[Marxism] Life styles of the rich and brutal
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Mar 15 07:12:35 MDT 2012
Secrets of the Assads' emails are revealed by rebels
Messages show the dictator and his wife obsessed with shopping
while Syria suffers
Thursday, 15 March 2012
Syrian opposition groups managed to hack into the personal emails
of President Bashar al-Assad and his British-born wife, Asma,
monitoring them for nearly a year until the accounts were closed down.
The contents of the emails, some of which were made public last
night, paint a devastating portrait of a dictator and his wife
swapping YouTube videos, buying luxury goods and dismissing
international demands for Mr Assad to step down as loyalists
spearheaded a brutal crackdown that has led to 8,000 deaths over
the past year.
The emails reveal that:
* President Assad takes advice from Iran and Hezbollah on how to
suppress the ongoing rebellion against his rule.
* He has surrounded himself with a coterie of Western-educated
Syrians who advise him on how to handle the international media.
* A senior member of the Qatari royal household begged Ms Assad to
flee Syria with her husband and suggested Doha would welcome them.
* Syria's first couple often seem oblivious to the carnage
unfolding around them, with Ms Assad spending tens of thousands of
dollars on luxury goods.
Opposition groups said they were able to access the personal email
accounts of the couple after a mole in the President's own retinue
gave them log-in details.
For nearly a year the groups were able to monitor the accounts in
real time and used the incoming traffic to warn fellow activists
about upcoming raids. The account became compromised shortly after
the activist group Anonymous conducted a successful attack against
a host of Syrian government email addresses earlier this year.
Activity on the accounts that were meant to belong to the Assads
ceased the same day. The emails were later passed to The Guardian
newspaper, which began publishing them last night. The paper's
editors said they believed the messages were genuine after
contacting many of those named in them. But the editors added that
they couldn't guarantee the authenticity of all the emails, which
Syria denied were real.
Among the most explosive revelations is the suggestion that the
Syrian President routinely asks Iran and its proxy in Lebanon,
Hezbollah, for advice. In an email about a speech that he was due
to deliver in December, one of the President's media advisers said
he had spoken to the Iranian ambassador who urged "powerful and
violent" language to show that Mr Assad was not "shaken" by recent
That same month, the President also received an email from a
well-known Lebanese businessman called Hussein Mortada who said
Iran and Hezbollah had advised the President to cease blaming
al-Qa'ida militants for a recent car bombing that occurred in
Other emails reveal the lavish spending habits and personal
preferences of Syria's first couple. Emails sent from Ms Assad's
account suggest that she spent tens of thousands of dollars on
gold and gem-encrusted jewellery, chandeliers, curtains and
paintings to be shipped to the Middle East. In one message she
asks an assistant to buy her a fondue set from Amazon.
Mr Assad sends his wife song lyrics, love letters and spends much
of his time downloading an eclectic array of music from iTunes,
navigating around US sanctions by using a third-party address in
the United States.
Other emails show a relationship under strain. In one particularly
poignant message to Ms Assad, whose family lives in London, the
daughter of Qatar's emir begs her friend to leave the country,
reminding her friend that brutal dictators rarely end their
careers peacefully if they hang on.
Assad emails: What the messages reveal
Links to Iran
Advice relayed from the regime of Ahmadinejad to Assad on an
From: Assad's media consultant
"Invite widely the families of the martyrs [dead soldiers], to
make the speech appear like a celebration. It is possible to have
a band play a strong tune for the martyrs. Bring one of the
martyr's wives to deliver a powerful speech on behalf of the
martyr's families and then let the president come onto the stage."
Asma's shopping list
The three emails below show the President's wife shopping while
Syria burns, concerned with shoes, DVDs and furniture.
From: Asma Assad
To: A Paris furniture boutique
Date: 19 July 2011
"For the candlestick pistil I would like to take one in size
medium and the other in size small... I am still hoping you can
send me a sample for the dark wood alternative for the empilee?"
From: Asma Assad
To: A family friend
Date: 3 February 2012
"Does anything catch your eye [referring to attached pictures of
Christian Louboutin shoes] – these pieces are not made for general
From: Asma Assad
To: Azmi Mikati, nephew of the Lebanese Prime Minister
Date: 20 November 2011
"Are you coming around the 2nd or before? If so, please can you
bring the Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Part 2? [The film was
released on 2 December]."
Refuge in Qatar
The email below shows advice to the Assads to flee to Qatar to
avoid the possibility of overthrow or retribution from the West.
From: Al Mayassa Al Thani, daughter of the Emir of Qatar
To: Asma Assad
Date: 30 January 2012
"I honestly think that this is a good opportunity to leave and
re-start a normal life – it can't be easy on the children, it
can't be easy on you! ...I only pray that you will convince the
president to take this as an opportunity to exit without having to
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