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Sat Apr 18, 2020, 07:38 PM

MASSIVE ASTROTURF campaign behind the "reopen" movement

on Reddit, a guy named DR. Midnight has assembled the evidence of the "grass roots" origins of the latest idiocy. I present it here for your consideration. Amplified by a deluge of Russian social media and using the Tea Party email list, the useful idiots have emerged encouraged by Agent Comrade Trump. Some of the links are broken, but you get the idea. This, like Charlottesville and everything else in Trumpworld, is bullshit held together by lies.


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Dr_Midnight
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There's an imperial ton of astroturfing going on, and it's quite visible in how those groups popped up literally overnight (hint-hint). The thing is that they targeted groups who were... how does one say... more receptive to the message who wouldn't be inclined to look any deeper into what they were joining.

As an example, right now, this is happening in Los Angeles.

Now, " target="_blank">here's a screenshot of the description of the "Operation Gridlock Los Angeles" group when it was first spotted by Buzzfeed News.

Concurrently, " target="_blank">here's a screenshot of the description of the "Operation Gridlock Tennessee" group.

But, hey... it's Buzzfeed News right? Cool-cool-cool-cool-cool...

Here's a link to the group "Pennsylvanians Against Excessive Quarantine" - sitting 55,281 members deep at the time of this post.

Okay...

Now here's a link to the group "Minnesotans Against Excessive Quarantine" - presently with 18,938 members.

Why do these groups have the exact same description?

Let's not stop there. Following their own links: one is from the "Pennsylvania Firearms Association", and the other is from the group "Minnesota Gun Rights" - both with the exact same layout.

Both of these domains are registered with the same registrar and were registered on the exact same day at the same time.

[ ~]$ whois reopenmn.com
[Querying whois.verisign-grs.com]
[Redirected to whois.godaddy.com]
[Querying whois.godaddy.com]
[whois.godaddy.com]
Domain Name: reopenmn.com
Registry Domain ID: 2512322197_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.godaddy.com
Registrar URL: http://www.godaddy.com
Updated Date: 2020-04-08T14:39:18Z
Creation Date: 2020-04-08T14:39:17Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2021-04-08T14:39:17Z

[ ~]$ whois reopenpa.com
[Querying whois.verisign-grs.com]
[Redirected to whois.godaddy.com]
[Querying whois.godaddy.com]
[whois.godaddy.com]
Domain Name: reopenpa.com
Registry Domain ID: 2512322050_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.godaddy.com
Registrar URL: http://www.godaddy.com
Updated Date: 2020-04-08T14:37:30Z
Creation Date: 2020-04-08T14:37:29Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2021-04-08T14:37:29Z
The rest of the whois information is obscured by a proxy organization that provides privacy for whois records (I even use them myself as do many others for privacy reasons), so I cannot tell who owns these domains.

Following the pattern of their sites, I checked for "reopenmd.com", but it never resolved to anything. That said, the DNS lookup itself didn't result in a NXDOMAIN error which tells me the domain does exist.

[ ~]$ whois reopenmd.com
[Querying whois.verisign-grs.com]
[Redirected to whois.godaddy.com]
[Querying whois.godaddy.com]
[whois.godaddy.com]
Domain Name: reopenmd.com
Registry Domain ID: 2515645280_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.godaddy.com
Registrar URL: http://www.godaddy.com
Updated Date: 2020-04-17T04:19:17Z
Creation Date: 2020-04-17T04:19:16Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2021-04-17T04:19:16Z
Registrant Organization:
Registrant State/Province: Florida
Registrant Country: US
Registrant Email: Select Contact Domain Holder link at https://www.godaddy.com/whois/results.aspx?domain=reopenmd.com
Admin Email: Select Contact Domain Holder link at https://www.godaddy.com/whois/results.aspx?domain=reopenmd.com
Tech Email: Select Contact Domain Holder link at https://www.godaddy.com/whois/results.aspx?domain=reopenmd.com
Registered a little more than week later with the same registrar. The thing is, they didn't actually complete their whois information this time, and whoever set it up cheaped out or forgot to pay for the Domains by Proxy service. Although whois information is literally a public record, I'm not inclined to place my account at risk by opening myself up to accusations of doxxing. That said, anyone who feels inclined to can go to https://whois.godaddy.com and search for reopenmd.com. I myself would be personally curious as to why someone in Florida is registering domains claiming to be gun rights organizations in other states.

Seriously, even without that information - who or whomever is responsible for this astroturfing couldn't make this more obvious if they tried. It honestly took me longer to type all of this up to present here than it did for me to find this all. Yet people have taken the bait hook-line-and-sinker.

Meanwhile, the President then starts tweeting "LIBERATE MINNESOTA", "LIBERATE VIRGINIA...", and "LIBERATE MICHIGAN"; and one of the major forces behind the group in Michigan was a political group that has direct ties to and has historically been heavily funded by the family of the Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (though said family denies direct involvement in last weeks protest)?

In that regard, I'm not alleging some major conspiracy here, but l-o-fucking-l.

Edit: for the record, reopenva.com also exists and has the exact same registry info as reopenmd.com.

[ ~]$ whois reopenva.com
[Querying whois.verisign-grs.com]
[Redirected to whois.godaddy.com]
[Querying whois.godaddy.com]
[whois.godaddy.com]
Domain Name: reopenva.com
Registry Domain ID: 2515650132_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.godaddy.com
Registrar URL: http://www.godaddy.com
Updated Date: 2020-04-17T04:43:47Z
Creation Date: 2020-04-17T04:43:46Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2021-04-17T04:43:46Z
Registrant Organization:
Registrant State/Province: Florida
Registrant Country: US
Registrant Email: Select Contact Domain Holder link at https://www.godaddy.com/whois/results.aspx?domain=reopenva.com
Admin Email: Select Contact Domain Holder link at https://www.godaddy.com/whois/results.aspx?domain=reopenva.com
Tech Email: Select Contact Domain Holder link at https://www.godaddy.com/whois/results.aspx?domain=reopenva.com
Edit 2: Apparently, others have found that a domain for pretty much every other state was registered in the same pattern at the same time.

Edit 3: Holy crap, this blew up! Thanks! I really just have a strong dislike for disinformation, and want people to be empowered to know who is involved with what; and I also want people to know to always apply critical thinking to these things.


OK. Back to your regularly scheduled flame wars.

29 replies, 7028 views

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 29 replies Author Time Post
Reply MASSIVE ASTROTURF campaign behind the "reopen" movement (Original post)
Capn Sunshine Apr 2020 OP
underpants Apr 2020 #1
superpatriotman Apr 2020 #2
Kitchari Apr 2020 #3
Botany Apr 2020 #8
Kitchari Apr 2020 #11
Botany Apr 2020 #27
uponit7771 Apr 2020 #29
mr_lebowski Apr 2020 #4
sop Apr 2020 #5
Capn Sunshine Apr 2020 #7
BigmanPigman Apr 2020 #10
stillcool Apr 2020 #6
Hassler Apr 2020 #9
Bernardo de La Paz Apr 2020 #12
AllaN01Bear Apr 2020 #13
billh58 Apr 2020 #14
AllaN01Bear Apr 2020 #15
billh58 Apr 2020 #16
NJCher Apr 2020 #18
not_the_one Apr 2020 #24
BadgerMom Apr 2020 #17
niyad Apr 2020 #19
dbonds Apr 2020 #20
BGBD Apr 2020 #26
Windy City Charlie Apr 2020 #21
Capn Sunshine Apr 2020 #22
7wo7rees Apr 2020 #23
herding cats Apr 2020 #25
Blue Owl Apr 2020 #28

Response to Capn Sunshine (Original post)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 07:44 PM

1. Thanks

Bookmarking

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Response to Capn Sunshine (Original post)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 07:45 PM

2. I love Reddit!

Lots of smarties there.

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Response to Capn Sunshine (Original post)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 07:47 PM

3. more Putin machinations

Figured as much -- but it's still a terrible sight to see our citizens so misled

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Response to Kitchari (Reply #3)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 08:34 PM

8. Putin and his boy Trump want to kill us

This is crazy. The only ways we have to fight "the beast" right now is shut downs, social distancing, staying @ home,
testing and then tracing so Putin wants to shut down those things.

Putin knows on how to get the mouth breathing dumb fucks fired up a few years ago it was those
ungrateful "darkies" in the NFL who wouldn't stand for the national anthem ..... the web sites for
Stand for the Flag, Stand for the Troops, and Stand for the Anthem were all out of St. Petersburg ...
and now Putin is selling the brain dead trump heads that their Constitutional rights are being taken
away with this lock down.

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Response to Botany (Reply #8)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 08:48 PM

11. Sadly

I totally agree. These people are stone cold sadists.

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Response to Kitchari (Reply #11)

Sun Apr 19, 2020, 12:22 AM

27. And remember that Trump had 2 phone calls with Putin last week.

We are watching Vlad work his dark magic against America and Trump is
a willing partner in that international crime.

These American Brownshirt* demonstrations are all part of the Putin/Trump crime family
plot against America. And hey if 100,000 + people have to die in the next few months
they are both good with that.



* https://www.democraticunderground.com/100213307910

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Response to Kitchari (Reply #3)

Sun Apr 19, 2020, 04:13 PM

29. +1

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Response to Capn Sunshine (Original post)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 07:52 PM

4. I'm sure our intrepid mainstream media will rush to cover this story and straighten the record ...

Once they're done gushing over how important and meaningful these protests are.

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Response to Capn Sunshine (Original post)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 07:57 PM

5. How much longer before they trot out the the First Amendment to justify their latest death cult?

The rightwing has already turned the Second Amendment into a suicide pact, might as well go for the First Amendment as well:

"Congress shall make no law respecting...the right of the people peaceably to assemble..."

Yeah, that's the ticket, let's all peaceably assemble and kill ourselves.

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Response to sop (Reply #5)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 08:01 PM

7. IN a way , it's an experiment in self selection of a group

Except these yahoos are going to spread the virus to many innocents. But clearly, many of them are going to die.

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Response to Capn Sunshine (Reply #7)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 08:40 PM

10. Interesting perspective (and accurate).

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Response to Capn Sunshine (Original post)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 07:58 PM

6. I'm glad I read the Mueller Report..

or this wouldn't make any sense to me at all. I think it's uber-important that those behind this stuff are outed. I'm sure there are journalists on it, but who will publish, and who will read? Sad that the crap is so thick, you can't punch through it without getting swallowed up.

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Response to Capn Sunshine (Original post)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 08:40 PM

9. Scamway Betsy and her war-criminal brother.

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Response to Capn Sunshine (Original post)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 08:59 PM

12. Instant astroturf requires pre-analyzed profiles. See Mr Big Data Brad Pasquale inside the campaign


... inside the campaign or it needs a sophisticated international partner.

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Response to Capn Sunshine (Original post)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 09:05 PM

13. will someone please explain what the heck that term means and please use it in a scentance ?

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Response to AllaN01Bear (Reply #13)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 09:14 PM

14. Simple definition:

Astroturfing is the practice of masking the sponsors of a message or organization (e.g., political, advertising, religious or public relations) to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by grassroots participants. It is a practice intended to give the statements or organizations credibility by withholding information about the source's financial connection.

"Grass roots" (real grass) vs. Astroturf (fake grass)..

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Response to billh58 (Reply #14)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 09:17 PM

15. thank you

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Response to AllaN01Bear (Reply #15)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 09:24 PM

16. No problem

Astroturfing is the primary means that Trump's campaign machine utilizes, and is used extensively by Russian hackers interfering with our elections via social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. It is a right-wing staple used to deceive Americans.

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Response to billh58 (Reply #16)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 10:11 PM

18. as a tactic, it's been around for a while

Exxon used it, along with other oil companies, to fight the damaging information coming out about how emissions effect the climate.

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Response to billh58 (Reply #14)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 11:44 PM

24. astroturf created the teaparty

 

Rich fucks created bogus "grass roots" "movements" and gave them their marching orders.

Astroturfing gave us the turd, and a congress/senate full of treasonous republicans. All by rich fucks.

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Response to Capn Sunshine (Original post)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 10:09 PM

17. It smells just like the Tea Party.

The Koch/Mercer/DeVos/Anschutz/Adelson pockets are deep. Their organization was in place as early as 2010. Now they have Parscaleís data to help them. There is no way these protests are anything but AstroTurf. Thanks for this. I donít cruise Reddit.

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Response to Capn Sunshine (Original post)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 10:20 PM

19. Thank you. Bookmarking.

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Response to dbonds (Reply #20)

Sun Apr 19, 2020, 12:18 AM

26. I saw the same thing.

However, it's weird to me that this guy didn't register these domains until a week later, didn't use the proxy register service, and doesn't have the websites up and live.

I wonder if he didn't just fall into seeing some domains available that he thought he could make some money on and snatched them up. I really don't think he's the guy who registered the ones from a week earlier.

I'm much more curious who registered the ones on the 8th.

I didn't check contributions from anyone at this company and the only thing that came up as a few contributions an employee, not the owner, made to Bernie and they didn't amount to more than 60 bucks.

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Response to Capn Sunshine (Original post)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 10:26 PM

21. Doesn't surprise me

Trump has taken so much backlash about wanting to re-open the economy on May 1, so now they have these "protesters" out there doing Trump's bidding under the disguise that it's a grass-roots movement. Truth be told, many of these protesters won't even immediately contribute to the economy after it's been re-opened.

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Response to Windy City Charlie (Reply #21)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 10:44 PM

22. Certainly a disproportionate number of them will be sick.

You just can't engage in the same behavior that caused this in the first place and expect a different result.

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Response to Capn Sunshine (Original post)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 11:07 PM

23. Thanks Capn

This white hat onion-peeling needs to apply to so much more that we talk about around here. How refreshing to see your work and get the facts laid out. Appreciate you!

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Response to Capn Sunshine (Original post)

Sat Apr 18, 2020, 11:48 PM

25. Good information!

It's always good to to see old faces again.

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Response to Capn Sunshine (Original post)

Sun Apr 19, 2020, 03:09 PM

28. K&R for exposure

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