The headline reads, US officials: Iran helping Syria's Assad put down protests. That is hardly news though it may pressure MSM to increase its meager coverage of the Syrian uprising. What is news is American officials saying so as it signals increased support for the amazingly courageous demonstrators as many including former ambassador Marc Ginsberg has been urging the reluctant Obama administration to do.
Sly Mr. President, Turn the Heat Up on Assad, he pleaded. After providing a long list of non military action Obama could take, he concluded:
I have no illusions that Assad will be cowered by a more muscular White House policy. He intends to hunker down. No one is proposing military action against the regime. But we have yet to act with greater certitude against Assad. Syria's people, like their Tunisian, Egyptian and Libyan fraternal Arab democrats, deserve to know that America will stand by them as best as we can against a regime that has no further legitimacy..
That legitimacy has been further eroded by an opposition group's publication of a damning Syrian intelligence document with orders to shoot protesters:
In the event of a confrontation between military units and protesters, live ammunition can be used by"trained security agents along with the black battalions and the secret plain clothed battalions," the document allegedly drawn up by the Department of Intelligence and leaked to opposition groups says.
"The use of snipers by both battalions should be concealed in order to prevent any notice of the source of shots fired. In addition, it is acceptable to shoot some of the security agents or army officers in order to further deceive the enemy," the Arabic language document published on the Syrian Revolution Web site Wednesday says.
In the event of protesters' deaths, security officials are instructed to say"armed gangs and extremist gangs," were responsible and emphasize that the country's security forces are deployed to protect the people, the document states.
"Link the demonstrations and protests against the regime to figures hated by Syrians like Lebanese and Saudi Arabia known figures and link it all to Zionism and America," the document says. It advises the authorities to launch an"intensive media campaign accusing the protesters and the enemies of being agents of Saudi Arabia, Israel and America."
Here is an example: Syrian TV Shows Confessions of Terrorist Cell
The document advises assigning personnel to pose as anti-regime activists and to use Facebook to"jam up the opponents."
Ban media from attending demonstrations and"punish those who convey news that does not serve the country, and show no leniency in this matter."
Security officials are also advised to"doctor" films and videos portraying images of the protests and"process scenes of protests to insert gaps in them. These scenes can then be displayed in the Syrian media," and the gaps in the footage used to discredit and raise doubts, the document says.
Of course, everyone following the uprisings is familiar with this strategy. Still, it is always helpful to see it spelled out in black and white.