Deplatforming is a good thing, a fact that the literature backs. Removing hateful accounts from mainstream social media sites hampers their recruitment abilities. Unfortunately, for those entrenched in their extremist beliefs, deplatforming can send them further down the rabbit hole. As QAnon content was banned from sites like Twitter following the storming of the US Capitol on January 6th, 2021 and Parler, a “free speech” social media platform, faced instability and sporadic shutdowns. Here, the garden-variety QAnon adherents found themselves without a digital home. In the midst of confusion, posts began to circulate funneling people to Parler Lifeboat, on the white nationalist and radical right’s preferred platform, Telegram. Parler Lifeboat itself was repurposed Proud Boys chat. Through the group and later sub-groups, actors from the white nationalist milieu on Telegram worked systematically to push QAnon adherents, civic nationalists, and others further down the radicalization pipeline, thrusting them into an environment where explicitly antisemitic and national socialist content flourished.
The sudden re-platforming of Parler’s 13 million users and the influx of Q-minded people to Telegram fueled a recruiting drive for the white nationalist community, bringing in older, more financially stable individuals into the fold. The flood of users already attuned to conspiracy thinking and far-right thought was an opportunity and uncertainty for far-right Christians, Pagans, Civic Nationals, traditional Catholics, and traditional neo-Nazis from around the world. These extremists took to chat rooms and voice channels and adopted an accelerationist attitude and dedication to converting Q type to National socialism. A shared goal, and opportunity, had brought divergent groups together with a coherent goal, recruit.
They did not see the fruit of their labor immediately. These extremists experienced a high in January with the opportunity to “red pill” Boomers’ on Telegram. Friendships and alliances emerged, and Sub-chats to draw in specific groups of users were built out by those active in the original Parler Lifeboat chat. Those that emerged targeted specific groups, such as the civil nationalist contingency, and began to host talks with the likes of self-proclaimed “Captain” Karl P. Koenigs of the “American Militia Freedom Forces”.
As time moved on, it seemed that fears of further radicalization of QAnon adherents were exaggerated, as monetized Q groups such as “We the People” and “Matrixxx Groove” enacted stronger measures, preemptively banning overt white nationalist proponents from their chats. Behind the scenes, however, conversations were taking place within the loosely formed alliances birthed out of a short-lived period of higher attention. Without an enemy, large Q chat rooms began to turn on themselves and groups began to fracture and split. The white nationalists, having shown their hand, presented a different issue. They had been blacklisted, their chats became known as extremist havens, and they were no longer able to easily recruit from the Q following. As both groups struggled, backchannels were utilized to present a solution. Nazis negotiated relationships with these users in multiple ways: letting them act as controlled opposition, making them the enemy, or attempting to recruit from their membership. In May, however, the extremists hooked their big fish: QAnon influencer GhostEzra.
Enter GhostEzra (GE). Compared to other influencers, little is known about the poster. GE came relatively late to the game, joining Twitter in 2020. Caught up in the bans after the storming of the Capitol, GE created a Telegram channel on 10 January and began posting 3 days later. GE’s posts are outlandish even for a Q influencer, but his channel quickly grew to over 300,000 followers. GE has pushed theories including that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were replaced by clones (as were numerous Hollywood celebrities), the world is flat, or that much of what we see is CGI/Hologram. GE also shows an affinity for The Weeknd, a popular Canadian singer. Amidst these outlandish-even-for-QAnon posts, GE still shares more canonical QAnon beliefs: That the “deep state” is fighting against Trump, that we’re seeing a movie playing out in front of us, that children are being trafficked for their a narcotics-like fear hormone, or that Trump won the 2020 election. Unlike other influencers, GE has never made an obvious move to monetize the grift. While GE encourages followers to invest in gold and silver bullion, they haven’t pushed crypto or merch stores on their followers. What they did do was go full-blown neo-Nazi.
While QAnon was always antisemitic, GhostEzra shifted from whispers and implications to screams and shouts about their antisemitic views. GE had previously taken a neutral stance towards Israel and stayed within the lines of quotidian Q antisemitism, but the account’s antisemitism grew around the time of the most recent conflict between Hamas and Israel. On 20 May 2021, GE shared a prominent neo-Nazi propaganda video and received an extremely enthusiastic response from their followers. Increasingly, we can see GE more overtly pushing these narratives. It is unclear if this is a sign of their own radicalization or a response to increased engagement and support. For a fuller context of the timeline, see the bottom of the article.
GhostEzra has continued this antisemitic tirade, attacking prominent Jews on both the left and right of the political spectrum and sharing Christian Identity content, saying that Jews are the spawn of Eve and the serpent in the garden of Eden. GE also pointed to supposed racial inclusion in Nazi Germany’s army to “prove” that the Nazis weren’t bigots. Many of these narratives can trace their roots to Europa: The Last Battle, a brutal, 10-hour-long homage to Goebbels released in 2017. For those already ensconced in the Q conspiracy, the movie’s narratives are a promise that “you will find the secret history, where you will find the real causes of the events.” This notion may have drawn them in and then further down a pathway to violent extremism.
If one were to explore the comments section of GE’s posts immediately following his turn to overtly supporting National Socialism, what you can see is multiple accounts plugging a group named We are Natzis. It was to this group that followers of GhostEzra flocked in droves. This group grew from 195 to 1,000 members in a week and is an active watering hole for the Q followers who are now converted to National Socialist Ideology. Much of its success can be attributed to the fact that the group received material support and shaped their channel and narratives with help from actors within Patriot Front and the Fasci-boys, an avowed and self-described fascist contingent of the Proud Boys. They are in continued contact with members of the Northwest Front and National Justice Party, and often cross-promote events in their group. At the time of this article, many active members of the Q diaspora in the NatSocTruth chat, including the admins of the chat, are discussing relocation to the rural areas surrounding Little Rock, Arkansas–possibly Mount Holly.
After 6+ months of radio silence from Q, the role of QAnon influencers grows daily, and should not be ignored. Since a movement began amassing around Q’s anonymous posts, online figures stepped up to make sense of the cryptic, disjointed posts from “Q Clearance Level Patriot”. Originally through YouTube videos, Facebook groups, subreddits, Twitter accounts, and other mainstream social media platforms, these figures amassed a following as they “decoded” Q’s messages and shared news and posts supporting the Q worldview. These influencers lowered the barrier to entry into QAnon. The average ‘pilled’ mom wouldn’t visit dark corners of the internet to fulfill their conspiracy fix but would follow one of these influencers on social media. Influencers even made the jump to IRL events, like last year’s “QCon” in Scottsdale, Arizona or the recent “For God and Country: Patriot Roundup”. As bans fell on QAnon-related accounts, most notably after January 6th, these Q influencers made the jump to Parler and Telegram.
Far-right activists used the opportunity created from the platform shift to create a pipeline and because of their work, new communities are forming. Due to the dedication of actors on the far right, elements of the Q community and the national socialist ideology are becoming increasingly intertwined. Ancient aliens, flat earth, and the Wuhan Lab COVID-19 conspiracy, all narratives promoted by GE, the most prominent antisemitic channel on Telegram, will now lead you into corners dominated by the most far-right accelerationist extremists. It is becoming clear that any line of thought that supports the conspiracy theories of QAnon now inadvertently helps strengthen the white nationalist community, a fact that must be recognized.
On 3 May, GhostEzra shared a video of a supposed ancient Jewish book that contained an image of Baphomet (an image likely created by the crusaders and whose name is likely based on a mishearing of “Muhammad”). On May 4th, GE asked their followers “The two most taboo topics are the shape of the earth and the holocaust. I wonder why this is? We should find out.” On the 11th, GE began raising the idea that Jews are not God’s chosen people.
4 May 2021:
On the 12th, GhostEzra shared a post implying Israelis were responsible for the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11 and began accusing rabbis involved in bris ceremonies of pedophilia. GE seemed to anticipate the backlash, claiming that the word “antisemitism” is “thrown around like a pigskin football”.
12 May 2021:
In the following days, GE’s antisemitic posts grew. The account attacked Israel, claimed outright that Jews control the media, and shared photos of celebrities wearing red “kabbalah bracelets” with the caption “Kaballah is pagan mysticism”. This culminated with GE sharing a neo-Nazi propaganda video.
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