This Week in the Press: 8 – 14 March, 2012

A detailed review of Stratfor revelations from mid March.

Sourced at: WikiLeaks Press

8 April, 2012

Stratfor emails reveal discussions on the Greek economic crisis, US funding of Greece and the Cypriot secretservice, and the tension between Cyprus and Turkey over natural gas production in the Mediterranean. Paraguay government responds to media reports on Stratfor emails detailing a dispute over the treatment of Brazilian soybean farmers in Paraguay. The emails show how Stratfor closely followed the plans of Jared Cohen, director of Google Ideas, and expressed concern over indications that he promoted politically active groups.

Subject index


The Global Intelligence Files – International relations^

Border tension over Brazilian farmers in Paraguay: Stratfor emails track a dispute between displaced Brazilian soybean farmers in Paraguay and Paraguayan peasants. The sources say that Brazil is actively defending the Brazilian farmers, despite being in Paraguayan territory, by strengthening its military forces at the border. Brazilian sources also said that the Paraguayan system for normalizing the status of Brazilians was not working.

Colombia used drug lord to force Venezuela to eject FARC: The 2009 capture of Venezuelan drug lord Walid Makled became a powerful negotiating tool. Whilst Venezuela and Columbia were engaged in heavy negotiation over the prisoners extradition, the US was willing to hand him over to Venezuela in exchange for information on Venezuelan banks and their connections to banks. In one email, “Makled is believed to have worked closely with senior members of the Venezuelan government, possibly including Chavez himself.” This was a cause of concern for Chavez. The US decision to hand Makled over to the Venezuelan government was noted to have a significant impact in changing Venezuelan politics. Another article on the same subject is reported at McClatchy : Stratfor emails say Chavez betrayed FARC to appease generals.

PolishFrench, and Italian newspapers have reported on a rumor of Russia’s alleged involvement in the death of former Polish president Lech Kaczynski as well as 95 of Poland’s rank and file political and military officiaries. Their plane crashed during an attempted landing in foggy weather near Smolensk on April 10, 2010. According to a Stratfor email from April 2010 released by Wikileaks, Fred Burton, vice-director of counter intelligence, reported to Reva Bhalla, director of analysis, that their source ‘Comrade J,’ a former KGB agent, had speculated on a Russian intention to obstruct Kaczynski’s landing in order to delay him for a Katyn second world war memorial service on the same day. The articles debated whether this development may have come on the back of chilled relations between Russia and Poland due to divergent views on the Russio-Georgian war.

The assassination of Imad Mughniyeh – Back on the secret operations of the Mossad: In the public domain, Mossad operations are suspected, but rarely verified. Stratfor’s report reveals the inner workings on how Mossad works. An Israeli source describes the assassination that sparked a war killing 25 Palestinians including a 12 year old child as “a very elegant attack”. “Mossad works in modular teams. This op took a lot more than just 3 people, but you never have that many in country at the time of the attack. You have one person go in for surveillance, take them out, send in another person to acquire the explosives, take them out, a bomb maker sent in and out, etc,” the source stated.

Le Big Brother Américain surveille l’Afrique: Jeune Afrique sheds light on some of the most important releases concerning Africa among the Stratfor emails: arms trafficking in Tchad, the relations between the regions of Kinshasa and Katanga, the deployment of Angolan troops in Cabinda and the state of resources in Mali.

Brazil source spoke of Brazil-Argentina cooperation for producing military vehicles

Stratfor report criticizes Venezuelan productivity, blaming corruption, over-importation, and currency exchange laws

Stratfor monitors other organizations^

GIFiles: Stratfor predicted a cyber attack by Anonymous: Whilst proposing constructing an analysis on the group Anonymous, Stratfor anticipated the likelihood of being attacked by the group two months prior to the hack. Fred Burton stated, “Well, my concern would be then stealing our credit card data from customers somehow. If that happens, it would bury us. Not a lot of people look at our website in hits.”

Google Ideas director Jared Cohen described in emails as pushing for political activism: Email exchanges in 2011 show that Stratfor was monitoring Jared Cohen, director of Google Ideas, for his links to the State Department and Egypt. The emails show concern over Cohen’s planned trip to Gaza, and question whether Google condoned his behavior. Cohen was apparently ordered not to go to Gaza, but proposed a trip to the UAE, Azerbaijan, and Turkey to “actively engage the Iranian community, which was similarly denied. The article notes that Google Ideas has been dubbed a “think/do-tank,” which has become involved in several politically active events and groups.

Middle East^

Syria investigation into the assassination of Hezbollah’s Security Chief: Stratfor emails discuss in detail information on the Syrian investigation into the assassination of Imad Muhniyye, a senior Hizbullah leader. One of the sources with average credibility rating said that Syrian President Asad had replaced the chief investigator for the assassination with his less experienced cousin Makhluf and that Hizbullah had protested this rearrangement. Other sources said that Syria was being very cautious about releasing information on the assassination because Syrians had been involved and because Hizbullah blamed Israel, which had the potential for souring Syria-Israel relations.

Stratfor calls Egypt revolution a ‘palace coup’: One email says that “only 750,000 people — less than 1 percent of the population of densely populated Egypt — took to the streets,” and that instead military leaders were plotting to overthrow Mubarak months before protesters came to Tahrir Square.

NATO military intervention in Syria confirmed: An editorial from La Jornada points out that despite the public claim by Secretary General of NATO Anders Rasmussen that there are no plans for intervention in Syria, both leaked emails and cables from WikiLeaks’ GIFiles and Cablegate releases contain information about covert US and NATO interventions in past years to undermine the Syrian government.

Another article from the NYT Examiner notes that a US military contact in the Stratfor emails said air intervention in Syria would not happen unless there was “enough media attention on a massacre, like the Ghadafi move against Benghazi,” and that the move against Benghazi was a false claim made by rebels. The article draws a connection to a recent article in the New York Times on raising pressure for intervention in Syria on account of a massacre.
US Senator John McCain has recently pushed for intervention in Syria as well.

Turkey, Greece, Cyprus^

Turks & Americans flew over the Aegean together: Ta Nea has independently confirmed that Turkish Airforce purchasing plans for US equipment described in Stratfor emails have materialised. Stratfor’s Turkish source reminisced about US/Turkish Aircraft operations over the Aegean Sea in 1974. Other emails discussed Israel anti-Iran military training accommodated in the Turkish Mountains and revealed US intelligence is used in anti-PKK airforce strikes in Northern Iraq. Turkish Navy deployment plans and training follow US templates since 1990 gaining expertise through joined operations with Nato/USA and Russia. Stratfor’s source suggests that if Turkey is to expand its [naval] control from the Bosporus and Dardaneles further into the Medditeranean, it will have to deal with Greece, Cyprus and become the superior [naval] power in the Black Sea.

“We gave Greece 90 billion dollars in 60 years”: Ta Nea summarises Stratfor reports of financial and structural development assistance to Greece from the US and EU since WWII. The reports mention Greece’s geopolitical importance as a country used by the West in preventing Russia from having access to the Medditeranean and limiting Soviet power in the Balkans, as well as its decline in importance after the end of the Cold War. It describes Stratfor speculation on what propped up Greece’s independence as a country both financially and politically since its inception and how such supports have now declined. Stratfor’s source suggests that IMF, ECB and European governments “buy time” but Greece will not be able to pay back its debts and Greek voters will not stand austerity for more than two years. Neither will accept the selling of national assets to foreigners.

Anti-IMF austerity protests in Greece, 1st May 2010 (Photo credit).

“They were making Bankruptcy scenarios three months prior to the Memorandum”: Ta Nea brings to light Stratfor’s direct line of communication with Moody’s – a bond credit rating business – and its opinions on the Greek crisis, who owns the Greek debt, the chances of Bankruptcy, and the spiral of death caused by CDS’s. It also describes Stratfor’s own assessments: that the European Commission’s statements over Greek statistics was “a cheap way of bringing down the price of bonds and to exert pressure for reforms in Greece” and that Greece became the guinea pig for passing on a clear message to the unruly countries of the South. Finally it presents Stratfor’s assertion that IMF’s efforts would be counterproductive in lowering the cost of borrowing as long as the Greek economy keeps shrinking, and lending to Greece at below market interest rates would be the only helpful thing to do. Another article states, according to a Stratfor source with a low credibility rating, the Greek government deliberately allowed debt to increase as a means to attract financial aid and blame previous administration.

Turkey and the Cyprus EEA, Turks plan episode in plot No 12: Stratfor’s Turkish informers said that military confrontation is planned in South East Mediterranean when the Cypriot Republic commences natural gas production at plot 12, and the escalation of tension last September had also been planned. Stratfor speculates on the motivations of the Cypriot government in issuing the first licenses for the plot bordering Israel and its implications on Turkish/Israeli relations. The Gaza flotilla and its escort of Turkish naval military is discussed as well as Turkish efforts to undermined the Cypriot/Lebanese EEA agreement rectification. Finally, Stratfor speculates on the re-alignment of strategic alliances between the Turkey/Greece/Israel triangle, pointing out the Greece is Israel’s “perfect tool.” Another article from iefimerida notes that an American company Noble Energy was granted the exploration license for block 12, a provision enabling the company to conduct offshore economic exploration for up to 200 miles off the coast of Cyprus. Stratfor’s sources indicate, “Turkey’s official policy is to wait until Greek Cyprus enters the production stage to take a decisive action. A military confrontation is unlikely until then.”

We had the Cyprus secret service in our payroll for years: Stratfor VP Fred Burton said that Cypriot Secret Service was in US’s payroll for years. Christofer Metsos’ arrest in Cyprus after an Interpol warrant was issued under spy charges by the US; his consequent escape and the fate of his much wanted computer that was left behind is further discussed, highlighting his US-perceived role as the money handler for the Russian spy network in the US. Stratfor reports that Mossad agents fled from Lebanon to Cyprus to avoid interception whilst the death of Thomas Muney in 2007 is linked to Iranian Secret Service.

Mossad kidnapped Bréguet outside Igoumenitsa: In 1995, Bruno Bréguet, who was a close associate of Carlos the Jackal, disappeared while on a ferry from Italy to Greece (Igoumenitsa). In emails leaked from Stratfor, an Israeli informant says that, while there are a number of theories about the disappearance, the most likely scenario is that Mossad was behind Bréguet’s abduction. Mossad then supposedly handed over Bréguet to the Americans, who then moved him to Hungary. According to the informant, Bréguet left Hungary with a new identity in 1997 and most likely moved to Cuba, where he may still be alive today.

The package will not solve the problem: Before it was known whether IMF would participate in the bailout of Greece, analysts speculated that US would not go along with it. George Friedman informed Stratfor staff, “When I asked Brady how he expects to get the the U.S. to go along with an IMF bailout, he shrugged and said they won’t, but that’s the only choice. Volcker is now doubtful the Euro can survive.”


Paraguay government says Stratfor emails on Brazil are an exaggeration: Paraguayan official Lopez Perito said that the reports on possible Brazilian military intervention over Brazilian soybean farmers settled in Paraguay were not based on intelligence work. Instead, he said there were several false statements in the emails and that they were based on a tabloid from Brazil media.

PM files libel case against Taraf’s Altan over cancer report controversy: Following the release of a Stratfor email claiming that Turkey’s Prime Minister had terminal cancer, a conflict erupted between the latter and the editor in chief of the newspaper Taraf Daily. Prime Minister Erdogan is now suing the journalist for the harsh terms he used in a column.

Turkey’s Erdogan Dismisses WikiLeaks Cancer Report: In a Stratfor email, a lead surgeon on Erdogan’s operation informed Stratfor’s Turkish informant that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan he has colon cancer with two years to live. He dismissed the claims in a speech stating that “only god knows” how long he has to live.

CEO: Company is not ‘rogue organization’ critics portray: Stratfor’s CEO George Friedman made his first public speech since its security was compromised last year. Despite the content of the emails suggesting otherwise, Mr Friedman attempted to persuade his audience that Stratfor was wrongfully portrayed as “a rogue organization engaged in espionage.” He further justified his stance with, “In the end, I am not going to let others define who I am or what I speak about.” During the speech demonstrators were silenced by other members of the audience. He reinstated his claims that Stratfor was strictly a publishing company, but admitted, “It has gradually shed most of its corporate clients over the past several years because, Friedman said, being a publishing company gives Stratfor more freedom to study the issues relating to international politics.”

US State Department denies Stratfor email claim that Bin Laden’s body was flown to the US


Cables report US State Department lobbied the Vatican for its approval of GM crops and foods

Sri Lanka^

Tiran Filmed “LTTE-Rajapaksa” Deal: According to a cable dated 14 June, 2007, recorded video evidence of a meeting between an LTTE intelligence officer and a prominent businessman were stolen.

Hard To Campaign For “Carnival Of Fools”: A Sri Lankan foreign minister, concerned about religious freedom and lack of a global political aptitude, said he considered the Sri Lankan government as a “Carnival of fools.”

Geneva Conspiracy : As You Sow So Shall You Reap: Sri Lankan government supporters protested against UN Human Rights Council’s draft resolution that barely addresses the allegations against Sri Lanka’s government. The president’s brother Basil Rajapaksa admitted in a 2009 cable, “I’m not saying we’re clean; we could not abide by international law – this would have gone on for centuries, an additional 60 years.”

Gota claims army has interal mechnism to punish soldiers for rape and murder: In a cable discussing reconciliation efforts with Tamils, Sri Lanka’s Defense secretary made no promises in appointing a new commission to address grievances of crimes soldiers had committed. He claimed that there was an internal mechanism in place. In the cable, he stated, ” contrary to widely held impressions, the army had investigated and prosecuted individual soldiers for individual crimes (presumably stealing, rape, murder, etc.) committed during the war.”

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