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USCENTCOM buys software to impersonate social networkers & bloggers; blogosphere shows tell-tale signs amid war on Libya

3 August 2011 31,016 views 7 Comments

By the Editor. UPDATED Thursday August 4th, click here to go to the update.

At a time of war, destabilisation, and great upheaval in the Middle East and North Africa, social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are being increasingly relied upon by those seeking information. Allowing to-the-second updates from the on-the-ground journalists and ordinary citizens, even major news outlets are beginning to circulate reports originating from these sources.

In an ominous development in March this year (in the lead-up to the war on Libya and the destabilisation of Syria), US Central Command – USCENTCOM – purchased a piece of software allowing US government employees to assume multiple fake online identities, complete with false backgrounds, supporting details, and IP address masking functionality. On top of the universal deception that takes place in the corporate media, it is evident that the goal of this venture is to spread propaganda and disinformation. These fake identities with a full portfolio of background information and supporting details, will carry a sheen of authenticity otherwise reserved for the likes of Wikileaks.

For $2.76 million the US government purchased the product developed by shadowy California-based ‘cyber security’ firm Ntrepid. Ntrepid’s website is very scant, offering no information whatsover about the company or its products, and being only one solitary page. After several requests for comment from US paper The Washington Times, Ntrepid and its executives refused to respond.

A March 2011 Mashable report speaks of how,

Using the software, one member of the U.S. military can control up to 10 different fake accounts that appear to belong to civilians living in other countries.

The Washington Times report from March 1 tells of how USCENTCOM (which is responsible for US military operations in the Middle East and Central Asia) will target social media websites. The software used by USCENTCOM purportedly allows its users to post messages,

creating the appearance that they are logging on and posting messages or other contributions from anywhere in the world.

This is echoed by the military procurement documents that were obtained by The Washington Times:

“Personas must be able to appear to originate in nearly any part of the world,”

In the same March 1 report, former CIA director and retired Air Force General Michael V. Hayden boasts that these ‘military information support operations’ using social media, are the cutting edge of US military and intelligence activities.

When a computer user logs on to the Internet, they do so using a unique cyber location known as an IP (Internet Protocol) address. Startlingly, Ntrepid’s software allows the IP address to be masked and faked, creating the illusion that the user is logging on from a different geographical location to their actual point of origin (even to the actual companies running the social media sites). On top of this, the software provides its users with real-time local information such as local news and weather pertaining to their ‘pretend’ location, allowing these fraudulent ‘sock puppet’ personas to appear even more authentic to other social media and web users.

Most obviously this development suggests that the US government, and the wider military-intelligence axis that is perpetrating the illegal war on Libya and destabilisation of Syria, now seeks to manipulate and control the flow of information on social media networks and blogs.

The ‘Disappointed Palestinians’

It will come as no surprise then, to see manifestations of this agenda in the ‘blogosphere’. In June I wrote about the ‘disappointed Palestinians’ letter, that was posted anonymously to the ‘Yansoon’ blog, and was also picked up by Mondoweiss amongst others. The completely anonymous letter is a paradigmatic example of this disinformation agenda at work, and I urge you to read the letter and my response in full.

In the comments section of the Yansoon letter, you will see ‘Libyans’ posting comments so mindlessly pro-war and so factually baseless that it beggars belief. Take this comment by ‘Another Libyan’, wherein they say, (again in Queen’s English):

My rather extended family is in Tripoli. Is there a chance that the bombing could injure one or more of them? I’ve been aware of that from the beginning. Do I want the bombing to stop? Absolutely not. Am I insane? Certainly not. I know reliably that that is the sentiment of the majority of the population of Tripoli”…
(Emphasis added)

Moreover, from my own experience of using Twitter this disinformation agenda has been visible, with a myriad of ‘Libyan’ users posting update after update of pro-NATO, pro-rebal propaganda. It is difficult to know whether these accounts are indeed shills posing as Libyans, or if they are simply second generation Libyans living abroad (in the States, for example), who have been groomed into circulating this dupery. One thing is apparent though – as with the ‘disappointed Palestinians’ letter – they display several tell-tale signs of this ‘sock-puppetry’ in action.

I’ve noticed several common themes (as with the ‘disappointed Palestinians’ trickery):

  • The users have an excellent command of the English language, and they make very few spelling mistakes. This is completely uncharacteristic of somebody whose mother tongue is not English;
  • They practically never post in Arabic. Again, completely uncharacteristic of people who are ostensibly indigenous Arabs;
  • They repeat typical neocon/Zionist memes and talking points such as: ‘freedom and democracy’, and they often target other enemies of the US/Israel in their ‘tweets’. This is another marked similarity with the ‘disappointed Palestinians’ letter;
  • They breathlessly circulate reports from globalist institutions such as Human Rights Watch, even ones from over a decade ago (the Abu Salim prison massacre is a popular one)

Take the following Twitter user, @SecularLibya, who really does tick all the boxes. The user’s name on Twitter is listed as being ‘MargBar Khamenei’, which, in English, translates to ‘DeathTo Khamenei’, presumably referring to the Supreme Leader of Iran. Not only does this ‘Libyan’ inexplicably choose to target Iran, the arch enemy of the US and Israel, but they also target North Korea – that other bugbear of the globalist axis:

Again, notice the impeccable English used. And even more laughably, read the user’s bio. It literally reads as though it was written by NED, or another one of the US State Department’s democracy-perverting NGO’s, speaking of the need for a ‘democratic’ and ‘liberal’ Libya.

Also notice the user’s avatar wherein he invokes the ‘Abu Salim massacre’, an event toted by globalist-Zionist funded Human Rights Watch as the trump card in the propaganda war against Libya. Abu Salim is an event for which there is no physical evidence, and HRW’s report on the event hinges on the testimony of one person who is now residing in the United States. Laughably, HRW even admits that they cannot independently verify a single detail of the man’s claims.

Whether indeed these users are paid shills, or just second generation ‘Westernised’ Libyans living abroad and groomed into spreading this drivel, these blathering idiots are by far the most vocal. That fact speaks volumes about the success of the US-NATO social media propaganda campaign.

Following is a hand-picked list of Twitter users who zealously post pro-NATO, pro-NTC propaganda. You’ll even see some of them re-tweeting the US State Department and very frequently posting links to Feb17.info and EnoughGaddafi.com – both US fronts. Paid shills or otherwise, the utter crap they talk is priceless entertainment:

Updated – Thursday, August 4th:

This evening I came across a suspicious user account posting tweets about events in Syria:

These dramatic and completely unverified reports characterise most mainstream reporting on Syria.

The following Washington Post report compares the ‘Ramadan Massacre’ to a 1982 massacre of tens of thousands. It then goes on to admit that,

It’s not known how many people have died; foreign journalists and other independent observers have been kept out of Hama. But Syrian opposition sources reported at least 55 deaths on Sunday, and by Monday some counts exceeded 100.

The article proves nothing and does not name its sources. Instead it suggests the ‘Ramadan Massacre’ is comparable to the killing of tens of thousands, and offers zero evidence. This is the modus operandi for mainstream reporting on Syria.

But the aforementioned London-based Syrian lady – Rime Allaf – with over 2,200 followers, has a reason for her hollow cries of indignation. Her website bio lists her as being an Associate Fellow of Chatham House – the UK arm of warmongering corporate U.S. think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations:

Rime Allaf is a writer, broadcaster and consultant specializing in Middle East affairs, and an Associate Fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, also known as Chatham House.

She was also previously the Managing Director of a consultancy firm in Damascus, advising multinationals wishing to move in to Syria:

She was previously the Managing Director of a consultancy in Damascus, advising foreign companies entering the region on political, business, legal and social issues. She was a member of the founding board of directors of the British Syrian Society,

Neoliberal apostle and globalist footsoldier, as you can see she was also one of the founders of the British Syrian Society, a non-governmental organization aiming at ‘enhancing relations between Britain and Syria’. The group proclaim to be independent, while admitting that they are not. Fawaz Akhras, the co-chair of the BSS told Syria Today in March this year:

We are completely independent. We do not accept financing or donations from either government. We thrive on our memberships and the generosity of people who believe in our objectives and want to support our aims and sponsor our events. We employ only one person, an office manager, while the directors are volunteers. Our events are privately sponsored by companies, banks and other organisations.

Regarding events in Syria, thousands of media consumers simply accept unquestioningly reports from by US-backed ‘opposition sources’ such as the lady above and the ‘Syrian Human Rights Committee’, which is also London based.

The ‘Ramadan Massacre’ in particular, is a cynical attempt by the corporate-Zionist media to exploit the righteous indignation of Muslims and garner support for intervention and regime change in Syria. We must take unproven reports and sensationalist claims coming from globalist-backed sources with a pinch of salt.

Armed conflict is taking place in Syria, and, like Libya, the media is grossly misrepresenting the situation in order to manipulate opinion. Every war is preceded, accompanied, and followed, by a wall of deception and propaganda. Only the naive fail to notice it – it is as much a component of war as the physical weaponry that tears apart lives and nations.


  • Club des Cordeliers said:

    The runthrough for this new style of propaganda was the so-called “Twitter Revolution” in Iran in 2009. USCENTCOM is amplifying a technique already in use by the CIA.

    It is particularly dangerous and effective because mainstream reporters now source Twitter instead of doing the legwork (this is due in part to laziness but also because the financial decline of the newspaper has meant wholesale closures of foreign bureaus). I mention this because because, in browsing your list above, I saw various exchanges between these phony personae and NPR’s @acarvin.

    Carvin routinely disseminates manufactured Twitter propaganda as news. Makes it easy to source any story that’s in line with US goals, especially in the absence of facts or evidence.

  • Anonymous said:

    They are like a pack of wolfs, and realtivly easy to detect, ones you “see” the flow of coments.
    They also talk and act like Hasbara hooligans, literaly, and when one is critical they often during a conversion sudenly turn against you and you are facing a wolf pack.
    A wall of acusations and stawmans arguments, name caling(aka: comy or even wurse, a sosiaist), and so on.
    The constant refrences to wars and batles the USA/NATO have done, and its always presented in a favorable light.

    The Libyand “revolution” is a scam, and so is the 17.Feb site, its just a bilolboard, with news clips and some radiointerviues, thats it, otherwise its dead.
    No trafic.
    Who eve builded up this campagne have been methodic and covered several angles, so it apears.
    To be honest, they have used a long time on this war when it comes to this “freedomfighters” buildup to become a rev.org trying to cup a country. the propaganda its a god jobb, but it reviled its self, by the lack of prof for atrosetys comitted by Gaddafy. There is non.
    And Syria to, its the same people just different names.
    They fu.. it up them selfs and nobody else, and again they underestemated their public.

  • Robert S. Finnegan said:

    This has already happened to me. There are several “Robert S. Finnegans” on the loose on the net, leaving a trail of outrageous comments supposedly authored by me. The impostors attribute ridiculous, outrageous and inflammatory comments attributable to me on any website they wish. It does no good to ignore them, as I have found out to my detriment. Citizens need to be especially wary of these disgusting government criminals and their despicable lackeys impersonating them on blogs and take immediate action to have thee spurious and fake comments removed. My media colleagues have suffered the same victimization at the hands of these Rovian dirtbags. This phenomenon is, in my case, designed to discredit me as a former investigative journalist and exact revenge for my reports calling the American government to account. Especially worrisome is the fact that these frauds could post and implant porn or classified material on the unsuspecting user’s computer, leading to criminal charges. Speak out! This must be stopped in it’s tracks! I appeal to our honorable hacker community to develop software to counter these government criminals and make it available to the public at large. If we have to band together to take these malevolent criminals on then let us do it post haste. Thank you.

    Robert S. Finnegan
    Jakarta, Indonesia

  • Paul Meuse said:

    Hello Martin,

    Thanks again for your breaking stories.
    I can go to websites like http://empirestrikesblack.com

    to find out what is going on. I originally got on twitter
    in 2010…and left after a short bit.

    I got a bad feeling about the use of it and other
    social media sites during the protests in Iran. The
    US military and government was big on twitter, and it was
    on of the first times that I heard of it.

    I’ve run my own smaller campaign on twitter taking on
    Zionists who attack our mutual friends that we follow.
    At, first I got bombarded by them for my replies, but I
    hit them with so many facts that they eventually don’t reply
    to my tweets.

    You do excellent analysis and connect the dots on things that
    others haven’t seen yet; myself included.
    I salute you.

  • Libya S.O.S. said:

    It’s recently been revealed that the U.S. government contracted HBGary Federal for the development of software which could create multiple fake social media profiles to manipulate and sway public opinion on controversial issues by promoting propaganda. It could also be used as surveillance to find public opinions with points of view the powers-that-be didn’t like. It could then potentially have their “fake” people run smear campaigns against those “real” people. As disturbing as this is, it’s not really new for U.S. intelligence or private intelligence firms to do the dirty work behind closed doors.

    NATO-MATRIX or DISNEYLAND (part I) –> http://libyasos.blogspot.com/2011/06/nato-matrix-or-disneyland.html
    NATO-MATRIX or DISNEYLAND (part II) — > http://libyasos.blogspot.com/2011/06/nato-matrix-or-disneyland-part-ii.html

  • idealist707 said:

    Going back to pre-web days, on bulletin board
    were interactive text based programs which
    imitated situations like: visiting your psychiatrist.

    The web and its uses/misuses have advanced since then.

    Consider the next insidious milestone:

    Children get innoculations as babies.
    Soon, if not already, RFI will be added, in nanoform,
    to shots so the next generation will be
    carrying an ID, unknown but effective.
    None of us thinks twice about passing
    RFI scanners in stores. But they can be mounted just
    anywhere without being so obvious, Like:
    (make your own list here!)

    No, I’m neither against shots, fluorine, nor a

    Orchestrated media campaigns are as old as WW I.
    So why should any channel be free from forgeries,
    disinformation, etc.
    Planting incriminating or false evidence is an old
    as police. In ancient Rome, a young lawyer became
    famous revealing false evidence and witnesses created
    by the prosecution.

    The only new thing is technology. And if private
    persons can plant child porno on their neighbors
    PC, then the governments can too.

    Now who’re you gonna’ believe and trust?
    Your deceased mother? Maybe.
    Hi mom: It is you Mom?
    Or the famous line (lie?) from the plane
    which went down in Pennsyvania: “You do
    believe it’s me, Mom?”

    The next time you’re out and see a strange
    face, let your paranoia get a good grip on you!

    Good luck.

  • evergreenlibya said:

    Thanks, Martin, for the valuable info. Thought as much from my experiences on twitter.
    Here’s my attempt at countering these sites.

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