8:50 PM EST A fine op-ed from Mark Levine on Stratfor:
…Stratfor’s raison d’etre would seem to be to provide a sinecure for out of work or wanna-be spies, intelligence analysts, security officials and “diplomats” who aren’t high enough up the CIA or State Department food chain or respected enough to land the more plumb positions at conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation or Washington Institute for Near East Policy. There are, in fact, thousands of people fitting just this description “hawking” various bits of information for a price to any corporation or arm of the US government willing to pay for it.
The low and mid-level spooks who work at Stratfor ply their trade brusquely and it seems clear, illegally at least part of the time (through bribes and payoffs). But by virtue of their supposed credentials and reputation for being “connected”, they give their clients yet another feedback loop, or echo chamber, through which to pass strategic, corporate or political objectives, which then get recycled, through the production of tailor-made intelligence “analysis” and “reports” to the broader media and public… [emphasis added]
7:25 PM EST The “curse” of the Global Intelligence Files:
The Stratfor e mails stolen by Anonymous were temporarily stored on a server that could be accessed by the FBI, the Guardian reports based on recently released court documents. This raises, amongst others, the question whether these e mails could have been tampered with on route from the Stratfor server to Wikileaks. [emphasis added]
4:05 PM EST This story that Bin Laden’s body was taken to a mortuary in Dover, Delaware, has been gradually gaining traction on the Internet. The emails do not prove that it happened. It just suggests the employees of Stratfor had reason to believe the body was being transported by the CIA.
Now, the Pentagon has officially denied this story that OBL wasn’t buried at sea.
4:00 PM EST Chris Farnham, Stratfor’s man in Australia, commented on the transport of Bin Laden’s corpse:
Bogus pics and bogus news stories of burials at sea.
Makes the US look dodgy and encourages distrust that the whole thing is real…., conspiracy, CIA, Illuminati, etc.
Wonder if it’s just a confluence of events or just a consequence of the internet and the loonies it brings out.
1:35 PM EST The “sealed complaint” against Hammond, person just arrested and accused of hacking Stratfor
1:14 PM EST FBI press release on LulzSec members arrested provides details on the Stratfor hack, which was allegedly committed by Jeremy Hammond, who was living in Chicago, Illinois:
In December 2011, HAMMOND conspired to hack into computer systems used by Stratfor, a private firm that provides governments and others with independent geopolitical analysis. HAMMOND and his co-conspirators, as members of AntiSec, stole confidential information from those computer systems, including Stratfor employees’ e-mails as well as account information for approximately 860,000 Stratfor subscribers or clients. HAMMOND and his co-conspirators stole credit card information for approximately 60,000 credit card users and used some of the stolen data to make unauthorized charges exceeding $700,000. HAMMOND and his co-conspirators also publicly disclosed some of the confidential information they had stolen.
12:51 PM EST Al-Akhbar English, a media partner of WikiLeaks, on Mossad doing business with Saudi Arabia
12:48 PM EST VP of Intelligence Fred Burton’s shares details on a private conversation he had with a congressman on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
Netanyahu told a US Congressman friend in a 1×1 conversation that he will not allow Iran to go nuclear “on his watch in Israel’s back-yard” and he intends to use every means at his disposal to see that doesn’t happen “Mossad, bunker busting bombs, whatever it takes”, if need be.
Netanyahu also said in a sigh of frustration to the Congressman that he doesn’t think Obama understands the threat (“rose colored glasses” was the exact phrase used.)
The private conversation happened in May 2010.
12:34 PM EST From a fairly reliable source in Turkey, insight on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s colon cancer and how Turkey planned to address the issue of the ongoing conflict in Syria.
And, here’s more on Syria from a meeting Reva Bhalla had with USAF people.
12:10 PM EST Stratfor had a CIA source, who assured Fred Burton, VP of intelligence and former member of the State Department, the Obama Administration will not be attacking Iran.
I don’t think they will in the near future, not because they don’t want to, but because Obama doesn’t want them to. Israel has pushed back the date that Iran will have nukes, which takes some of the pressure off. I also don’t think Netanyahu wants to challenge Obama this early in their relationship. He was just here, and I’m sure they talked about it, and I can’t imagine Obama gave him even the hint of a green light. I don’t think Obama would be very pleased with Netanyahu jumping the gun on him. Obama’s Nobel speech was very pointed about using force when threatened, so he has credibility when it comes to using it, but he obviously doesn’t feel it’s the right time for anything but sanctions. He’s a very patient man.
it seems to me that attacking Iran is a big leap up for the Israeli Air Force too. It’s a long flight over countries that won’t look the other way on overflights, and they have only one shot to get it right. They can’t do shock and awe for sustained periods like we can do. The Iranians may be a little better at defense too than the Syrians because they may know the Israelis are coming. I don’t how they would practice for it.
Though this assurance was given in December 2009 so it may not be unmistakable truth years later in March 2012. After all, any credibility Obama gained from winning the Nobel Peace Prize has dissipated. So, that cannot be considered a constraint now (if it ever really was one).
11:30 AM EST A source with somewhat questionable reliability from the “HZ politburo” informed Stratfor that Iran was ready to stage a coup in Syria and was ready to give up on Syrian leader Bashar Assad.
The Iranians feel they need to act on Syria soon because the Turks have their own plans for Syria and are not coordinating with the Iranians. He says the Turks are moving slowly but systematically. Iran does not want to allow Turkey to take over Syria. Whereas the Turks are coordinating with the Brotherhood and the FSA, the Iranians prefer a palace coup in damascus in order to maintain their ties with Asad’s successors. What is delaying action in Syria is the fact that the U.S. has not yet decided on the shape of the post-Asad political system. Nevertheless, he insists that Asad’s regime will fall, although the future of Syria after the regime change remains nebulous.
11:20 AM EST Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla was in a “closed door meeting” with air force colonels from the US, UK and France. Bhalla reported the US Air Force considered the operation in Libya war to be a “dream operation.” Bhalla also noted the “US guys” were “simply not looking at the ‘what’s next.'”
They brush it off as, we’ll get the rebel forces into a mean fighting force, they’ll handle the rest. We took a group of rag tag Afghans who were repressed into nothing and turned them into fighters, why can’t we do it with Libyans. (uhh…) They were amazed at my skepticism.
The Egyptians are on the ground, arming and training the rebels. From their perspective this whole operation is a UK-French-driven campaign. The US was in many ways pushed into it. The resolution was almost completely drafted by the Brits.
From this meeting, there is also evidence that the war was, in fact, all about energy interests:
…The UK guy says UK is driven by energy interests in this campaign. BP post-oil spill is suffering in US< other options are to expand in Siberia (problems with Russia), Vietnam and .. libya. They see a Ghadafi ouster as the best way to meet their energy interests…
11:15 AM EST Member and leader of the hacking group LulzSec, who was known as Sabu on Twitter, apparently provided information to the FBI, which led to the arrest of members of the group. Sabu was reportedly turned by the FBI last June. He became an informant and continued to engage in AntiSec operations.
ComputerWorld reports “those arrested today included a member of the AntiSec hacking group who is believed responsible for the massive intrusion at security think tank Stratfor last December.” Sabu likely played a key role in the Stratfor hack. That would mean the FBI possibly knew Stratfor was going to be ruined in a hacking operation but let Stratfor be sacrificed so the infiltration of LulzSec could continue to produce leads that could be worked.
Additionally, the fact Sabu seems to have continued to engage in hacks makes it seem like the FBI not only is good at creating its own terrorists, which it can eventually capture. The agency is also capable of creating computer criminals to be captured as well.
The story is still developing. The blog will follow throughout the day.
Just over a week ago, WikiLeaks and twenty-five or so media partners began publishing the “Global Intelligence Files,” over five million emails from the Texas-headquartered global intelligence company known as Stratfor. The documents show, according to WikiLeaks, “Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods.”
The emails have shown that Stratfor had an FBI source, who was feeding information to Stratfor about a “sealed indictment” against Julian Assange; Homeland Security produced a report in October of last year on how growing support for the Occupy movement presented a growing threat of violence; a former Goldman Sachs managing director was helping Stratfor to launch a hedge fund that could help the company “trade in a range of geopolitical instruments, particularly government bonds, currencies and the like”; Coca-Cola hired Stratfor to help them monitor PETA activists at the Vancouver Olympics; Dow Chemical hired Stratfor to monitor Bhopal activists and the Yes Men to ensure their profits weren’t hurt by campaigns for justice, since there has been little accountability for the 1984 Union Carbide disaster, which the company is responsible.
Firedoglake has been providing daily coverage of the release of Stratfor emails. Recent days have been slow but there are a number of new emails so today could be different.
The live blog resumes now. Updates will appear at the top.