WikiLeaks has begun publishing more than 5 million emails from the global consulting firm Stratfor, in a campaign to show what it believes are the intelligence company's secret and shady dealings with its high-ranking private and government clients.
WikiLeaks announced the release of the "Global Intelligence Files" this morning (Feb. 27). In a statement on its site, WikiLeaks said the emails "show Stratfor's web of informers, pay-off structure, payment laundering techniques and psychological methods."
The emails date between July 2004 and December 2010, WikiLeaks said, and show the "inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher but provides 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."
Stratfor planned to "subvert" WikiLeaks
Titles of the data dumps include "Coca Cola Contracting Stratfor to Spy on PETA," "Haaretz Journalist is Stratfor Informant," "Russian sources and other secretes of Stratfor" and "Fred Burton's High Level Informants — Bolivia and Pakistan." (Burton is Stratfor's vice president for intelligence.)
Included in the stolen "Global Intelligence Files" are emails, WikiLeaks claims, that outline plans undertaken by both Stratfor and the U.S. government to attack and subvert WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.
WikiLeaks did not say how it obtained the emails, but it's possible the Anonymous hacking group had a part in it. On Dec. 24, Stratfor first found its way into the crosshairs of the hackers when Anonymous stole what it said were thousands of emails and credit card details from the Austin, Texas-based geopolitical analysis firm, whose clients also include AIG, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Google, the United Nations and all four branches of the U.S. military.
WikiLeaks wants to highlight Stratfor's corruption
Listed among WikiLeaks' 25 partners in publishing Stratfor's internal emails are Rolling Stone and McClatchy Newspapers in the United States, La Repubblica in Italy, The Hindu in India and the Sunday Star-Times in New Zealand.
The emails, WikiLeaks said, will shine a spotlight on Stratfor's corrupt financial schemes, including a plan between former Goldman Sachs managing director Shea Morenz and Stratfor's CEO, George Friedman, to start a shady investment fund, StratCap, with "a complex offshore share structure."
WikiLeaks gave a preview of the leaked Stratfor emails to The Yes Men, an anti-corporate-greed activist group. The Yes Men told Reuters the email the group received outlines an "elaborate hoax Stratfor staged to criticize Dow Chemical Company's handling of the Bhopal chemical disaster in India."
(Considered one of the world's worst industrial catastrophes, the Bhopal disaster occurred Dec. 2, 1984, and caused the death of thousands of people living near the Union Carbide India Limited pesticide plant in Bhopal, India.)
Stratfor will not be bullied
Stratfor replied to WikiLeaks' action in a statement released today. The company called the leak, "a deplorable, unfortunate — and illegal — breach of privacy," and said the emails "may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies; some may be authentic."
"We will not validate either," Stratfor explained. "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."
Stratfor added that, under the leadership of its Friedman, it will "not be silenced and will continue to publish the geopolitical analysis our friends and subscribers have come to rely upon."