I suppose I should introduce myself. My name is Ben, I frequently go by mouse and I’m a member of an online debate community called QallOut. Recently Titus Frost (one of the pizzagate community) reached out with the desire to debate and after about a week of no response I decided some discussion was better than none, no issue deserves to be dismissed without a fair hearing in a debate. I really had no dog in the fight other than to offer the strongest opposition I could to the motion (that Pizzagate is real news and should be investigated). In this post I’m going to go over some of the core issues discussed in the debate and leave you with some of my thoughts. I want to start with a few disclaimers.
1) Obviously this list won’t be exhaustive or it would simply be far too long. The lack of attention to certain things said in the debate is not intended as a dismissal, just a prioritisation decision.
2) I’ve found different PizzaGaters have different conceptions of what exactly PizzaGate is;
Quick Example: (Alex Jones on the Joe Rogan Experience distanced his opinion from the involvement of the Pizza Shop, one of the Australian commenters thought that a case from NSW [in Aus] was part of it, there seems to be diversity of thought within the community).
I am only going to be engaging with the conception provided to me in the debate and even then, if I misinterpret any of the nuances I apologise in advance, my intention is not to strawman and I’ll happily make corrections where necessary.
3) This is not a denial of all child sex trafficking. This is an abhorrent crime that does indeed take place all around the world. My specific argument is to do with the claims of the pizzagate narrative.
Issue 1: Symbols
Dean points to an FBI document: [link] that shows known Paedophile Symbols and identifies that
1) The Comet Ping-Pong shop uses them as a logo.
2) They took them down in response to the PizzaGate revelations (I assume insinuating this is the reaction of a guilty party).
1) These symbols are very generic. Concentric or spiral shapes are quite common in branding.
https://goo.gl/aL4Bha – AOL.
https://goo.gl/0dSK35 – Streets.
https://goo.gl/lnF9z0 – Time Warner.
In the case of the Streets logo, the heart within a heart is one of the symbols used by paedophiles [https://goo.gl/SJ7Zo9] but that wouldn’t mean that streets is part of a paedophile ring.
Hearts make for good branding, pizza slices are triangle shaped, its very plausible that they just chose this without knowing any of the connotations.
Titus’ response was to claim that the symbol was a triangle with an infinity symbol in it. Unless we have a different understanding of what an infinity sign is (here is mine https://goo.gl/a5muRs) this isn’t really that specific.
1.1) The use of these symbols as explained by the FBI is inconsistent with the use claimed by Titus. The FBI’s examples of how these symbols are used is: That individuals use these symbols on coins or small bits of jewellery so that they can signal their preferences to each other, not for ring locations to signal what they are selling.
Titus’ response was to claim that the business’ use this as a way of attracting customers. This is plausible, however, not supported by the FBI documentation. If more leaks come out highlighting the use of this by businesses I’ll be the first to yield this line of argumentation.
2) This is a very predictable reaction from a business just for business purposes. The business received death threats and it seems sensible to try and protect your staff and customers in anyway possible. It is also plausible that the family-friendly pizza joint detests paedophilia and once they learned of what the iconography meant, removed it from their store.
Also in Titus’ response was a shift in subject to internet servers and downloads keys so we’ll go there next:
Issue 2: Internet servers and Restricted access:
Titus makes three claims in this argument
1) That the Pizza Shop has servers with restricted access for some users and is distributed via download keys.
2) That the Pizza Shop’s server is located in Germany, which is strange and unnecessary for a pizza shop.
3) That on the hard drive of one of their computers, reference to “cheese pizza” was found and that is a well known paedophile code.
1) This is true of all websites with admin controls. Indeed at the moment I am writing this article with authors access given to me by the operator of this website, that does not mean we are secretly paedophiles.
2) Server locations are not chosen when setting up websites, many domain names are on servers in quite unusual places around the world. I’d encourage anyone to try and set up a website, typically you are not given an option to choose servers, only bidding on domain names.
3) I would be surprised if cheese pizza wasn’t mentioned somewhere on their hard drive, they are a pizza shop. If cheese pizza isn’t on a word document they use to print the menu’s then they’d be a pretty awful pizza joint.
The debate gets a bit messy here so naturally the next section is named,
This is specifically about what was found on this server. Titus before this section says (and I’m quoting from the debate):
“according to an anonymous hacker that broke into the section on December 5th, he found whats called ‘cheese pizza’ which is a known paedophile term for child porn inside that protected section, gave it to the DC police and they could not do anything with that information because it was obtained illegally. Then when the false flag shooting happened at Comet Ping pong supposedly the Edgar Madison Welch character fired a single shot and that single shot went into the office at comet ping pong and hit the computer inside of there, at which point the police where able to obtain the hard drive which had the ‘cheese pizza’ on it which is child porn in their lingo. So right now we have a Fourier request out to obtain the police reports to confirm that’s what was found”
Now I at this point misunderstood Titus and thought he was literally saying they found the words ‘cheese pizza’ on it however he was making 2 claims;
1) An anonymous hacker found child porn on their server however it was illegally acquired evidence so it could not be used
2) That the police found child porn on the hard drive during the course of another investigation
Titus pulls me up here and says that they actually found child porn. I asked Titus if he has seen the child porn, he says he has seen the communication emails (but I assume not the actual child porn) and then immediately switches topic to James Alafantis. I on reflection have a few thoughts before we move on.
1) The word of an anonymous hacker who claims he has found child porn that only he has seen (and claims he has sent to the police) is not sufficient evidence to start an investigation. This person needs to actually publish what they have found before we even know that it’s real.
2) If the police legally obtained a hard drive while investigating the shooting that is not illegally acquired evidence [https://goo.gl/OB9O67] that is what is known as finding evidence in plain view (it could also be justified under protecting evidence from being destroyed and protecting others from harm). I appreciate the law might have it’s complexities when it comes to online data, if there are any lawyers who want to correct me I will yield this line of argumentation.
I have to make this very clear here this is fatal to the idea that there was child porn found here unless you believe that the police are part of the cover-up.
James Alefantis and Threats of cover ups:
So there were a collection of claims, one of the ones that got the most attention was that James Alefantis ‘threatened’ Ryan Alexander O’Neal. Here is a link to the transcript [https://voat.co/v/pizzagate/1547013] here is an extract from it.
- One more thing
- If one of these assholes gets near my mom or her house that’s it for you
- That bethesda follows driving over tomororen
- I’m sure nothing with happen but if it does
This is not a guy who is making credible threats, he is trying to defend his mom (particularly given the death threats sent to comet) I would say this and a lot more if I thought it would protect my mother, wouldn’t anyone?
Whether you believe this is a credible threat or just a guy trying to defend his mom from a group of people on the internet is up to you.
Pictures of tape and Pizza Slut
The pizza slut images are easiest to explain away because it’s a known paraody of Pizza hut, here are some other parodies [https://goo.gl/WhhTol , https://goo.gl/STljFl] These are not evidence that there is a cannibal ring going on behind subway.
The child picture also has a ‘comedic’ caption, but what this proves to me is that James Alefantis thinks he’s a comedian but actually he’s a tool.
Is this too public?
So one of my main claims throughout is to ask ‘why would people who have intimate knowledge of what the FBI is looking for and of what language is commonly associated with paedophilia leave so many clues.’
I think Titus’ response to the email aspect is solid. He claims they probably didn’t think they would get caught. This is a fair point.
I don’t think this holds up for all of the other more public things though like the Instagram posts and iconography. I just think it’s too risky, but I guess if you think they will never be caught it is plausible.
The Culture of Silence:
So this I think is where Pizzagate gets the most difficult to follow. This is where connections to various international child trafficking rings are made (i.e. Haiti, the kidnapping of Madeline Mcann in Portugal). I do not deny at all that child trafficking exists internationally, but to suggest that it is all connected I think is too much.
Here is why: When you include more people in your conspiracy the risk of exposure increases. It only takes one person to “whistle blow” to unravel the whole thing.
So the specific question I asked was, if this police department has seen child porn, is there no-one who detests child rape enough to expose this?
Titus gives a number of sensible responses
1) These cops might not come forward for risk of their jobs/lives
2) Rich/powerful people get away with stuff all the time. I.e. Credit Union fraud, settlements in civil courts.
Both I think are crucially different from this case.
1.1) I fully recognise that cops might look the other way when it is only financial fraud, because there is no strong moral urge to stop credit fraud. But seeing images of children being raped or children being used as items for pornography is the sort of thing that someone would risk their job for.
1.2) I don’t think a police officer who blew the whistle on something like this publicly will get assassinated by the other members of the police/government. It’s just way too obviously an attempt to silence them.
2) Settlements in Civil courts and getting away with low sentences happens after they’ve been investigated and arrested. So I do not dispute that rich people get away with things in court, but they most definitely get arrested and face trial.
I think it would be useful for the Pizzagater’s to create a list of people they believe to be involved and specifically the nature of their involvement and how they got involved. It really doesn’t make sense that so many people would be paedophiles, what happens when they try to involve someone who isn’t a paedophile? At one point Titus insinuates that even Trump is being controlled in this scandal, how did they silence him? Specificity is key here.
Now I pointed out examples of whistle-blowing in the past i.e. Snowden as proof of how these secrets tend to get revealed once they grow too large. The response from Titus is to suggest that Snowden was a controlled leak. I suppose that is a debate for another day, however, it really does increase the burden of saying you believe Pizzagate. Because now in order to dis-believe the logic/reasoning for why this should have been exposed by a whistle-blower by now (given the immense size of the conspiracy), you also have to believe that every instance of whistle-blowing was a controlled leak.
But why not investigate?
Now all of this may leave you saying, ‘well sure there is doubt here, but that’s what investigations are for, so we get some answers’ and that would be a very sensible question so here are the two answers.
Firstly Civil Rights:
Here is what Titus indicated he wanted out of this investigation: “I’ve seen how the FBI investigates these things, they kick down the doors, 50 guys bust in , they seize everything inside, they take all the financial things, they interview everything at the business”
Let’s be very clear here. This is a huge violation of the 4th amendment, it’s government overreach at it’s worst, violating the property rights, economic rights and civil rights of a small business based only on circumstantial evidence with not even a live victim. Even if you believe this conspiracy is true, you shouldn’t want this precedent, it would be so open to abuse by big government that it should override any other concerns.
The FBI have a lot to do, they don’t have infinite resources and there are lots of crimes that need investigating. Now if I was in charge of deciding what things to investigating, the first criteria I would use would be crimes with victims and this conspiracy hasn’t even got that. The only victim Titus named was Madeline Mcann, look her up, [https://goo.gl/td2eml], she disappeared in 2007 in Portugal. This is beyond the FBI’s jurisdiction for a start, they have to prioritise cases that are within their jurisdiction, who have live victims who can testify in a court case. At the end of the day you need beyond reasonable doubt in a court case and juries don’t tend to convict on circumstantial evidence (OJ Simpson is a pretty well known example of overwhelming circumstantial evidence leading to nothing).
The only closing thought I have is, why would you want the police to investigate if you think they are involved too? Unless there is a reason why the FBI is not involved but everyone else is. There might be, I think it just should be made clear.
I’ve looked this up, the tunnels exist, but as I predicted in the debate, they aren’t structurally sound, a truck fell through one of them. [https://goo.gl/GkYiAQ] Obviously the debate got cut short here, but the existence of 1900’s era tunnels isn’t proof, you need proof of current use and structural integrity.
I made a bit of a debating jab at Titus here, asking him if he’d try and walk past the staff only section of a store he claims has such tunnels to see if they are there. I’ll admit this line of questioning was a bit inane but it was a bit of fun. The only thing I’ll say here is that I think it was odd was that Titus at one point claimed that if he did this the powers that be would kill or jail him to silence him but then immediately when I asked why they hadn’t done that already he claimed that it would just prove the conspiracy. I don’t think these things can co-exist but I’m welcome to hearing the argument as to how they can in more detail.
So here is what I think will aid Pizzagater’s in finding justice in the future.
1) A clearer narrative. There is a lack of specificity as to how all of the various parts of this narrative fit together. Obviously there are restrictions on time in a debate, but I think a clear narrative can help everyone to understand exactly what the claims of Pizzagate are. Look at the start of the debate, I had to bring up the pizza shop. The movement is called Pizzagate, you can’t let the opposition be the first to bring that up.
2) Avoiding reference to other conspiracies, for example in the debate we had, when I asked Titus why Trump hadn’t done anything he responded with a long list of (what I have now looked up) conspiracies. I think the way Titus wanted that argument to work was to diminish my credibility but what it is going to do in the court of public opinion is make Pizzagaters look like they believe every conspiracy. I similarly find it confusing that Titus was unfamiliar with other well known cases of paedophilia (i.e. Rolf Harris) and didn’t find that a mark on his credibility. My point there is, no one knows every case of paedophilia or every conspiracy, don’t try and use that as a debating tool because it tends to backfire.
3) Avoid non-sequitur’s, usually when I asked Titus a question he responded with another question about another part of the conspiracy. Upon re-watching the debate I was shocked as to just how often this happened. Obviously the people reading this don’t agree with me on the facts but that is just poor debating regardless of the facts and will reduce the credibility of the argument.
Ultimately if there is an argument to be made here I want it to be made well, if this helps in anyway, well, that’s the value of a debate and conversation.
***Editors note: Does anybody want to respond to this? Please e-mail us!