I write about the things that matter to me. All opinions are my own.

Search This Blog

Thursday, March 30, 2017

We Need Real Journalists On Pizzagate

I attended what the mainstream media called a "sad" Pizzagate march last weekend. That's me, along with the other early arrivals, pictured in someone's tweet standing next to a lady and her elderly mom.

The sign I held was very plain, because for me, this cause is very plain and simple: "STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING."

I stood back a bit and watched as a journalist went up to someone with a far more interesting sign. I could hear her asking questions, and learned later on that her name is Anna Merlan, a reporter at Jezebel.

(How did I learn this? Because she had a Tweet pictured in that Uproxx article, where my photo showed up, very grainy. How did I find that? Because my husband found it first, and said very dryly, "your picture is here.")

Looking at Merlan's Twitter account my first impression was, "Satanist." And maybe even pedo-creep; the header has Winnie the Pooh bowing before Baphomet.

But I'm a pretty good judge of character and vibes, and the person I saw at the demonstration that day is not a Satanist at all. Even if a quick Google Search turns up a few articles on the Satanic Temple for Jezebel, and the Village Voice; and even if she refers to "Pizzagate" as "a fully revived version of the Satanic ritual abuse panic."

Because the difference between a real Satanist and a good person is a conscience. In other words, Satanism is fundamentally about the right to do what I want, to know all there is to know of the world, and to defy any sort of God as I do it.

Faith is about having a conscience. Which starts with hearing that still small voice within you that says, "God says no."

It is because of my faith that I stand up against human trafficking.

As I stood at the march I was also observing the observers. And it was clear, at least early on, that many looked at us as a curiosity. Sort of like the kind of people you call "crazy conspiracy crackpots." Right? We're uneducated, we're gullible, we're well-meaning but a little bit demented.

I get that, and I get that particularly if you're an extremely skeptical and well-educated journalist who doesn't believe in anything uncritically.

It is from that vantage point that I cannot understand how the journalistic profession has fallen so flat when it comes to investigating this truly insane story.

Surely there is somebody out there, who is not a devoted Trump fan, who finds it worthwhile to put together all the pieces on this Pizzagate thing and see the tough questions through to their conclusion.

Please don't misunderstand me: I know that a lot of independent journalists are pursuing this, and an uncountable number of researchers.

But where are the stories that present, in that old-fashioned investigative way that Ms. Merlan seemed to typify, a balanced view of the picture?

Here is just one example of a piece of evidence that's noteworthy.

I was on vacation last November when Twitter alerted me that someone by the Twitter handle of @sye_phan announced that he had discovered an "app" for Comet Pizza.  Whoever posted that "app" disappeared almost as soon as they showed up, leading me to think that they were dead, or soon to be. (Twitter showed the status as "does not exist.")

I feared foul play because people who get powerful people in trouble, tend to get in trouble themselves. The fancy term for that is "whistleblower reprisal." As John Podesta once said: "I'm definitely for making an example of any suspected leaker whether or not we have a real basis for it."

Now when I think of an "app" I think of something that goes on my mobile phone. An example is the Starbucks mobile app, which lets me buy coffee in advance of showing up. 

However, this "app" seemed more like a program that you install on your computer. It had instructions (a screenshot remains online). See below:
"Last month's satisfied customers were raving about our pizza and we know you will too. Repeat customers know the drill. For newcummers(sic), first run the program given to you by your special friend and all instructions on how to enjoy this joyous hobby will be easily understandable. But please, remember the penalties for breaking the rules which are also included in the program. Very few have broken the rules and needless to say the penalties are harsh. All pricing is included in the App. The app will only run once, and the following requirements must be meet: (sic) 
* The app is to be run from your own personal computer that only you have access.
* Your computer must be connected to the internet when run
* The App must be run from your home
* You must destroy the media on which you received the App.
* Remember the password that will activate the app as there will be no icons on your computer. 
November Newcummers(sic):0 
November's Specials 
This month we have five fresh pizzas for your enjoyment. We also have four surviving pizzas from last month's session, all are on sale at an extremely low price as they are in poor health and not expected to survive so a requirement is that you finish eating your pizza after your session.
This months special includes a 30% discount on severe torture! Each image below is available for $1,000 in fine print. Andrew also has some prints he would like to sell, so contact him for more information. (they are true masterpieces.)"
The first question I had was, is this for real? 

Many people echoed that skepticism. For example, on Voat, one commenter wrote:
"Pretty doubtful. The story associated with this torture menu, and how they supposedly attained it, seems to be a work of bad fiction. 
"Two Pizzagate investigators (that nobody has heard from before) are connected to a super secret 3 letter agent guy. Guy #1 sneaks into some pizza place in the dead of night, and starts sabotaging their network in some apparent attempt to get them to call their "pedo friendly computer repairman". Guy #2, as this repairman, gets this call and goes in and steals all their data. Guy #1 somehow gets killed. Now Guy #2 is supposedly on the run and being relocated by his 3 letter pal. But, not before chatting it up on Reddit, posting this badly made menu with associated child porn, and generally appearing to be mildly retarded. This is not how this all works. 
"That said, early investigations into a couple of these websites seem to indicate that they had hidden member areas with some sort of password protected files. From the names of them, they could have been anything from company financial data to child porn. I don't think anyone ever figured out what they were or how to download them. I doubt they're even on the site anymore at this point, as we've tipped them off quite heavily."
You would think that the media would be all over this, nevertheless. If it's a crazy, made-up, whacked out story that was specifically intended to sink a candidate for President (as was the consensus), then wouldn't they go point-by-point to actually "debunk" it, as they so commonly claimed that "pizzagate" was?

The media continuously claimed that "pizzagate" was:
"The totally false conspiracy theory claims that Hillary Clinton and her former campaign chair, John Podesta, ran a child sex ring at the basement of a pizzeria in DC, Comet Ping Pong (which doesn’t even have a basement)."
But no researcher on this subject has actually made this claim. If you look at the Pizzagate wiki, the authors state:
"At its core, Pizzagate is a joint investigation between citizens, law enforcement, and governments into the pervasiveness of sex trafficking, ritual abuse, and cyber crime in global political powers around the world. These investigations, some in the making for decades, continue to exist because they are based on real facts, data, and observations."
How would you debunk a call for an investigation, particularly when the FBI calls child sex trafficking the "fastest-growing business of organized crime?"

More importantly, why would you want to debunk such a thing?

And how can you ignore a screenshot that looks so suspicious? A potentially direct link between language for selling pizza and sex, torture, "penalties" that were 'harsh" for "breaking the rules," very specific instructions about "destroy the media" and possibly coded language about killing. 

If you were a conscientious and skilled journalist with integrity, you would question all this.

You would question why, when Edgar Maddison Welch drove hundreds of miles to show up at Comet Ping Pong with a gun, "his shots struck a locked closet door, which had computer equipment inside."

If he was so convinced that this pizza place was indeed trafficking in children, wouldn't you think that Mr. Welch would make a statement or take an action directly intended to draw attention to that problem?

Why would he shoot at computer equipment, through a locked door?

How would he know to shoot through that particular door, anyway?

A serious journalist would go onto Voat, as I have, and followed the debates over this topic in particular.
  • This thread, for example, asks whether the app is real.
  • This thread goes into hidden files, and whether they're meaningful or not.
  • This thread talks about severe repression of reddit for even hosting a discussion of all the pizzagate-related claims.

Why are journalists so seemingly reluctant to use a repository of research? 

Whenever I visit Voat, the level of rational debate, and skepticism, is unbelievable. I would say that it surpasses any ordinary conversation on social media that I've ever seen.

So what's the problem here?
  • Is every journalist afraid they will get threatened for studying this topic?
  • Is there simply no money in its pursuit, and not worth their time?
  • Is it overall "bad for the resume?"

I guess my thing is, we don't need to dwell on Comet Ping Pong to save kids. Not at all. 

But it's the precedent of ignoring suspicious stuff that has me concerned.

Dr. Phil had a trafficking victim on his show the other week - she talked about people breeding babies just to serve a rich, international cadre of elite politicians and law enforcement officials.

That should have any journalist's hair standing up straight in the air. 

So I don't get it. Maybe I am missing something here, maybe I'm on the slow train as they say, and if so please enlighten me.

Why should we not do everything we can to save even one child's life, especially if her oppressors are the very ones who are supposed to be doing the protecting?

_____

All opinions my own.