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Kevin? Yes, Ali's here. Hi, Kevin. Hey, thanks for participating in our goat rodeo here. I love this subject.
So happy to do it.
Can you first can you just sort of introduce yourself and your beat these days?
So I'm Ali Watkins'. I work at the metro desk at the Times, and my beat is largely the New York City Police Department.
But that encompasses a whole lot of things, whether it's crime, counterterror or we had a big spike in gang violence this year in Brooklyn. So we kind of hop around all of that.
And this story, the story you're here to talk about, where does it start for you? So it starts late on the night of March 13th, this past year, when I started getting frantic phone calls from my editor around 11, 30 at night. And I think when you're on the Metro beat and you're covering the police department, you get calls at that time of night and you think, you know, either a bridge is blown up or like a mob boss is dead.
And it turns out it was the second one in a brazen shooting straight out of a crime drama, 53 year old Franchesco Frankie Boy Calli was found with multiple gunshot.
Franchesco calling Franchesco Frankie boy Kelly gunned down last night known as Frankie Boy Kelly, who is the underboss of the Gambino crime family.
The Gambino crime family was once led by the legendary John Gotti is dead in Staten Island, scene of the biggest mob hit in three decades.
This is the first time a mob boss has been killed in New York City since 1985.
Shakespeare said of King's uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. The same might be said of those who rise to the top of organized crime. They get there by violence, and often as not, they leave by violence.
And, you know, in the immediate aftermath of a mob murder like that, you know, there's a million things you're trying to figure out and the biggest one is who killed them. And, oh, my God, are there going to be more bodies dropping? Is this going to be some kind of mob war?
Good afternoon, everyone.
I'm joined here today with Lieutenant Charlie Francis, the CEO of the one 22nd, a few days after that call from my editor, after we've spent days trying to understand what happened earlier today, members of the detective bureau, together with our partners in the region, the police finally announced that they have a suspect into custody, a 24 year old male, Anthony Kambala.
And had you ever heard the name Anthony Carmello before? No. And, you know, after we get that name, it sets off this frantic scramble to figure out who this kid is and what, if any, connection he may have had to Caylee or the Mafia. So we started trying to figure out if his family was connected to the mob at all. Like we knew they lived in Staten Island. We knew his dad had been involved in construction, which has historically been mob controlled.
We also knew that Anthony had a history with drugs and that his brother had an alleged history with drugs. So did they somehow cross Caylee because of that? And there was this theory out of left field that Anthony had some kind of romantic interest in Frank, Caylee's niece and the friend Caylee had told him to stay away, but.
None of these really panned out. There are new developments in the murder of a reputed mob boss on Staten Island, so Anthony Kemel was arrested on Saturday.
The suspected killer making his first court appearance in New Jersey today.
He shows up in court on Monday and being himself being a fugitive on the property of the state of New York.
He walked into this court hearing for the first time. Any of us are really seeing him in person. And what does he look like? He looks really grizzled. You know, his hair's really unkempt.
He's in this thick, striped, green and white jumpsuit.
Is it true you're waiting for your extradition? Yes, sir. All right. He sits down at the witness stand. He's got his cuffs on, you know, all right. And at a certain point, he raises his left hand.
You see drawn in the middle of his hand with like a ballpoint pen, is this huge Q? The letter Q, the letter Q As in Q on exactly. How do I tell when I'm being manipulated? There are so many videos like that, what's real and what's not to be true. They are shutting down the discussion. So if we're looking to answer the question of what the Internet is doing to us, our reality that we've been taught in school and we've been told on the mainstream media in all this for so many years, it's been false.
There might be no better place to look than Kuhnen.
So what is cool? You should instead be asking who is cute?
Because even though, like on the surface, this community, it seems totally fringe, I believe there is someone out there putting information on the Internet that somebody was trying to weaken the public to what's really going on in the world. In some ways, Kuhnen is the logical conclusion of everything that's happened on the Internet. Cyberspace opens up a whole new world for you. It's Coovadia with anything at all. It's tapped a yearning to connect. Knew who I was.
We'd be friends. We certainly have gotten better at predicting what people are interested in. We have such a large voice and I don't think they understand it's all wrapped up in the story. Of course, the general population is going to be awoken. I mean, they're just it's going to be hard for people to process.
And that story really starts in 2016.
WikiLeaks has released a batch of more than two thousand hacked emails from the account of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta.
It was a few months before the election and WikiLeaks had just published this trove of emails from top Democrats, including Hillary Clinton.
The leak revealed transcripts from some of Clinton's paid Wall Street speeches. These are the emails we now know were hacked by Russia. Mrs Clinton suggesting that Wall Street insiders are best equipped to help reform the financial sector.
You went to Wall Street and told them they should regulate themselves.
And there were all these stories in them about how these emails revealed. Clinton told a private trade union gathering that extreme environmentalists need to, quote, get a life.
Hillary Clinton privately contradicting some of her public statements. WikiLeaks showed us that Hillary was given an unfair advantage from the get go and Bernie was given a disadvantage in how Democratic Party officials had been working behind the scenes to support her nomination.
Look, it proves all of us conspiracy theories. They made fun of us for a long time saying that we were delusional.
And this just confirms what we knew, which was and while this was a big story in the media, the chair of the DNC has announced her resignation.
And it was a big online, too.
These people are deciding to steer an entire party, which is 50 percent of a political process, because this is old, old, old shit.
What's new is technology in a certain corner of the Internet. It took off in a completely different direction.
What we began to see were oddly worded emails that focused around food and seemed to be code for something else. People on message boards like 4chan and read it is something else going on here? It's just it's a little bit weird. Started finding what they saw as secret codes.
Searching this guy's emails is a never ending job for researchers like myself, especially in these emails from Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta.
First off, I think the most suspicious thing is that you type in pizza. You have one hundred and forty nine results. So, I mean, I don't know how many people eat pizza or talk about it in their emails. I know. I know.
Like, they thought it was suspicious how often John Podesta or someone he was emailing referred to pizza.
Now pizza, cheese pizza is slang, very old Internet slang for child pornography.
And eventually in these message boards and then spilling out onto Twitter, they actually repeatedly used this food terminology. So hot dog equals boy pizza still equals girl. Cheese equals a little girl.
That's the latent evidence that these guys are involved in a pedophile ring.
People started claiming that these pizza references were evidence of a vast criminal conspiracy.
And then if we find an attachment in an email with the aim with her logo from one James Oliphant's, James Oliphant's turns out to be the owner of a restaurant called Comet Ping Pong.
And we're like, well, what's comet ping pong? Lo and behold, it was an actual pizza place.
This is what became known as Pizza Hut pizza gate, or related hashtags were shared more than a million times on Twitter in just five weeks.
People actually believe a conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton and her former campaign manager, John Podesta, ran a child sex ring at a pizzeria in D.C. and it really reached its peak when someone took it seriously enough to try to stop it.
A North Carolina man arrested in a D.C. pizza shop after brandishing a gun like this guy, this father and volunteer firefighter from North Carolina drove up to Washington, D.C. and went into this pizza place with a gun, trying to free what he thought were child slaves being held in the basement. Police refused to investigate the basement crime scene on the flimsy excuse that the pizzeria does not have a basement, and even though this whole thing kind of became the butt of a joke and social media platforms cracked down to keep it from spreading, there were still some people online who kept looking for clues.
And then we have had challenges that we really should have taken care of a long time ago, like North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, about a year later, it falls on the people in this room to defend the American people.
This video starts making the rounds on the Internet where President Trump is like posing for photos with his military advisers in the White House as the world's great military people in Israel.
And he says to the reporters in the room, what this represents Tel Aviv is the calm before the storm. You guys know what this represents. Maybe it's the calm before the storm left.
A storm could be calm before the storm. What a storm. You'll find out. Thank you, everybody. President Trump said yesterday it was the calm before the storm, this whole thing like it made news for a few days, the calm before the storm, calm before the storm.
How is all this not the storm? And again, like pizza, a lot of people just treated it as a big joke.
I think you feel I think you can take the president protecting the American people, always extremely serious.
And if he feels that.
But then a few weeks later, this series of posts started showing up on 4chan from an anonymous source claiming to be a high level government insider with access to classified information about the coming storm. These posts over time told the story about a powerful shadow government of elites, including the Clintons, the Bushes, the Obamas, the pope, Hollywood celebrities, how they were not only running a child sex trafficking ring, but how they had secretly been behind everything.
In Dallas, Texas, three shots were fired at President Kennedy's motorcade from the assassination of JFK. Kennedy died. Understand that a plane has crashed into the World Trade Center and 9/11, but not on another plane. Just about the speed with which we are watching this market getting to the financial crisis.
Traders say the craziest day they have ever seen in these markets and that President Trump had been recruited by the military and falls on the people in this room to defend the American people, to take them down from these threats. This was the coming storm. And the code name of this undercover informant. Was que. This is Sarah Koenig, host of the serial podcast. I want to tell you about our new show, Nice White Parents. It's reported by Chana Joffe.
Walt, who's made some of the best, most thought provoking, most emotional radio stories I've ever heard back in 2015.
Hannah wanted to find out what would happen inside this one public school in her neighborhood during a sudden influx of white students into a school that had barely had any white students before and then not satisfied that she fully understood what she was seeing. She went all the way back to the founding of the school in the 1960s and then fought again up to the present day.
And eventually Hannah realized she could put a name to the unspoken force that kept getting in the way of making the school better.
White parents, I've been waiting so long to tell people about this show and now I can finally say it. Go listen to nice white parents. Nice White Parents is made by Zero Productions, a New York Times company. You can find it wherever you get your podcasts.
We're starting this morning with the arrest of billionaire and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, former President Bill Clinton had a friendly relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. What sex with scores of underage girls? Now to the latest on Harvey Weinstein. Allegations by numerous women who say the Hollywood mogul sexually harassed them, his alleged victims over nearly three decades.
In the last few years since Kyuss first post unfortune the Clintons and Harvey Weinstein. They were very close as all these high profile scandals and cover ups, these crimes by powerful people have been exposed.
Harvey Weinstein's conduct was an open secret in the movie business. Has kept posting the report names three hundred and one predator priests who assaulted more than 1000 children about how all of this is just more proof.
The Catholic Church used what amounted to a playbook for concealing the truth to hide decades of abuse that the storm is coming.
Have you ever wondered why we go to war or why you never seem to be able to get out of debt, why there is poverty, evasion and crime? What if I told you there was a reason for it all?
And Q's message, which got amplified by YouTube viewers and people on social media.
What if I told you that those who were corrupting the world, poisoning our food and igniting conflict were themselves about to be permanently eradicated from the earth? You might think that an idealistic fantasy. Well, let me tell you, a story really starts to resonate from Harrisburg, P.A., where we go, one we go. The mainstream media tells you so many lies, but we needed an alternative voice that was going to speak to the Patriots. I think Hillary Clinton has actually been arrested at one point.
There's things that have been going on since the assassination of JFK. Terrible things.
Kuhnen followers start showing up at President Trump's rallies.
And we've got a Great Awakening rally going on right over there, the march on Washington.
We've had to start relying on ourselves to figure out what the hell is actually happening.
A suspect is in custody tonight after barricading himself in an armored truck on the Hoover Dam bridge, one kuhnen follower stops traffic at the Hoover Dam Bridge.
He had a sign that said release the OIG report demanding that the deep state release government documents to try to keep a follower vandalizes a Catholic church in Arizona.
Listen to this picture. Claiming that the Vatican is part of this deep state network.
Seems like it's kind of spreading in ways that you wouldn't expect it spreading and is growing.
And while some Kuhnen followers are performing these acts like vigilante justice, others are actually pursuing real political power.
Do you think that a candidate who wants to win in 2020 can afford to dismiss Kuhnen believers?
I would say no, this election cycle alone.
Hi, I'm Rheba and I'm running for Congress and I've been following you since the beginning in Minnesota, Indiana, North Carolina, Delaware, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Arizona, Kentucky, Nevada, Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia, Colorado, Florida, Texas. People with ties to Kuhnen have been running for Congress.
Hi, my name is Joe Rae Perkins, candidate for the U.S. Senate in Oregon. And some of them, like a Republican Senate candidate in Oregon, have actually won their primaries.
Thank you, Anon's, and thank you, Patriots. And together we can save our republic.
And while it's hard to say exactly how many followers, Q has, apps and websites dedicated to aggregating all of those posts in one place have popped up all over the Internet.
There are kuhnen YouTube videos with millions of views. Some Kuhnen Facebook groups have hundreds of thousands of members.
I'm in all the way come hell or high water mean with the rest of the Q Patriots where we go one, we go all day just looking through some of their posts.
It's clear that a lot of Q and unbelievers are genuinely sincere.
Somebody sent me the YouTube video talking about children on Facebook and some over my Facebook.
Like they truly believe not only that what CU is saying is real and that there is this horrible conspiracy going on, but also that they can be a part of stopping it, which, you know, in some extreme cases has actually involved violence or calls for assassination.
The FBI has actually labeled Kuhnen a potential domestic terror threat because of that.
But most of the time I call out to you, make it clear we are the protectors of our home. We have an army. Of digital soldiers, it means going on the Internet. Tom Hanks, folks, is a pedophile. Oprah is a slave trader like going on Twitter.
Let's see if I can stop shaking since I'm pissed off to call out celebrities and politicians.
Mark Zuckerberg, Joe Biden and Barack Obama, who has said are part of this deep state criminal network.
Shout out to our friend Cauchon for that music. Love it, but they also just go online to be with each other. I'm really happy you're here. It's a glorious Monday. Paul, where are you at military. So there you are, all these Cuban unbelievers, Susie Q hippie flower thumpers still hanging out in the light.
So if you want to get in touch with them, this is probably a good time to from all over the world.
I'm from Germany and where we go one, we go to Mumbai, India, where we go one Riegle coming from Perth, Western Australia, down under the UK, Panama, where we go.
When we go on, we go, oh, whenever a queue posts something they like rush to the chat rooms or the Facebook groups or the message boards.
We have a new Cuba news come in. I knew it to do things like, alright, I got it up. Let me read this out. Here we go. OK, here we go. Decode different posts together. I think that he is telling us they have run or or in the process of running two different tests. Oh good point. What we just talking about that it looks like what you're saying is it's about to be brought back up again, comparing theories about what it all means.
So we have this video and it is an American flag or just trying to figure out why you shared something. I got to tell you, I love the background back there. Look at that. Blue a clear. Blue sky on on second here. I just got a text message. And because if it's my wife, I got to stop, I try to always respond to my wife and these groups, they just don't feel like your stereotypical Internet chat rooms do.
Hey, whoa. My head is huge.
They tend to skew a little older. This is just really starting to fuzz my butt.
Bless you. And that's not because you sneezed. I am a word for word individual when it comes to the scriptures, many of them are Christian or spiritual in some way.
I'm a mystic. I'm a philosopher.
I am a registered Democrat, never participated in any election before and whatever their politics were before.
Q What a lot of them seemed to have in common was that at some point they had seen or experienced something that taught them that the world was unjust and to them. Q was saying that things are going to get better.
These videos have given me hope for the first time in 40 years.
The other thing that this community seems to have in common, I don't know if you guys were watching, but last night there was somebody on YouTube that was dropping all kinds of good stuff.
People on YouTube dropping good stuff every night is that they're all spending so much of their lives. So mind us, we're just chatting back to you online.
Have a great day. Love you. Don't don't stay up late with with these guys. Don't let them make you lose too much sleep, OK? You're going to stay here and hold my hand all night, any time of day.
Any time of night? No, no, no, there's always someone to talk to.
And in this way, they're not only using the Internet the way it was originally envisioned. Now we're all here because we were optimistic about the future, they're also using it in the exact way that the powerful algorithms that currently run our biggest social media platforms are designed to encourage.
We have real challenges to address, but we have to keep that sense of optimism to like take Facebook.
And what I learned this year is that we need to take a broader view of our responsibility after the 2016 elections.
Facebook was facing all of this criticism and backlash for spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories and contributing to political polarization.
It's not enough to just build powerful tools. We need to make sure that they're used for good.
And so in 2018, right, as Kuhnen is picking up a lot of steam and migrating from 4chan to read it and Twitter and YouTube and all these other platforms, Facebook decided to overhaul its core algorithm, the news feed algorithm, which up to that point had been designed to just show people stuff that would keep them on Facebook like click bait or viral videos or sensational news stories.
But this new algorithm was designed to show people more posts from their actual friends and family and posts from like intimate social groups they belong to.
People often tell us the groups are the most meaningful part of Facebook, things that would inspire what Facebook called meaningful social interactions and how you can feel like you belong in a community.
You can meet new people who share your values. For some people, this might be a support group for new parents. For others, it might be about a disease you have. For others, it might be about finding people to come together and volunteering.
And what was going on inside these kuhnen Facebook groups, like all this constant commenting and liking and sharing these like actual friendships that were forming. It was meaningful social interaction. It was exactly the thing that Facebook's new algorithm was designed to start spreading across Facebook.
Our communities give us that sense that we were a part of something greater than ourselves. We are not alone and that we have something better ahead to work for. Can you hear me? Yeah, yeah, I can hear you just fine. But I'd love to just sort of hear you start from the beginning and kind of what happens. Yes. I mean, there have always been more conservative. My mom is largely left leaning for long. He's always been an evangelical Christian for a long time.
She was really anti social media. She thought it wasn't good for people at first. She was doing all this research on vaccinations. I don't know how she discovered 4chan and the Q announcing this stuff track with her spending more time on the Internet. Yes, absolutely. Like eight hours a day on the Internet.
I think since her husband died a little more, you know, I don't have really old parents, but they are really socially isolated. I've never really known to meet friends, really. And I think that's really put it into it a lot, maybe more than anything else. The people who told you you were growing up not believe everything you see on the Internet now. It's a real role reversal, right? Everything goes back to the global cabal that the uber rich, the control, everything.
Like we're not really friends anymore. We used to be friends. You know, I'm at a loss. It's like nothing work. It's like an impenetrable force field of misinformation. Do you think either your mom or your dad would be willing to talk to me? Do you think that that would be something they would ever agree to if it were, you know, you and me and them? I doubt it very seriously. I'm I'm barely on speaking terms with them.
I think ultimately she wouldn't do it, but I doubt I wouldn't hold my breath if I was you. My my family, they think I'm not. By traditionalist. They still believe in the world the way it was in the 50s. Did you talk to them about Cuba? No, they didn't believe me, so I just dropped it.