back to article Criticalstudies.org sounds pretty important, right? Wrong: USA says it’s an Iranian fake news front

On US presidential election day, 3 November, the nation's Federal Bureau of Investigation acted to seize 27 domains it says Iran used to conduct disinformation campaigns. FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig D Fair said the domains were used by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) "in attempt to manipulate public …

  1. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Meanwhile in London...

    ... the recent work of a Mr. S. Bailey goes unmolested.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meanwhile in London...

      The information may be correct, in which case, go after TfL themselves.

      That site is just a partisan hit job against Khan, and I have no horse in the race.

      Also, completely off-topic and unrelated.. Your site is it?

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: Meanwhile in London...

        completely off-topic and unrelated

        Hardly. Political disinformation masquerading as fact is not uniquely originated by foreign states we may happen to have taken a dislike to. Going after the Iranians or the Russians or the Chinese is just displacement activity: endemic domestic disinformation is the real problem.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Meanwhile in London...

          @"endemic domestic disinformation is the real problem."

          Is there a difference?

          Russians with it's fake Antifa website and twitter accounts pretending to be an organized terrorist unit with a command structure, Trump did the 'antifa are an organized terrorist unit', thing. Two sides, fake antagonist and fake protagonist. Part Republican, part Russian. A ying and yang double act. Get a room you two, preferably with steel bars and a toilet in the corner.

          Domestic propaganda working with foreign agent propaganda. What's the difference.

          Without the US side, the Iranians simply made a website with no traction. It's like the zerohedge guys from Bulgaria, they don't have traction without the US media pumping their site they don't get many views:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_Hedge

          "In September 2009, news reports identified Daniel Ivandjiiski, a Bulgarian-born, U.S.-educated,[d] former hedge-fund trader, who was barred from the securities industry in September 2008 for earning US$780 from an insider trade by FINRA,[36] as the founder of the site, and reported that "Tyler Durden" was a pseudonym for Ivandjiiski."

          It's often cited as a US right wing source, while actually being a Bulgarian source often running some Russian set pieces. I've seen it quote recently here on elReg:

          "On 20 November 2019, NBC News reported Zero Hedge as the initial source of a "misleading claim about the head of the Ukrainian energy company at the heart of the House impeachment inquiry", which went viral during the impeachment hearings."

          Iran should have paid a Republican and done a proper co-ordinated effort. One American Network, Breitbart, Paul Manasfort, all for hire.

          Trump is only anti-Iran because he's supposed to drive them towards Russia. Iran could have simply done a deal with Putin with quid-pro-quo for Trump and he'd be inviting them to Camp David!

          Don't believe me? Well Trump invited the Taliban to Camp David, even has Russian was paying Taliban to kill US troops!

          I've never heard of that website from Iran, I bet if you did the page count it would be nothing, FBI probably did more promotion for it than it ever got in real life.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Meanwhile in London...

          >>> "Hardly. Political disinformation masquerading as fact is not uniquely originated by foreign states we may happen to have taken a dislike to. Going after the Iranians or the Russians or the Chinese is just displacement activity: endemic domestic disinformation is the real problem." <<<

          As the original OP, I completely agree, and humbly retract my post. I missed the bit about "going unmolested" and thought you were posting that article as a legitimate story, not highlighting its disinformation. Hence my questioning it's validity and also criticising you(!) for it's obvious bias (and as I implied, I have no knowledge one way or the other on the TfL workings, but the site is an obvious hatchet-job, and I reacted in full angry-keyboard-warrior-mode)

          [Downvote replaced with an upvote]

      2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: Meanwhile in London...

        It's the Tory mayoral challenger's site. I think the op was suggesting it is also fake news, but it isn't - it's hyperpartisan, but the facts it spins are real.

        1. Warm Braw Silver badge

          Re: Meanwhile in London...

          it's hyperpartisan

          But masquerading as a factual site: the only clue to its political origin is that Shaun Bailey's name appears in the footer and his address given as "4 Matthew Parker Street" - aka Conservative Party HQ. No party branding appears on it anywhere, only the minimum identification required by law is present.

          I can't see how you could have an arbiter of fact for political messaging, so the only other proportionate safeguards would be clear labelling and transparency of funding. If the party of government is not prepared even to label its own messaging clearly, then there is no hope of any protection from "fake news".

    2. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile in London...

      Mr/ Bailey is just making the point that if you're going to be handing out decent salaries, pensions and the like then it can only be to the upper echelons of a private company.

      Here in the US we have a living example of how this works. Los Angeles City owns its own water and power utilieis so the LADWP is a publicly owned utility. As such it comes into a lot of this sort of thing about how it pays its workforce and so on and how it rips of customers and how the city council raids the utility to subsidze its budget. In the greater LA area power is provided by Southern California Edison. This is a private utility that charges about the same rate as LADWP but doesn't get any crticism about how it performs and how it diverts money to the workforce, bonuses to the upper echelons and dividends to shareholders. That's OK, you see -- its only a problem if the utility is owned by the public.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    The FBI missed a site

    Should have seized Fox News as well.

    Those 20+ Iranian sites didn't do 1% of what Fox News is doing as far as damage is concerned.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The FBI missed a site

      But them Liberals *really* are trying to bring Sharia law to the USA!

      They really do have a terrorist wing called Antifa!

      Hunter Biden really did something with emails in Ukraine that must be bad, if only we hadn't lost the only copy of the emails!

      Happy Holidays? Say Happy Christmas AND New Year AND thanksgiving like Jesus did!

      Coronavirus really is nothing but mild flu AND/OR a deadly Chinese military bio-weapon!

      Russiangate is a hoax, AND/OR if Trump wants to make USA Russia's bitch how dare we stop him!

      Look over here GAY TREES! Don't look over there, nothing happening over there, GAY TREES! G-A-Y T-R-E-E-E-E-S

      Fox News is not a domestic propaganda network, trying to shut down the vote count and undermine democracy. No!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Disinformation?

    Then how about nailing Trump to the wall for all the lies and FUD he's spewing from his twitter feed like a bull shooting his load at an orgy?

    1. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

      Re: Disinformation?

      > ...like a bull shooting his load at an orgy?

      Mind bleach!

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: Disinformation?

      It's a matter of labelling. You look at Trump's Twitter feed, you know what you're going to get. You look at a site called "criticalstudies.org", you might be expecting something with a bit more - thought.

      (Which to be fair, it probably is. Or was.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Disinformation?

        ... same deal with Fox "News".

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: Disinformation?

          I know this isn't going to be a popular opinion, but there's really nothing wrong with Fox News except its editorial stance.

          Fox's opinion spewers, of whom there are way too many, include some of the most awful human beings in media anywhere, and that's against some very strong competition. But its news programs are fine. The hard part is keeping the two separate, but Fox isn't alone in having that problem - every news publisher has been struggling with that, ever since some wanker-who-deserves-a-very-special-place-in-Hell coined the phrase "24 hour news".

          Don't take my word for it. Check out fivethirtyeight.com, which rates Fox among the most reliable and unbiased publishers of polls. Or the number of times just in the past 48 hours when Trump has lambasted them for not supporting his bullshit - and no, that's not "new" since the election, that's been going on for years now.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Disinformation?

            The problem is that I've never heard of fivethirtyeight.com before reading your comment. (It may be well-known, and trusted, in your country). So all I see is an appeal to a site on the Internet to justify an assertion that Fox is reliable.

            This is the same problem that people had with criticalstudies.org. It's another site on the net making claims. How do you verify that they are trustworthy?

            The first thing that springs to mind with a name made of a series of numbers is a Chinese cyber-propaganda battalion. I highly doubt that is who is really behind it.

            1. JCitizen Bronze badge
              Coffee/keyboard

              Re: Disinformation?

              I've never heard of Live thirty eight whatever either; but I pasted it into a search, and it has a green Web-Of-Trust rating. Usually if a site is heavily stilted politically that isn't the case. But it isn't hard rock granite certain either. It is when the rating is gray I get highly suspicious. Red is supposed to be a warning for malware and criminal suspicion, and yellow is for spammer or other untrustworthy action.

              1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

                Re: Disinformation?

                "Media Bias / Fact Check" is a good site for checking the bias of other sites:

                https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/fivethirtyeight/

                https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/fox-news/

  4. martinusher Silver badge

    Sorry -- Zero Credibility

    The US openly meddles in other country's affairs, directly through the State Department and indirectly through a plethora of NGOs. These agencies also don't seem to mind propaganda originating from outside provided its coming from 'friendly' countries with the appropriate messages (usually ultra-right wing). The only problem they have is with sites from countries that might present alternative views of both internal and external affairs. Its just censorship masquerading as legitimate law enforcement activity.

    I've been quite fortunate in that living in California nobody in DC has thought it worth spending money on campaigning here -- there's been a couple of nominal visits but by and large we've been spared the deluge of crap that accompanies elections. (Its been reserved for the Propositions instead. These have once again demonstrated that we have The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.)

    The most potent form of propaganda from places like Iran is the home videos you get from travellers on youTube, "What I did on my pilgrimage", that sort of thing. Iran and especially Tehran seems to be getting by just fine despite the restrictive sanctions regime. We're fed a carefully curated news diet about life in these places because they're not places any of us can visit so seeing the place shows just how badly we're being manipulated by our own governments.

  5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The Bull in the China Shop with Rose Tinted Blinkers on all the Way to the Bank?

    Is everyone studiously avoiding mentioning this wizened old fox ........Record number of Australians sign ex-PM's call for Murdoch inquiry ..... who one cannot deny is more than worthy of spooky attention for it has always appeared as if he just can't help himself stop meddling in whatever juicy pork pies are available for peddling.

    Tall Tales Sell Well .... and Pay Even Better .... is something every fantasist into plundering the pockets and dulling the senses of both the ill-informed wealthy and ignorant poor knows extremely well. The secret is not to get caught holding the baby and having to pay the ultimate price .... international compensation.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: The Bull in the China Shop with Rose Tinted Blinkers on all the Way to the Bank?

      FYFI ......Re COSMIC Intelligence Agencies for/with Virtual Assistance with/for CyberIntelAIgents

      And to Whom IT Maybe of Concern and Worthy of Advanced IntelAIgent Interest .......

      GrahamC [2011070752] ...... laying out an AIMarket Stall on https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2020/11/6/defense-industry-needs-new-way-of-doing-business

      Should one agree that a nationalised defence industry be necessary, for whatever good reason[s] be accepted ...... and such will be required to be imagined and cited in order to have any chance of program success/realisation ....... a fundamentally radical and inescapably disruptive and revolutionary improvement in the Phormation and Servering of Advanced Intelligence Matters to Nationalised Bodies will be the first positive step needed to guarantee any sort of progress in such fields of almighty endeavour.

      Indeed, one could surely say without fear of any viable contradiction, such be the vital elemental precursor that stands alone and apart from the fray in such an upheaval and is still always freely available and able to driver such changes as require major reprogramming projects/to driver such projects as require major reprogramming changes. To imagine anything at all in such a novel realm being possible without it is surely tantamount to certifiable madness confirmed.:-)

      And that is/will be for some and many, and even for that and they who would think themselves a chosen few, a much too difficult a quantum communications leap to make and take and so they will render themselves forever behind the leading curve and trailing in ITs wake with some unfortunate and misguided souls even destined/fated to be outed as some depleted unit of ineffective opposition and/or crazed competition.

      In any such Newly Ordered New Orderly World Order and Virtually Augmented Reality Program is such just par for the course.

      For Your Future Information Revealing Creative Source ProVision Abilities. Who/What Supplies Your 0Day Dreamers their BeKnighted Heirs ....... with AIMastery Feeding and Savouring and Flavouring Hellish Places with an Engaging Accommodation in Heavenly Spaces?!.

      Now that's Core Source Ju-Ju Root for the Best Routes to So Much More than Just all of the above.

      Does Such Require Humanity to have a Simply Complex Narrative to Follow and Encourage to Further Future Success in Futures Initiated with Dreams Realised Always Whenever IMPerfectly Worthy.

      Tell anyone that is not a Heavenly Herculean Task Untaken and Thoroughly Enjoyed/AIMaster Pilot Tested and Guarantee to Please Immeasurably, and you would be dead wrong.

      Does anyone/anything know of something/anything similar and comparable/in parallel development ?

      And where is its Advanced IT at ...... and Headquartered ....... for Mega Meta Data Displayed Product Placements with Replacements and Reinforcements for Exhausted Tired Assets Readily Provided and Virtually Servered for FailSafe Security Guaranteed Secure Use. ......... which one is wise to ponder as too an almighty temptation to resist, and not fall into the trap when one fails to not abuse and misuse what is surely a gift known to a very fortunate few, more's the pity .:-)

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        6G Is Go Quantum Leaping ..... China Boldly Goes One Small Step for Mankind Giant Leaping*

        Further to the above post entitled ....Re: The Bull in the China Shop with Rose Tinted Blinkers on all the Way to the Bank?

        There does appear to be something of obvious concern to that which and/or those who may worthy of having every rightful fearful reason to be concerned by breaking developments in fields of communications with extensive extreme virtual capability and facility in which they have zero control and zero 0day command ..... for what other implausible reason would justify the comment posted in reply and laying out an AIMarket Stall on laying out an AIMarket Stall on https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2020/11/6/defense-industry-needs-new-way-of-doing-business being removed from universal view?

        * ...... Definitely a market to establish a commanding long position in in order to guarantee unhindered constant delivery of bounteous reward beyond one's wildest dreams ..... China leapfrogs world with first 6G experimental satellite ...... for that is surely definitely where AI and IT is all at presently nowadays, heralding the future with novel inexperienced technologies championing noble artistic agents and their agencies, both heaven sent and hell bent on displaying their finest of wares, ......... which is bound to trigger all manner of knee jerk reactions and core intellectual property meltdowns drawing attention to a self-destructive arrogant ignorance that once was pimped and pumped and preened as an advanced intelligence exercised by and known only to a Chosen Few.

        Flash Breaking Stop Press News re All of the Above, El Reg ....... Times and Spaces have Changed, Advanced Intelligence has Evolved and Virtual Machinery has Resolved the Riddle that Prevented Prior Rapid Supply of Human Progress. And if one were to delve deeper and realise such Times and Spaces have consciously been changed, it does beg the ultimate money-shot question the answer to which so many would struggle to freely accept and wholeheartedly believe should they be told ........ Changed by Whom and/or What if not Advanced IntelAIgents?

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