17 Clues About The Identity Of Q
Some may say that knowing the identity of Q is unimportant. Some of those people may be Q supporters. Others might be QAnon researchers. I hold that there’s nothing necessarily wrong with this belief. However, there are those who are interested in Q’s identity and that is why I have decided to publish this research. Moreover, local, state, federal, and international bodies may find this information to be relevant. Finally, while it is unlikely that this information will change hardcore QAnon supporters’ minds, it just might make some people who are on the edge of the rabbit hole take a step back.
I publish this with the knowledge, based on continuing observations of social media, that it may result in brigading, harassment, threats, and other unwanted activity directed towards me. I cannot control what others may do in response to this publication. But I also won’t allow the possibility of such hostility to act as a deterrent.
How could you identify a person who uses online anonymity to mask their identity? Perhaps you’ve heard of a BOLO alert before. BOLO stands for “be on (the) lookout” and often contains descriptive information about a suspect, a missing person, or a vehicle. A BOLO alert might start with “Be on the lookout for a 27-year-old white male.” Each of those descriptors on their own could apply to a large number of people. When those descriptors are combined, the number of people being described shrinks substantially. It is similar to a type of Boolean operation, in that the alert is saying to lookout for someone who is 27 years old AND white AND male.
The more descriptors that are provided, the more the results will narrow. If hair color, eye color, tattoo description, height and weight are provided, all those descriptors combined will only apply to a select few people, and perhaps only to one person.
When reporters and researchers track the spread of Qanon support online, they are engaging in a similar process. They are on the lookout for signs and hashtags that they know to be associated with QAnon, such as #SaveTheChildren or #CalmBeforeTheStorm. When they find those signs, they will likely check for other activity they know to be associated with QAnon to eliminate false positives.
Similar processes can be applied retrospectively. Many of the signs and activities known to be associated with Q may not have originated with Q. In the cases where Q has responded to breaking events, there may not be anything to trace. However, Q doesn’t just respond to breaking events and that other content may appear elsewhere.
Much of that content does appear elsewhere. It appeared in the posts of the Internet Research Agency trolls. In a moment, we’ll take a closer look at the evidence.
For any reader who is unfamiliar with QAnon, the New York Times has produced an informative general overview on the topic. NBC News also investigated QAnon in mid-2018 and this article played an important role following my initial research on the topic. After nearly two years of research, I’ve found that there are a number of details about Q which deserve closer scrutiny.
Note: QAnon is an influence operation. Self-proclaimed “digital soldiers” seek to convert people into QAnon followers. Therefore, it would be a mistake to believe that every QAnon supporter is an Internet Research Agency troll or a Russian. The point of an influence operation is to covertly influence an unsuspecting target audience. By that metric, QAnon has been wildly successful. I would recommend an abundance of caution, lest readers confuse the targets of an influence operation with the perpetrators of that influence operation. Furthermore, claiming random people are Russians without any evidence is not a solution to the QAnon issue. I would discourage any reader from engaging in such activities.
The following clues will be presented in no particular order.
Q first appeared on the Politically Incorrect messaging board on 4chan. Before Q, there were other Insider Anon personas which appeared on that board and claimed to have insider knowledge. Some QAnon researchers have noted the similarities between some of those Insider Anons and QAnon.
The evidence shows that entities such as FBI Anon, DC Anon, DNC Anon, and Pentagon Insider were inventions of the Internet Research Agency. With the first entry below, note TEN_GOP’s use of the phrase “panic mode” and the claim that there is panic in DC within the 4chan post. Both of these would appear later in Q’s posts.
For those who have studied Q’s posts closely, you’ll undoubtedly notice the appearance of several subjects and topics which would later appear in Q’s posts. Such subjects and topics include: human trafficking, pedophiles, Seth Rich, Huma Abedin, Podesta’s emails, Vault 7, and so on.
Save the children
Long before the hashtag #SaveTheChildren was used heavily by QAnon-supporting accounts in 2020, the phrase and the hashtag was seen in the IRA’s posts.
Calm before the storm
the cia/deep state controls nk
Across several posts in late 2017 and early 2018, Q asked leading questions relating to the control of North Korea, suggesting that North Korea was a puppet. In March 2018, Q finally decided to more clearly convey the nature of this conspiracy theory regarding who specifically controls North Korea in post #888. However, the Russian trolls had beaten Q to the punch by several weeks.
It has sometimes been suggested that the current Russian government controls North Korea. It is true that North Korea’s first premier, Kim Il-Sung, was a major in the Soviet army before his rise to power. It is also true that Sung repeatedly pressed Moscow for permission to invade South Korea. Stalin ultimately gave permission, which would set off the Korean War. Yet all this took place over 70 years ago and the Soviet Union collapsed since then.
Reporting from the Washington Post reveals that in September 2017, just prior to Q’s appearance, Russia was quietly undercutting sanctions intended to stop North Korea’s nuclear program. These developments provided a motive for the Russian trolls to baselessly allege that the US government controls NK. That there was no real basis for such a claim was besides the point. The point was to promote a counter-narrative in response to reporting of Russian assistance to North Korea.
Hillary clinton (HRC) in wonderland
In various early posts, Q used Alice & Wonderland as a supposed code. Eventually, as seen in posts #80, #2049, and several others, Q spelled out that this was intended to mean Hillary Clinton (HRC) in Wonderland. Q wasn’t the first to believe that it was clever to swap Clinton for Alice.
On occasion, Q has referred to some of his supporters as “autists.” One example of this occurs in post #314, where Q wrote, “Be the autists we know you are.” The Internet Research Agency trolls also appreciated the use of “autists” as a descriptor.
reports of chemical weapons usage by assad are staged distractions
In April 2018 following reporting that Bashar al-Assad had once again deployed chemical weapons against rebels in Syria, Q had a noteworthy response. In post 1080, Q wrote:
Who is they? Q would make that clearer in subsequent posts. But it was assuredly not Assad in Q’s eyes. There are a select few who hold such a view. Among them are Assad and his government, the Russian government, propagandists who often repeat the Kremlin’s talking points, and the IRA trolls. In response to a chemical attack in 2017, they posted a number of tweets using the hashtag #SyriaHoax. They also posted content like this:
Contrast that with Q’s response to developments in Saudi Arabia, such as the arrest of various princes, government ministers, and other individuals. There was no suggestion that this development was a hoax. Q had differing responses to world events.
John McCain & ISIs
April 8, 2018 would turn out to be one of Q’s busier days. By the end of the day, Q had posted 23 times. Directly following post #1080, Q began promoting certain images and posting certain messages which pointed the finger at McCain and ISIS instead of Assad.
This was not the first time such implications had been made about McCain and ISIS. The IRA trolls consistently targeted John McCain. They even ran a Facebook ad which claimed that McCain met with a leader from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. This was just one building block used to create a narrative that Senator McCain created and backed ISIS. When this targeted campaign came to light, The Republic reported on the matter and received an emailed statement from McCain’s spokeswoman. One section of the statement read, “It’s no surprise Vladimir Putin’s troll factory has made one of its top targets Senator McCain, who has led the effort in Congress to fight Russian aggression, human-rights abuses and corruption.”
Images from the same meetings that were used to imply that McCain met with ISIS were highlighted by Q on April 8.
Such imagery was previously circulated by IRA trolls.
Note: Readers who are familiar with Twitter are likely aware that images that are attached to tweets are often cut off in Twitter’s preview window. When the images are clicked on, the entire image will be viewable. The same applies with many images in the Russian troll database.
other shared imagery
$18b from soros
In Post #67, Q wrote:
Where did the $18b from Soros go?
Can it be used by bad actors (escape, bribes, rogue contractors, etc.)?
This is a very specific figure and allegation. Around 11 days prior to Q’s appearance, the IRA also pushed a narrative about Soros’ $18B.
Update on December 16, 2020: The day after the IRA trolls tweeted about it, @RT_com also tweeted about Soros transferring $18bn while making a conspiratorial allegation.
On June 28, 2018, Q wrote post 1621 and included a link to a YouTube video. Q asked the audience to listen carefully. Those who did would find that they were watching a movie trailer for the film White Squall and would hear the lines “Where we go one, we go all” and “The calm before the storm.”
The Russian trolls knew this months before Q posted it.
the analysis corp
In post #1017, Q referenced The Analysis Corporation (TAC) and wrote “Happy Hunting!” Both Wikileaks and the Russian trolls had taken an interest in that very corporation in early 2017.
the red cross is a scam
On January 7, 2018, Q wrote, “Red Cross = Scam.”
In post #663, Q simply wrote Klaus Eberwein.
Enjoy the show
Q often writes “Enjoy the show.” Q also has a particular interest in insulting Maxine Waters, such as in post #1627.
Huma and the muslim brotherhood
On various occasions, Q has posted claims about Huma Abedin having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. On at least four occasions, Q posted a link to this article: http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/presidential-campaign/292310-huma-abedins-ties-to-the-muslim-brotherhood
That article is the precise one that is linked in the first IRA retweet below.
Q has numerous posts about the Awans. In post #3532, Q references both the DNC server and Awan. The IRA trolls also sought to link Imran Awan to the DNC emails, with the aim being to point the finger away from the Russian government.
This concludes this article. Check back later for the next installment; Analysis: QAnon is a Smear Campaign.