Trump, Putin and the mob. Part 5: Twitter, Russia and Silicon Valley’s “Persian Mafia”

Part 1 :::: Part 2 :::: Part 3 :::: Part 4 :::: Part 5 :::: Part 6

(This article was originally published here.)

As was discussed in a separate article on, the Executive Chairman of Twitter is Omid Kordestani. In 1978, Omid Kordestani left Iran and moved to San Jose, California which is, of course, the heart of Silicon Valley itself.

While it may seem logical then that Kordestani ended up in the tech industry, his success certainly didn’t look guaranteed. However, he spent a successful decade at Google and became Executive chairman of Twitter in 2015.

Kordestani is a member of what his friend Pejman Nozad recently described as ‘The Persian Mafia in Tech’. What’s interesting is looking at the Persian Mafia’s interactions with the PayPal Mafia, and in particular one of that group’s success stories, Peter Thiel.

Let’s talk about them.

Omid Kordestani, Saeed Amidi and Pejman Nozad, all members of the Persian Mafia in Tech, discuss their friendship and relationship to Peter Thiel in this article from 2007.

Saeed Amidi’s family left Iran for San Jose, California as well. Saeed Amidi and his family rented office space to PayPal in its early days, after briefly doing the same for Google. They were convinced to invest in PayPal by Peter Thiel, and they made millions together as a result.

Pejman Nozad first job in America was at Medallion Rug Gallery, which was owned and operated by Omir Amidi, Saeed’s father. Saeed Amidi has also described Twitter Executive Chairman Omir Kordestani as a, “really good friend”. Here are Pejman Nozad and Omid Kordestani working together in July of 2017.

The Silicon Valley Bank connection.

Pejman Nozad is actively involved in the business of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). The bank has repeatedly referenced Nozad on its Twitter feed recently.

Silicon Valley Bank states on their website, “No one understands startups like Silicon Valley Bank.” A 2012 piece in Fortune about Silicon Valley Bank used their tagline, ‘Bank like a venture capitalist’. There’s a reason this strategy is described as ‘boutique banking’, if the rest of the world worked off this model, the world economy would collapse on roughly a weekly basis.

Silicon Valley Bank has done quite well for itself, however, resisting tradition. In fact, it almost seems like they encourage risky ventures. How, then, are their profit margins so high? Could it be because tech start-ups are a means to launder dirty money? It’s difficult to say, but it may not be long until we find out, thanks to Bob Mueller’s investigation. What is interesting, though, is SVB’s close association with Russia’s Sberbank, a bank which is currently under US sanctions. It’s also interesting that Trump Tower Moscow’s development partner was funded by Sberbank in its previous projects.

If all of this seems fanciful, consider the state of Silicon Valley today. When the same people provide the initial investment in a start-up as the ones who ultimately purchase the company outright, who’s to say what’s exactly going on? We may assume there are proper checks in place, but there are warning signs that this simply isn’t the case.

Silicon Valley Bank’s founder and Mesosphere.

In any case, Silicon Valley Bank was founded in 1983 also in San Jose, California by Roger V. Smith. In 2014, Smith joined mobile shopping app Just Sales in 2014. At the same time, former Twitter engineer Florian Leibert joined Just Sales as well. Leibert is also the CEO and Co-Founder of a company called Mesosphere.

One of the initial investors in Mesosphere was Andreessen Horowitz. In 2014, they led Series A funding of Mesosphere, investing $10.5 million in the company. Series C investment round in March 2016 was led by Hewlett Packer Enterprise (HPE)–where Marc Andreessen is on the board–and raised $73.5 million for Mesosphere. Series B funding amounted to $36 million. It was led by Khosla Ventures, but Andreessen Horowitz provided additional funding as well.

Clearly, Andreessen Horowitz is heavily involved in Mesosphere. A company founded by Florian Leibert, who has direct links to Twitter and the founder of Silicon Valley Bank.

Silicon Valley itself, once you start to really take a long look, is a rather incestuous affair. Money flows a lot of different ways between Venture Capital firms, start-ups and the big guys like Google, Facebook and Twitter.

The Russian Connection.

Russian-American Yuri Milner, who has links to Russian Intelligence officials, invested $800 million in Twitterin 2011. Milner’s company, DST Global (which later changed its name to also invested $400 million in Zynga and Facebook. Yuri Milner’s essentially bought his way into Silicon Valley, and he did this with the help of his billionaire benefactor and business partner, Alisher Usmanov. It was Usmanov who spent several years in jail in Uzbekistan (the ruling was eventually overturned), and he has apparent ties to the Russian mob.

It’s important to note this point as well. One does not conduct corporate business in Russia without the approval of the Kremlin. Russia is a mafia state. There is no distinction between the mob and the government.

While this is a fact the media sometimes forgets, know this:

The man who coined the term ‘Mafia State’, Alexander Litvinenko, was himself poisoned with polonium for trying to expose this very fact to the rest of the world.

The name Andreessen Horowitz keeps showing up.

In 2010, Mark Zuckerberg made a surprise announcement. He planned to invest $100 million in New Jersey’s failing public school system. You may recall that then-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was vetted and nearly became Trump’s pick for Vice-President. It’s also interesting that the person who advised Zuckerberg on this investment was Marc Andreessen’s wife, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen. Who else does she advise regularly? Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

In February 2011, Andreessen Horowitz invested $80 million in Twitter. At that time, the firm held stock in all four of the highest-valued, privately held social media companies at that time: Facebook, Groupon, Twitterand Zynga.

Andreessen Horowitz also led a $75 million investment in Oculus in 2013. Oculus was founded by Palmer Luckey, who sold his company at a massively inflated rate in 2014. Luckey went on to work at Facebook, and he was caught secretly funding pro-Trump trolls during the election. Luckey recently resigned from Facebookin March, partly due to this controversy. Despite this, Luckey managed to land a meeting with Trump’s Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke. Luckey is currently working on designing a virtual border wall to pitch to Trump.

Back to Oculus and Marc Andreesen.

An initial investor in Oculus was, like Marc Andreessen, an early Facebook investor–Peter Thiel. Recently, Thiel–who remains on Facebook’s board–was mentioned as a candidate for a top intelligence position within the Trump administration. Thiel and Andreessen have done numerous debates and interviews together over the years. They appear to be quite close.

There are various other intersections between these groups as well. Andreessen Horowitz was an investor in Instagram in 2012, before it was sold to Facebook, making the VC firm a $78 million profit.

Marc Andreessen is also on the board at Hewlett-Packard (HP), which is problematic in part because of the fact that HP hosted the DNC data on their Vertica platform. Also, according to Reuters, HP “allowed a Russian defense agency to review the inner workings of cyber defense software used by the Pentagon to guard its computer networks.”

Andreessen Horowitz invested $50 million in Buzzfeed in 2014. It was BuzzFeed News who published the now infamous Steele Dossier in January of 2017, which may or may not have been a Kremlin-backed provocation move.

Thiel, Kushner and Trump’s campaign

In June 2017, Andreessen Horowitz invested $65 million in Cadre. Two of the co-founders of Cadre are Jared and Joshua Kushner. By his own account, Jared Kushner played a large role in the data operations of the Trump campaign.

Peter Thiel said, himself:

“It’s hard to overstate and hard to summarize Jared’s role in the campaign.”

What’s interesting, then, is that Thrive Capital is also operated by Joshua Kusher. It lists a total of $762.1 million in assets. Guess who’s listed as the Custodian of that fund?

Silicon Valley Bank.

Steve Bannon’s personal dirty trickster, Milo Yiannopolous, has a bank account at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). Could it be somehow related to the ties that bind Steve Bannon and Yuri Milner?

It’s hard not to wonder, considering Breitbart and the Trump campaign were virtually indistinguishable. Additionally, Facebook was described as “hands-on partners” by Trump’s digital campaign staff in a BBC interview after the election.

Keep this in mind as well. Ukrainians to believe Russia’s alliance with Facebook goes back to at least February, 2014. That’s when Russia invaded Crimea, and the war in Ukraine began. Who was in Ukraine working with pro-Kremlin elements in Ukraine at this time? Trump’s future campaign manager, Paul Manafort.

Additional links to keep in mind

According to Bloomberg, “ Andreessen, a venture capitalist at Andreessen Horowitz and a long-time Facebook board member, is a close Zuckerberg ally.”

When the Facebook IPO value tanked in 2012 shortly after opening, who came out to do a friendly PR piece for Facebook? Greg Becker, who remains the CEO of Silicon Valley Bank today.

Pejman Nozad, who himself maintains a close relationship with SVB, recently unveiled a $75 million new early stage venture fund called Pear. The company hosts events at its offices. Some of Pear’s past guests include Mark Pincus, the founder of Zynga. Pincus is a dirty trickster who has repeatedly taken Russian money. He’s even gone so far as to say “I love Yuri Milner”. There’s a video in case you’d like to see it.

Another past guest is John Doerr, who currently serves on the boards of Google, Amyris Biotech and Zynga. Doerr led Kleiner Perkins’s $150 million investment in Twitter in 2010.

Who was one of the initial investors in Twitteragain?

Marc Andreesseen…all the way back in 2007.

Peter Thiel, John Doerr and Eric Schmidt (Executive Chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet) met with Trump at the White House in June of 2017. While it’s not surprising for tech companies to meet with a sitting president, the various conflicts of interests between these groups are simply too long to list. Instead, here’s a picture to help start to give you an idea.

Another board member of Twitter, Evan Williams, is also the former CEO of Twitter. Evan Wiliams co-founded Pyra Labs, which was later acquired by Google, with Meg Hourihan. I mention this for a specific reason.

Meg Hourihan co-founded another company called Kinja with the founder of Gawker, Nick Denton. Gawker is itself known in part for being brought down by Peter Thiel’s apparent trolling, but it also published hit pieces on members of the U.S. intelligence community, both itself and by way of its spinoff, Deadspin. It should also be mentioned that Russian oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg, became a key investor of Gawker, in early 2016.

Why do they do this? Silicon Valley is an active participant in Trump, Bannon and Vladimir Putin’s war on the mainstream press. Gawker’s actions attacked the credibility of our intelligence community and the press. Peter Thiel put out a threat to all those who oppose his way of thinking. We are expected to fall in line or suffer the consequences.

How many times has fear of retribution prevented articles from being published in the last year? There’s no way to put a definitive number on it, but it certainly does happen (for various reasons). For evidence, look no further than NBC’s recent refusal to publish the allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

What does it all mean?

I don’t have all the answers, but I will say the way Silicon Valley is setup, it makes sense that they’re providing cover for one another lately. These companies can claim they care about your privacy, but their “efforts” to protect that privacy continually fail. The truth is, Silicon Valley is running a major PR campaign currently, and there will be plenty in the media who help them.

If that seems far-fetched to you, stop and think for a second. How much does it really cost to purchase favorable coverage from the press? I’m not saying paying someone to lie. I’m talking about writing articles that paint Facebook or Twitter’s failings in a less negative light.

These companies pay their PR people millions of dollars a year. They know people are angry right now. They know if reporters go out and say “Facebook and Twitter did nothing wrong”, no one is going to buy it. So, they’re not saying that, but they’re not really taking the blame either. You know what else? The big data operation keeps rolling along. Now Facebook is looking at giving advertisers access to our posts and comments in order to create even more sophisticated ad targeting.

These problems will not improve on their own. These companies cannot be trusted to correct the problems their platforms led to during the 2016 election, because these same issues still aren’t being fixed.

After the election, when people questioned Mark Zuckerberg over the rampant fake news on his site, he called it a “pretty crazy idea” to think that fake news influenced the outcome of the election.

I say it’s a pretty crazy idea to let Silicon Valley ever police themselves again.