We all have heard of the Syrian Electronic Army, a command center in Syria with pro-Assad youths trained by Russian agents to hack into any accounts or Internet service that does not play by the Assad rules of common barbarism. Iran has a similar hack central they call “The Cyber Army”. Its logo is the flag of Imam Hossein.
However, I bet no one has heard of the contrarian Avatars the pro-Axis of Evil hucksters mask themselves behind to confuse and rationalize the irrational.
The Syrian Electronic Army is a well-organized entity that plays a far more important role than just plain hacking. Members mask themselves behind different Avatars (i.e. personalities) to include Israeli names, neo-con screen names, screen names of disenchanted American youths like the ones standing behind “Occupy Wall Street”, journalists and just normal European and American homemakers with common names. They use their stolen identities to influence the comment systems on high-traffic Western websites by responding to any unfavorable opinions against Assad or attack any anti-Assad articles.
Their role is to cast doubt on anything that may harm Assad or attack his opponents by often mocking them. Their aim is to discredit any opposition to Assad. Upon reading the comments, readers form a negative opinion based on these deceptive practices. The Axis of Avatars often use programs like Tor to mask their Syrian IP’s by re-routing through servers in different countries.
Some even use pictures of Hasidic Jews or pretty faces or satiric images to impress not only with words but also reinforce their identity with images, which provide them with another layer of legitimacy.
I have learned of this sometime ago when an oscillating pro-Assad Syrian close to the regime disclosed to me the details in 2007. At that time, I did not even know what an Avatar was.
In similar fashion, you will see such comments on any article written about the Iranian nuclear program to cast doubt about its validity by legitimate American sounding names. Just imagine the effect this kind of Stalinist or Nazi propaganda has on the psyche of those citizens who rely on the news to prepare for the worst. Mind you, when it is not so obvious to deceive the skeptical Israelis, the Syrian Electronic Army resorts to personal attacks in the hope to sell the author short.
Of course, not all comments who mock belong to the Syrian Electronic Army.
However, next time you read a comment attacking the validity of a message that weakens your enemies or mocks the messenger’s personae, think of the possibility a Syrian pro-Assad, pro-Hezbollah is behind it. The Soviets taught them well how to use the Stalinist propaganda to confuse and to deceive.