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Some suspect conspiracy in Holocaust Museum case

  • Story Highlights
  • Members of "Ghost Troop" say museum shooting may be a "false flag" operation
  • They say suspect James von Brunn may have been set up
  • Group previously known for 9/11 attack conspiracy theories
  • U.S. Attorney's Office says there is no coverup
By Mike M. Ahlers
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- To most, the evidence against alleged Holocaust Museum shooter James von Brunn may seem overwhelming.

The "Ghost Troop" leader says shooting suspect James von Brunn corresponded with him for several years.

The "Ghost Troop" leader says shooting suspect James von Brunn corresponded with him for several years.

Surveillance camera video.

Eyewitness accounts.

Von Brunn's red Hyundai parked outside.


But to some people in Von Brunn's e-mail chain and Web circles, there's a darker truth.

They say the June 10 shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum may be a "false flag" operation. The incident could have been staged by one group, perhaps what they describe as the Jewish-controlled U.S. government, to make it appear to be the actions of another group -- in this case, von Brunn and others who believe Jews exercise too much control in the United States.

In other words, von Brunn could have been set up, they contend.

Where others see meaningless coincidence, members of "Ghost Troop," an online group of writers and investigators bent on disproving official versions of the September 11, 2001, attacks and other major events, have a penchant for seeing what they argue is meaningful evidence. Where others see the smoke of understandable and inevitable inconsistency, they see fire.

Ghost Troop members are trying to build the case that von Brunn, an ardent believer in conspiracy theories, was himself the victim of a conspiracy.

Ghost Troop's center of focus until now has been the 2001 terrorist attacks. The museum shooting has opened yet another window into the thinking of a group that believes many highly public and publicized events are rarely what they appear to be.

"It's possible that he [von Brunn] might have been enticed to the Holocaust Museum," said Ghost Troop member William Fox. Fox said that Israeli intelligence agents could have shot security officer Stephen Johns, then shot von Brunn, then planted the rifle.

"Today's shootings at the DC Holocaust Museum bear some of the classic earmarks of a false flag operation," wrote conspiracy theorist Eric May on the Web site

"Mind you, I'm not asserting that this is a false flag operation, but neither am I discounting the possibility. I exhort Internet researchers to look into this carefully and publish results," May wrote.

An Embassy of Israel official in Washington, informed of the Ghost Troop speculation, declined comment, saying it deserved none.

May is founder of Ghost Troop, which he describes as an informal group of more then 300 ex-military and civilian volunteers who "thwart false flag attacks and other criminal activity by the administration."

May wrote that the 9/11 attacks were "in all likelihood an 'inside job,' a collaborative effort between high-level U.S. government insiders and the Israeli Mossad."

He wrote he also thinks the same about the Madrid, Spain, train bombing in 2004 and the London, England, bombings in 2005.

"These false flag attacks are used to justify further U.S. and Israeli military interventionism and other geopolitical goals," May wrote.

Ghost Troop bloggers also have speculated about the timing of the appearance of "666" in the Illinois State Lottery, saying the number could be a signal to others for nefarious purposes.

In an interview Friday, May said that von Brunn corresponded with him from 2006 to 2009, and distributed May's writings to others. But von Brunn was not a Ghost Troop member, May said.

"I came to regard him as one of my readers and critics," May said. "I believe he was an eccentric and brilliant man. I thought he was bigoted. We shared many views, but his view [on race] is not one of them."

May said he was initially surprised by von Brunn's alleged involvement in the museum shooting, saying that von Brunn "never threatened direct action, although he sometimes commented or made allusions to how there needs to be an uprising."

Now, May said, his "theory, but not conviction [is] that this was a staged event, a contrived shooting."

The reasons he feels that way: The government has not released videotape, a former high-ranking government official was at the shooting scene, a North American Aerospace Defense Command exercise was planned for the day of the incident and there were discrepancies between the number of shots some witnesses recalled hearing and the number of bullet casings found at the shooting scene.

(Unless witnesses are being sought, governments rarely release videotapes before a trial. Former Defense Secretary William Cohen was near the entrance to the museum, where he was to see a performance of his wife's play later that day. Witness descriptions of shootings frequently differ from evidence. NORAD exercises are held every few months in Washington.)

Finally, May said, the Holocaust Museum shooting "didn't seem like the kind of operation he would have done if he had decided to go on what in effect was a homicide/suicide mission."

Fox, like May, said he is not certain the Holocaust Museum attack is a "false flag" operation. But, he added, "This is so incredibly convenient for [Homeland Security Secretary] Janet Napolitano and the Jewish lobby to have this happen right now." He said Napolitano's job was in danger because she implied that returning veterans were susceptible to influence from terrorists.

"It's not all black and white. I believe along with the captain [May] that most of the official story is true." But "malevolent forces are trying to spin this to the max. They love to take incidents like this to amplify them to the max," he said.

Fox said he was suspicious that the museum shooting could be a false flag operation because a person with von Brunn's military experience should have been able to stage a more forceful assault on the building. He is also suspicious because the government has not released surveillance video of the incident.

"Where are the videos? Have you seen any video evidence yet? That's interesting, don't you think?" he said.

U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman John Roth said prosecutors "have very strict guidelines with regards to what we can and cannot produce in a pretrial setting." The guidelines are designed to prevent prejudicing potential jurors, he said.

"It's for the protection of the defendant more than anything else," Roth said.

"In the normal course, these things are introduced at trial and made publicly available," he said.

Asked if he was participating in a coverup, Roth said, "No."

All About United States Holocaust Memorial MuseumJames von BrunnFederal Bureau of Investigation

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