The Syrian Electronic Army emerged soon after the Syrian uprising began in 2011, defacing Facebook pages with pro-Assad messages that ranged from sweet -- "I love Bashar" -- to threatening. Anti-Assad activists said at the time that the group was founded by former intelligence agents and hardcore Assad supporters.
In September 2011, the group defaced Harvard University's website with a picture of Assad, and threatened retaliation against the United States for supporting the uprising. The defacement was signed with this message: "Syrian Electronic Army were here." The group also targeted the websites for Newsweek, Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt, after his partner, Angelina Jolie -- a U.N. special envoy -- visited Syrian refugees in Turkey.
A subsequent hoax tweet said that Angelina Jolie -- after she visited a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan in December 2012 -- had admitted that "Jordan is to blame for the Syrian refugees' atrocious conditions." Links included with the tweets redirected to malicious websites, as the group had done with its CBS Twitter account takeover.
Jolie appears to be an ongoing source of anger for the SEA. "We know the likes of Jolie, who under the 'humanitarian' cover, only serve American imperialism," said the Shadow.
UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie meets with a young Syrian refugee in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.
Photograph courtesy of ©UNHCR/J. Tanner.