WikiLeaks' “Syria Files,” 2.4 million emails purloined from anonymous Syrian government sources, seem destined to have a greater impact on the West than on Syria. The headlines thus far have left a black mark on the U.S.-based Vogue magazine as well as the New York City-based public relations firm Brown Lloyd James.
The PR firm had suggested to the Syrian government an “open hands initiative” approach to the protests already evident in May 2011, and asked that Syrian First Lady Asma al Hasad get involved in the public relations effort. Brown Lloyd James' contract reputedly resulted in the Vogue magazine puff-piece “A Rose in the Desert,” a propaganda photo-shoot and profile that the magazine took off the Web after its propaganda purpose became widely known.
Italian technology conglomerate Selex also found itself in the public opinion crosshairs. The Spanish newspaper Publico reported July 6 that “Italian Selex Communications and its partner Intracom Telecom Greco-Russian installed communications technology for military use” in Syria, especially the TETRA secure communications system that is now likely being used to organize against protesters. Publico also noted that the Italian computer conglomerate helped refine the TETRA system for the Iranian government as well.
When WikiLeaks began releasing its “Syria Files” July 3 (the organization is continuing to release the files in stages), the organization's spokesman boasted that “the Syria files 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.”
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