Geert Lovink on Mon, 27 Feb 2012 11:48:24 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> The Wikileaks Stratfor Case

WikiLeaks mystery press conference Monday 12 noon, Frontline Club,
Paddington, London, 13 Norfolk place W2 1QJ.

WL press release: The Global Intelligence Files

On the 27th of February 2012, Wikileaks released the following statement:

LONDON­ Today, Monday 27 February, WikiLeaks began publishing The
Global Intelligence Files – more than five million emails from the
Texas-headquartered &quot;global intelligence&quot; company Stratfor. The
emails date from between July 2004 and late December 2011. They reveal
the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher,
but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations,
such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman,
Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland
Security, the US Marines and the US Defense Intelligence Agency. The
emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure,
payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods, for example:

"You have to take control of him. Control means financial, sexual
or psychological control... This is intended to start our conversation on
your next phase&quot; – CEO George Friedman to Stratfor analyst Reva
Bhalla on 6 December 2011, on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence
informant providing information on the medical condition of the President
of Venezuala, Hugo Chavez."

The material contains privileged information about the US government’s
attacks against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and Stratfor’s own attempts
to subvert WikiLeaks. There are more than 4,000 emails mentioning
WikiLeaks or Julian Assange. The emails also expose the revolving door
that operates in private intelligence companies in the United States.
Government and diplomatic sources from around the world give Stratfor
advance knowledge of global politics and events in exchange for money.
The Global Intelligence Files exposes how Stratfor has recruited a global
network of informants who are paid via Swiss banks accounts and pre-paid
credit cards. Stratfor has a mix of covert and overt informants, which
includes government employees, embassy staff and journalists around the

The material shows how a private intelligence agency works, and how they
target individuals for their corporate and government clients. For
example, Stratfor monitored and analysed the online activities of Bhopal
activists, including the &quot;Yes Men&quot;, for the US chemical giant
Dow Chemical. The activists seek redress for the 1984 Dow Chemical/Union
Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, India. The disaster led to thousands of
deaths, injuries in more than half a million people, and lasting
environmental damage.

Stratfor has realised that its routine use of secret cash bribes to get
information from insiders is risky. In August 2011, Stratfor CEO George
Friedman confidentially told his employees: "We are retaining a law
firm to create a policy for Stratfor on the Foreign Corrupt Practices
Act. I don’t plan to do the perp walk and I don’t want anyone here doing
it either."

Stratfor’s use of insiders for intelligence soon turned into a
money-making scheme of questionable legality. The emails show that in
2009 then-Goldman Sachs Managing Director Shea Morenz and Stratfor CEO
George Friedman hatched an idea to &quot;utilise the intelligence&quot;
it was pulling in from its insider network to start up a captive
strategic investment fund. CEO George Friedman explained in a
confidential August 2011 document, marked DO NOT SHARE OR DISCUSS:
&quot;What StratCap will do is use our Stratfor’s intelligence and
analysis to trade in a range of geopolitical instruments, particularly
government bonds, currencies and the like&quot;. The emails show that in
2011 Goldman Sach’s Morenz invested &quot;substantially&quot; more than
$4million and joined Stratfor’s board of directors. Throughout 2011, a
complex offshore share structure extending as far as South Africa was
erected, designed to make StratCap appear to be legally independent. But,
confidentially, Friedman told StratFor staff: &quot;Do not think of
StratCap as an outside organisation. It will be integral... It will be
useful to you if, for the sake of convenience, you think of it as another
aspect of Stratfor and Shea as another executive in Stratfor... we are
already working on mock portfolios and trades&quot;. StratCap is due to
launch in 2012.

The Stratfor emails reveal a company that cultivates close ties with US
government agencies and employs former US government staff. It is
preparing the 3-year Forecast for the Commandant of the US Marine Corps,
and it trains US marines and &quot;other government intelligence
agencies&quot; in &quot;becoming government Stratfors&quot;. Stratfor’s
Vice-President for Intelligence, Fred Burton, was formerly a special
agent with the US State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service and was
their Deputy Chief of the counterterrorism division. Despite the
governmental ties, Stratfor and similar companies operate in complete
secrecy with no political oversight or accountability. Stratfor claims
that it operates &quot;without ideology, agenda or national bias&quot;,
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.

Ironically, considering the present circumstances, Stratfor was trying to
get into what it called the leak-focused 'gravy train' that
sprung up after WikiLeaks’ Afghanistan disclosures:

"Is it possible for us to get some of that ’leak-focused’ gravy
train? This is an obvious fear sale, so that’s a good thing. And we have
something to offer that the IT security companies don’t, mainly our focus
on counter-intelligence and surveillance that Fred and Stick know better
than anyone on the planet... Could we develop some ideas and procedures
on the idea of ´leak-focused’ network security that focuses on preventing
one’s own employees from leaking sensitive information... In fact, I’m
not so sure this is an IT problem that requires an IT solution."

Like WikiLeaks’ diplomatic cables, much of the significance of the emails
will be revealed over the coming weeks, as our coalition and the public
search through them and discover connections. Readers will find that
whereas large numbers of Stratfor’s subscribers and clients work in the
US military and intelligence agencies, Stratfor gave a complimentary
membership to the controversial Pakistan general Hamid Gul, former head
of Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service, who, according to US diplomatic
cables, planned an IED attack on international forces in Afghanistan in
2006. Readers will discover Stratfor’s internal email classification
system that codes correspondence according to categories such as ’alpha’,
’tactical’ and ’secure’. The correspondence also contains code names for
people of particular interest such as ’Izzies’ (members of Hezbollah), or
’Adogg’ (Mahmoud Ahmedinejad).

Stratfor did secret deals with dozens of media organisations and
journalists – from Reuters to the Kiev Post. The list of Stratfor’s
'Confederation Partners' whom Stratfor internally referred to
as its 'Confed Fuck House' are included in the release. While
it is acceptable for journalists to swap information or be paid by other
media organisations, because Stratfor is a private intelligence
organisation that services governments and private clients these
relationships are corrupt or corrupting.

WikiLeaks has also obtained Stratfor’s list of informants and, in many
cases, records of its payoffs, including $1,200 a month paid to the
informant 'Geronimo', handled by Stratfor’s Former State
Department agent Fred Burton.

WikiLeaks has built an investigative partnership with more than 25 media
organisations and activists to inform the public about this huge body of
documents. The organisations were provided access to a sophisticated
investigative database developed by WikiLeaks and together with WikiLeaks
are conducting journalistic evaluations of these emails. Important
revelations discovered using this system will appear in the media in the
coming weeks, together with the gradual release of the source documents

Also named are the main press partners working on this release:

- Al Akhbar – Lebanon –
- Al Masry Al Youm – Egypt –
- Bivol – Bulgaria –
- CIPER – Chile –
- Dawn Media – Pakistan –
- L’Espresso – Italy –
- La Repubblica – Italy –
- La Jornada – Mexico –
- La Nacion – Costa Rica –
- Malaysia Today – Malaysia –
- McClatchy – United States –
- Nawaat – Tunisia –
- NDR/ARD – Germany –
- Owni – France –
- Pagina 12 – Argentina –
- Plaza Publica – Guatemala –
- – Spain –
- Rolling Stone – United States –
- Russia Reporter – Russia –
- Ta Nea – Greece –-
- Taraf – Turkey –
- The Hindu – India –
- The Yes Men – Bhopal Activists – Global
- Nicky Hager for NZ Herald – New Zealand –

A  press conference is going to take place at noon at the Frontline Club
in central London.

The first press coverage to be announced appeared on

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