Are ‘BLM Convoys’ Threatening to ‘Occupy Atlanta’?

Conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi reached out for attention from United States President Donald Trump on July 7 2020, all the while regurgitating a long-debunked right-wing internet boogeyman to smear the Black Lives Matter movement.

Corsi took to his social media channels to write:

BLM convoys moving on INTERSTATE HWYS – be on lookout for VANS/SUVs w Dealer Paper Plates and/or rentals devying State Police BOLO ID searches. TRUCKERS & citizens MUST PHOTO w cellphones ID – Interstate Insurrection to OCCUPY ATLANTA underway

The post is another instance of content “warning” users about an incoming threat without citation or proof that any such threat exists; there is a car caravan protest scheduled in the city that same day, but no evidence that it is relying on “paper plates” or any other means of duping authorities.

The fearmongering language Corsi used in his post has also been employed by other users to claim that members of “antifa” (a term that simply means anyone who considers themselves anti-fascist, but which has been turned into an entity of its own by disinformation purveyors with axes to grind) was on the verge of overrunning their communities with buses full of operatives. Just days before Corsi’s post, in fact, a separate iteration pushed the claim that “antifa” was renting U-Haul moving vehicles for the same purpose.

In both posts, Corsi highlighted Trump’s Twitter account. But — as is his wont — he did not actually provide any evidence for the claim. As the Washington Post recounted in November 2018, Corsi’s career is marked by both disinformation and links to Trump allies:

On his YouTube channel and in appearances on Fox, he is ungoverned by principles of fact and accuracy. He is a 9/11 truther and an early critic of George Soros, the Holocaust survivor and liberal philanthropist whose name has become a catchword for far-right innuendo about Jews, immigration and national security. He has professed his belief in the QAnon conspiracy theory, citing posts on feverish online message boards as he quests to decipher the coded meaning of a pen on Trump’s desk.

In wide-ranging written work, he has not been hemmed in by conventional publishing standards. His most recent account, “Killing the Deep State: The Fight to Save President Trump,” was published by Humanix Books, which is owned by conservative Newsmax Media, whose founder, Christopher Ruddy, is a Trump surrogate.

In March 2019, Corsi issued a public apology and retraction for a post published by the right-wing blog Infowars promoting another debunked conspiracy theory involving the killing of Democratic National Committee member Seth Rich.

That November, a federal judge dismissed Corsi’s lawsuit against former special counsel Robert Mueller. Corsi had claimed that Mueller pushed him to commit purjury while investigating Russian interference in the 2016 US elections. Corsi was represented by another longtime conspiracy theorist, Larry Klayman.

Corsi also pushed the “birther” smear against former U.S. President Barack Obama, alleging that Obama had been born in Kenya and therefore was not eligible for the office; Corsi went so far as to write a book pushing the conspiracy theory in 2011. Two years later, however, another judge dismissed his attempt to sue Esquire magazine for a satirical post saying that the book was being pulled from stores.

Before his “convoy” post, Corsi attempted to latch on to another recurring conspiracy theory when he pushed the claim that COVID-19 was “laboratory-created, possibly as a bioweapon,” and citing the fact that Dr. Anthony Fauci was identified on four patents owned by the Department of Health and Human Services for a drug that could potentially be used to provide treatment for another health condition, HIV, as “proof.” That post has been both debunked and removed from Facebook as part of its anti-disinformation policies.