Wikileaks Strikes Again, Dumps Hacked Emails from Global Security Firm Stratfor

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Tomorrow morning 25 media organizations across the globe (including Rolling Stone and McClatchy here in America) will publish stories based on a massive cache of emails obtained by Wikileaks. According to a press release on the Wikileaks website, the emails are from the private security firm STRATFOR, which is based in Texas and does contract work for various federal agencies (including the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense) as well as corporate espionage. Here's more from that press release

The emails show Stratfor's web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods, for example:

"[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" – 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 world.

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 "Yes Men", 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 "utilise the intelligence" 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: "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". The emails show that in 2011 Goldman Sach's Morenz invested "substantially" 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: "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". 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 "other government intelligence agencies" in "becoming government Stratfors". 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 "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.

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.

STRATFOR recently made headlines when its servers were hacked by Anonymous

As for the value of the intel: Eamon Javers of ABC News and author of a book on corporate espionage tweets, "This stratfor stuff is incredible. There will be days and days of material out of this email dump by wikileaks." Meanwhile, The Atlantic's international editor Max Fisher tweets, "STRATFOR is a joke and so is wikileaks."

Reason.tv on Wikileaks: 

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    1. Damn joke handles

      1. Wikileaks Strikes Again

        Nobody notices.

  1. I can’t wait for the inevitable arguments that Wikileaks are the bad guys for publishing the goingson of these dirty shitbags.

    1. Dunno, Hugh. No knocks on Wikileaks, but I’m not yet sure that Stratfor is guilty of anything illegal.
      Sleazy, yes, but intel is sleazy. ‘Reading other gentlemens’ mail and all that.

      1. well duh, when you’re in bed with people who define what’s “legal”

        “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.”

        1. np|2.26.12 @ 11:06PM|#
          “well duh, when you’re in bed with people who define what’s “legal””

          Uh, OK. They hired people to advise them. So?
          What would you do if you had questions about whether what you’re doing somehow involves some legal ‘interpretation’?

      2. On a simple Do As You Are Done By Basis…

        The material contains privileged information about the US government’s attacks against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and Stratfor’s own attempts to subvert WikiLeaks.

        says it all. Wikileaks needs no excuse of illegality to be morally justified in striking back.

        It’s a message: “You work against us and we reserve the right to hurt you.” Realpolitik plain and simple.

      3. If they’re paying diplomats and others for confidential, privileged, or secret information, they’re violating the FCPA. If they aren’t reporting the bribes, it’s tax evasion. If they’re doing either of these to further their business interests, it’s a violation of civil and criminal RICO.

        1. They are also in ethics contract violation with their employers

          1. …because i’ve read all those contracts and can speak with authority.

    2. Fuck you, Akston, you worthless fascist piece of shit. Have fun bending over for your heroes in stupid comic book mask. Remember to suck vigorously and always swallow.

  2. Like it or not, the real World of international power Politics is a risky Place. Most of the Players do not play by any set of Rules beyond their own Advantage. ‘Tis not a fit Environ for boy Scouts and others who have a strong Conscience, but we need someone to do this Work that we may continue our blissful Existence unaware of the Deeds that make it possible.

    1. ssshhh, you’ll pop the bubble…..

    2. Your ideas and capitalization are intriguing to me and I’d love to subscribe to your newsletter.

  3. Finally I can get the guys that burned me.

  4. 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.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
    Again, HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    1. WikiLeaks steals information and them complains that somebody stole the information from them? HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

      1. Good catch. I’d like to thank Wikileaks for ending what libertarian cred they should have by stealing from a private company.

        1. A private company that had—acting as a agent of the state—chosen to attack them first.

          That is arguably consistent with the “No initiation” principle.

          1. I’m more or less in agreement with this, but I think Cytoxic makes a good meta-point. Looking at the wording of the first few paragraphs, they try and make Stratfor look like some nightmarish corporate secret police organization like in the Robocop movies (sorry, can’t think of a better example right now). Stratfor may have a network of informants, but I don’t see anything approximating a private security force/paid guns. And the focus on “bribes” I find distasteful – it connotes this idea that people can only engage in legitimate exchange under the “…political oversight or accountability…” that only government can provide.

            That guy from the Atlantic mostly got it right, though I think wikileaks has done a lot of good, despite their inconsistencies.

            1. I find statements like this rather distressing too: “Stratfor did secret deals with dozens of media organisations and journalists ? from Reuters to the Kiev Post.”

              What exactly makes these deals “secret”? Clearly the records for them existed on Stratfor’s computers. Stratfor, being a private, non-publically traded company, surely has the right to maintain client confidentiality, no? The subtext is clear: Private corporation shouldn’t be allowed to do deal with journalists (who of course work for private corporations). Nevermind that foreign journalists use bribes all the time to get good local info.

              1. Poiut gets the point.

              2. Were the deals with newspapers and TV studios, or with individual journalists?

                Because if you’re bribing one of my employees to steal work product, the maxim of your action says I can steal the fucking pants off your ass and the food out of your infant baby’s mouth.

            2. “meta-point?” No such thought, utterance or “meme.”

              Half-wits use pretend words, for thoughts are allusive.

              “Meta-Point.”

        2. I’m not getting what “libertarian cred” is effected by attacking, exposing or criticizing actions by private companies. In a libertarian society, force and fraud would still be illegal, and whistleblowers will still need to exist to expose these actions when they occur.

          Moreover, I’m not sure Wikileaks cares about “libertarian cred”. They seem to be more lefty-anarchist.

        3. Much of what WikiLeaks does actually furthers the cause of liberty. Either you’re for government transparency or you aren’t. WikiLeaks has made it clear that they are for transparency (even if only selective transparency).

          But to argue that WikiLeaks EVER had any libertarian motives or credibility is utter stupidity. Assange is a leftists’ lefty, and could care less about libertarian ideals.

  5. The funny thing is that Stratfor actually believes it has a business model.

    1. No, the funny thing is that people actually did pay them for their low-quality analysis.

  6. But hasn’t stratfor been a scam from day one? What am I missing here?

  7. But hasn’t stratfor been a scam from day one? What am I missing here?

    1. I’m bleeding out of my ass

    1. I’m bleeding out of my ass

    1. I’m bleeding out of my ass

    1. I’m bleeding out of my ass

    1. I’m bleeding out of my ass

    1. I’m bleeding out of my ass

  8. Stratfor has realised that its routine use of secret cash bribes to get information from insiders is risky. … “We are retaining a law firm to create a policy …. I don’t plan to do the perp walk

    Wouldn’t secret cash bribes to get favors from the powers that be less risky?

    1. be be

    2. Much more expensive.

  9. I’ve read and re-read this post and can’t seem to gin up any significant outrage over what Stratfor is doing. Am I missing something?

    1. No.

    2. Eh, I guess it’s just general anger at rent-seekers. This whole “business model” is basically run on tax dollars. I don’t see them as being any worse than any other contractors feathering their nests with shady gov’t deals, but it’s a sad day when that whole thing is considered normal.

      1. Well, Stratfor is all about intelligence, which will be inherently shady, as you’re dealing with other shady people who want to do others harm. I don’t see the immediate rent-seeking bahavior here…not to say it’s not, but I don’t see Stratfor trying to influence legislation for its own benefit.

        OTOH, they’re trading on information they’ve accumulated. As an engineer, I do something very similar. I hope that doesn’t become illegal.

        1. Make that “behavior.”

        2. If they were trying to effect legislation for their own good, you probably wouldn’t know about it (unless a site like Wikileaks exposed it). Of course, they likely already know all the secret doorways into the taxpayer stash, considering their business model. They can just bill the CIA.

      2. Gojira|2.26.12 @ 9:50PM|#
        “Eh, I guess it’s just general anger at rent-seekers.”

        If it were that, I’d be in favor of kicking them. Seems to me more of innuendo that Stratfor is doing things that should offend the dim-wit left, like *making money!*.
        Sorta like wikileaks in general; Assange seems to be a whiny lefty, while exposing everything a lefty government does.
        Hypocrisy in action.

    3. Outrage, no. It is inappropriate as hell as it can compromise legitimate intelligence operations due to the revolving door nature of the business, much like the revolving door between Treasury and Wall Street.

  10. I think i saw this whole thing in an episode of Archer.

  11. The list of Stratfor’s “Confederation Partners”, whom Stratfor internally referred to as its “Confed Fuck House” are included in the release.

    Wait…

    What?

      1. ATF
        Alcohol Tobacco and Fire Arms. Rednecks with a license to kill. Never, ever, ever ask for their help on anything.

        Well, they nailed that part at least.

        1. Holy shit, that’s a truly hilarious document to anyone who grew up reading Tom Clancy and the like.

          CIA Central Intelligence Agency- Also called “Langley”
          or “up river.” Owns human intelligence (directorate
          of operations) and analysis (directorate of
          intelligence). Director, CIA is supposed to oversee
          all of the intelligence community. Isn’t that a joke?
          Imagine the Post Office with a foreign policy.

          Clancy Somebody who has read a lot of Tom Clancy novels and thinks he knows the Craft. Total moron.
          Really dangerous if he is the Customer. Never let a
          Briefer be a Clancy.

          FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation, aka the Downtown Gang.
          Very good a breaking up used car rings. Kind of confused
          on anything more complicated. Fun to jerk with. Not fun
          when they jerk back

          1. That whole document is cracking me up.

            1. Wikileaks is worth keeping around for this gold right here, this is funny as hell.

            2. This dictionary is hilarious. Great snark. Thanks for the link.

              The style’s reminiscent of James Dunnigan‘s stuff.

          2. No kind words for Israeli intelligence…

            1. I thought they seemed rather in awe of their competence.

      2. I wonder how many of those terms are used in Stratfor’s description of what anonymous and wikileaks have just did to them.

  12. Fire up the accountabilitron!!

    Nah just kidding, this is probably more “meh” from assange and co. while he keeps the red meat for himself.

  13. “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”. The emails show that in 2011 Goldman Sach’s Morenz invested “substantially” 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: “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”. StratCap is due to launch in 2012.
    .
    .
    doesn’t this amount to fraud?

    1. Not fraud, but how about trading on “material non-public information” re: the 1933 and ’34 Securities Acts? Plus whatever the equivalent statutes would be in countries other than the U.S.

      1. What’s wrong about trading on non-public information? If you’re not someone with a fiduciary responsibility to your shareholders, I don’t see what’s wrong with it.

        1. except that StratCap would be responsible

          1. It’s not responsible to shareholders of, say, Boeing or Johnson and Johnson, so if it trades on non-public information about them, so?

            1. They’re creating a company to trade on government bonds and other geopolitical instruments, yet they are relying on information that is critical in affecting share price that is not public.

              And it goes beyond insider information, by using secret, privileged information that would not normally be available even to insiders themselves (the execs) had they not bribed other government officials.

              It’s a totally rigged scheme.

  14. A network of bribed informants? Shady pay offs to and from corporations and intelligence agencies? Operaing “in complete secrecy with no political oversight or accountability”? Who do they think they are, the State Department!?

  15. will the collaboration between anonymous and wikileaks serve to strengthen public opinion about either organization?
    http://littlebiggy.org/4631847

  16. 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
    ————————————
    Oh no! Stratfor has some morals instead of being purely profit driven!

  17. Have you heard of “Confed Fuck House”? And No, It Ain’t The Name Of A New Band

    and the text of George Friedman’s leaked resignation letter -oops

    1. I knew I never should have clicked on that link…

      FUCK!

      1. This one may be more to your liking
        http://rctlfy.wordpress.com/20…..rr-uuurrg/

        If you’re patriotic

      2. Each time you click on rather’s rectal links, somewhere a kitten dies.

        Please, save the kittehs.

        1. somewhere a kitten dies.

          Yeah you strangle one with your bare hands until the head pops off in the hope that it will write over the memory of what you just saw on a rather link.

  18. What I find most interesting is that Wikileaks is the devil for releasing information even though few people go to the Wikileaks site. The mainstream media can reprint information obtained from Wikileaks and no one seems to have a problem with that. It is the mainstream news sources that are bringing this information to the masses.

  19. Wikileaks is the devil because it exposed government secrets, Stratfor does the same via its informant network and they are the good guys ?

  20. I can’t believe anyone is defending stratfor here. When the CEO says things like: “You have to take control of him. Control means financial, sexual or psychological control.”, how in any way is that defendable ???

    1. Well I would need to see the quote in it’s original context for a full judgement. But it sounds like he is merely talking about making sure the source is not under any other influence that might compromise the intelligence he gives. When getting information from someone you need to make sure they are not compromised and feeding you bad stuff. The other side can bribe people too. That’s at least how I read it.

      1. Taking a risk assessment isn’t the same thing as taking control.

    1. Meh? Must be an Arfcommer retard. Troll or just another viral/guerrilla marketer? Good Julian. At least some one is keeping tabs on those that can’t be trusted.

  21. Kinda makes you wonder who comes up with all this nonsense!

    http://www.Gone-Anon.tk

  22. Go Wikileaks. Screw those bozos. I do question why they appear to be generally protecting Israel though.

  23. God I love these guys.

  24. Shea Morenz was a good football player in high school.

  25. I guess it’s about time for more Faux News shrieking about how this damages national security and gets all Our Brave Boys killed.

    Not that this leak will do any such thing.

  26. Texas based huh? Must be the new face of Texas. No surprise there.

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