WikiLeaks publishes security think tank emails

Reuters
February 27, 2012

The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks began publishing on Monday more than five million emails from a U.S.-based global security analysis company that has been likened to a shadow CIA.

The emails, snatched by hackers, could unmask sensitive sources and throw light on the murky world of intelligence-gathering by the company known as Stratfor, which counts Fortune 500 companies among its subscribers.

Stratfor in a statement shortly after midnight EST (0500 GMT) said the release of its stolen emails was an attempt to silence and intimidate it.

It said it would not be cowed under the leadership of George Friedman, Stratfor’s founder and chief executive officer. It said Friedman had not resigned as CEO, contrary to a bogus email circulating on the Internet.

Some of the emails being published “may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies; some may be authentic,” the company statement said.

“We will not validate either. Nor will we explain the thinking that went into them. Having had our property stolen, we will not be victimized twice by submitting to questioning about them,” the statement said.

WikiLeaks did not say how it had acquired access to the vast haul of internal and external correspondence of the Austin, Texas company, formally known as Strategic Forecasting Inc.

Hackers linked to the loosely organized Anonymous hackers group said at the beginning of the year they had stolen the email correspondence of some 100 of the firm’s employees. The group said it planned to publish the data so the public would know the “truth” about Stratfor operations.

Stratfor describes itself as a subscription-based publisher of geopolitical analysis with an intelligence-based approach to gathering information.

WikiLeaks and Anonymous maintain the emails will expose dark secrets about the company. Stratfor said in its statement it had worked hard to build “good sources” in many countries, “as any publisher of global geopolitical analysis would do.”

In December, hackers broke into Stratfor’s data systems and stole a large number of company emails.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Reuters: “Here we have a private intelligence firm, relying on informants from the U.S. government, foreign intelligence agencies with questionable reputations and journalists.”

“What is of grave concern is that the targets of this scrutiny are, among others, activist organizations fighting for a just cause.”

Friedman, the chief executive, said on January 11 the thieves would be hard pressed to find anything significant in the stolen emails.

“God knows what a hundred employees writing endless emails might say that is embarrassing, stupid or subject to misinterpretation. … As they search our emails for signs of a vast conspiracy, they will be disappointed.”

MEDIA PARTNERS

People linked to Anonymous took credit for the data theft. “Congrats on the amazing partnership between #Anonymous and #WikiLeaks to make all 5 million mails public,” AnonSec Tweeted. AnonSec is one of several Twitter accounts used to promote and organize activities associated with Anonymous.

It was not immediately clear what impact the release of the emails might have on Stratfor, its employees, clients and information sources.

Previous releases from WikiLeaks, such as secret video battle footage and thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in 2010 have angered the U.S. government. WikiLeaks’ disclosures also have raised questions about the safety of confidential sources quoted in previously secret documents.

WikiLeaks said it was working with two dozen media organizations worldwide that have access to a database of the Stratfor emails. These include the U.S. newspaper publisher McClatchy Co. (MNI.N).

“We have begun reviewing the emails and will publish as warranted,” McClatchy’s Washington bureau chief, James Asher, told Reuters.

WikiLeaks said its other media partners include L’Espresso and La Repubblica newspapers in Italy, the NDR/ARD state broadcaster in Germany and Russia Reporter.

The group gave a sneak preview of the emails to The Yes Men, an activist group that targets what it views as corporate greed.

The Stratfor emails discuss an elaborate hoax the group staged to criticize Dow Chemical Co’s (DOW.N) handling of the Bhopal chemical disaster in India, according to Andy Bichlbaum, one of The Yes Men.

“What is significant is the picture it helps to paint of the way corporations operate,” Bichlbaum told Reuters. “They operate with complete disregard for rule of law and human decency.”

After Stratfor’s computers were hacked at least twice last December, the credit card details of more than 30,000 subscribers to Stratfor publications were posted on the Internet, including those of former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger and former U.S. vice president Dan Quayle.

The FBI began investigating the matter in December.

Australian-born Assange, 40, is currently under house arrest in Britain and fighting extradition to Sweden for questioning over alleged sex crimes.

(Reporting by Stephen Grey. Additional reporting by Jim Finkle and Jim Wolf; editing by Philippa Fletcher and Todd Eastham)

Stratfor Firm Spied on Occupy Movement

Russia Today
January 29, 2012

Anonymous promised that after hacking the intelligence firm Stratfor, called by some a “shadow CIA,” they’d prove that they were more than just a consulting firm.

Now it looks like the private company worked along with law enforcement in attempting to bring down the Occupy movement.

In some of the latest pieces of correspondence made public, however, information that many had already suspected about the role law enforcement played in infiltrating the Occupy Wall Street movement is brought to light. In an exchange of emails between Stratfor executives that has been published by hackers involved in the matter, employees of the firm go back-and-forth with one another in detail over information that Texas law enforcement supplied the firm after investigating an Austin Occupy meet-up.

In the emails, Stratfor employees discuss intel about the Occupy movement that was supplied to them by a “Texas DPS agent,” or an officer within the ranks of the Lone Star State’s Department of Public Safety. The DPS is a state-wide law enforcement agency that investigates suspicious activity and allegations of terrorism within Texas. The question of why state law enforcement shared that email with a private intelligence firm is open to interpretation, but certainly suggests that attempts to understand and perhaps undermine the local OWS chapter was more than just a minor operation.

According to the documentation, which includes correspondence from late 2011, Stratfor employees discuss both Occupy Austin and the Deep Green Resistance, or DGR. While DGR is not directly affiliated with Occupy Wall Street, it is a similar movement — to a degree — that encourages environmental activism that isn’t present in more mainstream campaigns. In a press release, the DGR attacks both Texas authorities and Strarfor for their newly revealed roles.

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Intelligence Agency Rejects Osama Murder in Pakistan

Stratfor disputes OBL killing in Abbottabad

The Nation
August 22, 2011

Globally recognised intelligence and forecast STRATFOR has rejected the US Central Intelligence Agency claim that the man killed in Abbottabad’s compound by US Naval SEALs was al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. This was one of the reasons the CIA kept Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in dark.

The STRATFOR says: “The possibility that bin Laden was already dead and in terms of his impact on terrorist operations, he effectively was. That does not mean, however, that he was not an important ideological leader or that he was not someone the United States sought to capture or kill for his role in carrying out the most devastating terrorist attack in the US history.”

In its latest intelligence gathering, the STRATFOR claims that aggressive US intelligence collection efforts have come to fruition, as killing of Osama bin Laden was perhaps the top symbolic goal for the CIA and all those involved in the US covert operations. Indeed, President Obama said during his speech on May 1 that upon entering the office, he had personally instructed CIA Director Leon Panetta that killing the al-Qaeda leader was his top priority. The logistical challenges of catching a single wanted individual with Bin Laden level of resources were substantial and while 10 years, the United States was able to accomplish the objective it set out to do in October 2001.

Because of bin Laden’s communications limitations, since October 2001 when he fled Tora Bora after the US invasion of Afghanistan, he has been relegated to a largely symbolic and ideological role in al-Qaeda. Accordingly, he issued audiotapes on a little more than a yearly basis, whereas before 2007 he was able to issue videotapes.
The growing infrequency and decreasing quality of his recorded messages was the most notable when al-Qaeda did not release a message marking the anniversary of 9/11 in September 2010 but later followed up with a tape on January 21, 2011.

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