MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new movement is accusing politicians of spreading lies through tweets — literally.
This month, a billboard that reads “Birds Aren’t Real” went up on the Highland Strip near the University of Memphis. According to one Memphis man, it’s part of a movement to educate people on a mass government surveillance program that replaced birds with drones.
That may sound like a joke to some, but don’t tell that to Peter McIndoe.
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This Big Brother (or would it be Big Bird?) theory is that beginning in 1959, the United States government started killing off all birds in the country while simultaneously replacing them with identical, undercover surveillance drones — what we now call “birds.” Believers say that footage is used to monitor all Americans every day.
McIndoe, who is from Arkansas and said he moved to Memphis to become a “full-time activist,” said he didn’t start the movement, but around 2015, he joined because he always had a “distrust” of the feathered beings. He wanted to spread that message further than the stickers or posters, so he put up the billboard in Memphis.
“We wanted to put it up in a big city, the Paris of the West,” McIndoe said. “We came to the one city we knew would be the big deal: Memphis, Tennessee — the 901.”
McIndoe said other “bird truthers” have come to Memphis just to see the billboard. He also said other people think it’s all a joke.
“We don’t find this humorous,” he said. “This is a serious issue. And this is something where we’re trying to spread awareness of unconsensual surveillance happening on a mass level. Birds are lying to them every day. Every tweet by a bird is a lie.”
McIndoe insisted he is not the founder of the movement, just a messenger, but he said the leaders of the movement “prefer to remain anonymous,” and even he doesn’t know who they are. Though the evidence may seem scarce, McIndoe said he knows enough to know a cover-up is happening.
“I consider myself to be a normal American,” McIndoe said. “I wake up in the morning, brush my teeth, wash my car, and I have an avid disbelief in avian beings.”
He said the government-controlled bird drones use power lines as “charging units” to power up, and birds that are eaten — like chicken and turkey — are actually synthetic meat alternatives.
“I knew I had to give my all to the movement, so I abandoned everything,” he said. “I left my friends. I abandoned my family. I have not spoken to them since, and I made the truth my family.”
Though his view may be uncommon, McIndoe doesn’t like to consider this a conspiracy, and he said he doesn’t identify with other conspiracies.
“Flat Earthers are out of their minds; they’re nuts,” he said. “There’s a lot of crazy people out there.”
He said this is just a phenomenon in the U.S., and it’s a reason for the distrust of the U.S. government.
“Sometimes I’ll travel internationally just to breathe that drone-free air,” he said. “Sometimes I’ll go to the Himalayas, look around at all the real birds there. It gives me this warmth, this feeling of hope, for what this country could be if we can fight back, change legislation and get these drones out of here and the real birds back in.”
McIndoe’s activism may be raising awareness. The amount of Google searches for the terms “birds aren’t real” and “are birds real” drastically increased around the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019.
Followers of the movement can buy merchandise online, and the revenue from that, McIndoe said, goes toward funding activism like the billboard on Highland, which cost around $2,500-$5,000.