Van Badham (2021) Quanon and On: A Short and Shocking History of Internet Conspiracy Cults.

‘We elected a meme.’

Conspiracy beliefs eat you from the inside. I know this having been brought up a Roman Catholic. Guardian journalist Van Badham tells the reader her book is about two things, i) the internet, ii) belief. It was personal for her.

‘My interest in the internet’s extremist underworld resulted from my experience of its attacks…I found myself on the very public online radar of misogynists, racists, homophobes and outright fascists. I was the subject of attack videos and hateful memes and subject to constant trolling. In the wake of online attacks came offline too. Parcels of anonymous materials began to appear on my doorstep; my Twitter account was hacked; I was stalked, harassed and attacked in the street. International Neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer published a hit piece with my photograph and a written incitement to run me over in a car.’

I naively believed that at the soon to be President Trump’s rallies the cries of ‘Lock her up! Lock her up!’ was regarding the Democratic Party’s servers being tapped by the Russian state (FSB) and information about her email accounts being passed to followers of the moron’s moron. She’d acted illegally in not securing them, which was a potentially criminal act (but we all know rich people don’t get prosecuted).  Hillary Clinton publicly apologised. But Trump’s followers wanted her locked up for what I thought was a minor misdemeanour. What I didn’t realise was when she ordered pizza, it was a code word for children to be delivered to her and her paedophilic followers, who would rape and eat them. They would also milk them for a substance, a by-product of fear that would give them eternal life. #PizzaGate wasn’t about pizzas. Badham shows that any relationship with badly scripted B-movies and The Matrix is intentional and unintentional.

The $4 million damages awarded against Alex Jones— his defence costs running at $49 million— were the standout tag for public and political theatre. The right-wing profiteer who said the Sandy Hook school shootings were a hoax, and helped propagate the lie using his site InfoWars as an internet megaphone amplifying lie after lie for personal gain was forced to recant.

Jones’s highly priced attorneys made school-boy errors. They released two years’ worth of text messages from his phone to his legal adversaries and then failed to claim client privilege. A counterpoint to Stop the Steal.

Infowars website was making $800 000 a day from merchandising was one of the facts revealed. His net worth $279 million revealed to the parents of a family of a six-year old boy shot and killed and targeted as liars by Jones’s trolling followers.

Alex Jones, like Trump with ‘Stop the Steal’, ran on paranoia and promoted self-serving lies, all the way to the bank, and beyond the Presidency. The show is still running.

Alex Jones was quick to apologise to the bereaved parents of Sandyhook children. He was willing to admit ‘the attack was ‘one hundred percent real’.

Jones also admitted #PizzaGate was a lie. The Ping Pong restaurant run by James Alefantis in Washington, DC, did not have dungeons and basements which ran underground and fed the voracious appetites of Hillary Clinton and her cabal for very young children, who they liked to torture before eating. #PizzaGate: The Bigger Picture on YouTube.

His YouTube messages to his tens of thousands of followers that he was going down there to investigate was also a lie. He’d no intention of visiting. Online activists, digital soldiers, kept the churn going, until Edgar Madison Welch from Salisbury, North Carolina did visit with rifle in hand. He sent a text message to his girlfriend and children. He was ‘Raiding a pedo ring, possibly sacrificing the lives of a few for the lives of many. Standing up against a corrupt regime that kidnaps, tortures and rapes babies and children in our own backyard.’ In other words, Madison Welch was being heroic.

Jones was also forced to apologise for perpetuating lies that a yogurt factory was also a centre for supporting child rapists and the spread of tuberculosis.    

19th August 2020, Joe Biden was announced as the Democratic candidate that would run against Donald J. Trump in the forthcoming election—which he, of course, stole, if you believe the 45th President of the United States and his dim-witted followers.

In the White House, the moron’s moron was asked at a press conference what he thought about QAnon and its followers on social media (and indeed in the White House itself when they invaded it in an attempt to shut down Congress and lynch the Vice President of the disUnited States, Mike Pence).

‘They are people who love their country,’ was the moron’s moron’s reply. Meme speech follows familiar patterns.

When the call came Ashli Babbet and Rosanne Boyland came to Washington, DC, like Maddison Walsh because they saw themselves as heroic. They were willing to die. And they did. Yet they were disowned by QAnon as false-flags. Later to be lionised.

Who or what is QAnon? Van Badham suggests it may have been Steve Bannon. The government insider who played Deepthroat in the deep web of 4chan and 8chan. Or it might have been someone from Breitbart or Cambridge Analytica. Certainly, they had help from Russian FSB. Lieutenant General Flynn is put in the frame. Both received pardons from the then President Trump. Or it may have been lawyers such as Rudy Giuliani. Or it might have been all of them. It didn’t really matter. QAnon went silent after Trump. It helped create a meme as President.

Silicon Valley pioneered computer software to get you clicking on cute cats doing silly things. You became the product. You are part of Big Data sets and A/B testing on server farms.

Amazon, for example, identified me as part of the tens of millions who bought and read Donna Tart’s The Goldfinch. Ninety percent of us finished it.

Amazon knows I’m a sucker for books. I’m also part of the millions of buyers who bought Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Piketty shot down the idea of a trickle-down economics being a shell game using offshore companies to hide profits and help create an ideology that was based on lies. But we lost the propaganda war, by us I mean the poor people that are reliant on wages as their sole source of income and who get to retire when they reach between sixty and sixty-eight (if we’re not dead first). The French economist urged governments to tax the rich. The two leading candidates of the Tory Party vie with each other to go in the other direction. Taxing the poor has always been popular in certain elite groups that don’t eat children.

But Amazon also knows I’m the exception to the rule. Only three percent of those who started Piketty’s book, finished it. I’m glossing over that I forget more than I remember and in an examination I’d fail, but Amazon doesn’t know this. It just quantifies pages turned. And I’m a page turner.

But I’m also part of the growing minority that believes we are living in the end of times. Unchecked global warming will end civilisation in the next fifty years. A YouGov pole at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic found that almost a third of those questioned anticipated a life-changing disaster in their lifetime.

A 2019 survey found that almost half of those polled in US, UK, France and Italy belief that civilisation will collapse in the years to come.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/06/change-is-coming-meet-the-englishman-prepping-for-climate-apocalypse-in-an-old-german-barracks

Conspiracy theories thrive in such an environment of fear. It’s not what you think, but what you feel. Van Badham’s prescient book came out before Alex Jones’s trial. In a way it vindicates her work, but nobody is listening to things they don’t want to hear is the real message of this book. QAnon metamorphoses into something more right-wing and hateful and will go on and on destroying lives. Jones shows were the money and political influence lies. It’s not surprising his phone records have been subpoenaed by Congress investigating the role the 45th President had in insurrection and civil disobedience in Washington, DC.   

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