WikiLeaks begins releasing 'embarrassing' Syrian e-mails

9:35 AM, Jul 5, 2012   |    comments
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(USA TODAY) -- The whistleblower website WikiLeaks has begun releasing 2.5 million e-mails from the Syrian government, focusing initially on an Italian company that sold technology to the Syrian police, The Guardian reports.

WikiLeaks plans to release the e-mails in stages through several news organizations over a two-month period.

READ:  The leaked e-mails

"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," says WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to spokeswoman Sarah Harrison. "It is only through understanding this conflict that we can hope to resolve it."

Harrison claims that e-mails show that Selex, a subsidary of the Italian company Finmeccanica, sold technology called Tetra to the Syrian government.

"This technology allows police forces to communicate in a secure and reliable manner. The database demonstrates that selling assistance and training by Selex continued through to this year," she tells reporters today in London.

The e-mails will include messages from the ministries of presidential affairs, finance, information transport and culture, the spokeswoman says.

Assange, who is currently seeking asylum at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, was not at the brief presentation in London. He is wanted by British police for possible extradition to Sweden to face questions about alleged sexual misconduct there.

He has denied wrongdoing but faces arrest if he leaves the embassy.

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