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Wednesday, May 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Shawn Vestal: Kootenai County GOP is free to speak up against dangerous nonsense

UPDATED: Fri., May 3, 2019, 7:12 p.m.

Brittany Pettibone, an alt-right online conspiracist now living in Post Falls, speaks to the Kootenai County GOP. (Chad Sokol / The Spokesman-Review)
Brittany Pettibone, an alt-right online conspiracist now living in Post Falls, speaks to the Kootenai County GOP. (Chad Sokol / The Spokesman-Review)

The Kootenai County GOP is just really into free speech, you guys.

Free speech and true love.

That’s what led the group to intervene on behalf of Brittany Pettibone, an alt-right online conspiracist now living in Post Falls, and her fiancé, Martin Sellner, whose views apparently influenced the Christchurch mosque shooter.

Pettibone and Sellner are pristine examples of the new wave of racist, conspiratorial alt-right nonsense. The Kootenai County Republicans decided to lie down with them by posting videos decrying a federal decision to revoke travel privileges for Sellner, who is being investigated by Austrian police for potential ties to the Christchurch shooter.

The KCGOP apparently sees this travel restriction as persecution for “political reasons” and wants to help Pettibone, a constituent.

One wonders what kind of constituent services the party might offer Richard Butler, were he alive and exercising his First Amendment rights.

Obviously people are free to speak their mind. But supporting free speech does not require formally sanctioning the worst speech. It does not require that you forfeit your own right to freely speak about piles of manure in your front yard.

What the party leaders should do is separate themselves from a constituent who wildly, irresponsibly pushes one of the most dangerous online conspiracy hoaxes of our time, a raft of grotesque nonsense that led one man to drive to Washington, D.C., and shoot up a pizza restaurant to protect children from a supposed ring of pedophile murderers connected to … Hillary Clinton and George Soros.

Pizzagate is a gothic tale that is outrageous even for the far-right fever swamp. To believe it, you must believe that liberals – all of them, basically – participate in or sanction the beating, rape and murder of children. The media, naturally, approves of all of this child rape and murder as well and helps cover it up. Hillary Clinton, George Soros, John Podesta – a vast left-wing conspiracy of Satanic child abuse, all headquartered in a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant, Comet Ping Pong.

It’s a very complicated theory, and a disheartening example of how powerfully lies take hold through online networks. The New York Times, among others, have tried to string it all together.

Pizzagate reached the peak of Bullflop Mountain when it was taken up by Alex Jones, who said this in a video: “When I think about all the children Hillary Clinton has personally murdered and chopped up and raped, I have zero fear standing up against her. Yeah, you heard me right. Hillary Clinton has personally murdered children. I just can’t hold back the truth anymore.”

Jones would later apologize – to the owner of Comet Ping Pong.

Pettibone was one of the very first to push this conspiracy online when she was living in California. A Washington Post story credited her for coining the #PizzaGate hashtag on Twitter, helping to push the idea in some of the darkest corners of the idiot troll internet, where it exploded.

Her appearance on “The Matt Forney Show” – aired one day before the shooting – is just one example.

Forney is a white nationalist and anti-Semite, and not one of the sly ones who pretends he’s a good guy. The Anti-Defamation League has cataloged some of his greatest hits, including a Holocaust denial video, “Eric Hunt-The Shoah: The Biggest Hoax of the 20th Century?” Forney also wrote a blog post titled “How to Beat Your Girlfriend or Wife and Get Away with It,” and another piece in which he asserted, “Blacks do nothing but murder cops, rob and rape people, and bring death and destruction wherever they go.”

A real free speech guy.

Pettibone went on Forney’s show, in an episode that aired Dec. 5, 2016. Forney referred to her as “one of the leading authorities on Pizzagate.”

Pettibone proceeded to ramble about Comet Ping Pong, which she alleges is the center of this vast ring of powerful American liberal Satanic pedophile/murderers. She would also occasionally veer off into noting that the vast ring of powerful American liberal Satanic pedophile/murderers are just one part of a vast global network of powerful Satanic pedophile/murderers.

They communicate with each other by a code of secret symbols, the members of this network. One key pedophile symbol just so happens to look like … a slice of pizza.

“I would have never thought pizza had other connotations,” Pettibone tells Forney in all apparent seriousness.

She said that Comet Ping Pong is the center of a number of restaurants and other businesses, connected by tunnels, in which kidnapped children are taken and used in devil-worshipping rituals. She and Forney threw around the names of the business owners with abandon – many of them would wind up being harassed mercilessly by the army of online idiot trolls.

“The people that are all in power, they’re all very similar to each other,” Pettibone said, bringing it all together. “They like to keep their rings tightknit. It’s not based off loyalty, though, it’s based off blackmail. Many of them, it’s been alleged, you know, proven in many instances, that many of these people have all this dirt on one another, so if anyone, you know, leaves the path, you know, or tries to go off do something they’re not supposed to be doing, they can be kept in line by this dirt that everyone else has on them. They all have evidence on one another of doing illegal or questionable things, whatever, that maybe they don’t want to get out. Scandals. That’s the way they keep it in in my opinion. In many people’s opinion.”

The day after the interview, a North Carolina man drove to Washington, D.C., and fired an assault weapon into Comet Ping Pong. No one was hurt, miraculously. The shooter would later say, “The intel on this wasn’t 100 percent.”

Now the Kootenai County GOP wants to walk the purveyor of that intel down the aisle.

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