WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- Pro-Syria hackers on Monday broke into the Internet recruiting site for the U.S. Marine Corps, posting a message urging U.S. soldiers to refuse orders if Washington decides to attack Syria.
The site, www.marines.com, was paralyzed for several hours and redirected to a seven-sentence message "delivered by SEA," which is short for the Syrian Electronic Army, a hack group that claimed responsibility for disrupting the New York Times, social website Twitter and other media websites.
The hackers also posted six pictures showing people holding hand-written messages, including one that read "I will not fight for Al-Qaeia in Syria," referring to the rebels fighting government troops in Syria.
The SEA appealed to U.S. troops, saying that the Syrian Army is their ally rather than an enemy in fighting the common enemy of terrorism.
U.S. Marine Corps spokesman Eric Flanagan said no information was put at risk in this hacking. The recruiting site is on a commercial network rather than the Pentagon's network.
The U.S. government has decided to launch a limited strike on Syria to punish Damascus for the alleged use of chemical weapons on Aug. 21, which the United States claims killed 1,429 people, including 426 children. But President Barack Obama said he will seek Congressional authorization before going ahead with the military action.
The Obama administration has started a campaign to lobby U.S. Congress to give the green light to the military strike against Syria. The Congress is expected to hold a heated debate and a vote on the authorization of use of force when it returns from summer recess on Sept. 9.
Syrian samples shipped from The Hague to designated labs: UN spokesman
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- The samples collected by UN inspectors from the site of the alleged Aug. 21 chemical weapons attacks in Syria were shipped from The Hague, the Netherlands, Monday and will reach their designated laboratories "within hours, " said a UN spokesman.
"The samples were shipped this afternoon from The Hague and will reach their destination within hours," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said in a note emailed to reporters here. "The designated laboratories are prepared to begin the analyses immediately after receipt of samples." Full story
Assad slams Western claims about Syrian gov't involvement in chemical attack
DAMASCUS, Sept.2 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said if the Western countries have evidence about his administration's involvement in a chemical gas attack, they would have declared it, the state-run SANA news agency reported Monday.
"If the Americans, French or British have evidence about the alleged chemical weapon attack, they would have declared it," the president told the Le Figaro, a French daily newspaper, in a recent interview whose excerpts were carried by SANA. Full story
French intelligence says chemical attack in Syria done by Assad forces
PARIS, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- French intelligence reports indicated that the chemical attack of Aug. 21 in Damascus was conducted by the Syrian government forces.
The nine-page intelligence report, declassified by the French government on Monday, said since April this year, at least three chemical attacks including the one on Aug. 21 taking place in Syria, were staged by the forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Full story
Putinbacks direct talks betweenRussian, U.S. lawmakers over Syria
MOSCOW, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- An initiative to send a delegation ofRussian lawmakers for direct talks with their U.S. colleagues on Syrian problem is timely and correct, President Vladimir Putin said Monday.
"Indeed, in order to better understand each other, there is no other way but a direct and open dialogue with arguments and with the presentation of positions," Putin told the heads of the Parliament's Upper House, or the Federation Council, Valentina Matviyenko and Lower House, or the State Duma, Sergei Naryshkin. Full story
White Housegears up efforts to win Congressional support for Syria strike
WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday invited Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham to the White House to discuss military intervention in Syria as the administration is bracing for Congressional approval of strikes against Bashar al-Assad's government for punishing it for the alleged Aug. 21 use of chemical weapons on its citizens.
After the meeting with Obama, McCain warned against the peril of not backing up the president on an expressed threat to use force. Full story