Thursday, March 7, 2013

Adam Schiff Withdraws Sinanyan Glendale City Council Endorsement in Light of Allegations*

*4/19/13 UPDATE: Zareh Sinanyan Has Finally Admitted Responsibility For Online Comments

Congressman Adam Schiff has officially withdrawn his support for Glendale City Council candidate Zareh Sinanyan in light of the allegations that became public at Tuesday's City Council meeting.


From Patrick Boland, Communications Director for Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Burbank):
"When this issue was brought to his attention on Tuesday, Congressman Schiff immediately directed his staff to inform the Sinanyan campaign that he was withdrawing his endorsement.  In the letter to the Sinanyan campaign from his campaign, Schiff confirmed that he could not support anyone who made such deeply offensive and bigoted statements."
The letter sent by Congressman's staff is below:
"It has been alleged that Mr. Sinanyan may have posted deeply offensive and bigoted  messages on websites and social media platforms.  We certainly hope that this is not the case, and that he has no connection to the vile comments that are being attributed to him. 
Until this matter is resolved, however, Mr. Schiff must withdraw his endorsement and ask that his name not be included on any campaign materials.  The comments alleged are deeply disturbing and not befitting any member of the public let alone one seeking to  represent the city on an elected body." 

Here's some background on the allegations that I published on Tuesday: I received a tip about the comments on Monday morning via an anonymous e-mail. I know others in Glendale received the same e-mail, and I've had several people contact me this week (before I published my post) asking if I knew about the alleged comments. So I didn't uncover the comments per se, though I was the first person to publish them besides Sinanyan himself. When I first received the e-mail, I checked and verified that all of the comments were online from the account linked to Sinanyan's name, that all of the timestamps were correct (since some of the posts go back five years), and I verified that all of the information in the screen captures I received was accurate and not Photoshopped. And indeed, all of the comments were publicly available online at Youtube at that time, with that time stamp information, under the name Zareh Sinanyan. I also looked at other comments made by the same account, and there were dozens, maybe hundreds of additional comments, all similarly vulgar. By Monday afternoon the comments started disappearing from YouTube, presumably as Sinanyan got word that people were poking around his comment history. Also, I believe that for most of the account's history, it was an "anonymous" account -- but that Sinanyan unwisely chose to link his YouTube account to his Google Plus account, which retroactively revealed him as the author of the formerly anonymous comments.

I also would also like to highlight criticism of the allegations from the lively comment section under the initial post:

Anonymous commented
"I can't believe the amount of people who have given these accusations any real merit. What if I took your name and doctored comments on your behalf, passing them out to your neighbors saying you're a thief? What would you do?
These are a fool's attempt to discredit Zareh, who is the right choice for this city."

To address the very valid concerns of this commenter:

I fully agree with you that it would be terrible if someone doctored comments to incriminate a candidate. I am very concerned about that very possibility when dealing with anonymously sourced information. As a result, I took extensive steps to verify myself that all of the comments in the screen captures I received were accurate with what had been published online over a period of many years. In doing so, I concluded that the images I received were not doctored, that the comments were easily findable, on many sites, and part of a much larger pattern of vitriolic comments going back years. Most of the trail of comments is still online in some form. Googling "Zareh Sinanyan" and various obscenities yields many results on many sites over a long period of time. 
Additionally, I checked Sinanyan's Google+ profile (The name has since been rather preposterously changed to "Thomas Paine," but the original name is still visible in Google searches. The Youtube account is part of his Google+ Profile), and it lists his Google + connections as M Toumajan, Hovanes Manucharyan, Sarkis Jacob Babachanian, and Stepan Boyajian. I checked Sinanyan's Facebook profile -- the completely official profile through which he comments on his campaign -- and every single one of those people is Facebook friends with Zareh through his official Facebook account.
This proved to me that it was overwhelmingly likely that the Youtube account belonged to the same Zareh Sinanyan and not an impostor or someone with the same name. 
respectfully, 
Scott Lowe
Tropico Station

The Sinanyan campaign has not addressed the matter publicly. The Glendale City Council will be inquiring into the matter at next Tuesday's council meeting.




28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Zareh Sinanyan is the only candidate with a position that supports Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender persons'-rights in Glendale.
The real question is who is behind the hacking of Zareh's accounts? Why did that person want to remain anonymous? This "scandal" is designed to distract voters from the real issues.

Anonymous said...

Gee, for someone who "supports Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender persons'-rights in Glendale" he sures uses the word faggot an awful lot!

And this is easily seen without anything remotely resembling hacking, unless you consider Google searches to be "hacking" ;-)

Anonymous said...

Man, this is turning into quite the spectacle! They sure are keeping his name in the press and dragging out the pain. Poor Zareh, being forced to stay in the race by people with something to gain and nothing to lose. They're not too good with getting their story straight.

First Zareh and crew admitted it, to several people, but said "it's not like he exposed his penis or anything."

Then they said some racist set up an account, posted 1000s of comments in language Zareh speaks, providing details about his life, over a 5 year period, and then changed the username now, in 2013, fooling Google's algorithms magically.

When that too got mirth and shock, you have idiots like the poster above claiming Zareh was hacked. Hmm... Continuously over 6 years? Hmm... There are ways to prove this isn't so, and people who have emails and other records from the offending accounts. Dont assume everyone is a friend Zareh.

A truly sad clumsy coverup, prolonging the saga.

Meanwhile, I simply ask: is one slur enough? Because everyone seems to be overlooking that Zareh Sinanyan indisputably, from his Facebook page, with his picture, posted on the ANC Facebook page to call an Asian Muslim a "mongol tatar."

Thus, even if George Bush's drones secretly hacked his youtube account for 6 years continuously, there's still THAT little fact.

Anonymous said...

The truth is finally coming out. Sinanyan has no place in public office. I wouldn't be surprised if he loses his Cal Bar license like other ANC Board Members. He's a little man with a big mouth and a tiny brain. What an embarrassment to the Armenian community. He certainly does not have my vote. Congressman Schiff, Councilmember Garcetti and Krekorian have all pulled out their endorsements .. many more to follow. You reap what you sow!

Scott said...

"I got hacked" is a lame and unconvincing excuse in this case, for both the technical reasons outlined in my post linking the comments directly to confirmed, verified accounts used by Zareh; and the poetic reasons posted by the third commenter: the need to post hundreds of bits of false information in a mix of English and Armenian enthusiastically for over 5 years, subtly alluding to many small details of Zareh's life, writing dozens of innocuous comments in addition to the many vitriolic ones, and of course defeating numerous layers of security on multiple platforms of the world's most popular website for over half a decade without the intended target knowing.

Burt Harris, La Crescenta said...

Schiff is a good man. I am proud of him from pulling his endorsement. Glendale was once the KKK HQ. I am pleased to see Glendale move past these disgraceful roots. These hate posts put Glendale 50+ years back to an era of intolerance and racism. IM proud of the diversity of this community and lets continue in a positive direction without this ignorance and bile.

Anonymous said...

Tuesday is must see GTV at City Council. I am glad to see the council, sans one member, came out against this type of hate speech.Glendale gets a bad wrap too often. If the council responds swiftly in condemning and removing him from his Commission position, it sends the right message about our community.

Scott said...

In addition to Tuesday's council meeting, there are also candidate forums on Monday and Wednesday!

Anonymous said...

Congrats to this blog: you scooped EVERYONE! Investigatory skills, computer knowledge, and common sense helped of course.

Although I heard there is an LGBT activist in Montrose, a friend of a former Glendale councilman, who is bragging to folks that he discovered the stuff. Anyway, who cares.

The disturbing thing is the time they are taking to get the story straight. Sinanyan is probably rehearsing somewhere with a techie. But then again, there are rumors that there is more stuff and a trap has been laid. Can't wait to hear the story. Why oh why don't folks just apologize?

Anonymous said...

No one wants to discuss who is the "Anonymous" informant. The anonymous informant is most likely a political operative linked to the Mike Gatto budding political machine. Mike Gatto does not want Armenian Americans empowered in his district. Gatto wants to move up to State Senate and Congress. The websites that contained these alleged comments were racist sites attacking Armenians and Christians. The questions is how long Gatto can thrive running against inmigirants votes, be they Korean, Armenian or Mexican? The very fact that the "informant" is anonymous means he is either a political operative embarassed of his filthy role or he has committed a forgery or computer crime.

Anonymous said...

YouTube is a racist site attacking Armenians and Christians? BZZZT! FAIL!!

Scott has presented compelling evidence that these ugly comments were indeed made by Zareh Sinanyan. Let's see YOUR compelling evidence that they were made by political operatives of Mike Gatto. Don't have any? Didn't think so.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't long until the crazies and conspiracy wackos came out.

Anonymous said...

Here is an example of an Anti-Armenian website on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DipP9__Ph-0

There is nothing conspiratorial about a now standard technique to smear political enemies. If the anonymous informant admits who he is and shows that he is not a Gatto operative, then we can state that Gatto's operatives were not involved.

Anonymous said...

Now the hate speech apologists can add a new excuse to the list.

3/5: What's the big deal? He didn't expose his penis.

3/6: OK, it was bad, but someone went back in time to do this.

3/7: Yes, still bad, but someone hacked Zareh's accounts every year for five years, and three separate accounts.

3/8: The boogeyman fed this story.

Scott said...

In response to the conspiracy-minded folks -

Without taking anything away from the skills of the anonymous tipster, it doesn't take a political operative or Sherlock Holmes level detective work to find this stuff. I'm embarrassed I didn't find it myself initially.

Here is a step-by-step accounting of the what led to the tip:

STEP 1: Type candidate's name into search engine; find disturbing information created by candidate's verified account.

There is no step 2.

Anonymous said...

I hope Scott from Tropico attends Tuesdays council meeting and can provide readers a first hand account for those of us without cable.

And Kudos to Congressman Schiff for condemning hate speech. Mr. schiff rings a sense of civility and respect to Washington and he isnt afraid to dispel it in his district when needed.

Anonymous said...

Man, the Sinanyan apologists are really nasty. Counteraccusing folks? Not a wise move.

I feel sorry for Zareh. Being used by the ANC. It is time to contact his law firm, and ask if they condone this type of hate speech.

Lawyers understand facts. They understand you cant libel your way out of this. They understand that forensic data would reveal this is Zareh.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous March 7, 2013 at 9:50 PM is wrong, the Anonymous Accuser is not an LBGT activist who is friends with Drayman. All the LGBT activists who know Zareh support him. Drayman would never stoop to this.

The Anonymous Informant is linked to a computer hacker/website optimizer with connections to a Gatto political operative who is a legitimate private investigator who has worked for such causes before.

The private investigator has worked for the Gatto operatives before. There is no paper trail, but there is a computer trail.

Anonymous said...

What are we talking about? Foul language? Is that where we've gotten to? An opposition researcher finds some dated profanity and.....and what?! People curse, they can be vulgar. Surprised?! Go around town and ask those who've worked with the man in the public sphere if he has ever even shown the slightest hint of racism, misongeny or homophobia. The answer will be universally no! So what is this about - even if every bit of it is true? Who is benefitting by this non-event?

Anonymous said...

What are we talking about? Foul language? Is that where we've gotten to? An opposition researcher finds some dated profanity and.....and what?! People curse, they can be vulgar. Surprised?! Go around town and ask those who've worked with the man in the public sphere if he has ever even shown the slightest hint of racism, misongeny or homophobia. The answer will be universally no! So what is this about - even if every bit of it is true? Who is benefitting by this non-event?

Anonymous said...

I READ LA MAYOR CANDIDATE WENDY GRUELES PULLED HER SUPPORT AFTER READING THE COMMENTS. AND GREG KREKORIAN WITHDREW HIS ENDORSMENT FOR ZAREH.THIS SHOULD HELP GREG KREKORIANS REELECTION FOR SCHOOL SUPERVISOR!

Anonymous said...

Was Zareh Sinanyan discussing the finer points of Genocide denial when he wrote:

Zareh Sinanyan 5 years ago

This has been flagged as spam


Whatever you say, little fagot. Apparently you like guys assholes because you keep talking about them. Does you mullah know that you are a homo? Or is he a homo also? Probably your homo lover!

------

Was he representing the ANC party line when he wrote:

Zareh Sinanyan 5 years ago

This comment has received too many negative votes


Anyway, my primitive islamofascist satan worshiping clever dog! It's fun kicking your primitive ass, but you're too easy!!! I'm going to find someone with a little more intellect. At least the arguments will be more fun.

-----

Was he doing multi-ethnic outreach when he wrote this to an African poster:

Zareh Sinanyan 5 years ago

This has been flagged as spam


I know, I know, monkey boy. It's hard for you to read. Sorry I don't speak monkey language nor "clever" dog language (I guess that's arabic).

------

The ARF hardliners defending this type of language should be ashamed. But then again, isn't the ARF the National Socialist Party of Armenia? C'mon ANC, answer this: are you or are you not the American wing of the National Socialist Party in Armenia? Do you condone this language? Is calling an African a "monkey boy" OK because he has a differing view than you, admittedly on an emotional topic?

Whoever exposed this guy deserves a medal. Laura and those who pulled their endorsement, including Paul Krekorian, who knows what goes on on these message boards, will go down in history as being courageous, and courageously saying that this type of language has no place, no matter how pissed off you are.

Anonymous said...

Those were at:

http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?threaded=1&v=sNGzl5ExGj0

Anonymous said...

http://mikegattoisasweetdude.wordpress.com/about/

Scott said...

The smear campaign claims are pretty amusing. If it's false, it's a smear. If it's true, it's reporting. Sinanyan made made comments under his own name that can be found in two seconds with any search engine. That's an unforced error, not a conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous March 9, 2013 at 8:59 told us to watch this video claiming Zareh had posted comments
http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?threaded=1&v=sNGzl5ExGj0
The scary video advocates some sort of violence. There are comments decrying the video as an incitation to terror&$m.
Other comments are in Russian, and there is nothing linking this to Zareh. What is up with that? Is Tropico saying that Zareh was cussing in Russian? Please post a dictionary because some of us don't understand Russian or Georgian.

Anonymous said...

From http://www.cyberwarzone.com
Cyberwarfare: Is Turkey ready for cyber war?

Submitted by Reza Rafati on Fri, 11/11/2011 - 10:50


On Nov. 8, the Turkish Ministry of Finance’s website www.maliye.gov.tr was hacked by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) . A song praising Abdullah Ă–calan, the leader of the terrorist group, was playing via YouTube.

The next day the page was not accessible. I hope the attack is avoided by today. The incident in itself is a shame. However the worst thing is the fact that the webmasters were warned before and they haven’t taken any measures to avoid this. A group of Turkish nationalist hackers hacked the website a few months ago and issued a warning on the website. They wrote that it is “sad ignorance” that maliye.gov.tr has so many loopholes that could be used to hack the website. The group ended their warning with an order: Fix the bugs! However as we learned on Tuesday the webmasters for maliye.gov.tr didn’t take them seriously.

This reminded me of how NATO turned its attention from a nuclear war to a cyber one. Two years ago during the ARI movement’s International Security Conference, I had the opportunity to speak with a NATO officer and she told that one of the fundamental areas in the future of NATO will be cyber security. After seeing the attack on maliye.gov.tr, I agree with her.
The Turkish-PKK cyber war may not be on the international agenda but the one in between the West and China definitely is. Until recently it wasn’t possible to prove that China was actively hacking Western institutions. However a TV show changed all that. China Central Television 7 (CCTV-7) is China’s official channel for military and agricultural issues. As part of its wide-ranging coverage, every Saturday it runs a 20-minute program called ‘Military Science and Technology.’ The July 16 edition was entitled “The Internet Storm is Coming.” The program appeared to show dated computer screen shots of a Chinese military institute conducting a rudimentary cyber attack against a U.S.-based dissident entity. According to Diplomat News Web Site, however modest, ambiguous and - from China’s perspective - defensive, this is possibly the first direct piece of visual evidence from an official Chinese government source to undermine Beijing’s official claims that it never engages in overseas hacking of any kind for government purposes.

From Canada and Britain, France and South Korea, there have been growing reports of online attacks on computer networks around the world.

According to BBC, the finger of suspicion is often pointed at China. We will see how this will turn out as the West clearly states that Chinese attacks will be considered as act of war if they go on like this. Can a cyber war start a real one will be the debate of the coming years.

Meanwhile back in Turkey, we are so far away from this discussion. It is clear that we don’t have any cyber security strategy. This last attacked showed that the “Special Communication Tax” collected from mobile communications was not used for technological readiness but probably making the double roads just like the special taxes collected after the earthquake to get Turkey earthquake ready.

Anonymous said...

From Lt. Col Umit Kurt of the Turkish Army's Report "Cybersecurity: A Road Map for Turkey"

"One of the most common targets for cyberactors is personal data which is of vital importance. In every aspect cyberwarriors and criminals alike can use stolen or hacked personal information to steal identities, seize bank accounts or conduct fraud."