[eDebate] PSYOPS twitter angle on the soft coup
Wed Jun 24 20:43:45 CDT 2009
admittedly, the sources do not yet meet hester's standards but the stoking of the street protest to attempt a speedy revolution may have involved new sophisticated mobile phone PSYOPS. the twitter angle is being twisted to create the impression that iranians want to become more like americans. the quality of the sources won't matter on these cards if the facts hold up. we've come along way from airmail leaflets but not really.
Anyone using Twitter over the past few days knows that the topic of the Iranian election has been the most popular. Thousands of tweets and retweets alleging that the election was a fraud, calling for protests in Iran, and even urging followers hack various Iranian news websites (which they did successfully). The Twitter popularity caught the eye of various blogs such as Mashable and TechCrunch and even made its way to mainstream news media sites.Were these legitimate Iranian people or the works of a propaganda machine? I became curious and decided to investigate the origins of the information. In doing so, I narrowed it down to a handful of people who have accounted for 30,000 Iran related tweets in the past few days. Each of them had some striking similarities -1. They each created their twitter accounts on Saturday June 13th.2. Each had extremely high number of Tweets since creating their profiles.3. ?IranElection? was each of their most popular keyword4. With some very small exceptions, each were posting in ENGLISH.5. Half of them had the exact same profile photo6. Each had thousands of followers, with only a few friends. Most of their friends were EACH OTHER.Why were these tweets in English? Why were all of these profiles OBSESSED with Iran? It became obvious that this was the work of a team of people with an interest in destabilizing Iran. The profiles are phonies and were created with the sole intention of destabilizing Iran and effecting public opinion as to the legitimacy of Iran?s election.I narrowed the spammers down to three of the most persistent - @StopAhmadi @IranRiggedElect at Change_For_IranI decided to do a google search for 2 of the 3 - @StopAhmadi and @IranRiggedElect. The first page to come up was JPost (Jerusalem Post) which is a right wing newspaper pro-Israeli newspaper.JPost actually ran a story about 3 people ?who joined the social network mere hours ago have already amassed thousands of followers.? Why would a news organization post a story about 3 people who JUST JOINED TWITTER hours earlier? Is that newsworthy? JPost was the first (and only to my knowledge) major news source that mentioned these 3 spammers.JPost, a major news organization, promoted these three Twitterers who went on the be the source of the IranElection Twitter bombardment. Why is JPost so concerned about Iranian students all of a sudden (which these spammers claim to be)? I must admit that I had my suspicions. After all, Que Bono? (who benefits).
In July 2008, after the exchange of prisoners and remains between Israel and Hezbollah, robots placed tens of thousands of calls to Lebanese mobile phones. A voice speaking in Arabic was warning against participating in any resistance activity and belittled Hezbollah. The Lebanese minister of telecommunications, Jibran Bassil , files a complaint to the UN against this blatant violation of the country's sovereignty . Following the same approach, tens of thousands of Lebanese and Syrians received an automatic phone call in October 2008 to offer them 10 million dollars for any information leading to the location and freeing of Israeli prisoners. People interested in collaborating were invited to call a number in the UK .
This method has now been used in Iran to bluff the population, to spread shocking news and to channel the resulting anger.
First, SMS were sent during the night of the counting of the votes, according to which the Guardian Council of the Constitution (equivalent to a constitutional court) had informed Mir-Hossein Mousavi of his victory. After that, the announcing of the official results - the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with 64 % of cast votes - seemed like a huge fraud. However, three days earlier, M. Mousavi and his friends were considering a massive victory of M. Ahmadinejad as certain and were trying to explain it by unbalanced campaigns. Indeed the ex president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was detailing his grievances in an open letter. The US polling institutes in Iran were predicting a 20 points lead for M. Ahmadinejad over M. Mousavi . M. Mousavi victory never seemed possible, even if it is probable that some fraud accentuated the margin between the two candidates.
Secondly, Iranian citizens were selected or volunteered on the Internet to chat on Facebook or to subscribe to Twitter feeds. They received information - true or false - (still via SMS) about the evolution of the political crisis and the ongoing demonstrations. These anonymous news posts were spreading news of gun fights and numerous deaths which to this day have not been confirmed. Because of an unfortunate calendar overlap, Twitter was supposed to suspend its service for a night to allow for some maintenance of its systems. The US State Department intervened to ask them to postpone it . According to the New York Times, these operations contributed to spread defiance in the population .
Simultaneously, in a new type of effort, the CIA is mobilizing anti-Iranian militants in the United States and in the United Kingdom to increase the chaos. A Practical Guide to revolution in Iran was distributed to them, which contains a number of recommendations, including:
- set Twitter accounts feeds to Tehran time zone;
- centralize messages on the following Twitter accounts @stopAhmadi, #iranelection and #gr88 ;
- official Iranian State websites should not be attacked. ? Let the US military take care of it ? (sic).
When applied, these recommendations make it impossible to authenticate any Twitter messages. It is impossible to know if they are being sent by witnesses of the demonstrations in Tehran or by CIA agents in Langley, and it is impossible to distinguish real from false ones. The goal is to create more and more confusion and to push Iranians to fight amongst themselves.
Army general staffs everywhere in the world are closely following the events in Tehran. They are trying to evaluate the efficiency of this new subversion method in the Iranian experimental field. Evidently, the destabilization process worked. But it is unclear if the CIA will be able to channel demonstrators to do what the Pentagon has renounced to do, and what they do not want to do themselves : to change the regime and put an end to the Islamic revolution.
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