Mon Dec 17, 2012, 04:51 PM
DonViejo (19,507 posts)
Newtown Conspiracy Hoax Spreads Fast Across Fringe
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Like many traumatic national events, the Newtown shooting has already spawned its share of wild conspiracy theories that draw in everything from British finance to the Hunger Games.
A false rumor spreading rapidly on fringe sites like Infowars and assorted Ron Paul messageboards ties the school murders to an existing hoax surrounding the Aurora, Colo. movie theater shooting. After that attack, conspiracy theorists fixated on the accused shooter’s father, Robert Holmes, pointing to media reports that he worked as an anti-fraud scientist for credit scoring company FICO.
Somehow, a rumor surfaced online that Holmes was scheduled to testify before the Senate on the Libor banking scandal before the theater shooting. It wasn’t true: no such hearing was ever scheduled to take place, nor is there even an obvious connection between FICO and the Libor scandal, which involved a number of high-profile banks misreporting interest rates on transactions. But imaginative commenters across dozens of sites exploited the phony connection anyway, concocting a theory in which the hearing was set to reveal a massive new fraud scheme before being deliberately derailed. Getting deeper into the weeds, some sites noted that The Dark Knight Rises — the movie playing during the Aurora shooting — featured a plot point revolving around financial fraud.
In the case of Newtown, Peter Lanza, the alleged shooter’s father, reportedly also worked in finance as vice president of taxes at GE Financial Services. Within hours, the same online forums were asserting as fact — again,100 percent without evidence — that he too was supposed to testify before the Senate regarding Libor. Like FICO, GE has no obvious connection to the investigation, which has roped in various other financial institutions. And once again, there is no “witness list” that includes Lanza because there isn’t even a hearing on the issue.
“This rumor is 100% false,” a Senate Banking Committee aide, who asked not to be named, told TPM by email. “The Senate Banking Committee does not have any LIBOR hearings currently scheduled, and has never considered either of these men as potential witnesses.”
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