02.27.12

WikiLeaks does Stratfor

Posted in Cyberterrorism at 10:01 am by George Smith

Today WikiLeaks published the stolen internal e-mails of the private intelligence firm Stratfor, taken last year by Anonymous.

They are here — along with a preamble pointing out some of the archive’s highlights.

The 2012 archive is the easiest place to start. There’s much to sift, as is the nature of these types of e-mail dumps, and it will take weeks, one assumes, to tease out the most interesting bits.

Initially, among other things, it shows some corporate spying flunky using the Stratfor network to monitor the Yes Men, the well-known activist group of pranksters which has targeted various American multi-nationals. Most notably, Union Carbide/Dow, by famously posing as company officials offering redress to the victims of the lethal industrial accident in India in 1984.

One sees the Yes Men’s public itinerary, its Twitter feed and so on, copied to the representatives of the firms it has embarrassed.

Whoever’s paying for the alleged dirt — well — let’s just say they’re not getting much for their cash money. The e-mail spill makes the firms involved, like Dow, only look more trivially venal and evil than originally thought, if that’s still possible in 2012.

Also on display, an apple-polisher explaining how great it is to be an unpaid intern at Stratfor, this embedded in a longer post on an alliance with Goldman Sachs to use the firm’s insider intelligence “to trade in a range of geopolitical instruments, particularly government bonds, currencies and the like.”

One of the posts detailing it is here.

In the same mail, Stratfor head George Friedman exhorting the faithful with news of the company’s predictions to the US Marine Corps:

We have also been asked to help the United States Marine Corps and other government intelligence organizations to teach them how Stratfor does what it does, and train them in becoming government Stratfors. We are beginning this project by preparing a three-year forecast for the Commandant of the Corps. This is a double honor for us. First, the professional intelligence community is acknowledging us as being the gold standard of intelligence. Second, we are being asked to use our honest and unhedged views to support what is for Stratfor- an American company-its homeland. Again, as with StratCap, there is no tension. We will tell the U.S. government precisely what we tell our readers and we think ourselves. Our first lesson to the government is that intelligence organizations exist to make decision makers uncomfortable, not to make them feel better about their decisions. I didn’t come this far to compromise on that.

I guess it is good to know that Stratfor believes it’s mission in helping secure the homeland somehow is served by collaborating with Goldman Sachs in leveraging insider information as part of the processes the big bankster company achieved a reputation for — shady investment advice/complex financial instruments. Getting into the “Doing God’s work” game, eh?

Two other observations gained from the 2012 archive: (1) Stratfor’s kinda cheap; and (2), being perceived as a spying firm for corporate interests is bad for the reputation.

“I am not the smartest cat in the sandbox, but I showed up as an intern everyday and showed eagerness to learn and to work, and I got rewarded for it,” writes one analyst. “Just don’t want ya’ll to be discouraged by the lack of pay …”

“Our cash position is not spectacular by any means …” reads part of a memo from Stratfor’s George Friedman.

“Intelligence organizations exist to make decision makers uncomfortable,” reads the mail.

While not the US government or Bank of America, today Stratfor’s decision makers were, I suppose one can say, discomfited by WikiLeaks.

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