View Full Version : Syria: Wish You Were Here?

04-12-2013, 05:15 PM
Syria: Wish You Were Here? (http://dangerousmagazine.com/2013/03/29/syria-wish-you-were-here/), by Robert Young Pelton. Dangerous, 29 March 2013.

Dirty wars attract a wide variety of odd types: Volunteers, journos, freedom fighters, NGOs, businessmen and even tourists. The traditional concept of war as one group of soldiers battling another until the other side surrenders or is vanquished is long outdated, as are many of the traditional roles associated with such a conflict. Among traditional wars have been the so-called neutrals—journalists, aid workers, NGOs and supposedly civilians protected in battle by The Hague or after capture by the Geneva Conventions. Today’s wars make few distinctions between combatants and non-combatants, warfighter and peacemaker, observer or participant. Researchers will find few clearly delineated targets. The traditional barriers and lines that define players on the battlefield have also blurred.

In the case of journalism, the lines are thoroughly muddled. The roles and positions of citizen journalists, official embeds, propagandists, counter propagandists, hackers, hoaxers, unilaterals and credentialed media are no longer discrete. The NGO and humanitarian world finds itself powerless and targeted, with even the UN scrambling for cover, its workers being kidnapped by the dozen. There is currently no better place than Syria to delve into these rapidly shifting roles of communication.

04-12-2013, 08:11 PM
Matt VanDyke: Filmmaker/Fighter (http://dangerousmagazine.com/2013/03/29/matt-vandyke-filmmakerfighter/), by Robert Young Pelton. Dangerous, 29 March 2013.

Thirty-three year old Matt VanDyke is pissed. Mostly at journalists who classify him as a freedom fighter posing as a journalist. “I am not there to observe. I am there to fight.” The irony does not escape Matt who after fighting in Libya decided to return to Syria as a propagandist-documentary maker, and in July, after inviting donors to “join the Arab Spring,” ended up getting kicked off Kickstarter. But not before 60 donors pledged $15,135 of the modest $19,500 budget to fund his “propaganda” documentary. Kickstarter does not support high-risk activities or charities, and the donors were never charged for their contributions.

He went anyways and is now working on a 15-minute film that focuses on young Syrians trying to change their country. He has been called “reckless and irresponsible” by the executive director of the Committee To Protect Journalists, described as “mentally unstable” by a human rights group employee, and on occasion pummeled by the working press.

Journalists are pissed at VanDyke. Mostly for the cavalier and vague way they insist he shifts between journalist and fighter. Credentialed media say that his actions endanger the safety of journalists in rapidly changing and confusing wars like Syria, Mali, Yemen and others.

More irritating to the media is a Heminwayesque self-promotional approach to documenting and participating in conflict. Despite their disapproval of VanDyke’s methods, he has no problem finding a journalist or outlet willing to interview him. In the modern world of love-hate relationships between journalists and their subjects, he may be the most valid, embarrassing and intelligent litmus test of moral purpose in modern conflict coverage.

04-23-2013, 10:19 PM
Interesting cause and effect - unintended or intended?

Hackers who support Syrian President Bashar Assad claimed responsibility Tuesday for hijacking an Associated Press Twitter account and falsely tweeting that explosions were rattling the White House.

"Ops! @AP get owned by Syrian Electronic Army! #SEA #Syria #ByeByeObama" tweeted an account tied to the hacking group, linking to a screenshot of the hacked AP account.

The false tweet also claimed President Obama had been injured. It made little traction with other news organizations. Other Twitter accounts tied to the news agency quickly disavowed the fake tweet. White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at a regularly scheduled news briefing Tuesday that the president was fine.


Though the story was a fake, the repercussions of it are quite real, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average taking a 100 point hit in the moments following the fake tweet.

05-01-2013, 10:01 PM
I've been following Mr. VanDyke for a while and have found his transitions between "journalist" and "rebel" a little disconcerting.

His experiences in Libya seemed less . . . overwhelmingly political . . . in comparison to his current postings from and about Syria.

I wonder at what point the US will become concerned as they did with Eric Harroun.

05-01-2013, 10:06 PM
Actually reading the article :D

Lines like "Syria resembles that of Libya only to the untrained onlooker" stand out pretty sharply. 18 months ago I thought Syria was just like Libya.

05-03-2013, 11:06 PM
I wonder at what point the US will become concerned as they did with Eric Harroun.
When he starts saying mean things about Zionists on his Facebook they will.

05-07-2013, 11:57 AM
On Monday, The Onion, a news parody site, became the latest publication to have its Twitter account hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army.

The group, which supports Syria’s embattled president, Bashar Al-Assad, posted several anti-Israel messages to The Onion’s nearly 5 million Twitter followers. Another message read, “UN retracts report of Syrian chemical weapon use: Lab tests confirm it is Jihadi body odor.”


05-10-2013, 05:24 PM
How the Syrian Electronic Army Hacked The Onion

This is a write-up of how the Syrian Electronic Army hacked The Onion. In summary, they phished Onion employees’ Google Apps accounts via 3 seperate methods.