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Hello, national security? It’s QAnon here.

By Karen Stewart

Mr Morrison, I was rather shocked by your choice of the word “ordinary” to describe the recent Four Corners episode regarding QAnon. What our family has experienced is anything but ordinary. The cause of our family breakdown is anything but ordinary. It could, of course, be possible you’ve rejected the premise of the story, as is your wont. The Four Corners story was not about you.

The Four Corners episode was primarily about national security. It outlined the complete inadequacy of Australia’s national security as you also highlighted recently on 2GB when you said of QAnon[1], “I barely even knew what it was until more recently, over the last year or so.” Our family’s story was revealed due to this abject failure of Australia’s national security. We do not see that as being ordinary.

Early 2018 saw QAnon making its presence known in Australia and it captured members of my family. QAnon proponents were hyper-focused on Trump’s every tweet, word, and wink. In June 2018 Matthew Wright, armed with a rifle, barricaded a bridge at USA’s Hoover Dam with his armoured van[2]. He was demanding the government’s release of unredacted reports from the Office of Inspector General which QAnon claims would reveal the “deep state.” He later pleaded guilty to terrorism charges. QAnon supporters made themselves known in Tampa, Florida at President Trump’s rally in July 2018[3]. If Australia’s intelligence agencies did not brief our Prime Minister on this growing threat; that is not ordinary.

Several Twitter accounts were attributed to my QAnon family members; one of which is now widely known as @burnedspy34. It was common for QAnon accounts to tweet allegations of paedophilia, cannibalism, satanism, political corruption, and religious distortions. Accounts were easily identified as QAnon by their use of hashtags: WWG1WGA, The Great Awakening, The Storm, Dark to light, Pizzagate, Pedogate, Enjoy the show, Grab your popcorn, We are the news, Do your research plus the cartoons of alt-right symbol Pepe the frog. Accounts using these phrases frequently tagged @ScottMorrisonMP on Twitter. I am incredulous that our Prime Minister’s account was tagged in threatening and provocative QAnon tweets that went unrecognised, unchallenged, and without action. That is not ordinary.

While politicians erroneously warned of African gangs in Melbourne[4], the alt-right QAnon movement was garnering more conversions in Australia. The Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States declared QAnon a domestic terrorism threat in mid-2019[5]. In September 2020, ASIO’s Heather Cook told a parliamentary enquiry that right-wing extremism accounted for up to 40% of Australia’s counter-terrorism caseload; double that of 2016. Despite this, Australia did not join our Five Eyes allies in proscribing some far-right groups as terrorist organisations[6]. That is not ordinary.

The wife of Australia’s largest QAnon proponent was employed by Prime Minister and Cabinet in the latter half of 2019. I felt confident the security clearance checks for this new employee would alert the government to QAnon’s large presence in Australia and highlight the interactions of QAnon influencers with the office of Prime Minister. The employee’s security clearance checks must have passed because she subsequently remained in Kirribilli House for over a year. This would evidence those security clearances as being grossly inadequate. If a person whose spouse and son held extremist views was able to pass these security clearances to work alongside the Prime Minister of Australia, there is potential for many other employees to be a security risk. That is not ordinary.

The more immersed my brother and nephew became in QAnon, the more volatility we saw, eventually resulting in personal threats. Their radicalisation and proximity to our Prime Minister, gave little alternative but to report to NSW Police and the National Security Hotline. I envisaged an intelligence report being written briefing the government on QAnon and any risk to the Prime Minister. I expected this report to feature a warning that not only was QAnon at the doorstep of the Prime Minister’s office, but the risk was inside the building with him. That is not ordinary.

Upon Donald Trump losing the US election, QAnon social media accounts, including my family’s, posted frequently about an event scheduled for January 6. QAnon played a big role in the attack on US Capitol resulting in the deaths of five people. The loyalty to QAnon was a common theme in the arrests. Australians needed to be reassured that our democracy was far more robust than the fragility we witnessed in USA. There was no such reassurance nor condemnation of the QAnon cult. That is not ordinary.

Former Research Professor in Genocide Studies and Prevention, Gregory H. Stanton, published an article on the website, Genocide Watch, stating “The world has seen QAnon before. It was called Nazism. In QAnon, Nazism wants a comeback.” Never again. That is not ordinary.

It is not reasonable to be flippant or glib about the ethics required and expected from someone in the esteemed office of Prime Minister. It would be most unfortunate if comments made by a Prime Minister disregarded our family’s anguish and diminished the very serious effects of radicalisation. Government condemnation of QAnon could have avoided many more conversions to this group. There was a myriad of information available for government agencies to recognise that the alt-right QAnon cult had converged upon the highest office in our land, yet no warnings were given. That is not ordinary.

We chose to forego family relationships to alert Australians of a significant danger. We were compelled to tell Australians there was a fox in the hen house. We did the task the government and its agencies had failed to do over the preceding three years. It would appear the Stewart family had more information on QAnon, and over a longer period, than the Prime Minister with access to all intelligence agencies. That is not ordinary.

The Four Corners episode was not a personal attack upon you. Guardian Australia’s articles were not an attack on you. Crikey’s articles were not an attack on you. The Daily Telegraph’s articles were not an attack on you. Channel 9’s 60 Minutes programme was not an attack on you. The Irish Times article was not an attack on you.

 

Image from junkee.com

 

However, if you are claiming this particular ABC Four Corners episode was about you; fine, let’s make it about you then. After all, “The Prime Minister takes the lead role in Australian Government counter-terrorism policy coordination.[7]Mr Morrison, the Australian people deserve an answer to this important question: how did your counter-terrorism policy coordination allow a conspiratorial quasi-political evangelical movement, that almost succeeded in a coup d’etat upon the world’s largest democracy, to infiltrate our home turf of Kirribilli House?

 

[1] https://www.2gb.com/no-smoking-gun-in-four-corners-qanon-report-ben-fordham-says/

[2] https://abcnews.go.com/US/man-pleads-guilty-terrorism-charge-blocking-bridge-armored/story?id=68955385

[3] https://edition.cnn.com/videos/politics/2018/08/01/qanon-trump-rally-foreman-lead-pkg-vpx.cnn

[4] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-17/sudanese-gangs-real-concern-in-melbourne-malcolm-turnbull-says/10002556

[5] https://www.hsdl.org/c/conspiracy-theory-trends-qanon/

[6] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/sep/22/asio-reveals-up-to-40-of-its-counter-terrorism-cases-involve-far-right-violent-extremism

[7] https://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/WhatAustraliaisdoing/Pages/NationalSecurityAgencies.aspx

 

This article was originally published on karen thinks aloud.

 

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10 comments

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  1. Margaret Van Emmerik

    I thought India was the world’s largest democracy.

  2. New England Cocky

    Perhaps asking the question, “”Is Scummo a QAnon member or supporter may answer your questions’.

    Certainly his indifference to national security could raise reasonable doubts about his commitment to Australian voters.

  3. Harry Lime

    I would put nothing beneath the Impostor posing as a national leader…he’s displays all the traits of a psychopath..every day.

  4. Harry Lime

    It would be no surprise to find the Liar is an adherent to these conspiracy nutters…look at the ‘church’ he belongs to.Does anyone else get the sense that Morrison’s wafer thin veneer is getting very shaky?I,m expecting things around the government to get a a lot worse,sooner rather than later.

  5. Stephen Charles Smith

    Thanks for your article Karen, Politics is just depressing at the moment especially with this charlatan in.

  6. BB

    Mr Morrison, the Australian people deserve an answer to this important question: how did your counter-terrorism policy coordination allow a conspiratorial quasi-political evangelical movement, that almost succeeded in a coup d’etat upon the world’s largest democracy, to infiltrate our home turf of Kirribilli House?

    BECAUSE Morrison doesn’t care. The L/NP don’t have a policy of coordination. It’s all ad hoc.
    He himself is heavily involved in a similar world wide fervent CULT “evangelical” movement.
    The Pentecostals, and Hillsong, Morrison’s group, is an Australian branch of the Pentecostals.
    Their “leader” B Houston still protects his father who was accused of pedophilia.
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/why-is-scott-morrison-protecting-hillsong-pastor-brian-houston,12123
    Just the way how the pentacostal cult members salute their “god” is very similar to the way the nazis saluted Hitler, this should be enough for honest folk to realise this is not ‘ordinary harmless worship’, but it reeks of the dangers of religious fanaticism, which is very much in the same way as Qanon members are sucked in and become fanatical about all the conspiracy theories and plots.
    https://theconversation.com/five-aspects-of-pentecostalism-that-shed-light-on-scott-morrisons-politics-117511
    So expecting any genuine response from Morrison is pointless, don’t hold your breath, as his replies will only ever be disingenuous, evasive, obfuscation, misinformation, twisting, half truths and blatant lies. Morrison is not interested in actual truth if it does not suit his narrative or agenda, he’s only interested in whatever bs story and narrative will keep him in power.
    Morrison is a shape shifter, (a shifty person), who will change his story without any qualms.

    Politics has become even more extremely depressing of late with all the lies and skulduggery, lack of honest politicians, and many people have simply switched off, and/or think a lot more along the lines of if it’s ok for politicians to rort the system then it’s ok for them as well.
    Empathy and compassion are now in short supply and non existent in Morrison’s world.

    Australia is supposedly a secular country, ha ha ha the myth continues.
    Just like the myth that so called “christians” are inherently all such honest lovely good people.
    Religions brainwash people and inhibit their ability for free original thought.
    Religion is the biggest scam purposely perpetrated upon the human race by man himself.
    Control, power over people, keep them dumb and subdued, it’s never been any different.

    What’s left to hope for in the future… Well just hope is about all that’s left..
    The hope that voters wake up and vote this L/NP gang of crooks out come the fed elections.
    I remain an optimist for to do otherwise is to give up. But it’s all very depressing.

  7. Kathryn

    The bone-idle, lazy, self-serving, bible-thumping hypocrite, Sloth Morrison, is, indeed, the worst, most corrupt, arrogant and dangerously undemocratic PM this country has ever seen! Just when we thought we could not get worse than the lying war criminal, John Howard, or his stumbling, mumbling misogynistic lapdog, Tony Abbott, along comes Morrison, a shallow, callously inhumane Hillsong Cultist! The Murdoch-manipulated, gormless fools who cheered on and voted for this monstrous aberration and supported his backstabbing, treacherous rise to the helm of our nation have unleashed a totally depraved, corrupt hypocrite whose ONLY focus is to enrich and empower HIMSELF, his repugnant cronies in QAnon and, of course, his billionaire donors in the Top 1%.

    The sooner our nation is RID of the callous, self-promoting, pathological liar, Morrison, the better!

  8. Kathryn

    The callously inhumane, smirking, dangerously undemocratic and bone-idle Sloth Morrison only has ONE focus and that is to shamelessly use taxpayer funds to enrich and empower HIMSELF, his billionaire donors in the Top 1% and, of course, his diabolical cronies in QAnon. Just when we thought we couldn’t do worse than the pathological liar and disgraced war criminal, John Howard and his salivating lapdog, the swaggering, incoherent, gormless Phoney Abbott, along comes this dishonest, smugly arrogant and corrupt sociopath, Morrison!

    The foolish, Murdoch-manipulated idiots who cheered on and voted for this diabolical miscreant have unleashed the worst, most dangerously undemocratic, bible-thumping hypocrite and Hillsong Cultist on our nation; a sneering misogynist who has dragged Australia back to the bad old days of the 1950’s, whose cabinet is overflowing with arrogant, self-serving, totally corrupt right-wing extremists and skirt-lifting misogynists who have raided taxpayer coffers for their own ends and brought international shame upon our nation.

    You wonder how bad, how corrupt, how gormless and how dangerously undemocratic the loathsome psychopaths in the LNP have to become before RWNJs out there STOP voting for them! Morrison is not – and NEVER will be – a fit and proper person to lead our nation. He is a smirking, self-serving sociopath; a medieval dinosaur who’s condescending contempt that he and his white alpha-male cabinet have for women, reveals an antiquated, draconian level of misogyny that should never be tolerated in a modern, progressive nation like Australia. The level of corruption, self-serving rorting and waste of taxpayer funds since this diabolical regime rose to the top – like faecal matter in a polluted pond – is the worst in living memory putting Australia way, way back on the list of one of the most corrupt, cruel and deceptive nations in the western world!

  9. Williambtm

    Kathryn, give yourself a bottle of Champers for being a factual extraordinaire person.
    The people that are hypnotized by our nation’s mainstream media will never learn a dicky bird about the truth.
    Australia having the USA as a military ally has only seen Australia join the illegal invasions and battles
    initiated by the USA. Other than that the USA is plundering Australia for its resources and weapons sales for all that it can, Scomo and Co offer no objection.
    Trust not our spy agencies for they are on the side of the USA.
    Scomo & Co now hold the same manifest as did the treacherous John Howard.

  10. B Sullivan

    BB, “I remain an optimist for to do otherwise is to give up. But it’s all very depressing.”

    Optimism tends to encourage inaction which is essentially the same thing as giving up. She’ll be right, there’s no need to bother. The optimum outcome is the best we can hope for, so forget about how much better things could potentially be if we made an effort to avert the worst we can fear.

    Not being an optimist does not oblige you to give up, which is something worth knowing when there are no grounds for optimism.

    Scott Morrison is stubbornly optimistic about so many of the problems that confront us, and so he persists in his incompetent management of this country. Don’t you just wish he would give up?

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