Jack Posobiec — OAN Correspondent, Washington, D.C.
UPDATED 7:52 AM PT — Wed. Sept. 5, 2018
—-How it Began
For the past 10 months, an online movement has been picking up steam in America and has moved from imageboards and online forums to Reddit, to Twitter, and to YouTube. It leapt from the little screen to the big screen when people began showing up at political rallies wearing shirts and waving signs that carried the name of the movement: QAnon, or simply Q.
What is QAnon? Where did it come from? What is its purpose? And, most importantly, who is Q?
Q made its first appearance on the web forum “4chan” on October 31, 2017 as the “Q Clearance Patriot.”
However, several posts prior to this from Oct 28 also appeared to follow this posting pattern of Socratic method questioning, cryptic messages, riddles, and coded “drops” of information.
Here are the first Q posts:
Hillary’s Arrest to take place on Oct 30, 2017
National Guard deployment
But, October 30th, 2017, came and went, and yet Hillary Clinton was not arrested on that day. The original intel drop never came to pass. And still hasn’t.
Instead, what happened on October 30th was quite the contrary. It was the exact opposite of the poster’s prediction. Trump campaign officials and advisors Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and George Papadopoulos were all indicted. Manafort and Gates were placed under home arrest.
This was devastating for the credibility of the original poster.
However, instead of ending the op, the posters decided upon a different tactic. They would ignore the real world facts, retroactively claim “Manafort was a plant,” and make even bigger predictions: The arrests of John Podesta and Huma Abedin. Then, finally, they gave the character a name.
The goalposts were shifted, and instead the first appearance of the “Q Clearance Patriot”, supposedly a member of military intelligence, arrived just one day after the Hillary arrest that never was.
One of the issues with this is that “Q Clearance” is not found in military intelligence. It is a Department of Energy designation, and deals exclusively with nuclear programs information. To date, QAnon has not posted insider information about US nuclear programs.
This pattern of big predictions not coming true (such as the military parade) and the moving of goalposts and retroactive hand-waving explanation continues on and on throughout the posts of QAnon, which I read in full in while researching this piece. You can currently find them hosted here: https://qanon.app/
An extensive compendium which tracks the failures and false predictions of the Q posters in realtime is found here, and is regularly updated: https://old.reddit.com/r/Qult_Headquarters/comments/93v1ui/a_noncomprehensive_timeline_of_qs_failed/
One of the most glaring examples is here:
07/31/18 – For his 1776th post, Q uploads an image that’s supposed to function as ‘proof’ that he’s working with Trump (Trump’s signature + “#1776”). However, not only are the ‘#’ and ‘1’ very different from Trump’s own handwriting, but even Q’s followers found evidence that it’s another photoshop job.
At one point, the Q posters decided to move from the 4chan message board to the 8chan message board. No explanation was given for this.
Later, the Q posters began using “tripcodes” which is a type of validation password for anonymous message board users. They claimed that these tripcodes were validated by the board moderators, and proved that only Q could post with them. However, these codes were repeatedly hacked and underwent frequent changes. Frequent changes took place during May 2018. Interestingly, the tripcode changes seemed to coincide with changes in the lineup of board moderators as new mods were brought in and old mods were kicked out of the group.
Recently, on 08/10/18, Q’s password was revealed yet again by a former believer attempting to reach out to those who are currently sucked in, and debunks the belief that Q’s passwords contain clues. This hacker posted all of Q’s former passwords, and explained they were made with a fairly amateurish encryption key, one that did not even meet the standads of the current intelligence community.
—-Who Began It
From the start, Q’s underlying message was that President Trump was working behind-the-scenes to arrest and prosecute his political enemies. There were also reports that he was secretly working with Robert Mueller to indict Hillary Clinton and members of the Democrat party.
However, there was always more to the story. Surely, there had to be someone behind all the cryptic posts. Was it truly a “Q-Clearance” holding patriot, or some other member of military intelligence?
Who was Q?
Would Q ever be revealed?
The answer, was actually more simple than all of that.
To an extent, I’ve always known who Q was.
No, I didn’t follow all the posts in realtime, but when they started appearing in my mentions on twitter, or I would write up a story and post it, I would start to see people saying my story had already been coming, with a phrase that goes “Q predicted this.”
At first, I had no earthly clue what people were talking about or who this new source of information was. After a few days of this, I became curious, and began to track it back to 8chan, and before that to the original 4chan posts.
And then it hit me.
I thought back to a conversation I’d had months before with a pro-Trump Twitter troll who goes by the name Dreamcatcher. Dreamcatcher had been around during the 2016 election, and was a constant source of memes and ideas for new and original pro-Trump content. But, perhaps more importantly for our purposes, Dreamcatcher was close to Microchip.
Microchip gained infamy for his effictiveness in creating trending topics on twitter through high bot networks, and twitter’s numerous suspensions of him. He has been profiled in several mainstream publications and credited with having much more effect on the 2016 election in social media than any so-called Russian bot interference.
Months before, Dreamcatcher had told me about an “op” he was planning with Microchip that would plant bits and pieces of information on 4chan and act like it was coming from a high-level source inside the administration or the intel community. At the time he’d asked if I wanted to be a part of it. I declined.
Microchip, who now posts on Gab under his original profile and regularly denounces the QAnon movement’s transition from online forum community into a full-blown cult, started the conversation with his co-creator saying, “Unite the Right was pretty terrible for Trump, man.”
His partner, Dreamcatcher, replied that Richard Spencer, the progressive white supremacist, “is a moron,” and that the two should figure out a way to use 4chan to generate excitement among Trump’s most devoted followers.
Quickly, their venture picked up steam.
The use of unnamed intelligence agent “Anons” on 4chan is a practice that far predates the QAnon movement. During the 2016 election an anonymous user called “FBIAnon” claimed to be an FBI agent working on the Clinton investigation. Weaving together bits of publicly-known information and speculation, this user posted many times throughout the campaign to the 4chan imageboard. https://i.redd.it/6zq652jwnhuz.png
Microchip remembered this “Op” as he calls such online information operations.
“That signing FBIAnon is good too, looks spooky, but we should do our own thing,” one of them wrote. “[Let’s] use the Socratic method to question stuff… [people] flip sh*t on suggestions alone.” said Micro.
“Just sign it Micro,” Dreamcatcher replied.
But the response was that they needed something more “sinister.”
And Q was born.
The letter was the perfect letter. It was used in a novel by Luther Blisset first published in Italian in 1999. In the novel, the setting is the 16th Century Reformation of the Catholic Church. It is also the clearance seal of the United States for access to the most secret intelligence matters including top restricted and formerly restricted data and national security information.
I will now post in full the original Discord chat logs where Microship, Dreamcatcher, and others planned their Operatations. For the record, I do know their true identities. We have decided not to reveal their personal information to the public to prevent retaliation against them. In this case, “Op Q”:
According to the logs, they tracks up with the Microchip group coming up with the plans for Q in August 2017. They then appear to have put the plan on hold when their Antifa Petition took off soon after. By the time that had run out of steam in October, they came back to the FBIAnon plan, tweaking it this time to be a member of military intelligence.
They saw it as a way to “take the offensive” in the wake of Unite the Right, and bring together the online Trump movement which was now fractured in their view. They brought together elements of Wikileaks (information drops), Pizzagate (pedophile elites), and Infowars (deep state threats to Trump) and wove them together in a way that would seem interesting as a “source” to the online community.
“This has to be simple, man jones does this all day, we can replicate,” Microchip stated in one message.
From the start Q was always meant to mirror an Infowars / Wikileaks narrative, with the key difference being that they would pretend Q was actually a high-level government source with inside knowledge about varied hot button topics with which the audience was already familiar.
Now, I know what you’re thinking.
This seems plausible, but if Microchip is a notorious internet troll, then how can we trust any of this?
I had the same question.
That’s why I asked Microchip to record a video of himself opening up the Discord app on his iOS and scrolling through on his screen to show the messages were not photoshopped or recreated in any way.
Here is that video.
To the extant that you are now thinking, well if is Microchip is a notorious troll, he could have just hacked iOS and Discord and made up these weeks of chat logs as a means to take credit for Q. Is that likely?
Now, that may very well be the case. But Microchip already has notoriety plus a significant online following and reputation. So, there wouldn’t be much benefit to him from spending all this time to come up with a new origin story and documentary evidence. And again, they told people at the time they were planning this Op Q. So, which is more likely?
In the course of reporting this piece, I had many occasions to speak with both Microchip and Dreamcatcher. You can find them both online, and they have both agreed to answer questions from press and public alike about the creation of QAnon.
I welcome skeptecism and questions about these chat logs. I am a skeptic myself, but in the the end, I decided it was best to release the information for the public to read and make up their own minds.
In the end, you decide.
– Q Arrives at Trump Rallies
So, how did this get so big?
How did a string of anonymous posts from Microchip and others on 4chan lead to t-shirts and signs at a Trump rally?
Well, that story has been told, by and large. It is longer, and far more complex to go through the cast of characters, trolls, internet researchers, followers, and believers who have entered the QAnon movement and found internet fame from it – not to mention raising substantial amounts of money acting as “Q Decoders”
Microchip and his cohorts dropped off on Q posts fairly early on. A new crew caught on to the Op. This crew brought the Q postings first from 4chan onto a new board controlled by themselves on the message board 8chan. They began to introduce the aspect of “tripcodes” and changing tripcodes to validate the Q persona. Then, they decided to find more user-friendly ground by founding Reddit pages such as CBTS (Calm Before The Storm) and TheGreatAwakening. Along the way many people came and went from the group posting as QAnon.
This crew has been named and reported on many times before here, so instead of going through all the expensive reporting, I will make a few summary notes.
The people currently making the most money off of Q appear to be the Patriot Soapbox group. Numerous times, their online user Pamplet Anon has revealed himself to have access to Q’s tripcode passwords, and has even accidentally posted as Q while logged in on 8chan on livestreams. He also once, embarassingly, was caught claiming a post was from Q that did not contain the actual tripcode validation – not that hard to figure out how he knew about the post when no one else did. He recently set up an LLC out of his parents’ house to take in more donations from Q followers.
There are others in the QAnon movement such as the user PrayingMedic who fashion themselves instead as spirital Q guides and mix Christian theology with Q posts and the ongoing 8chan narrative. On his Patreon page, where he currently hosts 492 patreons, PrayingMedic claims that QAnon appears to him in his dreams and only those who pay extra to him on Patreon can receives his exclusive Q decodes.
This is the current state of QAnon online.
—For More Information
There has been much and more posted online about Q and people who have left the movement. I recommend the following resources:
— What Next?
For those who followed this online movement, this information may come as somewhat of a shock, but hopefully, this information will be seen as a helpful reminder to question anonymous sources on the internet, and to remain skeptical of claims when events and situations take other directions, as has been the case here.
While the people involved in this movement may have began posting as Q for whatever reasons, the fact remains that people did enjoy these posts and this form of information. Perhaps that can be the starting off point for a new series of riddles and puzzles and a new type of information system. There certainly appears to be an interest in it – but from the start, whoever ends up running it should always be honest, open, and truthful about who they are, and their motives.