I first encountered Michael Rivero in the late ‘90s when he was a common nuisance at FreeRepublic.com, which at that time was the locus of anti-Clinton activity on the web. Rivero seemed a little brighter than your average wingnut, and I always suspected that he was more a con artist than a true believer. Rivero ran a website named Rancho Runamukka to promote his conspiracy theories. He would see a U.S. government plot behind every tree, but didn't seem to share the anti-Semitism of much of the conspiracy crowd.
Rivero has since abandoned Rancho and has another website, whatreallyhappened.com. Whatreallyhappened is a sort of clearinghouse for the conspiracy crowd, and following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 he began promoting increasingly anti-Semitic material. The material is similar to much of the material currently popular with elements of the anti-American Left, and may in fact be a source for them. It has also grown more sophisticated, such that someone inclined to believe the worst about the U.S., and not familiar with Rivero’s reputation, might easily be sucked into treating it as a credible source – at least at first.
Rivero recently hit the jackpot when media columnist Antonia Zerbisias endorsed his website as “carefully considered, well crafted and very compelling” in her column for the Toronto Star, causing something of a stir. Canadian blogger Damian Penny keeps track of Rivero and has the details on his website, but suffice it to say that Zerbisias was alerted to the anti-Semitic nature of Rivero’s site and issued a sort-of apology.
Zerbisias also denounced Bnai Brith for not contacting her before issuing a press release that said, in part:
According to sites recommended by the Toronto Star’s media columnist, Antonia Zerbisias, F. D. Roosevelt orchestrated Pearl Harbour, George W. Bush was part of a Jewish conspiracy to destroy the World Trade Centre, and the Jews were behind a rash of anthrax letters.
Zerbisias reports that:
Today [Bnai Brith] applied direct pressure on me and The Star to retract my column, to criticize the anti-Israeli portions of the site, to take my column off our web site etc.
And The Star's ombudsman stands by this decision.
As far as I am concerned, this matter is now finished.
Note that my original column is still on The Star's web site.
The ombudsman is Don Sellar, and in his most recent column he admonished his newspaper not to use the word “crusade” because the “Canadian Islamic Congress and many Muslims” are offended.
Draw your own conclusion.
UPDATE: Check out Rivero's Letters section. His responses to his readers are a font size larger, and it's hard to tell who's nuttier. Sample:
EMAIL FROM A READER:
I just read a letter on your site, from one of your many readers concerning the non-existent Israeli casualties in the WTC buildings following the attack on 911. Like many, I also found this highly suspicious, so I checked web sites with the official casualty list. Sure enough, one Israeli and he was a passenger on one of the Aircraft.
I speak German quite well and had some Jewish friends as a schoolboy, so I am able to discern 'Jewish' names better than most. I took a long, hard look at the names of nearly 3000 persons listed as casualties in the actual buildings. In all there were 76 persons with 'Jewish' names like Birnbaum or Goldstein (actually, there were three persons killed named Goldstein who may have been related) while others had less obviously 'Jewish' names.
But I could come up with no more than 76. I would say those are 95% likely to be accurate. I am aware that some Jewish people, to avoid discrimination Anglicised their names generations ago so I will have missed a few, but not too many.
Equally, It is possible the ones I missed will be offset by those I mistakenly included. Names like Morris are not always Jewish but I included a man named Morris. 76 out of 3000? I'm not an actuary, but it seems to me that a 'random sample' of 3000 persons on a New York STREET one would find a greater percentage of Jews than just 76 in every 3000. That's about one in 40.
Taken on the percentage of New York's Jewish population, 1000 in every 3000 would seem more likely. But a 'random sample' of the percentage of Jews in buildings like the WTC is far more likely to to reflect Jewish domination of the Banking and Finance industries, so it is VERY ODD that the numbers should be so low.
To be frank, there is no doubt in my mind that someone knew something was afoot and they have done everything possible to draw a veil of deceit over the truth. 3000 people murdered in cold blood.
If I'm right, take a moment to think about it and what it means for the American people.
The initial claims made by Israel and Bush referred to "Israeli" victims, meaning citizens of Israel. Use of that term specifically excluded American citizens of Jewish ancestry, and it is important to remain consistant in studing the question why died in the World Trade Towers and who may have received an early warning.
The Odigo case proves beyond all dount that early warnings were sent to Israeli owned companies, and Zim Shipping, an Israeli shipping line that enjoys a close relationship with the Israeli government, broke its World Trade Towers lease, and incurred extra charges for a high-speed move out of the building just weeks before the attacks. Rudy Giuliani also moved his offices out of the World Trade Towers just weeks before the attacks.