We Told You So

Big surprise. After the pounding by government forces certain areas in Syria received, did anyone expect this to stop? Did anyone really expect Assad and his band of thugs to halt the war on the Syrian people?

We’ve played this game and danced this dance so it should come as no surprise that Assad is now asking for a written guarantee from the Free Syrian Army to ensure they also agree to a ceasefire. Can we ask for a written guarantee from Syrian forces to stop the murder of children? Can we ask for a written guarantee from Assad’s militia to stop torturing innocent mothers in front of their children? Can we ask for a written guarantee the government’s army to halt all leveling of buildings where mothers and fathers have to search through the rubble for their children? Finally, can we ask for a written guarantee for the government’s forces to halt firing into refugee camps inside Turkey to leave the refugees in peace.

What is it going to take to get Assad to stop the killing and to step down from his throne? The April 12th deadline is looming and Assad is using this as a last ditch effort to kill off as many Syrians as he can before the United Nations steps up efforts. But then again, I’m not holding my breath.

Latest Stats:
Killed: 12,810
Children: 899
Females: 793
Soldiers: 1,091
Tortured to death: 498
Missing: +65,000
Arrested: +212,000

Mariam Hamou

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What’s Really Shocking?

A full blown massacre in Syria is happening. Over 100 reported dead just today. Assad is in contempt of the UN mandate and the UN needs to step in NOW. There’s a relentless offensive on Hama, and Homs. Assad and his Shabiha are killing indiscriminately. Children, elderly, women, babies all murdered. So many dead bodies their families can’t bury them fast enough. Mass graves of innocent people and no one to perform burial rites.
Scores of refugees fleeing from war into Turkey and Lebanon. Anywhere that’s safe, with only the clothes on their back. Syria has a history of taking in refugees. Now Syrians are under attack by their own president and need to fight or go to safety. Damn you Bashar for creating death, destruction, rape, torture, and war on your own people. May you and all your followers rot in hell.

In all of this death and destruction, news broke today of a Chinese teen selling his own kidney for an iPad and iPhone. While it is silly that a Chinese teen gives his kidney for electronics, is it really that shocking? If North American teens had the chance to, many would opt for the latest game console or cellular phone and throw in a couple of pints of blood while they’re at it. It speaks to the strength of what we value as a society. A kidney is now a tradable commodity that is worth a shiny new iPad. What we don’t realize is that freedom costs us much more. Syrians are trading their lives for the ability to speak and assemble freely. Entire families have died, been displaced, and body parts lost all in the quest to lift the oppression to liberate and democratize. So my question is, is it really that shocking to sell an organ for a new device when thousands have died fighting for something as simple as their rights and freedoms?

Isn’t it more shocking that we have technology to deliver information instantaneously and yet the world remains ambivalent on removing Assad?
Isn’t it more shocking that we have an impotent opposition who would rather argue than do ANYTHING to help the rebels?
Isn’t it more shocking that hundreds are massacred daily and the world leaders want to give Assad more time to “reform”?
Time to take that reaction and finally turn this revolution around.

Mariam Hamou

CoUSA-Canada FILES FORMAL DEMAND TO INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE SYRIA SANCTIONS VIOLATORS

For Immediate Release
November 17th, 2011

LONDON — This morning, the Council of United Syrian Americans – Canada (CoUSA-Canada) filed a formal demand to investigate iWeb for violation of Federal Law prohibiting the sale or export of technology to Syria. CoUSA-Canada is hoping that iWeb will co-operate with the Minister of Foriegn Affairs office to make attempts to stop selling webspace to Syria. This company currently hosts different websites for the Syrian regime which has aided in oppressing it’s citizens.

“Syria’s president, Bashar Assad has used brutal force on his own people for 7 months and has not not shown any interest in easing the assault,” said Mariam Hamou, Chair of CoUSA-Canada, “Since the start of the Syrian revolution in March of this year Syria has engaged in state sponsored killing of its very own citizens. Many of those citizens are also Canadian citizens and have been victim to the Syrian regime’s illegal arrests, torture, and killing. Because of the dual national status of many of these victims this has become an urgent problem of substantial security risk to Canadian citizens both in the Canada and abroad.”

“As Canadian citizens of Syrian origin we expect our Canadian companies to respect the Rule of Law regardless of where the activities are taking place. Immediate action must be taken to protect Canadian citizens of Syrian origin. We now call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Baird, to proceed with the investigation and prosecution of iWeb.”

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Contact:
Mariam Hamou
519-902-5811
mhamou@gmail.com

Letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Canada

By email to john.baird@international.gc.ca
The Honorable John Baird
Minister of Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa ON K1A 0G2
Canada

Dear Minister Baird:

I am writing in my capacity as the a Chair for the Council of United Syrian Americans – Canadian chapter. Our mission is to support freedom in Syria through promotion of protesters demands that include Freedom of Speech, Assembly, Association and Press. Our organization believes that the equal enforcement of the Rule of Law is of paramount importance regardless of whether it is here in Canada or in Syria.

Kindly accept this letter as a formal request to investigate the following Canadian company for violation of the Federal Laws prohibiting the sale or export of technology to Syria: iWeb. The address of the company is below. This company has been copied on this letter in the hope that it will cooperate with your offices and make attempts to halt any web service sold to Syria. This company is currently producing technology which has aided the Syrian regime in oppressing its citizens. The Syrian government was added to the list of terrorist nations by the United States State Department and Treasury Departments due to President Bashar Assad’s support of terrorism. Since the start of the Syrian revolution in March of this year, Syria has engaged in state sponsored killing of Syria’s very own citizens. Many of those citizens are also Canadian citizens. Many Canadian citizens have been victim to the Syrian regime’s illegal arrests, torture, and killing. Because of the dual national status of many of these victims this has become an urgent problem of substantial security risk to Canadian citizens both in Canada and abroad. The International Criminal Court has even indicated its interest in this matter for prosecution.

iWeb makes products to allow the Syrian government to disseminate the regime’s information to its citizens. These products are restricted from sale to Syria. We believe the hosting of the Syrian government’s services is could lead to possible criminal prosecution for violation of the sanctions based on the following economic sanction relayed by the Prime Minister on May 24, 2011:

A ban under the Export and Import Permits Act on the export from Canada to Syria of goods and technology that are subject to export controls.

We believe attempts by iWeb to circumvent the laws of this nation are ineffectual and do nothing to make criminal acts lawful. Canadian Citizens of Syrian origin expect our Canadian companies to respect the Rule of Law regardless of where the activities are taking place. Immediate action must be taken to protect Canadian citizens of Syrian origin and uphold the Rule of Law. We now call on our Minister of Foreign Affairs office to proceed with the investigation and prosecution of this sanctions violator.

Please communicate with me to acknowledge receipt by email to mhamou@gmail.com or by phone 519-902-5811 for any further information. Thank You. With best wishes,

Respectfully,

Mariam Hamou
Chair
Council of United Syrian Americans – Canada

cc:
Chief Executive Officer
20 Place du commerce
Nuns’ Island, Montreal, PQ
H3E 1Z6

CoUSA PRESSES THE UNITED STATES TO RECALL THE AMERICAN AMBASSADOR TO SYRIA

For Immediate Release
November 16th, 2011

NEW YORK – France has ordered its Ambassador to Damascus, Eric Chevallier, home in the wake of recent attacks and the increasing pressure from home and abroad. The recent attacks against diplomatic missions and increasing violence stemming from Syria’s 8-month-old uprising has caused many around the world to call for Assad to step down. While this will not have a direct affect on Syria’s brutality towards its people, it will still deliver a substantial blow to Assad’s regime and cause further isolation towards his unethical practices.

“Assad has not shown any respite for the 8 month uprising and continues to crack-down on anti government forces. Defectors from the army are now in a battle with Syrian Army and have recently killed eight soldiers in an attack on the military,” said Hamdi Rifai, Chair of CoUSA, “ Citizens of Syria are fighting the regime’s silencing and complete disregard for human dignity and have asked the international community to continue its condemnation of Assad.” “We should not be providing Ambassadors to deal in diplomatic matters with governments that have no legitimacy and do not understand diplomacy.”

Syrian security forces have now killed more than 4,500 people, including at least 200 children, while arresting, detaining, forcibly disappearing, and torturing thousands upon thousands more.

CoUSA asks that the United States withdraw its ambassador from Syria to put pressure on Assad to stop the bloodshed and crackdown on protesters and to free Syrians of his tyranny.

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CONTACT:
Mariam Hamou
519-902-5811
mhamou@gmail.com

CoUSA Press Release – 161111

CoUSA FILES FORMAL DEMAND TO INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE SYRIA SANCTIONS VIOLATORS

For Immediate Release
November 15th, 2011

NEW YORK — This afternoon, CoUSA filed a formal demand to investigate the following United States companies for violation of Federal Law prohibiting the sale or export of technology to Syria: NetApp and Blue Coat Systems Inc. CoUSA is hoping that NetApp and Blue Coat Systems Inc. will co-operate with the United States Attorney’s Office to make attempts to retrieve the equipment sold to Syria. Both of these companies produce technology which has aided the Syrian regime in oppressing it’s citizens.

“The Syrian government was added to the list of terrorist nations by the State Department and Treasury Departments due to President Bashar Assad’s support of domestic terrorism. He has used brutal force on his own people for 7 months and has not not shown any interest in easing the assault,” said Hamdi Rifai, Chair of CoUSA, “Since the start of the Syrian revolution in March of this year Syria has engaged in state sponsored killing of it’s very own citizens. Many of those citizens are also US citizens and have been victim to the Syrian regime’s illegal arrests, torture, and killing. Because of the dual national status of many of these victims this has become an urgent problem of substantial security risk to US citizens both in the US and abroad.”

“As US Citizens of Syrian origin we expect our American companies to respect the Rule of Law regardless of where the activities are taking place. Immediate action must be taken to protect American citizens of Syrian origin. We now call on the United States Attorneys office to proceed with the investigation and prosecution of NetApp and Blue Coat Systems.”

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CONTACT:
Mariam Hamou
519-902-5811
mhamou@gmail.com
CoUSA Media Release – 141111

CoUSA FILES FORMAL DEMAND TO INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE SYRIA SANCTIONS VIOLATORS

November 15th 2011

By fax to 1-415-436-7234
The Honorable United States Attorney Melinda Haag
The United States Attorney’s Office- District of Northern California

Federal Courthouse, 11th Floor
450 Golden Gate Avenue San Francisco, CA 94102

By fax to 1-408-535-5066
United States Attorney’s Office – San Jose Office
Heritage Bank Building
150 Almaden Blvd. Suite 900 San Jose, CA 95113

Re.: United States v. NetApp – Syria Sanctions
United States v. Blue Coat – Syria Sanctions

Dear Ms. Haag:

I am writing in my capacity as the Chairperson of the Council of United Syrian Americans (CoUSA). Our mission is to support freedom in Syria through promotion of protesters demands that include Freedom of Speech, Assembly, Association and Press. Our organization believes that the equal enforcement of the Rule of Law is of paramount importance regardless of whether it is here in the United States or in Syria.

Kindly accept this letter as a formal demand to investigate the following United States companies for violation of the Federal Laws prohibiting the sale or export of technology to Syria: NetApp and Blue Coat Systems Inc. The address of each of these companies is below. Both of these companies have been copied on this letter in the hope that they will cooperate with your offices and make attempts to retrieve the equipment sold to Syria. Both of these companies produce technology which has aided the Syrian regime in oppressing it’s citizens. The Syrian government was added to the list of terrorist nations by the State Department and Treasury Departments due to President Bashar Assad’s support of terrorism. Since the start of the Syrian revolution in March of this year Syria has engaged in state sponsored killing of Syria’s very own citizens. Many of those citizens are also US citizens. Many US citizens have been victim to the Syrian regime’s illegal arrests, torture, and killing. Because of the dual national status of many of these victims this has become an urgent problem of substantial security risk to US citizens both in the US and abroad. The International Criminal Court has even indicated it’s interest in this matter for prosecution.

Net App makes products to allow storage and archiving of mass emails. These products are restricted from sale to Syria. There are specific emails between NetApp employees and Area SpA of Italy discussing the architecture of the systems to monitor and spy on Syrian Citizens. We believe these emails provide the basis of a prima facie case for criminal violation of the federal laws. Specifically it has been reported that NetApp has engaged in efforts to structure sales to Syria through their Italian office to avoid the laws of the United States. We believe structuring the transaction exposes NetApp to possible criminal prosecution for violation of the sanctions We believe attempts by NetApp to circumvent the laws of this nation are ineffectual and do nothing to make criminal acts lawful. “The NetApp deal was structured in a way that avoided dealing directly with Area, one of the people familiar with the project says. NetApp’s Italian subsidiary sold the equipment through an authorized vendor in Italy which then resold it to Area, the person says.” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-03/syria-crackdown-gets-italy-firm-s-aid-with-u-s-europe-spy-gear.html. “After the sale of the NetApp equipment, Italian employees of the company and Area e-mailed each other about configuring the equipment, copies of correspondence show.” http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-11-11/netapp-role-in-syria-spy-project-spurs-demands-for-u-s-inquiry.html

Blue Coat Systems, Inc. sells products to companies and organizations around the world to protect and accelerate networks. One of the products, the ProxySG appliance is a Secure Web Gateway solution. It protects users from malicious web threats and prevents access to content and applications that are considered inappropriate for network users on the basis of applicable laws. Please note that it appears that Blue Coat Systems Inc. does not sell to individuals and as such should be able to account for the sale of all devices. It is particularly important to understand that Blue Coat Systems equipment would have to be integrated in to a larger system designed and coordinated with Blue Coat Systems. Although it has been confirmed that Blue Coat Systems hardware is being used to suppress freedom in Syria Blue Coat Systems has amazingly denied knowledge of how that equipment has come under the control of the Syrian regime. I respectfully submit that this is just not a believable denial. The equipment is very specific and requires great technical expertise that could only be obtained from the company directly. Most disturbingly Blue Coat Systems byline of “mess with one of us mess with all of us” seems particularly inappropriate today since they have “messed” with all Americans today by acting contrary to our American public policy of supporting freedom and the Syrian American drive for freedom. I am asking that you immediately investigate and if necessary prosecute Blue Coat Systems, Inc. I am not alone in my cynicism of the Blue Coat Systems response. The United States Senate has joined in our calls for investigation. http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-57324674-281/senators-want-probe-of-netapp-blue-coat-devices-ties-to-syria/

US Citizens of Syrian origin expect our American companies to respect the Rule of Law regardless of where the activities are taking place. Immediate action must be taken to protect American citizens of Syrian origin and uphold the Rule of Law. We now call on our United States Attorneys office to proceed with the investigation and prosecution of both sanctions violators.

Please communicate with me to acknowledge receipt by email to CoUSA2011@gmail.com for security reasons. Thank You. With best wishes,

Respectfully,

Council of United
Syrian Americans

/s/Hamdi Rifai

By: Hamdi Rifai, Esq.

cc: Tom Georgens
Net App
495 East Java Drive
Sunnyvale, CA 94089

Greg Clark

Blue Coat Systems Inc.
420 N. Mary Ave
Sunnyvale, CA 94085

Campaign to Stop US Companies from Supporting the Syrian Regime

I am writing to you regarding the recent news of NetApp’s involvement in the terrorism and repression that is carried out in Syria by the tyrannical regime. It has recently been reported that NetApp has been exporting its technology to the Syrian government to facilitate spying on their people’s communications in order to put down the revolution. NetApp has also reportedly engaged in efforts to structure sales to Syria through their Italian office and in conjunction with Area SpA, to purposely evade the laws of the United States. This has resulted in many innocent lives being lost. I believe that the equal enforcement of the Rule of Law is of paramount importance regardless of whether it is here in the United States or in Syria. Therefore, I respectfully request that hearings be immediately scheduled to investigate the NetApp equipment sold to the Syrian government.


SIGN THE PETITION

We Demand an End to Assad’s Regime & Protection for Syrian People

SYRIA: We Demand an End to Assad’s Regime & Protection for Syrian People

By Maria Rohaly

SIGN THE PETITION

Target: Foreign Ministries/State Depts of governments worldwide

Region: GLOBAL
Background (Preamble):
The inhumanity of dictator Bashar al Assad is appalling and apocalyptic. People in Syria have been under a prolonged and bloody assault by Assad’s forces, the violent repression is increasing on a daily basis, while governments that have a responsibility in the face of crimes against humanity under the Geneva Convention remain criminally silent.

[full background statement here: http://missionfreeiran.org/2011/09/22/we-demand-an-end-to-assad-regime/%5D

We, concerned people around the world, make the following urgent, immediate demands of governments worldwide:

Petition:
1- Close Syrian embassies. Our demand that Assad must go now is not negotiable. This is not a matter of diplomatic nature.

2- Block all the financial resources of Assad’s regime immediately.

3- Implement a UN resolution acknowledging that the Syrian people’s future government has no obligation to pay for debts incurred by Assad’s regime for purchase of armament, military technology, military equipment, etc. All existing contracts may be terminated unilaterally by the future government with no penalty to be paid by the future democratic Syrian government.

4- Immediately issue an arrest order for Assad and all of those responsible for making this genocide possible.

5- Forbid all direct and indirect flights by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s aviation to Syria. The Islamic regime is supporting the Syrian genocide through infusions of cash as well as technology. There are reports of direct involvement by the Islamic Republic Guard Corps in the ongoing genocide of the Syrian people.

6- Governments with seats in the UN Security Council have had a mandate to act on behalf of humanity and stop the genocide in Syria – both in the 1980s and now. In violation of their mandate, they chose not to act then, as they are choosing not to act now. Responsible governments should therefore be held responsible for for their inaction then and now. Our first demand in this regard is compensation for all losses of human life, from the time of the 1982 massacre to the ongoing massacre, and all intervening years.

No one can claim that there is legitimacy for a government that has killed as Assad’s has. As it is not possible to defend the legitimacy of such a regime, all demands, from the closure of embassies to the arrest of Assad and his facilitators, become not only possible but imperative.

CoUSA Calls NetApp to remove spy equipment from Syria

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NOVEMBER 11, 2011

NEW YORK–Allegations of a U.S.-based company’s technology is being sent to Syria to help spy on peaceful citizens by the current tyrannical regime of Bashar Assad. It has been reported that NetApp’s role in the Syria Spy project sold through their subsidiary to the Italian company Area has been responsible for illegal arrests, torture and killings.
“CoUSA believes that the equal enforcement of the Rule of Law is of paramount importance regardless of whether it is here in the United States or in Syria and we demand that your NetApp immediately retrieve all equipment sold through the Italian office to the Syrian government,” said Hamdi Rifai, Chair of CoUSA, “as you know the United States maintains sanctions against the Syrian regime due to Syria’s support of terrorism and state sponsored killing of Syria’s very own citizens. Many of those citizens are also US citizens.”
“Many US citizens have been victim to the Syrian regime’s illegal activities. Because of the dual national status of many of these victims this has become an urgent problem of substantial security risk to US citizens both in the US and abroad. Specifically it has been reported in the media that NetApp has engaged in efforts to structure sales to Syria through an office in Italy to avoid the laws of the United States.”

  •  CoUSA does not believe that such structured transactions avoid the legal restrictions imposed upon American companies.
  •  Activities such as restructuring the transaction do not relieve your company of possible criminal liability and it most certainly does not relieve your company of civil liability and moral responsibility for the killing of over 3,500 innocent men, women and children.
  •  CoUSA will not pursue and further investigate the possibilities of further action provided we are satisfied that NetApp is doing everything possible to either retrieve or disable the products in Syria.

Immediate action must be taken not only to protect American citizens of Syrian origin but also Syrians that are being subjected to daily armed violence.

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Media Contact
Mariam Hamou
519-902-5811
mhamou@gmail.com