Wikileaks started publishing the first of "more than five million emails" from Strafor. The company, a "subscription-based provider of geopolitical analysis" by its own description, is (according to Wikileaks) also a provider of "confidential intelligence services" to Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and several governmental agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.Early Monday morning (GMT),
Wikileaks claims – and it's important to note up-front that it's not verified – that it has emails from Stratfor showing "privileged information about the US government's attacks against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and Stratfor's own attempts to subvert WikiLeaks," among other less-than-savory practices:
There are more than 4,000 emails mentioning WikiLeaks or Julian Assange. The emails also expose the revolving door that operates in private intelligence companies in the United States. Government and diplomatic sources from around the world give Stratfor advance knowledge of global politics and events in exchange for money. The Global Intelligence Files exposes how Stratfor has recruited a global network of informants who are paid via Swiss banks accounts and pre-paid credit cards. Stratfor has a mix of covert and overt informants, which includes government employees, embassy staff and journalists around the world.
The material shows how a private intelligence agency works, and how they target individuals for their corporate and government clients. For example, Stratfor monitored and analysed the online activities of Bhopal activists, including the "Yes Men", for the US chemical giant Dow Chemical. The activists seek redress for the 1984 Dow Chemical/Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, India. The disaster led to thousands of deaths, injuries in more than half a million people, and lasting environmental damage.
So far, Wikileaks has only released 167 files. Some of the documents released already include what is supposedly a forwarded email from Fred Burton about "The Dems & Dirty Tricks" following the last presidential election, dated November 7th, 2008. The email, which wouldn't win any awards for political correctness, claims "the black Dems were caught stuffing the ballot boxes in Philly and Ohio as reported the night of the election and Sen. McCain chose not to fight" and goes on to speculate about "sleezy Russian money [funneled] into O-mans coffers. A smoking gun has already been found."
Wikileaks also claims that the emails show that Stratfor was using its intelligence to "start up a captive strategic investment fund" of "questionable legality."
CEO George Friedman explained in a confidential August 2011 document, marked DO NOT SHARE OR DISCUSS: "What StratCap will do is use our Stratfor's intelligence and analysis to trade in a range of geopolitical instruments, particularly government bonds, currencies and the like." The emails show that in 2011 Goldman Sach's Morenz invested "substantially" more than $4 million and joined Stratfor's board of directors. Throughout 2011, a complex offshore share structure extending as far as South Africa was erected, designed to make StratCap appear to be legally independent. But, confidentially, Friedman told StratFor staff: "Do not think of StratCap as an outside organisation. It will be integral... It will be useful to you if, for the sake of convenience, you think of it as another aspect of Stratfor and Shea as another executive in Stratfor... we are already working on mock portfolios and trades". StratCap is due to launch in 2012.
The email in question is titled "Labor Day Review of Where We Are."
There's a lot to dig through already, and there is meant to be a lot more to follow. The group says that it is working with more than 25 media organizations to make the body of documents public. "The organisations were provided access to a sophisticated investigative database developed by WikiLeaks and together with WikiLeaks are conducting journalistic evaluations of these emails. Important revelations discovered using this system will appear in the media in the coming weeks, together with the gradual release of the source documents."
Given that Wikileaks has released fewer than 200 documents out of what it says is more than 5 million, we'll be covering a lot more in the near future.