The hacker collective Anonymous released a series of emails on Monday that they claim come from the inboxes of 78 aides and advisers in the offices of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Among the emails was a document preparing Assad for his December 2011 inteview with ABC's Barbara Walters.
If the emails are authentic, they reveal some interesting things about how President Assad was prepped to approach the American news media during his interview with Walters, and how his office views U.S. and North American citizens more generally.
The email advice on the Walters interview apparently came from Sheherazad Jaafari, a press attaché at the Syrian mission to the United Nations. It states that Assad should focus on refuting the idea that the Syrian government is killing its own people, and imply that other "armed gangs" are responsible for much of the bloodshed. Jaafari also recommends that Assad claim "that 'mistakes' have been done in the beginning of the crises" and "now we are 'fixing it'".
Much of her advice focuses on her version of the "American psyche" or "mindset" - for instance, she says of Facebook and YouTube, "This is very important to the American mindset. The fact that Facebook and youtube are open now - especially during the crises - is important". She also states "The American audience doesn't really care about reforms", and the "American Psyche can be easily manipulated".
You can read the full text of the Jaafari email at the link at the end of this story. The full interview between Barbara Walters and President Assad is below:
And by the way, for anyone who's still using their own name or the word "password" as a password: not a great idea. Anonymous claims that many of the email accounts they hacked used the password "12345". A BBC report from last year pointed out that the most popular passwords in the world are still very easy to guess. Check that story out at the link below.
For more on the latest developments in Syria, visit CBC News.
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