There’s a fairly good chance that most Americans know at least one person, including family and close friends, who have become followers of the wacko Qanon fringe conspiracy cult. Extremist cults have plagued America in the past. What makes Qanon so different from the Manson family, People’s Temple, Branch Davidians, Heaven’s Gate, Raëlians, and NXIVM is that they were relatively smaller groups and were concentrated in certain geographical regions, for example, Southern California, Oakland, Texas, West Virginia, and New York state. Qanon, on the other hand, has a wide following across the United States and, increasingly, around the world. Qanon, which maintains underpinnings of white supremacy and neo-Nazism, is a sect within the larger Donald Trump cult of personality.
Born out of the defunct 8chan web community, Qanon cultists are now found everywhere in cyberspace where Trump cultists and far-right extremists linger, from 4chan to Gab and Parler to Ello. Qanon poses enough of a threat that the FBI considers it to be a “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremist” group.
What makes Qanon most dangerous is that it has been acknowledged on Twitter by their cult leader, Trump. Several Republican candidates for office, including the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, have identified themselves with the Qanon cult. One of them, Marjorie Taylor Greene, is considered the likely winner of the U.S. House race in the 14th congressional district of Georgia, particularly after her Democratic opponent, Kevin Van Ausdal, announced he was abruptly dropping out of the race and moving out of the state. Democratic Party sources cited Van Ausdal’s divorce as the reason for his departure from the race. Incumbent Republican Representative Tom Graves, who opted not to run for re-election, surprised his staff by announcing that he was retiring in October, leaving his seat open for two months. These two decisions were made after Trump tweeted his support for Qanon cultist Greene, a former resident of suburban Atlanta, writing, “Marjorie is strong on everything and never gives up—a real WINNER!” Greene had moved to northwest Georgia after Graves announced that he was not seeking another term. Greene did not know anyone in the district and most of her campaign cash was from dark money sources, mostly from out-of-state and having links to the National Republican Congressional Committee, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Ohio Republican Representative Jim Jordan and Arizona Republican Representative Andy Biggs, the House Freedom Caucus, KOCHPAC, Citizens United Political Victory Fund PAC, and the right-wing Heritage Foundation.
There were reports that both Van Ausdal and Graves had been receiving threats from Qanon members. Greene is likely to be joined in the House by Qanon cultist Lauren Boebert, who defeated Republican incumbent Representative Scott Tipton for the Colorado 3rd congressional district seat in the GOP primary. Boebert falsely accuses actor Tom Hanks of being a citizen of Greece and, therefore, not legally permitted to fund U.S. campaigns, including that of Joe Biden. Other Qanon adherents won GOP primaries for the U.S. House in Florida, Illinois, California, and Arizona. Qanon cultists Jo Rae Perkins and Lauren Witzke won the GOP primaries in Oregon and Delaware, respectively, for the U.S. Senate. Qanon supporter Shiva Ayyadurai is running as a Republican write-in candidate for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. Qanon adherent Derrick Grayson is running for the U.S. Senate in the Georgia special election.
Qanon has developed into something akin to the Nazi Sturmabteilung (SA) Stormtroopers. The SA served as the political muscle for Adolf Hitler’s Nazis prior to the rise of the feared Schutzstaffel (SS). However, as more Qanon cultists are elected to the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, county boards, and municipal councils, what is now considered to be a wacko fringe group of conspiracists could become a secret cult within the Trump Republican Party.
A Qanon core enforcing Trump doctrine by intimidation, coercion and physical threat will come to resemble the SA and SS and transform the Republican Party into a clone of the Nazi Party, in which the SS enforced party discipline at the penalty of death. In fact, we see the beginnings of such an enforcement arm of the Trump party among some of Greene’s friends in Georgia, including Chris “General Blood Agent” Hill, the head of Georgia III% Security Force Georgia, and among the ranks of the far-right extremist Three Percent Security Force Intel Militia, Gun Owners of America, Oath Keepers, Light Foot Militia, Mass Resistance, and Alliance Defending Freedom. Hill has promised that his “militia” will exact bloody retribution if Biden “steals” the election from Trump.
The rhetoric of Hill and his armed right-wing gang associates is no different from that of the leaders of Hitler’s SA and SS. To date, Qanon cultists have committed murders in Washington state and New York. One Qanon follower shot an AR-15 rifle into a Washington, DC, pizza restaurant, falsely claiming the restaurant’s basement harbored a child sex slave prison. The restaurant has no basement. The shooter believed in a nonsensical “PizzaGate” theory about top Democrats running a child sex slave network. Another Qanon adherent parked an armored vehicle containing ammunition across all the traffic lanes of a bridge near the Hoover Dam. A Qanon follower also occupied a tower at a Tucson cement plant. Another Qanon follower was caught with knives after she stated that she was going to assassinate Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton and attack the U.S. hospital ship USNS Comfort, while it was docked in New York City. A train engineer who believed the Qanon theory about U.S. Navy hospital ships being used to house trafficked children attempted to crash his train into the USNS Mercy, while it was docked in the Port of Los Angeles.
Qanon has falsely claimed that the Save the Children organization and Wayfair are involved in child sex trafficking and that John F. Kennedy Jr. faked his aircraft death and is secretly helping Trump track down a global network of pedophiles.
In addition to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Tom Hanks, other favorite targets of Qanon cultists include Francis Ford Coppola, John Podesta, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the World Health Organization, Freemasonry, the United Nations, George Soros, the Rothschilds, Bill Gates, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and just about anything or anyone that Trump has attacked on Twitter.
Other Qanon cultists who are running for office, all as Republicans or third party, include Daniel Wood for the Arizona 3rd congressional district; Madison Cawthorne for the North Carolina 11th congressional district; Billy Prempeh for the New Jersey 8th congressional district; Angela Stanton-King for the Georgia 5th congressional district; the completely loopy Laura Loomer for the Florida 21st congressional district; Joyce Bentley for the Nevada 1st congressional district; Mike Cargile for the California 35th congressional district; Erin Cruz for the California 36th congressional district; Buzz Patterson for the California 7th congressional district; Alison Hayden for the California 15th congressional district; Nikka Piterman for the California 13th congressional district; Ron Curtis for the Hawaii 1st congressional district; Burgess Owens for the Utah 4th congressional district; Philanise White for the Illinois 1st congressional district; Theresa Raborn for the Illinois 2nd congressional district; Ron Weber for the Ohio 9th congressional district; Tracy Lovvorn for the Massachusetts 2nd congressional district; John Barnett for the Arizona 7th congressional district; Johnny Teague for the Texas 9th congressional district; Catherine Purcell for the Delaware At-Large congressional district; K. W. Miller for the Florida 18th congressional district; Bob Lancia for the Rhode Island 2nd congressional district; Ben Gibson for the Louisiana 4th congressional district; Antoine Tucker for the New York 14th congressional district (write-in candidate); Suzanne Sharer and Justine Wadsack for the Arizona State Senate; Susan Lynn for the Tennessee House of Representatives; Scott Armstrong for the Wisconsin Assembly; Eric Berthel for re-election to the Connecticut State Senate; Julie Dupré and Elizabeth Bangert for the Minnesota State Senate; Melissa Moore, Julie Buria, Joe Thalman, and Gary Heyer (a former Ron Paul delegate to the 2012 Republican National Convention) for the Minnesota House of Representatives; John Cardiff Gerhardt for the Nevada Assembly; and Joseph Smith for Mayor of Seaside, California. Other Qanon cultists lost in GOP primaries in states across the country. Qanon cultists have infiltrated Republican Party organizations in Oklahoma County and Garfield County in Oklahoma, Fresno County in California, St. Lucie and Volusia County in Florida; McLennan County in Texas, Stephens County in Georgia, and the state parties of Texas and Arizona.
Qanon should be draped around the neck of every Republican officeholder and candidate. The faster the Trump Qanon Republican Party is driven out of existence, the better off the United States and other countries where Qanon is nesting—United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Australia—will be.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).