ATS describes itself thus:
AboveTopSecret.com is the Internet's largest and most popular discussion board community dedicated to the intelligent exchange of ideas and debate on a wide range of "alternative topics" such as conspiracies, UFO's, paranormal, secret societies, political scandals, new world order, terrorism, and dozens of related topics with a diverse mix of users from all over the world.Loughner was posting there as "erad3" - DARE backwards, his longtime pseudonym at the online game, Earth Empires.
I haven't yet had time to go through his posts at ATS, and doubtless it's going to be a dreary task to do so. (Can I be bothered?) Still, whilst ATS are doing a fair job ATM suggesting there's no connection between their site and Loughner's actions, this does prove a direct connection between paranoid goof-ball conspiracism and Loughner. ATS is a central clearing house for conspiracism, it is everywhere, and all the goofball ideas can be found there.
Of most interest to me atm is how much far-right influence there is operating at ATS. Searching for Stormfront links to ATS I immediately came across this thread at ATS:
Over the course of the past year, the intensely hateful political environment of the U.S. has been a breeding ground for a rise in subtly phrased racism as well as fiercely overt bigotry. We all know why and we all know the cause, there's no reason to spend time reviewing such.Interestingly I was following a link to Stormfront, but an ATS message appeared, saying that Stormfront had linked to ATS, that ATS didn't like it, and took a strong position against it. That was the context of the above quote. Clearly, ATS is conscious of having had "issues" with racism, and also the entryism of Stormfront's interest in (anti-semitic) conspiracism.
This post appears in the thread mentioned:
Jews and Muslims are routinely bashed on this board, I've seen Muslims members of ATS mocked and insulted for defending moderate Muslims and their religion.Hmmm. Well, there we go. A member of ATS says it themselves. [This speaks of exactly the processes I found myself amongst conspiracism and of which I have been warning these last 5 years - the entryism of the far-right into conspiracism. It is questionable whether there is any conspiracism without anti-semitism - at the very least, Nazi anti-semitism is essentially a conspiracist worldview. Conspiracists should take careful note of their shared methodology with Nazism, but seemingly never do.]
In my opinion, extreme as it may seem, ATS is dead. As I've said before, this site will be listed as a hate site soon, her soul has been corrupted and killed by an ugly force.
Some more quotes from that ATS thread:
I have seen people on ATS be blatantly racist and I have seen people on ATS be ignorant to the point of being racist.Maybe because conspiracism innately provides a vehicle for expression of racism under the cover of vague euphemism, as exemplified by Alex Jones and his use of classic anti-semitic tropes? Leftwing circles do *not* suffer this euphemistic racism, though they are susceptible to anti-semitism on the grounds of supposed anti-imperialism. ATS again:
I find it interestingly [sic] that for the last 8 years we have had this "War on Terror" I have seen on ATS tons of racist posts directed at Muslims, Arabs, Jews, and pretty much anyone from or near the middle east. No one on the staff seemed to care very much. You saw little action other than a few random warnings against the people who were obviously calling for genocide and other big no-no's.Tons of racist posts at ATS according to this poster. In reply, a mod states that:
We did make efforts to stem the tide of hatred:So, an "overwhleming number" of instances of such behaviour at ATS. Thanks for making my case for me......
Political Baiting and Sniping on ATS
The END of Hate Speech, subtle or otherwise, on ATS
Use the search titles feature with the word "hatred" to find MANY more discussions about it.
The problem is not with the management of this site it's with the membership and the overwhelming number and instances of this kind of behaviour being posted on the boards.
The second link from that last quote leads to an ATS thread titled - "", which opens with this:
It has become apparent that our beloved ATS has either become the target for or an easy mark for those who would seek to spew their demented hatred for their fellow man based on nothing more than religion, ethnicity or personal preferences...Uh huh. I'd never have guessed a conspiracy site could be subject to such an outrage. Sure. The post continues:
We have seen an increase in hate speech couched in "news articles", subtle innuendo hidden behind professed disagreement with government policies and blatant, outright ignorance spewed forth for all to see.Gee, I'm really shocked, honestly.
The catalyst has been the sad, and horrid conflict happening on the Gaza Strip.
Well, I am pleased to see some efforts by the Moderators at ATS to address the rise of the far-right and their racism at ATS. However, their need to do so simply affirms my general point about conspiracism being an attractive vector for the propagation of racism and the far-right, anti-semitism in particular. What the ATS mods seem to miss is that Nazi anti-semitism is essentially conspiratorial, a product of conspiracism: how could it exist without the conspiracist element?
Furthermore, I do think conspiracism has a greater connection to Nazism than is commonly understood - it breeds populism (us and them); it simplifies all problems down to one of identification (us or them) whilst ignoring underlying structural components; it's paranoid; it's mythical; it's syncretic..... Ack - I need to be a smarter cookie to put this together properly.
Stormfront seems down atm, so I can't continue. Anyway - type this into google "site:stormfront.org abovetopsecret.com" and find some interesting crossover posts at Nazi Stormfront to ATS. No wonder ATS felt a need to 'take a stand'.
ETA - Having now read much of (what is said to be) Loughner's posts at ATS, there's one inescapable conclusion imo. But I'm not a psychiatrist so how to say it? Loughner seems somewhat deranged. Delusional. He shows obvious difficulty communicating and thinking (even though he appears to believe himself to be accomplished at it). He seems mostly to be absolutely devoid of any passion for politics. I don't get any sense of a seething Red, no inclination of a deep malevolent Nazism. Nothing, really. I find it hard to imagine he could actually think about 'politics' as his thinking is so sort of rigid and....just peculiar. I don't think 'politics' was his concern at all, rather he seems to just bump into it in the course of his peculiar interests. It all seems fractured and barely connected. Indeed, he seems barely functional. I can't help thinking it must have been somewhat obvious to the people around him that he had...issues. He seems really quite ill. And he had access to guns. To a degree the whole community is implicated: how can you be so ill, and yet be abandoned to such an illness whilst granted the right to acquire guns? It isn't fair on sick people, and it isn't fair on the community. But of course, mental healthcare and community support is expensive and who wants to pay for it? If you aren't sick yourself, one doesn't wish to pay. And if you are sick, you can't pay. So it just gets left until something like Arizona - it's cheaper?
It seems striking that Loughner's school would only allow him readmittal if he had psychiatric evaluation. But that's where the medical/psychiatric story ends, it seems. He doesn't go back to school, and so nobody else has any obligation or interest in pursuing the boy's illness. And so off he drifts.
I struggle to believe people didn't know this boy was ill. They surely must have, and yet with no support at hand, and nobody interested, what could be done? If true that's a very sad indictment of the entire community, USA wide, I suspect. [Because looking after Loughner would require 'stealing the income from others' aka socialism, right Sarah?]
Even if Loughner was entirely unswayed by any 'politics', of left or right, I think it's no bad thing he be a catalyst for some self-contemplation. At least some good might come out of that.
The conspiracists and far-right responded to this shooting by treating the 'fact' Loughner and his family 'were Jewish' as if it were the primary fact. Also that his mother attended the local synagogue (along with Gifford) and that the congregation and entire world media had covered it up. Jamie Kelso's WhiteNews story about Loughner 'being Jewish' has quickly propagated right across the Patriot Movement and conspiracist cricles. Google is flooded with it.