Spreading the fake news. According to QAnon, a U.S.-based conspirative cult that has now spilt into Europe, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was allegedly dictated by the need to clean up the country of U.S. bio-laboratories where chemical weapons, pathogens and Nazi-flavored experiments on humans are tested.
- The bio-lab conspirative theory was born before QAnon, as it first appeared on Russian propaganda media in 2014 with the beginning of the war in Donbas.
- No-vax and Covid-deniers of any kind quickly became principal vehicles for narrative propagation.
Analyzing thousands of messages. In partnership with Lighthouse Reports, Bellingcat, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and Trouw, the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto has analyzed thousands of messages linked to the QAnon movement published mainly between March and October 2022 in Italy, Germany, France and the Netherlands.
- Among QAnon’s Italian influencers, the Telegram channels of Cesare Sacchetti and Rossella Fidanza are the leading fake news disseminators, with 64k and 41k users, respectively.
- Decode39 already met Mr Sacchetti when investigating Italy’s QAnon community.
Fact checking. U.S. Defense laboratories do exist in Ukraine to support health research in post-soviet countries and reduce the threat from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons from the Soviet era.
- Conspirative theories went viral when a map was posted on Telegram showing the location of these bio-labs coincided with Russian attacks.
- Russian invasion is then described as a special operation to foil a common U.S.-Ukrainian crime.
A holy war. Within the bio-lab narrative is the QAnonist theory that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are allied in a holy war against the deep state and the Democratic/Jewish-driven global cabal.
- On average, Italian Telegram channels posting bio-labs’ conspiracy gather more than 700k views/week.
- According to professor Arjie Antinori, there is a precise strategy concerning misinformation in Italy, actively sponsored by the Kremlin.