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'It Was Like a Cult': Leaving the World of Online Conspiracy Theories

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posted on Apr, 22 2016 @ 06:32 PM
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originally posted by: Willtell

On 911, I originally didn’t accept the truther angles, but through investigation couldn’t refute it.



I called conspiracy on 9/11 from the beginning, and bought into quite a few truther narratives. I also believed NASA was lying about UFOs, and that people were being abducted by gray aliens. After a lot of reading on ATS and other places, I am a lot more skeptical, and believe little of what I used to believe.

I am of the opinion that perhaps there is a conspiracy with 9/11, but not the ones people are so avidly pushing here (for example 'jet fuels can't melt steel beams', and nano-thermite theories). Mirage Men gave me a fascinating, and far more convincing narrative about UFOs. I am far more inclined to believe cattle mutilations are done by a secretive arm of the US military than grays from Zeta Reticuli, and think the Betty and Barney Hill abductions are more likely a psy-op by post WW2 intelligence agencies.

My own suspicions about some of the conspiracy theory narratives are that they are possibly smoke screens to hide government secret programs. Other theories I think are simply nonsense propagated by people hoping to make money. For instance, chemtrails. Private companies may also propagate outright lies in order to defend their own industries. For instance, those denying global warming.

I do think there are conspiracies, but to find what is real, and what is not, requires one to go outside their comfort zone. It was a revelation to discard my own confirmation bias and discover just how wrong I had been on so many things.
edit on 22-4-2016 by cuckooold because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 22 2016 @ 08:26 PM
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a reply to: cuckooold

If she's gonna liken a gaggle of conspiracy theorists to a cult then the same applies to any number of groups out there - like the US political establishment - in every way possible, especially this election cycle, they have acted like a cult.

CULT - In the sociological classifications of religious movements in English, a cult is a religious or social group with socially deviant or novel beliefs and practices - wiki.......yep - that's your politicians right there..using their deviant forms of propaganda on citizens to push their novel beliefs of consolidating and controlling the worlds resources and people through wars, social upheaval and economic distress.

I prefer the term critical thinker because quite frankly this is not 1967 and the CIA does not control all information platforms anymore - this is the age of the internet and we are well beyond establishing that governments and powerful individuals have conspired to deceive, start wars, plant evidence, falsify documents, invade sovereign nations for their resources, encourage hatred between races, cultures and religions and assassinate individuals.

So, a woman has an epiphany, upon finally doing her own research, on a (already very questionable) subject matter that she was interested in and consequently, upon some inner reflections of her past actions as a chemmie fundy decided that the forum she frequented reminded her of a cult therefore all online conspiracy theorists are part of that cult?

That's cute, albeit delusional and shallow, but still cute.



posted on Apr, 22 2016 @ 10:20 PM
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a reply to: cuckooold



The article is fascinating, and delves into the way people can behave when locked into believing something, to the point of dismissing real facts and evidence. The accusations of 'working for the elite' seem not too dissimilar to cries of 'shill', and 'disinfo agent' not uncommonly heard around ATS.


There was a study some time ago that if a person is very dedicated in their convictions nothing will change that. Sure they might be be apprehensive to share their feelings due to ad hominem attacks for example, but usually that just makes their convictions stronger.

These attacks happens on the other side of the spectrum as well. I've been called a plethora of names over the years, even intimidated, due to not following the mainstream narrative. Just the same as being referred to as a shill for sharing what was against the CT view of the subject.



posted on Apr, 23 2016 @ 04:39 AM
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a reply to: cuckooold

Boy am I glad I read this! I had no idea I just needed to accept what I'm told. When I read outright propaganda like this I'm reminded of the saying:

"the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist".



posted on Apr, 23 2016 @ 05:25 AM
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a reply to: MALBOSIA


We are not approaching a conspiracy theory, we are approaching some poor girls antidotal story about conspiracy theorists are a cult.

First you come in with:

One way in which the Conspiracy Theory community is like a religious cult is the substitution of faith for reason. It even has a litany. If a skeptic points how unlikely a claim is, they are often met with:

So 9/11 wasn't an inside job?
So MK-ULTRA never happened?
So the Fed isn't owned by the Rothschilds?
So the Bilderbergers don't exist?...and so forth.

Ironically, this framework of accepted beliefs winds up closing the conspiracy theorists' minds. They are so full of imagined certainties that they cannot see the real machinations unfolding in the open.



Which does nothing to diferentiate one conspiracy theorist from another and then you wait for a weak post to point and say "see!"


But I do differentiate between different types of conspiracy theories in another post! Note how I use capitalization. If there is a theory grounded in solid evidence and rational analysis, it is a conspiracy theory. If I refer to Conspiracy Theories, I am referring to the reflexive rejection of the consensual or common sense narrative. Believing the CIA or KGB masterminded a coup is reasonable, and therefore a plausible theory. Weaving elaborate fantasies about contrails being used to hide a gigantic rogue planet populated by lizard people is typical of Conspiracy Theory thought. Some "Conspiracy Theorists" are deliberately circulating nonsense in order to discredit legitimate researchers. (They are the ones who defend the sort of anti-logic and rote litanizing I have criticized.)


It all comes across like you just want people to see the bad side of conspiracy theorists and you rarely if ever diferenciate between the different types of conspiracy theories or the way they are approached, which is the real topic to this thread.


I thought that the topic of this thread was how the Conspiracy Theory community was like a cult. It has beliefs, litanies, and excommunicates dissenters... as you seem to be trying to do to me.



posted on Apr, 23 2016 @ 07:07 AM
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a reply to: Sublimecraft


So, a woman has an epiphany, upon finally doing her own research, on a (already very questionable) subject matter that she was interested in and consequently, upon some inner reflections of her past actions as a chemmie fundy decided that the forum she frequented reminded her of a cult therefore all online conspiracy theorists are part of that cult?


I read the article and never saw her use the word "all." She did report the resistance and push back that she got from her former chemmie friends, and we see that sort of behavior on ATS all the time. What you have said was essentially a strawman of your own devising. Why put words in her mouth and defend the behavior she is criticizing?


That's cute, albeit delusional and shallow, but still cute.


That's condescending, false and unjustified, but still condescending.
edit on 23-4-2016 by DJW001 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 23 2016 @ 10:55 AM
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originally posted by: DJW001
But I do differentiate between different types of conspiracy theories in another post! Note how I use capitalization


There you are speaking from one side of your mouth


Weaving elaborate fantasies about contrails being used to hide a gigantic rogue planet populated by lizard people is typical of Conspiracy Theory thought.criticized.


And there you are speeking from the other side. You just lumped all those that believe(d) in chemtrails with those that believe in lizards controlling the population.

Most people I know that talk about chemtrails are referring to geoengineering to combat climate change. Not lizards. Now I am affraid to talk about geoengineering because the skeptic cult will tag me as a loon who believes in lizards walking amoung us. So much for rational debate.


I thought that the topic of this thread was how the Conspiracy Theory community was like a cult. It has beliefs, litanies, and excommunicates dissenters... as you seem to be trying to do to me.


The anecdotal story posted by the OP is not a topic, it is a baseless accusation. And given what you have stated about only entertaining beliefs grounded in logic and common sense, I figured you would be more skeptical about a strong accusation with no proof beyond one anecdotal opinion feeding others with no proof or common sense to back it up.

edit on pSat, 23 Apr 2016 11:19:14 -05002016 114Sat, 23 Apr 2016 11:19:14 -0500amAmerica/ChicagoSaturday by MALBOSIA because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 23 2016 @ 03:13 PM
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I'm sure those with sound minds have likely pointed this out before me, but I'll just reiterate. History and logic decree that bonafide conspiracies do in fact occur, and are most assuredly taking place. However, the superfluous 'everything is a conspiracy' mindset does not sit well with reality, though the habit of questioning everything is healthy and by no means makes one crazy. Be pragmatic. Don't just regurgitate data, that's outright laziness. Do your own research, as best you can. Know that things like astroturfing exist, etc. Know that conspiracy theories are big business. Also realize that agencies are actively shifting people's opinions, likely by being in control of a chunk of conspiratorial media.

The mindset that no conspiracies exist is just as ignorant and dangerous as the mindset that everything is a conspiracy, and doesn't help one's cause in the same way that those who view everything as a conspiracy are a detriment to the vindication of conspiracies that actually occur.

The older and 'wiser' I get, the more I realize that we're all just sheep to some extent. And we are lazy. It is much easier to see things in black and white than it is to actively and responsibly carry the burden of knowing it's all pretty grey and convoluted.



posted on Apr, 23 2016 @ 06:45 PM
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originally posted by: cooperton
Here is the main problem with enthralling yourself with such theories:

"As for you, then, be on guard against the world. Prepare yourselves with great strength, so the robbers can't find a way to get to you, for the trouble you expect will come."

Conspiracy theories can evolve into a type of schizophrenia in which someone thinks all is malevolent and out to get them,, when in actuality, the root of most conspiracies is a group of covert #holes making a lot of money. The fear of this ignorance can manifest to the point where I've heard some people claim people in black suits are following and watching their every move. These pseudo-characters are similar to terrors in a bad dream, they are only scary until they are addressed and realized to be a figment of your mental manifestation and thus harmless

"So if you are going to be afraid of what is about to come upon you, it will engulf you. For there is not one among them who will spare you or show you mercy."


Everyone has got some kind of cult they are in, it is just that this one gets labeled as the bad one,

Money this, money that, its all the same no matter what cult.

And who are you to claim that people DON'T have suits watching them, you clearly need to get out more.



posted on Apr, 23 2016 @ 07:15 PM
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a reply to: MALBOSIA


And there you are speeking from the other side. You just lumped all those that believe(d) in chemtrails with those that believe in lizards controlling the population.


Correct. That is because they are both equally founded on credulity and lack of critical thinking.


Most people I know that talk about chemtrails are referring to geoengineering to combat climate change. Not lizards. Now I am affraid to talk about geoengineering because the skeptic cult will tag me as a loon who believes in lizards walking amoung us. So much for rational debate.


No, people knowledgeable about atmospheric physics, aviation, and geo-engineering will patiently try to explain to you that contrails form naturally, and that no large scale geo-engineering has ever been attempted because it is too expensive. Originally, chemtrails were supposed to be spraying toxic chemicals that caused Morgellons (a sort of psychosomatic skin condition). It has been claimed to be an attempt at population control, and now, geo-engineering. The only consistency in the "theory" is that contrails are somehow part of a sinister plot, rather than being what happens when the water in jet exhausts
condenses in the upper atmosphere.


The anecdotal story posted by the OP is not a topic, it is a baseless accusation. And given what you have stated about only entertaining beliefs grounded in logic and common sense, I figured you would be more skeptical about a strong accusation with no proof beyond one anecdotal opinion feeding others with no proof or common sense to back it up.


It may be anecdotal, but it is an honest description of her experience. Why deny someone their experience? Why perceive her description as an accusation? Do you see the irony here? Your taking her observations as an accusation is... paranoid. See how right she really is?



posted on Apr, 23 2016 @ 07:54 PM
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originally posted by: DJW001

Correct. That is because they are both equally founded on credulity and lack of critical thinking.


Lizards ruling elite and aerosols for geo-engineering are on the same level for you? That says a lot


No, people knowledgeable about atmospheric physics, aviation, and geo-engineering will patiently try to explain to you that contrails form naturally, and that no large scale geo-engineering has ever been attempted because it is too expensive. Originally, chemtrails were supposed to be spraying toxic chemicals that caused Morgellons (a sort of psychosomatic skin condition). It has been claimed to be an attempt at population control, and now, geo-engineering. The only consistency in the "theory" is that contrails are somehow part of a sinister plot, rather than being what happens when the water in jet exhausts
condenses in the upper atmosphere.


I know what contrails are smart ass. Aerosols for geo-engineering is am actual hypothesis and whether or not the idea is actually a reality neither you or I could know.



CAMBRIDGE, MASS.— Close your eyes and imagine this: airplanes, equipped to disperse sulphuric acid, are flying in the lower stratosphere. When released, the sulphur combines with water vapour to form minute sulphate aerosols. Once spread across the globe, the aerosols will reflect roughly 1 per cent of the sunlight back into space, thus cooling the planet a smidge.

This isn’t science fiction; it’s David Keith’s plan.

Keithis a Canadian environmental scientist and one of the world’s leading figures in the field of solar geo-engineering. Since the 1990s, he has also been one of the very few to study how it could work. A professor at Harvard University, Keith, 51, divides his time between the school of engineering and the Kennedy School of Government.



Toronto Star

David Keith has been on TED talks and his ideas have been known for decades.

So if the world was in serious danger, and a plan like Davids was possible, how many decades worth of red tape and experimemts would need to be done to do this legally with the publics knowledge?

If it really was necessary then I would not blame anyone for trying cause there was no evidence to say it would be bad for us until someone did it.


it may be anecdotal, but it is an honest description of her experience. Why deny someone their experience? Why perceive her description as an accusation? Do you see the irony here? Your taking her observations as an accusation is... paranoid. See how right she really is?


How do you determain that an ancedotal story is honest? Cause it supports your biased ignorance? The OP was a story about HER group of theorists that have nothing to do with others theories and you both catagorize it all as the "conspiracy theory community"



posted on Apr, 23 2016 @ 09:17 PM
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now we know! there are no conspiracies.
MKultra was all made up.

Believe in your Government.
seems to me this is trying to hard.



posted on Apr, 24 2016 @ 05:43 AM
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a reply to: MALBOSIA


Lizards ruling elite and aerosols for geo-engineering are on the same level for you? That says a lot


No, believing that the fluffy white contrails that people have seen since the dawn of aviation with a sinister plot is on the same level as believing that alien lizards are ruling the world. Why? Chemtrails as geo-engineering is just the latest fad in chemtrail "theory." The "theory" starts with the assumption that contrails are unnatural, and therefore the result of intentional "spraying." Over the years, as I pointed out, it has been claimed that they are various poisons, micro-organisms, aerosols, or even just vapor designed to screen the view of the sky, alter the weather, cause diseases, enhance the magical powers of HAARP, etc, etc, etc. The only consistency is an unwillingness to accept that they are not created intentionally.


I know what contrails are smart ass. Aerosols for geo-engineering is am actual hypothesis and whether or not the idea is actually a reality neither you or I could know.


Geo-engineering is not an "hypothesis," it is a proposed action plan. We know that the commercial jets leaving white trails in the sky are not part of that proposed technology. Why? Read the article you yourself quote:


CAMBRIDGE, MASS.— Close your eyes and imagine this: airplanes, equipped to disperse sulphuric acid, are flying in the lower stratosphere. When released, the sulphur combines with water vapour to form minute sulphate aerosols. Once spread across the globe, the aerosols will reflect roughly 1 per cent of the sunlight back into space, thus cooling the planet a smidge.

This isn’t science fiction; it’s David Keith’s plan.

Keithis a Canadian environmental scientist and one of the world’s leading figures in the field of solar geo-engineering. Since the 1990s, he has also been one of the very few to study how it could work. A professor at Harvard University, Keith, 51, divides his time between the school of engineering and the Kennedy School of Government.



Toronto Star


Are passenger jets filled with tanks of sulphuric acid instead of passengers? Do they leave tell-tale yellow streaks in their wake? Is their passage followed by acid rain? Who would pay for this fleet of specially modified planes? How would they produce and handle all of the acid necessary?


David Keith has been on TED talks and his ideas have been known for decades.


Known, and disparaged. His proposals are impractical. Some people don't even believe that climate change is happening.


So if the world was in serious danger, and a plan like Davids was possible, how many decades worth of red tape and experimemts would need to be done to do this legally with the publics knowledge?


The question is whether this could possibly be done without the public's knowledge.


If it really was necessary then I would not blame anyone for trying cause there was no evidence to say it would be bad for us until someone did it.


It would not be someone's decision. The resources necessary would be vast and expensive; it would involve a bureaucratic juggernaut that could not keep its function secret.


How do you determain that an ancedotal story is honest? Cause it supports your biased ignorance? The OP was a story about HER group of theorists that have nothing to do with others theories and you both catagorize it all as the "conspiracy theory community"


Did you even bother to read what I posted? There are actual conspiracies and there is delusional thinking. Some investigators do uncover real conspiracies, others create delusional fantasies. Critical thinking is necessary to determine which is which. If you read the replies in this thread, you will see that many members feel threatened by the OP's assertion. This suggests that, at some level, they fear that their beliefs are unfounded. Their defensive attitude, and willingness to "circle the wagons" against an observation they perceive as an attack, is precisely the cult-like behavior she describes.



posted on Apr, 24 2016 @ 09:58 AM
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I find most popular conspiracies centure around items byond a person's control. Space aliens visit earth. Bigfoot is multi dimensional creature. The Illuminati control everything. It seems to be a form of fantasy and placing blame on others at the same time? I find it strange people pursue conspiracies of space alien abductions rather than if our legal system is controlled by drug money?



posted on Apr, 24 2016 @ 10:09 AM
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originally posted by: neutronflux
I find most popular conspiracies centure around items byond a person's control. Space aliens visit earth. Bigfoot is multi dimensional creature. The Illuminati control everything. It seems to be a form of fantasy and placing blame on others at the same time? I find it strange people pursue conspiracies of space alien abductions rather than if our legal system is controlled by drug money?


Perhaps the real conspiracy is that bizarre Conspiracy Theories are used to distract the public from the real issues. Big Pharma would rather defend itself over vaccinations-- which are a good thing-- than have people looking in to the way they target physicians to prescribe drugs when they are not needed. Monsanto wants to keep scientists busy explaining that GMOs are no different than any other organism as far as the human digestive system is concerned so that the environmental impact of of large scale monoculture farming gets overlooked. The personal arms industry always gets a boost in sales when they point to a mass shooting incident and shout that it will be used as a pretext to take your guns away. Conspiracy Theorists can always be counted on to fall in for "reverse psychology." If an authority on a subject says something is true, then it must be a lie and something else (anything else!) must be the Truth.



posted on Apr, 24 2016 @ 10:16 AM
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a reply to: DAVID64

For the most part 'conspiracy theorists' are people who like to read interesting, different, controversial ideas and reflect on them. Some like to carry out research in their free time and be analytical and critical.
Conspiracy theories are simply theories, in a lot of cases lacking key evidence - much similar to theoretical physics. We know something happens, we can't exactly put our finger on it, but we can have a bloody good guess.

UFO enthusiasts and paranormal investigators I personally would say come the closest to conspiracy theories as a science, but at this level I wouldn't go as far to call them a conspiracy. Conspiracy is having someone conspire against you, i.e. the government or higher organisations lying to the lay people. Now I can appreciate that these people cannot tell us their deepest military secrets because that is just how the world works.

Secondly comes actual conspiracy. Lying to the masses, manipulation by the media, etc. A lot of people who can think for themselves understand this and what is portrayed in advertising. It doesn't mean you have to mistrust what the local or national news says. It means you can take it with a pinch of salt, decide if you think there is enough evidence being given and then draw your own conclusions.

What people need to be careful of is falling into the trap of paranoia. Not educating yourself about your topical interest. Reading others posts as difinitive content and absolute authority on the topic. They could be wrong, they could be guessing, even they could have an agenda to push their own research goals.

Being mindful and considerate is what makes a good researcher, but not all controversial research is conspiracy


If you are interested in chemtrails, vaccinations or doomsday prepping then this is fine. Everyone is allowed a hobby for various reasons, like watching the sky at night or being involved in the scouts. What people shouldn't do is force their views on other people or become obsessive and compulsive about their beliefs. Be open to suggestion and not overly defensive. Someone from outside your circle may observe something you have overlooked.

Obsession can lead to paranoia. It is unhealthy. At this stage what you class as 'conspiracy' becomes a cult religion.

Food for thought


Edit: The "I saw Jabba The Hutt in the smoke of 911" sounds like an interesting cult religion if you ask me

edit on 24/4/2016 by L.A.B because: Edit eason



posted on Apr, 24 2016 @ 11:51 AM
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Yep. You see it here at any given moment.



posted on Apr, 24 2016 @ 12:05 PM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

Very well said!



posted on Apr, 24 2016 @ 12:54 PM
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originally posted by: Misterlondon
I'm sure you could build quite a good profile on someone, if you were to go through their posting history..


Well, good luck figuring ME out based on what I have written here over the years. Some people will tell you that they were words typed out simply to keep my creative juices flowing to keep my technical writing kills sharp. I am a writer you know and I take seriously that which i get paid for. Simon is too cheap to pay me sh....

Others will tell you otherwise. That I'm so full of it my eyes are brown.

I'm not here to delve into conspiracies because after all the years I have been here and elsewhere, I have come to the conclusion, after reading and participating, that 98% of people have it wrong. They point their fingers to someone or something else to put the blame on for what's going wrong in their lives..........IT'S A CONSPIRACY!!.....when most of the time they should be looking in the mirror. They blame the govt. for their woes while going to the post office to pick up their unemployment checks. They should be educating themselves as to how whatever system in question was built, how it used to work and what it has devolved into now. Instead, they get fat, dumb and lazy by their own hand and look to others to effectively live their lives for them. A lot of those people are right here on ATS and to be perfectly frank, I don't belong here because of that.

It's gotten to where this all reminds me of an AA meeting I attended over 20 years ago. (Don't worry.....15 years sober. Don't blame the alcohol) It was a particular meeting I went to once three times a week in a particular location. You had your in town regulars and your out of state kids shipped out here by their rich east cost parents. Everyone spent most of evenings regurgitating what the key speaker or the "maestro" of the meeting talked about. Agreeing with each other on the positive points while patting the backs of the sob stories. Afterwards, they mulled outside wondering where all the sexaholics anonymous chicks were. Who wants to relapse?

One night though, there were 3 guys sitting in the back I'd never seen before. When the meeting was almost over, one of them took his turn to speak. He said the best thing he ever did was take the steps outside of the meeting halls. There are no rules stating that you have to practice the 12 steps in a meeting with other people. Doing it that way, outside, will all but guarantee success in sobriety because you're not wasting your time talking about sobriety with other drunks swapping war stories. How backwards is that? You're spending all of your time in the real world with people who don't know and probably wouldn't care anyway, that you have an issue with alcohol.

In other words, he was saying, just shut up and do it.

You want to solve your conspiracies? Leave. You won't find the answers here. You want to have good, humorous and sometimes uplifting conversations? Stick around, this is the place. It's a good social network. But for all of you with your figurative tinfoil hats on......for all of you wanting mental clarity away from the booze.......stop hanging around so many like minded people and start associating with people who learn and grow the normal way...........by LIVING.

Love you, kids.........behave.



posted on Apr, 24 2016 @ 12:59 PM
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who ever wrote the original article about conspiracy theorists being lost and broken people are probably funded by the very same people that we are trying to fight, government paid people.




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