Friday, July 06, 2012

Wikileaks to publish nearly 2.5 million 'Syria Files' emails

If you think they're dead because founder Julian Assange has legal issues, they're not. Wikileaks has begun publishing what it says is over two million emails from Syrian political figures, associated companies and ministries, involving 680 entities or domain names, including the Ministries of Presidential Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Information, Transport and Culture.

The organization is calling its latest treasure trove of data "The Syria Files." The emails date from August 2006 to March 2012.

The email "database" contains 2,434,899 emails, consisting of 678,752 separate email addresses sending to 1,082,447 recipients. Many of the emails are in Russian and / or Arabic.

According to Wikileaks, a number of media outlets are working with it, including Al Akhbar (Lebanon), Al Masry Al Youm (Egypt), ARD (Germany), L’Espresso (Italy), Owni (France) and (Spain), and even the Associated Press (U.S.). Other publications will announce their coverage later, as they near their publication date.

While the material is going to embarrass Syria, it will also embarrass Syria's foes, said Assange, in a statement on the organization's website. "The material is 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."

This is just the latest in a series of disclosures that Wikileaks has made using material provided by anonymous sources. Most recently, Wikileaks posted millions of e-mails related to a "break-in" by the hacker group Anonymous on security think tank Stratfor. They were called “The Global Intelligence Files.” While intended to shed light on the inner workings of the organization, it also exposed some embarrassing emails, in which CEO George Friedman and others used racist terms.

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What that was the last publication by the whistleblower site prior to this one, its highest profile leak would probably be the so-called “Cablegate.” Cablegate began in 2010 when Wikileaks published a number of diplomatic cables related to the Iaq war. U.S. Army soldier Bradley Manning was later arrested and charged with supplying the highly confidential data to Wikileaks.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, meanwhile, is facing extradition from the U.K. to Sweden to face allegations of sex crimes. He has long claimed the charges were trumped up and political in nature, and based on his organization's activities.

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