The Anti-Terror Establishment are the Real Terrorists
On the Las Vegas shooting, and the role of security services in high profile, politically charged criminal incidents more broadly.
The following is an elaboration of some ideas I first aired on a podcast some months ago.
On 1 October 2017, Stephen Craig Paddock, a 64 year-old recluse and gambler, fired over a thousand rounds from his Las Vegas hotel suite into crowds attending a music festival below him. He killed 58 at the scene, and wounded another 411. Shortly afterwards Paddock shot himself in the head.
Many intriguing conspiracy theories surround the Las Vegas shooting, and with good reason. The investigation had all the hallmarks of a cover-up. Police demonstrated a pervasive lack of interest in Paddock’s motivation, driving reporters to ask whether the FBI had “downplay[ed]” Paddock’s “Far-Right politics.” (Yes, I know, it’s The Intercept and many have theorised that Paddock was in fact a leftist. We’ll come back to this.) There was the strange arrest of his homeless brother, Bruce Paddock, on implausible child pornography charges, which were later dropped. And then there were other weird details, like the missing hard drive in a laptop recovered from the suite where Paddock’s body was found; and reports that one of his residences was broken into days after the shooting. When evidence in a high-profile case is tampered with or disappears in this way, the prime suspects must always be the investigators themselves.
One minor conspiracy theory of the Paddock shooting, discussed now and again among Americans on the dissident right (also occasionally deboonked), holds that the Paddock shooting and Heather Heyer’s death at Charlottesville were both part of the same (federally organised) operation. This theory is obviously impossible, and yet it rests on some curious evidence, which strongly suggests that Paddock was incited by federal agents. They likely hoped to recruit him into a terror plot, so that they might subsequently arrest him and capitalise on post-Charlottesville press narratives about the danger of Trump’s white nationalist supporters.