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Exposing the Past Anti-Semitic Tweets of the Man Crowdfunding a “Giant Sadiq Khan Balloon” to Fly Over London

August 1, 2018

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Translations: Русский

On July 5th 2018, a crowdfunder named Yanny Bruere launched a campaign to fly a giant-sized baby balloon with the head of Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, in response to the Trump baby blimp which made headlines worldwide. Gathering 50,000 pounds in about a week’s time, the campaign quickly gained popularity. In the meantime, however, members of the recent Bellingcat workshop in London discovered anti-Semitic trolling attacks from Bruere’s old Twitter account that he has actively tried to hide.

Yanny Bruere had launched his campaign in response to a similar crowdfunded anti-Trump balloon protest which had received approval from Khan’s office and took place on July 13th 2018, the day of Trump’s visit to London. US President Donald Trump had criticised the UK government for allowing the blimp to happen, a view often bitterly shared by many of his supporters. Bruere’s counter-campaign initially began with a target of only 10,000 pounds, but after the target was met in less than two days, it was stretched to 20,000 pounds, and again to 50,000 pounds. He then stepped up his game after raising more than 75,000 pounds, by announcing that the balloon will fly during a “Make London Safe Again” demonstration. A Facebook page recently created for the event displays a banner originally designed by a “Leave.EU” group and has begun to promote the sale of anti-Sadiq Khan T-shirts.


Bruere recently announced that, if approved by the mayor’s office, the demonstration will take place on September 1st at London’s Parliament Square. His new plan is that the balloon will resemble Sadiq Khan wearing a bikini rather than nappies (a reference to Sadiq Khan’s policy of cracking down on “body shaming” adverts on the Tube).

The anti-Khan crowdfunding campaign has been far more successful than the one preceding the anti-Trump balloon protest, a feat achieved, perhaps, because it was covered by right-wing partisan media outlets such as Fox News and Russia Today, and promoted by far-right and anti-Muslim groups such as the Democratic Football Lads Alliance, The Rebel Media, and The Voice of Europe. The pro-Brexit platforms Westmonster and British Voice also shared news about the campaign.

Right-wing activists such as Paul Joseph Watson (YouTuber and editor of InfoWars); Jim Hoft (founder and author of The Gateway Pundit); Pamela Geller (political activist and president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative); and Mark Collett (author and former chairman of the youth division of the British National Party) also jumped on the promotion bandwagon. In addition, the campaign was shared by various anonymous Twitter users that resemble typical pro-Russian troll accounts.

It seemed odd that the individual who managed to raise more than 50,000 pounds in about a week’s time was hitherto unknown, with barely any previous social media activity and no clear links with political or ideological groups. Shortly after Bruere launched his crowdfunding campaign, his online activity seemed limited to a one-year-old twitter account with less than 800 followers (a number which has since doubled), and a newly created Facebook page with less than one hundred followers. According to his current Twitter, Bruere studies an online Law degree at Open University and was recently residing in Spain. His Twitter doesn’t show any sign of wrongful activity and his reputation seems clean.

However, after studying the activities of the first Twitter users followed by Bruere, we found Bruere’s old twitter account @yanny1112. Archived screenshots of this account revealed that his Twitter avatar used to be an old photo of Bruere surrounded with friends. The authenticity of the account can be further verified by the fact that some of his friends used this Twitter handle when tagging Bruere in other photos:


Searching for @yanny1112 on twitter shows a number of old screenshots taken by other Twitter users of some of Bruere’s tweets which have since been deleted. These tweets reveal that Bruere sometimes acted like a troll who used to respond with well-known anti-Semitic conspiracy theories such as “ISIS was created by Israel and the United States” and that “Jews run the world”:


We managed to further verify some of the screenshots by contacting Giles Peaker (@nearlylegal), a solicitor in Housing and Private Law. Peaker explained that he wanted to report Yanny Bruere to his Law school and that, in response, Bruere locked his account, changed his profile picture, and renamed his account several times thereafter.

Until recently, Bruere’s old account carried the handle @allequal117. This account was no longer locked and was used to further promote the crowdfund campaign. While this account showed most of his old tweets, his anti-Semitic comments had been deleted since the confrontation with Giles Peaker.

Our research member contacted Yanny Bruere and asked him about the authenticity of @Yanny1112, as well as the reason for some of the anti-Semitic tweets. However, Bruere’s only apparent response was to completely delete his old Twitter account.

Yanny Bruere’s crowdfunding campaign has so far managed to raise more than 58,000 pounds out of the 75,000 pounds target. Although the growth rate has dramatically decreased, he might still hit the target by the end of August. Unlike Trump baby balloon protest, Bruere wants to fly the Khan balloon high over London which means he needs to get special permission from the UK’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS). While NATS has previously given approval for the anti-Trump protest, they also stipulated that the Baby Trump balloon had to remain below thirty meters (however, the organizers didn’t bring it higher than five meters). NATS informed Bellingcat that, so far, they haven’t received any application regarding the Khan balloon protest.

Special credit for this research goes to Abdullah Ahmed, Manisha Ganguly, and other members of the Bellingcat workshop in London. Details of upcoming Bellingcat workshops can be found here.

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26 Comments

  1. Carol Croft

    Don’t agree with your claim that that my support and funding of the Trump baby balloon was less successful than the anti-Khan hate mongers crowd-funding campaign.
    An amusing project was successfully funded and the project was carried out. There is no comparison.

    To be pedantic – checking your spelling would help the legibility of these articles – from a long-standing supporter of bellingcat.

    Reply
    • Pieter van Huis

      We only meant that this crowdfunding raised money faster. But indeed, it is too early to tell if it will end just as well as yours.

      Reply
  2. Concerned Citizen

    What actually is the purpose of digging through some guy’s old tweets to find things that may sound vaguely anti semitic?

    I don’t follow.

    Reply
    • Mad Dog

      The purpose is of course to find the true colors of some so-called activists. Kind of like going back and seeing what Stephen Miller was all about from his High School years, makes a lot of sense when you see him acting like a mini-Geobbels!

      Reply
      • Jon

        You’re absolutely right – both hard left and hard right do keep proving to contain similar elements of bigotry, conspiracy theory, and so on. Both sides hope that pointing the finger at the other lot somehow makes their own problems ok. Both sides keep on saying they shouldn’t have to explain themselves cos LOOK OVER THERE AT WHAT THOSE GUYS ARE DOING!!!

        Reply
      • David Salvo

        It’s hardly the same! Jeremy’s Corbyn is s life long anti-Semite and is running for the highest office in the land and before one of his devotees calls me, a Jew, a Nazi as always happens take a look in the mirror pal.

        Reply
        • Lucy

          A life-long anti-semite? A life-long anti-Zionist, maybe. I don’t particularly like the guy as a leader, but he’s pretty consistently anti-racist throughout his life.

          Reply
  3. duplicitousdemocracy

    Bearing in mind the strong indications that Israel has indeed been assisting extremists along the occupied Golan, your claim that ‘ISIS was created by Israel and the US’ isn’t that far fetched as to be called an anti Semitic conspiracy theory. Accusing Israel of colluding with terrorists isn’t anti Semitic. Criticism of Israel isn’t anti Semitic. If you want a real investigation into how a smear campaign evolves take a look at this https://www.academia.edu/37055678/MURALGAGA

    Reply
      • duplicitousdemocracy

        I didn’t mention the White Helmets, I was referring to Chris Friel who has done an investigation into the smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn. However, if ‘open source investigators’ still believed the White Helmet cock and bull stories of saving 70,000 civilians then it would point to gross incompetence. The amount of photographic evidence proving that many of the WH’s were also parading around with semi automatic rifles and amongst terrorists is so overwhelming as to be beyond debate.

        Reply
    • Tez

      I’m just going to ignore your dumb claims and ask you, did you also read his other tweets?

      Reply
  4. AlexT

    I muss confess that I was baffled by the line equating the claim that “ISIS was created by Israel and the United States” is somehow akin to anti Semitism. Irrespective of the fact that there is ample documentation (including acknowledgement by then secretary of State Clinton) of, at the very least, fairly friendly relationship between ISIS and US/Israel, I really fail to understand how this can in any shape or form be seen as “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group”.

    Reply
    • Mad Dog

      You really blew it when you came up with “fairly friendly relationship between ISIS and US/Israel”. The US has been battling ISIS and its forerunners since the early stages of the Iraq war. Where did you pick up this friendship thing. Just another bit of disinformation like the one going around that Clinton sold weapons to ISIS (gee, thanks WikiLeaks). So, I would imagine the rest of your post has about the same level of validity.

      Reply
      • AlexT

        Still doesn’t address my question: how is this in any shape or form anti-Semitic ?
        BTW: Aug 14, 2014: “We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to Isis and other radical groups in the region”.

        Reply
        • Mad Dog

          Why address the question when the whole basis of your post is bogus? Where is that documentation you speak of.

          Reply
      • duplicitousdemocracy

        So how can you explain the events at Tharda Mountain in September 2016? US air force attacked SAA soldiers at this critical mountain defence post, promptly followed by an ISIS ground assault. Coincidence? The US has not been battling ISIS at all. ISIS was their excuse to become involved. Syria did not ask for US help and so their involvement is illegal.
        You question validity of other posters whilst relying on your cock and bull stories based on ‘open source investigation’ . The above attack DID happen and subsequently ISIS took control of a mountain – meaning that they could stop Syrian aircraft landing, which put 100,000 civilians in Deir Ezzor at serious risk.

        Reply
      • Concerned Citizen

        Mad Dog Wrote:
        “The US has been battling ISIS and its forerunners since the early stages of the Iraq war.”

        They battled them so hard in Syria that ISIS became much stronger and acquired US weapons.

        Reply
        • FoRly

          > They battled them so hard in Syria that ISIS became much stronger and acquired US weapons.

          Becoming stronger was a separate process to acquiring US weapons, though the acquisition may have helped with the former. The majority of the hardware was looted from the retreating Iraqis as well as being supplied by Saudi & Co.

          Reply
  5. moist_towel

    I see a few comments here that ask how “ISIS was created by Israël and USA” is anti-semitic.

    Sure, you can make the point that those groups are mainly blowback from bombing the region, and that those groups have provided weapons to groups just to further interests. And while polarizing, that is not essentially anti-semitic.

    Where Bruere is very arguably anti-semitic is with his stance that “#jewsrunthworld”, in that they’ve “hijacked” the white house, which is now “filled with zionists” who are “blindly loyal” to Israël.

    These are all narratives that have been used in the past to justify violence against jewish people, and are presented here as assertions without supporting facts. So while this is a very specific ‘attack’ on one person, in my view, this blogpost is somewhat right to call attention to it.

    Reply
  6. steve gregory

    The guys name and lack of background information looks like a false flag Mossad to me.

    Reply
  7. Adolf Hitler Obviously

    Wow. People like you really make me sick. I have ZERO doubt that you have, at some point, said there are too many white men in government, white men are too rich, etc., – but to point out Jewish hegemony is evil bigotry?

    Reply

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