Wikileaks releases 5 million email from Stratford

Late on Sunday night, WikiLeaks began releasing five million emails from Statfor Global Intelligence that they say reveals the inner workings of a corrupt global network of paid informants. The announcement does not reveal the source of the leak, but it’s believed to be related to the hacking of Statfor’s servers by Anonymous/Antisec activists in December. WikiLeaks says it also worked with 25 media organizations who are helping to sift through the data (and honored an embargo not to mention it until last night.)

Stratfor — which has been called a “private CIA” by some — provides intelligence data and analysis to corporations and government agencies. WikiLeaks claims that the emails show that it does that through a network of paid informants, including government employees, diplomats, and journalists who are bribed (and occasionally threatened) to provide confidential information that is then re-packaged and sold to various Stratfor clients. The informants are paid through “Swiss banks accounts and pre-paid credit cards” due to the questionable legality of the way it collects that information.

The release also tries to tie Stratfor with that other monster of global conspiracies, Goldman Sachs. One document suggests that Statfor and a Goldman Sachs employee discussed setting up a investment fund that would “trade in a range of geopolitical instruments” based on Stratfor’s gathered intelligence. Stratfor refused to comment on the leak, saying in a statement, “Having had our property stolen, we will not be victimised twice by submitting to questioning about them.” There were rumors last night that Stratfor CEO George Friedman has resigned, but those appear to be unfounded.

With five million emails to read through, it’s not clear yet what if anything it will reveal about the shadow world international politics. Or if anyone will care. Because the dramatic “reveal” happened just hours before the Oscar telecast began, the news was largely ignored last night. Much like WikiLeaks — its press release contains several paragraphs about attempts to silence the website and its founder, Julian Assange — Stratfor’s own sense of self-importance (and the regard of its enemies) may be highly inflated. The idea of a private company making money off major political movements will not be much of a shock to anyone, and absent the revelation of specific conspiracy or criminal incident (which may still come, but doesn’t appear to be there yet) it seems unlikely to elicit much outrage or official response from authorities.

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3 Responses to Wikileaks releases 5 million email from Stratford

  1. shulquist says:

    One article thoughts…Stratfor did not stop with only providing information to its clients. From the treasure trove of its emails, it is clear that it also did what all intelligence agencies do. It was also monitoring activists who were fighting for the rights of the victims of the Bhopal gas leak, for Dow Chemicals. . At a price, its services were available – from collecting dirt on opponents of its clients to “fixing” them if required. A private dirty tricks agency.
    Wikileaks itself was a target of Stratfor. There are more than 4,000 emails detailing the efforts of the US agencies and Stratfor in attacking Wikileaks and Julian Assange.

    The emails makes it clear that Stratfor was also closely tied up with CIA and Mossad. Both must have found the veneer of “independent analysis” that Stratfor provided as very useful in shaping the public discourse. As Stratfor also gave out free backgrounders on critical issues, a host of people (including me) find it useful as basic information. It is widely used by journalists and analysts all over the world, despite its pro-American stand. What stands out – from a preliminary analysis by Wikileaks – is how close it was to the agencies of the US Government. Wikileaks states,

    Stratfor claims that it operates “without ideology, agenda or national bias”, yet the emails reveal private intelligence staff who align themselves closely with US government policies and channel tips to the Mossad – including through an information mule in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Yossi Melman, who conspired with Guardian journalist David Leigh to secretly, and in violation of WikiLeaks’ contract with the Guardian, move WikiLeaks US diplomatic cables to Israel.

    What is even more disturbing in the Stratfor emails, is how it was modelling itself on the ethics or the lack of it of the intelligence agencies. George Friedman , the head of Stratfor tells Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla in an email on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence informant providing information on the medical condition of the President of Venezuala, Hugo Chavez, “[Y]ou have to take control of him. Control means financial, sexual or psychological control… This is intended to start our conversation on your next phase.”

    When the Anonymous break-in had occurred in December last year , Stratfor had claimed that the list of private clients that had been made public was not of clients for whom it provided intelligence services. Friedman, the Stratfor head had stated.

    Contrary to this assertion the disclosure was merely a list of some of the members that have purchased our publications and does not comprise a list of individuals or entities that have a relationship with Stratfor beyond their purchase of our subscription-based publications.

    It is now clear from the emails that this was deliberate misinformation – Stratfor did have private clients for whom they did considerably more than just supply publications. The size of the payments as visible from its invoices is to the tune of half a million in some cases, easily making these the most expensive publications in history!

    Goldman Sachs had partnered with Stratfor to pioneer a new venture called StratCap, which would use Stratfor’s strategic knowledge for promoting investment funds indeed an innovative instrument for making money. In doing this, it would cross many of the barriers regarding conflict of interest – if it bet on a war to push up prices, how much of this would colour what Stratfor would put out regarding the situation? Would Stratfor be willing to stoke the fires of war in order to make a financial killing as StratCap?

    The private intelligence network of Stratfor was similar to that of any Government intelligence agency – it was based on private informants in governments of countries, companies and journalists. They were paid through slush funds, some of which were illegal based on the US laws. Of course Stratfor was protected by its close contacts with the US agencies.

    Wikileaks is working with 25 news partners including The Hindu to analyse these 5 million Stratfor emails. Once again, the electronic age shows how difficult it is maintain a public façade that is different from a private one. And Wikileaks has once again showed that in spite of being hamstrung by the US agencies stopping PayPal and credit card companies from transferring money, it still continues to fight the good fight.

  2. shulquist says:

    Jeffrey Hammond was indicted for the Strategic Forecasting hack by the FBI on 3/6/2012. Expect him to cough up everything. Others involved and wikileaks contacts.

  3. shulquist says:

    Late yesterday, JEREMY HAMMOND, a/k/a “Anarchaos,” a/k/a “sup_g,” a/k/a “burn,” a/k/a “yohoho,” a/k/a “POW,” a/k/a “tylerknowsthis,” a/k/a “crediblethreat,” who identified himself as a member of AntiSec, was arrested in Chicago, Illinois and charged in a criminal complaint with crimes relating to the December 2011 hack of Strategic Forecasting, Inc. (“Stratfor”), a global intelligence firm in Austin, Texas, which may have affected approximately 860,000 victims. In publicizing the Stratfor hack, members of AntiSec reaffirmed their connection to Anonymous and other related groups, including LulzSec. For example, AntiSec members published a document with links to the stolen Stratfor data titled, “Anonymous Lulzxmas rooting you proud” on a file sharing website.

    The Stratfor Hack

    In December 2011, HAMMOND conspired to hack into computer systems used by Stratfor, a private firm that provides governments and others with independent geopolitical analysis. HAMMOND and his co-conspirators, as members of AntiSec, stole confidential information from those computer systems, including Stratfor employees’ e-mails as well as account information for approximately 860,000 Stratfor subscribers or clients. HAMMOND and his co-conspirators stole credit card information for approximately 60,000 credit card users and used some of the stolen data to make unauthorized charges exceeding $700,000. HAMMOND and his co-conspirators also publicly disclosed some of the confidential information they had stolen.

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