29th January 2005
It seemed anonymous was able to back up what it said about its hacking of Stratfor and provided wikileaks with some emails from that business. Stratfor (Strategic Forcasting) is employed by governments, political groups, businesses, and what not to give them analysis and 'forecasts' on potential happenings in the world, which employs a network of analysis as well as informants to provide these reports to clients for the purpose of risk-assessment. There are some interesting things shown so far- though of course this is Stratfor's 'forecast' and not necessarily true. One such thing that stuck out to me is about is Iran, though there are others.
An example of this concerns reports of an intelligence swap between Israel and Russia, where Israel helped the Russians with drone codes of the UAVs it sold to Georgia in return for missile codes form the Russians for missiles sold to Iran. I think it's good to show in that when it comes to foreign policy, it's hardly as easy as everyone taking one side only and sticking with that over some principle- it is much more duplicitous than that.
John Hudson 2,127 Views Mar 1, 2012
Fresh documents released by WikiLeaks raise new questions about the five-day war between Russia and Georgia in 2008. In particular, the role of Israel and its involvement in providing military intelligence to Russia in the run-up to the war.
According to a leaked e-mail from an analyst at the intelligence firm Stratfor, Russia and Israel engaged in a deal in 2008 in which Jerusalem provided the Kremlin with secret codes for Georgian UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) in exchange for information on Iranian missile systems. In the e-mail, a Stratfor analyst says "Israel and Russia made a swap – Israel gave Russia the ‘data link’ code for those specific UAVs; in return, Russia gave Israel the codes for Iran’s Tor-M1s." In 2008, that 'data link' code was allegedly used by the Russians to take down a Georgian drone flying in Georgian air space, a defining moment in the months before the war.
As many have noted, any information gleaned from Stratfor e-mails should be taken with a grain of salt but the swap scenario is certainly plausible. The Russians would've been an ideal source of information for Israel, as Yaakov Lappin at The Jerusalem Post reports, because they sold Iran 29 launch vehicles carrying batteries of surface-to-air missiles in 2005, which make up Iran's Tor-M1 defense system. The source who provided the information to Stratfor is ranked "A," which according to its glossary, is the highest rank, meaning "Someone with intimate knowledge of the particular insight." The particular item of intelligence is ranked '1' meaning "We can take this info to the bank."
The origins of the war between Georgia and Russia remain subject to dispute. Russia maintains it invaded the Georgian enclave South Ossetia in response to Georgia's moves to reclaim the separatist region. Georgia maintains it was responding to assaults on its peacekeepers in the region. In any event, one of the most widely-cited events escalating the conflict was Russia's downing of Georgia's drone in April 2008. Shortly after it happened, Georgia released this video of the attack:
Following the incident, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili blamed Russia for the attack and sent along the video to the BBC. Russians denied the allegations, calling them "nonsense" while rebels in Georgia's other separatist enclave Abkhazia claimed they had taken down the drone. However, as C.J. Chivers writing for The New York Times reported, Georgians identified the craft in the video as an MIG-29 that could've only belonged to Russia. "Neither the Georgian Air Force nor the tiny contingent of Abkhaz planes in the separatist territory have MIG-29s," he wrote. While Russians claimed the plane in the video was an Abkhaz L-39, Chivers wrote "The fighter plane seen in the Georgian video did not resemble an L-39, which has a distinctive silhouette, including a single tail."
In any event, while we, unlike Stratfor, can't take intelligence of the swap "to the bank," it's interesting to envision a scenario where the shadowy world of billateral arms agreements ends up pitting two U.S. allies, Israel and Georgia, against each other. As of today, none of the governments implicated in the leak have commented.
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And the email in question, which also involves Mexico in a way.
Of course we must be cautious over these stories- these are Stratfor's analysis and such they later sell to their clients- it's not always true. An earlier email that was leaked claimed that Israel was already operating on the ground in Iran through Kurdish rebels and other opposition groups to sabotage infrastructure related to the nuclear plants- while this might explain some of the assassinations and attacks on bases there, Iran hasn't announced any such destruction of its nuclear plants and associated infrastructure, which it would surely do in the event of such an attack.
Wikileaks has also said it has found within the emails Stratfor claiming that the US has already made steps to indict Assange:
PRESS RELEASE - STRATFOR EMAILS: US HAS ISSUED SEALED INDICTMENT AGAINST JULIAN ASSANGE
Tuesday 28th February 2012 18:30 GMT
Confidential emails obtained from the US private intelligence firm Stratfor show that the United States Government has had a secret indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for more than 12 months.
Fred Burton, Stratfor’s Vice-President for Counterterrorism and Corporate Security, is a former Deputy Chief of the Department of State’s (DoS) counterterrorism division for the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS).
In early 2011, Burton revealed in internal Stratfor correspondence that a secret Grand Jury had already issued a sealed indictment for Assange: "Not for Pub — We have a sealed indictment on Assange. Pls protect." (375123) According to Burton: "Assange is going to make a nice bride in prison. Screw the terrorist. He’ll be eating cat food forever." (1056988) A few weeks earlier, following Julian Assange’s release from a London jail, where he had been remanded as a result of a Swedish prosecutor’s arrest warrant, Fred Burton told SkyNews: "extradition [to the US is] more and more likely". (373862).
Emails from Fred Burton reveal that the US Government employs the same counterterrorism strategy against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as against Al Qaeda: "Take down the money. Go after his infrastructure. The tools we are using to nail and de-construct Wiki are the same tools used to dismantle and track aQ [Al Qaeda]. Thank Cheney & 43 [former US President George W. Bush]. Big Brother owns his liberal terrorist arse." (1067796)
Ten days after the CIA reportedly assassinated Osama bin Laden, Burton writes in an email sent to Stratfor’s "Secure" mailing list that he "can get access to the materials seized from the OBL [Osama bin Laden] safe house." (1660854)
Burton states: "Ferreting out [Julian Assange’s] confederates is also key. Find out what other disgruntled rogues inside the tent or outside [sic]. Pile on. Move him from country to country to face various charges for the next 25 years. But, seize everything he and his family own, to include every person linked to Wiki." (1056763)
Along with the FBI, the Diplomatic Security Service and the Department of Defense (DoD) form a multi-agency US Government outfit seeking to criminally indict and prosecute WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. According to the Department of State, the DSS handles the investigation of all leads that involve the DoS and assists the DoD in forensic analysis of hard drives seized by the US Government in its ongoing criminal investigation.
Burton also says he "would pursue [c]onspiracy and [p]olitical [t]errorism charges and declassify the death of a source someone which [he] could link to Wiki" (1074383). Burton’s strategy is to: "[b]ankrupt the arsehole first," Burton states, "ruin his life. Give him 7-12 yrs for conspiracy." (1057220)
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said: "For over a year now, the US Attorney General Eric Holder has been conducting a "secret" Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks. This neo-McCarthyist witch hunt against WikiLeaks may be Mr Holder’s defining legacy. Any student of American history knows that secret justice is no justice at all. Justice must be seen to be done. Legitimate authority arises out of the informed consent of the governed, not Eric Holder’s press secretary. Secret Grand Juries with secret indictments are apparently Eric Holder’s preferred method of dealing with publishers who hold his administration to account. Eric Holder has betrayed the legacy of Madison and Jefferson. He should drop the case or resign. Should he continue, however, the Obama administration may not — Democrats and Republicans alike believe in the right to tell the truth."
As early as June 2010, after the release of the Collateral Murder video but prior to the Afghan War Diaries release, the emails talk of a sealed indictment. In an email conversation between Shane Harris, a National Security journalist, and Burton, Harris is surprised that Assange was reporteded to be attending a Las Vegas Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) conference. Burton remarks: "As a foreign national, we could revoke [Julian Assange’s] travel status and deport. Could also be taken into custody as a material witness. We COULD have a sealed indictment and lock him up. Depends upon how far along the military case is" (391504). Julian Assange cancelled his appearance at the IRE conference due to security concerns.
In another email to Stephen Feldhaus, Stratfor legal counsel, about Ronald Kessler, a "pro-FBI journalist", Burton remarks: “I look forward to Manning and Assange facing a bajillion-thousand counts [of espionage]." (1035283)
In July 2010 alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning was moved from Camp Arifjan, Kuwait to the Quantico Brig in the Military District of Washington at the request of Maj. Gen. Terry Wolff, then Commanding General of the 1st Armored Division/US Division – Center in Iraq.
Wolff requested Manning’s move, the Pentagon reported, "due to a potentially lengthy pre-trial confinement because of the complexity of the charges and an ongoing investigation.” Three days before Manning arrived at Quantico Brig, Burton wrote to George Friedman, Stratfor CEO and founder:
“We probably asked the ASIS [Australian Secret Intelligence Service] to monitor Wiki coms and email, after the soldier from Potomac was nabbed. So, it’s reasonable to assume we probably already know who has done it. The delay could be figuring out how to declassify and use the Aussie intel on Wiki... The owner [Julian Assange] is a peacenik. He needs his head dunked in a full toilet bowl at Gitmo.” (402168)
The GI Files: The Global Intelligence Files - List of Releases
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Another article summarizing some of the 'bigger' findings in the Stratfor emails
This week, Wikileaks began publishing the first of some five million hacked emails from the private intelligence firm, Stratfor, which cultivates anonymous sources in governments and business in order to provide intelligence assessments on a variety of matters to paying clients. Many of the emails are mundane and not particularly insightful, while others, if accurate, are more revelatory. Based on my readings of all the emails released thus far, here are the five most interesting:
#5. Sharif Mobley wasn’t in Al Qaeda, despite media claims. The real story here isn’t so much about Mobley himself, but what it says about the American media. American-born Mobley was arrested in Yemen in 2010 in a sweep of suspected Al Qaeda militants by Yemeni authorities. After weeks of interrogation in Yemen by the FBI and U.S. Department of Defense officials, Mobley attempted to escape his indefinite detention and killed a guard. Despite no real evidence that Mobley was connected to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or any other terrorist group, that hasn’t stopped the American press from portraying him as a cautionary tale about the dangers of homegrown terrorism. As this Stratfor email indicates, Mobley “was not part of AQAP,” and the Yemenis “simply picked him up on suspicions.”
Money quote: “Heard from a very reliable source close to the folks who debriefed Mobely that the dude’s a] bat shit crazy; and b] he's going to die here.”
#4. Stratfor and former Goldman Sachs director start investment fund. Stratfor CEO and founder George Friedman and former Goldman Sachs regional director Shea Morenz plan to launch their own investment fund, Stratcap. According to a Friedman email, Morenz has invested $2 million in Stratfor, and “more in Stratcap.” The venture “would allow [Stratfor] to utilize the intelligence we were gathering about the world in a new but related venue — an investment fund. Where we had previously advised other hedge funds. We would now have our own, itself fully funded by Shea.” Specifically, Stratcap will use “Stratfor's intelligence and analysis to trade in a range of geopolitical instruments, particularly government bonds, currency, and the like in the world's emerging markets.” Thus Morenz, a former Texas Longhorns quaterback, provides the capital while Stratfor provides the intelligence, i.e., inside information. Whether this enterprise would be susceptible to insider trading accusations will depend on how exactly Stratcap plans to trade its information and the sources it utilizes.
Money quote: “We have also been asked to help the United States Marine Corps and other government intelligence organizations to teach them how Stratfor does what it does, and train them in becoming government Stratfors.”
#3. Arms dealers Russia and Israel sold out own customers. In the months prior to Georgia’s 2008 war with Russia, the Georgians were scrambling to replace some unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) they bought from Israel that had become compromised. The Russians were able to hack the UAVs and force them down because the Israelis gave Moscow the data links. In exchange, the Russians provided the Israelis with the codes for Iran’s Russian-made Tor-M1 missile launchers. The Georgians tried to buy some UAVs from a Mexican company called Idra, but were turned away because the sale would have caused tension between Mexico and Russia.
The leak also revealed that Turkey has been sharing intelligence with Israel on Russia’s S-300 missile launchers, which they’ve been “cracking” for about eight years, in the event Iran buys them from the Russians.
Money quote: “The Mexican government is now paying some $25m for UAVs from Israel. Idra is basically like WTF, but the reason is basically corruption. There is a deal b/w the Mexican interior ministry and the Israelis where they're getting a hefty kickback.”
#2. U.S. government has sealed indictment on Julian Assange. This January 2011 brief email confirms the suspicion held by some that the Australian founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, has a sealed indictment against him in the United States. For what, the email doesn’t say, but Assange may very well be facing charges under the 1917 Espionage Act. It must be pointed out that nobody in the U.S. has ever been charged with a crime simply for publishing government information that has been leaked to them, as Assange has done. The very existence of this secret indictment would seem to prove Assange's point about the U.S. government's lack of transparency.
#1. Pakistanis knew where bin Laden was. These email exchanges suggest that a number of Pakistani military and intelligence officials knew about Osama bin Laden’s location in Abbottabad, Pakistan: “Mid to senior level [Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence] and Pak[istan] Mil[itary] with one retired Pak[istan] Mil[itary] General that had knowledge of the OBL arrangements and safe house. Names [unknown] to me and not provided. Specific ranks [unknown] to me and not provided. But, I get a very clear sense we (US intel) know names and ranks.”
Money quote: “God knows how many years were wasted chasing the sob in the tribal belt.”
Snipes With Artillery
22nd March 2005
Because if the world needs anything, it's a privatized intelligence agency.
7th December 2003
Stratfor claimed in a recent newsletter that an unknown number of the released e-mails are faked. Smart move, especially as e-mails such as the one about the Israeli-Russian deal seem rather surprising.
29th January 2005
MrFancypants;5617648Stratfor claimed in a recent newsletter that an unknown number of the released e-mails are faked. Smart move, especially as e-mails such as the one about the Israeli-Russian deal seem rather surprising.
I'm not sure how you can fake 3000+ emails, I think that's just them trying to cover their asses from angry clients who expected these kind of inquiries not to become public and make relationships between their corporate clients and government partners awkward. Considering how much you pay for these services, of course they want to say 'oh we didn't get hacked all those emails are fake to make us look bad!'. Yeah.
The problem with these emails is that these guys are getting information off their 'contacts' and other sources, so their verifiability can not be vouched for beyond the tags Stratfor ranks their info harvesting as being something highly credible or doubtful. Again, I cite the case of the earlier email regarding Israel's operations inside Iran that has already 'crippled' its nuclear infrastructure- an email that was written some time ago- which we obviously know now never happened.