trend and an X-rated rumor about barry Bill Hader.

Don’t let this flop is released Wednesdays on all audio streaming platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Stitcher and more.

Deputy clerk charged in Colorado election violation case pleads guilty, will testify against boss Thu, 25 Aug 2022 21:51:26 +0000

Written by Benjamin Freed

Mesa County, Colorado, Clerk’s Assistant Tina Peters, who was charged alongside Peters earlier this year, admitted multiple charges Thursday and agreed to testify against Peters. The charges include that they tampered with voting materials, violated election rules, illegally copied data and shared it with unauthorized people in an attempt to prove a conspiracy theory about the 2020 presidential election.

Deputy Belinda Knisely pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor charges relating to her involvement in a May 2021 incident in which Peters and former Mesa County Chief Electoral Officer Sandra Brown allegedly cleared a man from name of Conan Hayes, a former professional surfer turned mini-celebrity. among 2020 election deniers, to witness a routine software update on the county’s stock of vote tabulation equipment—a process known in election administration as “trust building.”

The group allegedly took the opportunity to copy device hard drives and passwords, information that was shared later that summer at a conference hosted by Mike Lindell, the bedding manufacturer and leading proponent of lies. that the 2020 election was “stolen” from former President Donald Trump. .

Knisely agreed last June to admit the counts of trespassing, official misconduct and breach of his stated duties, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors going forward, according to a plea document. In exchange, prosecutors dropped more serious charges of conspiracy to impersonate a criminal and influence public officials.

Knisely is also banned for life from working in elections. Peters, who continues to hold office nominally and went on to campaign unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for Colorado’s secretary of state – a loss she refused to concede and even raised more than $250,000 to recount by a margin of 14 percentage points – was suspended from electoral duties earlier this year by current Secretary of State Jena Griswold. Griswold, a Democrat, also backed legislation in May that tightened security checks on state voting technology and increased penalties for tampering with equipment.

Election officials across the country have in recent months denounced a growing risk of insider threats fueled by conspiracy theory against their technology assets and the administrators who oversee voting processes.

During Thursday’s plea hearing, Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubinstein said Knisely has already helped the pending case against Peters, the Colorado Sun reported.

“His value to us as a witness – it’s important, it’s essential,” Rubinstein told the court.

He also said Knisely, 67, had personally suffered in the year since Mesa County’s election systems were breached, including that she suffered a heart attack shortly after. .

In addition to his lifetime ban from working for the election, Knisely will serve two years of probation and 150 hours of community service. Reading the agreement, Mesa County District Judge Matthew Barrett had harsh words for Knisely.

“You have engaged in concrete acts to undermine the integrity of our democratic process under the guise of protecting it,” he said, according to the Colorado Sun.