How to Stop the Spread of Fake News After National Tragedies

Sandy Hook HONR Network

After losing his son in the Sandy Hook shooting, Leonard Pozner has become a prominent activist in stopping the spread of disinformation and conspiracies online.

Five years ago, Leonard Pozner lost his son Noah in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Within days, conspiracy theorists—including a Florida Atlantic University professor—were questioning whether the massacre even happened.

As detailed by New York Magazine and other media outlets, these self-styled “truthers” (though a better term is probably “hoaxers”) hold that some powerful force—the Illuminati, globalists, the New World Order, even the Obamas—staged the shooting with the cooperation of media, government and city residents in order to take away guns and liberty. The slain children were either put into witness protection or never existed, according to their claims. This left Pozner and his fellow Newtown parents and city officials fielding inquiries about whether their kids ever lived at all.

Since then, Pozner has founded the HONR Network, a nonprofit dedicated to stopping hoaxers’ attempts to spread disinformation online after tragedies, like what happened immediately after this week’s Las Vegas shooting on both YouTube and Twitter. Thrive Global contacted Pozner over email to learn more about how Honr does what it does, whether online hoaxing is picking up or slowing down and what it would take to stamp out this particularly disdainful corner of Internet culture for good.

HONR Network Sandy Hook Hoax

Help report these Twitter troll accounts as spam and targeted harassment to incite hate

[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″ admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” background_size=”initial”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Intro” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” background_size=”initial”]

HONR Network twitter

Twitter is suffering from a systemic harassment problem.

 

 

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text background_layout=”light” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” background_size=”initial” _builder_version=”3.0.106″]

These accounts participate in harassment and Hoaxer Spam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

HONR Network Status Update

HONR Network is committed to standing up in defense of victims and their families affected by incidences of mass violence.  With every tragic new incident, conspiracy theorists are renewed in their zeal to unleash torrents of abuse, harassment, defamation  and hate towards survivors and their families.  Some are driven by pure delusion that such incidences are staged hoaxes, while others simply for profit.  Whatever the reason, HONR Network is dedicated to taking necessary action, within legal parameters, to bring accountability to Abusive Hoaxers; whether social or legal.  The viciousness and cruelty visited upon those in trauma, pain, and grief by callous sociopaths cannot go unchallenged.  The legions of additional followers the slanderous rhetoric attracts to churn out even more recruits to the mass delusion, and subsequent harassment of innocents, must be abated.

HONR Network is currently undertaking the task of financially assisting Sandy Hook parent Leonard Pozner, who’s 6 year old son Noah was killed in his elementary school along with 19 of his classmates and 6 female educators, to civilly prosecute Wolfgang Halbig.

Lake County Clerk

REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION

As Mr. Pozner and his family grapple to deal with grief and moving on with life without Noah, Wolfgang Halbig spreads slanderous and defamatory propaganda against Mr. Pozner and his family, as well as that of the other Sandy Hook victims.  Mr. Halbig’s campaign of disinformation and hate speech has resulted in the escalation of harassment and death threats toward Mr. Pozner, and continues to recruit new foot soldiers to the Sandy Hook truth movement every day.  Recent history has demonstrated that some of these “truther” types are dangerous to society, and have committed a slough of crimes as a result of their mindset.

Moving into the near future, HONR Network hopes to assist in the civil prosecution of other Gun Truther and Hoaxer leaders who spread “hoaxer” propaganda, which convinces legions of weak minded conspiracy theorists that the Sandy Hook massacre was a government perpetrated hoax for the institution of gun control, and the victims and families of the Sandy Hook shooting are “crisis actors”.  American “free speech” laws impede the authorities from prosecuting the abusers, but “free speech” laws do not exempt such abusers from civil prosecution.

Civil litigation is a very costly endeavor, and requires ongoing infusions of funds to carry through to completion.  HONR Network needs the support of concerned, empathetic citizens who want to see such abusers punished for their actions.  Please consider donating to our cause, so we can be effective in our quest to combat the cruelty perpetrated against those who have lost loved ones to unspeakable tragedy.

 

Hoaxing the First Amendment

In the aftermath of the recent horrible shooting in Orlando, the familiar story beats are beginning to dot our national media landscape. Politicians of all ideological bents are using the deaths of those who didn’t make it out of Pulse alive to support their agendas, talking heads on the cable news networks (Which are the broadcast equivalent of putting on a scary mask and going “A Booga Booga Booga” at a toddler.) are arguing to not constructive end and, perhaps most unfortunately, crazy people from all over are drumming up non-existent conspiracy theories.
Sadly, this has become all too common in the modern age.

Though the families who lived through Columbine have managed to largely avoid the sick phenomenon, parents in Newtown and all across the U.S.A. have endured petty harassment from those operating under the supposed guise of free speech and the constitutional protections they claim to be given from law.

From University Professor’s to has-been action movie stars, people from all walks of life seem to subscribe to this absurdity and are content to live in ignorance of the realities that exist today.

For starters, the constitution isn’t the be all and end all of law in this country, just as the courts have ruled that you have a right to bear some arms but not all and that you have the right to practice your faith but can’t use it to discriminate against those of a different race, so too have they handed judgements that put limits on the first amendment and usage in this country.

In the 2003 case of Virginia v. Black that dealt with cross burning in the Commonwealth, the SCOTUS ruled that whilst cross burning was protected within the realm of Klan ideology, burning a cross with the intent to intimidate someone could be prosecuted under the law, thus imposing a limit of the extent that a group could use the action as a form of speech in America.

In the 1951 case of Feiner v. New York, the Justices handed down a verdict that allowed police to arrest someone provided the content of their speech caused a crowd listening to pose an imminent threat to those around them. Again, they issued some limits on the first amendment.

And finally, in the 1989 case of Florida Star v. B.J.F., the SCOTUS declared that though a newspaper could not be punished for releasing information that was available somewhere publicly, they could be sanctioned for releasing information that was privately held, such as troop movements during a time of war. A skilled lawyer could argue that same protection applies to unreleased photographs of an individual or unlisted contact information, but that hasn’t been done as far as I know, though perhaps it should be used in proceedings against crazy hoaxers.

Bottom line is this, yes, people have a right to say and do as they please in America, but there are reasonable limits on it like anything else. You can’t inflict harm on aggrieved parties with your speech and you can’t rile up crowds with hurtful rhetoric. The sooner people get this the better. Whether they are a rotten orange seeking the Presidency or a loser tweeting hoaxes online.

Evan Pretzer   –   HONR Network

Taking action against Predator Trolls and Sandy Hook Hoaxers.

Over the past several months, Hoaxers have been up in arms over a tireless effort to wipe their offensive, slanderous and grossly inaccurate content off the face of the worldwide web.

What’s a Hoaxer, you ask?

That’s a word assigned to those who believe that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School (SHES) massacre was actually a staged U.S. government plot designed to facilitate a strict gun control agenda. Although they prefer to be called “Truthers,” this lunatic fringe of conspiracy theorists has shown no interest in seeking the truth. Theirs is a faith-based cult. They believe in the “hoax” and any evidence that suggests otherwise is regarded as blasphemy.

Ever since news of the killings first broke, Hoaxers have primarily used video hosting venues like YouTube and Vimeo to postulate their absurd conspiracy theories and spew slanderous accusations at those whom they accuse of playing roles in an “elaborate hoax.” As a medium, videos are preferred by Hoaxers for their ability to reach that large TV-watching/movie-obsessed segment of society that’s easily seduced by clever editing and dramatic music and less inclined to verify if the information they’re passively downloading into their brains is rooted in fact.

Although the Internet has been saturated with this nonsense for almost three years, it’s been largely ignored by most clear thinking Americans. That all changed earlier this year when Hoaxers were found among those complicit in a host of illegal and inappropriate activities, including stalking and harassment of victim’s family members and witnesses; bomb threats to schools; thefts of property from victim’s memorial sites; even the murder of law enforcement officers. As a result, these inflammatory works of fiction-proffered-as-fact have come under increased scrutiny and widely viewed as a primary source of inspiration for many of these egregious acts.

Now, those videos are starting to disappear from the Internet. Ask most Hoaxers who’s responsible and they’ll point a collective finger in the direction of one humble entity: the Honr Network.  It’s not hard to see how they came to that conclusion.  Simply click the link to one of dozens of previously working Hoaxer videos on YouTube or Vimeo and you may stumble across this notice:

“This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by HONR Network.”

Who’s the Honr Network, you ask?

Take a look at their website, Honr.com, and you’ll find out.

Conspiracy Theory and Gun Control

“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”  —  Soren Kirkegaard

When you disseminate most of the recent conspiracy theories surrounding large scale events in the USA, the apparent motive for the government staging these elaborate mass shooting “hoaxes” will invariably come down to a single issue in the mind of those who promote and propagate these theories: gun control.

Evidently, in order for the “hoax” narrative to make any kind of coherent sense, there has to be an ultimate agenda at play, and the immortal line “they’re coming to take your guns” is oft-seen trotted out in the aftermath of these events by paranoid truthers who live in perpetual fear of seeing their second amendment rights compromised and safeguards applied to the ownership of firearms.

First among the myriad of issues to address with this rather infantile notion is that nobody is “coming to take your guns.” Advocates of more stringent gun control legislation rarely call for a complete blanket ban on ownership- most Americans recognize the gravitas of the constitutional right to bear arms and the gargantuan clout of the NRA and pro-gun lobbyists, and therefore accept the futility of criminalising ownership across the board. The plea is usually merely for more sensible safeguards to ensure that lethal weaponry does not easily fall into the hands of those who might be inclined to go and kill people with it.

But to the mind of a conspiracy theorist, this matters not. The counter will always be that these measures are merely a means to an end as part of an eventual plan to disarm the entire nation and enact some manner of military control over an unsuspecting populace. Orwellian nightmares loom large in the conscious mind of the truther; insistent always that we are on the brink of a totalitarian crisis. For them, the precious issue of gun ownership has become synonymous with the very fundamental concept of freedom, and any perceived attempt to infringe upon this right is therefore indicative of a deprivation of their basic liberty.

And so the “truth movement”, the term which loosely describes a small collective of Yotubers and social media posters, has become primarily concerned NOT with “truth seeking” or presenting socio-political issues, or even cogent research- in many ways it has become largely a front for the protection of the Second Amendment. The vehemence people feel on the topic and the natural associations that Americans attach to the issue have become the chief means by which they drum up support from those who have lost themselves in a tidal wave of fear porn. Because to a “truther”, nothing is real. Everything is designed to systematically strip you of your rights and subjugate you further. No victim is sacred, no perpetrator is guilty, the families and friends of those affected are perpetually accused of being fakes and crisis actors and people who are somehow complicit in these impossibly convoluted government plots.

And to anybody who has studied this in depth with their objectivity intact can see in the inherent fallacy in this. There is a “gun crisis” in the US, and people are dying at the hands of dangerous individuals who are armed with lethal weaponry. The NRA’s position that “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” is becoming obsolete and seems petulant at a time when innocent people are being indiscriminately massacred in their schools, homes and churches. The debate needs to take place in earnest without lies and distortion being put out to an increasingly disillusioned and bewildered population. Belief in conspiracy theories is becoming more and more common with the advert of the Internet and the ease of communication; and while there are undoubtedly real conspiracies and real

research is often done to uncover corruption and fraud online; these are not the cartoonish, illogical and downright misleading click-bait that appears following these tragedies, which demonize those affected and seek to absolve the shooter of responsibility.

The aftermath of any mass shooting is now invariably followed by a cascade of videos and articles which are quick to point holes in the “official story” by using video/picture artifacts, inconsistencies in reporting or the perceived behavior of those associated as “proof” that the event was a false flag. When family members open the dialogue on the topic of gun control, this is greeted with a resounding chorus of jeers and boos from the braying mass, who can then begin to take extraordinary measures to seek out personal details for that person in order to explain them away as a “crisis actor”. The rather more mundane truth that people who have just lost a loved one to a gun-wielding maniac are wont to lament the availability of such weaponry, rather seems to be lost on those who seek to make an example of out of those who are suffering the most.

This backward thinking is counter-productive at best and dangerous at worst. Slowly, the realization that tighter gun control legislation will have to be passed is dawning.

The resistance from those who cannot accept this inevitability is strangely akin to watching a child throw a tantrum when a toy has to be forcibly removed from his quivering hands. It’s little surprise that some of these shooters turn out to be conspiracy theorists themselves, as in the case of the Oregon massacre recently. Incidentally the shooter was taught to “love guns” by his mother. Interestingly, the sheriff assigned to the case is a fierce opponent of gun control himself, who entertained and shared Sandy Hook conspiracy theories on social media, and is now rightly facing calls to resign.

It’s a thorny issue, and a debate which will continue to rage on the basis of the importance of the constitution versus the ever evolving technological and social challenges this brings. There is an important counterpoint with regard to the increased criminalisation of gun ownership when we consider the possibility of renegade black markets being cultivated in the wake of such measures.

But this debate needs to happen within a culture of honesty and sensibility. These reckless, baseless claims about mass shootings being “psyops” or other such nonsense are muddying the issue and ultimately dragging unnecessary questions of first amendment rights into the melting pot as well. It’s healthy to question corporate media and consider alternative perspectives on current events. It’s healthy to debate important social issues between ourselves. But this does not, and should not, include the systematic targeting of innocent families, children and officials under the ludicrous assertion that they are complicit in some manner of staged hoax. These claims seldom stand up to scrutiny, and they are too often now resulting in the disenfranchised minority lashing out at entirely the wrong people. There is always a need to first examine oneself before externalizing these frustrations, and when the people who propagate these theories examine closely who is really to blame, they might find the answer lies closer to home. Anti-establishment, anti-authority, fear-mongering propaganda is part of the cause, not the solution.

If your guns are ever truly taken away, it won’t be because the government paid off a whole town of crisis actors, or because they want to bring about some fantastical fairy-tale of martial law and totalitarian control, it’ll be because somebody just like you got so angry about the prospect of having their gun removed that they decided to go postal with it instead. And the more you absolve and martyr them, the more tempting it looks to others.

If we allow fabrication and distortion to interrupt the important debate that needs to be had on this topic, then we will never reach a satisfactory outcome one way or the other. There are plenty of conspiracies for such-minded folk to invest their time in without resorting to these distasteful sideshows. I stand with those who bring awareness to this issue, and I stand with those who encourage debate without distortion and dialogue without deception.

HONR Network

A Merry-go-Round of Grief

“They are committing the greatest indignity human beings can inflict on one another: telling people who have suffered excruciating pain and loss that their pain and loss were illusions. (v)”

Elie Wiesel, Night

Spring is the season of pictures and celebrations, the time when, as parents, we are helping our children get ready for summer camp or hiding tears of joy in preparation for high school or college graduation. We’re releasing them into the next exciting and hopeful phase of their lives. The air is abuzz with the sense of tomorrow, with the belief that now is forever.  

But with all the pain and trials that come with parenthood,  there is also profound joy.  It’s the same joy we all knew the moment we first held our children as infants.  It’s the same piercing love that keeps our hearts ever-anxious for their well being.  Life is the gift we have given to our children,  and it is the gift they have given back to us. We’ve brought them into the world, witnessed their first breaths. We never expect the living to part from us. But that is the true horror of a tragedy – that it snuffs out life in its prime.

For the parents whose children were murdered at Sandy Hook, Columbine, Aurora,  Virginia Tech,  or even two decades ago in the Oklahoma City bombing, spring in America looks starkly different.  It’s a reminder of loss, a collection of memories mixed with moments that will never be experienced.  It’s a time to hunker down while others publicly rejoice.  And while this is difficult enough,  there are those who actually aim to pour fresh salt into the wounds that never fully heal.

Like Holocaust naysayers,  Truthers and Hoaxers, latch onto the victims of high profile tragedies, and their family members, and through the vast power of the internet, accuse parents of being liars, fakes, actors. They attack living victims and call them “government conspirators.” They insist that children were never murdered at an elementary school in a sleepy town in southern Connecticut, that it was all an elaborate hoax to divert American eyes away from the “real tragedy” – gun control and the loss of civil liberties.  For them, the sadness is never that a father has lost a son, or that a mother will never hold her daughter’s hand to calm her wedding day nerves.  Their thought process is skewed, like the slanted vision of those who insist that the Nazis may have had work camps, but death camps never existed. And they harass the victims through emails, threatening phone calls, elaborately abusive websites.  Their cruelty and inhumanity have no bounds.

Hoaxers blame their own misfortune on those they’ve never met.  They’ve never learned to channel their own grief into something constructive.  They don’t rebuild or renew.  They tear down and destroy.

Ironically, a Hoaxer thinks life is unfair and there’s no one who can be trusted, but it’s the victims – who have truly experienced the most horrendous and greatest of losses. These are the ones that Hoaxers harass, uploading their images on the internet, insisting that some of them never even existed in the first place, and that their loss and emotional torment is a fiction.

The twisted lies of the Gun Truther create a merry-go-round of grief for family members who already have a lifetime of loss to revisit each spring, and this must be stopped.  This is why the Honr Network exists, to shut this evil activity down.  You can help us do just that. You can help the victims get off the never ending fight to heal from their grief by donating your own expertise and time, and standing with the  victims by Standing with HONR.

HONR Network