Judging by the social media followings of one of the captured, Trump-connected American mercenaries who attempted a bizarre and spectacularly failed coup in Venezuela, he was highly interested in the QAnon conspiracy theory.
The identity of Airan Berry, a U.S. military veteran and former special forces operator apparently working for Silvercorp, a Florida-based mercenary company, was revealed yesterday on Venezuelan state television during a press conference by President Nicolas Maduro. He showed off Berry’s passport and an identification card, along with those of fellow special forces alumnus Luke Denman, also a part of the disastrous, hilarious coup attempt.
According to Venezuela, 13 “terrorists” were captured (and eight people were reportedly killed) after a daring and amateurish armed incursion into the South American country, which has been under threat of invasion by the Trump administration for years. In all it played out like the work of people who desperately want to star in a movie starring The Rock and John Cena, and instead may well end up in prison for years.
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At first glance, Berry’s personal Instagram account is a mixed bag of workout highlights, beard obsession, and tattoo posts—not altogether uncommon themes in the typical social media activities of many veterans. But his following list, which could plausibly be assumed to offer a glimpse into his political interests and perhaps leanings, contains a laundry list of “redpill” accounts and several peddling QAnon conspiracy theories. (The outlandish conspiracy movement, which generally holds that a cabal of Deep State actors are plotting a covert overthrow of President Trump, has, according to the FBI, morphed into a bonafide domestic terrorism threat, and has pulled in people from all stratas of American society.)
Motherboard viewed more than 10 “Q” and truther accounts followed by Berry, some with tens of thousands of followers spreading, among other absurd conspiracies, blatant misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic, which is helping fuel dangerous protests across the country defying social distancing orders. He is also following the hashtags "#qarmy" and "#qanon8kun."
Berry’s interest in QAnon is yet another bizarre detail in a coup attempt that makes more sense as the work a child would do narrating the movie playing in his mind as he played with Nerf guns than as anything else. It has not only made headlines around the world, but puzzled onlookers who wonder: Why?
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.