A secret no more
Stratfor, a US-based global intelligence firm with alleged CIA links, spied on Bhopal Gas tragedy activists at the behest of Dow Chemicals, reveals WikiLeaks
Hardnews Bureau Delhi
In a startling revelation, WikiLeaks has leaked parts of emails which suggest that the US-based global intelligence agency Stratfor spied on the online activities of Bhopal Gas tragedy activists. The covert operation was being done at the behest of Dow Chemicals that is now facing the flak of activists and the media. On Monday, WikiLeaks started to publish parts of five million emails on the modus operandi of the intelligence think-tank, which has alleged links with the CIA. It has been established that many of the company's clients are intelligence and US military agencies.
Named 'The Global Intelligence Files', the Stratfor emails between July 2004 and late December 2011, 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." A statement on the WikiLeaks website claims they have put up the emails that reveal Stratfor's "web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods".
The emails also disclose how Stratfor has roped in a number of informants who are paid via Swiss banks and prepaid credit cards. "Stratfor has a mix of covert and overt informants, which includes government employees, embassy staff and journalists around the world," reads the statement on WikiLeaks.
The spying of activists has raised a storm in India, with many of them planning to sue the company for its role. Meanwhile, Dow has clarified that it sought information only to protect its employees and property from those "who would threaten, disrupt and misrepresent" the company.
Interestingly, one of the files (http://wikileaks.org/gifiles/docs/1149294_confed-fuckhouse-.html) suggests that the Indian Express editor, Shekhar Gupta, is Stratfor's only contact in India. The Microsoft Excel spreadsheet goes on to name many other contacts in many other countries.
Additionally, the firm even gave membership to Pakistan General Hamid Gul, who is widely believed to be responsible for planning an IED attack on NATO forces in Afghanistan. "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..." reads the statement.
Meanwhile, after this storm, which the intelligence firm called a direct attack – an act aimed at intimidating it into silence – Stratfor has made all its content available for free on its website. Earlier, only the members had access to all the information. "As most of you know, in December thieves hacked into Stratfor data systems and stole a large number of company emails, as well as private information of Stratfor subscribers and friends. Today WikiLeaks is publishing the emails that were stolen in December. This is a deplorable, unfortunate – and illegal – breach of privacy."
"Some of the emails may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies. Some may be authentic. We will not validate either, nor will we explain the thinking that went into them. Having had our property stolen, we will not be victimized twice by submitting to questions about them," George Friedman, founder and CEO of the firm, wrote in a statement on the website.