Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 03, 2012

Syria: Insurgents Give Up For Now - The Grownups Made A Deal? Reuters Got Hacked

UPDATE II (Aug 3, 2012 01:20 PM):
It seems that my post below was based on two Reuters blog entries that were hacked and put up by the hacker for disinformation purposes. My post below the updates is thereby likely very wrong. (Thankfully though I used enough qualifiers in it to not be seen as totally gullible.) I will not change my original piece but, for documentation purpose, keep it as it is.

Reuters took down those two hacked post shortly after I blogged about them. Then the site blog.reuters.com went completely dead. You can follow the story has it happened by reading through the post below and the earlier comments thereto.

For the record: I was first made aware of the first Reuters post by this tweet by Maya Naser and of the second Reuters post through this tweet by Orthodox warrior. Please note: I have followed those accounts for several weeks now and have absolutely no reason to believe that these two persons knew that they were distributing links to hacked pieces.
END UPDATE II

UPDATE (Aug 3, 2012 12:15 PM):
Something weird happened. As you can tell from the first comments to this post Reuters deleted both pieces I linked in it very shortly after I posted about them. Both links are now dead. As those pages were still open in my browser window I immediately made screenshots. Here is the screenshot of the first piece I linked. The screenshot from the second link/piece in two parts. I have no idea why Reuters pulled especially the second rather juicy piece.
END UPDATE - original posted August 3, 2012 at 11:20 AM follows below.

This just in from Reuters:

The Syrian rebels fighting the forces of Assad have fallen in key districts of their stronghold Salah Al Deen in Aleppo. This comes hours after the army has announced that it has destroyed the communication network provided by Turkey. Earlier the rebel forces have complained that they are running low on ammunition as the city has been completely surrounded by government forces, coupled with lack of communications, has left the rebels in disarray. Several trucks with mounted heavy machine guns have been destroyed, leading to the deaths of 20 rebels.

According to footage on the ground, the rebel forces in Aleppo have failed to take Aleppo Citadel, contrary to earlier reported news. A journalist on the ground, Hussein Murtada, has reported that an attempt to damage the ancient Citadel’s walls by rebel missiles was repelled by security forces, resulting in the death of General Mustafa Al Sheikh and Abdul Jabar Aqede, field Marshals of the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo.

This is very much what I had expected:

If the Syrian army is able to cut the insurgents supply lines into Aleppo it only has to fix them on the ground to slowly fight them down.

With their communications destroyed, their commanders dead, low on ammunition and surrounded there was no alternative for the foreign supported insurgents than to give up.

Reuters' Jeffrey Goldfarb has more and some of it is really explosive:

The chief leader of Syrian Free Army (FSA) has stated on Friday that the Syrian Free Army has tactically withdrawn from Aleppo province after severe clashes took place yesterday between the regular army and FSA.

[Riad] Al-Asaad confirmed on a phone call to Reuters that the regular army killed 1000 soldiers of Free Syrian Army and arrest around 1500.

That is quite a huge loss of the insurgencies personal.

He added that Syrian regular army carried out several airdrops on Friday early morning.

Those airdrops, probably parachuters by helicopter, will not have been in the city. I guess they have been between Aleppo and the Turkish border 30 miles north to cut of the supply and retreat route for the fighters in Aleppo.

Riad Al-Asaad said that the Syrian Free Army will withdraw from all Syrian cities due to the huge losses caused upon the soldiers, as well, the betrayals made by rebels, due to in-fighting amongst them, for money and positions. They are expected to re-coordinate in Turkish territory where they have set up secret bases under the close supervision with the Turkish government and the Israeli intelligence service.

One wonders how Turkey will now handle these insurgents. Will it try to build them up for another attack or will it finally stop supporting them? And to admit that Israeli(!) intelligence plays a key role here, some David Ignatius of the Washington Post had mentioned earlier, is quite a blow for the insurgents and their supporters moral.

It is not clear how much the alleged FSA commander Riad Al-Asaad really has to say about which insurgent group or how much he is lying here. But if what he said next is true, then we are much nearer the end of the crisis than anyone thought:

Riad Al-Asaad accused Qatar and Saudi Arabia of betraying him, dealing secretly with the Syrian regime.

He revealed that Riyadh and Doha has made a secret deal with Damascus to eliminate the Syrian Free Army for investments and privileges in Syria post conflict. Information about all the leaders of the FSA has been passed on according to Riad Al-Assad.

Assad made a deal with the Saudis and Qatar? I do believe very much that this is possible but some caution is warranted to believe this until we have further confirmation. If a deal was made who did it? (Manaf Tlass?)

The consequences of such a deal would be immense. Without the money and support from the Gulf the whole scheme to bring down Syria will collapse. I very much doubt that the U.S. and/or Turkey will want to continue this without the Arab League backing them.

If such a deal indeed was made then the Turkish premier Erdogan will have a huge loss of face and will be in serious political trouble.

What is then left to do for the Syrian army is to hunt down the foreign Jihadists of who at least some 200, likely many more, are now in Syria. It may even get help doing so. As the Pentagon think tank RAND recommended today:

The U.S. and its allies should launch a covert campaign to ramp up intelligence-collection efforts against al Qaeda [in Syria], capture or kill its senior leaders, and undermine its legitimacy.

Did all the reports about AlQaeda and foreign fighters in Syria had this impact. Was it the turn in western media coverage that did this? Did Washington finally understand the need to climb down?

Could the RAND recommendation mean that the U.S., behind the doors, pushed the Gulf states towards this deal? And what was that baseball bat phone call Obama had with Erdogan a few days ago about? Was that also related to the deal? Did Kofi Annan step down because the deal was done and the issue finished? The last graph from Jeffery Goldfarb is ominous:

These rapid developments have all occurred 24 hours and are related to the resignation of UN envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, who has been accused of participating in a “plot already set against the FSA”, Al-Asaad concluded to Reuters via private channels.

Whatever. It will be very, very interesting to find out what actually happened here.

Posted by b on August 3, 2012 at 11:20 AM | Permalink

Comments
next page »

All Reuters links are broken.

Posted by: m_s | Aug 3, 2012 11:38:58 AM | 1

Got through briefly. Wished I had saved it, but didn't. Can vouch that the links once worked.

Posted by: erichwwk | Aug 3, 2012 11:42:55 AM | 2

Reuters blog archive

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 3, 2012 11:46:03 AM | 3

So much for the accuracy of NPR's reporting that the rebels had achieved their goal of 1) territory close to Turkey which they controlled and 2) had a free and open route for personnel and materiel into and from Turkey.

Heh.

NPR has really trashed its reputation for reporting judicously and accuately. As has the Beeb on Syria.

So wedded to the Powers That Be they've shat in their own respective nests in order to spread their Narratives.

Posted by: jawbone | Aug 3, 2012 11:47:28 AM | 4

Reuters' Jeffrey Goldfarb writes about investment banking and the financial sector. ???

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 3, 2012 11:53:18 AM | 5

also broken. there is something fishy. for the FSA commander to admit all of the above is
strange. and now the links are broken.

Posted by: erraticideas | Aug 3, 2012 11:54:47 AM | 6

When all this is aired out and reported more widely, Obama and Erdogan will certainly end up with egg on their faces; but it's somewhat ominous that the Reuters links are torn down so fast. Damage control? The west's odious leaders will probably reject such a loss of prestige in their inner council meetings. This close to election time, Obama's advisors aren't to be expected to react so well to a reversal and a diplomatic flaking of this kind.

Posted by: Copeland | Aug 3, 2012 11:57:56 AM | 7

Wow this is weird. I still have both the Reuters pages still open in my browser. I have made screenshots and will upload them. How come Reuters is killing this news???

Posted by: b | Aug 3, 2012 11:59:47 AM | 8

Explosive Stuff. That's my only comment.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Aug 3, 2012 12:01:40 PM | 9

Link still shows on Jeff's Blog archive:

http://blogs.reuters.com/jeffrey-goldfarb/feed/

Also saved screen shot. Interested in full article reproduced here

Posted by: erichwwk | Aug 3, 2012 12:02:51 PM | 10

strange things happen in the UN, too

Posted by: somebody | Aug 3, 2012 12:03:06 PM | 11

Followed the link to Reuters archive tag Aleppo, was one article, this URL, by on Alistair McDonald or so:

http://blogs.reuters.com/mideast/2012/08/03/rebel-resistance-collapses-in-key-suburbs-2/

Doesn't load. Now it's gone on the archive site Don Bacon posted which 404s.

Someone inside Reuters messing around with the page?

Posted by: °x° | Aug 3, 2012 12:04:12 PM | 12

Yup, Reuters took it off the archive also.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 3, 2012 12:12:09 PM | 13

Suspecting google somehow involved. Wonder if bernard, who has saved screenshot of entire article, could look and see if site visit shows in his google history. It does NOT in mine.

Posted by: erichwwk | Aug 3, 2012 12:14:03 PM | 14

13: my link in 12 is not one of the two linked in the blog post, it seems to be a copy of the first article b linked to - see the "-2" at the end of the URL and the different subdirectories.

Posted by: °x° | Aug 3, 2012 12:18:13 PM | 15

The piece above is now updated with links to screenshots of the original Reuters posts.

Posted by: b | Aug 3, 2012 12:21:46 PM | 16

Don Bacon -- I clicked through to the Goldfarb blog archive, but is there only the truncated page for the 8/3 post?

I searched Reuters' site and couldn't find anything about Aleppo from Goldfarb. Actually, when his name was searched it came back "not found."

This is a news article on Aleppo posted at 10:38AM EDT on Reuters:

WRAPUP 2-U.N. sees battle for Aleppo looming

Fri Aug 3, 2012 10:38am EDT

* U.N. expects assault to take Aleppo soon

* Dozens killed in clashes in Syria's biggest city

* Violence intensifies after peace envoy Annan quits

By Hadeel Al Shalchi

ALEPPO, Syria, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Syrian forces killed 20 people in clashes with rebel fighters on Friday in a strategic district of Aleppo, the country's biggest city, activists said, while the United Nations said a long-expected army onslaught to take the city was imminent.

President Bashar al-Assad's forces killed more than 110 people in a series of attacks across the country on Friday and late on Thursday, opposition sources said, reporting intensified fighting in several cities including the Salaheddine district of Aleppo.

"Today fierce clashes are taking place in Salaheddine right now and there are 20 civilians killed. The district is being shelled by artillery and helicopters," an activist told Reuters by Skype.

The violence came within hours of former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan quitting as international peace envoy for Syria and underlined the impotence of mediation efforts in the 17-month-old uprising against Assad.

This link from a Google search goes to 404 error, not found.

Riad Al-Asaad: Syrian Free Army pulls back tactically from ... - Reuters

blogs.reuters.com/jeffrey-goldfarb/.../riad-al-asaad-syrian-free-army-...


2 hours ago - The chief leader of Syrian Free Army (FSA) has stated on Friday that the. Syrian Free Army has tactically withdrawn from Aleppo province after severe clashes ...

You've visited this page 2 times. Last visit: 8/3/12

Google comes up with this link for Goldfarb's most recent post that actually comes up, an
d article about Man Utd investors:

Man Utd counts on investors behaving like fanatics

Was Reuters hacked? Whassup?


Posted by: jawbone | Aug 3, 2012 12:22:02 PM | 17

On Bharat Rakshak blog, scroll down to:
Pranav
03 Aug 2012 20:36
Good news coming in from Aleppo -

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 3, 2012 12:22:49 PM | 18

what is the UN really voting about?

Posted by: somebody | Aug 3, 2012 12:23:51 PM | 19

--this Frederick Kempe (author)?
Frederick Kempe (born 5 September 1954) is president and chief executive officer of the Atlantic Council, a foreign policy think tank and public policy group based in Washington, D.C. He is an award-winning journalist, best-selling author, columnist and a regular commentator on television and radio both in Europe and the United States. His latest book, BERLIN 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth (Putnam) was released May 10, 2011 and was a New York Times bestseller.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 3, 2012 12:29:41 PM | 20

Hacked. I guess it isn't just the US and Israel who can play this game.

At first I found it very weird because parts of the first snip where very similar to something I had already read in Sana or perhaps PressTV. Reuters copying verbatim reports from such sources? Very strange.

There is another interesting possibility. If Israel fears what comes next and there are still (relatively) sane people on their intelligence service who prefer the known bad regime that the 'good' regime to be known ...

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 3, 2012 12:30:47 PM | 21

--no tweets from Fred Kempe on Syria
https://twitter.com/FredKempe
--and nothing in his bio re: Reuters
http://acus.org/users/frederick-kempe

so it's another Frederick Kempe, apparently

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 3, 2012 12:35:56 PM | 22

Or entirely bogus misinformation? Because Jeffrey Goldfarb is weird also.(#5)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 3, 2012 12:38:13 PM | 23

The UN is meddling in a nation's internal affairs, which is not its business.
UN Charter, Article 2:
#The Organization shall ensure that states which are not Members of the United Nations act in accordance with these Principles so far as may be necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security.
#Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter Vll. [not invoked for Syria]

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 3, 2012 12:41:11 PM | 24

Now http://blogs.reuters.com seems to be completely down. This then smells like a hack.

Posted by: b | Aug 3, 2012 12:41:50 PM | 25

Pretty serious hack and seems well planned and executed.

They had to bring down the whole blogs.reuters.com dominion to 'fix' it. It's shame that they reacted so fast. I don't know if the information will have stored on Google webcache or similar sites.

b, save those pages, not just the screenshots, for the posterity :).

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 3, 2012 12:42:13 PM | 26

Webcache link for the first page (use text only version because it tries to load icons and images from the original domain which is down) : here

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 3, 2012 12:45:50 PM | 27

yep its a hack. people also posting links like this

Posted by: somebody | Aug 3, 2012 12:46:06 PM | 28

Interesting development. Saving webpages is a good idea. Whenever something is too good to believe, save it.

Posted by: Alexander | Aug 3, 2012 12:46:41 PM | 29

Thanks somebody at 28

Posted by: Alexander | Aug 3, 2012 12:48:29 PM | 30

Second link here.

Click on 'text only', at least until blogs.reuters.com is back up.

Congratulations to the team (Iranian, Syrian, Russian, ... Israeli?) who did this. Someone must be panicking, a lot.

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 3, 2012 12:48:50 PM | 31

Thanks Thepaper @ 27, even.

Posted by: Alexander | Aug 3, 2012 12:49:24 PM | 32

For any other page use the technique described here.

Basically paste this line on the browser:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:

Were is the link to the page you want to access without http://

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 3, 2012 12:52:19 PM | 33

Don't forget, Reuters is part of the Rothschild business empire.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Aug 3, 2012 12:56:42 PM | 34

Fred Kempe tweet July 27
World can't say it wasn't warned: Syrian shelling of Aleppo this morning confirms looming massacre.
https://twitter.com/FredKempe
Payback's a bitch.

and from Jeffrey Goldfarb tweets--
Lutz v. Grafenstein@GRAFIXEL
MT@AlethiaLibya: Impersonated Reuters journo Jeffrey Goldfarb has confirmed to me that "Aleppo pullback" story is fake.#Syria
https://twitter.com/#!/search/jeffrey%20goldfarb?q=jeffrey+goldfarb

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 3, 2012 1:02:04 PM | 35

@ThePaper - to late for me to save those pages. Closed those tabs after making the screenshots.

Posted by: b | Aug 3, 2012 1:03:26 PM | 36

I googled Frederick Kempe and found this at the New Atlanticist blog, and also found something similar written for Reuters, but not available.

In Putin's circle, Obama is Gorbachev | Thinking Global blogs.reuters.com/thinking.../in-putins-circle-obama-is-gorbachev/

18 hours ago - In Putin's circle, Obama is Gorbachev. By Frederick Kempe .... Frederick Kempe is president and CEO of the Atlantic Council. He previously spent more than ...

I've tried twice to get through but IE says web page can't be displayed. Troubleshooting report states "website (blogs.reuters.com) is online but isn't responding to connection atempts."

Searches for Frederick Kempe at the Reuters' site comes up with not found, both for his name and his blog. However, he is still listed under Opinion.

Has to be hacking -- and Reuters has circled the wagons? Not responding to connection requests for anything connected with Goldfarb or Kempe?

So far I can't connect with any of the Opinion blogs, but I haven't tried all. Takes too long....

Posted by: jawbone | Aug 3, 2012 1:04:38 PM | 37

I saved the Google webcache copies (just text though) of these three links we have compiled here, but I doubt they will be removed, at least not so soon, so anyone else can do the same.

Of course Reuters may eventually complain if they become widespread and request Google to delete them later.

So just in case they are on my disk ...

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 3, 2012 1:08:29 PM | 39

and a screenshot

http://i.imgur.com/WQrPV.png

Posted by: uhh | Aug 3, 2012 1:09:11 PM | 40

The link in 12 which seems to be a copy of the "Kempe" article was attributed to one Alistair McSomething, IIRC McDonald. Looks like someone got publishing access to the CMS and tried to smuggle that stuff in.

Posted by: °x° | Aug 3, 2012 1:15:16 PM | 41

There is a viri going around, it hijacks the ISP, it is using keywords 'Syria' being one. Also noticed Google have tweaked the news, I have got around by using firefox not IE or google. Could be the media game, the comm's cutting, this is a worry, as it means something, what?

Posted by: Kevin | Aug 3, 2012 1:16:28 PM | 42

Strange ... is this the real blogs.reuters IP?

C:\Users\Admin>ping blogs.reuters.com

Pinging cluster112.rmg.coreware.co.uk [195.238.240.112] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 195.238.240.112: bytes=32 time=84ms TTL=51
Reply from 195.238.240.112: bytes=32 time=43ms TTL=52
Reply from 195.238.240.112: bytes=32 time=40ms TTL=51
Reply from 195.238.240.112: bytes=32 time=40ms TTL=51

C:\Users\Admin>ping www.reuters.com

Pinging www.reutersmedia.net [206.132.6.101] with 32 bytes of data:
Request timed out.

Seems so ... so they are using an external service for the blogs. They are not Reuters main servers. So they hacked on this company. I guess they are going to get a financial hit for this.

CoreWare : Reuters analysis and opinion

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 3, 2012 1:16:43 PM | 43

If you want to capture a page, and file it, rather than cashe or long-winded moreover online (ISP) links, use Ashampoo snap 5, its just click, and save. You can find it on www.thepiratebay.org to try

Please note that downloading pirated software is illegal, but blanket bombing is fine!

Posted by: Kevin | Aug 3, 2012 1:22:11 PM | 44

Kevne @ 42 -- Could you elaborate on google tweaking the news? Thanks.

Posted by: jawbone | Aug 3, 2012 1:23:01 PM | 45

Reuters confirms on their tweeter account that they were hacked

http://Reuters.com was a target of a hack on Friday. Our blogging platform was compromised... (1/2)

...and fabricated blog posts were falsely attributed to several Reuters journalists. We are working to address the problem. (2/2)

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 3, 2012 1:24:30 PM | 46

The reporter for the screenshot at Uhh #40 appears to be Linda B. Baker, who usually seems to cover TV economic news, cable, etc.

Posted by: jawbone | Aug 3, 2012 1:24:54 PM | 47

I have added a second update with links to the tweets that pointed me to the hacked Reuters posts.

Note: I have no reason to believe that those people who tweeted the links knew they were hacked.

Posted by: b | Aug 3, 2012 1:47:45 PM | 48

Thanks for the good laugh guys, this was the perfect way to end the week.

Posted by: Reality Check | Aug 3, 2012 1:50:23 PM | 49

Re: somebody's link @ 11 to the Inner City Press coverage of the UN resolution on Syria to be taken by the General Assembly, this seems to be the latest from Inner City, Not much new info, just UN admitting error. And seeming mention of more monkey business with UN TV coverage being shut off when Syrian ambassador speaks? Not quite clear there. Of course, putting out the wrong resolution goes beyond "monkey business." That seems more, uh, like hegemonic business.

Amyone have anything more recent? Besides somebody's link a@ 19?

Posted by: jawbone | Aug 3, 2012 1:52:55 PM | 50

@#45-It ranks its search i.e. places what news it is pushing to be in the top searches, it re-directs, terminates, records, it is capable of anything. Best go through a VPN if you want some of the trick's it can do to be limited. Google is Gov affiliated and does screen 5000 keywords and 30,000 related words, they change as per need, so if you write 'Syria, Obama, Bomb' etc it will start sniffing, and you will be on some super computer being crunched and listed. Most people have ID's, either via the ISP, even the device or software, even if you don't, it can keystroke your input, so as soon as it reads www.xxx@gmail.com, it will know the next string will be 1. user and 2 password, even 256bit AES and other crypto apps are and have been cracked (Made) by most intel entities, so when you get 'GoldLock' or the range of other encryption, just think it's made by those wanting the data offering to protect your data, bit of an oxymoron.

Sometimes, just sometimes, organizations state they have been hacked, great way to dump, delete and sanitize media and correspondence including contacts and affiliations, it may not be the mainstream media, but something internal, or an external link that could be compromised!

Posted by: Kevin | Aug 3, 2012 1:54:59 PM | 51

@ 46 -- Now the question is "Who benefits?" Why and what do the bakcers or hacker get from this exercise?

Posted by: jawbone | Aug 3, 2012 1:56:26 PM | 52

Let's agree that John Bolton is correct -- the UN is an expensive joke, except it's not so funny when it blatantly promotes malicious US foreign policy.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 3, 2012 2:04:44 PM | 53

@52 - Depends on the intent and who? Blanket (Hide) information, give misinformation, control information. The majority of people believe what they read, even if a lie, read it often enough and you start to believe. People will after 2 days of media feel connected and in that bubble, it would take twice as long to disengage them and even then it has set a second thought.

Posted by: Kevin | Aug 3, 2012 2:05:47 PM | 54

Google also keeps track of my clicks and gives me awards.
Foreign Policy - Ultimate badge
You've read 79 articles about Politics.
That's 8 times more than most readers!

Iran - Ultimate badge
You've read 83 articles about Iran.
That's 11 times more than most readers!

I only have Platinum on Obama and Israel -- got to step it up.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 3, 2012 2:11:20 PM | 55

What did the hackers achieve?

The most interesting is the Scenario they put up. Not so much the insurgents loosing but the negotiations between Syrian, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It smells like there is a whiff of truth in that.

Posted by: b | Aug 3, 2012 2:17:26 PM | 56

@55 - It also tracks back to what you read and wrote! Excellent profiling, but can equally be a false flag, and a huge drain on resources, that is the main issue, it places people that like to read, educate themselves, look at two sides, research, or just connected in some manner. Much of the tech is like I2 software (Intelligence scraping), but like most systems its as good as the data in, i.e. garbage in garbage out, thus blogs have caused a nightmare for analysis, as its random users or true discussions, and the array of 'Keywords' in turn keeps alarms ringing, so in turn they use 'Live' operators to monitor and interact. No doubt this blog is always monitored...

Posted by: Kevin | Aug 3, 2012 2:22:17 PM | 57

From Reuters: Reuters blogging platform hacked, false Syria blog posted

Aug 3 (Reuters) - Thomson Reuters said the blogging platform of the Reuters News website was compromised on Friday and a false posting purporting to carry an interview with a Syrian rebel leader was illegally posted on a Reuters' journalist's blog.

"Reuters.com was a target of a hack on Friday," the company said in a statement. "Our blogging platform was compromised and fabricated blog posts were falsely attributed to several Reuters journalists."

One of the false posts purported to be an interview with Riad al-Asaad, the head of the Free Syrian Army.

"Reuters did not carry out such an interview and the posting has been deleted," the Reuters statement said.

In the purported interview, the FSA leader was alleged to have said his forces were pulling back from the northern province of Aleppo after clashes with the Syrian army.

The Free Syrian Army issued a statement denying that any such interview had taken place, and blamed President Bashar al-Assad's government for the false posting.

The report "was fabricated by the regime, as it seems the news agency was hacked", it said in a statement.

Thomson Reuters had no immediate information on who was behind the hacking.
...

Posted by: b | Aug 3, 2012 2:31:39 PM | 58

44-
www.instapaper.com provides a "Read Later" button for your browser which automatically saves the text of the page visible in firefox to your instapaper account. It also preserves a link to the original.

44-
"carpet bombing" is more idiomatic thean "blanket bombing". Blankets are comforting things, whereas carpet is spread over the floor from wall to wall to obliterate whatever is underneath.

Posted by: poohbah | Aug 3, 2012 2:35:19 PM | 59

Just a note on one of the twitter accounts, Maya Naser, I have been following his account for several weeks as well and his reports haven't always been accurate.

On July 20th he tweeted that Manaf and Mustapha Tlass had returned to Damascus in order to attend the government officials who died in the Damascus bombing (which obviously was not true)

Last Saturday, he tweeted that the Syrian army had retaken the Salaheldin neighborhood in Aleppo, which as we now know has not occurred as well.

In both these cases the reports appeared to have emanated from this news organization http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Mayadeen which given it's affiliations should be considered as a dubious source at best, so his tweets should be treated with suspicion given these past inaccuracies and this latest one.

Posted by: duval | Aug 3, 2012 2:42:28 PM | 60

UNITED NATIONS (AP), Aug 3 — The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly denounced Syria's crackdown on dissent Friday in a symbolic effort meant to push the deadlocked Security Council and the world at large into action on stopping the country's civil war. It condemns the increasing Syrian military reliance on heavy weapons, including tanks and helicopters, and "failure to withdraw its troops and heavy weapons to their barracks" in line with Annan's proposals. "The acts of brutality that are being reported may constitute crimes against humanity or war crimes," Ban Ki-moon said.

In other news on heavy weapons used by the US:

The Air Force’s record-breaking B-1 deployment, Aug 2, 2012:
The airmen of the 7th kept a bomber in the air over Afghanistan every moment of their deployment, according to an Air Force announcement, in the largest B-1 overseas deployment in 10 years. . .Over the course of the six-plus month deployment, the squadron flew more than 770 combat sorties, encompassing over 9,500 hours, to provide 24 hours of coverage every day. They also responded to more than 500 troops-in-contact situations, with the enemy as close as 300 meters from friendly forces, and another 700 priority air requests, delivering more than 400 weapons on target. . .the B-1 to employ the GBU-54 Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition, providing Combined Forces Air Component Commander with the first-ever B-1 capability to engage and destroy moving targets.
http://www.dodbuzz.com/2012/08/02/the-air-forces-record-breaking-b-1-deployment/

Stationary and moving targets attacked with JDAM-directed 500lb bombs in an insurgency. Even Syria doesn't have that capability. Accuracy? Claimed - 7 meters. On 5 December 2001, a JDAM dropped by a B-52 in Afghanistan nearly killed Hamid Karzai, while he was leading anti-Taliban forces near Sayd Alim Kalay alongside a US Army Special Forces (SF) team.--wiki

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 3, 2012 2:47:22 PM | 61

duval 60. maybe it doesn't make a difference but Maya is a female name.

Posted by: erraticideas | Aug 3, 2012 2:50:08 PM | 62

It smells like a fake hack to me. b asked what it achieved.

Here's what the fake hack achieved for the U.S./NATO/Israel:

1. Make the "regime" look bad for hacking the news. This adds to the other recent allegation of Syrian media fakery where the BBC and the Guardian had the story of the Syrian defector/former employee who is now a whistle blower. According to a RT story, the 'whistle blower' never actually worked there and only applied for a job 1 1/2 years ago and was turned down.

2. Mix up some true facts with the disinformation to confuse. Like the negotiations b hints at being true.

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Aug 3, 2012 2:50:57 PM | 63

Duval 60. Al Mayadeen is a news network that is run by former Al Jazeera beirut bureau chief Ghassan Ben Jeddo
he is pro Syria/Hizballah

Posted by: erraticideas | Aug 3, 2012 2:52:39 PM | 64

BTW, Russia Today is also not a center of reputable journalism, given this shining example of journalism from the fall of Tripoli last year http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IOj-MHE-v4

All news orgs make mistakes, or distort stories and one should be watchful of that, but given the political allegiances of Russia, one should be suspect of their media.

Also, false flag is stupid, there is no gain in doing this, I don't think the syrian government is behind this either though. Most likely a group of hackers who just want to cause trouble, like the business with the Iranian Cyber Army a couple years back

Posted by: duval | Aug 3, 2012 2:58:09 PM | 65

Reuters have several back-ups, and use more than one data center, if one goes down the other replicates, nothing can break the whole system or the data, they have a huge payout if this happens, in fact you can get the same data back-up from Co's that will back your data with millions. Of course it's bogus...

Posted by: Kevin | Aug 3, 2012 3:02:08 PM | 66

Just showin' off. Look what I can do. Like poppin' a wheelie on your bike.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 3, 2012 3:02:32 PM | 67

duval,

Show me how RT's reporting is not reputable: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Z4YcQ_cT1C4

They show parts of the interview they conduct with the organization the 'whistle blower' claims to have worked. They say he never worked there and that he would have had credentials like an ID card and are pointing out the man has zero evidence.

What Western news source is more reliable on this subject? Did you look at the original BBC and Guardian reporting? Do you really think their report is better? Shouldn't they respond to the claims of the man's alleged employer?

Nah, once again Syrian media is the more credible source here. I wish it weren't so. I wish U.S. media were more credible.

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Aug 3, 2012 3:04:18 PM | 68

To me it smells that 'cyberwar' is not exclusive of the illuminated western democracies (that was sarcasm). Cyberwar or any other weapon or technology for the matter. Western, 'democratic', 'capitalist', actually European white 'culture' - race if you want -, sense of superiority because they 'created' modern science and technology is going to end and sooner than they actually think.

There is no benefit on the US or any of its allies on writing all this stuff that hardly anyone will actually notice, as it was immediately brought down, as the actual hacked contents will only reach a limited minority. That would be us and a few others 'crazies' or news junkies. And what do you mean this puts the Syrian regime in a bad light? After being accused in the MSM of any kind of gruesome crimes? Even talk about using chemical weapons on civilians? What a joke.

This is just a message, as it didn't even had much of a chance or usefulness as counter-propaganda because it was so hastily takedown. There are two sides to this game. This is not a cat playing with the mouse he captured. It's not really a mouse and the cat may end being the one hunted.

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 3, 2012 3:05:10 PM | 69

FYI

We the undersigned express our deep condemnation of the unprofessional news, which does not meet the minimum ethics of Human Rights or honorable media activities that Mr. Osama Suleiman (Rami Abdul-Rahman) has beenpublishing about the Syrian Revolution for the following reasons:
First: when he equals the executioner and the victim: through propagating false claims about imaginary numbers of the security and army elements killed, and that are stated only by Mr. Osama Suleiman (Rami Abdul-Rahman) who does not rely on any documentation of the numbers he gives.
Second: provoking sectarian tensions: especially in the areas where different sects live together by pretending that the crimes of the security forces are just sectarian fighting, the thing that is not true. Such behaviour of Mr. Osama does participate in generating certain reactions that do not serve but the regime in this sensitive stage of the national uprising longing for freedom in Syria.
Third: questioning the credibility of all Syrian commissions, committees, and figures interested in documenting the crimes committed by the Syrian regime:that is through questioning and unjustifiably attacking all other commissions and committees and stigmatizing their credibility and reports in an attempt to show that he is the only trusted source of information about the Syrian Revolution, despite of the fact that he has never supported any of the reports he issued since the eruption of the Revolution with the number of victims with their names or places in which they were killed; whereas, all other commissions and committee do this.
Accordingly, we call for the necessity to stop all direct or indirect kinds of dealing with Mr. Osama Ali Suleiman (Rami Abdul-Rahman) as it may have a negative role in distorting the facts and the real situation in Syria, which might lead to elongating the sufferings of Syrians and deviating their struggle for freedom, and do badly for the efforts of thousands of pro-revolution activists, regardless of their ideological, racial or religious backgrounds, who have been working hardly as unknown volunteers in supportive for the great Syrian people and their human rights.
Damascus, January 4th, 2012.
Signatories (in alphabetical order in Arabic):
- Dr. Ibrahim Al-Mari (Director of the Barada TV channel).
http://www.shababsyria.org/vb/showthread.php/58734-A-Statement-of-Condemnation-of-the-lack-of-Professionalism-of-Osama-Ali-Suleiman-%28Ram

Posted by: brian | Aug 3, 2012 3:09:04 PM | 70

End of the day it also depends on the person telling the story! Hence all media having the disclaimer. My Wife told me I was intelligent, hansom, athletic, funny, charming, I believe her, we don't have a prenuptial agreement!

Posted by: Kevin | Aug 3, 2012 3:11:09 PM | 71

Oh man, I don't know how I left this off my list of rationales for a fake hack:

3. Obscure the media hacking going on against Syria. It makes it seem like 'both sides are doing it' so it's okay if the U.S. and pals hijack a sovereign country's media.

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Aug 3, 2012 3:11:41 PM | 72

So there are no independent reporters. What a surprise. Welcome to the real world. Did I told you that Santa/Magic Kings/Madoka don't actually exist?

There is unconfirmed information, propaganda and crude propaganda. That's how you should classify your sources.

No one not sitting in a high level intelligence war room knows what's actually happening in Syria right not. In fact not even those sitting on those rooms may know everything. If you have AngryArab, a Lebanon expert with plenty of contacts in the region, saying he doesn't has a clue and doesn't believe one side or the other do you expect yourself to know or discover what is actually happening just by reading things in your computer? No chance.

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 3, 2012 3:14:08 PM | 73

off topic but FYI

Australia has risked a diplomatic bust-up with its closest ally America after rejecting a plan to base a U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier near Perth, the capital of Western Australia.
Defence Minister Stephen Smith ruled out the proposal yesterday, saying Australia does not want to host U.S. bases.
The plan, put forward in a Pentagon-commissioned report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, suggested repositioning U.S. forces in the region by relocating an aircraft carrier from the U.S. East Coast.
Mr Smith said that while negotiations were underway to increase U.S. navy access to Australia's Indian Ocean base, HMAS Stirling, it would never become a U.S. military base.
'We have made it crystal clear from the first moment - we don't have United States military bases in Australia. We don't see the need for that,' Mr Smith told Australian Broadcasting Corp. television.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2183066/Australia-risks-harming-American-ties-refusing-base-US-air-carrier.html#ixzz22Vr5yFje
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2183066/Australia-risks-harming-American-ties-refusing-base-US-air-carrier.html

Posted by: brian | Aug 3, 2012 3:24:18 PM | 74

@duval re: Russia Today - Not sure where you are or what media you champion but compared to the US media RT is a shining beacon of truth. Thank God for the web.

Posted by: revenire | Aug 3, 2012 3:26:46 PM | 75

@#74 - I Guess the US will just use the Philippines again! But bravo Australia, I also feel they don't like the new US objective of policing and moving into the Asia Pacific since they know when this happens, shit happens...

Posted by: Kevin | Aug 3, 2012 3:28:07 PM | 76

I meant Syrian media claims (in this case via RT) are better than Western media claims (in this case British media).

Jeez, there are so many players involved in the Syrian 'game' it's hard to keep them all straight.

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Aug 3, 2012 3:37:25 PM | 77

well, the twitter account of the Syrian government spokesperson was hacked, too :-))
http://twitter.com/JihadMakdisi

Posted by: somebody | Aug 3, 2012 3:46:36 PM | 78

Here's the BBC report with the alleged whistle blower or "escaped journalist."

Compare that with video from RT showing an interview with the Al-Akhariya Editor in Chief and others.

Seems to me the BBC didn't have any corroboration to report this. Have they answered the contrary reporting and claims of this guy's alleged employers?

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Aug 3, 2012 3:53:20 PM | 79

WordPress for those in Syria whom Google bans Blogger for them in its promoting of free speech:
http://arabisouri.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/is-reuters-a-credible-news-agency/

Posted by: brian | Aug 3, 2012 3:56:22 PM | 80

@78,

You're being intentionally obtuse and not discussing this in good faith.

I did not say Makdisi's twitter was hacked. I pointed out the government and media are getting us used to the idea of getting our information from these sources rather than other methods. I'm worried that it can be hacked in the future. Plus, haven't there already been instances where one or both of these companies shut down the service in a country in a political way (Libya maybe?)?

Here's what Makdisi's account says at the top:

"My ONLY Twitter personal account - Spokesman of The Syrian Ministry of foreign Affairs Damascus- Syria"

I was simply pointing out he's requesting that his twitter not be used for official statements. Instead of going to Syria to get his official statement or receiving his official statement via traditional methods the media has now ignored his request and are using twitter for statements from him about official government business.

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Aug 3, 2012 3:58:13 PM | 81

And actually, who knows, it may have been hacked already.

Now that I look closer I see that the statement at the top looks different than it did before.

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Aug 3, 2012 4:00:26 PM | 82

this is very interesting
'Let's remember that we complained earlier many times from Reuters manipulating and fabricating the news about Syria especially after the Syrian state TV caught their Jordanian reporter Khaled Oweis, head of Syrian branch of Reuters Thompson, red-handed manipulating a video report from Daraa's National Hospital at the very first days of the riots there, this video report was immediately recycled by all news agencies about a wounded soldier faintly telling how he was shot at from the side of the protesters and the Reuters reporter was putting words in his mouth like: You are saying your officer shot at you because you refused to shoot at the peaceful protesters?! Again the wounded soldier would faintly but grasp his powers to repeat: No sir, we were shot at from the protesters side and we're unarmed, the Reuters Oweis guy repeats: But why would your officer give such an order then shoot his own soldiers? Was he from your same army unit or security or was he from Shabeeha?!! Of course when the Syrian state TV whom were there and caught this entire interview on their own camera with clear voice unlike how Reuters reporter made the soldier's voice even fainter, the authorities arrested the Reuters team then deported them after a couple of days to Jordan and immediately issued an order to ban all foreign media from the country to 'preserve the truth from being twisted'..'
http://democratic-syria.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/is-reuters-credible-news-agency.html

cause and effect!

Posted by: brian | Aug 3, 2012 4:02:58 PM | 83

Funny how western "human right" groups and governments turn a blind eye to tweets with blatant death threats and such coming from the Syrian opposition. Imagine if someone did something like that in say New York or London? They'll be arrested within seconds..Youtube is now officially fsa media outlet..It's almost as though Google's dedicated an entire server for them to upload their criminal acts..And they always seem to get a lot of thumbs up too.

The love affair between the West and the Syrian opposition is not normal..There must be more to it..Is it due to their access to unlimited Qatari money that gives them the ability to buy pretty much anyone they can buy???

Posted by: Zico | Aug 3, 2012 4:04:09 PM | 84

Two months ago Russia Today was "tricked" I guess you can say, by a fake twitter account into reporting that Egyptians were going to demolish the great pyramid lol

Oh and also, check out their excellent journalism with this report on "chemtrails"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ8JUp99ii8

I am sure they are right, once in a while, but when you start taking chemtrails seriously, you may as well strap on the tinfoil hats and turn on the history channel.

Posted by: duval | Aug 3, 2012 4:11:34 PM | 85

MSM use phrases like "which cannot be independently verified" to make their lies sound more truthful..I mean, if something cannot be independently verified, why report it as new?

See how they use lies to manipulate the masses..The rebels in Syria wouldn't have survived this long had it not been the constant "reporting" about them in MSM..They're such posers...lol

Posted by: Zico | Aug 3, 2012 4:20:08 PM | 86

MSM use phrases like "which cannot be independently verified" to make their lies sound more truthful..I mean, if something cannot be independently verified, why report it as new?

Posted by: Zico | Aug 3, 2012 4:20:08 PM | 86

its more to make themselves seem 'professional' and so credible

Posted by: brian | Aug 3, 2012 4:25:06 PM | 87

@Zico

Tunisia uprising succeeded with little to no main stream media reporting

Iranian uprising sputtered with tons of coverage given to it


The amount of coverage given to the syrian uprising has so far mattered little to how it has unfolded

Posted by: duval | Aug 3, 2012 4:29:33 PM | 88

BTW. Today's report from Aleppo from that same Press TV Maya Naser:

Syrian army trying to restore calm in Aleppo

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 3, 2012 4:31:35 PM | 89

Oh, another note on Russia Today

http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2010/fall/from-russia-with-love

Donald Trump would be proud

Posted by: duval | Aug 3, 2012 4:32:38 PM | 90

And countering some propaganda posted yesterday here:

Iran denies reports Taliban opens office in Zahedan

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 3, 2012 4:39:14 PM | 91

Russia is to deploy a force to secure their naval base at Tartus and 360 marines are reportedly en route, although this is speculated to manage the evacuation of it's citizens, at least that is the insinuation.

Posted by: Kevin | Aug 3, 2012 4:46:29 PM | 92

Manpower of Syrian insurgents:
According to this article they must number around 90000 men
http://www.economist.com/node/21559968

Syrias arms, especially airforce, under strain:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/03/world/middleeast/as-conflict-continues-in-syria-assads-arms-face-strain.html?ref=world

Posted by: KerKaraje | Aug 3, 2012 5:11:58 PM | 93

KerKaraje @ 93

I hold my nose reading anything from nyt..and 90,000 men? What next? 1,000,000???

Posted by: Zico | Aug 3, 2012 5:19:34 PM | 94

wll the FSA can draw its troops from all salafist muslim countries...thats what makes this brand of islam dangerous...its widespread and murderous

Posted by: brian | Aug 3, 2012 5:23:43 PM | 95

SYRIA: List of Mercenaries in Syria - Photo, Name, Country & more Information
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcpUHaK5NLU&feature=shar

Posted by: brian | Aug 3, 2012 5:38:15 PM | 96

@duval I find Russia Today 100 x more credible than say NBC's Richard Engel or CNN's Anderson Cooper (both men seem to be having a love affair with the FSA terrorists); Cooper was almost slobbering over Danny Dayem.

It reminds me very much of the run-up to the Iraq war and the WMD stories everyone was fed. The incubator story pumped by the State Department and the al-Sabah family was quite vulgar.

Posted by: revenire | Aug 3, 2012 5:44:20 PM | 97

Zico @ 94

First: Great nickname, I am a big admirer of the former brazilian genius.
Second: Regarding rebel numbers, the 90.000 are including (foreign) Jihadis. Still, this appears way too much, but on the other hand: How can they fight at so many different places if they were significantly lower in numbers than, say, 60.000 men?
In an article from early June I read about 12.000 FSA guerillas, which appears too few to me.
Thierry Meyssan @ Voltairenet.org wrote about some 40.000 "Contras" having entered Syria short before "operation volcano". I cannot believe his numbers to be true, however.

Posted by: KerKaraje | Aug 3, 2012 6:01:40 PM | 98

I haven't had the time to read thru the comments, but did read the screen captures of the "Rooters" article. . . Is the hacking story a cover story ?? because what Riad al-Asaad said about Saudi and Qatari back room deals and Annan's departure is dynamite. If true, it would SERVERLY damage the western anti Assad narrative. "oh it's all bullshit the site was hacked - mayhem continuing unabated" would be a good cover story to expalin al-Asaad going off script. just a thought.

Posted by: NoStinkinUserName | Aug 3, 2012 6:58:39 PM | 99

@99 I dont think any of this Riad al asaad story is true (be it the 1500 dead FSA troops or the saudi-deal gone wrong). I think the site just has been hacked, most likely by ppl who happen not to like reuters too much.U bet SANA would have reported on this if they had some clue about that story. Also "fake-hacking" for what ever reason doesnt make any sense: too much work, to just stirr up confusion for a few mins..naah...dont get me wrong..Id be glad for any of these mercs to die. 1500 wld just be too good to be true. DAMN, never thought id say i like some ppl getting killed....but in this case...aargh, i hope u understand.

Posted by: kalimbour | Aug 3, 2012 8:55:10 PM | 100

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