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Anti-Semitism is in the very marrow of conspiracy theory

Reactionary internet rumours after the Paris massacres showed the ugly underbelly of the web’s self-proclaimed truth-tellers

Flickr, Nelson Silva

The dead were not yet in their graves when the conspiracy theorists began to pick over the Charlie Hebdo killings. The murders at Charlie Hebdo and the Hypercacher supermarket and the killing of municipal police officer Clarissa Jean-Philippe were not acts of terrorism, but, instead they were false flag operations, there to frighten and beguile the unenlightened populace to further the schemes of a hidden, evil elite. Theories that when you follow them through, lead down the road of anti-Semitism.

After the atrocities in Paris, the conspiracist videos and blog posts all agreed on four bones of contention. The first was how Chérif and Saïd Kouachi entered the Charlie Hebdo building. They were calm, professional almost, as if there were military trained, perhaps by the US military, NATO or MOSSAD. The Ron Paul Institute wondered whether the ‘disciplined professional attack of the kind associated with highly trained special forces’ were in fact different people to the “bumbling and unprofessional” suspects “corralled and killed” by French police.

The second point focused on the footage of police officer Ahmed Merabet being shot dead. There was no blood or obvious skull trauma. The rifle must have been firing blanks, making the shooting, and the events as a whole, a fake. This was proved by videos slowing down and reserving Merabet’s final seconds, “corroborated” by a Sky news reporter’s slip of the tongue describing Merabet’s blood on the streets as being ‘put there.'

Aside from the shooting itself, another apparent caveat was the speed of which the brothers Kouachi were identified, after one left his ID in their get away car. This was too neat. “Who brings their ID to a mass-murder” asked one video. “Media quickly fingers low IQ duped patsies based on magical ID appearance (think 9/11)” muttered a blog post.

But the fourth and final point that rang conspiracy bells was the suicide of Commissioner Helric Fredou the day after the Charlie Hebdo shootings. “But was it a suicide, or did he know too much? And what was in his report?” asks InfoWars. “Was he an ‘honest cop’ executed on orders of France’s judicial police?” Wondered Global Research or “Is it outright media censorship?” Headlines screamed “News blackout!” despite a Google news search (taken at 1pm on Thursday 20 January) for ‘Helric Fredou Charlie Hebdo’ which brought up 12, 400 results, from such whistleblowers the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraphand the Washington Times.

Scott Wood writes regularly for Londonist, Fortean Times and The Skeptic (UK). He has contributed to the encyclopaedia Ghosts, Spirits, and Psychics: The Paranormal from Alchemy to Zombies and Antony Clayton’s book Folkore of London. He is the author of London Urban Legends: The Corpse on the Tube and the host and co-organiser of the London Fortean Society.

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