Twitter Wars in Iran

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My New America Foundation colleague and Wired Magazine editor Nick Thompson chats about the role of “twitter” and other new media in the post-Iran election protests.
But what is also interesting — and Nick Thompson does not discuss — is that Ahmadinejad-supporting parts of Iran’s government, probably the Ministry of Interior, are trying to entrap people and mislead Mousavi supporters using Twitter.
Here is a list of suspected government and police/security twitter i.d.’s:

* http://twitter.com/lisamforeman (fake press account)
* http://twitter.com/rWhZEV (Fake Iran Election headlines)
* http://twitter.com/AJE_Producer (fake Al’ Jazerra Account)
* http://twitter.com/TruePersian1 (Preaching violence & destruction in all caps.)
* http://twitter.com/amoo_miki (Be wary of this acct. Following many with no updates)
* http://twitter.com/IRElec (Using entrapment techniques that are well known)
* http://twitter.com/Twiter_Thinker (spamming same link over and over, t-shirt sales)
* http://twitter.com/persiantiki
* http://twitter.com/rccccr (following users with Iran election tweets, no posts)
* http://twitter.com/BrothersinAbrah (hashtag post only)
* http://twitter.com/IRFORREAL (fake url for unrelated site)
* http://twitter.com/mikehiavelli
* http://twitter.com/MoonMagician (Same message over and over)
* http://twitter.com/Amir1982
* http://twitter.com/_SuperGreen_
* http://twitter.com/globalmeeting
* http://twitter.com/ghb78
* http://twitter.com/am12976
* http://twitter.com/iranianfree2k9
* http://twitter.com/FreeMediaNews
* http://www.twitter.com/jfcrow (unconfirmed)
* http://twitter.com/Karmuk (Retweeting same message over and over)
* http://twitter.com/chartingstocks (Writing fake articles on the Iranian Election Twitters)
* http://twitter.com/obamaspy
* http://twitter.com/IranisFree
* http://twitter.com/serv_

My twitter link is https://twitter.com/SCClemons.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

29 comments on “Twitter Wars in Iran

  1. arthurdecco says:

    “It is just plain bizarre though to read some of these tin-foil conspiracy theories involving Israel.” posted by Franklin
    Okay, Franklin, could you point to a single example of a tin-foil conspiracy theory involving Israel that has been posted on this thread?
    No…of course you can’t.

    Reply

  2. Franklin says:

    I’m definitely no Israeli apologist — I think the current Israeli regime is a major destabilizing force in the region; and that, in recent years in particular, the U.S. has been dangerously passive and too accommodating of Israel’s majority factions.
    Having said that, the idea that the Twitter dispatches from Iran are all coming from Israel and filtering into press accounts is — to put it mildly — complete bulls-hit.
    Many of the links, images, videos, and accounts are coming from people who were bloggers for candidates during the campaign. Their accounts have checked out with multiple sources including news reports from reporters inside Iran — such as Robert Fisk (no Israeli apologist himself). They are credible sources.
    Given that freedom of speech is limited, it’s fair to ask just how much freedom these bloggers will continue to have.
    It may be that some will be pressured into silence, or they may moderate posts in the coming days based on threats from local authorities. They may be threatened in such a way that they are encouraged by state authorities to become part of a state-based propaganda campaign to the outside world. Some have already limited their Tweets to a closed circle of friends in recent days; some have closed down their accounts entirely.
    It is just plain bizarre though to read some of these tin-foil conspiracy theories involving Israel.
    Even accepting the evidence found at charting stocks, it doesn’t discount the fact that there are actually bloggers inside Iran right now who are undertaking great risk to get their accounts of the situation inside Iran to the outside world.
    I am only aware of one suspect account that actually filtered into a press account via Andrew Sullivan — most notably involving a suggestion that Lebanese based Hezbollah was involved in part of the crack-down in Iran (via StopAhmadi).
    However, on balance most of the reporting on blogs in the NY Times, the Guardian, by Sullivan at the Atlantic, and Nico at Huffington Post are clearly credible accounts.

    Reply

  3. ... says:

    dan kervick and michael – the title on the post started the talk on israel… but then sharing that would take something away from the desire to portray some posters as off base for talking about israel and that wouldn’t do would it???
    title of the post : Open Thread: Oakley Weighs in on Israel-Palestine Peace
    as i have others have said here, talking about israel is fair game when it comes to the amount of bs israel feeds us regularly on iran…

    Reply

  4. Outraged American says:

    I want to clarify: I meant “elements in Israel” i.e., some Israeli
    internet users and the J Post, etc., are inciting Iranians via
    Tweets pretending to be from Iranians when they are in fact
    from Israelis.
    Don’t get me wrong: if I were Iranian (or anyone else) I would
    want a U.S. style Bill of Rights. One that was honored and
    enforced as opposed to one that has become a piece of toilet
    paper used by “our” government to wipe its a*s.
    I just don’t think that, given our track record, the U.S. should
    conduct overt or covert operations in other countries unless
    there is a direct threat to our national security. Not, as has
    almost always been the case, a spurious one made to benefit
    the military/industrial complex, the oil companies, and/ or
    foreign powers, including Israel.

    Reply

  5. JohnH says:

    Sorry POA. My point remains the same. All this technology is being used by certain people with agendas. When reading these heart rendering posts, you have to remember that we are being provided with a highly screened selection of what it happening in Iran.
    Could the Israel and the CIA be posting tweats? Almost certainly. Are children of Western oriented elites using it? Almost certainly. Are the vast majority of Iranians, who cannot write in English or use computers, using it? Almost certainly NOT.
    The bottom line is that the information coming out of Iran is highly skewed toward the opposition. And those who re-disseminate this selective information clearly have an agenda of their own.

    Reply

  6. samuelburke says:

    Who Put the ‘green’ in the Green Revolution?
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/027782.html
    Who Put the ‘green’ in the Green Revolution?
    The United States, of course.
    As in the previous “color revolutions” that seem to tirelessly capture the romantic imagination of US journalists, elites, and the propagandized population, the warm embrace of the US empire is firmly guiding the “spontaneous” Iranian uprising against last week’s election results. While I do not and should not– nor should any other American — care in the slightest who rules a country some seven thousand miles away, when the fingerprints of the US empire show up on these dramatic events overseas it is very much my business.
    Several commentators have already dredged from the memory hole press reporting at the time on a presidential “finding” on Iran, which is the formal method for the president to initiate covert actions against another country. Back in 2007 — plenty of lead time for this election — the president met with the Congressional Star Chamber, the “gang of 8″ House and Senate leaders, and was granted the authorization to use some $400 million for among other things, as the Washington Post reported, “activities ranging from spying on Iran’s nuclear program to supporting rebel groups opposed to the country’s ruling clerics….”
    Arch neo-conservative Kenneth Timmerman spilled the beans on activities of the other arm of US meddling overseas, the obscenely mis-named National Endowment for Democracy, in a piece written one day before the election, stating curiously that “there’s the talk of a ‘green revolution’ in Tehran.” Interesting. I wonder where that “talk” was coming from. Timmerman did not appear to be writing from Iran.
    Timmerman went on to write, with admirable candor and honesty, that:
    “The National Endowment for Democracy has spent millions of dollars during the past decade promoting ‘color’ revolutions in places such as Ukraine and Serbia, training political workers in modern communications and organizational techniques.
    “Some of that money appears to have made it into the hands of pro-Mousavi groups, who have ties to non-governmental organizations outside Iran that the National Endowment for Democracy funds.”
    Yes, you say, but what does a blow-hard propagandist like Timmerman know about such things? Well, he should know! His very spooky Foundation for Democracy in Iran has its own snout deep in the trough of NED’s “open covert actions” against the Iranian government.
    How does the “Foundation for Democracy in Iran” seek to “promote democracy” in Iran with our tax dollars? Foundation co-founder Joshua Muravchik gives us a hint in his subtly-titled LA Times piece, “Bomb Iran.”
    Frankly, what I find more disturbing than the fact that the US government continues meddling in this new magical era of Obama is how many in the United States continue to be taken in by these events color-coordinated from afar. Pundits have turned their websites green in “solidarity” with this “green revolution.” Self-described “libertarians” have thrown all critical thinking aside to embrace their inner green. As if hoping, somehow, that this time it will all be true. That the “people power” really is on the march. That it is a binary world where there are evil incumbents — the old guard — oppressing thrusting “reformers” who are Twittering away toward the bright tomorrow of a world where everyone wants to be just like us! Democracy!
    At times like these, I turn to the great Matt Taibbi, who has written the best piece of all time on how the US has morphed into the USSR:
    “Modern observers look back at the early Soviet days and wonder how it is that people could possibly have believed those fantastic tales they read about in the state papers–the lurid descriptions of fascist terrorists and wreckers who conspired to poison reservoirs and turn up rails and put broken glass in sausage in the most faraway, seemingly irrelevant places in Siberia and the far north. The answer probably is that they wanted to believe them. Because that was what was in their hearts. It wasn’t a lie that was being put over on them. It came from them.”
    And on it goes…

    Reply

  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gee, you forgot to call us “9//11 truthers” and “anti-semitic”.
    Get with the script, will ya?

    Reply

  8. Bill R. says:

    The tone, the profanity, the crudity, the name-calling of the anti-Israel spammers here simply undermines any legitimate argument they might make and shows the contempt they have for an authentic outpouring of democratic commitment on the part of the Iranian people.

    Reply

  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    John H….
    OA is NOT POA. In fact, he and I have had some fairly contentious interactions here.

    Reply

  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “We got your point, -‘Israel is the source of all evil in the world. The people of Iran are being controlled by the state of Israel.'”
    When you offer up ignorant horseshit like that, it telegraphs that you are unable to provide credible or intelligent rebuttal to criticisms directed towards Israel.
    To remove Israel from the debate about current events in Iran is dissingenuous and unrealistic. Even if Israel’s active covert involvement in the unrest is minimal, which I doubt, there can be no denying the tremendous propaganda value this affords Israel in its ongoing campaign to isolate and demonize Iran, and discourage Iranian/American diplomatic engagement. The Israeli leadership has already used the unrest and alleged “stolen” election to attempt to buttress its claims that diplomatic engagement with Iran is an exercise in futility.
    To doubt that both Israel’s Mossad, and the CIA, have their hands in inciting, encouraging, and aggravating the situation is naive and idiotic. If Israel truly believes that the current Iranian regime is the “threat” Israel claims it is, then really, it would be irresponsible for them to fail to attempt to capitalize on this situation, would it not?
    Your denials are asinine and transparently deflective. You aren’t debating idiots here. But, hey, you’ve certainly got the right to make jackasses of yourselves by openly denying obvious common sense conclusions, and you’re doing a superb job of it.

    Reply

  11. JohnH says:

    POA–how dare you question the motivations of tweat posters? How could they possibly have ulterior motives? I mean, everybody knows that everybody who uses twitter to post against the government must be truly representative of the Iranian people. This tiny, elite group of English speaking computer users is only providing a much needed voice for the vast majority of Iranians, most of whom can’t use computers or write English. How could it possibly be that this tiny group might have interests different from most Iranians?
    It’s kind of like questioning the motives of certain bloggers who choose to rebroadcast these tweats–heresy!!

    Reply

  12. Mitch S. says:

    Outraged American: What the JPost publishes is not what “Israel” is doing, it’s what the JPost is doing. Israel has a free press, remember?

    Reply

  13. Bill R. says:

    @Outraged American
    Is all this hate Israel spamming really necessary? We got your point, -‘Israel is the source of all evil in the world. The people of Iran are being controlled by the state of Israel.’

    Reply

  14. Outraged American says:

    Here’s the link to the proof that far right elements in Israel used
    Twitter to help kick start the Iranian election protests. I’ve made it
    into a tiny URL.
    I made it simple so that none of The Washington Note’s cadre of
    Israel apologists can claim that elements in Israel had nothing to
    do with Iran’s election protests.
    http://tinyurl.com/nv9z9g

    Reply

  15. Outraged American says:

    Israel is attempting to influence the “home-grown” protest in
    Iran, here’s proof (JPost is Jerusalem Post):
    JPost Removes the Evidence and Issues a Response #IranElection
    Wednesday, June 17, 2009 17:30
    response to our recent post, which traced the bulk of the
    #IranElection twitter spam back to an article in JPost rather than
    “Iranian Students”, the Jerusalem newspaper has removed the
    evidence by altering their June 14th article (luckily, we kept the
    screenshot). JPost has also written a response to our
    allegations.
    We argued that the onslaught of #IranElection tweets may not
    have been the work of “Iranian students” as claimed but rather a
    group of people promoting the political interests of the right-
    wing of Israeli politics with the aim of magnifying the social
    unrest which followed the Iranian election.
    In researching the origin of the thousands of tweets and
    retweets, we noticed that only a hand full of people were at the
    core of the #IranElection spam. After preforming a simple
    google search which sought to find when/where 2 of these
    people were mentioned together we found a JPost article which
    became the basis of our assertion.
    (FULL ARTICLE AT LINK)
    http://www.chartingstocks.net/2009/06/jpost-removes-the-
    evidence-and-issues-a-response-iranelection/
    Hat tip to the invaluable http://www.antiwar.com.
    Hey Michael and Bill R. (and Wig Wag and Questions and all the
    other Israel apologists) I would suggest that you drop by
    antiwar.com daily. There you’ll find ample proof of Israel’s
    involvement in the affairs of other countries, often provided by
    Israeli papers themselves.

    Reply

  16. MIchael says:

    “On this site, a post about Oakley the Weimeraner or the pastries
    at Cafe La Ruche in Georgetown would draw comments about
    Israel. The first association has come up before:”
    Thanks, Dan, for this. I went back and read this and the
    comments, and the remarkable thing is–okay, maybe not
    remarkable at all–Oakley had far more sensible things to say
    about the conflict than any of the posters. Mirabile dictu!

    Reply

  17. MIchael says:

    Pissed writes: “Yeah, Israel influence has nothing to do with how
    the USA reacts to events in Iran.”
    Sure it does. But it has little influence on what happens within
    Iran–for example, all the protests–and THAT was the point. In
    fact, Iran probably has more influence on what happens in Israel
    than the other way around.

    Reply

  18. Bill R. says:

    Khameini has now sealed his fate. The question now is whether the army and the police will slaughter, or permit the slaughter, of the Iranian people?

    Reply

  19. Franklin says:

    In post mortems, Twitter will probably be viewed as essential to having helped win the “hearts and minds” outside Iran. Perhaps it has also played a role in getting information back into Iran around the Iranian state filter — so it’s helping win the information war inside the country as well.
    But ultimately, it’s probably traditional social networks inside Iran that are behind the current mass demonstrations. Given state restrictions my guess is that most of the communication is probably happening through regular old social networks.
    The fact that state authorities are fixated on the web too suggests to me that they are probably still in denial about the scope and size of public anger. On one side, it looks like the popular movement may have achieved a critical mass that will be almost impossible to reverse. On the other side, the shear denial of the hardliners suggests that they are going to continuing blundering their way along in the process creating more needless pain and suffering.
    One hopes that things resolve themselves peacefully, but the hardliners are showing every indication that they still don’t get it.

    Reply

  20. Dan Kervick says:

    “On this site, a post about Oakley the Weimeraner or the pastries at Cafe La Ruche in Georgetown would draw comments about Israel.”
    The first association has come up before:
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2008/02/open_thread_oak_1/

    Reply

  21. ... says:

    vague recollections of the name michael and twn coming back to me now, lol..

    Reply

  22. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Michael……….
    Yeah, Israel influence has nothing to do with how the USA reacts to events in Iran.
    You really are a complete and utter jackass, aren’t you?

    Reply

  23. ... says:

    lol… seems to me israel has an ongoing issue with iran… perhaps all the warmongering is just a lot of fluff, but given israels actions earlier this year, i quite doubt it… i realize some folks don’t want to be reminded of any of this, but that is just too bad, isn’t it???

    Reply

  24. Zathras says:

    On this site, a post about Oakley the Weimeraner or the pastries at Cafe La Ruche in Georgetown would draw comments about Israel.

    Reply

  25. MIchael says:

    Amazing, isn’t it? No matter Iran does; no matter what Iranians do,
    it all comes back to Israel. It’s just stunning how some people can
    spin this event in terms of what’s good or bad for Israel. But of
    course, Israel, in fact, has almost nothing to do with the internal
    dynamics of Iranian politics and the character of its regime.

    Reply

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  27. ... says:

    steve thanks for this post… if it doesn’t shed light on the dubious nature of twitter and all the twits and others who use it, i don’t know what will… fact is intel will use technology as well..
    if the usa and israel can’t have a real war in iran, they will have a twitter war to get the ball rolling… seems pretty obvious to me…

    Reply

  28. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Here is an enlightening article from the Asia Times Online website, that summarizes Mousavi’s written complaint presented to the Guardians Council. Its particularly interesting that despite all the hype about massive voter fraud, Mousavi’s complaint cites very little that would seem to substantiate such claims.
    Unfortunately, if this author is correct, and Mousavi’s complaint is as insubstantial as the author presents it,the outlook for a re-vote is slim. So all this hype has done is lessen the possibility of constructive diplomatic engagement with Iran. With Ahmadinejad still in power, who can doubt that Israel and its American “anti-Iran” compatriots will use the cloud of a “fraudulent” election result to discourage and block diplomatic engagement with Iran? The damage is already done. No matter the Guardian Council’s decision, Ahmadinejad has been irrepairably alienated, demonized, and discredited. And any diplomatic overtures we make towards Iran will be propagandized by Israel and the American right wing as overtures towards an “illegally” elected dictator that has ignored and upended the will of the people.
    Israel wins again. Send them a few more billion, why don’t we?? Heck, with little or no effort, and their able assistance, we can have our kids dying on Iranian soil in no time at all. How fortunate we are to have such an able ally in the middle east. Uh huh.
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/KF19Ak02.html

    Reply

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