A US federal intelligence report warned that followers of the conspiracy theory QAnon movement could target Democrats and other political opponents with violence, as the movement’s false prophecies do not come true.
The report was compiled by the FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security and released Monday by Senator Martin Heinrich, a Democrat from New Mexico, who mentionned he called for a “public assessment of the threat posed by QAnon” in December of last year.
The report states that while some QAnon affiliates will withdraw from the movement, others “will likely begin to believe … that they have an obligation to move from being a ‘digital soldier’ to engaging in violence in the world. real world “.
Many QAnon followers believe former President Donald Trump was chosen to defeat a cabal of “deep state” liberals who are also Satan-worshiping cannibals and exploit a child sex trafficking ring.
In December 2020 – nearly a month before the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol – I asked the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to provide a public assessment of the threat posed by QAnon.
It’s here. pic.twitter.com/th15nMQnUN
-Martin Heinrich (@MartinHeinrich) June 14, 2021
Trump’s defeat against President Joe Biden in the presidential election last November, some supporters of “The Storm” were disappointed, a calculation assumed that Trump’s enemies would be tried and executed.
Most QAnon members endorsed Trump’s repeated false claims that Biden won through voter fraud, while some have now pivoted to believe that Trump is the “shadow president” or that Biden’s victory was an illusion.
As major social media companies suspend or remove QAnon-themed accounts, many subscribers have moved to lesser-known platforms and discussed how to radicalize new users on them, Monday’s report also said. .
The report says several factors will contribute to QAnon’s long-term sustainability, including the COVID-19 pandemic, with some social media companies allowing posts on theories, societal polarization in the United States, and “frequency and content. pro-QAnon statements by public persons which feature prominently in QAnon’s core narratives ”.
The report does not identify any of these public figures.
But Trump, who during his tenure hailed QAnon supporters as “people who love our country,” continues to echo a circle of advisers who give credit to the movement, according to research by Media Matters for America, a watchdog organization.
The advisers “have encouraged his grievances of electoral fraud and … continue to suggest that Trump can and should be reinstated in power based on these false claims,” Media Matters senior researcher Alex Kaplan found.
Media affairs also reported that 33 congressional candidates have expressed support for QAnon’s theories “on some level.”
Heinrich, the senator from New Mexico, had urged FBI Director Chris Wray in April to release an assessment of how the government views QAnon.
“The public deserves to know how the government assesses the threat to our country from those who would act violently on such beliefs,” he said at the time.
The movement around QAnon has already been linked to political violence, notably during the January 6 U.S. Capitol Uprising.
At least 20 QAnon followers have been charged with federal riot-related crimes, according to an Associated Press review of court records.
The US Department of Justice has arrested more than 400 people in connection with the insurgency, during which Pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, caused roughly $ 1.5 million in damage and sent lawmakers running for their lives.
Five people died and dozens of police were injured in the incident.
Some defendants argued that Trump himself encouraged them, while others said they were just following the crowd, law enforcement allowed them in, or they were victims of disinformation fueled by right-wing media.
Lawyers for some of the defendants have argued that their clients were specifically misguided by QAnon.
In one case, defense attorney Christopher Davis argued that his client, Douglas Jensen, was the victim of an internet conspiracy promoted by “very intelligent people with little or no moral conscience or social ”.
Jensen “was the victim of this barrage of information from the Internet and came to Capitol Hill, under the leadership of the President of the United States, to demonstrate that he was a” true patriot “,” his lawyer said, then. than reported by the Law & Crime media.