Maram Susli, also known as Partisangirl, is a Syrian living in Perth, Australia. If you ask the British government, though, she’s a ‘Russian bot.’ London bases these claims on dodgy numbers from shady sources, Susli tells Eyes On Events.
“Last time I checked, I’m a real human being,” said Susli. “The British government, they can’t even confirm that I’m not an automaton. How can we believe anything they have to say about the evidence they have for Skripal and Syria’s chemical attacks?”
Susli’s twitter handle, @Partisangirl, was referenced in a number of UK media outlets, who uncritically cited a British government analysis of alleged Russian-operated bot accounts. Partisangirl supposedly reached 61 million users with 2,300 posts over a 12-day period.
“I’ve only posted 900 tweets in 30 days,” Susli told Eyes On Events, adding that the false number cited in the report comes from Ben Nimmo, head of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab). “He’s obviously been fudging these numbers, because that’s not what my analytics show.”
The Atlantic Council is funded in part by the Syria Campaign, the same outfit that is behind the so-called White Helmets, Susli said, and therefore has a vested interest in attacking anyone who brings up the connection between the White Helmets and Al-Qaeda.
Another member of the DFRLab is Eliot Higgins, also known as Bellingcat. As a chemist, Susli challenged Higgins’s armchair analysis of the 2013 alleged gas attack in Syria, and says that he’s had a vendetta against her ever since.
“They’re fudging numbers, they have personal vendettas, they have no credibility. And these are the people [UK Prime Minister] Theresa May is using as evidence to suggest that I’m automated,” Susli told Eyes On Events.
Moreover, she is only one of the people being targeted by UK media outlets over the weekend; the others include several independent journalists and academics.
“It’s clearly a smear campaign to try to intimidate people into silence and to try to smear anti-war activists as somewhat a biased voice related to Russia somehow,” Susli said.
This is not the first time Susli has faced attacks from the media, but this is the first time a government has become involved.
“Unfortunately, these are dangerous times, these are times of war. We’re heading closer to perhaps worse than the Cold War was. So I expect things to get worse,” Susli told Eyes On Events. “I’ve seen the censorship. My Facebook account has been shut down. They tried to shut down my YouTube account. I’m not sure how long I’m going to be staying online, but I’m going to continue as long as I can.”
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