Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Private Spies: WikiLeaks Outs Stratfor

Today on Radio Ecoshock you will hear about the brave new world of privatization of intelligence services, global corruption, and abuse of media services for propaganda, big corporations, and private gain. This whole program lets you hear what mainstream media fails to deliver. You will hear critical excerpts from a media press conference in London, February 27th, 2012.

We begin with Julian Assange, the Editor in Chief at WikiLeaks, announcing the first batch from a treasure trove of 5 million emails, hacked from the private intelligence agency Stratfor (Strategic Forecasting, Inc.)

Stratfor is based in Texas. It hires senior U.S. intelligence agents, and draws up plans for the American Air Force and Marines. Stratfor publishes a newsletter costing thousands of dollars, with 300,000 subscribers, many of them in governments around the world.


According to the emails, the company also holds private consultations, and undertakes spying operations, even subversion, of public interest and political groups, on behalf of major corporations.

Stratfor was hired by the Coca Cola Company to investigate PETA, People for the Investigation of Animals, in Canada. The soft drinks company was a major sponsor for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, and feared actions against Canada's seal hunt.

As a measure of the compromise of government secrets available to private intelligence companies, Stratfor emails suggest the company would use full access to FBI files on PETA, who have been labeled "terrorists" for the convenience of the massive American pharmaceutical industry.

The company brags about its possession of top secret classified American documents, including information on drone strikes, and materials from Osama Bin Laden's safe house.

We await the investigation and prosecution of Stratfor for these breaches of American law.


Instead, the emails show a close collusion between several government agencies and Stratfor, in a campaign to capture and jail Julian Assange of WikiLeaks.

Stratfor’s Vice-President for Counterterrorism and Corporate Security, Fred Burton, is a former Deputy Chief of the Department of State’s counterterrorism division for the Diplomatic Security Service. WikiLeaks has found a secret email from early 2011 from Burton, saying a sealed indictment against Julian Assange has already been issued by a secret Grand Jury in the United States. In expletive laced emails, Burton plots with others to bankrupt Assange, to have his Australian citizenship revoked, to have Assange extradited to the U.S. for a lengthy prison term, if not for life.

Julian Assange has been held in Britain for more than a year, waiting on a case for extradition to Sweden, on sex charges which even Stratfor employees, according to the released emails, do not believe.


The hackers group Anonymous hacked into the 5 million emails of Stratfor, where security was ridiculously lax. They delivered the whole batch to WikiLeaks, who organized a team of more than 25 world media outlets to analyze the mountains of information. The press conference featured journalists from the U.S., Britain, Italy, Spain, and Lebanon. Also presenting were the media activist group "The Yes Men" and UK charities representing victims of the 1984 Bhopal pesticide horror - all spied on by Stratfor on behalf of the Dow Chemical company, current owners of the still poisonous Bhopal site in India.

You need to understand how corporations and big governments team up against their own citizens, to preserve the rights and profits of the 1 percent.

Before we hear the other activists and journalists, let's get back to the opening remarks by Julian Assange of WikiLeaks speaking at the WikiLeaks press conference titled "The Global Intelligence Files" in London, February 27th. This is Radio Ecoshock.

Leaks of emails from the private intelligence company Stratfor reveal the company spies on activist groups and non-profits, even charities helping medical treatment for victims of corporate accidents.


The Yes Men kicked it off by announcing, on BBC, that Dow Chemical company had finally taken responsibility for helping the victims of the Bhopal disaster, and cleaning up the site.

The world has longed to hear that Dow has done the right thing. Unfortunately, the BBC was taken in yet again by The Yes Men, the media activist group. Stratfor was called in to investigate.

From the WikiLeaks press conference, we hear Mike Bonanno of the media activists "The Yes Men" at You are listening to Radio Ecoshock highlights, lightly edited for radio, from the WikiLeaks press conference in London, February 27th. Many corporate and government relationships became clear that day.


Stratfor claims publicly to be a media group, although you and I never read their publications, unless we can pay thousands of dollars for their newsletter. Inside their own emails however, the top executives make clear their roots as a private spy agency vying for global supremacy.

The difference between a real media outlet, and Stratfor, is explains in a short clip from Stephania, from the Italian news magazine L'espresso.

We find more from Carlos Enrique Bayo of the former Spanish newspaper Publico, now published as web-only.


Then we listen to three activists helping victims of the 1984 and on-going Bhopal chemical disaster in India, as introduced by Mike Bonanno of the Yes Men.

* Colin Toogood from the UK charity "Bhopal Medical Appeal",

* Bhopal survivor Farah Edwards Khan, (her statement on You tube here)and

* UK-based Indra Sinha, author of the Bhopal-based novel "Animal's People."


A reporter asks, are these emails from the private intelligence company Stratfor a danger to national security. In his response, WikiLeaks Editor in Chief Julian Assange gives us all a quick lesson on what the words "national security" have come to mean: "security" for the 1 percent who struggle to maintain their dominance over the rest of society.

We get more classic analysis from Julian Assange, the man Attorney General Eric Holder, the Pentagon, and the CEO of Stratfor hope to jail for life, for his revelations of American emails on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


One plot coming out of the emails, was the arrival at Stratfor of Shea Morenz, who was in 2009 (and perhaps after) a Director at Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs. Morenz and Stratfor CEO George Friedman hatched a plan to spin off the intelligence gathered into an investing company to be called "Stratcap".

The leaked emails indicate Morenz injected around two million dollars into Stratfor, and invested at least four million more into the new investment company. "Stratcap" was to be sold as an independent company - to draw investors - but the internal emails indicated Friedman told his staff Stratcap would be an integral part of Stratfor.

So what? It looks like a plan to intentionally mislead potential investors. And Stratfor would use information which is apparently gathered from its clients, including U.S. Government agencies (read the taxpayer) to make investments for profits. "Stratcap" was to be released in 2012, but that is now in doubt after these emails surfaced.

We also see how a Goldman Sachs employee, or former employee, and Wall Street generally, uses insider information for trading, information not available to the public and other investors.


WikiLeaks just released the first batch of 5 million emails hacked from one of the world's largest private intelligence companies, Stratfor. Expect more revelations in the coming months. Check the live blog at firedoglake by Kevin Gosztola, and of course the WikiLeaks pages (notice the articles on the right hand side of this page, especially the article "Stratfor on the Australian Assange".


During the recorded Question and Answers with the press, Julian Assange compares the way Rupert Murdoch's News of the World handled its spy and bribery scandal (at least they answered questions) to Stratfor's outright denial to explain their behavior.

One of the media partners in the WikiLeaks release is Rolling Stone magazine. Their reporter Michael Hastings found emails and other evidence that the Department of Homeland Security has been monitoring the Occupy Movement. Apparently the DHS wants a report on the impact of Occupy on the financial services sector.

Wait a minute; wasn't the Department of Homeland Security set up to protect all citizens against terrorist attacks? And now it has become yet another domestic spy agency on behalf of the banks and Wall Street?

Watch what you Tweet, because Big Brother, and his dog Stratfor, are spying on you. Michael Hastings reports DHS was following all social media, including Facebook, which no doubts co-operates. Just more fodder for the giant database in the sky of ordinary taxpayers who object to paying off bad debts from banking industry gambling.


Like some journalists in this press conference, some critics find Stratfor's analysis to be misinformed or even a "joke".

In an article called "McStrategy" by David P. Goldman - Stratfor CEO George Friedman's strange predictions are revealed. Friedman says Poland, of all places, will be the new powerhouse of Europe, while an alliance of Turkey and Japan will face-off with the United States. It's all in his book, available as a bonus when you sign up for a newsletter subscription!

Max Fisher, writing in The Atlantic, simply says "Stratfor Is a Joke and So Is WikiLeaks for Taking It Seriously". Well, their analysts may be incompetent, but politicians believe it, and the U.S. Marines let Stratfor do their long-range planning.

As Assange said in our recording: "These organizations because of their secrecy, corruption flourishes within them, but the other thing, and in fact it is the one thing that has really saved the world, is that incompetence also flourishes in the dark."

We wrap up the radio program with a short summary of what Stratfor is, by Julian Assange. There are really three income streams, in a multi-layered organization.


Assange raised a critical question for all of us who read "the news". As international agencies like Reuters began to lose revenues to free distribution on the Net, and their newspaper clients also suffered loses, many are tempted by, or take over by, a profitable business selling information first, or exclusively, to wealthy corporations and governments.

In fact, Reuters merged with the Thompson data empire, which also sells private reports to governments and major corporations. Did that merger taint Reuters as well, Assange asks?

(It's classic Assange analysis, not published anywhere else, as far as I know. Make sure you listen.)

We come to ask: how much of what is known is published?

Are we, the public, always the last to know, and the least informed?

Why do so many public agencies pay so much money, to get information produced at the taxpayer's expense, and supposedly protected by law?

When will those who corrupt government officials, journalists, and insiders - freely taking classified information to sell to the highest bidder - be investigated and charged?

Will the American Congress investigate Stratfor, and establish rules to govern private intelligence agencies - before they govern us?

I'm Alex Smith. Find "The Global Intelligence Files" and support the freedom of Julian Assange, at the web site

Thank you for listening.

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