What in the world was that Navy Seals conspiracy that Trump retweeted?
President Trump has been known, over the years, to tweet some bizarre things. He’s also sent more than his fair share of curious retweets, often of the accounts of conspiracy theorists and those associated with QAnon and other outlandish conspiracy frameworks.
Still, the one the president retweeted earlier this week may have been the weirdest yet. As reported on by The Daily Beast, Trump retweeted a message posted by an account called “Oscar the Midnight Rider 1111,” which alleges that “Hiden Biden and Obama may have had Seal team 6 killed! EXPLOSIVE: CIA Whistleblower Exposes Biden’s Alleged Role With the Deaths of Seal Team- Claims to have Documented Proof. RETWEET!”
The president went on to follow that last command, although the “Oscar the Midnight Rider” account has since been suspended by Twitter. The subject of the tweet, per The Beast, is Alan Howell Parrot, a “falconer”-turned-“CIA whistleblower” who was once the star of a documentary called “Feathered Cocaine.”
The conspiracy has a number of moving parts, all of which have surfaced before, but none of which have any truth to them. It alleges that the 2011 raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, which took place when Biden was vice president, did not actually kill the al-Qaeda leader, but rather a body double, and that Iran had been part of the conspiracy as well.
The “had Seal team 6 killed” is a likely reference to what’s known as the “Extortion 17” incident, the August 2011 tragedy in which a Chinook military helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan, killing 38 people, 25 of them Navy Seals, in the deadliest day for the U.S. in the entire Afghanistan war. While some of those who lost their lives that day were members of Seal Team 6, it was not the same platoon that had carried out the Bin Laden raid, and none of those killed in the crash had been a part of that event.
Conspiracy theories over the years have alleged that President Barack Obama — and presumably then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and now Joe Biden — had somehow been responsible for the attack, supposedly in order to silence the Seals for something having to do with the Bin Laden raid three months earlier.
Furthermore, according to the lore, due to the alleged Iran angle, the Iran nuclear agreement in 2015 was in fact a payoff to Iran for whatever role they played in the earlier conspiracy. The Benghazi attack in 2012 plays a part in some other versions of the tale.
This is all, needless to say, completely unsubstantiated if not outright false. And it even led Robert O’Neill, the Trump-supporting Navy Seal who claims to have fired the shot that killed Bin Laden, to tweet that the conspiracy theories — both about the Bin Laden “double” and about the Seals from the raid having been killed — aren’t true.
President Trump has also claimed, including in the first presidential debate, that Biden opposed the raid that took out Bin Laden. Per factcheck.org, while Obama and his advisers were deliberating over which mission to authorize for attacking Bin Laden’s compound, Biden advised the president to “wait for further confirmation that bin Laden was actually in the compound in Pakistan before acting.” Biden was not, as implied, altogether opposed to killing Bin Laden.
Does Donald Trump believe that Joe Biden played a part in murdering those Navy Seals? He probably doesn’t. The more likely explanation seems to be that the president, like a lot of us, tweets without thinking, especially if the subject matter is something that praises him or denigrates his political opponents. It’s one reason Twitter has put in place safeguards encouraging users to read links before retweeting them.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.
Image: U.S. President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally at John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, U.S. October 13, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst.