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Pizzagate: pedophilia in high places?

Over the winter of 2016--2017 a spate of stories appeared in the mass media about a scandal called 'Pizzagate'. The authors of these stories warned that 'far-right crazies' were spreading 'fake news' or 'fake conspiracy theories' about sexual abuse of children by highly placed pedophiles -- in particular, by prominent figures in the Democratic Party establishment such as the Podesta brothers (John Podesta was chairman of Hilary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign; Tony is a highly influential lobbyist).

The term 'Pizzagate' requires explanation. What has pizza to do with alleged sexual abuse of children? Two things. First, James Alefantis, a big fundraiser for Obama and Clinton, is accused of running a pedophile ring from the basement of his Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant in Washington. Second, the word 'pizza' figures in the secret jargon used by pedophiles, for whom it means not only the popular dish but also a young girl.

Bullying the reader

Reviewing a dozen or so 'Pizzagate' stories culled from mainstream American and British media outlets, I was struck by the uniformity of their approach and by how remote they all are from fair or objective journalism. At the very outset of every single article the reader is bullied to accept as self-evident the view that allegations of pedophilia in high places must be utterly baseless. Such allegations are ridiculed as 'outlandish' (The Atlantic, 12/16), 'bizarre' (, 2/10/17), and 'incredibly stupid' (Salon, 12/10/16). This firmly switches the focus of attention from the possible sexual abuse of children to the contrived problem of 'fake news' -- i.e., the dissemination of scurrilous libels.

The uniformity of approach suggests that we are dealing not with the personal biases of individual journalists but with a coordinated editorial policy. This supposition is confirmed by the fate of television journalist Ben Swann, who speaking on Atlanta's Channel CBS 46 on January 17, 2017 argued that Pizzagate should be regarded not as 'fake news' but as a matter requiring fuller investigation. The segment in which he appeared was removed from the CBS 46 website; Swann was fired and called an imbecile and a Russian agent.

Right-wing crazies?

The attribution of the allegations to 'crazy right-wing conspiracy theorists' contains an element of truth but is misleading. It is true that 'right-wing crazies' like Alex Jones have exploited the allegations to bolster fantastic conspiracy theories and attack the Democratic Party. Perhaps for this reason most left-wing media have steered clear of the topic. However, some of the websites that take the allegations seriously do have a left-wing orientation -- for example, the Last American Vagabond,1 which features well researched exposes of corporations as well as both Democratic and Republican politicians. The material on other websites has no clear political orientation and appears to have been written by people who sincerely care about the suffering of children and are not in the least bit crazy.2

Above all, the emphasis on the use made of the allegations by right-wing conspiracy theorists serves to obscure the main source of information on which the allegations are based -- namely, the massive collections of e-mail messages released by Wiki-Leaks.3 Like the storm raised over the alleged involvement of Russia in leaking these e-mails (Russiagate), the exclusive focus on 'right-wing crazies' is intended to discourage any examination of the often extremely embarrassing content of the messages, the authenticity of which has never been denied.

Odd statements

The stories contain remarkably little information about the actual allegations. Undue emphasis is placed on certain allegations that are said to be inconsistent with demonstrable facts. For instance, James Alefantis could not have run a pedophile ring from the basement of his restaurant because -- according to Alefantis -- 'we don't even have a basement'.

The reader learns very little about the many odd statements in the leaked e-mails of Democratic Party bigshots that accusers interpret as veiled references to child sexual abuse. I have mentioned the hidden meaning of 'pizza'. Some stories respond to the issue of pedophile jargon by quoting messages in which 'pizza' really may mean the sort that you eat, ignoring the other messages where a literal reading makes no sense. For instance:

In one leaked e-mail Tony Podesta tell his brother that he 'would like to get a pizza for an hour' -- clearly he does not intend to eat it up.

In another e-mail an employee of the Stratfor think tank asks: 'Who all is in the Austin office today who is going to want pizza? We only have one slice and we need to know how thinly to slice it.' He can hardly be talking about pizza of the edible variety.

Other e-mails mention a private party at the Obama White House for which 'about $65,000 of the taxpayers' money' was spent 'flying in pizza and hot dogs from Chicago'. Why on earth would pizza and hot dogs need to be flown into Washington from Chicago? Besides, all food consumed in the White House is prepared on site. Clearly this does not refer to food. In pedophile jargon a 'hot dog' is a young boy.

A passing fear

Why did these Pizzagate stories start to appear in the mass media when they did? And why did the flow of stories suddenly dry up a few months later?

It seems that during this period the media bosses and those they were protecting were afraid that the Pizzagate scandal might 'break out into the open' -- for despite their enormous power and influence the system of information control is not watertight. Apparently they concluded that Pizzagate could no longer be completely ignored. They decided to initiate an exercise in 'damage limitation': their readers and viewers would be told a little about the scandal but in such a way as to induce them to disregard the allegations.

Two developments in late 2016 made them fear a possible breakout.

First, in mid-November Pizzagate became a topic of intense interest in the Turkish mass media. When child sexual abuse was exposed at a Turkish government-linked foundation, supporters of President Erdogan accused his opponents of hypocrisy, accusing them of making a big fuss about abuses in Turkey but not caring about similar abuses in the United States. In this way information about Pizzagate penetrated a country's mass media for the first time. There was a danger of the story being picked up by the mass media in other countries. It might become infeasible to prolong the coverup even in the United States.  

The other scary development was Donald Trump's unexpected elevation to the presidency. Trump was widely viewed as a 'loose cannon' lacking in loyalty to the political establishment and capable of doing just about anything. He might see some advantage in blowing the whistle on Pizzagate. True, in the process he would have to sacrifice some of his Republican colleagues, but evidently there was no love lost between him and them. 

By spring 2017 it was clear that there was not after all real cause for alarm: Turkish interest in Pizzagate had died down and Trump was not going to act. The exercise in damage limitation was accordingly halted.

Past cases

This is not the place to go into detail concerning who is alleged to have done what. Suffice it to say that the allegations implicate a large number of individuals, many of them prominent political figures, some Republicans though mostly Democrats. In ridiculing the allegations as self-evidently absurd, the media bosses rely on the assiduously inculcated images of 'important' people as admirable and respectable figures. They count on the conditioned reflex that rejects evidence so sharply at variance with these images. Surely the esteemed 'pillars of society' would not do such despicable things?

In fact, there is good reason to find it plausible (which is not the same as proven) that many of the rich and powerful should engage in child sexual abuse.

Above all, there is ample evidence of child sexual abuse by the rich and powerful in the past. Confining myself to the United States -- although the situation is not much different in many other countries -- let me mention: (1) the child sex ring under President Bush and (2) the more recent case of Jeffrey Epstein.

The child sex ring under President Bush

In spring 1994 Yorkshire Television sent a team of investigators to Nebraska. The result was a documentary entitled Conspiracy of Silence, which was scheduled to be shown on BBC and in the US on the Discovery Channel (it was announced in TV Guide Magazine). However, high-level pressure on the television producers culminated in 'unknown persons' purchasing all rights to the program and ordering all copies destroyed. Somehow one copy survived, and the documentary can be viewed on YouTube (

What were the revelations that the powers that be were so determined to suppress?

According to the documentary and other sources (such as John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-up, 2nd ed., AWT Inc., 2011), in the 1980s Lawrence King and other Republican Party officials had kidnapped teenage boys and girls, some aged 15 or younger, or else bought them from orphanages – in particular, from Boys Town, the brainchild of a Catholic priest. They were allegedly pressed into sexual service at private parties attended by prominent businessmen, government bureaucrats, senators, congressmen and even (some say) President George H.W. Bush himself.      

According to Conspiracy of Silence, when lawyers started collecting testimony from victims, they were persuaded to hand all their evidence over to the FBI. But the FBI did not pursue the case against the alleged perpetrators. Instead, they turned it into a case against the victims, who were browbeaten into withdrawing their accusations and remaining silent. Otherwise they would be charged with perjury and end up in jail themselves.

Some victims stuck to their stories and were indeed jailed for doing so. According to the site (since expired), in 1991 Alisha Owen, then 21, was convicted of perjury and sentenced to a prison term of 9—15 years after describing past abuse at the hands of prominent local figures (including a District Court judge) as well as her experience as a drug courier for local businessmen. She spent two years in solitary confinement.4

The Jeffrey Epstein case

The billionaire Jeffrey Epstein lured dozens of underage girls to his estate in Palm Beach, Florida for sex with himself and his guests, who included Prince Andrew, former president Bill Clinton, and current president Donald Trump. Sex with young girls also took place in his private jet, nicknamed the Lolita Express.Epstein was brought to trial but offered a deal that let him off with a token prison sentence.5 

Trump has been charged with raping a 13-year-old girl at Epstein's residence. This may explain why he has not tried to use Pizzagate to his advantage: people who live in glass houses do not throw stones.  

Accustomed to using ordinary people

Consider the relationship that the rich and powerful have with ordinary people. Rarely if ever do they meet ordinary people socially, on a basis of approximate equality. The ordinary people with whom they do interact -- their physicians, lawyers, and accountants, their secretaries, assistants, and other employees, their gardeners, cooks, chauffeurs, security men, 'mistresses' and so on -- are there for the sole purpose of serving them and strive to flatter and please them. They hardly ever encounter ordinary people who challenge, defy, or criticize them. And this goes on year after year, in many instances from birth to death.

Is it not then natural that the rich and powerful should feel that ordinary people exist as objects for them to use? Are they likely even to sense any limits to the uses to which ordinary people may be put? And if many of them use their power and money to cull defenseless children from the subject population for their sexual use, is this an anomaly? Or just one expression of the essential nature of the class society in which we live?  



 1. ophilia-allegations/

 2. See, for instance:;

 3. An important source of Pizzagate analysis is the Wiki-Leaks Research Community (see:

 4. For more information and documentation on this affair see:

 5. For a full account of the Epstein case see: James Patterson, Filthy Rich (Hachette Book Group, 2016).  


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