This report was updated with corrections on Sept. 2.
Flyers claiming that Jews masterminded the 9/11 attacks, discovered last week in downtown Novato and at San Marin High School, have been linked to a man who posted the same flyers in early August in Santa Rosa.
A series of videos posted Aug. 6 on the “Handsome Truth 5” YouTube channel show the man putting up the flyers in Santa Rosa while boasting about it. Another video posted this week on a YouTube channel called “Handsome Truth Channel Updates” shows a reprint of J.’s report about the Novato flyers, with the same man’s voice reciting from it in a mocking tone. After reading that “no group has claimed responsibility for them,” the voice says, “I’m not a group, dude. I’m just a concerned American person who’s tired of Jewish supremacy.”
In that second video, the man invites people to email him if they want copies. “You can print them out yourself and tape them up,” he says, “and wake up the other people who are sleeping.” Comments on the video suggest that some people have done just that.
A recent study by the Anti-Defamation League found that extremists use fringe online social networks “to spread hate and encourage like-minded followers to head down the path to violence.”
“Extremist groups use social media to crowdsource,” Oren Segal, director of the ADL Center on Extremism, told J. in May. “They put up flyers available for anyone to download. That’s why you see similar wording in flyers” in different cities.
The flyer in question, titled “Are Jews responsible for 9/11?” repeats conspiracy theories suggesting that Jews and Israel were behind the World Trade Center attacks. It claims Israelis were seen dancing on the site of the collapsed twin towers, that New York Jewish real estate developer Larry Silverstein made billions in insurance money, and that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the attacks. At the bottom of the page it says, “Wake up USA!”
Capt. John Cregan of the Santa Rosa Police Department confirmed that on Aug. 7 the department received a report that a “hate flyer” was posted in the Santa Rosa Junior College neighborhood. An officer who went there found one of the flyers, took it down and wrote up a report. “There is no information as to who is responsible,” Cregan told J. this week.
Novato Police Chief Adam McGill told the Marin Independent Journal that the flyers are protected by the First Amendment and there would be no investigation.
The ADL, however, is following up on the incidents. “The ADL is aware of this and investigating,” Seth Brysk, ADL Central Pacific Region director, told J. earlier today. “They are consistent with efforts to propagandize in and around universities with an aim toward recruitment of young people, a trend we have seen around the country.”
So who is the man in these videos? He never says his name, but an ad appeared on June 14 in the Community Voice, a local Rohnert Park-Cotati newspaper, announcing that Handsome Truth Enterprises, similar in name to the Handsome Truth 5 YouTube channel, was now doing business at a Petaluma address; it listed Jon Minadeo II as the owner. It is not known whether Minadeo is the true name of the man who runs the Handsome Truth YouTube channel.
J. reached out to the email address provided on the Handsome Truth video, and received a response indicating he was willing to be interviewed, but further attempts to contact him proved unsuccessful.
A Google search reveals that the man behind Handsome Truth is part of a group called the Goyim Defense League (GDL). Last November, the GDL duped former NFL quarterback Brett Favre and other celebrities into recording a promotional video via the Cameo app, through which users can pay celebrities to make personalized videos.
Favre was provided a script that included coded anti-Semitic language. Reading from the script, he gives a “shout-out to the Handsome Truth and the GDL boys. You guys are patriots in my eyes. So keep waking them up and don’t let the small get you down. Keep fighting, too, and don’t ever forget the USS Liberty and the men and women who died on that day. God bless and take care.”
In this case, “small” is a reference to “small hats,” or yarmulkes, a term commonly used by anti-Semites. The USS Liberty mention refers to a Navy ship that was accidentally attacked by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War. More than 30 servicemen were killed. Israel apologized for the incident and paid out millions of dollars to the victims.
Once he realized what had happened, Favre released a statement saying he was “sickened [by] anti-Semitic” groups that duped him and that he would donate the $500 he received for the recording to charities that “fight hate and bigotry.”
The Handsome Truth 5 YouTube channel contains plenty of hateful anti-Semitic material. A photo at the top of the page shows Chabad rabbis posing with Russian President Vladimir Putin; a Donald Trump-like caricature is inserted into the photo as a hook-nosed Jew rubbing his hands — an image reminiscent of those published in Der Sturmer in Nazi Germany.
Elsewhere, the man featured in the Santa Rosa flyer videos is shown holding a button that says “#Name the Jew or Die.”