Exposing Qanon

This week we finally received some interesting news about exposing the dangerous frauds who are creating and perpetuating the Qanon myths on social media. As reported here in insider.com, a New Jersey based IT employee of Citigroup named Jason Gelinas was exposed recently by a fact checking organization as the source of major Qanon supporting website.

This is positive news, as was the decision last month by Facebook to ban hundreds of Qanon based pages. They only scratch the surface of the problem, however, and New York Times stories like this one calling for a tech-based solution to this problem miss the point as well.

The reality is that Qanon has become a national security threat, spreading such insane misinformation that it is inciting extreme and dangerous behavior, such as the stupid, crazy rumors that the west coast fires were deliberately set, inspiring some Oregon residents to openly block fire crews trying to contain it.

Tech solutions to the Qanon problem sound seductive, but they have proven so far to be ineffective. Two years ago, Anonymous promised to expose and take down Qanon. What’s happened since that claim? Facebook pages coming down have just led to the creation of new pages or switching to Reddit and YouTube. There will always be new channels for misinformation to propagate.

What will truly put a dent in Qanon is action from law enforcement. There is a strong prima facie case by now that Qanon’s knowingly false information has led to numerous criminal acts around the country. They need to be held liable for these actions. I find it hard to believe that the same surveillance apparatus created to keep us safe from terrorists hasn’t already uncovered who is responsible for building and perpetuating the Qanon myths. If they truly haven’t figured this out, don’t worry about the Deep State. Worry about the pathetic state of our intelligence community.

Perhaps the intelligence and law enforcement agencies are too early in their case against Qaon to move now, but I have to wonder why there isn’t an Snowden-like character in NSA willing to talk to reporters about what he or she has picked up. There has to be good information out there that will discredit these actors, and while I appreciate the professionalism of the intelligence community in not wanting to divulge information with domestic consequences, especially given these groups paranoia about the Deep State, how bad do things have to get before the intelligence community drops some dimes in their own self interest and that of the nation?

My hope is that we can get through this election without another Pizza-gate act of insane violence. I hope all the crazy boasts from Qanon acolytes about causing civil disobedience or gassing their own children if Biden wins the election are just hot air. Then, perhaps, we’ll get a real Attorney General in this country who won’t hold back investigations into these domestic terrorists and the smoke can begin to clear.

Hope is not a plan, however, and I’m genuinely concerned that the crazies are beyond redemption at this point. We are lurching towards a very dangerous moment in our republic and I’m concerned that too many people are insufficiently concerned about millions of people believing insane myths that might trigger horrific actions if Biden wins the election in November.

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