WikiLeaks Begins Publishing Hacked Syrian E-mails


WikiLeaks this week began publishing its Syria Files, containing more than two million e-mails from Syrian political figures, ministries and companies. "The material is embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria’s opponents," WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in a statement. "It helps us not merely to criticise one group or another, but to understand their interests, actions and thoughts. It is only through understanding this conflict that we can hope to resolve it."

"The 2,434,899 emails were gathered from 680 Syrian-related entities and domains, project analyst Sarah Harrison said during a news conference in London," writes PCWorld's Loek Essers. "The correspondence includes information from the Syrian Ministries of Presidential Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Information and Transport and Culture, she said."

"There are over 678,000 different email addresses that have sent emails and over 1,000,000 different recipients," writes Computer Business Review's Tineka Smith. "Over 400,000 emails are in Arabic with 68,000 in Russian. The data, dating from August 2006 to March 2012, is more than eight times the size of 'Cablegate' in the number of documents."

"The first tranche appeared to show that Finmeccanica, an Italian defense giant with extensive interests in the UK, supplied communications equipment and expertise about helicopters to the Syrian regime, even after it had launched a violent crackdown on peaceful protests that began in March 2011," writes The Telegraph's Nick Squires. "The leaked emails were published by L'Espresso, an Italian news magazine and one of WikiLeaks' media partners. They appeared to show that Selex Elsag, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica, was selling radio communications equipment worth 40 million euros to the Syrian police in May 2011 -- the same month that the European Union imposed an embargo on the regime, prohibiting the export of weapons and equipment that could be used for internal repression."

"Over the next two months, 'ground-breaking' stories will surface in various global publications, including WikiLeaks and the Associated Press," writes ITProPortal's Stephanie Mlot. "Lebanese, Egyptian, German, Italian, French, and Spanish periodicals have already signed on, and more will be announced as publishing dates get closer, WikiLeaks said."

"While it remains to be seen what details the so-called Syria files contain, it is undoubtedly a victory for WikiLeaks which has been struggling to remain relevant following a financial embargo against the website and the ongoing legal troubles of its founder," writes The Independent's Jerome Taylor.