Helter Skelter in Ferguson, Missouri

helterskelterIt’s been a shitty couple of weeks for race relations in America. A grand jury decided not to indict the police officer who shot Michael Brown. People got mad. Things burned down. Those are the facts, no matter which side of the debate you fall on. Now, what probably isn’t a fact is the assertion that the Ferguson riots are actually “false flag” operations by the government, as this video insists.

The video claims to show smoking gun evidence that police or some paramilitary group is starting fires in Ferguson. Before presenting this evidence, the narrator talks you through what you’re about to see – paramilitary guys are surrounding a car in Ferguson. One of them throws something inside the car. There’s a flash of light, and the car goes up in flames. Pretty cut-and-dry, right? Then it cuts to the video:


Yes, those are pretty clearly cops or military, and they are standing around a car. The footage is shot from a distance, so the resolution is what some on the internet would call “potato quality,” but you can make this out clearly enough. Then this happens:

ferg2…and the camera immediately cuts away from the scene. This few seconds of footage is all we have in terms of “smoking gun evidence” that cops are burning things down in Ferguson.

Now, I don’t know about you, but those look like flashlights to me. If you disagree, then I’m not sure what kind of white-hot flaming object you think they’re all casually carrying around. If you saw the above picture without context, you’d probably see what I see – some people shining flashlights into a car. But if a guy just told you that what you’re about to see is someone setting fire to a car – supposedly with a flame thrower or something – then you might think that instead. Especially if that’s what you want to believe it is. It’s the power of suggestion at work.

The camera pans away quickly at this point, so the idea that the car then went up in flames is something you have to take the narrator’s word for. And that’s a problem, because he wasn’t there either – he’s extrapolating from footage someone else took, and suggesting someone the original camera-holder did not claim.

So, the Ferguson riots apparently aren’t happening at all, they’re a false flag operation by the government to make us think people are setting fires. But then, there are the people who claim the original shooting never happened anyway. That Michael Brown was an actor, and that the entire thing was staged. It’s the same thing the conspiracy community believes about the Boston Bombing, Sandy Hook, Elliot Rodger, the Aurora shooting, Virginia Tech, and indeed every high profile event in human history.

But does that make any sense? Why would the government launch a false flag to deliberately rile up the black community, and then launch another false flag to deliberately rile the white community against them?

According to Alex Jones, among others, the answer is of course “race war.” The government wants to engineer a war between whites and blacks so that in the ensuing chaos they can take over. (Even though they’re already in charge because they’re the government, but I mean, like, super take over, like with weather machines and moon lasers and shit).

In this theory, the supposed conspirators and indeed the conspiracy theorists who push it have an unlikely ally:

mansonYou may think of the Manson Family as death cultists rather than conspiracy theorists – in reality, they were both. The idea that a race war is inevitable in our near future, and that people in power know about it and are pushing to engineer it, was their conspiracy of choice. Now, Manson was and is completely nuts (he knew the race war, which he called “Helter Skelter,” was coming because the Beatles told him in code through their song of the same name. Incidentally, that song is about playing on a slippery slide). But the Helter Skelter idea, if not referred to by that title, is a very real fear among white, mostly conservative Americans. When right-wing pundits report of escalating mob violence in black communities spreading into white communities, such as in Ferguson, they are often explicitly or implicitly warning of the coming race war.

The idea that a race war is possible or likely in America, let’s face it, comes from some pretty racist assumptions. Just as anti-semites fear Jews because of stereotypes they apply to Jews (eg. Sneaky, money-hungry, infiltrators, corruptors), the fear of a race war emerges due to assumptions that blacks are inherently more violent, stronger, and less rational or diplomatic. The “black thug” stereotype.

Uncle Charlie’s cult ran genuine false flag operations. The murder of Sharon Tate was intended to be framed as a racial attack in order to spark the uprising. Manson believed that the blacks would win the race war through brute strength, but they would be unable to run a country because they lack the ability to form societies, so they would turn to Manson and his family (who would have been hiding in bunkers) as their new leaders out of desperation. In its own strange way, Manson’s plan was a world domination plot.

On the other hand, those who fear and condemn black uprisings are presumably trying to prevent a race war – they are opposed to the government’s Helter Skelter plot – so it may seem unfair to group them in with what Manson believed. But it doesn’t really matter whether you’re for Helter Skelter or against it – if you think it’s a thing at all, either to be desired or feared, then you’re coming from the exact same place of ignorance and conspiracy theory that Manson was.

You don’t have to believe conspiracy theories about cops lighting things on fire and inciting violence in order to believe that there is racism and corruption in the police force. It’s not an either-or issue. Personally I think it’s safer to assume that the cops really want this to go away as quickly as possible. Inciting more violence is kind of against their best interests.