Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Syria Threatens Dissidents in US & around the Globe

A similar news item appeared in the AP last month, but here's the latest report:
Syria is taking its war against President Bashar al-Assad's political opponents global, using diplomats in Washington, London and elsewhere to track and intimidate expatriates who speak out against the Damascus regime, according to Syrian dissidents and U.S. officials.

Syrian embassy staffers are tracking and photographing antiregime protesters and sending reports back home. Syrian diplomats, including the ambassador to the U.S., have fanned out to Arab diaspora communities to brand dissidents "traitors".

A half-dozen Syrian-Americans interviewed by The Wall Street Journal in recent weeks say that as a result of their activities in the U.S., family members have been interrogated, threatened or arrested in Syria.

One Syrian-American scientist in Philadelphia, Hazem Hallak, said his physician brother, Sakher, was tortured and killed in May by Syria's intelligence agencies, the mukhabarat, after he returned from a medical conference in the U.S. Syrian agents in Aleppo were obsessed with obtaining a list of Syrian activists and U.S. officials the brother had allegedly met during his stay, Hazem Hallak said.

The State Department recently publicly rebuked the Syrian ambassador, Mr. Moustapha, for allegedly intimidating activists and confined him to a 25-mile radius around Washington.

"We received reports that Syrian mission personnel under Ambassador Moustapha's authority have been conducting video and photographic surveillance of people participating in peaceful demonstrations in the United States," the State Department said...

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, meanwhile, is investigating allegations that Mr. Moustapha and his staff have threatened or harmed Syrian-Americans, according to three individuals interviewed by the FBI in recent weeks.

Asked if he was aware his travel inside the U.S. had been limited to a 25-mile radius around Washington, Mr. Moustapha said, "This is true, and we did the same to the American ambassador here" in Damascus. He called the U.S. move "reciprocity."...
But apparently, the Obama administration does not want to ruffle the Syrian regime's feathers, hence the White House and State Dept. have yet to call on Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down.

Smart, real smart.....

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