Syrian revolutionaries have found thousands of e-mails from the personal accounts of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and his missus which show they are prolific buyers of Apple gear even while their regime burns.
They show the sort of attitude to the great unwashed which made Marie Antoinette so popular with the French people she ultimately ended up with her head in a basket.
Assad got around US sanctions to make sure that he could buy Apple products without having to queue. Assad is apparently a real Apple fanboy, having bought plenty of content from the iTunes store, and owns all the latest gear through a dodgy US website, the emails reveal.
The Guardian got its paws on more than 3,000 documents that activists claim to be the private e-mails of ruling couple Bashar and Asma al-Assad, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
The emails were found in June 2011 after a mole provided opposition group “Supreme Council of the Revolution” with the usernames and passwords for the pair.
For a while, activists claimed that they used the information to stay a step ahead of regime moves in Damascus. Unfortunately, it is claimed, an attack by the hacker group Anonymous broke into a Syrian government server separately in January. This caused the email accounts to be shut down as they were flagged as a security risk.
The emails shows that Assad makes light of reforms he promised in order to control the civil crises breaking out in Syria. He calls them “rubbish laws of parties, elections, media.”
He forwarded a YouTube video of a parody re-enactment of the siege of Homs with toy cars and cookies to his media adviser with the response, “Hahahahahahaha, OMG!!! This is amazing!”
While the Syrians were struggling with hunger, the president and his wife were worried about a $15,000 chandelier, candlesticks, and a table from Paris.
The emails also show that a senior aide to Asma Assad appealed to Twitter to remove at least 11 “fraudulent” Twitter accounts, which the company did.
Twitter later announced that it would suspend accounts that were blatant attempts at impersonation, but would allow parody accounts.
According to the Telegraph, Assad has formed a network of advisers outside of the traditional government circles. One of the people he hears advice from is allegedly Hussein Mortada, a Lebanese businessman with strong ties to Iran. He was told to “stop blaming al-Qaida” for two car bombings that happened in December in Damascus.
It was pointed out to him that it was not in his interest to say that Al-Qaida is behind the operation because such statements clear the US administration and the Syrian opposition of any responsibility.
Mortada said it was much better to say that the US administration, the opposition, and the states which infiltrated weapons are behind the operation so that it is possible to start attacking.