White Terrorism in the White House? Did Trump’s Bannon, Breitbart inspire Pizzeria Shooter?

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Imagine if they had been Muslims. What if a Muslim publication pushed a false conspiracy theory accusing high American officials and an ordinary American restaurant of being involved in child abuse? and then an unbalanced Muslim went into it and shot off a firearm on the premises? They’d all be in Gitmo before sundown the same day.

On Sunday, a Trump supporter walked into a pizzeria in DC Northwest and allegedly fired a gun inside. Patrons in the restaurant ran for their lives, little children bawling in terror. The alleged perpetrator said he was investigating a child trafficking ring run out of the restaurant, connected to John Podesta and Hillary Clinton (there is no such ring).

Breitbart.com, the American white nationalist version of Der Völkischer Beobachter, is run by its CEO, Steve Bannon. His predecessor, Andrew Breitbart, had started the meme that John Podesta and therefore Hillary Clinton were somehow linked to a pedophilia ring. Bannon had his magazine continue that line.

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This year, under Bannon’s editorship, the Breitbart.com twitter account tweeted out a bizarre and patently false conspiracy theory that a neighborhood pizzeria in Washington, D.C., was the site of a child trafficking ring to which Hilary Clinton was connected.

The national news networks are letting Bannon skate on this.

Although it was rumored that incoming National Security Advisor Mike Flynn tweeted out the great Pizzeria Conspiracy, that allegation is apparently incorrect. But the truth is worse.

Flynn tweeted under the hashtag #spiritcooking, which refers to the elaborate conspiracy theory that falsely attempted to tie John Podesta and Hillary Clinton to a satanic ritual.


Here is an informed comment about this tweet:

In early November before election day, Breitbart did articles on people alleging spiritcooking as a satanic ritual in which Hillary Clinton was involved.

Let me repeat. Steve Bannon is the editor of Breitbart. He is responsible for this bilge.

Flynn frequently depends on Breitbart.com, Bannon’s witches brew of fake news and Neonazism, for his information.

Flynn’s son took the position that the pizzeria dark fantasy is true until proven false.

Uh, I don’t think that’s how it works, that people say batshit crazy things and they’re true until conspiracy theorists admit they have been refuted.

Flynn Jr., by the way, is formally on the White House transition team. Yes. (Pence is denying this but Mr. Flynn has a transition email and has been seen at Trump tower per @blakehounshell of Politico.)

I would just like to remind everyone that Bannon and Flynn Sr. will be in the executive branch. Both will have de facto ability to call on the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency (both of which will likely also be headed by the Tinfoil Hat Brigade) to perform tasks they believe relate to national security. In COINTELPRO and more recent incidents, the White House used those agencies against domestic dissidents. There are going to be a hell of a lot of domestic dissidents, folks.

Ed Snowden warned us that the NSA can watch you typing your email messages in real time if it just knows your email address.

The idea that Bannon and Flynn will have that kind of power to spy on ordinary Americans is terrifying. I suggest the owner of that pizzeria get off line and throw away his smart phone. He should also sue the originators of the crazy conspiracy theory, and maybe anyone who defended it, for libel.

This crew of stark raving paranoids is bad enough when they just open their mouths. Worse is the implicit promotion of armed violence against the innocent victims of their conspiracy theories. This tactic is an old National Socialist one. After all, alleging that children are being trafficked by your political enemies is a way of making them appear to be monsters who must be stopped By Any Means Necessary. The firing of an assault rifle on those premises was foreseeable by a prudent person. I’d like to suggest that it is also foreseeable that the lives of Hillary Clinton and John Podesta are in similar peril.

So if Bannon had a decent bone in his body, he’d come out right now and apologize for pushing this kind of rank bullshit into the political cybersphere, and would resign beforehand from the White House on the grounds that no one with his wretched values should be allowed to darken the doorstep of so august an edifice.


Related video:

ABC News: “Fake News Prompts Shooting Inside DC Pizzeria”

16 Responses

  1. Love your conclusion, Juan, yet of course these clowns will carry merrily along, apologizing for nothing, until some terrible disaster occurs at their clumsy hands, gravely affecting most ordinary Americans quite severely. Then, maybe, a few of the worst of them will have to suffer some consequences.

  2. I don’t know that it helps to staple it too firmly to Bannon. There is a clear connection to that particular meme, the perpetrator admits that, but the Internet appears to be awash with such unfounded stories, as if old-fashioned gossip, which one was brought up not to believe, has reached global dimensions. I don’t see how it can be stopped but perhaps all information carrying media should also carry prominent warnings, like cigarettes: Warning! Unsubstantiated claims are addictive. Rumors can kill! Maybe even linking access to a site where rumors can be checked out.

  3. I’ve been watching “Pizzagate” and the involvement of the Flynns with mounting disbelief. Please tell me that this guy is not going to have the ear of the next president when it comes to national security. Please tell me that the next president is not going to be named Donald Trump.

    Here’s the part where we need to queue up Joyce’s Stephen Dedalus: “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.”

  4. There are plenty more conspiracy theories where that came from. There is an infinite supply, because the theories are merely a means of whipping up one’s own cult into blinding itself to the costs of crushing the rights of other long enough to actually do it.

    We don’t recall most of the conspiracy theories the Nazis used to get from week to week in their crawl to power. Because we know the crawl to power came first, and lies were manufactured to serve it. We now sensibly assume everything the Nazis said was a lie for that reason.

    When we apply that standard to Trump, the White supremacists whispering at his ear, and the tens of millions of voters who demand to be told lies to justify their supremacy, a lot of bullshit will drop away and we will see clearly the trajectory of this new fascism. This time, instead of Germanic governmental organization of all terror, we will do it Southern-style, all-volunteer, paid only with bullshit justifications, the internet lynch mob and the occasional stochastic terror by a “lone wolf” to keep the rest of us in line at a bargain-basement price.

  5. Andrew Breitbart had nothing to do with Pizzagate; his comments about Podesta were related to another matter entirely.

    Steve Bannon is not the editor of Breitbart; he was the executuve chairman until he took a leave of absense, months before this Pizzagate nonsense started. He had nothing whatsoever to do with thr story and Breitbart reporters like Brandon Darby have been vocal in calling BS on it for weeks.

    • Well then, time to transfer this conspiracy theory to Alex Jones, who is just as much a Trump propagandist.

    • Andrew Breitbart had nothing to do with Pizzagate – correct. Andrew Breitbart has been late as of March 1, 2012.

      • WikiLeaks began releasing emails hacked from the account of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, a month before the election.

      • Users on a Reddit forum dedicated to Donald J. Trump and 4chan’s far-right fringe message board searched the releases for evidence of wrongdoing.

      • Fake news articles began to emerge and spread on Twitter and Facebook.

      Which motivates those weak of mind to ‘self-investigate’ with an AR-15.

  6. Instead of brownshirts, we have the Red Hats.
    Instead of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, we have #pizzagate or #spiritcooking.
    Instead of kristallnacht, we have more incidents of hate speech plastered on mosques or churches or schools.
    Instead of ovens and gas chambers, we have larger numbers of hate crimes, including this one, that, luckily, didn’t take any lives.

    This individual could have easily slaughtered most of the people in that restaurant.

    Would that have been enough for the MSM to show the slightest hint of outrage?

    Would Anderson Cooper have been crying at the scene of that crime?

    What’s it going to take for this madness to be confronted by the very institution that is tasked with doing so???

    Is it going to take a mass shooting by a Trump supporter, or someone who actually believes this insanity, for the MSM to “speak truth to power???”

    Instead, the Bannons and Flynn’s are normalized as the Sunday morning pundits turn to more important issues like, is Romney or Huntsman more qualified to be SoS?

    Sometimes, there are simply no words adequate enough.

    Thank you, Prof. Cole, for being one of the few voices in the wilderness…


  7. One of the lessons we should learn from the vigil at Standing Rock is that the people can fight city hall. One of the lessons from this and similar articles is that Americans had better be prepared for lots of fights with “city hall” during the Trump presidency.

    • the problem with passive resistance is that you have to have an opponent who has some stake in the concept of social self-restraint. that’s why Gandhi could beat the British, hypocrites though they were. he wouldn’t have fared well against Hitler or Stalin because their rationales for power were absolute.

      so was november 8 a referendum by White people on whether it was time to impose power without borgeois restraint? if so, the second siege at Standing Rock next year will be a tragedy.

  8. Just as frightening is that there are thousands, tens of thousands, or even more that actually believe anything this crazy. Large parts of this country are coming unhinged.

    • A large number of the “flyover” folks are scared out of their minds because society is changing faster than they can deal with.

      When faced with the choice to either, very painfully give up their delusions and completely re-do their world view, or to simply ignore the reality that is extremely frightening, they choose to ignore reality.

      But to do that, they have to construct a complex delusion that accounts for reality.

      Unfortunately for these extremely delusional people, the delusions keep getting harder to construct because reality becomes more intrusive.

      Eventually reality will overwhelm the delusions leading to a full emotional breakdown.

      It is sad when people can’t handle reality, but society has few mechanism to deal with mass delusion.

      I don’t know the answer, but I do know that as the “flyover” areas depopulate, part of the problem will literally die off.

  9. I believe it is time to walk away from Facebook and Twitter, the two leading purveyors of rumor, phony fame, and drivel.

  10. For the first time I’m beginning to consider that “gatekeeper” is not inherently an evil thing… it’s just that they are easily perverted, overthrown, and then we’re left in howling madness.

  11. This is starting to happen all over the place. What about that guy Gasser who murdered that football player McKnight ? What about the militias that patrol the borders ? I foresee that there will be a lot more George Zimmerman ‘incidents’. With ‘Stand your ground’ they do not have to prove that it was not a planned murder/assassination. All they have to say is that they ‘feared for their life’.

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