BuzzFeed News reports that a woman who was seen going viral in the #IraniansDetestSoleimani campaign on Twitter is actually an actress lobbyist, Saghar Erica Kasraie, who previously used to lobby for a Libyan militia. This comes on the heels of a new report which shows that the U.S. is involved in a covert tech program to aid the protests.
Kasraie is the modern century Nayirah al-Ṣabaḥ, using Twitter as the new form of media to go viral with a fake story of support. BuzzFeed did some deep digging and what they uncovered was that Kasraie had been featured as a registered lobbyist.
The video titled: “Truth From an Iranian,” which has amassed more than 10 million views across Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, is a fraud that is helping the hashtag “#IraniansDetestSoleimani” go viral.
In the video, Kasraie describes herself as an “Iranian activist,” she then goes on to express joy stating: “Iranians were celebrating Soleimani’s death, thanking Trump, and giving out cakes on the street as a symbol of their joy. I feel like we’re living in the Twilight Zone, guys. I’m completely outraged at this notion that the propaganda machine that is the media is glorifying Qassem Soleimani,” she says in the video.
BuzzFeed News reports that Kasraie previously worked “for Linden Government Solutions, a Texas-based lobbying firm hired to represent the Libyan National Army, a militia in the north African country led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, a former officer in Muammar al-Qaddafi’s government who spent much of the last two decades living in Virginia, during which time he worked with the CIA.”
The news outlet found public documents that were filed through the Foreign Agent Registration Act which showed she worked as a part-time lobbyist last year. Her lobbying activity was previously reported on by Al-Monitor.
Beyond that, Fox News described her as an adviser to the National Iranian Congress which is a dissident group with headquarters in Washington, DC. Absolutely no red flags there at all, if the above wasn’t enough!
For those not old enough to remember, Nayirah was a 15-year-old girl who falsely testified in front of Congress in October 1990. Nayirah claimed to be a refugee and hospital missionary of the maternity ward of Al Adan hospital in Kuwait City, stating she witnessed Iraqi soldiers steal the incubators and leave 312 infants to die. Shortly after was the launch of Operation Desert Storm by then President George Herbert Walker Bush. Nayirah lied about her identity; she was actually the daughter of Kuwait Ambassador to the United States at the time and member of the Kuwait royal family, Saud bin Nasir Al-Sabah. Nayirah had no connection to the hospital at all and, in fact, she was instructed on how to give her testimony by a U.S. public relations firm Hill and Knowlton.
If that’s not enough, the U.S. has been actively aiding the protesters with a covert technology policy, under the branch of the $65.5 million “Internet Freedom program” to be utilized in troubled spots throughout the world.
Additionally, under Clinton’s state department in 2011 and the previous George Bush administration the CIA secretly financed Syrian political opposition groups and related projects, including a satellite TV channel Barada TV according to diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks.
While another 2006 cable reveals the Bush administration tried to award $5 million in grants to “accelerate the work of reformers in Syria.” But no dissidents inside Syria were willing to take the money, fearing it would lead to their arrest or execution for treason.
Thanks to Jeremy Hammond and Wikileaks releasing the Stratfor files it’s known British and American special forces were already on the ground advising anti-Assad militants in the first year of the current Syrian conflict.
Which coincidentally enough started in 2011, while the CIA was running an ongoing propaganda campaign in Syria.
Even more damning is a leaked U.S. diplomatic cable from 2006 revealed by Wikileaks shows that the U.S. Embassy in Damascus had discussed plans to destabilize the Assad government by exploiting “potential vulnerabilities” 5 years before the conflict started.
Months ago U.S. Secretary Of State, Mike Pompeo used Twitter to urge Iranians in the streets to send the State Department any damning videos that would implicate Tehran’s leaders and police in human rights abuses.
Now, the State Department is bragging about its new program in Iran which includes “providing apps, servers and other technology to help people communicate, visit banned websites, install anti-tracking software and navigate data shutdowns,” according to FT.
Financial Times reports Washington’s ‘covert’ efforts are steadily increasing, and are more out in the open:
US government-funded technology companies have recorded an increase in the use of circumvention software in Iran in recent weeks after boosting efforts to help Iranian anti-regime protesters thwart internet censorship and use secure mobile messaging.
The outreach is part of a US government program dedicated to internet freedom that supports dissident pressure inside Iran and complements America’s policy of “maximum pressure” over the regime. A US state department official told the Financial Times that since protests in Iran in 2018 — at the time the largest in almost a decade — Washington had accelerated efforts to provide Iranians more options on how they communicate with each other and the outside world.
“We work with technological companies to help free flow of information and provide circumvention tools thathelped in [last week’s] protest,” a US state department official told the FT. “We are able to sponsor VPNs — and that allows Iranians to use the internet.”
If that wasn’t enough, journalist Caitlin Johnstone pointed out in January 2018 that one year prior the CIA set up a new organization tasked with focusing on Iran.
“Back in June the Wall Street Journal published a report saying that America’s Central Intelligence Agency had set up a new organization whose sole task would be to focus on Iran under the direction of “Ayatollah Mike” D’andrea, an aggressive Iran hawk,” Johnstone wrote.
One of Anonymous Bites Back hosts, YourMarkLubbers, previously expressed that the trend was being fueled by VPNs which originated from NATO countries and noted that the timing of the trend pushed the hashtag “NoWarWithIran” down in ranking. Lubbers isn’t the only one to express disbelief that the pro-war hashtag was authentic; a Medium writer, Geoff Golberg, who is founder of Social Forensics also pointed out red flags in his piece entitled: “Inauthentic Twitter Accounts Continue Pushing For War With Iran.”
Golberg went on to describe how fake accounts were used to push the “#IraniansDetestSoleimani” hashtag viral.
Social Forensics sampled over 100K tweets (from Jan 6th and 7th) that include the #IraniansDetestSoleimani hashtag.
Next, we compared the accounts from that dataset with the accounts appearing in the graph shared earlier in this post.
Of the 5,454 (active) accounts from said graph, 998 (18%) resurfaced when looking into the #IraniansDetestSoleimani hashtag.
Translated: nearly 1/5th of the accounts (998) identified in our post from October have recently tweeted, retweeted or were mentioned in tweets where #IraniansDetestSoleimani appears
Notable for the reader of the accounts that Golberg looked into, 22 were Following @IranDisinfo when the (connections) data was sourced. IranDisinfo was run by the Iran Disinformation Project, a state-funded initiative that had their funding ($1.5 million grant from State Department) suspended in May, as a result of trolling activists.
The author also wrote another article previously showing these accounts appear to be, “State-Sponsored Twitter Accounts Pushing For War With Iran.”
Faking cyber trends are just some of the tricks of the trade that the CIA uses to destabilize a country. For more on destabilization of countries see this authors previous articles on CIA involvement in both Iran and Syria.