QAnon rally
(Image: AP/Ted S. Warren)

Surely you always had to have your doubts about a movement which holds Donald Trump as the new Messiah.

Now there are new claims that the great Q in QAnon is not the anonymous high-ranking Trump administration official that millions of followers believed, hoped and prayed for. The omniscient Q — according to a six-part HBO documentary series which claims to close in on the mystery — is plain old right-wing nut job Ron Watkins, son of Jim Watkins, whose online exploits have included Japanese pornography sites.

Could there be a better parable for the Trump administration and the state of America?

The father-and-son team has long been connected to the dark web imageboard known as 8chan which has dispensed Q’s wisdom via so-called Q drops since late 2017. The cryptic “drops” — also known as Q’s breadcrumbs — had the advantage of meaning everything and nothing at the same time. For some they hold a religious fervour, with the central concepts of “The Storm” and “The Great Awakening” heralding a moral revolution.

If nothing else, though, it is a superb piece of chicanery: a case study in what charlatans can achieve in an age where facts are a blurred concept. Much like the Trump presidency.

QAnon’s followers have invested much in the figure of Q, who they believe was secretly pulling the strings at the very highest levels of government. A Q clearance is an ultra-high level of security clearance, providing access to critical-sensitive national security information. And it is central to Q’s power that he is a morally righteous figure, driving a movement which would cleanse the US of the Satan-worshiping paedophiles who allegedly hold the levers of power. (Devilishly, 8chan — which hosted Q drops — has also been a home for child pornography.)

In the great Q enterprise it was, perversely, the amoral opportunist Trump who would rescue the US from its perfidy and moral turpitude. Go figure. Yet millions have swallowed it whole.

That the whole elaborate Q story might in fact be the imaginings of a former US army helicopter repairman and his son — both of whom have spent many years living in the Philippines — could be too much to bear. It couldn’t possibly be that simple, could it?

Is the whole thing a grand hoax? Are the creators of Q having a great laugh at everyone’s expense? It would appear that there has been serious intent from the Watkins.

Ron Watkins has been an active conspiracy theorist on Parler, the ultra libertarian version of Twitter. Extraordinarily, a legal effort headed by Trump loyalist Sidney Powell relied on an affidavit from him to support the proposition that Dominion Voting Systems’ machines used in the US election had been corrupted as part of a sprawling voter-fraud conspiracy.

As we’ve reported the QAnon conspiracy theory — OK, let’s call it a belief system — has followers in Australia who are close to The Lodge. The prize they boast of is having family friend and Prime Minister Scott Morrison drop the word “ritual” (as in satanic “ritual abuse”) into his national apology to the survivors of institutional child sex abuse.

Morrison has never commented on this episode, perhaps considering it not worthy of oxygen.

The fusion of religion and nationalism has become a powerful force. QAnon figures were prominent in the Capitol Hill insurrection earlier this year and its loyalists have been elected to national and state level in the US, skewing the Republican Party to the fringes.

Will the HBO documentary, due to screen later this month, mean the great unmasking of Q? Probably not. Just more fake news funded by the lamestream media and its paedophile backers, no doubt.