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    WikiLeaks Gives Bashar al-Assad A Gift

    WikiLeaks Gives Bashar al-Assad A Gift

    WikiLeaks just released classified U.S. diplomatic cables indicating that since the second term of George Bush and continuing at least into part of the Obama term, the U.S. has provided funding to opposition groups in Syria. 

    As reported by The Washington Post:

    The State Department has secretly financed Syrian political opposition groups and related projects, including a satellite TV channel that beams anti-government programming into the country, according to previously undisclosed diplomatic cables.

    The London-based satellite channel, Barada TV, began broadcasting in April 2009 but has ramped up operations to cover the mass protests in Syria as part of a long-standing campaign to overthrow the country’s autocratic leader, Bashar al-Assad. Human rights groups say scores of people have been killed by Assad’s security forces since the demonstrations began March 18; Syria has blamed the violence on “armed gangs.”

    Barada TV is closely affiliated with the Movement for Justice and Development, a London-based network of Syrian exiles. Classified U.S. diplomatic cables show that the State Department has funneled as much as $6 million to the group since 2006 to operate the satellite channel and finance other activities inside Syria. The channel is named after the Barada River, which courses through the heart of Damascus, the Syrian capital.

    The U.S. money for Syrian opposition figures began flowing under President George W. Bush after he effectively froze political ties with Damascus in 2005. The financial backing has continued under President Obama, even as his administration sought to rebuild relations with Assad. In January, the White House posted an ambassador to Damascus for the first time in six years.

    Why release these cables at this moment, when Bashar al-Assad is trying to suppress protests by blaiming foreign conspirators

    Was it just coincidence that the cables were released as violence mounted in Syria?  Either this was a cynical ploy by WikiLeaks to take advantage of the violence in Syria to generate publicity, or WikiLeaks recklessly disregarded the dangers such a release presents to the protesters.

    The support given to opposition groups in years past may have no connection to the people in the streets, but the WikiLeaks disclosure surely will be used by al-Assad as an excuse for even more brutal repression.

    WikiLeaks has given al-Assad a major gift, and the people of Syria will pay the price.

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    "I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq – that that was a predetermined set course which had taken shape shortly after 9/11."

    So spoke Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)


    The Democrat head of the Senate Intel Committee!
    No American secrets are safe when a Democrat knows them.


    I stand corrected, but am left wondering how well that case is going, considering its complete disappearance from the news.

    Well, since it doesn't go to trial until September, there hasn't been much news to break on it, has there?

    Oh, and another case we both forgot — that guy charged with "terrorism" for minting coins.

    Nope. Prosecutor called it "a unique form of domestic terrorism," but von NotHaus was convicted of various charges related to the making, selling and distributing of coins and conspiracy to defraud, not terrorism (I can give you the whole list of charges, but it takes a paragraph by itself).

    Case seems a little silly on the surface, but comparing it to "Disney dollars" is sillier. Disney doesn't mint their own money in competition with the US dollar.

    Wasn't talking about Libya when I was talking about a terror-sponsoring state.

    Yup. Sorry. I conflated two of your statements and shouldn't have.

    No one was ever charged with a crime for receiving that money. Nor for receiving money from Chavez, nor for receiving money from the Soviet Union when it was a going concern.

    That's true. And that crime would be…?

    Syria is a hostile (as in 'sends people to attack US personnel and interests'), terror-supporting government (as in 'pays people to murder non-combatants in order to achieve political ends').

    Possibly. And given the number of circumstantial links, possibly even likely. But you do know the difference between "proof" and "theory," right?

    Here's a quick recap:

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