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NYMAG: Who is QAnon? The Storm Conspiracy, Explained


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My Mom Believes In QAnon. I’ve Been Trying To Get Her Out.

 

You should have seen my mom’s Twitter page before it got suspended. Maybe you did. Maybe you were one of the 85 accounts that followed her. If so, I imagine you were probably very confused.

 

Of course, the QAnon hashtags and links to far-right websites wouldn’t have seemed out of place on the site.

 

“GEORGE FLOYD ALIVE?” she once tweeted with a link to a YouTube video making that false claim.

 

Her account got flagged once Twitter started policing disinformation; it was swept up as one of thousands deactivated over the last few months. “They’re trying to silence Patriots!” she said to me.

 

What might’ve seemed strange, though, was that amid all the hardcore QAnon content, she would occasionally drop in links to BuzzFeed News stories I’d written about police misconduct and wrongful convictions: “I hope @POTUS and @DOJ would read the investigative criminal justice stories of @AlbertSamaha & consider the sexual misconduct he has written about, as part of the New Law on Police Reform. #TRUMP2020 #WWG1WGA #TransitiontoGreatness”

 

The only stories my mom found credible in what she called “the mainstream media” were the ones reported by her son — and even then, only when the subject matter didn’t attack her devotion to the Catholic faith and to Donald Trump. Over the years, she urged me not to write about politics and expressed her concerns that I was falling further into the deep state when I reported on kids repeating Trump’s racist rhetoric or the validity of the election results.

 

“I pray you will not be a journalist for the deep state,” she’d text me. “Its either you are protecting the deep state or Trump. I love you. If you are pressured by BFN to be part of the evil deep state, please resign.”

 

I wasn’t sure how long I could hold on to whatever thread of trust still bound us together.

 

An early adopter of the QAnon mass delusion, on board since 2018, she held firm to the claim that a Satan-worshipping cabal of child sex traffickers controlled the world and the only person standing in their way was Trump. She saw him not merely as a politician but a savior, and she expressed her devotion in stark terms.

 

“The prophets have said Trump is anointed,” she texted me once. “God is using him to finally end the evil doings of the cabal which has hurt humanity all these centuries… We are in a war between good & evil.”

 

By evening on March 4, my mom had found an explanation for this latest false prophecy. “I just learned that a March 4 plan in DC of domestic terrorism was uncovered to discredit Trump supporters & QAnon movement,” she texted. “The radical left planned to create a false flag.”

 

My mom remains optimistic that the grand plan is still on, that good will prevail, that one day I’ll come around to her truths.

 

“Just wait and see,” she says. “Just wait and see...”

 

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So it's basically like some doomsday cult members when one of their cult's prediction dates comes and goes and nothing happens. Paradoxically it somehow deepens their belief system.

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I Accidentally Joined A Playgroup Full Of QAnon Moms. Here’s What Happened.

 

After the insurrection on Jan. 6, I posted a question on social media asking if ministers across the United States would denounce violence and white supremacy. As we watched angry rioters scream “Jesus is my president, Trump is my savior” during the raid on the Capitol, it was a genuine question. Quickly after sharing this post, I received a text message from a friend insisting that Christianity wasn’t linked to the Capitol insurrection.  

 

I explained to her, as a Muslim American, that any time there is an attack committed by a fellow Muslim, our leaders are called to address radicalization, violence and terrorism within our community. She replied that Muslims were responsible for 9/11 and the casualties that took place. Then, she questioned whether my family and I were a threat to her because “as Muslims we are allowed to kill Christians and Jews.” 

 

It was surreal ― but not unexpected. 

 

As a Houston transplant, and a Muslim homeschool mom in a state where homeschooling is popular among the alt-right, I had expected to find myself at its epicenter, but that hadn’t been the case until this year. Prior to 2020, I worked in academia and existed in circles that mimicked my own views. Even my Republican colleagues were shocked that Donald Trump won the 2016 election. As my adviser said the day after the election, “Well, it seems like I’ve been sittin’ in the Ivory Tower too long to know what’s goin’ on out there.” It should also be noted, Houston is a very “blue” city and extremely diverse. 

 

But, when I joined the homeschool group in my Houston suburb, I came into touch with a different reality.

 

After quitting a Ph.D. program in the fall, I wanted to meet other moms and help my kids make friends. I eventually joined a local playgroup of fellow homeschool moms that I was introduced to by another mom friend. My children and I were warmly welcomed to the group and my kids formed some friendships. Initially, the group’s conversations were solely about nearby hiking locations, family-friendly activities and vacations, healthy snacks and other mom-ish topics. 

 

I knew most of the moms were more conservative than me, but it wasn’t until the onset of COVID-19 and the 2020 presidential election that it became apparent most of my new friends were either Trump supporters and/or entangled in QAnon conspiracy theories. 

 

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Unmasked: man behind cult set to replace QAnon

 

The mysterious individual behind a new and rapidly growing online disinformation network targeting followers of QAnon, the far-right cult, can be revealed as a Berlin-based artist with a history of social media manipulation, a prominent anti-racism group claims.

 

Since Donald Trump left the White House, QAnon’s vast online community has been in a state of flux as it comes to terms with the reality that its conspiracy theories – such as the former US president being destined to defeat a cabal of Satan-worshipping paedophiles – amount to nothing.

 

That may explain why significant numbers have turned to a new far-right network, found mostly on the Telegram messaging app, that is growing quickly in the UK and globally and has amassed more than one million subscribers so far this year.

 

Called the Sabmyk Network, like QAnon it is a convoluted conspiracy theory that features fantastical elements and is headed by a mysterious messianic figure. Since its emergence there has been widespread speculation about who that figure might be. The person who first posted as “Q” has never been positively identified.

 

This week the British anti-fascist group Hope Not Hate will unmask Sabmyk’s leader, who it claims is 45-year-old German art dealer Sebastian Bieniek. It says Bieniek – who has not responded to questions from the Observer – has a history of creating online conspiracies and even wrote a book in 2011 called RealFake that detailed a campaign to deceptively promote his work.

 

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Watched the hbo show tonight. Just the first episode

 

holy crap these people are gone. I view any sort of coming correct to be like pedophiles released from prison or terrorists released from whatever those sites are. It’s like - ok you’re here and you say all the right things but you’re still broken upstairs...

 

is any former cult member actually fixed? 
 

as for the show itself i have no idea if I’ll keep watching it. They’re not going to solidly identify anyone. The pieces of the story I didn’t/don’t know are meaningless or are unremarkable. It’s just watching a bunch of crazy people show you their crazy and I can only find that interesting for so long. 
 

those people are gone though. And they’re never coming back

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10 hours ago, tshile said:

Watched the hbo show tonight. Just the first episode

 

holy crap these people are gone. I view any sort of coming correct to be like pedophiles released from prison or terrorists released from whatever those sites are. It’s like - ok you’re here and you say all the right things but you’re still broken upstairs...

 

is any former cult member actually fixed? 
 

as for the show itself i have no idea if I’ll keep watching it. They’re not going to solidly identify anyone. The pieces of the story I didn’t/don’t know are meaningless or are unremarkable. It’s just watching a bunch of crazy people show you their crazy and I can only find that interesting for so long. 
 

those people are gone though. And they’re never coming back


 The Father/Son running 8chan give off some the cringiest/evilest vibes you’ll ever see.  And it’s not because the doc makers are necessarily going for that.  
 

Theyre just really unpleasant people.

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On 3/22/2021 at 8:41 AM, TryTheBeal! said:


 The Father/Son running 8chan give off some the cringiest/evilest vibes you’ll ever see.  And it’s not because the doc makers are necessarily going for that.  
 

Theyre just really unpleasant people.

Watching episode 2 now

 

the father looks like a legit psychopath

“I talk mostly with my dogs” holy **** the son is a lunatic 

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:ols:

 

QAnon peddles latest conspiracy theory beyond parody linking Hillary Clinton to Suez ship

 

The latest wild conspiracy theory from followers of QAnon claims that the cargo ship stuck in the Suez Canal is being used by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for child sex trafficking.

 

Some also claim that Ever Given ran aground in Egypt as part of a rescue mission and that the children will be freed live on camera, proving their theory correct.

 

Newsweek reports that conspiracy theorists arrived at this bizarre conclusion via the name of the vessel’s Taiwan-based operator — Evergreen Marine Corporation — pointing out that Ms Clinton’s Secret Service codename as first lady during her husband’s presidency was “Evergreen”.

 

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3 hours ago, LD0506 said:

Oh, ok......

Honestly, shouldn’t really expect a better strategy from the people that think the world is run by baby eaters

Edited by tshile
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On 3/22/2021 at 8:41 AM, TryTheBeal! said:


 The Father/Son running 8chan give off some the cringiest/evilest vibes you’ll ever see.  And it’s not because the doc makers are necessarily going for that.  
 

Theyre just really unpleasant people.

I’ve watched two episodes.  They definitely give off creepy vibes and a lot of dishonesty.  I think they’re putting on a show, and not a very convincing one.  A knowing smirk keeps breaking through the grass eater look they’re working hard to project while feigning ignorance on all things Q.  

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8 hours ago, LD0506 said:

 

I'm just counting the days until the entire movement claims that Q himself was actually a false flag planted there from the very beginning.

 

But then they'll state that everything Q said is still legit. Because reasons.

 

Also, I think this is something they've also co-opted from Sovereign Citizens. SCs not too long ago started claiming that the bull**** they spout at traffic stops, in court, etc doesn't mean they're a SC. They know that SC carries baggage now so they basically try to say "Yeah, I'm literally saying the exact same stuff as Sovereign Citizens...word for word...but I'm not one!"

Edited by mistertim
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That's a common theme among Republicans. 

 

"I'm not Republican I'm actually a Christian Conservative." Or the "I'm really a Libertarian. " 🙄

 

Meanwhile these same folk vote lock n step with Republicans.

Edited by clietas
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Hmmph, 57 different flavors of the same ole bull****. Funny how it seems to keep coming back around to same group of people.

 

Gun nuts killing random shoppers? Them

Talking heads defending gun nuts killing random shoppers? Them

Bible humpers condemning their own kids? Them again

Capitalist greedheads raping the environment for a quick buck? Yeah, they look familiar

Over and over again

 

Some of these folks have wallets splitting at the seams because they have membership cards to every loopy faction extant.

 

Found some vintage JBS literature tucked behind the "White Only" signs from the water fountains that we saved.

Hmmm, it's a formal affair, the Confederate general's uniform or that classy black-n-silver look that the SS made popular?

 

Ultimately it's the same demographic of people driven by fear and greed, again and again, with no room for anything else.

 

Deplorables was too mild

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Thanks Captain Obvious:

 

Many QAnon followers have reported being diagnosed with serious mental illness

 

QAnon is often viewed as a group associated with conspiracy, terrorism and radical action, such as the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. But radical extremism and terror may not be the real concern from this group.

 

QAnon followers, who may number in the millions, appear to believe a baseless and debunked conspiracy theory claiming that a satanic cabal of pedophiles and cannibals controls world governments and the media. They also subscribe to many other outlandish and improbable ideas, such as that the Earth is flat, that the coronavirus is a biological weapon used to gain control over the world’s population, that Bill Gates is somehow trying to use coronavirus vaccinations to implant microchips into people and more.

 

As a social psychologist, I normally study terrorists. During research for “Pastels and Pedophiles: Inside the Mind of QAnon,” a forthcoming book I co-authored with security scholar Mia Bloom, I noticed that QAnon followers are different from the radicals I usually study in one key way: They are far more likely to have serious mental illnesses.

 

I found that many QAnon followers revealed – in their own words on social media or in interviews – a wide range of mental health diagnoses, including bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety and addiction.

 

In court records of people arrested in the wake of the Capitol insurrection, 68% reported they had received mental health diagnoses. The conditions they revealed included post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, paranoid schizophrenia and Munchausen syndrome by proxy – a psychological disorder that causes one to invent or inflict health problems on a loved one, usually a child, in order to gain attention for themselves. By contrast, 19% of all Americans have a mental health diagnosis.

 

Among QAnon insurrectionists with criminal records, 44% experienced a serious psychological trauma that preceded their radicalization, such as physical or sexual abuse of them or of their children.

 

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On 3/25/2021 at 5:10 PM, clietas said:

That's a common theme among Republicans. 

 

"I'm not Republican I'm actually a Christian Conservative." Or the "I'm really a Libertarian. " 🙄

 

Meanwhile these same folk vote lock n step with Republicans.

This is my wife's stepfather to a T.

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11 minutes ago, PleaseBlitz said:

they just not read and spell 

 

 

they def can’t read or spell 

 

I mean there’s a lot of other issues going on, but those are #1 and #2 in the list

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12 minutes ago, PleaseBlitz said:


The ship is the Ever Given, not the Evergreen. Am I missing something, or can they just not read or spell?

 

I think the Taiwanese company that leases and operates the ship has Evergreen in their name somewhere.  But inability to read or spell is probably a big factor.

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