After the Australian Jitarth Jadeja was fascinated by American politics while studying in the USA in 2017, he came under the influence of. Jadeja said he was drawn into the web of his conspiracies when he began following fringe media characters like Alex Jones; Online forums like 4chan and 8chan radicalized him further.
“”[QAnon is] As good a story as this insider revealing secret government information, “Jadeja told Major Garrett, newsdos, Washington correspondent, on this week’s episode of The Takeout podcast.
differ in their beliefs, but the general conspiracy claims that former President Donald Trump is key to stop a ring of pedophiles worshiping Satan and running a child trafficking operation. It revolves around anonymous message board posts from “Q” – allegedly a government employee with a top secret security clearance – and conspiracies related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, school shootings. “ ” and the . And QAnon helped spread the so-called “big lie” of former President Trump – that the 2020 election was stolen from Mr. Trump.
Jadeja was a believer for two years but has since rejected the cult. He now moderates online forums for former QAnon supporters looking for help for themselves or for family members who have become followers.
“It was absolutely a drug,” Jadeja said of QAnon. “From then on, it just gets out of hand because, like any drug, you need a bigger and bigger hit to get this high – which is why you need a bigger, more grandiose conspiracy theory.”
Jadeja said he was addicted: “All day, every day for months, just looking for this hit.” When he was fully accepted into the QAnon community, Jadeja said he believed in some of his more eccentric theories, including one that claimed that Chancellor Angela Merkel was Adolf Hitler’s biological daughter.
But after starting to investigate some of the quirky claims made by “Q”, Jadeja realized that it was all a scam.
“It felt as if the entire universe had collapsed into me within a second,” Jadeja said of the moment he realized that QAnon was made up of lies. “I felt like a brain in a jar with no control … I didn’t know what to think. I was almost like starting from scratch.”
Jadeja’s greatest regret was the indoctrination of his father, who is still a QAnon believer to this day.
“That’s the worst thing I’ve ever done,” said Jadeja. “When we were in the cult together, it brought us very close in a way that had never happened before. And for the first time in my life, I felt like my father showed me a lot of respect.”
His father’s continued belief in QAnon weighed on their relationship, he said.
This week’s conversation with Jadeja was also featured on newsdos’ podcast “The Debrief”, which was just publishing a two-part series on disinformation. Part 1 can be found here and Part 2 can be found here.
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