Sandy Hook Conspiracism: A Note on Moon Rock Books

From CBS News, in June:

The father of a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre has won a defamation lawsuit against the authors of a book that claimed the shooting never happened — the latest victory for victims’ relatives who have been taking a more aggressive stance against conspiracy theorists.

The book, “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook,” has also been pulled to settle claims against its publisher filed by Lenny Pozner, whose 6-year-old son Noah was killed in the shooting.

“My face-to-face interactions with Mr. Pozner have led me to believe that Mr. Pozner is telling the truth about the death of his son,” Dave Gahary, the principal officer at publisher Moon Rock Books, said Monday. “I extend my most heartfelt and sincere apology to the Pozner family.”

It has now been reported that one of the book’s authors, James Fetzer, must pay $450,000, while the other author, Mike Palacek, negotiated a private settlement. The outcome of a similar action against Alex Jones is eagerly anticipated.

Here, however, I am primarily interested in the publisher, whose subsequent actions are not consistent with a man who wishes to atone for degrading the memory of a dead child and adding to grieving parents’ suffering. According to Splinter News he afterwards said that he still has “questions”, and he reportedly sold off remaining copies of the book by auction rather than destroying them. Further, although the book is no longer sold on the website, a page soliciting donations to fight Pozner remains live, along with photos of the front and back cover.

Gahary has also not felt the need to reconsider other titles which make a mockery of the grief of the bereaved by suggesting that violent deaths never happened. Thus the publisher’s website continues to sell other books by the same authors such as The Parkland Puzzle: How the Pieces Fit Together and Political Theater in Charlottesville, as well as a sequel to Nobody Died at Sandy Hook entitled And Nobody Died in Boston, Either (this is followed by And I Suppose We Didn’t Go to the Moon, Either, a silly title suggestive of cynicism rather than genuine credulity). Several of these titles are proudly advertised as “Banned by Amazon”.

Other authors associated by the imprint include one Larry Rivera (The JFK Horsemen); Preston James, PhD (The New Gutenberg Press, on “how the Deep State is threatened by the internet”); Nick Kollerstrom (Chronicles of Fale Flag Terror – “a European perspective”); and Chuck Gregory (White Rose Blooms in Wisconsin – co-edited with Palecek on “The life and accomplishments of Kevin Barrett and Jim Fetzer as representatives of ‘the American resistance’ to creeping fascism in America”). And that’s just authors who appear on the front covers – some of the books are edited volumes.

Even the title And I Suppose We Didn’t Go to the Moon, Either, which may sound relatively benign, is in fact an utterly vile miscellany that touts Holocaust revisionism. Contributors to this particular work alongside Fetzer and Palacek include Jay Weidner, Nicholas Kollerstrom, Robert Faurisson, Thomas Dalton, Jim Marrs, Yvonne Wachter, Winston Wu, James A. Larson, Anne Walsh, Zen Gardner, Sterling Harwood and Timothy Spearman.

Despite being the co-author of a book called Nobody Died at Sandy Hook, Fetzer has also expounded the contradictory theory that the massacre was real but perhaps orchestrated by Mossad. Several of the Moon Rocks Books authors are associated with Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories about Israel, and with the Veterans Today website. Gahary himself has interviewed a number of individuals for the American Press Press website – these include the Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel, as well as various 9/11 Truthers, and, more unexpectedly, the late “End Times” Christian author Grant Jeffrey (previously blogged here).

Note

Fetzer and Spearman have previously featured on this blog in connection with networks promoting Satanic Ritual Abuse conspiracy theories.

BBC News Probes “Annie Tacker”

This one is being widely reported – from Phil Kemp at BBC News:

There are many unanswered questions surrounding Boris Johnson’s friendship with the US businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri.

For the past two days I’ve been investigating one of the more bizarre of them: who is her UK-based media manager and is she even real?

Kemp was following up on a detail from a hearing at Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, where Paul Farrelly MP had drawn attention to the fact this supposed person’s LinkedIn profile was using a stock image. Farrelly writes:

Shortly after the session I sent Annie a message asking for an interview. I did not hear back. But I did soon receive a request to connect with someone called “Annie Tacker” on LinkedIn

No one of that name is listed as resident in the UK, and it has since been pointed out by various people on Twitter that this is a joke name: “An Attacker”.

Kemp goes to on describe how the the LinkedIn account subsequently put up a post suggesting that the DCMS was intruding on her “gender and identity” as a “transitioning woman”, before the alleged education details were amended from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to King Mongkut University of Technology in Thailand.

The “transitioning” ruse was of course an instance of the popular strategy of attempting to discourage scrutiny by crying “harassment”, and very similar antics were observed on a Twitter feed associated with Hacker House after Arcuri’s links with Boris Johnson were revealed by Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnot at the Sunday Times last month. The account, apparently run by the co-director, accused the journalists of harassing him and staff, including when one of them was trying to take their children to school, and alluded to a family illness. More oddly, the account cryptically claimed that “it’s not @Jennifer_Arcuri company”, despite all the documentation indicating otherwise.

This odd saga has also thrown up some other strange links – it was previously known that Hacker House was working with the alleged Pentagon hacker Lauri Love, but it’s also now come to light that in 2012 Arcuri was associated with Milo Yiannopoulos. This was at a time when Yiannopoulos’s online business venture The Kernal was struggling with debts to contributors – an op-ed by Tim Bradshaw at the Financial Times describes them both in the context of “London’s scrappy start-up scene” around a time when “wannabes, freeloaders and groupies often outnumbered the real entrepreneurs and investors on east London’s Silicon Roundabout”.

More bizarre, however, is that Hacker House’s Digital Marketing Manager was none other than Wesley Hall, a man with a chequered past who has most recently been linked to the Hampstead Satanic Ritual Abuse hoax. Hoaxtead Research broke the story and has the background.

A Note on Mike Veale in ITV Drama A Confession

From the Press Centre of British terrestrial broadcaster ITV (emphasis added):

A Confession

The series tells the story of how Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher, played by Martin Freeman (StartUp, The Hobbit, Sherlock, Fargo), deliberately breached police procedure and protocol to catch a killer, a decision that ultimately cost him his career and reputation…

Episode 5

Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher (Martin Freeman) is lionized in the media for leading an investigation that recovered not one, but two bodies murdered by serial killer Christopher Halliwell (Joe Absolom). But behind the scenes he is facing a disciplinary hearing at the hands of the IPCC, charged with gross misconduct.

Steve is suspended from duty with immediate effect by his superior ACC Mike Veale, for inappropriate contact with a journalist. Now facing two counts of gross-misconduct in a Public Office, Steve is left staring down the barrel knowing that one count alone would be enough for him to lose the job that he loves…

Mike Veale, of course, went on to become Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police, in which capacity he ordered a huge trawling investigation into allegations that the former Prime Minister Edward Heath had been involved in the sexual abuse of children. This was despite the fact that Heath had died ten years previously, and the report that was eventually produced was underwhelming. Veale’s integrity later came under question after he was found to have lied about how he came to break his mobile phone, and his subsequent tenure as Chief Constable of Cleveland Police lasted less than a year. Veale denied leaking to the press during the Heath investigation, but the Mail on Sunday‘s political editor Simon Walters appeared to have an inside track – most likely via the buffoonish rent-a-quote MP Andrew Bridgen, who received briefings from Veale as a supposed “stakeholder”.

The narrative of A Confession overlaps with the time period of the Heath investigation, although it is not referred to in the drama. According to each episode’s intro blurb, “What follows is a dramatisation based on extensive research, interviews and published accounts”, the last of which will have included Fulcher’s memoir Catching a Serial Killer. Alas, the book has no index, but from a fairly careful browse of a paper copy and an electronic search I was unable to find any reference to Veale by name, although there is material that is critical of Wiltshire Police.

As such, there are grounds for caution, in that Veale as a character in the drama (played by Daniel Betts) perhaps primarily serves as a composite embodiment of Wiltshire Police rather than as a portrayal of the man himself. Veale is depicted unsympathetically; in the first episode he informally warns Fulcher not to have any social contact with a suspended officer who later commits suicide (“DCC Ray Hayward”, a fictional character based on DCC David Ainsworth), and at the climax he is shown delivering a press statement in the wake of Halliwell’s second conviction that fails to acknowledge Fulcher’s efforts and rejects as “sensationalism” Fulcher’s belief that Halliwell has other as yet unknown victims. Such an allegation of “sensationalism” of course must ring hollow given the Ted Heath circus that was going on during the same period.

The drama is more sympathetic towards Detective Superintendent Sean Memory (played by Owain Arthur), who is depicted as tactful and sensitive in his dealings with the families of Halliwell’s victims – Fulcher writes of his respect for Memory in his book. Unfortunately, though, he will now always be remembered as the hapless officer tasked with standing in front of Heath’s Wiltshire home and appealing for “victims” to come forward.

A Note on John Sweeney, Tommy Robinson and the “Adolf Hitler Appreciation Society”

From the Independent, a few days ago:

Veteran investigative journalist John Sweeney called Tommy Robinson a “c***” as he announced his departure from the BBC.

“I’m sorry our BBC Panorama on Tommy Robinson wasn’t broadcast,” Mr Sweeney wrote on Twitter, referring to a planned edition of the programme that was not broadcast about the English Defence League.

It was cancelled after Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, covertly filmed Mr Sweeney and made a rival “documentary”.

I wrote about the fiasco at the time, here and here. Sweeney was filmed in a restaurant by an associate of Robinson who was pretending to be an informant – the journalist was shown working his way through the drinks menu, making numerous indiscreet remarks, and then ostentatiously putting £220 on expenses. He also discussed how a clip might be used to put Robinson in the worst light possible, in a way that could reasonably be seen as misleading. The BBC at the time said that it stood by the documentary, but its failure to appear speaks for itself. Sweeney, overconfident and complacent, had underestimated his quarry and undermined the credibility of the project.

Sweeney has now followed up on his “cunt” jibe with a short Twitter video that includes a clip of Robinson speaking to an enthusiastic crowd in Bavaria last year. The event had been reported at the time by Andrew Gilligan at the Sunday Times, who noted:

Robinson [received] the “European patriot of the year” award at a conference in Bavaria organised by the hard-right magazine Compact. In his acceptance speech, he said: “German people for too long have lived in the guilt of Adolf Hitler. Do not live in the guilt of Angela Merkel.”

The conference, on September 29, brought together key figures on the European far right, including Lutz Bachmann, the founder of Pegida, Martin Sellner, from the Generation Identity movement, leaders of the Alternative for Germany party and a representative of the Italian leader, Matteo Salvini. Compact has been funded by the Kremlin-created Institute for Democracy and Co-operation.

The first sentence of this quote also appears in the Sweeney video (twice), and Sweeney describes the crowd as a meeting of the “Adolf Hitler Appreciation Society”. Reiterating his fondness for crude gynaecological abuse, Sweeney ends by calling Robinson a “Nazi cunt” and pointedly quaffing some red wine.

On Twitter, the video has been lauded as a defiant gesture against Robinson, but I can’t say I’m impressed by the lazy buffoonery, which comes across as compensatory for Sweeney’s self-evident failure. The video gives the impression that Sweeney has unearthed the clip, when he’s done nothing of the kind, and many Twitter users have taken his “Adolf Hitler Appreciation Society” designation at face value – meaning that Sweeney, whatever his intentions, has effectively dumped misinformation onto social media that Robinson and his supporters will in all likelihood capitalise on.

In short, Sweeney’s latest antics are actually a hindrance to subjecting Robinson and his associates to proper critical scrutiny.

UK Prison Reform Activist Joins Conspiracy Milieu

A heady brew of conspiracy Twitter hashtags from “public speaker and activist” Shaun Attwood:

My latest YouTube video: #epstein #clinton #alexjones #infowars #davidicke #princeandrew #maxwell #illuminati #conspiracy #newworldorder #truecrime #murder #crime #clintonbodycount @davidicke #trump #georgebush

Stories about Attwood regularly appear in British media; described as “the Wolf of Widnes“, he travelled to Arizona as a young man in the 1990s, where he apparently became first a “millionaire stockbroker” and then ran an Ecstasy-importing empire. This brought him into conflict with organised crime, in the form of a rival drug ring run the mobster Sammy Gravano, and he eventually found himself a guest of the Maricopa penal system for six years. While in prison, letters to his family were published online and were a source for exposing the “subhuman” prison conditions imposed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio (1).

On his release, Attwood was deported from the US and settled in Guildford in Surrey. His prison memoir brought him some publicity (in 2010 he appeared at an event at Stoke Newington Library alongside Farah Damji), and as well as writing true crime books, he is currently a pundit on issues around prison reform (represented by United Agents), and he gives talks in schools about the dangers of drug dealing.

It’s not clear when exactly Attwood decided to climb aboard the conspiracy bandwagon, but it seems to be a new development. His YouTube channel has 286,000 subscribers, and his recent uploads include interviews with the self-described police whistleblower Jon Wedger (previously blogged here) and none other than David Icke. During his talk with Icke, Attwood wore an “Illuminati” t-shirt, and as expected the main subject of discussion was the supposed existence of Satanic VIP paedophile rings.

No longer dealing in Ecstasy, Attwood has apparently turned to selling the public a cheaper and more toxic thrill – the lazy and self-righteous glow of intellectual and moral superiority that is the reward for those who align with the excesses of the conspiracy milieu and its lurid allegations.

Footnote

1. Arpaio of course is himself a conspiracy theorist, most famously promoting “Birther” claims about Barack Obama, and more recently providing a foreword to a novel co-authored by Steven Seagal about the “Deep State”.