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SKEPTOID BLOG:

Crisis Actor? What Crisis Actor?

by Mike Rothschild

May 13, 2013

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Donate Like "false flag", the term "crisis actor" has recently become a concept that conspiracy theorists love to throw around when trying to prove that some atrocity is actually a fake, planned by the government as an excuse to strip us of our rights.

I've already examined the difference between a real false flag and something that an Alex Jones acolyte decided "didn't make sense." But what about crisis actors? Who are they? What do they do? And are they really hired stooges, doled out by the government in order to lend veracity to their fake crimes by pretending to be victims?

At the risk of sending you off to the kitchen to make a tinfoil helmet, it's important to note that crisis actors are real. They've been used in disaster preparedness drills for years, simulating victims of incidents ranging from earthquakes to tornadoes. Some are on the payroll of various governments. There are even real companies that hire and train them.

One firm that's become particularly caught-up in the controversy is a Denver-based nonprofit called, unsurprisingly, Crisis Actors. They send out people who are just what the name says they are: actors who play the roles of victims and bystanders during traumatic events. But the difference between real crisis actors and the nonexistent ones on the payroll of Big False Flag is that while actors are real, the crisis isn't.

The Crisis Actors Facebook page describes their work like this:
We are specially trained actors helping first responders create realistic drills, full-scale exercises, high-fidelity simulations, and interactive 3D films.

[...]

The members of Crisis Actors are experienced, passionate actors committed to creating superior training events and programs for professional and non-traditional first responders. They deliver intense, realistic performances of people under stress - on location, in the studio, or in a 3D motion-capture lab - while response agencies work to improve their ability to manage life-threatening incidents large and small.

Our actors have tackled difficult topics on stage, such as domestic violence, community turmoil, and risk behaviors. [...]

After weeks of training with safety experts and first responders, the members of Crisis Actors can take on the role of frantic parents, nosey neighbors, aggressive reporters, injured victims, victims in shock, hecklers in the crowd, motorists blocking traffic, bystanders giving wrong information, victims suddenly fighting those saving them, online conspiracy-mongers, and more.
So how did the crisis actor phenomenon become the hot new thing in conspiracy theory circles?

Until the Sandy Hook shooting, the idea of actors playing pretend roles in real tragedies had been confined mostly to the fringes of the 9/11 "no plane" movement. Then came a December 24th blog post from Florida Atlantic University professor James Tracy, entitled "The Sandy Hook Massacre: Unanswered Questions and Missing Information." The long, highly speculative, rant-ish post alludes that the shooting may not have taken place, and instead was a drill that "went live." He then attempts to prove it through a plethora of circumstantial evidence, errors in early reporting, uneducated guesses and unsatisfactory "performances" by various officials when answering questions from reporters.

Tracy singles out an awkward interview by Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver as evidence that he's an imposter of the "real" Dr. Carver, sent to feed disinformation to reporters. While Tracy never uses the phrase "crisis actor" in his manifesto, his accusation is clear: Sandy Hook was staged, there never was a shooting and the people involved were actors playing parts.

The fact there was no evidence to support Tracy's theory didn't matter at all, and the crisis actor meme took hold. Soon there was a wave of blog posts and YouTube videos noting similarities in the way people involved in various tragedies looked (most of which were entirely superficial), pointing out "discrepancies" in the "official story" (most of which were based on already admitted errors in early reporting) and singling out parents whose reactions to the death of their children didn't seem quite tearful enough. The "actors" became targets of harassment, ridicule and even death threats.

When pictures and video of the Boston Marathon bombing made their way online, so too did the crisis actor accusations. And because there was far more visual evidence, including nauseating pictures of victims just moments after they'd had their limbs blown off, the cries of fakery were much louder. It takes both a special kind of paranoia and a complete lack of shame to call a bombing victim a paid government shill for somehow not looking enough like a bombing victim. But just hours after the bombing, the requisite message board posts, blog rants and YouTube videos appeared. Most are incoherent, full of ludicrous accusations and backed up by circles and lines drawn around seemingly random objects and people. The majority of it is either completely unprovable or just made up, and as such, isn't worth examining in detail. What would be the point?

Just like the sad story of Sandy Hook hero turned conspiracy theorist target Gene Rosen, one particular victim was singled out: Jeff Baumann, a runner who lost both of his legs in the bombing. The iconic picture of Baumann being carried to safety just after the blast became a key image in the days after the attack, but it was quickly by jumped on by crisis actor believers. They determined that Baumann was actually Nick Vogt, a US Army veteran and double-amputee who had the misfortune of losing both legs in Afghanistan. And why did they think these two people be the same people? Because there was no blood on Baumann, of course. His facial expressions and posture didn't "seem" like those of a bombing victim. And because Vogt and Baumann looked exactly alike.

Of course, there is absolutely no evidence that Baumann and Vogt are the same people, and a huge amount of evidence that they aren't. For one thing, they had different injuries, with Vogt losing his legs above the knee, and Baumann below the knee. Also, a cursory visual comparison of the two men confirms they look almost nothing like each other, other than both being Caucasian and dark-haired. But to crisis actor believers, those facts do nothing other than lend confirmation to the conspiracy. To them, Vogt was pretending to be Baumann, taking on a lead role in the government's latest false flag — a pernicious fake designed to take away our rights and heap the abuse of restrictive laws upon us.

The beauty of the crisis actor meme is that it can be used on anyone involved in any aspect of any tragedy. Conspiracy theorists love to point out things they just know are fake, and a crisis actor is the ultimate form of fakery. People grieving in a way you don't think they should be grieving? Crisis actor. Victim not displaying the appropriate level of trauma or injury? Crisis actor. Interviewed bystander not flailing about in panic and anguish? Crisis actor. Government official acting as a shill to advance the "official story?" Crisis actor.

Conspiracy theorists also love to accuse the "sheeple" of being gullible and trusting to the point of naiveté. But thinking that crisis actors were participating in faked bombings requires a level of blind belief far beyond trusting in any "official story."

It requires a buy-in on an operation so massive that it would involve hiring thousands of people, deploying all of them without a hitch and leaving no evidence of their fakery behind. And paradoxically, it demands the government be so evil it that it would plan a fake terrorist attack, but also so cheap and stupid that it would hire the same crisis actors used in previous faked terrorist attacks and plan an operation in such a slipshod manner that it can be uncovered by amateurs in a matter of hours.

So without solid, verifiable evidence otherwise, we can only reach one logical conclusion: crisis actors are real, and the incidents they perform in are not.

by Mike Rothschild

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