QAnon is a kind of conspiracy theory, widespread in the United States, according to which, a group of influential people in the world (world government) who are in fact engaged in child trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and worshiping Satan. Among them, according to supporters of the movement, include George Soros, Bill Gates, Tom Hanks, and Oprah Winfrey, Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as Barack Obama, the Rothschilds, members of the Saudi royal family. Satanist pedophiles (evil) are opposed by the 45th US President Donald Trump (good) and is fighting a secret battle with them. Essentially, this theory is a collection of plots that already exist. The theory does not have anyone clear interpretation, each of its admirers thinks out and puts their own meaning into this theory.
The heterogeneous, poorly organized group of QAnon fans does not appear to pose much of a security threat compared to jihadists or extreme right-wing extremists. But after some QAnon members planned and committed a series of crimes and acts of violence, the FBI said the movement posed a potential terrorist threat - both in the United States and Western Europe.
Where did QAnon come from
The backstory for the appearance of QAnon can be considered Pizzagate, when the fake news was brought to the shooting. In 2016, publications appeared on social networks and quickly spread that supporters of ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were allegedly affiliated with an underground pedophile society, whose headquarters are located in one of the popular pizzerias in Washington. And allegedly in the same place they keep and molest children. 28-year-old North Carolina resident Edgar Welch, armed, personally came to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria to sort out and free the children. As a result, he opened fire and was detained. There were no hostage children in the pizzeria.
But the date of foundation of the QAnon movement is considered to be the end of October 2017, when on one of the anonymous political forums 4chan, a user signed as Q published a message that Hillary Clinton would be arrested. After that, the mysterious author hinted that he is one of Trump's close advisers, has access to classified information and state secrets. Then Q moved to the more extremist 8chan forum, and then completely left on social networks, creating an entire online ecosystem on Facebook and YouTube. Today, QAnon content can be found all over the Internet, from YouTube channels to Facebook groups and even college sports forums. Also QAnon content is a great source for fake news.
Q in his messages emphasized in every possible way that he was close to Trump, and as evidence cited photos allegedly taken on board the presidential plane, "predicting" the content of Trump's tweets and endless hint questions, which he called "bread crumbs." Readers themselves gave answers to these questions, developing and supplementing the conspiracy theory. As a result, almost all known conspiracy theories and hoaxes were included in the QAnon theory.
Over time, Q became silent. In 2017, it left several dozen messages, then began to write "encrypted" messages consisting of a set of characters and letters, and in 2019 he left only three tweets. None of his predictions came true, but the business started by Q is developing well without him.
During its existence, celebrities, businessmen, and even members of the US Congress have joined QAnon, but the main audience continues to be older conservatives. According to Mike Rothschild, a conspiracy theory researcher who has followed QAnon since its inception, the spread of conspiracy theory among older Americans has a lot to do with their lack of experience in identifying valid information among the diversity on the internet. And social media only encourages immersion in various theories: "Especially with Facebook and YouTube algorithms. If Granny clicks one video that links to QAnon, then she will start recommending the most popular movement videos, and after a while, she will dive into a really hardcore conspiracy theory," he said.
The Covid-19 pandemic also played a role in the spread of QAnon. Supporters of the movement either deny the pandemic or claim that it was artificial and that it is part of a conspiracy. Rallies with detailed slogans swept through US cities and European capitals.
The thin line between terrorism
In addition to the Pizzagate, there are several more crimes related to the QAnon conspiracy.
On June 15, 2018, Matthew Phillip Wright, while driving an armored car, blocked traffic on the highway leading to the Hoover Dam in Nevada. The man insisted that the Justice Department's Inspector General's report on the FBI investigation into the Hillary Clinton case be made public. In fact, the report has already been presented to the public, but Q in his messages hinted that this is an abridged version, and the most interesting is hidden. After a 90-minute confrontation with the police, Wright tried to leave but was detained. Two assault rifles and two pistols, 900 rounds of ammunition, and a stun grenade were found in his car.
On March 13, 2019, Anthony Comello shot and killed Francesco Cali, the boss of the American Mafia, outside his family's home. He was detained in hot pursuit. During his first court appearance on March 18, 2019, Comello wrote a large Q in the palm of his hand next to several phrases suggesting support for President Trump. According to his lawyer, Comello was fond of the QAnon conspiracy theory and believed that Kali was involved in a conspiracy to overthrow Trump, and he himself wanted to carry out his civil arrest. The court found Comello mentally incompetent.
On March 31, 2020, freight train driver Eduardo Moreno drove it to high speed near the port in an attempt to crash into a USNS Mercy hospital ship. The train broke through several fences and stopped next to the ship. Moreno was detained and, during interrogations, claimed that the vessel had a different purpose related to "Covid-19 or the seizure of power." He later stated that he did this "to wake people up."
On May 1, 2020, Jessica Prim was arrested and drove to a pier in New York in a car full of knives. She aired her two-day trip from Illinois to New York online and stated that she wanted to "remove Joe Biden for his alleged involvement in the sex trafficking gang." Everything is clear according to the QAnon canons.
On January 6, 2021, supporters of the QAnon movement took part in the capture of the Capitol during the approval of Joe Biden's victory in the US presidential election. The most striking character was the shaman QAnon Jake Angeli, who in a fur hat with horns demonstratively posed during the pogroms in the Capitol building.
The radicalization of the movement's supporters occurs very quickly, from watching videos and discussions on social networks to specific crimes it takes very little time. This greatly perplexes the structures responsible for security in the United States, social networks are trying to block messages and accounts associated with QAnon, but this does not give a great effect.