QAnon

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QAnon refers to a series of anonymous Internet messages by Q, an online handle used on several image boards by a presumably American[1] pseudonymous individual or group of individuals[2][3][4] claiming to have access to classified information involving the Trump administration and its opponents in the United States, and detailing a secret counter-coup against the "deep state". The messages may have predicted some of Trump's statements and actions, but have been almost universally derided (and allegedly suppressed) by mainstream media organs.

Popularized by supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump under the names The Storm and The Great Awakening, QAnon been characterized as "baseless"[5][6] and "unhinged" by left-wing and establishment media commentators.[7][8]

Adherents include Roseanne Barr,[9][10] Curt Schilling,[11] Ben Garrison,[12] Laura Loomer,[12] Cheryl Sullenger[13] and Michael "Lionel" Lebron.[14]

History

Origin

A person identifying as "Q Clearance Patriot" first appeared on the /pol/ board of 4chan on October 28, 2017, posting messages in a thread entitled "Calm Before the Storm",[1] which was a reference to Trump's cryptic description of a gathering of military leaders as "the calm before the storm".[1][15] The poster later moved to 8chan, citing alleged security concerns.[2]

The handle implied that the anonymous poster held Q clearance,[16][17] a United States Department of Energy security clearance with access to classified information.

Messages associated with QAnon claimed that North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un is a puppet ruler supported by the Central Intelligence Agency.[18]

On February 16, 2018, QAnon accused U.S. Representative and former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of hiring El Salvadorian gang MS-13 to murder DNC staffer Seth Rich.[15][19]

Identity

There has been much speculation regarding the motive and the identity of the poster, with theories ranging from the poster being a military intelligence officer to the posting campaign being an alternate reality game by Cicada 3301.[3]

Reactions

Fox News commentator Sean Hannity has tweeted about QAnon, and the Russian government-funded network RT News has discussed the topic.[17]

QAnon was promoted by Alex Jones and Jerome Corsi,[15] but in May 2018 Right Wing Watch reported that Jones and Corsi had ceased to support QAnon, declaring the source to now be "completely compromised".[20]

In March 2018, the generally left-wing web community Reddit banned one of its subreddits discussing QAnon, /r/CBTS_Stream. Following this, some followers moved to Discord, which also imposed restrictions however.[21][22]

On March 13, 2018, Operation Rescue vice president and pro-life activist Cheryl Sullenger referred to QAnon as a "small group of insiders close to President Donald J. Trump" and called his internet postings the "highest level of intelligence to ever be dropped publicly in our known history".[13][23]

On March 15, 2018, Kiev-based Rabochaya Gazeta, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Ukraine, published an article calling QAnon a "military intelligence group".[24]

On March 31, 2018, U.S. actress Roseanne Barr promoted the messages, which was subsequently covered by CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.[9][10][25][26]

On June 26, 2018, WikiLeaks publicly accused QAnon of "leading anti-establishment Trump voters to embrace regime change and neo-conservatism".[27] QAnon had previously pushed for regime change in Iran.[28] Two days later, the whistleblower organization shared an analysis by Internet Party president Suzie Dawson, claiming that QAnon's posting campaign is an "intelligence agency-backed psyop" aiming to "round up people that are otherwise dangerous to the Deep State (because they are genuinely opposed to it) [and] usurp time & attention, & trick them into serving its aims".[29]

On June 28, 2018, Time Magazine listed the anonymous "Q" among the 25 Most Influential People on the Internet in 2018. Counting more than 130,000 related discussion videos on YouTube, Time cited its more prominent followers and spreading news coverage.[30]

On July 4, 2018, the Hillsborough County Republican Party shared "a popular YouTube guide to QAnon" on its official Facebook and Twitter accounts, and called QAnon a "mysterious anonymous inside leaker of deep state activities and counter activities by President Trump".[31][32]

On July 16, 2018, NBC News reported that an app promoting QAnon's messages was the 10th most popular paid app on the Apple App Store, noting it ranked first in the "entertainment" section. The app was then rapidly banned by Apple as politically unacceptable.[33]

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Martineau, Paris (December 19, 2017). "The Storm Is the New Pizzagate — Only Worse". New York Magazine. ISSN 0028-7369. Retrieved March 26, 2018. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Philipp, Joshua (July 2, 2018). "The 'Q' Phenomenon". The Epoch Times. Retrieved July 14, 2018. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Rothschild, Mike (May 29, 2018). "Who is Q Anon, the internet's most mysterious poster?". The Daily Dot. Retrieved July 5, 2018. 
  4. Brean, Henry (July 13, 2018). "Suspect in Hoover Dam standoff writes Trump, cites conspiracy in letters". Las Vegas Review-Journal. ISSN 1097-1645. Retrieved July 14, 2018. 
  5. ThinkProgress. May 29, 2018 https://thinkprogress.org/roseanne-barr-terrible-tweets-racist-abc-stays-silent-0bfe7cdc7996/. Retrieved July 5, 2018.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. Holt, Jared (March 6, 2018). "Jerome Corsi: Man Who Shot Himself Outside White House Could Be ‘MK Ultra’ Test Subject". Right Wing Watch. Retrieved July 5, 2018. 
  7. Di Placido, Dani (May 29, 2018). "Roseanne Ruined 'Roseanne'". Forbes. ISSN 0015-6914. Retrieved July 5, 2018. 
  8. Culp-Ressler, Tara (March 31, 2018). "Roseanne Barr promotes an unhinged pro-Trump conspiracy theory on Twitter". ThinkProgress. Retrieved July 5, 2018. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Cole, Devan (December 19, 2017). "Roseanne tweets support of Trump conspiracy theory, confuses Twitter". CNN. Retrieved April 1, 2018. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Weigel, David (March 31, 2018). "Analysis | The conspiracy theory behind a curious Roseanne Barr tweet, explained". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved April 1, 2018. 
  11. Sommer, Will (June 26, 2018). "Curt Schilling Backs Pro-Trump ‘QAnon’ Conspiracy Theory". The Daily Beast. Retrieved July 5, 2018. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Holt, Jared (July 9, 2018). "A New Wave Of ‘QAnon’ Activists Emerge From The Cult Of MAGA". Right Wing Watch. Retrieved July 13, 2018. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Blue, Miranda (March 15, 2018). "Operation Rescue Hypes QAnon ‘Blockbuster Intel Drop’ About Planned Parenthood". Right Wing Watch. Retrieved April 5, 2018. 
  14. The Lionel Nation [LionelNation] (May 12, 2016). "I'm a Proud Dedicated #QAnon Believer" (Tweet). 
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Hayden, Michael Edison (February 1, 2018). "How 'the Storm' Became the Biggest Fake News Story of 2018". Newsweek. ISSN 0028-9604. Retrieved April 5, 2018. 
  16. Colburn, Randall (December 19, 2017). "There's a new, insane conspiracy theory tearing up 4chan". AV Club. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 Gander, Kashmira (January 15, 2018). "What is The Storm? Conspiracy theory that mysterious White House official leaks secrets". International Business Times. 
  18. Caffier, Justin (June 12, 2018). "A Guide to QAnon, the New King of Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories". Vice. ISSN 1077-6788. Retrieved July 15, 2018. 
  19. Rothschild, Mike (March 19, 2018). "The QAnon Conspiracy Is the Oldest Scam Out There". The Daily Dot. Retrieved July 14, 2018. 
  20. Mantyla, Kyle (May 11, 2018). "Stick A Fork In QAnon: Alex Jones And Jerome Corsi Claim That QAnon Has Been ‘Completely Compromised’". Right Wing Watch. Retrieved July 5, 2018. 
  21. Alexander, Julia (March 15, 2018). "How closely do Discord and Reddit work together?". Polygon. Retrieved April 5, 2018. 
  22. Wyrich, Andrew (March 15, 2018). "Reddit bans popular deep state conspiracy forum for 'inciting violence'". Retrieved April 5, 2018. 
  23. Sullenger, Cheryl (March 13, 2018). "Blockbuster Intel Drop Reveals Trump is Trying to “End” Planned Parenthood – Twitter Attempts Censorship". Operation Rescue. Retrieved April 5, 2018. 
  24. Gamma, Viktor (May 25, 2018). "Доживают ли Гавайи свои последние дни?" [Are we witnessing the final days of Hawaii?]. Rabochaya Gazeta. Retrieved July 5, 2018.  Unknown parameter |lang= ignored (|language= suggested) (help)
  25. Bowden, Tohn (March 31, 2018). "Roseanne Barr faces backlash over Trump conspiracy theory tweet". The Hill. Retrieved March 31, 2018. 
  26. Goldberg, Michelle (April 6, 2018). "Opinion | The Conspiracy Theory That Says Trump Is a Genius". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 6, 2018. 
  27. WikiLeaks [wikileaks] (June 26, 2016). "Why is "Qanon" leading anti-establishment Trump voters to embrace regime change and neo-conservatism?" (Tweet). 
  28. Webb, Whitney (June 25, 2018). "Pro-Trump Conspiracy-Monger “QAnon” Calls for Regime Change in Iran". MintPress News. Retrieved July 5, 2018. 
  29. WikiLeaks [wikileaks] (June 28, 2016). "This analysis, unfortunately, increasingly appears that it may be correct:" (Tweet). 
  30. Chan, Melissa (June 28, 2018). "25 Most Influential People on the Internet". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved June 28, 2018. 
  31. March, William (July 16, 2018). "Conspiracy theorist QAnon promoted, then deleted, by Hillsborough County GOP". Tampa Bay Times. ISSN 2327-9052. Retrieved July 16, 2018. 
  32. López G., Cristina (July 15, 2018). "A GOP Twitter account is helping spread the baseless internet conspiracy theory QAnon". Media Matters for America. Retrieved July 15, 2018. 
  33. Collins, Ben; Zadrozny, Brandy (July 16, 2018). "Exclusive: Apple, Google cashed in on Pizzagate-offshoot conspiracy app". NBC News. Retrieved July 16, 2018.