The Global Intelligence Files - >5 Million Stratfor Emails To Be Released

Discussion in 'Wikileaks' started by strobe, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. Anonymous Member

    WikiLeaks Goes Inside Corporate America's Wannabe CIA

    What do Coke, Goldman, the Marines, and the Knights of Columbus have in common? They all paid Stratfor to act as their own private intelligence agency.

    By Adam Weinstein on Mon. February 27, 2012 1:42 PM PDT

    Coca-Cola asked about stability problems in China in advance of the Beijing Olympics. Northrup Grumman asked—twice—about the possibility of Japan getting nuclear weapons. Intel asked about Hezbollah's presence in Latin America "and their general ability to blow things up." And the owner of the Radisson Hotel chain inquired: "[D]o you have an expected completion date for the Militant Islamist Perception Report we ordered?"

    The 200-plus emails that have been released from WikiLeaks' cache of "Global Intelligence Files"—more than 5 million messages lifted from Stratfor, a private "global intelligence" firm—are a comical mix of breathless geopolitical intrigue and workplace chitchat, equal parts Tom Clancy and Office Space. But the trove also offers insights into the business of corporate intelligence, showing how multinational companies paid Stratfor tens of thousands of dollars to watch global hotspots, cover their competitors, and even monitor pesky activists.

    It was all part of Stratfor's "Global Vantage" plan, a subscription-based program for companies to obtain personalized intelligence briefings. Launched in 2006, the service became an overnight success: Organizations as diverse as Coke, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, the Marine Corps, Duke Energy, and Georgetown University plunked down $20,000 or more a year to get their hands on tailored sensitive information. As Stratfor's leaked master client list shows, major military contractors were well represented, as were Big Oil and agribusiness.

    Internal documents show how Global Vantage helped build the reputation—and the 300,000-strong client list—of Stratfor, a Texas-based private intelligence company. In an email last year, CEO and founder George Friedman told his employees that the CIA saw them as direct competitors: "Everyone in Langley knows that we do things they have never been able to do with a small fraction of their resources. They have always asked how we did it. We can now show them and maybe they can learn." After Osama bin Laden was killed, Stratfor's vice president for intelligence (a former State Department security agent) claimed in an internal email, "I can get access to the materials seized from the OBL safe house."

    WikiLeaks claims that it has more than 5 million Stratfor emails, which members of the hacktivist group Anonymous took from the company's servers late last year. Stratfor has called the theft of its messages "a deplorable, unfortunate—and illegal—breach of privacy." It's also tried to cast doubt on the cache's authenticity, 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."

    Sometimes, the corporate intelligence requests Stratfor received were relatively innocuous, such as when representatives of the Knights of Columbus inquired about their safety before a St. Patrick's Day tour of the Emerald Isle. "Client is interested in a short briefing regarding security in Dublin, Ireland for an upcoming trip for staff members," their Stratfor contact reported. "Security team working on it."

    Multinationals also asked Stratfor to run plumbing operations against perceived anti-corporate enemies. In May 2006, a Stratfor rep named Anya excitedly reported on her conversation with someone from Intel. "Answered client question about activist group, he thanks us, VERY happy with information," she wrote. "Possible opportunity for upsell—talking with Public policy group about more information." The following month, Stratfor sent "activist information on Iraq contractors" to Lincoln Group and Bechtel, two of the biggest private military companies to grab contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Using publicly available information, Stratfor also kept tabs on the Yes Men on behalf of Dow Chemical and Union Carbide, regular targets of the anti-corporate pranksters.

    Few companies seemed as concerned about threats from activists as Archer Daniels Midland, the "Goliath of world food production" Mother Jones once described as equally concerned with "possible price-fixing in Bulgaria" and "influence-peddling in Washington." Shortly after Stratfor started its Global Vantage service, Rich Ryan of ADM's "investigative unit" began to hit them up for intel on political enemies:

    • On July 24, 2006: "Rich called to ask a few more questions about activist campaigns to pass to other business divisions. Watching for more information."
    • Two days later: "Talked with Rich several times about activist campaign against the company."
    • On November 9, 2006: "Received email from Rich regarding some animal rights protesters. Setting up a meeting while he and Mark are in DC next week."
    • Five days later: "Rich came into the office for a brief discussion about animal rights as it relates to their new facilty [sic.] in Decatur. He seems very happy with the service, and happy with our information and assistance."

    (more at the link...)

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