For a conspiracy theory that’s been marked by a litany of failed predictions, disappointments, de-platforming, and infighting between factions; QAnon remains remarkably popular.
This is the theory that Trump is about to unleash a massive wave of indictments against the deep state, and anonymous Trump administration official known only as Q is leaking foreknowledge of events to acolytes on far right social media.
And despite the endless exhortations that the great purge of America’s enemies is coming “next week” or “soon,” none of these arrests or events have materialized.
On Friday night, normie America stared mouth agape at its collective Twitter account, astonished at tweet (since deleted) that newly-reborn sitcom star Roseanne Barr posted.
Pimps all over the world? Trump breaking up trafficking rings everywhere? The hell?
Most people had no idea what the hell Barr was talking about, but anyone who’s spent time in the fetid swamp of online conspiracy theories knew exactly what she was talking about: the #QAnon theory that posits President Trump at the center of a plot to bust Satanic sex rings infesting the highest levels of the Democratic Party and Hollywood – with an insider called Q dropping secret knowledge of what’s to come.
In my first piece as a contributor for Daily Dot, I explored the links between hot new right wing uber-conspiracy “The Storm” and old school internet prosperity scams.
While the “intel” drops of #QAnon and his or her anonymous comrades might seem cutting edge, in reality, there are a slew of old scams and plots based around similar themes – a supposed insider spewing torrents of tantalizing, fanciful “intel” about some great event just about to come.
One predecessor to “The Storm” was a scam from the early days of widespread internet use, called NESARA—which has roots in an even earlier intel-driven scam called Omega.
NESARA was a set of monetary reforms proposed in the late 90’s by engineer Harvey Francis Barnard. He wanted to abolish the Federal Reserve, ban interest on loans, forgive all consumer debt, go back to the gold standard, and establish a national sales tax.
After years of trying to get Congress to pass NESARA, Barnard published it online in 2000, where it caught the eye of a Seattle-area New Age enthusiast named Shaini Goodwin.
Goodwin was an online shill for an “investment” called the Omega Trust, which purported to sell “Omega Units” of “prime European bank notes” for as little as $100, which would then “roll over” and return millions of dollars in profit.
Omega took advantage of the naivete of early internet adopters, and in particular, the growing ubiquity of Yahoo groups. By the mid-1990’s, it was a world-wide scam, with millions of dollars flooding into the small town where its creator lived, Mattoon, Illinois.