Saturday, August 03, 2019

Trump stirs up the crackpots

WILKES BARRE, PA - AUGUST 02: David Reinert holds up a large "Q" sign while waiting in line to see President Donald J. Trump at his rally on August 2, 2018 at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. "Q" represents QAnon, a conspiracy theory group that has been seen at recent rallies. (Photo by Rick Loomis/Getty Images)
From Daily Kos:

An internal bulletin circulated in May by the FBI’s Phoenix field office lists “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists” as a growing threat. And it specifically calls out QAnon—the bastard lovechild of Pizzagate and Trump fetishists—as one of those groups that deserves observation. 

But on the same day this information became public, Donald Trump had QAnon followers on stage to kick off his rally in Ohio.

As Yahoo News reports, the FBI assessment believes that QAnon and similar conspiracy theories “very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts.” 

And the bulletin warns that such incidents may increase as we head into the election cycle. Backing up that analysis is information on a series of recent arrests—including arrests that haven’t been publicized—related to beliefs in conspiracy theories. 

In recent testimony, FBI director Christopher Wray made it clear to legislators that “a majority of the domestic terrorism cases that we've investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence.” 

But the QAnon conspirators don’t seem to fall under the umbrella of what the FBI is treating as race-related violence, even though some of its promoters have also been tied to explicitly white-supremacist conspiracies.

The FBI bulletin also mentions other conspiracies promulgated by Trump favorite Alex Jones and InfoWars. That includes theories that center around the idea of the “deep state” that have been openly pushed by Trump and other Republicans explicitly trying to undermine the FBI and other agencies. 

It also includes conspiracies claiming that mass shootings are “a pretext for the government to seize or outlaw firearms.”

But as Just Security notes, even as the FBI is noting the danger of these conspiracies, Trump is actively encouraging them. Because they create the kind of divisions and mistrust that he is depending on for 2020...

See also Trump's Racism May Lead to Violence.

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