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World Council for the Cedars Revolution

Feb 24th
Home arrow News Content arrow Blog arrow Blog Items arrow Revolutions / Extremism arrow Schenker: Relying on Syrian Disinformation
Schenker: Relying on Syrian Disinformation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tony Badran, BeirutToTheBayside   
Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Tony Badran
Tony Badran

By Tony Badran

David Schenker excoriates the Israeli press for their irresponsibly uncritical dissemination of Syrian info ops.

On October 21, the Israeli daily Jerusalem Post ran a story that Lebanese MP and Druze Community leader Walid Jumblatt would meet secretly in New York with Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak to discuss regime change in Damascus. That night, the story was reported by Israel’s InfoLive TV, and Haaretz carried the same tale a day later. With the exception of the Jerusalem Post, these Israeli sources all attributed the story to an article that appeared on October 21 the Syrian Government’s online propaganda outlet Champress.

Today, in what appears to be the last chapter of this circular reporting, Champress is now citing an Israeli website (omedia.org) as confirmation of Jumblatt meetings with Israelis.

Amazingly, none of the Israeli media outlets mentioned that the Syrian press is government-controlled and operated, often unreliable, and typically used to discredit enemies of the Asad regime. Indeed, the Jerusalem Post merely described Champress as “a Syrian internet site.”

In giving the Champress story so much credibility, it appears that the Israeli press was somehow unaware that Jumblatt—a key leader in the Cedar Revolution that expelled Syria from Lebanon and advocates for an end to Syrian and Iranian interference in Lebanon—is public enemy number one in Syria. No doubt, the Israeli press missed the article earlier this year in Champress titled “Walid Jumblatt: Donkey of Mukhtara and Dog of [US Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey] Feltman.”

The reliance on Champress as a credible source for a story that could carry important implications—in the case of Walid Jumblatt life or death—suggests a total lack of understanding of how the authoritarian state of Syria works. In Syria, media is a tool of state power. In this context, the Champress article was a Syrian-government attack on Jumblatt, who was visiting Washington, and making tough statements about Syrian assassinations of Lebanese parliamentary leaders. Israeli media outlets that recklessly carried this story only lent credibility to the Syrian attack.

Sadly, for those in Lebanon who advocate freedom and close relations with Washington, this latest episode will only confirm suspicions that Israel is backing the wrong side in the ongoing struggle for Lebanon’s independence.

I have written about Cham Press here and numerous times on this blog I have described the Syrian regime's information warfare tactics, and how their plants in the media often are related to ops. and assassinations.

As David notes, what they would do is plant the fabricated story, then when it gets picked up, they would quote it back to claim credibility. This is done usually to set the stage for a certain operation or assassination.

The most egregious example of this info ops has been Sy Hersh, as I've explained here and here. There are others of course. And now Haaretz can claim that dubious honor.



Monday, November 27, 2006

I Told You So!

A few days ago, I made the following prediction:

Some genius in Syria (or one of its Lebanese pitbulls) will soon make a "brilliant" forensic connection, tying the use of silencers in the murder of Gemayel with a "report" that appeared days ago (before the murder) in the pro-Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah paper Al-Akhbar (as well as a spectacularly hilarious "open letter" published in another pro-Syrian rag, Ad-Diyar, one day before the Al-Akhbar report, by sheer coincidence of course), which was all too innocently picked up by the Bashar internet tool Cham Press, which "reported" that the US embassy has smuggled (you guessed it) silencers!

It was rather obvious that this would come true. Sure enough, the biggest "genius" of the Syrian regime, the rabid Bouthaina Shaaban -- a personal favorite -- has not disappointed!

In her column in Asharq al-Awsat today, this troll put her forensic and analytical genius (which is regularly on show, mind you) on full display.

The Syrian regime's Nancy Drew reported her sleuthing prowess, and unveiled (as predicted) an astounding "clue":

When I read that a weapon equipped with silencers was used by the criminals to assassinate Pierre Gemayel, in broad daylight in Beirut ... the term "silencers" caught my attention. I remembered the news which I read about a package seized in Beirut's airport which contained silencers, and which appeared in some Lebanese media and disappeared like a passing summer's cloud without any follow-up, and without a trace. The news appeared once, and the media did not pay it any attention, investigation, or follow-up, despite the danger of such a news story in a country that's being pushed to civil war.

Yes, quite a coincidence. So glad you picked up that obscure, passing cloud, which was only covered in the pro-Syrian rags for several days in a row, on the front pages. I will spare the non-Arabic readers the rest of Bouthi Drew's "brilliant" analysis. Suffice it to say that she basically accuses US, French and Israeli intelligence services of being behind the crime, naturally. The funny thing is that she doesn't even try to deviate from the basic line and connections made in the stories published in the pro-Syrian rags and Cham Press (you kind of realize now where these stories come from). Just read my earlier post and you'll get it.

The Syrians planted a story in their rags in Lebanon to set up the murder. And now, miraculously, it's being picked up by one of regime's most repugnant, rabid functionaries. As I said before, these thugs are not big on subtlety.


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