The Republic of Fear #Syria A brutal government crackdown (NewsWeek)
by Mike Giglio
Recent protests in Syria have brought brutal government crackdown—and renewed paranoia among dissidents.
His name is a pseudonym, adopted when he ran afoul of the secret police, his movements and whereabouts similarly a secret. The photo he uses for public consumption evokes an eerie sense of familiarity, but isn’t real. A computer-generated amalgam of many men, it is everyone and no one at all. Even his virtual presence is a specter, concealed behind encryption.
In a country where people have lived under surveillance and emergency law for decades, such precautions are necessary to stay out of prison, says Malath Aumran, a Syrian dissident who leads a phantomlike existence, trying to elude the government’s spies. The secret police, he says, “approach me in so many ways.”
Phony BBC reporters have contacted him to speak with activists on the ground. He has been approached by “honey traps”—agents who pose as pretty female activists, trying to…… Read more….