WikiLeaks said Thursday it was publishing over two million emails from Syrian political figures dating back to 2006 but also covering the period of the crackdown on dissent by Syria’s regime.
"Just now... WikiLeaks began publishing the Syria files, more than two million emails from Syrian political figures, ministries and associated companies dating from August 2006 to March 2012," said Sarah Harrison, spokeswoman for the anti-secrecy website.
The latest disclosures could throw fresh light on the workings of the Syrian regime and its interactions with allies in the run-up to and during the current bloody crackdown.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the 16 months of bloodshed in Syria have claimed more than 16,500 lives.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is currently holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London seeking political asylum, said in a written statement: "The material is embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria’s external opponents.
"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."
WikiLeaks said the first files, released on Wednesday, reveal that Italian defence giant Finmeccanica has provided communications equipment to the Syrian regime since the unrest began.
The communications system was provided by Finmeccanica’s subsidiary SELEX Elsag, in claims by WikiLeaks published by Italian magazine L’Espresso.
WikiLeaks’ announcement comes a day after Russia denied having discussed with Washington offering exile to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.
It also comes ahead of a meeting Friday in Paris of the "Friends of Syria" group of countries which support tougher action against Assad’s government.
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.
Harrison said WikiLeaks could not comment on the full contents of the release, which is being organised in collaboration with media partners in countries including the US, Lebanon, Egypt, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
"This is a large data set. It will take time for these stories to come out," she said at a press conference in London announcing the release.
She refused to comment on how WikiLeaks had obtained the emails, telling AFP: "We never comment on our sourcing."
"WikiLeaks held a press conference to announce the Syria Files on July 5, 2012 at the Frontline Club in London. Since Julian Assange is currently at the Ecuadorian Embassy, the presser was given by WikiLeaks staffer Sarah Harrison." (Skip to 5:00 to begin)
Military Says No Presidential Authorization Needed To Quell “Civil Disturbances” 2013 05 17 A recent Department of Defense instruction alters the US code applying to the military’s involvement in domestic law enforcement by allowing US troops to quell “civil disturbances” domestically without any Presidential authorization, greasing the skids for a de facto military coup in America along with the wholesale abolition of Posse Comitatus.
The instruction (embedded at the end of this article), which ...
Ancient Maya Pyramid Destroyed in Belize 2013 05 17 An archaeological group says it plans to take legal action.
Despite its small size, the Caribbean country of Belize is known for a few outstanding characteristics: a spectacular barrier reef, a teeming rain forest, and extensive Maya ruins.
It now has one fewer of those ruins.
A construction company in Belize has been scooping stone out of the major pyramid at the site ...
Ginger: A Warming Herb 2013 05 17
Ginger is an Asian herb that is particularly well known to us in the West. Over time, and with trial and error, its stimulating properties and piquant flavor have been integrated into both our herbal “materia medica” and cuisine.
Brewed as an herbal tea, ginger root is particularly helpful for those people who have underactive stomachs and difficulty producing adequate amounts ...
Australian man dead for 40 minutes revived with new CPR machine 2013 05 17 In an Australian first, doctors have used a new resuscitation technique to revive three patients who were clinically dead for up to an hour.
One of the lucky survivors was Colin Fiedler, 49, who was pronounced dead at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Victoria, after suffering a heart attack, The Herald Sun reported.
Doctors brought Fieldler back to life using a U.S.-made ...
How a pregnancy test for humans caused a wave of global extinctions 2013 05 17
The deadly fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has been wiping out amphibian species across the globe for decades. But how did this global environmental disaster get started? A new study suggests that it came from doctors importing frogs for use in pregnancy tests.
Since the 1980s, amphibian species have experienced a sharp decline in their numbers. Some estimates suggest that 400 or more ...