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27 February 2012, 10:56

Wikileaks begins publishing Stratfor emails

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Wikileaks In the early hours of Monday, Wikileaks began the process of releasing some of the 5 million mails taken in Anonymous's December 2011 hack of Stratfor, an intelligence and analysis company. In the "Global Intelligence Files", Wikileaks says that although the company portrays itself as an intelligence publisher it provides confidential intelligence services to "Dow Chemical, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon" and US government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, US Marines and US Defense Intelligence Agency.

Wikileaks also says there are 4,000 emails that include "privileged information" concerning the US government and its actions regarding Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and the organisation and "Stratfor's own attempts to subvert Wikileaks". None of these 4,000 mails were in the initial dump of 167 emails. Other revelations include that CEO George Friedman was working with Goldman Sachs to create a hedge fund, StratCap, which would exploit Stratfor's intelligence. Goldman Sachs has invested $4 million in the company and took a seat on the Stratfor board in 2011; the fund is due to launch this year.

Stratfor has made a statement saying that "Some of the emails may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies; some may be authentic. 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". Stratfor's statement referred to the "continued leadership of founder and Chief Executive Officer George Friedman", in an apparent response to claims that he was resigning over the release of the emails.

Predominant in the initial dump is, according to Wikileaks, how Stratfor "monitored and analysed the online activities of Bhopal activists, including the 'Yes Men'" for Dow Chemicals. Dow bought Union Carbide, owners of the chemical plant in Bhopal that leaked toxic chemicals in 1984 causing thousands of deaths. In 2004 the "Yes Men", who are known for impersonating corporate spokespeople and web sites, appeared as Dow Chemicals employees claiming Union Carbide would be liquidated and the money used to pay for medical care and environmental clean up. The mails themselves are mostly press clippings and press releases compiled by another company, Allis Information Management. The "Yes Men" are among the 25 media partners of Wikileaks who are assisting the group in the release of the emails.

Wikileaks also claims that Stratfor made "routine use of secret cash bribes to get information from insiders" and that it has recruited a "global network of informants who are paid via Swiss banks accounts and pre-paid credit cards". Mainstream journalists and media organisations also exchanged information with the group, in a relationship that Wikileaks calls "corrupt or corrupting", because "Stratfor is a private intelligence organisation that services governments and private clients".

According to a report in Wired, members of the hacktivist collective Anonymous decided to turn the data that they had acquired during the hack over to Wikileaks because it was better placed to analyse and publish the information. The report says that more of the emails will be published over the next week and a half.


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