Shadow CIA Document Dump
Anonymous strikes another blow for transparency by revealing that they have hacked into intelligence firm Stratfor (Strategic Forecasting, Inc.) and gained access to thousands of documents. Stratfor has published a daily intelligence briefing since it’s inception in 1996. It’s rise to prominence occurred with the release of its Kosovo Crisis Center during the 1999 NATO air strikes over Kosovo, which led to publicity in Time magazine, Texas Monthly, and other publications. Before the end of 1999, however, Stratfor had introduced a subscription service through which it offered the majority of its analyses. At the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Stratfor made its “breaking news” paragraphs, as well as some notable analyses predicting likely actions to be taken by al-Qaeda and the Bush administration, available freely to the public. Stratfor has some products available to the public including private briefings, corporate memberships, a publishing business that includes written and multimedia analysis and an iPhone application. Stratfor has been cited by media such as CNN, Bloomberg, the Associated Press, Reuters, The New York Times and the BBC as an authority on strategic and tactical intelligence issues. Barron’s once referred to it as “The Shadow CIA.”
Included in these documents are several strategy memos regarding Anonymous and Wikileaks. In December, Anonymous announced they had hacked Stratfor and released the names, emails and credit card numbers of their subscribers. It was reported on December 24, 2011 that members of Anonymous had stolen emails and credit-card data from STRATFOR’s web site. According to the one page that remained at Stratfor’s web site, the “Site is currently undergoing maintenance[:] Please check back soon”. The hackers claimed to have retrieved the company’s client list and used stolen credit card information to make donations to various charities. The hackers claimed to have retrieved over 200 gigabytes of data. The hackers stated that Stratfor was “clueless…when it comes to database security”. The passwords were not encrypted and many of the passwords were simply the name of the company. The failure to encrypt the passwords was called “an embarrassing mistake for a company specializing in security” by Zoe Fox of CNN. The list of the leaked accounts has been made available online for users to check if they are affected. Stratfor advised employees and clients not to publicly state support for their company, fearing additional attacks against those that did so. The group posted two sets of stolen credit card data, one containing 3,956 items and the other with 13,191 items. Next they posted a set of over 30,000 items.
In a statement quoted by Reuters, Stratfor said that some of the e-mails being published “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,” the statement said.
At the London news conference, Mr. Assange said the Stratfor statement seemed to confirm the advice that a senior figure in the company offered in one of the exposed e-mails: “admit nothing, deny everything, make counter-accusations.”
Iran Nuclear Program Already Thwarted?
Officials from the global intelligence company Stratfor allegedly discussed that Israel may have already destroyed the Iranian nuclear facility, according to one of the emails released by Wikileaks Monday. In one of the over five million emails leaked, the conversation centered on Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak praising the news of deadly munitions blasts at a base of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
“I think this is a diversion. The Israelis already destroyed all the Iranian nuclear infrastructure on the ground weeks ago,” one intelligence official wrote in an email dated November 14, 2011. “The current ‘let’s bomb Iran’ campaign was ordered by the EU leaders to divert the public attention from their at home financial problems. It plays also well for the US since Pakistan, Russia and N. Korea are mentioned in the report. ” One other Stratfor official allegedly indicated a similar finding. “Israeli commandos in collaboration with Kurd forces destroyed few underground facilities mainly used for the Iranian defense and nuclear research projects,” he wrote on November 13, 2011. “Even if the Israelis have the capabilities and are ready to attack by air, sea and land, there is no need to attack the nuclear program at this point after the commandos destroyed a significant part of it.”
Again, I would refer you to Stratfor’s statement on the released documents, “[They] may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies; some may be authentic. We will not validate either.”
Did Pakistan’s Government Know Where Bin Laden was?
“Mid to senior level ISI and Pak military with one retired Pak Military General that had knowledge of the OBL (Osama bin laden) arrangements and safe house,” wrote Fred Burton, Stratfor’s vice president for intelligence in an email, leaked by WikiLeaks, to one of his company’s regional director for South Asia soon after the killing of the al-Qaeda chief by the US commandos in a daring operation on May 2 last year in Abbottabad.
According to the Hindustan Times, Burton, who is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on security, terrorists and terrorist organizations, however, did not reveal his source of such an information, but did say that it was coming from his source in Pakistan.
Less than a dozen people within ISI and Pakistan military had information on bin Laden, he writes in the leaked email.
In the leaked email, Burton informs Kamran Bokhari, Stratfor’s regional director for the Middle East and South Asia that the source, however, did not provide him with the names of ISI and Pakistan military officials who had knowledge of this arrangement for Osama bin Laden. At the same time, he asserted that the American intelligence knew about it.
“Names unk (unknown) to me and not provided. Specific ranks unk to me and not provided. But, I get a very clear sense we (US intel) know names and ranks,” Burton wrote in his email dated May 13 using his Blackberry.
However, the Pakistan government has said that the Pakistani establishment had no knowledge of the whereabout of bin Laden or his stay in Abbottabad.
The Times unable to independently verify the authenticity of this leaked email. The Stratfor website does confirm that its system has been compromised and an investigation is on in this regard, for which it has sought the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
Wikileaks alleged that whereas large numbers of Stratfor’s subscribers and clients work in the US military and intelligence agencies, it gave a complimentary membership to the controversial Pakistan general Hamid Gul, former head of Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service, who, according to US diplomatic cables, planned an IED attack on international forces in Afghanistan in 2006.
Burton said he is not sure, if this information was passed on to the Government of Pakistan, quickly adding that if he was in command he would not do so as Pakistan can’t be trusted.
“I also do not know if we have passed this info to the GOP (Government of Pakistan). If I was in command, I would not pass the info to the GOP, because we can’t trust them. I would piece meal the names off and bury in a list of other non-related names for internal ISI traces in a non-alerting fashion, to see what the Pakis tell us. I may also trade one or two names for the captured tail rudder,” he wrote.
Was John McCain Encouraged to Mount A Legal Challenge To Barack Obama’s Presidency?
The Telegraph is reporting that the Republican presidential candidate was reportedly advised by aides to take the dramatic step of seeking an injunction to prevent the results in Ohio and Pennsylvania from being certified, a move that would have plunged the election night into chaos. His campaign staff were said to have believed they had evidence of voter fraud in the two battleground states and could challenge the results in court.
According to an analyst at Stratfor, the political intelligence company whose hacked emails are being published by WikiLeaks, Mr McCain’s staff were still pleading with him to take legal action in the moments before he appeared on stage in Arizona to deliver his concession speech.
The email claims that McCain judged that the scale of Mr Obama’s victory was too great and believed the country would be damaged by a repeat of the contested 2000 election. “McCain felt the crowds assembled in support of Obama and such would be detrimental to our country and it would do our nation no good for this to drag out like last go around, coupled with the possibility of domestic violence,” the analyst wrote in a memo titled “Insight – McCain #5 ** internal use only – Pls do not forward“.
Mr Obama’s camp went into the November election confident of victory but deeply concerned that the Republicans would seek to derail them with legal challenges at individual polling stations and at the state level. They had hired an army of lawyers in preparation for a drawn out court battle.
Even if Mr McCain had successfully challenged Mr Obama’s wins in Pennsylvania and Ohio results, it would not have overturned the scale of the Democrats’ victory but it would have marred the sense of history being made on that night.
The Stratfor analyst wrote that many of the Republican aides “were shocked, but after reflecting upon his decision, thought he put the country first.”
The memo continues in a scathing analysis of the campaign’s “serious errors in tactics” including refusing to allow Sarah Palin, Mr McCain’s surprise pick of running mate, to campaign among Hispanics in Florida who reportedly “loved” her aggressive style.
It also refers to “whispers” that Mr McCain’s campaign had been deliberately undermined by allies of George W Bush and his vice president, Dick Cheney, who believed that the independently-minded senator had been unfairly critical of their administration’s record.
A spokeswoman for Mr McCain did not immediately return a request from The Telegraph for comment.
Did Stratfor Spy On Bhopal Activists For Dow Chemical?
Zee News is reporting that Stratfor spied for the Dow Chemicals on the activists of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy. The e-mails date between July 2004 and late December 2011, WikiLeaks said. “They reveal 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 Defence Intelligence Agency,” WikiLeaks alleged.
Stratfor was not immediately available for its reaction on the allegations by WikiLeaks. But the website of this Texas-based organisation said that it is offering all its contents for free. “I wanted to warn you that individuals continue to send out false communications that appear to be from Stratfor.These spam emails may contain malware and attachments, and may attempt to lead you to websites that look like our own. They may also attempt to convince you to provide your private information,” says Stratfor CEO George Friedman on its website.
The emails posted by WikiLeaks on its website, revealed that Stratfor not only provided to Dow Chemicals and Union Carbide the analysis of the daily developments on the case related to the Bhopal Gas tragedy in Indian courts, but also the activities including activist’s travel plans and schedules.
The Zee News, nor any other media outlet, has been able to confirm the authenticity of these documents.
The correspondence also contains code names for people of particular interest such as ‘Hizzies’ (members of Hezbollah), or ‘Adogg’ (Mahmoud Ahmedinejad), WikiLeaks alleged.
The whistleblower website said that Stratfor did secret deals with dozens of media organisations and journalists. WikiLeaks, claimed, to have also obtained Stratfor’s list of informants and, in many cases, records of its payoffs, including USD 1,200 a month paid to the informant “Geronimo” , handled by Stratfor’s Former State Department agent Fred Burton.
WikiLeaks has built an investigative partnership with more than 25 media organizations, including The Hindu from India. The organizations were provided access to a sophisticated investigative database developed by WikiLeaks and together with WikiLeaks are conducting journalistic evaluations of these emails.
If you’d like to take a look at the emails yourself, Wikileaks has them posted on their website.
Write if you hear something good.