Twitter, Facebook look engaged in U.S. policy, Armenian blogger says
February 7, 2011
(PanARMENIAN.Net) – Twitter and Facebook social networks are likely to be directly engaged in the U.S. policy, according to an Armenian blogger.
“With their central servers located in the U.S., these companies have to be subordinate to American laws and operate in the interested of the United States,” information security expert Tigran Kocharyan said in a conversation with a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.
“The recent events in Egypt evidence of these websites’ policy, obviously coordinated with the White House. Parallel to Obama’s calls on Mubarak to start a dialogue with the opposition, Twitter and Facebook launched a campaign to support the rioters. Moreover, these companies helped the Egyptian opposition reach internet bypassing the governmental ban,” he said.
Kocharyan noted that the processing of so-called “twitter revolutions” started in 2009 in Moldavia and was successfully continued in cases with Iran, Tunisia and Egypt.
“The example of Egypt proved that total internet cutoff could not suppress the ‘twitter revolution’, which can be counterbalanced through monitoring and control over social networks only,” he said.
See also Inteltrends’ Special Report:
The role of social networking websites in global unrest
By Steve in Wisconsin
January 29, 2011
During the anti-government protests following Iran’s 2009 election it was reported that protestors were using social networking sites, such as Twitter, to muster their forces. Iran accused Western powers of having a hand in the rebellion and coordinating these activities via the internet. The same social networks played a role in ‘color revolutions’ in Europe and elsewhere.
Allegations that Facebook, Twitter, and Google in particular, serve the interests of intelligence agencies abound; Twitter serving primarily in rapid communications of short messages and instructions.
Social networking played a role in ousting Tunisian president Zine Al Ben Ali. So much so, in fact, that Egyptian authorities quickly shut down the internet at the onset of the uprising there this week.
Social networks as assets of the authorities
As a former law enforcement officer I see the investigative advantages of social networking sites, particularly Facebook.
Facebook links individuals with their friends, family members, acquaintances and social circles. Photographs of all of these people are available – having been voluntarily submitted by the people themselves. The worldwide popularity of Facebook extends to young and old alike, rich and poor, successful or impoverished. From simply a police perspective, a fugitive, drug dealer or criminal can be quickly linked to family and friends — intelligence that can point to his or her whereabouts, criminal associates, and those likely to hide him from authorities. Top this off with high-resolution photos of everyone involved and you have an indispensible investigative tool that extends from the local level up to global intelligence.
Google complements social networks in collecting information
With regard to Google, does anyone but me think it’s unusual that a “search engine” engages in satellite photography (Google Earth) and photographing city streets and neighborhoods (Google Street View)? Google’s acquisition of Blogger, Feedburner, and other web assets help to assemble pieces of an intelligence puzzle, i.e. the subscriber lists to blog newsfeeds and emails, the identity of blog owners, which blogs link to other blogs having common political or ideological interests, etc. Recent allegations that Google was involved in collecting information about home wireless networks shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
Could social networking backfire on the West?
The same networks that were instrumental in fomenting Iran’s anti-government protests now appear to have been used by Tunisians and Egyptians seeking to overthrow their respective governments. The recent article in Algeria’s Ennahar newspaper, titled “Facebook, a U.S. program to bring down Arab regimes“, may have it all wrong. Rather than being used by America to ‘bring down Arab regimes’ it appears that Facebook and Twitter may have been harnessed by the masses to bring down pro-U.S. regimes instead.
The inherent danger of social networking sites is the ability to use this format for secret communications.
I bought a book in South Africa in the early 1980s, set during the waning days of Rhodesia’s white rule, wherein the phrase “See you in November” was used in telephone conversations to convey the message that a covert SAS operation was a “go” – the phrase itself being so innocent when used in general conversation that anyone listening in would be oblivious to what was being communicated. The same applies to social networking sites today. Instructions can be conveyed to hundreds or even thousands of individuals by posting messages of seemingly innocent nature. This may yet come back to bite the West in the backside.
America has long associated freedom of speech and internet access as indicators of the level of democracy in foreign lands. Governments such as China, for example, are routinely condemned for blocking access to Facebook, Google and YouTube. However, it is precisely because these governments are aware of the threat posed by these sites that they are blocked. China learned the power of the internet first hand when the Falun Gong religious sect mobilized 10,000 followers at a moments notice to protest against the government. This was a wake-up call for the Chinese who promptly banned the sect and blocked their website.
Using social networks to implement regime change
The full extent of social networking sites’ ability to topple governments has yet to be seen but it is likely that pro-Western authoritarian regimes will be targeted. As I wrote in an earlier article (deleted when Blogger/Google closed down my previous newsblog, hence I’m on WordPress now) the unrest in North Africa, the Caucasus, Middle East and Central Asia must be viewed within the larger context of an Islamic Caliphate, rather than as mere regional conflicts within the Islamic world. Until analysts see “the big picture” the situation will continue to deteriorate and Western interference in these conflicts will only exacerbate the problem.
UPDATE: See also:
Google Launches Service Letting Egyptians Tweet by Phone
Egypt: Google executive will become a ‘hero’ of the revolution upon release
Twitter, Facebook look engaged in U.S. policy, Armenian blogger says
Egypt: Google ‘very, very proud’ of cyber revolutionary
Steve in Wisconsin is a former deputy sheriff with travels in Africa, Asia and Central America. His primary blog is inteltrends.wordpress.com.
Revised since originally posted.
The following article is reprinted with permission from Kavkaz Center, Caucasus Emirate news agency.
Is U.S. ready to betray Georgia?
© Kavkaz Center
May 17, 2010 15:17 Emirate time
Some American experts believe that Obama’s administration for the sake of good relations with Russia is ready to betray Georgia and Moldova, which rely on U.S. help in opposition with Moscow.
For confirmation of the brought charge a senior transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, David J. Kramer, in the Washington Post cites the statement of the U.S. president Barrack Obama on the situation in Georgia.
Last Tuesday, in a message accompanying the White House’s resubmission to Congress of a nuclear cooperation pact with Russia, Obama declared that the situation in Georgia need no longer be considered an obstacle. Obama in his message justified in detail his support for “123 agreement” with Russia. The president said that he approves the proposed agreement and believes it would strengthen the overall defense and security of the United States.
It is to be mentioned that the agreement was signed in May 2008 in Moscow, it establishes the basic principles of cooperation between the two countries in the development of peaceful atomic energy. In September of the same year the administration of former U.S. president George W. Bush withdrew the agreement from Congress in the aftermath of Russian-Georgian military conflict.
As Obama noted in his message, the situation in Georgia now no longer needs to be considered an obstacle to proceeding with congressional review of the agreement. In addition, the president considers important U.S.-Russian cooperation on Iran’s nuclear issue.
Obama believes that the progress in the development of this issue is embodied in a wide range of bilateral decisions and documents, including the case of a new treaty on strategic offensive arms, signed recently in Prague.
It is to be noted that the approval of agreements on the peaceful atom in the Congress passes through simplified procedure. If it will not raise any objections against it, the agreement would automatically come into force 90 days after sending it to Congress. To block the document congressmen should adopt a special resolution. The president has the right to veto the decision of Congress. Congressmen, in turn, may revoke the veto, and if 2/3 members of this body vote for its abolition.
Agreement on the peaceful atom, if approved by Congress, would be concluded for a period of 30 years and permits the transfer on the basis of the relevant licenses, of technology, materials, equipment, and components for nuclear research and nuclear power production. Under the agreement, Russia and the U.S. will be able to sell nuclear technology for commercial purposes. The processing of radioactive fuel could become a very profitable business in Russia, experts say.
Last week, however, several congressmen said that the agreement on the peaceful atom would be too great of a concession to Russia by the United States. According to lawmakers, Russia without a proper zeal is involved in the adoption and implementation of sanctions against Iran in connection with the threat of a nuclear military program in this state. Some lawmakers have proposed to consider the document only after Russia shows its attitude towards Iran by deeds. Let’s note that the Congress, discussing the submitted document, said nothing about the treachery of the United States of Georgia and Moldova.
The Obama administration’s interest in reviving the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty from which Russia suspended its compliance at the end of 2007 raises similar concerns. Moscow refused to comply with Istanbul Commitments, signed in 1999, in which Russia pledged to withdraw its forces from Georgia and Moldova.
In the end of last year Russia offered to restore the CFE. According to experts, the Obama administration will betray Georgia and Moldova, if it stops insisting on the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of these countries.
According to experts, the U.S. should continue to declare that the occupation of Moscow in these countries is unacceptable, and demand to solve this situation.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Moldova insists on a speedy withdrawal of Russian troops from Transnistria. This issue has been discussed both at the bilateral talks between Moldova and Russia, and within the competent international organizations, in particular the OSCE and the UN. The parties have not come to agreement so far.
Department of Monitoring