Bill Gates addresses bizarre conspiracy theories in new Australian interview


Billionaire Bill Gates has provided an ominous view of a future far worse than what the world has seen during the coronavirus pandemic.

Billionaire Microsoft founder and vaccinate philanthropist Bill Gates has provided an ominous view of the future far worse than what the world has seen during the coronavirus pandemic.

On the ABC’s 7 .30 with Leigh Sales on Tuesday night, the business magnate, described by Sales as one the “most powerful figures driving the push for action” on global warming, discussed conspiracy theories and climate change.

Mr Gates has been the centre of bizarre theories in recent months over his involvement with the development of COVID-19 vaccines, including claims he’s using them to microchip the world’s population by teaming up with top US infectious disease doctor Anthony Fauci.

The Microsoft founder previously said he was shocked at the level of “crazy” and “evil” conspiracies.

RELATED: Bill Gates’ daughter jokes about getting COVID-19 vaccine

RELATED: Elon Musk passes Bill Gates on rich list

In his latest Australian interview, Mr Gates said the spread of such theories around the vaccine are “tragic if they prevent people from wearing masks or be willing to take the vaccine as it becomes available”.

The Gates Foundation is the second-largest financial backer of the WHO after the United States. The organisation has also committed about $250 million (AU$322 million) for research and testing related to COVID-19.

He said social media networks face an overwhelming responsibility to police information on their sites and that the conspiracies spiralling online around the pandemic are dangerous.

He said “there are some things that are so extreme in terms of anti vaccine or holocaust denial that you can draw a line, but how you draw that line and who is put in charge of that … I’m not proposing solutions to that … I still haven’t seen a good solution.”

The philanthropist addressed misinformation online in October last year, telling The Wall Street Journal that people were drawn to the thrill of conspiracies, and facts were harder to spread.

“There’s certainly a human weakness to very titillating things, like, someone made this virus, or, there’s some conspiracy — those things can spread very quickly,” he said.

GATES’ OMINOUS PREDICTION

Spruiking his new book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, Mr Gates, who warned five years ago that the world’s greatest threat was a pandemic, said humankind is facing its biggest challenge yet.

He said achieving zero emissions will be “the hardest thing humanity has ever done”, calling for a complete end across the globe.

“51 billion is the number of tonnes of CO2 equivalent that we’re putting into the atmosphere every year and if we want to stop the temperature from rising, we have to reduce that all the way down to zero,” said the software developer.

“And that’s going to be very hard because there’s a lot of sources of emissions.”

He said the physical economy – cement, steel, transportation, agriculture – will have to make changes by focusing on innovation and right policies.

He warned without doing so, the world faces an “unliveable” environment with “millions of migrants and a death rate five times as high as the peak of this pandemic every year”.

Only that way, “at a global basis can we achieve one of the hardest tasks that humanity’s ever been asked to performed”.

Mr Gates gave a Ted Talk in 2015 in which he warned that “we’re not ready for the next epidemic,” but offered hope by saying “we can build a really good response system” to prepare.

His suggestions included setting up a medical reserve corps to be paired with the military, and “germ games” similar to military war games that could be used to run simulations.

“But between 2015 and 2020, less than 5 per cent of what should have been done was done,” Mr Gates said.

Mr Gates has used his personal wealth to help in the global fight against various transmissible diseases for more than two decades, and has donated tens of billions of dollars to philanthropic causes.

— with Ronn Blitzer

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Man investigates wild McDonald’s conspiracy theory about cookies and finds it to be true


Dessert lover investigates a wild McDonald’s conspiracy theory about the restaurant’s famous cookies and their striking similarity to an Arnott’s bikkie – but is it true?

  • Rumour McDonald’s cookie and Arnott’s Teddy Bear biscuits are the same treat
  • Australian comedian Zach Mander made link between the two delicious items
  • His TikTok video outlining his ‘investigation’ stunned many viewers online

A comedian has the internet in a frenzy after uncovering a striking similarity between McDonald’s famous cookies and a popular biscuit released by Arnott’s.

Zach Mander is adamant the Maccas cookie and Arnott’s Teddy Bear biscuits, are in fact, the same delicious treat.

His compelling TikTik video has gone viral, with more than 170,000 views.

Mander displayed his impressive detective work when he discovered a crucial detail on the iconic McDonald’s cookie packaging. 

Speculation is rife that McDonald’s cookies (pictured above) are in fact the same as Arnott’s popular Teddy Bears

Arnott's Teddy Bear (pictured above) tastes similar to McDonald's cookies - could they actually be the same item?

Arnott’s Teddy Bear (pictured above) tastes similar to McDonald’s cookies – could they actually be the same item?

‘At first it was just because they tasted the same, but then on closer inspection Arnott’s make the Teddy Bear biscuits but Arnott’s also make the McDonald’s cookie,’ Mander claimed in his video.  

He then approached Arnott’s on social media for confirmation of his ‘scoop’, before declaring he was going to approach A Current Affair about the matter if they didn’t respond.

Arnott’s later stated the recipes for both cookies are similar, but not identical.  

‘It’s true, Arnott’s proudly make McDonald Land Cookies right here in Australia,’ a spokeswoman confirmed to Daily Mail Australia.

Has Australian comedian Zach Mander solved a wild conspiracy theory between McDonald's and Arnott's?

Has Australian comedian Zach Mander solved a wild conspiracy theory between McDonald’s and Arnott’s?

The unique flavour of McDonald's cookies has ensured they remain a popular item on the menu (stock image)

The unique flavour of McDonald’s cookies has ensured they remain a popular item on the menu (stock image)

‘And while the two recipes are actually a tiny bit different, the real question is whether a blind taste testing would be able to tell which is which?’ 

Fast food favourite McDonald’s also weighed into the chat, playfully stating ‘Grimace turns up to the office each week with a truck full of them (cookies), but we have never thought to ask where he is getting them from.’  

McDonalds cookies first became a menu item in 1974, usually sold with a Happy Meal for children.  

The ‘perfect combination of crunch and chewiness, and just the right amount of chocolate’ has seen the delicious cookies become a long-standing menu favourite with customers.

Another selling point is that they retail for just $1.15 in Australia, part of the popular ‘loose change’ menu, which includes a $2 hamburger (junior burger) and $1 frozen coke.

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The Vast Anti-Trump ‘Conspiracy’ – WSJ


Changing the rules of a game right before it’s played normally inspires skepticism, if not cynicism. But a new Time magazine report celebrates a well-funded effort to change voting processes and the flow of political information before the 2020 elections.

Time’s Molly Ball happily describes a “conspiracy” among the progressive left, big labor, big business and the Washington establishment to counter Donald Trump and suppress unwanted elements of U.S. political conversation before and after Election Day.

Like the various actors she describes at the heart of this vast campaign, Ms. Ball presents it as a virtuous effort to protect democracy from Mr. Trump and Covid-19. The participants in the conspiracy alleged by Ms. Ball certainly seem to have influenced the outcome. She writes:

Their work touched every aspect of the election. They got states to change voting systems and laws and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding. They fended off voter-suppression lawsuits, recruited armies of poll workers and got millions of people to vote by mail for the first time. They successfully pressured social media companies to take a harder line against disinformation and used data-driven strategies to fight viral smears.

She later adds that “the participants want the secret history of the 2020 election told, even though it sounds like a paranoid fever dream–a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information. They were not rigging the election; they were fortifying it.”

Many voters are bound to disagree. And even those who don’t may still want a dispassionate review of the various changes to U.S. voting in 2020 and a consideration of their impact.

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Proud Boys members charged with conspiracy in US Capitol riot investigation


Federal prosecutors investigating the violent riot at the Capitol this month announced their first conspiracy charges against the Proud Boys on Friday night (local time), accusing two members of the far-right nationalist group of working together to obstruct and interfere with law enforcement officers protecting Congress during the final certification of the presidential election.

In an indictment filed in federal court in Washington, prosecutors charged the two Proud Boys, Dominic Pezzola, of Rochester, New York, and William Pepe, of Beacon, New York, with 11 counts, including conspiracy, assaulting an officer and civil disorder.

Both Mr Pezzola, a former boxer and Marine, and Mr Pepe, an employee of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, were already facing lesser charges connected to the Capitol attack, which followed a 6 January rally in support of former President Donald Trump.

While more than 170 people have been charged in the deadly assault on the Capitol, most have been accused of relatively minor crimes like disorderly conduct and unlawful entry. The only other serious conspiracy charges in the inquiry have been brought against three members of the militia group the Oath Keepers, who are accused of organising since a week after the November election to stop the certification of the vote.

But unlike the Oath Keepers indictment, the one brought against Mr Pezzola, 43, and Mr Pepe, 31, describes only a two-person conspiracy that lasted only through the day of the rally when, it notes, a large group of Proud Boys travelled to Washington and gathered near the Capitol grounds.

A Proud Boys “organiser” led the group – with Mr Pezzola and Mr Pepe among them – in a series of chants, including, “We love Trump,” before moving on to the Capitol, the indictment says.

Earlier this month, prosecutors described a virtually identical scene in court papers charging Joseph Biggs, a high-ranking leader of the Proud Boys, with steering a crew of about 100 Proud Boys toward the Capitol. Another organiser, Ethan Nordean, helped Mr Biggs lead the crowd, the court papers said, but has not been charged.

The Proud Boys, a self-described “western chauvinist” group that has a long history of bloody street fights with left-wing activists known as antifa, have drawn the attention of investigators because they are one of the groups that had a large presence on Capitol Hill during the assault. The FBI has started executing search warrants against the group, including one from last week that permitted the collection of numerous electronic devices from a Proud Boys member who took extensive videos of Mr Biggs and his crew.

The organisation, which has maintained links with both overt white supremacists and more mainstream Republicans, has been a vocal — and often violent — advocate for Mr Trump. During one of the presidential debates, Mr Trump seemed to signal his support by telling its members to “stand back and stand by”. 

Protesters who claimed to be members of the far-right Proud Boys gather with other Trump supporters outside the US Capitol.

Getty

Investigators have made a priority of exploring whether the attack was planned in advance by groups like the Proud Boys. This past week, Michael Sherwin, the US attorney in Washington, said that prosecutors were focused on bringing “more complicated conspiracy cases related to possible coordination among militia groups” and “individuals from different states that had a plan to travel” to Washington before 6 January.

The new Proud Boys indictment offers no evidence that members of the group worked in advance to plot the Capitol assault and describes only vague links between its two defendants. Still, the indictment notes that the men worked with other individuals — both “known and unknown” — leaving open the possibility that further charges could be filed.

Mr Pezzola, who works as a laborer laying tile, has been a focus of the sprawling investigation into the Capitol attack almost from the moment it began.

Court papers released on Friday morning said that he was in the first wave of rioters to enter the building, shattering a window with a plastic police shield. After climbing through the window, prosecutors said, Mr Pezzola joined a mob that confronted a Capitol Police officer, Eugene Goodman, in a stairwell near the Senate floor. According to court papers, someone in the mob called out, “Where they meeting at? Where they counting the votes?”

Prosecutors said that Mr Pezzola later posted a video of himself online, smoking a cigar inside the Capitol. In the video, court papers say, he refers to the cigar as a “victory smoke,” adding that he knew the mob would be able to take over the building if the rioters “tried hard enough”. 

When FBI agents searched Mr Pezzola’s home near Rochester after the riot, prosecutors said, they found a thumb drive with several PDF files, some suggesting he had been studying bomb-making techniques. The computer files, court papers said, had titles like “Advanced Improvised Explosives,” “Explosive Dusts” and “Ragnar’s Big Book of Homemade Weapons.”

Michael Scibetta, Mr Pezzola’s lawyer, said on Friday that authorities were not letting him see his client, who is now in custody in Washington.

“The matter is evolving,” Mr Scibetta said, adding that prosecutors were depriving Mr Pezzola of “his constitutionally guaranteed right of assistance of counsel”. 

Mr Pepe’s lawyer, Susanne Brody, did not respond to an email seeking comment.

The prior charges against Mr Pepe, a Metro-North Railroad worker, were only scantly described. In a criminal complaint issued on 11 January, prosecutors said that he had used a day of sick leave to attend a “Stop the Steal” protest in Washington and was subsequently photographed inside the Capitol.

At a hearing this past week, prosecutors made a cryptic reference to an ongoing investigation involving Mr Pepe but never fully explained what it was at the time.

At least four other members of the Proud Boys have been charged in connection with the Capitol attack, including Biggs, a US Army veteran.

By Alan Feuer © 2021 The New York Times

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A Conspiracy Theory Is Proved Wrong


  • As Mr. Biden took office and Mr. Trump landed in Florida, with no mass arrests in sight, some QAnon believers struggled to harmonize the falsehoods with the inauguration on their TVs.

  • Valerie Gilbert posts dozens of times a day in support of QAnon. Her story hints at how hard it will be to bring people like her back to reality.

  • What is QAnon? Here is an explainer on the “big tent conspiracy theory.”

There are a lot of ways to listen to The Daily. Here’s how.

We want to hear from you. Tune in, and tell us what you think. Email us at thedaily@nytimes.com. Follow Michael Barbaro on Twitter: @mikiebarb. And if you’re interested in advertising with “The Daily,” write to us at thedaily-ads@nytimes.com.


Kevin Roose contributed reporting.

The Daily is made by Theo Balcomb, Andy Mills, Lisa Tobin, Rachel Quester, Lynsea Garrison, Annie Brown, Clare Toeniskoetter, Paige Cowett, Michael Simon Johnson, Brad Fisher, Larissa Anderson, Wendy Dorr, Chris Wood, Jessica Cheung, Stella Tan, Alexandra Leigh Young, Lisa Chow, Eric Krupke, Marc Georges, Luke Vander Ploeg, Kelly Prime, Sindhu Gnanasambandan, M.J. Davis Lin, Austin Mitchell, Neena Pathak, Dan Powell, Dave Shaw, Sydney Harper, Daniel Guillemette, Hans Buetow, Robert Jimison, Mike Benoist, Bianca Giaever, Liz O. Baylen, Asthaa Chaturvedi, Rachelle Bonja, Alix Spiegel, Diana Nguyen, Marion Lozano and Soraya Shockley.

Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk of Wonderly. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Mikayla Bouchard, Lauren Jackson, Julia Simon, Mahima Chablani, Nora Keller, Sofia Milan, Desiree Ibekwe, Laura Kim, Erica Futterman and Shreeya Sinha.



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Peru judges speak the truth about the global Covid conspiracy


Peruvian judges accused world elites of Covid crisis conspiracy. Although this is nonsense from a legal point of view, circumstantial evidence is evident.

Gates and Rockefeller obstruct the work of justices of the peace in Peru

The Cincha and Pisco Criminal Appeals Chamber in Peru issued an unusual ruling on the reason for the suspension of criminal proceedings in this court.

This happened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which no one predicted, except for the “global criminal elites.” The latter include billionaires such as Bill Gates, George Soros, Rockefeller and others, “who were involved in (coronavirus) and continue to control it with extreme secrecy, “the judges point out in the ruling posted on lpderecho.pe website.


“No world government, individuals, legal entities or defendant’s defense can claim that this pandemic has the quality of ‘predictability’, except for the creators of the new world order, such as Bill Gates, Soros, Rockefeller, etc.” the verdict said.


Thus, the court, consisting of judges Tito Gallegos, Luis Legia and Tony Changarai, justified the delay in considering the appeal from the defendant, who sought his preventive (preliminary) detention be canceled, but his petition was not resolved due to quarantine measures.

In addition, the court claimed that the justified cause (the coronavirus pandemic) “paralyzed” and will continue to impede “not only the judicial work of magistrate courts, but the entire economic, social and cultural activities.”


After the verdict was made public, the highest court instance of Peru opened a preliminary investigation against the justices of the peace who signed the verdict. The purpose of the investigation is to gather evidence that helps establish the existence of alleged violations committed by the judges.

Lyudmila Aivar, Doctor of Law, Professor, Honored Lawyer of Russia, told Pravda.Ru that in order to accuse the above-mentioned personas of creating and spreading the coronavirus infection, one should:


  • initiate a criminal case against them;

  • conduct an investigation that would establish that the accused individuals created and spread the coronavirus infection.

The lawyer pointed out that it was a populist verdict that the court of higher instance should either overturn or alter its wording that holds the specified individuals responsible for the pandemic.

Circumstantial evidence

Sergei Shakhmatov, Executive Director of the “Russian Greens” Federal Open Environmental Platform told Pravda.Ru that Bill Gates is known worldwide as a person who believes that one should take every effort to preserve the planet, and if the planet’s population needs to be reduced for the purpose, Gates does not mind that.

“I would not be surprised if it was Bill Gates who financed the creation of the novel coronavirus. This, of course, is not a fact. But the richest man on the planet, who regularly declares the need to cut the population on the globe, could probably be behind it,” said Sergei Shakhmatov.

As warandpeace.ru reported in 2010, Bill Gates is an adherent of eugenics, a pseudoscience about population decline. At a private conference in Long Beach, California, called TED2010 Conference, in his “Innovating to Zero!” speech, along with a proposal to artificially cut CO2 emissions around the world, Gates said that today’s 6.8-billion-strong population will grow to 9 billion. 


“The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about nine billion. Now, if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by, perhaps, 10 or 15 percent.”


In a recent interview with actress and writer Rashida Jones and chief US infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci, Gates noted that a new pandemic would engulf humanity in 20 years, and at worst – in three years.

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It’s time to raise the cost of spreading conspiracy theories


Conspiracy theories were a major driver behind the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building. They have also been a growing part of the political right’s internal struggles since at least 2008. But why do people believe in crackpot conspiracy theories like QAnon, Pizzagate, or the narrative that the 2020 election was stolen? Why do they act on them, sometimes violently? 

If you think of irrationality as a consumer good, much like a car or a television, you can better understand why people sometimes say and do crazy things. Think of it like this: People buy more cars and televisions when they are cheap, and fewer when they are expensive. 

This logic applies to conspiracy theories. 

Here, price is not necessarily measured in money. The “price” of armchair theorizing is low, usually. It costs almost nothing to post crazy things online, aside from mild social stigma. But this cost is more than offset by other benefits for many. For a lot of fringe figures like anti-vaxxers, flat-earthers, and QAnon conspiracy theorists, espousing an extreme belief is not necessarily about the truth. It’s about asserting a unique, memorable identity and defending it against outside threats. 

Any sports fan or political partisan will be familiar with the emotional rush that conspiracy theorists feel when saying outlandish things. It feels good to cheer for your team and boo the other team. For some, these emotional benefits may even be worth the cost of losing friends or a job, so they keep at it.

But what happens when the price of irrationality suddenly spikes? Dominion Voting Systems, a company that sells electronic voting hardware and software like voting machines and tabulators, recently announced that it is suing “Kraken” lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation, seeking damages of $1.3 billion, because she repeatedly argued in public that Dominion software was created “at the direction of Hugo Chávez,” the Venezuelan dictator who died in 2013. She has also said that Dominion used a secret algorithm to rig the 2020 election. Her lawsuits regarding Dominion were dismissed because of lack of evidence.

Until now, Powell paid a low price for public conspiracy-mongering. In fact, it may have been financially profitable: Dominion argues in its lawsuit that Powell used her newfound fame to sell books and gain clients.

Dominion had previously threatened legal action against several media outlets that were peddling provably false claims, such as Fox News, Newsmax, and One America News. Once their price of being irrational went up, the outlets immediately started “consuming” less irrationality. Newsmax even aired a nearly two-minute “clarification” retracting nearly all of its stolen-election claims. It is worth watching.

Powell is currently weighing the likely monetary cost of a case she will likely lose against the nonmonetary costs of losing face, admitting error, and caving in to her opponents. But now that the price of her conspiracy theorizing has gone up, we can almost certainly expect her to consume less of it.

Public officials who played a role in inciting the coup attempt, such as President Trump, Sen. Josh Hawley, and Sen. Ted Cruz, are also seeing a price increase for their irrationality. All three are facing calls for their resignation, and their political prospects are suffering long-term damage. The price change they face will hopefully improve their behavior going forward. President Trump even grudgingly committed to a peaceful change of power for the first time. Even without further consequences, the three men’s diminished power should at least limit the amount of damage they can cause.

Many of the rioters will face legal consequences for their actions, raising the price of their irrationality. At the very least, the rioters and their sympathizers will likely tone down their violence and rhetoric in response to the price change. 

There are a lot of other factors involved in the ugly history we all witnessed on Jan. 6. Larger socioeconomic conditions, COVID-related cabin fever, personal grievances, and in some cases mental illness may also have been factors in the coup attempt. 

Thinking about conspiracy theories as a consumer good does not explain everything. But it can help us understand. Raising the “prices” conspiracy theorists pay for their fantasies, within the bounds of First Amendment protections and consistent with common decency, will help rein in the costs they impose on others. That can improve the national political conversation and help prevent more violence.

Ryan Young is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

More opinion from Fortune:

  • Tech’s underdeveloped moral compass is threatening our democracy
  • Climate disasters are inevitable. We need to do more than just wait to clean up the damage
  • The Facebook antitrust suit is a major assault on entrepreneurs
  • There’s no better time than now to build a better pipeline for women in tech
  • Work has outgrown the office. What’s next?

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What is QAnon? How a wild conspiracy theory led to the storming of the US Capitol


Several prominent supporters of the extremist movement were spotted inside the building.

Allegedly among those was “QAnon Shaman” Jacob Anthony Chansley.

Chansley was arrested yesterday. Authorities believe he is the man wearing a painted face, fur hat and horns; whose picture has since become synonymous with the riots.

A protester, alleged to be Jacob Anthony Chansley, is seen inside the US Capitol Building. (Getty)

QAnon all stems from a completely unfounded conspiracy theory about a global “Deep State” cabal of satanic pedophile elites.

According to the believers, President Donald Trump is waging a secret war against the Satan-worshipping paedophiles in government, business and the media.

QAnon believers have been anticipating a day of reckoning led by Mr Trump, when thousands of members of the cabal will be arrested, including prominent Democrats such as Hillary Clinton and Hollywood celebrities

QAnon followers have also falsely claimed Robert Mueller’s inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 US election was really an elaborate cover story so he and Mr Trump could work together to expose paedophiles.

In October 2017, someone put up a post on the message board 4chan.

The user claimed to have a level of US security approval known as “Q clearance” and signed off with the letter Q.

Q claimed to have access to classified information involving the Trump administration and its opponents in the US.

A man wearing a QAnon shirt jeers at a CNN reporter at a Donald Trump rally.
A man wearing a QAnon shirt jeers at a CNN reporter at a Donald Trump rally. (AP)

Three people then took the original Q post and spread it across multiple media platforms, according to NBC News.

What does Trump have to say about QAnon?

QAnon adherents began appearing at Trump re-election campaign rallies in August 2018.

While Mr Trump has never officially endorsed the conspiracy theory, he has described QAnon activists as “people who love our country” and said he appreciates their support.

“I know nothing about it,” Mr Trump said of QAnon movement in a televised Town Hall event last October.

“I do know they are very much against pedophilia. They fight it very hard, but I know nothing about it,” he added.

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a rally Wednesday, January 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP)

The president’s response was met with jubilation online from QAnon followers who saw it as a ringing endorsement.

Mr Trump has, whether knowingly or not, retweeted QAnon supporters many times.

Before the election his son Eric Trump posted a QAnon meme on Instagram.

More wild QAnon conspiracy theories

To delve into the world of QAnon is to go down a rabbit role of outlandish, and often contradictory, conspiracy theories.

Many of the prophecies put forward by QAnon followers never came to pass, but that has seemingly done little to dissuade the true believers.

The Atlantic executive editor, Adrienne LaFrance, wrote an in-depth analysis of the movement called “The Prophecies Of Q.”

LaFrance said many QAnon believers were obsessed with John F. Kennedy Jr. – who was killed in a plane crash in 1999.

John F. Kennedy, Jr., and his wife Carolyn Bessette pictured before their wedding in 1995.
John F. Kennedy, Jr., and his wife Carolyn Bessette pictured before their wedding in 1995. (AP)

“One idea is that he didn’t actually die in a plane crash but rather that Hillary Clinton had him killed because she was a political opponent,” LaFrance said.

“Another idea is that he faked his own death and is actually alive and a secret Trump supporter.

“For a while, people were saying that he was going to reveal himself as Trump’s running mate in this presidential election.”

Unsurprisingly, layer upon layer of fabrications have been weaved into QAnon’s messaging around the coronavirus.

At one point, many QAnon believers were fixated on a yellow tie Mr Trump wore to some of his coronavirus briefings, LaFrance said.

Some QAnon believers saw a yellow tie worn by Mr Trump as a secret message.
Some QAnon believers saw a yellow tie worn by Mr Trump as a secret message. (AP)

“(At) one of President Trump’s daily briefings in the spring at a time when the death toll was really spiking, President Trump wears a yellow tie.

“And people seize on this in the Q crowd and say that yellow is a colour that, in maritime flags, signifies an all-clear. And therefore, the yellow tie is a signal that everything is OK and the virus isn’t real.”

How many people believe in this stuff?

While the conspiracy theories forming the basis of QAnon may sound ridiculous and far-fetched, its audience is growing rapidly.

The growth of QAnon membership in Facebook groups and pages between January and September 2020, courtesy of CrowdTangle.
The growth of QAnon membership in Facebook groups and pages between January and September 2020, courtesy of CrowdTangle. (CrowdTangle)

“The COVID-19 pandemic has played a significant role in popularizing the QAnon movement,” Mr Argentino wrote.

“Facebook data since the start of 2020 shows QAnon membership grew by 581 per cent — most of which occurred after the United States closed its borders last March as part of its coronavirus containment strategy.”

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Victorian Liberals condemn pro-Trump conspiracy theories posted by colleague Bernie Finn


Senior Victorian Liberal MP David Davis says his party will be speaking to its Upper House MP Bernie Finn, after he published false pro-Trump conspiracy theories to his private Facebook page.

The posts were shared both before and after rioters stormed the US Capitol Building in an effort to prevent the democratic transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden.

In an early post before violence erupted in the United States, Mr Finn’s private account falsely claimed that “Deep State forces” were “improperly” removing President Donald Trump from office.

After the riots erupted, Mr Finn shared an article from far-right fringe publication The Washington Times, which claimed antifa activists had “infiltrated” the rioters who stormed the Capitol.

“This shouldn’t surprise anyone. This is far more Antifa than Trump,” Mr Finn’s post read.

That claim, which was repeated by some of Mr Trump’s Republican allies, has been described as “evidence-free” by NBC News and declared false by the New York Times’s fact-checking coverage.

Bernie Finn is a Liberal Upper House member for the Western Metropolitan region.(Supplied: Parliament of Victoria)
Bernie Finn writes that Donald Trump set an excellent example for international leaders.
Mr Finn wrote that Mr Trump had set a “wonderful example” of leadership during his presidency.(Supplied)

When asked about the comments on Friday, Mr Davis, who is the shadow minister for transport infrastructure, said he “fundamentally” disagreed with them.

“I don’t know why Bernie has made those comments,” he said.

“My view is that they are wrong, I think that the election result is very clear and I think the fact is that there’s been a series of terrible events in America in this recent period and I think the community is horrified by what they’ve seen.”

He said the Liberal Party would “certainly be talking to” Mr Finn about the comments, but did not outline what action, if any, might be taken.

Mr Finn, who is a member for the Western Metropolitan region, is also the shadow assistant minister for autism and small business.

“The truth of the matter is, I think, people across the community disagree with his view,” Mr Davis said.

Liberal MP and shadow tourism minister Cindy McLeish said on Thursday she had not yet seen the posts but did not support conspiracy theories about the “fair and square” US election result.

Mr Finn has been contacted for comment.

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Boeing to pay $2.5bn over 737 Max conspiracy


The US Justice Department said the firm chose “profit over candour”, impeding oversight of the planes, which were involved in two deadly crashes.

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