- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 24, 2018

InfoWars, the far-right website run by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, has made an appearance in the trial of Darren Osborne, a British man accused of driving a van into a crowd of Muslims outside a London mosque last year, killing one person and injuring 11 others.

British news outlets reported that prosecutors trying the murder case against Mr. Osborne, 48, told jurors Tuesday that the defendant read the “conspiracy theory and fake news website” InfoWars in the weeks prior to plowing into worshipers leaving evening prayer on June 19, 2017, including an article written by InfoWars editor-at-large Paul Joseph Watson, a conservative YouTube personality who previously endorsed “Islam control.”

Prosecutors presented a police report Tuesday that said Mr. Osborne had accessed a specific InfoWars article, “Proof: Muslims celebrated terror attack in London,” as well as a witness statement from his partner, Sarah Andrews, that said he had become “brainwashed” by extremist right-wing propaganda in the weeks before the attack, The Guardian reported.

“Muslims living in both the Middle East and the west show alarmingly high levels of support for violent jihad,” Mr. Watson wrote in the InfoWars article. “The left’s contention that Muslims who live in the west don’t celebrate Islamic terror attacks is a monumental lie and is proven so after virtually every single jihadist outrage.”

A Pew Research Center report released in August subsequently found that Muslims mostly say they agree that attacks targeting civilians are rarely or never justified, contrary to the claims published by Mr. Watson for InfoWars.

The InfoWars article was posted on March 23, a day after Khalid Masood, 52, drove into pedestrians near Westminster Palace, killing four and injuring several others, according to police. Masood was killed by police afterwards, and investigators later categorized the event as “Islamist-related terrorism.”

Authorities allege Mr. Osborne waged a similar assault nearly three months later targeting Muslims by driving a van into a crowd of worshipers leaving a mosque in Finsbury Park, north London, killing Makram Ali, 51, and injuring nine others.

In the interim investigators said Mr. Osborne began reading InfoWars and Rebel Media, a far-right Canadian website, Vice reported, and started researching U.K. extremist groups including the English Defence League and Britain First.

“In recent weeks, he has become obsessed with Muslims, accusing them all of being rapists and being part of pedophile gangs,” Ms. Andrews told investigators, according to her witness statement.

Mr. Osborne has denied the charges against him, and his trial started Monday at Woolwich Crown Court.

Mr. Watson, the InfoWars editor, did not return messages seeking comment. He’s been a frequent InfoWars contributor for several years, and his personal YouTube channel boasts more than one million subscribers.

“They’re lying to you about the gay nightclub massacre,” Mr. Watson said after an Islamic State-inspired gunman opened fire inside Florida bar in 2016. “We don’t need gun control, we need Islam control.”

Launched by Mr. Jones in 1999, InfoWars has been repeatedly accused of peddling blatantly false and misleading articles, notably including bogus claims concerning the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the so-called “Pizzagate” fiasco fueled by the release of leaked Democratic Party emails in 2016. He interviewed President Trump in 2015 on his internet and radio program, “The Alex Jones Show,” and claims to maintain close ties with the White House.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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