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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Crystal Vargas: QAnon Grifter and Opportunist

In February, we wrote about a poorly attended rally on Parliament Hill. At the time, the rally consisted of a few straggling Yellow Vests and conspiracy theorists. Signs and speeches referenced the bonkers pro-Trump conspiracy theory QAnon. QAnon surfaced around 2017 on the 4chan message board, and is widely touted and spread by Trump supporters and far-right extremists. Believers in the conspiracy insist that world governments are made up of a shadowy cabal of pedophiles and Satanists, practicing bizarre rituals like "spirit cooking," and harvesting adenochrome from children, and that believe that Pizzagate is real. While not all Q believers are overt antisemites (many don't even realize the influence), the overall conspiracy is antisemitic, using the same tired tropes and targeting Soros, Gates, and of course, "the globalists."

The largely online QAnon conspiracy has been tied to multiple real-world violent acts, including murder.

And this brings us to Crystal Vargas, who doesn't seem to quit. Vargas attempted to run for the PPC in the 2019 Federal Election by carpetbagging the Halifax West riding. Sadly, her run was foiled by what she calls a "technological glitch," and she never went further than being nominated. The story doesn't make a lot of sense, considering she's from Ontario, and if the clock "switched back" it would have made her early, not late, nor would it result in a 6 minute difference.

Vargas, posting under the Halifax West PPC EDA Facebook page, tells the story of how her run was ruined by a phone clock that changed itself.

Lawsuits and Crowdfunding Efforts

Vargas is really trying to stay relevant, and using her past organizing to do so. At her February rally at Parliament Hill she used her platform to sell t-shirts, as well as promote her GoFundMe campaign. The GoFundMe has been around since February, and vaguely discussed suing the Liberals, but for what isn't clear. Vargas claimed to have hired a constitutional lawyer to represent her in her "battle" for Canada.

A screenshot of the GoFundMe prior to the name change around May 13-14. 

Now, Vargas has changed the name of the GoFundMe, specifically aimed at raising money to pay the lawyer she states she has hired. That one clocks in at $900 as of today. Its purpose appears to be to sue the Liberals for the pandemic lockdown and fight against a vaccine, which is far more specific than it was originally. 

The current GoFundMe description, as of May 16

Suing the Liberals is one thing, and despite that being a lost cause as a whole, isn't something we would inherently be opposed to. People are free to launch a lawsuit. However, we do take issue with launching a lawsuit intended to harm the general public and cause unnecessary deaths. 

If you're getting strong Traversy vibes, you wouldn't be wrong. Norman Traversy is the man who has somehow duped over $20,000 from Canadian "patriots" in order to criminally charge Trudeau. This has been going on for months and yet, somehow, nothing ever seems to actually happen, and people haven't quite caught on to his grift. 

"Freedom Rallies"

After the February rally, and using her political page, she planned/cancelled/planned more vague "Freedom Rallies" across Ontario and Quebec. She canceled the rallies due to people giving her a hard time and/or the prospect of poor attendance. Either way, she became upset and cancelled the whole world. Now the rallies are back on, I guess. Great organizing either way!


Yeah, we're confused too.

Online Rhetoric

In addition to running for a party rife with neo-Nazis and hate, Crystal follows and engages with far-right actors and hate groups including the Yellow Vests, Canadian Combat Coalition, and the Threepers, as well as boosting harmful QAnon related posts.

Vargas posting a commonly-spread QAnon-based conspiracy earlier this year to a YVC group

Another conspiracy theory spread by Vargas

The source for this is a horrifically xenophobic anti-Muslim website

Vargas is a member of the C3 Facebook group

Infighting with Allies

Vargas seems to start conflict with a lot of her allies. She and the PPC Halifax West EDA manager, Andrew Detchkoff, had some kind of a falling out around election time. In an article by Detchkoff on a political analysis site he runs, they shared this exchange:

More recently, Vargas became angry with Kathy Woycik because Woycik named her lawyer, with Vargas calling Woycik's tweet "misleading." Even though Woycik was right, Vargas accused Woycik of "sabotage," and claimed that Woycik accused her of "misleading" people by naming the lawyer. However, it looks like Woycik wasn't wrong. Vargas changed the GoFundMe to include the lawyer's name, and went on to post the lawyer's name on Facebook less than 12 hours later.

Woycik's tweet, with a Q reference

Woycik claiming Vargas has "gone off the deep end"

As far as Kathy goes.... yikes. She pushes an all-caps brand of anti-Muslim hate, conspiracy theories, and fear-mongering. 

Anti-Lockdown Rallies

On May 9 Crystal Vargas joined Rick Boswick, Norman Traversy and other far-right tap dancers for a pro-virus rally in Ottawa. The weekend prior, Boswick and Traversy chased away some of the pro-virus protestors by screaming about fake news and communism. 
During the May 9th protest the same thing happened. Vargas, Boswick and the clown crew starting shouting fake news at the CTV crew that showed up which completely divided the protest.

Boswick claims that he's the new media in this clip which literally had me on the floor laughing.

It's clear that by the end of the rally the people involved were completely divided. We've been clear about not supporting the pro-virus protests that have been happening, however to give credit where it's due at least the Ottawa protestors pushed out the far-right infiltrators. Protests in the U.S. and elsewhere in Canada (especially in Vancouver) have not done the same.

That said the Ottawa protesters did welcome her the following weekend.
May 16 2020

It appears that Vargas is trying to stir up some kind of movement of which she is the head. Vargas has demonstrated she is willing to be dishonest with her following in order to gain the momentum she needs, as evidenced by infighting as well as the change in goals indicated on the GoFundMe. It's impossible to have known the lockdown and vaccine were going to be a concern when she started it; she's simply changed tack in order to keep current and stoke more outrage.

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