The incident highlights how online conspiracy theories, the growing fear of anti-fascist groups, and the continued results of a sustained right-wing campaign for the amplification of false claims by QAnon followers.
That specific claim was promoted by “Q” – the anonymous person or the people behind Qion – only 12 hours earlier.
On Thursday morning, “Q” posted a link to a tweet from former US Senate candidate Paul Joseph Romero Jr., who lost his Republican primary in May, claiming that six Antifa “arson” were in custody at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
CNN has reached out to Romero for comment.
In the post included in Romero’s tweet, the “Q” suggested the fire was linked to “highly coordinated … domestic terrorism”. President Donald Trump had earlier this year threatened to characterize Antifa as a terrorist organization, a move that experts say is unconstitutional.
Oregon officials said Thursday that wild animals that have spread widely in the state have burned about 900,000 acres, as they were ejecting half a million people, with fierce winds for the first time this week. At least five 4 people have died in the fire.
An anonymous post to an obscure online site wouldn’t normally attract much attention, but QAnon followers are ardent and persistent, and the FBI has labeled them a potential domestic terrorist threat.
Followers of QAnon believe that there is a “deep position” within the American government controlled by a cabal of devil-worshiping bailiffs. According to the baseless conspiracy theory, Cabell is largely run by Democratic politicians and liberal celebrities – and Trump is trying to take them down.
“We are surrounded by questions about the things that are FAKE stories. An example is a story that spreads about how the group is involved in arson and arrest,” he said. “it is not true!”
And Medford city police said screenshots of what the Facebook Post’s account meant to the Facebook post were fake. In the screenshot, a post showed a photo of a man and claimed that five people were arrested in a case of arson.
Police wrote, “We did not arrest this person for arson, nor about people associated with Antifa or ‘Proud Boys'”.
Medford police told CNN that it requested the removal of fake posts from other Facebook accounts and posted a notice on its own page about the fake claims, but “we are still receiving calls, locally and from the area, Asking if it’s true. “
In an anonymous online posting, “Q” also shared a link to the post of a Washington State soldier who said a 36-year-old male was arrested for setting fire. Officials in Washington, however, gave no indication that the alleged arson was motivated by politics. CNN has reached out for comment.
Craig Roberts, Clackamas County Sheriff, was asked about the possibility of arson in Oregon. He said, “We don’t have any evidence at this time [arson] But the origin of those things will be part of an investigation as things move forward. So, as you can imagine a fire of this magnitude, there will be a deeper investigation, looking at all the possibilities and anything that comes up in that regard. But there is nothing conclusive in this particular time that will direct us to any of that. “