Bellingcat

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Syrian Activists Claim Al Mayadeen News Tweets FSA Positions To The Syrian Air Force

The Syrian opposition activist THE_47th, who has reliably predicted major defections and other key events spotted a very unusual Tweet on the Al Mayadeen News Twitter account
 The Tweet was immediately deleted, but not before one of his followers took a screenshot.  It apparently reads "There's a water tank above, I just want them to tell the plane about it so he/they [rebels] won't hit it. They've got anti-aircraft too.  Maskaneh, Aleppo countryside".  THE_47th and other opposition activists claim this is evidence that Al Mayadeen journalists are providing details of the FSA positions to the Syrian Air Force, with the Al Mayadeen network putting out a Tweet claiming they were hacked, a claim THE_47th found unconvincing, as shown below

This seems to imply the reported on the ground was trying to send a private message, and accidentally Tweeted it on the main Al Mayadeen Twitter account, which he must have access to. 

France 24 and other organisations have reported Al Mayadeen's political ties to Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah, and pro-opposition activists have already reacted angrily to the above incident, saying Al Mayadeen reporters should leave the country.

Update August 23rd Ali Hashem, Chief Correspondent of Al Mayadeen news, has Tweeted the following
the account was hacked, and we as reporters have no access to it
our reporter in isn't active on twitter neither does she have an account on it
Update August 23rd More from Ali Hashem
Regarding what is circulating about account giving tips online, this is not true our account was hacked
Previously Reuters twitter account was hacked, so this is not the first time such incident takes place
The most important part is that our reporter is in the city of not the country side Our reporters have no access to the main twitter account that is managed from Beirut


You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com

3 comments:

  1. I'd just add a caution here that journalists have been targeted by pro- and anti-Assad elements in Syria. If this was a hack, it would be a good way to pressurize, discredit or intimidate a media organization seen as 'unfriendly'.

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    1. The Yeltsin debacle keyed the Russian people, he had no legitimacy, but was cast as a good guy by the west, he wasn't. The Russian people know that the west is sustained with propaganda, more so than Russia.

      They see the same thing in Syria, western propaganda, a simplistic analysis.

      Journalism in the west can be pretty poor. A war should be reported with reference to the relevant agencies, Red Cross and so on.

      If that had been done, at Homs, the issue would be the shooting up of ambulances by insurgents, and sectarian killing rather than anything else. They were murdering and torturing Alawite girls at their press centre!

      The other thing is, with Amnesty and HRW, the coverage has to be strictly anti-Assad and sure enough it is.

      ( the tour guides insist, Raqqa was virtually an al Qaeda fiefdom, who gives permission for a human rights report?)

      So at Raqqa we have HRW's pristine torture board, and the insurgents are executing Alawites in plain sight. The real atrocity story was the murdered Alawites and Christians. HRW don't mention it, it is all over YouTube of course.

      Thousands of regime prisoners have been released or swopped, and they are generally in tip top condition. A basic ability to perceive, and judge things would dictate that even a few minus an ear or finger, would be on TV.

      Generally speaking, one has the Russian media, that's it. The BBC, HRW, Amnesty, more of a same taste flavour.

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  2. Unlikely, if you read hacking == taking over. Technically possible if someone got the Twitter password somehow and then tweeted this message from somewhere else w/o changing the Twitter account's password. It would be interesting to see the Twitter client info of that tweet, but even if it differs from the tool the guy in Beirut uses, this wouldn't prove anything since the sending person is attributed to be someone in the Aleppo countryside, what perfectly would explain another Twitter client. Long story short: most of the time The47th is always right. ;-)

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