- The Washington Times
Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos, two of President Trump’s former aides, are billed as speaking at an upcoming conference hosted by a supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory.

Flynn and Papadopoulos are both advertised online as speaking at the Digital Soldiers Conference scheduled to take place Sept. 14 in Atlanta, Mother Jones first reported Tuesday.

The event is being organized by Rich Granville, a Florida tech executive who has repeatedly posted online about the fringe QAnon conspiracy theory that purports the president is the target of a “deep state” coup, the report noted. An image used to promote the event online depicts the American flag so that its stars are arranged to resemble the letter Q.

Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser for Mr. Trump’s election campaign, announced on Twitter that he will be speaking at the conference with Flynn, a retired Army general who briefly served as the president’s former national security adviser. Both were criminally charged as a result of the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election interference and have pleaded guilty to counts of lying to the FBI.

Flynn could not immediately be reached for comment. Mr. Granville said that Flynn’s lawyer, Sidney Powell, authorized him to speak at the event, Mother Jones reported.

Other speakers scheduled to appear at the conference include conservative personalities Joy Villa and Bill Mitchell, according to the event’s website.

“Conservative voices are increasingly being banned from the digital public square,” reads a message posted on the “About” section of the event’s website. “Patriotic social media warriors will not raise the white flag of surrender in the face of this onslaught. Together we will unite for freedom at the inaugural Digital Soldiers Conference.”

Mr. Granville admittedly “espouses QAnon views,” Mother Jones reported.

“Do I think it’s good for America? Absolutely,” he said. “Do I think it’s a conspiracy theory? I doubt that.”

Tickets for the event are being sold online starting at $49, with the “majority” of proceeds going toward Flynn’s defense fund, the site says.

Details about the conference emerged less than two weeks since an FBI intelligence bulletin surfaced in which the bureau’s Phoenix field office mentioned QAnon while describing “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists” as a growing threat.

“The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts,” said the document.

Mr. Granville, the chief executive of the Yippy search engine, has referenced QAnon several times on his personal Twitter account, including a July 23 tweet about Flynn.

Flynn, 60, resigned as the president’s national security adviser in early 2017 after it emerged that he misled the FBI about his contacts with the former Russian ambassador. He was subsequently charged with lying to the FBI, pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

Papadopoulos, 31, similarly pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts he had with Russians during the 2016 race. He accordingly spent 12 days in federal prison and is currently on supervised released.

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