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Thursday 1st March 2012, 23:00GMT

On February 28, 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing over 4,000 confidential emails pertaining to WikiLeaks from the private intelligence organization Stratfor, a US company based in Texas.

The hysteric calls by Strafor employees for the detainment and demise of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, expressed in many emails, contradict the firm’s own damage assessments of WikiLeaks disclosures.

George Friedman, Stratfor CEO and founder, writes in a 2010 "weekly’s" entitled "Taking Stock of WikiLeaks": "Amusing and interesting but almost never significant is what I come away with having read through all three waves of leaks." (942090)

"[A]nybody mind if I respond to this guy and ask him about his source(s)?" writes Stratfor Tactical Analyst, Sean Noonan, in response to a readership comment from Captain McCright: "I understand appoximately 20 people have lost their lives.due to the sensitive nature of their work and a now public disclosure [by WikiLeaks]." (1634932): Freidman responds to Noonan: "Feel free but I think that it was in a seance while using peyote." (1708759)

In response to another readership question from Jack Kinsey (5288871), a mortgage banker at Chicago Bancorp, Stratfor’s Director of Military Analysis, Nathan Hughes, says: "The Taliban is a [sic] adept and aware adversary. And it is a grassroots phenomenon with considerable local support. These guys watch what U.S. troo ps do and where they go extraordinarily closely. So the idea that they need to read U.S.reports to figure out who is working with the Americans simply does not ring true to us. Are the leaks ideal or helpful? Of course not. But the claims of their danger seem largely overblown to us." (1079543)

Scott Stewart, wrote a weekly, entitled "WikiLeaks, Lots of Fuss About Nothing" in October 2010. His conclusion: "In reality, there are very few true secrets in the cache of documents [Iraq War Logs] released by WikiLeaks, and by true secrets we mean things that would cause serious damage to national security." (976964)

Stratfor even mirrored the WikIleaks webste (4984616). Fred Burton, Stratfor’s Vice-President for Counterterrorism and Corporate Security, and former Deputy Chief of the Department of State’s (DoS) counterterrorism division for the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) agrees that "as long as Google is readily making cached pages available, I think we’re probably good." Burton adds: "I’ve asked an old crony @ State if they still view the released material as classified out of curiosity sake." (1039924)

Stratfor’s legal counsel, Stephen M Feldhaus, says he "is not worried about [Stratfor] maintaining a database of the documents for our own use," despite an August Pentagon statement demaning that the DoD’s documents be "returned" and all copies "expunged, erased, gone." (1044386)

While acknowledging that WikiLeaks has broken no laws, Stratfor’s Vice-President of Public Policy, Bart Mongoven, says that the release of US State Department cables "does make you accessory to being an asshole." For that offence, Mongoven sentences Julian Assange and Bradley Manning to "whatever trumped up charge is available to get this guy and his servers off the streets." Mongoven adds, "And I’d feed that shithead soldier to the first pack of wild dogs I could find." (389793)

In Burton’s own words: "There are no friendly intelligence services." (380848)

When Shane Harris, a National Security journalist, informed Fred Burton that Julian Assange was reported to be speaking that day at a Las Vegas Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) conference in June 2010 (385387), which occured shortly after the release of Collateral Murder, but prior to the Afghan War Diaries, Burton forwarded the information to Michael Posillico, Special Agent-In-Charge DS FBI Liaison Program at the Department of State. (392233) Burton did so, right after he told Harris, "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.

Stratfor’s real outrage stems from the fact that WikiLeaks, as disruptive innovator, challenges Stratfor’s own business model and erodes Stratfor’s market power in what the military intelligence sector calls the "information sharing environment".

Animesh Roul, Stratfor Security Analyst for South Asia, remarks on a WikiLeaks disclosure that Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) had planned an attack on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi: "We knew it," but WikiLeaks, acting as a "vector/parasite... confirmed it." (679231)

And, like an honest lago, Friedman reaches out to counsel Jason Kaufman, Vice-President at Random House and Executive Editor of The Da Vinci Code: "You guys are publishing [Assange] ? Get it out fast. This guy’s shelf life may not be all you hope... I’d say get to market in two months. Enjoy." (397988)

Marko Papic, Stratfor Senior Eurasia Analyst, wonders "[I]f it was possible for us to get some of that ’leak-focused" gravy train?’" He is referring to WikiLeaks’ disclosures. (1061018). Papic’s remarks followed a Forbes article discussing how "[a] large number of deep pocket corporations" are "looking into leak-focused network security".

Jenna Colley, Stratfor Director of Content Publishing, sends an email to the "writers" list in late 2010, "Leave WikiLeaks featured...It’s getting tons of freelist signups." (5211776)

Stratfor is keenly aware that WikiLeaks, in conjunction with its international media partners, has the capacity to publish more important news and analysis at a scale and reach that is broader and more diverse than Strafor’s. As Chapman himself writes:

The problem is that while Stratfor and some other outlets - as well as insiders - have known and do appreciate what is going on in the world, the vast majority of people have not. I’m not talking about the great unwashed here - the people who fall over for Oprah Winfrey or who don’t read the news - but even the so-called sophisticates and other couch potatoes who pretend to be well informed. This includes a good many media folk, and most of those who pose as television pundits. When I have said - in this case on CNBC - that negotiations have been going on with the Taliban (before they actually were announced), that Germany was moving closer to Russia, that the US could not defend Georgia, to take some examples, I have been greeted with incredulity by my well educated, mostly American, interlocutors. I studied the debates on Afghanistan in the UK and Australian parliaments line for line, and there was very little to suggest that any significant politician was as well informed as the ordinary Stratfor subscriber. They repeated the well rehearsed slogans about ’fighting terrorism’ and ’supporting the troops’. I’ve also read columns of stuff in so-called serious newspapers like the FT, The Observer etc etc. With some exceptions, most need a reality check. As you’ve said many times, they are too concerned on reporting what people say (largely spin) rather than what they actually do. So it is not surprising that these people were given a wake up call by the WikiLeaks stuff, because they were not paying attention, which is a real problem. In that sense, in my view, WL has served a purpose. If anything it proves the need for more of the chattering classes and media to subscribe to Stratfor. You could take half a dozen of the more sensatonal WL leaks and say: ’If you’d subscribed to Stratfor you would have known this a year ago". They would then have known that the Saudis were in a fret about Iran long before Assange got round to telling them. He’s obviously has delusion of his own importance, but I don’t see him as a criminal. He does need to keep his dick under control. (399448)

With WikiLeaks latest release over five million e-mails from the private intelligence organization to 25 international media partners, it appears that Friedman’s predictive analysis and insight is off.


- Michael Posillico, Special Agent-In-Charge DS FBI Liaison Program at the Department of State, responds to Fred Burton: “[T]he G [Government] is very concerned particularly on Iraq traffic which will expose the underbelly of our role.” (369979)
- Fred Burton quotes a Special Agent-In-Charge, who comments on the WikiLeaks release of US State Department cables: "Looks pretty bad - then again, nobody knew better than us how those State Department people write - so nobody should be surprised at some of it." (1051088)
- In response to a news story about the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, entitled "Victory for WikiLeaks in Iceland’s Parliament", Burton replies: "Until an Icelander is beheaded by a jihadi." (385469)
- Fred Burton says: “The Foggy-Bottom Bow-Ties have their panties in a knot over a specific Iraq cable outed yesterday. Not sure which one.” (1044308)
- Mark Schroeder, Director of Sub-Saharan Africa, and NateTaylor, International Business Development, discuss the identify an unnamed political officer who appears in a WikiLeaks cable about a South African spy boss. (5041325) and (5041709) and (5114800) and (5192411)
- Fred Burton discusses classification and the appearance of DSS surveillance reports in the Wikileaks cache. (364732) and (5511573)
- Fred Burton and James Casey, Jacksonville, FL-based FBI Special Agent-in-Charge, whom Burton describes as "senior FBI Hqs agent and former DSS agent", have an exchange over the Iraq War Log release and information sharing. (379356)
- Hamid Gul sends George Friedman his Al Jazeera piece on WikiLeaks. (410485)
- In an email to Stratfor, Indian Maj. Gen. Bhatnagar says: "One of the interesting aspects brought out by these leaks is the support the ISI has given the Taliban to attack Indian Missions and Activities in Afganistan. These are authetic reports, acknowledged by US officals. US Aid to Pakistan is also diverted to support other terrorist organisations, which not only act in India, but also against US interests in Afganistan and Pakistan." (211497)
- Marko Papic, Stratfor Senior Eurasia Analyst, remarks on the contradictory Fragmentary Orders FRAGO 242 and 039 in relation to US complicity in handing over detainees to face to torture by Iraqi forces: "So what is new about that? Abu-G has already been detailed. Besides, what is US going to do about Iraqi on Iraqi?" (968422)
- Chapman writes to Friedman: "It is wrong to characterise the WikiLeaks leaders as geeks operating from Mum’s basement. Nor, in my opinion, are they, as Marko suggests, young men destined for greatness. That may be the way it reads inside America, but outside the US they are the Woodsteins of the [I]nternet age." Friendman responds: "Woodward and [B]ernstein were fed their story by [L]ent and the [FBI] They weren’t investigators. They were stenographers. This isn’t investigation either. Its [sic] more like dumpster diving and only getting the top layer of the garbage and thinking it was gold." (1078864)
- Fred Burton says, "The proliferation of Israeli front companies is the reason Israel is the # 1 FCI [Foreign Counter Intelligence] threat." (72920)
- June 7, 2010. Fred Burton emails picture of Bradley Manning “in uniform” and “out of uniform” to Michael Posillico, Special Agent-In-Charge DS FBI Liaison Program at the Department of State. (385196)
- Fred Burton asks Jim Casey, Jacksonville, FL-based FBI Special Agent-in-Charge, whom Burton describes as "senior FBI Hqs agent and former DSS agent", "how bad next round of WikiLeaks will be. (368059) and (369305)
- In an email about the cablegate disclosure that Shell admitted to US diplomats in an intelligence swamp with the same officials that the company had inserted its own staff into all the key ministries of the Nigerian government: Fred Burton remarks, "I’’m sure Shell Corporate Security is hating life right about now. I would not be surprised to see a few Nigerian govt officials to be locked up or blown up as a result. Since Shell has a U.S. footprint, the FCPA DOJ (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Deparment of Justice) investigations will be following suit. MNC (Multinational Corporation) worst nightmare....” (1062505)