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US State Dept Defunds Twitter-Trolling ‘Iran Disinformation Project’

The U.S. State Department quietly announced over the weekend the defunding of a social media trolling project that targeted outspoken critics of the Trump administration’s foreign policy on Iran.

The Twitter account, @IranDisinfo, is run by the Iran Disinformation Project under the auspices of the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC), and “exposes and counters the nefarious influence of one of the world’s few remaining totalitarian regimes.”

At press time, the project’s website still listed the State Department’s GEC as its funding source, as seen in the screenshot below:

The state-sponsored, American taxpayer-funded troll project has received a backlash lately for targeting individuals, including journalists, and organizations online who are critical of U.S. foreign policy on Iran. One such organization, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), issued its own press release on Friday in response to the State Department’s announcement.

NIAC President Jamal Abdi called the development a “fine start” but added that more transparency is needed, specifically related to Trump administration officials and their connections to groups like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK):

“There are close ties between officials in the Trump Administration organizations involved in these attacks. We know that the President’s National Security Advisor John Bolton is fond of the MEK, has advocated publicly for the group, and has likely received payment in the form of speaking fees from this former terrorist organization. We also know that former senior FDD officials now sit in John Bolton’s National Security Council and that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – while he was the CIA Director – took the highly unusual step of declassifying documents and providing them exclusively to FDD to make the case for military action against Iran.”

It’s an open secret in Washington that MEK, the formerly designated terrorist group, could assume the reigns of power in Iran in the event of a U.S.-led regime change effort that topples the current government in Tehran.

@IranDisInfo on Twitter
The @IranDisinfo account on Twitter – previously funded by the U.S. State Department.

Antiwar.com reports…

The latest in a long line of US attempts at Internet-based propaganda gone wrong, the US State Department has announced that they are defunding the Iran Disinformation Project, which operates a website and a Twitter account which were intended to counter foreign propaganda.

The group had been funded through the Global Engagement Center of the State Department, and had amassed just around 2,700 followers on Twitter by echoing Trump Administration positions on Iran, and generally condemning the Iranian government.

The State Department said the bulk of this was “acceptable,” but the defunding came because of some “recent tweets” which had sparked a lot of complaints about what they’re actually up to.

With the US building up military forces around Iran, and taking other hawkish measures, the Twitter account was increasingly attacking critics of US policy, accusing those who were concerned about a war of being “stooges” for Iran.

Among those targeted was Jason Rezaian of the Washington Post, who they accused of “ignoring abuses by Tehran” in articles opposing escalation. Rezaian was detained within Iran as a prison for a year and a half.

READ MORE IRAN NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Iran Files




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