Daily Israel Report

Syria Accuses Google of Supporting the Revolution

Syrian website claims Google Earth has been changing names of streets in Syria to make them identifiable with the revolution.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 1/8/2012, 4:44 AM

Google headquarters
Google headquarters
Israel news photo

Is Google supporting the revolution in Syria? The answer is yes, according to a report on a Syrian website on Saturday.

The website, Damas Post, said that Google Earth has been replacing some of the street names in the country with names identifiable with the ten-month-old uprising against President Bashar Assad. The report was presented by Channel 10 News on Saturday.

According to Damas Post, which is considered close to the Assad regime, Google Earth changed the name of a bridge in the capital Damascus which was named after former president Hafez al-Assad and is now calling it the Ibrahim Al Qashoush Bridge, after the Syrian singer who wrote a song about the uprising in the country and whose body was later found in a river in the city of Hama.

Another such example, the report said, is a street in Latakia which was renamed March 15 Street, the day the protests against Assad began, instead of March 8 Street, the date when the Syrian Baath party carried out a military coup in 1963.

Damas Post said that these are just two examples of many name changes carried out by Google on its own initiative. The report added that changes have also been made to the names of districts and regions in the country and not just the streets. It raised suspicion that the person behind the controversial move is Egyptian activist Wael Ghonim, who works as an executive for Google.

Ghonim became a symbol of the revolution in Egypt and was even arrested by Egyptian authorities after he criticized the government of former President Hosni Mubarak. Channel 10 News noted that Ghonim was recently attacked by Egyptian media which claimed that he is an agent of the West. According to these reports, Ghonim is trying to spread the agenda of the United States in the Middle East and has been changing translations related to Israel and other Arab countries to fit that agenda.