…and was started by a random guy in the United Kingdom?
It’s crazy to think about, really. Donald Trump began his term as president of the US a little over a month ago, and much has happened since. It’s only been one month and so much has happened in that short period of time. One of the biggest things to sweep social media during that period was the creation of “rogue” or “alternate” government agencies to combat the gag order placed on them by the president. The first of these to pop up was the original @AltNatParkSer.
The official Badlands National Park Twitter account tweeted facts about climate change in defiance of Trump’s gag order — a bold move, contradicting the new president on a subject he has shown he doesn’t want to understand. After these tweets were seemingly deleted, @AltNatParkServ was created and began where that account left off.
It captivated Twitter and soon captivated the internet. The first swell of resistance against Trump’s administration seemed to come from government employees — employees from the National Parks. But what if that wasn’t true. What if the seed that started this grassroots movement of alt accounts was a fake account, older than the Presidency?
The original @AltNatParkSer, which is now known as @NotAltWorld, wasn’t the original username of the account where this started. It was actually @DirtyVoter. How do I know this? It was actually an accident.
When I created this blog on Medium, I connected it to my Twitter account. From there Medium automatically adds you as followers to those you follow on Twitter. I noticed I was following an account on Medium and couldn’t find an account similar to a Twitter someone I followed. So I started to dig.
This linked to a no longer existing Twitter handle @DirtyVoter. So I did the thing any logical person might do when they want to solve a problem - I researched. Upon searching the Twitter search bar for that handle, this message popped up:
Strange. Looking at the replies to the message, it seems many followers of @AltNatParkSer, now @NotAltWorld, had the same questions. These questions were never addressed by the account and surprisingly, @NotAltWorld hasn’t tweeted in about two weeks, seemingly falling off the face of the earth with well over 1 million followers.
How do I know this account is likely based out of the United Kingdom? They are tweeting a political Twitter account in Scotland and use language that you might find in that area of the world, including the spelling of the word “honourable”. This is the same account that has said on the record that they are United States government employees with National Park Service. I’m not so easily convinced.
These aren’t the only accounts that have been noticed to have been created and/or run by individuals in the United Kingdom. A few other confirmed “alt” accounts and some friends have done further digging on other “alt” or “rogue” accounts that have had questionable tweeting histories. We were able to find that a number of accounts created in the United Kingdom were by two individuals in the United Kingdom named Ryan North (@RyanNorth00) and Ryan Peel (@RyanRaRa). This most likely includes the current version of @AltNatParkSer, @ALTUS_NPS, @AltNatParkSerCS, @realALTNPS, @AltClimateNPS, @ScienceMarchGB, and @AltEyeSpy (which used to be @FlanterOfficial).
They quite possibly also have a stable of Facebook pages too such as Alt National Park Service (@AltUSNationalParkService), which has well over a million likes and claims it is run by a group of government employees. Our connection here was that we were able to connect two identical websites, www.altnps.org and www.alteyespy.com, which used identical code to gather data on individuals. However, this information is still up in the air as to why this is the case and a recent article at The Intercept couldn’t find much of a connection either, so there is a low possibility there are any connections here. It’s just a good reminder to do your own due diligence.
The final bombshell, which is pretty big in my opinion, is there is evidence that the current @AltNatParkSer is possibly connected to @TEN_GOP, a large right-wing propaganda Twitter account. We have screenshots showing they may have accidentally posted something on the wrong account and quickly deleted it. Thankfully, someone did an old-fashioned RT which “preserved” the tweet. First, the mistaken tweet by @AltNatParkSer that was later manually retweeted:
Then the tweet by @TEN_GOP:
The timestamps are off here because there is a delay between this random account retweeting @AltNatParkSer and the actual tweet time, which has been deleted by @AltNatParkSer. You can find more information on this Twitter timeline.
Also, I cannot forget to mention this was on @RyanNorth00's Instagram account (same username):
One more addition on Ryan Peel (@RyanRaRa), he was convicted of fraud in 2014.
So you can make of these examples what you will, but it makes you wonder what is really happening behind some of these “alt” or “rogue” accounts. Are they in it for the followers? Are they in it for the money or people’s data? (See the web address on many of Ryan North’s Twitter accounts, www.altnps.org). Are they in it for the lulz? Or, a little tin-foil hat-ish here, are they all related? There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered.
I wanted to take the time to address one more item. I understand that this information may make you feel betrayed, used, or embarrassed. This information may make you lose faith in what you see from the AltGov portion of the resistance. That is completely understandable. However, despite what has happened, many more positives have come out of this movement. We were brought together by the need to bring back facts to policy and decision-making. We have several legitimate AltGov accounts that have worked tirelessly to bring you information from their area of government and to share their expertise and knowledge of what is actually happening. We’ve been part of the countless marches, protests, and worked together to hold our elected leaders accountable. We’ve all inspired each other to expect more from our country.
The AltGov accounts want you to know that we do not care if individuals running the accounts are not in government currently or haven’t been in government. We care that they are honest with facts, they stay on message to work for a better America, and they are selfless in nature. These examples above are not what we want to see from our community and we will police ourselves like this to ensure we work with truth and transparency where it is needed.
We still have the power to make change. None of what is written above will ever change that. It is just another obstacle in our way to bring back honesty and transparency in government. We can still vote in 2018 and we will do it with facts in hand. We will turn out in record numbers because we believe that America was great when it was run by the people, not run by tyrants.
If you have any questions or see anything strange, tweet me at @AltHomelandSec.
Thanks to Friends of the AltGov for providing screenshots and other details that I was able to manually verify myself. Cheers to you. I would share their names but I prefer they have some anonymity in case more examples are found.
PS. @AltNatParkSer also stole memes and straight up copied tweets from @alt_labor and @GeorgeTakei. Not cool, bro. Not. Cool.