**Posted by Phineas
Thanks to the sanctimonious, self-righteous hacker-children of Wikileaks, we now have possible answer to why the Obama administration has been so gentle, even pusillanimous, toward the popular revolt against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad: We’ve been secretly backing the opposition:
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.
The cables, provided by the anti-secrecy Web site WikiLeaks, show that U.S. Embassy officials in Damascus became worried in 2009 when they learned that Syrian intelligence agents were raising questions about U.S. programs. Some embassy officials suggested that the State Department reconsider its involvement, arguing that it could put the Obama administration’s rapprochement with Damascus at risk.
And not just that shortsighted, naive rapprochement would be at risk. There’s a reason programs like these are kept secret: their revelation could not only wreck the operation, but also get people killed.
The US has very good reasons for supporting the Syrian opposition, far stronger and more relevant that whatever rationale was used to justify the attack on Libya: Syria is a terrorist sponsor that has the blood of Americans, Lebanese, Iraqis, and Israelis on its hands. During the insurgency in Iraq, it actively supported jihadists and Baathist remnants in their guerrilla war against the Coalition and the new Iraqi state. It is a key client and ally of Iran, our deadly enemy, which itself is in pursuit of nuclear weapons and has promised to use them. Taking down the Assad regime would would greatly weaken Iran’s hand in the region.
For these and many other reasons, we have a strong national interest in seeing regime change in Damascus, and I’m glad to see the Obama administration continued Bush’s efforts to support and aid the opposition.
But that may all come crashing down now at the cost of many brave Syrian lives.
So, why’d you do it, Wikileaks? Not getting enough media attention lately? Or are you so lost in a childish moral equivalence that you think you’re helping poor little third-world Syria against the evil capitalist bully? Don’t hurt yourself patting yourself on the back and don’t worry about the Syrians now exposed to torture and death just so you could be big-shots again.
I’d call you “jackasses,” but I’d have to find a mule to apologize to.
And I wasn’t kidding in the subject: if someone could devise a virus to foul up the Iranian nuclear program, surely something similar could be cooked up to fry the servers hosting Wikileaks. They’re clearly acting as enemies of the US and her allies, now.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)