Conspiracy theories flourish in times of confusion and uncertainty. Claims that the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings were part of some sort of US government-led false flag operation were circulating on the English-speaking internet before the dust had literally settled, particularly on conspiracy forums and social media groups like the Citizens Action Network.
The news that the two bombing suspects were ethnic Chechens turned what had been a passing interest for the RuNet into the number one topic of conversation [GV]. Because the RuNet, just like the Internet at large, has always had a penchant for conspiracy theories, the events in Boston provided ample fodder for some its more paranoid denizens. For example, the pro-regime nationalist LiveJournal community vvv-ig [ru] was quick to place the blame on the American intelligence services, running an extremely graphic post [ru] from the blogger frallik [ru], outlining how the bombings had in fact been faked using actors. The post, mainly using materials and memes sourced from western sites, alleged, among other things, that a man who was in the epicenter of the explosion and lost both of his legs was in fact an Iraq war veteran and previous amputee named Nick Vogt.
Despite the fact that the vvv-ig commonly deals in anti-American conspiracies, the allegation that the bombings had been faked proved too bizarre for some contributors. Blogger proobman [ru] published a rebuttal [ru] in the same community, pointing out that the man who lost his legs was in fact named Jeff Bauman, who has a Facebook page and a fund set up to aid his recovery. Interestingly, proobman's issues with accusations of “staging” appears partially due their similarity to ones leveled at the Russian security services: that they were behind the bombings of several apartment buildings in 1999 [en] as a pretext for the Second Chechen War. proobman quipped:
Башни-близнецы взорвал Буш, Буйнакск и Волгодонск – Путин. Обама взорвал марафон....
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