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Monday, August 20, 2012

Tell US gov't to stop endangering Syrian activists


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"the secret of war lies in the communications"
- Napoleon Bonaparte
This has never been so true as it is now in the civil war going on in Syria. I would even go so far as to say that secure communications is more important to the success of their struggle against a brutal dictator than guns.

Secure access to the Internet is of critical importance to the activist network in Syria for without it there would be no network and very little news about the struggle and the slaughter going on. The Assad regime is very aware of this and they have been using every trick in their hackers book to track down Syrian Internet activist and arrest or kill them. One example will give you a clue. In Douma a few weeks back they spied an activist filming Syrian soldiers passing his house from the balcony. They entered the house and slaughtered everyone there, eighteen in all, including a child age four.

For activist in Syria, Internet security is truly a matter of life and death and now we find that the US government is not only stopping anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons from reaching the opposition fighters, as I reported in my dairy yesterday, it is also blocking effective security software from reaching Syrian activists.

This is something you can act on: Tell the US government to lift sanctions that stop Syrian activists from getting security software that just may save their lives.

This is a campaign that is being led by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and oddly enough, it was another email from EFF that gave me an early heads up to the Tunisia revolt that began the Arab Spring.

Below the fold you will find a couple of articles on background and a petition you can sign to tell U.S. Treasury and Commerce Departments: Stop Silencing Syrian Voices!

This is only the latest of a long list of articles in which the EFF catalogs the way the Assad regime is trying to track Syrian activists. With this cynical ploy they are making use of the Obama administration's refusal to allow the activist access to legitimate anti-hacking software by filling the gap with substitutes that could get them killed:
Pro-Syrian Government Hackers Target Activists With Fake Anti-Hacking Tool
August 15, 2012 | By Eva Galperin and Morgan Marquis-Boire

As the violence escalates across Syria, so do the campaigns of targeted malware attacks against Syrian activists, journalists, and members of the opposition, which covertly install surveillance software on their computers. Syrians are growing more aware of the danger these campaigns pose to their security and the security of their friends and loved ones. On Facebook, the Union of Free Students in Syria group has started an album of students holding up signs warning against phishing attacks and malware, with messages that such as, "Assad supporters are sending dangerous files with hacked accounts. Check with your friends before opening an attachment."

The latest malware campaign plays into users' concerns about protecting their security by offering a fake security tool called AntiHacker, which promises to provide "Auto-Protect & Auto-Detect & Security & Quick scan and analysing."[sic] EFF's analysis indicates that this campaign is the work of the same actors behind several malware campaigns that lured their targets in using fake revolutionary documents and a fake Skype encryption tool--campaigns that date back to at least November 2011. More ...
This is the piece the Washington Post ran on the problem:
Sanctions aimed at Syria and Iran are hindering opposition, activists say
By James Ball, Published: August 14

U.S. sanctions targeting Syria and Iran have inadvertently undermined the opposition movements they are intended to help, making it more difficult for those groups to access technologies that can evade electronic surveillance and censorship, according to security experts and activists.

The economic sanctions imposed by the Obama administration have forced many Western companies, including technology firms, to sever relationships with Syria and Iran. The measures have helped to isolate those governments internationally. More...
Most importantly, here is the petition at change.org:
U.S. Treasury and Commerce Departments: Stop Silencing Syrian Voices! #FreeSyriasNet

by Dlshad Othman | Paris, France

Every day, ordinary Syrians risk their lives to broadcast pictures and videos of the uprising, and to show the world what is happening in Syria. Yet, barriers created by U.S. government export controls, and overbroad enforcement of them by corporations, threaten to silence these brave voices. More ...
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION


Here are my related diaries on Syria:
UPDATED: #Obama "green lights" #Assad's slaughter in #Syria
Syria: Turning Battlegrounds into Playgrounds
BREAKING: Bashar al-Assad is alive as deaths in Syria reach 25,000
The Left and the Arab Spring
Iran increasing its intervention in Syria
Syria: Images from the Battle of Aleppo
Fears grow of WMD attack in Syria
UPDATED: FSA says it killed Russian General in Syria
BREAKING: Syria releases new images of Bashar al- Assad | Are they fakes?
NOT BREAKING NEWS: Just another massacre in Syria
UPDATED: Syrian prime minister defects
Syria: FSA says Iranian pilgrims really Republican Guard
Syria: Aleppo under Siege!
BREAKING: UN votes to condemn Assad Regime as Reuters posts false story on Syria
BREAKING: Kofi Annan resigns as envoy to Syria
Syria: Bashar al-Assad not heard from on Armed Forces Day!
BREAKING: Senior Syrian diplomat to Armenia defects
BREAKING: Big Explosion hits #Damascus #Syria
UPDATED: Syria's Charge D'Affaires Quits London Post
BREAKING: Ground assault on Aleppo begins!
BREAKING: Protests across Syria in spite of Assad regime violence
ALEPPO: Step outside the Matrix and witness the Horror
UPDATED: US fears massacre in #Aleppo, #Syria
BREAKING: Reports of clashes between Jordan Army & Assad's Syrian army
BRAKING: Obama stops Putin from re-arming Assad in Syria
Syria: Foreign meddling increases as crisis builds
BREAKING: Aleppo, Syria bombed with fighter jets
BREAKING: Syria issues a correction, it has no WMD to use
BREAKING: Arab League asks Assad to step down!
Bashar al-Assad: New images released as slaughter continues in Syria
no blood for oil
BREAKING: Activists report toxic gas attack in Deir ez-Zor, Syria
Glenn Greenwald sees Islamist Terrorism as main issue in Syria
Will Syria's Assad make a chemical attack in Damascus on Saturday?
BREAKING: I know where Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is!
BREAKING: Massive Fire near #Assad's Presidential Palace in #Damascus, #Syria
BREAKING: Is Syria's Bashar al-Assad dead or dying?
BREAKING: Damascus explosion kills Defense Minister, other key figures
The battle for Damascus is coming
BREAKING: General Strike in Damascus
BREAKING: Intense fighting reported in Damascus now!
BREAKING: Syrian defector spills beans as important new defection reported.
Does Syria's Assad have something on Kofi Annan?
Tremseh Massacre in Syria: What we know
BREAKING: ~227 reported massacred by Assad's forces in Tremseh, Syria today!
Syria: Is Assad regime on the verge of collapse?
BREAKING: Russian Warships reported in Syria
BREAKING: #Russia changing on #Assad but not as fast as conditions in #Syria
UN Observers say violence in Syria is ‘Unprecedented’
BREAKING: Defection of major Assad insider reported in Syria
BREAKING: WikiLeaks releases 2.4 million #Syria emails
When did "Never Again" become "Whenever?" | #Douma
BREAKING: Incredible mass rally in Aleppo, Syria today!
BREAKING: HRW releases torture report on Syria
BREAKING: Syrian General defects with 293 to Turkey
BREAKING: Items not in the MSM on Syria
My response to Phyllis Bennis: Where is the non-violent opposition in Syria?
BREAKING: Syrian Air Force attacks Douma, 10m from Damascus, thousands flee
BREAKING: As Syria Burns, UN Blows More Smoke
BREAKING: Kofi Annan to propose Syrian unity gov't sans Assad!
BREAKING: Douma, Syria under massive attack, another massacre feared
BREAKING: Another mass defection from Syrian army
BREAKING: #NATO says No War in #Syria shoot down of #Turkey jet
NATO meetup tomorrow as more defect from Syria
BREAKING: Turkey calls for NATO consult on downing of jet by Syria
BREAKING: Senior Syrian Officers Defect
UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
BREAKING: Syria fighter pilot defects
BREAKING: Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria
BREAKING: Russian troops headed to Syria
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
BREAKING: UN suspends mission in Syria
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Russia denies supplying Syria with NEW attack helicopters
Syrian people rise up against the massacre
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?
Idlib, Syria protest today on anniversary of Kent State killings
BREAKING: Massive protests in Syria following Friday pray
Syria is bleeding
Syria: Ceasefire faltering as mass protests breakout

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