MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s memory may be failing him.
“Nobody said that, nobody said that, nobody said that, nobody said that, nobody said that, nobody said that, OK? I think this interview is over.”
That was Lindell speaking to VICE News on Monday as he walked to the venue where he is holding a “Cyber Symposium” in South Dakota, a three-day conference beginning Tuesday that will bring together dozens of “cyber guys” to verify what he claims is election data that will reveal fraud in all 50 states—and ultimately see former President Donald Trump return to the White House.
The conference ends on August 12. What Lindell was responding to was a question about the claim that Trump would be back in office as soon as August 13.
Lindell has been a pretty busy guy over the last few months, dealing with a $1.3 billion lawsuit brought by voting machine company Dominion for Lindell’s non-stop and baseless accusations of fraud against the company. He has also produced two conspiracy-filled documentaries about election fraud. And let’s not forget he launched a “free-speech” social network called FrankSpeech, which no one uses.
So he may simply have forgotten that he told former senior Trump adviser Steve Bannon as far back as March that Trump would be returned to the White House in August:
Or that just one month ago, he told a right-wing talk show host that August 13 was the date when the world would finally wake up to the reality that the election was a fraud and that Trump won.
Lindell’s Cyber Symposium has been widely hyped in right-wing and extremist circles as the moment of reckoning for those who dismiss election fraud conspiracies.
But the event will produce nothing of value except more disinformation fodder for the same right-wing outlets that have supported his baseless and conspiratorial rhetoric for the last eight months.
Lindell claims he was given data by unknown individuals on Jan. 9 that he has called “packet captures”—a technical format for capturing web traffic. Lindell says the data shows the Chinese Communist Party interfered in the election results in all 50 states. But those claims have already been widely debunked, and Lindell could even face legal issues for simply possessing the data. Despite this, Lindell is offering “the cyber guys” a bounty of $5 million to disprove his claim that the “packet captures” came from the November elections.
He says that there will be “70 cyber guys” at the three day event, along with around 80 members of the media, and several hundred “politicians or their delegates from almost every state.”
The conference is not open to the public, but the event is being livestreamed online for 72 hours straight, and among those watching most closely will be QAnon followers, who believe the conference will trigger Trump’s imminent return to office.
The QAnon movement is well-versed in moving goalposts when its prophecies fail. When Trump lost the election that they were assured he would win, QAnon believers moved their focus to Jan. 6 and then Vice President Mike Pence’s certification of the electoral college votes.
When that still happened—despite the QAnon-led insurrection—they moved to Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, claiming without evidence that that would not happen. When it did, the movement took a moment, but ultimately continued unabated.
Now they have a new date, August 13, and all eyes will be on South Dakota this week.
Ron Watkins, the former administrator of 8kun, the site that Q called home, is among the biggest pushers of the baseless election fraud conspiracy theory. He has urged his 350,000 followers on Telegram to watch Lindell’s event, and suggested that he knows what will be revealed there.
“Please wait until Mike Lindell’s cyber symposium to learn more,” Watkins wrote. “Have a strong feeling it’s going to be huge.”
Lindell told VICE News that he doesn’t know Watkins and hasn’t shared any data with him ahead of the conference.
But QAnon believers are convinced this week will deliver the proof they have been craving that their hero had the election stolen from him—and they are pointing to other “evidence” to back up their belief that August 13 is the date when the so-called “storm” will begin.
On QAnon channels in Telegram, some believers have pointed out that FEMA and the FCC are planning on August 11 to test the emergency alert system (EAS), by sending out alerts to cell phones as well as through TVs and radio. QAnon has long-viewed the EAS as a possible vector for Trump to disseminate his message that the storm has begun.
Others are pointing out that this week could also see the release of the Arizona audit report by Cyber Ninjas, which many Trump supporters believe will show evidence of voter fraud in Maricopa County, and trigger a domino effect of similar audits that will see Trump return to office.
A spokesperson for the Arizona Senate’s liaison office told VICE News on Monday that the report would be available “later this month.”
QAnon believers are also pointing to a conspiracy pushed by Pizzagate-proponent Jack Posobiec, that the White House is planning to announced nationwide COVID-19 lockdowns to deal with the spread of the Delta variant—a claim for which there is no evidence. The conspiracy theory holds that the government is actually going to announce the lockdown to cover up the “evidence” that will come out of Lindell’s conference.
And after Jan. 6 saw online conspiracies give way to real world violence, the authorities are now on alert for something similar happening when the promised reckoning doesn’t happen on August 13.
On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security warned state and local authorities about an increase in calls for violence online tied to election-related conspiracy theories, CNN reported
“DHS is providing awareness of reports regarding an increasing but modest level of activity online calling for violence in response to unsubstantiated claims of fraud related to the 2020 election and the alleged ‘reinstatement’ of former President Trump,” the agency said in a public safety notification to law enforcement across the country.