Bad news for Meles Zenawi spies in the U.S.
New York Times | Oct 13, 2011



Editor's Note - The following story is a warning for those who live in the U.S. as naturalized American citizens and yet serve as spies for the Meles Zenawi regime. Many of the spies get 'green card' or permanent residence by seeking a political asylum. Then they become citizens. And yet, they resort to spying for the regime in Addis by ignoring that they had sworn that their asylum case was honest to the best of their knowledge. When caught, however, they end up in big trouble, like the Syrian guy in the following story.

U.S. Accuses Virginia Man of Espionage at Syria Protests
By J. David Goodman New York Times | Oct 13, 2011


A federal grand jury indicted a 47-year-old Syrian-born American citizen living in Leesburg, Va., accusing him of spying for Syria, the Justice Department announced on Wednesday.

The department said that the man, Mohamad Anas Haitham Soueid, had gathered information on protesters in the United States challenging the rule of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. He is accused of gathering video images, phone numbers and e-mails and passing them along to Syrian intelligence agencies.

Mr. Soueid was indicted by a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va., on Oct. 5 and was arrested on Monday.

The details laid out by the Justice Department lent greater support to claims by Syrian activists living abroad that they face systematic harassment, threats and intimidation — including being videotaped at protests supportive of the country’s antigovernment uprising — by people they believe to be agents of the Syrian government.

“The ability to assemble and protest is a cherished right in the United States,” Neil MacBride, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement. “It’s troubling that a U.S. citizen from Leesburg is accused of working with the Syrian government to identify and intimidate those who exercise that right.”

Some activists, including the Syrian pianist Malek Jandali, said their family members in Syria had been subject to interrogations and in some cases beatings carried out by government agents, according to a report by Amnesty International published this month. In July, the State Department said it was investigating similar reports.

The government charged Mr. Soueid with acting as an unregistered agent of the Syrian government, lying to the F.B.I. about his activities and providing false information on a purchase form for a gun, the department said. (He gave a false current residence address when purchasing a Beretta pistol in July, the indictment said.)

According to the indictment, Mr. Soueid worked in the United States as an agent for Syria’s feared secret police, the Mukhabarat, and was directed by officials in Syria to record protests against Mr. Assad’s government. In June, he traveled to Syria where, according to the indictment, he met in private with the Syrian president.

The department, in its statement, said the purpose of Mr. Soueid’s actions were as part of a conspiracy to “undermine, silence, intimidate and potentially harm those in the United States and Syria who engaged in the protests.”

The Syrian Embassy in Washington called the charges “baseless and totally unacceptable” and part of “a campaign of distortion and fabrications against the Embassy of Syria in the U.S.”

“Neither Mr. Soueid nor any other citizen of the U.S. is an agent of the Syrian Government,” the embassy said in a statement, which provided a point-by-point denial of the charges against Mr. Soueid. “There has never ever been a private meeting between President Assad and Mr. Soueid. This ludicrous accusation is a reflection of the poor quality of the whole set of allegations.”

The indictment also listed aliases that prosecutors said Mr. Soueid had used. One of the aliases, Anas Alswaid, appeared in a federal lawsuit filed by Syrians and Syrian-Americans, seeking damages for actions taking by the Assad government during its crackdown on antigovernment protesters. That suit, filed in federal court in Washington in May, also accused Mr. Soueid of gathering information on Syrians based in the United States and sending it to the government in Damascus.

The indictment is “a confirmation of all our experiences,” said Mr. Jandali, the pianist, in a telephone interview on Wednesday. His parents were beaten in their home in the city of Homs shortly after Mr. Jandali played piano during a July protest against Mr. Assad in front of the White House. With the help of the State Department, he brought his parents to live with him in the United States, fearing for their safety because of his activism.

“Their strategy is suicidal at this point,” Mr. Jandali said of the Syrian government. “They think that through terror and intimidation they will silence the people. But they are getting exactly the opposite.”


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