WikiLeaks publishes hacked Syrian data
WikiLeaks has begun publishing millions of documents linked to the Assad regime in Syria - which is currently engaged in an conflict against civilian protestors and armed combatants.
According to the whistle-blowing website, the more than 2.4 million files were extracted from 680 Syria-related entities or domain names, including those of the Ministries of Presidential Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Information, Transport and Culture.
"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," WikiLeaks spokeswoman Sarah Harrison confirmed in a statement.
"The e-mails 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 founder Julian Assange, who is currently seeking political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, said the published documents will help allow the public to "not merely criticize one group or another," but rather, help them understand the interests, actions and thoughts of all parties involved.
"It is only through understanding this conflict that we can hope to resolve it... [Yes, the documents are] embarrassing to Syria, but also embarrassing to Syria’s opponents," he added.
The above-mentioned documents were obtained by Anonymous hackers who infiltrated the digital perimeter protecting Syrian government networks in February 2012. At least 78 employees in President Bashar Assad's office had their e-mail accounts compromised, including Mansour Azzam, the minister of presidential affairs.
In other WikiLeaks related news, Assange confirmed he will remain at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the foreseeable future where he is currently seeking political asylum. The WikiLeaks founder entered the Ecuadorian embassy in London on June 19 after all attempts to fight extradition to Sweden - where Assange faces charges of sexual assault - failed. Assange, who denies the accusations, is concerned that extradition to Sweden could ultimately lead to his eventual transfer to the United States.
His concerns were echoed last week by a US lobbying group known as "Just Foreign Policy," which sent a formal letter to Ecuador asking the country's prime minister to grant Assange asylum. Its signatories included a number of prominent filmmakers, writers, lawyers and civil rights campaigners - such as Michael Moore, Oliver Stone and Noam Chomsky.
"There is a strong likelihood that once in Sweden, he would be imprisoned and likely extradited to the United States," they wrote. "Were he charged and found guilty under the Espionage Act, Assange could face the death penalty."