Capitol rioters were motivated by QAnon’s conspiracies—but did they actually believe in it?

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    Many of the most indelible images from the Capitol insurrection involve QAnon—like the numerous pictures of the Q Shaman at the U.S. Senate dais or the Q sweatshirt worn by Doug Jensen, one of the first breachers to enter the Capitol. 

    But the depositions of those involved with planning and carrying out the insurrection reveal a disparAs important as QAnon was to the stolen election movement and the events of that day, many of the leaders of the extremist movements that attacked the Capitol had nothing good to say about it, doing their best to distance themselves from the conspiracy, which believes former President Donald Trump was leading a secret war against Democratic pedophiles.

    The official report directly blames QAnon as a motivating factor in the riot, claiming the adherents to the movement “believed January 6th would bring the prophesied ‘Storm’— a violent purge of Democrats and government officials promised by the mysterious online personality known only as ‘Q.’”

    The report added that “QAnon’s devotees flocked to Washington, D.C.” and organized “under the digital banner, ‘Operation Occupy the Capitol,’ which depicted the U.S. Capitol being torn in two.”

    But believing in QAnon, and being inspired by it, are—in this world of mashed-up, intermixed online conspiracies—not entirely the same thing. And the report, unintentionally, makes clear the while many don’t explicitly buy into QAnon, the motivations remain the same.

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    1 comment

    1. Many anti-government extremists appear to be motivated by conspiracy theories, or more generally paranoid delusional thinking. But which came first, a propensity for paranoid delusions or QAnon?

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