Tuesday, 8 April 2014

When Conspiralunacy becomes a dangerous paranoia

Yesterday we saw how a poster became so enraged that she descended into extreme paranoia, abuse and irrationality. We can only speculate on whether she has calmed herself down or if she continued until she blew an artery and literally looned herself to an early grave.

Today we are going to discuss how such paranoia develops and examine the ways in which Textusa manipulates her readers in order to take advantage of the high level of paranoia which exists within the group

Firstly, let's look again at those meltdown posts, shall we?

Here is the first one where she really loses it

I’m getting at that Michaela has 2 very suspicious phone numbers, one is from Marina that turns out is also from a Tania and the other is from a laundry worker in the resort that happens to work under Marina/Tania who is Silvia but turns out to be Sonia.
And Marina AKA Tania is on Michaela’s phone book and doesn’t know Murat.
Yes, I imagine you don’t find all this strange. I do. There’s a closer connection between the Murat’s and Ocean Club than was shown. Why hide this?
Now, let's see what the files actually say, shall we?

Firstly, it's important to note that nothing untoward was discovered. It is commonplace to compare the telephone records to see if there is a significant connection between any of the protagonists, or a connection about which they have been less than truthful. This was an examination of the phones of Robert Murat and his mother, plus his girlfriend, Michaela

So what did the PJ actually discover? 
Well - not a lot, frankly

They found that Michaela knew a Marina, and that Marina was the Ocean Club housekeeper

They found that both Michaela and Marina knew and had the number of a ''Tania''

They found that Michaela listed a contact called 'Sonia' but that an Ocean Club worker called Silvia had the same number listed as Marina, the housekeeper.

They found that Jenny Murat returned a call to a number associated with a secretary at the OC

So what precisely is supposed to be suspicious?

Michaela knew Marina. They were both part of the same religious group. Nothing suspicious there.

But this is what Textusa has to say :

  Marina Castela made 2 statements. She had worked for the OC for 20 years and member of Jehovah's Witnesses with Michaela Walczuch but claimed to know nothing about Robert Murat.

Why should  she know him? Just because she knew his girlfriend, that is no reason to suppose she would know him, especially as he was not part of the same religious group.

But Textusa knows that many of her readers are mentally unstable, so she takes the opportunity to manipulate them

Thus the unremarkable fact that Marina did not know Robert becomes her ''claim'' that she knew nothing about him, despite this long association with Michaela. 

Immediately, she transforms the mundane into the remarkable, the commonplace to the suspicious
About Tania, we can only say that  Murat had a Tania R in his phone list, an Ex Remax colleague. He also has a Sonia C on his phone book.
Yes, and? Again, the mundane portrayed as the suspicious. Murat knew a Tania. Is it the same Tania? Who knows, but let's make it sound dodgy

 Secretary to OC director Joan Brenda Smith Azevedo Coutinho, mother of Luisa who writes alleged note in reception book

And? Jenny returned a call to someone at the OC. But let's throw in an irrelevance and see if we can't make it suspicious

 Murat's associate, Malinka, is Russian...and had his car burned on the street, with a painted message written on the pavement: FALA, meaning SPEAK, like Correio da Manha reported on 21 March 2008.

Yes? And what does that have to do with the matter being discussed? Precisely nothing

So what Textusa has succeeded in doing is the written equivalent of rabble-rousing. None of what the police found was significant, suspicious or warranting further investigation. But that doesn't work for Textusa. She needs people wound up, she needs their curtains twitching, she needs them looking for links that don't exist.

So what effect does this have on our correspondent? 

Are you denying what is written? PJ says that one Sonia's number in Michaela's phonebook is the same one used by Silvia Cravinho, a laundry worker. Sonia and Silvia share the same number then and by coincidence it's on Michaela's phonebook.
Same thing with a Tania and Marina Castela who seem to share a fixed line number (mobiles in Portugal start with a 9 and fixed lines with a 2) that also happens to be in Michaela's phonebook.
Michaela has Marina's numbers both fixed and mobile.
Marina Castela says "She saw the suspect, Robert Murat, for the first time on that day at about 12.30 when the witness went to meet GNR officers whom she cannot identify, to open the doors for them and speak to guests staying in apartments in block 6 " and "Given his behaviour, for a few minutes the witness thought that he belonged to one of the security forces, namely the PJ"
Marina's both mobile and fixed numbers are on Robert Murat's girlfriends phonebook and she thinks he's PJ???
Yes, it IS a load of nonsense.

And here we can see precisely the effect - she's foaming at the mouth. Having lost the ability to think and reason for herself, the fact that Marina didn't know Robert is now deeply suspicious.


Because Textusa told her it was

When challenged on this, when it is pointed out that it may not be unusual for people in shared accommodation to share a landline, that there is nothing unusual about a woman not knowing anything about the partner of a friend, she becomes enraged, abusive, deeply offensive. The kind of response that, in person, would doubtless have transcribed into an act of physical violence. She veers completely off topic and completely shames herself: 

 Live in staff quarters? Shared cellphones? What next? They worked for a meal fro dawn to dusk on the fields for their slave masters? What a loathsome xenophobic thing to say.
Where are these staff quarters located? Not a single employee mentions being there on the night Maddie disappeared. They either say they're working or at home. Where did you come up with Ocean Club having staff sleeping quarters?
And even if in your racist mind Ocean Club "slaved" their workers, why would Michaela have a "slave's" number on her cellphone? And why do you assume Silvia is part of the "lot of these people" who lived in staff quarters"?
And in a small town like Praia da Luz, to have someone's fixed line and cellphone numbers means that their close acquaintances are known, visually at least, and to state the contrary is not to be serious.

Textusa's post was ostensibly about her demented idea that the Ocean club was a hotbed of international swinging, with staff colluding and covering up acts of homicide

This analysis of the phone numbers was described by Textusa as ''The eighth surprise'' in this tale  of absolute bunkum.

In doing so she conveys to the reader, or attempts to convey, that these people are to be suspected, that they lied, that there was something going on. She drags the simple-minded amongst her readers - which is to say, most of them - into a delusion that the mundane is suspicious, the unusual is deeply suspicious and the unexplained is proof.

You are a malignancy, Textusa. 

Like a cancer, you invade, you spread. Cells break off and travel about the body to set up fresh tumours elsewhere. You don't have readers, you don't have participants. you don't have contributors.

Like every other con artist in history, you have victims.

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