tv CNN Special Report CNN March 6, 2021 6:30pm-8:00pm PST
the following is a cnn special report. qualm to the cnn special report, the cult of qanon. i'm anderson cooper. we aired the first event after the inauguration of joe biden. qanonis based on the fantasy that donald trump is a figure waging a crusade against a global cabul of democrats, and harvest blood to extract and ingest a chemical. i know it sounds crazy but there are hundreds of thousands of
people, perhaps millions who actually believe this. tonight, you will hear from them. some say they have lost faith and no longer believe in q, and the return to power. we begin with a man who is more convinced than ever a storm is coming. his name is brian oxstat. he spends a lot of time online piecing together clues. he sent me a message a couple weeks ago on instagram, you're on the list, you're done. you sick evil [ bleep ]. i didn't know who brian was when he told me i was going to be executed. turns out his instagram is killed with poetsing of the satanic thing he believes i'm a part of. >> something big is going to go down. i believe that god has given me
a lot of faith, and i want to share that faith with you, and hope with you that all is not lost. all is not lost. the bad guys are about to go down. >> he says he doesn't trust any main stream news organizations and gets his information from q followers and others who are pushing the alternative reality and truth. >> no longer will the ignorant will be able to hide but the news didn't report it. now, you are beginning to realize that citizen journalists, the q researchers are going to look like profits. >> he agreed to be interviewed by skype. you dmed me saying i was going to be executed. >> yeah, i wasn't very nice. >> and you said i wasn't going tone joy it. you followed up, execution, bang. >> yeah,dy. that was not very polite. you're not the only one i sent
that too. and i since backed off. i conditioned prove anything about you, anderson. all i know there are a lot of strange coincidences. all i know is that everybody who is high up should be shown to the world. the public execution. hillary should and executed live so that all of us can see the end of evil, and like i said, lesser people, we don't necessarily need to see it. someone who is not high up, i don't think we need to see it. >> and president obama, president biden. >> george bush. >> they should all be executed publicly? >> yeah, for sure. because they're part of this. >> later after the interview was done, he reached out to tell me they should all be tried in a military court before any executions. he said he's been opposed to the government for 15 years.
while he says he's not a follower of q, he does use their slogans and hash tags and seems to believe most tof their conspiracy theories. >> i have seen you use hash tags for q, and slogans like the great awakening. you do believe there is a believe of democrats in deep state, and others who are satean worshippers and pedophiles. >> absolutely. absolutely, and i think the proof is overwhelming. the only one you got to listing there is republicans. >> you believe they're in on it too. >> oh, for sure. >> we will not get out to evil. >> the people who have poured their lives in the cult, say march 4th is the day that trump will return to the white house and executions will begin the next day. he says he's not sure about the dates but believes a whole serious of unseen events have already taken place.
he thinks it's likely the vatican has been overtaken by the u.s. military. and under ground tunnels discovered from the vatican all the way to jerusalem. he believes the pope is likely executed. and the national guard and military, where more executions will likely take place. >> the ideas that q puts out are based on theorys that have been floating around for centuries. and a lot them are based on anti-semitic troeps. they said that the jews drank of the blood of children in the late '30s. that is something they used against jews. in the middle ages in the plague, jews were said to put poisen in the quarter, and they were the ones to blame.
my dad grew up in mississippi in the early '30s. he was told that catholics in his town had tunnels in the backyard that went directly to the vatican. it's the same thing there being tunnels in the vatican to jerusalem. aren't these just age old anti-tropes? >> some of the things you just said sounds like those are for sure. but i can -- i can say that -- i can clearly see what's happening now, enter i don't know about -- i don't verify the tunnel from the vatican to jerusalem. it was reported. so it sounds like it's a good possibility that it could be true. it sounds farfetched but so do those political elite and hollywood elite and business
elite, killing babies and drinking their blood. you know, that sounds crazy! i mean, it does. if i was one of your listenering listening to me, i would think, this guy is crazy. i'm telling you, go look. you can see it. imagery, the sacrificial imagery is everywhere. >> if you were living in nazi germany in the late '30s and '40s, you would think that jews were drinking the blood of children because there were posters of it. >> here is what i will say there is evidence. >> does it not concern you that some of these are tropes that have been out there to demonize the other for centuries, jews, k catholics, whomever it might be.
>> i don't know. all i know is the evidence is overwhelming against the people who are around today. i -- i can -- i mean -- >> it's just a coincidence that it's the same kind of tropes -- >> well, i know that the satanic -- there's plenty of evidence throughout consihistor. we can do research. >> piecing together hidden clues of a global cabol. he sees trump as a savior. >> the hope comes from everything and maybe it is a lot of the q stuff that the cabol is following. i see governments falling all over the world. andment the i'm just a guy with a laptop. >> and you're able to do now, search and connect the dots. what you are actively doing
that. >> yeah, i am. yeah, absolutely. >> that gives you hope. that the idea that you can connect these dates. >> yes, it does. >> that gives me hope. to believe that -- i'm holding out hope that trump is actually one of the good guys and i'm holding out hope that there is a plan. so that's q. trust a plan. i'm holding out hope there is a plan. >> where's the evidence that he has been actually spearheading a battle against pedophiles around the world. he didn't talk about that really at all when he was in office. >> oh, yeah. all you have to do to validate what i'm saying, a search engine, you can't find it on youtube. you wouldn't know that from the main stream media. but you can find it out. >> the truth is president trump
rarely spoke out about sex trafficking. it's not one of his main agendas. why do they see president trump as a messiah. that's next. >> the calm before the storm. >> what storm, mr. president? >> you'll find out. ay night ♪ ♪ a pair of jeans that fit just right ♪ ♪ and the radio up ♪ get 5 boneless wings for $1 with any handcrafted burger. only at applebee's.
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the storm. >> what storm, mr. president? >> you'll find out. >> those vague words about the storm spoken by then president trump at the white house on october 5th, 2017 are often sited about the beginning of what we know as qanon. >> it's a time iran was in the news. >> there is a lot of tension and reations around united states and iran. a lot of focus on that. the president said something that was cryptic and strange about a coming storm and how this moment was the calm before the storm. and the reporters in the room sort of seized on that with iran in mind and asked what storm, president trump, what are you talking about, and he was sort of -- you'll see, wait and see. >> q took off after this remark that president trump made. they intercepted that as a coded signal that something called the storm was coming, and the storm
in their minds was this day of reckoning. >> and that became one of the fashionable bits of lower for q, which started posting on an image message board a couple weeks later. >> on october 28th, someone who called themselves q clearance patriot wrote on an online forum which was known for anonymous or anon posts. they claimed to have a high level of clearance which comes from the department of energy. >> this was not the first anon that has planned to be a high ranking government insider on fortune, but q clearance patriots says i'm a member of the trump administration, i have this q level clearance and i'm providing you with secret information about what's really happening behind the scenes in washington. >> over the months and years, q continued posting vague clues often in the form of questions and riddles.
they became known as q drops. followers would then spend days and weeks trying to decipher the meaning of them. certain catchphrases became commonly used among believers. >> where we go one, we go all. >> they're sort of a rallying cry, where we go one, we go all, which is an expression of solidarity. >> they call each other patriots, almost universally. >> there is this reference to the calm before the storm, the idea that the storm is a moment when a mass number of arrests will take place. >> and everything is sort of in this like militariesque code. so potus is used instead of calling him president trump or hillary clinton in the qanon drops is never hillary clinton. she's always hrc. >> there's a great way wakening. which referring to a period of the starm when q believers believe there will be a
society wide spiritual awakening. >> there are things like enjoy the show, watch for fireworks in the coming days. >> similarly, trust the plan. >> trusting the plan is an important part of qanon belief because there's some times that predictions don't pan out. >> it's not clear if anythin has predicted has come true. the first post said that hillary clinton was about to be arrested. q predicted other dates when this nonexisting global cabal would be exposed. there were supposed to be mass arrests and martial law, all fantasy. it didn't matter to q followers. they either ignored or explained them away. >> i know nothing about qanon. >> i just told you. >> what you tell me doesn't necessarily make it fact. i hate to say that. i know nothing about it. i do know they are very much against pedophilia.
they fight it very hard. >> this was president trump on nbc news this past october. he repeatedly claimed he didn't know anything about qanon but he praised them, giving q followers encouragement. these q supporters at a conference in arizona cheered on trump's words to nbc. many followers believes trump signals his support for him in public with hidden messages and signs. >> so qan oh, n believes, they study trump's public appearances with this kind of extreme rigor, looking for tiny details, signs that he supports them, that he's listening to them, that he's sending them coded signals. they take it a sign as he's talking to them. >> 17, 17, 17 wrote i've heard qanon say trump made these signs
it looked like a q. >> in man was a believer in qanon. now he says he changed his mind. says many q followers' faith in trump is limitless. >> do you really believe that president trump was working to attack this global cabal of satin worshipping pedophiles? you believed he was deeply involved? >> yes, of course i believed that. i believed he's been charged by military intelligence, that he was an avatar, right. there are people out there believe he's a time traveller. there's people out there think he's jesus, so yeah, yeah. hundred percent. >> brian okstat continues to believe that trump is fighting a battle against evil. >> it's always been this great hate for trump because they know he's not on the inside.
looking back on it, in hindsight, i stayed away from politics. now i'm trying to connect all these dots. they've hated him from day one. they've develop after him from day one, and why? that's my question. why? so then i'm -- to me in my mind, that's why. he's trying to shut down child trafficking all over the world. >> how did a conspiracy cult based on lies and bizarre accusations grow so fast? it wouldn't have happened without the help of social media. >> the way in which it went mainstream is they turned these concepts into memes and things that were very shareable on sites like facebook and twitter that capture people's interest. there's a reason they call it a rabbit hole, right. so the cause, in particular save the children. they took that slogan and co-opted it and made it feel comfortable for a mainstream person to be like, yes, i want
to help save the children. they take one click and learn some things and they click another and they may do some searches and all of a sudden they've spent hours and they've gone down this rabbit hole for hours to a place they've now been exposed to some darker theories that are not as simple as the meme may have initially found. >> experts say the save the children hashtag appeared to be a powerful recruitment tool for qanon. so-called save is children rallies have popped up all over the country. >> you are making us look bad. we're just trying to save our children. piss me off. >> the irony is that many qanon followers have turned against the nonprofit organization save the children, which actually works around the globe to do exactly what q followers claim they're fighting for, saving children from danger. >> the problem with save the children -- and i went to my favorite store the other day, tjmaxx,
and told them i would no longer support save the children, and save the children is owned by bill gates, who is a pedophile. he is being investigated for a lot of things. really, really sad that a lot of people don't know and that don't know what's really going on. >> bill gates doesn't own save the children, like all the other qanon conspiracies, the accusations against him are completely baseless. >> you're a qanon follower? >> hundred percent. >> the idea of saving children, even though it's not actually happening within qanon, could be one reason why so many women have joined in on the conspiracy. terror expert mia bloom says women are often drawn to qanon through popular media sites. >> we actually know that the population of believers in qanon are disproportionately female. part of the reason that's the case, the algorithms in facebook that would subject qanon groups were people who were interested
in essential oils, natural birth, perhaps even yoga. the facebook algorithms would thing suggest other groups that were qanon affiliated, so the women started joining qanon in greater numbers and people's facebook feed or their instagram feed began to be populated by all this qanon material. once the qanon people hijacked the hashtag save the children, that's when you started to see more and more women. >> facebook ended up restricting the use of the save the children hashtag because of qanon. some experts say there's some similarities in the method of recruiting women between them and the terror group isis. >> i spend many years studying jihadi groups. it's this understanding that women are the primary drivers. not only will they ensure that the men stay in the movement, but of course they raise the kids with those beliefs. if you want to ensure the longevity of a terrorist group, make sure the women are on board and they will teach the children
to be as radical as their fathers and sort of not move away from the movement. the other thing that's similar, when you look at the way that isis was able to get lots of women from the west, they recruited young girls or girls in their 20s. the way they did that was, did you want to help the orphans in syria, so of course the women wanted to help the orphans. this is again so similar to save the children. it's this way of capitalizing on women's maybe inherent altruism that they're doing something good, that they think that they're helping, that it's not coming from radicalization where i want to kill people. it's coming from a place where i want to help people. >> we see a huge presence on instagram. there's a big sort of overlap with mommy blogs and q support.
>> she's been following qanon for the past year for cnn. he shows us how easy it is to stumble on possible qanon groups by searching on instagram for save the children. >> this is what instagram does now. save the children? you looking for information? if you're looking for information about the humanitarian organization. visit their website. see post any way. democratic socialists of america. so it's like, you know, what does socialism add the democratic socialists of america have to do with save the children? the whole thing is they're trying to tie the whole thing to pedophilia. you don't see the save the children logo there. you don't see any information of helping that organization anywhere there. >> ashley vanderbilt lives in south carolina with her daughter. she said she became a good qanon follower.
>> i started liking a lot of trump posts and things that were anti-biden, so the algorithm must have brought that sort of stuff to me. >> she said she would spend hours online at night believing qanon theories no matter how crazy they could have sended. >> they would drink children's blood because arrenocrons or something, but they have to torture the children. i mean, i have a four-year-old. and i just can't imagine. who can think of that? and they said it's when they're in pain and they're, you know, screaming, it's that adreline is up and that is when they drink that blood because it does something. i don't know what it does but that's what they did. >> it would scare the bejesus out of him and torment him to raise the spike in the adrenaline which makes the blood better for them to ingest or
however they put it into their system. >> brige okstat takes the fantasy a step further. >> i saw a post recently you put on instagram that google is a part of a luciferian part of cabal. >> absolutely. >> you've said google chrome is related to adrino-chrome. >> i believe so. and here's a quote from q. i don't follow q but i see the words and then i think, a-ha. does that make sense. one of the things that q said is when does a coincidence cease to be a coincidence. so yeah. >> the fact that google uses the world chrome, that to you means adrino chrome? >> yes. if you look at the processing unit from cisco that they used was called the drino.
you got adrino chrome, you got 666 in their little things, the all seeing eye in the middle. >> you believe in the google symbol that there's a 666. >> yeah. absolutely. >> why would a company, though, if they are part of a secrets cabal, why would they be naming products after key elements of what's supposed to be secret about, i mean a chal that has gotten a lot from children and they're drinking. >> that's a good question. i can only answer that from what i know or what i see, and what one, is their arrogance that they're never going to get caught and that no one can do anything, even if they find it out. and then three, they're stupid. because it's all out. it's all coming out. one of the other things q said is their down fall will be their symbolism. and i think that's true. the symbolism is everywhere.
>> this is fake. look closely at what he claims is 666 hidden in the google chrome icon. these white lines that make it look like the number 6 doesn't exist. they appear to be added in by someone who tried to make it look like the number 6. another example of a conspiracy based on a lie. what drew so many people in, especially during a pandemic?
if you see wires down, treat them all as if they're hot and energized. stay away from any downed wire, call 911, and call pg&e right after so we can both respond out and keep the public safe. let me ask you a question, america. let me ask you a question. this goes out to all of america. the so-called doctor of the world, dr. fauci, ok. i haven't heard this guy mention drinking a glass of orange juice, he's not even taking a flintstone vitamin. the guy, wake up!
wake up. >> this qanon supporter clearly isn't a fan of public health officials like dr. anthony fauci. >> mr. doctor fauci. dr. fauci? >> neither are a lot of q supporters. many view dr. fauci and the pandemic itself as part of another conspiracy. to them, china, the world health organization and the so-called deep state are involved in a secret plot against america with a virus that may or may not be real. >> the pandemic was a gift for qanon in a way, because it presented this full other subset of conspiracy theories for q to gobble up, which is what this conspiracy does best. it eats up all the other conspiracy theories out there. but in a universe of q seized on this idea that the pandemic was fake or that the united states and china secretly worked together to unleash it because of the quote unquote deep state.
>> thank you very much. >> fauci became a central villain among the q crowd in part because there was a clip in the pandemic where president trump had a press briefing and fauci is behind and president trump said something and you see him going like this. >> does anybody have any questions. >> suppress a chuckle and that was all over the q network. people seeing on fauci as being against trump in their view. >> there's a long-standing conspiracy theory against scientifically proven to be effective vaccine. the anti-vax movement very easily fell into the q universe when the pandemic began. it shouldn't be surprising at all that the people who believe in qanon also tend to be anti-vax or anti-mask or they were trying to get the country to open up sooner than was
readily available or safe by medical standards. so there's this overlapping nature of qanon where these adjacent conspiracies are folded into qanon, so the qanon represents not just one conspiracy but several conspiracies that are connected to it. >> the pandemic helped fuel the q cult partly because people simply had more time at home, with not much else to do but turn to the internet. former qanon believer ashley vanderbilt says she was laid off after the pandemic hit, which she believes made her more vulnerable to falling into the cult. >> i think i spent a lot of time this year isolated from everybody, you know, i've just been home a lot. i lost my job last april in 2020, and so i'd sit at home a lot. i was super depressed. just because you're not around
anybody, and i think in a way, i probably lost touch with a little bit of reality and like almost common sense, and so i'm not so much embarrassed for what i believed, but i mean, i feel foolish. how could you have -- how could you have done that. how could you have thought that way and gone to the extreme with it? >> i think combined with the social isolation that the pandemic brought on, the stress of everything associated with the pandemic, people lose their jobs. people are scared of this virus that you can't see, you can't control. >> whatever happens, we're totally prepared. >> people are not sure who to trust for the information about the virus. the president says one thing, the cdc says something else and that created a lot of fear and a lot of stress on people, and we know that when people experience certain stressors that can be a
pathway to radicalization as people were spending more time on their computers, away from their friends, they're not doing a happy hour anywhere, they're not going to the little league game. they're just at home and they're online a lot. they're searching for answers and they're looking for ways to gain control in a world that seems completely out of control. and that's when you started to see kind of this exponential growth of qanon, and the polls starting to indicate that it had gone mainstream. >> does it help fuel its growth? the postings called q drops are cryptic in nature often. they're vague, seemingly presented as puzzles that loyal followers can solve or decode. >> once a new post appears there are apps, the q drop apps that people use to get alerted. they'll take screen shots and
post them in chat rooms and they'll start trying to figure out how it connects to the larger qanon narrative. >> these clues that q leaves are written in ambiguous and cryptic terms, very riddle like, which is what people are sort of drawn to, right? people want to sort of do the research. you hear this again and again. they want to do their own research and pore over these clues. >> this is an example of a q drop from september 2013. >> it starts with all caps which says panic in d.c. then it says ll talking equals truth reveal tarmac d.c. this is a reference to loretta lynch, the former attorney general under president obama in some sort of truth that q is saying was revealed in a conversation with b.c., which is bill clinton, on the tarmac. it continues.
l.l. talking equals truth reveal comey hrc e-mail case. comey is james comey, the former fbi director. ll talking truth reveals truth. in strexs, reemail case. ll talking equals truth revealed brendon no name cord to frame potus. equals start. brings down the house. when do birds sing, q. so as with most q drops, this one doesn't have a clear hint or narrative. it's coded. it's sort of written in this cryptic language, but the message that people take from this is there's some nefarious link between loretta lynch, the former attorney general, this clinton e-mail case, john brennan, the former cia director and a plot against president trump. when do birds sing is a cryptic
reference to when do people confess to their crimes, when does the storm happen when this house of cards that the cabal has erected comes crashing down. so when you're part of qanon, you're not just absorbing things people tell you, you are out there, digging, trying to put together pieces of this puzzle and then you are congratulated for finding stuff. it's almost like a video game. >> a video game based on lies, played by potentially hundreds of thousands of followers or more around the world. >> one thing that i learned when i started spending a lot of time in qanon chat rooms and forums and facebook groups is that this is really social for them. this is a kind of collaborative truth seeking effort and it's a community. they make friends with other qanon believers. they congratulate each other on their birthdays and wish each other happy holidays and talk about how they grand kids are
coming to visit next week. this has become their primary social life. they get more out of it than just politics. they get affirmation, they get friendships. they get meaningful missions they feel they can be a part of. >> what surprised me was the number of people i met who, yes, they were pro trump but more than that, they were deriving a sense of spiritual satisfaction from q. there was a lot of people they felt the sense of peace of serenity in their lives that they didn't have before before they started getting into q. that's what really led me to understand it's not just a little movement. this isn't a preliminary movement. it takes on the contours of a baby religion born on the internet. it raises questions about like what's a religion versus what's a cult versus what's a
conspiracy theory versus what's a mass delusion, and i think you see pieces of all those things in q. >> this man says he was a qanon follower for almost two years. he says after watching q's predictions repeatedly fall, and the signals are the no signals at all, he has now realized it was all made up. >> i'd say that q is kind of like jesus and trump is kind of like a god figure, right? for me personally, the part that was really appealing was that in a sad kind of way this kind of gave me some joy and a sense of optimism. you know, i was looking at the world and it was so chaotic and everything was so negative, and there were just bad things happening all the time.
the idea that we could somehow make the world a better place for all of humanity just really gave me a sense of optimism. so that was the situation that my life was so sad and i was so sad that i was looking to q for joy as well as a sense of belonging, just like any cult, you know, they prey on the vulnerable and the disaffected. that's exactly what happened. >> considering some believed they were fighting to save children, it's no surprise this online conspiracy could result in real world violence. kin? swipe it away. new garnier brightening micellar water now with vitamin c micelles work like a magnet. in one swipe gently cleanse, remove makeup, and brighten. new micellar water with vitamin c. by garnier, naturally. meet jeff. in his life, he's been to the bottom of the ocean. the tops of mountains. the er... twice. and all the places this guy runs off to. like jeff's, a life well lived should continue at home. home instead offers customized services from personal care to memory care, so older adults can stay home, stay safe, and stay happy.
q is a real thing. >> they're pedophiles, killing our children and using their blood and sacrificing to hollywood. >> the bizarre and false theory of a global cabal that they are trafficking in children and harvesting their blood is at the core of the qanon conspiracy theory. there are many other far-out claims made by q followers. >> it is branched in many different directions and now you'll finite qanon believers talking about anything from the
luminate and area 51 to control of the banking system by george sorrows and other shadowy mostly jewish financiers. they believe in power. >> i've heard everything from the idea that john kennedy jr. is still alive and secretly supports trump to he was assassinated. >> all you have to do is look into the e-mails. hillary clinton is a satanic witch. >> you may recognize this guy, so-called qanon shaman this this was two days after the election. his name is jacob chancely. he's been seen at other trump rallies as well. >> freedom! >> on january 6, he was front and center on the attack on the capital. he was arrested and among other things, he obstructed a police officer. they also say he told the fbi that vice president mike pence was a child trafficking traitor. he said he wasn't violent and didn't cross police lines. >> we have evidence this is a
dangerous conspiracy theory. most recently, on jan 6 when we saw people brandishing q signs, there was evidence before that that q was dangerous but it is abundantly clear that this was a dangerous and violent movement. >> this man running after a police officer was charged for his role in attack. he was wearing a q shirt saying "trust the plan." >> we have seen lots of incidents of violence and law breaking related to qanon and inspired by qanon. there have been murders, there have been kidnappings, there have been threats against lawmakers in the name of q. >> in march 2019, this man allegedly shot and killed a reputed mafia member in new york
city. he told his lawyer the victim was a member of the deep state working to bring down president trump. at his arraignment, he flashed a q symbol that he drew on his hand. he has been charged with murder and has pleaded not guilty. another q follower caused an armed standoff near the hoover dam in 2018, demanding a government report on hillary clinton's emails. he pleaded guilty to a terrorism charge. though some in the republican party have spoken out against qanon, others seem to be trying to appeal to its followers. in august, the texas gop started using the slogan, we are the storm. the same term used by qanon followers. the texas gop denies any connection to qanon but continued to use the term, even after the attack on the capitol. nearly two dozen republicans across the country have engaged with the qanon conspiracy ran for office in the 2020 election. marjorie taylor
greene is from
georgia. >> marjorie taylor greene for congress. >> now, q is a patriot. he's someone that is very much loves his country. he's on the same page as us. he is very pro trump, okay. now he appears to have connections at the highest levels, all right? he's posted many things that seem to verify that he is the real deal. >> lauren boebert is from colorado. >> everything that i've heard of q, i hope that this is real. >> both women are now serving in congress. boebert has since said she's not a follower of greene and has tried to distance herself from the group. >> we've had conspiracy theorists in government before, but i think qanon is different in that it's a movement that has now become violent and insurrectionist,
and that has
shown it can cause real offline damage. we know that many of them don't accept that joe biden is the legitimate president. we know many of them may never accept that. and so to have millions of people out there following an ideology like that, including elected officials who are taking their cues not from their constituents or the general public, but from random people posting conspiracy theories on internet message boards is pretty worrisome. >> and q still is, at this point, an anonymous message
board poster. it is not known who he or she is or even if it's a single person or foreign government attempting to sow division. >> it's everybody. q is a movement, okay? it says speak for yourself. it doesn't tell you to follow one leader. you can think about what you want with q. but i follow the facts and i follow information, and i think for myself as an american. >> q still is an anonymous message board poster. it's not noun who he is. >> the really interesting thing for me is i've talked to a loft qanon believers who say it doesn't matter to me who q is, the identity of this perpetrator or whether it even is the same person all along seems to have become secondary in this case. it's sort of -- they're curious who it is, but they would almost rather not know because it allows them to preserve the illusion. >> the more people i talk to who really deeply believed in it
just didn't care. it was sort of like well, what if you find out tomorrow that it's a hoax and the person who is q admits that it's all made up? i heard again and again from people who said it doesn't matter who q is, this is so much bigger than q. >> what's it like to be named by q? find out what happened after q posted this question, "who is a. cooper?" you actually believed that i was drinking the blood of children? . far from glamorous. that means expensing nothing but pizza. your expenses look good, and your books are set for the month! ...going up against this guy... and pitching your idea 100 times. no, no, no! no. i like it. -he likes it! ...and you definitely love that. intuit quickbooks helps small businesses be more successful with payments, payroll, banking and live bookkeeping. are you managing your diabetes... ...using fingersticks?
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what's going on with tom hanks? >> so you guys just want me to explain everything today, right? dude, it's all suspicion. that's suspicion. >> how do you know tom -- >> how do you not know? you're negative. >> you're making a nonfact. >> tom hank just one of dozens of celebrities that supporters have accused of being part of the so-called global cabal. there is no evidence, of course, no reason at all to believe these sick claims, but that doesn't matter to believers in the cult of qanon. >> but you have him on your sign.
you're calling him a pedophile. >> yes. >> but you don't know that. >> how do they get to that position of power? >> some of the celebrities attacked by qanon have been critical of president trump in some way. others are simply thought to be democrats. >> they call out people from the global cabal and they will turn this these like tom hanks and chrissie teigen. nye find things in the social media posts. and they will turn these people into ennys and they will viciously harass people. once they fixate on a target, they will all go on social media. they swarm a target. i've been the target of it. it's happened to a lot of reporters, political pundits, celebrities, and it's very unpleasant to be on the end of that. >> q first posted about me november 5th, 2017, asking the question, "who is a. cooper?" this came two days after i was
on the air reporting about indictments in the russia investigation. once mentioned by q, the followers of this conspiracy cult went to work, inventing a bizarre and crazy false story . that mexican folk art on the wall behind us is the virgin mary with christ, but they said it was satanic and the christ figure was a child being sacrificed. they also claimed i had been molested. likely in this empty pool in a mansion in which q followers said was my old house. it's actually an old vanderbilt estate in asheville, north carolina that as far as i know neither i or my mom had ever been to. they posted this information about me allegedly being abused in the pool. the cia allegedly trained me as a super cia agent infiltrating the media as part of a program called operation mockingbird.
the confirmation, according to q supporters, the necklace my mom wore in that photo looked like it could be from guatemala. the cia had supported a coup in guatemala in 1954. i was also called a pedophile, phony flight logs reported to b jeffrey epstein's airplane appeared online with my name and dozens of other well-known people. it's all made up, of course, but qanon supporters seem to believe it or at least use it to try to harass me. jitarth jadeja was a believer until june 2019. did you at the time believe that democrat, high level democrats and celebrities were worshipping satan, drinking the blood of children? >> anderson, i thought you did that. and i would like to apologize for that right now. so i apologize for thinking that you ate babies. but yeah, 100%. >> but you actually believed
that i was drinking the blood of children? >> yes, i did. >> was it something about me that made you think that? >> it's because q specifically mentioned you and he mentioned you very early on. he mentioned you by name, and from there, he also talked about like, for example, your family. i'm going to be honest, like people still talk about that to this day. there were posts about that just four days ago. so some people thought you were a robot. >> you really believed this? >> i didn't just believe that. i at one stage believed that qanon was part of military intelligence, which is what he says. but on top of that, the people behind him were actually a group of fifth dimensional inter dimensional
extraterrestrial bipedal aliens. i was so far down in this conspiracy theory black hole that i was essentially picking and choosing whatever narrative that i wanted to believe in. >> he said he no lodger believes in qanon. but there are hundreds of thousands of others that are still trusting the plan, and still trusting that members of the cabal be be executed. >> i can't prove anything about you, anderson. all i know is there is a lot of strange coincidences. t to gloss? new le color gloss. l'oreal's first toning gloss you use in the shower - no mixing. no damage. tones... glosses... conditions. it does it all! new le color gloss if you're 55 and up, t-mobile has plans built just for you. get 2 unlimited lines for a fixed rate of $70 bucks. and now get netflix on us.
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(trumpet playing) someone behind me, come on. pick that up, pick that up, right there, right there. as long as you keep making the internet an amazing place to be, we'll keep bringing you a faster, more secure, and more amazing internet. xfinity. the future of awesome. >> do you have any regrets about your presidency? where sit, one message read? >> it was phenomenal to watch what was happening online. there was a meltdown on
followers. was a belief why they were not able to stop the election from being certified by the congress, what was going to happen next was president trump was going to declare martial law at the last minute. he was going to issue an emergency emergency broadcast alert that electricity was likely to go down, water was going to go down. stock pile food and water and be able to survive in the winter a couple weeks. and trump would rightly take his place for his second term as president and there would be no president biden. >> as we have seen in the past, many think that he will make the run for government. anything that happens in the
next four years is actually president trump's doing. it's now harder to find qanon content on the internet. twitter says it's banned more than 70,000 accounts for promoting q. facebook said since august, they removed more than 18,000 profiles and 27,000 instagram accounts for violating the policies but there are other platforms where qanon is thriving. >> what is seen, since after the insurrection when twitter and facebook started kicking off a lot of accounts, we see a lot move to gab. gab has been a social media platform around for a few years. it's probably one of the most hate-filled platforms out there, and it has more than 200,000 members. and if you're in it, you basically live in a parallel universe. if we go true it here, people
are posting every few minutes. sometimes every minute seconds. everything in this group is basically designed to grab you further and further, drag you further and further down the qanon rabbit hole. it's what you see in groups like. mitt purports to be a picture from a live strees of the white house. probably at some house of the very late at night when maybe the lights at the white house were turned off. maybe the front flood lights or an image that is totally doctored but you can see there, the guy is saying, looks like the lights are out of the white house for so many days in a row. me said something like if the lights go out, please know we are in control. you can see there, this is a person who is really trying to cling on to that believe that
qanon is something real. this was posted several weeks after bind hag inaugurated. >> trump leaving the white house hasn't changed brian okstat's belief that members will be exposed and executed. >> you believe there would be public executions of people in the cabal, and if i was it in, i would be publicly executed? >> if, anderson, you're saying you're not, told me you're not, i'll take your word for it, i don't have any proof. but i would say anybody that is high up should be shown to the world via public execution. i can't prove anything about you, anderson, all i know there's a lot of strange coincidences, like the imagery above your mother's bed, you
know what i'm talking about. >> right. >> the imagery with you and your brother on the bed, satanic imagery with person being sacrificed. there's that. >> my mom was baptized catholic and episcopalian by competing relatives, and she liked folk art. that's old mexican folk art representation of the virgin mary, the sacrifice part of it, because i still have this in my basement, jesus christ after he's taken off the cross, adult, laying with the wounds. virgin mary looking over christ off the cross. but it's interpreted as satanic child sacrifice. >> i got you. like i said, i'm -- i backed off a lot of that, sent a lot of crazy messages because you can imagine, when you see all this stuff, it can -- babies getting killed, can make you kind of
angry. so yeah, also, right, i did apologize to you after that. and i -- because i can't prove any of it, i don't know if it's true. but there's certainly things like that that i guess were misconstrued we could say. >> whatever brian thinks about me now, he's still convinced there is a global cabal out there and thinks some of them have already been arrested. >> you think it's possible that hillary clinton has already been arrested, there's a double of her out there, and biden has been overthrown but there's a double of him? >> i think those are possible, really do. like i said, i told you before we started this, lot of stuff i'm going to say sounds crazy to me when i say it out loud, but if you look at the evidence you can find, you see this is plausible. and i can't think of any other
excuse for why she would still be walking around. her, biden -- >> but it is really plausible -- >> the bushes. >> where in life have you ever seen a body double for months on end that works? i know saddam hussein had a double here and there. >> maybe because they do brief appearances, not like out in public. >> honestly, i interviewed biden a couple of nights ago. face-to-face, and got to tell you, it was joe biden. >> okay. >> trying to be rational with brian as with many conspiracy theorists doesn't get you far. last i heard from him, he told me he was praying for me. >> i'm really hopeful, anderson, that everything you just told me is true. i'm hopeful. i'm hopeful it is true and i'm hopeful that you're actually one
of the good guys in all of this. that you're actually working behind the scenes to help goodness win over evil. >> ashley vanderbilt considers herself one of the lucky ones to make it out of qanon. she said in the end the continued online chatter about trump's return to power didn't make any sense. >> i already started seeing posts of this is how it's supposed to happen. inauguration is supposed to happen, treason has been committed now. putting out hope that trump will still come back. i looked at my fiance, and he's like, you need to stop watching those videos. i don't think i can believe it. he said why, and i for some reason, reasoning and logic came to me, i was just like it doesn't make sense a president can be sworn in, all of this is happening and all of a sudden trump's going to come back march
4th and it's going to change. it just doesn't seem right. >> there are however plenty of others still out there in the u.s. and around the world who think it does seem right. some experts fear they may migrate over to other fringe extremist groups. >> here's the dangerous part, white supremacists and antigovernment extremist started to realize this was likely to happen after january 6th. they weren't able to stop biden from being approved by congress, so there was disheartening moment for many in the -- of trump and qanon supporters. so you started to see the white supremacists come up with recruitment techniques and they started hosting on their sites to educate other white supremacists on how to approach disheartening qanon adherent or trump supporter. they have to feed their grievance, make sure they stay
angry, put blame on the system, the government, trump itself. looking to recruit. >> hard part of leaving qanon, once you've started to see the world in the way that qanon followers see the world, as a series of lies being told by elites, it becomes very hard for them to trust in mainstream authorities ever again. they sort of have this idea that the knowledge that they're being fed is not real, and that they have to go looking for their own sources of truth. >> and many of those sources are now heralding a new day of reckoning close at hand. >> trump will take office as the 19th president of the united states on march 4th, under the restored republic.
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and preparing now for the 4th and 5th of march. the big belief of what you see a lot of chatters right now on the 4th of march that trump is going to come back. on the 5th of march, there will be public executions of trump's enemies. >> these new dates are based on a law from 1871, conspiracy theorists believe any president sworn in afterwards were legitimate. they now believe donald trump will return and be sworn in next week as the real 19th president of the united states. >> nearly 5,000 national guard troops will remain in washington, d.c. partly because
of qanon violence on the force. >> trump is not the president of the united states of america when in fact he is. >> these videos are posted on tiktok. >> everybody out there, trump supporters, keep the faith. i believe something is coming and something is coming soon. >> tiktok has made moves to ban qanon contents. >> people are not just posting stuff that says qanon. they're posting all these types of messages that is qanon world of conspiracy. it is another example of somebody trying to claim, pushing this ridiculous that there is going to be public execution when trump comes back in march. this is the press rising or the media was on inauguration day. you go into the comment here and
to be fair and even on a platform which is just full of misinformation, sometimes people will call this stuff out and say no, that's actually the media. other people just go along with it. they just say yeah that makes sense but what we do know is a lot of people read this stuff and they really, really, really believe it. >> there have always been conspiracy theorists and they have never been spread so quickly. a few clicks can take you down a rabbit hold, deranged s sick fantasies and disturbing ideas can find audience online. in the real world the results can be tragic. >> i will die for my country and my family and friends. >> they ain't going to win. >> you don't want none of this.
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