, 59 tweets, 32 min read Read on Twitter
[Thread] As promised, today I want to tell you of how I became friends with a Twitter troll called Angus Gallagher. Angus recently had a sex/ethnicity reassignment operation. He is now called Jasmine, but we'll come to that a bit later. First though, say hi to Angus #StopTheCoup
Angus first started to tweet me in May of this year. His thin mustache & warm, yet darting eyes endeared me to him immediately. He'd regularly criticize my stance on Middle East Politics. He was very anti-Iran & anti-Qatar, but very supportive of Saudi's crown prince MBS
Why this Middle-aged white man with a lilac shirt would have such strong opinions on the region was unclear. However, as he detailed in his bio, he had lived in Saudi for 22 years - so he clearly had some sort of allegiance. Also, as the flags indicate, he loved the US and UK
It wasn't long before Angus slid into my DMs. Mostly because I used to respond to his trolling. In a surprise move, he self-doxed, and sent me a copy of his passport page. It was a British passport, along with DoB and his middle names. Surely enough, it said Angus Gallagher...
Sensing my confusion Angus then messaged me to assure that he was no troll. Afterall, I did now have his passport....
Despite our differences, Angus and I used to banter. We'd bond over our time in Wales. He assumed me that he was a fan of comedian Max Boyce and the show Hi-de-Hi! He was a cheeky fella, and would sometimes try to recruit me to the right path....Man he really had it in for Iran!
Despite my desire to be part of the 'tip of the spear', I resisted Angus's advances. I wanted to get to know the 'real Angus', and so started asking him questions. I wanted to know how he knew so much about the Middle East, but he would claimed ignorance...
Despite exclusively tweeting about Qatar, Saudi & Iran, & having very strong opinions, he would always say via DMs that he 'didn't know much about that stuff'. When I asked why he was always tweeting about it he claimed it was for learning purposes. He also denied being rude...
I pushed back a little, and told him that he was in fact, quite rude. I even cited an example where he claimed I was part of Azmi Bishara's cells. Quite esoteric knowledge for a dude who knows nothing about the Middle East. But then things started getting really weird...
He started talking to me a bit like Yoda, saying he sensed much reticence in me. He then alluded to the fact I could move anywhere I wanted, presumably if I took up his offer of joining the dark side.... Naturally I resisted his mind tricks... See example:
It started getting strange when he was suggesting people were trying to steal my research. He had particularly problems with Jessika Aro, the Finnish troll wrestler, who he claimed was stealing my research. He was very worried people would steal my work at a conference
I was due to attend in Helsinki (see screenshot). Again, I was touched by his concern for academic integrity and plagiarism. In addition to Jessika, he had a few other organisations he was keen to know more about....
Most notably, the @AtlanticCouncil , @bellingcat and Fire Eye. He even had growing concerns about the Quakers, whose activism he insisted must be under 'command and control'. He was concerned that their 'simple mentality' made them vulnerable...wth
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat It wasn't all business though, sometimes he'd send me Ariana Grande gifs or talk about K Pop...
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat Other times he'd lighten up his requests for Gulf political intelligence by sending selfies for my 'collection'. Thanks Angus!
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat But as some of you may have noticed, Angus's language was odd. As a native English speaker, I soon became convinced that he was not. Indeed, small errors made me suspicious. One time he went all Buffalo Bill, >'see how nasty what he's telling'. It puts the lotion on its skin...
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat I even asked Angus where he learned English. But he didn't answer. I also prodded him to criticize Saudi but despite his vast knowledge about the Middle East, this 'was nothing to with him.....so everything is normal'. Indeed, everything is normal.
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat Other inconsistencies began to show in addition to his non-native English. His claim that he had lived in Saudi for 22 wonderful years was roundly contradicted a number of times. In fact, he told me had never even been to the Middle East...
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat When I went on the WayBack Machine to see Angus's original bio, I saw how it evolved. Initially it said he was living in Devon, and had lived in Saudi for 22 years. Then he was someone who was defending US alliances in the ME. His final incarnation was a raging #MAGA account
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat Indeed, his account had become like one of those many trolls accounts that spread #MAGA propaganda. Just look at all those hashtags in the bio. #MAGA #KAG #BUILDTHEWALL. It's a smorgasbord of on message campaign hashtags. And look at the ME flags too!
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat In addition to his newfound #MAGA love, Angus started sending me bizarre, almost cultish polemics about the perils of liberalism. He brought up Heidegger, and said that Trump had 'Dasein'. Yeah I had to google that one too....
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat So I became increasingly sure of a few things: despite showing me a matching British passport, Angus was clearly not a middle-aged British man. He had lied about his past. He was also trying to get intel on various organisations that were fighting disinformation. His political
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat beliefs were your standard alt-right tropes. Mixed in with that - an anti-Qatar and anti-Iran stance that aligns him with the Saudi-led quartet that blockaded Qatar. Indeed, Angus was a caricature of your present day ultra-right wing populist. Oh yeah, he also loves Ariana!
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat But soon our relationship would come to a difficult end. Angus and I had been flirting for some time now, so I decided to finally Skype him....
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat ....*suspenseful pause*...
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat ...just going to get a coffee....one sec
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat Ok coffee procured. So I offered to Skype Angus. This was immediately after I provoked him into a rant against Nazis. Again this was interesting, as a lot of the MAGA alt-right crew protest heavily when they're accused of fascism or Nazism. Methinks they doth protest too much...
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat Angus was right though, if I was really *SERIOUS* about stopping Nazis maybe I should join the dark side of #MAGA trolls. Maybe I could confront Jessica Aro about stealing all my research. Maybe I could finally be happy. We could talk about all this over Skype of course
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat So when I offered Angus became a little cagey, as if he was afraid to Skype me...First he thought our time zones would be a problem....Of course I was very accommodating
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat But then, he suggested his friend should talk to me instead, because, wait for it....she was 'more fluent'. WAIT WHAT!? Angus Lawrence J Gallagher, a British Passport holder with the most British name IN THE UNIVERSE, who loves Battlestar Gallactica, is not fluent in English?
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat So apparently we had abandoned any pretense that Angus was a native English speaker?! (This again was one of the many things that made me think more than one person was operating the account). However, we dropped the Skype idea, but then he randomly asked me the following...
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat It was difficult to break Angus' hypnotic gaze, but I kept hold of my faculties. He then indicated he was on the Estonian side of the town of Ivanogorod (Ivanogorod is on the border of Russian and Estonia). Whatever you do guys, don't tell @benimmo any of this....
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat @benimmo Then Angus broke my heart.
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat @benimmo He told me because of OPSEC (Operational Security) - we had to block one another. Nooooo!!!!! However, I could expect to be contacted by someone called sveta92.narva. Don't forget it, ok.
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat @benimmo Then he blocked me!! However, I now eagerly awaited the contact from who I presumed was my handler, sveta92.narva
@AtlanticCouncil @bellingcat @benimmo Yet before any contact could materialise, Jeffrey Epstein killed himself in prison. Wait how's that relevant I hear you ask? Well for some reason this caused Angus to break his vow of silence and message me with the following. I agree with him, it's terrible really.
I tried to joke with Angus, to win him back, but he wasn't having any of it. Angus the autobot had returned, with his strangely scripted answers that made no sense....
He then blocked me for a few days (OPSEC of course), only to message me to ask if I was in Helsinki. Again, he tried to dissuade me from presenting my research. For some reason he really cared about me not doing that, as such. For that is the goal.
Then he blocked me for the last time! Sometimes I'd Tweet to him from other anonymous accounts. But he'd just block me and not respond. It was as if he only wanted a piece of @marcowenjones . Apparently other dodgy accounts had experienced Angus's angst. #Angstus if you will
While I was still waiting to hear from my handler sveta92.narva I would check in on Angus from my other unblocked Twitter accounts. But to my dismay I found out one day he had vanished! RIP ANGUS GALLAGHER. I was distraught, could he really have just disappeared?
Yet like the first law of thermodynamics, Angus can neither be created nor destroyed - he merely changes form....
in this case, Angus had changed his screenname and user name, but on Twitter your userid will stay the same unless you open a new account. So here comes the big reveal...
Meet Jasmine Maga 1, formerly known as Angus Gallagher 3. A Cuban American I presume. She (not sure what pronouns to use anymore) still loves Ariana Grande and President Trump. Gone though is the cutting edge political analysis. Instead she is just a normal teen who wants to MAGA
She speaks Spanish and hates the Marxist Cuban regime! Sure those Cubans exist, but how great is it that Trump has such a diverse support base rather than just white nationalists...This clearly isn't propaganda at all!
So that's how Angus Gallagher of Scotland turned into a Cuban American. Of course it leaves so many questions! Who actually owns the account? How do they have what looks like a real copy of a British passport? How many times has the account changed? How many accounts are
engaging in this same behaviour? Has someone obtained real images from some sort of crude hack and used them to create fake personalities? Has a Twitter account belonging to a real Angus Gallagher been compromised, and he had some images like his passport in there and they've now
been opportunistically used by some hackers or trolls? I do know there was an Angus Lawrence Gallagher at IH in Dammam, Saudi. Maybe as part of the often informal bureaucratic processes some Saudi loyalist stole a copy of his passport? - plausible
I mean presumably it would be fairly easy to find the real Angus Gallagher as we have his name and DoB. Anyone want to have a stab at it? Should the police be involved if this is identity theft ? @metpoliceuk .
As some have pointed out there was an Angus Gallagher who wrote for the Russian propaganda outlet Sputnik... But there isn't much on him in terms of bio.
When I examined the biographies of Angus's followers (over 7000 of them), I saw that again, the most common theme among them was the MAGA Trump nexus. Around 3000 of them had MAGA in their bios. That's almost half of his followers. Is it just because MAGAS follow MAGAS? Why
did he have so many followers anyway? Is he part of some sort of organized pro-Trump propaganda network? Remember in my last thread I mentioned that conspicuous spike of MAGA trolls created in January 2017. Well we the same thing in Angus's followers...Weird right?
So anyway, it's been a long night, thanks so much for your patience, encouragement, and support in doing what has been an enjoyable thread! Sorry there is no reveal reveal, but my final tweet will be a poll, I want to know what you all think of Angus.
Update: Angus's account just dm'ed me (before being suspended by twitter) to say he was suing me for loss of earnings and risk of reprisals. In theory a litigation process would shed a lot more light on things.
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