WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange (currently inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London) is quoted on the site as saying, “The material is embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria’s 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.”
Western governments have historically supported many of the authoritarian governments subsequently caught up in the Arab Spring, apparently because of the stability and anti-Al Qaida sentiment they have brought to the region. It is only when the people of those countries rose against their governments that the West changed its ‘allegiance’. Many of the emails, dated between 2006 and March 2012, are likely to date from the period of support, and will undoubtedly prove embarrassing for western governments. WikiLeaks claims to be “statistically confident that the vast majority of the data are what they purport to be.”
The first published documents appear to show Italian defense company Finmeccanica selling radio technology to the Syrian government as recently as February 2012 – at a time “when the anti-Assad revolt had turned into a virtual civil war” comments the Telegraph newspaper. The Telegraph also points out that Finmeccanica has 15 factories and offices in the UK, employs 10,000 people, and is run in the UK “by Sir Kevin Tebbit, a former director of GCHQ, the UK's signal intelligence agency, and a former permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence.”
WikiLeaks has not disclosed the source of the leaked documents. All indications, however – and indeed Infosecurity has been told but cannot verify – are that they emanate from Anonymous’ OpSyria campaign.