The photo was inked so dark in the print edition it was easy to miss the slogan emblazoned on a flag off to the right. One’s eye was drawn to the center —the back of a big white man whose tattooed arms extended over the shoulders of smaller people flanking him in a prayer circle. Behind them loomed a big trailer and the vertical slats that separate the US from Mexico.

“QAnon Intercepts Children at Border, Collecting Family Data,” was the headline. The story by Miriam Jordan focused on a contingent led by a Vegas-based QAnon influencer named Joshua Frank. They had arrived in Sasabe, Arizona,  to protect immigrant children from pedophiles and sex-traffickers.

“Mr. Frank is inserting himself into one of the most complicated aspects of American immigration,” Jordan explained respectfully. “While U.S. authorities have been turning away large numbers of migrants under a pandemic-related public health rule, children who arrive unaccompanied — usually carrying an address and phone number of a relative in the United States they hope to join — have typically been allowed to enter the country. Families from Central America, hoping to free their children from the poverty and gang violence at home, often pay smugglers to route the children through openings in the border wall, knowing that Border Patrol agents will pick them up.

“They are then put in shelters run by the Department of Health and Human Services, which conducts background checks on the adults who come forward to take in, or ‘sponsor,’ the children. The agency says it cares for the children ‘until they are appropriately and safely released to a vetted sponsor.’

According to Jordan the feds have made “an intensive vetting effort to ensure that the young immigrants share legitimate connections with the relatives or family friends who come forward to take them…”

“For leaders of QAnon, suspicions that migrant children are falling into the hands of sexual predators fit neatly into the movement’s core conspiracy theory — that an elite cabal of pedophiles led by prominent Democrats is preying on innocent children… the new focus on immigration, analysts say, also serves to drum up political support and raise money by tapping into people’s inherent instinct to protect children while promoting hard-line border policies.”

Jordan quotes Margo Cowan, a Pima County public defender, accusing the QAnonners of violating the law by “ministering to the children” instead of immediately notifying the Border Patrol of their presence in the US. “She was particularly alarmed at Mr. Frank’s claims that his group was asking children to provide the addresses and phone numbers of the family members or family friends they planned to join, then contacting those individuals, supposedly to keep the children from falling into the wrong hands. These actions could be seen as harassment of adult immigrants who are receiving the children, she said.”

The QAnonners acknowledged the vigilante nature of their operation. “’We have people that call and do welfare checks and keep showing up to make it uncomfortable for them,’ Mr. Frank said, referring to the adults who ultimately take the children home with them. 

“Mr. Frank criticized the government’s screening program, calling it ‘very wide open with a lot of loopholes.’ He added, ‘That’s why we are out here creating a solution, being a part of it.’

“Following the food, T-shirt distribution, photo op and prayer, Mr. Frank handed out Spanish Bibles and telephone numbers for the children to call, should they need anything. ‘Gracias,’ several replied. One boy kissed the holy book.

“Several minutes later, Border Patrol agents showed up, loaded the children into a van and sped off.

“A couple of days later, Mr. Frank announced on Facebook Live that he had to leave the wall to take care of some business, and promised to return in two weeks. ‘We are building our little army,’ he said. ‘So get ready.'”

Cannabis and Combat

Jordan’s piece made no reference to the startling “Cannabis and Combat” flag. Google leads us to a website run by Justin Andersch, a right-wing activist who happens to be the big man embracing the children in the photo. He is a former mixed-martial-arts fighter who gained notoriety in Vegas earlier this year by threatening the governor and then holding a press conference to not apologize.  An admirer explains that Andersch “left Hollywood and the MMA world to run his company Sirius CBD and host his online conspiracy theory show Cannabis and Combat.”

Maybe Miriam Jordan focused on Mr. Frank because Mr. Andersch is such a scary dude. His voice is getting out there. You can catch “Cannabis and Combat” on SoundCloud, get the TV app at the Roku Channel Store, listen to the podcast on Audible (it’s under “Social Sciences” and features “Conspiracy Theories, News, Combat Sports and Cannabis. With a whole lot of Patriotism thrown in!”) or Apple (“Broadcasting the truth, no matter what.”)

Once upon a time, children, cannabis was called “marijuana” and its users tended to disapprove of violence. Oliver Stone’s movie Platoon exaggerates slightly but shows the real deep divide between pot-smoking GIs in Vietnam who deplored combat, and hard-drinking NCOs who fought uncomplainingly, or even avidly. 

According to Richard Nixon’s aide John Ehrlichman, “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people.” As Ehrlichman explained to the late, great Dan Baum, who reported it in Harper’s: “We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

How did it happen that US Americans, who once associated marijuana with the anti-war movement, now accept the pairing of “Cannabis and Combat” without batting an eyelash? 

The transition is attributable in large part to George Soros, who in 1996 funded the usurpation of the medical marijuana movement from its antiwar leaders —Tod Mikuriya, MD, and Dennis Peron— by a glib neo-con named Ethan Nadelmann. Nadelmann created a front group called the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), through which Soros spent some $8 million/year to systematically miseducate the millions of people attracted to the movement in the 21st century. Every year DPA would pay the fare of hundreds of young activists to get instructed by Nadelmann. In 2003 he began his keynote with an expression of support for the US invasion of Iraq, then led his young audience in a pledge of allegiance. A lawyer old enough to remember Vietnam walked out, along with five others (from a crowd of almost a thousand).

Nadelmann’s essential trick was to quote only half of Nixon’s line, to make it seems as if the anti-marijuana crusade had been aimed entirely at African-Americans. That the crusade was also aimed at the anti-war left was never mentioned by Soros’s agents.  To cite but one small but perfect example, see “Nixon’s Drug War Was (and Still is) a Racist Tool to Disrupt and Neutralize Black Communities” by Melissa Franqui, communications director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

If you think I’m a conspiracy theorist, you’re right —the ruling class makes plans, for sure. Invite me on your show and I’ll elaborate.