Wednesday, June 19, 2019

India Bullies Twitter Into Banning Accounts of American, British Students Thousands of Miles Away

Editor's note: I have watched this mess escalate over the past few days. Friends who I associate with on Twitter were involved and had their accounts suspended in the name of supposed Indian National security. I even posted some Indian OSINT info on my account during the last Pak-India dustup. So if the fools that started this mess in India would like to come after me you had better bring your A game. Those that know me also know that I have nor have I ever been a member of the Pakistani Intel services. This whole thing is an unacceptable situation and some of these bad actors that made these allegations should have legal action taken against them for defamation.

Excerpt from the Daily Beast website:

Twitter is warning a Texas college student that it might “be obliged to take action” after some of his tweets were ruled a national security threat by the government of India eight thousand miles away. 

The notice issued to 21-year-old Ryan Barenklau on Saturday is part of a crackdown on a group of open-source investigators who spend their days sifting through data and imagery to glean insights on regional conflicts around the world. Barenklau’s focus is primarily on Crimea and North Korea, but in May a journal in India wrongly claimed his account was part of a Pakistani disinformation ring.

The new crackdown appears to trace back to a report last month by the journal Great Game India that purported to expose a disinformation network buffeting India with fake news. The journal focused on a Pakistani open-source investigator named Faran Jeffery who serves as a deputy director for the British counterterrorism think tank ITCT, and tweets as “NatSecJeff.”

Earlier this year Jeffery spun out a Twitter thread covering reports out of Pakistan's Bahawalpur district that the Indian Air Force had intruded into Pakistani air space and dropped a bomb in the desert outside Fort Abbas. His tweets surfaced local news articles, photos and social media posts from the region and included cautionary notes not typically seen in state-sponsored disinformation ops. “Unless we now get a statement from Pakistani military, it would be a good idea to remain skeptical about these reports since we don't know yet exactly what happened,” he wrote in one tweet.

The Pakistani military later said there’d been no incursion by India. But Great Game India pegged Jeffery as a fake news operative working for Pakistan, citing some of his other tweets, and the fact that he previously worked for a Pakistani institute with military ties. In May, an Indian newspaper aired the journal’s findings under the headline “Retired Pak officers behind 'fake news,’” publishing a list of seven additional Twitter accounts that frequently share Jeffery’s tweets.

The paper, citing Great Game India’s research, claimed all the accounts “have Pakistani roots.”

Read the entire story at