QAnon’s delusion sets foot in Europe

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More than 10 years of economic crisis that has left deep open wounds and a virus that paralyzes the world. An explosive combination that depresses, worries and creates uncertainty and anguish. The perfect psychological fertilizer for sowing conspiracy theories, as the internet shows. Many are crazy, but alarm that the most popular overcome delirium. It is known by the name of QAnon, a movement that has taken root in the United States and that has already set foot and advances in Europe. Some experts have rated it as “the most successful and threatening conspiracy ideology on social media.”

There goes what broadly propagates, although over time variants have been added: The world is under the power of a gang of pedophiles from the “deep state” that sshow children, locks them in dungeons, practice satanic rites and the sexually assaulted prior to drink his blood, from which they extract a substance that allows them slow down aging. Among the soulless who run the entremado are the Clinton, the Obama, Bill Gates O George Soros. But there is a secret plan already in place that will rid the world of this scum. In front is Donald Trump that, after the “perfect storm”, will make possible the “great awakening”.

QAnon was born in October 2017 in the United States. Since then it has done nothing but grow and expand beyond its borders. Denialist, anti-confinement, anti-vaccine groups, enemies of 5G technology and extreme right movements, among others, also move around the conspiratorial base. All agree in maintaining an attitude of great distrust towards governments.

Trump was asked last summer about the great delusion. This was his answer: “I don’t know much about this movement, but I understand that they like me a lot, which I appreciate. I have heard that these are people who love our country. “At least 70 Republican congressional candidates have at some point expressed their support for the movement, such as the candidates for Georgia, Marjorie Taylor Greene y Stanton King. It was no use that the FBI considered QAnon last year “a potential terrorist threat“, after some of his followers were accused of violent crimes with firearms in the United States.

Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene is one of 70 congressional hopefuls who have at some point supported QAnon’s theories. / ERIK S. LESSER (EFE)

Qanon first appeared in Europe at the end of last year, but it was not until this summer that it began to spread across the continent. ‘NewsGuard’, an organization based in the United States that monitors the movement on the Internet, had about half a million followers in Europe, only on YouTube, Facebook and Telegram. The first two, together with Instagran, began in October to close all accounts related to this group. But cyberspace is full of escape routes. The European countries where QAnon has penetrated the most are Germany, the United Kingdom and, to a lesser extent, France.

GERMANY: ASSAULT ON THE REICHSTAG

On August 29, the stairs of the historic building of the Reichstag were the scene of images unprecedented in recent German history: several hundred ultra-rightists with flags of “Reichsbürger” – ultranationalist movement that denies the existence of the Federal Republic and wants to regain the German borders prior to the Second World War – they threatened to storm the Federal Parliament.

The action, framed in a day of protests against restrictive measures To curb the coronavirus, it was a serious wake-up call on the violent potential of the German extra-parliamentary far right. QAnon’s conspiracy theory has a reference in the past. The use of blood from minors is, in fact, connected with the European anti-Semitism of medieval origin, which claimed that Jews used the blood of Christians as a form of medicine.

QAnon's delusion sets foot in Europe

German police charge at members of the far right in their beloved storming the Reichstag last August. / CHRISTIAN MANS (REUTERS)

Those who have been observing these ultra groups for years did not miss a detail. Among the assailants were those who wore T-shirts or carried flags with the enigmatic “Q” for QAnon. Local media revealed that the trigger for the assault was the message that one of the participants, speaker in hand, transmitted to the protesters: Donald Trump had come to Berlin to liberate Germany.

In social networks and digital platforms, the conspiracy that QAnon expands has gained followers very quickly in recent months in Germany, as confirmed to EL PERIÓDICO by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, an intelligence agency that monitors the movements that pose a threat to German democracyto. “The scope of QAnon cannot yet be quantified or classified,” says the source, confirming that there is a connection of the movement with some far-right networks. “There are also non-extremist people who support the theory and do not seek conformity,” he adds.

QAnon’s conspiracy theory has a reference in the past: European anti-Semitism of medieval origin, which claimed that Jews used the blood of Christians as medicine

“It is really striking that the QAnon movement has so much resonance in Germany,” he told this newspaper. the political scientist Maik Fielitz. Co-author of the book ‘Digitaler Faschismus’ (‘Digital Fascism’) -work that explores authoritarian, xenophobic and anti-pluralist movements on the internet-, Fielitz recalls that in Germany “there was already great potential among the population for conspiratorial thinking that until now had no clear direction. Within this movement we find opponents of vaccines, esoteric groups and also Reichsbürger who did not have a common umbrella. QAnon has offered them a joint direction. “

Fielitz sees in QAnon a common element with other authoritarian tendencies: the impulse of delegitimize democratic structures. “Beyond conspiracy theories about the pedophilia ring, its objective is to promote the feeling that no one in society can be trusted anymore, that it is necessary to withdraw to parallel worlds and that only information can be trusted. coming from certain ‘influencers’ and groups that define themselves precisely through their opposition to the mainstream’ “, says the researcher.

“And that is the most dangerous thing about this movement: within it, people are gradually inserting themselves into a completely different system of values ​​and rules. It is a movement without hierarchy, without a clear and also unpredictable leader.” ANDREU JEREZ

UNITED KINGDOM: THE Q IN CAMELOT

Last January the QAnon flag flew in the Camelot Castle, a hotel in Cornwall, south-west England. The owner of the old Victorian building is a Staunch supporter of Eurosceptic Nigel Farage and Donald Trump. The gesture of an eccentric eager for publicity marked the prelude to QAnon’s rapid growth in the UK, favored by the pandemic.

Today, one in four Britons supports the thesis of secret satanic cults and in the trafficking and abuse of children, in which the international elites are involved. That is the result of the online survey carried out in early September for the organization Hope Not Hate (Esperanza No Odio), which watches over extremist organizations.

According to the study, 17% of those consulted believe that covid-19 was intentionally released by the United Nations as part of “a depopulation plan“or” a new world order. “

QAnon's delusion sets foot in Europe

A QAnon supporter displays a Q at a London anti-restriction rally featuring Piers Corbyn, brother of former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn. / HOLLIE ADAMS (GETTY IMAGES)

In August, there were a dozen protests in the country by anti-vaccine groups, movements against confinement, 5G technology and groups in the fight against pedophilia. In the latter is Fredom for the Childresn UK, who manifested at the gates of Buckingham Palace and congregated in front of the Disney store shouting “shame, shame“, because they accuse the firm of being involved in these secret networks.

Analysis of pages associated with QAnon in the UK includes, plus hunters of child traffickers, to followers of New Age cults, advocates of ‘Brexit’ and the extreme right, along with already demanding conspiracy forums.

According to a poll, one in four Britons supports QAnon’s theories and 17% believe that Covid-19 was released by the United Nations as part of “a depopulation plan” or a “new world order”

The BBC quotes a 60-year-old YouTube influencer who lives in Spain and that in some videos it appears with a Puerto Banu t-shirts, as a “key” figure in the spread of conspiracy theories in the UK. He began hanging propaganda for QAnon during the lockdown. From going unnoticed, it has jumped to 170,000 subscribers. Your account has already been deleted by the ‘online’ video platform.

The Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR), an organization dedicated to monitoring far-right movements, warns that QAnon may begin to influence British politics, as it is doing in the United States. BEGOÑA ARCE

QAnon's delusion sets foot in Europe

Two protesters confront a policeman during a demonstration against the pandemic restrictions last October in London. / JONATAHAN BRADY (DPA)

FRANCE: THE DELUSION OF ‘PIZZA GIRL’

Pizza Girl“says a sign in large light blue letters that presides over the facade of a small Parisian pizzeria. ‘French Girl’, ‘Mexican Girl’, ‘Norwegian Girl’, are some of the names of their pizzas, baptized according to their ingredients : mustard, spicy beef or salmon. A gastronomic offer that woke up suspicions and paranoid guesses among QAnon followers in France, who associated each name with aliases of child victims of a pedophile ring whose center of operations was the restaurant.

“It doesn’t make any sense. This letter has been around for almost 30 years! […] It was at the beginning of the creation of the home service […] A communication agency helped me find our own concept and we decided that our pizzas would be delivered only by women, hence the concept ‘Pizza Girl’ was born “, explained the owner of the establishment to the newspaper ‘Le Parisiene’, perplexed by the multiple attacks received through social networks against his establishment, last August.

“What are these pedophile logos on your damn facade? On your counter & mldr; Are you going to tell me that you are not aware of what you are hiding? […] ¡You will not get away with it! We are a legion“, threatened a user through a message posted on the pizzeria Facebook page, proof of the degree of violence of Internet users faithful to QAnon’s conspiracy theories.

QAnon's delusion sets foot in Europe

A street in the Parisian district of Montmartre with all the restaurants closed for curfew. / CHARLES PLATIAU (REUTERS)

In addition to this isolated incident, which for now is limited to insults and threats in the digital sphere, is added the creation of a dedicated website only to the French branch of QAnon. “Satanic sacrifices. The only fight we must defend to win all the others”, can be read on their website, where the unlikely theories of the group are explained in detail.

Certain twilights of the ‘yellow vests’ movement, where a tidal wave of political ideologies converges, they begin to echo the speculations of QAnon, still little known by the general public in France. His Twitter account, baptized as “Yellow Vests VS Pedocriminality”, has, for now, less than 1,600 users. IRENE CASADO SÁNCHEZ

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