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Monday, October 3

PR firm that whips up support for violent overthrow of governments on demand

Halloween has come early this year. Meet Purpose, which:
promises to deliver creatively executed campaigns that produce either a “behavior change,” “perception change,” “policy change” or “infrastructure change.” As the Syrian conflict entered its third year, this company was ready to effect a regime change.
The quote is from Max Blumenthal's October 3 investigative report for Alternet: Inside the Shadowy PR Firm That’s Lobbying for Regime Change in Syria
Posing as a non-political solidarity organization, the Syria Campaign leverages local partners and media contacts to push the U.S. into toppling another Middle Eastern government.
However, the report and its implications go far beyond any single country or political end. 

To return to Syria I'll quote from one part of the report that greatly surprised me. I had always assumed that in trying overthrow Assad, the British government under David Cameron was just doing the bidding of Al Saud and Al Thani. From these passages I think there was more to it:
For the petroleum mogul who provided the funding that launched the Syria Project, the means of military intervention justified an end in which he could return to the country of his birth and participate in its economic life on his own terms.
Though The Syria Campaign claims to “refuse funding from any party to the conflict in Syria,” it was founded and is sustained with generous financial assistance from one of the most influential exile figures of the opposition, Ayman Asfari, the U.K.-based CEO of the British oil and gas supply company Petrofac Limited.
Asfari is worth $1.2 billion and owns about one-fifth of the shares of his company, which boasts 18,000 employees and close to $7 billion in annual revenues.
Through his Asfari Foundation, he has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to The Syria Campaign and has secured a seat for his wife, Sawsan, on its board of directors.
He has also been a top financial and political supporter of the Syrian National Coalition, the largest government-in-exile group set up after the Syrian revolt began.
The group is dead-set on removing Assad and replacing him with one of its own. Asfari’s support for opposition forces was so pronounced the Syrian government filed a warrant for his arrest, accusing him of supporting “terrorism.”
In London, Asfari has been a major donor to former British Prime Minister David Cameron and his Conservative Party. ...
A good companion piece to Blumenthal's report and a bit of serendipity in that regard is Moon of Alabama's October 2 report, Special Interests Create The "Good", The "Bad" And The "Compelling" Story - The Media Tell It.  

It was from an entry posted today in the report's comment section by a reader with the screen name "virgile" that I learned about the Alternet report.

Finally, two notes. Early in the report Max Blumenthal makes reference to "
Asfari" without providing his first name, but it's the same person as discussed above.  

Also, there is a part 2 of the report but Alternet didn't specify when it'll be published -- I'm hoping this will be tomorrow.


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