Shroud of Turin Author in Special Prosecutor’s Sights

December 20, 2018

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Jerome Corsi, a propagandist for the notorious Shroud of Turin (supposedly Jesus’ burial cloth), and an arch spreader of outrageous conspiracy theories, is now reportedly in the sights of special prosecutor Robert Mueller concerning Corsi’s purported role in the matter of the Trump campaign’s Russia connections during the 2016 presidential election.

I first learned of Jerome Corsi through his book, The Shroud Codex (2010). It is a study in fantastic fiction. Corsi’s tale is about a physicist-become-priest who, after he dies, accepts a commission from God:  Return to Earth and “decipher” a secret message for mankind that is “embedded” in the shroud as Jesus’ life-and-death story. It continues in this absurd fashion, as a means of presenting supposed facts about the shroud for their entertaining propaganda value.

In reality, the “shroud” is contrary to the gospel of John’s account of Jesus’ burial, as well as Jewish burial practices of the time, and the cloth lacks any provenance (historical record) before the mid-fourteenth century. (There have been some forty “true” shrouds.)  It bears a simulated body image that follows the traditional Christian iconography of French gothic art. According to a French bishop’s report, the image was “cunningly painted” by a confessed forger, having first appeared as part of a faith-healing scam to deceive “unsuspecting pilgrims.” Modern forensic science has shown the image contains red ocher and vermilion pigments, and the still-red “blood” (!) is actually tempera paint. Radiocarbon tests reveal the cloth dates from ca. 1260-1390—consistent with the time of the forgery scandal.

Corsi’s other books are similarly untrustworthy.  His Unfit for Command (2004) was a one-sided attack on John Kerry’s military service in Vietnam and his subsequent anti-war activities. Corsi has been involved in spreading numerous conspiracy theories—most notoriously that the World Trade Center towers collapse involved secretly pre-placed explosives; that the CIA was involved in the assassination of JFK; and that Adolf Hitler escaped death in 1945 and was carried by submarine to Argentina—among other wackadoodle notions, usually from the far-right fringe.

His 2008 The Obama Nation (“abomination,” get it?) led to criticism from the Obama campaign that Corsi was a “bigoted fringe author.” When that book was followed in 2011 by Where’s the Birth Certificate?, questioning Obama’s citizenship, Obama launched a pre-emptive strike by releasing his long-form birth certificate just three weeks prior to the book’s publication.

Esquire magazine gave Corsi a dose of his own medicine by issuing a report that the book had been recalled! That was satire, and, when Corsi sued the magazine for over $285 million, a U.S. district court dismissed the suit, noting that satire is protected by the First Amendment. Nevertheless, Donald Trump championed the Birther lie and used it to help boost his presidential bid.

Corsi went on to become, for a time, the Washington, DC, bureau chief for InfoWars, a website operated by the notorious Alex Jones whose outrageous lies about the 2014 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting resulted in his being banned from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. (Trump also has connections to Jones.)

Now there is widespread speculation that Corsi is not only a habitual conspiracy theorist, but may be part of a conspiracy himself as well. At issue, according to news sources, is Corsi’s appearing to have learned before others about WikiLeaks obtaining Russian-hacked Clinton campaign emails, but Corsi claims he figured that out on his own. Be that as it may, he and his friend Roger Stone are reportedly under scrutiny by Robert Mueller’s federal prosecutors. (Stone once had to amend his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.)  Corsi’s latest move to grab attention has been to file a suit against Mueller for $350 million, as reported by Politico. Stay tuned:  Corsi might yet be abducted by aliens.