Tag Archives: Syria

By Leila Shrooms for Tahrir-ICN

Photo from: YallasouriyaOmar Aziz (fondly known by friends as Abu Kamal) was born in Damascus. He returned to Syria from exile in Saudi Arabia and the United States in the early days of the Syrian revolution. An intellectual, economist, anarchist, husband and father, at the age of 63, he committed himself to the revolutionary struggle. He worked together with local activists to collect humanitarian aid and distribute it to suburbs of Damascus that were under attack by the regime. Through his writing and activity he promoted local self-governance, horizontal organization, cooperation, solidarity and mutual aid as the means by which people could emancipate themselves from the tyranny of the state. Together with comrades, Aziz founded the first local committee in Barzeh, Damascus.The example spread across Syria and with it some of the most promising and lasting examples of non-hierarchical self organization to have emerged from the countries of the Arab Spring.

In her tribute to Omar Aziz, Budour Hassan says, he “did not wear a Vendetta mask, nor did he form black blocs. He was not obsessed with giving interviews to the press …[Yet] at a time when most anti-imperialists were wailing over the collapse of the Syrian state and the “hijacking” of a revolution they never supported in the first place, Aziz and his comrades were tirelessly striving for unconditional freedom from all forms of despotism and state hegemony.”[1]

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( It wont be long before the Syrian regime, with the help of four Western companies, sets up perhaps the world’s most sophisticated online tracking and surveillance system. Its goal? To assist Syrian security forces in their door-to-door hunt for activists. These companies have been racing against the clock to complete this extensive network. Since March, 3,500 citizens have been killed, including the deliberate targeting of human rights activists. Before time runs out, we must stop these companies.

We’re told by insiders that their CEO’s are on high alert, including one CEO who has announced a temporary hold on activities. Sustained public pressure will force them all to permanently withdraw. Add your name to this urgent petition now, and we’ll deliver it to their boardroom doors.

The four companies involved, Area (Italian), NetApp (American), Qosmos (French) and Utimaco (German), directly or indirectly provide the technologies needed to monitor the communications of activists on the ground fighting for democracy. The technologies of all four of these companies are required to enable the surveillance system to work properly. We just need one of them to pull out and President Assad’s latest deadly plan will stumble before it properly gets off the ground.
The decision to sell surveillance technologies directly or indirectly to Syria’s regime is made by people. These are the executives at the top ultimately responsible for those decisions:

– Andrea Formenti, Area President and Chief Executive Officer
– Tom Georgens, NetApp President and Chief Executive Officer
– Thibaut Bechetoille, Qosmos Chief Executive Officer
– Steve Munford, Sophos (owner of Utimaco) Chief Executive Officer

These CEOs are seriously debating what to do next – to complete their part or pull out for good. Area’s CEO has even made a public statement that they’re considering ending their operations in Syria. Sustained public pressure will force their hand, but we need to act fast. Tell them to permanantly stop providing technology that will undoubtedly result in the detainment and possible death of Syrian citizens:

The Access community has stood in solidarity with Syria’s protestors and asked the world’s leaders to act on the deaths of thousands in Syria. Now we’re taking it to the corporate world, telling them it’s time to put rights before profits.

With hope,
The Access Team
Call on the CEOs of four Western companies to permanently stop providing surveillance technology to Syria used in the door-to-door hunt for activists.


(hrw.orgJUNE 1, 2011 – This 54-page report is based on more than 50 interviews with victims and witnesses to abuses. The report focuses on violations in Daraa governorate, where some of the worst violence took place after protests seeking greater freedoms began in various parts of the country. The specifics went largely unreported due to the information blockade imposed by the Syrian authorities. Victims and witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch described systematic killings, beatings, torture using electroshock devices, and detention of people seeking medical care.


The main features of the Syrian revolution are its youthful, spontaneous aspect, and the fact that it was created on the streets and is linked directly to the people. It is a revolution without centralized control, led by insurgent individuals. Consequently, no-one can claim to govern it or lead and the reason is simple: the young insurgents rose up spontaneously and there are no signs of participation by religious elements, whose ideas are extremely reactionary, or indeed by any other tendency. (العربية)


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( On Sunday, Palestinians and their supporters marked the 63rd anniversary of what they call the “Nakba,” or catastrophe, that befell them as hundreds of thousands fled or were pushed out of their homes following Israel’s establishment in 1948. They observed the anniversary this year by staging coordinated demonstrations, in part inspired by recent protests around the Arab world. Thousands marched on Israeli borders and walls in Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, and Lebanon. Where they attempted to climb border fences and enter Israel, Israeli troops opened fire, reportedly killing a dozen and injuring over 100. At the Syrian border, over 100 protesters breached the border, at least one of them hitchhiking 130 miles into Tel Aviv. Gathered here are images of some of the scenes around Israel last weekend. [35 photos]


( The US is to impose sanctions on the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad for human rights abuses in an escalation of international pressure on his regime.

The penalties announced by the US treasury mark the first time that Assad has been targeted personally by the international community for his government’s crackdown on protesters.

The move freezes any assets of Assad and six senior Syrian officials that are in the United States or otherwise fall within US jurisdiction, and generally bars US citizens and companies from dealing with them. Read more…