Troll who hoisted a fake flag burning in Gettysburg: “People will believe the most unrealistic nonsense”

Troll who hoisted a fake flag burning in Gettysburg: “People will believe the most unrealistic nonsense”

Adam Rahuba, a former concert promoter, works part-time as a food delivery driver and DJ. At 38, he spent most of last year staying on a friend’s couch in a small town north of Pittsburgh.

A Listicle Feed investigation has revealed that Rahuba is also an anonymous figure in a number of social media hoaxes – the latest taking place in Gettysburg on Independence Day – that have recently dispersed far-right extremists and repeatedly deceived guerrilla media.

Rahuba once claimed that activists planned to desecrate the Confederate cemetery in Georgia, reports The Post. He circulated rumors of organized efforts to inform Trump supporters of alleged child abuse. And he allegedly promoted an action to confiscate weapons from Americans.

These false claims were widely circulated on social media and on bulletin boards on the Internet. They were often amplified by right-wing commentators and covered as real news by media outlets such as Breitbart News and The Gateway Pundit.

The mystifications, striking in their details, pushed the American-minded group to conspiracy, playing on guerrilla fears. They have led to very dire situations – the recruitment of police officers and far-right activists who want to protect the values ​​they believe are under siege – as well as a large mobilization of the police.

The Facebook page @LeftBehindUSA took place on July 4, which was burning in Gettysburg. (Received by Listicle Feed)

Since President Trump’s election, Rahub’s hoax has focused on using anti-antifa fears loosely associated with activists who oppose fascism and sometimes accept property damage and violent protests. His hoax on July 4, allegedly setting fire to the American flag, was billed as an anti-fact. Hundreds of counter-protesters, including skinheads, flocked to Gettysburg National Military Park to counter the non-existent flag.

After reviewing Rahuba’s activities, a rare inside look at the work of a home-grown troll who uses social media to incite the guerrilla department. This shows that in an era of heightened sensitivity to disinformation campaigns conducted by foreign nations, unscrupulous actors with much less resources can also manipulate public discourse and influence events in the real world.

In a previous narrative of the publications, questions arose about the identity of the man behind the deception of Gettysburg. In response, several of Rahuba’s former acquaintances contacted reporters and said they suspected he was running Left Behind USA, a social media account that promoted the fake event. The post inspected dozens of accounts and websites, some associated with it by name, and others used to anonymously promote hoaxes. The similarities in content, design and other details were obvious.

Last week, journalists posted by Rahubay were at a friend’s apartment in the city of Harmony, Pennsylvania, where in an interview he admitted to being behind 13 aliases and social media accounts that promoted the hoax back in 2013.

“I guess I was turned down,” he said.

Rahuba has a long history of provocative online commentary, including a website created many years ago that showed on September 11th. Rahuba, a self-described Democratic socialist and supporter of former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, said he opposes far-right extremists mostly for his own amusement.

“I am very annoyed by the rise of right-wing populism,” he said. “So I thought I would do anything to push away from them.”

Rahuba laughed when asked if he considered himself a participant in the antifa.

“I’m an antifa,” he said. “But I think you’re also antifa … like all common sense. But as part of an organized group? Absolutely not.”

He said he was not concerned about potential opposition to the disclosure. “I have everything,” he said.

This week, two members of the House Intelligence Committee, Raj Krishnamorti (D-Ill.) And repatriate Peter Welch (D-Vt.) Wrote to the FBI and CIA asking agencies to investigate who is behind the Gettysburg hoax and similar false claims in nine other cities this summer.

“Over the past few months, local misinformation about apparently non-existent anti-fascist rallies and“ invasions ”has spread to communities across the U.S., sowing socio-political divisions,” lawmakers write.

In an interview, Krishnamurti said he was concerned that responses to the hoax could “get out of control.”

Agencies declined to comment. Legal experts have stated that Rahub’s hoax does not appear to violate criminal law and is likely to be protected by the First Amendment. The report found no indication that Rahuba was involved in any of the other hoaxes cited in the letter, and Rahuba said he was not.

Some of Rahub’s mystifications are taxed by law enforcement and endanger the occasional fresh. This year in Gettysburg, a local pastor in a Black Lives Matter T-shirt was surrounded by armed counter-protesters until officials accompanied him from the park for his personal safety. Three years ago, an armed man who went to Gettysburg in response to the alleged Rahuba flag, spoke on Facebook, accidentally shot a revolver in the leg.

Rahuba dismissed concerns that his efforts had harmed people or put them at risk.

“The message was that any idiot on the internet could gather a bunch of people who would show up at Union Cemetery, with a bunch of Confederate flags and Nazi tattoos on their necks that just make them inappropriate,” he said.

He also had little sympathy for the man who shot himself. “In this case, there’s some comedic value,” Rahuba said.

On July 4, bikers, militia officers, the Ku Klux Klan and other white high-ranking groups, many with guns and weapons, (Andrew Mangum for The Listicle Feed) were gathered on the battlefield in Gettysburg.

Part of the right-wing reactions on the battlefield in Gettysburg on July 4 to rumors that burned antifa. (Andrew Mangum for The Listicle Feed)

Confederate flags were a common sight among those who appeared on the battlefield in Gettysburg, hoping to prevent the burning of American flags. (Andrew Mangum for The Listicle Feed)

TOP: Bikers, members of the militia, the Ku Klux Klan and other white high-ranking groups, many with weapons, gather on the battlefield in Gettysburg July 4 (Andrew Mangum for The Listicle Feed) BOTTOM LEFT: Part of the right answer on the Battlefield in Gettysburg On July 4, antifa was rumored to be burning. (Andrew Mangum, Listicle Feed). BOTMA’S RIGHT: The Confederate flag was a common sight among those who appeared on the battlefield in Gettysburg, hoping to prevent the burning of American flags. (Andrew Mangum for The Listicle Feed)

Trolling since high school

Rahuba, a lifelong resident of the Pittsburgh area, said he started trolling in high school. Using a dial-up modem, he and a group of friends posed as a 12- or 13-year-old girl in online chats to lure older men to meetings, he said. In their story, the men arrived to find Rahub and his friends, mocking them.

“I made it clear that people would believe the most unrealistic nonsense on the internet,” he said.

Rahuba was the host of a concert in Pittsburgh in the early 2000s. Former friends and acquaintances have said he is not particularly political, but likes to provoke people online.

For a while he ran a site called 911wasfunny.comwhere he talked about 9/11 and other tragedies. “September 11 was funny. If it offends you, you need to cover it,” says the section on Rahub’s website. “Those people deserved what they got, mainly because the people of New York are arrogant.”

He admitted that he was behind the site in 2007 history in the New York Post, which was titled “9/11 Sicko One Sorry Sob Site.” Rahuba later destroyed the site.

In 2009, his life seemed to have taken its turn. He married and got a job as a financial advisor at his wife’s family firm. But his marriage ended four years later, and he started working as a DJ over the weekend, trying to make a living through various online businesses, according to a review of his online activities.

One such venture was the sale of T-shirts with conflicting reports. He explained his business model in a 2014 YouTube video using his real name.

“The dispute creates cash,” he said. “One of the best ways to earn traffic to your site to get attention is to have an array of people.”

In 2014, he launched advertising services to artificially inflate signs of traffic on blogs and other sites. In one of the commercials, he suggested that social media users give “4,500 free Twitter followers.” In another, he offered to post 25 comments on the blog for $ 5.

“I can’t be wrong,” he said in the video. “It gives the appearance of activity in your blog.”

In 2013, a year after the shooting of 17-year-old Tryvon Martin by a neighborhood coordinator in Florida, Rahuba saw an opportunity to confront human rights activists and make money at the same time.

He created a website that promoted Trayvon’s amendment, allegedly a movement of “grassroots” changes to the U.S. Constitution. The site was originally registered in Rahub’s name with his Pittsburgh address, but about a week later his name was changed to “Horse Head” with an address in St. Louis.

On YouTube video Under the pseudonym Richard Cabeza, Rahuba hid his face in a black ski mask when he read the group’s list of demands. These included the repeal of the Second Amendment, the appointment of the National Rifle Association as a terrorist organization, and the imposition of large taxes and fines on gun owners.

In an interview with The Post, Rahuba confirmed that he had adopted the pseudonym Richard Cabeza, a play on words that becomes vulgar by combining the diminutive form of the first name with the English translation of the Spanish word he used as a surname.

“An obvious fake name,” he said.

The site is widely distributed and discussed on bulletin boards and weapons forums. Rahuba sold advertisements on his website, he later wrote on a bulletin board online.

“It was a lot of fun,” he wrote on Reddit under the name GeorgeUUSmith. “I advertised on the site and earned $ 3,000 a week.”

Rahuba told The Post that the figure was accurate.

Trolling Trumpeters

In the years that followed, Rahub’s hoaxes became increasingly false, some of them succeeding, although the titles of the accounts and pages proposed to promote them did not call into question their true purpose. One Facebook page was called “Trolling Trumpeters.”

Rahuba told The Post that he was responding to an update of far-right baseless conspiracy theories such as QAnon, which claim that Trump is secretly fighting a ring of powerful sexual predators in political and elite circles.

“I see that QAnon lunatics are very easy on things and … low hanging fruits,” he said.

At the same time, his policies also began to shift to the left. A longtime Democrat, he changed his party affiliation in 2015 to the Socialist Party, according to a voter record. Rahuba, who has struggled financially and is now collecting stamps from food, said his difficulty in getting proper health insurance was a factor in changing his views.

In May 2017, Trolling Trumpeters called for desecration of Confederate cemeteries in Marietta, Gara. Word of the alleged event was widely circulated on social media.

Bill Burden, a member of the local head of the Confederation of Sons in neighboring Haralson County, said in an interview that he had traveled 50 miles to protect the cemetery after learning on a Facebook page about plans to destroy tombstones and statues. Dozens of heavily armed men, including police officers, members of the Ku Klux Klan and other Confederate sympathizers, joined Burden on local television. report.

“We perceived this as a legitimate threat,” Burden told The Post. “Perhaps it’s a hoax.”

A month later, in June 2017, an advertisement for his first event in Gettysburg began on Rahub’s Facebook page: “Burn the Confederacy flag to launch Trump supporters’ day ”.

The hoax received an unexpected stimulus after a call from a Pennsylvania news site reported the event. Far-right sites Gateway-gateway and Bratbart News soon picked up on this story.

“If members of the Antifa movement make a plan to desecrate the graves of soldiers killed in Gettysburg, they will join the Taliban, ISIS and Turkish Islamists, who have launched a campaign to destroy historic sites and desecrate the graves of enemies,” Brett said.

Fox News also published a story on its website about “reports of possible destructive or even violent actions by the militant leftist group AntiFa in Gettysburg National Park,” although she noted that the antifa group called the reports “most likely false.” The story has since been removed.

Among the armed counter-protesters who walked into the park on the day of the alleged protest was Benjamin Hornberger, the man who accidentally shot himself. Rangers in the park put a tourniquet on his leg and he was taken to hospital, the news reported. The following year, Hornberger, who was 23, unsuccessfully ran as a Republican in Congress. He did not respond to a request for an interview.

Rahuba later claimed responsibility for the hoax on the online message board.

“At this point in my life, I consider it the art of performance,” he wrote under the name GeorgeUUSmith.

An ambulance crew is helping 23-year-old Benjamin Hornberger, who accidentally shot himself in Gettysburg National Military Park in 2017, until he allowed the burning of the flag, which was the first such hoax by Adam Rahuba. (Christina Wendel / Penn air)

Benjamin Hornberger is attracting attention after accidentally shooting himself in the leg in Gettysburg in 2017. (Christina Wendel / Penn Live)

LEFT: An ambulance crew is helping 23-year-old Benjamin Hornberger, who accidentally shot himself in Gettysburg National Military Park in 2017, until he allowed the burning of the flag, which was the first such hoax by Adam Rahuba. (Christina Wendel / Penn air) LAW: Benjamin Hornberger draws attention after accidentally shot in the foot in Gettysburg in 2017. (Christine Wendel / Penn-Live)

“We had to spend resources”

Rahuba said he mostly works alone, opening social media accounts because others have been shut down for violating platform rules. But in September 2019, he said, he was working with another troll, whom he refused to identify. He created a meme for a Twitter account called @joinantifa, which he said was controlled by another person.

One of the memes he created showed a picture of those present at the Trump rally and asked, “Do you know MAGA’s parents? The child protection services will investigate any anonymous claims even without evidence. Child protection agents are usually liberal.”

Patrick Howley, founder and former editor-in-chief of the far-right Grand League Politics website, passed the meme to his 42,000 followers.

“Self-appointed ANTIFA operatives are giving false reports about parents who support Trump,” he wrote. “A lot of sources say it’s happening – don’t let them say it’s a joke.”

Within days, Twitter disabled the @joinantifa account.

In February, Rahuba created a Twitter account Left Behind USA. He wrote that his name was Alan Jeffs – a nickname he also used in other accounts. Rahuba later told The Post that he came up with the name while watching a documentary about Warren Jeff, president of the fundamentalist church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who was convicted of child sexual abuse.

A Christian Science Monitor and student newspaper at the University of Southern California School of Communication and Journalism quotes Alan Jeff in the spring, noticing яго частыя твіты ў падтрымку Сандэрса на рахунку ў Twitter пад назвай @BernieOrElse.

Рахуба таксама сабраў грошы на GoFundMe, дзе ў траўні назваў сябе Аланам Джэфам і сказаў, што ён размясціўся як @Left Behind USA і @BernieOrElse. “Ужо больш за год я не магу працаваць з-за інтэнсіўнай тэрапіі пасля спробы самагубства”, – напісаў ён. Ён сказаў, што яму трэба грошы на новы аўтамабіль, які дапаможа аднавіць жыццё. Донары далі яму 560 долараў.

Рахуба распавёў The Post, што большая частка грошай была выкарыстана для ліцэнзавання графікі з фондавага сайта для выкарыстання на яго наступным містыфікацыі ў Геттысбургу. У чэрвені ён стварыў старонку ў Фэйсбуку пад назвай Left Behind USA і пачаў прасоўваць мерапрыемства па выпальванні сцяга Дня Незалежнасці.

Рахуба таксама стварыў нумар тэлефона ў Інтэрнэце і апублікаваў яго на ўліковым запісе Left Behind USA, ведаючы, што ён будзе завалены гнеўнымі званкамі. Ён даў доступ The Post да сотні галасавых паведамленняў, якія ён атрымаў за некалькі тыдняў да падзеі ў Геттысбургу.

“Мы абавязкова збярэмся … здзівішся ў Геттысбургу”, – сказаў адзін з тэлефонаў. “Я не магу чакаць удзелу, вы n —— любячы f — s”, сказаў адзін.

Яшчэ адзін тэлефанаўнік сказаў, што спадзяецца, што падзея прывядзе да масавых расстрэлаў. “Я спадзяюся, што хтосьці страляе з кожнай з вас. Я малюся Богу на нябёсах, каб хтосьці расстраляў усіх, хто ўдзельнічае ў гэтай падзеі “, – сказаў чалавек.

Старонка ў Facebook называецца Central PA Antifa даносілі Падзея як фальшывая. Уліковыя запісы Рахубы ў Facebook і Twitter былі закрыты за тыдзень да пратэсту, але многія супрацоўнікі міліцыі і байкерскія атрады абавязаліся ўсё ж такі ахоўваць могілкі і помнік у гонар канфедэрацыі генерала Роберта Лі.

Мясцовая сярэдняя школа была пераўтворана ў імправізаваны камандны цэнтр, каб дапамагчы каардынаваць 16 федэральных і мясцовых праваахоўных органаў, якія назіраюць за падзеяй. Па словах гарадскога кіраўніка Геттысбурга Чарльза Гейбла, дзяржава аказала 100 ваеннаслужачым штата Пенсільванія.

“Тое, што нам засталося, пагражала пагрозай, і мы ставімся да гэтага нядбайна, калі б не звярталіся да гэтага. Мы павінны былі выдаткаваць выдаткаваныя рэсурсы “, – сказаў Гейбл.

Шматлікія супрацоўнікі міліцыі ў парку распавялі The Post, што яны адчулі, што іх прысутнасць напалохала фактычныя факелы сцягі.

Рахуба сказаў, што пасля таго, як яго рахункі Left Behind ЗША былі спынены, ён выказаў здагадку, што гэтая імпрэза стане шумнай. У тыя выходныя, па яго словах, ён адправіўся ў паход са сваёй дзяўчынай.

Аліса Крытыс унесла свой уклад у гэты даклад.

By Shawn Boburg and Dalton Bennett

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