Saturday, January 26, 2013

Source? "US & UK-funded groups that produce anti-Assad propaganda"

"... Which brings us to the State Department cable. The United States does not have an embassy in Syria at the moment. The cable in question was sent from the U.S. consulate in Istanbul, which last I checked was in Turkey. So, who actually went to Homs to investigate these claims? According to portions of the cable reprinted by Rogin, a State Department "implementing partner" called Access Research Knowledge, using a local Syrian group called Basma, talked to three "contacts" in Syria. Stop me if you see where this is going.
We actually know a little bit about Access Research Knowledge (ARK) and Basma. Justin Vela wrote an article for Foreign Policy titled "Holding Civil Society Workshops While Syria Burns," which describes the two organizations:
"... ARK also provides funds and consulting to a new opposition media outlet founded by a group of liberal-minded Syrian activists called BasmaSyria.
A State Department spokesperson described ARK as "an implementing partner" of the U.S. nonlethal-aid program.
"ARK is currently undertaking activities to support the nonviolent Syrian opposition and Syrian civil society," the spokesperson said. "Project activities involving hundreds of beneficiaries have taken place in Syria and neighboring states since the onset of the Syrian crisis. It shares the inclusive vision of a future Syria for all Syrians where the rule of law is applied equally and the people of Syria are represented by a legitimate, responsive, and democratically elected government."
The activists themselves see the projects as a way to get their message out to the world more effectively.
"They are just helping us. We didn't study media; we didn't study photography," said an activist who works for BasmaSyria, which has distributed videos via YouTubeFacebook, and the Saudi-owned news channel Al Arabiya since August..."
To make it clear: These appear to be U.S.- and U.K.-funded groups that produce anti-regime propaganda. Are we really surprised that they are alleging chemical weapons use?..."

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