The whistleblower website WikiLeaks has announced the release of almost 2.5 million emails derived from 680 Syria-related entities and domain names. They are said to be “embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria’s opponents.”
“It helps us not merely to criticize 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 announcement quotes Julian Assange, who is currently in the Ecuador embassy in London, where he is awaiting a decision on his appeal for political asylum.
The website says the 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.“
The first revelation exposes ties between Italian industrial giant Finmeccanica, which is 30-per cent owned by the government, and Damascus.
Despite the fact that Italy has repeatedly condemned Assad, one of Finmeccanica’s subsidiaries supplied Syria with TETRA, an $50 million interception-proof communications network used by the military and police.
Although the contract was signed in 2008, the latest email details Italian engineers arriving to teach Syrians how to use the system in February this year, as the civil war raged on. Radios equipped with the system were then installed on military vehicles and helicopters.
The information about the contract had not been posted on Finmeccanica’s website alongside their other agreements.
In the end the supposedly secure system did not seem to match its job description – as the leaks report that the US National Security Agency hacked the encryption code and freely intercepted Syrian communications.
UK newspaper Daily Telegraph have contacted Finmeccanica, which says that it will give no statement until it has verified the authenticity of the emails.
There are 2,434,899 documents in the leak involving 678,752 different senders and 1,082,447 different recipients, WikiLeaks says. That’s about eight times the size of “Cablegate” in terms of a number of documents and 100 times the size in terms of data. Cablegate was the release by WikiLeaks of US State Department confidential cable exchanges between American embassies and Washington, which angered the US administration.
The entities exposed include the Syrian Ministries of Presidential Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Information, Transport and Culture, among others.
The texts are in several languages, including around 400,000 emails in Arabic and 68,000 emails in Russian. Around 42,000 emails were infected with viruses or trojans.
Just like previous releases of confidential data, the Syria files will be released in chunks over a period of time. Several news outlets have already received access to the database.