“In Venezuela” (@invenezuelablog) is the Twitter account of a Venezuela news site by the same name authored by Giancarlo Fiorella, who also works as an investigator for the open source intelligence investigation organization Bellingcat.
But the name of the account didn’t fool pro-Assad Syrian vlogger and commentator Maram Susli, who identifies herself as “Syrian Partisan Girl” despite living in Australia. Susli revealed that the account in question was actually based in Toronto, Canada and not Venezuela. She also alleged that the person behind the account was “pretending” to be in Venezuela when he wasn’t.
How Did Susli expose this information? What investigative journalistic techniques did she use to determine that this account was in fact closer to Calgary than to Caracas? It appears she simply clicked on the account’s main page, where it clearly gives its location as Toronto, Canada in the account’s bio. Clicking on the link to the In Venezuela blog also gives access to an “About” page where it plainly states:
“My name is Giancarlo Fiorella. I am a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto, where I am conducting research on protest policing in Venezuela. My research focuses on Venezuela’s colectivos armados and the 2014/2017 anti-government protests. I am also an investigator and trainer for Latin America at Bellingcat.”
If this was an attempt at deceiving audiences into thinking the blogger was actually located in Venezuela, it was poorly planned. But couldn’t a visitor possibly mistake the site for a blog by someone in Venezuela? Not likely:- the front page displays what are obviously news stories from and about Venezuela. In fact, the about section clearly states this is the site’s purpose:
“This blog attempts to bring Venezuelan news and events to an English-speaking audience. Every day, I read through Venezuelan media and translate the day’s biggest news into English.”
Partisan Girl is prominent on YouTube and Twitter, and has contributed to RT, Infowars, and the Iranian state channel Press TV, among other media. Apart from accusing the U.S. of orchestrating the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al Assad (in a YouTube video that now appears to be offline), she has also claimed that the CIA arms and funds al-Qaida and ISIS, and that 9/11 was a U.S. government false flag attack.