Syria hit list targets thousands

Hamed Aleaziz reports: A 718-page digital document obtained by Mother Jones contains names, phone numbers, neighborhoods, and alleged activities of thousands of dissidents apparently targeted by the Syrian government. Three experts asked separately by Mother Jones to examine the document — essentially a massive spreadsheet, whose contents are in Arabic — say they believe that it is authentic. As Bashar al-Assad’s military continues a deadly crackdown on dissent inside the country, the list appears to confirm in explicit detail the scale of the regime’s domestic surveillance and its methodical efforts to destroy widespread opposition.

The document does not contain any identifying government markings. But the experts consulted agree that its organization and content — which they say is striking in scope — are characteristic of lists used by intelligence services in the Middle East. A link to the document, which surfaced in mid-January in discussions about Syria on Twitter, was provided to Mother Jones by a self-described hactivist who tweets frequently in Arabic and English and whose identity is unclear. A redacted sample of the document is below; Mother Jones is not publishing the full document or revealing the names of individuals in it because we cannot definitively confirm its authenticity nor predict how the document might be used if more widely disseminated.

But the experts who examined the document say it shows what many observers have strongly suspected: In addition to relentless bombing of cities such as Homs and Hama, the Assad regime is tracking down thousands of its own people for interrogation, coercion, or far worse. Joshua Landis, a scholar on Syria who has consulted for the State Department and other US government agencies, said he thinks the document merges the records of several Syrian intelligence agencies in order to better coordinate the crackdown. “This is what a secret service does,” he said. Actions allegedly taken by individuals in the document—such as setting up a roadblock near Homs or issuing instructions about how to attack a Syrian military outpost—are “the kind of thing that people get whacked for all the time, or at least tortured for.” [Continue reading...]

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Comments

  1. And what if those were of the members here in the U.S.A.? Would that be O.K.?

  2. I like the melodramatic and ominous tone of the piece, makes a great story with a human touch. Its still propaganda…

    “experts consulted” agree that it is “characteristic of lists used by intelligence services in the Middle East.” your joking, right?! I didn’t realize that the list makers at the Middle East intelligence services attended the same courses on how to make lists!

    I am sure that the list will also resemble lists made by the Gestapo or the KGB or CIA or whatever the Chilean dictator Pinoche used to round-up and kill his opponents – or is there something about “lists” that makes them middle eastern in nature… aside from the arabic… give me a few minutes and I’ll pull together something just as believeable…

    Maybe we should ask the New York police about how they make lists of muslims, or maybe their lists are not called “lists”maybe their called “files” or something much less sinister.

    or maybe its the excel that makes the list sinister….

    I would also have serious doubts about the so-called experts…all declared opponents of the regime… I especially like the addition of the very formal Andrew Tabler, “a Syria expert and fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy,”

    I really liked his prepared remarks for the Senate committee on Foreign Relations (Nov 9, 2011):

    “With the Asad regime using brute force to maintain its grip on power, and Syrians increasingly pursuing parallel tracks of both peaceful and armed resistance, the United States needs to develop a concerted plan to prepare for all contingencies and bring about the demise of the Asad regime. The longer the regime holds on, the bloodier and more sectarian the conflict is likely to become, increasing the risk that it will spread to neighboring countries.
    Institute fellow Andrew J. Tabler offers just such a plan of action in his testimony, outlining six steps policymakers can take. ”

    phew… its good to know that someone has a plan of action!

    you can access it by downloading his biography from the WI website and there are many more which reveal his predisposition to “believe.”