Q unmasked

QAnon's mysterious leader Q is named as Ron Watkins, the son of 8Chan owner

A new HBO docu-series has named the son of the founder of 8Chan

Ron Watkins is the administrator of 8Chan (now known as 8Kun)

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INVESTIGATIVE PRESS GROUP

Into The Storm is airing on HBO Max on March 21. Its filmmakers name Watkins, the son of 8Chan founder Jim Watkins, as Q, the head of the right-wing, pro-Trump conspiracy theory group. Ron Watkins is interviewed as part of the series as his father and other members of the group. It's unclear why filmmaker Cullen Hoback thinks he is Q. Holback says he spent three years studying the right-wing group and he is interviewed for the series.

In a trailer for it, he told the filmmakers: 'So you're making a list of who might be Q?

'Let's continue then.'

Ron is the administrator of 8Chan (now known as 8Kun), an online message board where QAnon sprouted roots in 2017 and gained followers. It exploded in the final months of Donald Trump's presidency, bolstered by the unproven theory that widespread voter fraud won the election for Biden.

8chan was originally created by Fredrick Brennan but he quit after the Watkins refused to remove the racist manifesto of the Christchurch, New Zealand, shooter, in 2018.

He has been trying for years to get the site taken offline and says it is now out of control and dangerous. He previously named either Ron or Jim as Q, saying: 'I definitely, definitely, 100 percent believe that Q either knows Jim or Ron Watkins, or was hired by Jim or Ron Watkins.'

Only Jim and Ron have verified 'Q's posts on 8Chan, which has fueled speculation that one of them is the leader.

Many of the rioters from the January 8 attack on the US Capitol were QAnon followers.

They were irate and incredulous when Trump lost the election, and deduces that the only explanation for it was that he is being victimized by a secret organization of powerful pedophiles and child traffickers who had arranged widespread voter fraud to secure the election for Biden.

What began as a marginalized, online group of niche followers has now spread into the world of politics. Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has said in the past that she believes some of what QAnon teaches.

What is QAnon?

QAnon started on fringe website 4chan, where a poster calling themselves Q left messages claiming to be a senior federal official and purporting to reveal a 'deep state' cabal intent on bringing down Donald Trump. Q grew out of the discredited Pizzagate conspiracy that top Democrats were involved in pedophilia and cannibalism from the basement of a Washington D.C. restaurant, but quickly picked up steam with 'Q' leaving 'clues' and claims that Trump was going to bring down the deep state. Whenever the conspiracies turn out to not be true, followers rationalize that the inaccuracies are part of Q’s larger plan.

Who is Q?

There may now be multiple people posing as Q on the anonymous 4chan boards

Hoover Dam

In June 2019, 32-year-old Matthew Wright, a QAnon supporter, blocked the bridge near Hoover Dam in Arizona with a homemade armored vehicle in a 90-minute stand-off. He pleaded guilty to terrorism charges and has written two letters to Donald Trump from jail, which include the sign-off, which has become the QAnon motto: “For where we go one, we go all.”

Michael Flynn

Trump’s former national security adviser became a martyr figure for QAnon believers after he took a plea deal from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, admitting he lied about his Russia contacts. QAnon conspiracy have spun Flynn pleading guilty into him being a persecuted victim of the deep state – and some even claim he is ‘Q.’

Many believers put three star emojis next to their Twitter handles. But the retired three-star general has denounced any connections to the group and pulled out of participating in an event after finding out it was hosted by a QAnon believer.

QAnon Political Candidates

Jo Rae Perkins, 64, won the Republican primary in Oregon in May to run for a Senate seat against incumbent Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley. “I stand with Q and the team,” she said when asked about her interest in the group. She insisted she goes to QAnon message boards as a “source of information” and claims media focuses too much on the group. Perkins won 49 per cent of the vote against three other Republicans.

Marjorie Taylor Greene came in first place in the Republican primary in a deep-red Georgia district, and will enter an August runoff. She has admitted to believing in several QAnon conspiracy theories.

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