Hatewatch

‘Patriot’ Paranoia in Overdrive

The federal government is spying on Americans stockpiling food and asking U.S. soldiers if they will detain American citizens when the time comes. In job advertisements, the government is seeking jackbooted New World Order thugs to staff secret domestic prison camps. An  examination of archival photographs has finally solved the mysteries of the JFK assassination. And the conclusion? Lee Harvey Oswald was innocent.

It’s been an imaginative few days in the funhouse of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement.

On Monday, conspiracy monger Alex Jones’ website Infowars featured this banner headline: “Army Post [sic] Jobs for FEMA Camps.” The accompanying story said that the federal government had begun hiring security guards for those secret prison camps the Patriot movement has long feared to be in the works for Americans. Elsewhere on the site, Infowars had posted a story from LewRockwell.com offering a wholesale debunking of the official account of the Kennedy assassination with the help of archival photographs.

But the most far-fetched story came compliments of the antigovernment Oath Keepers, which late last week claimed to have gotten a tip that FBI agents had stopped by a Mormon food cannery in Tennessee to demand a list of citizens stockpiling food in case of an emergency. By Friday, the tip had blossomed into a full-fledged commentary on what it all meant for the future of freedom.

“This event points to a new level of federal government encroachment on the basic freedoms of the American people,” Oath Keeper Rand Cardwell, the Tennessee chapter leader, wrote. “This should be a red flag to all Americans.”

But, as it turns out, the red flag wasn’t much of anything. The story wasn’t even true.

Surprisingly, within 24 hours, the Oath Keepers had removed the story and posted a rare apology and brief explanation of how they, the self-professed “Guardians of Freedom,” had let their guard down. “We get all kinds of scary intel, all the time, and we rarely pass it on because we don’t have confirming documentation. In this case, we were relying on a confirmed eyewitness who is now denying it,” the Oath Keepers said.

It wasn’t the first time the Oath Keepers were wrong.

Last August, the Oath Keepers stormed into the tiny town of Quartzsite, Ariz., with the proclamation that a small-town political scandal had become the “pivot point” for the New World Order, a supposed plot by shadowy elites to subjugate the freedom-loving masses under a socialistic world government. A day later, after the fanfare had faded, the group skipped town with no mention of the line they vowed to hold. (It turns out some conspiracies don’t hold water, and this was one.)

So, what can we expect on the horizon from the Patriots? Black helicopters spying on citizens? Chemical trails from airplanes to control the population? It’s hard to say, but one thing is clear: the Patriot rumor mill is churning away and no story is too loony or paranoid for the true believers.