Osama bin Laden

The Wiki Stratfor Dump


The world seems united behind the idea that Wikileaks hacked dump of Stratfor emails was uninteresting or an embarrassment, and I myself have not spend extended time studying the raw stuff out there. Jack Shafer thinks the emails "underwhelm" and Talking Points Memo thinks the main takeaway is "Stratfor keeps an entertaining glossary of pseudo-militaristic terminology and disparaging nicknames of its intelligence sources and competitors. But beyond that, there haven't been any major revelations from the documents." The Christian Science Monitor says that though

Stratfor says it generates its own intelligence for reports, though it also relies heavily on open-source data collection. I've read dozens of their reports over the years. I've found some wildly speculative, others accurate but banal, and still others intriguing. And while I've found some Stratfor analysis to be flat wrong, and so perhaps harmful if conclusions are taken by policymakers at face value…

Max Fisher at the Atlantic thinks flat out that "Stratfor is a joke" in his headline, "which appears to do little more than combine banal corporate research with media-style freelance researcher arrangements" and in fact has had its rep as superspies illegitimately boosted by Wikileaks' leaks.

Meanwhile, Greg Mills at the Nation has a good collection of mini-bits and links on what's there in the released emails.

I did want to draw attention to a couple of revelations of at least potential interest:

*The Stratfor folk seemed sure that Osama's body was not dumped at sea, as Business Insider reports:

At 5:26 a.m. on May 2, the morning after Barack Obama announced the successful raid on bin Laden's Abbottabad compound, Stratfor CEO George Friedman sent an email with the subject "[alpha] OBL" that said: 

Reportedly, we took the body with us. Thank goodness.

Fred Burton, Stratfor's vice president for intelligence, followed that up at 5:51 a.m. with an email titled "[alpha] Body bound for Dover, DE on CIA plane" that said:

Than [sic] onward to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Bethesda.

At 1:36 p.m. Burton replied to a thread named "Re: OBL's corpse" with the message: 

Body is Dover bound, should be here by now.

That contradicts the official story that bin Laden's body was handled in accordance with Islamic tradition and released into the sea from a U.S. Navy vessel.

*And much more relevant, as Obama gets serious about war with Iran, some Stratfor folk think that there is no more Iranian nuclear threat (though if you read the whole thread, there is much internal debate and doubt on this point):

On 11/7/11 7:54 AM, Benjamin Preisler wrote:

Code: IL701
Publication: for background
Attribution: none
Source Description—Confirmed Israeli Intelligence Agent
Source reliability: Still testing
Item credibility: untested
Source handler: Fred

Source was asked what he thought of reports that the Israelis
were preparing a military offensive against Iran. Response:

I think this is a diversion. The Israelis already destroyed
all the Iranian nuclear infrastructure on the ground weeks
ago. The current "let's bomb Iran" campaign was ordered by the
EU leaders to divert the public attention from their at home
financial problems. It plays also well for the US since
Pakistan, Russia and N. Korea are mentioned in the report. 

The result of this campaign will be massive attacks on Gaza
and strikes on Hezbollah in both Lebanon and Syria.

It is entirely possible and even probable that the superanalysts at Stratfor are speculating beyond the evidence as much as any blogger out there, and that their "confirmed Israeli intelligence agent" is of no reliability or a fiction, but if one grants they might have some reason to know what they are talking about, these are interesting ideas to have in the public record.

NEXT: Sheldon Richman on Oil Sanctions and the Pretense of Knowledge

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  1. That contradicts the official story that bin Laden’s body was handled in accordance with Islamic tradition and released into the sea from a U.S. Navy vessel.


    What we should have done is thrown the naked corpse into a dumpster.

    1. Brilliain’t!

      1. Radioactive waste is a really, really bad thing to have lodged in your vagina, Anonycunt. You’d probably do well to remove it.

        1. Brilliain’t!

          1. You’re Schmoopy!

            1. These pretzels are making me thirsty!

              1. Yadda Yadda.

    2. “You mean that Barack did NOT lovingly wash my cadaver with his own hands [poking his pinkies into my bullet wounds] according to Islamic Law before tossing it to the Indian Ocean sharks?!?!”

    3. It was actually preserved and stuffed and is kept in the White House as a punching bag. Sort of like a stress ball for the President.

    4. I laughed.

  2. The “let’s bomb Iran” campaign was ordered by the EU leaders to divert the public attention from their financial problems

    While our domestic “attack Iran” idea? ….is pretty much the same deal. You really don’t need to be some kind of “intelligence analyst” to figure this shit out.

    the constant pretend-game that Iran is an existential threat to anyone but themselves is actually a boon to BOTH the Western Governments who need to point at ‘external threats’ to head-fake people away from their own domestic incompetence, as well a the Iranians, whose posturing about their role as a underdog defending their people from Western Imperialism is one of the things that keeps the current regime in power. Its mutually beneficial. Eurasia, Oceania.

    1. At least 100,000,000 Americans don’t realize that. Isn’t that fucking sad?

      1. Yawn.

    2. They’ve been pretty dangerous to us.

      1. Shut the fuck up, slaver

  3. Stratfor is just an ingenious CIA black operation set up to make wikileaks look bad.

    1. No, Wikileaks is just an ingenious CIA black operation to make Wikileaks look bad.

    2. I work for government contractors and worked in military intelligence for quite awhile and while I’ve worked with a lot of people who’ve moved through a lot of different companies, I’ve never dealt with or met anyone who ever worked for Stratfor and their name isn’t bandied about as player of any sort. To be honest, they seem more like “Soldier of Fortune” magazine than anything else…a pseudo-expert on military and tactical matters whose primary purpose is to sell a newsletter and get on TV. Doesn’t really surprise me that Wikileaks didn’t find anything interesting.

      1. Yeah, their Glassdoor entry says that they’ve got “16-50” employees and the only review written about them was from an intern, three years ago. Basically, it sounds like Wikileaks hacked a blog.

        1. Are you implying that blogs are not trustworthy sources of news and information?

          1. Dear god… no way! The greatest military analysis on the planet is in fact a blog run by a fat dude in Fresno =


            … and I am not kidding at all. Clausewitz would be impressed.

            1. I too like the War Nerd, and wish that John Dolan would get back to writing as him. They brought the character back for the Libyan conflict, but I’m unsure whether Dolan’s still writing the character, or whether it got fobbed off on some intern. His early stuff is great for its insights in human nature, much more so than anything having to do with military technology.

              1. His name was/is Gary Brecher

                others have posted on his blog, but he is the real McCoy.

      2. I… worked in military intelligence for quite awhile [sic]


        Do me a favor, and unearth me the name of the jackass who came up with ACUPAT.


        I know a few hundred thousand dudes who want to kick their ass.

        Its one thing to be sent to fight stupid, poorly conceived and managed wars, but doing it while dressed like a dipshit just adds insult to injury.

  4. The body WAS thrown into the ocean. The skull on the other hand….

    1. They saved Osama’s brain?

  5. I’d like to see a comprehensive wrong-call tally that would determine once and for all who’s wronger: Stratfor or DEBKAfile?

  6. The Israelis already destroyed
    all the Iranian nuclear infrastructure on the ground weeks

    Citation needed.

  7. That makes a lot of sense dude.


  8. This article has too many grammatical errors. Does not Reason magazine have an editor?

    1. I think the magazine has one.
      The blog appears to be self-edited.

  9. Coming in 2013…


  10. Sounds like a pretty good dump to me! Speaking of dumps, I gotta go take one!


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