Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Richard Poplawski reportedly killed three cops last week in Pittsburgh. This ADL report recounts some of Poplawski's Web postings in the years leading up the shootings, primarily at the white supremacist site Stormfront and at Alex Jones's conspiracy-minded Infowars site, under such screen names as "RichP" and "Braced for Fate." What made a number of people on the left sit up and take notice was a reference in the ADL report to

popular right-wing conspiracy theories about Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-constructed prisons and concentration camps for U.S. citizens

and specifically the fact that

... Poplawski ... post[ed] a link to Stormfront of a YouTube video featuring talk show host Glenn Beck talking about FEMA camps with Congressman Ron Paul.

Now, much as I loathe Glenn Beck, I can't hold him accountable for Poplawski's politics in any way -- it's clear from the ADL report that Poplawski has been way, way out on the racist, anti-Semitic fringe for years, far to the right of Beck. It's also clear from the Stormfront thread in question (yes, I'm linking to it -- your call as to whether you want to click) that Poplawski and his neo-Nazi pals see Beck as a phony or a wannabe. One writes:

Glenn Beck is a ZOG steamvalve to let the goyim believe they have a voice in the media. Call in to his show and mention the Juden to watch his true colors.

("ZOG" means "Zionist Occupation Government.") Others dismiss him as someone who "fits under the neo-con umbrella (interventionalist foreign policy, unrestrained domestic capitalism)" and sneer that he "would convert to judaism if his jew bosses told him to." One of the kinder comments is this:

Typical MSM behavior. They're usually only about 5-10 years behind posters on forums like this one.

Poplawski links the clip and writes,

He backed out.

He's disappointed that Beck (or possibly Paul) won't say the camps are real. To sum up: Beck isn't really on the same page with these guys.

But is Beck damping down conspiracy thinking -- or just finding a way to make it palatable to people who aren't neo-Nazis and fringe-dwellers? A clip of the segment and a transcript are here, at RonPaul.com. The message of the segment is that Beck and Paul can't prove the camps exist -- but can't be sure they don't (emphasis mine below):

Glenn Beck: ... If you watched Fox this morning, or listened to my radio show, I told you that I was going to tell you about the Fema camps, or the Fema prisons, today. This is something that I snapped on the air because somebody called up and said, "Dude, why don't you talk about the Fema prisons?" and I said, "Can we just settle the Fema prison thing?"

I don't believe in the Fema prison. If you don't know I’ll tell you about it in a couple of days. I was going to talk about it today. But as I came in to do the show this morning, and then I went into my office and I was looking at all the research that we had compiled, and it wasn't complete. And I am not willing to bring something to you that is half-baked. If these things exists, that's bad, and we will cover it. If they don't exist it's irresponsible to not debunk this story. We have an independent group on this program looking into it, turning over every stone....

Joining me now is Congressman Ron Paul. Hello, Congressman. How are you, sir?

Ron Paul: Hi Glenn, good to be with you.

Glenn Beck: Good to be with you. First of all, on the Fema prison thing, we’ve been in contact with your office and we would appreciate any help that you have. I want to make sure that we will be turning over every stone on everything, because there's a lot of crazy stuff that is being said about these things, and I appreciate you talking to us, and we'll be in touch with you again because I want to make sure that we have everything that you might be concerned with as well. Will you help us on that, sir?

Ron Paul: Yea, I don't think all the answers are in. You're concerned that they might be setting up these camps that verge on concentration camps. There's no evidence that I can find that they're actually set up. But I think there is a justified concern, not just because of the legislation that has been proposed, because that piece of legislation doesn't have a lot of co-sponsors. It's not on the verge of being passed.

But the atmosphere in Washington is what we have to be concerned about. You know, since 9/11, dealing with the PATRIOT Act, and repealing the Posse Comitatus and the Insurrection Act - these in transit are very, very bad, where personal liberties and civil liberties are not well protected and Fema is already very, very powerful and they overrule and they go in on emergencies. So in some ways, they can accomplish what you might be thinking about, about setting up camps, and they don't necessarily have to have legislation, you know, to do the things that we dread. But it is something that deserves a lot of attention....

A hardcore fringe racist/conspiracy nut like Poplawski watches this and writes, "He backed out." But what does someone a bit more impressionable think? Is this kind of talk, in the mainstream media, a gateway drug to the fringe?


And speaking of gateway drugs, via John Cole, I see Michelle Malkin is predicting trouble at future "tea parties" and rounding up the hatemongers' usual suspects:

Get ready for the anti-Tea Party sabotage and smear campaign

... the tax-subsidized and Soros-subsidized troops are going to try and wreak havoc every way they can. Many readers and fellow bloggers have seen signs that ACORN may send in ringers and saboteurs to usurp the anti-tax, anti-reckless spending, anti-bailout message....

Yup -- the demonstrations are going to be sabotaged by Negroes and the International Jew.

No possible harm could come from rhetoric like that -- right?


UPDATE: I like Max Blumenthal, but he's simply wrong in this Daily Beast article about Poplawski:

... Poplawski posted another Youtube clip to Stormfront, this time of a video blogger advocating "Tea Parties," or grassroots conservative protests organized by Beck and Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich (see here and here) against President Barack Obama's bailout plan.

But go watch the clip in question. It's not about a tea party at all -- it's about severing ties with big banks as an act of "bank resistance." The video is made by a Paulbot. Beck and Malkin and Gingrich may be making people crazy and paranoid now, but they've got a long way to go to catch up with Ron Paul, who has a real head start.

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