WikiLeaks is back with a vengeance. It's just published five million emails from Stratfor, an intelligence company based in Texas, that appear to be America's very own privately run CIA. According to WikiLeaks, their deals would also include the use of privileged information to make money in financial markets.
Stratfor's clients are the US Government, other countries and military organisations, as well as private companies like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman or Raytheon. They have a global network of spies in governments and media companies, including "secret deals with dozens of media organisations and journalists, from Reuters to the Kiev Post". According to the emails, these spies get paid in Swiss bank accounts and prepaid credit cards.
Wikileaks says that the emails also reveal the creation of a parallel organization called StratCap. This organisation would use Stratfor network of informants to make money in financial markets. WikiLeaks claims that the emails show how then-Goldman Sachs Managing Director Shea Morenz and Stratfor CEO George Friedman put StratCap in motion in 2009.
Here are some of the highlights:
Global Network of Informants
The Global Intelligence Files exposes how Stratfor has recruited a global network of informants who are paid via Swiss banks accounts and pre-paid credit cards.
Who Are Their Spies?
Government and diplomatic sources from around the world give Stratfor advance knowledge of global politics and events in exchange for money. Stratfor has a mix of covert and overt informants, which includes government employees, embassy staff and journalists around the world.
How They Control Their Sources
"[Y]ou have to take control of him. Control means financial, sexual or psychological control... This is intended to start our conversation on your next phase" – CEO George Friedman to Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla on 6 December 2011, on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence informant providing information on the medical condition of the President of Venezuala, Hugo Chavez.
Using Secret Information to Make Money in Financial Markets
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. [...] CEO George Friedman explained in a confidential August 2011 document, marked DO NOT SHARE OR DISCUSS: "What StratCap will do is use our Stratfor's intelligence and analysis to trade in a range of geopolitical instruments, particularly government bonds, currencies and the like".
US Government and Mossad Ties
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.
Secret Deals with Media Organisations and Journalists
Stratfor did secret deals with dozens of media organisations and journalists – from Reuters to the Kiev Post. The list of Stratfor's "Confederation Partners", whom Stratfor internally referred to as its "Confed Fuck House" are included in the release. While it is acceptable for journalists to swap information or be paid by other media organisations, because Stratfor is a private intelligence organisation that services governments and private clients these relationships are corrupt or corrupting.