After Edgar Welch, 28, of Salisbury, North Carolina, traveled to Washington on a mission to rescue child prisoners he believed falsely were being held by Hillary Clinton in dungeons beneath the Comet Ping Pong restaurant as part of an alleged child sex ring, a slew of media reports that focused on the origin of the so-called "Pizzagate" conspiracy theory concluded that one of the major proponents was Alex Jones, the controversial radio host who manages the political conspiracy theory website Infowars.
Welch's ill-advised mission, during which he entered the restaurant and fired shots from his assault rifle in hopes of rescuing victims of a fictitious child sex ring, was the culmination of a long, politically-motivated rumor-mongering campaign.
Besides the unsubstantiated claim that Hillary Clinton was at the center of a pedophile ring, specific conspiracy theory rumor allegations made against Clinton by Alex Jones, as documented by Right Wing Watch, included that she "personally murdered and chopped up and raped" children.
Rumors circulating on right-leaning conspiracy theory sources, such as Before It's News, also claimed that a foreign government -- believed to be Russia -- had come into possession of photographic evidence that Clinton "personally" raped a 9-year-old girl.
The rumors gained traction after FBI Director James B. Comey sent a letter to Congress, saying he was reopening investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. Comey told Congress that the FBI's decision to reopen investigation came after a new batch of Clinton emails were found on a computer belonging to Anthony Weiner, a former New York congressman and the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
Anonymous posts began popping up on various right-leaning forums on major social-media platforms, such as 4chan and Reddit, making unsubstantiated claims that newly released emails "point to a pedophilia ring with Clinton at the center," as the Washington Post reported.
Talk-show host Alex Jones soon picked up the rumors and became a major proponent of the allegation that Clinton was involved in a child sex ring, although it was clear that the claims originated from anonymous and unsubstantiated posts to anti-Clinton political discussion forums.
"When I think about all the children Hillary Clinton has personally murdered and chopped up and raped, I have zero fear standing up against her," Right Wing Watch reports Jones as saying in a video posted to YouTube on November 4, a few days before the general election.
But the video was taken down after Welch's visit to Comet Ping Pong restaurant raised questions about the source and origin of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory.
"Yeah, you heard me right. Hillary Clinton has personally murdered children. I just can't hold back the truth anymore."
Later in his tirade, Jones attempted to link the claim that Clinton had "personally murdered and chopped up and raped" children with her policy in Libya and Syria as secretary of state.
"I mean 200,000 plus dead Christians with her operation in Syria and her operation in Libya and not let the Christians get out and directing al-Qaeda and ISIS, who target and murder children and put up their sex slavery and throw Catholic priests off cliffs and kill people in mass and murder gays and everything else you can imagine because they don't like peaceful people."
But Jones' claim that Clinton had "personally raped" children only echoed rumors that had been making the rounds on right-leaning conspiracy theory blogs since June of 2016 that a foreign Intelligence agency had come into possession of photos showing Hillary Clinton raping a 9-year-old girl.
Several YouTube videos from the political conspiracy theory section of YouTube claimed that a foreign intelligence agency has offered to give a blogger identified as Stew Webb a photo to post to his blog that showed Clinton raping a child. But Webb refused the offer, allegedly out of fear that Clinton would put him on her "kill list."The foreign intelligence agency, according to a post to the conspiracy theory blog Project N.Search, then decided that it would release the photos on an overseas server, out of the reach of the Clintons and the U.S. government.
Online conspiracy theory rumor blogs, such as Stew Webb's, had previously identified Cathy O'Brien as another victim of child rape by Hillary Clinton.
O'Brien is a well-known conspiracy theorist who claims that she was a child victim of a mind control government project called Project Monarch. She claims she has recollections of childhood sex abuse and of being recruited forcefully as a sex slave by an international pedophile ring involving drug barons, Satanists, and Hillary Clinton.
According to O'Brien, in her book titled Trance Formation of America, Clinton raped her as a child.
However, several investigators, including Michael Barkun, professor emeritus of political science at Syracuse University, and Swedish scholar Mattias Gardell, at Uppsala University, investigated O'Brien's claims and concluded that her story was riddled with major inconsistencies and that she offered no credible evidence outside her verbal testimony to support her claims.But O'Brien's claims have been accepted as truth by members of the conspiracy theory subculture partly because Project MKUltra, which O'Brien claimed that Project Monarch came under, is known to have been a CIA mind-control program conducted between the 1950s and 1970s. The program is known to have involved illegal experiments using human subjects. The experiments, conducted by the CIA in collaboration with the Special Operations Division of the U.S. Army's Chemical Corps, investigated the use of mind control, torture procedures and drugs in interrogating suspects and forcing confessions.But despite the fact that the photos said to have been obtained by a foreign intelligence agency showing Clinton raping a 9-year-old girl never surfaced online as promised, rumors continued to be propagated about the existence of smoking gun photo evidence that Hillary Clinton was a pedophile rapist.
Right Wing Watch notes that after the Comet Ping Pong incident, Jones tried (see YouTube below) to deny involvement in spreading the Pizzagate pedophile ring rumor.But Right Wing Watch reported that the video showing Jones saying that Clinton "murdered, raped, and chopped up" a child had been viewed more than 400,000 times before it was taken down. The website was also able to obtain an audio of the video where Jones said that Clinton had "personally murdered and chopped up and raped" children and that Clinton was one "one of the most vicious serial killers the planet's ever seen."
"Alex, I have been following you for over six or seven years. But lately you have been acting very questionable," an angry follower commented after Jones tried to deny his involvement in spreading the Pizzagate conspiracy theory rumor. "For you to get us all on board with Pizzagate and now back off from it... Now I have to take anything you say with a grain of salt."Right Wing Watch noted that Jones had similarly tried to deny his involvement in spreading conspiracy theory rumors that the Sandy Hook massacre was a false flag event orchestrated by the Obama administration to create an excuse to take away people's guns.
To refute Jones, Right Wing Watch uploaded a video (see above) showing Jones saying that "Sandy Hook is a synthetic completely fake with actors, in my view, manufactured. I couldn't believe it at first. I knew they had actors there, clearly, but I thought they killed some real kids. And it just shows how bold they are, that they clearly used actors."
Some media reports have expressed concern about Jones' claim that following his victory at the general election, Donald Trump called him personally to thank him for helping him win.
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