There is little to believe about the nonsense that the religious cult QANON disseminates to the public. What is surprising is that this new International Terrorist Organization is suspected to have been created by Roger Stone. Stone was employed by Donald J. Trump in order to be in charge of his propaganda so that Trump could get reelected. The QANON cult was a brilliant maneuver by Roger Stone to establish a melding of politics and religion. Not unlike the establishment of a religious cult surrounding the S.S. by Himmler. So for those who ponder the identity of “Q”, need look no further than Roger Stone.
If Joe Biden does not declare open war against QANON, the threat they pose to the democratic Republic will only grow. They do not restrict their activity to the U.S.A alone, which is why they must be declared an International Terrorist Organization and treated accordingly.
Read more about the threat they pose.
Female extremists in QAnon and ISIS are on the rise. We need a new strategy to combat them
Evelyn Hockstein Dec. 11, 2020
We refuse to treat women terrorists with the same seriousness and concern as men. The skepticism increases their danger.
QAnon supporters wait for the military flyover at the World War II Memorial during Fourth of July celebrations in Washington.Evelyn Hockstein / For The Washington Post via Getty Images fileDec. 11, 2020, 4:30 AM ESTBy Farah Pandith, adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Jacob Ware, research associate for counterterrorism at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Mia Bloom, international security fellow at New America
When President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January, he will face a shifting extremism landscape. Among the evolutions is the growing role of women in extremist groups, and the new commander-in-chief would be wise to take a fresh approach to this threat. Downplaying the phenomenon or misrepresenting what drives it, as so many previous administrations have done, will only make it worse.
Take QAnon, which will be chief among the Biden national security team’s concerns
The cultlike conspiracy movement believes President Donald Trump was divinely elected to save the world from a Satan-worshipping cabal of blood-drinking pedophiles that controls many in the media, Hollywood and the Democratic Party. QAnon will soon have a presence in Congress through newly elected Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado.
Many of the acts of violence QAnon has inspired have been perpetrated by women. Most notably, Jessica Prim, a female QAnon supporter carrying a dozen knives, was arrested in May after authorities alleged that she had livestreamed her expedition to New York City to “take out” Biden. In Texas in August, another QAnon-supporting woman was charged with aggravated assault after, authorities alleged, she rammed her car into other people she believed were involved in the kidnapping of children.
With women constituting the majority of QAnon followers, we should not be surprised that more women are involved in plots of violence. And the disproportionate participation of women in QAnon is not accidental. QAnon, like the Islamic State militant group, understands that the best way to appeal to women is by exploiting their inherent altruism and desire to protect children.
While many far-right appeals to “save the white race” or “save individual liberties” have proven popular with angry or disillusioned young men, QAnon’s “save the children” narrative evokes a more visceral — even maternal — reaction among women. Both women accused of being QAnon attackers mentioned above were crying when they were arrested, the latter reported to have insisted that the intended victim “was a pedophile and had kidnapped a girl for human trafficking.” More generally, QAnon women are using social media with soft pastel hues to disseminate the conspiracy throughout North America and internationally.
This threat is not new, but it is increasing. And if we do not take a fresh approach to countering violent extremism by women, we will face only more terror. Until now, women in extremist movements have typically been portrayed as lacking agency. Lumped together with children, they are often perceived as having been manipulated into believing extremist ideologies and described as merely playing peripheral or support roles.
This has led to a situation in which we refuse to treat female terrorists with the same seriousness and concern with which we treat men. The skepticism has real impact on the ground. “Radicalized American women tend to commit the same types of crimes and have about the same success rate as radicalized men,” scholars Jamille Bigio and Rachel Vogelstein write. “Yet they are less likely to be arrested and convicted for terrorism-related crimes, highlighting a discrepancy in treatment and leaving a security threat unaddressed.”
Research has shown, for instance, that women returning to Western countries from ISIS areas are rarely prosecuted as severely as the men or serve any jail time whatsoever, meaning these women are free to be sources of radicalization for their communities.
In the past five years, ISIS has recruited unprecedented numbers of women — taking media and policy analysts by surprise. Using culturally curated age-appropriate narratives, their specialized marketing pitches were successful in appealing to Muslim teenagers and young adults throughout the Western world and beyond.
Similar to QAnon, ISIS targeted otherwise well-intentioned young women with positive messages about helping orphans whose parents had been killed by the brutal Assad regime in Syria. In one of the most deadly incidents, Tashfeen Malik, along with her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, opened fire at a 2015 Christmas party in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people. Investigations suggested that it was Malik who had radicalized her husband.
Western women have also been highly effective online recruiters for young girls from their countries of origin. Teenage girls — justifiably skittish about conversing with strange men online — are likely to be less circumspect about communicating with someone of the same gender who holds allure by being slightly older, sharing their interests and confidences and conveying a sense of inclusion. Thus Hoda Muthana from Alabama recruited American girls, while Aqsa Mahmood from Scotland successfully recruited girls from Great Britain.
The growing appeal of extremist ideologies to women and girls and the female-to-female luring tactics demonstrate that something has shifted in the ideological ecosystem around identity and belonging. This looming threat requires immediate attention, and curating approaches just for women is essential.
Indeed, trying to prevent young women and girls from being recruited means increasing counterterrorism officials’ knowledge about the psychology of belonging, agency and identity. It means having tailor-made programs that, for example, use former female recruiters. Unfortunately, policymakers are woefully behind the curve, still mostly seeing radical women as a curiosity and lumping all programs to counter violent extremism together rather than having science-driven solutions that are sensitive to gender.
This is a particularly stark omission given that the history of terrorism is rife with women, including one of the very first terrorists —Vera Zasulich, a member of Narodnaya Volya, the anarchist People’s Will — who attempted to assassinate the chief of police of St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1878. European terrorist groups in the 1960s and the 1970s were teeming with women, some even in positions of leadership.
Women have also played renowned roles in terrorist groups here in the United States. For instance, the Weather Underground, a 1970s-era far-left group responsible for a series of bombings, was co-founded by a woman.
More recent incidents on the far left demonstrate that the North American trend is not limited to QAnon. In September, a Canadian woman was arrested and accused of mailing ricin to Trump; later that month, a Black Lives Matter-affiliated activist was arrested after she drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters. Most recently, two women were arrested in Washington state and accused of attempting to derail trains to oppose the construction of oil pipelines in solidarity with indigenous communities in Canada.
Though women internationally are estimated to be a third to more than half of all suicide bombers, such as 53 percent of suicide bombers for Nigeria’s Boko Haram, it is crucial to appreciate that women might be less visible in the U.S. but are nevertheless engaged behind the scenes. These roles have often not gotten the attention they warrant, as is the case with women in so many arenas, which affects funding for women-focused programs, research and policy formation to counter violent extremism.
As the country continues to fracture and political violence is seen more and more as a legitimate form of activism, acts of terrorism perpetrated by women are increasingly likely. Fortunately, our understanding of female terrorists has improved in recent years as more people study the phenomenon and journalists stop assuming that women lack agency.
Still, we are far from prepared. We need to explore more fully the psychology of women who fight and from that consider specific counterterrorism measures. These might include programs for middle school girls recognizing that girls and boys do not mature at the same age or absorb materials the same way, or the use of gaming platforms more popular with female players and thus useful in dissuading them from radicalization. We need to imagine the possibility of an all-female terrorist organization and whether it can pose threats that all-male armies do not.
In counterterrorism, we have a tendency to underestimate threats until they overrun the battlefield. The growing role of women in domestic terrorism is one of several emerging trends that policymakers, law enforcement and intelligence agencies much watch closely so we are not caught unaware once again.
It is surprising how many gullible people there are out there. This seems to be how Brainwashing works. We cannot prove that it is Roger Stone who is responsible, but We certainly have him as our only suspect. Until this group is exposed exposed and destroyed, many families with unstable parents and children will continue to be destroyed.
Life amid the ruins
of QAnon: ‘I wanted
my family back’
An epidemic of conspiracy theories,
fanned by social media and self-serving
politicians, is tearing families apart.
She bought ammunition, camping gear, a water purifier and boxes of canned food. Then, Tyler’s mother started wearing a holstered pistol around the house, convinced that 10 days of unrest and mass power outages were coming.
The chaos would culminate, she assured her son, in former president Donald Trump’s triumphant return to power on March 4, the original Inauguration Day before the passage of the 20th Amendment in 1932.
Tyler, 24, had been living with his mother an hour north of Minneapolis since he graduated college in 2019. The paranoia and fear that had engulfed his home had become unbearable in the months since Trump began to falsely claim that the 2020 election had been stolen from him.
“Any advice for dealing with a qanon parent who thinks ww3 will happen during the inauguration?” Tyler asked last month on r/QAnonCasualties, a fast-growing Reddit group for those whose loved ones have been consumed by the bizarre and byzantine universe of baseless conspiracy theories known as QAnon.
“Do they have weapons?” one of the site’s moderators asked.
“Yep. A lot of them,” Tyler replied. “I would leave, but I don’t have anywhere to go.” He said he couldn’t imagine cutting ties to his mother.
In Washington, rioters, inflamed by unfounded allegations of a stolen election, had stormed the Capitol leaving five dead and triggering the impeachment of a president. Far from Washington, the falsehoods that had whipped so many into a frenzy were wreaking a different sort of chaos; one that was tearing families apart.
Family members spoke of their loved ones as if they were cult members or drug addicts, sucked in by social media companies and self-serving politicians who warped their views of reality. They begged and bargained with parents and partners to put down their phones for just a few days in the hope that the spell might be interrupted and they might return to their old selves.
To some it seemed as if the United States was gripped by an epidemic of conspiracy theories.
The anguish was playing out behind closed doors in therapists’ offices, where overwhelmed family members were seeking advice. And it was painfully clear on QAnonCasualties, the Reddit group where Tyler had turned for support.
The group offered a rough barometer of the growing turmoil. Since last summer it had grown from about 10,000 members to more than 130,000 in the days after Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Each day there was a flood of new posts:
A woman in Chattanooga, Tenn., was just days away from moving out of the house she and her partner bought five years earlier. “I feel like I’m in a twisted black mirror episode that’s lasting WAY too long,” she wrote. “I feel hopeless that we will ever get back to the beautiful life we shared in our lovely home.”
A woman in Palm Beach, Fla., had gone two weeks without speaking to her mother and was starting to wonder if the rift was irreparable. “I grieve for her every day as if she is dead,” she wrote.
A teenager in Annapolis, Md., worried that she no longer “knew” her father. “I’ve come to the breaking point,” she confessed. “My heart goes out to everyone else in this situation. It really sucks.”
Tyler, alone in his bedroom, read many of the new posts, hoping that they would help him make sense of his mother’s beliefs.Sometimes it felt as if every conversation with his mom and her new husband circled back to Trump-related conspiracies.
To protect his family’s anonymity, The Washington Post is only using Tyler’s first name. In an email, his mother blamed her son for the tension in the house, writing that he was disrespectful and refused to look for work after leaving his job earlier this year. She added that she “never even heard of Qanon until very recently” and doesn’t “follow it,” but declined to discuss why she had begun purchasing survival gear and whether she believed Trump would return to the White House in March. “My beliefs about Trump are actually none of your business,” she wrote.
Tyler said he and his mother discussed QAnon one time; a bizarre conversation in which his mother insisted that QAnon prophecies were the product of artificial intelligence. He described an atmosphere of growing conspiracy and fear that pervaded his home. “It started a month before the election,” Tyler said in an interview, “and it kept growing until it felt like she was preaching the Bible to me.”
At first she insisted that Trump, not Biden, would be inaugurated on Jan. 20, and for a while Tyler held out hope that Biden’s swearing-in would jolt his mother back into reality. She would put away her gun and life would return to normal. But, the ceremony in Washington seemed to make little difference at his house in Minnesota.
“She’s waiting for March 4th now,” he wrote.
“What’s March 4th?” asked one of the QAnonCasualties group members.
“Trump’s inauguration as new world president,” Tyler replied, referring to a common belief among some QAnon followers that it represented the true Inauguration Day as set out in the Constitution.
Tyler worried that he might not be able to wait that long for his mother to snap out of the spell.
The first QAnonCasualties post went up on July 4, 2019, some two years after the conspiracy’s unidentified online originator, known as Q, baselessly claimed that Trump was secretly leading a war against an elite cabal of pedophiles who controlled Washington, Hollywood and the world.
By that point, QAnon was no longer just an online phenomenon in which the group’s most fanatical adherents called for hanging traitors and waited for the “Storm,” an awakening that would reveal the true breadth of evil in America. Some followers had begun showing up at Trump rallies wearing T-shirts and holding signs advertising their cause.
“My mom has been into QAnon since it got started,” wrote the QAnonCasualties founder, who has since deactivated his Reddit account. “The ignorance, bigotry and refusal to question the ‘plan’ has only gotten worse over time. I’m always torn between stopping communication with her because it only seems to make me feel terrible, and feeling like it’s my responsibility to lead her back to reality.”
The founder described his experience with his mother as “exhausting, sad, scary, demoralizing” and invited members to vent or share coping strategies.
Other Reddit groups, such as r/Qult_Headquarters, were dedicated to discrediting and mocking the growing conspiracy. QAnonCasualties, the group’s founder wrote, was intended to be a “comforting place.”
“Thank the f—ing stars I found you guys,” replied one of the first to join. “Today has been hard.”
“My mother is a hard-core believer,” wrote another. “I found her Twitter account handle and I am horrified and embarrassed. Who is this person?”
Like many conspiracy theories, QAnon supplied a good-versus-evil narrative into which complicated world events could be easily incorporated. “Especially during the pandemic, Q provided a structure to explain what was going on,” said Mike Rothschild, author of “The Storm Is Upon Us,” which documents QAnon’s rise.
And it offered believers a sense of meaning and purpose. “We want to believe that we matter enough [that someone wants] to crush us,” Rothschild said. “It’s comforting to think that the New World Order would single us out for destruction.”
A big part of what made it novel was that it was interactive, allowing its followers to take part in the hunt for clues as if they were playing a video game. Social media algorithms, built to capture and keep consumers’ attention, helped expand the pool of hardcore believers by leading curious individuals to online groups of believers and feeding them fresh QAnon conspiracy theories.
Unlike other online conspiracy theories, it also had the blessing of some top Republicans, such as Trump, who embraced the movement in the hope that he could channel believers’ rabid, and sometimes violent, passions for political gain. “It’s a bet that they can control this insurgency and use it to defeat their opposition and retain control,” said Lawrence Rosenthal, chair of the Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies. “The bet is we can ride this tiger. And sometimes, as in Germany and Italy, you can get eaten by the tiger.”
The same news events that inflamed QAnon followers’ passions often produced simultaneously big spikes in QAnonCasualties’s membership rolls.
On the day the news media declared Biden the winner of the 2020 election, the online support group added 2,500 new members, according to Reddit. More than 6,000 joined in the days after the Capitol riots, and another 7,300 people signed up in the hours after Biden was inaugurated.
Some family members who flocked to the site wondered if they were partially to blame for their loved one’s descent into madness. “I know that disengaging with [my sister] as our beliefs began to diverge is why she turned to Q in the first place,” a 33-year-old woman from Maryland wrote on QAnonCasualties. “Still I will just never understand.”
Others sought out advice and coping strategies. “How should I handle my relationship with my Dad after I leave home?” asked an 18-year-old from Tampa, whose father believed that Bill Gates and other globalists were going to use the coronavirus vaccine to implant microchips in unsuspecting Americans. “I still love the man and part of the reason this has me so torn up is that I feel I may lose him for good.”
The tens of thousands flocking to QAnonCasualties represented only a subset of the pain sweeping the country. A late-January American Enterprise Institute survey found that 15 percent of Americans believed that “Trump has been secretly fighting a group of child sex traffickers that include prominent Democrats and Hollywood elites.”
Some psychologists likened the spread of QAnon and the increase in conspiratorial thinking to a global pandemic. “I’ve been practicing for 30 years and this feels very different,” said Nancy Molitor, a clinical psychologist in Chicago and assistant professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “There have always been cults, but this one is a doozy.”
In Nashville, a group of about 200 mental health therapists recently set aside time to discuss how to handle QAnon believers. One therapist said she was fighting the urge to tell a QAnon believer who had come for marriage counseling that his views were wrong, said Lisa Henderson, a licensed professional counselor and expert with the American Counseling Association, who took part in the discussion. A better approach, the group determined, was to try to figure out why the QAnon spouse was drawn to the conspiracy theory.
On QAnonCasualties, family members worried that mental health counselors might dismiss their fears or conclude that they had lost touch with reality.
“I am now going to my first therapy appointment to deal with this and I have no idea how to talk to my therapist without sounding like I’m completely crazy,” a middle school teacher from Wichita wrote in early February after cutting off contact with her mother. “Has anyone else gone to therapy for this? I’m so broken hearted because I currently have no blood relatives that I can speak to. I’m so tired.”
The woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve her relationship with family, said in an interview that she met with the therapist the next day. She described her mother’s predictions of mass arrests, fears of rampant pedophilia and worries about political violence.
And she shared the pain that their estrangement had caused her.
Fortunately, she said, the therapist was familiar with QAnon. “She nodded,” the woman said in an interview, “and gave me the sign of the cross.”
In the days after the Capitol riots, Tyler began spending more and more time messaging with people he had met on QAnonCasualties.
As a child, Tyler said he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism. In 2019, he graduated from a local university with a degree in manufacturing engineering. In early January, he quit his job with a local manufacturer, hoping to find something that required a college degree. He was living at home.
So the sooner Joe Biden declares open war against QANON, the better off the entire world will be.