Last December, an offshoot of the activist group Anonymous claimed to have hacked into the computers of security firm Stratfor in retaliation for the imprisonment of Bradley Manning and obtained personal information and credit card numbers. Now WikiLeaks has announced its intention to publish a trove of over five million emails allegedly obtained through that hack.
According to a release posted on Sunday evening, “Today WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files – more than five million emails from the Texas-headquartered ‘global intelligence’ company Stratfor. The emails date from between July 2004 and late December 2011. They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential 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 Defense Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods.”
Perhaps the most shocking revelation in the release is that “Stratfor’s use of insiders for intelligence soon turned into a money-making scheme of questionable legality. The emails show that in 2009 then-Goldman Sachs Managing Director Shea Morenz and Stratfor CEO George Friedman hatched an idea to ‘utilise the intelligence’ it was pulling in from its insider network to start up a captive strategic investment fund.”
It goes on to say, “The emails show that in 2011 Goldman Sach’s Morenz invested ‘substantially’ more than $4million 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’.”
It also charges, “Stratfor claims that it operates ‘without ideology, agenda or national bias’, yet the emails reveal private intelligence staff who align themselves closely with US government policies and channel tips to the Mossad – including through an information mule in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Yossi Melman, who conspired with Guardian journalist David Leigh to secretly, and in violation of WikiLeaks’ contract with the Guardian, move WikiLeaks US diplomatic cables to Israel.”
WikiLeaks will be partnering with more than 25 activists and media organizations to process the massive horde of emails. In the United States, these include McClatchy and Rolling Stone.
An official press conference is to be held in London on Monday.