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WikiLeaks Begins Releasing Stratfor Internal Emails 220

Posted by timothy
from the why-are-they-so-mean? dept.
owenferguson writes "WikiLeaks has begun leaking a cache of over 5 million internal emails from the the Texas-headquartered 'global intelligence' company Stratfor. The emails date from between July 2004 and late December 2011. They 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 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. The associated news release can be found on pastebin."
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WikiLeaks Begins Releasing Stratfor Internal Emails

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  • by From A Far Away Land (930780) on Sunday February 26, 2012 @11:07PM (#39168625) Homepage Journal

    Here's a fun leak [wikileaks.org]. Complete with passwords like:
    changeme
    and
    stratfor

  • For a long time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by El Puerco Loco (31491) on Sunday February 26, 2012 @11:11PM (#39168651)

    after the Stratfor website went live, one could log in with the username/password combo of "username" and "password". If that's how much attention they paid to protecting their rather expensive subscription service, one wonders is if the security of their email servers was any better.

  • by BenJCarter (902199) on Sunday February 26, 2012 @11:12PM (#39168657)
    Seems like a familiar acronym...

    From the article:

    "Government and diplomatic sources from around the world give Stratfor advance knowledge of global politics and events in exchange for money."

    I hope it's effective. I don't have a problem with people buying info.

    I do have a huge problem with people in positions of responsibility selling it for their own profit at our expense though...
    • by causality (777677) on Sunday February 26, 2012 @11:38PM (#39168833)

      I hope it's effective. I don't have a problem with people buying info.

      I do have a huge problem with people in positions of responsibility selling it for their own profit at our expense though...

      How do you reconcile those two sentences?

      Or ... guess what makes people in positions of responsibility sell information for their own profit? That's right ... other people buy it.

      The position of responsibility is why they had the info to sell. They are insiders who are in the loop. Information everyone already knows doesn't command a very high price.

      • I guess I reconcile them thus: There will always be a market for information. I hope our people do more buying than selling. Selling information you are entrusted to protect is despicable. Buying information you need is understandable.

        To say that it is the buyer's fault is like saying "If everyone were perfect, X would happen"

        I believe systems must be designed for the real world, not utopia [wikipedia.org]. I hope our systems work better. Even if they are based on that evil money I never seem to have enough of...
    • I hope it's effective. I don't have a problem with people buying info.

      Oh, it's *very* effective. That's how we knew just in time that Saddam had hidden chemical weapons and WMDs all over Iraq...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 26, 2012 @11:21PM (#39168705)

    And their CEO is toast... the word of even this leaking out via intercepted e-mail: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/leaked-email-shows-stratfor-ceo-george-friedman-resigned-two-hours-ago-over-latest-breach

    Zerohedge is all over this like white on rice. For those complaining about boring content in the leaks, see ZH's coverage on the e-mails relating to Obama's inability to maintain a liberal/progressive position and the Republicans' ability to field a decent candidate: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/stratfor-email-leak-reveals-insider-views-obama-emanuel-romney

    Sure, we all knew that the players of the American political football game hadn't yet figured out which direction to run on the field, which team they're playing for, or why their ball is spherical and made of pentagons and hexagons, but it's fun to read about this half-assed private intelligence agency saying the same things that we've all been thinking AND about their supposed contacts with shadowy billionaire Powers That Be saying the same: that the Democrats have no spine and the Republicans no brains.

    • by oneiros27 (46144) on Sunday February 26, 2012 @11:31PM (#39168775) Homepage

      I'll wait 'til I've seen verification before I believe it or not ... but it's real or not, I still found this line funny:

      Regarding the latest breach, Stratfor is fully in control of the situation

      If it's real, I also wonder about:

      To be clear: We certainly do not condone any criminal activities by groups like Anonymous or other hackers

      I mean, this is a group that makes their money by paying off people to get them information, in ways that are hinted are against the law (likely they're getting other people to break the law of other countries, even if the company themselves aren't) ... but they're against hackers that break the law? It seems a a bit hypocritical to me.

      • by causality (777677) on Sunday February 26, 2012 @11:42PM (#39168873)

        I'll wait 'til I've seen verification before I believe it or not ... but it's real or not, I still found this line funny:

        Regarding the latest breach, Stratfor is fully in control of the situation

        If it's real, I also wonder about:

        To be clear: We certainly do not condone any criminal activities by groups like Anonymous or other hackers

        I mean, this is a group that makes their money by paying off people to get them information, in ways that are hinted are against the law (likely they're getting other people to break the law of other countries, even if the company themselves aren't) ... but they're against hackers that break the law? It seems a a bit hypocritical to me.

        Sure, just like the way the government can't easily conduct certain forms of surveillance because that would run afoul of the 4th Amendment... but they can contract that out, purchasing the same information from companies conducting the same surveillance, and that's perfectly cromulent.

        Yet, if you commit a crime by proxy, you're just as guilty as your hireling. For example, if you hired a contract killer you would be convicted for murder along with your mercenary. And unlike the US Constitution, the law under which you'd be convicted is not the highest law of the land.

        Figure that one out in a logically consistent, non-hypocritical way.

        • by TheLink (130905)

          Sure, just like the way the government can't easily conduct certain forms of surveillance because that would run afoul of the 4th Amendment... but they can contract that out, purchasing the same information from companies conducting the same surveillance, and that's perfectly cromulent.

          Of course, because big governments are bad.

          That's why many very clever US people would rather have a small government, and let the corporations and individuals be more free to do what they want.

      • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Sunday February 26, 2012 @11:48PM (#39168919)

        I mean, this is a group that makes their money by paying off people to get them information, in ways that are hinted are against the law (likely they're getting other people to break the law of other countries, even if the company themselves aren't) ... but they're against hackers that break the law? It seems a a bit hypocritical to me.

        It's only hacking if it is done by someone not in power, or not on the behest of someone in power.

        The government can listen to your phone calls without a warrant. But a man recording police is being tried for a 75 year jail sentance [infowars.com] for recording police out in the open.

        In the same way, when it is the powers that be are stealing information through nefarious methods, it is just business as usual. When you do it to them, they call their friends - who arrest you.

    • by causality (777677)

      Zerohedge is all over this like white on rice.

      I eat brown rice because it's more nutritious ... uh, you insensitive clod!

    • Wait, so you're telling me that one party's nominee is a weak candidate who will probably win because his opponent will be even weaker? Where have I heard that [wikipedia.org] before [wikipedia.org]?
  • by PatPending (953482) on Sunday February 26, 2012 @11:46PM (#39168907)
    Source: lines 33 & 35 (with added emphasis):

    Ironically, considering the present circumstances, Stratfor was trying to get into what it called the leak-focused "gravy train" that sprung up after WikiLeaks' Afghanistan disclosures:

    "[Is it] possible for us to get some of that 'leak-focused' gravy train? This is an obvious fear sale, so that's a good thing. And we have something to offer that the IT security companies don't, mainly our focus on counter-intelligence and surveillance that Fred and Stick know better than anyone on the planet... Could we develop some ideas and procedures on the idea of 'leak-focused' network security that focuses on preventing one's own employees from leaking sensitive information... In fact, I'm not so sure this is an IT problem that requires an IT solution."

  • Union Carbide (Score:4, Insightful)

    by flyingfsck (986395) on Sunday February 26, 2012 @11:57PM (#39168963)
    The Bhopal disaster was caused by Union Carbide. It had nothing to do with Dow. I don't like Dow either, but blaming them for that is ridiculous.
    • by bussdriver (620565) on Monday February 27, 2012 @12:09AM (#39169027)

      DOW didn't buy on a whim, many people spent a lot of time in the process of buying the corp. Simply selling a corporation does not allow it to escape justice; despite them usually escaping justice anyway. DOW bought Union Carbide knowing the issues and expecting to never have to factor that cost other than maybe a few PR statements and lawyers considered minor baggage in the acquisition.

      It has everything to do with DOW; because Union Carbide still exists within a bigger corporation - simply because the name changed and some people shuffled around does not make them disappear, it means the new name becomes the one we rail against.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by punit_r (1080185)

      And, Union Carbide is a wholly owned subsidy of .......... ?

      The company acquiring Union Carbide has also acquired all the liabilities along with the assets. Dow has pretty much everything to do with Union Carbide and the Bhopal disaster. If Dow did not want the "baggage" that came along with the Union Carbide purchase, they should have stayed away from it.

      • Re:Union Carbide (Score:4, Informative)

        by Seraphim1982 (813899) on Monday February 27, 2012 @01:33AM (#39169353)

        The company acquiring Union Carbide has also acquired all the liabilities along with the assets. Dow has pretty much everything to do with Union Carbide and the Bhopal disaster. If Dow did not want the "baggage" that came along with the Union Carbide purchase, they should have stayed away from it.

        How exactly did Dow have "pretty much everything to do with[...] the Bhopal disaster" when the the closest they come is owning the company that at one point in the past owned the company that owned the plant? The Bhopal plant was run by Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL), and UCIL was sold to an Indian company back in the early 90's. About 7 years later Dow came along and bought Union Carbide. So not only is there a few layers of ownership in between, there is also a gap of several years. Why doesn't Eveready Industries India Ltd (the company that UCIL turned into) get the "baggage" associated with Bhopal?

        • by TheLink (130905)
          Poor image and brand management? ;)
    • Re:Union Carbide (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rrohbeck (944847) on Monday February 27, 2012 @12:32AM (#39169119)

      Dow acquired Union Carbide so they acquired the responsibilities too.

  • by Osgeld (1900440) on Monday February 27, 2012 @01:46AM (#39169403)

    nothing will change, nothing has changed, its a 30 second flash in headlines, and a 10 second clip on one Simpsons episode (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDEu0-1TW-c) once the suits in the tv room get a clue.

    Its a simple fact, no one cares, or no one cares to understand ... so big fucking what? nothing has changed a single bit.

    • by gox (1595435)

      Populations might not seem to care. People that have considerable investment power care. In effect it alters the course, even if you won't know how. That's why principles matter.

  • by NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) on Monday February 27, 2012 @01:55AM (#39169455)
    I am about to show my age, but once upon a time, news organizations were amongst the premier intelligence gathering organizations on Earth. No shit. Reporters could discover sources that foreign agents could never approach, keep secrets, and even upend a Presidency. Think of that. Now, they are just parts of conglomerates' entertainment divisions. So, what happened to the really good investigative journalists, who could dig diamonds from piles of crap? Well, some of them are at Stratfor.
    • by KagakuNinja (236659) on Monday February 27, 2012 @02:31AM (#39169635)

      No, that is the rose-tinted version of the past. The reality of Watergate was that the FBI was at war with the White House; Deep Throat (Mark Felt) himself was up to his eyeballs in corruption, having overseen COINTELPRO, and later convicted for it. Deep Throat was funneling information to Woodward and Bernstein for selfish political purposes.

      Supposed hard-nosed "investigative journalist" Woodward now makes his living as a conduit for White House insiders who want to get their white-washed version of history into his hagiographic "behind the scenes" books. He is a total tool of the American political elite.

    • by dbIII (701233)
      Really? Since it's a place with around twenty employees in total you could easily list all of those "really good investigative journalists" at Stratfor in a comment here. Please do so. Then compare that to the list of investigative journalists at a major newspaper and the awards that they have won. Where's their Robert Fisk (whether you think he's biased for daring to write things criticising Israel or not) or anyone remotely similar?
      If they are bylines that we know then why not list them instead of jus
    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      So, what happened to the really good investigative journalists, who could dig diamonds from piles of crap? Well, some of them are at Stratfor.

      Investigative journalism is alive and well.
      The problem is with the parent companies hushing things up because the government says two magic words: National Security

      Almost every major scandal of the Bush & Obama administrations has been followed up with:
      "[News Agency] sat on the story for X year(s) at the request of the government"

      And this isn't limited to stories that touch on national issues; it happens at every level of media.
      Your local paper is just as likely to keep silent as the NY Times on everyth

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        No, as a fellow geezer I must say that the GP is correct. Back then they didn't have stories about some two-bit actor's drug problems runnning two weeks straight or having "who won 'dancing with the stars last night'" type nonsense. On Oscar night they might have mentioned who won a few on the news the next morning instead of having the entire "Good Morning America" so-called "news" show entirely fixated on Oscar and only Oscar as they did this morning. The news divisions have been completely co-opted by th

  • by Tastecicles (1153671) on Monday February 27, 2012 @03:16AM (#39169815)

    ...considering this company, at first glance at TFS, seems to be primarily concerned with passing information of a secure and sensitive nature between not only State agencies of different countries but also defence contractors which themselves are concerned also with collecting and dispersing such information for whatever purposes; I'm concerned that it is dealing with the company which had the dubious honour of processing in and storing the UK census data from 2011. This is considered live information and as far as I'm concerned, what with the nature of the questions* contained in that census (I was a refuser for the following reason), that information in the wrong hands (ie ANY agency or individual working under the flag of a different nation - ANY DIFFERENT NATION!) is a persistent threat to national security, and whoever authorised such an arrangement should hang by their bollocks. If Lockheed Martin are involved with such a company, how much of the UK census data have they passed through this company to other companies or agencies, or how much of that data that this company has been entrusted with has found its way to eg DHS? I for one am very concerned.

    *ie, what's the occupation of every adult of working age in the household, what's their earning power, how many hours do they work, how often individuals travel abroad, where they travel to...

  • by JoeRobe (207552) on Monday February 27, 2012 @01:38PM (#39174457) Homepage

    I haven't read the leaks, but if they do prove that Stratfor had done or is doing something illegal, would the U.S. government take legal action? Given the fact that the government has been so anti-wikileaks, would it be wise for them to use wikileaks as a source to prosecute people in Stratfor?

    On a related note, what if the information wikileaks had released was obtained completely illegally? I'm not saying that's the case here, but hypothetically speaking, if information was obtained by illegal hacking or trespassing, would the government be able to take any legal action against the company?

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