Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Syrian rebels take two military bases in heavy fighting

Interesting report from the Washington Post

Rebel fighters took over two military bases in Syria after heavy fighting Tuesday, an additional sign that the ragtag force may finally be breaking a weeks-long stalemate and making progress in its battle against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Making progress? Maybe, but keep reading.
No doubt Turkey had a big role in the taking of the hydro electric dam

Both of the bases taken Tuesday were used by the Syrian air force, one of the deadliest threats to rebel fighters, according to opposition groups. The Syrian military has regularly blasted rebel positions, as well as residential neighborhoods, with jets and helicopters in recent months, killing thousands.

The deadliness of the Syrian military’s air power was on bloody display Tuesday after an air raid on an olive press in Idlib province killed at least 20 people and wounded dozens of others, according to the Local Coordination Committees, an activist network.

In a video posted online Tuesday, which reportedly showed one of the captured bases, fighters affiliated with the Free Syrian Army stomped on a bust of Assad’s father, Hafez, at the 666th air force battalion base south of Damascus.
 The second base, southeast of Aleppo, was overrun by fighters from Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Both are religious extremist groups suspected of having ties to al-Qaeda. 
 That the two air bases were taken over by such radically different groups among the opposition indicates that the recent rebel gains may not have been coordinated by any sort of unified leadership. It also hints at potential problems ahead if Islamist and secular groups begin to fight one another for control of territory.
Some observers note that while rebel fighters have been successful in taking over military bases, it is much less certain how long they will be able to hold them.
 Rebel groups have been losing territory to the Syrian military at the same time that they have been making gains.

“They’ve lost many areas in eastern Syria and near Aleppo recently,” said Rami Abdul Rahman, the director of the Syrian Observatory. “It’s difficult to see a serious change.”

It's difficult to see a serious change. And still sounds like a stalemate
Stay tuned..


  1. I don't trust any of these reports. Maybe they are true but they are pretty much worthless imho as far as discerning the truth of what's going on.

    Freethinker left a link to 'Syrian Perspective' in the central banking post (good post btw) that had this description of a battle near the border with Turkey from someone allegedly on the ground:

    This just in by an e-mail from Monzer in Damascus: 126 terrorists killed in fighting around Idlib Governorate yesterday in what he describes as a "uniquely designed ambush using disinformation about a convoy of diesel tanker-trucks which the Germans or the English believed" was heading toward the border town of Salqin. Alerted to this fat prize, the terrorist units from the Jabhat Al-Nusra and Ghuraba Al-Sham (Salafist groups controlled by the beer-guzzling Limeys and Krauts), collected on Highway 2 West to intercept the truck which was reportedly accompanied by a small contingent of militia and police.

    The actual ambush was at Armanaz, a sleepy little town known more for its delicious figs than the kind of cacophony it was about to hear in the middle of the night. Syrian Hind helicopter gunships had almost straddled the border with Turkish-Occupied Hatay in order to close off any retreat. Gunners were equipped with night-vision goggles and were ordered to kill every fleeing "pimp" عرص they saw. In the meantime, according to Monzer, the rear of the caravan was accompanied by over twenty trucks carrying special forces units including the Al-Sa'iqa Regiment based at Al-Qutaifa which traveled without any lights or reflectors. The terrorists apparently figured out the trap quickly when someone must have reported our helicopters to their North - an obvious snare. They rapidly dispersed to hide in the hilly terrain but were confronted by both SF and militia. By morning, the count was 126 dead with no prisoners. They refused to surrender, preferring evidently a slippery, uneventful descent into Hell.

    Of the terrorists killed at Armanaz were Suhaib Al-Ghamidi (Saudi national) and Said Muhammad Zein Al-Kalouti (Jordanian national). Monzer is certain that many more foreigners were among the dead but is waiting to get details. Their bodies will be cremated and their dust fed to the Four Winds.

    Who knows if this is true though. I give it more weight than I do the anonymous e-mails Josh Landis or Angry Arab or the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights gets, but maybe that's my bias showing through. Maybe it's all disinformation . . . or maybe some or part of it is true . . .

    I don't see the incident described by Syrian Perspective's email listed in what appears to be SANA's daily report on military/terrorist action around the country, either today or in the last few days (although I could have missed it as they seem to edit/alter this roundup of clashes story routinely):

    My gut tells me the SANA articles are probably closer to the truth than the other sources. They have less incentive to lie and have so far been proved to be the most truthful from what I can tell.

    I still can't get over the fact that all big time news sources are using the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as a source. I've probably even been tricked into relying on their "reporting" at times--because it's so ubiquitous--but we shouldn't acknowledge it as a source and should immediately discount everything it says. The current propaganda is all about how the rebels are divided and there are many factions but I love how one dude in a London apartment was able to coordinate all dead/wounded numbers from all the various groups early on in the conflict. Almost like Western intelligence planned it from the beginning and got the MSM to parrot the group's claims (no hard task) to legitimize the group.

    1. SANA is hardly a reliable source of information.
      "For 15 years, Ola Abbas presented the news on Syrian state television and radio. After spending months reporting President Assad's lies and distortions about the uprising, she finally became the first media broadcast host to defect. Now she sees herself as a missionary for the truth.
      Abbas, 38, was the face and voice of the regime. For 15 years, she presented the news on Syrian state television and radio. Most recently, she spent more than a year telling Syrians that there was no uprising, that the rebels were merely armed terrorists determined to sow chaos, that there was an Israeli-Saudi-Western conspiracy against her country, and that Assad was the protector of the country's sovereignty.

      She presented all these statements to her country. But, today, she says she never meant any of it.
      The word "demonstrators" was prohibited in the media from the start. Soon there was no longer just talk of "people who are going into the streets to cause chaos," but also of "armed groups," "conspirators" and, finally, "extremists, Islamists and terrorists." The uprising was dubbed a "conspiracy" and the revolution a "crisis." As the rhetoric escalated, so did the conflict."

    2. I'm not impressed with Ms. Abbas' story. Reads like most of the other propaganda I've seen about Syria. Impossible for me to verify or dispute though . . .

      She looks like Monica Lewinsky to me:

      I no longer trust Western media re stories like this. I am much more cynical than I was even a year or so ago. Most of it is literally made up and total propaganda. The research done on this blog just using Syria as a case study is instructive to me--I've been amazed at the tomfoolery going on and the actual faking of news by the Western media. The blurring of the lines between secret operative and 'journalist' has now been complete. CNN and Al Jazeera seem to be conducting operations in coordination with the terrorists! The other media has at least been negligent lazily reporting outright shady claims like those from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The MSM German press is no exception.

      Plus, this reminds me of other propaganda. . . we already saw a fake story about media defections earlier this year, I believe, that I know we covered here . . . the West made a big deal out of an television news editor 'defecting' but he had never even worked for the organization the Western 'media' claimed he did--or only applied for the job or something like that.

      I don't know if this is a similar exaggeration of if she was intimidated or bought off, etc. Maybe she really believes what she's saying or, who knows, maybe she is telling the truth and I am grossly mistaken.

    3. Haughty Troll, is that the best you can do? Ola Abbas defected in July and appart from the initial rather weak interviews and propaganda stories we've heard nothing from her. Why isn't she fighting for her beloved Syrian people, where is her voice now? The fact is she betrayed her country, family and fiance, whether for money, an easy life, or out of fear of retribution if the Salafists succeed. She wasn't forced to be a talking-head for the Syrian national TV for 15 years - she could have resigned at any time.

      I'll see your Ola Abbas and raise you Alaa Ebrahim. I think you'll find he is made of sterner stuff.
      Over 10,000 militants fighting Syria
      Manufacturing Dissent: The truth about Syria

      Neither am I impressed by yesterdays choice of propagandist: Amal Hanano (Amal Hanano is a pseudonym for a Syrian American writer). She seems to have been invented around June 2011 when she returned to Syria as an under-cover reporter for Jadaliya (part of the Washington NGO Arab studies Institute). It is evident that she had not been resident in Syria for some time, but apart from that she is no more than a cypher. She also writes for Foreign Policy and The National - all very orthodox western liberal. Here she is used to sell the Twitter/Skype/Facebook Revolution of the faux Arab Spring/Syrian Revolution: Skype Becomes Operations Center for Syrian Rebels.

      It seems that no propaganda narrative is complete without an incubator story and Amal delivers an masterpiece: The Womb of Murder

      On Libya, which is an obvious and dreadful example of what Syria has is store, she is virtually silent, apart from The people of #Libya will celebrate the Eid of a lifetime... or some passing reference to a " Libya-style foreign intervention". Wilfully blind.


    4. She really show's her character in this piece: This Flag is my Flag where she enters "The Longest Syrian Flag in the World" pro-Syrian rally in Aleppo, July 2011, as a "mundesseh" or infiltrator.
      "I figured since everyone constantly calls me a mundesseh, infiltrator, I might as well live up to the name and infiltrate the event to get a closer look at the mysteriously brainwashed masses who still insist on chanting for a ruthless dictator. As I approached the crowds lined along on both sides of the highway, I expected to feel like a hypocrite, as I openly took pictures and videos of the smiling, happy people, with no fear of being shot by a sniper for holding up a camera, or for throwing a rock or an eggplant “grenade,” like the people in Hama and Homs. I expected to feel outraged or at least annoyed, but instead I felt a cold, anthropological detachment from the sights and sounds of everything around me, except the flag."
      Instead of taking stock of Assad's massive support at this rally she arrogantly dimisses the supporters as 'brainwashed masses'. I think she is the brainwashed one. Was her family one of the priveledged elite who found themselves disadvantaged by the socialist Ba'athist regime of Hafez al-Assad?

      Perhaps Amal should learn how the Ba'athists improved women's rights, improved health and education for the masses, kept a multi-sectarian country united and held off the aggressive interference of Israel and also the Muslim Brotherhood for decades. She could start by reading A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties by Oded Yinon (with commentary by Israel Shahak).
      Publisher's comment: "The first massive Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1978 bore this plan out to the minutest detail. The second and more barbaric and encompassing Israeli invasion of Lebanon on June 6, 1982, aims to effect certain parts of this plan which hopes to see not only Lebanon, but Syria and Jordan as well, in fragments... What they want and what they are planning for is not an Arab world, but a world of Arab fragments that is ready to succumb to Israeli hegemony."
      OY: "Syria is fundamentally no different from Lebanon except in the strong military regime which rules it."

    5. Great work freethinker. Good response.

      Here's Bassam Haddad, co-founder of Jadaliyya, the online journal that hired Amal Hamano to go undercover in Syria, describing how the journal began(and guess what, Angry Arab is involved!):

      The war on Iraq got in the way, and we decided to shelve the idea, which we also discussed with Asaad Abu Khalil, who had just started his own blog. In 2008-9, as new (social) media began to overtake other forms of producing news, knowledge, and analysis, I drummed up the idea of an electronic magazine anew. A group of six of us – including Sinan, Sherene, and Nadya, in addition to Noura Erakat and Maya Mikdashi – ended up launching Jadaliyya privately, writing and posting articles for three months starting in the summer of 2010 before going public, so we could have a thick launch. Our team continued to expand through mid-2011. I promised everyone Jadaliyya would not take up a lot of their time. I didn’t realize I was lying at the time! We could not keep up with the work. What kept us all going was the demand for continued and continuous coverage by our readers who saw something fresh in Jadaliyya. . . .

      We never received funding from any individual or institution, but we became too costly as our work and projects expanded in the last year. Beginning in November 2011, we received our first penny of funding from the Open Society Institute. But we always assume that funding is “extra,” that it can disappear at any moment. Most of our big projects so far have been done by barter: we offer brains, organization, and networking, and our co-sponsors handle the financing of projects.

      Wonder who financed Amal Hamano's trip to Syria. If she is an actual person and not a cypher as you wonder and if she actually went there . . . most of these secret meetings with real Syrians or "infiltration" of pro Assad demonstrations can easily be lied about.

    6. Angry Arab and Open-Society - well spotted, I missed that.
      I think she's real enough behind the mask. Just another young liberal useful idiot.

  2. And how much was Ola Abbas paid to make this switch, well the article is from spiegel say no more?


    Raging Military Operations tonight following a slower period in Homs, with reports it's "raining" Terrorists in the Al-Khaladiya, Bab Houd and Bab Turkman neighbourhoods of Homs, with m
    ost of the Armed Merceneries being of "Arab" Nationalities from Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Jordan ..

    Also Current Army Operations between the "Birj Qaa'i" and "Tal Dou" Suburbs, have eliminated dozens of Terrorists including another known Saudi National Abu Mansour Al-Sharkawi, in addition to destroying a Heavy Truck that had inside a Factory for making "IED'S" and Communications Centre for the Terrorists .. 6 Vehicles mounted with Dushka Machine Guns have also been destroyed ...

    It's thought these new Terrorists in Homs, are Militants who escaped from the Syrian Military bombardment in Aleppo, where their Battalions have failed and fled the fighting there, to try their luck in Homs it seems, thinking the Military is busy in Aleppo ... - M.D

  4. FYI people...most of the 'rebels' are foreign.Its critical that jihadi nationality be established....just using the words 'rebel' or 'terrorist' or 'insurgent', implies they are syrian and that there is a 'syrian uprising'(there isnt) or a 'civil war'.....
    ask yourselves where is the uprising or civil wear in Bahrain where the state really is killing citizens disciminately? and these massacres are being protected by the Main stream media including CNN and Aljazeera.

  5. running out of jihadis? where do u go to top up?

  6. Maram Biltaji was sniped by an FSA Alqaeda sniper in Aleppo today, her crime was: being an FB page admin not spreading their propaganda

    1. Do you have to log onto Facebook to read the translations? Can you give a summary? Does FB mean Facebook? How does one become a page administrator for FB and why are they hiring Syrians to do this?

      As you know I'm very dubious of Facebook's role even though I acknowledge it may be the only way for some people to spread the truth. I wonder if stories like this are planted to give the impression Facebook is fair when in reality it is controlled by the West.

    2. a certain amount of paranoia is healthy....but lets not over do it. how to beocme a Facebook(FB) admin? make your own FB page

    3. It was an honest question . . . didn't know what was meant by being a Facebook administrator. I've never heard of it and it didn't make intuitive sense.

      I'm suspicious of the fact FB is making me log on to read the translation (apparently)--not that she's an admin.

  7. Keep your eyes open today, something big is happening.

    Internet confirmed cut off; confirmed reports that the airport in Damascus is closed, not sure if by the FSA or SAA; FSA said to be shelling runways.

    1. That will not stop people with satellite connections from reporting Assad's crimes to the world.

    2. "According to Reuters, some Syrian activists have been using satellite phones, which can’t be easily cut off by domestic authorities. A recent article in the Atlantic said that the U.S. State Department provided 900 satellite phones have been distributed “and 1,000 activists have been trained to use the equipment.
      Cutting off Internet access can backfire against a regime in more than one way. To begin with, it doesn’t work. People still find ways to communicate internally and get word outside of the country. Second, it denies the regime the valuable intelligence it can get from monitoring people’s Internet use as well as the government’s ability to use the Internet for its own propaganda and to rally its own civilian supporters.”

    3. That will also not stop people with satellite connections from reporting the FSA terrorist's crimes to the world.

      Go drink your kool-aid.

    4. The West is more likely to cut off the internet than the Syrian government is. In fact, Syria has already warned that they have been under cyber attacks like this for a while now. We've seen SANA and other news get taken down regularly. From the beginning the plan has been to spread false news and war propaganda via "activists" on the ground with supposed satellite hookups.

      Who knows what is happening on the ground.

    5. "The West is more likely to cut off the internet than the Syrian government is."

      Mubarak and Gaddafi cut off the internet didn't they? What makes you think that Assad wouldn't? He seems to be folloing Gaddafi's fatal path in every way, right down to talking about living and dying in the country of his birth. It is becoming all so predictable, YAWN.

    6. Yeah, it's playing out just the same.
      Ironically, you're right but don't know it.

  8. a few tweets/fb msgs:

    Terrorist's attempt to attack #Damascus civilian airport has failed. Note that #UAE canceled its flights today -- foreknowledge... #Syria

    -"This is not happening from Syria's end guys, state media is also down"

    -"Syrian state media is also down, the internet shut down is not from Syria's side."

    -"When our spokesman for the foreign ministry can't even fucking make a tweet you think the government would do that? its not ISP blocks there's ZERO communication even at the top level sana doesn't work that's on a seperate network"

    And a new article up at LandDestroyer:

    "URGENT: NATO Preparing Psy-Op in Syria" Nov29

    1. Sana is still reachable on
      but there is no fresh news.

  9. Meanwhile,

    The sectarian attacks in Iraq continue to escalate.

    Saudi gave Jordan another Bridge loan today

    Saudi put a picture of the King out after surgery; this after the unexpected promotion of Nayef saon to Interior Ministry

    More riots in Tunisia

    UN votes for Mali intervention

    Sudan coup averted in an almost perfect mock up of the Saleh takedown

    Tow more SLBMs tested by Russia along with another round of CIS air exercises in Eurasia

    Brzezinski Calls Attack On Iran 'Irresponsible, Immoral'

    Here is what he said in July re IDF flight plans:
    “We are not exactly impotent little babies,” Brzezinski said. “They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch? … We have to be serious about denying them that right. That means a denial where you aren’t just saying it. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a ‘Liberty’ in reverse.”

    “A war in the Middle East, in the present context, may last for years,” Brzezinski, who served in the Carter White House, tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview. “And the economic consequences of it are going to be devastating for the average American.

    “High inflation. Instability. Insecurity. Probably significant isolation for the United States in the world scene,” Brzezinski said. “Can you name me any significant country that’s going to be in that war together on our side?

    Curious that "anti war" Hagel is being rumored for Defense Secretary

    From few days ago:
    In an interview with the Voice of Russia, Russian analyst Konstantin Sivkov said: “Deploying these missiles in Turkey will be dangerous for Syrian military planes – this is obvious. A lesser obvious thing is that Turkey is getting ready for a war against Syria. If an attack on Syria from the territory of Turkey does take place, this will most likely be an attack not of the Turkish army, but of NATO’s forces.”

    “The Middle East is getting ready for a large-sale battle which will very likely affect the Russian part of the Caucasus, and this, in its turn, will be reflected on the entire Russia,” Mr. Sivkov added.....

    In the diplomatic language this means that the events in Syria may start developing according to the Libyan Scenario, experts say. As you know, the opposition is losing its support, and Assad has a military superiority in Syria now, an Oriental studies expert, Azhdar Kurtov, says.

    When the overthrowing of the Gaddafi regime was under way, a no-fly zone was established over Libya. Something like that may be created near the Turkish-Syrian border".

  10. did u know?
    'It remains for Barack Obama to compose his new Cabinet by finding men and women who are capable of forcing acceptance of this new policy. He is counting especially on former Democratic candidate for the Presidency and current President of the Senate Committee for Foreign Relations, John Kerry. Moscow has already made it clear that his nomination would be welcomed. In particular, Kerry is known as an "admirer of Bachar el-Assad" (The Washington Post) whom he has frequently met in preceding years. [1]

  11. must read: we no can see jihadis being directed by a central command:
    Exclusive: Inside Future Movement's Syria Arms Trade
    It was soon revealed that the source had been working with Sakr for more than a year as part of an operations room established to support the Syrian uprising. (Photo: Haytham al-Moussawi)
    By: Radwan Mortada
    Published Thursday, November 29, 2012
    Al-Akhbar has obtained recordings of Future Movement MP Okab Sakr organizing weapons transfers to the armed Syrian opposition at the behest of Future leader Saad Hariri.
    The phone call is the first hard evidence of the role Sakr and his backers in Future were playing in providing arms and logistical support to the Syrian rebels.
    In a three-part series built on documents, audio recordings, and interviews with sources close to Sakr, Al-Akhbar will shed light on Sakr’s attempts to hijack the Syrian uprising for his own means while running the armed opposition into the ground.
    A few weeks ago, Al-Akhbar’s offices in Beirut received an anonymous phone call. The caller claimed he was in possession of “audio recordings which will expose MP Okab Sakr and his role is destroying the [Syrian] revolution.”...etc

    1. I just read it and it just somehow. Maybe it's more convincing if/when you listen to the audio, and maybe it's because it's been translated from Arabic to English, but it just seems...not right. That's my take on it, so far anyway.

  12. Anonymous hackers attack syrian govt and people...go have your say

    1. Lol, 9/10 of the comments were in disgust!

      "Don't attack the Syrian government you stupid fucks, they're trying to protect their country from foreign-funded "rebel" terrorists", "What, you work for the CIA now?" etc.
      Awesome! That's surprising and cool, that a lot of people, at least on that page, aren't being fooled.

      I did see a tweet from Anon later that stated specifically that they aren't 'supporting' the FSA, they are against the cutting off of communication.

    2. ANON is using the same trick the left uses...NO to NATO/Terrorists and NO to Assad.....which always means in the end YES to NATO/terrorists

  13. The Making of Terror and Lies in Syria, Free Syrian Army Exposed as Terrorists

  14. here is a good question:
    '"The soldiers were part of a UN force deployed in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights".What were these two Austrian forces doing in Damascus when they were deployed in the Golan Heights?'

  15. ARABIC video showing proof of okab sakr organizing weapon transfer into syria!

  16. Is Syria's Assad running short of helicopters and cash?

    "Syria doesn't need these banknotes now, it needs dollars and euros. It will not help Syria to have more Syrian money," Mr. Vladimir says. He adds that foreign aid to President Assad, both from Russia and from long-time ally Iran, seems to be drying up.

    "The key issue for Syria is the economy. It is completely destroyed," Vladimir says. "Iran did help Syria a lot, with arms and money. Over the last six months they sent 10 billion dollars to Assad's regime. But this 'river' has already drained; Iran has its own problems to attend to."

    "I do not have concrete data, but I do not think Russia is helping Syria a great deal now. First, if such thing is happening, it will soon become known, and second, any oppositional force that will come to power next will hardly like that."

    "Probably Russia would like to help Syria morally, but the problem is that Assad's regime is doomed. It is a question of time when it is going to collapse."

  17. ‘Friends of Syria’ agree to step up pressure on Assad.
    "Delegates from more than 60 countries agreed in Tokyo today to ramp up pressure on Bashar al-Assad’s regime and urged the international community to unite to force change in Syria.

    The “Friends of Syria” condemned the “incessant killings, bombings of residential areas” and the “gross violation of human rights” that have taken place since Assad’s forces moved to crush an uprising. At a meeting in the Japanese capital, the group’s fifth since its inception, they called for a full oil embargo on Syria, a move aimed at cutting off a rich source of currency for the regime.
    In a statement released after the meeting, the group, which includes Western and Arab countries, called on “all members of the international community, especially members of the United Nations Security Council, to take swift, responsible and resolute action”.

  18. Lots of comments to read..
    some worth reading others not so much (troll)
    Anyway stay tuned another post is coming...

  19. Notice a couple of assumptions the Western media and its psy operatives are trying to slip by us, exemplified by a couple of tweet-like posts from Angry Arab today:

    Protests against the Free Syrian Army in Syria

    Apparently, there were today protests by Syrians against Free Syrian Army thuggery. Some slogans called for an Islamist Army instead. (We want the Islamist Army. The Free [Syrian] Army is a thief).
    "بدنا الجيش الاسلامي، الجيش الحر حرامي"*

    Hizbullah in Syria

    It just hit me. The treatment of Hizbullah role in Syria is rather hilarious. So all of Hizbullah's enemies--in Lebanon, in the region, and around the world--are gathering in Syria to fight against the regime but they have the audacity to insist that Hizbullah stay out of the picture entirely out of respect for the sovereignty of Syria. This is at a time when the US is contemplating plans to deploy CIA and special forces in the country. Rather hilarious, if you think about it.

    The posts encourage the assumption that the Syrian people want an army to wage war against their country and that the U.S. does not yet have special forces and intelligence in Syria. Rather hilarious assumptions if you think about it--but assumptions repeated mindlessly by the West.

    *He links to NowLebanon whose funding is not disclosed but seems like a similar outfit as Jadaliyya, discussed above.

  20. Hey WWM
    can you leave a link to that post?
    Much appreciated.
    Like You I have some serious doubts that the Syrian government took down the internet
    Lots of finger pointing but no explanation on how they would have done it.

    1. Here are the two Angry Arab links:

      The government has no motive to take the internet down while Syria's enemies have the means and motive. Don't know about all the technical details though:

  21. You might recall it was an Italian software firm that was called out a year or so ago for working for assad on telco siphers.