Are the Yes Men – a group of anti-corporate activists who stage amazing stunts – just an insignificant bunch of pranksters? Those who control one of the world’s biggest spy companies and their corporate paymasters don’t think so.
The Global Intelligence Files, five million emails obtained by the Anonymous hacker group and released by WikiLeaks this morning, reveal that Dow chemical corporation paid an intelligence firm, Stratfor, to spy on the Yes Men.
Dow Chemical is the owner of Union Carbide, the company responsible for the 1984 gas disaster in Bhopal, India in which thousands died and more than half a million suffered terrible injuries. (Dow is also a sponsor of the London 2012 Olympics).
But snooping on the Yes Men is only the tip of Stratfor’s vast iceberg of espionage. Its tentacles around the world show that the CIA has a serious rival in the private sector. The company runs networks in governments and media companies especially those close to the Israeli government and Mossad. The latter are referred to within the company as the “Confed Fuck House”.
Stratfor, which is based in Texas, counts the US government plus other countries, and arms manufacturers, including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Ratheon amongst its paymasters. It trains US marines and “other government intelligence agencies” in becoming “government Stratfors”.
WikiLeaks’ Global Intelligence Files are an email trail, tracking networks of informants who are paid through Swiss bank accounts and pre-paid credit cards. They include “government employees, embassy staff and journalists around the world”. WikiLeaks has found Stratfor’s list of informants and evidence of secret deals with media organisations, including Reuters, plus records of many payoffs.
Knowing there is good money to be made by exploiting corporate fears about whistleblowers and leaked information, Stratfor has been anxious to exploit what it called the “leak focused” gravy train. “This is an obvious fear sale, so that’s a good thing,” writes one operative. But in the case of General Hamid Gul, former head of Pakistan’s notorious ISI intelligence service, Stratfor generously provided complimentary membership.
Its noxious methods are clear: “You have to take control of him. Control means financial, sexual or psychological control,” CEO George Friedman wrote on 6 December 2011 on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence informant on the medical condition of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.
They also reveal close cooperation with Goldman Sachs, whose managing director Shea Morenz joined Stratfor’s board of directors in 2011. He worked closely with Friedman to set up an offshore share structure which could use intelligence to “trade in a range of geopolitical instruments, particularly government bonds, currencies and the like”.
The emails, which are presently being analysed by media organisations and members of the public, point to the fears haunting those at the top of corporate and state trees. They include contain classified information about US government and Stratfor’s attacks on WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.
Assange remains under house arrest, where he has been since December 2010, fighting extradition to Sweden over alleged sex crimes. A decision from the UK Supreme Court on his extradition to Sweden is expected in March. Meanwhile, prosecutors in the US are still trying to pin him down under the 1917 Espionage Act.
Thanks to the socialised nature of today’s technologies and courageous whistleblowers, like Bradley Manning, it has become impossible to keep secret the vast web of connections between the corporations, intelligence agencies and political rulers. This latest cache should give confidence to all those seeking to end their rule.
A World to Win secretary