Independent journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye is still incarcerated for his story on how a US drone strike in Yemen killed civilians, backed up by WikiLeaks cables. Stratfor emails contain extensive discussion of a potential attack on Iran. Other emails discussed the importance of Spain’s 15-M protest leaders. Columbia newspaper El Espectador was a Stratfor source for Colombian news, and was also a former WikiLeaks media partner for Cablegate.
Stratfor Emails: regional conflicts^
Russia, Bulgaria, Poland^
Chaika reports on Medvedev’s meeting with Stanishev and South Stream natural gas pipeline: Stratfor source Yuri Chaika, Prosecutor General of Russia, reported on Russian President Medvedev’s reasons for delaying a meeting with the Bulgarian Prime Minister Stanishev and also discussed the South Stream natural gas pipeline project.
Russia and Bulgaria relations tracked by Stratfor: Stratfor reports on Russia-Bulgaria relations since Prime Minister Boyko Borisov came to power, in particular Russia’s control over Bulgarian affairs. Stratfor analysis Marko Papic concludes that “Borisov’s moves to freeze progress on South Stream [gas pipeline] and the Belene power plant are more likely about rooting out his predecessor’s control of those lucrative projects than about fundamentally moving Bulgaria away from Russia.”
Uprisings and protests^
|Puerta del Sol in Madrid during the 2011 Spanish protests (Source: Fotogracción).|
Stratfor analysts argue over Spain’s 15-M movement: Stratfor emails report on the 2011-2012 protests in Spain, called the 15-M movement, which was noted to have begun “in reaction to Spain’s high youth unemployment (46%!) and dire future prospects for the young.” The analysts argue over the question “Are these protests going to breed the future leaders of Europe?” Analysts argued about whether or not the protests would turn violent or similar to the Arab Spring.
Israel, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan and push for attack on Iran^
Stratfor discussions on Israel-US relations and the possibility of attack on Iran: One 2009 email thread praises Netanyahu as a “man of honor” and questions why Obama chose to address the Israel-Palestine issue so early in his presidency. Another thread discusses the possibility of Israel attacking Iran in light of some strain on US-Israel relations in March 2010. Other emails mention that Iran will attack when their intelligence window closes because Netanyahu doesn’t trust Obama, and the relationship between the two leaders was not good.
Discussing the real reasons behind the push for attack on Iran: Stratfor emails discuss information from their source David Virgil Dafinoiu, the current president of NorAm Intelligence and former IDF military intelligence agent. According to Dafinoiu, media reporting on Israel preparing for a military strike against Iran “were only ‘a diversion’ and [sic] the Israelis ‘already destroyed all the Iranian nuclear infrastructure on the ground weeks ago.’ He added, ‘The current “let’s bomb Iran” campaign was ordered by the EU leaders to divert the public attention from their at home financial problems.’” The emails between the analysts continue with discussion on Israel using proxies and subversive tactics against the Islamic Republic.
Mossad-Saudi Cooperation: One 2007 email said that Cyprus was a “primary transit hub … to assist the Saudi intelligence services with intelligence collection and advice on Iran” for Mossad. Another quoted a source who said that “about 3,000 Syrian troops were executed since mid-March 2011 and a similar number arrested ‘for refusing to open fire on protesters,’” adding that a military coup was “virtually impossible” since Sunnis were not in “ranking positions.”
Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Armenia^
Pakistan ISI did not want Taliban to dominate Afghanistan: A 2011 Stratfor email report on a meeting with Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, former ISI chief, said that Pakistan did not want the Taliban to take control of Afghanistan. Instead, he said, “we want to see a broad-based government that can end the civil war in that country, which has had a disastrous fallout for us. Of course, the Talibs will be a key player in a post-NATO Afghanistan…But that is just an acknowledgment of a reality [rather] than a desire on our part to see Talibs rule Kabul.”
Reaction, Impact, and Followup^
The dangers of reporting the ‘war on terror’: In 2009, news around the globe broke out claiming that Yemen’s air force killed 30 suspected Al-Qaeda members. WikiLeaks cables have since confirmed that Yemen had agreed to take credit for the US drone strike. A year earlier, journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye discovered that the missiles were marked, ‘Made in USA,’ and 14 women and 21 children were among the dead. Abdulelah Shaye’s report led to his incarceration and accusations that he was a member of Al-Qaeda.
Columbia newspaper El Espectador was both a WikiLeaks media partner and a Stratfor source: An interview with Fidel Cano, director of the newspaper El Espectador, includes some discussion on his relationship with WikiLeaks. El Espectador was a WikiLeaks media partner during the Cablegate release, but in the latest GIFiles release, the media organization was found to be included in Stratfor’s list of journalistic sources. Cano said that he thought WikiLeaks was a good source of information, and denied giving Stratfor any information other than current news on Columbia.
Hacking book: how ‘serious’ media consigned WikiLeaks cables to the shadows: A book largely devoted to the phone hacking scandal takes a critical view on how journalists in the mainstream media have utilized Wikileaks cables. Rather than upholding integrity, the reporting successfully “deligitimized Wikileaks” in the public eye and “marginalized public interest.” In the extract, Justin Schlosberg writes, “British officials had assured the US government that they had ‘put measures in place’ to protect US interests during the Iraq war inquiry.”
DHS walking a thin line in involvement with OWS: The Business Insider has obtained emails via FOIA from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and claims that they show the DHS was hesitant about internal reporting on Occupy Wall Street. The article says the 5 page report on OWS leaked through the GIFiles was a “memo was posted to the DHS’s Tripwire intelligence sharing database without being cleared, and was taken down soon after.” One email from the DHS is quoted as saying,
We maintain our longstanding position that DHS should not report on activities when the basis for reporting is political speech. We would also be loath to pass DHS requests for more information on the protests along to the appropriate fusion centers without strong guidance that the vast majority of activities occurring as part of these protests is protected. To do otherwise might give the appearance that DHS is attempting to circumvent existing restrictions, policies, and laws.
Cablegate and the Gitmo Files^
Investigation into torture and deportation of Maher Arar: A 2005 cable from Ottowa discusses the inquiry into circumstances surrounding the 2002 deportation of Syrian-born Canadian citizen Maher Arar from the United States to Syria, where he was allegedly tortured. Canadian officials met with National Security advisor Bill Elliott, who advised the Canadian police, “they cannot let Arar stop them from doing what they need to do — the safety of Canada depends on the ability to share information with its allies, in particular the U.S.”
Cables reveal Venezuela and Cuba ties – What will happen after Chavez?: In light of recent preparation for October elections and speculations about President Chavez’ health, Nikolas Kozloff writes on Venezuela cables which show the close ties that have developed between Venezuela and Cuba in past years. According to cable reports, Cubans have trained Venezuelan intelligence officers, have a large presence in Venezuelan ports, and collaborate extensively in health and legal sectors. Kozloff notes some public concern about the future of the Cuban-Venzeuelan relationship if Chavez does not continue the presidency next year.
IAEA director Amano criticized for Western stance in Iran nuclear reports: Former IAEA officials have raised concerns over the quality of reports on Iran’s nuclear program since the start of Yukiya Amano’s directorship in 2009. Cables from 2009 have shown that Amano had been courting US support before his election and that the US had criticized external relations and policy co-ordination (Expo) officials within the IAEA, “some of whom have not always been helpful to US positions.” Under Amano, the Expo office has been dissolved.
Interview with Ali Hashem, who resigned from Al Jazeera in protest over biased coverage of the Arab Spring: Interviewer Paul Jay from the Real News Network notes that cables also reveal that the US approved of Al Jazeera coverage in line with Qatari foreign policy.
US not furthering their interests in Africa? Don’t be naive: This article discusses the controversial role played by the Kony 2012 video in drawing attention to the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and cites a Stratfor Intelligence Report that suggests that the US “exaggerated the threat posed by the LRA” in order to establish a military presence in Uganda because of the oil reserves recently discovered near Lake Albert. Cables released by Wikileaks reveal how the Ugandan government asked for US assistance with “training and equipping a lake security force” that would “protect Uganda’s oil assets”, and that the US provided intelligence information to the Ugandan military knowing that it might be used in carrying out war crimes.
An Afghan In Guantánamo Sold To US Forces 10 Years Ago: After it was revealed in December that the US government was secretly negotiating with the Taliban on five of the seventeen detainees, little emphasis was made on the remaining twelve. One particular case is Shawali Khan, who has been detained for nine years, but never been charged. The Government counsel relied upon a note allegedly written by Shawali Khan, despite him being illiterate. Upon request to see the alleged note it was then deemed ‘highly classified’. A reference of the note was found in a Department of Defense file from WikiLeaks’ Gitmo Files release.
Corruption Scandal in Burma: The Canadian Connection: American diplomatic cables expose a corruption scandal involving Canadian-owned Ivanhoe Copper Co. Burmese regime crony Tay Za charged a 50 million dollar fee as broker whilst making a profit for the Burmese government by selling 50% of Ivanhoe’s stake to the government-controlled entity the Ministry of Mines, and then at a steep price to a consortium led by Norinco. Ivanhoe consequently made a press release stating,
After acquiring Ivanhoe’s former interest in the Monywa Project, the independent trustee engaged an independent service provider to help the Trust identify potential buyers. Ivanhoe Mines had no involvement in discussions between the Monywa Trust and its service provider with potential purchasers or with the ultimate sale of the interest.