‘Alaskan Patriots’ Telegram Group Anything But Patriotic

Updated July 18, 2021: After covering the “Alaskan Patriot” Telegram group on June 9, 2021, which shared dangerous Qanon conspiracy theories, the group was de-platformed by the social media service on July 16, 2021.

A core tenet of the QAnon conspiracy theory is that Donald Trump secretly fought a cabal of child-sex predators, including prominent Democrats, Hollywood elites, and deep state allies.

QAnon, which borrows some elements from the sham “pizzagate” theory about a pedophile ring run out of a Washington, D.C. restaurant, has morphed into a conspiracy theory encompassing misinformation about topics ranging from alien landings to vaccine safety. QAnon now boasts millions of members around the world. Many QAnon followers participated in the Capitol Hill armed insurrection of January 6.

The type of disinformation being disseminated across social media regarding QAnon is best described as fabricated content to deceive viewers into generating self-mistrust in the government. In Anchorage, a self-described ‘Patriotic Intellectual Revolutionist’ has established a Telegram channel that shares many different conspiracy theories, including those directly related to Qanon.

Alaskan Patriots

According to a post made by the group’s creator, the Alaskan Patriots Telegram group was created by a (now former) Save Anchorage member last year in the event Save Anchorage administrators wanted a future “option outside of Commiebook.” In November, the group owner wrote that they had been removed from the Save Anchorage Facebook group for “trying to save Anchorage” and that they were creating a directory of “statewide locally owned patriotic businesses.”

The group currently has 186 members and has seen its membership steadily increase over the past six months, with a more pronounced uptick in membership over the past few weeks.

Because of the nature of the Telegram service, it’s difficult to tell just how many members are from Alaska. Still, some are easily identifiable as such through their listed usernames or listed geographic locations. Although not regularly shared, Anchorage-based news articles have been posted, drawing some responses from members who appear to be Alaska residents.

‘Alaskan Patriots’ Telegram shares content from GhostEzra, the world’s ‘largest Antisemitic online channel

Originally named ‘Save Anchorage,’ the Telegram-based group has renamed itself more than a few times since its humble beginnings and recently changed its group name again this week.

The group’s description lists a chatroom to “discuss and implement positive change for Anchorage.” Much of what visitors are likely to find in the chatroom can easily be construed as less than positive, and some of the content posted there might be considered disturbing by outsiders.

As far back as November 2020, YouTube links to the X22 Report were posted to Alaskan Patriots. X22 is now banned from YouTube but exists in the form of a website offering podcasts that perpetuate Donald Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ election fraud conspiracy theory.

Recently, the group has shared posts that claim John Podesta had been executed at Gitmo, that James Comey was singing like a canary after being forced to watch Hillary Clinton’s neck snap at Guantanamo Bay last month, that a CGI clone of President Joseph Biden is running the country, and last winter, shared a post a week before the Capitol Hill armed insurrection calling on Donald Trump to “invoke the insurrection act, or we will fight a bloody and desperate revolution to throw off Biden.”

QAnon propaganda videos posted to the group continue to perpetuate the myth that Donald Trump will soon be reinstated as the president of the United States, and in the days leading up to the Capitol Hill armed insurrection, shared a post that suggested militias can be used to “keep the peace in our local and state communities, to suppress the expected riots, terrorism, and armed insurrection by the radical left in the United States (who have been armed and equipped for months now by our foreign and domestic enemies).”

The group is also rich with misinformation on mask-wearing, Covid-19, the Covid-19 vaccine — in addition to ‘articles’ from QAnon ‘news’ groups that reference the ‘cabal.”

But for all the things a person might find concerning and reprehensible about groups such as Alaskan Patriots, they’re permitted to carry on largely because of something called The First Amendment and social media platforms, such as Telegram, who will condone almost any kind of speech unless it clearly violates the law.

‘First Amendment’

At today’s June 9, 2021, Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, United States Attorney General Merrick Garland responded to a line of questioning from Senator Reed about radicalization stemming from social media, saying, “the problem is severe because people talking on social media can incite people up to the point of radicalization.”

Garland called this a “matter of serious concern” and said that Senator Reed’s question was a “hard question” for law enforcement because of First Amendment implications and telling him, “We have to worry about the First Amendment issue on the other side and not make it difficult for people to say things, even hateful things because even that kind of speech is protected.”

It is a hard truth to accept that even the vilest forms of speech must be protected to ensure true freedom of speech, which means that groups like Alaskan Patriots are here to stay no matter how ridiculous, inane, or harmful we might personally find them to be. It is, however, always a good idea to be mindful of such groups, keeping a watchful eye in case things go any further south than they already have.