WikiLeaks is back in the news, announcing Thursday that it has begun publishing about 2.4 million emails between Syrian politicians, government ministries and companies dating from 2006. The emails originate from ministries of presidential affairs, finance, foreign affairs and others, and are in several languages, including Arabic and Russian. WikiLeaks is posting the emails to the site in an effort to “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.”
One such email exchange with an Italian company shows the business trying to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Syria, with the company sending engineers and helicopter radio equipment to Syria in February of this year. The very next month, Syria’s military forces mounted their violent crackdown against government protestors and dissenters.
WikiLeaks is a news organization that focuses on the anonymous leaking of secret information and documents. The site famously published almost 250,000 confidential U.S. diplomatic cables, embarrassing several government organizations worldwide. Hundreds of thousands of documents related to America’s conflicts in the Middle East have also been leaked.
Group founder Julian Assange is currently evading British authorities, who are seeking his arrest following two allegations of rape and sexual assault. Assange was been accused of committing these crimes in August of 2010, while visiting Sweden. Assange applied for asylum to Ecuador on June 19, and is currently taking refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. British police issued a notice demanding that Assange turn himself in, but have been ignored.
Some believe that upon his arrest, Assange would be extradited to America to face charges involving the leaks. Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is believed to be the source of many of the U.S. military leaks published by WikiLeaks, was been indicted on 22 charges last year, including “aiding the enemy,” which could carry a capital sentence or life in prison.