Cables confirm genocide committed in Colombia by paramilitary groups. WikiLeaks begins the release of 5 million emails from intelligence company Stratfor. Among the emails are discussions on how Stratfor monitored PETA, Bhopal, and Yes Men activists for multinational corporations Coca Cola and Dow Chemical. Emails also reveal how Stratfor kept tabs on major political figures and events and some of their sources and connections around the world. In particular, Stratfor tracked WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange since the 2010 release of Collateral Murder.
|Colombian paramilitary soldiers. (source)|
In WikiLeaks cache, echo of warnings on Iran: Speculation on whether Israeli air strikes would begin in reaction to Iran’s nuclear enrichment program were well documented in diplomatic cables dating back as far as 2005.
Slaughter in Colombia: Speculation of a genocide involving 200,000 victims in Guatemala was confirmed in WikiLeaks cables to be 257,089 registered victims of the right ring paramilitaries supported by the Colombian military. Violence has been noted to have pushed certain indigenous groups towards extinction.
NATO-Russia Council (NRC) Meets After Georgian-Abkhasian War: Strained relations during a 2009 NRC session were caused by Deputy Secretary of Russia’s National Security Council Vladimir Nazarov after he portrayed NATO as a threat to Russian and international stability, and among other things, claimed that NATO “has armed a regime in Georgia ‘guilty of multiple acts of genocide,’” in a confidential cable.
Sri Lanka – President Rajapaksa influences censors broadcasting company: A 2007 cable reports that Sri Lanka President Rajapaksa managed to influence the Majaraja Broadcasting Company Owner to suppress sensitive topics such as coverage of press conferences critical of the government, human rights violations, and abductions.
Global Intelligence Files^
On the 27th of February, WikiLeaks and over 25 media partners began publishing over 5 million emails dating from July 2004 to December 2011 from the US based “global intelligence” company, Stratfor. The Stratfor emails provide insight into some of the hidden practices private intelligence firms adopt with little or no accountability. Among the revelations are those Stratfor worked for, those whom were targeted and illegal methods that they used. Stratfor had 50,000 clients from either military or government services out of their 860,000 subscribers.
A press conference was held on the 28th of February to publicly introduce the leak. Among those who spoke were activists seeking redress over the Bhopal gas leak and whom were also subject to surveillance by Stratfor, with representatives of the media partners Al-Akhbar, L’Expresso and Público. On the morning before the press conference after the leak, Stratfor issued a statement deploring the theft of its emails and assuring its clients of continued commitment to publishing “industry-leading analysis of international affairs.” The company said that some of the emails could have been modified, and refused to confirm or deny any information within the emails.
Multinational companies pay to investigate activist movements^
The Yes Men and Bhopal Activists^
The GIFiles release includes a number of emails discussing Stratfor’s monitoring of The Yes Men for the Dow Chemical corporation. Most of these emails report public information available to anyone who was paying careful attention to the activists. On the other hand, the Yes Men report that the emails speculated about how the Bhopal issue could expand further to connect with similar activist campaigns such as the one against Chevron in Ecuador. At the press conference, Yes Man Mike Bonanno emphasized how ridiculous it was for Statfor to claim that it was a journalistic agency publishing leading analysis when in fact much of the “analysis” was simple monitoring of public information.
It’s a pity that rather than accept its moral responsibility to compensate gas victims and clear its name, Dow prefers indirect ways – of which its sponsorship of the Olympics is a part – to shore up its public image.
Stratfor emails contain a list of questions from Coca Cola regarding the potential for the animal activist group PETA to disrupt the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. PETA has led protests against Coca Cola for animal testing. Stratfor VP Fred Burton responded to the email thread saying that the FBI had an investigation on PETA and he would look into the issue further.
Stratfor intelligence on major political figures and events^
Stratfor emails track Venezuelan President’s medical conditions: Numerous rumors have been circulating over Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’ surgeries to remove cancerous tumors. Leaked Stratfor emails from December 2011 contain info from an “anti-Chavez” source who said that Cuban doctors predicted the president had two years to live, while Russian doctors said he had one.
Stratfor monitoring Rahul Gandhi: In an attachment from Stratfor emails titled, “MESA Analytical Guidance”, it was instructed that analysts were to “Watch Power politics in Congress party, especially as Rahul Gandhi(son of Sonia Gandhi) is being groomed for a top position.” The email further revealed the depth of tensions between India and China over its border in Arunachal Pradesh and that the Indian military was subject to surveillance by Stratfor.
Bildt wants Sweden to be ‘world power’: A source from the European parliment referred to as SW501 provided Stratfor employees a backround on the Swedish Foreign minister Carl Bildt. One of Carl Bildt’s aspirations was that “Sweden should become the world power.” It was revealed that he had a rocky relationship with the prime minister and was hostile towards Russia, calling Putin a “chetnik.” His frayed relationship with the French Prime Minister was seen as a strategy to “break the German-French stranglehold on the EU.”
WikiLeaks reveals speculations on Turkey in Stratfor emails: According to a Stratfor email involving Stratfor CEO George Friedman, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an planned to “burn bridges with Israel” to form closer ties with the Islamic world. Emre Dogu was noted by the Turkish media to have resigned three months prior to the leak and claimed his role was constrained to commerical lobbying.
WikiLeaks media partner Taraf also reported on Stratfor emails concerning the Mavi Marmara flotilla.
Lashkar-e-Tayiba plot to kill Modi: Stratfor knew before WikiLeaks: A plot to assassinate Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba was known by the staff at Stratfor prior to WikiLeaks’ Cablegate release which brought it to the world’s attention.
US Department of Homeland Security kept tabs on Occupy Wall Street: A five-page document produced by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Infrastructure Protection in October of 2011 assesses the “threats” posed to critical infrastructure and the “potential for violence” from the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Friedman’s views on Greek PM: A Stratfor analyst predicts the diminishing role of George Papandreou as Prime Minister of Greece weeks before his resignation.
The 2008 US Elections: Stratfor emails allege that the voting process was corrupted by members of the Democrats. Subsequently, “the evening of the 2008 federal election, John McCain was urged by his aides to contest the results of the election by seeking a court injunction to prevent the voting results in both Ohio and Pennsylvania from being certified.” McCain did not contest the results, and the article claims that had he done so, there would have been no change in results except for more chaos.
Stratfor’s analyses of Guatemala: WikiLeaks media partner Plaza Publica reports that there are almost 30,000 e-mails between 2004 and 2011 in the GIFiles leak which mention Guatemala. One of the emails written by Jaime Rivera, head of the Latin American Foreign Trade Bank mentions former Guatemalan first lady Sandra Torres and other emails speculated whether Torres was cooperating with those involved with The Zetas. The email also included an analysis of the 14 May 2011 massacre of Guatemalan laborers by Mexico’s Los Zetas cartel.
The death of Osama Bin Laden: WikiLeaks media partner Al Arabiya reports that Osama Bin Laden’s body might have been transported to the Dover Air Force Base to be cremated. The Pentagon denied Osama Bin Laden burial claims within the Stratfor emails. Yet, the practice of cremating the dead from wars was already a practice embedded in United States history. As Jason Ditz from Antiwar.com points out, “It would add yet more intrigue to Dover Air Force Base, already under enormous scrutiny for its mishandling of corpses and disposal of remains at a Virginia landfill.” The plausibility is met with the logic in the email, as Fred Burton adds the logic in the scientific process of burying Osama, “His body is a crime scene and I don’t see the FBI nor DOJ letting that happen.”
Stratfor informants and members^
Bulgarian Presidential Advisor was a Stratfor Informant: In a series of Stratfor emails, former presidential advisor Veni Markovski was an informant for Stratfor between 2008 and 2011. Veni Markovski’s first email was sent from a government address. Referred to by Stratfor as “Vinnie” and later EU105, Markovski met with Stratfor in Texas; the Americans didn’t trust “Vinnie,” however, because they suspected his links to organized crime.
Hamid Gul a complimentry member of Stratfor: The Stratfor emails reveal Hamid Gul, the former Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence chief was given a complimentary Stratfor membership.
The WikiLeaks GiFiles: Central Europe States Warn of ‘Russian Threat’: According to Stratfor sources, Central Europe sees Russia as a threat and hostile towards the unity between US and Russia. “Moreover, no one wants the US and Russia to be friendly. The US needs to quit with this reset nonsense and move forward with a firm military strategy in CE. The CEs want to move against Russia, but can’t do it alone.”
Stratfor’s contempt for US-New Zealand relations: According to New Zealand’s Sunday Star Times, Stratfor emails revealed contempt for New Zealand as Strategically unimportant. Stratfor analyst and US political pundit Peter Zeihan saw little use for Secretary of State Clinton’s visit to the country in 2010.
WikiLeaks partner Al Masry Al Youm reports on emails discussing 2010 through 2011 visits to CANVAS, a Serbian centre for nonviolent action and strategies, where strategies on finding opposition leaders in Venezuela and the ability to incite revolution were noted.
Another article points to an email containing an assesment of the future of Egypt after the Arab Spring.
Russia General Chaika’s reaction to leaked emails: BBC has reported on the reaction of prosecutor General Yuri Chaika after WikiLeaks released the stratfor emails revealing that Chaika gave information to the U.S private intelligence company Stratfor. A spokeswoman for the General has accused WikiLeaks of “destabilising” Russia’s political situation, stating that the publication was a “delirious rant” and an “act of provocation.” She said that an official of Mr Chaika’s stature could not have had any unsanctioned contacts with any foreign organizations since “he is being watched 24 hours a day”.
Stratfor connections to Israel^
Israel is mentioned extensively throughout the Stratfor emails. In an email from November 2011, a source claimed that Israel was not responsible for the explosion at the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps because “The Israelis already destroyed all the Iranian nuclear infrastructure on the ground weeks ago.” According to him it was a strategy from EU leaders to attract attention on Iran instead of the Euro crisis. An intelligence analyst from Stratfor dismissed the story as being absurd. The same email suggested if there were to be a war between Iran and Israel, then Iran, Saudi Arabia and Russia (Israel’s largest military partner) would benefit from the oil hike. According to the same source Israel would be planning a 48 hour attack on Iran that would put an end to the Tehran regime.
In January 2010 suggestions were made that assassinations allegedly done by the Mossad were actually carried out by contractors. This same conversation also reveals Haaretz journalist Yossi Melman was a Stratfor informant.
A Mexican source has tackled the close partnership between Israel and Russia: he explained Georgia had bought drones from Israel but had realised they had been “compromised by the Russians.” He thus explained that Israel had given the data link code for those drones in exchange of the codes for the Iranian drones Tor-M1s.
Stratfor tracked WikiLeaks since 2010^
Among the 5 million Stratfor emails are 4,000 mentioning Wikileaks or its editor-in-chief Julian Assange. Stratfor vice president Fred Burton confirmed in the emails that the US government does indeed have a sealed indictment on Julian Assange. Sydney-based watch officer Chris Farnham gathered intel through close connections to the woman pressing charges against Assange, saying that Sweden’s case has “…absolutely nothing behind it other than prosecutors that are looking to make a name for themselves.”
In addition, the leaks have shown how “…a flimsy intelligence-gathering model can be the basis for generating significant revenue, as long as clients don’t suspect just how poor the information they are getting is.” Despite Stratfor being publically dismissive of Wikileaks, WikiLeaks partner Al Akhbar reports “immense work involved within the firm to comb over and save the cable documents released by WikiLeaks.” In fact, Statfor has paid close attention to WikiLeaks since at least 2010 when Collateral Murder and the Afghan War Diaries were leaked.
Privately, attacks against Assange were venomous: Burton describes Assange as a “terrorist” and “delusion nut” who “needs to be water-boarded” and made to “move from country to country” for the “next 25 years,” and Chris Farnham discusses “revoking Assange’s Australian citizenship and his desire to murder the WikiLeaks Editor in Chief.”
Shortly after the release, Australian senator Scott Ludlam gave a Senate speech on the US campaign to destroy WikiLeaks and discredit Assange, noting that the Stratfor leak contained information backing his claims.