QAnon Anti-Vaxxer Called COVID a Hoax Even as His ‘Lungs Stopped Functioning’

​Robert David Steele/Public Intelligence Blog

Robert David Steele/Public Intelligence blog

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Robert David Steele was a former CIA officer who turned conspiracy theorist. He claimed to be the first to call COVID-19 a sham.

Steele, who was one of the earliest QAnon supporters and helped the conspiracy theory move to the mainstream of the internet, was hospitalized earlier this month with symptoms COVID-19. Steele continued to spread antivaccine and COVID denimination conspiracy theories until the end.

“I will not take the vaccination, though I did test positive for whatever they’re calling ‘COVID’ today, but the bottom line is that my lungs are not functioning,”Steele’s final blog post was posted on August 17th. It included a photo of Steele hooked up to what appears like a ventilator.

“We will never be the same because now we know that we’ve all been lied to about everything,” Steele added. “But, now we also know that we can trust each other. I’m alive today because I had a network that put me into a good hospital in Florida.”

Steele’s death was confirmed by his friend and fellow conspiracy theorist Mark Tassi in a video posted to Instagram on Sunday evening. Tassi claims that he was in contact with Steele over the past few days and that the hospital had stopped Steele from taking hydroxychloroquine tablets. 

Steele was in Florida for the final dates of his Arise USA tour, a three-month trek across all 50 states, during which he spread conspiracy theories about COVID-19, election fraud, and former President Donald Trump’s supposedly imminent return to office. Steele continued to attend events despite the fact that the tour was overfunded.

Richard Mack, head of the National Geographic Society, was with Steele during parts of the tour. “Constitutional Sheriffs”Movement, a group that works to radicalize American law enforcement.

In his video, Tassi claimed without evidence that Steele’s illness may have been linked to the attention his tour had gotten, and added that he was forced onto a ventilator because “they”Florida and Gov. Ron DeSantis should look bad.

“Robert has died, and the whole thing is very suspicious,” Tassi said.  

Steele helped to take QAnon off the fringe message board 4chan and into mainstream in early 2018, helping the conspiracy theory reach a wider audience.

Steele was also a frequent guest on Alex Jones’ Infowars show, spread 9/11 conspiracies, and shared deeply antisemitic opinions.

According to a recent report by the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights (IREHR), Steele has a long history of antisemitism. He even called for all Jews not sufficiently assimilated at times. “loyal to the Republic”to be imprisoned and told that we must “eradicate every Zionist who refuses to be loyal to their country of citizenship and the rule of law.”

Steele claimed that he was the first to call COVID-19 a hoax when he was interviewed by VICE last year.

Hours after Steele’s death was announced, he was already being lauded as a “warrior to the end”Telegram’s QAnon channels. As conspiracy theories were the hallmark of his last years, his followers responded to his passing by encouraging conspiracies about how he died. “really”He died, with claims that he was poisoned. “killed with a heart attack.”

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