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Move over, LuLaRoe—Q’s gang is getting into MLMs.
Will Sommer

In a December livestream to his QAnon fanbase, conspiracy theorist Phil Godlewski laid out what he described as the key to their financial futures: buying silver. The precious metal, Godlewski insisted, would soon explode in value after the passage of legislation some QAnon believers think will bring on a utopia. Income taxes would be eliminated, debt would be abolished, and anyone holding silver would become fabulously wealthy. But Godlewski didn’t want his followers to buy silver from just any company. Instead, he told them to buy through 7k Metals, a multi-level marketing business and metals dealer. Godlewski and other leading QAnon conspiracy theorists have found a new way to make money from their supporters: directing them to buy and sell products for multi-level marketing companies.

Josephine Harvey

Aweek before the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, a former aide to Republican political consultant Roger Stone joined a conference call with supporters of then-President Donald Trump and urged them to “descend on the Capitol” to pressure lawmakers not to certify the 2020 election, The New York Times reported Tuesday. Jason Sullivan, a right-wing communications specialist and QAnon promoter, reportedly told listeners on a Dec. 30, 2020, call that the 2020 election had been stolen and directed them to go to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 to make members of Congress “sweat” when they convened to finalize the electoral count. “If we make the people inside that building sweat, and they understand that they may not be able to walk in the streets any longer if they do the wrong thing, then maybe they’ll do the right thing,” he said, according to the Times, which obtained a recording of the call. While claiming he was “not inciting violence or any kind of riots,” Sullivan also told listeners that Trump would impose a form of martial law that day and would not be leaving office.

The Daily Beast

Are you or a loved one feeling serpentine lately? The QAnon-right thinks your COVID-19 vaccine might have been laced with snake blood to inject you with Satan’s DNA. The false claim is the subject of a new documentary by a far-right bounty hunter turned podcast host. It’s just as baseless as other vaccine conspiracy theories before it (remember the 5G hoax?), but the fraud is going viral on right-wing social media. “There’s a lot of debate whether it’s cobra DNA, is it crate snake DNA,” says Fever Dreams host Will Sommer. “But this sort of gives you a glimpse at the ideas that are taking off.

Christopher Wilson

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., on Monday launched an outlandish attack against three Republican senators who support Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, accusing them of somehow being “pro-pedophile.” The line of attack echoes Greene’s past support for the QAnon conspiracy theory that alleged former President Donald Trump was working to take down a powerful cabal of child traffickers typically portrayed as the Democratic elite. Believers in the debunked belief frequently allege that their political opponents support pedophiles.

Americans who most trust far-right news outlets are nearly five times as likely to believe the central views of the conspiracist movement, a study found.
By Susan Milligan

Here's a theory: Satan-worshipping pedophiles running a global sex-trafficking operation control the U.S. government, media and financial institutions. A storm is coming to sweep away the elites and restore the rightful leader of the country. And things are so off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save the country. It's a pretty out-there view of the world, acknowledges Natalie Jackson, a researcher with the Public Religion Research Institute, which surveyed Americans on the central views of the conspiracist QAnon movement. But a quarter of Republicans agree with those sentiments, according to a PRRI report released Thursday that was based on data from four separate polls it conducted. So does 16% of the population as a whole – or, Jackson notes, about 44 million people.

Cristina Cabrera

When Did This Become Normal?
The power and rancidness of QAnon is being turned against the GOP’s own, and it ain’t pretty. After Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) announced they would support the confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s to the Supreme Court, far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) started trafficking in the most vile of QAnon tropes: For context: GOP senators on the Judiciary Committee spent weeks accusing Jackson of being lenient on child-sex offenders, in a not-so-subtle QAnon callback. Now comes Greene and others saying the quiet part out loud. (Fun fact #1: Greene is buddies with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who’s currently under investigation for alleged sex trafficking involving a 17-year-old.)

America's far right shares a common enemy with Putin and Russia: the West's liberal values and the cabal of elites they believe controls the economy and the media.
Will Carless, Jessica Guynn | USA TODAY

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, there has been near unanimous denunciation of President Vladimir Putin, from President Joe Biden calling Putin a "war criminal," to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell describing him as a "ruthless thug." But the Ukraine invasion has found a significant pocket of support from prominent figures on the far right including white supremacist Nick Fuentes, who regularly gushes about Putin on his Telegram channel. The war is also a hot topic in QAnon chatrooms where Putin is often portrayed as a hero.

David D. Kirkpatrick and Stuart A. Thompson

The online world of adherents to the QAnon conspiracy theory sprang into action almost as soon as Senator Josh Hawley tweeted his alarm: that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the Biden administration’s Supreme Court nominee, had handed down sentences below the minimum recommended in federal guidelines for possessing images of child sexual abuse. “An apologist for child molesters,” the QAnon supporter Zak Paine declared in a video the next day, on March 17, asserting without evidence that Democrats were repeatedly “elevating pedophiles and people who can change the laws surrounding punishment” for pedophiles.

By Jim Vorel  

It’s been a while at this point since we formally checked in with the zealots of the QAnon conspiracy theory, at least in the form of actual reporting here at Paste. In the past, I’ve detailed everything from the fact that QAnon believers thought Hurricane Ida was a “man-made storm” created by the nefarious Deep State, to the time they completely ignored the likely identity of Q being revealed, to the way they split into battling factions in a QAnon civil war over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. But ultimately, you can only repeat the same information a finite number of times, so I decided to leave the QAnon reporting in stasis for a while, even as I continued to keep an eye on the tone of their chatter on extreme right-wing social media hubs such as Gab. I resolved to come back and publish again if and when the Anons (as they call themselves) sunk to some new low. And perhaps unsurprisingly, the war in Ukraine has brought out the very best in this modern form of internet meme-based psychosis.

By Jon Jackson

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on Wednesday denied accusations from Russia that the U.S. had bioweapons labs in Ukraine, but QAnon conspiracy theorists have already widely spread Russia's claims throughout its communications channels. Evidence also shows many members of QAnon believe a "baseless" theory that the Russian war is actually a secret mission backed by former President Donald Trump to destroy clandestine bioweapon labs created by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden. NBC reported on March 4 that the theory was being spread during the American offshoot of the "Freedom Convoy" of protesting truckers in Washington, D.C., by members of QAnon. Along with groundless claims that Fauci is trying to create a pathogen for a new pandemic, the conspiracists also falsely state he created the COVID-19 pandemic.

Conservatives and U.S. media are regurgitating a fake conspiracy theory that’s being used to justify Putin’s assault on Ukraine.
Jared Holt

In the information era, a lie can make its way around the world and, in short order, make millions of people sympathetic to an unjustifiable war of aggression. False claims that Russia has been targeting sinister U.S.-backed “biolabs” in Ukraine were popularized among conspiratorial American audiences by QAnon believers shortly after Russia launched its invasion in late February. Mainstream Republican voices have since dragged the old Russian propaganda at its roots across the forefront of the U.S. political stage. The Kremlin has for years accused the U.S. of operating a shady network of biolabs in foreign countries conducting dangerous experiments, including some in Ukraine that have allegedly targeted unsuspecting locals. Though the U.S. does support medical and biodefense labs across the former Soviet Union, there is no evidence to support claims that the labs are used to develop bioweapons programs. China has peddled similar propaganda; it tag-teamed with Russia last year to rehash an old accusation that COVID-19 may have been manufactured in U.S.-supported labs—a narrative that has been nurtured by pro-Kremlin sources since the onset of the pandemic in 2020. more...

By Justin Klawans

A bizarre new theory is making its way through the ranks of QAnon, with some followers now reportedly believing that former President Donald Trump's unusual pronunciation of "China" is actually a secret message referring to Ukraine. QAnon, a far-right political movement, has become well known in the past few years for their numerous conspiracy theories. Many of these theories revolve around liberal politicians, including the disproven idea that President Joe Biden stole the 2020 election as a result of widespread voter fraud. Other QAnon conspiracy theories involve former President Barack Obama and 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. These theories typically concern a reported cabal of liberal elites that QAnon believers say are working behind the scenes.

Sébastian SEIBT

Russia convened a special UN Security Council meeting on Friday to discuss what the Kremlin said were "secret" research laboratories the US allegedly has in Ukraine to develop biological weapons. The Russian allegations are rooted in an unlikely conspiracy theory that has been promoted by both China and the pro-Trump conspiracy movement QAnon. As Russia's attack on Ukraine enters a third week, Russia's deputy ambassador to the UN, Dmitri Polianski, convened the Security Council on Friday to raise the issue of the "biological activities” of the US military in Ukraine. Polianski accused Washington of developing biological weapons in research laboratories throughout the country. Earlier this week, Russia's defense ministry said there was a network of US-funded biolaboratories in Ukraine working on establishing a mechanism "for the covert transmission of deadly pathogens" and conducting experiments with bat coronavirus samples. Russia claimed this was being done under the auspices of the US Department of Defense and was part of a US biological weapons programme. more...

The conspiracy theory has been boosted by Russian and Chinese media and diplomats.
By Justin Ling

Pro-Russian channels and QAnon conspiracy theorists think Moscow is launching airstrikes on Ukraine to destroy bioweapon-manufacturing labs in order to prevent the American infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci from creating a sequel to the COVID-19 virus. This theory hangs on the entirely discredited idea that the coronavirus was designed as a bioweapon, perhaps by the U.S. government itself. And yet, the theory is being shared thousands of times, faster than regulated social media networks can yank the conspiracy theory down. On unregulated platforms, such as Telegram and 8chan, the conspiracy theory has become incredibly popular, racking up hundreds of thousands of hits each day. The theory is now being actively contributed to, and promoted, by one Russian embassy, an official Russian state propaganda outlet, and media channels in Serbia and China. more...

Russian allegations of US-funded biolabs in Ukraine gain traction with American conspiracy theorists including QAnon adherents.

Russia’s claims about secret American biological warfare labs in Ukraine are taking root in the United States too, uniting COVID-19 conspiracy theorists, QAnon adherents and some supporters of ex-President Donald Trump. Despite rebuttals from independent scientists, Ukrainian leaders, and officials at the White House and Pentagon, the online popularity of the claims suggests some Americans are willing to trust Kremlin propaganda over the US media and government. Like any effective conspiracy theory, the Russian claim relies on some truths: Ukraine does maintain a network of biological labs dedicated to research into pathogens, and those labs have received funding and research support from the US. But the labs are owned and operated by Ukraine, and the work is not secret. It is part of an initiative called the Biological Threat Reduction Program, which aims to reduce the likelihood of deadly outbreaks, whether natural or man made. The US efforts date back to work in the 1990s to dismantle the former Soviet Union’s programme for weapons of mass destruction.

Russian and Chinese officials have also pushed the theory, associated with QAnon, which has reached mainstream conservative media in the U.S.
By Ben Collins and Kevin Collier

Russia’s early struggles to push disinformation and propaganda about Ukraine have picked up momentum in recent days, thanks to a variety of debunked conspiracy theories about biological research labs in Ukraine. Much of the false information is flourishing in Russian social media, far-right online spaces and U.S. conservative media, including Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News. The theories, which have been boosted by Russian and Chinese officials, come as U.S. officials warn that Russia could be preparing a chemical or biological weapons attack of its own in Ukraine. Most of the conspiracy theories claim that the U.S. was developing and plotting to release a bioweapon or potentially another coronavirus from “biolabs”’ throughout Ukraine and that Russia invaded to take over the labs. Many of the theories implicate people who are often the targets of far-right conspiracy thinking — including Dr. Anthony Fauci and President Joe Biden — as being behind creating the weaponized diseases in the biolabs.

By Donie O'Sullivan, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business)A new conspiracy theory has become popular among some of the online communities that formed around QAnon -- one simultaneously being promoted by the Kremlin as a justification for its invasion of Ukraine. The false claim: the United States is developing bioweapons in Ukraine and Vladimir Putin has stepped in to save the day and destroy the weapons. QAnon's core prophecy has always been that there is a "plan" and that former President Donald Trump will rid the world of an evil cabal, culminating in the unmasking, imprisonment or even execution of cabal members. But that prophecy dates back to when Trump was actually president -- now that he's not, believers have been convincing themselves there is evidence that the plan is still very much in place, maybe even more so than ever before. In the Kremlin's disinformation, some have seen that hope. more...

Lauren Witzke, a far-right Christian nationalist and QAnon supporter, views Putin as a "symbol of Christian piety"
By Alex Henderson

In Delaware, the most famous Democrat is President Joe Biden, who commutes between the White House and his home in that heavily Democratic state. Delaware's most famous — or infamous — Republican, meanwhile, is far-right Christian nationalist and QAnon supporter Lauren Witzke, who drew widespread condemnation in late February when she praised Russian President Vladimir Putin as a symbol of Christian piety. But Witzke's praise of Putin is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to her extremism and her ability to embarrass the state of Delaware. During an appearance on the Christian Right program "Cross Talk," the 34-year-old native of Delmar, Delaware — who suffered a landslide defeat when she ran against Sen. Chris Coons in Delaware's 2020 U.S. Senate race — made it clear that she supports Putin's decision to invade Ukraine.

Marc Owen Jones navigates the murky waters of deceptive influence campaigns
By Isobel Cockerell

Disinformation researcher Marc Owen Jones knows his way around a rabbit hole. He spends his time investigating fake accounts, exposing disinformation networks, and wading through the murky waters of authoritarian influence campaigns. He creates visualizations of these digital worlds to help his followers understand how many people are involved, how they’re connected, and who the biggest players are. In the last week, he’s been in some truly bizarre corners of the internet. He’s unearthed a network of QAnon influencers who believe Trump’s pronunciation of “China” is really a secret message about Ukrainian involvement in the origins of Covid-19. He’s drilled down into a conspiracy theory claiming there are U.S.-run bioweapon labs in Ukraine. He’s exposed fake Twitter accounts, like one purportedly owned by a Brisbane realtor that’s likely been hacked and transformed into a “Crypto QAnon Fascist” account.

David Smith in Washington

The QAnon conspiracy myth movement continues to thrive in the US and has even strengthened more than a year after Donald Trump left the White House, according to the largest ever study of its followers. Some 22% of Americans believe that a “storm” is coming, 18% think violence might be necessary to save the country and 16% hold that the government, media and financial worlds are controlled by Satan-worshipping pedophiles, according to four surveys carried out last year by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) think tank. The elected candidates would be in prime position to overturn election results as they fit. Each of these baseless and bizarre views is a core tenet of QAnon, an antisemitic internet conspiracy theory which held that Trump was waging a secret battle against a cabal of pedophiles and its “deep state” collaborators – a “storm” that would sweep them out of power. Yet despite his election defeat by Joe Biden, major social media platforms banning QAnon activity and the disappearance of its leader, “Q”, the movement has not gone away. If anything, it has strengthened.

Surveys by the Public Religion Research Institute reveal QAnon believers increased to 17% in September from 14% in March
David Smith in Washington

The QAnon conspiracy myth movement continues to thrive in the US and has even strengthened more than a year after Donald Trump left the White House, according to the largest ever study of its followers. Some 22% of Americans believe that a “storm” is coming, 18% think violence might be necessary to save the country and 16% hold that the government, media and financial worlds are controlled by Satan-worshipping pedophiles, according to four surveys carried out last year by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) think tank. Each of these baseless and bizarre views is a core tenet of QAnon, an antisemitic internet conspiracy theory which held that Trump was waging a secret battle against a cabal of pedophiles and its “deep state” collaborators – a “storm” that would sweep them out of power.

As part of a calculated assault on democracy, QAnon steered far-right candidates toward secretary of state contests
Ed Pilkington

QAnon, the extremist conspiracy movement whose followers believe Donald Trump is waging war against the “deep state”, appears to have instigated a nationwide effort to take control of the US election process in critical battleground states ahead of America’s 2024 presidential election. In recent months concern has risen over the coordinated efforts of at least 15 candidates – committed to Trump’s “big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from him – who are now running to serve as chief election officials in key swing states. At least eight of the candidates standing for secretary of state positions have formed an alliance in which they share tactics and tips for success, details of which the Guardian revealed last month.

Far-right conspiracies ran unchecked online in the Trump years. It’s all gone quiet since the Capitol riot, but author Mike Rothschild believes there’s a radicalised audience waiting for a new rallying point
Tim Adams

On 7 January this year, a day after the mob stormed the Capitol in Washington DC, a curious exchange occurred in the netherworld of global conspiracy. Alex Jones, the rasp-voiced mouthpiece of fake news for the past decade, was in conversation with the most visible leader of the previous day’s shocking events: Jacob Chansley, the self-styled “Q Shaman” who featured on the world’s front pages, in buffalo horns, animal skins and face paint. Jones, on his fake-news platform Infowars, with its million-plus viewers and sharers, had for years been the loudhailer of unhinged stories that included the belief that Hillary Clinton was the antichrist, that Michelle Obama was a man, that the Pentagon and George Soros had detonated a “homosexual bomb” that turned even frogs gay, that 9/11 had been a “false flag” operation and, most viciously, that the Sandy Hook school murders, in which 20 children and six teachers died, were staged by “crisis actors” to promote gun control. Jones had inevitably been among those who addressed the restive crowd at Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” march (having donated $50,000 for the staging of the rally) and calling for supporters to “get on a war footing” to defend the president. Two days later, however, when faced with the rhetoric of Chansley, whom he had invited on to his show to explain the insurrection, it seemed even he, America’s conspirator in chief, finally couldn’t take the lies any more.

By Sonam Sheth,Eliza Relman

Former national security advisor Michael Flynn recently told the GOP lawyer Lin Wood that he believes QAnon is "total nonsense" and baselessly claimed the elaborate pro-Trump conspiracy theory is a CIA-sponsored "disinformation campaign." That's according to what appears to be a recording of a phone call between Flynn and Wood that Wood recently published and was first reported by The Daily Beast . "I think it's a disinformation campaign that the CIA created, that's what I believe now," Flynn apparently told Wood. He later added, "I find it total nonsense, and I think it's a disinformation campaign created by the left." more...

Peter Weber, Senior editor

"Folks, in case you were wondering what your insane aunt is up to, you don't have to wait till Thanksgiving," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. "The latest in cutting-edge crazy is that hundreds of QAnon adherents gathered in Dallas, Texas, yesterday. The reason? They were expecting a big announcement from John F. Kennedy Jr.," who died 22 years ago. "Apparently the creme de la cray-cray believed that John-John faked his own death, went into hiding, and is now actually the Q that they follow on the internet," Colbert explained. "And they expected him to appear in public and reveal all of this yesterday in Dallas, at Dealey Plaza, by the grassy knoll. Oh, and they had to throw in the grassy knoll. Up till then it had the ring of truth." more...

Some believe the reappearance of John F. Kennedy’s son, who died in a plane crash in 1999, will bring about the reinstatement of Donald Trump as president.
By Michael Williams and Catherine Marfin

Scores of QAnon believers gathered Tuesday afternoon in downtown Dallas in the hopes that John F. Kennedy Jr. would appear, heralding the reinstatement of Donald Trump as president. The supporters first gathered Monday night in downtown Dallas, and about 1 p.m. Tuesday there were several hundred people near Dealey Plaza, where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. more...

After the organizer of the “For God & Country Patriot Double Down” called for a “military mutiny,” the venue got cold feet.
by David Gilbert

QAnon John has had a difficult week. First he was kicked out of QAnon’s biggest influencer group for calling on U.S. soldiers to take part in a “military mutiny,” and on Tuesday the high-profile QAnon event he’s organizing in Las Vegas next month was kicked out of its venue.

The event, called “For God & Country Patriot Double Down,” was scheduled to take place at the Caesars Forum convention space near the Las Vegas Strip over three days in October. But on Tuesday, the venue confirmed that it had cancelled the event. more...

Authorities say Matthew Taylor Coleman confessed to murdering his two young children in Mexico and told investigators he thought they would "grow into monsters."
By Doha Madani, Andrew Blankstein and Ben Collins

A California surfing school owner who was charged with killing his two children in Mexico is a follower of QAnon and Illuminati conspiracy theories who thought the children "were going to grow into monsters so he had to kill them," federal officials alleged. Matthew Taylor Coleman, 40, was charged Wednesday with foreign murder of U.S. nationals in connection with the death of his 2-year-old son and his 10-month-old daughter, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California. Authorities said Coleman confessed to the killings and told the FBI that he used a spear fishing gun to stab them. more...

By Ewan Palmer

A cryptic image posted on John McAfee's Instagram moments after he was reported dead sparked speculation from QAnon conspiracy theorists that the antivirus software entrepreneur had activated a so-called "dead man's switch" to expose the government. John McAfee, 75, was found dead in a Barcelona prison cell hours after a Spanish court agreed to extradite him to the U.S. to face tax evasion charges. In a statement, the Catalan justice department said that attempts to revive McAfee were unsuccessful. "Everything points to death by suicide," the statement added. more...

The video circulating on Twitter shows the crowd cheering the suggestion of a coup in the US
Stuti Mishra

Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser under the Donald Trump administration, has said that a Myanmar-like coup — in which the military overthrew a democratically elected government — “should happen” in the US. Appearing in Dallas, Texas, at a QAnon conference, Mr Flynn was asked during a Q&A session by a member of the audience: “I want to know why what happened in Myanmar can’t happen here?” The video circulating on Twitter shows the question receiving cheering from the crowd. In response, Mr Flynn said: “No reason. I mean, it should happen here.” more...

By Ewan Palmer

Anon followers are once again pulling in all directions as they struggle to explain why Donald Trump would urge people to get COVID-19 vaccinations, which are highly-detested among Q-conspiracists. The former president, who is a savior-like figure in the conspiracy theory, told Fox News in a phone call on Tuesday night that he and Melaina, the former first lady, both received vaccine shots and told others to do the same. "I would recommend it and I would recommend it to a lot of people that don't want to get it, and a lot of those people voted for me," Trump said. more...

‘I was peaceful. I was civil.’ A federal judge says Jacob Chansley “blatantly lied” during a jailhouse interview with CBS News.
Pilar Melendez

The notorious “QAnon Shaman” made several stunning claims during his jailhouse interview with CBS News earlier this month—including that his actions during the Capitol riots were not an attack on the United States because authorities left the door open for the MAGA mob to enter. “I didn’t break any windows,” Jacob Chansley said during the interview with 60 Minutes+ that aired March 4. “I didn’t break any doors. I didn’t cross any police barricades. I was peaceful. I was civil. I was calm.” But a federal judge, who last week ordered Chansley to remain behind bars pending trial, insists the accused rioter “blatantly lied” during the interview about his easy entrance into the Capitol. And he has the receipts to prove it. On Tuesday, the court released two videos to debunk Chansley’s claim, showing the chaos outside the Capitol on Jan. 6 as thousands of MAGA supporters smashed through the building’s windows. In the first video, first obtained by Law & Crime, Chansley is seen standing on scaffolding and holding an American flag above a sea of rioters being held back by law enforcement. more...

The six-part docuseries, premiering March 21 on HBO, examines the Trump-centric conspiracy theory/movement—and makes a convincing case for exactly who is posing as Q.
Nick Schager

A mishmash of abject nonsense about global elite cabals, deep state operatives, and pedophilic child-sex traffickers who consume babies’ fear for its rejuvenating power, QAnon’s belief system is so absurd that it would be laughable if it wasn’t so popular—and thus so dangerous. Shot over the past three years, Cullen Hoback’s excellent Q: Into the Storm (March 21 on HBO) is a complex story about free speech, social media, anti-establishment fury, white nationalist intolerance, crackpot fantasy, and anarchist villainy, all of which contributed to the rise of the infamous conspiracy theory, which during Donald Trump’s presidency took hold of factions of the GOP, and helped fuel the insurrectionist January 6 Capitol riots. Part on-the-ground journalistic exposé, part sociological study of corrosive internet culture, and part whodunit, the six-part affair shines a spotlight on one of the darkest corners of contemporary American life. more...

Self-styled 'paleoconservative' had a hand in organising Stop the Steal rally that led to Capitol riot but appears to have since broken with QAnon cult
Joe Sommerlad

“Q tells us stuff and all of it’s lies,” a frustrated Alex Jones recently raved on his InfoWars radio show in the aftermath of the US Capitol riot. “You keep interrupting me…” his caller, a believer in the QAnon cult whose acolytes like “Q Shaman” Jacob Chansley took part in the failed insurrection, started to complain. “Because you’re lying! Because you’re full of s***! That’s why! Because every goddamned thing out of you people’s mouths doesn’t come true,” Mr Jones frothed, working himself up into one of his trademark bellicose furies. “And it’s always, ‘Oh, there’s energy’ and ‘Oh, now we’re done with Trump’. You said he was the messiah! You said he was invincible! You said it was all over, they were all going to Gitmo! more...

By Emily Czachor

As federal law enforcement agencies braced for QAnon conspiracy theorists to engage in potential acts of violence on Thursday, leading affiliates of the far-right extremist movement seemed to amend formerly held beliefs about the significance of March 4. QAnon, a viral set of online conspiracy theories pushed predominantly by followers of former president Donald Trump, gained widespread notoriety ahead of the most recent general election. Supporters believe a range of false conspiracies, whose overarching theme alleges that distinguished Democrats belong to a secret, global network of sex traffickers and Satan worshipers that Trump was appointed to disband. Proponents for QAnon were responsible for spreading misinformation and disinformation about a number of issues, from COVID-19 to the Black Lives Matter movement, during the months leading up to November's election. more...

By Christina Zhao

Fears of another Capitol attack have ramped up in the days and hours leading up to March 4, the next significant date in the QAnon calendar. Despite countless failed Q predictions, supporters of former President Donald Trump and the proliferating conspiracy theory believe that Thursday will be the day that the ex-president will be inaugurated again. On Wednesday, the United States Capitol Police (USCP) announced that they had uncovered threats by militia groups to breach the Capitol building on March 4. The "possible plot" appeared to be connected to the QAnon theory that Trump would return to office on that date, when presidents were inaugurated pre-1933. "The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex," authorities said in a statement. "We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4." more...

Carlson attacked other media networks accusing them of running disinformation campaigns
Mayank Aggarwal

Fox News host Tucker Carlson was mocked for claiming on his show on Tuesday that he can’t find any evidence of QAnon. "We spent all day trying to locate the famous QAnon, which in the end we learned is not even a website. If it’s out there, we could not find it,” said Mr Carlson on his show while stating that the media coverage about it is actually part of a left-wing disinformation campaign. He also attacked other media networks for coverage related to the radicalisation of people in the US. QAnon is a vast conspiracy theory believed by some on the right, and has even been classified as a domestic terrorism threat by the FBI. QAnon followers and Trump supporters were among those who were part of the 6 January Capitol riots. more...

Story by Richa Naik, CNN Business
Video by Richa Naik & Zach Wasser

(CNN Business) As Joe Biden was taking the oath of office to become President of the United States, 20-year-old Lily was holding her breath. "I thought, for sure this would be it," she said. Finally, the moment she'd been waiting for months to arrive was here. Her parents, ardent QAnon adherents, would finally see the truth and disavow the conspiracy theory, she believed. "[Inauguration] was the end of the line," she said. Instead, the opposite happened.

'They blame themselves'
Lily, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, has parents who believe in QAnon, the conspiracy theory that centers around former President Donald Trump. She's one of countless people who feel they have lost a loved one to the grips of QAnon. Adherents of this baseless conspiracy believe Trump is in a fight against the so-called "deep state," a cabal of pedophilic, Democratic politicians and celebrities who abuse children. A mysterious entity who calls themselves "Q" claims to be a government insider and shares supposedly secret information about this fight through anonymous online posts, which the community calls "Q drops." more...

Julian Feeld, producer of a podcast that debunks QAnon theories, explains why some followers believe that Donald Trump will be inaugurated on March 4th. video...

by CNN Newsource

On the eve of the second impeachment, QAnon believers spout false, bizarre conspiracy about Trump returning to office in March. On Monday federal prosecutors charged the youngest suspect in the Capitol Hill riots, an 18-year-old man from Georgia. Like several of the others involved in the violence on January 6, he is a QAnon believer. This comes as some QAnon followers are saying that former President Trump will actually be sworn back into office in a matter of weeks. The conspiracy theory had convinced some Trump supporters that Biden was not going to be inaugurated on January 20. But as soon as Biden was inaugurated, a new conspiracy theory took hold. Trump will return as president in March, they falsely claim. The conspiracy theory is apparently rooted in the belief that an 1871 law turned the country into a corporation -- and any president elected after that is illegitimate. The last president to be sworn in before that law passed was Ulysses S. Grant on March 4, 1869. more...

QAnon expert Kevin Roose explains how deeply affiliated with QAnon Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is. Anderson Cooper Full Circle airs Monday, Tuesday and Friday at 6p E.T. video...

By Peter Jensen | Baltimore Sun

To paraphrase the Book of Matthew, you live by the sword and you die by the sword. Two thousand years later, this is just as true. A once-proud political party, the one that gave us Abraham Lincoln, stoops to playing footsie with deranged conspiracy theorists and white supremacists and lo and behold, here’s what gets elected to the U.S. House of Representatives under their banner: No less than Marjorie Taylor Greene, the 46-year-old former gym owner who holds views that can, at the very least, be described as wacky or fringe-y but also clearly racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, fascist, insurrectionist and un-American. Exceptionally gross comes to mind, too, particularly given that the Georgia Republican believes that infamous mass shooting events such as the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary were phony or perhaps staged to feed a gun control narrative. And did I mention she’s been known to ridicule young victims of school shootings? more...

A former follower of the QAnon movement tells CNN's Don Lemon how she came to believe in the movement and ultimately decided to leave. video...

By David Brennan

Residents of the small town of Sequim, Washington, have launched a petition to remove Mayor William Armacost from office after the local leader repeatedly expressed support for the QAnon conspiracy theory, which is linked to former President Donald U.S. Capitol earlier this month. A CNN report from Sequim broadcast Friday detailed concerns among townspeople that Armacost has embraced the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, followers of which believe that Trump is doing battle with a shadowy international cabal of devil-worshipping cannibalistic pedophiles. QAnon devotees believe that Trump will eventually root out the so-called "deep state," with martial law declared allowing mass arrests and executions of prominent politicians, media personalities and businesspeople. more...

CNN's Anderson Cooper spoke to former QAnon supporter, Jitarth Jadeja, about his former beliefs about the conspiracy theory, including those about Cooper himself. video...

Julie Gerstein

The QAnon Shaman, he of the fur, face paint, horns, and bare chest, has offered to speak at former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial next month. The Shaman, real name Jacob Chansley, told the Associated Press, via his lawyer Albert S. Whatley, that he would be open to attending the trial and testify against the president. Chansley, Whatley said, had been "horrendously smitten" with Trump, but now feels "like he was betrayed by the president" after the president failed to give him and other Capitol rioters pardons. more...

Dave Davies

Now that former President Donald Trump has left office, the community of believers in the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory are left wondering what will happen next. Washington Post national technology reporter Craig Timberg has written about QAnon and related subjects in recent months. He acknowledges that it can be hard to sum up exactly what QAnon is. "Our copy editors [at the Post] are questioning whether we should call it a 'conspiracy theory' or an 'extremist ideology,' " Timberg tells Fresh Air. "Some researchers think it's a cult. Some think it's an alternative reality game." The gist of QAnon is that there is a person who goes by the pseudonym "Q" who is supposedly a top-secret official in the U.S. government. Q posts cryptic online messages about the "truth" of what's really happening in the world. QAnon proponents believe that Trump was battling a cabal of deep-state actors and their celebrity allies who were, in turn, engaged in satanic worship and pedophilia. more...

1"Hi is this the support groups for people whose parents have lost their minds?"
Stephanie K. Baer BuzzFeed News Reporter

Lauren couldn't help but feel relieved as she scrolled through frantic text messages posted on Twitter last week showing paranoid family members pleading with their loved ones to stock up on food and gas and take money out of the bank. "I was like, I’m so glad that it's not just me," the 27-year-old told BuzzFeed News Tuesday. "To see that there’s so many other people whose parents are falling for the same trap ... was comforting, but more than that it was deeply disturbing and disconcerting." Lauren couldn't help but feel relieved as she scrolled through frantic text messages posted on Twitter last week showing paranoid family members pleading with their loved ones to stock up on food and gas and take money out of the bank. more...

The Fox News host pandered to the violently unhinged conspiracists who believe that Trump is battling a deep state cabal of cannibalistic pedophiles.
Justin Baragona

Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday night pandered to and seemingly defended QAnon, the violently unhinged conspiracy theory whose adherents believe that a deep state cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiliac cannibals is plotting against former President Donald Trump. After an insurrectionist mob incited by Trump stormed the Capitol in order to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s election victory, social media companies cracked down and purged thousands of QAnon accounts and pages from their platforms. In a statement, Twitter said the accounts violated its rules on “coordinated harmful activity.” “We’ve been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm, and given the renewed potential for violence surrounding this type of behavior in the coming days, we will permanently suspend accounts that are solely dedicated to sharing QAnon content,” Twitter added. more...

By Anita Chabria, Paige St. John

As the pandemic continues to shutter businesses, close schools and upend lives in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has become a target of angry frustration for some, driving a grassroots effort to recall him from office. What once started as a pipe dream is beginning to look like a political threat for the Democratic governor. But a Times investigation found that recall campaign leaders, seeking to capitalize on the darkening public mood, allied with radical and extreme elements early on to help collect signatures. Those included groups promoting distrust of government, science and medicine; peddlers of QAnon doomsday conspiracies; “patriots” readying for battle and one organization allied with the far-right extremist group, the Proud Boys.  The recall gave those fringe factions a higher profile and a shared villain. They helped energize the campaign with large and often inflammatory rallies over masks, in support of Trump and against the election they falsely say was stolen from the former president — ripe venues to harvest petition signatures. more...

CNN's Brianna Keilar speaks with Jitarth Jadeja, who followed QAnon for two years, about how it appeals to its members and what happens now that "The Storm" never came. video...

By Ewan Palmer

A Pennsylvania judge has apologized after she uploaded a picture of herself standing next to her husband while he was dressed as the Capitol riot suspect known as the "QAnon Shaman." Allegheny County Common Pleas judge Kim Eaton admitted "poor judgment" after she posted the picture onto her private Facebook page while celebrating the inauguration of Joe Biden. The photo shows Eaton giving the thumbs up next to her husband, who is wearing a horned hat, face paint and drawn-on tattoos similar to those seen on Jake Angeli. more...

If the past has taught us anything it is that failed prophecies and frustrated predictions don’t always mark the beginning of the end for radical social movements.
Candida Moss

In addition to being a historic event, one might be forgiven for thinking that the inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Harris would sound the death knell of QAnon conspiracy theories. Now that Biden is actually president and QAnon predictions about Trump’s continuing hold on power have failed to come to fruition it would seem logical that they would pack up shop and admit that they were wrong. But if history has taught us anything it is that failed prophecies and frustrated predictions don’t always mark the beginning of the end for radical social movements. With apologies to Madonna, it’s prophets who are the mothers of reinvention.

In the early 19th century, New York farmer and Baptist preacher William Miller preached that the return of Jesus Christ was imminent. His prophecy was based largely on his study of the biblical book of Daniel. His interpretation led him to conclude, initially at least, that Christ would return sometime between March 1843 and 1844. When March 1844 passed without the appearance of Christ and his angels in the sky, Miller picked another date —April 18, 1844—which also slid by without cosmic incident or divine intervention. A follower of Miller’s, Samuel Snow, proposed a third date in October, but the Day of Judgment had still not arrived. The Millerites were understandably disillusioned. One member, Henry Emmons, wrote that he had to be helped to his bedroom, where he lay “sick with disappointment.” more...

The prophecies did not come true. And people are fuming about it.

The pardons went to Democrats, lobbyists and rappers, with nary a “patriot” among them. The mass arrests of Antifa campaigners never came. The inauguration stage at the Capitol, full of America’s most powerful politicians, was not purged of Satan-worshipping pedophiles under a shower of gunfire. Even the electricity stayed on. The moment the clock struck noon on Wednesday, Jan. 20, it was over — and the extreme factions of Trump’s diehard base were left reeling. Inauguration Day 2021 was supposed to be a culminating moment for the legion of online conspiracy theorists and extremists who have rallied around the now former president. But the lengthy list of prophecies they’d been told would eventually happen under Trump’s watch never came. In the days leading up to Trump’s departure from office, his online followers watched with horror as his pardons that were supposed to go to allies and supporters instead went to people who were inherently swampy: white-collar criminals convicted of tax fraud, family friends, Steve Bannon, even Democrat Kwame Kirkpatrick. more...

by: Nexstar Media Wire

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Georgia Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene announced Thursday that she has filed articles of impeachment against President Joe Biden. Rep. Greene, who has used her social media channels to express racist views and support for QAnon conspiracy theories, called for impeachment on her Twitter, Facebook and Telegram accounts during Biden’s inauguration. “I just filed articles of impeachment on President Joe Biden, we’ll see how this goes,” Green said. more...

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