Dave Troy Profile picture
Nov 13, 2020 41 tweets 14 min read Read on X
So let’s talk about Parler. Where did it come from? Founder John Matze met his now wife, Alina Mukhutdinova, in May 15, 2016 in Las Vegas. Alina is from Kazan, Russia. She was on a two week road trip “vacation” across the USA with a friend.
(This sounds a lot like this USA road trip taken by Anna Bogacheva and Aleksandra Krylova in 2014.) washingtonpost.com/world/europe/r…
John was involved in a couple of unremarkable tech companies with college friend Jared Thomson. After a short stint working at Amazon in Seattle, and being unhappy there, he and Alina return to Vegas and decide to marry. They traveled to Russia in November 2017.
John and Alina were married December 2, 2017 in Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia. They were married in a government facility overseen by Alina’s mother, Gulnara Mukhutdinova, a longtime government functionary. Gulnara’s mother was an “Honored Builder of Russia” in Soviet times.
John and Alina traveled in Russia and in Europe extensively between December and July 2018. They returned to Vegas and launched Parler with Jared Thomson in August 2018. Almost no one joined between August and December 2018; it was in early alpha stages.
In December 2018, the site received a massive influx of new users (tens of thousands) thanks to publicity from “far right” LARPers Candace Owens and Cassandra Fairbanks. Many operatives reserved accounts that month as a result of this push, including Owens’ pal Kanye West.
As the company grew in 2019, they turned to Jesse Benton, a political operative who had worked with Ron Paul, Rand Paul, and Mitch McConnell. Benton was indicted and found guilty of election finance violations. Benton is married to Ron Paul’s granddaughter Valori Pyeatt.
Benton became the company’s PR consultant and primary press contact. To help with marketing, they enlisted the hospitality coordinator of the BLT Prime steakhouse at the Trump hotel in DC, Elise Rhodes. She had no prior marketing experience, it seems.
As the company expanded in 2019, it has been squarely focused on creating conditions that would challenge section 230 of the communications decency act. The company’s purpose seems to be expressly political and aimed at eroding US social media firms.
Now let’s talk money. Parler LLC is owned by two member entities: John Matze and NDMASCENDANT LLC. There is no public record of who comprises NDMASCENDANT LLC. It is a Delaware corporation. The company has not raised any traditional VC rounds that we can see.
Parler has claimed that Dan Bongino (notorious Republican media personality) has made strategic investments in the company. However it is unlikely he would have sufficient capital to fuel such a firm. Likewise “cryptocurrency investor” Jeffrey Wernick has said he is an investor.
However none of this passes the sniff test: any company aiming to challenge firms at Twitter scale needs a massive supply of funds to hire employees competitively and pay for rapidly scalable computing infrastructure.
Also, the kinds of employees the company needs cost over $100k per year each, even in Las Vegas. $120k-150k is a more competitive salary. These folks do not come easily and are in short, inelastic supply. They also have to compete on ideological grounds...
Limiting their employee pool to people ideologically committed to Parler’s bizarre anti-social mission is going to be a tough sell, and difficult to scale. The firm is likely to need technical and infrastructure help from outside to survive, as its weird revenue model is nascent.
In the last couple of days Fox News advanced rumors that Parler was owned by George Soros, a claim for which there is zero evidence. Bongino was quick to step up and say that he owns it. That’s not how large scale tech investment works and this is BS. politicaldaze.com/2020/11/11/fox…
Additionally, flooding the zone with shit noise about the company’s ownership would seem to be a way of deflecting attention away from valid questions about that exact question. Who does own it? Where is the money, tech talent and infrastructure coming from? Follow the money.
I believe that @TechCrunch, @theinformation @TheVerge and other outlets that cover this realm need to dig in and get to the bottom of this. Parler is the #1 app in the App Store and has been off and on for months. It sucks, but it’s growing.
The company seems to like to promote the Epoch Times. Epoch Times is owned by Falun Gong, and aligned with Steve Bannon’s buddy Guo Wengui. They may also have an interest in Parler’s trajectory and finances. We don’t know. Again, what’s NDMASCENDANT LLC?
It’s true. THE AMERICANS is a very good television series. It’s a favorite of Alina’s it seems. And she is proud of her newborn daughter’s US social security card. And loves the Russian flag. Fun fact: Izzuminka means “cherry on top.” ImageImageImage
John Matze thinks it’s very important that people remember the role the Soviet Union played in defeating the Nazis, and in bringing World War II to a close. Fair point, John; they did their part. Including a lot of raping in Berlin. #nobodysperfect Image
Here is Alina’s grandmother, an “Honored Builder of Russia,” and a sample of what that award looks like. (She would have received it during Soviet times. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) ImageImage
I’ve been sitting on this information for six months and hoping media outlets would cover it and get up to speed on this. It hasn’t happened; our press corps is spread to thin. There is no “smoking gun” here. Everybody is behaving within their legal rights, it seems.
But it doesn’t add up. Non-descript tech bro randomly meets ostensible Russian honeypot, travels to Russia, marries her, then returns to US to start a whacko social network with explicit political aims, in partnership with Russia aligned ops? Uh, ok.
We don’t begrudge this couple a happy productive life in the good ol’ USA. But reporters writing about Parler need to get smart about what they are looking at and ask better questions about capital and infrastructure. It wasn’t hard to do this background research. ImageImage
Also, a preliminary analysis of the first several thousand accounts on Parler shows that it is the usual Russia aligned operatives that we in this space have tracked for years. This is a large scale op aligned with Russian interests. Image
This is not some kind of free-speech tech dudebros just tryna let people do their thing. This is a calculated political and economic attack on US interests and we should treat it accordingly. The fact that it sucks makes that easier. But it may get better.
Alina is very interested in her motherland also, making sure to follow @KremlinRussia and @Pravitelstvo_RF. It’s nice when people can appreciate two cultures, right? Image
My hope is that when reporters like @MattBinder set out to write lengthy “what you need to know” pieces like this one, they go a little deeper and ask basic structural questions. Like where the f*ck would Dan Bongino get enough money to fund this?!?

mashable.com/article/what-i…
Because in the end the only thing standing between us and calculated societal and economic attacks is our own naïveté. We can do better. Reporters, hit me up if you want to know more. ImageImage
Hey @mikebutcher heads up re: this thread.
Oh, and one more thing. It seems NDMASCENDANT LLC was filed by Greenberg Traurig, LLP. If that sounds familiar it’s because it’s Rudy Giuliani’s former firm. He was traveling in Russia and the region at the time Parler was founded in late 2018.
And we have heard some speculation that Robert and Rebekah Mercer may be the source of funds for NDMASCENDANT, but we cannot confirm that at this time. But here is Rudy traveling in Russia around that time.

propublica.org/article/trump-… Image
Ultimately Parler would seem to have very little chance to become self-sustaining, so who will fund such a money-sink, for how long, and why? What is the investment play here?
And... researcher @VickerySec points out a very good set of leads for those looking to get a clearer picture of the opaque Parler / NDMASCENDANT money trail. Follow the money. This is NOT a conventional tech startup!
And @Reuters reports that the rumors about George Soros owning Parler, and Fox reporting that, are fabrications, further reinforcing the question: who is putting in the money, and why is anyone trying to hide the facts?

reuters.com/article/uk-fac…
So what might be next for Parler? We anticipate Trump will join and announce his plan to transition away from Twitter. Kanye West too; maybe some others. But to do that, Parler needs to be ready to scale up quickly, which requires $$$ and people.

Again, where’s that coming from?
A tiny number of people (also, Kremlin) have criticized this thread for being “xenophobic” and targeting people with “Russian last names.” Flatly: that is nonsense. Grow up.

I am calling out opaque behaviors and associations with Americans working for Russian interests.
Boom. @WSJ says Mercers are behind Parler. You heard it here yesterday.

wsj.com/articles/parle…
Boom. @WSJ has just confirmed that the Mercers and their hedge fund are behind Parler. This is Rupert Murdoch’s outfit, mind you. Now to dig into Psyclone and Market-Rithm, per @VickerySec research.

wsj.com/articles/parle…
Here's another reason Parler looks... inorganic. This is what their user growth looks like. Note the bump in December 2018. That's all those ops signing up. Then... nada until May/June 2019 when a bunch of Saudi bot accounts join. Then basically nothing again until May 2020... Image
Following up, given all the recent news about #Parler and its uncertain future, I wrote a new thread specifically about what its deplatforming means and why it's probably the end of the line for the company. Please share!

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh
 

Keep Current with Dave Troy

Dave Troy Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!

PDF

Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @davetroy

Jun 4
Perhaps the most alarming fact in the reporting about the indictment of the Epoch Times CFO is that it operates as a nonprofit (!) under the IRS 501(c)(3) code which disallows partisan stances. That’s all Epoch Times is! @USTreasury this is hot nonsense.

cnbc.com/2024/06/03/mon…
Y’all might want to review their nonprofit status in light of all of the criming and direct partisan stances. IJS.
And yeah, the code is subtle on this point, but generally boils down to direct advocacy for specific candidates and outcomes in electoral contexts. And that is Epoch Times’ bread and butter, to any reasonable observer.
Read 4 tweets
May 24
1/It is looking increasingly likely that absent a major new math/cog-sci breakthrough, current general AI approaches will stall in the face of negative marginal ROI, resulting from poor performance, industry headwinds, and poor governance by industry players.
2/This suggests that NVIDIA may be at or near a peak; or that it may unwind very quickly when it does. Most of the investment in the sector is coming from people who don’t really understand the science in play here; many are merely trend-surfing.
3/Scale seems to be necessary, but not sufficient, to achieve acceptable, verifiable, or ethical levels of performance for general purpose LLMs. New math papers need to be conceived and written. And AI systems are unlikely to accelerate that. And when those papers are written…
Read 9 tweets
May 22
1/It seems the space weapon that Russia launched is in the same orbit as USA 314, which appears to be a surveillance satellite attached to the National Reconnaissance Office. It's very likely Putin believes this satellite is providing targeting intelligence to Ukraine.
2/Russia has said that they consider US satellites that are being used to aid Ukraine as legitimate targets. It would not be shocking to see Russia try to disable USA 314. While there has been widespread discussion of Russia's ambition to launch a nuclear weapon into orbit...
3/there is no public evidence they have done so. However, that remains a concern. Still, we could see a gradual escalation of the Ukraine ground conflict into space, which would be unprecedented and dangerous. This should not, however, be used as justification for appeasement.
Read 8 tweets
May 13
1/Came across this little gem in Aldous Huxley's FBI file today. While Huxley was alarmed by "subliminal advertising," he was right to be alarmed at the power of influence and info warfare to subvert democracy more generally. Image
2/The second notable thing here was that this was a product of a joint venture between ABC and the Fund for the Republic, which was an arm of the Ford Foundation that for various reasons attracted a lot of KGB-aligned creatures.
3/The "Fund" changed its name to the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions and located itself in Santa Barbara, California, where it was a magnet for New Age types with an appetite for Ford Foundation money and the Aquarian age.
Read 4 tweets
May 11
This is the stupidest crap ever, and Sam is a scammer pushing fake science and ersatz spirituality as a ploy to drain VC firms and sovereign wealth funds of their liquid holdings. I’ve never seen a scammer this brazen, including Elon Musk. And I’ve met a lot of scammers.
The crazy part is the bros lining up to invest because fomo and because investing is a social sport nearly devoid of actual analysis; and once one guy loses his shirt sufficiently to lose face, they’ll all run away like a pack of bison, laughing at the sector. Wait for it.
Does Sam believe his own BS? Quite possibly. Because he’s put himself into a position where for him to become the person he imagines himself to be, he has to take improbable leaps of faith. But someone with a more honest sense of self would pull back from such an indulgence.
Read 5 tweets
May 3
‼️RFK Jr. is funded by Trump's top donor, Timothy Mellon. There is NO WAY they will leave RFK Jr in the race if he hurts Trump more than Biden. Only three options exist: 1) RFK stays in and harms Biden, 2) RFK drops out, 3) RFK and Trump team up.
So far, they are betting (1) is their best path forward. But there is no universe where RFK Jr is allowed to stay in if they think he will harm Trump. This is political technology at work — they're playing the system. This is a hack, and we have ample attack surface! Think!
And in case you are not aware of Timothy Mellon...
usatoday.com/story/news/pol…
Read 4 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!


This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!

Ethereum

0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy

Bitcoin

3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us!

:(