Tuesday, January 02, 2018

The First Conspiracy Theory of 2018: The Storm

Remember PizzagateSomething equally tasty is baking in the ovens of the right-wing rumor mills:

A new conspiracy theory called “The Storm” has taken the grimiest parts of the internet by, well, storm. Like Pizzagate, the Storm conspiracy features secret cabals, a child sex-trafficking ring led (in part) by the satanic Democratic Party, and of course, countless logical leaps and paranoid assumptions that fail to hold up under the slightest fact-based scrutiny. However, unlike Pizzagate, the Storm isn’t focused on a single block of shops in D.C., or John Podesta’s emails. It’s much, much bigger than that.
The eye in the middle of this "Storm" is that famous 4chan site where woman-haters, neo-Nazis and similar nice folk get together and chat over tea and biscuits:

On October 28, someone calling themselves Q began posting a series of cryptic messages in a /pol/ thread titled “Calm Before the Storm” (assumedly in reference to that creepy Trump quote from early October). Q claimed to be a high-level government insider with Q clearance (hence the name) tasked with posting intel drops — which he, for some reason, called “crumbs” — straight to 4chan in order to covertly inform the public about POTUS’s master plan to stage a countercoup against members of the deep state. It was, in short, absolutely insane.
Let's see.  Q is supposed to be a high-level government insider.  Q is supposed to have the equivalent of top secret clearance.  Yet Q uses 4chan as the site to which he or she will release extremely secret material.  And Q writes sentences like these:

False leaks have been made to retain several within the confines of the United States to prevent extradition and special operator necessity. Rest assured, the safety and well-being of every man, woman, and child of this country is being exhausted in full.

Rest assured, nobody with high-level security clearance writes that poorly.  On the other hand, I do see that type of writing in the phishing attempts where someone tries to pretend to be from PayPal or "your administrator."

It's very sad that disproving any part of the conspiracy will have no effect on the true believers.  We urgently need better basic education in this country, including the basic rules about how one judges the truth of various assertions.