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The QAnon conspiracy theory has built up a remarkable immunity to events that should falsify its fantastical story. It routinely survives long periods where Q makes no new posts, is currently weathering a spate of conservative infighting between pro- and anti-Q Trump voters, and seems to have a preternatural ability to absorb happenings that would seem to negate to the cause.
Thursday’s arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange seems like one of those events. Assange is an important figure in the Tom Clancy-esque intrigue that QAnon has created, serving as a kind of hidden insider and feeding information to Q so that it can be cut up into riddles and served back to QAnon decoders. As such, he’s the subject of a number of claims that run counter to everything we actually know about Assange’s status. Of course, in QAnon land, nothing is as it seems, and everything the media reports is either a lie or purposeful disinformation carried about by the patriots really in control of events.
QAnon has referenced Assange a number of times, usually in concert with the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich (thought by conspiracy theorists to have leaked hacked material to Assange) or to the Hillary Clinton email server scandal. “SR connect to DNC. MS_13. JA. Why did the D’s push legal rep on family?” reads one drop from March 2018 referring to Q’s conspiracy theory that the DNC hired MS13 gang members to murder Rich as revenge for leaking to Assange (there’s no evidence to support this theory).
“You may have the site but we have the source,” declares another drop from June, referencing what the poster earlier claimed was a hack of WikiLeaks. In another drop that month, Q referred to Assange by his initials, writing “Server or JA = truth exposed (SR). D’s are in crisis mode,” then making another drop including the riddle, “SR. JA. Why does the UK gov desperately want JA? Think source files.”
These are just Q’s direct claims. Assange is a major figure in the conspiratorial mythology that has grown around the Trump administration, with one-time Robert Mueller target Jerome Corsi claiming on InfoWars in January 2018 that “a series of unexpected developments have cleared the path for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London without fear of arrest,” thanks to Trump’s court machinations. Obviously, this did not happen.
President Donald Trump routinely praised WikiLeaks on the campaign trail, relying heavily on the organizations’ dumped emails in the final days of his quest to win the White House. That relationship was apparently forgotten by the time Assange was taken into custody, as Trump told reporters that he “knows nothing about WikiLeaks” after being asked about the arrest.
WikiLeaks did not return QAnon’s adoration. The organization routinely derided QAnon as a controlled operation working against anti-establishment forces. Assange and WikiLeaks attacked QAnon for supporting regime change in Iran, called it a manipulative “live action role play,” and a “Pied Piper operation” designed to turn anti-deep state activists into unwitting shills.
Why is "Qanon" leading anti-establishment Trump voters to embrace regime change and neo-conservatism? https://t.co/iCtWPmnSmO— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 26, 2018
While we suspect that the "Qanon" phenomena is likely 4chan trolls engaging in a Live Action Role Play (LARP) version of the Delphic Oracle it is also clear that many are aware of its manipulative potential and will usurp it if they have not already. https://t.co/Jb3382HOsA— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 28, 2018
This analysis, unfortunately, increasingly appears that it may be correct: https://t.co/LbyfMaTQjJ— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 27, 2018
To the QAnon mythology, everything going on with Assange—from his feud with QAnon to his recent arrest—is all fakery meant to throw the deep state off the trail. In fact, at least one prominent QAnon decoder told his 108,000 followers that Assange’s arrest was necessary to kick off the final purge of the insiders controlling the highest levels of business and government.
His indictment is important and necessary. Discovery brings it all down. Assange is the Star Witness against the Deep State, just a few more pages of this screenplay before he gets to deliver his lines. https://t.co/DNbexsDVeB— Joe M (@StormIsUponUs) November 24, 2018
It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that QAnon devotees are delighted to learn Assange has been arrested and is now in a position to be extradited to the U.S. so he can testify against the evil doers.
“It looks like the Quiet before the Storm is no more. The Storm is here and I am feeling the first raindrops,” proclaims one thread on the Q-approved research board on Voat. Another praised Assange as being “on the Q team.” Others claim that this could blow the lid off the Rich murder, that he would need to be protected from murderous Hillary Clinton-hired killers, that Democratic control of the House would be jeopardized by Assange’s testimony, and that everything related to Assange’s perp walk and removal was staged. In particular, Assange’s seemingly sanguine look and thumbs-up to the camera as he was driven away led a number of QAnon believers to think he knew something the rest of us didn’t. And that it was bad for the deep state.
Major QAnon figures on Twitter were similarly ebullient that the next phase of “the show” seeming to have begun. “Bring on the discovery!” proclaimed QAnon video-maker Jordan Sather to his 86,000 followers. Hugely popular Twitter account QAnon76 linked the arrest to a tweet from Trump declaring that his most recent polling numbers were “great news.” Others retweeted their own posts seeming to predict Assange’s arrest, an event that had likely been months in the making.
I don’t see worry on this man’s face, do you?— Jordan Sather (@Jordan_Sather_) April 11, 2019
Bring on the discovery. pic.twitter.com/7dypPYXnH5
Ultimately, there seems little reason to believe that Assange’s arrest will having any real effect on the QAnon mythology, be it positive or negative. The story Q has been spinning for the last 18 months has never come to pass, and Assange likely won’t testify in a way that advances the story. But it’s likely that when Assange’s testimony fails to spark the great purge of the deep state, the disconfirmation will be rolled into the mythology. Assange will have been “gotten to” by pro-deep state forces, or he have needed to lie because “disinformation is necessary.”
Because QAnon is fiction, it can go anywhere its creator needs it to go in order to sustain it. If that means the story leaves the Ecuadorian embassy in a scraggly beard, then so be it.
Mike Rothschild is a writer who specializes in researching and debunking conspiracy theories and fringe beliefs. He also writes about politics, history, and breaking news.