UPDATE – 1:33 PM EST I will be appearing on RT’s “The Alyona Show” at 6:30 PM EST to talk about the release.
UPDATE – 1:30 PM EST James Ball of The Guardian, who left WikiLeaks to work for The Guardian and doesn’t like the whistleblowing organization much at all, appears to be the first journalist to suggest lives have been put at risk by this release.
The emails published to date contain no redactions of information relating to individuals passing information to Stratfor, or anyone else, raising concern for the personal safety of some individuals in the cache.
One email, purportedly from a private security contractor, details an apparent assassination attempt on an individual in Libya, seemingly due to mistaken identity with a member of the country’s transitional council.
The email details the surname of the targeted individual, and even coordinates of his house.
There’s no link to the actual email. The Guardian or James Ball doesn’t post it so we can see it for ourselves. We take Ball at his word that some contractor is now endangered. We accept the insinuation that the contractor is still in his house and thus now possibly at risk of an attack.
UPDATE – 12:23 PM EST Here Sean Noonan, tactical analyst, alleges Palantir is helping to fund Facebook. He notes that Palantir was implicated in release of HBGary emails showing planned disinformation campaign against WikiLeaks.
UPDATE – 12:18 PM EST Stratfor analyst contemplate how to make money off organizations focusing on “leak-proof” network security in aftermath of WikiLeaks releases. (Also, interesting discussion on how the issue isn’t technology that secures a network but the people using the network. It is the people that decide to release classified information, not the systems.)
UPDATE – 12:13 PM EST Now it looks like a few more emails just went up on WikiLeaks’ website. This email features Fred Burton of Stratfor claiming that he knows an Iranian physicist hit was the result of a subbed out contract by the Israeli Mossad.
UPDATE – 11:48 AM EST L’Espresso has posted emails showing that a Stratfor employee claimed to have access to materials seized from Osama bin Laden’s compound in the Seals Team 6 raid. Stratfor apparently began to work to get information on specific operational plans, communications with franchise groups (like AQAP) and connections to anyone with the Pakistani state.
Here is the specific email on Bin Laden arrangements with the Pakistani government.
UPDATE – 11:38 AM EST Ryan Gallagher for The Guardian describes the offshoot or subgroup of Anonymous, AntiSec, and what they have been up to in the past year.
UPDATE – 10:21 AM EST Not surprisingly, Stratfor condemns the email release and also contends the emails being released are not actual Stratfor emails. And, of course, CNN is more than happy to help the seedy private intelligence firm get its message out. In fact, as of this hour, they have provided more reporting on what Stratfor thinks than the actual release itself:
The private intelligence firm Stratfor called the release of 5 million of its e-mails by WikiLeaks a “deplorable, unfortunate and illegal breach of privacy.”
“Some of the e-mails may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies; some may be authentic,” the Texas-based firm said. “We will not validate either. Nor will we explain the thinking that went into them.”
UPDATE – 9:47 AM EST Ynet News, based in Israel, reports on emails involving a source who suggested Israel destroyed all of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. They were helped by Kurdish rebels.
…In case of a direct conflict between Israel and Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia would benefit from an oil price hike. On the other hand, China and Europe would suffer if such an event were to occur…
According to Israel’s plans, claimed the intelligence source, an attack on Iran would last 48 hours but would be so detrimental to the Islamic Republic that it would lead to the collapse of the Tehran government.
UPDATE – 9:35 AM EST At one point, the Thailand Ministry of ICT blocked access to some of the Stratfor emails released. That block may have been lifted now.
UPDATE – 9:22 AM EST Email showing how Stratfor setup a payment-laundering network that went through the Bahamas
UPDATE – 9:05 AM EST Forty or so more emails have been posted on the WikiLeaks website.
UPDATE – 9:00 AM EST Moments ago, WikiLeaks press conference wrapped. Here is a complete video of the conference:
From the conference, Julian Assange states:
Over the last ten years, the private intelligence industry has boomed in the United States and in other countries and is now a real factor in world affairs. But with its growth there has not been commensurate growth in accountability mechanisms that should be investigating and controlling these organizations like the controls that are place—believe it or not there are some—on military and intelligence organizations.
Assange shares this latest discovery: Stratfor was hired by the Coca Cola corporation to monitor and assess PETA activists in relation to the 2009 Vancouver Olympics.
More than 4,000 emails discuss WikiLeaks and its activities. The inter-connection between Stratfor and the US Government has made that a real issue. Assange adds, This is an organization that does not just collect information – through bribes – but also to act on that information to subvert groups like WikiLeaks.
Stratfor setup an international payment-laundering network going through the Bahamas, through Switzerland and through pre-paid credit cards used to pay off its informers in different countries. Stratfor spent more than $100,000/year on costs. The “Geronimo” source was paid $1200/month to be an informant.
UPDATE – 12:19 AM EST Yes Men press release on Stratfor emails that show they were being monitored by the company:
Many of the Bhopal-related emails, addressed from Stratfor to Dow and Union Carbide public relations directors, reveal concern that, in the lead-up to the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster, the Bhopal issue might be expanded into an effective systemic critique of corporate rule, and speculate at length about why this hasn’t yet happened—providing a fascinating window onto what at least some corporate types fear most from activists…
…Just as Wall Street has at times let slip their fear of the Occupy Wall Street movement, these leaks seem to show that corporate power is most afraid of whatever reveals “the larger whole” and “broader issues,” i.e. whatever brings systemic criminal behavior to light. “Systemic critique could lead to policy changes that would challenge corporate power and profits in a really major way,” noted Joseph Huff-Hannon, recently-promoted Director of Policy Analysis for the Yes Lab…
UPDATE – 12:16 AM EST NATO-Russia Council after the Georgia-Abkhazian war (Tip: use Google to translate the page)
UPDATE – 11:28 PM EST Incredibly fascinating email here on source within Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Highlights:
When I used the term “Arab Spring” early on in our conversation, I was reprimanded. “Don’t call it the Arab Spring. We call it ‘The Upheaval’ where I work.” When I tried to explain that we typically scoff at calling it the Arab Spring as well, I was cut off, so that I could hear another lecture about how horrible Arabs were. Israelis aren’t the nicest people most of the time…
…Source openly said that none of this shit would be happening right now had Obama not abandoned Mubarak like he did. When I later criticized Bush for shattering the balance of power in the PG, source shot back, “Well what about Obama?” I said that Obama had maintained the same FP as Bush, a claim with which the source agreed. And yet the source loves Bush’s policies and hates Obama’s. Israelis are not a fan of Barack…
…Part of the reason that the message was confused message imo is because the source openly admits that in the IDI, people have a singular focus on the outside world. Like STRATFOR, they are largely disconnected with domestic politics. So the Syria people identify with Syria, the Hezbollah people will jokingly say stuff like, “I am in Hezbollah” when you ask them their AOR, etc.
- The IDI is very much focused on the Shiite crest ranging from Iran to Lebanon. Iran is the primary threat in the world today. Source was heavily concerned with how Yemen plays into this as well; much moreso than what we talk about. “AQAP is in control of south fucking Yemen, for God’s sake.” Source says they jokingly refer to AQAP as “AQHP” after the HP printer bombs that got seized on those DHL flights a few years back… [emphasis added]
UPDATE – 11:10 PM EST Al Akhbar English on the release of Stratfor emails, covering in particular the Middle East.
UPDATE – 9:14 PM EST Stratfor employees discuss how many billions of dollars Wachovia really laundered from Mexican drug cartels
UPDATE – 8:32 PM EST George Friedman, founder and CEO, on what elites of the world don’t get, in this email sent on February 20, 2010:
…One sense I’m getting here is that the American elite, alongwith Europe’s, China’s and just about everyone but Russia’s his suffering from three problems: First, none are really aware of the political pressures on other elites. Second, they completely misunderstand the alienation of the publics, three, except for [Paul] Volcker, they think this can be handled by the elites among themselves. We have a crisis of the elites, in my view…
UPDATE – 8:20 PM EST Carl Bildt, foreign minister of Sweden, is the subject of this email. He apparently wants Sweden to be a “world power”, doesn’t like Russia or Nicolas Sarkozy. Bildt is alleged to be conspiring against Julian Assange in Sweden and he says Karl Rove is an old friend.
UPDATE – 8:19 PM EST Greg Mitchell of The Nation is going to be live blogging too (I think).
UPDATE – 8:14 PM EST This will help you read the emails. Each one is marked with the following:
SOURCE: The ID of the source, say CN123. Sometimes this is left “no source ID” when it’s a new source.
ATTRIBUTION: How the source is to be attributed, i.e. “Source in the pharma distribution industry in China”, Stratfor source, etc.
SOURCE DESCRIPTION: Describes the source, for example: “Source works with Mercator Pharmaceutical Solutions, distributing pharma to developing countries.” These include concrete details on the source for internal consumption so that there’s a better understanding on the source’s background and ability to make assessments on the ground.
PUBLICATION: Yes or No. If the option is yes it doesn’t mean that it would be published, but rather that it _can_ be published.
SOURCE RELIABILITY: A/B
SOURCE RELIABILITY: A-F, A being the best and F being the worst. This grades the turnaround time of this source in responding to requests.
ITEM CREDIBILITY: 1-10, 1 being the best and 10 being the worst (we may change the range here in the future). this changes a lot based on the info provided. 1 is “you can take this to the bank” and 10 would be an example of maybe – “this is a totally ridiculous rumor but something that is spreading on the ground”
SPECIAL HANDLING: often this is “none” but it may be something like, “if you use this we need to be sure not to mention the part about XXX in the publication” or any other special notes
SOURCE HANDLER: the person who can take follow-up questions and communicate with the source.
UPDATE – 8:11 PM EST WikiLeaks has released 167 emails, which can be viewed here.
UPDATE – 8:00 PM EST Publicio has published an article on the announcement. In it they make an interesting note about the CIA and the emails:
…[T]he CIA in the shade is financed largely with public money from Western countries , because their fees are paid by many ministries and government agencies around the world (although primarily serve the U.S. from his base in Austin, Texas), and also draws on the information we provide them to those who then sells it. A sweet deal emerged from the neoliberal doctrine of outsourcing all utilities (including secrets) and that is to privatize espionage…
WikiLeaks has just announced that it is publishing the “Global Intelligence Files,” over five million emails from the Texas-headquartered “global intelligence company known as Stratfor. The leaks organization describes the emails as documents that show “Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods.”
The organization’s press release explains the emails show 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 apparently show details on the “US government’s attacks against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks,” along with “Stratfor’s own attempt to subvert WikiLeaks.” They also expose the “revolving door that operates in private intelligence companies in the United States,” like, for example, “how Stratfor has recruited a global network of informants who are paid via Swiss banks accounts and pre-paid credit cards.” These informants are government employees, embassy staff members and journalists from all over the world.
They show how Stratfor targeted the “Yes Men” and monitored Bhopal activists for their activism against Dow Chemical, which was responsible for the Dow Chemical/Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, India, in 1984 and caused thousands of deaths, the injury of millions of people and significant environmental damage.
Here is just one of salient example of the corruption WikiLeaks is shining a light on:
“[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.
Beyond that, WikiLeaks uncovered how David Leigh of The Guardian was conspiring with Haaretz journalist Yossi Melman to move US diplomatic cables to Israel in violation of a WikiLeaks contract.
To my knowledge, there are no actual emails on the WikiLeaks website to read yet. There is just this announcement, along with a list of 25 media organizations that have the emails and are working as media partners to cover revelations in the emails over the coming weeks.
Here is the press release from WikiLeaks. To truly understand the significance of this leak of emails—which were given to WikiLeaks by members of Anonymous—the entire press release announcement has to be read.
WikiLeaks has put up tips on how to read the data they are publishing. They link to a guide that people should read to understand the jargon in the emails: Stratfor Glossary of Useful, Baffling and Strange Terms.
I will be live blogging the release of the Stratfor emails. Updates will appear at the top of the post. I will put up a new post at 7:00 pm EST each day (every 24 hours after the announcement).