Beginning in 2016, Russia’s GRU deployed millions of Russian troll bots to spread misinformation online about America’s elections.
Vladimir Putin’s goal has continued to be to divide Americans by sowing political divisions and creating chaos.
According to FiveThirtyEight, recent polling “asked Americans whether they agreed with three separate statements, each a part of the QAnon belief system, but it didn’t mention QAnon by name. Fifteen percent of Americans agreed with the statement ‘the government, media, and financial worlds in the U.S. are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation.’”
The New York Times reported similar polling data conducted by NPR and Ipsos, which found that “17 percent of Americans believed that the core falsehood of QAnon — that ‘a group of Satan-worshiping elites who run a child sex ring are trying to control our politics and media’ — was true.”
QAnon beliefs are recycled conspiracy theories rooted in antisemitism, racism, and misogyny. Here is a look at some of these theories.
Bill Gates Microchip Vaccine Theory
QAnon has spread lies about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine. The claim is that Bill Gates has installed microchips into the vaccine shots.
This idea goes back to a 2019 study conducted at MIT that focused on a theoretical study improving healthcare in regions that lacked the ability to store medical records. They considered storing the medical data on microchips in people using quantum dot dye. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supported this study.
This study was then incorrectly interpreted as: Bill Gates is inserting microchips into Americans to track the population.
A microchip that could track people would need to be the size of a nickel to contain the antenna. The vaccine needles are way too tiny to inject people with a microchip.
The vaccines do not contain microchips, but your cell phones do.
The “Stop the Steal” organization was founded by Roger Stone in 2016. Donald Trump was preparing to use this nonsense if he lost to Hillary Clinton. When he won, he continued to prop up voter fraud in the event he lost in 2020.
Recall that Trump’s approval rating ranged from 37% to 48%. He did not win the popular vote in 2016, so he knew his chances of winning in 2020 were low.
Trump kept the threat of voter fraud in the minds of his followers until 2020 so he could use it to manipulate them to attack the Capitol in an effort to overturn America’s free and fair elections.
America’s 2020 election was deemed the safest election in U.S. history. It was fair and ethically carried out.
Antisemitism and George Soros
George Soros has been included in many antisemitic conspiracy theories. One conspiracy theory about Soros is that he shipped people off to Nazi camps. This tale got started during a 1998 60 Minutes story about how Soros survived the Holocaust by pretending to be the godson of a man who confiscated property from Jews. A photograph purporting to be Soros as a Nazi circulated. However, this photograph is of an Auschwitz bookkeeper named Oskar Groening — not of Soros.
In reality, Soros has donated scholarships to needy children, promoted democracy, funded Ebola treatments, and supported LGBTQ rights. Russia defamed Soros with antisemitic tropes.
COVID-19 was not created by President Obama or the Clintons. It is not a “Democratic Hoax.”
President Joe Biden tasked America’s intelligence community with finding out if the virus originated from an infected animal or from a laboratory accident in Wuhan.
The intelligence community is investigating. However, most virologists who have looked at the virus believe that it originated from bats. Millions of people lost their lives all over the world – not just in America. Meanwhile, Trump has used the virus to scapegoat Asian-Americans, tapping into systemic racism.
Hillary Clinton and Blood Libel
QAnon spread the bizarre conspiracy theory that the Clintons torture children and drink their blood to obtain a chemical that will extend their lives.
This conspiracy theory began when Anthony Weiner’s laptop was seized after he was caught sexting minors. Within hours, a conspiracy theory website launched claiming there was a video called “Frazzle drip.” The video supposedly showed Hillary Clinton and Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, ripping off a child’s face and wearing it as a mask before drinking the child’s blood in a Satanic ritual sacrifice. To support the lie, heavily doctored photographs were used. The photographs originated from a popular D.C. restaurant. Grainy videos were shown all over YouTube and on other forums like 4chan.
This conspiracy theory is a modern reworking of a centuries-old antisemitic story about blood libel, which claimed that Jews drank the blood of Christian children at Passover. This fabrication led to the murder of many Jews.
Blood libel is an appalling trope — Jews were blamed, tried, and murdered due to this nonsense.
QAnon used antisemitism combined with misogyny to smear Hillary Clinton.
Where Do We Go from Here?
Many QAnon believers lost faith in the conspiracy theories after January 20, when Biden was inaugurated. However, a minority refuse to believe they were duped by Trump and Vladimir Putin.
According to Reuters, the FBI warns that QAnon conspiracy theorists may again “engage in violence against political opponents” in desperation that Q’s predictions have not come true.
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