According to Wikileaks cables published by the Washington Post on Monday, the London-based satellite channel, Barada TV, (related to and funded by Syrian exiles in Europe who founded the Movement for Justice and Development) began broadcasting in April 2009 but has ramped up operations to cover the mass protests in Syria as part of a long-standing campaign to overthrow the country’s autocratic leader, Bashar Al Assad.
Classified U.S. diplomatic cables show that the State Department has funneled as much as $6 million to the group since 2006 to operate the satellite channel and finance other activities inside Syria.
The cables, provided by the anti-secrecy Web site WikiLeaks, show that U.S. Embassy officials in Damascus became worried in 2009 when they learned that Syrian intelligence agents were raising questions about U.S. programs. Some embassy officials suggested that the State Department reconsider its involvement, arguing that it could put the Obama administration’s rapprochement with Damascus at risk. Agencies