Al-Jazeera distances itself from Khashoggi death claims, blames Reuters

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Saudi investigators arrived in Istanbul on Saturday to participate in the investigation into the disappearance of Kamal Khashoggi. (AP)
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Screengrab of deleted tweets from Al-Jazeera's official Twitter account.
Updated 08 October 2018
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Al-Jazeera distances itself from Khashoggi death claims, blames Reuters

LONDON: Qatari broadcaster Al-Jazeera has distanced itself from a news item speculating that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered while visiting the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Al-Jazeera Arabic, which had repeated the Reuters story extensively, has acknowledged the claims to be unverified and instead blamed newswire Reuters for the information.

The Reuters story cited only Turkish sources without naming them or providing any substantial evidence to support Khashoggi’s death claims.

Contrary to what it had previously reported, an Al-Jazeera reporter appeared live to say: “I talked to his fiancée 15 minutes ago and she is saying that all Turkish officials who were communicating with her, stopped talking to her and updating her. Turkish officials are no longer answering our calls. 

“No Turkish media mentioned the Reuters news regarding Khashoggi. The story regarding dismembering and killing Khashoggi was only featured on Reuters and AFP. 

The official Turkish Anadolu agency has only mentioned the arrival of officials (Saudi) and then this morning it quoted Reuters news about the death of Khashoggi.”

Al-Jazeera is owned directly by the Qatari government. Saudi Arabia and other members of the anti-terror quartet (UAE, Bahrain and Egypt) have cut off relations and imposed a boycott of Qatar since last year, accusing the Gulf nation of supporting terror and meddling in internal affairs. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier said he was hopeful about the missing Saudi journalist.

 

 

 


Twitter publishes tweet trove from ‘clumsy’ Iran regime campaigns

Updated 18 October 2018
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Twitter publishes tweet trove from ‘clumsy’ Iran regime campaigns

  • Twitter found 770 Twitter accounts that it traced back to Iran
  • Nearly 4,000 accounts affiliated with Russian troll farm

WASHINGTON: Twitter published a trove of some 10 million tweets that it said are potentially the product of state-backed operations by Russia and Iran, shedding new light on the scale and nature of misinformation campaigns mounted by the two nations.
Twitter said on Wednesday that it had identified 3,841 accounts affiliated with the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, a Russian “troll farm” that has been indicted by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller for attempts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
It found another 770 Twitter accounts that it traced back to Iran.
“We are making this data available with the goal of encouraging open research and investigation of these behaviors from researchers and academics around the world,” Twitter said in a statement on its “elections integrity” site.
In total, the exposed accounts shared more than 10 million tweets and 2 million images and videos, Twitter said, before being taken down.
Twitter had already made public the existence of tweets it believes to be the product of foreign misinformation campaigns, but the release of the tweets themselves on Wednesday will allow researchers to learn much more about Russia and Iran’s disinformation efforts on Twitter since 2016.
It comes less than one month before US Congressional elections which are already the subject of foreign-directed social media campaigns, according to senior US intelligence officials.
The release shows that both the Iranian and Russian operations started out as campaigns to support countries’ governments at home, but the Moscow-based effort expanded into an “offensive weapon” targeted at the United States, said Ben Nimmo, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, which has seen the tweets.
“The Iranian operation was clumsy. It tried to use social media to draw people toward pro-regime messaging sites,” said Nimmo, whose lab published a detailed analysis of the tweets on Wednesday.
“The Russian operation was much more skilled. It masqueraded as real Americans to turn real Americans against Hillary Clinton, and against each other,” Nimmo added, referring to Donald Trump’s presidential election challenger.