With Pipe Bomb Suspect in Custody, Here Come the Conspiracy Theories

“These stickers also look like they were printed yesterday.”

WPLG-TV via AP

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As soon as federal authorities identified a suspect in connection to the pipe bombs that have been sent to prominent Democrats across the country, a familiar response kicked into gear.

Even as evidence emerged that the suspect, identified in media reports as Cesar Sayoc of Aventura, Florida, was a registered Republican with a lengthy criminal record, conspiracy theorists posited that he was a “patsy” commissioned by Democrats. Rabble rousers online quickly settled on a white van, which Florida news reports said had been surrounded by FBI agents on Friday, as an object of suspicion. (The van has not been officially connected to Sayoc.) 

Infowars, the conspiracy site owned and operated by conservative firebrand Alex Jones, published a breaking news post Friday that stated, “With perfect timing, eleven days from midterms, leftist media conveniently have their patsy driving a white van plastered with Republican stickers.” 

On his radio show, Jones, who is infamous for calling the mass shooting in Sandy Hook a “false flag” perpetrated by “crisis actors,” has been predicting for weeks that Democrats would engineer an attack and blame it on Republicans before the midterm elections. He has not provided any evidence for his theory. But as reports mounted this week of pipe bombs being sent around the country, right-wing social media accounts promoted the idea that the apparent serial bombing had been ginned up by Democrats. That notion entered the mainstream with mentions from Rush Limbaugh on his radio show and from pro-Trump pundits on Fox News.  

Laura Loomer, a right-wing provocateur who previously worked for Project Veritas, the organization that conducts sting operations to embarrass journalists suspected of liberal bias, echoed the same sentiment in a tweet claiming that the stickers on the van “look like they were printed yesterday.” 

This article is developing and will be updated as more information emerges. 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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