Talk:Assad Files

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This paperwork... I think it's legit, just misrepresented. I'd like to have my own look, bu I'm sure they guard against that. What I notice is nothing illegal has been found and shared. Considering the few spots cited so far are the best examples they could find, all the quotes are fairly benign, suggesting there's actually nothing criminal in them. They pick some words that sound possibly ominous, and then switch to external "evidence" like a verbal account or the "Caesar photos" to finish the picture and distract the viewer from how weak the paperwork is. --Caustic Logic (talk) 02:00, 2 April 2017 (UTC)

Cited Documents

Here I intend to create a big list (or not so big) of all the documents mentioned so far and what they're said to say or quoted as saying. As possible, dates, images, translation double-check, etc. A clear-eyed resource for anyone who wants to understand the stuff. Eventually, I see a list with each entry linked to an analysis section. --Caustic Logic (talk) 02:00, 2 April 2017 (UTC)

  • February, 2011, Deir Ezzour: "...the head of Deir Ezzor’s military-intelligence branch, Brigadier General Jameh Jameh, sent instructions to all of his subordinates to “prepare cameras . . . in order to film the participants and instigators so they can be identified and held accountable in the future." (Taub)
  •  ??, 2011, Deir Ezzour: "Jameh said that protesters were courting “bloodshed, in preparation for summoning a foreign military intervention,” an outcome that he said he desperately wanted to avoid. Early the next morning, he sent a one-sentence cable to all military-intelligence sections in the province: “You are requested to instruct your agents to strictly refrain from opening fire indiscriminately and killing people.” (Taub)
  • #August 5, 2011, CCMC: a new approach is announced in the central crisis management cell* in Damascus, calling for more arrests and more coordination, etc. This is the "linchpin of the CIJA case" - just days after a massacre of gov. forces by Islamists in Hama.
    • This CCMC was formed early, before end of March - met in Damascus daily at Baath party HQ, had an opposition mole running the paperwork end, and (after it was moved following the mole's outing) was bombed in its new locale in July, 2012, with Ben Taub suggesting it was an inside job (two Islamist groups claimed it, but they contradict each other) --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:11, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
  •  ??, Raqqah: "The Crisis Cell even demanded lists of all arrestees. Some members of the provincial security committees

took preëmptive steps to satisfy their superiors. A copy of the Crisis Cell’s instructions was found in Raqqa with a handwritten note: “We did that a long time ago.”" (Taub)

  • #September 11, 2011, Deir Ezzour - seemingly the most important document yet to highlight, speaks of worry over the fate of arrested people, and of unidentified bodies piling up.
  • January, 2012, Deir Ezzour: "Mazen al-Hamada’s name soon appeared on an arrest list in Deir Ezzor." (Taub)- Wiley find this searching on the computer as if he didn't already know, at the documentary makers' request, dated January. He points to the middle line of handwritten notes in a tabular-form document as saying Mazen and several of his associates should be detained if seen. He doesn't passed on the given reason (Syria's Disappeared 13:00). The narrator says it was for organizing protests, and to evade capture, he fled to Damascus, where he was captured after delivering baby food. (12:25)

The shared documents don't seem to run much later, as militants more clearly entered the picture (along with "Shabiha" massacres, etc.) --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:11, 2 April 2017 (UTC)

Late May, 2011, Deir Ezzour

(Deir Ezzour military intelligence chief)Jameh sent several cables expressing his outrage that interrogators were giving detainees electric shocks, putting out cigarettes on their flesh, beating them “on all parts of the body, in a disgusting manner,” and sodomizing them by forcing them to sit on soda bottles. He said that his jail would “refuse to take custody” of torture victims “unless there is a written report about the detainee’s health condition . . . that includes the names of those responsible for beating him. (Taub)

So far, this is the most serious abuse mentioned. It's not evencertain that it happened; apparently Jameh heard it did, and took the claim seriously. And it seems plausible enough. Here, the chief is criticizing something and trying to stop it, not ordering it to be done. No centralized order to do this in the first place, or to resume it, has been shown yet. No order for abuses worse than this (as alleged), or even lighter than this, has so far been found.

The inference to draw, imprecise as it is: torture and abuse existed in Syria in a moderate form at the local level, and centralized authority here was trying to counter that. This is roughly the opposite of what the paper trail is said to show. --Caustic Logic (talk) 04:10, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

August 5, 2011, CCMC

A new approach is announced in the central crisis management cell's daily meeting in Damascus on August 5, calling for more arrests and more coordination, etc., to counter excessive laxness in the face of a growing crisis.

First, all security branches were to launch daily raids against protest organizers and “those who tarnish the image of Syria in foreign media.” Other categories? Not mentioned. Next, “once each sector has been cleansed of wanted people,” security agents would coördinate with Baathist loyalists, neighborhood militias, and community leaders to insure that opposition activists could not return to those areas. Third, they would “establish a joint investigation committee at the province level,” made up of representatives from all of the security branches, which would interrogate detainees. The results “shall be sent to all security branches, so that they can be used in the identification of new targets that need to be prosecuted.” (Taub)

It's likely the named categories ("protest organizers and “those who tarnish the image of Syria in foreign media”") were targeted, but not exclusively. It's a near-certainty that armed groups were discussed as the main concern, with these others being problematic in connection with the terrorists. For example, when a protest organizer gives cover to armed attacks, or when a media activist films the victims of that and blames Syrian forces, it's not hard to see how that's considered criminal. But the main part is probably cut out, because it's not mentioned, leaving the other people sanitized of the connection. Otherwise, it suggests Damascus had no concern with armed groups (because there were none?) as they worked on crushing peaceful protests.

Because, as I've noted, this came just 5 days after Islamists in Hama killed 13 police and soldiers, and abducted and executed another 13, who they dumped in the river early on August 1. Media activists reported (criminally, some would say) only that some 75-"more than 100" protesters were killed in a massive army invasion with no provocation at all, and world leaders were calling for the government's fall and/or arming the protesters. (ACLOS Monitor) Being in a major city not far from Homs, that's a crisis to merit a new approach, but it's not mentioned in the New Yorker piece, as the apparent response to it is distorted to seem totally unprovoked. --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:11, 2 April 2017 (UTC)

This policy became the linchpin of the CIJA’s case against officials in the Syrian regime. ... For the CIJA, identifying suspects was easy, Wiley said, because “their names are all over those documents.”

Investigators were also able to track "dissemination of these orders down multiple parallel chains of command from the Crisis Cell," see the head of the National Security Bureau tell Baath Party secretaries to “implement what is requested of you, so as to speed up putting an end to the crisis.” The heads of the four security-intelligence agencies "sent the instructions to the provincial and regional branch heads, who passed them on to local security agents."

The final line of the Crisis Cell’s targeting policy ordered the heads of security branches to “periodically supply the

National Security Bureau with the names of security agents who are irresolute or unenthusiastic.” Some of them ended up in Hamada’s cell.

(Note: so claims the dubious witness Mazen al-Hamada) --Caustic Logic (talk) 04:10, 3 April 2017 (UTC)
And again, it's implied that just days after the Hama incident, and many prior attacks including the Jisr Al-Shughour massacre and the Tellawi Family Massacre, April 17, 2011, the Crisis Management Cell was not even going after militants at all. They just wanted innocents, and their own who didn't go after the innocents forcefully enough. They couldn't possibly have a concern with Islamist sympathizers in the military letting terrorists slip through, etc. because of course that all didn't exist (just yet, they say). --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:11, 2 April 2017 (UTC)


A memo dated 5 August 2011, from the NSB to the Deir ez-Zor security committee orders the formation of “investigation committees” to carry out the arrests of protest organisers as well as “those communicating with people living abroad, and those who tarnish the image of Syria in the foreign media and international organisations”. Documents show the orders filtering down to local branches of the political security agency, along with wanted lists of dissidents to be arrested. Reports flow back confirming the arrests of named suspects and the reason for their detention, which in some cases amount to no more than “discussing the events in a negative manner”. (Guardian, May 2015)
In those cases, maybe context is left out. In other cases, they don't specify what the arrests were for. Were authorities really not concerned with the militants, or is the CIJA just consistently failing to mention that concern in these few, select teasers they drop to the media? --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:56, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

September 11, 2011, Deir Ezzour

Assad Files 11-9-2011.png

(this seems to be the #1 quotable example of criminal orders)

  • "In September, the public attorney in Deir Ezzor sent three faxes—later retrieved by the CIJA’s investigators—to the governor, the Syrian minister of justice, and the head of the province’s joint investigation committee, urging them to stop violating Syrian law. In one, he wrote, “Parents and relatives of the arrested persons are asking daily about the fates of sons, fathers, and brothers. You ought to listen to what they have to say. The hospital refrigerator is full of unidentified corpses that have disintegrated, since they have been there for a long period of time.” (Taub)
  • Document shown at 22:35 in Syria's Disappeared, and Wiley reads the same quote, and emphasizes how the minister of justice was copied in, making him aware of the contents. (note: there are a few dates given in Eastern Arabic numbers, but I'm taking the one at the closing, which looks almost like our 9/11, with the 2011 part not so readable)

This seems to mention two different problems side-by-side: relatives of arrested people are saying remarkable things (unclear), and unidentified bodies are (being found and?) filling the refrigerators in the morgue. Wiley seems to take this as a singular "localized problem" - perhaps that arrested people are killed and stuffed in the refrigerators, and perhaps the families of prisoners are the ones telling them about that. But the documents call those bodies unidentified. Is this a code word? Most likely not. Most likely these are two different, but related, problems, and neither one is clear is reflecting a government crime.

And let's consider what they apparently didn't find in this case: - any citation of laws, or breaking or bending them by the joint investigative committee, as suggested by the claim these faxes were "urging them to stop violating Syrian law." - anything in this document to clarify it really says what Wiley implies it does - Any prior order to kill prisoners, or abuse them in a likely fatal way, and stuff them in the hospital morgue - Anything else from the documents explaining that "unidentified" is a code for "prisoner" --Caustic Logic (talk) 02:14, 2 April 2017 (UTC)

Ah, 9/11 in the year 11. Just a regular day. Are these hundreds of thousands of things that happened on other regular days available in raw data? If so, you should link to it more prominently in the "sources" department. If not, that should be mentioned as well. --CE (talk) 05:25, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
I noticed they don't mention the date, as ambassador Stevens was gettin' killed by the same kind of "protesters" over in Benghazi, and etc. It's just "September." Anyhow, this seems to be the rawest view available, of their apparent leading point. Otherwise it's just translated text in articles. I'm going to try and get this translated, partly at least. I think with one such point to analyze like that we could get a 100% coverage of the available raw "Assad Files." Not worried if it looks bad for Damascus - this is apparently the baddest it ever looks, so I wanna find out how low that roof is. --Caustic Logic (talk)

June, 2012

Document #4 out of 800,000+ was first publicized by Daily Mail, Dec. 2 2017 article by Ian Birrell. This cites the August 2011 crisis cell memo and the September 11 communications addressed above, and adds our most recent cited document, from sometime in June, 2012, in Idlib province.

A chilling series of letters from Idlib in June 2012 exposes how a military judge signed off the death of a man from ‘sudden heart attack’ – a euphemism used often with murdered detainees. But the next day a military police officer pointed out the man died due to being beaten at a checkpoint. Doctors confirmed the real cause of death: ‘nervous system failure due to pain caused by bruises all over the body – more specifically, the testicles and the stomach’.

As usual, the full context of the document is not shared to get a clearer reading. But on the surface, it sounds like someone was beaten to death at a government checkpoint and a doctor tried to cover it up, but changed his story when a military man pointed out the inaccuracy. Hm. This is supposed to reflect the claimed systematic conspiracy to murder detainees all in secret? --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:26, 4 December 2017 (UTC)

[http://libyancivilwar.blogspot.com/2017/12/assad-files-paper-recycling-continues.html my review, re-hashing the basics and showing how this is mainly another recycling of the two central documents they keep pimping as best examples, but noting this addition. --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:26, 4 December 2017 (UTC)

Other "Assad Files"

The list here is tine enough.... well, I found a few other leaked documents that help fill out the picture here. These may or may not be part of the collection CIJA. The likely fake set probably aren't. If they were, they'd have juicier citations. --Caustic Logic (talk) 04:43, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

Al-Jazeera Docs

Al-Jazeera (Qatari-owned), March 2012: These shown and scannable documents from the fall of 2011 that appear likely genuine and banal. In fact, these will be part of the CIJA trove, most likely.

The files - passed to the network by Abdel Majid Barakat, a former member of Assad's government - provide an insight into the regime's strategy to suppress anti-government protests, including the lengths it went to protect its strongholds.
The documents, which run hundreds of pages long, reveal the establishment of what has been referred to as the Crisis Management Cell, formed to deal with the security situation.

Barakat is the mole running the cell's paperwork division, who fled in late 2011 and was the first big source the CIJA. SO these can be moved above and/or here, and I'm already here... --Caustic Logic (talk) 04:43, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

  • ...
  • ...
  • ...
  • Document 4: "A presidential decree (dated 29/08/11) - The document calls for increased punishment for those involved in public gatherings, which includes up to one year in prison. - The decree is signed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad."

Prison sentences up to a year are mentioned for unauthorized gatherings. Of course, if a direct link to a terrorist cime done under cover of the protest is shown, it'll be a longer sentence. This will be the deterrent for all those not so proven - you can get a year just for gathering. It was harsh times. Still, a life sentence of the nasty, brutish and short kind isn't mentioned. Disappearing, starving, torturing, and exterminating the activists is not mentioned. These orders must be somewhere else. These things were already being alleged in these days, but so far it almost seems those all happened without any centralized government directive. Strange, that. --Caustic Logic (talk) 04:43, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

Al-Arabiya Exclusive

Al-Arabiya (Saudi-owned), 7 October, 2012. "A ‘top secret’ file orders an agent to carry out assassinations against activists nationwide." They got leaked copies and show them, of three documents from 2011 laying out criminal operations to assassinated activists and more. These are far out of line with the other documents we've seen and should expect (based on all we've learned, etc.), and from that alone I call total fake in this case. Check out what the last one says - secret plan to assassinate the Grand Mufti's son, just to make the protesters look bad. --Caustic Logic (talk) 04:43, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

(note: the docs are shown but mislabeled: Jul 29 kill order shows Aug 5 doc - Aug 5 Douma kill order shows Sep 28 doc - Sep 28 Hasoun kill order shows Jul 29 doc, with dates handwritten in)
  • July 29, 2011“Operational Order,” top secret: foreign intelligence, operations branch, telling an agent named Samir Haddad, as al-Arabiya puts it, "to “eliminate” activists in various provinces."

The agent being named is unusual, they think, hence the top secret marking. Also the name is handwritten in like the date, on a standardized form with blank spaces. What's not blank suggests what they (allegedly) meant to do lots of. These aren't even specially drafted orders, but part of a routine operation - you grab an assassination form - the crime is presumed and built in, you just fill in who kills who and where and by when)

Dr. Hassan Shalabi from the Syrian National Front, explains how and why the activists weren't named - in certain provinces, then, it was open to local "Shabbiha (thugs) militias and intelligence agents to choose and kill who they think are “instigators,"" which "led to the assassinations of figures that the regime would not have killed otherwise, Shalabi said." Ghiath Matar of Daraya is mentioned as one of those killed - he tried hard to keep the rebellion peaceful, but "his assassination had a negative impact and sped up the militarization of the uprising," Al-Arabiya notes with sad irony. But still, they had a named agent travel there and, I guess, oversee that random killing. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:20, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

  • Aug. 5, 2011 “operational order,” top secret: foreign intelligence service instructung to Lt. Col. Mohammed Bilal to go to Duma (Douma, east Ghouta) "to “eliminate” activists there." Dr. Shalabi explained "the regime was aware of Duma’s danger and tried to silence it by killing its activists." It doesn't seem they name just who, so apparently the same open-ended policy as with the Jul 29 order was intended for Douma, and Lt. Col. Bilal would oversee it, or whatever. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:20, 3 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Sept. 28, 2011: "A third “operational order” -- signed by head of branch 291 of the air intelligence, special missions section, Brigadier Saqr Mannon -- was sent to Lt. Col. Suhail Hassan asking him to go “immediately and secretly to the northern region,” which includes Aleppo, to murder Saria Hassoun, son of Syria’s Grand Mufti, Shiekh Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun." The date on that is Sept. 28, 2011, and Hassoun was killed near Idlib on Oct. 2. As al-Arabiya notes "The Syrian authorities immediately blamed “armed gangs” for the murder of Hassoun" up by the Jihadist-infested Turkish border, because of his influential father's "pro-regime stances." Obviously, "by Killing Hassoun and blaming the opposition, the regime was apparently seeking to attract people’s sympathy and support and turn them against those who seek its ouster."
I think the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a literal law against using non-fake news. I wonder if it's fair to exclude these from our big list, based on a subjective call of fake. Maybe it would be fun to let them sit among the others with a bolded "LF" out front and let the reader decide. --Caustic Logic (talk) 04:43, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

These were published as part of a series, promising "The next episode of Syria Leaks will be aired on Monday, Oct. 8." I couldn't find that. On 13 Oct. they ran a related "apology" (for not having the bias everyone expected, and just wanting truth and justice), where they refute claims of bias and respond to "California-based professor As’ad AbuKhalil, ... claiming that the “days when an Arab intelligence services would put in writing assassination orders are long gone”; adding that “Arab regimes - especially those of the Baath - are known to rely on a very small circle of people (and on need-to-know basis) for any assassination orders. No trail of paper is ever left behind”. They scoff at his purported expertise, noting they have the papers. They can't be verified, given how un-open and bad the regime is, but given that badness, of course, they're probably true orders.

Also back on October 4, Al-Arabiya had run other leaked documents revealing that Iran helped Syria move some of their chemical weapons to secure them, in violation of Iran's promise to never help anyone use CWs. Also, a presidential order, following "the detection of an “administrative error.”" (thought to be a leak, on the CW issue) "prohibiting writing reference numbers and/or dates on secret official documents. He also ordered that all top-secret (written) instructions to be delivered ‘by hand’ and to be ‘burnt’ following receipt along with all telegram and written communication in all embassies and diplomatic missions." I guess this explains why we wouldn't be seeing any more of these incredibly real orders. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:44, 3 April 2017 (UTC)