QAnon

Nova Scotia’s Billy Joyce – Canada’s Red Pill – erstwhile YouTube channel promoting QAnon

An earlier version of this article appeared in the Halifax Examiner on September 13, 2020, before the US election and the storming of the Capitol in Washington on January 6, which involved many QAnon adherents. This article contains graphic descriptions of conspiracy theories about child abuse and torture that may not be suitable for all readers. Jesselyn Cooke at the Huffington Post has written a powerful and heart-wrenching account of how QAnon affects families.

The change in the Nova Scotian woman – I’ll call her Lidia – was dramatic and it happened suddenly. According to a member of her family, Lidia had always been left leaning and progressive, and in 2016, had said she strongly supported Bernie Sanders in his bid to be the US Democratic Party’s presidential candidate.

Then, one day about a couple of years ago, after she spent time speaking with a sibling in the United States, Lidia did an about-face.

“She suddenly went all weird and Trumpy on us. But she couldn’t stand Trump before,” said a family member who worries about Lidia and the way her new belief system is affecting people around her, including her children.

“It has broken up the whole family,” said the relative.

The cause of Lidia’s transformation?

In a word: QAnon.

How it began

Today QAnon is a global movement fuelled by convoluted conspiracy theories. But it began with a single post on October 28, 2017 by an anonymous entity on the 4chan internet forum, on a “politically incorrect page” in a dark corner of the internet that has been criticized for its racist, violent and misogynistic posts.

In the months that followed, there was little media attention paid to this online phenomenon, with the notable exception of the excellent podcast “QAnon Anonymous,” hosted by Julian Feeld, Travis View and Jake Rockatansky, which, almost from the beginning has provided in-depth and critical coverage of QAnon. Continue reading QAnon without borders

The conspiracy theory that originated in the US has become a global movement, and has attracted adherents in Nova Scotia. Anti-hate activists are concerned about it.

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(An earlier version of this opinion piece appeared in the Halifax Examiner “Morning File” of January 15, 2021.)

The “sample copy” of the newspaper landed innocently enough in our house.

On Tuesday, January 12, 2021, Canada Post delivered a “complimentary” issue of  The Epoch Times right to our door in rural northern Nova Scotia.

It came with a “limited-time offer” for a special subscription deal to what looked – if one knew no better – like a normal newspaper.

I was one of those, unaware that in the past year, investigative journalists had revealed The Epoch Times  to be a “shamelessly pro-Trump paper,” and a “global propaganda machine” that offers a “mix of alternative facts and conspiracy theories that has won it far-right acolytes around the world.”

A 2017 study in Germany found that The Epoch Times “disseminates antidemocratic false news and conspiracy theories, incites hatred against migrants and indirectly advertises for the AfD,” the country’s far-right political party.

Yet the masthead of the newspaper makes The Epoch Times sound benign as a newborn babe, a paper that stays “outside of political interests,” and is “dedicated to seeking the truth through insightful and independent journalism.”

Recipients of the free copy are invited to take advantage of a “$1 first month trial offer.” The “best deal” subscription is six months at $3.43 a week, or $89 plus tax. Subscribers get a weekly paper with 40 pages in four sections.

The Epoch Times, says the masthead, has readers in 36 countries and 22 languages, with a  Canadian English version that has been operating for 16 years, with a “loyal readership” in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, and Edmonton.

As for its origins, it says only that it was founded in 2000 by “Chinese expats in North America.”

As I said, benign.

Or so the mysterious people behind The Epoch Times would have us believe.

Dig a little, however, and the paper looks anything but benign.

Continue reading Beware, “The Epoch Times” are here … and there, and everywhere

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