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Obama Aide Plouffe Profited Off Company Tied to Syria

And Iran.

1:31 PM, Aug 7, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Within the context of strengthening communication between the company MTN Syria and the parent company in South Africa, has received the MTN Syria Mr. Sifiso Dabengwa, President and CEO of the group who had come to Syria to visit lasted for two days during which he met with Dr. Adel Safar, the Prime Minister, Dr. Imad Saaboubni Minister of Communications and Technology the presence of South African Ambassador in Damascus, where the meeting discussed ways to develop communication services, operating systems and the settlement of some administrative aspects including allowing the company to expand its activities and investments and their contribution to the local development process. also visit included a tour of the departments of the company during which he met with a team of executives and a group of employees. Mr. Anas Khani, Director General of the interests of the company MTN Syria: "This visit underscores the importance of the company's website within the group in the Middle East and North Africa, an outcome sure to the efforts of our employees over the past years, also allowed us to visit an important opportunity to consult on strategy the company's business and the mechanism of improving the quality of service provided within the Syrian market and upgrading them to higher levels in the light of regional and global experience. 

The Associated Press reported, on February 9, 2012, that "Hundreds of people are believed to have been killed since early Saturday in the heaviest attack the city [of Homs] has endured since the uprising began in March."

Additionally, MTN is suspected of assisting Syrian regime to interfere with communications. As Bloomberg reported: 

As unrest in Syria erupted into public demonstrations and a bloody crackdown that has claimed over 6,000 lives in the last year, the regime of Bashar al-Assad sought to neutralize one of the most potent tools in the protesters’ arsenal: text messages sent via mobile phones.

The Syrian government has ordered blocks on text messages when they contain politically sensitive terms such as “revolution” or “demonstration,” according to two people familiar with the filtering systems. A unit of the Syrian intelligence apparatus, known as “Branch 225,” often issues the instructions on which messages to block, they say.

Syriatel Mobile Telecom SA, the country’s largest mobile- phone operator, conducts the blocking with equipment from Cellusys Ltd., a privately-held company based in Dublin, according to one of the people, who is familiar with the filtering.

Cellusys delivered a filtering system to Syriatel in 2008 as the mobile operator struggled to combat viruses and spam, which can be blocked by such gear, according to Cellusys Chief Executive Officer Dawood Ghalaieny. Syriatel is controlled by Rami Makhluf, cousin of President Assad, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, which enacted sanctions against the company last year.

In addition, another Irish company, AdaptiveMobile Security Ltd., which is also based in Dublin, has supplied message- filtering technology to MTN Syria, the country’s second-largest mobile operator, according to four people familiar with that system. While AdaptiveMobile executives declined to comment for this story, in interviews last year concerning the sale of its product to a mobile operator in Iran, they said its technology is for blocking spam, viruses and inappropriate content, not political repression.

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