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Syria Files on Wikileaks
Syria Files on Wikileaks

Syria emails says Italy supported Syria crackdown; WIKILEAKS

(DP-News - agencies)

LONDON- WikiLeaks began Friday publishing more than two million emails from Syrian political figures which could shed light on a crackdown that has killed thousands.

The WikiLeaks data is expected to shed new light on trade and diplomacy between foreign countries and Syria. WikiLeaks unveiled plans to release millions of Syrian government emails that could prove embarrassing to both Syrian officials and their foes, it named several partner news outlets that would soon be doing articles based on the vast trove of messages.

"The material is embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria's external opponents," said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is currently holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London seeking political asylum.



"It helps us not merely to criticise one group or another, but to understand their interests, actions and thoughts," he added in a written statement read out at a press conference in London.

"It is only through understanding this conflict that we can hope to resolve it."



WikiLeaks said the 2,434,899 emails came from Syrian ministries including foreign affairs, finance and presidential affairs. There are around 400,000 emails in Arabic but also 68,000 in Russian.

“The material is embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria’s opponents,” said a statement from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is currently taking refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, trying to avoid extradition to Sweden.

WikiLeaks spokeswoman Sarah Harrison said it could not comment on the full contents of the release.
At a press conference in London to reveal the publication, Harrison refused to say how WikiLeaks had obtained the emails, telling AFP: "We never comment on our sourcing."

The latest disclosures could illuminate the workings of the Syrian regime and its interactions with allies in the run-up to and during the 16-month conflict.



The first wave of emails released yesterday claimed that Italian defence giant Finmeccanica continued to supply support for communications equipment to the Syrian regime after the unrest began in March last year.



The contract to supply the Syrian Wireless Organisation with high-tech radios made by Selex Elsag, a branch of Finmeccanica, dates to 2008, according to the emails published in Italy's Espresso magazine and by Spanish website Publico.

But Selex continued supplying engineers and assistance on the radios until recently, said the publications, two of WikiLeaks' media partners for the project it has dubbed "the Syria Files".


Wikileaks said it is working with media partners Al-Akhbar in Lebanon, Al Masry Al Youm in Egypt, the Associated Press newswire, Espresso in Italy, NDR/ARD in Germany, Owni in France and Publico in Spain. Wikileaks has previously worked with media organisations including the New York Times and Britain's Guardian but these relationships later soured.



Wikileaks added on Twitter that it "covers the political spectrum on #SyriaFiles from AP to Al-Akhbar" and has stressed that the emails will prove a double-edged sword in the Syria debate. Some of the first documents to be released appear to show that an Italian company sold radio equipment to the Syrian police amid European condemnation of the regime, an explosive story run by the Italian newspaper L'Espesso.



"The Syria Files shine a light on the inner workings of the Syrian government and economy, but they also reveal how the West and Western companies say one thing and do another," WikiLeaks said in its announcement Thursday.


In Beirut, Al-Akhbar, which is seen as a supporter of the Damascus government, said it "will work with WikiLeaks over the coming weeks to release a large number of emails detailing the inner workings of Syria's political and business elite".

"It is a sensitive time in Syria and it is important to sort out what is real and what is fabricated," Al-Akhbar's chief editor Ibrahim al-Amin said, according to the newspaper's website.



"One thing is obvious, though, the hypocrisy of global politics has reached a new high when dealing with Syria," Al Amin said in an Al Akhbar article about the WikiLeaks partnership.

The WikiLeaks emails are the latest leaks to shed light on the Syrian government as it tries to fend off an uprising that has lasted more than a year. In March, the Guardian unveiled a cache of emails that appear to have been exchanged by Assad and his inner circle in which Assad makes light of his reforms and his wife drops thousands of dollars on French chandeliers and heels.



WikiLeaks enraged Washington in 2010 by publishing a flood of secret documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as more than 250,000 confidential US diplomatic cables.

Visitors Comments          Number of Comments (1)
1
in time of war, truth is the first to be killed
Stefan            7/8/2012 9:18:51 AM
it's an old saying that at war truth is the first victim, so, who tells us these emails are no fakes creaked by the so called opposition or their funders in Riad, Dohar, Washington, Berlin, Paris, London, Ankara? The Wikileaks methods are not the mothods of investigation but .. what are they? hidden, like spy activities.. Never believe a source you could not proove as true by yourself.
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