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Conspiracy Theory

Endless Mayfly: Iran’s disinformation wing that attacked America, Israel, and Saudi Arabia online

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Endless Mayfly Irans disinformation wing that attacked America Israel and Saudi Arabia online

There are times when Iran seems to be one of the most sophisticated nations in the world when it comes to covert operations. They don’t have the level of techniques employed by espionage experts in the United States, Russia, or Israel, nor do they have the technical prowess of China or North Korea, but they have a level of deceptiveness that makes them formidable nonetheless.

But when it comes to disinformation campaigns, they’re ineptitude is almost comical, as Citizen Lab revealed early this morning. The media and technology watchdog and research group has built a reputation for uncovering some of the most complex disinformation schemes conducted across the internet. Their comprehensive uncovering of Endless Mayfly is another huge feather in their bountiful cap.

Here are the key findings from their report:

  • Endless Mayfly is an Iran-aligned network of inauthentic personas and social media accounts that spreads falsehoods and amplifies narratives critical of Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Israel.
  • Endless Mayfly publishes divisive content on websites that impersonate legitimate media outlets. Inauthentic personas are then used to amplify the content into social media conversations. In some cases, these personas also privately and publicly engage journalists, political dissidents, and activists.
  • Once Endless Mayfly content achieves social media traction, it is deleted and the links are redirected to the domain being impersonated. This technique creates an appearance of legitimacy, while obscuring the origin of the false narrative. We call this technique “ephemeral disinformation”.
  • Our investigation identifies cases where Endless Mayfly content led to incorrect media reporting and caused confusion among journalists, and accusations of intentional wrongdoing. Even in cases where stories were later debunked, confusion remained about the intentions and origins behind the stories.
  • Despite extensive exposure of Endless Mayfly’s activity by established news outlets and research organizations, the network is still active, albeit with some shifts in tactics.

It was initially believed the organization was a Russian proxy, but their techniques and subjects eventually pointed to a likelihood of Iran being involved. While Citizen Lab rightly proclaims a likelihood instead of certainty of Iranian involvement, the data seems to be so clearly linked to Iran that there are only two reasonable explanations: either it is someone trying awfully hard to appear to be linked to Iran, or it’s Iran.

I’m going with the latter.

Their favored technique seems to be establishing fake websites with names close enough to legitimate websites that they’re able to fool prolific social media users and eager journalists dying for a juicy story. Buzzfeed News fell victim to one such instance on a website that looked identical to The Guardian, but that used a URL with a Turkish symbol replacing the “i” in “Guardian.”

They weren’t the only ones fooled. This operation seems to be quite vast.

Endless Mayfly

But there were other obvious signs of falsehood that should have been noticed by the “useful idiots” propagating their disinformation. One article linked to from the report shows plenty of errors that a trained journalist should have noticed, and in this case, he did.

On November 5, 2018, Ali Al-Ahmed, a Washington-based expert in terrorism in the Gulf states and a vocal critic of Saudi Arabia, received a direct message on Twitter from “Mona A. Rahman” (@Mona_ARahman, now suspended).

After engaging in some polite conversation in Arabic with Al-Ahmed, “Mona” shared what appeared to be an article from the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center. The article contained a purported quote from former Mossad director Tamir Pardo, alleging that former Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman had been dismissed by Netanyahu for being a Russian agent. These allegations, if true, might reasonably be expected to strain relations between Russia and Israel.

The story sent to Al-Ahmed is so loaded with spelling and grammatical mistakes, it’s a wonder anyone could get fooled if this is indicative of the quality of Iran’s disinformation work.

Fake News Endless Mayfly

If we assume Iran is, indeed, behind all of this, what does that tell us? We know tensions have been rising between Iran and both the U.S. and Israel. We can assume if they’ve been working at this since at least early 2016, they’ve had an agenda that extended to long before President Trump was elected. They probably found it unlikely he would be. So their goals weren’t to influence the U.S. elections as much as they were intended to shift sentiment from the rest of the world towards the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

The full report is a wonderful read. As research on such topics, this one is exhaustive and enlightening.

But it still doesn’t answer the question of what this all means for the geopolitical positioning of Iran. They clearly want something, but that something has very likely changed since inception. Their economy was starting to flourish when President Obama was in office. Under President Trump, their economy has begun a rapid fall, prompting alleged actions ranging from sabotaging oil tankers to preparing to strike U.S. targets. They are desperate, and having access to a disinformation organization may help them seed discontent with the United States as our military stance in the Persian Gulf becomes more aggressive.

Iran has been acting like a wild animal cornered by superior forces ever since President Trump started pulling back the layers of protection given to them by President Obama. What will they do next? Their desperation is showing.

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Watch: Trump at CPAC implicating Bill Clinton at Epstein Island

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Watch Trump at CPAC implicating Bill Clinton at Epstein Island

Full quote:

Sean Hannity: Bill Clinton

Donald Trump: a nice guy, got a lot of problems coming up, in my opinion, with the famous island with Jeffrey Epstein, a lot of problems.

What does it mean?

Trump heavily implied Bill Clinton partook in the sexual acts at the infamous acts on Jeffrey Epstein’s island. However there are a number of reasons Trump could be saying these things. Donald Trump is not afraid to take a conspiracy theory by the horns, especially since his campaign was built on saying that which other candidates won’t. Violating conventional wisdom was part of his appeal, and very few politicians at the time, 3 plus years ago, would have made that claim. Therein lies the possibility, however slim, of Trump blowing smoke.

Secondly, Trump could be outing Bill Clinton because he knows it’s true. Bill Clinton’s finger prints on this pedophile playland are well documented. There are a score of flight logs and those flight logs contain the initials of several, what are believe to be victims. Fox News reported back in 2016:

Clinton’s presence aboard Jeffrey Epstein’s Boeing 727 on 11 occasions has been reported, but flight logs show the number is more than double that, and trips between 2001 and 2003 included extended junkets around the world with Epstein and fellow passengers identified on manifests by their initials or first names, including “Tatiana.” The tricked-out jet earned its Nabakov-inspired nickname because it was reportedly outfitted with a bed where passengers had group sex with young girls.

The flight logs are required to be filed with the Federal Aviation Administration.

There report also included a picture. Still, if Trump knew about all of this, it raises questions why he did not champion this during his campaign, seeing as many Americans if they knew such things were going on would raise hell about it. Raising awareness and making this issue the focal point of the news cycle was certainly achievable for the Trump campaign. Instead, Trump’s comments are almost in passing and rather unemotional, given the gravity of the accusations. At best for Bill Clinton, Trump is merely implying that Bill Clinton could have legal trouble, not necessarily that he’s guilty of anything.

Trump could also have something to hide, in regards to his association with Jeffrey Epstein. This would be the worst case scenario: “a takes on to know one” sort of affair. If Trump is fully aware of Bill Clinton’s escapades, it could be because Trump is also a participant. This is not a statement of what is likely; instead it is honest speculation of what possibilities are conceivable. What I am saying is that it is more conceivable that Trump partook in these activities than Brett Kavanaugh raped some professor, simply because the connection between Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein is well-documented. Vice referred to Sex Island as “The Salacious Ammo Even Donald Trump Won’t Use in a Fight Against Hillary Clinton” back in 2016. And while that is the Leftist media talking, The Daily Wire also floated such suspicions. Though the Daily Wire alleged Trump visited the island, though the aforementioned Vice article it linked to only asserted that Trump visited Epstein’s stateside residences. While Trump’s connections with Jeffrey Epstein can be explained by two New York moguls networking, other comments by Trump cannot be. Specifically his 2002 comments in New York Magazine:

“I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”

Perhaps Trump doesn’t know how young, but Trump would have to be really bad at being a pedophile to make a slip up this bad. 2002 was during the period of time when Bill Clinton was flying to Sex Slave Island. This quote is more damning, less explainable than Epstein pleading the fifth when questioned about Donald Trump in 2010. But in anticipating a light sentence, perhaps Epstein didn’t want to burn bridges and perhaps he wanted to leave blackmail opportunities open in the future. Or perhaps Trump had details that would further implicate Epstein, thus pleading the fifth was the most strategic course of action. The situation leaves many questions unanswered.

Shortlist of things we do know about Trump and Epstein

Trump and Epstein are acquainted. The Trump administration is prosecuting Jeffrey Epstein with a Trump appointed attorney in the Southern District of New York. Alexander Acosta is a creature of the Bush administration. This case has the potential to be a catalyst for far more scandals.

Opinion

It’s most likely Trump is more informed on the Bill Clinton Jeffrey Epstein interactions than he let on back in 2016. However his own connection is up for debate. Conservative media cannot be an ostrich head in the sand when it comes to this, especially when in 2016, Conservative media floated the very allegations the Left is floating now. Still, if Trump is a pedophile participant, it is entirely counter to his interest to allow the Justice Department to investigate Jeffrey Epstein. If Trump is innocent, an innocent person would be cheering for the investigation allowing it to take down all involved parties. It’s a positive sign that the Trump administration is prosecuting Jeffrey Epstein, especially after his sweetheart deal. The only people who do not take pedophilia seriously are people with something to hide, and, by looks, Trump is taking this more seriously than he would if he were guilty of anything.

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Conspiracy Theory

Bill Clinton invokes Sergeant Schultz about Jeffrey Epstein

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Bill Clinton invokes Sergeant Schultz about Jeffrey Epstein

Those old enough to remember Hogan’s Heroes likely know exactly what Bill Clinton’s staff said regarding Jeffrey Epstein following the billionaire sex offender’s arrest in New Jersey last week. For he younger readers, here’s a clue about the former President’s reaction:

Clinton, who has been attached to Epstein for two decades, has long denied speculation that he participated in rumored “orgies” at Epstein’s private getaway spot where he allegedly trafficked underage girls to have sex with his cronies.

According to Fox News, Clinton is playing the Sergeant Schultz card:

Bill Clinton “knows nothing” about the “terrible crimes” linked to Jeffrey Epstein, the former president’s spokesman said Monday, in Clinton’s first statement after new sex-trafficking charges were lobbed against the wealthy financier.

An indictment alleging sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy was unsealed Monday morning against Epstein, the wealthy and politically connected financier who pleaded not guilty during his initial appearance in a New York City federal court. Prosecutors allege Epstein, the 66-year-old wealthy hedge fund manager arrested on Saturday, preyed on “dozens” of victims as young as 14.

“In 2002 and 2003, President Clinton took a total of four trips on Jeffrey Epstein’s airplane: one to Europe, one to Asia, and two to Africa, which included stops in connection with the work of the Clinton Foundation,” the statement said. “Staff, supporters of the foundation, and his Secret Service detail traveled on every leg of every trip. He had one meeting with Epstein in his Harlem office in 2002, and around the same time made one brief visit to Epstein’s New York apartment with a staff member and his security detail. He’s not spoken to Epstein in well over a decade, and he has never been to Little St. James Island, Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico, or his residence in Florida.”

Documents obtained by Fox News in 2016 showed that Clinton took at least 26 trips flying aboard Epstein’s private jet, known as the “Lolita Express,” and apparently ditched his Secret Service detail on some of the excursions. Separetely, claims in court showed that President Trump may have flown on the jet at least once, as well.

It’s too early to speculate who, if anyone, will be implicated as a result of Epstein’s arrest, but rumors of powerful men being involved in Epstein’s sex crimes does not bode well for a former president attached to prior sexual misconduct.

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Conservative Grifters: Imam Mohamad Tawhidi

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Conservative Grifters Imam Mohamad Tawhidi

This is a series of articles featuring prominent voices on the right whose ulterior motives are questionable at best and nefarious at worst. The unfortunate habit of people on the right, who feel marginalized by the mainstream media, is elevating a number of alternative voices, many merely taking advantage of the large demand for counter-leftist media, without vetting their backgrounds, beliefs, or methods.

Indeed there are a number of voices championed by the right who are not Conservative by any means, among them Andy Ngo, Dave Rubin, and Tim Pool, but these individuals are transparent about their beliefs. The Grifter, in sharp contrast, is not transparent about their beliefs or motivations, rather they are acutely aware of their audience, what they want to hear, and most importantly the narrative they want to stop hearing. This week’s installment will focus on Imam Mohamad Tawhidi, a man who wears the titles the Bishop of Grift, Imam of Peace, and Fake Sheikh.

Not A Real Muslim?

Imam Mohamad Tawhidi’s rise to prominence in the media began down under after raising attention of a conspiracy of Australia’s Muslim community secretly working to establish a taxpayer funded Caliphate. The claims accumulated into calls for the Australian government to ban the construction of Islamic centers and mosques. It’s important to note that majority of Muslims in Australia are Sunni, but this distinction merits further detail. On the rise of media prominence and speaking engagements, the Imam of Peace spoke at the the World Alliance of Religions Peace Summit (or WARP Summit) in South Korea. And while the name of this summit sounds innocuous, the host nation, Republic of Korea, pays little mind to a summit that invites leaders from around the world. Korean Observer reports:

The event is officially hosted by Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), the International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG), the International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), and the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (ICD), three of which are allegedly controlled by SCJ’s leadership.

Now the SCJ or the Shincheonji Church of Jesus the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony is a heretical cult in South Korea led by the Korea equivalent of Joseph Smith, Lee Man-hee. Meaning, the purpose of this summit is to grant legitimacy to a Korean cult. Yet, the Imam of Peace can certainly use these speaking engagements to advance the credibility of this message, for many of the international guest speakers are unaware of who Lee Man-hee is. In fact, attending such farce events is where the title “Imam of Peace” came from.

Going back to his rise in Australia, Imam Mohomad Tawhidi also gain credibility through the skillful naming of his organization. ABC Australia reported:

The name of Tawhidi’s organisation – the Islamic Association of South Australia – should be an immediate indication that something is not quite right: its resemblance to the real peak representative body for South Australian Muslims – the Islamic Society of South Australia – could be seen as a ploy to derive legitimacy through mistaken identity. Deliberate or not, the Rotary Club of Adelaide was certainly taken in by it, proclaiming him to be the South Australian Muslim community’s “top man.”

Tawhidi is not recognised as an Imam or Sheikh by either the Australian National Imams Council or its South Australian equivalent, nor is he affiliated with any Australian mosque or prayer centre. The only religious instruction he offers is a self-described “university standard” Islamic Studies class delivered from a rented classroom at the University of South Australia.

Australian Muslims have denounced him years ago, and American Muslims followed suit. In order to defend his claims, of Islam, one would have to presume to know more about being a true Muslim than those who denounce him. For comparison, many people who claim to be Christians are propagated by the leftist media, but are no more than outright heretics preaching a Social Justice Gospel. John Pavlovizt is one of the most prominent examples of someone claiming to be a Christian while preaching a pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality, and pantheistic message.

The phenomenon of false teachers and heretics that plagues Christianity has been present for endless generations yet Islam, within the respective Sunni and Shia confines, can boast hegemony in doctrine. Even rival Islamic terrorist organizations largely believe the same exact thing: that they will be the ones to establish the Caliphate, preparing the world for the coming Mahdi. Yet, the latest rebrandings of Al-Qaeda will denounce the Islamic State for not pumping the brakes or for not being in the “proper” group. For Shia Islam, which Tawhidi claims, the doctrine flows from the Ayatollahs in Iran.

But those who buy into the game Imam Mohamad Tawhidi is playing are not concerned with the intricacies of Islam, rather they are concerned with not appearing Islamophobic. This reasoning is entirely petty, superficial, and short-lived. While those who believe that John Pavlovizt is a Christian simply want validation for the sin in their own lives so they can continue living an unrepentant lifestyle, the people on the right are not using Imam Mohamad Tawhidi’s personal branding of Islam to claim Islam in their own lives or validate their relationship with Allah. Instead they are painting metaphorical lamb’s blood on their door frame as a defense from being called an Islamophobe.

There is no other reason for some random Imam to become the Bishop of Grift on the right, as the right is disinterested in converting to Islam. Instead he is providing a service of criticizing Islam for individuals who do not have the testicular fortitude to do so on their own. But without his false identity as an Imam, he would have no platform. Imam Mohamad Tawhidi is keenly aware of this and has been courting what the media calls “far right” groups for years in multiple countries. The best case scenario is that he is a man of Persian origins proclaiming what people want to hear while claiming to also be an Islamic reformist.

Or Complete Islamist?

There is a far more nefarious possibility as to the motivations behind Imam Mohamad Tawhidi’s grifting. Jordan Schachtel of Conservative Review reports:

But as Tawhidi continues his meteoric rise, leaders within the Muslim Reform Movement have begun to notice that Tawhidi doesn’t seem to have any credentials, nor does he have much of a public record beyond last year.

Even more disturbing allegations have surfaced, alleging that he’s actually a Shiite Islamist who is making a concerted effort to persecute Sunni Muslims through extrajudicial means.

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a U.S. Navy veteran who has dedicated his life to reforming Islam, has declared Tawhidi a “radical of a different flavor.” In a piece for the Asia Times, Jasser notes that for all his tough talk on Sunni strains of Islam, Tawhidi does not say much about the radical Shiite movements inspired by Iran.

“His religious and educational programming originates in Bashar al-Assad’s Syria and radical Shia strains in Iraq and Iran,” Jasser writes.

Shireen Qudosi, another Muslim reformist, also shared her suspicions about the imam’s true intentions and ideology. Like Jasser, she suspects he could be a Shiite Islamist who is conning Westerners into promoting his ideology.

This article was published after a suspicious tweetstorm in which Imam Mohamad Tawhidi called for laws that would violate almost every Bill of Rights in the US Constitution, though not in reference to the US. When almost all of his criticism levied against Islam is levied against Sunni Islam we should question whether he is actually a Shi’ite Muslim. After all in his own words, “Islam can never ever ever be reformed.” If he believes that then why stay in the “your religion is better than mine” grift? Why not convert to another and have a meaningful story to tell in that area? Perhaps he is more of a Shi’ite “radical” than we thought. So he is either trying to regain prominence with the establishment in Iran or is their plant in western culture achieving purposes such as denouncing Sunnis.

This scheme is compatible with Islam because Islam is extremely fatalistic. After all, in Islam, you are “saved” if Allah wills it. In theory and practice, you can lie, cheat, kill all in the name of Allah and retain favor with Allah. Otherwise, Tawhidi’s blaspheming is wholly incompatible with Islam.

Conclusion

The false identity of the Imam of Peace is a clear indication that he is a Grifter. However his grift has two possible endgames. He could be someone keenly aware of the desire to criticize Islam without being labeled “Islamophobic”, so he assumed an identity to fulfill this need achieving fame in the process. Or he is a hardcore Shi’ite with unknown ends and seemingly counterintuitive means. The enigma is arguable on either side, but the point that he is nothing more than a Grifter stands with little counter, and his contributions to the Conservative movement are nil. Conservative would be wise to part ways with Imam Mohamad Tawhidi so that he may not use us to achieve his goals whether they be terror or simply fame and fortune.

This is the first installment on the the Grifters on the Right. We will be continuing the series called Conservative Grifters, so stay tuned to learn more and support NOQ Report.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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