Flat Earther Busted in Freemason Arson Spree

Less than an hour after three Masonic lodges burned in Vancouver, Canada, a suspect appeared to take credit for the blazes.

“I just cleaned 3 satanic club houses and nobody could do anything,” Ben Kohlman posted on Facebook on Tuesday morning.

Kohlman, 42, has been charged with arson in one of the three blazes, and is expected to face similar charges in the attacks on the other two buildings, the Vancouver Sun reported. And although police have not announced a motive in the arsons, Kohlman’s Facebook page contains anti-Freemason attacks that he shared from conspiracy pages, particularly pages about flat earth theory.

The incident wouldn’t even be the first time in recent years that a flat earther attempted to burn down a Masonic lodge. An Australian flat earth convention went off the rails in 2018 when an organizer was accused of the same crime.

Flat earthers believe—wrongly—that the planet is shaped like a disk and that malevolent figures are trying to trick people into believing they live on a globe. But the conspiracy movement has not reached a consensus about who, exactly, is behind the nefarious plot. While some flat earthers blame the government or invoke anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, others falsely accuse the Freemasons (a fraternal society) of concealing the earth’s true shape.

Conspiracy theories about groups like Freemasons are not without consequence. The group has been falsely accused of secretive schemes, leading to Freemasons’ persecution by the Nazi regime, during which fascists linked the fraternity to Judaism in order to allege a “Jewish-Masonic” plot.

Mark Sargent, a prominent flat earther who does not advocate arson, told The Daily Beast that Freemasons had attracted some flat earthers’ attention because the group had the reputation of being a secret society, while still maintaining a public presence.

“A large section of Flat Earth members are grounded in the general conspiracy world, which means they are always aware of different societies that have been accused of keeping world secrets,” Sargent told The Daily Beast via email. “I feel bad for the Masons because they are by far the most public of the secret societies. The lodges in the U.S., for example are usually large, stone, easy to spot buildings, and are in just about every town you can think of.”

Also easy to spot were the three buildings around Vancouver, all of which burned in the early hours of March 30. Although no one was injured, one building was completely destroyed. Approximately 40 minutes after the last fire, Kohlman wrote his Facebook post bragging about “cleaning satanic club houses,” CTV News first reported.

It was unclear on Thursday whether Kohlman, who was arrested in Burnaby, has a lawyer.

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Oregon man, freed after using Molotov cocktail to start fire, set six more

An Oregon man was charged with using a Molotov cocktail to start a brush blaze in the wildfire-devastated state — then busted again just hours later for allegedly going back and starting six more, cops said.

Domingo Lopez Jr., 45, was first arrested Sunday afternoon after witnesses told cops he started a fire on the grassy edge of a Portland freeway with an incendiary device made out of a plastic bottle with a wick, the Portland Police Bureau said.

He admitted starting the blaze, which was extinguished without any injuries or property damage, cops said.

Lopez Jr. was booked into jail at 6:45 p.m. Sunday on charges of reckless burning and second-degree disorderly conduct — then released on his own recognizance later that night, court records show.

He was found walking along the edge of the same highway just after 3:30 a.m. Monday as cops joined fire crews to investigate reports of six more fires, Portland police said.

This time, he appeared to start the fires with a lighter, which was seized as evidence, the force said.

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Cops arrest four for arson – including man who LIVE STREAMED fire he is accused of starting – as death toll from wildfires climbs to 29 and Oregon officials warn of ‘mass fatality event’

Four people have been arrested for arson for deliberately starting blazes along the West Coast including one man who livestreamed the encounter on social media as the death toll from the devastating wildfires climbed to 29 and Oregon officials warned they are preparing for a ‘mass fatality event’. 

Two men in Washington state, one man in Oregon and one woman in California are facing arson charges for setting fires in areas that were already grappling with deadly blazes.  

At least 20 have now been killed in California, eight in Oregon and one in Washington state as thousands of firefighters struggle to bring the blazes under control and the governors of California and Oregon told residents to expect more fatalities in the coming days.  

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Facebook says it’ll REMOVE all posts alleging Oregon fires ‘were started by certain groups’

Facebook has announced that it will be wiping messages alleging that wildfires, which have been sweeping through Oregon, might be the work of certain groups after the FBI brushed off reports of arson as “conspiracy theories.”

“We are removing false claims that the wildfires in Oregon were started by certain groups,” Andy Stone, policy communications manager at Facebook, tweeted late on Saturday.

Defending what is effectively an act of censorship by the social media giant, Stone noted that speculation suggesting the blazes have been ignited by extremists are forcing law enforcement to “divert resources from fighting the fires and protecting the public.”

This is consistent with our past efforts to remove content that could lead to imminent harm given the possible risk to human life as the fires rage on

The move comes as multiple wildfires are tearing through Oregon, closing in on Portland, the center of the Black Lives Matter protests, which have been marred by vandalism and arson.

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Antifa activist arrested for arson in Washington state

Amid criminal investigations into the origin of many of the fires that have devastated communities in Washington, Oregon and California, a 36-year-old man with a history of radical activism has been arrested.

Jeffrey Acord was arrested Wednesday for setting a brush fire near a freeway in Puyallup, Washington, south of Seattle.

In 2014, he was arrested during protests of the Michael Brown decision with a cache of weapons, ammunition and explosive materials in his backpack and vehicle.

KOMO-TV in Seattle reported at the time that investigators said Acord was seen reaching under a car with a road flare. Among the weapons in his possession were a 7-inch knife, an assault rifle, a shotgun and a box full of large fireworks.

On Wednesday, it was Acord who called 911 to report a fire on the side of State Route 167. He then began streaming on his Facebook page, noted the blog Protester Privilege. A police officer can be heard questioning Acord, and the video ends with his arrest for second-degree reckless burning.

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