Feb. 7, 2012
By Chloe Albanesius
Anonymous has had a busy week. The hacker collective reportedly released emails from the office of Syrian President Bashar Assad that focus on preparation for his recent interview with Barbara Walters.
According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, hackers compromised the Syrian Ministry of Presidential Affairs’ server on Sunday night, and accessed the inboxes of 78 staffers. It apparently wasn’t too difficult; many people used “12345″ as their password.
At issue is the ongoing violence in Syria as citizens fight for reform. Recently, a United Nations Security Council resolution called for President Assad to hand over some of his authority to defuse the situation. The U.S. supported the move, but Russia and China vetoed it, further complicating the matter. The New York Times reported today that Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, visited Syria’s top leaders in Damascus on Tuesday.
The U.S. closed its embassy in Syria earlier this week amidst growing violence.
Manipulating the American psyche
One leaked document making the rounds is an email from Sheherazad Jaafari, a press attache at the Syrian mission to the United Nations, which discusses talking points on which President Assad should focus during the interview.
She suggests that the American media has focused too much on civilian deaths, never mentioning that soldiers and security forces are also among the casualties. “The idea of violence has been one of the major subjects brought up in every article,” she writes, before urging the president to mention the fact that Syria is beset with “armed gangs.”
“The American audience doesn’t really care about reforms,” she continues. “They won’t understand it and they are not interested to do so,” so a brief mention of reforms should suffice.
Instead, the president should focus on mistakes made and efforts to change. “American Psyche can be easily manipulated when they hear that there are ‘mistakes’ done and now we are ‘ﬁxing it,’” Jaafari writes.
She then likens the activity in Syria to the Occupy Wall Street movement. “Its [sic] worth mentioning also what is happening now in Wall Street and the way the demonstrations are been suppressed by police men, police dogs and beatings,” she writes.
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