Bellingcat activist fails to ban blogger who exposed his ties to UK propaganda outfit on Twitter
A recent Twitter post by a Canadian blogger, Stephen McIntyre, apparently did not sit well with Dan Kaszeta, an active contributor to the self-styled “citizen journalism” investigative website Bellingcat. The Canadian apparently drew the ire of the activist by highlighting some of his connections to the Integrity Initiative (II), a clandestine propaganda outlet funded by the UK government.
McIntyre posted an invoice sent by Kaszeta’s firm, Strongpoint Security, billing II’s parent organization, the Institute for Statecraft, for about $800 for an article penned by the man. The document is part of a trove of II’s data leaked online. The former US Army veteran apparently got pretty annoyed and turned to the Twitter administration, demanding that the blogger be banned for exposing his personal data. He argues that posting personal data is banned by Twitter rules.
McIntyre was briefly banned on Twitter, but promptly appealed his case by arguing that he violated no rules as he simply wrote about Kaszeta’s employment, which is not prohibited on Twitter. His arguments appeared to be convincing enough for the social media giant to lift the ban without any preconditions and leave all the information posted by the Canadian as it is.
3/ In their suspension notice, Twitter required me to remove tweet about Kzszeta as condition of return of service. Much to my surprise, Twitter accepted my appeal and restored my account with no condition on removing the tweet about Kaszeta. Good for Twitter.— Stephen McIntyre (@ClimateAudit) January 13, 2019
The two men’s spat apparently attracted some attention as new people joined in McIntyre’s investigation, and starting speculating which of the articles Kaszeta wrote for II was the work to which the invoice related. The latter rushed to file more complaints with Twitter, but these were to no avail.
Please delete my invoices. I’m not kidding. I’ve been filing complaints all day. https://t.co/tTys99CtcP— Dan Kaszeta (@DanKaszeta) January 13, 2019
The Integrity Initiative appeared on the public radar following a series of leaks by a group which claims to be associated with the Anonymous hackers group. Documents published by the group showed that the network was stealthily operating “clusters” of influencers across Europe, who were working to ensure that pro-UK narratives dominate the media. Ostensibly, the outfit is fighting against “Russian propaganda.”Also on rt.com Integrity Initiative’s anti-Russia crusaders spread ‘the very definition of propaganda’
The II got heat at home for taking part in smearing Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn as a Kremlin stooge – an act hardly befitting an organization funded to the tune of millions of pounds by British taxpayers. It also had a hand in the anti-Russian narrative following the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in March 2018.
The Western mainstream media, however, stayed remarkably silent about everything that was linked to the controversial UK-government-funded outfit. The II has never claimed that any of the leaked documents are bogus.
Editorial note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to Dan Kaszeta as a US Marines veteran. In fact, he is a US Army veteran.
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