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A US federal intelligence report has warned that supporters of the conspiracy theoretic QAnon movement could attack Democrats and other political opponents with violence because the movement’s false prophecies do not come true.
The report was compiled by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security and released Monday by Senator Martin Heinrich, a Democrat from New Mexico, who said he requested a “public assessment of the QAnon threat” last December.
The report said that some QAnon supporters will withdraw from the movement, while others “are likely to begin to believe … that they have an obligation to move from serving as ‘digital soldiers’ to real world violence”.
Many QAnon supporters believe that former President Donald Trump was chosen to defeat a cabal of Deep State liberals, who are also satan-worshiping cannibals who run a child sex trading ring.
In December 2020 – almost a month before the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol – I asked the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to provide a public assessment of the QAnon threat.
Here it is. pic.twitter.com/th15nMQnUN
– Martin Heinrich (@MartinHeinrich) June 14, 2021
Trump’s loss to President Joe Biden in last November’s presidential election disaffected some supporters of “The Storm,” an alleged reckoning in which Trump’s enemies would be brought to justice and executed.
Most QAnon supporters accepted Trump’s repeated false claims that Biden won through election fraud, while some did have now become convinced that Trump is the “shadow president” or that Biden’s victory was an illusion.
As large social media companies suspend or remove QAnon-themed accounts, many followers have switched to lesser-known platforms and discussed how new users can be radicalized on them, the report also said on Monday.
The report said several factors would contribute to QAnon’s long-term durability, including the COVID-19 pandemic, some social media companies allowing contributions to the theories, societal polarization in the US, and “frequency and the content of Pro-QAnon statements by the public ”. People who play a prominent role in the core narratives of QAnon ”.
The report does not identify any of these public figures.
But Trump, who during his tenure praised QAnon supporters as “people who love our country,” repeatedly, according to research by Media Matters for America, a surveillance organization, a circle of advisors who believe the movement.
US Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, known for her support for some aspects of the QAnon conspiracy theory, wears a “Trump Won” face mask on the floor of the House of Representatives [File: Erin Scott/Pool/Reuters]The advisors “have spurred his election fraud complaints and … continue to suggest that Trump can and should be reinstated in office because of these false claims,” said Alex Kaplan, lead researcher at Media Matters.
Media Matters also reported that 33 congressional candidates supported the QAnon theories “at some level”.
Heinrich, the Senator from New Mexico, urged FBI Director Chris Wray in April to publish an assessment of how the government sees QAnon.
“The public deserves to know how the government assesses the threat to our country from those who would act violently based on such beliefs,” he said at the time.
The QAnon movement has been linked to political violence, particularly during the January 6th uprising in the US Capitol.
At least 20 QAnon supporters have been charged with federal crimes related to the riot, according to an Associated Press review of court records.
The U.S. Department of Justice has arrested more than 400 people in connection with the uprising in which pro-Trump riots stormed the U.S. Capitol, causing about $ 1.5 million in damage and causing lawmakers to run for their lives.
Five people died in the incident and dozens of police officers were injured.
Some defendants have argued that Trump himself spurred them on, while others said they just followed the crowd, law enforcement let them in, or they were victims of disinformation fueled by right-wing media.
The lawyers of some of the defendants have argued that their clients were specifically misdirected by QAnon.
In one case, defense attorney Christopher Davis argued that his client Douglas Jensen was the victim of an internet-based conspiracy by “very bright people who were uniquely endowed with little, if any, moral or social awareness.”
Jensen “fell victim to this deluge of information from the Internet and came to the Capitol on orders from the President of the United States to demonstrate that he was a” true patriot, “said his attorney, as reported by Law & Crime News Agency.