Tag: neocons

ShamiWitness: How Bellingcat and Neocons Collaborated with the Most Influential ISIS Propagandist on Twitter

How some of the best known Syria regime-change hustlers and “experts” helped transform the @ShamiWitness account from a cretinous troll into a credible “ISIS expert.”

By Mark Ames

Who remembers @ShamiWitness? At the peak of ISIS’s power, @ShamiWitness stood out as the genocidal militia group’s “most influential Twitter account” according to a Channel 4 exposé and a Kings College report. The @ShamiWitness account was followed by some two-thirds of foreign jihadis. But it went further than propogandizing Islamic State’s massacres and rapes: @Shamiwitness also actively recruited foreign jihadis and helped lead them through the ratlines in Turkey, into the ISIS killing fields in Syria and Iraq, as a George Washington University reportrevealed this year.

But I want to talk about the western “experts” in Washington and London who cozied up to @ShamiWitness — especially since all of them are still around, many of them bigger and more influential in our political discourse than ever. They’re the ones who built up @ShamiWitness’s social media capital, making his account so popular, and so effective, in recruiting ISIS murderers. Some of the best known Syria regime-change hustlers and “experts”—Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat and the Saudi-funded Atlantic Council; Charles Lister of the Saudi-funded Middle East Institute, former CNN “Syria expert” and Atlantic Council fellow Michael Weiss, all major figures promoting today’s RussiaGate hysteria—together helped transform the @ShamiWitness account from a cretinous troll into a credible “ISIS expert”. They validated and lent credibility to ShamiWitness as someone with deep, local insider knowledge, boosting ShamiWitness’s social capital their countless retweets, #FF’s, #Pt’s, and their numerous public interactions.

As it turned out, @ShamiWitness was a fake “Syria expert”. The millennial yuppie who ran the ShamiWitness account was as much an insider expert on ISIS as the western Syria hacks who boosted him. It wasn’t the “experts” like Bellingcat who unmasked ShamiWitness — quite the opposite, Bellingcat’s team played a major role in building him up as a credible expert. Rather, it was a Channel 4 report exposing ShamiWitness as a fake — but a very dark and dangerous fake, with very real world consequences. @ShamiWitness was run by a 24-year-old Indian marketing executive named Mehdi Masroor Biswas, who tweeted out ISIS and Syria “expertise” from his bachelor pad in Bangalore, India.

And just like that, the London and Washington Syria regime-change neocons who’d been boosting @ShamiWitness suddenly looked like fools — as well as ISIS accessories. Contrary to what they had all assumed, @ShamiWitness wasn’t the expert Syria insider he pretended to be. He spoke no Arabic; he was nowhere near Syria.

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Human Rights Watch (HRW) Praises Extreme War Hawk John McCain

Human Rights Watch (HRW) praised the extreme war hawk John McCain, while it has refused to oppose US military intervention in numerous countries.

By Ben Norton

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Why the Mere Idea That Neocon Senator Tom Cotton Might Run Trump’s CIA Is Terrifying

Strangelovian Senator Tom Cotton effusively advocates world war without end.

By Max Blumenthal

This article was originally published at AlterNet.

In a recent profile of Tom Cotton, the Wall Street Journal’s Jason Willick characterized the 40-year-old junior Republican senator from Arkansas as “hawkish and realistic” and described his worldview as “tinged with idealism.” Yet it was unclear what the unabashedly Strangelovian Cotton did to earn such a charitable description, as he rattled off a series of opinions that amounted to a call for world war without end.

Cotton told Willick he favored arming Japan and South Korea with nuclear weapons to counter North Korea, an unprecedented escalation that would bring the region a stride closer to armageddon. China, according to Cotton, is a “rival in every regard” that must be isolated economically and confronted militarily with aggressive freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea. (The senator ignored a recent Rand assessment that found the US could easily find itself outmatched in a duel with the Chinese military.) From eastern Europe to Asia to the Middle East, Cotton urged regime change operations to replace governments that resisted Pax Americana with “countries that share our principles.” On Iran, Cotton would accept nothing short of war, imagining a cakewalk that would only require “several days” of bombing, as he has previously said.

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