The QAnon message is being subtly, and sometimes not-so-subtly, amplified by the very same members of the deep state they claim to abhor, spurring some of America’s most powerful forces to join the movement.
A simple wave of Trump’s hand from his motorcade at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center was enough for QAnon believers to race to their internet-connected devices and begin decoding the latest Q drops. These “encoded” social media posts spread through obscure internet forums like 8-Chan that are considered by adherents to be veiled communications from “patriots” with special access to the hidden truth behind the American deep state and what they perceive as its subversive campaign to destroy the foundational values of the country.
According to NBC News, “QAnon influencers” immediately set out “to decode the president’s tweet announcing he had the disease and [tried] to deduce clues from the statement’s use of capital letters.” QAnon devotees had apparently reached a consensus about the meaning behind the president’s illness after exchanging interpretations of Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis across their preferred internet forums. Unsurprisingly, their conclusion reaffirmed their unfaltering belief in “the plan” they assert Trump is carrying out in order to weed out what they believe is a satanic pedophile network run by the opposing party.
The “plan” has been unfolding for this quasireligious revivalist movement of the digital age since the phenomenon got its start during the 2016 presidential election as a result of a purportedly false claim made by a known White supremacist account “David Goldberg” on Twitter. The NYPD, he tweeted, had initiated an investigation into Democratic Party official John Podesta’s emails leaked by Wikileaks, where evidence of a pedophile ring operating out of a pizza parlor in New York City had been ostensibly uncovered.
The hashtag #pizzagate erupted all over social media soon thereafter and the narrative of reality TV star and Manhattan real estate developer Donald Trump as a white knight come to save America from “the swamp” in Washington D.C. was rapidly adopted by a freshly-galvanized nationalist-minded segment of the U.S. population, who jumped at the opportunity to subsume the biggest “conspiracy theories” in the United States (including the Kennedy assassination) under one grand and redemptive story for an America which Trump promised to “make great again.”
Q’s 2020 resurgence
With the 2020 election only weeks away, the QAnon movement seems to have gathered new momentum after the end of the Mueller investigation, which provided adherents with so much fodder that it relegated some of its popularity to yesterday’s news. The coronavirus crisis and the eruption of anti-police brutality protests have both converged to remotivate QAnon’ers and bring in new blood from as far away as Australia.
In the United States, QAnon’s newest enthusiasts are coming from police departments across the country, according to a recent Mother Jones investigation. “It’s called ‘Q Research’ for a reason,” says an Illinois police officer who has bought into the Q narrative. “I’m merely someone who sits on my couch late at night with my dog on my lap, iPhone in hand, while seeking the truth,” he told the New York Times Last time I checked, there was nothing wrong with that!”.
The ubiquitous presence of elements from law enforcement throughout the gestation of the phenomenon, as well as the grand narrative concocted with virtually every significant “conspiracy theory” in recent American history – from the Kennedy assassination to 9/11 – recast as a backdrop for an absurd tale about the redemption of the country, all point to QAnon being an elaborate psyop to justify internet de-platforming of dissident voices, on the one hand, and the potential real-world confrontation between nationalist, pro-cop groups and left-leaning contingents of the BLM, anti-police brutality crowd to justify a more severe crackdown on civil liberties, that began almost twenty years ago with the passage of the Patriot Act.
Since Twitter imposed some restrictions on well-known QAnon phrases and hashtags appearing in trends, the conspiracy's followers have started using new ones to circumvent the ban. #SavetheChildren is one of them, which has been tweeted over 200,000 times since Friday pic.twitter.com/8SJgyOWfj7
— Shayan Sardarizadeh (@Shayan86) August 10, 2020
The Miami Model
Suspicions that the individual who started the chaos in Minnesota following the George Floyd killing was actually a police officer may have been spurred by popular imagination at first. But such assumptions are rooted in a well-documented, modern-day history of sabotage and infiltration by police officers in any consequential show of resistance against the establishment.
In 1999, underhanded police tactics were used against demonstrators at the anti-WTO protests in Seattle, Washington. Just four years later, undercover police agitators were crossing protest lines in Miami, Florida to incite violence among the thousands who had gathered in downtown to disrupt Bush’s Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) talks in 2003.
Police departments in South Florida benefited from the first post-9/11 mass protest by receiving billions from the federal government to implement what has since been referred to as the “Miami Model”; a policing tactic “designed to intimidate political demonstrators, silence dissent, and criminalize protest against […] government policies”, according to then-president of the ACLU’s Greater Miami Chapter, Terry Coble.
It was here, at the start of the new millennium, with the passage of the highly controversial Patriot Act and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, that the American establishment began to build the parameters wherein the legal contours of the ‘domestic terrorist’ would be framed. Two decades later, the legal framework is firmly in place as the USA Freedom Act.
In the wake of the Minneapolis riots where a police precinct was burned to the ground, Attorney General Barr released a statement declaring that it was “time to stop watching the violence and to confront and stop it”, directing the country’s 56 regional FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) to “identify criminal organizers and instigators” with “extremist” agendas.
Examination of the broader narrative espoused by QAnon followers reveals a more-than-passing similarity to the White supremacist canon developed mainly in the South in the late 1970s. That ideology held that the White race was the “last line of defense” against a “secret, powerful cabal of Jewish families and white race traitors,” that make up the “ZOG” (Zionist Occupied Government), according to Evelyn A. Schlatter in her book about the birth of White Supremacist ideologies in the United States, titled “Aryan Cowboys.”
According to the original ideology, the ZOG’s goal is to “bring the United States to its knees economically” and implement the New World Order; a carbon copy of the “deep state” QAnon devotees are convinced they are exposing through their diligent deciphering of so-called Q drops and unwavering support for Donald Trump, who is perceived to be carrying out the secret plan to finally conquer the ZOG and implement a golden age of White American exceptionalism.
The Nazi overtones of the entire Q creed are unmistakable and perhaps no sharper than in Q’s characterization of the Trump administration as “The Storm” in what is almost certainly a direct reference to both the Sturmabteilung (Nazi Stormtroopers) and to a White Supremacist online bulletin board called Stormfront, which was established in 1990 and run out of West Palm Beach, Florida, by a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and member of the National Socialist White People’s Party to support white nationalist David Duke’s campaign for United States senator for Louisiana.
This ZOG narrative has long been the ideological backbone of White prison gangs, courtesy of John Greschner, one of the leaders of the largest and most powerful White Supremacist prison gang in the country, who came up with the idea to infuse its members with “some northern European religion or whatever, and some racial thing” that he correctly calculated would more successfully enforce membership and loyalty in their growing and varied criminal enterprise, that includes drug trafficking, murder-for-hire, extortion, and many other illegal activities within and outside prison walls.
Modern-day British Israelism
QAnon simply overlays a direct political layer to this ideology using Trump as a savior figure. Any tolerance their followers show towards Israel and the president’s Jewish son-in-law is only part of the “plan” they must trust, and not a departure from the staunchly xenophobic movement, which is ultimately a modern form of what has been termed “British Israelism” – the belief that the Anglo Saxon race is the true chosen people – which runs deep in American Settler psychology and is expressed not only via QAnon messaging, but through far more mainstream media sources like Ann Coulter and Fox News; both of whom target the rust and bible belts where versions of the QAnon narrative have been amalgamating for years as people try to cope with their increased disenfranchisement.
A recent retweet by former U.S. director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell, who amplified the message of one of the largest QAnon accounts, reveals one of the subtle ways in which the group is promoted by the very members of the deep state they claim to abhor, by some miracle of cognitive dissonance. The secret “plan” allows people like Grenell and NYPD sergeants’ union chief, Ed Mullins, to speak for them.
Mullins has repeatedly endorsed QAnon in television appearances on Fox News and other outlets and as Americans get ready to vote for a president in the coming weeks, QAnon is enjoying a strong resurgence through among Trump supporters and the from Trump, himself, who stated in a press conference last August that despite not knowing much about the movement, he was aware that “they like [him] very much”.
A survey by Civiqs from early September reported that 1 in 3 Republicans believe QAnon theories to be mostly true, while another 23 percent admit that parts of the narrative is real. Since July of 2019, awareness about QAnon among the American public has jumped from 65% to nearly 80%. Police officers all over the country are among the growing numbers and, if we read between the lines of a 2019 interview in Vice with prominent expert on police law, Samuel Walker, we can see how QAnon’s inroads into America’s police departments could serve the interests of those who wish to re-make policing in the United States.
“We have 18,000 separate local police departments—15,000 city police departments and 3,000 county sheriffs,” Walker answered when asked about discipline standards for police officers who engage in QAnon-type conspiracies. “The only applicable national standard,” he continued, “would be Supreme Court decisions… But one of the real problems in this country is that we have these 18,000 separate, independent, local law enforcement agencies. And they do most of the work in policing.”
Feature photo | A person caring a sign supporting QAnon wears a t-shirt that shows the QAnon name in the format of a rope noose during a protest rally in Olympia, Wash, May 14, 2020. Ted S. Warren | AP
Raul Diego is a MintPress News Staff Writer, independent photojournalist, researcher, writer and documentary filmmaker.