The morning after an explosive device injured 29 people in Chelsea, one of Manhattan’s most LGBT-friendly neighborhoods, prominent members of the alt-right community began circulating an unlikely online manifesto that credits liberals and the LGBT community itself for the attack.
The manifesto consists of two Tumblr posts that went up Sunday, hours after an explosive device rocked 23rd Street and a second suspected device, which didn’t detonate, was found on 27th Street. “I’m the NY Bomber,” the blog post claims, with the nameless writer claiming the bomb had been planted in protest of Donald Trump and broader mistreatment of the LGBT community. While New York officials did not name bombing suspect Ahmad Rahami until early Monday, that didn't stop some from circulating and crediting the Tumblr as a plausible lead.
The blog, whose author claimed to be a member of the LGBT community and threatened to plant more explosives, was scrubbed from Tumblr shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday.
“I am not going to stand by while there is inequality in my country such as the racism being seen in white police officers all over the country,” the blogger wrote. “I am not going to live in a country where it is OK to have a misogynist, xenophobic, racist Islamophobic, republican candidate running for President of The United States!”
Some of the Tumblr’s earliest traffic came from 4Chan, where users began linking to it early Sunday morning.
Alt-right forums like 4Chan have a history of inventing narratives and suspects for mass shootings, sometimes pinning attacks on comedians or fellow 4Channers with Muslim-sounding names, although no users appear to have taken credit for this latest manifest. “This has got to be fake,” one user wrote. “Too good to be true.”
Shortly after it appeared on 4Chan, Paul Joseph Watson, an editor at the Donald Trump-supporting, conspiracy theory-peddling website InfoWars, was among the first to link to it on Twitter. “Tumblr blog ‘I'm the NY Bomber,’” Watson wrote. “Writer is an SJW [social justice warrior] who hates Trump.”
Watson became aware of the Tumblr after someone sent him a link in a Twitter direct message, he told The Daily Beast’s Justin Miller. Watson included the manifesto in his video “The Truth About the New York Bombing,” subtitled “The establishment is already in full cover-up mode,” which has already racked up over 70,000 views in five hours.
“Could this be another example of a crazed leftist going jihad in the same manner as the Black Lives Matter-inspired shooter who murdered cops in Dallas?” Watson asked.
In a similar “just asking” mode, Donald Trump himself Saturday night declared just 45 minutes after the explosion and before the device had been found that “a bomb went off in New York and nobody knows exactly what’s going on but, boy we are really in a time—we better get tough folks.”
Police officials were more skeptical. “I can’t discount it altogether but I would be very surprised if it was the guy,” a knowledgeable law enforcement official actively involved in the investigation told The Daily Beast. The official added that he was not aware of any evidence suggesting the bombing was connected to ISIS.
—with additional reporting by Justin Miller and Michael Daly