Jeremy Duns

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Jeremy Duns - Author of ther Paul Dark series and Dead Drop

Image designed by and used courtesy of @rakishdesign

Image designed by and used courtesy of @rakishdesign

FINDING 'ANN FIELDS'

This page is an offshoot from my article about the former political and social commentatorcommunications specialistcivil rights activist,bankerlawyertheologianimamschool governorsex education guide authorlecturermarriage counsellorprison chaplain and sheik Mohammed ‘Mo’ Ansar. Click here to return to the main article. [Update: If you’ve received an email purporting to be from me saying I believe elements of this article are incorrect or unwise to disseminate further, it’s fake. I stand by everything I’ve written in this article, and encourage you to share it widely.]

Most people who have interacted with Mo Ansar on Twitter will have come across someone claiming to be called Ann Fields and purporting to be, variously, a geneticist, an anti-fascist and a foreign policy expert at a think tank who also works as a journalist. Ann, or variants of her - there have been at least 10 accounts, some of which have been suspended or now lie dormant - relentlessly defend Ansar from criticism, attack the same people and organisations he hates, sometimes in abusive terms, and share a vast number of his views, some of which are highly unusual. On top of this, Ansar is a fan of Liverpool football club, whose stadium is Anfield. In addition, it clearly is extremely unlikely that 'Ann' is both a geneticist and works at a think tank as a foreign policy adviser, so one or both of these are lies. When pressed to provide information substantiating 'her' identity and credentials, 'Ann' insists that she values 'her' privacy and so to protect her identity she refuses. But this makes little sense, as 'she' has openly declared what she claims to be both her real name and professions in her Twitter bio.

The pattern of obvious deceptions and obsession with defending Ansar and sharing his views is so striking that most people who have had exchanges with 'Ann' have concluded that 'she' is Ansar. But, as Ansar knows, proving this is close to impossible. Twitter only reveals users' IP addresses with a court order, and even those do not usually prove something emanated from a single computer. It could be argued that someone in his vicinity, perhaps a close friend or family member, was responsible, that his computer had been used by a houseguest without his knowledge, or had been stolen, and so on. So despite common sense saying it is obviously, even blatantly Ansar, 'Ann' plays dumb, mispelling things and insisting to everyone 'she' is not Ansar while continuing to tweet away.

On other pages I've looked at other Ansar sockpuppets: I show the evidence for his operating the Twitter account @The_Truthteller here, and discuss his use of sockpuppets on Wikipedia and Youtube in section 3 here. The scale of this activity is mind-boggling. From his own account, Ansar has to date tweeted nearly 120,000 times, which is significant enough. But just one of these other accounts, @xtc_uk, has also tweeted 56,000 times since joining the site, and some of the others have tweeted many thousands of times, too.

The first 'Ann' account seems to have been @xam_uk, which was suspended from Twitter in February 2013 but joined the site in June 2012 using that address and the account name 'Sara Ann' - reverse this and you very nearly have Ansar's own surname. The account tweeted BBC presenter Nicky Campbell, Times columnist David Aaronovitch, politician and PressTV pundit George Galloway, the organisation Tell Mama, Mohammed Shafiq and others, just as Ansar does; it defended Ansar's positions robustly; and levelled accusations of Islamophobia or anti-Muslim bias at people and organisations. All this, combined with 'Ann' in the name, 'x' and '_uk' in the account address and a score of other details make it obvious the account was run by the same person who now runs the @xtc_uk account. Similar logic applies for other accounts: @yellowfield_uk, @bluefield_uk, @kettle_uk, @panpot_, @_panpot (suspended), @_panpot2 (suspended), @alisonT7, @sausagesfortea and @creepingfascism.

Maintaining so many accounts over such a long period (several years now) would involve a lot of time, but also effort to cover ones tracks sufficiently. The most frequently used account, @xtc_uk, has also attracted the most scrutiny from other Twitter users, and has occasionally seemed to slip up, such as in this exchange when 'she' replied to a question addressed to Ansar in a disorienting manner:

 

'Ann' sailed past the concern easily enough. However, I think Ansar has tripped up with one of his sockpuppets, one that he used briefly and then abandoned, and which had just 30 followers. In doing so, he inadvertently revealed that all the accounts are him.

But before I get to that why, apart from the simple dishonesty of claiming to be people you aren't, would it be a problem if he does this? Well, for a few reasons, I think. It looks like Ansar uses 'Ann' to propagate views that he can't risk appearing under his own name as it would undermine his reputation for being 'moderate', which is crucial if he wants to get back onto Britain's airwaves as a commentator, which he very much would like to do. So as @moansar, he mainly tweets platitudes and populist anti-government/anti-establishment positions. As @xtc_uk and other accounts, he presents more extreme positions. He also spreads lies and smears and tries to undermine people he dislikes or feels are a threat to him, such as Maajid Nawaz of the counter-extremist think tank The Quilliam Foundation. Ansar loathes few people in the world more than Nawaz, for reasons explained in the main article. Below left is a recent tweet of his as 'Ann' in which he claims Nawaz is not Muslim.

This is a significant smear in two ways. The first is that Nawaz and others want to reform Islam, stripping it of extremist ideology and encouraging a liberal approach, so if it is believed he is no longer Muslim that will be made even harder to do. Secondly, in some Muslim countries, the penalty for leaving Islam is death. Ansar knows this very well, and the problem is a real one in Britain, too, as explained here. In other tweets, he has even brought in Nawaz's wife, mentioning her by name.

Ansar has also used this account to offer various apologetics and justifications for the Charlie Hebdo murders (see above right), and under his own name and this account previously attacked Nawaz for tweeting that he wasn't offended by a cartoon of Muhammed: Nawaz and his family received credible death threats. It's a very nasty game indeed.

So below is a collections of tweets that I think show beyond any reasonable doubt that Mo Ansar is 'Ann Fields'. Click on each tweet to enlarge (the captions enlarge, too). If you're viewing this on a phone, a few might appear in the wrong order, so follow the numbering. I've kept the tweets to the minimum I thought needed to make the case for anyone with an open mind, but there are dozens more similarities between these accounts, which you can compare using Twitter's own search function if you require more convincing. But I can't think of any other plausible explanation for what I outline here.

1. The Twitter account @creepingfascism ('Tom Robinson', a supposed parody of the former EDL leader Tommy Robinson used to troll EDL supporters and defend Muslims and Islam) tweeted this in a discussion with a follower in April 2012. The account had just 30 followers - in Twitter terms, it is extremely obscure.

3. By itself, that doesn't indicate anything. But the coincidences pile up. Here is a tweet from @creepingfascism from April 2012 discussing the risk of giving birth at the age of 35 - a somewhat esoteric topic and the user @sassymoo1 is no longer on Twitter so the context of the conversation is lost, but the next screenshot explains it.

2. The account @xtc_uk ('Ann Fields'), which doesn't follow @creepingfascism, tweeted this very similar tweet over a year later, in July 2013, using the same statistics.

4. It's about first cousins marrying each other, something that is sometimes raised about Muslim communities. And here is @xtc_uk once again tweeting something extremely similar, a statistic comparing it to the risk of giving birth aged 35. This tweet is two and a half years later. This could still simply be coincidence, of course.

5. However, after a certain point it becomes clear that the sheer range of subjects, and of very specific facts and figures, are too much to be coincidence. Both accounts tweet the London radio station LBC repeatedly, loathe 'neocons', The Qulliam Foundation and much more besides. Here's a very unusual example: a tweet from @creepingfascism in April 2012 about the Queen having 300 spare bedrooms...

6. ...and here is a near-identical tweet about her having 299 spare bedrooms, tweeted by @xtc_uk two and a half years later.

7. Here's a tweet from @creepingfascism from April 2012 in which they argue against the idea that Islamists pose the greatest terror threat to the US by citing research by Europol and Duke University/Rand.

9. I asked @xtc_uk if 'she' was @creepingfascism. This left 'her' with a problem. To admit it would mean having to explain the two accounts, and 'she' might also have (rightly) sensed I had another reason for asking about it. But to claim it was simply coincidence would be implausible, as I had already tweeted all the above examples, which would convince anyone with common sense that such a series of coincidences would have odds of millions to one. So what to do? After a bit of thought, 'Ann' explained it to me like this - 'she' sometimes 'borrows' other people's tweets. But this is totally implausible. 'Ann' doesn't even follow @creepingfascism - almost nobody does - so how would 'she' have found such tweets? I asked.

8. A search of Twitter reveals only two other users have ever used the words 'Europol', 'Duke' and 'Rand' in a single tweet - one is @panpot_ ('Ann Fields') in 2013, and the other is @xtc_uk ('Ann Fields') in 2015, ie both after @creepingfascism. In addition, @xam_uk also appears to have tweeted something very similar, but not mentioning Rand, in October 2012.

10. And received this answer. But this doesn't make any sense either.  A search for #benefits or #publicfunded would not have turned up tweets from two and a half years earlier, and why would 'Ann' have searched for either hashtag to make a point about the Queen's bedrooms in a discussion with someone? And @creepingfascism's tweet about convicted paedophiles had no hashtag. It would also be a mammoth series of coincidences if 'Ann' happened to search Twitter on many occasions and repeatedly came up with tweets from the very obscure @creepingfascism account for 'her' to 'borrow'. Clearly, @xtc_uk and @creepingfascism must be the same person.

11. That makes these two tweets by Mo Ansar very interesting. They were both made on 20 April 2012, at 2:32 pm. This is the first...

13. And here is @creepingfascism tweeting the same thing - almost word for word - 15 minutes later. Common sense rules out yet more coincidence: that @xtc_uk, suspected by many people of being Ansar, just so happened to 'borrow' the views and statistics of an obscure account that also happened to borrow a tweet nearly word for word from none other than...Mo Ansar. @creepingfascism doesn't even follow Ansar on Twitter, or anyone else for that matter. So it seems vastly more likely that he is much more careful as the prolific @xtc_uk than as the obscure EDL-trolling @creepingfascism with very few followers, and that he was engaged in two arguments about kosher meat with different Twitter users at roughly the same time, under his own name and as @creepingfascism. Having made the point first under his own name, he then switched accounts and saw an opportunity to repeat it, trusting nobody would notice. So unless one can think up an alternative explanation that doesn't run to ridiculously outlandish scenarios, this means that Mo Ansar runs the both the @creepingfascism and the @xtc_uk accounts.

12. ...and this is the second. He makes some very unusual and specific series of points.