USCENTCOM and the Cyberwar against Libya By Martin Iqbal
6 August 2011 — Mathaba
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. 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.
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.
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:
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