Clinging to their long-held belief that a mass arrest of leading Democrats is imminent, supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory spread fake news of Barack Obama’s arrest for espionage.
The fake allegations have been reported on the Canadian website Conservative Beaver, which adds that a judge has imposed a “media blackout” in the U.S. over the coverage of Obama’s arrest.
The report states that Obama conspired with a former CIA officer to provide secret information up to the level of Top Secret to secret service employees of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Not only is the copy almost identical to an August press release by the Justice Department detailing the espionage allegations of former CIA officer Alexander Yuk Ching Ma, but the website also removes entire quotes from several officials, such as Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers and Hawaii County Attorney Kenji Price, who have nothing to do with Obama.
Conservative Beaver also includes a tweet from stand-up comedian Pete Dominick, in which he begins by telling how he “took a trip to the crazy city on Twitter” to see that Obama had been arrested, but is now “back in reality” as evidence that celebrities and influencers are spreading the reports.
For several days a number of QAnon accounts have happily shared the article and other tweets detailing Obama’s failure to arrest.
One of the more prominent names discussing the false report is Angela Stanton King, a vocal QAnon supporter who ran for the congressional seat of the late civil rights icon John Lewis in Georgia.
King, the goddaughter of Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King Jr., lost in a landslide victory against the Democratic candidate Nikema Williams.
“Why are there reports from Canada that Barack Obama was arrested for espionage? Does the USA have a media blackout?” King tweeted to her 220,000 supporters.
“Information from US Navy SEAL Michael Jaco confirmed that Obama was arrested for espionage with China on November 28 last year,” Joyce Ramgatie tweeted along with the hashtags #QANON and #WWG1WGA – an abbreviation of the QAnon slogan “where we go one we go all”.
A Twitter user pointed out to Ramgatie that Obama was “literally only on the late night show with Stephen Colbert”.
The allegation of Obama’s arrest was also spread by Shane Smedly, whose tweet of November 30th with the words “BREAKING: Obama has been arrested. More will come”, which was shared more than 3,000 times.
Smedly later admitted that Conservative Beaver was not a legitimate source and that the information and quotes were old and irrelevant. But instead of deleting the tweet with the misinformation, Smedly doubled the number and claimed that he was still receiving information that would prove him right.
“The arrest in question may have taken place ‘some time ago’. I am waiting for more. I don’t want to mislead anyone,” he wrote, “This is just another layer of secrecy that will be lifted. I think we should be skeptical. This is healthy. But things happen. We should all remain vigilant.”
The fake reports about Obama came after QAnon supporters hinted that President-elect Joe Biden had also been arrested recently and that the medical boot he was wearing after fracturing his foot was actually concealing an ankle monitor.