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Anti-Russia 'propaganda' group urges reporter to drop story on CIA arming Syrian rebels

Published time: 20 Oct, 2017 03:54

A group that claims to be fighting against Russian propaganda and “fake news” is asking a reporter not to pursue information on the CIA arming Syrian rebels. PropOrNot, famous for being an ex-source for the Washington Post, says the story may fall into the wrong hands.

On Thursday, Jason Leopold, a senior investigative reporter at Buzzfeed, tweeted that he had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the CIA for documents related to the US arming Syrian rebels.

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PropOrNot beseeched him to drop its case in a tweet.

Last year, the Washington Post published a front page article that cited PropOrNot, a group that, according to the site’s description, is “volunteering time and skills to identify propaganda – particularly Russian propaganda – targeting a US audience.”

The report identified more than 200 websites as “routine peddlers of Russian propaganda.”

After several complaints, The Washington Post issued a kind of retraction that said that they did not “vouch for the validity of PropOrNot’s findings regarding any individual media outlet,” and PropOrNot also removed some of the sites from their list.

The FOIA request from Buzzfeed was made after President Donald Trump tweeted in July that the Washington Post “fabricated facts on my ending massive, dangerous, and wasteful spending payments to Syrian rebels fighting Assad.”

Buzzfeed argues that Trump’s tweet “constitutes official knowledge that the United States had been making payments to Syrian rebels fighting Assad.” They submitted a FOIA request to the CIA in September for “any and all” documents that mentioned or referenced CIA payments to Syrian rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad.

In response, PropOrNot pleaded with Leopold not to file the lawsuit, saying that it “doesn’t help.”

“Ofc we supported Syrian moderates/democrats. We should have done it more. Please don’t muddy waters!” the group tweeted.

When pressed about their response, PropOrNot said that they didn’t want the information to be obtained by Buzzfeed, because it would be disseminated to “regimes at war [with] us.”

“We don’t want to see any more good Syrian people get massacred by the brutally corrupt mafia-fascist regimes of Assad & Putin,” the group tweeted.

The groups said that if the CIA released information on which groups the US has been funding, “Trump’s Russian buddies” would “have an easier time hunting them down & bombing their whole neighborhood.”

In the past, PropOrNot has tweeted a Ukrainian fascist salute “Heroaim Slava!,” which means  “glory to the heroes,” to congratulate Ukrainian hackers fighting Russians.

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