Global Intelligence Files Top 20

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Compiled by cabledrummer, commented by m_cetera

On February 27, 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing the “Global Intelligence Files”, a collection of more than five million emails from the private intelligence company Stratfor. Less than a thousand of those emails have been released so far, yet over 1,000 articles on them have been published, spanning 44 countries and 16 languages.

Here we have taken the 20 most covered topics to date, providing background information to help further understand the significance of the release. The ranking is based on the number of media publications with respect to the number of concerned countries.

1 Stratfor, the “shadow CIA”
126 related articles from 78 media in 34 countries

Background: Strategic Forecasting Inc., or “Stratfor,” is a private intelligence company founded in 1996. Theyprovide intelligence and analysis to paying subscribers, both individual and corporate. Their stated goal is “to make the complexity of the world understandable to an intelligent readership, without ideology, agenda or national bias.”

Stratfor has been dubbed the “shadow CIA,” a reputation which isn’t always beneficial when starting new partnerships. They have sources worldwide, which are given an “A-F” credibility ranking, and a second “1-10” ranking on each particular item they provide. Stratfor CEO George Friedman states that if you suspect a source holds value you must take control of him/her, which means “financial, sexual or psychological control.”

2 Bin Laden’s body taken to U.S.
46 related articles from 38 media in 24 countries

Background: Osama bin Laden was killed during a raid by U.S. Navy SEAL Team Six on May 2, 2011. Within 24 hours his body was identified and then buried at sea. A senior U.S. Defense official said no country was willing or able to take the body, and another stated transferring it to another country would violate the Islamic rule which requires burial within 24 hours.

Stratfor VP Fred Burton, former Special Agent for the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service, contests these claims, stating that the body was headed to the United States; first to Dover, Delaware and then to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Bethesda, Maryland. He believes the U.S. would want to take the body for photographing, DNA testing, fingerprinting, and so forth.

3 U.S. Sealed Indictment against Assange
37 related articles from 30 media in 17 countries

Background: The U.S. Government has repeatedly condemned WikiLeaks’ publication of diplomatic cables. In September 2010, a secret Grand Jury on WikiLeaks began convening. Despite this, as well as Vice President Joe Biden labeling Julian Assange as a “high-tech terrorist,” formal charges against the organization nor its founder have not been made.

In an email beginning with “Not for Pub,” i.e. “not for publication,” Stratfor VP Fred Burton states, “We have a sealed indictment on Assange.” He also said that Assange’s potential extradition to the U.S. is “more and more likely.” After the publication of these emails, the U.S. State Department said they could not comment on whether “anyone has been charged in a sealed indictment.”

4 Contradictory reports about Chávez’ health
36 related articles from 25 media in 19 countries

Background: Hugo Chávez has been the President of Venezuela since 1999. On June 30, 2011, Chávezannounced he had undergone two surgeries on a cancerous tumor.

The team that performed Chávez’ operation was made up of Russians and Cubans whom, according to Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla, had disagreements with each other. The Russians claim they spent the second surgery trying to “clean up the Cuban’s mistakes.” The Russians diagnosed Chávez as having one year to live, while the Cubans gave him two. Chávez has also sought help from Chinese doctors for natural remedies, which the Russian doctors don’t approve of.

5 Turkey’s PM Erdogan ‘has two years to live’
29 related articles from 19 media in 13 countries

Background: Recep Erdoğan has been the Prime Minister of Turkey since 2003. He underwent two surgeries on his digestive system in 2011. This caused rumors that he may have cancer, but Erdoğan has denied these claims.

A Stratfor source, described as a “former NSC [National Security Council] official in Turkey, adviser to Erdoğan, energy expert negotiator,” stated that Erdoğan has colon cancer. He says that in his latest operation, Erdoğan had 20 cm of his colon removed and the surgeon estimated he had two years left to live.

6 ISI, Pakistan Military knew of bin Laden’s hideout
20 related articles from 19 media in 10 countries

Background: Osama bin Laden had been living at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan reportedly since January 6, 2006 until his death on May 2, 2011. The CIA concluded he was living there in September. The U.S. has often speculated whether Pakistani citizens or Government knew of bin Laden’s whereabouts.

Stratfor VP Fred Burton reasserts the U.S. Government’s belief that the Pakistani ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) and military knew of bin Laden’s arrangements and whereabouts. While Burton is not aware of names or ranks, he believes less than a dozen Pakistani officials were aware of bin Laden’s location.

7 Russia and Israel swapped defense systems codes on Iran and Georgia
20 related articles from 15 media in 9 countries

According to information from a Stratfor source described as a “former Mexican cop” and “[Latin America] military analyst,” Israel provided Russia with secret codes for Georgian drones, which allowed them to hack and disable the unmanned aircrafts. This was part of a swap deal in which Russia gave Israel access codes on Iranian Tor-M1 missile systems in return.

8 NATO troops operating inside Syria
24 related articles from 12 media in 10 countries

Background: Since March 15, 2011, Syrian protestors have been demanding the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad and the overthrow of his Government. NATO has stated it has no intention of intervening in the conflict.

Stratfor’s director of analysis Reva Bhalla states that in December 2011 a confidential Pentagon meeting was held which discussed NATO Special Operation Forces teams present in Syria, training opposition forces. He believes the teams are made up of forces from the U.S., France, UK, Jordan, and Turkey and “hypothetically” plan to commit guerilla attacks and assassination campaigns to overthrow the Government.

9 Russia tried to prevent Kaczynski landing in Smolensk
related articles from 8 media in 8 countries

Background: On April 10, 2010, a Polish Air Force aircraft carrying Polish President Lech Kaczyński, his wife, and many government officials crashed, killing all 96 people on board. In the final accident report, the blamewas mostly placed on the pilots who failed to heed bad weather warnings. The President’s brother, Jaroslaw Kaczyński, believed the crash was actually an assassination.

Stratfor source “Comrade J,” a former KGB agent, suggests that Russia deliberately refused to let the plane land. Kaczyński had been flying in to attend a memorial service for the Katyn massacre. Stratfor analyst Marko Papic states that the intention was not to kill the President, but “make his life difficult” by forcing him to land elsewhere and miss the service.

10 Dow Chemical spied on Bhopal activists
21 related articles from 11 media in 5 countries

Background: On December 2, 1984, there was a gas leak at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, which is considered to be one of the world’s worst industrial catastrophes. The estimate of immediate deaths is 3,000, with another 15,000 dying from long-term diseases caused by the gas leak. Over half a million people have suffered injuries from the incident and chemicals continue to pollute the groundwater to this day. In 1999, Dow Chemical purchased the Union Carbide Corporation.

Stratfor was allegedly hired by Dow Chemical to spy on Bhopal activists including The Yes Men, a group known for impersonating a Dow representative on BBC and promising compensation for the incident. Stratfor’s monitoring of activists included following news feeds, fundraisers, petition signatories, and re-tweets of Dow-related articles. Special attention was paid to a campaign protesting Dow’s sponsorship of the 2012 London Olympics.

11 Russian Prosecutor General was a Stratfor source
11 related articles from 9 media in 5 countries

Stratfor source RU101 is believed to be Russia’s Prosecutor General Yury Chaika. According to the emails, Chaika was informing Stratfor about the Kremlin’s progress fighting organized crime groups in Russia, including the Tambov Gang.

12 Coca-Cola monitored PETA activists at 2010 Olympics
related articles from 7 media in 6 countries

Stratfor was hired by The Coca-Cola Company to monitor PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) activists at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. Stratfor VP Fred Burton mentioned a classified FBI investigation on PETA operatives, commenting he will “see what [he] can uncover.” Analyst Anya Alfano said Coca-Cola was concerned about PETA carrying out direct action against Olympic sponsors and was asking to what extent US PETA activists would be travelling to Vancouver for the Olympics.

13 Israel destroyed nuclear facilities in Iran
related articles from 8 media in 5 countries

A Stratfor source IL701, described as a “Confirmed Israeli Intelligence Agent,” stated his belief that reports of Israel planning a military offensive against Iran were a “diversion.” He continues by saying that a team of Israeli commandos in collaboration with Kurd forces already destroyed all of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure “weeks ago” (with the email dated 11 November 2011) and the EU is just trying to divert from their own financial problems. He also notes that if a massive attack on Iran happens soon, it will be for political and oil reasons, not nuclear.

14 Homeland Security monitored the Occupy movement
11 related articles from 8 media in 5 countries

Stratfor VP Fred Burton emailed out a 5-page assessment report on Occupy Wall Street created by theDepartment of Homeland Security. The report looks at the Occupy movement’s “impact” on financial services, commercial services, transportation, emergency services, and government facilities. It also looks at the use of social media for organization of protests. The conclusion of the report expresses concern at the continued expansion of the protests, stating “larger numbers and support from groups such as Anonymous substantially increase the risk for potential incidents and enhance the potential security risk to critical infrastructure.”

15 Swedish MEP on Foreign Minister Carl Bildt
related articles from 8 media in 5 countries

Background: Carl Bildt is the current Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden. He previously served as Prime Minister from 1991 to 1994 and leader of the Moderate Party from 1986 to 1999 before being appointed as Foreign Affairs Minister in 2006.

A source named SW501, who is described as a “very well connected Swedish MEP,” relays comments about Carl Bidlt including his belief that Sweden should become a world power. His relationship with the current Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt is described as “very rocky.” Bildt is also very critical of Russia and does not like Croats or Albanians.

16 Blackwater team assisting Syrian opposition
related articles from 5 media in 5 countries

Background: Blackwater, now known as Academi (also held the name Xe Services), is a private military company and the largest of the U.S. State Department’s private security contractors. It has faced controversy over the killing of civilians, among other things.

An email from James F. Smith, former Blackwater director and current chief executive of SCG International, reports that a Blackwater team was on a “fact finding mission” in Syria, but further stated that the actual mission was to see how they could help in regime change. Smith also said he intended to provide “his services to help protect the opposition members, like he had underway in Libya,” and that American consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton was also working with the agency on a similar request.

17 Israeli PM Netanyahu was a Stratfor source
related articles from 5 media in 4 countries

Background: Benjamin Netanyahu is the current Prime Minister of Israel. He held his first Prime Ministership from 1996-1999, served as Finance Minister from 2003-2005, and was reelected as Prime Minister in 2009.

As early as 2007, Stratfor VP Fred Burton was communicating with source “BiBi” or “BB” Netanyahu. Netanyahu reportedly “aimed to assert his intention of “neutralizing the Iranian nuclear menace” during his first meeting with President Barack Obama. In December of 2009 he reports that Iran has two nuclear missiles. In March of 2010, shortly after Vice President Joe Biden visited Israel, Burton reports that “BB dislikes Obama immensely.”

18 Mossad doing business with Saudi Arabia
related articles from 5 media in 4 countries

In an email sent to Stratfor analysts, Fred Burton stated a source of his claimed that Mossad, the intelligence agency of Israel, had offered “intelligence collection and advice on Iran” to Saudi intelligence services. Not only that, but the source claimed that several Mossad officers were making money selling Saudis security equipment, as well as intelligence and consultations. He also added that Saudi Arabia is ” playing both sides of the fence — with the jihadists and the Israelis — for fear that the U.S. does not have a handle on either.”

19 Chávez pressuring into betraying FARC
related articles from 6 media in 3 countries

Background: FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia) is a revolutionary guerilla organization involved in the ongoing Colombian Civil War, dating back to the mid-1960s. The European Union, as well as governments of many countries including Colombia, the United States, and Canada, has described FARC as aterrorist group. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has rejected this label, stating FARC is a “real army.”

An analysis from Stratfor states that high-ranking officers of the Venezuelan National Armed Forces pressured President Chávez into negotiating with the Colombian government over the extradition of alleged drug trafficker Walid Makled. While imprisoned, Makled claimed that important officials in the Chávez administration and high-ranking military officers were on his payroll, and that the Venezuelan Army transported drugs on its planes. Fearing Makled, if extradited to the U.S., would offer evidence to implicate them, the military officers pressured Chávez into bargaining with the Colombian government, which included extraditing senior FARC members located in Venezuela to Colombia and pushing all FARC forces out of Venezuelan territory.

20 Goldman Sachs and the StratCap hedge fund
related articles from 3 media in 3 countries

Former Goldman Sachs managing director Shea Morenz had an idea for a hedge fund entitled “StratCap” which would use Stratfor’s intelligence gathering and “trade in a range of geopolitical instruments, particularly government bonds, currencies and the like.” Morenz invested $4 million into Stratfor and joined the board of directors. An offshore investment fund was established and set for launch in early Spring of 2012.


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