22 May 2008

More on Sinclair, Spencer, Bland, & Young

This is a followup to a May 15 post.

Earlier I posted on the conspiracy that's cropped up around Larry Sinclair, Donald Young, Larry Bland, and Nate Spencer. I'd like to add a bit more to that topic, especially regarding how this story began.

A much loved choir director at Trinity United Church of Christ, Donald Young, an openly gay man, was murdered on 23 December. Robbery might have played a part in his death, as "Christmas presents and jewelry were missing from his home" (NBC). Although his death was reported in December, it aroused new interest in spring, 2008. The following comment, left at Larry Sinclair's blog, accounts for some of the renewed interest in Mr. Young:

[. . . .]

Larry, take care of yourself! I just heard today that the gay choir director of Obama’s church was murdered at Christmas. Some have suggested that he might have been going to say something about Obama.

A few short hours later, Larry Sinclair appeared on Jeff Rense's broadcast to claim that he’d been in contact with Donald Young in the autumn of 2007. Curiously, Sinclair had never mentioned Young previously, but he now claimed to have had numerous telephone conversations with Young in the months prior to his death, and that Senator Obama directed Young's murder in order to keep him quiet.

This addition to Sinclair’s series of accusations against Senator Obama introduced the 2008 equivalent of the “Clinton Body Count.” No sooner did Sinclair allege that he’d been in communication with Donald Young in the autumn then others began adding names to the list. The first to be added was Larry Bland, a gay man murdered on 17 November. Mr. Bland might have been a victim of robbery, but other possibilities exist: Bland's mother fears that her son's fondness for online meeting sites might have contributed to his end. Moreover, this story suggests that Mr. Bland was not the first victim of a serial killer; his death, however, was close to Mr. Young's. The third man was Nate Spencer, and while you can read about Mr. Spencer here, but let's just say that the gentleman passed away due to illness rather than violence.

That the senator bore responsibility for the three men’s deaths became a matter of “fact” rather than speculation almost immediately, and the majority of such claims appeared on Larry Sinclair’s website; his supporters quickly took their “knowledge” to others sites—including Free Republic, Hillaryis44, and No Quarter.

While rumors took root at Sinclair’s site, which Sinclair actively moderates (in order to remove posts that challenge or insult him), he initially abstained from commenting on this embellishment of his tale of Donald Young; one might suggest that he encouraged the rumor’s development as it fed into his larger scenario—the senator was a murderer.

Sinclair finally negated the inclusion of Larry Bland and Nate Spencer into his Donald Young story in May, 2008—a full two months after the rumors began swirling on his site. On 21 May, he claimed that, while the senator was not responsible for Bland and Spencer’s deaths, Young’s assassins had “
tr[ied] to use the Spencer/Bland deaths as a cover for the Young murder.” That is, assassins murdered Young in a manner that echoed other attacks on gay men in Chicago at the time, thereby disguising Young’s death. There was only one problem with both Sinclair’s and his follower’s stories: there is no evidence that Mr. Spencer was murdered.

The allegation about Nate Spencer first appeared on Sinclair’s blog on March 26 in response to a poster who wrote, “
[y]ou complain about people slandering you, and then you engage in the exact same thing?” To this, supporter “Robin” replied with the first mention of “Nate (Nathaniel) Spencer”:

“It’s not slander when it’s true. It’s really best that you do some research before you comment. Google the names “Donald Young”, and “Nate (Nathaniel) “Spencer”. Both of which were gay, both were part of the choir at Obama’s church, both murdered within days of each other. I do believe there was also a 3rd victim, but I don’t know his name.”

"Robin" included this link to a page at "Covert History," but that blog makes absolutely no mention of any death other than Mr. Young's. I'd like to note that there's something puzzling about the page itself: there's a post about Young, but it's dated "March 8." However, it cites a March 17 National Enquirer story).

As is common with Sinclair’s supporters, Robin offered no "real" support of her claims; rather, she directed the poster to investigate the matter himself. The sloppiness in "her" contribution includes the fact that she doesn't even name Larry Bland, although, at this point, his name was most often discussed in tandem with Young's. So she skips over Bland, but she includes Mr. Spencer. What prompted the inclusion of his name in the first place?

It might be assumed that, immediately after Sinclair implicated the Senator in Young’s death, people went to Google. They most likely found a blog written by a young Chicago man who attended TUCC. In late December 2007, the blogger posted an entry lamenting the passing of Donald Young. In an entry later in that week, he lamented the passing of Nate (Nathaniel) Spencer. While the blogger declined to describe how either man died (the media had reported Young’s cause of death ), the appearance of the names “Young” and “Spencer” seems to have provided enough information to set up the following line of reasoning: the blogger knew both men from TUCC. Young was murdered in December. Spencer died in December. Therefore, Spencer was murdered. This faulty logic took root and developed as people began reporting that the media had reported on Spencer’s death, but the Senator’s people were engaged in hiding such reports. In a discussion of the Young allegations on March 28, “Sally Holmes” (suspiciously like "Sally Jones," no?) wrote,

I also wonder why you can barely find information anywhere that Nathaniel Spencer, from the same church choir as Donald Young, was murdered in the same week, in the same way. Wouldn’t you think that was news, that two people from the same choir were killed execution style, in their homes, in the same week. Mum seems to be the word. What the heck is going on here?

This was posted a mere two days after "Robin" introduced Spencer into the conspiracy. Like "Robin," “Sally Holmes” offers no source for her claim that Spencer was “murdered in the same way” as Young. In fact, she wonders why there isn’t any information available that supports her tale. However, two days later she changed her story; rather than wondering why there’s a lacuna in information, she then claims that,

I wrote about the scrubbing of Internet sites of information about Donald Young and Nathaniel (Nate) Spencer. Right now, it’s even harder to find the information I found just a couple of days ago.

Interestingly, I wonder if I’m the only one who has discovered that Nate Spencer was in Donald Young’s choir and that he was killed in the same week and in the same way as Donald Young, execution style in his own home.

I didn’t find this piece of information in any conventional news source but ran into it a church member’s blog, at least the part about his being in the church choir and his death in the same week as Donald Young’s. I learned about the method of death elsewhere.

Someone, allegedly unknown to Sinclair but quite possible written by himself or a supporter (e.g., Citizen Wells, Victor, Liz, Robin), delivered a letter to prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald on April 21st, claiming that “there is another case that needs your urgent attention. Especially with the recent execution-style murders of Donald Young, Larry Bland, and Nathaniel Spencer, Tony Rezko and Stuart Levine are also potentially at risk until these matters are resolved.” At this point, the allegations became settled “fact,” and remained unquestioned until mid-May.

As an aside, I'd like to draw attention to the following exchange between a Sinclair supporter, "Citizen Wells," on Well's own Wordpress site following a post on the "TUCC murders":

[zzzz] // May 17, 2008 at 7:05 pm
Mr Wells,

I keep reading about Mr. Spencer’s murder, but I’ve found no evidence of it other than ‘blog commentaries.

From what I understand, Mr. Spencer was very ill for a long time (he was listed as “sick and shut in” in the TUCC bulletin of Novemer 2007, so he might have passed due to natural causes).

If you can direct me to a source (e.g, the Trib, police reports, etc.) that discusses his murder, I would appreciate it.
Thank you.

citizenwells // May 17, 2008 at 7:31 pm
Thanks for an intelligent question that begged to be asked.
First of all, in the bigger picture of the story, Nathaniel Spencer’s death never was a major point for me. What really concerns me more is the fact that it occured cloesly in time but more importantly, information was removd from the internet after many people started asking questions. I am almost certain I found more links earlier and a fellow blogger is certain and pointed it out several weeks ago.
This is why I believe you may have difficulty finding information on Spencer.
So for now, let’s just consider it another curious event (aside from the tragedy of his death to his family and friends). Every death is more than a fact to loved ones.

citizenwells // May 17, 2008 at 7:59 pm
Here is a comment from the blogger I was referring to:

Sally Holmes Says:
Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 2:46 pm
#9 BA -

There are still some sites with information about Donald Young’s murder. There were two other possible associated murders: Larry Bland and Nathaniel (Nate) Spencer. Nate Spencer died the same week as Donald Young and was also in the church choir. There used to be tons of newspaper story links to these murders on the Internet. It’s virtually all gone now. The Internet has been scrubbed clean of information. It’s impossible to find ONE WORD about Nate Spencer any more.

· [zzzz] // May 18, 2008 at 2:45 am
Thank you, Citizen Wells.
Unfortunately, your response doesn’t really help because it points back to web commentary. We can assume that the information was scrubbed, but, if so, this happened almost immediately. According to my research, the first web-based mentions of Mr. Spencer’s death included suspicions about web scrubbing because no one could locate a source. In other words, “this man was murdered but there’s no evidence out there to support this claim because the web has been scrubbed.” This was back in late February or early March. Onwards, then.

Thank you for your time and assistance.

citizenwells // May 18, 2008 at 12:57 pm
Thank you.
You have added another corroboration of web scrubbing.
This is another piece of the puzzle that forms the picture of Obama and his past. A truly scary picture.

Again, the claim that Mr. Spencer was murdered was introduced, without supporting evidence of any kind, and became "fact" immediately. The lack of supporting evidence was later blamed on "internet scrubbing," which, Wells implies, Obama is somehow responsible for. I think this speaks for itself.

Why does this conspiracy matter? Ultimately, it probably doesn't. However, it is, I think, a fine illustration of how people will consciously invent tall tales in order to harm another person. No sooner do those tales get introduced to an eager crowd, then the tales become indisputable fact. One person plants an idea (see "Sally Jones's email above), a few other people add embellishments (Larry Sinclair with Young, "Robin" and "Sally Holmes" with Spencer), and the thing takes on a life of its own.

A special thank you to "nomoredistractions" for contributions.

UPDATE: on 30 July, The Mitch and Nan Show posted a series of emails that illustrate Sinclair's evasiveness about the Young allegations. Interestingly, this email exchange occurred between Sinclair and a then-loyal supporter. It seems Sinclair lost several devoted followers once he brought Young into his collection of accusations.


Anonymous said...

Spot on.

Sally Jones & Sally Holmes ARE the same checkered, Sinclair-lovin' Obama hatin' Oregonian.

Anonymous said...

Or maybe Jones/Holmes is a native New Yorker ;-)

Anonymous said...

Like the Clintons, this surprises me NONE!