Live Blog: WikiLeaks Releases the Stratfor Emails (Day 8)
10:35 AM EST More discussion of Carlos the Jackal. This comes from a source, who says “the information I have is based on a mix of public and classified information that I was exposed to during my service in Israel and Europe.” He is not “sure what information is still classified” so he suggests not mentioning him as a source if this information is made public.
The source is David Virgil Dafinoiu, president and co-founder of NorAm Intelligence, which is in Dallas/Fort Worth in Texas. He also is the chairman of the US-Romania Business Council.
Dafinoiu claims Carlos was selling intelligence on Arab countries to Western agencies for “good money” and explains why Israel never targeted Carlos the Jackal:
The reason the French and the Americans decided to arrest him in 94 is to protect him. A coalition of Arab intel agencies led by the Iraqis were on their way to assassin him on his way from Syria to Czechoslovakia where he planned to go to retrieve funds. The plan was to attack him in Budapest were he owned few safe homes.
Here we have a clear case of an American knowingly sharing classified information with a private company that may or may not publish it for profit. That it involves the case of Carlos the Jackal that should be entirely declassified now is important but, in terms of the law, it should not excuse Dafinoiu from facing any consequences.
Is a private citizen that formerly served in a position of power that granted him access to classified information allowed to decide what to declassify when he wants to declassify such information? That is why most people are outraged about what Pfc. Bradley Manning allegedly did.
Let’s flip this around: if the Obama Administration is the worst on FOIA in the history of FOIA, perhaps, the only way we citizens find out the truth is by sharing it when we think it is appropriate regardless of whether it is classified or not. If the system is not responsive or working properly, should citizens just wait? There’s money to be made off this information. We need to know to “plan ahead” and assess risks. That’s what Stratfor does. And no US government official is going to stop them.
9:38 AM EST The New York Times, which has covered the release itself but not the contents of the release, publishes a story, “The Bright Side of Being Hacked.” Without condoning the Stratfor hack itself, Somini Sengupta writes that Anonymous hacks have raised “the alarm about the unguarded state of corporate computer systems.” This is according to computer security experts at the RSA conference, an annual cryptography and information security conference in San Francisco.
A Cisco security researcher describes the hack itself: “The attack appears to have been twofold: a relatively commonplace attack, known as an SQL injection, on four servers that stored e-mails dating back several years, as well as a breach of a vulnerable third-party e-commerce system that Stratfor would have used to process its paid subscribers.”
In other words, not only does Anonymous reveal the inner workings of a corporation but it also reveals how a corporation was not practicing good information security. When a company is successfully hacked, it shows that the company did not do what it needed to do to protect clients.
9:30 AM EST The emails released involve an ongoing trade dispute between Argentina and China and what developments in Moldova mean for politics in the region. Germany and Russia were working on a deal in June 2011 that would put Moldova even more under the influence of Moscow, according to the emails. That bothered the US but there wasn’t much that could be done to stop it other than have other countries in the region, like Lithuania, protest.
Here’s Bivol‘s coverage, a media partner of WikiLeaks that is based in Bulgaria.
9:10 AM EST New emails posted bring the total of emails released so far to 664 emails.
Just over a week ago, WikiLeaks and twenty-five or so media partners began publishing the “Global Intelligence Files,” over five million emails from the Texas-headquartered global intelligence company known as Stratfor. The documents show, according to the organization, “Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods.”
The emails have shown that Stratfor had an FBI source, who was feeding information to Stratfor about a “sealed indictment” against Julian Assange; Homeland Security produced a report in October of last year on how growing support for the Occupy movement presented a growing threat of violence; a former Goldman Sachs managing director was helping Stratfor to launch a hedge fund that could help the company “trade in a range of geopolitical instruments, particularly government bonds, currencies and the like”; Coca-Cola hired Stratfor to help them monitor PETA activists at the Vancouver Olympics; Dow Chemical hired Stratfor to monitor Bhopal activists and the Yes Men to ensure their profits weren’t hurt by campaigns for justice, since there has been little accountability for the 1984 Union Carbide disaster, which the company is responsible.
Now, Firedoglake’s coverage of WikiLeaks’ release of the Stratfor emails continues with this live blog for Day 8. Updates will appear at the top.